I swear, it’s like half the civilized world knows the planet is falling apart, and the other 50 percent is oblivious, doesn’t care, or wouldn’t know what to do with that information if they had it.
I have an old, brilliant friend who I have known for nearly three decades. He nearly drank himself to death while we were in our twenties, and has since turned his life around and is a family man with a wife (who is as crazy as he likes ’em) and five chihuahuas. We were “punks” back in the nineties I guess, but I think it was our self destructive tendencies more than it was the injustices of the world that bonded the coterie that my brilliant friend was the head of. So we got down to The Dead Kennedys and The Clash, but our anger was an abstract. I was having a hard time establishing my own identity in those days-everyone who got near my friend got something out of being in his orbit. Even at his worst, when he was at his most pathetically drunk and incoherent, he drew us like the proverbial moth to the flame.
So as far as personal politics went in those days, I could not decide who was right about the human species-were we a group of cooperative apes who assisted and supported each other mutually, or were we a hierarchy where individuals flourished and were rightfully elevated above others by the strength of will, an idea, or an ability to gather capital? Left or right? Who were we at core? I careened between The Communist Manifesto and Atlas Shrugged as time went by. I was into some zero-sum shit for a while there. I switched from shirts to skins and back several times before I arrived at where I am now, which is to the left of Phil Ochs (kidding, of course). And at 48, I can safely say there I will stay.
My friend? I am sad to report the dark side has claimed him. I suppose I should not be surprised, because he had a distinctive, uncommon intellect that could easily look down upon a great deal of people with its raw power. I think that’s why he hewed right so hard, because his story is very bootstrappish in that he overcame odds to be where he is now and perhaps feels that anyone can do the same. I don’t know if it’s that simple, but that’s a bedrock theme for conservatives. They often fail to remember is how much help they got on the way up and the thing to do is pay that shit forward to the next soul who needs a hand.
Anyway, while I was on my latest Facebook jag, I drew his ire by mocking Marsha Blackburn and how she has her head in the sand as to how bad things are getting on our blue marble. I offhandedly referenced that the Doomsday Clock was at 100 seconds to midnight, a closeness to doom as we have ever been as far as the Atomic Scientists were concerned.
He hoped that I wasn’t taking their concerns as “science”. I replied of course I wasn’t, but that didn’t invalidate the points the group were making about things like nuclear war and climate change. We went back and forth and he said something startling to me; that the end of humanity will occur in a flash and no one will be able to do anything about it.
I guess that’s cold comfort in a world of uncertainty, but the truth of the matter, as you and I know, is the end of humanity is being hastened by processes in motion RIGHT NOW and if we don’t repent, we are going to end in that flash my friend mentioned.
But make no mistake, our destruction has been on slow boil for a while now; we are only recently getting smart enough now to be dimly aware of what we have really done to the planet. And perhaps that’s one reason why that clock keeps edging close to midnight because the news is bad, worse than we ever dreamed. And I am fully aware that the earth will shrug our species off and in a few million years sentient roaches will take our place-but the point is to preserve the planet for our crew for as long as possible.
The other reason the scientists worry is because of the proliferation of nuclear weaponry. Let’s see…we’ve got Pakistan and India getting hot about Kashmir, our wetbrained American president pulled us out of the Iran nonproliferation deal and in retaliation they have begun to enrich nuclear fuel to more refined levels, and now I see we’re gaming out nuclear scenarios that will not result in MAD. Yeah, right. I’ve long suspected the U.S. is also gaming out getting away with a first strike unanswered, but a limited exchange like the ones described in the article seems unlikely. I don’t think there is such a thing. It’s like that old movie from the 80s said: the name of the game is Global Thermonuclear War. There’s no other options-everybody dies in every scenario, unless perhaps we sit down and play some chess if we have a hankering for a contest.
The easy route is to do nothing and let our destructive ways claim us. But I believe we have a choice still. There’s so much work to do towards that. We don’t let the rope go slack because of a hard tug. We have to stop the brinksmanship now. Because that clock, however unscientific it is, is fucking ticking and we need to confront the existential challenges this species is faced with while we still have a minute and change left.
When my wife would ask me if it was in the realm of possibility that we would drop a fat man or ten on North Korea, I’d always confidently say that even Donald Trump has enough brain cells not to irradiate the peninsula. She still doesn’t believe shit that I say, because I blew the election call like everybody did(with the notable exception of Michael Moore). Anyway, she’s now an adherent to Murphy’s Law when it comes to politics. I can’t really blame her, given the fuckery we have witnessed over these last ten dreadful months.
I’m still saying that the odds are against us nuking the hermit kingdom, but there have been some subtle indications that potentially point to an attack in the future.
Twitler and Kim-Jong-Un have been very busy trading threats and japes since the inception of fucking moron’s tenure. It’s like listening to two lobotomy patients doing The Dozens. I blew it off because it didn’t take me long to figure out that Donald Trump was all hat and no cattle, a man unable to get the simplest things done because of his big fat made-for-KFC facehole.
In August, everyone had a laugh over President Humperdoo’s claim that he ordered the nuclear arsenal to be modernized. That modernization was begun under Barack Obama, but like a typical white supremacist Trump stole the black guy’s accomplishment. He tweeted that it was “far stronger and more powerful than ever”, an idiotic brag aimed at Un that was met with eyerolls from our arsenal’s keepers. So I shrugged, once again. Trump found a shiny, and like a child he would drop it when he found another thing that he could put in his mouth to explore the world with.
Lately, however, dribs and drabs in the press are giving me pause. Trump ordered bombers to 24-hour ready status, a move denied by the Air Force but officials left the barn door open on the possibility of it happening in the future. Then, as quick as you please, Chump signed an EO allowing the recall of retired pilots. Once again, the air force ambiguously claimed that it was not going to do that…right now.
But the strangest indication of all to me came out yesterday. I am a regular reader of The Raw Story. It’s a reliable liberal news catcher. And yesterday, they splashed a report that North Korea has biological weapons and has the knowhow to weaponize them.
I don’t need to tell you how this story goes if you were conscious for 9/11/2001. Or 3/20/2003.
But I said to myself that Raw Story wouldn’t peddle naked agitprop for war. But that’s exactly what they did.
They lifted the story directly from the International Business Times, a popular and powerful online news outlet that swallowed up Newsweek. Their story touted a Harvard study that concluded in a 46-page report that Un had bio-WMD.
Here’s where it gets weird. The IBT is affiliated with a kooky South Korean Christian group known as “The Community”. There are familial and scholarly ties to a David Jang, who like many Christians, would like to immanentize the eschaton. Nuking North Korea is considered by many to be an act that would bring about a third world war, which checks all the boxes as an end of the world scenario.
So what I guess I’m getting at is that this seems to be a plant to get people softened up to the idea that the problem of North Korea must be solved with a hammer, and quickly. It is quite surprising that Raw Story would publish the piece verbatim without critical discussion. But I guess it’s still the age-old problem concerning the mix of press and money; if it gets clicks and eyeballs, let it fly-even if it means doing the bidding of the gods of war.
Looking at you, Gray Lady.
My wife had MSNBC on this morning when I woke up. That’s the default station for background noise in the house.
It has not been fun to listen to (to the degree that any news is) because every day they broadcast stuff about Donald Trump. Sometimes they play him speaking.
I know several people who cannot stand to listen to the president’s voice. And these are no snowflakes, either. I think Trump’s chief of staff is one of them.
That voice makes them uneasy, sad, and angry because it belongs to a fucking grandstanding pathetic lying irritating moronic id-driven maniacal imbecile who loves the smell of his own farts that is utterly unfit to serve a free and democratic people. I am also one of these folks. I would have never guessed that the weird day would come when the mere sound of someone could do what Trump’s voice does to me. I avoid listening whenever possible.
Yesterday, this goddamned changeling of a “leader” was out throwing chum to some of his dumbshit followers (who should all be tagged and chipped for our safety) in Alabama at one of his “rallies” (which are nothing but an extended version of the Two Minutes Hate), after a long week of embarrassing America in front of the whole world by blathering on about how great we have gotten over the last 9 months, fearmongering about the perils of the world, threatening to drop a big one on North Korea’s ‘Rocket Man’ (I can hardly type this without freaking myself out about how mindfuckingly infantile the clownshoe with the football is), criticizing the Iran nuclear deal out of the blue, making jokes about socialism that are only funny in the fever swamp of conservative American patter, and a bunch of other boilerplate that he didn’t look over until it was time to talk.
During this gathering of the Duh-ggalos, he called for the benching or outright firing of sports figures who take a knee during the national anthem in protest of the way America treats its minorities, particularly its black ones. They were, in the president’s words, “sons of bitches” who disrespect the flag.
This is highly alarming rhetoric. I have always had a problem with some people’s need to defend a piece of cloth. Implicit in our national compact is the freedom to call the American government out when it is wrong. Hating America’s policies is not the same as hating America, but some folks cannot tell the difference. But anyway, symbol worship, and to a larger degree, nation worship are slippery rungs on a slide to real, actual fascism.
The question we are still trying to answer is this: is Donald Trump reading from the fascist playbook, or can he read at all?
It has not always been easy to decide what the true character of recent Republican presidents are. Was Ronald Reagan a senile fool, or a brilliant tactician who threatened to weaponize space if the Russians refused to negotiate? Surely most of you remember when we couldn’t decide whether George W. Bush was the dipstick hayseed scion of a powerful political family or an evil piece of shit who set America on its present course of endless war.
And so it is with Trump. Even after 9 whole months of pure uncut ineptitude people are still undecided as to whether or not he has any idea what the fuck he is doing. Yet every fucking day I run into the latest thinkpiece about Trump’s brilliant use of legerdemain. There is little more tiresome to read than this type of analytical twaddle.
I implore you: be done with this. I am not saying don’t be afraid of Trump; his reign is indeed fearsome because the country is in the hands of a dolt. But the last thing I am gonna do is give him credit for anything resembling clever.
Truthfully, Donald Trump knows only one thing rather well; how to get people to pay attention to him. I still think that even though he is behaving like a deranged, militaristic, fascist power-grabbing authoritarian, it’s not something he actually thinks about consciously. I know it sounds a little crazy, but it’s highly plausible that this is just who he is, and not the product of any intelligent calculation based on study of creating a political movement. He’s a moron, simply in tune with morons like himself. Morons need to be led, and they will believe anything you tell them if you pack enough of them together or get enough of them to watch the same TV channel.
Folks, the emperor has no clothes, save for a red power tie and a stupid baseball hat. He will never be a tenth of the president that he succeeded, and that is truly what drives him-envy, not brains. We should consider ourselves fortunate that Donald Trump isn’t anywhere near as smart as he thinks he is. Moreover, we should also breathe a little easier knowing he isn’t as smart as we think he is either.
The world’s most childish, heedless and mentally unstable leaders who happen to have very dangerous toys are locking nuclear horns.
Listen carefully. No one wins a nuclear exchange, really. I have intimated in the past that America is still trying to game out an unanswered atomic first strike. And I fear we may now have a “leader” who is interested in trying it live.
This is in the best interests of about zero people. Everyone knows that North Korea has been invariably singing the same hoary song for decades now. The names change (not by much), but the message is the same. It is: “We’re going to attack and threaten U.S. interests until I get (reactors, food, whatever The Jong clan has been consistently unable to provide for its citizens despite all of its highfalutin talk of juche)”. Sensible secretaries of state have tried to unclench the North Korean fist, with success not lasting very long. It is a stubborn Gordian knot.
It is important to remember that we do not oppose North Korea as a peer militarily. Only Russia has that distinction. True, their conventional military is rather large-they keep at least a million under arms. South Korea has about 600,000 with 15-20,000 Americans providing support. Our razor sharp technological edge, our communications and our expertise at logistics are force multipliers that the North Korean army severely lacks. If North Korea suddenly invaded the south, it’d probably smart pretty bad at first…tens of thousands of American and South Korean soldiers and many more civilians would perish in the initial thrust. But we have a bench, shitloads of artillery and planes and bases here and afar and we’d break the clenched fist’s knuckles rather quickly. Personally, I am not even sure that the North Korean army is good at anything but marching menacingly in step.
A brief aside, if I may. I’ll let you in on a secret-we in the U.S. give officers medals with the minutest of justifications. When my unit got home from Iraq, the enlisted folks (who do all the work) all received standard commendation medals. But the officers all gave themselves Bronze Stars, as if the “leading” was of more importance than our working. My officers were fairly fucking useless, barking out orders without thinking most of the time. They had no idea how things worked, they just wanted them to work. Some professionals.
If I think about it, most bosses are like this. They just give themselves raises instead of medals.
North Korea hasn’t been up to anything near the DMZ since 1976, when we almost had an incident at the DMZ that could have but did not tick off a larger war. They’ve also lent support to various conflicts, and were on the losing side every time. But anyway, there is no fucking way of justifying the comical festooning of doddering leadership except that they’re just making shit up:
There are other images of absurd medal wearing by North Korean officers running around the web but alas, they were fake.
Point is, the army is largely a paper tiger.
You have green troops armed with what is likely Cold War Soviet surplus against our newest and meanest shit. There is no way North Korea is prepared for our conventional response.
And I haven’t even gotten to the nukes yet. We’ve got shit that could literally erase the country from the world map in a matter of hours.
If you’re not Donald Trump, you’ve been laughing at the North Korean nuclear program for a while now. They have never exploded a bomb above ground. Their rocketry program produces one embarrassing dud after another. They claim they could nuke the United States. But it hasn’t been shown they have any idea how to weaponize rockets with atomic warheads, much less guide them to their target (however, recent reports in papers of record say that they have miniaturized a nuclear weapon-but I’m rather suspicious of the timing and sources of that report…I still haven’t totally made up with the New York Times for helping the Bush administration push the WMD lie that took us to Iraq again). They really haven’t put cart and horse together yet. In fact, they’re still trying to get the wheel down, to stretch a metaphor.
This is not to say “ignore North Korea”. But getting into a pissing contest with a tiny, insane little nation is really above us ( that is, if we put our best foot forward, which we aren’t always good at), especially because we outnumber them in number of fissile warheads by many orders of magnitude. But that’s exactly what President Loser McDipshit is doing. Trump is a bully, and he’s taken the bait hook, line, and sinker. He let himself be provoked by a boy emperor who puffs up and says outrageous things to rouse his brainwashed people.
It’s already been said several times, but to me, that sounds a lot like Chump and his followers. These two megalomaniacs are peas in a pod. We’d better be playing good cop/bad cop so oilman/not diplomat Rex Tillerson can ratchet this shit down, because it’s scaring the hell out of people. No one in Southeast Asia needs a giant irradiated crater next door to it, and no one should want to break the 60 year old cease fire because we are talking about death on a unspeakable, unacceptable level- military and civilian-if it is breached.
Empty threats are what the hermit kingdom exports. Let’s see them for what they are. The Jongs derive some of their power from telling their people that the United States wants to destroy it, so we’re playing into Un’s hand by escalating the rhetoric. So I worry a bit. We need expertise immediately to finesse this donnybrook and this administration is full of people who just don’t have it.