Belmont Club


Golden Age TV once had a show called People Are Funny. There was also a horse opera titled Wanted, Dead or Alive.  So what happens when you cross a comedy with an action show? You get a news reality show hit. The Telegraph reports that “a Taliban commander has been captured after marching up to a checkpoint brandishing a wanted poster with his own face and demanding the $100 reward for his own arrest.”

Since the Afghan security forces were apparently unable to catch him, instead of letting all that good reward money go to waste, Mohammed Ashan turned himself in to claim the dough. It’s not wholly irrational. A hunded bucks might be enough to enough money to buy his way out of jail and still leave some leftover for a kebab or two.

Mohammad Ashan was wanted for organising attacks on Afghan troops and so police were bemused when he voluntarily approached the checkpoint…. “We asked him, ‘Is this you?’ Mohammad Ashan answered with an incredible amount of enthusiasm, ‘Yes, yes, that’s me! Can I get my award now?’” one US soldier told the Washington Post.

What makes sense varies by time and place. Completely corrupt societies have a dynamic all their own. During the Gloria Macapagal Arroyo administration, Indonesian terrorist Fathur Rahman al-Ghozi probably bought his way out of jail. He escaped according to local rules. But a repeat of the problem was subsequently avoided when al-Ghozi was killed while trying to escape the next time the security forces found him.  That made sense too — in context.

Human venality apparently knows no limits. Foreign Policy says the Chinese Military, so formidable on the outside, is rotting from within.

Judging from a recent series of scathing speeches by one of the PLA’s top generals, details of which were obtained by Foreign Policy … the institution is riddled with corruption and professional decay, compromised by ties of patronage, and asphyxiated by the ever-greater effort required to impose political control. …

“No country can defeat China,” Liu told about 600 officers in his department in unscripted comments to an enlarged party meeting on the afternoon of Dec. 29, according to sources who have verified notes of his speech. “Only our own corruption can destroy us and cause our armed forces to be defeated without fighting.”

Maybe the Chinese Communist Party can organize a race to the bottom with the politicians in Washington. Who would win? The Communist Party of Chongquing or the Democratic Party in Chicago? Maybe that’s too close to call.

It seems that neither America nor China can beat the other. But each can easily beat itself. That adage works even in politics. Even as Michelle Obama extolled her husband as the “president has brought us out of the dark and into the light”, pundits like Jim Treacher are on Twitter were making dog jokes about Mitt Romney and Barack Obama. The President said he used to eat dog back when he was in Indonesia. So, have you heard the difference between Romney and Obama? “Romney put a dog on top of a car. Obama put a dog on top of rice.”

Maybe Romney can’t beat Obama. But Obama can beat Obama and Romney can beat Romney. But that raises the question, why is mankind populated by Dumb and Dumber?

A friend of mine who used to be an atheist started to believe in the existence of God when he concluded that man by himself would have long ago been destroyed by his own stupidity. “It is either Divine Providence,” he said, “or space aliens are watching over us”. But what if stupidity were on the contrary a major reason for the survival of the species?

Stupidity certainly adds a randomness to history. To the answer who stopped Hitler? Or Stalin or Napoleon? the answer might be, the Eternal Gomer Pyle.  Maybe the species owes it surval to Murphy who has frustrated the plots of all evil geniuses from the beginning of time. Perhaps the answer to the fears by some that Barack Obama will bring down America is the fact that politicians all over the world are giving him a run for his money.

Like the men below say. It’s all about headspace, or the lack thereof. God Bless America, because on the day He don’t, mankind may be in for a lot of trouble.

How to Publish on Amazon’s Kindle for $2.99
The Three Conjectures at Amazon Kindle for $1.99
Storming the Castle at Amazon Kindle for $3.99
No Way In at Amazon Kindle $8.95, print $9.99

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