Hot Air

Woe Is Us

Someone who’s reasonably close to me (a blood relative, to tell the truth) sent me another in a series of outraged email blasts last night about how Christians in this holy land are outnumbered and persecuted.

It goes something like this:

1) President Obama canceled America’s traditional National Day of Prayer, “under the ruse of ‘not wanting to offend anyone.'” Whatever that means.

2) Next thing you know, President Obama is cool with “a National Day of Prayer FOR THE MUSLIM RELIGION.” The caps are not mine, of course. This Muslim prayer fest was supposedly held “on Capitol Hill, beside the White House,” which, alert readers will note, is a location that doesn’t exist. The White House is approximately 1.6 miles from the US Capitol.

3) The e-blast concludes, “I guess it Doesn’t matter If ‘Christians’ Are offended by this event – We obviously Don ‘t count as ‘anyone’ Anymore.” All sic — I make typos in these posts, sure, but nothing this fercockt.

Anyway, the self-pitying going on in these memes is breathtaking. Nobody loves us, the President is out to get us, the Muslims get all the good days of prayer, and, poor us, we’re just nobodies.

Obama/Muslim

I immediately consulted Snopes and PolitiFact and even a site called The Christian Century, all of which debunk the entirety of the email. Thus armed, I began to pound out a response to my relative saying, Sheesh, man, this is all hogwash and, on top of it, if you’re gonna disseminate bald-faced untruths, at least make them a bit contemporary; this particular meme came out in 2012 and was debunked so fast the original emailers’ forefingers hadn’t even come up off the Send button yet.

Then the second thought hit me. You know, I told myself, no matter what I say, my Christian relative isn’t going to believe me. Nor will he change his mind about how President Obama loves the Muslims way better than the poor, poor Christians.

So I deleted the draft response I’d started typing.

Sometimes just shutting up is the best response.

[BTW: Don’t think I’m passive-aggressively speaking to my relative through this post. I’m not. He doesn’t read the Pencil. Poor guy.]

The Wild, Wild West

So, in researching the above entry, I came upon the website of one Allen B. West, who trivia fanatics might recall ran for president in the early Republican primaries in 2012. West is about as wingnutty Right as they come. Rick Santorum prob. reads West’s screeds and goes, “Whoa, dude!”

West

Allen West

West yesterday wrote about an “outrageous ‘coincidence.'” Apparently, Barack Obama, friend to all Muslims, especially those who behead Westerners, sent some kind of thank you message to a mosque in Oklahoma City “which just happens to be the mosque of the Oklahoma beheader, Alton Nolen.”

Nolen is the guy who allegedly beheaded a co-worker in a Sooner State factory the other week. Naturally, we must conclude President Obama was thanking the members of the mosque for producing one among their number who could slay an innocent American in the most gruesome way imaginable.

West read about this on the thankfully-dead Andrew Breitbart’s “news” site. The equally wingnutty Daily Caller echoed the scoop.

From breitbart.com

I’d have figured this kind of craziness would have stopped by now. I mean, B. Obama is going to be out of office in a short two and a quarter years. He can’t run again. The Lunatic Right does not need to concoct crazy stories or make illogical leaps about him anymore.

Yet they’re still doing it!

I know this is going to sound odd, coming from a guy who volunteered for the Obama campaign in Kentucky in 2008, but I’m getting to the point where I can’t wait for January 2017 to come around. Assuming, of course, the Far, Far Right will stop spewing their insanity once BHO moves out of the White House. The silence will be golden.

Then again, our next Prez may very well be a woman. Hmm. I may have spoken too soon.

Security Matters

Just to put our current Secret Service scandal in perspective, I guy I know who was born in Germany and still lives half the year there came into the Book Corner today and asked me a simple question:

Do you lock your doors at home?

Why sure, I told him. He said, “I do too.”

See, this fellow’s been away from B-town for a few weeks and he’s just catching up with the national news. The fact that a man climbed the fence surrounding the White House, ran some 75 yards across the lawn, entered the building, and then was able to prance around in the place before he was eventually captured — all the while carrying a knife in his pocket — simply amazed my German acquaintance.

“Why,” he asked, “wasn’t the door locked?”

Key/Lock

Simple

Sometimes we miss the simplest things when trying to figure out the issues of the day.

Intelligence?

Our spy guys have been caught unawares any number of times within the past half century or more.

Sure, we buy into the myth that the world is teeming with spies from many nations, all peeping into office windows and over transoms, learning what the enemy is up to to protect us from some arch-criminal gang that wants to nuke New York or Beijing.

True enough, even I feel better imagining a cadre of loyal Americans who are protecting me, my family and friends, and my fellow citizens from the horror of the mushroom cloud — this despite the fact that it’s virtually impossible for any group other than a rich nation to design, build, maintain, aim, and deliver a nuclear bomb. And even if, say, al Qaeda or ISIS should shoplift a thermonuclear device, their ability to handle it, arm it, fuse it, and make it transform Indianapolis into a gargantuan frying pan just doesn’t exist.

Mushroom Cloud

No Worries

So, the truth of the matter is that our spies’ job pretty much has devolved to making sure the other countries on this planet don’t interfere with our corporations’ ability to do business anywhere they’d like with as little interference as possible. Yet, even in those countries where our business is so important that our armies, air force bases, and aircraft carriers are positioned just so to scare the poo out of their leaders, lest they get funny ideas like, Hey, that oil under our land is really ours, our spies are far worse at their jobs than reporters for TMZ are at theirs.

Otherwise, how to explain the sudden, unforeseen rise of ISIS?

Spies are weirdos. They’re sneaky, good liars, addicted to adrenaline, and willing to undertake operations that just might land them in a foreign prison or killed. They are not tuxedo-clad Lotharios who play baccarat at Monte Carlo and have excruciatingly specific guidelines for how their martinis are mixed.

From "Dr. No"

Fiction

Also, spies all too often possess the loyalty of a tomcat. Flipping a spy from the other guy’s side to yours is about as easy as opening a tuna can when you hear a meow outside your back door.

This holy land’s spies devote their formidable energies to dirty tricks rather than real intelligence gathering. Let’s bring the discussion down to a more local level. Back in the late 1960s, the Chicago Police Department, like many big city cop ops, ran something called the Red Squad. It was a secret group of cops whose job it was to infiltrate groups whom the city’s bosses had decided were threats to peace and order.

They grew their hair, wore beards, left their badges and service revolvers at home, clad themselves in worn jeans and army fatigue jackets, and tried to mix in with hippie and Yippie protesters. They stood out like sore thumbs. Some leaders of the 1968 Democratic Convention protests even used the Red Squadders assigned to them as drivers.

Knowing this, the Red Squad more and more devoted itself to cultivating rats within the Black Panthers and the SDS. These squealers very often had personal axes to grind. They had vendettas against group leaders they felt had slighted them in some way or who’d stolen their girlfriends even. One or two of them were flat-out nuts — as in, certifiably insane.

Black Panther leader Fred Hampton was murdered by police and FBI agents along with one other man one early December morning only after he’d been dosed with a strong tranquilizer by a rat the Red Squad had on its payroll within the organization.

That same guy earlier had suggested the Panthers buy an anti-tank missile launcher and fire it at the fifth-floor City Hall office of Mayor Richard J. Daley. The other Panthers told him he was deranged.

Back on the national and international level, America’s spies organized and paid for Iran’s 1954 revolution, tried to sneak an exploding cigar in Fidel Castro’s humidor, assassinated the Dominican Republic’s Rafael Trujillo and Chile’s Salvador Allende, hectored Martin Luther King in hopes he’d commit suicide, and otherwise engaged in capers like dosing American citizens with LSD, just for the fun of it. They armed the mujahideen in Afghanistan, propped up Saddam Hussein in Iraq, and did their best to subvert Nelson Mandela’s African National Congress.

All the while they were missing some awfully key developments: the loyalty that Ho Chi Minh was engendering among most Vietnamese, the planning of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed that led to the 9/11 attacks, the threat posed by the underwear- and shoe-bombers before they boarded US airliners — the list goes on and on.

I, for one, would like a little more intelligence coming from our intelligence community rather than hijinks straight out of a dimestore novel.

Our Father, Who Aren’t In Heaven…

Just a little reminder for those who insist on claiming that atheism is a religion:

Screen Shot 2014-10-07 at 11.19.53 PM

Um, no, it isn’t.

Glibberty Glabberty Gibberish

Charter Pencillista Shayne Laughter told me the other day she was talking about this communications colossus with her mother when the two of them began laughing uproariously. See, they’d fallen into trying to say the words “Glab’s blog” five times in a row, fast.

Try it yourself.

I think I’ve just hit upon the Pencil’s new marketing slogan!

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