Reality is scarier than fiction this Friday the 13th

I have never been a big fan of gory horror movies, although I did enjoy Frankenstein and Dracula when I was little. And, The Exorcist and The Omen did cause some chills and entertainment. However, what is most scary to me are stories that could happen or did happen in real life. With that in mind this Friday 13th, the most scary things that could happen are very real and that is being led down poor paths by our leaders.

In no particular order:

– ISIS is scary, but what is most scary to me is our leaders possibly taking their bait and introducing US ground troops. That is precisely what ISIS wants. We have reached a tipping point and that is the Muslim world is saying no more to terrorists like ISIS who have hijacked their religion with extreme views. The fight against ISIS must be a Muslim-led effort with our support and help. ISIS knows this and wants to draw in America, so they can point to another enemy.

– Before leaving the Middle East, I shared with my Senator’s office that signing a letter to Iran with 46 other senators is asinine. These 47 senators endangered America by showing our division to the world. It is more than OK to debate and argue, but to circumvent negotiations over something this important and to disagree with something before you know what it is childish and dangerous. Columnist Michael Gerson, who is one of the best conservative bent writers, largely said the same thing in his column today. A shrewd leader will use this to our disadvantage. Putin has already written op-ed pieces in our papers to sway opinion. Remember this is the guy who controls his media, so he can play us against ourselves.

– But, let’s set this aside for a minute. What do the chest beaters want us to do if this agreement fails? What do the chest beaters want us to do in Ukraine? What do they want us to do in Syria? Our troops have said to people who will listen, we don’t mind fighting, but give us a clear-cut mission with an end strategy. What does winning look like? These folks that want us to get more heavily involved can not define what winning looks like, as to be brutally frank, it may not be clearly definable. There is a two-word term that comes to mind that military personnel use often to describe these situations and it begins with the word “cluster.” I will let you complete the thought.

– At the same time I was including in my previous post about the City of Miami and the three surrounding counties spending $200 million to combat the encroaching sea that is now coming up through the storm drains and flooding the streets, the state of Florida was striking the words climate change and global warming from formal documents. This is akin to the George W. Bush White House marking through scientific papers presented to them striking the same language. It is also akin to the state of NC General Assembly refusing to accept a peer-reviewed scientific paper that said the sea levels will rise 39 inches (one meter) by 2100, the same prediction accepted in Virginia, Maine, and Louisiana. I wish I could handle my problems this easily, by erasing them with my delete key or pencil eraser. Didn’t you know you could hold back rising sea levels with legal briefs?

– The scariest thing in America right now is our leadership and political machinations. No one cares to govern and only wants to grease the skids to get elected or remain in office. Everything is a win/ lose zero sum game, where one party has to disagree with the other party no matter what. For example, Obamacare borrows from Romneycare, a Republican idea which was advocated by Tea Party leadership for the country and is working for the most part, but Republicans have to hate it. Americans generally know what the problem is in large part, but with the election system gerrymandered and controlled by large donors coupled with a specifically uninformed public who does not know when they are being lied to by faux news shows, we do not have much hope for better governance.

Yet, we must try to make a difference. We have to hold our elected officials accountable. We have to ask questions of news experts and pundits regarding positions or statements they have made. We should also be wary of name-callers and labelers. When you hear someone resort to labels, be mindful that the person must not have a very good argument. We must also read, listen and watch more reputable news sources such as NPR, PBS Newshour, The Guardian, BBC World News America, Al Jazeera News to name a few. If we don’t, then everyday may be a Friday the 13th.






29 thoughts on “Reality is scarier than fiction this Friday the 13th

    • Good point Hugh. You have noted before the efforts to teach how to do things or find things, but diminishing how to think or question things. What pains me further are targeted efforts to whitewash history, especial dissent which is a path to an Orwellian future. Thanks bro, BTG

  1. Note to Readers: Per Michael Gerson, who was subbing for David Brooks on PBS Newshour tonight, he noted there is huge buyer’s remorse with sending the letter. The pushback has been severe and that this rushed letter written by a Senator with two months experience was not well thought out. Both Gerson and Mark Shields were highly critical of Senator Mitch McConnell for not consulting with his Foreign Relations committee chair who did not sign the letter. It should be noted our allies who are negotiating by our side our not to happy with our senators. Not only have these senators harmed our reputation, they have harmed their own party and their own efforts. Because Senator Bob Corker, the head of the committee, was only two votes shy of a veto proof majority to require the President to run the deal by the Senate.

      • Hugh, I agree it is unsettling. My point to the Senator’s staffer I talked with is it is a “disservice to America.” On top of inviting Netanyahu to come without White House permission, makes a terrible precedence for our future ability to govern. I was watching an excellent news report on the Israel election and when they went into the street to interview very informed Israeli people, there were several who raised concerns with Netanyahu side stepping Obama. Netanyahu is in a contest, with many wanting a two state solution.

        Thanks, BTG

  2. You may have seen a new NBC poll published yesterday that says 90% of the american public disagrees with how DC is being run, and blame both sides equally for not working together. Combined with Robert Reich’s article of how DC really no longer even cares what the citizens think, I believe we are in for a serious attack on Democracy and our way of life.

    And for the life of me, I cannot come up with any possible reason for the 47 dunderheads in Republican Never-Never land to have written the letter, or even remotely what they hoped to accomplish. What was their ending strategy???

    • Didn’t the head man in that group receive $1 million from a Palestinian group, presumably, to initiate that letter? In any event, I do think the very thing Washington feared most is happening: our Republic is becoming the laughing-stock of the rest of the world.

      • Hugh, I don’t know about the money, but the laughingstock part is right. See my comment below to Barney which echoes your comment. Thanks, BTG

      • The New Yorker ran a tongue-in-cheek article suggesting that Iran moderate between the Republicans in Congress and Obama. Ha! But Obama needs to take some of the blame. As I have noted before, he could be using his powerful voice — and the TV networks — to get the citizens of this country more involved.

    • Barney, the end strategy I presume is to say “look American people, we have your security more in mind, than the other guys.” Any GOP Presidential candidate who signed this letter is toast as a candidate, that is how bad a political strategy it was. The fact it is a poor governance strategy that weakens America should be the bigger point.

      As for the poll, it is close to as unanimous as you are going to get. If you look back at almost every major pieces of legislation that have come out of the House since January, 2013, they have only been passed with almost all Democrats and enough Republicans. The extreme part of the GOP has made governance nigh impossible. Now, the Senate with the last election has let some of the extremists in their mix.

      People abroad have wondered for some time now about our ability to govern. A lot of this disdain began when we introduced George W. Bush to the world and his “axis of evil” and “weapons of mass destruction” BS. Thanks for writing, BTG

      • They say even if you’re not paranoid they may be out to get you. I would only add, they may be right, we are unfit to rule ourselves!

      • I have spoken about the limitations of our Constitution in several posts. It has occurred to me that one huge oversight was the inability of a sitting president to dissolve the Congress.

      • Given some of the Presidents we have had, I am not sure I would want that power in the office. I would love to see the ability to petition a recall of all members, but as long as money represents free speech, we would end up with the same kind of puppets. The sad truth is many elected officials probably set out with an idealistic view to help, then they become beholden to the funders to get elected and who promise job opportunities at the end.

      • It would be necessary to have the House agree by a 2/3rds vote to approve the dissolution of the Senate and vice versa. Or something. But there ought to be a way to clean house, though you make a good point: what would we replace them with — “as long as money represents free speech” ?

  3. As foolish as the RepubliCANTS were, I fear the bigger message here, and that is the rapid crumbling of our democracy. Both sides are so engrossed in “gotcha'” politics, that they can’t see how their politically driven stalemate is destroying the country. That 90% polling number is frightening if only for the sheer number of citizens who have given up on our country, our education, and our standing in the world. If they’ve given up, that is the open gate to destruction.

    Great comments by all

  4. Note to Readers: I was fascinated by the remarks of the actor/ humanitarian Sean Penn on The Bill Maher Show on Friday regarding the senator letter. He noted that beneath some of the hard liners in Iran, are a progressive younger population. His concerns were several, but he noted that we have an opportunity to have better relations with a new generation of Iranis. Getting back to the issue, he said two clear comments – these senators are endangering our children’s lives and certain folks speak of war, but they are not factoring in a winnable war. That speaks of volumes.

  5. Yes, sometimes I wish all that we see on the news was just a piece of fiction or that we’re in a dream (although it would be a nightmare). I limit my watching of News on TV as it is depressing but I also want to stay current on world events…

  6. I love how the letter starts with “It has come to our attention” as if this was some inter office memo about to discuss lunches being taken from the break room! Stupid beyond repair.
    These 47 have just proved, not just to Iran, but to the rest of the world, that we are broken, weak and desperate. Doing it on the heels of the horse & pony show with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was like showing your cards in a high stake poker game … insanity at its best.
    NPR Rocks!

    • Thanks Lisa. You are so right. Those words are a precursor to bad news far more often than not. What is the old quote, “it is better to let the world believe you are an idiot, than to speak and remove all doubt.” The 47 removed all doubt with our friends, allies and enemies. A month ago the Wall Street Journal was not too high on the efforts of this Congress – then it got far worse.

      • They are so out of touch, which is sort of expected from the fossils that have been in office for what seems like centuries, but this new kid on the block Cotton is even more distorted.

      • Lisa, that is what amazes me. More senior senators would follow the lead of a newcomer without doing more due diligence. This “I was on my way to the airport” excuse is lame. And, Mitch McConnell gave it gravitas (at least in the minds who hold him high regard) with his signature. That was a poor move on all, but especially his part. By the way, I am not one of those who hold him in high regard – he is a poster child for our problems in DC. Thanks, BTG

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