Monthly Archives: March 2016

I-Want-You-ISIS

ISIS Wants You!

Throughout the United States history, many posters and slogans have been used to recruit people to join the US military.

Who could forget that poster of Uncle Sam pointing his finger with the slogan, ‘I Want You for the US Army.’  That poster and slogan were designed by an artist from New York by the name of James Montgomery Flagg.  Flagg designed this poster for the Army after our entry in World War I in 1917. Four million of these four-color posters were printed and plastered all over the United States from coast to coast.  The pointing Uncle Sam finger was not a new idea.  He actually copied the idea from a British recruiting poster featuring Lord Kitchener.  Kitchener was also pointing his finger accompanied by the slogan, ‘Your Country Needs You.’  Amazingly, these posters were so successful that both Russia and Germany followed with similar posters.

My little hometown was a little backward and sometimes out of date, so I can remember some of those posters with the slogan, ‘Uncle Sam Wants You’ actually posted in the Legion Club and the Post Office in the 50s. .  That poster was reinvented for recruitment during WWII.

There have been some really good recruiting slogans that the US military has used over the years.  I have a degree of familiarity with the Army, so I will start with them.  From the 50s to 1971, the Army slogan was, ‘Look Sharp, Be Sharp, Go Army.’  Doesn’t that slogan just stir your hormones and make you want to enlist?  That was the slogan that was in vogue during the Viet Nam War.  The draft was still in effect during this war.  In retrospect, a more appropriate slogan should have been, ‘Two Extremities, Two Eyes, a Pulse?  Uncle Sam Will Draft You!

From 1971 to 1980, the US Army slogan was, ‘Today’s Army Wants to Join You.’  Say what?  What in hell does that mean?  Doesn’t that slogan send shivers up your spine accompanied by patriotic fervor?  It is amazing that slogan recruited anyone.

Thankfully, my personal favorite Army slogan came into use in 1980.  It was so popular and successful that it was used until 2001.  Do you remember it?  ‘Be All You Can Be.’  This was accompanied by an amped-up catchy versed song and proved to be wildly successful.  Other than ‘Uncle Sam Wants You,’ it is the most recognizable Army slogan of all time.

But all good things must come to an end and the ‘Be All You Can Be’  was replaced in 2001 with the stupidest slogan ever, ‘Army of One.”   I think that was the worse slogan ever.  What happened to teamwork?  What happened to camaraderie?  How far does an Army of One get on any battlefield?  I have a confession.  I did not know what this slogan meant until I researched this post.  The word ‘One’ was suppose to represent an acronym meaning, Officers, Non-Commissioned, and Enlisted.  Even with this discovery and revelation, I still think it is the stupidest slogan …..EVER!

In 2006, the slogan,  ‘Army Strong’ was introduced.  That is the current Army slogan.  Lame.  But a vast improvement over ‘Army of One.’

Some of our other service branches have had memorable recruiting slogans.  The Marine Corps has used, ‘The Few, the Proud,’ and the sexist slogan, ‘We’re Looking for a few Good Men.’  The Air Force has used, ‘Aim High, and ‘Cross Into the Blue.’  The Navy has used. ‘Accelerate your Life,’ and ‘It’s Not Just a Job, It’s an Adventure.’  ‘Be Part of the Action,’ is the motto of the Coast Guard.  Combining these slogans with songs and slick videos has served all of these branches well since the inception of the volunteer Army.

Do you know who else is very successful in recruiting?  ISIS, or ISIL or Daish.  Pick a name, it’s all the same organization. They have been wildly successful in recruiting from other terrorist organizations, from sympathizers from Arab countries, and from sympathizers from Western countries.  How do they do this?

According to the Syria Observatory for Human Rights, which monitors activity in the Syrian civil war, some of the new recruits in Syria include former militants of the al-Nusra Front, an Al Qaeda affiliate in Syria and opponent of the Islamic State.  ISIS ability to convert members of rival terror organizations, in addition to the thousands of citizens worldwide- many who are Westerners and not natural-born Muslims – reflects the extend of its recruitment power.   ISIS recruits approximately 20 new members a day, and most of the foreign fighters are between 15-20 years old, according to a spokesperson for the Islam Army.  The Syria Observatory estimates that the group has more than 50,000 militants in Syria alone.

ISIS has a professional production company designing its videos.  Unlike the old Al Qaeda group that had a bearded fighter talking in front of a single camera for 45 minutes, these videos are all high production quality, sometimes employing multiple cameras.  Like any army recruitment video, ISIS videos promise the reward of having a purpose and playing an important role in something larger than yourself – smartly edited with slow-motion action shots.  They also aim to address any concern a potential recruit may have.

ISIS has even opened a marriage center in Syria where women can register to become the wife of a jihadist.  The terror group even gifts couples honeymoons after getting married, but they can only vacation within the caliphate in Iraq and Syria.

In addition to the well-made videos, the media arm also produces an online English language magazine called Dabiq that publishes propagandist articles and reports aimed to glorify the Islamic State.  But the most powerful media tool ISIS has mastered is social media.  It has a  presence on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and Middle Eastern networks.  They have aps and hashtags and use both to spread their propaganda.

According to Michael Steinbach, FBI’s assistant director of counter-terrorism, “They have mastered the use of it (social media)…as a propaganda tool, as a recruitment tool and as a targeting tool.”   He goes on to say, “ISIL has used social media better than any terrorist group before or currently.” Steinbach says the message from ISIS or ISIL is clear: “come join the caliphate, and if you can’t join the caliphate, conduct an attack in the U.S.”

I have thought for quite some time that our government has attempted to gloss over the severity of Westerners joining an Islamic terrorist group.    As of October 2015, law enforcement authorities know of 250 Americans who had traveled or tried to travel to Syria or Iraq to join ISIS fighters.  There are about 900 active investigations against ISIS sympathizers in all 50 states.  Why do I think these numbers are low?  Germany has stated that 900 of its citizens have left the country to fight for an Islamic terrorist organization.  France is claiming  between 200-300 of its citizens.  Admittedly, these are only the people they are aware that have left their countries.  America  at 250?  Firstly, look at our population compared to France and Germany combined.  Secondly, about five years ago, authorities in Minnesota admitted that over 200 Somali teens were missing.  Missing?

These Somali teens, both boys and girls are not missing.  They are either with ISIS or with an off-shoot organization of Al Qaeda in Somalia.  They are targeted.  They are wanted because they speak English, are computer savvy and educated, and they are vulnerable.  I have seen an ISIS recruiting video on the internet.  It makes ISIS look like their caliphate is the Muslim version of Club Med.  Do you know what is really scary about this situation in Minnesota?  All of these teens were born in the US!  They have attended Minnesota schools all of their life.  And yet – with all of the opportunity available to these teens, they still select to go fight for an enemy of their birth country.

Here is a wake-up call for all of my Minnesota friends………………26% of Muslims who leave the US to fight for ISIS and Al Qaeda are from Minnesota!  Only New York provides more terrorist recruits.

The point of this blog?  Contrary to what the POTUS said when he said ISIS is the Al Qaeda junior varsity team, this organization is technologically savvy, pathologically dedicated to their religion and  well funded.  Their recruitment techniques are just as professional as those used by our service branches.  My fear is that their recruiting techniques may be more successful than ours.

GOP-Debate

Newest Reality TV Show, Survivor…Washington, D.C.

When did the election year politics turn into a bad reality show?  Do we blame the Amazing Race? Do we blame the Bachelor?  How about the Kardashian’s or any of those Housewives of Wherever shows?

Trust me when I say that this is the most devisive and unprofessional year I have ever seen for people that are contending to be President of the United States.  What happened to dignity?  What happened to respect?  What happened to important issues?

The only winners in this media circus is the ………well, the media.  One pundit said that this year’s electoral campaigns are good for CBS, but bad for America.  No fooling!  As of this writing, there have been eleven Republican presidential debates.  I am being overly gracious when I actually describe these events as debates.  Same issues.  Same mud-slinging.  Same name calling. Different time slots, moderators and channels.  Why so many?  Frankly, I have watched about half of them and the debates I missed were pretty much reruns of the debates I watched.  Ugly!

After hours of contemplation, I have decided to contact Mark Burnett and propose a new show for the Republican debates….. Survivor….Washington, D.C!

Can you picture it?  Cue the music!

Blast the irritating horns!  Show some tribal symbols in the promo!  Show the panoramic view of the island that the competition will take place!  Yes, we can’t have this competition in the actual Washington, D.C  The crime rate there is high and  that would be too dangerous!  We will select a deserted island somewhere close to the continent of Africa; close to where the last Survivor winner was born.  With any luck, this island will be  full of cannibals.  Could we be so lucky?

Now the introduction of the contestants.  Firstly, the Gabber from Gotham, Donald J. Trump!  His opponent, from the state of Florida, Marco (I am the son of Ronald Reagan) Rubio!  Their opponent, representing the state of Texas, Ted, I can be trusted because I know what a Bible looks like, Cruz! And our last contestant, representing the state of Ohio and responsible for anything good that has ever happened in that state, John Kasich!

Jeff Probst was unable to be the moderator at this contest as he was previously committed to moderating the Democratic Survivor contest titled, Survivor…Leningrad.  In his place will be the intelligent, charming and witty, Megyn Kelly.  Ms. Kelly of Fox News fame has demonstrated impartiality when it comes to who survives and who wilts like a pansy without water.  And, she is just gosh darn good looking and as long as this is my idea, she will be the moderator!

Our first reward challenge will be the name-calling challenge.  First out of the gate and with a large lead is Rubio.  He is being closely followed by Ted Cruz.  Both attempt to trip up Trump.  Trump makes a half-hearted, half-assed rebuttal to the two leaders.  Con Man.  Charlatan.  Faker.  Failure.  Liar.  The competition is furious and vicious.  Kasich?  Well, this was obviously not his best challenge.  The name calling becomes more intense. The three leaders are miles ahead of Kasich. Eventually, Megyn calls a time out as it has been determined that more negative adjectives were used during this contest than in the last twenty presidential elections combined.  The winner?  Marco Rubio…by quite a distance over his opponents. As he approaches Megyn Kelly to receive his reward, she informs him that while he and Trump and Cruz were flinging the adjectives, Kasich had eaten the reward.

The next reward challenge will be the body part challenge.  Again, Rubio jumps off to a fast start by bringing up the size of Trump’s hands and feet.  He presses on that because these are small, it may be concluded that his man parts may not be adequate or manly.  Cruz is befuddled.  He is more concerned about the size of his Bible.  Trump counters by calling Rubio…little Marco Rubio.  He again, in a half-hearted and half-assed rebuttal counters that his man parts are adequate and manly and that his hands are strong, as verified by his golf instructor.  Kasich again is trailing in this challenge as he continues to ramble about such things as the national debt, ISIS, creating jobs and all those other unimportant things that no one cares about during this challenge.  It was suggested that maybe the boys should just expose their man-parts, and winner takes all!  Megyn Kelly knows a good story when she sees one, so she orders additional cameramen to film this historic event.  The co-winners of the body part challenge are Rubio and Trump.  Cruz and Kasich were outdistanced in this event.  The idea of exposing their man-parts is dropped as Vladimir Putin wanted to enter this part of the competition, which was determined to be against the spirit of this competition. (It would have been to easy to suggest Hillary would have won this competition, but that would be tacky.) Rubio and Trump are contented to each get half of a crap sandwich (I can’t say shit sandwich, as my grandkids could read this) as their reward.

The next and final reward challenge is the back stabbing challenge.  Megyn allows each contestant to select their weapon.  Cruz selects an old-fashioned Bowie knife in honor of the Battle of the Alamo, which of course took place in the great state of Texas.  Rubio selects a switchblade stiletto knife, as it is the knife of choice in Miami.  Trump selects a Scottish dirk as it honors his Scottish heritage.  Kasich selects a 2″ pen knife in honor of the pen knife he uses to open his mail.  The contestants take their places.  Megyn raises her hand and says, “are the contestants ready?”  All contestants nod their preparedness.  “Ready…….stop!”  Stop?  “What do you mean stop?”  Megyn replies, “we now have a new addition to this competion.  Now entering the back stabbing challenge, representing the great state of Utah, Mitt, (the Mormon Mauler), Romney!”  Romney, the loser in the last Survivor contest, makes his presence known.  The Mormon Mauler selects his weapon, a double edged machete, as he intends to cut a wide swath through his challengers, one in particular.  The final reward challenge is over before it really began.  Mitt Romney back stabs Trump repeatedly, much to the amusement of the other candidates.  No contest…Romney wins the back stabbing competition.  And….like all good things, my Survivor….Washington, D.C. fantasy must end.

What exactly is happening to the Republican party in general and why did Romney do what he did specifically.

If you have been observant, you will notice for every political pundit advancing one theory, there is another pundit advancing the opposite opinion.  Can Trump beat Hillary?  Yes responses followed by no  responses.  Can any of the other candidates beat Hillary?  Again, some yes polls followed by no polls.  Will Romney’s scathing and vicious attacks on Trump help or hurt the Republican party?   Again, opposite responses.

I have a theory about Romney.  If you remember, last summer he hosted Jeb Bush in Utah.  After their weekend together, Romney announced he would not seek the Republican nomination.  Jeb was the fair-haired boy.  He had name recognition and a vastly successful money machine for campaign funds.  Then. lo and behold, Jeb gets a lukewarm public response for his presidential bid.   My opinion?  Jeb has not been governor of Florida since 2006, campaigned as if he still was governor, and lost contact with the anger and concerns of most Republican voters.  Mitt must now feel like he opted out too quickly.

His attack on Trump is nothing like I have ever seen in my life.  Vicious, deliberate, unethical. Regardless of who Romney attacked, he has made me regret voting for him in the 2012 election.  All of this after he received financial and personal aid from Trump in 2012,    I have heard the 2012 Trump endorsement of Romney and I have heard Romney’s appreciative comments and over the top descriptions of the virtues of Donald Trump.  In the words of comedian Dennis Miller, “It’s too bad Romney didn’t go after Obama like he has after Donald Trump.”  I find Mitt Romney’s action despicable by any measure.  If his attempt is to become the Republican nominee, he can forget it.

The Republican party?  My theory is that much like Jeb Bush, the Republican party has lost contact with the majority of the people that call themselves Republican.  The ‘king makers’ may have lost track of the desires of the pawns.

I do not want to see a third party candidate.  That’s how we got Bill Clinton.  With a third party candidate, we would have Hillary Clinton and that would mean Survivor….Leningrad would become a reality.

Wake up Republican party!  Your debates have become bad reality TV.  Stop these candidates from ripping on each other and get into the business of ripping up the Democratic side of the house.  The last eight years should provide adequate ammunition for ripping the present administration…so start using it!  Get off your butts and come up with a party plank that the American public can understand. Much good and bad can be said about Donald Trump, but I and everyone who has watched this circus, knows where he stands on issues.  Where does the Republican party stand on issues?

Has Washington, D.C. become such a cesspool of graft, corruption, influence peddling, waste, fraud and abuse that an outsider like Trump, an outsider that can’t be bought, scare the hell out of them? The recent actions of Romney, coming out of the woodwork the way he did, makes me wonder.

The upcoming election could be Survivor…..USA!