Why the United States just bombed Syria

I’ve noticed that the typical sources that are normally all too excited to “explain the news” to you are doing reporting on this issue that requires more back-story to make any sense. I suspect that this is the case because the details behind this story don’t fit a sensationalist narrative or partisan agenda. Whatever the case – Since I happen to have been following at least the base components at play, here is my Rich-plaination for y’all on the key points of what just happened and why…

Since 2011 there has been a Star Wars style “Rebels vs The Empire” war going on in Syria.

President Obama announced to the world that if that if the Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad used chemical weapons against the rebels there (really dirty painful internationally illegal cruel way of killing opponents) then that would be a “red line”, implying a line that, if crossed would come with severe consequences.

Assad used the weapons and Obama did nothing, exposing the empty threat and embarrassing the United States to a degree to where even The Obama Administrations Secretary of State John Kerry had to later admit was a costly disaster.

Thanks to this Obama failure, ISIS now has chemical weapons.

Fast forward to 2017: Assad used chemical weapons on the rebel-held town of Khan Sheikhoun, which, at the time of this writing is reported to have killed at least 85 civilians, 23 of whom were children.

As a direct response to this, the new Trump Administration launched missiles at a Syrian airbase. President Trump explained:

Tonight, I ordered a targeted military strike on the airfield in Syria from where the chemical attack was launched. It is in the vital national security interest of the United States to prevent and deter the spread of chemical weapons.

That announcement was made Thursday night from Trumps Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida, where he is meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Many are scared about what this means for international policy while others (read: this guy) find it refreshingly badass to have a president working out of his Florida luxury resort where he pauses meetings with foreign leaders to announce that it didn’t take more than a day for the country he leads to follow up with a punishing military response to a country killing children and civilians with chemical weapons. More:

The U.S. fired 59 Tomahawk missiles from the USS Porter and USS Ross destroyers in the Eastern Mediterranean against the Shayrat air base, where the U.S. says the planes that carried out a chemical weapons attack originated. The missiles targeted aircraft and aircraft shelters, ammunition, air defense systems and radars.

U.S. officials said planners did everything possible to avoid civilian casualties and are still doing battle damage assessment to determine the exact results of the raid.

Whether you too find this response refreshingly badass or not, you shouldn’t be scared about too much further foreign war entanglements. Trumps stated intentions are to curtail the spread of chemical weapons, so if Assad stops using them, there is no reason to believe there will be further strikes against Syria by the United States. That appears to be the deal.

Trump ran a non-interventionist campaign that was backed with promises to also not allow “red line” moments to happen under his watch. At the time of this writing, this test on those claims appears to have been passed.

For more info, this link at The Guardian has some helpful maps and video on the subject.

There’s no reason to FEAR Trumps victory

So Hillary Rodham Clinton, lifelong politician, just lost the presidency to Donald J Trump, reality tv star (and billionaire businessman, but the first one is funnier).

U mad?

Okay. I’m being flippant while you’re sensitive. I apologize. But seriously though:

What are Hillary supporters upset about right now, exactly?…

That the pro-war Wall Street crony tax-raising lifelong crook who takes money from countries who murder gays lost an election to the anti-war small government lifelong successful businessman who is the most consistently pro-gay candidate to run for office?

Why, again?… Because those policies are all Left Wing and Liberal (see the difference here), so you must simply fear and abhor the man personally rather than professionally.

IS IT BECAUSE YOU THINK HE’S “RACIST”?
Why? Because he accurately noted what the Fusion network reported  about 80% of women illegally trafficked from Mexico being raped and/or that he unhappily commented on crime by illegal immigrants and you believed the lie that he claimed “Mexicans” were rapists and murders?
Cuz if so, the solution is simple: just be less racist and don’t equate all illegal immigrants with Mexican nationals. Then you won’t be prone to believe such a goofy smear of a claim that opposition to criminals from Mexico means you hate non-criminal Mexicans.

IS IT BECAUSE YOU THINK HE’S A MISOGYNIST? 
Why? He has such a great relationship with his daughters and surrounds himself with strong and powerful women who guide and manage him and keep him in check. Where is the evidence he has anything against women? Is it because of the 11 year old “hot mic” audio that was uncovered in where Trumps “locker room talk” included the observation that his power, wealth, and stature gave him amazing prowess with women who would let him do “whatever” to him, in where he used as an example “grab em by the pussy”? Because how would women letting you manhandle them because they are impressed with you be a sign that you hate them? Or is it because you bought into the Democrat attack line that that private comment constituted “assault” on women, even though the audio is publicly available to be heard and verified that no assault was mentioned and in fact the very nature of the premise was precisely the astonishment that this kind of crude contact was allowed and desired – not unwanted and resisted? If so I have another easy fix to brighten your day: don’t believe every summary of everything you hear and instead actually listen to what happened. If you got the wrong impression and, say, at a Presidential debate (lets use “the second one” as an example) the person in question says that no mention of an assault was stated and that the person stating that it did must not have understood what was said – maybe go ahead and fact check which person is telling the truth instead of just blindly believing the ugly charge.

IS IT BECAUSE YOU THINK HE’S HOMOPHOBIC? 
This is the weirdest one, that I’m both happy to report but also sorry to say that it is 100% invented out of wholecloth with no merit or even basis whatsoever. Donald Trump is the most pro-gay candidate to have run in… ever. Even if he wasn’t, though, as his Vice President Mike Pence isn’t (Pence isn’t personally opposed to the legality of counseling people on sexual attractions that they may deem unwanted, which fearmongerers equate to supporting some kind of government led forcing of gays into so called “conversion therapy” to un-gay them en masse), there is nothing Constitutional law can do to persecute gays. People claiming that Trump would overturn the Republican issued ruling making same sex marriage a national right (a ruling made by the Log Cabin Republicans and argued by Republican and former Bush cabinet member Ted Olson in where Republican appointed Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote the winning ruling on), know nothing about the law or are intentionally lying to you about it in addition to lying about Trumps position and policy on the issue. Not only is overturning that ruling not possible and not wanted by the President-Elect – he lacks a single negative stance on gay issues.
If you are still terrified of a Trump led gay persecution, just open your eyes to reality and remember that issue by issue, Gays will receive the most benefits from a Trump presidency.
Gays earn more income and thus will be disproportionate beneficiaries of Trump tax cuts.
Gays are disproportionate beneficiaries of a more stringent vetting process on immigrants from countries that support Islamic terror, the likes of which was responsible for the slaughter at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando.

PayPal co-founder and tech billionaire Peter Thiel was the first openly gay person to speak at a Republican convention and will almost surely have at minimal an advisory role in a Trump administration, and perhaps more (the rumors are Supreme Court, but I think he is more likely to just be close to the administration as an advisor) and as Caitlyn Jenner noted: Donald Trump is a Champion for Women and LGBT people – suggesting that a lifestyle perspective isn’t what pigments a person to these smears, but rather a victim mentality and willingness to see oppression and hate everywhere, whether it exists as a valid source or not.

 

You may notice a theme here: All your concerns are fear-propaganda based and originated from specific sources who duped you. That is – they are smears invented to play on your existing concerns and leverage your confirmation-bias into feeling terror over a non-threat.

That’s pretty disgusting. Thus your scorn and contempt should be reserved for the perpetrator of the smears, not the target of those smears.

Don’t get me wrong: I didn’t support Trump in the primary, didn’t think he ran a good campaign, and only reluctantly supported him against his crooked counterpart. He’s inarticulate and often careless with his speech, crass, rude, and imprecise and i’m not looking forward to having gaffes and easily-taken-out-of-context moments run around by opportunistic parties to sensationalize and profit from.
But the charge of racism is stupid. 30 years on the public stage and the man is never accused of such a slander and then all of a sudden when he threatens a political establishments corrupt power structure, we’re supposed to believe he is a KKK supporter? Please. Be real.
The charges of being anti-woman are wholly silly and unserious at every level for the same reasons as above.
The charges of being homophobic are just invented entirely out of wholecloth with no basis in truth whatsoever.

You’re being used by people fomenting fear to gain political power and you ought to fight back, not let yourself be victimized by this shameful tactic.

A brief hall of shame:

& then of course the appropriate response to this melodrama:

Yes, spreading terror is effective in mobilizing Useful Idiots into a panic that motivates them into supporting your thirst for power, but that’s also pretty evil.

Even if your pet issue on why you find Trump terrifying isn’t listed in this post: keep in mind that Trump needs Congress to pass anything and that he faces 100% Democrat opposition and a sizable chunk of “NeverTrump” members in his own party.

Again: It’s understandable to be bummed out right now if you were really looking forward to paying more taxes, getting into more wars, and having tons of new rules of engagement to have to go through in operating your business or securing healthcare under a Clinton Administration – but if that isn’t the source of your anxiety right now and instead you are terrified for women, racial minorities, or gay people – you have been scammed.

Get a grip and focus on the things that actually matter. Like the things that actually exist.

2016 Election Voter Guide

Obviously you should vote the way I am and I am casting my ballot under the following strategy: Vote for Trump, but with understanding of all his shortcomings and even if you desperately don’t want him to be President – vote for him anyway and just hope that Clinton wins (which I predict she obviously will).
*UPDATE: I thought she would be a shoe-in given her smear campaign with endless personal attacks that usually work well with an electorate but if I won’t just be ding dang damned – it failed like it should have. Way to go for that America. Even though President Trump isn’t a dream-sounding proposition for anyone outside of his immediate family, there are lots of reasons to have optimism and zero reasons to panic or be depressed, no matter what side you’re on.

 

PERSONAL TOLERANCE

Both candidates are awful public speakers with obnoxious mannerisms in their speech patterns and who are prone to saying weird things of different natures (Trump being insensitive, Hillary being calculated and cold in robotic gaffes). Neither will be an honor to serve the nations highest office. It comes down to what they will do for the country and TO the country…

Trump would be annoying but completely harmless because the president needs Congress (the house and senate) to support any laws they pass except military actions (which he doesn’t advocate) meaning he wouldn’t do shit unless the country was completely behind it since he would have 100% of the democrats against everything he wants to do and half of his own damn party opposing him too. Hillary on the other hand would have 100% Democrat zombie support and then peel off a decent percentage of republican pussies to support her shit and be able to do whatever she wants.

POLICIES

CLINTON: higher taxes, more regulations that stifle small businesses like mine, big government favoring big business and more control over individuals lives, pro-war and foreign intervention but soft on Islamic terror pursuit and immigration from Islamic nations, soft on illegal immigration.

TRUMP: lower taxes, less regulation to allow small businesses to compete with big corporations, small government favoring the individual (“the bigger the government, the smaller the citizen”), anti-war and anti foreign intervention unless americas interests are directly threatened, would dramatically reduce illegal immigration and vet immigrants from nations that are known to support and produce terrorist organizations.

TONE OF THE NATION

CLINTON: uses victimization propaganda to make people feel weak and needy so her policies of big government control can rescue them. Clintons staff has been caught on film bragging about instigating violence at Trump rallies.

TRUMP: has a victim mentality about himself but doesn’t spread it as a philosophy uses motivation of self reliance and hard work with help from the government that doesn’t make you dependent on it.

PERSONAL LIFE

CLINTON: Is personally and professionally corrupt with a history of scandals, most recently including making hundreds of millions in shady political dealings. Neither Bill nor Hillary Clinton have ever had had a job outside of politics. Hillary Clinton is being investigated by the FBI and if elected would be put in control over the very institution investigating her for corruption.

TRUMP: Is personally a douche and professionally successful despite a fair share of business ventures that also didn’t work out (in other words: his business record is excellent, but not without flaw or failure) with no black eyes as far as scandal or corruption in his business record over 3 decades of being in the public eye. Successful manager – never been a politician.

Laugh line from Apple 7 announcement: Courage

Last Apple event the laugh line was when the new stylus for the iPad pro was going to be called “Apple Pencil”. This year, the eyerolling lol moment was when the removal of the headphone jack on the iPhone 7 was due to Apples “courage”. Specifically, Phil Schiller said “It comes down to one word… Courage. The courage to move on and do something better for all of us.”

The phrasing of the statement was goofy but the sentiment is not incorrect: It *does* take courage to eliminate a standard in technology and be the one company pushing forward a new format. It could be a disaster. It’s hard to lead and leading, yes, takes courage. The memes teasing Apple imply that unless you’re risking your life, there is no such thing as being courageous – which would be a re-defining of the word away from its standard understanding to mean “that which may be difficult or risky but is done anyway”. Sorry Internet, but that applies to this decision.

Here is Jobs commenting on progress and getting rid of old technology (in 2007 commenting on the iPhone not supporting flash): “Sometimes you just have to pick the things that look like they’re gonna be the right horses going forward”. If it isn’t something that is part of making a great product “we’re gonna leave it out” and “instead focus on *these* technologies”.

Why Gretchen Carlson is probably going to hell

Former Fox News host Gretchen Carlson settled a sexual harassment lawsuit with the network for $20 Million over a single comment she decided she didn’t like and a nebulous tone with her morning show co-host she found to be displeasing to her. The lawsuit cost the networks founder and Chief Executive Officer Roger Ailes, the accused party by Carlsons lawsuit, to have to resign from his position and the company.

Getty images

Gretchen Carlson seems like a nice Christian woman so it is my hope that there is more to this story that for some reason her and her lawyers decided to keep secret from their public filings because otherwise she is a horrible human being that almost surely is going to hell. Whatever anyone thinks of Fox News or of Roger Ailes and regardless of whether he is a nice guy or a jerk (I have no idea so I have no non-profession-related opinion on him), his deposition from the network he built over Carlsons stated accusation is a reprehensible mortal sin and extreme miscarriage of social justice.

When I first heard of the lawsuit I erroneously assumed that Carlson was alleging something that actually happened… Nope… The lawsuit makes no claim of Carlson being touched, sexually propositioned, or harassed in any way whatsoever. This made it odd that she received $20 Million in a settlement of a “sexual harassment” lawsuit when no harassment, sexual or otherwise, was even alleged. Instead, the allegation in the lawsuit that falsely masquerade as being of “sexual harassment” (bringing shame to her and her lawyers for cheapening the serious charge and term) is just one big conspiracy theory based on one alleged inappropriate comment her boss Roger Ailes allegedly made, one alleged time, 9 months before her contract wasn’t renewed at Fox…

The single comment in question was Ailes allegedly saying to her “I think you and I should have had a sexual relationship a long time ago and then you’d be good and better and I’d be good and better.” That’s it. and that ain’t harassment. That comment might be rude, it’s almost surely not wise, and it might even be wildly inappropriate – but it ain’t “harassment”, it isn’t a demand or threat, and it for damn sure isn’t worth $2 let alone $20 million. To think otherwise, you have to believe that that sentence is so damaging to ones ears and psychological stability that they would pay 20 million dollars in order to not have it said towards them. Since no one anywhere, ever would ever think that – Carlsons pay day becomes not a vindication of an abused woman who wouldn’t take crap from a lecherous corporate jerk abusing his power but rather a scam that ruined someones livelihood for the personal gain and obscene enrichment of an individual who wasn’t harmed and suffered no damages to justify such a payout. Don’t Christians believe that to be a sin?…

Of course, Carlson didn’t bring the lawsuit over that one sentence alone – she claimed the lawsuit was justified because her contract with Fox News Channel was not renewed this past June and she says that lack of renewal was because of Aile’s comment and the implications she drew from it (evidently only 9 months later and not at the time) that she was fired. She doesn’t specify exactly what implication she drew from the alleged comment but presumably she interpreted “we should have had a sexual relationship years ago” to mean “if you don’t have sex with me, I will fire you in 9 months if your ratings do poorly”. Or maybe “even if your ratings AREN’T a huge disappointment to the network”?. Idk. But a good way to avoid the gray area in this situation would have been for Ailes to have not made the comment and for Carlson to have been a better on-air Talent because then the contract renewal wouldn’t have poor ratings or a verbalized sentiment that “we should have boned back in the day” as the culprit.

Unfortunately for Carlsons eternal soul, the evidence supports the Roger Ailes side and depicts her to be a vindictive greedy lying liar. Ailes claims that she was let go because her “disappointingly low ratings were dragging down the afternoon lineup” and that the lawsuit was just petty retaliation for FNC not taking on her drag. Carlson claims that her ratings were great and the real reason she was fired was in retaliation for rebuffing her boss’ sexual advances.

Okay then… lets examine those claims…

RATINGS
Carlsons lawsuit claims that she was fired from FNC despite her show doing well in the ratings in contrast to Ailes saying that her ratings were “disappointing”. The reality? Her ratings were in fact disappointing. Her show, The Real Story, didn’t completely flop by every standard – just by the standards of the network she was employed by – i.e. – her shows performance disappointing. My personal take on it was that it was one of the weakest most dull pieces of programming that Fox News had to offer, but my opinion doesn’t matter – the collective’s does. Well, SURPRISE – the collective agreed with me: Gretchen Carlsons show trailed nearly all of Fox News Channels other programming. Carlson tried to spin this as a good thing because the time slot improved over last year, but so did all of cable news because it is an election year. Also don’t forget the part where regardless of the time slot improving along with the rest of the network and the rest of all cable news – her show remained one of the least watched shows on the whole network… Fox is held to a higher standard with its #1 position in the cable wars and it shouldn’t be a surprise when the weakest link is excised from the chain. Further, Carlson didn’t just lose to her above-average performers at her own network, but she actually lost to the competition. “CNN Newsroom with Brooke Baldwin” beat “The Real Story” by 2% in the eminently important 25 to 54-year-old demographic in June (the month Carlson was not renewed).

SEXUAL HARASSMENT
As stated above, Gretchen Carlson filed her lawsuit over losing a show that was one of the worst rated on her network and lost to the competition in the key financial demo due to a conspiracy theory and unspecified tone of not being appreciated (she claims, because she is a woman). Her entire case against Ailes was the “we should have had a sexual relationship years ago” line that she found so wildly distasteful and offensive that she… continued working for him, thanked him in her book for all he’s done for her, and wrote him hand written notes with smiley faces thanking him for his support and asking to be put on the air in prime time more – which Ailes granted her, presumably without any sexual requirements.

Gretchen Carlson further alleges that her co-host Steve Doocy wasn’t nice to her, or something. In what sounds like an entitled 7th graders attempt to get a teacher to reprimand a boy she doesn’t think is giving her the attention she deserves, Carlson alleges her Fox & Friends co-host Steve Doocy of “attempting to put her in her place by refusing to accept and treat her as an intelligent and insightful female journalist rather than a blond female prop.” Notice there is no actual allegation – just nebulous whining with no example to support the claim whatsoever. Not even a single quote of Steve Doocy ever saying anything that would even hint at anything resembling the sentiment she alleges (“blonde female prop” are her and her lawyers words, not anything Doocy is alleged to have ever said. Sounds like a personal self-worth issue to me). Just a completely irresponsible unsupported smear.

If Carlson really thought that Roger Ailes was demanding that she have sex with him to keep her job, why did she stay at that job? If Carlson thought that her cohost Steve Doocy didn’t respect her then why didn’t she ever bring it up with him? and if she thought that she was being treated in a sexist fashion towards Doocy off-air, why did she think it was okay to treat him in a sexist fashion ON-air, including the time she made small-penis and erectile dysfunction jokes about him in a segment on Fox & Friends in where she surprise gifted him “Turkish Viagra”?

CONCLUSION (HOW SHE GOT AWAY WITH IT)
Given the evidence, and lack thereof of anything being alleged, you might be asking “how the hell did this phony get away with a $20 million settlement and why did Roger Ailes have to leave his position at the network in seeming disgrace?”…

Because of the bad press and damage to the company. I’ll once again note the possibility that an internal investigation found something improper that Carlson didn’t even allege in her legal filings and by pure coincidence Ailes got caught Al Capone style in this mess and deserved the outsting – but from the available public evidence, it merely looks like Gretchen Carlson complained publicly and loudly (and legally) about things entirely un-complaint-worthy (as evidenced by her own action at the time and afterward) and put the company in a situation where they had to either suffer millions of dollars worth of bad publicity in an election year when everything else is otherwise going great only to spend tens of millions in a legal battle that some idiot judge might actually award against them anyway – OR – usher Ailes out and pay off Carlson $20million for no reason other than she blackmailed the company for it. Remember: she alleges no harassment, no physical contact, no improper solicitation, and no evidence to support unjustified non-renewal of her crappy show on the network. Her accusations amount entirely to (paraphrasing) “Roger Ailes [whom I had a great relationship with, was friendly with, wrote hand written smiley notes to, and publicly thanked for giving me great opportunities] said a crass remark one time and then 9 months later when my show lost to the competing one on CNN in the ratings and did so poorly that it drug down the rest of the shows around me, my contract wasn’t renewed. Also, another on-air talent, Steve Doocey, didn’t appear to respect me very much. Give me $20 million dollars because I’m a victim now”.

People, me included, typically think that if a settlement like that takes place and the person in question resigned from their position, they must have been wildly guilty – and i’m shamed to even add the caveat (unsupported by any current evidence available) that that may be exactly the case for all I know – because “where there’s smoke, there’s fire”.

Know where there’s also allegedly a lot of fire? In hell, where vindictive liars who make tens of millions of dollars off of fabricating grievances to assassinate peoples characters and end their careers in revenge for their own professional failures.

Video: Mean parents won’t let adorable child keep a dead fish as a toy

As ridiculously cute as this viral video is, it kindov hurts my feelings to watch.
This kid went fishing and is so fascinated by one of the fish that he wants to keep it as a toy. That part is hilarious, but I found it heartbreaking to watch him unravel as he sees himself losing the appeal and not understanding why.

Obviously this had to be milked for at least a little while by the adults for the comedy gold, and I totally support that, but I wish they would have then explained a better reason for the “no” verdict on why he can’t put the dead fish in his toy box and keep it as a toy. My fantasy version of this is that after the camera was turned off, he got a full scientific explanation of the decomposition of organic matter to make him understand that the cool thing he’s holding now will not stay that way, making him accept through realization that he’s not being arbitrarily denied a reasonable request but rather that his intentions are simply unfeasible.