Original materials - Copyright © 2013 by Gary
Bachlund All international rights reserved
"Life seems to go on without effort
when I am filled with music." George Eliot, The Mill on the Floss (1860)
People before profits
"Meet the latest addition to the People Before
Profits Network: www.politicalaffairs.net Political Affairs, a
journal of Marxist thought published since 1932 has a totally
revamped and redesigned website in large part due to a grant from People
Before Profits." In "People Before Profits welcomes new
politicalaffairs.net," posted by admin, 23 October 2010.
[ 1 ]
People before profits?
It just doesn't work that way.
If there is earned no profit,
Then people aren't paid today.
People before profits?
Ask those who strike for more,
The more coming out of profit,
Profit being the reservoir.
People before profits
Well drains that reservoir,
And when comes no more profit,
Then people can't come before.
Slogans make an artful game,
Pulling wool over then-blind eyes
And sowing confusion's empty claim
With the same old Marxist lies.
People before profits,
As one saw in Stalin's time?
People before profit
Made the Khmer Rouge sublime?
People before profits
Made Mao a gentle lamb?
And people before profit
Has profited where? Oh damn.
Gather all a people's profits
But invest in no profit scheme,
And look to reap some profit
From a sloganeered Marx-laid scheme.
Old Marx? He too sought profits
From Engels and other friends,
Because he needed profit
For his great, grand glorious ends.
People before profits?
It hasn't work that way.
Old Marx? He earned no profit,
Begging money every day.
As so bright Marxist thought
Lingers long as time goes by,
As long as Marx's dull kindred
Can borrow, they might buy.
People before profits?
Bourgeois grocers sought their keep.
[ 2 ]
Bourgeois butchers? They sought profit
Or red ink rose bloody deep.
People before profits?
Landlords must seek some rent.
[ 3 ]
The piano chap? He must profit,
Though his payment Marx oft spent.
People before profits?
One looks at the founder's thought,
And finds the founder beggared
Because his work was poorly bought.
People before profits?
Today it rings quite clear.
A slogan like most slogans
Hiding truths it thinks too drear.
[ 4 ]
People before profits?
A preposition, inexact,
For how much
before each profit
Marxists hide as matter of fact.
[ 5 ]
Socialist Stalin's union
[ 6 ]
And Cuba's prosperous now
[ 7 ]
Show people before profits
Is an elite corps' slaughtered cow.
[ 8 ]
People before profits
Was a theory, as it is today,
But without a little profit
Even Marx just withers away.
[ 9 ]
People without profits? Who might they be?
The folks whose end is bankruptcy,
A final feature of Communism's history.
ideology of communism may have ended up on the ash heap of history like
Nazism before it, but now "Market Leninism" is taking its place as a
challenge to liberty in the 21st Century. The fault lines reflect Cold
War regions. Russia and China and some of their old satellite states
have traded Marx and Lenin for Market Leninism. The militaristic
one-party state endures – but the nomenklatura now attracts global
capital, swilling champagne in jet set nightclubs instead of behind
dacha walls." In "Why America's poisonous politics makes 'Market
Leninism' an attractive alternative," by John Avlon, Telegraph UK, 29
Addendum of Soviet Excess:
"In the mid 1970s, Leonid Brezhnev acquired a black
Rolls Royce Silver Shadow and a gold-and-brown Citroen Maserati
high-performance coupe. According to some estimates, Brezhnev’s
collection consisted of 49 to 324 cars." In "The unique and the very
ordinary cars of Soviet and Russian leaders," RIA Novosti, n.d.
[ 10 ]
Addendum of Strong Communist
Connections: "Although the majority of oligarchs
were not formally related with the Communist Party of the Soviet Union,
there are allegations that they were promoted (at least initially) by
the communist apparatchiks, with strong connections to Soviet power
structures and access to the monetary funds of the communist party.
In official media, oligarchs are usually pictured as the enemies of
'communist forces'. The latter is a stereotype that describes political
power that wants to restore Soviet-style communism in Russia." In
"Russian oligarch," Wikipedia, n.d.
Addendum of Communist Profits
before People: "Membership has its privileges,
particularly in China where it’s proving to be a prerequisite for
climbing the social ladder. The Forbes China 400 Rich list revealed a
record number of 146 U.S.-dollar billionaires this year, compared to 128
in 2010. The growing ranks of the mega-rich in China are unsurprising in
an economy that doubles in size every eight years. However, the fact
that over 90% of the 1,000 richest people tracked by the Hurun Report
are either officials or members of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is
a troubling sign. A closer look at how wealth is actually created
and distributed in China completely dispels the notion that its
authoritarian model is beneficial for the majority of Chinese people."
In "China's Rich Lists Riddled With Communist Party Members," John Lee,
Forbes, 14 September 2011.
Addendum on Profitable
Chinese Communism: "President Xi Jinping's
announcement, carried by the official Xinhua News Agency, comes as the
ruling Communist Party is pressing government officials to cut spending
on limousines, banquets and other trappings of office. The wealth and
privileges of state companies in industries including oil, banking
and telecommunications that benefit from monopolies, low-cost credit and
other support have fueled public frustration. Pay for executives, who
are appointed by the ruling party, can be hundreds of times that of the
average Chinese. Chief executives of banks and other companies are paid
about 2 million yuan ($300,000) per year." In "China promises to
rein in executive pay," Associated Press, 19 August 2014.
For more on the CCP, see:
Capital for Communists
- a story growing old
Addendum on Doctrine:
"The way to combat Communism is not war. What is needed in
addition to such armaments as will deter Communists from attacking the
West, is a diminution of the grounds for discontent in the less
prosperous parts of the non-communist world. ...Communism is a
doctrine bred of poverty, hatred and strife. Its spread can only be
arrested by diminishing the area of poverty and hatred." In
"Portraits From Memory And Other Essays," by Bertrand Russell, 1956.
Addendum for Doctors, Nurses
and Government Workers under Communism: "The
Communist Party daily newspaper Granma also reported that Cuba expects
to take in $8.2 billion this year for the tens of thousands of medical
worker it sends to care for the poor in countries such as Venezuela and
Brazil. Granma published a sample of what the pay hikes, which take
effect June 1, will look like. At the high end, doctors with two
specialties will see their salary go from the equivalent of $26 a month
to $67, while an entry-level nurse will make $25, up from $13. Salaries
at government jobs in Cuba average about $20 a month, augmented by a
range of free services and subsidies. " In "Cuba hikes salaries for
doctors, nurses," Associated Press, 21 March 2014.
[ 11 ]
Addendum for Communists
Lowering Taxes on Profits: "Cuba is proposing a new
Cuban foreign investment law that would cut the profits tax in half to
15 percent and exempt most investors from paying it for at least eight
years, official media said on Wednesday. The National Assembly will
meet on Saturday to approve the legislation that the communist country
hopes will lure overseas capital and help further integrate the
Caribbean island in the global economy. Cuba is promising legal
protection for foreign investors, who have generally been averse to
risking capital in the Soviet-style economy, and new incentives such as
dramatically lowered tax." In "Cuba plans big tax breaks to lure foreign
investors: official media," by Marc Frank, Reuters, 26 March 2014.
[ 12 ]
Addendum of Non-Capitalists
Seeking Income which is Capital: "L&W is not a
capitalist organisation engaged in profit-seeking or capital
accumulation. ...Without the income derived its copyright in these
works, L&W would not exist." In "Lawrence & Wishart statement on the
Collected Works of Marx and Engels," lwbooks.co.uk, n.d.
[ 13 ]
Addendum of a Delicious
Historical Irony: "On Thursday, the day that the Dow
Jones index closed at an all-time high of 17,068 points, AbeBooks.com
sold a first edition of Karl Marx’s Das Kapital for $40,000.
Published in 1867 by Otto Meissner with German text, this copy of Das
Kapital was the only one published in Marx’s lifetime (he died in 1883).
The book is housed in a slipcover with cloth wrapping." In "Copy of Das
Kapital sells for $40k just as Dow Jones hits record high," by Richard
Davies, AbeBooks, 4 July 2014.
Addendum of wavering
Vietnamese Communists: "Anger over Vietnam's handling
of a territorial dispute with China has prompted a group of senior
communist party members to call on the government to jettison communism
for democracy and 'get out of China's orbit.' Sixty-one prominent
members of Vietnam's Communist Party, including a former ambassador to
Beijing, urged Vietnam's leadership in an open letter to change its
political system, 'develop a truly democratic, law-abiding state,'
allow for greater freedom of political speech and 'escape' from its
reliance on China. 'The Party needs to get rid of Marxism-Leninism
and get out of China's orbit,' Chu Hao, former vice minister of
science and technology and one of the letter's three co-authors, said in
a phone interview. 'It is very high time for the party to make a
thorough transformation'." In "Vietnam Communists call for democracy,
shift away from China," by John Boudreau, Bloomberg News, 6 August 2014.
Addendum of that New
Communism for Kids: "It’s always tempting to
get sucked into the fascinating boredom of Marxist dialectic. In
this case the author seems to be setting up the story for some kind of
reversal wherein the apparent utopia turns out to be false and another
start must be made toward the immanentization of true communism — which,
like the English-language edition of Adamczak’s book, is always right
around the corner but never quite gets here. Since applied Marxism
has to date produced nothing but violence, there is plenty of material
for stories where things don’t quite work out. Google translates the
book’s title as Communism: A Short History, like finally everything will
be different, and if that slightly blasé tone comes across in the
original German, it suggests a kind of millennial 'whatever' attitude
toward the promises of the past. Commies are always sure they won’t
get fooled again." In "Communism for Kids," by Tim Cavanaugh,
National Review, 22 October 2014.
[ 14 ]
Addendum of that old
Dictatorial Revolution, Again: "The revolution would
have to overthrow the state machinery of these capitalist-imperialists
and bring into being a new state power that serves the revolutionary
interests of the formerly exploited class, the proletariat, in
emancipating all of humanity—in moving society, and the world, toward
the abolition of class divisions and oppressive and exploitative
relations as a whole. This revolutionary state would be the
dictatorship of the proletariat—a state that would be radically
different from all previous forms of states." In "CONSTITUTION of
the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA," RevCom, 2008.
[ 15 ]
Addendum of Looking for
the Revolution: "A Chicago-based communist
revolutionary group blamed by Milwaukee's police chief for stoking a
second day of violence said that some of its members did go there to
'support a revolution' but didn't set out to cause trouble. Police chief
Ed Flynn said members of a Chicago chapter of the Revolutionary
Communist Party turned what had been a peaceful night into a tense one
by leading marchers down several blocks at around 11:30 p.m. TV footage
showed a small group of protesters walking or running through the
streets, sometimes toppling orange construction barriers. 'The
(communist group) showed up, and actually they're the ones who started
to cause problems,' Flynn said at a news conference Monday." In
"Communist group members go to Milwaukee to help 'revolution',"
Associated Press, 15 August 2016.
Addendum of a Marxist
Intellectual: "One of the leading lights of
Marxism on the campus of the University of Wisconsin-Madison brings home
a sweet salary of $170,000 per year. The well-heeled sociology professor
is Erik Olin Wright, according to EAGnews.org. The tenured,
capitalism-hating professor’s annual salary of $170,000 is $117,587
greater than the household income of a typical Wisconsin family and is
in the top 2 percent of all Americans. Whil [ sic ] an average
middle-class family in Wisconsin survives on $4,368 per month, the
Marxist professor enjoys a cushy monthly income of $14,166. He will
teach exactly two courses in the fall semester for this princely sum,
according to his festively colorful webpage." In "Capitalism-Hating
Marxist Professor Rakes In $170,000 Per Year At U. Wisconsin," by Eric
Owens, Daily Caller, 21 August 2015.
[ 16 ]
1 ] From WhoIs look-up
for PeopleBeforeProfits.net: Registrant Name:
Stephen Armstrong / Registrant Organization: CPUSA (Communist Party of the USA) / Registrant Street: 235
West 23rd St / Registrant City: New York / Registrant
State/Province: NY / Registrant Postal Code: 10011.
A neighbor of mine who is also a professor of computer
science made the interesting statement: "The Internet is
radical." Of course, this is correct, as one may now look up
the authors and operators of sites to learn more of them.
Interestingly, PeopleBeforeProfits as a website has a page
about its funding -- in which "People Before Profits
Ed. Fund, 501(c)(3)" is followed by the words, "blah blah
blah." A 501(c)3 organization is required to make public
access to its Form 990. PeopleBeforeProfits seems not to
have one easily found by various search engines. It does
make public "blah blah blah."
The site references in links that this "institute for the
study and advocacy of socialism" is in fact linked to the
Communist Party USA, thereby conflating the terms, socialism
and communism. Of course, the USSR was properly the Union of
Soviet Socialist Republics, but it is interesting how many
socialists in the West prefer to distance themselves from
Communism through assertions that socialism and Communism
One reads of distinctions in terminology: "Marx and
Engels, as anyone who has read their writings knows, used
the terms 'socialism' and 'communism' interchangeably to
describe what they stood for. They did not think of them as
separate systems of society but merely as different names
for a system based on the social or common ownership of the
means of production. Why they used one and then the other
was explained quite clearly by Engels in one of the prefaces
he wrote to the Communist Manifesto. Nevertheless the
myth still persists that Socialism and Communism are not
just different names for the same system of society." In
"Lenin Twists Marxism," by The Socialist Party of Great
Britain, Socialist Standard, September 1969.
This particular article attempts to distance socialism from
the Soviet Socialists in the following manner: "Once
you realise that Lenin was no: [sic] a Marxist and that the
Russian social system is state capitalism then there is no
difficulty in recognising, along with Marx and Engels, that
Socialism and Communism are just two alternative ways of
referring to a society based on common ownership."
The assertion by British Socialists that there is a "state
capitalism" with proof that the USSR was such is amusing,
given that other views of capitalism suggest that control by
the state -- crony capitalism and so on -- is in fact not
capitalism at all. state control is the antithesis of what
some call "free market" capitalism, and a free market is not
controlled by a state. Ergo, the opposition is not between
socialism and capitalism, but between freedom and state
control. Of course, the idealism of socialists prefers to
think that the final stage after a dictatorship is "free
access." This is a logical inconsistency, as well as an
apologia for socialists who state they know best how to deal
with others' capital. See Alinsky's comment below
2 ] Marxist thought? How about
Marx' misery: "The idea of pouring out my misère to you
again sickens me, but que faire? Every day my wife says
she wishes she and the children were safely in their graves,
and I really cannot blame her, for the humiliations,
torments and alarums that one has to go through in such a
situation are indeed indescribable. As you know, the £50
went on debts, more than half of which remain to be paid.
The £2 on gas. The wretched money from Vienna won’t arrive
till the end of July, and then there'll be damned little of
it, since the swine aren’t even printing 1 article a week
now. To that must be added the fresh expenditure since the
beginning of May. I won’t say anything about what, in
London, is the truly parlous situation of being without a
centime for 7 weeks — since for us it is a chronically
recurring state of affairs. But from your own experience,
you will at any rate know that, all the time, there are
current expenses that have to be paid in cash. This has been
done by putting back in pawn the stuff that had been
redeemed at the end of April. But that source was
exhausted weeks ago, so much so that, a week ago, my wife
attempted to sell some books of mine ‘in vain’. I feel all
the more sorry for the unfortunate children in that all this
is happening during the Exhibition Season, when their
friends are having fun, whereas they themselves live in
dread lest someone should come and see them and realise what
a mess they are in. For the rest, I myself, by the by,
am working away hard and, strange to say, my grey matter is
functioning better in the midst of the surrounding misère
than it has done for years." In letter from Marx to Engels,
London, 18 June 1862, published in Der Briefwechsel
zwischen F. Engels und K. Marx, Stuttgart, 1913, and in
full in MEGA, Berlin, 1930.
To further understand Marx' view of the grocer and butcher
who sold to him on credit, see:
Crush the bourgeoisie
3 ] "From
the enclosed scrawls you will partly see how bothered I am.
So far, the landlord has allowed himself to be placated; he
has yet to receive £25. The piano chap, who is being paid
in installments for the piano, should already have had £6 at
the end of June, and is a most ill-mannered brute. I
have rate demands in the house amounting to £6. The wretched
school fees — some £10 — I have fortunately been able to
pay, for I do my utmost to spare the children direct
humiliation. I have paid the butcher $6 on account (the
sum total of my quarterly takings from the Presse!), but I’m
again being dunned by that fellow, not to mention the baker,
the teagrocer, the greengrocer, and such other sons of
Belial as there may be. The Jewish nigger Lassalle who,
I’m glad to say, is leaving at the end of this week, has
happily lost another 5,000 talers in an ill-judged
speculation. The chap would sooner throw money down the
drain than lend it to a 'friend', even though his interest
and capital were guaranteed. In this he bases himself on the
view that he ought to live the life of a Jewish baron, or
Jew created a baron (no doubt by the countess). Just
imagine! This fellow, knowing about the American affair,
etc., and hence about the state of crisis I’m in, had the
insolence to ask me whether I would be willing to hand over
one of my daughters to la Hatzfeldt as a ‘companion’, and
whether he himself should secure Gerstenberg’s (!) patronage
for me! The fellow has wasted my time and, what is more, the
dolt opined that, since I was not engaged upon any
'business' just now, but merely upon a ‘theoretical work’, I
might just as well kill time with him! In order to keep up
certain dehors vis-à-vis the fellow, my wife had to put
in pawn everything that wasn’t actually nailed or bolted
down!" In letter from Marx to Engels, London, 30 July
1862, published in Der Briefwechsel zwischen F. Engels
und K. Marx, Stuttgart, 1913, and in full in MEGA,
And as to the Belial Marx cites in writing "sons of Belial,
one learns that Belial (Hebr. בליעל) was a demon in the
Hebrew bible. So Marx relied on grocers and butchers who
extended an almost bankrupt "economic theorist" credit for
food deliveries that his family not starve, and Marx repaid
this with contempt, all the while begging money from his
circle of admirers who expected him to document his
understanding of basic economic truths.
People before profits? If you are a grocer or a butcher or
other merchant -- perhaps a "piano chap?" -- please
understand Marx meant bourgeois you and bourgeois me.
4 ] "
'Communism itself is irrelevant. The issue is whether
they are on our side or yours. Now if you Russians didn't
have a first mortgage on Castro, we would be talking about
Cuba's right to self-determination and the fact that you
couldn't have a free election until after there had been a
period of education following the repression of the
dictatorship of Batista. As a matter of fact, if you should
start trying to push for a free election in Yugoslavia, we
might even send over our Marines to prevent this kind of
sabotage. The same goes if you should try to do it in
Formosa.' The Russian came back with, 'What is your
definition of a free election outside of your country?' I
said, 'Well, our definition of a free election in, say,
Vietnam is pretty much what your definition is in your
satellites--if we got everything so set that we are going
to win, then it's a free election. Otherwise, it's bloody
terrorism! Isn't that your definition?' The Russian's
reaction was, 'Well, yes, more or less'!" In "Reveille for
Radicals," by Saul Alinsky, Random House, Vintage Books, New
York, rev. 1969.
It is worth repeating the quote: "The issue is whether they
are on our side or yours." This is the true nature of most
politics, with the aim of picking the other party's pocket.
Various forms of socialism have shown that attacking profits
is often about pocketing some share for the political elite,
a group which by its very nature creates no profits of its
One may thereby be rather certain that advocates of "helping
the poor" usually see themselves handsomely rewarded for
this "help," created by dunning others for their largesse.
Serve the poor
- observing the Poverty Barons, and
Modern Times and Charity
5 ] "People Before Profits promotes
below for the accurate use of the term as regards socialism]
discussion on social, economic and political developments as
well as on history and issues facing working people in the
U.S. and worldwide. People before Profits provides
opportunities for education, analysis, dialog, journalism
and cultural exchange from working-class and socialist
perspectives. People Before Profits hosts a network of
websites committed to it's mission including
www.politicalaffairs.net and www.cpusa.org, among others."
In "People Before Profits," US Social Forum, 2010.
It is amusing to note the "network of websites" is all the
same old, same old one party, camouflaged as "a network."
Here are the salient details, available through open and
easily available resources.
a) peoplesworld.org: Registrant Name: Matt Parker /
Registrant Street1: 235 W 23rd St / Registrant City: New
mundopopular.org: Registrant Name: Stephen Armstrong /
Registrant Street1: 235 W 23rd St / Registrant City: New
politicalaffairs.net: Registrant Name: Armstrong, Stephen /
Registrant Organization: Communist Party USA /
Registrant Street: 235 W 23rd St / Registrant City: New
The BBC notes the Communist Party of the USA's nod to
profiting from their private property: "Not far from
Wall Street, on the seventh floor of an elegant eight-storey
building on West 23rd Street, is the headquarters of an
improbable political survivor - the Communist Party USA. The
office is bright and modern. On one wall are black-and-white
photo portraits of major figures in the party's history. The
works of Marx, Engels and Lenin are stacked in bookshelves.
The building was bought to house the party in the 1970s
before the surrounding neighbourhood of Chelsea became
fashionable. 'We got a great bargain on it,' says
secretary-treasurer Roberta Wood. In a concession to
capitalist reality, all but two floors are now rented out.
The revenue supports People's World, an online publication
that is the direct descendent of the party's long defunct
newspaper, the Daily Worker." In "The curious survival of
the US Communist Party," by Aidan Lewis, BBC, 30 April 2014.
6 ] "The USSR's trade gap
progressively emptied the coffers
of the union, leading to eventual bankruptcy." In
"History of the Soviet Union (1982–91)," Wikipedia.
As an echo of that historical moment when the Union of
Soviet Socialists Republics imploded economically and
politically, one watches a similar arch of history now:
"When the euro crisis was at its height it became
commonplace for struggling European economies to insist that
they were not outliers like Greece. Whatever their woes,
they declared, Greece’s were in a class of their own. In
Latin America, by contrast, the unwanted title of outlier
has two contenders: Argentina and Venezuela. Both have been
living high on the hog for years, blithely dishing
out the proceeds of an unrepeatable commodities boom (oil in
Venezuela; soya in Argentina). Both have been using a mix
of central-bank interventions and administrative controls to
keep overvalued exchange rates from falling and inflation
from rising. Both now face a come-uppance. High inflation is
a shared problem." In "The party is over," The
Economist, 1 February 2014.
The Economist's title is interesting, as it states "the
party is over." What party, and perhaps which parties?
There is a double entendre therein, for the political
parties which promise populist freebies (
) alongside ever larger and more controlling government (
Fat, fat government
) evidence a certain arch of history, from advocacy to
elections won to increasing unsustainable policies to
eventual collapse. One posits that this is the structure to
government itself, viewed across history, as it slips the
restraints of various forms of constitutional limitations.
7 ] See:
Socialism's Last Hurrah
- not democracy in
any town, and consider one perspective: "Cuba
remains the only country in Latin America that represses
virtually all forms of political dissent. In 2012, the
government of Raúl Castro continued to enforce political
conformity using short-term detentions, beatings, public
acts of repudiation, travel restrictions, and forced exile."
In "WORLD REPORT, Events of 2012," Human Rights Watch, 2013.
The elite leaders of socialism and communism profit? Indeed
they have, and indeed they do. How does this square with
"people before profits?" The answer is simple and easy to
understand if you are among the elite leaders.
Capital for Communists
- a story growing old.
And how is it that the elite in socialist states "profit?"
One reads: "Rent-seeking is an attempt to obtain
economic rent, (i.e., the portion of income paid to a factor
of production in excess of that which is needed to keep it
employed in its current use), by manipulating the social or
political environment in which economic activities occur,
rather than by creating new wealth. Rent-seeking implies
extraction of uncompensated value from others without making
any contribution to productivity." Wikipedia,
And so one might use simple math to calculate that
"uncompensated value" via extraction from society for
governments' aims in fact actually violates that portion of
Marx' theory sometimes known as the value theory of labor.
Why? Because one may construct and apply a value theory of
ideas, of capital itself, of individual effort and more, all
of which was ignored by the 'brilliant' economist, Marx,
whose letters seeking "rent" -- uncompensated value" -- from
those around him made him little more than a
resenting those who extended him and his family credit that
they might eat but then asking to be repaid for such a
kindness. His repayment -- in "people before profits" lingo
-- was rage, resentment and rejection of his own circle of
providers of foodstuffs as of a piano. Ah, Marxist thought
at its finest, to resent the piano salesman. "People before
profits?" One may well argue that Marx sought for himself
profits before people. Read his letters.... He was a
Most politicians may be painted with this same charge. While
the East German politicians did rather well for themselves
in comparison to East German citizens, one notes the
Fled from empty market shelves
- a history lesson. And so it becomes rather an easy task to
Socialists love money
9 ] It is
important for the convinced Marxist who is not among the
elite ranks of leadership to review Marx' view of the
masses. Please see:
A Working Class Classified
It might be instructive, for if you -- dear Marxist -- are
not "revolutionary," Marx has told you outright that you are
Let us consider something truly revolutionary. How about
"people before the fat cat party elite?" Or is that
just too radical?
[ 10 ]
illustrative tidbit pokes out of another story in our time:
"Every side in the political debate has a natural tendency
to appeal to freedom of speech when they feel threatened—but
to ignore (or initiate) threats to the free speech of the
other side. My favorite example is from the early 1990s,
when the Yeltsin government dispossessed Russia's Communist
Party of the vast holdings it had amassed in the decades
when it controlled the state. The Communist Party
screamed in protest, denouncing the supposed attack on its
'property rights and freedom of speech.' Which was
pretty rich, considering that the Communists had just spent
70 years ruthlessly stamping out everyone else's property
rights and freedom of speech. This tendency is captured in
an old expression popularized by Nat Hentoff: free speech
for me, but not for thee." In "Free Speech for Mann, But Not
for Thee," by Robert Tracinski, RealClearPolitics, 20
[ 11 ]
Given the latest report by Gramma, perhaps the "People
Before Profits" slogan might better read "People without
[ 12 ]
Communist Party of the United States -- the entity operating
PeopleBeforeProfits.net -- has not bothered to investigate
issues of profits and taxation. One learns that Communist
Cuba is seeking investors by suggesting a tax rate of 15
percent. How does this compare to the United States?
One reads: "The 39.2% headline rate being reported
in the press is the federal rate of 35% plus the average
corporate tax rate of the individual states, which vary
widely. Effective rates for individual corporations will
differ greatly depending on a company’s industry and home
state, among other factors." In "We’re #1! U.S. Officially
Has the Top Corporate Tax Rate. Or Not." by Christopher
Matthews, Time, 2 April 2012.
In a similar conclusion: "...the U.S. 'corporate tax
rate' is the 'highest in the world at 35 percent.' The rate
set by federal statute is the highest, both by itself and
when considering the federal rate plus state and local
taxes. However, there’s much less consensus about effective
corporate tax rates -- the rates corporations actually pay.
Studies don’t even agree on what the U.S. effective rate
is, pegging it between 23 percent and 35.6 percent.
Older studies put the U.S. near the top; a recent study says
the U.S. is No. 1 among OECD nations." In "Michael McCaul
says U.S. corporate tax rate is world’s highest at 35
percent," Politifact, 1 November 2012.
One must conclude then that Communist Cuba is placing
profits before people, in the "blah-blah-blah" jargon of
People Before Profits, a Communist Party of the United
States website. See:
Bring presents to the party
[ 13 ]
It is a
delicious irony -- just as a with the many reports of
capital accumulation by Communists and Socialists throughout
the 20th century and into today -- that a publisher declares
itself to not be "capitalist" while seeking income --
capital. This publisher has asked the marxists.org website
to take down their "free" Marx in English translations of
some works, in order that the publisher profit from them.
Meager profits are nonetheless profits.
One reads: "Political theorists have been debating
this passage and the assumption of capitalism's demise ever
since it appeared in Karl Marx's preface to 'A Contribution
to the Critique of Political Economy' in 1859. But the
question of when capitalism will burst asunder appears to be
turned on its head when considering the copyright legal flap
over Marx's writings. A radical publishing house, called
Lawrence & Wishart, who at one time was connected to Great
Britain's Communist Party, is demanding the removal from the
Marxists Internet Archive of the 'Marx-Engels Collected
Works'—hardcover books that sell for up to $50 a pop."
In "Capitalism fells communism in Marx-Engels copyright
flap," by David Kravets, 25 April 2014.
Marx growled in anger at his butcher, baker, tea-grocer and
greengrocer wanting to be paid, as his personal letters
Such was not a rage against multinational corporations nor
against the elite of a single-party state like Communist
China, wherein wealth in this time is be accumulated at a
large and rapid pace for the top members of the party.
Capital for Communists
- a story growing old.) His was a rage against
little entrepreneurs scratching out their own living, by
profiting from a product which Marx not only wanted but was
extended credit to have. What a small man this 'giant' of
economics must have been.
Marx like Lawrence & Wishart wanted more income and less
bills. How does one earn income? By controlling one's own
time and energies, one's capital from the most meager to the
greatest sums, and through the control of property.
Intellectual property is property. Therefore one sees the
comedy of a publisher saying it does not "engaged in
profit-seeking" seeking profits to sustain itself. Basic
capitalism evidenced by the act of wanting to control and
earn from property. This was and remains the great conundrum
of Marxist thought, especially as filtered through Marx's
letters complaining of his mismanagement of money in his own
personal life. And so, pundits note a publisher ostensibly
not "engaged in profit-seeking" seeking to profit from
English translations of Marx done by a variety of people,
the rights assigned to this particular publisher. It is
classic capitalism on a small scale.
One notes by way of comparison that my translations of some
poems found in this site are made available for free, all
the while with a copyright appended only in event that an
entity like Lawrence & Wishart seems to be would seek to
profit by publishing my translations. One might well
conclude that L&W is more capitalist in this than am I.
And as to Marx? He bummed his living off of Engels and
others, begging repeatedly in letters for others to provide
him with funds. Would he have been a greengrocer, perhaps he
would have prospered a little better. Would he have been a
real butcher, he would have not provided wordy theory to
empower other butchers who called themselves Soviet
Socialists, Sino-Socialists, the Khmer Rouge, the Arab
Socialist Baath Party and so many more. Marx, the
sought capital. L&W seeks it.
[ 14 ]
It is most
interesting to note how often
is a Communist ploy. The argument was, is and will be that
true Communism hasn't yet been quite properly achieved, but
it will be. Now that the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics
is collapsed through bankruptcy and political withering,
Communist China follows the parallel strategy of a one-party
state linked to capitalism, the Khmer Rouge decimated
one-third of the population of Cambodia, Cuba is
economically desiccated, Venezuela is roiled with inflation
and shortages, where is the shining example of successful
communism? Just wait!
And yet, the ardent Communists continue to urge for
continued preparations for that dreamed-of revolution.
One reads from a RevCom pamphlet circulated in the United
States: "…If we fight for meaningless reforms,
they get what they want. If we turn away from revolution and
the leadership of the Revolutionary Communist Party, they
get what they want. They get us walking around in circles
aimlessly without any real clarity about the problem and
much less the solution. And while now is not the time to
go all out for revolution, now IS the time to resist, now IS
the time to fight back, now IS the time to build the
movement FOR revolution, and now is the time to strengthen
the organized force that will lead that revolution. …"
In "A Special Message to Those at the Bottom of Society, the
Ones This System Hates, Fears, and Kills, and to Those Who
Have Stepped Out in the Streets in Outrage," revcom.us,
circa December 2014.
[ 15 ]
Manifesto calling for a dictatorship of the proletariat
stems from 1848, while its polar opposite, Bastiat's The
Law, is of 1850. In 1922 and subsequently revised,
Ludwig von Mises observed that Marxism was already in that
time a sham.
He wrote of Marxism, "The incomparable success of Marxism is
due to the prospect it offers of fulfilling those
dream-aspirations and dreams of vengeance which have been so
deeply embedded in the human soul from time immemorial.
It promises a Paradise on earth, a Land of Hearts' Desire
full of happiness and enjoyment, and -- sweeter still to the
losers in life's game -- humiliation of all who are stronger
and better than the multitude. Logic and reasoning, which
might show the absurdity of such dreams of bliss and
revenge, are to be thrust aside. Marxism is thus the most
radical of all reactions against the reign of scientific
thought over life and action, established by Rationalism. It
is against Logic, against Science and against the activity
of thought itself -- its outstanding principle is the
prohibition of thought and inquiry, especially as applied to
the institutions and workings of a socialist economy."
In "Socialism, an Economic and Sociological Analysis,"
Ludwig von Mises, trans. J. Kahane, Yale University Press,
1951. First published as "Die Gemeinschaft," 1922.
One notes in the footnote above RevCom's promise of 2014,
which is one of both "dream-aspirations and dreams of
vengeance" of which von Mises wrote in 1922.
But as one has seen in the murderous history and bankruptcy
of the Soviet Union, Communist China's even more brutal
history followed by today's aggressive capital building for
its privileged elite, Cuba's impoverishment over sixty years
of one party rule, the Khmer Rogue's murderous acts against
one-third of its Cambodian citizens, and other now
historically demonstrable examples of Marxism's
"dream-aspirations" which led to making real "dreams of
vengeance," the promise is yet being offered, as if history
provides no lessons against the "inevitability" of the
But von Mises concludes his study of socialism through the
lenses of economics and sociology with this: "All efforts
to realize Socialism lead only to the destruction of society.
Factories, mines, and railways will come to a standstill,
towns will be deserted. The population of industrial
territories will die out or migrate elsewhere. The farmer
will return to the self-sufficiency of the closed, domestic
economy. Without private ownership there is, in the long
run, no production other than a hand-to-mouth production for
one's own needs."
Thus on one poll stands Mises and on the opposite poll
stands the Communist. As one reads: "...the theory
of the Communists may be summed up in the single sentence:
Abolition of private property." In "Manifesto of the
Communist Party," Marx and Engels, English trans. by Samuel
Moore in cooperation with Engels (1888), 1848.
With a 20th century's lessons to observe, one sees fairly
the visionary clarity of von Mises alongside those "dreams
of vengeance." Today's Communists -- socialists, Marxists,
Fascists or whatever other names one chooses -- ignore their
own history in favor of dreams, and those dreams remain of
that revolution which must lead to the same old dictatorship
of the proletariat and the confiscation of property to be
placed in the hands of a dictatorship.
Revolution revolves but once
- lèse majesté remains among its stunts.
[ 16 ] One wonders how such
a radically chic Marxist -- in the top 2 percent of all
American citizens in income -- might rationalize his wealthy
position in society, given the modern complaints about
One should not wonder, for such radically chic campaigners
for social justice and the like participate in that
phenomenon which is
The Privileges of Intellectuals
Mind the gap
"Suskind says that research shows overhearing a cell
phone conversation or sitting in front of a television program doesn't
cut it when it comes to building a child's brain." In "Closing The 'Word
Gap' Between Rich And Poor," by NPR Staff, 29 December 2013.
[ 2 ]
There are gaps between words
Like stupid and smart,
Like lazy 'gainst industrious,
They are word worlds apart.
There are gaps between parents,
In much the same way:
Those not reading to teach,
Throw hope's future away.
There are gaps between cultures,
Both stupid and smart,
Some are most fertile;
Some abort their best part.
Mind the gap, we're warned,
Between less and much more,
For ignorance pays
In low wages galore.
There are gaps between worlds
Torn asunder with woes,
Making heaven and hell
When few words come to blows.
Mind the gap, mind it well,
Mark it and learn:
Knowledge makes prosperous
If to it one would turn.
There are gaps between words
Between stupid and smart,
Between lazy and industrious,
Gaps one might well chart.
Mind the gap, chose best,
And not the worst:
Knowledge makes prosperous
While ignorance is accursed.
Mind the gap
Should be carefully taught,
That to learn is rightly
What everyman ought.
Addendum of a Gap:
"Education isn't racially coded to prevent minority kids from
learning the material. The missing element isn't the so-called 'right
teacher' with the right evaluation standing at the blackboard. The
missing element is something far more fundamental. What's missing is
the active, radical involvement of every parent of a black child in the
Pittsburgh school district. This goes way beyond showing up for
parent-teacher nights. This means supervising homework, modeling an
appreciation for learning from the first day that child comes into the
world, limiting media distractions that reinforce negative stereotypes
and ruthlessly enforcing an ethic of achievement that prevents the
pathology of failure from taking root. This means parents have to
stop making excuses. Instead of blaming teachers for intellectually
incurious children, they have to become involved in their children's
education. While demanding competent teachers is fine, parents have to
demand more from themselves and even more from their children, because
they begin life at a disadvantage. Parents of black students have to
become insistent stakeholders who personally reinforce the value of
education even if they're not educated themselves. A home with more
video games than books is a home guaranteeing failure." In "Biggest
gap in black kids' learning: parents," by Tony Norman, Pittsburgh
Post-Gazette, 17 February 2014.
Addendum of the Gap of Public
Education Requiring Remedial Education: "A stunning 77.6
percent of NYC public-high-school graduates who entered CUNY community
colleges as freshmen last fall needed remediation in math, reading or
writing, new data show. Despite their high-school diplomas, the
grads failed CUNY admission tests in one or more of the key subjects,
officials told The Post." In "City’s high school grads at CUNY needing
remedial education," by Susan Edelman, NYPost, 30 March 2014.
1 ] "
'Mind the gap"' is a warning phrase issued to passengers
to take caution while crossing the gap between the train
door and the station platform. It was introduced in 1969 on
the London Underground in the United Kingdom. The phrase is
also associated with T-shirts that Transport for London
sells featuring the warning printed over the network's
roundel logo." Wikipedia, accessed December 2013.
2 ] While the
politics of have and have nots fills political news -- with
such phrases as "income inequality" and "gap between rich
and poor," academic studies point away from political
activities and towards parenting. One reads:
"We discovered that race and ethnicity has no bearing on a
child’s academic success. In fact, even disadvantages
attributed to socioeconomic status can be overcome. What
matters is this: The more parents talk with their child from
birth to age three, the more likely their child will excel
academically later in life. And that sets the stage for
other successes in the child’s future." Quote of
Todd Risley, Ph.D. (1937–2007), in "The Power of Talk,
Impact of Adult Talk, Conversational Turns, and TV During
the Critical 0-4 Years of Child Development," by Jill
Gilkerson, Ph.D. and Jeffrey A. Richards, M.A., LENA
Technical Report, LTR-01-2, 2009.
Furthering the research, one reads: "The
original study conducted by Hart and Risley—recording one
hour of conversation between parents and young children in
42 homes each month for three years—was truly groundbreaking
in that it led educators, government officials, teachers,
linguists, and parents to rethink language development for
children from birth to three years of age. Hart and Risley
learned there was a direct correlation between adult
words and a child’s IQ, adult words and a child’s academic
success, and adult words and a child’s vocabulary learning
trajectory. They also learned that families in the high
socioeconomic status category talk more than families in
other categories, but that the amount of talk between
families varies tremendously—even among families in the high
socioeconomic status category." In "The Power of Talk,
Impact of Adult Talk, Conversational Turns, and TV During
the Critical 0-4 Years of Child Development," by Jill
Gilkerson, Ph.D. and Jeffrey A. Richards, M.A., LENA
Technical Report, LTR-01-2, 2009.
This easily explains the intellect and scholarship of
generations long before the advent of "public instruction,"
wherein acquiring knowledge was and could have been an
individual pursuit, learned and nurtured. Thus an American
president, Lincoln, could have learned law from reading, as
much and more than through entry to some prestigious
university. We have writer Ray Bradbury's testimony as well.
Degrees on the wall
Flower Pot - paraphrase of
a poem by Pierre-Jules-Théophile Gautier
A child finds a seed time had not forgot;
For being delighted with its bright designs
As for its soil, he seeds the porcelain pot,
Ornate with blue dragons and fine florid lines.
He leaves; a furred root snakes silent its reach,
Out from earth its forceful flowerings start;
A little each day, its foot presses the breech
Until the bellied pot creaking cracks apart.
The child returns; growth greets him as surprise
For among the shards a spiked plant springs;
Though its tenacious fronds he would brutalize,
He is but bloodied by its green-sharp stings.
Surprise begat love within my soul;
I expected it to grow as a flowering spring.
Life's spike-great aloe roots broke the whole,
And my heart's designs became a broken thing.
Fool's Gold - a wonder to
"...ye might pass a Leprechawn on the road and never know
it's himself that's in it at all." In "Irish Wonders," David Russell
McAnally, New York: Weathervane Books, 1888.
The leprechaun's gold at the rainbow's end
is a story, you know. Just a story, my friend.
Reality's a kettle of far different fish
which lies not in paying for your every wish.
Dream on, dream on, as ever you will,
but reality sometimes serves up just swill.
If ever you think that the treasure's found free,
then you'll pay a higher price to reality.
Run, yes run, towards your rainbow's end,
and see it retreat as you misapprehend
That rainbows are visions while the eye is you,
and there is no end but a receding view.
The leprechaun's gold at the rainbow's end
was always a fiction without dividend.
But men always rush to seek out the hoard;
they've believed in that pot and so have adored
What more than once has been proven fool's gold,
and still men believe it for its lies they've extolled.
If only you ache towards that rainbow's end,
you too might be wealthy, if only pretend.
The small rose -
paraphrase of a poem by Wilhelm Busch
The small rose was not cheerful,
Potted at a window sill,
To peer so very sadly out
At wild blooms on the hill.
Those flowers nod and wave,
Bright freedom on each face;
They dance and sip from dewdrops
In the merry winds' embrace.
Butterflies' colored rainbow wings
Flutter by, to rub and kiss
In the midst of birds' bright singing
Melodies of summer bliss.
We prize such, and praise all
Through the joyous passing days.
Small rose, in your glassy window,
Be not dismayed always.
Harsh winter comes in time
To our lands with chill distress;
Hard frosts and deep drifting snow
Kill flowers with their caress.
A maiden, hearing the storm's approach,
Shuts the windows against the cold.
Through winter I shall tend you,
My small rose; so be consoled.
Prayer of the
Revolving Door - a humble plea for more
"Ka-ching! Little Miss Moneybags. Probable Dem
presidential candidate Hillary Clinton is lugging home big simoleons
these days. To wit: Sneed hears rumbles that Hillary may have
outstripped her loquacious hubby Bill in the speech department by taking
home a hefty $450,000 fee for addressing the Chicago Mercantile
Exchange’s Global Financial Leadership Conference last week in
Naples, Fla." In "Sneed: Hillary Clinton reaps $450,000 fee for speech,"
by Michael Sneed, Chicago Sun-Times, 25 November 2013.
How might I increase myself
at the expense of others?
Equality is what I daily preach
but it's really not my druthers.
Others should be the equals;
I'll be much more than they,
This then is my private quest
which broaches no delay.
Average and median
and social justice fair?
Anathemas are they to me
except in the public square.
There I rage and posture loud
about fat and greed and lard,
Ever mindful that few shall peer
into my own backyard.
Privacy for my public face
demands no scrutiny,
For if the public saw me plain
there might come mutiny.
Praying with a moneyed heart,
I beg that much more come to me
which most should never ever see.
Addendum Reading from Years
Past: "Alternately droll, irascible, self-righteous,
self-pitying and intriguingly coy about longtime CIA ties, Tamraz
provided the first vivid look at a largely maligned species during the
6-week-old hearing: a major political contributor. Tamraz, 57, a
Lebanese-American oil financier, conceded that his $300,000 in
Democratic contributions were aimed at getting a White House hearing for
a proposed $2.5 billion Caspian Sea pipeline project. Although
evidence suggests he got only Clinton's fleeting attention and never the
formal U.S. support he sought, he said he does not feel shortchanged. 'I
think that next time, I'll give $600,000,' he told Sen. Joseph Lieberman
(D-Conn.), eliciting laughs but leaving the impression he might be
serious." In "Oil Financier Admits Cash Got Access To White House,"
James Warren, Chicago Tribune, 19 September 1997.
Addendum of the Similar
during this time of the Politics of Income Inequality:
"He’s grabbing clients around the world, some of whom seem at odds with
one another. And he’s grabbing cash, in the form of speeches at
roughly $50,000 a pop to corporate special interests like the American
Petroleum Institute and foreign groups like the government of the United
Arab Emirate of Sharjah whose positions don’t always jibe with liberal
or democratic ideals. ...Recently, Messina began quietly backing
away from the inside system, last month ending a $15,000-a-month
consulting agreement with the Democratic National Committee. The
move came as he assumed leadership of the pro-Clinton Priorities USA
outside spending outfit, prompting legal and practical questions about
the many hats he was wearing. 'Obviously, respecting both the letter and
the spirit of the law, he just couldn’t have done both,' said a source
close to Messina. The source added that Messina was also preparing to
end a $7,000-a-month contract with Obama’s still-idling presidential
campaign because he had mostly finished the work of winding it
down." In "The Democrats' would-be Karl Rove," by Kenneth P. Vogel and
Maggie Haberman, Politico, 23 February 2014.
[ 1 ]
Addendum of Other Moneybags:
"Since leaving office at the end of July 2009, the
2008 Republican vice presidential nominee has brought in at least 100
times her old salary – a haul now estimated at more than $12 million
-- through television and book deals and a heavy schedule of speaking
appearances worth five and six figures." In "Sarah Palin Has Earned
an Estimated $12 Million Since July," by Matthew Mosk, ABC News, 13
[ 2 ]
Addendum of an Ex-Banker's
Ka-ching!: "Ben Bernanke earned more in 40
minutes on Tuesday than he made all of last year as head of the U.S.
Federal Reserve. Bernanke was paid at least $250,000 for his first
public speaking engagement, in Abu Dhabi, since stepping down in
January, according to sources familiar with the matter. That compares to
his 2013 paycheck of $199,700, and the appearance was only the first of
three around the world this week." In "Former Federal Reserve Chairman
Ben Bernanke hits lucrative speech circuit in post-government life,"
Reuters, 5 March 2014.
Addendum of a Self-Positioned
Populist: "Rahm Emanuel is positioning himself as a
populist in the Democratic primary campaign for the House, but the
brash former Clinton White House senior adviser earned an astounding $8
million in the last two years, with at least another $2 million on deck
for 2002. On top of that, financial disclosure statements filed with the
U.S. House dated Dec. 20 reveal that Emanuel's extensive portfolio was
valued between $4 million and about $12 million, under rules which only
require a general range of assets to be reported. Emanuel's campaign is
concerned about potential voter backlash to a candidate who earns
millions three years after leaving the White House, mainly doing
investment deals." In "Too much money a bad thing?" by Lynn Sweet,
Chicago Sun-Times, 3 January 2002.
[ 3 ]
Addendum of the Old
Politician and New Banker: "Former House Majority
Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) has joined the global investment bank Moelis
& Company as vice chairman and managing director, the company announced
Tuesday. Cantor, who resigned from Congress during the August recess
after losing his primary in June, will also be elected to the company's
board of directors. Cantor will focus on client development and giving
strategic and financial advice. Initially, Cantor will be given $1.4
million in cash and stocks. He will receive a base salary of
$400,000 per year, according to a filing with the Securities and
Exchange Commission. On top of that, Cantor will receive $1.6 million
in incentive cash and stocks in 2015." In "Cantor joins investment
bank," by Mario Trujillo, The Hill, 2 September 2014.
Addendum of a Breaking
Federal Law: "The inspector general for the
Department of Housing and Urban Development told a congressional panel
that senior officials within the agency broke federal law and violated
governmental employment practices in the hiring of a onetime lobbyist
who used the position to act in favor of her former firm. HUD
Inspector General David Montoya told the House Subcommittee on Oversight
and Investigations that the Office of Public and Indian Housing hired
former registered lobbyist Debra Gross in February 2011 while she
simultaneously served as deputy director of an industry group, the
Council of Large Public Housing Authorities. According to Montoya,
during Gross’ three years as deputy assistant secretary of her
division’s policy office, she used her position to champion an agenda
favorable to the public housing authorities. She also acted outside
her authority by hiring two aides without proper vetting." In "Peering
Inside HUD’s Dark, Dirty Corners," by Bill Straub, PJMedia, 13 February
Addendum of that Revolving
Door Revolving: "Obama has hired about 100 lobbyists,
and now he's just promoted one of them: revolving-door K Street
Democratic operative Ron Klain is now Obama's Ebola czar. Klain served
as chief of staff to Janet Reno and then Al Gore in the 1990s, and as
Joe Biden's chief of staff recently. In between, of course, he was
corporate lobbyist. Klain worked at O'Melveny & Myers, lobbying
on behalf of Fannie Mae, U.S. Airways, Time Warner, Cigna, ImClone, and
other companies and industry groups. Lobbying on 'regulatory issues
concerning Fannie Mae' in 2004, as disclosure forms indicate Klain did,
involved convincing Congress and Fannie Mae's regulators that Fannie Mae
wasn't doing anything dangerous, and wasn't exposing taxpayers to risk."
In "Ebola czar Ron Klain was a Fannie Mae and Cigna lobbyist," by
Timothy P. Carney, Washington Examiner, 17 October 2014.
Freddie and Fannie and Barney and Frank
Addendum of the Revolving
Security Door: "...a top National
Security Agency official is being permitted to work part-time for a
private company run by the spy agency's former director. The Senate
Intelligence Committee has requested a copy of an 'internal review'
which NSA said last week it had opened into an arrangement under which
Patrick Dowd, the spy agency's chief technical officer is being allowed
up to 20 hours per week for IronNet Cybersecurity Inc, a congressional
official said. IronNet is a venture created by retired Gen. Keith
Alexander, who stepped down as NSA director in March. Under the
arrangement, which Reuters first reported on Friday, IronNet, not NSA,
will pay for the time Dowd spent working for the firm. It could not be
determined whether Dowd has actually begun working for Alexander." In
"U.S. Congress examining deal between NSA official, ex-agency chief," by
Mark Hosenball and Warren Strobel. Reuters, 20 October 2014.
Sir Veiled Lance
Addendum of the Gazprom Boys:
"A bank affiliated with Russian energy giant Gazprom has hired former
Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott and former Sen. John Breaux to lobby
against U.S. sanctions. According to a lobbying disclosure Friday,
Lott and Breaux will focus on 'banking laws and regulations including
applicable sanctions on behalf of Gazprombank." In "Gazprom-controlled
bank hires former senators Lott, Breaux as lobbyists," by Andrew
Restuccia, Politico, 2 September 2014.
[ 4 ]
Addendum of the Revolving
Uranium Door: "Poneman’s new job has drawn fire
on Capitol Hill since the company announced his hiring March 5, and is
prompting watchdog groups to question whether DOE’s revolving-door
policies are strong enough. It’s also bringing more unflattering
attention to Centrus Energy Corp. — a company that has struggled to make
a living from enriching uranium for the nuclear industry and the U.S.
military despite benefiting from hundreds of millions of dollars in
taxpayer money and what auditors call 'advantageous' government
leases'." In "Ex-energy official's $1.7 million gig draws fire," by
Darius Dixon, Politico, 16 March 2015.
[ 5 ]
Addendum of the Revolving
Insurance Door: "... Tavenner's first-hand experience
with government incompetence probably does make her the most qualified
to lead an industry that now must cope with an incompetent government
every day." In "Insurance Industry Taps Top ObamaCare Official To
Head Its Lobby," by John Merline, Investors Business Daily, 15 July
2015. [ 6 ]
For Your Common Good
- in the fat cat neighborhood
[ 1 ]
A little arithmetic:
$15,000.00 a month + $7,000.00 a month = $22,000.00 a month.
Not factoring in speaking fees and such as noted above,
$22,000.00 a month x 12 months = $264,000.00 a year.
The left-right political model as proffered by the American
political media suggests that Democrats are more caring
while Republicans are more greedy from the one side, while
the other side argues Democrats are spendthrifts while
Republicans uphold fiduciary principles of thrift.
It is instructive to note -- courtesy of Celebrity Net Worth
-- current estimates of some Republicans recently in the
news: "How much is Karl Rove worth? $6.6 Million."
"How much is George W. Bush worth? $35 Million." "How much
is Mitt Romney worth? $250 Million."
By way of contrast, one notes financial estimates for
another ex-president and his wife, presumptive candidate for
an upcoming presidency: "One of the largest
donors to the Bill, Hillary, and Chelsea Clinton Foundation
is the government of Saudi Arabia. The Clintons' personal
net worth now probably exceeds $200 million, and while
earned legally, both the money's sources and the Clintons'
public statements indicate a strong aversion to rocking
boats or making powerful enemies." In "Why I Am Cancelling
My Documentary on Hillary Clinton," Charles Ferguson,
Huffington Post, 30 September 2013.
As to the article above documenting some income sources for
a current "Karl Rove" like figure in the Democrat Party, one
notes that all -- all these persons -- are in the upper 95th
percentile of income in the US, and that the Clintons, like
Romney, are in the upper one percent. Occupy Wall Street?
Perhaps Occupy Politics -- all politics -- would be a more
Donkey Skins and Elephant Hides
[ 2 ]
While some Democrats despise Sarah Palin and some
Republicans despise Hillary Clinton, the fact is that the
door indeed "revolves" for politicos of both parties, and
the Left-Right political model keeps people busy enough to
observe not too closely the basic math. Oddly, the
'perceived party of the people' seems to generally do far
better at acquiring wealth of late than the 'greedy' party.
Words are so often used to blind numbers.
Other sources publish such information too, such as -- "Bill
Clinton, former president -- $750,000; Rudy Giuliani, former
New York City mayor -- $270,000; Al Gore, former vice
president -- $156,000; George W. Bush, former president --
$110,000; Dick Cheney, former vice president -- $75,000;
Mitt Romney, 2012 Republican presidential candidate --
$40,000-60,000; Howard Dean, Democratic National Committee
Chairman -- $20,000." In "Hillary Clinton isn’t alone:
Former politicians rake it in on speaker circuit," by Ruth
Tam, Washington Post, 11 July 2013.
Some other notables, from both sides of the Left-Right
model: Donald Trump, $1-1.5 million; Ronald Reagan, $1
million (to the Fujisankei Communications Group, Japan,
1989); Tony Blair (ex-Prime Minister and Labour Party head
UK) $616,000; Alan Greenspan (ex-Federal Reserve Chairman),
$250,000..." In "10 Highest-Paid Public Speakers In the
World," Public Speaking.co, n.d.
One sees politics as a fine avenue to wealth far beyond Joe
Average, while both sides plead for political support
promising to "give" something to someone by some proposed
policy. And then -- ka-ching!
For a personal view beyond all these citations to support a
personal view, please see:
I shall not join the party
[ 3 ]
"populist" won his mayoral election in spite of wealth. But
the "serving" mayor of Chicago is now attracting criticism.
As a comparison to examples above and courtesy of Celebrity
Net Worth, Emanuel's net worth is estimated at $15 million.
One reads: "Rahm Emanuel is building a Second City.
Two cities really, as the "two summers" theme shown in
Episode 4 of "Chicagoland" suggests. One white, one
black. One for the rich, one for the poor. One for private
schools, one for closed schools. A new Chicago for the saved
and the damned. Gold coast heavens and low-end hells. It's
biblical, binary. The Chicago that the mayor and his team of
wealthy financiers are continuing to create and sell is a
second city of tourists and grand inequities. The
disparity gap grows between those who have and those who
have to rent. Those who can afford private schools like the
mayor's children and those whose public neighborhood schools
are underfunded and tracked and given impossible and idiotic
standardized tests to validate their existence. The new
Chicago is for new businesses that will be lured with
tax-free incentives, gaining advantages they won't have to
pay back in order to be responsible citizens. The new
Chicago is based on old European models of urban planning,
concentric zones of wealth where working and poor people
are pushed to the margins of the land and public
discourse." In "Rahm Emanuel's Chicago, a tale of two
cities," by Kevin Coval, CNN, 4 April 2014.
For many political "leaders" and the outspoken who support
these rich politicians, one may think on
in all its footnoted detail, and on the overriding theme of
the "servants" of the people and the reality behind their
[ 4 ]
Party affiliation of
the newest Gazprom lobbyists is as instructive as it is
meaningless: "John Breaux / USCongress 9/1972-01/1987;
US Senate 01/1987-01/2005; Trent Lott /
USCongress01/1973-12/1989; US Senate 01/1989-12/2007" in
"Lobbying Registration," per Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995
(Section 4), 29 August 2014. The registrant is Squire Patton
Boggs. Washington DC, and client is Gazprombank GPB (OJSC),
Moscow. Breaux was Democrat Congressman and Senator
from Louisiana, and Trent Lott (a Democrat before 1972) was
Republican Congressman and Senator from Mississippi.
One notes that in addition to American ex-Senators being on
the payroll of Russia's Gazprom, the ex-chancellor of
Germany, Gerhard Schröder went
quickly from German politics to profiting as a
representative of them.
One would do well to observe what it means in America to be
Left and Right
[ 5 ]
termed income inequality the defining issue of our time. And
so, one of his administration's "public servants" lands a
job paying $1.7 million. Not bad.
But the report notices: "In addition to facing
revolving-door questions, running Centrus also means Poneman
must try to shed the sour reputation the company has built
up in Washington over the past two decades. Congress created
the company by privatizing DOE’s uranium enrichment
operations in the 1990s, with visions of efficiency and cost
savings, but instead Centrus has needed repeated
infusions of federal aid to stay afloat in order to
preserve U.S. military needs."
The image: public "advantageous public leases" privatized to
a company which has required more public money, and yet can
pay $1.7 million to a CEO who was high up in the current
administration's Department of Energy management and went
through that "revolving door" to cash in with remuneration
far above the average citizen. Such is the nature of
government and those companies which need "needed repeated
infusions of federal aid to stay afloat ." Consider the
government's last years and those
energy companies with also "needed repeat infusions of
federal aid to stay afloat."
The few benefit wildly, while the many pay and pay and pay.
[ 6 ] Among
the Obama administration's top officials for ObamaCare was
Tavener, who becomes a top official in the insurance
lobbying group. From government to industry leadership in
one move, as the lobbying group annouced: "Today,
AHIP's Board of Directors unanimously elected Marilyn
Tavenner as AHIP President and CEO." "AHIP's Board of
Directors Unanimously Elects Marilyn Tavenner as President
and CEO," by Clare Krusing, AHIP, 15 July 2015.
AHIP's or America's Health Insurance Plans' web site states
in July 2015 and after several years of ObamaCare's
existence: "More than one-sixth of the U.S. economy is
devoted to health care spending and that percentage
continues to rise every year. Regrettably, our system is
not delivering value commensurate with the estimated $2.7
trillion spent annually on health care. Experts agree that
about 20 percent to 30 percent of that spending – up to $800
billion a year – goes to care that is wasteful, redundant,
or inefficient. Rising health care costs punish our nation
on multiple fronts. For families and seniors, the
soaring cost of medical care means less money in their
pockets and forces hard choices about balancing food, rent,
and needed care. For small businesses and Fortune 500
employers alike, they make it more expensive to add new
employees, more difficult to maintain retiree coverage, and
harder to compete in the global economy. For federal, state,
and local governments, rising health care costs lead to
higher Medicare and Medicaid costs, and funding cuts for
other priorities, such as infrastructure, education and
Even with this admission that "rising health care costs
punish our nation on multiple fronts," the same web page
goes on to state: On the same web page, one reads the
claim: "Health plans are playing an important role in
lowering health care costs."
A fair question then: Are "rising health care costs"
punishing the nation the same as a lobbying group making
claims of "lowering health care costs?" Such is the
relationship between lobbyists for government programs and
the government they lobby, in which competing assertions go
unnoticed. What is assured is that health insurance costs
are rising while coverage is shifting wildly, as one may see
in the amusing collection of citations in
A Countdown Song
- counting upwards to down.
As to the healthcare insurance industry and "lowering"
costs, one finds: "Recently, health insurance
companies across the nation have petitioned to increase
premium rates for customers covered under the Affordable
Care Act (ACA). In North Carolina, Blue Cross Blue Shield
(BCBS) has proposed a 25.7 percent raise in premiums; in New
Mexico, BCBS requested a 56.1 percent raise; and, in
Georgia, Alliant Health Plans has submitted a proposal for a
hike as high as 85 percent. Health care premiums are a
significant burden on many American families, averaging
about $1,000 a month, not counting thousands of dollars
people pay in deductibles, copayments, medical supplies and
medications." In "Rising Insurance Premiums and the
Future Costs to Health Care," by Manoj Jain, MD MPH,
Huffington Post, 11 June 2015.
Thus Tavener follows the revolving door from government
subsidizing insurance premiums to the insurance lobby
receiving the subsidies, albeit indirectly.
"Health plans are playing an important role in lowering
health care costs" such that they "are a significant burden
on many American families, averaging about $1,000 a month,
not counting thousands of dollars people pay in deductibles,
copayments, medical supplies and medications."
This is how Kaching! works in the world of revolving doors,
because the CEOs -- even those once in government -- will be
well taken care of, far above the average American family.
The effect is a lack of competition as insurance companies
lobby as a unified front, or as one reads: "What can
be done to reduce health care costs? Health care, like
any other industry, needs competition to push prices lower.
Unfortunately, because each policy must cover the 10
essential health benefits, insurance companies have no
latitude to create innovative, customized policies." In "U.S.
Health Care Costs Rise Faster Than Inflation," by Mike
Patton, Forbes, 29 June 2015.
And of course because "U.S. Health Care Costs Rise Faster
Than Inflation," one can assert "Health plans are playing an
important role in lowering health care costs."
The loftier notions
- paraphrase of a poem by Wilhelm Busch
The loftier notions tend to dwell
In the loftier house of the few.
I've knocked, but have been always told:
»The lofty are not in to you!«
Now I knock humbly on other doors,
Those of the lowliest clan.
A morsel of bread, perhaps a penny
Nourish thereby this man.
If one can sober up,
Then one can sober down,
As prepositions point
To man as foolish clown.
To some sentenced constituent;
Then thesis and antithesis
Can be both wordily bent.
If one stands as above
The many pressed below,
Then prepositions rule
Not favoring quid pro quo.
Relate with prepositions
And humor can be had,
But also all man's errors,
The evil and the sad.
When the few rule, being over
The masses under their rule,
One sees in prepositions
The fascist's simple tool.
All is all as all must be;
Ups requires downs,
As aboves require unders:
Most under above-named nouns.
"One solution that Jones found compelling was by Tim
S. Roberts, an adjunct senior lecturer at Central Queensland University
in Australia, and an inveterate puzzle solver. 'I have an attested IQ of
over 170,' he told Nautilus in an email. 'But, unfortunately, I am
fairly useless at almost everything except puzzles'." In "The Artist of
the Unbreakable Code," by Mark Macnamara, Nautilus, Issue 006, 2013.
It's puzzling how fairly useless
Attested genius is
According to attestations
Of one tested IQ whiz.
It's puzzling how all opinions
Prove not of equal worth,
As some bring down the mighty
And others make for mirth.
It's puzzling how all the promises
To make man new again
So often come to murder
And mayhem through promised men.
It's puzzling how reform is asked
Year in, year out the same,
Yet reform then needs reforming
In the old and oldest game.
It's puzzling how man's solutions
Breed problems in their wake,
When we would act as gods,
As once foresaw the snake.
The Lamp - paraphrase of a
poem by Christian Morgenstern
The lamp was once lost to the oceans wide.
From whence came this lamp, the lamp I spied?
It is dressed in an undershirt of seaweed greens
and is found on the island, Ask Not What It Means.
The lamp, just a lamp, that lamp, beware,
it hails from the sea known as Who Knows Where!
The shipwrecked wreck is a ruinous wrack;
Newt and flounder gaze through its windows' crack.
The waves, these waves, did they wash it ashore?
Yet now it dreams, here near the ocean's roar,
dressed in its undershirt of seaweed greens
and in the background looms Ask Not What It Means.
Icy ducks go skating
- paraphrase of a poem by Christian Morgenstern
The icy ducks go skating
on their tiny icy pond.
What of their tiny icy skates?
Who funds a duck vagabond?
How came they by their ice skates?
The ice skate man, erelong!
He forged them as a gift, you see,
In thanks for their quack-quack song.
The Song of the Red
Nose - paraphrase of a poem by Wilhelm Busch
This, my red nose is beauteous,
Not as unlovely as some might say,
Though there are those who jeer and scoff,
Friends, I heed them not today.
This nose is my very own,
It's tried and tested true,
And if others will not praise it,
I will praise it myself in lieu.
Yes, I bear it with a lofty pride
Over seas as on the land,
For I have, you can be sure,
Spent plenty for it. Understand?
Faithfully it's accompanied me
As brandy and wine were quaffed,
And so shines bright with glory
Like a red ruby held aloft.
Oh, when the storms whistle loud
Through a wintery countryside,
Then it serves as beacon bright
In magnificence few dare deride.
It reflects then clearly on my face
As into my mirror I gaze,
Quite like a lovely purple rose,
Moist with morning's dewed haze.
My rose serves as a symbol
Of premonition deeply held,
Of cruelties such as winter storms
A hope of spring will have easily dispelled.
This rose is unlike most others,
Which rapidly, passionately rise
Only too soon to wither and fade
Near some hearth to meet their demise.
No! It is a miraculous rose,
That often is praised in song!
"That rose which is without thorns,
Blooms throughout time erelong."
Three sparrows -
paraphrase of a poem by Christian Morgenstern
leaf-bare hazel wood tree
There perch three sparrows, abdominally.
Erich on the right and on the left Franz,
While in the middle sits sassy-mouth Hans.
With eyes rightly shuttered quite so tight,
Ah! - over all snow falls with its cold bright white.
They huddle closely closer, so tightly are they hunched.
Yet the warmest is Hans, between the others scrunched.
So near, they hear each other's heartbeat beat;
And if not flown away, they're deep in winter's sleet.
Strike It Rich
"Gillinson himself is Carnegie Hall's highest-paid
employee, with a base salary of $864,928, and additional compensation
worth $224,591. Add in benefits, and in 2012, Gillinson took home a
total of $1,113,571. But he's the only person in the entire
non-profit that makes more money than every stagehand. Here is a full
list of Carnegie Hall's highest paid employees, according to the
non-profit's 990, with union stagehands in bold. (Believe it or not,
these salaries are actually after pay cuts in recent years.)" In "Stagehands
Striking at Carnegie Hall Average More Than $419,000 Per Year," by
Tessa Stuart, Village Voice, 3 October 2013.
How does one profit in a non-profit land?
One feathers one's nest with donations, and
One begs, borrows, steals just as was planned,
And then goes on strike to gain one's demand.
It is such as these, one should well understand
That profit fat cats in their non-profit land.
Next when you're asked to donate, and
You think you might, just think of quicksand
Which sucks down donations into non-profit land.
More from the Village Voice, with data taken from Carnegie Hall Form
990: Dennis O'Connell, Properties Manager: $464,632 /
James Csollany, Carpenter:$441,223 / Richard Matlaga (Chief
Financial Officer, not listed on Carnegie Hall's staff website):
$429,259 / John Cardinale, Electrician: $425,872 /
Aaron Levine, Chief Information Officer: $406,048 / John
$395,207 / Ken Beltrone, Carpenter: $371,813 / Anna
Weber, General Manager, Artistic and Operations: $368,255 /
Susan Brady, Development Director: $317,110 / Richard
$315,277 / Theodore E. Phillips, Director of Finance: $259,812.
Addendum of Striking the
Undisclosed Deal I: "A spokesman for Local One of the
International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) declined
to disclose the terms of the deal." In "Carnegie Hall, Stagehands
Approve Labor Deal, Ending 2-Day Strike," by Brian Wise, WQXR Blog, 4
Addendum of the Charitable
Rich: "The charity has hired a fancy law firm to
fight a public request we filed with New York state, arguing that
information about its Sandy activities is a "trade secret." The Red
Cross' trade secret argument has persuaded the state to redact some
material, though it's not clear yet how much since the documents haven't
yet been released. As we've reported, the Red Cross releases few
details about how it spends money after big disasters. That makes it
difficult to figure out whether donor dollars are well spent. The
Red Cross did give some information about Sandy spending to New York
Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who had been investigating the
charity." In "Red Cross: How We Spent Sandy Money Is a ‘Trade Secret’,"
by Justin Elliott, Pro Publica, 26 June 2014.
[ 1 ]
Addendum of Opera Well Met:
"Out of a $327 million budget for fiscal year 2013, $215
million was spent on pay and benefits for the opera’s union employees
and performing artists. The average singer in the Met’s 80-person
chorus makes between $145,000 and $200,000 annually. Some stage hands
end up making upwards of $450,000 a year." In "Melodrama at the
Met," by Rebecca Burgess, The American, 20 July 2014.
[ 2 ]
of Striking the Undisclosed Deal II: "Details of the
contracts haven’t been released, and terms vary among the unions."
In "Metropolitan Opera reaches deal with unions, averts strike ahead of
season, Associated Press, 22 August 2014.
Other fat cats and top dogs feeding:
Addendum of the Luxury
Strikers: "It was an impressive show of strength
by a small but confident professional group, represented by the tiny
German pilots' union, Vereinigung Cockpit (VC). VC's slogan for the
strike, 'Stop the profit greed,' was illustrated with signs depicting a
crane (the Lufthansa symbol) in the clutches of unscrupulous financial
investors. But the motto ended up backfiring on the pilots' union.
In the public and the press, on television and in many Internet forums,
discussions of the pilots' strike, instead of triggering debates over
greedy fund managers, were focused on the pilots themselves. People
across Germany were talking about whether the strike was justified or
excessive. The Lufthansa pilots came under fire, given that their
annual salaries can range up to €260,000 ($360,000). The tabloid
newspaper Bild characterized the pilots as 'luxury strikers' and noted
that the highest-paid pilots, 'with salaries of up to €21,000 a
month, earn 10 times as much as bus drivers' -- the implication being
that this is clearly too much." In " Bird Strike: Backlash Stirs Against
Lufthansa Pilots," by Dinah Deckstein, Spiegel Online, 11 April 2014.
[ 3 ]
of a Hefty Settlement Fee sought by Warner Brothers:
"While Warner Bros. appear to be on sound legal ground (the song’s
copyright only expires after 95 years) suing a small local business over
a 80-year old song is not the best PR. That said, considering previous
cases that dealt with the same issue, Giacomo Jacks will most likely
lose the case or end up paying a hefty settlement fee. Meanwhile,
various unauthorized copies of the track are played hundreds of
thousands of times on YouTube and elsewhere." In "Warner Bros. Sues
New York Bar For Playing 80-Year Old Song," posted by Ernesto,
TorrentFreak, 29 August 2014.
[ 4 ]
As counterpoint to this theme, see:
and an informative survey of our
Modern Times and Charity
[ 1 ]
"new" 1 percent vocabulary courtesy of the recent "Occupy"
movement, one finds a charity resisting disclosure to an
attorney general of a state as regards how charitable monies
are distributed, as one examines the "rich" one-percent
salaries of the American Red Cross leadership:
From Form 990, 2012: Steve Wagner, CP, Development
Operations, $586,630 + $33,276 in expenses, Gail
McGovern, President and CEO, $564,864 + $57,497 in
expenses, Shaun Gilmore, President Biomedical Services,
$490,550 + $54,931 in expenses, J. Chris Hrouda,
Exec. VP Biomedical Services, $478,218 + 26,317 in
expenses, Gerald DeFrancisco, President Human
Services, $424,658 + 31,879 in expenses, Mary
Elcano, Former General Counsel and Corporate Secretary, $383,492 + $54,941 in expenses, Brian Rhoa, Chief
Financial Officer, $377,846 + $39,920 in expenses,
Wayne Moore, SVP, Biomedical Services, $357,809 + 43,811
in expenses, Greg Ballish, SVP, Biomedical Services, $355,586 + $47,460, John Crary, Chief Information
Officer, $354,351 + $30,678 in expenses, and more.
One notes that "expenses" alone for the top paid charity
leadership are greater than more than 35 percent of
Americans earn in total income. The argument will always be
made that a charity with such a large income and assets base
should pay for the "best" in management talent is refuted by
the salary of an American president, senator, representative
or, in the case of New York, its governor. Fat cats are fat
cats, and perhaps especially when clothed by the adjective,
A short survey of more "charitable" folks fleshes out this
sketch. 1) Peter T. Scardino, M.D., Chairman Attending
Surgery, Department of Surgery, Memorial Sloan-Kettering
Cancer Center, $2,207,147; 2) Michael Friedman, M.D.,
CEO, City of Hope, $1,434,148; 3) Edward J. Benz,
Jr., M.D., President/CEO, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute/Jimmy
Fund, $1,406,429; 4) Kenneth Guidera, Chief Medical
Officer, Shriners Hospitals for Children, $1,374,996,
includes $939,936 retirement and other deferred compensation;
5) Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, President/CEO, International
Fellowship of Christians and Jews, $1,203,690, includes
$602,397 supplemental non-qualified retirement plan; 6)
Edwin J. Feulner, Jr., Past President, Heritage Foundation,
$1,172,321; 7) Steven E. Sanderson, Past
President/CEO, Wildlife Conservation Society, $1,163,666;
8) Jonathan W. Simons, M.D., President/CEO, Prostate Cancer
Foundation, $1,123,097; 9) Robert J. Beall,
President/CEO, Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, $1,073,725;
10) Brian Gallagher, President/CEO, United Way Worldwide, $1,035,347; 11) Harry Johns, President/CEO, Alzheimer's
Association - N.O., $996,824, includes $393,218
retirement and other deferred compensation; 12) Robert
J. Mazzuca, Past Chief Scout Executive, Boy Scouts of
America - N.O., $987,412; 13) Wayne LaPierre, CEO &
Executive VP/Ex-Officio, National Rifle Association &
Foundation, respectively, $972,000; 14) Scott A.
Blackmun, CEO, United States Olympic Committee, $965,359;
15) William R. Brody, M.D., President, Salk Institute for
Biological Studies, $946,823; 16) William E. Evans,
Director/CEO, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital/ALSAC,
$939,979; 17) Christopher DeMuth, Past Senior Fellow,
American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research, $925,950, includes $500,000 severance and $606,075
supplemental non-qualified retirement plan, and excludes
$550,572 earned in prior years; 18) M. Kathryn
Cloninger, Past CEO, Girl Scouts of the USA - N.O., $887,209; 19) Nancy A. Brown, CEO, American Heart
Association, $843,779; 20) David Harris, Executive Director, American
Jewish Committee, $842,419; 21) John R. Seffrin, CEO,
American Cancer Society, $832,355; 22) Larry Jones,
Past CEO, Feed the Children/Americans Feeding Americans, $800,000, $800,000 severance to fired founder; 23) James
E. Williams, Jr., President/CEO, Easter Seals, $796,501;
24) Rabbi Marvin Hier, President/CEO Simon Wiesenthal
Center, $790,954; 25) Michael L. Lomax,
President/CEO, UNCF/The College Fund, $773,693. In
"Top 25 Compensation Packages," American Institute of
Philanthropy," 16 January 2014.
[ 2 ]
What is a
"labor dispute" to the average Joe and Jane when the "labor"
conflict is between those in the 95th percentile of income
and the 99th percentile?
Certainly it is not the stuff of populist politics or
One reads a statement from a 99th percentile "worker"
complaining about salary and benefits levels: "A
regular member of the chorus makes on average - and there
are 80 members of the chorus - $200,000 a year, but the cost
to the Met is actually $300,000 a year because of the
additional costs of social benefits, which are pensions and
medical care." In "New York's Met faces 'social
rejection of opera'," Quote of Peter Gelb in an interview,
Deutsche Welle, 28 April 2014.
One reads of possible "oppression" of those in the 95th
percentile and above threatening a strike if "labor demands"
are not met: "Contracts for the Met's 15 unions
expire on July 31; the company is proposing compensation
cuts of 16 to 17 percent. The disclosure on Monday triggered
criticism from union leaders. 'Peter Gelb's salary is not
only obscene but a disgraceful affront to the men and women
who actually make the opera and whose lives Gelb is
threatening to destroy,' said Alan Gordon, the president
of the American Guild of Musical Theater Artists (AGMA), in
an e-mail. AGMA represents the company's singers, dancers
and production staff. The Met's tax filing also shows the
ten next highest salaries, which include those of the
company’s CFO, two assistant general managers, two lawyers,
three stagehands, chorusmaster Donald Palumbo, and
concertmaster David Chan, whose earnings of $394,652 made
him the highest-paid rank-and-file musician. In a
statement of the company's finances released this spring,
the Met said that the average full-time chorus member in
fiscal year 2013 earned $200,000, plus $100,000 in benefits.
The average full-time orchestra member earned $200,000 plus
$85,000 in benefits. The unions say that those figures were
inflated due to improper production scheduling, resulting in
significant overtime." In "Metropolitan Opera's Tax Filing
Reveals Salary Details," by Brian Wise, WQXR Operavore, 16
And Gelb's "obscene" salary? The article notes: "Gelb
took a 10 percent pay cut this year in response to its
financial situation, decreasing his base pay to $1.395
million." This is what the union spokesman said while
representing "workers" in the 95th percentile of Americans.
To complete the picture of fact cats in a labor dispute with
fat cats, one learns that Alan Gordon, National Executive
Director of AGMA, has a compensation package of
$286,465.00 in 2012. Source: UnionFacts.com.
So, when one indentifies the numbers while ignoring the
rhetoric as found in news reports and press releases, it
comes to this: Union members with salaries in the 95th
percentile of all Americans, represented by a union leader
in that same income category, threaten a labor strike
against an organization headed up by a leader in the 99th
percentile of all Americans.
So, "Peter-$1.3-million-a-year" negotiates with "Alan-$286,465-a-year"
representing various "performers-at-$200,000-plus-a-year,"
and this is called a "labor dispute?"
The average American has an income of less that $60,000,
so what sort of sympathy should "average America" have for
this "labor dispute." None, as far as I can discern.
A question is asked after a short survey from 2009, which
relates to the "labor dispute" in 2014 at the Met:
"The corporate-level compensation plateaus a bit when put in
context with the salaries of high-paid music directors,
whose 2009 earnings also became public recently: Charles
Dutoit, $1.83 million; Michael Tilson Thomas, $1.8 million;
Deborah Borda, $1.39 million; James Conlon, $1.23 million;
Franz Welser-Moest, $1.07 million; Gustavo Dudamel, $395,000
for partial year; Alan Gilbert, $539,000 for partial year;
James Levine, $1.49 million from the Met Opera, plus
$1.32 million from the Boston Symphony. While Borda and
Dudamel seem to be proving their worth, salaries like these
clearly represent the "one percent” of people employed in
classical music. What do these numbers mean to you?"
In "WQXR Blog - For Top Salaries in Classical Music, Head to
Los Angeles," by Jocelyn Bonadio, WQXR, 7 November 2011.
It is a question worth considering. What do these numbers
mean to you?
Under the larger topic of
the Metropolitan Opera "threatened" strike news of the day
can only be seen as "fat cats" fighting with "fatter cats"
for more "fat."
Obviously as mediator, one should call in a professional in
such disputes. Perhaps an out-of-work
Doctor Oppression comes to call
Perhaps it is just a matter of not enough
Perhaps it is a comment on our
Modern Times and Charity
Perhaps such a labor dispute becomes a failing narrative
filled with fattened folk wanting yet more fat, in the hopes
of striking it rich?
[ 3 ]
While the rhyme
specifically conflates issues of "non-profit" alongside
"rich" as the two come together in the stories of Carnegie
Hall and the Metropolitan Opera, in terms of quasi-private
sector entities, the same story is being acted out as the
phrase "luxury strikers" comes into our vocabulary. When
notions of "unfairness" and "oppression" and even "labor"
become co-opted by those in the top ten percent of society,
the notions of "oppression" and "labor" becomes almost
meaningless. For the egalitarian, those in the top
percentile in a population are fat cats, not an oppressed
In the case of the Lufthansa pilots' union complaint, one
might find some perspective in facts. One reads: "In
Germany, the average household net-adjusted disposable
income per capita is 30 721 USD a year, more than the OECD
average of 23,938 USD a year. But there is a considerable
gap between the richest and poorest – the top 20% of the
population earn more than four times as much as the bottom
20%." In "Germany," OECD Better Life Index, n. d.
Thus while the OECD identifies the "top" 20 percent, simple
arithmetic tells that the "top" 20 percent earn $95,752 more
than the median income stated. Spiegel says the top pay for
Lufthansa pilots is $360,000, or fifteen times the median
income of all Germans. So much for public sympathy for
strikes by the "rich."
But through the clever use of words, political postures and
positions, now even the "rich" can pretend to be worried
about the "rich" while counting their cash. See:
Wealth defends the poor? Oh sure!
and a delightful request,
Pass the foie gras
[ 4 ]
the range of this "fee?" From the lawsuit comes the request
of the injured party: "...Defendants be decreed
to pay such statutory damages as to the Court shall appear just, as specified in 17 U.S.C. §
504(c)(1), not more than Thirty Thousand Dollars ($30,000)
nor less than Seven Hundred and Fifty Dollars ($750) in each
cause of action herein." In "Warner Bros. Inc. and Pure
Songs, Plaintiffs against Lagrassa, Inc. and Giacomo
Lagrassa, Defendants." Case CV 14-cv-0023-SJF-ARL, 25 August
The actions are broader than demand for royalties from one
restaurant. One reads: "Two local restaurants are among nine
named in a lawsuit brought by The American Society of
Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP). The lawsuit
claims that the restaurants provide paid public performances
using copyrighted music and have refused to adequately
compensate the writers through a licensing agreement offered
through ASCAP." In "Giacomo Jack's among 9 facing lawsuit,"
by Carolyn James, Amityville Record, 20 August 2014.
ASCAP is acting as "Attorneys for the Plaintiff." According
to Wikipedia about the plaintiff, Warner Brothers'
revenue for 2013 was $12.3 billion. Obviously they can
afford to be aggrieved by a restaurant in upstate New York.
A quasi-anonymous comment by "One-Eyed Willie" to one site
covering the Giacomo Jack story noted about how companies
make money via copyright law and legal suits against small
adversaries: "Oh but you can. You can make more money
than you ever dreamed suing the fuck out of everyone. The
American Dream. /s Destroying someone else's dream so
you can have yours over and over and over!"
For some other news regarding Warner Brothers, see:
Happy PD - public domain breaks the chain.
Greedy - the eighth dwarf is
"The copyright act of 1790 set it at 14 years,
renewable once. The founders took this limit from British precedents,
which went back through a series of court cases to the original
copyright act of 1710. Along the way, some experts argued that copyright
should be perpetual, because intellectual property was like ownership of
land — absolute until alienated by sale. But that view was overridden by
the notion that knowledge belonged to everyone and should revert to the
public domain, where everyone can make use of it. Today, however,
copyright lasts for the life of the author plus 70 years — or even
longer in some cases. The Copyright Term Extension Act of 1998 (known
as the Mickey Mouse Protection Act, because the monopoly on Mickey was
about to expire) now prevents most 20th-century literature from being
available in the public domain. When asked how long he thought
copyrights should last, Jack Valenti, the lobbyist for Hollywood,
quipped, “Forever, minus a day.” Valenti has won, Jefferson has lost."
In "A Republic of Letters," by Robert Darnton, New York Times, 20 August
[ 1 ]
Mickey owns dwarves that old Walt's boys drew --
Bashful and Grumpy and that whole dwarf crew.
But the dwarf that Mickey likes the very best
Is the dwarf we'll call Greedy, as some laws attest.
Copyright is not the right just to copy for cash,
But lengthening its term makes this dwarfed law a dash
For more and more and yet more piled upon more,
Which more-mining dwarfs like Greedy adore.
Fourteen years once? Now decades past one's death?
Even longer when one's smells some lobbyists' breath?
Extending the term is a game played for keeps
Until forever minus a day is that term as the law creeps.
"After dark the masters of the house returned home. They were the seven
dwarfs who picked and dug for ore in the mountains. They lit their seven
candles, and as soon as it was light in their house they saw that
someone had been there, for not everything was in the same order as they
had left it." In "Little Snow-White," collected by Jacob and Wilhelm
Grimm, circa 1812.
Addendum of Copyrighting
Elements: "The fairy tale features such elements
as the magic mirror, the poisoned apple, the glass coffin, and the
characters of the evil queen and the seven dwarfs, who were first given
individual names in the Broadway play 'Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs'
(1912) and then given different names
in Walt Disney's 1937 film 'Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs'." In "Snow
White," Wikipedia article.
Addendum of the Firm Grip:
"Although U.S. law has taken a firmer grip on copyright regulations over
the years, intellectual property has still not gained worldwide
acceptance, and even within the United States, the debate rages on: is
information property?" In "Copyright in America," PBS.
[ 2 ]
Addendum of Laws Beneficial
to the Oligarchy: "Congress has repeatedly made the
law more beneficial for those who hold copyrights by extending the
period of time for exclusive rights. Initially, it was a maximum of
28 years; now it lasts for the life of the author plus 70 years after
his death. It’s hard to see how that serves the public interest. An
excellent example of the way the law has been manipulated involves the
Disney Corporation. It holds many copyrights, the oldest of them being
the cartoon 'Steamboat Willie' from 1928. Currently, that copyright will
expire in 2023, but Bell thinks it likely that Congress will again
extend the duration of copyright due to Disney’s lobbying power." In "Copyright
Law Is Creating An Information Oligarchy, Not An Information Democracy,"
by George Leef, Forbes, 18 November 2014.
[ 3 ]
[ 1 ]
"On October 7,
1998, both the House and the Senate passed S. 505, the
'Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act' (CTEA), extending
the already-too-long term of copyright protection by another
20 years. The legislation purports to cover even works
already in existence -- a windfall gift to special
interests of what rightfully belongs to the public.
President Bill Clinton, a self-proclaimed supporter of the
little guy, signed the bill on October 27, 1998. Like the
Congress, former President Clinton sold out the interests of
the American people to a few owners of valuable
copyrights from the 1920's and 1930's." In "Help Protect
Your Rights to the Great Works in the Public Domain!",
homepage of Dennis S. Karjala, Professor of Law, Arizona
State University. Also at this site: "Everyone should be
grateful to the efforts of Stanford Law professor Lawrence
Lessig, who was the lynchpin in the constitutional
challenge, supplying immeasurable amounts of his time,
money, and extraordinary talent to the cause. Although the
effort was ultimately unsuccessful, he succeeded in bringing
the issue before the public, which I was wholly unable to do
when the bill was being considered by Congress. If we are
vigilant, we MAY able to stop the rent-seeking special
interests the next time they seek to line their own pockets
at the expense of our cultural development."
The history of copyrighting is long. One reads:
"The Licensing of the Press Act 1662 is an Act of the
Parliament of England (14 Car. II. c. 33), long title "An
Act for preventing the frequent Abuses in printing seditious
treasonable and unlicensed Bookes and Pamphlets and for
regulating of Printing and Printing Presses." It was
repealed by the Statute Law Revision Act 1863. The Act was
originally limited to two years." In "Licensing of
the Press Act 1662," Wikipedia, n. d.
interesting testimony becomes pertinent: "I like that
extension of copyright life to the author's life and fifty
years afterward. I think that would satisfy any reasonable
author, because it would take care of his children. Let
the grand-children take care of themselves." In a speech
before a Congressional committee on 6 December 1906 by
Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain) regarding the copyright bill
being considered and later formalized in 1909.
the political compromise proposed by American legend, Mark
Twain, the "valuable copyrights from the 1920's and the
1930's would have taken "care" of copyright holders'
children. But such as Hollywood lobbyist Valenti would seek
"forever minus a day." The logical conundrum in this is
interesting. Were "forever minus a day" the rule of law,
then Disney's Snow White could never have been made with the
permission of the Grimm brothers' progeny, and the Grimm
brothers would have had to have sought permission from
authors of the folk tale versions they collected from even
Therefore the picture becomes simplified by being so
complex. And such law at any term is a matter of the
conflict between cultural development and rent-seeking, and
copyright law merely establishes an arbitrary date --
usually to the lengthening benefit of the rent-seekers into
future generations, as the transition from a 14 year term
limit in 1790 to today's very long term attests.
fact, in the most recent changes to copyright law within the
European Union, some works in the public domain were "clawed
back" into being protected by copyright law, such that one
written in 1905, Heinrich Mann's
Professor Unrat, is "protected" until the last day
of 2019, over a century later, while in the rest of the
world it lies in the public domain, there being now no
worldwide harmonization of the laws of copyright. Two years
to twenty-eight years, to fifty years after an author's
death as advised by Mark Twain, to today's seventy years
after an author's death, violating what Twain suggested, by
saying "Let the grand-children take care of themselves."
[ 2 ]
"The current legal
arguments runs: One who by the ingenuity of his advertising
or the quality of his product has induced consumer
responsiveness to a particular name, symbol, form of
packaging, etc., has thereby created a thing of value, a
thing of value is property; the creator of property is
entitled to protection against third parties who seek to
deprive him of his property. . . . The vicious circle
inherent in this reasoning is plain. It purports to base
legal protection upon economic value, when, as a matter of
actual fact, the economic value of a sales device depends
upon the extent to which it will be legally protected. .
. . The circularity of legal reasoning in the whole field of
unfair competition is veiled by the 'thingification"'
of property." In "Transcendental Nonsense and the Functional
Approach," by Felix Cohen, Columbia Law Review 35 (1935):
[ 3 ]
with two years, and has lengthened in succeeding steps such
that now in some cases a copyright, originally meant to
protect a living author's work, now last over a century.
Moreover, in one case, a "musical" work with but a few
words, no notes nor lyrics and a title is now protected by
He allows us?
boxing in cages. This becomes all the more ironic when one
realizes that a supposedly "cutting edge" and radical step
in the musical avant garde has copyrighted
For minootes toidytree sekunds
The Forbes article summarizes a fundamental question about
copyright: "What would happen in the absence of
copyright? Bell maintains that instead of relying on the
copyright crutch to squeeze the maximum revenue out of
consumers willing to pay a high price, creators would look
to common law. That is, they would use the same rights
everyone else has in contract to make arrangements whereby
consumers would pay a small amount for access to their works
and then not worry about the legal thickets of
'infringement.' As the law now stands, copyright holders
usually try to cash in by charging consumers a
profit-maximizing price and having their lawyers and/or the
government go after anyone who infringes rather than pays.
But there is a big exception for 'fair use' of copyrighted
items. People can make some use of copyrighted material so
long as it doesn’t go 'too far.' There is, however, no clear
line between 'fair use' and 'infringement.' Bell observes
that even law professors can easily find themselves
facing a suit over some use they thought was 'fair' but the
other party claims is 'infringement.' We could escape from
much costly and pointless litigation by abandoning
copyright." In "Copyright Law Is Creating An Information
Oligarchy, Not An Information Democracy," by George Leef,
Forbes, 18 November 2014.
With that clear line between fair use and infringement, the
law ends up making the legal profession among the large
recipients of copyright law, whereby control over
copyrighted works are fought over as real property. This is
the "thingification" of copyrighted works, as it has become
the "thingification" of even Cage's some recordings of a
performance of silence, copyrighted like his book,
"Silence." What goes too far then? It becomes the art of
politics, eclipsing art itself.
The politics behind copyright law is bounded. One reads:
"Copyright, in short, was designed to protect against
competitors. And its main function is to protect the
entrepreneur against those who would pirate a work for
competitive sale in the marketplace. The proprietary
aspects of copyright thus should extend not to the
individual user who only makes only a personal use of the
work. The opportunity for a few to gather 'great profits in
small payments' is not a proper basis for denying the
constitutional rights of the many to use copyrighted works
to further their learning. The framers limited copyright
to the exclusive right to publish and vend having copyright
subject to both conditions precedent and subsequent as a
means of further limiting the copyright monopoly. The
Constitution thus imposes duties on the copyright owner that
require him or her to validate the statutory permission
given to intrude upon the public domain for private profit.
We find those duties in copyright policies and principles.
They are an integral part of copyright law necessary to
ensure that copyright entrepreneurs do not change their
temporary easement into a fee-simple ownership of the public
domain." In "Copyright and 'the Exclusive
Right' of Authors," by L. Ray Patterson, University of
Georgia School of Law, 1 October 1993, originally published
in The Journal of Intellectual Property Law, Vol. 1, no, 1,
There are those who are essentially
lobbying for "fee-simple ownership of the public domain," as
attested to by the quote from Jack Valenti above. "When
asked how long he thought copyrights should last, Jack
Valenti, the lobbyist for Hollywood, quipped, 'Forever,
minus a day'.” This points to the imagery that the
eighth and all succeeding dwarves are simply greedy.
Fee-simple greedy for forever, minus a day.
A Shrovetide Tale -
paraphrase of a Wilhelm Busch poem
"O mystery of love! O strange romance! / Among the Peers
and Paladins of France, / Shining in steel, and prancing on gay steeds,
/ Noble by birth, yet nobler by great deeds, / The Princess Emma had no
words nor looks / But for this clerk, this man of thought and books."
In "Tales Of A Wayside Inn : Part 3.
The Student's Tale; Emma and Eginhard," by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Soft into bed creeps great Charlemagne
Intent on some sleep, so often in vain.
Saxon Wars had cost him too dear;
His rheumatism had grown more severe.
The night groans long and leg cramps seize,
As Charlemagne writes out his ABCs.
"Ouch, ouch!" The cramps crush again;
The emperor overturns a table; and then
He rings for Old Frederick who runs to his liege.
«Rub these old bones, my pains to besiege! "
Old Frederick observes, "It's rheumatism alright!
It's been snowing most steady throughout this cold night!"
"What?" shouts the emperor, "the devil, you say!"
He approaches Old Fredrick with a look of dismay.
At the window Old Frederick steps then aside;
The emperor gazes at the snowfall outside.
What sees he there, as he stiffens affright?
Emma carries Eginhard through the palest moonlight.
He commands his marshals who watch through the night,
Saying: "Bring me these two, before they take flight!"
The guards collar Eginhard and make their arrest
As he dangles from a halberd, distraught and distressed.
When before the emperor both are then brought,
Charlemagne seems most engrossed with some thought.
They kneel and weep tears mute with remorse;
The emperor's face turns away, but perforce
In tempered and temperate mercy-filled words
He speaks: "Each shall have the other, these two lovebirds."
Roast duck for the feast, a good ending at least!
The sting of the stick and the carrot's sweet scent
Are storytelling types of encouragement
To get along, first for the sake of the stick,
Or second, to look to some coming picnic.
Which would be the best choice to drive
Your donkey and cart that they may best survive
The rigors and brambles and briars and ruts
Along with the scrapes and the nicks and the cuts?
The beat of the stick or the carrot that lures
Are methods to choose, when the clear choice is yours.
But when one clear choice is applied to your hide,
The clarity of said question is too well amplified.
The rigors and brambles and briars and ruts
And all of those scrapes and the nicks and the cuts
Are part of life's race and life's storied pell-mell.
Which urging is chosen and for whom, pray then tell?
The crack of the whip or the lure of reward?
The latter is hoped for. The former's abhorred.
Surely when the donkey turns out to be you,
The choice of the whip you would surely undo.
Precisely - paraphrase of a
Wilhelm Busch poem
How dreary is the path of life,
Down which we tend to wander.
One organ makes it pleasant, rife
With thought and much to ponder.
Man's brain is filled with cunning thought,
Chock full with clever dodges;
It knows and grasps just what it ought
And stubborn things dislodges.
With reason, its utility lies
In concealing what it contains,
While a thief peering through the night's disguise
Needs light to crack its window panes.
"I don't play for an audience but for myself. If I
enjoy myself, the audience will also enjoy it. I just want to play
good music." Sviatoslav Richter (1915-1997)
It's good that I enjoy myself without a worried care
That someone sits to act my judge, and into me should tear
As if they could do what I do or do it quite as well;
But as they sit to hear me do, that's what they do, hear tell.
It's good that I enjoy myself without an outward gaze
To see that one approves of me, as if one could appraise
As if an asset on some shelf that can be bought and sold;
Truth be told, that demanded role I easily would withhold.
It's good that I enjoy myself and lose myself thereby
Such that some art would sweep me up, itself to amplify.
The good is in the doing and not in mirroring me;
Enjoying, I am less than I, quite absentmindedly.
It's good that I enjoy myself to ride on wings of song
Which carry off from place to place with me to tag along.
But who am I, when lost to it, when in it I lose myself?
I am then figment, dream and wisp, a spirit lost, an elf.
It's good that you enjoy some thing that I might have formed;
In such a moment as is that, both hearts are gently warmed.
And if in coming ages when surely into a dream I pass,
Perhaps a good I may have penned will touch some lad or lass.
It's good an audience sees and hears the ineffable as it
On soaring phrases, turns and colors deep which temporize
A moment fleeting in a life and lives which touch, then
This is enjoyment such as one might better come to know.
It's good; it's good and more than good, this thing
Which is no thing, but unutterable truth to sing
Of such enjoyment by which one loses meager sight
Of self, as the truest of the good takes up its goodly
"Music is the one incorporeal entrance into the higher world of
knowledge which comprehends mankind but which mankind cannot
comprehend." Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)
- a thumbnail sketch of tolerance and inter-religious dialogues
"During the attack, the men reportedly
shouted 'Our [holy pilgrimage] will be complete once we have killed you,
ripped out your hearts and eaten them, and [then] raped your women.' In
continuing the assault, the men also shouted 'We’re going to do
Karbala all over again,' referring to an important historical event
to Shi’ite Muslims, wherein the grandson of the Prophet, named Imam
Husain, was brutally attacked and killed, after he was forced to witness
the killing of many of his family members. The survivors of the
incident, mostly women and children, were immediately imprisoned in
circumstances that resulted in the deaths of some of the prisoners. The Americans fled the tent area, which the Saudi government had
specifically designated for American and European pilgrims. During
the escape, many of the group, almost entirely U.S. citizens and mostly
hailing from Dearborn, Michigan suffered bruises (in one case, due to an
attempted strangulation), concussions, broken bones, and black eyes. Victims of the attack reported that nearby police refused to take
action, and in some cases were openly laughing at the attack." In "Americans
performing Hajj attacked in Saudi Arabia," by Rahat Husain, The
American Muslim via Washington Times Communities, 18 October
[ 1 ]
Of the Hajj this very year,
one learns a salient fact;
A hodgepodge group of Muslims
other Muslims just attacked.
Just who fears what
and who hates who
In the circled twists
and the ballyhoo?
Who goes to heaven
and who goes to hell?
[ 2 ]
Muslim against Muslim,
this story goes,
As it has before through
long centuries of woes.
Flee from the attack
For this is the theology
sharpened knives and fists.
Openly laugh, for
the police have shown the way
That of the fear of Muslims
other Muslims learn this day.
"...history is not filled with warring math cults, y'know, because you
can settle the issue; you can prove something to be right or wrong, and
that's the end of the argument: next case." Tom Quinn
Addendum recalling Karbala
from Centuries Past - 680 AD: "The battle itself
occurred as a result of Hussein's refusal to accept the Umayyad Yazid
ibn Mu'awiya as caliph. The Kufan governor, Ubaydallah ibn Ziyad,
sent thousands of horsemen against Imam Hussein as he traveled to Kufa.
The horsemen, under 'Umar ibn Sa'd, were ordered to deny Imam Hussein
and his followers water in order to force Imam Hussein to agree to give
an oath of allegiance. On 9 Muharram, Imam Hussein refused and asked to
be given the night to pray. On 10 Muharram, Imam Hussein ibn Ali prayed
the morning prayer and led his troops into battle along with his brother
Al-Abbas. All of Hussein's followers, including all of his present sons
Ali al-Akbar(a.s), Ali al-Asghar(a.s) (a few months old) and his nephews
Qassim(a.s), Aun(a.s) and Muhammad(a.s) were martyred." In Wiki article
Addendum on a more recent
Karbala episode in 1802 AD: "According to
an eye-witnesses account, J.B. Rousseau in his Description du Pachalik
du Baghdad Suivie d’une Notice Historique sur les Wahabis (Paris, 1809),
the events that transpired were as follows: 'We have recently seen
horrible example of the Wahhabis’ cruel fanaticism in the terrible fate
of the mosque of Imam Husayn. Incredible wealth was known to have
accumulated in that town. The Persian shahs have, perhaps, never had
something like that in their treasury. For centuries, the mosque of Imam
Husayn was known to have received donations of silver, gold, jewels, a
great amount of rarities…Tamerlane even spared that place. Everybody
knew that the most part of the rich spoils that Nadir Shah had brought
back from his Indian campaign had been transferred to the mosques of
Imam Husayn and Imam Ali together with his own wealth. Now, the enormous
wealth that has accumulated in the former has been exciting the
Wahhabis’ avidity for some time. They have been continuously dreaming of
looting that town [Karbala] and were so sure of success that their
creditors fixed the debt payment to the happy day when their hopes would
come true. That day came at last…12,000 Wahhabis suddenly attacked
the mosque of Imam Husayn; after seizing more spoils than they had ever
seized after their greatest victories, they put everything to fire and
sword…The elderly, women, and children—everybody died by the barbarians’
sword. Besides, it is said that whenever they saw a pregnant woman, they
disemboweled her and left the fetus on the mother’s bleeding corpse.
Their cruelty could not be satisfied, they did not cease their murders
and blood flowed like water. As a result of the bloody catastrophe, more
than 4000 people perished. The Wahhabis carried off their plunder on
the backs of 4000 camels. After the plunder and murders they destroyed
the Imam’s shrine and converted it into a trench of abomination and
blood. They inflicted the greatest damage on the minarets and the domes,
believing those structures were made of gold bricks. [Rosseau,
Description, pp. 74–75]." In "The Wahhabi Sack of Karbala
(1802 A.D.)," Ballandalus.Wordpress, 2 August 2014.
Addendum of the citizens of
Karbala heedless of the Threat: "In the year 1216
Hijri (1802), the Wahhabis attacked Karbala and murdered many people in
cold blood. They also tried to attack Najaf, but the citizens of
Najaf were aware of the potential attack. Therefore they were more
prepared for it and therefore the Wahhabis could not do anything serious
there. However, the citizens of Karbala were heedless of the threat.
During that time (year 1216 Hijri) the head of Karbala was the author of
al-Riyadh (Syed Ali Tabatabaee -who passed away in the year 1231 Hijri)
and Kashif al-Ghita was the head in Najaf. They (the Wahhabis) murdered
in cold blood..." In "Syed Ali Tabatabaee and the Attack of Wahhabis on
Karbala," by Aal e Imran, Iqra Online, 18 February 2014.
Lashing in Saudi Arabia
of the Growing Misperception: "With regard to
Islamophobic trends in Europe, various reports and polls have revealed
growing misperception vis-à-vis Islam and Muslims. Among the most
common and recurring of these are the ideas that Muslims are inclined to
violence including revenge and retaliation; that Islam is an inherently
expansionist religion, which strives for political influence, and whose
followers are obsessed with proselytizing others, and more generally
that Islam deprives women of their rights and encourages religious
fanaticism and radicalism. According to the same polls, only a minor
portion of the public tends to see Islam in a more positive light, as
being a religion of peace that preaches love for neighbors, charity,
openness and tolerance." In "Sixth OIC Observatory Report on
Islamophobia," October 2012 – September 2013
[ 3 ]
Addendum of Love for
Neighbors: "Taliban insurgents cut the index fingers off
11 Afghans who participated in this weekend's presidential run-off poll,
officials say. The incident, a punishment for voting, occurred in
western Herat province, police spokesman Raoud Ahamdi said." In "Afghan
election: Taliban 'removed voters' fingers'," BBC, 15 June 2014.
Addendum of Taliban Losing to
a more vicious Islamic State: " 'They are more vicious
than the Taliban, than any group we have seen.' At war for more than
three decades, Afghans are familiar with violence perpetrated by a raft
of armies and militias. But even by their jaded standards, the
emergence here of the Islamic State — the extremist organization that
arose in the Middle East — has ushered in a new age of brutality."
In "The Islamic State is making these Afghans long for the Taliban," by
Sudarsan Raghavan, Washington Post, 13 October 2015.
Another Addendum of Love for
Neighbors: "...Shiite residents who fled said the
Sunni insurgents had expelled thousands of them from the majority-Sunni
province, helped by local Sunnis in neighboring villages. 'You cannot
imagine what happened, only if you saw it could you believe it,' said
Hassan Ali, a 52-year-old farmer siting in the al-Zahra Shiite mosque,
used to distribute aid in the northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk, where the
displaced had fled, some 50 miles (80 kilometers) away. 'They hit us
with mortars and mortars, and the families fled, and they kept hitting
us. It was completely sectarian. The Shiites, out,' he said." In
"Iraqi Shiites say insurgents and neighbors expel them from their homes
in Sunni province," Associated Press, 22 June 2014.
Taliban in Pakistan testifying toe "a religion of peace
that preaches love for neighbors, charity, openness and tolerance."
Addendum of Tolerance:
"Militants in Iraq targeted Christians in three separate Christmas
Day bombings in Baghdad, killing at least 37 people, officials said
Wednesday. The Christmas Day attacks brought the total number of people
killed so far this month in Iraq to 441. According to United Nations
estimates, more than 8,000 people have been killed since the start of
the year." In "Christmas Day bombings in Iraq's capital kill 37," by
Sinan Salaheddin, Associated Press, 25 December 2013.
of Charity and Openness: "...the Syrian conflict
and other 'Arab uprising' environments have once again reanimated this
monstrous corpse. Its malignancy has been the single biggest contributor
in saving the Syrian dictatorship from what had appeared to be a looming
defeat. And al-Qaeda in Iraq has also made a huge comeback in the
context of the Syrian conflict, with the so-called 'Islamic State of
Iraq' killing an average of almost 1,000 Iraqis per month in the last
quarter of 2013." In "The monster that won't die," by Hussein Ibish,
NOW, 24 December 2013.
Insurgents in Fallujah, Iraq
Addendum in a Positive
Light: "An estimated two million people died in the
war between the mainly Muslim north and the south, where most people
are Christian or follow traditional religions." In "South Sudan leader
Kiir urges forgiveness for civil war," BBC, 16 January 2011.
Addendum of the Prevailing
Narrative: " 'Beginning with the Iran-Iraq War
and continuing to the present day, more and more casualties are
inflicted by Muslims against Muslims,' said P.J. Crowley, a former
spokesman for ex-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and now a professor
at George Washington University. 'The prevailing narrative in the
region remains the faithful waging war against crusaders, but that is
not the reality.' The data offers some support for this view, with
roughly half of the deaths in the NBC analysis attributable to
internecine conflict, a trend that has increased in recent years."
In "How millions of violent Muslim deaths feed the cycle of terrorism,"
by Robert Windrem and Richard Engel," NBC News, 21 October 2013.
[ 4 ]
Sunni jihadists target Shia President of Syria
"It is therefore essential to draw a line between free
speech and hate speech...."
Addendum after Some
Addendums: "Let us now focus on the word
respectful. An open and constructive debate of ideas is indeed useful.
It must be upheld as a matter of freedom of opinion and expression. It,
however, transforms into a case of incitement to discrimination,
hostility or violence when the freedom is abused to denigrate symbols
and personalities sacred to one or the other religion. It needs to be
understood as a matter of identity. It needs to be acknowledged that
people in some parts of the world tend to identify themselves more with
a particular religion than elsewhere. It is, therefore, essential to
draw a line between free speech and hate speech...." In "Sixth
OIC Observatory Report on Islamophobia," October 2012 – September 2013.
Addendum of Tolerance and
Reform: "Rights groups agree, accusing Saudi
authorities of targeting activists through the courts and travel bans.
Many were outraged when two of the country's most prominent reform
advocates, Mohammed Al-Qahtani and Abdullah Al-Hamid, were recently
sentenced to 10 years in prison apiece. Amnesty International called
that trial 'just one of a troubling string of court cases aimed at
silencing the kingdom's human-rights activists. Here's the thing,'
Abualkhair said. 'The government of Saudi Arabia, they want to show
themselves outside Saudi Arabia that they are modern, that they are
open-minded, that they want to change, they want to reform, that the
problem is coming from the society, and that the society moves slowly.
They keep saying that for the foreign media. But actually inside, when
we act with our society, when we want to reform, when we want to do
something with our society, they keep punishing us.' CNN has made
several attempts to reach Saudi Arabia's Justice and Interior ministries
for comment but received no response." In "Family pleads for jailed
Saudi blogger," by Mohammed Jamjoom, CNN, 5 April 2013.
[ 5 ]
Saudi execution of a Muslim
Addendum of the Saudi
Standards for an Inter-religious Dialogue: "Saudi
Arabia's deputy foreign minister, Prince Abdulaziz bin Abdullah, last
year hailed an agreement to establish a centre for inter-religious
dialogue in Vienna, stating it would 'work for establishing peace
and justice and prevent misuse of religion for oppression and violence.'
King Abdullah himself sponsored a conference for religious dialogue in
Madrid attended by representatives of seven major world religions.
Quoting a Qur'anic verse, the king told the delegates: 'God's will,
praise be to Him, was that people should differ in their faiths. If the
Almighty had so desired, all mankind would have shared the same
religion.' These are noble ideas, but judging from the treatment of the
Saudi activist and blogger Raif Badawi, the king's stated goal of
religious tolerance applies only to those outside the kingdom's borders.
On July 29, a Saudi court convicted Badawi of insulting Islam, saying
he had founded a 'liberal' website and had insulted religion and
religious authorities in television interviews. He was sentenced to 600
lashes and seven years in prison. Though Badawi has the opportunity
to appeal, there is little hope that authorities will drop the verdict."
In "Saudi Arabia backs religious tolerance - except at home," Human
Rights Watch, 1 August 2013.
[ 6 ]
Flogging in Saudi Arabia - circa 2012
Addendum on Inter-religious
Dialogue in Malaysia: "Malaysia is clamping down
on Shi'ism, the second branch of Islamic orthodoxy, in a move that
appears to have both religious and political overtones. The nationwide
crackdown began last month with the ban of local Shi'ite group
Pertubuhan Syiah Malaysia. The same month, state governments gazetted a 1996 fatwa issued by the National Fatwa Council that declared Shi'ism
deviant and therefore haram or impermissible." In "Malaysia cracking
down on Shi'ism - Govt's move appears to have both religious and
political overtones," The Straits Times, 8 August 2013.
Addendum on Inter-religious
Dialogue with the Baha'i: "The murder of a
well-known Baha’i on Saturday in the southern Iranian city of Bandar
Abbas should be treated as a hate crime and must be investigated
immediately, said the Baha’i International Community today. 'There is
little doubt that the killing of Mr. Ataollah Rezvani was motivated
by religious prejudice,' said Bani Dugal, the principal
representative of the Baha’i International Community to the United
Nations. “Therefore, it is essential that the government at the highest
levels investigate this without delay under its international
obligations. 'In recent years, clerics and the authorities in Iran
have sought to create an atmosphere of anti-Baha’i hatred, using the
pulpit and state-sponsored media'." In Baha’i International Community
statement, 29 August 2013.
[ 7 ]
Addendum on Inter-religious
Dialogue between Sunni and Shia Muslims: "An
Iranian court has sentenced 17 Iranian Sunnis, including religious
scholars, to death because of their religious beliefs, leading a
rights group to launch a campaign to save them. The condemned have been
awaiting execution in Tehran's Gohardasht Prison, also known as Rajai
Shahr, west of Tehran since early June. The Sunni prisoners have been
convicted of 'acting against national security,' and 'moharebeh' (enmity
against God), which is punishable by death in Iran. The prisoners are
said to have confessed to these crimes under torture, according to
information from the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran.
The human rights organization says that Iranian Sunnis face grave
religious discrimination in the country." In "Iranian Sunnis to be
executed for their religious beliefs," Today's Zaman, 23 August 2013.
[ 8 ]
Public hanging of Muslims in modern Iran
Addendum on Tolerance in
Somali: "Authorities blamed al-Shabab, Somalia's
al-Qaida-linked terror group, who have vowed to carry out terror attacks
to avenge the Kenyan military presence in Somali. Along with its Somali
fighters, the group also has many Kenyan adherents. Like the gunmen
who attacked Nairobi's Westgate Mall last year, the Mpeketoni attackers
gave life-or-death religious tests, a witness said, killing those who
were not Muslim. 'They came to our house at around 8 p.m. and asked
us in Swahili whether we were Muslims. My husband told them we were
Christians and they shot him in the head and chest,' said Anne Gathigi."
In "48 Kenyans dead: Witness: Gunmen spared Muslims," by Tom Odula, AP,
16 June 2014.
Addendum on a Tolerant
Inter-religious Dialogue between Muslims and Christians:
"An Iranian Christian convert has been sentenced to 10 years in
prison for distributing Bibles in his home country, the Vatican
missionary news agency Fides reported on Wednesday. Mohammad-Hadi
Bordhar was arrested in Iran in December and reportedly said he wanted
to 'evangelise by handing out 12,000 pocket bibles'. He was accused
of 'crimes against state security'." In "Mohammad-Hadi Bordhar
arrested for Bible distribution in Iran," Huffington Post, 21 August
Public lashing in Iran - 2007
on Parallel Developments in Human Rights with the European Union and
United Nations Human Rights Standards: Brunei plans to
implement a tough new sharia criminal code next year that could see
citizens stoned for adultery or having a limb amputated for theft. Those
convicted of drinking alcohol or committing other violations – such as
abortion – could be flogged. Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah – who is thought to
be worth about $20bn (£12.3bn) and exercises tight control over the
Muslim-majority country – described the legislation as 'part of the
great history of our nation' and a form of 'special guidance' from
God." In "Oil-rich sultanate plans a new Islamic criminal code with
punishments including stoning, flogging and amputation," Guardian UK, 22
[ 9 ]
ISIS execution - 2014
Revisit to the OIC Report for Perspective: "The first year
of my tenure as Secretary General of the OIC in 2005 coincided with
the worldwide provocation caused by the publication of the nefarious
caricatures of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) by a Danish cartoonist in the
Jyllands-Posten newspaper on September 30, 2005. This irresponsible
act of abusing freedom of expression by a single individual that was
among the first of many that were to follow in humiliating and
negatively stereotyping Muslims, effectively contributed towards
developing a culture of intolerance of Islam and Muslims in the West. The perpetrators of Islamophobia, who seek to propagate irrational fear
and intolerance of Islam, have time and again aroused unwarranted
tension, suspicion and unrest in societies by slandering the Islamic
faith through gross distortions and misrepresentations and by
encroaching on and denigrating the religious sentiments of Muslims."
In "FOREWORD by the OIC Secretary General," Sixth OIC Observatory Report
on Islamphobia," October 2012 – September 2013.
Hanging of Mahmoud Asgari and Ayaz Marhoni - 2005
Addendum on Afghani Human
Rights Islamophobia: "Sima Samar, chair of the Afghanistan
Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC), told Reuters in a telephone
interview that the brutality of attacks on women had greatly
intensified. 'The brutality of the cases is really bad. Cutting the
nose, lips and ears. Committing public rape,' she said. 'Mass rape...
It's against dignity, against humanity.' She attributed the increase
in crime to a culture of impunity and the imminent departure of
international troops and aid workers, leaving women more exposed to
attack. In addition, more cases were reported as women became aware of
their rights," In "Violence against Afghan women more frequent, brutal
in 2013: official," by Jessica Donati, Reuters, 4 January 2014.
Taliban execution of Zarmeena in Kabu - 1999
Addendum on the Shia-Sunni
Saga: "Bahrain presents a particularly
interesting stage for the Shia-Sunni saga. The tiny kingdom's population
has a Shia majority, but is ruled by a Sunni dynasty. When anti-regime
protests broke out last spring, the Bahraini king recruited military
assistance from neighboring Saudi Arabia (a Sunni power) to help stamp
out the rebellion. Meanwhile, Shia-dominated Iran bitterly criticized
the Saudi intervention in Bahrain. In turn, the Saudis openly accused
Teheran of fomenting the unrest in Bahrain. Saudi Arabia has its own
problems with its restless Shia minority who dominate the oil-rich
eastern corridor of the kingdom. Saudi officials have responded to
sporadic demonstrations with brutal, decisive force – and, again, have
explicitly blamed Iran for stirring up the trouble." In "Shia-Sunni:
A Deadly Ancient Schism in the Islamic World," by Palash Ghosh,
International Business Times, 9 January 2012.
[ 11 ]
Sunni Muslim jihadists targeting Shia Muslims in Iraq -
Addendum on Compatibility
with Pakistani National Laws: "Pakistan's top
religious body has declared the prohibition of child marriage
incompatible with Islam and demanded that the government amend its laws,
prompting outrage from human rights activists. The Council of
Islamic Ideology (CII), which was formed in 1962 to advise parliament on
the compatibility of laws with Sharia, also ruled that a man does not
need permission from his wife if he wants to marry another woman. Tahir
Ashrafi, a member of the body told AFP on Wednesday that Pakistan's
Prohibition of Child Marriages Act, which stipulates the age of marriage
at 16 for women and 18 for men, was not in accordance with Islamic
teachings. 'There is no specific age limit for marriage in Sharia,'
he said. 'Sharia says an individual can marry when he or she reaches
puberty and puberty cannot be defined by age,' adding: 'Family members
can marry a child if they think he or she has reached puberty.' He added
that the Muslim Family Laws Ordinance, which requires a wife to give
her consent before her husband takes a second spouse, was also
illegitimate. 'Islam allows to marry four women so there is no
question of asking the consent of first wife if a man wants to marry a
second time,' he said." In "Pakistan clerics declare ban on child
marriage un-Islamic," Agence France-Presse via GulfToday, 12 March 2014.
Addendum on The Exclusionary
Logic of Imperial Geopolitics: "The idea of
Islamophobia conveys the sense of a distinctive form of racism and
bigotry targeted specifically at members of Muslim communities,
reinforced by negative stereotypes about Islam. In 1997, the
Runnymede Trust offered its seminal definition of Islamophobia as a set
of attitudes: Islam is perceived as a static, unchanging monolithic
block; it is separate and 'other'; it lacks values in common with other
culture; is inferior to the West; and is irrational, primitive, sexist,
violent, aggressive, and supportive of terrorism. Hostility towards
Islam is used to justify discriminatory practices against Muslims and
the exclusion of Muslims from mainstream society, such that anti-Muslim
hostility becomes normalised. In 2004, the Council of Europe defined
Islamophobia as 'the fear of or prejudiced viewpoint towards Islam,
Muslims and matters pertaining to them. Whether it takes the shape of
daily forms of racism and discrimination or more violent forms,
Islamophobia is a violation of human rights and a threat to social
cohesion.' However, as Maussen points out, there are important
theoretical reservations for the use of the catch-all term Islamophobia
to encompass so many diverse phenomena. Primarily, the term 'groups
together all kinds of different forms of discourse, speech and acts, by
suggesting that they all emanate from an identical ideological core,
which is a 'fear' or a 'phobia' of Islam.' This amounts to a form
of ideological reductionism which, however, fails to offer any further
or deeper explanation of why this irrational fear of Islam has come
about, and how it refracts through myriad different social structures
into such a wide array of different exclusionary behaviours and
processes. Thus, Maussen notes that while 'these different kinds of
discourse and speech' – such as negative media portrayals of Muslims,
legislation impacting primarily or inordinately on Muslims, and sporadic
acts of public violence against Muslims -- may well be 'related and feed
into one another, but we cannot simply equate them all and treat them as
comparable illustrations of a core ideology named 'Islamophobia.' There
is therefore a need to 'distinguish speech and discourse on the one
hand, from acts on the other hand.' While discourse and speech may be
demeaning, it should not be conflated with 'policies which limit the
religious freedoms of Muslims, or with acts of violence, such as burning
mosques or attacking Muslim girls who wear the headscarf'." In "Islamophobia
and Insecurity, The Exclusionary Logic of Imperial Geopolitics," by
Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmed, in Abdelwahab El Affendi Osman (ed.), Killer
Narratives: The Destructive Impact of Collective Nightmares", n.d.
[ 12 ]
Sunnis target Shia and Kurds in Iraq - 2014
Addendum on Non-phobic
Rational Fear: "The latest edition of al
Qaeda‘s English-language online magazine urges its readers to attack the
United States with car bombs and includes a photo of Times Square.
The terrorist organization’s magazine, Inspire, specifically mentions
New York, Los Angeles, Washington and Chicago as preferred targets, WCBS
880′s Rich Lamb reported. NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton said Wednesday
the website calls for its readers to act as 'lone wolf' terrorists." In
"Al Qaeda Magazine Calls For Car Bombings In U.S., Specifically In NYC,"
CBS News, 19 March 2014.
Another Addendum on a
Non-phobic Rational Fear: "Amine Gemayel, the former
President of Lebanon, warned on Thursday that the Arab world is
experiencing a 'crisis of religious pluralism' driven by 'the rise of
religious extremists,' which threatens 'any community which does not
constitute the majority' – including Druze, Shiite Muslims, Alawites,
Baha'is, and 'Sunni Muslims living in Shiite-dominated areas.' Speaking
last night at a Christian Solidarity International (CSI) event, Gemayel
paid particular attention to the plight of Middle Eastern Christians,
who he said are fleeing the region 'in an exodus approaching biblical
proportions.' Gemayel cited 'church burnings, physical assaults and
killings' in Egypt, 'an onslaught of murder' in Iraq and 'a
bloody-minded reign of terror' from 'ultra-radical Islamists in regions
of Syria where they have imposed their rule'." In "Former Lebanese
President Warns of "Crisis of Pluralism" in Middle East," by Joel
Veldkamp, PR Newswire, 14 March 2014.
Caning in Mali
Yet Another Addendum on a
Non-phobic Rational Fear: "When I met Westergaard before
this latest attack, there was a touch of melancholy in his eyes – but
also anger and defiance. 'I do not see myself as a particularly brave
man,' he said then. 'If the country was occupied, I don't think I would
be running around doing sabotage; I would probably be sitting somewhere
doing my drawings. But in this situation I got angry. It is not right
that you are threatened in your own country just for doing your job.
That's an absurdity that I have actually benefited from, because it
grants me a certain defiance and stubbornness. I won't stand for it. And
that really reduces the fear a great deal'." In "The Danish
cartoonist who survived an axe attack," by Marie Louise Sjølie,
Guardian UK, 4 January 2014.
Addendum for the Family of a Pakistani Polio Worker: "A
lady health worker was found dead in Koh-e-Daman village in the
jurisdiction of Daudzai police station on Monday, Express News reported.
She was kidnapped from her house in Guluzai village in the jurisdiction
area of Chamkani police station on the night of March 23. The body of
the worker, identified as Salma Farooq, bore torture marks as well.
Earlier today, police had said that around eight armed men had entered
the house of Farooq, held the family hostage at gunpoint and took the
woman away with them. Chamkani is a village located on the outskirts of
Peshawar." In "Polio worker kidnapped from Chamkani found dead," The
Express Tribune, Pakistan, 24 March 2014.
Flogging in Pakistan
Addendum of yet Another:
"They both claimed that they were 'soldiers of Allah' and were motivated
by the plight of Muslims abroad to carry out the killing, and have shown
no remorse." In "The final insult: Court terror for Lee Rigby's family
as his Muslim killers are dragged from dock shouting 'Allahu akbar'
while fighting prison guards - before judge tells them life will NOT
mean life," by Martin Robinson and Mark Duell and Chris Greenwood, Daily
Mail UK, 26 February 2014.
[ 13 ]
Convicted Muslim murderer of Lee Rigby - 2014
Addendum of Schoolgirls who
might Experience Islamophobia: "Islamic
extremists have been abducting girls to use as cooks and sex slaves.
Insurgents from the Boko Haram terrorist network are blamed for attacks
that have killed more than 1,500 people this year alone. The group —
whose name means 'Western education is forbidden' — has targeted
schools, mosques, churches, villages and agricultural centers in
increasingly indiscriminate attacks. They have also made daring raids on
military barracks and bases." In "Islamists kidnap 100 schoolgirls who
face living hell as sex slaves," by Associated Press, 15 April 2014.
Nigerian protests against Boko Haram, which threatens to
sell girls "by Allah."
Addendum of a Claim of
Islamic Law: "Police say a valley man threatened to
kill his wife, telling his victim 'Islamic Law' gave him the right to
kill her. Ansar Muhammad, 43, is facing several charges, including
assault and imprisonment. According to the police report, on April 26,
Muhammad sexually assaulted the victim, held her against her will while
threatening to kill her, punched and strangulated her, causing physical
injuries at their home near 112th Avenue and Encanto Boulevard." In "Man
allegedly claims Islamic Law gives him to right to kill wife," by Kim
Schriner, FOX 10 News, 28 April 2014.
Addendum of Brutality
"disavowed even by al-Qaeda": "The jihadist
Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) announced it had executed
seven prisoners in its bastion in north-eastern Syria yesterday, two of
them by crucifixion. ISIL, which has been disavowed even by al-Qaeda,
said it held the seven responsible for a grenade attack on one of its
fighters earlier this month in the Euphrates Valley city of Raqa, which
it rules with an iron fist." In "Jihadists execute 7 in Syria, 2 by
crucifixion," Agence France Presse, 30 April 2014.
[ 14 ]
Syrians crucified by ISIS 2014
Addendum of Islamist Slavers:
"Nigeria's Islamic extremist leader threatened in a videotaped statement
seen on Monday to sell the more than 200 teenage schoolgirls abducted
from a school in the remote northeast of the country three weeks ago.
Abubakar Shekau for the first time also claimed responsibility for the
April 15 mass abduction, in a video reviewed by The Associated Press. 'I
abducted your girls,' said the leader of Boko Haram, which means
'Western education is sinful.' 'By Allah, I will sell them in the
marketplace,' he said in the hour-long video that starts with
fighters lofting automatic rifles and shooting in the air as they chant
'Allahu akbar!' or 'God is great'." In "276 kidnapped Nigerian
schoolgirls will be sold, militants threaten," CBS News, 5 May 2014.
[ 15 ]
The sign reads "Boko Haram is not Islam," but Boko Haram
says it is following Islam, Which party is correct and which party is
Addendum of Retaliation:
"...rebels Iraqis were able to arrest the
Kurdish judge Rauf Rashid, who issued a death sentence against the
former Iraqi leader, which is currently in the “grip of the soldiers
of the Islamic State and the men of the Baath Party'." In "Iraqi
rebels: the execution of Saddam Hussein judge," Al-Mesyroon, 18 June
Addendum via an American
Television Comic: "Right. So, you know, that's not a
good thing. So, she was going to speak at Brandeis, but she called Islam
the new fascism, so they said she could not speak. And they said she is
Islamophobic, who my friend Sam Harris reminded me today our deceased
friend Christopher Hitchens said Islamophobic is a word created by
fascists, and used by cowards, to manipulate morons. Because to be
phobic means to be scared of something that you're not usually scared
of, like the great outdoors. But to be phobic about honor killings,
about throwing acid in girls' faces, or marrying them off when they are
eight-years-old." Quote of Bill Maher, in HBO's "Real Time with Bill
Maher," May 9, 2014.
Addendum of Offend-a-phobia:
"In Hollywood, attacking Christianity or Judaism is cool. But all those
'brave' filmmakers are terrified of offending Islamist activists.
Instead of films about al Qaeda’s atrocities, we get movies that trash
our military for 'crimes' against the terrorists. How can our elites
ignore the immeasurable suffering inflicted on Muslims in the name of
Islam? Al Qaeda and its franchises have slaughtered far more Muslims
than they have Westerners. Don’t those victims count?" In "Stop
making excuses for Islamist extremist monsters," by Ralph Peters, New
York Post, 10 May 2014.
[ 16 ]
Victims of chemical attack by Baathist Iraq in Hallubjah
Addendum of Possible
Islamophobia in the Saudi Gazette: "I am writing
with regard to the article 'What makes Dubai unique?' (May 13) by Dr.
Khaled Batarfi. It is a very interesting article and I was happy and
saddened at the same time after reading it. I was happy because Dubai
has been able to realize and accomplish what others are still dreaming
about. However, I was saddened because so many cities have had the same
opportunity but have destroyed themselves instead. This is what happened
to Aden, Cairo and Beirut before. And now we see Tripoli, Damascus and
Karachi being destroyed by their own people. I wonder when Muslims
will learn to build rather than destroy?" In "When will Muslims
learn to built rather than destroy?" by Faiz Al-Najdi, Online response,
Saudi Gazette, 15 May 2014.
Islamist "selfie" -- ISIL 2014
Addendum of Justifiable
Islamophobia by a Sudanese Woman: "A pregnant
Sudanese woman who married a Christian man was sentenced to death
Thursday after she refused to recant her Christian faith, her lawyer
said. Meriam Ibrahim, whose father was Muslim but mother was an Orthodox
Christian from Ethiopia, was convicted of 'apostasy' on Sunday and given
four days to repent and escape death, lawyer Al-Shareef Ali al-Shareef
Mohammed said. The 26 year old, who is eight months pregnant, was
sentenced after that grace period expired, Mohammed said." In "Sudanese
woman sentenced to death for apostasy," by Mohammed Saeed and Hamza
Hendawi, Associated Press, 15 May 2014.
Addendum of an apparent 9th
century Islamophobe: "Most prominent among those
scholars was Abu Bakr al-Razi (865-925 CE) who believed in the supreme
importance of reason. He argued that the mind had an innate capacity to
distinguish between good and evil, and between what was useful and what
was harmful. According to him, the mind did not need any guidance from
outside it, and for this reason the presence of prophets was redundant
and superfluous. Al-Razi directed his most vehement attack against
the holy books in general, including the Qur'an, because he saw them as
illogical and self-contradictory. He also believed that all human
beings were equal in their intellectual capacities as they were in all
other things. It made no sense therefore that God should single out one
individual from among them in order to reveal to him his divine wisdom
and assign him the task of guiding other human beings. Furthermore, he
found that prophets' pronouncements and stories often contradicted those
of other prophets. If their source was divine revelation as is claimed,
their views would have been identical. The idea of a divinely-appointed
mediator was therefore a myth." In "When Islamic atheism thrived," by
Amira Nowaira, Guardian UK, 10 May 2010.
Addendum of Some Arab
Scholars: "From their school days onwards, Arabs
are instructed that they should not defy tradition, that they should
respect authority, that truth should be sought in the text and not in
experience. Fear of fawda (chaos) and fitna (schism) are deeply
engrained in much Arab-Islamic teaching. 'The role of thought', wrote a
Syrian intellectual 'is to explain and transmit...and not to search and
question.' Such tenets never held back the great Arab astronomers and
mathematicians of the Middle Ages. But now, it seems, they hold sway, discouraging critical thought and innovation and helping to produce a
great army of young Arabs, jobless, unskilled and embittered, cut off
from changing their own societies by democratic means. Islam at
least offers them a little self-respect. With so many paths closed to
them, some are now turning their dangerous anger on the western world."
In "Self-doomed to failure, An unsparing new report by Arab scholars
explains why their region lags behind so much of the world,"
Economist, 4 July 2002.
[ 17 ]
Iraqi Sunni Child - 2014
Addendum of Murderous Jihad
in Belgium: "A French former jihadist volunteer in
Syria has been arrested over last week’s deadly shooting at the Jewish
Museum in Brussels. Police found a Kalashnikov rifle and a handgun
similar to the ones used in the attack in the bag of Mehdi Nemmouche, a
29-year-old French citizen, when he stepped off a bus in Marseille on
Friday after an overnight trip from Brussels. Investigators also found a
memory stick containing a video in which a person claims to have carried
out the attack, displays weapons similar to those used and unfurls a
sheet of cloth with the words Islamic State of Iraq and Syria written on
it, the Paris prosecutor said." In "French police arrest Syria
Jihadist over Brussels Jewish Museum murders," by Rory Mulholland,
Telegraph UK, 1 June 2014.
Addendum of 150,000
Islamophobes Fleeing Fellow Muslims: "More
than 150,000 people have been forced to flee Iraq's second city of Mosul
after Islamist militants effectively took control of it. Troops were
among those fleeing as hundreds of jihadists from the ISIS group overran
it and much of the surrounding province of Nineveh." In "Iraq crisis:
Islamists force 150,000 to flee Mosul," BBC, 10 June 2014.
[ 18 ]
"Freedom of expression is Western terrorism"
Addendum of the OIC and its
Co-chairpersons: "In what can rightly be
described as a seminal step in relations between the Muslim world and
the Western world, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and the
leading nations of the Western world led by the United States and the
European Union agreed Saturday to take concrete steps to combat
intolerance, negative stereotyping and discrimination, incitement to
violence, and violence against persons based on religion or belief. The
high-level meeting was held at the historic Yildiz Palace in Istanbul.
It was attended by EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs Cathrine
[ sic ] Ashton along with foreign ministers and officials from
France, Germany, Britain, Italy, Japan, Australia, Belgium, Canada,
Poland, Romania, Denmark, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Pakistan,
Senegal, Sudan, the Vatican, UN Office of the High Commissioner for
Human Rights, Arab League and African Union. The meeting was
co-chaired by OIC Secretary-General Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu and US
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton." In "OIC, West pledge to combat
intolerance," by Siraj Wahab, Arab News, 16 July 2011.
[ 19 ]
Co-chairpersons Hillary Clinton and Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu
at the Istanbul Process Conference of the OIC
of a Different Perspective on the OIC: " 'The
OIC invented the anti-'Islamophobia' movement,' says Zuhdi Jasser,
president of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy and a frequent
target of the honor brigade. 'These countries . . . think they own
the Muslim community and all interpretations of Islam'. ...
...attempts at censorship have become more common. This is largely
because of the rising power and influence of the 'ghairat brigade,' an
honor corps that tries to silence debate on extremist ideology in
order to protect the image of Islam. It meets even sound critiques with
hideous, disproportionate responses. The campaign began, at least in
its modern form, 10 years ago in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, when the
Organization of Islamic Cooperation — a mini-United Nations comprising
the world’s 56 countries with large Muslim populations, plus the
Palestinian Authority — tasked then-Secretary General Ekmeleddin
Ihsanoglu with combating Islamophobia and projecting the 'true values of
Islam.' During the past decade, a loose honor brigade has sprung up, in
part funded and supported by the OIC through annual conferences, reports
and communiques. It’s made up of politicians, diplomats, writers,
academics, bloggers and activists. " In "Meet the honor brigade, an
organized campaign to silence debate on Islam," by Asra Q. Nomani,
Washington Post, 18 January 2015.
Addendum of a "Seminal and
Probably Islamophobic Step in Relations between the Muslim World and the
Western World": "France said it had deported on
Thursday an Algerian national suspected of recruiting young French
Muslims to join the Syrian civil war, the first such case since Paris
unveiled a raft of policies to stop its citizens from becoming
radicalized. ...'The anti-jihadist plan ... foresees deporting
immediately any foreign national implicated in jihadist networks,'
Cazeneuve said. 'These measures will be implemented with their full
force'.'" In "France deports Algerian suspected of recruiting for
Syria jihad," Reuters Paris, 1 May 2014.
[ 20 ]
Addendum of Islamophobia by
Germany: "Officials of both the federal and state
governments have already been compiling blacklists of Islamic
fundamentalists for weeks. In what officials derisively refer to as
'"Project Cleanup,' Germany's state interior ministers intend to address
all of the troublesome cases with which they, as an official in the
Interior Ministry of the state of North Rhine-Westphalia says, 'have
been burdened since Sept. 11, 2001.' They include suspected terrorists
such as the defendants in the Düsseldorf Tawhid trial, Afghan Islamic
fundamentalists the Germans would like to see sent home, and smugglers
and imams such as Salem Al-Rafei, who preaches at Berlin's Al-Nur
mosque. 'Those who reject Western society and believe it to be ruled
by the devil,' says Ehrhart Körting, a member of the Social Democratic
Party (SPD) and a senator in Berlin's interior ministry, 'should leave
this country'." In "Islamic Fundamentalism: Germany's 'Project
Cleanup' Could Deport Hundreds of Radical Muslims," by Markus
Deggerich and Holger Stark, Spiegel, 24 January 2005.
[ 21 ]
Addendum of Islamophobia by
the Netherlands: "In consultation with Home Affairs
Minister Johan Remkes, Verdonk has decided to withdraw the residence
permits of two radical imams because 'they posed a threat to public
order and/or national security'. This has never before happened in the
Netherlands. She is also rejecting the third imam's application to have
his residence permit prolonged. The three imams are from Kenya,
Bosnia and another country that Verdonk did not disclose. According to
the secret service AIVD, the three imams are calling upon Muslims to
isolate themselves from Dutch society. 'They have also allowed the
recruitment for the Jihad (armed struggle against non-Muslims) to take
place within their mosques. In the Al Fourqaan mosque, the imams
promoted Salafism, a highly anti-Western movement within the Islam'."
In "Minister Verdonk Deports Three Radical Imams," NISNews, 23
Addendum of Islamophobia and
Racism by Italy: "Deported Senegalese Imam Mamour
Fall has accused the Italian government of racism. The controversial
cleric, who lived in Italy for 11 years, told the BBC he felt victimised
for being an African. The Italian Interior Ministry deported Imam
Fall for supporting Osama Bin Laden after he predicted more attacks on
Italians in Iraq and Afghanistan. Nineteen Italian soldiers died in a
southern Iraq bomb attack, sparking a crackdown on Muslim militants in
Italy. The 39-year-old imam said Italy's troops would be targeted
because they were aiding the US-led coalition, adding that further
strikes would then follow on Italian soil." In "Italy racist says
deported imam," BBC, 24 November 2003.
Addendum of Islamophobia in
Great Britain: "The radical Islamist preacher Abu
Qatada was arrested today and will be deported from the UK to Jordan,
Sky News reported, citing sources. Qatada, who was once described by a
judge as 'Osama bin Laden's right-hand man in Europe', was released from
a prison in central England under strict bail conditions earlier this
year after six and a half years in custody." In "Radical imam Abu Qatada
arrested at home in UK, facing deportation," Sky News, 17 April 2012.
[ 22 ]
of Islamophobia in the United States: "A Muslim
leader from Ohio who was convicted of lying about his involvement with a
group the U.S. government designated a terrorist organization has been
deported to his native Palestinian territories, immigration authorities
said yesterday. Fawaz Damra, 46, was convicted in June 2004 of
concealing his ties to Palestinian Islamic Jihad when he applied for
U.S. citizenship in 1994. Damra, who served as an imam at Ohio’s largest
mosque, the Islamic Center of Cleveland, was deported Thursday, said Tim
Counts, spokesman for the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement
(ICE). He was flown to Amman, Jordan, then crossed to the West Bank." In
"Ohio imam deported for lying in probe," Washington Times, 5
Addendum of Islamophobia in
Kenya: "A Kenyan official says a radical
Muslim cleric who once served four years in a British prison for
inciting murder and stirring racial hatred has been deported to the West
African nation of Gambia. The government official says Sheik
Abdullah el-Faisal was deported Thursday morning on a Kenya Airways
flight to Nigeria, where he will take a connecting flight to Banjul,
Gambia." In "Radical cleric deported from Kenya to Gambia," AP, 7
Addendum of Islamophobia in
Egypt: "The Interior Ministry has expelled Imam of
Al-Khureinaj Mosque in Farwaniya Sayyed Farraj and ordered sending
him to Sudan as per his request; while his children will return to their
country in Egypt after they finish their high school exams within two
weeks. ...the ministry explained the decision was taken after the Imam’s
Friday sermon in which he mentioned issues concerning Egypt’s politics -
an act prohibited as per the Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs laws
and regulations. It has been reported the Imam criticized Egypt’s
presidential election." In " 'Deviating' preacher deported to Sudan,"
Arab Times, 16 June 2014.
Addendum of Yet More
Islamophobia in Egypt: "Ahmed Karimeh, a professor of
Sharia at Al-Azhar University, told Al-Monitor that legal teachings and
conventions specify that Friday, Eid and main prayers must be conducted
in a mosque, and not in a neighborhood place of worship. The five daily
prayers can be held at these informal sites, but not the special
celebration prayers. In that sense, the Egyptian Ministry of Religious
Endowments upheld a recognized religious law. Karimeh explained that closing those neighborhood places of worship, located in apartment
buildings, commercial buildings or factories, would help mitigate the
influence of extremist religious orators such as those affiliated with
the Muslim Brotherhood, Salafist groups or Shiites, who use those places
of worship to take advantage of religious gatherings.
As such, the Ministry of Religious Endowments’ decision, while late, was
the correct one." In "Egypt closes 27,000 places of worship," by
Rami Galal, Al Monitor, 3 March 2015.
Addendum of Islamophobia in
Kuwait: "Kuwait this month decided to deport a
group of Egyptians for holding a pro-Al Sisi rally near a polling
station where fellow countrymen were casting ballots to choose their
president. Under Kuwait laws, foreigners cannot take part in political
rallies. The authorities are also deporting a group of Syrians for
causing heavy damages at a local hospital following a brawl between
friends and relatives of two men. The fight was started in another
location, but the relatives continued it at the hospital where one of
the 'fighters' was being treated." In "Kuwait to deport Egyptian imam,"
by Habib Toumi, Gulf News, 31 May 2014.
Addendum of Islamophobia in
Australia: "A Muslim cleric living in Australia on a
religious visa believed he didn't do anything wrong by 'marrying' a
12-year-old girl to a 26-year-old man because the union was never
officially registered. Muhammad Riaz Tasawar, 35, of Mayfield, appeared
before Parramatta Local Court on March 19 where Magistrate Peter
Miszalski accepted the plea to the offence of solemnisation of a
marriage by an unauthorised person. He was fined $500 and is in
immigration detention awaiting deportation to Pakistan upon the
cancellation of his Religious Leaders visa." In "Cleric who
'married' 12-year-old believed he had done nothing wrong," by Rachel
Olding and Louise Hall, Sydney Morning Herlad, 2 April 2014.
Addendum of Islamophobia in
Turkey: "Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan
has urged the United States to deport a Eastern Pennsylvania-based
cleric he accuses of instigating a graft probe to try to topple his
government, and vowed to seek the preacher's extradition. Cleric
Fethullah Gulen and his followers in Saylorsburg, Monroe County, north
of Allentown, should be expelled or handed over to Turkish authorities,
Mr. Erdogan said in an interview with the 'Charlie Rose' program
broadcast Tuesday on Bloomberg TV." In "Turkey asks U.S. to deport Pa.
cleric," by Onur Ant, Bloomberg News, 29 April 2014.
Addendum of Tolerance for a
Muslim Scientist: "...a growing movement by a
small but vocal group of largely Saudi-influenced orthodox Muslims who
use evolution as a way of discrediting imams whom they deem to be overly
progressive or 'western orientated'. Masjid Tawhid is a prominent mosque
which also runs one of the country's largest sharia courts, the Islamic
Sharia Council. In January, Dr Hasan delivered a lecture there
detailing why he felt the theory of evolution and Islam were compatible
– a position that is not unusual among many Islamic scholars with
scientific backgrounds. But the lecture was interrupted by men he
described as 'fanatics' who distributed leaflets claiming that 'Darwin
is blasphemy'. 'One man came up to me during the lecture and said 'You
are an apostate and should be killed',' Dr Hasan told The
Independent." In "Scientist Imam threatened over Darwinist views," by
Tom Peck and Jerome Taylor, Independent UK, 5 March 2011.
Addendum of Islamophobia by
the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria: "The group was
formally rejected from Al Qaeda earlier this year after that
organization’s leader, Ayman al-Zawahri, ordered it to withdraw to Iraq
and leave operations in Syria to the local Qaeda affiliate, the Nusra
Front. The split led to a bitter rivalry between the two groups,
with the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria competing with Al Qaeda for
resources and standing in the wider international jihadist community.
Perhaps the best indication of how the group sees itself these days is a
recent promotional video called 'The Rattling of the Sabers.' The
hourlong video is a slickly produced, hyperviolent propaganda
piece that idolizes the group’s fighters as they work for two of their
main goals: founding an Islamic state and slaughtering their enemies,
mostly the Iraqi security forces and Shiites." In "Rebels’ Fast
Strike in Iraq Was Years in the Making," by Tim Arango, Kareem Fahim and
Ben Hubbard, New York Times, 14 June 2014.
[ 23 ]
Addendum of Islamophobia in
Bahrain: "Previous citizenship revocations in recent
years have been directed at activists abroad and in Bahrain, who were
afterwards told to leave the country. 'The ruler of Bahrain revoked my
citizenship today without a court, any charges or clear evidence of
why,' British-based Bahraini blogger and activist Ali Abdulemam wrote on
Twitter. Bahrain's governing al-Khalifa family used martial law and
assistance from its neighbours in the Gulf to suppress a Shia uprising
in 2011, but the unrest has persisted and protesters and police often
clash." In "Bahrain revokes the nationality of 72 people," BBC,
31 January 2015.
Addendum of Islamophobia by
Muslim Pakistan: "The assault essentially ended
Pakistan's chances of further dialogue with the militants, who have been
working for years to overthrow the Pakistani government and establish a
Sharia-based caliphate, resulting in the deaths of tens of thousands of
civilian and army forces in the area. 'Our valiant armed forces have
been tasked to eliminate these terrorists regardless of hue and color,
along with their sanctuaries,' the Parkistan army said in a statement.
'With the support of the entire nation, and in coordination with other
state institutions and law enforcement agencies, these enemies of the
state will be denied space anywhere across the country'." In "More Than
300,000 Pakistanis Flee Embattled North Waziristan Tribal Region," by
Liz Fields, ViceNews, 21 June 2014.
Addendum of Islamophobia in
Turkey: "Members of the Islamic State of Iraq and
the Levant (ISIL) attacked a Shiite mosque in Istanbul last week, a
human rights association has claimed in report, refuting official
statements about the incident. On July 8, a fire caused significant
material damage at the Muhammediye Mosque in the Esenyurt neighborhood
of the city. Three Qurans and a 300-volume hadith collection were
destroyed in the fire at the mosque, which belongs to the local
community from the Ja’farite school of Shia Islam." In "ISIL
‘attacks Shiite mosque’ in Istanbul," Hurriyet Daily News, Istanbul, 16
July 2014. (This news item is also cited to observe that after the
burning of Qurans and Hadith collections by Muslims,
The Dust Settles
Addendum of Islamophobia in
Qatar: "Leaders of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood group
and allied clerics said on Saturday that they are departing Qatar, where
they had sought refuge following the ouster of Egypt's Islamist
President Mohammed Morsi and the crackdown on his supporters. Their
presence in Qatar had severely strained Doha's relations with Egypt as
well as Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, all of which view
the more than 85-year-old Islamist movement as a threat. The
expulsion threatens to further isolate the group, which rose to power in
Egypt through a string of post-Arab Spring elections but suffered a
dramatic fall from grace during Morsi's divisive year in office." In "Qatar
expels Egypt Muslim Brotherhood leaders," by Maggie Michael,
Associated Press, 13 September 2014.
Addendum of Targeting India:
"The rise of al-Qaida offshoot Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS)
may look like a distant problem affecting the Middle East with Indians
merely caught in the crossfire. But it's a danger far closer home than
it appears. Security establishment sources said ISIS, which is being
suspected to be behind the kidnapping of 40 Indians in Mosul, has global ambitions and aims to create an Islamic World Dominion of which
even India would be a part. A recently released world dominion map
by the outfit had parts of north-west India, including Gujarat, shown as
part of the Islamic state of Khorasan, a caliphate that the outfit aims
to achieve." In "ISIS has designs on India," by Deeptiman Tiwary, Times
of India, 19 June 2014.
Addendum of True Islam
Advocates in the West: "...in truth the western
world’s railings against honour killings, death sentences for apostates,
murderous fatwas, clitorectomy, Islamism in all its manifestations from
al-Qa'eda to Boko Haram, are virtually nowhere echoed in the Islamic
world itself. Good citizens of Muslim allegiance and vaguely
moderating organisations like the Muslim Council of Britain are called
in to the media microphones to distance 'true' Islam from the categories
of barbarism. But they are a tiny western-dwelling elite, living in a
part of the world informed for a couple of thousand years by the values
of Hellenism and Judaeo-Christianity. They are profoundly alien to the
Muslim world." In "Two stonings and a beheading – witnessing Islamic
justice," by Tom Stacey, Spectator, 7 June 2014.
Addendum in Answer to the
Muslim Council of Britain: "The 19-minute audiotape
from Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi came two days after his organization, the
Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, unilaterally declared the
establishment of an Islamic state, or caliphate, in the land it
controls. It also proclaimed al-Baghdadi the caliph, and demanded
that all Muslims around the world pledge allegiance to him. In the
statement, al-Baghdadi makes clear his global ambition and presented himself as the leader of all Muslims." In "Militant leader
calls for Muslims to build state," by Ryan Lucas, Associated Press, 1
[ 24 ]
Addendum of Threatening
Girls: "Threatening girls to stop them from
going to school is nothing new in Pakistan – Malala Yousafzai's case
is just the most infamous example – but it now seems to be spreading to
parts of the country that had previously been spared. Two weeks ago, all
private schools in Balochistan’s districts of Panjgur and Turbat were
forced to close after being threatened by a hitherto unknown group
called 'Tenzeem Islami Al-Furqan' ('the Organisation of Islam for the
Koran'). These shadowy extremists, much like the Taliban or Boko
Haram in Nigeria, say they are against “Western education” for girls."
In "Extremists force girls out of school in Pakistan," by Rezwan Riaz,
France 24, 30 May 2014.
Addendum of an Example
Warranting Islamophobia: "To the villagers who
fled, Zowiya is now a graveyard for all they’ve ever known. Their houses
have been razed, their neighbors are dead, and their tribal codes have
been violated in ways they never dreamed possible. For the extremist
fighters who overran Zowiya this week in a fury of mortars and bullets,
the ruins of the Sunni Muslim village carry a different symbolism: an
example for any 'turncoats' who dare resist the Islamic State’s
self-proclaimed caliphate." In "Sunni village as a warning," by Mohammed
al Dulaimy and Hannah Allam, McClathcy DC, 11 July 2014.
Comparative Addendum of the
Offending Ham Sandwich in France: "...hit the
victim repeatedly in the face because he was eating a ham sandwich. The two attackers, who claimed to be Muslims, said they were offended by
the consumption of pork in their presence and so attacked the young man.
One witness, a friend of the victim present at the time, was interviewed
by investigators and confirmed the facts of the assault."
[ 25 ]
ISIS "Islamophobes" killing Muslims in Iraq - 2014
Addendum of Scholars Thinking
Some Muslims are Islamophobic: " 'The International
Union of Muslim Scholars (IUMS) condemns the forced expulsion of the
Christian brothers of Iraq from their homes, cities and provinces,' the
group said in a statement posted on the website of its leader, the
influential cleric Sheikh Youssef al-Qaradawi on Tuesday. 'These are acts that violate Islamic laws, Islamic conscience and leave
but a negative image of Islam and Muslims.' The IUMS, comprising
senior Sunni religious scholars from around the world with links to more
moderate factions of the Muslim Brotherhood, views the Islamic State,
which has taken control of a swathe of northern Iraq, as being too
extreme and says its doctrine contradicts the true teachings of Islam."
In "Islamic scholars condemn expulsion of Iraq's 'Christian brothers',"
Reuters, 23 July 2014.
Addendum of Denunciation of
Muslims by Muslims: " Egypt's top religious
authority condemned the armed group Islamic State which has taken
over parts of Iraq and Syria, describing it on Tuesday as a corrupt,
extremist organization that is damaging Islam. 'An extremist and bloody
group such as this poses a danger to Islam and Muslims, tarnishing
[ 26 ]
as well as shedding blood and spreading
corruption,' said Grand Mufti Shawqi Allam, Egypt's most influential
Muslim cleric, the state news agency MENA reported. The comments came as
the Vatican called on Muslim religious leaders to take a 'clear and
courageous stance' and condemn 'unspeakable criminal acts' by Islamic
State. The grand mufti's view represents the opinion of Al Azhar, one
of the world's oldest seats of Muslim learning, which influences the
opinions of Muslims worldwide." In "Egypt's Top Muslim Leader Condemns
Islamic State: Grand Mufti Shawqi Allam Denounces 'Bloody Group',"
Reuters via Huffington Post, 12 August 2014.
Addendum of Islamophobia by
the United Nations: "Two senior United
Nations officials today condemned in the strongest terms the
'barbaric acts' of sexual violence and 'savage rapes' the armed group
Islamic State (IS) has perpetrated on minorities in areas under its
control. In a joint statement from Baghdad, the Special Representative
of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence (SRSG) in Conflict, Zainab
Hawa Bangura and the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for
Iraq, Nickolay Mladenov urged the immediate protection of civilians. 'We
are gravely concerned by continued reports of acts of violence,
including sexual violence against women and teenage girls and boys
belonging to Iraqi minorities,' Ms. Bangura and Mr. Mladenov said."
In " 'Barbaric' sexual violence perpetrated by Islamic State militants
in Iraq – UN," UN News Centre, 13 August 2014.
[ 27 ]
Addendum of Iraqi ISIS
Jihadists as Islamophobes: "Saudi Grand Mufti Sheikh
Abdul Aziz al-Sheikh on Tuesday blasted al-Qaida and Islamic State
jihadists as 'enemy number one' of Islam, in a statement issued in
Riyadh. 'The ideas of extremism, radicalism and terrorism ... have
nothing to do with Islam and (their proponents) are the enemy number one
of Islam,' the kingdom's top cleric said." In "Saudi top cleric blasts
Qaida, IS as 'enemy No. 1' of Islam," Times of India, 19 August 2014.
Addendum of the Muslim
Problem: "Jordan’s King Abdullah believes battling the
Islamic State of Iraq and Syria and other terrorist groups is 'our third
world war.' Speaking to 'CBS This Morning,' Abdullah stated that
is a Muslim problem that they need to take ownership of." In
"Jordan’s King Abdullah: Battling ISIS Is 'Our Third World War'," CBS
News, 5 December 2014.
Addendum of Banning the
Islamic Face Veil: "Chad has banned people from
wearing the full-face veil, following two suicide bomb attacks on
Monday. Chad's government accused Nigerian militant Islamist group Boko
Haram of the bombings which killed more than 20 people. The prime
minister said the veil was used as a 'camouflage' by militants
and said the security forces will burn all full-face veils sold in
markets." In "Chad bans Islamic face veil after suicide bombings," BBC,
17 June 2015.
Addendum of Continuing
Islamophobia in France: "France has deported 40
foreign imams for 'preaching hatred' in the past three years, a quarter
of them since the January terror attacks in Paris, Interior Minister
Bernard Cazeneuve said on Monday." In "France says 40 imams deported
for hate speech," TheLocal, France, 29 June 2015.
Addendum of France Banning
Radical Muslim Groups: "The government's
spokesman Stephane Le Foll said after a cabinet meeting: 'The fight
against preachers of hate will be total.' He said the three banned
groups 'were clearly taking action to incite jihad'." In "France
bans three 'radical' Islamic groups after attacks," Agence France Presse,
13 January 2016.
Addendum of Islamophobia by
Tunisia: " Tunisia's defense minister has" visited
an anti-jihadi fence that's being built on the country's border with
Libya to stop Islamist militants from entering Tunisian territory."
In "Tunisia unveils anti-jihadi fence on Libyan border," Associated
Press, 6 February 2016.
Addendum of Obey Us or
Else: " 'Why are you wearing revealing
clothes? You are a coup supporter and a Gülenist,' the group reportedly
yelled at Ölmez, as they also called for people nearby to join them in
beating her. 'You won’t get dressed this way anymore, you will get
dressed the way we want you to and you will obey us,' the group also
said, according to the report." In "Pregnant woman attacked for 'wearing
revealing clothes, supporting coup' in Istanbul," Hurriyet Daily News, 3
of Islamophobia -- Muslim ISIS versus Muslim Turkey:
"A suspected Islamic State child suicide bomber massacred at least 50
wedding guests dancing in a Turkey street. President Tayyip Erdogan
blamed the murders on Islamic State and said the killer, who wore an
explosive belt, was between the ages of 12 and 14." In "'ISIS child
suicide bomber' kills 50 at Turkey wedding by detonating explosive belt
amongst guests dancing in street," by Natalie Evans and David Ryan,
Mirror UK, 21 August 2016.
of Islamophobia by Muslim Against Muslim for Sectarian Killings:
"Law enforcement agencies on Sunday rounded up at
least 40 suspects, including a prominent religious scholar, in Karachi
following a spate of targeted killings. Allama Mirza Yousuf Hussain,
a prominent Shia scholar and Majlis Wahdat-e-Muslimeen (MWM) leader, was
arrested late on Saturday night during a raid at his house in the city’s
Nazimabad area, sources told The Express Tribune. Hussain, who is a
prayer leader at Noor-e-Emaan Masjid, was taken into custody just a day
after a former Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) senator was arrested by law
enforcers over his alleged involvement in sectarian killings in the
metropolis that took place recently and in the past as well." In "Top
Shia cleric, 39 others arrested over involvement in Karachi sectarian
killings," Express Tribune, Pakistan, 6 November 2016.
[ 1 ]
"A video has surfaced from the Al Qaeda-affiliated
Islamic State of Iraq and al-Shams (ISIS) in Iraq and Syria
advocating the systemic genocide of Shi'ite Muslims for
allegedly 'damaging Mohammed's legacy' in perpetrating their beliefs.
The video opens with a speech from a judge in the northern Syrian city
of Aleppo, which has been a focal point of territorial fighting between
the forces of Syrian President Bashar Assad and rebel forces. The
judge's job: to establish rule over the Syrian city through the
implementation of Sharia, or Islamic religious law - including doling
out execution orders. Brandishing a Kalashnikov assault rifle, the judge
turns to jihadi fighters in the Sinai Peninsula, urging them to resist
calls from the Egyptian army to back down from fighting." In "Al-Qaeda:
Death to Shi'ites for 'Damaging Mohammed's Legacy'," by Dalit
Halevi, Tova Dvorin, Arutz Sheva, 8 December 2013.
] Who goes to
hell? Apparently some Muslims consign other Muslims to this
fate in little ways as with whole sectarian divides, as
media makes the world more aware of such stances. One finds
fatwas of all kinds identifying sins of all kinds which the
majority in the Western world might find unusual.
" 'When a woman goes swimming, as the word for sea is
masculine, when "the water touches the woman's private
parts, she becomes an 'adulteress' and should be punished.'"
- Summary of a report titled 'The misguided Fatwas of the
Muslim Brotherhood and Salafis', as published in the Al
Masry Al Youm." In "Fatwa: Women who swim in the sea commit
adultery, should be punished," India Today Online, New
Delhi, 28 November 2013.
Claims by clerics can be divisive between Muslim and Muslim,
as between cleric and cleric: "A Saudi cleric
has called for all female babies to be fully covered by
wearing the face veil, commonly known as the burka, citing
reports of little girls being sexually molested. In a TV
interview on the Islamic al-Majd TV, which seems to date
back to mid-last year, Sheikh Abdullah Daoud, stressed that
wearing the veil will protect baby girls. The Sheikh tried
to back his assertion with claims of sexual molestation
against babies in the kingdom, quoting unnamed medical and
security sources. Recently picked up on social media, Sheikh
Dauod’s statement prompted wide condemnation from his fellow
Saudis on Twitter. Some tweeps [ sic ] called for the Sheikh
to be held accountable because his ruling denigrates Islam
and breaches individual privacy. Sheikh Mohammad al-Jzlana,
former judge at the Saudi Board of Grievances, told Al
Arabiya that Dauod’s ruling was denigrating to Islam and
Shariah and made Islam look bad." In "“Burkas for babies”:
Saudi cleric’s new fatwa causes controversy," By
Mohammad Alyousei, Al Arabiya News, 3 February 2014.
] "...religious fundamentalism not only explains why Muslim
immigrants are generally more hostile towards out-groups
than native Christians, but also why some Christians and
some Muslims are more xenophobic than others. These
findings clearly contradict the often-heard claim that
Islamic religious fundamentalism is a marginal phenomenon in
Western Europe or that it does not differ from the extent of
fundamentalism among the Christian majority. Both claims are
blatantly false, as almost half of European Muslims agree
that Muslims should return to the roots of Islam, that there
is only one interpretation of the Koran, and that the rules
laid down in it are more important than secular laws."
In "Fundamentalism and out-group hostility," by Ruud
Koopmans, WZB Mitteilungen, December 2013.
As with University of Hawaii emeritus professor Rummel's
fine demographic study of deaths caused by government
throughout the 20th century for which he coined the term as
applied to governments' actions, "democide," it becomes time
for the world to examine Islam's internal wars which have
killed far more than have been killed in strife with other
religious and secular groups. Will this be done? I rather
doubt it, for this would tell a tale many would have
suppressed, and that is that in the 20th century Islam
forged with a sort of pan-Arab national socialism and has
warred against itself, as the Iran-Iraq war, the invasion of
Kuwait by Iraq, the continuing civil war in Syria, the war
between sides in Afghanistan, the fundamentalist-government
divide in Pakistan, and the strife in Egypt all declare in
this time. One notes that late 20th century poison gas
attacks of Iraq under Saddam Hussein and only this year in
Syria, with both sides claiming the other as perpetrator,
so-called weapons of mass destruction are in play in this Muslim-against-Muslim violence. One might begin with the
tale of Karbala (per the above news item, as with the
history of it), and then follow the violent divide
historically to today. As an example, the Muslim
Brotherhood, a 20th century phenomenon, has been declared a
terrorist entity by the current government of Egypt. If such
a tally could be made as to the numbers of deaths, Muslim
against Muslim, across the last century, one might well coin
another term like unto Rummel's: Islamocide, as a parallel to the recently coined
Islamocide might well fit recent news: "A report
on Wednesday by Iraq Body Count, a British-based NGO,
confirmed the trend, predicting that the coming year could
be more bloody than the last. The NGO's own figures suggest
9,475 civilians were killed in 2013, compared with 10,130 in
2008. The group said: 'Al-Qaida in Iraq has found fertile
ground in all this discontent and has attacked the Iraqi
government …by killing members of its army, its police
forces, its politicians and journalists, as well as its Shia
population. The last six months have seen the massacres of
entire families as they sleep or travel to a holy place,
sometimes five, sometimes 12 family members at a time.'
It concludes: 'The faults are now as wide and deep as
trenches'." In "Iraq suffers its deadliest year since 2008,"
by Luke Harding, Gaurdian UK, 1 January 2014.
While the OIC Islamophobia report focuses on bloggers' views
on Islam, one notes that the same report ignores
Muslim-on-Muslim violence. In fact a persusal of the OIC
report tallies less deaths attributed to "hate speech" than
a single year in Iraq's internal war, Muslim against
Muslims, which itself pales in comparison to the mounting
death toll in the civil war between Muslims in Syria, and
that is small compared to the Iran-Iraq War's death toll.
How does "Islamocide" then compare to "Islamophobia?" The
OIC need answer.
] "The Iran–Iraq War, also known as the First Persian Gulf
War, was an armed conflict between the Islamic Republic of
Iran and the Republic of Iraq lasting from September 1980 to
August 1988, making it the 20th century's longest
conventional war. The war cost both sides in lives and
economic damage: half a million Iraqi and Iranian
soldiers, with an equivalent number of civilians, are
believed to have died, with many more injured; however,
the war brought neither reparations nor changes in borders."
In "Iran–Iraq War," Wikipedia, accessed December 2013.
] One notes with
verification from various sources that while the OIC
"Islamophobia" statement indentifies bloggers and political
speech with which they disagree and recommend legal
proscription against it, the question of the Saudi kingdom's
stance comes to the front. One reads:
"Syria's President Bashar al-Assad Monday called for
battle against Wahhabism, the political and religious
ideology embraced by the Saudi government, a key backer
of the uprising against his regime. The comments came amid
ongoing tensions between the two countries, which are
fiercely opposed to each other. 'President Assad said
that extremist and Wahhabi thought distort the real Islam,
which is tolerant,' state news agency SANA said.
...Groups affiliated with and loyal to Al-Qaeda are now
among those fighting on the ground against Assad's
government. Saudi Arabia is a key backer of the rebels
fighting against Assad's regime, and the Damascus
government accuses the kingdom of funding "terrorists"
seeking to destroy Syria." In "Syria's Assad urges fight
against Saudi religious ideology," Agence France-Presse, 30
For the opposing viewpoint and quote from a Muslim authority
from the recent past, see:
A State of War
It is well worth posing the question then, according to the
OIC "Islamophobia" document's assertion that it is
"essential to draw a line between free speech and hate
speech." Is some Muslim speech "hate speech?" Certainly
images as above suggest this, when one can read a
demonstrator's sign in the West that "Europe is the cancer,
Islam is the answer" and "behead those who insult Islam."
Certainly Assad's assertion that "Wahhabi thought
distort[s] the real Islam" suggests that Islam -- as a
word and religious phenomenon -- is in contention among
Muslims worldwide who differ on what Islam is, states and
Therefore it becomes odd that a group propose that it speaks
for all Muslims, when all Muslims do not agree. And so we
see that the OIC worries about some Western political
bloggers and the lobbying for laws against so-called "hate
speech" are ignoring the far larger subject -- Muslim on
Muslim violence today as the historical narrative of Karbala
showed centuries ago.
] More as to
Saudi Wahhabi inter-religious dialogue:
"A court in Saudi
Arabia has sentenced two men to lashes and prison terms
for converting a woman to Christianity and helping her
flee the conservative Islamic kingdom, the Saudi Gazette
reported on Monday." In "Christian conversion of woman
results in lashing and prison sentence for Lebanese and
Saudi men," Reuters 14 May 2013.
More on Shia inter-religious dialogue with the Baha'i
community: "The Supreme Leader of Iran,
Ayatollah Ali Khameni, issued a fatwa (religious edict)
against the Baha’i community on 31 July, calling on Iranians
to avoid Baha’is and labelling them a 'deviant and
misleading sect.' The edict comes days before
president-elect Hassan Rouhani assumes office, illustrating
that despite the president-elect’s promises to rule with
moderation and ensure the rights of religious minorities,
ultimate power in Iran rests with the Supreme Leader.
Despite the Baha’i community being the largest religious
minority in Iran, numbering over 300,000, it is not
officially recognised and is refused legal status. Since
1979, over 200 of its leaders have been killed or executed,
and thousands more imprisoned. Baha’is are barred from
accessing further education and employment in the public
sector, with over 10,000 having been dismissed from
university and government jobs. In 2008, seven Baha’i
leaders were arrested and were each sentenced to 20 years
imprisonment in 2010 for 'forming an illegal cult.'
According to the US Commission on International Religious
Freedom (USCIRF), as of February 2013, at least 110 Baha’is
are being held in prison solely because of their religious
belief, twice the number held in early 2011." In "Fatwa
issued against Baha’i community," CSW, 02 August 2013.
For more on "the Supreme Leader of Iran, Ayatollah Ali
Khameni," as clarification for his "supremacy" please see:
] More as to Wahhabi-styled "inter-religious dialogue" between
Sunni and Shia, one reads: "Daraihim's statements
denouncing the Shiites as apostates — in accordance with
Wahhabi Salafist doctrine — are not the first of their kind.
Takfir (the idea of Muslims renouncing other Muslims as
nonbelievers) goes back to fatwas issued by Sheikh Taqi
ad-Din bin Taymiyyah, a Syrian sheikh from the Hanbali
school of jurisprudence born in 1283 A.D. in Harran, a city
near the Turkish-Syrian border. Sheikh Taymiyyah considered
Shiites to be deluded heretics. He accused Shiite
scholars of blasphemy and considered the general Shiite
populace to be ignorant and misguided. This led his
followers — in particular Sheikh Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab
(1700-1791), the founder of Wahhabism — to denounce all
Shiites, regardless of sect, as nonbelievers. They also
authorized killing Shiites, holding their women captive, and
stealing from them. This goes against the words of the
Prophet Muhammad: 'The whole of a Muslim is inviolable for
another Muslim: his blood, his property and his honor'." In
"Saudi Wahhabi Sheikh Calls on Iraq's Jihadists to Kill
Shiites," by Haytham Mouzahem, Al-Monitor - Lebanon Pulse,
From another source, one reads this look at history and an
opinion on today: "Wahhabism emerged in Nejd
three quarters of a century earlier, as a violent
phenomenon. Wahhabis claimed that the Sunni Islam of the
time, centered on the Ottoman caliphate, as well as Shia
Islam and spiritual Sufism, represented a return to
pre-Muslim polytheism and must be fought to the death.
...Muslims and non-Muslims in South Asia and elsewhere in
the world should understand the identical motive behind the
activities of Deobandi and Wahhabi "fatwa factories,"
whether originating in medresas or websites. The
Deobandis and Wahhabis seek absolute direction over the
lives of Sunni Muslims, and, by extension, over all Muslim
relations with their non-Muslim neighbors. The aim of
"fatwa fanatics" is not religious; it is political and
totalitarian." In "Fatwa Fanatics – The Deobandi-Wahhabi
Lust for Control Over Personal Life," by Stephen Schwartz
and Irfan Al-Alawi, Millat Times [India], 11 March 2013.
] That one further understand "a form of 'special guidance'
from God," one reads that "Mariah Carey was reportedly
paid almost ₤1 million ($1.83 million) to perform for the
Sultan of Brunei's son. ...The hitmaker recently
attracted criticism from human rights campaigners for
performing in front of Angolan dictator José Eduardo dos
Santos for a similarly large sum, after apologising for
singing for Libyan despot Muammar Gaddafi in 2008." In
"Mariah sings for billionaire prince," The West Australian,
5 January 2014. Might one conclude that the Sultan of
Brunei's family has differing standards than his citizenry?
Additionally one observes that the Sultan of Brunei's family
10 ] One might measure
perspectives. The OIC takes to task the "perpetrators
of Islamophobia, who seek to propagate irrational
fear and intolerance of Islam, have time and again
aroused unwarranted tension, suspicion and unrest in
societies by slandering the Islamic faith through gross
distortions and misrepresentations and by encroaching on and
denigrating the religious sentiments of Muslims."
Given fatwas against Shias by Sunnis as by Sunnis against
Shias justified by reason that the other stream of Muslim
religious thought and behavior is "slander" or false
"sectarianism," given the civil war raging in which Muslim
slaughters Muslim (including nerve gas attacks), reading
that fatwas against the Baha'i identify them as a "deviant
and misleading sect," and reviewing the fatwa describing
Shia Muslim thought as "damaging Mohammed's legacy," the
"half a million Iraqi and Iranian soldiers, with an
equivalent number of civilians" dead from one
Muslim-against-Muslim war," and much more, apparently the
greatest threat the OIC has managed to highlight is
"perpetrators of Islamophobia."
this current news confirmation of Islamophobia: "In
the western Iraqi province of Anbar, Sunnis are in open
revolt against the Shiite-dominated government of Prime
Minister Nouri al-Maliki." In "In Iraq, a Sunni revolt
raises specter of new war," by Liz Sly, Washington Post, 7
Are Muslims who issue fatwas against whole groups of other
Muslims Islamophobes? Sunni-phobes? Shia-phobes?
Are some fatwas themselves Islamophobic?
Are men who sponsor wars by Muslims against other Muslims
Islamophobes? Syri-phobes? Pakisto-hobes?
Are Muslims who kill other Muslims Islamophobes?
Is Bashar al-Assad Islamophobic?
Is Al-Qaeda (Death to Shi'ites for 'Damaging Mohammed's
Are human rights advocates in Saudi Arabia, Iran and other
majority Muslim nations Islamophobes? Is Saudi activist and
blogger Raif Badawi an Islamophobe?
Is Sima Samar, chair of the Afghanistan Independent Human
Rights Commission, Islamophobic?
Is intolerance of Shia Islam by Sunnis Islamophobic?
Is intolerance of Sunni Islam by Shias Islamophobic?
Is intolerance against the Baha'i by Muslim clerics
Is intolerance of Muslim conversion to Christianity
Christian-ophobic? Terminology can multiply, can it not?
A relatively new term is found:
"Both the extent of Islamic religious fundamentalism and its
correlates – homophobia, antisemitism and 'Occidentophobia' – should be serious causes of concern
for policy makers as well as Muslim community leaders. Of
course, religious fundamentalism should not be equated with
the willingness to support, or even to engage in religiously
motivated violence. But given its strong relationship to
out-group hostility, religious fundamentalism is very
likely to provide a nourishing environment for
radicalization." In "Fundamentalism and out-group
hostility," by Ruud Koopmans, WZB Mitteilungen, December
Alas, the Secretary General of the OIC, Ekmeleddin
Ihsanoglu, has not commented on the above news items telling
of hundreds of thousands dead, sourced and easily available,
but found his focus in Danish cartoons, American bloggers
critical of such stories as above and those who take some
note of the enormous and violent rifts occurring in Islam
today, as during the first days of Karbala. They are the
danger equivalent to graffiti attacks on mosques. They are
the Islamophobes. But Muslims killing Muslims in the
hundreds of thousands are not. Muslim men raping Muslim
women are not. Muslims calling for the death of other
Muslims based on sectarian divides are not. One sees the
logic of the OIC argument therein.
a response to the OIC report, one reviews the above-cited
NBC News article, in which ex-Secretary of State Hillary
Clinton's spokesman reminds: " 'The prevailing narrative in
the region remains the faithful waging war against
crusaders, but that is not the reality.' The data
offers some support for this view, with roughly half of the
deaths in the NBC analysis attributable to internecine
conflict, a trend that has increased in recent years."
See the footnotes to
2 = 1
11 ] A glimmer of hope
amidst what some call "sectarian bile?" One reads:
"During the Arab uprisings of 2011, embattled rulers in
Bahrain and Yemen, as well as Syria, resorted to
divide-and-rule tactics by pitting the sects against one
another. But clashes between Sunnis and Shias have been the
exception rather than the rule. For all the resurgence of
sectarian identity, many of the region’s Muslims, including
many deeply religious ones, disdain the rising
confrontation. More voices preaching sectarian harmony are
being heard, too. Among many others in Egypt, the head of
al-Azhar, Sunni Islam’s leading theological institution,
issued a sharp rebuke to Salafists spewing sectarian bile."
In "Sunnis v Shias, here and there," The Economist, 29 June
12 ] Arguments in the West
for the notion of Islamophobia take such words as "imperial"
from the old Marxist stance, and yet there is a monarchy
which sponsors -- in Ahmed's language from the article -- "a
distinctive form of racism and bigotry targeted specifically
at members of...." -- and for him, it is Muslims. But one
reads of the same "bigotry" without regard to Muslims as
victims, but rather by Muslims as perpetrators.
One reads: "A court in Saudi Arabia has sentenced two
men to lashes and prison terms for converting a woman to
Christianity and helping her flee the conservative Islamic
kingdom, the Saudi Gazette reported on Monday." In "Saudi
Arabia to punish men for converting woman to Christianity,"
Reuters, 13 May 2013.
Expanding on this theme, one reads of Saudi Arabia: "Religious
freedom is virtually non-existent. The Government does not
provide legal recognition or protection for freedom of
religion, and it is severely restricted in practice. As
a matter of policy, the Government guarantees and protects
the right to private worship for all, including non-Muslims
who gather in homes for religious practice; however, this
right is not always respected in practice and is not defined
in law. Moreover, the public practice of non-Muslim
religions is prohibited." In "Freedom of religion in Saudi
Arabia," Wikipedia, n. d. The article also notes that under
"...Saudi law conversion by a Muslim to another religion
is considered apostasy, a crime punishable by death."
(The citation for this entry is Saeed, Abdullah; Saeed,
Hassan (2004). "Freedom of religion, apostasy and Islam.")
Thus the notion of anti-Muslim hostility as "irrational" is
a irrational assertion, which is made. "Islamophobia becomes
a self-reinforcing circular concept, in which anti-Muslim
hostility is generated by nothing more than an irrational
hostility toward Muslims – effectively, Islamophobia creates
Islamophobia." In "Islamophobia and Insecurity, The
Exclusionary Logic of Imperial Geopolitics," by Nafeez
Mosaddeq Ahmed, in Abdelwahab El Affendi Osman (ed.), Killer
Narratives: The Destructive Impact of Collective
Someone asserting the reality of Islamophobia references
"acts of violence" directed against Muslims? What phobia
might one construct for the Saudi punishment -- lashes are a
form of violence -- for apostasy? In this case, perhaps
Christian-ophobia? Perhaps one might multiply the
terminology further. Judeo-phobia. Baha'i-phobia.
Hindu-ophboia. And of course, the now more normal assertion
One may rightly speak of fear, as in "Two Christian women
were publicly beheaded by Islamist terrorists in
southeastern Somalia, as part of a campaign to 'wipe out'
any Christian presence in the east African country. The
Morning Star reported Friday that the two women - identified
as mother-of-two Sadia Ali Omar, 41, and her 35-year-old
cousin Osman Mohamoud Moge - were executed by the Al
Qaeda-aligned Al Shabaab militia in the port town of Barawa
in the Lower Shebelle Region after their Christian
identities were discovered. Villagers were reportedly forced
to witness the murder, including Omar's eight and
15-year-old daughters. Locals described the harrowing scenes
as the younger daughter screamed in vain for someone to save
her mother from the brutal killing. The girls have now been
relocated to another area for their own safety. 'We are
afraid that the Al Shabaab might continue monitoring
these two children and eventually kill them just like their
mother,' said the local resident who engineered their
escape. And those fears are likely to be well-founded;
according to local sources, the women's executioners made
their ultimate goal clear in an announcement immediately
before the execution." In "Somalian Islamists Publicly
Execute Christian Women," by Ari Souffer, Arutz Sheva, 18
May a "well-founded" fear be labeled a "phobia?" Or
"irrational?" The assertion that Islamophobia is
"irrational" is itself fallacious for many for whom
well-founded fear can not be said to be phobic, except in
the rhetoric of the apologist.
The questions cluster and amass, as in
for this rhyme and the above survey of various facts and
The OIC's small complaints about Western Islamophobia ignore
the many tens of thousands of lives lost in civil wars as in
Somalia and Sudan and Libya and count many Muslim dead in a
"collective nightmare." In a Westernized Muslim apologist
and his "exclusionary logic" who speaks of Islamophobia
ignores "well-founded" and "rational" fears by declaring
such as unfounded and irrational, one sees the dilemma of
the entire nexus now known as Islamophobia. It is a word
which either means all and takes into account violence and
murder the world around, or it means nothing.
13 ] The accusation of
Islamophobia ignores so much, as it complains of poor
imagery for Islam itself. Yet reports from around the world
show "Islamists" are often murderously violent, as the news
from the UK tells.
Another from the UK tells: "Farooq Shah, 21, plunged a
knife into Mariana Popa’s chest while riding his bicycle
along a stretch of road notorious for sex workers. Miss
Popa, 24, had been in Britain for just three weeks and was
trying to earn the money to support her family when she was
stabbed in Ilford, Essex." In "Muslim man murders
pregnant prostitute because she was working near a mosque,"
by Julian Robinson, Daily Mail UK, 27 June 2014.
One reads from Pakistan: "Sharafat said his brother was
recently acquitted in a blasphemy case but those pursuing it
had threatened him of dire consequences. The district and
sessions judge had acquitted Ashraf as nothing was
established against him. Police have registered a case
against the unidentified killers. The incident highlights
how blasphemy accused are not safe in Pakistan even after
being acquitted. Earlier, another blasphemy accused had been
shot dead after he secured bail in Punjab. Human rights
groups have alleged that Pakistan's blasphemy law is often
misused to settle personal scores and grudges." In "Pak
man gunned down despite being acquitted in blasphemy case,"
Press Trust of India, 22 March 2014.
the same manner, one reads of Nigeria: "Nigerian
security officials said the attack late on Saturday in the
town of Bama in Borno state bore the hallmarks of an attack
by the al Qaeda-linked militant group Boko Haram, which is
fighting to carve an Islamic state out of northeast Nigeria.
Security sources say Boko Haram has killed hundreds,
possibly thousands, this year in a campaign of violence that
is growing in intensity." In "Suspected Islamists kill
20 in market bomb in northeast Nigeria," Reuters, 23 March
the same manner one reads of the civil war in Syria:
"The Greek Catholic Church of Our Lady is a place of shame,
of burnt copies of the New Testament, paintings slashed with
knives - many were lying in strips of gold and red fabric
beside the altar's broken cross - and mosaics chiselled from
the walls. Sceptics may ask if the regime performed this act
of sacrilege - for the benefit of cameras - but it must have
taken weeks to have wrecked this place of worship with its
ancient columns and to have gouged out the eyes of the
mosaic saints. The Islamists had attacked a mosaic of St
George and the Dragon - and had even gouged out the dragon's
eyes as well as those of the unfortunate knight. You cannot
call such sacrilege an infamy. But you have to ask how
Syria can ever repair relations between its Muslims and
Christians after such vandalism. Perhaps the answer is
never, although in an act of immense courage, the Muslim
civilians of this ancient town protected their Christian
neighbours to the end." In "On The March With Syria's Army,"
by Robert Fisk, Sri Lanka Guardian, 20 March 2014.
Burn, Baby, Burn
Perhaps one who fears attack by an "Islamist" -- a word
which has spring into being recently -- should be diagnosed
as having Islamist-ophobia? And yet, as the article above
about Syria mentions, some Muslims stood with their
Christian neighbors against the so-called Islamists. So
which represent Islam? The multiplication of terms seems an
extension of the old Sunni-Shia schism in which competing
sides declare the other side is unfaithful and in error. So
then, who speaks for Islam? The answer is remarkably that no
one can, because everyone does and a great portion of the
"everyone" is Muslim against Muslim in this time in world
history Who is blasphemer when a Pakistani court declares no
blasphemy? Who rules a nation and speaks for Islam torn by
war between Muslim and Muslim, as in Syria in the moment?
And who among the Muslims is the kafir? And who should
14 ] Perusing the OIC
document again and it concerns over Islamophobia around the
world, one notes the utter absence of concerns for Muslims
killed by Muslims throughout the world, as an absence for
Muslims expressing their religious right to kill each other
-- in ways "disavowed even by al-Qaeda." One might
well conclude the OIC is unable to find anything approaching
such brutality among those it has identified as
Islamophobic. Which means....
15 ] ...the OIC has
little concern for Muslims, except when Westerners appear in
their words to be Islamophobic. Is there reason to be
Islamophobic? The continuing story from the article
mentioned above suggests so.
"Wearing military uniforms, the militants arrived with three
armored personnel carriers, villagers said. The attackers
shouted 'Allahu Akbar' -- 'God is great' -- and opened up on
the market, firing rocket-propelled grenades into the crowd
and tossing improvised explosive devices, witnesses said.
Some marketgoers tried to take shelter in shops only to be
burned alive when the gunmen set fire to a number of the
businesses, the witnesses said. A few Nigerian soldiers who
had been left behind at the village could not hold off the
assault and were forced to flee, they said. Many sought safe
haven in nearby Cameroon. The fighters also attacked the
police station during the 12-hour assault, initially facing
stiff resistance. They eventually used explosives to blow
the roof off the building, witnesses said. They said 14
police officers were found dead inside. Residents who
returned to the village said they found 310 bodies." In "310
people killed in latest Boko Haram attack; hundreds of
girls remain missing," by Vladimir Duthiers, Holly Yan and
Chelsea J. Carter, CNN, 8 May 2014.
These 310 and their families and friends most assuredly had
cause to be Islamophobic, as one heard "Allahu Akbar" in
that attack on them.
One finds yet more: " 'Although I don’t want to
mention but they are just raping the girls on camera and
even showing them on video, releasing it to the public.
Somebody told me that they were shown being raped, and in
turn, it is the girl who was raped that came out kneeling
down and begging the man to be patient. Do you know the
reason why? They said when they rape them they shoot them.
Therefore the girl after being raped, she curled down to the
man, kneeling down and begging him to please be patient. So
disturbing. Senator Khalifa Ahmed Zanna, though a Muslim,
was previously accused by former governor of Borno State,
Senator Ali Modu Sheriff of being a Boko Haram sponsor who
sponsors people outside the country for trainings in
terrorism, but since this Chibok abducted started, he has
shown great concerns over the fate of the abducted girls
even more than the Federal Government and had almost on
weekly basis released information that might aid in the
release of the girls to the security agents." In "Obinna
Akukwe: Chibok Christian girls gang-raped and shot in the
name of Allah," by Obinna Akukwe, Daily Post, Nigeria, 7
16 ] A New York
newspaper editorial observed and then asked: "Al
Qaeda and its franchises have slaughtered far more Muslims
than they have Westerners. Don’t those victims count?"
The OIC Report as covered above answers with silence -- a
"no" for not speaking out. Muslim victims of Muslims do not
count, excepting as Human Rights groups number the dead.
the meanwhile, the OIC complains of individual anecdotes and
those who oppose Islam politically as well as ideologically.
Resolution No.41/39-P - "On an OIC Approach for Combating
Discrimination and Intolerance against Muslims," as
mentioned by the OIC report makes no mention discrimination
of Muslims by Muslims, and no mention of intolerance against
Muslims by Muslims, nor of lethal violence perpetrated by
Muslims against Muslims, and no mention of such as the
"hate" evidenced in the "Karbala" episode which begins this
rhyme and commentary through quotes. The OIC's focus is not
about war in Syria of Muslim against Muslim. It is about
ignoring the hundreds of thousands of deaths of Muslims by
the hands of Muslims by making bureaucratic complaint
against Western critics and Western politics which is
pressing back against the demands of Islam within non-Muslim
majority nations. The OIC urges what it calls "soft law" and
a "consensual approach" in which Islam becomes a protected
class in non-Muslim majority nations. It's greatest problem
then is Islamophobia, as it ignores the murderous excesses
of Muslims around the world, for they must be victims of
Islamophobia rather than murderous men murdering in the name
of their religion.
to slaughter of Muslims by "Al Qaeda and its franchises"
which asks "don't those victims count." the answer is --
There is silence from the OIC as Egypt struggles with the
Muslim Brotherhood, now declared a terrorist organization by
Muslim governments. There is silence from the OIC as regards
the hundreds of thousands of Muslim dead in Syrian jihad, as
in Libya's struggles and more. There is silence from the OIC
over kidnappings, murders and slaving by Boko Haram in
Nigeria, as in the Sudan-South Sudan struggle. There is
silence over honor killings worldwide. There is silence and
silence and silence from the enthusiastic purveyors of the
term, "Islamophobia," because there must be or they would be
forced to examine the sheer scale of violence,
discrimination and intolerance within Islam itself.
Such is the justification behind the observation quoted
above that "Islamophobic is a word created by fascists, and
used by cowards, to manipulate morons."
17 ] The report itself
by Arab scholars speaks plainly, in a way the OIC report
will not, so focused on individuals and anecdotes in the
West while ignoring sectarian war and tyranny in the Islamic
One reads: "About 65 million adult Arabs are
illiterate, two thirds of them women. Illiteracy rates are
much higher than in much poorer countries. This challenge is
unlikely to disappear quickly. Ten million children between
6 and 15 years of age are currently out of school; if
current trends persist, this number will increase by 40 per
cent by 2015. The challenge is far more than overcoming the
under-supply of knowledge to people. Equally important is
overcoming the under-supply of knowledgeable people, a
problem exacerbated by the low quality of education together
with the lack of mechanisms for intellectual capital
development and use." In "The Arab Human Development Report,
2002, Creating Opportunities for Future Generations," United
Nations Development Programme, Regional Bureau for Arab
From the UN Report one reads further in Abdul Hamid
Brahimi's words: "At the start of the third
millennium, the Arab countries find themselves in a state
of structural underdevelopment and are suffering, in varying
degrees, from poverty and dysfunctional economies. On
both the theoretical and practical levels, facts have
clearly proved the inadequacy of the conventional economic
approach to the problems of underdevelopment and the
incapacity of such an approach to provide them with
And one reads Leila Sharaf's observation in the 2002 Report:
"We entered the twentieth century calling for the
eradication of poverty, ignorance and disease; and we left
it still striving to combat poverty, ignorance and disease.
More than ever today, as we enter the twenty-first century,
we remain unprepared to face the rapid and dramatic pace of
global change. Thus the gap is widening between the daily
reality we see on the one hand, and our dreams of where and
who we wanted to be by the end of the century on the other,
exemplified by the gap between the Arab world and the
advanced world. ...It is no longer possible to delay the
establishment of the pluralistic, democratic state in our
Arab world because we need the benefits that such a state
provides--good governance, marked by transparency,
accountability and participation at the grass-roots level in
the march of the nation. The democratic state is the
guarantor of the protection and extension of human rights,
and it is the form of government that best supports the
flourishing of civil society and related institutions--key
elements in a democracy. The democratic state encourages
participation and serves as the catalyst for society’s
awareness, aspirations and hopes. It is the form of
government that activates the role of women as recognized
partners in the development process and seeks to ensure that
no segment of society is marginalized by working to provide
opportunity, empowerment and equality to all citizens. And
it is the form of government that is best able to establish
the kind of flexible and dynamic educational system that is
essential for building, developing and empowering the
individual of the new Arab age."
While the OIC reports gin up anecdotal and individual
examples of Islamophobia as they define it, the UN reports
detail "underdevelopment" and "poverty and dysfunctional
economies." Further the UN report notes the high percentage
of Arab youth who would emigrate from that world to the West
with its "Islamophobia." What becomes clear when taken
together is the factual picture of the Arab world tearing
itself apart by civil wars, as by tyrannical governance of
an elite and, of course, corruption. So which picture is the
The Economist's article uses the expression, "self-doomed to
failure," while the 2002 UN report points possible ways
forward, all of them involving democracy where there is
tyranny, laying down arms where there is civil war and,
crucially, education in place of a 'modern' Arab mentality
which is "discouraging critical thought and innovation and
helping to produce a great army of young Arabs, jobless,
unskilled and embittered, cut off from changing their own
societies by democratic means."
18 ] The dark irony is fully
intended, as one recalls that the OIC report states, "Among
the most common and recurring of these are the ideas that
Muslims are inclined to violence including revenge and
retaliation...." Would these 150,000 be fleeing
"violence including revenge and retaliation? Then by OIC
definition one could identify the 150,000 as Islamophobes.
Why" Because Muslims are fighting Muslims: "Militants
are battling Iraqi security forces in the central city of
Tikrit, officials said. Jihadists have seized a swathe of
the north, after taking Iraq's second city Mosul on
Tuesday." In "Iraq crisis: al-Qaeda forces seize Mosul and
Tikrit - as it happened." by Raf Sanchez, Harriet Alexander
and Barney Henderson, Telegraph UK, 11 July 2014.
Jihad is an Islamic concept, and Iraq currently has a Muslim
majority government, while the "insurgents" are Muslim. Ergo
some of these Muslims must be violent, but the OIC's
statement that Islam is not characterized by "violence," and
with the reports of beheadings in the same Telegraph news
synopsis, apparently "retaliation" characterizes rather well
the violence of Muslims beheading Muslims.
One reads further: "They signed up in droves to fight
against the advancing ISIS forces. The refugee woman,
speaking to the BBC, told how the victims' heads were in
placed in rows - a trademark, trophy-style execution
favoured by ISIS militants. Government forces have so far
managed to stall the militants' remarkably rapid advance
near Samarra, a city just 110km (68 miles) north of Baghdad
and they are now bombing insurgent positions in and around
Mosul - although 500,000 residents have fled, 1.3 million
citizens remain in the city." In " 'They lined the
streets with the decapitated heads of police and soldiers':
Iraqi refugee reveals the horrors of the jihadi takeover as
Baghdad vows to fight back," by Jill Reilly and Kieran
Corcoran, Daily Mail UK, 12 June 2014.
Yet the OIC worried about
"unwarranted tension, suspicion and unrest in societies by
slandering the Islamic faith through gross distortions and
misrepresentations and by encroaching on and denigrating the
religious sentiments of Muslims."
Shall one ignore the jihad of Muslim against Muslim in Iraq
in the moment? Is such "violence" according the OIC, a
"growing misperception" which is "slandering the Islamic
faith?" OIC? Oh. I see.....
19 ] The meeting "co-chaired
by OIC Secretary-General Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu and US
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton" might have better
considered the murderous and long-running Syrian civil war
of Sunni against Shia Muslim. It did not.
to the earlier war which toppled Saddam Hussein, Clinton
stated of her vote as senator "This is a very difficult
vote. This is probably the hardest decision I have ever
had to make -- any vote that may lead to war should be hard
-- but I cast it with conviction." In "A golden oldie:
Hillary's floor speech to invade Iraq," by Randian,
Daily Kos, 12 January 2008.
way of editorial comment, the writer from the Daily Kos
added to the varying quotes in the article his view of
Clinton: "Her track record and her attempts to
cover her own posterior stick out like a sore thumb."
The OIC's track record complaining of Western intolerance
while ignoring hundreds of thousands of Muslims dead at the
hands of other Muslims seems to "stick out like a sore
20 ] Looking backwards in time,
one sees France acting against Islamist jihad for years. One
reads: "French Interior Minister Manuel Valls
has said that Paris is set to deport a string of radical
religious imams as part of a fight against 'global jihadism.
Several radical foreign preachers will be expelled in the
coming days,' Valls told a Brussels conference called to
tackle extremism in Europe on Tuesday, without identifying
any of the individuals concerned. 'I don't confuse this
radical Islam with the Islam of France but there is a
religious environment, there are Salafist groupings, who are
involved in a political process, whose aim is to
monopolise cultural associations, the schooling system,'
he added." In "France to deport 'radical foreign imams'," Al
Jazeera, 29 January 2013.
Looking further back in time: "France today
deported to Egypt a radical imam who for months had been
inciting followers in Paris area mosques to rise up against
the West, the government said. Described as dangerous,
Ali Ibrahim Al-Sudani was detained and sent back to Egypt
under an emergency deportation order, Interior Minister
Brice Hortefeux said in a statement. 'The secret services
had identified this dangerous individual who for the past
months had been delivering sermons calling for a fight
against the West in several mosques in the Seine-Saint-Denis
area,'' said Hortefeux in a statement. Sudani showed
'contempt for our society's values and incited violence'',
he added. The man was the 29th imam or Islamic preacher to
have been deported from France since 2001, according to the
interior ministry. In all, 129 Islamic radicals have been
expelled from French territory, it added." In "France
deports radical imam to Egypt," news.com.au, 8 January 2010.
the OIC document produced by the Istanbul Process and
co-chaired by OIC Secretary-General Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu and
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton states, "With regard
to Islamophobic trends in Europe, various reports and polls
growing misperception vis-à-vis Islam and Muslims. Among the most
common and recurring of these are the ideas that Muslims are
inclined to violence including revenge and retaliation..."
Enough examples are accumulating to suggest a rather highly
visible acts of "violence including revenge and retaliation"
are in fact radical, global, jihadist, standing against the
"West," and murderous to other Muslims.
France Islamophobic? "France have expelled two Turkish
imams for 'illegal propaganda for supporting extremist
groups,' news reports said. The two imams, working in
mosques in Paris and Mulhouse, were expelled after
authorities found that they were spreading propaganda for
the so-called Kaplan group, a Turkish radical Islamist group
based in Germany, Anatolia news agency said on Thursday,
quoting French Interior Ministry sources." In "France
deports Turkish imams," Turkish Daily News, 17 January 2004.
21 ] Another act by Germany:
"German police officials announced on Wednesday that Abu
Ameena Bilal Philips, a hardline Islamic preacher from
Jamaica who defends use of the death penalty for
homosexuality, had been ordered to leave the country and asked never to return. The officials said that
immigration authorities had issued an order - prior to
Philips' address to some 2,000 spectators in Frankfurt -
instructing the 60-year-old Islam convert to leave Germany
within three days, claiming his professed beliefs infringed
on federal laws. German law allows for the expulsion of
visitors who 'incite hatred against parts of the population'
or advocate the use of violence against them." In
"Germany expels openly homophobic imam," by Gabriel Borrud,
Deutsche Welle, 21 April 2011.
One notes the contradiction of the OIC's assertion that
"misperception" is being practiced by so many nations;
rather "perception" of inciting to hatred and violence is
seen as a common thread throughout these many stories.
22 ] Great
Britain has extradited a radical for trial: "The imam
of a London mosque faces life in a U.S. prison after being
convicted Monday in New York on federal terrorism charges.
Mustafa Kamel Mustafa, who is also known as Abu Hamza
al-Masri, was convicted of aiding a group that took 16 U.S.
and British tourists hostage in Yemen in 1998 and of recruiting young men for terrorist training camps." In
"Imam of London mosque convicted of terror charges in New
York City," by Frances Burns, UPI, 20 May 2014.
With the world aflame with violence, so much of it Muslim
against Muslim, the OIC's stance seems naive at best. It
worries about "the most common and recurring ...ideas that
Muslims are inclined to violence including revenge
and retaliation; that Islam is an inherently expansionist
religion, which strives for political influence, and
whose followers are obsessed with proselytizing
others, and more generally that Islam deprives women of
their rights and encourages religious fanaticism and
radicalism." The above in news reports and pictures is a
survey from around the world, suggesting that their list is
rather accurate, though not in the way they intended.
23 ] If the "founding an
Islamic state and slaughtering their enemies, mostly
the Iraqi security forces and Shiites" are proof of violence
of Muslim against Muslim, and if the OIC's definition of
Islamophobia is to be accepted, then Islam -- as represented
by the documented violence of Boko Haram, Al Qaeda and ISIL
and more -- is itself Islamophobic.
This is how political words fold in upon themselves and
implode, as they attempt to obscure, revise or control
reality. It seems that the "Islamic cooperation" of the
Organization of Islamic Cooperation includes "slaughter" of
Muslims by Muslims.
Such slaughter -- in the parlance of the OIC -- must be seen
as part of a "growing misperception vis-à-vis Islam
and Muslims. Among the most common and recurring of these
are the ideas that Muslims are inclined to violence
including revenge and retaliation; that Islam is an
inherently expansionist religion, which strives for
political influence, and whose followers are obsessed with
proselytizing others, and more generally that Islam deprives
women of their rights and encourages religious fanaticism
it a "growing misperception" as the OIC calls it, or is it a
growing perception that the font of this violence -- Muslim
against Muslim -- is Islam itself? One reads of ISIS
"...they urge their fellow countrymen to join the Islamic
State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), the jihadist group so
extreme that it has been denounced by al-Qaeda. But these
aren’t Syrians, or Uzbeks, or Chechens. They are Indonesian.
'Let us fight in the path of Allah because it is our duty
to do jihad in the path of Allah … especially here in
Sham [the Syrian region] … and because, God willing, it will
be to this country that our families will do the holy
migration,' says one in Bahasa Indonesia peppered with
Arabic phrases." In "The ISIS Extremists Causing Havoc in
Iraq Are Getting Funds and Recruits From Southeast Asia," by
Yenni Kwok, Time, 17 June 2014.
it is not Islam which is the source of the violence as
Muslim slaughters Muslim, then who defines Islam and, as
importantly, who is not allowed to define Islam? The Sunni
ISIS? The Iranian Quds battalions? The Shias of Iraq? The
Kurds? The OIC?
The OIC tried to defend Islam from a "growing
misperception," but a growing perception in news reports and
pictures, some supplied by ISIS itself, says "slaughtering
their enemies" is a fact in this supposed modern world of
radical, militant Islam.
And so, the picture continues as the Islamic State evidences
Islamophobia directed against Iraqi Muslims: "The
Islamic State group is conducting a purge, killing dozens of
former policemen and soldiers living in areas of Iraq under
its control, in a campaign apparently aimed at preventing
any uprising against its extremist rule. Former officers
have been gunned down in their homes, rounded up and shot in
groups or killed in public squares as an example to others
in recent weeks, particularly in the northern city of Mosul,
the largest city in the swath of territory bridging Iraq and
neighboring Syria that the militant group controls." In
"Fearing uprising, Iraq militants hunt ex-police," Al
Arabiya, 31 October 2014.
using the loose definition of Islamophobia, is the Islamic
State Islamophobic as it fears an "uprising against its
extremist rule," or should other Iraqis be Islamophobic in
considering the threat of the Islamic State to them? It is
one, or it is the other, Muslim against Muslim.
24 ] The announcements from this new leader are clear: "Abu
Bakr al-Baghdadi, the self-proclaimed leader of the Islamic
State stretching across Iraq and Syria, has vowed to lead
the conquest of Rome as he called on Muslims to immigrate to
his new land to fight under its banner around the globe.
Baghdadi, who holds a PhD in Islamic studies, said Muslims
were being targetted and killed from China to Indonesia.
Speaking as the first Caliph, or commander of the Islamic
faithful since the dissolution of the Ottoman empire, he
called on Muslims to rally to his pan-Islamic state." In
"Rome will be conquered next, says leader of Islamic State,"
by Damien McElroy, Telegraph UK, 1 July 2014.
While the OIC -- co-chaired by an American Secretary of
State worries about misconceptions about Islam not being a
expansionist religion, and while one recalls President
Bush's statement that Islam is a "religion of peace," one
finds the statements targeting the entire north of Africa,
India and now Rome itself -- and therefore the Vatican --
one sees that the words of the OIC are patently false, the
support of two American presidents' administrations for a
"religion of peace" as demonstrably false, and the brutality
of Muslim against Muslim is proven again and again.
This returns one to the image of Muslim against Muslim in
the article, "Americans performing Hajj attacked in Saudi
Arabia," and the ancient tale of Karbala. Islam is not one
religion, one entity or one theological picture. It is a
fractured and fractious stream of socio-political culture
which cannot live at peace with itself, and demonstrably not
with others. What the OIC terms "misperceptions" are
perceptions. All that is needed from the talking heads of
the OIC is to make peace among all Muslims worldwide,
beginning with the ISIS "state" demanding that its caliph --
not the OIC and its members -- rules all Muslims. If the
OIC's many participants do not accede to this caliph, shall
we call them Islamophobes. Or shall we call the new caliph
an Islamophobe for the murder of so many Muslims on the way
to his self-appointment? This tale can never end well.
25 ] The original story from
Le Parisien: "Ces derniers ont frappé la
victime, à plusieurs reprises, au visage parce qu'elle était
en train de manger un sandwich au jambon. Les deux
agresseurs, qui ont prétendu être musulmans, ont estimé
avoir été offensés par cette consommation de porc sous leurs
yeux avant de s'en prendre au jeune homme. Un témoin, un
ami de la victime présent au moment des faits, a été entendu
par les enquêteurs et a confirmé la réalité de l'agression."
In "Agressé à cause d'une tranche de jambon," Le Parisien,
12 June 2014.
26 ] One learns that,
according to Muslim scholars, Islamists in general and ISIS
in particular presents "...a danger to Islam and Muslims,
tarnishing its image." The completes the circle of
logic which was begun with the OIC complaint about
Westerners and Western opinions of Islam, as they worried of
"ideas that Muslims are inclined to violence including
revenge and retaliation; that Islam is an inherently
expansionist religion, which strives for political
influence, and whose followers are obsessed with
proselytizing others...." and so on. What Islam seems
then to be facing is not only accused Islamophobia in the
West, but also accused Islamophobia within Islam itself.
One sees in 2013 "Americans [Muslims] performing Hajj
attacked in Saudi Arabia" by other Muslims, an echo as the
article noted of the tale of Karbala, so many centuries ago.
Islamophobia is therefore, from its beginnings until this
day, an Islamic problem centuries in the making. The OIC
worried about and defined Islamophobia by a "growing
misperception vis-à-vis Islam and Muslims." The above news
reports suggest that the misperception is being clarified by
the enormous challenges facing Islam in a modern world, one
in which a grand mufti "denounces" Muslims, while some
Muslims reject such denunciation and demand all Muslims
acknowledge a newly declared caliph, and another Muslim
wonders, "When will Muslims learn to built rather than
destroy?" Issues such as these will not be answered, but by
The coming decades will tell the tale. It will not be one of
"misperceptions." It will be one of documented stories,
witnessed by the world. It will be one of perceptions.
27 ] How is the "barbaric"
Islamic State's sexual violence against women
How is the "barbaric" Islamic State's sexual violence
against girls Islamic?
How is the "barbaric" Islamic State's sexual violence
against boys Islamic?
How is the "barbaric" Islamic State's sexual violence
against minority communities Islamic?
How Islamophobic is it to inquire about such barbarity as
justified by Islam?
All that need be done to the OIC statement about
Islamophobia is to add words to clarify that some of
Islam's tapestry is indeed radical, violent, expansionist,
obsessed with conversion, and deprives women and children of
their human rights and dignity. Or to define some Muslims as
non-Islamic? But is that not the story of Karbala from
Like the imagery of the snake eating its own
tale, the narrative is circular from the seventh century
until now, and this argues for being informed as is
Islamophobia Revisited -
- costs are being tabulated
"All this is symptomatic of an international tax order
under stress—unsurprisingly, since it was built piecemeal on the
basis of principles that have become increasingly outdated (as a
result, among other things, of the increased importance of intrafirm
trade, of services that can be delivered remotely, of the easing of
capital movements, and of massively increased financial
sophistication)." In "Fiscal Monitor: Taxing Times," International
Monetary Fund, October 2013.
[ 1 ]
They're increasingly outdated, we're told some
What's increasingly outdated is ignoring principles by far.
The oldest principles tell their tale that the newer lies would not,
Of frugality and conserving, of not wasting what one's got.
But waste is a matter of spending more than one takes in,
And this is the modern un-principle which is also the modern sin.
The question is not to tax yet more but rather to wisely spend
No more than one has well in hand to arrive at a principled end.
To build one's house on borrowing is construction on shifting sands,
And the oldest principles tell us true that fairylands...
...such as these modern un-principles have preached unto their choirs,
Cause debts to soar into crises, for without principle one acquires...
...only the crises built piecemeal when universal truths deep sleep.
It's time to rouse old principles, as the new lie in a heap...
...of failed promises piled to peaks as failure looms so huge.
These years of unprincipled indebtedness invite a great deluge.
They're increasingly outdated, said the outdated blithering fools
Who worked deeds of indebtedness which true principle ridicules.
Medium- and longer-term fiscal plans is oxymoronic when
Those such as these fat internationalists would tax just more again.
What objectives are to be served by the taxmen and their friends?
The same old plan as ever was, gathering wealth for their own ends.
Rent seeking by aristocrats becomes seeking by bureaucrats too,
The same seeking of the rent, by which the oldest sins are new.
They're increasingly outdated, we learn some 'principles' are.
These un-principled seekers of their rent are now each a commissar.
The oldest principles tell true tales that commissars' words will not,
Of frugality and conserving, of not wasting in waste's juggernaut.
The tax order is under stress, they say, to pay for all
This is just the ancient tale, predicting what sin holds
More and more, we must have more, says the politics of
This is the new un-principle which defends with its
They were increasingly outdated, we were told old
What's increasingly outdated? Governments' tendencies tend to err.
Corral the wealth, and capital cage? In these most taxing
What then is left? Unsurprisingly, theft becomes their
best of crimes.
rich over the poor ruleth, / And a servant the borrower to the
lender." Proverbs 22:7
Addendum to Dull the Edge of
Husbandry: "Costly thy habit as thy purse can buy, /
But not express'd in fancy; rich, not gaudy; / For the apparel oft
proclaims the man, / And they in France of the best rank and station /
Are of a most select and generous chief in that. / Neither a borrower
nor a lender be; / For loan oft loses both itself and friend, / And
borrowing dulls the edge of husbandry. / This above all: to thine
ownself be true, / And it must follow, as the night the day, / Thou
canst not then be false to any man." Polonius's advice to Laertes, a
father to his son, in "Hamlet," William Shakespeare.
Addendum of the IMF's Part in
Things: "Thirdly, the Wall Street–IMF–Treasury
complex that came to dominate economic policy in the Clinton years
was able to persuade, cajole, and (thanks to structural adjustment
programmes administered by the IMF) coerce many developing countries to
take the neoliberal road. The US also used the carrot of preferential
access to its huge consumer market to persuade many countries to reform
their economies along neoliberal lines (in some instances through
bilateral trade agreements). These policies helped produce a boom in the
US in the 1990s. The US, riding a wave of technological innovation that
underpinned the rise of a so-called ‘new economy’, looked as if it had
the answer and that its policies were worthy of emulation, even though
the relatively full employment achieved was at low rates of pay under
conditions of diminishing social protections (the number of people
without health insurance grew). Flexibility in labour markets and
reductions in welfare provision (Clinton’s draconian overhaul of ‘the
welfare system as we know it’) began to pay off for the US and put
competitive pressures on the more rigid labour markets that prevailed in
most of Europe (with the exception of Britain) and Japan. The real
secret of US success, however, was that it was now able to pump high
rates of return into the country from its financial and corporate
operations (both direct and portfolio investments) in the rest of the
world. It was this flow of tribute from the rest of the world that
founded much of the affluence achieved in the US in the 1990s
(Figures 1.8 and 1.9)." "Uneven Geographical Developments,"
Chapter Four of "A Brief History of Neoliberalism," by David Harvey,
Oxford University Press, 2005.
[ 2 ]
"The principle of spending money to be paid by posterity, under the name
of funding, is but swindling futurity on a large scale." Thomas
[ 3 ]
"Now all loans, in the eyes of honest borrowers, must eventually be
repaid. All credit is debt. Proposals for an increased volume of
credit, therefore, are merely another name for proposals for an
increased burden of debt. They would seem considerably less inviting
if they were habitually referred to by the second name instead of by the
first." In "Economics in One Lesson," by Henry Hazlitt, Harper and
[ 4 ]
Addendum of Collusion:
"The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation sued 16 of the world's
largest banks on Friday, accusing them of colluding to suppress interest
rates. The lawsuit, filed in the federal district court in New York,
was the latest to accuse financial institutions of conspiring to
manipulate Libor, or the London Interbank Offered Rate. The FDIC said
the defendants' conduct caused substantial losses to 38 banks that the
U.S. regulator had taken into receivership since 2008, including
Washington Mutual Bank and IndyMac Bank. 'The closed banks' losses
flowed directly from, among other things, the harm to competition caused
by the fraud and collusion alleged in the complaint,' the FDIC said in
the lawsuit. The banks named as defendants include Bank of America Corp,
Barclays PLC, Citigroup Inc, Credit Suisse Group AG, Deutsche Bank AG,
HSBC Holdings PLC, JPMorgan Chase & Co, the Royal Bank of Scotland Group
PLC and UBS AG. The lawsuit also named the British Bankers' Association,
the U.K. trade organization that during the period at issue administered
Libor." In "U.S. regulator sues 16 banks for rigging key interest
rate," by Nate Raymond, Reuters, 14 March 2014.
[ 5 ]
] The International Monetary
Fund's report continues with this. "There are no
universal truths as to how to make tax reform happen.
Countries’ peculiarities—the idiosyncrasies of their
electoral politics, third rails that no politician can
safely touch—loom large. What is clear, however, is that tax
systems in many countries, and the wider international
setting in which they operate and interact, have been going
through difficult and trying—taxing—times. Reviewing the
performance of those systems, and the objectives they
are intended to serve, must be a critical part of
formulating and fleshing out medium- and longer-term fiscal
As one often observes, the mention of "objectives" is rarely
formulated and fleshed out in any detailed manner. The
reasons for this become self-apparent as one observes the
assertion that "there are no universal truths" as has been
repeatedly demonstrated in the collapse of the Union of
Soviet Socialist Republics, as in other failing and failed
states. One notes that the crises so often mentioned by IMF
analyses and working papers is about raising from and
distributing money to governments. It is therefore wise of
this IMF reverie about methods for better "taxing" to
support government "objectives" to review the universal
truth that governments tax through a variety of methods,
some of which individuals see as outright theft. See:
Tell me that you'll take my cash
Confiscation of wealth is the "objective." Even and perhaps
especially from a middle class, when an IMF can claim "no
universal truths" about so-called tax reform. Where has debt
and therefore taxation to pay for said debt been lowered
under most modern governments today? Where has it increased?
] One reads further:
"The management and manipulation of crises. Beyond
the speculative and often fraudulent froth that
characterizes much of neoliberal financial manipulation,
there lies a deeper process that entails the springing of
'the debt trap' as a primary means of accumulation by
dispossession. Crisis creation, management, and manipulation
on the world stage has evolved into the fine art of
deliberative redistribution of wealth from poor countries to
the rich. I documented the impact of Volcker’s interest rate
increase on Mexico earlier. While proclaiming its role as a
noble leader organizing 'bail-outs' to keep global capital
accumulation on track, the US paved the way to pillage the
Mexican economy. This was what the US Treasury–Wall
Street–IMF complex became expert at doing everywhere.
Greenspan at the Federal Reserve deployed the same Volcker
tactic several times in the 1990s. Debt crises in individual
countries, uncommon during the 1960s, became very frequent
during the 1980s and 1990s. Hardly any developing country
remained untouched, and in some cases, as in Latin America,
such crises became endemic. These debt crises were
orchestrated, managed, and controlled both to rationalize
the system and to redistribute assets. Since 1980, it
has been calculated, 'over fifty Marshall Plans (over $4.6
trillion) have been sent by the peoples at the Periphery to
their creditors in the Center'. 'What a peculiar world',
sighs Stiglitz, 'in which the poor countries are in effect
subsidizing the richest.' What neoliberals call 'confiscatory
deflation' is, furthermore, nothing other than accumulation
by dispossession. Wade and Veneroso capture the essence
of this when they write of the Asian crisis of 1997–8: Financial crises have always caused transfers of ownership
and power to those who keep their own assets intact and who
are in a position to create credit, and the Asian crisis is
no exception . . . there is no doubt that Western and
Japanese corporations are the big winners . . . The
combination of massive devaluations, IMF-pushed financial
liberalization, and IMF-facilitated recovery may even
precipitate the biggest peacetime transfer of assets from
domestic to foreign owners in the past fifty years anywhere
in the world, dwarfing the transfers from domestic to US
owners in Latin America in the 1980s or in Mexico after
1994. One recalls the statement attributed to Andrew Mellon:
'In a depression assets return to their rightful owners'."
In "Neoliberalism on Trial," Chapter Six of "A Brief History
of Neoliberalism," by David Harvey, Oxford University Press,
Principles? Of course the word is misapplied. What is meant
by the IMF and its partners is "strategy." As Harvey notes,
the strategy is to employ crises because such "crises have
always caused transfers of ownership and power to those who
keep their own assets intact and who are in a position to
Frugality is a positive principle, as is true credit of the
upright and honest. But the continued issuing of credit by
central banks and the IMF followed by demands to governments
doing the borrowing to increase the taxation of its people
is not a matter of principle, but a cynical strategy to
transfer wealth -- to creditors such as national banks and
the IMF. Ergo their stated concern for an "international tax
order" which will restrict fungible capital from escaping
them. These are indeed taxing times, and it is the middle
classes which must further be squeezed to satisfy the cries
In contradistinction to frugality, one finds governments
following the foolhardy path of increasing debt. A
high-level confession is found now: "We went on a
bond-buying spree that was supposed to help Main Street.
Instead, it was a feast for Wall Street. I can only say: I'm
sorry, America. As a former Federal Reserve official, I
was responsible for executing the centerpiece program of the
Fed's first plunge into the bond-buying experiment known as
quantitative easing. The central bank continues to spin QE
as a tool for helping Main Street. But I've come to
recognize the program for what it really is: the greatest
backdoor Wall Street bailout of all time." In "Andrew
Huszar: Confessions of a Quantitative Easer," by Andrew
Huzar, Wall Street Journal, 11 November 2013.
In the same way, governments around the world have been
playing the same game, either foolishly believing there will
be no costs or, more likely, to affect some form of what
might be best described as looting of the public treasury by
the mechanism of increasing and unsustainable debt.
] Just as
Jefferson notes such "borrowing" to be essentially theft
from a future generation, and as Harvey terms the repayment
of such public debt a "flow of tribute," one finds plain
talk irritating to the central bankers and those such as
speak for the International Monetary Fund.
One reads: “If history shows anything, it is that there's
no better way to justify relations founded on violence, to
make such relations seem moral, than by reframing them
in the language of debt—above all, because it immediately
makes it seem that it's the victim who's doing
something wrong.” David Graeber, in "Debt: The First
5,000 Years," Melville House, 2011.
The IMF article cited above speaks of "increasingly
outdated" principles, though it is better to identify them
as mere cynical strategies as justification for heavier
burdens of taxes on whole nations.
One reads further: "They tell us that the government
can spend and spend without taxing at all; that it can
continue to pile up debt without ever paying it off, because
'we owe it to ourselves' We shall return to such
extraordinary doctrines at a later point. Here I am afraid
that we shall have to be dogmatic, and point out that such
pleasant dreams in the past have always been shattered by
national insolvency or a runaway inflation. Here we shall
have to say simply that all government expenditures must
eventually be paid out of die proceeds of taxation; that to
put off the evil day merely increases the problem, and that
inflation itself is merely a form, and a particularly
vicious form of taxation." In "Economics in One Lesson,"
by Henry Hazlitt, Harper and Brothers, 1946.
One may thereby modify the notion of "a flow of tribute"
with the adjective "vicious." This is what is espoused in
part by calling for a stronger "international tax order." As
was observed so long ago, "There are two ways to conquer
and enslave a country. One is by the sword. The other is by
debt.” John Adams (1735-1826)
Ergo this "flow of tribute" is a swindle leading into
enslavement, such as many heavily-indebted nations are
learning in a very real way. The lure of "financing"
government was a seduction into debt and thereby into
national slavery. See:
- debt slavery for a rhyme calling this out..
tells us such debt is "swindling," while Graeber suggests it
is victimization of a people and Hazlitt terms the hidden
tax of inflation "vicious." Graeber concludes his work with
"What is a debt, anyway ? A debt is just the perversion
of a promise. It is a promise corrupted by both math and
violence. If freedom (real freedom) is the ability to make
friends, then it is also, necessarily, the ability to make
real promises. What sorts of promises might genuinely free
men and women make to one another? At this point we can't
even say. It's more a question of how we can get to a place
that will allow us to find out. And the first step in that
journey, in turn, is to accept that in the largest scheme of
things, just as no one has the right to tell us our true
value, no one has the right to tell us what we truly owe."
Thus one may correctly conclude that the call for an
"international tax order" is the antithesis of that simple
liberty by which one may affirm a human right: Excepting
that personal debt each of us accepts, "...no one has the
right to tell us what we truly owe." This message is
essentially a revolutionary cry, but against what?
Statements such as one finds in the supposedly-antiquated
Book of Proverbs -- not an "increasingly outdated" set of
principles -- suggests that the "rich that rule" are.
"The rich over the poor ruleth, / And a servant the
borrower to the lender." Proverbs 22:7. Would one avoid
being poor by being a borrower, one would eschew debt and
thereby overturn "rule" for freedom. This has been a
revolutionary notion for millennia.
Thus, whether in a socialist or state capitalist form of
governance, it remains the rich rulers of the state who
quake at such assertions, for most revolutions have merely
served to install the next "rich rulers." For this,
Revolution revolves but once
- lèse majesté remains among its stunts.
For similar reasoning, the truly revolutionary truth leaks
Capital for Communists
- a story growing old, as it does regarding Western
nations and the phenomenon of
Fat, fat government
The truly revolutionary truth is that
Socialists love money, and that the IMF and its "rich"
and un-taxed leadership do as well:
- a zoological fantasy.
Unsurprisingly, Communists like China's Xi Jinping,
socialists like the IMF's Christine Lagarde, Western
democrats like Barak Obama and central bankers like Ben
Bernanke all espouse increasing national debt. There should
be no question why, given the documentation as above. They
seek a flow of tribute. They seek rent. They seek to capture
capital for their own purposes.
Consider the language which might so easily conflate to the
following sentence: Swindlers demand their flow of
tribute, and are willing to be vicious and pervert promises
in order to enslave people. Such is what Jefferson and
Adams knew from their principles. Such is what Graeber and
Hazlitt concluded from their principles. Such is what
Shakespeare in Polonius' advice to his own son advised. Such
is the advice of Proverbs. Avoid debt, and be free.
Principles such as these are not outdated.
Accept debt -- which "no one has the right to tell us what
we truly owe" -- and be enslaved to debt and ruled by the
rich. This "principle" -- the un-principle par excellence --
is becoming ever more outdated. Time will tell.
] In spite of the IMF's
assertion that the "international tax order [ is ] under
stress, what seems not "increasingly outdated" is making
profits by collusion. The article about the FDIC lawsuit
also names others: "The complaint asserts claims
against the banks including breach of contract, unjust
enrichment, fraud, conspiracy and negligent
misrepresentation. It seeks unspecified damages in order
to recover for losses sustained by the closed banks that the
regulator seized. Other defendants in the lawsuit include
Rabobank, Lloyds Banking Group plc, Societe Generale,
Norinchukin Bank, Royal Bank of Canada, Bank of
Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ and WestLB AG."
One learns more: "The Serious Fraud Office (SFO) has
charged three former Barclays employees in connection with
its investigation into the manipulation of Libor. Peter
Johnson, Jonathan Mathew and Stylianos Contogoulas allegedly
conspired to defraud between 1 June 2005 and 31
August 2007, said the SFO. The investigation into the
alleged fixing of the key benchmark Libor rate was launched
in 2012. Barclays was fined £290m ($454m) in 2012 by British
and US regulators. Its previous fine was over the
manipulation of Libor and Euribor interbank rates between
2005 and 2009." In "Former Barclays employees named in Libor
criminal case," BBC, 17 February 2014.
One might well conclude that the consumer -- who is also the
ultimate taxpayer -- has been hit by "manipulation" of
interest rates, as by government taxation which demands
massive debts created by government borrowing be repaid.
Perhaps it becomes time to consider
De fault in de plan
There's God and
then there's Allah
"The unanimous decision by three Muslim judges
in Malaysia's appeals court overturned a 2009 ruling by a lower court
that allowed the Malay-language version of the newspaper, The Herald, to
use the word Allah - as many Christians in Malaysia say has been the
case for centuries. 'The usage of the word Allah is not an integral part
of the faith in Christianity,' chief judge Mohamed Apandi Ali said in
the ruling. 'The usage of the word will cause confusion in the
community.' The decision coincides with heightened ethnic and religious
tension in Malaysia after a polarizing May election, in which the
long-ruling coalition was deserted by urban voters that included a large
section of minority ethnic Chinese." In "Malaysian court rules use of
"Allah" exclusive to Muslims," by Siva Sithraputhran, Reuters, 14
There's God and then there's Allah,
Said a melee fair and square.
It's odd that this distinction
Knocks Allah off God's chair.
Such is the strangest nature
Of languages and names
Which refuses plain translation
To fan religious flames.
Okay, so Allah isn't God,
Muslim judges have pronounced,
Ergo it's simple logic
Which herein now has pounced.
Shall we agree? Let's do so then.
Allah's not the same as God.
It's a logical conclusion
For this judgment day. How odd.
Names are written now à la carte,
One legal melee judged in its decree.
It's God that this distinction
Defines quite wordlessly.
There's God and then there's Allah,
So is Allah then not God?
One courts this noun'd conundrum
Through a judgment, strangely odd.
Who shall not use a word? A name?
Misuse? Abuse? It's all the same.
Not integral to a faith's the claim.
In the end it's just a naming game.
Envoi du bon Dieu, which is
not Allah: "J'ai toujours fait une prière à Dieu, qui
est fort courte. La voici: Mon Dieu, rendez nos ennemis bien ridicules!
Dieu m'a exaucé."
[ 1 ]
"The 99 names of God or 99 names of Allah (Arabic: أسماء الله الحسنى
ʾasmāʾ allāh al-ḥusnā), are the Names of God by which Muslims regard God
(Allah) and which are described in the Qur'an, and Sunnah, amongst other
places. There is, according to hadith, a special group of 99 names but
no enumeration of them. Thus the exact list is not agreed upon, and the
Names of God (as adjectives, word constructs, or otherwise) exceed 99 in
the Qur'an and Sunnah. According to a hadith narrated by Abdullah ibn
Mas'ud some of the names of God have been hidden from mankind, therefore
there are not only 99 names of God but there are more." From
Wikiepdia, Names of God in Islam, accessed 14 October 2013.
[ 2 ]
"The paradox of God’s being simultaneously near and remote is
essentially expressed in the fact that he has a name. Whatever has a
name can be talked about, can be talked to, according to whether it is
absent or present. God is never absent. Hence there is no theoretical
concept of God. God alone has a name that is also a concept; his concept
is also his name." In "Franz Rosenzweig," Nahum Glatzer, ed.,
[ 3 ]
"The relation of this name, which in Babylonia and Assyrian became a
generic term simply meaning 'god', to the Arabian Ilah familiar to us in
the form Allah, which is compounded of al, the definite article, and
Ilah by eliding the vowel 'i', is not clear. Some scholars trace the
name to the South Arabian Ilah, a title of the Moon god, but this is a
matter of antiquarian interest." In "Islam," by Alfred Guillaume,
Penguin, Baltimore, 1956.
[ 4 ]
Addendum to Continue the
Story: "Malaysian Islamic authorities have seized more than
300 copies of the Bible from the Bible Society of Malaysia (BSM), over
the use of the word 'Allah' in native translations. BSM was accused of
violating the law by using the word 'Allah' to refer to God in Bahasa
and Iban language Bibles." In "Malaysian Islamic Authorities Seize
Bibles as 'Allah' Controversy Worsens," by Divya Avasthy,
International Business Times, 3 January 2014.
Addendum as the Trend
Continues: "The Brunei government will ban the
use of 19 Islamic words, including 'Allah' and 'masjid', by non-Muslims,
according to the Brunei Times today. The ban will take effect from
April, the paper said. Under the Syariah Penal Code Order, these words
cannot be used with respect to other religions. They are azan; baitullah; Al Quran; Allah; fatwa; Firman Allah; hadith; haji; hukum
syara'; ilahi; Ka'bah; kalimah al syahadah; kiblat; masjid; imam; mufti;
mu'min; solat; and wali. The Brunei Times quoted Hardifadhillah Mohd
Salleh, a senior syariah legal officer of the Islamic Legal Unit as
telling staff of the Industry and Primary Resources Ministry on key
parts of the order during a briefing. He also said certain provisions of
the order also apply to non-Muslims, such as zina (adultery) with a
Muslim partner, drinking alcohol in a public place, and khalwat (close
proximity) with a Muslim partner." In "19 Islamic words banned for
non-Muslims in Brunei," by Sulok Tawie, Sun Daily (Malaysia), 23
Addendum of Super-Heroes with
god-like Powers: "After fighting skyscraper-sized
aliens and monsters for nearly five decades, Ultraman’s heroic service
isn’t wanted anymore – at least in Malaysia. The Malay-language edition
of the comic book 'Ultraman the Ultra Power' has been banned because it
contains 'elements that may threaten public order,' Malaysia’s Home
Ministry said in a March 5 statement. Another statement on Friday
clarified that the ban was due to use of the term 'Allah' to describe
the Japanese superhero. The move, which has drawn public ridicule on the
Internet, comes amid rising tensions between majority Muslims and
minority Christians over the use of the word, which means God.
Malaysia’s highest court is currently weighing whether to grant the
Catholic Church permission to appeal a lower court ruling that bans it
from referring to the Christian God as 'Allah.' The Home Ministry
imposed the ban because the character Ultraman is 'an idol for children'
and the use of the term Allah could 'confuse' their thinking." In
"Malaysia Takes Down Ultraman," by Jason Ng, Wall Street Journal, 7
of Distinction in Words: " 'I was really annoyed and
sad,' Hood River mayor, Paul Blackburn, said. 'I am annoyed that in this
political season there's a solid case of ugly going on. I think it norms
up this kind of behavior like 'oh it's okay to be a bigot now'.'"
In "Messages on church reader board stir controversy," by Stephen Mayer,
KATU/FOX 57, 14 May 2016.
[ 5 ]
Addendum of Ongoing
Litigation in Malaysia: "...they had sought to quash
the Home Ministry’s decision to seize three boxes of Malay-language
Christian educational books that contained the word 'Allah'. The books
for Christian children that SIB imported from Indonesia were seized at
the international budget airport terminal in Sepang on August 15, 2007
while in transit. They were later returned to the Sabah church on
January 25, 2008. With the books seized from the Sabah SIB church
nine years ago already returned, the church is currently seeking a
declaration that it has the constitutional right under Article 11 of the
Federal Constitution to use the Arabic word for God “Allah” in the
Bahasa Malaysia and Bahasa Indonesia translations of the Christian
bible, as well as in all other religious publications and materials. The
Christian Bumiputera communities in Sabah and Sarawak typically use
Bahasa Malaysia in their holy scriptures and religious practises."
In "In Sabah church’s ‘Allah’ case, court asks about AG’s role as public
interest guardian By Ida Lim, Malay Mail, 19 July 2016.
of the Malay Theological Pushback: "Representatives of
groups from the seven major religions practised in Malaysia - namely
Islam, Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism, Taoism and the Bahai
Faith - took part in the forum. Azman said another related proposal was
to include information and knowledge about Malaysia's Constitution in
the proposed interfaith subject. He said many Malaysians enter
university not even knowing the position of Islam as the religion of the
Federation and the guarantee given to followers of other religions to
practise their respective faith in peace and harmony in any part of the
country, as spelt out in Article 3(1) of the Constitution." In "Call
for interfaith studies to be taught in Malaysian schools," Asia News
Network, 1 August 2016.
[ 6 ]
Telling a Future: "Whenever religious ideology
of any shape begins to dominate public life, religious hegemony will
follow. And if it happens in one place, it could happen anywhere."
In "God by any other name?" by Dr. Eugene Yapp, Lapidomedia Guest Blog,
2 July 2015.
of a Name: "Meet Wise Intelligent Supreme God
Allah. Belying his name, the 18-year-old Ohioan made the imprudent
choice Thursday night to be carrying a loaded handgun while a passenger
in a car traveling in Akron. During a police traffic stop, Allah was
found with a Hi-Point .380 caliber handgun in the waistband of his
pants. The Canton resident was arrested on felony weapons charges,
according to Akron Municipal Court records." In "Ohioan, 18, Nabbed
On Gun Charges Does Not Appear To Be Wise Or Intelligent," The
Smoking Gun, 22 August 2016.
Addendum of a
Translation by the US Department of Justice: "OD:
Emergency 911, this is being recorded./ OM: In the name of God the
Merciful, the beneficial [in Arabic] / OD: What? / OM: Praise be
to God, and prayers as well as peace be upon the prophet of God [in
Arabic]. I let you know, I’m in Orlando and I did the shootings. /
OD: What’s your name? / OM: My name is I pledge of allegiance to
[omitted]. / OD: Ok, What’s your name? / OM: I pledge allegiance to
[omitted] may God protect him [in Arabic], on behalf of [omitted]."
In "FBI provides investigative update on Orlando nightclub massacre,"
BNO News, 20 June 2016.
1 ] "I always made one prayer to
God, a very short one. Here it is: 'O Lord, make our
enemies quite ridiculous!' God granted it." In a letter
by Volatire to Étienne Noël Damilaville (16 May 1767).
2 ] It is instructive to note that all
theological streams suggest that there is mystery and for
man an unknowable or ineffable. At the same moment it is
instructive to observe that governments and laws are quite
incapable of this simple wisdom. When Islam in its own
documents states that some names have been "hidden from
mankind," one might fairly conclude that the Malay judges
were unaware of or just simply ignored this historical and
scriptural advice, documented as given by Abdullah ibn
Mas'ud who is cited as among the first converts to Mohammed
and a contemporary companion of his.
One notes that in terms of this recent Malay court decision
by Sunni judges the Wiki article must also be incorrect for
having posted the sentence beginning with "...99 names of
God or 99 names of Allah...."
It is instructive to note the picture of the banner above.
The banner is neither in Malay or Arabic, but a slogan
written in English. For whom is such a banner and slogan in
English targeted? Obviously to those who read English. So is
Allah an English name and proper noun? Imported into another
language? Malaysia was a British colony from the 1800s and
is a relatively new independent nation, with various steps
along that process from 1957 to 1963. While Malaysia in
several scripts is the official language, English remains
the second language and used in business as in instruction
and administration per the National language Act of 1967.
These two among over 100 languages and especially Chinese
for the largest of the minorities are all "imports," in one
way or another, because the indigenous languages of the
tribes were, well, indigenous. So the proper name, Allah
from the Arabic, is an import -- one among many, and most
definitely not indigenous.
Since one notes that the British "colonized" what has become
the nation of Malaysia, is it not also that the English
language "colonized" an indigenous culture? And if this
model is held to, then both Christianity and Islam with
accompanying religious texts are also "colonialism," from an
earlier age. Such is the nature of the argument about
culture, when one includes religion as a part of and
purveyor of cultural notions, word usage and definitions and
legal decisions via legislation and the courts which codify
Therefore, one may say with consistency that the advocacy of
Islamic law is itself supremacist as well as colonial in
nature. For this the Malay court has taken a word's
definition and installed it into a kind of legalistic and
3 ] Taking the "concept is
also his name" view suggests plainly that the Malay Muslims
who argue this argue thereby that the concept and name are
essentially the province only of Muslims, and given this the
sentence "God is not Allah" becomes linguistically correct
as well as legally true. This political judgment rends a
multi-cultural society, as one reads: "The removal sparked a
series of attacks on Christian places of worship in an
unusual display of religious tension in the multi-faith
country." In " 'Allah' banned for use by Christian
publication in Malaysia," by Alexander Besant, Global
Post, 14 October 2013.
4 ] The question of a
name is the question of a language as well. Languages and
names have histories buried deep within them, antecedents
and re-interpretations of words, grammars and meanings
changing as time passes, referencing cultural understandings
and philosophical and religious perspectives.
One reads: "The newspaper's supporters have argued
that Malay-language Bibles have used Allah to refer to the
Christian God since before Malaysia was formed as a federal
state in 1963. 'Allah is a term in the Middle East and in
Indonesia it is a term both for Christians and Muslims. You
cannot say that in all of the sudden it is not an integral
part. Malay language is a language that has many borrowed
words, Allah also is a borrowed word.' However, some Muslim
groups have said that the Christian use of the word Allah
could be used to encourage Muslims to convert to
Christianity." In "Malaysia court rules non-Muslims
cannot use 'Allah'," BBC, 14 October 2013.
Herein one finds the real motivation which, as above,
ignores the consequences of disputes over language. The
concern is over conversion by Muslims so threatened, but
obviously not the same concern as in other communities in
Malaysia. In a blunder of political jurisprudence, a
"decision by three Muslim judges" has demonstrated the
hegemonic aim of one community over another. So much for
multi-cultural understanding and so-called religious
tolerance. The linguistic blunder is now rendered in a legal
decision: God is not synonymous with Allah across languages.
As to the origins of Islam, there is no dispute that Islam
originated on the Saudi Arabian peninsula. Given this, the
Muslim name for god is Arabic in origin, if not as noted
above from an earlier sect. One reads: Wikipedia
suggest that "Islam was introduced to the Sumatran coast by
Arabs in 674 CE." Logically then, the name also was
"introduced" -- imported, or colonized -- into what is now
Malaysia from what is now called Saudi Arabia. But there is
an interesting conundrum specific to Islam, in one way, as
to Malaysia in a parallel way. One may make the same
observation about Christianity, another import or colonist
religion into Malaysia from the Middle East. In both cases,
a form of cultural and religious colonialism via
proselytizing was the process by which this occurred.
One reads from the same Wiki source: "Malaysian
authorities have strict policies against other Islamic sects
including Shia Islam." also in Wikipedia's "Islam in
Malaysia." As the chief judge noted in news reports, "The
usage of the word will cause confusion in the community."
Which "community" is meant thereby, one must ask, given that
Malay Sunnis have "strict policies against other Islamic
In the rather normal and very human competition between
ideas as well as in the simple phenomenon of debating, one
often senses that when words become forbidden to a party in
a dialogue, the dialogue is at an end. Perhaps this is what
Sunni Islam wishes as regards Christianity in Malaysia, but
there are other religions as well as secular viewpoints.
This suggests this story is far from over. Continuing strife
5 ] The mayor of
Hood River, Oregon, finds the sign's sentiment bigoted, and
yet the distinction made between the words Allah and God is
oddly in accord with the Malaysian Muslim 3-judge panel in
2013. If Allah is not God as seen in Western religions, as
according to the Malaysia court, one wonders what the mayor
of Hood River thinks about his own "solid case of ugly going
on." When a American Baptist minister makes the same
distinction as does a Malaysian Muslim court, perhaps the
mayor proves himself the bigot. Others have trotted out a
like argument that
A distinction should be made
It seems more likely that a "kind of behavior like 'oh it's okay to be a bigot now'
" well suffices to describe many politically oriented views
smearing other politically oriented views with simplistic,
childish name-calling. Such has become the nature of poorly
A church pastor's assertion that "Allah is not our God" is
linguistic, given the ongoing litigation by Christians in
Malaysia, but the assertion that "Muhammad [is] not greater
than Jesus" is a statement of Christian belief, as found in
many streams of Christianity. Moreover, neither Jesus nor
Mohamed are prophets in Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism, and a
variety of other world religions, not to mention the modern
belief in secularism.
When one names a belief as "a solid case of ugly," it
becomes wise to question the beliefs of such an accuser
6 ] From a 2013 decision by
a court parsing Allah away from non-Islamic translations of
God to this 2016 call for "interfaith studies" noting in
part that Muslim students are not informed even on Islam,
one finds the religious schism of the modern age. As the
article notes: "...resolution of disputes involving
Malaysians of different faiths would be easier if all sides
regarded themselves as Malaysians first and foremost."
One stream of Islam is raging around the world, jihad being
violence against others, and another stream of Islam trying
to find a different path in which "resolutions of disputes"
can be "easier" than outright violence. How? By separating
religion from a singular quest for political, temporal power
over people "of different faiths." This predicts a new "long
war" for the world with Islamic concepts at its center as at
Ergo "Such is the strangest nature / Of languages and names
/ Which refuses plain translation / To fan religious flames."
No correct arithmetic
No correct arithmetic
Morphs a truth into a lie.
No amount of wordy words
Will change the math thereby.
Number. Word. One's best absurd;
The other's plainly not a word.
No process of arithmetic
Inverts a lie to truth.
No above-board figuring
Turns age back into youth.
Word. Number. One is too
Easy to easily lie thereto.
No correct arithmetic
Is what some words will do.
No account, for arithmetic
Will number those lies for you.
Numbers. Words. Both have a place,
But are unequal as to grace.
Envoi: "The math
is unforgiving." In "The Clash of Generations," by Robert Samuelson,
Washington Post Writers Group, 9 December 2013.
Addendum of Excessive Federal
"The fiscal arithmetic of excessive federal borrowing is nasty even when
relatively optimistic assumptions are made about growth and interest
rates. Currently, net interest payments on the federal debt are around
8% of GDP. But under the CBO's extended baseline scenario, that share
could rise to 20% by 2026, 30% by 2049, and 40% by 2072. By 2088, the
last date for which the CBO now offers projections, interest payments
would—absent any changes in current policy—absorb just under half of all
tax revenues. That is another way of saying that policy is
unsustainable." In "The Shutdown Is a Sideshow: Debt Is the Threat,"
by Niall Ferguson, Wall Street Journal, 4 October 2013.
[ 1 ]
Addendum on the Scope of
Unsustainable Policy: "Based on the CBO’s data, I
calculate a fiscal gap of $202 trillion, which is more than 15 times the
official debt. This gargantuan discrepancy between our 'official' debt
and our actual net indebtedness isn’t surprising. It reflects what
economists call the labeling problem. Congress has been very
careful over the years to label most of its liabilities 'unofficial' to
keep them off the books and far in the future. For example, our Social
Security FICA contributions are called taxes and our future Social
Security benefits are called transfer payments. The government could
equally well have labeled our contributions 'loans' and called our
future benefits 'repayment of these loans less an old age tax,' with the
old age tax making up for any difference between the benefits promised
and principal plus interest on the contributions. The fiscal gap
isn’t affected by fiscal labeling. It’s the only theoretically
correct measure of our long-run fiscal condition because it considers
all spending, no matter how labeled, and incorporates long-term and
short-term policy." In "U.S. Is Bankrupt and We Don’t Even Know It:
Laurence Kotlikoff," Bloomberg News, 11 August 2010.
Addendum of Way
Underestimating: "Greenspan said the U.S. is
'way underestimating' the national debt, which is currently at $18
trillion. 'Largely because we are not including what I would call
contingent liabilities, that is the issue of, which is answered by a
question: what is the probability that in today’s environment JP Morgan
would be allowed to default? The answer is zero or less,' he said. 'Now,
that means that whole balance sheet is a contingent liability. Now to be
sure, while it’s contingent, there’s no interest payments but ultimately
that overhangs the structure because we have committed in so many
different ways to guarantee this, that and the other thing. It’s not
only Fannie and Freddie but it’s a whole series of financial
institutions and, regrettably, it is also non-financial institutions'."
In "Greenspan: U.S. ‘Way Underestimating’ the National Debt," by
Nicholas Ballasy, PJMedia, 30 May 2015.
Addendum by Means of a Official
Government Chart: "Outlays" always more than "Revenues"
as a "projection." And this projects to....
Addendum of No Correct
Arithmetic for Chicago: "This is now the city of big
debt, where each of Chicago's 2.7 million residents — from infants in
diapers to senior citizens on fixed incomes — is on the hook for about
$20,000 in long-term pension promises and bond obligations. Like the
relentless snow clogging the city's streets, it just keeps piling up.
Chicago isn't bankrupt Detroit, junk-status Puerto Rico or New York at
the brink of insolvency in 1975. Yet the city of gleaming skyscrapers
along Lake Michigan's shore tripled its debt load from 2002 to 2012,
as it ignored annual pension payments and borrowed for capital and
operating expenses. A $590 million payment for retirement
obligations is due next year, threatening cuts in everything from police
to garbage collection, a tax increase, or both. The rescue Chicago Mayor
Rahm Emanuel needs will have to come from another financial leaky boat,
the state of Illinois, which has the lowest credit rating among states."
In "Cradle-to-grave debt load leaves no Chicagoan free," by Tim
Jones, Bloomberg via Chicago Tribune, 14 February 2014.
Addendum of No Correct
Arithmetic for Detroit: "Gene Sperling, the director
of the White House National Economic Council and the point person on the
administration's efforts to help the struggling Motor City, told
reporters Tuesday that it would have raised false hopes if the Obama
administration had floated the idea of a bailout for Detroit. 'We did
not feel we had any available financial tools, and secondly, we did not
think that the prospect of legislation was even close to viable,'
Sperling told reporters at a breakfast hosted by the Christian Science
Monitor. 'To have floated (a bailout) would have given false hope and
taken people's eye off the important task ahead so what we tried to do
was make clear that the federal government — we did not have tools at
our disposal that could be helpful to Detroit.' Detroit filed for a
record setting municipal bankruptcy in July, citing $18.5 billion in
debt and long-term obligations." In "White House aide: Detroit bailout
wasn't 'viable'," by David Sheparson, Detroit News, 11 February 2014.
Addendum of No Correct
Arithmetic for the Middle Class: "The biggest issue
facing the American economy, and our political system, is the gradual
descent of the middle class into proletarian status. This process, which
has been going on intermittently since the 1970s, has worsened
considerably over the past five years, and threatens to turn this
century into one marked by downward mobility. The decline has less to do
with the power of the 'one percent' per se than with the drying up of
opportunity amid what is seen on Wall Street and in the White House as a
sustained recovery. Despite President Obama’s rhetorical devotion to
reducing inequality, it has widened significantly under his watch. Not
only did the income of the middle 60% of households drop between 2010
and 2012 while that of the top 20% rose, the income of the middle 60%
declined by a greater percentage than the poorest quintile. The middle
60% of earners’ share of the national pie has fallen from 53% in 1970 to
45% in 2012. This group, what I call the yeoman class — the small
business owners, the suburban homeowners , the family farmers or skilled
construction tradespeople — is increasingly endangered." In "The
U.S. Middle Class Is Turning Proletarian," by Joel Kotkin, Forbes, 16
Addendum of the Government
Binge: "The amount of debt globally has soared
more than 40 percent to $100 trillion since the first signs of the
financial crisis as governments borrowed to pull their economies out of
recession and companies took advantage of record low interest rates,
according to the Bank for International Settlements. The $30 trillion
increase from $70 trillion between mid-2007 and mid-2013 compares with a
$3.86 trillion decline in the value of equities to $53.8 trillion in the
same period, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The jump in
debt as measured by the Basel, Switzerland-based BIS in its quarterly
review is almost twice the U.S.'s gross domestic product." In "Global
Debt Exceeds $100 Trillion as Governments Binge, BIS Says," by John
Glover, Bloomberg, 9 March 2014.
Addendum of Business
Destruction: "The American economy is less
entrepreneurial now than at any point in the last three decades. That's
the conclusion of a new study out from the Brookings Institution, which
looks at the rates of new business creation and destruction since 1978.
Not only that, but during the most recent three years of the study --
2009, 2010 and 2011 -- businesses were collapsing faster than they were
being formed, a first. Overall, new businesses creation (measured as the
share of all businesses less than one year old) declined by about half
from 1978 to 2011." In "U.S. businesses are being destroyed faster
than they’re being created," by Christopher Ingraham, Washington
Post, 5 May 2014.
Addendum of Overstatement and
Irregularities: "Japan's Toshiba Corp overstated its
operating profit by 151.8 billion yen ($1.22 billion) over several years
in accounting irregularities involving top management, an independent
investigation said in a report on Monday." In "Toshiba inflated
profits by $1.2 billion with top execs' knowledge: investigation,"
by Ritsuko Ando, Reuters, 20 July 2015.
Addendum of Insufficiency:
"Financial problems are in some combination always about two things —
arithmetic that does not add up and a loss of confidence.
Incremental steps that provide some but not large sums of assistance,
that postpone but do not reduce scheduled debt payments, and that defer
decisions about the future to the future run the constant risk that they
will not bring convincing arithmetic into view and will be insufficient
to restore market confidence." In "Complacency and incrementalism are
traps to avoid," by Larry Summers, Financial Times, 12 July 2015.
of Two-Thirds of Americans: "Two-thirds of
Americans would have difficulty coming up with the money to cover a
$1,000 emergency, according to an exclusive poll released Thursday, a
signal that despite years of recovery from the Great Recession,
Americans' financial conditions remain precarious as ever. These
financial difficulties span all income levels, according to the poll
conducted by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs
Research. Seventy-five percent of people in households making less than
$50,000 a year would have difficulty coming up with $1,000 to cover an
unexpected bill. But when income rose to between $50,000 and $100,000,
the difficulty decreased only modestly to 67 percent." In "Poll:
Two-thirds of US would struggle to cover $1,000 crisis," by Ken
Sweet and Emily Swanson, Associated Press, 19 May 2016.
- the Debtor Man, and
[ 1 ]
A exemplary case
is the tale of the City of Detroit. Currently in bankruptcy
proceedings, its story can be told emphasizing along
political party lines or via racial viewpoints, but the
mundane truth at the center is arithmetic. One reads:
"Detroit got into a trap of doing a lot of borrowing for
cash flow purposes and then trying to figure out how to push
costs (out) as much as possible,” said Bettie Buss, a
former city budget staffer who spent years analyzing city
finances for the nonpartisan Citizens Research Council of
Michigan. “That was the whole culture — how do we get
what we want and not pay for it until tomorrow and tomorrow
and tomorrow?" In "How Detroit went broke: The answers
may surprise you - and don't blame Coleman Young," by Nathan
Bomey and John Gallagher, Detroit Free Press, 15 September
A similar tale has been acted out in Greece, as one reads:
"So what's the problem in Greece? Years of unrestrained
spending, cheap lending and failure to implement financial
reforms left Greece badly exposed when the global
economic downturn struck. This whisked away a curtain of
partly fiddled statistics to reveal debt levels and deficits
that exceeded limits set by the eurozone." In "Q&A: Greece's
financial crisis explained," CNN, 26 March 2010.
The clarity becomes astounding: "...what the Greek
debt crisis is really about: Greece borrowed more money
than they can pay back. In "Explaining the Greek Debt
Crisis," by Tim Worstall, Forbes, 16 June 2012. One sees
this same tale being enacted around the world, and of course
as in the Congressional Budget Office's "projection."
No correct arithmetic will make the unsustainable
[ 2 ]
The "legal" pronouncements from government accounting cannot
change fiscal realities.
One reads more of Kotlikoff's tabulation: "The
liabilities the government owes are mostly off the books. We
have a true debt picture which is about $205 trillion.
This is recording all the future obligations the government
has, whether they are official obligations or not, such as
paying for your social security benefits, mine, or your
mother’s Medicare benefits, defense spending, etc. All of
these things are really obligations that aren’t recorded on
the books as debt, whereas paying off future principal and
interest payments on Treasury bills and bonds are recorded.
So, anyway, if you take the value of all of those
commitments and subtract all the taxes coming to pay those
commitments, the difference is what’s called the fiscal gap;
and that fiscal gap in the U.S. is now $205 trillion. So,
the true debt is $205 trillion; the official debt is only
$17 trillion. So, most of the problems we’re facing,
most of the debt we have, the vast majority of it is off the
books and Congress has done bookkeeping to make sure the
public doesn’t see it. So, when we have these big fights
over the debt ceiling, it’s really laughable because at the
same time we may not be expanding our official debt at a
very rapid rate, we are expanding our unofficial debt or
off-the-book debt, unrecorded debt, at a very high rate." In
"Professor Kotlikoff: Government Conspiracy to Hide True
Debt Burden," Financial Sense, 6 November 2013.
Who is Kotlikoff? Wikipedia's quick sketch informs:
"Laurence Jacob Kotlikoff (born January 30, 1951) is a
William Warren Fairfield Professor at Boston University, a
Professor of Economics at Boston University, a Fellow of the
American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a Research Associate
of the National Bureau of Economic Research, a Fellow of the
Econometric Society, a former Senior Economist, and
President Reagan's Council of Economic Advisers."
If hiding the true debt burden is a bi-partisan gaming of
the current political parties in the US and if greater
fiscal instability does indeed come, what then? One
view answers with clarity: "Our kids will handle
this effectively. They will elect people to Congress who
will vote to stop paying the oldsters and their physicians,
the vast majority of whom will be dependent on Medicare
payments. I call this 'stiff the geezers.' I also call it
the Great Default. The surviving generations that ran up
the liabilities will bear the brunt of the pain, as well
they should. There is no way out, other than default.
This will have profound consequences politically,
economically, and socially. It will be the end of the
Keynesian welfare state. The Keynesians will be left holding
the empty bag. This is how all Ponzi schemes end." In
"$205 Trillion in Unfunded Liabilities," by Gary North,
Daily Reckoning, 12 February 2014.
Lest this seem merely alarmist, please see the footnotes to
[ 3 ] "CBO projects that federal
debt held by the public would reach 100 percent of GDP in
2038, 25 years from now, even without accounting for the
harmful effects that growing debt would have on the economy
(see the figure below). Moreover, debt would be on an upward
path relative to the size of the economy, a trend that
could not be sustained indefinitely." In "The 2013
Long-Term Budget Outlook," Congressional Budget Office, 17
"No amount of wordy words / Will change the math thereby."
In a smaller venue -- a city in a state in this
debt-burdened nation -- the future of unsustainable public
debt is being seen today. One reads: " 'It was a
function of the mathematics,' said Buckfire, who said he
did not think it was necessary for him or anyone else to
recommend pension cuts to Orr. 'Are you saying it was so
self-evident that no one had to say it' asked Claude
Montgomery, attorney for a committee of retirees that was
created by Rhodes. 'Yes,' Buckfire answered. Buckfire, a
Detroit native and investment banker with restructuring
experience, later told the court the city plans to pay
unsecured creditors, including the city's pensioners, 16
cents on the dollar. There are about 23,500 city
retirees." In "Detroit pension cuts 'function of
mathematics' -investment banker," by Joseph Lichterman and
Bernie Woodall, Reuters, 25 October 2013.
"A trend that cannot be sustained indefinitely" said the
CBO. When a trend cannot be sustained, an end point is
reached, and in the single instance of Detroit this is
mathematically calculated as an 84% loss for Detroit's
unsecured creditors. What about this was not foreseen? Only
the refusal to examine the obvious and unsustainable
mathematics, and paper over tomorrow with words, words and
more political words. It turns out these words were lies.
And now in among the largest economic venues of the world
today, we find "unsustainable" identified in plain talk:
"So, if you took these promises that we’ve made to our
seniors and put them on the balance sheet, what would it do
to the current U.S. government debt? As we know, there's a
lot of people walking around talking about how the U.S.
government debt is $17 trillion dollars. I wish it was $17
trillion. It’s actually $205 trillion if you add in these
liabilities. So, it's pretty simple. If you take current
benefits promised plus the fact that you're creating so many
new seniors versus workers plus expected tax revenues, the
numbers just don't add up. Well, actually they do. They add
up to a $200 trillion burden on the next generation." In
"Stanley Druckenmiller: An Unsustainable Financial
Situation," TED Talk, 9 December 2013.
"No amount of wordy words / Will change the math thereby."
[ 4 ]
With the downgrade of Chicago municipal bonds to junk
status, one finds the end game coming into view. One Chicago
alderman noted: " 'What is the amount that will get
the rating agencies off your back and not cripple the
recovering housing market? No amount of property tax
increase gets you out of the problem,' O’Connor said."
In "Moody's, citing pension crisis, downgrades Chicago's
debt to junk status," by Fran Spielman, Chicago Sun-Times,
12 May 2015.
A city in debt will appeal to a state in debt which will
appeal to a nation in debt. All will be hoping that
"investors" will come to the rescue through bond buying. The
selling of promissory notes with a future payout did not
turn out well for some already bankrupt municipal entities,
as "pennies on the dollar" tallied up loss on the original
"investment" in government promises.
Consider the arch of the story for another American
- not sugarcoated.
[ 5 ] While the Federal
government touts "recovery" one learns that "U.S. businesses
are being destroyed faster than they’re being created."
The Brookings Study notes: "Put simply... the broad
decline in business dynamism occurring during the last few
decades nationally is not isolated to a few regions. In
fact, the data show that it is a pervasive force evident
in nearly all corners of the country." In "Declining
Business Dynamism in the United States: A Look at States and
Metros," by Ian Hathaway (Ennsyte Economics) and Robert E.
Litan (The Brookings Institution), May 2014.
For the absurd math of the federal government as regards the
so-called "recovery" while "U.S. businesses are being
destroyed faster than they’re being created," see:
Doing the math
- blindly on politics' path.
[ 6 ]
seems easy to identify corruption in government, the issue
is broader for it is a matter of corruption in governance,
and the governance of a company can be the same arithmetic
nightmare in miniature.
The news article report of this major corporate scandal:
"The investigation comes as Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is
trying to improve the country's corporate governance in
order to attract more foreign investors."
Foreign investors expect open and honest accounting. Toshiba
did not offer this over a seven year span. Why? The
explanation is offered: "Within Toshiba, there was a
corporate culture in which one could not go against the
wishes of superiors,' the report said. 'Therefore, when
top management presented 'challenges', division presidents,
line managers and employees below them continually carried
out inappropriate accounting practices to meet targets in
line with the wishes of their superiors'."
How quite like this is the parallel crisis in the Communist
Chinese stock market in which the "corporate culture" is a
"party structure." See the most interesting parallel:
We ran out
Toshiba seems to have been operating the accounting version
of a Potemkin village, "in order to attract more foreign
investors," rather like the entire state-owned complex of
government, stock market, state-owned bank and state-owned
enterprises of what has amusingly been called "capitalist
arithmetic can hide falsely inflated profits any more than
it can hide a false facade, while capital seeks to invest
where honest accounting and simple but correct arithmetic
are held in highest regard.
[ 7 ] If indeed
two-thirds of Americans in 2016 would struggle "to cover a
$1,000 emergency," it is arithmetically assured that
these same 2/3s of the population cannot be counted on as a
taxable source to significantly repay federal, state,
county, school district and special assessment zones, and
municipal debts. This seems a simple definition of
Ye shall be as gods
"For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof then
your eyes shall be opened and ye shall be as gods knowing good and
evil...." Genesis 3:5
Ye shall be as gods,
Said a serpent's tale,
Which was a clever promise
Leading to man's travail.
Ye shall know as gods,
The serpent's promise hissed,
For knowledge leads to power
As its coils tightly twist.
Ye shall act as gods;
The tongue has told you so,
And for this is man's history
A tale of bloody woe.
Ye shall be and know,
And act and hardly rue,
For the promise is oft man's god,
And where it lies men oft pursue.
Parliament - paraphrase of
a Joachim Ringelnatz text
Into parliament they all of them go,
Those who would feed, don't you know,
From others; we, the orphaned foe,
Must make do with the crumbs they bestow.
My uncle Rolf -- he was Rügen-born,
Then elected thereby to toot his own horn.
When in his bully-pulpit, eve and morn,
One saw he lied in words now well worn.
I myself have seen it too well
As our politicians weave their spun spell.
It staggers me that they prosper so well,
Playing friendly games as they bicker and yell.
Then there are times when a President
Calls out for order, to better cement
The imagery which they all must invent
To pose as if they do you represent.
Then there are times of harsh reality
When all adjourn from criminality
To vacation and feast with cordiality,
Supported by taxation's fat suavity.
I think I'll stand for a parliament seat.
In their glee club, I'd not miss a beat.
Then we all could together meet,
And everyone dine off another man's meat.
A hundred bucks - aw-gee, aw-shucks
I loaned him a hundred bucks back when, and never was
ever repaid. But then...
It suddenly dawned on me
this thought: his blank absence is what I'd bought.
I'll never have to see him. No more. That's what that hundred bucks was
Will he borrow his next
hundred from me? Not a chance. I've paid my way free.
He won't come back without cash in hand, and that is what he'd probably
This simplest of lessons
grows clearer than clear. I'd bought my way free from one so insincere.
I wager he's running out of more marks like me, for that sort is rich in
loaned him a hundred bucks back when. It's surely assured I'll not do
Until further notice
- paraphrase of a Wilhelm Busch poem
The knife gleams as a piggy screams,
For man must butcher pork;
Some folks think on porcine themes
Involving knife and fork.
And so man smiles while dining
In the manner of a cannibal's pleasure;
Until he bleats, "Egad!" opining,
"Westphalia's not ham's best measure."
The emptied hand
Light is the load of the emptied hand,
Absent its needs and wants.
After its load, its toil in this land,
It yields its aches for the nonce.
Open its palm, not clenched as fist,
Little it needs and less its cares.
After the struggles of sinew and wrist,
To rest it lies down with its prayers.
The emptied hand once labored, once slaved,
To bring each task to its end,
And now fully emptied of all it once craved,
It gives up its all, its life with its friends.
The emptied hand lies open and still,
Gone are the stresses and strains.
Little remains from the dark and the chill,
For such hands as these wear no chains.
Open the palm, as freely flies life
To where it is free of this world.
Movement escapes in the absence of strife;
Into the unknown, so love is hurled.
Light is the load of the emptied hand,
Wise in its stillness and calm.
Absent a movement, a gesture unplanned,
It holds now its deep, precious balm.
When a lie is
“Forgetting! It is a form of suicide, a renunciation
of the only good the we truly and ineluctably possess: the past. For if
joys alone were forgotten, perhaps oblivion would be justly desired. But
we are proud and jealous of our sorrows, we love them, we want to
remember them. It is they that comprise the crown of life.” Igino
Ugo Tarchetti (1839-1869)
When a lie is bright exposed,
Said exposure is called a lie,
In a game of bait-and-switch
So muddy as to buy
A little time, a little space,
A little room so sly
To make the whole disappear
Before some seeing eye.
When someone's proved well at fault,
Then blame some other guy.
Until a crime is proven done,
Excuse with alibi;
Out will come the outcome --
Noises for attention vie,
And given time and space enough
'Twill be forgotten, by-and-by.
"Study Bach. There you will find everything." Johannes
Two old biddies
sitting in the church:
The both would sneer
and Bach besmirch.
"He plays too loud."
"He plays too long."
"Doesn't he know
some simpler song?"
"Why couldn't we
get the very best?"
"All this new music
leaves me quite distressed."
"Why couldn't things
stay just as they were?"
"All these new tunes
causes such a stir!"
Two old biddies
sitting in a church:
Their view was right,
adjudged from their perch.
But centuries' view
tells the better tale:
Papa Bach lives
and never grows stale.
it is art, it is not for all, and if it is for all, it is not art."
Arnold Schoenberg, in "Style and Idea: Selected Writings" (1950)
Addendum as Papa Says:
"I play the notes as they are written, but it is God who
makes the music." Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)
The organist, who lives in a world of ordinary citizens, is 'a
skillful servant of the church and a very able performer on the clavier.'
The musician and conventional performer is one whose chief virtue is
cleverness: 'that which has been placed before him he sings in a
striking manner and plays very easily. The implication is that his
performance achieves no lasting effect. Mattheson adds the humorous
comment: 'Whoever cannot at once obtain the dignity of Kapellmeister,
either by force or by begging, usually permits himself to be reviled
(schelten) by the title of Musikdirektor. Even such a designation is
better that that of cantor or organist. In fact, many a person does not
want to be called Kapellmeister, but composer of chamber music of or
court compositions. Yet these expressions are poor, makeshift, and
un-German'." In "Johann Sebastian Bach, the Master and His Work,"
Wilibald Gurlitt, trans. Oliver Rupprecht, Concordia Publishing, 1957.
"And if we look at the works of J. S. Bach - a benevolent god to
which all musicians should offer a prayer to defend themselves against
mediocrity - on each page we discover things which we thought were
born only yesterday, from delightful arabesques to an overflowing of
religious feeling greater than anything we have since discovered. And in
his works we will search in vain for anything the least lacking in good
taste." Claude Achille Debussy (1862-1918)
cherishes his theme, in which he as no other composer compressed
what was to come, tension and the sharpest outline of tension. He goes
on lovingly considering the theme from all angles and prospects until it
blossoms forth and until, in the great modulations of the fugue, it has
become an unlocked shrine, an internally unending melody (`internally'
meaning within the context of the theme), a melismatic universe in
respect of the developed individuality of his theme. For precisely this
reason, Bach's layout is not purely diatonic, however clear its flagrant
nature. Obviously the harmonic clement in itself becomes irrelevant with
Bach insofar as it is manifested in a fortuitous, pleasantly meaningful
simulultaneity of the parts. But it is surely not irrelevant to the
extent that the pertinent motions and their framework, which is to say
the counterpoint, are now also the paramount factor and, as such,
emphasized." In "Essays on the Philosophy of Music,"
Ernst Bloch, translated by Peter Palmer (Cambridge University Press)
Golds now rust
And greens fade pale,
And red in every shade and vale
Black's not black,
And white's not white;
They say these two will always fight;
If so, I say
Yellow's no race
And brown's not blue,
Nor is it dark, I say to you;
away your face.
Such little truth;
One looks deep and then, forsooth,
lie plain and cold.
And all is that,
Say those who search for caveat,
But I say,
all's a miss.
There's no gold
But many golds;
The truth of this says much and
Truth can be
There's no green
Yet some fabricated pieties
as they preen.
Colors just are,
Not manly made,
And no thing's hand stirs each shade
Of light, of
sun, of star.
Before we brush,
And colors liven, never crush;
then my quiz.
An absent truth
When used to lie rude, uncouth;
are merely taint.
And dance divine,
Until we stain with ugly sign,
Golds now rust
And greens fade pale,
And red in every shade and vale
Quaint little similes
" 'They baked all this stuff into the cake with those
tax cuts... and the war,' Obama said. 'It's like somebody goes to
a restaurant, orders a big steak dinner, a martini and all that stuff,
then just as you're sitting down they leave and accuse you of running
up the tab,' Obama said." In "Obama: Debt, deficits were 'baked into
the cake'," by Reid J. Epstein and Byron Tau, Politico, 12 June 2012.
Quaint little similes they baked into my pie,
Or was it in a cake mix spiced with largely I?
Big steak-liked dinners? Martinis and like stuff?
Quaint and yet so homespun, but tasting of pure guff.
Quaint little similes some talkers like to bake,
Ignoring harsh realities; say, let them all eat cake.
Running up the tab for yet more years to go?
See the tab grow even more and does not even slow.
Sitting at that table after many leaning years
And now there is complaining that all is in arrears.
Quaint little similes, but naked on the street,
Prove homespun hucksters prattle while carving up your meat.
It's like -- says each simile -- as similes parade on by,
Rhetorically as -- well -- like a homespun kind of lie.
[ 2 ]
Envoi: Ineptocracy -
(in-ep-toc'-ra-cy) - A system of government where the least capable to
lead are elected by the least capable of producing, and where the
members of society least likely to sustain themselves or succeed, are
rewarded with goods and services paid for by the confiscated wealth of a
diminishing number of producers. From Urban Dictionary, 28 October 2011.
[ 3 ]
Addendum in Plain Numbers:
"On Oct. 4, the debt held by the public — not including Social
Security and Medicare — had risen 89.3 percent since Mr. Obama took
office, according to FactCheck.org, a nonprofit project of the
Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania. The
administration recently projected an annual deficit of $750 billion in
the fiscal year that began Oct. 1 and $626 billion the year after that.
'At that rate, the debt owed to the public will more than double
during the Obama presidency,' FactCheck said in its quarterly
statistical report on Mr. Obama’s tenure in office. In "Obama’s
national debt rate on track to double," by Dave Boyer, Washington
Times, 9 October 2013.
- spoke a failed leader
[ 1 ]
The numbers tell a
less quaint but more truth-filled tale: "At the close of
business on Sept. 30, 2013—the last day of fiscal 2013—the
Daily Treasury Statement said the U.S. government debt held
by the public was $11,976,279,000,000. The
$11,976,279,000,000 in U.S. government debt held by the
public on Sept. 30, 2013 was $5,668,968,000,000 more than
the $6,307,311,000,000 in debt held by the public on Obama’s
first inauguration day. That is an increase of 89.879
percent—or approximately 90 percent." In "Treasury:
Under Obama, U.S Gov't Debt Held by Public Up 90%," by
Terence P. Jeffrey, CNS News, 2 October 2013.
Yet some accuse him of "running up the tab?" How quaint.
Listen to the words and ignore the numbers, for this is how
that homespun political game is played. The game should be
called "lying with a smile." Instead it is called politics.
[ 2 ]
reports tell a different tale from the homespun imagery of
Obama not "running up the tab." One reads of his
active participation in the debt ceiling increase process.
One reads: "Obama met with top four
congressional leaders at the White House for a meeting,
where leaders reiterated their positions after the meeting:
Democrats continue to seek a stopgap funding bill and a debt
ceiling increase with no conditions attached, while
Republicans continue to mount an effort to seek concessions
on the health care law." In "Obama meets with top lawmakers
but no deal on shutdown," by Susan Davis, USA Today, 2
Correctly noted with factual information, Obama has signed
off on previous increases in the debt ceiling several times
during his administration's tenure. This alone refutes the
"they" -- but not his own -- "running up the tab.
As an example from the
government's own reporting: "The 2011 debt limit
episode, during the 112th Congress, was resolved on August
2, 2011, when President Obama signed into law the Budget
Control Act of 2011 (BCA; S. 365). The federal debt had
reached its statutory limit on May 16, 2011, prompting
Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner to declare a debt
issuance suspension period, allowing certain extraordinary
measures to extend Treasury’s borrowing capacity. The BCA
included provisions aimed at deficit reduction and would
allow the debt limit to rise between $2,100 billion and
$2,400 billion in three stages, with the latter two subject
to congressional disapproval. All three increases, totaling
$2,100 billion, have occurred. A January 12, 2012,
presidential certification triggered a third, $1.2 trillion
increase that took place on January 28, 2012. A disapproval
measure, which would have been subject to veto, could have
blocked that increase if enacted within 15 days of the
certification.8 On January 18, 2012, the House passed such a
measure (H.J.Res. 98) on a 239-176 vote. The Senate declined
to take up a companion measure (S.J.Res. 34) and on January
26, 2012, voted down a motion to proceed (44-52) on the
House-passed measure (H.J.Res. 98), thus clearing the way
for the increase, resulting in a debt limit of $16,394
billion." In "The Debt Limit: History and Recent
Increases," in "CRS Report for Congress, Prepared for
Members and Committees of Congress" by Andrew Austin and
Mindy Levit, Congressional Research Service, 25 September
Obama signed one instance among several of debt ceiling
increases in 2011, and in 2012 accuses others of "running up
the tab," and in 2013 again exerts political pressure for
yet another debt ceiling increase, quaint little similes
[ 3 ]
Why cite the Urban Dictionary definition
related to this rhyme and related news? From the above cited
government report, "The Debt Limit: History and Recent
Increases," one reads the last paragraph in the report's
"Debate during the 2011 debt limit episode reflected a
growing concern with the fiscal sustainability. Over the
next decade, without major changes in federal policies,
persistent and possibly growing deficits, along with the
ongoing growth in the debt holdings of government accounts,
would increase substantially the amount of federal debt. CBO warns that the current trajectory of federal borrowing
is unsustainable and could lead to slower economic
growth in the long run as debt rises as a percentage of GDP.
Unless federal policies change, Congress would repeatedly
face demands to raise the debt limit to accommodate the
growing federal debt in order to provide the government with
the means to meet its financial obligations."
As logic dictates, that which is unsustainable cannot be
sustained. Therefore the quaint little simile by which the
President of the United States -- who actively participated
in a number of debt ceiling increases -- excuses his
culpability is an outright lie.
The Congressional Budget Office writes for all member of
Congress the clearly worded warning: "...the
current trajectory of federal borrowing is
unsustainable." Is the response by Congress and the White
House therefore to continue this trajectory?
Yup. How quaint. How inept.
The Blame Buffet -
society must be made to pay
If A robs B, then C must pay.
If X kills Y, then Z today
Must be penalized, come what may.
Society is guilty; that's the way
To spread the
blame at the blame buffet.
If E cheats F, then G's at fault.
If M hits N, oh, peace exalt,
Exonerating each un-peaced assault,
For all's about money fleeced from its vault.
If one does something, society's guilt
Must then be driven in up to the hilt.
Guilt must not be private; it's not well built
Unless it's spread around and blood is spilt.
Society is guilty for society is rich,
And it must be scratched for most every itch.
Society's at fault; new order must bewitch
For this is how the activists get rich.
If A robs B, then lawyers work.
If X kills Y, sure the bureaucrats lurk
To find one sure who'll sure them pay.
Society is guilty; that's the way
To spread the
blame at the blame buffet.
Addendum of Blaming Somebody Else:
"What to do if your country’s economy is on the ropes, inflation is
soaring, shortages are rampant, political support is fragile and
violence is flaring? For critics of Nicolás Maduro, the president of
Venezuela, the answer is that you wrap yourself in the national flag and
blame somebody else, anybody else, even Spiderman. Since becoming
president five months ago, Mr Maduro has routinely cited vague
international conspiracies by capitalist plotters, or even cartoon
superheroes, for Venezuela’s mounting problems that range from a lack of
toilet paper and national electricity blackouts to one of the highest
murder rates in the world." In "Nicolás Maduro seeks to deflect blame as
Venezuela’s woes mount," by Andres Schipani in Bogotá and John Paul
Rathbone, Financial Times, 30 September 2013.
[ 1 ]
Addendum of Blaming Western
Economic Imperialism: "...Stone is on a
mission to whitewash Chavez’s moves toward totalitarianism. His clamping
down on the media and nationalizations of private companies are
enthusiastically justified. Don’t you know that the media stations
Chavez shut down said nasty things about Chavez? And the
nationalizations were necessary because of the legacy of Western
economic imperialism. Chavez, we are told, is simply a man who wants the
best for his people and his country." In "Oliver Stone, Naomi
Campbell, Danny Glover, Rep. Jan Schakowsky and Sean Penn: The return of
the useful idiot," by Jamie Weinstein, Daily Caller, 19 July 2010.
[ 2 ]
Addendum of Blaming
Requirements: "The hospital, Lake Norman
Regional, defended their pricing in a statement to the newspaper:
'Hospitals only collect a small percentage of our charges, or ‘list
prices.’ We are required to give Medicare one level of discount from
list price, Medicaid another, and private insurers negotiate for still
others. … If we did not start with the list prices we have, we would not
end up with enough revenue to remain in operation. … Our costs for
providing uncompensated care are partially covered by higher bills for
other patients'." In "Snake Bite Costs North Carolina Couple $89,000
Hospital Bill," by Maya Rhodan, Time Magazine, 29 January 2014.
[ 1 ]
blame buffet is well-served in Venezuela in the moment.
One reads: "The Venezuelan Program of
Education-Action in Human Rights (Provea), a human rights
group, warned last week that Venezuelan courts have indicted
2,200 people for protesting, out of which 120 are workers,
according to Provea's general coordinator, Marino Alvarado,
who stressed that the figure could increase in the future. 'The
criminalization of protests has become a state policy,'
the representative of Provea said. In fact, Alvarado said,
the government has passed three bills that punish workers
for protesting under certain circumstances. These laws
curtail the right to strike and represent a violation of
freedom of association." In "NGO: Criminalization of
protests is state policy in Venezuela," by Gerardo Cárdenas,
El Universal, 20 July 2009.
While it was trendy for public figures to praise the Chavez
"revolution" and blame other influences for problems, one
reads things are coming undone.
"How are things coming along in Venezuela, that paradise
of democratic socialism? You must remember Venezuela.
That's the country that Diane Abbott said was showing 'a
better way', which Owen Jones told us had proven that 'you
can lead a progressive, popular government that says no to
neo-liberalism'? The apple in the eye of Marx, the last hope
for humanity in a world of fat cat banksters and austerity
Scrooges. The Copacobana of the international revolution.
Viva! How is Venezuela doing? Well, tens of thousands of
protesters are in the streets, the army's been sent to crush
revolt, an opposition leader has been arrested and
supporters of the government just shot dead a former beauty
queen. It's going to hell in a handcart, that's how it's
doing." In "Venezuela: the Left's favourite 'socialist
paradise' is sliding into poverty and dictatorship," by Tim
Stanley, The Telegraph UK, 21 February 2014.
The latest installment in the cliffhangers which are the
recent tales of the Maduro regime includes banning news
reports of growing hunger and widespread protests.
Don't look now
[ 2 ]
imperialism and capitalism? Of course. One reads:
"Bolivian President Evo Morales' voice cracked as he spoke
to reporters, describing Chavez as someone 'who gave all
his life for the liberation of the Venezuelan people ... of
all the anti-imperialists and anti-capitalists of the world'."
In "Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez dies," by Catherine E.
Shoichet and Dana Ford, CNN, 6 March 2013.
The quasi-theological tone of this is interesting, as one
notes the mythic "gave his life" for people "of the world."
Jesus was a socialist?
But let one ponder previous and most interesting
anti-capitalist sentiment. See:
Enemies of Capitalism
and the links to which these notions lead.
One may "rest assured" that blame will be assigned, in this
case to the United States: " 'If the United States has
said that it has publicly designated $9 million to support
the opposition to undermine Hugo Chavez, then you can rest assured that it is really spending $27 or $30
million because there are covert funds that they won’t let
the public know,' said Cornell West. He added, 'You have
to recognize that the only thing that stands in the way of
the United States undermining this revolution are
institutions like this,' referring to the organization
of delegations, 'that convince people that this revolution
is real'." In "Delegation of Prominent U.S. Progressive
Leaders Visits Venezuela," by Gregory Wilpert, 7 January
The nostalgia for "revolution" often fails to note one
salient feature to socialist revolutions throughout the
twentieth century and now into the twenty-first -- the
reality of the post-revolutionary one-party state and the
passing of leadership on much like the old aristocracies had
done in "imperial" eras. See:
Revolution revolves but once
- lèse majesté remains among its stunts.
Nostalgia for revolution can be such a bourgeois thing, it
One reads of a film star's nostalgia: " 'Venezuela
and its revolution will endure under the proven leadership
of Vice President Maduro.' (Sean Penn, March 5, 2013.)
To say nothing of the 'proven' –and particularly, the
enduring– 'leadership' of Maduro’s colonial overlords in
Havana, of whom Sean Penn is also extremely fond. 'I had the
privilege to introduce my children to comandante Fidel
Castro!' (Sean Penn, arm in arm with “great friend” Hugo
Chavez, Caracas Feb. 13, 2012.) Protests rocked Venezuela
this week. Hundreds of Venezuelans were arrested by
Cuban-trained police and at least three were shot dead by
Cuban-trained paramilitary storm-troopers. As we go to
press, Caracas is under a military clampdown with government
troops guarding most public buildings and patrolling the
streets. In brief, Venezuelans have had it with the
corruption, shortages, censorship, 56% inflation rate, crime
and general privations brought on by the late Hugo Chavez’s
'Bolivarian Revolution,' especially as implemented by
Chavez’ successor Nicholas Maduro, who won last October’s
elections–most non-Hollywood observers believe—by stealing
them." In "Venezuelans “taking it to the streets,” but
word from Sean Penn," by Humberto Fontana, Human Events,
17 February 2014.
Bourgeois? Indeed, when relatively wealthy Hollywood
luminaries can find such enthusiasm: "... the state
has been able to take over the public sector, primarily the
resources in oil, which were abundant, and everything else,
and been able to use that to eradicate poverty. So, those
are the real things. I think that there—because of the
situation in the region itself and the integration in the
region, we may find that certainly President Chávez and
those who are re-elected will really turn out—create a
new page in this history of this region." Danny Glover
in an interview with Amy Goodman, in "Danny Glover: Record
Venezuela Turnout Hands Chávez Convincing Mandate to
Continue Social Agenda," Democracy Now, 9 October 2012.
Remarkably a short eight years after Professor West declared
"this revolution is real," President Maduro has declared
protesting students "fascists" and basic staples become ever
more scarce under socialism's economic management.
What is proving real is something Professor West failed to
envision. "For weeks, Venezuela has been mired by
deadly protests. Young Venezuelans unhappy with the
ravaged economy and rising crime have clashed with security
forces, who have fired tear gas and water cannons. Last
week, three anti-government protesters died in
confrontations in Caracas. The country is grappling with
an inflation rate of 56.2%, the highest in the world. Many
basic goods are missing from the shelves." In
"17-year-old dies during Venezuelan protests," by Osmary
Hernandez and Holly Yan, CNN, 20 February 2014.
One finds questions about such rhetoric being asked:
"In a news conference Friday, Viktor Yanukovych, now holed
up in the Russian port of Rostov-on-Don, wasted no time in
describing the protesters who had ousted him from the
Ukrainian presidency in now-familiar terms. Euromaidan was
just a bunch of 'nationalist fascist youngsters,' he
explained, in what was his first appearance since fleeing
Kiev. The words might sound familiar to anyone who has been
watching another crisis on the other side of the world. When
Venezuelan protest leader Leopoldo Lopez was taken into
custody after widespread protests this month, President
Nicolas Maduro labelled [ sic ] the him the 'political
boss of the rightwing fascists.' Over the past few
weeks, opposition groups in these two very different
countries have had this label applied to them time and time
again. Does it even fit?" In "Both Ukrainian and
Venezuelan protesters have been called fascists. Why?"
By Adam Taylor, Washington Post, 28 February 2014.
One finds no clarity at all in such political terminology,
all meant to obfuscate. For the fumbling sleight-of-hand as
regards descriptions of left and right, see:
Left is Right, as Right is Left
One requires the Blame Buffet to put in place of the more
horrific admission of politicians, "we were wrong."
“There is far more danger in public than in private
monopoly, for when government goes into business it can always shift
its losses to the taxpayers. Government never makes ends meet and
that is the first requisite of business.” Thomas Alva Edison (1847-1931)
Shifty shifts his loss to you,
All the while he smiles so true.
Shifty shifts the blame as well,
And hopes to blind you with his spell.
Shifty shifts his loss to us,
Feigning surprise that we dare fuss.
Shifty was known so long ago;
One asks why folks still trust him so.
Shifty comes round in every age,
Monologues long on every stage.
Shifty plays his treacherous game;
Your losing is ever Shifty's aim.
Shifty was, and Shifty is now,
For Shifty shifts as tides allow.
Monopoly money, papered, inked,
In Shifty's hands inflates to shrink.
Shifty shifts each loss to you,
All the while he laughs anew.
Shiftless Shifty strolls away,
And leaves his bills for you to pay.
"Do you remember why the euro was launched? Its supporters made two
claims. First, that it would make its users wealthier; and second, that
it would make participating countries get on better. In the event,
it has inflicted unnecessary poverty and emigration across southern
Europe, and is now degrading democracy. How much more has to happen
before the Brussels elites accept that they have got it wrong?" In
"Greece is starting to look like Weimar Germany," by Daniel Hannan,
Telegraph UK, 29 September 2013.
Tell me that
you'll take my cash
"A rising number of manufacturers are canceling new
investments and putting off new hires because they fear paralysis in
Washington will force hundreds of billions in tax increases and budget
cuts in January, undermining economic growth in the coming months."
In "Fearing an Impasse in Congress, Industry Cuts Spending," by Nelson
D. Schwartz, The New York Times, 5 August 5, 2012.
Tell me that you'll take my cash,
Take more, then more and more;
Likely I'll sit out the crash,
While shuttering up my door.
Tell me that you'll confiscate,
While wasting much away;
Likely that I'll quiet wait
For collapse one coming day.
Tell me that what I produce
Goes to those who don't;
Likely that I'll quick reduce
Such that you simply won't.
Tell me that you'll penalize
Because I worked quite hard,
But understand you advertise
Your utter disregard.
Tell me that I hoard my cash,
When all I've done is save;
Are words spoken by a knave.
Tell me plain, and I will plan
That you'll have less to take;
Then you'll turn to triggerman
To steal for survival's sake.
Tell me, politicians, clowns,
Of hunger for what others made;
Capital will hunker down
And wait in sheltering shade.
"Handing down one of the basic decisions of U.S. constitutional law, the
Supreme Court ruled in McCulloch v. Maryland, back in 1819, that the
Constitution exempts the Federal Government from state taxation. Setting
forth his renowned dictum that 'the power to tax involves the power
to destroy,' Chief Justice John Marshall declared that the states
(and, by inference, local governments) 'have no power, by taxation or
otherwise, to retard, impede, burden or in any manner control the
operations of the constitutional laws enacted by Congress'." In "The
Supreme Court: The Power to Tax," Time, 17 March 1958.
A short reflection:
Many private pension funds have managed the savings of
middle-class individuals in society. Ironically, one reads
from the 19th century, "The bourgeoisie has stripped of its
halo every occupation hitherto honoured and looked up to
with reverent awe. It has converted the physician, the
lawyer, the priest, the poet, the man of science, into its
paid wage labourers." In "The Communist Manifesto," Karl
Therefore one can now see and conclude that government has
itself become, in the language of Marxism, the
bourgeoisie, "stripping" every occupation excepting its own
of a "halo" and now we see also of its savings, converting
them to promissory notes -- IOUs which may or may not remain
payable depending on the economic management of those
governments who have confiscated private funds to "raise
cash" in order "to reduce the budget deficit and public
debt." And so...
1) "The Argentine state is taking
control of the country's privately-managed pension funds in
a drastic move to raise cash. It is a foretaste of
what may happen across the world as governments discover
that tax revenue, and discover that the bond markets are
unwilling to plug the gap. The G7 states are already
acquiring an unhealthy taste for the arbitrary seizure of
private property, I notice." In "Argentina seizes
pension funds to pay debts. Who's next?" by Ambrose
Evans-Pritchard, Telegraph UK, 21 October 2008.
2) "Hungary is giving its
citizens an ultimatum: move your private-pension fund
assets to the state or lose your state pension. Economy
Minister Gyorgy Matolcsy announced the policy yesterday,
escalating a government drive to bring 3 trillion forint
($14.6 billion) of privately managed pension assets under
state control to reduce the budget deficit and public
debt. Workers who opt against returning to the state system
stand to lose 70 percent of their pension claim. 'This is
effectively a nationalization of private pension funds,'
David Nemeth, an economist at ING Groep NV in Budapest, said
in a phone interview. 'It’s the nightmare scenario'." In
"Hungary Follows Argentina in Pension-Fund Ultimatum,
`Nightmare' for Some'," by Zoltan Simon, Bloomberg, 25
3) "The Bulgarian government has
come up with a similar idea. $300m of private early
retirement savings was supposed to be transferred to the
state pension scheme. The government gave way after trade
unions protested and finally only about 20% of the original
plans were implemented." In "European nations begin
seizing private pensions," Christian Science Monitor, 2
4) "The cabinet agreed to
transfer the assets from four of Portugal’s biggest banks to
the state balance sheet. The assets will be used to bridge a
gap needed to meet the fiscal deficit target of 5.9pc of GDP
set by the terms of the country’s €78bn bail-out from around
10pc in 2010." In "Portugal raids pension funds to meet
deficit targets," by Louise Armistead, Telegraph UK, 2
5) "Poland said on
Wednesday it will transfer to the state many of the
assets held by private pension funds, slashing public
debt but putting in doubt the future of the
multi-billion-euro funds, many of them foreign-owned. The
changes went deeper than many in the market expected and
could fuel investor concerns that the government is ditching
some business-friendly policies to try to improve its
flagging popularity with voters. The Polish pension funds'
organisation said the changes may be unconstitutional
because the government is taking private assets away from
them without offering any compensation." In "Poland
reduces public debt through pension funds overhaul,"
Reuters, 4 September 2013.
6) "Russia’s government is
temporarily seizing $7.6 billion in savings from non-state
pension funds while it carries out inspections, a move
critics say looks like a 'confiscation' aimed at plugging a
hole in next year’s state budget. Prime Minister Dmitry
Medvedev told ministers Thursday that the government needs
to check that the money Russians channel to private pension
funds is safe. To do this, it will seize 244 billion rubles
($7.6 billion) from non-state pension funds and put them
into the state pension fund." In "Russia to Grab Pension
Money, Temporarily," by Andrey Ostroukh, Wall Street Journal
Europe, 3 October 2013.
And a year later, the adverb "temporarily" seems a
grammatical misuse. One reads: "Russia's
government has approved a plan to use contributions to
employees' privately-managed pension funds to plug budget
holes for a second year running. The move was confirmed
by Labour Minister Maxim Topilin on Tuesday in comments
published on the ministry's website. It has been heavily
criticised by some officials and analysts, who say it will
hurt the pensions industry and financial markets. The
decision was taken after government ministers discussed the
budget, Topilin said, adding that all obligatory pension
contributions would be directed to finance the
redistributive state pension system in 2015, including funds
originally earmarked for private management." In "Russia
diverts pension savings to plug budget hole for second
year," Reuters, 5 August 2014.
As with those who lend to governments on to receive a
"haircut" on their investment (see
A clip job
- the way to legally rob) one sees governments gathering money
wherever it may be found (see
Now how does that seem to a lender like you?
a run-around ).
Of course, such actions as documented above are done only
Default on Debt
game of centuries.
" 'None of this is all that surprising, so where is
the miss?' wondered Brown Brothers Harriman global currency strategist
Marc Chandler, after noting some fairly pedestrian and in-line quarterly
growth results. 'Contrary to what passes as conventional wisdom, the
main drag is coming from the government itself.'" In "Economy's
Biggest Drag Right Now Is Government," by Jeff Cox, CNBC, 27 April 2012
Unexpectedly has been expected,
But those who spoke were first rejected.
And still it's come to be.
Surprisingly there is no surprise,
But those who shut wide blindly eyes
Mutter -- unexpectedly.
Indentured, slaves to wage, and more,
Slaves to government debt abhor
That slavery's come to be.
Unexpectedly will be expected,
As transformation will be redirected
Against governments' thievery.
It was all for the common good,
Unexpectedly in each neighborhood
Faux financing busts its spree.
Government drags itself about
With Empty promising Plenty's shout;
From such drag will men be free.
Transformations need no fuse;
Excepting governments oft abuse
Their citizens' simple plea.
Unexpectedly has been expected,
But those who dared were first rejected.
Now, Take less from me.
Addendum of Art as a Drag:
"The US State Department on Friday fended off criticism for
commissioning a $1 million sculpture for its London embassy, saying it
was 'a good use of our limited resources'." In "State Dept on
back foot over $1 mln sculpture," Agence France Presse, 6 December 2013.
The rumors Fly - don't
ask me why
"Hellman disdained a system that made her fabulously
rich while romanticizing one that made its citizens spectacularly poor.
And as Hellman biographer Carl Rollyson noted, she never made 'more than
a grudging admission of how profoundly wrong she was about Stalin.'
Unlike Martin Heidegger and Ezra Pound, both of whom supported a
different genocidal tyrant, Hellman barely saw her reputation suffer
because of her repellent allegiances. Ms. Kessler-Harris's defense of
Hellman and others who refused to abjure Stalinism will sound familiar.
While some party apparatchiks were 'vaguely aware in the 1930s of
Stalin's increasingly ruthless methods'—a rather limp way of describing
a roiling genocide—one must remember that 'this was, after all, a period
when rumors flew.'" In "When Stalinism Was in Vogue," by Michael
Moynihan, Wall Street Journal, 1 May 2012.
The rumors Fly
Has buzzed about,
Its wings a shimmer
The noise it whirred
Was thought absurd;
It's only rumors,
In a word.
Disdain the system
But praise the one
Which has led
Man, are some
So rightly wrong,
And yet they sing
Their wrongly song.
Like Mice at the trap,
A whiff of cheese
Seems quite the thing,
A thing to
But then comes swift
Along the snap,
And Mice are ended
In that trap.
The rumors Fly
Senses rotting fur
As Mice scent up
The errors by --
Don't ask me why.
"Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei controls
a business empire worth around $95 billion - a sum exceeding the
value of his oil-rich nation's current annual petroleum exports - a
six-month Reuters investigation shows. The little-known organization,
called Setad, is one of the keys to the Iranian leader's enduring power
and now holds stakes in nearly every sector of Iranian industry,
including finance, oil, telecommunications, the production of
birth-control pills and even ostrich farming. Setad has built its empire
on the systematic seizure of thousands of properties belonging to
ordinary Iranians - members of religious minorities, Shi'ite Muslims,
business people and Iranians living abroad." In "Exclusive: Reuters
investigates business empire of Iran's supreme leader," by Steve
Stecklow, Babak Dehghanpisheh and Yeganeh Torbati, Reuters, 11 November
Moolah akbar - money's god,
And if that prayer seems rather odd,
Just follow where the numbers lead
To see a quite religious greed
As in one land as in some other
Rent seekers behave like one another.
Mullahs, mandarins, Pooh-Bahs grand
Are systematic in what they've planned.
Potentates, leaders, kings over men
Shout their moneyed loud amen!
Gathering up both wealth and power,
Supremely they lord as little men cower.
Such is money as their lord of all,
In the stench'd decay of their towers' call.
Moolah akbar - money's god,
For some mighty few and their iron rod.
Think not this is about some few,
For it is the larger point of view.
Rent seekers reign across the globe,
And dare the news to them disrobe,
As politics is traded, bought and sold
For the sum of a little shiny gold.
In this company one diversity finds
From capitalists to the communist kinds,
From the West, from Africa and the Middle East,
From the richest nations to the least,
Both our liberals and conservatives,
Income inequality advocates? Hey, what gives?
For moolah talks and money's god,
When believers true drop their facade.
That's the view; it is worldwide,
In all cultures, the rich astride
An enormous mass of middle and poor
Who at amassing wealth are amateur
Compared to those empires of the rich
Who must have more to scratch their itch.
Moolah akbar - money's god;
You see, that prayer is not so odd,
Just follow where the numbers lead
To test one universal sort of creed,
As in one land as in some other
Rent seekers behave like one another.
Envoi for the Less Informed:
Bill Gates, $72.7 billion; Vladamir Putin, $70 billion; Carlos Slim
Helu, $66.8 billion; Warren Buffett, $60 billion; Amancio Ortega Gaona,
$57 billion; Ingvar Kamprad, $53 billion; David Koch, $45.6 billion;
Charles Koch, $45.6 billion; Larry Ellison, $41 billion; Christy Walton,
$38 billion; Jim Walton, $36.6 billion; S. Robson Walton, $35,6 billion;
Sheldon Adelson, $35 billion; Alice Walton, $33 billion' Jeff Bezos, $33
billion; Liliane Bettencourt, $32.4 billion; Michael Bloomberg, $31
billion; Li Ka-Shing, $30 billion; Bhumibol Adulyadej (King of
Thailand), $30 billion; Bernaud Arnault, 429 billion; Prince Alwaleed
Bin Talal Alsaud, $29 billion; Larry Page, $28.8 billion; Sergey Brin,
$28.4 billion; Stefan Persson, $28 billion; Karl Albrecht, $26.9
billion; David Thomson, $25.8 billion; Michele Ferrero, $24.8 billion;
Dieter Schwarz, $24.8 billion; Lee Shau Kee, $24billion;Aliko Dangote,
$23 billion; George Soros, $23 billion; Forrest Mars Jr., $21.7 billion;
John Mars, $21 billion; Jacqueline Mars, $21 billion; Jorge Paul Lemann,
$20.9 billion; Alisher Usmanov, $20.4 billion; Evelyn De Rothschild, $20
billion; Hassanai Bolkiah Mu'izzaddin Waddaulah (Sultan of Brunei), $20
billion; Thomas and Raymond Kwok, $20 billion; Mark Zuckerberg, $19.8
billion; Carl Ichan, $19 billion; Leonardo Del Vecchio. $18.9 billion;
Gina Rinehart, $18.9 billion; Theo Albrecht, $18.8 billion; Mukesh
Ambani, $18.5 billion; Alberto Bailleres, $18.2 billion; Sheikh Khalifa
Bin Zayed Al Nahayan, $18 billion; Tadahi Yanai, $18 billion; Cheng Yu-
tung, $17.7 billion; Iris Fontbona; $17.4 billion; Francois Pinault,
$17.3 billion; Luis Carolo Sarmiento, $17.2 billion; Abdullah bin Abul
Aziz (King of Saudi Arabia), $17 billion; Azim Premji, $17 billion; Phil
Knight, $16.8 billion; Leonid Mikhelson, $16.7 billion; German Larrea
Mota Velasco, $16.7 billion; Mikhail Fridman, $16.5 billion; Michael
Otto, $16.1 billion; Steve Ballmer, $16 billion; Rinat Akhmentov, $16
billion; Len Blavatnik, $15.6 billion; Michael Dell, $15.4 billion;
Kakshmi Mittal, $15.3 billion; Elaine Marshall, $15.3 billion; John
Fredriksen, $15.2 billion; Viktor Vekselberg, $15.1 billion; Robert
Kuok, $15.1 billion; Ernesto Bartarelli, $ 15.1 billion; Susanne
Klatten, $15 billion; and many more. Source: Celebrity Net Worth, 2013.
[ 1 ]
of Empty Rhetoric: "Obama did not
propose any new policy initiatives in the speech, sponsored by the
Center for American Progress, a think tank with close ties to the White
House." In "Obama: Income Inequality Is 'Defining Challenge Of Our
Time'," by Jim Kuhnhenn, Associated Press via Huffington Post, 5
[ 2 ]
Addendum Explaining Empty
Rhetoric: "There were at least 10 things wrong
with the speech – aside from the fact that President Obama speaks as
if a bad-apple president pursuing some right-wing agenda had been in the
Oval Office for 5 years (in two of which he had a Democratic House and
Senate)...." In "10 problems with Obama’s income inequality speech,"
by Jennifer Rubin, Washington Post, 5 December 2013.
of the Tax Free Folk: "As lobbying and campaign finance records show, they are sending some
of this money back to Washington but to peddle influence. In
the 30 big corporations paid more to lobby Congress than they paid in
federal income taxes for the three years between 2008 and 2010, despite
being profitable. During a period when companies posted three-year
U.S. profits ranging from $286 million (Con-Way) to $49 billion (Wells
Fargo) and totally $164 billion altogether, all but one company in this
group paid no federal income taxes at all." In "For Hire: Lobbyists or
the 99%?" a report by Public Campaign, December 2011.
from an Old Foxtrot:
"Times are so bad and getting badder / Still we have fun / There's
nothing surer / The rich get rich and the poor get laid off / In
the meantime / In between time / Ain't we got fun." In "Ain't We Got
Fun," (1921) lyrics by Raymond B. Egan and Gus Kahn.
Addendum on Spreading the
Wealth Around: "The richest people on the planet
got even richer in 2013, adding $524 billion to their collective net
worth, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, a daily ranking of
the world’s 300 wealthiest individuals. The aggregate net worth of the
world’s top billionaires stood at $3.7 trillion at the market close on
Dec. 31, according to the ranking. The biggest gains came in the
technology industry, which soared 28 percent during the year. Of the 300
people who appeared on the final ranking of 2013, only 70 registered a
net loss for the 12-month period." In "Billionaires Worth $3.7 Trillion
Surge as Gates Wins 2013," by Matthew G. Miller and Peter Newcomb,
Bloomberg, 2 January 2014.
Addendum on Iranian Gold:
"Many Iranians see this focus on ornamentation as distracting from the
true morality of Islam and its key figures. One Facebook user commented:
'Gold Nahjol-balakhe, gold Quran, gold dome, the world’s largest Quran
and the world’s smallest Quran… Is your religion so petty that you are
trying to make it [better] by varnishing it? Meanwhile, you have bragged
and shouted about Ali’s just ways and his care for orphans.' That
Iranians are angry over what they see as 'vanity' projects during times
of need should come as no surprise. Many Iranians have been
struggling financially for the last few years, as prices of fuel,
utilities and groceries have jumped in the first wave of subsidy reforms
in 2010. As the Guardian recently reported, subsidized gas prices shot
up 75% last week, while heating fuel prices were already up 25% from
earlier this year. The second wave of those reforms is set for this
week, and they are expected to hit hard in an economy already battered
by U.S. sanctions and stagflation." In "Iranians Flip Out Over
Government’s Gold-Book Project," by Eric Eyges, Vocativ, 29 April 2014.
and the same old, same old Raise
[ 1 ] As one
surveys the truncated list from one far longer with many
more billionaires, one finds ostensible political opponents,
opponents defined as supposedly advocating for opposing
cultures and religions and fiscal policies, but what unites
this seemingly disparate list -- from Christian and secular
to Muslim (and from Sunni to Shia), from Democrat to
Republican, from kings to business moguls and amusingly from
ostensible socialists, is enormous wealth, plain and simple.
At the same time, nations with their "activist" billionaires
are in massive debt, which governments like to describe as
"public." The dissonance here is obvious, for as the rich
get richer while central banks prop up stock markets, losses
from those with "private" wealth are being assigned to an
[ 2 ]
New policy initiatives? It turns
out that the Obama cabinet features a billionaire.
Wikipedia informs: "Penny Sue Pritzker (born May 2,
1959) is an American business executive, entrepreneur, civic
leader, and philanthropist who is currently serving as
the 38th United States Secretary of Commerce. She is the
founder of PSP Capital Partners and Pritzker Realty Group.
She is also co-founder of Artemis Real Estate Partners. She
is a member of the Pritzker family. In 2012, Chicago
magazine named her one of the 100 most powerful Chicagoans.
In 2011 the Forbes 400 list of America's wealthiest showed
her as the 263rd richest person in the U.S., estimated net
worth of US $1.8511 billion, and the world's 651st
richest person. In 2009 Forbes named Pritzker as one of
the 100 most powerful women in the world."
It is therefore correct to say that
Obama chooses millionaires and billionaires to govern. Is
there any confusion about this?
Going into greater "public debt" or
raising taxes on a struggling middle class are the options
of choice for Washington, under Democrats as under
Republicans. with the pattern repeated in nation after
nation. But as a quick survey of the list above as well as a
short look at Iran's Setad, "a business empire worth around
$95 billion," one may easily conclude something other than
the "income inequality" posture of the ruling classes
worldwide, and that is that future holds what the past has
held. Rent seekers seek their rent, and from whom? The
powerful seek from the less powerful as from the powerless.
This has been the economic history of the world. Oligarchies
today often clothe themselves in other raiment as needed,
because camouflage is among the strategies of the world.
And "the defining challenge of our
time" as Obama stated is in the hands of this salient fact
about fat cat government:
"The Center for Responsive
Politics analyzed the personal financial disclosure data
from 2012 of the 534 current members of Congress and found
that, for the first time, more than half had an average net
worth of $1 million or more: 268 to be exact, up from 257
the year earlier. The median for congressional Democrats was
$1.04 million and, for Republicans, $1 million even." In
"Congress Is Now Mostly A Millionaires’ Club," by Andrew
Katz, Time, 9 January 2014.
You owe it to yourself
"The Keynesian intellectual 'fog,' for that is what
the whole discussion surely reflected, was motivated, in part, by the
underlying purpose of securing widespread public and political
acceptance of an activist fiscal policy regime. To convince the
non-economist public to abandon the classical precepts of fiscal
prudence, the Keynesians felt that they needed to show that public debt
did not matter because, after all, 'we owe it to ourselves.'" In
"The Collected Works of James M. Buchanan: The Logical Foundations of
Constitutional Liberty," 1999, v.1, p. 172.
You owe it to yourself
to crawl out
upon a limb
And, sitting there, you saw
your foggy whim.
You owe it to yourself
to leap from
Just to test your notion
need no safety net.
You owe it yourself
until you burst,
And then complain to others
it was they
who hurt you worst.
You owe it to yourself
as you print
yourself more cash,
To ponder on such problems
"When asked if he remember what the national debt was when he entered
office, President Obama said 'I don't know what the number was
precisely.' Obama told Letterman 'we don't have to worry about it
short term. A lot of it we owe to ourselves. Because if you invest
in a treasury bill or something like that then essentially you're
loaning the government money. In fact, the majority of it is held by
folks who live here, but we don't have to worry about it short term,'
Obama said." In "Obama On Debt: 'We Don't Have To Worry About It Short
Term'," RealClearPolitics video, 18 September 2012.
spoke a failed
"One of the many dismaying things about anti-Semitism
is its lack of originality." In "Anti-Semitism 101," by Alex
Joffe, Jewish Ideas Daily, 6 May 2011.
It's the same old game, from age to age,
Yet repeating it serves to enrage
Those who believe its empty charge,
Unoriginal, however large.
Jews," cries out a folk unable
Look at their
own hate-filled fable.
is its bile,
It is their
To hide their
In their own
It's the same old game, from age to age,
Yet repeating it serves to enrage
Those who believe its empty charge,
Unoriginal, however large.
The same old story
- a tale grown hoary
Seeing is believing
"All men by nature desire to know. An indication of
this is the delight we take in our senses; for even apart from their
usefulness they are loved for themselves; and above all others the
sense of sight. For not only with a view to action, but even when we
are not going to do anything, we prefer seeing (one might say) to
everything else. The reason is that this, most of all the senses, makes
us know and brings to light many differences between things." In
Aristotle’s "Metaphysica," translated by W. D. Ross, I-i, 980a-993b.
Seeing is believing, when words so lie
On a page, in a law, when lies' lips reply.
What will you trust when words puff and fume?
Which senses bring sense, and then to whom?
Will you see light in the mythic cave?
Will you see differences when words enslave?
Will you see clarity, vision's gift to give?
Will you turn away from wicked things? To live?
Seeing is believing, when words do lie
In promises un-kept by liars sly.
Will you trust when words repeat,
Or will you like the sheep just bleat?