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Tag Archives: Syria

Trump & Syria & America

For eight years, I watched a political party come apart at its seams as its members sought to oppose and criticize everything said or done by a President.  As bad as it was from the leadership ranks of that party, it was even worse in the fever swamp of blogs inhabiting that party’s side of the political debate.

If you are a Democrat or a liberal or a progressive, imagine all of the worst things you think about President Trump and Republicans — they lie, they manipulate, they don’t care about America, they’re in the Russians’ pockets, etc. — and all of that was being said about President Obama and Democrats for the eight years of Obama’s Presidency.  Relentless and endless and no quarter given.  The Republican Party was taken over entirely by its right wing fanatics who refused to give an inch and who treated every single thing Obama did as an act of war on America.

I refuse to be that kind of Democrat or liberal.  As much as I cannot stand Trump and his policies and his way of doing things.  As much as I may think he is utterly unprepared and unqualified for the position he now holds.  As much as I fear what he will do to this country, and hell, what he already is doing.  As much as all of that.  I will support him when I think he is right.  Lockstep opposition from our side of the debate is no better than the lockstep opposition Obama faced during his eight years.

At least for one moment, I agree with Trump’s strike on the Syrian airfield following the latest use of chemical weapons by Assad against his people.  Yes, there are all sorts of reasons to question the legitimacy or rationale of the attack.  Maybe he’s doing it to distract from the whole Russia thing.  Maybe not.  Maybe the attack is a meaningless gesture.  Maybe not.  Maybe it is a signal that we are going to be drawn into a greater role and ultimately go back to war in the Middle East.  Maybe not.

All I know, is that for at least that one moment, we did something to signal to Assad that his butchery and treachery has gone too far.  Here is what I wrote on FB the other evening:

This may come as a shock to my friends here on FB, but I applaud President Trump for his statement tonight and his measured action in response to the most recent chemical attack in Syria. There is a lot to be critical of the man, but I also think we should be honest where he gets something right. Or at least as right as it can be. Syria is a mess. But there comes a point when responsible nations have to do something about the horror a government inflicts on its own people. I worry that we’ll get sucked into something that will only be worse. I worry about this particular President’s ability to stay rational and measured. But right now, I feel like he did the right thing. Limited, measured, and relevant. His short statement tonight included some elements I have problems with, but it may well have been the most Presidential thing he has done.

25 years ago I silently screamed for the world to do something about the slaughter going on in the former Yugoslavia. When we finally did, we actually ended the slaughter. That’s what needs to be done now in Syria. It’s what needed to be done a few years ago. It’s a horrible, difficult situation. I waver between my isolationist tendencies and desire that America no longer be the world’s policeman and the recognition that we have such immense power to put a stop to these types of things. I don’t want American lives to be lost. I don’t want any lives to be lost. I tire of paying the price of the world’s wars. But some things just may be worth the cost. The tragedy unfolding in Syria may be one of those times when it is time for us to bear a cost.

 

If we are unwilling to do something about the particular evil that Assad represents, then we are a failure as far as I’m concerned.  There are plenty of risks at play here, but when it comes to evil, sometimes you have to take a risk.

I will continue to keep an open mind and question everything Trump says and does, but when he gets something right, which I believe he did here, I refuse to do what the Republicans did to Obama.  I will not be that kind of Democrat.

 

 

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A Little Bit of This, A Little Bit of That

When I thought of writing this post yesterday, it was going to be titled Accountability, because I was going to cover a couple of “promises” I’ve made in the last couple of weeks.  To hold me accountable.  But, then there were some updates I wanted to provide in some other areas.  And, then there was something that came up that seemed to just be a random thought.  More fitting to my A Peek Inside kind of posts.  So, here’s what you get…

Accountability

A little over two weeks ago, I started walking.  Inspired by another blogger, I decided to engage in a serious commitment to start running again.  I started walking on August 15 and talked with my physical therapist on August 16.  Since then I have gone for a walk every day except for the two days I was in Long Beach.  Some days I have gone for two walks — one first thing in the morning and the other when I get home from work.  All told, I’m thinking I’ve probably walked about 45-50 miles over the last sixteen days.  Yesterday, I hit five miles for my morning walk.  I’ll be walking again today.  On the physical therapy side, I’ve done my exercises every day except for those two Long Beach days.

So, how’s it all feeling down there?  I can tell I’m getting stronger, but I also know that the PT exercises I’m doing are at the lowest level of engagement with my injured area.  To recap — I tore a muscle high up in my inner thigh three times before going to see the sports doc.  It’s a groin muscle and what I’ve learned is that the whole groin complex of muscles is, well, complex.  The injury has caused serious problems in other areas of the groin.  While I can tell that the muscle I tore is still damaged and weak, the other areas seem to have improved.  Plus, they continue to be less bothersome with each walk.  On a pain/discomfort scale, two weeks ago, I was probably at a three while walking.  Now, I’m down to a one.  There’s enough there for me to know it’s there, but that’s it.  I’m now waiting for the next round of exercises from the physical therapist and trying as hard as I possibly can not to break into a jog while walking.  That’s the hardest part.  As I walk along, very briskly, I think “if I can walk five miles, why can’t I jog a bit?”  I know why, so I resist.  It’ll come.  Hopefully in a couple more months and the truth is that I’m enjoying the walks.

My goal:  A half marathon, October 2014

More Accountability

After a long cold spell on the writing front — marked by little progress and massive indecision about what to work on — I have made significant strides in both areas.  Deviation is chugging along.  Every time I sit down to work on it, I’m able to produce 1,000 words relatively effortlessly.  It’s now over 13,000 words long and I’m beginning to think of how the story is going to wind down.  I’m also considering the editing I’ll have to do for the story.

I’ve also made some very specific decisions about the next few months of writing projects.  September is for completing Deviation.  October will be for Northville Five & Dime.  November will be for Spaceship Earth — a story I don’t know that I’ve mentioned here.  It’s a sexy, end of the world, sci-fi thingamajig.  Once I have all three stories complete, I’m going to publish them individually for the Kindle.  I’m also going to publish a paperback with all three stories, plus my other two longer short stories — The Marfa Lights and Shady Acres.  Or maybe I’ll just publish the three new stories together in the paperback.  Haven’t decided about that yet.  But each of these stories will, or should, end up being in the 15,000-25,000 word range, although I’m not sure about Spaceship Earth.  It may well end up longer than that.

Once I’m done with those stories, I’ll head back to one of my half-completed novels.  These short stories are helping me tremendously.  To write and also to remember that I can actually bring to conclusion a significant writing effort.  I was beginning to wonder if I could do that.

An Update

August has been a long, cruel month for my publishing efforts.  One Night in Bridgeport was doing well as I entered August, selling 250 downloads in July and continuing to produce a handful each day.  I decided to see what would happen if I raised the price to $2.99 and learned a painful lesson.  Sales dropped off.  So I put the price back to .99 and then offered a couple of free days.  Things were still slow for a few days.  I have this idea that Bridgeport at .99 could (should?) produce at least 100 downloads every month.  It wasn’t looking good for August and I thought I had done permanent damage to my sales of the book.  Until the last few days when I went from 68 to 97 for the month.  Almost got there.  I’m done monkeying around with the price.  Bridgeport is now there at .99.  For good or bad.

Weed Therapy, however, has been completely flat.  What I learned from promoting Bridgeport has produced virtually nothing for Weed Therapy.  Lesson learned — different book, different genre, different approach.  I’m still noodling over this while waiting for some more reviews to come in.  There must be a way to find the audience for the book.  I just haven’t figured it out yet.

Another Update

Go here.  The Paperbook Collective is a new on-line literary/creative effort.  The September 1 issue is the second for Jayde Ashe, an Australian blogger who is trying to put out a monthly collection of poetry, short stories, photography, art — just about any type of creative mode.  I have two short pieces of flash fiction in the September issue.  Check it out and contribute yourself for future issues.

A Peek Inside

I think some people will look at President Obama’s speech yesterday and say once again that he is weak, that he vacillates, that he’s unwilling to take a stand, that he doesn’t know what he is doing.  Personally, I think what he did was a master stroke.  Everybody wants him to do something.  Nobody wants him to do anything.  Great.  Give it to Congress and let them figure out a way out of this mess.  Let the Republicans self-destruct over this and demonstrate, once again, their unfitness. It also turns back the tide of criticism about the Imperial Presidency — that in matters such as these where the Constitution and federal law requires Congress’s consent for military interventions Presidents should not go it alone without the required Congressional approval.  It actually returns the U.S. to a place it should have occupied for the last few decades but didn’t because of the fractures in our political system.  I’m looking forward to seeing how Congress handles this.

What do I think should happen?  I’m a believer in using force for purposes of good.  There are times when the powerful have a moral duty to protect the less powerful.  It’s why I supported Clinton’s efforts in Bosnia 20 years ago.  It’s why I thought we should have down more in the Sudan.  Yes, there are plenty of examples of such efforts producing no benefit or, worse, dragging us into a mess.

The Middle East is certainly a mess waiting to become a quagmire.  We have done enough damage to our standing in the area over the last sixty years and even more so in the last decade.  And there are enemies on all sides just waiting for the opportunity to turn one country’s civil war into something larger.  As a result, there are huge risks if we strike Assad’s regime or intervene more heavily in the civil war.  That said, a government’s use of chemical weapons is simply unacceptable.  The brutality the Assad family has unleashed on the people of Syria for decades at some point has to end.  I struggle with the idea that we should just stand by and watch.

And now a video for you …

Or two …

It’s 6:24 in the morning.  It’s dark outside, but the sun is about to make it’s appearance.  Time to go for a walk.

 

 

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