Archive for February 2015

Facing ISIS

I have now subjectively digested Graeme Wood’s article in the Atlantic, What ISIS Really Wants, and knowing most of you won’t spend the time to read it, I am going to try to give you a short summary of what he told us that I have found to be dead on.  I will use his words when I can, but mostly paraphrase.  I am doing this for two reasons.  First as our nation thinks it fine to bring religion into government, I want to emphasize that ISIS is religion and its faith-based thinking is the danger that all religions bring.  Our failure to recognize this and our built-in tolerance of other religious points of view without judgement is putting us at risk.

The second reason is that I believe ISIS is a real threat to the modern world and we have been disregarding this challenge to liberal progressive democracy as just a bunch of nuts.  The war will only be won when we recognize their religious aims and deal with them, by taking away their land, defunding them, isolating them and where necessary, killing them.  Sounds harsh?  That is exactly what they want to do to us.  President Obama, like the rest of us, wrote them off, as a JV to al Qaeda, not a real religion, and not Islam.  As it turns out, he and we were wrong on all counts.  Its draw is its religious base, not just to disenfranchised or troubled youth.

One other thing.  We Westerners seem to be having a real problem understanding why ISIS is so successful attracting jihadists from around the world.  It comes from the fact the ISIS appeals to the core religious beliefs of Islam taken from the early writings of the prophet Mohammad.  Some have looked “to the conditions in which these ideologies arose – the bad governance, the shifting social mores, the humiliation of living in lands valued only for their oil. … But focusing on them to the exclusion of ideology reflects another kind of Western bias:  that if religious ideology doesn’t matter much in Washington or Berlin, surely it must be equally irrelevant in Raqqa or Mosul.”  Said simply, ISIS is a pure form of their historical religion using the techniques and strategies of the Prophet himself.  They are called to do God’s work.  Okay let’s get at it.

Yesterday in my blog, Yes We are at War with Islam, I tried to make the following points from Mr.Wood’s analysis:

  • ISIS is a real religion, not some perversion of one.
  • Those who claim it is not Islam are badly mistaken.  “The reality is that the Islamic State is Islamic. Very Islamic. Yes, it has attracted psychopaths and adventure seekers, drawn largely from the disaffected populations of the Middle East and Europe. But the religion preached by its most ardent followers derives from coherent and even learned interpretations of Islam.”
  • Finally, If we are going to seriously combat it, we have to understand it. “Muslims can reject the Islamic State; nearly all do. But pretending that it isn’t actually a religious, millenarian group, with theology that must be understood to be combatted, has already led the United States to underestimate it and back foolish schemes to counter it.”

In order to counter ISIS, Mr. Graeme leads us on journey to understand the religion itself so we know what we are fighting.  He broke this into five parts which I will try to summarize.

I. Devotion

  • The Prophet and his laws are supreme to anything.  Logic does not apply.
  • Denying the holiness of the Koran or the prophecies of Muhammad is straightforward apostasy and punishable by death.  Said another way, anyone who does not interpret Islam as ISIS does is not just marked for death, but they have a duty to carry it out. “That means roughly 200 million Shia are marked for death. So too are the heads of state of every Muslim country, who have elevated man-made law above Sharia by running for office or enforcing laws not made by God.  Following takfiri doctrine, the Islamic State is committed to purifying the world by killing vast numbers of people.”  And then of course are the rest of us.
  • These beliefs are at the heart of Islamic fundamentalism. “Many mainstream Muslim organizations have gone so far as to say the Islamic State is, in fact, un-Islamic. It is, of course, reassuring to know that the vast majority of Muslims have zero interest in replacing Hollywood movies with public executions as evening entertainment. But Muslims who call the Islamic State un-Islamic are typically, as the Princeton scholar Bernard Haykel, the leading expert on the group’s theology, told me, “embarrassed and politically correct, with a cotton-candy view of their own religion” that neglects “what their religion has historically and legally required.”
  • ISIS is simply a legitimate (or maybe alternative) interpretation of the Koran. “He [Haykel] regards the claim that the Islamic State has distorted the texts of Islam as preposterous, sustainable only through willful ignorance. ‘People want to absolve Islam,’ he said. ‘It’s this ‘Islam is a religion of peace’ mantra. As if there is such a thing as ‘Islam’! It’s what Muslims do, and how they interpret their texts.’”
  • When we look at the barbaric way they behead and enslave, they are simply following the permitted methods used by their Prophet and the Sharia

Bottom line:  ISIS is a religion which requires fundamental belief and adherence to 7th century documents that require the establishment of the caliphate, continuous battle with infidels and wayward Muslims, and unquestioning faith in their methods and beliefs.

II. Territory

We are kind of back to the devotion thing.  All adherents of Islam believe that a caliphate (pure Islamic State) will be established and a caliph who leads it and this is their journey to the final Apocalypse where only the cleansed souls will receive their just rewards.

  • It is critical to the Prophecy that the disciples take and establish a state and expand it.
  • This establishment is a call to Muslims to return to the caliphate to defend the Prophecy
  • Establishment of the caliphate demands the full adherence to Sharia Law
  • The Caliph is required to implement Sharia
  • ISIS’s leader is claiming to be the Caliph

III. The Apocalypse

Here is where the difference between Al Qaeda and ISIS becomes critical. “… al-Qaeda acts like an underground political movement, with worldly goals in sight at all times—the expulsion of non-Muslims from the Arabian peninsula, the abolishment of the state of Israel, the end of support for dictatorships in Muslim lands. The Islamic State has its share of worldly concerns (including, in the places it controls, collecting garbage and keeping the water running), but the End of Days is a leitmotif [recurrent theme] of its propaganda.”

  • The end goal of ISIS is to establish a caliphate and a caliph, “a messianic figure destined to lead the Muslims to victory before the end of the world.”
  • Like the Jim Jones of the world, this apocalyptic bloodbath “fulfill a deep psychological need.”
  • It is ISIS’s destiny to fight these religious wars until they purify the world and ready it for the apocalypse.

IV. The Fight

In this discussion Graeme lays out that ISIS has been clear in its strategy and what it hopes to accomplish, and therein lies clues to how to counter them.

  • Because ISIS requires ideological purity, strict following of the strictures for establishing the caliphate, and how to run it, we know what they will do.
  • Offensive jihad is required, the forcible expansion into countries that are ruled by non-Muslims.
  • Islamic law permits only temporary peace treaties and accepting any border is anathema, as stated by the Prophet.
  • To recognize any authority but God’s is heresy.  Cannot recognize the UN, or even the arrival of a caliphate by democratic means is considered polytheism and heresy.
  • ISIS is hamstrung by its unyielding radicalism and can be predicted.
  • We have made strategic errors dealing with ISIS by not recognizing its need for territory and the split between ISIS and al Qaeda.

The last section is called Dissuasion, but I am going to sum up what I think are the implications of all of the above in both The Fight and Dissuasion.

  • Escalation of the battle taking the fight to ISIS
    • It has genocidal intentions on its neighbors
    • Taking back land reduces its claim to a caliphate.  “…because territorial authority is a requirement: take away its command of territory, and all those oaths of allegiance are no longer binding.
  • The biggest proponent of this approach is ISIS itself
    • An invasion would be a huge propaganda win for ISIS as the Crusade has finally begun
    • Yet another invasion [by the U.S.] and occupation would confirm that suspicion, and bolster recruitment”
  • “… continuing to slowly bleed it, through air strikes and proxy warfare, appears the best of bad military options.”
  • “… with every month that it fails to expand, it resembles less the conquering state of the Prophet Muhammad than yet another Middle Eastern government failing to bring prosperity to its people
  • Because of its aims, ISIS’s focus is not attacking us, but having us attack them, unlike al-Qaeda who has a political objective to free the Holy Lands.
  • It is unlikely that returning ISIS volunteers from the West will be a continuing ISIS threat as, “The jihadist seemed to regard returnees not as soldiers but as dropouts. “The fact is that the returnees from the Islamic State should repent from their return,” he said. “I hope they review their religion.” Of course they could revert to al Qaeda operatives.
  • Properly contained, the Islamic State is likely to be its own undoing. No country is its ally, and its ideology ensures that this will remain the case. The land it controls, while expansive, is mostly uninhabited and poor. As it stagnates or slowly shrinks, its claim that it is the engine of God’s will and the agent of apocalypse will weaken, and fewer believers will arrive. And as more reports of misery within it leak out, radical Islamist movements elsewhere will be discredited: No one has tried harder to implement strict Sharia by violence. This is what it looks like.”
  • ” … denouncing the Islamic State as un-Islamic can be counterproductive, especially if those who hear the message have read the holy texts and seen the endorsement of many of the caliphate’s practices written plainly within them.”
  • There are other extreme forms of Islam that might work as a substitute as they eschew discord and chaos.
  • Westerners should probably stay away from matters of Islamic theological debate as the President did not when he declared the Islamic State not Islamic.  If you understand their ideology, debate is futile.  “But for an organization as impervious to persuasion as the Islamic State, few measures short of these will matter, and the war may be a long one, even if it doesn’t last until the end of time.”

Here is my summary with a very subjective and atheistic view on religion.  Religion is the problem.  Faith-based thinking leads in the extreme, to dogmatic robotic adherence to documents and thinking relevant to ancient times, in Islamic terms, the 7th century.  But you can’t go to war with religion in general.  Our own history and the Enlightenment allowed us to end violence by removing religion from government and to tolerate differing points of view.  Islam is not there and may never be.  ISIS is one interpretation of Islam which is in fact based upon their most holy religious documents and while most Muslims reject their interpretations and atrocities, it is in the end a religious jihad we have to deal with.

As Mr. Woods wrote, the best approach is to isolate them as best we can, take back territory as we can, it will stagnate under its own dogma, and be less and less of a draw on new disciples as it is seen as a failure.  Also, this won’t be fast.  It will take time and the primary fighters will have to be Muslim, because quite frankly, they face extinction if they don’t buy into ISIS’s fundamental beliefs and rule.  In light of this, our planned or announced taking back of Mosul is fraught with risk and if we enter a battle and lose, we are furthering their cause and assuring more recruits.

Finally, the United States must provide massive humanitarian aid to assist those displaced by ISIS.  Along with that we must continue to try to bring Islam into the 21st century, because its core beliefs, like all religion is faith-based beliefs that defy logic and reason.  We have to find a way to respect their beliefs while exposing them to new ideas that may change the way the view their religion.  And make no mistake, this is the battle between secular progressive government and theocracy.  It is a battle for logic and reason instead of religious ideological belief and thinking.  This may be hard to swallow since we ourselves fall victim to faith-based thinking.

Squirrel!

Remember that commercial where a dog is focused on something and then all of a sudden a squirrel appears and he is totally distracted and now his whole world is the squirrel?  See the news story and coverage about the dress and its perceived color.  We have serious problems with a dysfunctional Government being undermined by Republicans, a great story about net neutrality winning out, and some really insightful thinking about the nature of ISIS and our strategy, and somebody shows a dress that changes color based upon your perception and it gets more news coverage that all the other items.  Welcome to America where squirrel is our mode of operation. No wonder we elected the people who are causing all our problems to make more trouble and solve nothing while claiming we want people to work together.

Congress!

Bullshit!  Republicans!  The media are trying to be fair and balanced again by describing the “dysfunction in Congress”.  Please spare me.  The dysfunction is the Republicans and the media are part of the problem.  Until they make it clear what the issues are and who is preventing any forward movement, blaming “Congress” just continues the confusion of the voters.  The spinners are on TV today trying to make the both sides argument  and if just moderates from both sides would get together BS, but if Boehner would not put the clean funding bill on the floor, what difference does it make?  Everybody knows if he does it would pass, kind of like immigration reform.  Who again is the problem?  Congress?

Slip Sliding Away

So how are you independents who though voting Republican, the guys who were the problem for the last 6 years, feeling about how that is working out?  They have kick the can down the road on Homeland Security funding 1-week and for what?  And don’t give me an bullshit about both sides.  The Republicans could have passed a 3-week continuation, full funding, or a 1-week and it was close on the 1-week.  There is chaos in the ranks and they are not interested in governing.

We will see how this 1-week thing works out.  According to media the deal was that Democrats would help John Boehner pass the 1-week extension on funding if he would put full funding on the floor to vote on next week.  We will see if he is good on his word.  The crazies (about 50 Tea Party Republicans) of course want a win defined as anything that hurts President Obama’s efforts to solve our immigration problems.  But legislatively, it is impossible.  The out Boehner was trying to give them was that immigration executive actions are already tied up in the courts, so let’s vote on a continuation until we find out if a judge will overrule the conservative nut job judge in Texas.  Then we can have this fight again.  Don’t you just love it?

Yesterday I published a link to an article, What ISIS Really Wants, and if you read it, you know that they want world ideological (or religious) purity.  There is no negotiated settlement with them and even Muslims need to fear for their lives because dissent is not an option.  Some of us think that the only way to defeat this religion is for Muslims to take them on.  Now turn to the Republican Party.  First and foremost when you hear “moderates” talk, they are in denial about this bunch, as though they aren’t in charge.  But you just got Exhibit A in who is in charge of the House.  And this bunch, like ISIS only cares about ideological purity.

If the Republican Party is going to stay a viable party, Republicans are going to have to mutany against these extremists where ideological purity is all that counts.  Republicans have a real problem in that they have created these Frankensteins through conservative talk shows, Fox News, gerrymandering, and their think tanks, which have create an alternative reality for them to operate in.  If the rest of the party doesn’t  mutiny, the public can be fooled some of the time, but not all of the time, and sooner or later they will discover that it is not both sides at all.  This week was a prime example of the future with these nipple heads.

So I ask again, how’s this all working out for you guys who voted Republican?

Yes We are At War with Islam

In my continuing effort to make the point that we highly underestimate ISIS and its attraction, I came across the article in the Atlantic Magazine, What ISIS Really Wants,  which is the tutorial for all Americans to not make the mistake of President Obama to just think this is some radical nutcase group.  The are at their very hearts what they believe are real Muslim with the pure Islamic faith.  Here are some exerts before you dive into the critical parts of the article:

We can gather that their state rejects peace as a matter of principle; that it hungers for genocide; that its religious views make it constitutionally incapable of certain types of change, even if that change might ensure its survival; and that it considers itself a harbinger of—and headline player in—the imminent end of the world.

Think about this one.  Like all religions there is an Apocalypse.  They are establishing the purified state for the end and nothing else matters “like the realization of a dystopian alternate reality in which David Koresh or Jim Jones survived to wield absolute power over not just a few hundred people, but some 8 million.” Then he (Graeme Wood) goes on to provide a summary of how we misunderstand the nature of the Islamic State in two primary ways.  “Bin Laden viewed his terrorism as a prologue to a caliphate he did not expect to see in his lifetime. His organization was flexible, operating as a geographically diffuse network of autonomous cells. The Islamic State, by contrast, requires territory to remain legitimate, and a top-down structure to rule it.”

And here is the critical thing we need to understand:

The reality is that the Islamic State is Islamic. Very Islamic. Yes, it has attracted psychopaths and adventure seekers, drawn largely from the disaffected populations of the Middle East and Europe. But the religion preached by its most ardent followers derives from coherent and even learned interpretations of Islam.

 Muslims can reject the Islamic State; nearly all do. But pretending that it isn’t actually a religious, millenarian group, with theology that must be understood to be combatted, has already led the United States to underestimate it and back foolish schemes to counter it.

Get over it.  Islam is the problem and we are in a war with those who believe it at its most fundamental level.  That is why it is easy for them to recruit.  They really are on a mission from God.  They will never negotiate and their cause is eternal battle.  So the next question is how we should confront them.  I will get to that tomorrow.

One Last Thing Before I Go Lift Weights – Transportation

I live in California where the automobile rules supreme. When I travel to other states like Colorado or Massachusetts and encounter toll roads, I just think it is wrong. To freely move about the state is a basic freedom in my mind and tolls, unless you are trying to achieve some public good (like tolls on bridges to make public transit a more viable option), are a restriction on our freedom and unfairly limit the poor.

Well California just did a poll about a gas tax and here was the breakdown on whether government should spend more on roads and highways:

Existing Roads:  71% in favor

New Roads: 48% in favor, 35% against

For the question of should the gas tax be increased by 10 cents a gallon, we have a tie, roughly even split between for and against.  You can guess how that fell on party lines. For if more tolls roads should be used, only 38% favored it.  For a user fee based upon mileage driven, 66% were against it.  So I guess my fellow Californians generally feel we need to spend more to upgrade our existing roads, but divided on more new highways and a tax to pay for either. And solidly against toll roads and mileage fees.  I am heartened by this.  Our highways are a shared responsibility, like hopefully someday healthcare, and they are a part of our national treasure, not as Texas does to be passed off to the private sector to privately fund for those who can afford to pay for faster travel in the fast lane.

I guess I am getting old, but my perfect living space is a small house in a small community within walking distance of a town center with coffee shops, restaurants, bars, and grocery stores, and a light rail to get me to the airport and train station.  Maybe in my next lifetime.  Or, I could move to Europe.

Ah, CPAC

Is there a better vinue for generating fodder for Jon Stewart?  Is there a better venue to demonstrate that we, or at least some of us, have checked their brains at the door?  Is their a better venue to keep a fact checker employed for life?  If we did not consider it entertainment, and I know it is impolite to laugh at mentally challenged people, we might think the inmates had escaped from the asylum.

I have heard a few of the early speeches and they are basically taking a page from Sarha Palin, be snarky with no real substance.  So they are throwing red meat to the meat heads, bashing Democrats to the cheers of the crowd, but there is no there there.  For instance let’s take Scott Walker.

He has faced unions so he has proven he can be tough with ISIS.  Okay, assume this isn’t nonsensical comparing his fellow Americans protesting peacefully with a murderous army, ask how he would be tough with ISIS.  Would he deploy the nukes, invade, use chemical weapons?  What the hell does that mean.  Well the point is to feed the emotions of the rabble, not confuse their brains with policies that have real costs.  That would be something we could look at and turn it over in our minds and see what the real consequences would be.

Rand Paul tells it is a new time for new ideas, a new beginning, and a new President to replace President Obama. What new ideas?  Is the new beginning more tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy?  Is it a new beginning for supply side economics?  Will we finally build the great wall on our southern border?  Who will pick our crops?  Will we finally repeal Obamacare?  What will we replace it with?  Where’s the beef?  There isn’t any beef.

I can guess at the rest of the speeches which will be in the same vein.  Look at the House of Representatives controlled by these mental midget.  I really wonder if they thought there stupid ideas would work, would they really vote for them?  It would appear that they are on an ideological crusade where the test of ideas has nothing to do with their efficacy and how they help the American people, but to meet ideological purity standards.  Say they repealed Obamacare.  Then what?  The American health care industry would be in chaos.  What if they really could build the wall on the southern border and “throw out all the law breakers”?  Our economy would be in chaos.  What if they really could ignore global warming, drill baby drill, and abolish the EPA?  Remember Love Canal?  I think it is all posturing for power and position, hoping the Democrats will prevent them from really destroying the country.

But I would like to leave you with this.  It was Jon Stewart last night who in his waning days is pointing out the obvious, all that counts for conservatives is ideological purity:

 

Just in Time – McFarland, USA

Yes it was old retired people’s day out yesterday and I saw this absolutely wonderful movie.  Inspired by a real life true story, it is the tale of Coach Jim White (played by Kevin Costner) probably on his last stop in his teaching career if this did not work out, taking a job in this little town on HW99 (California State Route 99) about due east of Paso Robles in the heart of the Central Valley of California.  It is hot and flat out there, but it is the breadbasket of the nation where immigrant, first, and second generation Mexican labor pick America’s fruits and vegtables. To make a long story short, don’t miss this movie.  It was sorely needed in this abstract Washington standoff on immigration to humanize the story of what I consider amazing people.

But I am getting ahead of myself.  Let’s not forget the previews of coming attractions.  This is where she who must not be mention here and I usually get shocked by what is being produced and making money.  Shoot’em up, blow’em up, show some skin, and the dialogue  written by 1000 chimpanzees randomly writing jiberish on old typewriters.  Since this a Disney movie (McFarland), and I suppose because we are at an early matinee, all the previews were of Disney movies coming out.  They included Monkey Kingdom (nature film), Inside Out (hilarious), and Minions.  They all intrigued me.  The dialogue in the previews was far better written than most action thrillers, and was actually very funny.  Maybe it is a sign I am regressing or maybe in animated movies the dialogue is more focused on.  No, I will not go to the movies to see them, but when they come to the small screen, I will secretly enjoy them.  Or maybe I can borrow a kid and pretend I am a bored adult doing his grandfatherly duty.

Anyway, back to McFarland, USA. I know something about Hispanic, Mexican, Immigrant, I am never sure what is politically correct these days, labor since I own a small vineyard and I depend on them.  I guess that is why McFarland struck such a cord with me.  I know what great people they are.  I like their culture, they do have big hearts, and they do work most Americans would not work half a day at.  One of the great scenes is when Jim does just that.  They are the heart and soul of our agriculture out here.  I learned everything I needed to know by watching their artisty in the vineyard, from pruning to thinning leaf crop, to dropping fruit.  My most proud moment was when they called me el patron who works.  I know something of what they do.

But this movie is about an amazing man, and more importantly, an amazing Latino (is this the right word?) community.  It gives the American that does not have a clue an insight into these amazing people and their culture.  Oh, and their grit.  It makes you proud they want to come here.  We need more of that before the Republicans destroy everything good about America by closing our borders to our seed crop.  You have to see it.  If it doesn’t make you laugh and cry, and come away with a real respect for what these people bring to America, then join ISIS.  You have no compassison whatsoever.    

Denial Will be the Death of Us

From the Washington Post (yes I actually read four or five papers every day (digitally)):

Several years ago, in 2009 and 2010, a string of unexplained floods and unusually high tides struck the East Coast. There was no easy explanation. No hurricane. No winter storm. But the waters kept spilling across the shoreline, from North Carolina’s Cape Hatteras to Canada.

The cause of that phenomenon may now have finally been found. Sea levels from New York to Newfoundland were undergoing an “extreme” surge unlike any other in recorded history, according to a new study in Nature Communications published this week. Calling the phenomenon “unprecedented” and “very unusual,” oceans along the East Coast rose roughly four inches between 2009 and 2010 in a rapid spike researchers compared to a “1-in-850-year event.”

This is a very extreme event,” Jianjun Yin of the University of Arizona told The Washington Post in a phone interview. “The sea level has since dropped after that spike, but it is still much higher than it was when the spike began in 2009. … Global warming definitely contributed to this event.”

Now the article points out that this was also a result of changing current and wind directions, but I would argue it is all related to global warming in one form or another.  But the point is that the seas are rising and faster that the conservative models of most scientists who recognize global warming (97% of them).

“This study identifies a record-breaking high sea level event. … There is strong evidence that the likelihood of such events has been increased by climate change, and we should expect more such events in the future.”

So how is that law to ignore climate change forecasts working out for you North Carolina?  Like I said, Republicanism is the Ebola of America.

How the Freedom Lovers Destroy Democracy

In case you haven’t guessed it, the freedom lovers are the Tea Party of the Republican Party and they are bent on destroying democracy.  Remember civics class?  Remember how government is suppose to work?  There is an implied contract that the minority will abide by majority will.  Then there is a carefully crafted ballance of power in the three branches of government, the executive, the legislative, and the judicial, so that one branch does not takeover and run the government.  And as noted earlier, we all agree to play by the rules.

Well our boys and girls in the Republican Party don’t accept that.  Exhibit A is the latest attempt to shut down government in the form of defunding Homeland Security because they can’t get their way on immigration, something Homeland Security is not really about.  Remember that immigration reform passed by the Senate could not be passed in the House, not because there weren’t enough yes votes, but because the minority couldn’t get their way so they refused to vote at all.  Exhibit B is using the court system to both destroy Obamacare and the President’s executive orders on immigration by judge shopping in the case of the President’s executive orders, and conservative judges bringing the Obamacare case to the court that simply has no merit.  But they may find one (merit) in some ideological fog that will further destroy the credibility of the judiciary and the foundations of democracy.

Exhibit C is their blocking of all nominees of President Obama.  He won the election, but they won’t allow him to fill his vacancies because, well, they lost.  Exhibit D is their use of the filibuster for common legislation so that the Senate, while it was in Democratic hands, was powerless to act on anything the Republican minority did not agree to.  Exhibit E is their attack on voting rights and attempts to limit voting by anyone that does not agree with them.  I guess I could give you sources for all of this, but by now all of us have seen this at play.  I also guess one could argue that this is just the process, and Republicans are just using the levers of power they have to protect their interests.  But in total it is sabotaging government, making it totally ineffective, and a total rejection of the implied contract of a democracy.

I guess you could also say that they now have a majority in both the House and the Senate so they should get their way, except they don’t have the Executive and he can veto things according to the rules we have and they don’t have enough votes to override that veto.  Their solution is to hold the government hostage, even our security apparatus in times of growing threats, well, because they can’t get their way.  No, Republicans hate democracy.  Democracy for them is only functional when everyone believes as they do, otherwise they have no use for it.

But if you are still wavering here, Exhibit F ought to open your eyes.  This is the manuever by the Republicans to bypass the executive on foreign relations, inviting Netanyahu to speak to Congress.  This is a pure political ploy using a foreign government.  Netanyahu’s motives are less than sterling. He is trying to use American politics to shore up his own re-election campaign and we wisely have a policy of not getting involved in foreign countries elections for obvious reasons.  Now, for the worse, relations with Israel has become a political football and putting these relations in jeapordy.  But they, the Republicans, don’t care.  Wreck the government for all they care, we just have to make Obama look bad because we hate him.

And that is the bottomline.  They hate Obama and at the expense of America they have done everything they can to make government ineffective.  And the worse part is that through gerrymandering, this minority that controls Republican politics, is immune to their destructive ways.  That along with the fear of a primary challenge and the crazies not only control the Republican Party and their leadership, but are bent on the destruction of a Constitutional democracy by making it powerless.  And so far so good since the rest of the craven bunch has gone along with them.

So the next time one of your friends, who probably calls themselves independent because they are embarassed by the Louie Gohmerts, Steve Kings, and Michele Bachmanns, but votes for these knuckle heads who empower them, says something really stupid like I wish they would just work together, remind them that they are the ones who are empowering the knuckleheads who are wrecking this country and are not going to work with anybody.

Footnote:  I could add that even for moderate Republicans, their supply side economic beliefs, a litmus test for the next presidential election, increases the economic inequality that also undermines democracy as money and power flow to the few.  All in all Republicanism is kind of the Ebola of America.  Too bad we can’t put them all in a quarantine camp.

Footnote1:  I almost forgot.  The citizens of Washington DC voted overwhelmingly to legalize Marijuana so what do Republicans in Congress want to do if they implement it?  Throw the Mayor in jail.  Oh how they love democracy.