It’s generally poor form and not beneficial to your soul and the future of the human race to wish an early expiration date upon your fellow man. But some people are so far over the line I really don’t have a problem with it. I thus give you the ongoing saga of how serial child slave trafficker, rapist, lunatic, murderer, Dallas Cowboys fan, and apocalyptic fanatic Abubakar Shekau is somehow still alive? Why can’t this man just die?
For those of you who believe in conspiracy theories or conspiracy theory movies or that only fifteen families are pulling the levers of planetary power, I give you this guy. We’re so screwed up we can’t even find and kill one single guy who really, really, really deserves it. This is how I know that if the CIA ever teamed up with Walmart and the Illuminati to put chips into all our coffee so they could get into our brains, the plot would quickly fall apart after one of the monk bagman rear ended a street cop while texting in the rain to his boss about how he left the evil plans USB drive (unencrypted) in the changing stall at the Sears while he was buying new monk-solid-white-high-top sneakers.
I mean I get it, without credit cards, smartphone chips, a desire to drink quality beer, or any plans for the future you can fall off the grid real fast. But you’d think that eventually we’d be able to buy off one of his buddies or spot him with a drone while he’s sitting inside his 1974 Buick Skylark outside the elementary school trying to kidnap another busload full of young girls.
You know I’ve said it many times, but there’s still something to be said about solving problems with a sledgehammer up front rather than allowing things to fester. What if the UN had put 100K troops on the ground for a month to comb Boko Haram’s jungle paradise? They could have stayed for a month, then left the Nigerian Army (what of it actually exists) in charge once the problem was temporarily solved and hope it somehow all worked out. Then Abubakar Shekau and all his evil buddies would have been dead, and thus not had the ability to kidnap thousands of young boys and girls to serve as child soldiers and sex slaves. That would have been a decade ago. He’s still here. Great. But hey, at least we’ve got Twitter hashtags, so whatever, we’re good.
In the meantime, I read a few weeks ago that all the fighting has basically triggered a local famine because Boko Haram hasn’t allowed a decent crop harvest in three years. Awesome. Check that into the Earth win column, please. I’m sure this issue came up last night (I kept my word and didn’t watch) as Trump and Clinton traded skilled barbs about which one has an older weathered face under $1247 of television makeup.
Uh, I need to calm down and quietly drink my coffee, I think. I’m too cynical in my cubicle. But at least I’m leaving this job soon. Oh yeah, for those who have been around this degenerate blog for a long time, I’m changing jobs. Hopefully the new one I won’t hate as much as I do this one. But either way, in the meantime? Abubakar Shekau, kind Sir, please just die.
Seriously, just fucking die.
My work identification card expired today. I knew this in advance, but just couldn’t get to it in advance. And it didn’t matter because the last time I went in there to update it I showed up cold and it took ten minutes to get the new one. Anyways, five hours later I got to consider the day a success just because I walked out with a new card. A whole bunch of other people are going back tomorrow morning. When life’s a mess, particularly the self-inflicted kind, your barometer of success is rather low.
Waiting rooms are some kind of weird portal into the insanity of humanity. It’s like you’re having some out of body experience where a drunk wizard’s got the controls.
1) The security building proclaimed itself one of those zero energy wonder structures where all its power came from solar panels and a windmill on its roof. It was also about 90 degrees in there. They had a mid-sized box fan (which I can only assume was also zero carbon seeing as how it was plugged into their wall) just to keep the room somewhat tolerable. But they still kept their promotional zero carbon tracker on one of the televisions upon the wall. Except the interior temperature readings on the screen were conspicuously labeled as: “–“. Apparently it’s always like that. It was cooler outside, but the windows couldn’t open. Have you ever wondered why all these newfangled climate computer controlled buildings don’t have opening windows, but then the place is always either too hot or too cold? Get it right silly building, or give me back my open window option.
2) The other television had CNN on it. I have not watched more then three consecutive minutes of CNN for years. After five hours, I was ready to burn the building down. Except it was already too hot. Hey speaking of ISIS (CNN kept mentioning these guys and Trump; apparently there’s nothing else going on worldwide today), forget electric prods, truth serums, Justin Bieber, or any other manner of torture. All those guys need to do is place me in a room with CNN or Fox News. Within about seven hours they’d break my will. And I’d even give up mine own dogs just to make it stop.
3) Humanity is an incredibly diverse group of people. When you work with the same folks each day, you forget just how widespread we all are. After five hours I got to see dozens upon dozens of people of every ethnic, religious, cultural, family background you can imagine. I don’t know why this struck me, but it was neat. Go us. Show that room to ISIS as proof we will win, eh, some day. We were all miserable people waiting there for hours, but we conducted ourselves nicely and with honor, and some of us even chatted for a bit. Kiss our ass, ISIS.
4) I still don’t get the smartphone thing. I had a magazine, which took me three of said five hours to finish cover to cover. I dabbled on my smartphone for about ten minutes otherwise. But almost everybody else in the room always had the phone in hand. Constantly. I only saw two others reading a physical paper book and/or magazine.
5) Next time, make an appointment, if able. [points finger at self]
Ponder if you will, this simple scenario. It takes one hour for a normal cardiologist test to check your heart for the detrimental presence of alien spores. But your particular cardiologist (we’ll call him Gil) says it’ll take him at least three hours to test you. And his error rate for the test is north of 90%. So you’ll just have to take his word for it. You of course reject all of this, and decide to go to another cardiologist. Until Gil starts cracking up and delightfully informs you that he’s the only cardiology practice on the planet. You have no choice. You have to live with it.
We’re regular TSA haters on this degenerate blog. Partially because I fly a minimum of a dozen times a year, usually nearly double that. In that time I’ve seen some real, real anger inducing stuff. I’ve seen the TSA aggressively frisk a well dressed grandmother, scream at a small child, allow a person without an actual passport past the international checkpoint, and on and on and on.
For what? Kindly take a moment to gaze upon the latest saga in a 15 year journey of incompetence. If you’re flying out of Chicago, the TSA needs you there three hours early to do something that traditionally only took one hour.
There are the usual troubling nuggets in this article:
– Apparently after all this time they still can’t process the concept of peak season travel numbers. This is their business. This is what they do for a living. But nobody seemed to bother to write on a napkin the number of booked tickets verses the number of screen personnel and do some simple math. After all, it’s just your life, so whatever.
– The TSA continues to pound TSA Pre as the solution to all of your problems. As before though, you’ll still have to pay $85, get fingerprinted, and conduct a formal interview with a TSA bureaucrat who’s undoubtedly fully qualified for the job of determining whether or not you’re a vicious terrorist. So TSA Pre is the answer to the problem of the TSA’s removal of your time and money. And thus the solution is for them to take more of your time and money (and your privacy). So you can get back what they already took from you. In any other construct not government, that’d be called theft or blackmail.
– All of this might be worth it if the TSA actually did the task assigned to them. But as the article reminds us, the TSA fails at its mission well over 90% of the time. In fact, the article actually mentions the raw numbers which I’ve never seen before:
undercover security operatives managed to smuggle 67 illegal weapons or simulated bombs past TSA security on 70 tries last year, that TSA officials were unable to properly vet 73 aviation employees who had links to terrorism, thereby allowing them access to secure areas, and that senior managers have a long history of bullying whistleblowers who identify potential problems.
In 15 years the TSA has never successfully stopped a single terrorist act. They’ve never caught a guy at the checkpoint. But if you play devil’s advocate to try and make the argument about deterrence, all I can say is with a failure rate of 90%, if an actual terrorist had actually tried, he’d probably have succeeded.
So what’s all this been? For 15 years? Smoke and mirrors. Power, money, and the bureaucratic inertia survival of an organization, no matter how incompetent or rude or unfair to you, the citizen.
But don’t worry, Congress is all over this, solving the problem like they typically do:
On Tuesday, Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) called on TSA Administrator Peter V. Neffenger to resign if the long wait times at airports such as O’Hare and Midway are not resolved by Memorial Day.
Senator Kirk seems to think wait times are the reason to clean house. Senator Kirk is thus burning his day sitting under one tree, surrounded by flies, scratching his head, completely unaware that he’s in the middle of a whole forest. Bravo.
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.
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.
While driving down the highway carrying on with my joyful day, bound for a cool Christmas party, I was interrupted by the government to remind me that I’m going to die.
For you see, the highway information signs told me “if you see something, say something” and provided me with a number to call. This was on every single electronic sign. All of them.
So this is of course the government approved way of telling you to be vigilant for terrorism. Merry Christmas! Happy New Year! But don’t forget to watch out for pipe bombs! You don’t want to see your Holiday Season ended with some bloody flesh infused shrapnel, do you? Love, Your Government.
But the sign didn’t tell me any of this. It just said, “if you see something, say something”. Well, I see things all the time. Should I call the number every time I see something? If I didn’t think it would get me added to the terrorism watch list, I’d call that number and be like, “Hey, I ah, I see a bird. Just thought I’d say something to you about it. Talk to you all again soon.”
They also posted these signs all around my work that say the exact same thing. The government is of course doing this because they want you to know they’re on the case. They’re here to fight terrorism and keep you safe. It’s why Obama has given a couple of speeches about it lately.
Let’s leave aside for the moment that folks who actually see something tend not to say something for fear of being accused a racist, which is why the San Bernardino killers’ neighbors said nothing. This is a worthy concern when you can’t read any online publication nowadays without seeing at least two or three people accused of various kinds of racism each day. Even your 18 month old cousin is a dirty racist I’m sure.
Let’s also leave aside that probably about 100 Americans have died in domestic terrorism related gunfire since September 12th, 2001. In that time, over 400,000 Americans have died via gunfire. You can be pro-gun or anti-gun, but those are the facts.
So what’s really going on here? To me, it’s quite simple, all you need to do is read between the lines of the placard:
The Department of Homeland Security needs their logo on this, why? Why would they need to put their logo on there, why not just leave the statement as is?
Because, of course, the DHS needs to exist. The first goal of any human organization is to ensure its survival. DHS wants you to know that they care. DHS wants you to know that if you see something, you should say something. Even though you’ll never see anything.
You’ll be struck by lightning before you’ll see one pipe bomb in your life, I assure you. But thanks DHS, it’s good to know you’re there, because when we’re scared, you have a reason to exist.
Any Republican / Democrat paid party politician, operative, or acolyte will be happy to kindly inform you why Trump and Sanders are a joke, fad, or a circus. The British or French paid party politician, operative, or acolyte will tell you the same thing about Corbyn, Farage, or Le Pen.
You’ll hear random things along the lines of: “Well, Trump is supported by the 23% of Republicans who actually vote in the primary which means only 8% of America’s total population actually backs him.”
Or: “Corbyn got elected party leader by a bunch of radical young supporters who flooded the Labour Party who then won’t actually be around for the next election in 2020.”
Though Farage took only one seat at Britain’s last election, he still picked up 13% of the vote. Le Pen just won over 50% in multiple districts before the mainstream parties ganged up and utterly destroyed her folks in the second round. The point has been made in multiple circles that if America’s presidential election cycle had a parliamentary timeline, as in it lasted say eight weeks instead of two freaking years, that Trump might have had a legit shot at the big chair. In one month Corbyn added more party members than all the other parties total size, combined. Only one American presidential candidate has consistently filled whole stadiums, Sanders, and increasingly now, Trump too.
Put another way, folks on the left and right of modern Western democracies are pissed off. Put another way, everybody’s really pissed off.
Why? The answers are legendarily complex. But I’ll give a simple reason right now:
See LA schools closure.
Basically what’s happened today is unelectable bureaucrats decided to detonate the lives of millions of people over a supposed bomb threat. It shows a ruling structure that values safety over reality; risk aversion over problem solving; cowardice over measured action. Nobody will ever be held accountable over it. Nobody will be fired. And so this behavior will be left to fester and grow inside the bureaucratic mentality nationwide.
I bet the man / woman / people who made this call today don’t even have their kids in LA’s schools. Instead, I’m sure they all live in gated communities, and their kids go to private schools, and are thus not effected by their decisions. After all, better safe than sorry. We wouldn’t want to take the chance that the twelve-year-old-ISIS-mimic on the e-mail was actually a liar, would we?
How would I have wanted them to respond? Go look at what New York City did. They gave the ISIS-mimic e-mails the finger, and carried on with their day. This behavior is to be applauded. But unfortunately, NYC has the NYPD, which thanks to 2001 is essentially its own standing army / intelligence service. The NYPD is unique, and gives NYC’s leaders a lot more flexibility to take risks that I think all of America’s leaders are not willing to take.
Thus, the LA school system is showing everybody what it takes to cripple most of America’s governing institutions nowadays. ISIS/ISIL/morons can just set up a phone bank in Raqqah and call in several hundred bomb threats to America on the same day, and bring the country to its knees. And so, in today’s modern culture, a terrorist phone bank is an effective weapon of mass destruction.
The problems resident in today’s Western democracies are massive. But the people (you, I hope) are starting to discover that the party politician, operative, or acolyte who’s supposedly there to solve these problems, are in fact so useless that they throw their cards on the table at the first hint of danger from [insert pathetic hack entity’s name here].
If the LA school system’s / police leaders can’t function under these circumstances, what chance do they have of solving chronic student underachievement or massive crime? Or what example are they showing their students / citizens on what it takes to survive in a modern, ever-changing, dynamic, dangerous world? I don’t have to go down this stupid “it’s cold out” school closure road again? Do I:
Ask yourself, if Trump, Sanders, Corbyn, Farage, or Le Pen had answered the phone and fielded the bomb threat, what would have happened? Would they have folded too? Would they have told the caller to “get fucked”? Would their answer have depended on whether the person answering was from the left or right? As in, maybe Trump would tell the ISIS-mimic to “get fucked” and Corbyn would have just folded too. Eh, maybe, but I tell you what, I’m not sure I’d want to get in a bar fight with Jeremy Corbyn, dude’s probably cracked his fair share of skulls with a vacant bitters bottle like four decades ago.
I don’t know? I truly don’t. But the bottom line is, I think that the answer would at least have been different. And when the leaders of government of both the left and right are failing, the people will search for just that:
There’s a reason people have more trust in the local dry cleaner than the government today. It’s because I think more and more, the system is not a reflection of its people, but a reflection of the desires of a secluded-hypocritical-risk-adverse-self-serving elite. Trump, Sanders, Corbyn, Farage, and Le Pen are all in play for this reason.