Between Terrorism, Ebola and Ebola Hysteria, Staycations are Looking Good

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I don’t have the money to take a cruise right now, anyway.

I’ve got to hire a plumber to fix some drippy leaks and figure out why water backs up into the vents on my house when the yard is soaked. That, and not airline tickets and cruise ships, is where my money is going.

But even if I was full up on cash and aching to roll, I think I’d settle for a car trip and a family picnic. Since 9/11, travel has been punishing at best. Now it’s looking more and more like a nightmare waiting to happen.

ISIS and their desire to blow us up/behead us/take us prisoner/rape us and sell us into slavery is like the ubiquitous elevator music of our travel. We know, as we are wanded, patted down, searched and yelled at by airport personnel that this little bit of medicine is for our own good. We take it in hopes that it will ward off having us end up like the Passengers of Flight 93, careening into the earth to save the nation’s capital from attack, or like James Foley, kneeling in the sand to recite some bit of ISIS dogma before we are murdered by a satanic braggadocio.

We’ve got a handle on all that. We’ve learned to tune the noise down low and go about our business, semi-secure in the law of averages and what has so far been well-placed faith in our government to ferret out these murdering dirt bags before they get to us.

Then, along comes Ebola, which will not show itself to the wands and metal detectors and which can not be bothered to telegraph its intentions with email and cell phone calls. Ebola travels from human to human in the silent stealth warfare of life against life. Disease knows no faith, nationality or cant. It does not announce itself by shouting slogans and waving weapons.

In the famous words from Terminator 1, “… it can’t be bargained with. It can’t be reasoned with. It doesn’t feel pity, or remorse, or fear.”

Ebola is the latest in an endless line of attacks humanity has faced from other life forms. The virus, with its magnificent simplicity, and its half-life/half-not-life status, is particularly difficult to manage. Unlike bacteria, a virus can’t even breed itself. It cannot, as the scientists say, “multiply” on its own.

It needs a “host” and when that “host” is us, and the virus in question is a killer, you’d better, as Okies say, get back Loretta. Because things are going to get crazy.

Each virus has its limits, and we, being the smarter of the two in this battle, can size up those limits and figure out how to take the thing on by getting it on our turf instead of its turf.

The turf of the Ebola virus is literally hand to hand. As in, it passes hand to hand. So far (and hopefully from now on) it doesn’t pass by breath. An Ebola victim can’t exhale on you and infect you. It also can’t pass from one person to the next until it has reached the stage where it shows itself. When it demonstrates its presence with a fever or a headache or nausea, then it is powerful enough to reach across the divide between persons and jump, on a touch or a shared bit of bodily fluid, from one person to the next.

It’s far more infectious than HIV, but it’s not contagious like, say, the flu.

However, it is deadly, and I don’t mean deadly in years the way HIV is, but deadly in days. And the death it gives is agonizing.

We don’t understand Ebola. And we haven’t been so good at doing what we don’t admit we do with these deadly diseases, which is to “contain” it among what we appear to regard as the riffraff of the world. From the nightly news to daily conversations, the horror of Ebola is not that it is laying waste whole countries in Africa. It is the all-too-human fear that it’s going to leap the fence of national borders, rivers and oceans and get to us.

The best single disease vector on our planet today is the commercial airline, which is also the vector for the social disease of terrorism. A jet plane can do in a matter of hours what once took months or even years, and in the case of isolated areas of the world, what, in centuries past, didn’t happen at all. Plague of any type can now spread at the speed of a jet engine. And it goes everywhere on this planet.

Thus we have a man from Liberia, dying of Ebola in Dallas, and a health care worker from Dallas ending up in quarantine in Belize. That’s the latest story, you know. A poor health care worker from the same Dallas hospital where the Liberian man died and a nurse contracted the disease, went on a cruise and ended up in quarantine because she got sick.

Does she have Ebola? Given the length of time since she handled the specimens (she’s a lab worker) it’s unlikely, but possible. Her exposure, if there was one, occurred long enough ago that Ebola has almost run out its string with her. All living things, including somewhat living things like the Ebola virus have an amount of time it takes them to reproduce. In the case of disease, it takes a lot of these reproductions, these multiplications, before symptoms develop. We can measure it and predict it within parameters that allow for individual variations.

If this health care worker has Ebola, her body is keeping it down well enough that it’s taken a long time to manifest.

All this raises questions. Government questions. Health care questions. And what are you and I gonna do questions.

The what are you and I gonna do questions are actually the easiest because they’re the ones we have complete control over.

Holiday season is coming, and a lot of people will want to hop a jet and go to Grandma’s house. I like to take trips in October because the weather is pleasant and the tourists are thinned out.

The answer for me about what I’m gonna do is largely academic. I don’t have the coin to go gallivanting. I’ve got plumbing to fix. I may load up the car and take a couple of day trips around Oklahoma. But that’s about it for me.

However, given the various complexities that are being heaped on travel, a staycation is looking more and more like the smart move, and not just for me. I mean, who wants to go on a cruise and end up quarantined? Who wants to go on a flight and end up alerted that they have to watch themselves for symptoms for the next three weeks? Who wants to be patted down, wanded and yelled at? And I’m not even talking about squeezing yourself into those tiny seats and hauling luggage through airports.

I love to travel. But, fortunately for me, I also love to be at home.

I’ve got plumbing to fix and things are in a roil on the travel front. I see a staycation in my future.

Four Londoners Charged with ISIS-Related Terrorism

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One of the men charged: Tarik Hassane. Photo Source: Daily Mail

Four men have been accused of plotting a terrorist attack on police officers and soldiers in the streets of London.

According to the Daily Mail, the men had sworn oaths of allegiance to ISIS and were scouting a London police station and an army barracks. They had photos of four officers. I assume these were photos of their intended victims.

They had managed to arm themselves and had “jihadist materials, including videos of beheadings.”

From the Mail Online:

Four men have appeared in court accused of plotting a terror attack on police officers or soldiers on the streets of London.

 

Tarik Hassane, 21, Suhaib Majeed, 20, Nyall Hamlett, 24, and Momen Motasim, 21, appeared at Westminster Magistrates’ Court charged with intending to commit acts of terrorism.

 

The men allegedly swore allegiance to extremist group Islamic State (ISIS) and scouted out Shepherd’s Bush police station and White City Territorial Army Barracks.

 

They allegedly kept Instagram images of two Scotland Yard police officers and two Metropolitan Police community support officers, as well as a trove of jihadist material including videos of beheadings.

 

In addition, they are accused of having a Baikal handgun, silencer and six rounds of ammunition.

 

It is alleged the men discussed getting hold of and stashing a moped as part of the terror plot and are said to have used codewords over secret communication channels.

 

A fifth man, Nathan Cuffy, 25, also appeared in court charged with firearms offences.

US Bombing Oil Sites Owned by ISIS

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The US is bombing oil refineries ISIS is using to fund their murderous onslaught on the people of the Middle East. Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates also participated in the air strikes.

We also need to prosecute the “businessmen” who are buying and selling this oil. There should be ways to do this through international law. They are participants in genocide and other crimes against humanity.

From Business Insider:

In an oil field in northeastern Syria, trucks line up daily to load crude sold cheaply by Islamic State militants who have hijacked parts of the country’s energy industry in their bid to build a caliphate.

Sales at Shadada field, described by an oil trader, are just one example of how the group, which has seized land in war-torn Syria and neighboring Iraq, is creating its own economy through a series of pragmatic trades.

It is cutting deals with local traders and buyers, even businessmen who support Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, and some of its oil has made its way back to government buyers through a series of middlemen.

“Islamic State makes not less than $2 million daily that allows them to pay salaries and maintain their operations,” said a former Western oil executive who worked in a foreign oil firm operating in Syria before the crisis and who is familiar with the nascent oil market

Iraq’s Prime Minister Says ISIS Plans Terrorist Attack on US, France

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Iraq’s Prime Minister, Haider al-Abadi,  says that his country’s intelligence systems have uncovered a plot to attack “underground railway systems” in the United States and Paris.

He further said that he did not know the timing of the planned attacks, but did feel that they had not been thwarted. Suspects “included extremists from the United States and France who were fighting” for ISIS in Iraq.

From ABC News:

Iraq’s prime minister said Thursday his country’s intelligence operation has uncovered a plot for an attack on subway systems in the United States and Paris.

Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said he was told of the plot by Baghdad, and that it was the work of foreign fighters of the Islamic State group in Iraq. There was no immediate comment from Washington or Paris, and al-Abadi’s assertion could not be independently confirmed.

Asked if the attacks were imminent, he said, “I’m not sure.” Asked if the attacks had been thwarted, he said, “No.” Al-Abadi said the United States had been alerted, and that the suspects included extremists from the United States and France who were fighting for the Islamic State group in Iraq.

“Today, while I’m here I’m receiving accurate reports from Baghdad that there were arrests of a few elements and there were networks from inside Iraq to have attacks … on metros of Paris and U.S.,” al-Abadi said, speaking in English. “They are not Iraqis. Some of them are French, some of them are Americans. But they are in Iraq.”

 

ISIS Imitators Behead French Tourist

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I watched another video of another helpless man being used as a trophy before he was beheaded by a group of satanic savages.

This victim was different from the previous ones in that he was French, rather than English or American, and he was only a tourist on a hiking trip in an area far away from the fighting.

Herve Gourdel was not subjected to months and years of captivity before his murder. He lost his life shortly after his kidnapping.

It has been reported that his murderers are an off-shoot of al-Qeada who announced that they were at ISIS’ service in the video. It really sounds as if they’re trying to join up with ISIS and used this murder a way of making the offer.

It was difficult, watching the video. I don’t think I can watch any more of them.

What I am going to do is pray a Rosary for Mr Gourdel’s soul.

From The Gaurdian:

President François Hollande has confirmed that a French citizen kidnapped in Algeria was beheaded by militants linked to Islamic State (Isis), and said the murder would only serve to reinforce his determination to support efforts against the jihadists.

The group calling itself Jund al-Khilafah – or Soldiers of the Caliphate – released a video that appeared to depict the beheading of Hervé Gourdel, 55, a mountain guide from Nice who had only arrived in Algeria the previous day. The video was entitled Message in Blood for the French Government.

In a speech at the United Nations in New York, Hollande said the killing would not prompt France to abandon military action against Isis and that it would continue to fight terrorism everywhere. “The perpetrators of this odious crime must be punished,” Hollande said.

The militants said that the murder of the Frenchman was a response to his government’s action against Isis in Iraq, where France launched its first air strikes last Friday.

The video shows Gourdel kneeling, with his arms tied behind his back, in front of four masked militants who read out a statement in Arabic criticising France’s military intervention. They then pushed him on his side and held him down.

The beheading is not shown, but one militant holds his severed head up to the camera. “This is why the Soldiers of the Caliphate in Algeria have decided to punish France, by executing this man, and to defend our beloved Islamic State,” one of the militants said in the video.

Gourdel briefly addressed his family before the militants gave their statement.

He was seized in the Djurdjua mountains, a range 2,000 metres high that have been described by one climber as a “dream for those who love mountains”, which was a particular interest of his.

“The irony is that for many years he trained mountain guides in Morocco,” a friend, Laurent Gény, told Le Point magazine. “He was someone who was a profoundly good person, very human, who loved Maghreban culture.

Christians are Suffering and Dying for Christ. We Must Stand Witness.

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The first genocide of the 20th Century, the “forgotten genocide,” was the genocide of Armenian Christians.
We must not “forget” again. 

 

Nobody knows. 

Nobody sees.

Nobody knows but me.

That is the lament of victims of discrimination and violence throughout time.

They are trapped in the unimaginable alone experienced by people who fall into the hands of human monsters. It is impossible to describe the depth of terror, horror, pain and absolute, total and complete isolation that is part of the shock of being helpless in the hands of satan’s disciples on this earth.

The survivors can’t tell of it, not really. Because if they try, there are no words. Because if they try, they find that they are speaking to blank walls of incomprehension and denial.

The rest of us don’t want to hear these stories because they remind us of our own deep helplessness. People who have never looked into the pitiless eyes of satan in another person’s face and known that they were his to do with as he chose, do not want to consider that the only thing separating them from a similar fate is geography or chance.

There is nothing special about American Christians that we have not been subjected to the violence that attacks other Christians around the world. We are not more faithful. We are not more holy. Quite the opposite.

The difference between them and us is a matter of government. It is not innate in ourselves. The tightening noose of social discrimination that Christians face here either is a harbinger of worse to come or not, and that, whether we want to accept it or not, does depend on us.

We can choose to fight back and not go there. We can boycott the products of media outlets that defame us. We can speak out about our faith and defend ourselves.

They can’t.

Christians who live in places where killing Christians is always a question and not an anathema, live their lives under a genocidal Sword of Damocles.

We can not turn our backs on them and their stories of great suffering because it upsets us to be reminded that satan walks the earth in human form. We must not avoid them for fear that satan will come at us through the rage we feel over their suffering, that standing witness for them can open a doorway to satan in our own hearts.

People are suffering and dying for Christ, and it is our vocation in these times to stand witness.

Christians in the Middle East and in much of Africa are suffering their own Shoah. They are being annihilated and driven from their homes. They are being kidnapped, raped and sold into slavery.

The satanic barbarity of ISIS, Boko Haram, the Islamic Brotherhood and al-Qaeda are a testament to what giving your heart to satan and following him can turn people into. These men who do these things are fallen, fallen, fallen. They are satan’s disciples.

They are fallen, but the Christians they murder are lifted up. They are martyrs to Our Lord in the same way that Christians have been martyred for Jesus throughout our history. They are His saints. Every Christian that ISIS and Boko Haram murders goes to heaven. And each one of their murderers — unless they face the horrible reality of what they have done and repent from the heart — is destined for the flames of eternal hell. They will burn there alongside Hitler, Pol Pot, Idi Amin, Stalin, Osama bin Laden and all their followers.

No matter how they lie to themselves, these things they do are not of God. They are from the pit.

Our job, dear brothers and sisters, is to stand witness to our fallen brothers and sisters in Christ. We must tell their stories. We must lift them and their sacrifice up because they are being lifted up in the exact way that Our Lord was and for the same reason, so that the world can see them and be healed by turning to Him.

We need healing desperately in this world, and that healing we need can only come from one place: The Cross.

When we witness the violent persecution of Christians, we are seeing a re-enactment of Calvary in our world right in front of our eyes, today. Every Christian who suffers and dies at the hands of these satanic human monsters is Christ crucified again in real time in front of our eyes.

Can you wait with me one hour? Jesus asked Peter, James and John.

Will you run away from me again? He asks us. Will you shout crucify Him! as they did? Or, will you just walk away and hide your faces because bearing witness hurts too much?

We must stand witness to these our brothers and sisters in Christ who are suffering and dying for Him. We must. It is our charge, our call and duty. It is our vocation before God.

We must write about them and develop a literature for them as the Jews did for those who died in the Holocaust. Because this is another holocaust. It is the holocaust of Christians in an entire region of the world.

Satan’s lessor disciples; the ones who make fun of Christian persecution and who try to bully into silence those of us who must bear witness, are our small cross. Their carping bits of nastiness should be meaningless to us. Offer up whatever pangs you feel for those who have died and pray for those who do this, then keep on keeping on bearing witness to the truth of this martyrdom of a whole people for their faith in Christ.

It is painful and exhausting to stand witness to atrocity. But we must do it, and we must do it in the Lord.

Any lessor action would be running away from Him all over again.

ISIS Releases Video of Captured Brit. Says They Want to Play Nice.

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ISIS continues its shameless abuse of helpless prisoners with its latest video of one of its kidnap victims.

This time, instead of a beheading video, they put British journalist John Cantile in front of the camera to tell their “story.” His comments included an indirect demand from ISIS’ for ransom money to secure Mr Cantile’s freedom, as well as a veiled threat that he would be murdered if the ransom is not forthcoming.

I mentioned in an earlier post that I do not hold anyone responsible for what they do and say when they are the helpless pawns of satanic humans. I also don’t take anything they say seriously when they are used for propaganda purposes.

I think ISIS is responding to the brute force of American bombing by trying another tactic. They may also see the British reluctance to join the bombing as a weakness in the Western response to their barbarity that they can exploit.

They evidently are highly successful at communicating with twisted young men who want to join an organization that rapes and murders. But to people with less sociopathic personalities, this mistreatment of their kidnap victims is sadistic and crude.

France Launches First Air Strikes Against ISIS

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France bombed an ISIS depot in northeast Iraq today.  President Hollande issued a statement saying there would be more raids in coming days.

This makes France the first country other than the US to strike ISIS targets.

I watched the Senate hearings about ISIS earlier this week. One point that came up during the hearings is that ISIS is in control of at least one small oil field and that the revenues from these wells are helping to fund the terrorists.

I think that should make that oil field the primary targets for our bombers. We tend to treat oil producing sites as sacrosanct. I still remember the horror expressed about Saddam Hussein’s troops setting fire to wells during the first Gulf War over 20 years ago.

My feeling is that cutting off ISIS’ funding is the first and most important thing we should do. Anything that helps fund them and their murderous actions should be demolished, or if it’s a person, imprisoned for life.

From BBC News Middle East:

French jets have carried out their first strikes against Islamic State (IS) militants in Iraq, the office of President Francois Hollande says.

A statement said planes had attacked an IS depot in north-east Iraq, and there would be more raids in the coming days.

The US has carried out more than 170 air strikes against the jihadist group in Iraq since mid-August.

IS remains in control of dozens of cities and towns in Iraq and Syria, where it has declared a caliphate.

France is the first of Washington’s allies to strike at IS targets. The mission underscores the perhaps surprising military activism of the socialist French president.

He has committed his country to military interventions in Mali, Central Africa and now Iraq. The French government has made it clear that its air strikes will be restricted to IS targets in Iraq and that there will be no French troops involved in fighting on the ground.

This geographical restriction of French air operations underscores the complexity of President Obama’s stated aim of degrading and disrupting IS activities in Syria too.

That is a mission that US air power may have to take on alone and, despite the fact that Congress is moving to back a “train and equip” programme for the “moderate” Syrian opposition, there are still many questions about how effectively the counter-IS struggle can be extended to Syrian territory as well.

Are We at the Beginning of World War III?

pope-francis.jpgAre we fighting World War III, only on a piecemeal basis?

Pope Francis seems to think so.

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Another Beheading Video: David Cawthorne Haines, British Aid Worker, Murdered by ISIS

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My husband and I were leaving church. He was driving. I got out my iPhone to call a friend about plans for the evening, and a local newsfeed I subscribe to flashed the message across the screen.

ISIS had murdered another helpless prisoner.

It was the beginning of my Sabbath, so I didn’t click on the link or look at the video or read about it.

Until this morning.

I’ve now watched the video and read a few reactions.

It’s getting harder and harder to write about these murders, but I feel I owe it to the victims. It’s the least I can do for them, to do my little part to make sure that they are not seen only as victims of satanic brutality, but that they are also remembered for the fine men they were.

David Cawthorne Haines worked in security for organizations such as ACTED and NonViolent Peace Force. Acted has a strict policy of “political and religious impartiality.” Both organizations are non-violent, humanitarian organizations engaged in trying to help people, including Muslims, in the parts of the world that ISIS is ravaging.

The video that ISIS released is heavily edited, but it appears that Mr Haines departed from the standard script of denouncing his home country and instead blamed ISIS (“the Islamic State” is the term he used) for his death. I’ve wondered about the reasons behind the condemnations the two American journalists made.

I assumed that they were probably doing it under some sort of coercion, but I don’t know this. I do know that I accept without judgement just about anything anyone does when they are the helpless prisoner of people in the grip of satan. People who condemn the two American journalists for their final speeches need to get real. They have no idea what they are talking about.

However, if Mr Haines did indeed condemn his captors before his murder, I am glad, and I admire him for doing it.

ISIS is murdering men who are examples of the best friends that Islamic people have in this world. James Foley and Steven Sotloff ultimately gave their lives in the cause of telling the truth about what is happening in that part of the world. They were the voice for the ordinary people on the ground.

David Cawthorne Haines was there to help organizations that provide humanitarian aid and strive to end the violence that is destroying people’s lives.

ISIS is not murdering the enemies of Islam in these videos. It is murdering Islam’s friends.

There isn’t any great surprise in this. ISIS is a band of murderers. They are not interested in furthering the welfare of Muslims. David Haines was interested in helping Muslims; as was James Foley and Steven Sotloff. David Haines was working for organizations composed of incredibly brave people who were trying to aid and empower the people of that region of the world to build real lives for themselves.

I’ve read that these videos of beheadings, as well as the gruesome photos that ISIS sends out over the web, are resulting in an influx of Muslims from America, Britain, Australia and other places, all volunteering to join in the killing. Evidently, these people find the videos “inspiring.”

What sort of devil-driven person would find these videos “inspiring” and want to go and do likewise? I think I answered my own question when I asked it. ISIS is satanic, right down to the ground. The people who join it are led by the father of lies and the darkness.

We deal with flesh and blood people. Hitler was not an evil god. He was a human being who died from a bullet to the brain. The same is true of Osama bin Laden. But both Hitler and Osama bin Laden (as well as Pol Pot, Idi Amin, Stalin, the murderers in Rwanda, and their bush league cousins, Ted Bundy, John Wayne Gacy and Dennis Lynn Rader) were and are the disciples of satan.

As is ISIS and its followers.

 


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