The Dark Side of the Force is Awake, and it’s called the GOP

There was a lot of war mongering going on at the last GOP debate. It’s almost as if they wanted to build a Death Star in the sky and eliminate, via laser and with pin-point accuracy, any and all bad guys. And if that didn’t work they were OK with just leveling cities as if it were another day at the office. Remember when Darth Vader destroyed Alderan just because he could? Imagine if Ted Cruz, Donald Trump or Chris Christie stood behind that console with all that power. That would be kind of scary, but in all actuality, we are pretty close to that scenario. How we got this far and to this point, where one of these yahoo’s can have so much power at their disposal is an acknowledgement of our biggest fears and what we as a nation are willing to allow to silence those fears.

But what are those fears and why to they exist? From a national security standpoint, The Islamic State is loosing ground, and as a result they are hitting closer to home, such as in San Bernadino or France. The fear is that the bad guys can strike anytime and anywhere using our technologies, citizens and legal loopholes against us. Now, from the GOP’s perspective and because we are in a soundbite election season, It’s not exciting by any means to talk about the root cause of why an American citizen, or somebody trying to establish roots in the US or another western country would consider joining the Islamic State, or turn against their neighbors for other misguided ideological purposes. It’s easier to blame the president and use tough and childish rhetoric in an attempt to win support from very scared citizens and direct hatred towards an invisible enemy. Facing the root cause and fighting the war there is not as sexy as “utterly destroying” and “carpet bombing” cities.

In truth, exploring the root cause might highlight the very deep flaws of our version of capitalism and “the dream” not being at all what it is sold to be. And I’m not convinced any of the candidates at the debate can actually deliberate upon that. So, rather than discuss the real issues at hand, such as income inequality and trying to improve what is for many a very poor quality of life–all which stems from the philosophical and actual inadequacies of our archaic economic structure, it’s more convenient and much easier for the GOP to blame “them” and incite hatred. It’s an easy redirect tactic. And its working. So the rhetoric gets tougher, more bombastic, and those leading the charge sound more like dark Sith overlords rather than GOP presidential candidates.

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Can we finally get serious about gun control?

Does this country finally have the balls to rethink gun control? What are we actually afraid of? The NRA? Sure, they have the big guns, and they are using them against us, but it’s time we grow up and finally face them.

This whole “rural debate” or “hunting as a time-honored tradition” stance just isn’t enough anymore. If that is your position, and we keep these laws that allow guns in the hands of criminals in place because of those traditions, maybe it’s time for the sake of national security you find a new hobby. The right for you to sit in the woods all day, drink beer, while waiting for a deer to walk by for you to shoot is being paid for at the expense of innocent Americans in malls, clinics, and schools.

I don’t feel safe in this country anymore. It’s not the Syrians or any other fringe group right wing politicians are pointing at that is making me feel this way. It’s the NRA, gun lobbyists, and their supporters. Way too often now we are hearing about lunatics and guns. Enough is enough. Let’s finally get serious about gun control, or dare I say it, gun elimination.

How Jerry Seinfeld can Help Defeat the Islamic State

In your best Jerry Seinfeld voice ask yourself, “…so uh, what’s the deal with the Islamic State”? Now, take Jerry off of your shoulder and put him down on the table and give him some cereal for a moment.

That’s a pretty heavy question, but as heavy as the question is the answer is rather simple–they don’t like us–and by us I mean the West. But really, how can you not like us, we have  Hollywood, great chefs, exciting music, so really, what is their “deal”?

In a recent episode of “Democracy Now”, Abdel Bari Atwan, who was the guest on the show, ran through 7 words outlining how the Islamic State came to be. His packaging of the this was rather brilliant and provided a nice digestible way of putting the Islamic State and the Middle East into perspective, the seven words he used are:

  1. Humiliation – people are humiliated by military intervention and by their own governments which are dictatorships
  2. Frustration – There are a large number (over 100 million) of young and unemployed people looking for direction and a future
  3. Marginalization – The marginalized Sunni Sect created an incubator for Islamic State in Iraq
  4. Military Intervention – causes failed states, which are filled later by the Islamic State
  5. Lack of good governments – Corruption and lack of human rights
  6. Under Estimation – ISIS was underestimated as it was gaining power
  7. Social Media – The Islamic State is using social media platforms to gain followers and broadcast messages to a much larger audience in the past

Now back to Jerry, who just finished eating his Fruit Loops.  Jerry – think of the Islamic State as a glob of mercury. The more you bomb it, the more it breaks up, but never really goes away. And it expands in heat, which in this case, think of heat as war. The deal is this, Jerry, it’s eons of frustration that bombing will only make worse. And the refugee situation? Jerry – the more we turn away the more we feed the cycle outlined above. So it’s imperative we accept refugees. The right-wing pundits and presidential candidates are way off-base on this one.

So Jerry – now that you have some perspective on “What’s the deal”, and it’s clear that the solution isn’t a military one – Jerry – you can help. You represent Hollywood in this blog post, and Hollywood is our biggest export. More than anything this is a war of ideology. Hollywood (which encapsulates “the dream” better than anything else can), education, political sanctions, access to food- all of these things can do a much better job of combating the Islamic State than continuous bombings ever will.

It’s time to re-think this strategy and let the George Costanza fly.

Click below for the interview referenced in this post.