Monday, September 8, 2014

Death, Destruction, and the Summer of '14

There must be one heck of a production company in the olam ha'ba these days. Looks like there's open casting call, and this company is rapidly being filled up with some pretty heavy hitters. It started with Sid Caesar during the winter, then Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Ruby Dee, Bob Hoskins, Eli Wallach, James Garner, and Lauren Bacall. The writers aren't too shabby either: Harold Ramis and Maya Angelou. But it's the trio of comedians that really gets me: Elaine Stritch, Robin Williams, and Joan Rivers. I am afraid to ask who the director is....It's reminds me of #76... that old punchline:  "and you're pitching on Tuesday."

Hoffman and Williams aside, the others on the list did not leave this earth of their own volition. They pretty much died in bed, some with family and friends nearby. They probably would've opted for a longer contract if they could've, but they didn't; they shuffled off their mortal coils and hopefully have gone on to the next level. (See DEFENDING YOUR LIFE for my take on what happens next.) But while they're hangin' out in Judgement City, there's a terrific show in rehearsal. 

James Foley and Steven Sotloff
Two writers, however, not of the theatrical traditional, shuffled off their mortal coils along with their heads. James Wright Foley and two weeks later, Steven Sotloff were behead by an ISIS executioner and the acts were filmed for the world to see. Snuff films...real ones...the kind that make you want to throw up your guts.

These were not just executions: these were statements being made about who ISIS and ISIL really are. This is a rejection of modernity and about plunging the world back to the 7th century C.E. They wage war in a way commensurate with pre-technology thinking, certain that the world at large believes we have progressed past ruthless bloodletting. ISIS and ISIL know "modern" warfare is not waged on so personal a plane; they rely on this to stop a western response out of sheer disgust. After all, how do you combat those who behead journalists and kidnap school girls for sex slaves? They betting
 it's beyond modern comprehension.

But it shouldn't be. 

We've already seen what they are capable of in Somalia and Sudan. We've seen them test the waters in Nigeria, Afghanistan and Pakistan. This past weekend, a branch of al-Qaeda announced they were bringing jihad to India....a densely populated and fairly under-developed other words: easy prey with no defenses whatsoever. Never mind that India has a nuclear bomb. All the better to demonstrate how toothless that tiger is because that weapon will never be least by a civilized nation. 

Al-Qaeda, ISIS, ISIL, Boko Haram, and Hamas all work under the same pretense: civil war is the way to divide, destroy, and ultimately conquer. The whole function of terror is to force a population to over-react in fear. If you want to know how to deal with them take a page from the IDF playbook: defend the population first, then take out the bastards. Israel has been dealing with terrorists for some 66 years...they know what to do. 

Clearly, Congress does not.

In his September 2nd column, Ready, Aim, Fire. Not Fire, Ready, Aim in the NY TIMES, Thomas Friedman wrote: 
When you have a region beset by that many civil wars at once, it means there is no center, only sides. And when you intervene in the middle of a region with no center, you very quickly become a side.

No, actually, you become a giant sitting duck smack dab in the middle of the fight. You no longer have allies, you have all sides firing at you. You become a grand distraction, giving lots of little sides reasons to band together against the BIG BAD WEST. 

The US cannot and should not enter this arena. If we have not learned the lessons of Iraq and Afghanistan, we should try to at least remember how Vietnam ended. 

President Obama is spot on when he says, "Don't do stupid stuff," and when he states the obvious, "We don't have a strategy yet." If he already had a strategy here, I would be much more worried.

Amazing how the same congressclowns jumping up and down about spending money we don't have seem to think it grows on trees when it comes to war. As for a strategy, the US cannot possibly have one until we find out exactly what the Arab nations are going to do first. 

Talk softly... and carry that big stick right behind your back. Let the M.E. heads of state come to a conclusion about what they are going to do before we decide what, if anything We, the People, are going to do to support their decision. 

Those governments all have nifty war toys we sold 'em. Maybe it's time for their militaries to finally try out all that cool stuff. 

Meanwhile, US and the western allies have a choice to make...either force the Islamic governments who wish to be part of the global economy to step up to the line and deal with this....or cut them all off completely. No trade. No euros, no dollars. No aid. No arms. No technology. No meds. No flights in or out. Treat them the same way they are allowing these roving bands of miscreants to treat their own populations and rest of the world....à la the 7th century. The time has come to stop fighting their battles. Either they are of this century and take responsibility for their compatriots, or they will be given the accords of whatever century in which they choose to live. 

Let's see what happens when the air conditioning is turned off. 

The Wifely Person's Tip o'the Week
If you have aging parents, don't put off having 'the conversation.' 
Knowing what they want preserves their dignity and 
eases the inevitable moments of transition. 


  1. Why do you give the President a pass, but not congress? He's the one who seems to think money grows on trees. No, on second thought, don't give congress a pass- but the President said ISIS is a JV team. The group famous for its beheadings, crucifixions and mass executions provides electricity and water, pays salaries, controls traffic, and runs nearly everything from bakeries and banks to schools, courts and mosques.
    In interviews conducted remotely, residents, ISIS fighters and even activists opposed to the group described how it had built up a structure similar to a modern government in less than a year under its chief, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi (who was released from US detention). Let's face it- our country is being run by idiots.
    1. If you can get arrested for hunting or fishing without a license, but not for being in the country illegally, you live in a country run by idiots.

    2. If you have to get your parents’ permission to go on a field trip or take an aspirin in school, but not to get an abortion, you live in a country run by idiots.

    3. If you have to show identification to board an airplane, cash a check, buy liquor or check out a library book, but not to vote on who runs the government, you live in a country run by idiots.

    4. If the government wants to ban stable, law-abiding citizens from owning gun magazines with more than ten rounds, but gives 20 F-16 fighter jets to the crazy leaders in Egypt, you live in a country run by idiots.

    5. If, in the largest city, you can buy two 16-ounce sodas, but not a 24-ounce soda because 24-ounces of a sugary drink might make you fat, you live in a country run by idiots.

    6. If an 80-year-old woman can be stripped searched by the TSA but a woman in a hijab is only subject to having her neck and head searched, you live in a country run by idiots.

    7. If your government believes that the best way to eradicate trillions of dollars of debt is to spend trillions more, you live in a country run by idiots.

    8. If a seven year old boy can be thrown out of grade school for saying his teacher’s “cute,” but hosting a sexual exploration or diversity class in grade school is perfectly acceptable, you live in a country run by idiots.

    9. If hard work and success are met with higher taxes and more government intrusion, while not working is rewarded with EBT cards, WIC checks, Medicaid, subsidized housing and free cell phones, you live in a country run by idiots.

    10. If the government’s plan for getting people back to work is to incentivize NOT working, with 99 weeks of unemployment checks and no requirement to prove they applied but can’t find work, you live in a country run by idiots.

    11. If being stripped of the ability to defend yourself makes you more “safe” according to the government, you live in a country run by idiots.


  2. Part I: We can probably all agree with your tagline – you live in a country run by idiots – for one reason or other. We can all add the phrase onto something we don’t like, don’t agree with, or don’t want to understand. That doesn’t mean that saying we come up with is fully accurate. Just like every Jeff Foxworthy joke isn’t 100% accurate – it’s funny, but a broad, generalization – there are some flaws in your arguments – all of them:
    1. Nearly everyone who has ever lived in this country has been an immigrant. We can’t arrest every person who we find here, it’s just not possible. Some are “illegal” without even knowing it. Immigration is a big problem in our country, but it seems people who hold your view on this one are VERY resistant to passing (hell, even debating) any legislation to address the issue. If the Right comes up with new arguments every time someone finds a way to address their concerns, I’m sure you’ll be able to continue with this meme in perpetuity.

    2. Get away from the childish rhetoric and admit the truth: the Right doesn’t care who you talk to, NO ONE can give you permission to get an abortion. Got it, your religious beliefs overrule everything else. Women should not be required to risk their lives (literally or figuratively) to carry a baby to term.

    3. People blow up planes, they steal money, they buy liquor underage, and they steal library books. Those are all facts. However, you will be hard pressed to find voter fraud and voter ID is worthless. There is no reason for it and rather than fixing a problem it disenfranchises people. By people, I mean most often the poor – people who more often than not vote Democrat. Huh, funny the Right is pushing for voter ID.

    4. Egypt might have reasons to use F-16s. I haven’t heard anything about them killing any Americans with them. In fact, they provide some decent assistance with maintaining some stability in that region. On the other hand, high capacity magazines are ROUTINELY used to kill high numbers of Americans right here on our streets, and in our schools and religious institutions.

    5. Okay, maybe Bloomberg went a little far here. But hell, the law at least makes people think about what they’re doing before they get fat. Is this a good way to control the weight of the American people? Probably not, but at least someone is trying to lead and get people to wake up and realize what we’re doing to ourselves.

  3. Part II: 6. Find a TRUE story of an 80-year old woman being stripped searched for no reason, just going through airport security or something. Bet you can’t. On the other hand, I’m pretty sure I can find thousands of American women who wear hijabs who pose absolutely no threat to America and do not deserve to be racially profiled and treated like second class citizens.

    7. The US budget is just over a trillion dollars. So, despite your implications, we aren’t adding trillions to the debt every year. In fact, the deficit has been falling for years. We aren’t in some debt crisis as your statement suggests. In fact, many economists agree that if we did some things to invest in our nation (e.g., infrastructure) the economy would grow faster and the deficit would shrink even faster than it already is. Since you’re considered about the deficit, let’s revise the tax code and close some loopholes; that would cause the deficit to shrink even faster.

    8. First, the boy’s suspension was overturned. Second, while the school’s reaction was clearly overboard, it’s not a bad thing to have discussions of boundaries and sexual harassment with our children – it all comes down to respect, something we’ve talked to our son about since he could understand what we were saying. Next, I’m not sure “sexual exploration or diversity” classes are, but if you are referring to sexual education courses, and inferring that they are a bad thing, then I don’t even know what to say to you. Why should sex be hidden entirely from children (we’re talking 5th grade, not 1st)? You think kids aren’t going to figure out that “sex” exists if we don’t have a class? Education is a valuable thing. If you don’t like abortion (really, no one likes abortion), then sex education seems like a logical way to prevent some abortions from occurring.

    9. Tax rates are at all-time lows. Add in the low rates and the massive loopholes, and effective tax rates are really low. People at every level of society work hard – even some of those people who receive those unjustifiable rewards (including junior members of the U.S. military). Yes, there are likely some freeloaders who take advantage of government programs, just like there are freeloaders who take advantage while raking in big money (maybe some of those folks getting golden parachutes). You think people like using WIC and Medicaid and living in subsidized housing? I’m guessing the vast majority of people in those situations would do anything to change their lot in life. Rather than assuming all poor people are freeloaders, think of them first as people and then ask yourself: what would a person want in life? Crazy, I know.

    10. And what about the people who beat the streets, send out massive numbers of resumes, and don’t get hired? They should be left in the streets, right? I don’t believe there are many people living high on the hog with those checks. Again, there will always be people who take advantage of the system, but that’s a very small number. For a large number of people, the pride of having a job is enough incentive. People are trying, but damn, some rich people really messed up the economy.

    11. How are we the only western country that experiences the gun violence that we do? Is that because we’ve taken the guns away from too many upright citizens? No, it’s because everybody thinks there GD John Wayne, a gangster, or just a badass. Having a gun doesn’t make you and your family safer. If it did, there would be thousands of people alive rather than dead from the accidental shootings that happen every year with these very safe protection devises. I grew up using guns. My family members still have a lot of guns. I don’t hate guns. But what is the point of an assault rifle? Why does everyone need a pistol in their home, their vehicle, or their back pocket?
    Having a discussion about topics is one thing. However, copying/pasting some internet gibberish does not move the discussion forward.

  4. Having a discussion about topics is one thing. However, copying/pasting some internet gibberish does not move the discussion forward.

    --but Luke, you just spent a whole lot of time commenting on this copy/paste as if it came straight from my lips. And from the sound of it, I'd say you've moved into Utopia before the carpet was even laid. I can't even begin to go back and comment on all of your progressive TALKING POINTS. That is what they are, Luke- TALKING POINTS. I giggle at the liberal TALKING POINT on debt. It never fails that the deficit will enter the picture and I wonder how the deficit - oh never mind, go check out that website that has the DEBT CLOCK.


  5. Luke..thanks for posting what you did and thanks for using your name,,,,,,I never met anyone whose first--or last--name was anonymous, but here we have one with that name posting RW propaganda…. People named anonymous are better ignored…they don't have any intention of trying to see and understand opposing POV.