The Week in Review

It’s only Wednesday, but I don’t subscribe to popular culture’s idea of when a week ends. Actually, I just didn’t have a better title.

Reeling from the Paris terrorist attacks, many tried to show solidarity with the Parisian people by overlaying the French flag on their Facebook profile, only to be shamed by those who are easily outraged. “Where was our solidarity with Beirut, or with Nigeria as the terrorist group Boko Haram continues to murder scores of innocent people,” cry the outraged? I don’t want to pile on and blame the mainstream media for not putting the same focus on these other recent attacks. There’s so much news to cover, and so many events happening around the world at any given moment, it’s impossible to cover it all. There’s also a plethora of sources competing for our attention and we can’t possibly stay plugged in to, and engaged in, all of the world’s atrocities, and honestly many people just don’t want to. Paris feels different and I don’t know why that is, but of course I grieve for the victims and their families in Beirut and Nigeria. Of course terrorism everywhere is a crime against humanity. There’s entirely too much faux outrage in the social media world.

American politicians have of course, reacted to the attacks in Paris, with Jeb Bush calling for a declaration of war against the Islamic State and harnessing “all of the power the U.S. can bring to bear, both diplomatic and military, of course, to be able to take out ISIS.” I for one, am grateful that he made his position crystal clear before the election next year. Americans can then have a clear choice on who to vote for should they wish to send American men and women to Syria and Iraq to be killed and maimed. Others have called President Obama weak on the war against terrorism, an opinion that remains decoupled from the facts. Obama has been the most prolific terrorist hunter in US Presidential history. I’ll just leave the sources for that statement at the end of the post for those who wish to read more about the relentless ongoing pursuit, and killing spree, of terrorists, possible terrorists and would be terrorists (and any civilians who might be in the way) by our current Administration.

Some of our leader’s reactions have been more embarrassing than others. Governors around the nation have publicly stated that they will refuse entry to Syrian refugees seeking safe haven from their war torn homeland. It’s a stark reminder that most of our principles–and by “our” I mean the United States as a self-governing entity–are just platitudes. People are still people, and are driven and motivated by emotions; particularly fear and greed. We may proudly have Lady Liberty in the New York City harbor and feature her prominently on television, exploding fireworks behind her on the 4th of July while we shout and cheer for freedom. However when it comes time to live up to the principle inscribed upon that beacon of hope and liberty:

“Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

the leaders of our nation turn a blind eye to what our country is alleged to stand for. If that wasn’t mortifying enough, some have declared that Christian children could be allowed into the country, and some have again hung the “religious liberty” label around the neck of their bigotry. The United States, alone in the world on this point, specifically separate any religion from our system of governance. The Constitution mentions religion only twice, and both times to prohibit it. It never mentions God or any religious terminology. Yet Presidential Candidate Ted Cruz stated that any President who doesn’t start his day on his knees in worship isn’t fit to be Commander-in-Chief. Ben Carson, who leads the GOP field currently, puts his Christian faith on display routinely, and has a portrait of himself with Jesus at this shoulder, displayed prominently in his home. He refutes scientific principles and falsely proclaims that “The United States of America was founded on Judeo-Christian principles.” He has created a false enemy he calls the secular progressives and blames them for driving faith out of our society. It’s actually an issue he is running on.  Not to be out-Christianed, Donald Trump reminded folks at his rally that he’s a Christian, and when he’s President, we’ll all be saying Merry Christmas. He also suggested we might need to boycott Starbucks, which leads to another embarrassing episode this week.

The nonexistent War on Christmas seems to start earlier every year, with the keepers of the yuletide flame ever on alert for any possible slight against the mad consumerism that starts on Black Friday and carries on until the dying Christmas trees are tossed onto the curb with their tinsel still drooping from their brittle branches. Hungover from the endless shopping and nauseating music, some folks can’t bring themselves to take down the special lights they’ve stapled to their houses until long after it ceases to be merry having them hanging there. Starbucks, a publicly owned corporation, came up with a new design for their seasonal coffee cups. They’ve removed the overly ornate designs of the past, which featured snowflakes, ice skaters and snowmen and went with a bold, lovely unadorned blood red motif. Wouldn’t you know it, the ready to be offended jumped into action. Apparently a public, for profit corporation can’t just change its cups because Jesus. Removing snowflakes and ice skaters from a coffee cup was deemed a direct insult at the Christian religion. A moron made a ranting YouTube video where he demonstrated his plan to get back at Starbucks and encouraged his followers to do the same. Order your coffee and when the barista asks your name, tell them it’s “Merry Christmas.” That’ll force them to call out Merry Christmas when your coffee’s ready. That’ll show them! I’m not sure what’s more embarrassing; his encouragement of continued patronage of the company that has gotten in league with Satan, or that CNN interviewed this guy.

I’d argue that John Kerry’s sentiments were well beyond embarrassing. Perhaps he was struggling with something along the lines of what I mentioned earlier: that the Paris attacks just feel different somehow. I can’t imagine what went through his mind when he tried comparing the ISIS attacks of November 13, 2015 to the recent murders at the Charlie Hebdo magazine:

 “There’s something different about what happened from Charlie Hebdo, and I think everybody would feel that. There was a sort of particularized focus and perhaps even a legitimacy in terms of — not a legitimacy, but a rationale that you could attach yourself to somehow and say, okay, they’re really angry because of this and that. This Friday was absolutely indiscriminate. It wasn’t to aggrieve one particular sense of wrong. It was to terrorize people. It was to attack everything that we do stand for. That’s not an exaggeration.”

To give the man all the benefit of the doubt, I would hope he didn’t mean to state that he could understand committing mass murder because someone didn’t like some cartoons. I hope he meant to say that those murders, while horrific and disgusting, had a specific motivation behind them, with specific targets, where the mass homicide committed in several strategic locations around Paris killed indiscriminately as a political retribution for the French military’s bombing of ISIS positions in Syria. Just as horrific and disgusting, but perhaps more shocking to one’s senses because of the random selection of targets. I cringed the moment I read his statement and all I could think of was that the Secretary of State of the United States of America just said that killing in the name of religious offense is something that can be rationalized. Religion really messes with people’s minds.

Speaking of religion, the Mormon Church just announced a new policy that homosexuals who get married are considered apostates from the church, and that children of same-sex parents would not be allowed as members of the flock. This insult has caused mass resignations from the Church, which I applaud and support.

Mormon-Resignation-Protest-1125x635

With that, I will bring this first of what may be a series of posts to a close.

  • The aforementioned links regarding President Obama’s commitment to preemptively taking out terrorists.

Politics, Power and Preventive Action–America’s 500th Drone Strike 

Jihadi John-Drone Strike Victim

Obama’s Most Important Achievement in the Middle East

Barack Obama: The Greatest Terrorist Hunter in Presidential History

Osama bin Laden Killed

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