Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Debased Debates

My wife and I no longer even own a TV;  the only time we ever watch it  is if we are traveling abroad, or (sometimes) if in a stateside hotel.  The latter circumstance obtained the other day, as we found ourselves (on the second leg of a fortieth-anniversary celebratory trip, this one in the northern hemisphere) in a very nice Holiday Inn, on the night of the second “Presidential” “debate”.   It was futile, but sort of fun for a married couple to watch, over goat’s-cheese and cabernet, in a comfy fluffy pillow-filled  hotel bed.

My own political opinions being of absolutely no interest to anyone, even to myself, I’ll stick to mentioning a couple of telling points that either side might have made, but failed to, in the almost content-free flyting that, these days, passes for debate.  (If the word “disaster” were to disappear from the English language, Mr Trump’s public vocabulary would be sliced in half.)

* Mr.  Trump boasts he’ll wipe out ISIL, without hinting how.  Mrs Clinton was silent on this, but could well have countered by mentionng several singularly brilliant recent victories over ISIL leadership, widely reported in the press.  Plus Mosul and Raqqa are hanging in the balance. -- That by no means implies that the immediate threat of ISIL to Europe (and, to a lesser extent, to the US)  is diminished in the near term:  if you stomp on a wasps’ nest, the wasps (extra mad now) disperse.   So there is much to be done;  but this Administration (though I say it as shouldn't) has been doing a good job in CT overall.

* Both Democracts and Republicans have been culpably negligent as regards illegal immigration (and by that assertion is intended nothing debatably political, but apodictically universal:  If you have a law, either repeal it or enforce it;  that’s what “law” means).  President Obama and Mrs. Clinton further (and this is a political observation, rather than a logical  -- you can agree or disagree, without sinning against Aristotle) have lately imperiled the Republic by calling for (and implementing) additional (by Presidential fiat) legal immigration  from lands that have little to offer us but blood and chaos.   Several very recent developments in Europe underline this observation, including one in Germany (the Jaber al-Bakr affair) unfolding  even as the candidates spoke onstage;  yet Mr Trump failed to mention these. 

(If your wish to educate yourselves, you unfortunately will have to search on variant Romanizations of the Arabic name:  Jabir el-Bakr, Djabir al-Bakir, Dschaber al-Bakr, and so forth.  Pronounced JAB-ir al-BAK-er.)

All that was really only by way of leading up to a much more interesting story, that of the Suicide-Bomber who Unexpectedly Committed Suicide:

[Update 15 October 2016]  To those who would dismiss Jaber al-Bakr’s terror plot as the work of an isolated madman, with no coordination with ISIL and rejected by the Muslim immigrant community in Germany (and hence, nothing to get worked up about;  with the suicide, Case Closed), consider this:
Jaber’s brother has been talking to the press.   He is one of the “suicide skeptics”.  In an earlier interview, he conceded that, while his brother might have had ISIL ties, he would never have killed himself.  Now he is (lyingly) denying the ISIL ties, and accusing the German authorities of having bumped off his brother in jail.  So far from apologizing for Jaber’s planned atrocities, he is threatening revenge :

Bruder des toten Jaber Albakr "Meine Reaktion als Araber ist Rache"

Der Bruder des toten Terrorverdächtigen Jaber Albakr spricht im DW-Interview eine Drohung aus. Sein Bruder sei kein IS-Mitglied gewesen, sagt Alaa Albakr zudem. Im "Spiegel" klang das anders.

Der Bruder des toten Terrorverdächtigen Jaber Albakr sinnt auf Vergeltung für den Suizid seines Bruders. In einem Video-Interview der Deutschen Welle spricht er dabei auch indirekt eine Drohung gegen die drei Syrer aus, die seinen Bruder in Leipzig überwältigt und der Polizei übergeben hatten.

As for the three Syrian “heroes” (or not; the jury isstill out on this), they have disappeared from Leipzig and gone into hiding.


  1. It is difficult to catch my hair on fire over جابر الباكر given that he was apprehended by three fellow Syrian refugees then killed himself in jail.

    1. If al-Bakr had managed to explode the TATP he had stored in his apartment, your hair would indeed have ignited.

      Further, it is somewhat misleading to say that Syrians “apprehended” the perp, as though they had gone out searching for him. Rather, he phoned one of them -- thus, seemingly an acquaintance, and indeed someone on whom he thought he could rely. There is active debate currently in Germany, whether the Syrians that were part of his social network were actually “Helden” or “Mitarbeiter” -- heros, or accomplices doing damage-control.

      Indeed, al-Bakr himself claimed (truly or falsely -- it might have been merely for revenge) that all three had foreknowledge of the plot:
      Der in seiner Zelle tot aufgfundene Terrorverdächtige Dschaber al-Bakr hat offenbar die drei Syrer aus Leipzig-Paunsdorf beschuldigt, in die Anschlagspläne involviert gewesen zu sein

      Even the apparent suicide has faced surprising amounts of skepticism:

      Für den Soziologen Ahmad Mansour ist der Suizid von Dschaber al-Bakr ein Rätsel. Es sei im Islam verboten – eine Sünde.