The Last Century Accomplished Nothing!

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I do not think that Hillary is Hitler. One politician is about the same as the other. Some, like Hitler, are simply more successful in moving society to accomplish their aims. The aims are all the same. Control of the populace in a given geo-political area for the advancement of personal power. There is nothing more to it.

There are no Great Leaders out there.

Look at the great leaders in history.

Lincoln — He kinda freed the slaves. But not really. In order to keep the South in the Union, he prosecuted a war which claimed the lives of millions. How is he different than Hitler or Stalin or FDR or Churchill or any of the Monarchs of the 17th Century.

FDR took America to war for Democracy and to save the Free World. In the end, more people were enslaved by communism than were threatened by the madness of Hitler.

Ike, JFK, LBJ took us to war in Vietnam to stop the communist dominoes from falling. In the end, those communist dominoes fell anyway. Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia all fell to communism. Indonesia became a dictatorship.  Nixon’s “peace with honor” all but ensured the fall of Cambodia to the Khmer Rouge.  Congress’ failure to support South Vietnam or Laos after our withdrawal ensured their fall to communism.  What did we accomplish except to participate in slaughter and sacrifice our citizen soldiers to madness and arrogance.

We supported the Indonesia dictator.

How were the people of Indonesia, Vietnam, Cambodia or Laos better off after our War of Liberation?

In Iraq, Bush “liberated” the Iraqi people from Saddam Hussein only to have Obama hand those same people over to a Shi’ite despots and the Islamic madmen of the Islamic State.  All the while, we supported the Monarchy which fuels Sunni Extremism via Dollar Diplomacy.  The Wahhabis owe everything to Saudi Arabia.  The Wahhabis are ISIS, al Qaeda, al Jihad, the Muslim Brotherhood and every other Sunni Islamic Extremists group extant.

In what war has America actually helped anyone?

We defeated Germany and Japan? They went on to become economic superpowers. This would have occurred anyway. In fact, the war with Japan was over the US and Britain keeping resources away from Japan that would have allowed them to become an economic superpower. We basically warred with Japan for five years in order to destroy them so that they could recover and become exactly what we had attempted to stop them from becoming. Millions died because FDR and his economic obstructionism. Yet, FDR is a hero and Hitler is a villain.

It was the same with Germany. Britain did not want Germany to become master of the Continent. So, we warred with them twice in conflagrations which engulfed the world in flames…so that Germany could become the economic master of the Continent.

What did we accomplish with our wars?

Asia slowly recovers with Laos and Cambodia lagging and their people suffering in poverty. Vietnam is becoming a mini-economic superpower and are loosening their economic controls so that capitalists can profit. This benefits the State and the Capitalists. There is relatively little benefit to the people.

Germany is the power of the Continent.

Britain has lost it’s empire. (I suppose that’s a plus).

America is still an economic power though we are doing our best to implode.

Russia is what it has always been. The poor man of Europe and the villain of the east.

China is a burgeoning beast with the potential to ruin or save the world as it has always been.

And history begins to repeat itself.

Is war on the horizon?

It seems that Political Leaders of the World are repeating the sins of the last century even as they preach of peace. I see no peace. I see no good coming of this next few decades. If the “Great Leaders” of this coming Century are as incompetent and arrogant as those of the last, the World is doomed to simply repeat the sins of the past.  There were be Great Leaders only because they take us into Great Wars.

Where are the visionaries?  Where is our Jesus?  Our Moses?  Our Gandhi?  Where are the leaders who not only preach peace but practice it?

Can the earth survive human war or human peace?  If we war on one another with our current technology, we may make this world uninhabitable.  If we do not war and continue “peaceably,” human being will reproduce in unsustainable numbers.

There seems to be no way out.  By War or Peace, humanity’s ignorance and lack of foresight endangers itself…ensures it’s fall.  Perhaps that is not a bad thing.

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Did BushCo allow bin Laden to Succeed?

Recently, a question was asked:  “Do you really believe what you are saying or do you think FDR and Bush were begging and pleading for Japan and Bin Laden to attack us so we could enter a war? Seriously?”

On the question of Japan, undoubtedly FDR was courting an attack as justification for entering the War in Europa. Anyone who has read the history of the build up to World War II knows that FDR was looking for a way to get the American people on a war footing. Embargoes are a mother!

As for bin Laden. BushCo were strangely oblivious of bin Laden prior to 9-11. I do not put it past the Gov’t and especially one guided by the likes of Cheney and Rummy to allow an attack to occur so as to “lead” the nation to war.

Why did we NEED to go to Iraq? The answer is that we DID NOT. Yet, 9-11 and the GWOT were used as an excuse to take us into that war. They definitely “shaded the truth” to get the war that they wanted.

The Spanish American War was yet another contrived war as was the Mexican War and the Vietnam War. When one looks at the Korean War, it is a war into which we either secretly goaded North Korea or into which Truman simply blundered like a blind fool.

American spheres of influence were stated loudly to the World. South Korea lay JUUUUUUUSSSSSST outside of the line. Leading NK, China and the USSR to believe that we’d stand by and do nothing.

From the internet:

In June 1950, after Secretary of State Dean Acheson declared Korea to be outside of America’s sphere of influence, the North Koreans invaded South Korea and attempted to reunify the country under communist rule. President Truman immediately declared Korea a “global police action” and attempted to drive the North Koreans out of South Korea. In fact, the United States secret larger goal in the Korean war was to defeat North Korean communism and create a unified Korea under American domination and control. Korea was supposed to be the first major effort to rollback global communism. However, communist China, feeling threatened that aggressive American actions against North Korea would be followed by American attempts to undermine Chinese communism, entered the Korean war against the United States and its South Korean ally. The Korea war quickly proved to be a deadly stalemate between the United States and communist China. Only in 1953, after President Eisenhower secretly threatened to drop atomic bombs on China, did the Chinese agree to an end to the war, leaving North and South Korea divided just as they were at the beginning of the war.

The Korean war, as many American leader later said, seem to justify America’s global crusade against Soviet communism. It convinced many Americans of the truth of the United States governments warning that the Soviet were plotting to take over the world and impose communist domination over the free world. The Korean war would further justify American creation of the “nuclear umbrella” to shield the free world from Soviet expansion. As described by Secretary of State Dean Acheson in 1949, the nuclear umbrella was the American threat to wage nuclear war against the Soviet Union if the communists threatened any country in the free world. An attack on any member of the free world, thus, would be treated as an attack against the United States, which would lead America to wage nuclear war against the aggressor.

Also, Woodrow Wilson and Harry Truman: mission and power in American foreign policy By Anne Rice Pierce PG 248 (Google Books)

As well as the following:


After World War II, the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. divided Korea into spheres of influence—the Soviets backed Communist-ruled North Korea and the U.S. backed the South Korean dictatorship. Both Koreas had threatened to invade the other. When U.S. Secretary of State Dean Acheson declared that South Korea was no longer part of the U.S. defense perimeter in Asia, the North invaded the South.

Do I think that a US President and/or the US Political and Military Leadership are capable of allowing an attack or incident to happen so as to lead us into war? Definitely.  It’s been done several times.

REMEMBER THE ALAMO!

REMEMBER THE MAINE!

REMEMBER PEARL HARBOR!

9-11! NEVER AGAIN!

THE LUSITAINE!

FORT SUMTER! (As Lincoln stated; “The North must not be seen as the aggressor.)

The Tonkin Gulf Incident

Leaving the Koreas outside of our “sphere of influence.”

What did Madame Ambassador say to Saddam Hussein when he asked how the US would view aggression against Kuwait?

Known faulty intelligence used to justify the invasion of Iraq in ’03.

The War of 1812 and lust for Canada.

Hawaii, the US Marines and Dole Fruit

Gautamala and United Fruit

Nicaragua/Panama ~ We needed a Canal passage.

Pinochet ~ Nixon and Henry Kissinger

Nixon, Cambodia and Laos

Monetary Notes of the World


Unny and I had this table custom made for our new digs out in the ‘burbs.  Cost a bit, but, not too much.  It’s made from teak wood.  I wanted something in which to display the monetary notes which I’ve collected from my travels.  I only wish that I had some of the notes that are in my storage room back in the States.

There are notes in there from China, Dubai, Kuwait, Afghanistan, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, India, Iran, Bahrain, Egypt, Vietnam, North Korea and a few other countries.  As well as notes from old French Indochine.  The note with the tiger is from Vietnam during the US war era.  I actually got that one from ebay.com because I thought it was cool.

There are also coins in there from all over (Japan, Malaysia, EU, England, etc).  Some old ones but mostly newer coins.  I placed my three French Indochine Silver Dollars. They’re probably counterfeit, but, I don’t care.  That actually makes them a little more interesting to me and I paid a pittance for them.  3 or 4 bucks.  Nothing to cry over.  I knew or thought that they were fakes when I purchased them.

I also placed of couple of Greco-Bactrian coins in there.  Supposedly, they’re silver and over a thousand years old.  I don’t know.  So many fakes being sold in Afghanistan these days.  Even so, those coins are supposedly a dime a dozen over there.  Chances are they’re real.  They’re not rare, though.  At least not for anyone who’s traveled in Central Asia.  They’re all over the place there.  It is said that one can find them walking out in open ground or on fields and such.  They’re that common place.  Neat little pieces of history.

The necklace is a Kuchi piece that I purchased at a bazaar in Herat.  It’s made of brass and copper with a few worthless gems thrown in for good measure.  It has an old animist relief on it.  Looks to be an old Ganesh likeness to me. I also placed my Bamian Buddha stamps in the lower right corner and four little jewelry/snuff boxes.  The two with Camels depicted on them are from Dubai and made from silver and glazed to make the camel likenesses.  The other two I purchased in Herat.  Those two are supposed to be silver as well.  Though, I doubt it.

There you have it.  My little collection of monies (and sundry items) from around the world.

Lao Hill Tribe Dolls

I ran across these dolls in at the Night Bazaar in Luang Prabang, Laos.

I started laughing when I saw them.  My first thought was; “Damn!  Those wouldn’t go over well back in the States at all!”  lol  They bring to mind the Amos and Andy black face characters of the early 1900s.  Racially sensitive folks would immediately say; “Oh my!  Those dolls are RACIST!”  Then I thought to myself.  Damn, I gotta have those!  lol  They’re cute.  I didn’t purchase them on my first trip through Luang Prabango, though.  I just had to grab them on my second trip this past April.  Could no longer resist.  Unny thought they were cute.  That clinched it for me.

They’re cute dolls and representations of the Hill Tribe folk BY the Hill Tribe Folk and sold BY the Hill Tribe Folk.  Take that for what it’s worth.  They’ve nothing to do with Africa or African Americans.  Nothing racist about them Momma, so no worries.  haha

Our trip through Laos was awesome.  We did the total backpacker thing.  Took buses to different cities.  We stayed in the cheapie hotels.  We broght with us nothing except what we could carry on our backs.  No extra bags (until we made a purchase or two).  We tooled around Luang Prabang for a few days.  We saw some amazing temples.  I sent around a few pics of these via email and on facebook earlier.  I’ll get around eventually to going through them all and placing them in a new post or just edit them into this one.  After that, we bussed down to Vang Vieng.  There we went kayaking and I added to my Buddha collection.  A little cheap one that the lady said was no more than 5 years old.  It was unique enough that I liked it.  I’ve got enough of the regular, run of the mill Buddha statues in my collection.  Looking for something unique now.

When Unny and I went kayaking, I wore my iPod.  Big Mistake.  I’ve been kayaking before and never went under.  This was Unny’s first time, however.  So!  We went under.  The water was calm.  So I wasn’t really paying attention.  Another mistake.  We rolled on our first small rapid.  Hit a pretty large rock.  The water at this point was about 8 feet deep.  Not too deep for someone who can swim.  Unny is not a great swimmer, though.  When we rolled, my only thought was “GET UNNY!”  She was wearing a life jacket.  So she floated.  Initially, though, she went under and you could see the panic in her eyes at first.  She go the hang of it quick enough.  A little adventure for her.  My iPod got the worst of it.  Totally immersed and stopped working.  (with the help of nephew Benjamin and some rice, though, it’s back in working order….thanx Ben).  The rest of the kayak excursion went smoothly.  I tried to race the guide and damn near killed someone.  Unny kept getting nervouse when we would stray to far ahead of him.  She thought we’d get lost on the river.  I fugured he could out kayak me to hell and back and that when he needed to get up on us, he would. I tried to race him near the end.  We got going pretty fast and I think I bulled ahead of him pretty good but I couldn’t attain speed while directing the kayak and damn near rammed him and some other river traveler.  lol

After that, we just hung out around town.  Shopped a bit and made ready for our trip to Vientiene.

At Vientiene, we saw all of the usual spots.  Patuxai ~ the Lao Arc de Triomphe, Pha That Luang ~ the huge Golden Monument that’s built over the spot that supposedly contained a breast bone of the Buddha, Wat Si Saket.  We even made it down to Xieng Khuan, the Buddha Park.  We also got off the beaten track a bit as is my wont.  We were heading up to Patuxai.  I decided it was time for one of my infamous side tracks.  It was hot and I was tired of being on the main streets.  As we walked down these alley ways, we passed by locals.  You could get a glimpse of how these folks really live.  It’s bare essential except for the occasional TV or radio.  All electricity that I could see was provided by generators.  I don’t know why they weren’t allowed or couldn’t access the city electricity.  As we walked along, I passed a little house with a little girl inside.  I smiled and she didn’t seem to notice me.  I kept moving.  I got about ten feet further along and suddenly I heard “FALANG! FALANG!  FALANG!”  I didn’t catch what she was saying at first. She repeated; “FALANG FALANG FALANG!”  At this point, I knew that she had to be talking to me.  The only other non-Lao person there was Unny and she wouldn’t be calling Unny “falang.”  So I turned around and smiled and waved to her.  I wish that I had something to give to her.  I’ll have to make a point to carry around candies next time we’re out.  She was cute and it made me smile.

Of course, we did a bit of shopping.  Unny bought some local handicrafts (purses) and I bought a Buddha and a Water Buffalo horn with Buddha carved on it.

After three days in Vientiene, we headed for home.  It was a nice little adventure that we both enjoyed.

Money!

I’m not a numismatists or serious collector of coins and notes.  Not by any means.  Even so, I usually grab a few notes and/or coins when I’m traveling.  The part that is cool for me is to find old money that is still in circulation.  The old Mao notes in China.  Older notes in Thailand that have an earlier version of King Bhumipol.  The notes in Cambodia that highlighted the various peoples and ethnic minorities or have varying versions of Angkor Wat and other sites. The notes used in Afghanistan during the Soviet invasion, the Civil War and the Taliban eras.

These notes convey a sense of history to me.  They’re part of the fabric of the history of these lands. That fascinates me. I’ve monies of varying sorts from nearly every country that I’ve visited plus a few other notes that were gifts from the homelands of folks whom I’ve met out on the road.

These are a collection of items from Laos, Cambodia and Thailand.  The Lao and Khmer notes, I picked up in Luang Prabang, Vieng Vang and Vientiene (Laos).  The Thai notes were given to me by Unny’s parents.  She was telling them that I had a crazy fascination with money so that brought me some from her Grandfather’s house.  Some of the notes are pretty old with the oldest dating to the 1920s.

The coins are all Thai with the exception of the old French Indochine Piastres.  They are probably fakes, but, they were too cool to pass up.  I tested them as I have been instructed.  The ring test and the obverse/reverse line test.  They actually passed those test.  Even so, they were much to cheap and felt too light to be solid silver coins of that size.  Perhaps, I’ll have them checked one day.  I don’t care if they are real or not.  They look cool and that’s all I’m interested in at this point.

Rambling Through Laos

Spent the past week in Laos on my Visa run.

Had a great time with Unny.  Can’t wait to do it again.  It’s so cool traveling with her.  Everything seems more enjoyable to me.

We spent a couple of days doing the backpacker gig.  Luang Prabang, Vang Vieng, Vientiene.  Kayaking and drowning in the Nam Khan!  Then we flew back home and the plane damn near kills us…well, the pilot or the wind

But we made it and I laughed my ass off while the girl next to me puked her guts out!

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Suvarnabhumi Airport Opening Video (2005)

My gateway to Southeast Asia.

It’s the nicest, most organized Airport that I’ve experienced.  Easy in and easy out.

I don’t feel like I’m entering or leaving a Nazi concentration camp as when entering or exiting America.  There is organization and a flow to this airport that does not exist in any of the Muslim countries of the Middle East and Central Asia.  And unlike entering and exiting the Middle East there aren’t thousands with their hands out for tips and bribes.  It’s much less hectic than the European airports through which I’ve flown.

As soon as I touch down at Suvarnabhumi, a smile creeps onto my face and a lightness enters my step.  I’m happy.  I’m home.  I feel more at home in Bangkok than almost anywhere on this planet.

I am entering the land of smiles.  And the land of smiles is the gateway to the East.  The true east.  Not the dirty and violent Islamic Middle East.  This is the enchanted land of myth, silk, smiles and exotic Asian mysteries.  Angkor, Luang Prabang, Sukhothai, Saigon, Phnom Penh, Xi’an, the Forbidden City, the Great Wall, the Mekong, Lhasa and Katmandu, the Taj Mahal and the Ganges.  Ancient histories.  A region shrouded in myst and legend.  The home of the the great conqueror Genghis Khan and the religion and philosophical enlightenment of the Buddha.

It’s also home to the most beautiful beaches and women in the world.

Every time I land at Suvarnabhumi International, these thoughts run through my head.  My next adventure awaits me.  I’ll swim the Mekong and climb the Great Wall.  Explore ancient temples or dance all night at RCA.

I love this place.  Thailand uber alles.