Tag Archives: ISIS

BRING ‘EM ON

 

What is taking place in this photgraph?

  1. Kim Jong-Un exhorting his troops to destroy the “American bastards” as he called us after a missile launch on the Fourth of July?
  2. Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi (who’s your daddy?) leading ISIS fighters in Muslim prayers before launching their latest Jihadist mission?
  3. Osama bin Laden (you don’t think that fool Obama really killed him do you?) preparing all his remaining followers to meet virgins while making al-Qaeda Great Again?

No, you silly people, none of the above. That’s one of thousands of photographs of troops from the various services taken just prior to the D-Day invasion of June 6, 1944.

Our government keeps warning the public of how these countries or groups present an existential danger to the United States and we must commit hundreds of thousands of our military personnel and hand over trillions of dollars to our Military-Industrial-Terrorist Complex in order to protect the 320 million people within our borders from a horrible end.

The thing is, none of these entities is capable of destroying us or destroying our way of life. Let’s face it. The United States of America is pretty damned impenetrable.

Oh, sure, North Korea might be able to launch a nuclear armed ICBM that reaches our West Coast but is that necessarily a bad thing? Let’s say it lands in Seattle. Whatever numbers of people it kills can it exceed the numbers posted by the multiple serial murderers spawned in that area? Ted Bundy, Gary Ridgeway the Green River Killer, John Allen Muhammed the D.C. Sniper, Robert Yates, Jr the former national Guard helicopter pilot convicted of 15 murders may just be the tip of the iceburg.

Let’s say it hits Portland.The worst fallout there would be the hair from the prolific amount of man buns which will eventually lead to clogging of the water supply. Will self-absorbed Portlandians even notice?

But if North Korea wants to invade, it faces substantial obstacles. Indeed, it might invade South Korea first hoping to provoke  U.S. retaliation. But geez, once those troops pass the 38th parallel heading to Seoul they will be distracted by a plethora of Samsung products that will make their lives easier and if they get hold of some Galaxy cell phones they will be rapt on sharing selfies with their loved ones back home and possibly trip over their own weapons that kill them as they text with their eyes down not paying attention.  If those phones are the S7 model they could die from their use, saving the efforts of ROK troops.

Too, they will have access to the first decent kimchi they have ever had. Hell, they’ll have access to real food for the first time.

If they want more direct access to North America they’ll need to come across the Siberian Peninsula, just as did the original Native Americans thousands of years ago. And we know what happened to THEM on our soil. Besides, do you think Putin will give them a right-of-way through Siberia? Hell, NO, he’s invested too much time and money into his sock puppet Drumpf to put his reign of terror at risk.

At least North Korea has an army, an air force, and a navy, the latter putting the SS Minnow to shame. ISIS? They’ve got pickup trucks. Maybe pickup trucks with machine guns, but even those are not nearly as well armed as the ones owned by the 3,400,768 active militias on our shores. However, let’s say ISIS was able to commandeer a fleet of seaworthy kayaks to voyage across the Atlantic. Chances are they’ll end up on our East Coast at a place like Myrtle Beach. With the plentiful family attractions there, those brave fighters will immediately regret having left the wives and kids at home when they could be sharing the experience and the windmills on the mini-golf courses will befuddle them. They very well could waste all their ammunition attempting to silence them.

Then, while camped, in the evenings they will wander into the bars and become dazzled by all the lovely young women competeing in wet burqa contests.

If they land much farther south at Miami Beach they will soon realize that they are overmatched in number by the Jews there. They will face the threat of being nagged to death by Jewish mothers. Or else, since Miami Beach has also been a favorite playground of the Mafia, these ISIS fools could find themselves swimming with the fishes.

Al Qaeda faces similar difficulties. Again no navy or air force and even if its operatives got their hands on some planes, there is no guarantee they could land safely to dispatch an invasion force without additional training. But let’s say they did manage to successfully breech our borders and began to move stealthily inland. Assunimg they came in on the East Coast means they will soon encounter Appalachia. Once in that territory getting to see first hand how that part of the country lives back in the hollers and in mostly abandoned coal camps, they will realize that this is no America worth destroying.

After all, these folks  have barely advanced beyond the 14th century. Al Qaeda will feel right at home.

 

Rest easy my friends.

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WHAT, ME WORRY?

The man—and I use that word only in its most general sense—pictured above has proven to be startlingly incompetent throughout his life. Yet he constantly brags about his superiority in all manner of things. Sad.

Actor Stephen Fry (yes, I, too, have barely heard of him) was voted the most intelligent person on TV in the U.K according to this article in HuffPo wherein he provides an explanation of why the man pictured above has so many supporters who believe everything he says, even when it is obviously pure twaddle and outright lies.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/stephen-fry-explains-lies_us_591550ebe4b00f308cf4323c

Fry believes a psychological lesson helps explain this effect.

 

For example, researchers found students who were least proficient often overestimated their own abilities.

“The skills they lacked were the same skills required to recognize their incompetence,” Fry said. “The incompetent are often blessed with an inappropriate confidence buoyed by something that feels to them like knowledge.”

That’s now known as the Dunning-Kruger effect.

The Dunning-Kruger effect was developed by psychologists at Cornell. It considers that incompetent people

fail to recognize their own lack of skill

fail to recognize the extent of their inadequacy

fail to accurately gauge skill in others

recognize and acknowledge their own lack of skill only after they are exposed to training for that skill

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dunning%E2%80%93Kruger_effect

Both Fry and Wikipedia offer oversimplifications of Dunning-Kruger, but the entire Dunning-Kruger paper can be found here:

http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.64.2655&rep=rep1&type=pdf

We focus on the metacognitive skills of the incompetent to explain, in part, the fact that people seem to be so imperfect in appraising themselves and their abilities.1 Perhaps the best illustration of this tendency is the “above-average effect,” or the tendency of the average person to believe he or she is above average…

That, the man pictured does to the max. Indeed, the Washington Post compiled a litany of such claims last October. Among them

“I understand the tax laws better than almost anyone, which is why I’m the one who can truly fix them,”

“I think nobody knows the system better than I do.” (on government)

“Nobody knows more about trade than me.”

“There’s nobody bigger or better at the military than I am.”

“So a general gets on, sent obviously by Obama, and he said, ‘Mr. Drumpf doesn’t understand. He knows nothing about defense.’ I know more about offense and defense than they will ever understand, believe me. Believe me. Than they will ever understand. Than they will ever understand.”

“Because nobody knows the system better than me. I know the H1B. I know the H2B. Nobody knows it better than me.”

And, of course, there is his constant bragging about his negotiating skills.

He understands the tax laws but insists he can’t release his tax returns because he is under IRS audit. The IRS tells him he can, though whether he is under audit is a private matter.

He “knows the system” but yet many appointed positions remain unfilled that are vital to the workings even he wishes to occur.

As to the military and the generals, he also promised to have a plan to defeat ISIS “within 30 days” Still not done.

http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/promises/trumpometer/promise/1375/develop-plan-defeat-isis-30-days/

And when the Seals mission in Yemen went awry did he take responsibility because he knows the military? Hell no.

On Visas he knows more than anybody? Several federal judges have told him he does not. And that is compounded by his utter lack of understanding of how the federal courts work—or else it reveals that he doesn’t care that federal courts exist, he wants to be a dictator.

On trade he’s an expert? He’s gone from totalling condemning NAFTA to a willingness to renegotiate with Canada and Mexico on some of its terms. All the while he ignores mountains of evidence that NAFTA is not a disaster, but at worst only a lukewarm success for the United States

And negotiating skills? Gee, where were those demonstrated when Republicans were forced to give up ACA repeal and all the program cuts he wanted in order to keep the government financed for the remainder of this fiscal year? He got NOTHING he wanted.

This piece provides a more recent perspective on Dunning-Kruger.

https://arstechnica.com/science/2016/11/revisiting-why-incompetents-think-theyre-awesome/

Unfortunately, in those places ruled by the smug and complacent, a classic paper has become a weapon. The findings of Dunning and Kruger are being reduced to “Stupid people are so stupid that they don’t know they are stupid.” Rather bluntly, Dunning himself said, “The presence of the Dunning-Kruger effect, as it’s been come to be called, is that one should pause to worry about one’s own certainty, not the certainty of others.” And that humorously suggests the Dunning-Kruger effect is now a candidate to become a second Godwin’s law.

Like Dunning, I do not take such a dim view of humanity. In fact, Dunning-Kruger and follow-up papers give us cause for hope. They show that people are not usually irredeemably stupid. You can teach people to accurately self-evaluate—though, in their specific examples, this also involved teaching them the very skill they were trying to evaluate.

(Godwin’s law, incidentally, is the proposition that in any comment thread, if long enough, some comparison to Hitler will emerge.)

But remember the fourth point of D-K

recognize and acknowledge their own lack of skill only after they are exposed to training for that skill

While that may be true, that presupposes that the person demonstrates a desire to cure their lack of skill. In our present case, do not hold your breath waiting for that to happen.

What, ME worry? Damned right I worry.

 

HERE WE GO AGAIN

mindless-drone

“We’ll always have Paris.” Those words from the movie Casablanca may have taken on an entirely new meaning on Friday the 13th. With the co-ordinated attacks in Paris by sympathizers or members of DAESH (now the preferred term for the artist formerly known as ISIS since it reportedly pisses them off), the anti-Muslim rhetoric and threats of revenge are reminiscent of the hysteria after 9/11, in tone if not quite in degree.

More bombing is needed, let’s send troops in, keep the Syrian refugees in pens not fit for the animals we slaughter for our table, shut down the mosques…all are demands made by politicians and ordinary citizens alike. Of course the one about refugees has not been said literally but the tenor of the words several governors have uttered evoke that picture as they declare no Syrian refugees are welcome within their borders.

Never mind that the cowardly murderers responsible for Paris have mostly been identified as home-grown Europeans to date, several from Belgium, and did not enter France with any refugees it may have accepted. That all still needs to be sorted out but jumping to the conclusion that the violence was due to the refugees is unjustifiable now.

And since some were from Belgium one wag suggested that Belgian waffles and Brussels sprouts be re-named in protest.

But isn’t it odd that Americans and the Western World express such outrage over Paris and promise solidarity while adding a subtle tri-color effect to their Facebook profile picture, but no such love match has been made with Beirut which saw a series of car bombings the day before Paris or with Garissa, in Kenya, where the university saw nearly 150 students murdered by terrorists last April. Do we even know what the colors of their flags are, let alone display them in empathy? And the bombings in Beirut last week were merely the latest of a series of such attacks tormenting the citizens of that city.

And really if DAESH stuck to bloodshed against fellow Muslims instead of occasionally adding some beheadings of Christians or journalists to the mix would Americans give as much a shit about them?

The reality is that DAESH, claiming a Muslim jihad as its goal, kills mostly Muslims in its poisonous quest. Many more Muslims than anyone else.

But I’m hearing echoes of the days after 9/11, when images of the carnage remained stark in our minds, and the drumbeat of naked revenge gained power, eventually leading to two wars and numerous other mis-steps that have done more to destroy American freedoms and ideals than anything any terrorist or groups of terrorists could ever hope to accomplish from their vicious tactics alone.

Tom Engelhardt is a blogger and writer whose work I have read in several on-line publications. This piece appeared in The Nation a couple of months ago.

http://www.thenation.com/article/14-years-after-911-the-war-on-terror-is-accomplishing-everything-bin-laden-hoped-it-would/

In the essay Engelhardt writes from the viewpoint that everything Al-Qaeda hoped to accomplish by its 9/11 masterstroke has been accomplished by our own hands with wars, suppressive laws, warrantless searches, and otherwise. All have torn the fabric of our nation to a damaging degree.

I have often thought in similar terms but Engelhardt pulls it all together in a cohesive  way. I may not be totally in accord with all his opinions but the exceptions are not important for this discussion. It is worthwhile reading. If you do peruse it, make of it what you will.

My main concern post-Paris is the ugliness in the reactions of us Americans. Even usually sensible people sound as if they could be swept up in the militaristic tone taken by Trump, Cruz, Carson, et al as they pimp for votes in the upcoming primaries and caucuses.

Post-9/11 was a scary period  to me, not because I feared an attack that could touch me or my loved ones directly, but because I could smell war brewing and being transported by a runaway train whose passengers in their past rational lives would never have been talked into the inglorious adventures ahead. Yet, there they were, all the liberal dirty news rags endorsing the wars and  pretty much accepting  any imprudence that survived illogic and unreason and became policy and practice.

Though not as hot and raunchy as those regretful days, it’s getting pretty warm here as the guns are oiled, warheads are loaded, drones are programmed, and anyone with somewhat darker skin wearing headgear not conforming to the requisite sports team logo ball cap worn backwards (itself a sign of a society in decline) or trendy fedora but which instead suggests some possible religious signifigance should beware treading the streets. After all, with many yahoos out there who cannot tell their right foot from their left, how can we expect them to distinguish Muslim from Sikh?

Much of what is said is intentionally aimed at causing fear. Fear often makes one use bad judgment, especially when it is a fear that is not visible at the moment. And the fearmongers want you to be afraid, be very afraid, so they can get their way to compel America to contribute ever more carnage to the piles of stinking corpses it has already produced around the world in numbers far more than any loss we have ever suffered due to the terrorists they warn us about.

And despite the total failures of our “boots on the ground” in Iraq and Afghanistan there continues to be a call for more American boots on the ground.

You know what? I will accede to that on one condition. That condition is that those who express this demand loudest fill those boots with their own damned feet.

 

IS THAT A NUKE IN YOUR POCKET OR ARE YOU JUST HAPPY TO SEE ME?

treaty

On the heels of the just announced agreement with Iran on its nuclear program, negotiated by China, Russia, Germany, France, England, and, of course, the United States, comes praise for the diplomatic efforts of President Barack Obama.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/04/02/iran-deal-obama-legacy_n_6996586.html

In that framework of a final agreement, which is to be reduced to its legal language by June, Iran is to scale back its nuclear program signficantly and a series of inspections and safeguards will be implemented to ensure compliance.

Earlier this year Obama took major steps to normalize relations between the U.S. and Cuba after more than a half century of rancorous discourse, travel taboos, economic sanctions, and assassination plots.

In the ongoing battle against climate change—the most difficult part being the intransigence of conservatives to even acknowledge the problem as something to seek resolutions to—last November Obama announced a bilateral agreement with China in which that nation works to reduce emissions.

This triumvirate of accomplishments… an Axis of Non-Evil?… certainly is more worthy of Nobel Peace Prize scrutiny than anything Obama did prior to being honored with that award in 2009, the year he entered office.

Of course the praise for this feat is near universal in this country as Congress rejoices that, with the threat of Iran nukes eliminated, it can finally pare the Defense budget to a reasonable level that will still allow for our security as a nation.

Oh, I wish. Republicans right and righter (no left in that Party) are vociferous in their condemnation of the pact and issuing vague threats…well, not so vague…to attempt to dismantle it. They seem to be in utter defiance of the Benjamin Franklin adage

There has never been a good war, nor a bad peace.

They seem determined to commit war on Iran no matter the cost.

One can reasonably express skepticism that Iran will fail to keep its bargain or that the inspection process will somehow fail or that, just maybe, instead of nukes Iran has the largest garage in the world with a battalion of Ted Kaczynskis producing pipe bombs to be mailed to each American household.

But, it does not matter what the terms of the agreement are nor how staunchly they can be enforced. Were Iran simply to surrender all nuclear materials it possesses, with Geraldo Rivera hosting the biggest live TV event since the opening of Al Capone’s vault so the world can bear witness, these critics speak and act as if nothing will satisfy their concerns short of bombing Iran into submission.

Will there be strict compliance with this agreement should it go into effect? How the hell do I or anyone know that. And strict compliance means Iran builds no nuclear weapons. But, absent strict compliance, is there some basis for forecasting whether it’s true and clear goal…preventing Iran from raining nukes down on Israel, the U.S. or any other nation..is achieved?

Well look at this list of treaties dealing with limiting nuclear arms.

  • Treaty of Tlatelolcol           1967
  • Treaty of Rarotonga          1985
  • Treaty of Bangkok             1995
  • Treaty of Pelindaba           1996
  • Treaty of Semipalatinski    2006
  • START I                             1991
  • SALT I                                1972
  • ABM Treaty                        1972

Some of these treaties have expired of their own accord. Others experienced the withdrawal of at least one of the signatories including the United States.

From a technical viewpoint, have all these treaties been upheld while in effect? I don’t know and I don’t care. The principal purpose of each and every one of these diplomatic coups was to avoid mushroom clouds that were killing people.

Since there have been none of these mushroom clouds appearing with the intent of killing large numbers of humans since August 9, 1945, I look at them as a success. Not unequivocably so, but the expiration and/or violation of any of them has not resulted in catastrophe.

But we all know that prior to this basic agreement’s inception, there was  a wide call among the neocons to just go ahead and bomb Iran as the primary preferred pre-emptive action to be taken.

Here on Moyers and Company Robert Perry scores the pre-agreement commentary by such as John Bolton, Thomas Friedman, and Joshua Muravchik that appeared in either the Washingtton Post or the New York Times. Friedman actually advocated for arming ISIS to help thwart Iran while the other two were all in for the U.S. to bomb Iran’s nuclear facilities.

http://billmoyers.com/2015/03/30/nyt-publishes-call-bomb-iran/

Bolton continued the contrived warmongering of the Bush Administration of which he was a part (also getting paychecks from Reagan and Bush I as part of his resume) by ignoring or lying about some basic facts. Here  he is taken to task for doing so by Jon  Schwarz.

https://firstlook.org/theintercept/2015/04/04/factual-errors-john-boltons-bomb-iran-op-ed-new-york-times-care/

And there are even commenters on a Post-Gazette editorial who extend their record of inane insanity by urging us to have war with Iran now rather than waiting until later.

http://www.post-gazette.com/opinion/editorials/2015/04/05/Iran-s-framework-Negotiators-deserve-a-chance-to-finish-the-details/stories/201504040026

Iranians seem to be pretty damned happy.

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/apr/02/iranians-celebrate-nuclear-deal-tehran

Surprisingly that grumpy old red state conservative Pope Francis not only spoke favorably of the deal but had the temerity and audacity to do so during his annual Easter address. According to many folks in this country promoting peace is not very Christian.

Alas, no matter the outcome of this deal, thwarted by Congress or not, observed fully by Iran or not, unilateral destructive action by Israel or not, this small step towards peace will remain that. Just one small step for man, but forever leaping into war for mankind.

Because, indeed, because they have seduced My people, saying, ‘Peace!’ when there is nopeace—and one builds a wall, and they plaster it with untempered mortar

Ezekiel 13:10

THE DEAD

james-joyce

The photo here, if you did not recognize it, is of the great Irish writer James Joyce. The Dead is the conclusive entry to Joyce’s 15 short story collection The Dubliners published in 1914.

I am particularly fond of this story as it was the vehicle to my greatest accomplishment as a freshman at Washington & Jefferson College in 1965-66. The Dead was part of the anthology of short stories and poetry used in my freshman English class. It is a longer story considered by some to be a novella, and took up forty full pages in our anthology.

Our class was assigned a term paper to be written over our Christmas break. (At that time the semester extended to the end of January). It was to be twenty typewritten pages and was to discuss, not he story as a whole, but rather focusing upon one scene in the story which described the table setting at a post-Christmas holiday celebration.

A fat brown goose lay at one end of the table and at the other end, on a bed of creased paper strewn with sprigs of parsley, lay a great ham, stripped of its outer skin and peppered over with crust crumbs, a neat paper frill round its shin and beside this was a round of spiced beef. Between these rival ends ran parallel lines of side-dishes: two little minsters of jelly, red and yellow; a shallow dish full of blocks of blancmange and red jam, a large green leaf-shaped dish with a stalk-shaped handle, on which lay bunches of purple raisins and peeled almonds, a companion dish on which lay a solid rectangle of Smyrna figs, a dish of custard topped with grated nutmeg, a small bowl full of chocolates and sweets wrapped in gold and silver papers and a glass vase in which stood some tall celery stalks. In the centre of the table there stood, as sentries to a fruit-stand which upheld a pyramid of oranges and American apples, two squat old-fashioned decanters of cut glass, one containing port and the other dark sherry. On the closed square piano a pudding in a huge yellow dish lay in waiting and behind it were three squads of bottles of stout and ale and minerals, drawn up according to the colours of their uniforms, the first two black, with brown and red labels, the third and smallest squad white, with transverse green sashes.

http://www.online-literature.com/james_joyce/958/

At first glance that might seem to be an insurmountable task. But Professor William Stein was heavily into imagery…especially religious imagery… and symbolism and manifestations of mythology. So over the break a classmate and I, fellow Washington High School graduates, spent hours in the city library with books on mythology and symbolism surrounding us. We poured through them with increasing zeal as we would try to discern the hidden meanings of the food described in the paragraph above and relate them to the characters with names such as Michael and Gabriel and Kate and Mary Jane, all of whom could be fictional stand-ins for Biblical characters, for instance.

As we dug more deeply into our references it became apparent that what we were really reading about was a veiled reference to the conflicts among the Irish and the British with three distinct factions. You had the Irish Catholics, the Irish Protestants, and the British oppressors. The subtleties of the colors of the various foods also shed light on the conflict, most notably in the green for Irish Catholics and orange for the Protestant supporters of England.

Now, mind you, whatever clashes between these parties prior to publication of The Dubliners, it was still not until 1916 when the Easter Uprising occurred and Michael Collins gained prominence/notoriety and that event begat several decades of violence until Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams gained credit for bringing The Troubles to a close with an accord with the British Government.

My friend and I gathered and absorbed all this information and hashed it over till we had a basic agreement on a logical scenario that would allow for a narrative that would be right up Professor Stein’s alley. That there were other interpretations or nuances somewhat beyond our relatively unsophisticated young minds we thought of as possible but, with the wealth of material we had, exploring further would mean a paper far longer than what was demanded of us.

Despite our mutual research and similar mindsets, we still had to produce our papers individually. When we returned from break we handed them in and awaited our grades. At the end of our semester the Professor informed us of the grades we earned and selected me for specific praise, revealed my A to the class, and announced he was having my paper published in the college’s literary magazine. But he was a tough grader and my friend received only a B.

Yes, I’m bragging here but let me lay a little more foundation. Gerry Adams now reappears as a possible, even probable villain. He is accused of being much more than a political operative for Sinn Fein, the political wing of the Irish Republican Army, but a military leader within that radical group who can be truthfully named a murderer. That is if you buy everything Patrick Radden Keefe writes in the upcoming issue of The New Yorker in a story titled Where The Bodies Are Buried.

http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2015/03/16/where-the-bodies-are-buried

Keefe focuses on a widowed mother of ten in West Belfast named Jean McConville who was kidnapped by the IRA in front of her brood of children in December of 1972.and “disappeared”. her body not being discovered until 2003, nearly thirty-one years later.

Along the way Keefe introduces a colorful cast of characters and events entailing bombings, hunger strikes, torture, unredemptive admissions of IRA atrocities, a marriage to a well known actor, and the deterioration of the ten children Jean McConville left behind.

While reading this I found myself drawing parallels to more recent and current events in other parts of the world where religious rivalries, resentment of and rebellion against repressive government, and long standing intractable differences between otherwise homogenous populations have bred violence and terrorism that, unlike the Irish Troubles, is often directed outside the parameters of these smoldering relationships.

Think Iraq, first of all. Faced with domination from outside forces and then having a murderous and treacherous dictator thrust upon them and then suffering the indignity of an invasion based on a trumped up rationale and witnessing the killing of hundreds of thousands of citizens, the upheaval of that dictator with resultant instability, and the chaotic destruction of infrastructure and economy alike, is it any  wonder that this middle Eastern nation erupted in insurgency against its occupiers and festering religious extremism has now devolved into the ISIS phenomenon?

I am often struck by how many in the leadership ranks of American politicians…of both major parties…stubbornly refusing to acknowledge that, just as the British accepted no responsibility for Irish revolutionary acts, so, too, are the actions of our own government a huge factor in the atmosphere of what we have termed Muslim terrorism. Instead it is a product, not so much of proclaimed religious superiority or its manifest destiny or envy of the “American Way” as it is a predictable reaction to our own decades of morally fallible interference in the affairs of a group of nations who we value for their oil and our ability to manipulate them while being openly disdainful of their religion and culture, such disdain being driven by ignorance and our own mistaken avowals that our expressions of faith are the only true way.

But  the scornful and rabidly paternalistic British fomented violent acts by properly resentful Irish that spiraled downward into terror and the killing and maiming of innocents, ultimately unjustifiable. But these tactics were no more…or less…horrific than the beheadings by ISIS or the widespread use of IEDS against American occupiers. Indeed, we haughtily and arrogantly carried out secretive missions and “disappeared” many of those we declared enemies without proof or substance, holding them unlawfully while torturing them. How is that different from what the British did in Ireland with the outcome being the IRA attacks and bombings and murders? Ironically in America we have a lot of Irish sympathizers who not only commiserated with the plight of the Irish but countenanced acts of terror we deplore elsewhere and even providing the financial backing and provisions of arms that are now subject to the Patriot Act if perpetrated by Muslims or in their cause.

Our hypocrisy and moral ambiguity is there if you choose to see it. But we would rather remain blind.

But even worse, The Dead will forever remain that way.

KEEPING SCORE

attacks

The pie chart above depicts the percentage of terrorist attacks within the United States by groups representing various factions between 1980 and 2005 and was developed from an FBI data base. It was produced by Global Research: Centre for Research on Globalization and is dated May 1, 2013.

http://www.globalresearch.ca/non-muslims-carried-out-more-than-90-of-all-terrorist-attacks-in-america/5333619

Looks like my Jewish friends have been more active than my Arab ones though it would seem I have more to fear from my fellow lefties.

More from that report

U.S. News and World Report noted in February of this year:

Of the more than 300 American deaths from political violence and mass shootings since 9/11, only 33 have come at the hands of Muslim-Americans, according to the Triangle Center on Terrorism and Homeland Security. The Muslim-American suspects or perpetrators in these or other attempted attacks fit no demographic profile—only 51 of more than 200 are of Arabic ethnicity. In 2012, all but one of the nine Muslim-American terrorism plots uncovered were halted in early stages. That one, an attempted bombing of a Social Security office in Arizona, caused no casualties.

And just to be clear, although the Fort Hood murders were perpetrated by a Muslim, since that attack was against U.S. military personnel I would not designate that as an act of terrorism. As one of my frequent commenters so conveniently provided on my entry, Isis In America

Further, per wiki, 22 USC 38, says, in the context of State Department country reports: “[T]he term ‘terrorism’ means premeditated, politically motivated violence perpetrated against noncombatant targets by subnational groups or clandestine agents.”

So those unfortunate victims were combatants and I maintain justifiable targets in the U.S. declared War on Terrorism, just as troops in Iraq and Afghanistan may have been killed by clandestine means rather than during an open firefight.

The purpose of all this?

The answer, my friends, is blowing in the reality that while terrorism of any nature is real and needs to be guarded against, it is far from the all-consuming danger portrayed by the rhetoric of countless politicians supported by mouth-breathing pundits whose livings depend on the number of readers/viewers they attract. And none of them will be earning their paychecks should they choose to report the truth that there is not a terrorist bomb lying in every dumpster and that every one of the 2.5 million Muslims in the United States is not intent on slitting their throat at the first opportunity.

Moreover, with over 1.5 BILLION Muslims in the world, if the adherents of that religion as a whole were consumed by the need to destroy Western Civilization, one would think that much greater increments in that destruction would have been achieved than has in fact been done by the Wolves of Wall Street.

Here within our boundaries we have our own home-grown terror groups finding comfort in their Second Amendment Rights to arm themselves to the teeth for protection against homosexuals, IRS agents, and blacks. They are not content to maintain an alert defensive posture but individuals and small groups of them have deemed it necessary to be pro-active.

That is why in 2013 Mother Jones could report that between 9/11 and the end of 2012 domestic right wing terrorists had killed 29 people across the nation as opposed to 17 fatalities from Muslim terrorists…and they are including the Fort Hood deaths which should be discounted for the reasons above.

http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2013/04/charts-domestic-terrorism-jihadist-boston-tsarnaev

And perhaps potentially deadly attacks by Muslims have been thwarted? Fair enough, with a few notable instances of shoe and underwear bomber wanna-bes. Any others?

The jihadists’ record as bomb makers would probably be even worse if not for the FBI, which has reeled in dozens of would-be terrorists with its controversial informant program. Of the 203 jihadist terrorists counted by the New America Foundation, just 23 got their hands on explosives or materials to make a bomb; more than half of those obtained the components (often nonfunctioning) from federal informants or agents as part of a sting. Of the 174 nonjihadists, 51 right-wing terrorists and 5 anarchist terrorists tried making bombs. Only five of the right-wing terrorists got their bomb-making supplies via sting operations.

So it appears that

The best laid schemes o’ Mice an’ Men. Gang aft agley

And many would have gone further aft agley had the FBI simply stayed away and not provided both the inspiration and the means for terror dreams to morph into civilian nightmares.

How about abroad? While some Americans have been targeted for well-publicized killings by ISIS, and we have the four American dead in the Benghazi consulate attack, the total number of fatalities from American targeted incidents is negligible. But thousands of Iraqis have been murdered by Muslim groups during and after the war there so it would be more accurate to say that Muslims have more to fear from Islamic terrorism than do non-Muslims.

For further references I would suggest these.

http://archive.adl.org/nr/exeres/faf397e9-96e6-4a7a-89d4-1968e1a44a15,db7611a2-02cd-43af-8147-649e26813571,frameless.html

http://www.visionofhumanity.org/#/page/our-gti-findings

If interested one can access any number of reports/analyses from both conservative and liberal organizations (Heritage Foundation included) that provide statistics about terror.

None may be exceptionally expansive and may duplicate  others’ work in some aspects. If they do not editorialize that Americans are pretty safe from that violence the facts presented easily support that conclusion. Too, there may be discrepancies in their numbers, most likely due to utilizing different sources with different time frames of reference and often with somewhat flexible definitions of terrorism.

What of ISIS or Boko Haram?

As much undeniable terror as they do spread, they are more akin to traditional armies than to Al Qaeda and consanguineous organizations. Indeed, ISIS has declared itself a state…without established borders to be sure… but truly embarking upon its version of Manifest Destiny.

Much as the threat from these foreign entities, especially Muslim centered ones, is palpable in their part of the world, it is equally impalpable in the United States or to American targets anywhere, save for rare instances.

Yet, Peter King, Lindsey Graham, and even President Obama, can be quite prone to hyperbole that exaggerates the danger in order to…when it comes right down to it…justify huge military and intelligence budgets, as well as severe security measures that protect us from the slightest of threats.

It is as if a hovering mother sends her adorable five year old outdoors to play in September wearing a complete snow suit because it once snowed on that date thirteen years ago…and mother and child reside in Phoenix.

There are numbers galore that reveal how little we have to fear from terror. The likelihood of death from driving without a seat belt or smoking cigarettes, jaywalking, owning a gun, or not having health insurance outranks your chances of dying from a terrorist attack, foreign or domestic. And these are issues of concern we address less drastically or not at all.

And you know something else? We have the same Arabs to thank for those revealing numbers that we now want to declare our enemies.

Isn’t it ironic?

ISIS IN AMERICA

atrocity

For the past eight months,or so,as ISIS/ISIL/The Islamic State has wreaked havoc in Iraq with both pure military action and pure craven horrific terrorism in the form of murders of civilians, especially public executions of journalists or other foreigners chosen to be examples of the power of ISIS. Those executions have notably included beheading and immolation.

And these actions have drawn the usual panic stricken outcry from the right for the most extreme, militaristic response possible. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R.-S.C.) among others have warned the American people that if proper measures are not taken ISIS will be in America and “killing us all”.

http://www.mediaite.com/tv/sen-graham-obama-must-stop-isis-before-we-all-get-killed-here-at-home/

I’ve got news for you, Senator, ISIS has been present in America for well over one hundred years. Only it has been known by another name—the Ku Klux Klan.

What ISIS has done to its opponents of innocent victims ensnared by its sleazy tentacles is no different than the havoc wreaked by the Klan upon thousands of black people in the late 19th and the 20th centuries. While nooses were the lethal weapon of choice sometimes the criminals, many of who would have been described as productive upstanding citizens in their normal lives. acted out the motto “hangin’s too good for ’em”. As you can see in the photo above this man was hanged AND burned.

Graham’s own state of South Carolina has its own ugly history of lynchings. Okay, some were in response to murders and the lynchees may have even been guilty of such crimes themselves, but they were not convicted in our courts in a trial of any kind though if they had been tried it’s doubtful the proceedings would have been fair.

Even more so, a great number of the lynchees were murdered for alleged offenses that would not have invoked the death penalty. You can find on the list linked to below the capital “crimes” were for “quarreling”, “seditious utterances” (whatever they are), “intimate with white woman” (presumably consensual since it is not listed as rape as are so many).

There was even one man summarily executed having “shot the sheriff”. Funny, neither Bob Marley nor Eric Clapton suffered that fate.

http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~sctttp/lynchings.htm

So while ISIS does pose a genuine threat to the areas where it operates, and in a none too gentle way, the possibility of ISIS being able to produce a physical presence within our borders is so remote as to be laughable. Not that a few stray sympathizers, home grown at that, may take it upon themselves to misguidedly emulate their heroes, but if they do it by acquiring some AK-47’s and blasting their way through the matinee showing of Fifty Shades of Gray at their local cineplex, the NRA will be staunch defenders of their right to do so.

In the meantime, until ISIS embarks upon a warship building frenzy or manages to procure military aircraft (Hey! A new market for American weapons dealers! Talk about increasing the export prowess of the United States!) my sleep is unlikely to be disturbed by anything more than the increased volume of commercials as I doze while enjoying the latest dramatic recreation of a murder story on Investigation Discovery.

The knocking on my door will be a neighbor complaining of noise, not some Muslim fanatic wielding a scimitar.

ASSHOLES—NATURE OR NURTURE?

ass

This is intended for the assholes who still want to repeal the ACA; deny equal marriage rights; claim that ISIS has crossed our border with intent to wipe Little Rock off the map; still assert that the trickle down theory works (hint, that’s piss, not money and it ain’t trickling it’s a torrent); deny equal pay for equal work; prevent far too many of our citizens who do work from earning a life sustaining living for these citizens and their families  fuck over the poor at every opportunity; don’t know of a country they wouldn’t send our troops to invade while their butts sit in front of their TV screens with the only operable channel being FOX News; claim racism doesn’t exist despite the ever growing number of young  (and some old) black men and women shot, tazed, choked, arrested, beaten, etc. with the only justification for doing so being the color of their skin; are perfectly willing to put all kinds of shit into our air, water and anyplace else it’s probably going to harm us; cheat the public out of billions even trillions of dollars and continue to live in McMansions while somebody found with a joint or who commits petty theft rots in jail; keep calling for more tax cuts when they already have tax advantages more than all of us; run corporations that they claim are people despite the fact that forming a corporation in the first place means you are (legally) avoiding being treated as a person for your fuckups and the money you make can be taxed at lower rates than if you were an individual; refuse to take the steps necessary to repair or replace our crumbling infrastructure; object to establishing a theocracy in the United States—unless of course it is a Christian one; use religion (usually Christianity) to discriminate against people and/or treat them like shit when they don’t share their narrow-minded views; deny climate change; spend ungodly sums of money in an effort to buy elections; want to gut or eliminate Social Security and Medicare; maintain an insane war on drugs that has wasted so much of our tax dollars to no effect but which leads to status crimes putting people in ugly violent prisons for years if not for life; refusing to end the death penalty that far too often (too often being at least once) has sent innocent folks to death row for years if not to their executions; pervert what were intended to be physically challenging collegiate extracurricular activities into valueless enterprises which do not serve the students but primarily act as a farm system for professional teams and the greedy owners of those same professional teams who simply love someone else paying for the player development that benefits only them; act overly concerned with the union of sperm and egg up to the moment when that union becomes a living and breathing human being and then seemingly ignoring and abandoning them if they are not the right color or member of the proper economic and/or social class; AND, last but certainly not least, the millions of our citizens perfectly content with the quo of this status.