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How Low Can You Go?


When you hate people irrationally, you can go this low

Look at David Koresh. He had a religious institution until the government decided to load up their missiles and blowed it up and killed everybody.

That from Joe Brandon Jr, attorney for the plaintiff’s in the suit to stop the construction of the Murfreesboro, TN mosque from being built.  Brandon wants to deny citizens their right to religion based on what he thinks the federal government may do to them if they exercise that right.  In other words blame the victim. Perhaps he was giving a backhanded victim status to himself and all those who oppose the construction by saying Murfreesboro will become another Waco, Texas  and the good “other” citizens will be the worse for it because the presence of a mosque made the US government go Waco on it.  The devil made me do it is an even better excuse than the one Brandon was offering.

The judge ruling in the case, Judge Robert E. Corlew III who wasn’t persuaded by the absence of Brandon’s logic declared that county officials had legally approved the building of the mosque and the construction could proceed, declaring ‘Islam is still a religion’. That simple declarative statement, which Brandon and the plaintiffs he represented tried to nullify with innuendo guarantees the followers of Islam the same right to worship as  any other religious denomination in the country.   The rule of law, so preciously trumpeted by neocons for marauding, invading armies of empire was competently and successfully applied to several hundred families of Muslims in Murfreesboro, Tennesse.

A Mind is a terrible thing to waste


…..and FoxNews has lost its mind!  In a theme picked up by most Islamophobes, FoxNews went on the air with several different shows ( see here and here ) claiming The Council of American Islamic Relations CAIR, was able to get an exemption from TSA for Muslim women travelers so that they would not have to go through invasive full body pat downs.  Of course it was a lie, easily proven as such with a little bit of investigation which  when certain groups are mentioned by certain individuals NEVER gets done.

The policy has always been in place since full body scanners were introduced into airports that one could refuse going through one but had to subject themselves to a full body pat down instead. In other words the so called naked body scanners are optional for the flying public.   The TSA in its own press release has also said that Muslim women or any passenger who is wearing something that is covering their head and upper body because of medical or religious reasons…..using the very general term baggy clothing to describe such garb, and who does not want to remove it in order to be cleared must then face the options of a trace portal, trace detection or pat down of the covered area.   The first two, trace portal and trace detection are done mechanically to detect the presence of explosive residue on the body or clothing of someone.

Anyone who refuses AIT or full body image scanning that clearly shows the naked human body, MUST go through the invasive groping body search or pat down.  It is significant to point out that CAIR and other Muslim groups in America have declared the AIT scanners are not an option for Muslims and encouraged their followers to submit to the pat down search instead.  Why anyone thinks that is asking to be exempt from the prying eyes and groping hands of government is beyond  me.

After the full body pat down, a person can risk a secondary screening because of some alarm raised on the part of TSA personnel about the passenger, and this secondary screening involves either trace portal, trace detection or pat down of the covered area.  This screening is obviously meant to discover traces of explosives since the passenger has already been patted down by security and it is here where CAIR suggests that a person may ask to pat down the covered area instead of having TSA personnel do so since that has already been done by a security officer. The intent of the pat down here is to detect explosive residue, not determine what object is under the baggy clothing.  It may be that the person has been in contact with explosive material that is not on their person or in their carry on luggage but have trace amounts found on their clothes which might suggest suspicious behavior and grounds for further investigation before allowing that person on the plane.  What is plain by looking at the steps paggesngers go through is at the point where a woman is asked to have her hijab touched, groped, felt, whatever you want to call it, she has ALREADY gone through the invasive pat down that anyone who rejects the AIT scanners goes through and this part of the screening process is a more fine tuned one to check for exposure to explosives.  Those airports that do not have trace portal devices which cost, according to TSA $160,000 per unit might opt for a pat down of the suspected body part to resolve security concerns.  CAIR goes so far as to say that should a Muslim woman undergo the secondary pat down, she has the right, as any member of the flying public, to have someone with her other than TSA personnel, and the pat down can be done in private, out of sight.  That is not an exemption, rather an explanation of the rights any member of the flying public has available if they should undergo the vigourous and intrusive nature of the security apparatus instituted under the Bush Administration and maintained by the Obama Administration.

Isn’t it an axiom of government and especially a free government that has decided to change course and pursue  infringing upon the rights of its citizens that such a turn of events will take place gradually and that any gains it acquires towards this purpose it will not give up?  That day in 2001 when the TSA became a part of the federal bureaucracy was a day it was stamped forever into government and would attempt with the help of both political parties presently in existence  to get ever increasing powers at the expense of American citizens.  These invasive security measures upon our person are our fault and ours alone for we’ve allowed them, through our votes and the election of officials who engage in the political process for personal power and aggrandizement to usurp the power of the people.  If FoxNews really wants to make headlines, why don’t they investigate how many trace portals bought by TSA are manufactured by one of the two companies who make them, GeneralElectric, parent company for now, of  Fox’s competitor NBC.  Corporate media however, is fixated on its own survival even at the cost of the general public.  It is far more lucrative in the short run to demonize segments of society than it is to look into back room machinations of corporations who solidify by diversification their grip on a terror driven society intent on eating its own.

For American Jews Hating Muslims is good for Israel


Well that’s not really the title of this op/ed, but it says that’s what many are being encouraged to feel among some in the Jewish community.  A few excerpts appear below

I don’t know why I am at all surprised that the American Right – including the Republican Party – has decided that scapegoating Muslims is the ticket to success. After all, it’s nothing new.

I remember right after 9/11 when the columnist Charles Krauthammer, now one of the most vocal anti-Muslim demagogues, almost literally flipped out in my Chevy Chase, Maryland synagogue when the rabbi said something about the importance of not associating the terrorist attacks with Muslims in general.

It was on Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the year, but that did not stop Krauthammer from bellowing out his disagreement with the rabbi.  Krauthammer’s point: Israel and America are at war with Muslims and that war must be won.

It was shocking, not only because Krauthammer’s outburst was so utterly out of place but also because the man was actually chastising the rabbi for not spouting hate against all Muslims – on the Day of Atonement.

The following year, the visiting rabbi from Israel gave a sermon about the intifada that was then raging in Israel and the West Bank.

The sermon was a nutty affair that tearfully made the transition from intifada to Holocaust and back again.

I remember thinking, “this guy is actually blaming the Palestinians for the suffering of his parents during the Holocaust.” I thought I had missed something because it was so ridiculous.

Then came the sermon’s ending which was unforgettable. The rabbi concluded with the words from Ecclesiastes.

“To everything there is a season. A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, a time to reap … A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance…”

He then looked up and said: “Now is the time to hate.”

At first, I thought I had not heard him correctly.  He could not be calling on the congregation to hate. There were dozens of children in the room. It wasn’t possible.

But it was. To their credit, many of the congregants I spoke with as we left the sanctuary were appalled. Even the right-wingers were uncomfortable with endorsing hate as a virtue.

Yet, the rabbi was unrepentant. I emailed him to complain and he told me that he said what he believed. Nice.

One could ask what the Middle East has to do with the vicious outbreak of Islamophobia (actually Islamo-hatred) that has seemingly seized segments of this country.

The answer is everything. Although the hate is directed at Arab-Americans (which makes it worse) it is justified by invoking 9/11, an attack by Muslims from the Middle East.

This hate is buttressed by the hatred of Muslims and Arabs that has been routinely uttered (or shouted from the rooftops) in the name of defending Israel for decades

Just watch what goes on in congress, where liberals from New York, Florida, California and elsewhere never miss an opportunityto explain that no matter what Israel does, it is right, and no matter what Muslims do, they are wrong.

The writer of the piece doesn’t spare either side of the political spectrum with special contempt for liberals.  We expect such insanity from the “right” that has increasingly shown itself to be a lunatic fringe of social thought and political discourse, but liberals have been so ineffective in combating the “right’s” insanity that they too have become rabid in opposition to the insane right as ineffective in contributing to coherent, responsible and productive political discourse.

YouTube – Keith Olbermann Special Comment: False Promise Of ‘Objectivity’ – 11/15/10


Putting a lie to Ted Koppel’s bemoaning press impartiality/objectivity
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Why the outrage?


Representative Eric Cantor of Virginia

Image via Wikipedia

It appears Eric Cantor’s declaration to Benjamin Netanyahu that the Republican Party would, in essence, stand with Israel against the President of the United States has become somewhat of a news item.

Eric stressed that the new Republican majority will serve as a check on the Administration and what has been, up until this point, one party rule in Washington. He made clear that the Republican majority understands the special relationship between Israel and the United States, and that the security of each nation is reliant upon the other.

I like the one party rule reference, because in a way, the Republicans have  done nothing but obstruct the Democratic party’s initiatives since Obama came to office.  Remember, their stated policy/political goal, or rather as stated by Mitch O’Connell is to see that Obama is a one term president, so anything they can do to make him ineffective and look bad, is a plus for them!  But what is also obvious is the “talking point” of mutual reliance.

Despite the fact that America has lived as an independent country far longer than Israel, it appears we cannot live without them any longer; our survival depends on whether Israel survives goes the rational and no one seems to find that insulting.  What is apparent is that the Republican Party will magnify, out do the Democrats in pursuing the Israel agenda in Washington to the extent of becoming a lobbying agent for the government of Israel.  Those efforts at appealing to Israeli leadership most probably will include more wars of aggression against Israeli enemies, who are presently not ours, at the expense of the American economy and lives; already several Republican party members since the elections a few short weeks ago have called  for military action against Iran, while the Israeli economy prospers at the expense of America’s.

But what is truly pathetic about all the hoopla about Cantor’s remarks is the false indignation it has  raised. Cantor has indeed done something he and his Party once criticized those outside his Party for doing during the Bush years, but ever since Obama’s coming to power, the Republicans have taken unprincipled stands against this present Administration in attempts to score political points and the future  indicates the same strategy will prevail.  Let us not forget who Eric Cantor is.  He is quite comfortable with lying to suit his political agendas and wouldn’t hesitate to do so again for Israel which holds a special place in American politics.  She is able to carry out the most egregious crimes in our name yet still command, nay demand rapt attention from American politicians and dismissal for her illegal activity, as well as the full faith and backing of America’s financial institutions.  If you ask me, that’s where our outrage should be directed.  Cantor is just one of many in the political system who’ve taken us down that road.  Shame on him, yes, but shame on us for ignoring the bigger picture!

What does ‘Islam’ mean?


The answer is as varied and different as the one giving that answer, but I found this particular answer one that should be considered in the mix along with all the others

Islam is commonly translated into English, by both Muslims and non-Muslims, as simply “submission” (or “surrender”).

This is a simplistic translation that fails to convey the full meaning of the Arabic word.

There are namely two problems here.

First, “submission” and “surrender” in English contextualized usage imply a sense of coercion, a usurpation of one’s free will. When we say “surrender!” for example, it’s usually at gun point.

This contradicts a foundational criterion of Islam: freedom of will.

In Arabic, “Istislam,” not “Islam”, means “surrender” (noun). Like its English counterpart, “Istislam” implies coercion, and like its English counterpart it can be used to describe the act of one man vis-a-vis another. Conversely, “Islam” is used ONLY in the context of God, and ONLY in a state of free will (there is no single word in the English language that conveys this).

In other words, for a Muslim to be a Muslim, he or she must accept Islam free of force or coercion. God wishes for us to choose him because we want him, and for no other reason but that. This is a key point that is often misunderstood. Since faith is a matter of the heart, it can never be forced. It is technically impossible that Islam could ever be spread by the sword or by coercion, as some suggest, since even if at gun point (or at the sword blade), one could just as well proclaim to be a Muslim to avoid death, but reject Islam in their heart.

……Islam does not mean “submission,” Islam means “to freely submit one’s will to God’s, in pursuit of divine peace.” A simpler version that carries the same meaning is “to enter into God’s peace,” as Professor Tariq Ramadan proposes. It is ironic that two important characteristics of being a Muslim, in fact the two most basic criteria (freedom and peace), are two of the most misrepresented and conflated when it comes to the West’s conception of Islam.

I agree with Rehab’s conclusion above.  In today’s discourse on Islam, current political prejudices are too often injected in the meaning of words and Rehab wants to avoid this by returning to the meaning of WORDS and not images and concepts that surround the word “Islam”.  I applaud him, however language is so very broad and sweeping that even Rehab has been caught up in its trap, its deceptiveness.  Denotative  meanings of the word “Islam” do give the sense of a freedom of will as Rehab suggests, with one of the more widely available Arabic-English dictionaries including to ‘commit one’s self’ to Something or SomeOne or ‘declare’ one’s self committed to the will of God which seem to be absent the coercion implicit in the definitions Rehab cites.  Inevitably, the understanding of “Islam” depends on the climate and the personalities involved in rendering and hearing it.  In today’s America how that winds up is left to anyone’s imagination, but Rehab makes a very good attempt at making the focal point of the word the reality that Muslims have of it and how many of them try to live it.

 

Hat tip to Loonwatch.com

Congratulations!


Oklahoma’s Reactionary Politics


The citizens of Oklahoma recently agreed to SQ 755 which amends their state constitution and bans Oklahoma courts from considering Islamic law and international laws or treaties when rendering decisions.

This measure amends the State Constitution. It changes a section that deals with the courts of this state. It would amend Article 7, Section 1. It makes courts rely on federal and state law when deciding cases. It forbids courts from considering or using international law. It forbids courts from considering or using Sharia Law.International law is also known as the law of nations. It deals with the conduct of international organizations and independent nations, such as countries, states and tribes. It deals with their relationship with each other. It also deals with some of their relationships with persons.

The law of nations is formed by the general assent of civilized nations. Sources of international law also include international agreements, as well as treaties.

Sharia Law is Islamic law. It is based on two principal sources, the Koran and the teaching of Mohammed.

I’m not sure why the citizens of Oklahoma think they have to fear Islamic law will become a problem for them, however several proponents of the measure cited what is happening in European countries as the impetus for such measures here in America.  No doubt the visual elements, absent reasonable discussion, of Muslims and the conflicts between them and their countrymen in faraway places is enough to scare Americans into accepting what may be unconstitutional, dare one say, fascist remedies at home.

CAIR has already filed a suit to ban the enactment of  the change on very good grounds

The Establishment Clause

The First Amendment directs all government bodies to “make no law respecting the establishment of religion.” This measure violates that basic principle of American law and governance by specifically targeting one faith and one religious community.

Separation of Powers

Our federal system and our state system is in part governed by the concept of separation of powers. One branch of government cannot restrict what another branch of government can consider in terms of doing its job — in this case, deciding cases.

Supremacy Clause

International law refers to the conduct of the relationships between sovereign nations. … International law is, according to the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution, the law of the United States of America.

It will prevent Oklahoma courts from implementing international agreements, honoring international arbitrations, honoring major international human rights treaties, honoring marriages and divorces from other countries, and will cost jobs by sending the message that contracts between Oklahoma companies and international partners will not be enforceable. Oklahoma could become the only state in the nation incapable of enforcing international business law.

Oklahoma is a state with the second largest number of native Americans living in its borders and due to the language of the measure voted on, there could be a negative impact between the State and its native population as well….something the REAL Americans have already picked up on

While aimed at prohibiting the influence of Islamic law on Oklahoma court decisions, the text of the proposed amendment reveals that it could also damage the sovereignty of all Oklahoma tribes in the process.It completely ignores the possibility that an Oklahoma state court may be called upon to apply the law of any of the 39 Indian tribes located with the borders of Oklahoma to resolve a dispute….

the proposed constitutional amendment inhibits state courts from looking to the legal precepts of other nations or cultures for a decision.  The language of this proposed amendment starkly reminds us that some Oklahoma lawmakers forgot that our nation and state were built on the principles, blood, and backs of  other nations and cultures,  namely, our tribes.  It also ignores that Oklahoma tribes have become valuable economic partners with the State that it cannot afford to ignore or exclude.

 

As an aside, with over 50 casinos in Oklahoma all owned by native American tribes, the economic impact such a law could have on the local economy could be devastating.   The provision that speaks to not entertaining international law in resolving disputes could also have an affect on Oklahoma’s dealing with foreign companies located in that state. Oklahoma businesses that deal with companies overseas also could feel the side effects from the state questions.  Transactions between companies rely on international treaties to uphold contracts but with the state question banning courts from making rulings based on “international law,” instability of how state judges can rule on these types of cases could be the end product.  Of course, no one in their right mind would want to invest in an area of instability.

Finally, the law could adversely affect the very people the forces behind the law want to protect, or think they are protecting….i.e. the followers of the Judaeo-Christian ethic.  According to one legal jurist

I would like to see Oklahoma politicians explain if this means that the courts can no longer consider the Ten Commandments. Isn’t that a precept of another culture and another nation? The result of this is that judges aren’t going to know when and how they can look at sources of American law that were international law in origin

Chaos is the word to describe, for now, what this legislation the citizens of Oklahoma have accepted would make for their near future, and it all stems from a manufactured fear that they have no basis in fact to entertain.  The concept of Sharia they are so concerned about is nothing more than the desire of Oklahoma citizens who are Muslims to have follow personal law based on their religious beliefs.  Laws of inheritance, wills, marriage all of which can be easily codified under acceptable American law.  It would have no bearing, nor could it ever, on anyone who does not accept the premise of that law, namely non Muslims.  Conversely any Islamic concept that is in direct conflict with US law, Oklahoma Muslims are bound by their faith not to assert or face whatever legal consequences coming their way for breaking US law. Without a doubt, the people behind this anti-Sharia movement in Oklahoma do not have the best interests of their constituents at heart; rather their motivation is purely personal, political and perhaps even financial.  There’s gold in the political landscape of America’s Islamophobia and the folks in Oklahoma are clearly mining it!

The Depths of Islamophobia in today’s America


In today’s America, this Google logo is enough to set people off on an anti-Islam binge. Sure there is a lot one can say about the omnipotence of Google in the lives of modern day technophiles and the pros or cons of the Company’s sphere of influence but suggesting it is somehow giving in to the dark side of Islam, as some posters suggests is more a reflection of them than of Google.  I see the logo as a patriotic one with the American flag firmly embedded, respectfully I might add, in the only place it could reasonably go.  It speaks to me of Google’s desire to identify itself with America and how as an American company it has flourished because of the American ideals it has imbued in its work ethic, but then that’s just me.

Waterboarding and George Bush


Waterboarding is criminal behavior and and the US government has ratified no less than three international treaties that say so, obligating its lawmakers to prosecute any American citizen who engages in such activity AND it’s torture. So why is George Bush saying it isn’t, and hiding behind the UK to justify it? Perhaps he doesn’t fear prosecution any longer after sweeping Republican gains in this month’s elections or maybe he just doesn’t care. His indifference leaves an indelible stain on the reputation of the country he once led.

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Now just what is waterboarding? Listen to this guy tell what it is. He should know!

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It’s time to pay up America!


Less than a week after gaining control of the House, Republicans are coming out swinging at Obama and the American people.  If what they’re saying is any indication of their mindset, and I believe it is, America is in for more war and debt, more fear mongering and attempts at curtailing dissent.

Lindsey Graham of South Carolina is already calling for war with Iran, obviously an Israeli objective for quite a long time. The synchronization of efforts between the Republican Party and the Israeli government is an amazing ballet for the American people to sit by and watch since it is their sons and daughters who will be the sacrificial lambs of this play.  This talk of more death and destruction comes amid news that the Army’s suicide rate is now double the national average but that doesn’t seem to deter the Republicans  from offering the Nation’s children to fight unnecessary, unsustainable wars that are a drain on the American economy.  Urged on by challenges to their masculinity, ‘put your man pants on’ I think is how Palin encourages or derides them, Republicans seem to believe in the notion that war helps the US economy. Don’t be surprised therefore to see another causus belli for war with another foreign country far, far away; this is what we as a Nation voted for, and with the ever obsequious press that seems impervious to dissent, intent on silencing even its own voices, a la  Keith Olbermann for example, it appears we are witnessing another procession towards war, Rand Paul’s voice notwithstanding.

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.

Islamophobia Watch – Documenting anti Muslim bigotry – Paris: woman receives suspended sentence for veil attack


the French climate of bigotry extends to those visiting France; freedom of choice is no longer a valuable French tenet
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The Rethuglicans caught lying again


But not before enough people have believed them.  Racism is insane, inhumane and should be a war crime, and I say that being a racist.  I have to deal with my irrational hatred of groups of people on a regular daily basis where I am, but having said that there isn’t even the slightest bit of empathy from me for people who were stupid enough to believe this bit of thuggery from the right.

Even Andrew Card formerly of  the Bush White House said, the rumors proclaimed by the wingnut audio/video philes don’t pass the ‘sniff test’ unless what you want to smell is the odor of bigotry.  The opposition towards Obama is not principled, please don’t believe that lie either….  It is grounded in hatred for a black president with a strange sounding name whose father was African and possibly Muslim and a white mother who was a “n” lover and procreated with him…something “white America” and especially white males have feared and tried to stop since the beginning of time….if time for you revolves around the beginning of this Republic.

To specifically address today, any of the points of contention, regarding the numbers in the Presidential entourage, ships protecting him and other issues of logistics  from the homophobes of the right is pathetic and laughable when such questions impact presidential security.  Let’s not forget such questions were an anathema during the Bush years when we were fighting the phony war on terror, and enough to get one called a traitor for potentially endangering the life of the president.  Yet today, these questions are the grist of today’s media stars.

The fact that such a bald faced lie comes so soon after Rethuglican victories in the House means the wish of Mitch O’Connell, making Obama a one term president no matter what the cost,  is indeed the agenda of that misdirected, racist and homophobic party.  However, the underlying question for me is can you trust your money, the future an commitment of your country,  to a Party that relies on rumor and innuendo from the Press Trust of India in their opposition to the commander and chief of the United States?  If you buy that then, caveat emptor.

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GREAT STUFF


Below are two of my favorite signs from this past weekend’s event in Washington, DC.  the rally for fear or something like that.  The meaning of the rally’s name escapes me right now; I think it was in reaction to Beck’s rally earlier of tea party supporters, and no, I’m not gonna’ get into the numbers game either.  Of the two rallies, I would hang out with the people at this latest one and the signs below point out why.  For a full look at all the signs head over to HuffPost.