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How not to fight the problem of ISIS

If, in fact, you believe that Marie Harf was winging it and stating her own opinion about Islamic extremists (oh, wait, “frustrated job seekers”) needing jobs, etc., get a load of Sec. of State John Kerry:

“Why do people make what to many of us would seem to be an utterly wrongheaded choice and become the kind of terrorists that we’re seeing?” he asked. “It’s a question that we need to approach with humility, but also with determination, because you cannot defeat what you don’t understand.”

“Certainly, there is no single answer,” Kerry continued. “In our era, poisonous ideas can come from almost anywhere – from parents, teachers, friends, preachers, politicians – from the pretty woman on a radical website who lures people or the man in the next cell who proselytizes while in prison.

“They might grow from pictures seen on the nightly news or from acts of discrimination or repression that you don’t think much about on the day of occurrence, but which come back to haunt. It could come from the desire to avenge the death of a loved one,” he said.

“In some cases, they may come from a lost job or from the contrast between one family’s empty dinner plate and a fancy restaurant’s lavish menu. The poison might even come from within, in the form of rebellion against anonymity, the desire to belong to a group, people who want a moment of visibility and identity, or the hunger for black-and-white answers to problems that are very complex in a remarkably more complicated world.”

In general, he has a point. Depending on the problem, people are motivated by all sorts of things to become part of that problem.  And it makes sense to remove that motivation.  Figuring that out is how you put a strategy to defeat the problem.

Specifically, however, it isn’t at all hard to figure out what motivates ISIS and THAT is the problem we face today.

The motivator? Islam.  The “holy texts”.  The desire for the Caliphate set up under precise rules set out by Islam’s founder.  That is why they fight.  That’s why they do what they do.

Sometimes you just have to apply Occam’s razor for heaven sake.

So, to recap: what motivates those who proclaim ISIS and the Caliphate is their religion.  That’s it.  How they were “radicalized” is less important than the fact that they were and are now a threat.  And understanding what motivates that threat is how you put together a strategy to defeat them.

Instead we get this institutional load of liberal angst that, for the most part, is nonsense.  Why can’t they bring themselves to face and name the problem? They don’t have any problem in identifying “right-wing domestic terrorists”  Why not religious terrorists?

As I said, it certainly makes sense to remove the “underlying cause” of the problem … if that’s possible.  But if we think we can somehow be a credible force in doing that, we’re wrong.  We – the US, Europe, the West – aren’t in any position to do that since we are identified as the enemy of everything they hold dear.  More importantly, it has nothing to do with jobs or dinner plates.  It is a religious movement.

So when you finally realize that attacking the “underlying causes” of something like ISIS is a fool’s errand, what should you do?

Well, this will be unpalatable to some out there who have been raised in the “precious princess” society we’ve enabled, but you have to “go medieval” on them.  You have to obliterate them.  You have to make it not worth pursuing their fantasy and something that those who might choose it decide to reject.

Jobs won’t do that.  Dropping packages of money on them won’t do that.  They have the job they want and they’re the richest terror organization going.

What we have to do is systematically and completely destroy them – root and branch – by using everything reasonable at our disposal.  Now, I understand that’s sort of difficult with a religious death cult, but I’d bet, once the reversals started and the ISIS death toll rose, the marginal jihadis would think twice about joining up.  Right now, there’s little downside.

Bottom line? If you want to stop the “pretty woman on the radical website” from having an impact,  destroy her story so thoroughly that she can’t spin her web of lies credibly anymore – and then take down her freakin’ website.

But as long as we try to avoid naming the problem and take half-measures while wringing our hands like a bunch of old women, the problem will both persist and get worse.

And trying to lay the load of “nuanced” crap Kerry pushed out there on the problem of ISIS avoids naming the problem and thus identifying a workable strategy which certainly guarantees it will persist.

Anyone who is surprised by that simply hasn’t been paying attention.  After all, look who is in charge.

~McQ

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Economic Statistics for 19 Feb 15

Initial weekly jobless claims fell 21,000 to 283,000. The 4-week average fell 6,500 to 283,250. Continuing claims rose 58,000 to 2.425 million.

The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index rose 0.3 points to 44.6 in the latest week.

The general business conditions index of the Philadelphia Fed’s Business Outlook Survey fell 1.1 points to 5.2 in February.

The Conference Board’s index of leading indicators rose 0.2% in January.

The Fed’s balance sheet fell $-4.8 billion last week, with total assets of $4.497 trillion. Reserve bank credit rose $11.5 billion.

The Fed reports that M2 money supply fell by $-9.8 billion in the latest week.


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Economic Statistics for 18 Feb 15

Net foreign demand for long-term US securities rose $35.4 billion in December, mainly on US selling of foreign securities. Foreign accounts were actually net sellers in the month.

The MBA reports that mortgage applications fell for the 5th straight week, down -13.2%, with purchases down 7.0% and refis down 16%.

Housing starts fell -2.0%in January, to a 1.065 million annual rate, though that is an 18.7% increase over a year ago.

The Producer Price Index for Final Demand fell -0.8% in January, while prices less food and energy fell -0.1%. Prices less food, energy & trade services fell -0.3%. Overall, prices for Goods fell -2.1% while Services prices fell -0.2%. Prices on a year-over-year basis:

PPI-FD: -0.1%
PPI-FD less food & energy: 1.5%
PPI-FD less food, energy & trade services: 0.9%
PPI-FD Goods: -3.9%
PPI-FD Services: 1.9%

Redbook reports retail sales rose 3.2% on a year-ago basis, up from last week’s 2.1%.

The Fed reports that Industrial production rose 0.2% in January, while capacity utilization in the nation’s factories fell -0.3% to 79.4%. Manufacturing output rose 0.2%.


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Doubling down on stupid

That’s what Ms. Harf did yesterday (see below), after she caught flak all over the place for her absolutely clueless argument concerning ISIS and … jobs.  Appearing with Wolf Blitzer, here’s how it went down:

When Wolf Blitzer observed that the poverty-breeds-terrorism theory is hopelessly flawed and that high-profile attackers like Osama bin Laden and Mohamed Atta were relatively comfortable and privileged, Harf declined to acknowledge his point. Though she issued an emphatic “absolutely” so as to convey that she was, in fact, listening to Blitzer and understood the words that were coming out of his mouth, she instead plunged into a pre-canned attempt at damage control as her response:

“If we looked around the world and say long-term we cannot kill every terrorist around the world nor should we try, how do you get at the root causes of this?” she asked. “Look, it might be too nuanced of an argument for some like I’ve seen over the past 24 hours some of the commentary out but it’s really the smart way for Democrats, for Republicans, military commanders, our partners in the Arab world think we need to combat it.”

There’s really no other way to interpret that. If you don’t think that statements like “we can’t kill our way out of this war” and asserting that ISIS militants “lack opportunity for jobs” oversimplifies the crisis in the Middle East, Harf does not believe that you are her intellectual equal.

Good lord, Ms. Harf – sometimes it is better to remain silent and be perceived a fool instead of opening your mouth and removing all doubt.  Nuanced?  Nuanced?!

It is a stupid and uninformed argument.

Stupid!  Uninformed!

Sorry, I’m not feeling a “nuanced” rebuttal is warranted.

As Noah Rothman concludes:

That she would flatter herself into believing that she had spoken over the nation’s heads reflects the hubris that explains her insultingly naïve belief that this abhorrent ideology can only be defeated by an army of career counselors.

Indeed.

~McQ

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Economic Statistics for 17 Feb 15

The Fed’s Empire State Manufacturing Survey fell to 7.78 in February from January’s 9.95.

The NAHB housing market index fell -2 points in February to 55.

E-Commerce sales from the 4th Quarter of 2014 fell to 2.3%, down from 3.6% in the 3rd Quarter. Year-on-year, sales are up 14.6%, while e-commerce sales to 0.1% to account for 6.7% of all retail sales.


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ISIS doesn’t need killing. They need jobs!

To describe our State Department (and it’s spokes person) as boneheaded is an insult to boneheaded people.  Here’s State Department Spokesperson Marie Harf and, of all people, MSNBC’s Chris Matthews:

MATTHEWS: How do we stop this? I don’t see it. I see the Shia militias coming out of Baghdad who are all Shia. The Sunnis hate them. The Sunnis are loyal to ISIS rather than going in with the Shia. You’ve got the Kurds, the Jordanian air force and now the Egyptian air force. But i don’t see any — If i were ISIS, I wouldn’t be afraid right now. I can figure there is no existential threat to these people. They can keep finding places where they can hold executions and putting the camera work together, getting their props ready and killing people for show. And nothing we do right now seems to be directed at stopping this.

HARF: Well, I think there’s a few stages here. Right now what we’re doing is trying to take their leaders and their fighters off the battlefield in Iraq and Syria. That’s really where they flourish.

MATTHEWS: Are we killing enough of them?

HARF: We’re killing a lot of them and we’re going to keep killing more of them. So are the Egyptians, so are the Jordanians. They’re in this fight with us. But we cannot win this war by killing them. We cannot kill our way out of this war. We need in the medium to longer term to go after the root causes that leads people to join these groups, whether it’s lack of opportunity for jobs, whether —

MATTHEWS: We’re not going to be able to stop that in our lifetime or fifty lifetimes. There’s always going to be poor people. There’s always going to be poor muslims, and as long as there are poor Muslims, the trumpet’s blowing and they’ll join. We can’t stop that, can we?

HARF: We can work with countries around the world to help improve their governance. We can help them build their economies so they can have job opportunities for these people…

Good grief, these people don’t want better “governance” and they’ve got the job they want … building the Caliphate.  For heaven sake when are these ass-clowns going to wake up?

I’m again going to recommend an article that does the best analysis and explanation of ISIS that you’re going to find.  It is very clear that those who rally to the ISIS banner think they’re building a righteous future with the Caliphate and that what they’re doing is preordained by their religion.

But the fools who run this country and our foreign policy – that would be the White House and State Department – are terrified of facing the threat and calling it what it is.  It’s absurd and cowardly.  It makes them come up with the sorts of pitiful nonsense that Harf is told to go out and spread.

This is a religious movement which is based, at its very core, on Islam.  It is as religious a movement as you can get.  In fact, as explained in the Atlantic article I’ve pointed you too, it is based in a literal interpretation of Islam’s holy book and its history.  Let me hit you with that one particular quote again:

The reality is that the Islamic State is Islamic. Very Islamic. Yes, it has attracted psychopaths and adventure seekers, drawn largely from the disaffected populations of the Middle East and Europe. But the religion preached by its most ardent followers derives from coherent and even learned interpretations of Islam.

Virtually every major decision and law promulgated by the Islamic State adheres to what it calls, in its press and pronouncements, and on its billboards, license plates, stationery, and coins, “the Prophetic methodology,” which means following the prophecy and example of Muhammad, in punctilious detail. Muslims can reject the Islamic State; nearly all do. But pretending that it isn’t actually a religious, millenarian group, with theology that must be understood to be combatted, has already led the United States to underestimate it and back foolish schemes to counter it. We’ll need to get acquainted with the Islamic State’s intellectual genealogy if we are to react in a way that will not strengthen it, but instead help it self-immolate in its own excessive zeal.

Note what the author points out – that “pretending it isn’t actually religious … has already led the United States to underestimate it and back foolish schemes to counter it.”

See above!  Harf is just a symptom of the idiocy and cowardice that infests our highest levels of government.  When you refuse to actually identify the enemy and his motivation, you cannot hope to devise and develop a plan to counter his threat.  History is littered with the failure such nonsense brings.  Chamberlin thought Hitler could be reasoned with and would keep his word.  He was clueless.  And, as such, he developed a “strategy” that was an abject failure and, in fact, played right into Hitler’s hands.

Obama and Kerry are no different.  They refuse to face the reality of the threat.  That’s why we have no strategy, or at least no strategy (patience?  really?) that will counter the threat.  What they are doing is cowardly and reprehensible, not to mention being derelict in their sworn duties.  This is unacceptable, but then neither Obama nor Kerry have ever been mistaken as leaders.

And when you elect or appoint people with no leadership experience and no real world experience, you get this.  Something 50% of the idiots who live in this country approve of (sorry, I’m a little grumpy today).

~McQ

 

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Stray voltage

More subjects than one can conveniently throw a stick at … so we’ll throw several sticks.

Have you seen the latest Brookings Institute poll on Obama’s “greatness” as a President?  It is interesting.  They decided to poll the American Political Science Association.  Their “consensus”?

First, President Obama ranks 18th overall, but beneath the surface of the aggregate figures lurks evidence of significant ambivalence. For example, those who view Obama as one of the worst American presidents outnumber those who view him as one of the best by nearly a 3-1 margin. Similarly, nearly twice as many respondents view Obama as over-rated than do those who consider him under-rated.

Well there you go.  Even a liberal leaning think tank polling liberal leaning academics can’t manage to put lipstick on a pig.  18th overall?  Hilarious.

Remember we were told that Iraq was “poorly thought out” and that “armed intervention” was a mistake?

Wouldn’t it be interesting if someone applied the same standard to Libya?  Yesterday we got to see what some of the result of that awful decision when 21 Coptic Christians were beheaded by ISIS.  And the White House reaction?

The United States condemns the despicable and cowardly murder of twenty-one Egyptian citizens in Libya by ISIL-affiliated terrorists.

Can’t even get up the gumption to identify who the “Egyptians citizens” were.  They weren’t beheaded for being Egyptians, folks.

We call on all Libyans to strongly reject this and all acts of terrorism and to unite in the face of this shared and growing threat.  We continue to strongly support the efforts of the United Nations Special Representative of the Secretary-General Bernardino Leon to facilitate formation of a national unity government and help foster a political solution in Libya.

Because, you know, Obama and the boys kind of broke the last government.

Meanwhile in Oregon, the Democratic governor resigns in disgrace, a victim of corruption in the “green energy” field.

It is a safe bet that Kitzhaber’s implosion has sent the rest of the nation’s Democratic governors, and even a few officeholders in Washington, scrambling to review their affairs. It is the very nature of green energy that its unprofitability ensures that it is only viable in the marketplace if it is subsidized at taxpayer expense. The political class’ favorability toward clean energy and the media’s deference to the project of green technology have created the perfect conditions where corruption can thrive.

Leftist billionaire Tom Steyer is deeply implicated in all of this.  I wonder if he’ll get the “Koch brothers” treatment by the media.

You can read on when you stop laughing hysterically.

Oh, and here’s another in a long line of damning reports about ObamaCare.

On another subject, I’m old enough to remember friends crippled by polio and the “iron lung”:

“We are at a stage where people have no memory of just how dangerous pathogens used to be. There is no visceral fear of viruses and bacteria. Children in wheelchairs as a result of polio are a thing of the past because the United States has been polio free since 1979 as a result of vaccines. The only people I’ve ever met who were hobbled by damage from polio were older than me. . . . I do not expect an innumerate and unscientific public to become more trusting of medical organizations that support vaccination. In some communities herd immunity has already been lost and it will be lost in more other communities. This trend will continue until an old disease comes sweeping thru and racks up lots of damage and fatalities.”

On the other hand, the government has reported for 40 years that cholesterol was going to kill us and then, recently said, “never mind”.  But they still want us to believe their science about “global warming”.  That said, one small pox plague and I’d bet everything would change.  Its hard to be fearful when you’ve never had to live with the results of awful afflictions like polio.   I remember that being the greatest fear of many parents.  Now, well, now they don’t even give it a second thought.  That’s because of a vaccination, for heaven sake.  Same with small pox.  But then anti-vaxxers are using the same sort of science that warming alarmists do, so you shouldn’t be particularly surprised.

Meanwhile in Wisconsin (not surprisingly, Madison, WI) 30 homes were spray painted with anti-Semitic graffiti.  My guess is the White House would characterize the act as “a random act by some juvenile delinquents”.  I’m still in awe of the spineless characterization of the victims in the Kosher Deli in Paris as some “folks” in a random incident.  But then, this is the same administration that for years characterized the Ft. Hood shootings as “workplace violence”, so it really isn’t a big surprise.  Back in Madison, don’t even begin to believe that the vandalism will ever be classified as a hate crime.  That is reserved for favored minorities only.

Graeme Wood (read the whole thing) lays the wood to the cowardly among us who can’t find it in themselves to identify the enemy and the enemy’s foundation:

The reality is that the Islamic State is Islamic. Very Islamic. Yes, it has attracted psychopaths and adventure seekers, drawn largely from the disaffected populations of the Middle East and Europe. But the religion preached by its most ardent followers derives from coherent and even learned interpretations of Islam.

Virtually every major decision and law promulgated by the Islamic State adheres to what it calls, in its press and pronouncements, and on its billboards, license plates, stationery, and coins, “the Prophetic methodology,” which means following the prophecy and example of Muhammad, in punctilious detail. Muslims can reject the Islamic State; nearly all do. But pretending that it isn’t actually a religious, millenarian group, with theology that must be understood to be combatted, has already led the United States to underestimate it and back foolish schemes to counter it. We’ll need to get acquainted with the Islamic State’s intellectual genealogy if we are to react in a way that will not strengthen it, but instead help it self-immolate in its own excessive zeal.

Meanwhile, at the State Department and White House …

~McQ

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Lord save us … from ourselves

The world today sometimes amazes even me.  Politics today, however, doesn’t at all.  Pretty much everything that happens is a variation on a theme – and that theme is we’re served by the worst political class in our history (I’m talking generationally here, not just the last election).  And there seems to be no relief in sight.  We have a scam-artist in the White House now who has, in reality, never done anything of significance in his life up till now.  And now he’s significantly ruining this country.

And in the wings?  Hillary Clinton?  Good lord.  Or Jeb Bush?  Lord save me.  Or this – the darling of the Left, Elizabeth Warren:

Then there is the scandal-in-waiting concerning her sleazy scholarship while a law professor. She co-authored a highly-publicized study in 2005 that claimed that 54.5 percent of all bankruptcies have “a medical cause” and that 46.2 percent have a “major medical cause,” telling interviewers that those findings demonstrated the need for national health care. In fact, the proportion of bankruptcies caused by catastrophic medical losses is more like 2 percent. Her numbers were inflated by including “uncontrolled gambling,” “alcohol or drug addiction,” “death in family,” and “birth/addition of new family member” as “a medical cause.” In addition, spending as little as $1,000 in unreimbursed medical expenses over the course of two years — hardly unusual for a family — was enough to get a bankruptcy classified as “a major medical cause” even when the debtor himself or herself did not list illness or injury as a cause of the bankruptcy. A number of scholars have criticized the study as intentionally misleading.

Just what we need … another politician who uses corrupt studies to bolster her agenda driven objective.  They don’t call her Fauxahauntus only because she faked indian heritage to snag a gig at Harvard.  Another “professor”/Senator  who has never done anything or run anything being seriously touted for the top job?  [Is any journalist out there looking deeply into this?  No.  Oh, sorry, they’re all worried about Scott Walker not having a degree.]

Conclusion – it’s the electorate that needs a serious overhaul.  Same song, different verse – you’d think the last 6 years would have cured anyone from looking at a no-name junior senator who has never done anything of significance in her life, but not the Left.  Or the yellow dogs or the low information, government dependent voters that actually think government services are “free” and it’s the “greedy rich” who are the problem.

We’ve got a mess, the tipping point seems to have been reached and the only thing that might save us is if a statesmen or woman with leadership credentials steps forward.

Meh – we’re screwed.

~McQ

 

 

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