Des Trognes – Trees with many faces.

There are many films on YouTube about the process of Pollarding trees, an ancient process going all the way back to Roman times. In this process trees of various species are severely pruned back over many cycles to produce a wild variety of shapes. This process used to produce fodder for cattle, firewood for the hearths of peasant farmers and greatly enriched soils around the trees as well as refuge within them for creatures great and small.

This particular film in French has a spiritual quality about it that we find charming. pl

Or this other version (full length)

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Posted in Flora, France, Science | 12 Comments

They Have Betrayed the Constitution – Overwhelming Evidence of FBI Corruption

The American people, regardless of political affiliation, should be bellowing a primal scream of outrage in light of the new evidence–overwhelming evidence at that–of the FBI’s corruption. If you have not read John Solomon’s latest revelations about the contents of formerly classified FBI documents that were declassified one week before Donald Trump left Washington, DC, then you need to take the time. You can read it here.

Permit me to point out some background you need to appreciate the appalling gravity of these documents. In theory the FBI is not supposed to be a Secret Police (i.e., a GESTAPO). No FBI Agent or official is supposed to have the ability to wake up in the morning and decide to start investigating an American citizen just because the Agent does not like what someone has written or said. But we now know that world is our reality.

In theory, Special Prosecutor John Durham, could put the brakes on this lawlessness by indicting and convicting James Comey, Andrew McCabe, Peter Strzok, Lisa Page, James Baker, Bruce Ohr and others. Do not hold your breath. Durham appears to be a fraud and his failure to act will further embolden the FBI to engage in more illegal acts.

The FBI documents use code names for various members of the Trump campaign team. Here’s your cheat sheet:

  • George Papadopoulos — Crossfire Typhoon (aka CT)
  • Carter Page —  Crossfire Dragron (aka CD)
  • General Michael Flynn — Crossfire Razor (aka CR)
  • Campaign chairman Paul Manafort, — Crossfire Fury (aka CF)

But they were not the only ones targeted. These men also were put in the cross-hairs, without knowing the FBI was after them for the mere act of supporting Donald Trump:

  • Future Attorney General Jeff Sessions,
  • Foreign policy adviser Sam Clovis,
  • Economic adviser Peter Navarro

Inspector General Michael Horowitz lied with his claim that Crossfire Hurricane was “properly predicated.” It was not. There was no justification for this massive counter intelligence investigation, which had only one purpose–help Hillary Clinton.

The key informant/spy in this operation is Stefan Halper, an obese bloodsucker whose father-in-law was a top level CIA officer in the 1970s:

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Posted in government, Justice | 24 Comments

Starlink Launch tonight

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Japanese Modernist Poet Nishiwaki Junzaburō, Ambarvalia

Nishiwaki Junzaburō


Translated by Steven J. Willett

Nishiwaki Junzaburō (20 January 1894 – 5 June 1982)

Note: Nishiwaki was the first modernist Japanese poet. Between 1960 and 1967 he received 7 nominations for the Nobel Prize in Literature including strong support from Ezra Pound. His book Ambarvalia (Tokyo, 1933) is based on a Roman agricultural festivity in honor of Ceres, the goddess of grain. The book comes in two parts: the first on motifs from Greek poetry and the second on motifs from European poetry. With the outbreak of the second Sino-Japanese War in 1937, he stopped publishing and announced he would concentrate on research of the classics and ancient literature. He was one of the 14 poets arrested on charges of  sedition after the introduction of the National Mobilization Law when government censors interpreted some of his surrealistic poems in a critical manner.

Le Monde Ancien

Choral Song

Arise, Muse, from the depths.

Thou hast of late been diving far too deep in poetry.

Thy piping music can’t be heard by the Abydos

Thy throat’s curve, let it be a heart for the Abydos.



On a morning like (an upturned gem)

Someone in the doorway whispers, “Who are you?”

This is the day of a god’s birth.

Shepherd of Capri

Even on a spring morning

My Sicilian pipe pours out the sounds of autumn

Retracing ten thousand years of longing.


The South Wind has brought soft goddesses who

Wet the bronze, wet the fountain

Wet swallow wings and golden hair

Wet the tide wet the sand wet the fish

Quietly wet temples and baths and theaters

This tranquil procession of soft goddesses

Has wet my tongue.

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Posted in Poetry, willett | 1 Comment

Saudi Arabia is medieval, cruel and an absolute tyranny.

Crucified and then beheaded in SA

“There’ll be an announcement on Monday on what we’re going to be doing with Saudi Arabia generally.”

Biden’s decision to release the report in the first weeks of his presidency fulfils campaign promises to reassess ties with Saudi Arabia after critics accused Donald Trump of ignoring gross human rights violations such as a sweeping crackdown on activists and the war in Yemen. Biden, however, is seeking to sideline Prince Mohammed without completely breaking off one of the US’s core relationships in the Middle East.

Friday’s news caused shock in the region, with social media networks such as Twitter and Clubhouse lighting up through the night as exiles debated how much the US opprobrium would help in the fight for freedoms in the country.

The exiled Saudi opposition National Assembly party said “true justice for Khashoggi and others facing similar risk” would mean following the recommendations of a UN inquiry into Khashoggi’s death, including pursuing criminal prosecutions in the US and using harsh Magnitsky-style sanctions on those responsible.

Amrit Singh, a lawyer with Open Society Justice Initiative, who filed a lawsuit to have the intelligence report released, said: “It is unconscionable for the US government to let the murderer-in-chief – the crown prince – walk free from punishment.” The Guardian

Comment: I was Defense and Army Attaché in the US embassy in Saudi Arabia for three years. Then I was head of US Defense Intelligence for the ME for eight years. After I left the government I traveled to SA many times on private business.

I have been in just about every Islamic country. Ah, I remember now that I have never been in Algeria. Saudi Arabia stands out in the mind as being an absolute hell hole. The country LOOKS good. The infrastructure is modern. The medical facilities are first rate although nearly all are run by expats. But there is an overwhelming atmosphere of oppression generated by a clerically dominated regime in which a parasitic and gigantic “royal” family exercises ruthless and unrestrained power on behalf of a theocracy based on the Wahhabi sect of Sunni Islam. This in turn is based on the Hanbali school of Sharia, a variety of Islam that is uncompromisingly rigid, and incapable of internal reform.

When I was a Counselor of Embassy equivalent there, the Saudis I dealt with delighted in pressuring me into going with them to the weekly public executions held in front of the central mosque. The drill there was usually to march some condemned African or South Asian out into the square where an African slave would then behead him with the sword. Occasionally a woman judged an adulteress would be carried into the square sewn into a bag. Deposited on the ground she would then be stoned to death with rocks taken from a conveniently located pile nearby. Why did the Saudis take me to these events? They wanted to see if I would flinch. They were looking for weakness.

Saudi Arabia is a medieval barbarism still extent in the 21st Century. It is an unsuitable ally for the US and it has always been unsuitable. The US government should DEMAND major reforms in Saudi behavior or we should walk out of the relationship. They need us a hell of a lot more than we need them.

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Posted in Middle East, Policy, Saudi Arabia | 37 Comments

Veal Cutlets tonight

May be an image of food and indoor[0]=AZVmncctzMWe6m3bL-6VdJ82RlrjQ6vwOE6ekTK9ojSwUYfFM1CdohMglnGCPCz_ov4me1ynuUfG1AR7qqvnCLCnWODG2ICli2jdPHYCRvcCkzvUtAVhUAuSv2u6IwN2Rq0cyJmO5-Ivj_3DyRj-Khe&tn=EH-R

Nice piece of veal. A gift from a friend who goes to a fine butcher in Philadelphia. Tossed in a bag with seasoning, flour and panko. Fried on the outside grill in oil and butter for 1 minute on each side.


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Posted in Food and Drink | 10 Comments

Time to end the MADness?

Mutually assured destruction (MAD) is a doctrine of military strategy and national security policy in which a full-scale use of nuclear weapons by two or more opposing sides would cause the complete annihilation of both the attacker and the defender (see pre-emptive nuclear strike and second strike).[1] It is based on the theory of deterrence, which holds that the threat of using strong weapons against the enemy prevents the enemy’s use of those same weapons. The strategy is a form of Nash equilibrium in which, once armed, neither side has any incentive to initiate a conflict or to disarm.” wiki on MAD

Comment: MAD was devised as a method to avoid nuclear war with the USSR. There is no longer a country called the USSR. Nor is there in existence a country anything like the USSR in its policies or ideology. Hard core Cold Warriors have steadfastly continued to believe that the USSR still exists and that the Russian Federation is merely the USSR in disguise. The insistence on maintaining a “launch on warning” posture is based on that sort of fantasy. If you listen carefully to Foxnews you will hear the more hard headed among their commentators slip in their blather from time to time and actually call Russia the USSR or “the Soviets.” Their collective obsession is such that they cannot accept a changed reality.

Well, pilgrims, there is a great danger in continuing to place such power, the power to destroy civilization in the hands of one or two people, i.e., the president and vice president of the US. Think of the consequences if a true lunatic or a person controlled by some band of lunatics becomes Commander in Chief of the US armed forces. There would literally be no way to prevent such a person from launching a nuclear strike on his or her own authority. Do not for a minute believe that the armed forces would not obey such an order. They would.

It has now been proposed by some members of Congress that sole power in this matter should be withdrawn from the Commander n Chief. The president commands the armed forces but the congress has the constitutional power to declare war. This distinction has not been taken seriously for many years, partly because of the need for MAD in the Soviet era and partly because the congress has been too gutless to face up to its responsibility.

What is proposed in Congress now is the creation of a triumvirate charged with making such a fateful decision, perhaps the President, SECDEF and the Speaker of the House of Representatives.

It has been and will be argued that such an arrangement would be inadequate to maintain deterrence. I do not think so. The US possesses a vast array of nuclear weapons and delivery systems. Some of these, especially the SLBM submarines (Boomers) would survive any first strike against the US. IMO enough would survive to destroy ANY attacker.

IMO deterrence should be maintained by making it clear to Russia, China, North Korea et al that the Dead Man’s Hand will utterly and completely destroy their countries even if the US itself is a smoking, glassy wreck. pl

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Posted in Policy, The Military Art, weapons | 24 Comments

All nominal so far for our little friend on Mars

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Posted in Science, Space | 2 Comments

A More Perfect Union?

Preamble to the United States Constitution – Wikipedia

“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.” The Preamble

“The phrase “to form a more perfect Union” has been construed as referring to the shift to the Constitution from the Articles of Confederation.[73] The contemporaneous meaning of the word “perfect” was complete, finished, fully informed, confident, or certain.” wiki

“To know what has come before is to be armed against despair. If the men and women of the past, with all their flaws and limitations and ambitions and appetites, could press on through ignorance and superstition, racism and sexism, selfishness and greed, to create a freer, stronger nation, then perhaps we, too, can right wrongs and take another step toward that most enchanting and elusive destinations: a more perfect Union.“— Jon Meacham, 2018

Comment: There is much to say about the issue of the function of government that is implied by the deliberate reinterpretation today of the words “a more perfect union” in the preamble to the US Constitution.

In the minds of the framers there was no doubt at all that what was meant was the “perfection” i.e., the completion of the organization of a government for the original states and any that might be formed later.

What was NOT intended was the expression of a desire or intention to seek the creation of an earthly paradise, a utopia, constructed by humans who held the belief that mankind is endlessly malleable and that it is the function of government to control and direct that malleability toward anyone’s idea of what a perfect society ought to be.

Today at the CPAC convention Senator Mike Lee of Utah reminded us all clearly of the essential difference between these two visions of the purpose of government. Lee told us that we should always be skeptical of people who believe that government exists to shape us, mold us and control us in pursuit of utopian goals. Such people may or may not be genuine believers in their stated goals. Some of them merely seek money and power and a good life for themselves in a US version of the Soviet nomenklatura. Others, like AOC are deluded but dangerous naifs. Some are the tools of disappointed and deeply cynical opportunists like HC. Some are anarchist street thugs reminiscent of the brawling Brown Shirts of the SA.

They all want the same thing. They want to own us. They want to tell us what we can say or write. They want to destroy our history, our shared memory of who we are, who we were and how much we struggled to make this country what it has been. They want to tell us who we are just as the Soviet Union and the CPUSSR wanted to create Soviet Man.

Those of the globalist elites who actually believe in their goals, think it only right that average Americans should live poorer so that people in other parts of the world can live better in a world-wide socialist state.

Well, to hell with that! pl

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Spring is coming

Some Skirt Steak and a Veal Chop

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Posted in Food and Drink | Tagged | 8 Comments