when do you send in the army?

So if you were a citizen of Brussels, then at this point you’ve been robbed of a whole week of your life earlier this year and now, all of New Years.  Why?  Terror threats.

Well, what is that?  Apparently it’s whatever somebody says it is.  Just ask your Los Angeles school district neighbor.  I’ve already ranted about this without purpose, it is what it is.  You just need to read the remarks of Belgium’s leader to understand what happened here, he cancelled all of New Years because of:

“…information we have received.”

How long do leaders figure their people are going to just put up with this?  How long are the average working folks of Brussels going to put up with having their lives altered because of information their leaders have apparently received?

With this kind of weak leadership, it is any wonder folks are turning to new fringe political parties and leaders?

I have no idea.  Neither does Donald Trump or Francois Hollande.  I just would think, at a certain point, that your normal average human would eventually get aggravated to the point that they’d expect something to be done about it.  Instead of doing what Europe does best: muddle through.

For now, the European answer, and I suspect the American answer is you just put the army on the streets.  Europe’s armies now guard the streets.  And the American police are mostly armed and equipped the same way as European armies, so it’s all the same to me.

And armies now guard museums, government buildings, mosques, synagogues, and the freaking zoo.

If you live in Brussels, and the Islamic State is responsible for ruining your life, when do you draw the line and demand your leaders deal with the problem at the source?

I fear, the answer is, you don’t.  You muddle through.  Particularly because as it stands, Belgium virtually has no deployable army.  Which is sad when you look at what they did in 1940.

So you’ll say, well, I’m a lunatic.  True.  But where do you draw the line?  If you honestly prefer a life where every public occasion you attend with your family requires a cop / soldier armed with an automatic rifle?   Just say so.  Tell me you want to live like that.

But I’m wondering if the lesser evil to the West’s freedom is a brief army of say 100K troops, mostly American and French, who carve a swath against the Islamic State for about 3 months and destroy it.  Then everybody wags their fingers and says, “Don’t do that again.”

And then you leave the Middle East to figure out the wreckage on their own terms.  And if they screw it up, and the Islamic State emerges again, you do another 3 month invasion all over.

Do you think this is a shit idea?  Maybe.  My idea might suck.  But at least it’s an idea.

The only idea on offer from idiots like Trump is to expel an entire religious group. The only idea on offer from all the leaders of Europe is to cancel New Years.  I’ll stand by the lunacy of my idea.  It’s better than anybody else’s.

belgian police

What’s really creepy about this shot, is that the Belgian police are all wearing masks while inside their own capital city.  And, look closely, the BBC has blurred the faces of those cops who aren’t wearing masks.

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I know what’s in Tut’s new tomb rooms

I don’t know what’s in Tut’s new tomb rooms.  Nobody does.  But hey, you never know where life’s going to take you.  There are all kinds of things that could be in there, including nothing.  So why not gamble away recklessly in the hopes we can guess it right?  After all, my Guests possess the most unbridled surveillance resources imaginable, so certainly I can figure this out.  Except that they’re usually too drunk to use them; and I also happen to be an idiot.

– Tut’s genuine Mommy in Nefertiti is in there and it’s the archeological discovery of the century

– Tut’s new tomb rooms don’t exist

– Tut’s 2011 Volkswagen Jetta SportWagen TDI with the 2.0L 4-cylinder diesel is parked in there pending investigations by the Egyptian Ministry of Transportation

– They break it open but instead of Nefertiti or Tut, it’s just Khufu sitting there in a lawn chair downing a highball glass of barley wine, and he’s like, “Fools!  I’ve stolen all of Nefertiti’s treasure and added to my stash.  You were only four-thousand years behind the power curve.  You’re fucked!  Ahahahahahahahaha!”  And then he re-ascends to Valhalla in the blink of an eye; and all they get is the lawn chair

– Tut added six-thousand amphora filled with booze in there to ensure he could get ripped in the afterlife with abandon; but then he ran out in 1134 AD and he’s been sad ever since.  The archeologists could try adding more booze filled amphorae to the stash to hook Tut up, but I don’t think it works that way

– They find completely empty rooms because they buried Tut in a hurry, after the murder and all

– Zahi Hawass shows up wielding a pair of old Yugoslavian machine pistols and holds everybody hostage, shouting at the top of his lungs to the Geraldo cameras, “Sign up for my newsletter to be first to here about my upcoming lectures and books!”  Poor, poor Zahi, dude you supported the wrong dictator, you should try and get in good with Sisi to get back in the game; you were a hoot to watch

king tut

give up your secrets ya bastard

 

vicious EU uncertainty begins today

There are legit arguments for both sides of the refugee / migrant issue. Just as there are legit arguments for both ends of the austerity debate. But until today the EU had never done something like this before: they rammed through a major piece of legislation over the objections of several countries.

When the Greeks were asked to vote last weekend they returned Syriza to power and thus explicitly endorsed the most recent EU backed bailout plan. That same plan also required the endorsement of Germany’s parliament among several other national elected bodies. In other words, democracy and the votes of individual citizens came into play.

Maybe the EU council thinks they can dictate refugee / migrant policy over the heads of all / some amount of voters. But I doubt it. So when the Czech Republic government refuses to take their mandated allocation quota of humanity, what’s the EU council going to do? Fine them?

The guidance states: “Financial penalty of 0.002% of GDP for those member countries refusing to accept relocated migrants.” Ah, I see. Well, what if they don’t pay up? Then what?

Hungry and Romania are full EU members; the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Finland are all in the Euro. What happens if they’re forced to implement this policy against their will or what happens if they ignore it, and nobody forces them? Either way, the entire construct of the EU could come apart.

What happens to modern Europe if the EU comes apart? Or massively shrinks?

You can think this is a good thing or bad thing, but either way it’s monumental and rather fascinating. When the Syrian war started four years ago I’m not sure anybody would have predicted this kind of consequence. Yet here it is.

For good economies, culture, and just straight peace of mind, vicious uncertainty is not a thing to desire. But that’s what we’re going to get here for all of Europe for some time. Uncertainty.

_85678906_european_commission_quotas-01_v2

and oh by the way; 120K might only be about 10% of the current number of refugees / migrants; what’s the plan for the rest of them?

math, demographics, and destiny

This seems like a relatively uncontroversial topic to wade into. Nobody’s got strong feelings on this one at all. But we’ll put our own belligerent spin on it; for that’s what we do.

 

Let’s start with some numbers:

– There are 81 million humans in Germany today

– Give or take a few million, there are approximately 50 million global refugees currently displaced due to armed conflict

– Give or take a few hundred-million, there are about 1 billion folks who live on about $1 a day

– A ballpark estimate says in 2050, Germany will have about 72 million people over half of which will be old folks

 

So a few belligerent observations:

– Even if Germany was populated by angels, they don’t have the bandwidth to house even a fraction of the world’s war refugees, let alone everybody’s economic migrants.

– But nobody in Germany (or in much of the rest of the developed world) has yet to crack the code on how they plan to pay for all that government spending / debt in 2050 when almost one-third of their populations are retired old folks.

– So whether anybody admits it or not, in order to stay solvent, Germany has to either let more refugees in, cut government spending by astronomical levels, or start having more German babies.

– I’m an idiot, but I’m pretty sure the German state (and all the other countries too) isn’t going to be cutting government spending or forcing women to get pregnant. So guess what option they have to take?

 

Any finally:

Germany and the rest of the modern world need to do more to tackle these problems at the source. For instance, if millions of Syrian refugees want into Germany, then we need only ask the question: Why is Bashar Assad still alive?

Europe has let Syria fester for four years. Did they think there wouldn’t ultimately be consequences given how close Syria is? How long do you think it’ll take before half of Libya tries to get in on this as well? Or what about all those folks in Cameroon living on $1.37 a day?

Solving Syria and conquering poverty are probably two of the hardest things you could ever try to do. But there are consequences to doing almost nothing in Syria and doing far, far too little to tackle global poverty. And in today’s case, those consequences are literally showing up at the West’s door.

refugees

choosing destiny for the planet

on death and social media

The odds of you checking out on camera via violence or accident are infinitesimal. You’re probably sixteen times more likely to get struck by lightning. Your last moments are hopefully to occur peacefully alongside family. And while that event isn’t going to end well for you, at least it’s what we’d consider natural.

I’m of the opinion that despite the exciting pages of history, the vast majority of humans have never seen or experienced brutal violence. Still, when there were no cops around and everybody carried a club, I’m sure we had our fair share of cave related deaths. Or vicious renaissance era coffee house brawls.

The difference between today’s world and say, a Vienna stabbing in 1734, is that everybody’s holding a camera. More than that, everybody’s holding a full-motion-video camera right in their pockets. Even the fixed-site big cameras are different now. It used to be the only time a security camera’s footage was shown is on the news. Now a security video makes its way to the Internets six minutes later.

Whereas we were once a race that traditionally never saw actual violent death with our own eyes, now every single person carries it at their fingertips. And please understand that I consider this light years from movie or video game violence. One is real, the other is not. It’s that simple.

A thought occurred to me a few days back while watching the video of the Tianjin blast in China. Put simply: “Is this wrong?” And then: “What is it doing to us?”

Everybody loves explosions. We’ve been enjoying fireworks for thousands of years. So like countless others, I got a real kick out of watching one of the biggest blasts you’re likely to ever see.

Here’s one of the better examples. Warning, big time profanity in it (even more than you’d usually read on this blog):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q04fV4j7A1w

Cool, right? But if you really took a step back and thought about it, as these major blasts occurred, probably about fifty firefighters were dying, incinerated. While it’s neat for us to watch, it’s also rather horrifying, and deeply disturbing.

You can take it a step further too. Here’s an example of security footage that found its way online quickly because some guy took smartphone video of the camera’s monitor. It’s of a guy having the blast collapse the entire entranceway and wall in front of him. In other words, his last few seconds of life:

http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=7a3_1439409813

If we’re not careful, our inner-freak-human-self can degenerate to the part of our psyche that used to get a kick out of watching medieval public torture executions. It’s a special form of darkness.

The tale continues with yesterday’s murder of two reporters live on camera by a truly deranged individual. You had the unique ability to watch the killing from the perspective of both the victims and the killer. It doesn’t get any worse than this. Oh, but wait, except it does. For the Islamic State (neither Islamic nor a State) goons have posted some of the more vicious videos in human history, hundreds of them.

Tens-of-millions, perhaps hundreds-of-millions, of humans have watched these videos. I’m sure tens-of-millions worldwide have watched the Virginia murders from both perspectives in the last 24 hours.

I intentionally have never watched an Islamic State (neither Islamic nor a State) video. But I’ll admit it, Virginia I did, both perspectives. And I think it’s broken my brain, and a corner’s been turned.

“Is this wrong?” Yep. You bet.

“What is it doing to us?” Nothing good.

We’re supposed to evolve, right? Thanks to the Internets we now possess the ability to watch somebody die, right before our eyes, at the click of a button, just because we feel like. Or because we’re fascinated by it. Or because we’re just curious. Or because everybody else watched it. Or because maybe in our dark-inner-selves we enjoy it.

Or maybe you think it’s important that we watch, so we truly understand the darkness we’re facing? No, instead you should read any number of United Nations reports on what the Islamic State (neither Islamic nor a State) has done. It’s all there in black-and-white. You get a real good idea of just how truly wicked those dudes are by reading ten pages. We don’t need a snuff video to understand or appreciate evil.

No more. Not for me. I’m going to try and evolve. Certain things are wrong even if many have accepted them as commonplace. The culture seems to have decided that you can drink your coffee and watch somebody die. No thanks, I’m getting off this train.

Or put in another more practical way, the Islamic State (neither Islamic nor a State) goons and yesterday’s Virginia killer have one thing in common: They did the videos because they want you to watch.

It’s generally considered a bad idea to wake up in the morning, pour your coffee, and do what evil wants.

Like all human inventions, social media and the Internets are going to do a great deal of good and bad for us all. Choose the good. Discard the bad. Evolve. Do good. Live well. And hopefully others do the same.

It’ll never happen, but perhaps think of the positive change to humanity if some day, an evildoer posts their murder video online, and nobody watches.

internet death

No more.

newsroom baffled how leaders wrote Iran speeches via belligerent time travel

At the conclusion of fifteen straight hours of an overall “baffling ordeal” the entire newsroom of the Daily Planet struggled to write a single coherent article on the recent Iranian nuclear deal. Arguments among staff primarily centered on the similarity of speeches made by the planet’s leadership to words they already said six months ago. “We spent about seven hours investigating the possibility that the space time continuum had ruptured and we were both late for Christmas, and all humanity was doomed to a vicious black hold related death,” stated deputy editor Brace Winslow, “but after consulting the Pluto robot folks at Johns Hopkins we’ve ruled out that possibility. Which was fortunate, because I hadn’t had the chance to buy a damn thing for my future ex-wife.”

After a sleepless night, several pizza runs, and six discarded bottles of various alcoholic beverages the grizzled reporters settled upon the theory that the President, Republicans, Iranians, Israelis, and Euro-trash politicians all wrote their speeches six months ago and simply read them upon the agreement’s approval. “What we’ve yet to figure out is how they could write these speeches and then just read them,” remarked Winslow, “it’s almost like nobody has read the agreement before speaking.”

Yet the undaunted newsroom decided to determine the root cause of this discrepancy. “No responsible leader would just spout their own canned talking points without actually reading a critical document. So our conclusion is all the world’s leaders knew what the exact agreement would be when they wrote their speeches back in December. Because they could see through time. So we’re going back to Hopkins to figure out how this was done. The Iranian deal’s pretty huge; but think of it, our leaders can literally travel through time.  We could go back and shoot Hitler!  What a scoop.”

newsroom

Arcturus News Muster – 15 July 2015