Archive Monthly Archives: April 2015

Saudi King Lays Groundwork for Civil War

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My very strong opinion is that whatever his actual intentions, King Salman has just laid the groundwork for a Saudi civil war.

In moves announced on Saudi state television, Salman replaced Crown Prince Muqrin bin Abdulaziz and named the powerful interior minister, Prince Mohammed bin Nayef, as next in line.

Muqrin himself was only appointed “Deputy Crown Prince” just over a year ago, and became Crown Prince when King Abdullah died a few months ago. His appointment jumped him up the line, bypassing several senior princes. The circumstances of the appointment leave cause for doubt that everyone was happy with the situation:

The royal decree stated that King Abdullah had made his decision in cooperation with Salman, but it appears that the council was not called into session to participate in Muqrin’s selection. Instead, its members were polled individually, according to an April 1 tweet by Khalid bin Talal, son of Prince Talal bin Abdulaziz who is regarded as an independent-minded maverick within the royal family. Asked about this tweeted information, the Saudi academic wrote in an email, “It seems that what Khaled bin Talal tweeted is more realistic and is accurate in stating that members were consulted individually.”

[text bolded by me].

By accounts, 25% of the council opposed the vote. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to make the educated guess that it was, most likely, the princes skipped over by this appointment who were unhappy with it. Additionally, Muqrin held the post for about 13 months. Long enough to gain a bit of a power base, but not long enough to cement it. He is, however, a prince of the royal family, which means that he’d almost have to have a power base of his own before that.

bin Nayef, on the other hand, is recently appointed to the position and hence will also not have had much time to consolidate his power. Again, however, he is of the Saudi royal family, so there will be some built in power base there. But he’s also unlikely to have the time to consolidate a power base. King Salman is 79. How many years before he, too passes? His predecessor, King Abdullah, lived to 90. So perhaps another decade? Maybe a few years after that?

So two factions now exist for sure, each of which has an unconsolidated power base. Let’s not pretend for a minute that the princes who were passed over by these two aren’t interested in making a play themselves. And then recall that Saudi Arabia has only been a country since 1932 – a mere eighty three years since it was united by conquest. Don’t forget that there’s also an ongoing power struggle between those who would support the jihadis against the west and those who want to continue comfortably making money selling oil to the western world.

There’s no way to predict a timeline, but ultimately this only ends one way.

A Tale of Two Trailers

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So, within 48 hours of each other we have two very different trailers released for two movies that look to be quite different – but both of which, theoretically should be very interesting to SFF fans.

First up is the new trailer for Star Wars: The Force Awakens. The first teaser trailer for it left me decidedly underwhelmed. And that was a little frightening: I literally camped out for all three of the prequel films (yes, even after the disappointment of The Phantom Menace) – and had a blast doing it. If you put out a trailer that didn’t sell me… that’s dangerous. On the other hand, the trailers for The Phantom Menace were freaking awesome, and the movie itself… well, we all know how that turned out.

As underwhelming as the first trailer was, however, this new one more than makes up for it. I am, finally, officially stoked about the new film.

Coming barely more than a day later is the new trailer for Superman vs Batman: Dawn of Justice. And I have to say… unlike the first Force Awakens trailer that left me underwhelmed… this one leaves me actually worried. Zack Snyder is capable of bringing a fantastic sense of fun to his films. 300 had it in spades. Sucker Punch had it… although it admittedly didn’t have much more than that. But Watchmen was already losing it and apparently while he was filming Man of Steel he’d just left it in his other pants pocket or something because it just wasn’t there.

Now we get this trailer, ever so promising that it might actually bring some fun back to Superman. For those who can’t tell through my brick-like subtlety, that was sarcasm. This trailer is gloomy and broody and moody… Look, this is Batman and Superman in a big budget film for the first time. This movie should be dripping and oozing with fun. Fun that is, apparently, nowhere to be found. I am a gigantic Batman fan, and a pretty good Superman fan as well. And this trailer almost has me wanting to skip the film. We’ll see how things turn out, but I’m not feeling it here.

Democrats Want to Upgrade my AR-15

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A group of pro-gun-control democrats wants to provide me with a tax credit for upgrading my AR-15 – they just don’t realize it yet.

Though DeLauro is in favor of stronger guns laws that would completely ban assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition, she emphasized this bill would not force gun owners to turn in their firearms.

The legislation would provide up to $2,000 in tax credits for gun owners who voluntarily hand over assault weapons to their local police departments.

My AR-15 cost me around $750 in parts and I assembled it myself. It is very entry-level. $2000 would get me quite a bit more than the initial cost did. If the gun control crowd really wants to pay for me to do this, I’m all for it. Or maybe I’ll just get two of the same one and pocket the extra… hard call.

Good Friday

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There is nothing quite like going to Good Friday mass during a thunderstorm with a couple of well-timed blasts of thunder.

For a moment, though, put aside religious beliefs. Whether you are a believer or not, I challenge you to read today’s scripture without being moved. Remember, the man they are putting forth is not only actually innocent of the declared charges, he’s also been declared innocent by the authority of the day.

So Jesus came out,
wearing the crown of thorns and the purple cloak.
And he said to them, “Behold, the man!”
When the chief priests and the guards saw him they cried out,
“Crucify him, crucify him!”

Pilate said to them,
“Take him yourselves and crucify him.
I find no guilt in him.”
The Jews answered,
“We have a law, and according to that law he ought to die,
because he made himself the Son of God.”
Now when Pilate heard this statement,
he became even more afraid,
and went back into the praetorium and said to Jesus,
“Where are you from?”
Jesus did not answer him.
So Pilate said to him,
“Do you not speak to me?
Do you not know that I have power to release you
and I have power to crucify you?”
Jesus answered him,
“You would have no power over me
if it had not been given to you from above.
For this reason the one who handed me over to you
has the greater sin.”
Consequently, Pilate tried to release him; but the Jews cried out,
“If you release him, you are not a Friend of Caesar.
Everyone who makes himself a king opposes Caesar.”

When Pilate heard these words he brought Jesus out
and seated him on the judge’s bench
in the place called Stone Pavement, in Hebrew, Gabbatha.
It was preparation day for Passover, and it was about noon.
And he said to the Jews,
“Behold, your king!”
They cried out,
“Take him away, take him away! Crucify him!”
Pilate said to them,
“Shall I crucify your king?”
The chief priests answered,
“We have no king but Caesar.”
Then he handed him over to them to be crucified.

Two thousand years later we are still crucifying people – people who are either innocent or who have committed minimal “crimes”. People who are later exonerated. We sacrifice them to the angry mobs in the name of “peace.”

When Progressives try to sell you on their Utopian future, remember that human nature has not changed one iota in two thousand years. We are no better now than we were in the time of the Romans. Why should we think that another social program or three will magically transform us into a society of perfect beings? Place not your faith in the institutions of man.