Saturday, July 30, 2011

The Best (Not-So-New) Thing In The World (Faith)

I have little to add to this, except to say that it gives me hope, and bolsters my faith...

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Thursday, July 28, 2011

How Many Responsible Counter-Jihad Bloggers Are Out There, Anyway?

In response to this list*, (the content of which seems pretty intelligent and nuanced to me, for the most part), I offer the following (three, currently, though I'll be glad to add more if anyone can point me to any) blog posts by right wingers that--at least in these posts--seem to have a handle on the difference between being opposed to violent muslim extremism (islamism, islamofacism), and being opposed to muslims and the Muslim faith (islam, itself).

1) A Responsible Anti-Jihadism? - Josh Travino - The New Nixon (From 2009, but prescient)

2) On Islamophobia and Right Wing Extremism - Rusty Shackleford - The Jawa Report (Unfortunately, not all of the writers at The Jawa Report share his thinking'... and if you REALLY want to be depressed about the nature of folks, read the comments of the post, where Rusty is accused of all manner of rightwing / muzzie-lovin' treasons, just for writing the post.)

3) Atlas Shrugs Blogger Pamela Geller an Inspiration for Terrorists - Dean Esmay - Dean's World (This post first appeared in the list cited above. A little rooting and reading on his blog showed that this "progressive" is actually not a progressive at all... Since I included this post here, I did not repeat it below.)

4) ...
(Because I'm really hoping there are more than three, out there...) ((To be fair, I have not done much of a search, as yet... These three kinda fell into my lap, and I was impressed enough to write this post acknowledging them. If/when I have one for #4, this blurb will become #5, and so on, until I find at least as many "responsible anti-jihad bloggers" (to coin borrow a phrase) as I have hateful ones.))

*That list, in case you'd rather not:
In response to Norway attacks, right-wing bloggers suddenly demand nuance - The Plum Line - The Washington Post

Balloon Juice - “This rhetoric,” he added, “is not cost-free.”

Booman Tribune ~ Pam Geller Compares Herself to John Lennon

Little Green Footballs - NYT: US 'Counter-Jihad' Bloggers Heavily Influenced Oslo Terrorist

Daily Kos: Norway killer found inspiration in American anti-Islamism

Rightbloggers Discover the Real Victims of Norway Mass Murderer Breivik: Themselves - Runnin' Scared

Anders Breivik's Christian Terrorism in Norway: Are Pamela Geller and other anti-Islamist bloggers responsible? - By William Saletan - Slate Magazine

UPDATE: What I said above about these bloggers saying the right thing "in these posts, at least" was dead on... Josh Trevino, from the #1 link above, was the same asshole who advocated killing everyone--including American citizens, and even including a Jewish holocaust survivor--EVERYONE, who took part in the Gaza aid flotillas, likening them to Nazi sympathizers... Yes, REALLY!: Former Bush Speechwriter: Shooting People On Gaza Flotilla "OK" Because Participants Are Like Nazis. He's still an example of better rightwing thinking on Muslims in the post above, but it only goes to show that even a fucked up broken individual like him can have moments of clarity and a soul worth saving... But what a fucktard... (Just reading that shit he spewed about people who believe Israel has no right to blockade another country, makes me want to shower. Guess all that macho talk makes him feel more like a man... Which, if you've seen him... Well, let's just leave it at that...)

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The Growing Scourges - Rightwing Nationalism? Islam? How about Extremism...

Found at the small dead animals post, Oslo: The Christian Response, (but also quoted approvingly here, too):

From today's Toronto "Red" Star editorial:
'The best catharsis Norway can have is to expose a mass murderer for what he is, to publicly refute his twisted ideology and to bring him to justice. The light and air of a public courtroom are the best disinfectants. This case matters to other European countries as well. Rightwing nationalism is a growing scourge that can inspire a lunatic fringe.'
Can you imagine them writing the following?
'The best catharsis America can have is to expose mass murderer Nidal Hasan for what he is, to publicly refute his twisted ideology and to bring him to justice. The light and air of a public courtroom are the best disinfectants. This case matters to European countries as well. Islam is a growing scourge that can inspire a lunatic fringe.'
Nope. Me neither."
In both cases, the ideology of the killers needs to be examined and discussed. But Breivik's murderous acts were not the product of nationalism (or even "rightwing nationalism") any more than Hasan's murderous acts were the result of Islam.

Both were the result of extremism, each of their own variety. Yes, rightwing nationalism / Islam were factors in the stories, but only in the sense that Anders Breivik and Nadal Hasan claimed to be acting in furtherance of those ideologies, but in both cases they had created &/or were influenced by others who had bastardized what these ideologies are actually about and how they are put into practice by their more mainstream adherents.

Now obviously, I'm not all that familiar with Islam, but I do know that the Muslim faith is one of the great religions throughout the world, practiced by millions of people, and that it is a fraction of Muslims who are extremists in word or deed.

I know even less about rightwing nationalism, but I can imagine and empathize with those who see their country and it's traditional identity slipping away. (I find it far easier to imagine and empathize where "old Europe" (or old anywhere) is concerned; the USA started out a nation of immigrants, and still is.) While I'm staunchly opposed to bigotry--also a function of being an American and of our being a nation of immigrants, I think--I don't have much of an issue with countries maintaining their heritage by limiting immigration and demanding a degree of adherence to the customs and laws of the land. The key is, the laws must apply to all fairly. If a country chooses to limit immigration, they should limit immigration from all countries, not just certain ones. If a country chooses to limit (or allow) religious expression or adornments in schools, the laws governing such things should apply whether one is a Muslim, a Christian, a Jew, or any other religion.

Obviously, it's far easier to say than to do, and I'm sure accommodating the needs of one faith will sometimes require more than accommodating the needs of another. I can only say that there is value in living and letting live, sometimes. You're not losing anything if another faith gets an accommodation you do not need or want, and in my opinion it's a little petty to bitch, if that is the case. While the analogy is by no means perfect, there is some value in treating religious accommodation the same way many schools, etc treat accommodations for disabilities. The child with dyslexia isn't getting something extra that your non-learning disabled child isn't getting; both children are getting the same instruction, based on their needs. By the same token, some children have needs that cannot be met in a normal school setting, and it is neither discriminatory or a privilege to have them attend elsewhere, whether that need is specialized instruction due to a physical or mental deficit, or the ability to worship several times during a school day, as required by one's faith.

Bigotry is a problem (and yes, I think that some of the folks being criticized a a result of the Norwegian killer quoted them have said and done bigoted things. That doesn't make them responsible for what the guy did, but it isn't out of the question to talk about what they're saying or to criticize it, either. The fact is, Breivik's quotes and claims shined a light on these anti-muslim/counter-jihadist writers, and there is nothing wrong with talking about their words and ideas.)

The real problem though, is extremism, whether one is an islamist terrorist, a leftwing ecoterrorist, or a rightwing nationalist terrorist. People who commit acts of violence or large-scale vandalism in furtherance of a political outcome are dangerous, and need to be opposed and stopped. (Small-scale vandalism ain't so hot either, but there's a vast difference between spray painting a sign or breaking a window, and blowing up a building or a bulldozer.) There will always be bigots and separatists and people who want to force you to think, act, and believe as they do. Ugly words and ideas can inspire ugly acts, but they are not the cause of those ugly acts. That doesn't mean one cannot criticize the ugly words and ideas--indeed, I believe one has an obligation to do so--but it's foolish to attribute one person's ugly thinking for another's ugly deeds.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Herman Cain figures out the Constitution forbids him to discriminate against Muslims


(More info: EXCLUSIVE: Herman Cain Tells ThinkProgress ‘I Will Not’ Appoint A Muslim In My Administration | ThinkProgress)


(More info: Cain Rewrites History: I Said I Would Not Be Comfortable With ‘A Terrorist In My Cabinet’ | ThinkProgress)

He does not care. He feels the way he feels... (...even if it is bigotry toward muslims--who're all terrorists, y'know) he's feeling.)

And as far as Sharia law in US courts...

While there have been few if any cases of US courts deferring to religious law, religious arbitration "courts" do exist, including those that include Sharia for Muslims, or Halacha (Halakha) for Jews. (Even Catholics subscribe to Cannon Law which, like Sharia and Halacha, does not replace US secular law, but acts along side it.) Such religious arbitration is voluntary for all parties (though of course, there can be in-group pressures to adhere to what the rabbi or imam decrees, even if your position does not prevail.) But where these religious laws are substantially in conflict with US law, US law prevails.

I'm not surprised that the Constitution does not allow the majority to vote away the right for a minority to have their religious arbitration, especially where the majority is singling out one religion's legal arbitration, rather than ALL religious arbitration. (This is likely the same reason the Dutch hit Muslims and Jews alike when they banned ritual slaughter of animals, preventing halal and kosher butchery, in one fell swoop. There had been an exemption for jews and muslims for many years, but no more...)

Monday, July 4, 2011

The Unanimous Declaration of the Thirteen United States of America

When, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and of nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security. --Such has been the patient sufferance of these colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former systems of government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute tyranny over these states. To prove this, let facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his assent to laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his governors to pass laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of representation in the legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved representative houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the legislative powers, incapable of annihilation, have returned to the people at large for their exercise; the state remaining in the meantime exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavored to prevent the population of these states; for that purpose obstructing the laws for naturalization of foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migration hither, and raising the conditions of new appropriations of lands.

He has obstructed the administration of justice, by refusing his assent to laws for establishing judiciary powers.

He has made judges dependent on his will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of new offices, and sent hither swarms of officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, standing armies without the consent of our legislature.

He has affected to render the military independent of and superior to civil power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his assent to their acts of pretended legislation:

For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them, by mock trial, from punishment for any murders which they should commit on the inhabitants of these states:

For cutting off our trade with all parts of the world:

For imposing taxes on us without our consent:

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of trial by jury:

For transporting us beyond seas to be tried for pretended offenses:

For abolishing the free system of English laws in a neighboring province, establishing therein an arbitrary government, and enlarging its boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule in these colonies:

For taking away our charters, abolishing our most valuable laws, and altering fundamentally the forms of our governments:

For suspending our own legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated government here, by declaring us out of his protection and waging war against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burned our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large armies of foreign mercenaries to complete the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of cruelty and perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow citizens taken captive on the high seas to bear arms against their country, to become the executioners of their friends and brethren, or to fall themselves by their hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavored to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian savages, whose known rule of warfare, is undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these oppressions we have petitioned for redress in the most humble terms: our repeated petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have we been wanting in attention to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, enemies in war, in peace friends.

We, therefore, the representatives of the United States of America, in General Congress, assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the name, and by the authority of the good people of these colonies, solemnly publish and declare, that these united colonies are, and of right ought to be free and independent states; that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the state of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as free and independent states, they have full power to levy war, conclude peace, contract alliances, establish commerce, and to do all other acts and things which independent states may of right do. And for the support of this declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor.

New Hampshire: Josiah Bartlett, William Whipple, Matthew Thornton

Massachusetts: John Hancock, Samual Adams, John Adams, Robert Treat Paine, Elbridge Gerry

Rhode Island: Stephen Hopkins, William Ellery

Connecticut: Roger Sherman, Samuel Huntington, William Williams, Oliver Wolcott

New York: William Floyd, Philip Livingston, Francis Lewis, Lewis Morris

New Jersey: Richard Stockton, John Witherspoon, Francis Hopkinson, John Hart, Abraham Clark

Pennsylvania: Robert Morris, Benjamin Rush, Benjamin Franklin, John Morton, George Clymer, James Smith, George Taylor, James Wilson, George Ross

Delaware: Caesar Rodney, George Read, Thomas McKean

Maryland: Samuel Chase, William Paca, Thomas Stone, Charles Carroll of Carrollton

Virginia: George Wythe, Richard Henry Lee, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Harrison, Thomas Nelson, Jr., Francis Lightfoot Lee, Carter Braxton

North Carolina: William Hooper, Joseph Hewes, John Penn

South Carolina: Edward Rutledge, Thomas Heyward, Jr., Thomas Lynch, Jr., Arthur Middleton

Georgia: Button Gwinnett, Lyman Hall, George Walton

Source: The Pennsylvania Packet, July 8, 1776
Early America Declaration of Independence Quiz