Fear Not

 

Fear Not

Over 150,000 US citizens have been killed by gun violence since 20015ox the amount killed by terrorists. But thanks to the NRA, who opposes restricting the sale of semi-automatic rifles to individuals on the terrorist watch list, the gap is likely to decrease. According to that radical leftie rag, The New York Post:

More than 2,000 people on the FBI’s terrorist watch list legally purchased weapons between 2004 and 2014, a Government Accountability Office report says. The roughly 700,000 people on the list are still allowed to buy firearms — though felons and drug addicts are not.

Cutting to the chase: The NRA, arguably the most powerful legislative lobbying group in the US, makes the terrorist mission easier. No need to smuggle in weapons over the borders–plenty of military style assault rifles out there ready for the buying.

Of course, Daesh/ISIL/ISIS  and other terrorists won’t be coming into the US disguised as Syrian refugees, the vast majority of whom are young moms and kids and orphans. Refugees spend up to two years of heavy vetting, waiting to get into the country. Or to put it another way, waiting to escape the very terrorists that cause so many ‘Muricans to wet their beds at night, judging by the fear based rhetoric they regularly ingest and spew.

Nope, real terrorists (in contrast to imagined ones) can simply enter the US through the front door bearing a valid passport or visa. Already, there are an estimated 5,000 European nationals who have traveled to conflict zones in the Middle East, where they have presumably received some military training. They can simply hop aboard a plane along with tens of millions of tourists, businessmen, and students that legally enter the US every year.

So, don’t look for terrorists to be carrying weapons as they deplane. More likely they’ll be carrying large fruit baskets with Thank You cards addressed to the NRA’s Wayne LaPierre.

If the faith of the Most High has entered your heart, then shall you abide free from fear throughout all the days of your life. Fret not yourself because of the prosperity of the ungodly; fear not those who plot evil; let the soul turn away from sin and put your whole trust in the God of salvation. The weary soul of the wandering mortal finds eternal rest in the arms of the Most High; the wise man hungers for the divine embrace; the earth child longs for the security of the arms of the Universal Father. The noble man seeks for that high estate wherein the soul of the mortal blends with the spirit of the Supreme. God is just: What fruit we receive not from our plantings in this world we shall receive in the next.”

—The Urantia Book

From Their Apocalips to God’s Ears

isis-paris800
Last Tuesday, GOP presidential candidate, Governor John Kasich of Ohio, in response to the brutal terrorist attacks in Paris, Beirut, and Mali, called for the creation of federal agency to promote and propagandize Christian values. Not in front of a conservative, Evangelical gathering in Iowa, mind you, where some 33% of Iowa Republicans wants to criminalize Islam. But in front of the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.

Even the pearl clutching Lindsey Graham mocked Kasich’s idea, stating that: “I don’t think we should be promoting Judeo-Christian values in the Arab world. I think that was the Crusades.” Boom! Well, it didn’t take long for Kasich to walk back his initial proposal, now claiming that we don’t need such an agency after all. Instead, he called for the rebirth of the Voice of America. Or something.

You’da thunk that Kasich would have learned from the lesson of George W. Bush, who immediately after 9/11, twice called for a “crusade” as part of an aggressive military strategy to punish the evil doers. Not only did W. ditch that needlessly provocative rhetoric, but to his credit, praised and defended Islam:

September 20, 2001

I also want to speak tonight directly to Muslims throughout the world. We respect your faith. It’s practiced freely by many millions of Americans, and by millions more in countries that America counts as friends. Its teachings are good and peaceful, and those who commit evil in the name of Allah blaspheme the name of Allah. The terrorists are traitors to their own faith, trying, in effect, to hijack Islam itself. The enemy of America is not our many Muslim friends; it is not our many Arab friends. Our enemy is a radical network of terrorists, and every government that supports them.

Rather than highlight the differences between Christians and Muslims, let’s identify a key commonality instead; specifically, the belief by both that we have entered into an apocalyptic, end times. In the Christian tradition, the Book of Revelation describes a bloody, catastrophic conflict, culminating in the triumphant return of Christ, the Messiah, when peace and justice is restored.

In Muslim eschatology, the end times are foretold in the Hadith, a collection of teachings attributed to the Prophet Muhammed. The Hadith foretells the arrival of a fierce warrior, Muhammad al-Mahdi, (aka The Twelfth Imam, aka The Missing Imam) who vanquishes the wicked, and after a similarly bloody conflict, also brings peace and justice to the world. (The two main sects of Islam, Sunni and Shia, differ in their beliefs as to the origin and history of the Mahdi, but both recognize his indispensable, world transformative role.)

But here’s the kicker: Accompanying the Mahdi will be the Prophet Isa; aka the Prophet Jesus:

According to Islamic tradition, the Mahdi’s tenure will coincide with the Second Coming of Jesus Christ (Isa), who is to assist the Mahdi against the Masih ad-Dajjal(literally, the “false Messiah” or Antichrist).

So there you have it, a moment of harmonic convergence, if you will. Maybe the Mahdi and Isa should hold a joint press conference and tell this planet’s denizens to chill the hell out. (Hullo! Anybody up there?)

As The Urantia Book puts it:

You must first recognize man as your brother, and if you honestly desire to do by him as you would have him do by you, the commonplace dictates of justice, honesty, and fairness will guide you in the just and impartial settlement of every recurring problem of economic rewards and social justice.

What’s In A Name?

17 Nov 2010, Ar Raqqah, Syria --- Sheikh Ghazi Rashad Hrimis touches dried earth in the parched region of Raqqa province in eastern Syria, November 11, 2010. Lack of rain and mismanagement of the land and water resources have forced up to half of million people to flee the region in one of Syria's largest internal migrations since France and Britain carved the country out of the former Ottoman Empire in 1920. REUTERS/Khaled al-Hariri (SYRIA - Tags: AGRICULTURE ENVIRONMENT) --- Image by © KHALED AL-HARIRI/Reuters/Corbis
17 Nov 2010, Ar Raqqah, Syria — Sheikh Ghazi Rashad Hrimis touches dried earth in the parched region of Raqqa province in eastern Syria, November 11, 2010. Lack of rain and mismanagement of the land and water resources have forced up to half of million people to flee the region in one of Syria’s largest internal migrations since France and Britain carved the country out of the former Ottoman Empire in 1920.

What’s in a name? That which we call a turd by any other name would smell as rank.
William Shakespeare [with apologies thereto]

In the aftermath of the horrific terrorist attack on Paris last week, GOPer presidential candidates are wetting themselves over the opportunity to change their image as clueless opportunists to macho champions of national security. A pissing contest has developed among the majority over whom would be tougher on the terra’ists than the feckless, petulant, secret Muslim in the White House. The centerpiece  of this emerging strategy is to put tens of thousands of combat troops into the Syrian meat grinder. (Time for a reprise of  The Who’s Teenage Wasteland?) Thus far, Senators Rand Paul and Ted Cruz and celebrity entertainer Donald Trump have resisted putting “boots on the ground,” but don’t be surprised if they start walking that back as the campaign heats up.

Another refrain emanating from the right wing noise machine is to attack anyone that won’t accept their rhetorical construction, radical Islamists, to describe terrorists that use a distorted interpretation of the Muslim religion to justify their actions, and to recruit impressionable and disaffected youth. (For a counter-view, see Juan Cole’s Top Ten Ways Islamic Law Forbids Terrorism.)  That includes Senator Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton, and President Obama. Framing the conflict that currently exists between less than 0.01% of the world’s Muslims and the largely Christian world as a Clash of Civilizations is part of The New American Century promoted by some of the same neocons that are part of  Jeb Bush‘s foreign policy team— you know, war criminals— like neo-conman Paul Wolfowitz, who helped “liberate” Iraq by toppling Saddam Hussein, setting into motion the very chaos responsible for the crisis that now infects the entire Middle East. (ISIS is the direct descendant of al-Qaeda in Iraq, created in 2004 to fight the US invasion.)

Naturally, the current batch of GOPer presidential candidates are too dense to realize that they are playing directly into the hands of the ISIS/ISIL/Daesh propaganda noise machine. Its operators would love nothing more than to get the non-Muslim world to condemn, by association, one of the world’s great monotheistic religions.

In conjunction with 1) the well-nigh hopeless economic situation facing the vast majority of young Arab Muslims, impoverished by the massive concentration of wealth into the hands of a few autocratic oil sheiks and their families (the ultimate example of wealth inequality); and 2) the history of Western military intervention in the Middle East that included putting military bases in the holy land of Saudi Arabia (which gave birth to the original Al Qaeda), together they provide a terrorist recruitment bonanza.  As former top aide and speechwriter to President George W. Bush and Washington Post opinion writer Michael Gerson writes:

Rejecting a blanket condemnation of Islam is not a matter of political correctness. It is the requirement of an effective war against terrorism, which means an effective war against the terrorist kingdom in Syria and western Iraq.

Not to be outdone by their Congressional colleagues, currently some 28 Republican governors and one Democrat have stated that, despite President Obama’s pledge to accept ten thousand Syrian refugees, a paltry sum compared to the commitment of individual European countries (Turkey is already hosting two million), they’re going to pull a Lester Maddox and block the “golden door ” of immigration with a big fat pick ax handle.  At least thirteen governors,  12 Democrats and one Independent, have said they would accept the refugees. While the Refugee Act of 1980 prevents states from refusing admittance, that won’t stop the Republican governors from posturing the hell out of the issue. Look for them to dump the mechanics of changing the law on Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell. Since 9/11/2001, none of the 784,000 refugees admitted into the country, some 35-40% of which are children, have ever been arrested on terrorism charges. Thus far, the federal government’s vetting procedures have worked just fine, thank you. (EDIT: By another accounting of approximately 785,000 refugees, a dozen have either been arrested or removed; none were from Syria.)

Furthermore, Wingers are attacking Bernie for saying Climate Change is the USA’s number one national security issue, despite reports from the national security community affirming same. (See also On the Record: Climate Change as a National Security Risk According to U.S. Administration Officials.) Instead of acknowledging that these reports even exist, Wingers resort to outrage and personal attacks, accusing Sanders of being weak on defense.

Most wars are the product of resource scarcity. In the case of Syria, a devastating drought forced rural farmers to abandon their farms and migrate to the big cities to feed their families. This created social pressures that resulted in a number of peaceful demonstrations that asked for greater governmental support. These pleas for humanitarian assistance were met with extreme violence from the government of Basshar Al-Sadad, and rapidly devolved into a catastrophic civil war. Initially, Sadad sent in his goon squads to suppress the protesters. When that didn’t work, he upped the ante. Among other war crimes, he denied food and medicine to desperate civilian enclaves, and dropped barrel bombs on them from helicopters, some of which are believed to have contained chlorine gas, according to the Syrian American Medical Society.

Funny how one thing leads to another. The same mindset that denies anthropogenic climate change as a factor leading to regional wars, denies that US the Exceptional is no longer capable of being the world’s policeman. They’d rather pursue their own ideological crusade. Some day maybe they’ll reach the same level of  insight that the great philosopher Pogo reached when he observed: “We have met the enemy, and he is us.”

If Jeb Bush and Ted Cruz had their way, they’d amend Emma Lazarus‘s poem affixed to the Statue of Liberty as follows:

“Give me your tired, your poor,  (so long as they’re Christian)
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free (except the chlorine gassed, who might be terrorists in disguise),
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. (maybe not Anders “I’m 100% Christian” Breivik, though)
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me: (Muslims need not apply, despite what the Constitution says about religious tests)
I lift my lamp beside the golden door.” (Sorry, out of order)

 

JEB! vs. MAR!

Empty wheelchair on cliff edge, desert

Has anyone seen Poppy Bush since this week’s GOP debate and Jeb!’s campaign firings?

A paralegal for a Huston attorney reports that during a visit to the Harris County courthouse Thursday, she noticed a file lying on the counter, tagged with the name of George H.W. Bush. The paralegal, who wishes to remain anonymous, admitted she was consumed with curiosity and opened the folder. Inside was a codicil to the will of Bush the Elder. In a nutshell, the amendment stipulated that the part of his estate, previously assigned to his second son John Ellis Bush (aka JEB!), would be immediately transferred to one Marco Antonio Rubio. (aka MAR!): Jeb! vs Mar! begins!

A spokesman for Bush the Elder refused to comment. But a reporter assigned to the Rubio campaign was able to corner him in the not-so-secret passageways that run under the Capitol Building, trying to duck yet another Senate vote.

“Senator Rubio! There are numerous reports in the press that major donors to the Bush campaign are leaving him in droves and are flocking to your campaign. This apparently includes his own family,”she exclaimed, dramatically thrusting a copy of 41’s codicil into his face. “Surely you’ve seen this by now. Care to comment?”

Rubio, pulling a large yellow sponge from his coat pocket and pressing it feverishly to his forehead, managed to compose himself. After sucking down large gulps of Fiji Water supplied to him by an attentive aide, he replied:

“You know, it’s a hard day’s night when your former mentor turns on you like Master Jeb! turned on me after Wednesday night’s debate. But I understand that as the GOP’s former front runner and heir apparent to the Bush family political dynasty, he is freaking out. Nonetheless, I feel hurt. It would be like Mr. Miyagi suddenly turning on Daniel San and hitting him over the head with a saki bottle.”

At which point two of his larger aides grabbed him under his dampened armpits and escorted him out of the hallway. Ewe.

Saki to me.

Republicans In Search Of A More Perfect ClusterPhuque

Uncle Ben's Brain

Uncle Ben Carson’s Rice For Brains brand of rhetoric was on display at the third Republican Debate in Boulder, Colorado; yawwwwn.

BOULDER, COLORADO (OOPS) — Retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson got a few synapses more attention in the third Republican Debate, after polls in Iowa show him atop what passes for the GOP field of candidates.  But nobody really noticed, because they were watching the World Series.

Carson’s somnolent, rice for brains debate style has proven surprisingly attractive to some:  tea partiers, religious conservatives, low information voters;  soap opera devotees, yak riders, and non-sentient lumps of organic material.  But it’s going to take more than a torpid gentlemanly stupor to keep Carson at the top of the heap, which still includes bitchy Ohio Gov. John Kasich, Kiss my fat ass New Jersey Governor Chris Christie,  God loves me more former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, Filibuster lite Kentucky Sen. RAND Paul,  Why so serious Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, Texas thingamajig Ted Cruz, holy frejoles JEB!®, ex-CEO lady Carly Fiorina, and world class flatulent narcissist Donald J. Trump.

When the candidates were initially asked to describe any “weaknesses” they might have, Carson admitted that he could not see himself as president–until, that is,”Hundreds of thousands of people” told him he should be president.  I’m right there with you, Ben;  I can’t see you there either.  And while that may be an honest answer from uncle Ben, just where are those “hundreds of thousands” of people he’s talking about?

If you bothered to watch the debate,  you probably came away hating the media and the government more than you already did, are wondering why President Obama doesn’t support police officers, and why the fancy brains in Government can’t address more than one issue at a time, Like fantasy football betting and climate change. But if you are a Republican you already knew that government is to blame for everything under the sun. And choke, surprise, that’s why all ten of these shit sticks want to run it— cuzz we need a more perfect clusterphuque.

Kansas City won.

 

 

 

 

NEVER COMES THE DAY


The Moody Blues live in Paris in 1970; “Never Comes The Day.”

That’s right, forty-five years ago… and if you heard this song back then and you still remember it, you are probably ancient.
The vocals and flute are live. The rest is backing track which is why you will sometimes hear a double flute.

Oh Yeah? Hug This.

Christie-HUGSSometimes I just want someone to hug me and say, “Things are going to be okay.
Here’s a coffee.  And five million dollars.”

 

SURVEY SAYS:  “A really good hug!”

The nurturing touch of a hug builds trust equity and a sense of safety.  This helps with open and honest communication, and the flow of federal tax dollars to your personal treasury.

Hugs can instantly boost oxytocin levels.  Which heal feelings of loneliness, isolation, anger, excessive weight gain, and threats of indictment from bridge traffic jams.

Holding a hug for a socially unacceptable length of time may lift one’s serotonin levels, elevate mood, start tongues wagging, and create photo opportunities out the ying-yang.

Hugs strengthen the immune system. The gentle pressure on the sternum and the emotional charge this creates activates the solar savings chakra, stimulates the payus gland, which can regulate and balance the body’s flow of white blood cells as well as super pac cash.

Hugging elevates self-esteem, right up to, and including, crippling narcissism.  From the time we’re born, the family’s touch— depending on how forceful it might be— shows us that we’re loved and “special.”  The cuddling and cudgelling we received from Mom and Dad while growing up become imbedded at a cellular level, usually in fat cells, and hugs remind us it’s too late to do anything about it.

Hugging relaxes muscles by releasing tension and taking away pain by increasing circulation of dark money into the soft underbelly tissues.

Hugs can balance out the nervous system and your checkbook.  The galvanic skin response of someone receiving a check and giving a hug shows a change in skin conductance, and your bottom line.  The effect in moisture, electricity, and cash on the skin and in your wallet suggests a more balanced state in the nervous fiscal system — parasitism.

The energy/cash exchange between the people hugging is an investment in the relationship.  It encourages empathy and entitlement.  And, it’s sin-ergistic— which means if one of you goes down, you can bet the other one will too.

So.  Hugs.  They’re what’s for breakfast, lunch, and dinner in pay-off politics, and obviously— the weapon to reach for when things get really ugly on the world stage.