Warning: Political Content. You are encouraged to ignore it.
Every time I go on an extended wilderness trip and/or disconnect from communication (which is more often than you’d think) I’m hesitant to go back on the grid. As I said in Off Grid I:
The dark side of “off grid” is going back “on”. Sometimes I come back “on grid” to discover people have gone full Technicolor stupid in only a few days. I’ve returned to crashed markets, exploded shuttles, the O.J. Simpson murder, and discovering countries nobody cared about when I left are an undeclared shooting war in our “vital interest” on my return.
Which brings me to the thoughts of a few days ago. It was dawn and I’d just eaten an excellent breakfast of broiled fish and hot coffee. (I make excellent coffee while camping and make sure to season it with a heaping dose of whiskey.) The skies looked clear and inviting. I suspected the fish bite might come back for a last hurrah by noon’s light. I was rested, relaxed, and smelled like a man who hadn’t taken a shower in far too long. All was well with the world.
Alas it was my last morning. By sunset I’d be in my truck. By midnight I’d be 300 miles away, in a different state, time zone, and universe. Parting is such sweet sorrow.
Also; what had “they” done in my absence?
It’s an election cycle and the incumbent is as desperate as the challenger is uninspiring. Nobody in power would benefit from the dog days of summer winding down in peace and harmony. Something had surely gone down.
A mass shooting with the attendant police state expansion? That didn’t seem likely. A company I never knew suddenly too big to fail and the attendant little death by auto-erotic asphyxiation of what’s left of the economy. (Think AIG and GM.) Nah, that seems dated and both parties are whistling past the graveyard with debt. Gas prices spike and everyone loses their shit? Nope, folks have been pretty supine about gas prices in 2012. Occupy Wall Street? Nope, I once thought they’d resurrect in 2012 but I was wrong. A movement of losers, they seem to have the lasting power of New Coke.
Finally I had my guess. War. I fleshed out my prediction. It would be somewhere that has produced virtually nothing important in a century… except oil. Probably a nation of theocratic oppression. First there would be civil unrest from people who have no rights. Then they’d break shit and blame America for their tragically limited lives. Then the guns would come out and both American political parties would collude to get us mired in another horseshit argument between rival groups of assholes. America would be globally blamed for everything from the unemployment to the weather and people would somehow have lots of pre-manufactured flags ready to burn. (Who sells the flags? Do pissed off people keep stocks of American flags? I certainly don’t have stocks of foreign flags handy for when I feel like rioting.) It would have to be a really nasty place that hippies love. The kind of dump where women wear Glad bags and gays get stoned while Berkley elites explain the moral relativism of their actions. Obama, who is Carter without the sweater, would avoid Iran like the plague and Israel will eventually handle them anyway. So I ruled out Iran as well as Afghanistan and Iraq. Hmmm. Syria.
I’d get in my truck, turn on the radio, and find us at war. In Syria. War in the middle east? Somehow that’s less unexpected than AIG.
I hoisted my pack and set off to fish for a last few precious hours.
Back in town I turned on the radio. The usual dog and pony show had indeed gone down. In broad strokes my absence was marked by anti-American riots in Egypt and a Libyan ambassador beaten to death while the consulate burned.
I think I predicted reasonably close. I’ll admit that both locations have a lower “women in Glad bags” index than Syria. On the other hand neither of them has anything approaching freedom of press, religion, or much else. Neither has produced anything of merit for decades. (Can Libya manufacture anything? Can Egypt export anything more complex than olive oil?) Aren’t these the shining stars of the “Arab Spring” so lauded around the Prius and Whole Foods set?
I’ll also admit that we’re not doing Jack Squat about it. (I hear Carter cackling in the wind.) This happens to mean my “war” prediction was incorrect. Which is good news.
On the other hand there are about 196 countries in the world and I almost picked the right one. Shocking eh? The world is roughly 25,000 miles at the equator. It’s less than 700 miles from Damascus (Syria) to Suez (Egypt). (Google happens think it’s insurmountable and route around the whole Mediterranean for 4,000 + miles.) Geographically my error is 2.8% (700/25000). Not bad for a redneck sitting on a rock in the wilderness. The CIA could ditch their global operations and just buy me a coffee once in a while.
How could a clueless blogger call it that close? Lets turn that around and ask, how can this surprise anyone with a pulse?
I have no special knowledge but even a moron can discern certain patterns. Half of the pattern is a bunch theocratic douchebags that oppress people. They have perfected the successful gambit of blaming America (or Israel) for their manifest failures. Their people, exposed to generations of propaganda, are buying it hook, line, and sinker. Here’s a hint, if your cat barfs on the rug in Aswan (Egypt) and you think America (or Israel) is the cause, you’re an embarrassment to yourself and your society. The other half are American elites (both parties) who make a living pretending that theocratic jackoffs are “moderates” and evil does not exist. Here’s a hint; evil does exist and if you don’t accept that you’re useless.
Meanwhile the usual fools are playing their accustomed parts. The press is emoting over whether a “riot” that involves RPGs and happened on 9/11 is “spontaneous”. A hapless yahoo who made a you tube video has been dragged off in handcuffs. Nice example of freedom of speech for Americans in their home country. What’s your encore? Talking heads meanwhile are getting the vapors with Mitt Romney speaking too “stridently” and it’s interference with Obama’s (awesome?) “diplomacy”. Here’s a hint; when RPGs are involved diplomacy has failed. Above all quit feeding me shit about a crowd dancing around a burning building (which they lit) and their heroic efforts to drag a mortally wounded ambassador to the hospital. C’mon journalists, even in an election cycle you at least have to pretend to be serious. Nobody drinks that much kool-aid and even my dog won’t buy it.
Take home message? This is all theatre. It’s tragic that anyone (including the ambassador) should die in violence. It’s pathetic to imprison a You Tube “videographer”. It’s pathetic to decide which speech is most relevant as the ashes of a consulate smoulder. But no matter how sad the price to be paid, it’s all for show.
Don’t take the bait. The shit shall flow deep for another few months and none of it will be real. Keep the TV on a short leash and go fishing as much as possible. And thank goodness we’re not at war. I’m not sure how that happened but it’s good news.
P.S. None of this taints the excellent fishing trip. Thanks to all who asked because I had an excellent time!