We just killed more Syrians than killed in Nice, hate Aladdin & love war.

“By definition if you shoot people who pose no threat to you, strangers, you have a troubled mind.”  – President Obama in response to the Dallas police shooting

Either I’m crazy or Americans should not be surprised when we kill each other. Nothing about quick-to-shoot police officers or the murders of police in Dallas or Baton Rouge is shocking.  We are, after all, a nation that is obsessed with waging war. We love war.  We are always at war and war is an integral part of our culture. As long as this culture persists, Americans should stop acting naive and surprised when Americans resort to violence. Violence is what we do. Heck, violence is what we do on a global scale.

We Just Killed More Than Were Killed in Nice:     The terror attack in Nice recently killed 84 people.  The world was shocked. A few days later, US airstrikes killed 85 civilians in Syria. In contrast to the media coverage of Nice, this story went largely unnoticed. Why?  Yes it is embarrassing and damaging but also because let’s be honest, the US killing of civilians, especially civilians in the Middle East, either intentionally or accidentally, is hardly new.  Killing 85 innocent people has become routine to our news cycle.

And if the US does not directly do the killing, we feel free to use tax money to hire rebels / terrorist who do things such as behead children. On video. And cheer while doing it.

We Are Always At War    The United States has existed since 1776. Of these 240 years, we have been involved in war for 223 years. This great article itemizes each of these years: America Has Been At War 93% of the Time.  In case you think to yourself “But some of those are just Indian Wars” I took the liberty of providing this first person account from the Sandy Creek Massacre.  It was like the Sandy Hook shooting but unfortunately actually worse.

I tell you Ned it was hard to see little children on their knees have their brains beat out by men professing to be civilized. One squaw was wounded and a fellow took a hatchet to finish her, and he cut one arm off, and held the other with one hand and dashed the hatchet through her brain. One squaw with her two children, were on their knees, begging for their lives…They were all scalped, and as high as half a dozen taken from one head. They were all horribly mutilated. You would think it impossible for white men to butcher and mutilate human beings as they did.

The full account of the massacre can be found here.  Can a country that is always at war, especially wars of choice, even pretend that is does not love war?

We Want to Bomb Agrabah:    A survey asked Americans the simple question of if should the US bomb Agrabah.  And if your Disney is a bit rusty, Agrabah is the city from Aladdin. And if you’re really out of it, Aladdin is a cartoon. Not surprisingly, 25% of respondents said yes, we should  bomb Agrabah.  Did they mean to suggest we should literally bomb a cartoon?  No. But Agrabah does sound Muslim-ish. So sure. What the hell. Why not?  We are already bombing 6 countries (can you name them? I listed them at the bottom) so why not just add 1 more. And this is my point.  We are so obsessed with war, so in love with war, so accustomed to war that the thought of spending billions to kill other people for no apparent reason (obviously given it doesn’t even exist) makes sense to us.

War is Part of our Culture:    I believe there may be 2 competing flashlight commercials on TV right now.  They both claim to be “tactical” and “military grade.”  Similarly, truck commercials brag about their military grade aluminum, and Boeing commercials featuring bombers often being aired. War is such a part of who we are that we use it to sell products.  War is good. Product is good.

We frame everything we do in terms of war.  War on Crime.  War on Drugs. War on AIDS. War on Cancer. War on Poverty. Kids with no food…and we come up with war.  As an aside, if we funded some of the above ‘wars’ the same way we fund actual wars, poverty would cease to exist.

Stopped Being Surprised:     Why are Americans surprised that police shoot people?  Why are people surprised that people shoot back as means of revenge? We have been engaged in largely wars of choice, and preemptive wars, for over a decade. Police think a person may have a gun, sure, shoot them.  The country went to war just in case Saddam had scary weapons after all. Preemptive shoot first and ask questions later is our foreign policy. Of course it will be part of our domestic policy. 

President Obama said that if you kill strangers who pose no threat to you that you have a troubled mind.  Mmm. Did Obama know everyone before he decided to bomb Libya? What was the threat? Did Obama know everybody when he decided to bomb Syria? What was the threat that led the US to foment and stage a fake civil war in order to remove Assad?

Look America.  The shootings of people by police officers and the shooting of police officers are horrific and tragic. But until our elected leaders (hell, Obama has a Noble Peace Prize) stop waging war around the world for dubious reasons, don’t expect Americans to not resort to violence.  It is just what we are used to.

These are the 6 countries we are currently spending billions to bomb: Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, Libya.

Trumpocalyspe: Liberals Will Be Pro-Gun.

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City 1
Peering around your blinds you watch as the mud encrusted pickup truck with the 18″ suspension lift and 40″ tires is doing celebratory donuts in your development’s cul-de-sac, dual Confederate flags flapping in the wind. Despite the intentionally loud exhaust you hear the empty cans of Bud Light hitting the ground as they are thrown from the windows, truck speeding off into the distance, occupants giving a 2016 version of the Rebel Yell.

You hope they don’t notice the Hillary: Maintain the Status Quo bumper sticker on your Volvo.  You’re not thrilled these people are in your neighborhood but you know what they are celebrating. Moments ago you turned off MSNBC as they called the presidential election for Donald Trump. Maddow was in tears.

This cannot be happening. You picture yourself on NPR’s The Moth regaling the audience with the story of the time you had a fashionable bout of temporary insanity and thought Trump won the election. The laughter, coaxed out by your wit and pinot grigio would be so frequent that attendees will need to remove their eye glasses in order to wipe their tears. The frames of said glasses are thick enough to demonstrate the owners are hip but not too thick to be considered a hipster.

You know you won’t be able to sleep. It’s not the $27 frappuccinomaccograndelatte keeping you up; its soy is grown on land that was for formerly rainforest and you find it soothing. No, it’s the horror of a, you can hardly think it, a Pres… President… President Trump. You’ll be up all night wondering what the hell went wrong although you agree that making Oprah his VP was a shrewd move.

Hillary was up by 15 points in every poll. Every poll. She had endorsements from both sides of the aisle. Even Dick Cheney endorsed her, stating “You won’t find one foreign policy decision that we disagree on.  And she was right, Iraq was a great business opportunity.”

It wasn’t Bill Clinton’s sorority house incident. Lena Dunham rushed to his defense explaining that when Hillary said to reach out to college students Bill innocently thought she meant literally.

It wasn’t that Hillary still refused to release her transcripts. Trump ‘released’ his but voters knew it was hardly fair. There were no speech transcripts for Trump.  Apparently nobody previously thought anything he had said was worth recording.

The terrorist attack last month. That must be it. The worst October Surprise in political history. It didn’t help that it was committed by a recently arrived Libyan refugee via a grant from the Clinton Foundation. Or that the terrorist obtained a gun from an illegal Mexican immigrant who in turn obtained the gun from President Obama’s Operation Fast and Furious scheme. And it definitely didn’t help that the terrorist’s name was Osama bin Saddam Ghadaffi Ibrahim Salam Inshallah Salifist. Or as Trump calls him, “Osama ISIS.”

“Are you kidding me? We let in someone named Osama ISIS? Folks, I told you so. Bigly.” #OsamaISIS was the top trending Twitter tag.

And to make it more politically damaging, the attack occurred at an animal shelter and killed four puppies. Osama ISIS only targeted animals which helped him command news coverage for the weeks preceding the election. America is used to people being killed by guns. America is even used to White people being killed. But puppies? Not since Cecil the Lion was killed has a gun death invoked such outcry. CNN covered it nonstop:

Andersen Cooper: You’re a Hillary supporter. Does this attack matter? Will it impact the election?
Pundit: No.

Andersen Cooper: You’re a Trump supporter. Does this attack matter? Will it impact the election?
Pundit: Yes

You feel like Marty McFly in Back to the Future 2. Or 3. You’re not sure which one. But whatever movie had Biff in charge running everything. You can’t believe your country did this to you. Should you move? To where? Canada is out of the question. If you wanted to live in damn socialist country you would have voted for Bernie.  Maybe Mexico. You don’t know any Hispanic people but you vacation yearly at Cabo San Lucas and find it pleasant. However, that option may be out. Mexican President Enrigue Nieto was quoted as saying they will build a wall to keep out insane Americans.

Dammit. You do at least take assurance that in your bedroom you have your newly purchased assault rifle. You have always been anti-gun. Strongly so. You were even anti-hunting and vegan for a couple of weeks in your life. Heck, in your 4th vacation home you altered the plans and only did the downstairs in bamboo flooring because you were worried about panda habitat.

You didn’t buy the gun because you thought Trump would be president. You thought there was no chance. No, you purchased it when you realized that somewhere between 30-45% of the country actually liked him. And yes there are the local police. And yes you have ADT Home Security. But still, you take comfort in the fact that if you are going to have to live under a President Trump, and going to have to live in a country that actually voted for him, that you at least have a gun.  Who knows what these people will try to do next.

In your mind this is the Apocalypse. The unfathomable Trumpocalypse. Although you have never actually seen an episode, you now view the country as a large-scale zombie scene from the Walking Dead. A bunch of climate change denying racist anti-gay right-wing nut-job zombies.

Don’t they realize that the poorest counties and states in the US are all Republican? Have they forgotten how horrible the country was under Bush and how President Obama saved us? Why do they keep voting Republican? Why do they…..It’s hopeless. You can’t even get animated with your usual retorts. You are too shocked to even be angry anymore. You are going to read your rifle’s owner’s manual.

Damn Republicans. You hate them.  If they were just not so ignorant the country would be better off.

City 2
You leave the medical center furious. You can’t wait for President Trump to be sworn in and repeal this damn Obamacare. The receptionist told you that you have not yet met your family’s $7,000 deductible. It’s November and it will again reset in January. Deductible? What the hell does that mean? You’ve been deducting $650 from your income every month to pay for the damn insurance to begin with.  Jesus Christ. What the hell is the point of insurance if it is too expensive to use?

You used to have insurance through the plant but you were laid off when it moved to Mexico. Damn NAFTA. Thanks a lot Democrats.

You don’t get why if all the American jobs are going to Mexico all the Mexicans are coming here. You can’t wait for President Trump’s wall to be built. The damn liberal media mocked the wall idea. But hell, the damn Democrats voted to build a wall too but only made it 700 miles. The border is 2,000 miles. Only a Washington politician would build a 700 mile wall for a 2,000 long border.

And to top it off, the damn Lefties keep calling you racist.  Damn liberal media.  Hell, you heard that only White people are allowed to live in communist Vermont.  And nobody talks about Obama’s White House fence. The White House is actually raising the height of its fence. If fences don’t work, why is Obummer making his bigger?

The White House has a fence and armed guards. What those damn Liberals don’t understand is that your house is more important to you than the White House. You’ll protect it anyway you damn please.

You do at least take assurance that in your bedroom you have your newly purchased assault rifle. It has joined your collection. You bought it just in case Billary won and tried to get rid of the 2nd Amendment. You’d probably have more guns if the damn big government Democrats didn’t keep taxing every cent you make.

You’re not even sure of why you have to keep paying Social Security taxes. Nobody in your family has ever lived past the age of 62.  Those damn big government anti-gun high tax left-wing nut-jobs.

Too bad the animal shelter didn’t have any assault rifles. Stupid liberals.  Damn Osama ISIS wouldn’t have had a chance and those puppies would still be alive.

You are glad Trump won. You barely even like the establishment Republicans.  Obama obviously created ISIS and has destroyed the country, but you still remember that Bush got us in Iraq to begin with.

Damn Democrats. You hate them.  If they were just not so ignorant the country would be better off.

*****

And there you have it. A sardonic tale of two cities. The polarization of our political system. The polarization of our country. Either way you slice it, roughly half the country at any point thinks the country is being run by a fascist.  The same fears that Trump gives the Left are the same fears that Clinton / Obama give, and have been giving, the Right. One man’s fascist is another man’s president.

Maybe it means we need more political parties.  Republicans and Democrats in the center with the Tea Party and Progressives on the wings. Of course, each party would still feel they should be in that figurative center.  Or, maybe the Libertarians had it right all along; keep the federal government small. Keep everything within the original scope of the Constitution, lessening the importance of a president. Governors, state legislatures and members of Congress would be more important than the president.

Trump vs. Clinton.  Does it matter who wins?  Either I’m crazy or either way, half the country will feel it loses. Either way, it will always be the best of times for half the country and the worst of times for the other.

Thank you for reading.  Consider sharing – Chris Childers

Kasich Will be the Next President

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In defense of the title, I acknowledge I’m likely an idiot later in the post

Either I’m crazy or John Kasich will be the next President of the United States. This is crazy because it not only assumes Kasich will get the Republican nomination, but that he will then beat Hillary Clinton. However, each of these will likely happen.

How Kasich Becomes Nominee
Kasich will get the nomination at a contested convention. All he needs is for Donald Trump to be 1 pledged delegate shy of the 1,237 needed to become the nominee on the first ballot. Even if Trump has 1,237 delegates via primaries, they do not all have to vote for him. Some are unpledged. This is the rigged system Trump complains about. And he’s right. It is rigged. But it is rigged for just this scenario; to prevent a candidate the establishment / party leaders do not endorse from becoming the party’s nominee. Democracy is a cute theory but politicians, both Republican and Democratic, despise it.

Assuming Trump is 1 vote shy – then what? Trump convinces other delegates to vote for him? Unlikely. And after each round of voting more and more pledged delegates become unpledged and can vote for anybody they’d like. Trump will only lose delegates after each successive ballot.

Will they then vote for Senator Ted Cruz? Ha. No chance. His policies are much more insane than Trump’s. But more importantly, he is loathed by the GOP establishment and given cute nicknames such as Lucifer in the Flesh.

That leaves John Kasich, the Governor of Ohio to win to the nomination at the convention in, well, Ohio. He will remind the establishment that if not for him, Trump would have won Ohio in the primary and already be the nominee.

What will the GOP say to Trump voters? First, I don’t think the party that denies climate change and evolution is exactly concerned about public opinion. But nonetheless, the GOP will need some Trump voters to still vote in November. Kasich will have to promise to build a wall. But besides that it is not a large concern. Hillary Clinton is the one candidate who can unite a fractured Republican party (Hillary Clinton as the Great Uniter—of Republicans). She riles up GOP voters in much the same way Trump riles up Democratic voters. Convention delegates will not be overly concerned about scorned Trump voters.

The message to these disillusioned and angry voters, the vast majority who voted for Trump or Cruz is simple: we want to win the White House. We want to pick not only the next, but likely next 2 Supreme Court justices. And poll after poll indicates Kasich is the only Republican who has a chance of beating Clinton.

How Kasich Beats Hillary
Ohio. Ohio and Ohio. Given the electoral map any GOP candidate essentially needs a miracle to become president. Part of any miracle of course includes winning Ohio. Governor Kasich is 14 out of 14 in Ohio elections. Although a VP pick of Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown by Clinton may help slightly, Kasich still wins. As an aside, given that Trump has essentially guaranteed the Hispanic vote for Clinton, my earlier guess of Julian Castro for VP may be politically unnecessary by Clinton. As an aside aside, I think Trump picks the Governor of New Mexico, Susana Martinez, as VP. He has a little work to do with Hispanics and females so he might as well double up.

Pennsylvania. Guns and Pennsylvania.
Kasich will also win Pennsylvania. You don’t need to be Karl Rove to make a commercial that simply cycles Hillary, from the March townhall saying “We are going to put a lot of coal miners and coal companies out of business…

Also, in an effort to get to the left of Senator Bernie Sanders on any issue, Hillary chose the slight daylight that Bernie provided via guns and decided to capitalize on the Sandy Hook tragedy. This is of course pure political theatre. She favors using weapons in Iraq, Yemen, Syria, Libya and had awarded the same Remington company she thinks is liable for Sandy Hook millions in contracts to send guns to the Middle East.

This gun charade from a person surrounded 24/7 by armed Secret Service does not play well with many independent voters. Especially in parts of Pennsylvania. Besides getting the aforementioned Trump voters motivated, her gun ploy will cost her votes in Pennsylvania and the state.

Marco. Florida and Marco.
Rubio will be Kasich’s VP. This is of course in return for Marco releasing his pledged delegates to vote for Kasich at the convention. Rubio should do nothing but stay in Florida. He should also only speak Spanish. If he does this it is possible that Kasich also gets the state.

Out of Sight out of Negative Advertising
A common sentiment after the polls show Kasich beating Hillary is that this is only because there has not been negative ads against him yet. His major scandals so far have been eating pizza with a fork, which for memory challenged ‘journalists’ is also how current New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio eats pizza. His other scandal was suggesting students should prevent rape in part by avoiding parties at college that have lots of alcohol. That’s good advice given that 72% of rapes involve alcohol. He should have said if you want to avoid being raped avoid Bill Clinton. That probably would have given him some needed GOP votes.

Kasich has not been attacked – true. Heck, 1 in 6 GOP voters have not heard about him. However, I also think the negative advertising has not begun against Hillary. Bernie is a debate cupcake much to the exasperation of his suporters. She has never run against a Republican before. And if you think she has, I challenge you to name her previous Senate opponents.

Kasich will benefit by being under the radar until after the convention while also benefiting from months of Trump calling Clinton corrupt. If Kasich is really lucky, Trump will air his commercial featuring some of the dozens of women that have accused Bill Clinton of rape or assault. And yes, Bill is not running. But Hillary has stated she would give him a formal role in her administration. But my point is that while most Democrats only equate Monica Lewinsky to Bill’s past, the list is much more extensive and worse than adultery. When it is time to get ugly and the attacks begin, Hillary et. al. has more liabilities than Kasich.

Bernie won’t mention the Clinton Foundation’s pay-to-play involvement with its donors and State Department favors.  Or the numerous scandals and questionable stock dealings going back to the 90’s. And if you think these are old news, a dead horse and boring conspiracies, keep in mind they will be new stories to Millennials who will already be upset regarding the demise of Bernie Sanders at the hands of Hillary and the DNC. They may just not vote.

So, there you have it. My crazy idea of how Kasich wins. Of course, this is crazy mainly because it is predicated on the premise that Republicans actually care enough to do it.

I’m Not Only Crazy But Also an Idiot
California
Trump is about to dominate in Indiana (Kasich, ironically, should have suspended his campaign to help Cruz win to ensure an open convention). In order for Kasich to become president, I’m assuming that California will not decidedly vote for Trump and give him the nomination. I’m probably an idiot because after all, this is the state that elected Arnold Schwarzenegger governor.

Not Worth It
As I previously mentioned, any Republican, due to demographics, the electoral map, and common sense has a slim chance at becoming president (Republicans Have An Electoral Map Problem). Many Republicans would rather lose and be able to blame it all on Trump rather than deny him the nomination, lose anyway regardless of the nominee, and hear Trump claim forever that he would have won.

Also, being the party of ‘no’, or at least the party of ‘don’t blame me’, is much easier than being in charge.  It is easy to say repeal Obamacare but not give a good alternative yet alone address the 30 million Americans without health insurance. The debt will continue to explode and it will be great to blame it on Democrats rather than a GOP president.

Eh. Clinton is Republican enough.
A contested convention is a hassle. Why bother. Hillary will be good for the status quo. She is the epitome of big money in politics. The epitome of lobbyist influence. The epitome of enormous defense spending. These are things Congress loves and helps most of them become millionaires during their time in office. Wall Street likes her (Wall Street is Not Afraid of Hillary). The Koch brothers like her. She’ll expand fracking and oil drilling at least as fast as President Obama has.

Bill Clinton has spent a lifetime not only making his wife’s political career, but also moving the Democratic Party towards the Republican Party (Clintonaism Screwed the Democrats). It’s time to cash that in. Establishment Republicans will be perfectly content with Hillary. Sure, the GOP may lose the Senate, but they’ll still have a majority in the House. And that’s good enough.

Kasich. Trump. Hillary. The Sophie’s Choice of 2016 (Millennials, you should Google that reference). Trump won’t win in the general election so either way, the GOP and Democratic establishments that have racked up $19 trillion in debt, waged war across the Middle East for decades, rejected true climate change action and long ago sold-out citizens to the donor class will be the true winner.

Status Quo. The next President of the United States.

Thank you for reading and please consider sharing. Be sure to click the hyperlinks ~ Chris Childers

Stop Being Pretentious America, Trump is not Extreme

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Either I’m crazy or Trump is not extreme. Far from it. Despite the fact he is constantly compared to Adolf Hitler his platform should be somewhat familiar to Americans. Trump’s actual policies are bipartisan, supported by the majority of US states and are largely currently in place.  From immigration to mosque surveillance to torture, Donald Trump is actually mainstream.

By most political measures I am a liberal. A drugs-should-be-legal-focus-on-rehab-not-prison type of liberal. A Bernie liberal. A liberal who can’t understand trillions for war but not for health care or education. I am obligated to defend Donald Trump, not to support him, but to rather highlight the uncomfortable truth about how Trump-esque America really is. Or conversely, to show how non-liberal America is.

Many of his criticized polices revolve around immigration: building a wall across the border with Mexico, deporting illegal immigrants and a temporary ban on Muslims from entering the US, including refugees.  However, none of these policies should shock America’s moral conscious.

Building a wall across the border is hardly extreme simply because the US government already does this. A few people named Senator Barack Obama, Senator Hillary Clinton and Senator Bernie Sanders voted to help pass the Secure Fence Act of 2006. It calls for 700 miles of double layered fencing across the border. Pictures of it are here: The Great Wall of America.

The current construction is shoddy, overpriced and not effective; smugglers routinely use hydraulic lifts to raise their cars over the barrier.  If it is not extreme for Hillary Clinton, likely the next US president to boast “I voted numerous times when I was a senator to spend money to build a barrier to try to prevent illegal immigrants from coming in” it cannot be considered extreme that Trump wants to extend and improve an already bipartisan agreed to concept that for the meantime has just wasted billions in tax money.

Sorry America. Building a border wall is what we do.

Trump has also called for the deportation of all illegal immigrants. However, this is not extreme because actual US policy and practice is obviously to deport all illegal immigrants.  Don’t forget, one of President Obama’s nicknames from the Hispanic community is Deporter in Chief due to him deporting more illegal immigrants and at a faster rate than any other president. More federal money goes towards deportation than any other law enforcement program. President Obama has deported millions of illegal immigrants and to borrow a phrase from this campaign season, Trump cannot be extreme for simply wanting to ‘build upon Obama’s legacy.’

Either I’m crazy or part of President Obama’s deportation legacy is that his Department of Homeland Security announced this past Christmas that they have begun a mass deportation of women and children who fled violence in Central America. These ‘tired, poor, huddled masses yearning to’ not die came to America seeking asylum. It is the US equivalent of the European refugee crisis and our response has been a pathetic attempt at immigration court that ultimately, and predictably, results in these mass deportations.

Hillary Clinton, who Americans will likely elect as their next president, has agreed with these deportations and has advocated for deporting these children, even when pressed about their safety. For a related and fun time, I recommend you play Who Said It: Hillary or Trump.

Sorry America. Deporting people is what we do.

Donald Trump could advocate to change US policy to stop some deportations. Or advocate for policies such as the Dream Act or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.  However, the executive actions taken by President Obama to allow certain groups to remain in America were blocked and rejected by the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals after a majority of US states sued the federal government. Mr. Obama acted after Congress failed to pass the Gang of Eight Immigration Bill. While hailed as immigration reform, the path to citizen it outlines takes 19 years. Regardless, the bill still did not pass Congress, which Americans support by rewarding its members with a 96% re-election rate.

Trump has also been criticized for stating he would ban Syrian refugees from coming to the United States. Again, it can’t be considered extreme since the majority of US governors also support this position.  In all actuality, so does President Obama.  To date, the US has taken in a paltry 1,500 Syrian refugees. The US has also promised to only take in 10,000 by September 2016. To put this into perspective, Canada, roughly 1/10 the size of the US, has taken in 25,000.  Germany has helped over 1 million.  Sweden, with a population under 10 million has taken in over 100,000.  The difference between Donald Trump and President Obama is only 1,500 people.  This is hardly extreme. Either I’m crazy but I doubt that Americans have been calling their elected officials to increase the number of refugees allowed in.

Sorry America.  Not allowing refugees from the Middle East into the US is what we do.

Trump has also called for a temporary ban on all Muslims to the US.  This is not completely unheard of. President Carter banned Iranians from entering the US, and deported Iranians, in response to the US Embassy Hostage Crisis. Additionally, the US has recently enacted the Visa Waiver Program Improvement and Terrorist Travel Prevention Act of 2015. If the name was not clear enough, the law’s premise is that anyone who is a citizen of, or who has traveled to, Iran, Iraq, Sudan, or Syria could be a terrorist.  And by leaving out countries such as Saudi Arabia or Belgium (places where terrorists actually came from) the US is currently restricting Muslim travel purely for political purposes.

And of course America already illegally spies on the mosques of Muslims who are already in America. Heck, a simple reading of the PATRIOT Act makes it pretty clear the American government does not have qualms about spying on anybody.

Donald Trump can hardly be considered extreme in regards to immigration / refugees for advocating current US law and the policies that are supported by the majority of Congress, federal courts, and the majority of US states. In addition, these are also policies that the Democratic Party endorses given their support of Hillary Clinton over Bernie Sanders, the latter who has consistently advocated for more compassionate and liberal immigration policies.

Some of Donald’s Trump recent controversies revolve around torture and targeting the families of terrorists.  But once again, none of this should appear extreme to Americans.

Am I crazy or have we forgotten Abu Grahib already? And if you play that off as just service members acting improper, am I crazy or did the majority of Americans vote for George W. Bush in 2004, after it was well known that the US engaged in torture? Am I crazy or did the US Department of Justice approve torture measures that were clearly against international law?  Am I crazy or does Hillary Clinton, the person most Americans will vote for as the next president, support the use of torture in certain instances? America, Trump cannot be extreme for wanting to bring back policies, that by the most optimistic scenario, potentially ended just over 1 year ago (Does America Still Torture?).  And Trump cannot be considered extreme for advocating for torture when 58% of Americans believe that torture can be justified.

Sorry America, torture is what we do.

Trump’s stance that the US should target the families of terrorists is the reason I have a scene from the Godfather at the top of this post. To remind you:

Michael: My father is no different than any powerful man, any man with power, like a president or senator.
Kay Adams: Do you know how naive you sound, Michael? Presidents and senators don’t have men killed.
Michael: Oh. Who’s being naive, Kay?

Do Americans think the United States does not kill innocent people? Really? In the days prior to Trump’s statement, leaked documents show that 90% of people killed by US drone strikes were not the intended target. And of course we specifically target the families of terrorists, even when they are Americans. Am I crazy or did this article appear in the New York Times: The Drone Strike that Killed My Grandson? To refresh your memory, the US killed a 16-year-old American and the only reason it has given is that he had a “irresponsible father.”

Of course the United States kills and targets innocent people.  If former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright thinks that women who do not vote for Hillary will go to Hell, I wonder where she thinks she will end up, given her view that the sanctions against Iraq that killed 500,000 Iraqi children “was worth it.” You can watch the video of her comments here.

Has Donald Trump proposed anything more extreme than killing half a million children? Has Donald Trump said anything more callous than killing half a million children was worth it?

Of course the US kills innocent people. Every president for the last 25 years has bombed Iraq using munitions that contain radioactive depleted uranium. The birth defects, premature births and cancer caused by these weapons is more extreme than anything Trump has proposed.

Sorry America. We kill innocent people all the time. And the examples I just gave only involve 1 country, yet alone the over 3 dozen countries in the last 50 years that the US has killed people in. I could unfortunately, and to my point, diverge greatly on just how many innocent people the US kills. Instead, I’ll refer you to read Robert Kennedy Jr.’s article titled Why the Arabs Don’t Want us in Syria.

I’m still not sure what Trump  has said in regards to foreign policy that seems crazy. Surely it was not this quote: “Obviously, the war in Iraq was a big, fat mistake. George Bush made a mistake. We can make mistakes. But that one was a beauty. We should have never been in Iraq. We have destabilized the Middle East.” You can quibble if he was against the war before the invasion or in late 2003. Either way, he recognized it was a mistake about 1 decade before Hillary Clinton.

Having a presidential candidate argue for a less interventionist foreign policy should hardly be considered extreme. Especially compared to Hillary Clinton’s record as a war hawk.  Heck, has Trump said anything crazier than Hillary Clinton’s support of Henry Kissinger?

As long as everyone is lessening the true evil of the Holocaust by comparing Trump to Hitler, I’ll give my own hyperbolic slant on the current situation: Americans who cannot name the 7 countries we currently bomb are no different than the Germans living next to Auschwitz who claim they knew nothing.

Is Trump crude? Yes. Is he vulgar? Yes. Remember, after Muammar Gaddafi was sodomized and killed by US backed fighters Trump said, “We came. We saw. He died” and laughed about it? Oh, I’m sorry, Hillary Clinton said that. Or how about the time that Trump said foreign policy should simply be “don’t do stupid shit” and that our NATO allies are “free riders” and are to blame for failed state of Libya? Or when Trump said “If they bring a knife to the fight, we bring a gun, because from what I understand, folks in Philly like a good brawl.”

Sorry again, those last ones were from President Obama.

Look. I get it.  He talks odd. He is not a great orator. He says things that people hyperventilate about. He is not a refined politician by any means.  He makes the mistake of giving actual answers and many of them sound horrible.  But relative to actually US government practice, the only thing extreme about Donald Trump is that he is the most successful candidate in modern politics not to take campaign contributions. And maybe this is what is causing the establishments their true anxiety.

Build a wall? We already are. Deport illegal immigrants? We already are. Spy on mosques? We already are. Torture? We have, reserve the right to and the majority of Americans want to. Kill innocent people? By the millions. Ban Syrian refugees? We’ve taken in only 1,500 and helped cause the wars that destroyed their country let alone the entire Middle East.

Donald Trump has been called an immigrant bashing carnival barker, a fascist, a racist, Hitler, a bloviating ignoramus among other terms. He has been widely pilloried by the media. Call him what you’d like. But don’t forget, Trump is not extreme. Trump represents America. America represents Trump. The policies he proposes are largely in place, not far from actual practice, and are supported by the majority of states. Don’t be fooled because he says them out loud.

Who is naive now?

Thank you for reading and sharing.  Be sure to click the hyperlinks – Chris Childers

Bill Clinton is the Greatest Musician of All-Time

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Either I’m crazy or Bill Clinton is the greatest musician of all-time. And it’s not even close. While some musicians hope to win awards, Bill’s musical talents led to 2 and likely 3, Clinton family presidencies.

Bill Clinton’s 67-second performance on the Arsenio Hall Show in 1992 was powerful enough to earn him and his wife a faithful poltical following within the African American community, a key voting constituency, especially on the eve of the South Carolina primary.

Bill must be the greatest musician of all-time. It is the only logical reason for this adulation.  Simply put, there is nothing within his political record to garner African American suppport. Quite the opposite – in many ways Bill Clinton was our last Jim Crow president. His policies (adamantly endorsed by Hillary) decidedly and intentionally harmed African American communities. The 1994 Crime bill, mass incarceration, welfare reform and free trade policies exponentially and negatively impacted African Americans. All of this is much better pointed out by this must read:
Why Hillary Clinton Doesn’t Deserve the Black Vote
.

But that 67 seconds of music was powerful stuff. Hypnotic almost.  It is as if Bill Clinton is the pied piper of black people; he played some music and then led African Americans off a figurative cliff.

And if you don’t think so, I challenge you to name a recent president whose policies were singularly more destructive to the African American community.

I don’t understand how on one hand African Americans deride, and rightly so, the higher levels of incarceration, unemployment, poverty, and lower levels of college graduation African Americans face yet overwhelming support, in Bill and Hillary, the people who helped put them there.

Oh well. Greatest musician ever.  Must have been one hell of a catchy tune.

Thank you for reading and sharing. Be sure to click the hyperlink. ~ Chris Childers

Bernie’s 8.5 Hour Wall Street Speech Should Be in the News

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Either I’m crazy or Bernie Sanders’ 8.5 hour Wall Street speech should be in the news, not Hillary Clinton’s speeches.  I am disappointed that there has been more coverage of the speeches that Hillary Clinton gave to various Wall Street corporations than to the 8.5 hour filibuster that Bernie Sanders gave against them.

While Hillary will not release the transcripts of her speeches, Bernie has published his. Literally. The book is called The Speech. A Historic Filibuster on Corporate Greed and the Decline of Our Middle Class.  It is a beautiful read. A powerful read. And a must read for this election cycle.

The filibuster occurred in 2010 when Bernie Sanders spoke on the Senate floor against the extension of the Bush-era tax cuts that were skewered towards the wealthy and diverted money from Social Security.

In addition to these vote specifics items Sanders expanded his speech to include income inequality, Wall Street bonuses, the Wall Street bailout, CEO compensation, estate taxes, NAFTA and free trade deals, rising college tuition rates, student loan debt, those without health care, those with health care but expensive out-of-pocket costs, prescription drug costs, Social Security, Medicaid, Medicare, global warming, childhood poverty, incarceration rates, the plight of immigrants, inadequate education funding, lack of veteran care funding, the Iraq War and concern for our national debt.

And of course, weaved throughout the speech, the intense and negative impact and effect of lobbyists and the donor class on our democracy.

In many ways, it was an 8.5 hour stump speech.

And that is my point. Instead of focusing on what Clinton may have said, we should instead focus on what Bernie did say. And does say. And has been saying consistently over decades. It would provide more insight into his true convictions than the current debate system or news coverage. The latter has become so defunct that networks now hire super pac directors to give commentary.

The contrasts between the published book of Sanders and secret transcripts of Clinton perfectly epitomizes the stark differences between the two candidates. Bernie is open, Hillary is secretive. Bernie is genuine, Hillary is scripted. Bernie is consistent in his overall message, Hillary has no overall message of her own. Bernie is dedicated to his causes, Clinton will change position on any cause. Or, even worse, Hillary is simply what I pointed out in previous post titled Democrats Love George W. Bush:

While Hillary touts herself as a Progressive Democrat, her record, at best, makes her a Retroactive Democrat. Her initial positions are that of George W. Bush. She supported his main legacy positions. Her tendencies are Republican. When she answers the phone at 3 a.m., she will answer it as a Republican.

Bernie Sanders’ speech is genuine. I challenge anyone to read even part of it and doubt his veracity. The same cannot be said for Mrs. Clinton after an objective view of her record and her continuous changing of positions based upon political expediency. The most recent is regarding her view that asylum seekers from Central America should be deported to “send a message.”

Bernie Sanders’ speech should be regarded as one of the great speeches in American history. It is highly motivating. However, as I see the Democratic Party establishment line up against Senator Sanders, the speech comes across as poignant. It is disheartening to see something as passionate as Sanders’ beliefs be dismissed by, as he rightly called it, “the largest political machine” in the country.

Case in point is how Clinton and the establishment berate Sanders’ belief in universal health care in preference for a vague promise to build upon Obamacare to, in Clinton’s words, easily “get that last 10%” of uninsured Americans covered. However, that 10% is over 33 million Americans. And despite the fanfare of exchanges and subsidies, Obamacare overwhelmingly increased coverage simply by expanding Medicaid. That’s it. It’s also why Hillary Clinton has not given a plan (The Magic Unicorns of Clinton’s Platforms) on how she would specifically improve it. Obamacare is mainly Medicaid. In other words, Obamacare is mainly single payer, or, Obamacare is Berniecare.

Instead of any detailed or substative discussion, we are told we are not Sweden. Or England. Or France. Or Canada. Of course we are not; the US has much more wealth than those countries. And, 33 million more uninsured then them combined, let alone those who can’t afford their deductibles. (High Deductibles Make Insurance Useless). All of this is drowned out from the Democratic establishment that will tolerate no discourse towards Obamacare.

Relative to the current political scene, Bernie’s speech is a refreshing dose of honesty. Relative to Clinton making millions from her speeches, it is inspiring that Bernie donates all money from The Speech.

During his speech Sanders, speaking for the shrinking middle class rhetorically asked:

Don’t you hear us? Don’t you know what is going on in our lives? Don’t you know the worries we have for our kids, for our parents? Aren’t you listening to us?

No, Senator, they are not listening. They are beholden to the donor class. They are beholden to the establishment. The only tool typical Americans have left is their vote.

Before they do vote everyone should read Senator Sanders’ speech. Everyone should at least be exposed to it before casting their ballot.

I hope they consider that Senator Bernie Sanders was willing to fight for 8.5 hours for something he believed in. Imagine what he can do if given 4 years.

Thank you for reading and sharing. Be sure to click the hyperlinks. ~ Chris Childers

Hillary Clinton’s Draft Flip-flop is Ridiculous

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(Just a quick muse – a thought under 500 words)

Either I’m crazy or Hillary Clinton’s draft flip-flop is ridiculous.  It ultimately undercuts her campaign and feeds into the self-induced perception and liability that she will change any position based upon political expediency.  I think it was done in a peculiar attempt to not upset women voters while also shielding her record as a war hawk. Overall, it just accentuates that she has poor political instincts and has a penchant for creating unhelpful political scenarios for herself.

This is Hillary Clinton in 2007 regarding the issue of whether females should have to register with Selective Service, the agency that would implement a draft: “I do think that women should register. I doubt very much that we’ll ever have to go back to a draft. But I think it is fair to call upon every young American.”

Good answer. Women should have to register for the draft. Because men have to. That makes it equal. End of story.

But this is Clinton last week: “I have to think about whether I think it’s necessary to go as far as our military officers are recommending. You know, from my perspective, the all-volunteer military has worked, and we should not do anything that undermines it because it has provided a solid core of people who are willing to serve our country. The idea of having everybody register concerns me a little bit, unless we have a better idea of where that’s going to come out.”

What?

I served in the Army with women.  They were equal to men. Granted, 130lb men with no upper body strength who couldn’t lift anything or shoot straight. Besides that, they were equal. Furthermore, the Pentagon recently opened all combat jobs to women and has recommended that women register. A draft is very unlikely. Additionally, even if a woman is drafted, it is equally unlikely that they would qualify for combat. Saying that women should register is a pretty harmless political position to take.

In fact, Clinton could have used it to her advantage and trumpet up the fact that she is fighting for equal rights.  It is not improbable to hear stump speeches contain phrases such as, “If women can be drafted they deserve equal pay” “If women can be drafted we can have a woman commander-in-chief” and so on and so forth.

However, now she will have to defend the position that women are not always equal to men. A position she shares with Ted Cruz who called the idea “nuts.” Now she will have to fumble the answer to this potentially, “Hillary, do you think, as Senator Cruz does, that drafting women is nuts?

My hunch is that she does not want parents and females to look further into her disastrous record as a war hawk and realize that on any given day the US bombs seven countries. Yes. Seven.

Hillary flip-flopped again. She usually does because she was originally wrong. This time, just the sign of a poor candidate who is unnecessarily panicking over votes.

Democrats Love George W. Bush

Hillary Clinton And Former President Bush Introduce Cancer Screening Initiative For Females In Developing Nations

Either I’m Crazy Or Democrats love George W. Bush. It explains the Democratic establishment’s support of Hillary Clinton. The true story this election cycle should not be the ridiculousness on the GOP side, but that the Democratic Party is going to nominate, in Hillary Clinton, a candidate who firmly supported and outwardly advocated for all of George W. Bush’s signature policies that constitute his legacy: the Iraq War, the PATRIOT Act, No Child Left Behind and enhanced interrogation techniques. The only logical conclusion is that Democratic voters love George W. Bush, dearly miss him, and see in Hillary Clinton the chance to resurrect his presidency.

Here are two quotes: “Every nation has to either be with us, or against us” and “Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists.” One of those is by Clinton and the other Bush. It is irrelevant who said which because Hillary Clinton and George W. Bush have the same neoconservative foreign policy. They both believe in the use of preemptive military force even in the absence of any vital US interest.

There has not been a war that Hillary has not liked (What Hillary Clinton Wants You to Forget: Her Disastrous Record as a War Hawk). Not only did she vote for the Iraq War, in her Senate speech prior to the vote, she used the Bush / Cheney tactic of intentionally and erroneously conflating 9/11 with Saddam Hussein.

And while the Iraq War has been an unmitigated tragedy, even her apology for her vote is filled with the inaccuracy that she read the intelligence reports on Iraq prior to voting to authorize force. Hardly sincere. It is plausible that she is not sorry she actually supported the war other than it cost her the nomination to Barack Obama in 2008.

Case in point is that she has not learned any lessons from the Iraq War. Lessons that are clear. Instead, she has continued to pursue the use of force. She wanted to send 40,000 additional troops to Afghanistan (no military solution to Afghanistan), gleefully lobbied for the overthrow of Gaddafi (Libya is now a failed state) and also pushed to overthrow Assad in Syria (the only entity preventing all of Syria from being controlled by ISIS).

While President Obama has tried to craft a policy of relative reluctance to use force, especially in the Middle East, Hillary will be sure to undo this. Just like George W. Bush, Hillary Clinton will use force first and common sense later (The Left Ought to Worry About Hilllary Clinton, Hawk and Militarist). Beyond military follies abroad, Hillary Clinton also supported George W. Bush domestically.

You should be familiar with the Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act (USA PATRIOT Act). George Orwell would be proud of that name. And Democratic voters who love Bush are also apparently proud of Hillary’s support of it.

Hillary Clinton also voted to enact Bush’s No Child Left Behind, his signature education policy that resulted in more federal government oversight of education and an increased focus on standardized tests.

George W. Bush is also fondly remembered for his use of enhanced interrogation techniques. Some countries call them torture. Hillary, as usual, supported Bush’s torture and has said “I think the president has to take responsibility. There has to be some check and balance, some reporting. I don’t mind if it’s reporting in a top secret context.” In other words, torture is fine as long as it is kept a secret.

While Hillary touts herself as a Progressive Democrat, her record, at best, makes her a Retroactive Democrat. Her initial positions are that of George W. Bush. She supported his main legacy positions. Her tendencies are Republican. When she answers the phone at 3 a.m., she will answer it as a Republican.

Progressives, at some point, have to lead, not evolve / change their mind on every position of substance to the Democratic Party.

If Democrats do not love George W. Bush and do not hope to see Hillary Clinton resurrect his policies, they would be supporting Bernie Sanders instead. He voted against the Iraq War, against the PATRIOT Act, against NCLB and has unequivocally rejected torture. That is the true mark of a Progressive. Heck, either I’m crazy or that is the true mark of a Democrat.

Despite polling that shows that Democrats consider Bush as one of the worst presidents in modern times, there seems to be no aversion to his actual policies. Deep down, Democrats must love George W. Bush.

Or perhaps Hillary supporting Democrats just believe that she was lying all those times she supported Bush. And deep down she is not a poor decision maker on both domestic and foreign policy. And deep down she is not a war hawk with Republican tendencies.

I’m sure the Hillary / Bush supporters recognize this quote: “There’s an old saying in Tennessee — I know it’s in Texas, probably in Tennessee — that says, fool me once, shame on — shame on you. Fool me — you can’t get fooled again.”

Well Hillary supporters, you are about to be fooled again. Go Bush 2016.

Thank you for reading. Be sure to click the hyperlinks – Chris Childers.

White People are 53 Billion Times More Important Than Black People

Either I’m Crazy Or white people are 53,143,523,868 times more important than black people. I’ve attempted to calculate the disparity media devotes to covering white verse black lives and have termed it The Black Gap. While groups like Black Lives Matter highlight that a discrepancy obviously does exists, my Black Gap numerically quantifies it. Once The Black Gap is zero, Black Lives Matter can finally say that black lives matter as much as white lives.

To calculate the Black Gap I first made a list of all the missing white children that I could recall who have made national headlines: Jonbenet Ramsey, Elizabeth Smart, Madaline McCann, Caylee Anthony and Natalie Holloway. I then made a list of all the missing black children. To be honest, it took me awhile, and I only thought of one. Avonte something. I had to Google to find out his full name is Avonte Oquendo. To refresh your memory (I’ll assume you are familiar with the white children) this is the tragic case of the child with Autism who went missing after leaving his school and was later found dead.

5 white names to 1 black name (1/2 a name honestly). Your list may differ. Regardless, 42% of missing children in the US are black and my list is only 16.6% black. 56% of missing children are white and my list is 83% white. This discrepancy is my Black Gap phenomenon. Black children are underrepresented on my list by a factor of 2.5 while white children are over-represented by a factor of 1.5. Combine them for a Black Gap of 3.75.

More name recognition for you; PFC Jessica Lynch. Sound familiar? Likely. How about Spc. Shoshana Johnson? Shoshana Johnson is the American soldier who was shot, captured, and held prisoner until her rescue after her convoy became lost and was ambushed in the opening days of the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Jessica Lynch was also in the convoy, but was not shot, nor exactly rescued. Confused? Read this.

It is impossible to objectively quantify that the US government would rather lie about a white soldier’s life being endangered than tell the truth about a black soldier, let alone ignore the 11 soldiers, including Lori Piestewa, who died during the attack (as an aside, female soldiers matter much more than male soldiers). To avoid this, I had to simply rely on Internet search results. A Google search on the black soldier (you already forgot her name, didn’t you?) yields 402,000 results while a search on Jessica Lynch yields 20.9 million, or 52 times more. 52 multiplied by our previous 3.75 gives a new Black Gap of 195.

A search of Paris Attacks gives 297 million results or 2,284,615 articles for each of the 130 deaths. A search of Baga Attacks, which killed potentially 2,000 and lasted several days only gives 400,000 results, or 200 articles per death. Both were terrorist attacks by similarly inspired Saudi / Wahabbi Islamist terror groups. The main difference is that one occurred in a predominately white city and the other in a predominately black city. Ignoring the number of Facebook users that added a French flag to their profile, Paris Attacks generates 11,423 times more results per death than Baga Attacks giving us a new Black Gap of 2,227,485.

A similar situation is comparing the Rwanda Genocide (1.34 million results, 800,000 dead) to Bosnian War (67 million results, 95,900 dead). This gives a Black Gap total of 932,342,524.

Even the United States’ recent discussion of gun control is inherently bias and speaks to the importance of white lives over black lives.  Without fail, mass shootings are always mentioned when discussing gun control. However, mass shootings, while horrific, represent a small number of gun deaths nationwide, but receive a disproportionate share of the headlines. The following is an interesting read: 2015 Mass Shootings the Sky is Not Falling. But, why do we care about mass shootings? What is the impetus? Because. It is the only real time that white people have to worry about being shot. In the mall. In the movie theatre. At college. Gun control is not about saving lives, it is about saving white people’s lives. If gun control was about saving all lives, there would be a serious discussion about addressing the illegal drugs that fuel most gun crime. How to quantify this? Who knows. So I won’t. However, it is time for a new and related list.

Make a list all of mass shooters who have been arrested. I can think of 3: Colorado movie theatre, South Carolina church and Planned Parenthood shooters. They are all white people who actually killed others. Compare this to Tamir Rice, the black 12-year-old who was shot instantaneously for having a bb gun, and I think this is worth at least a Black Gap factor of 3 for a new number of 2,797,027,572.

And what to do about the white people who took over a government building in Oregon? They are still alive. Since January 2nd. That is 19 days ago at the time of this post. Let’s give that a factor of 19. If that seems too high, disregard the white people breaking the law armed with assault rifles if you can give the actual reason Freddie Gray was arrested in Baltimore prior to his death while in custody. My Black Gap is now at 53,143,523,868. In other words, white people are 53,143,523,868 times more important than black people.

Never heard of the Baga Attacks I referenced? It’s ok. It’s not your fault. The US media was obsessed with something called Deflategate, which I am not sure is named that in jest or seriousness. A story about the National Football League, an entity that has zero black team owners, white only commissioners and despite 68% of its player’s being black, has chosen white MVPs 65% of the time over the last 20 years completely consumed the media’s attention.

My Black Gap math is probably off. It could go up or down. It is not wholly scientific. But overall, I thought of this post idea on Martin Luther King Jr. Day and it is a very somber feeling to see a number attached, to see how far the country is from a Black Gap of zero. Ridiculous terms aside, it is somber to see how far the country is from equality.

If you are curious – Deflategate – over 2 millions results, 5 times more than Baga. Of course black lives matter. Just not as much as a football.

Thank you for reading. Be sure to click the hyperlinks – Chris Childers

ISIS is not Extreme

Either I’m Crazy or ISIS is not extreme. It is childish and naive to believe it is. It is essential, especially for those who are exasperated by the perceived inaction or lack of more robust strategies to defeat ISIS, to first come to terms with this fact. ISIS’s beliefs and actions are hardly shocking but are commonplace in namely Saudi Arabia, the United States’ largest ally in the Middle East. When President Obama called ISIS JV he was right.  In relative terms, ISIS is a juvenile non-strategic threat and this is precisely why it is allowed to exist.

ISIS gained its international notoriety via the seemingly brazen nature of its actions.  Chiefly among these, for Western media especially, were their beheading videos.  However, beheading people and posting videos is hardly unique to ISIS (think Daniel Pearl) and beheading in general is routine in Saudi Arabia. In fact, beheading is only a nominal penalty in Saudi Arabia with some victims, such as Ali al-Nimr, having been sentenced to be crucified.  The charges against the then 17-year-old are dubious at best and it is important to note that this is not a singular incident in Saudi Arabia.  ISIS simply boasts of their acts on social media while the Saudis do not.

ISIS has also made headlines for destroying archaeological sites, particularly Roman antiquities in Palmyra, Syria. Again, nothing extreme.  The Taliban, in March 2001, destroyed ancient Buddha statues and suffered no consequences for doing so.  Bahrain, the majority Shiite country controlled by a Sunni dictatorship, destroyed a 400-year-old Shiite mosque in response to Shiite protests in 2011. But even more apt, Saudi Arabia routinely destroys historical sites of all religions, including significant Islamic historical sites. Destroying sites of historical significance is commonplace in the region.

ISIS also engages in slavery. And while horrifying, this is not unique to ISIS and slavery is commonplace in the Middle East, especially among our allies. Worldwide, slavery is common with over 35 million slaves today.  Lest you believe this is regulated to certain regions of the world, slavery is even common in New York State.

The most heinous and abhorrent practice of ISIS is that the group also combines their slavery with institutional rape. This is a truly disheartening reminder of the depravity humans are capable of. However, unfortunately yet again, even this disgust is not uncommon in the Middle East. In Afghanistan, American troops have been ordered to not intervene, and reprimanded for having done so, in the systemic child rape conducted by our Afghan allies, including on US military bases.

ISIS’s justification for rape is based upon Saudi Arabia’s concept of “those whom your right hand possess.”  ISIS is simply implementing the virulent Sunni-Wahhabi brand of Islam that Saudi Arabia has spent decades preaching and spreading worldwide while at the same time being regarded as a strong US friend.

ISIS, of course, also uses violence to fulfill their political goals.  This is hardly uncommon in the region.  Every conflict in the Middle East is simply based upon politics. The number of deaths attributed to ISIS is relatively minor, with the UN estimating that ISIS killed approximately 10,000 people in 2014. While that is 10,000 too many, it pales in comparison to other actions undertaken in the Middle East.

While it would be easy to point out the death total of the Iraq War (which in turn allowed Al Qaeda to begin ISIS in Iraq) I’d rather highlight the death toll of the US-led sanctions on Iraq following the Gulf War.  Most estimates cite at least 500,000 Iraqi children dying as a result. Most of them under the age of 5. Here is part of the 60 Minutes interview in which then Secretary of State Madeline Albright says she thinks the deaths were worth it. So there you have it; 500,000 dead children for political reasons does not qualify as wrong.  Surely any number ISIS has also falls into the acceptable category.

The pictures included in this post are of course of the My Lai Massacre from March, 1968, during the Vietnam War. My Lai is only noteworthy because photographs were taken. Other than that, massacring villages was fairly commonplace during the invasion of Vietnam. This is not a conspiracy theory, but historical fact.

I mention the Vietnam War to point out the absurdity of calling ISIS extreme. Vietnam was fought by American boys who were raised in predominantly low to middle-class American homes during the 1950’s (often regarded as an idyllic time in American family life). These boys were led in combat by middle to upper-class Americans, who were in turn led by the country’s most privileged families.  Yet despite this environment these boys were capable of committing widespread murder, rape, and mutilation.  How could it be considered extreme for other boys,  many who grew up in poverty, without educations, being taught a hateful form of Saudi Islam, without democracy, under dictatorships, in a region continually subjected to foreign interventions, a region strife with war, weapons and warfare, to then use violence?

By any of the above measures, ISIS is not extreme.  It is somewhat mundane. It is relatively normal for the Middle East. Its killing rate pales in comparison to Western-led actions. ISIS is not extreme. This is why there are no Arab countries truly fighting ISIS. They feel the Houthi in Yemen are more extreme.  Turkey would rather fight the Kurds than fight ISIS. Our Sunni allies prefer ISIS to any Shiite entity or government.

However, there is one act of ISIS that I have not addressed yet.  And it is the redline that the West will not ignore. This is, of course,  the killing of Westerners.  And while the death of 224 people on Metrojet flight 9268,  was in part met by snide or indifferent comments in the West, the Paris attacks changed the calculus slightly. This is why, despite ISIS existing since 2006, and declaring its caliphate in 2014, and raping and murdering thousands, it was not until this November that the US recorded its highest number of airstrikes to date. Yet despite the recent rhetoric, there will be no great change to current tactics. A few gunmen does not make an entity a strategic threat.  Even France, other than a few additional airstrikes, does not feel the need for a stronger response.

Beheadings, slavery, systemic rape, destruction of antiquities, violence – these are all horrific. Declare war against all of these things.  But do not be so naive to only suggest that they pertain to just ISIS.  It shows a lack of understanding of reality. ISIS is a foul organization but relative the to the world, and relative to the Middle East, they are hardly extreme.  Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Boko Haram, Al Shabaab and other groups would  have to be equally targetted including a focus on the resurgent Al Qaeda and Taliban currently expanding in Afghanistan.

President Obama also believes that ISIS is not extreme. His unwillingness (along with the rest of the world) to greatly escalate militarily action is proof of this.  This is often interpreted as obtuse, callous or incompetent. To date, other than possibly inspiring attacks in America that are no more extreme than a routine mass shooting, ISIS has not directly killed anyone in the United States. This is hardly extreme.