Saturday, February 28, 2015

Saturday Dispatches: Joe Aldridge's Mom Died, Vandalism in Mosul, and Jihadi John Gets Identified

See if this sounds familiar. Joseph Aldridge had a history of drug and mental problems. He'd been ordered into counseling for both issues and he spent time in a federal prison for possessing a gun while using marijuana.
He was described by those who knew him as a quiet guy who kept to himself while living with his mother in the tiny hamlet of Tyrone, Missouri, population 50. Yes, I know, we've all been here before and by now everyone in America with half a brain knows the tale won't end well.
It didn't. Late Thursday Joe Aldridge stepped off into the abyss and by the time he was done over 10% of the population of Tyrone was dead. Despite the fact he was known to be a little funny in the head, had drug related problems, and owned a criminal record, he was still able to get a gun. Well of course he could--this is, after all, America, so everyone gets to have one--it's how we know we're free. Before he blew his brains out, he shot and killed four of his own relatives and three neighbors. 
In addition authorities found his mother dead of apparent natural causes. The most current speculation is her death flipped the switch in Aldridge's head which sent him out into the night with a loaded weapon. That's right, there always has to be a reason beyond the obvious one--you know--that the guy was bats and since we won't restrict guns anywhere for any reason, he was able to get one and use it, because that's what crazy fucks do.
Meanwhile the world's largest street gang, Islamic State, put a video online showing members, destroying ancient statuary in a Mosul museum. The United Nations was quick to issue a statement calling the destruction of the artifacts, some of which were 2,700 years old, a war crime.  
Yeah, there is a lot of that going around lately. Just ask the families of all the people IS has beheaded, crucified, and burned alive for heresy and fun. Let's face it, the whole point of this barbarity is to utterly destroy modern civilization  and its history, then remake the world into their own unique version of what a seventh century mystic wanted it to be during the seventh century. That they're using modern technology and weapons to do it might be considered a bit ironic, or even hypocritical by some, but obviously you can't let those sort of details get in the way of the big picture.
Which leads us to Mohammed Emwazi, a 26 year old graduate of the University of Westminster in London. According to a number of media sources he has been identified as the masked man who appears as a narrator and executioner in IS videos showing the beheading of hostages. Reports indicate he was born in Kuwait, but moved to the UK when he was six. 
The western media has nicknamed Emwazi, Jihadi John which is catchy, although a tad light hearted for a cold blooded murderer. Hey, this guy isn't some comic rube like former Iraqi Information Minister Muhammad Saeed al-Sahhaf, who came to be known as Baghdad Bob in America. He is more akin to Jack the Ripper, or Charlie Manson.
Depending on which rumor you want to believe, Emwazi had, at one point, either been recruited by Britain's MI5, or was investigated by them because he was suspected of wanting to join a terrorist operation in Somalia. Whatever the truth might be he obviously slipped under the radar and ended up in Syria as the very public, if shrouded, face of savagery.
British Prime Minister, David Cameron has promised that Emwazi will be hunted down and brought to justice. Perhaps, but you have to get to him first and pulling him out of the middle of tens of thousands of deadly clowns just like him isn't going to be easy. Hey, no matter how much we enjoy the movies, James Bond doesn't really exist and never did.
So there we have it on a cold, snow laden, Saturday here on the southern plains. There was another nut with a gun in America, vandalism on a grand scale was bragged about in Iraq, and someone has identified the worlds best known murderer still on the loose, but no one has the slightest idea of how to drag him into the dock.   
No wonder the bar is open.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Disappearing in Chicago, Weirdness in Vegas, and O'Reilly Doing What He Does

Sometimes a little paranoia is justified.

The Guardian is running a story by Spencer Ackerman detailing the location of a warehouse used by the Chicago Police Department as a kind of Hotel California--you know--a place where you can check out anytime you like, but you can never leave.

The building, in an area of town known as Homan Square, actually sounds more like a facility you'd associate with benign humanitarians such as the late, unlamented Chilean General, Augusto Pinochet. Once they've dragged you in, you have officially disappeared.

The story cites cases in which people accused of crimes were kept off the official books, were shackled to walls and floors for extend periods while frivolous things such as a prisoner's Miranda and phone rights were ignored. In addition it claims access to defense attorneys have been routinely denied. It also says the type of interrogations which take place in the cells are a tad more aggressive than you'd normally see on episodes of the TV show, "Law and Order." Ackerman maintains at least one person has died while in custody at Homan Square.

According to the Guardian the CPD denies any of that malevolent shit happens, despite a growing number of abused victims and their lawyers going public about it.

Well, you have to say something don't you? Especially if you're running a joint down the street from Wrigley Field which is so obscenely unconstitutional and brutal it ranks right up there with Abu Ghraib.

Meanwhile things are getting weirder and weirder out in Las Vegas. A little over a week ago Tammy Meyers was shot and killed in what was initially reported as a road rage incident.

The original version was Mrs. Meyers had taken her daughter out for a driving lesson and then on the way home one of them honked at a speeding driver who began following them. When they arrived home one of the two people in the trailing vehicle opened up with a pistol. During the deadly confrontation Tammy Meyers was fatally wounded as her son, Brandon came charging out of the family house with a hand gun, returning fire.

Apparently it isn't as simple as some two bit hot head with a gun who decided to end a perceived insult with a gun. The entire sordid tale has morphed. While the Vegas police have decided it is best to shut up until all the facts are clear numerous reports state Mrs. Meyers dropped off her daughter at the home, then, with her armed son, went out to look for the car and its occupants who had done who knows what.

Police arrested 19 year old Erich Nowsch Jr. on Friday and charged him with the killing. A couple of media sources say Nowsch told friends he was in a park and became suspicious of a car circling the area. He told his buddies he unloaded on the people he deemed threatening. Police are now saying the gunfight began several blocks from where it culminated--a few houses away from the Meyers' home.

In addition, outlets such as the Daily Mail and others, are contending the whole shooting was a drug deal gone bad. The most recent theory being Mrs. Meyers was in the market for black market pharmaceuticals and Nowsch was the supplier. Robert Meyers, the victim's husband, has told reporters his wife knew the shooter, but was a mother figure to him, even loaning him money when he was hungry.

The only things we know for sure is Erich Nowsch, a tatted up skinny dude with the look of a doomed loser and Brandon Meyers both had guns and used them.

Yes, in the end, no matter what the actual facts, it was just another evening of well armed Americans on the streets who were willing to pull the trigger numerous times. And, despite the tragedy of Tammy Meyers' death, we can be thankful there was only one casualty.

Finally, in the Bill O'Reilly/Falkland Islands/Buenos Aires flap, various national media outlets are, "shocked, shocked," O'Reilly told a New York Times reporter that if he decided her report was  inappropriate, "I'm going to come after you with everything I have. You can take it as a threat."

Well, what did you expect of a guy who makes a living as a bellicose bully? The odds are pretty sound that late tonight Fox News operatives will be picking through Times reporter Emily Steel's garbage bags looking for any professional indiscretions, or personal vices.

Hey, that's the way they roll.

Last night O'Reilly told his audience, "I want this to stop now. I hope we can stop it. I really do." Those of us who are of a certain age remember Dick Nixon basically saying the same thing about Watergate.

Given his constant Joe McCarthyesque bombast, many of us consider O'Reilly, at worst a congenital liar, or at minimum, a guy who twists the truth like a pretzel in order to justify his opinions. When you have those two options, it is tough to give a rat's ass what this beast said, or did 30 plus years ago.

Let's face it, none of his faithful are going to believe he is guilty of anything--every last  one of them is going to go all in on the, "I'm being persecuted because I'm a conservative," line he is currently spewing.

The truth is, he is the epitome of all the terrible right wing geeks who rage wildly on television and radio. Every one of them bounce back and forth between Herr Goebbels and St. Sebastian, using them both to their advantage whenever it suits them.

And people wonder why I'm a democrat.

sic vita est


Saturday, February 21, 2015

Rudy, O'Reilly, and a Guy Named Corn

It appears former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani has, as we used to say, slipped a groove.

His Honor is currently running around telling everyone who will listen the President of the United States, Barack H. Obama doesn't love America. According to Giuliani, Obama was educated by a communist, Frank Marshall Davis and for 17 years attended the church of Reverend Jeremiah Wright, a preacher who, "said God damn America, not God bless America."

After he began to take flack over his accusation Giuliani told the New York Post, "Somebody has to raise these issues. Somebody has to have the courage to stand up."

Actually what somebody needs to do is tell Rootin Tootin Rudy it isn't 2008 any more. All this nonsense was thrown about relentlessly during that ugly campaign after it dawned on horrified white conservatives an African American liberal could end up being president. In fact, given the dated nature of his sudden burst of courage, one would think the next step for Giuliani is to make the breath taking charge the president's birth certificate is a forgery and he was really born in Kenya.

It is unclear if Giuliani's trip in the Way Back Machine is tied to some unidentified political campaign, or can be written off as simple dementia. Whichever the case it certainly appears the man once called, America's Mayor, is unaware Barack Obama can't run for a third term--that he is a lame duck president with just under two years left in office.

Meanwhile, Fox News personality Bill O'Reilly has his blood pressure up over a story which appeared in the on line magazine, Mother Jones. The piece written by David Corn questions O'Reilly's claims that he reported from a war zone in the early 1980's.

According to the Mother Jones editors the ever subtle O'Reilly has called Corn, a liar, a guttersnipe, and a disgusting piece of garbage. In various interviews Big Bill has been quoted as saying, "This guy is a far left assassin. That's what he does. Everyone knows that." He also labeled the article as a political hit job.

While the word assassin is typical O'Reilly overkill, the politics of both Mother Jones and Corn are unquestionably on the left. In fact he and the magazine were responsible for the airing of the surreptitious cell phone video which exposed Mitt Romney as an elitist asshole during the 2012 presidential election.

It's Corn's contention O'Reilly was never in an actual "war zone" as he has said, or at least implied over the years. Instead, he showed up in Buenos Aires while working for CBS to cover the sometimes violent protests against the military government after the 1982 Falklands War between Great Britain and Argentina.

O'Reilly firmly believes he was in a war zone because at times there was gunfire exchanged between Argentine troops and civilians who had taken to the streets.

Billy O, who described himself last night as, "your humble correspondent," pretty much personifies a school yard bully. When challenged his veins bulge and he begins yelling over the top of the person he is arguing with in the apparent belief belligerence and volume validates whatever it is he is bloviating about. In an interview with something called TV Newser, he was quoted as saying he wants reporters to, "...verify what I'm saying because it is easily verifiable, then I expect David Corn to be in the kill zone."

The Mother Jones people gasped in appalled disbelief at his terminology. In a letter to O'Reilly the co-editors babbled about their concerns for staff safety then demanded he renounce the "kill zone" metaphor.

Yeah, right--good luck with that one.

So there we have it. Rudy Giuliani may or may not be as crazy as a bed bug on acid while Bill O'Reilly may or may not have reported from a war zone 30 plus years ago.

Perhaps the greater question to ask right now is why do we even care what these two clowns think, or did? One of them is no longer relevant on the national stage, while the other is nothing more than a bombastic shill for the ultra right wing.

The only possible answer we have is both Rudy Giuliani and David Corn needed to remind everyone they are still living on the planet. In order to do so Giuliani chose to regurgitate six and a half year old bullshit and Corn picked a fight with a guy he knew would go ballistic.

Sadly, this is the state of American politics and journalism during the second month of the year of our Lord, 2015.

sic vita est



Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Gene Alday "Liked to Died," But He's With Everybody

First term Mississippi state house representative Gene Alday, a republican, hails from the tiny hamlet of Walls. It is tucked away in the far northwest corner of the state, close enough to Memphis, TN to be considered part of its extended metro area. Walls was called Alpika up until 1906 when the town fathers renamed it in honor of civil war veteran Captain June Walls who settled there in the 1880s. Presumably Captain Walls served in the confederate army, or navy, because there aren't a whole lot of burgs in the deep south named after soldiers who fought for the union.

The current population of Walls is a little over 1,200 human beings. According to a 2014 demographic breakdown 60% of them are African American while 34% are of Anglo/European descent.

57 year old Gene Alday  is one of the 34%. His bio says he was born in Tunica, MS, attended Northwest Jr. College, and Elkins Institute. In addition he did stints as both the chief of police and mayor.

He is also the type of guy the late Captain Walls would have probably voted for.

The other day he was interviewed by a writer from the Jackson, MS newspaper, the Clarion-Ledger. The talk was supposed to be about an increase in state education funding and in particular additional monies to improve literacy in the Magnolia State. As you can probably guess, because he is a rube republican, Mr. Alday is against all that.

Unfortunately for him, in the middle of the interview with reporter, Jerry Mitchell, the representative of state house district 25 went off track just a tad. According to Mitchell, one of the reasons Alday opposes an increase in school funding is because, "I come from a town where all the blacks are getting food stamps and what I like to call crazy welfare checks. They don't work."

He went on to describe a visit he made to a local emergency room. "I liked to died," he said. "I was there for hours because they (black people) were in there being treated for gunshots."

Yes, sometimes the new south looks disturbingly like the old one.

According to the Huffington Post when the interview hit the pages of the Clarion-Ledger both Mississippi's governor and speaker of the house began jabbering all sorts of stuff about how Alday's comments didn't reflect the values of the state's republicans. House Speaker, Joe Gunn was careful to cover not only the local GOP's ass, but his own when he said Alday's opinion didn't reflect the views of the republican party, or the leadership of the house of representatives--in other words, him.

Alday immediately began spewing the usual litany of excuses. He told a Jackson TV station, "I didn't say anything wrong. The interview--he just took me out of context." His other complaints included, "He called me late at night," and "He asked for one thing and started asking for another." That's right, I was tired, or drunk, or just plain too stupid to understand the questions. The elevator finally plunged full speed into the basement when he said he thought he'd been speaking off the record.

Here is the truth, Brother Alday. If you said it, whether you're off the record, or not, everyone knows you believe it.

However, that sort of Mr. Obvious logic didn't deter him. He told the TV station, "I'm definitely not a racist at all. I mean I get along with everybody and I've spent a lot of time helping people." He went on to say, "In my little town they had little civil rights walks and I was with them. I'm with everybody."

That's right, "they" had little civil rights walks in Walls. Well, it appears, "they" need to have a few more because it sure looks like a lot of that 60% of the population isn't able to vote for one reason or another.

Let's face it, how else can you explain a cretin like Gene Alday holding an elected office in a place where "they" don't work.

If there are any questions I'll be in the bar.


Saturday, February 14, 2015

Eddie Routh: Being Insane in Texas Won't Keep You Out of Jail, Plus a Tough Argument to Refute

This dude is straight up nuts.
A text message from Chris Kyle to Chad Littlefield on the drive to the Rough Creek Lodge and Resort, February 2, 2013

Is the apocalypse upon us right now?
Eddie Ray Routh speaking to an arresting officer later the same day.

While Chris Kyle's assessment of the guy he was attempting to help was tragically spot on, given the level of gun violence in these United States, Routh's question seems a bit rhetorical.

In fact, considering the mind numbing statistics, there is only one reason a double homicide trial being conducted two years after the act in Stephenville, TX remains news outside of, say, Ft Worth. It's that one of the two people Brother Routh gunned down was a genuine American hero to huge numbers of people.

Chris Kyle did four tours in Iraq, much, if not all of it, as a sniper. He had, according to him, 160 confirmed kills. He was so efficient at his job the insurgents are reported to have put a bounty on his head and nicknamed him, The Devil of Ramadi. After he retired Kyle wrote a book about his life and service. Hollywood mega mover, Clint Eastwood was so impressed he made a movie about the retired Navy Seal's exploits. It is currently wildly popular among those who enjoy war from afar.

In addition to publishing a biography, Mr. Kyle, much to his credit, created an enterprise known as Fitco Cares. It provided in home fitness equipment to fellow veterans and the families of military personnel who were killed in action.

He and his friend, Chad Littlefield also worked face to face with vets suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD.

To say Eddie Routh suffered from PTSD is rather like saying there have been a few snow flurries in Boston this winter. NBC reports he had been taken in for mental evaluations at least two different times after threatening members of his family and himself with violence. According to the story, the former marine who spent one tour in Iraq and another in Haiti, had been released from a Dallas VA medical center, over family objections, just days before the murders.

His parents called Kyle and asked if he could help their son. Kyle agreed and for reasons, known only to him and perhaps Chad Littlefield, they decided to take the, straight up nuts dude, to a gun range so the three of them could pop off some rounds.

Routh, reportedly, spent the morning of the murders smoking a few joints and knocking back shots of whiskey. Kyle picked him up and the two of them met Littlefield at the Rough Creek facility. Depending on the time and witness Routh says he killed the two men because he could either feel people feeding on his soul, or, "...they wouldn't talk to me."

His attorneys are pleading him innocent by reason of insanity. As my kids used to say, "well, duh."

Unfortunately for their client the state of Texas requires they prove he literally didn't know right from wrong. That is going to be tough since Routh took off in Kyle's truck immediately after the shooting, then before he was arrested led police on a ten minute chase prior to surrendering. No, this guy isn't going to be shipped off to some mental institute, he is going to jail for the rest of his life. The deal is so done the jury might arrive at a verdict before they even leave the box.

Eddie Routh shot Chris Kyle five times in the back and side and once in the head. He pumped seven bullets into Chad Littlefield. Both victims had loaded weapons in their waistbands with the safeties on. In other words, despite Routh's history of mental illness and despite handing a known whack job a loaded gun, they both turned their backs on him and assumed he wouldn't go off his nut.

In that terrible instant we were all witness to the most perfect American selfie ever taken. It is one that's more revealing than anything written, or said about the national culture of violence, the NRA, and our deadly gun fetish.

Yes, in the end, The Devil of Ramadi and his friend weren't done in by some wild eyed Arab insurgent, or a roadside IED. They were killed by a fellow American they had just handed a loaded weapon to.

It is a tradition as old as the country itself and it's repeated each and every day. We call it freedom.

Every other industrialized nation in the world maintains it is insanity. As always, their argument is tough to refute.

sic vita est


Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Women Stranded on the Road in Saudi Arabia and a Parking Space in Chapel Hill

It is getting absurdly ugly and lethal out there. So much so there is a great urge to shut down the desk top and lock the television onto something utterly mind numbing, like reruns of ScyFy's, "Destination Truth."

How else should one react when the eminent Saudi historian, Saleh Al-Saadoon says his nation doesn't allow women to drive because it protects them from getting raped. He went on to clear up the fuzzy connection between the two activities by assuring a couple of Saudi TV talk show hosts if a woman's car breaks down on the highway she is vulnerable to roaming rapists on the look out for stranded female drivers.

While that may say a lot about Saudi men in general, Al-Saadoon went on to explain the reason western countries allow women to drive. According to him it is because, "They don't care if they (the women) are raped on the roadside..." In addition he made it clear that when it came to sexual assault, western women were far more comfortable with it, "It's no big deal to them," he said, "beyond damage to their morale. In our case however the problem is of a social and religious nature."

To their credit, according to the Huffington Post article, the reactions of the show's hosts and other guests on the set were described as incredulous. Despite their shock there is something to learn here about the difference between Saudi Arabia, plus other places on this globe, as opposed to much of the western world. Hidden away in the grotesquely ham handed presentation--not to mention what is, perhaps, a disturbing personal sexual fantasy--is the acknowledgment that women who are raped in the United States are considered victims, while those in Saudi Arabia instantly become social pariahs.

An American woman, in almost every instance, will not be shunned by her family, or divorced by her husband because she was attacked by a sexual predator. That sort of compassion and understanding simply doesn't exist in Saudi Arabia. There, once a woman has been violated, no matter what the circumstances, she is forever unclean and untouchable.

Besides this one awful little peek into a societal divide so deep it is unfathomable, everything else the misogynist cretin said reeks of absolute bullshit. The Huffington Post article pointed out a woman convicted of driving in the kingdom can be sentenced to lashings and two women who did brave the ban last year are being tried in a court usually reserved for terrorists.

Isn't it great to know these guys are on our side?

Meanwhile, speaking of, "our side" yesterday, three Muslim students at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill were executed by a neighbor, because--well--they pissed him off. The reason why is not completely clear, although it is easy to take a guess and many are.

While covering the tragedy, CNN's Wolf Blitzer seemed to fall off the Mr. Reality Roller Coaster at Disney World when he told viewers, "It is hard to believe this could happen in the United States."

It is unknown exactly when Wolf began to cultivate those wonderful and weird Psilocybin mushrooms in his basement, or consume them on air. I mean, let's face it, despite the obvious religious motives for the crime, you'd think he would at least have a working knowledge of the appalling statistics of gun violence in America. This terrible shit happens 24-7 from sea to shining sea. Just ask them in Chicago.

The main suspect in the case is 46 year old Craig Hicks. He turned himself into police last night. Blitzer claimed Hicks' social media sites are filled with anti Islamic rants. His reporting is a tad overwrought. Other media outlets point out Hicks is an atheist. They published samples of his posts, none of which mentioned Islam, or Muslims, although he did obsess on an unnamed religion known only as, "you."

Apparently Brother Hicks went off his nut because of a dispute about a parking space. If true, it is an act of brute stupidity which is so American it makes apple pie look like it was invented in Thailand. The father of one of the victims, a psychiatrist, probably nailed it when he said the murders were a hate crime and the parking lot argument was simply the trigger.

Well, there is a long history of that here. The motives range from religion and race to the guy who cut you off on the freeway. Everyone has a beef and unfortunately we all have loaded guns.

No, it isn't hard to believe the Chapel Hill tragedy happened. That's because it happens each and every day in these United States. In the end the only things which differ in the ongoing carnage are the excuses for it.

And--unfortunately--as the man in the movie said, excuses are like assholes, everyone has one.


Sunday, February 8, 2015

A Weekend of Severe Insanity

It has been a weekend of severe insanity on so many fronts there simply isn't time to go into each incident in full detail. Yes, given the deluge of deadly nonsense it is probably best to fall back on some corporate training from the days of yore. That's right, simply reduce the facts to their most basic in order to present them in what we used to call, ironically, bullet points.

Teens With Guns, Part I ---It is reported three people were wounded, two of them critically, Saturday evening at a Macy's store in a Pittsburgh suburb. 17 year old Tarod Thornhill was charged with attempted murder, aggravated assault, and reckless endangerment by the local police. According to the account one of those wounded was the actual target and the other two committed that most common  of modern mistakes--they were in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Teens With Guns, Part II--In Jeannette, PA,  16 year old Maxwell Marion Morton shot Ryan Mangan, who was also 16, in the face, killing him. Not wanting there to be any confusion over who pulled the trigger, young Maxwell took a selfie of himself along with the fresh corpse, then posted it on the phone app, Snapchat. A friend of his saved the photo before the application automatically deleted it and showed it to his mother. She took the pic to the cops who promptly tracked down not only Max Morton, but the murder weapon, a 9mm. handgun.

Crazy in Douglasville, GA--On Saturday an unidentified man shot six people, killing four, before doing everyone a favor by blowing his own brains out. It is reported one of the victims is his ex-wife and the others are children belonging to her family. A motive, other than the obvious one, has not been made public at this time.

Chipper Jones, Conspiracy Theorist--On Friday the former major league baseball star tweeted that the FBI had confirmed the Sandy Hook elementary school shooting, which claimed the lives of 20 children and six adults, was a hoax. Jones also lamented, "Where is the outrage? What else are we being lied to about?" It is unclear at this time exactly who in the FBI "confirmed" the nightmare was a hoax, or when. Jones didn't go into those details of the Bureau's shocking announcement. He did, however, delete the post after some of the victims family members began to respond to it in ways we can all imagine. He also apologized to those, "...who were hurt, or offended." Which isn't the same as saying he suddenly had a change of opinion. No, you can make book that ol' Chipper, who apparently took one to many sliders to the noggin during his long career, still believes Adam Lanza was a scapegoat for the anti gun lobby, he's just not going to tweet about it any more.

Collateral Damage in Syria--After the Jordanian air force began pounding ISIS sites in response to the gruesome murder of one of its pilots the terrorist propaganda machine went into high gear. It announced bombing raids, cruelly conducted during afternoon prayers, failed to cause even a single casualty among their troops, although the last known American hostage being held by them was killed. Kayla Mueller, a 26 year old idealist and aid worker was kidnapped by Islamic State in August of 2013. The last time it was confirmed she was alive was May, 2014. It is uncertain if the IS public relations people realize their news release has all the credibility of the old North Korean report that Kim Jong-Il shot 11 hole in ones during his first round of golf, or not. Hopes that Ms. Mueller is still alive are probably in vain. The odds are she was murdered around the same time as three other American hostages, but ISIS couldn't come up with a way to package it, so they delayed the announcement until now in a feeble attempt to blame someone else.

One A in Mosul--It would appear ISIS needs a few good men. According to NBC, families in Mosul, Iraq with more than one son are being, "urged" to give up one of them for the cause. Witnesses say loudspeakers in mosques and at other spots around the city are carrying taped messages telling the citizens to send their sons into the fray. The same witnesses tell NBC there are fewer IS fighters roaming the streets as the war drains manpower. This begs the question, is it a real jihad if you have to use draftees to fight it? Given their astute PR powers the IS leadership will, no doubt, be able to convince themselves it is. After all, anything less would be rank defeatism, not to mention heresy.  

So there we have it. Another Sunday is in the books and too many people have become nothing but memories for all the wrong reasons.

Tragically, even in this new millennia, it is the nature of the beast and his weapons.

sic vita est


Wednesday, February 4, 2015

One Murder Too Far

The AP is reporting that over in Raqqa, Syria--the sorta, kinda capital of Islamic State--it is pretty much business as usual today. Masked murderers, rapists, and thieves armed with automatic weapons and RPGs are running around yelling things like, "God is great" while strategically placed big screens re-play a video of the hideous death of Moath al-Kasaesbeh.

Yes, for reasons which only psychiatrists can explain, many on the dusty streets believe burning another human being to death is a great and wonderful thing. They have, in their minds anyway, won yet another victory in what they call the Caliphate. It is an expanse of land reaching through parts of Syria and Iraq that, in reality, amounts to nothing more than the world's largest prison yard.

Apparently the convicts who control this surreal piece of real estate, consider the gruesome murder of the Jordanian pilot on a par with the be-headings of various Americans, British, and Japanese civilians. Well, why wouldn't they? They've been busily executing Iraqi and Syrian prisoners of war for the fun of it the last year, or two, not to mention murdering and raping members of religious minorities with a gusto not seen since Reinhard Heydrich ran things for Herr Hitler. Sure there has been some blow back, but certainly nothing they haven't been able to handle so far.

That's right, the Americans might have started dropping a few bombs here and there as have the French and assorted middle eastern countries, but no one in the, "coalition," unless you count the Kurds, have had the courage to actually face them on the ground.

The truth is popular support for a real war against IS has been tepid at best. Many in the region, with good reason, have a deep distrust of  western motives and actual objectives. In fact people, both there and here, can reasonably argue the United States planted the seeds of the current insanity when it invaded Iraq for no other reasons except to make Dick Cheney's pals rich and prove George W. Bush had balls.

Since our departure, thanks to an Iraqi government so brutally incompetent it defies description, the deadly beasts have been able to grow like noxious weeds and push the envelope without any concern of major retribution. However, if history has taught us anything, such unchallenged success inevitably leads to arrogance and arrogance is the precursor to a terrible fall.

It would seem Islamic State may have reached the edge of that deep chasm. Shooting anonymous soldiers and publicly beheading infidels are one thing and certainly the massacre of a bunch of French cartoonists who went out of their way to insult the Prophet wasn't going to light a fire in places like Amman. However, it appears, at least at the moment, broadcasting and celebrating the immolation of a fellow Muslim locked in a cage does flip a switch.

The AP reports Jordan, not entirely encumbered with things like appeals courts, or due process, immediately executed two prisoners previously convicted on terrorism charges. One of them, Sajida al-Rishawi was the woman IS reportedly wanted to swap for the already dead al-Kasaesbeh. There can be little doubt the order came directly from King Abdullah II.

Ahmed al-Tayeb, a scholar at the Al-Azhar institute in Cairo, a Sunni seat of study, said Islamic State is the enemy of God and the Prophet. He also claimed the execution violated Islam's prohibition of the mutilation of bodies, even during a time of war. A Saudi cleric maintained the execution was in violation of Islam because the Prophet said God alone gets to punish with fire and that is strictly in the afterlife.

Others religious and political leaders used terms and phrases such as, despicable, obscene, and "abuse of Islam." There were also things bandied about like, "intellectual decay" and "political fragmentation."

In short, this latest act of madness may have taken things one murder too far when it comes to that whole hearts and minds department.

How this will play out beyond the initial outrage is any ones guess. But for now we are left with the words of Jordanian politician, Mohammed al-Rousan. He was quoted as saying, "Let's use the same methods on them. Let's kill their children. Let's kill their women."

Around these parts words like those mean someone has just been provoked into a blood feud.

And, quite frankly, such things rarely end well for the fuckers who started it.

We can only hope that will be the case here.


Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Islamic State: We Never Cease to Amaze

It remains unclear why large numbers of the human species periodically go off their collective nut and become raging monsters. Let's face it, this terrible phenomenon isn't restricted to some dark era of our history, one tribe, ethnic group, nation, or religion. All of us, at some point, have tried to build an empire and eliminate those standing in the way by the most savage means available.
You'd think we'd grow out of it. Hey, we can fly people into outer space and send fantastic machines to the furthest reaches of the solar system, but we still can't rid ourselves of that reptilian core of the brain. It is there and as Morrison once sang, it's "squirming like a toad." Then when some of us, for whatever reason, tap into it, we become as remorseless as the most ravenous beasts lurking in the fields and under the seas. The difference being we aren't doing it for food, we're in it for the fun.
The latest incarnation of this evil is known as IS, or ISIS. They're using Islam as their excuse, but most reasonable people understand if it wasn't Islam, it would be something else, anything else. As someone once said, excuses are like assholes--everybody has one.
Today they released a video which showed the execution of Moath al-Kasaesbeh, a Jordanian air force officer. Apparently fearing the number of views would sag if they simply beheaded al-Kasaesbeh--because, as their media experts know, people grow bored easily and cutting off someone's head is becoming a bit passé--they put him into a cage and set him on fire. After he collapsed in flames they buried the cage, his remains still in it, with rocks and debris, then flattened the whole execution site with a tractor.
The video was not only meant to terrify those of us who consider ourselves viably human, but attract fellow psychopathic sadists to their cause. That's right--if you like crucifixions, beheadings, and burning people alive, WE WANT YOU!
The details, as always, remain fuzzy. According to Reuters, as late as last week the government of King Abdullah was saying they would trade a woman involved in a 2005 Amman suicide bombing for their pilot. However, they must of known something was amiss. While willing to make the swap, the Jordanians began demanding proof al-Kasaesbeh was still alive. Today they said he was killed a month ago. It is uncertain how and when they found out the date of his murder. 
We do know IS wanted the Japanese to somehow convince the Jordanians to release the same woman in a prisoner exchange in order for them to spare journalist Kenji Goto's life. It is now obvious they went to the Japanese with the offer rather than respond to Jordan, because they knew al-Kasaebeh was already dead. When the ruse didn't work they beheaded Goto.  
The fact is Islamic State isn't a religious, or political revolution, it is a savage prison riot. There can be no telling who is really in charge of local units, or makes decisions about executions and ransom demands. The rules and regulations of West Point and Sandhurst don't exist. However the fundamentals of the chaos during the 1971 Attica Correctional Center uprising do. Then and now the truth is the guy with the biggest weapon and baddest attitude is in charge and everyone else is his bitch.     
According to an AP story one former IS fighter claims female recruits are routinely forced to have sex with male fighters. According to the disillusioned Tunisian who was interviewed, IS soldiers get around the prohibition on rape by marrying the women in the evening and divorcing them the next morning. The would be female jihadists have no say in the matter.
The same man says this about his experience, "It was totally different from what they said jihad would be like."
What a shock.
The AP says the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights claims IS has executed at least 120 of its own people in the last six months. Most of them were foreign fighters who signed up for the great adventure then realized they'd fucked up and wanted to go home.
Well sometimes you just can't back out of a deal. Especially when you're stuck in the middle of a wild Charlie Manson style rave. 
There is no end in sight right now. IS may seem unstoppable, but if we know anything, civilization won't be forced back into some horrific middle age wet dream fueled by the desires of  a few religious loons and battalions of crazed felons.
They will be defeated. The only question is how long it will take and how many good people will be beheaded, or burned alive before it happens.
Unfortunately there is no telling, because when it comes to killing each other, we never cease to amaze.