Sunday, November 29, 2015

Random Observations for the Post Thanksgiving Lull

Opinion |

A few random observations for this post-Thanksgiving, post-Black Friday day of recovery:
* Donald Trump said recently that if he were president, he would be “bombing the [bad word]” out of ISIS. Five minutes on Google or Bing or Yahoo! or whatever would have turned up U.S. military figures showing we’re already doing that.
In fact, we’re actually bombing ISIS more than we have the Taliban. The Washington Post reviewed data supplied by the U.S. military and found that “from August 2014 to August 2015, there have been 22,478 weapons released over Syria and Iraq, mostly by U.S. aircraft,” whereas only 20,237 weapons were released in the last five years over Afghanistan. Add in the contributions of our allies and of Russia, and I’m not sure how much more [bad word] we can be bombing out of ISIS.
Here’s a radical idea for our pundits and politicians: Before you make strident demands that some group of people do something, do a little research to see if they’re already doing it.
* Speaking of surprising numbers, did you know that 26 people have been killed in jihadist attacks in the U.S. since 9/11/2001, but that 48 people have been killed by right-wing anti-government, anti-immigrant and white supremacist killers during the same period? Did you know that among those 48 are nine police officers targeted, ambushed and killed by professed “anti-government” terrorists specifically because they were cops?
Seems to me that maybe we’re talking about profiling the wrong people. After all, if radical right-wing white people are responsible for so many terrorist acts, then maybe we should be compiling databases and restricting the movement of all white conservative. … No. Wait. That would be stupid. Never mind.
* Speaking of profiling, I’m not sure why some people think it’s a compelling argument to make to me (as some have in the past two weeks) that “47 Democrats voted for restricting entry of refugees from Syria” or that “Bill Maher said Muslims can’t be trusted.”
I’m enormously disappointed in the Democrats who caved in to fear and let ISIS terrorists dictate our refugee policy. As for Bill Maher, I’m certainly baffled as why wingnuts think he’s some kind of liberal spokesman. Also, before you go jumping on Maher’s bandwagon, you might want to check out his views on Christians.
It reminds me of the delicious moment when Sean Hannity invited the late British author and gadfly Christopher Hitchens on his show because Hitchens hated the Clintons, only to end up throwing him off the show because Hitchens started ripping into Hannity’s idiotic claims of a “War on Christmas” before going on to express his contempt for religion in general and Christianity in particular. Again, people, five minutes with Google can save you a lot of grief.
* Speaking of the War on Christmas, I see Fox “News” is going after a national chain because its holiday cups aren’t Jesus-y enough. “Is Starbucks acting more like Ebenezer Scrooge to bah-humbug Christmas?” asked self-described evangelist and Fox News host Kelly Wright. “Some people think so.” Their complaint? Starbucks removed “traditional holiday decorations of Christmas trees and snowflakes on its cups” in favor of a bright, cheery but blank red cup. This, according to Wright, is taking “Christ and Christmas” off the cup.
So let me get this straight. The removal of a pagan symbol of renewal and rebirth (the tree) and a naturally occurring phenomenon (the snowflake), neither of which have squat-all to do with the birth of Jesus 2,000-odd years ago, is taking “Christ and Christmas” off your morning cup of mediocre overpriced coffee. You realize, of course, this makes no sense. But, hey, who cares about logic when you’re a member of the country’s dominant religion attempting to portray yourself as part of some kind of beleaguered insurgent movement?
* Speaking of overreacting to the smallest thing: The White House recently went into lockdown and parts of Pennsylvania Avenue were closed when an unidentified person or persons threw an apple core over the fence. Donald Trump immediately called for a “big, beautiful” wall to be built around Washington State to prevent the spread of the Red Delicious Menace.
OK, I made that last part up about Trump. But the part about the apple core was true.
It certainly does seem as if, in the war against terror, terror is winning.