The American Dilemma and How We Can Fix It

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THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN ISLAM, MODERATE ISLAM AND RADICAL ISLAM – PART II

I apologize to my readers who anxiously awaited part two of this piece for my delay in posting but sometimes life not only imitates art – but it gets in the way of it.

In response to the recent and ongoing terrorist attacks carried out by people who are Muslim throughout Europe and the United States among other places, the news media has found a new go to buzz word that they have nearly succeeded in beating into the ground.  That word is “radicalized”.  It’s as though they feel they should be able to pinpoint that psychotropic moment when a perfectly happy, normal individual suddenly has an internal button pushed by some external entity or event and they suddenly enter a different world with a personality totally antithetical to their previous one.  That is nonsense and hog wash of the first order.

Of course, the present administration has bent over backwards with the limberness of a double jointed gymnast to avoid calling Islamic impelled terrorism what it is, despite the fact that every one of the three acronyms we give it, IS, ISIL, ISIS all start with the word Islamic.  The official, politically correct reason is that using that term disparages a religion and brands all Muslims with the same broad brush strokes of hatred which is essential to the makeup of those who blow themselves and others up with a religious zeal that can be described as nothing other than Islamic.  The holy book of Islam, the Koran, encourages this behavior.

I find it hard to understand how those on the left proclaim that we should have understanding and respect for one of the world’s largest religions – yet they do not see what it is that Islam actually is and what it teaches.  The throw away phrase that it is a “religion of peace” is belied by the facts of history from its inception until today’s most recent atrocity in a parish in France.  Islam is both a religion and a political entity which teaches that it should be the exclusive faith of every human on earth and those who fail to convert should be killed. That is Islam at its core.  In it’s political aspect it is no more or less totalitarian than Hitler’s Third Reich or Stalin’s Soviet Union.

For a moment, let’s consider the left’s premise that those who drive trucks through crowds with the intent of killing as many as possible, carry out beheadings of people of other faiths, throw gays from buildings, stone to death women accused of adultery and perpetrate “honor killings” should one of their children marry outside her or his parent’s determination of who should be their spouse, are really only lost souls who have gone mentally AWOL.  Their Islamic faith had nothing to do with their behavior.  But the fact is that Sharia Law, the codification of behaviors and punishments set forth in the Koran and in the Hadiths (sayings) of Mohammed preach exactly those forms of punishment and dictate that exact behavior in Islam’s adherents, the truck and flying planes into buildings being modern improvements, of course.

For an administration that considers the luxury accommodations at Guantanamo Bay to be cruel and unusual punishment, it is somewhat difficult for an intelligent person to understand how it dismisses, or more exactly, totally ignores the pernicious punishments which Sharia Law so generously hands out with the sanctity of what they believe is their holy faith.  Most Westerners would consider Sharia Law to be an exact description of the term “radical”.  And while the left so quickly dismisses these horrific acts as mere aberrations of the mentally challenged, let’s see how many Muslims actually believe in the sanctity of Sharia Law.  To that end, we’ll spend a moment with Ben Shapiro, one of the most brilliant people I know and see his analysis of this issue.

https://youtu.be/g7TAAw3oQvg

So according to Mr. Shapiro’s presentation there are (or were a few years ago) 680,000,000 “radical Muslims” in the countries he analyzed.  And while I have the greatest respect for Mr. Shapiro, I think he (and most others) are missing the point which is that by the very nature of Islam, any true believer is “radical” – at least as we in the West think of civilized conduct and behavior.  But even if we accept Ben’s analysis of “radical Muslims” and were to assume that while “radical” most of these are not “motivated” to perform radical deeds, let’s say one out of one thousand, that means there are 680,000 Muslims worldwide who might strike out against what they perceive as the enemies of Islam – which is to say the entire non-Muslim world.

While some may consider that a slam against a religious faith, Islam of the three great “faiths of the Book” is the only one which has both a religious and political agenda.  And it is that political agenda to which I am referring.  By contrast, Christian missionaries try to convert those who are non-Christian through preaching and example.  By contrast, Judaism discourages people from converting to that faith.  It is only Islam that views all infidels as worthy of contempt and in the failure of conversion, worthy of death at the hands of the devout Muslim.

It fascinates me how the left, so pre-occupied as they are, with “diversity” can be so defensive of Islam which preaches nothing other than religious and political homogeneity.  It amazes me that the left that so decries the “racism” inherent in the pre-amendment Constitution, valuing a black person as only three fifths of a white person for purposes of census and apportionment of Congressional seats, can be so supportive of Islam which states that a woman’s inheritance shall be only one half that of a male relative’s.  It astounds me that the left, so intent on equal justice for the bathroom rights of transgenders should be so silent when it comes to Islam’s imposing the death sentence on men who are involved in homosexual sex acts.  But then, one has to be logical to be astounded – and that has never been a core principle of the left – and most likely never will be.

The American apologist in chief, President Obama, has led this country and the Western world down a dreadful path with the “Iranian Nuclear Deal.”  The mullahs in Tehran must be laughing and drooling in their beards.  This is a bad deal, not because of the terms which they essentially dictated, but because there can be, as holy followers of the Koran, no deal whose terms they must honor because one of the parties is not a Muslim state.  According to both the Koran and Mohammed’s own actions in dealing with non-Muslims, any requirements imposed on them cannot be enforced as Allah allows, in fact, invokes faithful Muslims to agree to anything that will advance the furtherance of Islam in the world but in no way penalizes the faithful if they default on their end of the bargain.  It’s not unlike negotiating with an extortionist who has your entire family hostage and threatens to dismember each one of them if you don’t agree to his terms.

In light of this admittedly negative view of political Islam, Donald Trump’s much denounced statement about a “religious test” for admitting Syrian “refugees” is, perhaps, not so terribly outrageous.  The fact that every intelligence branch of our government has acknowledged that there is no way we can possibly corroborate the backgrounds of those who wish to migrate here should, of itself, be sufficient reason to oppose letting potential Trojan horses into the United States.  But there is a way out – one that would allow us to fulfill our welcoming outreach to the downtrodden and which would provide those who are already here with at least a moderate sense of security.

Let us open our arms to those few remaining Christian Syrians whose population has been so genocidaly reduced by ISIS.  They are people who most desperately need our help.  And they are people who are most likely to assimilate and be thankful for having the opportunity to be a part of the American dream.

THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN ISLAM, MODERATE ISLAM AND RADICAL ISLAM – PART I

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(See Part II)

ISLAM AND IMMIGRATION

Long before there was an organization known as ISIS, I read about the way that people who are adjudicated criminals in the majority of Muslim countries are handled within the Sharia code of justice.  Application of this law to offenders of whatever description seems to our Western minds to be harsh.  And it certainly is swift.

Caught for stealing … have your hand cut off.

Caught in adultery … get stoned to death.

Caught questioning the religious authority … get 1000 lashes – if you survive for the full term of the punishment.

Caught in a same sex relationship … get thrown from a building, stoned to death or beheaded.  (I’m not sure if the soon-to-be-deceased gets to pick which way to make his exit).

I remember thinking to myself, you know, I don’t think I would even consider jaywalking in Riyadh – or most of the rest of the Muslim world.  By the way, jaywalking is also a punishable offence – and it is punished through the imposition of fines.  Presumably that is an effort to make the streets safer both for drivers and pedestrians.  And please, no snarky comments about “women drivers” since Saudi Arabia does not allow women the privilege of being able to obtain a driver’s license.

Beginning this year, King Abdullah has allowed women the right both to vote and to run for minor public office.  But if one of the requirements to be able to vote is proving identity by presenting a driver’s license, well the ladies of Saudi Arabia may be back in the same second class status that they’ve had bestowed on them for over a millennium.

Singapore has an even higher rate of executions than Saudi Arabia – most of which were effected through hanging – and the majority of those for what the authorities define as drug trafficking.  (The typical person who patronizes his neighborhood Colorado pot shop would be able to buy a sufficient quantity of marijuana to qualify them as traffickers under Singapore’s definition).  But there are also lesser offenses which we would consider trivial – such as failure to flush a toilet (who would do that) and chewing gum subjects the chewer to a fine of five hundred dollars.  Sorry about that Mr. Wrigley.

I realize that laws, by whomever and wherever they are made, are designed to be punitive. That is, to my mind a fundamental flaw – offering only the meting out of punishment rather than a reward for good behavior.  As an example that I’ve proposed in the past, rather than simply fining the driver who breaks the law by giving him a ticket, how about providing an incentive to the good driver who does not weigh on the local police’s time and never gets a ticket by reducing the cost of annually registering his vehicle.  That might, I can’t say with certainty as it’s never been tried and is unlikely ever to be tried, encourage and incentivize each of us who drives to follow the rules.  Over many years of running my own business, I always found that the carrot rather than the stick approach did more to motivate my employees.

But returning to Saudi Arabia and the punishments which that government feels merits the death penalty is one with which we are becoming all too familiar.  And that crime is called “terrorism.”  Although Bo(Peep)Bama has officially referred to ISIS (ISIL by the administration’s terminology) as a terrorist organization, he and his mouthpieces still refuse to label it for what it is – Islamic terrorism.  But if we play along with BoBama’s definition, anyone who engages in terroristic activity which is the “use of force to achieve political or social ends” is therefore a terrorist.  Whether they are an avowed ISIS member or not.  And clearly it would be in the interest of all the residents of the United States to be certain that before a person gains entry into the country we make sure that person has come here with no ill intention.

The oath of allegiance which is required to be sworn to by naturalized citizens is as follows (my bolding):

“I hereby declare, on oath, that I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty, of whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or citizen; that I will support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I will bear arms on behalf of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform noncombatant service in the Armed Forces of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform work of national importance under civilian direction when required by the law; and that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; so help me God.”

Liberal pundits like Geraldo Rivera and Juan Williams have tried to make the argument that illegals in the United States actually commit crime at a lower rate than American citizens.  That argument is, of course, poppycock since by the very act of being here illegally in the first place, each and every one of them has already broken the law.  That is, by my math, a rate of one hundred percent who are lawbreakers.

Certainly there are extreme cases where people are fearful of threats to their lives in their countries of origin – and we ought to treat those exceptional cases with both expediency and compassion and waive our rules.  Strangely, I have not heard of calls from either side of the aisle offering the Yazidis of Iraq who were driven from their home’s by ISIS a sanctuary in the United States.

It would be hard for anyone to argue that of the estimated twelve million illegal aliens in the United States the majority of  these were people who would qualify for a compassionate exception to our present immigration policy.  That doesn’t mean that they are bad people.  Perhaps they didn’t understand the process – or perhaps the process, mired as it is in bureaucratic red tape – was just too onerous for them to feel the need to wait.  And without a doubt, many of these people and their children would be excellent additions to the populace and citizenry of the United States.  Personally, I would support a long term path to citizenship for these people.  After all, by one means or another, most of us are the children of people who either immigrated here of their own free will – or were imported in the slave trade.

But it is equally clear, the shooting death of Kate Steinle in San Francisco last week by an illegal who had been five times deported is not an isolated incident.  There is an element of our illegal population that is criminal and has a background in illicit behavior not only in their home countries but here as well.  And there are a significant number of these criminals who have been deported multiple times and have found a way to return.  In my view, by placing economic duress on our economy, diverting our law enforcement people to devote resources to dealing with them and in many cases incarcerating them, they are engaging in economic terrorism as well as violent crime.

Do we have the right to protect the nation, by any means possible, from those who would attack us in acts of terror?  No.  We have that as a responsibility.  So here’s a rather draconian but potentially effective way of dealing with this issue.

If we apprehend a person who enters the country illegally and deport that person, we should give him or her a warning that if that person returns to the country, other than through legal means, that person will, if apprehended a second time, be summarily executed as a foreign combatant and terrorist.  No trials.  No appeals.  No exceptions.

One of my former employees came from Polish immigrant stock.  She was a no nonsense kind of person who worked hard and expected to be paid for her efforts – and she was.  And when she opened her own office for me she had no compunction about dismissing an employee who did not perform to the standards which we and she had set and to which they had agreed before being hired.  As she put it, “When you play – you pay.”

Maybe it’s time we applied that same standard to illegal immigration.

THE REFRESHING HONESTY OF ISLAMIC RADICALISM

It was a rainy and cold fall day so after school athletics had ben cancelled and I returned home from school early.  I finished most of my homework, leaving the assignment to translate the second chapter of Antoine de Saint-Exupery’s  classic story, “Le Petit Prince” for later as I had three days to complete that.  As I closed my math book, Grandma asked me to set the table for dinner and I was in the process of doing that when the door opened and my father came home.  I went over to give him a hug and could tell that something was bothering him.  He wasn’t his usual jovial self.

At dinner the conversation turned to the fact that he had let go Andy Willis, his salesman who covered the New England states for his company.  He also told us that since he didn’t have a salesman representing the territory, he would have to go to Boston to man the Gift Show which was being held a few weeks later and would probably spend a week calling on his clients in the region.  It was a bit reminiscent of the days gone by when Dad was on the road forty or more weeks a year before he started his own company.

Mom asked why he had let Andy go.  This was not an every day occurrence by any means as most of my father’s employees had been with him for ten or more years.  And I knew, given my father’s disposition, that he would have tried everything in his power to help his now former employee become successful as he tried to help everyone he met and knew.  That was one of his most impressive virtues.  He simply said, “Well, to call a spade a spade, Andy simply wasn’t meeting the goals that we had mutually agreed were reasonable – and I saw no reason to believe that was going to change.”

I believe that it was the first time I heard that expression, “Calling a spade a spade.”  It was very characteristic of my father’s approach to life.  He called things the way he saw them – no pussyfooting around.  That is not to say that he was crude or rude because he was one of the most gentle people I have ever known.  But if you tried to put one over on him, he would call you on it – albeit in the most polite manner.  I know because on more than one occasion I tried.  I lost every one of those attempts at deception.  And finally, perhaps because I learned that telling the truth was a heck of a lot easier than trying to fabricate and maintain a lie, I adopted my father’s philosophy and came to believe that, “Honesty is the best policy.”

The events this week in Paris would have infuriated my father – not for their mere depravity but because of the dissembling response by most world leaders, including our president, about the cause of these events.  And the effete news publications which have “covered” the slaughters would be right behind in deserving his derision.  What it all comes down to is the fact that none of them is willing to “Call a spade a spade.”  Instead, they all pussyfoot around the central and unifying issue which caused the deaths of more than a dozen people in France and which several days ago took the lives of more than two thousand in Nigeria.  And the name of that cancer is “Islamic Radicalism.”

Whether or not President Obama or the media wish to admit or acknowledge it, there is a war going on between terrorists who are Muslims and whose goal is the overthrow of Western Judeo-Christian civilization and its replacement with their interpretation of the Quran and Sharia law.  That’s the facts plain and simple.  And no amount of politically motivated vocabulary ethnic cleansing is going to eradicate the truth nor ameliorate the outcome.  In fact, by denying the truth these “leaders” are more likely to ensure that a worse outcome will ensue since they are failing to address the root cause of the problem and call it out for what it is.

I have to say I appreciate the honesty if not the execution of it in actual terms of the terrorist radicals.  They make no bones about their goals and they make no apologies for their methods.  They are focused with an absolute if misguided faith in what they want to achieve.  The complete domination of the world and the replacement of Western Civilization with their own perverted version of Islam.

Meanwhile, back in the capitals of Europe and the U. S. we listen to idiots like our potential new president, Hillary Clinton speak about how, “We should listen to our enemies and try to see the world through their eyes and from their perspective.”  What a load of crap – pardon my Urdu.   And this woman wants to be president.  It’s hard enough to believe she’s sufficiently competent to schedule her next appointment for a cellulite removal treatment.

And then we have our beloved media.  “The New York Times” springs to mind as the standard bearer for what passes now for modern journalism.  The Times had well over thirty articles describing the antics of the Westboro Baptist Church, a hate organization masquerading as a Christian church with a membership of less than thirty people who are focused on a single subject – deriding and ridiculing gays and lesbians.

To my knowledge, as repugnant and un-Christian as this organization’s tactics are, I don’t believe they have ever been accused of either stoning to death a gay male or lesbian woman or beheading one – in sharp contrast to Radical Islam (or one might argue Islam as a religion) which holds that is the appropriate punishment for a person engaged in gay sex – among quite a few other offenses – including extramarital sexual relations of any kind.  It’s hardly surprising that the left wing media choose to ignore that fact because if Sharia law were implemented, three quarters of Hollywood would disappear overnight.  One might argue that wouldn’t be so bad.

So as those in positions of political authority dither along, the enemy, firm in its convictions and determined in its will, are undoubtedly planning the next event, to which when it occurs our “leaders” will come out and make platitudinous general statements, descrying the most recent “outrage.”  But it will be an outrage which has been decades in the making – since the invention and implementation of “Political Correctness” (a/k/a “B*ll Sh*t”) – and will most likely continue and intensify unless and until they get a grip, put down the rose-colored glasses and take up the AK47’s.

We’ll requisition a supply of clothes pins that they can attach to their noses, to dampen their distaste at pulling the trigger, before those who are sworn enemies of our way of life pull theirs and put them out of our mutual misery.

THE WELCOME MAT

The Las Vegas Valley Water District has a motto, designed to remind us that each of us has the responsibility to conserve water.  “It’s A Desert Out There.”  The casual visitor to Las Vegas, had he been here last week, might have shaken his head incredulously at that slogan as we had a three day substantial rainfall.  It reminded me of being back in Chicago.

The rain continued for long periods of time throughout the day, would pause for perhaps ten minutes and then resume.  Because of the precipitation and the ominous and gloomy clouds which brought it, I decided to skip Gracie’s normal evening sojourn to the Dog Park and walk her through the neighborhood instead.  At least we could scurry home quickly should the downpour resume.

While Gracie is one quarter Golden Retriever, apparently the gene that accompanies fondness for water is missing from her DNA.  True, she does love to hit the fountain of the lawn sprinklers for a refreshing drink, but the stuff that falls from the skies doesn’t, in her estimation, have the same appeal.  Perhaps that is because the lawn sprinklers are a regular and predictable phenomenon – and rain is such a sporadic event.

In any case, we were meandering around the block and I happened to notice that, without exception, every home had a door mat at the front door.  And interestingly, most of those doormats had the word “Welcome” on them.  Gracie and I are the exception.  Our doormat says, “Please Wipe Your Paws.”  But for some reason, looking at these doormats caused me to think about both the issue of immigration and the allegations of police oppression which have become so rampant in some sectors of the media.

The United States accepts over a million people a year who want to immigrate to the country – more people than the rest of the countries of the world combined.  The process of gaining legal status here is onerous and rather Byzantine – but apparently enough people worldwide are willing to endure both the wait and the process to ensure that a continuous stream of newcomers arrives on American shores every year.

These people have a somewhat different view of life in America than some of us who are here legally by reason of birth.  I mean, who in his right mind would want to go to the trouble and expense of moving to a country where there was a high probability that when he got there he would be “oppressed” by those in law enforcement?  Basic logic would suggest that would be a place to avoid rather than one to which a person would seek admittance.

Now just because a person has a good heart and is welcoming to friends and guests, it does not follow that his kindliness would extend to everyone who presented himself at his door.  Most of us would probably call 911 if we saw a hooded man, brandishing a gun, rather than welcoming that person in for tea.  And while most of us who are here as a result of immigration reflect on our own and our forebears’ experience in coming to America and want to extend that same courtesy to others who are similarly motivated, that does not imply that we want to do so in an indiscriminate manner and open the door to anyone who presents himself.

If we look at the historical waves of immigration that occurred in America, we need to put in perspective that while we gratefully welcomed low wage people in the first and early part of the country’s second century, that in large measure reflected that the country and its infrastructure were under construction and needed those workers to build railroads and dig ditches for sewers.  Their arrival did not displace workers who were already here.  But the infrastructure, notwithstanding its deteriorating condition, and the railroads have been built.  No such need exists today.

Our manufacturing sector has greatly diminished and Wall St. no longer waits with baited breath to hear the U. S. Steel quarterly report as it did in the 1950’s.  Rather, the financial markets are moved by whether or not Google or Apple made their number for the most recent three month period.  Of the thirty stocks in the Dow Jones Industrial Average , only nine are purely involved in manufacturing and of those, two manufacture drugs.  The other twenty-one companies are primarily involved in providing services.

The problem with a stagnant, albeit slightly improving economy, is that those Americans who are at the bottom of the economic barrel face increased competition from illegal aliens (or if you prefer “undocumented people”) and nowhere is this more evident than within the inner city communities predominantly occupied by blacks.  That, at least in part, explains why the rate of unemployment among blacks consistently runs twice the “official” rate of unemployment – and among young black men runs twice that, nearing twenty-five percent.

If we truly want to face the issue of why there is unrest and despondency among certain groups of our population, racism is a convenient but dishonest explanation.  Let’s face it – the automobile dealer who is selling Ferraris doesn’t really care about the race of the person who buys his vehicle – and cares even less how that person obtained the cash to close the deal.  It isn’t a matter of race – rather it’s a matter of economics.  And the economic outlook for those in our inner cities is very bleak.

Riots and lootings solve nothing but in fact create additional problems for the business owners who are directly affected and potentially can lead to the arrest and incarceration of those who participate.  In truth, some of those who participate are simply out for ill-gotten gain – and any excuse will do to set them and their malicious intentions in motion.  Others probably have a sense of their own helplessness but see no path to extricate themselves from it.  And then there are some ideologues who believe that America is the most racist, despicable country in the world.

To those in the third category, remember that once there was a Berlin Wall – designed to keep the citizens of East Berlin from making their way to freedom.  America has no such barrier in place to prevent any willing person from leaving.  And there are countries which apparently are willing to give anyone, irrespective of background, an opportunity to start over.

The recent committal of five more Guantanamo detainees to Uruguay suggests that country might provide a more nurturing venue for them to spend the remainder of their lives.  And given the generous way in which our federal government spends taxpayer dollars, there’s probably a program in place to help facilitate their change of address.  Take advantage of the opportunity – please.

Via con Dios.

CALLING A SPADE A SPADE

 

There are those who claim that poker is a game of skill.  Usually, those are people who have just taken down a big pot or won a tournament.  There are those who claim that poker is a game of luck.  Usually, those are people who have just taken what is affectionately known in the poker world as a “bad beat.”  My personal view is that poker is a game of luck combined with an element of skill.  I base that on the fact that if poker were simply a game of skill, each of the sixty-five events at the World Series of Poker would see the same faces at the final table.  That is simply not the case.  Even the greatest marksman is not going to be able to show his stuff if he does not have a supply of bullets.

Back in the days when I played a great deal of live poker I noticed that there were certain days that I could do nothing wrong.  It was as though I were a magnet for the winning hand.  Sadly, those days were few and far between.  More often the rules of random mathematical probability held sway (whether poker is a game of luck, skill or a combination of the two, there is no question that it is a game based on math), and I would receive my share of good, bad and indifferent starting hands.  Then there were the times that I would sit at the table for hours without having a hand that had any high probability of being the best when then final card was dealt.  For some reason, those slumps seemed to last for an inordinately long period of time – once for over a month of daily play.

As I was in my “slump” period, I began wondering why I subjected myself to this sort of abuse.  Anyone who has experienced the phenomenon of consistently bad cards has probably asked the same question.  I was about four hours into the session and nothing had changed when I picked up my cards and saw the six of spades.  I slid the bottom card to the right, keeping my cards sequestered from the player to my left who had a habit of staring over to see if he could make out what I had been dealt when I saw the corner of the top card, a black ace, the ace of spades.  If you don’t play poker you might think this was a good hand – but it isn’t.  In fact, A – 6 is the worst holding with an ace that you can have.  The fact that it was suited only slightly improves the hand.  But as my stack of chips had dwindled through four hours of antes, I decided to play it anyway.  There were four callers so that gave my hand some improvement through what is known as “pot odds.”

The dealer removed the first card from the deck, placing it on the discard pile and turned over the first three cards of the hand, otherwise known as the “flop.”  Much to my delight, three spades came up, the queen, eight and deuce.  I had, at that moment, what is known as “the nuts,” in other words, the best hand that could be held at that particular stage of play.  I kept my poker face and showed no reaction to the cards on the table.  One of the players to my right made a moderate bet and three of us called.  I presumed he held a queen and was betting top pair.

The next card, the “turn” was dealt.  It was the seven of hearts.  Unless you were holding a seven or two of them, this didn’t improve anyone’s hand.  The original bettor made a more aggressive bet, which another player raised.  I figured the raiser either was holding a pair of sevens or a seven and another card that had already appeared on the board.  At that point, I called with all my remaining chips and the original bettor called.  Then the final card, the “river” was dealt.  It was the three of diamonds.  I had survived and my “nut flush” had finally broken my long run of terrible cards.

The first bettor turned over his cards, A – Q for a pair; the second player turned his cards up and, as expected had three sevens; and with glee I turned up my cards, only to discover that what I had taken for the ace of spades was in fact the ace of clubs.  I had mis-read my cards and had nothing.  So I picked myself up from my seat, went home and took a month long sabbatical from playing poker.  That improved my attitude – a great deal – if you’ll pardon the expression.

Was it wish fulfillment that I saw a spade where a club existed?  Was I simply tired and misread the card?  Perhaps it was some combination of the two.  But this episode reminded me of the turmoil in which we in the United States now find ourselves – primarily because we are being fed a line that says that a club is a spade – if it’s more opportune to call it that.  While some call that “political correctness” my name for this form of communication is deceit.

As I’ve gotten older I’ve used the term “senior moment” from time to time to explain why I lost my train of thought or forgot the reason that I went into the cupboard.  Fortunately, those moments are relatively rare and only affect me.  But there is a more pernicious lapse afoot that I have named “an Obama moment.”  Should you wonder what that is, here’s my definition:  Diddling around while a solvable problem festers into a crisis and then, finally, making the wrong decision on how to handle it.

During the past month or so I’ve begun many posts.  But almost as soon as I began, a new issue has arisen which distracted me from my original writing.  This is, clearly, a fast paced world and we no longer have to wait for the evening paper to find out what has been happening here and abroad.  While many hope for their five minutes of fame, that fame has now been reduced to the length of a nanosecond.  It’s almost as though there is a concerted conspiratorial effort to so overwhelm us with “news” that we are being distracted from what is really happening and what events are truly important.  As I am not a fan of “conspiracy theories” I dismiss that – with a modicum of reservation.  So what are the real “crises” that President Obama has allowed to reach their present state?  They are immigration; ISIS and Ebola – although I can’t blame him for inventing Ebola.  More importantly, might these three be potentially interconnected?

The vast majority of Americans support legal immigration and a path to citizenship for those who want to come here.  They also support our having borders that are secure.  While charges of “racism” are lobbed because the vast majority of illegals (or “undocumented people” per Ninny Pepperoni, a/k/a Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi), are of Mexican or Central American origin, there are documented cases of people from Iraq, Iran, Syria and other middle eastern countries where ISIS has grown exponentially, who have also made it across our southern border and were apprehended.  At least some of them were apprehended.

Virtually everyone who has seen the acts of terrorism which ISIS regularly employs would agree that it is an organization based on consummate evil – and something that the rest of us in the world who do not subscribe to its tenets – would be better off without.  Certainly those who have been victims would, if they were still with us, agree with that statement.

Yet while ISIS grows in size and controls a greater amount of territory almost on a daily basis, this administration and its supporters engage us in a debate about whether using the term “Islamic” is a term of racism.  It hardly seems like a worthwhile argument since ISIS or IS (or in the administration’s preferred variant ISIL) uses Islamic as the first word in its acronym.  While we engage in that meaningless discussion, we see the focus of the liberal left applauding the speech that high school dropout Leonardo DiCaprio gave as he waxed eloquently before the UN about the evils of climate change.  Unfortunately, Mr. DiCaprio and his cohorts in Hollywood would have little to fear from climate change as, if ISIS were to prevail in its objective of theocratic domination, they would be among the first to face the executioner’s sword.

Then, of course, we have the West African Ebola outbreak.  We should all feel reassured that the president went on record that no cases would be spawned here – other than the fact that we now hear there may be several people who are  currently under observation for the disease.  Politicians, and the rest of us for that matter, should refrain from using the words none or all, since one exception makes our statements incorrect.  But to the average Joe or Juwanna, making sweeping statements is very reassuring – until the exception manifests itself.

Now what do all three of these issues have in common?

We know that ISIS’ members are so fanatical that they are willing to sacrifice themselves for an assured place with Allah in the afterlife.  I applaud their devotion and wish them all a speedy trip.  One of the ways to make that dream a reality is dying while killing the infidel – namely any or all of the six plus billion people or so who do not subscribe to Islam – and, for that matter, many of their Islamic brethren who do not adhere to their exact interpretation of that faith.

Given the porosity of our borders, the ease of international air travel, what is to prevent these zealots from sending a contingent of their fellow jihadists to West Africa, purposely infecting themselves with Ebola and then travelling to the United States and dispersing among many of our cities?  Purportedly, we have five medical centers nationwide which are equipped to treat patients who are affected by the Ebola virus.  How would we handle hundreds or thousands or tens of thousands of such cases?  The answer is that we couldn’t.  And, sadly, that’s true no matter how much Obama, his cronies and supporters claim otherwise.

The nation has endured nearly six years of an administration that is either ineffectual, indifferent or incompetent.  It’s hard to imagine suffering through another two more years of the same.  Should President Obama decide that the greatest contribution he could make to the country is taking an early retirement and heading for the golf course, I’d be willing to chip in to help pay his greens fees.  And while gaffe stricken VP Biden doesn’t seem much of an improvement, at least he would provide us with a little comic relief.  And just about now, based on the pessimistic view most Americans hold of the future, we could all use a good laugh.

And that’s calling a spade a spade.

THE FARMER AND THE THIEF

In the Midwest about twenty-five years ago, just about the time that common sense began its long sabbatical from which it has yet to return, a case came to court which involved a chicken farmer and a chicken thief.  The case was brought against the farmer by the crook.

The farmer had noticed that his chickens were diminishing in number, several at a time.  As he examined the coop he saw no evidence that a fox might be getting in among them as there were no feathers or mutilated chicken parts lying around.  So he concluded correctly that the thief was a human.

In order to preserve his flock and his livelihood, he set up a deterrent – a loaded shotgun inside the barn that would be activated if a person opened the door without disabling this trap.  He also posted a large sign warning whoever the thief was that they were in danger of being shot if the door was opened.

Several nights went by and suddenly the farmer was awakened to the sound of the shotgun being discharged within the coop.  In addition to the blast, he heard the chickens shrieking and went down to find the thief had been disabled by a blast from the gun.  The farmer called the local sheriff’s office and the thief was taken away.  The chicken farmer thought that he had successfully resolved the issue.  He was incorrect.

Several weeks went by and the farmer found that the thief had hired an attorney who had, on his behalf, filed a law suit against the farmer for “reckless endangerment.”  When the case came to trial, both sides made their arguments.  The farmer explained that he was simply trying to protect his family and his living.  He further pointed out that he had posted a sign, warning of the consequences of attempting to steal his chickens.  But, as it turned out, the thief was illiterate and had no idea what the sign said.  The court ruled in the thief’s favor – awarding him a judgment that was so large that the farmer had no way to pay it other than by signing the deed to his farm over to the crook.  Justice was done.

The way in which world opinion is developing regarding the conflict between Israel and Hamas in Gaza reminds me of this sad miscarriage of justice.

Before the thief showed up at his farm, the chicken farmer had not deployed his shotgun.  Before Israel began bombing Hamas weapons arsenals, Hamas was regularly lobbing rockets into Israel.

Before Israel began destroying the tunnels that were intended to provide a means to carry out terrorism within Israel, Hamas had to build those tunnels – with concrete and other supplies that had been supplied by humanitarian and government agencies.  That concrete was supposed to be used to build schools.

Before a thousand or so Palestinian civilians were killed in the conflict, Israel implemented a defense system, “The Iron Dome” to defend itself against the three thousand or so rockets that were launched against it by Hamas.  Who knows if that system had proven to be ineffective, how many innocent Israeli citizens would have perished.

The “outrage” that much of Europe and now the United States has expressed towards the way in which Israel has conducted its self-defense, revolves around the children who have died.  The Israeli argument is that Hamas intentionally hides its assault weapons in places where there are children, specifically for the purpose of being able to wage a public relations campaign to supplement its inefficient military campaign.  The counter argument is that Israel is “indiscriminately” bombing schools and hospitals without regard to civilian casualties.

What is Hamas (and Islam’s) view of the sacredness of the life of children (or anyone else)?  The following Wikipedia, incomplete as it is, will give you an introduction to how children in Palestine are regularly recruited and exploited to become suicide bombers:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Child_suicide_bombers_in_the_Israeli%E2%80%93Palestinian_conflict

The problem with relying on information from Wikipedia is that it is a compilation of anonymous sources.  It is difficult to know whether any of the authors (or editors) have a personal agenda they want to advance.  But there are countless articles about suicide child bombers available to the reader who wants to do an internet search.  This practice is not restricted to Hamas or Hezbollah in Palestine but is a tactic that the Taliban in Afghanistan also used.

But even if we were to dismiss this as fabrication, what is Islam’s view of the value of children generally?  An interesting article appeared in “The Huffington Post” recently regarding the abuse of children and forcing them to labor:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/07/29/child-labor-map_n_5631384.html

If you examine the map and the countries which are listed as “extreme” examples of utilizing child labor, seven out of the ten are countries in which Islam is the state religion.  Between the way in which Islam treats its children, not to mention its women, it is clear that human life holds a very low level of importance within that creed.

The current conflict, like those which preceded it, have all been instigated by militancy on the part of the Palestinians.  It is hard for me to understand the criticism of Israel by the Europeans, other than to say that they have now allowed such a large minority of Islamic residents within their countries that they are deferring the inevitable conflict which will come to pass as these people make more and greater demands to have their way of life “accommodated” by the majority within those countries.  France, Germany and the UK, among others, will have to face that conflict when it erupts – and now would be better than later.  But all of them have adopted a Clement Atlee state of mind.  At the moment, they believe they have that luxury.  Israel correctly has no such opinion – realizing that they are the lone small expression of democracy in a very ruthless neighborhood.

Through a miscarriage of justice, the chicken farmer lost his property and his livelihood.  Irrespective of world opinion, Israel must continue undeterred in its fight for survival.  And it would to the benefit of the rest of the western world to realize that the jihadi who are today threatening Jerusalem and Tel Aviv have no plan to stop there.  As one American convert to jihadist Islam recently proclaimed in a You Tube video, “I’ll see you in New York.”

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