Money and the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria

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Follow the money to stop ISIS. Focus on where the money is coming from (did I mention the Saudis?) that fund ISIS. All the more reason for the U.S. to frack away.  Every day we pay at the pump, we’re feeding the hand that bites us and kills innocents.  While the people who support ISIS have blood on their hands, we’re losing our souls.  ISIS has killed thousands of people, many helpless unarmed civilians,  The question should be asked, “What would happen tomorrow if we stopped buying Arab oil?”  If POTUS isn’t going to do anything about it, don’t we know best how to hit them where it hurts?  The pocketbook.  Stop funding ISIS. Why not boycott Arab oil?

Money Jihad

In 2007, the Islamic State of Iraq was seen as “the richest of the insurgency groups” in Iraq with $1 billion to 1.5 billion “collected in revenue by the group through foreign donations, enforced taxation and confiscation of the property and funds of Iraqis.” But the U.S. surge and ISI missteps significantly damaged the jihadist group’s ability to raise funds.

Seven years and three names later, ISIS amassed a $2 billion comeback and took control of large swathes of territory in northern Iraq including Mosul and 35 percent of Syria.

ISIS’s financial recovery has been marked by a slight shift away from reliance on local extortion networks (although those are still in effect), improved organizational and financial management by ISIS leader and self-proclaimed caliph Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, and the departure of U.S. troops in 2011.

The most important elements of ISIS’s funding are sadaqa (voluntary donations) from Arab…

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In Life Too Often, It’s the Tail Waggin’ the Dog

100_0003 (2)I love the beat of Cody’s tail wagging against the floor, against the door, against the wall, against the bed he is lying on.  I’m not sure whether it will be Cody’s heart that gives out before his tail stops wagging.

Cody’s my 10 year old chocolate lab.  We’re kinda attached at the hips.  He goes to work with me every day.  He goes to work most days, I am out of town on business. I now have a ramp he uses to load up into the back of my SUV.  It is a ceremony.  He’s not fan of the trip up.  I’ve employed what is best to describe as a soft suitcase I wrap him in, to coax him up the ramp.  He’s frantic, so there’s always a treat waiting for him.  Upon arrival, and his descent, he reminds me of an arriving dignitary, including the obligatory pause for photo ops, before his parade trip down the ramp.

Cody knows when it’s time to go to work.  He knows when it is time for his 10 and 4 o’clock walks.  He knows he goes to North Park in the AM and he knows he tours the office park in the afternoon.

Most important he knows when it is time to go home.  Dinner!

If you ask him to change his routine, you meet with the stubbornness of a 100+ lb. dog, who knows who’s in charge.

He knows when the UPS truck arrives.  He knows the drivers.  He knows whether to expect a biscuit or a good rub.  The drivers know him, too.  After all, “What can brown do for you?”

You might say Cody has it made.  Even before you see his beds at home or the leather sofa he spends an increasing amount of time on at the office, but there’s a point to all this dribble. So bear with me.

Cody’s hips are giving in to father time, so he’s getting laser to strengthen his shoulders and flanks.  If it works for him, I’m next in line.

Cody now goes to bed before Terri and I do.  Both of us cracked a smile and laughed the first time he left us to head for bed.  Now we know Cody has more common sense than we do.

A former neighboring business owner had a 10 year old white lab named Jack.  Like Cody, he came to work with his owners each day.  Jack died suddenly.  We were commiserating when Jack’s owner said to me, “give Cody a good back scratch for Jack.”

When I scramble to meet a deadline, decry the political theatre, grouse over a lost order or worry about where the next dollar is coming from, all I have to do is look to my friend.  He’s most often at my feet.

I am reminded.  I have so much to live for, why not make things right in this messed up world?  The solution?

Everyone should get a good tummy rub and a nice back scratch every day.  Cody does.

Santa Claus Is Still Coming To Town

Santa NewtonSanta Claus Is Still Coming To Town

We’ll not forget the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, CT.

While we grieve the slaughter of innocents, this tragic act serves as a reminder of how precious, how fragile, the gift of life is.

Whatever your religious beliefs, let’s not forget to appreciate the Christmas spirit.

Set aside your politics and prejudice, the spirit of Christmas is about giving.  In the spirit of Christmas, we need to turn to those we love, family and friends and give of ourselves.

Not to pontificate, it’s easy for people this time of year to find a reason to be unhappy.  Let’s not forget those less fortunate and find joy in all we have been given.

These lyrics from Santa Claus is Coming to Town come to mind…

You better watch out
You better not cry
You better not pout
I’m telling you why
Santa Claus is coming to town

Merry Christmas!  Happy Hanukkah! Happy Holidays!  And be good for goodness sake!

Eyes wide open… Reflections

Cody Bear

Cody Bear

In the darkest hours of the night, when sleep should prevail, without prejudice, without mercy, questions pour into my head.  I lie awake and I wonder…

Have I lived well enough to make many friends and fewer enemies?

Do I have the courage to cherish my friends and to vanquish my enemies?

Have I spread enough smiles?

Have I shared enough hugs?

Have I planted enough kisses? 

Have I caused enough laughter to earn reciprocity?

Have I studied enough history? 

Have I been engaged enough in current affairs? 

Have I earned a degree in knowledge?

Is knowledge a benefit? 

Is knowledge the revelation of truths, or is knowledge the realizations of falsehoods?

Have I learned from every victory and every folly? 

If so, am I a benefactor; more important, am I a teacher?

Today, in this world that reports the past in real-time; in time to worry for our future; and I only see and images of life, albeit in real-time, can I relate? 

Have I focused long enough on the anguished faces, I cannot truly see?

Have I listened hard enough to the desperate voices, I truly cannot hear? 

Have I seen enough of their pain, I truly cannot feel? 

Have I felt their hunger, I cannot feed? 

Have I shared in their grief, I cannot quell? 

Have I touched enough people?

Has cuddling become a lost art?

If you learn my darkest secret, will you forgive me? 

Will I forgive myself?

Did I stop smoking soon enough to live forever? 

How much double churned ice cream is too much? 

Will I die and when? 

Will it be too soon!  Of course! 

Would I fight for my life to the very end?  

Out of fear?  

Out of courage; for you? 

Will I let go? 

Can I fall away?

Will you miss me if I’m gone? 

Will you miss me when you are alone? 

Will you miss me when you are amongst friends. 

Will you still be laughing and smiling? 

And for how long?  Don’t tell me.

My dog is asleep at my feet. 

He has all the answers. 

He won’t say, but I finally get it.

It’s not about me. 

So now, I can close my eyes…

They Never Asked to be Our Heroes

I’ll be on a plane tomorrow on 9-11-2011.  After enduring 10 years of security screenings do you think for one moment I would hesitate to travel on 9-11-2011?

 God bless those who sacrificed their lives on 9-11, to their families and their friends on 9-11-and all of those who remain committed to protecting our freedom.  Below a tribute to all our heroes, then and now.  Thank you!

They Never Asked to be Our Heroes

God help those less fortunate. 
Pray their souls find peace and harmony.
There seems no end to those who suffer
There seems no end to their misery
God in all your wisdom
Find them redemption and salvation, too.
 
Those who died, left undiscovered,
Those who died for our sins past.
They never asked to be our heroes,
They never asked for their fate cast.
They only lived to be our friends and lovers,
They only lived to be our fathers and mothers,
They only lived as God’s children do.
 
There is no will to look away. 
There is no way to escape from the view. 
What’s left is to look to each other, 
For the answers we already knew. 
For our moment of truth is our salvation.
 
by idea capitalist – 10-21-2001
 

How fortunate am I?

If a tree falls in the forest and nobody is around, does it make a sound?

I have been bowed over in anguish over a job lost; I have placed my hands over my face and head, elbows to my knees gasping for breath; I have barricaded myself behind closed doors.

So, I have often wondered, does a job lost make a sound?

If you have asked our government, technically the answer to both questions is , “No.”

I would have to agree.  Neither seen nor heard, you’re  on your own.

I have experienced both, the latter being much more traumatic, although both are deeply disturbing, I would have to say the tree was less personal and the lesser of two evils.

Symbolic in a fashion, like our government, the tree had been leaning.  It’s weight no longer sustainable, it roots no longer able to bear its growth.

I was deeply affected by the sight of the fallen tree in its magnitude.  It’s beauty and majesty held me in awe.  I often crossed it’s path, never imagining it’s demise.

Falling across a sidewalk, in a city park, the tree was swept away in a day; a series of sawing, grinding and chipping away.  At times the noise was deafening.  And then it was gone.

I, too, had moved on.  Picked myself back up.  Started a new venture.  Today I am rooted strongly, my business supported by faith, family and my business.  Supported by partners, fellow employees, suppliers and customers.

How fortunate for me, I am not a tree.

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