HAPPY BIRTHDAY AFGHANISTAN

Yes, it is Happy Birthday Afghanistan! Sixteen years ago, the United States invaded Afghanistan. The war has turned out to be the longest in U.S. history.

No end in sight. Getting worse.

Thousands of American dead. Thousands more maimed.

Civilian deaths increasing.

Death rate of children is up 9 percent from 2016. Women, 23 percent.

From 2015-2016, opium production up 43 percent. The war, graft, and money responsible.

Sixteen years ago, the number of opium poppy fields was low. The Taliban were anti-opium production and had forced production to be dramatically reduced.

Then came the U.S. invasion. The invasion the major reason for the substantial rise in production. The Taliban were defeated. Today, Afghanistan provides 90 percent of the world’s opium supply.

I have written and said the past few years how interesting it is that with all the warring and battles going on in Afghanistan, not one poppy field has been destroyed. Our people die. Afghans, also. The poppy fields and those working them, not.

The reason is simple. Washington mandates their protection. Called politics. Our Marines serving in Afghanistan are guarding the poppy fields.

Many Afghans are dependent on poppy work for their livelihoods. They live better than those not involved who are indiscriminately being killed.

There is a fear in Washington that if the poppy fields were destroyed, the people supporting the U.S. would turn against us. Instead of eradication, the U.S. supports a change in what is grown. The U.S. has a program of teaching Afghans how to grow other things such as wheat and corn.

Not smart. For one simple reason. There is not the same monies to be made off wheat and corn. Poppy much more profitable. Significantly so.

The Marines know it. They take their orders from Washington, however. No matter how you view it, Washington is pursuing a path that will not lead to eliminating the poppy fields.

With all the money being made, there has to be some changing hands. Who, how, when, where, I do not know. However you do not have to be a genius to recognize it has to be a fact.

Poppy becomes opium. Opium, heroin. Heroin rampant on the streets of the United States. Killing many every day.

Overdosing has resulted in a tsunami of bodies. Opioids a crisis. Trump campaigned that opioids were a crisis and he would deal with it as such when elected. He appointed a Commission immediately to study and report back with recommendations for him. The Commission did. It said opioids were a crisis and the U.S. should pursue it as such.

Trump declined to do so. He changed his position. He claimed it was not a crisis and could be dealt with effectively on a non-crisis basis.

In the meantime, the medical field claims opioids constitute the worst epidemic in drug history. Medical examiners/coroners cannot keep up with the number of bodies to be autopsied. Many are leaving the field.

In 2016, there were 64,000 overdose deaths. Bodies awaiting autopsy are backing up. Cold storage trailers are being used to hold bodies awaiting autopsy. Some medical examiners are requiring those delivering the bodies to find another place for them till they are ready to perform the autopsy.

Such is the story of Afghanistan on this the 16th year of the war. A terrible evolution. No resolution in sight.

I wanted to watch Syracuse/Pitt yesterday afternoon. Stayed home to watch it from the comfort of the couch. The game was not available via Comcast on any channel. Sad because Syracuse won. 27-24. I would have enjoyed watching my team win.

The Chart Room first last night. David, Shaun, and Kevin. Met Ray. Visiting from Cape Coral. Comes down several times a year.

NRA and politics topics of discussion. No one yelled at anyone. Kevin behaved himself.

Stopped at La Te Da for a bite to eat afterwards.

A post Irma report.

Progress being made. However, slowly. Too much debris and too much damage. Everyone busting their ass. Recovery will take time.

Some places not open yet. Others advising they will not be open for Fantasy Fest. The list long of those who will be open by Fantasy fest and those that will not. Included are 2 Cents, Virgilio’s, Better Than Sex, Regal Cinema, Burger King, and the Yamaha dealership.

Molly died. Molly the dolphin. Fifty plus years old. The matriarch at the Dolphin Research Center.

Molly is believed to have been the oldest living dolphin in captivity.

In her senior years, Molly took to watching over the new born. In grandmotherly fashion. Helping to raise them, teaching them.

Happy birthday to William Hackley. He turned 50 on October 7, 1856.

Robots keep coming! Used in one business today, another the next.

The newest robot is Sally the Salad Robot. Sally’s sole function is to serve as a salad bar of sorts. Apparently, a Sally is needed. Salad bars are magnets for bacteria and viruses.

A Silicon Valley company called Chowbotics manufacturing Sally robots.

Neo-Nazis have returned to Charlottesville for the third time since the August 12 confrontation. Quick visits by a small group. In and out. Led by Richard Spencer, an alt-right leader and founder.

The Mayor said, “You’re not welcome here! Go home!”

The neo-Nazis chant during their visits: “You will not replace us. You will not erase us. / “We’re back and we’re going to keep coming back.” / “Get used to the alt-right. You’re going to have to get used to white identity.”

Enjoy your Sunday!

 

SHAME AND DISGRACE

 

Abraham Lincoln’s head hung in shame last night as he sat in his monument in Washington. His mind run through with the disgrace of it all.

Charlottesville, Virginia. A moment that will go down in American history. A moment when the dark side of man came to the forefront. Anti-color, anti-Semite, anti-affirmative action, and anti-establishment.

Domestic terrorists. American born and bred.

The trouble makers a significant part of Trump’s base. It cannot be denied. White supremacists, neo-Nazis and the Klu Klux Klan. Dissidents all.

From day one, Trump has encouraged violence. The manner and words he used in the primaries and election against opposition. His yells to those who spoke out against him  at rallies to be thrown out, beaten. His promise to pay the attorney bills of anyone arrested. His chants to jail Hillary.

It goes on. The man is mad. He drives those who are mad. They feed off him.

Breitbart News is a leading white supremacist supporter/outlet. West Wing adviser Steve Bannon was once its CEO. Stephen Miller, who I have likened to Joseph Goebbels, wrote for the publication.

Yesterday represented America’s Arab Spring. With one significant difference. Egypt’s Arab Spring was a protest against a corrupt government. Charlottesville’s in support of evil in its many forms.

Yesterday afternoon was Robert and Ally time. Interestingly, we discussed what was blaring on the TV sets while having lunch at the new Denny’s.

Robert and Ally had a handle on the situation. I was amazed and impressed. At 13 and 12, they understood the right and wrong of Charlottesville.

At first, I was surprised. As I thought further, not. If I and my friends had a grasp on Hiroshima at the age of 10, Robert and Ally a few years older could have an understanding of Charlottesville.

Liked Denny’s! My first time. Robert and Ally had been before and recommended that we have lunch there.

Then to a unique experience. Key West Room Escape.

I questioned when I made reservations whether Robert and Ally would enjoy it. Even if I would. We all did!

Located in the Casa Antigua on Simonton, The Escape consists of two rooms. We were locked in. We were told we had 60 minutes to find the last page of Hemingway’s A Farewell To Arms manuscript.

Not easy! Mentally arduous! Required team effort. We worked together.

I could not have provided Robert and Ally with a better afternoon. Nor Poppa. The grandkids got right into it. Their intelligence obvious. Not an easy task to find the page.

I found Robert and Ally’s mental acuteness exceeded mine. No question about it.

We failed. One step away. The last one. However, we were not able to figure out the last clue.

Young or old, go! You will leave excited. The Adrenalin running.

The proprietor is Kyle Turk. He watches at all times via hidden cameras. Periodically suggests whether you are hot or cold in your quest to discover the next clue.

Turk has come up with a winner. Different and exciting. I hope it takes hold.

I never made it to Giorgio and Sharon’s Sons and Daughters of Italy dinner party last night. I was exhausted by the hunt. Dropped Robert and Ally home. Did not stay. Went to my home. In bed at 6. Never got out.

Enjoy your Sunday!