The End is Near (and we deserve it) . . . Valentine’s Dog Kissing Contest

There are lots of jokes about kissing dogs on Valentine’s Day, but these folks really did celebrate by kissing dogs.

I’m really hoping you wonderful readers got to kiss something besides a dog yesterday, though dogs can sometimes be the best sweethearts.

image by Jlantzy, wikimedia commons

image by Jlantzy, wikimedia commons

Blogs and Articles in No Particular Order

A Party in Your PJs–PAJAMACON, the Ultimate Writer Fantasy. WANAMama Kristen Lamb is hosting WANACon, an online writers conference on February 22-23. World class authors, publishers, and attorneys will present classes on writing craft, publishing, and publishing law. As a special treat, Kristen will be topping off the event with PAJAMACON on Sunday, when she will teach her special jedi magic in her pajamas. Should be a great event!

Top 10 Rules of Bacon

Great info for authors from David Gaughran. The Author with the Biggest Mailing List Wins 

Rhonda Hopkins hosts Kassandra Lamb in Authors Give Back: Kassandra Lamb and Autism Speaks.

Harem Colin Falconer

At Write on the River, NYT Best Selling Author Bob Mayer and Jen Talty’s site, Colin Falconer tells us about Life in an Ottoman Harem. Fascinating!

Best Valentine’s Day story ever from Nigel Blackwell, and all the more better for being true. Is this a Sign?

Marcy Kennedy explores the question, Are Small Things as Valuable as Grand Gestures?

This has to be the coolest video I’ve seen all week. Stop action art creation from Shugo Tokumaru – Katachi.

And for our Campaign Style Poll Daddy of the week . . .

All the best to all of you for a week of satisfying kisses.

Piper Bayard–The Pale Writer of the Apocalypse

Intelligence Perspective on the Recent US Embassy Attacks

Perspective on the Recent US Embassy Attacks

By Intelligence Operative Jay Holmes*

American news followers of the USA type have spent the last week watching, reading, and hearing reports of protests and attacks against US diplomatic compounds in Libya, Egypt, Yemen, Pakistan and Tunisia.

At the US consulate in Benghazi, well-armed attackers murdered US Ambassador Christopher Stevens. We extend our sincere condolences to the family of Ambassador Stevens and to the families of other Americans and Libyans who were also murdered in the attack.

Libyans objecting to embassy attack, image from cnn.com

These attacks naturally have stirred up anger in many Americans and Westerners. What is less visible in the news is that many Libyans are also outraged by the attack. Responses in the USA vary with political persuasion and with individual interpretations.

Violent protests and attacks on embassies have become a common marketing tactic of groups selling various anti-American agendas around the world. To put this current wave of attacks into perspective, let’s review two glaring examples of diplomatic conduct involving US embassies.

On December 8, 1941, the Japanese sneak attack on the US naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii was celebrated in Japan as a great feat of arms and a fantastic victory for the Japanese war machine. In the US, the attack stirred anger and a grim resolve to do all that was necessary to defeat Japan. In fact, when journalists asked US Admiral William Halsey what would happen in response to the Japanese, Halsey said “When we’re through with them, Japanese will be a language spoken only in hell.”

At that time, the Japanese had been at war in Asia for decades and had inflicted a level of brutality on the peoples of China and Korea that the Japanese history book writers are still too ashamed to admit to today. So then, in those violent and brutal times, what happened to the US diplomatic staff and their families at the US embassy and consulates in Japan? What happened to the Japanese embassy staff and their families in the USA?

Nothing. The Japanese temporarily confined all US embassy staff to the embassy grounds, and then shipped them to a neutral port in a Portuguese African colony for repatriation. We did the same thing with their embassy staff. There were no riots or threatening mobs. Even in the midst of a war, both nations respected their diplomatic agreements concerning embassies.

At the opposite extreme is the infamous Iranian attack on the US embassy in Tehran in 1979. By attacking the US embassy and taking the residents hostage, the ignorant mullahs running the Iranian government wanted to humiliate the USA. To a degree they did that, but they also unwittingly exposed themselves as being more barbaric than the Japanese war criminal Tojo had shown himself to be in handling the US embassy in 1941. Iran has yet to recover its credibility in the community of civilized nations since that ill-advised attack.

Students attack US Embassy in Tehran, Iran, 1979

When trying to understand the current wave of protests, it helps to consider them in a broad context across time and space. Personally, in the case of Libya, I will wait for US investigators, including an FBI forensic team, to conclude its investigation before making any general assumptions.

We should note that many Libyans are bluntly condemning the murder of the US ambassador. While thugs posing as “religious leaders” may be at play in Libya, the majority of the Libyan people are too sophisticated to accept a diet of Death to America Soup in lieu of the human rights and freedom that most of them were seeking when they ran down Qaddafi and executed him.

On the other hand, the Egyptian security forces have suffered no great upheaval in recent times. They are a well-funded, large system with plenty of experience handling protesters, and the protesters are well-riddled with police informants. The Egyptian government has chosen to allow the attack on the US embassy in Cairo to occur.

The Egyptian government could have intervened more effectively and much sooner. It didn’t. This begs a question. Why are taxpayers in the USA financing the Egyptian military and security forces?

Now that the US embassy in Cairo has been tidied up, and Egyptian President Morsi has returned to Egypt from his begging tour of Western nations, it might be a great time to ask him that particular question. If he actually is presiding over a government that is incapable of protecting a foreign embassy, then we need to ask ourselves what precisely we are investing in in Egypt.

Just as interesting as the foreign governments’ responses to the attacks on US diplomatic locations on their soil are the responses by the Western media and politicians. The basic party lines are so far playing out in predictable fashion. The Democratic party line is that this was all caused by a nasty little amateur film maker with bad taste and is in no way connected to President Obama’s foreign policies or lack thereof and likely had nothing to do with any terrorist groups. The Republican party line is equally predictable. “Yet another foreign policy debacle by that apologetic fool Obama.”

As for the filmmaker, I have not bothered to view the video. The net is filled with amateur video makers flinging unsophisticated insults across any and every political and religious chasm in the world today. I don’t bother watching them.

The suggestion by some that we should surrender yet more of our fundamental rights and place controls on our free speech to avoid angering the ever-so-sensitive minority of violent protesters in Islamic nations strikes me as a childish response. If anyone sincerely feels that such controls are healthy and proper for a society, then I suggest that they waste no further time suffering in the Land of the Free and quickly make their escape to North Korea, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Zimbabwe, or some other suitable controlled-speech environment where they won’t have to fret about anyone publicizing anything annoying to those governments.

For those of us who enjoy free speech and are honest enough to afford it to others, we will have to settle for less radical responses to the current protests.

The best foreign policy comes from contemplating as many verifiable facts as can be ascertained and then calmly formulating a clear, rational, and effective response in support of our foreign policy goals. Let’s hope that everyone in Washington can take a break from the campaigning long enough to remember their duty to the American people and do just that.

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *

*‘Jay Holmes’, is an intelligence veteran of the Cold War and remains an anonymous member of the intelligence community. His writing partner, Piper Bayard, is the public face of their partnership.

You may contact them in blog comments, on Twitter at @piperbayard, on Facebook at Piper Bayard, or by email at BH@BayardandHolmes.com.

© 2012 Jay Holmes. All content on this page is protected by copyright. If you would like to use any part of this, please contact us at the above links to request permission.

Where Were You?

image from US Navy

I woke up to hear a voice on the radio saying that two planes had crashed into the twin towers. I knew instantly it was no accident, but I had no way to compute the information with my pre-9/11 mindset. Then I turned on the TV, and I knew our world was changed forever. And I held my children close and wept.

Where were you?

Never forget.

Piper Bayard

Fun at Denver Comic Con

By Piper Bayard

DD and her friend, Livi, pulled me to my first Comic Con, and it was a hoot!

We arrived almost two hours late, and the lines to get in were still substantial.

DD and Livi dressed as UltraViolet and a bow-tied Dr. Who fan, respectively, on the first night.

DD went steampunk on Day Two.

Two of the first celebrities we saw were Han Solo and Princess Leia.

We also saw Star Gate Command . . .

Iconic cars . . .

And a number of people who once more proved that Spandex is a privilege, it is not a right. I spared myself (and you) those pictures.

We also found evidence that typos are not limited to my blogs or even to this plane of existence.

This isn’t a great picture of the poster. . . . Perhaps with another whetstone.

There were a number of outstanding costumes, but the best ones seemed to be on the guys.

But the biggest hit of the night? Had to be the Peeping Tom Bear outside the convention center. This bear had nothing to do with Comic Con, and everything to do with our taxpayer dollars at work. Oh, well. It gave me a laugh.

Have you ever been to a Comic Con or anything like it? 

Speaking of science and science fiction, my friend and New York Times best selling author of the Sigma Force series, James Rollins, will be holding a live chat session tomorrow, June 19, at 3 p.m. EST. A rare chance to hang out with this veterinarian turned world famous author and ask him any questions you like. See below for links and more specific time information.

All the best to all of you for maintaining appropriate use of Spandex.