A Day in the Life of

Last night I took a break from watching La La Land and headed to Hacksaw Ridge instead. The turnout was spectacular. It was a full house on a weekday. That got us thinking. Friend wondered if it could have anything to do with faith. I liked that thought. I liked it so much I pursued it further. Could it be that they were running commercials for the movie exclusively and extensively on the Christian channels? I hadn’t come across much of a publicity push anywhere else that would explain the turnout. Could it be that a local celebrity preacher name-dropped the movie in one of his sermons? Or could it be that he handed out the tickets himself? Teach a man to fish and he won’t starve for the rest of his life. Direct your congregation to a Mel Gibson film and you don’t need to worry about your sheep going astray.

The movie itself was a mixed bag. The war scenes had me turning towards my friend at least twice with a “did you see that?” expression on my face. A Star Wars or a Marvel movie couldn’t make me do that. Shame on those for disneyfying violence. When you disneyfy violence, you sanitize and degrade it. There’s a way and a need to degrade violence, but that’s by exposing its brutality- not by making the victims faceless and the fights bloodless. Just because you make a lot of money doesn’t mean you’re right, Disney.

From one empire to another. We need to talk about the similarities between the assassination of the Russian ambassador in Turkey and Pizzagate. Democrats like to make fun of Trump’s supporters for their gullibility and existence in a post-truth society. The way Democrats look at the Republicans must be the way Chomsky looks at them all. Chomsky views the stories published by NY times the way Hillary supporters look at the fake news stories planted by the alt-right on facebook. The more enlightened you are, the more is your ability to spot fake news apparently. Unfortunately, not many people have the free time or the inclination to reach a level of enlightenment where they begin to question the stories put out by outlets like NY Times. One such person with no time or inclination was the assassin of the Russian ambassador. Poor guy believed all the blame for the devastation in Aleppo could be laid squarely at the door of Russia. Did he know that Assad had offered a way to end the conflict even before it had become all encompassing? Did he know that US and its middle east allies wouldn’t come to the table unless Assad stepped down? Does he know how the American, or for that matter any other country’s, scales tip when the time comes to choose between geopolitical equations and saving human lives? Got to appreciate the cold hearted ruthlessness of the empires, even if they go around in cloaks boasting the values of freedom and democracy and human rights. If you only knew the number of autocratic regimes the US has propped up over the years. We need to support this murderous dictator because we need him in our fight against communism, we need him in our fight against terrorism, we need to depose this leader because he poses a threat to his own people… The problem with badmouthing and calling out the hypocrisy of the empire is people react to it in only one of two ways, and both of them amount to dismissal. Either they go:  We know all of this, tell us something we don’t know; or Okay (I don’t see how any of this concerns me).

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At this point, I could go on and end up like that Charlie Day meme or rehabilitate my image by talking about Blade Runner and Ryan Gosling. The prospect of Roger Deakins and Dennis Villeneuve getting back together to frame Ryan Gosling should be enough to make you forget the crushing despair of having to spend your whole life being manipulated and misinformed- and thank Jesus Christ, it is. What is real and what is reel, when the real is a construct of lies and the reel at least tries its utmost to stay true to itself?

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Continued coverage from Syria

Assad doesn’t pose a threat to the wider world. Assad is open to political dialogue. ISIS’s stated goal is to bring about an apocalypse, naturally there’s no negotiating with them. They can only be defeated on the battlefield. Assad, on the other hand, has time and again indicated his willingness to sit down for talks. Assad has as little interest in seeing the world burn as you and I. The members of ISIS would kill their own mothers if they thought that would bring about the end of the world.

Given this background, you’d think the self-proclaimed leaders of the human civilization would do the rational thing and have their priorities straight vis a vis Assad and ISIS. But boy, ain’t that naive!

They don’t want to talk with Assad, they just want him gone. They say this is because of the crimes he’s committed against his own countrymen but even the slightest bit of reading reveals how they’re usually perfectly fine in having as allies and even exporting weapons to countries brutally suppressing their own civilians. So that moral indignation they’re putting on?, it’s just a big pile of elephant shit. And only a noob who doesn’t know his history will fall for that. Tough luck, self-proclaimed leaders of the free world- some of us can see that the emperor has no clothes.

Only reason they won’t talk with Assad is that he isn’t *their bastard*. Only if Assad was Erdogan and the people he was suppressing were Kurds, or he was Saddam and the people he was suppressing were Shias. Then they wouldn’t have had a problem, they would’ve invited him for lavish state dinners.

In the immediate aftermath of the Paris attacks, it looked like the greatest nation on Earth and its allies would finally get their priorities straight. They made noises suggesting they were open to cooperating with Russia and that even before Assad, ISIS had to go. But surprise surprise, only a few days on they were like “Cooperate with Russia? Only over our ISIS bullets- riddled bodies!”

With the shooting down of the Russian jet, Turkey has gone beyond mere non-cooperation- it is now actively thwarting Russia from operating in Syria. Turkey, the country which kept its border with Syria open so that jihadists from all over the world could enter Syria with minimum hassle.  Turkey, the country which sat back and looked on with glee as ISIS pummeled Kurdish cities. Turkey, the country whose President vilified and started a full-blown civil war with its minorities to win parliamentary majority. Turkey, a proud member and indispensable part of NATO, one for which the US is contractually obliged to go into war.

Turkey: Syria :: Pakistan: Afghanistan.

As for the Turkish argument that Russia was bombing its allies in Syria instead of ISIS, why the fuck does the Free Syrian Army still exist? Why are Assad’s military and these Syrian rebels in a war with each other while ISIS is running around establishing caliphates? Why do the western nations continue to arm these disorganized and poorly trained rebels in the hope of overthrowing Assad knowing there’s a high chance of most of these weapons eventually falling into the arms of ISIS? Why are they so obsessed with Assad?

Assad going will be a big blow to the likes of Iran, and Hezbollah, and Russia. And that will make the likes of Saudi Arabia and Israel and hawks from the cold war era very happy indeed but shouldn’t terrorism trump geopolitical considerations at least for a little while? Apparently not. The hegemon knows the best after all. They want their geopolitical gains goddammit, the Syrian people can go to hell and ISIS? ISIS can be dealt with later on as well, chances to overthrow the Assad regime and break the Shia coalition’s back don’t come around too often. Or so goes the memo in the Pentagon.