The Israeli leaderships’ assault on the American military


It used to be in American politics if you hurled insults, character assassination and humiliating invective towards your opponent you could either get them to shut up or do what you want.  That worked because the victim of such verbal abuse dealt from a position of weakness or insecurity.  Israeli prime minister Netanyahu and others within the Israeli government are trying that with chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Martin Dempsey because of his stance towards Iran and the seeming confrontation Israel wants to have with the Iranians.  Let’s hope the tactic doesn’t work.  Dempsey is a decorated military officer who has served his time and his country in the United States military, at times fighting for the best interests  of the Israeli government to the detriment of America.  Our latest foray into Iraq is the most recent example of that….and now he seems to think along with others that a much more prudent path should be taken in dealing with the Iranians. He’s not alone in that assessment however. American men and women serving in the US military seem to have grown tired of endless wars that drain the national resources of their country, ask them to make sacrifices that are not in their best interests and ruin the reputation of their country and make it a target of the disillusioned.  They are making that discontent known by supporting financially and overwhelmingly  the non-interventionist candidacy of Ron Paul  more than all the other candidates running for office combined, including Obama!

Perhaps Dempsey has sampled that discontent; certainly he has observed the effects a decades old war on two fronts has had on the US military and understands the impact another confrontation could have.  Moreover, conclusive proof that Iran has a nuclear weapon or the means to obtain one shortly is far less than conclusive, much like the weapons of mass destruction meme we were so used to hearing leading up to the Iraqi war.  The Israelis have also decided to reach back into the WMD bag of insults bristling at Dempsey’s words of caution with personal attacks and innuendo, which ring all too much like the cries of traitor and impotent neo cons hurled at dissenters and doubters of the Iraqi war a decade ago.  The latter were proved too prescient, yet despite being discredited neo-cons and their Israeli supporters are still around to assail us with sophomoric insults that have no basis in fact.  Certainly not with the likes of General Dempsey who has nothing to prove to anyone about his loyalties or his competence.  Juan Cole in his blog, Informed Comment, lists Dempsey’s credentials thus

Dempsey served in the Gulf War and deployed twice to Iraq during the Iraq War. “General Dempsey’s awards and decorations include the Defense Distinguished Service Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, the Distinguished Service Medal with three Oak Leaf Clusters, the Defense Superior Service Medal, the Legion of Merit with two Oak Leaf Clusters, the Bronze Star with “V” Device and Oak Leaf Cluster, the Combat Action Badge, and the Parachutist Badge.”

What’s unfortunate for America is that election years tend to make officials running for office weak kneed when it comes to standing up to lobbying interests, and especially those of Israel.  Even though America is perhaps the safest it has ever been, in spite of recent flare ups in Afghanistan and Iraq, officials who worship at the altar of political action committees like AIPAC, et.al cannot say “no” when it comes time to draw a line between American and Israeli interests, so this salvo directed at Dempsey is only the opening shot. There will be more to come, from the Israelis as well as their American surrogates who are running for office on both sides of the isle.  In an age where political donations have no limit and can be endlessly given to candidates who can run for office regardless of the electoral process’ outcome, one can expect such boorish behavior designed to publicly question and deride honorable public servants to continue.  Hang on to your hats America…..it’s gonna’ be a bumpy ride!

The “War on Terror” is a Fraud C-SPAN audience rejects fake terror claims


Gov. Rick Perry’s Friend Bryan Fischer Doubles Down, Demands Muslim Immigrants Convert to Christianity | loonwatch.com


Islamophobia is America’s real enemy


Daisy Khan 

A report released this week has at last confirmed what we Muslim Americans have long known to be true: the threat posed to US national security by the radicalisation of its Muslim community is minuscule.

The study, by the Triangle Centre on Terrorism and Homeland Security, found that only 20 Muslim Americans were charged with violent crimes related to terrorism in 2011, and of the 14,000 homicides recorded in the United States in that year, not one was committed by a Muslim extremist.

We are thrilled that an objective, comprehensive investigation has revealed that only a tiny percentage of American Muslims support violent acts. However, we remain concerned that the greater danger to America’s civic union comes from an increasingly organised campaign that portrays all Muslims as potential terrorists and traitors.

Yes, there may be some Muslims who resort to violence; but it’s clear that these individuals signify nothing more than a statistical aberration, and are no more representative of the Muslim community as a whole than Timothy McVeigh, Jared Lee Loughner, or Anders Behring Breivik represent Christianity.

In recent years a network of politically motivated special interests has emerged that is determined to stigmatise and marginalise Muslims in all areas of American public life. After the Cordoba Initiative’s proposal to build an Islamic community centre near Ground Zero were distorted into a manufactured controversy by one such group, we were called “stealth jihadists” and “wolves in sheep’s clothing”. One person even claimed: “They seem like nice people now, but they will probably turn into extremists in 10, 15, or 20 years.”

What began as the work of fringe groups with racist ideologies has moved into the mainstream. The Islamophobic film The Third Jihad was played continuously between training sessions for new recruits to New York’s police. The film-makers were linked to an organised movement with a budget of more than $40m and sophisticated lobbying efforts in all 50 states.

Republican congressman Peter King – even as opponents questioned his own ties to IRA and Catholic terrorism in Ireland – convened a series of congressional hearings on the radicalisation of American Muslims that can only be described as a witch hunt. And on the campaign trail, Republican presidential candidates from Herman Cain to Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum have used their platform to demonise American Muslims and question our loyalty to our country.

It was not always this way. Following the 9/11 attacks President Bush, at the Islamic Centre of Washington, said: “The face of terror is not the true faith of Islam … When we think of Islam we think of a faith that brings comfort to a billion people around the world … America counts millions of Muslims amongst our citizens, and Muslims make an incredibly valuable contribution to our country.”

Our allies in the interfaith and civil rights communities are working to counteract the fabricated opposition to Islam that is gaining strength in America today. In response to King’s hearings, a coalition of 150 interfaith organisations sponsored a rally proclaiming “Today I am a Muslim too”. It is the Brennan Centre for Justice at New York University that took a lead in exposing the New York City Police Department’s missteps with regards to the Muslim community.

We know that the bulk of the American public recognises the truth of Islamic moderation and tolerance. The hysterical invective may be well-funded, but it does not capture the heart of the nation. By standing tall together we will overcome those who spread hate and suspicion and return respect and trust to their rightful place at the centre of American political and civic life.

The cat is outta the bag


Loonwatch says the NYT article below is an understatement and they do a pretty good job of substantiating the claim with citations of other sources that make the case that violence by Muslim is miniscule at best or non existent.   I’m just glad to see it in a major print medium even though the NYT is responsible for a lot of the hysteria.  However, with headlines like ‘Radical Muslims little threat, study says’, it lays to rest the notion that there are bad Muslims who want to hurt us; there has always been this conflation between terrorists and radical Muslims, but the Times article points out the radical Muslims haven’t been doing such a good job of being terrorists after all and the folks at Loonwatch make that case even more soundly.

A feared wave of homegrown terrorism by radicalized Muslim Americans has not materialized, with plots and arrests dropping sharply over the two years since an unusual peak in 2009, according to a new study by a North Carolina research group.

The study, to be released on Wednesday, found that 20 Muslim Americans were charged in violent plots or attacks in 2011, down from 26 in 2010 and a spike of 47 in 2009.

Charles Kurzman, the author of the report for the Triangle Center on Terrorism and Homeland Security, called terrorism by Muslim Americans “a minuscule threat to public safety.” Of about 14,000 murders in the United States last year, not a single one resulted from Islamic extremism, said Mr. Kurzman, a professor of sociology at the University of North Carolina.

The report also found that no single ethnic group predominated among Muslims charged in terrorism cases last year — six were of Arab ancestry, five were white, three were African-American and two were Iranian, Mr. Kurzman said. That pattern of ethnic diversity has held for those arrested since Sept. 11, 2001, he said.

Forty percent of those charged in 2011 were converts to Islam, Mr. Kurzman found, slightly higher than the 35 percent of those charged since the 2001 attacks. His new report is based on the continuation of research he conducted for a book he published last year, “The Missing Martyrs: Why There Are So Few Muslim Terrorists.”

The decline in cases since 2009 has come as a relief to law enforcement and counterterrorism officials. In that year, the authorities were surprised by a series of terrorist plots or attacks, including the killing of 13 people at Fort Hood, Tex., by an Army psychiatrist who had embraced radical Islam, Maj. Nidal Hasan.

The upsurge in domestic plots two years ago prompted some scholars of violent extremism to question the conventional wisdom that Muslims in the United States, with higher levels of education and income than the average American, were not susceptible to the message of Al Qaeda.

Concerns grew after the May 2010 arrest of Faisal Shahzad, a naturalized American citizen, for trying to blow up a sport utility vehicle in Times Square. Mr. Shahzad had worked as a financial analyst and seemed thoroughly assimilated. In a dramatic courtroom speech after pleading guilty, he blamed American military action in Muslim countries for his militancy.

The string of cases fueled wide and often contentious discussion of the danger of radicalization among American Muslims, including Congressional hearings led by Representative Peter T. King, a Long Island Republican and chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security.

But the number of cases declined, returning to the rough average of about 20 Muslim Americans accused of extremist violence per year that has prevailed since the 2001 attacks, with 193 people in that category over the decade. By Mr. Kurzman’s count, 462 other Muslim Americans have been charged since 2001 for nonviolent crimes in support of terrorism, including financing and making false statements.

The 2011 cases include just one actual series of attacks, which caused no injuries, involving rifle shots fired late at night at military buildings in Northern Virginia. A former Marine Corps reservist, Yonathan Melaku, pleaded guilty in the case last month in an agreement that calls for a 25-year prison sentence.

Other plots unearthed by law enforcement last year and listed in Mr. Kurzman’s report included a suspected Iranian plan to assassinate the Saudi ambassador to the United States, a scheme to attack a Shiite mosque in Michigan and another to blow up synagogues, churches and the Empire State Building.

“Fortunately, very few of these people are competent and very few get to the stage of preparing an attack without coming to the attention of the authorities,” Mr. Kurzman said.

If the radical Muslims aren’t terrorists, what does that say about the non radical Muslims….who even by the most xenophobic accounts are probably the majority of the practitioners of the faith?  America wake up….we’ve been had.

No Comment


Muslim countries? What Muslim countries!?


Islam

Islam (Photo credit: rogiro)

As if to put “Muslim countries” in their place, someone suggests that there aren’t any. I wish I had written this

What makes a good Islamic country? Is it one where the people dress conservatively (or even severely in the case of women), adhere strictly to the rituals of Islam, where shariah laws apply?

Or is a good Islamic country one that keeps to the substantive teachings of Islam, more concerned with the content rather than the form of the religion? Where fairness, justice, honesty are the cornerstones of government policies and of its citizens’ daily dealings.

How is a good Muslim judged? By the number of times he prays a day, by how assiduously he keeps to the rules? Or by how he lives the true meaning of his faith?

A study by Scheherazade S Rehman and Hossein Askari from George Washington University, published in the Global Economy Journal Vol 10 drew surprising conclusions.

The study examined if policies of Muslim countries (or Muslim majority countries) were founded on Islamic principles in comparison to non-Muslim countries. 208 countries were studied.

The criteria: economic opportunity, economic freedom, corruption, financial systems and human rights were used to measure the level of ‘Islamicity’ (based on an information website about Islam and Muslims).

The study found that most Islamic countries did not conduct themselves according to Islamic principles concerning economic, financial, political, legal, social and governance issues.

This is reflected in the governments in those countries but also the practices of the citizens in their daily dealings. Even at a social level it was found that many non-Muslim countries did much better in keeping to Islamic values.

The most ‘Islamic’ country the study found was actually non-Muslim – New Zealand. Luxembourg came second. The top 37 countries in the study were all non-Muslim.

Imaddudin Abdulrahim, one of Indonesia’s leading thinkers on Islamic monotheism claimed that Ames, a small city in Iowa, represents an exemplar of an Islamic state.

Yet Islam does not play a part in the day-to-day social, economic and political life of the city. The population does not observe Islamic rules on food or dress.

Imaddudin was not interested in form; he used parameters which reflect what he considered true Islam – trust, justice, fairness, freedom.

He found that people did not lock their doors when they went out and yet no one trespassed.

If you returned a broken egg to the grocer he accepted that it was broken when you bought it and replaced it without question.

People were honest in their dealings irrespective of the value of the transaction.

The government was fair and non-discriminatory. People were accepting of ethnic or religious differences.

He saw Islam beyond shariah and beyond its textual appearances. He was more concerned with the substantive elements of the religion.

Recently I enquired through a friend the possibility of getting a scholarship (from a certain university funded by a Muslim tycoon) for an Indian girl who had done very well in her exams but whose parents were poor and unable to send her to university. I was told in no uncertain terms that scholarships were only given to Muslims.

How does this reflect the true values of Islam?

When I was in Sudan I visited villages where artesian water was pumped out by equipment donated by Christian charities. I saw clinics and schools built and maintained by Christian foundations. Every village involved was however 100 percent Muslim!

Is there anywhere in any ‘Christian’ country where Muslims are forbidden to build mosques? As long as they comply with the local building codes they have every right to do so and the law will protects their rights.

Yet this is not the case in many Muslim countries. No wonder so many non-Muslim countries score higher than Muslim ones based on Islamic principles.

It’s no use spouting chapter and verse of the Quran if our deeds do not match the words we mouth.

We can follow all the rituals – fast, do the haj, pray five times a day, abstain from non-halal food, and cover ourselves. They all count for little if our deeds do not reflect the values of the religion.

If we are corrupt, if we discriminate against others because of ethnicity or religion, if we deny freedom of worship to others or even to one’s own, are we living by the true values of Islam?

Are our economic policies geared to help those at the bottom of the ladder or do they benefit the top disproportionately? Is our political system fair?

Do we respect human rights? Have we an untainted legal system? Is our governance transparent and accountable?  Are we tolerant of other religions and not impede their practice?

By any of the above criteria Malaysia has failed to live up to Islamic principles.

The authorities obstruct the building of non-Muslim places of worship – or even demolish them.

Christians are persecuted on dubious grounds. Our government discriminates on race and religion. Corruption is rife especially in high places.

The poor (the majority of whom are Malays) are left behind while the rich get richer. There is no respect for human rights and the political system is skewed.

On every count we fail to live up to Islamic values.

Lately radical Muslims have started to see ‘Christians under the bed’ – an Islamic form of the infamous McCarthyism of the fifties in the US.

They imagine that Christians are out to proselytise their fellow believers. They don’t believe that other Muslims can be more sophisticated than they and can make up their own minds what to believe in.

More than that, they demand Christians desist in doing whatever may remotely be a threat to them.

If these people were in charge in Sudan there would have been a lot of thirsty people and a lot of people without medicine and children without schooling.

I suppose they will now pass a fatwa that no Muslims must go to Christian hospitals. The Seventh Day Adventist Hospital in Penang has been servicing the people for a long time and a lot of Muslims use the hospital.

There are symbols of Christianity everywhere and there are Bible tracts for those who want to read them.

Going by recent events the hospital could be charged with proselytising. If so I think they would have failed miserably – I doubt a single Muslim patient has converted.

You go to a hospital because you are sick and because you think it gives good service. You send your children to a school because you think it gives your children the best education, you drink because you are thirsty, you don’t care who paid for the pump that brought the water out.

Religion does not come into the reckoning for most people in this way.

Conversely you provide care irrespective of that person’s religion or give scholarships because the person is poor and deserving, irrespective of her skin colour or her religion.

If Malaysia lives up to the real values of Islam and not its superficiality, the country would be much better off.

Radical Muslims should be careful that the Christians they imagine lurking  under their beds may turn out to be better Muslims than themselves.

But then maybe that’s the crux of the problem, they are being exposed for what they are, faux Muslims.

Read it and weep


10 reasons the U.S. is no longer the land of the free

By Jonathan Turley

Every year, the State Department issues reports on individual rights in other countries, monitoring the passage of restrictive laws and regulations around the world. Iran, for example, has been criticized for denying fair public trials and limiting privacy, while Russia has been taken to task for undermining due process. Other countries have been condemned for the use of secret evidence and torture.

Even as we pass judgment on countries we consider unfree, Americans remain confident that any definition of a free nation must include their own — the land of free. Yet, the laws and practices of the land should shake that confidence. In the decade since Sept. 11, 2001, this country has comprehensively reduced civil liberties in the name of an expanded security state. The most recent example of this was the National Defense Authorization Act, signed Dec. 31, which allows for the indefinite detention of citizens. At what point does the reduction of individual rights in our country change how we define ourselves?

While each new national security power Washington has embraced was controversial when enacted, they are often discussed in isolation. But they don’t operate in isolation. They form a mosaic of powers under which our country could be considered, at least in part, authoritarian. Americans often proclaim our nation as a symbol of freedom to the world while dismissing nations such as Cuba and China as categorically unfree. Yet, objectively, we may be only half right. Those countries do lack basic individual rights such as due process, placing them outside any reasonable definition of “free,” but the United States now has much more in common with such regimes than anyone may like to admit.

These countries also have constitutions that purport to guarantee freedoms and rights. But their governments have broad discretion in denying those rights and few real avenues for challenges by citizens — precisely the problem with the new laws in this country.

The list of powers acquired by the U.S. government since 9/11 puts us in rather troubling company.

Assassination of U.S. citizens

President Obama has claimed, as President George W. Bush did before him, the right to order the killing of any citizen considered a terrorist or an abettor of terrorism. Last year, he approved the killing of U.S. citizen Anwar al-Awlaqi and another citizen under this claimed inherent authority. Last month, administration officials affirmed that power, stating that the president can order the assassination of any citizen whom he considers allied with terrorists. (Nations such as Nigeria, Iran and Syria have been routinely criticized for extrajudicial killings of enemies of the state.)

Indefinite detention

Under the law signed last month, terrorism suspects are to be held by the military; the president also has the authority to indefinitely detain citizens accused of terrorism. While the administration claims that this provision only codified existing law, experts widely contest this view, and the administration has opposed efforts to challenge such authority in federal courts. The government continues to claim the right to strip citizens of legal protections based on its sole discretion. (China recently codified a more limited detention law for its citizens, while countries such as Cambodia have been singled out by the United States for “prolonged detention.”)

Arbitrary justice

The president now decides whether a person will receive a trial in the federal courts or in a military tribunal, a system that has been ridiculed around the world for lacking basic due process protections. Bush claimed this authority in 2001, and Obama has continued the practice. (Egypt and China have been denounced for maintaining separate military justice systems for selected defendants, including civilians.)

Warrantless searches

The president may now order warrantless surveillance, including a new capability to force companies and organizations to turn over information on citizens’ finances, communications and associations. Bush acquired this sweeping power under the Patriot Act in 2001, and in 2011, Obama extended the power, including searches of everything from business documents to library records. The government can use “national security letters” to demand, without probable cause, that organizations turn over information on citizens — and order them not to reveal the disclosure to the affected party. (Saudi Arabia and Pakistan operate under laws that allow the government to engage in widespread discretionary surveillance.)

Secret evidence

The government now routinely uses secret evidence to detain individuals and employs secret evidence in federal and military courts. It also forces the dismissal of cases against the United States by simply filing declarations that the cases would make the government reveal classified information that would harm national security — a claim made in a variety of privacy lawsuits and largely accepted by federal judges without question. Even legal opinions, cited as the basis for the government’s actions under the Bush and Obama administrations, have been classified. This allows the government to claim secret legal arguments to support secret proceedings using secret evidence. In addition, some cases never make it to court at all. The federal courts routinely deny constitutional challenges to policies and programs under a narrow definition of standing to bring a case.

War crimes

The world clamored for prosecutions of those responsible for waterboarding terrorism suspects during the Bush administration, but the Obama administration said in 2009 that it would not allow CIA employees to be investigated or prosecuted for such actions. This gutted not just treaty obligations but the Nuremberg principles of international law. When courts in countries such as Spain moved to investigate Bush officials for war crimes, the Obama administration reportedly urged foreign officials not to allow such cases to proceed, despite the fact that the United States has long claimed the same authority with regard to alleged war criminals in other countries. (Various nations have resisted investigations of officials accused of war crimes and torture. Some, such as Serbia and Chile, eventually relented to comply with international law; countries that have denied independent investigations include Iran, Syria and China.)

Secret court

The government has increased its use of the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, which has expanded its secret warrants to include individuals deemed to be aiding or abetting hostile foreign governments or organizations. In 2011, Obama renewed these powers, including allowing secret searches of individuals who are not part of an identifiable terrorist group. The administration has asserted the right to ignore congressional limits on such surveillance. (Pakistan places national security surveillance under the unchecked powers of the military or intelligence services.)

Immunity from judicial review

Like the Bush administration, the Obama administration has successfully pushed for immunity for companies that assist in warrantless surveillance of citizens, blocking the ability of citizens to challenge the violation of privacy. (Similarly, China has maintained sweeping immunity claims both inside and outside the country and routinely blocks lawsuits against private companies.)

Continual monitoring of citizens

The Obama administration has successfully defended its claim that it can use GPS devices to monitor every move of targeted citizens without securing any court order or review. (Saudi Arabia has installed massive public surveillance systems, while Cuba is notorious for active monitoring of selected citizens.)

Extraordinary renditions

The government now has the ability to transfer both citizens and noncitizens to another country under a system known as extraordinary rendition, which has been denounced as using other countries, such as Syria, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Pakistan, to torture suspects. The Obama administration says it is not continuing the abuses of this practice under Bush, but it insists on the unfettered right to order such transfers — including the possible transfer of U.S. citizens.

These new laws have come with an infusion of money into an expanded security system on the state and federal levels, including more public surveillance cameras, tens of thousands of security personnel and a massive expansion of a terrorist-chasing bureaucracy.

Some politicians shrug and say these increased powers are merely a response to the times we live in. Thus, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) could declare in an interview last spring without objection that “free speech is a great idea, but we’re in a war.” Of course, terrorism will never “surrender” and end this particular “war.”

Other politicians rationalize that, while such powers may exist, it really comes down to how they are used. This is a common response by liberals who cannot bring themselves to denounce Obama as they did Bush. Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.), for instance, has insisted that Congress is not making any decision on indefinite detention: “That is a decision which we leave where it belongs — in the executive branch.”

And in a signing statement with the defense authorization bill, Obama said he does not intend to use the latest power to indefinitely imprison citizens. Yet, he still accepted the power as a sort of regretful autocrat.

An authoritarian nation is defined not just by the use of authoritarian powers, but by the ability to use them. If a president can take away your freedom or your life on his own authority, all rights become little more than a discretionary grant subject to executive will.

The framers lived under autocratic rule and understood this danger better than we do. James Madison famously warned that we needed a system that did not depend on the good intentions or motivations of our rulers: “If men were angels, no government would be necessary.”

Benjamin Franklin was more direct. In 1787, a Mrs. Powel confronted Franklin after the signing of the Constitution and asked, “Well, Doctor, what have we got — a republic or a monarchy?” His response was a bit chilling: “A republic, Madam, if you can keep it.”

Since 9/11, we have created the very government the framers feared: a government with sweeping and largely unchecked powers resting on the hope that they will be used wisely.

The indefinite-detention provision in the defense authorization bill seemed to many civil libertarians like a betrayal by Obama. While the president had promised to veto the law over that provision, Levin, a sponsor of the bill, disclosed on the Senate floor that it was in fact the White House that approved the removal of any exception for citizens from indefinite detention.

Dishonesty from politicians is nothing new for Americans. The real question is whether we are lying to ourselves when we call this country the land of the free.

How an article of clothing brings out the worse in US


What’s the difference between this and that?  What are we told should be our reaction to the image on the right versus the image on the left?  Mankind has been struggling with women’s sexuality since the beginning of time and inevitably we end up objectifying women either as objects of pleasure or revulsion, yet legally speaking, in most western democracies women were allowed the freedom to choose what they could wear and we as a society were told to respect that choice or face legal consequences for our indiscretion.  You will not find one politician who will claim the woman on the right has an ulterior motive to subvert the American way of life by wearing such an outfit in public, yet women who appear as the image on the left we are told want to impose a way of life on us that is akin to the terrorist attacks of 911 and therefore the weight of the law should be brought to bear against them…..not their detractors.  Raising the cry of No Sharia, politicians, pundits and the general public alike have likened such an article of clothing as an act of sedition.  In fact, too many societies in the West are even deciding to remove the right of women to choose what they, women, want to wear or what they should do with their bodies or the bodies that grow inside their bodies.  Legally, no woman is responsible for the inappropriate behavior of a male  towards her if she appeared as the image on the right.  Rape, a crime of violence is rarely if ever excused because the attacker gave in to an uncontrollable desire to ravage a woman’s body because she was wearing clothing that excited him.  As a society, we’ve come to accept the notion that regardless how a woman may appear, we are not to infringe on her ability to appear that way or punish her with our male notions of how we can behave as a result, yet far too many people feel compelled to punish women who wear niqab, either by restricting their right to wear it or denying them access in society.

Authorities have given in to their uncontrollable desire to assault the body of women who choose to wear the niqaab with the full weight of a government that has ingrained in its law freedom of religious and personal expression by removing the freedom or right to those that offend government.   The silence of an American public so beat up with the fear of Muslims and Islam is more than deafening, its complicit.  That no one can see the charade of charlatans who invent an object of fear and then say the only way it can be dealt with is to undo the fundamental precepts on which this country were built in order to make people feel comfortable is not only an absurd notion but highly treasonous.  After more than a decade of intense fear mongering which has produced not one scintilla of an outcome we were told was inevitable, more straw dogs, like the niqab, have been erected to convince a weary public that more needs to be done to assuage their fear and rid us of a menace.  Yet, what we’re being rid of is a woman’s right to choose how she wants to behave in this society. This battle is being fought by Muslim women, pregnant women, teenaged women, of all races and ethnic backgrounds.  They should join one another in standing against a trend that can only lead to them losing control of how they define themselves.  Ours should not be a society that fears or objectifies women.

Spineless


, U.S. Senator from Pennsylvania.

Image via Wikipedia

Rick Santorum is another one of the GOP candidates for president who should be roundly and openly “refudiated” for lacking the moral courage to confront and correct a lie when given the opportunity.  You can read about his cowardly approach to a questioner’s assertion that President Obama is a “Muslim” here. The article goes on to say even John McCain corrected someone when faced with a similar situation during the 2008 campaign, but Santorum chose to play to the fear of the crowd and let the statement go unanswered.  His even lamer excuse that it’s not his responsibility to correct every misguided claim only leads one to wonder if elected how would he address lies that affect the national interest.  Would he be as pusillanimous with them as well?  Would he lead the country into war because he is unable to correct mistaken notions about adversaries, or believe that the people on the other end of the lie  should be thick skinned enough to withstand US military intervention?  America, these are the choices the GOP has presented us;  the likes of people who aspire to be our leaders and lead based on racial animosity, loathing, hatred, and fear.  Perhaps the GOP has become irrelevant to the life of this Nation….perhaps it’s time to “refudiate” the entire Party of people who want to take the country in this direction.  Then of course, there’s Ron Paul……..

Gingrich is back to divisive politics


English: Former U.S. Representative and Speake...

Image via Wikipedia

Newt Gingrich has been reported to have said

I think we need to have a government that respects our religions. I’m a little bit tired of being lectured about respecting every other religion on the planet. I’d like him(Obama) to respect our religion.

This is typical Gingrich cowardice, appearing before a crowd that wants to be pandered too, making divisive and inflammatory remarks to appeal to the very basic instinct of his constituents. Nothing lofty or inspiring about Gingrich during this campaign.

One just has to ask, what religion of his does Gingrich want respected.  First off, let’s eliminate Islam.  It’s not one of the religions he thinks government should respect, even though he spoke in the plural. It should be…it’s one of the many religions that inhabit our shores, but Gingrich doesn’t think it necessarily belongs here and he’s been quite provocative in saying so…likening Muslims to Nazis, promoting the idea that Islamic religious places of worship and where they are built should be determined by the government, that a liberal establishment favors Islam over Christianity, thereby trying to minimize Christian influence while inflating or insuring Muslim domination, etc.  Of course all of this is an indirect reference to Obama’s questionable, in the mind of the Tea Party member, ancestry or origin.  In other words, Gingrich is playing the race card; he’s pandering to the racial and religious prejudices of a certain segment of the population in order to gain political power and or influence.  That’s also known as demagoguery, which has become a staple of the GOP stable in this new epoch.

But Gingrich is also guilty of an even more perverse hypocrisy involving his own Christian faith.  He was raised Lutheran, then became a Southern Baptist in his rise to political power as a congressman for the state of Georgia, and finally upon marrying his third wife  became Roman Catholic.  In other words in his lifetime, Gingrich has embraced three different faith communities while aspiring to become the GOP nominee for president.  In fact, wife #2 asserts his latest conversion is just another attempt at social and political climbing, which also speaks volumes for Gingrich’s sincerity when talking about faith or even public policy. Which one of those “our” religion from the quote above is  Gingrich’s?  Obviously that question is not to be considered. America has been warned repeatedly by people within Gingrich’s sphere of politics, family members, colleagues and pundits of his sinister behavior and duplicity. Let’s hope the repudiation of the Florida electorate to this chameleon is the beginning of the end for his campaign.

How NOT to conduct an interview


Too many in journalism, and especially electronic journalism, think being rude, offensive, is synonymous with ‘hard hitting’.  However, sometimes such behavior on the part of the interviewer might backfire.  Take this interview between CBC’s Kevin O’Leary and Chris Hedges.  O’Leary crossed the line of journalist and tried to become a bully, a la Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity, Megyn Kelly or some of the kind you find on the likes of Fox News, but Hedges was having none of it. He not only replied directly to O’Leary’s crude and crass insults but he then went on to give an eloquent description of the financial crisis happening in America, contrasted that with what is going on in Canada, referred to a Canadian writer that the hosts of the CBC should have been familiar with but probably weren’t and then concluded with how he won’t appear on that program again.  That would be Canada’s loss if he were not to appear again, and so reacting to not only Hedges’ outrage but that of its viewers, CBC’s ombudsman issued a quick apology for O’Leary’s boorish behavior, saying in part

This Office and CBC News received hundreds of comments, many of them demanding an apology and some demanding that O’Leary be fired for suggesting Hedges was a ‘left-wing nutbar…..There is room at the inn for a range of views, but there is no room for name-calling a guest……O’Leary might have been genuinely curious about Hedges’s views, but his opening salvo only fed contempt, which breached policy.

It’s comforting to see that there are some in the news business that not only have standards but hold their staffs to them; something sorely lacking in most major American media outlets.  O’Leary was clearly outclassed and picked a fight with the wrong person.  Hedges and the Canadian viewing public are owed an apology.

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