In For a Penny, In For a Pound

I’ve elevated ignoring The New York Times to the level of policy for the same reason I ignore all sources of ideological propaganda. But I happened to see a headline on LinkedIn the other day that caught my attention: “The U.S. intelligence chief says Putin is preparing for a prolonged conflict”. And the article to which it linked happened to run in the Times.

The article said this, in part:

The reality that Putin faces a mismatch between his ambitions and Russia’s current conventional military capabilities likely means the next few months could see us moving along a more unpredictable and potentially escalatory trajectory … Current trends … increase the possibility that Mr. Putin will impose martial law, reorient industrial production or take escalatory military actions, which she suggested could include more nuclear threats.

Please take note of the hand-tipping going on here:

  • A more unpredictable and potentially escalatory trajectory. God, I love that. Here’s the translation for those of you who aren’t inclined to read between lines: Uncle Vlad is a loose cannon whose only predictable behavior is escalatory.
  • More nuclear threats. Translation: Not a nuclear threat. Not one nuclear threat. More nuclear threats. Plural. And they’re already there because Uncle Vlad is a loose cannon whose only predictable behavior is escalatory.

To quote Curly in Disorder in the Court, “Is everybody dumb?

The Last Word

Teddy Roosevelt delivered the following words on March 20, 1912, in Carnegie Hall, in New York City. I leave you with them because we no longer believe them, we no longer practice them, and we no longer care about them because we no longer have the stomach, the political will, or the senses of national or individual sovereignty to live by them:

We stand against all tyranny, by the few or by the many. We stand for the rule of the many in the interest of all of us, for the rule of the many in a spirit of courage, of common sense, of high purpose, above all in a spirit of kindly justice toward every man and every woman. We do not merely admit, but insist, that there must be self-control on the part of the people, that they must keenly perceive their own duties as well as the rights of others; but we also insist that the people can do nothing unless they not merely have, but exercise to the full, their own rights.

We’re now a divided, borderless country of narratives, of special interests, of groupthink, of group identities, of identity politics, of self-absorbed superficiality, and trivialities. Uncle Vlad knows that all too well.

No wonder we’re lost.


Mark O'Brien
Mark O'Brien
I’m a business owner. My company — O’Brien Communications Group (OCG) — is a B2B brand-management and marketing-communication firm that helps companies position their brands effectively and persuasively in industries as diverse as: Insurance, Financial Services, Senior Living, Manufacturing, Construction, and Nonprofit. We do our work so well that seven of the companies (brands) we’ve represented have been acquired by other companies. OCG is different because our business model is different. We don’t bill by the hour or the project. We don’t bill by time or materials. We don’t mark anything up. We don’t take media commissions. We pass through every expense incurred on behalf of our clients at net. We scope the work, price the work, put beginning and end dates on our engagements, and charge flat, consistent fees every month for the terms of the engagements. I’m also a writer by calling and an Irish storyteller by nature. In addition to writing posts for my company’s blog, I’m a frequent publisher on LinkedIn and Medium. And I’ve published three books for children, numerous short stories, and other works, all of which are available on Amazon under my full name, Mark Nelson O’Brien.

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