Tuesday, September 30

We Are Family.

Get Up Everybody, and Sing.

Never Explain.

Your friends don't need it.
Your enemies won't believe it anyway.

Home Again, Home Again...

Jiggity, Jig, Jig !!

(Sorry if I missed you while I was out...)

Day XX of Active American Involvement in the Syrian War.

Is anyone keeping count?
Regardless, the refugees on the ground over there are tiring already of our protective presence, it seems...
Given the suspicions of anti-government Syrians, American strikes should have focused strictly on the Islamic State, said Mohammed Ghanem, a Syrian opposition activist now working for the Syrian American Coalition, a group that has lobbied for American intervention against Mr. Assad.

“You rout ISIS, establish good will, create trust, and then, working with the opposition, you go after Nusra,” he said.

“We are troubled by the expansion of scope of the campaign,” he added. “Hitting deep inside rebel territory without prior coordination or discussion with armed opposition or civilian opposition is frankly causing considerable harm to the purpose of this mission.”
Diplomats, aid workers and others who have long followed the conflict say they are perplexed that the United States would veer to targets other than the widely despised Islamic State on the very first day of the campaign.
It's almost as if...
(can you fill in the blank here too?)

ADDED:

Who... who... who... hit the grain silos?
Perceptions matter, especially if you believe -- as I do -- that nation-states should not intervene in other countries' civil wars.  Why bloody our hands, allegedly to protect the victims of the latest victimized group?  Truth be told?  Survivors are sometimes better operating independently, without being displaced by the help from above...

Monday, September 29

The Problem with Camille...

Paglia too often seems to use the facts to fit her pet theories about women.

In her latest article about predatory behavior against college-aged students, for example, she misses all the cases here in the Midwest about male college students gone missing after a night of "partying" (drinking) too.

Why, a freshman at North Dakota State, a popular and large young man who was a standout athlete (basketball player) at his high school, recently turned up dead -- his body discovered across the river near University of Minnesota-Moorhead.

Often, the bodies of missing Midwestern college men -- who disappear walking home alone after drinking -- turn up days, weeks or months later in a river or body of water.  With no evidence of foul play, and evidence that the students were intoxicated beforehand, it's assumed they innocently met their fates.

Even a prominent fooball coach's son died this way in recent years.  It's not an unknown phenomena.

This time though -- the young man, Thomas Bearson -- was found killed, though police are not yet saying how.  With an intact body, more clues will come.  Vulnerable men can be killed, and sexually assaulted too.  Even big men, when alcohol or drugs leaves them in a compromised state.

Paglia should update her schtick for the times, understanding that with updated technology, drugs, and a binging culture, it's not just young women at risk of being preyed upon. 

David Brooks' Son Serves in the Israeli Military.

Interesting that it never came up in The Conversation.

(Color me not surprised.  It makes more sense when you consider Brooks is one relieved that American lives are being protected by America's continued military presence in the region...  Still, ethical journalism should require Brooks disclose this fact, if he is to continue advocating for American intervention abroad.

I wonder too, if in their continued quest to provide ideological and class diversity, that The Times might consider hiring a Hispanic mother whose son serves in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Her perspective on military matters might differ from Brooks', and be more representative of Americans here at home, outside of New York City and Washington D.C., where Brooks recently revealed he lives now.)

Teddy...

Bridgewater.

(aside:  What a beautiful name!)

America's Immoral Acts.


Judged by actions, not intentions necessarily:

BEIRUT (Reuters) - U.S.-led air strikes hit grain silos and other targets in Islamic State-controlled territory in northern and eastern Syria overnight, killing civilians and wounding militants, a group monitoring the war said on Monday.

The aircraft may have mistaken the mills and grain storage areas in the northern Syrian town of Manbij for an Islamic State base, said the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. There was no immediate comment from Washington.
 ...
 The strikes in Manbij appeared to have killed only civilians, not fighters, said Rami Abdulrahman, who runs the Observatory which gathers information from sources in Syria,

"These were the workers at the silos. They provide food for the people," he said.
Harvesting hate.  When will our overconfidence end and the humility begin? That will be the day victory is at hand...

(Pundits will try to minimize our actions here as routinely "mowing the lawn" to help weed the world of "terrorists".  Tell me?  Does this happen when you cut the lawn?  Those landscapers, and little people, who cut grass regularly don't kill to do it.

Americans will not accept these elite wars of choice for long... even up against the lobbyists and mouthpieces urging never-ending wars as the path to a perfect peace.  It's not in our nature.)

Sunday, September 28



From the Letter of Saint Paul to the Romans.

I urge you, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God,
to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice,
holy and pleasing to God, your spiritual worship.

Do not conform yourselves to this age
but be transformed by the renewal of your mind,
that you may discern what is the will of God,
what is good and pleasing and perfect.

Let love be sincere;
hate what is evil,
hold on to what is good;
love one another with mutual affection;
anticipate one another in showing honor.

Do not grow slack in zeal,
be fervent in spirit,
serve the Lord.
Rejoice in hope,
endure in affliction,
persevere in prayer.
Contribute to the needs of the holy ones,
exercise hospitality.
Bless those who persecute you,
bless and do not curse them.
Rejoice with those who rejoice,
weep with those who weep.
Have the same regard for one another;
do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly;
do not be wise in your own estimation.
Do not repay anyone evil for evil;
be concerned with what is noble in the sight of all.
If possible, on your part, live at peace with all.

~ Romans 12:1-2, 9-18

Letting the Weeds Grow.*

 or, Crying Wolf to Do Goats' Work.

America this morning is now bombing on two fronts in Syria.  Not to mention our "clean up" job in Iraq.  Why?

America failed spectacularly in creating its democratic model kitchen with Iraq. So now we have to go back periodically and cut the grass, as they say in Israel, to keep our virulent foes in check.
We're doing it for the ladies, who are endangered by the instability our earlier military campaigns wrought in the region.  But what we're doing is going to protect them, this time. 

We promise, cross our hearts.
It is pre-emption. But the difference with President Obama’s pre-emption is that there is an actual threat to the globe from a vicious, maniacal army. President Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz and Condoleezza Rice made up a threat to America from a contained and diminished Saddam Hussein to justify pre-emption and serve their more subterranean purposes.
Until America begins governing with humility, the arrogance in Washington will continue unabated, like an invasive species creeping into non-native lands.
“Even if we’re not in a position to give women the better life they deserve,” concluded [Richard Haass, the president of the Council on Foreign Relations], “we are in a position to save many of them from what ISIS would do to them. And that’s significant.”
I don't believe it's Constitutional to keep attacking foreign countries like this because the educated elite in Washington think they know better.

And I'm not alone either...
Enjoy it while it lasts?
---------------

*  Who sowed the seeds of discontent anyway, both in Palestine and in Iraq?

Saturday, September 27

It's a Baby Woman !

Chelsea Clinton Delivers.

(Apologies to Doonesbury, for swiping his line...)

Friday, September 26

Confronting Religious Extremists.

If you're going to go out in public, you might catch... "woman cooties" if you sit too close to them.

That's a religion that needs to be updated for the 21st Century. Or else keep it behind closed doors.

I would not think businesses would strive to accommodate.

An El-Al flight from New York to Tel Aviv was turned into an “11-hour nightmare” after hundreds of ultra-Orthodox Jewish passengers refused to sit next to women.

According to those on board the flight descended into chaos because of their demands.

The flight was full with Israelis, secular, orthodox and ultra-Orthodox Jews – known as Haredim – flying home to celebrate Rosh Hashanah.

Even though the passengers had been pre-assigned seats before boarding, the ultra-Orthodox Jews refused to accept the arrangements because their beliefs required that men and women were segregated.
...
"People stood in the aisles and refused to go forward," said Amit Ben-Natan, a passenger on the flight

"Although everyone had tickets with seat numbers that they purchased in advance, they asked us to trade seats with them, and even offered to pay money, since they cannot sit next to a woman.

“It was obvious that the plane won't take off as long as they keep standing in the aisles."

The flight took off after the haredim agreed to take their places to permit departure, before the chaos resumed once the seat belt signs were switched off.
What if their religious views said they could not sit next to a person of another ethnicity? Accomodate that?

I understand this is "tradition". But don't deny, it also contributes to the viewing of women as "others", which rightly should be mocked, and the religious practices continued only in private places...

ADDED: I have an idea. A bunch of drag queens should book trips to Tel Aviv on the Jewish religious holidays. Then, the extremists could be seated next to "women", but not really breaking the religious taboo (assuming the chromosomes count!)

Maybe they would be able to conquer their fears, and overcome their traditional teachings, by... working their way into sitting next to real women on planes... Baby steps. Overcoming a superiority complex is never easy.

(Actually, this was my thinking behind getting county clerks to issue marriage licenses to gay people: just send in enough "mixed identity" couples, so the county clerks are confused. Absent a "Drop Your Drawers and Prove It Up" mandate, it would be hard for your average county clerk to determine gender from outer appearances, on some folk.

You don't have to complete the paperwork and do the actual legal marrying part: the point would be to get the clerks to stop discriminating, and issue the licenses to two otherwise qualified people -- not married to another, passing any necessary blood test, of age, only two human people in the relationship, with proper identifying forms like birth certificates, etc.)

Thursday, September 25

The Missing College Student, the Suspect, and Political Correctness.

Every day the body decomposes, evidence is lost. The surveillance cameras helped hone in on a suspect; forensic evidence will show if she was in the man's car, or if she lost blood or bodily fluids in his home or vehicle.

The suspect has legal rights, of course. I suspect an attorney would like to play this like the Casey Anthony case: if the body is eventually found, and does not reveal cause of death, one could get creative...

"She was drunk, she went into the bar where I bought her another drink. She consented, even in a very inebriated state, to go home with me. She passed out drunk, I tried to revive her but panicked... I disposed of her body, but I did NOT kill her..."

This all assumes, of course, the body is found one day.

The suspect's family expressed relief that he was arrested in Texas, and was brought home "safe". One hopes somebody would "lean on" this man to tell everything he knows, now!, to bring the missing woman home to her family too.

Sadly, justice does not work that way, and as we all remember from the Nicole Brown Simpson murder case, people have very little sympathy for pretty white women who becomes endangered, and sometimes killed.

This is a very timely case, as it causes us to re-examine what we teach our children, our daughters, and our own notions of political correctness. A fraternity at MIT recently outlined the liability dangers of admitting excessively inebriated young women on to their properties: don't do it!, the report urges. Turn them away at the door -- put them in a cab home to the dorm, or call campus security to escort them home.
Identify drunks at the door. I don’t care how pretty or flirtatious a young lady is; if she’s visibly intoxicated, don’t let her in. Although we were once reprimanded for turning away a drunk female student who ultimately required an ambulance when she passed out on our sidewalk, it would have gone a lot worse for us had she collapsed inside.

In addition to the usual bouncers, assign several brothers to monitor female party guests. If any appear out of control, walk them to the door and put them in a cab heading back to their dorm. You can send me the bill. If they refuse to leave, call for an escort from campus police.
Naturally, the catcalls came quickly from the empowered female lobby:
No advice about helping women get home safe if it looks like they need it. No instructions to call one of their friends. Nothing about men's behavior. Their own binge drinking. Just, you know, get those meddling women out of the house so it becomes someone else's problem. Rape doesn't factor into Frezza's piece at all, just his concern about false accusations and all manner of trouble women create for his fraternity men.
The latest case of the missing inebriated college woman demonstrates what can potentially happen when you take the drinking culture off of campus. Trusting young women, drunk to the gills, can choose badly.

Instead of assuming someone will always have your back, and carry you home safely to sleep it off, why not be practical? Teach young people that evil exists, and predators will prey. Perhaps the suspect merely bought the young woman drinks, left her at the door, and she stumbled into trouble on her way home. Like fell down an embankment and slipped into a river, perhaps.

The body, when found, might reveal clues as to how the missing woman met her death. But one clue is seen on the surveillance cameras: the young lady surrendered control of her body, her senses, to the alcohol. This could be a teaching moment -- this could save some lives down the road -- if we ignore the politically correct impulse to err on the side of women's "freedom" (to imbibe? to be as drunk as they wanna be?) and start teaching some common sense again.

No one coming from the right background ever assumes physical force will be used against them. But body weight matters. Speed counts too -- can you run, and THINK quickly, under pressure?

Trust comes easily when you are young.
Older, wiser people often know better.

Forbes magazine has sacked a contributor over an online column arguing that drunk party girls were the "gravest threats" to the livelihood of fraternities, the Daily News has learned. The column by contributor and MIT-grad Bill Frezza titled "Drunk Female Guests Are the Gravest Threat To Fraternities," hit the web at 2:23 p.m. Tuesday, according to a cached version still available online.

It was yanked down almost immediately, according to Jezebel.

"Mr. Frezza’s post was removed from Forbes.com almost immediately after he published it," Forbes spokesperson Mia Carbonell told the Daily News. "Mr. Frezza is no longer a contributor to Forbes.com."

In an email, Frezza said Forbes rightly pulled the piece because its subject didn't fit the site's politics section and that the accompanying photo "was in poor taste."

"That being said I stand by every word I wrote," Frezza said.

"Most people have no idea what is going on on college campuses these days due to the ill-advised raising of the drinking age from 18 to 21, forcing so much of it to go underground," Frezza said.

"I have complete confidence that the men at the fraternity I mentor will always comport themselves properly. Any woman on campus knows that she is safe in our house, which is perhaps why some choose to behave with such reckless abandon," he said.

"You have no idea what a predicament this has put our colleges and well behaved fraternities in," he said.

"Unless and until we begin holding individuals accountable for their own behavior, and not institutions, my headline says it all."

Frezza also said he was glad the piece "kicked off a national conversation on the subject."

Tuesday, September 23

48 Hours... 48. Hours.

We're starting to hear in the first results of the latest war, now expanded to Syria:

At least 120 militants militants and eight civilians were killed in the US-led strikes, according to the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which monitors military activity in Syria. It said 70 of the killed militants were from Isis, while the other 50 it described as being aligned with the Nusra Front, the parent organization of the Khorasan cell.

About 100 critically injured fighters were taken to Iraq for treatment, it added.The Observatory also said there had been eight civilian casualties, included three children. Its reports could not be independently verified.

Obama was scheduled to arrive at the UN headquarters in New York later on Tuesday, with an intensive diplomatic push to garner support for the war already underway. On Wednesday, Obama will address the UN General Assembly and chair a meeting of the UN security council, pushing for a binding resolution against Isis, including an international travel ban on foreign fighters travelling from other countries.

Although the UK did not participate in Tuesday’s strikes, prime minister David Cameron expressed support for military action. Russia, Syria’s main international ally, which like the UK is a permanent member of the UN security council, denounced the US-led strikes as a violation of Syria’s sovereignty.

Iran also questioned the legality of the US-led air strikes. The Wall Street Journal quoted President Rouhani as saying that the strikes amounted to an attack because they were not approved by the UN or Syria.

However, Washington believes the support of the five Sunni Arab allies, an alliance that appears to have been pulled together in the 48 hours leading up to the strikes, are critical to legitimacy of its expanded war against Isis.

Hours after the strikes began, General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the US joint chiefs of staff, told a small group of reporters accompanying him on a flight from flight to Washington from Europe that Arab support was indispensable, saying “I can’t overstate” the importance of the five Sunni allies.

“We now have a kind of credible campaign against Isil that includes a coalition of partners,” he said, according to the Associated Press.

Boom. Boom. Boom. Let's Go Back to...

My Room. Where we can do it
all night, and you can make it feel right
..."

President Barack Obama
: gettin' his autumn initiation
into the Boom Boom Club! Baaaaad boy. "Can't Beat 'Em? Bomb 'Em, Boys!"

It was unclear what effect the American-led strikes would have on the larger conflict.
...
Adding to the broader ramifications of the Syrian war, the Israeli military said Tuesday that it had shot down a Syrian fighter jet that had “infiltrated into Israeli airspace,” the first such incident in at least a quarter of a century.
It was cute this weekend -- a little Syrian girl crying for her mother to Scott Pelle of 60 Minutes. I guess that justifies it. Sure hope we can help reunite the girl and her mother! Yeehaw.

I like to save newspapers from days like these.
Personally, I don't think much of our latest war efforts -- there's nothing elsewhere in the paper indicating the American people assess any threat, or are calling for war, and willing to sacrifice and pay for it.
Separate from the attacks on the Islamic State, the United States Central Command, or Centcom, said that American forces acting alone “took action” against “a network of seasoned Al Qaeda veterans” from the Khorasan group in Syria to disrupt “imminent attack planning against the United States and Western interests.”
It's a War of Choice, for sure.
The ladies of America are too busy coming together collectively to protest football, it seems. If you go by what you read in the papers...

Other mothers are getting the kids off to school, ready for their games and meets, and keeping the healthy meals coming as the weather chills... Some work outside the home too. I don't see much time for war support there.

The stock market is up. Nature is at her finest. September is holding her own, not ready to reveal her colors just yet...

"I find Love is making music with my friends
And I can't wait to get on the Road again..."

ADDED: Data journalists might want to consider running a box total of the cost estimates of the day's airstrikes. As the campaign continues -- and with ill-defined goals, it will go on for some time -- and as the numbers add up, a graphic journalist could draw pictures of what the money could be used for here at home: immigrant assimilation, community education, road maintenance, and environmental upkeep.

I don't think the American people, if they see the actual numbers, have done an about-face on intervening into other nation's bloody civil wars. They're looking away.

Sunday, September 21

"If You Would Not Have Fallen..."

Then I would not have found you...
Angel Flyin' Too Close To the Ground.

And I patched up your broken wings
and hung around awhile...
Tried to keep your spirits up
and your Fever down.

I knew someday...
that you would fly away...
For Love's the Greatest Healer to be Found!

So leave me if you need to...
I will still remember...
Angel Flyin' Too Close to the Ground.

(Leave me if you need to...
I will still remember...
Angel Flyin' Too Close to the Ground.)
My favorite Willie Nelson tune.

Maureen Dowd met him
on the Honeysuckle Rose recently, taking him up on an offhand invite he made about her bad (legal) pot trip in Denver, where a little bit of edible m.j. went a long way.

Willie told her:
“Honestly, I don’t do edibles. I’d rather do it the old-fashioned way, because I don’t enjoy the high that the body gets."
...
“Everybody’s got to kill their own snakes, as they say. I found out that pot is the best thing for me because I needed something to slow me down a little bit.”

He was such a mean drunk, he said, that if he’d kept drinking heavily, “there’s no telling how many people I would have killed by now.”

--------------------------
* Pancho and Lefty.
That's my second-favorite Willie Nelson tune:
Livin' on the road my friend...
was gonna keep you free and clean.
But now you wear your skin like iron;
Your breath is hard as kerosene.

You weren't your mama's only boy,
but her favorite one it seems...
She began to cry
when you said good-bye
and sank into your dreams...

Poncho was a Bandit Boy.
His horse was fast as polished steel.
He wore his gun outside his pants
for all the honest world to feel.

Poncho met his match, you know
On the deserts down in Mexico.
Nobody heard his dyin' words...
Ah, but that's the way it goes...

(All the Federales say...
They could have had him any day.
They only let hang around...
out of kindness I suppose.)

Lefty he can't sing the blues
all night long like he used to do.
The dust that Poncho bit down south,
ended up in Lefty's mouth.

The day they laid poor Poncho low...
Lefty split for Ohio.
Where he got the bread to go...
there ain't nobody knows. (?)

(All the Federales say...
They could have had him any day.
They only let him slip away...
out of kindness I suppose.)

The boys tell how ol' Poncho fell...
And Lefty's livin' in cheap hotels.
The desert's quiet; Cleveland's cold.
And so the story ends we're told...

Poncho needs your prayers, it's true.
But save a few for Lefty too.
He only did what he had to...
and now, he's growin' old.
**

(All the Federales say...
They could have had him any day.
They only let him slip away...
out of kindness I suppose.)
** Maureen ends the column wondering if the president ought to re-unite the old Choom Gang, maybe conference on the White House roof, like they surely used to do rolling around in the car with the window cracked... "How did we get here and where are we going again, and do we really have to kill so many people to get what we're after?"

But I'm putting words in their mouths.
Here's how she phrased it:
Given all the horrors in the world now, I said, maybe President Obama needs to chill out by reuniting the Choom Gang.

“I would think,” Nelson said, laughing, “he would sneak off somewhere.”
Excellent column about some worthwhile people.

Saturday, September 20

A War is a War is a War... (*bump*)

One of the benefits of having a decently assembled personal library is the vast collection of resources at your fingertips.  Sure, some rely solely on electronic research now, but it's better perhaps to read independently, in private, and not to simply swallow the latest offerings online.

America's foreign policy boils down to this:  We will support our friends and allies in the Middle East region, and fight on their behalf whenever they are threatened.

If Israel exists, Israel is threatened.
If Israel is a prime ally, then America will be perpetually at war due to Israel's precarious demographic and geopolitical fate:  they are surrounded by enemies and have no interest, it seems, in working toward a negotiated peace in the region, a realistic compromise that would ensure their survival via working toward meeting the survival needs of their neighbors.

Many political commentators have acknowledged the short-term vision of the Israeli people:  100 years, perhaps, then the Jews again will be forced by circumstances to pack their tents and move along...  Israel today is simply not a long-term, self-fulfilling, independent state.

She relies on the U.S. taxpayer money for defense, for offense, for simple survival.  When the nationalistic Jews supporting Israel teamed with the Evangelical Christians, supporting their version of End Times, America lost.

The truth lost.
American values lost.

Now, America imprisons people without charges in Guantanamo.  We kill, indiscriminately, thousands of women, children and elderly, escaping responsibility because our people do not see the carnage that air-dropped destruction delivers.

We don't even see the daily pricetag of the costs of these "missions"...

As Jeffrey Goldberg, American Jewish pundit who admits himself to the abuse by Israeli soldiers he witnessed while serving in the IDF, puts it:  Syria is now devoid of chemical weapons that would threaten the Jewish citizens of Israel.

Israel is free to continue amassing land in disputed territories, to continue building in the non-Jewish parts of Jerusalem, to continue breaking promises and grasping for more, more, more...  because they have an American superpower unconditionally backing their actions.

We are all Israel now.
Expect more of the same:  special legal rights for special citizens while the workers who toil to build and maintain our country here at home are denied recognition...  detention without trial or charges....  assassination first with thoughts of justice secondary, splitting hairs over the dead body.

The truth is, America has indeed been at war since early August, when once again we ramped up our military and began bombing Iraq for not behaving as the good democracy we implanted.  We might not want to admit it, but we are again at war.

Recall, we were at war first, and then, the hostage killing videos began to be released.  The terrorists acknowledging that they too would fight and kill, and reminding the West that lives of value were at stake.

Cleverly, the hostages were dressed in orange, a nod to the Guantanamo prisoners locked up, but never charged, convicted nor accessing any semblance of justice.  Killing is the thing, it seems.  The only way to win.

The thing is, Jeffrey Goldberg, like David Brooks and so many Jewish-American political pundits, are not thinking about America as a whole.  In fact, I think they are more concerned with the safety and security of America's prime ally, over the costs to the entire body of the American people, of which the Jews -- believe it or not --  are a small minority.

It's almost laughable.  Definitely incoherent, much like Stein's work in The World is Round (a Rose is a Rose is a Rose...)...

We're at war, but we deny it.
America's national security is not threatened, but it could be!
We believe in truth and justice and the American way, but ... terrorists!  If we don't continually kill them, who will?  If not now, when?  If not America, who?

Nevermind the costs, nor the military leaders who tell us there will be boots on the ground, if the war plans are to succeed.  It took us this long to even admit that what we are doing over there is warring.  Soon, we'll admit too that these are not defensive actions, nor is it wise for a country to continually go on the offensive attacking, with the barn door left wide open here at home.

I'm sure men like Mr. Goldberg and Mr. Brooks will invent an answer, when the moment calls.  They have been chosen, genetically by faith, to fulfill the birthright blessings of their people.  As terrorized peoples once again turn toward the faith of their fathers, and religious nation-states again plague the globe, pretty much those storybook promises are what we are building this country's foreign policy around....

The Jewish-Evangelical connection.  Is it strong enough to lead the country out of the morass into which we have been delivered?  Or will the majority of the American people eventually choose to return to the nation our forefathers intended, devoid of religious alliances or fealty to foreign powers, where all men are created equal and what you do, not who your mother was, counts more in the end than all the promises the keepers make?

Found Photo of the Day...

"Gimme Back... Gimme Back... Gimme Back My Gavel."





Incoming Speaker John Boehner kisses out-going Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

(Photo AP/Charles Dharapak)

Variations on a Theme...

Jewish-American news columnist Susan Estrich urges the president of the United States to put the business of America aside, ignore the problems we confront here at home, and choose up sides in Syria's civil war, again actively intervening in the latest Middle East troubles:

Leave it to the Senate Democrats to fight their fights in the battleground states where the president's presence doesn't help anyway. Enough with the endless fundraising for negative ads and back-and-forth blame games.

Enlist Bill Clinton to do the domestic rallies.

Send Joe Biden to collect checks from the big donors. The best thing Obama can do is to confront the world, speaking for a united country, facing danger with determination and boldness. ...
[I]t may take special forces "advisers" to stop ISIL and not just air strikes, ... no boots on the ground might more accurately mean no boots on the ground in frontline combat. ... 
I usually start to laugh when politicians start invoking "the American people," as if we are a monolith who speaks in one voice directly into the ear that is not hooked up to a television camera. But this is one of those occasions where it seems almost true that the country wants to be united, wants to be strong, wants to fight back and, most importantly, wants a president we can trust and rely on in the battle.
Easy? Of course not. But the president is not the newbie he was six years ago.
The best thing he can do for his party, his country and his legacy, let alone the people who are in harm's way, is to focus not only on the belated battle against Ebola, but also on the belated and necessary world effort to deal with the threat of extremism that knows no limits.
He might just be the national security president yet. And by the way, the Democrats might even hold the Senate.

Friday, September 19

Sooner, Rather Than Later...

or, Why the Supreme Court Should Take the Case(s).

Linda Greenhouse again performs an excellent role -- not as a woman writer, not as a Jewish-American writer -- but as a legal writer analyzing the current progress to end the gender discrimination in civil marriage.

She looks at the recent circuit court decisions, which have been appealed to the United States Supreme Court, and marvels at the progress made in the past decades.

But Greenhouse comes from a progressive background, and she does not really spell out what the court decisions mean to the people who live in the affected jurisdictions.

In Wisconsin, for example, Judge Posner's recent decision that Greenhouse cites did not make gay marriage accessible.  It might be legal, based on the court decision, but the effect is pending appeal.

If the Supreme Court decides not to accept these cases this term, it seems to me that the most recent court ruling stands:  that gay people should be allowed to file into their county clerk's office and be treated the same same as two people with different genitals.  No more gender discrimination, according to Judge Posner's ruling.

That is likely not going to happen.
Voluntarily, the conservative counties are not going to issue such licenses.  They are going to want to wait until the Supreme Court tells them they have to.

The justices will take up the cases at their closed-door conference on Sept. 29, a week before the start of the new term on the first Monday in October. The situation is unusual. Most of the parties want, and many people expect, the court to grant review in at least one of the cases. But these appeals lack the primary marker the justices look for in constructing their docket: an issue that has produced conflicting opinions by the federal appeals courts. There is no conflict among the circuits, at least not yet; the states have lost in the Fourth and Tenth Circuits as well as the Seventh. Cases are pending in other circuits, and on Sept. 3, a federal district judge in Louisiana upheld that state’s same-sex marriage ban. The gay couples who brought that case, Robicheaux v. Caldwell have appealed. The conservative Fifth Circuit, which includes Louisiana, would not be a same-sex marriage supporter’s circuit of choice.
So it would come as no great surprise if the Supreme Court takes a pass this term. All my court-watching experience tells me that. But still, it’s hard to resist the sense that there is a moment at hand. You could almost call it a parade.


I understand Greenhouse's deference to time.  To not "forcing" something on people they are unwilling or unable yet to accept.

But eventually, someone is going to have to do it.  To stand up to the religious who want to enshrine their personal beliefs in civil law, and to those who believe the majority rules.

Friday Chuckle.

It must be a black thang?

Using English Grammar For Students of French to tighten myself up a bit. (Awesome book by the way.)

A War is a War is a War...

One of the benefits of having a decently assembled personal library is the vast collection of resources at your fingertips.  Sure, some rely solely on electronic research now, but it's better perhaps to read independently, in private, and not to simply swallow the latest offerings online.

America's foreign policy boils down to this:  We will support our friends and allies in the Middle East region, and fight on their behalf whenever they are threatened.

If Israel exists, Israel is threatened.
If Israel is a prime ally, then America will be perpetually at war due to Israel's precarious demographic and geopolitical fate:  they are surrounded by enemies and have no interest, it seems, in working toward a negotiated peace in the region, a realistic compromise that would ensure their survival via working toward meeting the survival needs of their neighbors.

Many political commentators have acknowledged the short-term vision of the Israeli people:  100 years, perhaps, then the Jews again will be forced by circumstances to pack their tents and move along...  Israel today is simply not a long-term, self-fulfilling, independent state.

She relies on the U.S. taxpayer money for defense, for offense, for simple survival.  When the nationalistic Jews supporting Israel teamed with the Evangelical Christians, supporting their version of End Times, America lost.

The truth lost.
American values lost.

Now, America imprisons people without charges in Guantanamo.  We kill, indiscriminately, thousands of women, children and elderly, escaping responsibility because our people do not see the carnage that air-dropped destruction delivers.

We don't even see the daily pricetag of the costs of these "missions"...

As Jeffrey Goldberg, American Jewish pundit who admits himself to the abuse by Israeli soldiers he witnessed while serving in the IDF, puts it:  Syria is now devoid of chemical weapons that would threaten the Jewish citizens of Israel.

Israel is free to continue amassing land in disputed territories, to continue building in the non-Jewish parts of Jerusalem, to continue breaking promises and grasping for more, more, more...  because they have an American superpower unconditionally backing their actions.

We are all Israel now.
Expect more of the same:  special legal rights for special citizens while the workers who toil to build and maintain our country here at home are denied recognition...  detention without trial or charges....  assassination first with thoughts of justice secondary, splitting hairs over the dead body.

The truth is, America has indeed been at war since early August, when once again we ramped up our military and began bombing Iraq for not behaving as the good democracy we implanted.  We might not want to admit it, but we are again at war.

Recall, we were at war first, and then, the hostage killing videos began to be released.  The terrorists acknowledging that they too would fight and kill, and reminding the West that lives of value were at stake.

Cleverly, the hostages were dressed in orange, a nod to the Guantanamo prisoners locked up, but never charged, convicted nor accessing any semblance of justice.  Killing is the thing, it seems.  The only way to win.

The thing is, Jeffrey Goldberg, like David Brooks and so many Jewish-American political pundits, are not thinking about America as a whole.  In fact, I think they are more concerned with the safety and security of America's prime ally, over the costs to the entire body of the American people, of which the Jews -- believe it or not --  are a small minority.

It's almost laughable.  Definitely incoherent, much like Stein's work in The World is Round (a Rose is a Rose is a Rose...)...

We're at war, but we deny it.
America's national security is not threatened, but it could be!
We believe in truth and justice and the American way, but ... terrorists!  If we don't continually kill them, who will?  If not now, when?  If not America, who?

Nevermind the costs, nor the military leaders who tell us there will be boots on the ground, if the war plans are to succeed.  It took us this long to even admit that what we are doing over there is warring.  Soon, we'll admit too that these are not defensive actions, nor is it wise for a country to continually go on the offensive attacking, with the barn door left wide open here at home.

I'm sure men like Mr. Goldberg and Mr. Brooks will invent an answer, when the moment calls.  They have been chosen, genetically by faith, to fulfill the birthright blessings of their people.  As terrorized peoples once again turn toward the faith of their fathers, and religious nation-states again plague the globe, pretty much those storybook promises are what we are building this country's foreign policy around....

The Jewish-Evangelical connection.  Is it strong enough to lead the country out of the morass into which we have been delivered?  Or will the majority of the American people eventually choose to return to the nation our forefathers intended, devoid of religious alliances or fealty to foreign powers, where all men are created equal and what you do, not who your mother was, counts more in the end than all the promises the keepers make?

Thursday, September 18

When Cultures Collide Cuddle Up...

He had game but he chose to hit 'em...
and I pull up quick to get wit' 'em...

Sir Mix-a-Lot with the Seattle Symphony, conducted by Ludovic Morlot, back in June.
I ain't talking 'bout Playboy...
cuz silicone parts are made for toys!

ADDED:
... Cuz I'm Long...
and I'm Strong...
and I'm bound to get the Friction On !


Monday, September 15

Philippians 4:8.

Quaecumque Sunt Vera
Whatsoever things are true,
whatsoever things are honest,
whatsoever things are just,
whatsoever things are pure,
whatsoever things are lovely,
whatsoever things are of good report...
if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things."
~ St. Paul, admonishing the Christians in the Greek city of Philippi.

Sunday, September 14

How much does Islamic State threaten U.S.?

by Greg Miller and Juliet Eilperin

Intelligence agencies remain uncertain about the scope of the danger that the militant group poses to the United States.
...
[President Obama is the] commander in chief who presided over the creation of a counter­terrorism doctrine in which U.S. strikes are supposed to be contemplated only in cases­ of imminent threat of violent attack. Faced with a terrorist group that is expanding faster than U.S. spy agencies can chart it, the “imminent” threshold appears to have been set aside.
So we're bypassing Congress and the American people and going to war because polls show people at home here are fearful, now that they've watched (or more likely, heard of) the beheading videos?

Who exactly is going along with this, and for how long?

Bernie Sanders!

for President!

"For Life and Liberty and Freedom,
America... Votes Yes!
"

Never underestimate an Independent.

Friday, September 12

"We'll Put a Boot in yer Ass..."

"It's the American Way!"

Friday night soundtrack:
Deja vu from 11 years ago last March.  I don't think the president convinced everyone out here that we're not warring with the Islamic religion, but you know... upcoming elections.  Pound the chest and pass the machismo...

Here we go again then, cocky winners -- let's show what America is really all about:  Might Makes Right.  The Big Dogs got their way, and ...

Something tells me, this was a political move on the part of the president, bypassing the Congress and the American people to do what he is told.

Sing it loud, sing it proud!  (and no tears this time around when the enemy strikes back.  We've got to know what we're getting into over there if we're going to continuously follow this path, especially with our unsecured borders here at home.  Eventually, it will come back home to us.  But enjoy it while we can, I guess...)
Hey Uncle Barry put your name at the top of his list...
And the Statue of Liberty started shakin' her fist...
And the Eagle will fly...
And it's gonna be hell...
When you hear Mother Freedom start ringing her bell
And it'll feel like the whole wide world is raining down on you...
Brought to you Courtesy of the Red White and Blue. 
And justice will be served
And the battle will rage
This Big Dog will fight
when you rattle his cage...
You'll be sorry that you messed with the U.S. of A. ....
We'll put a boot in yer ass,
It's the American Way!

Hopefully after November, we'll be over this war for show stuff...


ADDED: One nice thing... I suspect NFL football will get even more popular this year. It's a nice distraction from war, and here we can cheer our own guys pounding other guys, with no huge pricetag or moral obligations to disregard. The players are well paid, the hits are real, and if people crave grinding out a win, what better place to do it than in a defined season, with set schedules, and an an end in sight.

That's the way I like my games, personally.

Tuesday, September 9

Self Determination.

#TwoWordsYouKnowYouLove...

Always(and)Forever.

---------------------

* For what it's worth, I think the next generation -- the Millennial generation -- will cut its teeth in responding to the next Middle East war. They've grown and matured since our last war go-around, and their attitudes are changing the world.

Pretty much,
like their parents, they've got the numbers to generate lasting change, lacking in previous American young idealists who were riding in the wake of the Baby Boom and the Greatest Generation.

Let's see what they think of another ongoing war, how long they're willing to put up with futility, and how quickly they demand a more humanistic (and realistic) foreign policy approach to defending America in the 21st Century.

Beyond Barack Obama, it's the same cast of familiar faces in the Democratic party, pushing women's issues (abortion and birth control) and minority rights (gays, African-Americans, immigrants... not so much).  As the country diversifies, the Democrats divide up and count numbers.

Best not even to speak of the Republicans at the current time...

I don't think, never have thought, that Change will come from the pioneers of the Millennial generation -- the ones already hitting big.  They are their parents, very often.  Set up for success early, they succeed, but this is not the cast of characters who understand the need, in reality, for Change.  They go-along to get-along, and are comfortably rewarded for following in footsteps, innovating perhaps, but essentially propping up the basic structure.

You'll see nothing new built where there's no radical need for something new.  I think the Obama Democrats are counting on getting the same reception George W. Bush received when he announced plans to take America into war:  guns and roses, chests beating with pride.

Now, we've seen a look at the numbers.  The deaths, the costs, the disillusionment.  Those wary of promises of winning such wars before -- trading independence for security -- will soon have reinforcements.  The comfortable, the elite, the elderly might be willing to make such trade offs, but the young?

We're going to be hearing from them -- the bulk of them, not just the early outliers -- in the coming years... Who's ready to listen and learn what the numbers will teach us?

What Is President Obama's Favorite Beer?

Ice Cold Easy Busch Light.

Monday, September 1

Worth Saying this Labor Day.

No matter how much the strife and division of late amongst Americans of different wealth labels... I, for one, still really like classy people.  Classy women, especially.

So if you're up early, working, and you're a classy person (naturally, or you have to work on it even...), all the best!