The Religious Warmongering of the New York Times


NYTLeave it to the main stream news media to editorialize about the necessity for religions to confront one another in the timber box times we now live in.  With the nation’s first black president who many in American society want to delegitimize because of his color, his origin or his ethnicity, the editorial which appears here in the New York Times is just one more attempt to kill two birds with one stone; the black president many wish they never had and the menacing Islam which many think he, Obama, represents.

One should come to expect the type of bombast which fills Ross Douthat’s editorial; after all the New York Times hasn’t been known for being very accurate here lately, with all their false articles about WMDs and its  reporters cavorting with government officials while engaged in outing covert agents of various intelligence agencies.  It comes as no surprise to me therefore that the Times has printed such inflammatory statements about Islam and it’s coexistence with the aspirations of an hegemonical Pope Benedict like, “in making the opening to Anglicanism, Benedict also may have a deeper conflict in mind — not the parochial Western struggle between conservative and liberal believers, but Christianity’s global encounter with a resurgent Islam.” (I never thought Islam was out for the count or dying?  How can it therefore be ‘resurgent’?) Or this quote, “Where the European encounter is concerned, Pope Benedict has opted for public confrontation. In a controversial 2006 message in Regensburg, Germany, he explicitly challenged Islam’s compatibility with the Western way of reason — and sparked, as if in vindication of his point, a wave of Muslim riots around the world.” (Does Douthat think the confrontation should extend to the shores of America too?) Why Benedict, at least according to Douthat,  wants to pick a fight with Islam is beyond me.  Maybe it’s because Europe sees itself  threatened by the existence of Muslims in its midst and wants to expell them much like they did in the 15th century with its pogroms against Muslims they expelled from Spain. In some way I would hope a parallel can be drawn sothat a papal inspired  Europe could understand the frustration Palestinians feel about having an alien force on their soil whose compatibility is different from their own, but I don’t think that’s going to happen because frankly Europe, like America, is fine tuned for war and confrontation, to use the editorial’s word(s) and there’s is very little else, like empathy or understanding or even peace for that matter, that they are interested in.  It pains me to see a religious figure dial into the lustful emotion of hate and distrust the way this Pope has.  I am reminded of his meeting with GWB and wonder if they two didn’t share a scriptural text or two to talk about their worldly ambitions; after all, it is this perfect dichotomy between the Church and temporal power that allows them to say to one another, ‘Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s’ isn’t it?  Glen Greenwald does a pretty good job of dissecting Douthat’s editorial on a political level here.

What interests me however is the benign reaction the Muslim world has exhibited toward Benedict’s remarks, which some Muslims took offense to because of the defamation of the Prophet,  alluded to in the Douthat editorial.  You can read the official Muslim response here where a certain group of scholars extended every olive branch there is to the Pope who is being encouraged by his parishioners the likes of Douthat to “confront” Muslims in order to gain Anglican converts.  The Muslim response linked to above contains over 50 references to the word “love” in describing their relationship to God and their fellow man and several references the need for “peace” between the different groups of the world.  I would think a thoughtful, considerate and judicious clergyman would want to inspire and encourage such sentiments among members of another faith, not incite or aggravate their opposites.  In an extraordinary attempt at conciliation meant to allay already heightened fears, concerns, paranoia on the part of papal Christendom, the Muslim reply to Benedict begins thus

Muslims and Christians together make up well over half of the world’s population.
Without peace and justice between these two religious communities, there can be no
meaningful peace in the world. The future of the world depends on peace between
Muslims and Christians.
The basis for this peace and understanding already exists. It is part of the very
foundational principles of both faiths: love of the One God, and love of the neighbour.
These principles are found over and over again in the sacred texts of Islam and
Christianity. The Unity of God, the necessity of love for Him, and the necessity of love of
the neighbour is thus the common ground between Islam and Christianity.

and remains consistently conciliatory throughout.  Nowhere in the Muslim response is their any attempt to touch on the hot button issues that are usually brought up in discussions between Muslims and non Muslims.  Doing so would be distracting at best and tend to feed the appetite of any already hungry desire for war between the two faiths.  Instead these “scholars” appear to want to emphasize a common ground that can support a foundation of understanding and mutual respect.  I wish that had been the tone of Douthat’s editorial and not the one that seems to encourage Benedict to go down the road of his predecessors whose hands have stained the annals of history with the blood of their religious conquests, read murder, of European Muslims. However, such is the tone of main stream media and the New York Times these days, which is known for reporters who have told Muslims, ‘suck on this’.

The Republican Party today


I have tried to ignore the likes of talk radios worst personalities who have been trolling for the Republican Party because I believe they do and say what they do in order to make money, and I secretly hope they don’t believe one bit of the garbage they spew everyday.  We all know who “they” are and they have been really dominant on the American landscape since 911.  They are the worse America has to offer humanity but they are ours and we have to deal with them.  When the Republican party chose an African-American as its titular head, I held out hope the party had turned a corner and would distance itself from the clowns on the air whose ranting and raving about race and Obama and ethnicity have polluted political thought and discourse, but unfortunately, Michael Steele has turned out to be just as ignorant about race and incendiary in his comments as the more crude and boorish air talent the GOP has engaged to take their message to the public.  However, the picture below takes the cake and is the ultimate insult in what one can only hope will be the demise of the Party.  The picture appeared on the Facebook page of the Republican National Committee and is blatant in its disregard for American history and as in your face about what Republicans think of race……especially  mixed race relationships and a Supreme Court case which made it illegal to deny couples of different races the right to marry…..as can be ever spoken.  I hope the picture is the dagger in the heart of a Party which has become irrelevant in the nation’s discourse about ANYTHING and EVERYTHING, and maybe suggestions can be made to the appropriate law enforcement agencies to investigate Rethuglicans for treason against the homeland and threats, real or imagined, against a sitting president.

obamafacebookphoto

Muslim Spies in Congress: A Classic Misdirection Play


Chris Gaubatz Chris Gaubatz, pictured on the right next to Representative Andre Carson, along with his father have produced what they think is an explosive book about the Council on American-Islamic Relations, CAIR,  a Muslim civil rights organization’s attempts to infiltrate Congress with spies as interns.  Yes, this is another in a long line of attempts to discredit, denigrate, pollute Islam’s presence in America, and you the reader should ask yourself the question why is so much effort being made to destroy a religion in the land of the free and the home of brave.  The book in question is called Muslim Mafia, and the writer, Chris’ dad, Dave Gaubatz is literally on the fringe when it comes to sanity in today’s America; you can read about his dubious past here.  Among some of his more enlightened pronouncements is the one where he says when talking about the Obama campaign, ‘We are now on the verge of allowing a self admitted ‘crack-head’ to have his finger on every nuclear weapon in America.’ His tendency to make things up out of thin air is continued in the aforementioned book.  What’s disturbing about it, apart from the fact he prostituted his son to lie and deceive the people who work in the offices of CAIR where he stole memos from them, no doubt that the FBI already possessed, to prove his theory of spying, is the fact this book was announced by four members of Congress, one of whom wrote the forward for the book…….a bit of self-promotion never hurt anybody I guess.  This is the same Congress, an institution where one of their own esteemed members has already been outed as a spy!

HarmanJane Harman, democrat from California has been recorded discussing making a deal with some Israeli intelligence officer who was being monitored by the feds through a court approved wiretap.  Harman was to throw the full weight of her office behind getting the Justice Department to drop the charges against two AIPAC officials….the DOJ inevitably did just that,  who were accused for spying for Israel in exchange for being appointed chairman of the House Intelligence Committee with the help of said Israeli officer. It doesn’t help Harman’s supporters to know that Harman had been under investigation since 2006 and that DOJ attorneys had decided she indeed committed a crime in her discussions with the Israelis.  That doesn’t seem to matter to the likes ofReps. Sue Myrick (NC), John Shadegg (AZ), Paul Broun (GA), and Trent Franks (AZ), who claim the Muslim menace is imminent and deadly and by extension trumps anything Harman ever did.  Yet, the CAIR’s  literature used by Gaubatz to expose their dastardly plot reveals them to be no more than a public advocacy group for the rights of Muslim Americans and a lobbying organization with far less effectiveness than AIPAC.

The second part of the misdirection involves diverting attention away from the efforts Muslims have made to report, bring to the attention of authorities or police,  members of their community only to have their efforts denied, like the community in California that reported an obviously errant Muslim who it later turned out was a FBI informant only to have one of their own arrested and the  subject of a government investigation.   Or how about the Muslim community leader,  known as an Imam, who was arrested by federal authorities because while he agreed to help law enforcement round up radical leaning Muslims he refused to do so surreptitiously. Left with examples like this Muslim communities throughout America feel helpless to stop what are many times government inspired plots of violence against American citizens because such disclosure to or cooperation with federal authorities often leads to negative consequences to otherwise law abiding citizens.   Perhaps this high publicity appearance of the four horsemen congressional representatives was meant to get the members of CAIR and other Muslim civil rights groups to come running back to federal officials begging to be accepted by them and agreeing to any terms dictated by law enforcement to counter any negative publicity generated by this “book”.  I hope that doesn’t happen, and it shouldn’t.   The Muslim community has done more than  their share to show good faith in working with law enforcement  to eliminate any threat to the security of American citizens….many of them Muslims.  This spurious book, Muslim Mafia, is the thanks they get for that.

A bitter disappointment


tantawi226bodygettyI saw an interesting thread over at Ginny’s Thoughts and Things about an encounter the head of Egypt’s leading Islamic University had with a high school aged girl.  You can read about it here and here.  What it boils down to in the simplest of terms is he asked a young high school aged girl to remove her face veil in his presence and when she demurred, he used the full weight of his position as the head of a major state supported institution to have it removed against her will.  Whether you agree with the article of clothing the young woman was wearing or not, the issue is, up to the time of that encounter with Sheikh Tantawi, it was not against the law of her land to wear it, but because her appearance offended him he brought the full action of the State against her.  It appears that even in Egypt, despite its claims of Islamic roots, the State supersedes individual freedom that Egyptian culture, religion and LAW give to the citizens of that country, and the sensitivities of a civil servant of the State, albeit a powerful one can determine what is legal and illegal.

After reading this news, I wonder what came first, Tantawi’s indignation towards this young woman or Egyptian men and society’s disrespect of Egyptian women in general?  Sexual harassment is a big problem in Egyptian society, and Tantawi’s heavy handed approach with this young woman, which has caught the attention of the society, probably serves as an example of how Egyptian men view their relationship with women.  I question whether the Sheikh is the leader of this movement to denigrate women’s rights or is he  a follower of a mob trend in society to intimidate and harass women? It is a sorry state of affairs for an esteemed position or rank in scholarly Islam, and no amount of backtracking can undo the damage done to the young woman or to his position.

Give it up for Harry Connick, Jr!


harry-connick-jr--picture-4Appearing on an Australian television show which featured performers in black face, Harry Connick handled himself with dignity and honor as he spoke out against the inherent racism behind such a skit he was asked to judge.  You can see the skit and watch Connick’s response to it below.  He spoke with measured tones and with a seriousness deserving of the abuse, handling himself with dignity.  His remarks were well received by the Australian audience which applauded what he had to say.  His remarks transcended race and are an indication of where we are as a country today.  Anyone watching how he handled himself and what he said should feel proud of the way he was representin’ America.  Connick, from a grateful citizen of the United States….thank you!

Congratulations to Mr. Obama?


noble peace prizeBarack Hussein Obama has become only the fourth US president, after Teddy Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson and Jimmy Carter to win the Nobel Peace Prize.  Coming after the disastrous Bush administration’s  doctrines of wars of aggression and preemption any President should  be awarded the prize if he/she simply refused to continue Bush’s policy, which is why my congratulatory message is tinged with a bit skepticism.

With a publicity seeking  commander of US forces in Afghanistan  asking for more US troops to be stationed and fight there and after eight years of an already failed policy anything less than a resounding NO to such demands means Obama is headed towards another Vietnam type conflict marked by steady increases of US personnel with no clear winnable objectives.  I found this list of things Mr/President Obama should consider to be most helpful in deciding whether to send more troops to Afghanistan:

1. The planning of 9-11 was done in hotels and apartments in Germany and Spain, and flight schools in the United States. Even Paul Pillar, former CIA deputy chief for counter-terrorism will tell you that an al Qaeda base in Afghanistan would not significantly increase threats to the United States.

2. If the Taliban had control of Afghanistan, it would likely not allow al Qaeda in. Richard Holbrooke, the U.S. president’s guy in Afghanistan, will tell you the same.

3. The Taliban would not necessarily gain full control of Afghanistan if the United States left. It never had it before, and appears unlikely to be able to take it now. These three points, as Robert Naiman has pointed out, make the leap from US withdrawal to an al Qaeda attack on the United States quite a large one.

4. Occupying and bombing Afghanistan is actually making us less safe. It is enraging people against the United States, building the Taliban and other resistance.

5. The occupation is also damaging the rule of law. Our engagement in this illegal enterprise makes it more difficult to prevent other nations from engaging in wars of aggression.

6. The occupation is not benefitting the Afghan people. It is not protecting their rights or their lives. It is brutally taking their lives with bombs and imprisoning them without charge or trial or the rights of prisoners of war.

7. The Taliban is made up of poor people fighting in order to eat. They need aid, diplomacy, jobs, education, and resources, not bombs and troops and mercenaries. We’re paying tens of thousands of Afghans to fight as mercenaries. We could pay them to rebuild their country and have money to spare.

8. That we are supposedly succeeding against al Qaeda when arguments are needed to reauthorize the PATRIOT Act, but supposedly failing against al Qaeda when it’s time to continue or escalate wars is insulting, not credible.

9. The citizens of the United States oppose the war, and it’s our money and our kids, and our country being placed in danger of blowback.

10. The people of Afghanistan, according to an ABC News poll, want the United States to withdraw. It’s their country, and you cannot impose democracy on them without obeying their majority opinion.

11. If we’ve been through eight years of this and not been able to even devise a rough description of what a “success” would look like, what are the chances that it will be identified and achieved in year nine?

12. It’s called the graveyard of empires for a reason.

13. Our states’ militias, the national guard, is needed at home and cannot constitutionally be sent abroad to fight for empire.

14. US soldiers signed up to defend the United States, not to commit war crimes in distant lands.

15. There is nothing worse than war that could conceivably take its place. Killing people is the worst thing there is.

I wish the Nobel prize committee had waited to see what Obama’s response about Afghanistan would be before they awarded him the peace prize. Perhaps they thought in giving it to him it would be pressure on him to ‘do the right thing’. I can’t say what their motivation was or what will be Obama’s but his first real foreign policy challenge that directly affects the interest of America is imminent. I hope he lives up to the challenge and the honor of the Nobel Peace Prize.

America’s incessant internal battle with racism


Part of the problem we face in America is we don’t really want to deal with problems that are unpleasant and involve malfeasance on our part.  Instead we hope either the people we have aggrieved will forget our indiscretions, read oppression, disappear completely as a result of it, or be bought off .  African-Americans occupy the first group of those, America wishes/hopes will forget all the years of her misplaced anger and rage ; native Americans are the second group that has almost vanished from the face of the earth and Asian Americans are the third group of people, bought off with the largesse of a bloated federal government which hoped could avenge the sins of World War II and the holocaust inflicted on Asians the world over.  In every case excuses were made to justify the oppression reigned down on unsuspecting and innocent peoples.

The current group of people to be targetted, Muslims and Arabs, can look back at their predecessors of America’s racist gauntlet and be assured the driving force of America’s oppression against them today is indeed racism.  No where was that more apparent to me than while reading and coming across the picture below of a black American in the ’30s tied up in what would today be called a “stress position”; it so reminds me of the the position people in Guantanamo Bay say they were tied up in and artist rendering of their accounts underscore that point.  Why is it America is reaching back into its past to use techniques it once used to oppress its racial minorities on today’s victim of her scourge?  Check out the similarities in torture applied to black American citizens in the early 20th century to those applied to Arab/Muslim Americans today.

slavery-torture georgia_niggerII

America’s response to the events of the early part of this century is to react in much the same way it has always reacted when confronted with people who are different than itself; that is to say strike out blindly and irrationally while inciting its citizens to accept some of the most ruthless and brutal acts against fellow human kind known to man.  It doesn’t matter that American citizens are the targets of such rage; they have always been in some form or another.  What does matter however is that once past victims are now known to engage in this brutality; the ancestors of slaves are as quick to follow torture’s road to perdition as former slave owners’ ancestors with much the same fury and hatred.  America has a fresh history of this disease and should have found the cure for it by now; it certainly should not have struck off on a path that takes this country right back down the same errant road it travelled.  Our eager to forget that path is what has put us back on it. As the saying goes, if we don’t learn from history we are doomed to repeat it and in so doing become simply doomed.