Sunday, October 17, 2021

Massive Cardiac Suckage

 


More news on the cardiac front for me. For those unlucky enough to stumble upon this post for the first time back on August 1st 2018 my heart suddenly went into ventricular tachycardia launching me into a cardiac adventure that didn't end until December of that same year. Unfortunately, I didn't come away free and clean. Turns out I possess a genetic defect that prevents my heart cells from producing, or correctly producing, a protein vital for proper function.

Four cardiac ablations, two different types of pacemakers, and a whole spectrum of different medicines later I have fought this condition to a standstill. That is until February of 2020 when I started being plagued with atrial fibrillation, or A-Fib for short.

Now A-Fib isn't as dangerous as tachycardia, and as one of my doctors likes to tell me people actually “live” with it to the degree it's effecting me. But A-Fib sucks high balls, especially since I live in a place that is hot and humid for a larger portion of the year as compared to being cool and pleasant. Besides sucking the energy to do any activity from my body, A-Fib would also send it into full-fledged flop sweats. So much that a few people actually stopped me in the hallways or my work and ask if I was okay.

Well, back in April I had a simple procedure called a cardioversion where my Columbia-based doctor shocked my defective heart out of A-Fib. It worked, at the time, and I felt great and went about my business. That is until the middle of July went my goddamned heart casually went back into A-Fib. Being deep into the summer at the time, at first I just thought the heat and humidity were taking its toll. That is until the first of August when the dipshit asshole- and I truly mean that- scheduler for my cardiologist in Columbia called to tell me that the doctor really wanted to see me “as soon as possible” but that his first available appointment wasn't until the end of that month.

“Huh...wait, what?” I said only thinking that my appointment with that specific doctor wasn't supposed to happen until the middle of October. The scheduler, being a dipshit asshole quickly cut the call leaving me wondering what the hell was going on. So I called back the next day with the intention of getting an appointment with the cardiologist's physician assistant or nurse practitioner, someone who I'm on better terms with than the Columbia cardiologist.

No, the scheduler went full prissy asshole acting like my request was done just to shit in his morning cornflakes. Still feeling like shit and wanting some answers before the end of August I make another phone call to the Advanced Heart Failure Clinic, a separate practice in the same location, and still got nowhere.

So instead I called the cardiologist down in Charleston and got an appointment just a week later. The Charleston cardiologist didn't waste time and promptly ordered another cardioversion that day upon seeing me. It was quite the surprise actually since I expected him to just kick the can down the road.

I was A-Fib free until September 8th went my heart again casually went back into it. Now I'm looking at a cardiac ablation, my fifth, scheduled for November 3rd here in Columbia. I'd rather have it with the Charleston cardiologist but it's easier on my family to have it here and from all my best information ablations of A-Fib are for more simple than the ones for ventricular tachycardia.

So if anyone out there was wondering what happened to me I simply didn't have the energy to try and dazzle you with my brilliance, or more accurately baffle you with my bullshit.

I'm still going to work during the week and performing the absolutely minimum in outside chores. That latter part isn't affected by the A-Fib, I just don't give much of a rip about the yard work.

As for the November 3rd ablation, hopefully the Columbia-based cardiologist will nail down the bad spots in my heart the first time. He screwed up on the first ablation back in August 2018 and his three others didn't relieve me of the tachycardia. It took the Charleston cardiologist to nail down the life threatening spot on my heart.

Unfortunately, my genetic condition means my heart will continue to be a dick for the rest of my life. Meaning I will continue to live under the threat of things like A-Fib and tachycardia as well as Cardiomyopathy. At least I have health insurance and access to several top notch doctors down in Charleston.

Yes, a heart transplant is a possibility but I don't want to think about that until I absolutely must.

Sunday, September 26, 2021

The Sum of All My Fears

 

At the start of the 2000s and the 2010s some assholes published books saying that those decades would bring unprecedented prosperity for the United States. Well we know how those years went but while browsing Amazon recently yet another dumbass has published a book saying the 2020s will see the United States return to its winning ways.

Yeah, as you can imagine given recent events and circumstances things are still highly fucked. What's worse is that all signs and portents suggest nothing will get better for a while. Just for shits and giggles here's my take on the years between now and 2028.

I sincerely hope I'm wrong.

Early 2022: The Orange Buffoon declares he is again running for president. His “Big Lie” is front and center in his campaign saying he was cheated in 2020 and will return to the White House to make America great again. Despite talk of his popularity waning among certain circles, his base begins to herald his return like the Second Coming of Jesus.

All possible Republican presidential hopefuls quickly go out of their way to announce their support for his 2024 run.

2022: Being that the out of the White House party almost always makes significant gains during midterm elections, I see the Republicans taking control of both the House and the Senate. Despite threats of immediately impeaching President Biden and Vice President Harris upon taking control of congress, I believe the Republicans instead will just spend the next two years throwing the government into gridlock. The Republican media propaganda outlets will blame the resulting gridlock on Biden/Harris to pave the way for Trump's 2024 campaign.

If any Supreme Court justices happen to die or retire after the midterms, Mitch McConnell will refuse to allow President Biden to pick a replacement. At that point I don't even believe McConnell will attempt to justify his refusal to confirm a new justice.

2023: This year will be a wild card. Should unexpected events favor Biden/Harris their chances at reelection will be helped. The state of the economy and foreign affairs will depend greatly on whether or not Biden/Harris has any chance. The Republicans will certainly make an issue of Biden's competence and any misstatement or mistake on his part will be amplified and repeated by the media until independents are convinced he can't handle the job. Vice President Harris will certainly be the subject of a smear campaign to paint her as a radical socialist.

The real question is whether the Republicans will go so radical to secure their insane base they will alienate the fairly moderate suburban women.

Expect Russia to launch a massive interference campaign so huge it will make the 2016 interference look insignificant.

The final wild card that could happen anytime between now and 2024 is whether or not Trump and his family members are ever criminally indicted. If the Orange Buffoon and any family members are indicted with such evidence as to make conviction a real possibility, Trump will cut a deal so fast that I wouldn't put it past him to do anything from voluntarily fleeing the country to turning on the Republican party.

Got to admit, I had come to believe that Trump would have been long since indicted on something by now.

2024: If the country remains locked in economic stagnation and/or stuck in some form of Covid quagmire Trump will return to the White House. Trump's earlier disasters will be carefully swept under the rug with his propaganda emphasizing his “success” of managing the economy. Americans don't have the attention span of gnats but in general do have about the same level of intelligence.

It can't be understated the level of revenge Trump supporters have simmering over what the consider was the stolen 2020 election. On the other hand Democrats as sure to be fighting among themselves with progressive most likely whining about how they are ignored and should break off to form their own party.

While it was only whispered about on radical right-wing websites and chat rooms, I see a real possibility of Republican brownshirts groups forming to prevent certain people from voting. During the 2020 election I saw numerous examples of Trump supporters in massive pickup trucks with huge flags flying behind them cruising around polling places. On the surface it would be easy just to say they were peaceably showing their support. But a person would be a fool not to think these activities could easily turn into intimidation tactics.

This will go along with voter suppression laws being enacted by Republicans.

I'd like to think that Democrats might take back at least one house of Congress to counterbalance a new Trump Administration. More than likely that's wishful thinking on my part.

With this being Trump's second rodeo, he will go straight to picking corrupt and unqualified members for his cabinet. I predict his Vice President will be Nikki Haley. Although, Trump will keep pushing Ivanka Trump into staged government activities to build her credibility for a presidential run. For years Ivanka has openly expressed an desire to be the first female president. What friction this might create between his vice president and his unofficial but preferred successor will be interesting.

2025: In 2020, Trump sincerely believe he had the Supreme Court in his back pocket and that they would side with him on the election cases brought before them. Since they didn't, I see a huge possibility that Trump will pack the Supreme Court with up to five extra justices. All certified toadies that will do whatever he demands.

I genuinely believe McConnell would go along with packing the Court. His reasoning being that since the Democrats talked about it after the 2020 election, he would do it. Yes, McConnell will still be alive and running the United States Senate. Remember, Strom Thurmond was kept in office even years after the old bastard couldn't put a five word sentence together. With Mitch they would go as far as inventing a portable life support system to keep him in the senate. If he does die, there are plenty of sycophant replacement available.

I easily expect quick Supreme Court decisions that will promote a genuine authoritarian/police state takeover of the United States. While this is going on the military will be purged of officers whose loyalty is to the Constitution.

2026: By this time I expect considerable civil unrest in certain American cities with Republican brownshirts and actual cops shooting African-American men and women. Trump will stoke these racial fires resulting in rioting that he will crack down on with heavy force. I actually see Democratic-lead cities being taken under federal control.

The 2026 midterms will essentially be meaningless. Popular Democrats that could challenge Republicans in most any office will be accused of something illegal disqualifying them from office. Economic data coming from the government will be fixed to express whatever Trump wants. Whether or not Trump has taken control of the independent news media is an open question. If not, his brownshirts will certainly be used to scare journalists into submission.

2027: By this point the very seams of the country will be coming apart with separatists movements taking shape certainly in California and the Pacific Northwest. Especially if Trump refuses to release FEMA disaster funds until those governors grovel at his feet or change policy. What makes this particularly dangerous is that states like California pay out more money to the federal government than they take in. Whereas most red states receive more federal money that they pay in taxes.

2028: Trump being an unhealthy old man has to die sometime. But if the bastard makes it to this year he can't run for reelection, or at least that what the Twenty-Second Amendment says. Should he reach this point I can easily see him trying to push the idea that he “deserves another term.” The members of his cult will certainly agree and punish anyone who opposes the idea.

Should Trump die during this term how his vice president deals with his politically ambitious family and the Republican party as a whole will be interesting.

Sunday, September 19, 2021

A Bad Case of Disillusionment

 


Got to admit, I'm dealing with a pretty big wave of disillusionment with the nature and behavior of the United States. No, this state of mind was not brought on by the Orange Buffoon, although he is more of a symptom of how things have gone wrong. No, I do not consider Joe Biden a failure, but events do seem to have moved faster than his administration has been able to anticipate. Long story short, things are still going to shit and I coming to think there is nothing the sane and rational people can do.

My one real criticism of President Biden is that he seems to be trying to play the normal game of American politics while Mitch McConnell and the rest of the Republican power structure have gone full kleptocracy/Authoritarian dictatorship. Giving the Son of a Bitch McConnell his due, the bastard has played corrupt politics like a master. All the while mouthing off asinine statements about everyone needing to respect the rules of the senate with a straight face.

If history ever needs a face to identify the individual who did the most to destroy the United States it will be Mitch McConnell. But I honestly can't say McConnell is the only reason for my disillusionment.

The majority of the people on the right of the American political spectrum are simply insane. Listing all the ways those people have lost their minds would take too long and I simply don't have the energy to rant about it anymore. Here's where I would normally say that I know there are good people on the right. But while they are out there, their numbers are vanishingly small to the point of insignificance.

My one sentence explanation for this situation is that right-wingers have become addicted to fear. They fear the “other” and want desperately a return to a white dominated America. They'll betray every facet of American ideals and principles to see that happen.

But never fear, the left of American politics is as usual lost and without a true game plan. To a far lesser extent, they are just as beholding to their money masters and their own antiquated behaviors. But given how American politics are run, they are the only reasonably sane people in the game.

Most of all, the young people of the country, those that will need to find the strength and knowledge to fix the problems seem adrift. From what I read, many have given up and surrendered figuring they will never be able to own a home, raise a family under the same conditions as their parents, or even retire.

Still rambling here but in a way I think the overall problem can be summed up in that the complexities of life in the twenty-first century have outpaced the intelligence of the general American public. We do not have the education, the energy, nor the ethics anymore to answer to the challenges we face as a nation.

I hope I'm wrong but as of right now and the foreseeable future I think we're massively screwed.

Sunday, September 12, 2021

The Backdoor to a Dystopian Nightmare

 


Way back in the early 1980's I remember watching Carl Sagan giving a hypothetical lecture on the nature of other intelligent species. Several of the illustrations he used on that episode were like cheat cards or cliff notes on various aspects that made up those hypothetical aliens and the nature of their civilizations.

Most of the made up “facts” on these cliff notes dealt with the chemical, biological, and physical nature of those species. For example one of Carl's fictional species were “electrovores” implying that they consumed electricity to sustain life. I can't describe how that concept blew my little mind, and still does. These cliff notes were included in the companion book to the series and if you have a copy of Sagan's Cosmos they're still fascinating even today.

Now Carl included a cliff note on humanity, listing the same information on it as the others. And like the others there was a short segment giving some details on our civilization. Mainly that the species was divided up into over two-hundred political entities, six global powers. In this same section it was mentioned that cultural and technological homogeniety was underway. In other words, the “intelligent” species of the planet was undergoing a type of global unification.

On a side note, in the same section our chances for long-term survival were also mentioned at less that fifty-percent per hundred years. Given the nature of the Cold War at the time and Carl's fixation on it as a threat, there was only the smallest mention of the destruction of the planet's biodiversity or climate change.

In the last few years my attention has drifted back to the homogeniety of our civilization. Forgive the implied American imperialism, but for years I didn't have a problem with the world more or less unifying into something like a United States of Earth. That is, a loose global federation made up of self governing political entities whose underlying framework revolved around democrat values and egalitarian principles.

My vague notions of global unification were essentially the ideals of a center-left vision of no person or group having a codified or economic advantage over anyone else. Inequality would exist with some being richer and some being poorer, but that the national and global institutions would attempt to referee the playing field and work to give a hand-up to those born disadvantaged.

Of course, the Cold War ended with a total crash and burn for the only other economic system that seemed a viable alternative to the wrestling tag team duo of democracy and capitalism. Okay, let me go ahead and clearly say I am not here to praise communism, it's dead and has dissolved into a stinky dust.

On the other hand in the years since the end of the Cold War, the tag team duo of democracy and capitalism has broken up with the latter now a legitimate threat to the former. It's a problem all over the world but particularly here in the United States the amount of money in a person's bank account generally means he or she are more equal than another with less money.

The situation has gotten so bad some of these rich folks openly talk about having more votes for elections than us common folks because they have more invested in society. Then there is this Republican/Libertarian fixation that corporations should be considered “people.” From what I learned that only was suppose to mean that they could be sued in court, not hold some position of power in society or representation in government.

This brings me to a concept that I had long since recognized but didn't have a solid idea about until I discovered a book by the British cultural theorist, Mark Fisher. Fisher had coined the term“Capitalist Realism” defining it as the widespread belief that capitalism is not only the only viable political and economic system but that it also now impossible to imagine a viable alternative. That since the fall of the Soviet Union this lack of an alternative to capitalism has a set a limit to political and social life with the effects reaching into education, mental health, and even pop culture and methods of resistance.

So you might be thinking just what does this all mean and how did the collapse of a discredited and evil system like communism screw over the liberal democratic world?

Well, it should be easy to realize that economic inequality all over the world, but especially here in the United States has grown considerably since the end of the Cold War. That this ties in nicely with the collapse of the labor movement here in the United States. Labor unions being the one strong and dependable counterweight to the power and influence of the rich elites who all always looking for ways to increase profit, even at the expense of the dignity and lives of their workers. 

With capitalism looking like the only viable alternative anything that even slightly differentiates from philosophy of increasing profits begins to smell like communism. Remember folks, good old capitalism of the late nineteenth century and early twentieth didn't have a problem with sending kids younger than ten years-old into dangerous factories and mines.

I think maybe the most insidious thing about Capitalist Realism is its effect on pop culture. Going real loosey-goosey here but since we've been left with no real alternative everything in our society seems to be viewed in a monetary value. Fisher writes:

Capitalist realism as I understand it ... is more like a pervasive atmosphere, conditioning not only the production of culture but also the regulation of work and education, and acting as a kind of invisible barrier constraining thought and action.

My takeaway being that as long as you can make a buck off something it's not only a worthy project but an admirable one. Take this idea to the extreme and I can see the justification of everything from driving up the price of insulin to outrageous prices and no-talent skanky publicity sluts making their fortunes selling sex tapes. (The Kardashians are the biggest but there have been others.)

The penultimate and most dangerous result has to be the belief that the government can be run like a business. That the privatization of essential government services can be beneficial saving the ever precious taxpayer from the burdens of having a decent society. Because of this mindset we now have for profit prisons where it can be argued that we have backdoored a return of slavery. Yes, the inmates have committed crimes against society but to use them in commercial ventures that make millions in profits for stockholders and CEO's is just “slavery with extra steps” to use a term from a recent television show I like.

In the long run the United States may have defeated the existential danger of Marxist-Leninist communism, but the price for the win was the soul of our society. Another way to look at this is that we have bought our way into a real dystopia. 

 


 

Monday, September 6, 2021

You Can't Fix this Level of Stupid

 

We are so doomed!!!!

 

 

 

 In all the annals of stupid that I have been exposed it was this week that I saw something so strange that it defied all my expectations. I stumbled upon the meme to your left accidentally as I was wasting time at home watching the grass and weeds in my yard grow. See the fun part is seeing my neighbors drive by and give me dirty looks for not having a seamless carpet of deep green in my front yard.

After discovering this meme, I was enthralled at the interlocking levels of stunning stupidity and brazen incomprehension that one person can possibly endure and still be able to remember to breathe. I say that because Jesse here is legitimately saying that he could do the following:


  1. That he could force his way into an international airport with just a good old American AR-15 while carrying his sick son.

  2. That they could then force their way onto a fully fueled plane with a pilot.

  3. That this pilot would then fly across the Atlantic Ocean and land in Italy.

  4. Then Jesse would fight his way off the plane, with his son and then to a hospital.

Those were just the most basic steps since anyone who has read something more that the infantile propagandize drivel of your average conspiracy-plagued Fox News host knows you can't readily hijack a plane like you might a car driving down a deserted street. Now I'm sure in Jesse's armchair commando mind he's probably recruited a number of like-minded individuals all armed themselves to carry off his plan. Hell with a big enough circle lunatic friends he may even have a pilot friend or two.

Still though, Jesse's statement was so bleeding stupid I have heard five-year old kids who still believe in Santa say things more rational. After my initial discover I looked Jesse up on Twitter. It's almost like Sean Hannity and Laura Ingram made the nasty and the child they created was exponentially more crazy than them both.

Enough of the stupid, lets now explore the incomprehension. Jesse here is proposing that he would marshal all his God-given American manhood and using his AR-15 force his way to Italy so his child could be saved by socialized medicine. Yes, good folks whether Jesse know it or not Italy, along with all other Western nations, has some form of evil, communistic, socialized medicine. While the United States is still mired to privatized medical system where insurance companies decided whether or not your family will go bankrupt due to a sick family member. Remember Sarah Palin and the evil of rationed health care she talked about during her bizarre time as the Republican vice president nominee?

Rationed health care has existed for as long as insurance companies and many times they have allowed darling grandmothers to die because of some cost/benefit analysis.

So this begs the question, instead of attempting an improbable hijacking wouldn't it be better to just work together and bring some form of socialized medicine here to this country? 

 Unrelated to Jesse, here's some more stupid. This good American is praying to Donald Trump to save him from the police. This country is doomed, get out if you can!

 


Sunday, August 29, 2021

The Paradox of the McMansion Versus the Tiny House

 


Few things signify the gross excess and outright waste of our current society like the modern suburban home. There are entire industries catering to the American middle class desire to own the biggest house possible along with a yard that usually must look like a miniature copy of an aristocratic English estate. The only purpose for this waste of resources and abuse of the land is for a shallow pursuit of status among equally superficial individuals.

The term “McMansion” was in fact coined to signify a house considered ostentatious and lacking in architectural integrity. The lack of architectural integrity coming from the addition of secondary spaces that are essentially empty voids, internal areas of the house that serve no purpose other that an attempt at decoration. The best example off the top of my head would be a house I saw once with a foyer that had twelve foot ceilings. Right next the ceiling were three windows that had absolutely no useful purpose. Yes, they let in extra sunlight but with the ceilings in the rest of the house the normal distance from the floor the “grand foyer” as the homeowner described that space was utterly ridiculous to me.

The same goes for another McMansion I visited once during a pool party my family had been invited. The party had already started by the time I arrived with my wife talking to the hostess and my son playing in the pool with other kids. The husband of the hostess came over and greeted me and for some reason ushered me up to the master bathroom so I could change. Yeah, everything about that house screamed useless space designed to give the impression of a grand palace from the outside and inflate the importance of the owners inside. But it was the master bathroom that defied normal standards. The total square-footage of the bathroom was easily greater that my living room. Now it did have and oversized bathtub and a extra-large shower stall, and of course a toilet but the overall floor space was ridiculous.

It has been my observations that these McMansions tend to breed a contempt in their occupants towards anyone else not perceived to be of equal status. My recent post about the utter panic that erupted in local McMansion dwellers around me about the proposal to build affordable Section Eight housing in the general area shows how much humanity has to be surrendered just to protect things like a “grand foyer” and a master bathroom larger than living room.

It's a given that one of the worst problems we have here in the United States is the lack of affordable housing. Billions of dollars are spent annually to build these suburban McMansions and other houses that sit just under this definition. But actual homes that the poor can afford, allowing them to break the cycle of poverty, are exceedingly rare jewels. Such people are supposed to hide away in Sections Eight apartments deep inside the darker corners of cities whose only real purpose to allow rich developers to get even richer off government subsidies.

Even when something like Sections Eight housing is available, there are still legions of homeless men, women, and families floating around our streets like human flotsam in a vast ocean of apathy.

Here's where my bewilderment at our stunted society reaches critical mass. A type of residence that has become popular among some people are called “Tiny Homes.” These structures have an internal space ranging from one-hundred square feet to around four-hundred. But they can still provide the comforts of larger homes like full or even queen-size beds, a bathroom, along with a kitchen and living room.

While houses greater than four-hundred square feet don't technically fit the description as a tiny home, going up to eight-hundred square feet to accommodate families don't break the spirit of the idea.

Here's part of the problem as to why we're not solving the affordable housing problem by building whole villages of these tiny homes.

First is the obvious zoning issues, especially when upper scale neighborhoods just happen to be relatively nearby. The right-wing, self-righteous zealots in my area lost their tiny minds at the idea of affordable housing in the form of apartments being built. I can only imagine what they would think if a subdivision or two made up of Tiny Houses were proposed.

More than likely since Tiny Houses are required to be mounted on wheels, like trailers, they would be equally upset saying such residences draw crime, drops in property values, and overburden already crowded schools. Now it would be great if Tiny Houses could be built on permanent foundations but there are scores of vague regulations that prevent the creation of such villages. I'm sure some of these regulations stifling Tiny House creation have solid, legitimate reasons but I can't help to think some of them exist because typical homes owners fear their property values being hurt. And from my experience absolutely nothing defines the perspective of the vast majority of middle class Americans than how something or someone might hurt the property values of their houses.

Sliding slightly into the metaphysical but McMansions to me violate basic decency and shows an almost malevolent disregard for other human beings and the environment. The amount of resources in lumber and wiring and plumbing used to build such monstrosities could have gone to several much smaller houses. And as for the beautifully green lawns the chemicals used to create and maintain them have severe environmental problems that literally flow all the way down to the ocean.

I love how conservative suburbanites lament about “the good old days” were so much better all the while forgetting that their grandparents homes had a square-footage running around fourteen-hundred square feet at best. Full disclosure here, my current house (money pit) is a hair or two under twenty-one hundred square feet and I pretty much despise it.

Going full metaphysical, along with bleeding heart, high spending liberal. But with millions of folks in America going homeless, I can't help but think that with Tiny Houses we are looking at one facet of a solution for huge chunk of our society's problems. I actually believe we should build entire villages of Tiny Homes and give them away to homeless families, at first, and eventually down to single individuals. Payment for these homes would require troubled individuals to be part of anything and everything from mental health counseling, job training, substance abuse treatment, and basic upkeep of their homes. That failure to actively participate in treatment and training and upkeep would mean eviction.

The problem with my proposal is twofold. First being the mindless conservative reaction at the idea of their precious tax dollars being wasted on some liberal program. These God fearing, gun-toting real Americans have priorities and helping those less fortunate is just socialism.

The second being the mindless liberal reaction that the poor are just victims and shouldn't be expected to focus on their recovery and development. There's a great documentary on YouTube about Seattle's response o the homeless crisis is how it is actually hurting the people they are supposed to be trying to help.

I simply do not believe the conservative conceit that poor folks are lazy, useless parasites looking to suck the life blood out of hardworking folks. Yes, I'm sure on an individual basis such people exist but there isn't any perfect answer when it comes to humans and the institutions they create to help govern society. Personally I'm sick of our society both ignoring our problems and refusing to do anything constructive to help fix things.

One of the reasons I question the very nature of whether or not humans are an intelligent species is our inability, or even desire in many cases, to solve the problems of poverty that has been plaguing us since our ancestors decided to give up the hunter-gathering life.

Poverty breeds suffering for which all the other corrosive agents spring forth to eat away at a functioning society. For me more importantly, Americans disregard for fellow Americans makes everything we say we believe not just a lie, but a dangerous delusion. For if whole poorer segments of our population can be written off as lost causes, there is nothing stopping the rich elites from abandoning the middle class folks if they become inconvenient.

That may have been a little too abstract for some folks so to make it clear, Jeff Bezos and other billionaires don't give a fuck for you suburbanites living in your McMansions. Bezos wants to build space colonies off Earth and every other billionaire and multimillionaire I've ever heard of has a Doomsday plan that at a minimum gets them out of the country should it collapse.

You McMansion folks keep ignoring the growing poverty here in America and one day the angry mobs could be all over your green lawns with torches looking to cook you and your family. All the while Bezos will be in orbit and the other rich folks will be in their luxurious underground bunkers sipping champagne.

Tuesday, August 17, 2021

Things Never Seem to Change

 


Usually I have a strong opinion whenever the subject deals with the military or politics. Combine the two and if someone asks me a question on them I can easily give a fairly accurate history lesson on how we got there and how the situation reached its current point.

My one caveat on saying I can give a “fairly accurate history lesson” is that in a country filled with experts on sports statistics and what Hollywood celebrity is sleeping with whom, I excel at knowing the past. I admit that's not hard given the idiocy running rampant among the fat, distracted masses. But by all appearances as common layman go, I'm pretty good if not respectable at understanding just how stupid and self destructive our species can be.

That being said, I'm pretty much at a loss in trying to give an opinion on the final result of the United States involvement in Afghanistan. Was the “war” worth the cost in national cash and lives? Should we have withdrawn earlier say during the last years of the Second Bush Administration or Obama's? And finally, the big question is was President Biden correct in withdrawing troops now?

If the objective of invading Afghanistan in 2001 was weeding out terrorists, then I would say yes. The leader of Al Qaeda, Osama bin Laden was being allowed refuge in the country by is Taliban buddies. After the invasion, The Taliban went running for the hills and Al Qaeda was ran out of the country. The fact that Osama slipped out of the country and spent years living in plain sight in Pakistan is a whole other issue.

But as for occupying Afghanistan and spending several trillion dollars on building its military and infrastructure, our involvement was such a catastrophic failure I'm sure it will take decades if not a century to understand its scope.

Here in the United States during all those years on involvement many called for a national health care system, A massive infrastructure project to fix...well everything that has been ignored for decades. It literally pains me to think of the Americans that money could have lifted out of poverty and put on a path to self-sufficiency.

But no, the war hawks and leaders on the right screamed. Such projects here in the United States would be disastrously wasteful, it would be far better to cut taxes and let the poor bootstrap themselves out of poverty. As for the crumbling roads, collapsing bridges, schools that look like ancient ruins, not to mention out of date airports, the rickety electrical grid, and numerous other national embarrassments well, those on the right either want to ignore it or say it can wait.

I don't mean to beat George W. Bush again, but there was no way in Hell he would have pulled out of Afghanistan. That was his one confirmed “win” and with him calling “Mission Accomplished” way too early in Iraq, he wasn't about to screw himself over.

Poor President Obama, I've read enough to suggest he wanted to withdraw the troops but politically it would have been suicide. He was barely able to end our active involvement in Iraq but had to recommit when Isis formed and about took over that country.

So we were stuck in Afghanistan, at least it was a slow bleed. But while most of the American money went to training and arming the Afghan military, some did trickle down to the common folks. Schools were built, roads paved, and a population that was living in the Middle Ages got a glimpse of modern life. There was gross waste and extravagant corruption but I have to believe some Afghans were helped.

So after twenty years President Biden pulls the plug and in less than two weeks the entire country falls apart with the Taliban once again calling the shots. Dammit, I know it was almost a certainty that the Afghan government would fall but to collapse in two weeks is something from a bad international spy thriller.

So was the Afghanistan Conflict worth the money and effort? My gut feeling is no. We did accomplish the initial mission but with the Taliban now back in charge the coming months and years are going to be just as problematic as it was before 9/11.

We did help a lot of common folks but the endemic corruption of the government and large portion of the population eager to remain in the Middle Ages, we only put those who worked with us in mortal danger.

My little essay here isn't meant to be thorough, people smarter than me will be debating this clusterfuck for decades. From the moment Bush gave the order to invade Afghanistan, there were undoubtedly thousands of decisions made that set us on the path we find ourselves now. But given Afghanistan's past history with invaders the end result would have certainly been the same.

Here's some idle speculation, but given the level of untapped resources in Afghanistan and China essentially next door, it will be interesting to see if they can resist falling into that trap.