mykeystrokes.com

"Do or Do not. There is no try."

“Oh Boy, God Is Shooting A Shot Across The Bow”: Pastor Who Hosted GOP; Paris Victims Were ‘Devil-Worshippers’

A Christian pastor who hosted Republican presidential candidates a week before the Paris terrorist attack says its victims received divine retribution for worshipping Satan.

Kevin Swanson of Generations Ministries said last Thursday that the 89 people massacred inside the Bataclan theater were “devil-worshippers.” Two weeks earlier, Swanson headlined his own “Freedom 2015: National Religious Liberties Conference” featuring Ted Cruz, Mike Huckabee, Bobby Jindal.

Swanson believes God will annihilate America for tolerating homosexuality and seemed to say God already made an example out of the Bataclan.

“There’s certainly a providential irony here,” Swanson said of the fact that California rock band Eagles of Death Metal reportedly played “Kiss the Devil” as terrorists began firing AK-47s into the crowd. “They went from singing about the devil to meeting the devil face-to-face.”

“When you get a wake-up call like what happened at France’s 9/11 last Friday night at the concert,” he said, “I think we all need to pay attention to what’s happening: This is a message from God. God is shooting a shot across the bow and we better be paying attention to this.”

Swanson had a message for those who weren’t killed, too.

“I think we need to ask the concertgoers, at least those who survived, did you love the devil? Did you love the devil’s works as your friends were being shot up in the massacre?”

Swanson then claimed he wasn’t taking sides between peaceful victims and Islamic terrorists, though.

“These ISIS devil-worshippers have pitted themselves against humanist devil-worshippers. I’m not on either side here. I’m not taking the side of the devil-worshippers performing the concert; I’m not on the side of ISIS who are slaughtering the devil-worshippers inside the concert. I’m not on neither side.”

Cruz and Huckabee’s presidential campaigns did not respond to a request for comment about Swanson.

Previously, Swanson has said that gays should face the death penalty; that the movie Frozen turns little girls into lesbians; that natural disasters are the fault of godless fornicators.

 

By: Andrew Kirell, The Daily Beast, November 23, 2015

November 24, 2015 Posted by | GOP, Paris Attacks, Terrorism | , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

“Paris, The City Of Light”: Light Reveals Bankrupt Ideologies For The Failures They Are

“I believe the light that shines on you will shine on you forever … though I can’t guarantee there’s nothing scary hiding under your bed.”

“Father and Daughter” by Paul Simon

My wife has a bad knee and isn’t much for long walks, so that night after the Chunnel train had brought us over from London and we set out on foot from the hotel to do some exploring, I wasn’t expecting to go far. Maybe a block, maybe two.

I have no idea how far we actually went, but I know it was a lot further than a couple blocks. I kept asking if she was okay. Marilyn kept assuring me that she was and wanted to keep going.

She was enraptured, as was I. Walking through Paris was like walking through magic. We went down a fairytale street, paused on a bridge overlooking the Seine to watch the glass-topped dinner cruises plying the water, ended up at the Place de la Concorde, looking west along the Champs-Elysees. In the distance the Arc de Triomphe glowed.

Some cities disappoint you. Some cities you visit and that thing they are known for, that thing people come from around the world to experience, turns out to be exaggeration, myth or mirage. In the ’70s, I used to feel sorry for tourists who came to Hollywood (which has since been largely redeveloped), only to find that the fabled film capital was little more than office buildings, souvenir shops and street corners where prostitutes gathered six deep.

But Paris is exactly what they say. Paris is, in reputation and in fact, the City of Light.

So I suppose we ought not be surprised that it now finds itself under attack from the forces of shadow.

By now, you’ve already heard all you can stand — and then some — about the series of coordinated terrorist assaults by ISIS that left well over a hundred people dead on Friday. By now, you have already wept or prayed or vented your fury or wondered aloud what this world is coming to or simply stood mute in the face of humankind’s seemingly bottomless capacity for savagery.

I almost called it animalism, but that’s an insult to animals. They, after all, kill to feed or defend themselves. Only human beings kill for beliefs — in this case, a twisted, fundamentalist strain of Islam.

And it’s no accident it was Paris. Like New York City 14 years ago, it was a representational target. New York stands for American power and Sept. 11 was meant to spit in the eye of that power. Paris stands for light and the events of Nov. 13 sought to eclipse the glow — not simply the glow of beauty and romance, but also of enlightenment and hope.

Paris has always been a beacon of such things. That may have been part of the reason Adolf Hitler ordered the city destroyed when his troops were driven out in 1944. It may have been part of the reason Gen. Dietrich von Choltitz disobeyed the order.

The quote at the top of this column is from a song not about terror, but about a father’s love for the bright light that is his daughter and his promise to be there for her in a world of uncertainty and threat. But though they were not crafted for this moment, the words feel apropos to it.

No, it is not monsters hiding under the bed by which civilization is menaced. But it is monsters just the same, forces of savagery, ignorance, hatred, fundamentalism and extremism striking from corners where light does not reach. And no one can guarantee perpetual safety against such threats.

But we can strike back hard when they come, as France is doing now. In the long run, though: It isn’t bullets and bombs these monsters fear the most, hate the most, or that hurts them the most. No, that which lurks in shadow despises light — and well it should. Light reveals bankrupt ideologies for the failures they are. Light draws people together. Light gives courage. And light gives hope.

So Vive la France!

And shine on.

 

By: Leonard Pitts, Jr., Columnist for The Miami Herald: The National Memo, November 18, 2015

November 18, 2015 Posted by | Civilization, ISIS, Paris Attacks, Terrorism | , , , , , | 1 Comment

“A Crackpot, Deviant Sect”: An Apocalyptic Death Cult Has Its Limits

“Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.”
          —Voltaire

Years before Navy Seals killed Osama bin Laden, this column argued that al Qaeda was capable of “theatrical acts of mass murder,” but was not a military threat to the United States.

The phrase infuriated some readers. Back then tough guys talked about fighting “Islamofascism,” supposedly a totalitarian ideology linking bitter enemies such as Iran and al Qaeda (but never Saudi Arabia, where the oil and money are, and where almost all the 9/11 conspirators originated) in an alliance to destroy Western Civilization.

Nobody says that any more.

My point was simple. Fascism was a poor analogy. Pundits’ Churchillian fantasies aside, what made Nazism “uniquely dangerous wasn’t merely Hitler’s hypnotic ideology. It was German militarism and hyper-nationalism run amok. Islamic extremists control none of the world’s 60-odd Muslim-majority nations. They have no army, air force or navy. They pose no military threat to the integrity of the United States or any Western nation.”

Nor does ISIS, al Qaeda’s more flamboyant and equally murderous rival. Last week’s appalling atrocities in Paris, Beirut, and Egypt underscored that reality in the bloodiest possible way. Almost everybody anticipates similar attacks in the United States. We must pray that they fail. However, as President Obama has said, a terrorist willing to die can murder innocents in restaurants as easily as in Connecticut classrooms.

Yet for all the fury and despair these attacks have evoked—I think of a little Parisian girl named Charlotte and her family—ISIS cannot and will not prevail. It’s less a political movement than an apocalyptic death cult, and definitely not an existential threat to the United States, France, or Russia.

Sane leaders would know better than to antagonize three of the world’s most powerful military establishments at once.

ISIS’s self-anointed “Caliph,” Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, is not that kind of leader. Think David Koresh or Jim Jones with a militia and a Koran instead of a Bible. Theologically, ISIS is to Islam as the Ku Klux Klan is to Christianity, by which I mean they’re a crackpot, deviant sect. But they’re even crazier than that.

Madness, however, has never prevented cult leaders from gaining an enraptured following. If anything, the converse appears true.

It’s a fact of life Orwell recognized in a 1940 review of Hitler’s Mein Kampf: “Whereas Socialism, and even capitalism in a more grudging way, have said to people ‘I offer you a good time,’ Hitler has said to them, ‘I offer you struggle, danger, and death,’ and as a result a whole nation flings itself at his feet.”

Writing in The Atlantic, Graeme Wood explains ISIS’s hypnotic appeal to dispossessed and humiliated young men:

During the last years of the U.S. occupation of Iraq, the Islamic State’s immediate founding fathers…saw signs of the end times everywhere. They were anticipating, within a year, the arrival of the Mahdi—a messianic figure destined to lead the Muslims to victory before the end of the world…. For certain true believers—the kind who long for epic good-versus-evil battles—visions of apocalyptic bloodbaths fulfill a deep psychological need.

It almost goes without saying that you can’t make treaties with such people. They can only be defeated.

The question is how? And at what cost?

Confronted with a newly belligerent press corps in Turkey recently, President Obama spoke mockingly about taking action that would “somehow in the abstract make America look tough or make me look tough.”

“When you listen to what [GOP candidates] actually have to say,” the president said, “what they’re proposing, most of the time when pressed they describe things that we’re already doing. Maybe they’re not aware that we’re already doing them. Some of them seem to think that if I were just more bellicose in expressing what we’re doing, that that would make a difference, because that seems to be the only thing that they’re doing, is talking as if they’re tough.”

Mother Jones blogger Kevin Drum went down the list of the GOP candidates’ suggestions, but found nothing new:

There’s a lot we can do to defeat ISIS, and most of it we’re already doing. Airstrikes? Check. Broad coalition? Check. Working with Arab allies? Check. Engage with Sunni tribal leaders? Check. Embed with the Iraqi military? Check. There’s more we could do, but often it’s contradictory. You want to arm the Kurds and create a partnership with the Iraqi government? Good luck. You want to defeat Assad and ISIS? You better pick one. You want to avoid a large American ground force and you want to win the war fast? Not gonna happen.

Yes, Obama’s “red line” in Syria was a strategic blunder; his “junior varsity” remark was cocky and ill-advised. Also, Vladimir Putin’s right: The Assad government’s bad, but ISIS is far worse.

However, ISIS has turned to terror because it’s gradually losing the ground war, and the Caliphate is shrinking.

La belle France is not.

 

By: Gene Lyons, The National Memo, November 18, 2015

November 18, 2015 Posted by | Adolph Hitler, ISIS, Paris Attacks | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

“Serving The Cause Of Terrorist Jihad”: Paris Terror; Why ISIS Needs The ‘Useful Idiots’ Who Demonize Muslims

When France’s prime minister Manuel Valls said after last Friday’s attacks in Paris, “nous sommes en guerre” – we are at war – there could be no doubt that the rest of the civilized world, including the United States and NATO, will stand beside our oldest ally in a common struggle to extirpate the barbaric ISIS.

But as this conflict deepens and national emotions surge, it is vital to keep minds clear and principles intact.

Sadly the Republican candidates for president, and too many in their party, will seek to use this crisis as a partisan weapon against President Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the leading Democratic presidential contender. They will charge the Obama administration with “weakness” even as American warplanes fly thousands of sorties against ISIS positions in Iraq and Syria. Such political attacks sound ridiculous to anyone familiar with the recent history of the Mideast. As a product of Al Qaeda in Iraq, ISIS rose directly from the ill-conceived invasion and occupation of that unfortunate country – and the fact that Clinton mistakenly voted to give George W. Bush the conditional authority to wage that war in no way makes her (or Obama) responsible for its botched execution.

The social chaos, religious strife, and massive bloodshed resulting from the US invasion created fertile ground for a new terrorist movement. And as Washington Post reporter Joby Warrick explains in Black Flags, his authoritative new history of the rise of ISIS, the Bush administration elevated its founder, a minor Jordanian gangster named Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, into an international terrorist celebrity with its bogus claim that he represented a link between Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden.

So when historians someday apportion blame, that process won’t flatter the Republicans and their neoconservative advisers, who assured us that “regime change” in Iraq would reshape the region at very little cost to us. Few national security predictions have ever been so confident and so wrong, with such enormous and enduring consequences. Influenced by those advisers, the Bush White House failed to address the terrorist threat before 9/11, and later used it to build a fraudulent justification for invading Iraq.

We might thus hesitate before continuing to follow the counsel of such figures – from William Kristol to Dick Cheney to Jeb Bush, one of the original members of the Project for the New American Century, a powerful lobbying outfit formed 15 years ago to promote war in Iraq, among other misguided ideas. These are the same characters who fought more recently to kill the Iran nuclear deal. Had they succeeded, we now would have no chance of even minimal cooperation with Tehran against ISIS, which is vital.

We would do better instead to reject their ill-conceived notions – and especially their mindless hostility toward Muslims and Islam.

Consider the latest instance: Along with Senator Ted Cruz, Donald Trump, Ben Carson and too many other Republicans, “moderate” Jeb Bush today articulates a response to ISIS that includes ominous anti-Muslim overtones. Specifically, he and Cruz urge the government to accept Christian but not Muslim refugees from Syria — and this is merely the most recent in a wave of remarks and statements offensive to Muslims from Republican elected officials and political hopefuls. Whenever a Republican candidate — or any other American — endorses bigotry against Islam and its billion-plus believers, he or she becomes a “useful idiot” serving the cause of terrorist jihad.

As George W. Bush said in his finest hour, our cause is not a war against Islam or the overwhelming majority of Muslims who live peacefully and loyally in the United States and in scores of other nations, from Europe to Malaysia. Indeed, the destruction of ISIS will require an unbreakable alliance with Islam’s true followers, not only in Syria and Iraq but in every place that jihadi terrorists may target. We cannot rely on military, police, and intelligence cooperation from people demonized and demeaned by political leaders and media outlets.

Every imbecile who threatens Muslims is an unwitting agent of ISIS; in fact, it would be unsurprising to learn that ISIS itself is covertly promoting such messages in order to intensify enmity between the peoples of the Quran and the rest of the world. Certainly that is among the primary objectives of attacks like last week’s atrocities in Paris.

What we need now is a diplomatic solution for Syria, which may at last be on the horizon if the Russians are serious about bringing down ISIS. We need a smart, careful, and focused military strategy that builds on recent advances by Kurdish and Shiite forces on the ground. And we need to assure Muslims everywhere – as President Obama has wisely insisted — that they have a place of security and honor in the world we hope to build.

 

By: Joe Conason, Editor in Chief, Editor’s Blog, Featured Post, The National Memo, November 16, 2015

November 18, 2015 Posted by | Bush-Cheney Administration, ISIS, Paris Attacks | , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

   

%d bloggers like this: