June 30, 2011

The Roller Coaster Has Left the Gate

DHS: Supervision of Aliens Commensurate with Risk
CNN: British Strikes Set to Cause Chaos
CNN: Greek Lawmakers Cast 2nd Key Vote
CNN: Yemeni VP Admits Security Situation is Deteriorating
CNN: Terrorist Leader Behind Hotel Attack Killed in Airstrike
CNN: New Efforts Will Focus on "Homegrown" Terrorism
CNN: US Strikes at Al Qaeda in Somalia

And I could go on and on. The past 72 hours have been insane. As I pointed out a couple weeks ago, things in the Middle East are now boiling over and sides are being chosen. Not surprisingly, most of those in positions of power are siding with those who promise them even more power, the terrorists and their dream of a caliphate. As I pointed out on June 5th, World War Three actually started back in 1972.

Well, my friends and enemies, the past 72 hours is just a tiny taste of what's coming.

I hope you have stocked upon canned goods, bottled water, first aid supplies, firearms and ammunition because it's too late now. The roller coaster has left the gate and the wild ride has just begun. In another month, two at the most, the global economy will go belly up, war will be a fact of life on every inhabited continent, and your next door neighbor will either be your only ally or your worst enemy.

By all that is holy in Heaven and Earth, I hope I am wrong.

Update: July 1, 2011:

I was thinking that today would be a good day to review the increasing problem with flash mobs of angry black youth gathering without warning in America's shopping malls, streets, and parks to terrorize everyone around, and in some cases, to target white residents or businesses owned by white residents for beatings and harassment. It is shocking the effort being put out in the media to not only avoid mention of these mobs, but to cut off, silence, and intimidate anyone who tries to bring the subject up. Obviously for some reason the media is intentionally working to keep these stories hidden from the world at large, but especially to keep them hidden from mainstream voting Americans. This is propaganda by omission.

Well, the folks over at "Youth for Western Civilization" have beat me to the punch. Enjoy their take on this issue while I spend a couple more days gathering information and trying to figure if I have anything original to say on the matter: America's Growing Flash Mob.

(Update: February 2, 2013
Apparently the two links to "Western Youth" are no longer valid. I'm not sure when or why, but their account has been suspended. If and when more information on this bizarre phenomena becomes available I will make an entirely new blog post about it. At that time I will endeavor to remember to link the new information here as well.)


June 26, 2011

Passeggiata Italian Bar

I am a consummate explorer. Drop me in a new town and the first thing I do is go for a walk in order to get a feel for the terrain. Then I start poking my head into every shop, restaurant, cafe, bar, pub, and corner alcove that looks like it might be hiding something interesting. Most of the time my initial exploration of a city comes up completely dry. Most of the time there is nothing new, interesting, or exciting to find. If I have time, on subsequent days I'll head down different streets, pick my way through a few alleys, and so on. Quite frankly, most cities in the world have three things in great overabundance: fast food, convenience stores, loud rock bars, and filthy cafes. Humanity is woefully predictable sometimes.

But then there are days like yesterday. I arrived in Yonago City, Japan yesterday afternoon. I am here because an old college friend that I haven't seen since the mid-eighties is here teaching at a local elementary school. She is Japanese with a French father who she hasn't seen since she was a small child. Her mother won't talk about him and she can't reach him, so she's not certain why he walked out of her life when she was six or seven years old. Back at the university that emptiness weighed on her heavily, but she had learned to live with it. She took the position here in this backwater country town partly as a way of escaping Tokyo and partly as a way of reconnecting with her fantasy memories of her father because she thinks back in France he was some kind of farmer.

Well, there aren't many farms here, nor factories, not much of anything really. I'm having dinner with her tonight, so I suppose I'll find out if the years have mellowed her sense of loss and what role living in this tiny community has had in that healing, if any.

But that's just background to let you know how I wound up here in the first place! The important thing is yesterday I arrived in the middle of the afternoon and since I had nothing better to do, I went for a nice long walk. I found an ordinary shopping district, far too few banks even for a city as small as this one, a McDonalds, a Takashimaya department store, lots of dirty coffee shops, the usual assortment of dingy Japanese restaurants, and a delightful Italian restaurant/bar/cafe named "Passeggiata".

I was strolling down the main street after I'd done most of my exploring. It was getting on toward dinner time, I was hungry, and up to that point the only place I'd found worth considering was the overpriced restaurant in my hotel (which was inaccessible because they had booked a wedding party) and the McDonalds. I was thinking this would be a good day to stick to convenience store onigiri when out of the corner of my eye I caught sight of a European gas lamp. Well, I knew right away it was probably electric, but it did look like a 19th Century gas lamp of the kind that were prevalent in London, Paris, Amsterdam, and any other European city that was striving to create an air of sophistication and nobility. It was even the right size (most of the modern replicas are far too large).

I stopped, did a double take, turned the corner and went to investigate.

I found a decently painted front with a faded awning that read, "Passeggiata". There was an Italian flag drapped in the front window, so I knew it was probably an Italian eatery of some kind. The lights were on and it was late on a Sunday, so it was unlikely to be a cafe, but it might turn out to be an ordinary bar. I walked up to the door and in the dim light the first thing I noticed was the door itself. It was brand new, handcrafted walnut with a natural stain that allowed the deep purple heart and blonde outer wood both to shine through clearly. I have not seen a handcrafted door in years, maybe in decades, and never in Japan!

Inside the entrance was more handcrafted walnut furnishings. A shadow box/bookcase type cabinet on the right and a smaller bookcase on the left displaying a variety of postcards and pamphlets for local florists, tabacco shops, bakeries, and so on. On the top shelf of the shadowbox was an eight-string lyre. Not a replica either. A real medieval lyre.

So I went in and sat down. The table was more handcrafted walnut, in fact all of the tables were, four of the sofa-style chairs were, and so were a wide variety of accent pieces, lamps, corner tables, and so on. The extensive use of walnut with natural finish gave the entire place a warm, cozy, right at home kind of feel that was neither too fancy nor too plain. This little eatery would be right at home in a Tuscany back alley somewhere.

The waitress, a Japanese woman of course, brought me a menu along with a wine bottle filled with chilled water just as one would find in any family restaurant in France, Italy, or Venice. She left me with the menu and the amazing table. The closer I examined it the more impressed I was. Leaning close I could still smell the dry kiln heat coming off the wood. I haven't encountered that smell since I was in high school wood shop!

When the waitress came back to take my order I asked about the table and the other walnut pieces. She brought me one of the post cards from the little bookcase that had been on my left when I came through the door. Every piece, including the front door, was made locally by a company called "Greeniche". The place was very empty, so I asked more questions. I learned that they had reopened after an extensive remodeling only a few days earlier, even though the bar itself has been in business for three years. There are two sections, a back bar with a few tables and the front restaurant/cafe area where I was siting. The back bar was smoking and the front restaurant was non-smoking. I could not even see the back bar from where I sat and naturally I could not smell tabacco, both of which delighted me to no end.

The real test of any eatery, however, is the food. I ordered garlic bread, a salad, and a Four-cheese pizza. The garlic bread was seasoned with butter, garlic, rosemary, and parsley. The herbs were fresh and aromatic and the garlic was rich and flavorful without being overpowering. It had a hint of olive oil as well, so I assume they add the olive oil and herbs after they toast it, probably together. The salad was fresh and crispy with just a hint of olive oil and lemon juice for dressing. The four-cheese pizza was made with fresh, natural cheeses so all four flavors came through clear and distinct. All in all, a delicious dinner that was far better than anything my afternoon walk had led me to expect was possible!

I don't know what my friend has planned for dinner tonight, or even if she has chosen a place. If not, I think I'm going to convince her we should go to Passeggiata. It is definitely worth a second visit and I have no idea when, or even if, I will ever be in Yonago City again.

June 22, 2011

Waiting for Elijah

So I was checking over my stats today and discovered that someone, somewhere had stumbled across my blog while searching for an explanation of "time, times, and half a time", which happens to be the title of a post I made back on May 21st. Curious, I ran the search myself. It turns out that according to some theologians (both Jewish and Christian), "time, times, and half a time" is equal to forty-two months.

Whoa...! Look out!

Forty-two years after the Six-Day War Barack Hussein Obama is elected President of the United States and six months later, he shuns the Prime Minister of Israel, our closest Middle Eastern ally. In short, almost forty-two years to the day after Israel secured her modern borders the key support for her survival, the United States of America, abandoned her.

Maybe I was more accurate than I realized. Maybe America really is the eagle and maybe we have now entered a new phase of Biblical prophetic fulfillment. A whole bunch of maybes.

If two guys show up at the Wailing Wall preaching the imminent arrival of the Jewish messiah then all bets are off and I'm jumping on board the end times bandwagon.

Then again...now that I think about it...

Didn't I read somewhere that Glenn Beck and that Rabbi he hangs around with are doing something in Jerusalem this summer?

Ah, here it is: Restoring Courage

Hmm...Glenn Beck as Elijah and the Rabbi as Moses? Nah! Couldn't be! That's crazy talk!

At least, I hope it's crazy talk...

I was given a reed like a measuring rod and was told, “Go and measure the temple of God and the altar, with its worshipers. But exclude the outer court; do not measure it, because it has been given to the Gentiles. They will trample on the holy city for 42 months. And I will appoint my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for 1,260 days, clothed in sackcloth.” They are “the two olive trees” and the two lampstands, and “they stand before the Lord of the earth.” If anyone tries to harm them, fire comes from their mouths and devours their enemies. This is how anyone who wants to harm them must die. They have power to shut up the heavens so that it will not rain during the time they are prophesying; and they have power to turn the waters into blood and to strike the earth with every kind of plague as often as they want.

Now when they have finished their testimony, the beast that comes up from the Abyss will attack them, and overpower and kill them. Their bodies will lie in the public square of the great city—which is figuratively called Sodom and Egypt—where also their Lord was crucified. For three and a half days some from every people, tribe, language and nation will gaze on their bodies and refuse them burial. The inhabitants of the earth will gloat over them and will celebrate by sending each other gifts, because these two prophets had tormented those who live on the earth.

But after the three and a half days the breath of life from God entered them, and they stood on their feet, and terror struck those who saw them. Then they heard a loud voice from heaven saying to them, “Come up here.” And they went up to heaven in a cloud, while their enemies looked on.

At that very hour there was a severe earthquake and a tenth of the city collapsed. Seven thousand people were killed in the earthquake, and the survivors were terrified and gave glory to the God of heaven.

The second woe has passed; the third woe is coming soon.

-- Revelation 11

June 19, 2011

Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee asks about "Christian militants"

First, see the video linked below. Watch it in it's entirety and listen carefully to Rep. Jackson-Lee. Notice how she struggles to frame her remarks. Notice how Rep. King jumps in and cuts her off just as she finally gets around to making her real point.

Rep. Jackson-Lee asks about "Christian militants" during anti-Muslim hearing | Raw Replay

So far, everyone who has responded to Rep. Jackson-Lee has completely missed the point! Her remarks about "Christian militants" were not her main point. They were intended as minor introductory remarks, but she screwed it up and ran out of time. It strikes me that her real point was to defend the Nation of Islam and disassociate them from Arabic Islamist organizations like Al Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood.

That is the real discussion media commentators and even we the voting public need to be having now. That is the real discussion she was trying to get started.

No, I am not defending the Nation of Islam. I am merely pointing out that 99% of the responses to her remarks are completely irrelevant. "Christian militants" are an irrelevancy here.

Should we disassociate the Nation of Islam from Arabic groups and by doing so, grant them social, cultural, and legal legitimacy? That is the real question.

June 17, 2011

Based on a true story

Not so very long ago, a fellow named James Frey published a book called, "A Million Little Pieces". I haven't read it, and I have no intention of reading it, but if someone drops a copy in my lap someday I'll probably give it a go and then write a review. It's what I do. I bring it up now because most everyone who knows the title also knows there was a pretty fair scandal that erupted when people learned the book was not a true memoir at all, merely an elaborate fiction based on his time in a rehab clinic. From the moment I read the first review I knew something was not right. I assumed then, and later learned, that the book was not true at all, merely "based on a true story".

Growing up in America through the sixties and seventies I was beseiged by talking heads demanding my attention. From my parents to my teachers to church pastors and the politicians pretending to run the country, everyone who was anyone was trying to tell me how to live my life and almost none of them agreed on anything. Almost every country in the world other than the United States is built upon a firm cultural foundation that provides a national identity, a shared value system, and a long history of repetitive mistakes and mismanagement. Our delightful and confusing American chaos befuddles outsiders to no end while also infuriating both extreme leftists and extreme rightists within the country itself. We can't agree on anything! The reason we can't is because America is the place where all of the homogeneous cultures of the world come together in a brilliant and somewhat insane heterogeneous cultural "melting pot".

"Diversity", that delightful buzz word granted to us by European intellectuals in the mid-eighties, is a way of life here in America. There is nothing more ironic, or more hypocritical, than an American academic quoting European scholars as they teach "diversity training" in American companies and on American campuses. We don't need "diversity training"! We only need to recognize the diversity that exists all around us every single day of our lives. My father, proud descendent of both English aristocrats and Scotch-Irish rebels, has spent his life madly in love with Mexican culture. That, my friends, is real diversity and real tolerance. You don't learn that in a one-day seminar taught by academics who learned their expertise reading books written by scholars from homogeneous cultures. You learn diversity and tolerance through constant exposure to a different way of thinking while having enough of an open mind to recognize the strengths that different way of thinking entails without ever once abandoning your own.

So it was with some trepidation that I accepted the challenge from a liberal friend of mine to read the book, "Einstein's Shutter" written by Vincent Yanez. I don't know who Vincent Yanez is, but the Kindle version of the book was only $1.99 (and is free at the moment) so I bought it, downloaded it, and read it. The story is supposed to be a true memoir, but I'd bet my dollar to your dime that it is "true" only to the extent that Frey's book was true. It might be "based on a true story", but that is a far cry from being a factually true memoir.

You see, my generation has a real problem distinguishing between "true" and "based on a true story". Our current President is a very good example of this. Half the time he acts from a ideological foundation that has no basis in reality. For example, there is his obvious and overt preference for "Palestinian rights" over Israel's right to exist as a nation and as a people. Another good example is his using the EPA and other regulatory agencies to make off-shore drilling virtually impossible in American waters while giving Brazil a "loan" of $20 million to develop oil platforms all along their Pacific coast and then a few days later giving a speech decrying our "addiction" to foreign oil. This is exactly the same kind of thinking that led to Frey calling his book "a true story" rather than "a novel based on a true story from my life". Such thinking is completely delusional and it comes from my generation's obsession with television and movies. For many people in my generation "News", "documentaries", "docudramas", and "action flicks" get all mangled up in our subconscious and it is only through deliberate effort at fact-checking and verification that we can distinguish between fiction and reality. As alzheimer's set in during his second term in office, even President Ronald Reagan began to confuse World War Two movies with World War Two histories and in one speech attributed a fictional quote to a real pilot. "Einstein's Shutter", at least to my reading, appears to be suffering from the same confusion but since it is far less popular than Frey's "Million Little Pieces", I doubt anyone will call him on it.

However, with all of that behind us and all of my doubts plain to see, there are still some very good qualities to this book. Just for starters, Vincent Yanez is the first American writer of the 20th Century that I have yet encountered who actually understands Buddhism. He refers to it often, quotes its precepts correctly, and takes time to point out where true Buddhism differs from the popular Buddhism practiced by celebrities and college students trying vainly to display the "cultural tolerance" they learned in "Diversity 101". In a very real sense, "Einstein's Shutter" is a modern Buddhist parable illustrating the lessons of Buddhism that the protagonist slowly and reluctantly learns through a series of personal failures and cosmic tragedies. If the writer had marketed the book as "a Buddhist analogy based on a rough period in my life", then I would happily shower him with accolades. But he didn't, and because he didn't, I can't give him the praise he is so obviously craving. Apparently he still has a long road ahead of him if he is going to overcome the self and attain enlightenment.

The story itself revolves around a very narcissistic young artiste who follows the love of his life to New York. Once in the city the woman gets a good paying, full-time job while the protagonist makes do working part-time for a high end furniture store as a customer service representative where he earns just enough to cover his half of the rent. Like any good Joyce wannabe, the writer's protagonist spends most of his time wandering around the city, sitting in a coffee shop watching people walk by, and letting his relationship with the love of his life disintegrate right before his very eyes. If this is a real memoir and this is the reality of how Vincent Yanez spent a fair portion of his youth, then in all honesty I cannot summon up even the tiniest shred of compassion for him. Watching a heroin addict self-destruct (as in Frey's book) would pull more compassion from me than this book did by forcing me to watch the protagonist wallow in his own narcissistic daydreams as his world implodes. I have spent my entire life fighting against the selfishness and sheer collectivist dependencies that this book spends 80% of the story glorifying before quietly discrediting in the last couple of chapters. It reads exactly like any one of hundreds of Buddhist parables about a rich prince who only attains enlightenment after losing everything that gives his life meaning. If that is the writer's intent, then he has definitely succeeded. However, if the writer's intent is to mold his life experience into a parable, then why is this book marketed as a "true story" rather than "modern fiction based on a difficult period in my life"?

In some distant future, scholars will struggle to define the post-World War Two era in American history. They will pull up Frey's book, Oprah's success, 9/11, and a succession of delusional presidents in an attempt to give meaning to the insanity of the past four decades. I don't know what they will conclude, but I do know that having lived through it my conclusion is pretty simple: for a short while, we went culturally insane in a vainglorious battle to recover from the psychic shock of multiple major military defeats right on the heels of World War Two's intoxicating victory.

One day we were running the world and the next a bunch of peasants threw our army out of their rice fields. It was only a couple decades later when another group of peasants from the opposite side of the world successfully destroyed the beacon of our proudest financial achievements. After defeating one of the most powerful military forces the world has ever raised, we got our ass kicked first by an army in black pajamas then by a ragtag bunch of camel jockeys equipped with weapons we paid for.

Our heterogeneous culture has spent four decades trying to figure out what went wrong. Extremists from both sides of our political spectrum (which, by the way, is completely different than Europe's political spectrum!) blame their opponents. In reality, the core problem we struggled with is the same problem every powerful civilization has struggled with and, not at all coincidentally, is the same problem the protagonist of "Einstein's Shutter" struggles with: narcissism. Each of us individually spends far too much time looking for someone to blame while praying desperately for someone to come save us from ourselves. The one thing Yanez does get right appears in the very last few pages:

"I am the only one able to give me what I need and I am the only one who can give me what I'm destined for."

We are supposed to learn that lesson during adolesence, because if we don't, if we only finally learn that lesson in our early thirties after a failed marriage (or at least a failed long-term romantic relationship of some kind) and three presidential elections, then the damage done to our society is so extreme that we as a people might never recover from it. Which is, by the way, exactly the position our country finds itself in right now. Four decades of self-indulgence, political ignorance, and cultural immaturity by our citizens has put our government on a self-destructive path of permanent financial ruin and political overreach. We are so far down the road to tyranny that the only question remaining is when will the tyrant appear and how will the world respond once he does.

I am not optimistic.

June 13, 2011

While the U.S. is absorbed with Casey and Weiner...

...the Middle East is sliding toward nuclear war.

JTA: Iran Opens Confab on Israel's Nuclear Ambiguity
FARS: Iran's Nuclear Confab Slams US as Lead Violator of NPT
Turkish Weekly: Israel Using Nukes as Tool to Threaten Neighbors
Tehran Times: Will US Forment War Between India and China?
South Asia Analysis Group: Iran in the Strategic Matrix of Russia, China, and India

World War One began when a Serbian nationalist assassinated the Archduke of Austria-Hungary and his wife during a entourage in Sarajevo. By year-end the entire continent was embroiled in a stalemate of trench warfare that eventually gave birth to chemical weapons, tanks, and fighter planes. One of the key contributing factors to both the headlong rush into massive warfare and the devastating result was strategic positioning in the decade before the Archduke's assassination. The exact same kind of strategic positioning that Iran, China, Russia, Turkey, and Venezuela have spent the past decade engaging in.

I don't have time today to drag out all the details and articles that lead me to believe the Middle East is headed straight for nuclear war. The links above are just the most recent of hundreds of news articles over the past five years that show relations between those five countries growing closer, more militant, and more strategically important. When the UN reconvenes in September one of the first issues all five are planning to bring to the General Assembly is the status of Palestine. As the articles above clearly demonstrate, these five are working together to paint the United States and Israel as the worst enemies facing the modern world. Either through incompetence or intent, Pres. Obama's constant diplomatic bumbling has added fuel to the fire by presenting the American President as being out of touch with both his country and the world at large.

Stock up on food, water, batteries, and ammunition. There are storm clouds forming on the horizon and it's going to be a bad one.

Quick update on June 15, 2011:

Sides are rapidly falling out in the Middle East. It is no surprise to me that Pakistan has chosen the side of the terrorists.

NYT: Pakistan Arrests CIA Informants in Bin Laden Raid

I don't have time today to go into detail, but here are some excellent books about Pakistan's ambivalence in the war on terror:

June 07, 2011

Propaganda in popular media

I have a passion for police procedurals. I always have had. It probably has something to do with my father being a police officer and growing up wanting to know more about his work. In addition to reading countless books by dozens of writers from three different contintents, I love police dramas on television. NCIS, CSI, Law and Order, I can't get enough. When two or more are broadcast at the same time, I DVR them and watch the remainder the following day. Which is why I've noticed a very weird trend that began in mid-March.

Bad cops are a common theme in police procedurals. Humans beings are flawed, and some of them are foolish. It's been said that everyone has a price and corrupting a good person is just a matter of finding the right price. That price is seldom as simple as cash in the bank, and the bad guys know this. Cops go bad. Not all of them, not even most of them, but many of them do find that price and sometimes it is as simple as tickets to a baseball game or extra time off to spend with their family. Recently, however, the bad cop episodes have always ended on the same note. The bad cop is brought down by testimony from a spouse or dependent child and the very last scene in the episode is the bad cop crying out, "you ungrateful *something*! I took you in! I fed you! I gave you a roof over your head and this is how you repay me?"

That line bothers me. It bothers me a lot. When it becomes so cliche that it pops up in every single police drama at least once all in the same three-month period, then it goes beyond a mere bother and it begins to worry me. There are many people working in television as writers, actors, producers, etc., who believe in using their medium to influence how we as a society think and feel. The links between art and society are so deep that it is impossible to unwind whether art influences life more than life influences art. Writers in particular tend to understand this relationship intimately and as an individual artist they either spend their life embracing it or fighting against it. So when every writer in every police drama seeks out an opportunity to repeat the same idea, all in the same television season it definitely worries me.

I won't call it a conspiracy. I will not claim some shadowy individual or group is manipulating our media in an attempt to turn wives and children against hardworking, conservative parents. I will, however, point out that something has changed in the culture of television writers. They have all tapped into something that they see as a problem and that problem is directly related to the rising influence of conservative ideals in modern America. I will also say that our popular media is in fact and in reality being intentionally manipulated by those who create it in an effort to speak out against the rise of conservatism and put forth a liberal progressive agenda that is anti-family, anti-religion, and very anti-conservative.

Despite the fact that they are dependent upon a free market, capitalist society to ply their trade and make their living, huge numbers of people working in media are blindly convinced that Karl Marx and Frederick Engels are the future of our world. They call themselves "progressive" or "modern" or "open-minded" or even "free-thinking" rather than "Marxist", but their products show clearly that they believe society is responsible to the individual rather than the individual being responsible for themselves. On one very abstract level, the portrayal of conservative parents as corrupt and hypocritical is a reflection of the relationship between these writers and the free market, but that would take a book to describe and would probably be of interest to no one outside academia.

Of more immediate concern here and now is to state clearly that I do not believe it is some kind of conspiracy, not at all. It does however reflect a growing number of Marxist ideologues who are in control of the television programs we watch, the magazines we read, and the movies we see. They believe that the collective is more important than the individual and they are using their position as producers of popular media to "teach" us things they believe we are too stupid to realize on our own. In their arrogance and elitism they cannot imagine that you and I are just as intelligent, just as well educated, and just as open-minded as they are.

This is why it is always important not to be a blind consumer of popular media. We must take a few seconds to question the ideas of the media we consume. It is vital that we ask ourselves if we do, in fact, agree with what the writer is presenting. Do these stories reflect the reality of our society? Has the writer offered a fair treatment of characters we identify with? Does the villain embody some trait we normally admire, and if they do, why did the writer consciously and intentionally give that trait to the villain instead of the hero? What is the writer trying to say about people who have similar behaviors or similar approaches to life? And, most important of all, do we agree with the writer?

It does not matter how talented a propagandist is, they cannot influence a critical mind grounded in firm, unyeilding principles. Know what you believe and know why you believe it. If a television drama, a novel, a comic book, a comedy routine, a movie, a newscaster, or anyone else tries to ridicule that belief, cast it in a bad light, or associate it with evil, then you need to be prepared to step up and defend what you believe in.

There is a five thousand year old war being fought for the human mind. It has been with us since the beginning and it will be with us until the very end. Each of us individually must choose a side in this war and be prepared to defend that position. The opposition will always consider anyone who disagrees with them to be evil. Even as I consider the collectivist to be evil, they consider my constant harping on individualism to be evil. This is the core nature of human society and it is this essential and ongoing conflict that drives us relentlessly into the future.

Freedom of expression is critical because if either side ever destroys the other then and only then will human society collapse under its own weight. I don't object to propaganda in Hollywood. Not in the least! Quite the contrary. Writers have a sacred duty to use their chosen media to contribute to the ongoing debate. While we enjoy their work we as readers, television watchers, and moviegoers also have a sacred duty to question everything they are presenting to us, ask ourselves if we agree, and express our own position when we don't.

The timing of this recent attack on conservative values through the media of police dramas is odd, and for me, disturbing, but it is not surprising. As conservatism grows, there will be pushback from liberal progressivsm. This is good. This is exactly how the world is supposed to work. Sooner or later, there will be more conservative writers putting forth conservative themes and then it will be the progressives using blogs, letters to the editor, and so on, to express their discontent. As long as we go back and forth we're in good shape. The day one side succeeds in shutting down the other, regardless of which side it is, that is the day our society will slip into fascism and fascism has only one historic result: implosion.

Societies don't fail from invasion, plague, natural disaster, or rebellion. Those are only the stressor events. Societies fail when they become so homogeneous the individuals within that society no longer know how to think for themselves. Once that happens, both the society and the individuals within it cannot adapt to the stressor event when it arrives. As a result, the society responds to the stressor event by collapsing under its own weight.

In closing, something I have said before bears repeating here, "America has the finest propaganda machine in the world, and it is entirely in private hands."

June 05, 2011

World War Three

The third world war began with the Munich Massacre at the 1972 Summer Olympics. No one realized it at the time, but this was the first of a long series of brutal, barbaric attacks against innocents by radical Islamic terrorists. This conflict took an unexpected turn when back in January a series of populist uprisings spread throughout the Arab world. Six months after they started some of these protests are resulting in brutal crackdowns while others are resulting in overturned regimes. In addition to sweeping nationalist movements, every single one of these protests has resulted in people taking to the streets bearing Palestinian flags while shouting angry slogans against Israel and the United States. Commentators and op-ed writers have begun falling out into two distinct, diametrically opposed camps. One camp believes on faith alone that this is the beginning of a newer, freer, more democratic Arab world while the other points to the rising frequency of anti-semitic speeches by populist leaders. Here are a few examples from both sides of the spectrum:

Times of Oman: In the Middle East, Who Cares What Obama Says?
National Post: Harper Courageously Defies Obama
SF Chronicle: Netanyahu Undermines Israel's Quest for Peace

Just this morning, the borders around Israel again erupted in violence:

Globe and Mail: 20 Dead as Israeli Troops Open Fire Along Syrian Border
CNN: Israel Fires at Protestors in Golan Heights
Reuters: Israeli Forces Fire on Golan Heights Protestors
Gulf News: Unrest in the Middle East

I cannot yet say for certain where all of this is headed. I don't know if Revelations 13 is set to arrive before year-end or if the people of the Middle East are truly set to join the modern world. Much depends on the role played by the Muslim Brotherhood as the political systems throughout the Arab world regain their stability. Despite their non-violence pledge, the Muslim Brotherhood did begin life as a terrorist organization targeting both British overlords and Jewish settlers in post-World War Two Palestine. Many of today's most violent groups trace their roots straight back to the Muslim Brotherhood and regularly express their alliance with the Muslim Brotherhood's political goals. I personally cannot imagine peace in the Middle East if the Muslim Brotherhood manages to gain control of even a single Arab country.

Very few people realize it, but World War Three has been raging all around us for the past forty years. It's not the nuclear confrontation between east and west that we grew up fearing, but it is nonetheless global, violent, and deadly, with no end in sight. Even worse, hidden in the shadows China is taking full advantage of the unrest to expand both their presence and their influence in this strategically vital region.