A Rapid Radicalization

Somebody on MSNBC said today that Tashfeen Malik probably became a terrorist because she came to the U.S., listened to Trump’s anti-Muslim comments, got “disappointed” and decided to become a terrorist.

Given that Trump has only been talking about Muslims actively for a couple of weeks, this must have been the swiftest radicalization in history.

Also, this argument supports Trump’s suggestion that Muslims shouldn’t be let into the US lest they get disappointed all the way to a shooting spree.

I wish people considered the consequences of their blabbing more carefully.

Secrets of Attractiveness

A 260-pound woman on Dr Phil says that she’s afraid that if she loses weight she’ll get a lot of unwelcome attention from men.

I totally identify with the goal but the woman frets needlessly. If you are not attracting crowds at 260 pounds, you won’t attract them at 160. And if you are attracting crowds at 160, you will attract the same crowds at 260.

Self-Care Exercise

The best place to meditate is Home Depot (a huge hardware chain store). There are very few people, the place is enormous, there is a whole large section that smells of fresh wood planks and another section that has live seasonal plants, Christmas carols play in the background, the selection of goods is all about improving and decorating one’s living space, walking around the store provides a form of gentle exercise. 

I go to Home Depot for an hour and emerge feeling more refreshed than after 3 hours at a spa.  I’d do a bookstore, of course, but ours is not huge and too crowded.

Information Wars

The most important wars in today’s fluid world are information wars. If there is any cause you care about, the best thing to do is get educated in the methods of fighting these wars.

Look at Planned Parenthood. This is an organization that had (and still has) everything to win the PR war. Yet it’s losing in a disastrous and shocking way. 

One sign that you are going to lose is when you start from a defensive position and make your message about your opponent’s strength and not your own (“these videos were doctored!” “Bush lied!”).

Bomb Threat

We have a bomb threat on campus. Right in my building. The Secretary of State Bomb Squad Unit is investigating using, among other things, bomb-sniffing dogs. They say the actual threat is low.

We are starting the final exams, so all bomb threats and such are not as credible as they would be at a different time. But still, who knows any more?

Obama’s Speech on Terrorism

I liked Obama’s speech on terrorism. People are criticizing him for not offering any concrete steps to defeat the Islamic State but the truth is that there are no concrete steps he could offer. Even if Obama decided to send tens of thousands troops to Syria and even if those comparatively unmotivated troops could defeat the organization of passionate fanatics, so what? Tomorrow, a new Islamic State would spring up someplace else.

You can’t defeat an idea until the idea defeats itself. Tomorrow and the day after there will be more Farooks, Maliks and Jihadi Toliks (that’s the nickname of the Russian ISIS head chopper) whether Syria even exists or not.

I also liked Obama’s call to Muslims to start doing something about this whole mess. Since the San Bernardino massacre, I read 4 articles by people who identified as Muslims. All articles were pouty in tone and transmitted the same boring message of “But why do we have to.” What purpose the authors think these pieces served other than letting them feel self-righteous is a mystery.

During Russia’s war in Ukraine, I sought out every opportunity to speak, explain, cajole, convince, and try to make the story reach people. If Ukrainians started organizing mass murders all over the world, I wouldn’t think it beneath myself to provide analysis, offer insights, and explain, explain, explain while apologizing at every turn. So Obama is right, the Muslim community is not managing to win the information war. And from the recent Ukrainian experience, I know that it’s not that hard to win it if everyone puts their mind to it.

Overall, it was a good, calm speech that is so unlike the Creepy Lizard’s fantasies about dropping nuclear bombs on Syria.

And people who want concrete solutions should stop waiting for the Nanny State to solve this problem for them. The Nanny State has left the building. This is now for all of us to figure out.