Category Archives: America

Will The Arabs Fight Or Turn Tail?

America, Middle East, Military

Having grown up in Israel, I confess to harboring a bias about the mettle of the Arab fighting force. We grew up seeing images of army boots piled up high in the Sinai desert, where in 1967, Egyptians shed those shoes and fled before the IDF (Israel Defense Forces). Al Qaeda and ISIS reversed my bias; they’re fierce fighters. But the old preconception is creeping back again.

Reports DEBKAfile:

US officials disclosed Wednesday that the UAE [United Arab Emirates] had suspended air attacks against the Islamic State in Syria over concerns about their pilots’ safety, after the Jordanian pilot who was burned alive a month ago was captured in early December. The UAE, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain joined the US-led coalition against ISIS in September.

The UAE appears to want guarantees that if downed, their pilots will be rescue by our guys. The Emiratis are demanding that American Ospreys “be located in northern Iraq, near the site of most raids,” to mount rescue operations. You’d think they’re doing the US a favor by protecting their neighborhood from the advancing demons.

I realize there’s more to it than cowardice: Many in the Arab world see “the Islamic State not as an Arab but as a US-European war. This line resonates widely in the other Arab countries aligned with the coalition.”

The Jordanian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Nasser Judeh, talks a good game: “You have to target them wherever they are,” he says. No doubt, King Abdullah, like his father, is a man of action. But for rest, could it be that Brian Williams, the NBC anchor who made up self-aggrandizing war stories, is not the only high-powered person who’s lying? Hints DEBKAfile:

It is noteworthy that neither Washington nor Amman has disclosed the scope of Jordan’s aerial activity since the pilot was captured …
… Although the UAE, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Bahrain joined the coalition from the start, most observers believe their participation was more symbolic than active. Iraq has no air force to speak of and its army turned tail against Islamic State forces; the Saudis allotted a trifling number of planes to the effort; while Bahrain doesn’t have an air force at all. The UAE has the biggest and most modern air force in the Gulf region and so its withdrawal is a major blow to Washington’s war effort, such as it is.

RELATED:

* “ISIS plots terror offensive in Iran, starting with Damascus bus blast.”

* “ISIS in full swing under ex-Iraqi general with 70 deaths in a month.”

* Chucky Krauthammer is unhappy about Jordan’s apparent enthusiasm for the battle against ISIS. As always, Chucky wants the US to lead and dominate, because that means he assumes his rightful place in the world. Behold:


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‘Ow My Balls!’

America, Critique, Hollywood, Pop-Culture, Pseudo-intellectualism, Sport

The satire “Idiocracy” predicted that in 2505, the age of the idiot, America would be enthralled by one of two seconds-long “films.” The first is “Ow my Balls!”

The Age of the Idiot, however, is already upon us. Witness the endless, empty, obsessive yakking about deflated footballs. For heaven’s sake, order a rematch between the alleged offenders, the New England Patriots, and the Indianapolis Colts. Check and store the balls before every future match. Case closed. There is good reason for calling “Idiocracy” a documentary—except that The Age of the Idiot is upon us:

To fully appreciate what afflicts America—the people, the presidency, the academy, the media, Hollywood—watch “Idiocracy.” The film is a product of Mike Judge’s genius (Beavis and Butthead, anyone?), and was backed and then spiked by the idiots at 20th Century Fox. It is easily one of the smartest and darkest satires.
Luke Wilson plays Joe Bowers, frozen by the military in 2005, “who accidentally wakes up in 2505 to find a broken-down, thuggish America where language has become a patois of football chants, hip-hop slang and grunts denoting rage, pleasure and priapic longing, where citizens are obese, violent, ever-horny and narcotised by consumerism,” to quote the Guardian.
The “dumb-ass dystopia” depicted in “Idiocracy” has evolved because the robust retarded have out-bred the intelligent (yes, Judge openly references IQ as a measure of intelligence). Consequently, nothing gets fixed. There are garbage avalanches. A Gatorade-like drink has replaced water for irrigation, so nothing grows. The most watched show on the “Violence Channel” is “Ow, My Balls!” The “highest grossing movie of all time is called ‘Ass,’ and consists of 90 minutes of the same naked, hairy butt on screen.” All enterprises are sexualized; Starbucks offers a “full body latte.” Costco is an Ivy-League law school. If you’ve watched Ann Coulter trying to explain to Bill O’Reilly what a syllogism is, you’ll appreciate “Idiocracy” for the cultural barometer it is.

From “2 Movie Gems Amid A Lot Of Hollywood Hooey.” (July 2007)


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UPDATE III: Lincoln Bedroom Or The American People’s House? (Founders & Foreign Entanglements)

America, Israel, Reason, Republicans

The reference in the title to the Lincoln Bedroom alludes to a practice Bill Clinton inaugurated of renting out this White House bedroom to big-time donors.

By the same token, I’m wondering whether the American People’s House is for hire too. The White House is fulminating because Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is playing a dangerous game. Fox News explains:

The Obama administration reportedly is fuming over Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s plans to address Congress in March regarding the Iranian threat, with one unnamed official telling an Israeli newspaper he will pay “a price” for the snub. …

… In public, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest politely describes this as a “departure” from protocol. He also says the president will not meet with Netanyahu when he visits in early March, but has attributed that decision only to a desire not to influence Israel’s upcoming elections.

But in private, Obama’s team is livid with the Israeli leader, according to Haaretz.

“We thought we’ve seen everything,” a source identified as a senior American official was quoted as saying. “But Bibi managed to surprise even us. There are things you simply don’t do.

“He spat in our face publicly and that’s no way to behave. Netanyahu ought to remember that President Obama has a year and a half left to his presidency, and that there will be a price.”

Background via The Atlantic:

Speaker John Boehner on Wednesday asked [Natanyahy] back to address a joint meeting of Congress for the second time in less than four years. In fact, Netanyahu would become the first foreign leader since Winston Churchill to appear before Congress three times. (He also spoke during his first run as prime minister in 1996.)
This invitation, however, is even more important for a number of reasons. First, the February 11 speech will come just over a month before Israel’s legislative elections, and the prestige of an address to Congress could boost Netanyahu domestically. (Never mind that it was Netanyahu’s own Likud party that accused Obama of interfering in Israel’s elections just two years ago.) Yet it also coincides with a mounting confrontation between Congress and President Obama over Iran sanctions legislation, and Boehner pointedly announced the invitation just about 12 hours after the president, during his State of the Union address, pleaded with lawmakers to give nuclear talks with Tehran more time.

This is not the first time Prime Minister Netanyahu has pulled a self-serving political maneuver by inserting himself into American politics. This time, Bibi’s move may backfire. Obama is a dreadful cur, all right, but he is OUR mongrel.

In any case, it was an abomination when Mexican President Felipe Calderon was allowed to address the Congress in May of 2010, and it is an abomination for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to have been permitted to issue forth before a joint session of the American Congress. Calderon, you recall, was toiling tirelessly for the benefit of millions of Mexicans living in the US illegally. From the White House Rose Garden, and then again in an address to Congress, he chastised overrun Arizonans for “forcing our people to face discrimination.”

Netanyahu is not as bad as all that (I’ve always “supported” him, in as much as a writer who is not a Fifth Columnist can.) And both these respective foreign leaders are patriots, looking out for their countrymen.

The American people’s representatives are the traitors here. (This time, it’d the stupid Republicans.) For it is they who’ve permitted this reoccurring spectacle; it is they who’ve turned the American People’s House into a House for hire; a one-way exchange program for foreign dignitaries.

Whose House is it, anyway?

UPDATE I(1/24): POLITICAL PROPRIETY. Reply to Facebook Thread:

It’s frustrating how intellectually inflexible readers are these days. For the most, they did not read (or absorb) the rationale of the post, simply because it is impartial, non-partisan, and articulates matters of decorum and political propriety from an American, not that of a Fifth Column’s, perspective. Why I say that readers reject reason and, rather, respond with the gut? The post says explicitly that letting Mexico’s PM parade his opinions in America’s parliament is just as pathetic/wrong; just as vulgar. There is no anger against Bibi; I like him a LOT. There is simply that matter, I repeat, of political propriety.

UPDATE II: Founders & Foreign Entanglements.

Yoni Isaacson: It is not uncommon for visiting heads of state to address the hosts Parliament though. Here,, Congress is just trying to reclaim its role as a centre of power that has been eroded so much by executive presidents. What a way to do it.
4 hrs · Like

Ilana Mercer: From the fact that it is not-uncommon, it doesn’t follow that is right. We do not judge right or wrong by might or majority or frequency of occurrence. However, your assertion, Yoni, is not necessarily correct. It is quite uncommon in the US to invite foreign leaders to yuk it up—make a case for their policy of choice— in the people’s Congress. (Obama certainly did not speak in the Knesset last he visited Israel. And why should he have?!!) The American Founders were very clear about staying out of foreign entanglements.

UPDATE III: PROCESS VS.CONTENT.

Craig Smith: Ilana, From experience, I know where you stand. but I was taken aback by that particular column. From an initial perspective there is a very abstract common denominator in the two cases. Beyond that, neither the circumstances behind nor purpose of the Mexican and the Israeli Prime Ministers appearing in the WH and Congress, respectively, are at all the same. I know you know this, and you went on to address that point in your comment above. Yes, I had a gut reaction. I do that sometimes.

Ilana Mercer: Craig Smith, it’s about process, not content. I don’t want any foreign dignitary appealing to my corrupt representatives. The American System, Craig Smith, is a system emphasizing process. It doesn’t say that we should honor freedom of religion only with the good religions.


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Inspiration From The Art Of The Amerindians

America, Art, Business, History

A PLEASANT DISTRACTION.I happened on a high-end, all-American business which has been going strong since 1863: Pendleton Woolen Mills. The reason for this happy find was my disdain for the ugly, fussy things called duvet cover sets. Offered up across department stores to cover bedding, the fabrics are horrid, the whole production fluffy, fussy and feminine—with cushions and other ugly accoutrements that spell nonstop work. In Israel, I used bedspreads in striking patterns, made locally in the Druze villages.

And this is precisely what Pendleton Woolen Mills specializes in: The family produces Indian blankets and has introduced,

new designs, colors, and patterns to their product line. They also changed the construction of the mill’s Indian blankets. Prior to 1909 the blankets had round corners. The Bishop blankets featured square corners. Pendleton round corner blankets are highly coveted by vintage Indian blanket collectors. The company expanded their trade from the local Indians to the Navajo, Hopi, and Zuni peoples of the American Southwest. They also copied the multicolor pattern found on Hudson’s Bay point blankets for their Glacier National Park line of historic blankets. The Pendleton blankets were not only basic wearing apparel, but were standards of trading and ceremonial use.

(Wikipedia)

Woven in an eastern Oregon mill, the blankets make for stunning bedspreads. It has been a while since I felt the thick, rough, yet unscratchy texture of pure wool; saw the label “Made in the USA,” and not China. Needless to say the blankets—art really—do not stink of chemicals impregnated in fabric made in China.

The online images of these Amerindian-inspired blankets do not do them justice.

Micmac Quill Basket Blanket:

Navajo Newspaper Rock Blanket:

Eagle Saddle Blanket:

MORE.


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Our Father Who Art In 1600 Pennsylvania

America, BAB's A List, The State

Our Father Who Art In 1600 Pennsylvania
By Myron Pauli

Americans are religious zealots and politics is our common religion. And while we have two rival religious factions, both focus on that object of veneration or cursing, the Presidency. Together with His Winged Angels (e.g. the trillions of dollars of federal bureaucrats, invisible “contractors,” and drones), His Holiness can perform miracles or wreak punishment upon the nation at his complete whim. No mere obstructions such as laws of nature, common sense, or the US Constitution can impede His Divine Will to bring utopia to America or to punish us for our wickedness.

The Dow goes up – get on your knees and pray to the Heavenly Father of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. If the Dow tanks, go ahead and curse that evil President Mephistopheles. If something bad happens when your good God is in the White House, it is clearly punishment brought upon by the wicked idolaters of the Evil Party. If Satan is in the Oval Office, you can pray for redemption, political power, and “hope and change”.

No problem is too small, too remote, or too impossible for our Heavenly Father of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Yes, you might be sitting on your butt in your basement ignoring warnings when Hurricane Katrina comes but it is up to President Dubya Bush or his Winged Angels of FEMA to come and sweep you to safety. Hundreds of local municipal buses sitting in low-lying areas while the elderly are ignored in nursing homes and the local cops and firemen have scrambled away are clearly the fault of Bush and his Chief FEMA Angel and former horse judge Michael “hell of a job” Brown to haul everyone’s ass out of New Orleans.

While the President is, of course, omniscient and perfect, it is the wicked “American Haters” or “Racists” or “The One Percenters” or “Alien Welfare Bums” which caused that supernova to blow up 5,000,000,000 light years away. The latest plague is Ebola, either brought on by Satan Obama and flying monkeys from Africa or the evil racist Koch-Brothers who cut the budget for the Center for Disease Control. Even your toilet backing up is political. Our divine government can do ANYTHING– our NSA can track every terrorist, our TSA keeps our airplanes safe, or CDC solves all illness, our FEMA handless all emergencies, the Agriculture Department puts food on our table, the State Department makes us beloved throughout the world, the FBI catches all the bad guys, the CIA are all prophets, and the Marines can turn Afghanistan into the Switzerland of central Asia at the will of his Holiness. As the old saying goes, “we put a man on the moon”.

Our presidential libraries cost hundreds of millions of dollars and rival the ancient pyramids for the faithful to make pilgrimage to and genuflect at the greatness of the previous Holy Provider of all that is good.

And the media serves as the Yeshivas and Monasteries for the Faithful. Archbishop Hannity and Rabbi Maddow can lead us, the righteous and loyal, in our prayers “Blessed be Bush” and “Cursed be Obama” – Amen! – or is it the other way around?

Over 40 years, while Watergate was “testing our faith” (yes, we must have “faith” in the national government), I wrote up a Prayer For the President – albeit with a little help from King David. Picture a despondent H. R. “Bob” Halderman in search for a miracle and I leave you with this bit of inspirational satire:

The PRESIDENT is my shepherd, I shall not want
He maketh me lie before Senate Committees
He leadeth me before the Grand Jury
He restoreth my office
He leadeth me in the paths of eavesdropping for His re-election’s sake
Yea, though I walk through the valley of Watergate, I will fear no jail;
For thy re-election victory and executive privilege art with me
Thy clemency and thy staff, they comfort me
Thou preparest a coverup before me in the presence of thy enemies
Thou annointest my office with power; my zeal runneth over
Surely a light sentence and a good corporation job shall follow me all the days of my life
And I shall dwell in the White House forever.

******
Barely a Blog (BAB) contributor Myron Pauli grew up in Sunnyside Queens, went off to college in Cleveland and then spent time in a mental institution in Cambridge MA (MIT) with Benjamin Netanyahu (did not know him), and others until he was released with the “hostages” and Jimmy Carter on January 20, 1981, having defended his dissertation in nuclear physics. Most of the time since, he has worked on infrared sensors, mainly at Naval Research Laboratory in Washington DC. He was NOT named after Ron Paul but is distantly related to physicist Wolftgang Pauli; unfortunately, only the “good looks” were handed down and not the brains. He writes assorted song lyrics and essays reflecting his cynicism and classical liberalism. Click on the “BAB’s A List” category to access the Pauli archive.


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Africa Above America

Africa, America, Barack Obama, Healthcare

Barack Obama’s feelings about Africa run deeper than ordinary, gullible Americans can appreciate. The president—whose addresses are all “hot air,” bereft of substantive argument—expressed his fellow feelings during the August 4-6 U.S.-Africa Summit, this year: “I do not see the countries and peoples of Africa as a world apart; I see Africa as a fundamental part of our interconnected world – partners with America,” he said.

In anticipation of the event, the president waxed even fatter:

We’ve got a U.S.-Africa Summit coming up next week. It is going to be an unprecedented gathering of African leaders. The importance of this for America needs to be understood. Africa is one of the fastest-growing continents in the world. You’ve got six of the 10 fastest-growing economies in Africa. You have all sorts of other countries like China and Brazil and India deeply interested in working with Africa — not to extract natural resources alone, which traditionally has been the relationship between Africa and the rest of the world — but now because Africa is growing and you’ve got thriving markets and you’ve got entrepreneurs and extraordinary talent among the people there.
And Africa also happens to be one of the continents where America is most popular and people feel a real affinity for our way of life. And we’ve made enormous progress over the last several years in not just providing traditional aid to Africa, helping countries that are suffering from malnutrition or helping countries that are suffering from AIDS, but rather partnering and thinking about how can we trade more and how can we do business together. And that’s the kind of relationship that Africa is looking for.
And I’ve had conversations over the last several months with U.S. businesses — some of the biggest U.S. businesses in the world — and they say, Africa, that’s one of our top priorities; we want to do business with those folks, and we think that we can create U.S. jobs and send U.S. exports to Africa. But we’ve got to be engaged, and so this gives us a chance to do that. It also gives us a chance to talk to Africa about security issues — because, as we’ve seen, terrorist networks try to find places where governance is weak and security structures are weak. And if we want to keep ourselves safe over the long term, then one of the things that we can do is make sure that we are partnering with some countries that really have pretty effective security forces and have been deploying themselves in peacekeeping and conflict resolution efforts in Africa. And that, ultimately, can save us and our troops and our military a lot of money if we’ve got strong partners who are able to deal with conflicts in these regions.
So it’s going to be a terrific conference. I won’t lie to you, traffic will be bad here in Washington. (Laughter.) I know that everybody has been warned about that, but we are really looking forward to this and I think it’s going to be a great success.

Tellingly—and despite the love—Obama did not forget to address Ebola screening, in the context of the safety of Summit participants only, of course:

Ebola … is something that we take very seriously. As soon as there’s an outbreak anywhere in the world of any disease that could have significant effects, the CDC is in communication with the World Health Organization and other multilateral agencies to try to make sure that we’ve got an appropriate response.
This has been a more aggressive Ebola outbreak than we’ve seen in the past. But keep in mind that it is still affecting parts of three countries, and we’ve got some 50 countries represented at this summit. We are doing two things with respect to the summit itself. We’re taking the appropriate precautions. Folks who are coming from these countries that have even a marginal risk or an infinitesimal risk of having been exposed in some fashion, we’re making sure we’re doing screening on that end — as they leave the country. We’ll do additional screening when they’re here. We feel confident that the procedures that we’ve put in place are appropriate.


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