Archive for the ‘Bullshit Politics’ Category
“I know that I spent an entire show speaking about a pattern that I am seeing and that statistically we are seeing more shootings under Obama’s presidency than any other administration.” – Clyde Lewis
Ground Zero Radio with Clyde Lewis: Driving home late at night I was listening to this Clyde guy rant about how Obama and the anti-gun lobby was behind recent shootings such in Chicago and Washington D.C.: The U.S. government orchestrates mass killings so they can eventually ban all guns and disarm the populace. Wow! It’s mighty tough to come up with a stupider conspiracy theory. So I went online to check out Clyde. Hear it is, straight from the Clyde’s mouth:
“After the Sandy Hook shootings and the literal gagging of all information about the case, I realized just who the soulless individuals capable of committing such atrocities are. They are the evil people that rule us and use these horrible and traumatic events to further their extremist political agendas.” – Clyde Lewis
The Redskins Are Going? Poll after poll weigh in on whether the Washington NFL team nickname “Redskins” is offensive to Native Americans. Redskin denotes dye on the face, or war paint, and whether it honors Native Americans or insults them seems a matter of opinion; not as clear as other racial slurs. Should they change the name? In North Dakota the state college’s Fighting Sioux changed their name, despite the Sioux nation approving the name in 2010. Namely, the Sioux voted to keep the name and the P.C. bick-ditches had to champion a moral placebo. This is a case of a democratic not racial minority trumping the majority. As to the Redskins, racism is a serious problem, and though the controversy seems to diminish actual victims and troubling history, the headlines and controversy disappear with a name change. I’d change the name, but the government and the law should not intervene. Media and free speech, though, can go full attack on the issue.
“Dronophobia: The irrational, abnormal and persistent fear of drone strikes.” – Kunwar Khuldune Shahid
Why I Hate Malala: “The sight of white men in suits applauding and gushing at Malala Yusufzai’s speech at the United Nations, the gushing media frenzy and vociferous support on social media was nauseating for me,” Sofia Ahmed.
Drones? The use of drones in warfare has brought vociferous protests . From the assassination of Anwar Al Awlaki in Yemen to their use in Afghanistan and Pakistan. All killing demands moral questioning. Why do drones cause more outrage than terrorists, suicide bombings, and conventional weapons? The Malala crowd seems to think the West is exploiting Malala’s story to justify drone attacks, oversimplifying by far. And, in another game of Tag, You’re Racist, they focus on an absurd racial element.
Racism: Malala’s supporters, white or not, are human, enough said.
“Anti-Malala vitriol is a direct expression of misogyny,” Lejla Kurić
Exploitation of Malala: Now let’s get this erect pencil straight, the West already has many reasons to intervene against extremists. But Malala is a net force for positive. Malala in no ways approves of killing civilians. To criticize drone strikes, in many ways, defends extremely violent terrorists. Sebastian Junger has written about how the Taliban discovered a site was to be bombed, and how the Taliban made sure children would be at the site to make “martyr propaganda.” But how to process or trust the data? The civilians are stuck between one big damned rock and an incredibly hard place. What to do against evil? What to do about the response to evil? Tough call.
“No Ordinary Violence” – Sam Harris
“I refuse to sign petitions for that book of his…”- Germaine Greer referring to Salman Rushdie’s The Satanic Verses
“One person said he wanted to chop me up and feed me to his dogs. I reported it to the police but they didn’t charge him because the threats weren’t threatening enough.” – Firoozeh Bazrafkan
According to The Copenhagen Post, artist Firoozeh Bazrafkan was fined 5,000 Kroner for “violating anti-racism legislation” after her blog entry was published in the Jyllands-Posten newpaper: “I am very convinced that Muslim men around the world rape, abuse and kill their daughters. This is, according to my understanding as a Danish-Iranian, due to a defective and inhumane culture – if you can even call it a culture at all. But you can say, I think, that it is a defective and inhumane religion whose textbook, the Koran, is more immoral, deplorable and crazy than manuals of the two other global religions combined.”
Bazrafkan’s statement is problematic because of its lack of quantifiers; she types all Muslim men as one entity. Watch the Academy Award winning film A Separation, not the over rated caricature laden Argo, to get a more accurate picture of Iranian society. Most Iranian men are decent folk, and it’s poor art to focus on extremes as if they are the rule. But poor art is not racism.
The fact the Aarhus Police have found that she has committed racism worthy of a fine is by far more problematic. Islam is not a race. Racism is the belief in the inferiority and superiority of specific ethnic groups. Bazrafkan is criticizing culture and that’s different. Furthermore, criticizing culture, religion or nationalism is arguably legitimate free speech. Calls for violence are the exception and not “free” speech.
Michel Focault, in his admiration of Khomeini’s Revolution, set the stage for liberals like Germaine Greer to misread the dangers of fundamentalism. This conflict exploded after Salman Rushdie’s fatwa, and signaled the start of a new battle over what ideas can be tolerated. From 1989 to the present the polemics have intensified, and the cowering thought police has created a new form of European chauvinism, patronizing Moroccans, Persians, Afghans, Pakistanis and other minorities by not considering them worthy of secular government, women’s rights and Western liberty.
What must secular and/or ex-Muslims think when they see that criticism of religion, a crime under their own governments, faces similar restrictions in the governments of liberal dominated Europe? The Danish government’s message to oppressed Muslims reads that they are not worthy of the same freedoms. Denmark has joined Bazrafkan’s home country of Iran in censoring free speech, and this is a shame.
Naguib Mahfouz: “No blasphemy harms Islam and Muslims so much as the call for murdering a writer.”
From U.S. Decision on Syria: “Earlier this week, the White House announced it confirmed that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime has used chemical weapons in the fight against its own people, and the Obama administration will provide more ‘direct support’ to the Syrian opposition since the president’s ‘red line’ has been crossed.”
Sarah Palin recently criticized Barack Obama for sending weapons to arm the Syrian rebels. No matter how you feel about Palin, on this she’s right.
Media can mislead, but substantive messages within can be disseminated effectively. An existential summary of history, politics, journalism, and attempts to learn from experience (Afghanistan) lead to this conclusion:
Sending weapons to the rebels in Syria might be the most egregious decision of Obama’s tenure.
Who are the rebels? They may be civilians fighting against evil, defectors from the Assad regime, or fanatics inspired by religious ecstasy as they commit horrors only replicated in history by entities such as the Khmer Rouge:
Yes, civilians are stuck in the middle, but the response must be practical. No force has shown capability of responsibility and restraint. At present all actions lead to hell.
Despite benevolent intent, as the most humane soldiers learn the art of war and the consolation of destruction, their love of humanity dissipates.
Obama’s recent UN appointee Samantha Power’s basic premise is that armed intervention can be the only effective means to counter war and genocide in certain areas. The Congo is one such place, and recently the UN dispatched arms and soldiers to keep peace and protect citizens (See Art of Darkness from The Economist). This seems like sane policy.
The case has not been made for Syria. If the Obama administration feels intervention in Syria worthwhile, then the administration needs to make a cogent argument to the public. Otherwise, stay the fuck out.
“Moral equivalency is liberal BS.” – Bill Maher.
The Boston Marathon tragedy set in motion tension between liberals and conservatives. Religion and race begot polemics and accusations:
“However, white male privilege means white men are not collectively denigrated/targeted for those shootings — even though most come at the hands of white dudes.” – David “White Guy” Sirota, from Salon.com – Let’s Hope the Boston Marathon Bomber Is a White American
Most people don’t want to play this constant game of “Tag, you’re racist!” Smugness, in the form of accidental not quite reverse race baiting, stinks. Whether from seasoned journalists like Sirota or cliché-riddled dorks like Oelbaum. As the right wing should be excoriated for tolerating Ron Paul’s lame defense of his newsletter, liberals should have an equally sensitive hypocrisy meter. Instead, we get pabulum like this:
“Can you imagine the ‘fits’ black people would throw if white people had a history month other than January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, and December?” – Roxane Gay, from Seriously Though, When Is White History Month?
Racist Accusations: I don’t think Sirota, Oelbaum, or Gay are racist. They are disgusted by racism, but simplify and magnify comments such as by Ron Paul. To generalize or specify racism takes awareness of demographics. Yes, racism exists, some whites have privilege, there are inequalities, but how many racists are there? Two percent? Five percent? Ten percent? Even so, 98%, 95%, or 90% are not racist. (In context of the Boston Marathon atrocity, substitute fundamentalist for racist and the same stats apply, most Muslims are peaceful). The KKK and white supremacists are fringe assholes, the left and right need to focus. As for racism that should be condemned, we don’t have to go back to the days of slavery or segregation:
“Our clear goal must be the advancement of the white race and separation of the white and black races. This goal must include freeing of the American media and government from subservient Jewish interests.” – David Duke
“Opinion polls consistently show that only about 5 percent of blacks have sensible political opinions.” – Ron Paul, from Newsletter period, The Atlantic
Distractions: Media needs a course in Prejudice 101 – Ignorance creates fear, fear creates superiority complexes and insecurity, racism ensues. David Sirota, your article is vile and contributes to ignorance. Don’t diminish the serious nature of racism.
Folks, all’s not lost, it’s possible to reflect on the Boston Marathon cogently. Here’s a pertinent argument: do Muslims look at terrorists the same way as most Christians look at the Westboro Baptist Church? And who better to start the fire than far leftie Bill Maher and Muslim author Dr. M. Zuhdi Jasser, as well as Ali A. Rizvi?
“There’s only one faith, for example, that kills you or wants to kill you if you draw a bad cartoon of the prophet. There’s only one faith that kills you or wants to kill you if you renounce the faith. An ex-Muslim is a very dangerous thing. Talk to Salman Rushdie after the show about Christian versus Islam. So, you know, I’m just saying, let’s keep it real.” – Bill Maher, discussing Islam with Brian Levin, April 19, 2013 – Current TV
“There is a deep soulful battle of identity raging within the Muslim consciousness domestically and abroad between Westernism and liberalism. In essence the Islamists confront every situation in a selfish ‘we are the victims’ mentality and the rest of us non-Islamist Muslims need to instead respond with a louder and more real leadership and say: ‘We will not be victims.’” – Dr. M. Zuhdi Jasser, Islamic Leader Issues Tough Response
“…anything but jihad” brigade is out in full force again. If the perpetrators of such attacks say they were influenced by politics, nationalism, money, video games or hip-hop, we take their answers at face value. But when they repeatedly and consistently cite their religious beliefs as their central motivation, we back off, stroke our chins and suspect that there has to be something deeper at play, a ‘root cause.’” Ali A. Rizvi: An Atheist Muslim/Huffington Post
“As a Muslim I know what she did and what its (sic) punishment is and she should know better than to do what she is done. we keep these values and you dont (sic) we are proud of who we are and what we believe in, at least we have something to believe in. she has been condemned and punish by stoning. she deserves what she gets.” – Shazida Khatun, commenter and verb-slayer on Amina Tyler: Tunisian Girl Outrages Islamic Authority
What she did: Amina Tyler, a Tunisian woman, published now iconic topless photos of herself on Facebook with Arabic and English written on her naked torso. Her message challenges the male dominated ideology of her society. Femen, a Ukranian activist group that has targeted European Nationalists and the Pope, launched a Topless Jihad in Amina’s support. There’s more on this at The Atlantic, The New Yorker and The Huffington Post. Tunisian clerics have called for her death.
Femen, in some ways, represents a common sentiment within the West, the rejection of fundamentalist misogyny that hurls stones literally and figuratively at women in religiously oppressed societies. Here’s what Amina wrote (translation):
“I own my body; it’s not the source of anyone’s honor.” – Amina Tyler
Missing the point: On the other side we have the Muslimah at Al Jazeera, self-described “moderate” Shazid Khatun, and cultural and religious apologists such as Glenn Greenwald (more horrified by Sam Harris than by the Taliban), who seem to think misogyny is wrong only in the West, but when certain cultures oppress women, that is moral relativism and a right. Observe the Muslimah:
“FEMEN can’t tell me what I can and can’t wear!” Muslimah Pride
“Nudity does not liberate me and I DO NOT need saving!” Muslimah Pride
Muslimah Pride, c’mon, no one is telling you how to dress. Amina’s message implies, “Don’t tell me what to wear, don’t condemn women for their choices.” You choose to dress as society compels you to, fine, but do you really have a choice to dress otherwise? Amina questions this compulsion, that’s all.
Muslimah – Amina has now been threatened by death. I ask the Muslimah, Al Jazeera, and the educated Muslims of the world, where do you stand? Are you with the clerics and the Shazidas who call for her death? Or do you support her right to free speech? Her act may be offensive, and FEMEN’s use of nudity may be offensive, but those are different arguments. What about peaceful expression? You protest her message, but remain silent as clerics demand that she be killed. Is that how you want to be perceived?
You see the girls on the left? In Afghanistan and Pakistan women risk their lives for education. The attempted assasination of Malala Yousafzai evidence. Muslimah, if you have education, use it. The rights Amina Tyler and Femen demand apply to you. If you wish to don hijabis or nikaabis, go for it. But instead of protesting Amina, why not protest forcing rape victims to marry their rapists (Amina Filali), honor killings, and education for women? I think you do incredible harm to your religion when, by your silence and the battles you choose, you prioritize the trivial over the serious. Islam is about peace, ladies, so why not speak for peace by supporting it?
“And you can put as many scarves as you want if you are free tomorrow to take it off and to put it back the next day but don’t deny millions of your sisters who have fear behind their scarves, don’t deny that there are million of your sisters who have been raped and killed because they are not following the wish of Allah! We are here to scream about that.” – Inna Shevchenko, Leader of women’s movement FEMEN
Taliban UPDATE: “We lost Afghanistan in 2001 because of 9/11 at a time when we almost controlled 100 percent of Afghanistan,” a Taliban intelligence officer says. “We don’t want these incidents to upset our plans again.” – Comment made after Boston Marathon bombing, confirming how terrorism reflects on Islam.
Update: “How can you wear your scarf with so much proudness . . . like it’s the hat of Che Guevara? It symbolizes blood and all the crimes that are based on your religion, even if you don’t support them . . . . If you’re a feminist, if you’re for liberation, then be brave [enough] to say that we are against that and take off your scarf until the moment that your scarf will not be a symbol of crime.” Inna Shevchenko from Topless Jihad: Why Femen Is Right – The Atlantic May, 1 2013
Amina Quits Femen – Huff Post
“Margaret Thatcher: Good Riddance” – John M. Becker
Today Margaret Thatcher died. It inspired various memories of her political career and life, including blogger John M. Betcher who laid on the hate. He then went on to write:
“I’m sorry, but I can’t join in the gushing praise being heaped upon Margaret Thatcher today. While I feel sympathy for her grieving family and I don’t rejoice in anyone’s death, I’m rather sickened by all the revisionist history I’m seeing.” – John M. Becker
Becker’s shouting out ”Good Riddance” and then writing “I don’t rejoice in anyone’s death” is the epitome of disingenuous. And there’s more.
“I agree she did more damage to the peoples (sic) community spirit than Hitler,” dee “ignorant cow” sweetland (first comment posted on Becker’s site)
No matter how horrid a person you may think Thatcher, attacks by John and “dee” reveal the class of the writer/attacker. As a reflexively critical left-leaning independent, I question verbal stones thrown at the right. Such pabulum convinces no one and damages the image of the left. To hold negative opinions about Thatcher is one thing, to rejoice and remind the world what a scumwhore she was on the day she dies is another. What Becker and “dee” did make the left look as sick, twisted, and belligerent as the right.
Why not convince and engage the opposition instead of belittling them? As to the Hitler analogy, the author caters to his crowd. Rush Limbaugh’s loyal followers reflect his ideas. Intellectual demagoguery reflects the demagogue.
“Everything I have ever said about Islam refers to the content and consequences of its doctrine. And, again, I have always emphasized that its primary victims are innocent Muslims–especially women and girls.” – Sam Harris
Recently The Guardian (Glenn Greenwald), Al Jazeera (Murtaza Hussain), and Salon (Nathan Lean) attacked Sam Harris and other “New Atheists,” Christopher Hitchens and Richard Dawkins, accusing them of racism and Islamophobia. These accusations are significant, and led to a back and forth between Harris and Greenwald. Compare above and below, and notice Greenwald’s Kobe-Bryantesque misuse of “honest”:
“Sam – To be honest, I really don’t see how that full quote changes anything. You are indeed saying – for whatever reasons – that the fascists are the ones speaknig (sic) most sensibly about Islam, which is all that column claimed.” – Glenn Greenwald
Indeed? Indeed. I question the skewered semantics that make Harris a supporter of ”fascists.”
Meanwhile, Nathan Lean at Salon chastises Dawkins for Tweeting: “…(a Muslim woman’s) testimony worth half a man’s and needing 4 male witnesses to prove rape.” But Dawkins draws directly from the Koran.
“If, however, the charge is true and no proof of the young woman’s virginity can be found, she shall be brought to the door of her father’s house and there the men of her town shall stone her to death.” – Deuteronomy 22:20-21
Arguments? Greenwald, Hussain, Lean and ilk imply equivalency between Islam and Christianity because both encourage atrocities such as slavery and honor killing. Sure. Still, according to UN Women over 91% of world wide honor crimes are within Muslim societies (the rest are attributed to Hindus, Coptics, etc.). That’s a huge discrepancy.
These three should spend more time reading, say, Rana Husseini, Irshad Manji, Mukhtar Mai, Zana Muhsen, Nawal El Saadawi, and other Muslim women as they document accounts of forced child marriage or honor crimes. Though these women point out the value of Islam, they basically align themselves with Harris regarding the horrible treatment of women justified by fundamentalists. Go ahead, accuse them of Islamophobia.
Tonight’s topic: Islam vs. Christianity – Which is Right?
Reverend Stephen Colbert: Christianity.
Carell: Islaaaaam!!!! There is no God but Allah and Mohammed is his Prophet! Stephen?
Colbert: Steve, this debate is about religion, let’s discuss it rationally, now…think about it, if you were God would you manifest your divine glory to a shepherd in a cave in Saudi Arabia in the seventh century? Or as the son of a carpenter in a manger in Judea in the year zero? C’mon, use your mind.
Carell: Stephen, what part of “there is no God but Allah and Mohammed is his Prophet” don’t you understand? Look. Let’s assume for the sake of argument that your God is the one true God. That would mean Allah is not the one true God. Which we know he is. Don’t you see your logic eats itself!
Colbert: First off, it’s not my logic, Steve, it’s God’s logic as written in the Bible, every word of which is true. And we know every word is true because the Bible says that the Bible is true, and, if you remember from earlier in this sentence: every word of the Bible is true. Now, are you following me here, or are you some kind of mindless zealot?
Carell: Alright, there are two ways of settling this. The one that I was thinking of – a pray off. You pray to your…god. And I will pray to mine, and we will see which one of us gets smited.
Colbert: Great, let’s do it.
Carell: Is your God ready?
Colbert: My God was born ready…er, not so much born as begot-not-made-one-being-with-the-father ready.
Both: On your mark, get set…pray!
(Both pray. Revered Colbert drags his finger across his neck, “slitting” as he points to Imam Carell)
Carell: No no n-n-n-no. I’m done, too, and I appear to be unsmoted.
Carell: Hmm. Interesting. And I’m going to be doing that after I go to Paradise to join my bevy of spotless virgins for all eternity. You know, I just want to give them a heads up where I’m going for eternity.
Jon Stewart: Guys, I’m sorry, I’m starting to think that this religion thing we’re not going to settle in three minutes, so if you can just wrap it up and find some common ground…that would be great.
Carell: Maybe the Jew’s right.
Colbert: Yeah, maybe so, which is funny ’cause I normally don’t care for Jews.
Carell: We don’t either.
Carell: We seem to find them kind of…scheming.
Colbert: We’re very big on that too.
Carell: We’re not so different after all.
(Both laugh maniacally)
Rage Against the Machine vs. Lounge Against the Machine
Lounge vs. Rage
“some of those that work forces / are the same that burn crosses / killing in the name of / and now you do what they told ya / you’re under contol / those who died are justified / for wearing the badge / they’re the chosen whites / fuck you I won’t do what you tell me”
If you don’t laugh by the time Cheese says “Muhhhhh-ther fucccccck-er”, well, you have no sense of harmonica. And if you think this is ad-bass, wait until you hear Dick Cheese doin’ some Nine Inch Nails.
Sorry, Rage, either you’re against murder or for murder. Che was for extra-judicial killing, in other words, murder. Richard Cheese is for lounge. Winner = Mr. Cheese!
“I’m not going to let steroids association keep me from voting for a candidate.” – Larry Stone
“Dr. Thomas DeLoughery said Mr. Alzado died of complications of a rare form of brain cancer, which was diagnosed a year ago and which the athlete attributed to his years of taking massive doses of steroids to build and maintain a formidable physique.” – LA Times
I love the drama, character building, and competition sports involves. There are many life lessons. Sports can teach honor, fairness, and respect. I’ve attacked the dorks at KJR for lacking this honor (The Bigger Dance and Seattle Mariners Sign a Convicted Rapist and Felon), and now it’s Hall of Fame time and a beef with Seattle Times columnist Larry Stone:
Dear Larry Stone,
I respect and follow you in the paper and sports talk radio, but I disagree hugely on one issue. On January 4 you disclosed your Hall of Fame ballot in the Seattle Times. Yesterday the vote came out. You voted for these ten: Jeff Bagwell, Craig Biggio, Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Edgar Martinez, Mike Piazza, Tim Raines, Curt Schilling, Alan Trammell and Larry Walker. You also mentioned that, could you have, you would have voted or given strong consideration to Mark McGwire and Sammy “corked bat” Sosa. This alone should disqualify you from the “Sports Journalism Hall of Fame.”
Biggio, Bagwell, Martinez et al are worthy considerations. But Bonds and Clemens? McGwire and Sosa? No-way no-how not-ever not-in-hell not-in-this world. Never. Drawing the line at Palmeiro, as you did, doesn’t cut it. Here’s why:
No athlete should have to choose between performance enhancing drugs or health. Just take a look at dead-at-43 Lyle Alzado. The harms caused to the user are many: acne, enlarged prostrate, testicular atrophy, liver damage, hair loss, sterility, not to mention psychosis and violent tendencies, as witnessed when wrestler Chris Benoit killed his wife.
Likewise, no athlete who plays fair should lose his or her job or have to compete against opponents who use steroids or other performance enhancing drugs. Ever. It doesn’t matter if others may have done steroids or worse but never were caught or lived in a different age. Integrity now cannot be compromised because dubious behavior has been tolerated in the past. To ensure a richer future in sports, we must change the culture. I want this for my children, Mr. Stone, don’t you?
Therefore, to get into the Hall of Fame, if you think a player used, then he has no place in baseball’s shrine. Larry, your views do not merit the “hate” mail you claim you have received, they are your opinions. But my opinion is that the more people who share your opinion, the greater the harm to future generations. Evidently you are not so naïve to think Bonds and Clemens didn’t use. But you voted for them anyway. Therefore, you have elected to be wrong.