Tuesday, November 24, 2015

World Wars a Sad Democratic Legacy

Say what you want about conservatives, but up to and including now, it has traditionally been a liberal Democratic President who's presided over the United States while the planet became engulfed in a World War.

Woodrow Wilson, a far left Democrat, refused to get involved in the First World War until it was obvious that Germany's unrestricted use of submarine warfare would starve Western Europe.

Franklin D. Roosevelt, also a Socialist Democrat, stood by idly during the Spanish Civil War while Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy murdered thousands of Spanish innocents. He still refused to fight Fascism when the Second World War broke out, and he knew full well that Jews were being relocated to concentration "death" camps. Only when America's mainland was struck in 1941 did he have no choice but to declare war on the Axis powers.

Now we have Barack Obama, a leftist Democrat, who has forcibly made the US withdraw from its responsibilities on the world stage over his own political agenda--a dangerous policy that has directly resulted in thousands of Christians being slaughtered overseas.

Unlike the previous two aforementioned Presidents, he's gone a step farther than merely avoiding war with an obvious enemy like Radical Islam. He has signed treaty-like agreements with our enemy, Iran and taken great pains to empty out the GITMO detention center in Cuba. He's also made decisions of staggering ineptitude, like trading several major Al Qaeda players for a treasonous Bowe Bergdhal.

A Russian jet fighter was shot down over Turkey earlier today. Some are already saying that the incident is a part of Putin's overall strategy to see the world engulfed in a World War in which the Russian leader feels confident he can crush an ineffectual NATO and at the same time, rebuild the Soviet empire.

Why does NATO stand the chance of being ineffectual?

Because Barack Obama is ineffectual and the USA needs to lead NATO. 

The world security slope is indeed slippery. And the world is currently sliding rapidly down into a Third World War which presents the very real possibility of being fought with nuclear weapons.

Mr. President, wake up and be a leader before it's way too late. 


Thursday, November 19, 2015

On the Ground Observations from Terrorist Rattled Europe

Papa defends freedom with a pen and gin in his canteen.
Couple observations.

First, Bloobmberg reports today that Hemingway's 1964 posthumously published memoir about Paris is flying off both the digital and paper shelves in France, particularly Paris. Amazing the support for Papa's romantic vision of the City of Lights as A Movable Feast all these years later during such complicated and dangerous times. A time in which, like during WWII, the Russians are allying with France to eradicate a common enemy as murderous if not worse than Hitler's Nazis.

According to Bloomberg, the renewed interest in the great work is a "show of defiance" against the recent Radical Islamist terror attacks and Radical Islam in general which would do anything possible to eliminate a way of life for drinkers, writers, poets, artists and more. Let's face it, the bastards would make a mosque out of the Deux Magot.

Papa would love the renewed interest in the wake of this new war of freedom vs. terror. Speaking of another time in history he famously stated, "Fascism is a lie told by bullies." No writer can truly write under Fascist law. Same goes for Sharia Law, as well as the Political Correctness which has afflicted the USA and been perpetuated so dangerously by Barack Obama and his mainstream media minions.

So Papa would be proud.

One wonders however, what he might have thought (off the record, of course) of the present POTUS. My guess is he would have smiled, shrugged his shoulders, and said, "You get what you goddamned pay for, pal." He then would have belly laughed and poured another glass of vino rosso (or rouge). "Don't take life so seriously," he would have said, slapping me on the back. "You never know when that old whore death is gonna come knocking at your door."

In other matters, today, I came face to face with a group of Muslim young men freshly transplanted from their home territory. I stood in line at the grocery store with them. They seemed giddy and relieved to have made it this far. They had a leader with them. A fixer. A man who was about my age, and who was coaching them on what to buy and how to buy it (no pork products). They spoke in their native tongue, and looked healthy and fit and not to badly attired with nice watches and jeans. The leader, who spoke very little English and zero Italian, was confused when the cashier wanted to know if he wanted a plastic bag with which to carry his purchases. He just looked at her like she had two heads. I reached out, grabbed the plastic bag, and gave it to him. He smiled. I wondered if these transplants had wives and children waiting for them somewhere. But there was nothing in their food and supply purchases that would have indicated as such. No baby cereal or diapers. Just stuff a grown young man might want to eat and utilize. And certainly no booze.

Syrian refugees come up from the south?

Almost certainly.

But the refugee part might be misleading. More like young men fleeing a civil war in which they would have to choose between one of two evil sides. I could only hope their intentions were benign. But I can only wonder considering the recent events in Paris. Vigilance is key here. This world war is only just getting started. 

Oh, and by the way, the fixer attached to the young transplants paid with a Mastercard.

Go figure...

UPDATE 11/20:
 As of this morning, the US State Department warns American travelers that Florence's "Duomo Cathedral" and Rome's Vatican are now listed as viable ISIS targets based on recent intelligence reports. Italian military and police have now ramped up security accordingly.



Monday, November 16, 2015

Is President Obama in Control?

I (try to) approach my politics as an indie. Despite what writer/journalist and Ernest Hemingway's 3rd wife, Martha Gellhorn, opined a long time ago about "Fuck all that objectivity shit," I need to keep an open mind to both sides, resist the Fascism of political correctness, and go with my writing gut.

But watching today's Barack Obama press conference--subject ISIS and the Paris attack--broadcast from the G20 Summit in Turkey (and doing so from Europe) was a very painful experience (one journalist cavalierly queried, "Why can't we take out these bastards?"). The leader of the free world not only seemed out of touch with reality, his answers were filibuster-long, disjointed, devoid of hard facts, defensive and, in a word, rambling.

In my opinion, we see a foreign policy failure unmatched since Chamberlain in the months leading up to WWII.
But don't take my word for it. Catch the full press conference here.

Critical questions loom:

--Is the US prepared to handle an attack like that which has consumed France?
--Is taking in 10,000 Syrian refugees, 90% of whom are fighting age young men, really a good idea at this time?
--Since we know precisely where the majority of ISIS members live and thrive, shouldn't we enter into a series of decisive blows that obliterates them, and neutralizes their capabilities overnight, despite the President's sentiment of not wanting to engage in an "immediate solution"  (Huh?)?
--Is the President, not pushing moderate Muslim nations in the Middle East to both fight Radical Islam and take in Muslim refugees because of his new alliance with Iran?
--Was it wise of him to release more Gitmo detainees only a couple of days after the Paris strike (Is this the result of his new alliance with Cuba?)
--Is the President truly concerned with the safety of America, or with his own political (philosophical) agenda?
--Is Barack Obama in control?


Saturday, November 14, 2015

France's Hollande Says Attack an 'Act of War'

Despite a US State Department claim yesterday that ISIS is being "contained," a massive terrorist attack was carried out in Paris last evening killing upwards of 158 and wounding scores more.

Get the full story here from the Reuters.

In a statement just moments ago, French President Hollande  stated that the attack was an "act of war" and that France would show no pity for those responsible. While an ISIS cell has been identified as that responsible party behind the attack, the President has declared a state of emergency, closed all borders, and initiated the first curfew in the country since WWII.

This is a developing story...



Saturday, November 7, 2015

Killing O'Reilly (By Sheer Force of Will)

I've been out of the country for a while but I happened to catch the cage fight between Bill O'Reilly and George Will over the latter's recent review of the former's newest addition to his "Killing" series, "Killing Reagan." I haven't read the book yet, but I have read a couple in the Killing series and I can tell you this: they are fun. But I never once took them seriously as historical fact. I merely enjoyed them as a kind of alternative history told in journalistic fashion. For anyone who kindly reads the Chase Baker books, don't look for fact. Just look for fun, told in a fictional, almost pulpy comic book manner. You see what I'm getting at here.

But apparently Mr. O'Reilly takes the books very seriously. As serious as a heart attack, because anyone who witnessed the exchange between he and Will on Fox News probably thought the 'No Spin Zone" host was going to double over from cardiac arrest. Here's the clip.

Listen, I'm not about to take sides here. But as far as I'm concerned, I see O'Reilly as more of an entertainer. A conservative one at that. However, I also know as a writer, that he probably pens very little or any of the text in his books, and more than likely, doesn't participate in the research one iota. He's got like a billion bucks and he can pay to have the dirty work done for him. See an interesting Washington Post piece by my old friend Erik Wemple in which he illustrates O'Reilly's research process (keep scrolling down until you find it), which apparently is to give his subcontractors one week to come up with information he requires to support his thesis. For their time he pays $5K. Not a bad take home for a week's work. But you can't fence in the time needed for serious research that, if not conducted properly, could do unseen damage to a man as iconic and well respected as Mr. Reagan.

George Will has also entertained me over the years. But he is a serious intellect unmatched by O'Reilly. If the two were to enter into a battle of wits, O'Reilly would come off as being unarmed. Hey, I'm not knocking O'Reilly here, I'm just telling the truth without any spin in the end zone whatsoever (haha).

At the end of the interview, O'Reilly calls Will a hack. That's like me calling Jonathan Franzen or Tim O'Brien minor talents who will soon be forgotten. Will handled himself well in the interview and I think, in moral terms, he had an obligation to write the review of his co-worker's book, knowing with every keystroke the shit storm it was going to cause. But hey, sometimes you gotta take the video game controller out of the hands of even the most brutal brat. Tantrums be damned.

It turns out Mr. O'Reilly has a thin skin. I suggest that in order to avoid any further criticism of his Killing books by serious historians and/or veteran political thinkers, he take the time to write them himself, even if it means he take a two or three year sabbatical from the No Spin Zone. The alternative is for great minds like George Will to  keep on Killing O'Reilly.



Saturday, October 24, 2015

Papa's Advice for Traveling and Working and Living

"Never go on trips with anyone you do not love."--EH
Last night I packed my bag (that's right, bag, as in one carry-on bag or in this case, ratty old backpack) and my laptop for what will be an extended trip to Italy (and points beyond). For two months I will be working, touring the Italian edition of Moonlight Sonata, eating, drinking, playing, and whatever else I feel like doing.

All this in mind, I thought it might be appropriate to pass on some travel and writing tips to any of you considering the life of the literary expat (even if only for a month or two). But then it kind of dawned on me that you shouldn't take my word for it. Take someone else's word. Someone made famous not only by his words but by his love and fascination with travel.

Ernest Hemingway.

Here's what Birchbox compiled with regards to Papa's love of the road, the air, and the sea, not to mention his never ceasing passion for working while traveling. Something I can relate to as easily as breathing.


Monday, October 5, 2015

Guns Don't Shoot All By Themselves

Yes, Obama, mass shooting occur elsewhere in the world too

Two weeks ago I attended a handgun safety course, which is a part of the overall mandated program for obtaining a pistol permit in New York State. Prior to attending the class I assumed it would be full of young men, all of them filled with piss and vinegar, maybe a few boasting CAT tractor baseball caps, or some others with Dukes of Hazard Ts pulled over massive weight-trained biceps.

I was gladly mistaken. The room was filled with an eclectic assortment of individuals to be certain, more than half of whom were women. Women of all ages. Some in their late 60s, a couple in their 50s, and so on and so forth. The young woman who sat beside me was getting her license so she and her boyfriend could shoot together. She looked at me with brilliant green eyes and said she couldn't wait to get the permit. But many of the older women felt the need to better protect themselves in an America that has grown increasingly more dangerous over the past eight years, due to racial divisiveness and a war on the police.
It's possible this man stood up for his Christian belief and died for it

Little more than a week ago, another one of those horrible and senseless mass shootings occurred at a campus in Oregon. The shooter killed 9 students and faculty, and injured many more. According to reports, the victims were required to state their religion before the shooter pulled the trigger. I won't mention the killer's name here since it doesn't deserve even the time it would take me to type it. But I bleed for the loved ones of the dead and pray that somehow these killings will one day cease.

Within hours of the tragic event, President Obama once again used the sad news as an opportunity to press a political agenda of anti-NRA sentiment and gun control legislation that, if he were to have his way (which he won't), would mandate total confiscation of America's guns and the repeal of the Second Amendment. You've read the novel before or perhaps seen the movie. The one in which the fascist state puts together a kind of SS-style militant organization that pounds down your door, demanding you hand over your weapons. Something that would not only be impossible in this country, but would be severely resisted, by force if necessary.

But what really happens during these horrible tragedies?

Do the guns pick themselves up and do their own shooting? Or does the fault lie elsewhere, like in the brain of the shooter perhaps? Instead of touting his hatred of guns, perhaps Obama should focus on the real tragedy here. The killers are mentally ill and just plain filled with hatred. Or is "politicizing" (Obama's word), the mentally ill not PC in America? Did you know that a mentally ill person cannot be incarcerated until he or she commits a violent crime to themselves or others? Where is the logic in that Mr. Conscious in Chief? Again, am I not being politically correct? Or is political correctness akin to those ten round magazines you wish to abolish? Abide by both principles and you won't see anymore carnage. A naive notion at best, a dangerous one at worst. 
Welcome to Mexico

When President Obama spouts something so wrong as we're the "only nation where this (mass shootings, that is) regularly happens,” I have to to wonder what planet he's from, or who's advising him anyway.

Isn't this the same President who enjoyed a photo op with the three young brave Americans who thwarted an AK47 wielding madman on a train between Belgium and France? And wasn't one of those young men enrolled in the Oregon college where the mass shooting took place? What about the mass shootings taking place in the name of Radical Islam in the Middle East and North Africa?

When I was in Egypt at the end of the failed Arab Spring and the Barack Obama-supported Muslim Brotherhood was walking the streets of Cairo with their AK47s at the ready, I never once bothered to ask if anyone of them had passed a federal background check. Should we ask the families of the Christians who have been shot in the back of the head execution style if the guns were responsible for their murders, or the assholes who pulled the triggers? Should we ask the families of those murdered at Paris's Charlie Hebdo? How about Nairobi in 2013 when dozens of mall goers were shot just for not being Muslim (Trust me, a traveler friend of mine, Fran Strazzella, miraculously lived to write about the massacre in his 90 Minutes in Nairobi) What about down south in Mexico? Surely there are no drug cartel related mass shooting there either (tongue in cheek).

But this is no laughing matter. The US and the world in general has become a dangerous, angry as all hell place. Perhaps it's better to protect one's self than be a victim.

If the POTUS and I agree on one thing it's this: these mass killings must stop. But instead of pointing at the guns as the problem, point your finger instead at the crazy angry lunatics who wield them. Simply ignoring them because it's not politically correct to label them as crazy isn't doing anyone any good. Here's how politically correct I am, Mr. President: Note to all you loons who think you'll become famous for shooting up a school in the US or shooting a Christian in the face in the Middle East. Do us all a favor and shoot yourself first.

The other day, at the police station where I was awaiting being printed for the pistol license, I met an elderly African American woman. She was small, tiny even, with a sweet face and demeanor. We got to talking about guns, and the violence that was seizing our country like a plague. Two young cops had been shot this past month in her community alone. One of them about to become a father. Or course we spoke about the tragedy in Oregon. She told me that she feared for her life in this climate where it's seemingly okay to kill officers of the law. If not for the police, who will protect us? Certainly not Obama (He is, by trade, a professional agitator after all). I told her about the pistol safety course I'd recently attended, how there were several women about her age in attendance. She asked me for information about the class.

"Perhaps it's time I thought about buying a gun to protect myself," she said.