Collected Poetry

VOLUME FIFTEEN  

 

Original materials - Copyright © 2019  by Gary Bachlund    All international rights reserved

 

"We know through painful experience that freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed." In "Letter From Birmingham City Jail," Martin Luther King Jr., 16 April 1963.

 

Who just says what?

Who just says what? And who just defines
Amorphous notions of hateful whines?
One man hates another man's speech,
And to silence one extends the reach
Of who can say what and who shall define
Uniformed speech, the tyrant's sign.
Uniform thought is thought controlled;
An incorrect thought receives a scold.
Who just says what? And who just defines
When a thuggish tyrant speech maligns?
The fists of power rise up to crush
Whomever they deem it right to shush.
Hate means what? In what legal sense?
What should it cost? What recompense
Must be paid by cash, limb, or life,
As each tyrant seeks to silence strife?
Who just says what? And who just defines
When tyranny freedom's speech maligns?

 

Envoi:   "If we don't believe in freedom of expression for people we despise, we don't believe in it at all." Noam Chomsky.

 

Addendum of an Inquisition:   "...the Inquisition, guided by its founding in 1233 by the steely intellects of the Dominican order, had developed the techniques that would torment Catholic Europe and Latin America for centuries to come and, in the process, provide the model for latter- day totalitarian control of the individual conscience." In "The Perfect Heresy," by Stephen O'Shea, Profile Books, 2001.

 

Addendum of a Modern Inquisition:   "Large groups of citizens, loyal to the party and serving as informers and enforcers at the grassroots level, can be seen almost everywhere in China today. They are easily recognizable by the red armband they wear prominently. The so-called “red armbands,” mobilized masses and cadres for patrolling and inspecting, have become the instrument that the CCP uses to monitor the community, especially dissenters and religious believers. The appearance of these zealous citizens enforcing a moral and disciplinary code on their fellow citizens reminds many of past Chinese social movements, like the Fengqiao Experience or the Boxer Rebellion." by Lin Yijiang, Bitter Winter, 30 December 2018.   [ 1 ]

 

Addendum of Another Modern Inquisition:   "The Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice enforces traditional Islamic morality by arresting or helping to secure the arrest of people who engage in conduct that violates Islamic principles and values. They are tasked with enforcing Sharia as defined in Saudi Arabia. In addition to having the power to arrest anyone engaged in homosexual acts, prostitution or fornication, they can also arrest unrelated males and females caught socializing and enforce Islamic dress-codes, eating habits (such as the prohibition from eating pork) and store closures during the prayer time. They prohibit the consumption or sale of alcoholic beverages and seize banned consumer products and media regarded contrary to Islamic morals. They also actively prevent the religious practices of other religions within Saudi Arabia." In "Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice (Saudi Arabia)," Wikipedia article, n. d.   [ 2 ]

 

Addendum of a Choking Inquisition:   "The Justice Department has committed to ending a controversial Obama-era program that discourages banks from doing business with a range of companies, from payday lenders to gun retailers." In "Justice Department to end Obama-era 'Operation Choke Point'," by Victoria Guida, Politico, 17 August 2017. [ 3 ]

 

Addendum of an Artistic Inquisition:   " 'Every artist whose work appears on Netflix should be outraged that the company has agreed to censor a comedy show because the thin-skinned royals in Saudi complained about it,' a spokesperson said. 'Netflix’s claim to support artistic freedom means nothing if it bows to demands of government officials who believe in no freedom for their citizens – not artistic, not political, not comedic'." In "Outrage after Netflix pulls comedy show criticising Saudi Arabia," by Mattha Busby, Guardian UK, 1 January 2019.   [ 4 ]

 

Addendum of an Inquisition by Regulation:  "In short, Patreon is choosing to monitor the speech of any creators funded by its site and will apply its own standards to regulate that speech even though the speech isn’t being published or hosted at Patreon. It should go without saying that Patreon, as a private company, is free to do so. But in the video below, Peterson suggests the move to oust libertarian and right-leaning speakers is being driven by a left-wing group called Change the Terms." In "Dave Rubin and Jordan Peterson leave Patreon over free speech concerns," by John Sexton, HotAir, 2 January 2019.   [ 5 ]

 

Addendum of Dulling Inquisitions:   "...without a vibrant commitment to free and open inquiry, a university ceases to be a university." In "Report of the Committee on
Freedom of Expression," University of Chicago, n. d.
   [ 6 ]

 

NOTES

 

[ 1 ]   From the article: "Another historical precedent was the turn-of-the-century Boxer Rebellion. The Boxers (literally the 'Fists of Harmony and Justice') were a Chinese secret society that led the rebellion against colonialism and Christianity. Political commentator Wen Zhao sees a common thread: 'What the Boxers and the Fengqiao Experience have in common is that both are forms of mass violence manipulated by those in power to commit outrageous acts in the name of truth and glory'."

          That violence and the threat of violence would be "manipulated by those in power" is that common thread which binds inquisition to inquisition throughout history and across all cultures.

          In this specific Chinese Communist example:  "The social credit system is based on the government’s phrase 'once untrustworthy, always restricted', and is set to be tested further on the country’s train system from May 1, it was announced last week." In "China's 'social credit' system bans millions from travelling," by Jamie Fullerton, Telegraph UK, 24 March 2018.

          One may survey modern trends in the West in this regard:  Veiled Threats - a commonality.

 

[ 2 ]   Similarly, as organized by such thought, one reads:   "In the book Taliban by Ahmed Rashid, the ministry is referred to as the Department of the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice. Maulvi Qalamuddin, the head of the ministry during the Taliban era, preferred the English translation Department of Religious Observances. The Ministry for the Propagation of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice of Afghanistan was in charge of implementing Islamic rules (Hanafi principles) as defined by the Taliban. Its religious police raided the streets arresting women not fully covered and people listening to music." In "Ministry for the Propagation of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice (Afghanistan)." Wikipedia article, n. d.

          And With regard to music ....

 

[ 3 ]   More on this "choke point":  "For those unfamiliar, Choke Point consisted of bureaucrats in several independent federal agencies taking it upon themselves to shut legal businesses – such as payday lenders and firearms dealers – out of the banking system. Given the nature of the U.S. regulatory framework, this operation was easy to pull off." In "Newly Unsealed Documents Show Top FDIC Officials Running Operation Choke Point," by Norbert Michel, Forbes, 6 November 2018.

 

[ 4 ]    One could consider the accusation, a relatively recent term, of Islamophobia .  That the Saudi government may exercise its political influence in another nation to push back at being ridiculed is evidence of a government and its being very Thin-skinned .

 

[ 5 ]    From the Change the Terms website, one reads:   "While a free and open internet creates immense social value, it can also be used to engage in hateful activities and to do so at a large scale. For example, white supremacist and other organizations inciting hate are using online platforms to organize, fund, recruit supporters for, and normalize racism, sexism, xenophobia, religious bigotry, homophobia and transphobia, among others. This chills the online speech of the targeted groups, curbs democratic participation, and threatens people’s safety and freedom in real life." In "Adopt the Terms," Change the Terms, accessed January 2019.

          Thus one becomes enmeshed in the discussion, what constitutes hate. An opposing view politically can easily be defined as hate, and thus this tactic becomes thuggish in short order. Who shall "adopt" whose "terms?" Depending on the severity of the inquisition, it becomes simply a matter of exercising raw power.

 

Some People Don't Believe

 

          From the article above, a seemingly compliant official at the company stated:  "We understand some people don’t believe in the concept of hate speech and don’t agree with Patreon removing creators on the grounds of violating our Community Guidelines for using hate speech. We have a different view. Patreon does not and will not condone hate speech in any of its forms."  Yet it has not defined what hate speech is.

          The article notes that this is mere and sheer politics:  "...the bottom line is that very well-funded left-wing groups are pushing to 'no-platform' hate. In practice, that looks a lot like going after anyone on the right who has a different opinion. Put another way, if the Southern Poverty Law Center is now in charge of defining hate speech online, you can bet a lot of people who aren’t remotely white supremacists are going to be swept up in the dragnet as well. In June the SPLC made a $3.3 million settlement with Maajid Nawaz over his inclusion in its 'Field Guide to Anti-Muslim Extremists.' Other groups targeted by the SPLC have said they are considering lawsuits as well."

          Such circles back to the above mentioned capitulation by Netflix to the Saudi government, as one of many contemporary examples of the application of power, even national borders.

          As to Patreon and their censoring of users, one reads:  " Podcast host Sam Harris objected to Patreon's approach and announced that he would be leaving the platform because of it. Shortly thereafter Patreon deleted the account of It's Going Down, a hardline left-wing news website, for doxing. Patreon CEO Jack Conte subsequently announced that he would be expanding the company's appeal process, regretting the initial wording of the letter which said '[we] will not consider an appeal'." In "Patreon," Wikipedia article, n. d.

 

[ 6 ]    The similarities to the various topics above cluster. In the University of Chicago protocol, one pledges with this:  "...the University is committed to the principle that it may not restrict debate or deliberation because the ideas put forth are thought to be offensive, unwise, immoral, or wrong-headed. It is for the members of the University community to make those judgments for themselves. As a corollary to this commitment, members of the University community must also act in conformity with this principle. Although faculty, students and staff are free to criticize, contest and condemn the views expressed on campus, they may not obstruct, disrupt, or otherwise interfere with the freedom of others to express views they reject or even loathe." In "Statement on Principles of Free Expression," University of Chicago, July 2012.

         Consider the truths being revealed within the same old strife appearing in this time as the dissonance between Free speech, hate speech and the rage of the hopefully fading Totalitarian .

 

Addressing and Blunting Totalitarian Urges

 

         The observation as above of "totalitarian control of the individual conscience" functions well as a sketch of many entities across history, and in this modern era. Such Committees for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice" as one finds in Islamic lands are akin to "Fists of Harmony and Justice" and "social credit systems and choke points strategies and de-platforming attempts as "Change the Terms" cited above espouses, all similar attempts towards the "totalitarian control of the individual conscience."

         Not restricting "debate or deliberation because the ideas put forth are thought to be offensive, unwise, immoral, or wrong-headed" allows ideas, theories, narratives, debates, research and clarity to sort themselves out in a free society not dedicated to "totalitarian control." This is the new revolution.

         Thus, Chomsky's assertion is pointed and clear:  "If we don't believe in freedom of expression for people we despise, we don't believe in it at all."

         Who just says what? And who just defines / When tyranny freedom's speech maligns?


 

¯\_(?)_/¯

I'll make reply quite readily.
A shrug's part of my medley.
¯\_(?)_/¯
I don't know much, that's for sure,
So I prefer to oft demure.
¯\_(?)_/¯
I'll confess, huh? not just guess.
Some might not, but I profess...
¯\_(?)_/¯


 

Pronouns at play - so some people say

I'm
    Smarter than you.
    Game over. I've won.
    Thanks for the contest;
    Thanks for the fun.

You're
    Dumber than me.
    Game over. You've lost.
    I judge as jury
    You must be bossed.

He's
    Greater than you.
    You will believe
    By hook or by crook,
    Or must we deceive?

We're
    Sure to have peace
    As long as you heed
    The rules as we rule.
    You simply will heed.

You're
    Bound to submit
    To our perfect views
    And if you will not
    We'll tighten your screws.

They're
    Surely the best;
    And you will obey
    Or righteously they
    Will flay you this day.

Consider The Truth - no doubt about it


 

I'd like to fill the void that God once occupied - a reflection on secular modernity

"Nietzsche’s works express a fear that the decline of religion, the rise of atheism, and the abscense of a higher moral authority would plunge the world into chaos. The western world had depended on the rule of God for thousands of years -- it gave order to society and meaning to life. Without it, Nietzsche writes, society will move into an age of nihilism. Although Nietzsche may have been considered a nihilist by definition, he was critical of it and warned that accepting nihilism would be dangerous." In "God is Dead," Philosophy Index, n. d.

 

I'd like to fill the void that God once occupied,

            And so I seek for other gods and many have applied.
The god of genitalia is hard on opening wide,
            While the god of ego preens with all it finds inside.
The godly state salutes itself with flag and proper pomp,
            While the god of money counts its riches' ripened romp.
The god of ideology is well suited to its task,
            While the god of lordly pleasures oft must wear its mask.
I'd like to fill the void that is unsatisfied,
            And so many little gods line up, all to be glorified.

 

Addendum of Choosing the Accuser to Fill the Void:    "When tensions arise in a group (as they inevitably do), people commence to cast about for a scapegoat, for someone or some group to blame. Deeply attractive, even addictive, the scapegoating move rapidly attracts a crowd, which in short order becomes a mob. In their common hatred of the victim, the blamers feel an ersatz sense of togetherness. Filled with the excitement born of self-righteousness, the mob then endeavors to isolate and finally eliminate the scapegoat, convinced that this will restore order to their roiled society. At the risk of succumbing to the reductio ad Hitlerum fallacy, nowhere is the Girardian more evident than in the Germany of the 1930s. Hitler ingeniously exploited the scapegoating mechanism to bring his country together—obviously in a profoundly wicked way." In "The Internet and Satan’s Game," by Bishop Robert Barron, Words on Fire, 22 January 2019.

 

An alternative view to the Nihilist:  I prefer a vital God


 

Wonder Boy looks small and pale

"Elle relève d'une recherche quasi mystique, à l'image de la recherche du nombre d'or ou de la divine proportion dans la Grèce antique." In "Emmanuel Macron ou Jupiter 2.0 ?" by Harold Hauzy, 31 May 2017.

 

Wonder Boy looks small and pale
In the lashing light of day;
Great he was on the glistening screens;
That slogan-slick image fades away.
Reality is that glaring light
Which strips pretense's play.
After 'The End' life goes on;
Tomorrow still has its say.
Wonder Boy was a role with lines
But behind the script's scrawled fray
Hid the ordinary and average
Which spotlights don't display.
Reality's not a fine fan of tales
Which repeat, rerun, replay.
Wonder Boy looks small and frail
In the slashing light of day.

 

Envoi:   " 'C'est le roi. Il ne voit rien rien rien rien', enrage Philippe, 74 ans et chef de file d'un groupe de 'gilets jaunes' qui filtre régulièrement la circulation dans la région du Mans." In " 'Gilets jaunes': la 'haine' contre le 'roi' Macron, moteur de la colère," Agence France Presse/ Le Point, 5 December 2018.

 

Addendum of the Same Old Same Old:    "Research published last week by the Cevipof political institute at Sciences Po university found more than two thirds of the French people still had overwhelmingly negative views of politicians. When asked to sum up their feelings towards them, 37 percent said they felt 'distrust', 32 percent 'disgust', eight percent 'boredom' and four percent 'fear'." In "Same old elite? Macron's 'revolution' fails with fed up French," France 24/Agence France Presse, 18 January 2019.

 

Addendum with a Sting from the Left:   "Macron is a skinny little-trained seal in a circus where we cannot even see the ringmaster." In "Dear France: I Told You Le Pen Really Mattered," by Phil Butler, New Eastern Outlook, 31 January 2019.


 

Run around in circles

"There are stirrings of discussion these days in philosophical circles about the prospect of human extinction."   In "Would Human Extinction Be a Tragedy?" by Todd May, New York Times, 17 December 2018.   [ 1 ]

 

Run around in circles,
            And mull the end of days.
Man is sure to go extinct
            In oh so many ways.
Philosophic circles
            Circle round and round,
Prospecting for an ending
            On which one may propound.
Run around in circles,
            And mull the finish line,
Which extinguishes the circle
            And stirs discussion fine.
Philosophic circles
            Are circles without end
Until there comes some tragedy
            Which prospectors might defend.
If philosophy in the forest falls,
            And none will hear its fall,
Philosophic circles
            Will mean nothing much at all.
Run around in circles
            And word the tragedy
Before the end is truly nigh
            There's time for parody.

 

Addendum of So Many Options:    "In futures studies, human extinction is the hypothetical end of the human species. This may result from natural causes or it may be the result of human action. The likelihood of human extinction in future by wholly natural scenarios, such as a meteorite impact or large-scale volcanism, is generally considered to be extremely low. For anthropogenic extinction, many possible scenarios have been proposed: human global nuclear annihilation, biological warfare or the release of a pandemic-causing agent, dysgenics, overpopulation, ecological collapse, and climate change; in addition, emerging technologies could bring about new extinction scenarios, such as advanced artificial intelligence, biotechnology or self-replicating nanobots. The probability of anthropogenic human extinction within the next hundred years is the topic of an active debate." In "Human extinction," Wikipedia article, n. d.

 

Addendum of Choosing Nihilism:   "We’re the only species evolved enough to consciously go extinct for the good of all life, or which needs to. Success would be humanity’s crowning achievement. May we live long and die out." In "Success," The Voluntary Human Extinction Movement, n. d. From their website, "When every human chooses to stop breeding, Earth’s biosphere will be allowed to return to its former glory, and all remaining creatures will be free to live, die, evolve (if they believe in evolution), and will perhaps pass away, as so many of Nature’s 'experiments' have done throughout the eons. It’s going to take all of us going."    [ 2 ]

 

Addendum of 'It Could Be':   "Likening it to a dangerous weapon in the hands of a child, he [ Nick Bostrom ] says the advance of technology has overtaken our capacity to control the possible consequences. ...change is coming whether or not we're ready for it. 'There is a bottleneck in human history. The human condition is going to change. It could be that we end in a catastrophe or that we are transformed by taking much greater control over our biology. It's not science fiction, religious doctrine or a late-night conversation in the pub. There is no plausible moral case not to take it seriously'." In "How are humans going to become extinct?" by Sean Coughlan, BBC, 24 April 2013.   [ 3 ]

 

NOTES
 

[ 1 ]  One learns from the New York Times byline that "Todd May is a professor of philosophy at Clemson University and the author of, most recently, 'A Fragile Life: Accepting Our Vulnerability.' He is a philosophical adviser for the television show, 'The Good Place'." 

          As to the verbiage of "a fragile life" and "vulnerability," an anonymous student opines:  "Todd is a very bright philosopher but he thinks very highly of himself and doesn't really want to see you stretch your boundaries and contradict him." In the ULoop of Clemson University, n. d.

          May opines in the NYT article, "It is humanity that is committing a wrong, a wrong whose elimination would likely require the elimination of the species...."  It is an interesting notion to blame "humanity," but it is not an unusual notion, as one finds for those who see humanity as The Scourge of the Planet .

          And so continues the larger tale of predicting an Apocalypse sometime .

 

[ 2 ]     "We" is such a fine pronoun, as an individual purports to speak for a group, a movement, an entire nation or group of nations, race, or the greatest of all, mankind. One may take a lesson from those who so easily speak of "we," and to opine that "we" might well be demonstrably wrong. As an example:  Extremely Green  - wrong for more than forty years. Oddly, "we" seem not to be choosing nihilism as readily as some would like.

 

[ 3 ]   "It could be" is such a fine phrase for scientists, as is the longer sentence, "it could be we will get more funding."   One could and one may consider the use of such wiggle words as used so frequently in the public handwringing of various sorts on parade now as in the past:  Could and May - an up-to-date play.

          An editor's pick among the comments allowed by the BBC:   Scott0962 on 24 Apr 2013: "Whether humanity may go extinct or whether it even deserves to survive are questions for scientists, philosophers, theologians, and perhaps science fiction writers to debate--the rest of us are busy living."

          Before the end is truly nigh /  There's time for parody.  And there is time to be "busy living."

 


 

The Easy Button

"...they were men with well-defined and sound ideas on everything concerning exports, banking, the fruit or wine trade; men of proved ability in handling problems relating to insurance, the interpretation of ill-drawn contracts, and the like; of high qualifications and evident good intentions. That, in fact, was what struck one most, the excellence of their intentions. But as regards plague their competence was practically nil." "The Plague," Albert Camus, 1947 (Gallimard, French) trans. by Stuart Gilbert, 1948 (Hamish Hamilton, English).   [ 1 ]

 

Push the button;
That's the way.
Easy is but
One push away.
Flick that switch,
Come what may;
It's short and sweet,
But hell to pay.

 

Envoi:   "Sir, Hell is paved with good intentions." Samuel Johnson, 1775   [ 2 ]

 

NOTES

 

[ 1 ]     Camus' novella ends, observing "...he knew that the tale he had to tell could not be one of a final victory. It could be only the record of what had had to be done, and what assuredly would have to be done again in the never ending fight against terror and its relentless onslaughts, despite their personal afflictions, by all who, while unable to be saints but refusing to bow down to pestilences, strive their utmost to be healers."

 

[ 2 ]    A generation of politicians passes, as one reads "...communities experienced massive upheaval, and just as here in the U.S., there were race riots and community tensions. One man predicted it all, but was widely panned by the media and the political class for doing so. Enoch Powell was sure to be a Conservative Party leader if he had just kept his mouth shut, but as he said on April 20, 1968, to a small room of supporters in Birmingham, UK, 'All I know is that to see, and not to speak, would be the great betrayal'." In " 'Enoch Was Right,' Raheem Kassam writes in his new book on a forgotten hero of our times," review by Ned Ryun, American Spectator, 27 April 2018.

 


 

 

Try to cite the sources,
    As 'experts say' speaks dumb.
        Name and clearly reference
            As the obvious rule of thumb.
                Assertions without sourcing,
                    Citations to be checked,
                        Is that old three card monte
Assuring disconnect.
Believe, an anonymous source says,
                        Because of -- well, you know --,
                    Is a shill game played by many
                Who dance their dazzling show.
            But 'they' tells nothing really,
        When 'they' have no named names,
    And without the names and faces
There's are cynical unsourced games.

 


 

 

"Three people have appeared in court in Zimbabwe, accused of stealing a suitcase containing $150,000 (£117,600) of cash from the country's ousted president, Robert Mugabe." In "Mugabe: Suitcase of cash stolen from ex-Zimbabwe leader," BBC, 10 January 2019.    [ 1 ]

 

Wouldn't you like a suitcase
Like the one a trio stole?
Politicians in most every place
Seem on quite a roll.

    Wouldn't you like a stash
    Like that which prime folk cache?
    Politicians in most every land
    Labor for their cash.

        Wouldn't you like a packet
        To lavishly lug about?
        Politicians in most every age
        Are rarely found without.

            Power seems to travel
            With pals that pay quite well,
            Even when their nation
            Fails in parallel.

 

Addendum of Suitcases Full of Cash:   "...'it was a huge surprise when we found the empty apartment and just the suitcases and boxes covered by a sheet,' Daniel Madruga, who coordinated the operation, told local television station Globo. Corruption has been an endemic problem in Brazil for centuries, but a massive investigation has unexplained piles of cash popping up around the country like never before. Believed to be the largest corruption case in modern history, the probe uncovered a complex scheme in which top business executives traded bribes for lucrative government contracts." In "Brazil’s top politicians are getting busted with literal suitcases full of cash," by Marina Lopes, Washington Post, 7 September 2017.

 

Addendum of a Money-Stuffed Suitcase:   "Guido Alejandro Antonini Wilson, the star witness of the money-stuffed suitcase scandal which involves Argentine and Venezuelan officials, declared in a federal court in Miami that the plane in which he flew August 2007 to Buenos Aires was carrying a second suitcase with 4.2 million US dollars besides the 800.000 which were seized by Buenos Aires Customs." In "Suitcase scandal: where's the rest of the money?" Merco Press, 24 September 2008.

 

Addendum of Money-Bag Politics:   "The history of Nigerian politics is replete with money-bag politics. Although, there is hardly any country in the world where instances of bribery or political corruption are not present in their national politics, researches on Africa’s postcolonial history, have however shown that, in Africa, corruption is an institutionalized and a systemic practice affecting not only the postcolonial state itself, but also the majority of the citizenry. Using Nigeria, as a case study, this paper argues that since the 1964/1965 Western Region elections to the 2007 general elections, there has hardly been any election conducted in Nigeria without associated cases of corrupt practices such as vote buying, ballot snatching, election rigging, election violence, political and legislative lobbying etc." In "Money-Bag Politics, Rent-Seeking  [ 2 ]  And Flawed Elections In Nigeria: A Theoretical Statement," Derin Ologbenla, Waziri Babatunde Adisa, Journal of Public Administration and Governance, Vol. 2, No. 1 (2012). 

 

Addendum of Mexican Millions:    "Until Monday, the most prominent Mexican official accused of taking bribes was Genaro García Luna, the country’s former public security director. When Jesus Zambada testified in November, he told jurors that he had met twice with Mr. García Luna in a restaurant and both times gave him a briefcase stuffed with at least $3 million in cash." In " El Chapo Trial: Former Mexican President Peña Nieto Took $100 Million Bribe, Witness Says," by Alan Feuer, New York Times, 15 January 2019.

 

NOTES

 

[ 1 ]    Some details:  "Mr Mugabe, now 94, was forced out of office by Zimbabwe's military in 2017. Up to that point, he had been in power for 37 years, first as prime minister and later as president. Once famously claiming that a country could never go bankrupt, he was accused of enjoying a lavish lifestyle while presiding over Zimbabwe's economic collapse."

 

[ 2 ]   It should become obvious to all observers that the notion of rent-seeking by political avenues is endemic throughout government at every level around the world. By legal as well as illegal means, governors -- those who govern -- and legislators -- those who legislate -- feather their own nests first and foremost.

          One only need a cursory survey of Corruption in the United States, and, in the parlance of this little world of rhyme, Corruption has a middle name , to see that Politics itself is the mechanism which so easily corrupts, as the feeding frenzy on the part of "leaders" in the public arena has defrauded citizens in every land and every age.

 


 

Double down on failure

Double down on failure;
Why not fail twice?
Triple down! Why not?
Heed the worst advice.
Wager on a losing scheme;
Roll those pesky dice.
Dream that you cannot lose;
Then pay the loser's price.
Double down yet again,
For dreams smell oh so nice.
Fail and then fail again;
So goes it in a trice.

 

Addendum of Recent Support for a Failed State:    "...while many on the left are now keen to disavow any connection to the Venezuelan disaster, their earlier enthusiasm is on the record. Greg Grandin, writing in The Nation in 2013, offered a laudatory take on Chavez and suggested that Venezuela 'might be the most democratic country in the Western hemisphere.' (He also argued, oddly enough, that Chavez 'wasn’t authoritarian enough.') Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the U.K.’s Labour Party, has also been a big Chavez fan, while Nobel laureate economist Joseph Stiglitz praised Venezuela’s economic policies in 2007 and declared that the risks of higher inflation were overrated." In "Venezuela Isn’t Just a Failed State. It’s a Failure of the Left," by Tyler Cowen, Bloomberg Quint, 20 February 2019.

 

Addendum of Not Wanting to Look like Failure:   " 'He didn’t like the things we were asking him about the lack of democracy in Venezuela, about torture, political prisoners, the humanitarian crisis that they were living,' he said. But the breaking point came, Ramos said, after he showed Maduro a video of people eating from a garbage truck. 'Immediately after, one of his ministers, Jorge Rodríguez, came to tell us that the interview was not authorized,' Ramos said." In "Maduro detained journalists after they showed him video of people eating garbage, Univision says," by Reis Thebault, Michael Brice-Saddler and Eli Rosenberg, Washington Post, 26 February, 2019.

 

Consider when, in the New York Times parlance, what happens the the Left is  Left to their own devices

 


 

Martiniade - paraphrase of Joachim Ringelnatz

Who'd effervescent, festive evenings seek
Knows quite well, where off to sneak.
            Blow nose and dress up
            And ready pourboire.
            Mainz' thoroughfare's
            M a r t i n i   B a r.
There party the fine folk with drink all around;
Right and left toasts bright resound.
            With bubbly dress and drink,
            Oft rowdyish,
            Music the senses tease
            As one might wish.
The guests, oft well known, oft maybe not,
Are always an interesting lot.
            Who then at evening's end
            Cheers, waves his hat:
            'How fast does time fly by!
            How great was that!'

See:    Martiniade (2019) 

 


 


I used to read the New York Times
And do their crossword puzzle,
With Entemann's and Sundays' chimes
And coffee enough to guzzle.
            I used to read, front page to back,
            When windowed sunlight streamed,
            And lounge away some morning hours.
            I mused, and so daydreamed.

The corner vendor scratched a life
In that Amsterdam neighborhood;
Back then the Times was cheaper than
Today, and I understood...
            That time's a respecter of no man
            As tick tocks the ages by.
            I no longer read the New York Times
            And am quite another guy.

Subway tokens are keepsakes now,
And it's time for other folks.
Old memories are fleeting and
My errors age as jokes,
            My own, for I've learned to chuckle
            At how silly was I once,
            Though changed by time's meandering,
            I still can play the dunce.

 


 

No longer finding profits

"Their socialist governments have been in power since 1999, taking over the country at a time when Venezuela had huge inequality. But the socialist polices brought in which aimed to help the poor backfired. Take price controls, for example. They were introduced by President Chávez to make basic goods more affordable to the poor by capping the price of flour, cooking oil and toiletries. But this meant that the few Venezuelan businesses producing these items no longer found it profitable to make them." In "Venezuela crisis: How the political situation escalated," BBC, 24 January 2019.

No longer finding profits
                                    testifies to what's been found.
Socialist policies predictably
                                    ran the ship aground.
More goods for the poor
                                    means now the poor have less,
And that's the situation
                                    with socialism's economic guess.
No longer finding profits
                                    testifies that something's found.
Hyperinflation's inflating;
                                    again, socialism proves unsound.

 

Consider the historical demonstration of government control of economies when Left to their own devices

 


 

Heading down the same dark path

 

"While the world watches Venezuela's slow, cancerous death, Nicaragua is in full cardiac arrest. Since protests began on April 18, the government of President Daniel Ortega has been accused of using 'lethal force' and at least 146 people have died. Hundreds more are wounded or missing and the body of a U.S. citizen was found shot dead on June 2. Without international intervention, the collapse of my country could create a new cycle of war and destruction in this precarious region." In "Nicaragua Is Heading Down the Same Dark Path as Venezuela," by Margarita Herdocia, Time, 13 June 2018.    [ 1 ]

 

Heading down the same dark path,
Seeing near the coming wrath,
Those headstrong who lead that way
Are the same of whom advocates say
They're visionary seers of a coming world,
Of fealty's oaths and flags unfurled
Which lead again down that old dark path
Which leads to the same old aftermath.

 

Addendum of the Same Dark Path:   "In Nicaragua, armed supporters of President Daniel Ortega opened fire on a crowd of tens of thousands of anti-government protesters Wednesday, killing at least 11 people and wounding almost 80 others. Elsewhere in Nicaragua, another four were killed and scores more injured at demonstrations around the country—bringing the death toll in recent anti-Ortega protests to nearly 100." In "Nicaragua: 15 Killed as Tens of Thousands Demand President’s Ouster," Democracy Now, 1 June 2018.   [ 2 ]

 

Addendum of Socialist State Repression:   " 'Heavily armed pro-government groups remain at large, accompanied by police forces, committing joint attacks against the civilian population,' said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas director at Amnesty International. 'The message sent by the highest ranking Nicaraguan authorities is that they are willing to do anything to silence the voices of those who demonstrate against this violent repression. This situation is extremely serious and deserves strong condemnation from the international community'." In "Nicaragua: State repression has reached deplorable levels," Amnesty International, 9 July 2018.

 

Addendum of El Presidente on the Same Dark Path:   "...Ortega has demonstrated one skill, it is that of survival. He and his wife have dominated Nicaraguan political life for so long and amassed so much power that his departure is not a foregone conclusion. It is up to the United States and other regional democracies to hold Ortega to account and to support the Nicaraguan people in their effort to hasten a return to democratic order in Nicaragua. Given Ortega’s long history of authoritarianism and lust for power, we should make sure that he truly seeks a negotiated solution to the country’s current crisis and is not simply looking for a respite. We are seeing what the hemisphere’s failure to confront oppressors has brought in Venezuela." In "Daniel Ortega’s familiar path of repression in Nicaragua," by Otto J. Reich, Washington Post, 24 May 2018.

 

Addendum of an Opposing View:   "Once inside Congress, Bolsonaro and his vice president, retired Gen. Hamilton Mourao, took the oath of office. Bolsonaro then read a short speech that included many of the far-right positions he staked out during the campaign. He promised to combat the 'ideology of gender' teaching in schools, 'respect our Judeo-Christian tradition' and 'prepare children for the job market, not political militancy'. 'I call on all congressmen to help me rescue Brazil from corruption, criminality and ideological submission,' he said, earning a congratulatory message from Trump." In "Bolsonaro says Brazil 'liberated from Socialism' at inaugural ceremony," France 24, 1 January 2019. [ 3 ]

 

NOTES

 

[ 1 ]    Herdocia writes further:   "Nicaragua has been quietly heading down this path for over a decade. Relative economic stability masked the slow accumulation of power by President Ortega and his wife, Vice President Rosario Murillo. As democratic institutions were dismantled by El Comandante’s regime, their cronies grew in wealth and the stage was set for an enduring Ortega dictatorship."

 

The Democrat Socialists Demand Fealty

 

          The descriptive -- dictatorship -- tells much, as she reports:   "Nicaragua's Catholic bishops called the bloodshed an 'organized and systemic aggression'—but it has since worsened. The Mothers' Day massacre has been nationalized, and systematic kidnapping and torture has been added to the mix. Several employees and acquaintances have been brutally beaten by government thugs, while others have been abducted and tortured for refusing to pay fealty to the Sandinista party leadership."

          It should be clarified that the Sandinista Party is yet another socialist party, as have been the Cuban and Venezuelan "revolutions," with each adopting a different path to the same violence and economic collapse.

 

[ 2 ]     Verbiage is important, for from 1985 until now, Ortega has ruled Nicaragua as president, currently 34 years in power for a single individual. Democratic elections as run by the Sandinista Party notwithstanding, Democracy Now as an organization speaking to issues of democracy reports on the brutality of "armed supporters."  Thus "democracy" does not seem to accurately describe the behavior of the Ortega regime, while it is the term used to portray the hoped-for optics of the same.

 

Democratic Socialist Political Party

 

          One learns more of the verbiage:   "The Sandinista National Liberation Front (Spanish: Frente Sandinista de Liberación Nacional, FSLN) is a democratic socialist political party in Nicaragua. ... Following the resignation of centrist members from this Junta, the FSLN took exclusive power in March 1981. They instituted a policy of mass literacy, devoted significant resources to health care, and promoted gender equality but came under international criticism for human rights abuses, mass execution and oppression of indigenous peoples."In "Sandinista National Liberation Front," Wikipedia, n. d.
          The promise of mass literacy was similar to Fidel Castro's, and yet one sees the end of a "same dark path" in Socialism's Last Hurrah - not democracy in any town. Looking behind the public optics at the outset of these various socialist revolutions, one reads of grand promises, and yet at the end game in such revolutions the outcome is corruption, violence and death enforced by fealty to a single party.

          Of course the next incarnations of democratic socialists will disavow the proven outcomes of previous democratic socialist parties.  Yet one may look to the similarities between past democratic socialist parties, and especially how difficult to say I Shall Believe the Socialist .

 

[ 3 ]    A path may be followed in opposite directions. For those traveling in one, the traveler in the opposing direction is "opposing."

          Thus, as one reads news and opinion from around the world, one often sees the editorial bias in reporting. But when one would "rescue Brazil from corruption, criminality and ideological submission" is deemed to be far right, then one must make reference to the failed Left and Right model, and choose a direction on a path.

 

Quo vadis?

 

          The path of the far-Left may be seen in the above reporting about Nicaragua's "democratic socialist political party," and as such traveling in an opposing direction can be described as "far-right" in political positions, but when compared to the Old-fashioned "corruption, criminality and ideological submission" as reported by France 24 as "far-right" political stances, one must then ask is being for a Left being also for such corruption, criminality and ideological submission?" It is a question worth consideration, when the Nicaraguan Left is reported to be of "authoritarianism and lust for power."

          How old fashioned yet widespread is that today?  Should governments' growing authoritarianism and lust for power over defenseless citizens be Left to their own devices .

 

 


 

Gecko Squashing

A father of some cats
 Asked you to kill a gecko
  With one swift stroke, or more,
   Earning points to echo
    Far beyond the squashing of that gecko.

A father to some felines
 Taught you to squash a lizard
  With all dispatch, most speedily;
   Be a lizard-killing wizard
   Who'd crush a fiery little lizard.

One swift stoke is better
 Than two or more, go-getter.
  That's now ancient law
   According to lore and letter
    Of a kitty-cats' tough task setter.

 

Envoi:  "Abu Huraira: He who kills a gecko with the first stroke..." The Book of Salutations and Greetings. Book 026, Number 5564.  [ 1 ]

 

Addendum from a Beginning:   "...the salamander, a mischief-doer." In "Beginning of Creation," Sahih al-Bukhari.

 

Addendum after an Addendum:   "...the salamander should be killed and said, 'It (i. e. the salamander) blew (the fire) on Abraham'." In "Prophets," Sahih al-Bukhari.

 

NOTE

 

[ 1 ]    The pseudonym foe the "narrator" refers to this:  "He was known by the kunyah [ honorific] Abu Hurayrah 'Father of a Kitten', in reference to his documented attachment to cats." In "Abu Hurairah," Wikipedia, n. d.

 


 

One can know when one has learned

Bad choices breed bad outcomes,
    As engineering tells.
Fresh follies fail foolishly;
    While science plain excels.
Asserting there is nothing bad
    Is to make the fatal choice.
Avowing that there are no sins
    Is to mute each still, small voice.
Tales begun tell outcomes
    And trajectories foretell their ends;
One can know when one has learned,
    When in learning then one bends.

 

Addendum of Foreboding:   "The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity." From "The Second Coming" William Butler Yeats (1865-1939)

 

See:  Settings of William Butler Yeats' Three Magical Songs - (2005)  

 


 

Schisms  - they're about isms

"It's I am Right, and you're so Wrong,"
    Said Bishop Sheikh in a rant quite long.
"It's I've the Truth, while you've but Lies,"
    Said the Rabbi Lama in a Rightful guise.
"It's I know Best, while you know Worst,"
    Said each Politician who would be First
Above those Lesser who nothing know,
    Who are deemed Wrong, and Rightly so,
For Betters who know Worse, we see,
    Live each under some sworn Decree,
And even the Atheists' glowering glares
    Play joyously in the Game of Snares
Which sings with self-exalted Song,
    "It's I am Right, while you're so Wrong."
Rights declare other Rights as Wrong,
    Schismatically, and then erelong
The many Rights cannot agree
    As to which is Right in which Holy See,
While the Lesser, gentler, quiet Folks
    Chuckle at the jolly jokes - when
"It's I am Right," with aggressive Song,
    Proves other Rights must be truly Wrong.

This applies to both You and Me,

    For We're sure to disagree.

 

Consider:   I have a little -ism  - sung to the tune of "I Have a Little Dreidel," original lyrics by Samuel S. Grossman and music by S. E. Goldfarb.

 


 

State-inflicted maladies

"Six-year-old Antonella was diagnosed with throat cancer four years ago, and her mother brings her to Domingo Luciani Hospital in Caracas as often as she can for chemotherapy. Today, however, it´s Antonella´s mom who is being treated -- for malnutrition, a state-inflicted malady that is sweeping across oil-rich Venezuela. Struggling to feed herself and her child, she fainted when she walked into the hospital where Antonella is slowly dying." In "No gloves or dressings: Inside the last pediatric surgical ward in Venezuela´s capital," by Vasco Cotovio and Luis Graham-Yoolli, CNN, 13 February 2019.

Someone stated something,
                    Stated it in a phrase;
A state-inflicted malady
                    Is a fiery phrase, set ablaze.

Someone stated clearly -
                    A malady from the state,
Of the state and by the state -
                    And stated it quite straight.

Someone stated outright
                    The state-bred malady,
And that is without question
                    The age-old tragedy.

 

Addendum of Venezuelan State-inflicted Malady:   "In many countries, extreme malnutrition 'can be caused when there is war, a drought, some sort of catastrophe or an earthquake,' said Dr. Ingrid Soto de Sanabria, the chief of the hospital’s nutrition, growth and development department. 'But in our country it is directly related to the shortages and inflation.' The Venezuelan government has tried to cover up the extent of the crisis by enforcing a near-total blackout of health statistics, and by creating a culture in which doctors are often afraid to register cases and deaths that may be associated with the government’s failures." In "As Venezuela Collapses, Children Are Dying of Hunger," by Meridith Kohut and Isayen Herrera, New York Times, 17 December 2017.

 

Addendum of the USSR's State-inflicted Malady:   "In June of 1933, at the height of the Holodomor, 28,000 men, women and children in Ukraine were dying of starvation each day. The land that was known worldwide as the breadbasket of Europe was being ravaged by a man-made famine of unprecedented scale. Stalin and his followers were determined to teach Ukraine’s farmers “a lesson they would not forget” for resisting collectivization, which meant giving up their own land to work on government controlled farms. Moreover, the famine was meant to deal 'a crushing blow' to any aspirations for independence from the Soviet Union by the Ukrainians, 80 percent of whom worked the land." In "Holomodor: The famine-genocide of Ukraine, 1932-1933," holomodor.org.

 

Addendum of Communist China's State-inflicted Malady:   "In late 1959, Chinese officials in the provinces began to investigate wild rumors that people were eating one another. Most of the officials must have already known that Mao Zedong’s call for a 'Great Leap Forward,' a planned modernization meant to catapult the country into global economic leadership, had gone horribly wrong. In the vast countryside regions of China, and with an eye to pleasing their bureaucratic masters, Communist Party functionaries had been inflating estimates of the amounts of food that peasants were producing for transfer to the industrial zones or for export sales. They also concealed that these transfers left hungry—and often for dead—the very peasants who had done all the farming, from cultivation to harvest." In "Totalitarianism, Famine and Us, by Samuel Moyn, Nation, 7 November 2012.

 

Addendum of North Korea's State-inflicted Malady:   "The economic and political system itself was a major problem during the famine in North Korea. By relying too much on central power (Pyongyang) to make choices, the decision-making process was way too slow for the crisis. The soviet-style state farms too proved to be a huge obstacle as they weren't adapted to each local crisis and the tailored response that was needed. Allowing people to grow their own food in a reasonably sized back-garden would have been a lot more helpful. In reality, they did allow small scale agriculture in private gardens but tons of contradicting policies (expansion of state farms, intensive agriculture) were plenty enough to thwart this little but crucial change." In "Famine in North Korea: The Impact of Poor Decisions," Poverties, 2 December 2012.

 

Addendum of Bengal's State-inflicted Malady:   "The provincial government's policy failures began with denial that a famine existed. Humanitarian aid was ineffective through the worst months of the food crisis, and the government never formally declared a state of famine. It first attempted to influence the price of rice paddy (unmilled rice) through price controls. These measures created a black market and encouraged sellers to withhold stocks. Hyperinflation resulted from speculation and hoarding after controls were abandoned. Aid increased significantly when the Indian Army took control of aid in October 1943, but effective relief arrived only after a record rice harvest that December." In "Bengal famine of 1943," Wikipedia, n. d.

 

Addendum of Somalia's State-inflicted Malady:   "The crisis was caused by a severe drought, worsened by conflict between rival groups fighting for power. The number of deaths was higher than the estimated 220,000 people who died during the 1992 famine." In "Somalia famine 'killed 260,000 people'," BBC, 2 May 2013.

 

Addendum of South Sudan's State-inflicted Malady:   "The maxim is true that famine does not result from purely natural causes but is usually 'man-made.' Such a description, however, avoids any real accountability for those who have caused the crisis. South Sudan’s famine would be more accurately described as 'government-made'." In "South Sudan’s government-made famine," by George Clooney and John Prendergast, Washington Post, 9 March 2019.

 

Addendum of Governments Failing Their Own People:   "... political scientist Alex de Waal calls famine a political scandal, a 'catastrophic breakdown in government capacity or willingness to do what [is] known to be necessary to prevent famine.' When governments fail to prevent or end conflict, or help families prevent food shortages brought on by any reason, they fail their own people." In "What is famine, and how can we stop it?" by Chris Hufstader, Oxfam, 20 November 2018.

 


 

Manhattan dance party

Come on in, and go away.
We're all alike, but not today.
Welcome, friend, now get lost.
Progress backwards, while crisscrossed.
Try to tax in absentia;
Evidence a party's dementia.

Get the hell out, but wait, cry whoa!
You're a fine ally as enemies go.
Welcome, comrade, to the fight,
You against me, an unwelcoming sight.
Let's pry open a wallet which
Is somewhere else? Now that is rich!

Alienate friends, for that's the dance.
I'm just like you, except my stance.
Welcome, loser, mistaken fool,
For we've become the opposition's tool.
Try to balance unbalanced books
With dancing feet on tenterhooks.

 

 

Addendum of Progressive Mistakes:   "In an interview on 'The Brian Lehrer Show,' the mayor, in response to Ocasio-Cortez’s reaction to the Amazon pullout, called her gloating a mistake. 'I came up watching the mistakes of progressives of the past, unfortunately what happened in this city when it almost went to bankruptcy in the 1970s,' de Blasio said. 'I saw all the times progressives did not show people effective governance and all the times progressives made the kinds of mistakes that alienated working people'." In "Progressives de Blasio and Ocasio-Cortez at war of words over Amazon pullout," by Leonard Greene, NY Daily News, 15 February 2019.  [ 1 ]

 

Addendum of Showing Off for the Cameras:   "No one was as vocal in trying to make the corporate giant go away as socialist superstar Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y. She lambasted the company's 'creeping overreach.' And in a way, she was taking the same side we had. But we had been arguing on behalf of taxpayers all over New York state, who were being held hostage so that Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio, both Democrats, could show off for the cameras. Ocasio-Cortez, on the other hand, was arguing against the economic development of a region of Queens that abuts her congressional district. Along with fellow naysayers such as state Sen. Mike Gianaris, D-Queens, she attacked Amazon for bringing in too many jobs, potentially creating higher standards of living in the area and perhaps also inflating housing costs. It is odd indeed for the direct beneficiaries of corporate welfare to complain." In "Amazon calls the socialists' bluff," Staff, Washington Examiner, 15 February 2019.   [ 2 ]

 

Addendum of NY Democrats Against NY Democrats:   "...after Amazon walked away in an anti-Valentine to the city on Feb. 14, AOC bragged on Twitter that 'everyday New Yorkers & their neighbors defeated Amazon’s corporate greed, its worker exploitation, and the power of the richest man in the world.' Huh? A Siena poll this week showed that New York City residents approved of the deal by 56 to 33 percent. Fellow Democrats Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio were pushing hard for the deal. Oh, and it need hardly be stated that Amazon is a company staffed by Democrats. Some 87 percent of its employee donations went to the Dems in the latest elections. As for 'richest man in the world,' Bezos started Amazon in his garage. He got rich building one of the most beloved companies on earth." In "Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is destroying opportunity for fellow Democrats," by Kyle Smith, New York post, 16 February 2019.

 

Consider New York's Dancing Tine:   Hymn for Today

 

NOTES

 

[ 1 ]   The term, progressive, is a slippery one.  Of it and of himself, the mayor of New York writes:  "I am a lifelong progressive who sees the problem of growing income and wealth inequality." In "Bill de Blasio: The Path Amazon Rejected," Bill de Blasio, New York Times, 17 February 2019.

         Growing income, as a word phrase, may be seen in Di Blasio's salary. One reads:   "Mayor de Blasio will get a fat 15 percent raise when his second term begins Monday – bumping his salary from $225,000 to $258,750 a year. The $33,750 boost is more than the annual salary of a full-time worker making the city’s roughly $13 minimum wage." In "De Blasio will get a pay raise when second term begins," by Anna Sanders, NY Post, 30 December 2017.

         One may well consider issues of Income Inequality . in which many liberals and progressives preach concerns of "the problem of growing income and wealth inequality" while participating in it. While de Blasio's "modest" $258,750 a year income is tiny compared to Bezos as head of Amazon, the New York Post correctly notices that de Blasio's salary is "more than the annual salary of a full-time worker" at the bottom end of New York's working class. So which is it? One sees that a politician usually enjoys "growing income and wealth inequality" through the practice of Politics , and often in a most progressive, even "lifelong" way.

 

[ 2 ]  Ah, complaints. One reads:  "...Amazon appeared unprepared for the level of vocal opposition in Queens, where the company's plans were slated near the district that elected Amazon critic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to Congress. The deal with Amazon was largely negotiated by Mayor de Blasio and Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who famously joked about changing his name to "Amazon Cuomo" to win the second headquarters." In "Amazon Drops Plans For New York Headquarters," by Alina Selyukh, NPR, 14 February 2019.

         As complaints about Amazon's decision fly in parallel with complaints from progressives about progressives, one voice observed:  " 'I think everybody miscalculated here,' said Erik Gordon, a professor at the University of Michigan's Ross School of Business. Amazon 'believed that they were doing New York such a big favor by bringing tech jobs and then all the ancillary jobs that they thought that the protests would not be as strong as they were,' Gordon said. And, instead of working out a deal, the opposition 'basically punched Amazon in the face in public,' he said."

         And everyone says "ouch."  "We're all alike, but not today."

         Because:  "Democrats are fighting mad -- at each other. For once, President Trump is not the prime target of their rage. Amazon’s decision to scrap plans for an HQ2 campus in New York sent the circular firing squad into action." In "Democrats are tearing themselves apart over Amazon," by Michael Goodwin, NY Post, 17 February 2019.

 


 

You'll tell me who you are

Tell me who it is you name
    to be your dearest friend;
Knowing this, you'll tell who you are.
    That's your tale. The end.

 


 

To create and animate - rhymed paraphrase of a text by Goethe

Hans Adam was but a lump of clay
God molded into a man,
As if dropped out of a mother's womb
To be finished by His plan.

So Elohim puffed into his nose
With a spiritual sort of blast,
But there remained more to do
Once the sneezing was fully past.

Bones and limbs and head and yet
Hans Adam was not done;
It took until Noah and a rain of drops
To fill a tankard for such fun.

Breathing clay turned drinking man
Is God's gift of alcohol,
The same as ferments with lively yeast
Man's daily bread and all.

So, Hafiz, sing a noble song
That a drunkard might make merry,
And lead us into temptation's shrine
With much of our Creator's sherry!

See:     Erschaffen und beleben  (2019) 

 


 

Hedonism -- clarified

He done ism;
She done too.
They done ism,
Through and through.


Live for now,
Doctrine heir;
That's all there is,
And then? Nowhere.

 


 

If one traffics in rumors

If one traffics in rumors,
                        One is likely to get run down.
If one peddles a slew of lies,
                        Truth still will come to town.
If one relies on gossiping wags,
                        In innuendos one will drown.
If one would be a king of fools,
                        We're sure to see that crown.

 

Addendum of Traffic:   "The most-turned-to platform for news was, unsurprisingly, social media, with 45 percent of Americans saying they find news there daily. 'That a significant number of people polled say they rely on social media — daily and weekly — for their news, and in equally large numbers say they worry about accuracy of news they get from social media, reflects how brands such as Facebook have hurt the news consumption ecosystem, not just in siphoning off revenue but simultaneously helping erode trust with poorly designed and terribly managed platforms,' notes Raju Narisetti, a former News Corp. executive who is now a professor at Columbia University School of Journalism." In "Americans Think All Network News Channels Lean Liberal, Poll Finds," by Erik Hayden, Hollywood Reporter, 9 April 2019.   [ 1 ]

 

Addendum of Growing Distrust:   " 'Before 2004, it was common for a majority of Americans to profess at least some trust in the mass media, but since then, less than half of Americans feel that way,' the spokesman said. 'Now, only about a third of the U.S. has any trust in the Fourth Estate, a stunning development for an institution designed to inform the public'." In "Distrust of Media at Highest Level Ever," by Kenneth T. Walsh, US News and World Report, 15 September 2016.

 

Addendum of What's Unfair:   "Beyond the headlines, the news from the 28-country survey, the Edelman trust barometer, is not good. Of the respondents, 66% said the media is more concerned with attracting a big audience than reporting; 65% said they believed outlets sacrifice accuracy to be the first to break a story; and 59% said the media prioritised supporting an ideology over informing the public. The reflexive response of most media outlets – and their leaders – on hearing statistics like this is to go on to the defensive, to say the criticism is unfair or exaggerated, and to highlight the best bits of their reporting as a counter to the unflattering figures." In "Distrust of social media is dragging traditional journalism down," by James Ball, Guardian UK, 22 January 2018.   [ 2 ]

 

NOTES

 

[ 1 ]    The Hollywood Reporter added:   "The poll confirms the disturbing but not surprising fact that our polarized public discourse has eroded trust in mainstream journalism. The most striking exception is local news," notes Andrew Heyward, formerly the president of CBS News and currently at ASU's Walter Cronkite School of Journalism. He adds, "That's why it's so important to shore up the dismal economics of local print and digital journalism and reinvent local TV news for the next generation of news consumers."

 

[ 2 ]    That the Guardian tells of media outlets and their leaders crying "unfair," an earlier Guardian article reported the polling:  "Judged on hard metrics, confidence in UK media has fallen noticeably in recent years. According to communications agency Edelman’s 2017 Trust Barometer survey of 1,500 Britons, the number of people who said they trusted British news outlets at all fell from an already low 36% in 2015 to a mere 24% by the beginning of 2017. The 2017 Digital News Report from the Reuters Institute, published in June, found that just 41% of British people agreed that the news media did a good job in helping them distinguish fact from fiction. The figure for social media was even lower: 18%." In "Can you trust the mainstream media?" by Andrew Harrison, Guardian UK, 6 August 2017.

          It becomes an interesting question, as it has each cycle in the historical past. The 2017 article's end advised:  "The mainstream media's job is to remind the audiences of tomorrow of that fact. Trust isn’t given. It's earned. And if there's one basic truth that every storyteller understands, it’s that if you want to be believed, don’t tell – show."

          It is not a matter of a public being "unfair" to media, but of a media which has seemingly lost the trust of the public. "Trust isn't given. It's earned."

 


 

Trendy Wendy covers up

"Rejecting the argument that visitors should wear the hijab out of 'respect for the culture of Iran', she said they were 'sending a message that men are more equal than women'. Ms Alinejad, the founder of the White Wednesdays movement which saw many women remove their headscarves in protest, said she was battling against a 'discriminatory law'. It will be difficult for Western women who wore hijab on Hijab Day, at the Women’s March, or in NZ to watch this and not feel shame." In "Iranian women's rights activist condemns Western feminists for wearing the hijab in 'solidarity', saying: 'Calling the compulsory headscarf my country's culture is INSULTING'," by Tim Stickings, Mail Online, 1 April 2019.

 

Trendy Wendy covers up
                In silly solidarity
With those who allow no choice in dress
According to men's muscularity.

Fretty Betty covers up
                To wear relative respect
For those who demand the cover up,
And prove each gal is circumspect.

Hairy Mary hides her hair
                For that may too entice
The ones who demand she cover it,
Else she must pay their price.

Natty Patty's so Germaine
                To sometimes cover much
And other times not to
In her wavering stance and such.

When in Rome, so it's said,
                And when the sword is raised,
And when sometimes is always,
For when the risk's appraised,

Then do Hades' ladies   [ 1 ]
                Don scarf and sack cloth's stuff,
But only sometimes, somewhere;
For some it's quite enough.

 

 

Addendum of Protests Against a Compulsory Hijab:   "Protests against the requirement that women cover their hair with the Islamic veil, or hijab, picked up pace earlier this week in Tehran and other cities. Witness accounts and social media videos indicate that more than two dozen women have doffed their scarves in public and waved them on sticks, like flags. Protests against the requirement that women cover their hair with the Islamic veil, or hijab, picked up pace earlier this week in Tehran and other cities. Witness accounts and social media videos indicate that more than two dozen women have doffed their scarves in public and waved them on sticks, like flags." In "Iran Arrests 29 Linked to Protests Against Compulsory Hijab," by Thomas Erdbrink and Richard Pérez-Peña, New York Times, 2 February 2018.

 

 

Addendum of a Compulsory Islamic Dress Code:   "Before the Iranian Islamic Revolution of 1979 (during the reign of Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, the last Shah of Iran), the hijab was not compulsory, though some Iranian women during this period wore headscarfs or chador. After the 1979 Islamic revolution, the hijab gradually became compulsory. In 1979, Ruhollah Khomeini announced that women should observe Islamic dress code; His statement sparked demonstrations, which were met by government assurances that the statement was only a recommendation. Hijab was subsequently made mandatory in government and public offices in 1980, and in 1983 it became mandatory for all women." In "2017–19 Iranian protests against compulsory hjab," Wikipedia, n. d.   [ 2 ]

 

Addendum of a One-day Voluntary Hijab:    "February 1st, 2013, marked the first annual World Hijab Day (WHD) in recognition of millions of Muslim women who choose to wear the hijab and live a life of modesty. The brainchild of this movement is a New York resident, Nazma Khan, who came up with the idea as a means to foster religious tolerance and understanding by inviting women (non-Hijabi Muslims/non-Muslims) to experience the hijab for one day." In "About Us," worldhijabday.com, n. d.   [ 3 ]

 

Addendum of a Deadly Non-voluntary Hijab:   "Aqsa 'Axa' Parvez (April 22, 1991 – December 10, 2007) was the victim of a murder in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada. During the murder trial, Superior Court Justice Bruce Durno acknowledged the slaying as an honour killing, stating, that he found it 'profoundly disturbing that a 16-year-old could be murdered by a father and brother for the purpose of saving family pride, for saving them from what they perceived as family embarrassment'.' Aqsa's brother, Waqas, had strangled her when she chose to not wear a hijab." In Murder of Aqsa Parvez," Wikipedia, n. d.

 

Addendum of the Hijab in the Military:   "Valdovinos claims her hair was tied up under the hijab. The under-cap has an extra length of fabric inside, she explained, that she wraps around her bun to secure it before pulling the cap down. That's why her hair came loose when she removed it, she said. It was the first time since receiving her waiver that the soldier had ever been confronted about her hijab, she said. But not the first she felt targeted as a Muslim in the Army. In an Equal Opportunity complaint filed on March 7, she said, she described her first sergeant referring to her as 'the girl with the hood.' A culinary specialist, she said, she was recently reassigned from an on-post dining facility to her battalion's headquarters company after objecting to cooking pork products." In "A Muslim soldier says her command sergeant major forced her to remove her hijab," by Meghann Myers, Army Times, 12 March 2019.   [ 4 ]

 

Addendum of No Hijab in the Military:    " The fighters that ISIS fears the most wear lipstick, according to these troops. Some even let their long, braided hair fall out behind their hats. They are the female members of the Zeravani unit, a branch of the Kurdish peshmerga. The typically female attributes shouldn't detract from the fact that these women are prepared to defend their land from any invader, including ISIS." In "Women at War: Meet the Female Peshmerga Fighters Taking on ISIS," by Elizabeth McLaughlin, ABC News, 16 May 2016.   [ 5  ]

 

Addendum of Requiring the Veil:   "Covered from head to toe in black, she said she often admonishes other camp residents for failing to dress conservatively or for neglecting their prayers. In the Islamic State, 'they told us what was right and what was wrong. It was better,' she said. 'Here, people wear whatever they want'." In " True ISIS believers regroup inside refugee camp, terrorize the 'impious'," by Erin Cunningham, 19 April 2019.   [ 6 ]

 

Addendum of Making Noise:   "...in some Muslim countries like Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan and Malaysia, some of the laws said to be derived from Islam that are used against women are not from Islam at all. And outside of the law, people's own ways of thinking need to change. Some Muslims seem unable to live and embrace the rich diversity within the Muslim communities. Instead, Sunnis kill Shias and vice versa. Or Muslims from the Middle East think they're more authentic than Muslims from India and vice versa. This issue of authenticity makes it so that many Muslims feel unwelcome in their own Muslim communities. 'Maybe I'm too Americanised to be considered Muslim? If I don't cover, they'll say I'm not Muslim.' That needs to change." In "Muslim women make some noise," by V. M., Economist, 19 April 2013.     [ 7 ]

 

Addendum of Modern Turkish Women as Enemies:   "The headlines follow comments by Turkish President Tayyip Erdoğan on Sunday, who accused women who participated in Friday’s International Women’s Day march in Istanbul of being disrespectful to Islam, labelling them enemies of the Islamic call to prayer and the Turkish flag." In "Turkish newspapers label Women’s Day marchers enemies," Ahval, 11 March 2019.   [ 8 ]

 

Addendum of Meeting Ethnocentrism in the Mosque:   "Every time I wrapped the hijab around my burgeoning curls, I felt that I was covering the gorgeous black self I had just discovered, and letting the ethnocentrism I had run up against so many times in the mosque win the upper hand. Eventually, I stopped wearing the hijab. I put my hair in dreadlocks and have never taken them out, and I show my blackness proudly to the world. Ultimately, uncovering led me to a deeper love of blackness than I'd previously known." In " 'I show my blackness proudly to the world'," by Jacinda Townsend, in a larger article, "What the hijab means to me," Al Jazeera, 29 November 2016.

 

Addendum of Asking God:   "The ones who are not covered, now I ask God in the next life to light the fires of hell with their hair!" In "" 'We Pray For The Caliphate To Return': ISIS Families Crowd Into Syrian Camps," by Jane Arraf, NPR, 19 April 2019.

 

Addendum of Coercion by the Taliban:   "She was wearing a burqa without mesh covering her face. 'Women in our area have no identity and they are considered incomplete without men. Sometimes men are not available and many women died in the remote areas as they were unable to reach hospital,' she said. The increase in the lashings of women comes as the group officially tries to appear more inclusive of women, recently announcing it was including dozens of women in their peace talks delegation." In "'I lost consciousness': woman whipped by the Taliban over burqa without veil," by Haroon Janjua, Guardian UK, 18 April 2019.

 

Addendum of Dehijabbing:    "Latheefa Koya, executive director of Lawyers for Liberty, said women in Malaysia should not be investigated for discussing their religious choices. 'It does not mean those who attended the forum would lose their faith,' she said. 'Let a woman think freely and choose whether they want to wear the hijab or not'." In "Malaysia investigates women who discussed their 'dehijabbing'," by Hannah Ellis-Petersen, Guardian UK, 18 April 2019.

 

NOTES

 

[ 1 ]     "Narrated Usama: The Prophet said, "I stood at the gate of Paradise and saw that the majority of the people who entered it were the poor, while the wealthy were stopped at the gate (for the accounts). But the companions of the Fire were ordered to be taken to the Fire. Then I stood at the gate of the Fire and saw that the majority of those who entered it were women." Sahih al-Bukhari Vol. 7, Book 62, Hadith 124.

          Apologia for this sentiment covers a range from Muhammad not meaning what he said, to a complete "solidarity" with it. Nonetheless, it is a statement by a man, narrated by another man, and recorded by yet another man, such that the feminists might want to consider what sort of "privilege" this might entail, viewed in an age of feminism.

 

Women as the Majority?

 

          But as to women, one reads more:   "Narrated Abu Said Al-Khudri: Once Allah's Apostle went out to the Musalla (to offer the prayer) o 'Id-al-Adha or Al-Fitr prayer. Then he passed by the women and said, 'O women! Give alms, as I have seen that the majority of the dwellers of Hell-fire were you (women).' They asked, 'Why is it so, O Allah's Apostle ?' He replied, 'You curse frequently and are ungrateful to your husbands. I have not seen anyone more deficient in intelligence and religion than you. A cautious sensible man could be led astray by some of you.' The women asked, 'O Allah's Apostle! What is deficient in our intelligence and religion?' He said, 'Is not the evidence of two women equal to the witness of one man?' They replied in the affirmative. He said, 'This is the deficiency in her intelligence'." Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 1, Book 6, Hadith 301.

 

Most Are Fuel of Hell?

 

          Further, one reads:   "It was narrated that Jabir said: 'I attended the prayer with the Messenger of Allah (*) on the day of 'Eid. He started with the prayer before the Khutbah, with no Adhan and no Iqamah. When he finished the prayer, he stood leaning on Bilal, and he praised and glorified Allah (*) and exhorted the people, reminding them and urging them to obey Allah (*). Then he moved away and went to the women, and Bilal was with him. He commanded them to fear Allah (*) and exhorted them and reminded them. He praised and glorified Allah, then he urged them to obey Allah, then he said: 'Give charity, for most of you are the fuel of Hell.' A lowly woman with dark cheeks said: 'Why, O Messenger of Allah?' He said: 'You complain a great deal and are ungrateful to your husbands.' They started taking off their necklaces, earrings and rings, throwing them into Bilal's garment, giving them in charity." Sunan an-Nasa'i 1575, Vol. 2, Book 19, Hadith 1576.

          One might cite verbatim the Koran requirement for covering the Fuel of Hell:   "O Prophet, enjoin your wives and your daughters and the believing women, to draw a part of their outer coverings around them. It is likelier that they will be recognized and not molested." (33:59)

          Of this, one commentary reads:  "...the act of the woman who appears before the other then attractively itself shows what motivates her behavior. That is why the mischievous people cherish the same hopes from her as can be cherished from such a woman. The Quran tells the women: 'You cannot be chaste women and society women at one and the same time. If you want to live as modest, chaste women, you will have to give up the ways that are conducive to becoming society women only, and adopt the way of life that can be helpful in becoming chaste women'."

 

A Mission to 'Expose' Islam?

 

          But as to Islam and/versus feminism, one reads a single voice among many:   "...one cannot hide the 'controversial' ayat, hadith, turath, etc., from the masses indefinitely. People will find out primarily because atheists and liberal activists alike are on a mission to 'expose' Islam and are pushing these traditions into the spotlight. As the Muslim masses discover this information, they will feel deeply confused, deeply betrayed, and will leave Islam in droves. This process is already well underway. Simply peruse the prominent Muslim feminist social media outlets and the websites dedicated to Muslim women’s issues to see the rising antagonism and furor against orthodox Islam. Rather than give feminism carte blanche to wreak havoc on the umma, we must redouble our efforts to critique and deconstruct feminism on an intellectual and academic basis. Providing such critiques is beyond the scope of this brief essay but are forthcoming inshaAllah. In the end, dismantling feminism will afford Muslims with the intellectual and emotional room to properly understand gender and gender relations in Islam and to see how far superior in terms of justice and mercy it is to what feminism has to offer." In "The Grave Implications of 'Feminist Islam'," by Daniel Haqiqatjou, The Muslim Skeptic," 19 September 2017.

 

Exposing a Male Member?

 

          Deconstruct feminism? Expose Islam? As to issues of women and men, one might merely cite a sourced Islamic source:  "It was narrated from Abu Umamah that the Messenger of Allah (*) said: 'There is no one whom Allah will admit to Paradise but Allah will marry him to seventy-two wives, two from houris and seventy from his inheritance from the people of Hell, all of whom will have desirable front passages and he will have a male member that never becomes flaccid (i.e., soft and limp)'." In "Sunan Ibn Majah," Vol. 5, Book 37, Hadith 4337.

          So covering up a woman aims to enforce chaste behavior, while the dream of devout men is to uncover "a male member that never becomes flaccid" to act in a "chaste" manner with seventy-two wives, seventy of them  "from the people of hell?"

          One wonders whether such citations, under the topic of the hijab in Islam should be viewed as supporting feminism or an exposure of Islam, as a supposed "Muslim Skeptic" suggests above. One might then inquire from such a tradition whether the "seventy from his inheritance from the people of Hell" would be women, in which case Hell would not be filled with a majority of women for being imported into "paradise" for the "male member that never becomes flaccid." Something here seems amiss, in terms of mere arithmetic.

 

Solidarity With Which Cause?  Man Date the Veil

 

          One finds as counterpoint to Haqiqatjou:   "In 2014, Iranian political journalist Masih Alinejad created a Facebook page asking women to share photos of themselves standing in public places with their hair completely exposed. In an interview with Radio National last year, Ms Alinejad said the My Stealthy Freedom page was one of the only avenues through which women could speak out. 'In Iran there are millions of women who are forced to wear hijab, but the only way they can say no to compulsory hijab is through social media,' she said. ...But in recent weeks, the campaign has changed tack, with men now posting photos of themselves wearing the hijab to show solidarity with the cause." In "#MenInHijab: Iranian men don headscarf to challenge strict veil law," by Alle McMahon and Megan Mackander, ABC Australia, 2 August 2016.

 

  

 

          Humorously then, Nazma Khan cited above gets her "hijab day," but now Muslim men will "experience" it too in "solidarity" with Muslim women, some of whom are forced to wear this garment as, in Khan's assertion" to assert "a life of modesty." 

          From another report:  "Her reasons for launching the Facebook project, 'Wearing Hijab in Solidarity with Women,' which kicked off on November 1, are similar. She says she started the project because 'many people deny that the hijab discriminates between women and men.' A statement posted on the group's Arabic-language Facebook page before the page was removed said that "Those who call on women to wear hijab should not attack men if they chose to wear the hijab" and calls on men to upload their photos. Such a move is almost guaranteed to stigmatize them in Egyptian society, which remains highly traditional. Violations against women are also hugely underreported in the country -- a report by Egypt's National Council for Women from 2003 found as many as 98 percent of rape and sexual assault cases are not reported to authorities." In "Egypt's 'Naked Blogger' Calls On Men To Wear Hijab," by Kristin Deasy, RFE/RL, 25 November 2011.

          Some seem to be heading towards that "gate of the Fire."  The majority of women? Feminists? Those who "will leave Islam in droves?" What of each Trendy Wendy in her one-day hijab?

 

[ 2 ]     The article notes:   "Iran is the only country in the world that requires non-Muslim women to wear a headscarf. For example, in January 2018, a Chinese female musician was forcibly veiled in the middle of her concert performance."

 

A Majority Right to Choose?

 

          In a broad survey of the veil and generally in contradistinction to Iran's compulsory code, one reads:  "Muslims in many of the countries surveyed generally favor a woman’s right to choose whether to wear a veil in public. This view is especially prevalent in Southern and Eastern Europe, Central Asia and Southeast Asia, including at least nine-in-ten Muslims in Bosnia-Herzegovina (92%), Kosovo (91%) and Turkey (90%). There is less agreement among Muslims in the Middle East-North Africa region and South Asia. While more than eight-in-ten Muslims in Tunisia (89%) and Morocco (85%) say women should have the right to choose whether they wear a veil, fewer than half in Egypt (46%), Jordan (45%), Iraq (45%) and Afghanistan (30%) say the same. Sub-Saharan Africa is the one region surveyed where most Muslims do not think women should have the right to decide if they wear a veil. The only country in the region where a majority supports a woman’s right to decide is Senegal (58%); by contrast, fewer than a third support giving women this right in Nigeria (30%) and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (29%). In "Women In Society," Pew Forum, 30 April 2013.

          Thus one sees a range of opinion, wherein modernity in dress differs from fundamentalist stances. It is a matter of compulsion versus freedom to choose.

 

All Main Legal Schools of Islam Mandate the Veil?

 

          In a footnote to the Pew Forum article, it is noted:   "The Quran states that a woman should dress modestly, but it does not specifically require that she wear a veil. See Quran 24:30-31. Informed by certain hadith, however, all main legal schools of Islam (madhhab) mandate that women should veil."

          Women should veil. Compulsion then by mandate? Where are the Western feminists on this issue, except mostly absent.

          One finds compulsion in an opposite direction as well:   "Azerbaijan's education ministry has banned schoolgirls from wearing headscarves to class, causing outrage among the more devout in this Muslim-majority country. On December 10, a day after Education Minister Misir Mardanov announced that headscarves must not be worn with school uniform, hundreds of parents and children staged a protest near the ministry." In "Azerbaijani Hijab Ban Controversy," by Aytan Farhadova, Institute for War and Peace Reporting," 17 December 2010.

          As to Iran's Ruhollah Khomeini, might one consider his view how a society as he envisioned it might Celebrate Diversity? .

 

[ 3 ]    One notes the assertion that the voluntary wearing of a hijab signifies that a woman "live a life of modesty."  This begs the question for all those who play along for one day and then remove the hijab. Are these women, like the fictional Trendy Wendy above who would participate in a one day event only, living a life of immodesty throughout the remainder of the year?

 

Suggestions for Other Forms of Solidarity

 

          Would a World Crucifix Day or World Yarmulke Day be observed by hijab-wearing Muslim woman? Perhaps a hijab-wearing Muslim woman might exchange the hijab for one day with a turban, to honor the Sikh traditions? Perhaps the world could celebrate in "solidarity" a "Nuns' Habit Day" to show a "life of modesty." These too could show that sought-for solidarity with others observing other religious dress codes.

          More to the point, might Hijab Day founder Khan wear a crucifix for a day in solidarity with Catholics? Or a yarmulke in solidarity with religious Jews?

          Why stop at religious articles of clothing? One could foment for a "World Kilt Day" or "World Jogging Outfit Day." So many items of clothing which could become objects for social action might be asserted.

 

What of Islamic Solidarity with Other Religions?

 

          What of Muslim show of solidarity with other religions?  One reads:  ... the proportion of Muslims who take part in interfaith meetings does not exceed one-in-five and is often about one-in-ten or less. Participation in interfaith gatherings is especially low in the Middle East and North Africa, ranging from 8% of Muslims in the Palestinian territories to 3% in Jordan. Even in Lebanon, where Christians make up nearly 40% of the population, just 6% of Muslims say they participate in interfaith classes or meetings with Christians." In " Interfaith Relations," Pew Forum, 30 April 2013.

 

The Uniform of the Collective Identity?

 

          More on Muslim women and the veil:   "First of all, the fact that they belong to Muslim identity and they follow God's rules and it's their faith. Secondly, I would say there are layers of this. It creates some kind of collective identity. It empowers them. Because many of them do it, there is a kind of uniform."

          The interview responses are tinged by Gole's accompanying photo, without a veil. She continues:  "When you take into consideration the Islamic veiling in the traditional world, for instance, it changes from one region to another, from one ethnicity to another, from one national background to another. It almost changes from region to region, the way women cover themselves. The fabric is different, the colors are different. Today, we can speak almost of a sort of uniform. Although it also shows many varieties, diversities within it, we can speak of a sort of modern Islamic veiling. The fabric is modern. There is a sort of overcoat -- it started like this at least -- with a head scarf. Now a kind of fashion consciousness also enters into this new mode of veiling. But it is very different from the traditional one -- different in the sense that there is a sort of homogenization which goes beyond the nations. It's transnational. The girls in Egypt, the ones in Turkey, and the ones in Iran are not that different. So there is this collective identity which is underlined, I would say, behind this new veiling."  Interview with Nilufer Gole, in a series, "Muslims," Frontline, PBS, n. d.

 

 

          What for an unveiled Nilüfer Gole, as pictured above, is this collective identity? What does a transnational "fashion" rooted in "the traditional world" signify, especially for those apologists who shun the veil themselves?

          While the justification for a one day event encouraging non-Muslim women to wear the hijab, in the words of its founder and supporters, is to counter prejudice, then one would do well to consider the much more complex problem as in the recently coined word, Islamophobia .

 

[ 4 ]    The odd humor to this tale of a hijab-wearing American soldier is that she has felt "targeted as a Muslim in the Army" and as a culinary specialist for all soldiers objected "to cooking pork products."  So the conflict arises as to which authority is greater. Should she wish to muster out of the military, this would answer her objections, while to remain in the military seems to require the military to bend to her "authority." But this does not speak for all Muslim women, of course, as one peruses the next footnote.

 

[ 5 ]    While an American soldier trained to work in kitchens complains about the way she is treated as regards her hijab, one finds Kurdish women soldiers engaged in the Syrian and Iraq war not wearing the hijab. Given that these soldiers have fought against the Islamic State, might one not assert that, like the American soldier above, they have "targeted as a Muslim" other Muslims? The irony is deep.

 

 

          One reads:   "... “when no one dared to enter Kirkuk, we forced IS out together with the male Peshmerga.” In contrast, however, “now we are being used for media coverage and nothing else. We demand gender equality, further rights, and the same attention to women Peshmerga than our male partners.” These women viewed their participation in the Peshmerga as a sign of broader social equality; the KRG now has an opportunity to build on the successes of female combat units against IS to create longstanding and positive social change. Having women in close-combat units can help lead to a more positive perception of women’s roles in other public positions. Moving forward, it is indispensable to afford women even greater roles than they assume now in order to demonstrate the benefits of women’s equal participation in institutions such as the Peshmerga forces." In " Peshmerga Female Fighters: From Frontline to Sideline," by Hanar Marouf, Washington Institute, 10 October 2018.

          And not a hijab to be seen. Contrasting this to Gole's assertion that the hijab affords Muslim women "some kind of collective identity..." and it "empowers them," the demonstrable testimony from Kurdish women suggests other forms of identity" function as well, and "empower" these courageous soldiers.

          One wonders if these Kurdish fighters, in Haqiqatjou's view as above, "wreak havoc" on Islam itself.  Time will tell.

 

[ 6 ]    This tale speaks the dissonance of the veil, free to be born and yet required, worn in solidarity and refused for military solidarity, and so on. The article reports:   "A German woman, who spoke on the condition she not be named, said she had traveled to the Middle East to live under the Islamic State, in part, because she used to be accosted in Germany for wearing the niqab, a black veil that covers the face. 'At the time, it was the right decision for me,' she said. 'But now, I don’t know,' she added, her voice trailing off before she decided not to speak further."

          At the end of the report:  "Away from the scuffle, 27-year-old Hanifa, who said she is from Russia’s Dagestan region, spotted a woman without a face veil. 'I don’t like this,' she said. 'Women should cover their faces'.

           Why should women cover their faces?  Among holy things according to Islam, one reads:   "Men are in charge of women by [right of] what Allah has given one over the other and what they spend [for maintenance] from their wealth. So righteous women are devoutly obedient, guarding in [the husband's] absence what Allah would have them guard. But those [wives] from whom you fear arrogance - [first] advise them; [then if they persist], forsake them in bed; and [finally], strike them. But if they obey you [once more], seek no means against them." Koran 4:34 - sūrat I-nisāa in Sahih International translation.

          The "holy" women of ISIS cover their faces. The Peshmerga do not, and the professor holding forth on a "collective identity" which she herself does not observe as best pictured above, the whole tale of the Islamic veil and Westernized appeals to wear it in solidarity, but with who? Muslim women who obligated to cover? Muslim women who refuse? Iranian men? Western sympathizers?  

 

[ 7 ]    Samina Ali, interviewed in thee article above, notes:  "Just look at the veil. On the one hand, local and national governments in Europe have created laws to prevent Muslim women from wearing the veil based on some misguided sense of liberation. On the other hand, women are forced to cover by various Muslim governments, such as in Saudi Arabia, Iran, Afghanistan under the Taliban, as well as parts of Somalia, Gaza and Chechnya."

          And Sri Lanka's  ""Sirisena said he was using emergency powers to ban any form of face covering in public. The restriction will take effect from Monday, his office said in a statement. 'The ban is to ensure national security... No one should obscure their faces to make identification difficult,' the statement said. It came days after local Islamic clerics urged Muslim women not to cover their faces amid fears of a backlash after the bombings carried out by jihadists affiliated to the Islamic State group." In "Sri Lanka bans 'face-covering' under emergency protocol one week after Easter Sunday blasts; Sirisena says move to 'ensure' national security," First Post, 29 April 2019.

          Forced not to.  Forced to.  Forced.

          Such force so easily becomes tragedy as one small tale among many tells:  "A four-year-old girl in a village near Bareilly was killed allegedly by her father for failing to cover her head while having food, Uttar Pradesh police have said." In "Father kills 4-year-old daughter for not covering her head," HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, 3 October 2015.

 

[ 8 ]  The article notes the women, without hijab for the most part, were "enemies" in the eyes of the Turkish government. Political "enemies" indeed when dissent against entrenched power shows itself.

 

 

          "Several thousand women converged for the 17th annual Women’s Day march in Istanbul on Friday, but were met with tear gas fired by the police who tried to disperse the crowd. Women who participated in the March responded to Erdoğan’s accusations on Twitter, saying they were chanting and whistling as part of the demonstration and did not target the call to prayer, which began during their protest."

          How alike is the picture from the Women's Day march in Turkey to the now historic protests in Iran, as the theocrats took over decades ago. No hijabs in evidence as a "collective identity" and precious little "solidarity" for these women? Theologically, one reads of woman: "This is the deficiency in her intelligence."

          One might reconsider Islamophobia revisited - a thumbnail sketch of tolerance and inter-religious dialogues.

               

 


 

When words are overused

When words are overused, -used, -used,
        We come to see they're  abused, -bused, -bused.
Words which have accused, -cused, -cused,
        When overused become bruised, bruised, bruised.
Such words when so infused, -fusd, -fused,
        With overuse are defused, -fused, -fused,

Stagger as if boozed, boozed, boozed,
        And lose their punch, as refused, -fused, -fused.

 


 

Purple people

"In the field of psychology, the Dunning–Kruger effect is a cognitive bias in which people of low ability have illusory superiority and mistakenly assess their cognitive ability as greater than it is. The cognitive bias of illusory superiority comes from the inability of low-ability people to recognize their lack of ability. Without the self-awareness of metacognition, low-ability people cannot objectively evaluate their competence or incompetence. As described by social psychologists David Dunning and Justin Kruger, the cognitive bias of illusory superiority results from an internal illusion in people of low ability and from an external misperception in people of high ability; that is, 'the miscalibration of the incompetent stems from an error about the self, whereas the miscalibration of the highly competent stems from an error about others'." In "Dunning–Kruger effect," Wikipedia, n. d.

 

                    Are there brilliant purple people
And stupid purple people too?
Or does purple say just one thing
To another-colored you?


                    Does purple say it's just great?
Or does purple carry stings?
Does purple tell of competence,
Or stupidity's incompetent things?


                    Purple privilege is accused?
Which colorists ask such guff?
Another-coloreds pretend abuse
Through the colorists' rhetorical bluff.


                    How does purple sit with you,
When you won't sit with it?
If you won't, then tell all why
Purples should give a shit?


                    How does purple seem so less
To another-colored's more?
How does purple answer
An another-colored boor?


                    If you're purple and arrogant
About your purpleness,
Or if arrogance is other-colored,
Which color should then confess?


                    Are there kindly purple people
And awful purple people too?
Which color should be battered
By a specific-colored you?

 


 

Black on black is hard to read - a companion piece to screed  [ 1 ]

"Have we heard Obama make a statement about this carnage or that most homicide victims are black and that their murderers are black? No, and we won't, because black-on-black crime, like black-on-white crime, does not fit the liberal narrative of the continuing problem of white racism." In "Media Dishonesty and Race Hustlers," by Walter Williams, RealClearPolitics, 11 April 2012.

 

Black on black is hard to read, and so is white on white.
For this, American hustlers need their whites against blacks to fight.
Black on black is just old news, not fit for the newsprint's grime.
The pages of some throwaway can well ignore such crime.

White on white? Passé while true, so why race towards that tale?
The sameness in that witches' brew will also grow too stale.
White on black? Well shout hurrah! Now there's a winning pitch.
But is such purposed political strife now turning ironically rich?

Is it that crime's mostly ignored, and victims? -- Well, you know --
Unless they feed the gaping maw as hustlers hype their show.
No, black on black just won't sell, as if it's all worn out;
While white on white is vanilla plain, no protest there nor shout.

Just wait for one quite perfect plot to gin and twist and rage,
As the old game trots out to play when it finds its perfect stage.
Black on black is hard to read, and so is white on white.
For this the hustlers always need their whites against blacks to fight.

Dishonesty is how it works, when hustle turns to jive,
And as the flames are sizzling hot, not all emerge alive.
Race to be the loudest, first with outrage, puffed and loud
To trot out to the waiting news -- the reporters' angling crowd.

It's there the odd and truly sad universal is said to be,
All the while the hustlers grin and do so, racially.
The show is old, the story weak, and race grows more unclear,
That one ignore the mixtures as more colors now appear.

 

Addendum of Partisanship:    "... after controlling for other factors, partisanship has a greater association with views about the country’s racial progress than demographic factors, though being young and more educated are also significant predictors, particularly among whites." In "Race in America 2019," by Juliana Menasce Horowitz, Anna Brown and Kiana Cox, Pew Research Center, 9 April 2019.   [ 2 ]

 

Addendum of an Accusation of Being White:   "Webb then interrupts her to let her know he’s a black man, causing Martin to take a pause. 'You see, you went to white privilege; this is the falsehood in this,' Webb replies. 'You went immediately with an assumption. Your people, obviously, or you didn’t look.' Martin apologizes repeatedly for her false accusation, adding that 'her people' gave her the wrong information."In "A CNN analyst called out a Fox News contributor for his white privilege. He’s black." by Michael Brice-Saddler, Washington Post, 15 January 2019.

 

Addendum of Neither Black Nor White:   "We often hear pleas for frank discussions about 'race in America.' Yet rarely are Asian Americans ever seriously considered in this supposed dialogue." In "Are Asian Americans disadvantaged by “white privilege”? by Arthur Sakamoto, Work In Progress, 26 May 2018.   [ 3 ]

 

Addendum II of Neither Black Nor White:   "Yousuf Abdelfatah already knows the answer he'll give about his race on the 2020 census questionnaire will be wrong. He's an Arab American, but the only race options on the census are white, black, Asian and categories for American Indian, Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian Pacific Islander. Reluctantly, Abdelfatah will mark white." In " As census approaches, many Arab Americans feel left out," by Joseph Gedeon, Associated Press, 13 April 2019.   [ 4 ]

 

Addendum III of Neither Black Nor White:   "Project RACE advocates for multiracial children, multiracial adults, and their families primarily through multiracial education and community awareness. We do not advocate for racial classifications, but are committed to the appropriate inclusion of multiracial people on any forms that require racial identification. We support policies that make a positive impact on people of multiracial heritage at local, state, and national levels.  In "Our Mission," Project Race, n. d.    [ 5 ]

 

Addendum of White Kneegrows:    "Trinity College professor Johnny Eric Williams is capturing headlines once again for proposing 'whiteness is terrorism' on Twitter. The Hartford, Connecticut, sociology professor who called white people 'inhuman a-holes' who need to 'die' following a shooting attack on congressional Republicans now says 'whiteness is terrorism'."In "Trinity College defends professor's 'whiteness is terrorism' message," by Douglas Ernst, Washington Times, 29 April 2019.   [ 6 ]

 

NOTES

 

[ 1 ]     Williams, as a conservative political voice, has been discounted in the partisan game as an inauthentic voice, thereby dismissing him and others like him from that oft-requested "honest" discussion about race.

          The companion piece suggested to this rhyme and its addenda and footnotes? White Noise , and its salient addenda and footnotes.

 

[ 2 ]   The Pew research notes in support of the observation that "partisanship" is evident:  "Among whites, those who are more educated, as well as those who identify with or lean toward the Democratic Party, are particularly likely to see advantages to being white."  

 

Identity: More or Less

 

          Other interesting taxonomic assumptions are found in the Pew report:   "Blacks are more likely than Hispanics or Asians – and much more likely than whites – to say that their race is central to their identity. About three-quarters of black adults say being black is extremely (52%) or very (22%) important to how they think of themselves; 59% of Hispanics and 54% of Asians say being Hispanic or Asian, respectively, is at least very important to their overall identity, with about three-in-ten in each group saying it’s extremely important. In contrast, just 15% of whites say being white is very or extremely important to how they think of themselves; about two-thirds say it’s either only a little important (18%) or not important at all (47%)."

 

Distinctions

 

          This observation is most interesting, as the assumption that "Hispanic" is now a racial classification is taken for granted. One reads:  "It could be argued that the term Hispanic should apply to all Spanish-speaking cultures or countries, as the historical roots of the word specifically pertain to the Iberian region. It is difficult to label a nation or culture with one term, such as Hispanic, as the ethnicities, customs, traditions, and art forms (music, literature, dress, culture, cuisine, and others) vary greatly by country and region. The Spanish language and Spanish culture are the main distinctions." In "Hispanic," Wikipedia, n. d.

          Thus one finds race being conflated with "language" and "culture." Yet most American blacks -- thinking of one of many descriptors, African-American -- does not link to language nor a specific culture. Yet political "partisanship," as above now plays a part in seemingly racial distinctions.

          Thus the "honest" discussion about race and race relations in the United States seems at the minimum confused and, one can argue, dishonest if even allowed.

 

Honestly?

 

          One reads:  "President Bill Clinton called for a national conversation on race the year before Byrd, who was black, was murdered by three men, two of whom were white supremacists. And the same thing happened then that happened after Obama’s beer summit: nothing. National conversations on race, whether convened by political leaders or sparked by collective outrage, never last long. We say we want the conversation. But we just can’t handle it — especially in public." In "That honest conversation about race everyone wants? We can’t handle it," by Jonathan Capehart, Washington Post, 2 May 2014.

          A few years later, the same medium opined:   "...an honest conversation about race, if we could have it, would differentiate between the small, fringe groups of racists in this country and others who have no malice toward anyone but hold different points of view on various race-related issues. An honest conversation about race might help the left understand that many of the people they call racists are not that at all, even if they don’t prescribe to all the standard liberal solutions." In "An honest conversation about race is not allowed," by Gary Abernathy, Washington Post, 14 August 2017.

          So some think that conversation is something the "we" cannot handle, and some think that it "is not allowed." Odd, given the many voices saying such a conversation should be had. And then not. And then....

          Returning to the Pew research and its identification about political partisanship, one thinks on the Washington Post's observation:  "...everyone retreats to their corners, and the entrenched accusations continue and amplify, with no progress toward bridging the gulf that divides us."

           Which groups are "particularly likely to see advantages?" One may begin this footnote again, for it is both a circular game and partisan, in the end. There are some distinct problems however, as one continues to the below.  

 

[ 3 ]    While the black on white partisan-colored game plays out, Sakamoto observes:   "...my many years of experience working in this area of research lead me to believe that this meticulous study will be largely ignored. Most American sociologists will likely continue to favor 'political correctness' over statistical correctness in order to obsequiously gain favor with established elites in the field whose academic capital is heavily invested in the value of outdated theories such as 'white privilege.' The serious study of Asian Americans will likely continue to be marginalized even as so many sociologists ironically claim to be dedicated to promoting an inclusive and enlightened dialogue about 'race in America' sans Asian Americans. Unlike Don Quixote, however, tenured sociologists in the field of racial relations will also likely continue to receive attractive salaries, lifetime employment, and other professional rewards for engaging in their fantasies."

           One might consider the particularly American pastime:  Everything's about my colored skin  - (or sadly, Why racism works).

 

A Partisan Interest in Segregation?

 

           As to a rejection of what Sakamoto terms a fantasy and the Pew research indicates is partisan driven: one reads another similar opinion:  "...the ones who are preoccupied with judging people on the basis of their race, gender and ethnicity seem to be mostly the ones on the left. The ones who insist on separating the American people into distinct groups are liberal Democrats. The left has a vested interest in making sure our society stays segregated and does not assimilate into one united American culture." In "Let me tell you about 'White Privilege'," by Greg Crosby, Jewish World Review, 12 April 2019.

           If the Pew observations indicate by poll data that political stances drive, in part, an alleged "fantasy" or alleged reality of such distinct differences between different groups identified by skin color, then the "divide" remains, proven by the conversation which Capehart says "we can't handle" and Abernathy says "is not allowed," Such is the game of racial politics played by, in Williams' view as above, "Media Dishonesty and Race Hustlers."

           "...after controlling for other factors, partisanship has a greater association with views about the country’s racial progress than demographic factors...."

           The assertion is that a "...liberal narrative of the continuing problem of white racism" is partisan, Pew finds partisanship is the greater association." One then considers race via a partisan lens as follows:

           Assign differing values to skin colors, separate by those colors, and then fit the "chains" and assess the penalties for the identified class. Who did that? Who does that? Who will do that in the future?

 

[ 4 ]    This also underscores the Pew research, for that form of identity which does not involve specific racial characteristics, whatever and however such racial characteristics are described, is a wish to be identified with another identity other than the many already identified. This leads the way forward to many more "boxes," each separated from another more by partisanship, political or religious and perhaps both, while "race" no longer defines even race. Being self-identified as neither black nor white nor a number of other taxonomic terms becomes eventually problematic.

 

What Color Reflects? All Colors?

 

           The article notes:  "Does someone from Egypt, for example, check the African American box because their home country is in Africa? Would someone from Iraq be expected to mark that they are Asian? 'As an Egyptian, I considered marking 'African American' but I'm not black,' 24-year-old Nashville resident Dina El-Rifai said. "However, marking 'white' doesn't reflect who I am or the diversity I bring'."

           Mix this in with the postmodern assertions of fluidity in self-identity, and one has reached a moment in time wherein the words proliferate and dilute the seemingly "black and white" issue of race. Given that a language group like Hispanic is now counterpoint to a racial distinction of skin color, what next category will be supported by the politics of "black and white" thinking?

 

[ 5 ]     Mixed race? Which races?  One reads of the conundrum:   "Mixed-race individuals (from all ethnic backgrounds) make up roughly 2% of the total U.S. population. To give some context, full white Americans make up around 60% of the U.S. population, African Americans are roughly 12%, and Asian Americans around 6%. Being half Asian and half white myself, I am just one individual out of a fairly significant, but often overlooked minority racial group — the hapas, or those of mixed race." In "Hapas: The Overlooked Minority Racial Group," by Cameron Deptula, Honolulu Civil Beat, 4 April 2019.

 

Retreat to Racial Tribalism

 

           One notes the link to partisanship in the article:   "Unfortunately for hapas, and many individuals of other ethnic backgrounds, this new concept of 'race' isn’t necessarily inclusive of them. Despite both one's blood lineage and culture, people from full-blooded, binary ethnic groups are somehow allowed to revoke the rightful culture of others. Ultimately, this trend of bigoted racial judgment from both the left and the right and their subsequent primitive retreat to racial tribalism is used to suppress the voices of others, as was the case with my two 'progressive' peers. Rather than accept others for who they are along with celebrating the similarities and differences we all have, in today’s climate, people would rather exclude and silence."

           This insight is helpful. Those who advocate for "a" race often "would rather exclude and silence."  This is the raw stuff of much partisanship, and the article notes perceptively, "this trend of bigoted racial judgment from both the left and the right" also reflects on the Pew research, suggesting how political "race" has become in the hands of -- well -- the next crop of racists.

 

[ 6 ]     As part of the "honest discussion about race," allowed or not allowed depending on who says what, once can add "scholarship."  To flesh out the article excerpt above, one reads:   "...Williams said 'there are many socially defined black folks who have internalized whiteness — as a way and knowing and being in the world. They like others who believe themselves to be ‘white,’ act on these ideas in ways that create and sustain systemic white racism. Such whiteness internalization lead folks like Candace Owens, Barry and Michelle Obama to engage in actions and policy creations that are existential threats to humanity, particularly the racial oppressed. Thus my post denotes the urgency of exposing these individual as enemies of humanity’s well-being,' Williams said." In "Trinity College professor tweets 'whiteness is terrorism,' refers to Barack and Michelle Obama as 'white kneegrows'," by Neil Vigdor, Hartford Courant, 23 April 2019.

           "...hustlers grin and do so, racially."

 

 


 

Pooped

"One of America's wealthiest cities has a huge problem with public poop. Between 2011 and 2018, San Francisco experienced a massive increase in reported incidents of human feces found on public streets. In 2011, just over 5,500 reports were logged by the San Francisco Department of Public Works; in 2018, the number increased to more than 28,000." In "People are pooping more than ever on the streets of San Francisco," by Ben Gilbert, SFGate, 18 April 2019.

 

[ 1 ]

 

Gee, I'm pooped. It's tiring.
All the news, conspiring
To snicker while admiring
Government's Public Works.
Gee, they've scooped, perspiring,
As tourists go inquiring
Where to walk, desiring
To avoid such public works.

Gee, drawers drooped, aspiring
To poop amid backfiring;
That's the thing, inspiring
San Fran's public jerks.

 

Detail from the Seal of San Francisco:  "Gold in peace, iron in war."

 

Addendum of a Proposed Amendment to the San Francisco Seal:   "Oro en paz, fierro en guerra, y mierda en las calles"

 

Addendum of How the Public Works:   "San Francisco Public Works has a $72.5 million-a-year street cleaning budget — including spending $12 million a year on what essentially have become housekeeping services for homeless encampments. The costs include $2.8 million for a Hot Spots crew to wash down the camps and remove any biohazards, $2.3 million for street steam cleaners, $3.1 million for the Pit Stop portable toilets, plus the new $830,977-a-year Poop Patrol to actively hunt down and clean up human waste. (By the way, the poop patrolers earn $71,760 a year, which swells to $184,678 with mandated benefits.)" In "Street housekeeping keeps SF Mayor Breed — and everyone else — hopping," by Matier & Ross, San Francisco Chronicle, 22 August 2018.   [ 2 ]

 

Addendum of an All-Time High:    "Last year, the number of reports spiked to an all-time high at 28,084. In first quarter 2019, the pace continued with 6,676 instances of human waste in the public way." In "Mapping San Francisco's Human Waste Challenge - 132,562  Cases Reported In The Public Way Since 2008," by Adam Andrzejewski, Forbes, 15 April 2019.

 

NOTES

 

[ 1 ]    One notes the commendable courage of the city to fine poopers.... One reads with some amusement:  " 'I am sure that many of us have stepped into dog waste accidentally and found ourselves frustrated by the poopetrators,' Supervisor Tang said in a release. 'Even with existing laws on the books, I still hear complaints from residents that pet guardians are not being held responsible and the law is not being enforced.' The law — and yes, a San Francisco dog poop law does exist — is called the Scoop the Poop Act of 1978 and was introduced by none other than the late Harvey Milk." In " 'Poopetrator' Push Seeks to Wipe Away Dog Waste," by Joe Kukura, SF Weekly, 23 May 2017.

 

[ 2 ]    There is a precedent for the unwillingness of the political leadership of San Francisco to spend millions on a public works poop patrol. 

 

     

 

          Urine luck (pun intended), as one reads:   "Leaders of the San Francisco Police Officers Association weren’t immediately available for comment on the judges' statements. But when Chronicle columnists Matier & Ross first reported the destruction of the warrants on Nov. 14, Martin Halloran, head of the police union, told them that the court was 'sending a message that there is no accountability for what you have done, and the laws on the books can be violated with no repercussions. I don’t think it’s what the public wants.' Stewart said the judges have chosen the best alternative available and don’t plan to resume issuing warrants. Still, he said, 'people in the neighborhood have a right to be upset'." In "SF judge explains why 66,000 arrest warrants were discarded," by Bob Egelko, SF Gate, 7 December 2016.

          And so the logic is laid bare. 1) No accountability on the part of political leadership, and 2) people have a right to be upset.

          Walk a dog that poops in the street, and the politics assumes you can and will pay a fine in the hundreds of dollars. Poop in the street yourself and the politics assumes you cannot pay the fine -- in the "Shitty by the Bay."

          You have a right to be upset. So what.

          That's just the nature of Politics .  Shit.

 


 

Islam is identified - a litany for April, 2019

Islam is identified
Again and yet again.
If one should note the obvious,
Denial shrieks, but then
Islam is identified,
Again and yet again.

 

Islam is connected with
Words for all to read.
If one should note their meaning,
Denial shrieks, but then
Islam is connected with
Words for all to read.

 

Islam has its problem
With the world all around.
If one should read the papers,
Denial shrieks, but still
Islam has its problem
With the world all around.
Islam seems explosive
In thought, in word and deed.
If one should find connection,
Denial shrieks, but yet
Islam seems explosive
In thought, in word and deed.

 

 

Addendum of a Death Toll Rising in Sri Lanka:  "The government on Monday blamed National Thowheeth Jama’ath, a little-known radical Islamist organization, for the bombings. An official said the group, which had not carried out any serious attacks before, had help from 'an international network'." In "Sri Lanka Bombings Live Updates: Terrorist Group Is Identified, and Death Toll Rises," New York Times, 22 April 2019.   [ 1 ]

 

Addendum from Nigeria:   "Fulani militants have waged attacks on Christian villages in recent weeks, continuing the jihadist campaign it began in 2009. Fulani Islamic militants have killed more than 120 Christians and burned dozens of homes in northern Nigeria in a series of attacks since the election season in February. Their violent agenda was recently spurred by Kaduna Gov. Nasir El-Rufai’s false claim that Adara Christians murdered over 100 Fulani, on the eve of Nigeria’s presidential election. His false statements encouraged Islamic militants and Fulani herdsmen to hammer Christian villages in the Kaduna, Benue and Borno state. The Nigerian Emergency Management Agency refuted his statement, proclaiming it as, 'a rumor to instigate violence'." In "Islamic Militants Increase Attacks on Nigerian Christians," International Christian Concern, 30 March
2019.  
[ 2 ]
 

Addendum from the Congo:   "The ADF is thought to have killed at least 700 civilians and more than 20 United Nations peacekeepers. The ADF was believed to be behind an attack that killed seven people on February 8, was blamed for killing 10 soldiers and civilians on January 9, and nine people in an attack on January 9, all in the Beni region of North Kivu." In "ISIS claims first attack in DR Congo, saying it killed soldiers near Uganda border," byJoanne Stocker, Defense Post, 18 April 2019.

 

Addendum from Syria:  " 'Of course there were beheadings — why should I lie?' says a Syrian woman. 'It's based on the Quran and the rules of God.' Asked about the Yazidi minority, which ISIS targeted with a campaign of genocide, the women shout: 'Devil worshippers!' Misconceptions about the ancient Yazidi religion have led to dozens of massacres over the centuries. When ISIS took over a third of Iraq in 2014, thousands of Yazidis were killed or captured as sex slaves. 'If they don't convert to Islam and they don't become Muslim like us and worship God, then they deserve it, an Iraqi woman says." In " 'We Pray For The Caliphate To Return': ISIS Families Crowd Into Syrian Camps," by Jane Arraf, NPR, 19 April 2019.

 

Addendum from Cameroon:   "Boko Haram fighters torched a village in Cameroon's troubled Far North Region overnight and killed 11 civilians in their sleep, security sources told AFP on Friday." In "11 sleeping civilians killed in Cameroon Boko Haram attack," Agence France Presse, 19 April 2019.   [ 3 ]

 

Addendum of Accursed Paris:   "The cross was broken, a sign of good / And the building collapsed in a fiery blaze. / Oh accursed Paris, "rejoice" over tidings/ Of humiliation, burning, and poverty. / Let me not find a deceiver to lament them / Or one speechless with grief for the ancient monument. / By no means! We rejoice over anything that hurts them, / So beware, oh hypocrites, beware! / The land of Syria has not forgotten their crimes, nor has / Africa forgotten centuries of captivity. / How many mosques, have the cannons erased their traces / In our land, how many ruins of colonialism? / How much have our peoples been degraded in the name of the Church? / Behold, the rivers of blood flow! / We will return to water the paving stones of their nightclubs / With the blood of the unbelievers we shall meet. / France thought it would defeat our Lord, / But he who tries to defeat the Omnipotent one will be defeated." In " Jihadi Ideologue Celebrates Notre Dame Cathedral Fire, Threatens Jihad Against France," April 17, 2019 (Telegram.me/ Monotheism First and Always, April 17, 2019)

 

Addendum from Australia:   "...a 'flagrant' breach of a court order in relation to construction works to build a Muslim religious centre on their rural property in Colo. They and their business were convicted on 12 charges of contempt of court. A furious Mustapha Kara-Ali left the Court on Thursday saying: 'Our religion is prime, the cross belongs in the dustbin of history'."In "Mustapha and Diaa Kara-Ali charged with contempt of court for clearing land," by Benedict Brook, News.com.au, 19 April 2019.   [ 4 ]

 

Addendum from Spain:   "The suspect’s name is Zouhair el Bouhdidi and he is a student at the University of Seville. According to police sources in Spain, the young man was preparing an imminent attack against the processions of Holy Week in Seville, one of the most important events of the Catholic calendar. According to the newspaper El Confidencial, el Bouhdidi has already confessed to the Moroccan police his plans to commit a 'large-scale massacre' in the Andalusian city. The Spanish secret services had reportedly been following him for several weeks." In "Police Stop Alleged Terrorist Plan to Attack Spain’s Holy Week," Itxu Diaz, Daily Beast, 17 April 2019.

 

Addendum from Italy:   "...chats also contained references to aspects of guerrilla warfare and sabotage, according to investigators, and explicit mentions of violence such as when Frittitta mentioned how he would like to use a knife he carried with him to slit throats. 'Martyrdom is the best way to die,' Ghafir is alleged to have said in the online chats and added, 'Allah will not deny us this possibility.' In other comments, he said, 'The law of Allah … does not apply except with the sword. And one must be cruel to the traitors, to the rebels. And all dead.' The case marks the latest successful arrest of Islamic radicals in Italy which has seen several major plots foiled in recent years including a Somali migrant who was arrested in December after planning to bomb the Vatican and other Italian churches." In "Italian Convert to Islam and Moroccan Migrant Arrested over Terror Plot," by Chris Tomlinson, Breitbart, 20 April 2019.

 

Addendum from Iran:   "Ayatollah Nouri Hamadani ‎emphasized that according to the narrations, jihad was always ‎emphasized by the Prophet Muhammad and the Infallibles and added, 'God has given the ‎ummah dignity as a result of jihad. Every good thing has degrees and levels but one must ‎know that above all good is being martyred on the path of God.' ‎ Ayatollah Nouri Hamadani ‎stressed that jihad is the criterion for determining the true believer ‎from one who isn’t a true believer, 'Today, despite the fact that there is no other hard ‎battlefront, those who desire to be presence on the frontlines are real Muslims and those ‎who don’t desire to be present on the frontlines, they are hypocrites'.”" In "Iran’s authority due to sacrifices of great veterans, martyrs," AhlulBayt (a. s.) News Agency, 18 April 2019.   [ 5 ]

 

Addendum from Pakistan of a Singular Crime:  "...a case should be registered against the man, Khalid Satti, under the kidnapping and rape clauses. He kidnapped the woman, a resident of Islamabad’s Iqbal Town, and forced her to convert from Christianity to Islam in order to marry her. She is the mother of three, the report noted. It also suggested action against the nikkah registrar, Muhammad Ali, and police officials such as the DSP, SHO and investigation officer of the police station in whose jurisdiction the crime occurred." In "Christian woman was kidnapped, forcibly converted and raped in Islamabad: investigators," Samaa Digital, 29 March 2019.   [ 6 ]

 

NOTES

 

[ 1 ]    The NY Times notes:   "Ten days before the bombings, a top Sri Lankan police official warned the security services that a radical Islamist group was planning suicide attacks against churches, but no action was taken against the group.  ...Sri Lanka does not have much history of Islamist terrorism. The country is predominantly Buddhist, with significant Hindu, Muslim and Christian minorities."  A takeaway from this observation is that the other faiths seem to more effectively Coexist than does Islam.

 

Islamic is the Adjective, Islam is the Root

 

          "A radical Muslim terror group called National Thowheed Jamath was blamed Monday for the devastating suicide bombings that killed at least 290 and injured 500 in Sri Lanka. Cabinet spokesman Rajitha Senaratne said that seven suicide bombers from the domestic group were behind the coordinated attacks — but insisted overseas terrorists likely helped." In "Islamic terrorist group National Thowheed Jamath blamed for Sri Lanka bombings," by Lee Brown, NY Post, 22 April 2019.

          "The first reports of explosions came at about 08:45 local time with six blasts reported within a small space of time. Three churches in Negombo, Batticaloa and Colombo's Kochchikade district were targeted during Easter services. Blasts also rocked the Shangri-La, Kingsbury and Cinnamon Grand hotels in the country's capital." In "Sri Lanka attacks: 'International network' linked to bombings," BBC, 22 April 2019.

          A day later, the death toll rises.  "The coordinated bombings on Sunday, targeting churches and hotels in and around the Sri Lankan capital, killed more than 320 people." In "ISIS claims Sri Lanka bombings that official says were 'retaliation' for New Zealand attack," CBS News, 23 April 2019.

 

A Blessed Attack, So Some Said. Really?

 

          Other testimony:   " 'Those that carried out the attack that targeted members of the US-led coalition and Christians in Sri Lanka the day before yesterday are Islamic State group fighters,' IS propaganda agency Amaq said in a statement. The group gave the noms de guerre of seven people it claimed were behind the 'blessed attack' that targeted Christians during their 'blasphemous holiday'." In "Sri Lankan suicide bombers film themselves pledging allegiance to ISIS leader Al-Baghdadi before carrying out terror attack," by Tim Stickings and Dianne Apen-Sadler and George Martin, Mail Online, 23 April 2019.

          Note the Islamic accusation that an attack is "blessed" and a Christian holiday is "blasphemous." These are root words of a theology defined by violence, its adjectives speaking clearly of such belief. Islamic belief.

 

Some Muslims Say These Muslims Were Not Muslims

 

          Further some speculation:   " 'We believe one of the suicide bombers studied in the UK and then later on did his postgraduate in Australia, before coming back to settle in Sri Lanka'." In "Was Sri Lanka suicide bomber radicalised in BRITAIN? Authorities reveal terrorist studied in UK and how the 'middle-class' jihadists were 'well-educated and financially independent'," by Ed Riley, Mail Online, 24 April 2019.

          A day later, some facts of Islamic consequence:   "After getting ejected from serving as imam of one mosque for his extremist views, Mr. Zaharan started a group in 2014 called National Thowheeth Jama’ath, which drew from the austere Wahhabi tradition that claims to follow the faith as practiced in the age of its founder, the Prophet Muhammad. Mr. Zaharan preached that the Sri Lankan national flag was a worthless piece of cloth, and that the country should be ruled by Shariah law — an unlikely outcome in a country where only about 10 percent of the population is Muslim." In "Sri Lankan Accused of Leading Attacks Preached Slaughter. Many Dismissed Him.," by Hannah Beech, New York Times, 25 April 2019.

 

Who and What Is Suspect?

 

          More details are found:   "Mohamed Ibrahim, was arrested as police investigate those behind the attacks, police said. Ibrahim, a wealthy spice trader and pillar of the business community, had six sons and three daughters. He was admired by many who knew him. 'He was famous in the area for helping the poor with food and money. It's unthinkable his children could have done that,' Fazla said, glancing affectionately at her two young daughters. 'Because of what they have done, all Muslims are treated as suspects.' Ilham Ibrahim, 31, openly expressed extremist ideologies and had been involved in meetings of National Thowheed Jamath, a local Islamist group suspected of involvement in planning the attacks, according to the source close to the family." In "Blood brothers: the wealthy family behind Sri Lanka's suicide attacks," by Joe Brock, Shihar Aneez, and Ranga Sirilal, Reuters, 24 April 2019.

          Thus, claims of income inequality and class warfare may be discounted. What remains to be considered? Islam as ideology, given especially that some Muslims speak against and some for such violence, supremacist stances, and all refer back to Islamic texts for sources.

 

Assurances of 'Probably' No Connection?

 

          And yet, other representatives of Islam spoke:   "The ambassadors of more than a dozen Muslim countries – among them Turkey, Pakistan, Egypt, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Iran – called on the archbishop, Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith. 'We are very happy and thankful to the ambassadors of the Islamic countries for having coming here to express their solidarity with us,' Ranjith told local media after their meeting. He said the ambassadors had given their assurance that 'what has happened is not something political or religious; it is something that has been probably the result of some misguided people, and maybe there are other forces behind those misguided people, but they are not – no connection to Islam'." In "Sri Lanka Cardinal Says Muslim Envoys Assured Him Bombings Had ‘No Connection to Islam’," by Patrick Goodenough, Cybercast News, 25 April 2019.

          One could well consider then what Islam even means, given that there are so many schisms speaking that they represent Islam while other divisions of Islam do not speak with representative voice. Whatever the perspective, it is clear that the Muslims who killed so many in Sri Lanka acted, as reported above, against a "blasphemous holiday" with their "blessed attack."

 

Martyred in Allah's Cause?

 

          And yet the following is quite "Islamic:"   "Narrated Abu Huraira: The Prophet said, 'By Him in Whose Hands my life is! Were it not for some men amongst the believers who dislike to be left behind me and whom I cannot provide with means of conveyance, I would certainly never remain behind any Sariya' (army-unit) setting out in Allah's Cause. By Him in Whose Hands my life is! I would love to be martyred in Al1ah's Cause and then get resurrected and then get martyred, and then get resurrected again and then get martyred and then get resurrected again and then get martyred'." Sahih al-Bukhari, Book 52 Hadith 54.

          How shall one then parse the conflicting data? By believing "assurances" or believing deeds motivated by specific words from a specific source?

 

Compare and Contrast

 

          Contrasting words and deeds which may be said to be Islamic, one reads the counterpoint in this modern world:   "However, 'No matter what you have done to us, we love you, because we believe in the Lord Jesus Christ,' Pastor Mahesan added. 'Jesus Christ on the Cross, he said: ‘Father forgive them for they do not know what they are doing.’ We also, who follow the footsteps of Jesus Christ, we say, for the Lord: ‘forgive these people'." In "Sri Lanka Pastor Forgives Bombers," Pakistan Christian Post, 29 April 2019.

          The contrast seems stark. So how does something "Islamic" and "extreme" become welcome in a land? One reads in the aftermath a Sri Lankan Buddhist politician's view:   "MP Venerable Athuraliye Rathana Thero claims that three years ago intelligence officers had given the President a report regarding extremist group arming themselves and shootouts between these groups, but no action was taken out of fear of Muslim politicians. He made these comments during an event held today (10) for the launch of the Sri Lanka National Council’s five-point national plan to prevent the infiltration of Islamic State terrorism into the country." In "Fearing Muslim politicians, govt did not act on extremist groups - Rathana Thero," Ada Derana (Sri Lanka), 10 May 2019.

 

Identifying through Language

 

          Thus, language alone clusters words together in identifying the murderous terrorism of the Easter attacks. "Islamic" and "Muslim" appear alongside "radical" and names including "Mohamed" and "Ibrahim," stewed with "Wahhabi" and "Shariah."   Assurances by Islamic ambassadors do not answer this cluster of Islamic terms by which the various news sources cited, except to allege that somehow all this "Islamic" vocabulary isn't "Islamic?

 

[ 2 ]    The report continues:  "Fulani militants have waged coordinated attacks on Nigeria’s most persecuted states. On March 4th, the jihadist group killed 23 Christian villagers with guns and machetes, and slaughtered approximately 30 people days prior Kaduna state. On March 11th, Islamic hardliners killed 52 Christians and burned at least 100 homes in villages in the Maro district of the Kajuru Local Government Area in Kaduna state. According to Christian Solidarity worldwide (CSW), witnesses reported the Fulani attacked in three groups — one setting fire to homes, another shooting villagers, and another designated to chase down those who tried to flee."

          Similar tales are reported. One such:   "Christian charity Open Doors was informed that armed members of the terrorist organisation - that has pledged allegiance to IS - invaded the Christian community of Kuda near Madagali in Adamawa state, north east Nigeria on Monday. They then went door to door, killing as many as 25 people." In "Concern for Nigerian Christians: 'We are in danger; we have no one to fight for us'," by Eno Adeogun, Premier UK, 3 May 2019.

 

[ 3 ]   The "insurgency" of Islam's militants is often referred to in other terms, in attempts to parse Islam away from Islam, per the tenets of a postmodern West in which al cultures are somehow equal. But of Boko Haram, one reads further:   "UN refugee agency spokesman Babar Baloch told reporters in Geneva that recent fighting in Borno had forced more than 80,000 people to flee their homes. 'Nigerian refugees continue to arrive in very remote and impoverished communities in neighbouring countries', he added."   In "Boko Haram fear sees 30,000 flee Nigerian town: UN," Daily Nation, Kenya, 29 January 2019.

 

[ 4 ]   Therein one seems to find an overt supremacist mentality of some Muslims. Testimony from thoughts, words and deeds across the Islamic world speak to conquest through violence. Thus this small collection of news from various sources.

 

Buddhist Monuments - an Islamic Target?

 

          "In January this year authorities in Sri Lanka seized a huge cache of explosives at Wanathawilluwa. It was said that this belonged to a module of the ISIS, who were attempting major blasts at historic Buddhist monuments. An imam and a maulvi were also arrested in connection with the incident. On April 11, the police got an input that terrorists would target 11 Churches in the country. It warned that Catholics would be the target of the attack. Moreover the serial bombings that rocked Colombo bear the signature of the Islamic State. The nation has been under the radar of the Islamic State for nearly three years now." In "Sri Lanka has seen a spike in Jihadi activity since 2017," by Vicky Nanjappa, One India, 21 April 2019.

 

Christians - an Islamic Target?

 

          As to this supremacist mentality, rooted in Islamic theology specifically, one reads another April editorial view:   "We are living though one of the most serious phases of Christian persecution in history, and most people refuse to acknowledge it. During the past century, Christianity has been all but driven out of the Middle East, the place of its birth. This time last year I was in Damascus, visiting the Christian community there. On the front of the church that I went to on Sunday morning there was a huge mural depicting the horrors of the Armenian genocide. These Christians were originally refugees from Turkey, and had arrived there fleeing the most sustained and horrendous persecution. ...According to the widely respected Pew report, Christianity remains the world’s most persecuted religion. And the only reason for mentioning this so crassly in terms of league tables is simply that it serves to highlight the deafening silence of our response to it. From North Korea (OK, obviously) to China, and increasingly even in places such as India – all around the world Christians are subject to real and sustained violence for the profession of their faith, the one that we proclaim most insistently today." In "As the Sri Lanka attacks show, Christians worldwide face serious persecution," by Giles Fraser, Guardian UK, 21 April 2019.

          Days later:   "Gunmen have opened fire on a church in northern Burkina Faso, killing at least six people, officials say. The attackers reportedly arrived on seven motorbikes at the end of Sunday's service and killed the pastor, two of his sons and three other worshippers." In "Burkina Faso: Christians killed in attack on church," BBC, 29 April 2019.

 

Break the Cross and Witness Against Them

 

          So among the aims of Islamic theology, one reads:   "Narrated Abu Huraira: Allah's Messenger (*) said, 'By Him in Whose Hands my soul is, surely (Jesus,) the son of Mary will soon descend amongst you and will judge mankind justly (as a Just Ruler); he will break the Cross and kill the pigs and there will be no Jizya (i.e. taxation taken from non Muslims). Money will be in abundance so that nobody will accept it, and a single prostration to Allah (in prayer) will be better than the whole world and whatever is in it.' Abu Huraira added 'If you wish, you can recite (this verse of the Holy Book): -- 'And there is none Of the people of the Scriptures (Jews and Christians) But must believe in him (i.e Jesus as an Apostle of Allah and a human being) Before his death. And on the Day of Judgment He will be a witness Against them.' Sahih al-Bukhari, Vol. 4, Book 55, Hadith 657.

 

[ 5 ]     For such from Muslim clerics, one reads as understandable opposition:   "Without violence of all types, Islam would undergo a slow death. Violence is in the fabric of this crooked ideology. Take away violence and you shut down the blood supply from the body of 'ISLAMS.' Islam is violent, not only against non-Muslims, but it is also violent against its own numerous sects and offshoots. Even within every sect and offshoot violence in the most savage ways is practiced. Just to name some examples: public lashing, cutting off hands for stealing even a morsel of bread, blinding convicts or hanging them, stoning so-called adulteresses, castrating sexual offenders and the hanging of homosexuals." In "Is Islam Inherently Violent?" by Amil Imani, Capitol Hill Outsider, 20 April 2019.

          "Is Islam Inherently Violent?" asks an article's title. The many citations above answer it is.

 

Islam is Inherently Violent?

 

          One might learn of other lands' experience, as this one attests:   "The Haouch Khemisti massacre took place before dawn on April 22, 1997 in the Algerian village of Haouch Mokhfi Khemisti (also spelled Boughelef Khemisti, Haouch Boughlef-Khemisti, Haouch Boukhelef-Khemisti, Haouch Boughfi el-Khemisti, Haouch Boughelaf, or Haouch Khmisti Bougara), some 25 km south of Algiers near Bougara. 93 villagers were killed in 3 hours, the bodies were found decapitated." In "Haouch Khemisti massacre," Wikipedia.

          To exemplify a longer arch of history, beyond a snapshot above, Wikipedia handily notes the range of Algerian massacres throughout 1997, each  "in which over 50 people were killed:"   "Thalit massacre, 3–4 April; Haouch Khemisti massacre, 21 April; Daïat Labguer (M'sila) Massacre,16 June; Si-Zerrouk massacre, 27 July; Oued El-Had and Mezouara massacre, 3 August, Souhane massacre, 20–21 August; Beni-Ali massacre, 26 August; Rais massacre, 29 August; Beni-Messous massacre, 5–6 September; Guelb El-Kebir massacre, 19 September; Bentalha massacre, 22 September; Sid El-Antri massacre , 23–24 December," all in all a lot of massacres, one could opine.

 

"The followers of Muhammed will conquer America?"

 

          But is Islam inherently violent?   One reads an Islamic source.  "Narrated by Abu Huraira. Allah 's Apostle said, 'I have been ordered to fight with the people till they say, 'None has the right to be worshipped but Allah,' and whoever says, 'None has the right to be worshipped but Allah,' his life and property will be saved by me except for Islamic law, and his accounts will be with Allah, (either to punish him or to forgive him.)' " Bukhari, Volume 4, Book 52, Number 196.

 

Individual Instances, Gathered Together

 

          As a small example of the effect of the encouragement of violence within Islamic doctrine, one reads:   "Mark Steven Domingo, 26, a U.S. Army infantryman who recently converted to Islam, was taken into custody on Friday after undercover FBI operatives furnished him with what he thought were live bombs to be used in the attack, law enforcement officials said. Authorities said Domingo, who had no prior criminal record, came to their attention because of a series of violent extremist messages he posted in online chat rooms, one of which called for 'retribution' for the massacre of 50 people at mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, by a gunman in March." In "U.S. Army veteran charged with plotting to bomb white nationalist rally," by Dan Whitcomb, Steve Gorman, Reuters, 29 April 2019.

          Another example in which Islamic vocabulary tells its tale:   "The informant suggested during one meeting that Sadiqullah and others — who were mad at someone they believed had cheated them in a business deal — meet with Shalash at a mosque on Armstrong Mill Road 'in order for Shalash to provide a 'fatwa' authorizing the killing.' A fatwa is an Islamic legal pronouncement issued by an expert in religious law, according to The Islamic Supreme Council of America. Sadiqullah and Shalash agreed with the informant, Jackson said in his sworn statement." In "Kentucky Islamic leader, 2 others charged in murder-for-hire plot over business deal, debt," by Bill Estep, Lexington Herald-Examiner, 13 May 2019.

          Such singular events magnify into many events, as one sees in A European report:  "The greatest majority (1703 people, 91 %) were victims of "jihadi terror,' with about 20% from suicide bombings."  The original:    "La très grande majorité (1.703 personnes, 91,1%) ont été victimes du "terrorisme djihadiste", avec près de 20% d'attentats suicide." In "Publication d'un «livre blanc et noir du terrorisme en Europe»," Le Figaro, 3 March 2019.

          Britain makes the connection:  "The pull of this propaganda is startling: of the plots thwarted by police and MI5 and our Western allies in 2018, 80 per cent were conducted by people inspired by the ideology of IS but who had never actually been in contact with it in Syria or Iraq. We also know that, despite their losses, IS's remaining members are intent on directing terrorist attacks around the world, including on European soil. And this ambition is shared by al Qaeda, whose desire and capability to attack the West hasn’t diminished while IS has been in the spotlight." In "We at MI5 can't beat the terror threat alone — let's all work together," by Andrew Parker, Evening Standard UK, 3 May 2019.

 

For Allah

 

          Also in the United States, one finds expression of violent Islam as well:   "Disturbing footage of Muslim kids saying they would sacrifice themselves and kill for the 'army of Allah' surfaced from an Islamic center in Philadelphia. The Muslim American Society (MAS) Islamic Center in Philadelphia posted the video to its Facebook page celebrating 'Ummah Day' in which young children wearing Palestinian scarves sang and read poetry about killing for Allah and the mosque in Jerusalem." In "Shocking video of children in Philadelphia Muslim Society: 'We will chop off their heads' for Allah," by Caleb Parke, Fox News, 4 May 2019.

          Assurances to the contrary, the number of incidences of Islamist violence and "jihadi terror" suggest clear connections between words and deeds. Vocabulary itself identifies, and therefore testifies alongside deeds.

          For this evidence which amasses over time, one finds the Sri Lankan government responding to "Islam:" as one reads:  "Sri Lanka has expelled over 600 foreign nationals, including around 200 Islamic clerics, since the Easter suicide bombings blamed on a local jihadi group, a minister told AFP Sunday. Home Affairs Minister Vajira Abeywardena said the clerics had entered the country legally, but amid a security crackdown after the attacks were found to have overstayed their visas, for which fines were imposed and they were expelled from the island." In "Sri Lanka expels 200 Islamic clerics after Easter attacks," Daily Mirror, 6 May 2019.

          Simple grammar. The adjective describes a certain ideology and therefore its adherents in an unequivocal manner. Islamic.

 

What is Islamic?

 

          Some say not. But one reads:   "Moderate Muslims do denounce violence that is committed in the name of Islam, very much so, but they deny that religion plays any role in that violence. The very first thing you will hear from the mouth of a moderate typically after an act of violence committed in the name of Islam is, please don't misunderstand, Islam has nothing to do with this. But that's not true, because those who are committing the violence cite Islam as their inspiration." In "Head to Head, Interview with Irshad Manji," Mehdi Hasan, Al Jazeera, 12 May 2016.

 

Allah Describes non-Muslims as People of No Intelligence?

 

          The interviewer seemed to resist this statement by a reformer, but one reads of Hasan:   "During a sermon delivered in 2009, quoting a verse of the Quran, Hasan said to an audience: 'The kuffar, the disbelievers, the atheists who remain deaf and stubborn to the teachings of Islam, the rational message of the Koran; they are described in the Koran as 'a people of no intelligence', Allah describes them as not of no morality, not as people of no belief – people of 'no intelligence' – because they're incapable of the intellectual effort it requires to shake off those blind prejudices, to shake off those easy assumptions about this world, about the existence of God. In this respect, the Koran describes the atheists as 'cattle', as cattle of those who grow the crops and do not stop and wonder about this world." In "Mehdi Hasan," under "2009 Islamic Unity Society sermon," Wikipedia, n. d.

          One notes the confusion, as "God" is conceived in different ways by different people, and a reformer like Manji remains devout towards Allah, though far differently that Hasan who uses Islamic words like "kuffar" to polarize religious sentiments, speaking of "disbelievers." If "kuffar" is Islamic vocabulary, then so is violence as "jihad" explained "in the name of Islam." What is Islamic then? Some kinds of terror?

 

Allah on the Side of the National Socialists and Italian Fascists?

 

          One looks back into the mid-20th century for such "Islamic" examples:   "On Mar. 19, 1942, the ex-Mufti of Jerusalem spoke to the Arab world by Rome radio and said: 'If, God forbid, America and her allies are victorious in this war . . . then the world will become hell, God forbid. But Allah is too just and merciful to grant such murderous violators any victory.' After a long struggle and supreme sacrifices, the 'murderous violators' became victors. They entered Germany while the ex-Mufti was still there with the bags of gold he had received from Hitler. He escaped to Switzerland, was expelled from there back to Germany, was captured by the French army and placed under house arrest; then he escaped from France to Cairo on a false passport, and became the head of the Arab Higher Committee." In "Ex-Mufti, Criminal Ally," Obsrver, New York Post, 23 February 1948.

 

Islamic Terror According to Islam?

 

          Continuing with an Islamic source:   "Narrated by Abu Huraira. Allah's Apostle said, "I have been sent with the shortest expressions bearing the widest meanings, and I have been made victorious with terror (cast in the hearts of the enemy), and while I was sleeping, the keys of the treasures of the world were brought to me and put in my hand.' Abu Huraira added: Allah's Apostle has left the world and now you, people, are bringing out those treasures (i.e. the Prophet did not benefit by them)." Bukhari, Volume 4, Book 52, Number 220.

          Continuing:  "Then they surrendered, and the apostle confined them in Medina in the quarter of d. al-Harith, a woman of B. al-Najjar. Then the apostle went out to the market of Medina (which is still its market today) and dug trenches in it. Then he sent for them and struck off their heads in those trenches as they were brought out to him in batches. Among them was the enemy of Allah Huyayy b. Akhtab and Ka`b b. Asad their chief. There were 600 or 700 in all, though some put the figure as high as 800 or 900. As they were being taken out in batches to the apostle they asked Ka`b what he thought would be done with them. He replied, 'Will you never understand? Don't you see that the summoner never stops and those who are taken away do not return? By Allah it is death!' This went on until the apostle made an end of them." Ibn Ishaq, p 464.

 

Islam Violently Against Islam?

 

          From centuries later, one reads:   " 'This is the largest mass execution of Shiites in the kingdom’s history,' he said. Amnesty International also confirmed the majority of those executed were Shiite men. The rights group said they were convicted 'after sham trials' that relied on confessions extracted through torture." In "Saudi Arabia beheads 37 for terrorism crimes, most of them minority Shiites," CNBC, 24 April 2019.

          To underscore this violent reality, the CNBC article includes:   "The Interior Ministry said the body of one of the executed men -- Khaled bin Abdel Karim al-Tuwaijri -- was publicly pinned to a pole. The statement did not say in which city of Saudi Arabia the public display took place."

          A little litany in the month of April says yes, Islam from its inception was and remains inherently violent. "By Allah it is death."  The non-Islamic world may reflect on this, when the less informed in its midst lobby for their perspective about The religion of peace .

 

[ 6 ]    The article notes:   "It also suggested action against the nikkah registrar, Muhammad Ali, and police officials such as the DSP, SHO and investigation officer of the police station in whose jurisdiction the crime occurred."

          As to the Islamic term, one reads:  "This page references and quotes numerous scholarly and/or reliable sources that define or describe the Arabic term nikah (or the root n-k-h) as meaning 'sexual intercourse', or the contract of sexual intercourse, or marriage as a contract for sexual intercourse (for the payment received by the bride for nikah...." In "The Meaning of Nikah," WikiIslam, n. d.

 

Abduction, Rape and Marriage as Islamic?

 

          This addendum seems a singular incident. Yet one reads further:   "It starts with the abduction of these Hindu girls by Muslim men who are often married. They keep the girls in their custody, rape them and then force them to convert to Islam before marrying them. "There is not even one case in which anyone has willingly converted. These men, who are often already married, kidnap the girls, keep them in their custody, rape them, and through threats and intimidation make the girls say they converted willingly," according to Dr Vankwani, patron-in-chief of the Pakistan Hindu Council. Forced conversions and underage marriages of girls are common in Tharparkar and Umerkot districts of Sindh where almost 50% of the population is Hindu. Such incidents, however, are rarely reported in the media." In "Muslim men abduct, rape, then marry Hindu girls from impoverished families in Sindh: Pak legislator Vankwani," by Omer Farooq Khan, Times of India, 16 April 2019.

 

Anti-Islamic?

 

          And from two years earlier, one reads:  "Every year, Muslim men abduct and forcibly convert about 1,000 girls — mostly Hindus, but also Christians, according to the South Asia Partnership-Pakistan, a local human rights group. About 5,000 Pakistani Hindus leave every year for neighboring India — where 80% are Hindus — to escape religious persecution, according to the Pakistan Hindu Council. Legislation banning such conversions for those under age 18 was passed unanimously late last year by the legislature in the southern province of Sindh, where the Kohlis live, but it never went into effect. Hard-line Islamic groups objected to the measure, which called for up to five years in jail for those who force a conversion. They threatened protests, arguing the law was anti-Islamic and part of a conspiracy to make Pakistan a secular country." In "Pakistani Hindus lose daughters to forced Muslim marriages," by Naila Inayat, USA Today, 15 February 2017.

          Considering many such stories of abduction of non-Muslim women for "marriage," the problem for Islam worldwide is quite the same as the other issues mentioned above, wherein some Muslims allege Islamic texts mean one thing while other Muslims allege the texts mean something else, sometimes quite the opposite.

 

Citing Examples?

 

          Following the "blessed attacks" on Catholics in Sri Lanka, one reads an "Islamic" justification:   "In the video, after a cursory mention about the victims, Maulvi Munajit cites an example from the life of Muhammed to justify the terror attack. Maulvi is heard saying that the attack is a consequence of Muslims losing their patience. He cites the example of Mohammed who kept quiet for the first 13 years of Islam despite intense persecution from Quraysh people but then launched the battle of Badr. Maulvi also had said in the video that to build an Islamic state is just thing and the struggle has just commenced for that." In "SL Police Launch Operation To Arrest Islamic Cleric Munajit Who Released A Video Clip Justifying Easter Terror Attack," by Swarajya Staff 26 April 2019.

          Issues obviously arise. Are "hard-line Islamic groups" Islamic?  Are assurances from other Islamic nations equally "Islamic" yet opposite?  Who speaks for Islam, when Islam seems to speak against itself, through the opposing stances of Muslims? Whose clerics speak for Islam and which clerics are false according to other Muslims? And why? What are the foundations for these various "Islamic" groups if not "Islamic?"

 

Islam Is Identified

 

          Thus a rhyme -- as above -- may note that "Islam is identified, / has its problem with the world, / is connected with words for all to read, / and / seems explosive in thought, word and deed."

          One might then ponder what it portends  for Islam either as a singular ideology or set of conflicting ideologies to Coexist .

          One reads an Islamic reformer's view:   "...one of the biggest misnomers ever to have come about in recent years. Islamophobia includes within it hatred of Muslims as a people and criticizing and scrutinizing Islam as a religion, which is the right of every free-thinking human being anywhere in the world." In "Maajid Nawaz Wants The Word 'Islamophobia' Scrapped, Here's Why," LBC, 31 May 2018.

 

Islam Is Being Scrutinized

 

          In that regard, Islam is identified in part in the UK, as one reads:   "NPCC chair Martin Hewitt said: 'We take all reports of hate crime very seriously and will investigate them thoroughly; however, we have some concerns about the proposed definition of ‘Islamophobia' made by the All-Party Parliamentary Group [APPG] on British Muslims. 'We are concerned that the definition is too broad as currently drafted, could cause confusion for officers enforcing it and could be used to challenge legitimate free speech on the historical or theological actions of Islamic states. There is also a risk it could also undermine counterterrorism powers, which seek to tackle extremism or prevent terrorism'." In "Proposed Islamophobia definition 'would undermine counterterror operations and threaten free speech', police tell prime minister," by Lizzie Dearden, Independent UK, 16 May 2019.

          And one can ponder whether one or many, including individual Muslims and entire Muslim nations, are all essentially guilty of the ginned-up offence of Islamophobia .

          It would have been wholly rational -- no phobia which is an irrational fear -- for the Sri Lankan Catholics to have feared the "Islamic" National Thowheed Jamath, as one example among many. So many, and by them one may well argue that "Islam is identified."

          It is Islam which must sort itself out, not non-Islamic peoples and cultures, and not through slogans like Islamophobia. How Islam may do that is as yet unseen and not foreseen.

 

 


 

Never judge a book? - how to act the schnook

I bought, oh the cover of the book,
Most likely for its outward look.
Appearance seemed to give it zing
But inside read a limping thing.

I bought the image of a thought,
Which haphazardly I'd caught.
Reality came to rip it away,
Its made-up smile dissolved that day.

I bought a box bright wrapped and sealed;
The contents something else revealed.
Judge never by appearance, friend,
But by how things both begin and end.

 


 

Wide privy ledge

If one sits on one's wide privy ledge,
                    To rest on one's laurels,
There a chance someone will allege
That position has started most quarrels.

That wide privy ledge is necessarily found
                    When such a ledge is needed;
Therapists, activists and and lawyers too
Sit when their pressure's exceeded.

Let's wipe away what once was started
                    By sitting sensibly on that ledge,
And stand to deliver with noxious intent
A halo-polishing pledge.

Let's all think as our betters wish
                    While pondering upon an edge,
And evacuate as one so must,
Lingering on that wide privy ledge.

 

Addendum of Blasting Toxic Culture:   "At the encouragement of my therapist, I hired a workplace discrimination attorney to assist me in negotiating an exit package. My lawyer was informed that CBS doesn’t give compensation to employees wishing to exit the company. After some back and forth, CBS offered me $20,000 and later $50,000. It isn’t clear if I would have been asked to sign a nondisclosure agreement, but I assumed so. After considering the offer at length, with encouragement from my husband I determined that my integrity and the power of my voice and experience were worth more than any dollar CBS was willing to part with." In " ‘CBS Has a White Problem’: Executive Blasts Toxic Culture at Network in Explosive Letter," by Whitney Davis, Variety, 23 April 2019.     [ 1 ]

 

Addendum of Seeing the Unseen Problem:    "The biggest problem with white privilege is the invisibility it maintains to those who benefit from it most. The inability to recognize that many of the advantages whites hold are a direct result of the disadvantages of other people, contributes to the unwillingness of white people, even those who are not overtly racist, to recognize their part in maintaining and benefiting from white supremacy." In "What is white privilege?" Mount Holyoke College, n. d.    [ 2 ]

 

Addendum of Counting a Generally Unseen Problem:    "According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, white men, who the Left argues are the most privileged group of all in America, commit seven out of every ten suicides in America — even though only three out of ten Americans are white males. Whatever reason one gives for the white suicide rate, it is indisputable that, at the very least, considerably more whites than blacks consider life not worth living. To argue that all these whites were oblivious to all the unique privileges they had is to stretch the definition of 'privilege' beyond credulity." In "The Fallacy of 'White Privilege',"  by Dennis Prager, National Review, 16 February 2016.  
 

Addendum of Privilege and Oppression:     "I wouldn’t say therapy, because psychology isn’t very good at taking in the sociological view. But it has to do with working on your inner history to understand that you were in systems, and that they are in you. It has to do with looking around yourself the way sociologists do and seeing the big patterns in the rest of society, while keeping a balance and really respecting your experience. Seeing the oppression of others is, of course, very important work. But so is seeing how the systems oppress oneself." Quote of Peggy McIntosh, in "The Origins of 'Privilege'," by Joshua Rothman, New Yorker, 12 May 2014.   [ 3 ]

 

NOTES

 

[ 1 ]    Davis makes us privy to the "problem" which seems to have required the "encouragement of my therapist" and a "workplace discrimination attorney" is indentified as a "white privilege" problem, at least in the parlance of a Variety article, is amusing. Variety is currently owned by Penske Media Corporation (PMC), an American digital media, publishing, and information services company based in Los Angeles and New York City. PMC's Chairman and CEO since founding is Jay Penske. And white.

 

 

          "In October 2012, the PMC purchased Variety Inc., Variety.com, Variety Magazine, and all associated assets for a reported $25 million from Reed Elsevier," (Wikipedia) PMC also owns Rolling Stone, Robb Report, Deadline Hollywood, Fairchild Fashion Media, and a host of other companies and properties. Given the above assertion, published by a "white" media conglomerate, one learns how "white" Whitney Davis' former employer has been and remains to be. Apparently this is or will be a problem, as Ms. Davis and her workplace discrimination attorney make their accusation into a civil suite. Other civil suits are pending as well, and not only about race.

 

 

          And:  "In July 2018, an article by Ronan Farrow in The New Yorker claimed that thirty 'current and former CBS employees described harassment, gender discrimination, or retaliation' at CBS and six women accused Les Moonves of harassment and intimidation. Following these allegations, it was reported on September 6, 2018 that CBS board members were negotiating Les Moonves's departure from the company." Les Moonves is white. Joseph R. Ianniello, replaced as acting CEO. Glenn Geller, admittedly gay, was a most recent chief, now followed by Kelly Kahl and Thom Sherman. They are also white. And men. See the problem?

 

 

          Among the problems is a comparative fact.  While Ms. Davis states in a white publication that her white employer offered a possible settlement of "$50,000," one might place that number alongside the per capita income for all of Los Angeles County -- $46,771. Somehow, all involved in this tale, from litigant, to plaintiff, to therapist, to attorney, and all the various management, seem more privileged than the average Los Angeles Joe. Or LA Jill.

          Perhaps the aggrieved is a victim of White Noise .  Perhaps those accused are perpetrators? Game on.

 

[ 2 ]    The small web page includes "This website was created by members of Professor Arlene Avakian's class The Social Construction of Whiteness and Women at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst."  Professor Avakian is white, and is likely more privileged in salary and pension benefits than most citizens of her state.  For a broader perspective on such "privilege," and particularly in the UMass system, one should consider the rhyme, addenda and sourced footnotes which tell the tale when Doctor Oppression comes to call .

 

[ 3 ]     One reads of an originator as cited in the "The Origins of 'Privilege'," "...Peggy McIntosh was born into the very cream of America’s aristocratic elite, and has remained ensconced there ever since. Her ‘experiential’ list enumerating the ways in which she benefits from being born with white skin simply confuses racial privilege with the financial advantages she has always been fortunate enough to enjoy. Many of her points are demonstrably economic. One is left to wonder why, given her stated conviction that she has unfairly benefited from her skin color, there seems to be no record of her involvement in any charity or civil rights work. If she did take to the streets in support of some cause or other, she left no trace that I can see. Nor, as far as I can tell, has she spent any time teaching the underprivileged or working directly to better anyone’s condition but her own. Instead, she has contented herself with a generous six figure salary, and has not shown any particular eagerness to hand her position over to a more deserving person of color." In "Unpacking Peggy McIntosh’s Knapsack," Quillette, 29 August 2018.

 

 

          So a public intellectual critiques and is critiqued. One reads further:  "She has been criticized for concealing her considerable, personal class privilege and displacing it onto the collective category of race." In "Peggy McIntosh," Wikipedia, n .d.

 

 

          And further:  "...critics highlight the irony that college students who commonly invoke privilege theory do so from a place of privilege on behalf of groups who often do not endorse the privilege paradigm. Those invoking the privilege paradigm ignore the broad social privileges enjoyed in the developed world such as free expression, freedom of the press, freedom to peaceful assembly, rule of law, and individualism." In "Social privilege," Wikipedia, n .d.

 


          "In 2014, Princeton University first-year student Tal Fortgang authored "Checking My Privilege", a widely debated article in which he condemned classmates who told him to "check his privilege" for attributing his success in life to "some invisible patron saint of white maleness", and "for casting the equal protection clause, indeed the very idea of a meritocracy, as a myth". McIntosh afterwards told the New Yorker that Fortgang was resisting seeing himself systemically. She argued that everybody has a combination of unearned advantage and unearned disadvantage, and should aim to try to see themselves in the context of societal patterns of discrimination and oppression."

 

 

           But then:  "Let’s not start a white privilege contest — what would the prize be? — even if it’s one you may win." In "White Privilege Begets White Privilege," by Philip Gaines, New York Times, 25 August 2019.

           And then:  "Those who argue for the existence of black privilege, however, don't deny these grim numbers. They just don't blame racism for those racial disparities." In "It's time to talk about 'black privilege'," by John Blake, CNN, 31 March 2016.

           One notes the interesting nexus herein, in which white academic liberals birth, nurture a new "social construct" and then use it politically -- sociologically -- to batter non-academic white conservatives. Black liberals and conservatives take similar "sociological" sides, as American Asians join the "sociological" fray, as sociology itself becomes a battleground. 

 

Racial Disparities Means Racism?

 

           One reads, since Harvard University current president, Lawrence S. Bacow, is white and therefore must participate heavily in McIntosh's "white privilege" condemnation:   "Harvard is being sued by an organization, Students for Fair Admission, representing Asian-Americans accusing it of discrimination in admissions. According to news reports, an internal unpublished Harvard analysis in 2013 indicated that 43% of admissions would have been Asians if admission had been based strictly on academic considerations alone, things like high school performance and scores on the SAT examination. In fact, only about one-half that proportion of Asians were admitted. The data seem to suggest that Harvard has an Asian quota of about 20% of its students, less than one-half the proportion attending Cal Tech, a school that bases admission almost exclusively on academic criteria. As Asians become an increasing proportion of the American population, the Asian share of Harvard students remains almost unchanged. Harvard says it also looks at extracurricular, athletic and 'personal' characteristics and achievement, apparently implicitly concluding that Asians are deficient in these dimensions, especially athletics and 'personal' factors. The latter factor is an almost wholly subjective one, where the biases of admissions officers can dominate." In "Race And College Admissions: Harvard And Chicago," by Richard Vedder, Forbes, 30 July 2018.

 

Asians Score Lower Based on What?

 

           Further and quite like the bias against American Jews:  "...often, there was a thumb on the scale. Now that’s happening to Asians, as it has come out that Harvard consistently scored Asian applicants lower on the subjective 'personal rating.' These traits included 'positive personality,' likability, courage, kindness and being 'widely respected,' according to an analysis of six years of admission data filed Friday in federal court in Boston by Students for Fair Admissions, a group representing Asian-American students in a lawsuit against the university. In "Why is Harvard discriminating against Asian Americans? 'Diversity' is no excuse for racial bias," by Glenn Reynolds, USA Today, 18 June 2018.

           And as to white-led Harvard:  "The memo filed with the court said Harvard's own internal investigation in 2013 concluded that its admissions system was biased against Asian Americans. But instead of addressing the problem, 'Harvard killed the investigation and buried the reports.' There seems little doubt that Harvard is practicing conscious racial discrimination here. But why? The excuse seems to be 'diversity,' in the sense that if admissions were based solely on objective criteria, the school would be majority-Asian, which would change the 'character' of Harvard." In "Why is Harvard discriminating against Asian Americans? 'Diversity' is no excuse for racial bias," by Glenn Reynolds, USA Today, 18 June 2018.

 

Academic Support for Racial Segregation

 

           Additionally, it is noticed that universities participate in segregation. One reads:  "In his inaugural address in January 1963, Gov. George Wallace of Alabama thundered: 'Segregation now, segregation tomorrow, and segregation forever.' About 'tomorrow,' Wallace was right. More than half a century later, racial segregation comes as easy as breathing to many American colleges and universities."   In "Segregation by Design on Campus: How racial separatism become the norm at elite universities," by Peter W. Wood and Dion J. Pierre, Wall Street Journal, 29 April 2019.

           The article takes note that:  "Today’s racial segregation, by contrast, consists of ethnic groups walling themselves off within institutions. In the past two years the National Association of Scholars surveyed 173 colleges and universities, public and private, in all 50 states. We found 46% of schools segregate student orientation programs, 43% segregate residential arrangements, and 72% segregate graduation ceremonies. Though these arrangements are ostensibly voluntary, students can’t easily opt out. The social pressure to conform is overwhelming." 

           And then, there's white privilege....

 

How long will such cosseted scholars linger on their wide privy ledge?

 

           One wonders whether McIntosh and her coterie will now respond with some academic study proving Asian privilege, requiring Asians to grovel to a newly minted social construct, courtesy of few sociology departments' scholars and theorists?

           Consider the impact on culture when Everything's about my colored skin  - (or sadly, Why racism works).

 


Weasel Words

Weasel words might possibly be used,
And could perhaps be thereby confused
With words which refuse to weasel their way
Into some something that someone might say.

Weasel-y words maybe perchance
Make statements ambiguous, made askance
Which conceivably conceive some happy proof
Where there's oh so often a provable goof.

Weaseling words some commitments evade
Such that later those words can throw off shade,
Saying that weasels were wisely used to avoid
Surety, which these weasels never enjoyed.

Addendum:    "The expression first appeared in Stewart Chaplin's short story "Stained Glass Political Platform" (published in 1900 in The Century Magazine), in which weasel words were described as "words that suck the life out of the words next to them, just as a weasel sucks the egg and leaves the shell". Theodore Roosevelt attributed the term to his friend William Sewall's older brother, Dave, claiming that he used the term in a private conversation in 1879. In another early usage, Theodore Roosevelt argued in 1916 that "one of our defects as a nation is a tendency to use ...'weasel words'; when one 'weasel word' is used ... after another there is nothing left"." In "Weasel word," Wikipedia, n. d.