Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Thanks, Obama!

The Ebola stuff is interesting to me, because I remember the hysteria last year, here in Nebraska.

I remember a commenter on a local news site here who observed that our medical personnel were dropping like flies, all across America. What were we going to do when we ran out of doctors and nurses, having lost all of them to this dreaded disease?

Yeah. At the time, one nurse had caught Ebola in America. One. And she hadn't died of it. In fact, she never did die. But in right-wing fantasyland (no connection to reality whatsoever), doctors and nurses everywhere in America were dying off in the Ebola epidemic. Thanks, Obama!

Of course, our right-wing news media helped fuel the hysteria. And when the hysteria could no longer be maintained, our media just ignored it. There was absolutely nothing after that. But then, if you can't scare dumb white people, what's the point to news at all, right?

I say "white people," because the scary black man in the White House, the secret Muslim funding ISIS and spreading Ebola, is the biggest subject of hysteria in my state. Admittedly, there are apparently lots of reasons for hysteria on the right (even if Obama seems to be the cause of all of them).


jeff725 said...

Speaking of the "scary black man in the White House," got a story for you.

Took my mom down to our insurance agent because she wanted to rework her homeowners policy. Making casual conversation, mom commented about dealing with her health insurance (not affiliated with our aforementioned agent). Our agent started ranting about how "Obamacare is a disaster, it's causing premiums to skyrocket, blah-blah-blah..." (no shit, honey!! I've said all along that ACA was going to be a big cash-grab for the insurance companies).

Sensing the moment, mom lobbed me a softball; "What IS Obamacare?" I reared back and swung for the fence: "It was the Republicans' alternate idea for Clinton's universal healthcare plan." Our agent quieted down and we got back to the business at hand.

Excuse me while I flip the bat and take my home-run trot. :)

Sidenote: About ISIS being "crippled," can we be sure of that? Per this clip from "Homeland:"

Happy New Year, Bill.

WCG said...

Happy New Year, Jeff.

The thing about terrorism is that it's easy. Anyone can harm other people, if you have no qualms about that, if you don't care who gets hurt, and if you don't care about dying yourself.

Look at the San Bernardino terrorist attack a month ago. ISIS didn't plan that. A husband and wife just decided to shoot the husband's co-workers (although they did dedicate the attack to ISIS).

Of course, that's a drop in the bucket when it comes to gun deaths in America. Look at the graph here.

It's easy to kill people - especially random people - when you're willing to die yourself. That's why terrorism is the preferred tool of the weak.

Removing the leadership of ISIS wouldn't make any difference to a San Bernardino attack - or not much, at least. But that's not to say that it's useless, either.

Leaders still lead. They plan and they inspire. If you remove their leaders, that will make it harder to plan and carry out huge, coordinated attacks - like the Paris attacks, for example, or 9/11 itself - and those attacks not only rack up the biggest body counts, but also get the most publicity (which is exactly what the terrorists want, of course).

Also, successful attacks are a recruiting tool. You've got Allah on your side, after all. Success is guaranteed, right?

Only,... if your leaders keep being killed, and your plots discovered, that's got to be harder to believe. Continual failure is harder to rationalize away when you have a god on your side, and it certainly doesn't help with recruiting idiots.

It's not hopeless. Terrorists are still human beings. It might be glorious to die for your god in a mass suicide attack. But it's less glorious when your whole organization is on the run and your leaders keep getting killed, one after another. In a situation like that, it's hard to keep the romance alive.

We've seen terrorism before. Look at Northern Ireland. Look at the Baader-Meinhof gang - the Red Army Faction - in Germany in the 1970s. Terrorism isn't new.

We know what has to be done. It just takes courage, and common sense, and decent people willing to stand together (rather than use terrorism for their own partisan political advantage).

We won't ever stop random individuals from killing people because of their beliefs. Look at the Planned Parenthood shooting in Colorado last November - domestic terrorism by a right-wing Christian.

But an organized group can do a lot more harm than disorganized individuals. And a group can inspire others, too. ISIS will be a footnote in history textbooks eventually. That won't end terrorism, of course, but you do what you can do.