The weapon, later identified as a 10 mega-ton former Soviet warhead, detonated just as the new Knesset began proceedings. In a flash, Israel’s administrative capital, political leadership and just under three quarters of a million Israelis died, along with hundreds of thousands of Palestinians in the West Bank.
The news was greeted in different ways. In the US, the president was rushed to the emergency national airborne command post, whilst the vice president and others were sent to the alternate national command centre in Mount Weather. US forces were ordered to def con 2.
In Cairo, Damascus, Tehran and Riyadh, spontaneous crowds gathered in grotesque displays of euphoria.
President Obama, aware of not wanting to impinge on the personal suffering of American families who are not yet suffering from losing friends and/or loved ones in a mass shooting that hasn’t happened yet, has issued a statement condemning the as yet not occurred gun attack.
“Today, as we listen to news coming from wherever it will be that this awful thing happens, our prayers are with the families of people who will soon be senselessly gunned down by someone with a legally held firearm.”
The National Rifle Association has condemned the President for making remarks about a hypothetical mass killing involving yet another weapon being used by a person who really shouldn’t be allowed own a mobile phone, never mind a firearm comparable to those used by most other countries military forces.
“We expect this sort of liberal scaremongering from this President, going around stirring up anti-gun feeling on the ridiculous basis of an event that has not even happened and will statistically not happen in exactly the format that he’s talking about. Why, he didn’t even have the guts to predict where such an event might happen, how many people might die, and what sort of firearm was used!”
When asked about the fact that the NRA actually has established media procedure to deal with mass shootings, the spokesperson pointed out that plenty of people enjoy wargaming, and that if NRA employees just happen to enjoy such a social event, that’s their business.
“But the idea that the NRA prepares for mass shootings in the belief that it is a near certainty that they will happen under our current gun laws is outrageous,” the spokesman said, before jumping under a table when a nearby car backfired, and screaming “Lockdown Alpha! Lockdown Alpha!”
First they couldn’t believe a black guy named Barack Hussein Obama was even daring to run.
Then they couldn’t believe he was born in the United States.
Then they couldn’t believe that he won.
Then they couldn’t believe he passed Obamacare.
Then they couldn’t believe that Osama Bin Laden was hunted down on his watch.
Then they couldn’t believe he appointed liberals to the Supreme Court.
Then they couldn’t believe the economy actually grew, and unemployment fell.
Then they really couldn’t believe he was re-elected.
Then they couldn’t believe Obamacare started working.
They can’t believe he hasn’t created a Muslim atheist socialist dictatorship.
Then they couldn’t believe the Supreme Court ruled that both Obamacare and gay marriage were legal.
Now they can’t believe that not one candidate seeking the Republican nomination for President holds the same opinion on gay marriage as the majority of the American people.
Barring getting caught chasing an intern around the Oval Office, this guy is going to leave office with the country in better shape than he found it, more liberal, and leaving the main opposition party running on a platform of weird minority social views, worrying publicly about the oppression and hardship of billionaires, and wanting to take healthcare off sick people.
You’d be hard pressed to find a more cynical show about American politics than the two seasons and then cancelled series “Boss”, starring Kelsey Grammar. Grammar plays a Richard Daley style mayor of Chicago, and plays it very convincingly. Many say they struggle to watch Grammar without seeing Frasier Crane, but I find him a very watchable dramatic actor, and he certainly puts his acting chops on display here. He manages to be charming, impressive, cold, neurotic and terrifying in the role of Mayor Tom Kane.
I’m not surprised that it was cancelled as a show, because it lacks charm. if there is one word to describe it, it’s bleak. The style’s similar to Glenn Close’s “Damage”, which was another great drama but was just so full of morally bankrupt or compromised people and completely devoid of humour. This is the problem with “Boss”. Having known as many politicians as I have known in my life, I just can’t believe that everyone in public office is an amoral, self-serving, unsmiling prick. Is US politics, and Chicago politics in particular different? Possibly, but I doubt it. The show lacked a genuine human angle.
Like “House of Cards” that came after it, “Boss” works on the assumption that almost everybody in politics is on the make, including Kane’s icy wife played by Connie Nielsen in a proto-Claire Underwood. It also assumes that voters are very easily manipulated by pretty speeches and handsome candidates and soundbites. Indeed, it’s a very fashionable view in media circles (outside of political correspondents, who actually know better) and indeed with growing numbers of voters, but it just ain’t true.
Kane as a mayor is convincing as the corrupt bastard who makes the buses run on time and keeps the streets clean, and I can buy voters holding their noses and voting for that. But the other candidates seem like stuffed shirts talking in soundbites, doing that thing non-politicians think is possible: moving votes by really subtle actions. You know the sort of thing: “Don’t forget to mention that your cousin was Polish. That’ll get the Polish vote on board.”
“Boss” is a watchable show, but does nothing to dispel the feeling that democracy is warping into something very very ugly.
I love this so much. It’s just wonderful. Imagine an entire party accidentally reading its own spin as fact when it sees it beamed back to itself on Fox News. A professional election expert actually picking facts to suit the result he wants. Extraordinary.
A blazing row has broken out in the GOP over the issue of whether the prime minister of Israel, Binyamin Nethanyahu, can be nominated as the Republican presidential nominee in 2016.
Rep. Jefferson Davis Cottonking (R-Alabama 3) has attacked party colleagues who suggested that Nethanyahu not being an American citizen, being born in a foreign country and being the actual prime minister of that foreign country might “not be ideal”.
“This is a disgrace. I yield to no man in my support for the state of Israel, and the idea that Bibi is not fit to be president of these god fearin’ united states, hell, you might as well be Osama Bin Laden to be sayin’ such things! Are you honestly telling me that Bibi Nethanyahu is less of an American than that pretender in the White House, Barack Hussein Obama? Aren’t we effectively equating Bibi with the same equal status as, say, a goddamn Frenchman? They can’t run either! Thank you Barack Hussein Obama and your “Constitution”!”
The GOP leadership, after humbly beseeching the Israeli prime minister’s forgiveness, proposed to make amends by legislating to allow the Knesset to nominate the next secretary of state.
The Mayor of 9/11(tm), Rudy Giuliani, has called on Israel to be allowed vote in the next US election, and called anyone who opposed the idea a Nazi terrorist.
The French Ministry of Science and Technology has surprised many by announcing that it is to commit €50 million to a campaign to encourage anti-science teaching in American schools.
A spokesman told us: “This is a wonderful opportunity for France and Europe. We would like to help American conservatives turn a whole generation of American schoolchildren against science, and instead obsess about stuff in a 2,000 year old book. Today, it’s evolution, but we are confident that within five years we can have them teaching that gravity is a communist idea, and that bio-technology is something to do with the Devil and homosexuality. We have one school board in Alabama voting tomorrow to teach that the Sun revolves around the United States. NASA aren’t happy, but the director of commercial satellite launching of the European Space Agency actually weed himself, he was laughing so much. Sent us a lovely hamper. It had cake.”
The ministry ruled out extending the policy to Europe. “Absolutely not. We need kids who can write software and develop new medicines, not wonder if God designed Zebras to look like they’re wearing pyjamas.”
The leadership of the GOP on Capitol Hill has announced that it will initiate articles of impeachment against the president on the grounds of breach of trust. RNC Spokesperson Charles Mayflower-Brooks III told us: “This president made a tacit contract with conservatives that he would become a communist dictator. Sure, he never said it, denied it even, but we managed to create that idea in our heads and by not implementing our conservative policies he let that idea fester and grow. Therefore, he’s lied to us, and has to go!”
Fox News has attacked the president this morning for “smirking, not liking his jacket, whatever”. The National Rifle Association savaged the president yesterday for forcing its members to spend billions of dollars on guns and ammunition to defend themselves from a Liberal Caliphate and then “not even having the class to use jackbooted federal thugs to oppress us and give us the chance to use all this stuff! Hell, I’m beginning to think this two-faced sonobitch isn’t going to try and implement a socialist police state at all!”
On being told the news when he arrived down for breakfast, the president picked up his iPad, tabbed on “Sons of Anarchy” on Netflix, and announced that he was going back to bed.
Supposing, after the terrible events of 9/11, the United States had acted differently. Imagine if it had worked to improve its intelligence and internal security capacity, but not launched the War on Terror. Instead, it deployed special forces discreetly throughout the world to destroy Al Qaeda and hunt down Bin Laden.
Imagine now we lived in a world where the US and her allies had not invaded Afghanistan and Iraq. Afganistan is still a medieval backwater where women are treated appallingly, and Saddam Hussein or his odious sons are still in power in Iraq.
It’s not a pretty sight, save for the fact that The West has not turned two invasions into a recruiting bonanza for Islamic extremists. Thousands of allied soldiers have not died. Hundreds of thousands of civilians are not dead. Billions have not been spent on wars that have at worst not delivered what we hoped, and at best created new problems.
Are we actually that worse off? ISIS is not fighting in Iraq. The Arab Spring probably hasn’t happened. George Bush and Tony Blair have both left office in quite high esteem, two safe pairs of hands who steered The West through one of its’ darkest days.
It couldn’t have happened, of course, for the simple reason that the American people and its media would never have settled for anything short of a spectacular act of revenge. And I write that in a non-judgemental way, because it was a very human reaction to rise up and want to wreak vengeance upon those who inflicted such a terrible blow on the US.
But that’s the point. It was a hard blow, but a gnat’s blow in terms of the strength of the United States. Over 3000 people were killed, which is a savage figure. But when you consider that over 30,000 Americans die every year from gun-related deaths, without much panic by US politicians, you realise that the US, and the rest of the western world, can absorb quite a lot of pain.
America could have dismissed 9/11 with a wave of the hand and carried on if it had chosen to. That’s not to say it can dismiss threats to national security. It can’t. The next attack could be a biological weapon, and The West has to act to protect itself. But the US, and The West in general, should perhaps start considering that massive spectacular and visible retaliation does not make the US safer but creates a new generation of enemy recruits.
Imagine if Israel didn’t respond to every attack from Hamas. Imagine if Israel just stood firm and brushed off attack after attack, without bombing the Palestinians in retaliation. Yes, it would be hard, and counter-intuitive, and there would be those on Fox News screaming hysterically and quoting the bible and calling leaders wimps and cowards. But also imagine as days turned into weeks and weeks into months, of rockets being intercepted or landing, but the counter attack never coming. Imagine the anger in Hamas and Al Quaeda, as the US and Israel don’t play their part in the cycle, but instead openly mock the terrorists for their feebleness, for the fact that The West is so strong that their best efforts are as an ant to an elephant.
In short, imagine we told them that they’re just not important enough to invade or bomb. Yes, it would be hard, turning the other cheek. It would also mean turning a blind eye to terrible things done in Nigeria and Mali and Iraq and Syria. It would probably mean we’d need a more enlightened immigration policy to provide refuge for those fleeing those awful regimes, perhaps even paying another country to act as our surrogate reception area.