Carpetbaggers and Scalawags


Minstrels is another name that comes to mind for these people in modern day America who travel the country inciting and inflaming people’s passions about Islam and Muslims in America.  I’m especially piqued at the prospect that a southerner from the state of Georgia who no doubt understands full well the historical role carpetbaggers played in  his state’s history, a role he no doubt would describe as detrimental,  would himself take up that calling.

I’m talking about Newt Gingrich, in another life he was a congressman from Georgia who had a rather ignominious reputation relating to personal integrity, who has gone on to New York City and weighed in on the Cordoba House which is slated to be built near the location where the World Trade centers stood before being destroyed on 9/11/01.  Nevermind the fact that this establishment in the heart of one of the most culturally diverse cities in America will have facilities for people of all faiths to pray, Muslims, Christians or Jews, or that it will have recreational facilities for all  an interfaith YM/YWCA, or that the democratically elected Mayor of New York city which will house Cordoba House has gone on record with a very constitutionally correct statement

I think our young men and women overseas are fighting for exactly this – for the right of people to practice their religion and for government to not pick and choose which religions they support, which religions they don’t

Gingrich has inserted himself in the debate with the really inappropriate analogy of the US and Saudi Arabia by saying

There should be no mosque near Ground Zero in New York so long as there are no churches or synagogues in Saudi Arabia.

Of course it didn’t take long for carpetbagger Sarah Palin to join in the fracas and with her appearance the usual scalawags, locals from among the New York landscape joined in with their unhealthy doses of Islamophobic paranoia.  If you remember anything about American history you would know that “carpetbaggers”, was a derogatory term applied to Northerners who moved to the South during the post Civil War era between 1865 and 1877  looking for opportunism and exploitation of the area in which they moved. The outsiders often formed alliances with freed slaves and southern whites of like mind  nicknamed scalawags who then  politically manipulated and controlled former Confederate states for varying periods for their own financial and power gains. Carpetbaggers were viewed as dubious outsiders whose objectives were to disrupt the status quo for their own political gain.  As time went on, the terms changed, so that people who came to an area of the South, especially during the Civil Rights era, were called outsider agitators, or communists.  (I assert there is no moral equivalency between the people who agitated for change brought on during the time post Civil War era to now and the Islamophobes of today; the former was inclusive in aspiration as well as participation while the latter is exclusive)

Gingrich comes from a place in America that knows all to well how people react to outside influences, positively and negatively and seizing on that experience has allowed himself to be swept up in the racism of the Islamophobic reactionaries.  It is especially relevant because he is considering running for President in 2012, and recognizing there is a tidal backlash against Muslims and Islam has gathered his surf board and is now riding that wave.  His co-partner in crime Palin, equally ambitious and cash crazed has joined him as has the scalawags of the movement, some of them you can find mentioned here.  They are all political opportunists, demagogues whose rhetoric appeals to a segment of the population they hope will catapult them to political power.  They are segregationists in the sense they envision a limited participation of certain segments of America’s population into the everyday affairs of the public.  Gingrich and his ilk are driven by a bloodlust that has seeped into America’s conscious, in part due to two wars being fought by American troops and in part by a war of propaganda that has permeated the airwaves attaching all the necessarily repugnant stereotypes of a people in order to influence public opinion.  The people of NYC and surrounding areas would do well to listen to the patriotism of Mayor Bloomberg, whose appeal is to the rule of law and social order.  Gingrich and his band of scalawags hold such noble callings in contempt and therefore should be dismissed.

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Remind you of something?


The Muslim community in Riverside, California wants to build a community center/place of worship on land that they own in that town.  A conservative coalition that has been active with Republican and Tea Party functions sent an e-mail alert  to area newspapers  announcing they will hold  a one-hour “singing – praying – patriotic rally” beginning  at 12:30 p.m.  Friday, July 30 at the Islamic Center’s existing facility. That happens to be the time of day when Muslims gather for their congregational prayer. The email  recommended participants “bring your Bibles, flags, signs, dogs and singing voices.”

“We will not be submissive,” the notice proclaimed. “Our voices are going to be heard!” The alert went on to question what its authors described as Islamic beliefs. It suggested that participants sing during the rally because Muslim “women are forbidden to sing.” It suggested that rally participants bring dogs because Muslims “hate dogs.”

I can’t help but think this is what the organizers of this “event” had in mind when they thought about bringing dogs.  And yes, I had to go there.

Money down the drain


I saw this story about the Pentagon misplacing or not being able to account for $8.7 billion  and had to jump on it.  It’s not news if you’ve been reading Miscellany101; we first wrote about this penchant of the Defense Department to mismanage funds…I still think that’s fraud, in February ’09 and claimed the amount was far more than the 8.7 billion dollars being reported today but closer to 10 billion, and underscored it with this quote

Though Defense has long been notorious for waste, recent government reports suggest the Pentagon’s money management woes have reached astronomical proportions. A study by the Defense Department’s inspector general found that the Pentagon couldn’t properly account for more than a trillion dollars in monies spent. A GAO report found Defense inventory systems so lax that the U.S. Army lost track of 56 airplanes, 32 tanks, and 36 Javelin missile command launch-units. And before the Iraq war, when military leaders were scrambling to find enough chemical and biological warfare suits to protect U.S. troops, the department was caught selling these suits as surplus on the Internet “for pennies on the dollar,” a GAO official said.

The Iraq war was a windfall for everyone but the tax payer who saw the revenue generated by their taxes squandered by people who pushed upon the nation a needless war, to the detriment of millions of jobless and homeless Americans.  One trillion dollars lost, and that’s what we know about, for nation building?  Someone should ask the homeowner who just lost their house, or the person unemployed from a company that couldn’t afford to keep them whether the loss of the national revenue to fund the Iraq war was worth their circumstance today.  Regrettably the story making the rounds today by AP about the Pentagon not being able to account for “X” billions of dollars isn’t news……it’s pathetic!

Beating the War Drums


Those nutty neocons are at it again, calling for the US to enter into a war with Iran, on behalf of Israeli hegemony.  It matters not to them that America is undergoing one of the worst financial crisis in modern history, unemployment is at double digits, foreclosures at an all time high, and the war effort, especially in Afghanstan has been rocked by scandal and even charges of war atrocities, neocons don’t care about any of that, or about their pretty disastrous track record on the wars they have called for in the not too distant past with predictions that weren’t even close.  These people think Americans are dumb enough to forget all that and believe anything they say. 

Daneil Pipes’ interview with the oddly named Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry, whose ministry has been pretty much disavowed by the churches in Israel/Palestine makes the point that negotiations, diplomacy, sanctions are meaningless; he will accept nothing short of all out annihilation

DP: If Iran gets a nuclear bomb, it changes the dynamics – not just in the Middle East, but worldwide. If the Obama administration has in mind to do something, it’s not about to broadcast it. So we don’t know. But I’m not optimistic. But I also would not conclude at this date that the Iranians will get the bomb. There is still pressure that can be brought.

EMQ: Can sanctions really accomplish anything?

DP: I don’t think so. I don’t think sanctions have any value beyond window dressing. I don’t think agreements have any value. I don’t think threats have any value. It boils down to whether we accept the Iranian nuclear program or we destroy it.

EMQ: How should Israelis feel about this?

DP: I think it’s realistic for the Israelis to attack and do real damage. Now, what constitutes success, I’m not exactly sure. There are many, many questions. If I were [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin]Netanyahu, I would say to [U.S. President Barack] Obama, “Why don’t you take out the Iranian nukes? Or else we will And we will not do it by trying to fly planes across Turkey and Syria or Jordan or Saudi Arabia. We will do it from submarine-based, tactical nuclear weapons. You don’t want that; we don’t want that; but that’s the way we can do this job for sure. You do it your way so we don’t have to escalate to that.” That would be a way of applying pressure. There are so many details which I’m not privy to. But that would be my kind of approach if I were the Israelis.

It’s too bad the leader of the ‘only superpower’ left in the world today….I like how neocons like to build up US presidents in order to get America to do the dirty work for Israel, doesn’t have the courage to say to any Israeli leader acting out Pipes’ scenario, ‘go right ahead and attack Iran with your sub based tactical nukes…you’re on your own, while we try to work out details through negotiations’, because the Iranians have been signaling since 2003 their willingness to negotiate with America.  Pipes almost seems to threaten the US…..we don’t want that and you don’t want that (i.e. a sub based strike on the part of Israel) so why don’t you do it your way’.

The other chest beating neocon is Sir John Bolton who likes to use the neocon meme of questioning the manliness of American presidents; something is wrong with them, they lack the courage to stand up to an intractable foe if they don’t do the neocon shuffle.

As Tehran and Pyongyang can plainly see, President Obama’s nonproliferation strategy is intellectually and politically exhausted. But U.S. exhaustion will not lead to stasis. North Korea and Iran will continue their nuclear and ballistic missile programs in the face of our feeble policy.

So are we consigned to two more years of growing danger? Not if Congress and opinion leaders take steps without White House leadership, beginning with these three initiatives:

First, they must demand increased intelligence collection on the North Korea-Iran connection……..

Although North Korea and Iran may be slipping off the front page, their nuclear and ballistic missile cooperation is almost certainly progressing….. Stepped up intelligence gathering and enhanced congressional and public discussion might even awaken the Obama administration.

A second step is to increase political support for an Israeli strike against Iranian nuclear and ballistic missile facilities…. Arab states have understood this for some time and have hoped for a pre-emptive U.S. strike. But that will not happen under Mr. Obama absent a Damascene conversion in the Oval Office.

What outsiders can do is create broad support for Israel’s inherent right to self-defense against a nuclear Holocaust and defend the specific tactic of pre-emptive attacks against Iran’s Esfahan uranium-conversion plant, its Natanz enrichment facility, and other targets. Congress can make it clear, for example, that it would support immediate resupply and rearming to make up for Israeli losses in the event of such an attack. Having visible congressional support in place at the outset will reassure the Israeli government, which is legitimately concerned about Mr. Obama’s likely negative reaction to such an attack.

There you have it, America’s problem is an intellectual midget occupies the White House who is usually asleep and not aware of the threat a non nuclear possessing country now poses to our client state Israel, so Bolton and other like minded neocons along with those members in Congress who are agreement must  sidestep the President and take the bull by the horns to rectify this situation. During the days of the GW Bush administration there was a word tossed around a lot for people who went against the grain of a sitting US president during America’s time of war. That word was ‘traitor’. I think it’s appropriate for the two gentlemen mentioned above. Anyone?

American Christian-Zionists PWNED


Archbishop Theodosios (Atallah) Hanna, Archbishop of Sebaste in Jerusalem was asked the following question

Main Evangelical Christians in U.S. and western countries believe that the emergence of the state of Israel is promised by God. They support Israel financially. What is the Orthodox Church’s position on this matter?

AT: The Orthodox Church as all churches in the Holy Land refuses to give excuses from the bible for the unjust treatment of the Palestinian people.

I am very sorry to hear about some religious groups in the United States that support the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories. Such support cannot be justified from a Christian point of view because Christianity is against any sort of occupation and the injustice in it all forms and rationalization.

These groups need to re-read their bible, because the bible calls us to stand with the marginalized and the oppressed and not with the oppressors.

For those who use the bible to support Israel need to differentiate between God\s promise and Balfour promise (Balfour Declaration), because the occupation is the result of a promise given to the Israelis by Lord Balfour and not by God.

God is innocent from the unjust actions of the Israeli occupation of our land since ‘48 and until now.

‘Nuff said! Mainstream Christianity in America that identifies with Israel’s occupation and oppression of Palestinians is out of step with their religious principles.  When you are without principle, what other behavior can one expect of you?

More Veil News


There are only a very few people who are acting responsibly concerning the veil worn by some Muslim women especially in European countries.  Caroline Spelman, a Conservative Party member in the UK is one of them.  While I don’t know much about the Conservative Party in England, if it’s anything like American Conservatives, this woman, Spelman is quite progressive in her thinking.

“I don’t, living in this country as a woman, want to be told what I can and can’t wear.“One of the things we pride ourselves on in this country is being free, and being free to choose what you wear is a part of that, so actually banning the burka is absolutely contrary I think to what this country is all about.

“I’ve been out to Afghanistan and I think I understand much better as a result of actually visiting why a lot of Muslim women want to wear the burka.

“It is part of their culture, it is part of understanding that they choose to go out in the burka and I think those that live in this country, if they choose to wear a burka, should be free to do so.

“You have to understand the actual culture and it was probably only when I went there and spent some time amongst women that I really understood that for them it’s a choice.

“For them the burka confers dignity, it’s their choice, they choose to go out dressed in a burka and I understand that it is a different culture from mine but the fact is in this country women want to be free to choose whether or not to cover their heads, whether or not to go out in the morning wearing a burka, that’s for them.

“We are a free country, we attach importance to people being free, and for a woman it is empowering to be able to choose each morning when you wake up what you wear.”

It goes without saying she’s been slammed by members of her own party, but the essence of what she’s saying, the freedom to choose shouldn’t be lost on those secular countries that say the same thing about a woman’s right to choose whether to have an abortion, for example, or what career she aspires to, etc.

For Muslim women living in the West who would like to wear the face veil or niqab who have any reservations or doubts about doing so comes this word from the primeval Islamic source, Saudi Arabia

if Muslim women are in a country that has banned the niqab, or full-face veil, or if they face harassment in such a place, “it is better that the Muslim woman uncovers her face.”

Numerous scholars of various Islamic schools of thought agree on this point, Qarni said.

But he, Qarni, is not the only one saying this.  Yusuf Al-Qaradawi, has made similar pronouncements, and there is spirited discussion on Muslim forums about this issue.  Of course given the opportunity, most governments would love to define their constituents in the manner that is appealing to the majority or that would ensure government office holders remain in power…and “choice” really has nothing to do with that, it’s consensus or expediency that matters.  This is the attitude of western secular countries that tout one type of choice for women that is liked by a majority of them….abortion for example, but deny another type of choice not so popular.  Muslim countries don’t consider choice at all; rather it’s tradition that carries the day.  In traditional Muslim countries, it is up to women themselves to make their case for their choices and most likely it will have to start from the top down.  Grass root movements simply don’t exist in many traditional countries. What is most interesting to this observer is  two prominent Muslim countries, most notably Syria and Egypt, have said the niqab is not allowed either in public or by woman who work in government jobs, thereby placing themselves on equal footing with their brethren governments from the West; common ground found on the backs of women’s rights or lack thereof.  Sad.

The skies are very vulnerable right now


These are not the words of a potential terrorist or enemy of the US, but rather the proclamation of a whistleblower with the Air Marshal Service, talking about the rampant discrimination faced by females, veterans, blacks, minority groups of all types in the Orlando, Florida office of the Air Marshals. The managers of that office were far more preoccupied making crude jokes and pranks about and against co-workers than they were with protecting passengers; one local Florida TV news crew even recorded marshals sleeping while on duty, drunk or vandalizing personal property. Yet, these are the people who are charged with insuring the safety of America’s air waves post 911 at an enormous cost of money to the public’s treasury and even by the admission of one of them they are ineffective because of…..dare I say it…….their inability to deal with a multi ethnic workplace, discrimination.

After 911, when government agencies were either created or expanded to deal with perceived threats against America, bureaucracies grew so quickly and to such an extent that they became inefficient, off message and unfocused, and possibly ineffective in their mission and at a cost of trillions of dollars. We were told such expansion would produce good results, a consolidation of efforts, more efficiency to fight to preserve our way of life.  Rhetoric flew fast and furious in much the same way as government expanded, but after 9 years it seems we are no better off with no appreciable gains in the war on terror than we were on September 10,2001. There’s this

The top-secret world the government created in response to the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, has become so large, so unwieldy and so secretive that no one knows how much money it costs, how many people it employs, how many programs exist within it or exactly how many agencies do the same work….

Many security and intelligence agencies do the same work, creating redundancy and waste. For example, 51 federal organizations and military commands, operating in 15 U.S. cities, track the flow of money to and from terrorist networks.

At least 20 percent of the government organizations that exist to fend off terrorist threats were established or refashioned in the wake of 9/11. Many that existed before the attacks grew to historic proportions as the Bush administration and Congress gave agencies more money than they were capable of responsibly spending.

We are plagued by a bloated bureaucracy which harbors uninspired servants whose lapses endanger the security of the homeland. Not much has changed since 911 except the deficit, the size of government and the burden tax payers are paying for the perception of security, which begs the question is all this worth the price?