What Netanyahu and Abdullah Know

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is coming to the United States next month to speak before a joint session of Congress. He is coming to try and convince the U.S. government, and the American People, of what King Abdullah II of Jordan has already proven he knows: radical Islam understands only one thing and its force. It is why King Abdullah’s response to the release of a professionally produced video of the barbaric immolation of a Jordanian pilot by ISIL was met by Jordan with the immediate hanging of two ISIL terrorists held by that government.

strengthWhat Netanyahu and Abdullah have that we in the West lack is a coherent and thorough understanding of how the Arab world perceives strength and weakness. In the Arab world, if you respond to aggression with ambivalence, acquiescence, negotiation or appeasement it’s like asking for more of the same. Anything but an equally forceful response is seen as weakness. Further, it emboldens and empowers the aggressor.

The only thing that the tribal-based culture of the Arabic world understands, and even respects, is power, force and the courage to use both. Any effort to think with a “Western mind and Western values” totally falls on its face.

  • In 1967 Israel captured the Sinai Peninsula and the Gaza Strip in a pre-emptive strike against the Egyptian air force as the Arab world was mobilizing to attack Israel. Israel subsequently returned the Sinai to Egypt and total administration of Gaza to the Palestinian Authority, or the government of their choice.
  • In 2003 the United States, under George W. Bush Administration, liberated Iraq from the brutality of Sadaam Hussein and the “Butcher of Baghdad” at a cost of 4000+ lives only to have all that territory brutally retaken by ISIL under the total withdrawal of U.S. troops under the Obama Administration.

The return of Sinai, the relinquishment of control over Gaza, and the U.S. invasion of Iraq and subsequent attempt to rehabilitate that nation’s basic services were done with an eye towards establishing normalcy and some version of peace in those regions. But the efforts by Israel to give back “land for peace” and the Obama Administration’s delusion that just leaving Iraq would allow the Iraqi’s to maintain a civil society are all proof that Arab aggression understands only one thing: the appearance of strength and the unconditional willingness to use it.

As I type this post, the United Nation’s Committee on the Rights of the Child is reporting that the Islamic State militants are selling abducted Iraqi children at markets as sex slaves, and killing other youth, including by crucifixion or burying them alive.

In many ways, we are reliving history. It is 1930. If we again close our eyes and ears to the truth of what is coming, if we once again make believe the “train tracks” aren’t going anywhere that matters, if we allow the politicians to distract us with mis/disinformation we will this time awaken too late to stop the spread of evil. If that occurs we will have no one to blame but our own denial… and may God have mercy on us all.


No Republican Scum Allowed

In the mid 1990’s I suffered a serious shoulder injury and ended up doing extensive rehabilitation on my shoulder. During the course of my rehabilitation my doctor recommended a form of exercise called Gyrotonics.

Republican ScumSince most exercise when lifting weights are linear in nature it is not the best form of exercise in when trying to get the range of motion back in a shoulder. My doctor recommend Gyrotonics which was developed by a movement expert with a deep understanding of Yoga.

He created a variety of machines that focused on circular rather than linear exercises that enabled all of the muscles in the shoulder to get a full workout. Since most of the instructors were former ballet and Yoga instructors, the teachers were all good natured and open in trying to help others.

I started to work out diligently for the next few months with a variety of instructors and always found them to be very generous  with their level of attention and instruction.

One night I was in the studio when I ended working out next to the owner of the studio and the conversation turned to politics with her staff. Usually, when I go to the gym I have always tried to keep my level of conversation at a minimum as my priority was in the workout and not the political dialogue. So I had no interest in joining the conversation and listed as a casual observers to see what their opinions were.

To my surprise, the owner had some pretty strong political views especially toward Republicans and stated “We don’t let and fucking Republican scum into my studio”… clearly my views on peaceful and loving yoga instructors were shattered at that moment.

Maybe a bit of context is needed here, the studio where I was working out was located in the upper west side of N.Y.C where Democrats outnumber Republicans by a 9-1 margin, suffice it to say there is no diversity of thought in parts of NYC. Which makes the comment even more bizarre, because New Yorker’s claim to be extremely tolerant people.

I would say they are very tolerant of many things: Gay marriage, transgender rights, environmental rights etc.. and they claim to be big proponents of free speech. But having lived in N.Y for many years, I can tell you that  New Yorkers are very tolerant only  if you believe in the same things they do. If however, you are one of the Republican scum, then all bets are off.

The fact is I wasn’t offended in the slightest as I had encountered many hard core Democrats in my time in New York. One time I actually had a Democratic pollster chase me down the street and yell at me when she found out I was not eligible to vote in the Democratic primary for my sin of being a Republican.

The fact is the studio owners comment about Republicans scum actually made me know more about her and her belief system than she will ever know about me. The fact is while I have opinions and insight into things, She had a belief system that need to be protected and defended and hence had to attack the enemy who believed differently

The fact is the law of unintended consequences causes more havoc on political projects than a belief in one party’s policies over another, if you don’t believe me look at the following:

  • Lyndon Johnson’s “War on Poverty” actually caused more poverty and destroyed many more families after it was enacted. The “War on Poverty” actually created more poverty.
  • The financial crisis whereby public officials  rallied around the banks being “Too big to fail” now have much larger and bigger banks through the warped legislation that was enacted.
  • “Obama-Care” which was created to rein in medical costs and provide more access to medical care has done just the opposite.

The fact is life is complicated, nuanced and hard to predict and even worse when you have social tinkerers who use other peoples money to enact their fantasies. These are the real monsters of public life and where her venom should have been directed at.

Radical…or is it Rabid… Islam?

I am an animal lover. But for ticks and scorpions (I live in Texas so, yes, we have scorpions in our homes periodically!) I even take insects that I find in the house outside so they can continue to live. So it’s fair to say that I have a great deal of compassion and whenever possible, I would save a life rather than extinguish it.

InsaneAn exception would be a rapid animal. In those instances, the contagious and untreatable disease has done so much damage that the only solution is death. I thought about rabies today when I heard the breaking news about the video release of the beheading by ISIL of the second Japanese hostage.

As a lawyer and trained mediator, I firmly believe that where there is conflict, we humans should always seek peaceful methods of resolution. Willing parties to negotiation or alternative dispute resolution methods usually resolve their differences. But admittedly, it takes two. If you have one party fixated on the “battle” and “winning” at all costs, no amount of logic, reason, or emotional insight will deter them from the fight. Those people wind up in protracted litigation, oftentimes losing much more than they would have attained through less aggression and intransigence.

Some people only learn the hard way, which brings me back to ISIL.

ISIL, its members and all participants in radical Islam who think torture, slaughter, beheading and coldblooded murder are acceptable means of behavior are no different than animals infected with rabies. They are incurably diseased and contagious.

Yes, I’d take a spider out of my house and set it free on the lawn. I’d also wholeheartedly support any military action that would set out to annihilate each and every individual engaged in radical Islam.

We’d better hurry. In case you haven’t been paying attention…the disease is spreading.