Who Can Never be President (of the United States)

Well, we’re certainly making progress. If by “progress” you mean “a repeat of racist opinions time and again.” When JFK was running for president back in the late 1950’s the thought of the pope calling the shots with a Catholic in the White House was a huge obstacle to the Kennedy campaign.

I need not say much about President Obama’s ‘first African-American in the White House’ as the racist feedback loop, which started at first mention of his run, continues to this day. Conspiracy idiocy such as the Birther Idiocy and the Secret Muslim Drivel abound. Over a quarter of Americans (the shallow end of the gene pool) believe that one.

Now we have surgeon cum wannabe Evangelical Ruler Ben Carson picking up the stinking turdball of racism and xenophobia and trying to move it along with claims that America can’t have a Muslim president. Because the pope’s rule over America in the early 60’s was such a travesty. And the Black Man made a mess of the White (man’s) House.

Christians of different flavors have always been in the White House. Some, like President Lincoln, were cagey about their beliefs. President Jefferson was famous for his literal cutting and pasting of the bible, removing all references to miracles. And Episcopalians, who hie to the Church of England, are in the ranks of American Presidents (most puzzling, that one!).

The rumblings about possibly having a Jewish President (technically, Bernie Sanders is Jewish) hasn’t hit the airwaves, and I predict that even if he’s nominated to run on the Democratic ticket, it won’t be mentioned in polite company. After all, the American Jewish machine has inoculated American society for a massive immune system response to even the appearance of anti-Semitic slurs.

UntitledWhat we need now is a moderate Muslim political organization, one focused on Muslims in America, separate from the politics of the Middle East. Interfaith organizations have had success in building grass-roots connections, but Muslim leaders and, more importantly, Muslim politicians at all levels, must stand up now, make waves, and present the true, peaceful face of Islam, in a true, centuries-old American context, as Jewish Americans have done with increasing success since the founding of America.

Acceptance of the other, and a rejection of xenophobia brings a more honest peace than all the platitudes and treaties in the world. And in what the media have portrayed as an increasingly fractious American religious landscape, it’s worth non-Muslims helping such an organization to develop. And for American Muslims to accept that help, even if it comes from Jewish sources. (After all, Jewish and Muslims have worked well together many times in the past, including at the height of Muslim expansion and the Moorish Empire — sometimes referred to as the true Caliphate.)

The King is Dead… Why Was He a King?

FILE - In this photo provided by the U.S. Army on Saturday, Oct. 21, 2006, the most wanted Iraqi fugitive, former Saddam Hussein deputy Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri , is pictured on the deck of cards put out by the U.S. military to help capture most wanted officials of Saddam Hussein's regime. Salahuddin province Gov. Raed al-Jabouri says soldiers and allied Shiite militiamen killed al-Douri early Friday, April 17, 2015 in an operation east of the city of Tikrit. A graphic photo issued by the government purports to be of al-Douri's corpse, but DNA tests are still pending. (U.S. Army via AP)

King of clubs was killed several months ago. Much happened since, but it’s still worth bringing up.

An aged Saddam regime bigwig, reduced to scuttling around the dessert, planning and plotting, was killed. When the US was arrogantly stepping into the marshes and deserts of Iraq, destabilizing the entire region, this man was dubbed the King of Clubs. Gamification, a buzz word for technology over the last few years, is, like most else in the geek world, merely a dusting off of old ideas.

 

Even back in the 17th century cards were used to “pillory” people. The power of media can’t be stopped, and it can teach, inform, and corrupt. And frequently, the second and third are intertwined.

Was this man guilty of crimes? Yes. War crimes? Yes. Should have been captured and brought to justice if possible? Absolutely.

In this case, the card went to the discard pile. But it’s far easier to attack a foe when they’ve been reduced to a face in the shuffle, the object of studied scorn.

Stepping Up, Stepping In

Available housing in Europe as of February 2014.

Today the pope called on all institutions under his control to accept refugees fleeing the ongoing horror in the Middle East. Notable in beating the pope to the punch are some EU countries, Germany at their fore. Equally notable in their rejection of refugees is the UK, battling their influx through the only land connection, the Chunnel.

us_wallThe United States, with a rather larger body of water separating it and a frenetic tempest around illegal immigration and religious ethnocentrism, is having little to nothing to do with the millions probably permanently displaced in the years-long battle to eliminate Alawite control over Syria, which has turned into a war against the cancer that is DAESH. To say nothing of Chad, Mali and other African countries where terrorism in the name of religion metastasizes as the ripples of America’s destabilization of a quarter of the world in 2003 continues. America’s avoidance of social responsibility for its previous actions not only shames it, but reduces America’s standing among the nations of the world. If it — we — want to make a difference, we need to be part of the solution to this wave of immigration, not just the instigator. And throwing money at immigration and relocation efforts, while a poor way to do it’s share, would at least show the America is part of the family of nations.

Germany isn’t just accepting newcomers out of the guilt of its post-Holocaust heart: it’s doing it because new immigrants work hard, provide a steppingstone for existing citizens to move up in their professions and generally make the economy larger.

french_ghettosFrance’s immigration experiment has failed for a number of reasons, including treating non-“true” French as outsiders for generation, creating ghettos that surround Paris and other major cities, and a cognitively dissonant government policy of acknowledging Christianity while vociferously suppressing religious expression. Combine the negative birth rate of “native” French and a social system exceeding every other EU country in payer to beneficiary ratio, France is ill-prepared for an influx of even more people of passion about their religion requiring all manner of basic services.

Italy… well, the pope has spoken for his domain, but it’s doubtful the Italians, whose government rivals that of Greece is some ominous ways, can take in massive numbers of immigrants and successfully integrate them into their society.

Which brings me to he most interesting EU country in terms of immigration: Spain. The country has an almost death spiral of rural population, with entire towns up for sale or even being given away as people flock to the cities. It has a very small population relative to the size of the country, and, with its Moorish history, makes it an interesting choice for fleeing Syrians. I propose that EU countries not willing or able to host refugees pay for their relocation, en masse, to parts of Spain, including the rural northwestern provinces. There’s an existing infrastructure, their culture shock can be ameliorated, it’ll be easier to provide social services and it is not the start of a ghetto: it’s a chance for people to start a new life in a less traumatic way. Sure, there are possible issues, but the tragedy of migrant deaths are more pressing than the longer, generational issues of integration of immigrant populations into society.

Housing is available throughout Europe: countries need to step up and bring in the next generation of future, hard-working citizens.

 

Terrorism Has One Definition

The slaughter that has become a staple in the Middle East continues. DAESH grabbing civilians as more grist for its horror-show mill, Yemen’s quiet disintegration that’s turned into a Biafra-like famine situation in places. Dozens killed in car-bomb attacks while innocents are at market.

Translation: Price Tag (:) Revenge of the JewsIn Israel, a well-regulated state, a lunatic kills one and injures five at a gay pride parade — and garners more attention than Yemen for days on end. And the tragedy of a terrorist attack near Bethlehem makes few waves in the Israeli regime, where terrorists are not just people committing acts of violence to instill fear. Just Arab ones. For all the protestations of Netanyahu and his cabinet, there’s a (not) surprising silence from his sycophants and supporters. After all, it’s Jews who were involved in the “price tag” attack. “Hilltop Youth” (whatever their ages up through their 40’s), those frolicking on the hilltops that Arabs don’t use anyway. It’s just kids. They’re a fringe. And the Left is an evil “Greater than Hitler” (at least, that’s what the photoshopped images present). It reminds me of a similar time of whipped up frenzy. One that ended with the assassination of Prime Minister Yitzchak Rabin by a nut-job who will probably rot in prison (while creating a huge family thanks to conjugal visits).

Back in America, the unmedicated masses made much hay of a yearly military exercise held across several states so the Army can train in real condition and over time and space. Politicians cynically whipped the frenzy up around the Jade Helm 15 exercise, resulting in the Texas Governor bringing Texas State Guard troops to “monitor” the Federal troops, just in case they’re going to invade the country.[more] When push comes to shove and citizens commit violent crimes against the government[1][2][3][4], however, they’re all treated to the same brand of justice.

The point: in functioning democracies the lunatic fringes, aided by freedom of speech, anoint the broadband with their nuttiness, and incite others to believe they’re right in violating the law. Violators of the law should be equitably punished no matter their race, color, religion, or any other factor. Israel loses credibility among its base throughout the work when it treats Jewish terrorists with kid gloves and acknowledging their justifications. Toss ’em in the same jails, use the same, broken judicial system to process them, and impose the rule of equal law.

Blame, Fear & DAESH

Symbionese Liberation Army Naga Symbol color.svgThe Middle East has never been a peaceful place. It’s been battled over since… well, probably since humans came to a lush, forested area with plenty of fish and animals and, in many places, amazing soil that grew a wide variety of plants. At the beginning there were lions to worry about, but over time we humans overcame — or at least mostly controlled — our environs.

Between the Greeks, Romans, Mamluks, Ottomans, European nation-states and then countries, the outside world has taken ruthless advantage the Middle East. Just as conquerors throughout human time and the world have done.

People talk about how how DAESH is the poisoned fruit of the West’s meddling. The wrongs of the infidel, and the sins of the apostate. The damn women. The sun. Money. The lack of money.

It’s all crap. Getting up in the morning and deciding it’s okay to kill someone, to rape someone, to expel someone from their home, in the name of a putative god is the individual sin of individuals. Weak? Sure, the temptation to take power and dispense violence is a strong one. Disempowered? Yep, no question many of those in ISIS’ thrall have not had their hands on the reigns of power much.

Yes, DAESH. And Al Qeda before it, and Puerto Rican FALN terrorists. And the Symbionese Liberation Army (whose seven-headed, supposedly fear-inducing flag is shown above). The current DAESH folks would probably not make the connection between their actions and that of the Hashishin — the Fedai — which Westerners know as “Assassins.” An entire sect known for their Fedaiyin, a name resurrected by Palestinians in the early 1950s as a way to justify their revenge attacks against civilian Jewish settlements in Israel. Just as Palestinians today are smeared with the brush of generations of terrorists among a people far more interested in social and economic stability than the blood of Jews on their hands.

Bravery in striking terror. The old bully idea that by making others suffer one feels better about oneself. And, as parents have said in America for decades, “this can only end in tears.”

What Al Qeda failed to learn, and what DAESH is just starting to learn, is that the United States, despite not acting with the posturing they expect from a “real” (read: testosterone-poisoned) opponent, is perfectly capable of waging a long, ongoing, targeted attack on DAESH. Showing compassion isn’t a weakness from the Western point of view. (It’s also not true, if one looks to the CIA prosecution of terrorists after 9/11.) For a calculated, unemotional, goal-oriented, disciplined military It’s not about the apocryphal “beheading the snake:” DAESH isn’t brainy enough to have one in one central location. The West learned how to systematically dismantle countries starting with the original defeat of the Moorish Empire, and hasn’t stopped learning since then. DAESH depends on money to pay it’s killers. Depends on bribes and payoffs to do business. There’s only so much they can squeeze from their increasingly poverished, mostly imprisoned “citizens.”

The Goebbels, the Mengeles, the Pol Pots and wannabe Serbian and Croatian murderers can only flourish when they’ve the power of Brown Shirts — mindless bullies — behind them. And Hitler got rid of his as soon as he had control of Germany. The DAESH murderers gleefully slaughtering innocents and torturing combatants in contradiction to every faith’s tenets will fall to the stones of the masses as soon as their puppet masters loose their strings. Which means, not to be cynical, paying their wage.

Yes, yes, this sounds like an angry screed. I rather think of this lighting a small fire to push back the dark. Fear must be met with truth, met with resolve and yes, met with force. They will rape. They will maim. They will kill. But ultimately DAESH will be not much more than the FALN in the larger scheme of personal and religious freedom and liberty. And while the Symbionese Liberation Army will live on mostly in its single successful media event — kidnapping and brain-washing the daughter of a rich newspaper publisher — DAESH will be relegated to the trashbin that will swallow the Khmer Rouge within the century: nothing will remain (especially not any edifices).

Dealing with the Devil: On Deals, Compromises and Hope

It’s been a couple of weeks since the treaty between… well, between Iran and the Western World. And it’s not a done deal yet, nor well appreciated[1][2] (although what could happen if it falls through is not good[1][2][3]).

Things to consider:

  • Countries make treaties with enemies. That way they can, in the future, just be agreements.
  • Iranians want the same material things the West wants. And with materialism, as the extremists in ALL religions say while gesticulating wildly, come “Western ways.” Which translates to a yearning for the freedom to pursue one’s passion.
  • I daresay that the ramblings of the religious in the United States as well as Iran sound amazingly similar.
  • Ten years is a long time. The Middle East has government-level issues that, by then, will make regional supremacy a different issue. Fighting over water, fresh water, will be critical. Israel’s water supply is already tapped. The Mediterranean Sea is nine times saltier than the Atlantic so it’s not a source. Power will be an issue to compensate for a much larger economy, and fortunately, Iran has all the raw material for making nuclear power plants. Which are far more attractive than nuclear weapons for Iran’s GDP, which, now that there looks to be a deal, will be important to them.

Security Through Fear, Denial and Obfuscation

None provide security, any more than a blankie or stuffed animal do for a child. They share the idea of appeasing the rulers, keeping citizens focused on staying within the bounds. True security involves teaming with others: for kids, parents and peers: for teens, mentors. For young adults, mentors and thought leaders.

Americans guard liberty, privacy and independence. Terror seeks to eradicate all of these, replacing them, in DAESH’s case, with enslaving, intrusive and totally submissive populaces.

Total openness doesn’t work — security of the many requires a loss of privacy of the few.

The checks and balances of the American government, however we can warp them temporarily. keep us in a swaying balance, like the scales of justice. Guantanamo Bay is an example, as are the ongoing privacy violations of the NSA in communications and subverting American technology to make them more susceptible to covert surveillance — or control.

In the long run, however, liberty, and independence do provide security. even in a world changing as fast as ours. And, ultimately, it is all our world. Not DAESH’s, not Iran’s, and emphatically not the United States’.

Mercy — رحمة: Dzhokhar Tsarnaev Should Live

There’s no doubt that Tsarnaev committed the crime of murder. Whether he did it for religious reasons, or “under the spell of his older brother” is irrelevant. A person is judged by her or his actions.

And yet here is an opportunity for רחמים — mercy. It is the sign of a strong society to have that capacity, something DAEASH entirely lacks. We cannot let this murderer go free. And to kill him would be to make him a martyr in the eyes of DAESH and those that pervert the Prophet of Peace.

No, the truest punishment would be for him to spend the rest of his life at Pelican Bay, in permanent isolation. No one to gloat over, no one to hear him. No one but himself. Give him a prayer mat, a Koran, and an arrow pointing him towards Mecca. Perhaps in communing with Allah, and his prophet, he might find peace. And still know that he will ever be a forgotten soul, except by those he maimed and the families of those he killed.

Germanwings, Terrorism and God

The crashing of a commercial jet into a mountain apparently by a pilot apparently suffering from depression is, to all but the most depraved, a tragedy. (My thoughts and sympathies go to the families of the victims, and hope they can find peace in the aftermath of their loss.)

Let’s break that down. The fear experienced by the passengers, doomed over the course of eight minutes to believe their fate, is well-described by the word “terror.” For the pilot, who had more than an inkling of what was happening and when, “terror” would be an understatement. But this is not “terrorism” in the sense we use it today. A Patheos piece goes into this in more detail, but it is worth stating plainly: the pain of a person in dire mental distress, and their fear of staying alive one moment longer, and even their fear of dying as the pilot in this case committed self- and mass-murder, is in no way related to terrorism. (Delusionally believing he’d make a mark in history, but not terrrorism.)

Terrorism is the concept of generating fear in others to attain power. To use fear to control the actions (or words) of others. And terrorists are not above using the events of others, or those of random events in nature, to their advantage. Rabbis have used tragedy like the terror attack in Ma’alot in 1974 to prove the results of irreligiousity (in this example, fairly “centrist” Orthodox Jewish leaders). Christians have often called out events as “signs” that people weren’t towing the line they’d drawn: Hurricane Sandy, local tornadoesheck, ANY wind! . Makes me wonder why the Westies are singled out for their acts of idiocy. Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists… everyone’s got the “believe or god will smite you” groove going.

So… every religion has adherents, not always at the extremes, who are terrorists: scaring people into doing what they want or be smote by god in a random meteorological or criminal event.

Somewhere, there’s a crazed religious ‘enthusiast’ counting the number of victims and going through a dog-eared text of their religious persuasion to “prove” that they died because heathens (or co-religionists — it works either way) did something wrong. And, as terrorists wont, using the fear of further violence or mayhem if the world around them doesn’t bend to their delusional ways.

Caliphatonoma

CaptureDAESH has sent recruiters to Afghanistan. It urges attacks in its name, and claims what it can in Tunisia, Libya and elsewhere. Where is this caliphate DAESH is so passionate to build? In the middle of the desserts and cities of Iraq and Syria? The desserts of Libya? In the desserts and cities of Tunisia?

Cartography doesn’t seem to matter much to them: it’s a nation-state with no intended borders. It’s a state of mind. Of terror. The comparison between cancer and terrorism is almost trite, but the damage of DAESH, the organization that styles itself as ISIS, is similar to the disease that’s killed several of my friends, and assuredly will kill more.

Cancer are body cells gone insane. Islam, nationalism, tribal pride, ethnicity, culture: all these have an honored place in defining a people in a place and at a time. Like the top of the picture, these are large numbers of people living in (relative) harmony with one another. Those self-same components of cultural or ethnic identity, removed of reason or rational breadth become the death not only of those healthy around them and, ultimately, all culture, ethnicity, nationalism and even tribal identity. Where people stood, persons act out, displacing the normative for the insane. And where DAESH walks, all but the conquerors cower. And the conquerors can come from any nation, culture, or ethnicity — so long as they can spread the disease of fanatical, fatal extremism in the name of selfish, personal power over others.

They must have been very scared when they were children. I wonder what would these men be had they been raised with love, peace, acceptance and cultural and family identity?