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It’s Not Going to Be OK

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Posted on Feb 2, 2009
AP photo / Nikolas Giakoumidis

Riots have occurred in a number of European countries since the economic crisis began. Here, Greek riot police stand near a burning car.

By Chris Hedges

The daily bleeding of thousands of jobs will soon turn our economic crisis into a political crisis. The street protests, strikes and riots that have rattled France, Turkey, Greece, Ukraine, Russia, Latvia, Lithuania, Bulgaria and Iceland will descend on us. It is only a matter of time. And not much time. When things start to go sour, when Barack Obama is exposed as a mortal waving a sword at a tidal wave, the United States could plunge into a long period of precarious social instability.

At no period in American history has our democracy been in such peril or has the possibility of totalitarianism been as real. Our way of life is over. Our profligate consumption is finished. Our children will never have the standard of living we had. And poverty and despair will sweep across the landscape like a plague. This is the bleak future. There is nothing President Obama can do to stop it. It has been decades in the making. It cannot be undone with a trillion or two trillion dollars in bailout money. Our empire is dying. Our economy has collapsed.

How will we cope with our decline? Will we cling to the absurd dreams of a superpower and a glorious tomorrow or will we responsibly face our stark new limitations? Will we heed those who are sober and rational, those who speak of a new simplicity and humility, or will we follow the demagogues and charlatans who rise up out of the slime in moments of crisis to offer fantastic visions? Will we radically transform our system to one that protects the ordinary citizen and fosters the common good, that defies the corporate state, or will we employ the brutality and technology of our internal security and surveillance apparatus to crush all dissent? We won’t have to wait long to find out.

There are a few isolated individuals who saw it coming. The political philosophers Sheldon S. Wolin, John Ralston Saul and Andrew Bacevich, as well as writers such as Noam Chomsky, Chalmers Johnson, David Korten and Naomi Klein, along with activists such as Bill McKibben and Ralph Nader, rang the alarm bells. They were largely ignored or ridiculed. Our corporate media and corporate universities proved, when we needed them most, intellectually and morally useless.

Wolin, who taught political philosophy at the University of California in Berkeley and at Princeton, in his book “Democracy Incorporated” uses the phrase inverted totalitarianism to describe our system of power. Inverted totalitarianism, unlike classical totalitarianism, does not revolve around a demagogue or charismatic leader. It finds its expression in the anonymity of the corporate state. It purports to cherish democracy, patriotism and the Constitution while cynically manipulating internal levers to subvert and thwart democratic institutions. Political candidates are elected in popular votes by citizens, but they must raise staggering amounts of corporate funds to compete. They are beholden to armies of corporate lobbyists in Washington or state capitals who write the legislation. A corporate media controls nearly everything we read, watch or hear and imposes a bland uniformity of opinion or diverts us with trivia and celebrity gossip. In classical totalitarian regimes, such as Nazi fascism or Soviet communism, economics was subordinate to politics. “Under inverted totalitarianism the reverse is true,” Wolin writes. “Economics dominates politics—and with that domination comes different forms of ruthlessness.”

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I reached Wolin, 86, by phone at his home about 25 miles north of San Francisco. He was a bombardier in the South Pacific during World War II and went to Harvard after the war to get his doctorate. Wolin has written classics such as “Politics and Vision” and “Tocqueville Between Two Worlds.” His newest book is one of the most important and prescient critiques to date of the American political system. He is also the author of a series of remarkable essays on Augustine of Hippo, Richard Hooker, David Hume, Martin Luther, John Calvin, Max Weber, Friedrich Nietzsche, Karl Marx and John Dewey. His voice, however, has faded from public awareness because, as he told me, “it is harder and harder for people like me to get a public hearing.” He said that publications, such as The New York Review of Books, which often published his work a couple of decades ago, lost interest in his critiques of American capitalism, his warnings about the subversion of democratic institutions and the emergence of the corporate state. He does not hold out much hope for Obama.

“The basic systems are going to stay in place; they are too powerful to be challenged,” Wolin told me when I asked him about the new Obama administration. “This is shown by the financial bailout. It does not bother with the structure at all. I don’t think Obama can take on the kind of military establishment we have developed. This is not to say that I do not admire him. He is probably the most intelligent president we have had in decades. I think he is well meaning, but he inherits a system of constraints that make it very difficult to take on these major power configurations. I do not think he has the appetite for it in any ideological sense. The corporate structure is not going to be challenged. There has not been a word from him that would suggest an attempt to rethink the American imperium.”


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By Night-Gaunt, August 6, 2010 at 9:19 am Link to this comment
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That’s only if you believe the false idea that they couldn’t pray at all anywhere including in their own minds. (I missed the part when the churches all were turned into libraries.) A nonsense idea promulgated by those same ultra-conservative Reich wingers that put us in this Depression to start with. For the purpose of destroying our Republic and making us a corporate theocracy.

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By Barbeque kopen, August 6, 2010 at 5:33 am Link to this comment
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Great commenting! Could it be related to the fact that current people in congress were raised during their formative years
in public schools where they did not do any praying!  They think they are smarter than God,
like many people on this site. Liked this comment a lot, when I saw it, nice! Thanks

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By aeg, July 22, 2010 at 4:54 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

What a long and informative comments. Great work, and great blog post too. Thanks for sharing

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By Londen, March 24, 2010 at 6:43 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Good article, but a really difficult subject. The big question is that we don’t know if stopping giving power to politicians is going to solve any problems. What remains is a difficult discussion and a even more difficult subject to talk about.

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By Night-Gaunt, February 3, 2010 at 10:47 am Link to this comment

Yes and I am telling you that this particular type of Christianity, designed to favor the rich and powerful is being aggressively proselytized both here and abroad. So I don’t need you telling me what is “official” in this matter. That wasn’t the point now was it? But then if they all “had it right” there would be just one interpretation, one creed, and only one Christianity. But as you know there isn’t. (They all claim to be the right one too!)

These guys believe in the Old Testament more than the New. Crusader/Inquisition kind of Christianity very similar to what the Nazis were. But the Bolshiveks were no better. Cruel, intrepid and imperial. The psychopaths creed so nothing is beneath them to get what they want and to keep it. [No humanism, all powerful, and human life was nothing to them.]

http://www.talk2action.com covers a lot of this.

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By christian96, February 3, 2010 at 6:42 am Link to this comment

NightGaunt——“If you are rich it’s because God
favors you.”  That’s the Pat Robertson type of
Gospel.  My Bible reads 180 degrees in the opposite
direction.  According to my Bible God gives people
talents to serve others not themselves.  Jesus spoke
repeatedly about helping the less fortunate.

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By Night-Gaunt, February 2, 2010 at 11:14 am Link to this comment

May be you should look a little closer and you find that the Dominionist version of Christianity is making inroads with the rich and powerful as well as the rank-and-file here in this country. Secular gov’t is on the decline & has been for some time as those who work to not only undermine & stamp it out but anything else that isn’t of their particular kind of theology & accompanying theonomy. (Religious based gov’t.)

The tenants include lassaize fair capitalism, low or non-existent taxes, theocratic laws (Leviticus), if you are rich it is because God favors you, a militarist holy warrior mind set, and also a mystical view of the world needing to be cleansed of dark forces. They are very big in this country and others where they are evangelizing.

Its not going to get better for most of us. But like in every totalitarian state, a certain % will.

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By bobby Hawk, February 2, 2010 at 6:37 am Link to this comment
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This is the very thinking that those of the doctrine of philosophy want you to think. 
Its completely hopeless and only the government (State) can save you. 

Paul warns of those people who have been deceived by the doctrine of philosophy in
Colossians 2:8.  He has a long conversation with them which is noted in Acts 17.  I
you allow it they will lead you straight into there system based on the doctrine of
philosophy (progressivism, socialism, communism, Liberation Theology). Those of
the doctrine of Christianity should never allow themselves to become party to this
doctrine.

This is none other than the plan of the 45 communist goals (1960’s) coming to
fruition.  For years the communist have invested in all areas of this country in an
attempt to bring it to collapse from within.  There very plan is to take over this
country and make it communist.  They will completely eliminate Christianity just as
they did in Russian when they boarded up the doors to the Churches and made it
illegal to worship.  They will force out corporations and completely close down the
capitalist system.  All will become under State control. Every aspect of our lives will
come under State control.  They will tell you where to live, where to work, how to act,
and yes they will even have you turning on your neighbors and reporting them to the
State.

But there is hope, all is not lost as this article indicates.  We the people still have the
power.  We have an election in November of 2010. With this election we can select
representatives and senators to send to washington. During the primaries to these
elections, we must choose wisely any and all candidates from all parties.  We must
weed out those of the doctrine of philosophy, including any and all progressives. 

We must not send any “normal politicians” to Washington. All sent from the November
elections of 2010 must be citizens whom we the people have selected and approved. 
We can change the balance of power in this election and in the next and in the next. 

We must never again vote for those who are presented by the political parties of the
United States. We must select and support our own candidates for public office.  This
is the hope,  This is how we can win,  This is how we can take back our country and
end the domination by those of the doctrine of philosophy.

The primaries will be starting very shortly for candidates, we must not get locked
down in the political rhetoric of the two party system.  Instead we must send a
message to both parties, that we will no longer accept their agendas.  We must send
our own candidates and not their chosen candidates.  This election will make or break
America as a country.  If we send politicians to Washington, we will not survive as a
nation.  However if we send our selected candidates, no matter what walk of life they
are from, then we will win and we can take control of our country once again. 

Don’t forget!  There is a God of Israel, and he is in control.  Lets put our faith and
trust in him and follow his commandments.  He will help us rid our country of the
vermin who wish to drive him out.

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By Algernon, December 19, 2009 at 2:06 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Only it’s not the Economy in Control (Main Street) but Financiers (Wall Street). Economy is going down due to financial speculations making few rich and the rest…

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By KDelphi, November 12, 2009 at 11:48 pm Link to this comment

Sepharad—some beautiful ideas there…to christian and whoever else, intelligence just is not enough, and, if the past can be a juidge, seems to detract from a politician’s ability to understand the average person, esp when it comes to presidents. I think that it just takes such an enormous ego..we need a parliament and PM

Enough Ivy League—I d like a lady from some state university….

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By Sepharad, November 12, 2009 at 10:30 pm Link to this comment

Guess we’ll just have to wait and see. Meanwhile am hoping to read about it in tomorrow’s paper—and, re those “other locations”, S. Hersch’s story on Pakistan in current New Yorker magazine. From the interview, Hersch did not sound worried about Taliban or anyone else getting Pakistan’s nukes—almost dismissive in fact.

This is such a fraught time, personally and politically. I was getting gas at the little station on Gravenstein Hwy, as usual, and the owner, a Palistinian man in his early 60s, and I were listening to the news of Obama’s balking at the military’s demands. We’ve both recently lost a child, which has figured more largely in our conversations lately than the usual Middle East and horse-related topics. We split one of the baklavas he sells, and he said he felt like closing the station, going home to his wife and taking a peaceful nap. Told him that was precisely what I had been thinking too, though as it turned out instead of taking a nap I sat in the shade and watched my husband welding a broken gate hinge. Horses cause an enormous amount of damage without meaning to, unlike people who seem to be quite purposeful in doing harm. It’s so rare that there is any truly heartening news that you don’t want to carry on as usual because if you do the good thing might disappear into the ether while you’re not looking.

Neither my friend at the gas station nor I are artists, but we’ve been taking turns sketching pictures of our lost children at various ages doing things that we each remember. Today I did one of her face, as I remembered it, curls and flushed cheeks, lazily arguing with me one primary day on the back porch why it was more important for this country to elect a black President than a female one. (This is probably the first day I would have agreed with her.)

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By christian96, November 12, 2009 at 9:52 pm Link to this comment

Sheparad—-I can’t comment on Obama’s decision.
I haven’t read or heard anything about it.  I do
believe it is possible that people are underestimating Pres. Obama.  There may be more
intellect behind those pearly whites than we realize.
However, it is obivious he must decide to do something soon since elections loom just around
the corner for his constituents.  He knows that
less military would give him more money for healthcare but he also realizes that he risks
assassination when he bucks the people making money
off the military.

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By Night-Gaunt, November 12, 2009 at 9:23 pm Link to this comment

We can only hope he just isn’t going to send them to a more useful, to them, locations.

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By Sepharad, November 12, 2009 at 6:36 pm Link to this comment

christian96, Ted, Night-Gaunt ... is it possible that Obama has yanked the military out from under the Authoritarians? I THINK I heard on the car radio that he is not going to send more soldiers to Afghanistan. Maybe we are getting lucky?

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By christian96, November 12, 2009 at 12:35 am Link to this comment

Sepharad—-I share your concerns.  When I’m not
preaching my relgious beliefs I try to take a more
pragmatic view of things.  What will I do when all
hell breaks loose in America? I lived very close
to the Amish community in Ohio.  They are very
independent.  When mayhem runs in the streets of
America I thought I might grow a beard and ask the
Amish if I could live with them.  It would mean no
electricity along with riding in a horse drawn
buggy.  However, I would have a place to sleep,
food to eat, and a friendly community in which to
socialize.  However, if it gets bad enough in America the survival of the fitest will grip Americans.  They will probably overrun the Amish
and take their food.  I hope it doesn’t get that
bad but one never knows.  It’s bad now and going to
get worse.  The question is “How much worse?”

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By Sepharad, November 11, 2009 at 11:50 pm Link to this comment

Night-Gaunt, Definitely, Authoritarians with a mighty military is a reality we must stop, but how? I thought we’ve been trying to do just that for decades. Struggling for voting rights for all the people, protesting unjust wars, succeeding in getting legislation that would give public access to government information and declassify much that does not need to be, seeking and getting a line item veto for CIA expenditures (thank you Sen. Stuart Symington), impeaching a President for violating the law ... But looking back I must admit that poor Nixon’s Watergate scandal was not nearly as damaging to the country as empowering the banks and financial institutions at the rest of the country’s expense, not nearly as damaging as inventing wars for oil ... Were we just too distracted by sideshows such as impeachment proceedings while the really nasty stuff was being planned by people who held no public office at all?

Frankly, my generation thought we were effective activists, we did the small but important stuff such as literacy classes, provide free tutors for struggling students in public high schools, union organizing, school lunches and Headstart (and many other things that flowed from LBJ’s Great Society as well as JFK’s Peace Corps). But somehow we lost control. Maybe we never had it. Maybe while we thought we were building from the bottom up, the irretrievable damage was being done from the top down and was just too far above our radar. How silly for us to not have considered careers with Aramco or Bectel or Goldman Sachs.

I can’t think of anything useful to do, except try to prepare our children and grandchildren to deal with social mayhem and how to find moments of joy amidst all the rest. Our daughter who died recently did biomedical research, wrote very fine poetry, and helped anyone who crossed her path with their problems to the extent that she could. She was tough, but maybe not equipped to deal with the sort of reality you are predicting, had it engulfed her world. I think our sons might be strong enough but our granddaughters and grandson? Too soon to tell.

Besides food and shelter, what does it take too live amidst mayhem?  Self-defense ability, organizing a community however changeable and makeshift, access to medical care and a barter system, so a variety of basic skills are essential. And transportation—bicycles and horses. Plus a small tractor. Also music and art and poetry, and books. (All these specifics sound like notes from my Romanian great-great-grandfather who settled in Palestine in 1828, while he was learning how to best remove rocks from chalky soil then cultivate it. Not sure it would work, he kept one grandson with him and sent the other to America.)

To grasp the reality of mayhem, I suppose we could turn to literature describing post-war conditions in Europe and Eastern Europe from medieval to the reign of the Red Cavalry to WWI and II, as well as what it is like in Darfur, parts of Iraq and Afghanistan. But I have the feeling that mayhem is something you have to have experienced to comprehend just how awful it can be. I suppose the logical and best response to mayhem would be an organized revolution, but that would be very, very difficult.

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By Sepharad, November 11, 2009 at 10:03 pm Link to this comment

Ted, yes, the article was prescient indeed—particularly Mr. Wolin’s comments. One in particular—re the unlikelihood of Obama taking on the imperium, or even wishing to—is scrolling out in a disturbing way. Intelligence is probably not enough, and neither is the sort of ego that Obama seems to have. Sometimes I think that it would take a combination of the best of both JFK and LBJ to think and push this country, in all of its failing policy pieces, back to a place where there is even a breath of a hope of correction before it founders.

There are so many things that have contributed to the mess we’re in, but one of the biggest—even more than the ascendance of corporate greed—is the crazy clout religion has won over science, logic, education. Someday in the far future, curious students are going to ponder how quickly the American imperium foundered. The Romans had their civic deterioration just in time for the barbarians to roll in, and likewise the Americans, someone will suggest in their thesis, stumbled from consumerism and hubris into religio-fantasies that left them stranded on the shore of reality, wondering what happened.

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By Ted Swart, November 11, 2009 at 12:29 pm Link to this comment

Yes indeed Sepharad.  A theocratic corporate dictatorship would indeed be a terrible phenomenon. Since it was way back in February that Hedges wrote his article I thought I’d better read it again. And the only way I can describe it is to say that it was extremely prescient. So much of what he says seems to be coming true in front of our eyes.
It is amazing how in these forums muddle headed religious thinking such as that displayed by christian96 seems to leap to the fore.

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By Night-Gaunt, November 11, 2009 at 12:21 pm Link to this comment

Ever since Reagan in an unbroken chain they have been maneuvering us to this point. With all the false and bad choices we are given this may be the last and largest such “choice.” Between mayhem, which isn’t Anarchy, but a brutal life without order and their brutal life with a semblance of what we are familiar with, only without the Bill of Rights or Constitution to get in their way. They tried it once before in 1934 but failed, due to a lucky happenstance but not this time. FDR should have punished them but didn’t and laid the seeds for what we have now. The “Fraternity” has grown larger and more powerful and learned their lesson which is how to go about making sure their way is traveled. In the mean time they use the Republic’s wealth to build the infrastructure for its replacement. I must say it is brilliant and deadly. We have such a broken system all it took is the infiltration and payoffs and the natural tendency of some to be corrupt to help make it so. Obama just may be our last president, even if others own him and his allegiance is to them not us.

As for repenting I am very familiar and don’t think such threats are any more than of Humans not so-called gods. We need to save our selves or not as has happened in the past and will into the future. It is in our hands and people need to understand that.

You must also remember that such almost world conquerors as Napolean I & Adolf Hitler understood the power of the religious believer, and the rabid nationalist and used them to their advantage. However in this case, with us, it is a group who are the ones to dominate us and the world. Imagine if they had not restraints? What would they do with a military larger than any ever fielded with weapons not seen before on this earth? Authoritarians can bring on the end of Human civilization in their greed for power and control. That is a reality we should stop.

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By Sepharad, November 11, 2009 at 11:59 am Link to this comment

Night-Gaunt—A theocratic corporate dictatorship. I cannot think of anything that would be as nightmarish as that: with anarchy there is chaos but also the hope that the most sane and rational would prevail one way or another.

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By christian96, November 11, 2009 at 11:53 am Link to this comment

Night-Gaunt—-The time of the great tribulation
is near.  Repent and turn to Christ and be saved.
I have warned you.  Your blood is off my hands.
“When I say unto the wicked, Thou shall surely die;
and thou givest him not warning, nor speakest to
warn the wicked from their wicked ways, to save
his life; the same wicked shall die in their sins;
BUT HIS BLOOD WILL I REQUIRE AT THINE HAND.  Yet
if thou warn the wicked, and they turn not from
their wicked ways, they shall die in their sins;
BUT THOU HAS DELIVERED THY SOUL.”(EZEKIEL 3:18,19)
You have been warned!

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By Night-Gaunt, November 11, 2009 at 10:06 am Link to this comment

Christian96 it is always upon us. That generation has long passed away and it didn’t happen but it is vague enough for you to fit whatever you are thinking into it. [Like replacing a peg with silly putty so it can fit any hole you have.] Even if that very vagueness gives you little to work with. But then that is where imagination comes in. The only way Atheism and Evolution will be gone is if they are physically killed and the research destroyed. It could happen here if those like you, Christian96 take over and make us a theocratic corporate empire. There are some involved at that right now and they are on the verge of winning.

http://www.pulltheplugonatheism.com/ (Do it right and it will activate automatically. Didn’t you read the instructions here?) Atheists recommend reading the Bible and any other so-called Holy Book but use intelligence, discernment and perspicacity to do so not pious acceptance as is usually told.

Can you imagine what will happen when anything occurs that will upset our delicately balanced economy? Disaster that is what! Then the Dominionists will make their play. The very idea of our form of gov’t will be trashed and they will offer their claw to save us from neo-barbarism and most will take a theocratic dictatorship that resembles our society than a devastated society of maniacs and murders fighting for survival.

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By christian96, November 11, 2009 at 4:42 am Link to this comment

Wintersport—-How are you going to stop giving
power to politicians?  They’ve got coropate money,
CIA, and the Pentagon behind them.  The only one
who can stop them is God and THAT WILL HAPPEN!
Jesus spoke of “the day of judgment” in
Matthew 10:15.  IT IS UPON US!  Zephaniah 1:18,
“Neither their SILVER nor their GOLD shall be able
to deliver them in the day of the Lord’s wrath.”
Ezekiel 7:19, “They shall cast their silver in the
streets, and their gold shall be removed: their
silver and their gold shall not be able to deliver
them in the day of the wrath of the Lord.” I stand
behind my comment at 12:39 a.m. on February 23rd
which is the title of this article, “IT’S NOT GOING
TO BE O.K.!”

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By Wintersport, November 11, 2009 at 2:56 am Link to this comment

I don’t know if stopping giving power to politicians will solve anything… this is an extremely difficult subject.

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By Anarcissie, March 5, 2009 at 9:03 pm Link to this comment

Sepharad—It’s a kind of proverb, but instead of telling it asks.

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By Sepharad, March 5, 2009 at 4:02 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Anarcissie—Art Spiegelman had The Answer when he wrote “Can’t we just hate each other in peace?” Do that long enough, even cooperate in the meantime, and mutual trust and actual peace might come to be. At least that’s the only way I see anything positive happening in the Near and Middle East.

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By Embaraee, March 5, 2009 at 6:28 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I see alot of panic arising just like they would like everyone to be. But The Bible has told about this coming event for many generations. The LORD Elohim did not leave us in the dark to fear, but gave us hope to have faith when we believe that He is with us through all this. Wake up people, this is a wake-up call to come out of Bablylon. This is the time for repentence. He will provide for you in this time. Who really CONTROLS all? Not these people who have alot of money who thinks they control the nations. They are pawns just as well as they use others as pawns. All this MUST COME TO BE, for it is prophecied in the Scriptures. Read it, the instruction are in there for as the time as this, to prepare us. Nothing else will do.You can run in the mountains or the forest, this won’t help you. Call on the LORD G-d for help. Thats all that He wants you to do. REPENT!!!

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By christian96, February 22, 2009 at 8:39 pm Link to this comment

IT’S NOT GOING TO BE O.K.!

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By KDelphi, February 20, 2009 at 4:07 pm Link to this comment

How sbout term limits, no lobbying ( no one really believes that it is “free speech”), proportional representation, and, “corporatins are not people”?

For a start…

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By vegdude, February 20, 2009 at 4:02 pm Link to this comment

Would it not be more to the point to stop handing power over to politicians in the first place?  They have no more power than anyone else, except what people give them.

Absolutely.  Those who have abused power should never get it again.  However, you will find that people want to use the power of government against other people they don’t like, or whose money they want.  Which is why thugs who abuse power get elected, then re-elected, over and over again.  That is why I believe we need to educate ourselves and others first.  Once we truly understand why the founders insisted that government power should be limited, divided, checked, balanced, and forced to compete with itself on multiple levels in multiple dimensions, we will insist on a restoration of AT LEAST those checks and limitations in the future.  Until then, unfortunately, we will likely continue to get more of the same.

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By Anarcissie, February 20, 2009 at 1:31 pm Link to this comment

vegdude:
’... Some of us, for example politicians, have far more power than others, and thus even greater responsibility.  Yet, we know that all power corrupts.  So it is of absolute importance that We, the People, hold corrupt politicians accountable, along with others who have abused positions of great power. ...’

Would it not be more to the point to stop handing power over to politicians in the first place?  They have no more power than anyone else, except what people give them.

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By KDelphi, February 20, 2009 at 12:55 pm Link to this comment

ITW—So?

That doesnt mean we can control thoughts like we can actions. It is not possible , nor desirable.

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By Inherit The Wind, February 20, 2009 at 11:53 am Link to this comment

KDelphi, February 20 at 9:55 am #

No one dies from others’ “thoughts”.
*****************************************

Yeah, it’s how they act on those thoughts.

“Pick me! I’m askin’ ya with my brain!!!”—Molt, A Bug’s Life

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By KDelphi, February 20, 2009 at 10:55 am Link to this comment

No one dies from others’ “thoughts”.

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By vegdude, February 19, 2009 at 6:17 am Link to this comment

Each of us has power to bring about good or evil, joy or suffering, life or death even, through our thoughts, words, and deeds.  With this great power comes great responsibility.  We must choose wisely.  Not only we, but all those around us, and even society itself, depend on this.

Some of us, for example politicians, have far more power than others, and thus even greater responsibility.  Yet, we know that all power corrupts.  So it is of absolute importance that We, the People, hold corrupt politicians accountable, along with others who have abused positions of great power.  We must ensure that they not be allowed to enslave, rob, and murder with impunity.  If we do not, then who will?

But, even then, it is important for us to do so wisely, properly, justly, and lawfully.  To respect their rights, even though they did not respect ours.  If not, then we lower ourselves to their level, further erode respect for rule of law, and generally become exactly what we claim to oppose.

As for the nature of God whom I try (very imperfectly) to serve, Thomas Jefferson wrote this:

God who gave us life gave us liberty.  And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure if we have removed their only firm basis: a conviction in the minds of men that these liberties are the gift of God?  That they are not to be violated but with His wrath?  Indeed, I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that His justice cannot sleep forever.

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By KDelphi, February 18, 2009 at 1:00 pm Link to this comment

vegdude—What kind of “god” do you believe in that gives you the choice of life or death over another human being?

It always puzzles me to hear “god-fearing” people speak of the power of “god” to grant “rights” and, then, in the same conversation, to grant themselves power over whether others wil live or die.

That being said, they should all be indicted (Bush et al) and locked up for life, with video cameras online, 24/7, where people can watch them, toddle arund in their underwear….doesnt that sound like more fun?

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By vegdude, February 18, 2009 at 11:38 am Link to this comment

Time to start hanging polticians

No, not yet.  First it is time to document their crimes.  Then it is time to educate people about their God-given and Constitutionally-protected rights, and the responsibility that rests with them to enforce those rights.  Then it is time to arrest, indict, and try some of the politicians for, among other things, war crimes as well as conspiracy to violate the rights of U.S. citizens under color of law.  (Both of these carry the death penalty.)  Then, if they are guilty and absent any extenuating circumstances, we hang them, but without ever having stooped to their level, without ever having initiated force or fraud against anyone, but only having responded, lawfully and correctly, against those who have conspired to rob, plunder, enslave, and murder people on the grandest scale in history.

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By Jose, February 18, 2009 at 4:56 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Time to start hanging polticians

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By elizabethe, February 15, 2009 at 11:02 pm Link to this comment

IF the media doesn’t want to present the truth about the election and the fact that there is a serious accusation by challengers, that the people are supposed to have the full slate before them before they vote…the media needs to admit they are corporate profiteers and NOT in the public interest and go to the profit corporate reporting and let the non-profits alone cover the government actions and the elections FOR THE PEOPLE not the corporate corrupt hideous results of extreme lies AS IF the nation wants corporate bailouts and military trillions of red ink and accusations and heinous interference of dangerous weapons against innocent countries, namely the middle east.  NO Obama is offense on every score, so is Hillary, and NOW, I see Kerry as equally culpable, and the entire congress for allowing her heinous warmongering without conscience as if it is our national policy…that, of course, is being forced against the nation BY THE CORPORATE CORRUPT MEDIA…notably in Today’s Parade magazine by a author who handily ignores the facts and perpetrates unconscionable propaganda such as calling Iran (who does not have ANY nuclear weapons) “public enemy number one” the author should get that title, and the media entirely needs to be brought to task.

I say truly, a state by state void of the election would be proof the people can declare the U.S. Constitution theirs and the taxes that support the ACTIONS of the GOVERNMENT as belonging to the PEOPLE not the military industrial corrupt…this author cannot begin to fathom that, but if the people decide they have seen enough already the required SIX not TWO contest might prove the proper extreme offensive embarassment of a nation tyrannized by the media, and the unconscionable misuse of taxes for unwanted war against all proper policy….it is a can do, if the people of every state implore the Secretary of State;s office and the Governor’s office to have the legislature vote on the ONLY VALID ELECTION is an INFORMED ELECTION.

The people did not vote for what Obama is doing…red ink corporate corruption especially aimed at military offensives, against all sanity and honor.

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By Anarcissie, February 14, 2009 at 10:32 pm Link to this comment

vegdude: ’... I have trouble distinguishing bigotry based on race with bigotry based on religion. ...’

Religions generally have content, and they are in theory the voluntary choice of their adult adherents (in the West, anyway).  Race has no content.  It’s a category and a judgement imposed on people for absurdities like appearance and approximate place of origin.  One might disagree with the content of one or more religions, but one can’t rationally disagree with the content of a race because race has no content, logically speaking.

As for racists getting to know and thus respect the objects of their hatred, I’ve heard of it, but I have my doubts.  There is a cure for ignorance but there is no known cure for stupidity.

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By Ted Swart, February 14, 2009 at 12:04 pm Link to this comment

Part 1
Let me come clean Anarcissie.  I have not ready any of Oriana Fallaci’s books apart from “The Force of Reason”.  I knew nothing about her hate campaign against Mexicans until you mentioned it.  But nothing you say makes me any the less certain that The Force of Reason is a top quality book full of useful insights many of which escape most people.  The fact that Fallaci had flaws in no way detracts from my assessment of her book—which has many interesting observations that are usually missed by far too many people.
I long ago gave up having heroes since I know only too well that, when push comes to shove, we all have clay feet.  Fallaci’s flaws – including her addiction to nicotine which brought about her untimely death – do not invalidate her insights but simply confirm the fact that she was human.
You suggest that she was “fiercely” opposed to homosexual marriage.  Let me come clean on this issue as well.  Whilst I welcome the provision of a formal legal ratification of homosexual partnerships I am not at all comfortable with the Orwellian style re-definition of the meaning of the word marriage.  To play fast and loose with this word is to fail to recognize that there is a very real qualitative difference between homosexual partnerships and heterosexual marriages.  I do not say this for some silly religious reasons – since I have no religious affiliation – but simply in the interests of common sense and the well being of human society.
Thus I applaud what has been done in France, Germany, the UK, New Zealand and many other countries which have made legal provision for civil unions/domestic partnerships for homosexual couples whilst leaving of the word marriage intact. And, thus it is that Elton John had a wedding but did not get married. Truth to tell I am not politically correct and have no interest in joining a bandwagon when it comes to an enforced change in the the meaning the word marriage or the current scientifically suspect obsession with global warming.
Incidentally, it may not be common knowledge but president Obama has more than once – most recently in his telephone conversation with the Pope—signalled that he does not support a change in meaning of the word marriage. Unfortunately I do not have much confidence that he has the courage of his convictions and it seems likely that he will simply allow political correctness to sweep right over him.

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By Ted Swart, February 14, 2009 at 12:02 pm Link to this comment

Part 2
When it comes to Mexicans I don’t have enough personal knowledge to comment at length.  Apart from a brief one day shopping trip to Tijuana, when I attended a conference in San Diego, I have never even vacationed in Mexico.  And my only direct interaction with a Mexican was with a professor in a computer science department which I used to chair.  And, since that was a very positive interaction, I have no built in biases against Mexicans.  However, judging form what the MSM have been saying the running of Mexico is very close to being in the hands of the drug cartels.  And, since the manufacture an distribution of drugs causes immense harm to numerous lives, I tend to regard it as worse than murder.  So I certainly have no affection for that particular subset of Mexicans.  However, as the saying goes, it takes two to tango and if there wasn’t such a huge market in the US the drug cartels would be a pale shadow of their current selves.
We are often told that the “war” against drugs is lost and that they should simply be legalized.  Truth to tell we have not been sufficiently serious in our attempts to reduce drug taking.  Here in Canada we have been experimenting (in Vancouver and Montreal) with so-called harm reduction (HR) and safe injection sites (SISes) with no real success.  The strongest and most vociferous critics of SISes are those who were hooked on hard drugs and managed to cut loose from them – their objection being that such sites are fixated on the view that drug taking is an incurable affliction.  The figures in Vancouver are staggering.  About 90% if the intravenous drug users have hepatitis C and some 30 to 40 % have HIV. The odd thing is that the in Amsterdam where HR was tried a long time ago they have decided that it has been a costly mistake.  And cities like Athens, Stockholm and Oslo have signed a declaration against drugs and the use of SISes as surreptitious ways of legalizing drugs. Enough said.  The symbiosis between drug making and distribution by Mexico and the out of control use of hard drugs in the US does not redound to the credit of either Mexico or the US.
As far as the threat of the less salubrious instantiations of the Muslim religion are concerned I think that the infiltration of Europe and, to a lesser extent, North America by Muslims and their relentless attempts to foist Sharia law (the basic assumption of which is that women are lesser beings) on the local populations ought to be resisted at all costs. And it is precisely this aspect of the Muslim threat which drew Fallaci’s attention.
As is always the case such comments do not apply to all Muslims and I have a Muslim friend where I live who is a joy to interact with and there are some branches of the Muslim faith – such as the Ahmadi’s – who, like my friend, are utterly opposed to violence of any kind.

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By vegdude, February 14, 2009 at 10:34 am Link to this comment

I have trouble distinguishing bigotry based on race with bigotry based on religion.  Both are equally repugnant to me.  It is true that we tend to favor and trust those who are most like us, and that is probably an inherent part of fallen human nature.  But that is NOT an excuse for bigotry and hate, regardless of the target.

I wonder if those suffering from this affliction could possibly be persuaded to take some time to get to know those whom they consider to be “the enemy.”  No matter who that might be.  In some cases I’m sure they would find every one of their suspicions and prejudices confirmed, and maybe then some.  But I suspect that in many, many more, they would find that people are people everywhere, regardless of race, creed, location, ethnicity, language, ideology, or class.  They would likely find good and bad in every group.  They would find that the very same people are often capable of both heartwarming kindness and compassion, as well as heart-wrenching apathy, cruelty and indifference.

There is something of both God and the devil in each of us, and most of the things that differ from one person to another are far less important than the many things we all have in common.

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By Anarcissie, February 14, 2009 at 9:15 am Link to this comment

Sodium: <i>’... Lastly but not least,the poster on this thread (I think Anacrissie) who said that Oriana Fallaci could not be taken seriously hit the target where it must be hit. Yes, siree,never,never take any writer who uses sensationalism….’<i>

It’s not the sensationalism, it’s the racism.  If it weren’t for the remarks about Mexicans, one might mistake her comments about Muslims for some kind of ideological quarrel with Islam.  Like most “great” religions, Islam provides its critics with plenty of ammunition.  But Mexicans?  Comments like hers are the sort of thing you’d hear in a low bar in one of the cheesier suburbs.  The Mexican thing casts quite a different light on Fallaci’s snarling about Muslims, and I am surprised that anyone wants to stand in its reflection.

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By Sodium, February 13, 2009 at 4:05 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Re:Christian96 February 12 at 8:45pm.

Christian96,

I love reading good books,regardless of the source.In fact,it is my main hobby:Reading.Therefore I intend to find the book you recommended at Barns and Noble and/or Border book stores.For confirmation I will repeat,below,the book you have recommended to read is:

“You can Lead An Atheist To Evidence But You Can’t Make Him Think”
By
Ray Comfort

Just in case,it cannot be obtained through Barnes and Noble and/or Border book stores,please tell me from where I may purchased it.Thank you.

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By Sodium, February 13, 2009 at 3:37 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Subject:Oriana Fallaci and Her Journalistic Sensationalism….

My apology to Anacressie and Vegdude for violating once again my own abhorrence in deviating from the topic of the article which is a bout the economic meltdown the nation currently facing,but etc…

Yeah,I,too,read some of Oriana Fallaci’s writings.In fact,I had followed her sensationalistic journalism for a while and finally got bored for the redundancy of her sensationalism,especially after she wrote “I
Found It Shamful etc…” What was really shameful was actually her obvious lack of respect toward Muslims as humanbeings and Islam as a great religion followed by 1.4-1.8 billion,yes you read it right,BILLION.

I must admit that I was fooled by her journalistic sensationalism,in the very beginning,as I thought she would offer constructive and objective analysis of the political events as they occurred.I regret to
say I was pipe-dreaming and subsequently I was immensely disappointed.Reasons:

-After succeeded in interviewing Iran’s Al-Khumaini,who practically kick her out when he said:“I had enough and I want to rest”,she made the following disgusting comment:

“I wish his mother had an abortion when she was pregnant with him”

Since Oriana Fallaci had publiclly declared that she was Anti-Abortionists,it is unbecoming of her to make such a statement,as recited above.Besides,the Iranian leader is still a humanbeing and highly respected and admired by the vast majority of the 70 million Iranians.

-She desparately wanted to interview the Pope but could not initially,because she herself publiclly declared she was an Atheist.Perhaps,by pushing her luck through some of the Pope’s aids,she declared,and in public that she was “A CHRISTIAN ATHEIST”,after which she got an interview with the Pope.

Questions:What is exactly “A CHRISTIAN ATHEIST”,any way?

Is there really such a creature,CHRISTIAN ATHEIST?

How could Christianity be Christianity and Atheistic at the same time?

Are we entering the realm of unreality,because of Oriana Fallaci’s exploitation of the “end justifies the means”?

Could any other creature having it both ways as Fallaci had it with the Pope? If so,where Christianity and Atheism start and where they end?

-Fallaci steady and obvious attempts to be around the well known Italian actresses such as Gina La bubrida and Sophia Lorein etc… tells me plenty about her desire to be constantly in the spot light when the political events were not good enough for her sensationalism.This has to do with her psych and perhaps mental disorder,because she tried to give the impression that they were her friends,altough, perhaps,they could not stand her and they were just polite to her.

-The Christian Right loved the writing of Oriana Fallaci agianst Muslims/Islam for their own ominous agenda.They made her one of their heroes along with their real heroe,the exponent of hatred toward Islam and Muslims:Robert Spencer who made his living by writing trashy books for the mere purpose of defaming Islam/Muslims.In my dictionary,anybody associated as a heroe with Spencer is full of hatred like im.Period.Yes,
you can call it guilty by association.

-When she died,the people who made passionate eulogy for her death was the usual crowd of haters of Islam and Muslims,topping the list was Robert Spencer.One can measure from there.

Lastly but not least,the poster on this thread (I think Anacrissie)who said that Oriana Fallaci could not be taken seriously hit the target where it must be hit.Yes,siree,never,never take any writer who uses sensationalism in journalism to attract attention to himself/herself and to foster hatred in a world is about to implode because it has too much hatred already.

For those who probably wonder whether or not I am a Muslim.To all of them I say:Rest assured I am not a Muslim,but I studied Islam scholastically and found it to be a great religion for those who wanted to be religious, which I did not care to be.

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By Anarcissie, February 13, 2009 at 8:48 am Link to this comment

I like “I’m not prejudiced—I hate everybody.”  A classical bumper sticker.  And then there’s Art Spiegelman’s “Can’t we just hate each other in peace?”

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By Inherit The Wind, February 12, 2009 at 9:51 pm Link to this comment

Old Cop: “Harry hates EVERYBODY!”
Young Hispanic Cop: “Oh yeah? How does he feel about Latinos?”
Dirty Harry (grunting): “Especially Spics!”

Of course he’s saying it tongue-in-cheek just to get Young Hispanic Cop’s goat…...

I only hate the rich uppper-class Mexicans who think they are better than everyone else and treat them like shit.  Especially that last part….then again, that’s the way I feel about ANYBODY who acts that way.

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By christian96, February 12, 2009 at 9:45 pm Link to this comment

To SO-CALLED ATHEIST——-Since today is the 200th
birthday of Charles Darwin, I thought it appropriate
two give you two birthday presents:

(1) A book by Ray Comfort titled:  “You Can Lead
An Atheist To Evidence But You Can’t Make Him Think.”

(2) A web site:  Pulltheplugonatheism.com.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

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By Anarcissie, February 12, 2009 at 9:09 pm Link to this comment

Anyone who hates the Mexicans hates the human race, indeed, hates life itself.  I can’t take them seriously.  But I’ll let her speak for herself, through the reporter Margaret Talbot (http://www.newyorker.com/archive/2006/06/05/060605fa_fact): ‘The magnificently rebellious Oriana Fallaci now cultivates, it seems, the prejudices of the petite bourgeoisie. She is opposed to abortion, unless she “were raped and made pregnant by a bin Laden or a Zarqawi.” She is fiercely opposed to gay marriage (“In the same way that the Muslims would like us all to become Muslims, they would like us all to become homosexuals”), and suspicious of immigration in general. The demonstrations by immigrants in the United States these past few months “disgust” her, especially when protesters displayed the Mexican flag. “I don’t love the Mexicans,” Fallaci said, invoking her nasty treatment at the hands of Mexican police in 1968. “If you hold a gun and say, ‘Choose who is worse between the Muslims and the Mexicans,’ I have a moment of hesitation. Then I choose the Muslims, because they have broken my balls.”’

Associate yourself with this sort of thing if you wish.

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By Sepharad, February 12, 2009 at 4:14 pm Link to this comment
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Anarcissie—She’s no less intelligent than she used to be and, while I don’t share her ideas re Mexicans, she’s spot-on re the Muslims she’s referring to (obviously not all). “Overheated” has always been her baseline style but she gets more intense when she thinks people are being thick and/or oblivious. Short fuse, long thoughts.

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By Anarcissie, February 12, 2009 at 3:14 pm Link to this comment

I’ve read some of Oriana Fallaci’s work, although it was a long time ago—some reportage and a novel.  Generally I liked her stuff.  I thought her style was pretty overheated, but one can’t deny she had paid the dues for it.  However, towards the end she began ranting generically about Muslims and Mexicans, and that sort of thing bores me.  I thought it unworthy of an intelligent person, which she had hitherto seemed to be.

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By Sepharad, February 12, 2009 at 2:13 pm Link to this comment
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Ted—You’re probably the only person on this whole site who’s ever read Oriana Fallaci, and I hope you’ll consider contributing to other threads. More light than heat is badly needed here, and you are one of the primary light sources, along with Inherit.
Anyway, thanks for your insights and I will. (Hamba Ghashli, that is.)

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By Anarcissie, February 12, 2009 at 1:40 pm Link to this comment

vegdude:
‘Every example you referred to seems to support Sodium’s contention, not your own.  Each one is an example of a reaction against at least the perception of an injustice (and, in the case of the premeditated dismemberment of unborn children, a perception with which I strongly agree). ...’

But I have a radically different view of abortion from yours.  What you see as unjust, I see as just.  Justice, then, is turning out to be the universalization (sometimes, the deification) of one’s own opinions; anything one feels strongly opposed to is “unjust”.  The concept has no reliable meaning, if, indeed, it has any meaning at all.  Of course all those who commit terrorist acts (and other acts of war) say their cause is “just”; they’re simply ringing in God or the Universe as part of their team.

I was think of “injustice” in a more limited sense, as a perceived wrong done directly to a party who then responds violently.  But the concept seems to be so gaseous it can’t be used at all, which is odd given that human beings have such a strong sense of it.

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By Ted Swart, February 12, 2009 at 11:10 am Link to this comment

Sapharad:

When I read in one of your posts that you have read Oriana Fallaci’s “Force or Reason” my heart lept for joy. Yet one more person who has read and understood.
My son , who is one of my best friends, and I think it is one of the best books ever written.  Fallaci’s level of understanding and courage to speak the truth is a delight to behold. Her insights into the flaws in our educational system and many other aspects of the book caused me to read it more than once.
Not knowing who you really are probably means that our interaction is a case of ships passing in the night—particularly since this thread is likely to come to an end very soon.  And I did not want to close off without thanking you for sharing your very clearly presented insights.  Your historical knowledge far exceeds my own and—even if its a bit sneaky—it is good to hsve history presented in an eminently digestible form.
Hamba Ghashli (walk carefully) as the Zulus say.

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By Sodium, February 11, 2009 at 9:55 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Anacrissie February 11,at 3:42pm.

Anacrissie,

With the exception of bombing in order to stop the war in Viet Nam,all the other examples you have mentioned in your above Re seem to me to be caused by social entropic disorders,not political causes.Even so,Vegdude is correct in his post of February 11,at 4:22 addressed to you;in the sense that the fundemental principle of cause and effect applies on every example you cited and the cause was social,not political.

I was very very specific in my contention that the cause of the current circumstances of terrorism has been big POLTICAL CAUSES such as:

Item:Uprooting the Palestinian people from their Palestine to make room for another group of people who were persecuted by Christians in Europe,not by Muslims/Arabs was IMMORAL AND CRIMNAL AND ABSOLUTE INJUSTICE HAd BEEN COMMITTED in 1947-1948 in the eve of the creation of the State of Israel in May of 1948.I have a long list of the atrocities committed by the invading Zionist terrorists organizations such Irgun,Steirn and Haganah,all in my files,the details of which would horrify the most hardened hearts.I will refrain from exposing,here,and will refrain from indulging myself in that kind of tactic to score a point.That is not my intention,in this post.

Item:In 1982,the Israeli Army invaded Lebanon,with air and navel supports and succeeded in occupying the city of Beirut,the Lebanese capital.In the process of reaching Beirut more than 20,000 Lebanese/Palestinians were slaughtered by Ariel Sharon, the Israeli minister of defense then,and his invading forces.Because of that invasion Hisballah Party(Party of God)was formed to defend southern Lebanon from the Israeli invaders,which they did in a successful manner.

Item:Because of what had taken place as described in the two items outlined above,the Palestinians had learned from the the thieves of invaders who stole their country by acts of terrorism that they too could/can emulate their invaders and current oppressors to achieve political goals.As an effect to a cause,Hamas was invented.

Now,I will expose my intention from all of the above:

Before the Zionists and their supporters and lackies start complaining and blaming Muslims/Arabs and Palestinians for the present sad and tragic circumstances the humankind is witnessing,they better look long and hard in the mirror what they have been doing to the Palestinian people.Hamas and Hisballah are the EFFECT OF A HUGE CAUSE THEY STARTED
MORE THAN 60 YEARS AGO IN UPROOTING THE INDIGENOUS OWNERS OF PALESTINE:THE PALESTINIAN PEOPLE.

Anarrissie and Vegdude:This is going to be the last post I am going to allow myself to get involved in such topic,because it is against my basic principle that I must never deviate from the topic at hand,which is merely about the current economic meltdown.Should you both choose to continue in this divergent topic that is your decision to make and I respect it,in spite of my disagreement with the deviation.

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By Sodium, February 11, 2009 at 7:21 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Re:Vegdude February 11,at 12:53pm.

Vegdude,

Every question you have raised in your above Re must be raised by every humanbeing who cares to see terrorism disappears from our lives.Well done,indeed.

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By cyrena, February 11, 2009 at 6:40 pm Link to this comment

Hi Ted,

Good to know that we don’t have to discuss the evils of Islamic terrorism for a while. It’s become an over-developed topic on these threads of late, and sadly only adds to the problem. Ordinarily reasonable and educated people still can’t come up with the right cause and effect of so many of these conflicts, which is why they continue. As Americans Ted, (and I believe you mentioned you live in Canada now) we have been kept in the dark for a very long time. In fact, a full generation or better.
I’m even momentarily tired of the 9/11 conversation, if only because it’s grown to obsessive proportions in my own enviornment, and over the years, I’ve found it best to just allow time for those committed to the truth on this event to do their work. Scientific work and investigation. Quite a bit has been accomplished, despite the equally concerted effort on behalf of the real perpetrators to keep it covered up. My own understanding of those events is based (at least initially) on what I suspect might be a more comprehensive view than the average person, if only because of my ‘first’ career in the commercial aviation industry. So I knew immediately, (as I watched the events unfold like so many millions of others) that there was something very wrong with the dialog and the photos. We were being told that airplanes had been crashed into the WTC (we saw that much, though we can’t ID the specific planes from anything that we’ve been shown over and over and over again) and that they caused an immense fire that caused the towers to fall in their tracks. What we were WATCHING however, was a classic demolition. The buildings were blown up, and while I waited patiently for the Official 9/11 Commission report to EXPLAIN all of that, so that it would make sense, they simply never did. In fact, it was the Official 9/11 Commission report that confirmed my own suspicions rather than the story that was prepared.

But, that’s a continuing story for another episode, since by now, we’ve been over all of this before, so at this point, the truth is out there, and needs only acknowledgement. As for Cheney, he obviously didn’t arrange it alone. He and Rumsfeld were the architects, and the CIA played their standard role, (keeping in mind that the CIA answers solely to the executive branch) but that doesn’t have anything to do with whether or not Cheney himself is a so-called ‘genius’. Cheney is a psychopath, and as a general rule, they are pretty intelligent. But the real intelligence behind the Cheney Shadow Government has been David Addington. (Yeah I know, you probably never heard of him. But, he was running the country until recently).

As for the ‘freedoms’ that the former regime claims as our reason for the 9/11 attack, I only mentioned one part of the equation. Indeed Dick Cheney did plan the 2000 Electoral Coup for the purposes of restoring power to the Executive branch that he felt had been undermined as far back as Nixon. His Unitary Executive Doctrine has been the foundation of his whole political consciousness.

So that was only ONE of the goals of 9/11 and there is another interpretation of any so-called “Islamic hatred” of our ‘freedoms’ since those can also be measured in terms of the ‘freedoms’ the US has taken in establishing a military presense throughout the world, and specifically in the Middle East.

But make no mistake about it, the events of 9/11 ‘accomplished’ far more than even the set up-up of the Unitary Executive Doctrine per Cheney/Addington. It provided the necessary political cover (as one of many props) to the long before planned invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan, with the final goal a complete US/Western hegemony in the region.

I didn’t know Mugabe claimed to be a Catholic. But didn’t Hitler claim to be one as well?

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By Sepharad, February 11, 2009 at 5:22 pm Link to this comment
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Anarcissie—You’re right, some of the Moslem immmigrants were welcomed for grunge work, but Euros also import other groups for that purpose—non-Muslim Africans, Indonesians, Indians in Britain, just about everywhere they set their colonial feet in times past. Also, there are many Moslems in those countries not even close to needing to do grunge work—middle and upperclass, students, etc.  There’s nothing weird about large Islamic families other than the fact that as Ted noted Imams are encouraging them to become even larger, which doesn’t make a lot of sense economically. (In the old days people had large families so there would be someone to take care of the old parents, but how many kids does that actually require? It’s very expensive to feed, clothe and educate children these days.) Now, of course, the Euros are more worried about Moslem population growth and less welcoming except I think Germany is still encouraging Turkish immigration. Turks are in general are not quite as religiously trammeled as Arabs, partly because of Ataturk’s legacy and partly because the Ottomans were unlike other Moslems in that they were endlessly curious about the works and ways of the Europeans as far back as the 17th century.

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By vegdude, February 11, 2009 at 5:22 pm Link to this comment

Anarcissie:

Every example you referred to seems to support Sodium’s contention, not your own.  Each one is an example of a reaction against at least the perception of an injustice (and, in the case of the premeditated dismemberment of unborn children, a perception with which I strongly agree).

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By Anarcissie, February 11, 2009 at 4:42 pm Link to this comment

Sodium:
’... Injustice is the cause of all political terrorism. ...’

I don’t agree.  For instance, there has been a huge amount of small-scale terrorism in the United States by anti-abortionists.  Timothy McVeigh and Theodore Kaczynski were not themselves treated unjustly.  Of course, they could all claim injustice, but so can anyone for any cause.  What we observe concretely in terrorism is the desire to carry on war but the inability to do it by conventional means.  Humans seem to like war, at least some of the time, and one of the major inspirations to war, besides direct attack and intolerable imperial oppression, seems to be humiliation.  This often gets translated into some kind of ideology in which a violent response even to abstractions is appropriate, e.g. McVeigh and his concerns with the Branch Davidian massacre; Kaczynski and his hated of the academic elite; George Metesky, the mad bomber of 50’s, who hated Con Edison, New York City’s power company; many Americans who bombed something to protest the war in Vietnam, usually ineffectively.

Sepharad—the Europeans want the Muslims to immigrate to their countries so they can exploit their cheap labor, more than they want to preserve an Islam-free culture but pay more for grungework.  That’s their choice.  It’s not some kind of weird Islamic potency; if they imported cheap labor from Burma, they’d get Buddhists infiltrating their society with their weird Buddhistic values.  (Once again, the U.S. lucks out—we get to import our slaves from Mexico, a Christian country whose people have values rather similar to our own, if somewhat more conservative.  I believe, though, that both Europe and the U.S. will manage to corrupt their immigrants.)

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By Sepharad, February 11, 2009 at 2:19 pm Link to this comment
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Anarcissie—It’s true that poverty and lack of opportunity are not the only problems—it just increases the vulnerability of young people to religious fundamentalist violence (or to the profession of drug dealing for that matter).

Sitting on oil would not be such a problem if the profits were shared more equably, kind of an exaggerated version of our own trickle-down theory which has never worked.

The main thing holding Moslem society back is the inseparability of the religious/social/political life. Or so several white papers by secular Arabs (published some years ago under UN auspices) say. A religion can be medieval and adhered to without damaging people unless those standards also drive the government, the politics, the submergence of half the population (women), every aspect of life. When your whole being is bound up with religion, the main casualty is productive, creative thought and imagination. It’s interesting that during the flowering of Arab-Islamic culture in Al Andalus some of the greatest achievements were by individuals who cast the religious strictures aside. E.g., Ib’n Rushd (Averroes to Latin speakers), who translated and preserved Aristotle for Western society at the time still sunk in the dark ages, he and other thinkers both Moslem and Jewish were driven from Cordoba by a bunch of superstrict Moslems, and all the books in Cordoba’s wonderful libraries were burned. Looking over his shoulder for the last time at the great mosque of Cordoba of which his grandfather had been the first Imam, he muttered “There is no tyranny like the tyranny of priests.” Another example: one of the kings of Sevilla had a poetess for a wife, and he allowed her to conduct literary salons, appearing unveiled and freely associating with a number of male poets. 

The Arabs, including a Bedouin living in Israel, Iranians and Turks I know, men and women alike, are all intellectually free, and all secular. They cherish their traditions, literature, horsemanship, cuisine, have political views that sometimes coincide with my own and sometimes don’t, and we can argue and discuss for hours without insulting each other’s sensibilities, but they are unified in the belief that the religion of Islam is smothering their societies. We sometimes celebrate each other’s religious festivals together, but that’s not the same as being bound in every thought, word, act, by the strictures of a religion. (Likewise, I love to cook Middle Eastern food but feel no compunction to keep a kosher kitchen no matter who is coming for dinner.)

Judaism and Christianity both have their own idiotic rules along with the good things they offer, but you don’t have to live every aspect of your life in thrall to them. The hold the theocrats have on some Israeli laws is horrible, but they can be and are opposed and often defeated. The insinuation of the Christian right into policy making in this country is dangerous and destructive, but we can and do contest and resist it, pretty much effectively. Imagine what it would be like in this country if the religious right ruled every aspect of our lives, and you can imagine what it is like to live under Sha’ariah. (An old friend from college who, with her husband taught and lived in Columbia, South Carolina, picked up and moved to Shreveport with no certain jobs waiting because they could no longer handle the intrusiveness of the religious right on their personal lives as well as his political life on the city council. They are both Southerners born and bred, would not dream of leaving the South, both strong-minded, combative types, raised Christian but no longer religious, and it was even too much for them.)

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By vegdude, February 11, 2009 at 1:53 pm Link to this comment

Sodium . . . great points re: terrorism.  Nothing in my view justifies attacks against civilians, whether by terrorists or, as is much more common, large states and their armies.  But the latter does frequently explain the former. 

We don’t have to like the actions or the demands of folks like former (?) CIA stooge Osama bin Laden, but we are beyond foolish if we pretend to understand the problem of “Islamic terrorism” without trying to place ourselves in the shoes of the 1+ billion Muslim and other Arabic people in the world with whom his messages, if not his tactics, understandably resonate.

Why can’t we stop supporting thugs that rule over Arabs and Muslims against their will?

Why can’t we keep our troops away from Muslim holy places like Mecca or Medina or for that matter Jerusalem?

Why can’t we take a more neutral, productive,  and life-affirming stance with respect to the conflict between the Israeli state and the Palestinian people?

Why are we willfully blind to the carnage taking place, as a direct result of our government’s actions, in the West Bank and elsewhere?  Why are we so afraid to see what war actually does, yet so willing to blindly support it anyway?

Why do we expect those we are murdering to be more respectful of life, particularly innocent life, than we are?

Why aren’t we working to reduce or hopefully even eliminate dependence on foreign oil, which causes as many problems for the people where it is located as it does for us?  Why are we almost alone in the developed world in NOT developing, for instance, safe and cheap nuclear technologies which could help us create liquid fuels out of otherwise dirty and thus unusable coal and biomass?

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By Sepharad, February 11, 2009 at 1:35 pm Link to this comment
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Ted & Anarcissie—Your comments on George Friedman’s “100 Years From Now” are interesting. I agree with you both—Anarcissie (re the fact that Dar Al Islam has always been a divided house) and Ted (re the establishment of rapidly growing fundamentalist Moslem communities in Europe is a greater threat than the terrorist acts). Even Arafat said (after he turned down Oslo, not wanting to go down in history as the leader that legitimized the Jewish state) that nothing really mattered except, that in the end, the Jews would be overwhelmed and defeated by his greatest weapon: the Palestinian womb. He was correct; demographics are why Sharon—the father of the settlements in the first place—pulled the furious settlers out of Gaza and, had he not been cut down by a stroke, would probably have most settlers out of the West Bank by now. 

What’s been going on in the Netherlands—Theo van Gogh’s murder, the fatwa on Hirsi Ali, and Geert Wilder’s extreme positions—illustrate the demographic threat to the country’s socio/legal culture posed by large numbers of Moslems wishing to maintain their conflicting values in a very small population. The Dutch are just the canaries in the coal mine.

Then there was the ridiculous uproar (including deaths, riots and partially-successful censorship) over of a Danish political cartoonist’s lampooning Mohammed. This is what political cartoonists Do in Western societies. But if, in a democracy or republic where the majority rules, a burgeoning population with religious-based laws and strictures should want different laws, as soon as they outnumber the original inhabitants those Western laws will be changed. The Dutch and the Danes have always been known for their liberal dispositions and civil liberties, certainly not racist overbearing societies. Their attempts to deal with this are more in the nature of appeasing and soothing their Muslim populations rather than simply appealing to the immigrants that the very values they are opposing in their new home are the same values that made it a desirable place to migrate to in the first place.

I haven’t read Robert Spencer’s book “While Europe Slept” because I don’t want to heighten my own paranoia regarding the expansion of current Islamic religiosity into Western civilization. But I have read the books by journalist Oriana Fallaci regarding Islam in modern Europe over the last couple of years. Both her intuition and research and courage over the decades spent opposing totalitarian movements in Europe are proven. (Her husband was murdered by the Greek colonels.)

Fallaci’s “Inshallah” is a novel through which she hoped to reach people who were not politically active or interested, but “Force of Reason” and “Rage and Pride” are both journalistic works, albeit impassioned ones. I tried to find them in a San Francisco bookstore on Haight Street, but was told “We don’t carry Oriana Fallaci’s books anymore. We don’t like what she has to say.” This was astonishing, to say the least, a small step away from burning books you don’t agree with. (I still respect the old adage, “I may not agree with what you say, but will defend to the death your right to say it.”)

The European intelligentsia (with exceptions of course, e.g. Bernard Henri Levy) are considerably more politically correct than even San Francisco. Are they up to the challenge of questioning pressures from growing Muslim populations? Sure, their intelligence agencies and police will address problems in their own way, which will only make things worse. If Moslems were a dull and commonplace group I wouldn’t worry—but they are surrounded by the exotic aura of faraway places, caravans and incense ... pure catnip to intellectuals.

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By Reubenesque, February 11, 2009 at 1:09 pm Link to this comment

By Anarcissie, February 11 at 9:09 am #


“So you’re saying that people in Kansas and other such places are so stupid that although they think money is God, they go to Fundamentalist churches and vote against getting more money?  This seems improbable.”


They seem to enjoy telling others what to do with their reproductive facilities over all else.

What percentage of well-liked, well-performing preachers are “called” to lower paying positions?

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By Sodium, February 11, 2009 at 10:48 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Subject:Terrorism and the Principle of Cause and Effect.

Although I abhor deviating from the subject matter at hand which is “It’s Not Going to Be OK”,an article merely dealing with the current economic meltdown,I have found myself violating my own abhorrence,in order to respond to an obvious and uncalled for SNEAKY propaganda directed against Muslems/Arabs.

To make a lengthy treatise of the Principle of Cause and Effect on the subject of terrorism short,I will attempt outlining what I intend to say in the following points:

-No effect can be produced without a cause.That is true in every aspect of human endeavors and/or natural disasters such as hurricane Katrina which caused huge amount of destruction to New Orleans and some part of Mississippi and Alabama.By the same token,terrorism must have a profound cause.

-Injustice is the cause of all political terrorism.As long as injustice is condoned and relentlessly and deliberitly fostered for dominance and control of others to steal/cotrol their natural resources and/or confiscate their lands and starve them to death and humiliate them,terrorism will remain with us.

=Terrorism cannot be defeated.You need not take my word for it.Ask the French about their experience with terrorism in Algeria until Algeria won its independence from French colonianlism in 1961,will tell you exactly what I have just mentioned.Also ask the Italians about their colonial past in Lybia and Ethiopia will tell you exactly what I have said that political terrirosm cannot be defeated unless you understand its real causes and treat such causes as a good physician treats the real cause of the disease with the proper medicine or surgery,and not by covering its sympton with baby powder.Bill Simon,the veteran CBS correspondent who spent a significant part of his time covering political events in the Middle East had said publiclly on TV(and I personally watched and heard it)that he knew no such thing as terrorism could be defeated.Of course,there are other examples to cite in other parts of the world beside the Middle East.

-Anarcissie is correct when he/she said and I quote:“I do not think poverty predisposes to terrorism.There are a lot of poorer areas than Saudi Arabia and Egypt from which we got no terrorists and the Muslims terrorists I know about seem generally to be middle class.”

Indeed, Muhammad Atta,the alleged leader of the terrorist acts of 9/11 was about to get his doctorate degree,in engineering,from one of the leading university in Germany.His father was/is well known and successful legal attorney in Cairo,Egypt.The Unabomber who terrorized his former collegues and some government officials was a top mathematic professor at one of the leading institution in the U.S. Lenin,the well   known communist leader in the first segment of the 20th century was highly educated but instructed his comrades to rub banks and kill people if necessary to help his revolution to succeed.If that is not enough,I have more to cite.

-Anyone who is genuinely interested in understanding the cause of terrorism(not to use it as propaganda tool to serve certain agenda)should,or rather must,read the following book:

Imperial Hubris
By
Michael Scheuer

A brief note about the author:Dr.Scheuer holds a doctorate degree in political science and he was a former political analyst at the Central Intelligence Agency(CIA) for more than 20 years.He wrote his book after 9/11 while he was still working for the CIA.Beacause the CIA does not allow any of its employees to publish books or articles under their real name,Dr. Scheuer was allowed to publish the first edition of his book under the name/word “Anonymous”.After
Dr.Scheuer retired from,or left,the CIA,the new edition of his book carries his real name(Michael Scheuer)while the first edition of his book carries the word(Anonymous),as the author.Therefore,one may find the book in book stores under two ditinct but different author’s names:Anonymous or Michael Scheuer.

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By Ted Swart, February 11, 2009 at 10:45 am Link to this comment

Thank you , thank you Sepharad.  You say:

“Ted—I sometimes wonder why we didn’t go after Saddam in a very small, precise way. Think of the lives and uproar it would have saved. And, yes, Mugabe too. How hard could it be, with good planning, good people, and a plan B? (These large-scale military, large-scale wars are really awful.”

Wonder no longer. Although what ifs are hazardous exercises that particular what if is eminently sound. It would have been wonderful if thinga had been handled in that way and the mess we are in would have been a pale shadow of its current self.

Thank yo for sharing your interesting and inspiring personal/family life with the rest of us in such a detailed manner.  That is a brave thing to do.

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By Ted Swart, February 11, 2009 at 10:35 am Link to this comment

Thanks for the preliminary response Cyrena. For the most part I agree with what you say. So there is no need for you to pursue the topic any further. In the end, having a perfect handle on the issue of the magnitude and extent of Islamism is not critical to sensible thinking.  Clearly the whole issue is a lot more complicated than most people appreciate. There is just one chunk of your response which has me puzzled and it is your refernce to Cheney.  You say:

” So for me, the jury is still very much out on the real cause/grievance at the base of 9/11. I DO know that they didn’t attack us because they hate our freedoms. At least not if we’re claiming al-Qaeda to be the culprits. Now if the culprits were Cheney et al, (which is what I personally believe) then yeah, ‘they’ DID ‘attack us for our freedoms’”

The way this reads seems to imply that you personally believe that Cheney engineered 9/11 so that he and Bush could erode the level of freedom in America. And I simply cannot entertain such an off the wall conspiracy theory. You cannot describe Cheney as an evil genius—since he is no genius—but he sure was and, to some extent still is, a dangerous influence and he did not hesitate to use 9/11 to gain totalitarian style power.

The post 9/11 behaviour of the American government was ill thought out, badly handled and at least a partial contributor to the current economic/financial crisis.

I suppose that in summary I think that the way in which the   more fundamentalist Muslim view of life is becoming entrenched in many (most?) countries throughout Europe is more of a threat than overt terrorist acts.

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By Anarcissie, February 11, 2009 at 10:09 am Link to this comment

Reubenesque: ’... And money is the god of America regardless of the threshold crossed. House of worship or otherwise.’
Anarcissie:
“Wasn’t one of the complaints about the people of Kansas that they didn’t vote in their own interests?  I took it material interest was what was meant.”
Reubenesque:
‘As Jeff Foxworthy says, “You just can’t fix stupid.”’

So you’re saying that people in Kansas and other such places are so stupid that although they think money is God, they go to Fundamentalist churches and vote against getting more money?  This seems improbable.

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By Anarcissie, February 11, 2009 at 9:34 am Link to this comment

’... I am just busy reading a book by George Friedman called “The next 100 years” and he suggests that the war against Muslim extremism has already been won in the sense that the Muslim world is a house divided against itself. Friedman may well be closer to the truth than most people realize but this does snot mean that Muslim extremism is not a very real threat to the world. ...’

This fellow Friedman just discovered that Muslims fight one another, and for this reason the war against Muslim extremism has already been won?  Where has he been since the 7th century?

The root problem with the Muslims at the moment is that they’re sitting on a lot of oil.  The “war against Muslim extremism” is simply part of the struggle to get and keep control of that oil.  It is true this fact must be obscured by propaganda, but it needn’t be as silly as the sudden “discovery” of Muslim conflict given above.

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By cyrena, February 11, 2009 at 2:55 am Link to this comment

Ted Swart,

Just so you don’t think I’m ignoring you, I wanted to first thank you for your response, and then to say that I’ll respond more myself later tomorrow. Ironically enough, I plan to attend a lecture sponsored by several departments at UCLA and UCSB – a combined project from muliple departments, including The Journal for Middle Eastern Women’s Studies, and the Center for Middle Eastern Studies, just to name a few. Dr.Lyla Abu-Lughod will be speaking tomorrow, and I’m anxious to hear from her. She’s an anthropologist and ethnogropher with what I view to be amazing progressive scholarship in terms of everything affecting the 21st Century Muslim Society. In fact, having centered so much of my own academic focus of late in this very area of study, (Law and Society for me, specifically International Humanitarian Law..still very much in it’s infant stages).

So, I’m needing to ‘sleep fast’ to get an early start tomorrow. That said, I will get back to you, and thank you for taking me to task. I fear we come up with a fundamental disagreement though, on the real perpetrators of 9/11. I’m not convinced that they were who we’ve been told they were, so in my book, that is not an example of real Islamic extremism, even though I agree that real Islamic extremism does exist, I believe the majority of the “Islamist Extremism as a threat to America” is mostly created propaganda.

(I’m still highly recommending the full view of “The Power of Nightmares”. You can view it here:

http://www.wanttoknow.info/powerofnightmares

So for me, the jury is still very much out on the real cause/grievance at the base of 9/11. I DO know that they didn’t attack us because they hate our freedoms. At least not if we’re claiming al-Qaeda to be the culprits. Now if the culprits were Cheney et al, (which is what I personally believe) then yeah, ‘they’ DID ‘attack us for our freedoms’, as is evident in the fact that those freedoms began to disappear rapidly within days of that event, beginning with the Patriot Act, and eventually culminating in legislation that allowed for the targeting of US citizens for alleged terrorist behavior. (Jose Padilla was an early victim).

So, I’m just not so sure how much of the Islamic part of the 9/11 terror operation isn’t just made up.

Meantime, I only just came across this story on my home page as I was cruising through the news. It’s an interesting article on 5 still existing “insurgencies” including the Tamil Tigers and Shining Path, (remember the 2 decade or more Peruvian terror massacre?)

These are of course always the groups that we call ‘terrorists’. Remember that’s what the MSM consistently referred to any Iraqi or foreigner in Iraq after the invasion. Any Iraqi that resisted that illegal invasion was automatically and interchangeably referred to as rebels/terrorists/fighters/insurgents and always al-Qaeda thrown in with the mix; Neverminding that neither al-Qaeda or any other “Islamic” influence was ever present in Iraq, simply because Saddam wouldn’t have it.

So, I just don’t buy the general premise of Islamic Terrorists being the perpetrators of all global terror. They aren’t.

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By cyrena, February 11, 2009 at 2:51 am Link to this comment

2 of 2

Over the years, the myth has just been more and more instilled by the propaganda. When we actually start breaking these things apart, we have no proof of any of these claims of Islamist inspired terrorism on any large scale. It’s limited to the crackpots from the gang in the Arab World (the film covers that) and the neocons that had their own ‘vision’ about how the world should be.

Again, I’m not claiming that terrorism isn’t a major problem, or even that there aren’t Islamic extremists included in some of it. I’m just saying that for all of the real ‘global terror’ that has been directed at American interests at home and abroard, it’s not because of any religious conviction to kill all Americans based on some perverted vision of Islam. Whatever security concerns we have as Americans have only come from WITHIN, NOT from so-called “Islamic Terrorists” committed to making the entire world an Islamic Planet.

OK, gotta go. I’ll check back in with you all from the train.

Check out the documentary if you have time. It should provide some serious food for thought. It’s about 3 hours long, but really worth the view.

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By Reubenesque, February 10, 2009 at 11:41 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Re: By Anarcissie, February 10 at 7:28 pm #
Reubenesque: ’... And money is the god of America regardless of the threshold crossed. House of worship or otherwise.’

“Wasn’t one of the complaints about the people of Kansas that they didn’t vote in their own interests?  I took it material interest was what was meant.”

As Jeff Foxworthy says, “You just can’t fix stupid.”

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By Sepharad, February 10, 2009 at 11:35 pm Link to this comment
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Ted—I sometimes wonder why we didn’t go after Saddam in a very small, precise way. Think of the lives and uproar it would have saved. And, yes, Mugabe too. How hard could it be, with good planning, good people, and a plan B? (These large-scale military, large-scale wars are really awful. Son-in-law speaks Arabic, flys an Apache, has been to Iraq and is gearing up for Afghanistan after a couple years in DC even though he’s an MIT materials scientist and very gentle by nature. Drives me crazy; granddaughter has nightmares every night he’s away. And for what? I’m an American but have family and friends in Israel, I like many Palestinians I know and think that if we could just get rid of our fundamentalists—Jewish, Moslem, Christians—life together would be doable. No hope for Israel if there’s no hope for the Palestinians. Hope Tzipi Livni can put a government together; Netanyahu is articulate but volatile emotionally, immature and was a big headache while he was PM. 

Cyrena missed your point—it’s not California history but the approach to major disagreements that’s relevant. I’ve been a civil rights activist, FoI advocate, a DC correspondent briefly then an investigative reporter but, having young children, my husband and I figured we needed something that we could do together out of the house, so we came up with the magazine. I loved it. 64-page glossy, illustrated, wall-to-wall text, 6xper year, 18,000 subscriptions; not huge but good—we lived happily on subscription revenue doing that for 15 years but had to fold it when our youngest, then 14, was diagnosed with a rare fast-moving cancer in stage 3. We realized our combined annual income would disappear with just a few weeks’ treatment so we folded it, I took the kid down to UCSF and slept on a cot in his room for 6 months of daily chemo and radiation. Husband stayed home and invented a way to make more money and do research that might help our son and also my RA/systemic lupus. So now he makes more money, son is now 26, and I’ve gotten to do a lot of research and writing, but still miss that damned magazine. Loved the readers—ranged from academics to old vaqueros. (Especially the vaqueros. Husband and I live to ride, exploration mainly, no show stuff. He’s in the wrong century—a scientific mind, literary bent and soul of a nomad.)

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By Ted Swart, February 10, 2009 at 11:34 pm Link to this comment

See Below Cyrena:

Extracts from your contribution interspersed with my comments

“I’d be more than willing to be ‘taken to task’ myself on this very vague generalization about Muslims being the undisputed perpetrators of terror. However both you , Sepharad, and others seem to accept this as a truth, without and ever citing any such groups or persons. WHO exactly are the Muslims committing the terror? Can you NAME ANY specific group or individual, and the specific ‘terrorist event’ that they are allegedly responsible for, without resorting to the very generic ‘al-Qaeda’?”

Yes of course we can.  The 9/11 terrorists were almost exclusively from Saudi Arabia under Wahabbi influence—and by no means restricted to al Qaeda.

“Of course you can’t and neither can she. Who has been responsible for all of the terrorist events of the past 8 or so years, and who of them have claimed to be acting on behalf of a Muslim ideology?
Again..NONE!!”

Surely you don’t mean that??? The perpetrators of 9/11 the embassy bombings in Africa and so on and on were quite explicitly linked, by the perpetrators themselves, as arising from allegiance to Allah.

If Mugabe is a terrorist, (and he is) he’s sure not terrorizing on behalf of Islam.”

Agreed.  He claims to be a Catholic.

“None of the genocides of Africa have anything to do with it either. Genocides have their own root causes, and rarely does it have a thing to do with religion, even though that might be one of the many ostensible excuses.”

Once again you surely don’t man that.  Saying that “none .. have anything to do with” is far too strong.  Darfur is intimately tied up with Muslim extremism. And what about Somalia ?? 

“Meantime, I would be genuinely and sincerely interested in looking at the so called terrorist events that have occurred that anyone believes to be a result of Muslim extremism. So anyone should feel free to pick whatever ‘event’ they want, and prove how it was a result of Muslim religious extremism. The USS Cole, the US Embassies in Africa. The bombings in London, Spain, India, etc. Check any of them, and find out how many of them are Muslims, and then find out why they did the ‘terrorizing’.”

I don’t think much checking needs to be done.  Most of the events you mention are indisputably tied in with the Muslim religion.

Are you really saying that the recent bombings of hotels in India have no connection with the Muslim religion??

“I suspect that anyone willing to discuss specifics instead of general demonizations that the whole world is at risk of being terrorized by Muslims might find their generalizations a bit difficult to substantiate in the reality of the evidence.”

Neither I (nor Sepharad I am sure) thinks that “the whole world is at risk of being terrorized by Muslims” but I do believe that its coverage is far more global than say the Tamal Tigers. 

I am just busy reading a book by George Friedman called “The next 100 years” and he suggests that the war against Muslim extremism has already been won in the sense that the Muslim world is a house divided against itself. Friedman may well be closer to the truth than most people realize but this does snot mean that Muslim extremism is not a very real threat to the world.
The Mullahs in the Muslim communities dotted throughout Europe tell their congregations that it it is the duty of Muslim mothers to have 5 children for the cause of Allah and some 50% of all Muslim marriages in Europe are between first cousin with 70% of the marriages being between blood relatives. These are frightening figures which suggest that the more extreme branches of the Muslim religion are indeed a threat to the well being of society across wide swaths of the globe.

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By Sepharad, February 10, 2009 at 10:23 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Anarcissie—To a certain extent you are right, in that in asymmetric warfare—fancy words for “terrorist”—it can be a matter of what one has at hand to fight with. In one of John LeCarre’s novels, “Little Drummer Girl”, a Palestinian Arab is addressing a small roomful of Brits and says if Israel would give him an F-16 he would give them his suitcase bomb.

Sometimes terrorists are called rebels, as in the post-French Algerian government v. Islamist terrorists or rebels. What distinguishes a terrorist from a rebel is what he or she attacks deliberatrely and with forethought—a military or government institution target or a civilian target. Both Hezbollah and Hamas have primarily targeted civilians, unless forced into a firefight by IDF troops. Both have used civilians as human shields in every conceivable way. The Baader-Meinhoff people were terrorists. The purpose of a terrorist is to spread terror among a population to manipulate the government. That is a different than being a rebel. Paramilitaries financed by a government can be—usually are—terrorists.

If Hamas and/or Hezbollah want to have a fire fight with the IDF, they can march right out of Gaza or Lebanon and start one. But what they do—except for attempting to kidnap soldiers—is shoot rockets targeting civilians in Israel, fight among, behind civilians in Gaza or Lebanon not wearing uniforms so the opposing troops can’t distingish one from the other. In Algeria, the rebels massacred villages with no motive other than terrifying them.

When Israel makes a targeted airstrike against this terrorist leader or that, they do it with good intelligence and with taking care to avoid as many civilian casualties as possible. They never go in and attack civilians to get a rise out of Hamas; they are attacking Hamas, an entity that refuses to acknowledge Israel’s right to exist and expresses that pique by targeting civilians (and trying to father as many children as possible both as a demographic weapon and a source of potential martyrs). What Israel did to Gaza was horrifying. But did they have any alternative way to strike back against the rockets and the rhetoric? Hamas has to be uprooted before its poison worsens the current situation beyond control. Palestinians have to take some responsibility for teaching their children, giving them reasons to live and not get sucked into the dying-for-Allah black hole.

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By Sepharad, February 10, 2009 at 9:50 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Cyrena—I forgot not just Tamil Tigers, but also thought about ETA and rejected its inclusion because the Basques just want their part of the Pyrhenees back (and probably should get it if, for no other reason, back in the day they kept the Moslems from expanding into what is now France and onward). Also neglected to mention the relativey small groups of radical Islamists in Indonesia, where the vast majority of Moslems are moderate, normal people. I was mainly referring to global terrorists that are a problem for the West. (The Japanese, the Chechens, the Kurdish militant arm, the list could go on—but they aren’t threatening or opposed to Western-style civilization.)

Regarding poverty, no jobs, no future, the “occupied territories” aren’t great, certainly not the same living standard as Israeli Arabs, but nevertheless comparable to some and better than other Arab populations even though the heads of those governments and their friends live very well. The intial excuse for opposition to “the Zionist entity” was on religious grounds but the REASON was the potentially destabilizing contrast between these countries and Israel, in terms of living standards, the right to vote and to educate one’s children so they’d have a better life, as well as an infrastructure that meant there would be jobs to go to. This is not an arrogant mentality, just the way it was, and to a large extent remains.

Before the Israelis pulled settlers out of Gaza, they Gazan Arabs were doing reasonably well, in agriculture primarily, shipping back and forth across the border to export produce and import what they lacked. In the West Bank, things were also better than they are now before the second intifada, and people are trying to get back to that point—Israeli Arabs and Jews dealing with West Bank farmers to market and sell their produce. The tiny increase in the West Bank economy in the last few months is obviously not adequate but noticeable, and the checkpoints are a problem, and now with Hamas angling to take over from Fatah there as well, the future is uncertain. Even in Gaza, even after the punishing Israeli Operation Cast Lead, one poll in Ha’aretz taken by Palestinians in Gaza had only 26% of Gazans happy with Hamas instead of Fatah. Arabs are not stupid people, they can see what is going on around them, they understand cause and effect, and while they are royally ticked off at Israel just now Hamas could not win an honest election (not that there will be another honest election, given Hamas’ record of intimidating people—even during the Israeli assault, and continuing now, they continue attacking Fatah members and others for fanciful reasons).

Hamas and Fatah are currently exchanging accusations of killing and/or torturing each other’s members, which is true but nonetheless deeply weird. Hamas wants 1,000 prisoners in exchange for Gilad Shalit but Fatah says if that happens there will be another 1,000 Hamas fighters that Fatah has to worry about. From a pragmatic standpoint, Israel should stop exchanging hundreds and hundreds of prisoners for Israeli soldiers unless they are alive and well. After all, there are only 5 million Jews on a tiny strip of land and they are surrounded by 1.4billion Moslems with endless tracts of land. But each Israeli can imagine their son or daughter in Gilad’s position, so are up for such an exchange—no wish to wail for martyrs in paradise here; life is the highest value. And judging from photos and statements of Gazans who lost loved ones, religion is one thing but the loss of a loved one quite another to non-radical Moslems.

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By Inherit The Wind, February 10, 2009 at 9:32 pm Link to this comment

christian96, February 10 at 3:14 pm #

To Reubenesque——I agree with you.  I opened my
mouth before thinking.  Anyone over 52 years of age
was proably exposed to “school prayer.”  In Matthew
6:24, Jesus said, “You cannot serve God and money.”
It’s quite obvious who many, if not most, politicans
who chosen to serve! MONEY!

**********************************************

So…even though our reasons for it would be completely different, the logical inference is that you would stand with me in having “In God We Trust” removed from the money.

You, because, like Theodore Roosevelt, will see it as blasphemy and putting God’s name on things of Mammon.

Me, because I believe in the separation of religion from government.

So we should both strive for the same thing.  BTW, TR DID get “IGWT” taken off the money during his re-vamping of the coinage that resulted in our most beautiful coins:
Lincoln Cent (wheat back)
Buffalo Nickel
Mercury Dime
Standing Liberty Quarter
Walking Liberty Half
Peace Dollar
1/4 and 1/2 Eagle Incused Indian Head Gold
Indian Head Eagle Gold ($10)
St. Gauden Double Eagle.

All from TR, and all, originally, without IGWT on his orders—and he was EXTREMELY devout.

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By cyrena, February 10, 2009 at 9:16 pm Link to this comment

•  “I note that Cyrena takes yo to take for contending that most terrorist style actions in the world are perpetrated by Muslims.  She mentions the Tamil Tigers in Sri Lanka but it looks as if their days are numbered which would leave the Muslims as the undisputed perpetrators of terror.”
Ted,
I’d be more than willing to be ‘taken to task’ myself on this very vague generalization about Muslims being the undisputed perpetrators of terror. However both you , Sepharad, and others seem to accept this as a truth, without ever citing any such groups or persons. WHO exactly are the Muslims committing the terror? Can you NAME ANY specific group or individual, and the specific ‘terrorist event’ that they are allegedly responsible for, without resorting to the very generic ‘al-Qaeda’?
Of course you can’t and neither can she. Who has been responsible for all of the terrorist events of the past 8 or so years, and who of them have claimed to be acting on behalf of a Muslim ideology?
Again..NONE!!
If Mugabe is a terrorist, (and he is) he’s sure not terrorizing on behalf of Islam, and that’s been the point all along. The terrorism is very real, and there are elements of it perpetuated by extremists, (like Wahhabists), but most of the so-called terrorist events that have been directed toward US interests over the past decade or so have nothing to do with religious ideology. That is the focus of the intellectual disagreement that (with all due respect) I have with Sepharard. None of the genocides of Africa have anything to do with it either. Genocides have their own root causes, and rarely does it have a thing to do with religion, even though that might be one of the many ostensible excuses.
Clearly it is an admirable project that she edited a history newspaper in California, having to do with California’s history of Colonization by the Spanish, and the conversion of so much of the Indigenous population to Catholicism, as they were forced under slave conditions to build all of those missions. In fact, that topic is still widely discussed in academia, and the California public education curriculum has always had the mandatory Mission Project at the 3rd, 4th, or 5th grade level. So, to California History, this is very relevant.
I don’t think it has a thing to do with global terrorism however, Muslim or any other kind. At least not unless you all are hoping that Israel will just colonize the Palestinians and incorporate them into Judaism or Zionism, like the Spaniards did with the Indigenous population of California. I wouldn’t hold my breath on that though.
Meantime, I would be genuinely and sincerely interested in looking at the so called terrorist events that have occurred that anyone believes to be a result of Muslim extremism. So anyone should feel free to pick whatever ‘event’ they want, and prove how it was a result of Muslim religious extremism. The USS Cole, the US Embassies in Africa. The bombings in London, Spain, India, etc. Check any of them, and find out how many of them are Muslims, and then find out why they did the ‘terrorizing’.

I suspect that anyone willing to discuss specifics instead of general demonizations that the whole world is at risk of being terrorized by Muslims might find their generalizations a bit difficult to substantiate in the reality of the evidence.

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By Anarcissie, February 10, 2009 at 8:44 pm Link to this comment

I don’t think poverty predisposes people to terrorism.  There are a lot of poorer areas than Saudi Arabia and Egypt from which we get no terrorists, and the Muslim terrorists I know about seem generally to be middle-class.

As I’ve noted so tediously before, terrorism is a mode of war.  Some religions, some cultures, obviously conduce to war more than others.  Islam might have something to do with that—it is not a good religion for the encouragement of submission—and so might the long history of imperialism and colonialism in the Middle East, which is another mode of war.  Perhaps it is a way they have of reacting to one another.  In any case I think they will fight us about as long as we go over there and fight them, and if they don’t have armies and ships and long-range missiles they’ll do it with terrorists.

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By Anarcissie, February 10, 2009 at 8:28 pm Link to this comment

Reubenesque: ’... And money is the god of America regardless of the threshold crossed. House of worship or otherwise.’

Wasn’t one of the complaints about the people of Kansas that they didn’t vote in their own interests?  I took it material interest was what was meant.

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By Ted Swart, February 10, 2009 at 7:26 pm Link to this comment

As usual you tslk a good deal of sense Sapharad.  When you say:

“And if we must resort to a military option as Obama is talking about with Pakistan and Afghanistan, we’d be better off with small specially trained military personnel, special ops, for whatever we need to do, backed up by smart weapons”.

that is totally corret. And that is exactly what should have been done with Mugabe in Zimbabwe. He is still trying to hang on to power, still torturing and some times killing those who dare to oppose his policies and should be deposed. But there is absolutely no need for or point in a major military confrontation.

I note that Cyrena takes yo to take for contending that most terrorist style actions in the world are perpetrated by Muslims.  She mentions the Tamil Tigers in Sri Lanka but it looks as if their days are numbered which would leave the Muslims as the undisputed perpetrators of terror. 

It was a delight to read your description of the manner in which you handled contentious issues in your role as an editor of the Californian history magazine which you edited.  Would that politics was run the same way. There is far too much of an “all or nothing” attitude to this stimulus/bailout package. There are far too many reputable economists, with a range od different political affiliations who think it is entirely the wrong way to go about recovering from the depression.

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By christian96, February 10, 2009 at 4:14 pm Link to this comment

To Reubenesque——I agree with you.  I opened my
mouth before thinking.  Anyone over 52 years of age
was proably exposed to “school prayer.”  In Matthew
6:24, Jesus said, “You cannot serve God and money.”
It’s quite obvious who many, if not most, politicans
who chosen to serve! MONEY!

To Vegdude——I am cleaning my house daily.  It was
quite filthy at one time.  In Matthew 6:34, Jesus
said, “Take therefore no thought for tomorrow.
Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.”  In
others words, we will be confronted with decisions
every day which will either bless or curse ourselves and/or others.  The choice is ours!
others

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By cyrena, February 10, 2009 at 3:51 pm Link to this comment

Sepharad writes

•  “There are a handful of other sorts of terrorists—Tim McVeigh, the Unabomber, Aryan Nation, extreme Hindu nationalists—but most terror around the world, from here to Indonesia, happens to be Muslim extremists.”

Needless to say this is our major point of disagreement, but I certainly accept that it is an academic and intellectual disagreement. More recent scholarship disproves your premise that “MOST Terror around the world” is from “Muslim” extremists. And, that’s proven easily enough, when you look at the first users of the suicide bomb…the Tamil Tigers. As a secular resistance group (or call them separatists if you want) they have not perpetrated their terror on behalf of any MUSLIM or Islamic ideology. That’s the part that most of you simply have refused to address, preferring to lump the fantasy of ‘global terror’ and/or ‘most terror’ to an Islamic identity.
But, when we actually DO look at this phenomena of ‘global terror’ (which doesn’t even include the domestic terror of the groups you’ve mentioned) we find that there is no connection to the big picture. These groups of so-called terrorists all have their own specific/individual agendas, and ‘causes’ that have nothing to do with an Islamic ideology.
On this, I certainly agree, but you’re still talking apples and oranges here:


•  “This terror is rooted in poverty, unemployment, no hope for a decent future, hence vulnerability to every pie-in-the-sky mullah who comes along.”

This part is true, TO AN EXTENT, in certain locations…and particularly in relation to the Occupied Territories and those around them. But, you contradict yourself by admitting that it is rooted in poverty, unemployment, NO HOPE FOR THE FUTURE, (The Occupied Territories being a microcosm of the inner-city ghettos that so MANY Americans -particularly those of color- remain rooted all of their natural lives. They have NO HOPE, and we know what that brings to those communities. A seething undercurrent of rage and all the combined stuff that happens to any group of any society subjected to those conditions.

But here again, that has nothing to do with Islam or Muslim extremism. Your “connection”, that this leads to global Islamic terrorism that ultimately threatens the US and the rest of the world (because it makes these hopeless people believe in pie-in-the-sky mullahs) is a totally baseless connection. Or, maybe not ‘baseless’ per say, but based on the created and very arrogant ideology that disregards the very legitimate reasons (which you’ve just outlined) for asymmetrical-type resistance, whether it be by Muslims or anybody else with a legitimate gripe.

So, instead of sticking with the basics of the reality, (no jobs, no hope, no future) as the reason for the so-called ‘terrorism’,  you tag on the extra ‘opinion’ that it means they become ‘vulnerable’ to religious bullshit. It’s a snobbish and arrogant mentality, because the reality is that too many of these groups (again, I refer you to the Tamil Tigers, since they are the oldest to use these asymmetrical war ‘terror tactics’) are NOT acting on behalf of anything religious.

There is a film however, that kind of shows how this ‘interpretation’ has come to be an accepted argument, and you might enjoy it. It’s “Paradise Now”, actually filmed in the West Bank, back in 1987. I think it was the only film ever done entirely on location, and it is excellent if you can get to it through netflex or something.

However, THAT was ‘then’ and this is now, and we see this whole Islamic Extremism for what it really is, and what it really is NOT. It is NOT a ‘threat’ (existential or otherwise) to the US. If the US has been a target of those who happen to be Muslims, (extremist or otherwise) it’s been because of US Imperialism over the decades, and specifically in terms of supporting chaos and forcing US hegemony in the Middle East.

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By Sepharad, February 10, 2009 at 2:12 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Cyrena, thanks for the link. Part 3 of “The Power of the Nightmare” was well done but not sufficiently analytical as it began with a premise then only included comment from those who supported it. When I edited our history magazine (California history that is) for 15 years, I found that the only useful way to deal with controversial issues—e.g., some Native Americans’ take on the missions and the Catholic scholarship on the same subject, was to publish both at the same time with a double-page spread sidebar on point-counterpoint, and follow ups in subsequent issues not only through letters from readers but also allowing op ed pieces from one side then the other answering questions raised by readers. (Also, all our articles were refereed by experts in the various fields who knew at least as much if not more than the articles’ authors.)

Islamist terror isn’t an existential threat to the U.S., but it must be fought and eradicated because it poses a real if random threat to our lives and infrastructure, and could damage our economy (tourism) at a time when we’re already on the ropes. But more importantly, because of how we’ve chosen to fight it, Islamic terror’s existence is also a threat to the privacy and freedom most open-society Western countries enjoy, not to mention our minority rights. There are a handful of other sorts of terrorists—Tim McVeigh, the Unabomber, Aryan Nation, extreme Hindu nationalists—but most terror around the world, from here to Indonesia, happens to be Muslim extremists.

This terror is rooted in poverty, unemployment, no hope for a decent future, hence vulnerability to every pie-in-the-sky mullah who comes along. Of course there are the doctrines of guys like Mr. Q’tub, whose experiences teaching at Colorado U. in the mid ‘50s, convinced him that the West was a hotbed of decadence with men and women dancing together to what he described as “black jungle music”, and that exposure to Western culture was polluting the pure Moslem youth. This purity thing runs through all of major fundamentalist groups—Taliban and the rest. The Saudis, who are extreme Wahabbis themselves, allowed this to grow in their own country until it began causing unrest in their own population—the opposite of their intention to provide an outlet for people not living nearly as well as those on the top, much as the anti-Zionist rhetoric has served as a distraction for so long.

Attacking Moslem countries with huge armies is stupid: it only feeds into Islamist rhetoric and makes it easier to recruit young men and women, gives them an immediate enemy thus distracting from real social problems. The ideal solution would be to magically wave a wand and create jobs, educations and futures for the youth in every Moslem country—without of course any taint of decadent Western influences. But even the economic wand isn’t so easily waved, as Israel has found out in repeated efforts to grow an economy in the West Banks.

If we can’t change the conditions that produce terrorists—and we won’t leave the Middle East until we are off the are oil-addiction—then we do need protection, better policing by the FBI, better intelligence, more Arab-speakers, etc etc. And if we must resort to a military option as Obama is talking about with Pakistan and Afghanistan, we’d be better off with small specially trained military personnel, special ops, for whatever we need to do, backed up by smart weapons.

Re Iran, we shouldn’t even have a military option anywhere near the table yet, let alone on it. Persians are not like Arabs; though both are Moslem the cultures are radically different.

Re faith-based programs—government-subsidized religious groups that provide funds or direct aid (food, clothing, childcare, jobs) to people in these hard times, as long as there’s no proselytizing, no relious strings, attached to the service, and it’s available to anyone who needs it, not just their coreligionists.

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By Reubenesque, February 10, 2009 at 12:34 pm Link to this comment

re: By christian96, February 9 at 7:23 pm

I’m afraid I would have to disagree with you concerning the age of the majority of the composition of the House and Senate, especially the Senate.  The majority were no doubt schooled while prayer was still allowed in public schools. 

I also disagree that members of these bodies think themselves smarter than God.  The problem is of what their deity is. And the answer is money.  And money is the god of America regardless of the threshold crossed. House of worship or otherwise.

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By KDelphi, February 10, 2009 at 10:55 am Link to this comment

This fundamentalist religious stuff is waht the rest of hte advanced world would call primitivistic. we are a fairly young country, but, we werent “born this morning”. Jeez….

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By Anarcissie, February 10, 2009 at 9:50 am Link to this comment

vegdude: ’...
To the many folks on the left . . . (I’m an an-cap, not a leftie) . . . from my perspective, what we are seeing is the collapse of the current economic order which is NOT free-market but a weird and highly corrupt mix of corporatist, fascist, mercantilist, socialist, and feudalist elements.  What will replace it?  Who knows.  But I strongly recommend that it NOT be more of the same….’

Apparently things will have to get a lot worse before people, especially the people in government and other members of the leadership/ruling class, stop trying to put Humpty Dumpty back together again.  I’d guess six to twelve months, minimum, plus some rioting in the streets.

Current talk among the Near Left (“progressives”, etc.), on the stimuli and bailouts seems to be about as religious as the talk about Single Payer: if “we” spread enough money around, it’ll just have to do some good.  I don’t think this “plan” has been thought through at all.  But they have to go through it experientially.  And even then….

Not saying that the Federal government spending money might not accomplish something, especially if they actually employed someone to produce something someone wanted; but it seems that nothing is being thought about very much.  The “just do it” mentality that usually gets us a short run into a brick wall, if not off a cliff.

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By Sodium, February 10, 2009 at 8:32 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Re:Vegdude february 10 at 5:41am.

Vegdude,

Since you have already read “The Great Depression of 1990”,perhaps,just perhaps,you might be interested in reading the following book by the same author:

“The New Golden Age:The Coming Revolution Against Political Corruption And Economic Chaos”

By

Ravi Batra.

I believe that the above book is the lattest book written by the brilliance of Dr.Ravi Batra.

I do share your point of views about the works of Dr. Batra and if the current economic and financial meltdown had happened earlier,as Dr.Batra predicted in the 1990s, most likely we all would have been better off and subsequently the country,as a whole, would have been better off,with,perhaps,much less debt.Of course,it is a big “IF”.

I have enjoyed reading your sensible comments.Most appreciated.Thank you.

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By vegdude, February 10, 2009 at 6:41 am Link to this comment

Lots of great comments here.

Sodium:  I don’t always agree with Chris Hedges’ economic views but I very much respect his viewpoints on war and Middle Eastern politics.  As for Ravi Batra’s work I do recall reading it in the 1990s and being highly influenced by it.  There was never any question that the current, debt-based, fraud-based “economy” was going to fail.  There was never any question that First World lifestyles with Third World education and productivity would prove unsustainable.  The only question was when the fall would occur.  I agreed with Dr. Batra that (at the time) it would more likely be sooner than later.  We’d have been far better off had that been the case, because there was far more productive capacity in the economy 20 years ago than today, and the “entitlement mentality” at that time seemed limited to the very poor and very wealthy, with most of the rest of us being willing to work, save, live within our means, and invest wisely with history and common sense being a guide.  We’ve deteriorated too much as a society now for there to be any hope of anything as GOOD as what Dr. Batra predicted.  Things must get worse . . much, much worse . . . before there can be any hope of a sustainable recovery.

christian96:  We have to do a better job living our own principles before others will allow us to teach them.  After all, judgment begins at the house of God . . . when we as aspiring followers of Christ will listen to and follow God’s instructions for us now, whether regarding GWB, “fables,” HFCS, or anything else, perhaps others will rise up and take note; until then, I think we have a lot of work to do cleaning our own houses first. 

To the many folks on the left . . . (I’m an an-cap, not a leftie) . . . from my perspective, what we are seeing is the collapse of the current economic order which is NOT free-market but a weird and highly corrupt mix of corporatist, fascist, mercantilist, socialist, and feudalist elements.  What will replace it?  Who knows.  But I strongly recommend that it NOT be more of the same, which, unfortunately, is the best you are likely to get from those currently in charge (and I don’t mean Obama; I mean the people and institutions that he and all other politicians must answer to in order to have even come close to being elected).

And Reubenesque: perhaps the reason why prayer doesn’t prevent Congress from butchering people in the Middle East and all over the rest of the world, is because too many Congresspeople have yet to evolve beyond the moral, ethical, and mental capabilities of apes and monkeys.  smile

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By Ted Swart, February 10, 2009 at 6:19 am Link to this comment

Hi Inherit the Wind:
Your latest response to christian96 helped to give me my daily does of healthy laughter. Perhaps I might add to my checklist of attributes for a hypothetical God the fact that every now and then he/she/it enjoys a hearty laugh.
He (C96) doesn’t have a clue how it is possible to move from faith to the world of free thinking pantheism. I started out in life as an Anglican (Episcopalian) and simply assumed that being a good Anglican/Christian; was synonymous with being a good/holy person. That was until I realized that I was being dishonest since I was professing to believe what was manifestly untrue. So I moved to Quakerism—no creeds, no ministers or priests and no silly belief that the Bible is the word of God. But,in the end, I cut loose from the Society of Friends since there is a certain dishonesty about it which is hard to explain. 
At any rate, C96 is clearly incapable of realizing that Jesus was totally correct when he said that it is the truth which sets us free. But the truth is clearly not that Jesus himself was/is God and provides the only way to salvation. In fact Jesus went out of his way to say “why call ye me good there is none good but God”. Scientists live by the blessed freedom of probabilities not certainties and Voltaire knew this better than most.
It is no good pointing out to C96 that the worlds’ suite of formal religions are mutually incompatible and that, if any one of then is true, then all the rest are false. The obvious conclusion is that they are almost certainly all untrue.
Chris Hedges talks a good deal of top quality sense and I am sorry he has not seen his way clear to breaking loose from the need for some kind of faith/religion.

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By Inherit The Wind, February 10, 2009 at 5:20 am Link to this comment

christian96, February 9 at 11:57 pm #

To Ted Swart——A FREE THINKER?  No, not FREE!  Unless you get on your knees and ask God through
Jesus by the Holy Spirit to forgive your wicked
thoughts, you will perish in your sins.  You worship
science and playfully scorn the God who created
everything that science has discovered.  I will
leave you and Inherit to mentally masturbate one
another.  Enjoy this life.  I don’t think you are
going to enjoy the next one.  May the LORD rebuke
you.

**************************************************

Ah!  The ultimate weapon of the mindless faithful: “Believe as I do or God will damn you!”

“The man who says to me, ’ Believe as I do, or God will damn you,’ will presently say ‘Believe as I do, or I will assassinate you.’ ”—Voltaire.

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By christian96, February 10, 2009 at 12:57 am Link to this comment

To Ted Swart——A FREE THINKER?  No, not FREE!  Unless you get on your knees and ask God through
Jesus by the Holy Spirit to forgive your wicked
thoughts, you will perish in your sins.  You worship
science and playfully scorn the God who created
everything that science has discovered.  I will
leave you and Inherit to mentally masturbate one
another.  Enjoy this life.  I don’t think you are
going to enjoy the next one.  May the LORD rebuke
you.

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By Ted Swart, February 9, 2009 at 10:14 pm Link to this comment

It is no good “Inherit the Wind”.  There ls no hope of getting christian96 to interact sensibly and logically. He cannot even rspond to a clearly wordsd pair of questions without going off at a tangent.
 
The so-called Abrahamic religions all believe in this ridiculous and indefensible God who ordered Abraham to sacrifice his own son to prove his allegiance. And, as for a God who supposedly assigns individuals to eternal punishment in hell for doing nothing more than holding the wrong beliefs, I’d better hold my tongue.
Being as I am a free thinker I sometimes speculate idly about the attributes a real God would have to have to stop himself/herself/itself from going mad and have come to the conclusion that he would have to have a magnificent sense of humour and, at times, be prone to tearing his/her/its hair out with despair.

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By Inherit The Wind, February 9, 2009 at 8:51 pm Link to this comment

hristian96, February 9 at 7:23 pm #

To Reubenesque——-Could the answer to your question
be related to the fact that current people in congress were raised during their formative years
in public schools where PRAYER WAS ABSENT!  Now, it
is too late.  They think they are smarter than God,
like many people on this site.

********************************************

I don’t think I’m smarter than God, and I don’t know anybody that does.

I just think I’m smarter than YOU—and, unless you think you’re God, or God’s next prophet, that’s not saying much.

In fact, I think that if God exists, He is far wiser than you give him credit for being.  If He could create stars and Dark Matter and the DNA editing function, and do it ALL before the moment of The Big Bang, so that everything from that point on would come out as He intended, then that means miracles are nothing more than human fantasy.

Because He would not need them—the way of the Universe was all pre-planned.

But I insist you are arrogant, so arrogant to PRESUME that anyone questioning YOUR feeble interpretations of existence must therefore think they are smarter than God.  Yeah, that’s ego, and arrogance—“pride”, one of the 7 Deadly sins, no?

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By h, February 9, 2009 at 8:46 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

has anyone here seen / read “The Mist”? christian96 is sounding more and more like Carmody…..I wonder who gets sacrificed first?

Have any of you been arrested? Have any of you been extensively outside of the USA?

I am amazed, again, that the thread in this forum is deliberately OT and full of junk. The article that spawned it is about what is in the pipeline for the USA’s social fabric, and all most of you can do is natter with the same jargon and the same sidedness that allowed the kleptocrats and corporate goons to get away with murder and theft on a global scale.

If only Armageddon was nigh after reading some of this drivel! I would rather a twelve headed beast and Satan to the bunch of ninnys concerned with how righteous they think they are.

Come on Anar, TEdS, Inherit, Seph, and cyrena - ignore the boob with god delusion and get back to gabbing on stats, examples, and solutions.  Some of your writing is pretty nice.

best,
h

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By christian96, February 9, 2009 at 8:23 pm Link to this comment

To Reubenesque——-Could the answer to your question
be related to the fact that current people in congress were raised during their formative years
in public schools where PRAYER WAS ABSENT!  Now, it
is too late.  They think they are smarter than God,
like many people on this site.

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By Anarcissie, February 9, 2009 at 7:46 pm Link to this comment

I think one area where the Left is in synch with the people, although probably not because they inspired them, is in the belief that becoming involved in Middle Eastern politics greatly enhances the chance of also becoming involved in terrorism and other forms of war, because that’s what’s going on there.  A first step toward reducing the threat of terrorism would obviously be a reduction or elimination of imperialist projects there and elsewhere.  However, as Bacevich points out, “we” can’t get out of the pit of imperialism because “we” are addicted to Middle Eastern oil.  (I think the ruling class is also attached to imperialism because they are what used to be called control freaks, but it is the oil thing that enables them to sell the policies and activities to the electorate.  And anyway, terrorism is not really a problem for the ruling class; it’s a solution, a resource.  Terrorist attacks usually have no strategic value, but they frighten people and make them more subservient to their leaders.  So leaders are really not motivated to reduce terrorism by self-interest, although they may find it unaesthetic.)

Where the Left, Bacevich and the people part ways is (as he notes) on the issue of consumption and the related issues of growth, environment, ecology, and so forth.  The people are not ready to believe they cannot have more and better forever, regardless of the evidence.

Thus we require the oil and all that follows it.

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By cyrena, February 9, 2009 at 7:11 pm Link to this comment

Sepharad responding to Anarcissie:

•  “The Left needs to think differently both in terms of consumption and in realizing that there IS danger to America and other Western countries from Islamic terrorists but the way the imperial Presidency has chosen to respond is both wrong and ineffective.”

Sepharad,
In terms of consumption, we ALL need to think differently, but that’s a tangential (only if we stretch) argument to the CREATED fear of danger to America and other Western countries from so-called Islamic Terrorists.

So again for the record, this Islamic Terrorist nonsense is clearly propaganda, and there is NOT a ‘danger’ to America from “Islamic Terrorists”. IF there is a danger to America or the West from ‘terrorists’ (and obviously, there IS a continuing danger from ‘global terrorists’ – we just don’t know who they are, or are being directed by)they aren’t terrorizing on behalf of “Islam”. THAT’S the part that you all just refuse to separate in your minds, and it’s perfectly understandable. It provides the absolute proof of how effective the propaganda has been manipulated. When an entire population can be so brainwashed, that is a testimony to the effectiveness of the program, which has been appropriately coined, “The Politics of Fear”.

Wolin’s book may help you with the basics in understanding this very fundamental connection to the so-called “War on Terror”, and you mentioned that you’d probably read that…so that is good. But I just recalled, (as I posted in response to Shenonymous on another thread) an excellent documentary that most Americans still have not seen. I think it provides an even better foundation for the history of the “Politics of Fear” and how the “War on Terror “ has been the created vehicle to execute these politics. 
Check it out.

http://www.wanttoknow.info/powerofnightmares

On a different subject, (and it really IS) you’d also mentioned the faith based initiative that Obama has planned, wondering if that might connect to the suggestions from Christian96, in terms of teaching courses in public school that would incorporate Family Relations and other related issues.

I don’t see a connection, if only because Obama’s initiative (or what I knew of it when he first talked about it a year or so ago) has nothing to do with public school curriculums. His basic premise was to make federal funds available to “Faith Based” organizations that have historically provided social services at the community level. For instance, churches and other similar organizations like “Catholic Charities” or any number of the many others (small and large) who provide services to the hospices/homeless facilities/etc, etc. The list goes on. In many states, (like Texas for instance) ALL of these type services, (when they exist) are provided by private and/or so-called ‘non-profits’.

Theoretically speaking, the GOVERNMENT should be able to provide for these people, via the funds collected from the revenue that we all contribute. But, that’s never happened.

When Bush came up with his so-called ‘faith based’ program, it was a license for right-wing DOMESTIC terrorist organizations to use federal funds to spread their propaganda, and they’ve been selective (discriminatory) about who they were willing to help with these federally provided funds.

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By cyrena, February 9, 2009 at 7:08 pm Link to this comment

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This is the reason that so many people, (and Outraged can and will give you her legitimate concerns) have reacted to such ‘faith based’ initiatives so negatively. For instance, why should Organization ABC or XYZ get federal funds to provide social services, (food, housing, health care referrals and/or PSYCHOLOGICAL COUNSELING) if they discriminate against certain people in the availability of such services, OR if they use it as a means of instilling a particular ideology in the minds of the recipients of such ‘services’. (That is probably the larger of the concerns for many Americans.)

My own PERSONAL experience says that while these have been very REAL problems, (Indoctrination, and discrimination) I don’t (personally) see it as enough of a problem to flatly refuse government assistance to those groups/organizations that have a decent track record for providing these services equally across the demographic board, and without demanding loyalty to any particular religious ideology. Apparently President Obama believes that such a program CAN be managed without these issues, as long as each organization abides by the laws of the Constitution. IE, no discrimination, and no proselytizing. The services must be available to believers and non-believers alike, black and white alike, hetero and homosexual alike, and you get the drift. Unless these so-called ‘faith based’ organizations can maintain the laws of the land in that regard, they don’t get any federal money.
That’s my understanding, and the whitehouse.gov website has been wonderful since the transition, in providing the details of everything they do…right at your fingertips.

http://www.whitehouse.gov/

I have this news feed on my personal home page, and it is constantly refreshed. You can find the details of the Faith Based Initiative here, along with everything else.

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