Open Thread April

Support in U.S. for Afghan War Drops Sharply, Poll Finds

John Glaser on the Fallout of the Afghanistan Massacre

Mali Coup Has US Interventionism Written All Over It
Aftereffects of Libyan War and extensive training to the coup leader helped foment the toppling of the democratic Mali government
by John Glaser, March 26, 2012

***************

Thanks. - Bif

This entry was posted by JR.

86 thoughts on “Open Thread April

  1. The shift is on for new reserve currency.

    http://articles.businessinsider.com/2012-03-26/home/31239106_1_currency-international-trade-dollar

    They can do what they want but they’ll never have what the dollar did for stability. Nothing will ever do that again. The dollar seems beat. Will the Yuan be the haven? I don’t know.

    India is buying oil with gold, that’s just beautiful.

    Whats up with this though:

    “Decades ago, we were one of the most loved nations on earth. Now we are one of the most hated. If you doubt this, just do some international traveling. Even in Europe (where we are supposed to have friends), Americans are treated like dirt. Many American travelers have resorted to wearing Canadian pins so that they will not be treated like garbage while traveling over there.”

    Americans are treated like dirt?? This is popular bullshit paranoia. I go to a lot of places these days, Europe, Asia, Africa, and have experienced no bad behavior toward me because I’m American. None.

  2. Bif,
    Seems like a rehash of ye Olde “Strategic drawing rights” that were supposed to usurp USD about a decade ago.

  3. Text doesn’t come up with this embedded link – at the end, just as German is saying “let’s go home” … well, you’ll see.

  4. Great aerial footage. It was filmed in 1980s as part of the Brit series “Piece of Cake”. Same show as the vid I posted toward end of previous thread.

  5. I thought the sound was too good to be original.
    BTW, you might not be treated like dirt unless you act like an arsehole – a trait that knows no borders…

  6. Above vid:-
    Interesting, especially since German planes had a simple throttle mechanism – easy to throttle up or down to change turn speed – so why end up using rocking-chair tactics? Maybe not much experience with P-51s?

    Anyway, as my father-in-law says, “he fucking dead now”.

  7. Yeah acting like an arsehole. I was going to say something about that.

    One thing Americans typically fuck up is being as informal in other people’s countries as they are in their own. Americans dispense with formalities. For example Americans think that if they are paying someone for a service they don’t have to be polite to the provider. This is fatal. I see it al the time.

    In the U.S. we put little value on the formailities and conventions of basic politeness. We think its unneccessary, it doeswn’t matter, or we are just being lazy-minded. My experience is many other cultures still value these conventions of conduct, showing some respect. Our impolite manner is taken as crass, rude, or even barbaric. Misunderstandings then ensue in both directions.

    So basically when someone responds poorly to your rude behavior (whether you meant it or not), its because you are rude, and not because you are American or German or Saudi.

  8. The pilots on both sides were pretty young. maybe 20 years old? Or 21 or 22? I bet most of them flew much less than a year before ending up in these dogfights. Its a wonder some of them were so savvy fighters like in the video. Of course they are the survivors though, living to tell about it.

  9. seriously, i think americans do get the point that formalities are a big time waster and fraught with disingenuousness. that part of the culture is fine with me, and i think american academics have led the way on that versus the old school european culture. just because someone is being polite and respectful, does not always translate to actually having respect. in that case, there is a lot to be disdainful about the hypocritical facade being projected and hidden behind.

    examples abound all over, but one of my favorite observations was by an older student fellow from new york city i once met in a cafeteria here on campus, because i asked about his FDNY hat post 911. when comparing most orientals and locals he had met in hawaii with those back in his home of new york city: “folks here are often polite but not friendly, whereas in new york folks are often rude, but are genuine in their friendliness”.

  10. Fuck them? Ha. Don’t tell me. Tell them “your just sayin”. And good luck with that on the streets of Rabat or Cairo.

  11. In your culture formalities are a big time waster. Disengenuousness is besides the point in these situations. In other cultures you’re going nowhere with bad manners which is also a big time waster. Try to go native on the manners, just a little. Its pretty painless really and not all that unpleasant.

    Another hot tip. Wear pointy European shoes. If possible a double-breasted suit. Slightly shiny fabric is bonus points. This combined with manners will fuck them up. They won’t know what to think of you and they’ll give you great service, just in case. Which is what you want. If they get on your case at any point, apologize and tell them you come from an uncivilized country. Another thing I do when confronted is apologize for my bad English. But you must do this with a straight face and allow for the pause. Or answer difficult questions with “obama”. They won’t know what to do if you say that. Be enigmatic and perplexing, but always be polite, smile warmly and be calm. Listen to me and you can go 90% of places out there without hassle and people might even buy you drinks.

  12. Another thing I do is buy the security guys a pizza once in a while. Not often. Just once in a while. If you do this you can’t believe how fast shit happens when you need something.

    I usually charge for this kind of advice.

  13. Bif, you’re talkin to someone who hires the banditos as field assistants in the wilderness areas of guatemala and knows that a bottle of fine [insert their favorite brand here] spirits offered to the air force generale will get all kinds of cargo shipped RT for free to the galapagos islands out of quito airport.

    mahalo for the advice, though.

  14. “If they get on your case at any point, apologize and tell them you come from an uncivilized country. Another thing I do when confronted is apologize for my bad English. But you must do this with a straight face and allow for the pause. Or answer difficult questions with “obama”. They won’t know what to do if you say that.”

    That works in Redstateistan too.

  15. Wearing pointy European shoes will get you some nice big bunions, too. Kewl! I never impressing Europeans could be this easy.

  16. i’m always polite, and speak calmly, no matter where i am, or what i’m doing, particularly if those around me aren’t.

  17. very much so. only i’m much bigger and have been known to use violence in appropriate situations. i just don’t let on to the violence until i’m ready to use it.

  18. Choices and escalation of events leading to violence. Managing escalation (and impulses) for the best possible outcome. Not an easy thing to do when fear is involved. Kung Fu and the baboon might each take a different approach. You could probably make a pretty good case for either strategy.

  19. I have a good friend who is originally from Argentina, now living in the US. He knows very well the levels of violence and lawlessness in his former home country, still. He does not outwardly project a violent nature or appear to own or use guns, even for hunting, which is ironic when considering where he lives is deep in the heart of US midwestern redneck country. So what does he do? For exercise, he’s a black belt in Taekwondo.

  20. yeah, there’s social. status seeking violence; which is usually pretty easy to keep under control.

    there’s predatory violence. wich is usually pretty well thought out, and is under control of the predator, in most respects.

    then there’s mob, group or state violence, which where you duck your head and run.

    i think.

  21. yeah, paradoxically, i think that the real threat of violence has something of a calming effect on argentine society. people are real careful about who they might pick a fight with. i think. kinda goes back to being polite from the start. i think.

    predatory violence seems to be a bigger problem than in the states, for the moment anyway.

  22. interesting video, dave. you’ve posted that before, on the water buffalo versus the lions with a special guest appearance by the crocadile, playing himself…

    wow, i wonder what would actually pose a threat to a whole herd of water buffalo? as the video shows, it ain’t lions. maybe elephants? rhinos? obviously, humans with guns (but we cheat the system that way).

    hey, do you suppose the original couple went back to alert the whole herd to their baby being nabbed by the lions? it appears they did so, and then the buffalo posse shows up, with the braver ones charging and chasing the lions. i think that’s what happened. if so, good on them, and glad some humans caught it all on film for sharing.

  23. anthropocene…

    Only today did I experiance this first hand. There is a neary by creak being rerouted. Seems the water is no longer flowing correctly. Several houses are using sump pumps 24/7 these days. When I ask the old man, who was mad at the county for not fixing the problem sooner, why did they build those houses there in a flood zone in the first place? His anwser was the EPA said the builder could not cement the creek in. Darn EPA getting in the way.

    Damn it! Rivers and creeks need only go where man tells them too.

    I did not tell him my doubts about the US department which would be involved in such things. That might of confused him.

    I need to take a picture tommorow of the the constuction people and send it to JHK maybe this time I can make the eyesore of the month club.

  24. “Cars suck!”

    “What did you say!?”

    [The 1942 film is based on a 1918 book]

  25. 4/3,terrence mckenna day. ” the bigger you build the bonfire, the more darkness is revealled.”

  26. uncle billy’s kona bay hotel is a bit of a dump, but that’s where my frugal euro colleagues wanted to stay. at least it’s relatively quiet here, thanks to the global deflationary depression brought on by bumping up to the limit of cheap oil.

  27. JR I just read the Glaser article and its fucking stupid. Why and how this happened is a complicated history. He’s too busy being a dick to do any homework. Mentioning the various complicating factors in Tuareg/Mali history would be inconvenient for his kind of journalism. This struggle has been going on for more than 50 years. Arab Spring and Guns from Libya is just another chapter. It will continue.

  28. we have some freeze-dried shimp that i give to the aquarium fish as a treat. a few days ago, i found a small freeze-dried fish in there with all the shrimp. i broke its dried carcass into small, bite-sized pieces for the fish. they ate it con mucho gusto, so i’m assuming my pet fish are just a bunch of cannibals, like a lot of other animals i know.

  29. i remember going through some bear attack photos. it seemed like they would eat the thighs and buttucks, maybe knibble on the calfs, and leave the rest. humans haven’t been bred to produce meat, i guess.

  30. Interesting photo dave. Has a central asian, former soviet empire look to some of the participants, thinking orthodox. Orthodox Easter isn’t until next Sunday.

  31. why do you find the photo so interesting remus? i thought that it was kind of funny that they’re all standing in a hole like that; and that the sheep was being held up above them to bleed out. seems like a lot of work for a simple blood anointing, i guess.

  32. I find it interesting, in part, because literally being “washed in the blood of the lamb of God” is not a typical western practice, baptism or otherwise.

    I find it interesting because I am curious of other cultures, rituals, mores and practices.

    I find interesting when juxtaposed to some of your other photographic offerings.

  33. and it just drives home the point that folks that look and otherwise act a lot like us behave like a bunch of superstitious, backward tribals currently found in the jungles of african and indonesia, papua new guinea. just add some body paint and a tan.

    the central asian orthodox types are very looney, but do a fairly good job of hiding it in the day-to-day interactions with others. a certain russian tech comes to mind.

  34. hmmm, yeah, well, from an anthropologic prespective, purely, one person taking a shit in another person’s mouth, is at least as interesting as somebody dripping sheep’s blood over a suplicant. “may the shit of god cleanse your sins”….etc.,etc. i guess.

  35. I’m OK with an old fashioned livestock blood ritual. Holidays used to be special, and this helps bring meaning. They will eat the lamb and party all night too. Why not.

  36. nothing much, if you like living in Heart of Darkness land, coming to a neighborhood near you soon.

    the lamb is a stand-in for human sacrifice, maybe a nice young virgin like your son or daughter.

  37. Observation no. 1: that woman has some very large calves. If she could do a little less jabbering and take up running or something she might become a hot looking mama

  38. dunno, a little seasoning, cooked over an open fire, maybe an egyptian curry shank recipe, and those calves could be both meaty and tasty.

  39. question for Bif: do you know if either or both of the actors in that old B&W picture eventually died of lung cancer? i’m certain they died of something by now. if that’s jane mansfield in the picture, well, “smoke ’em if you got ’em”, yeah?

  40. Doom I don’t know the source of the pic. She looks like she’s exhaling an entire pack of filterless cigarettes in his face, and there’s a penetrating force in that jet of smoke, permanently damaging his mind, and his heart and soul. She’s pushed tar and drugs deep into his judgment. But its not like he’s made many good decisions in life these days anyway. He might have turned things around, but the night he walked into that cocktail lounge and sat next to her at the bar his fate was sealed. It’s not going to work out for him. In the old days a guy might rally from the situation by joining the French Foreign Legion. More often than not though a guy like him would simply fade away from the blinking neon lights and into a dark alley, never to be seen again.

    As for her, she’s been around. When she was young she wanted to be a nurse, until some guy came along and said he’d make her into an actress. But the auditions only turned to booze, sex and broken promises, and this turned her heart black, or served to reveal the blackness that always lay waiting. Who can say? But she doesn’t get fucked and dumped anymore. From now on this “game” will be on her own terms. From now on she will be the one on top and then she will do the dumping. She will create the beginning, middle, and ending herself.

    Anyway, to answer your question, the pic looks like film noir, so no, not death by cancer. Too straight forward. They probably both eventually succumbed to lies, deceit, faded dreams and bitterness. And prematurely too if there’s no mercy in film noir. I don’t know. She’s a femme fatale so you know he’s delusional and has unwisely crossed the line, destined for ruination, regret and demise. The usual story.

    She keeps blowing smoke in his face but he doesn’t leave. Yeah they go to a hotel, but she only does this because tonight she’s more bored than usual, and she only stays bored. He on the other hand is blind to her terminal indifference, because he is overwhelmed and taken by her beauty, her body, the cold directness of her words. His infatuation turns to a burning obsession for obtaining the unobtainable, the worst kind of all. In the wake of his one-night stand he is delusional in that he convinces himself he can help her and change her, that she could love him, and he could bring her home to meet the folks. Hahaha. Such are the hopeful thoughts of a desperate man. But she will never be tied down to some asshole, some shmuck she met in a bar, like him. Only someone like a crime boss or politician could hope to secure any degree of her loyalty and to possess her, but even then it would come at a heavy cost, and wouldn’t last. I may be giving too much credit.

    Her looks eventually fade, and she takes a job as a night waitress in a diner, otherwise being reclusive in her rented room during the day. Fading further and further she leaves the stage completely, and eventually disappears into an alley where finally she fades completely to black. Never to be seen again, and it occurs to no one that no one ever really knew who she was.

  41. Bif, did you write the script for Casa Blanca in your spare time during the war? hey, as bad as that sounds, it sure beats having your head severed in front of your kids as dad drives the speeding convertable under a semi. but at least that’s a quick if painful ending. no fading to anything, except maybe the red leather upholstery.

  42. wow dave, that’s two improbables in less than ten seconds. first improbabale: man juggles bowling balls; second improbabale: little kid happens along just as one ball goes wild, bonking him on head for the KO. hope the little guy made it OK. nice work by momentum on the juggler at the end. f=ma

  43. here’s a 45-minute video presentation by professor richard alley of penn state. it mainly concerns the evidence for anthropogenic global warming, but what caught me by surprise was his optimism on wind and even solar as useful alternatives to fossil fuels. hope he’s not wrong on those.

    hey, he’s also an entertaining speaker.

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