With Thugs at the Desk

In a Florida County Government I worked with questionable characters

From my Writing Room
Copyright © 2021 by Uwe Bahr

During the ten years I worked for Pinellas County in Florida, I was gradually subordinated to a number of people who seemed richly suspicious. While most of my coworkers were normal people, others gave me the impression of rather scraggly birds who actually belonged in the innermost part of the institution where I worked: the Pinellas County Jail.

One of them was a temporary worker who regularly disappeared from the office with his briefcase around 10 a.m., sometimes earlier, and told me the recurring sentence as soon as he passed my desk to the exit door: “Uwe, I am heading for the fire station.” Meant was a County project in Tierra Verde south of St. Petersburg, and that was also the direction to his dwelling. The saying “Heading for the Fire Station” became a common phrase among us colleagues whenever we wanted to jokingly imply that we would rather go home now than work.

The other was a ruthless character, unscrupulous to the point of going far beyond what was legal, as I was soon to learn for myself on one occasion when he called me into his office and threatened me in a very illegal manner.

As if my assumptions at that time were still looking for confirmation, I recently came across a television report from News Channel 8 and suddenly saw two very familiar faces. I encountered many shady characters in the GDR dictatorship abusing their authority by intimidating others to achieve personal advantages – but these two crooks in Florida surpass in my memory everything that happened in my life before and after. I would not trust any of them with even five dollars.

Why did I have a constant gut feeling at the time that something was wrong? I could only suspect and knew nothing, because I was in the lowest position and in a sense no more than a pawn in the game of intriguers, who at the expense of the taxpayer carried out their frictions among themselves almost on a daily basis. And most of the time, I admit honestly, I didn’t want to know anything. I had my personal load to carry and was glad to have a semi-secure income with the County Government.

It is interesting to see how criminal energies in the U.S. can develop not only at the top national level, with the executors always getting away with it. Watch this and make sure to turn on the sound. By the way, Andrew Pupke, who was also overpaid, should have been fired simply for the intentionally stupid answers he gave the reporter as a public servant in a senior position.

https://www.wfla.com/…/you-paid-for-it-pinellas-county…/ The report is certainly informative, even though it is several years old.

A Special Kind of “Freedom”

From my Writing Room
Copyright © 2021 by Uwe Bahr

In 23 years of living in the US, I never really “warmed up” to the American culture of life. The closest I came to supporting America in recent years was related to the US women’s soccer team – and not only because of their enthusiastic play, but also how civilized they behaved off the field, especially when it came to showing true character by unitedly rejecting the visit to the White House, where a perverted buffoon was president.

Unfortunately, this nation is not as united in its sanity and a responsible-minded, true devotion to the Fatherland as this outstanding soccer team.

The sometimes unnerving American bluster about freedom can certainly correspond to an individual’s view of things – or to a widespread self-deception. Americans obviously have to stress over and over again how free they are because in reality they are unfree, and they are unfree because there is no basic guarantee of fair wages in their country, much less of universal health care affordable to everyone.

How can people call their country a free country when the vast majority of their own population does not even have the freedom to not have to constantly worry about the essentials of life that define a true and just democracy?

Change Starts in the Head

From my Writing Room
Copyright © 2021 by Uwe Bahr

As expected, the USA is now tearing itself apart in recriminations over Afghanistan. While many Republicans are trying to whitewash history with their own version of “alternative facts”, Joe Biden is in some ways the executor of Trump’s policy, who engineered the crucial withdrawal from Afghanistan. The unfortunate, deplorable minds are the die-hard supporters of the Republican party who are falling again for every falsification of history, as they did when George Bush started the American journey into the disaster after the terror attacks of 9/11. With so many people absorbing and believing in so much nonsense, putting party ideology first, there is no prospect of positive change for the USA.

Change starts in the head.

And yet adults in particular, who have experience of life, should know better – one would think. Many apparently don’t: “They are as stupid as they were born and have never learned something new”, says an old proverb. One can see it in the obtuse statements in the social media, in the colorful cartoons posted by grown people who want to express something that others have long since invented. They parrot other people’s opinions while they themselves are unable to summarize their own thoughts in writing. Each and every one of these self-proclaimed patriots is responsible for the deep rift that continues to divide the United States.

Only through such misguided souls could someone like Trump make it to the presidency.

“We will hunt them down, we will smoke them out”

President Bush’s War on Terror ends in Disaster for the entire West

From my Writing Room
Copyright © 2021 by Uwe Bahr

For twenty years, international troops under U.S. leadership were in Afghanistan with the goal of providing peace and security, including their very own ideas of democracy. Now, the Taliban are closing in on Kabul. They ride in captured American pick-up trucks; a fighting force seemingly from the middle Ages. American interference once again turns out to be a failure all along the line: wherever they show up with their military, only disaster comes out. These days, the allies are rushing to fly out their embassy staff before they too fall into enemy hands. Meanwhile, a human tragedy is emerging for Afghans who thought they could trust the West.

History is often easy to internalize. To do this, you sometimes just need to remember quotes from the past and compare them with the present. Thereby, it would be helpful especially for Americans and their country to learn from history. The only problem is: People who fell for the phrases at that time, fall for all possible charlatanry also today and do not want or cannot remember their own words from yesterday. From which follows: Those are incapable of learning to whom it does not even occur to draw conclusions from the past.

The allegations that circulated and were deliberately spread among the American public even before President Bush’s war on terror began less than twenty years ago were nothing more than the result of obtuse propaganda hammered into Americans almost continuously via the media. It was a typical example of how, even in a democratic country, people’s patriotism was exploited by the cheapest methods.

The following should give pause for thought:

“I’d rather the war be there [in Iraq, Afghanistan] than in our own country.”
I heard this sentence over and over again back then from the mouths of regulars, most of them staunch Republicans. Nobody should want a war anywhere, because it can always strike back and hit you. People don’t believe it until it happens.

“He [Saddam Hussein] is just like another Hitler. We need to take him out of there.”
This was a similar saying from that time, hardly to be surpassed in ignorance to the facts. For comparing a big shot like Hussein with Adolf Hitler is one of the most surprising sentences, while incoherent assessments I have ever heard. Hitler controlled, for a short time, almost all of Europe and kept the whole world in suspense. The German Wehrmacht was the strongest military force of its time, and it took the rest of the world nearly six years in a combined effort to defeat it. Hussein, on his part, had nothing of that sort to display. He never possessed the weapons of mass destruction that were attributed to him, serving as the main reason for a mindless military invasion. If he had possessed them, the USA and its allies would hardly have attacked him – for he would have used them instantly. That simple fact would not go into the heads of most Americans at the time.

No matter how many I talked to back then – the result was almost always the same. The majority of Americans were unstoppable in their euphoria and belief that whatever their government was doing was right. Certainly, a legitimate rage about unprecedented terrorist attacks on their country played a significant role to fume their judgement.

“We will hunt them down, we will smoke them out.”
Remarks by President George W. Bush on September 17, 2001, to employees at the Pentagon. He repeated this phrase as if in a Wild West movie at several other occasions.

In truth, the military invasions in Afghanistan and Iraq made little sense, if only because the terrorist attackers of September 11 essentially not only came from Saudi Arabia, but were also financed from there. Saudi Arabia, however, is the closest U.S. ally in the region, albeit not for reasons of sympathy but of profit from the oil business. The price for this American hypocrisy could be costly: For the disastrous and maybe intended miscalculation of the Bush administration – politically, historically, and geostrategically – could now, after the withdrawal from Afghanistan, carry toxic smoke back to the US. The Taliban, once equipped and trained by the Americans, will in all likelihood find with their present advance sufficient basis and encouragement to launch terrorist attacks against the U.S. and its allies anew and around the world.

Thus, nothing remains of the goals that President Bush announced less than twenty years ago. To hunt down the real culprits of 9/11, there was no need for wars started by the USA, as the elimination of Osama bin Laden has shown. It is very likely that governments with which the U.S. is friendly are also behind dubious plots against the Americans, just as the Americans once created the Taliban to pit them against the Soviets. It is inconceivable.

The ones who suffer are always the innocent. Large parts of the Afghan people have believed the grandiose announcements of democracy and prosperity and are now suffering the revenge of the Taliban, while the West abandons its promises and cowardly runs away.