sunset from behind the wire

sunset from behind the wire

Monday, February 6, 2017

Monday Briefing

Patriots

I watched the Boston vs Atlanta Super Bowl game and it was historic, legendary, remarkable in all aspects and has seated Tom Brady as the very best quarterback of all time - the best - with an exceptional team that helped him to reach that mark.

Those of you who didn't watch the game missed an epic contest - with a lot of Super Bowl firsts. I think that the halftime show featuring Lady Gaga was also exceptionally well done.

Changing Styles

h/t J. D.
The world has changed and took a leap from the "greatest generation" to the present generation. Being the dinosaur that I am - I never once considered that I was part of a group identity that would change upon whims. "For example, a White Male is not a White Male if he is Muslim, a Mexican, or a foreigner, or a homosexual, or if he has some other claim on some other group. A Hispanic who shoots a Negro attacker in self-defense is suddenly a member of the ‘White Male’ group, and a conservative speaker who is a woman is no longer in the ‘Female’ group, and so on."

The Constitution that founded the nation did not protect group identity because group identity is a very relative thing and can change literally from moment to moment. A woman can consider herself a woman 'now' and in twenty minutes can consider a man or any one of thirty-one separately identified genders under New York law. Rights, including such things as college admissions and government contract bids, who may speak which words in jest, and whose opinion are counted and whose are not, and whose votes are counted and whose are not, all this and more is now controlled by these group loyalties.

Living as a member of one particular grievance group or another may be able to save you from being viewed as a bigot - but it also might not because values are relative and are constantly in flux as is gender and race (who is black enough or who is white enough). 

Changing styles reflect the changing nature of group identity. Unless you're a dinosaur (such as I am - a heterosexual white male) mouth breather besotted by white privilege that I don't acknowledge.

Narcotics Production in Afghanistan
(please refer to yesterday's primer on opiates here. Most Afghan heroin is Number 4 Heroin - China White)
On January 30, the US Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) published his latest quarterly report. It is lengthy and detailed, as is the SIGAR’s custom. It also contains the usual mix of positive highlights and setbacks. I will focus on the narcotics portion of this report because that's what I'm going to do.

US Forces in Afghanistan total 8,448, according to the SIGAR’s report.

The report says that the US-trained 17,000-man Afghan special forces do 80% of the fighting by the 195,000-man Afghan National Army. That's a fair assessment.

Concerning counter-narcotics, the SIGAR’s report is very detailed and there is no good news. Afghanistan supplies 80% of the world’s opium. Acreage under cultivation continues to expand at about 10% a year. In 2016, 201,000 hectares were under poppy cultivation.

USFOR-A pointed out that the Afghan forces successfully beat back eight Taliban attempts to seize cities. The US command also said that the government and allied security forces prevented the Taliban from achieving their goals last year.

The SIGAR’s report is the latest to chronicle the long, slow decline in Afghanistan. The government in Kabul appears to be more dependent on the US than ever for its survival in a shrinking perimeter. The Taliban strategy always has been to outwait the foreigners until the country is theirs again. The SIGAR’s report suggests that the Taliban strategy is working.

Drug production is no longer controllable. The drug problem is so extensive that it would pose a serious threat to national security even in the absence of the Taliban threat. It's the principal source of national income.


24 comments:

  1. Wow. Sad for Afghanistan. I guess they want it that way?

    We don't watch sports-other than fishing and hunting- so did not see the halftime shows. According to the local conservative talk station, they were the worst.
    But I did watch Puppy Bowl 13, and *Kitty Gaga* was quite good. ;-)

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    1. Afghanistan has only had one major cash crop since the 1960's, so not much has changed. It's simply that with America pulling down, their national income is not being bankrolled by the US taxpayer to the extent that it was and opium is going back up in terms of relative importance. Most of the Afghan product makes its way into Asia and Europe. Mexico handles the USA demand.

      I thought this halftime show was excellent. But that's just me. Being from California, my taste can openly be called into question.

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  2. I'm not all that interested in any of the major pro sports but do watch the Superbowl for some reason. That said, the halftime show was well done. I enjoyed NOT seeing Black Panther imagery, if nothing else. Living in Boston (area), to be honest I was kinda hoping the Patriots would lose, because here in Beantown, The Hub of the Universe, we are not gracious winners. This is the land of "Yer from [midwestern state]? Then yuh come to Boston fer some culcha, huh?" Well, thanks for the offer of "culcha" my townie friend, but unfortunately I've left my Petri dishes at home, which would be needed for the only sort of culture one could possibly get from you. (Not that I have strong feelings about this ;-)

    > mouth breather besotted by white privilege
    Oh don't even get me started. In absolute terms, I've been on the receiving end of slightly more racist $#!t from visible minorities than from whites; but considering the ratio of VMs to whites that I encounter, the probability of $#!t from any given encounter is at a minimum 6:1 (maybe up to 10:1) from a random VM vs a random white. Now admittedly about half of the $#!t appears to be from impulsive ignorance rather than malice, so maybe it's that you mouth-breathing dinosaurs simply have more self-control and hold it in better! In that vein of holding it in, you know the crackpot theory that Leonardo da Vinci must have been a time traveller? I'm starting to wonder if Kipling was not the same. q.v. When the Saxon began to hate, and it's the prog agenda that is making it so.

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    1. I mentioned on Grunt of Monte Cristo's blog that I traditionally dislike New England teams, but favored the Patriots in this game.

      As with you, I can hardly be considered a "sports fan". If there is a sport that I tend to enjoy, it's college baseball. There is a lot of heart in those games, the teams play their hearts out, and it's not as sterile as professional games. Many of the young men know that if they do well, they'll get laid - and it provides powerful motivation.

      Since I live in Southern California, I find it hard to stand on the moral high ground against any other region of the nation. Here in SoCal, I'm considered radical right. In Arizona and Texas I'm considered middle-of-the-road. In Idaho, Utah and Wyoming I'm suspiciously left of center.

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    2. I was under the impression after this election, that Utah was suspiciously left of center. They need to read your blog if they think you are...

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    3. Evan McMullin did well and actually carried somewhere on the order of four or five counties in UT. I think that he ended up with about 20% of the state vote, winning bigger than the Green Party in that way since the Greens didn't carry a single county in the USA.

      I criticized McMullin to some people and they still won't talk to me. I advocated for Trump - who they felt was a 'whoremonger'.

      You think that I jest, but it's true. I do a lot of off-roading in the Intermountain West in my 4x4s and know a LOT of people. It's one of my very favorite things to do in summer. (Winter - not so much) I'm viewed as the sort of guy who has promise to be pushed to the "center" from my leftie views.

      True story: I bought 2.5 acres of city land (rural but in a small town) with a house on it and the house was burned by an arsonist (when unoccupied). The local concern, explained to me later, was that I was going to "import niggers" from California. It's a sad commentary but speaks to much of small town America. If it's not fear of black people, or white people, or Asians -- you can pick your prejudice and find it played out somewhere. I'll add that in Asia, there is vastly worse prejudice and in Mexico, don't plan to run for political office unless you have European ancestry.

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    4. Wow. Yes, no matter how far we think we have come, there is still a lot of prejudice.

      Well, have a blessed week.

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  3. Replies
    1. The song remains the same.

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    2. "When you're wounded and left on Afghanistan's plains, And the women come out to cut up what remains, Jest roll to your rifle and blow out your brains like a soldier."

      We've dumped trillions there and will end up leaving the same way that Alexander's legions did, the Russians, the British, etc.

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  4. I wonder if people from this generation could be atleast 1% of this.
    All I hear about how funny stupid things are and how pointless their existence.

    Afghans will have to rethink their economy all together. More than thinking about afghans I'm thinking about absence of sensible men in my generation.

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    1. The Afghans represent an incredibly damaged generation. We can point fingers at different actors, but the place is a continual circular firing squad where they wipe out the prudent and wise in favor of freaks, misfits, and violent psychopaths.

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  5. You've convinced me that this was a win worth celebrating, Larry, despite my earlier butt-hurt. Especially since Barack lost his bet on the Falcons. Barack SHOULD have to suck it in the sports department after his 8 years of sports-fandom masquerading as a Presidency. What a loser.

    And good on the Pats. Well done. Talk about the "Year of the Supermodel Wife!"

    You're also right about the bonus of Lady Gaga being a unifying figure at Half Time. She's always had potential to actually think for herself, even if she's rarely lived up to it. Good for her! Maybe this will be the first of many good examples to come in music and entertainment?

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    1. The shrill, smug, corrupt, elite, progressive, feckless, mainstream media should back off to some extent and try and treat the president fairly for the sake of both the country (which they don't seem to care much about) and the Democrat Party (which they are sinking even faster than Soros with his billions).

      The messages at the Super Bowl were unifying and I liked to see that. E PLURIBUS UNUM, (out of many - one) has been the concept in the US since day-one. It's never an easy goal, but it's worthwhile.

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  6. Afghanistan, I have one local guy from one of the tribes who have tried to explain me something since I am so naive. He says you think you are racists and we enjoy the benefits it gives us when you feel sorry and give us your money. But we are really racists because we slit the throat of someone if they like to get married across the tribes. The country Afghanistan is more like an idea created by some English ideas. The people from the land named Afghanistan are more members of tribes and clans. Why not let them keep their traditions and live in the villages and continue with their routines and daily life? It will be a lot cheaper. If they do stupid stuff it was a lot more effective what took place when Taliban was kicked out than what took place in the following years. Let the tribes and war lords rule according to their own code of honor. They end up with sharia laws and will not accept western style of life but who cares? Why spend tax payers money and soldiers life for nothing?

    They have traditions that goes back thousands of years and they are happy with their rural village life style living in "almost the stone age".

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    1. About 99% of the locals have tuberculosis.

      I agree. Live and let live. If the Russians want it, they can take it from Pakistan, which created the Taliban. Or India - or Iran, or whoever. The initial CIA mission was necessary because (1) the US wanted revenge against somebody after the 9/11 attacks and while Saudi Arabia was the culprit, it wasn't politically correct to nuke their ass and take their gas; (2) the terrorist training camps needed to be attrited. Afghans didn't attack anyone but they offered hospitality to radicals who did.

      Once "Big Army" took over, you know the bill will reach into the trillions. That's how things work. It's not how they SHOULD work, but they do.

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    2. The CIA effort was very effective and worked very well in all aspects as I understand. From there the locals and the North alliance could have continued to battle each other.

      But Taliban is interesting. There was a Norwegian professor spending years in Afghanistan from the 60's and he wrote about about the origin of Taliban. It is not an especially heroic one but it give you some insight.

      There are other stories like the book Taliban authored by Ahmed Rashid, but I like the Norwegian best.

      Professor Barth writes:" The story goes tells about the local Warlord in the spring of 1994 captured and abducted two young girls, another version tells that two Warlords started to quarrel about a 13 years old boy that both of them wanted. People asked for help among religious leaders, and one of them, Mulla Mohammed Omar, gathered two dozen disciples and 16 rifles and went to the Warlord and demanded the prisoner liberated. Then they hung the warlord from a tanks gun barrel that by coincidence was left there. Other religious leaders agreed that something had to be done, and the founded Taliban together with Mulla Omar."

      Thinking of the little boy and what came out of the two Warlords sexual preference is worth to give thought.

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  7. Yep, that WAS a good game! We are members of the same sub-group- Grumpy old men. :-) Agree on the SIGAR report too. Remember Utapao and the poppies growing out on both sides of the runway? And getting harvested and nobody paying any attention?

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    1. Utapao, the Lima Sites, etc. But there was a war on and the US wasn't paying attention to things like that at the time.

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  8. Trying to change the patterns of a lifestyle that has been around for eons into something that replicates our country is a fools errand.
    I know this is shallow of me, but The look & style of Cary Grant... sigh. You don't see that much any more.
    Sooo tired of overweight men in board shorts, Hawaiian shirts, and huge unlaced sneakers...
    I was saved by going to the bull sale and seeing clean starched jeans and shirts, polished boots, and decent haircuts.

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    1. Did you buy a bull dressed like that? (ok, I had to ask)

      I'm with you, Brig. Men in general don't dress well and you also have to ask yourself where their mothers were when they were growing up. To be fair, maybe they were working rather than keeping the brood in line. It's part of our new, progressive world isn't it?

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    2. No bull purchased, dang.
      I blame this lack of personal caring by men on their fathers. The Cowman, and his three brothers would of been in deep trouble if they had not maintained the standards that Dad & Grandpa set for them. Others that I know are the same way.
      Parents, as a whole, seem to have decided that all those manners and decorum take too much away from their personal time of self discovery... Parents need to parent.



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    3. You also have to take into account the number of families that don't *have* a father in them any more.
      But I do wish there was a way to stop people from having kids without completing a class of some sort.

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