Tuesday, March 29, 2016

The Lewandowski Issue or Fanatisism and Trump

This late in the campaign season, I usually am wrapping my head around the GOP nominee's positions and reconciling my posisitions vs the candidate's positions and trying to figure out what I can do to support my party's nominee.  

This is an unusual political season, but I think the most interesting part of this Presidential campaign cycle are the accusations of conspiracy.  We are not talking about the usual accusations of conspiracy: the vast right-wing conspiracy, or the left conspiring with the media to destroy everything Republican. This presidential election cycle, it's right on right conspiracy-or another words Republicans eating their young.

First we have the Trump and Meghan Kelly, then Trump calling out McCain (I really hate defending McCain), and Trump quoting verbatim  from the Code Pink playbook about President George W.  Bush during a GOP debate. Now we have the Michelle Fields and Corey Lewandowski situation.    

I'm not positive for what happened and Mr Lewandowski is innocent until proven guilty.   Yet Michelle Fields has bruises on her arm - apparently caused by Donald  Trumps's campaign manager.  First Lewandowski says It never happened, I don't know who you are and I never touched you.   Trump says "She made it up".  But now there's video. 

Maybe Michelle Fields bruises easy.   
Maybe it was a rushed event and it was an honest mistake by Lewandowski.  

It seems to me that when all this first came up that maybe a quick apology- "Hey, I'm sorry I grabbed your arm..." Probably could have resolved the issue.  

Instead we have several news cycles, with Trump saying "she made it up" followed by, pictures of the bruise followed by (eventually) a mug shot or footage of Lewandowski walking out of a Police station after turning himself in on the battery charges.  And we have the Trump campaign and many of his supporters now saying it's all a conspiracy to get Trump.  

Those making the accusations of conspiracy are bordering on fanatisism. 

If Trump thinks that this is not all going to resurface after the convention once we are into the General Election Campaign- he is a nut job. He is handing the DNC material for 30 second spots, again and again and again.  

The worst part of this entire situation, is this sparring is conservative on conservative.  This is more Republicans eating their young. Michelle fields is not a member of the "liberal press."She worked for Breitbart which is about an conservative as the press gets. 

Donald Trump says he wants the Republican nomination.  He continually viciously and unnecessarily attacks fellow conservatives. He's attacked John McCain (who I hate defending) on his Vietnam record. He attacked President George W. Bush in a primary debate with a tirade worthy of Code Pink. If I didn't know better, I would swear Donald Trump is running for the democratic nomination for president.  Perhaps he's spending his money to make sure Hillary WILL win the Presidency. 

Donald Trump says he wants the Republican nomination for president. He says he expects the support of the party for his run and expects to receive the parties nomination at the convention.  

Maybe it's time Mr. Trump stops the constant  attacking of the Republican Party if he expects to get Republican votes for the presidency. 

Otherwise he's just another RINO (a Republican in name only); and is far worse than the establishment he attacks on one hand and yet expects the support of on the other.


BREAKING- The Bizarre Hijacking of EgyptAir 181 (MS-181)

Hijacker now identified as Saif al-Din Mustafa  (not a professor of veterinary medicine?) and he is now asking for the release of all female prisoners in Egypt 

Original Post:
Something is very wrong about the hijacking of EgyptAir 181 (MS181).  It makes no sense.  A Veterinarian and Professor from Egypt (reportedly with dual Egyptian-American citizenship) is hijacking a plane to request asylum in Cyprus and get a letter to his ex-wife? Keeping four (or five) foreigners as  hostages but letting all other passengers go? Something is VERY odd about this story and it just does not add up... apparently  this all may be a guy who is hijacking a plane because he likes a girl.  If John Hinkley could shoot Ronald Reagan because he had a crush on Jodi Foster, hijacking a plane for "love" is possible. 

An EgyptAir A-320 aircraft (MS181) with about 81 (reports have also said 85)  passengers was hijacked this morning.  The flight was originally supposed to go from Alexandria to Cairo, Egypt.  The plane landed at Larnica, Cyprus.  

Supposedly the hijacker is wearing a "bomb belt/Suicide belt." 

Cyprus state radio is reporting that the hijacker has asked a letter he has written be carried/delivered to his ex-wife may live in Cyprus But, the original demand was to go to Istanbul so his ex-wife may live there- another very confusing part of this hijacking.

The crew of seven and supposedly four or five passengers are still onboard (at the time I am writing this).    

Why just keep four (or five) passengers an release the rest?  The passengers still onboard are being referred to a foreigners (presumably that would mean not Cypriot or Egyptian?). There were Americans onboard but it is not indicated what nationality the remaining hostages are.  

There has been no demand for money, just that this "letter" he wrote be delivered to his ex-wife who apparently lives on Cyprus. To my way of thinking, there are a huge number of ways to get a letter to ones ex that are more simple than hijacking an aircraft.  

The hijacker is identified as one "Doctor" Ibrahim Samaha and several news outlets and the President of Cyprus are at stressing this is "not terrorism"!  Well, what else do you call forcibly taking an aircraft and holding it and passengers with a "bomb belt"- it is at minimum "air piracy." There are also better ways to ask for asylum than threatening lives. 

It is being reportes that he originally wanted to go to Istanbul- but was told the plane did not have the fuel.  

There is also a question of how the hijacker managed to get a bomb belt onto a plane in Egypt.  After the terrorist attack taking down the aircraft at Sharm El-Sheikh this past winter, Egypt increased their security at airports - they rely on tourism. 

What we are left with is this "Doctor" (reportedly a Professor of Veterinary Medicine) hijacking an A-320.  The first hijacking in many years.  Taking the plane to Cyprus and demanding a letter be taken to his ex-wife.   

Why not just buy a ticket for a flight to Cyprus or Istanbul and ask for asylum on landing? Why wear a suicide belt? Why keep only four-five passengers and release the rest? Why become a hijacker at all? Most countries do not look favorably on Air Piracy under any circumstances  Does he really think he would get a "warm welcome" after putting lives at risk and basically "stealing" an A-320?

At this point a LOT of this story makes no sense at all.  

UPDATE AT 0927 ZULU (0228 MST)-  according to the Egyptian Aviation Authorities there are 4 crew and 3 "foreign" passengers being held by the hijacker.  

UPDATE AT 0955 ZULU (0255 MT)- 
According to a press conference with Egyptian Civil Aviation an "Air Marshal was on board? Why didn't he intervene? Isn't that what they are there for?

Also - Mrs brahim Samaha, the alleged ex-wife of the alleged hijackers says the guy on the picture is NOT her ex. She has no idea who the guy in the picture is- so the identity of the hijacker is unconfirmed.  

UPDATE AT 1011 ZULU (0311 MST) - Reportedly a statement from a senior official of EgyptAir - "This guy is not a terrorist - He's an idiot!"

UPDATE AT 1035 ZULU (0335 MST) - Hijacker now identified as Saif al-Din Mustafa and he is now asking for the release of all female prisoners in Egypt - not sure how real that demand is or if he is just making it up as he is going

H/T to @bodhibrian for the live update feed:


Sunday, March 27, 2016

Understanding ISIS - At Least A Little

In this post I will attempt to explain some of the things I have learned of late about ISIS - not that I understand all of ISIS or a majority of it. But what I have learned is so frightening, I must share what I know..  Understanding ISIS maybe one of the most important things Americans can do- for no other reason than to understand what must be done to defeat them and understand what Presidential candidates plan to do about ISIS and what will or will not work.  

President Obama's approach of ignoring ISIS as "just terrorists" or calling them weak or "the JV team" will do nothing to defeat them.  In fact it might serve only to encourage them to increase their actions- it is difficult to tell. 

ISIS is an Apocalyptic sect.   They believe it is their purpose to bring about the end of days. A good analogy would be ISIS is to Islam as David Koresh is to Christianity.

The  caliphate is based on the possession of territory. As long as they have territory they have legitimacy in their way of thinking.  They believe in the purest and most stringent Sharia.  Apostates are subject to two possible punishments. - Christians who do not submit are to be crucified.  All other apostates- including Christians (depending on interpretation) are to be beheaded (Crucifixion is still possible) .   They don't care about the President's words as they are convinced the Koran directs them to hold territory until the final battle against the armies of Rome (some interpret literally as the armies of the Pope others the armies of the "modern Rome" - meaning the US). The end will come with 5000 soldiers of Islam being left near Jerusalem and Jesus (yes Jesus - in Islam he is the 2nd highest prophet) coming from heaven to Jerusalem to lead the 5000 to a victorious battle - the battle of Dabiq in Syria.  

ISIS Territory
(From "What ISIS Really Wants" by Graeme Wood; The Atlantic)
Any group such as this with vast territory and weapons beyond just small arms  will not be conquered with words or even with air power.  To destroy ISIS they must be dislodged and stripped of their territory. Unfortunately that means boots on the ground.  Once they have lost their territory the caliphate no longer exists.  Until then the faithful of ISIS will attempt to move to Syria and Iraq. Until then ISIS faithful in foreign lands will "burn the crops and fields and not spare them."  ISIS will continue to take the women and children and subject them to slavery.   

ISIS believes to participate in politics or to vote in any election- even for another Muslim or Muslim candidate is Apostasy- as God is the "only" authority and to vote is to select a leader other than God.  And again Apostates must be beheaded.  Christian or Jewish apostates must be Crucified.  

They TRULY believe in 7th Century rules of warfare and TRULY desire a return to a 7th Century way of life - until they can reach that way of life, they will use modern communications.  

They do not believe in borders (God's Kingdom is the entire Earth) and they will not accept the UN as Hamas has- again this is accepting an "authority" other than God alone.   

Although they hold Bin Laden in high regard (referring to him as Sheik Bin Laden) they generally do not respect Al Qaeda- as it tended to function politically as does the Taliban.   This may be a difficult distinction for westerners to accept or understand - but to them it is huge.  

Additionally they WILL NOT accept President Obama- in fact they consider him to be an apostate- if for no other reason than he is the son of a Muslim who has rejected or does not publicly practice Islam.   

ISIS is also Sunni. They believe the Shi'ite have "altered" or "added" to Islam - which again is a sin in their way of belief.   This is perhaps the most unusual aspect of ISIS as they appear- at least in the press - as having the support of Tehran - which is Shi'ite - apparently they disagree with Tehran.  

Perhaps the most interesting thing is they will allow Jews and Christians to live in their territory as long as they submit to the authorities of ISIS and pay a tax.  They do not, in particular, hate the US over the establishment of Israel- unlike Hamas, Islamic Jihad etc.  Although "the Levant" is an old name for the lands of Syria, Lebanon and Israel - so every time Obama refers to ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) as ISIL (Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant) he is including Israel in their claimed territory- which is a backhanded insult to the Israelis

Because ISIS wants to bring about the Apocalypse- it is important to realize that actions such as "searching of Mosques" would be considered a sign of the coming of the end of the world - with the forces of "Rome" persecuting Muslims. Water-boarding etc is also not necessarily an effective tactic as they believe in a return to 7th Century warfare and rules of engagement. 

It is also important to realize that ISIS will NOT observe the Geneva Conventions.  The return to 7th Century rules of engagement for them will mean the torture and death of any person captured in the field.  US or NATO forces captured by ISIS should not expect to be treated respectfully.  Women captured should expect to be raped and sold into slavery.  Men should expect to be beheaded.   Christian troops captured should expect crucifixion.  Torture for the sake of torture (as opposed to torture for information) should also be expected.  

Should ISIS obtain access to chemical, biological or nuclear weapons it should be expected that they WILL be used- as this would expedite the apocalypse   

As ISIS will only accept the authority of God, negotiations or treaties will not be accepted or recognized.  

The only way to discredit and destroy the Islamic State - is to destroy the "state" and take all territory under their control.  Only then will the purpose of ISIS be stopped, recruitment end and attacks cease.  

Unfortunately the only way this will be accomplished will be by boots on the ground.  At this point perhaps the best option would be for Belgium or France to request action under Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty, which has only happened once- after September 11, 2001.  A massive, rapid and sudden invasion of hundreds of thousands of NATO troops engaging in unrestricted air and ground war  - so there is no chance for the Islamic State to regroup and reorganize- with nothing but complete and unconditional surrender without a single square inch of territory remaining in their control.  Short of this ISIS will continue- until the apocalypse- which they may end up bringing about unless we stop them.