172 results for d'Nalgar

Titanic America

Dear editor,

Today is May 1, 2019 CE. May Day. This is my last letter.

When I called The Sentinel Record a few weeks ago to stop my subscription, they graciously extended it one more month.

Additional time only reinforced my decision to abandon this inky old boat. She is listing hard to starboard, desperate to appease that fading generation of readers who still celebrate bigotry from the burrows and bunkers of their anachronistic orthodoxies.

Letting go is a bittersweet moment for someone who grew up reading daily newspapers, including this one for the last 25 years.

So adios amigos, you left-behind few who proudly resist reason, who reject love and mercy, who are unmoved in the face of “patriotic” cruelty and injustice. Let me know when I show up in the obituaries.

Titanic America is sailing into uncharted waters, into a dense fog where truth and facts matter not.  Like icebergs in the gathering gloom, fascism, history repeated, and lessons unlearned loom before us. Hum a few bars of “Nearer my God to thee” on your way down, will you?

Jacques d’Nalgar
Hot Springs, Arkansas


Photograph of shipwreck in Sharjah:  http://blog.horsereporter.com/on-the-ground-in-abu-dhabi/shipwreck-and-gold-bars/ or http://bit.ly/psAEGS or http://tinyurl.com/3o45cvc

Permanent link to this article: https://levantium.com/2019/05/01/titanic-america/


Ruminations from a May Day revisited

By Jacques d’Nalgar, May 1, 2012 (and rediscovered/completed on April 14, 2019 CE)


There have, of late, been an abundance of letters bemoaning our reluctance to wring every last drop of oil from the dust and ashes from whence we come and go.  Clearly we are shirking our patriotic duty when we fail to feather the pockets of all those behemoth corporations we worship at the neighborhood fumatories for three grades of gasoline and two sizes of Slim Jims.

It’s obvious that the “drill baby” crowd isn’t the least bit concerned about oil spills in their endless quest for more and more of that bubbling crude, black gold, and Texas tea that nearly ruined the Gulf of Mexico a couple of years ago. And before that, seems like there were a few birds and other critters who died in horrible ways away up there in youbetchya Alaska when the Exxon Valdez made a slight mess of things.

So, after ruminating about all of our bazillions of barrels of untapped red, white, and blue petroleum, and after reading today’s erudite letter to the editor (below), I had an epiphany.  It happened while taking a break from gazing at my navel, as we elitist progressives are wont to do when we’re not sipping martinis.  Instead, I was humming a dear old commie May Day hymn when, out of the blue, the great speckled bird of happiness delivered my epiphany, the solution to Everything.  Here, then, is a brilliant idea whose time has come and I offer you my Eureka! moment, free of charge…

Oil.  We just love it, love it , love it.  Can’t get enough of it.  Fortunately, in the Gulf of Mexico anyway, Jesus hid it from the Indians and the conquistadors for almost two thousand years, apparently saving it for white Protestants.  And here we are, so let’s just drain that sucker and get after it.  Get ‘er done.  All we have to do is build a couple of dang-big dams, say from Homestead to Havana, and from El Cayuco to Cancun.  Once we’ve turned the Gulf into a big-ass pond, we just pump out all the water that’s keep us from getting at all that God-given oil.

Sorry, Destin and Pensacola, but we all have to make sacrifices to “harvest” the oil that’s just out there waiting for us.  Harvest?  Who knew?  Apparently oil is just like an Ohio cornfield — we can go back every so often and “harvest” it all over again!  Anyway, once we’ve drained the Gulf, the place will still be way too swampy for regular drilling operations (unless we use all those pretty coral reefs for stepping stones).  Fortunately, the solution for blow-drying the Gulf is right under our noses.  (Can’t you smell that smell, Mister Skynyrd?)

Have the big-oil fatcats saddle up their sold-out politicos and ride them into the morasse like a herd of pigs, where they can all together harrumph and bloviate their usual hot air.  Before you know it, the former Gulf of Mexico will be as parched as  the Baja desert, until the place is a stinking wasteland of dessicated crustaceans and rotten fish.  Of course, once we’ve plucked every last drop of oil out of there, we’ll have to hurry up and blow the dams to keep the Cubans and Mexicans away from our sea to shining lily-white sea.  And after that, we can think about where to go next — the Bering Sea, or the Great Lakes, or Yellowstone Park.  Leave no pristine place unturned if it can yield even a drop of the greasy goo we are so desperately addicted to.  After all, once we’ve violated and despoiled America, and then the rest of the planet, we can just let it lie fallow for a few million years and then “harvest” it all over again.


Source for poster:  https://www.ornamentshop.com/christmas-blog/may-day-celebrates-occupations/


This voter’s already decided (Jacques d’Nalgar: lost in the fog of antiquity, this is presumably from around May 1, 2012…)

Dear editor:

Darryl Foshee makes a better argument for trickle down economics than I do, and then he calls it a myth. Well, “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure,” I guess.

Is John Crawford a Christian?

As for Thomas Watkins:

1. Oil reserves – it depends on who is doing the counting. Including the reserves proven to exist in offshore waters – off Alaska, California, the Pacific Coast and the Gulf Coast – and including the reserves known to exist in shale and on federal lands where permits are denied – the United States has far more oil than Saudi Arabia – we just can’t harvest it because of the EPA and the Democrat Party.

2. The Army Corps of Engineers is currently controlled by a Democrat government. That’s why the red tape is so impenetrable.

3. If we could export less and import less, that would be good, wouldn’t it? Less dependence on foreign oil is a good thing, right?

4. The bigger reasons for the slowdown in oil production from the Gulf was: A. Obama refused to allow foreign vessels to assist in the cleanup; B. Obama imposed a moratorium on all oil production in the Gulf and has been almighty slow in restoring permits. Meanwhile, foreign nations have increased drilling in the Gulf and Obama is making deals to buy oil from those countries.

5. The only bills the Senate deigns to consider come from Democrats. The Senate hasn’t passed a budget resolution in three years. How can Congress control the purse strings (as the Founders intended via the Constitution) if they absolutely refuse to do so?

6. Poor people go to emergency rooms because they can. There is no good reason why every citizen of these United States has to buy health insurance. We’re already paying for health care for those who can’t afford it, why get more red tape involved in that?

Let the reader decide which political party deserves our vote. I’ve made up my mind.

M. Wayne Spencer
Hot Springs

Permanent link to this article: https://levantium.com/2019/04/14/epiphany/

One more time


A concise defense of Palestinians


Dear editor,

Cherry-picking Torah is a [favorite] hobby of fundamentalist Christians, but Israel is not America’s [magical] lucky charm. Rather, Israel is a festering injustice that only incubates fanaticism and terrorism [around the world]. On the [assumption biblical presumption] that truth will set you free, consider this alternative to the voodoo exegesis that excuses seven decades of brutal colonial occupation in Palestine.

What scant archaeological evidence exists suggests ancient Israelites were just one of many tribes in Canaan. Their particular regional deity was Yahweh.

And they were hardly monotheistic – fertility goddesses were routinely incorporated into their idols and religious practices.

It must have worked. Stories of bloody smiting and conquest are a lot sexier, but Israelites eventually emerged as the dominant tribe through plain old fertility – assimilation and population growth.

Of course, [chest-thumping] dominance only lasted as long as they were [ignored flying under the radar]. Whenever regional superpowers showed up, Jewish kingdoms quickly collapsed. Aristocrats were killed or taken away as hostages. When these exiles returned, they discovered left-behind peasants had “moved on up” – and that’s when Torah’s creation myths were discovered in the nick of time to reassert the old pecking order. The aristocracy and hereditary priesthood were back in town, large and in charge. Uppity peasants were shuffled back to their fields of labor.

Funny thing about creation myths. Like [Cecil B. DeMille’s and] Charlton Heston’s exodus from Egypt.  There’s absolutely no archaeological evidence to back any of it up. It could have just as easily happened along the western coasts of Yemen and Arabia.

By the time an itinerant rabbi from Nazareth wandered onto the scene, more Jews were living outside of Palestine than in it. In other words, the infamous Diaspora had already happened. The “Holy” land, and especially Jerusalem, had already faded in importance. Only a few nationalistic zealots [clung to the fantasy of fantasized about] an independent [Jerusalem kingdom].

Apocalyptic preachery [popularized popularizes] the notion that the Roman Empire completely emptied Palestine in 70 AD, leaving it desolate for the next thousand years. Modern historians revisiting logistical requirements for wholesale ethnic cleansing have concluded that theory is ludicrous. Major cities like Jerusalem were indeed devastated, but rural villages and farmlands were not.

Which means that today’s Palestinians are direct descendants of those same Jews and pagans and pilgrims and assorted mystics who lived in Palestine while Jesus was among them. A few[, now known as the Mizrahim,] clung to their Judaism, but most became Christians and, later, Muslims.

Early Zionist thinkers were well aware of this. Yitzhak Ben Zvi, who became president of Israel, and David Ben Gurion, its first prime minister, both stated (long before 1948) that the peasants of Palestine were descendants of the inhabitants of ancient Judea.

So maybe Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib are right after all. And maybe Jeanine Pirro really is a dangerous idiot. Read Gary Burge’s book, “Jesus and the Land: The New Testament Challenge to ‘Holy Land’ Theology.” But consider yourselves warned – the bedrock of your fundamentalism is a[n slippery] illusion. It [can will] turn to quicksand when exposed to truth.

Jacques d’Nalgar
Hot Springs, Arkansas

Permanent link to this article: https://levantium.com/2019/04/08/one-more-time/

Items of interest


Morgan to address Republicans


Jan Morgan, commentator and local Hot Springs businesswoman, will be the featured speaker at the next monthly meeting of the Republican Party of Garland County on Thursday.

The RPGC meeting will begin at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at the Family Center of First Church of the Nazarene, 3804 Central Ave. Morgan will speak after the monthly business meeting. The public is welcome to attend. Admission is free.

“Morgan is an award-winning television journalist and during the past 27 years has been a contributor to numerous national publications, and television and internet news networks. She has appeared as a political analyst on Fox News, CNN, One America News, NRA-TV and ‘Gun Owners of America.’ Morgan has more than 1.5 million social media followers,” RPGC said in a news release.

Morgan is a certified firearms instructor and owns and operates The Gun Cave, which is located in Garland County.

Morgan is a member of the Republican Party of Arkansas TUSK Club, the RPGC, the 4th District Republican Committee and Garland County Republican Women. She is the National Chair of 2A Women and National Spokesperson of Citizens for Trump.


Photograph and hyper-inflated biography provided by (who else?) Jan Morgan.

Permanent link to this article: https://levantium.com/2019/03/30/items-of-interest/

Sick of patriotism

America Is Exceptional—in All the Wrong Ways

By Major Danny Sjursen, March 21, 2019


I was born and raised in an America far more Orwellian than many now remember. Matters have gone so far off the rails since 9/11 that few seem to recall the madness of the 1980s. The U.S. had a celebrity actor for president, who railed about America’s ostensibly existential adversary—the Soviet “evil empire.” Back then, Ronald Reagan nearly started a nuclear war during the all-too-real Able Archer war game. He also secretly sold missiles to Iran, and then laundered the windfall to the Contras’ Central American hit squads, resulting in some 100,000 dead.

Looking back from 2019, at least as the contemporary media tell it, those were the good old days. Heck, even Barack Obama—faux liberal that he was—proudly and publicly admired Reagan. Oh, and one of Reagan’s favorite campaign slogans: “Make America Great Again.”

Today, matters seem to be coming farcically full circle, what with Elliott Abrams—convicted in the aforementioned Iran-Contra scandal—being appointed special envoy to Venezuela, and Uncle Sam again bullying a Latin American country. Welcome to America’s own grisly ’80s foreign affairs theme party! Which all got me thinking, again, about the whole notion of American exceptionalism. Only a country that truly, deeply believes in its own special mission could repeat the hideous policies of the 1980s and hardly notice.

Perhaps one expects this absurd messianism from the likes of The Donald, but the real proof is that America’s supposed progressives—like Obama—also obediently pray at the temple of exceptionalism. “Orwellian” is the only word for a nation whose leaders and commentariat were absolutely aghast when candidate Obama was seen without (gasp!) an American flag pin on his lapel. Even more disturbing was how quickly he folded and dutifully adorned his mandatory flair. This sort of nonsense is dangerous, folks: It’s hypernationalism—the very philosophy that brought us World War I.

So it was this week, while sitting on a plane reading my oh-so-bourgeois Economist, and getting infuriated about seeing Elliott Abrams’ war-criminal face, that my thoughts again turned to good old American exceptionalism. My opinions on the topic have waxed and waned over the course of a career spent waging illegal war. First, as a young cadet at West Point, I bought it hook, line and sinker; then, as an Iraq War vet and dissenter, I rejected the entire notion. Only now, observing the world as it is, have I begun to think that America really is exceptional after all—only in all the wrong ways.

Humor me, please, while I run through a brief laundry list of the ways the US of A is wildly and disconcertingly different from all the other “big-boy countries” in the developed world. Let’s start with domestic policy:

    • The U.S. has been the site of exponentially more mass shootings than any other nation. And unlike in New Zealand—where officials took immediate steps to tighten gun control in the wake of its recent tragedy—American politicians won’t do a thing about it. We also own more guns per capita than any other country in the world. In second place is Yemen.
    • The U.S. is essentially alone in the Western world in not guaranteeing health care as a basic human right. It spends much more cash, yet achieves worse health outcomes than its near-peer countries.
    • America is home to some of the starkest income inequality on the globe—right up there with Turkey and South Africa.
    • The U.S. keeps migrant kids in cages at the border, or did until recently. Even more exceptional is that Washington is largely responsible for the very unrest in Central America that generates the refugees, all while American conservatives proudly wear their “Christianity” as badge of honor—but wasn’t Jesus a refugee child? Maybe I read the wrong Bible.
    • America is alone among 41 Western nations in not guaranteeing paid family leave. How’s that for “family values?”
    • As for representative democracy, only the U.S. has an Electoral College. This fun 18th-century gimmick ensures that here in America—in 40 percent of its elections since 2000—the presidential candidate with fewer votes actually won. Furthermore, our peculiar system ensures that a rural Wyoming resident has—proportionally—several times more representative power in Washington than someone who lives in California.
    • Similarly, America counts several non-state “territories”—think Guam, Samoa, Puerto Rico—that don’t even get to vote for the president that it can legally send to war. But hey, why should we grant them statehood? It’s not as though some of them have higher military enlistment rates than any U.S. state … oh, wait.
    • The U.S. is essentially solo in defining corporations as “people,” and thanks to the Citizens United Supreme Court ruling, has lifted limits on money in politics. Buying elections is officially as American as apple pie.
    • The USA locks up its own people at the highest rate in the world and is nearly alone among developed nations in maintaining the death penalty. Last year, the U.S. was the only country in the Americas to conduct executions and the only Western democracy to do so. But our friends the Saudis still execute folks, so it’s got to be OK. Dostoyevsky famously claimed that “the degree of civilization in a society can be judged by entering its prisons.” How are we doing there?

Then there’s the foreign policy of the great American empire:

    • The U.S. spends exponentially more on military defense than anyone else, and more than the next seven competitors (most of which are allies) combined.
    • America’s bloated military is all by itself in dotting the globe with hundreds of foreign military bases—by some estimates more than any country or empire in world history. As for our two biggest rivals, Russia has 21 (mostly close to home); China has maybe three.
    • Benevolent, peaceful, freedom-loving America is also the world’s top arms dealer—even selling death-dealing weapons to famous human rights abusers.
    • After Syria signed on, the U.S. became the last nation on earth not party to the Paris Climate Accord. Heck, the occupant of the Oval Office doesn’t even believe in man-made climate change.
    • Then there’s the discomfiting fact that the U.S.—along with Russia—won’t even make a “no-first-use” pledge regarding nuclear weapons. And that’s reality, not “Dr. Strangelove.”
    • The U.S. was first and, until recently, alone in flying its drone fleet through sovereign national airspace and executing “terrorists” from the sky at will. I wonder how Washington will respond when other countries cite that American precedent and do the same?
    • Only the U.S. Navy patrols all the world’s oceans in force and expects to maintain superiority everywhere. And only the U.S. boasts near total control of the goings-on in two whole continents—unflinchingly asserting that North and South America fall in its “sphere of influence.” Crimea abuts Russia and the people speak Russian—still, the U.S. denies Moscow any sphere of influence there or anywhere else. Ah, consistency.

Of course there is so, so much more, but let’s end our tour of American “exceptionalism” there in the interest of time.

What’s so staggeringly unique about the United States is ultimately this: It stands alone among historical hegemons in denying the very existence of its empire. This, truly, is something new. Kids in 19th-century Great Britain knew they had an empire—they even colored their colonies red on school maps. Not so here in the land of the free and the home of the brave. No, Washington seems to believe its own lie—and has its people convinced—that the U.S. is no empire at all, but rather a benevolent “democratic” gentle giant.

American colonies were founded from the outset as mini-empires wrested from the natives. Next, the nascent U.S. grew up enough to take what was left of the continent from the Mexicans. Since then, Washington has been trolling the world’s oceans and spreading the gospel of its own hyper-late-stage capitalism and bullying others in order to get its way. Sure, there are countries where worse human-rights abusers and worse authoritarian regimes are in power. But do we really want to be competing for last place? Especially if we’re supposedly so exceptional and indispensable?

Me, I’m sick of patriotism, of exceptionalism, of nationalism. I’ve seen where all those ideologies inevitably lead: to aggressive war, military occupations and, ultimately, dead children. So count me as over hegemony—it’s so 20th-century, anyway—and bring on the inevitable decline of U.S. pretense and power. Britain had to give up most of an empire to gain a social safety net. That was the humane thing to do.


Major Danny Sjursen is a retired U.S. Army officer and former history instructor at West Point. He served tours with reconnaissance units in Iraq and Afghanistan. He has written a memoir and critical analysis of the Iraq War, Ghost Riders of Baghdad: Soldiers, Civilians, and the Myth of the Surge. He lives in Lawrence, Kansas. Follow him on Twitter at @SkepticalVet and check out his podcast “Fortress on a Hill,” co-hosted with fellow vet Chris ‘Henri’ Henrikson.

Note: The views expressed in this article are those of the author, expressed in an unofficial capacity, and do not reflect the official policy or position of the Department of the Army, Department of Defense, or the U.S. government.

Copyright 2019 Danny Sjursen



Photograph:  http://kbjake.wordpress.com/2010/11/11/america-worn-and-tattered/

Permanent link to this article: https://levantium.com/2019/03/23/sick-of-patriotism/

A worrisome weasel affectation affliction

Socialist bandwagon

Dear editor:

Where is that little Hollywood elitist weasel Sean Penn? A few years ago he was making news palling around with his communist buddies in Cuba and Venezuela and now that millions have fled and millions are starving where is the little socialist communist weasel along with some of his other Hollywood elitist America hating friends like Danny Glover and Harry Belafonte?

This is what these elitist socialist weasels do best — they promote their extreme liberal agendas and all they cause is poverty and misery everywhere they go because that’s what socialism does whether here or some other country. Then, after they get some attention and it goes south, as in the case of Venezuela, they crawl back into the rat hole they came out of. Some of them might not have run down to Venezuela, but they’ll jump on Bernie’s socialist bandwagon or their newest socialist hero with her Bad Deal, AOC and the Hollywood elitist will be pouring money into their campaigns to, what, make us Venezuela?

Speaking of that socialist weasel Bernie Sanders, he owns three homes. He just built a multimillion dollar lake home in Vermont, hopefully, for his retirement and, like all of them including the Hollywood elitists, they fly around in their private jets. Their carbon footprints are 50 times most of ours and they then tell us to drive a Prius while their schemes lead to welfare and poverty. Anyone with half a brain should tell that socialist weasel and his other Democrat socialist friends to go to Vermont and jump in Bernie’s socialist lake.

They bring up this socialist nonsense even though we should know by now it doesn’t work. Here, it leads to pockets of poverty, and there it leads to starvation. They do this because there is always another generation that has to be indoctrinated with the so-called benefits of socialism. Millennials beware; it’s capitalism that brings prosperity, just like what has happened since Trump was elected. More jobs than people to fill them leads to a shortage of workers which leads to higher pay and benefits. Then allow just enough immigration to help fill those shortages. Don’t be fooled by liberal nonsense!

Larry Bauer
Hot Springs Village


Photograph of Bob Dylan during rehearsals for the Ed Sullivan show on May 12, 1963 (CBS Photo Archive / Getty Images).  http://time.com/3847730/bob-dylan-ed-sullivan-john-birch/

Permanent link to this article: https://levantium.com/2019/03/13/a-worrisome-weasel-affectation-affliction/

Going down the road

Why Get Donkey?

By Ben “Swamp Donkey” Brenner, Sunday, November 11, 2018


It’s not even a road, see. No signs, no arrows. Just trees that part briefly, and then a narrow dirt track going low and slow away from the flat top black top. Follow that road down and you’ll pass three trailers settin’ amongst the trees and weeds and camaros. In one of ‘em lives a woman thinner than anything you’ve ever seen. Once she was something to see, she was that kind of country girl, but she ain’t no more. Her eyes are tired, her face is tired, her bones are tired. All the life is at the end of her smoke. Folks say she used to teach school somewhere far away from the sagging trailer. She knows you’re not supposed to mix alcohol with 1500 mg of lithium and methamphetamine. But, she says, “who doesn’t?” Besides, if you knew what she knew, if you’d a heard just what she’d seen…well….

In the middle trailer a young couple are raising their little boy. Of course they ain’t goin’ nowhere, of course they ain’t got shit, of course they got too many dogs, but there’s a pot of flowers near the door that don’t never die, and he’s always smiling, and she’d never let anyone pass without a glass of cold sweet tea. Sometimes, if you drive up after sup, they’ll all be out front. His t-shirt says something snappy like, “When the sun goes down, so does my baby.” The little boy, clad only in a pair of filthy cut-offs, plays on a pile of old tires with one them natty mongrel dogs. That dog loves that boy. And the woman, dressed in something pink and white, her legs brown and tempting in the evening sun, puts her hand over her eyes so she can see who’s goin’ by. Somehow she always has something to call out, some message saved just for this occasion. And don’t matter who’s at the wheel, everybody waves. Even the dog.

The last trailer is home to an old couple who’ve been there since the earth was flat. They got old refrigerators and stoves and tractors and all manner of other projects he was gonna start but never did sitting out in the dirt and scrubby weed grass. These things stake the couples claim to having beaten everyone else to this scrap of land. The old gal? She’s real quiet and spends her time watching reruns of “Walker, Texas Ranger,” periodically exclaiming, “He’s so brave!” as she does the crossword. She knows every Carter Family tune there ever was, and when she sings her eyes are bright and not at all sad. And the old man sits outside, smoking, poking a hose toward the planter commode, poking at his nails with his pocket knife, poking at some idea rattlin’ round his head. His eyes sparkle when he hears his wife sing them old songs, and when he laughs he’s got one of those laughs that will startle the shit out of you if you’re not ready for it. But it can draw you in, too, and usually does. The old folks have hung all kinds of pictures of kids inside the trailer, but nobody’s ever seen the kids themselves. Nobody knows where they came from or what they did before they stuck themselves to that little piece of worn out land, and the man, much as he loves to talk, never says.

Just down the track from their trailer is the flat-top joint — a low slung cinder block deal with some crooked picnic tables outside, and lights that look like big, faded plastic fruits strung from the tree boughs. You can have anything you like, so long as it’s Bud or Bud Lite in a can, but it’s always damn cold. Some nights somebody shows up to play some music, and everybody comes down the road apiece. The rail-thin woman sits at the farthest table drinking her gin and tapping her foot, looking at the road and the boys and her cigarette and the stars. Because night and the music are a sort of tonic, the color has returned to her cheeks and the life to her hands and feet and, don’t you know, this is why she saves it up during the day. And the young couple come and shake it, and the boy runs and yells and hides with all the other children, and the dogs too, and everybody drinks and jives with the old couple, who know ‘em all and the old man has a jibe for everyone there. Sometime during the night the singer will sing “Wildwood Rose” and everyone will watch the old couple dance the way that only old lovers can dance.

And you know what? Tonight Ben “Swamp Donkey” Brenner is playing. All these people are in his songs, just as his songs are in them. And they’re all going down the road and check him out. They’re all going down the road, and they’re all going to Get Donkey. Maybe you should too.


Shared with Ben’s permission, Valentine’s Day, February 14, 2019 CE, from his musician persona’s “About” page on Facebook.

Permanent link to this article: https://levantium.com/2019/02/14/going-down-the-road/