I Have A Gecko

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There’s a gecko in my home, scurrying behind packaged food, racing up a window pane, frightened by my pounding presence. The little immigrant appears next night on a wall of the laundry room, wings between its jaws, meat in its teeth.

In a world of geometry and hard spaces, it flirts and bends on rubbery pads. Silent and quick, it seeks the surplus of my old home, bugs and sediment, the hidden life. It has a single agenda: survival in a strange land.

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BREAKING NEWS: Russian Oligarch Igor Makarov Drowns at Defexpo 2018

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IGOR MAKAROV

10 April 2018 – Chennai, India: According to an article in India Today, a Russian named Igor Makarov drowned while swimming in the ocean at Mamallapuram.

The deceased appears to be the same Makarov who was a Russian oil oligarch and native of Turkmenistan. This Makarov was the founder of Itera International, a petroleum distribution company that provided gas to former Turk republics and Ukraine. Itera was bought by Rosneft in 2013 directly from Makarov. As a result Rosneft, controlled by Igor Sechin, became Russia’s largest oil and gas combine. Itera then rebranded itself as Areti. Recently, Makarov bought a fifty percent interest in News Stream, another energy company with a West Siberian oil refinery.

The article stated that Makarov ‘s death was confirmed by the Russian consulate and that an autopsy is pending. India Times assumed the cause of death was drowning but that was not confirmed. The circumstances of his death appear suspicious.

Makarov was a world-class bicyclist prior to entering the petroleum industry and remained an active cyclist. He promoted cycling and was the honorary president of the Russian Cycling Federation and founder and sponsor of his own cycling team, Katusha.

The India Times article stated that he was swimming with two colleagues. Another article stated Makarov was swimming alone but wearing a life jacket at the time of his drowning:

“While the friend stayed on shore, Makarov went for a swim. But he went missing after sometimes and his friend had screamed for help,” the police said.

Fishermen’s hunt for Makarov proved in vain. “As the Russian had worn a life jacket he was washed ashore after some time,” the police added. He was rushed to a hospital on the East Coast Road, where he was declared brought dead.Deccan Chronicle.

Makarov was attending the international defense conference, Defexpo 2018 and was part of the official Russian delegation.

According to its website, Areti is located in Switzerland, Russia, Cyprus, Belarus, Turkmenistan, Canada, and Jacksonville, FL. The company “is active in expanding its presence in the Middle East, one of the largest developing markets in the world.”

There is no notice of the death of Makarov at the Areti website. The articles announcing his death both state he was a was 55 year-old Russian national; Makarov was born in 1962.

The Parasite in the White House

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What is happening in Trump’s America isn’t about principles or policy or party. It is far deeper than partisanship. This is parasitism.

Donald Trump is the parasite, eating away at the marrow of the Republican Party, devouring the stanchions of its history, bleeding its conservative ideals and condemning its representatives to the dung heap of history.

So the parasite gorges on its host, spewing out the Grand Old Party in a pile of excrement. Members insert themselves in the maws of the parasite, lose their vitality, exhibit all the signs of pending death.

However, there’s something important to understand about this parasitic relationship. Without a host, the parasite ceases to exist.

We have to ask if the GOP knows, in a kind of Star Trek-final-solution way, that it must self-destruct rather than allow the parasite continued life?

How might the Republican Party self-destruct? In an inert way, it will die by doing nothing. Sooner or later, Trump the Parasite will chew through its bones and suck out its blood until nothing remains.

paul20ryan20waving20cpacThere’s a more efficient route toward party suicide. House Speaker Paul Ryan most recently took this path: death of the host by resignation.

Thus far, nearly three dozen Republican House members and three GOP senators have given notice. This includes power players like Ryan, Gowdy, Flake and Corker. A significant number on the potent House Judiciary are leaving.

Ironically, resignation is both a passive and an active dynamic. There’s no prospect of a future representation, and yet it is that absence of political repercussion that gives power to a resignation.

Bob Corker likened the White House to a day care center and questioned Trump’s competency. Jeff Flake’s ongoing condemnation of both Trump and the Republican Party is far more searing. In his historic address to Senate colleagues, the Arizona Republican warned of Trump’s authoritarian bent, likening him to Stalin. The day before announcing his retirement, Gowdy edited the infamous Nunes memo, piercing the myth that the FBI investigation was predicated on the Steele dossier. It was a single sentence with far-reaching results: “The Papadopoulos information triggered the opening of an FBI counterintelligence investigation in late July 2016 by FBI agent Pete Strzok.” |Emphasis added.|

Each resignation works to malnourish the predator that is Donald Trump. When the host body shrinks, the predator loses a bit of strength. It must suck more from the remaining host or seek fresh meat.

It’s not just Republican members of Congress freeing themselves from their blood-sucking monster. The populace is turning away. What remains is that oft-cited 30 percent of dedicated followers who’d rather be eaten alive than survive without their dear leader.

For Trump the Predator, this is bad news.

Notorious for his telescopic view, Trump funnels his actions to his base. Rather than appeal to a broad, inclusive audience (an ever larger host), he restricts his appeal to the core bloc (an ever-shrinking host). Eventually, this will become a starvation diet.

We can only hope that the parasite in the White House shrivels rather than expands, that this vampire loses its lifeblood and floats away like a pale, papery chaff in the breeze.

We hope this because the opposite is so dreadful.

Data Deniers and News Hogs

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On 4 March, the grand jury investigating possible crimes related to the Mueller investigation issued a subpoena for documents. According to a NBC News report, the subjects include the president and nine of his most intimate associates. The subpoena seeks three years’ worth of correspondence, enough evidence to bring forth an indictment or two at the highest levels of the Executive branch. This, for those who have forgotten the definition, is hard news.

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SAM NUNBERG

The announcement, like many related to Donald Trump and bad news, was upended by a little known Trump associate named Sam Nunberg. This person popped into the cable news circuit and literally dominated the headlines and air time for days. Nunberg, who has no active association with Trump and no formal involvement with his campaign or presidency, was among those subpoenaed. Although in possession of a law degree, he sounded more like a stand-in for the Jerry Springer show, spilling nonsense and contradictions. When his time on stage was over, we were left asking: Who cares?

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STORMY DANIELS

That dramatic performance was followed two days later by an even more brain-rattling announcement that an adult film actor was suing Trump over a non-disclosure agreement. Day after day, Americans were treated to the unseemly details of a tryst between the man in the Oval Office, a buxom blonde and her level-headed lawyer. Again, we wonder why does this matter? The Stormy Daniels saga continues. There may be some nugget of significance in her censored story – perhaps a Trump train of illegitimate children – but who knows?

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KIM JUNG-UN

Another 48 hours yielded yet another eye-popping headline. Trump agreed on-the-spot to a sit-down meeting with North Korea’s dictator, Kim Jung-un. Details of the meet up are a mystery. Thus far, we have a South Korean official extending the invite on behalf of Rocket Boy but no confirmation from Kim. People in the State department were left in the lurch of ignorance along with just about everyone else in the Executive branch along with members of Congress.

Republicans were still recoiling from the threat of tariffs, a declaration made by Trump at the opening of this month. In something resembling coherence, over 100 House members sent their party leader a letter imploring reason. The missive read in part: “We are writing to express deep concern about the prospect of broad, global tariffs on aluminum and steel imports.”

All of the above occurred in just four days.

During this same period, the NYSE tanked by over 500 points, a former Russian spy and his daughter were poisoned in a British town, Megyn Kelly interviewed Vladimir Putin, China abolished term limits, allowing its  president to serve for life, Trump approved and suggested the U.S. should do the same while rumors surfaced that Chief of Staff Kelly and National Security Advisor McMaster would soon be dumped by Trump, who also leveled new criticism at Attorney General Sessions.

This is four days of news.


Just about a year ago, I wrote about psychic numbness as it applies to the threat of nuclear holocaust. The term originated during the apex of nuclear proliferation, the years before the world began disarming. Psychic numbness is the ability to live outwardly normal lives while the imminent threat of annihilation is ever-present. The people of South Korea are the newest generation experiencing this phenomena.

Nuclear war is still a reality. However, Americans face a more pernicious numbness. It’s an amalgam of TMI mixed in with abject ignorance. We have become a continent of news-junkies and data deniers.

Many citizens follow the news as part of our daily habit. We track our favorite shows, allow headlines onto our devices, filter them on social media. A fewer number read newspapers and magazines. And a minority actually read a timely book from cover to cover. However, the new normal is different. Rather than a steady drip, we are inundated with information as the above four-day period shows.

Not a day goes by that Breaking News flares up on our notifications or play tag on the TV chirons. Cable news shows in their one and two-hour segments are stuffed with data. Anchors and their guests talk at a clip that causes them to stumble over words and drown in their saliva. There is so much and so little time. Yet they will force out every headline, each implication, the panoply of repercussions. They engage in spontaneous analyses, deciphering what matters and why at a moments’ notice. All is performed at such a pace that our senses are stunned. We are left with superficiality. There is zero time for reflection – that most ancient and complex turn of comprehension that requires a key element – time.

But there is no time. News bombards us. Just in the hours since starting this post, Trump fired the Secretary of State and announced a replacement. By the time this is completed, any number of unsettling things might happen.

The lack of reflection signals a breakdown in our cognitive function. Instead of a well read, thoughtful populace, we are news hogs on adrenaline. We juggle multiple crises, anticipate more, in continual agitation, unable to absorb, coalesce or even recall what was a matter of high importance just the week prior. There is no calm debate. No quiet time. No middle ground. Our psychic numbness is more akin to PTSD.

The obverse holds for the data deniers. Instead of immersion, they are news adverse. These are the minority, the so-called core bloc of Trump voters who proudly proclaim “Fake News” at any information that troubles their convictions. The news adverse value ignorance above insight. A fair number are functionally illiterate, capable of digesting a tweet but unable to read beyond the grade school level. Their purview of “news” includes the kind of muck that used to be relegated to cheap tabloids and pulp fiction or the Bible.

As adults with dwarfed education, they are susceptible to bold headlines and splashy photos. Their learning comes from audio-video – talk show hosts like Alex Jones and Rush Limbaugh – and disconnected, illogical rants by the president and his echo machines. Since they are unable to independently weigh information and discern its value, they are suckers for wild conspiracies and blatant lies. They never notice contradiction. Rambling is an art form for them.

The data deniers cement their positions and any particle of contrary evidence is refused entry. It is impossible to persuade this population. They exist in a zero sum, black-and-white universe of simplicity.

This is the state of discourse in America today. The two opposing forces – news hogs and the news adverse – face off in a climate of a news deluge. We are at this stunning impasse.