Living black in America


If you wanna’ see just how ridiculous today’s GOP party is


just look here and here.

Twenty-seven Republican senators voted with Democrats on Oct. 16 to lift the debt ceiling and avert a catastrophic default. And each one of those 27 senators voted Tuesday to “disapprove” of their own votes. (It’s called having your cake and eating it too)

I was surprised to see what I thought would be moderate Republicans on the list of those engaged in this act of senility.  John McCain, Lamar Alexandar, Lindsay Graham?!?!?  What a wasted party.

The Right to bear arms and murder people in the streets is an exclusively white right no matter how hard Ted Cruz tries to paint it as beneficial to African-Americans but to assert that to Trayvon Martin’s mother is taking chutzpah to a whole other level.  What Stand Your Ground insures is ‘blacks do not benefit from Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” Law, but it is pretty obvious that since the law was passed in 2005, those who kill blacks do. In Florida, “Stand Your Ground” has become a license to kill people of color.’

 

Walking While Black


The state of Florida has declared open season on young black males.  Any white person, anywhere in Florida can open fire and kill a young black man;  any white law enforcement officer can assault, arrest or physical intimidate black boys willy nilly and expect nothing will happen to them.  If you don’t believe me just ask Bobby Wingate Wingate

Walking down the road, minding his own business, one First Coast man says he was assaulted by a Police Officer and thrown in jail for no reason.

When he was tried for the crime, a judge threw out the case half way through the trial.

Bobby Wingate said the incident occurred on Oliver Street in Arlington.

The last time Wingate walked down the road, he said he called 9-1-1 to protect himself from the police.

“He parked his car right up here near this curve,” he said as he pointed.

On a 9-1-1 recording of that night Wingate can be heard saying, “He said do I really want to fight him? I haven’t done anything wrong.”………

According to court papers uncovered by First Coast News at the federal courthouse, Wingate was walking down the road in December when a JSO Police Officer stopped him and asked to talk.

When he told the officer he was running late for an appointment, the officer cited him for walking on the wrong side of the road.

According to court papers the officer then hit Wingate in the face and engaged his Taser. That’s when Wingate called 9-1-1.

Wingate spent a night in jail, and the State Attorney’s Office took the case to trial.

He was charged with resisting arrest without violence, and walking down the wrong side of the road.

But in court, the officer testified he wasn’t sure what side of the road Wingate was on.

Before the defense could even present its case, the judge ruled that there was not nearly enough evidence to proceed and dropped the charges and the case against Wingate.

I am not a fan of police officers because repeatedly I read about how they abuse and assault citizen rights and this case with Wingate reinforces my prejudices that they are terrorists in communities in which they patrol….those of them who are bad anyway.  However, what is interesting about this case revolves around another case and the prosecutor  that both cases have in common.

Remember Trayvon Martin, the young man who was murdered by George Zimmerman?  During his trial a medical examiner Dr. Shiping Bao made assertions that buttressed the prosecution’s case, if the prosecution was really interested in bring Zimmerman to justice.  However, Bao doesn’t think that was the case and was vocal about that saying the district attorney was sloppy, indifferent and proclaimed Martin got what he deserved.  With those attitudes, according to Bao the prosecutor carried out a half-hearted case.  His opinion of how the prosecutor conducted herself is what got him fired and as a result of his termination, he’s decided like Wingate to sue the prosecutor, Angela Corey.

CoreyWho is Angela Corey?

Before Corey made national news by charging Zimmerman with murder for killing Florida teen Trayvon Martin, the state attorney was no stranger to calculated risks. She had already made a 12-year-old face first-degree murder charges.

She also put a woman in prison for 20 years for firing at, yet missing, an allegedly abusive husband, the prosecutor’s office says. Now, a growing number of critics describe her as a desperate prosecutor who regularly overcharges defendants and is more interested in making a name for herself than in seeking justice.

“She had the worst reputation in Florida for overcharging and the worst reputation with professional responsibility,” said Alan Dershowitz, a Harvard Law School professor explaining why Corey should not have tried the Zimmerman case. “There are some great prosecutors in Florida and across the country. She’s not one of them.”

On the one hand Corey conducted a luke warm prosecution of a cold blooded murderer in George Zimmerman, fired a medical examiner who could have helped her case  yet went after a man for walking on the wrong side of the street only to have that case thrown out by the trial judge.  Is this indicative of the type of justice you can expect if you are a black man in Florida?  It’s hard to think otherwise.

No Comment


 

A PSA re-enacting the Trayvon Martin shooting.

Another example of citizens taking control of their safety


I’m not a big fan of the “police state”.  It is often time abusive and tramples on the rights of citizens.  The story of the cops blasting into the house of someone they thought was issuing internet threats against the local police department is just one very small example of a police force out of control.  Of course excessive policing is about control over the citizenry not about protecting them.  Diligent, aware citizens are generally able to protect themselves; police only need to mop up what’s left.

This story is an excellent example of the ability of a homeowner to defend himself and his family and the keystonesque inability of the local police force to pick up where the homeowner leaves off.  Awakened late at night by noise, the homeowner, Joe Pacetti found this whacked out individual, Jeremiah Haughee (pictured above) sitting on Pacetti’s roof, and otherwise invading his property.  The homeowner  confronts the naked trespasser with a legally owned firearm and a struggle ensues.  The property owner joined by his son is able to subdue  Haughee and in the course of the struggle is smart enough to give his firearm to his wife in order to avoid injuring himself, his son or even the trespasser!!  Evidently he realized he didn’t need to shoot him.  Wow….what a guy!  Unfortunately, the police have to get involved and they do, in a blundering sort of way.  Where a single homeowner and his son and wife are able to subdue Haughee, it took 5 police officers to get him into their car.  Oh, and we forgot to mention the number of times they  tasered  him before doing so.  Five officers and repeated tasing to do what it took one man and his son to do.  I would have preferred the homeowner take Haughee down to the police station himself.

I can’t speak for the property owner…no doubt he was glad to have the police come and help him out, but I can say that he’s an excellent model of how to do things right!  He’s a responsible firearms owner who recognized the danger of engaging  someone with his weapon in his hand at the same time realizing that the weapon was not the appropriate way to deal with the situation, (Remember Rodriguez in Texas that we wrote about yesterday??) was able to safely secure the weapon and deal with the situation so that the invader was no longer a threat to him or his family.  Bravo!!  The Pacetti family needs to be given the keys to the city where they live.  I’m not trying to be funny here….I applaud that kind of diligence and competence.  We need more of it from our citizens.  It shows we can protect ourselves, without the oppressive and abusive powers of police departments; unfortunately it also shows that those who are supposed to protect and serve usually get in the way!  Citizens 1, police 0.

Texas ain’t so bad after all


texas our texas

texas our texas (Photo credit: jmtimages)

I’m not a fan of Texas’ governors Rick Perry or former governor George Bush.  Their shoot from the hip attitude probably contributed a lot to Raul Rodriguez’s belief that he could confront someone on their property, and then shoot and kill them while claiming he had no obligation to retreat from his victim’s property because he was in fear for his life.

What senor Rodriguez wanted to do was a police action of sorts that would end up with a result that he wanted but instigating a fight, recording it and killing someone is not the way to win friends and influence people, and especially the jury of his trial.  He was convicted of murder and sentenced to 40 years in prison.  He will have to serve 20 years of that sentence before he is eligible for parole.  That’s a good thing.  No one should be able to pick a fight with you because of a personal dislike they have for you or for what you are doing that is not a violation of the law,  then kill you when you try to defend yourself or your property from their intrusion.  (Perhaps Rodriguez went too far in considering himself a member of the police department of his town, since it appears police are usually the ones  who carry that attitude of unlimited trespass upon personal property and unaccountable murder of the owners of that property when they respond.)

But if you don’t know where I’m going with this, the point is this case has implications in the Martin/Zimmerman case in Florida where George Zimmerman is using basically the same right to ‘stand his ground’ after he followed, pursued, encountered a completely innocent up to that point Trayvon Martin and then shot and killed him when Martin did, what to most accounts will probably show, a pretty good job of defending himself against Zimmerman. It’s people who are legally armed and make such arguments as Zimmerman and Rodriguez who scare me and give other law abiding gun owners a bad name.  I cringe at examples like those two, knowing that the chorus for gun control will do doubt ring out calling for  ever more strict laws against gun ownership.  The Zimmermans and Rodriguezs of the world  are just as criminal as they people they arm themselves to defend against.  Thankfully, the jury in Texas got it right!

*Don’t mess with Texas*

Zimmerman in handcuffs night of shooting


George Zimmerman claims his nose was broken and it’s been said that he was bloodied in a fight he had with Martin the night the latter was killed. Even if one were to believe that Zimmerman was given medical attention before going to the police station there is no evidence of that in the way of band aids or dressing for a wound, nor is there evidence Zimmerman was involved in a fight that resulted in bloodied or grass stained clothing.

Also it’s been revealed the Sanford Police wanted to charge Zimmerman with manslaughter while the Seminole county State Attorney Norm Wolfinger refused.  Wolfinger has excused himself from any further investigation of this case while Sanford simmers.  What was it that made the Seminole county state attorney go against the investigation of the Sanford Police department and their recommendation for bringing manslaughter charges against Zimmerman?  For now that answer is not known.  However if you look at the tape below, does it look like Zimmerman was either in a struggle for his life or received medical treatment for injuries incurred during such a struggle?

 

Florida’s Stand your ground


George Zimmerman’s arrest and charge with murder should be a slam dunk.  Why the authorities are taking their time until now to even charge him is an indication of how broken the criminal justice system is.  Further delay can only make matters worse for the citizens of the State.  Here’s what the law says

776.012 Use of force in defense of person.—…… a person is justified in the use of deadly force and does not have a duty to retreat if:

(1) He or she reasonably believes that such force is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the imminent commission of a forcible felony; or
…. .

(3) A person who is not engaged in an unlawful activity and who is attacked in any other place where he or she has a right to be has no duty to retreat and has the right to stand his or her ground and meet force with force, including deadly force if he or she reasonably believes it is necessary to do so to prevent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the commission of a forcible felony.

From all accounts, Zimmerman initiated the contact with Martin while he, Zimmerman, had a weapon in HIS waistband. ( The accusation by Zimmerman was he thought Martin might have had a weapon.) Martin was where he had a right to be and was going to a residence within HIS gated community at night when suddenly he was approached by a man with a weapon who is not a police officer and demands were placed upon him.  Fearing for his life, Martin used the only weapon he had at his disposal…his fists which is why a fight broke out between the two.

Police dispatch not able to ascertain whether Martin was involved in illegal activity at the time of Zimmerman’s call probably foresaw the problems with the law if Martin was where he had a right to be when confronted by a belligerent other citizen which is why they asked Zimmerman not to confront the youth. The difference is a 17 year old 140 pound youth was unable to kill a 28 year old 250 pound man with his fists.  This point of Martin being in fear of his life and resorting to the only weapons he had was made in an article on Slate, via Emily Bazelon

….you can flip the premise and see Martin, not Zimmerman, as the person who was acting in self-defense. Jeff writes: “Trayvon saw someone following him, felt threatened, retreated, was still followed, and then was approached by an armed man who had 100 lbs on him. … Because Zimmerman was acting as an aggressor, Trayvon had the right to defend himself by punching, kicking, tackling, etc. Because Zimmerman was acting as the aggressor, his actions cannot be considered self-defense: you can’t initiate and then claim self-defense. The evidence for initiation is there on the 911 tape. … Why is it that a black man cannot be afraid of a white man who follows and approaches him on a street at night?

Yes, why is that? The problem is authorities believed Zimmerman sight unseen without conducting any investigation.  They didn’t even identify Martin’s body, although he had his cell phone which could have immediately been used to identify him.  This goes to the issue of race and the fact that a white man standing over the body of a black teen is most likely going to be given the benefit of the doubt because of where we are  in America.  However, Zimmerman’s history should have precluded that presumption of innocence.  Unfortunately that history was ignored and  not given any due consideration by the authorities which only exacerbated the legal situation. The problem of racism emanates from the local police department.  Sadly the explosive atmosphere surrounding this case will only make people more entrenched in their positions and justice denied.

The Question to ask is….


why was George Zimmerman able to get either a license to carry a handgun, or more accurately, a concealed carry permit when he had been charged several times for offenses that would make him unable to qualify legally for the permit?!?!   It appears he got out of a conviction on the battery charge against a law enforcement officer; ‘by entering a pretrial-diversion program, something common for first-time offenders’.  He had a domestic violence charge ONE month later  leveled against him and an injunction followed but there  is no word in  the press about the disposition of that case. Despite these two brushes with the law Zimmerman was able to get a permit to carry a handgun?!  Something is wrong with that picture.  Perhaps he has a good ole boy permit taken with a wink and nod.  Check out the requirements one has to pass before they can legally carry a handgun in the state of Florida.  It’s clear that Zimmerman was a felon after his domestic violence dispute occurring one month after his resisting arrest charge.  Therefore, on the  night he fatally shot Trayvon Martin, Zimmerman was a felon.

Conservatives always fall on the side of the right of citizens to legally own firearms.  Surprisingly, so does this progressive, who owns several of them himself.  Conservatives also say the laws we have on the books are enough and when it comes to firearm possession and crimes done with them, there’s no need for new ones and this progressive agrees with them especially regarding this case too.

So with regard to the death/murder of Martin the laws we have on the books are enough to charge Zimmerman with a capital offense, so let’s list them starting with the most severe to the least, shall we:

  1. capital murder-Zimmerman pursued Martin
  2. aggravated battery-a fight ensued which Zimmerman initiated
  3. aggravated assault-Zimmerman was carrying a firearm

There’s no need to charge him with a hate crime……there’s enough on his plate to put him away for the rest of his life.  What is troubling is the really lackadaisical police work of the Sanford Police Department that ignored evidence which pointed to Zimmerman’s guilt and exaggerated any piece of evidence which pointed to Martin’s responsibility in his own death.  There was nothing innocent about what Zimmerman did.  He preyed on and murdered Martin in cold blood, but with the complicit approval of the Sanford Police Department. It’s the latter that committed a hate crime….Zimmerman is simply a cold blooded murderer.

Watching the GOP implode


Gingrich just won the SC GOP primary and the rats can’t distance themselves fast enough from him.  A quick look at the GOP’s unofficial news rag, The Drudgereport,  found banner headlines…..ALL of them disparaging Gingrich in such language as to leave no doubt where the allegiances of the “real” conservatives of the party are:

Romney is the most electable candidate not only because it will be nearly impossible for the media to demonize this self-made Mormon square, devoted to his wife and church, but precisely because he is the most conservative candidate.  Ann Coulter

Conservatives should not be surprised by the scandals that lie ahead, if they stick with him(Gingrich). Those of us, who raised the question of character in 1992, were confronted by an indignant Bill Clinton, treating the topic as a low blow. To listen to him, character was the “c” word of American politics. It was reprehensible to mention it. By now we know. Character matters. Paul, Santorum, and Romney have it. Newt has Clinton’s character. R. Emmett Tyrell, Jr.

Gingrich was voluble and certain in predicting that Reagan’s policies would fail, and in all of this he was dead wrong. Elliott Abrams

All of the folks above have bona fide conservative credentials….as much if not more so than Gingrich himself and they’re telling people that Gingrich….in so many words is a joke!  It doesn’t help Gingrich any that all of this criticism is coming out before the GOP primary in Florida which is less than a week away where polls had shown Gingrich in the lead.  It’s clear this criticism is meant to influence the outcome of that primary and slow Gingrich’s momentum. But it’s not even subtle any more; conservatives and especially those who idolize Reagan are coming out with their fangs bared against Gingrich in a way not seen too often in the GOP and it’s rather entertaining to watch.

Gingrich does have issues, but he is conveniently ensconced in the right party for them.  He’s a demagogue and a race baiter…something he shares with Santorum and Cain and some would say Paul, and he’s a liar. Something he shares with the last Republican administration in the White House.  Check out his latest lie, exposed by CNN regarding his defense against the coming out by his ex-wife  of Gingrich’s alternative lifestyle

“Tonight, after persistent questioning by our staff, the Gingrich campaign concedes now Speaker Gingrich was wrong — both in his debate answer, and in our interview yesterday,” King said on tonight’s edition of John King USA. “Gingrich spokesman R.C. Hammond says the only people the Gingrich campaign offered to ABC were his two daughters from his first marriage.”

Producers, sponsors, news directors must be cutting a jig on all the newsroom floors of CNN over this news, especially since Gingrich publicly embarrassed John King to thunderous applause for posing the question about Marianne’s claims in the debate before the SC primary.  Somewhere the God of Justice has just put a smack down on Gingrich’s smugness but like most megalomaniacs Gingrich will neither be humbled or bowed…he’ll merely plod along against the tide of many within his party and outside of it too.  One has to wonder whether the two, Democrat and Republican, won’t team up to get rid of this thorn in everyone’s side.  I could possibly see a bipartisan dirty tricks/black bag group dedicated to spreading  salacious stories emanating of Gingrich’s dark side.  It seems for the moment, Gingrich has even overtaken Obama in raising the ire of conservatives.  Ahh…sometimes payback can be entertaining to watch/read as well as rewarding.

Courage


Sometimes all it takes is for someone to take a principled stand against people who intimidate by fear and hatred.  That’s what Hillsborough County school board chair Candy Olson did at a school board meeting this month when confronted by parents who were upset the school system allowed a Muslim to speak to classrooms about Islam.

They (assembled parents)  said the presentation by CAIR’s Hassan Shibly — made to an advanced-placement world history class in November at Steinbrenner High — was a threat to children, to schools, to America.

“As a father to a child, this breaks my heart to know this is even considered in the schools,” said William Terrell of Tampa.

“CAIR funds homicide bombers to do what they do. They fund the ability of rockets being shot into Israel,” said Ryan Italiano, an 11-year-old who is home-schooled.

“Why you’ll let this religion be taught in our schools but you won’t let the religion that this country was made of be taught in the schools. What’s the point in teaching religion that caused the twin towers to fall down?”

Finally, after 17 speakers on the topic, and with dozens more anti-CAIR forces in the crowd who didn’t speak, school board Chairwoman Candy Olson had heard enough. And she unleashed on the group.

“Our teachers do need to give our students a broad view of the world,” she said, clearly irritated. “The Muslim faith is here to stay. I don’t think we can protect our children from the fact that there are people in this world who believe in Islam.”

She called those in the audience out of touch and criticized what she labeled a negative and mostly anonymous e-mail campaign that she said was meant to intimidate.

“This was one speaker for part of one class. This wasn’t an indoctrination,” Olson said. “How dare you show such disdain for people who are by and large competent professionals? It is essential, it is imperative we support our teachers in showing a broad view of the world.”

Olson said that despite speakers’ statements to the contrary, there were plenty of opportunities for other faiths to be present in the schools. After all, Olson said, there are Bible studies and clubs such as Fellowship of Christian Athletes.

Instead of being bullied, cowed or merely quiet, Olson took a stand on the issue and held her ground.  She needs to be congratulated for that.  Too many have capitulated to assembled voices of hatred and not defended the rights and responsibilities we all have and share, regardless of faith, color or creed.  Olson would have none of that however and held fast.  Would that American politicians on both sides of  politics had such bravery; it’s a trait that’s sorely missing in them. Kudos, Ms Olson!

Various and sundry news


First the “good” news. The folks in Tennessee are removing religious references from the bill they wanted to introduce regarding foreign laws not being applied in state matters which would amount to treason and a 15 year jail sentence.  It was obviously designed to persecute Muslims.  The state’s lawmakers were too dumb to realize they are  pawns in a much bigger battle between American jurists who assert the right to reference other countries’ laws in their decisions and those xenophobes who vigorously opposed that idea.  More on that later.

But, and there’s always a “but” isn’t there?  For every step America makes forward they seem to take several back.  Check out this story of a true blue American Muslim who was put on the no-fly list because he refused to cooperate with federal officials who want to infiltrate America’s Muslim population.  Seems his refusal to do so was based on his family situation, he’s married with 4 children and probably doesn’t trust the government to help support his family while he’s out and about spying on people…….isn’t that the kind of self-reliant, no trust government but do for self citizen the “Right” and their neo-con allies wanted?…….and most likely he’s not too keen on the idea because he doesn’t feel comfortable being around Muslims, since according to him he’s gone to church with his Christian wife more times than he’s been in any mosque.

Finally there’s this bit of crab barrel politics of an aspiring politician who wants to make a name for himself on the backs of America’s Muslim population.  A black David Duke or a blacker Allen West, the Florida congressman of the same political bent, Herman Cain has taken his Godfather’s Pizza moniker a bit too seriously.  You remember the one don’t you, ‘the pizza you can’t refuse’ slogan that rocketed that franchise onto America’s consciousness back in the 80s.  He thinks that the idea of religion and not being able to choose extends to America’s Muslims as well.  What’s more dastardly about Cain is he joins a long list of former slaves who now want to be slave owners, emotionally and mentally that is.  He hasn’t learned anything from the history of his people or his country; he’s too drunk with success and money to realize the error of his ways, but he wants to be president of the United States.  The more things change…….the more they remain the same.

The Arrogance of the Sayanim


Marco Rubio, the newly elected Republican senator for the state of Florida less than one week after being elected is being swept off his feet on a trip to Israel by former Philadelphia Eagle owner Norman Braman.  I guess a week is about enough time Rubio should give his constituents before heading off to pay homage to his true masters, the likes of which include Braman a rogue businessman who’s managed to upset just about everybody during the span of his business career and even into his retirement down in Florida.   Braman has been instrumental in opposing every tax initiative in his adopted Florida, even when those taxes were beneficial to the communities.

Braman, the 76 year old billionaire has infected his protege and campaign funding recipient Rubio with this aversion to taxes, and government spending.  As in all things related to American government today and politicians, Rubio has also had to genuflect at the alter of Zionism, tying American interests with Israeli interests and Israeli enemies as our own, a self fulfilling prophecy if there ever was one.

Israel’s enemies are — or will soon be — America’s enemies as well. They are emboldened any time they sense any sort of daylight between the United States and Israel. And now more than any other time, it is important that America has a firm and clear relationship with Israel.

With that he’s off to Israel.  Braman and Rubio insist this is a personal trip…you betcha, but it underscores the influence Israel and her American supporters  play in US elections.

South Africa and her Muslims got it right!


America needs to sit back and take a page from the South African playbook on how to handle religious bigotry.

A judge in Johannesburg, South Africa, has blocked a plan by a Muslim to burn Bibles on the anniversary of Sept. 11.

An Islamic intellectual organization, Scholars of the Truth, had sought the order. It bans the burning of any holy books. “I’m very pleased the judge came to this decision. Not only did he ban this protest but he also banned other people from burning the Bible,” The Christian Scientist Monitor quoted plaintiff’s lawyer Yasmin Omar as saying.

The order also covers the burning of other holy books, including the Koran. Mohammed Vawda planned to burn the Bibles in response to a plan to burn hundreds of copies of the Koran in Gainesville, Florida. The preacher pushing the Florida book burning has backed down.

“What Mr. Vawda wanted to do is not just morally wrong but is an affront to Islam. We regard Jesus as a prophet who is part of the Koran so if he burns the Bible, he is burning part of the Koran,” said Omar.

There are an estimated 1 million Muslims in South Africa and 30 million Christians. Judge Sita Kolbe issued his ruling after a four-minute hearing.

Did anyone notice how, a) it was a Muslim organization that sought the ban and b) it was such a no brainer it took only 4 minutes for the judge to assent and set it in motion?!?  Too bad the wheels of American justice don’t turn as quickly in such matters.  We could learn a thing or two from our brothers in South Africa.  Viva Mandela!

No Comment


Here is another perspective on the Burn Quran day idea of pastor Terry Jones as General David Petraeus weighs in on the controversy.

Florida Minister says he won’t back down-UPDATE


The minister in Florida who wants to have a burn the Quran day on September 11 says he won’t back down from doing it and I say good for him!  It is his constitutional right to burn copies of the Quran, the religious book of Muslims.  Let’s not forget we live in a country where  it is the right of any American to burn the US flag, and we all remember the turmoil  reaching that decision caused America. It is one of the “hazards” of living in a free society; protested speech against patriotic or religious symbols is not illegal. American Muslims more than any other group, should understand that,  and  should register their disagreement with the burning  of Qurans act,with thoughtful and or provocative editorials like this one ,  or planned  peaceful  protests like this,  for even though what Jones wants to do is legal it is morally reprehensible.  That’s as far as his opponents should take it, however.

It is this type of dissent  Muslims should expect from  those who oppose their building of a masjid near the site of the former WTC buildings; one may disagree with the building of the Cordoba House at Park 51, and may protest the  building going up there, however it is the right of the supporters of that project, codified by the legal authorities responsible, for the house to be built there and Cordoba House’s supporters should proceed with resolve to see it through  even during times of  intense opposition to it AND  the opponents should resign themselves to the inevitability of its completion .  What will then become a true battle of ideas a distinction between those who oppose book burning versus those who oppose a religious house of worship will be how the different groups express their opposition and accept the rule of law.  In other words, the behavior of the opposition will have more of an impact on the public debate about the presence of Islam in America than the action which spurs that opposition.   America will have to choose between those who promote racist, stereotypical, violent reaction to protected speech and religious freedom and those whose opposition is principled, respectful or thoughtful.

Given America’s past inclination to mob/racist rule the outcome is not so certain and definitely not in the near future.  One of the reasons why we must have this frank discussion about race in this country is because the racist template we’ve set for ourselves over the years  allows us to insert whatever group of the day we want to hate into  it and then hurl invective and discriminatory actions at them which we try to make into law to suppress them.  We still have not managed to steer clear of this disease because we haven’t really tried to cure it. Saddle up America, here we go again; we’re in for another  protracted campaign for the soul of this country.

UPDATE

Jones did back down and if anyone can understand the reasons why he did so, please explain them to me.  The man who claimed to have received messages from God  is unfathomable, sick, crazy in the head and one as intimately  familiar with him as his own daughter has come out and said so.  There’s even mention of  a mental disorder here as well. Why we, citizenship media as well as corporate media gave him so much of our time, bandwidth and news print is one of the mysteries of life.  A “pastor” with a minuscule congregation of about 50 managed to hold the entire world hostage with his delusions of grandeur and his fear injected venom which paralyzed a nation, diverted its attention from a more pressing national agenda than his personal dementia and left us, after his ‘never mind’ moment feeling used and abandoned from it all.  We deserve it….we put in way too much time feeding the ego of a man whose ego is as large as any other megalomaniac or larger, being called by a US Army general, the Secretary of Defense, the FBI, the NYC police chief and countless others who otherwise wouldn’t give you the time of day can be very gratifying, but what did all of that give us, the People?  It revealed for us that dark side of our collective nature that loves to be frightened and angered; it allowed the haters in our midst to feed us their daily ration of  hatred and loathing for “others” who are really “we”, “us”.  Someone wrote on their headline, ‘Florida Pastor Makes National Jackass of Himself’….and my answer would be no he didn’t.  He made jackasses out of us.

A Christian Cleric’s Response to a Christian’s burning of Qurans


Hat tip


Respected Pastor Terry Jones,

I have read your worldwide call for the burning of the Quran on this coming 11th of September. Your message stated that you are a pastor of one of the churches in Florida in the United States of America.

As an Arab Catholic priest from Damascus (Syria), I wondered what would be your objective, as an American pastor, for such a call?

I wondered, and I ask you: What are your responsibilities as a pastor?
Are you really a Christian pastor serving God in a church in America?
Or are you merely a layperson from America who is pretending to be in the service of Christ?

Did you give in to your nationalism (Americanism) rather than giving in to your Christianity?

What is your aim with that call?

(Do you wish) to further fuel hatred among people? Is that consistent with (the teachings of) Jesus, whom you represent in your eyes and the eyes of many others?
Tell me, is there in the character of Jesus, in his words or in his actions anything that would remotely justify even a hint of promoting disdain and hatred among people?

Have you forgotten that Jesus was completely for love, forgiveness and peace? Have you forgotten what he taught us when he told his disciples and the people after them to tell God the heavenly Father of all to “forgive us our sins as we forgive those who wrong us”? You overlooked or forgot that when Jesus was hanging on the cross and being subjected to insults and vile words, he raised his voice, saying, “O Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”

Who, then, do you represent or who are you trying to guide with this call of yours?

Isn’t it enough what has been happening since September 11, 2001: the killing, destruction, displacement and starvation of hundreds of millions of people throughout the world, from Palestine – the land of Jesus – by your leaders in particular, headed by George Bush, who was claiming direct communication with God?

Wouldn’t you agree with me that with your call (to burn the Quran), you have demonstrated that you are really unfamiliar with Jesus and that you desperately need to re-discover him again to be a true Christian pastor who calls, like Jesus, for the comprehensive love and full respect for every human being and a commitment to the full and wonderful teachings that call upon all believers, without exception, to always stand beside the poor, the oppressed and the disadvantaged?

My brother Pastor Terry Jones. Can you tell me, honestly, if Jesus came today, whose side would he take?

Is it the side of the powerful and arrogant oppressors who dominate the world and endlessly plunder its resources, violate its laws and international treaties, and kill people in their countries and destroy houses on top of their owners and turn them into refugees across the earth? Or is it the side of those who are oppressed, the disadvantaged, hungry, and homeless?

Did you forget what Jesus himself would say on the Day of Judgment to each person in front of him: “All that you did to one of my brothers, you actually did to me”?

I wonder if you have overlooked or forgotten that Jesus did not point in that speech on the Day of Judgment to the religion of any of those mistreated persons. He only referred to everyone as belonging to the human race and to his standing with the deprived, the weak, and the oppressed in this world.

So how could you as an American Christian pastor stand with the oppressors from your country whose injustice has spread around the world?

Aren’t you afraid of when you appear before Jesus on Judgment Day and you are burdened with a heavy conscience, like your leaders who are blinded by the gods of power, money, control and greed?

My brother Pastor Terry. Do you think I am being unfair if I conclude that your hatred toward Islam is what drove you to such a reprehensible call for the burning of Islam’s holy book, the Quran?

But let me ask you, as a Syrian Roman Catholic priest: What do you know about Islam? It appears to me from your call to burn the Quran that you are ignorant of Christ and Christianity, and that makes me believe that you are also ignorant of Islam and Muslims.

Believe me, it is not my intention to indict you and it is not my intention to engage with you in a religious debate about Christianity or Islam. However, after I prayed for a long time, let me suggest for both of us to make a joint effort on this coming September 11.

You might ask me what effort can we do jointly when you are in Florida and I’m in Damascus?

He is my suggestion.

I invite you to visit Syria, where you will be my guest and the guest of many of my Muslim and Christian friends. Syria is a country populated mostly by Muslims and in which Christians are indigenous to the land and have lived side-by-side with Muslims for centuries and centuries.

Come and don’t worry about anything.

Come and you will find out about Islam and Muslims what will comfort you, please you, surprise you, and even lead you, from where you are today in Florida, to invite all people to live in respect, love and cooperation among all people.

This is what people need rather than the un-Christian call to fuel the sentiment of hatred and division.

Come to Syria and you will be amazed by the good nature of people and their faith, their relations, friendly cooperation and openness toward all strangers.

Come to Damascus to witness and live an experience that is not in your mind nor the mind or expectation of all the churches of the West or their bishops, pastors, and clergymen.

Come to see and hear two choruses, Christian and Muslim, singing together during Christian and Islamic holidays to praise Allah, the One God, who created us all, and to whom we all return.

My brother Pastor Terry.

I call you my brother and I am serious about calling you brother and about my invitation to you. I await a word (of reply) from you. Trust me that you will find a brother in Damascus, actually many brothers.

Please contact me and don’t delay. I am waiting for you in Damascus.

I ask God to make our anticipated meeting the beginning of a long and interesting path that we undertake together with other brothers in Damascus and around the world.

How desperate is the need of our world for bright roads.

Come, the road to Damascus is waiting for you.

Father Elias Zahlawi

False Prophets and the Conservative Right


fathima_r_bary1-225x300The conservative movement in America today has taken a descent into the deceit and lies it claims it abhors. Some of its major icons are leading the way with this decit and winning respect and admiration of many of the followers of the movement.  Conservatism has become a corrupt political ideology in America based on fear, hatred and racial and ethnic intolerance.  Nowhere is that more evident than in the story of the young woman pictured to the left who claims despite all evidence to the contrary, evidence sought after and found by two separate jurisdictions that say her statements are not true, that she is in fear of her life from her parents or family friends because of her conversion to Christianity.

Fathima Rifqa Bary ran away from home because of persecution she imagined would happen to her because of her conversion to Christianity; Fathima was born into a Muslim family that lived in Ohio.  Finding her way to evangelical Christians online, Fathima landed in the state of Florida alongside pastors Blake and Beverly Lorenz of the Global Revolution Church.  Her case has become cause celebre for the religious and conservative right who just can’t help from putting their feet in their own mouths, first backing Bary’s claim that she has been threatened with death by her parents for her conversion; municipal authorities in the town in Ohio where she lived said there was no credible evidence such threats took place between her and her parents, but it doesn’t stop there.  State authorities of both Florida and Ohio have said that the girl has not been threatened by her parents and that they pose no threat to her.  Even the governor of Ohio has gone on record saying the girl should be returned to Ohio where Ohio authorities can provide for the security and well being of the young woman in conjunction with her parents who had already agreed to some type of foster parent arrangement for her in the state of Ohio.

The people best suited to determine the threat level to Rifqa are the cops and social workers in Ohio familiar with the Bary family and the Muslim community. It appeared they had worked out a good compromise plan, allowing Rifqa to go into foster care while they ensured her safety.
…….. Rifqa’s father, Mohamed Bary, brought his family to America from Sri Lanka in 2000, at least in part to seek medical treatment for Rifqa after she lost the sight in one eye. He sends her to a top high school, where she has excelled and where she is a cheerleader.

Bary is a middle-class jeweler with no documented history of abuse and no record of radical actions or beliefs. Whatever his disagreements with Rifqa — and what parent of a teen hasn’t had his or her share? — he obviously had invested a lot in her care and upbringing.

Such overwhelming evidence of the lack of a threat to her physical well being was not enough to stop the Islamophobe conservatives who then took the offensive by saying the parents aren’t a threat to young Fathima as much as the place of worship of the parents but that too has been quickly dispelled by the members of that mosque who have said apostasy in Islam is not a punishable offense and which has engaged in interfaith outreach to the satisfaction of Christian and Jewish religious leaders of Columbus.  There is a pretty spirited yet civil discussion about that at this link along with the assertion that Fathima had converted and remained in her parents’ home long before her jaunt to Florida.  In other places one can read where while the parents knew of Fathima’s conversion and tolerated it, with her remaining in their home, they cautioned her not to become so aggressive in promulgating her new found faith at school and elsewhere, and one would think such advice would be sound, but the young lady refused to listen, perhaps because she thought her pagan parents weren’t to be obeyed?  Indeed, in her own words, young Fathima writes

“Lord is preparing me and He has me hidden … until the time is right…..I am called to the nations. Send me to the deepest darkest places into the pagan land.”

She must convert her family to Christianity, she wrote, including her older brother, Rilvan, 18, who worships “demonic music.” She must approach strangers and talk about Jesus. She saved a list of tips on how to do that:

“Do NOT be sneaky,” she wrote. “Sit down … get to know them … [Ask] would you mind for 5min if I share the gospel with you.”

She compared herself to the Old Testament heroine Esther and wrote out or saved religious pep talks.

“What does it take to be a prophet?” she wrote. “If I am a friend of God I can be prophetic. … You have to want it. Everyday pray for prophesy.”

Yet this is the type of person the religious and conservative movement wants to pin their hopes of Armageddon on as they continue their politics of fear, distortion, lies and xenophobia. Under ordinary circumstances, people like Ms. Bary would be heavily sedated and monitored or promptly dismissed for serious flaws in character, intellect and sanity. However, the insane “right” has decided to hitch their wagon to her delusions of prophecy and religious fervor, which makes them, the right, as insane and out of step with reality as Fathima Bary. This association is further evidence the conservative movement in America is unable to represent or propagate the interests of this country as long as they engage in the politics of division, derision and self-destruction of its adherents and its opponents.

The Indoctrination of Lying


liarWe’ve become so used to fear and hatred…..it’s as American, indeed human, as mom and apple pie, but I can never get over how easily people can lie without showing any effects from this hideous disease.  I shouldn’t be surprised therefore to read that the rather pleasant looking young lady above who claims to have confronted a school mate for an infraction against her loyalties and sensitivities made the whole thing up…….or in other words lied!

It didn’t happen, and the victim of this lie didn’t do anything that approaches the charge young Heather Lawrence accused her of; not even remotely, so why did Lawrence even go there?  No doubt some of it is home training or the lack thereof.  Parents sitting around any part of the house and lamenting the state of modern day America probably say things they don’t want others to hear or know, but with impressionable children around, such talk often gets translated into the type of action that Lawrence initiated.

While I applaud Obama for trying to diffuse the hatred directed towards Muslims and Arabs from all quarters of American society, the first step begins with punishing those who cross the line like Lawrence and letting them know there is a zero tolerance for actions that are clearly forbidden by the rules and regulations of businesses, the workplace, schools and other institutions.  Political grandstanding at the expense of innocent people, in other words demagoguery, cannot be tolerated in today’s America.  There’s enough of that going on under the guise of free speech on the air waves of America, but when it’s translated into actions that are intimidating or violent, should be met with the full systemic force of those responsible for rule and order.  The school officials who have punished Lawrence acted appropriately and are to be congratulated; the young girl’s parents need to be taken out to the nearest woodshed and spanked, while their daughter is made to watch, and then she too should be punished again.  At some point this young girl is going to have to become her own person, mature enough to discern what is right from wrong in her social relations, but until that time, her parents/guardians, her legal and moral authority, have to assume responsibility for her actions.  I shudder to think this girl may some day join a law enforcement agency and act out as inappropriately with much more at stake then she has now.  Such behavior as hers is the jumping off point for the likes of Sgt. James Crowley who somehow thought he had more right to remain in the home of someone than the actual homeowner did.  This family owes the victim of their daughter’s hatred and deception an apology, and to us, the greater society a pledge that while they can believe whatever they want good citizenship demands a strict adherence to the rules of law and institutions that make up this Republic.  Get busy Lawrences’…….you have work to do on yourselves and your daughter!

Justice Prevailed!


youssefIn an earlier post I wrote how a defendant found not guilty of a charge was set upon by the full force of the State and detained just two days after his first court case for possible deportation from America.  It wasn’t enough that this young student had done all that was asked of him by society in general as well as the judicial system, the government in some strange way decided more was required and that “more” was his immediate removal from America.   Everyone involved in his court case was up in arms and protested his re-imprisonment where he remained in custody for four months.

Finally,

An immigration judge on Friday rejected the federal government’s attempt to deport an Egyptian immigrant who had been acquitted of charges of illegally possessing and transporting explosives.Youssef Megahed was released after being detained as a suspected terrorist for almost five months by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, in a politically explosive case that has pitted national security claims against charges of profiling and discrimination against Muslims.

It’s scary that the government is even thinking about an appeal of this judge’s decision and the mere thought that’s being left only gives some credibility to Megahed’s dad’s remarks that his son’s case is an example of pure discrimination against Muslims, “They didn’t want us to live here. And because he wins the case, they want to destroy him completely.”  The young man and his family have no record of illegal activity during their stay in America and have been law abiding citizens; the stain of his original trial has been removed with a not guilty verdict and the admiration of some of the jurors in his case.  The witch hunt on the part of the government against a young man with no ties to illegal activity, terrorist or otherwise, is ill advised and sophomoric at best.  There are plenty of bad guys available for ambitious prosecutors to catch, try and imprison.  Youssef Megahed isn’t one of them.  He’s had more than his day in court; he has had several and each time was vindicated.  It’s time for the state to move on.

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