No Comment


Remind you of something?


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

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

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

Octavia Nasr is gone


There appears to be another fatality in the war on free speech and no it’s not some Danish cartoonist who drew a caricature of the Prophet of Islam, nor is it a tea party/birther who insulted the lineage of today’s President of the United States.  Rather it was a CNN Middle East correspondent, Octavia Nasr who had worked for that network for 20 years all because of a less than 140 word expression of regret at the death of a prominent personality from her country of birth, Lebanon.  There is no free speech among American institutions when it comes to views about the Middle East that do not conform with convention.

Ms. Nasr didn’t ask anyone on CNN to air her views, nor did she express them during a report she made on the air, rather she “tweeted” her expressions of regret or sorrow in a medium that doesn’t accept more than 140 characters and for that her 20 year career came to an end.  Her employers probably didn’t blink an eye when they told her, albeit circuitously that she has no right to freedom of expression or belief if it contradicts corporate media’s own.  This act of censorship, along with the furor created over Helen Thomas’ words, highlights the thought control which permeates corporate media when it comes to issues regarding the Middle East.

At the very same time Larry King is interviewing an Israeli Prime Minister in an attempt to soften his country’s image where very little if any rebuttal will be made to Israel’s claims of righteousness in the face of overwhelming proof of their murder, Nasr was handed her walking papers because she expressed her sorrow over the death of a man with whom she had personal contact during a very tumultuous time in Lebanon’s history.  She isn’t the only one to have felt that way about Fadlallah.

Frankly, no one is able to express sympathy towards an enemy of Israel, the darling of US media, nor against Israel itself.  Nasr’s firing was another among many shots across the bow to those who dare oppose the demonization of Israel’s enemies, be they Lebanese, Palestinians, Iranians, Syrians and on the list goes.  Free speech is not free within the ranks of corporate America and perhaps, to paraphrase Glen Greenwald, all institutions should just tell everyone in the beginning you  have no right to expect the 1st amendment applies to you; rather you must accept what others consider acceptable and not acceptable to utter, even in your private life, in order to avoid any further illusions of freedom.

Back From The Brink


One of the reasons Barack Obama received the Nobel Peace Prize from a grateful prize committee is because those who awarded it to him realized America has barely escaped falling into the abyss of becoming a dictatorial and insane government worse than Josef Stalin et.co could ever imagine.  It wasn’t without a big price that we as a Nation and the world community had to pay; two invasions, the almost complete evisceration of the US Constitution and the de facto persecution and or ethnic cleansing of a religious group that would make even Israel green with envy.  In the clear light of day, absent the Bush Administration and its evil cohorts cooperation spin of fantasy from reality, the blinders are falling from our eyes and there is some sense of truth that has made its way in the media, that was once the stenographer for what could be the most corrupt US administration in the history of this country.

One such revelation came in the form of a lecture by a CIA employee, a 30 year veteran by the way, who it can be said has been around in the intelligence field a lot longer than Dick Cheney has, that intelligence gathering by his agency HAS NOT suffered as a result of not waterboarding terrorist suspects.  This flies in the face of assertions made by Dick Cheney, most notably, and others in the former Administration who claimed the US was at risk of an imminent attack if it did not waterboard information from people.  We’ve written about waterboarding alot here on the pages of Miscellany101 because it is an illegal activity that was sanctioned and made legal by the illegal Administration of Bush/Cheney.  Every other month or so another crack appears in the wall they set up to separate America from the rule of law and slowly but surely voices are speaking out to say we can survive as a Nation without resorting to criminal behavior.  This latest voice, that of  career intelligence agent, Michael Sulick is a welcomed addition to the others who stand up to say what makes America great and exceptional is ‘after 200 years, two centuries, she still stands strong and true to the granite ridge, and her glow has held no matter what storm. And she’s still a beacon, still a magnet for all who must have freedom, for all the pilgrims from all the lost places who are hurtling through the darkness, toward home.’

The Dance of Denial


It has been very revealing watching members of the Right deny the responsibility of their ideology for two tragic murders that have recently occured which captured the attention of the Nation.  First came the cold blooded slaughter of an abortionist, Dr. George Tiller in Wichita, Kansas followed up shortly by the brutal killing of a security guard at the Holocaust Museum in Washington, DC of all places.

Dr. Tiller’s death is troubling because he had been the target of anti-abortionists’ rage before and even the person charged with his murder had been known to stalk and even vandalize  the clinic where Tiller worked in the days preceeding his death.  Several people in the clinic have gone on record saying they knew about Scott Roeder’s attempts at disrupting the operation of the clinic and notified the proper authorities yet nothing was done to apprehend Roeder and possibly prevent Dr. Tiller’s death.  Such ineptness on the park of the federal beaucracy does not mean that even more layers of government are necessary to protect the citizens but rather irresponsible civil servants need to be replaced with more diligent and efficient ones.

The death of Stephen Jones at the National Holocaust Museum at the hands of a white supremacist is a tragedy underscored by the fact this murderer had a long history, easily documented that could possibly point to such a heinious crime being committed by his hand, age notwithstanding, yet he very easily walked down a metropolitan city street with a .22 caliber rifle and shot and killed an armed federal agent.  The reason why I mention again both of these crimes is because of the contortions those on the right are taking to distance their ideology from these two men who claimed to hold that ideology near and dear to them.   Political pundits are taking great lengths to say that these murderes aren’t from the right at all but rather from the left of the political spectrum, despite the fact they, the perpetrators clearly identify with the Right.  Punditry has managed to make actions a mark of political persuasion and not words and have told their admirers that death and killing are marks of the political left, terrorism marks of Muslims,  while the opposition the Right makes to anything is noble and necessary to save America from its enemies.

This was the kind of meme advanced by Dick Cheney, more recently, and the entire Bush administration before which reduced all argument to ‘with us or against us’ sloganeering.  In that small universe built by the likes of the triumphant Right there was nothing that we did to  those ‘against us’ that could be considered illegal or immoral behavior.   The concept of “exceptionalism” had been developed to the point that meant even the boundaries of legality didn’t apply to us or we made every attempt to legalize illegal behavior in order to legitimize our unlawful actions.  It was a vicious circle we continue to traverse by denying the rational of these latest criminals for their criminal behavior.

News accounts and political pundits have taken great pains to classify these murderers as lone gunmen who are completely separate and detached from the environment which they have enveloped themselves.  By doing so they hope to further distance themselves from the effect their rhetoric has on the people who listen to and subscribe to it.

In our system of law as it pertains to capital crimes unless there is a conspiracy there is no guilt by association. Conversely there is also no innocence by association. Christian leaders and conservative citizens in general have jumped at the chance to label Mr. Roeder a vigilante, a monster and things far worse.

Regrettably this tactic is only applied to members of the right who spent an entire two terms of a right leaning Republican administration to paint with the broadest of brushes entire groups of people based on the actions of individual(s).  This has been a common practice of demagoguery; the politics of the many condensed into the actions of the lone individual.  Cries of bombing the institutions that are symbolic of political ideology have given way to the absolute negation of ideology and their import on an individual’s actions.   Murderers on the right have suddenly appeared on our political landscape and killed their perceived foes because they were inherently defective and acting completely on their own, while the last eights years of a Republican administration were spent literally trying to root out whole communities of conspirators who lurked in every corner of our country waiting for a chance to reap their collective death and destruction at the earliest possible moment on an unsuspecting public that need the invasive protection of a government bureaucracy.

Finally the absence in many cases of condemnation from the progenitors of rightist motivation for such murderous tendencies is another characteristic of the sudden revisionism going on in Obama’s America.  During the Bush years people were always challenged to condemn the acts of coreligionist or fellow ideologues, today’s America sees there is no need for condemnation because such acts rarely accomplish anything and not worth the time spent doing so.

Condemning Roeder doesn’t add anything to the pro-life cause. Pro-abortionists are always quick to remind the Christians of Christ’s rule of not judging or condemning. Why add fuel to the fire by condemning Mr. Roeder, isn’t it just a matter of six of one and a half dozen of the other? Both Tiller and Roeder have One that will be their final judge and he is neither hot under the collar, biased or partial. Why don’t we leave all that to Him?

In many ways such ideas mirror the current glossing over done by the Obama administration vis-a-vis Bush Administration crimes of torture and violations of the US constitution and are entirely motivated by groups’ needs to absolve themselves of responsibilty for actions of the past or the future.

Israel Warns EU to tone down


Warnings usually accompany threats, as in ‘if you don’t stop doing this I’m going to do something in response’, so what is Israel’s warning of consequence?

Israel warned the European Union on Thursday to tone down its criticism of the new Israeli government or risk forfeiting the bloc’s role as broker in Mideast peace efforts.

So my question is what is it Israel can threaten the European Union with? Israeli military threats against Europe have been made before and with rabid Israeli politicians now in power, the implication of Israel’s warning is probably not lost on Europeans.  Also, Israel has never accepted the EU’s role as a peace broker, the latest Gaza offensive, is proof of that when the Israelis bombed, strafed and blocked aid supplies to Palestinians in Gaza which came from Europe.  What is really at stake here is Israeli access to European markets.  The Israelis want to ply their trade of espionage, industrial, political and military and they can’t do that now as easily as they can in the US.  Evidently old habits die hard in the relations between Europeans and Jews.

The Mixed messages of the Obama White House


Dick Cheney deserves to be in jail.  He is perhaps one of the biggest war criminals the US has produced in recent memory, ranking right up there with Henry Kissinger and Lyndo Johnson.  So why did he go and put his foot in his mouth about Obama endangering the American public because of his reversal of some of Cheney/Bush’s illegal adventures the last 8 years?  I guess to Dick the fact that the US has invaded two countries that were otherwise not hostile or a threat to US interests doesn’t matter a hill of beans to how people think of this country or how angry and unstable they must feel about American intervention.  All of the displaced Iraqis leaving in countries other than their own must be really happy about Bush’s decision to invade their country while extremely upset with Obama’s decision to close down Guantanamo Bay or stop torture and rendition of people we suspect of terrorism.  Go figure, and did you catch Cheney’s really flippant remark about the role his administration played in the economic downturn?!  Stuff happens.  Wow.  Cheney doesn’t have a clue or doesn’t give a damn.  His deflection of his responsibility for what he took this country through is sad, pathetic and embarrassing for us as a nation.  This was the best we could do?  Brilliant  Someone lock him up and throw away the key, please!

So after this really lame appearance on CNN, the Obama administration reacted to Cheney’s remarks with an equally flippant and faux indignation only politicans can muster.  The longer Obama stays in office the easier it is to see how the saying, the more things “change” the more they remain the same, should have been his campaign slogan, for while he has tossed us the platitudes of closing Guantanamo Bay, he has also repeated a Bush administration policy of citing “state secrets” to prevent the release of evidence concerning extraordinary renditions as well as argued that all cases being brought against the Bush administration for torture related offenses should be dismissed! What Cheney’s remarks were meant to do were to get Obama to continue to toe the line by making the new government appear to be soft on terrorism, when it really isn’t, and in order to project the tough guy image, do even more along the lines of draconian measures instituted by Bush/Cheney to prove it.  Meanwhile the two sides appear to be at odds with one another when they really aren’t.  Obama’s chief concern must be the economy, while issues of foreign policy will be largely seen as a battle ground between the two parties but left as they were under Bush.  The drama continues.