• Home of the Brave: And Please Panic This July 4th

    July 3, 2015 // 18 Comments »

    4th

    America used to be a country with balls. Now, our government wants to make us into a nation of scaredy cats, existing in a state of constant fear and near-panic, like we were kids worrying if the school bully was waiting for us after school.

    Here’s the basic theme for this weekend: Americans need to remain vigilant to the threat of a terrorist attack, the chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, Michael McCaul, warned. He said there has been increased chatter on social media that indicates terrorists may be planning to strike during the celebrations. “I am extremely concerned Syrian and ISIS recruiters can use the Internet at lightning speeds to recruit followers in the United States and then activate them to do whatever they want to do. Whether it’s military installations, law enforcement or possibly a Fourth of July event parade.”

    “I wouldn’t be surprised if we’re sitting here a week from today talking about an attack over the weekend in the United States. That’s how serious this is,” former CIA deputy director Michael Morell told CBS. “There’s been about 50 people in the last 12 months who have been arrested in the United States for being radicalized by ISIS, wanting to go fight there or wanting to conduct an attack here.”

    USA Today added to the fear-mongering, noting “While there was no specific or credible threat of attack, the official said the intelligence bulletin prepared by the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI alerted local colleagues to the ongoing threats posed by the Islamic State and other homegrown extremists. The official was not authorized to comment publicly.”

    So let’s break this down, ahead of your BBQ, beach time and backyard sparklers.

    America has suffered one significant foreign terror attack in the 239 years since the July 4th we celebrate this weekend. That attack was fourteen years ago and while tragic, took a similar number of lives has the number of Americans who have died since from toxoplasmotic brain parasites. The 2011 Report on Terrorism from the National Counterterrorism Center notes Americans are just as likely to be “crushed to death by their televisions or furniture each year” as they are to be killed by terrorists. Perhaps even sadder, about double the number of Americans killed on 9/11 have died in the still-ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    Disagree with one set of numbers, pick your favorite statistic/comparison, but you get the idea.

    Noteworthy is that while fourteen years ago, and for most of the succeeding years, is that the government warned the attacks were to be carried out or threatened by foreigners. This weekend’s warnings, however, point at Americans who want to do harm to other Americans. That seems to be one of the most significant “achievements” of the fourteen year war of terror, turning us into them.

    So this July 4, in honor of America’s 239th birthday, our government tells us not to be brave and free, but to be scared and fearful. We need to watch around us, and we need especially to watch our fellow citizens. One of them might be a lone wolf, supposedly “radicalized” by 140 characters he read on Twitter. We are to balance in our minds the conflicting images of a government that takes away our civil rights and pisses away our tax dollars to protect us while simultaneously saying they may not be able to protect us.

    Whatever you do this July 4th, don’t look for me there. I’ll be at home, doors locked, weapons cocked and ready in abject terror, trying not to remember what I’ll be drinking to forget. Happy Birthday America.




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    Posted in Democracy, Post-Constitution America

    July 4 Celebrated in Iraq

    July 5, 2011 // Comments Off on July 4 Celebrated in Iraq

    Here’s a run down on how Iraq, freed from evil by our eight year invasion, celebrated July 4 and 5:

    — July 5 started poorly in Iraq with two explosions in northern Baghdad’s Taji township. Toll so far is 33 killed and 28 injured.

    “The two successive explosions by a booby-trapped car and an explosive charge in the garage of the Municipal Council of north Baghdad’s Taji Township on Tuesday morning killed 33 persons and injured 28 others, including some who remain in serious condition,” reported Aswat al-Iraq.

    — Way back on July 4, in Baghdad’s Mansur neighbourhood, three policeman were killed and one wounded by an improvised bomb that also hurt three civilians.

    — Another suicide bomber in the Baab al-Muadham neighborhood of central Baghdad wounded five security personnel guarding a bus station.

    — In south Baghdad an improvised bomb killed one person and wounded three others.

    — Iraq’s former Presidential Palace, once part of the temporary US Embassy complex and now used by the Iraqi armed forces, came under a mortar attack.

    — In Fallujah, car bomb exploded outside a hospital killing a policeman and a civilian. Eight other people were wounded, five of them policemen.

    — In Haditha, western Iraq, a suicide bomber blew up his explosives-packed belt near the city council building, wounding two policemen.

    — In southern Babil province, a roadside bomb killed one soldier and wounded two civilians, and a gunman assassinated a policeman from the anti-crimes unit.

    — Three children foraging through a rubbish heap in Babil also were wounded by a bomb.

    — In northern Iraq, gunmen with silencers killed a member of President Jalal Talabani’s Patriotic Union of Kurdistan in Diyala, and a soldier was killed and one wounded by an improvised bomb outside the city of Mosul.

    — Detainees in the terrorism prison in Ninewa declared a hunger strike due to the maltreatment. More than 600 detainees are on strike, and will not end it until their demands are met.

    — The Chairman of Iraq’s Supreme Judicial Legislative Council, Judge Midhat al-Mahmoud, announced on Monday that Iraq’s Court of Secession had passed 168 death sentences.

    For those keeping score at home, that adds up to 43 dead and 56 wounded, all in two long, hot days, July 4 and 5, 2011 in Iraq.



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    Posted in Democracy, Post-Constitution America