Whoever or whatever it was — or remains — if it was evil, we should collectively appreciate its import, ameliorate its damage, if comparatively recent, and pack it away not to be repeated if the semblance of the same may be prevented or damped.
As lies are told to hide something or to get something, those who counsel the excising of history — erasure of the past, in essence — would seem most of all ashamed of themselves and sensitive to their own hidden predilections for control and conquest. Only the pulling down of the despot’s statue at the time of the revolution proves liberating and signal of liberation. Yanking old generals off their pedestals? That’s something else.
If it’s happening here in the United States of America, the same is probably happening where you live, more or less — and “less” only if kept more effectively out of sight.
As an artist — “Writer, Musician, Photographer”, so I have billed myself a lifetime — I’m more accustomed to the idea of “bohemia” than either accustomed to it, much less inured to it. Quite petite bourgeoisie, Internet, tweeds, and all, albeit in a very small space patched with a window air conditioning unit, sigh, I would think downward and outward much, much worse — and it is. Here follow a few links to how American life looks from where it has bottomed out on the streets. While taking it in, I would suggest also a spare meditation on corruption, greed, heartlessness, ruthlessness, and vanity as the ambitions, desires, dreams, impressions, self-concepts and the concomitant or later abuse, narcotics, under-employment, and unemployment and wholesale derailment have never come out of nowhere.
Democratic, free, and modern societies come equipped with extraordinary public concern, compassion, moral latitude, and political obligation with open discussion, all of which lends itself to the vibrancy and vitality of energetic national cultures. Issues at the base may not have to do half so much with “morals”, not at least within the most common of normative boundaries, but with the absence of conscience within those setting prices for feel-good junk, so one might call it, right beside unrealistic expectations for those with issues but most desperate for moving on, out, and up with some return to decency, dignity, and security.
My reading suggests Afghanistan supplies about 84 percent of the world’s opium and heroin supply with now an excursion into amphetamine by way of Ephedra sinica, another native plant; and about 50 percent of America’s supply comes from Mexico. In either source state, the industry appears founded in the kind of economy that finds ready labor for rote work while attracting the bosses and crews that produce and sustain illegal enterprise and all that follows from it. Portmanteau may suffice for what comes of the underworld’s efforts near the source: “narconomy”; “narco-state”; “narcotecture”. Somewhere between the source and the supply chain’s end, the last seller, ne “dealer” (as with any other commodity) has perhaps literally a corner on the market and good living all the way to glamorous.
However, there’s the other ending that one may view here as tragedy attracts its modern video-equipped witnesses who have made the final degradation, desperation, enslavement, humiliation, and isolation unbearably and undeniably apparent.
The “medicine” ain’t about health.
From mountain farm to urban sidewalk, The Money sings all of the parts of the industry — growing, processing, packaging, shipping — to her and well sustained by the necessity of income and the want of personal aggrandizement, better living, defense, and security. It’s only business, of course, but listen to its testimonials, have a good look (above) at Philadelphia’s portion of America’s hooked-and-lost whose relationships have come down to habitual forms of theft or trade with, perhaps, small talk between.
Of course, The Money talks.
The Pharmacy, no less than every one of its customers, ain’t free.
Today’s killing of Ahmed Wali Karzai, reportedly by a close business associate, is a reminder of the complicated web of loyalties, interests, and contradictions that the U.S. has attempted to navigate for nearly a decade. Ahmed Wali Karzai was a politician working within the system and a criminal working against it; he ran militias on behalf of the CIA and funded drug networks that were the stated enemy of the U.S. military; he worked with trucking contractors that sold services to NATO and that funded anti-NATO warlords; he was a close ally of the U.S. and a tremendous drag on its mission to win over the Afghan people.
Afghanistan is the world’s top source of opium, accounting for 83% of global production from 2015 to 2020, according to the United Nations. In 2018, opium poppy occupied three times more land than it did in 2000. Afghanistan also produces cannabis and increasing quantities of methamphetamine, which can be made cheaply from the local ephedra plant and may eventually rival the production of opiates.
Narcotics is Afghanistan’s largest economic sector, with over 500,000 employed in opium in 2018. Banning drugs would therefore be unpopular and might provoke resistance against the fledgling regime.
Wikipedia. “Ahmed Wali Karzai”: — A June 2009 U.S. embassy cable alleged that much of the actual business of running the Afghan city of Kandahar “takes place out of public sight, where Ahmed Wali Karzai operates, parallel to formal government structures, through a network of political clans that use state institutions to protect and enable licit and illicit enterprises.” —
Greed obliterates authentic purposes to become an end in and of itself. Perhaps it helps create an ordered society, bureaucratic, impersonal, programmed — but that rather misses the mark as regards human services and well-being.
By way of cold categorization, it might be said that all addicts are criminals, but one may wonder what part are themselves predators and what other part preyed on by dealers and doctors or equivalents in counseling.
From time to time, I catch the boilerplate conservative prescription “personal responsibility!” in relation to the kind of damaged, enslaved, marginalized, and traumatized person that has lost all agency, confidence, efficacy, and esteem and wonder how pernicious and greed-ridden a society we have become. Can we tell the difference between the sad sack hipster and self-serving and profiteering sociopaths? Have we overemphasized the substance — whatever it may be or have been — and under-emphasized disconnection, marginalization, ostracism? And if so, for what?
In business terms, we are each and everyone of us our own “cost centers” — we want to live with means; we wish to pay our way; and for the most part, that’s what we do — but for a portion of America’s 320 millions souls — about a million or so the last time I checked (2019 with figures from 2017 compiled by authorities in 2018)— personalities or problems attach to expensive dependencies, and those persons then become the smallest of “profit centers” — revenue generators — for the money mad among sociopaths, and that from the curb to the corporate suite. Family’s gone and all the connections left are “fiduciary”, i.e., all about money and control bereft of conscience and soul.
As so often happens, a frantic mother called us about her 19-year-old daughter, who I’ll call Jen. A heroin addict, Jen had been shuttled between multiple treatment centers and sober homes by greedy marketers looking to cash in on the teenager’s insurance benefits by keeping her perpetually in recovery, but never sober.
In the American failure lies a paradox: Washington’s massive military juggernaut has been stopped in its steel tracks by a small pink flower – the opium poppy. Throughout its three decades in Afghanistan, Washington’s military operations have succeeded only when they fit reasonably comfortably into central Asia’s illicit traffic in opium – and suffered when they failed to complement it.
The world’s mafia — call them “Transnational Crime Organizations (TCOs)” for this world made smaller by the Internet and jets — sustain themselves through corrupt or intimidated officials who keep the traffic illegal, the profits high, and the goods coursing through the financial bloodstreams of the world as well as, of course, the bodies and minds of the world’s addicts. At the far end of the poppy field and well beyond its horizons, a human refuse washes up on the world’s streets, leaving governments in which the corrupt grow rich while the good drown before a dangerous and endless;u horrifying surge of affliction, crime, bodily damage, and emotional need that repeatedly defies bureaucratic processes and solutions.
Here for about 10 minutes is what the end of the poppy field looks like.
A Brief Comment on Narcotics, Realpolitik, and East-West Rivalry
I don’t want to go too far into Darkness and Light on this post, but it may no longer prove sufficient to “Act Locally, Think Globally” in light of an apparent willingness in states as well as persons to serve not only both sides of a conflict (with visible sales of common enough deliverables) but as well demonstrated in Afghanistan both the Devil and God or the Evil and the Good. Toward the end of America’s long tour in Afghanistan, generals made note of the use of Russian arms and materiel by Taliban forces, a black market trade if ever was — but who has picked up the chips, so to speak, in Asia but Russia, which is now doing a brisk business in defense sales to the neighbors of a soon to be Talibanized Afghanistan.
Whatever the motives of each of its drifted “residents”, McPherson Square’s “Needle Park” and Kensington Avenue’s Junktopia host a portion of the nation’s most damaged and most lost children, “dipping” and homeless as well as short on options into recoveries more reliable than stopovers for intramural billing between service-providing bureaucracies and their subcontractors. Few, if any, have a clue as regards the nefarious “international relations” and “supply chains” that put the poppy seed in the ground and nursed it all the way to a spoon and needle and arm on the streets of Philadelphia (“City of Brotherly Love“) for some in Beijing and Moscow to smile and between them say, “How well America takes care of her people!”
Everything we say and do determines what’s going to happen to us in the future. Whether we act honestly, dishonestly, help or hurt others, it all gets recorded and manifests as a karmic reaction either in this life or a future life. All karmic records are carried with the soul into the next life and body.
Moscow has positioned the Taliban of Afghanistan right where it wants them, i.e., as a block and goad to the west, as a proxy for war by needle, and as another of the most honorable, most pious, and most hypocritical entities of the world, preaching sobriety by the book while taking up its role as the world’s foremost exporter of intoxication and death.
Posted to Mike Huckabee’s FB wall in relation to the Republican Party’s “canceling” Liz Cheney —
Shame on the Republican Party, its repudiation of integrity, its embrace of a demagogue, its clinging to power — perhaps white power (?) — in place of clinging to the principles and values of our American Constitution. I have this to relay from America’s Deep State — https://www.cisa.gov/rumorcontrol . Perhaps more Americans should get to know America’s real government as constructed through its representative and authentic democracy.
Elsewhere in regard to being a democratic and progressive soul and pro-Israel —
In the age of “Active Measures”, widespread trolling, government-funded disinformation campaigns, a sad bump in east-west rivalry with Beijing and Moscow pitted against democracy, and extraordinary agitation and propaganda, the business of shamelessly lying to the American People should be treated no differently than speech associated with conspiracy to commit crimes, libel and slander, and incitement.
As Facebook responses — this one appeared on the Bukovsky Center page — and blog presentations differ, I have opted to let the blogging system work by adding URLs to the original text and allowing importation as commercial interests (Amazon’s) have made possible.
While Lloyd Billingsley has got right the description of Communist Totalitarianism, it just does not follow that the American Left and main portion of the Liberal Community has some Stalinist bent. Even the fashionable “far left” — short of the armed-up separatists who do fit Billingsley’s description from the “Far Out Left” and “Far White Right” (my terms) — places some premium on frank discussion and reporting with integrity. Some, unfortunately, have made alliance with the Soviet / post-Soviet remains of Communist Group Think and will swallow old Kool-Aid like the Boycott Divestitures and Sanctions (BDS) malarkey, but on the whole will report with integrity.
I have found enough in Patrice Cullors (“Marxist Trained” is part of her self-promotion) to both validate a number of race-related and systemic American issues.
The truths may be uncomfortable, but raising points in an open society undermines efforts to install a more deeply pernicious totalitarianism in America’s own open society — and by extension the still open (or remaining) democratic societies of EU/NATO. IF we in the West should wish to live in authentic (as opposed to Potemkin) democracies, we bear the burden of listening to earnest complaint and testimony and finding appropriate and best ways of responding to it and associated public and private realpolitik.
“Accusation in a Mirror”, a term derived from Kenneth L. Marcus’s eponymous essay (PDF) befits the hothouse atmospheres of both strident conservatives and edgy liberals as each accuses the other of attempting to established a communist or fascism totalitarian state in their areas of influence and operations.
Aside: I have long ago picked up on the idea that both communism and capitalism over-emphasize material well-being in their otherwise opposite philosophies, and if it’s true that such bipolar conflicts comes down to “owning the pie v sharing the pie”, the nation has other spiritual challenges. Personally, I would endorse the development of carefully constructed public-private compact with basic environmental and human interests and related principles and values foremost.
I would suggest to Lloyd Billingsley that he take in a less divisive and more magnanimous and realistic approach to an adjusted 21st Century politics; to Patrisse Cullors and others, black or white or other: let’s hear stories told with integrity while querying systemic shortcomings. Color — brown eyes or blue? — may be a “discriminator”, but what is one to do with hazel or flecked or green — or with skin cafe au lait, caramel, ochre, bronzed, freckled, eggplant, milky, peachy or with body types and facial features innumerable?
In my experience, nature more appreciates or favors variety than it does mono-cultures too isolated and too rigid to respond to the natural proliferation of antagonists (for the political portal associated with related science, see the Convention on Biological Diversity and its List of Parties).
For the time being, we’re having issues with perceived political power and empowerment and related injuries, injustices, jealousies, and resentments. While not everything may be repaired, we might choose to look ahead toward what needs may be diminished (starting with our own rancor) and what may be improved, better integrated, more loved, more appreciated.