There was no way it could have been a coincidence. I opened the mailbox to find a notice from the Australian government warning me of the terrible peril that cats posed to native wildlife. Just days before there were a spate of reports from New Zealand playing up a recommendation by a prominent Kiwi to ban pet cats. The worst was confirmed by an article in the New York Times proclaiming “that cuddly kitty Is deadlier than you think”. That public relations buildup made it definite. Some environmental lobby group had a new cause to push. The war on cats had begun. As the New York Times pointed out they are killing birds! Birds!
In a report that scaled up local surveys and pilot studies to national dimensions, scientists from the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute and the Fish and Wildlife Service estimated that domestic cats in the United States — both the pet Fluffies that spend part of the day outdoors and the unnamed strays and ferals that never leave it — kill a median of 2.4 billion birds and 12.3 billion mammals a year, most of them native mammals like shrews, chipmunks and voles rather than introduced pests like the Norway rat.
Suddenly reports that President Obama was learning to shoot took on a new significance. He was getting ready to meet the hidden danger. Not far from the chilling NYT report detailing the dangers of cats was an article by Jared Diamond in the same paper explaining the menacing nature of the shower bath.
The other morning, I escaped unscathed from a dangerous situation. No, an armed robber didn’t break into my house, nor did I find myself face to face with a mountain lion during my bird walk. What I survived was my daily shower.
You see, falls are a common cause of death in older people like me. (I’m 75.) Among my wife’s and my circle of close friends over the age of 70, one became crippled for life, one broke a shoulder and one broke a leg in falls on the sidewalk. One fell down the stairs, and another may not survive a recent fall.
Wow, that was a close call. But the danger lurking in the shower was as nothing to the perils you find inside the Capitol. “Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, while lamenting the partisanship of congressional Republicans who grilled her about the Benghazi attack, encouraged Republicans not to imitate the unwillingness to compromise evinced by terrorists in North Africa.” She compared the GOP lawmakers to terrorists.
“I mean, we were just talking about extremists who think it’s only their way, they are the ones who have the truth, none of the rest of us have any kind of claim on what is real in their views,” she continued. “And so it’s important in our democracies – like Australia, like the United States – that yes, be passionate, be intense about your feelings, but at the end of the day you’ve got to serve the people who sent you there, and that requires compromise.”
It takes a shrewd statesman to see Republicans as the terrorists they truly are. An ordinary person might have thought they were merely testosterone deficient politicians.
The perils that are now detected in Fluffy, or in the shower, or among Republicans in Congress are in stark but perhaps appropriate contrast to the almost unconcerned attitude the administration takes towards terrorism. Dewayne Wickham at USA Today writes that America is now backing a doomed French attempt to prevent al-Qaeda from taking over vast swathes of Africa. It’s campaign in Mali may be doomed. So? Ho hum. Like what’s new? Anything interesting on TV tonight?
Only the French intervention in its former colony has turned the tide in the battle for control of Mali, which shares its border with seven fragile African states that could easily be threatened if Mali fails to defeat its Islamic militants. Many of these fighters were once mercenaries in the pay of Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi. When Gadhafi’s regime was toppled in a popular uprising that received significant military and financial assistance from a U.S.-led coalition, they returned to Mali, heavily armed and champing at the bit to overrun its American-backed government.
Though France has blunted that effort, it doesn’t have the military resources to sustain its fight against Mali’s jihadists without help from the U.S. military. For now, that amounts to the use of giant transport planes to ferry French troops into Mali, and planes to refuel French combat aircrafts that are pummeling the militants’ positions….
“Those who sow the wind, reap the whirlwind,” said Charles Stith, a former U.S. ambassador to Tanzania, of the widening attacks by Islamic militants in Northern Africa.
“In our exuberance to depose the Libyan despot, Gadhafi, we didn’t think through the potential bad consequences,” said Stith, director of the African Presidential Center at Boston University, who is in regular contact with African leaders. “Gadhafi was only able to stay in power as long as he did because of the mercenary force he mobilized. It was clear to many folks in Africa that once he was gone, they would go somewhere else on the continent.” In the end, a multinational air campaign destroyed much of Gadhafi’s military hardware and demoralized his troops, who eventually were overrun by rebel forces.
Thank God wiser heads have got their priorities straight. The ignorant Bush might have panicked over terrorism but real intellectuals now in charge understand that global warming, big gulp softdrinks, cats and Republicans in Congress are the far greater threat.
But maybe the leadership is smarter than we think. Suppose the Obama administration doesn’t actually believes that global warming threatens the earth. He may be saying so because the problems facing the world have now grown so dire that the wise leaders must distract the population from the inevitable, like a child being sung a lullaby on a sinking ship. So they talk about carbon credits and cats.
You’ve watched the movies. The ones where a bunch of savvy journalists discover that the Federal Government has known for years that the Planet Nibiru is on a course to create a giant tidal wave and have kept the secret from the world’s billions to prevent panic. Same as they have concealed the existence of aliens or visitors from another dimension.
It’s for our own good.
A scientist who showed me his book draft argues that “the second half of the 20th century was the most benign period in human history.” A superpower nuclear standoff brought peace, there was cheap energy from oil and the food supply increased faster than population growth, partly as a consequence of an uptick in the the temperature. It was sweet.
But the good times are over. He argues that food demand is now once again outstripping supply, the world is starting to cool having the effect of wiping Canada from the list of grain suppliers, oil prices have tripled since 2004 and superpower world peace has been dismantled. War will overtake us soon. So we must at all events bury our heads in the sand.
They corrupted the scientific establishment of the exceptional and merely special nations, rotted the fabric of society and degraded the moral compass of that keeps all those good nations on course.
The result of long term trends, he argues, is that not only is global civilization in big trouble but some think it’s essential to deny it. The political elites have a vested interest in distracting us. So they are wisely diverting our attention to apparently innocent objects like felines and acts of hygeine. After reading through the first chapters of the manuscript, it was so devastating all one could do to keep from pitching oneself into the harbor was to buck up. “Be British, Richard. Be British.” But wait a moment. I’m not even British. If only half of the bad news is true its clear our minds need diversion. There’s fluorine. As a great patriot once said:
Do you realize that in addition to fluoridating water, why, there are studies underway to fluoridate salt, flour, fruit juices, soup, sugar, milk, ice cream? Ice cream, Mandrake? Children’s ice cream!…You know when fluoridation began?…1946. 1946, Mandrake. How does that coincide with your post-war Commie conspiracy, huh? It’s incredibly obvious, isn’t it? A foreign substance is introduced into our precious bodily fluids without the knowledge of the individual, and certainly without any choice.
Trust in our leaders, friends. Trust in Hillary. They know what is good for us. There’s a deep, wise reason for Benghazi.
The Three Conjectures at Amazon Kindle for $1.99
Storming the Castle at Amazon Kindle for $3.99
No Way In at Amazon Kindle $8.95, print $9.99