Do (Fill in the Blank) and the Terrorists Have Won!

I always thought it was a stupid line that "the terrorists are trying to disrupt our way of life." It never made sense to me.

220px-Siege_movie_poster

If anything, I figured the exact opposite was true. They DO NOT want to disrupt the way of life of those they would attack. They want them to continue to walk about as bowling pins, all the easier to knock down.

Sure enough, it was only a matter of time before car dealers and the like were exhorting the public to keep carrying on as before - why if they alter their consumer way of life, the terrorists have won!

But I never actually knew where the stupid slogan came from. Until last night. I saw The Seige movie from 1998 on TV. On a hunch, I checked out Denzel Washington's retort to the general about the terrorists winning.

It was the filmmaker's line! The slogan comes from Hollywood! It is from BEFORE the pandemic of actual terrorist attacks. Not from anyone who actually knows anything! It is just a story! Who would have thought?

An online movie summary includes: "[Denzel] Washington's character, FBI agent Anthony Hubbard, struggles as the fight against terrorism takes over the city. He's the first to introduce the 'terrorists have won' rhetoric."What if what they really want is for us to herd children into stadiums like we're doing and put soldiers on the street and have Americans look over their shoulders - bend the law, shred the Constitution just a little bit?' he asks in a furious tirade. "'We do that and everything that we have bled and fought and died for is over."

Oh, sure! Motley terrorists huddled back home green with envy over the hedonistic society abroad, rubbing their hands with glee at the thought of screwing up their Constitution! Now THERE'S a cause to die for!

A lot of stupid stuff originates with the 'furious tirades' of make-believe movie characters! And what does this tell us about the pundits who reiterate this wisdom? Where do they have their thinking forged? What serves for their 'sources?'

Pass the popcorn, please.


Trump Strikes Syria - How to Read This

Trump bombed Syria and made a lot of people mad. How can you not make them mad when you’ve killed 15 people? He broke a lot of things, too, but he can always say: “Look, Vlad, what’s the big deal? I’m a billionaire. You’re a billionaire. But them some new planes out of your own pocket if it takes that to placate them.” The people are a different matter. But even that is mitigated by pointing out they were all (or almost all?) military people who have signed on to the program.

For some inexplicable reason, I feel I have a read on this guy. I long have. It surprises me to think so few do. Even that is hard to know for sure because in this scenario, as in all others, liars spin the facts this way and that for their own purposes. In the case of a President, the motivation to do so is high.

At any rate, his actions clearly turn a lot of memes on their head. Clearly, he is not a pawn of Putin, as U.S. media has insisted for months. Clearly, he does not hate Muslims, as they have also insisted. It is now spun that he is impulsive and acts from the heart. “Trump said he would not do Syria! No way! No how! Then he saw a picture,” I have heard.

Or perhaps it is all spin. The trouble with conspiracy theories is that, once a few of them prove to be true, you readily swallow the next one coming down the pipe. There are cabals hanging about and they do try to skew things. But these cabals have hated Trump from the beginning. I think it is because he is not one of them and they don’t feel able to control him. We all know that Trump is not a Republican. He took over the Republican party. It might just as well have been the Democratic party. He simply read the tea leaves and saw that, at the moment, the Republican party was easier to commandeer. When he says ‘drain the swamp,’ he is not referring to one party or the other.

Anyone in small business, which I have been, can easily conceive of a businessman who loves his country but thinks the slippery boobs have ruined it, saying: “There!  I built my business. Now let’s see if I can fix the country.” A BIG businessman can easily miss this because he is primarily worried about Trump’s effect on the stock market, but a small businessman doesn’t care, or at least it is not his chief concern. If your experience is something else entirely, you heard the ‘grab them by the you-know-what’ and concluded life around him was a 24/7 brothel. I always thought It was nonsense. I always agreed with him that it was ‘locker room’ talk. I did this because I have been in the locker room and they do not read Plato in there.

He can spin this as I believe it really is. There are some things so barbarous that you cannot go there. Chemical weapons are among them. They are not good, especially when you have just had photos of the victims thrust under your nose.  He did what he did impulsively, from the heart. Yet even that cannot be determined with certainty. Insiders said he leaned on and took options from the military people. He didn’t hastily tell them what to do. He let them tell him, and chose from the choices they presented.

It is easy to conclude that they, however, are swayed by the business model. When BigDefence gets too big, it must keep the profits rolling in. If it does not, the stockholders will bolt for some noble competitor – say, BigPharma. So if the world threatens to get too peaceful, they must stir up the pot. It is the United States, not Russia, that is bombing many countries. It will never be fixed because money drives everything here. You solve nothing by taking out a bad guy. Another bad guy simply sees a fine new career opening. It is the play that must be changed, not the actors in the play, who simply follow the script given them – sometimes begrudgingly, sometimes with gusto. Human reformers can change the actors, but they cannot change the play. Only God’s Kingdom will do that.

In a world where barbarities are commonplace, it is tough to know where to draw the line. “What’s one more slaughter in the greater scheme of things?” is easy to say. Is it preferred for Trump to say: “Ah, well – shit happens?” Obama drew a line in the sand and it was instantly crossed. Perhaps leaders should keep their mouths shut over such things, and not make grandiose remarks about slaughter being ‘unacceptable’ (duh) and how people will ‘be held accountable.’ They won’t be, usually. Why carry on as though they will, except so as not to look like a helpless fool. And don’t carry on about people being ‘cowardly.’ They may be despicable, but surely it is not cowardly to be willing to die for a cause – any cause, from Boy Scout to Barbarians-R-Us. Also, don’t whine on about how the terrorists are trying to change our way of life, but we won’t let that happen. If anything, they want us to maintain our way of life and thereby be easier targets to kill. And even the terrorists will say: “Look, they elect their leaders over there, and the leaders come over and kill all our loved ones. That makes them not so innocent after all.” Victims of massive suffering and evil, many turn into unreasoning animals that must be taken out, like putting down a vicious dog. But that doesn’t mean you must judge them for it; many in the West become unreasoning animals with far less provocation.

A man that recoils at the use of chemical weapons and reacts immediately can be spun as not such a bad thing. He can say to Putin: “Sorry. I lost it. but nothing has changed in the big picture. Let’s work together when it is expedient to fix the world.”

It’s not my cause. I am a neutral Jehovah’s Witness, interested in these things only as ‘current history.’ All human governments will drop the ball; the only question to be answered is upon which toe will if fall. The Kingdom arrangement, as detailed in the Bible, is the only permanent answer. So if you have read these words and said: “Harley is an idiot! I’ll write to tell him so,” please don’t. I will respond by saying: “you forgot to mention that I am also a moron.”

(See the Foreword of No Fake News but Plenty of Hogwash - it is in the 30% free preview section)

 


Persecution in Russia

 

Russia's a nation of laws, just like here, and there's no legal barrier now for those who hate us to shut down the Branch. The brothers lost a critical legal appeal at Moscow City Court.

Putin may not even know about it. He's had a lot on his plate lately.

Places like Russia favor the 'house' church. They don't necessarily believe it, they likely don't, but they favor it because it's a force for national unity. 'What can we do for you?' they ask. 'Take out the competition,' is the reply from the Church.

How could any brother in Russia not think it a remarkable coincidence? The enemies of Jehovah's Witnesses are fully empowered to close Bethel. And at Witness meetings worldwide this week was played the movie about how the Assyrian army was poised to destroy Jerusalem, and in one night a single angel destroyed them all. Yet the movie was made two years ago, and the Bible reading schedule that determines when to play it is many years old! Since it is based on mere sequential Bible reading, it is decades old.

 Hezekiah, the Israelite King, wasn't overconfident. He didn't assume God was going to bail him out - for maybe he wouldn't. He just knew that he was to trust fully in God and remain faithful. But I hate to see the brothers go through more harassment, if not total shut-down. They've been through so much already.

'Hey, remember that angel we dispatched to Jerusalem? I'm impressed with his portfolio. Check on his availability, won't you?' Is there that sort of discussion somewhere?

Will it work that way? Or will world opinion prevail upon leaders there to carry on as every other nation does, Russia being the only nation on earth to ban JW.org. Image It's laughable. The Church makes them look like utter fools before the world. (not to mention it kills us) Nobody can watch JW.org and think it is, even to the tiniest degree, extremist.

Our brothers bear up under persecution when they must, and it often brings honest-hearted (and courageous) people into the fold. People say 'why are they making trouble for the Jehovah's? They're nice people.'

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'Tom Irregardless and Me*  30% free preview. After that, we'll talk, your people and mine.


Our Ladies of Diminished Social Responsibility

Putin responded in the Wall Street journal to the sordid charges brought against Trump. “It is hard for me to imagine that he went off to meet with our ladies of diminished social responsibility” Mr. Putin said. Sounds like a bunch of churches, doesn’t it: ‘Our Ladies of Diminished Social Responsibility.’ Not too far afield from Garrison Keillor’s Our Lady of Perpetual Responsibility in Lake Wobegone.


Russian prostitutes, Mr. Putin said “are undoubtedly the best in the world, but I doubt that Trump jumped at this bait,” since he has had regular opportunities to meet with gorgeous woman at the beauty pageants he organizes.


Well, oh yeah?! Oh yeah?! OH YEAH?! Your prostitutes are better?


Even me, who is one of Jehovah’s Witnesses, politically neutral and thus divorced from nationalism – even me, who was for neither Trump nor Clinton – even me, who doesn’t even root for the home Olympic team – even me has to say ‘enough!’ ‘Our’ prostitutes will clean the clocks of your prostitutes any day! Image

Say that your tanks are better – okay. Say that your bombs are better – okay. But say that your prostitutes are better? Those are fighting words!!


This is not the Beatles ‘Back in the U.S.S.R. we’re talking about:


‘Well, the Ukraine girls really knock me out,
They leave the West behind.
And Moscow girls make me sing and shout.
And Georgia’s always on mi-mi-mi-mi-mi-mi-mind!’


As interim chairman of the American Philanderers Association – a post for which I am singularly unqualified, but you know how some people just can’t say no – I throw down the gauntlet and mount a challenge: AN ORGY!! Our prostitutes against yours! We’ll see who the better ladies of diminished social responsibility are! We wrote the book on diminishing social responsibility!
…………………………………….


The new ebook ‘Tom Irregardless and Me’ recognizes when Mr. Putin has been astute, like in 2008 financial crisis:


“The failure of human rule could not have been shown in more stark relief as in that article, with consequences so directly traceable to the human wisdom running the show. Russian President Vladimir Putin was both blunt and harsh:
Everything happening now in the economic and financial sphere began in the United States. This is not the irresponsibility of specific individuals but the irresponsibility of the system that claims leadership.


In 2016 America, all that remained was to Photoshop Putin with horns, gleefully pecking at his keyboard, doing his level best to hack the American election, but it was he who nailed it about unrestrained greed. The 2011 film ‘Inside Job’ expressed dismay that no “specific individuals” were brought to justice:


Charles Ferguson (film director): “Why do you think there isn’t a more systematic investigation being undertaken?”


Nouriel Roubini (professor, NYU Business School): “Because then you will find the culprits.”


Culprits and regulators alike belonged to the same social set and were members of the same country clubs; they had no desire to turn on one another.”
‘’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’
Download ‘Tom Irregardless and Me’ here. 30% free preview. Afterwards we can talk, your people and mine.

photo: Tomas Costelazo