Monthly Archives: July 2014

DERANGEMENT AS THE HUMAN CONDITION

How does the world seem to be spinning these days? A bit wobbly you might say. Well, perhaps wobbly is too mild a word. Deranged disintegration might be a more apt description. Lets look at what has transpired just in the last couple of weeks, to observe the depths of new lows in the human condition.

About a week or so ago, Ukrainian rebels seeking to break the eastern part of Ukraine off from the rest of the country and join the Russian “empire,” such as it is, decided what jolly good fun it would be to fire a surface-to-air missile at an unarmed civilian aircraft. Of course, the missile found its target, and just under 300 innocent civilian travelers were killed in an instant. There was no military advantage that could accrue to the rebels by bringing down Malaysian flight #17. It was just killing for the sake of killing, perhaps similar to the way a serial killer gets his kicks by murdering innocent victims. The missiles and launchers and other weaponry have been supplied to the Ukrainian by Russia’s dictator, Vladimir Putin, who has dreams of reassembling the old USSR under his leadership. Of course, after this heinous act of destruction, the missile launchers were quickly returned to Russian soil, and everyone from Putin on down to the lowest Ukrainian rebel denied culpability in this tragic incident. These days, truth and reality is what you choose to proclaim, not what actually transpired.

I’ve written before about what a thug and tyrant Vladimir Putin is, and how the Russian people have been suffering under his despotism, so I won’t rehash previous postings. Well, maybe a little rehash, just to point out that economic conditions are so bleak in Russia that the Russian population has been spiraling downward for at least 2 decades. Only major influxes of Muslims from Arab countries have kept Russia afloat. Their economy depends almost solely on large deposits of oil and gas that Russia exports, mainly to other European countries. Should those countries ever start developing their own sources of energy, the Russian economy would collapse like a house of cards. Nevertheless, this is what the mind-numbing rebel idiots in the Eastern part of the Ukraine are trying to become part of. And in the process, picking off a commercial airline flight when things get a little too dull.

Of course, the epitome of human derangement continues in the on-going war in Gaza between Hamas and Israel. Again, I won’t rehash what I wrote last time, except to point out the reasons for the disparity in casualties between the two sides. In Israel, all military personnel and activities are confined solely to military bases. In  Gaza, Hamas has arranged just the opposite. Hamas has placed their missiles and missile launchers and all other weaponry amongst the civilian population. Rockets and their launchers have been put in civilian apartments and houses, in schools and hospitals, in mosques and UN refugee camps, in market places, and all other locations that civilians tend to populate. Hence when Israeli forces seek to destroy these weapons, there will be a very high toll of civilian casualties. But that’s the idea in the terrorist’s mindset. Run up as many civilian deaths as possible, even among your own people, in order to win the PR campaign. Hamas can then go forward and say to the world- look at all the innocent civilians the Zionist entity is killing.

Hamas terrorists, when going to a different location, ride in ambulances crammed with young children, daring Israel to fire at these vehicles and destroy the lives of their young hostages. Who does things like that? What kind of a mindset does it take to fire rockets out of civilian apartments or mosques in order to run up the tally of non-combatant deaths? It’s the mindset, as I pointed out last time, of a people that cherish death over life. And in the end, its it’s the mindset of of the Palestinians themselves living in Gaza, that voted Hamas into a government leadership role, and who today, even amidst all the death, destruction and misery, continue to cheer Hamas rocket launches into the Israeli civilian population. Can human derangement get any lower than that.

To date, the death toll stands at about 750 for the Palestinians and about 30 for Israel, a country that actually does deeply mourn each loss of life. One of the discoveries coming out of this war is the vast network of tunnels that Hamas has developed in underground Gaza. These tunnels were created at enormous time and expense in order to allow Hamas terrorists to burrow their way into Israel and kill or capture as many Israeli civilians as possible. As I pointed out last time, when Hamas took the reins of Gaza leadership in 2006 they could have taken a different route. They could  have asked the U.S. and the European Union to invest heavily in a peaceful Gaza. They could have pointed out that there was a huge pool of workers in Gaza, hungry for decent paying jobs. They could have pointed out that large investments in plants, factories, tourism, etc. would return handsome profits to the investors. Instead Hamas decided to spend all their time, energy and resources in devising methods to kill Israelis.

Of course, that’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to human folly. In the on-going 4-year old civil war in Syria, brutal dictator Assad has butchered over 150,000 of his countrymen in order to stay in power. Yet it’s hardly a blip on anyone’s radar screen these days. Maybe the trick is to run up the death toll so high that no one cares anymore. In Iraq, where we fought for 10 years at huge human and resource sacrifice, a terrorist group even more violent than Al-Qaida has taken over large swaths of territory. In Nigeria, another terrorist organization is killing people by the hundreds. Libya, the one place where the U.S. did take military action, has pretty much degenerated into its own civil war. And the beat goes on.

So how is the planet spinning these days? A hell of a lot more than wobbly. More like the pits of a deranged, murderous, dysfunctional entity, I would think.

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WHEN VENGEANCE TRUMPS A MOTHER’S LOVE

To best understand the unfolding events in the Middle East, one should go back to a statement made by Osama bin Laden shorty after 9/11. He stated that what Americans and those in the West don’t understand is that while they cherish life, we in the East cherish death. That statement pretty well hits the nail squarely on the head and is key to understanding the roots of the latest Israeli-Palestinian crises currently on-going. As well as the on-going events of death, destruction and misery among various Arab factions in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Libya and elsewhere.

Some years back, one of our news outlets made a documentary about about a Palestinian family living in the Israeli-occupied West Bank. This family had a large number of children, perhaps 11 or 12, if memory serves me correctly. The oldest child was a boy about 17 years of age. But what makes the story unique was that this son was already being prepared to die as a suicide bomber, all with his mother’s blessing.  While the mother professed great love for her son, she stated that her greatest joy would be for the boy to achieve martyrdom by strapping on a belt bomb loaded with explosives. He would then slip his way into a crowded marketplace in, say, Tel-Aviv, and detonate the bomb. Of course the boy would die instantly, but if he could destroy the lives of a dozen or so Jews with that act, there would be huge celebration in the Palestinian territories. The son would instantly be recognized as a martyr and hero to the Palestinian people. He would bring a sense of huge gratitude and honor to his family from Palestinian authorities. The fact that he sacrificed his young life for an act of murder and terrorism would be of no consequence. Is there any mother in the West that could possibly even consider thinking along those lines. Yet, this type of motherly “love” is not uncommon among among the Palestinian people. It takes place when the vilest form of hatred and quest for vengeance triumphs over the natural instinct of paternal love for one’s children.

It’s this type of mentality that explains the latest violence going on (with no end in site) between Israel and the Hamas controlled Gaza strip. It started back in 2006 when Israel withdrew all its troops and settlements from Gaza and turned it all over to the Palestinians. Gaza is a relatively small strip of land with a high density, crowded population of about a million and a half Arabs. Being in complete control, the people of Gaza had great opportunity to develop the region into a peaceful, economic powerhouse. They could have built dozens of seaside hotels and resorts which could have attracted thousands of tourists willing and eager to spend their money, and enhance the Gaza economy. They could have made clear that foreign investment would be more than welcome, as well as the development of new factories and plants. They could have worked economically with Israel to the mutual benefit of both sides. Such actions would have been a boon to the Gaza economy and could have lifted its inhabitants out of the miserable poverty they’re so deeply mired in. But instead, Gaza chose a different path.

The people of Gaza chose to turn the reigns of power over to a terrorist organization called Hamas, which has only 2 professed objectives- the killing of Jews and the destruction of the State of Israel. No consideration was given to potential economic development, as people in Gaza were basically left to rot in their own poverty. Instead Hamas put it’s priorities in acquiring missiles and rockets and other weapons that could be fired into civilian populations in Israel.  So for the third time now, Hamas has started a campaign of firing rockets into Israel with the hope of killing as many Jews as possible. And as in the previous 2 times, Israel has responded by pounding suspected terrorist sites and homes with aerial bombardment. I guess some things never change. Hamas has deliberately placed most of its rocket and missile launchers in civilian homes and mosques. Thus, when Israel bombs these sites, there’s sure to be significant civilian casualties. According to the Hamas party line, this is a good thing. To their thinking, the more civilians that are killed by Israeli bombs, the more world powers will condemn Israel for such atrocities. After all, isn’t it death that’s to be worshipped rather than life.

The sad thing is that amidst all the death and destruction going on in Gaza, amidst all the rubble and carnage, the people in Gaza still appear to strongly support Hamas’s launching of about hundred missiles a day into Israel. Amidst the vastly disproportionate death tolls and wounded that Gaza is experiencing, Palestinians are still cheering for this conflict to continue indefinitely. Such is the power that hatred and lust for revenge can have on the human mind. The propensity to despise is like a bottomless pit.

And it’s not just hatred of Israel that’s driving the forces of death and destruction in the Middle-East. As I mentioned earlier, Arabs and Moslems are killing each by the thousands in places such as Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Libya, and are currently threatening Jordan. New terrorist groups such as ISIS are now calling older terrorists such as Al-Qaida too timid in the amount of killings and destruction they achieve. These are the new barbarians at the gates. Similar to the barbarians such as the Huns, Visigoths and Vandals that eventually brought the mighty Roman Empire to its knees, and ushered in centuries of dark ages; these new barbarians, or terrorists as we call them today have pretty much the same goals. Destroy all vestiges of Western civilization, and bring in a new version of the dark ages where Islamic fanaticism rules every facet of life. Even if it takes hundreds of years to achieve. Never underestimate the power of pure, distilled hatred.

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CRAZIER-THAN-THOU

The way I see it, the Republican Party is divided into 3 factions- crazy, crazier, and craziest. Off the charts on the far end of this spectrum in the craziest category are senators like Rand Paul and Ted Cruz. They really represent the heart and soul of the Republican base as it exists today. If this base had its way, one of them would achieve the GOP nomination for president in 2016. However, deep in the hearts of most Republicans is the knowledge that these guys are just too lunatic to actually win  a national election for the presidency. So the next search is in the crazy set. Most prominent in the just plain crazy category is Chris Christie, Republican governor of New Jersey. Although he professes to basically believe in the essence of the Republican platform, (tax cuts for the rich, trickle-down economics, slashing government expenditures for the poor, the sick, and the elderly, etc.) he does exhibit a sliver of rationality and sanity every so often. Even just a tiny bit of such common sense may be too much for the Republican base to handle. Christie’s problem, therefore, is that while he could likely win a national election for president, it will be extremely difficult for him to obtain the GOP nomination. Can’t have too much of that sanity going on if you want to be prominent in Republican politics.

I rather liked Christie ever since he posted on his personal blog, a recommendation for a certain pancake house in New Jersey. I figured if there was anyone who knew good pancakes, it had to be Chris Christie. From what I heard, that pancake joint really does live up to its reputation. There are a few other prominent Republicans that are also in the just plain crazy category, such as governor of Ohio John Kasich, and 2 female senators- Susan Collins from Maine, and Lisa Murakowski from Alaska. (Interestingly, in 2008, if John McCain was looking for a conservative female from Alaska as his running mate, he could have picked Murakowski who actually has a brain in her head, instead of a mindless dingbat like Sarah Palin. Who knows, that might have just given him the election.) In any event, as I’ve said, just being crazy may not be irrational enough to secure the GOP nomination for president in 2016.

It thus comes down to the crazier category whose leading figure is Senator Marco Rubio of Florida. Well spoken, and with boyish good looks, I believe that Rubio’s core beliefs lie mostly in the extreme craziest portion of the GOP. But Rubio is smart enough to know that if he publicly  espouses the same looney-tunes babble about slashing government as a Ted Cruz or Rand Paul, it would also make him un-winable in the general election. So Rubio has learned to moderate his speeches and actions to the point where he sounds a little bit more crazy rather than craziest, in hopes of securing the nomination and winning the general election. He possess abundant charisma, and since he’s Hispanic, he would be in a perfect position to cut dramatically into the lead that Democrats have with Latino voters. Therefore, my money is on Marco Rubio being the next president in 2016. The Las Vegas sports books aren’t taking bets yet on the 2016 election, but if they were, I would be tempted to put a few shekels down on Rubio winning it all.

On the other side of the aisle, the Democrats are putting all their eggs in Hillary Clinton’s basket, which I think is a huge blunder. First of all, she would be 69 come election time; and let’s face it, she’s not aging all that gracefully. Men can generally get away with looking old and haggard; but women, not so much. Secondly, there are lingering questions about her health. She did spend about a month in the hospital after a seizure caused by a fall. But most of all, she has enough political baggage to fill every flight leaving out of JFK for a month. From the Whitewater scandals from when husband Bill was president, to the whole Monica Lewinski fiasco, to her less than scintillating performance as Secretary of State, which included the Benghazi disaster, there is sufficient ammo for the Republican smear machine to kick into high gear. And you can bet that GOP mudslinging will reach staggering levels in radio and TV ads, since Hillary is despised almost as much as Barack Obama. Yes recent polls show her leading potential Republican candidates; but that will likely change once the demonization of her begins in earnest.

I believe the Democrats would be better off looking for a fresh face. If they’re looking for a female candidate, Senator Elizabeth Warren from Mass. would be an excellent choice. A dedicated progressive with impressive credentials and little if any political negatives, all she needs is some national publicity to enable her to become a viable candidate. Governors Andrew Cuomo of New York, and Martin O’Malley of Maryland would also be top choices. But they also need promotion on a national scale. However, no matter who achieves the Democrat nomination, I’m still going with my prediction that Marco Rubio will be the next president.

Of course, why anyone would be crazy enough to desire the presidency is beyond me. Yes, it does have its perks such as flying on Air Force One, or playing at elite golf courses. Its just that the governing part is so annoying. Just the thought of having to deal with Congress would make me nauseous. With a good portion of the world in flames, or at each others throats, and with all the dysfunction and polarization here at home, who needs such headaches. That’s why Barack Obama mostly plays golf or flies on Air Force One to fund raisers these days. It beats trying to manage the mess that world has made of itself. It would truly take someone crazier-than-thou to desire the job of becoming the next president.

 

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