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The Surly Bartender: Lifeboat Americans



A few months back, I wanted to inject the term Lifeboat Americans into the political discourse. I felt, and feel, that it expresses so much about what is wrong with the United States these days. There’s a goodly percent of the population who believe they live in a terrifying, dystopian nightmare wherein the grand ship of state — the world’s oldest constitutional democracy, possessors of the largest economy on Earth and the most powerful military in the history of the known universe this side of the Cylon Fleet — has foundered on the troubled waters of history and is irrevocably sinking beneath the waves. Lifeboat Americans are those who behave as if they have already been cast away from the security of their  national mother-ship and must now survive through their feral wit, tribal allegiances and their willingness to smash an oar into the head of anyone who dares swim close to what little they have left.

This thought came to me a during the quickly forgotten “border crisis” when 60,000 children from Honduras, Guatemala

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Special Commentary: Uganda, At Play in the Fields of the Lord

Popular Media in Uganda

Scott Lively is a Christian clergyman of a peculiarly American stripe. He is white, “born again,” claims to know the mind of God better than most and wields that knowledge with such flair that the Southern Policy Law Center classifies his Massachusetts-based church/media complex, Abiding Truth Ministries, as a

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Guatemala 101: El Pueblo vs. Monsanto

monsanto salute

Late in the afternoon of September 4, after nearly 10 days of protests by a coalition of labor, indigenous rights groups and farmers, the indigenous peoples and campesinos of Guatemala won a rare victory. Under the pressure of massive mobilizations, the Guatemala legislature repealed Decree 19-2014, commonly referred to

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From the Recesses – God Bless You Mr. Vonnegut


A few nights ago I met a sparkling, lovely couple from some septic backwater of the Great Neighbor to the North.  They were overflowing with hope.  They had the confidence of youth.  They knew that through their activism and energy that their generation would make the difference.  Theirs

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First Person Shooter – Road Rage in Rajasthan


On New Year’s Eve, I finished a glass of wine and requested another from a passing footman as His Highness Gaj Singh II, the Maharaja of Jodhpur, stepped to the rostrum overlooking the wedding party and lake below. The white fabric of his turban trailed down his six-foot frame

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Traveler’s Journal – Discussing Deng

Photo of The Li River and Mountains by the Author

I rolled out of bed at 12:30 in the afternoon. I felt down, but couldn’t put my finger on exactly why. Probably nothing more than a bout of traveler’s angst, that sinking feeling of suddenly wondering why the hell you are so far from home, so alone without

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The Adventures of Pissy Jesus – Part IX

pissy jesus 8 (1)

When we last left Pissy Jesus, He and His disciples — and several Pharisees in disguise — were in Judea. After calling out Nathan, the fake Pharisee disciple, Jesus discussed with his followers the rather clearly stated impossibility of a rich man entering the Kingdom of Heaven. They had

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