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we came to the pyramids all embedded in ice

NEW YEAR’S DAY HEADLINE for the In­de­pen­dent Journal email newsletter was paranoia-inducing: “A Man Was Just Cap­tured In New York Plan­ning ISIS At­tack on New Year’s Eve.” My im­me­diate re­ac­tion was pan­icky: “Holy Schidt! ISIS in the Big Apple!! We’re under at­tack!!! It’s the end of the world as we know it!!!!” 1

Then I read the rest of the ar­ticle at­trib­uted to Justen Char­ters; here are the first three lines: “Law en­force­ment has height­ened se­cu­rity in a number of areas in an­tic­i­pa­tion for New Year’s Eve cel­e­bra­tions this week.”

This is as it should be and hope­fully, such pre­cau­tions were taken in urban areas throughout the US and the rest of the world where the Gre­go­rian cal­endar is fol­lowed and New Year was cel­e­brated this past Friday (yes­terday). “As it turns out, their vig­i­lance is with good reason. Re­ports claim a New York man was in­tending to hack restaurant/bar-goers with a ma­chete tonight.”

 

Hey! It wasn’t ISIS!! It was one man who may or may not have talked to someone from the Middle East who may have some con­nec­tion with ISIS!

 

Game-changer here: we have gone from a head­line shouting “ISIS”—which en­cour­ages our imag­i­na­tion to see sleeper cells of ne­far­ious rag­heads with bombs and WMD and weapons-grade an­thrax powder—to a lone man with a BIG knife. “The man, Emanuel Lutchman, was re­port­edly in con­tact with an ISIS af­fil­iate in Syria.” 2

Huh?!!? Now our para­noia level can drop sev­eral deci­bels: it wasn’t ISIS, it was one man who may or may not have talked to someone from the Middle East who may have some con­nec­tion with ISIS!

Read a little fur­ther and we find Lutchman has a his­tory of mental ill­ness and the man in the Middle East that Lutchman may or may not have had con­tact with may or may not have been as­so­ci­ated with ISIS. 3

The accused is a serial Facebook abuser

We are then pre­sented with a list of Lutch­man’s “of­fenses,” which in­clude an un­holy ob­ses­sion with ISIS—which he con­ve­niently posted on Face­book. The type of thing one might ex­pect from a “men­tally ill” person.

The ar­ticle closes with, “Lutchman is facing up to 20 years in prison and as much as a $250,000 fine, should he be con­victed.”

Now I know it’s more com­pli­cated than my sar­castic tone above im­plies, but the source ar­ticle is filled with “al­leged” thises and thatses. And we are, in the end, dealing with an emo­tion­ally and in­tel­lec­tu­ally un­stable human being, one po­ten­tially ca­pable of vi­o­lence.

But that de­scrip­tion ap­plies to mil­lions of Amer­i­cans.

Hate-filled comments keep on comin’

The com­ments that follow are typ­ical of rightwing ar­ti­cles, filled with ha­tred for Obama (“Your trai­tourous [sic] pres­i­dent en­cour­ages this be­havior”), threats of vi­o­lence (“cut off his head now and mail it to his mother in a box”), com­pletely mis­un­der­standing the sit­u­a­tion (somehow thinking that the men­tally ill Amer­ican was an Ayrab in the desert with no need for a ma­chete), yada yoda blah blah and etcetera.

And, as is par for the course, the com­ments are rife with mis­spellings, mis-punctuations, and a host of other gram­mat­ical er­rors. This only mat­ters be­cause the people making them think them­selves com­pe­tent enough in the art of writing to post written state­ments for public reading. And whether it is ac­knowl­edged or not, lit­eracy skills are gen­er­ally a re­flec­tion of rea­soning skills.

It’s as if the people making the com­ments didn’t bother to read the ar­ticle! Or if they did, they didn’t grasp that it was a SINGLE MENTALLY ILL AMERICAN threat­ening to do some­thing stupid with a ma­chete (which was somehow Oba­ma’s fault)—not a group of de­vious, trained Middle Eastern ter­ror­ists plot­ting a well-executed mass murder with a dirty bomb (which would have somehow been Oba­ma’s fault).

Oh well, I did read the ar­ticle and I will sleep better knowing that this was an iso­lated in­ci­dent that should have re­mained in a local news­paper …

 

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FEATURED IMAGE: The photo at the top of the page was lifted from an ar­ticle ti­tled “What ISIS Re­ally Wants” by Graeme Wood in The At­lantic mag­a­zine (March 2015). “The Is­lamic State, also known as the Is­lamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS), fol­lows a dis­tinc­tive va­riety of Islam whose be­liefs about the path to the Day of Judg­ment matter to its strategy and can help the West know its enemy and pre­dict its be­havior.

Its rise to power is less like the tri­umph of the Muslim Broth­er­hood in Egypt (a group whose leaders the Is­lamic State con­siders apos­tates) than like the re­al­iza­tion of a dystopian al­ter­nate re­ality in which David Ko­resh or Jim Jones sur­vived to wield ab­solute power over not just a few hun­dred people, but some 8 mil­lion.”

 


FOOTNOTES:

1   You have to read the ar­ticle to re­alize that ISIS here is used as an ad­jec­tive (which it’s not) in­stead of a noun (which it is).

2   Think of that great scene in Croc­o­dile Dundee: “That’s not a knife.” Now think a little bit bigger …

3   ISIS is an acronym from the ‘Is­lamic State of Iraq and Syria’ or ‘Is­lamic State of Iraq and al-Sham. It is not to be con­fused with Isis, who was “the first daughter of Geb, god of the Earth, and Nut, god­dess of the Sky. She mar­ried her brother, Osiris, and con­ceived Horus with him. Isis was in­stru­mental in the res­ur­rec­tion of Osiris when he was mur­dered by Set. Using her mag­ical skills, she re­stored his body to life after having gath­ered the body parts that had been strewn about the earth by Set.

Isis was wor­shipped as the ideal mother and wife as well as the pa­troness of na­ture and magic. She was the friend of slaves, sin­ners, ar­ti­sans, and the down­trodden, but she also lis­tened to the prayers of the wealthy, maidens, aris­to­crats and rulers.” (Wikipedia)

The opaque title for this piece, “We Came To The Pyra­mids All Em­bedded In Ice,” is from Bob Dy­lan’s song Isis on the DESIRE album (1975).

 

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What a great straight line to an­other vast con­spiracy theory! ‘Em what leads ISIS, not the goddess,feeds enough BS to the rightwingnut media that it starts to self per­pet­uate!

Ya’no, like them self-fulfilling prophe­cies ’em rad-libralers is al­l’es whis­perin’ ’bout. Why I bet da hole US of A could jus’ start kickin’ it­se’f in da butt til it couldn’t stop. Heyna?!?

Now, there’s some laundry that need erring, uh, airing.

I’d for­gotten about those sub­ver­sives at 3M!

Better in­clude NORMAL, also.

Oh, no… I ment the Merry Marvel Marchers, but those others and that other 3M should get their just deserts, too!

On a more ra­tional note, anyone in­ter­ested in the po­ten­tially real danger of ISIS should read Greame Wood’s ar­ticle in At­lantic. It’s avail­able on line and it is worth the time, as it is rather long.
It may lead you to some re­search about the Cru­sades, the Mor­rish Con­quests, and for those science-fictionally in­clined a brief in­ter­lude with The Borg from Star Trek.

Feh!…

Three con­sist para­graphs ex­plain the waste of life, money and in­ter­na­tional re­la­tions since the Reagan years and be­fore.

Ten dol­lars a gallon for gas, and po­ten­tial “loss of the Mid East” (my quotes) would be a small price to pay if one could throw out the ef­fects of “Reaganomics” and the so called “free market”, as well as the damage to our home­land and cit­i­zens caused by 15 years of war.

It’s to easy to Monday Morning Quar­ter­back April, May and June Glaspie from this dis­tance. It’s sort of like asking whether Saddam was dumber than a Bush, isn’t it?

All that I can see from here is pain and deficits!

No matter what else is said, your 3 para­graphs be­gin­ning with “Alas,” stand in my mind as con­cise, non-apologetic, and as truth-filled a sum­mary as can be found in print; elec­tronic or oth­er­wise.

My opinion and a com­pli­ment…