This is Bolton’s and Pompeo’s “Collateral Damage”

On the evening of June 20, 2019, President “BMT” (bottomless moral turpitude) had planes in the air ready to strike Iran.  I guess there is an angel that stung him, prompting him to recall the strike.

The people that will unfortunately die in any strike and assuredly the following war, will be like the caption photo, of a young lady in Tehran (who I do not know….her photo was available on “Unsplash” ).  So is this the kind of person we are willing to send our tax dollars to turn to carbon, explode her body and scatter her parts across the streets?

Iran is Persia, one of the oldest civilizations on Earth, and one of the proudest.  I got to know a few when matriculating in my undergrad days at UT Austin, where at that time, the Shah was still ruling, and many students, and military men, were studying here in the USA.  I became best friends with one guy, who was married to his Iranian bride, a princess of the former dynasty.  They became my best man and maid of honor when I married my late wife in 1971.

Although they split later, and his wife remained in the US and he returned to Tehran.  He is highly educated, the son of a scholar, and went on to found his own business, and travel a large part of the world – except the US, as he could never get a visa again.  I have never seen him since 1972.  But God was willing, and he and I have been able every few years to have a phone call and “catch up” a little.  I last spoke with him January 1st of this year, as he called to wish me Happy NY.  You see many Iranians know much about America, and never bought into the “death to America” slogan of the radicals.  Most Iranians would love to have a peaceful relationship with the US, but they are captives of the extremists.

The question is, are we also captives of the extremists?  What percentage of Americans want a real war with Iran?  Probably many want to once again show “we can’t be pushed around,” but most of those are also the ones who gave no blood or misery to the still ongoing wars running close to 20 years now.  I remember the mass hysteria of those who wanted to attack Iraq, and how they cursed and spit on us anti-war protestors, when all we wanted to do was prevent what we KNEW would happen, and it has.

So now America, what are we? Have we not learned? Do we understand also that a war with Iran will be one we will NEVER win, but in the process may destroy the nation of Iran and turn them into another Syria?  Iranians, including the majority of peaceful, educated Persians, will turn against us if they haven’t already, and the fight with Iran will be one to the death of untold numbers on both sides, as Iranians will fight to the death, every last one, just like Americans would if our homeland was attacked.  Iran is not Afghanistan or Iraq, so we best figure out now if we are captives of his majesty BMT and his neo-cons, or if we want a world that seeks true peace.

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Bottomless moral turpitude.

Bottomless moral turpitude (BMT), the name I will henceforth apply to that which possesses the Oval Office.  To clarify this statement, I choose to use “that” in lieu of the grammatically correct “who”, and carefully chose the word “possess” for good reasons, which I leave the reader to interpret.  Frankly I am not sure this man is human, therefore the choice of “that.”  As for “possess,” picture scenes from The Exorcist, spinning head and “stuff” going everywhere.

Each day I think that tomorrow can bring nothing worst than what we have already seen issuing from BMT’s mouth, but lo, not so fast Dr. Watson, let’s not jump to conclusive assessment just yet.  So yesterday we all heard with our own ears, BMT clearly state that he would be open to receiving information on any political opponent from a foreign entity.  (Of course today as usual he is back tracking, implying we are all idiots for believing what he actually said.)  He said this while sitting in the Oval Office, no less.

A few days ago, in Normandy, with the gravestones of so many of the youth of the Greatest Generation in the background, he spoke against his political rivals in his usual grand, devilish manner, and in doing so violated a basic premise of our political rulebook, of keeping politics on America’s shores, not on foreign soil.  Once again proving he has no moral compass whatsoever.

Then there is his cozying with Vlad.  And his love affair with North Korea’s most cruel ruler.  And friendliness with China’s premier.  All the while putting down all those who bust their tails and risk their lives daily to keep this Nation safe.

Way over 10,000 lies and counting.  I read somewhere that he lies more than you wash your hands everyday.  As for me, I wash my hands a lot.

BMT is just that, without any bottom in the void of his vileness, the depth of his ignorance and narcissism.  BOTTOMLESS.

What blows my mind still though, is that everyone who talks about BMT in the news, including Fox, speaks about him as if he is Not an f-ing psycho.  His actions and statements are treated as if he is somehow a normal person with extreme views and characteristics.  NO!  He is a lunatic of the first order and by that very condition must be removed from the Office.  Unfortunately the Founding Fathers (otherwise known as smart slave owners) did not envision a lunatic being elected within the system they set up to protect sparsely  populated, slave-owning agrarian states (where black people were counted as 3/5’s of a person), called the Electoral College.  Today, thanks to the continuing gerrymandering by racist whites in many states, the lines have continued to be moved to mitigate the votes of person of color, and promote the electoral votes and hegemony of whites.  It’s bad enough that this has given us people like George W. Bush, veritable war criminal, but now look what we have.  There is a way to remove BMT from office – the 25th Amendment – but it could never be invoked in today’s divided climate.

So we will continue to listen and watch BMT sink even further day by day, doing his utter best to take many with him, including his base, who may one day find themselves asking, like Germans of 1947, why they did that.  While the outcome of this mess is not predictable, it is surely true that BMT will be replaced regardless in a few years.  The problem that we “woke” folks are well aware of, is that by then the world may be so f’d up that it will take years to unwind and correct things.  Unfortunately some things cannot be undone, such as the change in our climate, which BMT and his cohorts are gleefully allowing to continue without any checking of our country’s contribution to global warming.

Let’s just pray, miracles do happen.

You are under our control.

I wonder how many of us…as in the USA (and maybe in most developed nations)…have the question pop into our minds, say once a month, “What became of __________?”  Fill in the blank with a news story that you were following with interest or just concern, that was on the billboard of cable news just a few weeks ago, or even last week, that seems to have suddenly fallen off the earth?

Cable news and its ability to deliver instantaneous “reports,” governed by the commercial money god, hits us with the “latest” developments…..”BREAKING NEWS,” as one major network says several times an hour….in its race to be the first to “tell us” and capture our fragile and very, very, very short memory cells for that moment, to listen with rapt attention, and then they bet, we will also listen to their commercial sponsors messages.

Now, sure, I am guilty as hell of falling for this presentation, but I do try to turn off or walk away at the commercial breaks, just out of spite if for no other good reason.

But what bothers me is how we, the great populaces, allow cable news to tell us what is on the “news marquee” for today and this week.  What I want to know, is why they are no longer reporting for example, and a good one, on the suicide rate of American military members and our veterans.  Tell me when you last heard about this in the news, unless perhaps on a PBS story.  Or, what about the on the ground war details in Syria?  Many months ago this was the daily story, so what happened? Did it just become so gruesome to our senses that “they,” who control the news marquee, just decided to not punish our sense of guilt any longer?  Is that for them to decide?  No, but I think it really had to do with that being “old news,” babies dying by the hundreds became old news.  I could go on and on, stories I was following that now I have to go search for “current” information, and good luck with that.  Another example, “caravans of rapists, drug dealers, and very bad people” coming from the south…..oh my, where did they go, did they stop? Are they now “here” and stalking our streets while we sleep?  Oh, bullshit.  But I am concerned about the families being torn apart, children ripped from their mothers and “disappeared.”  Why did this story suddenly become non-news? We know why.

Every week, as I am sure you have noticed, the Marquis de Marquee pushes a few buttons and we are now in another world, where all past news stories have been deleted…oh sure, we can recover them of course, ha, ha…and informs us that NOW we will have senses inundated with the stories on the big sign the Marquis has selected for us.

I guess what bothers me about all this, is that it is not that the stories we follow with concern are not able to be found with some digging, but that the Marquis de Marquee is controlling the attention of most of us, and we aren’t even conscious of it, and do little or nothing to protest!  So, each week – really now each day with Trump – there is a new set of news stories, and for the time being, Trump is the Marquis (“de Sade”), toying with the public and the world every new day, as if it is all his little basement play room.

The bright side is that from what I observe, the younger generation has pretty well tuned out cable news.  In fact within a few years cable news may just perish, an ignoble death, for it could have done so much better had it had a conscience.  I can’t wait.

 

Amigo, my boyhood dog.

I now reside in a rather large suburban apartment complex, and most of the residents are much younger, ranging from college students, on up.  There are a few of us retirees, but not many.  I think there are more just around the corner at the “55 and over” complex.  I prefer being in a representative slice of our society rather than being around a bunch of  “old-folks” needing assistance or therapy, but I may be there someday, who knows.

There are many dogs here in the complex, mostly pets of mostly younger people, singles or married couples without children from what I can tell.  There are some decent dog running spaces also, and most people do pick up their doggie “doo” as they should….though not all, as there is always the lazy-ass person who finds rationale for not disposing of his or her dog’s droppings.  Heh guys, it attracts flies, and those try to land on my food when I am eating outdoors! Good dog, BAD dog owner!

When I see these dogs I am taken back to memories of the two dogs I had in my life at different times.  One my wife and I had, Sassy, and then my first boyhood dog, Amigo.

I will write about Amigo this morning, and Sassy one day, when I will include our cats also…..all family members of course, and all deceased long ago.

The grainy old picture is of myself with Amigo.  I was probably about 9 or 10.  We were actually out hiking on this tall rocky “mountain” (hill) on our ranch in the Texas hill country, along with my folks and my little sister.  I wish I had more photos of Amigo, as he was a cutie.  From his appearance one can easily tell he was a “mongrel,” but he truly had the best of all his ingredients.  Fearlessness, tenacity, intelligence and perfectly crafted to be my little friend.  He and I were inseparable when outdoors, and he stayed outdoors as he was a country dog.

Everywhere I went on our 640 acre ranch, he was there with me.  We fished together, we hunted together and played make believe games together.  I did not usually have a playmate, as my sister was younger, and I had no close neighbor boys, and my one cousin, Eddie, who was like a brother, I only saw occasionally.  So it was me and Amigo, braving the wilderness together, like pioneers stretching our reach to each new horizon.

Our ranch was one section (640 acres), which translates to a square mile.  Now for a 9 year old boy’s backyard, that ain’t bad!  We roamed all of it, and also the river bounding one side.  As any ranch in that area, we had lots of white tail deer, turkeys, and every kind of “varmint” and bird you can imagine, and a few snakes, but thank goodness most of the rattlers seemed to prefer areas beyond our space.

Our land also had large live oak bottoms, actual forested with these wonderful and many ancient oaks, and around the bottoms were fallen warriors, making for great make believe playgrounds.  I would imagine them as ships, airplanes, you name it……it was all part of my daily play dreaming.  And Amigo just played along as I enacted the various roles of my dramas.

Amigo loved to hunt, and we were deadly on lizards in particular!  There were droves of green lizards and tree lizards, and they were all fair game when we were on the hunt.  Fortunately most lizards sacrifice their tails when caught, then grow them back.  I used to see a lot of funny looking new tails.

Amigo also found great sport in attacking armadillos, which were plentiful, leaving their rooting trails in the deep leaves of the bottoms as they moved about searching for grubs and “armadillo food.”  “Migo” had perfected his attack on the clueless fellows, and upon sighting one in the daylight, he would go full bore at it, hitting the unsuspecting creature in the side like a cannonball, tumbling it, then trying to bite into its soft underbelly before it could right itself.  Occasionally he was successful, but usually not, as these little guys could run like lightning themselves, headed straight back to the hold entrances to their underground lairs.  Amigo would not be defeated in his quest so easily, however, as he would go into the hole trying to get ahold of their tails to drag them out.  Well the armadillo was not much smaller than he was, and once in their hole, with their long claws to dig into the earth, it would take a grizzly to get them out.  I was glad Amigo was seldom successful, as I liked the funny looking creatures, and occasionally would catch a baby one to inspect.

I don’t recall how long I had Amigo in my life, time has no dimension at that age, but probably about 4 years I think.  We got him as a pup, watched the little bundle of fur grow, and finally had a full blown Amigo, who adored me, and I likewise.

I went to elementary school 40 miles from where our ranch was.  I rode the bus everyday, along with my sister, to and fro, and it was a long ride, and daily I was glad to see the gate to our ranch where we exited the bus, nearly the last ones to get off.  However, one day around noon, my mother unexpectedly showed up, and found me, and said she had something to tell me.  She took me to the car, and as we left the school she began to talk.  When we were just out of the town’s limits, she said, “Joe Harry, Amigo got hit by a pickup and is dead.”

I felt immediately my whole world cave in.  I knew very well what death was, being a country boy, and having myself brought death to birds and varmints….not sure I had killed my first deer yet.  But to hear my buddy was now dead, oh my god, it seemed like the end of the world to me.  I sobbed the entire 40 miles home.

Mother had recovered Amigo’s body from the highway where he had been hit, and placed it near the house, close to a spot where we could bury his remains.  I fell on the body and cried my heart out, and swore up and down I would find who killed him and do the same to them!  I was totally devastated.

In the Texas hill country, a dog that is running around usually will not survive, because any rancher regards the animal as a threat to the sheep and goats, especially when they are having offspring.  Amigo ran loose, and when I was in school apparently he wandered off seeking his own excitement, and found it by taking a baby lamb.  He was laying on the country highway, gnawing on the carcass, when a rancher came along, saw him, and decided to run over him.  Usually these dogs are shot, but either way…..

It took me a while to get past the trauma, and my father, who wanted a dog around to “guard” the house at night, decided to get two half grown pups.  There were much larger dogs than Amigo had been, but I took to them, but for some reason I never developed the bond that I had with my friend.  I think I was afraid of being hurt.  Probably this was a good defense, as a couple of years later we picked up and moved to California, having to give up the two dogs.

It would be decades later before I had another wonderful doggie in my life.  But even today, as you should be able to discern, Amigo was and always will remain my buddy.

 

Grocery Grazers and “Samplers”

This morning I am writing about something I just do not understand, that I see everyday when I visit an upscale grocery nearby.  So, I am going to wax a bit in the vein of a curmudgeon now, so I ask forgiveness in advance.

Now I understand “grazers,” people who just seem to have an impulse – perhaps  involuntary – or in the inner cities and poor rural areas, those who are just in fact very hungry, that causes them to reach out and take a little of a food item as they pass by.  Grapes seem to be easy pickings, because heck, who can tell if one or a dozen grapes go missing from multiple stalks?  Those who are not truly hungry though, who graze, all I can do is a “SMH.”  Personally I would not eat anything sitting out in the open with hundreds of hands and breaths passing over it, but well, that’s just me.

It’s what I am calling the “samplers” that I just don’t understand.  Upscale markets invariably have sample tables, with hired hands to stand there at a small counter or table, ALWAYS at a pinch point that mires grocery carts and old people like me just trying to get to where I know exactly I need to where awaits exactly what I cam to purchase.  I just do not understand people who are so attracted to free bits of a food, or a wine, or coffee (the usual culprits).  However, I did a tiny bit of looking on the web about marketing ploys stores use, and along with routing people in certain ways through the store, and creating mazes to confuse and slow you down so you will spend more time “seeing” stuff you don’t need (but often will buy, right?), the free food samples apparently do work in boosting brand sales or total store volume.

It’s not that I am not open to new experiences, no way, as I am often one going against the grain, doing what someone of “my kind” is not expected to do.  However, when it comes to food, I know what I like, what I don’t like, and I am not going to just put something in my mouth because it’s free.  I do look around some when shopping, and I certainly know that packaging imagery can be attractive.  It’s amazing how various gourmet type items come in almost an infinite array of “cool” looking packages, colors, designs, all intended for us to reach out and touch it.  I have sort of immunized myself against that, but not completely, much to my own chagrin.  “I am still weak.”

Maybe it really is not my bewilderment about people who clog up the aisles awaiting there tidbit samples, that is maddening.  Rather it’s the traffic jams caused by these sampling stations.  I just want to get in, and get out, ok?

On the other hand, maybe I am creating in my mind a problem (for myself) that is totally fabricated.  Maybe I just need to realize, I live among other human beings, and I have to “accommodate them.”

I will remember that today when I am in the store, trying to figure out how to circumnavigate a clogged aisle.  I thought when I gave up my car and commuting all that was behind me, but…..people are everywhere it seems.

 

Death by blogging…

For my avid readers (all three of you?), no I am not hinting of anything related to my mortality.  But, “One never knows, do one?” (Fats Waller).

After the attack on the WTC (9-11), my ability to write creatively just suddenly stopped.  I found myself, voluntarily, caught up in the anti-war movement, and creative writing just seemed to take a distant place in my ranking of importance.  For years I felt this way, and in spite of attempts over those years to break out of that quagmire, writing attempts that went nowhere, dampened by the continuing sickening news of death, mutilation, PTSD, civilian casualties and displacement, war, mayhem and terrorism (let’s remember one man’s terrorism is another man’s overt strike, e.g., a drone with Hellfire missiles on a wedding)…..well, I just could not bring myself to begin to write about something that was not serious, and yet I was just sick of “serious.”  Do you feel me?

Then, not too long ago I began to feel like I must force myself to sit down once again, and write.  Life is short – I finally had to admit to myself.  So, I started this blog, and just in the last six months I have self-published a few small non-fiction books (available on Amazon).  But once again I am finding it so hard to push away the thoughts and images of the slings and arrows of our political, and generally societal at large, landscape.  There seems to be no news outlet that is not engaged in debating the daily shifts in this terrain…because it is so important….but god don’t we all need some fresh air?

I was born about four score years after the American Civil War, and until 2016 I could never have dreamed the foundation of what it means to be “America” would begin to fracture again. I thought for the longest we might be finally escaping our past divisions and angst, coming together to address common threats like global warming or exploring space, feeding the starving and “all that.”  How wrong I was.  Now we are literally in a “civil” civil war once again…there is no way to deny that, and anyone who scoffs at that I say, “you better look deeper.”  (Note that when I say “civil,” I am not over looking the bloody violence committed by domestic terrorists.)

Our country is being consumed by the “perfect storm.”  A consummate ego-maniac was elected due to the amplification of factors that individually would not have resulted in such as travesty:  egotism of the Democratic party machine, an outdated electoral college system built on gerrymandered districting, neglect of our heartland and our once burgeoning industrial cities and the thousands of small towns and rural folk, the failure of our education system to teach citizens how to critically analyze information, xenophobia inflamed by poverty of large swaths of America, outright racism, the selfishness of the major social media corps, the degenerate state of politicians within in D.C., and the failure of government to protect against cyber attacks by malevolent actors (e.g., Trump’s best buddy, Vladimir Putin).  Had any one of these factors been neutralized, we would not be in a civil war today.

Now we are faced with a highly divided nation, so divided it has wrecked marriages and families, just like the bloody Civil War did, and I fear it could easily get much worse.  We have a man occupying the presidency who knows no limits, recognizes no restraints of law or norm, will do absolutely anything to remain in power and have All the power, who has infected Washington with a fast growing carcinoma.  It is obvious he will use every trick in the book, supported by those who are too blinded by hate, or too greedy to care about the principles of our very nation.  He will not be impeached, and even if he loses the 2020 election (which certainly is not a foregone conclusion) he will not vacate the White House peacefully, for he knows prison and the collapse of his finances await him.  Inauguration day, January 20, 2021 may turn into another day of infamy for this country.

Notwithstanding all this bullshit, I will continue to blog – till death do us part – and give free reign to my mind, allowing it to roam as freely as I can given day to day matters, and moreover, abide in the firm belief that “the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.” (Theodore Parker).

Concluding, I know this nation will get through this.  We have met and beat all other fiends, and we will beat this, even though a large part of the fiend’s protoplasm is within our collective self.

 

The Near Future World – Part 2

Now days I have a lot of time on my hands, and have a routine of watching a movie each evening.  I also have a lot of time I use just thinking – some would say maybe I think too much…but then no one knows whether I am thinking or just awake, not thinking, right?  The last statement applies to every human being, and will one day apply to “robots” and other types of artificial intelligent (AI) “entities” (“beings?”), so this makes for a crafty segue to the main topic of this post.

I watched a film last evening called “More Human Than Human.”  It is a recent documentary that explores several facets of AI…and there are many facets now, and in the near future we will experience countless applications permeating each moment of our lives.  Several questions of ethics were touched on in the film, all quite valid concerns.  Being a thinker, I have come up with a few others that extend what the film covers, and perhaps one or two that my stimulated mind produced.  Here goes….

As with any human creation, AI in many forms is or can be used for good, but also for “bad” purposes.  AI already is proliferating military systems, and this will only increase exponentially.  So, it is likely I believe that one day our military (and “their” military) will not even have humans, or at most just an insertion of a small group, in the theater of battle.  In fact, once the shooting begins….excluding cyber warfare for the moment…and the robots and other AI are “released” to fight, will these weapon systems and fighting robots and androids just take over the entire war…..the planning, strategy and tactical ops?  So we human generals and sergeants just sit back on base in the clubs sipping martinis until notified we won, or suddenly find a swarm of enemy bots engulfing our relaxation?  The next question I have, is once the AI weapon systems become fully autonomous and have the capacity for high level war planning and execution, along with all the logistical subsystems, what if they decide to just turn on their “owners?”….or all humans?  Of course this scenario was considered decades ago, but I see no signs that anything is being done to inhibit this happening.

Here is another question? (I have no answers, just questions about this subject.)  Will robots assimilate extant religions, perhaps the dominant religion of their creative societies?  Certainly the creators can either set up conditions for teaching robots to learn ethics, “right from wrong,”  et cetera, but will it go further?  Will there one day be Muslim robots, Christian robots, Buddhist robots, and so on?  If a robot develops a sense of self-awareness, with the ability to feel “love” and other human qualities, why would it not seek out a relationship with the larger universe of reality?  But then what will be its reality?  Like human reality, each person has one’s own reality in the quantum (and Eastern spirituality) universe, so will each robot develop its “personal” relation with the “over lord” of its reality?

Also it is a given by all accounts that one day humans will cohabitate with, copulate and otherwise have robotic partners, and even marry androids.  In fact I suspect that for many robotic developers this is rather high on their agenda…the ultimate sex toy.  So then comes questions such as will robots be able to have human step-children, in-laws, and so on.  What about laws of property inheritance…..will robots be allowed to inherit estates?

Death and taxes:  the two sure things right?  So likely robots could live forever or just be upgraded and the “line” of that one robot series live forever, building on the experience and knowledge and wisdom of all its ancestors: truly standing on the shoulders of those who came before.  Will the passing on of a robot’s consciousness include all its negative, even evil or manic tendencies as well, or will there be a way to purge, to launder, its memory just to pass on the “good stuff.”  Taxes:  if robots are productive, will they be required to be paid and to pay taxes directly?  Deal with the IRS (for those not in USA, that’s our infamous tax collection system)?

Will AI increase drug addiction and suicide among humans, especially in the present and near future, due to robots displacing humans at the workplace?  This probably is already happening and we just aren’t tracking it.

Violent robots.  For years now there have been robot fighting contest.  Encouraged, taught, abetted and promoted for our youth especially to participate in.  Team sports for nerds.  This is just an extension of re-enactments of dinosaurs fighting to the death, right?  Since they don’t exist in reality and are just lizards or “old birds” then this is all great fun.  But what fundamentally is difference of such activities from Roman blood and gore in the arena, or dog fights in every urban area today?  In my mind, it speaks to the same primal psyche we humans carry, and which we need to recognize and control.  But now comes robots.  If robots can have all the qualities, more or less, that humans or even animals have, will there come a time when we have MMA to the death with robot opponents?  Since they are not human, then its all ok, right?  I think not.

So really we have to ask, will AI just infinitely expand our presently feeble level of enlightenment, perpetuating both our good and bad qualities, or will the creators….this young generation and successive gens…comprehend that they are in the god-seat, and choose the higher road, giving their robots the values that perhaps will save our planet, rather than exacerbate its present path of destruction?