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Friday, December 16, 2016

Ice days.

Man oh man. Put another log in the furnace, Anti-Lincoln. Drafty old barn of a place. Are you sure we weren't somehow transported overnight to one of those Kuiper Belt planetoids? I'm freezing my ass off in here.

Oh, hi. Yes, we're in the midst of another cold snap here at the abandoned Cheney Hammer Mill. Our local gas an electric company discontinued service here years ago, as you might suspect. The hammer forge has been pretty quiet since the 1940s. You might think, well ... burn the furniture, right? Well, we did that YEARS ago. I'm sleeping on a mattress on the floor, and no, I'm not burning that. (We're always looking for kindling. After almost twenty winters of this, the mansized tuber is looking pretty nervous.)

Okay, so we have to break the ice in the bathroom sink every morning - is that anything to complain about? We have a roof over our heads ... or most of a roof, anyway. More importantly, we have a floor beneath our feet. I say that because, if you'll recall, we went on a "Journey to the Center of the Earth" tour some years back, and I for one never want to make THAT journey again. You haven't had a tough audience until you've played for Morlocks. And those talking rock creatures! What's that, Marvin? You don't say. Marvin (my personal robot assistant) has just told me that there were no talking rock creatures. This one club owner just had a novelty landline telephone, that's all.

Oh, right. I remember these guys.I suppose we, like so many other upstaters, should find some way of monetizing this freezing cold weather. I don't know, like ... exporting ice or something. We could turn this place into the abandoned Cheney Ice Mill, start shipping ice all over the country. We could pack it in dry ice, or sawdust, or ... something. Iron filings, perhaps. (There's a lot of those in the hammer mill basement.) It's just a damn shame that you can't bottle this weather and sell it in the summer. Hey ..... Nah, forget it.

Well, we've got one thing to keep us warm: Our Christmas episode of THIS IS BIG GREEN, still in production. Likely to be a little late this year, friends - my apologies. I will post something around the holiday as a placeholder then drop the new episode when it's good and ready. (Well ... ready, anyway. If I hold out for "good" , we may be talking about NEXT Christmas.)

Consenseless.

The Syrian meltdown is horrible to watch, and thanks to the fact that much of the killing is being done by official enemies of the United States, we are actually able to watch it. The Syrian regime is doing the only thing it knows how to do - killing and torturing those who oppose it. The Russians, too, have only one speed on their killing machines. Lebanese Hizbullah fighters are there to support the regime, just as the regime and the allied government of Iran was there to help them in their time of need - it's hard for me to blame them, frankly. But the true crime of Syria is that there are many players involved in this senseless war and their all pursuing their own agendas.

Syria? Nope. It's Yemen.The United States has had dogs in this fight for years, despite what you'll hear on bullshit broadcast outlets like Morning Joe. They have provided covert support to rebel groups in Syria since before the uprising, so there's little doubt that some of those fighters assumed - as Chalabi did with regard to Iraq - that Uncle Sam would swoop in and save the day, Kosovo style. The notion that the United States could somehow fix this problem through the application of military force has remarkable currency among politicians, pundits, and talking heads.

Everyone from Clinton to McCain to Joe Scarborough talks about no-fly zones like they're as simple as pitching a tent in the backyard. My guess is that their conception of this pulls from their memories of the Gulf War aftermath, when the U.S. established no-fly zones over northern and southern Iraq. That required very little additional firepower because we had already blown the country up, destroyed its air defenses, its command and control infrastructure, and so on. Syria still has all that stuff, plus the Russian air force.

Sometimes broken stuff stays broken (see Iraq). I don't condone Russia's role in Syria, but it seems pretty clear why they intervened: they saw what happened with various other failed states we created through our interventions over the past fifteen years, and they're determined not to let that happen to one of their client states. They have obviously gone way, way too far, and we are seeing every lick of it. What we're NOT seeing is what's happening in Yemen, which we could truly bring to an end with a stern phone call.

Our responsibility as a nation to protect innocent lives is most acute in those areas where we have the most influence. We can rail against abusive foreign leaders until the cows come home to little effect, but when we're picking up the tab, as in Yemen, it's incumbent upon us to act. If you're really worried about human suffering, tell Obama to do so before he packs up and leaves.

luv u,

jp