Afghanistan and The Gordian Knot

Alexander_cuts_the_Gordian_KnotThe top story on the NYT website today is how Afghanistan’s Attorney General released 65 prisoners from the Bagram Airport Prison facility today for lack of evidence against them…and these are 65 detainees who the U.S. military deems terrorists and do not want released.

This article today reminded me of a myth today then regarding Alexander the Great and the “Gordian Knot.” Let me tell it to you and show you how they relate.

As Alexander’s Macedonian army entered the Phrygia at Gordium city-state, a myth resided their where to become the next ruler of the ruler-less city, one would have to untie the “Gordian Knot”: an enormous knot on an oxcart tied in a fashion wherein the ends of the rope were not visible, and therefore enabled to be untied.

(The myth is very similar to the one about Arthur and The Sword In The Stone in English Mythology, if that reference helps.)

So Alexander looked about the knot and found no way to untie it in a traditional sense and then, with suddenness and guile, draws his sword and hacks away at the knotted rope until it becomes “untied.”

Now the most popular interpretation of this mythical metaphor is that it should teach one to think “outside the box” as Alexander did even though he somewhat slighted the rules. In other words, Alexander got the job done in the usually glorious Alexander way and know one was about to argue.

Back to Afghanistan and the Gordian Knot mythology.

In 2001, when the U.S. Army invaded Afghanistan, we metaphorically looked at the Taliban-ruled Nation as a “knot”: It was very complex and seemed to remain tied despite thousands of years of attempted conquest by those characters such as the Russians and Alexander The Great…and they both failed.

But without thinking about it too hard and with extreme hubris we cut and hacked, and hacked and cut at the Afghanistan knot until it was left in pieces. But unlike the myth, those pieces that we hacked apart are now growing back together.

As we move to withdrawal from Afghanistan in late this year, we can metaphorically see the “knot” reassemble and reform. And one of these pieces mending back together is through the release of supposed terrorists right back into society.

So the lesson of Afghanistan know is we should have observed our knot much more than we did.

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“The Day We Fight Back”

4a716d9a-de79-4fde-b0a9-e2fd6b46bc1d-460x276A short piece in The Guardian on “The Day We Fight Back” protests that occurred Tuesday involving organizations and individuals against government surveillance of internet activity.

Interesting to see how protests are further morphing as the digital age is progressing, if even it is still the digital age at all.

Read Here.

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Dispelling the Myth a Higher Minimum Wage Equals Job Loss, Microchips in Your Body, and Other Tidbits of Info for the Day

Minimum Wage Myth

Pulitzer Prize-winning economist David Cay Johnston penned an op-ed crushing the myth that raising the minimum wage would equal a loss in jobs.  There is no proof of this and he does a phenomenal job laying out the realities.  Nicely summarized here:

The idea that a higher minimum wage would destroy jobs is powerfully simple and intuitively appealing. The problem is that it is contradicted both by economic theory and the facts…Apart from the abundant evidence and economic theory, there are powerful business interests deploying PR strategies to confuse the public. (Emphasis added)6221571650_2ff1e8413c

Paul on Immigration

Rand Paul voiced his fear that Texas may be on its way to becoming a blue state in the near future because of the growing Hispanic population and stated the Republican party should consider a more open position on amnesty for immigrants.  This shows that even the hardest right-wingers are beginning to realize they are going to have to pull themselves to the left to save their own necks come election time.

Then Paul quoted his fellow Senator Mike Lee by stating, “We were all immigrants once.”  To which every Native American replied, “What?!”

Voting Rights for Former Prisoners

Attorney General Eric Holder expressed his support for changing voting laws so people who have served their time and reformed themselves can rightfully participate in elections again.  This is simply yet another aspect of the American justice system disproportionately affecting African-Americans and is long overdue for change.  And with the increasingly fast change we are seeing regarding marijuana legalization, these changes should quickly follow.

Microchips in Your What?!

A fascinating op-ed appeared on the BBC describing some of the advancements and possibilities of microchips being implanted in the human body.  An interesting read to see where the technology is going:

Amal Graafstra…is a double implantee – he has a microchip in each hand.

In his right hand is a re-writable chip, the same kind used in Oyster travel cards, which can be used to store small amounts of data. By pressing his hand to his phone, information can be downloaded from his body or uploaded into it. The left contains a simple identity number that can be scanned to unlock his front door, log into his computer or even start a motorbike

The Wealthy are Actually the Job Destroyers

Reuters reported that Barclays will be cutting 12,000 jobs and has already begun the process because the company is struggling so badly…so badly they are increasing bonuses for their top earners even though they stunk it up last year. 

It said it paid 2.4 billion pounds ($3.9 billion) in incentive awards last year, raising bonuses at the investment bank by 13 percent despite a slump in its profits. (Emphasis added)

So, with the logic that the wealthy are the “job creators” and they need more money to create the jobs (mythological idea, by the way), we can only assume Barclays will be hiring, let’s say, 24,000 in the near future because the top earners are so much better off.  Can’t wait for that to pan out for the people who they are about to lay off and prove all the right wingers correct on that myth.  Maybe it will happen guys.  And maybe pigs will be cruising through the air on their newly grown wings to celebrate.

Nye Wins Evolution/Creationism Debate

Bill_Nye-620x412An interesting, short piece at Salon.com reporting that a poll after the Bill Nye vs. Ken Ham, Evolutionist vs. Creationist, debate was won by Nye according to a subsequent poll. The op-ed explains why and what to draw from these results.

Read Here.

 

 

 

 

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Liberals/Progressives Not Leftist Tea Party Members

9aaac1e47A really good article in The Atlantic that contrasts the liberal/progressive members of the Democratic Party and the GOP’s Tea Party. It explains how they play differing roles within each side of the aisle and includes other great analyses with neat graphs.

My only issue with this article is that they do not put forth a good definition of liberal/progressive members of the Democratic Party when the Tea Party Republicans have defined themselves so clearly. They need this definition to accompany the included graphs.

Read Here.

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Is Rolling-News Outdated?

Sky-news-studio-007A great piece from The Guardians’ Media Blog giving several criticisms and argument points on how rolling-news channels (mainly what we see on cable news channels where it continues with an anchor 24 hours a day) are outdated in a digital world with Facebook, Twitter, and, yes, blogs. A must read.

Read Here.

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Pussy Riot Latest

06russia-master675A short article in the NYT reporting the latest in the lives of the Russian protest-punk band Pussy Riot and how their incarceration emboldened them.

Read Here.

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