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Ethics

We have been watching Madam Secretary, a new TV show this season on CBS.  At first, the idea of the show distressed me, because I was thinking it was a stalking horse for you-know-who, especially if it was produced in the manner of The West Wing (a show some years back with Martin Sheen as the Prez).

Fortunately, it doesn’t appear to a stalking horse.  However…

Episode 3 (shown last week) dealt with ethical issues.  In short, the Secretary’s husband, a university professor, was placed in the middle of a diplomatic crisis when an American (who was caught spying for the U.S. in Pakistan, from info from a Snowden-like leaker) was scheduled to be executed.  The professor could stop the execution by giving a Russian diplomat’s daughter an ‘A’ instead of her earned ‘C’, so the Russian would be convinced to give their version of an American missile to Pakistan (under the table, of course).  (Ah, diplomacy!)

The professor’s course was (ironically) in Ethics, and he said he would be violating all he stood for by giving this bribe so the spy’s life would be spared.

The Secretary of State (who was trying to manipulate the Pakistanis, the Russians and her husband) finally convinced her husband he would not violating his ethics if he allowed the Russian’s daughter to take an incomplete (after the approved time for grades), thus her grade point would not be affected, and she could retake the course.

And ultimately, the American would be freed.  And he was.

Now, I recognize this is only a television show.  And I recognize in the real world, many times things are shades of grey, rather than black and white.

But, this is being sold as okay?  Ethical?

At least we know where the ‘real’ Madam Secretary’s ethics stood.  She was fired as an attorney on the Watergate Committee for “lying and unethical behavior”.

And the second episode of the TV show was entitled “Another Benghazi”.

Hardly a stalking horse!

We Need To Take Action! “Let’s Roll!”

(It’s that horrible anniversary, again.  I’d no idea what to write – thank goodness others did! – Guffaw)

By Alan Caruba

As we close in on the 13th anniversary of the infamous 9/11 attack on the Twin Towers and the Pentagon, the media is full of predictions about attacks that will occur.

A September 2nd Debka File, an Israeli news agency, reported “Credible information has reached Saudi, British and Australian agencies that two al Qaeda branches—ISIS in Iraq and Syria and AQAP at its base in Yemen—have wrapped up plans to roll out coordinated terrorist spectaculars around the 13th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attacks on New York and Washington. According to Debka File’s counterterrorism sources, they are preparing to strike simultaneously in the Middle East and a West European city. Next, they will go for U.S. targets in the Middle East and Europe.”

This report and other factors incline me to believe there will not be a major attack somewhere in the U.S. on what is now officially called “Patriot Day.”   There could be a lone wolf attack along the lines of Major Hassan’s 2009 “workplace violence” at Fort Hood or the Boston Marathon bombing, but the threats being made by the Islamic State and other elements of al Qaeda, while intended to raise fears in America, are likely to be manifested in the Middle East. American outlets there will be on full alert for sure.

The Islamic State, while now wealthy, well equipped militarily, and attracting every lunatic Islamist and wannabe terrorist, is facing an increasingly united group of Middle East nations that have put old enemies like Iran and Saudi Arabia on the same page together. Iran has dispatched troops to Iraq to support the Kurds. When other Middle Eastern nations finally screw up enough courage to actually do something they will wage a war on ISIS in the interest of self-defense, a powerful motive.

As for al Qaeda’s war on America, it was declared in 1996 by the late, unlamented Osama bin Laden and, other than 9/11, it has done little to follow up on that dramatic sneak attack except for a few failed efforts. The U.S. responded by bombing the hell out of Afghanistan and our troops there have been attacking the Taliban ever since. Obama says he will pull them out in 2015. Given events in Iraq, that is a very bad idea.

The Department of Homeland Security has been on alert ever since it was created shortly after 9/11. This is not to say that the U.S. doesn’t need more on-the-ground intelligence penetration of al Qaeda and its affiliates. Indeed, DHS and other government agencies don’t know the whereabouts of several thousand foreign students who are supposed to be at our colleges and universities. They likely do not know who else among those with easy access to the nation is a potential terrorist.

So, yes, that could mean I am very wrong and that 9/11 would be a day for a whole series of attacks for much the same reason our consulate in Libya was attacked that day in 2012. The Benghazi cover-up has been falling apart ever since. The lie that it was caused by a video grows more absurd and obscene very day.

The Israelis have made a far greater and more successful effort than us to infiltrate their enemy’s organizations. Hamas was so rattled by the effectiveness of the Israeli bombing of sites where its rockets were stored and fired from, as well as the killing of a number of its leaders, that they made a public display of executing a number of people they accused of being Israeli spies, whether they were or not. The likelihood was that they were Gazans who had spoken out against Hamas.

After breaking a number of ceasefires, Hamas, running out of any support, accepted the most recent one and Israel thereafter announced the annexation of more West Bank territory for its settlements and, no doubt, for militarization to protect against further attacks. The Israelis know how to deal with their enemies, to prepare, and to take action rather than issue empty threats.

There have even been a number of small events by American Muslims speaking out against barbarity of the Islamic State and the threats leveled at the U.S. That is a hopeful sign, but it needs to increase in numbers and volume. The vast silence of the 1.3 billion Muslims in the world is an offense to humanity.

The Arabs of the Middle East are forever making dramatic threats, but they have a record of doing little. When Saddam Hussein controlled Iraq, he waged a war against Iran that ended inconclusively and then invaded Kuwait and was defeated by a U.S. coalition. When he continued to make threats the U.S. invaded again and deposed him.

What followed was an effort in several Middle Eastern nations to rid themselves of their despots. This occurred in Tunisia, Libya, and Egypt. Only Egypt, after a brief encounter with a Muslim Brotherhood government, rallied again with a military coup that led to the election of a new military leader. The Brotherhood has been banned! Libya is a failed state that has been taken over by Islamic militants. Tunisia has a new constitution as of January and numerous political parties. Its government is battling local militias.

Iraq is in near failure as it tries to unite its Shiite and Sunni factions in a functioning government. Much of the nation has been taken over by the Islamic State in the same fashion as northern Syria whose civil war has killed 190,000 and driven over a million out as refugees in Lebanon, Jordan and anywhere else they could flee. Who has put troops into Iraq to resist the Islamic State? The Iranians!

One threat the President of the United States does not appear to have taken seriously is an Iran with a nuclear weapon and the intercontinental missiles to deliver it. Both Israel and Saudi Arabia are far more aware of the danger this poses and in all likelihood Israel will conclude it must destroy Iran’s nuclear facilities and military installations.

The United States has lost virtually all the influence it once had in the Middle East, even if it came from the barrel of a gun. Our Secretary of State, John Kerry, is held in low regard by both the Israelis and Arabs. The President, Kerry, and Hillary Clinton keep insisting that “climate change” is the greatest threat to mankind.

If President Obama does not engage in the destruction—not “containment”—of the Islamic State, its oil wealth will enable it to become a major threat in the Middle East and beyond, including us. They have demonstrated no restraint on their use of violence and pose a threat comparable or even greater than the Nazi regime of the last century.

Will there be attack or attacks in the U.S. on 9/11? We all wish we know the answer, but we don’t.

© Alan Caruba, 2014

My only responds to Alan is how do we separate the wheat from the chaff?  The normal from the radical Islamic folks?

Those held hostage by radical elements of their own religion?

Regardless  – please take a moment to remember the innocents lost thirteen years ago.

As they said on Flight 93 – “Let’s roll!”

h/t Theo Spark

James Garner RIP

This just in…

garnerJames Garner, a TV and film legend whose career spanned over 60 years, just passed away @ age 86.

Of course, in my circles he’s most remembered as Jim Rockford, the reluctant private-eye who never made much money in The Rockford Files.  But there’s so much more.

Maverick – TV

The Americanization of Emily

The Great Escape

Eight Simple Rules

and one of my favorites…

Rest-in-Peace Jim.  You were loved by millions, and one of the few pretty boys who progressed from leading man to character actor with aplomb!

You will be missed.

Maura RIP

My friend North advises us that his good friend – and a friend to us all – MAURA – passed away this morning.

I only knew her from the Internet, but was introduced to her via North.  She authored a blog for a while about clean, healthy eating.  We exchanged emails for a short time, as my niece was doing a vegan blog then.  I missed her when she stopped blogging, but was unaware of her having health issues.  This now makes sense.

RIP Maura.  You touched more people than you know!

maurah/t North

F.N.C. Makes Me THINK

I like FNC…

NO, NOT the Fox News Channel – although I DO like it, too, on occasion.

I’m speaking of the blog Free North Carolina!

They sometimes have blog fare I view as incendiary, but, more often than not, they make me think differently on a specific issue – even if I continue to disagree with them on that very issue!

One of this Constitutional Republic’s tenets I wholeheartedly endorse is speedy justice.  I know, with the judicial bureaucracy, it doesn’t always seem so, however.

FNC did post a short video of one such event:

Pickpocket, purse snatching, shoplifter?

 

Louis Awerbuck RIP

awerbuckAnother fine shooting teacher and gentleman gone.

LOUIS AWERBUCK

Beginning in South Africa, and emigrating to the United States, he was a range officer @ Jeff Cooper’s Gunsite, before striking out on his own with Yavapai Firearms Academy.

No word yet as to what happened.

h/t Tamara Keel, Facebook

Please Keep A Good Thought In Your Heart

or say a prayer, if that’s what you do.

Mary C.Dave-the-mechanic’s mother passed away Father’s Day, after a short illness.  She was 88, having had her birthday that Saturday.  Her memorial is today.

Mary was longtime volunteer at Desert Samaritan Hospital, serving for 24 years in many different offices and was Volunteer of the Year for the State of Arizona in 1983. She was an active member of King of Glory Lutheran Church, singing in the choir for 35 years and serving as choir librarian for 20 years.

Mary is survived by her husband of 62 years, Al; her children Mick, Dave, Ruth, Karen; 8 grandchildren and 9 great-grandchildren.

To have been the center of such a great family, and been a giver of such service…

She will be missed.

My thanks to all of you who commented, wrote or at least stopped for a moment in your day to think of Dave and his family. – Guffaw

REMEMBERING THE FORGOTTEN

My Father taught me that not only was Memorial Day to honor those who gave their life in service to this Nation, but also to take a moment to remember those who have gone before who were dear to us.  He and I visited the grave of my Mother Charlotte on Memorial Day 1977.  She passed when I was in the Second Grade.

He knew he wouldn’t survive past August that year.  I didn’t know.

Being disabled, when my conditions allow, I spend time doing research on the Internet.  It’s amazing what information is ‘out there’ if we only bother to look.

And, sometimes information is absent, even if we do.

Below. a photo of my friend Everett, who served in the Army in Europe in the 70’s..  He was a big man, both tall and wide, had a deep booming voice and a great sense of humor.  He paid his way through college hustling pool.  Another blogger whom I don’t know was his friend in his last years, and said he was the most ethical man he ever knew.  I believe him.

everett

Everett

Marla was a woman I dated after my marriage broke up.  She was funny, quirky, sexy and loved her children.  Sadly, not only do I not have any personal photos, but neither does the Internet.  I’d lost contact with her after she moved on with her life, and was attempting to reestablish a friendship when I found out she had passed.  I’ve no information as to how.  She was in her 50’s.

PLEASE take the time to remember those who served and those you love, because you never know…

I STILL look askance at those people/businesses who say ‘Happy’ Memorial Day.  I choose to reflect and remember these folks, and not to be morose.

My life was better for having known these people.

Police Officer Ethics

Of course, there are those among us who after reading multiple stories of incidents daily regarding officer malfeasance, theft, abuse, perjury and felonies who look askance at such a professional paper.

I personally know a number of law enforcement folks who truly believe their oaths and (I think) hold to them (to the best of their ability, considering their agency ‘rules’).  But my knowing doesn’t matter.

It’s all about public perception. 

It doesn’t help that Hollywood producers like Dick Wolf (of the Law & Order programs) portray law enforcement as everything from straight arrows to crooked-as-a-dog’s-hind-leg.  I just watched a cross-over episode (with L&O SVU) of Chicago P.D. (the newest agency in the collection) wherein the head of C.P.D. Intelligence is ordered to ‘do whatever it takes’ to break a serial rape/maim suspect.  He puts him in ‘the cage’ (a chain link enclosure not affiliated with the jail system) and proceeds to beat on the suspect and begin cutting off his ears (something the suspect is alleged to have done) until he gives up the location of the still active co-suspect.

Now, just like our Republic, I’m all about looking at the total picture, warts and all.  And, if the Chicago P.D. did (or does) such things, they need to be held accountable.

Just like the serial rapists who collect ears for souvenirs.

But, if it’s only fiction, then it colors the general public’s already jaded perception of police.

h/t Richard W. DeShon, Mike Vanderboegh

RIP William Overstreet

(thanks to Neatorama)

RIP William Overstreet, A World War II Fighter Ace Who Flew Through the Eiffel Tower

William Overstreet Jr. died in Roanoke, Virginia at the age of 92. During World War II, he flew a P-51 Mustang fighter plane. During the liberation of France, he performed one of the most daring fighter combat actions ever witnessed.

You can read an extensive wartime biography here. Mr. Overstreet was a daring and aggressive pilot. During training, he did loops around the Golden Gate Bridge. Later, in Europe, during the spring of 1944, he had escort duty on a bomber mission. He chased after a German fighter plane through central Paris:

The German’s engine was hit, and Bill stayed on his tail braving the intense enemy flak. His desperation undoubtedly growing, the German pilot aimed his plane at the Eiffel Tower and in a surprising maneuver, flew beneath it. Undeterred, Bill followed right behind him, scoring several more hits in the process. The German plane crashed and Bill escaped the heavy flak around Paris by flying low and full throttle over the river until he had cleared the city’s heavy anti-aircraft batteries.

(Len Krenzler/Action Art)

For his wartime record, the French ambassador to the United States presented Mr. Overstreet with the Legion of Honor in 2009.

-via Ace of Spades HQ

"One morning I shot an elephant in my pajamas - how he got in my pajamas I dunno!" - Groucho Marx as Captain Spaulding in Animal Crackers

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