Sunday, July 31, 2016

Kirkpatrick speech about US foreign policy for GOP in 1984 is a surprising flip from this year; who was "The Ostrich"?


The speech by Jeane Kirkpatrick at the 1984 Republican convention (when Ronald Reagan would be easily re-elected) accused the Democrats of the negative thinking that now is being used to describe Donald Trump.  Kirkpatrick accused the Democrats of belittling America, and uses the word “ostrich” in the same way we used it in the barracks of Fort Eustis, VA back in 1969. "The Lizard and the Ostrich".


All very curious.  I remember getting an aggressive letter from the DNC in the summer of 1984 saying that I “owed” $35 to support Walter Mondale.


Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Attack in church in France perpetrated by suspect on home detention


Donald Trump is saying, “France is no longer France”, the day after a brutal slaying (and hostage taking) in a Catholic church in St. Etienne du Rouvray on July 26, with the CNN story on increased security measures here.

One of the attackers had been on house arrest with an ankle monitor but had been living in the town.
 
I visited the area in May 1999, and stayed in Bayeux, where I lost my rent car keys while in the “William the Conquerer” museum.  Hotel keys are just too big and force out other pocket contents when traveling.

Wikipedia attribution link of commuter train in the area by Aripauteur under CCSA 4.0.  I took a similar train to Caen to get a replacement car.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Reporting on Turkey's rebuffed military coup fooled and endangered journalists


Last night’s "military ball" coup attempt  in Turkey turned into a fiasco for the media.  Early on , it was reported that Erdogan had applied for asylum in Germany and been turned down.  It was reported (on CNN) that the Army was in control, then the claim was withdrawn into uncertainty.

 Later on it was reported that the Turkish parliament in Ankara was bombed.  A CNN affiliate in Turkey was closed.  There were tweets about the safety of journalists.



Dispute Erdogan’s authoritarianism and suppression of speech, Turkey is still seen as relatively stable and moderate in the Islamic world.  That’s very important in responding to “radical Islamic terrorism” (to quote Ted Cruz most directly).

Social media were closed in Turkey, but it wasn’t clear by whom.  Martial law was declared in some areas, but, again, by whom?

Turkey claims the situation is under control, but an air base by the US is closed for now (CNN). There is also a story that an alleged mastermind of the attack is a cleric living in Pennsylvania, and Turkey wants him extradited. However, the cleric supposedly supports service and education.

Wikipedia attribution link for Lion Gate in Hattusa, Turkey, by Benutzer He-na-mue under CCSA 3.0   There is also a Lions Gate in Greece (which may inspire the name of the movie studio).

Friday, July 15, 2016

Newt Gingrich says, we are At War, calls for enforcement of sedition laws, but dials down anti-Muslim rhetoric in Facebook Live talk today


Newt Gingrich, not quite chosen as Donald Trump’s VP nominee, went on Facebook Live today explaining his initial remarks (putatively about Muslims who express support for sharia) today, link here. It’s also on my own Facebook timeline.

Gingrich said, in a 25 -minute presentation, that there are three groups of people to be concerned with.  Extremists overseas we can simply exclude from the country.  Non-citizens in the US we can monitor and deport if necessary.  Citizens, however, we can only put in jail.

But Gingrich said, following the Bastille Day Nice attack (for which no responsibility has yet been claimed)  Thursday night, that the United States (and the West) is at war.  A history professor (as well as former US House Speaker) he said that a country can declare war on a mass movement (as with Eric Hoffer) just as it can on another state.  That would also presumably mean declaring war on the Islamic State, even though the State is not formally recognized. Donald Trump has echoed similar ideas.



Gingrich said, “the right of privacy is vital in peacetime” but “the right of survival is vital in wartime”.  He did talk about the Smith Act of 1940.  He suggested citizens could be prosecuted for Sedition if they actively promoted terrorist acts online (but he did not suggest shutting down the Internet, as Trump reportedly did in December, as a potential emergency national security measure).

Gingrich has also been vocal about the possibility of an EMP attack against the US from a rogue state like Iran or North Korea, as he wrote in a foreword to "One Second After" in 2009.
 
Wikipedia attribution link for anti-Communist poster in 1950.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Limited Syrian refugee resettlement happening in DC area with Lutheran Social Services


I did see an email today indicating that a church I attend is helping sponsor one Syrian refugee family with Lutheran Social Services as the sponsoring agency working with the federal government on assistance and security matters.

There was an invitation to attend a mandatory training session if you were interested.  I did not see any mention of a more general information forum which would seem to be necessary to help decide if they should volunteer.  The training session would appear to apply to those who have already joined.  But LSS has some information and a volunteer application online.

Again, the US does not allow “private sponsorship” the way Canada does.  I’ll check further into the facts and see if there is another information forum.
Update (July 17):

I'm told that this is an "information forum" as well as training, and the public can come; it's apparently not necessary to apply first before going. I'll check further.

Monday, July 4, 2016

ISIS turns to sectarian attacks on civilians in many countries as it loses territory


Carol Morello and Joby Warrick have a detailed front page story about ISIS strategy in the Washington Post Monday morning, July 4.

As ISIL loses territory, its strategy is to make itself relevant (even in competition with Al Qaeda) by intimidating civilians around the world.  The story also emphasizes that European and Asian or Middle Eastern (or African) attacks have been organized by “wolf packs” and not loan wolves (as in the US).  Michael Weiss on CNN emphasized that sectarianism is still a major objective.  The deadliest event as of early July 4 still had been the bombing in a Shia area of Baghdad.

Extremist Wahhabists seem to have other Muslims who don’t follow their sect the most.  Back in the 80s, a computer consultant (whom I worked with in Dallas) who had worked for an oil company contractor in Saudi Arabia and lived in a compound just said, “They hate each other” more than they hate Christians, Jews and atheists or agnostics.

Wikipedia attribution link for picture of Babylon ruins, public domain