I just saw a movie called “The Turin Horse”, by famous European director Bela Tarr, and it was fricking DEPRESSING. It actually took as long as real life does, if you cut out the sleeping part. Basically this gimpy old guy, who looks 70 but we learn is actually in his 50’s, owns the horse that famed philosopher Nietzsche flung his arms around to protect from a whipping, whereupon the big N went home and promptly took leave of his senses, cared for until the end of his brief life by his mother and sister. Well, we step in right after that episode, and take an extended, bumpy ride home in a horrible cart with the gimp dude, which I think took waaaay too long. Then we put the horse away, which involves a lot of barn doors opening and closing, hay being thrown, harnesses being hung, carts being rolled into barns, in great detail. When they finally get into the hut, or whatever, the guy is basically undressed by his daughter and stuffed into his grubby nighties. Dinner is two boiled potatoes, which are thrown unceremoniously onto wooden plates; the diners rip off the peels with their fingers, and chow down sans tableware. Yum! Then there is an exciting moment in this dreary parade when the daughter goes to pull up a couple buckets of water out of the well. Wow, that part was a thrill, really broke up the monotony! Then, a couple people come, couple people go, the wind blows, guy and the daughter stare out the window a lot, and pretty much, that’s the whole movie.

But this, my friends, as Rush might say, is where we came from. If you are white in America, you came from basically that place – whether it was a croft in starving Ireland, a barn loft above the pigs in Poland, a camp full of redheaded barbarians in Scotland, or a bunch of shivering Vikings waiting for Fenris to devour the world during those long, dark Northern latitude nights.

But it explains quite a bit!

It is funny, but a certain percentage of white people love to point out brown people as “takers”, when white people are BY FAR the biggest entitlement-minded goobers out there. But look where they came from! No amount of “hard work” and “bootstrapping” was going to make one iota of difference in these peoples’ lives. They had to labor like slaves to even survive, even though “working” in olden-days Europe involved long periods of just sitting around conserving energy. And if you were a sneaky olden-days European who had no conscience or community feeling worth mentioning, well, I suppose you could survive pretty handily on other people’s boiled potatoes. They’d starve, of course. But that’s okay! Because you personally would live to see another day!

I see a direct line of descent from those boiled-potato stealers to modern day Wall Street bankers and guys like Ken Lay, the erstwhile Enron SOB-in-chief. Same deal! They were born and bred for a dog-eat-dog world!

Now let’s consider Asia, but leave out all the Communist takeover paranoid fantasies and just focus on the people. If you were a way-back Southeast Asian farmer, you probably grew a lot of rice. Rice is complicated to grow. First you have to engineer the fields to be perfectly level and capable of retaining water. Then you have to figure out when to sprout, when to transplant, when to flood, when to drain,and when to harvest: the irrigation schedule is strict and water must be routed to the fields that need it by a series of gates. Then you have to multi-task the fields by adding and subtracting fish and ducks, for example. Then you have to do this three times a year, on average, because rice is a year-round crop, and you had to figure out a way to keep the fields fertile despite constant rotation.

This is complex, and requires a lot of cooperation. European farmers basically waited for spring, flung out some handfuls of barley or rye, and then waited around, harvesting what they could and hoping like hell it would carry them through to the next season. So I suppose it would pay to be a thief, at least some of the time. The penalty for being a thief was severe, however, so maybe it wasn’t worth the risk. Seems like quite a few of us white European borderer types often retain a lot of that bloodthirsty punishment mindset that defines many listeners of Fox Fake News (see Joe Bageant, Deer Hunting with Jesus). And if you are a Wall Street banker, you probably aren’t scared at all of the penalty for screwing thousands upon thousands of people, because virtually nothing will happen to you! You are, in the words of Elizabeth Warren, “too big to prosecute”! Huge change from medieval days, when the scruffy, starving populace would have run you down with pitchforks and torches. (Of course, if you could BS your way out of the situation, you would. Hence today’s car salesmen.)

But I digress. Let’s go back to the movies. Ever seen one of those classical Chinese historical films, like “Red Cliff”? Or even “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon”? Those movies are layered. Complex. Many levels. Often, things in these films are not what they appear to be, and it is easy to be misled, or make assumptions that turn out to be false. Definitely more challenging than, say, “Die Hard”.

But that’s America for you. Our ancestors did a lot of hanging around hoping things were going to turn out okay, while their Asian counterparts were beavering away both physically and mentally all year ’round, every year. Perhaps this is why many Asians are (sometimes inaccurately) perceived to be smarter, and/or harder workers, than white Americans. Because a lot of them are! And always have been! And don’t get me started on the native Incas and Mayans of South and Central America. Same deal: a sophisticated history with much amazing capability built into the culture. Those folks were organizing vast public works projects when Europeans were still crawling around the cave floor with the bear cubs.

And one more thing. Let’s say you are a poverty-stricken barely-surviving pasty-white farmer on some rock-strewn stretch of Irish coast, huddled in your craphole. Well, lots of people DID succeed under those circumstances, because if they hadn’t, Ireland would be an  island empty of people. So why did some of these Irish (and Italians and Czechs and Germans and Finns and Swedes and Bohemians and Scots etc. etc.) show up in America?

Simple. Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. ADHD. A “neurobehavioral disorder characterized by significant problems either of inattention and/or hyperactivity and impulsiveness.” The US is chock-full of good citizens with this problem. That’s why they bugged out of Europe: they couldn’t focus on the family farm well enough to make a go of it, and made an (impulsive!) decision to blow that Continental Popsicle stand and show up on these pristine shores. And so now, with the majority of white people descended from a bunch of focus-challenged ex-farmers, is it any wonder we have arrived at our present-day consumer-and-entertainment culture? Lots and lots of simplistic, TV-watching, ass-sitting, incurious, judgmental, selfish, own-back-patting simpletons with attention problems, with a tendency to attribute success or failure, not to work, not to luck, not to being in the right place at the right time – but to a ubiquitous sky fairy who supposedly has your best interests at heart, though you couldn’t tell that through personal experience. Incidentally, most of these ex-farmers are perfectly awful drivers! They roll along on Prozac without seeing a single bloody thing else on the road, or zip around cursing and flipping people off in some hyperactive seizure until they hit a tree. Clearly, it is too much to expect members of this population to get it together for a massive effort to combat global climate change when most of them cannot figure out the basic dynamic of a four-way stop.

Ah, America. You are indeed a place experiencing interesting times.




I really don’t feel one way or the other about Edward Snowden. Seems like he’s a guy who wound up in a place that he was going to have to either say something or bail on his personal beliefs, and he chose to say something. It doesn’t hurt that he’s young and filled with more righteous fervor and intolerance for injustice than a hundred thousand old farts in front of their TV sets. As C.S. Lewis famously observed, “the young, being innocent, want justice. The old, being wicked, want forgiveness.”

So here’s Snowden, and oh boy, have I heard an earful about his ee-vile ways. “Nightmare”. “Spy”. “Narcissistic criminal”. “A bad guy” (thanks to Mensa member Donald Trump for this astute observation). “Business punisher”. And so on.

Well, let’s see. The government engages in a surveillance program that is to all appearances in direct contravention to the Constitutional right to privacy. This Snowden character blows the whistle. And for some reason, this equates the end of America.

1) America is doing fine so far as you ignore that stupid “shining city upon the hill” crap that Reagan popularized. Remember, the phrase “American exceptionalism” was coined by Papa Joe Stalin himself. There’s work to do, sure – but generally, I’d say most people (aside from elected officials) tend to be reasonable and sensible. Example: virtually everybody in America, excepting a tiny, noisy anti-choicer coterie, would prefer to keep Roe vs. Wade intact, and have abortion remain a PERSONAL decision. But then we have elected crazy people who keep cluttering up the statistical national preference with their own agendas. This is NOT supposed to happen.

2) American politicians lie to Americans so routinely that it is almost anticlimactic. Let’s see: Korean war? Built on pure bullshit: the infamous “domino theory”: if one country goes Commie, then the next one does too, and so on down the line. Unlike evolution, the domino theory was a concept that had zero supporting evidence from any quarter whatsoever, yet was bought into wholeheartedly by paranoid citizens afraid that Communism was going to invade at any moment. (The similarity to current righties who say “Muslims are massing at the border getting ready to firebomb your Safeway” is clear. Scramble-headed paranoia knows no time period.)

Then there was Viet Nam. Remember the horror of the Gulf of Tonkin incident? In short, an American destroyer fired on Vietnamese patrol boats (280 artillery shells’ worth), and then blamed the Vietnamese for firing on them first. Then they made up a second incident in the same area where supposedly Americans were attacked AGAIN.

Except they weren’t. No attack.

And this supposedly happened 28 MILES from the North Vietnamese coast. That’s not very far – I can picture the American reaction if there were Chinese destroyers patrolling 28 miles off the coast of California shooting artillery at the Coast Guard. There would be hell to pay.

So, basically, the entire Viet Nam War was built on a cast-iron LIE.

Let’s come a little closer to home. I was riding in a car with a pal of mine up by Sandpoint, North Idaho, and Ruby Ridge was pointed out to me. Remember the Weavers, the ATF, the military sniper, etc? People died, and a giant government finger-pointing moment arrived. Not everything was lies on the government side, but a lot of it was. To the point where the then-FBI Deputy Assistant Director Danny Coulson  wrote a memo:

“OPR 004477

Something to Consider

1. Charge against Weaver is Bull Shit.
2. No one saw Weaver do any shooting.
3. Vicki has no charges against her.
4. Weaver’s defense. He ran down the hill to see what dog was
barking at. Some guys in (camouflage) shot his dog.
Started shooting at him. Killed his son. Harris did the
shooting [of Degan]. He [Weaver] is in pretty strong legal position.”

Read up on it: you can check it out yourself. The feds lied their asses off about the whole thing. While you’re at it, check out the Wounded Knee episode from the 70’s. And Waco. And Grenada. And Arms for Hostages. And Iraq (yellowcake uranium and WMDs, anyone?). Valerie Plame.

So here’s my problem. I would LIKE to believe what the FBI and the CIA tells me, but I would be a flaming idiot if I did. They kind of compromised their credibility too many times already. If anybody is relying on those agencies to give them the straight scoop on anything besides the price of lettuce, I would have to question their conclusions. So when some moronic partisan legislator gets all puffed up by having access to “special information”, it causes me to laugh sadly. After all, these are also the guys who see comedy segments from the Onion and report them back to their constituents as fact.

Oh, the humanity. The lying, self-serving, self-preserving, self-stroking bureaucracies that we allow to guide our nation.

Lesson: Don’t be suckered by this Snowden crapstorm. He’s just a guy, doing something because he thought he should. No agenda. No special goal. It is what it is. And if we ever do get Snowden’s story, it won’t be through torture, waterboarding, or murdering his family in questionable “accidents”. It will be because HE spills it.

I am willing to wait.