Afternoon Tea 8.16.21 - Unfortunate Son

Get to the End for Important Info!

The last C-130 is out of Kabul, and with it all documentation of Trump’s peace deal with the Taliban on the GOP website. China might have a secret jail in Dubai, a tropical storm might follow Haiti’s quake-ssasination, July was the hottest month ever, and oysters are wildly effective at cleaning up the ocean. It’s Monday, August, 16th 2021, and this is your Tea. (Editor’s Note: Today’s Vibe is something we guarantee you’ve never heard before: Trance & Bass. Someone made the sonic equivalent of Rave Reese’s Pieces and it is so future it fits leaving Neo-Vietnam. You didn’t really think we’d just embed a YouTube video of Credence Clearwater Revival and call it a day, did you?)

Taliban enter Afghan capital as US diplomats evacuate by chopper (Reuters) & Still Stupid After All These Years (POGO) & GOP takes down 2020 page touting Trump's 'historic peace agreement with the Taliban' (The Week) & Excited Taliban Fighter Buys Extra Copy Of ‘New York Times’ To Frame (The Onion) That’s it then? How do you say “Hey Alexa, turn off the base” in Pashto, Dari, and Arabic? The best words we’ve seen on this ouroboros of finger-pointing, memory holes, and posturing are from Foreign Exchanges, so we’ll just quote the two most important paragraphs from Derek Davison’s analysis:

The two-week collapse of the Afghan government the United States spent the past 20 years and hundreds of billions of dollars creating and propping up will undoubtedly generate a vast library of think pieces over the coming months and years. Many will blame Joe Biden for abandoning Afghanistan to the Taliban. Many will blame Donald Trump for abandoning Afghanistan to the Taliban first. Some will blame the Afghan people themselves for not “wanting it bad enough” (define “it” however you like). I wonder how many will note that in December 2001, just a couple of months after the US invaded Afghanistan, the Taliban offered to surrender as long as their then-leader Mullah Omar, would be allowed to live under a reasonably dignified house arrest in Kandahar. The Bush administration rejected the offer, which would have concluded the war on vastly more favorable terms without the needless suffering and expense of the past 19.5 years…

…But you shouldn’t for a second suppose that the people who cheer-led endless war and occupation in Afghanistan ever did so out of concern for the Afghan people. If the United States were really concerned for the Afghan people it wouldn’t have spent well over a decade ignoring the evidence that its nation building efforts were failing. If the United States were really concerned for the Afghan people it wouldn’t have at best tolerated and at worst indulged Afghanistan’s lawless regional warlords, often looking the other way as many of them committed unspeakable atrocities. If the United States were really concerned for the Afghan people it would have spent the past few years evacuating those Afghan nationals who worked for the US military and other Western organizations and are at risk of Taliban reprisal, instead of using legalese about visas and vetting to mask a fundamentally racist national view of refugees and then racing to slap together a half-assed evacuation program at the last minute. Even now the Biden administration is looking for third countries to save these people instead of dropping the immigration artifice and just letting them come here. So let’s not pretend now that it was All About The Afghan people.

China hosts Taliban leaders as U.S. withdraws troops from Afghanistan (Washington Post - July 28 2021) & Russia beefs up Tajik base, warns of ISIS fighters in Afghanistan (Reuters) As America recedes, Russia and China step up to play their hands at regional power broker. If Putin gets Russia back into Afghanistan, I’m going to need to reinstall Metal Gear Solid 5: Phantom Pain.

Detainee says China has secret jail in Dubai, holds Uyghurs (AP) As a reminder, China repeatedly invokes the War on Terror Bush Doctrine as justifications for its actions in Xinjiang. It’s almost as if we told y’all that rhetoric was dangerous.

The Most High-Profile Al Qaeda Plot Foiled After 9/11 Was An FBI Scam (The Intercept) Those terrorist plots that got foiled? Total bullshit sometimes, like here.

Tropical depression threatens further devastation in earthquake-hit Haiti (CNN) & Haitian judge overseeing Moïse slaying case withdraws (AP) Haiti really cannot catch a break, but the corruption associated with the assassination is less accidental and more historical. The .gif below is related to both this and the next story.

July was the hottest month ever recorded, NOAA says (CBSNews) Ahem.

Zillow, Other Tech Firms Are in an ‘Arms Race’ To Buy Up American Homes (Motherboard) Eventually, you’ll just be able to click and buy a house with a single action. We shudder to think of how the real estate agent & car salesperson markets will look 5-10 years from now.

How Nina Turner Lost Her Election (HuffPo) A lot of organizers & leftists trotted out some very suspect theories on why Bernie’s darling lost. Those theories were not the case. Progressives do not get elected by nature of being leftists alone. They still need to organize, fundraise, and put knocks on doors.

Hundreds of AI tools have been built to catch COVID. None of them helped. (MIT Technology Review) & The algorithm that narcs on you (Sick Note) First story should be no surprise to any student of health gimmicks. The second is also expected, but significantly more depressing.

Japan’s Mobile Game Market Size Reaches US$13.9 Billion in 2020 (Dr. Serkan Toto) Those weird mobile games and outfits and horse armor? 14 billion in 1 country in 1 year. The mind reels, and if your neurons line up correctly you get a limited edition sparkling myelin sheath.

For a Clean Ocean, Just Add Oysters (Reasons To Be Cheerful) Oysters clean oceans. We should have lots of them in places where there are oceans. Are those things still rising, can someone go check?

The above post is the capstone on a thread from a dude posting from 4chan during the Taliban’s final arrival. A wild story from start to not-finished-yet, summarized by @Rimmy_Downunder. Gripping read for your afternoon if you’re into “play stupid games, win stupid prizes.”

Poem of the Tea: Kim Addonizio brings the late summer fire. From “Now We're Getting Somewhere: Poems” (2021)

In the interest of not burning out, forcing the monkeys to rest, doing site maintenance, and working a few kinks out, we’ll be back on Tuesday, September 7th. A survey will go out Wednesday or Thursday this week, checking in on some of the changes and gimmicks you’ve noticed over the last few months.

Yours,