Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Republicans can't work

I have not posted in the longest time, and likely it will continue as I am now gainfully employed and am usually too tired at the end of a long day, or a week of work to actually sit down and type out any comments I have. This story however is too good to pass up, via Think Progress:

Republican congressmen have so far announced that they will not be running for re-election. One of those lawmakers, Rep. Ray LaHood (R-IL), complained “that the Democrats’ new five-day workweek” is part of the reason they’re all retiring:

I do think the schedule and the flying is a huge pain for people,
particularly those who are from the Midwest or even further West,” he said,
adding that it’s “probably the worst part of the job.”

So, why do people who work five days a week (or more) and barely make ends meet still vote for these guys? They consistently espouse hard work, the sacrifice of our troops in Iraq, and vote against anything that would help out the little guy citing evil when evoking socialism. Yet these people cannot handle the work week of a normal person. They complain about sacrificing time with their families rather than living up to a greater ideal and accepting the sacrifice for their country and the greater good. It seems they have no problem living off of the perks, but god forbid if they actually have to work to earn those perks.

The drivel from these Dodo's should be played in ads along with all their votes against giving our brave soldiers sufficient time at home from the war. Sure, the congress persons may not see their families for a few weeks at a time, but their family can always fly to them and they have the odd weekend to go and visit. Can our soldiers do the same? Can their family fly to them? NO! They must be deployed over there for fifteen months, and there is that ever present threat that they will be wounded or even killed. So these numb nut Republicans should shut up about sacrifice because compared to our troops, whom they insist should remain in harms way to legitimate a failed policy, they know nothing.

Friday, August 24, 2007


Okie, I decided to try and add a weekly post of something that I find entertaining, not necessarily having anything to do with any subject I post about here. Of course I am going to fail on that for this first one, but it fits nicely with my previous post about conservative anti-multiculturalism in the US. Enjoy:


Thursday, August 23, 2007

Conservatives Cannot Stand 'Multiculturalism'

(h/t Blue Jersey)

Conservatives seem to have a hissy fit every time our educational system decides to start teaching our students about other cultures at the expense of American history and culture. This is highlighted in Elan Journo's ignorant rant in the article 'Multicultural' means anti-American. He states:

One text acclaims the inhabitants of West Africa in pre-Columbian times for having prosperous economies and for establishing a university in Timbuktu. But it ignores their brutal trade in slaves and the proliferation of far more consequential institutions of learning in Paris, Oxford and elsewhere in Europe.....

What these textbooks reveal is a concerted effort to portray the most backward, impoverished and murderous cultures as advanced, prosperous and life-enhancing. Multiculturalism's goal is not to teach about other cultures, but to promote -- by means of distortions and half-truths -- the notion that non-Western cultures are as good as, if not better than, Western culture.

Like many conservatives, he seems to have the America Uber Alles attitude. He misses the whole point these texts are trying to achieve in showing that these cultures weren't the backwards, barbaric peoples that Western history has always portrayed. They have culture, they have education and learning, they made advancements and contributions to human society. But Journo is automatically dismissive of these peoples because they aren't Western. All of a sudden, because they are not part of the Western civilized world they are inferior and their achievements are not important, only the dark side of their cultures which prove the superiority of Western culture.

He of course forgets slavery was not limited to the peoples of these African cultures, but was a crime also committed by the so called morally superior Western world. It also is important to note that slavery in the Western world was a much more brutal institution than in Africa since in the West the slaves brought from Africa were considered sub-human and had no chance in advancing in our society while slaves in many African societies typically had the ability to rise up in the ranks and even become a full member of the family of their former master. A slave in Africa had many more rights than a slave in the United States.

Also does he forget our slaughter of the indigenous tribes in our country? Or what about the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II? Oh wait, I'm pointing out America's weaknesses and am thus anti-America and striving for the downfall of our country. If conservatives like Journo actually accepted to be educated in other cultures rather than only American history, then maybe they would actually have the ability to understand rather than bemoaning the teaching of the history of an inferior culture over that of the master race.

Suggested Reading:

Things Fall Apart, by Chinua Achebe

African Perspectives on Colonialism, by A. Adu Boahen

The Life of Olaudah Equiano, by Olaudah Equiano

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Bush Compares Iraq to Vietnam

It seems the administration is backed into a corner, so they are rolling the dice and hoping not to blunder by invoking Vietnam in the Iraq war debate. Problem is they don't seem to realize that for this subject the dice only roll ones. This story is all over the blogosphere, so I'll just focus on CNN's article: Bush invokes 'tragedy of Vietnam' against Iraq pullout.

First off, it take a really arrogant person who avoided service in Vietnam to invoke the lessons Vietnam as a reason not to leave Iraq. This dipshit of a president needs to get a clue and shut up and resign, along with five deferment Cheney. They have no place leading our country especially in a war.

As for support for what Mr. Bush is saying, the right will since they don't have a true sense of the history of Vietnam and only see red when discussing the topic. Make no mistake, this is a play to the base, not to intelligent thinking Americans who make up the majority which oppose a continuation of our presence in Iraq.

Now, to the CNN article where we have this from Bush:

...one unmistakable legacy of Vietnam is that the price of America's withdrawal was paid by millions of innocent citizens, whose agonies would add to our vocabulary new terms like 'boat people,' 're-education camps' and 'killing fields'...
Of course he forgets the random carpet bombings of the country by our air force which caused the death and suffering of innocent civilians in Vietnam. And what about the strategy of going into a town, wiping out the enemy there and leaving, only to have to return again and again because we kept giving up ground again and again because we did not have the manpower to hold that ground? Same thing is happening in Iraq.

There is also the long history of Vietnam's struggle for independence from the French. For over fifty years they fought a guerrilla war against the French, then the Japanese and then the French again. The Vietnamese, led by Ho Chi Minh, had actually defeated the Japanese but still the Western powers, including the US, refused to give them their freedom and instead rearmed the Japanese soldiers there to control the Vietnamese. Also remember the group Ho Chi Minh led was not strictly communist until the 1960's. It was in fact a coalition of nationalist groups who worked together for the freedom of Vietnam. The communists only came to dominate after it became clear that the West had no intention of allowing the Vietnamese to choose their own destiny: an independent Vietnam established by the Vietnamese people and not by the interests of foreign countries.

In 1954 the Vietnamese crushed the French at the battle of Dien Bien Phu. They controlled more than two thirds of the country and thought this was the moment that they had been waiting for, a united and independent Vietnam. The Western powers, in their arrogance, did not allow this and were more focussed on fighting communism and did not see or ignored the nationalist sentiment of the Vietnamese. Instead they thought they could split Vietnam and make it into another Korea. The problem in this was that South Vietnam was a creation by foreign powers whereas South Korea was only propped up by the Western powers and was, compared to South Vietnam, a country created and with the support of the people. To keep South Vietnam independent from the North, the Western powers poured billions of dollars into their economy in order to prop them up and make them more Western and thus identify with the West, and not with their brothers and sisters in the North.

American policy in Vietnam was doomed to failure because the government of South Vietnam was a Western puppet without the support of the people. Also, our military could not compete with a people who had been fighting for half a century for independence and have a history going back two millennia of fighting for independence from other nations.

We have lost Iraq as Vietnam because we do not understand the people. We have lost in Iraq as Vietnam because in our arrogance we believe we know what is best for these people. We have lost in Iraq as Vietnam because our objective is ethereal with no concrete targets to define victory.

We have not repeated these mistakes. Vietnam was a liberal war, and we learned. We warned against going into Iraq because as Vietnam it was not in our interest nor was it the source of the attacks on our soil.

This administration and the Republican party have repeated these mistakes because they have refused to acknowledge the mistakes and that we were wrong. These arrogant jackasses seem to believe that our country has the omnipotence usually reserved for God and therefore we can do no wrong. Until these dunces see what the mistakes were and understand them rather than defending America at all costs and only being able to proclaim 'victory or death' for every conflict we become involved in, our nation will continue to decline and we will continue to lose.

Now, for those who would be interested in learning about Vietnam rather than just assume they are all a bunch of pinko commies, there are two books you may be interested in:

The Sacred Willow: Four Generations in the Life of a Vietnamese Family, by Duong Van Mai Elliott

The Sorrow of War, by Bao Ninh

Update 2:50 pm:

Josh at TPM makes a great point:

More concretely though, didn't the killing fields happen in Cambodia under the Khmer Rouge rather than Vietnam? So doesn't that complicate the analogy a bit? And didn't that genocide actually come to an end when the Communist Vietnamese invaded in 1979 and overthrow the Khmer Rouge regime? The Vietnamese Communists may have been no great shakes. But can we get through one of these boneheaded historical analogies while keeping at least some of the facts intact?
In addition to that I would like to point out that in the conflict between Vietnam and Cambodia, we backed the Khmer Rouge. It would seem it is more important to stick it to a group of people that defeated us in a war than to support them in overthrowing a regime committing a genocide against its own people. BTW, by this point Vietnam was alone against Cambodia since China also supported the Khmer Rouge.
As Josh says, the communists in Vietnam weren't great, but their interests, beyond purging capitalist elements from their society, were on a whole more humanitarian the US government which would back genocide if it served their interests.

Also, if you haven't seen it, get your hands on The Quiet American. Very good commentary on our involvement in Vietnam early on.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

The Great Bush Plan for Iraq

Over at Americablog, Joe has a post about a coming negative shadow campaign of the Bush administration targeting Republicans. This group is led by Ari Fleisher, who gives this wonderful quote:

"We want to get the message to both Democrats and Republicans: Don't cut and run, fully fund the troops, and victory is the only objective."

Now that last bit, 'victory is the only objective', is indicative of the entire reason our incursion into Iraq is such a debacle. The only objective is victory, and there is no definition of victory. No plan to get there, just this idea that we will go there and we will win. This is why we have lost the peace. Over and over again the administration and its supporters are told this, and they can only continue to say we must win.

Not only that, but they state that anyone who calls Iraq a failure wants to lose. This is total bullshit and anyone who says such is either stupid and blind or a liar. We don't want defeat, but we realize when such a defeat has been achieved and that it will only get worse if we continue to blindly march forward. We lost through the leadership of this administration and the Republican party. The best thing to do is get out and hope for the best, unless this country is willing to spend another trillion and reinstate the draft, which I doubt will happen and would most certainly bring our country to its knees.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Gingrich and Pygmies

McCain dismisses Gingrich's 'pathetic' comments.

Speaking at a Monday breakfast sponsored by The American Spectator, a conservative magazine, Gingrich labeled the nine-man GOP presidential field as a “pathetic” bunch of “pygmies,” ......

.......“If Mr. Gingrich decides he wants to get into the presidential campaign for the nomination of our party, then I would take some of his comments more seriously,” McCain said. (CNN Political Ticker)
In defense of Gingrich, he probably sees almost everyone as pygmies considering his cranial width. Joking aside, it is nice to see the continuation of the circular firing squad in the GOP. This lashing out against fellow Republicans by Mr. Gingrich makes me wonder if this is another sign that he is going to jump into the race, though in all honesty he wouldn't be an original entry considering we already have lying adulterers in the line up. I actually do hope he gets in because I highly doubt that he could win the general election. Would be one instance where bringing up Bill Clinton's infidelity would infinitely help the Democratic candidate.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

The Impending Menace

A new frightening horizon approaches as Americans look outward to dangers from afar while ignoring those dangers which multiply here at home, which no one seems to be aware. All seem to be focused on the people of brown hue, whether Mexican or Muslim, as the threat we must guard against to avoid extinction. The danger however, is here, and has been living among us for centuries. They live alongside us, and due to their humble and white exterior we typically ignore them. But their power and influence are growing. I am speaking, of course, about the Amish.

These people have lived in this nation as citizens since the 18th century, and have continually refused to assimilate into our culture. In fact, not only have they not assimilated but have continually moved to differentiate their culture. As time went by and technology advanced they have, for the most part, kept with the technology and traditions of the 16th century, eschewing all the wonders and comforts of modern technology.

The Amish population is growing at a tremendous rate and threatens to eventually unseat our great American culture. The average Amish family has seven children, and ten is quite common. In the past century, while other societies have been assimilated, the Amish have refused and added to their numbers. Average population growth for the Amish community from 1890 to 1990 is between 39% and 42.3% while the average for the total population has been between 12.1% and 14.06%. In those one hundred years the Amish population grew from an estimated 3,700 to 128,000. In 1890, only 1 in 16,924 American citizens was Amish. Today, according to some estimates, it is now 1 in 2,000. In another one hundred years, if population trends continue, 1 in 268 American citizens will be Amish. If this rate continues, and it will likely be worse, we are looking at the eventual possibility of Amish domination of these United States of America.

They are also a menace due to their anti-war positions. All Amish refuse to serve as members of the military and have refused to answer the call when their country needed them most. How will our country survive from outside threats when our national policy is dominated by Amish peaceniks?

The Amish also refuse to participate in our consumer society. For the most part they buy only what they need, and their community, if not each individual, produces all that they ever need. What would this do to our great consumer driven economy? What about entertainment, not to mention impulse buying which, as Americans, is our God given right?!

Not only would there be a loss of mass production of consumer goods, but what about the loss of technology, which the Amish would ban once they took control? Can any of you see yourselves giving up their right to a car and being forced to trade it in for a two horse-power buggy? They would take away our comforts brought on by the technology they have rejected, and this we cannot allow!

And what of their religious beliefs? Everyone reading this knows that one receives personal salvation only by accepting Jesus Christ as their savior. But the Amish believe that it is in how one lives their life that salvation is achieved, and that it is not guaranteed. Such proves that the Amish are no better than the Catholic, Muslim, or Hindu heathens!

The final threat is in their communal way of life. They do not believe in individual merit or enterprise. Instead they put the community first and helping others as central to life. These Amish would destroy our great Republic, under God!, and supplant it with godless communism!

So I ask, all of you who read this, help stop the Amish menace! We cannot allow them to outbreed us and take control of this nation! As Americans, it is our duty to breed like rabbits and make sure their percentages are allowed to rise no longer. Such would not only be a disaster for each individual citizen, but the end of the nation as a whole because once they supplant our values and our way of life, they will open us to be overrun by the Mexican and Muslim hordes waiting on our borders!

Note on sources: All Amish population data and references to Amish culture are from Hostetler. Percentages and ratios of population are my own calculations from available census data.

John A. Hostetler, Amish Society

‘US Population from 1900’, < http://www.demographia.com/db-uspop1900.htm >

‘United States Census, 1890’, < http://www.answers.com/topic/united-states-census-1890 >

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Immigration and Assimilation

I’ve had a good bit of time thinking about this topic and have come to the conclusion that the assimilation argument is a crock of crap. Let me explain:

First off, the whole idea of assimilating into a single homogeneous culture is a constructed illusion. Until the advent of mass media, mass culture there was no homogeneous ‘American’ culture. Culture varied by region, by city, by locality. One cannot also forget that Mexicans, the target of the assimilation argument, are also American even if that our not citizens of this country.

Second, the assimilation argument is only being used against Mexicans. This is because they are now the target of racist, xenophobic sentiments in this country. Sure, Muslims also get a bad rap, but they are still for the most part a distant threat while the Mexican menace is only a hop, skip and a jump over the border. If assimilation is so important then it would apply to all those within the boundaries of the United States. Are we going to force Puerto Rico to become more American and abandon their heritage? How about the Amish, they certainly have not assimilated into our society and base their community on resisting such assimilation. And lets not forget the Native American tribes which we have now allowed to act as separate nations within ours living under their own laws.

Once this ideal is applied equally to all immigrant groups, then I will accept the merits of the argument. Now however the argument that Mexicans refuse to assimilate is only a cover for a truly racist and xenophobic mentality.

One final note, assimilation is not the only false argument given against Mexicans. There are many who argue that they bring wages down, when in fact its businesses who force the wages down. There are also unfounded claims of laziness and dirtiness without any backing and is without truth. These are only myths perpetuated to deny the current of bigotry and xenophobia that runs rampant in this nation.

Recommended Reading (not necessarily directly related to the topic):
Daily Life in the United States, 1920-1940 by David E. Kyvig
The Great Arizona Orphan Abduction by Linda Gordon
Making a New Deal by Lizabeth Cohen

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Democrats or Whigs?

I should be writing a thesis rather than speculating over historical implications for the present, but of course I’m a procrastinator who will do anything to avoid actually doing what I should be doing. Therefore I will now take the time to put down some thoughts I have had on the recent Democratic surrender to Bush.

The political game they are playing is highly dangerous. For 2008 the Democrats are betting on this highly unpopular and costly war in Iraq to sweep them into the white house, not to mention unbreakable majorities in the House and Senate. The gamble they are taking is that the current large anti-war constituency will forgive them and continue to support them, despite the compromise they have made. In fact, they are counting on its growth as increased support for their party, though they are unwilling to stand up and support the voice of this growing majority at this moment because it is not large enough yet.

Before I go into my historical analogy, let me explain what beliefs make up this group of people so generally referred to as ‘anti-war’. There are those who are purely anti-war, no matter what the war. There are those who realize we need to combat terrorism, but this misadventure had nothing to do with it and is in fact exacerbating the problem. There are those who realize our economy cannot handle the deficit required to continue the war. There are those who see that we have strategically lost the war and that it is not worth sacrificing more American lives for a war already lost. There are many more, but this brief sample shows the diversity of understanding, both practical and principled, of those of us who are simply labeled ‘anti-war’.

With their compromising and unwillingness to support the values and views of their constituency, the Democrats are in danger of following the footsteps of the Whig Party. In the two decades before the Civil War, the Whigs unwillingness to unite behind an abolitionist platform caused their downfall. They continually ‘compromised’ giving the slave South everything it wanted. They knew abolitionist sentiment was growing in the North, but they did not yet see it as a powerful enough force. Their mentality was that it would all pass over, give the slave holders what they wanted and in a few decades there would be no more slavery. The fact that they chose to wait out the problem rather than confront it head on lead to their downfall.

Now, the ‘abolitionist’, just like those referred to as ‘anti-war’, were much more diverse than the general label given to them. Sure, there were those like Gerrit Smith, Garrison, and Frederick Douglass, who were abolition agitators, fighting for the abolishment of slavery. There were also those in the business community who resented being marginalized or even locked out in southern business since free labor was discouraged. Also, there were those who didn’t give a damn if slavery remained or not, but once they became required by law to help in capturing slaves that escaped to the North, then you can bet they were quite unhappy about that. Just as today’s ‘anti-war’ activists, those labeled ‘abolitionists’ were diverse and included those who supported the cause on both grounds of practical and principled.

Even more parallels could be made, like that between the slave industry of the 19th century and the military industrial complex of today, but that would be deviating from my point just a bit. The Democrats, like the Whigs, may have ended their party by agreeing to this ‘compromise’. I must admit this would not sadden me, as it would leave an opening for a new party to take up the banner of principle and liberal values that would actually fight for it’s beliefs rather than compromise it’s principles in order to ensure a political safety net. To their surprise, the Democrats might actually find that safety net to be unsecured.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Bigotry to the right

It would seem that the conservative cluster-fuck has gone supersonic and is heading straight for a catastrophic implosion. I don’t know why the hell they say something moronic, and then after heavy criticism, repeat it! One would think there would be some form of learning going on rather than creating a canyon out of the rut they already have themselves in.

Let’s start with CNN host, and chronic idiot, Glenn Beck. Apparently he would not vote for Joe Lieberman for President "because of the complications it would add in this country or on the planet right now because of the way the Middle East would use it. That's not saying the same thing as I wouldn't vote for a Jew for president" (Media Matters). Um, yes Glenn it does since the only reason it could be used in the Middle East was for the very fact that he is Jewish! This is the same sort of language he used when asking Keith Ellison if he was enemy of the United States due to the fact that he is Muslim.

Meanwhile over on Oxycontin radio, we have Rush going off using the phrase 'Magic Negro' in a parody song of Barack Obama. Of course he tries to wash himself clean of it: "If I keep referring to Obama as the "Magic Negro" from this day on, I will eventually get the credit and/or heat for this. "Magic Negro"" (Media Matters). The fact that he even makes this statement makes it all the more disgusting by excusing his own racism because he was not the first to mention it.

This bigotry on the part of these two is even worse since it is intentional. They know that what they are going to say is bigoted and wrong and yet they go forward and say it anyway. If their bigoted statements were unintentional, then they would not include a statement to try and excuse their behavior. It's either 'I'm not saying/asking this but I am' or 'I know it's bigoted, but someone else said it first so I'm clean'. They make these statements knowing full well their meaning. They should be sent packing for their inhumanity.

Also this week we have Tom Delay popping up trying to recapture the media attention he has deservedly lost and he has continued with his use of the Nazi reference when referring to liberals. "I only thought it was the radical left in our own nation which enjoys likening the United States to Nazi Germany" (Think Progress). I do not recall any liberal making any comparison between the United States and Nazi Germany, unless of course he equates himself, the president, and the Republican Party the United States. It also seems he may have a little memory problem since he made such a reference in his book.

One more point on the continued rhetoric of the right when referring to liberals as Nazi's. Just because they were called the 'National Socialist Party' does not mean they were socialist. Any basic knowledge of 20th century German political history would lead to the realization that the name was taken only to get votes. Socialist parties were popular among the working class, so the Nazi party decided to call itself something it wasn't in order to get votes. You wouldn't believe that the People's Republic of China is actually a Republic would you?

Monday, April 23, 2007

On Celebrating Treason

Watching the documentary on Sherman’s March on the history channel the other day got me to thinking about a problem we have in this country. That problem is the continued celebration of the legacy of the Confederacy. They look back on the Confederacy with nostalgia and claim to celebrate its legacy of honor. In reality, the true legacy of the Confederacy is treason, lawlessness, and racial inequality/persecution.

It is quite ironic the type of people who celebrate the Confederacy. These people today are quick to point the finger at those who criticize our government and call us traitors. At the same time they are celebrating the Confederacy, a mass treason by the South against our United States government.

They decry any attempt to remove the Confederate battle flag from certain Southern capital buildings, claiming discrimination and their right to celebrate the legacy. This is ironic since the legacy of the South is that of discrimination against African Americans: first in bondage, and then as second class citizens. Is this a legacy that we really want our country to be celebrating?

Also they claim to celebrate the honor of the Confederate troops and bravery on the battlefield against overwhelming odds. After the defeat in the war, this is what took over and the claim that they could not win against the overwhelming industrial strength and population of the North. Actually, if that is true I just call it stupid. One doesn’t go into a fight knowing one is going to lose unless they have absolutely no choice. The South had a choice, and it chose treason in order to protect its immoral institution.

Please, no one give me the states right argument. That is, for those unfamiliar with the subject, that the South did not secede to protect slavery but to protect states rights over federal authority. That was pure rhetoric, total crap, and only applied for the Southern states since they had no problem imposing their will on the Northern states. What was that will that was imposed? That would be the Fugitive Slave Law, which in effect forced all citizens in the North to become slave police. If they helped an escaped slave or did not participate in capturing an escaped slave they could be punished by fines and/or jail time. This is what broke the back, this is why abolitionism took hold, because the South was not intent on leaving things alone, they had to force an otherwise complacent Northern population, typically not effected or exposed to slavery, and made them part of the system.

As for Sherman’s March, and the bitterness still in the South, and the complaints what is the viewpoint of these people who continue to celebrate the Confederacy on our current farce in Iraq? Or our continuing miffed stance towards Iran? They are conservative so likely there are those among their ranks who have advocated using nuclear weapons against Iran and Iraq and their populations. Of course this would have no correlation, according to them, to the suffering of their ancestors due to Sherman’s March since they were all innocent and over in the Middle East they are all only Muslim terrorists who we must destroy to protect our country.

I could go on and on with this, but I think my point has been made. These same people who deride government critics as treasonous themselves celebrate treason when they celebrate the Confederacy. They celebrate slavery and racial injustice when they celebrate the Confederacy. They celebrate the death of over 600,000 men on both sides during that war just so they could keep fellow humans in bondage. Celebrating the Confederacy is not a celebration of honor and bravery; it is a celebration of treason, death, and racism.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Are Republicans/the right-wing Comparable to Nazis?

I’ve been thinking about this post ever since I wrote the post about the differences between Communism and Fascism. There is inherently a danger in asking such a question, because at this point the Republican administration and regime have not committed anywhere near the atrocities of the Nazi regime. However, asking the question and making the comparison is legitimate since the right consistently calls the left communist.
Of course, I’m waiting for the right to scream in unison ‘Godwin’s Law!’, but they have through their words forfeited that protection. We on the left have tolerated being called communists by the right for a long time because frankly, how can one respond to such uneducated and infantile accusations? The right of course has taken it a step further and begun to call us fascists and Nazis. In his book, Tom Delay (or more accurately, his ghost writer) compares his struggle against the accusations against him a big lie comparable to the tactic used by Hitler. I could go on about how Republicans consistently get their history wrong, but it is more important I think to show them how they are wrong in labeling the left as Nazis/fascists/Hitler. In fact it is my hope that by pointing out the similarities between Republican ideology and policy and that of Nazis, the entire back and forth over who is a fascist and who is a communist will end. I won’t hold my breath though.
Without further rambling, the comparison:

Ultra-nationalism and superiority: Nazi ideology was obsessed with the position of its country. Their country was superior to all others and all citizens must support the country, any criticism of Germany was anti-Germanic and in fact treason. On the right in America one often hears how the left is un-American for criticizing the actions and policies of this country. The religion of the right is loyalty to the nation, and any words that disagree with that are blasphemy.

Obsession with the Military: Nazi ideology placed prime importance in military renewal and dominance. Defense spending came first, and every Nazi political leader made sure they wore military paraphernalia. The American right is similarly obsessed with the military, decrying any attempts to cut the bloated defense budget. Also, Bush has used the military as a political prop, and even showed up in a fighter pilots uniform for his mission accomplished speech.

‘Traditional Family Values’: Nazi ideology placed great importance on traditional family values, which would place the woman in the home and make it her duty to produce more German babies. The right in America has decried the fact that the birthrate in this country has gone so low and often blame the independence of woman for that. They would like nothing more than to have women back in the home.

Racism: Nazi ideology proclaimed that theirs was the dominant race, that of the Aryan folk, and that it was being diluted by lesser races and therefore those races had to be excluded and the German people cleansed. In America, the anti-immigration right uses similar terminology, claiming that our country is of Anglo-Saxon decent and that by allowing all these Mexicans in we are diluting our culture. They also comment on how Hispanics are out breeding whites and that is another reason why they support Traditional Family Values, because they are afraid that Hispanic immigrants are going to come here in droves, out breed us and take over. One also needs to believe that their own race is superior to another in order to view the other race as a threat to their existence.

Obsession with Security: This extends to both economic and physical security, and overlaps with many other points. The Nazis used the Jews and blamed them for many of the problems facing Germany. The Jews control all the money they said, and thus keeping the true German down. The Jews were part of the international secular communist conspiracy they said. Now we have the Muslims to be fearful of. The right here thinks all Muslims are terrorists and detrimental to the security of this nation and many, such as uber-ignoramus Michelle Malkin, believe all Muslims should be rounded up and put in camps for our own security. Now there is a slippery slope. After that we can round up all Mexicans, because they are a danger to our jobs. I’m also willing to bet that people like Malkin would have no problem having all liberals rounded up and put in camps also since we are a danger to their ‘reality’.

Extra-legal prison camps: As everyone knows (except for idiotic/racist holocaust deniers) there are two basic categories for the concentration camps of Nazi Germany: death camps and prison/work camps (where people still died, but were not killed outright). The prison/work camps were questionably legal, but were less detrimental to public support in Germany. All the death camps which applied murder on a factory/mass production scale were outside of Germany. All prisoners who were to be exterminated were taken outside Germany since technically German law did not apply there and it could be done out of the sight of the German people. Similarly, the United States has Gitmo where it can hold prisoners labeled ‘enemy combatants’ indefinitely, whether or not they are US citizens, the citizens of an allied country or citizens of an enemy country. Also, torture is used as an interrogation technique at secret CIA bases around the world, away from public scrutiny and away from US legal jurisdiction.

Need for a single, powerful leader: The Nazis in their campaign leading up to the seizure of power in 1933, claimed that a single powerful leader was what would pick the country up and that all the different groups only led to bickering and the floundering of the country. Same with the American right, they have put all their faith in Bush as their president and the only power of this country such is seen by how the republican congress just rolled over for this administration. They also decry any opinion contrary to their own as supporting the terrorists, supporting the enemy and making us look weak.

Pure Capitalism: Nazi ideology supported the role of business and the free market over the rights of the individual worker and consumer. Regulation was near nonexistent and Unions were illegal. In fact, before the Nazis came to power, businesses had come into the habit of hiring Nazis and firing their other workers because Nazis would not join a Union. The right in America has come to believe a total free market without regulation is what is needed, and that Unions are dangerous. In many cases different groups that do not trust Unions have been hired by businesses to undermine Unions. Also, businesses will close down rather than accept unionization which Wal-Mart has done in some instances. The laws on the books since the Reagan administration have taken a pro-business stance and an anti-worker one, thus limiting the rights of unions and often leading to their destruction.

There are many more points I could probably go through, but I think if anyone has gotten this far in the post, they get the idea by now. Fascism/Nazism is a right wing ideology, so stop labeling the left as fascist. Now I must also state that the right when it is moderate has very noble ideas. However, the right in this country and the Republican Party are dangerously far to the right. They have gone so far right that, I think, they put a greater value on security and money, than they do on humanity and life. That in itself is a threat to our country and the planet.

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Iraq Occupation compared to WWII

Republican apologists, when defending this administration and its policies in Iraq often invoke the memory of World War II. So, it is always interesting when I am reading for class and come over little tidbits. Here is a quotation from an essay, specifically on German Women in post-war West Germany, but dealing with attitudes towards occupation:

Nevertheless, although Inge symbolizes the moral decline of her society, she is not to blame for this decline. Rather, foreign occupation is. In the final meeting of most of the book's central characters, an American officer who is one of the moral anchors of the tale admits that the military occupation was hypocritical and corrupting. "The occupation was a dictatorship, even if in democratic garb.... We arrived here with the Bible in one hand and the knout in the other.... We believed ourselves to be missionaries, but we did not love those under our charge.... Our efforts were marked by the motto: '...and unless you are willing I shall have to use force.'" When a German in the circle remarks that Hitler had employed a similar motto, the American responds that Hitler hadn't claimed democracy-- and he hadn't been a foreigner. Neither the officer nor the author of the book are apologists for Nazism; this comparison of Hitler and the occupation government--to Hitler's apparent advantage-- is thus astonishing. The message is clear: West Germany must attain national sovereignty and the Yanks must go home.
(Elizabeth Heineman, The Hour of the Woman; from The Miracle Years, Hanna Schissler, ed.)
This does provoke some thought on our current situation in Iraq. Actually, just replace Hitler, German(y), and Nazism with Saddam Hussein, Iraq(i), and Baathism and the attitude is the same. We have one replaced one dictatorship for another, just this one has the trappings of democracy and is led by a foreign power.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Why the Anti-Immigration Folks are Idiots

All the reasons they give are completely ludicrous. They are only excuses to hold back the inevitable, the result of globalization and free trade. Our government policies and the stance of those like Lou Dobbs and Tom Tancredo border on racist. Immigration policies have always focused on those our society found racial inferior, poor and unclean. It is how we reacted to the Irish, the Italians, the Russians, Ukrainians and Poles. It is how we reacted to the Chinese and the Japanese. It is now the way we are reacting towards Mexicans.

If it was not racist, those who support the wall along the border with Mexico to stop the flow of illegal immigration and drug trafficking would also support a wall with Canada. Terrorists can just as easily cross into the US through Canada as they can through Mexico. Heck, they could fly in on an international flight from an airport with lax community and commit similar attacks as on 9/ll. You are not going to stop terrorists by stopping Mexicans.

Also, if you want to stop the flow of illegal immigration, why accept Cuban immigrants who do not come to this country legally? Oh, they come over to escape a communist regime that is oppressing them, so as long as they make it to land they are OK? Refugees then, well then why until recently have we only let 500 Iraqi refugees into our country? Sure we the limit to over 2,000 but that is not going to help at all when over 1,500 are leaving their homes every day.

With that example there is no doubt that the immigration and asylum policies of this country are racist, except when it is meant as a political attack on an ‘enemy’ that has consistently defeated us despite our power. If Cuba were free, and Cubans were still attempting to come over in their barely seaworthy craft, the anti-immigration people would be just as shrill in their protests against them as their protests against Mexicans. They do not want more brown people in this country, whether Latino or Muslim. To them Latino’s are poor, dirty and criminal prone while Muslims hate us and want to blow us up. All these excuses are used to cover up their bigotry.

They claim that illegal immigrants are a burden to our welfare and social security system. This would be true if they did not contribute to that system, but they do like any other tax payer in this country! As for a comparison, I do not remember any outcry when it was revealed that two uncles of Elian Gonzalez living in Florida had been on the welfare system for years without even lifting a finger to look for a job. Where was the outrage over that? Oh right, Castro excuses them for that.

If you want to know who the real culprits are for destroying our social security look at the Republicans. They have been trying to undermine the system for years. Not to mention dipping into the money that should be set aside only for that purpose. And Democrats do not get a free ride on this either, since they initiated the ‘borrowing’ from that money.

There are complaints that our population is getting to old, that we are not reproducing enough to support a social security system that will soon become overburdened. Well, if you want more young people in this country let more people immigrate here. Typically the majority of people coming to our country are younger folk rather than entire extended families. They will pay into the system and relieve the age problem of our population.

And don’t give me that crap that Mexicans are taking our jobs. Indians, Chinese, Pakistani, you name it, are taking our jobs and they are not even coming to our country. Our corporations are outsourcing those jobs because they care about low costs and profits first and the people of this country second. If you are afraid Mexican laborers are lowering wages, then that is what a minimum wage law is for, which Republicans are always attacking claiming it hurts business which is a total crock of crap.

The stance that President Bush has taken on immigration is one of the few, if only, positions I agree with him on, though if for different reasons. Creating a regulated but unlimited guest worker program is the only way to deal with the problem. It will allow immigrants to enter this country legally, work in jobs Americans will not typically take, and lower the costs of policing. Also, it will end instances of slave like conditions since employers often take advantage of these immigrants and work them for little pay because, being illegal, the immigrant is not likely to complain to authorities.

One must also realize that with globalization and free trade, we are in the middle of constructing a unified global economy. Technically, this is not what companies want because it would mean eventually the stabilization and equalization of the economy around the world cutting out their chances for paying low wages. Immigrants are also going to follow where the money is, especially if they cannot get much from where they are currently living. We are part of that global economy now, which not only means free trade for goods but also requires the free movement of people. Immigration is a flood that no dam can hold back, so either waste your time trying to stop the inevitable flood, or devise and set into place a system that can effectively deal with it.

News you may have missed 3/23/2007

Sterilized Gypsy Women Speak Out

In America when we think of racism we refer to historically recent developments such as racism towards African-Americans or Hispanics. In Europe such attitudes towards Gypsy’s (Roma) go back as long as anti-Semitism. Also, let me remind everyone that the eugenics movement which led to sterilization started in the United States only to be imported into Europe by Nazi Germany.

Continued Pillaging of Antiquities in Iraq

Yet another casualty of our inability to secure the country. Such pillaging occurs in locals with a high rate of poverty and low security. It will be generations before Iraq is reinstated to any hint of its former self. It will be many more generations before objects of its past and culture will be tracked down after being dispersed around the world through the black market.

Court Strikes Down Internet Porn Law

Protecting children my ass. This law was only an attempt by the moral misjority to force upon everyone their way of life. Not to mention that forcing identity confirmation through use of a credit card number on free sites is just another chance for that information to be stolen. Let parent police the activity of their children, that’s what they are for, get a filter.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Spoiled Brat Foreign Policy

Lou Dobbs can be quite a confusing character. I agree with a lot of his positions, but he goes crazy when it comes to the illegal immigration issue. Just last week, I decided to watch his show for a bit and it was segment after segment about illegal immigration and how it is destroying our country. Then in between all these segments he had one about Cuban immigrants, and just after going on and on about how amnesty was bad for Mexican illegals, he suggested that all Cuban illegals who made it onto our shores should be rewarded with citizenship because of their ingenuity! WTF?

Anyway, it is clear that he sees the plight of Cubans different from that of Mexicans. So, this creates two subjects that I will address: 1) Our foreign policy towards ‘enemy’ nations and 2) illegal immigration. Today I will address the former since I can get a lengthy post from both subjects.

So, why do I make reference to ‘spoiled brat foreign policy’? This is not in reference to all foreign policy of this country, but only a few instances in which our stance has no rational reason. Specifically, and most notably, this concerns our stances towards Cuba, Iran, and Vietnam.

For Cuba what happened was Castro refused, upon his rise to power, to play by the rules set by the United States government. It also happens that the US government was not so happy about him overthrowing the government of the friendly, but thoroughly corrupt, Batista. Batista was friendly to the US, US economic interests, and US corporate interests. Because of this, our government overlooked the poor treatment the Cuban people received from Batista. Castro came to power on the promise that he would help the people of Cuba and not serve the interests of the corporations. This he did, but at the expense of corporate interests, which of course lost all their assets to the communist Cuban government. Since Castro didn’t play by the American rules, our government refuses to do business with his country.

For Cuba there may also be the fact that our government and our people were upset over this seeming betrayal. Since the Spanish American war our country has viewed Cuba as our little brother in their fight for freedom and independence. It seems that our country was unable to accept the fact that Cuba had grown up and had every right to go on its own.

In Iran there was the similar situation of a US friendly dictator in power who was overthrown by a popular uprising. As any situation, this may not have been a problem if the new government had not socialized the oil industry. Again, Iran didn’t play by our rules, so they are being penalized for it. The standoff we are experiencing today with Iran is part of our governments temper tantrum over not getting its way.

Vietnam is a different case, especially since we now have diplomatic and economic relations with the country. This does not mean that they didn’t get treated poorly by our government though. After Vietnam came under the NV government our country supported the government in Cambodia despite the fact that it was communist. In retaliation for an attack by Cambodia, Vietnam invaded in overthrew Pol Pot who murdered millions of his own people. Of course, the fact that Pol Pot had committed genocide was no problem for our government as long as he was allied with our government. Support of Pol Pot in opposition to Vietnam had no actual strategic purpose except as retaliation for Vietnam’s unwillingness to cave to US pressure and revenge for victory over our military.

Looking at these examples it seems the factor of economic system and the ability of corporations to do business in these countries shapes US foreign policy. Iran and Cuba refuse to be dominated by foreign companies and instead government controls their major industries. Vietnam has been forgiven because they have allowed a loosening of their economy and are leaning towards capitalism.

So, our country is unable to engage in meaningful dialogue with these countries because they won’t play by our rules. No country, especially ours, should engage in foreign policy that resembles the attitude of a spoiled brat who has been refused their dessert. We consistently flog our country’s embrace of diversity, but that embrace only exists when diverse economic systems are the same as ours. If we don't engage these countries with diplomacy, and just attack them for not following our rules, then at best nothing will happen but, more likely, peace will deteriorate.

Addendum 3/17/2007:
Our stance towards Cuba has also been rather infantile. Almost from the day we decided we couldn't deal with Castro, our relations with Cuba have been dependent on his death. For the past fifty years our country has justified its sanctions on the country and its refusal to deal with the country on the premise that Castro will be dead tomorrow and then everything will be fine. For the past fifty years Castro has defied the United States government and continued to live. For some reason we forget the fact that he is a survivor, and our obsession with his always impending death was shown when he stepped aside from power to enter the hospital. He has been there for months now, and who knows, he may be on his way out, but I wouldn't put it past him to get healthy and step back into power. Also, just because he dies does not mean communism will be abandoned. It is just as likely that rulers will continue his legacy, and if that is so, what then?

News you may have missed

Muslims in Europe
BBC News online has dedicated an entire section to this subject. I came across this by accident since it is unfortunately buried on the website. The articles include analysis of the challenges Europe in general faces from the growing Muslim population.

Hamas, Fatah unity government
The political process seems to be moving forward in Palestine. Of course Israel continues to refuse to recognize the legitimacy of the popularly elected government and calls for the continued economic embargo/punishment of the Palestinian people.

Revoke Hitler’s German Citizenship?
While I do not think this is a good idea, those advancing it are convinced it sends a strong symbolic message. Is it a message, however, against dictatorship and genocide, or is it a message stating that it is OK to forget ones history?

Pakistan Unrest and Protest
Musharraf, dear friend to our country, seems to be losing more support in his country. He has become more dictatorial as opposition rises, and as he attempts to maintain his political power. If he maintains that power, I do not see him as being able to maintain control over the entire country, which will likely fall under the control of Al Qaeda and its allies. If he does fall, well then we have the possibility of a new government hostile to the US taking power. Either way, we’re screwed.

Zimbabwe Crisis
Robert Mugabe, ‘President’ of Zimbabwe has been cracking down on his opposition lately, and it seems other countries are doing little more than criticizing the move at this point. It would be nice to see some action on the part of the AU or the UN, but I won’t hold my breath.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Addressing Problems in the Middle East - Israel

*Note: I'm on Spring Break and suffering from a bit of insomnia, so bonus post for this weekend.

I’ve thought about this and posted on other blogs before, so now I am going to just reiterate and maybe expand on my ideas and positions a bit.

There have been many sticking points in the Muslim world over Israel ever since it became an independent nation in 1948. Though it may seem there is still a lot of anger, Muslim nations and peoples have come a long way to tolerating, if not outright accepting, the existence of Israel.

Two major sticking points, however, are still able to rally Muslims to the anti-Israeli cause. These are the continued domination of Israel over the Palestinian people and the question of who gets to control Jerusalem.

First, a Palestinian state should be allowed to exist, without interference from Israel or any outside force militarily or politically. This means not punishing the Palestinian people when they elect political wings of terrorist groups such as Hamas, to office. Such is a normal occurrence in politics, even in Europe. Sinn Fein is the political arm of the IRA (Irish Republican Army), and Batasuna the political arm of ETA (Basque Separatists) in Spain.

This leads me to a slight detour on the nature of terrorist groups. Some, like Al Qaeda, have aims at causing terror against other cultures, hence their ‘war’ against the United States. Others, whether they be Hamas, the IRA, or ETA are organizations that have come into being because political solutions to their problems do not exist, and therefore they turn to means violent means to gain independence. Let us also not forget that before independence, Israeli’s turned to terrorist tactics against the British.

My point here, however, is that we must stop grouping all types of terrorists as one type and start recognizing that terrorist groups can be categorized differently depending upon their goals. This leads us back to groups such as Hamas, which rather than being punished for trying to become part of a peaceful political system, should be encouraged while at the same time encouraging them to give up their military wing. In fact, this is the only way it can be done, and the sooner the parties involved come to that conclusion and act upon it, rather than punishing them for it, the sooner peace will be had.

So, Hamas must be allowed to be a legitimate and accepted political party, and Palestine must be allowed to become an autonomous, independent state. However, this cannot happen until one major hurdle is overcome. This is the question of who controls Jerusalem.

They continually argue over whether Israel should control the whole, or both countries should get part of the city. Jews want it for Israel because it is their holy city, and Muslims want it for Palestine because it is also their holy city. And do not forget the Christians who, unlike in many other conflicts, seem to be stuck in the middle with no platform for their opinion.

My solution is to let none of them have it. Instead make it into a religious city-state, like the Vatican, ruled by all three of the religions. Yes, I know this is just going to lead to more bickering and more problems, but what solution is perfect? In my opinion this is the best. Let all three religions have an equal stake in governance. Then let each religion work out how they will share that power with all their denominations.

With these solutions in place I believe violence and unrest in the Middle East will be toned down significantly. There will still be extremely belligerent Fundamentalist Muslims who will scream death to Israel, but there will no longer be as great an audience to their hatred.

**As with all my posts, this is train of thought based on my knowledge, though I did use wikipedia to fact check a few of my points not to mention spellings. I encourage everyone to head over there since there is a wealth of information to fill in on subjects I only mention, especially events concerning ETA and Batasuna, which are much overlooked in the world press.

Friday, March 09, 2007

History for Sheeple, Lesson #1

The talking points mimicked by those who support neo-conservative politicians, pundits and their agenda (even if they most definitely do not understand the totality of that agenda), is annoying at the very least, and frightening in that it indicates both a lack of knowledge and empathy on the part of many of our nations citizens. The most disturbing of these, at least for me, is the repetition of the neo-con version of history, propagated by those without a background in the historical field, but only the wish to create and maintain a vision of history acceptable to their own narrow, egocentric worldview. Since I am myself a student of history I am compelled to offer these ‘lessons’ if you will in, clearing up willful misconceptions of history held by those on the extreme right. I will try and address such topics that are either a current talking point in the media or are just generalized misconceptions that have now become quite orthodox among the mass of ditto-head blog commenters.

For the first installment, my focus is on the confusion the right-wing masses when it comes to political systems. If you have called a liberal or progressive, both a fascist and a communist then you are guilty of this confusion, especially if you did so in the same sentence. I’m going to have to break this down into a few parts, so if you cannot be bothered to read the rest, and want a simpler and more humorous explanation, go here: http://hypocrisytoday.com/polit-2.htm.

First off, one cannot call the same person both a communist and a fascist since both have been historically opposed to each other. Fascists hate communists, communists hate fascists, the only time they got along was the non-aggression pact between Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia, and we all know how well that went. To make it simple, Fascism is a right-wing ideology, and communism left-wing. The only similarity between communism and fascism is totalitarian form of government, which for communism is not part of doctrine and for fascism is actually quite debatable, especially in the case of Nazi Germany.

Communism, I must also note, is more of an economic system than a political system. Communism is opposed to Capitalism, not to Democracy. Actually, if communism were to adhere to pure Marxist ideology, it would be a democratic system, maybe even a pure democracy. Fascism, on the other hand, is capitalism gone wild, allowing for the economic and social hegemony of corporations.

What happened to communism, how it was perverted or misused, can be broken down into those who influenced such parts:

Leninism: Upon overthrowing the revolutionary government in Russia, the Bolsheviks needed to consolidate power. A major hurdle was for the new communist government were the royalist forces, who were funded by the West which opposed the new communist government fearing it to be a threat to their own capitalist hegemony. In response, Lenin took steps to focus the government in fewer hands so as to maintain power and be able to respond to threats. He also gave the excuse that the people of Russia were not yet ready, so he would hold onto power until a time when the people were ready to exercise it themselves. This of course, is a crock of crap, but it was enough. In short, upon gaining power the revolutionaries went from revolutionary leftists to reactionary conservatives who wished to maintain power.

Stalinism: I do not know if there is any other ruler who was so thoroughly totalitarian in their rule. No one but Stalin held the reigns of power, the party couldn’t control him. Even if he suspected someone was against him, they were dead. Good example of a government masquerading as communist when it actually is not.

Maoist: Like Lenin, lost sight of the cause in the interest of maintaining power. Was good at helping the people and bringing them together in living the communist life, but became reactionary once power was attained. Not only that, he could not govern. All his policies were attempts to revive the glory and the ability Mao showed at overcoming adversity. However, the fact that the communist government in China has been able to adapt and incorporate capitalist systems shows a difference from the Russian system, if not the Russian people, since it is still in existence.

Ho Chi Minh: Vietnamese ‘communism’ was definitely the most pragmatic of all the systems. The fact that Vietnam became communist is the fault of the West since they refused, after WWI, to give up their colonies. Ho Chi Minh actually admired the United States, and even quoted from the Declaration of Independence during an address on the occasion of the forming of the North Vietnamese government. They were quite independent from other communist powers, defied both Russia and China, even while facing the US in war, and invading Cambodia and deposing Pol Pot causing retaliation from both the US and China. Ho Chi Minh did not mean Vietnam to embrace a totalitarian communist ideology, but one of democracy. Seventy years of war, including the final 10 years which included our support of the illegitimate government in South Vietnam, is what caused the establishment of a more totalitarian state rather than a democratic one.

So, what is the explanation for the right-wing throwing all these negative labels at liberals? My theory is that the right is incapable of dealing with any system of thought that is not binary. Good and Evil, white and black, male and female are all examples of binary thought. Binary thought lacks the complexity needed to explain everything that does not fit into their narrow categories. Conservatives, of course, think that are gods own gift and can see themselves as only good. Therefore their opposition must, logically confined to their system of thought, be evil. Also, they do not see Nazism, thus fascism, as good, so it must be evil and therefore a liberal ideology. The logic only works, of course, in this narrow worldview.

Now, I hope that this little history lesson has cleared things up (for those who are capable of more than binary thought, anyway). Remember, if we are going to start throwing negative political system labels at each other, liberals are communist and conservatives are fascists.

Friday, March 02, 2007

An Appeal to Moderates and Independents

In normal times, both the Democratic and Republican parties have, for the most part, represented mainstream American views. The past six years, however, have revealed us a Republican party that has unabashedly pandered to the ultra-conservative base at the exclusion of all others, including even moderate members in its ranks. It should be clear to everyone that the Republican Party has been hijacked not only by ultra-conservatives but by immoral and crooked politicians whose only objective is power, even if it means the destruction of our great nation.

How am I so sure of these frightening developments? Let me break it down:

First, extreme right Republicans make a point of making clear their religion at every opportunity, as long as it is an acceptable protestant religion. They talk about protecting freedom of religion, yet their party has a definite problem with those who do not follow a religion they consider the proper one. Even one of their own, Mitt Romney, is the target of criticism from members in his party since he is a Mormon. I must also point out the blatant hypocrisy with the recent attack by the right on Barack Obama concerning his religion. First they claim he attended a Madrassa when he was young, and when that turned out to be if not a blatant lie, then at the very least completely false, they attack the church he attends since it states in its mission the importance of supporting the African-American community. Their logic as to why this is something to be critical of is laughable since the church naturally does serve the African-American community, as other churches have served the community at large, and may I also point out that they served the white community while excluding the African-American community even as recent as 50 years ago! Considering this fact, the mission statement of Obama’s church is not surprising nor should it be seen as negative.

Second, Republicans no longer accept a moderate agenda but an ultra-conservative one. They have squelched the moderate voice in their own party, so it is no wonder that those like Senator Webb switched parties. Have you ever wondered why the Republican Party seems to be in line, while the Democratic Party cannot seem to stop bickering? It is because the Republican Party refuses to allow diversity of opinion or discussion within its ranks while the Democratic Party allows it, though at the expense of the strength of being unified.

Third, I call the Republican politicians immoral and crooked because their only end is power and they will use any means to obtain and maintain that power. Outing Valerie Plame Wilson was part of this since her husband presented evidence that countered their reasons for the invasion of Iraq. Invading Iraq was meant to increase their stranglehold on our country, and Wilson was interfering. They wrap themselves in the flag and claim they support the troops, but as the recent exposure of conditions at Walter Reed shows, they could care less. This is part of a greater problem in which this administration consistently cuts funding for Veterans across the board. Their hypocrisy should also be quite clear since while they were in power they criticized obstructionism by the Democratic Party and threatened to eliminate the ability of the minority party to filibuster if the Democratic Party attempted that tactic. What do they do in the first few weeks of the Democratic Party? They start filibustering and obstructing Democratic legislation to put a check on this administration. It should be clear that these Republicans care for nothing more than power and plunder.

Fourth, Republicans have brought the level of discourse to a frightening low and disgusting level in this country. Since when was it acceptable to call anyone a ‘faggot’ in what should be a respectable event? It seems, in the ranks of conservatives, that Anne Coulter is allowed to say such things about former Democratic senator John Edwards, yet the entire right wing goes ballistic when a few anonymous posters at the Huffington Post expressed regret that our VP, Bird-shot Cheney, was not killed in the Afghanistan terrorist attack. Though no person should express such wishes, they are not as harmless as Coulter calling Democratic politicians gay (including Al Gore, Bill Clinton, and now John Edwards) and also calling for the killing of liberals, including a suggestion that a Supreme Court Justice be poisoned.

Fifth, the conservatives continually pound on the ‘tax and spend liberal’ talking point when they have not had one balanced budget under this president. In fact, this administration has added more to the deficit than all previous presidents combined! All this administration and the Republican party has to show from all this deficit spending is a mess in Iraq, a deteriorating economy, poor services for our brave veterans, and billions missing in Iraq whether to the corruption of the Iraqi government or to the raping of the tax payers by corporations who received no bid contracts. Fiscal conservatives no longer have a voice in the Republican Party, instead it is the Democratic Party who is attempting to reign in spending by establishing in the House on the first day a pay as you go policy.

What the Republican Party has become is no longer American, it is an abomination. They represent now only two constituencies: The extreme fundamentalist Christians who wish to enshrine their fringe values as the law creating a Christian version of the Taliban; and their corporate donors who they award with no bid contracts, corporate welfare and relaxed federal regulation standards. I call on moderates and independents to support the Democratic Party, or at the very least support a third party rather than casting a vote with the Republican Party that does not care about your values, only about your vote. Force the Republican Party to recognize that moderates and independents are as important, if not more important than the fringe constituencies which they have currently sold themselves to at the expense of the majority of our great country.

Friday, February 23, 2007

The Unfortunate and Dangerous Right Wing use of Anti-Muslim Rhetoric

This weekend I have what seems to be an immense post, but it would not be so if I did not find the topic important. Having said this, I must also admit that this is far from complete. There is a whole lot more information and rebuttals out there that could be used, I just don't have the time to make it complete on my own, so suggestions for additions would be greatly appreciated. Also, I know I lack citation and support for the most part, but in my defense, I intend these posts to be stream of thought rather than research papers (I already have enough of those to do). Having said that, I am quite certain that one could use a the google to look up some of the points I have made and see that there is support for them (if there is something that is however inherently false, and can be proved through fact checking, then I am quite open to making corrections). Since I enjoyed the structure and the rhetorical flare in making my first post, I have used some of the same here except to a lesser extent since I am also trying to make a logical/reasonable argument which requires academic components. This is therefore a hybrid, though I like to think that with some editing it could be made into an effective speech. Without further excuses and disclaimers then, I give you this weekends post. Enjoy.

Every day that passes it seems the right continues to further itself from rational debate towards a more ugly form of politics. I am not talking about the typical smearing of opponents for voting for or against a measure, for doing drugs or for seeing prostitutes. I’m talking about the calculated political decision to go after one group of people for their differences.

Currently the right has chosen followers of the Muslim faith for their campaign of intolerance. We have seen it in our chambers of government with bigots such as representative Virgil Goode (R-Virginia) questioning the use of the Koran by representative Ellison (D-Minnesota) for his swearing in photo-op. We have seen it in our news with bigoted talk show host Glenn Beck (Idiot-CNN) when he questioned Ellison if he was an enemy of our country for the simple fact that he is a Muslim.

Now this talking point has filtered down to the willing masses of right-wing ideology. They plague our country, our internet, loyally regurgitating the talking points they have been fed, eager to hate people they do not know for their faith. They repeat these talking points with such zealous fervor that they are unwilling to accept any criticism of what they say and will dismiss all logical and truthful corrections as either wrong, subjective, or off-topic.

Their talking point is that the Muslim religion is inherently different from others, and dangerous, because in the Koran written permission is given to the members of Islam to fight Jihad. They say that the only purpose of this religion is conquest of the entire Western world. This of course is another reason in support of the Iraq war, ‘fight them there rather than here’ they repeat incessantly, and with the zealousness only ideological blindness could provide.

Everything they say can be easily dismissed by anyone with the slightest knowledge of the Muslim faith, however any counterpoint you give to their raging ‘the Muslims are out to kill me’ will only be dismissed or ignored. With the more intelligent and receptive, however, who have fallen prey to believing in this talking point as truth, are open to discussion and will willingly abandon the belief of all Muslims want to kill non-Muslims for the more rational and true points. Hopefully I can succinctly explain these points, and if I miss any that are extremely helpful when going through such a frustrating conversation, please do inform me of them.

Firstly, since the argument of the anti-Islamic individuals depends on the view that Islam is different from any other religion that is open to examples of the misdeeds and violence of the other religions. The difference they point out is that the Koran sanctions violence in the form of Jihad. They see this also as a sanction for the extermination of non-Muslims. Well, in the Old Testament of the Christian bible, the Jews were given instruction by God granted them the land of Canaan, and gave the Jews permission to exterminate the Canaanites. If you want to use historical precedent, the Popes in Rome declared Crusades in the name of religion, quite technically these are similar to Jihad since they are both forms of holy wars.

For some reason these people also believe that Islam is the only inherently violent religion. They cite modern Muslims who call for violence against Westerners, but ignore the radicalism of those in other religions. Pat Robertson, for example, has openly and consistently called for the assassination of the leaders of other countries. Rhetoric from these people has also led to the bombings by Christian extremists of abortion clinics. Our country also has right wing crazies like Timothy McVeigh who bombed a federal building killing scores of innocents. Such violence therefore is not limited to the Muslim world and the Muslim religion. It also behooves our purpose here to be reminded that terrorism in its modern form was invented by the Irish who used such tactics to free themselves from British rule. So, if any religion should be blamed for such violence it is the Catholic religion for being the dominant religion of the people who developed such tactics (I am of course advocating no such thing since such tactics emerged under the pressure of a dictatorial occupying power).

One must also question the relevance of the Jihad teachings in the Koran to modern Islam. For the most part, Muslims do not follow the teachings of Jihad, except for the Fundamentalists who almost exclusively focus upon Jihad. For any who believe that every Muslim follows the Koran to the letter, take a look at Christians. How many stonings of adulteresses have you been to lately? Take a look at the divorce rates in this country. Every religion, it seems, has out-moded doctrine that still exists in its scripture but is almost completely ignored. This has been the fate of Jihad, except among the marginal fundamentalist sects.

Another argument is that Muslims want to bring our country under Islamic Law. These people argue that this is what makes Muslims different and dangerous. First off, its only the Fundamentalist Muslims who want this, most others, especially in our country, are either secular are content to practice their religion without instituting religious law on the government level. Further, what about our own Christian Fundamentalist dingbats who want to do away with secular government and create a government based on Christian law? They are the same as the fundamentalist Muslims, crazy and marginal, only differing in their religion.

This brings us to the finale, the core laws of the religion which the religions do not exist without. For Christianity, there are the Ten Commandments. For serious Christians, these are the laws to abide be, these are the doctrine that is known (except by republican senators) and abided by (supposedly). Islam has something similar, they are known as the Five Pillars of Islam, which most spouting hate against the religion do not even realize exists though it is commonly taught in core college world history courses. They are:

1. Testimony of Faith: There is only one God, Allah, and Mohammed is his prophet.

2. Ritual Prayer: Five times a day.

3. Obligatory charity

4. Fasting.

5. Pilgrimage to Mecca: At least once in a lifetime.

(source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Five_Pillars_of_Islam)

In these basic tenants of Islam, there is no mention of violence, or Jihad. It is also interesting that this view of Islam as a religion of violence has come about since it is also known as the religion of peace.

So, why is such rhetoric against Islam in particular dangerous? Rhetoric against any group of people as a problem is in itself dangerous. They become a scapegoat for the problems in society thus limiting the ability of that society to deal with their problems as they can always have someone to blame other than the actual structure of society. Also, this rhetoric is reminiscent, even identical to that used by Hitler and the Nazis against the Jews. They used Jews as a scapegoat for problems in society, labeled them as different, and then proceeded to attempt to exterminate them. If such rhetoric against Muslims is allowed to proceed in our country, then internment, even extermination of these people in our country could easily become justified and acceptable.

This rhetoric against Islam does not show any solution to ‘fixing’ the problem. They may suggest conversion as a solution, but conversion against peoples of any different religion always brings out stubbornness and militancy. So the next step, quite logically for these people, would have to be extermination. If our country has any soul left, we ensure that this never happens; otherwise our United States will indeed be soulless.

Addendum: I just realized I had skipped any mention of the racist element of anti-Muslim bigotry. This is purposeful since I believe the subject deserves a lengthy post of its own. That may or may not be the topic for next weekend, stay tuned......