Tag Archives: idealism

Killing Snakes

Have I been strident about what occurred in Israel on October 7th, 2023? Hell yeah! My stridency equals, no, surpasses those on the wrong side of the issue.

Have I been dismissive about what torments Gazans are enduring over the months since? Indeed, I have.

Have I lost social media correspondents with my backing of Israel’s justifiably ruthless extermination of Hamas terrorists? Yes.

The surprise is I thought I’d have forfeited friendships and correspondence with Americans who’ve yielded to Donald Trump and his My Ass Got Arrested followers, fellow travelers, and in the service of Russia, useful idiots.

I expected my personal pronouncements towards the defense of our nation and preservation of the Constitution against MAGA would sour connections with my peers. In some cases men and women I’ve known for nearly five decades. People I admire and esteem.

Again, my peers.

Had they taken umbrage at my positions, found offense in being lumped in with intolerant, weak-kneed, weak-willed, ignoramuses who somehow wallow in insecurity despite obvious advantages delivered them upon their first breaths into this world, joyous when some grifter like the short-fingered vulgarian came along and bellowed views which had harbored in their minds I was readily prepared to sunder our relationships.

Those instances would’ve been difficult. Worse, painful.

On one-to-one bases, we could’ve sidestepped such divots. Thanks to Boomers’ abilities to practice circumspection, okay, to throttle ourselves, we likely have avoided numerous awkward moments. All to preserve thick veneers and thickly twined associations.

But a group aligned against me? Or me against all their flags? To win I would’ve become as nasty and as ugly as necessary. Anything to do my part to save the United States.

Sadly, to have possibly forfeit such associations is how vital it is to spare America any return of the First Felon to the Oval Office.

Yes, I know some of my peers are MAGA. Ours a diverse group. We actually have practiced diversity, equality, and inclusion. Stripped of our personal associations, doubtlessly an indecent number of us would disapprove of DEI.

Ladies and gentlemen, some of the items I’ve committed to print had me second guessing how so-and-so would receive it. Not that I was going to write differently to render positions palatable to others. Just second guessing. Never was what presented too insulting. Always was it too harsh?

Cold, hard hardness is what Americans need to hear. Our leaders, authority in this nation, have coddled us. If the opinion is we can’t handle true gen, it’s because those responsible for us, our commonweal, our common good, have been too reluctant to share what’s deeply unpleasant.

Tough none of them grew up among the elders whom I was raised among. With them the notion of “innocence” and “sensitivity” impeded clear sight and straight reckoning. Kind, generous, patient, none of that bunch was overly sentimental.

Americans take offense too easily. Especially those of us who’ve ladled invective minus the least repercussions and are only now getting back late in the game what they’ve spewed. I’ve stopped being surprised at our fellow Americans who are hurt when responses match or exceed the right-wing vitriol given.

Such reactions make me want to shovel plenty more their way. And I do. Never pass up a chance. It makes this acknowledged sinner feel damned righteous.

Not only does it start reorganizing MAGA targets’ conceptions, further open their eyes, but it also improves their hearing. As Election Day 2024 approaches one hopes there will more of this volleying. All right. Blasting from the wide and deep, prosperous, truly conscientious center of America where I and most Americans reside. Good. Rather than suspecting or assuming where however many Americans stand, perhaps we’ll discover just where we do. Maybe we’ll finally start having the honest discussions our nation has minced around since Reconstruction, the Gilded Age, the Depression, and the second Red Scare.

Aforementioned has been the word “conscientious.” I read it plenty in regard to what the Israelis are delivering to Gazans. Here. Let me fix that misconception it’s become.

On one hand, we all should be glad there are those among us, mostly energetic, unformed, uninformed, misinformed students, as well as old radicals who just won’t fucking let go of their heydays during the Days of Rage, exhibiting wasted misplaced idealism. Idealism, a trait that should be practiced when young and gradually dismissed as we become wiser.

Surely mine is a view which Ambrose Bierce would’ve approved.

Let’s like the idea behind idealism. Because without it, we’d have no signposts later in life to realize how impractical we were … and wanted to be … and wanted to impose on others who knew the situation better. There. I’ve just described the discredited desire of mid-century America to misread movements in foreign lands and force their citizens to become “just like us.”

My friends, our virtues are overrated. Just ask any foreigner.

And while conscientiousness is a fine noun, the modern world often makes it impractical. Look at all those callow idiots whose university manifestations have hop-skipped-and jumped over the reason behind Israel’s punitive campaign inside the Gaza Strip. The Israelis are not killing Gazans because the day ended in a “y.”

If the masses forming the worst of the short-attention generation span can remember, on October 7th, 2023, Hamas terrorists invaded Israel. Given these wretches were terrorists, their motives were simple. They entered Israel to murder, rape, and kidnap.

Murder. Rape. Kidnap.

Impossible to justify these unless you’re also a terrorist. Or worse, some coddled know-nothing Westerner whose conscience is aligned with the Palestinians, a populace who’ve accustomed themselves to existence in the Middle East’s version of our transitional housing. Or as Americans know them, the Projects.

At least there are good percentages of residents living in our projects who understand these edifices aren’t supposed to be homesteads where generation after generation molder. American success stories never reported are those of our fellow citizens who by dint of determination and labor leave government housing to venture forth and prosper then advance into fuller lives.

Yeah. It’s tough. Succeeding is what makes theirs such great American success stories.

The Palestinians have no notion of “American success stories.” Neither great nor middling. They’re fucking rooted inside refugee camps where latrines serve as common shitters. Yes. That was harsh. Intentionally so.

I used the above to make a comparison. Throughout the history of mankind, the number of populations who’ve migrated when conditions in native lands made living in them arduous is legion. Oh? Like indigenous North American populations of the Southwest. Black Americans who left the devils of Dixie behind for the Industrial North. Or the Jews. There’s an extensive history of the Jewish diaspora. If one follows the trail, a circular one, it’s enabled them to return to Canaan Land.

Jews are where they should be.

Okay. There’ll be readers who don’t want to cut the Jews any slack. Perhaps the Irish will be a more “palatable” example. Cromwell up to the potato famine transformed Irish multitudes into immigrants.

Same concept. No phony Protocols.

When did the narrative to subsequent reactions here in the West about Gaza go sideways then berserk? I’m still amazed the precipitating events in Israel – the murders, rapes, kidnapping – got such short shrift. One moment civilized people abhorred the barbarity Hamas delivered. The next the people upon whom these depravities were practiced lost any right to retrieve their captive citizens and eliminate as much of future threats as possible.

It’s as if there are those of us in the West who prefer Israelis and Jews beyond Israel to be victims.

Oh? Can that be right?

I didn’t arrive at this conclusion recently. Early on when posters and flyers for Israeli hostages were posted then either ripped down or defaced, who among those with real consciences failed grasping ours may be devolving into an irresponsible era of denying the past?

This goes double with Americans wishing to whitewash the nation’s history with blacks. And the Indigenous Peoples. And Latinos. And those of us whose heritages issuing from the Asian land mass and the Pacific Region.

Much as I enjoy Thanksgiving …

Today with pro-Hamas manifestations roiling several of our nation’s prestige campuses, the autonomes are amply demonstrating their disregard for history while discovering an ancient pleasure for disparaging Jews.

I dunno. About the last maybe in certain people it’s a latency. One of those strains education and emphasizing empathy just won’t ever dislodge.

Free speech permits a lot in the United States. We can criticize government without fear. We can burn the flag as a protected right. Yeah. It is. Much as I dislike it, I understand the ramifications of such an allowance.

It reaffirms our strength as a nation. Yes, it does. Though tell you the truth, I’d much prefer Palestinian flags being thrown into a pyre. You would too!

Yet what’s been occurring on campuses and streets are breakdowns in reason. Disobeying lawful orders. Vandalism. Assaulting authorities performing their duties. All of these with the perpetrators’ expectations they’ll skate because their cause is “righteous.”

None of these activities are contained within freedom of speech. As President Biden aptly said, that’s disorder.

No. Vietnam War protesters and civil rights activists who engaged in civil disobedience knew the penalties. They willingly accepted them. Not one among them expected to “skate.” And their causes were vital to the people of the United States. Their causes were truly righteous.

My fellow Americans, we cannot condone disorder. There is no cause justifying disorder. Again, there is no cause justifying disorder. That goes double for the January 6th, 2021, attack on the Capitol as much as the continuing eruptions fomented by pro-Hamas agitators in town and gown locations.

Both sets of rabbles, the MAGA insurgents who desecrated the Capitol and the agitators finding common cause with Hamas, are wrong. A majority of decent Americans realize this. It will be up to us to right what’s wrong.

Now, in a wholly personal aside, the morning of October 7th, 2023, here in Las Vegas the news and raw footage beamed from Israel turned my guts. I’m not Jewish. I’m Protestant. So, the visceral reaction some biased readers might’ve inferred because “he’s one of them” doesn’t wash in this case. Not sorry.

Before reputable broadcasters and social media arbiters determined the day’s unedited footage too graphic, early Sunday morning viewers attuned might’ve been startled by one sequence from the day’s carnage. It numbed me.

Recorded off a security camera, two Israeli girls bolted from a home across a lawn. They ran faster than Fanny Blankers-Koen did in the 1948 Olympics. Until, who knows why, one girl collapsed. She hadn’t been shot. She just succumbed. A force seemed to have reached up and yanked her onto the grass. Likely abject fright. This girl waited on her knees. She kneeled there anticipating inevitable darkness.

Seconds later an overladen with weapons Hamas terrorist leisurely entered the frame. Her killer stopped several feet before the girl. Being Hamas, it takes nothing to imagine this beast blaming a girl for the miseries endured by Occupied Territories “refugees” and Gazans. Of course, he must’ve excised the parts about how those two populaces and their negligent leaderships have exacerbated their own nakbas over 75 years.

Nothing like reciting a screed to make a coward with a big gun feel like a man. Several seconds later he shot her in the head. She crumpled into a marionette whose strings had been chopped.

It was enough to make me lean back in my chair, aghast. I still think of her.

What followed took days later. A number of my Quarropas, New York, boyhood contemporaries are Jews. During our formative years in suburban splendor most weren’t observant. Yet there were several on paths trending away from secular American life. No black hats, no wigs, but strictures were going to be gradually adhered stringently as life proceeded apace.

Contemporaries. Digesting the seventh as I did, I pondered a feasible question. At their ages, retired as I am, freed of responsibilities and accountability here in the States, wonder if any of them had “returned” to Israel. To become kibbutzniks.

For days after the attack, I feared perhaps some had relocated to the invaded kibbutzim. My worry increased thinking maybe a few had gotten caught up in the day’s maelstrom. Trepidation delayed me for days before I could hunt up the most likely who might’ve, ah, “gone home.”

My searched uncovered no injuries, no fatalities. Just rage.

Now, about this post’s title, Killing Snakes. It’s from a parable. One I might’ve heard from an Israeli. Or read in the Old Testament.

One day a shepherd is out in a meadow tending his flock. Suddenly his son comes running towards him bawling. The father asks the son his cause of distress. The child answers he’d been bitten by a snake. This enrages the father. After nursing his son’s wound, the shepherd ranges far afield. He kills snakes with abandon.

Later, he tells the incident to friends. One asks whether the shepherd found and killed the snake that bit his son.

The father replied, “Should I have just sought and killed the snake with the bloody mouth? Or do as I did – and kill every snake I could find!?”

The Israelis correctly see Hamas as snakes. It’s unfortunate for Gazans the snakes are hiding among them.

Las Sirenas

    Marie Anne Erize Tisseau and Marina Ginestà had a connection. Each now would’ve been tagged an insurgent. Or militant. No. Probably terrorist. Language has undergone so much massaging why call a spade a spade when it can be labeled an entrenching tool? Though the conflicts enveloping both and devouring one were dissimilar, they eventually shared the same depth in their respective causes.  

    Separated by eras, the Atlantic Ocean and clashes, similar impulses must’ve pushed them. Each believed she could be part of a beneficial movement. And each understood the prices victory required might’ve demanded their lives.

    Today that height of commitment solely belongs in the province of religious extremists. What cause will encourage modern men and women to sacrifice their lives if necessary for an idea?

    An idea, not duty. A!–more–>

    Do absolute good and evil (the intellectual versions, not spiritual) even exist today? Unquestioningly so in Ginestà’s time. Many years later when Tisseau strode among us, the old polarities were well on the way to becoming our present-day every shade of gray murk.    

    By coincidence, Tisseau and Ginestà each recently returned to awareness. A newspaper article conjured the long vanished Tisseau the next to last day of 2013. Column inches lent Ginestà an appreciation the first week of 2014. At 94, she recently reached the end of her life.

    Reportage by (Spain) El Pais’ Diego Manrique and Jacinto Antón drew these women from the fog. Or in Ginestà’s case revived her through light and shadow, while Tisseau may have been commemorated in song.

    Ginestà is clearly portrayed. Unless she alerts us from the beyond, Tisseau will stay a good twisty mystery. Mist veils her. She is elusive and maybe all that remains of her is allusive. Conjecture shrouds the tasks which led to her vanishing. Did she also serve as muse for an admirer who became even more ardent as his reticence increased across the decades?

    If Tisseau’s presence tricked one of those heartfelt love requiems from him, he’s not confessing. Neither are those behind her disappearance.

    Tisseau was an Argentine model, Ginestà politically acute and French. Both combated the leading repressive regimes of their times and places. The first woman joined intrigues opposed to her nation’s militarist regime; the second defended Spain against the reactionary Falange.

    The women’s respective causes failed. The rebel victory over the duly elected Republican government not only retarded Spain’s progress by decades, but also emboldened the Axis powers intending world plunder. That much talked about line had been trampled. Could there have been a starker example of put up or shut up than The Spanish Civil War? If the high-minded democracies couldn’t and wouldn’t aid one of their own, weren’t black shirts convinced they too could pick off other weak and disjointed republics?

    Munich didn’t green light the Second World War. Letting Spain become a live-fire laboratory for total war did.

    After withdrawing from Spain, Ginestà bracketed Mexican exile between escaping and returning to France. Postwar she eventually settled in Paris. Indeed, mamie had worn combat boots.

    Again, who can say, or who will ever confess, how Tisseau expired? Since 1976 her physical presence has been completely expunged. The 24-year-old was that figure who walks into the jungle and leaves no tracks behind. But rather than being digested by savannah, the Argentine urban jungle consumed her.

    Thanks to the world’s myriad ideological or religious discords, Westerners are familiar with the shadowy villains slinking among us looking to foment this cause or indoctrinate that creed by whatever method of imposition necessary. Their blood-drizzled objectives make no distinction between bystanders and the particular pillars they insist need razing. To ideologues, there are no innocents. People living as unobtrusively as possible merely bolster their contention. If you aren’t with them …

    Marie Tisseau became an Argentine dissatisfied with her nation’s narrow direction. Now she’s nearly a caricature of a limousine revolutionary. She was that bourgeois baby who agitated for bread and justice, but whose upbringing had delivered her material goods and comfort aplenty. Her concept of “without” was just that. Theory. Elevated roundtable chatter made romantic through the chaotic energy of youth, cigarette smoke, though ultimately condescendingly delivered regarding “the people.”  

    Fighter, militant, insurgent, “terrorist” even, Marina Ginestà is best seen as a recruiting pitch. More pointed than posters featuring Uncle Sam or Lord Kitchener, Ginestà’s pose atop a Barcelona roof in 1936 made an appeal stronger than ¡Sangre y Patria! The Catalan capital as her backdrop, the 17-year-old’s glance summoned without hectoring. Uncle Sam and Kitchener beseeched ambivalent patriots into serving. Ginestà’s easy on the eyes coaxing flatly stated “Boys, this is what you’re fighting for!”


Marina Ginestà, Barcelona, Spain, June 1936.

    One must wonder whether Ernest Hemingway ever glimpsed her portrait. With all occurring around him, had her image imprinted itself in Hemingway’s mind? Could Ginestà’s inviting steel have been the basis behind the fictional Maria in his For Whom the Bell Tolls?

    Here’s a backstory: the militiawoman’s come-hither defiance was a setup. Hers seems a contrivance Joseph Goebbels should’ve staged. Hans Gutman, a German pro-Republican photographer had his Edward Bernays’ moment. One he hoped advanced Republican sympathies. In Ginestà, Gutman found the requisite pretty girl. He and his subject climbed to the roof.

    Mediterranean sunlight emphasized Ginestà’s peasant loveliness. A mild breeze ruffled the short black crop atop her head. Barcelonan cityscape provided effective contrast. Yet the scene was incomplete. She lacked an accessory. Clever Gutman appropriated a nearby militiaman’s rifle and slung it over Ginestà’s shoulder. Perhaps the weapon enhanced her allure, and with it the Republican cause. Wouldn’t be the first time an armed woman has been regarded deferentially.
    Nothing so martially clear for Tisseau. She and her Montoneros, the leftist assemblage opposing the right-wing junta then ruling Argentina, engaged in asymmetrical shadow warfare. No great battles. No stirring proclamations. No sterling literature. No bombastic sloganeering or music. Given the conflict’s nature, also little valor. Nothing romantic about it at all.

    Unlike the Spanish insurrection, Argentina’s aptly named Dirty War lacked fixed lines and readily admirable leading personages. It was an ideological struggle that dissolved into state sanctioned torture and murder. In reflection, the Argentine government assumed the worst vestiges of what we widely recognize as an organized criminal structure. Due process for a lost number of political captives ran along that dictated by Alice’s Queen of Hearts: “Punishment first, then the trial!”

    Is anyone still alive who can attest what deeds Tisseau performed on behalf ogf the Montoneros? Was she a go-between? Active in a cadre? Or just a peripheral traveler whose prominent profile fit into Argentine domestic intelligence’s crosshairs?    

    Unlike Ginestà’s unwavering fealty to Spanish Republicanism, Tisseau drifted into the Montonero movement. Casually politicized at best, she’d led an idealized youthquake life. Lovely, languorous, and fearless, the cover girl gadded-about throughout early 1970’s Europe.


Marie Anne Erize Tisseau, unknown.

    Glamorous, say, an Uschi Obermaier who didn’t reach the next shore, Tisseau exemplified that era’s free-spirited vibe. On occasions – oh, the usual no cash ones – she dipped into larceny. But exquisite larceny! No grubby bank heists for her. More than a flighty personality behind a pretty face, the mannequin nurtured an interest in anthropology. A concentration the least-likeliest thief turned into lucre by smuggling art.

    Doubtlessly the sort of daring-do which further aroused an already besotted tunesmith. Verses, well known ones in specific circles, resound about a thoroughly captivating woman. Do these refer to Tisseau?

    Throughout decades the lyricist has preferred obscuring his muse’s identity. Doesn’t lovelorn cloaking attract our curiosity all the more? On the surface his reticence may appear selfish. Is his one of those manufactured mysteries meant to keep embers alive, the artist’s name in speculation? Or does the songwriter’s silence derive from an instance of a draw so powerful, a loss so raw, that revelation would wrench soul debilitating pain?

    There are some nuggets our human hearts never wish to yield.