Sunday, September 29, 2013

Pope/Preacher & Accommodation

From a recent column by Lexington [Ky.] Herald-Leader religion-writer and minister, Paul Prather: “In a nicely worded analogy, [Pope] Francis told La Civilta Cattolica, ‘I see the church as a field hospital after battle. It is useless to ask a seriously injured person if he has high cholesterol and about the level of his blood sugars. You have to heal his wounds. Then we can talk about everything else’.”

The column had to do with the Pope’s recent, well-publicized remarks about not being judgmental toward homosexuals and dogmatic about things such as abortion and same-sex marriage. He walked himself back from the latter two and made no statements changing any of the church’s dogma, including homosexual behavior, though he has the power to do that.

The Pope’s analogy vis-à-vis the hospital being the church is exactly backwards. He likened an “injured” person to one with an upset/trauma brought about by circumstances accruing to negligence, bad luck or of his own making. His solution was to deal with the “injury” rather than ward it off in advance by providing preventive measures, sort of like having to fix a broken hip because the old codger’s bed-rail was not in place when he decided to take a walk.

The “injury” the Pope probably had in mind was the disadvantage of many people accruing to poverty or oppression. Feeding/aiding them before or after the “injury” is impossible if the church is weak, so the Pope’s point is well taken. However, the church is weak mainly because its members are spiritually deprived, translated, doctrinally ignorant. Strength and compassion are structured through attainment of spiritual purity gained by activating doctrine, the teachings of the Bible.

Prather’s column was about loving and serving everyone because God loves us. Prather said: “We've been offered unconditional grace. Anyone can get a ticket stamped for heaven just by asking.” When the rich ruler asked what he should do to be worthy, Jesus told him to give what he had to the poor and follow him—a condition. The blind man was healed only when, as directed by Jesus, he washed from his eyes the mud Jesus placed on them—a condition. Even biblically, there’s no free lunch.

Prather’s prescription is called “cheap grace.” During the Catholic Inquisition, indulgences (passports to heaven) were sold by the church hierarchy to ignorant peasants—cheap grace. Pay up, live like hell, and truck on up to the pearly gates.

Prather wrote: “By forgiving us unconditionally, he [God] frees us from eternal condemnation and self-condemnation alike.” Whoa! Is Prather saying a “loving” God would mandate “eternal condemnation” for anyone? His “un-condition” noted above was that the individual must “ask” for a “ticket stamped for heaven.” Most people, historically and worldwide, have never “asked”…indeed, have never heard of Jesus or heaven. Are they hell-bound?

Prather: “Still, it appears he [Pope Francis] wants to help shift the church's focus — away from rules and judgment, toward mercy and love.” This is the politically correct approach to religion, the “You’re okay, I’m okay” theology because rule-mongering is obsolete, with great religious theater operative now…hugs and warm-fuzzies all around and EVERYTHING in a shade of gray, translated, spiritual stupidity.

Problem: The Holy Bible is a massive document of “shalls” and “shall nots,” with little left for gray shades—unmistakably clear about worshiping God with the entire pure-as-possible self, categorically forbidding murder, lying, stealing, adultery, covetousness (greed) and homosexual acts, among other things.

Jesus portrayed a bit of “tough love” when he used Sodom as an example concerning his “loving” condemnation of certain cities for their willfulness and when he made a whip and lashed the defilers (greedy merchants) and drove them off the temple grounds. He also said that believers must care for the disadvantaged and made it plain that marriage was confined to a man and woman.

Prather: “No, to hear them [too many Christians] tell it, the Christian message is foremost about opposing abortion, gay marriage, contraception—pretty much anything having to do with (shhhhh!) s-e-x.” This is Prather’s elitist tour de force, not realizing he’s the one who just brought up the subject of “(shhhhh!) s-e-x,” an obsession (especially perverted sex) with today’s sophisticated modernists and religious highbrows.

Pope Francis sees the church in decline and along with his religionist counterparts in this country is attempting to hold the fort by accommodating it to secularism/hedonism, marks of the prevailing culture. It won’t work because sin and church are mutually exclusive. Prather is in accommodation-mode, while Francis heads a church so steeped in moral depravity in much of the priesthood that onlookers just snicker.

And so it goes.
Jim Clark

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Sharpton's Folly

Dear Rev. Sharpton:

I am writing to suggest that you might be a candidate for the services of the Institute for Modifying All Governmental Entities (IMAGE, for short). This isn’t to say your heroic work in re-socializing the nation has not been well done, only that it might be susceptible to improvement. Your efforts vis-à-vis the Trayvon Martin affair were laudable right up to the end, at which time that evil George Zimmerman was found innocent of all charges. Your insistence that Zimmerman had no right to occupy the same sidewalk as Martin was not believed by the jury—all women—but that only proved how wrong they were. You qualify for my agency’s help because you work for MSNBC, a government agency by any measure. I’ve even heard that both your legs tingle like those of your colleague, Chris Matthews, when the president even sneezes, much less speaks.

IMAGE’s department that can help you more easily pick subjects for use in re-socializing activity is called the Consortium Referencing Eerily Evil-Perpetrating Yahoos, or CREEPY, for short. It is CREEPY’s mission to expose people like Zimmerman and would have been a great help to you before you attempted to use Tawana Brawley in one of your earlier “hate whitey” campaigns. As you know, IMAGE took up offerings to help in your defense when you accused a police detective of perfidy and were sued, losing the case. I understand that others have helped you pay off the damages awarded that evil detective, whom the president would have accused of acting stupidly. IMAGE was contacted by the White House recently for advice on whether or not the president should have said that Aaron Alexis could have been his son or nephew 34 years ago. As you have noticed, the president has said no such thing. IMAGE is never wrong.

IMAGE’s arm that can help you say and write the right thing at the right time is the Agency for Solemn Syllogisms, or ASS, for short. Since you’re a minister, you may feel no need for ASS, but you must remember that anyone of your importance must be careful about public pronouncements. Publishing that picture of you and your girlfriend recently with a caption indicating it was made at the Congressional Black Caucus Dinner was a mistake, especially since she’s 23 years younger than you and you’re still married. The infidelity is okay these days—after all, it’s celebrated in this country now—but that age-difference is a no-no, making evil republicans and tea-partiers call you an old lecher. IMAGE would have suggested far more discretion.

Your being a minister leads to this final suggestion that an arm of IMAGE called the Congregation for Religiously Activating Cacophonous Kinetics Energizing Riots (CRACKER, for short), would be useful. In your invasion of Sanford, Florida, in 2012, the protests were loud but not nearly loud enough for the scalp of George Zimmerman to be exhibited on the City Hall flagpole. The parades were disorderly enough but were totally devoid of religious rappers. After all, your mission as a minister is to put a religious stamp on every activity, and rapper-speak is the “in thing” right now, whether calling for the wasting of cops or the rape of grandmothers or the saving of souls. You didn’t even have a religious rapper-band at the trial with something like “Georgie, Georgie Zimmerman/Joining Satan’s caravan/Off to burn forevermore/Faith of brothers to restore.”

You could have had the brothers to put that rap on those humongous speakers in pickup-beds and back-seats (the ones that make the earth shake at traffic-lights) and driven any Sanford jury to a guilty verdict, whether composed of women, men, a combination of each or a gang of orangutans. The courthouse would have shaken on its foundations…and all in the name of religion, your primary calling.

So, you see, I hope, how IMAGE could have helped with its CREEPY-ASS-CRACKER agencies. A lot of other opportunities for re-socializing the country (actually the whole world, for someone of your talents) are out there every day. You’re quite busy as the head guru at MSNBC and I suspect you haven’t the time to do a number on the most important disenfranchise-mongers. Let IMAGE help. Racism is alive and well, as you so aptly prove, so I’ll await your business.

Best regards,
I.M. Otherself, CEO

And so it goes.
Jim Clark

Tuesday, September 24, 2013


The proposed natural-gas transmission-line that would cross a small part of Kentucky, including a tiny segment of Woodford County, has recently come under fire from property-owners and others ranging from the “greens” to those who simply “fear” the ramifications such as potential explosions. The greens obviously have no argument since the land is returned to its original condition after construction, a relatively rapid operation, with the possible exception of the loss of a few trees. This is not like strip-mining.

With respect to the fear-factor, in an article in the New Orleans Times Picayune of 20 September 2010 it was noted that according to data furnished by the federal Department of Transportation a total of 35 people were killed and 182 injured in pipeline “events” between 1990 and 2009, for an average of 1.75 and 9, respectively, per year over twenty years. For some perspective, note that in 2009 ALONE there were 10,839 people killed by drunk drivers in the U.S., or 30 per DAY.

Nothing is foolproof, of course, including gas-lines; however, the same people who complain about the transmission-lines, nearly all of which are nowhere near population areas, have no trouble with the gas-lines that form huge grids under places like Lexington and Versailles, for instance, at a depth of less than two feet (probably 18 inches), not to mention within the walls and floors of their houses, schools, stores, etc., all susceptible to rupture through human error.

In the early 1950s I worked for Brown-Root, a gas-transmission company out of Texas, that was laying these lines from Texas to the Northeast, many of which passed through Kentucky, Boyle County in particular. Living in Danville, I worked on the pump-facility between Junction City and Stanford—much of the time operating a jackhammer, which weighed almost as much as I did, and mixing concrete on the job, throwing 90-pound bags of cement into the mixer-hopper and trundling the concrete in huge wheelbarrows.

I was given a wire-brush one morning, told to get inside a pipe-section and scour it clean. That only happened once for obvious reasons and a tool was devised for the job. After that, the jackhammer was cool. There was a salt-tablet dispenser by each water-keg and workers were expected to swallow them (the tablets)…if they could keep them down. I found the same was the case on navy ships a few years before. By days-end, my face and clothes were salt-covered, ghostly white. Nowadays, salt intake is practically a criminal offense in NYC.

But I digress. Much of South Danville was built over those lines, one of them passing under an elementary schoolyard today. It seems that the method of construction hasn’t changed much. The pipe sections are 16-48 inches in diameter, most of them 24-36. The sections, 40-80 feet long, are placed in line and a ditch dug 5-6 feet deep. The sections are welded together, coated with epoxy to prevent rust, and the pipe is lowered to a federal minimum of 3 feet of soil over the top of the pipe, 4 feet under ditches and streams (as of 2007, at least). Most of it is probably deeper.

In a later life, I worked for many years on the railroad between Cincinnati and Chattanooga mostly as a locomotive engineer hustling trains carrying tank-cars holding every conceivable flammable material, including propane gas, during which time I saw many humongous derailments and had a part in cleaning up some of the wreckages. A tank-car can hold up to 34,500 gallons, almost as much as four 18-wheeler-tankers on the highway.

The catastrophic tank-car derailment in Quebec in July that practically blew away a town and killed scores of people was probably due to human error but nevertheless indicated the horrific damage possible when flammable liquids are transported by either rail or highway, the latter important because of the frequently reported truck-wrecks caused by drivers going to sleep.

The pipeline doing virtually no damage is far superior from a safety standpoint to any other mode of oil-transportation. This would be the most valid reason for suggesting the admittedly onerous (NIMBY) eminent domain as a tool in providing for such safety. Property owners would be compensated for the use of their land, however, and would be entitled to – and could demand – its total restoration and complete eradication of all disorder caused by construction.

And so it goes.
Jim Clark

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Executive-Order Perfidy

All presidents have issued executive orders dealing with a plethora of subjects, not least because they are often stymied by either the Congress or the Courts in advancing agendas that conflict with both public opinion and state constitutions and/or laws. President Obama may be the worst “offender” in this matter.

The Obama Administration’s actions at the end of August went beyond the scope of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Windsor decision. Justice Anthony Kennedy’s majority opinion in that decision clearly states that marriage law is the purview of the states: “[T]he definition and regulation of marriage has been treated as being within the authority and realm of the separate States.”

Notwithstanding that ruling, Obama has decreed (executive order or a regulation by some czar or agency, same thing) that federal perks will be available to same-sex “married” couples no matter where they live, thus negating the constitutions and laws in most states, where such “marriages” are illegal. This means that two men in Kentucky can file a joint federal tax return but not a joint state return, even though the state return data is derived from the federal return.

Obama has no respect for states’ rights. If the men are not married in the state of their residence, they are not married at all, federal executive orders or regulations notwithstanding. Marriage is local, not national, according to the Constitution and Justice Kennedy.

Executive Order No. 13492, 22 January 2009: Sec. 3. Closure of Detention Facilities at Guanta´ namo. The detention facilities at Guanta´namo for individuals covered by this order shall be closed as soon as practicable, and no later than 1 year from the date of this order. If any individuals covered by this order remain in detention at Guanta´namo at the time of closure of those detention facilities, they shall be returned to their home country, released, transferred to a third country, or transferred to another United States detention facility in a manner consistent with law and the national security and foreign policy interests of the United States.

Executive Order No. 13567, 07 March 2011: Sec. 9(d): Nothing in this order, and no determination made under this order, shall be construed as grounds for release of detainees covered by this order into the United States.

Obama has not kept track of his XOs. What he decreed in January 2009 was nullified by what he decreed in March 2011, never mind that he’s been flummoxed by the will of the people as expressed through their elected representatives. Legislation trumps XOs unless the Court decrees otherwise. As shown in the Windsor decision, a flaky court is as dangerous as a flaky president. DOMA should not have been struck down. Obamacare, a bankrupting instrument, is the result of a flaky court, with the Chief Justice not knowing the difference between a tax and a penalty.

USNews, 30 November 2012: “‘If the bill [Defense Budget] is presented to the President for approval in its current form, the President's senior advisers would recommend that the President veto the bill,’ the Obama administration said in a statement. The White House also said that President Obama is committed to finding a place on U.S. soil to house the prisoners.”

The president has more than three more years to devise more executive orders. In April amidst a massive hunger-strike at Gitmo, he reiterated his determination that Gitmo simply had to go. Doctors had been called in to deal with the inmates who had had enough and meant to starve their way out, though some are actually men without countries. It might or might not make sense to close the prison but the president admitted in April that he couldn’t close the place without the help of Congress.

In other words, executive orders can be dispensed with if necessary. That was an important lesson for the president, whose regulators are now trying to terminate coal-mining. Congress might have other ideas, especially since the manmade-global-warming hoax is indisputably well documented now, the latest evidence being in the record volume of Antarctica sea-ice and the fact that current Arctic sea-ice volume is well above that of last year at this time.

An imperial presidency (another monarchy) was what the founders attempted to make impossible. Obama is obviously unhappy with that and has expressed his dissatisfaction with the U.S. Constitution. His XOs are his shenanigan of choice. Stay tuned.

And so it goes.
Jim Clark

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

POTUS, V-PO, Jekyll & Hyde

It’s two a.m. in the little office off the Oval Office and POTUS and VPOTUS are meeting with Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, referenced hereinafter respectively as P, V, J, and H.

**P: Glad you could make it, guys, I know it’s short…
**J: I say, Edward, did you understand Barry—you don’t mind if I call you Barry, do you, Barry—that we were just addressed as guys…and by a colonist at that?
**P: Sorry about that, Henry—I remember from your last visit in August last year that you said Henry was better than Dr. anything—I just forgot. There’s so much going on these days and…
**V: Yeah, it’s that awful #%&*^@# three-letter word—MESS—around here that’s…
**H: Oh dear Joe, you never change, still dealing in the land of the four-letter words known in the empire as Vulgaria and never having passed fourth-term spelling…oh hahahahaha…
**V: I take that personally, Hyde, and what’s more, I’ll…
**P: Cool it, Joe. It was just Carney and I who met with these gentlemen last year so you don’t know we’re on first-name terms here…
**V: Sheesh…I thought Hyde was the…
**H: The name is Edward, Joe…that’s Edward as in one of our kings who blew the whole monarchy and married a…gasp…colonist…oh the shame…
**V: Tough stuff there, Eddy boy…sheesh…it wasn’t Marilyn Monroe, was it…oh no, she married that ballplayer…Irish guy, of course, with a strange Italian name.
**J: Let’s abscond to the Oval Office, Barry. I keep thinking bad thoughts about the intern thing in this office.
**H: Oh yes. Tell me, Joe, is it true that your Slick Willie…(they exit)…was impeached…
**J: Later, Edward. You sent for us last time for advice on how to handle economics before the election since Mr. Ryan seemed to know more than you or Geithner or anyone else. What is it this time? (They sit)
**H: Ah…so where was that bust of Churchill you sent to the basement or Gitmo…oh…hahahaha…Gitmo…are they still flushing Korans there?
**J: Shame, Edward! Flushing Korans, indeed! He merely means, Barry, that the holy books get grimy occasionally and…
**H: Need to be water-boarded, with their owners attached, of course…hoo hah…water-boarding, how about taking us down to…
**J: Later, Edward. You were about to say, Barry…
**P: Uh…uh…uh…and…uh…a-a-a-n-n-n-d-d-d…
**J: Come, come, Barry. You obviously have been hanging around too long with your dear Jay, who always called you commander-in-chief the last time…to build your confidence, of course.
**H: Oh yes…Jay needed someone to bash him in the head with a …
**J: Stop it, Edward. Excuse Edward…he sometimes get carried away. He merely meant that Jay’s memory needed to be jogged occasionally.
**V: Yeah…about once every #%@^&*# thirty seconds…or maybe a #^%*&# minute, whichever comes first.
**P: It’s the Syria thing, Henry. You and the French carved up that area in the days of empire and so I know you can tell me what to do…bomb the bejesus out of Assad now or wait until after the next Ramadan or the 2014 elections or maybe do a hajj first or…when?
**H: Oh, send Kerry on a hajj, Barry. Mecca is so crowded this time of year. Maybe he could get stomped by that herd of cutthroats and be out of your hair, with all that talk about the Syrians not doing what you said they would, Barry. Ah…those stompings…blood all over the streets, people moaning on their prayer-rugs…martyrs trying to get stabbed and head off for the virgins…
**J: Please, Edward. He simply means that you, Barry, and even you, Joe—come on, wake up, Joe—need to get on the same flat page with John.
**V: That Massachusetts moron! He tries to be another Ted Kennedy…and nobody’s that mean. He thinks because he’s got a lotta hair he’s…
**P: Cool it, Joe. We democrats gotta stand together.
**V: Probably botoxed more’n Pelosi…might break his face in one o’ those longwinded speeches. (laughs uproariously)
**P: So…I know you have all the facts, Henry. I’ve said I would bomb with or without a vote in Congress, so it’s just a matter of when it’ll do the most good politically…I mean you’ve seen one Syrian, you’ve seen ’em all, if you can tell ’em apart, that is, so the gas is not the problem…it’s the politics and right now the pollsters are screwing me with all those fraudulent polls of theirs and making it look like I’m incompetent or something…ME, the great Changer. We won!
**J: What about your deal with Putin, Barry? You said you would be flexible after the election, so show some of that flexibility. Bend over backwards, in other words.
**H: Bend over backwards…like before that fat Saudi prince back in ’09? Oh hoo hah…what a target…an RPG right in the old…hahahahaha
**J: Stop it, Edward. He simply means that a bit of humility might be in order, Barry.
**V: Humility? What’s that. Let’s see, that’s about a #^%$*^# seven-letter word and…
**H: Way beyond your pay-grade, there, Joe.
**P: Look, I can’t go around bare-chested like Putin…he even learned that George Bush swagger that week he spent on Bush’s ranch. I gotta maintain myself as a warrior, like when I conquered Libya and…
**H: Conquered Libya…oh hoo haha…hahahaha…took seven months to get somebody to assassinate Qaddafi and he only had three airplanes and a few tanks to start with…maybe 75,000 troops compared to your 1.5 million. You should have sent the SEALS down there and…
**J: Edward has a point, Barry. Libya made you look like a failed girl-scout leader…but you did better with handling that Operation Wall Street gang. Besides, the Benghazi massacre last year…well, Barry…by the way where WERE you on that night, and who made up that stupid yarn about some creep’s movie about Mohammad and starting all that mayhem? Sending that poor woman out to tell that tale…oh, laughable, especially your “movie” speech at the UN and right before the election, too.
**V: Now wait a #%$&^* minute there, Henry—at least I think it’s Henry—that speech was a big #%$&^*^ deal.
**J: Sorry to disappoint, Barry, but bombing Syria is the same as bombing to smithereens huge caches of Sarin…how much sense does that make? Take Putin’s deal and act like you believe him and Assad. It takes billions of dollars to build plants to defuse that stuff anyway. Just check out your own disposal-program—not to be finished until 2023—and you think Assad’s gas can be neutralized in a year? So what if Assad stays! You didn’t say how long he had to get out back in 2011, so put out a statement giving him a red line for departure…along about 2023, to be safe. Red lines are killers.
**H: Now about that trip to Gitmo, Barry. I can be ready…
**J: Never mind Edward. Time to go! I can stand being in this colony for just so long. Tea Party, indeed!

And so it goes.
Jim Clark

Monday, September 16, 2013

The WMD Ploy?

The tripartite miracle concerning Syria’s chemical weapons give-up activity, especially how quickly the weapons can be collected and defused, makes anyone living near the army’s chemical-weapon-destruction facility about 35 miles or so south of Lexington, Ky., laugh. It’s located at the Blue Grass Army Depot (munitions-storing-facility) along U.S. Hwy 421.

All kinds of exotic gases and their containers-for-delivery-systems are stored at BGAD. There’s also a facility near Pueblo, Colorado, for the defusing of mustard gas. Its mission is supposed to be finished by 2018.

Mustard gas is stored at BGAD, along with nerve agents such as the ones allegedly used by the Syrian government in a Damascus suburb (no actual proof yet of who did what). The facility for neutralizing this stuff is still in the building process, about 70% finished. The actual completion of the project, including the destruction of the weapons, is scheduled for 2023 at BGAD.

The process has obviously not started yet at BGAD. When the work at both there and Pueblo is finished, it will have cost the U.S. taxpayers $40 billion, though no one believes that price tag will not balloon long before the effort is ended, as in the case of virtually all government projects.

Russia is supposed to have rid itself of its chemical weapons by 2015, i.e., if Putin intends for their destruction to happen. The betting here is that such will not be the case. One hopes, also, that the U.S. government, despite all the ballyhoo about its intention to destroy its entire arsenal, will hang onto a reasonable supply.

This is a dangerous world, as proven by the fact that small Syria can pose a threat sufficient to scare the entire world—at least according to the media hysteria. The nation that is disarmed completely in any category of munitions simply plays the fool.

The window-dressing advanced by State Secretary Kerry is just so much bluster, and, on the basis of recent events, is bluster he should check out with the president before delivering it, lest Obama cut him off at the knees as he did after Kerry said the Syrians would never give up the weapons…indeed, couldn’t.

There’s probably enough multi-billion-dollar concrete alone at BGAD’s gas-neutralizing facility, not to mention in its storage areas, to cover all of Damascus with a coating of significant thickness. This is what makes the “happy news” from Kerry’s wanderings in the Middle East of little consequence. Just building a facility for the job is costing multi-billions here, so who comes up with the funds for neutralizing Syria’s deadly fogs?

Who will take care of this project? It’s not just about mustard gas, which seems to be easily neutralized by comparison to nerve agents. Besides mustard gas, Assad has the vicious stuff such as Sarin but certainly has no facility for disposing of any of it.

More pointedly, how does one go about collecting these dangerous gases in the middle of a civil war, with insurrectionists, the so-called free army and jihad thugs just as anxious as Kerry, Obama and Putin are to gain possession of the stuff?

The key word Kerry has borrowed from Reagan’s ghost is VERIFY. The only way to VERIFY anything is to have people on the ground. Even that didn’t work in Iraq. But Obama has made it plain—no boots on the ground. So, VERIFYING is impossible, meaning that Assad (and Putin, covering Assad’s derriere) can sign anything because the signature will be worth less than the paper holding the document.

Not in the foreseeable future can anything significant and verifiable be done vis-à-vis Assad’s chemical weapons. He knows that, as does Putin, though Obama may know nothing about BGAD or what’s involved in neutralizing poison gases. Building a facility in Syria is impossible. Facilities in the U.S. and perhaps Russia would be the only significant ones available, and it’s a cinch that most Americans don’t want the stuff shipped to this country.

A plethora of other nations either have or have the capability concerning chemical/biological weapons. Cuba, Iraq and North Korea are three such, so Syria is just one of many.

The big question: When Obama finally realizes that the weapon-disposal ploy is just that—a ploy—will he decide to bomb Syria, whether so small an operation as to be unbelievable (Kerry’s description) or not a pinprick (Obama’s description)? Stay tuned.

And so it goes.
Jim Clark

Friday, September 13, 2013

Putin's Polemic

Everyone from Rush Limbaugh to the usual Congressional windbags has been having hissy-fits over the op-ed piece by Russian President Putin in the New York Times. I took the trouble to read it all and found that, while Putin’s word is not worth warm spit, many of his observations are well-founded, not least because they’re empirically and historically accurate.

Putin claimed a U.S. strike on Syria could spread the conflict there far beyond Syria’s borders. No sane person would argue with that observation, though Obama and Kerry seem to think otherwise, as if Syria-supporter Hezbollah didn’t even exist in next-door Lebanon, only 18 miles from Damascus, which is just 40 miles from Israel (Golan Heights).

Bombing Syria would resemble the U.S. Air Force targeting North Dakota, virtually the same size, except that population density in Syria is 318 folks per sq. mile while in ND it’s just 10 per sq. mile. A bomb dropped anywhere in Syria would kill/mutilate droves of people. Bombing a military target near Damascus (population 2.7 million) or Aleppo (3.2 million) would create horrible slaughter/mutilation—tens of thousands.

Yet, this is what Obama and Kerry say Obama can do without a word to Congress and despite the fact that Syria is no threat to this or any other country, just having its own civil war. Two percent of the U.S. population died in civil war 1861-65, while (using the figure of 100,000 dead) less than one-half of one percent of Syrians have died in its current civil war. No death is acceptable, but perspective is important. Rebels in Syria are as guilty of the deaths as Assad is since they can stop fighting any time.

The U.S supports it knows not whom in Syria. Putin warned that the renegade combatants in Syria (whether “free army” or al Qaeda) would eventually return to their own countries and become problems, giving as an example the jihad cutthroats leaving Libya and invading Mali. The French had to save the country, or at least its South.

Putin said there’s reason to believe Assad did not order a gas attack. He’s backed up by the intelligence agency of the German government, which monitored communications via shipboard equipment. Obama has never made a convincing argument to the contrary…just his word that he KNOWS.

Putin claimed U.S. interventionism solely by “brute force” is commonplace but despite clear evidence of Taliban/al Qaeda treachery concerning 9/11 Bush 41 formed a coalition and went to Congress for a resolution, then drove both the Taliban and al Qaeda from Afghanistan by the end of 2001. Accepting the findings of the five or six top intelligence networks in the world affirming WMD in Iraq, Bush 41 formed a coalition of nations and got a resolution from Congress (Kerry was for it, then against it) before Iraqi action in 2003.

Contrarily, Obama, without consulting Congress and ignoring the publicly expressed advice of both Defense Secretary Gates and JCC Mullen before Congress in 2011, ordered the U.S. military to attack defenseless Libya and pursued that butchery for seven deadly months. Now, he has said that he can (and will) without Congressional approval command the U.S. military to attack Syria when he takes a notion. Putin was wrong about Bush 41 but he was right vis-à-vis Obama, a proverbial warmonger.

The term “exceptional” is what triggered the whiners about Putin’s offering. He said it’s dangerous to encourage people to claim they’re exceptional and that God (atheist Putin?) made us all equal. Americans don’t claim to be superior to other peoples. American exceptionalism accrues to the nation’s governance, probably the first successful democratically configured government in history, Constitutionally structured and viable since 1789.

Words mean something, however, and the constant drumbeat at home about U.S. exceptionalism gets old worldwide, especially as U.S. governance becomes a sideshow headed by loose cannons, with potentially deadly consequences for itself and other nations.

The talking-heads/media need to cool it if for no other reason the fact that this country becomes more unexceptional daily, evidenced when a president makes war un-Constitutionally with impunity. Since WWII, the government has gradually taken over its citizens’ lives, using entitlements up to and including health and death. From its inception until the 1960s, the nation progressed. Now, it’s slipping into European/Russian un-exceptionalism.

And so it goes.
Jim Clark

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Impeachment Needed, No More Speeches

Almost the first thing said by the president in his speech on 10 September was that this country can’t solve civil wars with force. Precisely two years ago, this country was bombing the bejesus out of Libya in an effort, with force, to solve that country’s civil war and without any Congressional approval or declaration of war. Resulting Libyan deaths, the number never made public, and the utter chaos in that benighted nation accrue unilaterally to President Obama.

More pointedly, the military who carried out his orders had the right not to obey and indeed could be prosecuted for obeying. This is Article 92, 1(c) of the Uniform Code of Military Justice: “A general order or regulation is lawful unless it is contrary to the Constitution, the laws of the United States, or lawful superior orders or for some other reason is beyond the authority of the official issuing it.”

Per the Constitution, the president has the power without Congressional assent to use the military if there is a clear, immediate and present danger to the nation. The War Powers Act builds on that mandate. Libya, with virtually no military establishment, posed no threat to this or any other country in 2011 and was simply embroiled in civil war. Obama as commander-in-chief (something he never lets anyone forget) ordered decent men to savage Libya from the air and later on the ground through supplying weapons, many if not most now in the hands of cutthroats in Syria.

The military could have disobeyed with impunity and the president should have been immediately impeached for his disregard of Constitutional requirements and consequent blatant attack (unilateral declaration of war) on another sovereign nation. A vapid House did not impeach, most likely because of the predictable charge of racism.

The House impeached former president Clinton for a much lesser crime—perjury—that cost no lives. The Senate – currently democrat-controlled – would not have convicted Obama (two-thirds vote needed) but the system should have been engaged. No president should have the power to act unilaterally militarily in the absence of clear and present danger.

The president has learned nothing from his 2011 miscue because he got away with it. Instead, as far back as 2011 he told Syrian president Assad to relinquish his office and get out of his country. Assad went nowhere. A year ago, Obama set a “red line” vis-à-vis the use of chemical weapons. In late August, he announced to the world that without Congressional approval he planned to bomb the bejesus out of Syria, no threat to this or any other country but simply mired in civil war.

Obama’s “reason” for bombing Syria accrued to alleged use of gas in a Damascus suburb, which he said he KNEW was administered on orders of Assad but has never said from where he got that information. Nor has anyone explained from where or whom the pictures of the atrocity came or why an independent agency has claimed the death-total to be less than half that reported by the administration.

According to McClatchy (Lexington Herald-Leader, 10 September), the German newspaper Bild am Sonntag reported that the head of Germany’s foreign intelligence agency, using intercepted communications via an intelligence-gathering ship, concluded that Assad repeatedly rejected field requests to use chemical weapons. That agency trumps anything in the U.S. administration, known for outrageous lies such as the one perpetrated by now-NSC head honcho Susan Rice a year ago regarding the “Benghazi Massacre.”

The president requested that Congress not take up his promised assault on Syria, for which he’s announced no end-game other than that the attack is not to dethrone Assad, notwithstanding his insistence for years that Assad had to go. Instead, he announced that he and Russian President Putin had already (apparently secretly) been discussing just how to separate Assad from his weapons, notwithstanding that this idea was treated by State Secretary Kerry as a complete surprise in remarks the other day, though Kerry said that plan wouldn’t happen anyway.

Strangely, the president said that since Syria comprised no direct threat to the U.S., he decided to consult Congress. In other words, He wanted to bomb the Syrians but would have been uncomfortable without a reason, which a potentially willing (and stupid) Congress could furnish. Go figure.

And so it goes.
Jim Clark

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Secular/Christian Progressives & the Dream

The juxtaposition of the two articles concerning the King “Dream Speech” anniversary in the 09 September issue of the Lexington Herald-Leader was informative. Medical Dr. Cameron S. Schaeffer approached the current black community’s situation from the standpoint of the “secular progressive,” described by him as a “utopian” believing that government can “create heaven on Earth and obsessively invokes groups and classes,” translated: class preference/warfare.

The Rev. Chuck Queen, a Baptist minister, approached the subject from the standpoint of the “progressive Christian,” claiming that King’s speech was a “progressive Christian vision for the world,” a “world where everyone has enough – not just to survive, but to thrive and flourish.” He concluded that “these things are not at the heart of their [Conservative Christian’s] gospel.” Among those “things,” he also noted a level playing field, inclusion of the excluded (didn’t identify), dignity, equality, and respect.

Dr. Cameron said the secular progressive’s welfare state induces black women to marry the government instead of men, noting that nearly 75% of black children have no father of record. True. They subsist on various government handouts usually channeled through their single mothers, grandmothers, schools and are beneficiaries of elements comprising what the Rev. Queen meant in mentioning three times in his article the term “social justice,” while not indicating how it is secured and maintained other than through government, certainly not the church.

The church, because of the gross stinginess of its members, is not equipped for that maintenance and wouldn’t be even if its “religious” thrust were not political correctness instead of spiritual or scriptural correctness, the case throughout much of U.S. religiosity, denominational or otherwise. The apropos definition of social: “of or relating to human society.” The apropos definition of justice: “the administration of law.” So, “social justice” is “administering the law to human society.”

Dr. Cameron maintained that the laws passed in the 1960s, as administered to blacks, have comprised “a utopian project of unspeakable cruelty, especially to kids.” He mentioned some contingent highlights: Planned Parenthood (eugenics movement…inordinate number of black abortions); affirmative action (skin-color, not character, paramount); “stop & frisk” (account inordinate crimes by blacks mostly on blacks); students mired in terrible schools and consequent failure, especially through lack of school-choice; amnesty for illegals allowing too much competition for entry-level jobs. There were more.

The entitlement laws causing these problems were/are what Rev. Queen would term “social justice,” establishing a level playing field by attempting to reduce everyone to the lowest common denominator, whether or not intended. Congresses passing those laws thought of them as awarding “social justice” to blacks. The president considers them as redistributing the wealth, therefore supposedly ending poverty, and has criticized the Constitution for not providing redistribution.

People are not cookie-cutter products; rather, they are so different that never have two of them been exactly alike. Inherently, they do not subscribe to being their brothers’ keepers, especially if their brothers, though able, are not willing to work. “Social Justice” is a one-size-fits-all affair, thus never works.

The Reverend anchored his case in the fact that people must love each other – great theology but divorced from reality. Loving even the enemy is scriptural but most people worldwide, including the U.S., are not scriptural. Nor is there consensus about the definition of love. Jesus loved people enough to die for them but also fashioned a whip and striped greedy vendors in the Temple.

At the “Last Supper,” Jesus told his disciples to arm themselves (for defense, not aggression), even if they had to sell clothes to do so. He insisted in Matthew 25 that a slothful employee was not to be tolerated. His was “tough love,” almost the antithesis of Queen’s “social justice.” Christ’s command (also Matthew 25) was to help the vulnerable—the sick, the widows, the hungry, the children. This was not “social justice;” rather, it was social mercy.

The state, attempting Queen’s “social justice” and dominated by the secular progressive, uses power to divide people into “groups and classes,” enslaving some at the expense of others. Schaeffer’s description of the “secular progressive” exactly fits Queen’s description of the “progressive Christian” in the U.S. Each demands that government tax producers to the limit in effecting “social justice,” beneficence based not on merit but on political correctness. Secular/Christian progressives have turned King’s dream into a nightmare.

And so it goes.
Jim Clark

Saturday, September 07, 2013

Obama: War's Easy-Start, Hard-End

In his much ballyhooed speech in Cairo, Egypt, on 04 June 2009 (during the “apology tour” to the Middle East), President Barack Hussein Obama said this: “It’s easier to start wars than to end them. It’s easier to blame others than to look inward.” He had little trouble ENDING the Iraq War because the timetable had already been set for U.S troop-withdrawal and he stuck to it.

He could END the war in Afghanistan virtually by tomorrow with just the command but he’s tied to a timetable again and he will follow it. That would probably be easier than arguing with the hawks like John McCain and Lindsey Graham, who never see a war they don’t want to take over or perhaps a situation inviting one, and would make leaving hopeless Afghanistan HARD. Libya was the perfect example.

Without divulging any information regarding how he would END a strike/war vis-à-vis Syria, provided he had decided how and understanding he had already speechified that ENDING it would be HARD, he almost very EASILY started a war with Syria on or about 29 August, precipitating a huge outcry in this country. He had done the usual – called for support from other nations – but the only high-profile world leader responding affirmatively, Brit Prime Minister Cameron, threw the question to Parliament, which voted No.

So…the hard sell was in order and State Secretary Kerry delivered a windy speech about how the president was going to EASILY START the war unilaterally because it was right, never mind that the rest of the world leaders were not interested but in fact probably feared yet another “bullying” from Uncle Sugar. Think Libya, where Obama EASILY STARTED a war (days, not weeks, he said, and didn’t even consult Congress) because it was “right,” with that benighted nation now a chaotic shambles two years later after suffering through seven months of “days, not weeks” of U.S./NATO strikes in 2011.

So…the Senate Foreign Relations Committee has predictably reported out a bill to authorize something but apparently not until it had a McCain amendment providing the president with authorization to do about anything he likes, perhaps even “boots on the ground.” No one seems to know what, if anything, the president intends to do—everything from stealth bomber strikes from Nebraska to tomahawk missiles fired from U.S. ships in the Mediterranean, thus inviting Syrian SCUD missiles upon themselves.

The tragedy is that the issue—with human lives at stake—may become partisan. The president has already set the stage by announcing in his Rose Garden speech on 31 August that legislators should not allow “partisan differences or the politics of the moment” to define their actions.

That’s code for saying a legislator’s conscience must go on vacation for the sake of loyalty to the president, notwithstanding his fateful and wrong-headed introduction in August 2012 of a “red line” although he attempted to weasel out of that silliness in Sweden by claiming that both the world and Congress dreamed-up the term, not him, all solid documentation to the contrary notwithstanding. So…let the arm-twisting and trade-offs begin! It’s only Syrian lives, after all.

Even the mainstream media, Obama’s propaganda arms, seem to be noting that the vast majority of U.S. citizens are against any action against Syria. The other countries of alleged support (34 by Kerry’s count; 9 by UN Ambassador Power’s count as of 06 September) seem ready with words but with nothing else, either manpower or materiel, although Kerry mentioned that the Arab supporters offered to finance the U.S. as mercenaries.

Kerry attempted to stop funding of the Iraq War even though Saddam had gassed his own Kurds and Shiites. Now, though no one in the administration actually knows who did the Syrian number, Kerry says this country has to wage war against Syria. Why? Sunnis and Shiites and Wahabis and Alewites—all Muslims—are going to KILL each other one way or another no matter what this nation does. It’s in their blood to shed each other’s blood…that of infidels (us), too.

In scanning Obama’s Cairo speech, I counted four references to the Holy Koran (Obama’s term), the document in which that KILLING philosophy originates, evangelization on the point of the sword. Obama said in Cairo: “It’s easier to blame others than to look inward.” How true!

And so it goes.
Jim Clark

Thursday, September 05, 2013

Insipid Red-Line Disavowal

The mark of a leader is recognized when he has the humility and ability to take the blame for saying or doing something that turned out to be wrong or just plain stupid.

This is from USA Today of 06 May 2013: “On Aug. 20 of last year [2012], President Obama popped into the White House press room to take some questions -- and uttered a term that may well hang over the rest of his second term. ‘Red line.’ Asked in August about reports that Syria may be prepared to use chemical weapons against rebels, Obama said: ‘We have been very clear to the (Bashar Assad) regime, but also to other players on the ground, that a red line for us is we start seeing a whole bunch of chemical weapons moving around or being utilized. That would change my calculus. That would change my equation’.”

In Sweden this week on his way to the G-20 Summit in St. Petersburg, Russia, Obama said that the “red line” thing was not his but accrues to the world and to the Congress. However, as plainly seen by the above, he was—if not lying—totally unaware of what he has said in the past.

In a conference call from the White House to folks chosen by the White House on 25 April 2013 in an effort to explain letters Obama had sent to some senators, the White House spokesperson said: “On your red line question, it is absolutely the case that the president’s red line is the use of chemical weapons or the transfer of chemical weapons to terrorist groups.” Obviously, Obama had taken ownership of the term “red line.”

Words mean something, as Hillary Clinton discovered in her 2008 campaign when she described her desperate flight from snipers in Bosnia in 1996. It never happened. In other words, she either lied, had a total memory-lapse or suffered from delusions, perhaps of grandeur since such a flight is made for movies. A film proved what actually happened (a welcome by a little girl on the airport tarmac).

The president is aware of the fact that the term “red line” is his creature, not that of the world or of Congress. The Geneva Protocol of 1925 (made official in 1928) outlawing the use of chemical weapons referred to weapons used in warfare, i.e., one nation fighting another. This, of course, is not what’s happening in Syria, where the government is trying to put down a rebellion that has nothing to do with any other nation.

I’ve scanned through the short protocol of 1925 and am certain that the term “red line” appears nowhere in that document, another proof that the term belongs to Obama and to him alone. If he translates the document as a “red line,” that’s fine but it could just as easily be called “gas a no-no in war,” which might be my interpretation.

Usually, one lie begets another, then another, then another in an effort at cover-up. So…the president started the chain by blaming (or crediting) the world—whatever that means—and the Congress for establishing a “red line.”

Since no one knows what he means by the “world,” his cheapest shot is at the Congress, which, though hopelessly feckless, he’s trying to coerce into bailing him out of a predicament of his own making by agreeing that he should bomb the bejesus out of Syria, just as he—without consulting Congress at all—did in Libya in 2011. Instead, he went to the equally feckless UN then and gained “permission” from Russia and China, actually, who abstained on that vote and let Libya twist in the wind.

This time around, however, through its secretary-general the UN has let Obama know that an attack on Syria would be internationally illegal. The Congress would have stopped him in 2011 and saved Libya. The UN attempts to stop his war-making ways now, thus he has to go begging to Congress for his newest “little war,” not that it actually matters, since he has already made it plain that he can do what he likes, Congress notwithstanding. Arrogance to the nth power!

Not in recent memory has this nation been so at the mercy of a novice, when it needs a leader.

And so it goes.
Jim Clark

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

Not Worth Saving Face!

The troubled trio of Kerry, Dempsey and Hagel (State, JCC, Defense, respectively) appeared before a Senate committee on 03 September and were put on the spot trying to make Obama’s case ostensibly to “degrade/deter” Syrian President Assad’s chemical-weapon capability but were plainly unhappy about the whole charade, made such because of the president’s insistence that what Congress does actually doesn’t matter. I watched a good bit of the hearing.

The senators were unhappy because Obama was making them into a joke account the above, and also because the polls indicate that the sizeable majority of Americans are against any intervention in Syria’s civil war. A huge part of the reason probably has to do with the fact that Assad would hardly have gassed people in his own town and the fact that the administration lacks credibility about anything it says.

Indeed, State Secretary Kerry never said the administration had positive proof that Assad had perpetrated the gassing. He merely said the president had information that was convincing, or something like that. There is no “slam dunk” proof, so Kerry/Obama ask the Congress for support in dropping bombs on people because Assad “may” have been bad.

That’s not good enough, especially since word was making the rounds that Obama may have colluded with the insurgents in “setting up” the tragedy. Ordinarily, that would be beyond belief, but just the outrageous fraud perpetrated vis-à-vis the Benghazi massacre is proof that the truth is not a priority with the administration.

The question I never heard the senators ask had to do with what would happen in the event of an Obama strike if the Syrians retaliated by hitting an American warship just off the coast with one of their SCUD missiles. All one has to remember is the Tonkin Gulf episode that precipitated the GI-buildup in Vietnam in the 1960s (500,000 troops in 1969) that eventuated in a war that cost 58,000+ American lives…for nothing except their honor.

A similar scenario in the Middle East could devolve into a conflagration beyond belief, with whole nations caught up in carnage not seen since WWII. This is what the senators and the congress-people should be considering. Events spiral out of control when actions are taken absent thorough thought about the potential consequences.

Obama went not to Congress but to the UN for the Libya action, which was purported to be establishing a “no-fly” zone, not that Qaddafi had a real air-force anyway. That part of the “permission” was finished in four days. Using the fine print, Obama stretched the killing-field into seven months before Qaddafi was finally dispatched and the country left to wallow in what’s left – not much.

Now, UN Head Honcho Ban-Ki-Moon has labeled Obama’s grand plan to be internationally illegal. So…will Obama honor the UN position now as he did in the Libya affair, accomplished only because Russia and China gave him permission through abstaining from voting while the rest of the Security Council held their noses.

Using the UN figure of 100,000 Syrian dead in about 2.5 years of insurrectionist activity, a total of 3,333 Syrians have died per month on average. In 2.5 years, after commanding Assad to desert his presidency, Obama watched that monthly death toll and did nothing, notwithstanding what the Syrian citizens thought he would do to back up his arrogance. Now, despite the fact that no other nation will join in any action against Assad, Obama is hot-to-trot to save Syrians. Why?

A gas-attack that was probably precipitated by the rebels is his stated reason, despite the logical consideration that whether by bullet or gas a dead person is dead, and nothing can change that. If, as Kerry insisted, the objective is just to fire some shots, what happens if the tide is turned and the insurgents get their hands on the chemical weapons? Damascus is only 36 or so miles from the Golan Heights (Israel).

Obama put this country on the wrong side in Libya and Egypt. With no military acuity whatever, he now wants to unleash the means to a regional war that could engulf the world. It’s not worth saving his face over those silly “red-line” remarks almost guaranteeing promises he never meant to keep. Defense Secretary Hagel has made it plain that the U.S would take no unilateral action. His only choice is resignation. Obama’s only choice is to man-up and admit his foolhardiness.

And so it goes.
Jim Clark

Tuesday, September 03, 2013

The Road to Damascus

Like Saint Paul the Apostle of old, President Obama has had a shocking epiphany on the road to Damascus. Paul set out from Jerusalem to persecute Christians, while Obama set out from Washington (electronically) to persecute Muslims. Each thought his intentions honorable and each was wrong.

Obama declared two years ago that heads of Muslim-states Qaddafi, Mubarak, Saleh, and Assad (Libya, Egypt, Yemen, Syria, respectively) had to go, with the populaces of those nations reading into that declaration “OR ELSE,” expecting action by the U.S. to back up his COMMANDS.

The “Arab Spring” was in full bloom then and Obama’s legacy depended upon his adroitness in changing the Middle East from a collection of despotisms to democracies (or, as could be claimed under Obama, socialisms). Now, all four of those countries are in much worse shape than they were in 2011, with street-fighting and killings in Egypt and, as claimed by the UN, 100,000 dead in Syria in a 2.5-year revolution. Yemen is the virtual home of al Qaeda, perpetrator of 9/11.

Obama made his mark on the “Spring” by picking out one of the weakest, most non-threatening countries in the world militarily—Libya—and, along with arm-twisted NATO as a partner in crime, laid waste to that country in a seven-month war that left it in continuing shambles, a haven for al Qaeda, no telling (literally) how many murdered, and a place where the “ugly American” is unwelcome. Think Benghazi of last year’s 9/11 and the fraud perpetrated by the administration to cover-up its negligence.

The nation doesn’t and will never know its president’s whereabouts during the “Benghazi Massacre,” not that any statement at this late date would matter…just another part of the cover-up. The nation has been told that the president took a 45-minute walk with his chief-of-staff (not Valerie Jarrett this time) on the night following Kerry’s promise of an attack but was influenced to change his mind about bypassing Congress, spitting in the public’s face, and blatantly kissing-off the U.S. Constitution.

This made his brag about not needing Congressional approval for attacking a nation that poses absolutely no threat to this country just so much hot air; however, one wonders who makes policy in the White House—Obama, Kerry, the chief-of-staff…or maybe the kitchen crew, in which case there might be a modicum of common sense utilized.

All of this references Libya, a nation that posed the U.S. even less threat than Syria. The president committed an impeachable offense, something easily proved if the House hadn’t been so feckless, probably afraid of being called racist, with the result being a presidential statement that Congress doesn’t matter…PERIOD. Result: the arrogance of possibly attacking another sovereign entity, Syria, with impunity, especially since the Senate would never have convicted Obama (Clinton redux), no matter how guilty.

But Obama’s change of mind (or evolvement, as he would have it), regardless of who evolved it, was fortuitous because it may have placed him in a “win-win” situation. If the Congress votes a big NO on his planned attack, he can claim that he TRIED to exercise COMPASSION but was waylaid by…the cruel republicans. He can’t blame this self-inflicted problem on George Bush, the usual whine, and must hope folks don’t remember his statement that Congress can’t stop him anyway.

If Congress gives him a go-ahead to blast Syrians into whatever (Obama has expressed no idea thus far, except dropping a few explosives and going home), he can trot out his usual answer to everything—WE WON, once again outdoing the Congress, which most of the time might as well be in Philadelphia anyway. So…either way, he wins.

Perhaps the main lesson to be learned from this sideshow is that nothing beats a sharp chief-of-staff. Of course, if Obama gets more serious about Syria and listens to Senators McCain and Graham, he will buy himself a brand-new war, this time with the odds virtually certain of triggering a massive conflagration in the Middle East.

Syria’s Assad claimed in an interview distributed worldwide on 02 September that the U.S. hasn’t a prayer of proving he gassed the Syrians in his own city. Based on Obama’s cover-up machinery, one’s inclined to believe Assad. Truth is unforgiving.

And so it goes.
Jim Clark

Sunday, September 01, 2013

Clue-less Emperor Has No Clothes

The “keystone kops” scenario playing out in this country at the White House is not funny. The president was ready on 29 August to rain missiles, bombs or whatever else on Syria from U.S. warships account, as he said, Syrian President Assad’s alleged use of poison gas on Syrians. He had set a red-line not to be crossed by Assad with respect to this subject months ago but did nothing when Assad allegedly crossed it. He set another one recently, though it seemed to deal not with small crossings, only huge crossings.

The gas-attack triggering Obama’s ire and threats of U.S. action happened in a Damascus suburb on 21 August, strange because Assad presumably lives in Damascus and presumably would not appreciate something like that so close to home, making one wonder if Assad ordered the attack, assuming the UN team assessing the situation verifies an attack, or the insurrectionists pulled it off trying to drag any nation into the civil/sectarian war on their side. If memory serves, the number of fatalities initially was set at 300. According to questionable UN figures, Syrians have been dying at the rate of 110 per day for some 2.5 years.

Britain’s prime minister announced his support for U.S. action but sensibly called Parliament into session for a vote he obviously expected to be affirmative. It wasn’t, so he backed out. He may have been relieved, though he probably didn’t mean his support to be with hardware anyway. No other nation of any consequence—Arab League doesn’t count—expressed support, leaving Obama twisting in the wind.

So, Obama sent State Secretary Kerry out with a windy speech on 30 August to claim categorically that the administration KNEW (didn’t say how) Assad had done the deed and that punishment militarily by this country was in order IMMEDIATELY – never mind the Brits – and would just amount to some missile-drops with no problems in the aftermath—certainly no American boots on the ground—and certainly not open-ended. Clinton dropped a few on Afghanistan and Sudan after the U.S. embassies were devastated in Africa in the 1990s but accomplished nothing.

It’s doubtful that Obama or his NSC has a clue vis-a-vis what’s happening in Syria. Kerry said that 1,429 people died in the gas, but in a speech on 31 August Obama just said more than a thousand. In this speech, Obama angrily backed away from his previous rhetoric, claiming that even though he had the authority to blast Syria with or without Congressional approval he would wait and not just consult with Congress but get a resolution, leaving Kerry twisting in the wind!

Bypassing Congress was his modus operandi when Obama attacked Libya in 2011 for seven months, leaving that benighted country in total continuing chaos. Syria, the size of North Dakota with a population of 22.6 million (33 times that of North Dakota), is so heavily populated that a single missile-strike could kill thousands instantly, much worse than the gas. Damascus is only some18 miles from Syria’s border with Lebanon so a near-miss from ships in the Mediterranean could be catastrophic.

Syria’s tragedy is completely misunderstood by Obama. Near- and Middle-Eastern countries do not do democracy. They do despotism, with every government being sectarian, not representative, and ruled by religious fiat, not by laws. Governments change on the point of the sword, not at the ballot box. Meddling in their affairs foments treachery and Obama should shut-up and bug-out, putting no American GIs at risk to save face.

The tragedy in this country lies in having a president who subscribes to the despotic mode, not the representative one. He’s constantly disdained the U.S. Constitution and bypassed the Congress entirely, as in the case of Libya, ruling by executive orders and with zilch knowledge of anything military, proven by his having no idea of what he was doing in and to Libya.

Asserting that the Congress may not hinder his actions, Obama has become a civil ayatollah. This is reprehensible /impeachable. One hopes he realizes the shaky legal ground upon which he stands and has the good sense to not even bring up Syria to Congress, letting that body try to settle the nation’s business, to which he has done his share of mischief. But I doubt it, more’s the pity.

And so it goes.
Jim Clark