Uncommon Sense

September 18, 2021

Lies and Truths

Filed under: Economics,History,Politics,Reason — Steve Ruis @ 12:57 pm
Tags: , , ,

Consider the following quotations:

“(T)he question of their necessity (trade unions) is really superfluous. As long as there are employers with little social understanding or a deficient sense of justice and propriety, it is not only the right but the duty of their employees, who certainly constitute a part of our nationality, to protect the interests of the general public against the greed and unreason of the individual; for the preservation of loyalty and faith in a social group is just as much to the interest of a nation as the preservation of the people’s health.

“Both of these are seriously menaced by unworthy employers who do not feel themselves to be members of the national community as a whole. From the disastrous effects of their greed or ruthlessness grow profound evils for the future.”

“For in politics, as in other fields, the use of economic pressure always permits blackmail, as long as the necessary unscrupulousness is present on the one side, and sufficient sheep-like patience on the other.”

“Otherwise he (a nascent politician) runs the risk of either having to change his former position on essential questions, or, contrary to his better knowledge and understanding, of clinging to a view which reason and conviction have long since discarded. In the former case this is most embarrassing to him personally, since, what with his own vacillations, he cannot justifiably expect the faith of his adherents to follow him with the same unswerving firmness as before; for those led by him, on the other hand, such a reversal on the part of the leader means perplexity and not rarely a certain feeling of shame toward those whom they hitherto opposed. In the second case, there occurs a thing which, particularly today, often confronts us: in the same measure as the leader ceases to believe in what he says, his arguments become shallow and flat, but he tries to make up for it by vileness in his choice of means. While he himself has given up all idea of fighting seriously for his political revelations (a man does not die for something which he himself does not believe in), his demands on his supporters become correspondingly greater and more shameless until he ends up by sacrificing the last shred of leadership and turning into a ‘politician’; in other words, the kind of man whose only real conviction is lack of conviction, combined with offensive impertinence and an art of lying, often developed to the point of complete shamelessness.”

“If to the misfortune of decent people such a character gets into a parliament, we may as well realize at once that the essence of his politics will from now on consist in nothing but an heroic struggle for the permanent possession of his feeding-bottle for himself and his family. The more his wife and children depend on it, the more tenaciously he will fight for his mandate. This alone will make every other man with political instincts his personal enemy.”

Comments of the Trump era or on our current politics?

Actually these are attributed to Adolf Hitler, in Mein Kampf, which he wrote in 1924. He was by no means done creating himself, so his opinions may have changed over the next twenty years. It is hard to say.

Many people refuse to read this book, as they assume it is all lies. I argue that were it all lies it would have had little traction with the German people. Yes, there were plenty of lies and misconceptions and errors of thought, but there are also many observations that seem as true today as they were a century ago. Hitler also has a disarming way of admitting he had been wrong, many, many times, but that may have been a ruse to establish a position of “I may have been wrong back then, but I am dead right now.” Again, hard to tell. It is rare to get into the mind of a ruler, so books such as this one, Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations, and a few others are worth reading.

September 16, 2021

Fact or Fiction: The United States Are Controlled by Satan-Worshiping Pedophiles Who Run a Global Child Sex-Trafficking Operation?

This sounds like a SNL skit or an article for The Onion, but according to a newly released survey, 15 percent of Americans agree with the false premise central to the QAnon movement that government, media, and financial worlds in the United States are controlled by Satan-worshiping pedophiles who run a global child sex-trafficking operation.

The finding is contained in a Public Religion Research Institute study released last Thursday based on interviews of more than 5,000 U.S. adults in March.

Polling that relies on agree/disagree questions can overstate the extent to which respondents actually hold such beliefs, but the survey nevertheless underscores that the allegations of the QAnon movement have been embraced by a significant number of Americans.

In the survey, 23 percent of Republicans agreed with the statement. By contrast, 8 percent of Democrats and 14 percent of independents agreed with the statement.

Well, those data would be concerning if you assumed that the respondents are serious. Currently I do not.

Americans currently contain a large component which wishes to throw a monkey wrench into “the system” as it currently is, and that system includes the all too haughty polls conduced by “pollsters.”

For example, I feel that political polls turn our elections into contests, the most used term is “into horse races.” Consequently when I receive a phone call or an email message asking for me to share my opinions, I decline. “Thanks, I don’t do polls.”

A less passive response would be to answer their questions and give the most effed-up responses one could dream up and this is what I think is going on.

This is, I suspect, in response to the government using lies and propaganda to “control the population” to the point that it has little to no credibility left.

Take the UFO issue as an example. We now know that the government/military set up programs to obfuscate, lie, and mislead the public over and over and over. When this was finally admitted, was anyone really surprised? Were you surprised?

The lying has become so brazen that politicians will say one thing yesterday and the opposite today and when this is pointed out to them, they shrug “Fake news!” We’ve been getting gaslighted by our own government for so long it no longer causes outrage or even draws comment.

The Apostle Paul vehemently said, in his own writings (we think), that “I am not a liar!” Apparently back then, being a liar had consequences. Now it seems to be only a qualification for becoming a politician.

Footnote on Irony It is now recognized that fear is the strongest lever in the propagandist’s toolbox. So, why was the lame excuse used in all of those UFO sightings, that the public wasn’t ready for the truth. I can’t think of any better lever for the ruling class to use than the fear of aliens. Turning human politicians into “Satan-worshiping pedophiles who run a global child sex-trafficking operation” seems peanuts compared to what one could claim to be the “alien threat.” Imagine the fears: They eat human babies! (They must be atheists.) They claim to have proof that their gods exist! They want to move here! They are fleeing a way more powerful alien species! Their penises are enormous and their sexual appetite for human girls is unbounded! . . . and on and on.

Controlling that narrative would be easy. The “authorities” could spend money up the yin-yang to deal with the alien threat. Military contractors would be sending their neighbor’s kids to prestigious colleges, they would be so “rolling in it.”

Funny they didn’t think of that then, but maybe their new “transparency” on the issue is just the first salvo in such a campaign, finding that the old levers aren’t as effective as they once were.

September 2, 2021

GOP Crocodile Tears Over Taliban Haul of US-Built Military Equipment

There hasn’t been this much hand wringing and pearl clutching in the GOP since the Mr. Potato Head controversy! The Taliban collected a massive haul of U.S.-built military equipment, owned by the Afghanistan government, by the way, not us, and the Republicans are losing their minds. We have just equipped our enemy with the latest and greatest war-making equipment! Argh!

Calm down, idiots. I know it is a struggle, but do try to put your thinking caps on first. (You have to take the dunce caps off first, otherwise the thinking caps won’t fit.)

Now, we were quite unsuccessful in training the Afghans in their army (ex-army?) on how to use this “modern” equipment. What makes you think the Taliban are going to master the intricacies of that equipment being trained by the people who didn’t learn about it in the first place?

But, okay, let’s say the Taliban found instruction manuals on the Internet, had them translated into Pashto, Dari, Uzbek, Turkmen, Balochi, Pashayi, Hazaragi, and Nuristani and have taught themselves how to use that equipment. The other thing to consider is these things were made by Americans for our own American military, consequently they were built around the primary American construction principle of planned obsolescence. They are going to need repair technicians, spare parts, and a lot of ingenuity to keep that stuff running, even in the short term. I assume you noticed the Taliban are using AK-47s as their basic field rifle. The reason for this is that they still work, even though that rifle was designed in 1947. So many were sold and are still available, along with spare parts, that they can be depended upon for many more years. Think Taliban-owned Abrams tanks will still be working in two years? in one year? I don’t think so. How about fighter jets? (Right. . . . )

Basically, Afghanistan is not a threat to the U.S. or our allies and would not be a threat if we flat out ignored it. What . . . but, but, but won’t they train terrorists? Maybe, but they don’t exactly have the best terrorist training facilities. Theirs are certainly not anywhere near as good as Pakistan’s or Saudi Arabia’s. The 9/11 group apparently did most of their planning and training in Germany.

Terrorists don’t need Afghanistan as a training site and Afghanistan has real problems it needs to address. Outside of opium traffic, Afghanistan doesn’t have an economy. The best it can do is to allow its citizens to create subsistence livings and even that is going to be difficult. As the U.S. was pumping billions of dollars into their economy over the past twenty years, the population exploded. I doubt whether subsistence farming or herding can support a population that large, which means there is trouble ahead for any Afghan government. There is no tourism, native industries, native crops (other than opium poppies), mining opportunities that translate into population-wide prosperity. Every country that has tried to extract minerals or other natural resources from Afghanistan has found out the reality. There is no government per se. You “negotiate” with local “officials” (aka warlords) and strike a deal for which there are no courts to enforce it nor any police to protect it and your assets. You are at the mercy of the demands of the locals and if you complain too much, they will just take your operation over. So, how many resource extraction companies are lined up to get them some of that, do you think?

I think the Afghanis have earned to right to be left alone and I think we need to carry that to an extreme. Leave . . . them . . . alone . . . and allow them to create whatever society they wish without foreign help or interference. There is no danger, other than that we create by meddling.

Instead of Expanding Circles of Concern, Republicans Circle the Wagons

I have been, philosophically in an case, fairly close to the Stoics as long as I can remember. Recently I decided to bone up on Stoicism to see if this were still true (it is). I recently ran across this statement in my studies:

The Roman Stoic Hierocles spoke of our “circles of concern.” Our first concern, he said, was our mind. Beyond this was our concern for our bodies, for our immediate family, then our extended family. Like concentric rings, these circles were followed by our concern for our community, our city, our country, our empire, our world. The work of philosophy, he said, was to draw this outer concern inward, to learn how to care as much as possible for as many people as possible, to do as much good for them as possible.

Clearly Heirocles would never be admitted into the Republican Party. He sounds more like the Democrats of 20 or so years ago, but those Dems are long gone, replaced by Corporate Democrats. The GOP are doing the exact opposite to the stated desire of those Stoic philosophers, they are trying to build politically gated communities in which to live by their own set of twisted rules.

Corporatism is the abject enemy of the sentiment described above and will be the downfall of us all. It seems that all societies/cultures rise and fall, so there will need to be a cause of our fall, to be declared well after the fall is obvious. Our ability to see such things beforehand is zero to less than zero.

The modern Republican Party is ruled by ideologies centered on “I’ve got mine” and “I owe you nothing.” These, of course, contradict the ideals of the founders of the Constitution who felt that individual citizens (and groups of citizens) had to yield up some personal liberty for the greater good of the entire enterprise. They referred to “civic virtue” to describe such actions. So, the FFs would have looked at getting vaccinated in a time of pandemic as a civic virtue and would be all for it. In fact, George Washington required it of his soldiers during the Revolutionary War. (If not, our army would have been wiped out due to smallpox.)

Modern-day Republican professional athletes, who said “I’ll do anything to be able to play professional sports” two years ago are saying “I’ll quit rather than get vaccinated” now.

This surely must be the direct opposite to civic virtue, taking freedoms rather than donating ever so slightly to the commonweal. The opposite of virtue is vice, so I coin a new term “civic vice” to describe this idiotic behavior. These people are unwilling to give an inch to be a member of the group we call citizens of the United States of America. Their only recourse is to leave as we should not extend any of the benefits of citizenship to people who betray the basic foundations of being a citizen of this country. They should not receive the protections of the law and military, they should not be allowed to use public roads and other public facilities (sports stadia, buses, street cars, etc.). They have become one of those they have despised. They have declared themselves to be “illegal aliens” of the most despicable sort. They siphon off the benefits of citizenship without contributing to the common good.

It is time to expel these illegal aliens as they have renounced their citizenship.

September 1, 2021

You Can’t Publish the Truth!

Filed under: Politics — Steve Ruis @ 8:20 am
Tags: , , , ,

I can’t state this any better than these quotes from somewhat recent articles in The Guardian and thinkprogress.org.

“Until recently, the Department of Justice has failed to prioritize the investigation and prosecution of white supremacist violence – treating it as a lesser threat than so-called “eco-terrorism”, which has cost zero American lives. Shortly before the attack on the Capitol by a mob that included active members of law enforcement, FBI managers disavowed a 2006 bureau intelligence assessment warning of white supremacist infiltration of police agencies and refused to participate in a congressional hearing to examine the issue. An FBI intelligence report issued after the Capitol attack substantiated the findings of the 2006 assessment.” (Source Two Decades After 9/11, The Real Threat To The US Is Our Own Far Right by Harsha Panduranga, 9-1-21)

* * *

“But when, in 2009, the Department of Homeland Security reported that white supremacy is the US’s biggest threat for domestic terror, it was met with harsh criticism. Conservatives blasted the department for defining terror threats too broadly, instead of focusing on potential Islamic terrorists. Then-House Minority Leader Rep. John Boehner (R-OH) was one of those who berated DHS, saying that they weren’t focusing on the real threats the US faces:

“‘[T]he Secretary of Homeland Security owes the American people an explanation for why she has abandoned using the term ‘terrorist’ to describe those, such as al Qaeda, who are plotting overseas to kill innocent Americans, while her own Department is using the same term to describe American citizens who disagree with the direction Washington Democrats are taking our nation. Everyone agrees that the Department should be focused on protecting America, but using such broad-based generalizations about the American people is simply outrageous.’

“The report was titled “Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment,” and it named white supremacists, radical anti-abortionists, and a few “disgruntled veterans” as most susceptible to recruitment by extremist groups, or to harboring resentment that may lead to domestic terrorism. DHS stressed that, during recessions, these threats go up, and law enforcement should be on the lookout for such extremism.”

“Sec. Janet Napolitano ended up withdrawing the report and apologizing to veterans who felt they’d been called out, stressing that the threat was limited to a very small number of veterans.” (Source Republicans Blasted Obama Administration For Warning About Right-Wing Domestic Terrorism by Annie-Rose Strasser, 8-7-2012)

Gosh, the Republicans took offence at the terrorists in their own ranks being called out. Gee I wonder why?

Was anything stated in 2009 and 2006 not the truth? Apparently not. So, the GOP is on record as opposing the truth any time the truth is in opposition to their interests, which now seems to be almost all of the time.

August 29, 2021

Learning from Others

I just learned that little Costa Rica has handled the COVID-19 pandemic very much better than we have here in the U.S. How is this? Costa Rica made a commitment to public health and through various initiatives has created the situation that Costa Ricans have a longer life expectancy that do Americans.

Costa Rica also had the uncommon sense to add a fourth branch of government to the one they modeled after ours. This branch, which is non-partisan, runs all of the elections. They schedule debates, set the rules, etc. No gerrymandering in Costa Rica.

But we don’t learn from good example or bad examples, because they are from other countries (Others, shoot them, shoot!) and they are trumped by American Exceptionalism. (We’re #1, we’re #1!)

We are also being dumb and lame when it comes to public policy. That is not by accident. Those who have gotten fat off of the current system do not want any competition, nor do they want any opposition, so more liberal voting laws? Nah. More sensible public health policies? No way! Honest elections! No chance, it will put too many party employees out of work.

August 22, 2021

Make Earth Sacred Again

Note—It is Sunday Sermon Time again, boys and girls! S

The title above is a proposed solution to greedy capitalists processing everything we need to live into profits. The Medium.com post was “Make Earth Sacred Again” with the subtitle “Reverence for Nature could stop Big Money’s destroying the world.” (Note I wish these people would stop saying “destroying the world/planet.” It is us they are destroying, not the world. The world will still be spinning on this same path long after humans are all dead.)

I have to assume that some sort of Native American religion is going to be involved in such an effort, because the dominant religions in the U.S. today don’t seem to possess this attribute.

Devout Christians often do say foolish things like this, “the Earth is sacred; we have the stewardship of the entire planet on our shoulders” and, my favorite “life is sacred.” (No, it is not.)

First “life is sacred.” Really? Says who? Certainly not the God of the Bible, responsible for killing millions upon millions of humans and at one point 99.99999+% of the plants and animals in the entire world.

To show you how far we have come from our hunter-gatherer roots as a family or at most a small tribe (<100 humans), consider this: is your life sacred? Sure. How about your spouse and children, your immediate family? Yeah, right on! How about your neighbors on your block? Well, kind of, I guess. How about all God-fearing Americans? Yeah, damned straight. How about Canadians? Well, I guess? How about Mexicans? Hell, no! The Taliban? The Chinese?

Basically, the farther a person gets from being a part of your family, by being adopted or born into, the less sacred their lives seem, no? So, since our hunting and gathering phases, we have changed not at all in this, other than in the capacity to know that other people exist quite a few kilometers away (and farther away). They are still “others” and are categorized as such, and they are not on the same level as you and your family. Moving back to the “Make Nature Sacred Again” bit . . . was it ever sacred? Certainly not to any of the imported Americans. One could argue that many native Americans had a concept like this but that also might just be a way of expressing what they knew to be pragmatic: take care of your environment and it will take care of you.

In my native state of California, archeologists dug up immense mounds of mollusk shells near the S.F. Bay. What they finally concluded was that a tribe of Native Californians would move to the area and eat everything in sight and then would move to another location to do the same there. While they were gone, the oyster beds and mussel beds recovered so that when they came back years later they could do it all over again, and being pragmatic, they always discarded the shells in the same place, which grew to the size of small hills. Not exactly careful husbanding of nature, but not totally destructive, either.

In the New England states, the Native New Englanders were careful to husband their crops. They would burn off the weeds and shrubs in controlled burns which encouraged grass and trees to grow and deer and other game to congregate to eat their produce. The Native Americans and the deer and whatnot ate a lot of mast, nuts from the trees, and whatever grew in the layer at the base of the tree (mushrooms, etc.). By being careful, they could make it through even a harsh winter, by losing a few pounds before things harvestable started to grow again and deer and other game came looking for the grasses and mast they could gorge upon in their hunting grounds.

Then came the “new” Englanders. Told that the streets were “paved with gold,” usually in the form of being able to hunt deer and moose out your back door, and harvest nuts and wild fruits a short walk away, more than a few “Christians” set up lodgings there. They didn’t do controlled burns and objected when the natives did. They over hunted, over fished, and over harvested and, within just a year or two, the entire regional system collapsed.

And the reason they did this is they believed their fucking God “would provide.”

The Native Americans new that the land was to be taken care of if they wanted it to take care of them. They thanked their prey when they shot a deer and used every tiny bit of it to honor the sacrifice of that animal. The Anglos, on the other hand, slaughtered millions of bison to provide lap robes for rich English people.

This solution to our existential problem will not work because the concept of sacred doesn’t exist in the American mind, especially the Christian mind. And there is no vehicle, that is no religion, that enough people subscribe to that can implement that concept. And, even if there were, the fucking greedy capitalists would allow it free rein, as it would hurt their bottom lines. They would mobilize the Evangelicals against the “pagan religions” that could save our asses and that, would be the end of that.

Whatever happened to the inventive capitalists who looked to the future and anticipating change, embraced it to make new profits. Today’s capitalists have no creativity, no imagination, and are sitting where they are like the buggy whip manufacturers when automobiles began to take over, wringing their hands and using their fortunes to prevent anything from changing. They, like the buggy whip makers before them, will have no luck in those endeavors. The future belongs to the prepared.

August 21, 2021

What “Today’s Conservatives” Really Want

I am not at all sure that conservatives still exist, certainly not the conservatives of my youth, but the label is still bandied about, so I will work with it. What do “today’s conservatives” really want?

Recently someone said that conservative Americans want to have decent lives. They want to work, worship, raise a family, and participate in public affairs without being treated as insolent upstarts in their own country. Gosh, might these new conservatives have something in common with today’s liberals and progressives? Gee, I wonder what it could be?

Often as not the 1950’s are mentioned wistfully as such an age.

In the 1950’s, again often as not, the nuclear family (no, not that nuclear) had a male “head-of-household” as breadwinner, a stay at home mom, and wholesome kids who walked or bicycled to a decent school.  I say “decent school” because back then we didn’t know there were “good schools” and “bad schools” to choose from. You went to the same schools your siblings, and often your parents, did.

So, what went wrong?

You can lay in the lap of then conservatives most of the wheels coming off of this blissful state: Ronald Regan presided over a huge shift in stay-at-home moms to the workplace. Women went to work in droves in the 70’s and 80’s because one income didn’t hack it anymore. But, how come? Why were incomes no longer sufficient to raise a family on just one? Over the last 50 years. American worker productivity has gone up and up and up, but wages barely at all. Why was that? It is called “wage suppression,” boys and girls, a conservative effort that paid big dividends for the rich. So, “conservatives” suppressed wages, making many, many women have to seek jobs to maintain a decent standard of living for their family and could, therefore, no longer be at home raising the kids. (Remember the “latch key kid” issue?)

Another feature of the 1950’s was the explosive growth of the suburbs. If you do not remember “sub-urbs” were areas outside of the urban areas we tended to live in. In the urban areas, we didn’t get to always choose our neighbors, but in the suburbs, all the white folk got to tell the black folk that “their kind weren’t wanted around here,” and the federal government helped! (Remember redlining in real estate and bank loans for housing?)

Today’s conservatives are aligned against the Democratic Party because the Democrats want to give away honest taxpayer’s money to undeserving people, people of color! Of course, if you add up all of the money spent to try to lift people of color out of poverty, it is a pittance when compared to the money dished out to white rich folks. And it is still a hallmark of “conservative” federal administrations. Consider the recent Trump Tax Cuts: in 2018, the average tax cut for the richest 1 percent was $51,000 and the average tax cut for the bottom 80 percent to be about $800. Of the total loss of tax revenue to the federal government in the first year, the bottom 90% of taxpayers, including you and me, got 6 billion dollars. The top 10% got 34 billion dollars, with the bulk of that going to the top 1%.

The money “given away to the “undeserving” (code for colored folks) is a pittance compared to the money given away to ordinary white Americans, which is a tiny fraction of the money given to rich people and major corporations (run by rich white people). (Which segment of the American populace has benefit from Social Security? Answer: OWLs, old white ladies. Black folk don’t live long enough to really cash in on SS.)

Those conservatives used a racist smokescreen to cover up the nature of their real aims, to make sure the rich got served first . . . and more than anyone else.

This is not to say that the liberals and progressives are much better. They are better but are also serving the rich first. As far as the rich are concerned, a good politicians is one who stays bought.

So, if you haven’t noticed, this is a racist country. Back in the 1950’s if you watched TV, you didn’t see people of color. The Kramdens didn’t have any black or brown neighbors. Neither did the Nelsons, or the other families shown on TV. The Ricardo’s got away with Desi being Cuban, but that was okay because he was an entertainer and we allowed “coloreds” to entertain us. But they didn’t have any black neighbors or co-workers, either.

This is the 1950’s that many of “today’s conservatives” pine for. None of those “dangerous people” in our neighborhoods. (If you didn’t notice, an extensive media campaign was waged to paint black people as violent and dangerous, especially young black males, so they could be locked up out of sight. If you weren’t aware of that look up the “New Jim Crow.” Oh, and many of the prisons full of young black men were privatized, so rich white people could profit from the scheme.

Let’s see . . . part of the wage suppression efforts was the defanging of labor unions, labor unions which were racist but making progress a little faster than the general public, so that was a “two-fer.” The decline of unions (again, people, not an accident or based upon anything they did) decreased worker power, so wages and working conditions, but not profits, suffered.

So, what do we see in the news today that reflects this? We see people acting out from their powerlessness. Their jobs are insufficient to support the American Dream anymore. (Remember the American Dream: a house, with a white picket fence in a good neighborhood with good schools . . . and white neighbors?) Ordinary American’s credit cards are maxed out trying to stay afloat. When I was young, ordinary people couldn’t get a credit card, they just weren’t available. Today, credit card debt, along with student loan debt (student loans when I went to school had little to no interest) are heavy balls chained to the ankles of everyone of us. We cannot afford to get out of line because we could be ruined financially, so no protesting for a union for us.

We see people proclaiming bizarre beliefs, expressing their powerlessness. They are basically saying “See, I can believe nonsense and you can’t stop me,” so “You can’t make me toe the line on masks and social distancing” is part of a general pattern. Jewish Space Lasers, fire them up! Vaccine micro-chips, yep, they are in there! Hillary Clinton’s child porn ring in the basement of a pizza parlor? Sounds reasonable to me! Overturn the electron results because Donald Trump didn’t like them? Sure, it is only right.

Modern conservatives are in real pain, fomented by faux conservatives. The people behind all of the changes bemoaned by conservative Americans today are the “conservatives,” who are not real conservatives as the only thing they are trying to conserve is their bottom line. They are super-rich wolves in conservative sheep’s clothing.

If you don’t believe this, ask yourself this: if an ordinary American were shown a night of Tucker Carlson and the rest of the Fox News goons, what do you think their reaction would be? They would be flabbergasted. They would blubber “But they are making stuff up, and lying. They can’t do that on the public airways!” (Remember the public airways and standards for news reporting? Done away with by conservatives.)

As I have mentioned before: I didn’t start the class war, the “conservatives” did. And now that they have won, they will work like beavers to keep it this way.

How to you like the world our “conservatives” created for us? This is their vision of the American Dream: profits over people, no opponents to their will in sight, ah . . . reminds me of the 1950’s . . . not.

August 20, 2021

We Lost in Afghanistan?

I see article after article using the phrase that “we lost in Afghanistan.” Apparently they are using a different definition than I use for the word “lost.”

Consider a playground scenario: some kids are playing pick-up basketball and the kid who owns the ball says, “I have to go home.” The other kids, disappointed, ask if he could leave the ball or if a friend could bring it over to him later. I never heard anyone say “Sure, take your ball and go home, that means you lost and we won!” The reason I never heard that is it doesn’t make any sense.

So, when we arrived on the scene in Afghanistan (the first of a long string of mistakes we made), the Taliban fought back a little here and a little there. Once their leaders realized we were assholes who would take out an entire wedding party to kill someone we thought might could be a Taliban leader, they suddenly became very hard to find. They would occasionally engage in a little action, but only when the odds were very much on their side and only to send the message “Don’t forget about us.”

So, the U.S. (Us!) finally realized that the Afghani government was playing us for the cash we provided, and we got out. (It only took twenty years when it was obvious after six months . . . because Bin Laden was in Pakistan and there wasn’t much of anything in Afghanistan.) President Trump cut the deal (he did do a few things that were correct) and President Biden pulled the trigger, honoring the deal. That the Taliban just walked back into the seats of power showed that the whole thing was just the milking of a cash cow and that the “good Afghani government” never was a serious entity; they were just in it for the money.

So, we took our marbles and went home (making more mistakes as we went—the Taliban punishes screw-ups and replaces them; our military and government promotes them).

So, did we “lose?”

If so, what was the game? I still don’t know what our objectives were/are. G.W. Bushes “democracy making” was a joke, the Quran doesn’t allow democracy. Did anyone know what the game was other than a dick swinging exercise for American politicians and our military? (They punched us in the nose and we kicked their ass!) Of course, many of the 9/11 perps were Saudis and I didn’t see any sanctions there.

And which were the teams? On this side we have the American military, occasionally supported by foreign partners . . . er, team members. And on the other side? The Taliban did not play the game of war with us. They played a little Hide and Go Seek. They played a little Find the Bomb We Left for You. They played a little Firefight in the Desert Night, but there were no battles after the earliest phases; there were no set pieces from which we might be able to determine what the effing game was.

This is called asymmetrical warfare, and it was definitely asymmetrical, although I am not sure of the warfare. If it had been a chess game, one player would see all of his pieces on the board, but his opponents pieces are not visible and neither is the opponent. The Players I saw were Swinging Dick Politicians and war profiteers. The money spent in Afghanistan was a pittance compared to the money spent inside of our borders to the military industrial complex. And now that there are no official wars on the books, I am expecting those greedy whiny MIC bitches to be whining about getting our next adventure in Foreign Diplomacy—Arms Style under way.

There was a loss in Afghanistan. We lost the respect of many servicemen soldiers for spending their lives so uselessly.

August 13, 2021

Bemoaning the Fate of Afghanistan

Filed under: Culture,Politics — Steve Ruis @ 8:43 am
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Now that the U.S. government has woken from its twenty year slumber (Hey, we tied Rip Van Winkle! We’re number one! We’re number one!) and realized we had no real business in Afghanistan, even liberals and progressives are wringing their hands because it looks like the Taliban, a group of Afghanis, is going to reclaim their country.

While so many of us are whining about missing the good old GOP back when it was run by sane people, maybe we should reflect a little and remind ourselves that liberals and progressives used to believe in self-determination.

You remember self-determination, don’t you? The principle that people deserved the right to form their own government without outside interference? Now, granted, many groups in Afghanistan appeal for outside help because they are losing their battles, I understand that. What I don’t understand is why anyone would volunteer to help them. If the “Afghani people” do not want the Taliban faction running the country, I suggest they organize and fight back. Asking a foreign country to fight for them is denying the whole country its self-determination.

If the U.N. were actually useful in a political sense, they should just seal the borders and have the Afghanis call out when all of the decision making is done. We could welcome the new government into the U.N. then and get down to the real business of petty meddling. Major meddling in the affairs of other countries just doesn’t work, except to line the pockets of war profiteers.

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