Friday, August 29, 2014

While America Sleeps

President Obama has been playing a lot of golf lately and he’s been getting plenty of criticism for it. But is his attention really elsewhere? Or is he feverishly trying to figure out what the deal is with ISIS and Iraq/Syria?
Last night he appeared at a press conference and informed the world that he is not about to “put the cart before the horse,” in dealing with this horrific problem. He’s too busy trying to understand the subtleties of the question.
Well, maybe can offer some help. It’s the same help we’ve been offering for weeks now (along with politicians on both sides of the aisle, and a busload of editorial page writers). Mr. President, this is not our war yet. So it isn’t time to send in hundreds of thousand of troops to defeat the ISIS threat. But it will quickly become our problem if you do not ARM THE KURDS of northern Iraq right now, this minute, as we speak!
The Kurds are loyal and trustworthy American allies but we have not always returned that trustworthiness and loyalty. It is time to take the battle to ISIS by helping the Kurds with money, weapons and support. The American people are behind that move, Mr. President. You should be, too.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Fergsuon; death and devastation vs soccer and world peace!

Forget Ferguson, ISIS and Putin...Soccer is what we should be thinking about!
The death of Michael Brown in Ferguson...the march of ISIS in Iraq and Syria...the push of Putin in Ukraine... These are days when can’t help wondering where the smiles have gone. And we’ve been thinking a lot
Maybe it’s time for everyone all over the world to lay down their arms and their agendas and concentrate on the only thing that seems to bring everyone, all over the world, together–soccer.
Yes, you read that right. So much of the world loves the sport of soccer and the U.S. has been slow to join the rest of the globe’s fascination with the flying white ball. But, it’s a fact of life that when people are playing soccer, they’re generally not killing each other. A good thing.
Maybe we should think more about the rumble of the crowd and the flight of the ball into that far-off goal post the next time we’re inclined to concentrate on the death and devastation that seems to be the only thing on our plates these days...

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Don Lemon of CNN pushed around in Ferguson...

A few days ago the staff of (me) was sitting around, watching the festivities in Ferguson, MO. when we saw the spectacle of CNN reporter Don Lemon being pushed back behind a barricade by what seemed like a very angry Ferguson police officer. The look on the officer’s face suggested that Lemon would be well advised to listen to the officer’s instructions.
Now, it turns out that this very officer has been suspended, following the reveal of a videotape in which said officer rants and raves about gays and women and the generally good idea of “killing people.”
We’re not taking sides in the Ferguson debate because, like everyone else, we’re waiting to see the results of what will be a very careful (and media scrutinized) investigation. But the news that this particular toxic cop has been on the job for thirty years seems especially distressing. How can a police department claim to be working for the benefit of its citizens when behavior such as this is tolerated, if not embraced, by the supervisory staff and government officials of Ferguson? Just thinking about that...

Friday, August 22, 2014

What really happened in Ferguson?

Days and days of protest and violence in Ferguson MO. have resulted in a better understanding of racial prejudice and intolerance in America...or not.
What has witnessed over these last two weeks is a wild media frenzy and a widening gap between the parties in the confrontation. Each side blames the other for transgressions–supposed “proof” of police brutality or “proof” of the culpability of the dead young black man surfaces almost on a daily hour. Videotapes furnished by both sides demands attention and these tapes are dutifully offered for public scrutiny by a hungry press corps, eager to hand us the next “major break.”
The Chief of Police of Ferguson releases a store video revealing someone who “looks like” the dead black man, robbing a convenience store. There was no choice but to release the tape, he tells the press. The carnival rolls on. Al Sharpton is already in MO. “helping” the family of the dead man. The Governor of MO. has already apparently decided where the blame lies.
And the process of investigation has barely even started. Isn’t this the time for everyone to step back a pace and let the truth bubble up to the surface? Do any of us really know yet what happened that terrible night in Ferguson? Do any of us really want to know? Or are we all too busy pushing our own agendas from all sides? It’s time to let the process play out and see where it goes. That just might be satisfying to some. Or it might lead to even more confusion. But we owe it to the facts to wait and see where this goes.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

The beheading of James Foley in Iraq...

Now has to report the news that an American journalist has been beheaded by forces aligned with ISIS in Iraq. What do we think about this? What can any sane person think about a political movement that would resort to such a barbaric act for no other reason than to make a statement to its enemies?
And what exactly is that statement? It is nothing more than a show of power, an exhibition of brute force to be used whenever the mood fits. We are supposed to respond to this thuggish, execrable act by being cowed (as the troops of the Iraqi army were cowed when they were called upon to defend their own nation and their own people against the Isis forces).
What should our response be? At first, the West should respond by recognizing this act for what it is. And then it should respond by letting ISIS know, in any and all certain terms that this sort of behavior will not be greeted with diffidence. Instead, the West must do everything it can to cut off any, and all economic chains that support and finance this group. Let us not be confused. ISIS is now a state, and states require funding. We must insure that no further funds are siphoned off by this group, and that no Western nation allows their money to find its way to these barbarians–savages who are, indeed at the gates of democracy.


Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Shep Smith of Fox takes a stand on Ferguson

I was watching the spectacle of events going down in Ferguson, Mo. the other night and I was appalled at the carnival that this tragedy has become. has seen plenty of public tragedies turn into circuses before but this one seems to carry with it a special tint of sadness. That’s because the Press has turned out in droves, in numbers we haven’t seen before, to cover...what exactly?
A group of angry protesters, incensed at the shooting of a black man by white cops, all flanked by a coterie of reporters that would seem more appropriate at a major war scene.
And into the fray has stepped the estimable talking head, Shep Smith of Fox News, who surprised everyone last night by asking the unaskable question: are the reporters and their presence doing more harm than good at this event?
At one point Smith pointed out that those with a vested interest in the riots had mostly gone home. Who was left? The police, National Guard, a few protesters and very many reporters, whose sole function seemed to be fanning the flames of an event that required their presence in the same way a flame requires the presence of a moth.
It was refreshing to hear the brave Smith opine such a thing on national television. On Fox News.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Should Obama go to St. Louis? has some thoughts on this subject today. The rioting in Ferguson is now in its second week and show no signs of abating. Despite the pleas of community organizers and Missouri politicians, including the democratic Governor, rioters continue to set the agenda in the small city of Ferguson. Such is the anger than has taken hold following the shooting of an eighteen-year-old black man by Ferguson police.
What can be done to stop the looting and destruction?
How about a visit from the President of the United States, who, after all, was elected because he held out the promise of a nation undivided by racial animosity? Isn’t this the time–the moment for a Roosevelt-like fireside chat–when presidential leadership might actually have an effect on the heated events of the day?
A personal plea, an in-person pleas–from POTUS might be just the thing to show protesters and police, alike, that the time for reconciliation has arrived. The people of Ferguson and the people of the United States are wary of the unrest that has befallen the small city in Missouri. The president can do something about it. He should act immediately to quell the fires of outrage, and to calm the mood of the nation.