Category Archives: Personal stories

not safe

We are less, not more, safe now

This is not going to be a nice post. This is an angry post. This is me asking all of you Trump supporters to pull your heads out of your asses. The lack of air is destroying your brain. When President Trump, never one to rely on empirical facts, said the United States was in a better position and Iran is weakened now, he was either lying or just as dumb as dirt. We are less safe now.

Here are the reasons we have emboldened Iran and made the world a much more dangerous place for Americans and American interests.

The Ayatollah Khamenei, the supreme leader, has said the military strike against us was “not enough.”

What does that mean? Iran could have hit the sites with much more lethal weapons. Why didn’t he? Because Iran doesn’t want a full-on war with the United States. To make that problem go away, they launch a less than lethal strike. Iran informed Iraq that the attack was coming so they could move people out of the way. Also, an Iranian commander has vowed “harsher revenge on the U.S.” Using the Don’s favorite medium, the supreme leader tweeted this:

How are we safer again?

But Iran doesn’t have the ability to attack the U.S.

How would they alone fare against the U.S? Not well. The problem is they are not alone. First of all, they have proxy groups all over the region. Their allies are all over the Middle East. Who are they? They have Hamas, Hezbollah, the Houthis and others. What Iran may not want to directly, they have friends to do the job. Then, they can claim “we had no idea” and avoid that all-out war with us. This means the world in a much more dangerous place for us and our friends (Israel, I am looking at you.) Does that look like increased safety?

Let’s not forget about cyber attacks.

If North Korea can hack into Sony’s systems, leak unflattering emails and force a film to go directly to streaming services, you can bet Iran can do something similar or worse. This is one of the ways it works its terrorist mojo around the planet. Remember the entire U.S. intel community said Russia hacked a number of systems around our country. Check this out if you need a refresher course on that.

When we killed Gen. Qassem Soleimani, we killed a national hero .

We also made him a martyr. We united a nation against us when they had been against their own government. From that Los Angeles Times piece:

“Religious leaders in Iran are extremely apt and capable in producing symbolism and creating a culture of politics in which they can incorporate nationalism and faith,” said Ali Akbar Mahdi, a sociology professor at Cal State Northridge. “They are utilizing all kinds of symbolism and tying it in sense of victimhood and how Shiites have suffered and now have to fight.”

The people of Iran were mad at their supreme leader for a number of reasons. Reformers railed against him and wanted real changes to the way things are done there. If you believe the whole, the enemy of my enemy is my friend, you can see why killing a national hero is going to bring some backlash. If you think they all just hate Americans for the sake of hating Americans, you should do a Google search you can find reports of the candlelight vigils they had for us in the aftermath of 9/11. You can do some of your own research. Time Magazine put it this way:

For several months this fall and winter, tens of thousands of Iraqis poured into the streets in giant protests against government corruption and against Iran’s dominance in their country, nearly bringing Iraq to a standstill and forcing Iraq’s Prime Minister Abd Al-Mahdi to offer his resignation; he remains as a caretaker head of government while the fractious parliamentary groups squabble over who will succeed him.

Vivienne Walt — Time Magazine

Iran has pledged to go “full speed ahead” on nuclear weapon development.

Sure, #ConDon has told the world that by withdrawing from the Iran deal, they have stopped but they just announced they are going back to it. When that deal was in force, they had stopped. What incentive do they have now? None. And if you think the money they received was some kind of gift, I reiterate my call to take your head out of your ass. That was money they had paid us for military technology they were buying but we never delivered because of the revolution of 1979 and the ouster of the American backed Shah. Look it all up. If you don’t believe something I write, I invite you to look it up. I am not making this up.

Iraq will kick our troops out of their country.

There has been a movement to get us out for a while and who can blame them after we assassinated a high ranking member of the Iranian military on their own soil. Do you think the Iraqis wanted to be stuck in the middle of a U.S./Iran war? Would you?

The war on ISIS has been paused making us all less safe.

In the first place, some Iraqis think it will harder to fight ISIS now that Suleimanu is dead. Did your jaw just drop? From the aforementioned Time piece:

The U.S. strike against Soleimani has handed the ISIS remnants an unwitting victory, by stoking anger among Iraqis against the group’s archenemy, the Americans, and diverting their attention from other grievances.

Vivienne Walt

Not only that but NATO has scaled back their work to fight ISIS and have paused their work on this Iraq completely. While Trump has proposed getting out of NATO in the past, this week he asked for their help and after his statements about article V, they don’t seem to be inclined to step in. Can you blame them? We have said we may not follow through on our commitments unless we are paid for it. That is not a good way to keep us safe either.

I am not going into the long American history of harming people in other nations to advance our national interests and assassinating political leaders with whom we disagree. (Don’t believe me? Do some research. There are many reasons we aren’t always trusted and sometimes hated.) We have not always been seen as the “shining city on a hill,” that Ronald Reagan spoke of but I think we strive to be.

When I think of America, I see that shining city on a hill. Assassinating people we don’t like is not something we should be doing. That is what dictators do. That’s what leaders of banana republics do. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said it best when she said, “This is not about how bad they are but how good we are.” I saw her say that this morning and am sure I butchered the quote but you can see the point.

Bottom line: Neither Americans nor American interests are safer today than when this saga started. This is President Trump’s tale/tail wagging the dog to get attention off the impeachment process.

Stony Brook Saga

It’s beautiful, right?

This is the view from my bedroom in Stony Brook, NY. When I was growing up, my grandmother, Judy, lived here and this was her room. Although I grew up with this view, I never appreciated it. It’s funny, I was quote the north shore of Long Island snob and appreciated splitting my time between here and San Francisco. I appreciated that but not the view.

The journey back has been a little overwhelming. As a renter, I never had to worry about getting the ducts cleaned or the chimney repaired. I just called someone and whatever problem I was having was taken care of tout suit.

This is where I always knew I would end up. When my father bought the place from Judy, I was excited because I knew I would up here when he died. That happened last year. Truthfully, I also always knew that I would not know how to react to this. I cannot count how many nightmares I have had that he is still alive. And then there is the part of me that wishes I could punch him the face. Karma took care of him. He died choking on a piece of meatloaf.

My first visit back was surreal, to say the least. I had been warned that the place was a mess and while it was habitable, it was gross. The basement reminded me of the basement of American Horror Story; Murder House. I even found my other grandmother’s cremated remains. So creepy.

And now here I am. In a place with a memory for every emotion. Happiness, joy, sadness, loss, hurt, anguish, teenage angst, loss, love and some hate is thrown in for good measure. I am slowly getting the house into better shape. The basement will be redone soon and the carpet (installed in the 1980s) is gone. I got rid of a lot of stuff and moved my stuff in.

I was looking at the view the other day and I felt some things I have not felt in a long time. Happiness. Contentment. Joy. Just looking at the window, I have finally come home.

When did I join the Empire?

I am watching you. Stop using the airwaves to promote panic.

I was reading a Stephen King book this evening and a strange thing happened. In his introduction to Everything’s Eventual, he recounts a story about a radio station stunt he wanted to do to bring in my advertising dollars (he and his wife, Tabitha, own two radio stations in Bangor, Maine). It was going to be along the lines of the War of the Worlds. He says he never did it, to which I thought:

Thats a good thing because that would be a terrible misuse of government authorized air waves, it could incite panic, as it did with the War of the Worlds, and is shortsighted, selfish and myopic thing to do.

Of course, King’s reasoning had nothing to do with a concern for the public welfare, nor was it because he didn’t want to incur the wrath of the FCC. He failed in his PR mission because he just didn’t think what he wrote for the stunt was good enough.

Now, I stand by my thoughts about his stunt (seriously, in a country so paranoid that people try to shoot up pizza places because they read crap on Four Chan and Alex Jones exists, this would cause way too much havoc) but this is not a new response for me.

Not too long ago, I was out and people were watching a movie. It matters not what movie it was nor where it was being shown but it was a bootleg version of the movie and I had to leave because I felt badly about the copyright issues around watching stolen art.

I am not sure what the two really have to do with each other but while intellectually, I stand by both positions, I see that I am no longer the rebel I thought I once was. Then again, maybe I never was. Who knew I would one day join the Empire?

What really should scare you

This week, the United States carried out air strikes against Syria. This was in response to the dropping of sarin gas on a rebel held town. I will get to that but I have something else I want to write about first. You see, a number of people I know are worried that the U.S. air strikes are going to lead to war with Russia (it won’t) and are upset with me. While that is their right, their fears are misguided and are, in my opinion, in the wrong part of the world.

If war is what you want to avoid, you need to be looking at Asia. During the campaign, President Donald Trump made a lot of statements about China and its access to the South China Sea. During Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s confirmation hearings, he echoed those statements. This did not go over well with China. That government went as far as to say they would send nuclear weapons our way should be continue to meddle in their affairs. This is clearly scary and had me up at night worried about the possibility of war with China. When I was getting myself all worried, I found the graphic

This is a map of where China would send its nuclear weapons, should it want to bomb us.

This is from a Chinese magazine. Now I am encouraged by what looked to be a good meeting between President Xi and Trump so maybe we have come back from the brink of nuclear war with them but then you have Kim Jung Un.

Kim is unstable. That is not my opinion, it is pretty much everyone’s opinion. He has developed nuclear weapons and seems hell bent on developing a missile that can hit, well, us. If he can’t get it that far, he has Japan and South Korea to hit. This is incredibly scary because of how crazy Kim is. China could do something but they a, don’t want a unified Korea and b, don’t want more refugees crossing their border. Trump has made statements that we should give South Korea nuclear weapons, because more nuclear weapons always makes sense. This is a scary situation made worse by an American president with no real foreign policy. For his part, Tillerson responded to a missile test by saying, “We’ve talked enough about North Korea.” What the hell does that mean?

Speaking of Tillerson, we are now back to Syria. During the campaign, and other the last few years, Trump has said we should do nothing in Syria. Last week, Tillerson said that the fate of Bashar al Assad is up to the people of Syria. Several days later, 86 people are killed with Sarin gas. Many people believe that Assad was under the impression that he had the blessings of the current White House to do whatever the hell he wanted to his people. That is why I think the strike against the airfield was not a bad idea.

The big question is what happens next. One thing is sure, it won’t be war with Russia but what happens in Asia is anyone’s guess and that is the scary thing.