The Insanity of Islamophobia


Pat Robertson, who has said he supports the decriminalization of  marijuana must have decided to take a drag from a joint which caused him to come up with this latest proclamation.  Notice how, with just the mere accusation Robertson’s media machine has maligned Muslims, the Muslim Brotherhood, Quick (a fast food restaurant in France), Campbells, McDonalds, Walmart, and Whole Foods among others because they offer  customers choices; menus are not being changed, things aren’t being prohibited today that were offered in days gone by, in fact beer which is on Quick’s menu in France is still available for those who drink.  Rather, a method of slaughtering meat employed on some of the meat used used for some of the food choices by these companies  is upsetting to the Islamophobes like Robertson and Pamela Gellar who talk about the fear of Islamic law taking over Europe and ostensibly America, merely because consumers are offered choices.  Usually that’s considered good business, but to racists like Robertson, et.al that’s cause to incite and inflame passions against a religious belief.  Such a jump can only be attributed to drugs and while we haven’t seen Gellar or Robertson taking them, or rather there are no pictures of them doing so, we can only assume because of their stance concerning the criminalization of drugs that drug use is  what’s  caused them to come to such far flung conclusions.

Unfortunately, we don’t know what has caused Frank Gaffney to such delirium as his latest insanity regarding a conservative PAC. Gaffney seems to think the nefarious Muslim Brotherhood has taken over the Conservative Political Action Conference, because…..are you ready for this……..there is a Muslim member, Suhail Khan a GWBush ex-staffer who represents a group, Muslims FOR America. (Look at the mindlessness of Gaffney’s opposition, decrying the participation of a group of Americans in the political process who are FOR America)  The whole goal of Gaffney, Robertson, Gellar and all the rest is to marginalize the participation of Muslims in the political process of America even when there is absolutely nothing objectionable to the aims of that participation unless such groups are under their control. In other words they want to make enemies where there aren’t any, by making their involvement illegal, and they want to instigate  bystanders in the political process into such a frenzy and hatred in order for them to accomplish this goal.   In even simpler terms, if you don’t do what they say, or agree with their program they won’t like you and threaten to do everything to make you illegal, the textbook definition of fascism.

Nothing more clearly demonstrates the mindless, racist intent of people like Gaffney and Robertson than their own senseless rants regarding people who are different than they are.  The kind of talk regarding Muslims and Islam by the likes of the Islamophobes would not be tolerated if it were applied to any other group either in the borders of America or outside of it.  Spurred by the equally insipid distribution of lies and innuendo of today’s media outlets and you have the makings of a propaganda machine that surpasses  the wildest dreams of the most fanatical government. These are troubling times.

Terrorism


The unlawful use of force or violence against persons or property in order to coerce or intimidate a government or the civilian population in furtherance of political or social objectives.

Since the September 11th Attacks on the United States in 2001, which resulted in the destruction of the World Trade Center in New York City and severe damage to the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., the United States has changed its priorities to focus upon eradicating terrorism in the world. Terrorism involves the systematic use of terror or violence to achieve political goals. The targets of terrorism include government officials, identified individuals or groups, and innocent bystanders. In most cases terrorists seek to overthrow or destabilize an existing political regime, but totalitarian and dictatorial governments also use terror to maintain their power.

 

As clear and distinct as this definition is, it cannot but include the Israeli government as a dictatorial government that uses terrorism to maintain power, as this article in RawStory suggests.  In spite of a newly signed peace agreement with Egypt, in 1979 Israel was intimating that it would use nuclear weapons against its neighbors because somehow it feared for its existence.  We know now that was a crock….Israel then as now, has no more to fear from its neighbors than the man in the moon.  In fact, since 1973 all of Israel’s wars have been wars of aggression and expansion, not self-defense.  One could argue they have been the precursor to America’s aggression in the Mid East…a kind of good cop, bad cop play on empire and subjugation of the Middle East.

In 1980, British officials were concerned that Israel could be heading for a new conflict, despite signing a peace treaty with Egypt the year before, according to official papers released from the National Archives after being kept secret for 30 years.

“The situation in the region is deteriorating and with it Israel’s dangerous mood of isolation and defiance will grow,” warned a cable from the British embassy in Tel Aviv, dated May 4.

What Israel served to do with this threat to use nuclear weapons was to get governments to support her in her continued suppression of Palestinian statehood, in other words to achieve the political objective of denial of human rights to her Palestinian neighbors as well as forge political hegemony in the area.  Let’s not forget existential threats to Israel are no more than  political dissent that are the basis for a mature political entity, not a threatening  bullying one like Israel, which usually contribute to the improvement of the social fabric, not its elimination.  Very few but the extreme of the extreme, (and who could that be?) would dare suggest Israel not exist, but what everyone of conscience and morality should insist upon is that Israel honor the territorial integrity of its neighbors, not interfere with Palestinian statehood, cease its racist policies towards non-Jews within its borders and honor international treaties against the proliferation of nuclear weapons.  That’s the kind of discourse that countries can conduct on the world’s stage in a mature, socially and internationally acceptable manner.  Not so with the Israeli interpretation of dissent.  In its case dissent is not tolerated except from within and only within limits defined by the government.  That is called fascism.

Holiday Spirit


Fox News channel store in the airport

Image by ario_ via Flickr

Bill O’Reilly and his minions at FoxNews want Muslims to “refudiate” terrorism, and absent that they are to be suspect.  O’Reilly et.al also waged a very public campaign to out those who didn’t share the “Christmas” spirit in the same way as he did, saying absent their vociferous bellowing of “Merry Christmas” they were surreptitiously sabotaging Christmas.

Muslims on the other hand were taking a much more pro-active stance about the holidays….something you can read and see here.

Early Christmas morning, hundreds of Muslim-Americans turned out to help their Christian friends by doing the volunteer work that they would normally do. Muslims say this is a way to allow Christians to celebrate the Holiday by stepping in to provide meals to seniors and distributing toys to needy children……

Once again putting a lie to the myth generated by the pundits who are on the payroll of today’s racists/fascists media whores. Oh and speaking of myths, did you hear the one about the Justin Bieber endorsement of the Ground Zero/Park51 mosque that really wasn’t an endorsement at all??  The Islamophobes, who constantly prove themselves to be the worse America has to offer, were tricked again into showing their racist colors by falling for another satirical website that claimed Bieber said something about Park51 that he really didn’t say.  Why don’t these people just admit they have nothing but their own animus which drives them towards insanity and stop hanging excuses on things that really don’t exist?!?!

Mosque foes recently started a boycott of Bieber after he made comments in support of the mosque project in an interview with Tiger Beat, a teen fan magazine….

I was able to reach the proprietor of the site, who confirmed that the Bieber item is in fact a hoax. “[T]he fact that some people take it seriously is hilariously depressing,” he said in an e-mail.

 

Depressing indeed, and par for the course.  America, wake up.

 

GOP=Government Oppressive Prosecution



The GOP is the next thing to America’s march on towards a Gestapo.  Inspite of the fact talking heads like to tie the GOP to the Lincoln administration of the 19th century, it more closely resembles the McCarthyism of the 20th century in its approach to citizenship and social issues.  Nothing more clearly underscores that fact than this story.  Peter King, republican from New York,  is a demagogue from way back; you can read about some of his more fascist thoughts here and here.  He’s a throwback to his American predecessors, Joe McCarthy, George Wallace, and my favorite Jesse Helms and takes America back to a time when it was asked to fight in a war abroad against Germans who said and did the same kind of things King wants to do.  Notice how he even wants to break the Constitution to do it, i.e. establish a state religion and officially denigrate or delegitimize another.  Moreover, what’s this constant raising and lowering the bar that Islamophobes do?  Since when did good citizenship mean being a spy on your fellow congregants at your house of worship?  Does government demand all Catholics turn in abusive priests to the feds, or that Jewish worshipers turn in any junk bond dealer or swindler who might be robbing pension funds dry and that doing less than that means they should come under the scrutiny of the federal government, and it’s not that Muslims haven’t responded to calls for good citizenship.  The latest bomber exposed by the FBI on the west coast was first turned in to law officials by his own father….and he was ignored.  The 2009 Christmas bomber too was turned in by his dad…to no avail.  It seems scoring points only happens when the authorities play the game and not when citizens participate.  But what it does do is insure King will  be re-elected in two years from now when people will be demanding to hold the GOP responsible for the continuing economic fiasco to result due to their policies which began with the tax cut extension.

America tends to elect people who are not the least bit concerned with her interests, but only their own.  King, Gingrich, Palin, McConnell, Boehner, Cantor, et.al are all opportunists who are willing to sacrifice the good of the country to their own priorities of personal fortune and ego.  We elect them every year and this past election cycle ended with them increasing their wealth, through tax cuts and pitting the federal government against a religious minority which has until now been a peaceful and cooperative partner in good citizenship.  We get what we deserve.

Pro Libertate: Fallujah, U.S.A.


Police brutality at your door step
Vodpod videos no longer available.

Please see Will Griggs thorough, impassioned, precise and complete article on this “atrocity”  at  Pro Libertate: Fallujah, U.S.A.
Follow my videos on vodpod

Islamophobe of the Week


The entire cast at FoxNews, or rather the Republican Television Network, can win this award because of the constant racist rhetoric they are allowed to get away with over the American airwaves.  Bill O’Reilly was owned by Whoppie Goldberg and Joy Behar who walked out on him during his appearance on their show, The View.  That confrontation appears below

 

There’s so much wrong with what he said on so many levels…..did anyone catch his dig to Behar about learning something from him….that’s after he told her to shut up.  Classy guy, eh? So O’Reilly, a Fox employee was clear why the two hosts walked out and the very next day………

Brian Kilmead, another Fox employee makes the following statement, ‘Not every Muslim is an extremist, a terrorist, but every terrorist is a Muslim…..You can’t avoid that fact. And that is ridiculous that we got to keep defining this — the people that equate Timothy McVeigh with the Al Qaeda terrorist organization, which is growing and a threat that exists.”  Of course this remark was an explicit approval of O’Reilly’s comments made on The View a day before and there we have two Fox employees engaging in racist commentary on a national platform.  I had this to say in the comments section here

The double standard is in your face…I mean Sanchez gone, Octavia Nasir gone, Helen Thomas gone. None of them were given a chance to clarify their statements which were far more harmless and not pejorative as this Fox guy’s. In his one idiotic statement, ‘Not every Muslim is an extremist, a terrorist, but every terrorist is a Muslim’ substitute any other ethnic group and tell me he would survive one hour after going off the air. Let’s see, ‘not every Jew is a terrorist but every extremist, terrorist is a Jew’…or how about ‘not every African-American is a murderer/rapist but every murderer is black’. Or how about ‘not every blond woman is dumb, but every dumb woman is a blond’ or not every Polack is stupid but every stupid person is a Polack… I mean this is like looking at or hearing an episode of Archie Bunker’s Place all over again. That Kilmead moron makes his comments because he can get away with it; his bosses let him, maybe even encourage him because it’s good for ratings and perhaps even revenue and that’s the history of our country. Whatever sells works, despite evidence to the contrary. So 94% of terrorism committed from 1980 to 2005 according to the FBI, not Fox, was done by other than Muslims gets spun into 100% with a stroke on the keyboard because those people committing 94% of terrorism resemble the folks who make the decisions at FoxNews. Amazing how that works, isn’t it?

Brian Kilmead, one of  your racist Islamophobes on the Fox channel.  Do we really want an America where we are all at one another’s throats because of the lies of people in the media.  For an excellent analysis of who’s doing what in the world of terrorism, run over to the thread here.  It’s very revealing about who is and isn’t a terrorist in the real world.

 

Do We Believe in our Principles or not?


The author of the piece excerpted below asks this and three other pertinent questions related to the debate taking place in America regarding freedom of religion especially as it applies to Muslim Americans.  The answer to this first question is conditional, based on what is described below

I got home from vacation late on Friday night and was soon asked to join in the fracas around the planned Cordoba House two blocks from Ground Zero. In less than 36 hours after getting back to Washington, I was walking into the Fox News studio on Sunday morning. Welcome home.They asked about a letter that I had just signed supporting religious freedom for Muslims. I said we should ask three simple questions:

  1. Should we as Americans be able to worship and pray when and where we choose? Haven’t we fought for that?
  2. Are American Muslims … Americans?
  3. And, for those of us who are Christians (and I am an Evangelical Christian), are we obeying the commands of Jesus to love our neighbors? Aren’t Muslims our neighbors? So what might Jesus say to this controversy?

There was a brief silence from the Fox and Friends anchors. OK, they said, but what about “sensitivity” to the families that lost loved ones in 9/11? Well, I said, 59 Muslims also died on 9/11 because of a vile, cowardly, and criminal attack by al Qaeda. Does it honor them, or their families, by somehow connecting all American Muslims to that horrible attack?

Well, thank you for joining us today Reverend, they said. Thank you, I said, but how we handle this is very important–to what it means to be Americans or what it means to be Christians.

I was ready to talk about my friends Imam Feisal Rauf and his wife, Daisy Khan, who are among the leaders of the vision to build a new community center committed to peace, interfaith dialogue, reconciliation, and bridge-building. I know them both and can testify to their long record on denouncing terrorism in the name of their religion and their consistent work for peace. Until very recently, Daisy says her main concern about the new interfaith center was whether there would be enough stroller space. Daisy called me Sunday to describe how their lives have been turned upside down. If Ground Zero is the “gaping wound” my Fox and Friends anchors described, what could be more helpful than a religious center dedicated to healing?

That morning, as I watched continued coverage, I was disappointed to hear the low level that discourse has dropped to.  The politicians who spoke to it sounded more like the people leaving nasty and false comments on YouTube videos than anyone deserving of public office. Well, it is the election season again.

This guilt-by-association “sensitivity” argument is very dangerous stuff. Millions of American Muslims are not responsible for the heinous crime of 9/11. And an imam’s desire to heal and build bridges should be a welcome thing. Exactly how far away from what places should Muslims be able to pray in America? Is there a measurement requirement that is emerging from all the other places in the country now where mosques are also being opposed?

Fundamentalism doesn’t only exist in Islam. The things someone like Pat Robertson or Jerry Falwell have said certainly are an embarrassment to other Christians — remember Robertson’s assertion that 9/11 was the judgment of God on America because of liberalism and feminism. So how about preventing fundamentalist churches that like Robertson from worshiping within 3 blocks of Ground Zero because of “sensitivity”?

How we handle this one will affect our future as a nation. Do we believe in our principles or not? Do we believe Muslims are also Americans or not? Are we an inclusive and pluralistic nation, or not?

Perhaps FoxNews that Rev. Wallis dealt with  was the network Obama was referring that is pervasive with its innuendo driven coverage of his faith?  In many people’s minds, the answer to the last two questions is a resounding no!

Kill Them


by Linh Dinh

Michael Enright, a 21-year-old college student, slashed a NYC cab driver in the face and neck because this man was Muslim. Enright is being held in a psychiatric ward. If he is mad, then the United States is also insane. Enright’s assault merely mirrors what we, as a nation, have done for nearly a decade.

The United States has responded criminally and incoherently to what happened on September 11, 2001. Lopped of our twin members, downtown, we also lost our authoritative voice. Two days after that disaster, George Bush grimly declared, “The most important thing is for us to find Osama bin Laden. It is our number one priority and we will not rest until we find him.” Six months later, Bush shrugged, “I don’t know where bin Laden is. I have no idea and really don’t care. It’s not that important. It’s not our priority.” Our current president never mentions bin Laden, yet Obama has sent many more troops into Afghanistan. We’re not leaving any time soon, that’s for sure. Congress has just approved 1.3 billion dollars to expand our military bases there. Our new mission, if Time Magazine is to be believed, is to defend Afghan women against the Taliban, whom we created in the first place, to fight the Soviets. America gets a kick out of these flip flops. We propped up Saddam Hussein, then we had him hanged. We fought Communist Vietnam, then we staged a naval exercise with that same regime, as happened just recently, riling up China. Tension feeds the military industrial complex. Wars are even better.

Responding to 9/11, America also invaded Iraq, a country that had nothing to do with that catastrophe. Since the real reasons for our two current conflicts, access to oil and natural gas, defense of the petrodollar, war profiteering, are never admitted to, many Americans have concluded that we’re simply waging war against Islam, which is, frankly, not that far off the mark considering our unequivocal support for Israel whenever it attacks Gaza, Lebanon, Syria or any other Muslim population. The U.S. has also been killing Pakistani civilians and threatening Iran. It’s a miracle many Muslims don’t hate us more.

Without Israel and oil, it’s a safe bet we wouldn’t be demonizing Muslims so relentlessly. As is, this stoked hatred is bringing out the worst in our character. On Yahoo! News, many comments on the Enright story don’t condemn but applaud his obvious crime, and also bash Islam.

Bruce, “Slay the infidel…..stone the rape victim……beat your wife……..mate with your goat…..wipe your bu tt with your bare hand…..AHHH the joys of islam!”

David, “this guy should get a medal and be aloud [sic] to blow up the mosque at the ground zero sight, its [sic] about time someone in ny stepped up and showed some american balls!!!”

Spreading like cancer across the internet, openly hateful and racist comments are especially common after stories about Muslims, blacks or Mexicans, the top three scapegoats at the moment. Obama is a lightning rod for anti-black racism, which is ironic because he does not favor blacks in any way. Like Bush, Clinton and the rest of our bank-bailing-out, paid-for politicians, Obama couldn’t care less about the little guys. Eyeing his own wallet and his future after the White House, Obama’s here to defend the moneyed interest. His blackness is merely symbolic, but that’s enough to enrage the racists.

After Michelle Obama went to Spain, Alternative Right, a webzine with contributions from several established authors, had an article titled, “Michelle’s Vacation in Whitey World.” Among the comments, one man suggested that she should have gone to a blacker destination, like “Ghana or the Maldives.”

One Sheila wrote, “I cringe every time I see a photo of the Sasquatch/Wookie as purportedly “First Lady” of American women. My spouse always comments that she reminds him of a chimp with her underbite, and I am always struck by her enormous feet and trapezius muscles. Either way I feel a sort of cognitive dissonance, such as when I view old photos and see 19th century blacks dressed in Victorian clothing.     As far as her amazing European adventure, she is putting herself in white people’s faces. Her very presence is a way of announcing the new order.”

There’s no new order, lady. Obama himself is a head fake! Scratch that skin lightly, and you’ll see your beloved Dubya again. Everything is still in place, including the torture chambers. After another article in Alternative Right, a reader lamented, “After 9/11, we saw the lack of a white nation identity. There was abject surrender to Islam.” Only the most deluded can call the killing of hundreds of thousands of Muslims, and the occupation of two Islamic countries, an “abject surrender to Islam.” Although not all Americans think this way, of course, this man is hardly alone. As the world’s biggest source of terror, we’re posing as its most helpless victims.

The scapegoating of Muslims, blacks and Mexicans gives the appearance that we’re being threatened from without and below, when we’re actually being mugged from above, from the inside. It’s the entrenched who are killing us, not outsiders. Even with 9/11, too many questions remain. One must remember that Bin Laden began as a CIA asset, and two months before the attack, he was at the American hospital in Dubai, where a CIA agent visited him. On September 10, 2001, bin Laden was at the Army Hospital in Rawalpindi, Pakistan, to receive dialysis treatment. Again, no attempt was made to arrest him. Today, we’re also not trying to arrest this man, and that’s no conspiracy theory.

Germany AND Ron Paul get it


While America burns with its religious animosity/racism against Muslims, Germany gives another, more tolerant view of how religious minorities should be treated.  Funny that…..after its past, but Germany,it’s politicians and social institutions are showing far more tolerance and leading by example far better than America is right now.  How?

A German television station is broadcasting the start and end times of the daily fast during the holy Muslim month of Ramadan. The broadcaster says it wants to promote integration and sensitize non-Muslim viewers to the issue. It does the same kind of thing for its other religious communities as well, however, so for the Islamophobes who might claim German television has gone over to the Sharia side, German TV could respond it’s religiously  inclusive.

Germany’s political parties, read that plural folks, are breaking the fast with Germany’s Muslims as a sign of our respect for all Muslims who live in the country.  They consider such action as embracing the multi-ethnic nature of the country’s population, and as normal as celebrating Christmas or any other religious holiday and not as a “concession” to Muslims.  What’s different about the German approach is this cultural acknowledgment cuts across political parties, and is not just something the party in power does.  Each American president has done the same thing, but his political rivals at the time did not and that is the difference.

Finally, Republican Ron Paul of Texas put the political nail on the coffin of the 51 Park Street mosque with this clear, definitive statement (red emphasis mine)

“Is the controversy over building a mosque near ground zero a grand distraction or a grand opportunity? Or is it, once again, grandiose demagoguery?

“It has been said, “Nero fiddled while Rome burned.” Are we not overly preoccupied with this controversy, now being used in various ways by grandstanding politicians? It looks to me like the politicians are “fiddling while the economy burns.”

“The debate should have provided the conservative defenders of property rights with a perfect example of how the right to own property also protects the 1st Amendment rights of assembly and religion by supporting the building of the mosque.

“Instead, we hear lip service given to the property rights position while demanding that the need to be “sensitive” requires an all-out assault on the building of a mosque, several blocks from “ground zero.”

Just think of what might (not) have happened if the whole issue had been ignored and the national debate stuck with war, peace, and prosperity. There certainly would have been a lot less emotionalism on both sides. The fact that so much attention has been given the mosque debate, raises the question of just why and driven by whom?

“In my opinion it has come from the neo-conservatives who demand continual war in the Middle East and Central Asia and are compelled to constantly justify it.

“They never miss a chance to use hatred toward Muslims to rally support for the ill conceived preventative wars. A select quote from soldiers from in Afghanistan and Iraq expressing concern over the mosque is pure propaganda and an affront to their bravery and sacrifice.

“The claim is that we are in the Middle East to protect our liberties is misleading. To continue this charade, millions of Muslims are indicted and we are obligated to rescue them from their religious and political leaders. And, we’re supposed to believe that abusing our liberties here at home and pursuing unconstitutional wars overseas will solve our problems.

“The nineteen suicide bombers didn’t come from Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan or Iran. Fifteen came from our ally Saudi Arabia, a country that harbors strong American resentment, yet we invade and occupy Iraq where no al Qaeda existed prior to 9/11.

“Many fellow conservatives say they understand the property rights and 1st Amendment issues and don’t want a legal ban on building the mosque. They just want everybody to be “sensitive” and force, through public pressure, cancellation of the mosque construction.

“This sentiment seems to confirm that Islam itself is to be made the issue, and radical religious Islamic views were the only reasons for 9/11. If it became known that 9/11 resulted in part from a desire to retaliate against what many Muslims saw as American aggression and occupation, the need to demonize Islam would be difficult if not impossible.

“There is no doubt that a small portion of radical, angry Islamists do want to kill us but the question remains, what exactly motivates this hatred?

“If Islam is further discredited by making the building of the mosque the issue, then the false justification for our wars in the Middle East will continue to be acceptable.

“The justification to ban the mosque is no more rational than banning a soccer field in the same place because all the suicide bombers loved to play soccer.

“Conservatives are once again, unfortunately, failing to defend private property rights, a policy we claim to cherish. In addition conservatives missed a chance to challenge the hypocrisy of the left which now claims they defend property rights of Muslims, yet rarely if ever, the property rights of American private businesses.

“Defending the controversial use of property should be no more difficult than defending the 1st Amendment principle of defending controversial speech. But many conservatives and liberals do not want to diminish the hatred for Islam–the driving emotion that keeps us in the wars in the Middle East and Central Asia.

“It is repeatedly said that 64% of the people, after listening to the political demagogues, don’t want the mosque to be built. What would we do if 75% of the people insist that no more Catholic churches be built in New York City? The point being is that majorities can become oppressors of minority rights as well as individual dictators. Statistics of support is irrelevant when it comes to the purpose of government in a free society—protecting liberty.

“The outcry over the building of the mosque, near ground zero, implies that Islam alone was responsible for the 9/11 attacks. According to those who are condemning the building of the mosque, the nineteen suicide terrorists on 9/11 spoke for all Muslims. This is like blaming all Christians for the wars of aggression and occupation because some Christians supported the neo-conservative’s aggressive wars.

“The House Speaker is now treading on a slippery slope by demanding a Congressional investigation to find out just who is funding the mosque—a bold rejection of property rights, 1st Amendment rights, and the Rule of Law—in order to look tough against Islam.

“This is all about hate and Islamaphobia.

“We now have an epidemic of “sunshine patriots” on both the right and the left who are all for freedom, as long as there’s no controversy and nobody is offended.

“Political demagoguery rules when truth and liberty are ignored.”

I’d say Paul has pretty much nailed it!

No Comment


Then

…and Now!

No Comment


My Breaking Point


Everyone has their breaking point for hate speech and racism.  Mine came when I watched the video you can find here, where what started out to be a “decent” interview between a Fox reporter, Megyn Kelly, and a representative of the Media Research Center and Council of American-Islamic Relations ended with the Fox reporter shouting ‘that’s way out of line, that’s way out of line’  at the CAIR representative as if to imply he had no businesss making the assertion that more abortion clinic personnel  have been killed by members of the Christian right who protested what is  a legal right women have to abortion than people who’ve been killed by Muslims protesting depictions of the Last Messenger and Prophet.   Evidently that fact doesn’t fit into Fox News’ ideas of domestic terrorism and who the adherents of terrorism are especially if they are white Christians and not brown skinned bearded, covered and menacing Muslims.

Glen Greenwald’s breaking point must have come when he read a New York Times editorial by one Ross Douthat a rather nasty Islamophobe who has been featured in the pages of Miscellany101 before here.  Douthat’s piece put forth the premise Muslims can intimidate artists who live by poetic license into not offending Muslim sensibilities but law abiding Christians who supposedly don’t engage in the same polemic are  offended by artists who are not afraid of them nor have any respect for Christian religious beliefs.  Greenwald pretty much slams the door on Douthat and by extension the visibly upset FoxNews reporter’s argument thusly:

It looks like Ross Douthat picked the wrong month to try to pretend that threat-induced censorship is a uniquely Islamic practice.  Corpus Christi is the same play that was scheduled and then canceled (and then re-scheduled) by the Manhattan Theater Club back in 1998 as a result of “anonymous telephone threats to burn down the theater, kill the staff, and ‘exterminate’ McNally.”  Both back then and now, leading the protests (though not the threats) was the Catholic League, denouncing the play as “blasphemous hate speech.”

I abhor the threats of violence coming from fanatical Muslims over the expression of ideas they find offensive, as well as the cowardly institutions which acquiesce to the accompanying demands for censorship.  I’ve vigorously condemned efforts to haul anti-Muslim polemicists before Canadian and European “human rights” (i.e., censorship) tribunals.  But the very idea that such conduct is remotely unique to Muslims is delusional, the by-product of Douthat’s ongoing use of his New York Times column for his anti-Muslim crusade and sectarian religious promotion.

The various forms of religious-based, intimidation-driven censorship and taboo ideas in the U.S. — what Douthat claims are non-existent except when it involves Muslims — are too numerous to chronicle.  One has to be deeply ignorant, deeply dishonest or consumed with petulant self-victimization and anti-Muslim bigotry to pretend they don’t exist.  I opt (primarily) for the latter explanation in Douthat’s case.

As Balloon-Juice’s DougJ notes, everyone from Phil Donahue and Ashliegh Banfield to Bill Maher and Sinead O’Connor can tell you about that first-hand.  As can the cable television news reporters who were banned by their corporate executives from running stories that reflected negatively on Bush and the war.  When he was Mayor of New York, Rudy Giuliani was fixated on using the power of his office to censor art that offended his Catholic sensibilities.  The Bush administration banned mainstream Muslim scholars even from entering the U.S. to teach.  The Dixie Chicks were deluged with death threats for daring to criticize the Leader, forcing them to apologize out of fear for their lives.  Campaigns to deny tenure to academicians, or appointments to politicial officials, who deviate from Israel orthodoxy are common and effective.  Responding to religious outrage, a Congressional investigation was formally launched and huge fines issued all because Janet Jackson’s breast was displayed for a couple of seconds on television.

All that’s to say nothing of the endless examples of religious-motivated violence by Christian and Jewish extremists designed to intimidate and suppress ideas offensive to their religious dogma (I’m also pretty sure the people doing this and this are not Muslim).  And, contrary to Douthat’s misleading suggestion, hate speech laws have been used for censorious purposes far beyond punishing speech offensive to Muslims — including, for instance, by Christian groups invoking such laws to demand the banning of plays they dislike.

It’s nice that The New York Times hired a columnist devoted to defending his Church and promoting his religious sectarian conflicts without any response from the target of his bitter tribalistic encyclicals.  Can one even conceive of having a Muslim NYT columnist who routinely disparages and rails against Christians and Jews this way?  To ask the question is to answer it, and by itself gives the lie to Douthat’s typically right-wing need to portray his own majoritarian group as the profoundly oppressed victim at the hands of the small, marginalized, persecuted group which actually has no power (it’s so unfair how Muslims always get their way in the U.S.).  But whatever else is true, there ought to be a minimum standard of factual accuracy required for these columns.  The notion that censorship is exercised only on behalf of Muslims falls far short of that standard.

(1) Several people are insisting that the problem of violence and threats by Muslims is far greater than, and thus not comparable to, those posed by Christians and Jews.  This is just the same form of triabalistic, my-side-is-always-better blindness afflicting Douthat.  Who could possibly look at the U.S. and conclude that brutal, inhumane, politically-motivated, designed-to-intimidate violence is a particular problem among Muslims, or that Muslims receive special, unfairly favorable treatment as a result of their intimidation?  Do you mean except for the tens of thousands of Muslims whom the U.S. has imprisoned without charges for years, and the hundreds of thousands our wars and invasions and bombings have killed this decade alone, and the ones from around the world subjected to racial and ethnic profiling, and the ones we’ve tortured and shot up at checkpoints and are targeting for state-sponsored assassination?

(2) There’s no question that violence or threatened violence by Islamic radicals against authors, cartoonists and the like is a serious problem.  But (a) simply click on the links above — or talk to workers in abortion clinics about the climate in which they work — and try to justify how you can, with a straight face, claim it’s not very pervasive among extremists and fanatics generally, and (b) avoid exaggerating the problem.  The group that threatened the South Park creators is a tiny, fringe group founded by a former right-wing Jewish-American settler in the West Bank who converted to Islam and spends most of his time harrassing American Muslims (the former “James Cohen”; h/t Archtype); they’re about as representative of Muslims generally as Fred Phelps and these people are representative of Christians.  Moreover, numerous blogs displayed the Mohammed cartoons and plan to do so again; the notion that the Western World is cowering in abject fear from Muslim intimidation is absurdly overblown.

(3) Sarah Palin recently defended the Rev. Franklin Graham’s statement that Islam is “a very evil and wicked religion.”  That barely caused a ripple of controversy.  Imagine if a leading political figure had said anything remotely similar about Christianity or Judaism.  The claim that Muslims receive some sort of special protection or sensitivity is the opposite of reality.

I might add everywhere you see The New York Times and or Ross Douthat in Greenwald’s piece above, you can safely insert FoxNews and Megyn Kelly, or any other corporate media type and their corresponding lackey/reporter….the rhetoric is essentially the same and equally perverse.  If you want to really get a flavor for Greenwald’s piece read it in its entirety here.

What is common about these two media encounters, mine and Greenwald’s is how it appears media wants to inflame public passions against a group of people who are 0.00067% of the Muslim population (548 members of Revolution Muslim out of an estimated population of 6 million Muslims)  of the US in such a way as to imply they can possibly limit or even do away with the freedoms of speech we hold so dearly when it has been the government’s response to this minuscule number that  poses a greater threat to that freedom than anything the Revolution Muslim can conjure.   Such is the rhetoric which drives media and government ever closer to the precipice of destroying the social order in a way no amount of terror, Islamic, foreign, domestic, militia driven or otherwise could ever do and yet the general public seems alright with that notion that freedom and liberty are ok to forfeit or lose at the expense of persecuting minorities, the opposition, but certainly for now Muslims.  It is a notion we have embraced to readily in our past and it’s time to forgo it now.

France’s Fascism Rears it’s Ugly Head Again!


Twenty-first century France  has  replaced 20th century  Nazi Germany as  the European hotbed of political fascism, climbing on the backs of its Muslim population to claim this distinction much like German socialism climbed on the graves and skeletons of the European Jewish minority in the 30s and 40s.  Nationalism and secularism are the reasons given for this decision on the part of French government  to curtail the rights of a vibrant Muslim minority,  making a mockery of the French motto of ‘liberty, equality, fraternity’ while inciting its citizens to turn against one another based on the clothes they wear and the religion they profess.  While the tombstones of French Muslims are desecrated,  French feminists, who claim advocacy of  a woman’s right to choose, bemoan and denounce the candidacy of a French women who supports contraception and abortion rights because she chooses to wear a scarf on her hair!  The hypocrisy of the French position, so steeped in bigotry and irrational hatred have led Ilham Moussaid to point out

It is with great sadness that I watch … my life reduced to my headscarf. It is with great sadness that I hear that my personal beliefs are a danger to others while I advocate friendship, respect, tolerance, solidarity and equality for all human beings.

It would appear based on what she says above, Moussaid is more French than any of her detractors.  Touche!

Be Very Aware of Government……Any Government!


Here are three very stark examples of where government that has politicians and their minions who don’t feel responsible to the people abuse their power and deny citizens their rights to liberty.  You’ve probably seen snippets of these news stories before, but I want to condense them to show how insulting power can become in the hands of the non approachable.

The internet, for now the only place where one can find a myriad of opinions, as well as a place of disinformation, has always been a sore spot for government, which can only monitor but not control it.  Well guess again.

In a 2008 academic paper, President Barack Obama’s appointee to head the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs advocated “cognitive infiltration” of groups that advocate “conspiracy theories” like the ones surrounding 9/11.Cass Sunstein, a Harvard law professor, co-wrote an academic article entitled “Conspiracy Theories: Causes and Cures,” in which he argued that the government should stealthily infiltrate groups that pose alternative theories on historical events via “chat rooms, online social networks, or even real-space groups and attempt to undermine” those groups.

Sunstein’s article, published in the Journal of Political Philosphy in 2008, states that “our primary claim is that conspiracy theories typically stem not from irrationality or mental illness of any kind but from a ‘crippled epistemology,’ in the form of a sharply limited number of (relevant) informational sources.”

By “crippled epistemology” Sunstein means that people who believe in conspiracy theories have a limited number of sources of information that they trust. Therefore, Sunstein argued in the article, it would not work to simply refute the conspiracy theories in public — the very sources that conspiracy theorists believe would have to be infiltrated.

One can only guess what government’s idea of “conspiracy theories” is or what Mr. Sunstein has in mind when he uses that term.  I doubt he wants to expand the number of sources available on the internet even though according to him there are a limited number which has caused this crippled epistemology, but instead he proposes infiltrating places where people talk about their limited sources.  Mind control comes to mind.  I hope Mr. Sunstein puts at the top of the conspiracy list the official/government’s  version of what happened on September 11, 2001, but I seriously doubt it.

We covered the story of the “suicides” of three Gitmo detainees, prisoners, who were blamed by the Bush administration for their own murder, even though that murder was done by the hands of people within the Bush government.  (Talk about blaming the victim)  Now there is more information about this story reported in great detail by Scott Horton of Harper’s Magazine with some very scary detail that is blood curdling, including the idea that Gitmo had horror/torture  chambers that even surpassed what was done at Gitmo itself.

According to the NCIS, each prisoner had fashioned a noose from torn sheets and T-shirts and tied it to the top of his cell’s eight-foot-high steel-mesh wall. Each prisoner was able somehow to bind his own hands, and, in at least one case, his own feet, then stuff more rags deep down into his own throat. We are then asked to believe that each prisoner, even as he was choking on those rags, climbed up on his washbasin, slipped his head through the noose, tightened it, and leapt from the washbasin to hang until he asphyxiated. The NCIS report also proposes that the three prisoners, who were held in non-adjoining cells, carried out each of these actions almost simultaneously.

The fact that at least two of the prisoners also had cloth masks affixed to their faces, presumably to prevent the expulsion of the rags from their mouths, went unremarked by the NCIS, as did the fact that standard operating procedure at Camp Delta required the Navy guards on duty after midnight to “conduct a visual search” of each cell and detainee every ten minutes. The report claimed that the prisoners had hung sheets or blankets to hide their activities and shaped more sheets and pillows to look like bodies sleeping in their beds, but it did not explain where they were able to acquire so much fabric beyond their tightly controlled allotment, or why the Navy guards would allow such an obvious and immediately observable deviation from permitted behavior. Nor did the report explain how the dead men managed to hang undetected for more than two hours or why the Navy guards on duty, having for whatever reason so grievously failed in their duties, were never disciplined.

……returned to Saudi Arabia was the body of Mani Al-Utaybi. Orphaned in youth, Mani grew up in his uncle’s home in the small town of Dawadmi. I spoke to one of the many cousins who shared that home, Faris Al-Utaybi. Mani, said Faris, had gone to Baluchistan—a rural, tribal area that straddles Iran, Pakistan, and Afghanistan—to do humanitarian work, and someone there had sold him to the Americans for $5,000. He said that Mani was a peaceful man who would harm no one. Indeed, U.S. authorities had decided to release Al-Utaybi and return him to Saudi Arabia. When he died, he was just a few weeks shy of his transfer.

The difference in the account found on the pages of Harper’s and others we’ve covered is that there are now names, people who were in Gitmo at the time of the deaths who have come forward to describe in detail what they saw and participated in during the fateful night of the deaths of the three prisoners.  What’s particularly disturbing is the new government of Obama, packed full of career government bureaucrats is continuing the legacy of Bush’s assault on the US constitution and the rule of law, covering up the testimony of those soldiers of conscience….not just one, or two or three, but more who have gone on record to say what they witnessed.  At a time when we are asked to honor the troops, it is more than hypocritical to discount the recollections of those troops who allege government malfeasance….but we do and with a straight face.  Again, our government at work for you; all of this is done in the name of the United States of America.

Finally, comes word that despite all the shortcuts given to members of the government to carry out legal surveillance against citizens and others, it simply wasn’t enough to satisfy a government run amok with an unquenchable thirst for invasion of the privacy too many of us were willing to give up.  In the mother of all understatement, an admission that the government lied in order to surveil people should come as no surprise after living through a decade that was full of deception, lies and deception.

The FBI illegally collected more than 2,000 U.S. telephone call records between 2002 and 2006 by invoking terrorism emergencies that did not exist or simply persuading phone companies to provide records, according to internal bureau memos and interviews. FBI officials issued approvals after the fact to justify their actions.

FBI general counsel Valerie Caproni said in an interview Monday that the FBI technically violated the Electronic Communications Privacy Act when agents invoked nonexistent emergencies to collect records.

“We should have stopped those requests from being made that way,” she said. The after-the-fact approvals were a “good-hearted but not well-thought-out” solution to put phone carriers at ease, she said. In true emergencies, Caproni said, agents always had the legal right to get phone records, and lawyers have now concluded there was no need for the after-the-fact approval process. “What this turned out to be was a self-inflicted wound,” she said.

Until the citizens of the republic of the United States make it clear that government’s role is to protect the rights guaranteed under the Constitution and not abrogate them with phony wars and lies, one can expect government will continue its spiral into fascism, and this country called America will cease to exist.

Europe’s Fascist Heritage


The world has already fought two large scale wars to extricate Europe from it’s racist tendencies and there appear to be more on the horizon.  Emboldened by the Swiss vote which was initiated because the Swiss People’s Party were intimidated by the four minaret already constructed in Switzerland and hence successfully passed a referendom which bans further contruction of minarets, France and its Islamophobic president, Nicholas Sarkozy et. co has stepped up the rhetoric against Muslims in Europe warning them they must embrace Europe’s historical values and avoid “ostentation or provocation” in the practice of their religion or else lose citizenship. France’s elected officials have thrown political responsibility aside and chosen mob rule and street rhetoric to address their citizens.  With the Muslim population of France approaching or even surpassing 5 million,  they have become an easy target for the likes of racists who want to threaten and intimidate Muslims with the tacit support of France’s political leaders, and other leaders of European parties who want to make Muslims targets of their hate and vitriol.

It’s good to see that not everyone is laying down and accepting the steam roller xenophobia on display in Europe these days.  GuillaumeMorand a Swiss businessman erected a minaret on his business establishment in protest of the vote banning minarets in his country and hints there may be other acts of civil disobedience on his part in the coming days as he wants all to know the ban is not something which all in Switzerland agree. On the British Isles, Rabbis Aaron Goldstein and Hillel Athias-Robles, of the Northwood and Pinner Liberal Synagogue have gone on record to denounce the tactics of the racist element in their country, saying

“We are writing to express our support for our Muslim friends and neighbours, especially those at Harrow Central Mosque, who are under attack from those whose only purpose is to spread hatred and fear.“We condemn outright the outrageous lies of the English Defence League and SIOE which are entirely without foundation.

“We share the desire of the Muslim community of Harrow to respect our mutual traditions, to learn from each other’s cultures and ways of life, and to live together in peace.

“The Jewish community knows all too well what happens when such poison is allowed to go unchallenged: once hatred and intolerance are allowed to spread we all become its victims. “The whole community must stand together against those that seek to divide us.”

‘Those that seek to divide us’ sound so much like Sarkozy and the leaders of parties like SVP which generate measures designed to return Europe to the days of fascism and with it the rest of the world. In order to stop that eventuality it will take courage and a strong stand by the likes of rabbis Goldstein and Robbles and Monsieur Morand.  We here at Miscellany101 join them in denouncing the hate with a strong statement.  Mr. Sarkozy, stop spreading hate and fear.

Profiling the Religious Right-A Necessary Evil?


A lot has been said lately about profiling Muslims, either those in the US military or ordinary citizens, because some fear their presence on American soil presents a threat to the safety and security of Americans and their way of life.  It doesn’t matter to those who make that call, most recently like  Sarah Palin, that those Muslims themselves are prosperous members of the same society, their religious preference and acts which have been associated to them by an obsequious press have stuck to them and made them visible, likely targets by society.  Undeserved targets, it might be added, but the idea that an entire group of people are responsible for the same crimes committed by 19 hijackers or one lone gunman, resonate in a hate filled and drenched society in much the same way that some say  President Barack Obama is not really a citizen of America, is a racist or a secret Muslim.  In fact the genesis for this idea of racial profiling comes from a source that now implies it is ok to get rid of unlikeable  people, such as Obama, by having them murdered.  If you think this is an unfair jump from a Biblical verse to death threats on the President just look at the 400% increase in death threats against this president versus his predecessor  who was seen as a “born again” Christian.  One of the common elements in the vitriol directed towards a sitting President is Christianity and its religious scriptures.  Indeed, some of the slogans voiced in opposition to Obama are steeped in religious references; “The Anti-Christ is living in the White House”, “Oppressive Bloodsucking Arrogant Muslim Alien”, just to name a few.

That said, why aren’t there more calls for profiling Christians, and especially Christian members of the Republican party who have justified every turn of their opposition to Obama in some way or another to their religious principles.  If you think that is too extreme, then is it too much to ask those in the opposition to at least condemn the tactics of their “brothers” to the rhetoric directed towards the President?  With the exception of the about face made by Rupert Murdoch to Glen Beck’s anti-white tirade against Obama, no one from the “opposition” has said such extreme rhetoric is out of place or inconsistent with the  ideals of a Judeau-Christian society.  The silence from the Right has been deafening and only serves to encourage the fundamentalists to even greater heights of hyperbole and violence.  Where are the calls for a more systematic government approach to Christians’ opposition to Obama, and ensuring his safety from their menace?  Where are the calls from members of other faiths to stop the tide of Christian fundamentalism that endangers the life of our elected officials and in turn the political process we hold so dear?  Why is political expediency what keeps people silent in the face of such threats against the Republic, while the very same silent voices encourage the deafening roar of calls to profile others of the society who have not expressed such incitement, but for whom lone individuals have become the standard by which they and their faith are judged?

One bright side of all this is the ACLU has been consistent in their opposition to stemming free speech, even if it borders on threats to the President of the United States.  Quoting biblical verses whose meaning they consider ambiguous is not reason enough, in their mind, to prosecute people who use them in ways others of us consider threatening.  The very people who in years gone by usually threw scorn on the American Civil Liberties Union for their liberal approach to litigation are now being shielded by the organization from calls that they, abusers of free speech, be held accountable for their speech.  I applaud the ACLU for being predictable even though their position vis-a-vis these latest scoundrels on Americas political landscape hardly deserve their succor.  Regrettably, one can only come to one conclusion and that is no group is responsible for the actions of individual members of that group……no matter how relevant the scriptures they may all believe in inspire the acts of those individuals.  The idea of collectivisim…mentioned before here in this blog, have no place in American discourse but people with political agendas that have nothing to do with American ideals of justice will never say that because they want to use government to suppress those they dislike or mistrust.  Such manipulators of government are the true enemies of the State yet the ones whose profiling is the most difficult to achieve.  It is not altogether an impossible task and the sooner we get on with it, the safer the Republic will be for everyone.

Right Wing Hate


I have been watching and listening with a certain amount of detachment the vitriol aimed at President Obama’s health care proposals because it is nothing more than racism that’s fueling the debate and I really want to stay above that base animal instinct.  The “right” has a habit of pulling the body politic down into the moral abyss of racism and xenophobia, the two ingredients which also were responsible for the phony war on terror which was led by some of the same cheerleaders and talking heads that are spearheading the anti-health care rhetoric now heard in hallowed halls.  Some of the talking heads are so deep in their moral depravity that some of the other right wing groups are saying “enough”!!   I really don’t want to deal with the talking head media types that have spoiled our political landscape….I don’t think they’re worth the bandwidth and some of their supporters are so rabid there’s no amount of convincing in any language that’ll get them to reconsider their positions.

I was cruising through my regular reading one morning and ran across the comment section of a story  entitled, ‘Obama’s Life at risk in health care battle’ and one comment caught my eye and sums up to me what has gone on in this country the last eight years.  The author nails it, so kudos to ‘trippin’ the author of what appears below.  Well done!

A 21st Century Fairy Tale

Once upon a time there was a prosperous and moral nation. Their citizens were the envy of the world.

Their rulers became corrupted. They robbed the population in the interest of their political allies, to the point that the once-prosperous nation was now destitute.

Those corrupt political leaders justified their actions by convincing themselves that God hand picked them as leaders, so they were above respecting the moral codes they demanded the citizens abide.

These political figures propagandized the people with easily disprovable lies, but the populace chose not to question. They stoked the flames of discontent at their humiliating fall from grace to whip a jingoistic populace into a frenzy of irrational support for policies that continued to undermine their own interests.

They invaded other nations that were no threat to them, under the guise of self-defense. They used torture designed to elicit false confessions to justify their illegal war. They ginned up stories of imaginary threats to national security, and used them to conduct surveillance on the citizenry. They leveraged the destruction of a prominent building as part of the rationale.

Their military leaders were infused with the arrogance that they were ordained by God. Some interpreted their mission to exterminate all the peoples of a certain religion, a sentiment shared by many of the people who were ignorant of cultures other than their own.

They pitted citizens against each other by spreading fear, uncertainty, and doubt. Those that sought diplomacy were labeled appeasers, those who disagreed, traitors. Violence and mob rule strong armed people into compliance. Bands of thugs shouted down political opponents, and used intimidation to overturn the will of the majority as expressed in elections.

People were shot in churches, police were killed based on rumors propagandized by the media, gay businesses and government buildings were bombed, and even physicians were assassinated.

Citizens of conscience saw the signs early enough to do something, but because it was politically incorrect to draw parallels with past atrocities, they chose to avert their eyes until the entire nation was gripped in fascist totalitarianism. Soon, it was too late.

Name that country.

Trippin’ you get an ‘atta boy’.  Well said!

Henry Louis Gates Must Have Thought He was still in China


Having recently returned from a trip to China, Gates must have thought he was still there when he was arrested in his own home for disorderly conduct after police arrived to investigate a break in.  How does one get arrested for disorderly conduct in his own home when he is the only person there?!?  Inside his own home?  Who lodged the complaint?  Why, it was the police officer who happened to make his way into Mr./Dr. Gates’ home that’s who, and how did he get inside Gates’ home?  There is so much wrong with this story, so let’s back up just a bit.

It seems a “neighbor” called police to report two black men breaking into Gates’ home.  If this neighbor saw two men, obviously one of them Gates, why didn’t he/she recognize him…I mean after all they are neighbors.  That’s problem number one.  Our lives are so transient, we don’t take time to know who the people are who live near or around us, and in many cases view people in such close proximity with us  suspiciously.    But the next problem is worse than that and involves the hot button topic of police brutality/fascism.  If you don’t think it exists you haven’t talked to Henry Louis Gates.  His questioning of police authority and insistence they treat him as a citizen and not as a criminal is what got him arrested.  When anyone comes into your home…..so goes the social customs of America, they either treat you with respect in your own home, or they leave.  It appears the police officer did neither; instead he arrested Gates.

What’s ironic is America for the last several weeks has shown images of the  police’s crackdown of Iranian dissidents after their elections and condemned the actions of the Iranian government; what US officials have issued statements regarding police brutality against US citizens in America at ANYTIME, and especially after the Gates arrest?  The double standard is stark and one more stain on the American fabric of “just-us” justice.  Returning from a trip to a totalitarian government, Gates must have thought as he was led away from his home he was in a parallel universe.

police-brutality-small We have come a long way, in time,  from these two extremes yet socially  very little has changed. APTOPIX Harvard Scholar Disorderly Check out Jesse Washington’s take on the Gates arrest. It is pointed and disappointing to realize  that more than 200 years after this country’s appearance on the international stage we have only barely advanced.

European Racism=War on Islam


I received a letter from a friend which said the editor of the Danish newspaper who published the cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad as a terrorist died in a fire. While there was no rejoicing about the matter on the part of my friend, he did seem to indicate that’s what happens to people who abuse religious figures, an act of retribution from God Almighty and that he was satisfied, not rejoicing, with what he thought was the end of this editor’s life. I had to break the news to him that it was just a rumor and that no one associated with the cartoon fiasco had died a terrible death; indeed it appears no one at the newspaper, Jyllands-Posten , had died at all. I think he’ll get over his disappointment, but I began to wonder about that whole issue of the cartoons for it was meant to trigger an emotional response from people in order to highlight an already preconceived notion the editors and owner of the paper had about Muslims. Unfortunately, some Muslims reinforced the stereotypes brewing in the heads of the folks at JP, but what happened at that newspaper also underscores the terrible hypocrisy employed by them and their martyrdom complex of freedom of speech.

It must be noted the newspaper published this set of 12 cartoon panels about the Prophet twice, in late 2005 and again in 2008. It’s kind of interesting the publications occurred during campaigning season for American elections, but it took almost six months for the controversy to come to a boiling point and become an international issue after the first cartoons were published in ’05. The Muslims in Denmark handled it quite well for the most part, organizing and holding peaceful protests to make their feelings known on an issue of importance to them, but with regards to all things dealing in religion, anti-religious forces came into play and distorted what is a very real issue. The newspaper said it was a free speech issue, but it wasn’t.  Earlier the paper had declined to publish a cartoon about Jesus, the son of Mary, offering as an “excuse” the quality of the cartoon wasn’t good enough for their paper.  (Shouldn’t that have been up to the readers of the paper to decide?)

Fleming Rose, the cultural editor of the paper at the time of the publication of the caricatures of Islam’s prophet, went on to say later his paper would publish Holocaust denial cartoons in conjunction with an Iranian newspaper, but that idea too was nixed by the editor in chief of Jyllands-Posten, although they did go on to publish the winning and runner up submissions of the “contest” sponsored by the Iranian newspaper, Hamshahri. Quite naturally, this opened up the newspaper to accusations of a double standard, it is, and hypocrisy on freedom of speech, which again it is.  Of course the editors of the paper don’t see it that way, and they never will.  That Muslim groups were not given the right to edit or decide what should have been printed in the paper about their religion should be given the say weight as it was given to Christian and Jewish groups, otherwise talk of freedom of press and or freedom of an editor to decide what he/she puts in their newspaper is only lies.  Europe is awash in anti-social behavior from religions and religious extremists across all divides; hyping one group’s extremists while ignoring another’s is demagoguery at its finest and all at the hands of an active, partisan press.  That said, I’ve found the perfect cartoon to express all the 600 plus words of this post.  Enjoy.

revisionism_v_cartoons

The French Government and Hypocrisy- One and the same


lorealLet me see if I understand this correctly, the French government can impose limits on what a hijab-demo-17jan04-741person can wear or not wear in order to attend government schools, yet a private company cannot say who it can hire to be sales staff for its products, even when the people appearing in those products are people of color?

France can ban the wearing of religious symbols even when those wearing them are doing so of their own free will in an expression of their religious beliefs in a society thatsupposedly  promotes, liberty, fraternity and equality, while insisting at the same time that companies do not have the right to determine who they can  employ in selling their products?  No one sees the slightest bit of hypocrisy in the French position?

People, who of their own free will,  practice a faith that may be different and not customary to the wider society  and choose to wear clothes that express themselves in ways different than the majority, but who are at the same time law abiding citizens who do not  frighten or intimidate others, should not have laws legislated which seek to limit or curtail that expression.  In fact the beauty of liberty and freedom means acts of social interaction are interpreted based on the law, which should should not be enacted to deny expression, but rather the acts of illegality that expression may or may not encourage.  Therefore, if a school girl walking down a French street is the victim of sexual harassment or assault it is the perpetrator of that action who should be limited not the girl wearing an article of clothing.   What the French want to do is take the act of discipline off their hands by removing the object of people’s ire, and in the process limit the freedom of its citizens.

Likewise, companies who have broadly used women of color in their advertising campaigns but choose to hire a sales staff they think may be able to sale their product to a broad based clientele should not have the weight of the State descend on them in a punitive way.  L’Oreal in France has to have the support of a majority of women of color in order to be profitable.  If hiring people that reflect a certain demographic will give them that market, how can the State justify changing that dynamic and jeopardizing the viability of the Company?  Will the State then say that the public MUST buy certain products in order to insure the success of a company so that it doesn’t go under because of the financially oppressive measures of the State?  Don’t be surprised if that happens next.

For now, France is following in the tradition of other western countries that seek to use expressions of liberty and freedom as slogans  which fall quickly when government wants to intervene in the lives of its citizens.  The tools the state uses for this intervention are usually fear and loathing of opponents who are unknown or unfamiliar.  Civilized people should recognize such tactics for what they are.  Ignorant people are too easily persuaded and succomb to the deceit.  The two cases above highlight how France is counting on the latter with its citizens!  Que sera, sera!