Tuesday, February 3, 2015

I sort of expected that.

I sort of expected that.  That the Jordanian pilot was already dead I mean.  It’s not that complicated to provide proof of life, yet ISIS kept not doing it.  The burning to death did surprise me though.  You’d think the rage caused by the beheadings would clue them in to the likely reaction of people to that sort of thing.  (And yes, burning someone to death IS worse.)

They’ve also destroyed any good faith attempts at negotiating hostage exchanges – or ransoms, with anyone.   The “experts” (whoever they are) seem to be indicating that the pilot, Muadh al-Kasasbeh, was actually burned alive on January 3rd.  This is well before his name showed up in conjunction with any ransom or exchange proposals.  Also let us not forget that the same seemed to be true with Kenji Goto, the Japanese journalist who was most recently beheaded.  This was also well in advance of the ransom demands.

There is, I suppose, the remote possibility that all this was done to deliberately burn bridges, but that strikes me as unlikely.  Any bridges are indeed now ash.  I suspect that the leaders simply cannot or do not wish to control the army they built with enough authority to keep prisoners alive.   Under those circumstances that would make the videos little more than spin control.  Perhaps it’s a desperate attempt to say “yeah- I meant to do that.”  to their own people as much as to the rest of the world.  If nothing else, they’ve got to LOOK like they are in control.

This would, if true, indicate a lack of discipline within the ISIS ranks, which would be good, though I would hesitate to call it even a “silver lining.”  But it might be usable militarily and/or politically.   I hope.

Jordan is apparently now planning to execute several ISIS prisoners in retaliation. (Probably before you read this.)  I’m not sure what good it does to execute a failed suicide bomber.  On the other hand I’m not sure what good it does to keep her alive.  I don’t know who the other prisoners are, so your guess is at least as good as mine.   I will say that it strikes me that Jordan is within its rights to do so, no matter how many liberal heads explode.   Not that they are going to ask permission.

The only thing I can conclude is that ISIS does not WANT to negotiate a peace.  ISIS wants to conquer all the Muslim nations and destroy or enslave all the others.  Obama CANNOT wrap his head around that. God help us all.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

If You Can’t…

“If you can’t dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them with bull.” – W.C. Fields

That’s pretty much what Obama tried to do in the State Of The Union.   Sadly, he failed. 

The night is not a total loss though.  I remembered why I usually skip Obama speeches and read the cliffs notes. Lesson relearned.

The speech started with a rundown of how well we are doing.  Obama managed to take credit for everything good but the sunrise, and apparently we are all doing really well.  He even accepts our gratitude for it!

After that he proposed a laundry list of domestic programs that will be dead on arrival in Congress. (In my opinion the most insulting of these was the promotion of the very same space program that he gutted like a fish.)  All of which would be not even close to paid for by closing some tax loopholes.  Essentially he was wasting his breath and our time.  He knew it too.  That man likes the sound of his own voice way too much methinks. 

On the international front – Did you know we are done in Afghanistan?  The Afghan government can now apparently handle things all by themselves!  Did anyone tell them that besides Obama?  I don’t think they know.  We are “Making a difference” in the war on terror.  I suppose losing is making a difference, yes?  Also we are “Stopping ISIL.” (ISIS) That must be why they now control more territory than ever.  Damn we’re cool.

He did request a use of force vs. ISIL (ISIS) bill.  He’s going to get it too, because we aren’t actually suicidal.   I still believe that he has no idea what to do with force, authorized or not. I am hoping he accidently does something right.

He also threatened to veto any legislation that got close to his sacred cows.  We knew this, but I suppose it was only polite to tell us AGAIN.

Finally we had the “Can’t we all just get along?” moment.  He promised to “not only seek out Republican ideas” but to “Work with (Republicans).” I am somewhat skeptical.  He’s going to need to PROVE that one.

I’m not baffled, but I DO need a shower.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015


Oh, I don’t give a damn about the color of it.  What gets me is how it seems to be getting thinner and thinner all over the damn world.   And that somehow lots of people are OK with that.

The Charlie Hebdo attacks were a direct result of this thin skinnedness – which is viewed as appropriate in the Koran apparently.  At least enough Muslims support this with their own thin skins, that terrorists feel comfortable acting in the open.

Then there’s the inability of the White House to say the words “Muslim” and “Terrorist” in succession.  Screw the body count –somebody might get their feelings hurt! 

And my personal last straw today – Lena Dunham of “Girls” fame, announcing that “Deranged Neo-Cons” make twitter an unsafe emotional space.  Twitter is about free speech, not emotional safety.  That’s something adults are expected to provide for themselves or if they can’t, to ask for and ACCEPT help.

Freedom you see, seldom has much to do with safety.  It’s more important than that.  And if anyone else wants the freedom to be an idiot, they have to let me be an idiot in turn.  That’s it, my whole argument.  But many, many people can’t handle that anymore.  Including the President, apparently.  It’s sad. 

How it is that being so thin skinned that any idiot can goad you into fits is somehow safer than working up a little tolerance and self-control is beyond me.  If you run around wearing a sign that says “PLEASE – DON’T KICK ME” sooner or later someone is going to kick the hell out of you for their own personal amusement.  Might even be me.  I’ve had a few less than noble moments in my life. 

Seems European Muslims are finding themselves in this spot now.  It’s probably overdue because the longer it goes on, the bigger the price for stopping it.  No go zones and separate laws will not fly.

Anyway, we ALL could use some thicker skins.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

“I Know a Way Out of Hell.”

It’s my favorite line In Gandhi. Who’da thunk Mayor Bill de Blasio would be the one who’d actually give me a chance to use it.

It’s even apology free, he should jump at the chance.

All he has to do is to make clear to the cops and everyone else that he will honor the social contract that exists with all law enforcement officers everywhere all over the world.  That nobody gets to physically fight the police.  At this point the police can’t trust him to do that and that is the WHOLE problem.

He needs to make clear that anyone whom physically assaults the police will and should be, stopped, arrested, tried, and hopefully serves a prison term.  This simple arrangement is how 35,000 police can survive long enough to protect a city of 16 million.  They know it too.  Without that it’s hopeless.  Even if de Blasio were able to fire them all and hire a completely new force he’d STILL require that arrangement with the new cops if they were going to be able to police the city. 

I believe that most people have had bosses that they neither like nor respect, and that it’s probably worse in public service.  I also believe the police can deal with that if they believe they have a reasonable expectation of going home at the end of their shift.  Right now they do not believe that, and whether it’s true or not that belief is exactly the problem. 

That specifically is exactly what the police mean when they say de Blasio does not have their backs.  It’s a simple fix – and will thus most likely be ignored.  Politicians rarely attack the real problem. 

Even if I’m right about being ignored there is an upside for the mayor though – by turning their backs on him at public functions (and by the way, those who claim to misunderstand are full of it) they have allowed de Blasio to lead from behind, just like Obama.  I’m sure he thinks that’s a win.