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Egypt’s day of rage


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The Egyptian Unrest


It’s very difficult to know what’s going on in Egypt.  You can be sure there’s as much going on behind the scenes as what is shown on TV or found on the printed page.  It appears however that the demonstrations against Mubarak are secular in nature, and widespread, although why it has taken this manifestation at this time is unclear.  Mubarak has been the only president since Anwar Sadat was assassinated in 1981, which means he has been in power for thirty years.  Of course we here in the West wouldn’t accept a ruler come to power, declare martial law and remain in power for that long.  Many people can’t bear an Obama administration that lasts only four years, so the excuse that Mubarak is necessary for peace and stability in the Middle East is ludicrous.

Also ludicrous is the insane fear surrounding one of the largest parties in Egypt, the Muslim Brotherhood.  A very good piece that you probably won’t read or hear about in main stream press here makes some very good points about that party.  Even the  mild mannered former International Atomic Energy Agency head Mohamed ElBaradei, for now says he is willing to work with them to build Egypt.

The Egyptian Brotherhood renounced violence years ago, but its relative moderation has made it the target of extreme vilification by more radical Islamists…..Egypt’s new opposition leader, former International Atomic Energy Agency head Mohamed ElBaradei, has formed a loose alliance with the Brotherhood because he knows it is the only opposition group that can mobilize masses of Egyptians, especially the poor. He says he can work with it to change Egypt. Many scholars of political Islam also judge the Brotherhood is the most reasonable face of Islamic politics in the Arab world today.

Meanwhile, Egyptians from across all religious denominations have come together to oppose the 30 year reign of Mubarak, with the rallying cry, ‘Muslims, Christians we are all Egyptians’;  this coming after recent attacks against Christian churches, which were blamed on Egyptian Muslims but were roundly and uniformly condemned by them,  will surely be exploited by Israel and other secularists who want to drive a wedge between the two groups. The Mubarak regime won’t relinquish power easily and is even willing to allow lawlessness to reign during the unrest in order to make the point he is indispensable.  Moreover there is now the threat of the Army or some other forces which have the ability to do so to shed blood on a score sufficient to get the people to stop for what is now a spontaneous eruption against a despot.  Look for just that result; it will be meant as a sign for all Middle Easterner who are chaffing under oppressive regimes not to follow the examples of Tunisia or Egypt.

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If you’re anti-Israel you have no place in America academe


If you don’t believe me just ask Kristofer Petersen-Overton, an adjunct professor who was fired from Brooklyn College because he was too Palestinian, and too anti-Israel.  It appears it was students who did Petersen-Overton in.  They complained to  New York city politician Dov Hikend who raised concerns to Brooklyn College’s president to get the ball rolling on Petersen-Overton’s dismissal.

What’s amazing about this firing is no one makes any bones about the reason for the termination.  Three of the NYC papers’ headlines say it was politics which lead to the budding professor’s firing.  There’s no discussion of intellectual freedom in American universities, or the qualifications of the professor, although a meek exploration of Petersen-Overton’s qualifications can be found here, it’s plain he didn’t lean far enough in the Israeli direction that led to this heinous decision.  It goes to show how far  Jewish influence can impact everyday American life.

An Agnostic’s View on the Quran


Uncle Toming with bigots


Every group of people has them.  You know the ones who are effusive with praise for people who conceivably mean them harm, therby hoping to be accepted by these sheep in wolves’  clothing.  Jews call such people, self hating jews, and African Americans call them Uncle Toms. Meet today’s new Uncle Tom. Allen West, the newly elected US congressman from Florida went on The Shalom Show, that alone should tell you where this is going, and when asked a very leading and bigoted question about  Keith Ellison, another US congressman from Minnesota, and Islam had this to say:

Well I think it’s most important that I stand upon the principles that people elected me to go to Washington, DC and represent them on Capitol Hill. So that when you run into someone that is counter, or someone that really does represent the antithesis of the principles upon which this country was established, you’ve got to be able to defeat them intellectually in debate and discourse, and you to just have to be able to challenge each and every one of their assertions very wisely and very forthright (sic).

First off, it’s embarrassing for a Jew in America, with all the history that means to ask anyone to comment on the religious preference of any other American in a defamatory manner.  I wish someone would call the ADL on the announcer, host Richard Peritz for asking a question he knew would solicit the kind of hatred he and other Jews in America once feared and fought against.  But then to have West, an African American member of Congress respond to  that fear mongering and bigotry in kind, well that’s just mighty white of him.

Hatred and racism have come full circle in America.  A black man and  a Jew team up together to denigrate the choice of a fellow American and imply that such an American has no right to that choice and should be discriminated against because of it.  That’s where America is today, in the 21st century, in the year of our lord, 2011.  This is who we’ve become and it is as ugly today as it was in during the days of the Jim Crow south and as worthy of the attention of the masses of people to protest and demonstrate against.  Racism must be alleviated in America; it is detestable no matter who spews it, even if they were once its victims, they cannot, must not victimize others with it!

Beware False Prophets


Julian Assange at New Media Days 09 in Copenhagen.

Image via Wikipedia

Wikileaks and Julian Assange have generated a media frenzy with its release of secret documents which detail the machinations of countries, diplomacy and war and in the process angered a lot of people, especially those here in the US.  What isn’t so well known is how easily Wikileaks and Assange himself have been co-opted by the government of Israel.  Take a look.

A number of commentators, particularly in Turkey and Russia, have been wondering why the hundreds of thousands of American classified documents leaked by the website last month did not contain anything that may embarrass the Israeli government, like just about every other state referred to in the documents. The answer appears to be a secret deal struck between the WikiLeaks “heart and soul”, as Assange humbly described himself once [1], with Israeli officials, which ensured that all such documents were ‘removed’ before the rest were made public.

According to an Arabic investigative journalism website [2], Assange had received money from semi-official Israeli sources and promised them, in a “secret, video-recorded agreement,” not to publish any document that may harm Israeli security or diplomatic interests.

The sources of the Al-Haqiqa report are said to be former WikiLeaks volunteers who have left the organisation in the last few months over Assange’s “autocratic leadership” and “lack of transparency.”

In a recent interview with the German daily Die Tageszeitung, former WikiLeaks spokesperson Daniel Domscheit-Berg said he and other WikiLeaks dissidents are planning to launch their own whistleblowers’ platform to fulfil WikiLeaks’s original aim of “limitless file sharing.” [3]

Mr Domscheit-Berg, who is about to publish a book about his days ‘Inside WikiLeaks’, accuses Assange of acting as a “king” against the will of others in the organisation by “making deals” with media organisations that are meant to create an explosive effect, which others in WikiLeaks either know little or nothing about. [4]

Furthermore, Assange’s eagerness for headline-grabbing scoops meant that WikiLeaks had not been able to ‘restructure’ itself to cope with this surge of interest, insiders add. This has meant that smaller leaks, which might be of interest to people at a local level, are now being overlooked for the sake of big stories. [5]

According to the Al-Haqiqa sources, Assange met with Israeli officials in Geneva earlier this year and struck the secret deal. The Israel government, it seems, had somehow found out or expected that the documents to be leaked contained a large number of documents about the Israeli attacks on Lebanon and Gaza in 2006 and 2008-9 respectively. These documents, which are said to have originated mainly from the Israeli embassies in Tel Aviv and Beirut, where removed and possibly destroyed by Assange, who is the only person who knows the password that can open these documents, the sources added.

Indeed, the published documents seem to have a ‘gap’ stretching over the period of July – September 2006, during which the 33-day Lebanon war took place. Is it possible that US diplomats and officials did not have any comments or information to exchange about this crucial event but spent their time ‘gossiping’ about every other ‘trivial’ Middle-Eastern matter?

Following the leak (and even before), Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a press conference that Israel had “worked in advance” to limit any damage from leaks, adding that “no classified Israeli material was exposed by WikiLeaks.” [6] In an interview with the Time magazine around the same time, Assange praised Netanyahu as a hero of transparency and openness! [7]

According to another report [8], a left-leaning Lebanese newspaper had met with Assange twice and tried to negotiate a deal with him, offering “a big amount of money”, in order to get hold of documents concerning the 2006 war, particularly the minutes of a meeting held at the American embassy in Beirut on 24th July 2006, which is widely considered as a ‘war council’ meeting between American, Israeli and Lebanese parties that played a role in the war again Hizbullah and its allies. The documents the Al-Akhbar editors received, however, all date to 2008 onwards and do not contain “anything of value,” the sources confirm. This only goes to support the Israel deal allegations.

Finally, it might be worth pointing out that Assange might have done what he is alleged to have done in order protect himself and ensure that the leaked documents are published so as to expose the American hypocrisy, which he is said to be obsessed with “at the expense of more fundamental aims.”

American media’s steady decline


It’s amazing how history sometimes repeats itself.  Keith Olbermann’s departure from MSNBC reminds me of the Phil Donahue firing which happened just before the last Iraq war, but without war drums beating so loudly.  Olbermann, love him or hate him, there was almost no middle ground judging by many of the comments I’ve read on the topic but I respected him for saying things that many given the same pulpit were afraid to say and that’s saying alot.

American media’s decline however BEGAN with the Phil Donahue firing and the media’s willingness to become a “stenographer” for the Administration in power.  Judy Miller et. co. were the waterboys/girls for an administration with imperialistic intent in mind and objective journalism went right out the window.  Of course, you could make the case for journalism’s demise occurring even before that, extending to the days of William Buckley’s association with the CIA and others, but we’re a shortsighted Nation that rarely thinks beyond the last debacle in our history, so let’s leave it at Iraq.

I’ve read where many people decried Olbermann’s personality, arrogance, etc. but those same people most likely tune in to Bill O’Reilly, Hannity, et.al who display an arrogance that makes Olbermann look like a pussycat in comparison, so was it his condescending personality or what he said that they detested?  Indeed, it appears America can no longer stand dissent even when it’s principled or factual. Juan Cole has a pretty good take on the Olbermann departure that you can read here.  I especially liked this line

It seems Olbermann is too extreme for US television. But Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity, now they are mainstream. What universe could that proposition be true in? That of cranky old white billionaires. And television news is owned by them. Not by you.

which is why I’ve said repeatedly, citizenship journalism is much more worthy of your time and consideration than anything you might find on cable TV.  For example, do you think anyone now on television besides, perhaps Jon Stewart will say this

Hardly!  What America needs is as steady a droning voice for ‘the rule of law’, adherence to the principles of republican democracy as they are getting from the voices of hatred and racism that have taken over America airwaves.  Only then can one really “decide” because they will have had the ability to choose from this or that…something not available to the consumer at the moment.  I lament the departure of Olbermann…I liked him and linked to him several times here…but there are still many good citizen journalists whose voices have not been silenced who also deserve your time and attention.  Please read, listen to what they have to say.

Robert Fisk on Tunisia


The end of the age of dictators in the Arab world? Certainly they are shaking in their boots across the Middle East, the well-heeled sheiks and emirs, and the kings, including one very old one in Saudi Arabia and a young one in Jordan, and presidents – another very old one in Egypt and a young one in Syria – because Tunisia wasn’t meant to happen. Food price riots in Algeria, too, and demonstrations against price increases in Amman. Not to mention scores more dead in Tunisia, whose own despot sought refuge in Riyadh – exactly the same city to which a man called Idi Amin once fled.

If it can happen in the holiday destination Tunisia, it can happen anywhere, can’t it? It was feted by the West for its “stability” when Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali was in charge. The French and the Germans and the Brits, dare we mention this, always praised the dictator for being a “friend” of civilised Europe, keeping a firm hand on all those Islamists.

Tunisians won’t forget this little history, even if we would like them to. The Arabs used to say that two-thirds of the entire Tunisian population – seven million out of 10 million, virtually the whole adult population – worked in one way or another for Mr Ben Ali’s secret police. They must have been on the streets too, then, protesting at the man we loved until last week. But don’t get too excited. Yes, Tunisian youths have used the internet to rally each other – in Algeria, too – and the demographic explosion of youth (born in the Eighties and Nineties with no jobs to go to after university) is on the streets. But the “unity” government is to be formed by Mohamed Ghannouchi, a satrap of Mr Ben Ali’s for almost 20 years, a safe pair of hands who will have our interests – rather than his people’s interests – at heart.

For I fear this is going to be the same old story. Yes, we would like a democracy in Tunisia – but not too much democracy. Remember how we wanted Algeria to have a democracy back in the early Nineties?

Then when it looked like the Islamists might win the second round of voting, we supported its military-backed government in suspending elections and crushing the Islamists and initiating a civil war in which 150,000 died.

No, in the Arab world, we want law and order and stability. Even in Hosni Mubarak’s corrupt and corrupted Egypt, that’s what we want. And we will get it.

The truth, of course, is that the Arab world is so dysfunctional, sclerotic, corrupt, humiliated and ruthless – and remember that Mr Ben Ali was calling Tunisian protesters “terrorists” only last week – and so totally incapable of any social or political progress, that the chances of a series of working democracies emerging from the chaos of the Middle East stand at around zero per cent.

The job of the Arab potentates will be what it has always been – to “manage” their people, to control them, to keep the lid on, to love the West and to hate Iran.

Indeed, what was Hillary Clinton doing last week as Tunisia burned? She was telling the corrupted princes of the Gulf that their job was to support sanctions against Iran, to confront the Islamic republic, to prepare for another strike against a Muslim state after the two catastrophes the United States and the UK have already inflicted in the region.

The Muslim world – at least, that bit of it between India and the Mediterranean – is a more than sorry mess. Iraq has a sort-of-government that is now a satrap of Iran, Hamid Karzai is no more than the mayor of Kabul, Pakistan stands on the edge of endless disaster, Egypt has just emerged from another fake election.

And Lebanon… Well, poor old Lebanon hasn’t even got a government. Southern Sudan – if the elections are fair – might be a tiny candle, but don’t bet on it.

It’s the same old problem for us in the West. We mouth the word “democracy” and we are all for fair elections – providing the Arabs vote for whom we want them to vote for.

In Algeria 20 years ago, they didn’t. In “Palestine” they didn’t. And in Lebanon, because of the so-called Doha accord, they didn’t. So we sanction them, threaten them and warn them about Iran and expect them to keep their mouths shut when Israel steals more Palestinian land for its colonies on the West Bank.

There was a fearful irony that the police theft of an ex-student’s fruit produce – and his suicide in Tunis – should have started all this off, not least because Mr Ben Ali made a failed attempt to gather public support by visiting the dying youth in hospital.

For years, this wretched man had been talking about a “slow liberalising” of his country. But all dictators know they are in greatest danger when they start freeing their entrapped countrymen from their chains.

And the Arabs behaved accordingly. No sooner had Ben Ali flown off into exile than Arab newspapers which have been stroking his fur and polishing his shoes and receiving his money for so many years were vilifying the man. “Misrule”, “corruption”, “authoritarian reign”, “a total lack of human rights”, their journalists are saying now. Rarely have the words of the Lebanese poet Khalil Gibran sounded so painfully accurate: “Pity the nation that welcomes its new ruler with trumpetings, and farewells him with hootings, only to welcome another with trumpetings again.” Mohamed Ghannouchi, perhaps?

Of course, everyone is lowering their prices now – or promising to. Cooking oil and bread are the staple of the masses. So prices will come down in Tunisia and Algeria and Egypt. But why should they be so high in the first place?

Algeria should be as rich as Saudi Arabia – it has the oil and gas – but it has one of the worst unemployment rates in the Middle East, no social security, no pensions, nothing for its people because its generals have salted their country’s wealth away in Switzerland.

And police brutality. The torture chambers will keep going. We will maintain our good relations with the dictators. We will continue to arm their armies and tell them to seek peace with Israel.

And they will do what we want. Ben Ali has fled. The search is now on for a more pliable dictator in Tunisia – a “benevolent strongman” as the news agencies like to call these ghastly men.

And the shooting will go on – as it did yesterday in Tunisia – until “stability” has been restored.

No, on balance, I don’t think the age of the Arab dictators is over. We will see to that.

 

Robert Fisk

The Independent

Stick and Carrot diplomacy


The wingnut “right” does have a place in American politics.  If one is perceptive enough you can vaguely see an outline of the foreign policy objectives of Washington spewing from the mouthpieces of right wing pundits/racists. Despite the apparent “hate” relationship between the present occupant of the White House and those on the vociferous “right” the pundits of insanity, plunder and racism give government an idea of just how far it, government, can go in its never ending battle for empire and dominion. It is not necessary for diplomacy or policy to be carried out in just the same way the racist homo/Islamophobes express but it probably comes close.  Case in point, Sean Hannity’s latest imperialistic diatribe.

With rising gas prices and a stagnant economy, Hannity’s solution of taking over another country’s natural resources because we can most likely strikes a chord in the minds of many a besieged listener who wants to settle scores with the Islamic/Muslim hordes they’ve so assiduously been warned about this last decade.  Current Washington probably has entertained the same ideas while former Bush administration officials said as much when making their case for war with Iraq.  The Obama administration on the other hand, supposedly carries a carrot not a stick, unlike its predecessor.  It must have the appearance of  remaining true to the kinder, gentler prescription for diplomacy, hence this from the Secretary of State, Clinton.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton delivered a scalding critique of Arab leaders here on Thursday, saying their countries risked “sinking into the sand” of unrest and extremism unless they liberalized their political systems and cleaned up their economies.

Speaking at a conference in this gleaming Persian Gulf emirate, Mrs. Clinton recited a familiar litany of ills: corruption, repression and a lack of rights for women and religious minorities. But her remarks were striking for their vehemence, and they suggested a frustration that the Obama administration’s message to the Arab world had not gotten through.

Secretary Clinton, taking a page from the wingnuts, makes many in the Middle East who are victims the cause of their victimization.  Lest one forget, there were no WMDs in Iraq which was invaded after a decade long blockade that resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis; Gaza is an outdoor prison camp, with the West Bank merely an enclave within the modern state of Israel with no territorial sovereignty or integrity and the second largest recipient of US aid is a 30 year long dictatorship.  Notice the tone of the above article.  Words like “vehemence” and “frustration” are designed to send signals that unless things change diplomacy may give way to something harsher.  Let’s not forget that in the 80s Saddam Hussein was Washington’s leader of choice for Iraq, but only 20 years later encouraged and cheered on his execution.  That shouldn’t be lost on the leaders of oil producing countries that serve an insatiable American public the oil which fuels the American economy.  Hannity’s arrogant bluster and frustration regrettably is probably  an outline for future American policy.

Is the Quran more violent than the Bible?


Over the past decade the public has been regaled with the notion that Muslims are violent because their religious scripture incites them towards such violence.  Muslims on the other hand claim that their violence is in reaction to aggression or that acts of terrorism are misplaced by individuals who don’t understand their religion.

A Christian scholar asks and answers the question of which religious scripture is more violent and you can listen to his answer here.  Listen carefully for the Biblical equivalent of terrorism; the commentator uses the term “genocide” to describe the Bible’s answer, herem,  to violence and the course it has taken over the millennium as it has been interpreted and practiced by its followers. It is a methodology practiced by the Israelis against the Palestinians and resembles the catastrophes brought on by numerous American presidents against native Americans, Hitler’s genocide against the Jews and an even more modern day and relevant genocide against Iraqis.

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Alaska Governor Sarah Palin on June 2, 2007.

Image via Wikipedia

President Reagan said, “We must reject the idea that every time a law’s broken, society is guilty rather than the lawbreaker. It is time to restore the American precept that each individual is accountable for his actions.” Acts of monstrous criminality stand on their own. They begin and end with the criminals who commit them, not collectively with all the citizens of a state, not with those who listen to talk radio, not with maps of swing districts used by both sides of the aisle, not with law-abiding citizens who respectfully exercise their First Amendment rights at campaign rallies, not with those who proudly voted in the last election.

Sarah Palin

Clearly that concept doesn’t extend to Muslims, does it Sarah?  Is anyone home in her head?

Now I know why Sharron Angle is as crazy as she is


I don’t mean to single her out, but she’s the most prominent ‘tea bagger’ Republican from west of the Mississippi who gained any national prominence….J.D. Hayworth tried as hard as he might, notwithstanding.  The tea baggers of Arizona are over the top in insanity.  They are, after Donald Rumsfeld and his cronies at the Pentagon during the Bush Administration, the worse America has to offer humanity.  Tea bagger members are steeped in racism and xenophobia, and Arizona has turned out to be the perfect breeding ground for them.  What else can account for this headline?

A local Arizona Republican Party official resigned from his post after Rep. Gabrielle Giffords was shot out of concern for his and his family’s safety.

Anthony Miller, a GOP district chairman and former campaign aide to Sen. John McCain, told The Arizona Republic: I don’t want to take a bullet for anyone.”

Miller, the first African American to hold the post, was recently re-elected to a one-year term as chairman of the Legislative District 20 Republicans.

He told the newspaper that verbal abuse after his election and Internet postings by Tea Party supporters had him concerned for his safety.

Now before you go off calling me crazy…….here’s what else is said about Anthony

One critic referred to him derogatorily as “McCain’s boy,” Miller said. Other language was even less ambiguous. At an event in Lake Havasu City, Ariz., Miller said someone called out, “There’s Anthony, get a rope.”

This guy is a Republican, worked for a Republican and has earned his Republican bonafides but that’s still not good enough for tea bagger/partiers?  I guess bleaching cream and the straightening comb are the only things left that Miller could do to gain acceptance.  We are in such denial…… even people who worked with Miller asked the question, ‘I’ve never understood why they had this hatred for him….’ when the answer is as clear as the skin color on Anthony Miller’s body.  Wake up America.

Angle was able to escape the scathing rhetoric of the racists in her party by acting as fringe in her statements as they…but how will Allen West, the black Republican from Florida who used violence drenched metaphors and employed people to do the same, fare?  The Republican party is being pulled increasingly towards a fringe that leads towards civil war.  I admire Miller for his service to his country and his dignity, even though I think his Party is ruined, and I wish him well, but when you hear the word Republican Party, run.  Your life might depend on it.

More Guantanamo Bay news


Proponents of Guantanamo Bay have always maintained it’s necessary to keep that base open to house the meanest of the mean; black/brown Muslim terrorists who have the ability to swim from Cuba to the mainland, fashion knives out of paper products and invade the homeland causing death and destruction.  To substantiate their claim to keep the facility eternally open, they have put forward some really astonishing claims about recidivism, which we have addressed on the pages of Miscellany101 here and here.

It appears Obama will not be able to close Guantanamo down anytime soon, nor does he appear to be up for the fight, having been effectively betrayed by members of his own party during a lame duck session after the congressional elections, and facing an ever more combative new Congress who no doubt will use this recidivism issue again to underscore their desire to keep Gitmo open.  So here’s another study which “refudiates” that claim making it the third different one to do so which really begs the question why do the supporters of the facility bother with erecting false claims and figures in the first place.

On the ninth anniversary of the first detainee’s arrival at the infamous prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, a Washington think tank challenged intelligence estimates suggesting that large numbers of former detainees have taken up arms against the United States.

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper claimed in December — without offering any evidence — that 13.5 percent of former Guantanamo detainees are confirmed, and an additional 11.5 percent are suspected of “reengaging” in terrorist or insurgent activities after their release.

The conservative media embraced the storyline that as many as one in four former detainees had returned to the battlefield, up sharply from the prior year.

But three scholars with the New America Foundation are out with a new report — this one backed up with data — concluding that only 6 percent of released detainees engaged or are suspected of having engaged with insurgents aimed at attacking U.S. interests. Another 2 percent engaged or are suspected of having engaged against non-U.S. targets.

It appears that America is perfectly willing to let bygones be bygones and keep the facility even though for now it serves no useful purpose.  Perhaps some hope it will house the millions of American Muslims who will be sent there after the King committee hearings?

 

More Peter King news


Sorry folks, but I have a real problem with demagoguery and Congressman Peter King, R of New York is at the center of my ire at the moment for exemplifying the untruthfulness typical of today’s politicians.  Where do you begin with him?

After the latest terror attack on America this past weekend, King has now taken the liberal side of the  crime in America argument to propose gun control legislation to limit carrying a firearm within 1000 feet of of certain high-profile government officials.  Typical big government solution and one I wouldn’t expect from a Republican member of Congress, but there was no word from King, who’s set to take over the position of the Homeland Security House committee, when gun toters like the man in the picture above were seen walking around during an Obama rally in 2009, in of all places the state of Arizona.  Everyone touted the rights of such individuals as “Chris” to carry openly the firearm of his choice even in the vicinity of a sitting US President.  As a firearm owner myself, I was somewhat mixed about this brazen display of chutzpah, but King’s pronouncement now makes me wonder whether he would consider Obama, should he be re-elected a high-profile government official worthy of having the ban imposed for him or not?  Most likely not…..since King is obliged to the ‘birther’ wing of his party for any future political aspirations.

The news that’s most upsetting about King is his intent to have hearings on the radicalization of Islam in America.  The author of this piece calls it a show trial, I couldn’t agree with him more.  Read on

It is just about certain that the new Republican House will hold hearings on the “radicalization of the American Muslim Community.” The hearings will be called by Peter King, the Republican representative from New York who is now the Chairman of the Homeland Security Committee.

This move on the part of Rep. King will reveal more about him than it will about American Muslims.

Why so? Because King’s publicly expressed prejudices will shape the hearings he will hold, thereby giving us an accurate view of where he is coming from. Simultaneously, they will only supply an inaccurate and skewed view of American Muslims.

To date, what do Peter King’s public positions look like? Here are some examples:

1. King has publicly asserted, without evidence, that most of the leaders and organizations of the American Muslim Community are dangerous radicals. They are to be judged so because, allegedly, they are purveyors of “radical Islam.”

He has made the accusation that “80 to 85% of the mosques in this country are controlled by Islamic fundamentalists.” He here conflates radicals and fundamentalists. He has even written a novel, Vale of Tears, about Muslims plotting against the United States.

2. He has asserted that mainstream American Muslims, their leaders and organizations, have “not come forward and denounce(d), officially denounce(d), officially cooperate(d) with police against extremists and terrorists.” This accusation happens to be demonstrably false.

Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minnesota, the first Muslim American elected to the House, has spent a good bit of time documenting the efforts of Muslim Americans to do just what King says they don’t do. Among other things Ellison points out that “about one third of all foiled al-Qaida related plots in the U.S. relied on support and information provided by members of the Muslim community.”

A recent attempt at such terrorism, the placing of a car bomb in Times Square, was foiled by a Senegalese Muslim immigrant.

3. When Peter King is asked about his sources of information on American Muslims he names Steve Emerson and Daniel Pipes. Emerson is one of those journalists turned self-proclaimed “experts” on security matters. He has written a number of books on “radical Islam” which, in turn, have been criticized by real Middle East experts.

Pipes is a devotee of Israel and rarely deviates from a right-wing Zionist line. Both men have been described as aggressive enemies of Muslims and Islam. It is to these sorts of people that King looks to confirm his own biases. No wonder Peter King now regards American Muslim leaders as “an enemy living amongst us.”

4. Just to round out this picture we can add that, quickly after 9/11, King became a staunch supporter of the invasion of Iraq. Having taken this stand, he never addressed the fact that Iraq had nothing to do with the 9/11 attacks, nor has he ever publicly considered the fact that American foreign policy in the Middle East did have a lot to do with that event.

King was a strong defender of George W. Bush’s policy of torture, claiming that the Bush should be given a medal for authorizing water boarding. He supports a strict application of the “USA Patriot Act.” He says that Guantanamo Bay prison should not be closed, and the proposed “mosque” near “ground zero” should not be opened.

King has all the right credentials to qualify as a demagogue and a racist demagogue at that, for all of the reasons stated in the article above.  Please read it in its entirety at the link,  ConsortiumNews.com, home of investigative reporter Robert Parry, and one of the best damned news website currently operating anywhere in the world.

Where’s the waterboard?


I’m against waterboarding because I believe it’s illegal, but many on the right clamored for it when we were fighting our war on terror against people with Arabic names who, it was said, posed a threat to our Republic.  The waterboard, that instrument of death, was pointed to as something needed to extract information from even the most diehard terrorist in order to save lives.  When it was presented in those stark terms even some “progressives” demurred in their protests afraid they would be seen as anti-American, traitors or worse, threats themselves and singled out for persecution.  (Regrettably, the latter  may have happened a time or two.)  It didn’t matter that America was a signatory to a law that said we were against torture and would prosecute anyone who committed it, we were told waterboarding was necessary.

After the latest assault on a sitting member of Congress and the murder of a federal judge at the hands of an assassin who resembles a skinhead in all appearances and who had made references to Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, there comes news that another congressman has received ominious  threats from places unknown, raising the specter that more death and destruction might be visited on members of Congress.  How can we stop what looks like certain carnage?  Waterboarding and profiling are two solutions offered up by those on the right when they spoke of Muslims and jihadists who were threats to the American way of life and yet not once, except on the pages of Miscellany101 have these tools not too long ago embraced by many Americans, been mention in the latest discourse.  Unfortunately, neither has the matter of whether what Loughner commited is terrorism been discussed much in the media and for obvious reasons.

Terrorists can’t be white, non-Muslims and waterboarding or profiling (racial profiling) can’t be applied to them because it obscures the debate about what’s good and what’s bad for America.  White crime is tolerated and ostensibly good for America…we can build case law around it, institutionalize it and put people to work combating it yet maintain a civil society, or so it seems.  Terrorism many on the right maintain is the purveyor of dark skinned or Muslim people who  threaten  our very civilization and we must fight them by any means necessary, even illegal means that we visit upon them and sometimes ourselves. We have bemoaned that double standard time and time again here on Miscellany101. The right seems to relish, embrace it and heap scorn on those who point it out.

The “wingnuts” on the right have for the past decade managed to escape responsibility for any miscalculations on the political stage.  The WMD fiasco was dismissed because Saddam was a bad guy and we needed to get rid of him anyway, the encroachment on our civil liberties was proposed because it’s government’s job to take care of us, during the administration of Bush, and during Obama because liberals elected him into office and he is a socialist and that’s what socialists do.  The spiteful and intemperate political rhetoric is necessary because it’s a “war” of ideas and too the hearts and minds of the people.  It seems every excuse is made that absolves the right from any responsibility for any misfortune that has occurred over the past decade even though they were the party in power for over half the time.

Now comes the political assassination in Tuscon, Arizona right after the virulent election campaigning of 2010 where the political opposition rode on the backs of people who believe in conspiracy theories that rival those concocted after 911.  This murder didn’t come in a vacuum; it was sparked by a constant barrage of speech that equated a democratically elected  political party  with the equally repugnant foe of terrorists, jihadists and Muslims; some even calling the President a secret Muslim, whose goal is to promote a socialist agenda.  It was against these policies that the right was shaped and the makers of these policies were the focal point of everyone’s  rage.  Loughner who it was claimed by neighbors/friends targeted Congresswoman Giffords wasn’t the only one.  Byron Williams who had a shootout with authorities after planning acts of violence against the ACLU, a favorite target of the right and the Tides Foundation, said he wanted to spark a civil war and he pointed to a radio head pundit as being a primary source of his information and motivation.   Yet the right, the more vocal among them, claim no responsibility for this violent swing in politics even while others among them are asking for de-escalation in the rhetoric. Fat chance.

This is the group that claims when it comes to their enemies that everyone of them is responsible for the crimes committed by one of them; that the idea of collective punishment, something practiced by the Israelis against Palestinians, is a legitimate way of dealing with a threat, not just the kind that a Loughner, or a Williams or the unknown assailant threatening Congressman Renny Davis pose.  So there will be no talk of waterboarding anyone to get information from them about the impending murder of another Congressman, now will there be calls for profiling white males who look like Loughner, or Williams and we won’t hear not one suggestion that the motivating factors behind their rage be investigated  or asked to condemn their murderous impulses because in almost every case they, these perpetrators of terrorism against the homeland are just like the pundits and politicians who use these acts of government coercion on others.  That is the story of America and her injustices and it will plague us for as long as we continue to ignore it.

 

Can I get a hell yeah!


2 Reps. Say They’ll Now Carry Guns In Their Home Districts

In the wake of the shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) and 19 others in Arizona this weekend, Reps. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) and Heath Shuler (D-NC) say that they will carry firearms when in their home districts.

“You never think something like this will happen, but then it does,” Shuler told Politico “After the elections, I let my guard down. Now I know I need to have [my gun] on me. We’re going to need to do a much better job of with security at these events.”

According to Politico, each lawmakers holds a conceal and carry permit, and Shuler is encouraging his staffers to get their own.

Chaffetz also suggested U.S. Marshalls should guard members during events.

“Perhaps they could better assess threats in the home district,” he said. “It certainly ought to be on the table.”

Chaffetz added that he may ask local police to attend his town halls more often. Neither lawmaker plans to carry a weapon while in Washington DC.

I like the idea of self-reliance coming from two civil servants.  I hope they are as adamant about the rights of their constituents to personal safety as they are for themselves.  Moreover, I hope they don’t see this as an us vs. them dilemma where they have to protect themselves from the voters, only from the criminals among them.  I take note of the bipartisanship in this initiative and hope it’s catching in more ways than one.  I like this senator’s approach to the issue of personal safety and wish more thought like him.

Because you won’t see this in MSM


An Egyptian church was attacked at the start of the new year and scores of people were killed.  That incident was highlighted prominently by worldwide mainstream media and it brought out the usual Islamophobes, including the president of France, who lamented the supposed ‘ethnic cleansing’ of Christians from the Middle East.  The irony of such remarks coming from a president of France who wants to condemn to failure the appearance of  Islam in France is blatantly hypocritical to say the least.  But what you haven’t seen or perhaps heard much of is the response of Egyptians to this attack and in light of the Islamophobic drenched atmosphere it might surprise you.

Egypt’s majority Muslim population stuck to its word Thursday night. What had been a promise of solidarity to the weary Coptic community, was honoured, when thousands of Muslims showed up at Coptic Christmas eve mass services in churches around the country and at candle light vigils held outside.From the well-known to the unknown, Muslims had offered their bodies as “human shields” for last night’s mass, making a pledge to collectively fight the threat of Islamic militants and towards an Egypt free from sectarian strife.

In the days following the brutal attack on Saints Church in Alexandria, which left 21 dead on New Year’ eve, solidarity between Muslims and Copts has seen an unprecedented peak. Millions of Egyptians changed their Facebook profile pictures to the image of a cross within a crescent – the symbol of an “Egypt for All”. Around the city, banners went up calling for unity, and depicting mosques and churches, crosses and crescents, together as one.

 

The blogsphere picked up on this show of solidarity but main stream media chose to ignore it, although they covered the deaths of Egypt’s Christians rather extensively.  Perhaps that’s why Sarkozy reacted so impetuously to the tragedy; he should read more than his government controlled press.  It should be noted that the terrorist attack on Egypt’s Christians was roundly condemned by most major Muslim organizations and leaders.

 

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