We Bombed Syria. What Now Trump?

“I was not a fan of President Obama’s ‘red line’ followed by a general approach of confusion and inaction toward a ravaged Syria. But neither am I in favor of unilateral violence ordered by a President cloaked in corruption, scandal and general, inhuman oddity.

The first two and a half of months of the Trump administration have been a break necking blur of stupidity and heartlessness. However, the third leg of this gang’s unholy stool is incompetence and while they’ve tried to illegally ban certain immigrants and wrench grateful Americans from their Obamacare, we can be grateful they’re too disorganized to succeed. But Syria has been bombed, officially. It has never taken genius or coordination to fire weapons and indiscriminately kill.”

Read the full post at Contemptor.

Missing in Action: The Week’s Overlooked News Stories

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April showers apparently bring…more of the same in May. While much of the country dries out, take a look at a few stories you may have missed this week. A stubborn American in Syria, a graduating granny and possibly the most ungrateful and entitled newlyweds in history caught our attention…. 

‘Last American in Damascus’ tells a different side to life in Syria

The BeckySarwate.com team was shocked to read that any Americans still inhabit the war-torn region, but even more surprised that this gentleman has a positive outlook on his residential future. 71 year-old Thomas Webber landed in Syria back in 1975 to start a business and never left. Though he recalls a day when a rocket mortar landed at his doorstep, he maintains that he feels safe and has no plans to leave despite the urging of the U.S. government. We’re not sure if that is admirable or crazy, but we’ll continue to follow this story.

85 year-old great-grandmother fulfills a life-long dream

As the 2016 graduation season approaches its climax, we thought this article needed to be shared. Lottie Jacks will receive her diploma from Samford University this weekend – nearly 50 years after dropping out of college in 1948 to marry and start a family. Earning her degree was a dream that never died and damn it, Lottie did it! As an emotionally satisfying cherry on top, the new grad will share the stage with one of her granddaughters. The young lady is receiving a Master’s degree from the same university. This inspiring story reminds us that adages like “you can do anything to which you set your mind,” or “it’s never too late” are repeated with good reason.

Wedding couple apparently has the biggest balls of all time

This story out of somewhere in the UK (editorially inferred by the use of English Pounds as well as the word “gobsmacked”) is jaw-dropping in its sheer gall. Newlyweds, disappointed with the financial gift of a reception attendee, actually sent a letter to the guest to tell her as much. The couple even cited the woman’s recent inheritance as a reason for her to “send an adjustment.” The shocked and offended party took to an online forum to ask how for advice on handling this incredibly rude correspondence. The responses received are as entertaining as the original story. Click the link above for your daily LOL.

The Media Doesn’t Care About Terrorism Unless It Happens In The West…And It’s Our Fault

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“It’s easy and tempting to blame the media for heartlessly misplaced priorities. Wolf Blitzer routinely renders himself a convenient target. As our own Justin Baragona recently observed, Blitzer is among “the goddamned worst” in lazy, misinformed reporting. But if we’re being totally honest about our ignorance regarding Syria and other ravaged nations, we have to start by indicting ourselves. Let’s be real, America. Just as we didn’t end up with all-Trump-all-the-time by accident, it follows that the media’s terrorism engagement strategy is an echo of our will.”

Read the full post at Contemptor.

Missing in Action: the Week’s Overlooked News Stories

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Parents could be on the hook for kids who bully. The media fails to care about terrorism in countries with brown people. And one man does things in a wheelchair we can’t fathom, but they are awesome. Here’s what you missed during this last week of April….

Small Wisconsin town takes big step toward stopping bullies

If your kid is a jerk, you could pay the price. That’s the idea behind a new ordinance in Shawano, Wisconsin. Police in that town are working with the school district to identify bullies, then notify their parents. Mom and dad have 90 days to intervene, and if the bullying behavior continues they are slapped with a fine of $366. The fines progress if the same child is found harassing another within a year. Controversial? Yes. Effective? That remains to be seen. Either way, I’m finding it hard to argue against giving it a shot.

Another awful thing has happened in Syria, and you haven’t heard about it

The media continues its trend of cherry picking which awful acts of terrorism are worthy of coverage (basically only if it happens in the U.S. or Europe). If 27 people, including children, were killed in an airstrike at a pediatric hospital in the West, we wouldn’t be hearing about anything else. But this one happened in Aleppo, Syria so whatever.

Man in wheelchair proves we are all wimps

Ever twist an ankle and then spend time loudly lamenting your life karma, how you can’t do anything, how you wish everything was normal again? Yeah, we’re drama queens too. After reading this article, we have to cancel our pity party. This week’s feel-good story comes from 24 year-old Aaron Fotheringham,  who was born with spinal bifida. Instead of feeling sorry for himself and growing bitter, he became a record-setting extreme sports wheelchair competitor. His bad-assery is unlike anything we have seen in a while. Team Aaron!

I Can’t Write About Syria (June 11, 2011)

Because then I would be forced to acknowledge that I can’t even locate the Middle Eastern country on a map, that my 1980s, Cold War ideology-laced, primary school geography education didn’t go a lot farther than the United States, Europe and enemy nation Russia. I would have to confront that educators and students of the Me Decade ignored “irrelevant” areas like India, the Middle East and Africa as little more than impoverished, Third World also-rans. I would have to admit that I am still playing catch-up to overcome my early curriculum limitations.

I can’t write about Syria because then I would have to face the shameful truth that I have been spoiled by maturing in a liberal democracy, one that is certainly imperfect, and seems to be slightly more broken with each passing year. But my nation is also one where it’s impossible to bind an old man in the street while soldiers kick him for sport as the cameras roll, and nobody makes a move.

I would have to digest that I will never witness thousands of my fellow Americans fleeing for the border of another sovereign nation, simply protecting their right to live. I can comfortably sit in my kitchen and hurl words bombs from behind a laptop and no secret police, no agents of a totalitarian regime, are going to break down my door and drag me off, perhaps never to be seen again.

I would have to be grateful that I live in a land where there is nothing more abhorrent to the common palate than the murder of children. My nieces, KK and Raina, go to bed every night never considering food, shelter, safety or security. Hamza Ali al-Khateeb, the 13 year-old boy taken by soldiers in Jiza, and returned to his family in pieces, suffered so much at the end of his young life, simply for following the example of his freedom loving parents. My sister will never be forced to go on state television and praise the very regime that murdered her child. We will simply never be subject to that level of sanctioned terror.

I cannot write about what’s happening in Syria because then I would have to confess that I look away from the images of civil war, even as Anderson Cooper urges me to see and digest the human atrocity, as though I were watching a particularly graphic episode of Grey’s Anatomy. I would admit to being sickened by own pampered discomfort.

I would have to admit that my democratically elected government appears to be very selective about which holocausts it will engage, and that many of decisions seem to stem, not from human rights or security issues, but from more mercenary economic and political concerns. Libya, sure we’ll join the fight. We never liked Gadhafi much anyway. But Egypt or the truly sickening situation in Syria, no thank you sir.

If I wrote about Syria, I would have to admit that I feel useless, paralyzed and frustrated. I would have to admit that I don’t know how to help, and so instead, I turn off the TV and drink a glass of wine to calm my nerves. I would have to own that I know absolutely nothing about real human suffering.

Republicans Stick to Their Disingenuous Script to Blame Obama for Syria Debate (September 3, 2013)

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Last Sunday, as I sat listening to Secretary of State John Kerry repeatedly assert “I don’t believe that my former colleagues in the United States Senate and the House will turn their backs on all of our interests, on the credibility of our country, on the norm with respect to the enforcement of the prohibition against the use of chemical weapons, which has been in place since 1925,” I pitied his position. As the discouraging parliamentary vote in the UK, the reluctance of the United Nations and the anemic support of the beleaguered American people left President Obama increasingly isolated in his intent to address the human atrocities committed by the Syrian government, it fell to Kerry to do a very awkward rhetorical dance: making a clear and impassioned case for intervention while stopping short of sending our soldiers into another unpopular, unsanctioned military action.

From a tactical standpoint, I applaud the decision to seek Congressional approval for any limited action in the war torn nation, where various estimated now place the civilian death toll at over 100,000. Back in the heady days of yore when the two parties were able to come to agreement on something, anything, this was the paradigm. I believe most of the nation agreed with Kerry, appearing on NBC’s Meet the Press, when he said “The United States is strongest when the Congress speaks with the president, when the American people are invested.”

At the same time, I had to wonder if Kerry had lost complete touch with reality when he left the Senate for his new role in January of this year. In declaring his belief in the legislative branch’s commitment to our interests and credibility, a highly selective memory is required to forget the doings of the 113thU.S. Congress…or the 112th, or the 111th.

I understand that an authorization of military action would normally seem like the proverbial shooting of fish in the barrel when it comes to the strong war hawk arm of the GOP, but these are not conventional times. Indeed, as our own Sarah Jonespoints out “Republicans are once again unable to govern seriously due to their Obama Opposition Disorder and their inner party destruction.” Thus we are dealing with a party that, once upon a time, couldn’t rush to war and the securing of pork-laden security contracts fast enough under a Republican President, a group that lauded the expanded powers of the Executive Branch to make fairly unilateral decisions regarding the deployment of armed forces. Substitute a Democratic Chief Executive with a brown face and suddenly we have several days of “Will they or won’t they?” suspense. It’s ludicrous.

Fortunately for Syria’s destroyed and injured families, it appears that the most inept Speaker of the House in modern history (I might have just left it at “history,” but I confess myself ignorant of those of the 18th and 19th centuries), might just be able to herd the screeching, disagreeable cats that make up his caucus. The New York Times reported that “Speaker John A. Boehner said on Tuesday that he would ‘support the president’s call to action’ in Syria after meeting with President Obama, giving the president a crucial ally in the quest for votes in the House.”

But of course since no Republican can ever be allowed to risk offering the POTUS unqualified support for a just action, here’s number two House Republican Eric Cantor right on cue: “Understanding that there are differing opinions on both sides of the aisle, it is up to President Obama to make the case to Congress and to the American people that this is the right course of action, and I hope he is successful in that endeavor.”

So if the vote fails, it’s not, Cantor repeats, not another act of GOP cynicism and blame shifting. It is simply that President Obama will have failed to make a compelling case that our intervention in the region will save lives and buttress American interests. Apparently iron clad proof of chemical attacks seen on news stations across the globe, Syria’s importance in managing ongoing tensions with Iran and the larger Middle East and the support of tried and true Obama enemies like Arizona John McCain, may still not be enough to get this group behind anything at all that the President wishes to do.

I must admit that I am not entirely sure where I stand on the Syria question. I believe with all my heart that someone has to stop the killing, but at the same time, I’m well aware of the lessons recent history offers with regard to American-advocated regime change (Iraq, Libya, Egypt, etc). I’ve become fairly convinced that reinvention and democratization must be the will of the people in order to become sustainable. But limited efforts to divest Assad of his chemical weapons stock should be a no-brainer, especially on the part of the “we’ll be greeted as liberators” right.