Friday, August 27, 2021

It was always going to be this way....


   The withdrawal of American forces and our allies from Afghanistan is a mess.  We have until Tuesday to complete it and nobody with a brain thinks it can be completed by then.  So, there will be some jockeying for position with the Taliban and more Isis-K attacks, and maybe some other terror groups will make an effort to get in on the action too.  In the military a situation that has gone completely sideways is often  referred to as a 'cluster-fuck', and this one certainly qualifies.

  The GOPs are sharpening their razors and swords, hoping, as you would expect, to take advantage of the situation and perhaps even destroy the Biden presidency.  They will try, but it's doubtful they'll succeed because what they are doing is so transparently hypocritical and blatantly political.  They will likely never acknowledge that this withdrawal was precipitated by The Big Orange Idiot himself, when he released 5000 Taliban from detention last year and paved the way for their comeback.  But you can count on the usual cast of characters, of course, to blather on about how this is all Biden's fault, and that he's incompetent and should resign, or be impeached....blah, blah, blah.  If you listen to Moron Taylor Greene, or Ted Cruz, McCarthy, Ron Johnson, Jim Jordan, or any of the other by now standard idiot voices coming out of the far right, it will depress you.

  But, as a thinking and self-educating person, you should also know that it's all just good ol' BULLSHIT.  These fools love to deepen their foolishness by yammering on and on, but when you look at what they are saying it's readily apparent that it's just the same old Republican line of attack.  "Dems bad, very bad, bad." 

  And, as always, the actual facts of the situation all tell the same story: this was never going to end well. You can scatter blame around, trying to kill the lies, but facts--especially well-documented historical ones--inevitably rise to the top, like the head on a beer.  And, the facts are very clear in this case.  We jumped into Afghanistan with both boots after 9-11.  There was a national rage that needed to be serviced, one way or another....and George W. was ready (and appeared to be pleased) to be the 'decider' who directed us to attack the country that only later was proven to be the host for the terrorists of Al Qaeda who planned and executed the attacks.

  So, there we went.  And, we began pouring resources of every kind into our commitment to be there. If you look closely at the below aerial photo of Baghram Air Base, outside of Kabul, the sheer volume of buildings, runways, warehouses, vehicles etc. cannot help but impress you that we held very little back in our effort to best the Taliban and build modern Afghanistan into a functioning democracy....which it has never been in modern times.  


Bagram Air Base, Kabul Afghanistan

      We have spent over TWO in two thousand billion....dollars to fight the Taliban and to try and develop the Afghan military to a level that would allow it to become an effective force for the modern country we envisioned.  Unfortunately, we didn't really--as usual--understand the people and the society we were attempting to re-model in our own image. There are still war lords running all of the country outside of Kabul, and it more closely resembles a 15th century caliphate than it ever will a modern functional democracy. 

   We seemed to intentionally ignore the signs that what we were doing there was never going to work, at least not on the level we intended.  We did help the women of Afghanistan move into the 21st century, but without our presence they will very likely face a heartbreaking retrograde back to the abject repression of former Taliban rule.  

  Of course, the Taliban claim that they have changed.  Not too sure that is either real or what we, again, imagine it to be.  When the last C-17 or C-130 has climbed out of Bagram, and Afghanistan once again becomes a much quieter place, there are already indications that the Taliban will revert to form and become the enthusiastically cruel masters that they were in former times. It will forever remain one of the greatest ironies of human history that a movement claiming to be highly pious and religious have consistently acted more despicably than anybody, going all the way back to the Nazis.

  The thing is: there never has been even the possibility that it would end any other way. All the money and blood, sweat and tears we invested in the Afghan military and in propping up the government will be as dust in the wind.  When it became clear that the Taliban were on the march and headed into all Afghan cities, the speed with which the Afghan army abandoned its weapons and fled home or anyplace safer, was a clear indication that we gave them all the training, all the best equipment, and NONE OF THE SPIRIT that they needed to be able to stand firm against an enemy that is comprised of highly motivated fanatics.  They suddenly saw the hand-writing on the wall and knew it was time to skedaddle. 

  One of the qualities that all soldiers cannot do without, if they're to succeed in combat, is 'esprit de corps', a sense of pride and determination to live up to a high standard of courage in actual fighting.  If that is missing, troops who come up against a genuine threat....will just fade into the woodwork.  When that 'spirit' is present in large measure, all things become possible.  A perfect example is that of the Marines on Guadalcanal who were dug-in on a ridge protecting the landing strip.  A handful of them held off  charge after charge by a much larger force of Japanese, who eventually backed-off in the face of what they assumed was a much lager force of Marines.  That is the fighting spirit, friends.

  And, although a small number, relatively, of Afghan soldiers joined their 'special forces' and expressed determination and even a willingness to die for the freedom of their country, they were far too few to carry the day.  And, sadly, I doubt if many of them will survive this transition to Taliban rule.

  So, here we are.  And, there is plenty of blame to go around.  The GOPs are always wanting to re-write history, and they apparently have no difficulty lying, so they will do everything in their power to lay all of this at Joe Biden's feet.  But, they, as usual, are full of shit.  It started with W., continued unabated with Obama, and the Idiot just made it worse, despite his slimey attempts to avoid any responsibility, as usual.  

  We all bear some blame for thinking we could just go out there and 'fix it', by injecting massive amounts of money, equipment and spending over 5000 American lives (including both military personnel and contractors).  Well, we have a tendency to think we can do anything we set our sights on....but, perhaps this is showing us a side of ourselves that we have refused to look at closely.  We think, on some level, that people all over the world want to be like us. They do not. 

  What they want is less unnecessary dying, from war, disease, starvation and climate chaos.  And, that may be the one thing we are unable to give them.  Hell, we can't even do that for ourselves.

  We need to face the truth that is starring us in the face: we are not here to save the planet, and are failing at even saving ourselves. 

Oh, America..................................what the fuck?


Tuesday, August 24, 2021

Lost and wandering in the deep woods of modern art...


    Tom Wolfe wrote a very short but excellent book called, "The Painted Word".  In it he puts forward an explanation of how we got to the place we find ourselves in today with not just the art world, but with our entire society and its inability to understand what art and aesthetics at large should and could be.  Somehow, we wandered away from the original intent of art: to uplift and enhance our lives.  

  When the fur-clad artists of the Neanderthal and then the Cro Magnon cultures in Europe painted animals on cave walls, using red and yellow ochre, and charcoal black pigments mixed with animal fat, they weren't doing it to amuse themselves.  Even to the casual observer it's clear that they did it to honor Nature and the animals on which their very existence depended.  The paintings in the caves at Lascaux have grace, beauty and a sense of reverence.  And, there is another cave art site in eastern Spain that was only discovered in 2013 due to its entrance having been hidden under a rock slide. It  has been kept secret to protect it from vandals, asshats who have already disfigured other cave art.

  The grace and stunning graphic beauty of these ancient works prompted on critic to wonder if the best art has already happened......30,000 years ago.  Some actually date back 45,000 years or more.

Done by the light of an oil lamp, by artists wearing animal skins.....

    So, along comes 'art moderne'--read, the greedy mongers who run the ultra-elite New York art world--and they decide that art is certainly not for the common folk, but that it should be elite and inaccessible to all but a few cognoscenti....who just happen to have exotic affluence sufficient to buy what they are told will prove to be good investments, never mind how it performs any role as 'fine' art. And, what has devolved out of this departure is simply a cultural tragedy.

  Beauty is passé, along with all the qualities that made art something that could be honestly referred to as, 'fine'.  It would no longer be a part of how we learn to see the world.  In fact, it would depart from earlier norms in such a way that it has become almost sinister, dark and threatening. Now these aesthetic bullies and arrogant idiots would have us believe that 'ugly is beautiful' and art that is actually accessible is only for the 'little people' who simply aren't equipped to understand, much less to buy and collect, elite art.

Here is a painting, title "Equals Pi" by Jean Michael Basquiat.  He was a street artist in NYC who was picked-up by a major NY gallery and turned into an overnight phenom....which is exactly what the big power-house galleries do for a living.  They don't merely sell art; they create a demand for it by putting it on an esoteric pedestal.  If you have to ask what it is about or what it means, you are one of the peasants who is not supposed to know, destined to remain ignorant and very un-cool forever. Poor you, eh.

  This painting sold for a reported 110 MILLION bucks at auction.  That is the highest amount ever paid for an artwork by an American artist.  And, absolute proof that the art world is lost and wandering in the deep forest of confusion over what is 'real'.


Ah, such delicacy and sophisticated that we ordinary
people will never understand what we're missing.

  Basquiat was so 'cool' that he killed himself with a drug overdose at age 27.  If I had painted this abomination, and then was praised profusely for creating a 'masterpiece', I would probably be reaching for the Luger at that point too.  

  In a society where such confusion even extends to having people believe that Beauty is plebian and art that regular people can relate to is soporific junk's an indication that a whole lot more is wrong.  When people are no longer even able to trust their instincts and react to something honestly and with feeling, then that society is on its way to also pedaling ideas such as, 'Facts are merely opinions'.  They don't really matter.  Science is full of lies and traps for the unwary.  If the government tells you that a vaccine is 'safe and effective', run from the room screaming.  If medical experts tell you to put on a mask....because THEY WORK.  Scream at them, assault them, and refuse to do it.  Just because it could save lives...what the fuck does that matter?

  The takeaway is this: we're living in a time when confusion is rampant.  People no longer trust their own instincts about....well, damn-near ANY-FUCKING-THING. The latest indication of how far out all of this has become is that people are having to be warned to not use a veterinary de-worming medicine for horses, Ivermectin....because it could kill you.  Of course, it would be way too easy to just go and get a vaccination.  No way, I'm going to let the government put nano-bots in my bloodstream. 

  Really?  If I didn't know better, I would say we really are totally and utterly fucked.  Oh, wait, I do know better...and we're still headed for the Twilight of the Gods. 

Tuesday, August 17, 2021

Looking back....from the distant future


    At some point down the road--perhaps a century from now--experts who study people and how they behaved will be looking at these times and feel flummoxed.  They will encounter such things as people refusing to be vaccinated according to some weird ideas they held, and feel utterly puzzled.  Why would anybody turn away from a highly tested and proven medicine that could save their life?  Was there something about these vaccinations that isn't apparent now (in that future time)?  

  And, then, these ideas would start to inform their efforts to understand why people in large numbers acted in such counter-intuitive and perplexing ways.  The whacko conspiracies would be there, ready to explain it all.  But, on looking more closely at them....all of would be readily apparent that they were just conspiracies....nothing more and nothing less. They were ideas that suddenly took on a level of fascination and energy that it is now not clear that they deserved. So, why?

 As these future anthropologists dig deeper it becomes apparent that humans in the 21st century were a fatally flawed species and this goes a very long way in explaining their extinction.  Did I not mention that these anthropologists will be a completely different species, arrived here from another planet not too many decades after the humans gave up the ghost?  Well, now I have.

  And, this came about because observers from various places in the greater Universe had been watching Earth and the humans for a very long time.  It was, by then, very obvious that humans had a number of traits that didn't favor their long-term survival. For starters, they were inclined to be violent, not merely towards other species, but toward other humans as well.  In fact, in looking at the entire span of human history, it was one of the most persistent and consistent traits that humans displayed.  They just couldn't resist killing each other...and they spent vast amounts of time and energy getting really good at it.  One might even say it was their 'genius'.  Now, why would a species devolve in that way, especially in view of the fact that it would almost guarantee their sooner than later extinction?  It seems so perverse, doesn't it?

  Well, it most definitely IS perverse.  And, we are also seemingly unable to do a damn thing to change it. The Council of Elders--in Kwakiutl mythos, the Beings Who Sit at the Top of the World--has sent a series of messengers.  In fact, there have been at least SEVEN major ones and countless lesser ones.  All of these messengers have presented the humans with essentially the exact same message: be kind to each other.  It's not complicated.  I mean, of course, you can step all over it with intellectual bullshit discussions, but it remains the same in every case: just treat each other with respect and even kindness, if you can manage it.

  How hard can that be?  Well, for those fatally flawed humans, it was apparently IM-FUCKING-POSSIBLE!  

  But, why should that be such an insurmountable stumbling block for a species with such astonishing capabilities?  These supposedly 'most intelligent' apes seemed utterly incapable of doing this one very simple thing.  And, as we know now--from our long distance perspective--it did prove to be a challenge that the humans simply could not rise to meet.

  They just had to keep hammering on each other.  It was hard for some humans in that time to watch, and it was the cause of continual heartache, sadness and finally their demise.  So, come on....there must be a good reason why a clearly gifted species of the Mammalian family, could not act in a way that would support their thriving.  I mean, to do the opposite of what one knows will keep them safe is perverse.  It's a means of committing suicide.  Clearly.  But the question remains: WHY?

 And, if you think I am now going to tell you the answer to that ultimate question, then you will be disappointed.

Because, I just do not know.  And, if you have an answer please do share it, because we are on the threshold of extinction.  If we keep doing what we're doing....i.e. making war, trashing the planet and practicing a deep form of trance-like sleep-walking, it will be the last chapter of human history that we are currently writing.  

Our epitaph:  They Did This To Themselves

Tuesday, August 3, 2021



  So, here we are, looking down the gun-barrel of a fourth surge of Covid-19....and now its not just a deadly virus, it is an even more deadly virus, on steroids, because the large reservoir of unvaccinated people has given the virus the opportunity to morph into the so-called, 'Delta variant'.  It is terrifying some epidemiologists with how readily it is transmitted from person to person.  Some are calling it the pandemic of the un-vaccinated. And, as one looks at the correlation between the soaring infection rates and the parts of the country that have resisted getting vaccinated, it becomes clear that this is an apt way to describe it.

  Over 630,000 Americans have died already.  That, as previously noted here, is over 200,000 MORE than all of those who died during World War II.  The rapidly accelerating death toll has apparently been little noticed by the people who are still insisting that the virus is a 'hoax' and that the vaccines are part of a nefarious government conspiracy to implant nano-bots, in your bloodstream.  These tiny machines will trace your every move and allow the government to completely control your life.  

  When pigs fly....

  The sheer stupidity and the mental dysfunction of true believers of such a conspiracy is almost too vast and abysmal to comprehend.  But, then, we're living in a time when a lot of people have let go of any connection to the idea that there are such things as actual 'facts' and there are facts that have been scientifically PROVEN to be 'true'.  These people subscribe, apparently, to the idea that a fact is what you say it is.  If you think it is 'true', then, by God, it is.  This, of course, plays right into Trump's hand as he plots his return to the Oval Office.  He wants to be the source for what they know and what they believe...and, it will bear little resemblance to anything that the rest of us know is The Truth.  

  Okay, what is The Truth?  Well, let's just do a quick survey of issues.  For starters, it's irrevocably TRUE that Donald J. Trump lost the 2020 election.  Even Moscow Mitch McConnell now admits that.  Not only did he lose it, he lost it by a margin of 7,000,000 votes....way beyond something that could be understood as being 'close'.  Over 60 court cases have established that the election was above board and accurate.

  A second major fact....a GIGANTIC truth...staring us in the face: science is valid when it is approached with respect, honesty and rigorous discipline.  Scientists devote their entire careers to the search for 'truth'. They are held to extremely high standards of proof when they present their findings.  So, when Phizer and Moderna say that their vaccines are 95 and 94% effective, they are not just making that up. And, now we have the ultimate proof that they are correct as we watch poor, deluded people crying for the vaccine as they are dying. "I was so stupid. I should have taken the damn vaccine."said a father of five as he lay dying.  Others beg doctors to give them the vaccine and the docs have to tell them it's just too late.  This truly is a pandemic of the un-vaccinated.  About 99 or 98% of the new Covid cases that are now threatening to overwhelm hospitals in Florida, Missouri, Louisana and other under-vaccinated states....are the unvaccinated.  They are committing suicide by listening to the lies that continue to pour out of Fox, OAN, NewMax and social media.  

  These liars are actually killing people by the thousands. Donald J. Idiot doesn't give a fart in a hurricane that this is what is happening, as long as it renders the country vulnerable to his conspiracies and his lies.  He has every intention of regaining power, and he'll clearly not stop at doing whatever his feverish little brain thinks will get him there. 

  My wife has a massage therapy practice of some 33 years.  She has at least seven long-time clients who refuse to get vaxxed.  The excuses are inane and pathetic.  One person claimed that Biden was threatening them that if they didn't get vaxxed, ".....they will pay for it.".  So, this poor soul took that to mean that the government was going to demand their money if they refused to get the jab.  Well, that's another case of taking language literally when it was meant metaphorically.  Those who refuse to get vaxxed WILL indeed pay...many of them....but it won't be money they lose, it COULD EASILY BE THEIR LIFE.

  I am about done with excuses like, "Well, it hasn't been fully tested yet." Are you shitting me? It has been tested on millions of people across the globe and it has proven beyond any doubt that these vaccines are not only highly effective, they are also very safe. So, let's be clear: you are willing to die on a hospital ventilation machine because you think the government is out to get you.  Maybe you will live to thumb your nose at all of this. Sure, it could happen.  But, what if you are one of those who have a bad trip with Covid, and end up on that ventilator, begging a doctor for a cure that is far too late.  How would that feel, eh? 

The front line in the war against Covid-19 Delta
You do not want to be here.