Thursday, January 22, 2015

A Meanie Rant: 3 Birds with One Stone

It's been a while since I've done some serious ranting, so I'll try to briefly knock off three birds with one stone. First, the Obama Administration and the Middle East on fire.

1. The word came down today that President Obama will snub Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu when the latter visits Congress at the invitation of House Speaker John Boehner. Ostensibly it's because of the nearness of Israeli elections and not wanting to seem like the Admin is supporting a candidate, but the truth is more likely that the president has his undies in a bunch because Boehner "violated protocol" and didn't include the White House in the loop when the invitation was given. Oh, brother.

Let's be clear. Obama has done nothing but jab his fingers in the eyes of Congress (especially Republicans) for the past five years. He's paid lip service to bi-partisan cooperation, but in reality it's his way or the highway. The alleged former Constitutional Law professor might remember Congress is a separate and equal (if not superior) branch of government. Boehner did not need Obama's blessing to invite Netanyahu. And with Obama's constant chest-thumping over how he will bypass Congress and do things on his own if Congress won't let baby have his way, I think Boehner owed Obama a little kick in the pants to remind him that two can play that game, and that there are other branches of government with a voice and power.

2. The Middle East is on fire. We just had—with the death of Saudi King Abdullah—the loss of a key American ally. Yemen's pro-American government has just been overthrown, and one by one, Iran is behind the scenes slowly becoming the dominant power in the Middle East with their proxies in Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Lebanon, and other roiling regions. Obama's sole responses (when he's not vacationing and golfing) are to fixate on closing Gitmo, send over a few drones now and then, and to freeze out Israel—our only real ally IN the Middle East. Each action of Obama's motley crew is almost preternaturally designed to cause as much havoc as possible.

With Abdullah's death, I am hopeful that Obama will at least do the stately, dignified thing and attend Abdullah's funeral. He might send Arlo Guthrie instead given what happened in France. We do not need to insult the Saudis right now.

3. Finally, I'm a bit annoyed at Congress. They could have instituted the best piece of pro-life legislation that would have banned late-term abortions, and with bi-partisan majorities. Instead a monkey wrench got thrown in when someone insisted on putting in reporting requirements, and leadership pulled the bill. Infuriating. That did not have to be in the bill. But because some insist on getting a whole loaf all at once, they're willing to allow such abortions to continue because things aren't "pure" enough. Charles Krauthammer made a cogent point when he said they could have used this to make huge strides toward a culture of life, and then work on the reporting issue later. But now it has been indefinitely delayed. If I had my guess, the liberal to moderate wing of the GOP was just as happy to see this die, despite polls showing the overwhelming majority of Americans want the barbaric practice of late term abortion banned.

And this once again proves my point. Ronald Reagan used to say "you shall not speak ill of another Republican." But when you have Republicans who desert the party and vote with the left when it counts, please tell me how that does the party and turning the country around any good? It doesn't.

In the past, I have voted for moderates although my heart and soul are conservative. I am reconsidering that because of remembering how the dialectic works. Three steps forward, two steps back. Three steps forward, two steps back. It only appears the left is retreating, but in reality they are slowly advancing. And the GOP leadership is helping them advance. That's why I am increasingly inclined not to support so-called "moderate" candidates. They have no intention whatsoever of having a really conservative government. They want bigger government just as badly as the Democrats, but they believe in going for it more slowly over time.

If I'm wrong on this, please show me. But I don't think I am. Right at the moment, I am fairly bleak on the country's future. Too many want to sell the American birthright for a pot of porridge. Bad porridge at that.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Dangerous Wannabes

Quite the mugshot, isn't it? This guy's name is Christopher Cornell, or as he prefers, "Raheel Mahrus Ubaydah." Nabbed by the authorities for allegedly planning a jihadist terror attack at the U.S. Capitol.

I look at him, and I don't know whether to be infuriated, amused, or pitying. It certainly is NOT amusing because this sad piece of humanity could well have killed large numbers of innocent people. The severe justice/law and order side of me has ideas on how to deal with him, but I cannot let that side of me run rampant. Of course, he didn't succeed in the attempt, so unless the law changes he would only be eligible for a stretch in the jug (prison for those who don't watch film noir).

The dominant side of me—Lord willing— of course stems from Christian theology—the hope that I would see this young man delivered out of his heart of hate and rage, and born again to new life, peace, and forgiveness through faith in Christ. That is certainly possible. But with this important proviso— that very real hope does NOT blind me to the fact that authorities are duty-bound per Romans 13 to bear the sword and restrain those who would commit evil in our midst. Gentle reasoning seldom works with demonic, ideological fanatics intent on commiting mass murder.

What the mugshot of Cornell demonstrates is that we have to broaden our mental image of the Islamic radical jihadist terrorist. Jihadists in this day and age come in all sizes, shapes, colors, and nationalities. It's the false religion and ideology, not racial or ethnic makeup. And these folks are in our midst. How many God only knows.

Strategic Forecasting (Stratfor Intelligence) published an article on the dilemma faced by U.S. authorities. They summed things up like this:

While the threat posed by grassroots jihadism exists in both the United States and Europe, the way it presents itself is different because of differences in the Muslim communities. Muslims in the United States tend to be more integrated into mainstream society than those in Europe. Some of Europe's large, insulated Muslim communities are somewhat akin to the inner city neighborhoods of some U.S. cities. These areas tend to see higher crime rates, and their residents tend to be marginalized and un- or underemployed. Such places are not only breeding grounds for crime, but they also provide a good environment for jihadist recruiters to operate in, as do the prisons where criminals from such areas frequently end up. European jihadists often network with trusted community members they have known for years, and law enforcement struggles to infiltrate such communities and networks.

The article goes on to say that U.S. jihadists are much more likely to be the lone wolf type because of certain dynamics. No matter what type they are—part of a network or lone wolves—it's still deeply troubling. And the problem will not go away any time soon.

America's Founding Fathers never saw this kind of thing coming. When they wrote our Supreme Law—the Constitution—with its Bill of Rights including freedom of religion, they never imagined that people would take advantage of "freedom of religion" to murder people for the cause of advancing their particular warped "theology." (As an aside, I think it has less to do with their "religion" and more to do with the mere base human lust for power, conquest and domination)

Interestingly, the great British leader Winston Churchill recognized the dangers of the Islamic radical 100 years ago. We simply didn't see it coming here. We took the Statue of Liberty poem to heart . . . "Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free." And we let people come here en masse, not realizing that more than a few would come here for the sole purpose of upending our way of life. We also didn't fathom the notion that disaffected young losers here would buy into the warped, twisted ideology and join up with our nation's enemies. Also, prior to 1914, immigration was based on those looking for work and a better life. Today, thanks to Barack Obama and the like-minded, they come here for welfare benefits first, and then who knows what their ultimate desire is?

What's the answer? A gut reaction would be to amend the Constitution, ban radical Islam, and begin mass deportations. But we know that's not really a workable solution. It's going to be a long process, but we have to fight this both on ideological and theological grounds, along with a vigorous enforcement mechanism to make the cost of perpetrating such acts unbearably high. If we have the political will to do it.

This political will is going to be hard to gin up in the face of an unrelenting far left media drumbeat that always seems to want to give aid and comfort to America's enemies while pouring mockery and a healthy guilt trip on anyone who dares to demand concrete action. "You have to empathize and understand where they're coming from, and their legitimate grievances etc." ! I almost got nauseated typing out that line, which I've heard in many different ways through the years from leftist politicians and academics. Jimmy Carter often parroted that thinking.

Absolutely not. There is NO excuse for terrorism and mass murder. Ever. I'm not interested in sympathizing with them or understanding them, or giving a flip about their endless list of grievances. There's a right way and a wrong way to deal with problems, injustices, and grievances, and terrorism isn't it. Of course, the ones out there beheading people and blathering their spew on the Internet don't think what they're doing is terrorism at all. They think they're being reasonable and just. Is right and wrong dependent on one's own interpretation of it?

Sounds like a wonderful subject for a college or high school-level situational ethics class, doesn't it? And with that rather provocative question, I hit at perhaps that very thing just MIGHT lie at the root of why so many in our society can no longer call evil by its right name. This inability has only gotten worse over time, and has been very much by design among the academic far left. "There is no absolute truth. Truth is whatever you want it to be, or however your particular culture defines it. No one has the right to judge. Our culture is not superior to any other." Balderdash. Pure, unadulterated balderdash. But it's balderdash that many have swallowed by the gallon. I really pity the young children in school. This thinking is being poured into their brains and the little sponges are soaking it up unless their parents are keeping an eagle eye out.

Really, this might even be a bigger battle than the one we're facing against the jihadists. Until the country can find a way to dismiss far-left guilt trips, endless navel-gazing, and rationalizing, you're not going to make any headway at all in the battle against terrorists. In the eyes of many on the far-left, traditional values and biblical Christianity are far worse crimes. I'm making a generalization, but it's certainly not a hasty one.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Two Perspectives on America's Health Debacle

If you weren't enraged enough over Obamacare (and actually, we should have been enraged long before it), I want you to read two interesting perspectives.

First, we have this from U.S. News. It speaks to Americans furious that the government is meddling in their health care. I kind of side with them.
Next, we have this opposite perspective from the London Guardian. The Guardian leans left politically. But the two opposite perspectives are very, very illustrative.

While I said that I sided with those in the U.S. news article protesting Obamacare, there is one proviso. It's becoming more and more clear as time goes on (to me anyway) that the place needing reform and reining in the most is the insurance industry. They've made billions on health care through the years, along with a legal industry that makes enormous money through lawsuits of doctors, pharmaceutical companies, etc. We all know how Obamacare was sold to the public, and it seems like insurance companies stood the most to gain. Many political pundits saw Obamacare as the first step to totally socialized medicine, and it may well be. But for now, the insurance companies can really clean up.

It never used to be this complicated, or this expensive. Going to the doctor and getting a prescription (or treatment) was a fairly simple procedure (pun intended). The bill certainly had to get paid, but the bills were no where near as high. And there's a reason they're so high now. A lot of people are in cahoots to milk as much money as they can out of whatever system that exists, governmental or private. And we the people are caught in the sights. Your healthcare is paramount, and when your life depends on it, what will you do? They have you over a barrel and they know it.

What it will take to solve it in this fallen world is beyond me. I just wish they'd leave me and my doctor alone.

Monday, January 12, 2015

The Ever-Perplexing French

The photo to the right shows French President Francois Hollande and other world leaders walking in a march to honor those murdered in the recent Paris terrorist attacks. Everyone was welcome, it seems, except Israel.

Think I'm joking? Nope. Read this article from Yahoo news. It amazes me to no end that the leader of the Middle East's only democracy—the country that has perhaps suffered the most at the hand of Islamic radicals—would be unwelcome in a Western European nation that suffered a demonic terrorist attack. But so it is.

It goes deeper than simply being asked privately not to come. The insult to Benjamin Netanyahu was personal. It is telling to me also that Netanyahu's political enemies within Israel are taking this opportunity—not to support their prime minister and make a statement about the unacceptability of terrorism—but rather to snipe at him for going to Paris. I am increasingly convinced that the leftist parties within Israel would be fine and dandy at giving away even more of their hard-won nation in a foolish hope that they'll get peace that way. History has taught them nothing. It's infuriating.

And if France thinks it's going to bring peace within its borders by appeasing terrorists, they are in for a very rude awakening. I would love to hear what Charles Martel would say to his countrymen if he were still alive.

Tuesday, January 06, 2015

Hatfields, McCoys, and Arkansas

Having lived and worked in radio briefly in Mingo County, WV, and Pike County, KY, I've been interested in the legendary Hatfield-McCoy Feud around the turn of the 19th-20th century. It officially ended in 1911, I think, although the last trial was held in 1901.

Turns out some of the Hatfield family moved to my family's home state of Arkansas. You can read about it right here in the Daily Hatch. Great story from 2012.

Interestingly, I have Hatfield relatives on my mother's side of the family in Arkansas, but I don't know if there is any connection to the West Virginia Hatfield family. It would be fun to find out someday. Gotta love history.