Category Archives: History

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.

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).