The Watering Hole, Wednesday, November 25, 2015. WWIII

The attacks in Paris have made one thing abundantly clear: we are in World War III.

It started with a singular incident: the attack on American soil against civilian and military targets. The World Trade Centers represented imperialist capitalism. The Pentagon represented imperialist militarism. Together, they represented the worst of the American Empire.

If the attacks on 9/11 were a false flag attack, as has been committed by governments before, designed to whip the populace into its place through fear and prejudice, it worked. People gladly gave up civil liberties and signed up to go to war. The rule of law was suspended. Torture of the enemy, accepted. Anything – anything for the illusion of safety. Including war. Invading two sovereign countries. Killing hundreds of thousands of civilians. Acceptable. Why? Because – terrorists.

If the attacks of 9/11 were committed by a small group of militant revolutionaries in the Middle East, it worked. The strike against the symbols of moneyed capitalists and war-mongering imperialists generated the expected response: war. A new Crusade. Carnage so abominable as to attract thousands to rally to the side of the revolutionaries.

The megapowers of the world pounded their might against civilian populations. The populace responded the only way possible. Car bombs. Improvised Explosive Devises. Suicide bombers. The fought on their homeland.

Until now. (at least, a ‘now’ that the western media recognizes.) Now, they’ve taken the fight to the enemy. They’ve attacked and killed civilians in the Capital of France. Other attacks are occurring around the globe.

The War on Terror is World War III.

PETER NEUMANN, Director, International Center for the Study of Radicalization, King’s College:

 I think there are three aims here. The first is classical asymmetric warfare — warfare. You’re hitting us. We’re going to take revenge by hitting you where it hurts most, namely at home.

The second intention is really to polarize and to divide European societies, to create that sense of Islam against the West, and to create a lot of mess in the countries that they oppose.

The third intention that often gets forgotten is also internally. I think the Islamic State has been on the defensive in its core territory in Iraq and Syria.

 OPEN THREAD

UPDATE – This occurred after this post was drafted:
http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2015/11/turkey-shoots-down-russian-warplane-close-syria-border

The Watering Hole, Wednesday, November 18, 2015: Fighting Terrorism

I’m Briseadh na Faire, and I’m running for President.

Today’s topic du jour: Terrorism.

“For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.” Newton’s 3rd law of physics.

Yet this applies with equal, if not greater force, to social interactions, especially on the massed scale.

Terrorists act = governments react.

Both kill innocent civilians.

The equal and opposite reaction to anarchy is authoritarianism; to terrorism is torture; to drone strikes is suicide bombings; and the cycle continues.

The path is endless; oddly enough, perhaps necessary, at least until we address the problem of overpopulation. Poverty – lack of food, water, the basic necessities of life – is the stagnant pool from which terrorists are bred and recruited. The suicide bomber doesn’t hope in 72 virgins. He hopes in a better life for those he leaves behind. He has given up all hope in a better life for himself. So, in a perverse sort of way, these endless wars have a driving function to equalize population with available resources.

And therein lies the solution.

Fighting terrorists with authoritarianism, with bombs, with drone strikes, with tanks and boots on the ground never works. Terrorism is like the Hydra – cut off one head, two more grow in its place. It’s an ‘ism’ not a person, or even a group of persons. War, violence, extraordinary renditions, torture – these reactions by governments only create more terrorists.

(And terrorists, if they truly wanted to be revolutionaries – freedom fighters – would confine their attacks to military targets, thus garnering support instead of fear, from their civilian populations.)

To put an end to terrorism, we must first accept it will take some time. This cesspool was not created overnight – it will not be cleaned up overnight. We must take positive steps globally to address population control. And we must take positive steps globally to address the inequitable distribution of wealth.

We must live up to our ideals when it comes to the rule of law, and not cast aside protections for human rights for the sake of the illusion of security.

If a handful of people commit a heinous crime – does that justify turning away 10,000 innocent victims seeking refuge? If it does, we are the ones who have lost our way.

Once upon a time, we held the ideal that it was better to not convict 10 criminals than to send one innocent person to jail. Now, it seems to be better to send 10 innocent people to jail than release one criminal.

Governments react to terrorism with their own version of terrorism. While those in power stay in power this way (at least for awhile) it does not eliminate terrorism.

For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. The true equal and opposite reaction to terrorism is love. Love balances hate. Tolerance balances rejection. Acceptance balances exclusion. Faith balances fear.

And by faith, I do not mean religious faith – but faith in a positive outcome. The masses have yet to embrace this level of faith – the level of faith necessary to overcome the ‘us against them’ attitude; the level of faith necessary to not see everything as an attack against their religion. The masses are still controlled by the messages propagated by the few empowered from birth by the wealth of their progenitors.

Fight terrorism with love. It’s not a new idea. It’s just one that’s not been tried since the son of a carpenter suggested it some 2000 years ago.

I’m Briseadh na Faire, and I’m running for President (all satire aside); a vote for me is a vote that won’t be counted, because the two-party system has rigged the process to prevent the counting of write-in candidates who don’t jump through their hoops.

Meanwhile, there’s this:


OPEN THREAD

The Watering Hole, Monday, November 16, 2015: None So Blind

On Friday, November 13, at approximately 9:20 PM local time, a group of well-armed criminals began a mass murder of completely innocent people in Paris, France. There were people from many countries killed, including America. More than 120 people died, not counting the killers, at least two of whom detonated bomb vests killing themselves and one other person total. While suicide bombers attacked a stadium where the President of France was attending a football match, several kilometers across town gunmen opened fire on cafes and bars killing fifteen people. They got in their cars and calmly drove down the road where they got out and killed at least five more people dining in a restaurant terrace. Witnesses say they got in their cars and, again, drove away slowly, calmly. About a mile away they opened fire on an other establishment killing at least 19 people. A third group of attackers converged on a concert hall where an American rock band, Eagles of Death Metal, was performing. They began systematically shooting people and when the police arrived, they began a two-hour-forty-minute siege that ended with at least 89 innocent people losing their lives. Another suicide bomber detonated himself taking no one else with him. By about 12:30 AM local time (6:30 PM EST) it was over. In all, at least 129 innocent people were killed by these ruthless, deluded criminals. My heart goes out to their families and friends. I can’t pretend to know what going through something as horrific as this is like.

And, yes, I am calling them “criminals,” not the “t-word.” I refuse to frame these criminal acts the way the perpetrators want them portrayed. To do so would be to fight this conflict on their terms. They want people to be afraid, and the right wing in this country is giving them everything they want. They want the United States and its European allies to to begin flexing their military muscle and reign bombs down on millions of people, killing as many innocent people, preferably children, as possible. The bombing campaigns will then be used to recruit young, disillusioned, easily-brainwashed kids to become killing machines in an effort to exert more control over the people in the region. The recruiters are cowards, of course. They would never strap on a bomb vest and blow themselves up. They get others to do it. And, yes, they are systematically performing deadly acts meant to strike fear in a populace in order to effect political change and thus are, by definition, “terrorists.” Or so they claim. Either way, they are still criminals. And criminals are fought by the police, not by the army. You’ve heard the expression, “When all you have is a hammer, everything starts to look like a nail.” Well, in the same sense, when all you want to use is an army, everything happening around you starts to look like a war. This mindset has to stop.

Conservatives want to use nothing but the army to fight these criminals. They want us to constantly send our brave men and women in uniform (well, they would prefer the women stay behind, but that’s a topic for another post) off to fight fanatical criminals in faraway lands. People who, by the way, will almost certainly never be setting foot on our shores to do the things conservatives say they will do. They recruit other people to do that. The people we’re sending our troops to fight are terrorizing people in other countries. The only people being terrorized here are conservatives, especially the ones who watch Fox News Channel. And, as they so often do, they ignore history and reality to tell you not only who you should fear, but who you should blame for that fear. President Obama.

A little background before continuing. On September 11, 2001, a bunch of murderous criminals carried out a mass murder so effectively that we decided to forget we had a Constitution that gave us certain rights, and begin preparations for a military invasion of a country which had nothing whatsoever to do with those attacks. And to help convince the American people that this invasion was not only justified but absolutely necessary to the very survival of our own country, they used their friends at Fox News Channel to spread a few lies. By the time they were through, a majority of Fox News Viewers believed at least one, and sometimes all, of these three things to be true: 1) That Saddam Hussein had stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction (which ones were never quite clear); 2) That Saddam had a working relationship with al Qaeda – the people whom we blamed for the attacks of 9/11 – and that he was prepared to pass of his chemical weapons to them; or, 3) That Saddam and Iraq were involved with the planning or execution of the 9/11 attacks. At least half of all Fox News Channel viewers believed at least one of those things to be true. Not one of them is. And to this day, some conservatives out there still believe at least one of those three false things to be true. Eventually, Saddam was captured, put on trial for killing about 150 people, found guilty and executed. Saddam was a brutal dictator but because of that there wasn’t a problem with groups of wannabe terrorists roaming the country killing people. Once he was gone, his less brutal replacements were unable to stop the infiltration of Iraq by al Qaeda. And the presence of al Qaeda in Iraq gave rise to groups like ISIS. It is an undeniable fact. Had we not invaded Iraq and removed Saddam from power, al Qaeda would never gave gained a foothold there, and ISIS would never have been formed from them. So when Fox News Channel starts spreading provable lies, I get concerned. And what are they saying now? That the attacks in Paris are Obama’s fault.

It started around 6:16 PM, before the events in Paris had come to a conclusion. Courtesy of Newshounds:

CHARLES PAYNE: Many Americans, Ambassador, are sort of frustrated here with the administration for perhaps being too reserved on this issue, for not calling out what everyone else suspects and thinks seriously is going on here and perhaps even emboldening these kind of attacks.

Less than an hour later, Megyn Kelly was “just asking” if Obama was to blame for not being more like Bush. Never mind that the primary reason we elected Obama was to have someone who was less like Bush. In many ways, he was less like Bush. Not all. Anyway…

After that it wasn’t long before more and more Fox Folks started throwing accusations around that if it weren’t for Obama not being Bush, maybe we wouldn’t be having all these problems with ISIS. Yet they will never see that if it weren’t for Bush being Bush, ISIS wouldn’t be around today killing people like the murderous assholes they are.

This is our daily open thread.

Friday Night Music! – Back to the Future, Part I.

In my first post I started in a natural place, my rock and roll roots. I’d like to jump ahead 55 years to my two newest favorite bands. !Deladap has been on a quest since its beginnings in 2004 to mix roots Roma music and the contemporary electronic dance/club sound. They are ever evolving and the band had had many identities over its relatively short lifespan. The members range for a variety of central and eastern European countries. They are based in Vienna. Most of their songs are presented in Slovak, a language that seems to be meant to be sung. However, I have selected one of their few English ventures, Crazy Swing. Right from the outset you can detect the Roma influence wrapping around the American swing intention. The song was performed before a group of judges on a small stage for the Eurovision Song Contest 2012 for the Austrian nomination. Ultimately it was disqualified when it was found to have been published in advance of the contest date parameters.

Speaking of swing, the rage in many European cities for the past year and a half or so is the phenomena of electro-swing. As its proponents describe, it is a marriage of the best music of the first great depression with the best mixer technology of the second. This mix of swing and urban dance/trance enlivens the style so that today’s young audience can rock to live performances. Paris based, Django influenced Caravan Palace probably represents the best of a growing genre of fantastic musicians and performers of electro-swing. Hugely popular in Europe, they recently ventured to North America last year with stops in S.F and L.A.

Purists probably hate it. I love it. Let’s (Electro) Swing!

MSNBC: World Euphoric Over Obama’s Election

America is cool again.  Nov. 8: Political leaders and citizens from countries around the world are applauding U.S. voters for electing Barack Obama as president. NBC’s Jim Maceda reports.

CNN: Global Celebrations Over Obama Victory

The world reacts to the news that Barack Obama is elected the 44th President of the United States.