Archive for the ‘Fundamentalism’ Category

Post-mortem of a speech to Congress…

Tuesday, March 7th, 2017

In some dilating time machine or Mr. Trump’s parallel universe, ages have passed since he gave that speech to Congress. In real life, it was only a week ago—can you believe it? Everything he said is meaningless now, so dissecting that rambling rhetoric of a delusional man is anti-climactic. But let’s do it anyway because the president left the Twitter-sphere long enough to sound presidential and hide his narcissistic psychosis.

It’s curious that the media, after the president declared them to be the “enemy of the American people,” fell all over themselves to state that his “state of the union” (read: state of Trump’s parellel universe, that one that circulates among the dark energy and matter of his mind) set a new tone. Il Duce was even called presidential because he sounded presidential. But not for me—he’s not my president! He never will be my president, and isn’t the president of a majority of the American people.

What I heard was empty rhetoric reminiscent of Goebbels’s 1930’s propaganda in Germany—in other words, fascistic spin and appeal to populism playing on the fears of good Americans. His handlers, Bannon, Conway, and Miller, who take turns at the puppet strings—yes, he’s a marionette, even stringing himself along—carefully planned this atrocious display. If it was some crazy attempt to reach across the aisle, Dems won’t buy the snake oil from this charlatan, and didn’t—the thumbs-down from the Dem women in white were refreshing and evidence for their general mood—Trump the misogynist is women’s rights worst enemy. Narcissus the Wonderful shows no concern about women’s issues—we know he sees them only as objects—and on abortion, he’s as much a right-wing bigot as they come.

Let’s consider a few points. On trade, Trump might have sounded a wee bit like Sanders. There’s a huuuuge difference, though. Both men were born in Brooklyn, but the two are light years apart—Trump might actually live in one of those other multiverses where his marionette strings are tangled with those of general string theory. In particular, where Bernie was an earnest and honest champion for the working class, Il Duce doesn’t really give a rat’s ass about their plight—it’s all just show. He follows the time-tested fascist strategy of pretending to do so, of course—that’s how Franco, Hitler, and Mussolini came to power in the 1930s! U.S. workers should be wary about buying anything from this snake-oil salesman. Pay attention to his false promises at your own risk!

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Apocalypse redux…

Thursday, March 2nd, 2017

Redux = brought back, revived. We’re talking about the apocalypse again. Apocalypse is the event. While a dystopian society can cause it or be its aftermath, post-apocalyptic is reserved for the aftermath. There is a resurgence in these themes now. Everyone knows the reason: what’s happening in the U.S. right now as well as across the world has frightening parallels with 1930’s Germany, Italy, and Spain as well as with the darkest days of the Cold War. There’s nothing religious about this apocalypse.

Most dystopian, apocalyptic, and post-apocalyptic tales in the past were associated with the two world wars or the Communist threat. Brave New World was dystopian; Ape and Essence was post-apocalyptic. Even The Time Machine was post-apocalyptic. 1984 and Animal Farm were dystopian. Later sci-fi novels like Not This August were post-apocalyptic. Many classics can be found in these subgenres. Many soon-to-be classics like Wool are too. They all are warnings about what could happen. It’s common that interest in books and movies in these subgenres reflect troubled times in the world.

The bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki changed the world. As that hand on the Doomsday Clock inches toward midnight, these sci-fi subgenres become more popular. Some readers ignore them, burying their heads in the sand by reading schmaltzy romances and fluffy adventures that avoid most serious themes of any type. Which group is right? Beats me. I just tell stories. If one of them comes out apocalyptic or post-apocalyptic, so be it. Almost all my stories have serious themes, though, but not all of them are in the aforementioned subgenres.

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Irish Stew #59…

Monday, January 9th, 2017

International

Classic Putin? His refusal to expel U.S. diplomats in response to Obama’s retaliation for Russian hacking and inviting the diplomats’ kids to a Christmas party made me wonder if a bare-chested Putin would ride in to the party on a reindeer sporting the rest of Santa’s costume. Even without the latter, Putin’s response makes Putin look like a PR genius (can I hire his PR people for my books?) and Obama look like a chump. McCain rightly states that Putin is a murdering thug, though, and certainly not on Santa’s “nice list,” so maybe Trump’s chump for SecState won’t be approved by the Senate. Trump is swimming in dangerous waters! No one likes Putin except Trump and the narcissistic despot himself.

I’ve been very careful to separate the sleazy practices at the DNC exposed by the Russian hackers from the criminal actions of the hackers and the man who commands them, Vladimir Putin. Obama is right to say that we should be on the same page about Putin’s nefarious attempts to undermine the American election, now established by U.S. intelligence leaders—Putin is the enemy here. But I’m not alone in wondering if Obama and other Dems would give a rat’s ass about this if it had been the RNC that was hacked, or if HRC had won. Those who would say HRC lost because of the hack in spite of the findings from the intelligence community, and the continue to blame the FBI director, should just move on. Trump won, figure out why, and never let it happen again. Moreover, let’s work our butts off to keep this psycho Il Duce from destroying the world!

The art of the deal? To many one-percenters, war is a business. Either Trump wants to pander to these ghouls, or he wants a piece of the action. The U.S. sells more arms to the rest of the world than any other country and, of course, the Pentagon still wants their new and improved toys too. People get rich off war. Il Duce Trump, not content with the endowment Nature gave him, wants to extend it by forging new swords to brandish internationally. “Let’s have another arms race,” he says, “because we’ll have bigger and better bombs.” (OK, I couldn’t find the direct quote, but that’s the idea!). We have a recipe for disaster on an international scale. At the very least, I can see international conflagrations occurring as more bodies, Americans and others, are poured into the maws of Mars. Insane!

National

What’s with deifying Elizabeth Warren? This faux-progressive is becoming Mother Teresa and Joan of Arc for all HRC’s liberal faux-progressives licking their wounds after the presidential election. I can imagine “liberal Catholics” (now there’s an oxymoron!) proposing her for sainthood. Just remember, ye true progressives across the land, she campaigned for HRC in Massachusetts and elsewhere in the primaries instead of Bernie Sanders. Remember that guy, the one who could have beaten Il Duce Trump? Warren and the rest of HRC’s sleaze-team got what they deserved. And Warren is part of that crowd! She just announced she will run in 2018. I’m hoping there’s a true Massachusetts progressive candidate who will run against this faux-progressive in the primary.

Healthcare. Mitch McConnell says the first item on the agenda for the new Congress is to end the Affordable Care Act AKA Obamacare. McConnell, Ryan, and others in the GOP are already talking about slashing Medicare and Social Security, and Medicaid is on the way out. Do the American people really want to turn back the clock to when health insurance meant insurance that you would die young? When insurance companies dropped you as soon as you contracted something serious? When millions of people’s insurance reduced to emergency visits to ERs?

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Irish Stew #58…

Monday, January 2nd, 2017

[Double billing today…don’t get used to it, but 2017 is starting out with a lot of news to comment on. Don’t be shy. Your comments are always welcome, even rants. Just keep them clean!]

International

Russia and Syria declare ceasefire. How nice of them! Who’s speaking for the rebels? We have an international refugee crisis in the area; Aleppo, Palmyra, and other cities are completely destroyed and their populations dead; and Assad and Putin are patting each other on the back and chortling about how many rebels they’ve killed. Maybe ISIS will regroup and refocus and go after Assad—he deserves it!

Team Assad/Putin are closing in on Stalin’s record for murders, and Papa Joe had a lot more years under his belt. If there’s a Devil, he has some good assistants who work despotic hand in skeletal hand with the Grim Reaper. So little time…so many people to kill!

Say goodbye to the two-state solution. Netanyahu doesn’t want it, Trump doesn’t want it, and the Arabs don’t want it because it works against their campaign to destroy Israel. The main problem in the Middle East? Everyone wants a scapegoat. Secondary problem? Saudi Arabia! Even with low oil prices, the Saudi royalty are still living the rich life. When their people reach the level of the long-suffering Palestinians, maybe something will change. By then Netanyahu might be begging for his life!

National

Media and public senility. Loss of short term memory, they say, is one indication of senility. Whether senility or just plain stupidity, the American media and public have become so focused on the Russian hackers that the big issue has been forgotten. Did Russian hackers help Donald Trump or hurt HRC? There’s a difference, folks, and not recognizing it is part of that senility or stupidity too!

Not to minimize cyberwarfare crimes perpetrated by pimp Putin’s hacker-whores, let’s deal with reality: there were sleazy crimes committed by HRC and her followers once Mr. Sanders entered the primaries, and they continued all the way through them, the convention, and the 2016 election. Here’s a Bishop Berkeley-like question: if illegalities are committed by a candidate, campaign, and political party, does it matter who exposed them?

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Abdullah bin al-Hussein…

Tuesday, October 4th, 2016

He’s King of Jordan and not a terrorist.  (I almost chose that name for a terrorist in one of my books.  What a mistake that would have been!)  I’m not into monarchs and dynasties, not even political ones, but he and his country represent the one shining star of sanity in a very troubled region.  Sixty Minutes, that venerable CBS news program, started its new season with him, and justifiably so.  In the interview he spoke candidly.  I came to admire this man whom I now consider a hero for not only his country but all the sane Muslims of the world (they’re in the majority) who want nothing to do with the torturers and murderers who call themselves jihadists.  It’s a wonder he’s still alive.  The region has a bad rep for killing anyone who speaks out sanely against terrorism and those who practice it.

I feel he’s a brother who understands the same things I do about how the West’s counterterrorism policies are ill-conceived at best and downright stupid most of the time—we’re riding a train into a dark tunnel with destruction waiting at the other end.  Radical Islam is NOT a geopolitical problem involving a few countries here and there.  We can’t chip at it here and there and hope to ever win.  As an example, the King pointed out that ISIS was (and is) losing ground in Syria and Iraq, so they moved into Libya and began exporting terrorists to Europe.  Everywhere a local economy in the Muslim world is failing (including Jordan’s because it’s receiving and/or taking care of thousands of refugees while besieged on all sides), angry, desperate young men take up arms against their scapegoat, the West, stirred up by psychotic leaders who don’t give a rat’s ass about those young men’s lives or anyone else’s.  ISIS and al Qaeda know these men are open to indoctrination and training and go about doing it.  At the same time, they do their best to create the economic conditions where hatred and intolerance can flourish.

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International headlines…

Thursday, September 29th, 2016

[When I can’t wait to comment…]

Empty threats from the Saudis. Obama and the Saudis aren’t happy with the congressional override of the President’s veto.  The U.S. Congress did their job for once; Obama put another nail in the coffin of his legacy.  And, of course, the duplicitous Saudis are making threats.  Let’s do a search-and-destroy mission of two major ones:

(1) The Saudis threaten to sell off all their U.S. holdings.  Ho-hum.  It doesn’t take a Nobel Prize winner in economics to understand that such an action would hurt them more than us.  First, in the short term, let’s be generous and say they get 70 cents on the dollar.  That’s still a huge loss!  Second, in the long term, why do they have these assets?  They’re hedging a downturn in the oil market!  That’s already occurring.  The U.S. doesn’t need Saudi oil.  We’re even exporting to Venezuela!  The Saudis’s U.S. investments and elsewhere represent a life insurance policy for their 6th century kingdom.

(2) The Saudis threaten to taper off on their counterterrorism efforts.  Huh?  That’s laughable.  The duplicitous Saudis foment terrorism and spawn terrorists.  Their religious schools, where they teach the murderous form of Sunni Islam known as Wahhabism, are the prime tool for their pro-terrorism efforts.  15 of the 19 9/11 terrorists, and my interpretation of Saudi royals fleeing the U.S. after 9/11, and the many hints in those infamous 28 pages Obama tried to keep out of the news, are enough to tell me the kingdom is guilty of aiding and abetting the murder of almost 3000 people.  The Saudis could contribute to the world’s counterterrorism efforts by getting rid of these schools, for a start.  And we have no business beefing up their military so they can kill Yemenis and whoever else they consider threats to Wahhabism.  We’d be more effective beefing up Jordan because King Abdullah actually is carrying the fight to ISIS while the Saudi royals sit on their fat you-know-whats.  I wouldn’t be surprised if the Saudis were supporting them.  But maybe not—they already have their 6th century caliphate!

And what about Obama’s claim that Americans will suffer around the world. (1) Maybe they should, if they create mischief, mayhem, and murder. (Read Stephen Kinzer’s 2007 book Overthrow for background.) (2) The 9/11 is very specific.  No reasonable person can deny that.  The unreasonable ones, here or around the world, can go to hell!  Will they sue us when a Predator does the job the Saudis should be doing and takes out a known tourist.  Let them try!

Putin the Terrible. Tsar Ivan’s going to lose his nickname before long.  Tsar Putin is far more terrible, because he has a mighty police state and military machine behind him.  The SVR kills his regime’s enemies with impunity (watch for those umbrellas, folks!), the FSB makes the KGB and Stasi look like amateurs, and the Russia’s military-industrial complex feeds off unrest narcissist Voldya creates in the rest of the world.  Were you surprised when the Danes announced on Wednesday that Putin was responsible for the murder of 298 innocent souls on that Malaysian plane that dared to fly over Ukraine?  The case is iron-clad: the Russian-sponsored separatists asked for and got the deadly SA-11 antiaircraft system.  It was ferried in overnight and left the next day, and ever since Putin and Russia Inc. have been denying their complicity.  This, folks, is Putin the Terrible’s Lockerbie, and we can only hope that his fate will be the same as Qaddafi’s.

And so it goes…

Obama has a few days left to pass test #1…

Tuesday, September 20th, 2016

Obama will add a new nail in the coffin of his legacy if he fails the following test: He only has to wait until September 23 to pass up vetoing the bill that would allow 9/11 families to sue Saudi Arabia. For once, Congress threw partisan bickering aside and passed this bill in the Senate and the House by a margin wide enough to override his veto…if they stick by their guns. Of course, it might just be a ploy by GOP members to make Obama look bad, so Congress will have their own test to pass if Obama keeps his promise to veto the bill—Congress should override in that case.

Obama’s legacy isn’t something candidate Clinton wants to hitch her wagon to by any means. His efforts to give affordable healthcare to more Americans were doomed from day one due to his Faustian bargain with the insurance companies and Big Pharma. Obamacare’s woes continues as a consequence (hence the Bernie Sanders quote in yesterday’s “Words of Wisdom”). I’d always argued for a single-payer system (not even Medicare is single-payer, by the way, despite Sanders’s pushing it for everyone), so all I can say is, “I told you so!” On the international front, his push for TPP is a slap in the face at all American workers. And he was in charge of cleaning up Bush’s mess in Iraq and blew it, not Clinton, because he left a vacuum there for ISIS to fill.  So, maybe his legacy is intact after all, one similar to Pete Rose’s—no Hall of Fame for Obama either: Lâche, infame, je te blame!

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Deserving damnation…

Tuesday, August 30th, 2016

The use of children as suicide bombers is on the rise. Children are sold by human traffickers, or even their parents, to satisfy the appetites of sexual predators and porn movie makers. Girls are blown to kingdom come because they dare to go to school. They are also murdered because their parents want only sons. The persons who perform these and other atrocities against children deserve to be damned by society and every religion on the planet worth its salt. Most of all, governments should not condone these practices; they should lock away such people for a long, long time. Or, practice some good Old Testament-style revenge!

Many prehistoric tribes and cultures sacrificed children to their gods. We tend to excuse that hideous practice as ignorance, but today the atrocities enumerated aren’t ignorance—they’re unconscionable and monstrous perversions. Is an ISIS father who sends his two sons off to be suicide bombers simply ignorant? This happened recently. No, that father is evil incarnate. Whether you’re religious or not, that’s what it is, and that father deserves to be damned for eternity. There should be some street justice applied too.

Human trafficking for the exploitation of innocent children is a theme in The Collector. The reality, of course, is much worse than what’s depicted in my novel. Again, the traffickers, their clients, and their buyers in turn who sexually abuse these kids deserve damnation, no question about it. Greed has many ugly faces, but this is one of the ugliest.

For some strange reason, even conservative Muslims who aren’t terrorists think girls should not be in school. I say strange because cultures who practice this discrimination are doomed—they can never compete with the West if their women aren’t allowed to contribute. These same cultures treat women as property, of course, so they have no rights. The ones that kill female children because they only want male offspring are even more stupid—the limiting case of that suicidal nonsense is a culture without children, a dying culture.

The exploitation, torturing, maiming, and murder of children must stop. Those who practice it must pay, the ultimate price if necessary, because it is a disease that must be eradicated. Such people don’t deserve to be called human, and they deserve eternal damnation if we can believe that Satan even wants them. They are really lower than pond scum, so the world should have no regrets about sending them across Styx.

We cannot know whether an afterlife exists or not, of course, no matter what our religions say. We only have evidence for manmade heavens and hells here on Earth, not in the afterlife. All we can do in  this mortal existence is prosecute these people. And, by prosecute, I mean by any means possible, without remorse or compassion. Innocent children cannot protect themselves from these monsters, only we can.

But I’m frustrated. I don’t know what to do. I see this going on and curse the people who do it. I can rant about these practices here, but that doesn’t bring them to justice. That latter is an indictment of how ineffective and uncaring our institutions have become. I’m pointing the finger. The cries of suffering and dying children are their judges and juries. Maybe the people in those same institutions deserve damnation too. ‘Nough said.

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And so it goes…

 

Reasonable people thinking unreasonably…

Thursday, July 28th, 2016

If you think the world is going mad, it is. That’s another way of saying people are crazy. The recent Pokemon Go craze is just the tip of the iceberg. Like that minions game on the iPhone, I thought Pokemon Go was harmless until people started walking in front of trucks, getting robbed by thieves or molested by perverts, and in general looking like actors auditioning for The Walking Dead. Not so harmless are some of the other things occurring as reasonable people think unreasonably or believe things not based on fact.

Nancy Reagan believed in astrology; many people do. They believe the zodiac signs determine their personal fates; Nancy Reagan used them to advise Ronnie about global affairs! People hold similar beliefs about Tarot cards, séances, and palm readings. Some people would never own a black cat or walk under a ladder. All these superstitious beliefs have zero science behind them. It is amazing that our science and technology have come this far with all these nuts around. Even so-called scientists can believe really stupid things. It’s embarrassing. Despite the pics from ISS and imaging satellites, there are still people who think that the Earth is flat and the center of the Universe. And I’m talking about otherwise sensible people, not primitive tribe members in Africa, Australia, or South America.

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Irish Stew #55…

Tuesday, July 19th, 2016

International

Saudi duplicity. The Kingdom has an agenda. They try to pretend they’re friends, but they push a 6th century version of Islam just as much as ISIS. Most of the al Qaeda murderers who plotted 9/11 were Saudi, and the Saudi government helped them, not to mention the training in the Saudi’s religious schools that teaches young men to hate the West. They are also trying to radicalize Muslims in Bosnia and Kosovo and those in the old Islamic USSR countries. Their agenda is clear: time travel back to that 6th century caliphate. And you thought ISIS was the problem?

This last weekend, the government finally released the full 28 pages of the 9/11 report originally deemed TOP SECRET because they embarrassed our “Saudi friends” (with friends like that, who needs enemies?). I downloaded a copy and will peruse it in detail. At first glance, it seems nebulous and full of doublespeak, par for the course when it comes to national security. Here’s a quote from the Times article describing it: “Subsequent investigations…pursued the leads described…and found that many had no basis in fact.” Pox on the Times for bad reporting. What investigations? Do we have access? Many, but some did. Which ones? Really bad reporting. And people wonder why we have conspiracy theories! It’s only paranoia if it’s…you finish the phrase.

BREXIT and the new PM. Looks like the Brits have to live with their choices. I found it amusing the story about a town that had voted Labour for many decades voting to leave the EU in spite of that party’s pleas. Both Sanders and Trump here in the U.S. tapped into similar sentiments, but Hillary is still supporting TPP because Wall Street does.

I don’t expect the new PM to last long, although both Labour and Conservative parties should be walking the halls of Parliament like Lady Macbeth—they have blood on their hands, but Macbeth has already died. “Double, double, toil and trouble, pot boil and cauldron bubble….” British politics is more like a pressure cooker now.

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