I am blown away by how many people are surprised by what happened in Afghanistan. Frankly, I think it is a miracle Iraq is still “operating” with a government and hasn’t fallen in a similar way.

This piece by Bob Lefsetz perfectly sums up how I feel about it.

Love his quote here:

In the west we were worried about religious governments and the mistreatment of women, then again, many in the U.S. are auguring for religious government and are involved in the personal health of women while they refuse to be inoculated against a pandemic. Don’t try to employ logic, it doesn’t apply.

LOL, fun stuff.

In general…

  • I do not give a flying shit about Afghanistan.
  • I do care about the people of Afghanistan… but they need to manifest their own destiny. If the majority of people in Afghanistan want a religiously based government that is up to them. If they don’t want that… then start fighting for what you want or flee and build a new life somewhere else (yes I am very aware that is incredibly hard to do).
  • Would I want the USA to bring in 500,000+ Afghan refugees? Yes, but with the huge caveat of only if they have programs to integrate them into communities and American society. That means providing housing and their needs while providing a mandatory 3-5 year educational process. Not only to teach them English but about American society, culture, and ideals. That is clearly impossible politically and operationally. Especially considering how the USA treats its own citizens who can’t afford health care, a college education, or rent.
  • I do think democratic governments should build programs to encourage and foster long-term democracy ideals, cultural values that are based on the rule of law, and human rights. This should be thought out as a 1,000-year project (Peace Corps is a good example of a program like this). That said… the USA can’t do this internally so what chance do they have of doing this anywhere else. The USA is currently in an ongoing low-level coup attempt by one political party while ~50% of that same party’s voters think that the political leaders in the other political party are conducting blood sacrifices of children and follow a made-up “internet prophet” named Q. I wouldn’t be surprised if Americans start burning witches in the next 10 years…
  • The USA, Europe, and other countries are still ultimately responsible for protecting their interest and their citizen’s safety. At the end of the day, that means killing people and groups that threaten those interests. I am terrified by the advances happening with drones and their ability to be weaponized cheaply (same for some of the AI advances to allow them to operate on their own).
  • The USA clearly does not have the will or capabilities to build democracies or the culture you need to support democracy abroad. The USA can’t even build that culture in its own country, what hope does it have to do that anywhere else.
  • I worry greatly about the impact refugees/immigrants have on politics in Europe and the USA. I do not want to see right-wing governments use fear and hate to win elections based on fear. It is an old playbook and I do not want to see democracy die and fascism or executive dictatorships emerge.
  • I’d love to see the USA roll out a 50-year plan to double the population to 700 million people through immigration (highly unlikely). I love the Canadian immigration model, especially when it comes to refugees and integrating them into the community and culture. That isn’t an easy process and the USA could never do that in the current political climate.

I was for the Iraq war when I was younger and I was very wrong.

I did not believe that Iraq had any WMDs, that was clearly made up. But, I was clouded by a belief in American competence, a belief that establishing democracy was achievable on a short scale, and a total lack of understanding of the huge impact culture has on this process. 

I thought the American government would be willing to pay the price to establish a new democracy. They were not…  and they tried to prevent the loss of life of their people while fucking just about everyone else. I was under no illusions about how hard the project would be and I wanted there to be a draft. Americans should have had the will to send all their kids to die if the goal was worthwhile. Otherwise, Americans should not have been there (and, we clearly should not have).

posted under Dangers To World | Comments Off on Afghanistan…

Upcoming bike tour and training…


I did not get as much training in as I would like for this upcoming September bike tour.

Part of that is because I didn’t know when Lindsey and Calico were heading for a grandparent visit and partially work. Work was very intense as I tried to get everything in place and it is always hard to leave when you are a small team of 2. I also hurt my back about 10 days before leaving… and had to get a lot of rest in (partly due to a huge screw up by a bike shop, they installed a part backward… and partly me as I had a fun day at the beach and was throwing Calico and his friend Benjamin in a way that was bad for my back injury).

I do think that I am better prepared than on my first bike tour though. This is good as this is going to be a MUCH harder route with a ton of climbing.

I am planning to bike up a Camino Interior route to Santiago, then back down along the Camino coast route, and then a “quick” hop over to Viseu. The route is around 900km, not counting the missed turns, and kilometers to find a hotel or campsite depending on what I do. The route also has 15,000 meters of altitude gain. Most of that is in the first stage. The Camino Interior route is known to be rough, so there will be times I’ll have to walk my bike up 20% grades, and hopefully, the path isn’t so overgrown. It will be an adventure which is what I am after :)

On the bike tour I did in 2018 I averaged 65km a day at a pace of 3 hours and 20 minutes of ride time (over 18 days with 2 break days). But, I also didn’t have much climbing as a huge part of the ride was on a canal path. I only climbed 2,800m versus 15,000m on this upcoming trip…

On this trip, I am blocking out 21 days and seeing how it goes. My little Komoot bike planning tool estimates if I spend 4 hours in the saddle it will take 19 days… if I bump my rating up to “Athletic” on their little tool it goes to 15 days. So we shall see :)

Training plan?

For my first bike tour here are the 3 months leading up to it:

Apr – 9 biking days / 173 km / 11 Hours / 0 rides over 30 Miles
May – 12 biking days / 400 km / 25 Hours / 3 rides over 30 Miles
Jun – 13 biking days / 508 km / 26 Hours / 5 rides over 30 Miles

Here are the 3 months leading up to this current tour:

Jun – 18 Biking Days / 320km / ~28 Hours / 3 rides over 50km
Jul – 17 Biking Days / 324 km / ~28 Hours / 3 rides over 50km
Aug – 13 Biking Days / 554 km / ~32 Hours / 7 rides over 50km.

I feel pretty good about the long rides, as I ride much further than I did for the first tour which is going to help. For example, here were my long rides in those months:

Jul- 67km, 70km, 81km…
Aug – 47km, 63km, 70km, 50km, 71k , 72km

What would I change if I could go back? (and for next time)

In June/July I would have like to have been doing 3 rides a week, each 3+ hours long. That would have helped get more time in the seat. And, then in August, I could have bumped that up to 4 rides a week, each 3 to 4.5 hours long (as then the leap to aiming for 6 to 7 days in the seat doing 3 to 4 hours would have felt easier). Oh well, that is also part of the adventure :)…

adventure hiking GIF by Nat Vegel


















posted under 2021 Camino Portugal Bike Tour, Fitness & Sports, Travel | Comments Off on Upcoming bike tour and training…

This is bwb’s personal blog so he can share his thoughts with the world, however scary or silly they might be. Plus family and friends can track what I am up too, and where I am in the world.

I am pretty simple. I love Mangos. I love the ocean, although mostly at sunset as I’m a ginger. I love to travel, eat exotic food, read, and use my imagination. I love creating and developing ideas into businesses, understanding how all businesses work, and building cool stuff. I am a globalist and see the entire world as my responsibility and playground. And, I am married to an amazing woman who makes life even more fun :)! And, we are now the proud parents of Calico Jack :).