To hear Abdiel’s poeticand even propheticresponse to recent political developments, scroll down to the first entries below, where sample poems are listed in reverse chronological order.

Abdiel began writing these “polemics” in 2001 when George W. Bush was installed in the White House by Supreme-Court decree. Since then, the collection has grown into the three-volume Verses Versus Empire  series (covering in turn the Bush, Obama, and Trump  eras) and is continually updated.

The poems below are a sample, not the full collection.

From Verses Versus Empire: III—Trump

Buy the book
64—Sin It

on the U.S. Senate's acquittal of Donald J. Trump, Feb. 5, 2019

For text versions in the VERSES VERSUS EMPIRE series, find the books on Amazon:

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63—The Calling

From February 2019.

For text versions in the VERSES VERSUS EMPIRE series, find the books on Amazon:

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on Greta Thurnberg's addresses to the UN and Congress, September 2019.

For text versions in the VERSES VERSUS EMPIRE series, find the books on Amazon:

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61—A New Earth

on the fires raging through the Amazonian rain forest, August 2019.

For text versions in the VERSES VERSUS EMPIRE series, find the books on Amazon:

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on Trump's denouncements of Congressmembers Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Ayanna Pressley, and Rashida Tlaib, from July 2019.

Racist the rhetoric
As he kills human rights,
Trump tries to snuff out
The four leading lights:

Alexandria, Rashida,
Ayanna, Ilhan,
With tweets to go back
To where they began,

To “shit-hole countries”
And “crime-infested places,”
The man of lawlessness
Despising dark races.

He calls them “wack jobs”
For daring to speak,
“The four horsewomen of the Apocalypse,”
For upholding the weak

While migrant babes torn from mothers’ breasts
Die in our for-profit jails,
And those who give aid to them threatened themselves,
As he struts and frets and rails.

Progressive Congresswomen, magnificent “Squad,”
Press on in spite of the taunts,
More potent than Trump and that’s why he’s scared of you
Because he can’t grab what he wants!

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59—Trump's Little Captives

From June 2019.

Deporting the parents and keeping the kids
Condemned to indefinite detention,
Young souls torn apart by forced separation
Is our government’s infernal intention.

With cost-cutting caging in for-profit prisons
Fostering despair and dread,
Toddlers entrusted to teenage prisoners,
And a concrete floor for a bed.

Served nothing but Kool-Aid, and cookies to eat,
No toothbrush, no bathing, no soap,
Deprivation, diarrhoea, disease, dehydration
Teach early the loss of hope.

Internment’s terror takes its toxic toll
In this land of the brave and the free.
America’s gift to the tired and the poor
Is a lifetime of PTSD!

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on government’s rebranding of methane as “freedom gas”! From May 30, 2019.

From Freedom Fries to Freedom Gas,
New phrases enrich our air
Waves of fresh fumes expelled by officials
Including this conjuring pair:

Menezes and Winberg who export the idea
America’s gift to the earth
Is “molecules of U.S. freedom”
Rebranding for all they’re worth.

Though it’s even more toxic than carbon dioxide,
Officials give a free pass.
One atom of carbon and four of hydrogen:
It’s a lesson in passing gas!

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on the trial of Arizona aid worker Scott Warren, May 29, 2019.

For giving water to the thirsty, food
To hungry travellers in scorching deserts,
Clothing the naked, sheltering the homeless,
Such acts as qualify for Heaven’s rest,
Scott Warren faces 20 years in jail,
His crime to “harbor” desperate immigrants,
While US border agents empty out
The water bottles left for their survival,
And bones of children, bleached beneath the sun,
Litter the Growler Valley of the shadow
of death, in witness to this murderous mission.
They know not, serving Trump’s agenda well,
How parched their throats will be in fires of Hell!

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after this week's UN report on biodiversity and ecosystems, May 2019.

A million species are about to perish
With only 60 harvests left, and yet
Pompeo celebrates Arctic destruction
For all the “gold and diamonds” he can get!

More opportunities for trade, for oil and gas,
Uranium, minerals, and exploitation,
Increasing devastation, degradation,
Disaster capitalist contamination.

Hell-bent on climate change, what’s the solution
Where such political pollution lies?
Unless, like Christ, we overturn the tables,
Mankind’s one of the million set to die!

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on the UN Security Council resolution to end rape as a weapon of war, April 2019.

Let us have war but without sexual violence,
Let us have war but not torture our prisoners,
Let us have war but not target civilians,
Let us have war, not indiscriminate slaughter,
Let us have war but not bomb homes or schools,
Let us have war that honours codes of conduct,
Let us have war and not use mass destruction,
Let us have war without these facts of war,
Let us have war that is no war at all,
Let us have peace that is no war at all!

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on Saudi Arabia's execution of 37 prisoners, Apr. 23, 2019

Even those Roman butchers who killed Christ
Allowed his body to be washed and dressed,
But Saudi’s crown prince, crucifying children,
Coerced confessions leading to conviction,
Decapitates detractors and displays
Their severed heads, the penalty for protest.
Even in England’s darkest of dark ages,
you had to take up arms to get your head
impaled. Now Britain has “deplored” the act,
But still sells weapons to the Saudi state,
While Jared Kushner, clown prince, and Trump’s sin
In law, “does not dispute” that Salman
Ordered Khashoggi’s death. Oh heavy deeds!
How will these men before the Court of Heaven plead?!

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53—C'est La Guerre!

on the fire that swept through Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, Apr. 15, 2019.

Did Jesus walk amid the flames that night
When Notre Dame, ablaze, lit up the sky?
Some say they saw him, as perhaps he stood
With Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego
When, in the fire Nebuchadnezzar’s rage
Had built, he shielded them. No element
Can touch the Word of God, nor life nor death—
For Love’s stronger than death—nor present, future,
Nor War’s quick fire, nor any thing in all
Creation, depth of crypt or height of spire!

Still, it’s the terminology of War
French president Macron is summoning
With words like “battle… courage… mobilize”,
As powerful and wealthy vie to fund
The restoration of this monument,
This architectural masterpiece but what
About humanity, the rest of us
Made in God’s image, living temples? We
Are fearfully and wonderfully made,
Letters from Christ, yet many lives on fire!

And as they reconstruct the roof, the “forest”—
So called because its vast construction took
A forest—what of forests now being ripped
From Notre Mere, our Mother Earth, such that
She is consumed in heat, her martyrdom
No accident, no more than Joan of Arc’s?
Man rallies to rebuild his Babel towers
And talks of righteousness in cloven tongue,
Plucks relics from the flames, but hears not Him
Who wore the Crown of Thorns to heal Man’s sin!

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52—The Wiki Man

on the forced removal of Julian Assange from the Ecuadorian embassy in London

Since consulates and embassies became
Arenas of brutality, we see
Assange assailed by London’s secret police
Defiling sanctuary and sovereignty.

Though Ecuador, for seven steadfast years
When Rafael Correa took his stand
Showed principle, now, craven and corrupt,
Moreno serves American demands,

The bribes, the threats of Bolton, Pence, Pompeo,
To expedite expedient extradition.
Blood-money funds cross-border kidnapping,
Renewed extraordinary rendition,

Blatant contempt for international law,
Press freedom, Ecuador’s own constitution,
Deporting one of their own citizens,
Facilitating US retribution,

Opening the doors to Britain’s officers—
Ever the servants of political whim—
Who dragged their quarry, kicking, screaming, from
Once hallowed ground, the means to silence him

Along with publishers of principle,
Proponents of the public interest, prophets
Who would expose Empire’s atrocities,
Any who dare to challenge corporate profits.

This shows the UK, US, Ecuador,
And others of that ilk, to be the true
Troika of Tyranny, Axis of Evil!
Though they’ve given assurances, do you

Believe they will not extradite to where
Torture is practised? Don’t believe the bull!
Cruel and unusual has become the usual.
London’s no safer now than Istanbul!

Apr. 11, 2019

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51—'Til Death Do Us Part

on the U.S.-sponsored attack of a Yemen wedding, in which the bride was killed

She should have shed her blood in innocence,
A little death embraced to cherish life,
Lied down in bliss to rise with morning’s joy,
A bride in blessing new baptised a wife.

But none could stem the flow of blood that day
A bombshell wedding gift brought its surprise.
No marriage bed took up her dying fall
And from her lying down she did not rise.

Her jasmine garlands white as snow that should
Have leant their fragrance to a nuptial hour,
Now carnal pleasure’s turned to carnage, must
Confer funereal rites, a red-stained flower.

The drummers’ dexterous fingers too, that should
Have danced upon delighting skin, are strewn
Where willing hands confetti would have thrown,
To lie with limbs of dancers lately hewn.

The dogs that should have stolen tidbits from
The festive tables find a feast instead
Of human flesh, and human blood to lick,
Leftovers where the beast of empire fed.

Coated in dust, crippled near corpses crawl
Over their fallen kin in foreign lands.
Such is the terrorism that’s unleashed
When Britain and America join hands!

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Sonnet on vice U.S. leader Mike Pence's address to the Venezuelan people, Jan. 24, 2019.

Saying “Hola. I’m Mike Pence”, he thinks to tell
The Venezuelan people he supports
Their “call for freedom,” pledging to expel
Maduro by decree, and he purports
To uphold “your birthright of Libertad.”
While stealing Venezuelan assets, he
Proclaims, “Estamos con ustedes”, glad
To follow with bilingual blasphemy:
“Vayan con Dios!” Yet, with military force,
He’d put in power a puppet president
Pliant to press on with obedient course
(And History full of ample precedent).
For all the platitudes Pence would dispense,
It’s all a hypocritical pretence!

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on Congressmember Rashida Tlaib's use of an expletive to describe Donald Trump. January 2019.

Rashida Tlaib’s a naughty girl,
Republicans cry foul
That she used a curse word to diss Donald Trump,
So preaching pundits howl.

One of George Carlin’s seven words
They will not use on TV,
Bleep-worthy expletives that shock and offend
Each gnat-straining pharisee.

Let Trump utter boasts of sexual assault
Downplayed as “locker room banter,”
But you’ll be condemned if you dare to speak out
Or call him a stupid wanker!

Let children be kidnapped and perish in jail,
Our planet and species die,
While worshipped decorum would have us believe
A curse word is worse than a lie!

Let Trump disrespect the entire global south
And rattle off “shithole” countries.
He claims to speak for the United States
So let us call him a country!

Language is free, as Eden once was
Until “Do not…” was pronounced,
But Christ nailed the Law above his own head
Though hypocrites still denounce.

Arise nasty women, arise nasty girls,
Let fly your nastiest speech,
If your cause be divine, never mind how you say it,
‘Til that motherfucker’s impeached!

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48—Un Kinder

on Trump's treatment of immigrant children. January 2019.

Thousands of children held in prison camps,
A crucible of cruel incarceration,
Even at Christmas kept from parents’ arms,
Two more deceased in scandal to our nation
Inflicted on the sons and daughters fleeing
Famine, disease, displacement, genocide
At home, only to find more of the same
Tearing humanity the other side.
Oppressing, starving, sickening innocent souls,
Tent city pustules spawned in desert lands
Express the virus of our politics—
Infected head, infected heart and hands,
Conditions U.S. custody creates
To burden little bodies with Trump’s hate!

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47—Grave Error

on Trump's refusal to visit war graves of U.S. soldiers in France on the hundredth anniversary of Armistice Day, Nov. 11, 2018.

“Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots…” 1
As through the killing fields of France they trudged
A century ago, endured the hoots
Of shells, the trenches, barbed wire, filth, stench, sludge.
But Trump, though soldiers had to live and sleep
Among the body parts of fallen men,
Complaining of the rain won’t even keep
His pledge to graves of U.S. servicemen!
So far from home, they came to hallowed ground,
Some by disease, some by heroic feat,
But shunning talk of peace, Trump turns around
Lest mud should stain his dainty little feet!
With war, not jaw upon his lying lip,
This armchair warrior’s a pathetic drip!

1  Quoting a line from Wilfred Owen’s immortal poem, Dulce et Decorum Est.

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From October 2018.

A week of hatred, race-based executions,
Mail-bombs, and slaughter in a synagogue
While Trump declares himself a “nationalist”
playing the role of rampant demagogue.
Usurping where the Tree of Life took root
Resides a White House serpent in a suit!

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45—Trump Tribulations

On Trump's announcement of withdrawal from the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces treaty (INF), October 2018.

The Paris climate deal was first to go,
The treaty with Iran fell next, and now
The nuclear arms truce with Russia is trounced
Dismantling plank by plank the Jenga tower
Of planetary survival, while at home,
The children ripped from parents’ arms are yet
To be returned despite court order, then
Our citizenship birthright is denied,
Regardless of the Constitution. Note
Trump’s end-time trend, the Bible prophesies
A “man of lawlessness” who would arise!

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44—Murder Most Saud !—II

Sonnet on the assassination of Jamal Kashoggi, October 2018.

Fifteen assassins of the Saudi state
Assailed Kashoggi in the Consulate,
Hacked him to pieces while he breathed his last,
One sawing bone while others held him fast
For seven tortured minutes on the clock.
Even our murderous CIA are shocked!
Our so-called Secretary of State meanwhile
Poses for pictures as is seen to smile
With Salman and his sinful son who rendered
This vile act, a living man dismembered,
The Saudi Prince’s own security
Thus steeped in gore, blood-stained iniquity,
And though they send bleach-wielding cleaning crews,
This damned spot won’t be scrubbed, read in the news!

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43—Murder Most Saud!

demi-Sonnet on the assassination of Jamal Kashoggi, October 2018.

King John, and by repute, Richard III,
Echo in the Saudi prince’s ploy
To silence criticism, put to death
Dissent, and bump off critics who annoy.
A man walked in the Saudi consulate
In Istanbul and left in chopped-up pieces,
A U.S. resident and columnist,
Yet Trump’s allegiance never ceases.
With arms sales, banking interests, and oil flowing,
He’s silent, will not light the two-week fuse,
Rather extols the tyrant kingdom where
Women may drive, their right to speak refused.
Thus kindred spirits rule for personal gain.
Despots arise around the world again!

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on Supreme-Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh, Sept. 27, 2018

He locked the door so she would not escape,
He amped the music so she’d not be heard,
He pinned her down so he could strip and rape,
He palmed her mouth so she could scream no word.

He got on top so he could dominate,
He drank so that his conscience would be still,
He mocked the victim he would violate,
He sought a vessel to impose his will.

He seeks promotion to supremest role,
He claims the prestige of entitled men,
He lusts for power, his weakness to console.
He craves a gavel to inflict again!

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Sonnet on Supreme-Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh, Sept. 24, 2018.

Now that another woman has come forward
To testify to Kavanaugh’s predations,
Abuse of power, we see the pattern formed,
Even before his high-school graduation,
To pillage, plunder, steal, and violate,
While senators, perverting lustful course,
Deaf to all pleading and protest, gang rape
In dressing down a woman to enforce
Prerogative of privilege that rules
Against the vulnerable by high decree,
Making a virtue out of vile misrule,
And hits a gavel in hypocrisy.
Yet Kavanaugh’s agenda is disclosed:
To rape the innocent in pious robes!

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40—Carackers — II

on the attempted assassination of Venezuelan president, Nicolás Maduro. Aug. 4, 2018.

Bolton denies U.S. involvement in
This botched assassination just attempted
Exploding drones above the president’s head
By which democracry would be pre-empted.
No secret that the U.S. government seeks
Another South-American overthrow,
Pence promising its people “libertad”
And he a “viper” as Maduro knows.
How many inconvenient Latin leaders
Have been eliminated, having dared
Defy imperial domination? Roldos,
Torrijos, and Allende were not spared. 1
When it comes to regime change, no hold’s barred,
The CIA has form in this regard!

[i]           For more, see June 5, 2007 Democracy Now! interview of John Perkins, author of Confessions of an Economic Hitman.

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39—In Yer Facebook!

From July 2018.

Now Facebook’s stock has dropped 20 percent,1
So what? The loss is but a little dent
To this monopoly of Greed’s intent
Serving as propaganda’s instrument,

Dictatorship’s, disinformation’s tool,
Extremism ascendant, hatred’s fuel,
No heart but algorithmic rule
To make the planet its compliant fool.

Perception narrowed, mob mentality
Mainstreamed, while digitized humanity,
Distilled to data, drowned identity,
Is called to deify this monstrosity.

With Instagram in its technopoly
And WhatsApp too, it has technology
To censor and surveil, capacity
To mine its minions with impunity.

Its logo blue, as sea or sky, belies
The toxic tide of trash that underlies
The current currency of corporate ties
Polluting discourse with acidic lies.

No reason to suppose the beast is bust
Nor Zuckerberg’s ambitions turned to dust
Though brokers remedy their misplaced trust.
It’s still too big to fail, but fail it must!

1      Facebook’s share price closed around $176 on July 26, 2018, down about 20% from the previous day’s close of $217. The correction still left the price well above its March 2018 lows near $150.

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on Trump's summit and joint press conference with Vladimir Putin, July 16, 2018.

Bipartisan outrage reacts to Trump’s
Meeting with Putin, wherein John McCain
Calls it “disgraceful”; others say “disgusting”.
Even Fox News is voicing its disdain!1

Yet at the conference Trump called it “ridiculous”
That these two countries have ninety percent
Of the world’s nuclear arms, and he was right —
A rare respite from warmongering intent.

But Democrats, Republicans ally,
Chorus of criticism, media din.
These Pharisees and Sadducees comply.2
To see and say the obvious was Trump’s sin!

1  McCain called Trump’s remarks, made at a joint press conference of the two leaders on July 16, 2018, “one of the most disgraceful performances by an American president in memory.” Former CIA Director John Brennan tweeted that they exceeded “the threshold of ‘high crimes & misdemeanors’. It was nothing short of treasonous.” At Fox News, Neil Cavuto called Trump’s remarks “disgusting.”

2  An idea coined by Sam Husseini, a reporter for The Nation magazine, in Democracy Now! interview of July 17, 2018.

The Democratic establishment and Republican establishment scream at each other, and, meanwhile, the wars that they both want continue, the economic exploitation that they want continue. So, levels of volume of alleged screaming, when you’re talking about Democratic Pharisees and Republican Sadducees, doesn’t indicate actual animosity, in my view. It’s a way of drowning out some people who might be attempting to divine a measure of truth and freedom.

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on Trump's speech at the NATO summit, July 12, 2018.

Best jets, best guns, best military stuff,
And NATO allies aren’t buying enough.
The U.S. is eager to light up the sky,
Trump touts our weapons to arm and supply.1

Boeing and Grumman and Raytheon cheer
This gambit to stoke aggression and fear.
The military industrial complex grows rich
And all to scratch a warmongering itch.

Like sheep, the cowed nations scramble to spend,
Perpetual war, and war to the end,
“Fundamentally, we all agree,”2
Answers the imperious imperial decree.

The world then must pay the ultimate price.
Which god does Trump serve with his child sacrifice?
Into an abyss human blood must be spilled,
An inferior complex that can never be filled!

1  On July 12, 2018, Trump announced:

The United States makes by far the best military equipment in the world—the best jets, the best missiles, the best guns, the best everything. We make, by far—I mean, that’s one thing—I guess I assumed it prior to taking office, but I really learned, since being president, our equipment is so much better than anybody else’s equipment, when you look at our companies—Lockheed and Boeing and Grumman. What the material—the equipment that we make is so far superior, everybody wants to buy our equipment.

2  On July 12, 2018, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said in response to Trump’s call for increased military spending by other NATO countries, “Of course, President Trump has a very direct language and message on defense spending, but fundamentally we all agree.”

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36—Trump's Little Hostages

on Trump's executive order ending forced separation of immigrant families at U.S./Mexico border. June 20, 2018.

Oh what an act of mercy Trump bestows 1
Having said “immigrants… infest” our land 2
And trafficked children in the dead of night,
Subjecting them to the abuser’s hand,
Injected, handcuffed, beaten, caged, stripped, raped,3
To now decree that families may be
“Together” in indefinite detention,
Such his magnanimous morality.
The U.S., meanwhile, is withdrawing from
The UN Human Rights Council and deplores
That “cesspool of political bias” 4
For citing breach of international law.
Political asylum though the aim,
A lunatic asylum we became!


1  On June 20, 2018, Trump signed an executive order purportedly ending the Administration’s practice of separating immigrant parents and children at the U.S.-Mexico border.

2  On June 19, 2018, Trump tweeted, “Democrats are the problem. They don’t care about crime and want illegal immigrants, no matter how bad they may be, to pour into and infest our Country.”

3  For more on this, see Democracy Now! segment of June 21, 2018, Lawsuit Claims Detained Migrant Children Have Been Forcibly Injected With Powerful Psychiatric Drugs.

4  On June 19, 2018, US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley announced the United States’ withdrawal from the UN Human Rights Council Tuesday and called the body “a cesspool of political bias.” The move came down one day after UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad al Hussein, described as “unconscionable” the forced separation of children from their parents at the US-Mexico border.

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35—Jeffing Hell!

on U.S. Attorney General Jeff Session's use of Scripture to justify forced separation of immigrant families, June 16, 2018.

In ripping infants from their parents’ arms,
building tent cities for a generation
of orphaned migrants, Sessions cites the Bible.[i]
To justify the cruelty of a nation,

he draws on the apostle Paul to say
we should obey the laws of government,
the tyrants’ charter of Romans 13,
“because God has ordained the government.”

What, then, of Royal Law telling us to
love others as ourselves?[ii] This same apostle
informs us that the Law was crucified
with Christ, in a superior epistle.[iii]

Then Martin Luther King in his own Letter
From a Birmingham Jail
spells out “there are
two types of laws: just and unjust,” and shows
how many have been crafted to condemn.

Would Paul not deem this self-served reading odd
that gives a man the mandate to play God?!


[i]  In justifying his immigration policies, Sessions said to an invitation-only crowd in Fort Wayne, Indiana, “I would cite you to the Apostle Paul and his clear and wise command in Romans 13 to obey the laws of the government because God has ordained the government for his purposes.”

[ii]  From James 2:8: “If you keep the royal law stated in Scripture, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself,’ you are doing well.”

[iii]  Colossians 2:14.

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on Trump's summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, June 12, 2018.

Shall Summer’s breath this bud of love ripen[i]
Twixt Kim Jong-un and Trump, who now confesses
That U.S. war games were “provocative”[ii]
And rather than insulting, praise expresses?
This stroke of genius by Moon Jae In,[iii]
Adept in his shuttle diplomacy,
Defers disaster to a later day
In following Olympic bon ami.[iv]
Where now, wonted belligerence suppressed,
Will U.S. war addiction surface next?

[i]  Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet, II.ii.

[ii]  After the summit, Trump told a press conference, “We will be stopping the war games, which will save us a tremendous amount of money… Plus I think it’s very provocative.”

[iii]  South Korean President, Moon Jae In, was instrumental in bringing the two leaders together.

[iv]  In February 2018, North Korea sent a 500-person delegation of athletes, musicians, and performers to the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea. For the first time ever, North and South Korean athletes marched together under a unified flag for the Feb. 9 opening ceremony. The two nations have been officially at war since 1950.

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on arguments made by Trump's lawyers to Mueller investigation. From June 2018.

The end-times reach fulfillment as Trump claims
“The absolute right to pardon myself.”[1]
His lawyers contend, contorting logic, that
Obstructing justice would “obstruct himself!”[2]
Such twists of words and meanings, pliant language,
The poet centuries ago foresaw.[3]
To serve injustice, mercenary hirelings
Maintain the president’s above the law!
Warmongering orphan-maker, like Nixon
On steroids, this trumped up abomination
Supposes he may fire investigators,
Entitled to shut down investigations.
Thus larded by his lawyers’ bankrolled surmises,
The Bible’s “man of lawlessness”[4] arises!

[1]  Trump made this claim in a tweet of June 4, 2018.

[2]  On June 2, 2018, The New York Times published a 20-page confidential letter Trump’s lawyers delivered to special counsel Robert Mueller in January 2018. The letter was responding to Mueller’s request to question Trump about allegations Trump had committed obstruction of justice. The lawyers claimed that “the President’s actions here, by virtue of his position as the chief law enforcement officer, could neither constitutionally nor legally constitute obstruction because that would amount to him obstructing himself, and that he could, if he wished, terminate the inquiry, or even exercise his power to pardon if he so desired.”

[3]  Referring to the famous poem, The Dog and the Fox, by John Gay (1685-1732), which includes the lines:

I know you lawyers can with ease
Twist words and meanings as you please,
That language, by your skill made pliant,
Will bend to favour every client…

[4]  Daniel 7; 2 Thessalonians 2:3-9.

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on Trump's withdrawal from the Iran Nuclear Deal. May 2018.

With Israël, brimming with nuclear arms,
John Bolton at his side, hungering for war,[1]
Demolishing all diplomatic option,
Trump says the Deal’s “defective at its core.”

A rare détente between antagonists
That took 12 years, painstaking years to make,
Cooperation and negotiation,
He thinks but in a moment to unmake.

The world looks on in disbelief as empire
Again its sick addictions seeks to sate
Because state-sponsored terrorism has
No greater sponsor than the United States!

[1]  On Mar. 22, 2018, Trump announced by Tweet the appointment of John Bolton as National Security Adviser, a post that does not require Senate confirmation. Just three weeks before, Bolton wrote an article for The Wall Street Journal titled The Legal Case for Striking North Korea First. In 2015, when the Obama administration was negotiating the Iran Nuclear Deal, he wrote a piece headlined, To Stop Iran’s Bomb, Bomb Iran.

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31—Ghastly — II

on the deaths and injuries inflicted by the Israeli military at the Gaza border. April 2018.

Shredding internal organs, shattering bone,
The carnage is commended, not condemned,
To mutilate, to maim, and murder is
The mark of courage for Israeli men –
The snipers picking off unarmed protestors,
Medical workers, members of the Press,
Avigdor Lieberman cheerleading[1] as
The US shields such warcrimes from redress.
To countenance a concentration camp,
Non-violent protest’s “propaganda” called,
A ghettoed Gaza of two million souls,[2]
No matter that the nations are appalled.
Apartheid’s right to burn, bulldoze, and slay,
A second holocaust’s now underway!

[1]  On Apr. 1, 2018, Israeli defense minister, Avigdor Lieberman, responded by telling Israel’s public radio, “All of our troops deserve a commendation” for their actions at the border.

[2]  For more on conditions in Gaza, go to Norman Finkelstein interview on Democracy Now!, May 16, 2018.

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on Trump's next pick for CIA director. March 2018.

Even Queen Margaret, she who dipped a cloth
In a boy’s blood and brandished it before
The grieving father,1 for her spite, her wrath,
Sadistic pleasure, vicious to the core,
Could not match Gina Haspel’s cruelty, who’d
Taunted the man she’d tortured when he drooled,2

And then the damning evidence destroyed –
Dark deeds in dark sites that darken the soul
She not only inflicted but enjoyed!
Yet our establishment ignore the toll,
The psyche scarred, God’s image in mankind,
And praising “Bloody Gina” are aligned!

1  Shakespeare, 3 Henry VI, I.iv.

2  This detail appeared in a ProPublica article, written by Ray Bonner, about Haspel’s role when chief of base at a CIA black site in Thailand. ProPublica later retracted this particular assertion in a correction. To hear how Haspel earned the sobriquet of “Bloody Gina”, go to Democracy Now! broadcast of Mar. 14, 2018.

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29—Phoney Terrorism Event Triggers World War III

From March 2018.

Like any junkie desperate to get his next fix, the U.S. government was willing to go to any lengths to satisfy its war addiction, this time with Iran in its sights. And the rise of Donald Trump, campaigning on a platform of racism, xenophobia, and hatred, afforded the most violent elements in America’s power apparatus their long-cherished opportunity to unleash military power against another oil-rich state.

But a new pretext would be required, another terrorist attack. And it would have to be even bigger and more spectacular than “9/11”. Though the official version of that day’s events was riddled with plot holes, the George W. Bush Administration managed to find ready cheerleaders among mainstream media who would shore up the dodgy narrative and promote the 2003 invasion of Iraq while overlooking the fervent anti-war protests of millions of U.S. citizens.

This time, however, some media outlets, alienated by Trump’s relentless hostility towards them during and after the 2016 election campaign, would need to witness an attack of such unprecedented shock and outrage that they would swallow their own scepticism.

The use of “false-flag” terrorism to direct U.S. foreign policy had a long history by then. George Orwell even identified the tactic in his novel, 1984, in a conversation between its protagonist Winston, and Winston’s lover Julia:

Once when he happened in some connection to mention the war against Eurasia, she startled him by saying casually that in her opinion the war was not happening. The rocket bombs which fell daily on London were probably fired by the Government of Oceania itself, “just to keep people frightened.”

But this new attack within the U.S. homeland would also have to include nuclear material. That way, the Trump Administration could claim Iran, implicated by the convenient discovery of intact documents next to the new Ground Zero, was in violation of the nuclear treaty it had signed with Trump’s predecessor, Barack Obama. Trump even let slip in a March 2018 press conference, immediately after firing Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who had favoured rapprochement with Iran, that, “We disagreed on things. When you look at the Iran deal, I think it’s terrible. I guess he thought it was OK. I wanted to either break it or do something, and he felt a little bit differently. So we were not really thinking the same.”

Trump then said of Tillerson’s replacement, CIA director, Mike Pompeo, “we have a very similar thought process.” And Pompeo, for his part, had already described the nations of Iran and North Korea as existential threats to the United States and amply demonstrated his sycophantic devotion to Trump, pandering to his patron’s most violent instincts.

Thus, with Tillerson’s removal, Trump signalled his determination to root out all vestige of dissent from a State Department already decimated by firings, resignations, and the Administration’s failure to make fresh appointments to fill vacant positions.

The use of nuclear materials also underpinned Trump’s claim a nuclear “threshold” had been crossed and his long cherished, and openly expressed, desire to deploy nuclear weapons in military conflict.

There was a perverted logic too in the choice of a Delta Airlines jet to perform its parabolic plunge into New York City. After all, among the major U.S. carriers, the political capital of American Airlines and United Airlines had already been expended for 9/11. This choice of Delta also vented the ire provoked among violent elites when, in the wake of yet another high-school massacre in February 2018 — this time in Parkland, Florida — the airline cancelled a promotional discount it was giving to members of the National Rifle Association.1

In the wake of this fresh attack, Congress readily stamped official policy with its seal of approval, and politicians once given to criticizing the White House occupant as a racist warmongering psycopath now conferred on him the status of saint and saviour, issuing a call to support the country and support the president. Riding high on the adulation, Trump, having artfully avoided any military service of his own, took on the mantle of “Commander-in-Chief”, and sent out his ministers of destruction.

Meanwhile, those who protested these developments, insisting the evidence pointing to Iran was highly dubious, to say the least, if not entirely fraudulent, were denounced as “anti-American” and silenced through denouncements and disappearances, prosecutions and prison terms, even inexplicable suicides. And Congress abetted all this by passing a series of emergency “security” measures allowing for arbitrary arrest, detention, and surveillance, combined with “enhanced” or “rough” interrogation techniques, to “keep the country safe.” Though these openly violated the Constitution as well as international human-rights law, policymakers insisted the measures were temporary and would sunset once the ill-defined terrorist threat were removed.

Though Congress was initially unwilling to sanction use of intercontinental ballistic missiles, it did give the green light to use of “regional” nuclear weapons, based on the testimony of loyal generals who claimed civilian casualties would be kept to a minimum by the use of highly targeted “precision” strikes. But of course, once other nuclear powers got involved, the escalation of firepower soon followed.

Now that this scenario has been set out, the author expresses his heartfelt wish it shall prove a self-negating prophecy and concludes with the following words of Orwell, also taken from 1984:

The essential act of war is destruction, not necessarily of human lives, but of the products of human labor. War is a way of shattering to pieces, or pouring into the stratosphere, or sinking in the depths of the sea, materials which might otherwise be used to make the masses too comfortable, and hence, in the long run, too intelligent. Even when weapons of war are not actually destroyed, their manufacture is still a convenient way of expending labor power without producing anything that can be consumed… In principle the war effort is always so planned as to eat up any surplus that might exist after meeting the bare needs of the population. In practice the needs of the population are always underestimated, with the result that there is a chronic shortage of half the necessities of life… And at the same time, the consciousness of being at war, and therefore in danger, makes the handing-over of all power to a small caste seem the natural, unavoidable condition of survival… It does not matter whether the war is actually happening, and, since no decisive victory is possible, it does not matter whether the war is going well or badly. All that is needed is that a state of war should exist… Meanwhile no Inner Party member wavers for an instant in his mystical belief that the war is real, and that it is bound to end victoriously…

All members of the Inner Party believe in this coming conquest as an article of faith. It is to be achieved either by gradually acquiring more and more territory and so building up an overwhelming preponderance of power, of by the discovery of some new and unanswerable weapon. The search for new weapons continues unceasingly, and is one of the very few remaining activities in which the inventive or speculative type of mind can find any outlet.

The two aims of the Party are to conquer the whole surface of the earth and to extinguish once and for all the possibility of independent thought.

1  Delta Airlines is based in Atlanta, Georgia. In response to Delta’s move, Georgia’s legislature retaliated by eliminating a $50 million sales tax exemption on jet fuel.

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demi-Sonnet on the ouster of Rex Tillerson as U.S. secretary of state. March 2018.

Not that Rex Tillerson’s a saint, although
He dared seek dialogue with North Korea,
But wouldn’t common courtesy suggest
A private hearing ending his career?
But cowardice installed in highest office
To defecate the presidential seat,
Trump takes the easy way, such that
The secretary of state is fired by tweet! 1
To be replaced by a worse scoundrel yet,
A yesser yes-man2 who in turn’s replaced
By a war criminal whose blood-stained hands
Shall head the CIA,3 all to displace
A recourse to diplomacy, the jaw
Suppressed and silenced to make way for war!4

1  In a tweet of March 13, 2018, Trump announced firing Tillerson and replacing him with CIA director, Mike Pompeo.

2  Speaking outside the White House on the morning of Mar. 13, Trump said, “We’re getting very close to having the Cabinet and other things that I want.” He then said of Rex Tillerson, “We disagreed on things. When you look at the Iran deal, I think it’s terrible. I guess he thought it was OK. I wanted to either break it or do something, and he felt a little bit differently. So we were not really thinking the same. With Mike, Mike Pompeo, we have a very similar thought process.”

3  Gina Haspel was directly involved in the CIA’s torture program under the George W. Bush administration. She was responsible for running a secret CIA black site in Thailand where prisoners were subjected to torture, including waterboarding, and went on to destroy the evidence. The Intercept‘s Glenn Greenwald tweeted on Mar. 13, “Haspel… didn’t just oversee the Bush CIA’s black site but directly participated in the horrific torture of detainees. She also participated in the particularly gruesome torture of detainee Abu Zubaydah.”

4  According to Sir Martin Gilbert’s official biography, Winston Churchill said, “Meeting jaw to jaw is better than war.”

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26—Gun Controlled

on the 'Valentine's Day Massacre' at a Florida high school. February 2018.

Another high-school massacre, and Trump
Says mental illness is the problem, wants
Teachers to carry guns,1  while politicians,
Ever oblivious, willfully blind
To overlook the obvious, proffer
Their thoughts and prayers and platitudes,
Their pockets pandered by the NRA,
Our pockets plundered, as insanity,
Expecting different results, repeats
The actions and inactions of the past.
“Never again!” “The time to act is now!”
Students, survivors call for gun control.
No preaching from the presidential pulpit
Shall play a role restoring mental health,
For how can madness diagnose itself?!

1  On Feb. 14, 2018, a gunman wielding a shop-bought AR-15 military-style rifle killed 14 students and three teachers at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. It was the 18th school shooting of 2018 alone. On Feb. 16, Trump tweeted, “So many signs that the Florida shooter was mentally disturbed, even expelled from school for bad and erratic behavior. Neighbors and classmates knew he was a big problem. Must always report such instances to authorities, again and again!” On Feb. 21, he held a listening session at the White House in which he advocated “concealed carry, where a teacher would have a concealed gun on them. They’d go for special training…”

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25—The Body Politicked

From January 2018.

A kind of chemotherapy’s at work
Which surely future generations will
Deem crude and cruel (as we adjudge the age
That sawed off limbs, prizing that surgeon’s skill).

They talk of “battling” cancer, thus adopting
The tired old terminology of war
And sanction chemical weapons used on patients
Without addressing the systemic flaw.

Simplistic, superficial, such a mindset
In “fighting” terrorism governs too.
Violence the answer, killing good and bad,
Misguided to eradicate the few.

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24—Trump's Dump

on Trump's expletive to describe certain countries. From January 2018.

The subtext is: not-white, not-welcome. Nay,
It is the text this White House trumpets, whole
Countries and continents condemned, as Trump
In shameful language shuns them as “s-holes”! 1

Our souls descendant from eternity,
Yet to Norwegians Trump would deference pay,
The happenstance of where we’re born, which skin,
Which tone this muddy vesture of decay. 2

And so he says a steaming pile of it
In labelling peoples of the global south,
Making a stink because he won’t shut up
The excrement expletives from his mouth!

1  In a meeting with legislators on the subject of DACA, Trump reportedly said, “Why do we want all these people from Africa here? They’re shithole countries. We should have more people from Norway”.

2  Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice, V.i.

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23—Button Up!

on Trump's latest tweets regarding North Korea. From January 2018.

As lovers promise more than they are able,
So Shakespeare said, Trump tweets another fable,
Talking it up because his fortunes dip,
The nuclear button at his fingertips
“much bigger and more powerful than his!”
Claims credit for how “firm” and “strong” he is.
Meanwhile, the two Koreas are in talks,
At which Trump grumbles, for his spirit balks
Because in their diplomacy’s intent,
The intercourse was given in consent!

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22—Go, Ahed!

on the indictment of Ahed Tamimi, a 16-year-old Palestinian girl, for "aggravated assault" after she slapped an Israeli soldier in the occupied West Bank. From January 2018.

You’d think a teenage girl, enraged, in grief
Because they shot her brother in the head
So that she slapped an occupying soldier,
Would be treated with clemency instead.

But not for Palestinians, on whose land
Israel inflicts casual atrocity,
Pardons itself without remorse or conscience,
Committing war crimes with impunity.

Yet just as Scripture shows a former king
Of Israel made a clumsy giant fall, 1
Ahed Tamimi has dispatched a blow
To show one righteous act brings life for all! 2

1  1 Samuel  17.

2  Romans 5:18.

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on the banning of words by the Trump administration. From December 2017.

Orwell foresaw this day, when government
would mandate which words could be used, and shrank
the dictionary year by year until,
as C.S. Lewis writes, “The very play
of mind, I think, is birth-controlled to-day.” 1
Limit the range of words, limit the range
of thought! For those of little lexicon
would legislate linguistic licence, silence
science and inconvenient evidence,
put ideology over ideas,
empire over empiricism, dogma
over discourse, with dismal dictates damning
the future to a reign of ignorance.
We need no Newspeak numbing liberty.
When language lauds both life and love, let be!

See Washington Post article of Dec. 15, 2017, CDC gets list of forbidden words: Fetus, transgender, diversity, by Lena H. Sun and Juliet Eilperin.

1  In his poem, To Roy Campbell.

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20—Cream Pai

on the FCC's vote, orchestrated by Trump appointee, Chairman Ajit Pai, to destroy net neutrality. From December 2017.

To please his corporate masters, Ajit Pai,
eager to do their bidding and comply,
servile to kneel, serving Verizon’s needs,
administers his dirty little deeds,

Presents a narrow fast lane they may take,
open for business with a foul intake,
each drinking deep of the same soiled cup,
then turns to us that we should suck it up!

A greased back-channel for his master’s ride,
puppet with Comcast’s hand inside,
a mouthpiece for a crooked ISP, 1
a figurehead to crown in burglary.

Some 20 million people, looking on, 2
have witnessed Pai bend over with his con,
pervert the office and suck up to men
who lobbied hard to steer his willing pen!

A mine to plunder at a sordid depth,
he willing agitates a little death,
happy to hand their pride an easy boon,
though brief his victory that came too soon!

On Dec. 14, 2017, the five-member Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted 3‑2 to repeal rules established in 2015 to safeguard “net neutrality”. These rules required internet service providers (ISPs) to treat web content equally and not block or prioritize some content over others in return for payment.

1  ISP stands for Internet Service Provider. In an article of Dec. 15, 2017, Alasdair Wilkins reports that telecom giants Verizon, AT&T, Comcast, and Charter “are the ISPs for about 76 percent of the 94.5 million internet subscribers in the United States. And when about half of all households only have access to a single provider, these companies hold enormous power in shaping an internet without net neutrality, the previously longstanding principle that ISPs could not set up a tiered internet of slow and fast lanes, throttle access to certain content, or charge either consumers or sites more for preferential access.”

2  Prior to this extremely unpopular ruling, more than 20 million people had submitted comments to the FCC.

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19—Brute Force

on the recent surge in sexual-assault allegations. From November 2017.

Now presidents and former presidents
Who took advantage of their worldly power,
Broadcasters, Congressmen, and candidates
Are facing to a man their reckoning hour.
Hollywood stars and movie moguls too,
Disclosures lift night’s veil of shame this day.
“Me too!” 1 is echoing through the land,
Dispelling secrecy to have its say.
American as apple pie, this violent culture,
Stripping the Earth and tunnelling for gain,
Would exploit bodies as it rapes the land,
A litany of theft, enslavement’s reign.
This wounding wounded masculinity
Yet stirs awakening in humanity!

1  The “Me Too” campaign, initiated in 2006 by community organizer Tarana Burke, encourages those who have been subjected to sexual assault to share their experiences. In October 2017, as the predations of film producer Harvey Weinstein became widely known, the #MeToo hashtag exploded on social media.

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on the Las Vegas massacre of Oct. 1, 2017.

A single gunman’s slain a multitude,
A growing litany, a murderous toll.
Though he bought firearms in several states,
Now’s not the time to talk of gun control!1

No background checks required, purchased online,
Easy to buy and many a loophole.
Though no developed nation is as violent,
Now’s not the time to talk of gun control!

Though individuals acquire arsenals,
And none a grieving parent can console,
Let’s not “politicize” mere life and death,
Now’s not the time to talk of gun control!

A sick psychosis still enjoys free rein,
Hatred empowered to kill enmasse alone,
A Congressman was recently gunned down.2
Now’s not the time to talk of gun control!

Talk not of Climate Change after a storm,
Nor, after firetrap buildings burn, the role
Austerity plays.3 After this massacre,
It’s still not time to talk of gun control!

1      The following day, Trump’s press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, said from the White House, “There’s a time and place for a political debate, but now is the time to unite as a country. There is currently an open and ongoing law-enforcement investigation. A motive is yet to be determined, and it would be premature for us to discuss policy when we don’t fully know all the facts or what took place last night.” Her response echoes that of political-establishment figures after previous gun massacres in the United States.

2      On June 14, 2017, in Alexandria, Virginia, gunman James Hodgkinson attacked a baseball practise for the annual Congressional Baseball Game for Charity, scheduled for the following day. Republican member of Congress Steve Scalise was among several people shot. Hodgkinson was felled in a shootout with officers and died later that day. Scalise underwent surgery and returned to Congress on Sept. 28, 2017.

3     Echoing a tweet by author and activist Naomi Klein, of Oct. 2, 2017: “Don’t talk about guns after a massacre. Or climate change after storms. Or austerity after firetrap buildings burn. Talk when no one listens.” The “firetrap” she is referring to is the 24-storey Grenfell Tower in north Kensington, London. On June 14, 2017, the building became engulfed in fire, causing the deaths of more than 80 people trapped inside.

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on the psychological condition of Mr. Trump, July 2017.

Destroy lest ye be inwardly destroyed,
Make threats lest ye be inwardly afraid,
Pollute lest ye be inwardly polluted,1
And force a woman if you can’t get laid!

Boast of your size if you are feeling small,
Drop bombs if you are powerless inside.
Tweet volumes, feeling insignificant,
And make the Beast of Empire your joy-ride!

Lest ye feel inwardly inadequate,
Invent myths of superiority,
Hire yes-men who will echo your opinion,
Surround yourself with low ability.

And if you lack the wit to empathize,
Denounce forthright officials and dismiss,
Cripple naysayers, humiliate, and kill,
While altering facts to suit your prejudice.

No reference point for truth outside yourself,
A personal myth of greatness cultivate,
Mock scientists and journalists, devour
The body politic’s organs of state.

Such infernal commandments are in play
As point to end-time-prophecy’s predictions,
A devil’s puppet posing, playing God,
The state feeding his personal addictions.

Now mental-health professionals have weighed in2
On Trump’s psychology of powerlessness,
Breaking their own rules, with “too much at stake,”
To warn about this man of lawlessness,3

The narcissism, grandiosity,
The sadism and torture fantasy,
The need for admiration and approval,
The fascist leanings and proclivity.

Caligula and Nero would applaud
His use of public power for personal ends,
Wielding executive prerogative,
But note how each man met his violent end!

1  These lines play on Christ’s famous admonition to “Judge not lest ye be judged…” (Matthew 7:1).

2  See Letter to the Editor in New York Times, Feb. 13, 2017 signed by 33 mental-health practitioners. And truthdig article by Paul Street, Beyond the Madness of King Donald, May 15, 2017.

3  2 Thessalonians 2:3-4.

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From April 2017.

He takes payoffs from foreign governments,
Receiving lucrative emoluments,
Exploits high office to enrich himself,
Promote his corporate brand, worshipping wealth.
Committing constitutional sacrilege,
He favours family members’ privilege.
Officials true to principle he fires,
Installing criminals to take their place and liars.
He threatens judges, gives illegal orders,
Slanders the world outside our stolen borders.
And underpinning his agenda of destruction –
Conflicts of interest and brazen corruption.
He orders War in Syria, Iraq;
Yemen, Afghanistan under attack,
While threatening North Korea, all without
Congressional authority, to flout
The Constitution. Night raids, missiles, bombs,
Diplomacy replaced with threats of bombs.
So, Congress, let these words your duty teach:
Uphold the Constitution, and Impeach!

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04—The Citizenship Candidate

From January 2017.

Trump is interviewed by St. Peter in the office of Heaven Border Protection!

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03—Size Matters, Mr. Trump!

From January 2017.

Obama’s measured at 84
And yours is just 32 !
I speak of incoming approval ratings.
Attested, this fact is true. 1

Of course, there are “alternative facts”
As your spokeswoman said on TV. 2
You claimed your inaugural crowd had great girth
In spite of what we can see!

You’re so outraged that the press reported
How small yours turned out to be.
You’ll just have to “grab”3 the pundit you please
If she won’t give it willingly!

The “biggest in history” your spokesman claims
And damns the “dishonest” press corps.4
For all the superlatives, you have to admit:
Obama’s is bigger than yours!

1  See Democracy Now! headline, Trump’s Approval Rating Plummets to 32%, Jan. 20, 2017.

2  On the morning of Saturday, Jan. 21, 2017, one day after Trump’s inauguration, The New York Times tweeted a photo unfavourably comparing the crowd size at Trump’s inauguration with that of President Obama’s 2009 inauguration, which drew a record 1.8 million people. Later that day, Trump’s press secretary Sean Spicer angrily stormed into the press room and falsely claimed more people had attended or watched on TV than any other inauguration in U.S. history. He said, “These attempts to lessen the enthusiasm of the inauguration are shameful and wrong.”

The following day, on the Meet the Press TV broadcast, Counsellor to the President, Kellyanne Conway, said to host, Chuck Todd, that Trump’s press secretary Sean Spicer gave “alternative facts” about the crowd size for Trump’s inauguration.

3  On Oct. 7, 2016, The Washington Post released a 2005 video tape in which Trump boasted to Hollywood Access reporter Billy Bush,

You know I’m automatically attracted to beautiful … I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. I just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything. Grab ’em by the pussy. You can do anything.

4  On Jan. 21, 2017, his first day in office, Trump declared in a speech to the CIA, “I have a running war with the media. They are among the most dishonest human beings on Earth.”

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From Verses Versus Empire: II—Obama

Buy the book

Sonnet on David Cameron's speech at Magna Carta eighth-centenary event, Runnymede, June 15, 2015

To lackluster applause, formality,
The Queen and David Cameron appear
For lip service and idle ceremony 1
While media and broadcasters draw near.
In referencing the lessons Gandhi teaches,
Cameron is drawing on unearnèd fame.
Limits to power and rule-of-law he preaches;
Destroying the Human-Rights Act is his aim!
Tenets of Magna Carta, worthy scroll,
He violates routinely, rights be damned,
Nor, fracker to the last, does he uphold
Cherished protections of our Common Land!
Trust not the promises of ruling men.
King John’s alive and well in Number 10! 2

1  Shakespeare, Henry V, IV.i.221. Here, “idle” is used in lieu of “idol”.

2  “Number 10” refers to the address, 10, Downing St., where British prime ministers take official residence during their terms of office.

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08—Black and Blue

on the death in police custody of U.S. Army Sergeant, James Brown, during a two-day jail sentence in El Paso, Texas. From May 2015.

“I’m choking on my blood!” and “I can’t breathe!”
He told the prison guards multiple times,
But still they piled in, smothered up his face,
And no-one prosecuted for the crime. 1

Enforced injection, suffocation, beating,
‘Til he was bleeding from the nose and mouth,
After the trauma of the Iraq war,
Lynched in the deeply prejudiced deep south.

Sergeant James Brown, like so many black men
Confronted for a traffic violation,
Pays with his life at the hands of the state’s
Culture of murder, fear, intimidation.

The police are claiming that his death was caused
By “pre-existing medical condition,”
Expecting that their force remains immune
From prosecution or even contrition.

And when long-bottled anger surfaces,
How quickly media reassign the blame:
It’s the protestors they describe as “thugs”
While murderers get away with it again!

1  See Democracy Now! segments: Shocking Video: Texas Soldier Dies After Telling Jail Guards He Couldn’t Breathe 20 Times (May 15, 2015); and Sgt. James Brown, 26, Survived Two Tours in Iraq Only to Die Begging for His Life in Texas Jail (May 20, 2015).

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Sonnet on acts of vandalism by "Islamic State" at the Mosul Museum and Public Library in Iraq. From February 2015.

Just how much hatred can a human heart
Contain, that not content with murder, must
Destroy a people’s heritage and art,
Demolish ancient statues into dust
That can’t defend themselves against the blows
Of sledgehammers and drills that cowards wield?
Yet in the unseen spirit world, who knows
What godly vengeance yet may be revealed?
Ten thousand years of history wiped out,
But don’t forget who first began the fight
Against this culture and its creeds devout.
Blame not Islam for this but U.S. spite.
Raping Iraq and sowing Hatred’s seed,
No wonder that they’ve spawned this hateful breed!

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06—Get Carta

on eighth-centenary celebrations of Magna Carta. From February 2015.

Since bad King John, eight centuries ago,
Reneged on promises of Runnymede,
The powers-that-be elected, unelected,
Have blasphemed Magna Carta’s creed in deed –

That none should be imprisoned without trial,
That Justice not be sold, refused, delayed,
Clauses overtly and covertly thwarted,
The founding principles again betrayed.

The hatemonger Theresa May, who should
Of all uphold the ancient scroll’s protections,
Defiles Parliament as she would “scrap”
The European Human-Rights Convention! 1

The U.S. government, especially,
For all its lip service to human rights,
Defying its own Constitution too,
Disdains the Charter on both “Left” and “Right”! 2

1  Theresa May, as Britain’s home secretary, announced this intention at the Conservative party conference, Sept. 30, 2013.

2  Notions of “left-wing” and “right-wing” politics are increasingly meaningless. They reflect outdated political discourse based on a polarized pendulum swing between rich and poor, management and workers. The key issues for humanity – human rights, war and peace, justice, and environmental protection – transcend, or should transcend, these arguments.

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On U.S. broadcaster Fox News. From January 2015.

“Bomb! Hate! Bomb! Hate! Bomb! Hate! Kill!”
Fox News spills its murderous fill
Of verbal sewage from each mouth
Poisoning minds from north to south.

O’Reilly, Kelly, Pirro, Sean, 1
Peddling spite and Hatred porn,
Mind and spirit in the gutter
With each word each moron utters.

Murdoch’s hand inside each puppet,
Talking heads, and each a muppet,
Verbal vomit, propaganda,
Corporate bilge to daily pander.

Self-righteousness, hypocrisy,
Their counterfeited currency.
Demonic angel masquerade 2
In brain-dead ill-informed tirade.

The oil lands are Moslem most
So find a pretext and false boast
To Bomb Hate Bomb Hate Bomb Hate Kill!
So yet more Moslem blood may spill.

‘Til judgment come to Earth one day
Their message sickens with decay
Like food corrupt, goes body through,
Briefly poisons, leaves as poo! 3

1  Bill O’Reilly, Megyn Kelly, Jeanine Pirro, Sean Hannity.

2  2 Corinthians 11:14-15.

3  Matthew 15:17.

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Sonnet on the Christmas Truce of the First World War and its depiction in Christmas advertising by U.K. supermarket chain, Sainsbury's. From December 2014.

The Christmas Truce, with “Stille Nacht” begun
By enemy soldiers trenched on killing floor,
Was chorused when our “Silent Night” was sung.
And now, one hundred years after that war,
We celebrate it. So the BBC
Gives voice to those decrying the Great War’s waste.
To reminisce along, Sainsbury’s is free,
Screening its advert suited to good taste.
At this centenary, the sanctioned norm
Cries a lament of desolation, death:
Fraternity belied by uniform,
The needless conflict stilling youthful breath.
It’s safe to speak this truth a century old,
But when it’s current warfare, none so bold!

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on Japan's nuclear disaster at Fukushima following the earthquake and tsunami of Mar. 11, 2011.

Sixty-six years since Little Boy unleashed
nuclear hatred from unhallowed height,
Horror again enfolds the Rising Sun,
this time beset by self-inflicted blight.

No nuclear fluke ensued at Fukushima;
the meltdown was foreseeable and foreseen.
Pandora’s box has oped eternally;
plutonium and uranium vent their spleen.

Insidious sickness impregnates the air,
unbound, unchecked, inhaled, imbibed, ingested,
while politicians mutter soothing words
the corporations’ forgery suggested.

And like most corporate players caught red-handed,
Tokyo Electric, rotten to the core,
tries to conceal its genocidal crime
as Tokyo’s radiation levels soar.

The USA, with twice the cancerous crop
of reactors, meanwhile, papers the fault;
the powers-that-be persist in playing God
with devilish fuel to fill the guilt-edged vault.

The breeze blows where it listeth, 1 why not then
embrace its power to protect the Earth?
Yet, pressing on with poisoning the wind,
they plague descendants with defective birth.

1  John 3:8.

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On BP's oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. From June 2010.

It takes but a moment, by a trauma inflicted,
to scar for decades ahead.
The soul, or a body of water, afflicted,
bleeds afresh where first it bled.

So with the oil now gushing in
to the Gulf where BP drilled,
rendering the ocean a toxic puddle
wherever they spilled and killed.

Yet long in the making was this crisis afoot
with government and companies abed:
a beast with two backs 1 that made not life
but the devil’s issue instead.

With loopholes spread wide, the government invites
the corporate backers come in,
while media pimps, greasing the wheels,
and the outcome is inky sin.

Blame Obama, blame Bush, blame Clinton, blame all.
Each did what Big Energy bid.
Blame all the presidents’ men while we’re at it;
When will this world be rid

of free-flowing fraud in the veins of power,
systemic corruption the theme,
the love of money, the love of oil,
like poison in the gulfstream?

1  Shakespeare, Othello, I.i.

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The poet's incredulity when Obama is awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace. From October 2009.

I checked the dateline twice: October 9th.
Not April 1st? No hoax, no prank, no jest?
Obama’s got the Nobel Prize for Peace?
Some sick joke played by pundits of the West?

Intelligence-insulting irony
that this new rider of the imperial beast
should garner that or any accolade
while daily orchestrating War’s increase,

Concealing torture practices from view,
refusing to endorse the land-mine ban,
recycling still the “9/11” myth,
while doubling troop ranks in Afghanistan.

O History’s muse, report what you have seen:
how War devours the labors of the poor,
their livelihoods. Meanwhile, the sick get sicker;
the rich get even richer than before.

Obama shows up late to climate talks
where corporate polluters are at large,
too little and too late, but worse than that,
he brings eleventh-hour sabotage!

Of service, sacrifice, and strength of arms
he prates, and claims to stand with Luther King,
in all his pillage claims “the world’s support”
but proves in deed he’s Bush’s next of kin!

Perhaps the noble Norway nobles hoped
a self-fulfilling prophecy foresaw,
yet merely gloss Obama’s rhetoric:
Though subtly waged, it’s still peace-polished War!

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From Verses Verses Empire: I—Bush

Buy the book

From February 2006.

For sovereignty, “security”,
A countenance for cruelty,
In military mockery,
They war in perpetuity.

Impunity, immunity
Impugn the illegality
Of butchery and buggery
Inflicted internationally.

By constitutionality
Impaled in impish irony,
American democracy
Is thuggery’s theology.

They crucify Christianity
In double-dealing devilry
While media’s monotony
Is peddling in perjury.

Egregious in effrontery,
With craven coward coterie,
Bush carved this fascist cunt-ery.
So seek a safer sanctuary!

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Sonnet, from November 2004.

Rehearsing a repetitive refrain
That rang so hollow regarding Iraq,
The puffed-up powers are now plotting to stain
The neighbouring nation for fresh loot to sack.
For Oil, again, the love of which doth tempt,
Is beckoning since late they racked Iraq,
Held international law in vile contempt,
The way of Greed, that having, yet must lack.
And Greed’s close cousin, tormenting Addiction,
Still hungering, hung over from Iraq,
Crafting new fictions for its old affliction,
Is masking motives for more mosques to sack.
The scheming fiends, seeking a fresh attack,
Refresh false premise to invade… Iran!

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"Bush", "Blair", "Basra", "Baghdad". What could a poet do with that? From April 2003.

Those bosom-buddies, Bush and Tony Blair, 1
By boys brought from boot-camp to battle barracks,
By cluster bombs, blockades, and bunker-busters,
Have blistered, blinded, blitzkrieged, bludgeoned, blasted,
Blockaded, blown up, blundered, blighted, butchered,
Barraged, besieged, breached, broken, brutalized,
Besmeared, besmirched, burned Basra and Baghdad
Bearing the behemoth’s ballistic brunt,
Barbarity unbound, bang for the buck,
Breeding a backlash boomerang backfire,
Because a blood-stained burglar, bankrupt, base,
In bestial bloodguilt, bare-faced blasphemy,
That born-again Beelzebub, betrayed,
Batman with his bum-bandit British bitch
Boy-Wonder-backing with his bollocks, buggers,
Blood-brothers’ bond of battery, biochem,
Brainwashing bastards, blatant, both to blame,
By blind ambition, brutal bravado,
Belligerent, bombastic, bellicose,
Bland, boring, bleary, brazen, bad, banal,
Barren, with bilious, baleful, babbling bias
Of balderdash, Blair’s blare and Bush’s bullshit!

1  British prime minister at the time.

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04—A Conversation Between Bush and God

From February 2003.

Rejoice! The day is come when every soul,
His placement for eternity to take
And due reward bestowed his earthly role,
Learns what pronouncement God for him shall make.

Now, having been called “Mr. President”
By doting throngs, Bush steps up to the fore,
For Heav’n should follow earthly precedent
And saints, like press, should worship and adore.

Just then, a mighty angel bellows out:
“You there! You with the smirk and beady eyes,
Get back in line! Lest you would dare to flout
My ready spear, from which the devil flies.”

Affronted that the spirit knows him not,
Bush bids the minister his lips to read: 1
“You obviously don’t realize who you got:
My name is Bush, men follow where I lead!

“I warred on Evil, hunted terrorists,
Promoted Christian values every day,
And shackled in Guantánamo men’s wrists,
Showing to all the world the American way.”

With that, the angel’s countenance grows calm.
“Scourge of Iraq and of the Palestine?
‘Tis not my place to do your person harm
But expedite your bid to cut in line.

“Myself in haste will take you to the Lord
Who waits impatiently ’til you appear.
What recompense your exploits shall afford,
Saints in assembly too are keen to hear.”

Bush then is led toward a rainbow light,
A vast expanse, and over it, a throne
Of sapphire, on which sits a figure bright
Who speaks like water rushing over stone. 2

All Heaven to His glory homage shows,
With throngs of saints and angels choiring praise,
But seeing what shall unfold now, silence grows 3
To hear the Lamb of God, Ancient of Days.

“Let Judgment of the sheep and goats begin,
The former into Paradise and light,
The latter, for the punishment of sin,
Into the kingdom of eternal night.” 4

With squinting eyes, George proffers forth his hand:
“Congratulations God, that you chose me
To sit in partnership and rule the land,
Though you should teach your guards more courtesy!”

A gasp through the assembled throng is heard
At such audacity that slander brings,
That with presumptive word upbraids the Word 5
Who made the world, its creatures, and all things.

“Of Gabriel, my servant true, you speak,”
Thunders the voice of God, “whose swiftest flight
Foretold good news, 6 who comes to them who seek,
Bringing encouragement to hearts contrite. 7

“But to my messages that he conveyed,
You paid no heed, nor when my prophets did entreat. 8
Nor would your bloody hand from War be stayed.
Think you, that did usurp your earthly seat,

“I should allow that such an ass intrude
Into fair Heaven and her realms entire?
When I was hungry, you withheld me food,
When I was naked, you refused attire,

“I thirsted yet you took away my drink
And when I sickened, you cared not for me
But shut me up in prison. Do you think,
When you denied me, I shall welcome thee?” 9

Blinking in shock, his hand outstretched in vain,
Who thought himself wholly immune to blame,
Bush, eager to begin eternal reign,
A moment takes to reassert his claim:

“But Lord, when did I do these things to you?
Look at my countless acts of charity
To shower my corporate friends the favored few
With gifts, and clothe them with immunity.”

“Even the sinners love those who love them! 10
Those weren’t my children you were raising up
But snakes, a brood of vipers to condemn, 11
Who’ll never drink of the ambrosial cup.

“And more, you starved the people of Iraq,
Inflicted them with illness and disease,
Then followed up with unprovoked attack
To hurt me as you hurt the least of these.”

“But Lord, you got me wrong, I did not act
To injure Christians who belong to you.
Collateral damage is War’s simple fact
And those who suffered weren’t of Heaven’s crew.”

“You fool! You err because you do not know
The scriptures. 12 It is written: ‘Do not say
Who shall ascend or who be cast below.’ 13
What mortal may presume my part to play?

“My sons and daughters, in mine image made,
People the Earth. You could have done them good,
But that a shepherd’s mission was betrayed,
While you inflicted all the harm you could.

“I know your heart: to be like God in power,
To rule an empire and your praises tell,
So nations bow to thee and kingdoms cower.
Such were the thoughts of Satan ere he fell. 14

“Now is the end of the aggressor’s reign,
His wicked scepter broken, which in ire
Subdued the nations with unceasing pain
And struck down peoples with relentless fire. 15

“I see your dull wit cannot grasp my theme
So as you’re led to the abyssal brink,
Abandon any hope of Heaven’s dream,
For here’s my Veto in celestial ink!”

1  An echo of the famous, and ultimately untenable, claim by former president and George W. Bush’s father, George H.W. Bush, as he accepted the Republican Party’s nomination for president at the 1988 Republican National Convention. He said, “Read my lips: no new taxes!” But, as president in 1990, he agreed to a bipartisan budget that increased taxes.

2  Ezekiel 1:26-28; Revelation 1:15.

3  Revelation 8:1.

4  Matthew 25:31-46.

5  John 1:1-3.

6  Luke 1:8-19, 26-37.

7  Daniel 9:20-23.

8  Matthew 23:34-38.

9  Luke 12:8-9; Matthew 7:21-23.

10  Luke 6:32-34.

11  Matthew 23:23-33.

12  Matthew 22:29.

13  Romans 10:6-7.

14  Isaiah 14:9-15.

15  Isaiah 14:3-6.

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03—On Her Majesty's Secret Service

James Bond is handed his mission to hunt Osama bin Laden. From October 2001.

“Miss Moneypenny! Radiant as ever!”
Says Bond with his characteristic charm.

“You’d best get in there, James!” “Why Moneypenny,
You must have read my mind!” “O get in there!”
In mock exasperation she replies.
“M’s in a real state, been on the phone
All day with the Prime Minister he has!”

Door opens. Bond. Her Majesty’s agent,
Licenced to kill, enters the room. “Ah Bond!
Come in! Matter of greatest urgency.
Bin Laden, hiding in Afghanistan.
A vicious fellow, devilish piece of work.
Blows up civilians, hijacks planes, kills children.
Works with the Taliban, a nasty lot.
I haven’t seen the like of them since SPECTRE. 1
The CIA’s been after him for years.
To no avail of course. It’s up to you!
Your job is to destroy him at all costs.
He’s bad news, Bond. And you’re the best we’ve got.
Now get along to Q and get your gadgets.”

Deep in the secret testing area,
Bond enters. “Morning Q, where are my gadgets?”
“Oh grow up, 007! ‘Devices!’
That’s what we call them nowadays – ‘Devices!’
The usual tricks: a missile-guiding watch,
A magic carpet for those airborne missions
That folds to pocket size and can be worn
To render you invisible, a staff
That turns into a snake, 2 that sort of thing.
Just try to bring them all back in one piece!”

You know the rest: Bond always gets his man,
Whether Goldfinger, Dr. No, or Jaws.
Prevail Bond, James Bond, handsome and brave,
And bring the foe to his unhallowed grave.

1  The Special Executive for Counter-intelligence, Terrorism, Revenge and Extortion.

2  Exodus 4:1-5, 7:8-12.

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Post "9/11". From October 2001.

Alas! Three weeks have passed, none else alive.
The air is stained yet with the stench of death.
The subterranean fires still feast and thrive
To mingle with the living remnant’s breath.

Twelve fathom deep, into a stinking hole
Men swim through filth, one beating heart to find,
And in reflection of the Shepherd’s role, 1
Would not leave any of the flock behind.

For a short while, a gothic site was kept:
The vestige of man’s power stood as an altar 2
Where rescuers into the fire had leapt
To spare their kin. Their courage did not falter.

Now flint-faced firemen their tears have shed
Upon the rubble shrine, and workers toil
To close the maw of Hell that glutton fed
On human flesh, and cleanse the sullied soil.

We face the fathomless iniquity 3
Wordsworth foresaw in augury’s remark:
Cloaked in the nature of Infinity,
Suffering is permanent, obscure, and dark. 4

How did they dare? How did they dare to maim
God’s image in mankind and so conspire?
How did they dare, in blaspheming the name
Of God, tear down the multilingual spire? 5

We genteel citizens in Union Square
Discuss the crisis and propound our hunch
How terrorists are ousted from their lair,
While ashes tumble on our peace-time brunch.

And I, observing from a far-off screen,
The spoils of spectacle may idly reap,
Look in the mirror, contemplate and preen,
Retire to bed and hold my manhood cheap. 6

1  Psalm 23:1, John 10:11.

2  Until demolished, a triangular section of the World Trade Center wall, in appearance like a row of organ pipes, was left standing after the towers collapsed.

3  2 Thessalonians 2:7.

4  His poem, The Borderers.

5  Genesis 11:4-7.

6  Henry V, IV.iii.69.

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01—George W.'s Hoedown

... as he celebrates his ascendancy to the White House. From January 2001.

Verse 1

Well I’m elected President,
O isn’t it a thrill?
I get to ride in limousines
Though the seats are stained by Bill.
I walk in Daddy’s footsteps
But he sits in the chair
While I play in the Oval crèche,
I think that’s very fair.

Verse 2

I have all my daddy’s friends
To tell me what to do.
They tell me when to blow my nose
And when to take a poo.
They call me “Mr. President,”
I have so many fans.
Oh I am so excited man,
I almost wet my pants!

Verse 3

This is the American dream,
My calling from the Lord
‘Cept when they use them big words,
It makes me really bored.
I prefer to take a ride
Down to the Treasury,
So I can pay back all my friends
(rall.) Who bought those votes for me!

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