Original materials - Copyright © 2013 by Gary Bachlund All international rights reserved
"Life seems to go on without effort when I am filled with music." George Eliot, The Mill on the Floss (1860)
People before profits
"Meet the latest addition to the People Before Profits Network: www.politicalaffairs.net Political Affairs, a journal of Marxist thought published since 1932 has a totally revamped and redesigned website in large part due to a grant from People Before Profits." In "People Before Profits welcomes new politicalaffairs.net," posted by admin, 23 October 2010. [ 1 ]
People before profits?
It just doesn't work that way.
If there is earned no profit,
Then people aren't paid today.
People before profits?
Ask those who strike for more,
The more coming out of profit,
Profit being the reservoir.
People before profits
Well drains that reservoir,
And when comes no more profit,
Then people can't come before.
Slogans make an artful game,
Pulling wool over then-blind eyes
And sowing confusion's empty claim
With the same old Marxist lies.
People before profits,
As one saw in Stalin's time?
People before profit
Made the Khmer Rouge sublime?
People before profits
Made Mao a gentle lamb?
And people before profit
Has profited where? Oh damn.
Gather all a people's profits
But invest in no profit scheme,
And look to reap some profit
From a sloganeered Marx-laid scheme.
Old Marx? He too sought profits
From Engels and other friends,
Because he needed profit
For his great, grand glorious ends.
People before profits?
It hasn't work that way.
Old Marx? He earned no profit,
Begging money every day.
As so bright Marxist thought
Lingers long as time goes by,
As long as Marx's dull kindred
Can borrow, they might buy.
People before profits?
Bourgeois grocers sought their keep. [ 2 ]
Bourgeois butchers? They sought profit
Or red ink rose bloody deep.
People before profits?
Landlords must seek some rent. [ 3 ]
The piano chap? He must profit,
Though his payment Marx oft spent.
People before profits?
One looks at the founder's thought,
And finds the founder beggared
Because his work was poorly bought.
People before profits?
Today it rings quite clear.
A slogan like most slogans
Hiding truths it thinks too drear. [ 4 ]
People before profits?
A preposition, inexact,
For how much before each profit
Marxists hide as matter of fact. [ 5 ]
Socialist Stalin's union [ 6 ]
And Cuba's prosperous now [ 7 ]
Show people before profits
Is an elite corps' slaughtered cow. [ 8 ]
People before profits
Was a theory, as it is today,
But without a little profit
Even Marx just withers away. [ 9 ]
People without profits? Who might they be?
The folks whose end is bankruptcy,
A final feature of Communism's history.
Envoi: "The ideology of communism may have ended up on the ash heap of history like Nazism before it, but now "Market Leninism" is taking its place as a challenge to liberty in the 21st Century. The fault lines reflect Cold War regions. Russia and China and some of their old satellite states have traded Marx and Lenin for Market Leninism. The militaristic one-party state endures – but the nomenklatura now attracts global capital, swilling champagne in jet set nightclubs instead of behind dacha walls." In "Why America's poisonous politics makes 'Market Leninism' an attractive alternative," by John Avlon, Telegraph UK, 29 March 2014.
T-shirt logo from the Climate March, 2017
Addendum of Soviet Excess: "In the mid 1970s, Leonid Brezhnev acquired a black Rolls Royce Silver Shadow and a gold-and-brown Citroen Maserati high-performance coupe. According to some estimates, Brezhnev’s collection consisted of 49 to 324 cars." In "The unique and the very ordinary cars of Soviet and Russian leaders," RIA Novosti, n.d. [ 10 ]
Addendum of Strong Communist Connections: "Although the majority of oligarchs were not formally related with the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, there are allegations that they were promoted (at least initially) by the communist apparatchiks, with strong connections to Soviet power structures and access to the monetary funds of the communist party. In official media, oligarchs are usually pictured as the enemies of 'communist forces'. The latter is a stereotype that describes political power that wants to restore Soviet-style communism in Russia." In "Russian oligarch," Wikipedia, n.d.
Addendum of Communist Profits before People: "Membership has its privileges, particularly in China where it’s proving to be a prerequisite for climbing the social ladder. The Forbes China 400 Rich list revealed a record number of 146 U.S.-dollar billionaires this year, compared to 128 in 2010. The growing ranks of the mega-rich in China are unsurprising in an economy that doubles in size every eight years. However, the fact that over 90% of the 1,000 richest people tracked by the Hurun Report are either officials or members of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is a troubling sign. A closer look at how wealth is actually created and distributed in China completely dispels the notion that its authoritarian model is beneficial for the majority of Chinese people." In "China's Rich Lists Riddled With Communist Party Members," John Lee, Forbes, 14 September 2011.
Addendum on Profitable Chinese Communism: "President Xi Jinping's announcement, carried by the official Xinhua News Agency, comes as the ruling Communist Party is pressing government officials to cut spending on limousines, banquets and other trappings of office. The wealth and privileges of state companies in industries including oil, banking and telecommunications that benefit from monopolies, low-cost credit and other support have fueled public frustration. Pay for executives, who are appointed by the ruling party, can be hundreds of times that of the average Chinese. Chief executives of banks and other companies are paid about 2 million yuan ($300,000) per year." In "China promises to rein in executive pay," Associated Press, 19 August 2014.
For more on the CCP, see: Capital for Communists - a story growing old
Addendum on Doctrine: "The way to combat Communism is not war. What is needed in addition to such armaments as will deter Communists from attacking the West, is a diminution of the grounds for discontent in the less prosperous parts of the non-communist world. ...Communism is a doctrine bred of poverty, hatred and strife. Its spread can only be arrested by diminishing the area of poverty and hatred." In "Portraits From Memory And Other Essays," by Bertrand Russell, 1956.
Addendum for Doctors, Nurses and Government Workers under Communism: "The Communist Party daily newspaper Granma also reported that Cuba expects to take in $8.2 billion this year for the tens of thousands of medical worker it sends to care for the poor in countries such as Venezuela and Brazil. Granma published a sample of what the pay hikes, which take effect June 1, will look like. At the high end, doctors with two specialties will see their salary go from the equivalent of $26 a month to $67, while an entry-level nurse will make $25, up from $13. Salaries at government jobs in Cuba average about $20 a month, augmented by a range of free services and subsidies. " In "Cuba hikes salaries for doctors, nurses," Associated Press, 21 March 2014. [ 11 ]
Addendum for Communists Lowering Taxes on Profits: "Cuba is proposing a new Cuban foreign investment law that would cut the profits tax in half to 15 percent and exempt most investors from paying it for at least eight years, official media said on Wednesday. The National Assembly will meet on Saturday to approve the legislation that the communist country hopes will lure overseas capital and help further integrate the Caribbean island in the global economy. Cuba is promising legal protection for foreign investors, who have generally been averse to risking capital in the Soviet-style economy, and new incentives such as dramatically lowered tax." In "Cuba plans big tax breaks to lure foreign investors: official media," by Marc Frank, Reuters, 26 March 2014. [ 12 ]
Addendum of Non-Capitalists Seeking Income which is Capital: "L&W is not a capitalist organisation engaged in profit-seeking or capital accumulation. ...Without the income derived its copyright in these works, L&W would not exist." In "Lawrence & Wishart statement on the Collected Works of Marx and Engels," lwbooks.co.uk, n.d. [ 13 ]
Addendum of a Delicious Historical Irony: "On Thursday, the day that the Dow Jones index closed at an all-time high of 17,068 points, AbeBooks.com sold a first edition of Karl Marx’s Das Kapital for $40,000. Published in 1867 by Otto Meissner with German text, this copy of Das Kapital was the only one published in Marx’s lifetime (he died in 1883). The book is housed in a slipcover with cloth wrapping." In "Copy of Das Kapital sells for $40k just as Dow Jones hits record high," by Richard Davies, AbeBooks, 4 July 2014.
Addendum of wavering Vietnamese Communists: "Anger over Vietnam's handling of a territorial dispute with China has prompted a group of senior communist party members to call on the government to jettison communism for democracy and 'get out of China's orbit.' Sixty-one prominent members of Vietnam's Communist Party, including a former ambassador to Beijing, urged Vietnam's leadership in an open letter to change its political system, 'develop a truly democratic, law-abiding state,' allow for greater freedom of political speech and 'escape' from its reliance on China. 'The Party needs to get rid of Marxism-Leninism and get out of China's orbit,' Chu Hao, former vice minister of science and technology and one of the letter's three co-authors, said in a phone interview. 'It is very high time for the party to make a thorough transformation'." In "Vietnam Communists call for democracy, shift away from China," by John Boudreau, Bloomberg News, 6 August 2014.
Addendum of that New Communism for Kids: "It’s always tempting to get sucked into the fascinating boredom of Marxist dialectic. In this case the author seems to be setting up the story for some kind of reversal wherein the apparent utopia turns out to be false and another start must be made toward the immanentization of true communism — which, like the English-language edition of Adamczak’s book, is always right around the corner but never quite gets here. Since applied Marxism has to date produced nothing but violence, there is plenty of material for stories where things don’t quite work out. Google translates the book’s title as Communism: A Short History, like finally everything will be different, and if that slightly blasé tone comes across in the original German, it suggests a kind of millennial 'whatever' attitude toward the promises of the past. Commies are always sure they won’t get fooled again." In "Communism for Kids," by Tim Cavanaugh, National Review, 22 October 2014. [ 14 ]
Addendum of that old Dictatorial Revolution, Again: "The revolution would have to overthrow the state machinery of these capitalist-imperialists and bring into being a new state power that serves the revolutionary interests of the formerly exploited class, the proletariat, in emancipating all of humanity—in moving society, and the world, toward the abolition of class divisions and oppressive and exploitative relations as a whole. This revolutionary state would be the dictatorship of the proletariat—a state that would be radically different from all previous forms of states." In "CONSTITUTION of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA," RevCom, 2008. [ 15 ]
Addendum of Looking for the Revolution: "A Chicago-based communist revolutionary group blamed by Milwaukee's police chief for stoking a second day of violence said that some of its members did go there to 'support a revolution' but didn't set out to cause trouble. Police chief Ed Flynn said members of a Chicago chapter of the Revolutionary Communist Party turned what had been a peaceful night into a tense one by leading marchers down several blocks at around 11:30 p.m. TV footage showed a small group of protesters walking or running through the streets, sometimes toppling orange construction barriers. 'The (communist group) showed up, and actually they're the ones who started to cause problems,' Flynn said at a news conference Monday." In "Communist group members go to Milwaukee to help 'revolution'," Associated Press, 15 August 2016.
Addendum of a Marxist Intellectual: "One of the leading lights of Marxism on the campus of the University of Wisconsin-Madison brings home a sweet salary of $170,000 per year. The well-heeled sociology professor is Erik Olin Wright, according to EAGnews.org. The tenured, capitalism-hating professor’s annual salary of $170,000 is $117,587 greater than the household income of a typical Wisconsin family and is in the top 2 percent of all Americans. Whil [ sic ] an average middle-class family in Wisconsin survives on $4,368 per month, the Marxist professor enjoys a cushy monthly income of $14,166. He will teach exactly two courses in the fall semester for this princely sum, according to his festively colorful webpage." In "Capitalism-Hating Marxist Professor Rakes In $170,000 Per Year At U. Wisconsin," by Eric Owens, Daily Caller, 21 August 2015. [ 16 ]
[ 1 ] From WhoIs look-up for PeopleBeforeProfits.net: Registrant Name: Stephen Armstrong / Registrant Organization: CPUSA (Communist Party of the USA) / Registrant Street: 235 West 23rd St / Registrant City: New York / Registrant State/Province: NY / Registrant Postal Code: 10011.
A neighbor of mine who is also a professor of computer science made the interesting statement: "The Internet is radical." Of course, this is correct, as one may now look up the authors and operators of sites to learn more of them. Interestingly, PeopleBeforeProfits as a website has a page about its funding -- in which "People Before Profits Ed. Fund, 501(c)(3)" is followed by the words, "blah blah blah." A 501(c)3 organization is required to make public access to its Form 990. PeopleBeforeProfits seems not to have one easily found by various search engines. It does make public "blah blah blah."
The site references in links that this "institute for the study and advocacy of socialism" is in fact linked to the Communist Party USA, thereby conflating the terms, socialism and communism. Of course, the USSR was properly the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, but it is interesting how many socialists in the West prefer to distance themselves from Communism through assertions that socialism and Communism differ.
One reads of distinctions in terminology: "Marx and Engels, as anyone who has read their writings knows, used the terms 'socialism' and 'communism' interchangeably to describe what they stood for. They did not think of them as separate systems of society but merely as different names for a system based on the social or common ownership of the means of production. Why they used one and then the other was explained quite clearly by Engels in one of the prefaces he wrote to the Communist Manifesto. Nevertheless the myth still persists that Socialism and Communism are not just different names for the same system of society." In "Lenin Twists Marxism," by The Socialist Party of Great Britain, Socialist Standard, September 1969.
This particular article attempts to distance socialism from the Soviet Socialists in the following manner: "Once you realise that Lenin was no: [sic] a Marxist and that the Russian social system is state capitalism then there is no difficulty in recognising, along with Marx and Engels, that Socialism and Communism are just two alternative ways of referring to a society based on common ownership."
The assertion by British Socialists that there is a "state capitalism" with proof that the USSR was such is amusing, given that other views of capitalism suggest that control by the state -- crony capitalism and so on -- is in fact not capitalism at all. state control is the antithesis of what some call "free market" capitalism, and a free market is not controlled by a state. Ergo, the opposition is not between socialism and capitalism, but between freedom and state control. Of course, the idealism of socialists prefers to think that the final stage after a dictatorship is "free access." This is a logical inconsistency, as well as an apologia for socialists who state they know best how to deal with others' capital. See Alinsky's comment below .
[ 2 ] Marxist thought? How about Marx' misery: "The idea of pouring out my misère to you again sickens me, but que faire? Every day my wife says she wishes she and the children were safely in their graves, and I really cannot blame her, for the humiliations, torments and alarums that one has to go through in such a situation are indeed indescribable. As you know, the £50 went on debts, more than half of which remain to be paid. The £2 on gas. The wretched money from Vienna won’t arrive till the end of July, and then there'll be damned little of it, since the swine aren’t even printing 1 article a week now. To that must be added the fresh expenditure since the beginning of May. I won’t say anything about what, in London, is the truly parlous situation of being without a centime for 7 weeks — since for us it is a chronically recurring state of affairs. But from your own experience, you will at any rate know that, all the time, there are current expenses that have to be paid in cash. This has been done by putting back in pawn the stuff that had been redeemed at the end of April. But that source was exhausted weeks ago, so much so that, a week ago, my wife attempted to sell some books of mine ‘in vain’. I feel all the more sorry for the unfortunate children in that all this is happening during the Exhibition Season, when their friends are having fun, whereas they themselves live in dread lest someone should come and see them and realise what a mess they are in. For the rest, I myself, by the by, am working away hard and, strange to say, my grey matter is functioning better in the midst of the surrounding misère than it has done for years." In letter from Marx to Engels, London, 18 June 1862, published in Der Briefwechsel zwischen F. Engels und K. Marx, Stuttgart, 1913, and in full in MEGA, Berlin, 1930.
To further understand Marx' view of the grocer and butcher who sold to him on credit, see: Crush the bourgeoisie .
[ 3 ] "From the enclosed scrawls you will partly see how bothered I am. So far, the landlord has allowed himself to be placated; he has yet to receive £25. The piano chap, who is being paid in installments for the piano, should already have had £6 at the end of June, and is a most ill-mannered brute. I have rate demands in the house amounting to £6. The wretched school fees — some £10 — I have fortunately been able to pay, for I do my utmost to spare the children direct humiliation. I have paid the butcher $6 on account (the sum total of my quarterly takings from the Presse!), but I’m again being dunned by that fellow, not to mention the baker, the teagrocer, the greengrocer, and such other sons of Belial as there may be. The Jewish nigger Lassalle who, I’m glad to say, is leaving at the end of this week, has happily lost another 5,000 talers in an ill-judged speculation. The chap would sooner throw money down the drain than lend it to a 'friend', even though his interest and capital were guaranteed. In this he bases himself on the view that he ought to live the life of a Jewish baron, or Jew created a baron (no doubt by the countess). Just imagine! This fellow, knowing about the American affair, etc., and hence about the state of crisis I’m in, had the insolence to ask me whether I would be willing to hand over one of my daughters to la Hatzfeldt as a ‘companion’, and whether he himself should secure Gerstenberg’s (!) patronage for me! The fellow has wasted my time and, what is more, the dolt opined that, since I was not engaged upon any 'business' just now, but merely upon a ‘theoretical work’, I might just as well kill time with him! In order to keep up certain dehors vis-à-vis the fellow, my wife had to put in pawn everything that wasn’t actually nailed or bolted down!" In letter from Marx to Engels, London, 30 July 1862, published in Der Briefwechsel zwischen F. Engels und K. Marx, Stuttgart, 1913, and in full in MEGA, Berlin, 1930.
See: Jewish nigger .
And as to the Belial Marx cites in writing "sons of Belial, one learns that Belial (Hebr. בליעל) was a demon in the Hebrew bible. So Marx relied on grocers and butchers who extended an almost bankrupt "economic theorist" credit for food deliveries that his family not starve, and Marx repaid this with contempt, all the while begging money from his circle of admirers who expected him to document his understanding of basic economic truths.
People before profits? If you are a grocer or a butcher or other merchant -- perhaps a "piano chap?" -- please understand Marx meant bourgeois you and bourgeois me.
[ 4 ] " 'Communism itself is irrelevant. The issue is whether they are on our side or yours. Now if you Russians didn't have a first mortgage on Castro, we would be talking about Cuba's right to self-determination and the fact that you couldn't have a free election until after there had been a period of education following the repression of the dictatorship of Batista. As a matter of fact, if you should start trying to push for a free election in Yugoslavia, we might even send over our Marines to prevent this kind of sabotage. The same goes if you should try to do it in Formosa.' The Russian came back with, 'What is your definition of a free election outside of your country?' I said, 'Well, our definition of a free election in, say, Vietnam is pretty much what your definition is in your satellites--if we got everything so set that we are going to win, then it's a free election. Otherwise, it's bloody terrorism! Isn't that your definition?' The Russian's reaction was, 'Well, yes, more or less'!" In "Reveille for Radicals," by Saul Alinsky, Random House, Vintage Books, New York, rev. 1969.
It is worth repeating the quote: "The issue is whether they are on our side or yours." This is the true nature of most politics, with the aim of picking the other party's pocket. Various forms of socialism have shown that attacking profits is often about pocketing some share for the political elite, a group which by its very nature creates no profits of its own.
One may thereby be rather certain that advocates of "helping the poor" usually see themselves handsomely rewarded for this "help," created by dunning others for their largesse. See: Serve the poor - observing the Poverty Barons, and Modern Times and Charity .
[ 5 ] "People Before Profits promotes progressive [see below for the accurate use of the term as regards socialism] discussion on social, economic and political developments as well as on history and issues facing working people in the U.S. and worldwide. People before Profits provides opportunities for education, analysis, dialog, journalism and cultural exchange from working-class and socialist perspectives. People Before Profits hosts a network of websites committed to it's mission including www.peoplesworld.org, www.mundopopular.org, www.politicalaffairs.net and www.cpusa.org, among others." In "People Before Profits," US Social Forum, 2010.
It is amusing to note the "network of websites" is all the same old, same old one party, camouflaged as "a network." Here are the salient details, available through open and easily available resources.
a) peoplesworld.org: Registrant Name: Matt Parker / Registrant Street1: 235 W 23rd St / Registrant City: New York.
b) mundopopular.org: Registrant Name: Stephen Armstrong / Registrant Street1: 235 W 23rd St / Registrant City: New York.
c) politicalaffairs.net: Registrant Name: Armstrong, Stephen / Registrant Organization: Communist Party USA / Registrant Street: 235 W 23rd St / Registrant City: New York.
The BBC notes the Communist Party of the USA's nod to profiting from their private property: "Not far from Wall Street, on the seventh floor of an elegant eight-storey building on West 23rd Street, is the headquarters of an improbable political survivor - the Communist Party USA. The office is bright and modern. On one wall are black-and-white photo portraits of major figures in the party's history. The works of Marx, Engels and Lenin are stacked in bookshelves. The building was bought to house the party in the 1970s before the surrounding neighbourhood of Chelsea became fashionable. 'We got a great bargain on it,' says secretary-treasurer Roberta Wood. In a concession to capitalist reality, all but two floors are now rented out. The revenue supports People's World, an online publication that is the direct descendent of the party's long defunct newspaper, the Daily Worker." In "The curious survival of the US Communist Party," by Aidan Lewis, BBC, 30 April 2014.
[ 6 ] "The USSR's trade gap progressively emptied the coffers of the union, leading to eventual bankruptcy." In "History of the Soviet Union (1982–91)," Wikipedia. See: Totalitarian .
As an echo of that historical moment when the Union of Soviet Socialists Republics imploded economically and politically, one watches a similar arch of history now:
"When the euro crisis was at its height it became commonplace for struggling European economies to insist that they were not outliers like Greece. Whatever their woes, they declared, Greece’s were in a class of their own. In Latin America, by contrast, the unwanted title of outlier has two contenders: Argentina and Venezuela. Both have been living high on the hog for years, blithely dishing out the proceeds of an unrepeatable commodities boom (oil in Venezuela; soya in Argentina). Both have been using a mix of central-bank interventions and administrative controls to keep overvalued exchange rates from falling and inflation from rising. Both now face a come-uppance. High inflation is a shared problem." In "The party is over," The Economist, 1 February 2014.
The Economist's title is interesting, as it states "the party is over." What party, and perhaps which parties?
There is a double entendre therein, for the political parties which promise populist freebies ( Free bees ) alongside ever larger and more controlling government ( Fat, fat government ) evidence a certain arch of history, from advocacy to elections won to increasing unsustainable policies to eventual collapse. One posits that this is the structure to government itself, viewed across history, as it slips the restraints of various forms of constitutional limitations.
[ 7 ] See: Socialism's Last Hurrah - not democracy in any town, and consider one perspective: "Cuba remains the only country in Latin America that represses virtually all forms of political dissent. In 2012, the government of Raúl Castro continued to enforce political conformity using short-term detentions, beatings, public acts of repudiation, travel restrictions, and forced exile." In "WORLD REPORT, Events of 2012," Human Rights Watch, 2013.
[ 8 ] The elite leaders of socialism and communism profit? Indeed they have, and indeed they do. How does this square with "people before profits?" The answer is simple and easy to understand if you are among the elite leaders. See: Capital for Communists - a story growing old.
And how is it that the elite in socialist states "profit?" One reads: "Rent-seeking is an attempt to obtain economic rent, (i.e., the portion of income paid to a factor of production in excess of that which is needed to keep it employed in its current use), by manipulating the social or political environment in which economic activities occur, rather than by creating new wealth. Rent-seeking implies extraction of uncompensated value from others without making any contribution to productivity." Wikipedia, "Rent-seeking."
And so one might use simple math to calculate that "uncompensated value" via extraction from society for governments' aims in fact actually violates that portion of Marx' theory sometimes known as the value theory of labor. Why? Because one may construct and apply a value theory of ideas, of capital itself, of individual effort and more, all of which was ignored by the 'brilliant' economist, Marx, whose letters seeking "rent" -- uncompensated value" -- from those around him made him little more than a Welfare Queen , resenting those who extended him and his family credit that they might eat but then asking to be repaid for such a kindness. His repayment -- in "people before profits" lingo -- was rage, resentment and rejection of his own circle of providers of foodstuffs as of a piano. Ah, Marxist thought at its finest, to resent the piano salesman. "People before profits?" One may well argue that Marx sought for himself profits before people. Read his letters.... He was a rent-seeker.
Most politicians may be painted with this same charge. While the East German politicians did rather well for themselves in comparison to East German citizens, one notes the historical phenomenon: Fled from empty market shelves - a history lesson. And so it becomes rather an easy task to argue that Socialists love money .
[ 9 ] It is important for the convinced Marxist who is not among the elite ranks of leadership to review Marx' view of the masses. Please see: A Working Class Classified . It might be instructive, for if you -- dear Marxist -- are not "revolutionary," Marx has told you outright that you are "nothing."
Let us consider something truly revolutionary. How about "people before the fat cat party elite?" Or is that just too radical?
[ 10 ] An illustrative tidbit pokes out of another story in our time: "Every side in the political debate has a natural tendency to appeal to freedom of speech when they feel threatened—but to ignore (or initiate) threats to the free speech of the other side. My favorite example is from the early 1990s, when the Yeltsin government dispossessed Russia's Communist Party of the vast holdings it had amassed in the decades when it controlled the state. The Communist Party screamed in protest, denouncing the supposed attack on its 'property rights and freedom of speech.' Which was pretty rich, considering that the Communists had just spent 70 years ruthlessly stamping out everyone else's property rights and freedom of speech. This tendency is captured in an old expression popularized by Nat Hentoff: free speech for me, but not for thee." In "Free Speech for Mann, But Not for Thee," by Robert Tracinski, RealClearPolitics, 20 February 2014.
[ 11 ] Given the latest report by Gramma, perhaps the "People Before Profits" slogan might better read "People without profits."
[ 12 ] Apparently the Communist Party of the United States -- the entity operating PeopleBeforeProfits.net -- has not bothered to investigate issues of profits and taxation. One learns that Communist Cuba is seeking investors by suggesting a tax rate of 15 percent. How does this compare to the United States?
One reads: "The 39.2% headline rate being reported in the press is the federal rate of 35% plus the average corporate tax rate of the individual states, which vary widely. Effective rates for individual corporations will differ greatly depending on a company’s industry and home state, among other factors." In "We’re #1! U.S. Officially Has the Top Corporate Tax Rate. Or Not." by Christopher Matthews, Time, 2 April 2012.
In a similar conclusion: "...the U.S. 'corporate tax rate' is the 'highest in the world at 35 percent.' The rate set by federal statute is the highest, both by itself and when considering the federal rate plus state and local taxes. However, there’s much less consensus about effective corporate tax rates -- the rates corporations actually pay. Studies don’t even agree on what the U.S. effective rate is, pegging it between 23 percent and 35.6 percent. Older studies put the U.S. near the top; a recent study says the U.S. is No. 1 among OECD nations." In "Michael McCaul says U.S. corporate tax rate is world’s highest at 35 percent," Politifact, 1 November 2012.
One must conclude then that Communist Cuba is placing profits before people, in the "blah-blah-blah" jargon of People Before Profits, a Communist Party of the United States website. See: Bring presents to the party .
[ 13 ] It is a delicious irony -- just as a with the many reports of capital accumulation by Communists and Socialists throughout the 20th century and into today -- that a publisher declares itself to not be "capitalist" while seeking income -- capital. This publisher has asked the marxists.org website to take down their "free" Marx in English translations of some works, in order that the publisher profit from them. Meager profits are nonetheless profits.
One reads: "Political theorists have been debating this passage and the assumption of capitalism's demise ever since it appeared in Karl Marx's preface to 'A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy' in 1859. But the question of when capitalism will burst asunder appears to be turned on its head when considering the copyright legal flap over Marx's writings. A radical publishing house, called Lawrence & Wishart, who at one time was connected to Great Britain's Communist Party, is demanding the removal from the Marxists Internet Archive of the 'Marx-Engels Collected Works'—hardcover books that sell for up to $50 a pop." In "Capitalism fells communism in Marx-Engels copyright flap," by David Kravets, 25 April 2014.
Marx growled in anger at his butcher, baker, tea-grocer and greengrocer wanting to be paid, as his personal letters demonstrate . Such was not a rage against multinational corporations nor against the elite of a single-party state like Communist China, wherein wealth in this time is be accumulated at a large and rapid pace for the top members of the party. (See: Capital for Communists - a story growing old.) His was a rage against little entrepreneurs scratching out their own living, by profiting from a product which Marx not only wanted but was extended credit to have. What a small man this 'giant' of economics must have been.
Marx like Lawrence & Wishart wanted more income and less bills. How does one earn income? By controlling one's own time and energies, one's capital from the most meager to the greatest sums, and through the control of property. Intellectual property is property. Therefore one sees the comedy of a publisher saying it does not "engaged in profit-seeking" seeking profits to sustain itself. Basic capitalism evidenced by the act of wanting to control and earn from property. This was and remains the great conundrum of Marxist thought, especially as filtered through Marx's letters complaining of his mismanagement of money in his own personal life. And so, pundits note a publisher ostensibly not "engaged in profit-seeking" seeking to profit from English translations of Marx done by a variety of people, the rights assigned to this particular publisher. It is classic capitalism on a small scale.
One notes by way of comparison that my translations of some poems found in this site are made available for free, all the while with a copyright appended only in event that an entity like Lawrence & Wishart seems to be would seek to profit by publishing my translations. One might well conclude that L&W is more capitalist in this than am I.
And as to Marx? He bummed his living off of Engels and others, begging repeatedly in letters for others to provide him with funds. Would he have been a greengrocer, perhaps he would have prospered a little better. Would he have been a real butcher, he would have not provided wordy theory to empower other butchers who called themselves Soviet Socialists, Sino-Socialists, the Khmer Rouge, the Arab Socialist Baath Party and so many more. Marx, the Welfare Queen , sought capital. L&W seeks it.
[ 14 ] It is most interesting to note how often Revising History is a Communist ploy. The argument was, is and will be that true Communism hasn't yet been quite properly achieved, but it will be. Now that the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics is collapsed through bankruptcy and political withering, Communist China follows the parallel strategy of a one-party state linked to capitalism, the Khmer Rouge decimated one-third of the population of Cambodia, Cuba is economically desiccated, Venezuela is roiled with inflation and shortages, where is the shining example of successful communism? Just wait!
And yet, the ardent Communists continue to urge for continued preparations for that dreamed-of revolution. One reads from a RevCom pamphlet circulated in the United States: "…If we fight for meaningless reforms, they get what they want. If we turn away from revolution and the leadership of the Revolutionary Communist Party, they get what they want. They get us walking around in circles aimlessly without any real clarity about the problem and much less the solution. And while now is not the time to go all out for revolution, now IS the time to resist, now IS the time to fight back, now IS the time to build the movement FOR revolution, and now is the time to strengthen the organized force that will lead that revolution. …" In "A Special Message to Those at the Bottom of Society, the Ones This System Hates, Fears, and Kills, and to Those Who Have Stepped Out in the Streets in Outrage," revcom.us, circa December 2014.
[ 15 ] The Communist Manifesto calling for a dictatorship of the proletariat stems from 1848, while its polar opposite, Bastiat's The Law, is of 1850. In 1922 and subsequently revised, Ludwig von Mises observed that Marxism was already in that time a sham.
He wrote of Marxism, "The incomparable success of Marxism is due to the prospect it offers of fulfilling those dream-aspirations and dreams of vengeance which have been so deeply embedded in the human soul from time immemorial. It promises a Paradise on earth, a Land of Hearts' Desire full of happiness and enjoyment, and -- sweeter still to the losers in life's game -- humiliation of all who are stronger and better than the multitude. Logic and reasoning, which might show the absurdity of such dreams of bliss and revenge, are to be thrust aside. Marxism is thus the most radical of all reactions against the reign of scientific thought over life and action, established by Rationalism. It is against Logic, against Science and against the activity of thought itself -- its outstanding principle is the prohibition of thought and inquiry, especially as applied to the institutions and workings of a socialist economy." In "Socialism, an Economic and Sociological Analysis," Ludwig von Mises, trans. J. Kahane, Yale University Press, 1951. First published as "Die Gemeinschaft," 1922.
One notes in the footnote above RevCom's promise of 2014, which is one of both "dream-aspirations and dreams of vengeance" of which von Mises wrote in 1922.
But as one has seen in the murderous history and bankruptcy of the Soviet Union, Communist China's even more brutal history followed by today's aggressive capital building for its privileged elite, Cuba's impoverishment over sixty years of one party rule, the Khmer Rogue's murderous acts against one-third of its Cambodian citizens, and other now historically demonstrable examples of Marxism's "dream-aspirations" which led to making real "dreams of vengeance," the promise is yet being offered, as if history provides no lessons against the "inevitability" of the Communist revolution.
But von Mises concludes his study of socialism through the lenses of economics and sociology with this: "All efforts to realize Socialism lead only to the destruction of society. Factories, mines, and railways will come to a standstill, towns will be deserted. The population of industrial territories will die out or migrate elsewhere. The farmer will return to the self-sufficiency of the closed, domestic economy. Without private ownership there is, in the long run, no production other than a hand-to-mouth production for one's own needs."
Thus on one poll stands Mises and on the opposite poll stands the Communist. As one reads: "...the theory of the Communists may be summed up in the single sentence: Abolition of private property." In "Manifesto of the Communist Party," Marx and Engels, English trans. by Samuel Moore in cooperation with Engels (1888), 1848.
With a 20th century's lessons to observe, one sees fairly the visionary clarity of von Mises alongside those "dreams of vengeance." Today's Communists -- socialists, Marxists, Fascists or whatever other names one chooses -- ignore their own history in favor of dreams, and those dreams remain of that revolution which must lead to the same old dictatorship of the proletariat and the confiscation of property to be placed in the hands of a dictatorship.
See: Revolution revolves but once - lèse majesté remains among its stunts.
[ 16 ] One wonders how such a radically chic Marxist -- in the top 2 percent of all American citizens in income -- might rationalize his wealthy position in society, given the modern complaints about Income Inequality .
One should not wonder, for such radically chic campaigners for social justice and the like participate in that phenomenon which is The Privileges of Intellectuals .
Mind the gap
[ 1 ]
"Suskind says that research shows overhearing a cell phone conversation or sitting in front of a television program doesn't cut it when it comes to building a child's brain." In "Closing The 'Word Gap' Between Rich And Poor," by NPR Staff, 29 December 2013. [ 2 ]
There are gaps between words
Like stupid and smart,
Like lazy 'gainst industrious,
They are word worlds apart.
There are gaps between parents,
In much the same way:
Those not reading to teach,
Throw hope's future away.
There are gaps between cultures,
Both stupid and smart,
Some are most fertile;
Some abort their best part.
Mind the gap, we're warned,
Between less and much more,
For ignorance pays
In low wages galore.
There are gaps between worlds
Torn asunder with woes,
Making heaven and hell
When few words come to blows.
Mind the gap, mind it well,
Mark it and learn:
Knowledge makes prosperous
If to it one would turn.
There are gaps between words
Between stupid and smart,
Between lazy and industrious,
Gaps one might well chart.
Mind the gap, chose best,
And not the worst:
Knowledge makes prosperous
While ignorance is accursed.
Mind the gap
Should be carefully taught,
That to learn is rightly
What everyman ought.
Addendum of a Gap: "Education isn't racially coded to prevent minority kids from learning the material. The missing element isn't the so-called 'right teacher' with the right evaluation standing at the blackboard. The missing element is something far more fundamental. What's missing is the active, radical involvement of every parent of a black child in the Pittsburgh school district. This goes way beyond showing up for parent-teacher nights. This means supervising homework, modeling an appreciation for learning from the first day that child comes into the world, limiting media distractions that reinforce negative stereotypes and ruthlessly enforcing an ethic of achievement that prevents the pathology of failure from taking root. This means parents have to stop making excuses. Instead of blaming teachers for intellectually incurious children, they have to become involved in their children's education. While demanding competent teachers is fine, parents have to demand more from themselves and even more from their children, because they begin life at a disadvantage. Parents of black students have to become insistent stakeholders who personally reinforce the value of education even if they're not educated themselves. A home with more video games than books is a home guaranteeing failure." In "Biggest gap in black kids' learning: parents," by Tony Norman, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 17 February 2014.
Addendum of the Gap of Public Education Requiring Remedial Education: "A stunning 77.6 percent of NYC public-high-school graduates who entered CUNY community colleges as freshmen last fall needed remediation in math, reading or writing, new data show. Despite their high-school diplomas, the grads failed CUNY admission tests in one or more of the key subjects, officials told The Post." In "City’s high school grads at CUNY needing remedial education," by Susan Edelman, NYPost, 30 March 2014.
[ 1 ] " 'Mind the gap"' is a warning phrase issued to passengers to take caution while crossing the gap between the train door and the station platform. It was introduced in 1969 on the London Underground in the United Kingdom. The phrase is also associated with T-shirts that Transport for London sells featuring the warning printed over the network's roundel logo." Wikipedia, accessed December 2013.
[ 2 ] While the politics of have and have nots fills political news -- with such phrases as "income inequality" and "gap between rich and poor," academic studies point away from political activities and towards parenting. One reads:
"We discovered that race and ethnicity has no bearing on a child’s academic success. In fact, even disadvantages attributed to socioeconomic status can be overcome. What matters is this: The more parents talk with their child from birth to age three, the more likely their child will excel academically later in life. And that sets the stage for other successes in the child’s future." Quote of Todd Risley, Ph.D. (1937–2007), in "The Power of Talk, Impact of Adult Talk, Conversational Turns, and TV During the Critical 0-4 Years of Child Development," by Jill Gilkerson, Ph.D. and Jeffrey A. Richards, M.A., LENA Technical Report, LTR-01-2, 2009.
Furthering the research, one reads: "The original study conducted by Hart and Risley—recording one hour of conversation between parents and young children in 42 homes each month for three years—was truly groundbreaking in that it led educators, government officials, teachers, linguists, and parents to rethink language development for children from birth to three years of age. Hart and Risley learned there was a direct correlation between adult words and a child’s IQ, adult words and a child’s academic success, and adult words and a child’s vocabulary learning trajectory. They also learned that families in the high socioeconomic status category talk more than families in other categories, but that the amount of talk between families varies tremendously—even among families in the high socioeconomic status category." In "The Power of Talk, Impact of Adult Talk, Conversational Turns, and TV During the Critical 0-4 Years of Child Development," by Jill Gilkerson, Ph.D. and Jeffrey A. Richards, M.A., LENA Technical Report, LTR-01-2, 2009.
This easily explains the intellect and scholarship of generations long before the advent of "public instruction," wherein acquiring knowledge was and could have been an individual pursuit, learned and nurtured. Thus an American president, Lincoln, could have learned law from reading, as much and more than through entry to some prestigious university. We have writer Ray Bradbury's testimony as well. See: Degrees on the wall .
Flower Pot - paraphrase of a poem by Pierre-Jules-Théophile Gautier
A child finds a seed time had not forgot;
For being delighted with its bright designs
As for its soil, he seeds the porcelain pot,
Ornate with blue dragons and fine florid lines.
He leaves; a furred root snakes silent its reach,
Out from earth its forceful flowerings start;
A little each day, its foot presses the breech
Until the bellied pot creaking cracks apart.
The child returns; growth greets him as surprise
For among the shards a spiked plant springs;
Though its tenacious fronds he would brutalize,
He is but bloodied by its green-sharp stings.
Surprise begat love within my soul;
I expected it to grow as a flowering spring.
Life's spike-great aloe roots broke the whole,
And my heart's designs became a broken thing.
Fool's Gold - a wonder to behold
"...ye might pass a Leprechawn on the road and never know it's himself that's in it at all." In "Irish Wonders," David Russell McAnally, New York: Weathervane Books, 1888.
The leprechaun's gold at the rainbow's end
is a story, you know. Just a story, my friend.
Reality's a kettle of far different fish
which lies not in paying for your every wish.
Dream on, dream on, as ever you will,
but reality sometimes serves up just swill.
If ever you think that the treasure's found free,
then you'll pay a higher price to reality.
Run, yes run, towards your rainbow's end,
and see it retreat as you misapprehend
That rainbows are visions while the eye is you,
and there is no end but a receding view.
The leprechaun's gold at the rainbow's end
was always a fiction without dividend.
But men always rush to seek out the hoard;
they've believed in that pot and so have adored
What more than once has been proven fool's gold,
and still men believe it for its lies they've extolled.
If only you ache towards that rainbow's end,
you too might be wealthy, if only pretend.
The small rose - paraphrase of a poem by Wilhelm Busch
The small rose was not cheerful,
Potted at a window sill,
To peer so very sadly out
At wild blooms on the hill.
Those flowers nod and wave,
Bright freedom on each face;
They dance and sip from dewdrops
In the merry winds' embrace.
Butterflies' colored rainbow wings
Flutter by, to rub and kiss
In the midst of birds' bright singing
Melodies of summer bliss.
We prize such, and praise all
Through the joyous passing days.
Small rose, in your glassy window,
Be not dismayed always.
Harsh winter comes in time
To our lands with chill distress;
Hard frosts and deep drifting snow
Kill flowers with their caress.
A maiden, hearing the storm's approach,
Shuts the windows against the cold.
Through winter I shall tend you,
My small rose; so be consoled.
Prayer of the Revolving Door - a humble plea for more
"Ka-ching! Little Miss Moneybags. Probable Dem presidential candidate Hillary Clinton is lugging home big simoleons these days. To wit: Sneed hears rumbles that Hillary may have outstripped her loquacious hubby Bill in the speech department by taking home a hefty $450,000 fee for addressing the Chicago Mercantile Exchange’s Global Financial Leadership Conference last week in Naples, Fla." In "Sneed: Hillary Clinton reaps $450,000 fee for speech," by Michael Sneed, Chicago Sun-Times, 25 November 2013.
How might I increase myself
at the expense of others?
Equality is what I daily preach
but it's really not my druthers.
Others should be the equals;
I'll be much more than they,
This then is my private quest
which broaches no delay.
Average and median
and social justice fair?
Anathemas are they to me
except in the public square.
There I rage and posture loud
about fat and greed and lard,
Ever mindful that few shall peer
into my own backyard.
Privacy for my public face
demands no scrutiny,
For if the public saw me plain
there might come mutiny.
Praying with a moneyed heart,
I beg that much more come to me
which most should never ever see.
A hillarious amen.
Addendum Reading from Years Past: "Alternately droll, irascible, self-righteous, self-pitying and intriguingly coy about longtime CIA ties, Tamraz provided the first vivid look at a largely maligned species during the 6-week-old hearing: a major political contributor. Tamraz, 57, a Lebanese-American oil financier, conceded that his $300,000 in Democratic contributions were aimed at getting a White House hearing for a proposed $2.5 billion Caspian Sea pipeline project. Although evidence suggests he got only Clinton's fleeting attention and never the formal U.S. support he sought, he said he does not feel shortchanged. 'I think that next time, I'll give $600,000,' he told Sen. Joseph Lieberman (D-Conn.), eliciting laughs but leaving the impression he might be serious." In "Oil Financier Admits Cash Got Access To White House," James Warren, Chicago Tribune, 19 September 1997.
Addendum of the Similar during this time of the Politics of Income Inequality: "He’s grabbing clients around the world, some of whom seem at odds with one another. And he’s grabbing cash, in the form of speeches at roughly $50,000 a pop to corporate special interests like the American Petroleum Institute and foreign groups like the government of the United Arab Emirate of Sharjah whose positions don’t always jibe with liberal or democratic ideals. ...Recently, Messina began quietly backing away from the inside system, last month ending a $15,000-a-month consulting agreement with the Democratic National Committee. The move came as he assumed leadership of the pro-Clinton Priorities USA outside spending outfit, prompting legal and practical questions about the many hats he was wearing. 'Obviously, respecting both the letter and the spirit of the law, he just couldn’t have done both,' said a source close to Messina. The source added that Messina was also preparing to end a $7,000-a-month contract with Obama’s still-idling presidential campaign because he had mostly finished the work of winding it down." In "The Democrats' would-be Karl Rove," by Kenneth P. Vogel and Maggie Haberman, Politico, 23 February 2014. [ 1 ]
Addendum of Other Moneybags: "Since leaving office at the end of July 2009, the 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee has brought in at least 100 times her old salary – a haul now estimated at more than $12 million -- through television and book deals and a heavy schedule of speaking appearances worth five and six figures." In "Sarah Palin Has Earned an Estimated $12 Million Since July," by Matthew Mosk, ABC News, 13 April 2010. [ 2 ]
Addendum of an Ex-Banker's Ka-ching!: "Ben Bernanke earned more in 40 minutes on Tuesday than he made all of last year as head of the U.S. Federal Reserve. Bernanke was paid at least $250,000 for his first public speaking engagement, in Abu Dhabi, since stepping down in January, according to sources familiar with the matter. That compares to his 2013 paycheck of $199,700, and the appearance was only the first of three around the world this week." In "Former Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke hits lucrative speech circuit in post-government life," Reuters, 5 March 2014.
Addendum of a Self-Positioned Populist: "Rahm Emanuel is positioning himself as a populist in the Democratic primary campaign for the House, but the brash former Clinton White House senior adviser earned an astounding $8 million in the last two years, with at least another $2 million on deck for 2002. On top of that, financial disclosure statements filed with the U.S. House dated Dec. 20 reveal that Emanuel's extensive portfolio was valued between $4 million and about $12 million, under rules which only require a general range of assets to be reported. Emanuel's campaign is concerned about potential voter backlash to a candidate who earns millions three years after leaving the White House, mainly doing investment deals." In "Too much money a bad thing?" by Lynn Sweet, Chicago Sun-Times, 3 January 2002. [ 3 ]
Addendum of the Old Politician and New Banker: "Former House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) has joined the global investment bank Moelis & Company as vice chairman and managing director, the company announced Tuesday. Cantor, who resigned from Congress during the August recess after losing his primary in June, will also be elected to the company's board of directors. Cantor will focus on client development and giving strategic and financial advice. Initially, Cantor will be given $1.4 million in cash and stocks. He will receive a base salary of $400,000 per year, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. On top of that, Cantor will receive $1.6 million in incentive cash and stocks in 2015." In "Cantor joins investment bank," by Mario Trujillo, The Hill, 2 September 2014.
Addendum of a Breaking Federal Law: "The inspector general for the Department of Housing and Urban Development told a congressional panel that senior officials within the agency broke federal law and violated governmental employment practices in the hiring of a onetime lobbyist who used the position to act in favor of her former firm. HUD Inspector General David Montoya told the House Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations that the Office of Public and Indian Housing hired former registered lobbyist Debra Gross in February 2011 while she simultaneously served as deputy director of an industry group, the Council of Large Public Housing Authorities. According to Montoya, during Gross’ three years as deputy assistant secretary of her division’s policy office, she used her position to champion an agenda favorable to the public housing authorities. She also acted outside her authority by hiring two aides without proper vetting." In "Peering Inside HUD’s Dark, Dirty Corners," by Bill Straub, PJMedia, 13 February 2015.
Addendum of that Revolving Door Revolving: "Obama has hired about 100 lobbyists, and now he's just promoted one of them: revolving-door K Street Democratic operative Ron Klain is now Obama's Ebola czar. Klain served as chief of staff to Janet Reno and then Al Gore in the 1990s, and as Joe Biden's chief of staff recently. In between, of course, he was a corporate lobbyist. Klain worked at O'Melveny & Myers, lobbying on behalf of Fannie Mae, U.S. Airways, Time Warner, Cigna, ImClone, and other companies and industry groups. Lobbying on 'regulatory issues concerning Fannie Mae' in 2004, as disclosure forms indicate Klain did, involved convincing Congress and Fannie Mae's regulators that Fannie Mae wasn't doing anything dangerous, and wasn't exposing taxpayers to risk." In "Ebola czar Ron Klain was a Fannie Mae and Cigna lobbyist," by Timothy P. Carney, Washington Examiner, 17 October 2014.
See: Freddie and Fannie and Barney and Frank
Addendum of the Revolving Security Door: "...a top National Security Agency official is being permitted to work part-time for a private company run by the spy agency's former director. The Senate Intelligence Committee has requested a copy of an 'internal review' which NSA said last week it had opened into an arrangement under which Patrick Dowd, the spy agency's chief technical officer is being allowed up to 20 hours per week for IronNet Cybersecurity Inc, a congressional official said. IronNet is a venture created by retired Gen. Keith Alexander, who stepped down as NSA director in March. Under the arrangement, which Reuters first reported on Friday, IronNet, not NSA, will pay for the time Dowd spent working for the firm. It could not be determined whether Dowd has actually begun working for Alexander." In "U.S. Congress examining deal between NSA official, ex-agency chief," by Mark Hosenball and Warren Strobel. Reuters, 20 October 2014.
See: Sir Veiled Lance
Addendum of the Gazprom Boys: "A bank affiliated with Russian energy giant Gazprom has hired former Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott and former Sen. John Breaux to lobby against U.S. sanctions. According to a lobbying disclosure Friday, Lott and Breaux will focus on 'banking laws and regulations including applicable sanctions on behalf of Gazprombank." In "Gazprom-controlled bank hires former senators Lott, Breaux as lobbyists," by Andrew Restuccia, Politico, 2 September 2014. [ 4 ]
Addendum of the Revolving Uranium Door: "Poneman’s new job has drawn fire on Capitol Hill since the company announced his hiring March 5, and is prompting watchdog groups to question whether DOE’s revolving-door policies are strong enough. It’s also bringing more unflattering attention to Centrus Energy Corp. — a company that has struggled to make a living from enriching uranium for the nuclear industry and the U.S. military despite benefiting from hundreds of millions of dollars in taxpayer money and what auditors call 'advantageous' government leases'." In "Ex-energy official's $1.7 million gig draws fire," by Darius Dixon, Politico, 16 March 2015. [ 5 ]
Addendum of the Revolving Insurance Door: "... Tavenner's first-hand experience with government incompetence probably does make her the most qualified to lead an industry that now must cope with an incompetent government every day." In "Insurance Industry Taps Top ObamaCare Official To Head Its Lobby," by John Merline, Investors Business Daily, 15 July 2015. [ 6 ]
See: For Your Common Good - in the fat cat neighborhood
[ 1 ] A little arithmetic: $15,000.00 a month + $7,000.00 a month = $22,000.00 a month. Not factoring in speaking fees and such as noted above, $22,000.00 a month x 12 months = $264,000.00 a year. Minimum.
The left-right political model as proffered by the American political media suggests that Democrats are more caring while Republicans are more greedy from the one side, while the other side argues Democrats are spendthrifts while Republicans uphold fiduciary principles of thrift.
It is instructive to note -- courtesy of Celebrity Net Worth -- current estimates of some Republicans recently in the news: "How much is Karl Rove worth? $6.6 Million." "How much is George W. Bush worth? $35 Million." "How much is Mitt Romney worth? $250 Million."
By way of contrast, one notes financial estimates for another ex-president and his wife, presumptive candidate for an upcoming presidency: "One of the largest donors to the Bill, Hillary, and Chelsea Clinton Foundation is the government of Saudi Arabia. The Clintons' personal net worth now probably exceeds $200 million, and while earned legally, both the money's sources and the Clintons' public statements indicate a strong aversion to rocking boats or making powerful enemies." In "Why I Am Cancelling My Documentary on Hillary Clinton," Charles Ferguson, Huffington Post, 30 September 2013.
As to the article above documenting some income sources for a current "Karl Rove" like figure in the Democrat Party, one notes that all -- all these persons -- are in the upper 95th percentile of income in the US, and that the Clintons, like Romney, are in the upper one percent. Occupy Wall Street? Perhaps Occupy Politics -- all politics -- would be a more interesting movement.
See: Donkey Skins and Elephant Hides .
[ 2 ] While some Democrats despise Sarah Palin and some Republicans despise Hillary Clinton, the fact is that the door indeed "revolves" for politicos of both parties, and the Left-Right political model keeps people busy enough to observe not too closely the basic math. Oddly, the 'perceived party of the people' seems to generally do far better at acquiring wealth of late than the 'greedy' party. Words are so often used to blind numbers.
Other sources publish such information too, such as -- "Bill Clinton, former president -- $750,000; Rudy Giuliani, former New York City mayor -- $270,000; Al Gore, former vice president -- $156,000; George W. Bush, former president -- $110,000; Dick Cheney, former vice president -- $75,000; Mitt Romney, 2012 Republican presidential candidate -- $40,000-60,000; Howard Dean, Democratic National Committee Chairman -- $20,000." In "Hillary Clinton isn’t alone: Former politicians rake it in on speaker circuit," by Ruth Tam, Washington Post, 11 July 2013.
Some other notables, from both sides of the Left-Right model: Donald Trump, $1-1.5 million; Ronald Reagan, $1 million (to the Fujisankei Communications Group, Japan, 1989); Tony Blair (ex-Prime Minister and Labour Party head UK) $616,000; Alan Greenspan (ex-Federal Reserve Chairman), $250,000..." In "10 Highest-Paid Public Speakers In the World," Public Speaking.co, n.d.
One sees politics as a fine avenue to wealth far beyond Joe Average, while both sides plead for political support promising to "give" something to someone by some proposed policy. And then -- ka-ching!
For a personal view beyond all these citations to support a personal view, please see: I shall not join the party .
[ 3 ] The "populist" won his mayoral election in spite of wealth. But the "serving" mayor of Chicago is now attracting criticism. As a comparison to examples above and courtesy of Celebrity Net Worth, Emanuel's net worth is estimated at $15 million.
One reads: "Rahm Emanuel is building a Second City. Two cities really, as the "two summers" theme shown in Episode 4 of "Chicagoland" suggests. One white, one black. One for the rich, one for the poor. One for private schools, one for closed schools. A new Chicago for the saved and the damned. Gold coast heavens and low-end hells. It's biblical, binary. The Chicago that the mayor and his team of wealthy financiers are continuing to create and sell is a second city of tourists and grand inequities. The disparity gap grows between those who have and those who have to rent. Those who can afford private schools like the mayor's children and those whose public neighborhood schools are underfunded and tracked and given impossible and idiotic standardized tests to validate their existence. The new Chicago is for new businesses that will be lured with tax-free incentives, gaining advantages they won't have to pay back in order to be responsible citizens. The new Chicago is based on old European models of urban planning, concentric zones of wealth where working and poor people are pushed to the margins of the land and public discourse." In "Rahm Emanuel's Chicago, a tale of two cities," by Kevin Coval, CNN, 4 April 2014.
For many political "leaders" and the outspoken who support these rich politicians, one may think on Income Inequality , in all its footnoted detail, and on the overriding theme of the "servants" of the people and the reality behind their Politics .
[ 4 ] Party affiliation of the newest Gazprom lobbyists is as instructive as it is meaningless: "John Breaux / USCongress 9/1972-01/1987; US Senate 01/1987-01/2005; Trent Lott / USCongress01/1973-12/1989; US Senate 01/1989-12/2007" in "Lobbying Registration," per Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995 (Section 4), 29 August 2014. The registrant is Squire Patton Boggs. Washington DC, and client is Gazprombank GPB (OJSC), Moscow. Breaux was Democrat Congressman and Senator from Louisiana, and Trent Lott (a Democrat before 1972) was Republican Congressman and Senator from Mississippi.
One notes that in addition to American ex-Senators being on the payroll of Russia's Gazprom, the ex-chancellor of Germany, Gerhard Schröder went quickly from German politics to profiting as a representative of them.
One would do well to observe what it means in America to be Left and Right .
[ 5 ] Obama has termed income inequality the defining issue of our time. And so, one of his administration's "public servants" lands a job paying $1.7 million. Not bad.
But the report notices: "In addition to facing revolving-door questions, running Centrus also means Poneman must try to shed the sour reputation the company has built up in Washington over the past two decades. Congress created the company by privatizing DOE’s uranium enrichment operations in the 1990s, with visions of efficiency and cost savings, but instead Centrus has needed repeated infusions of federal aid to stay afloat in order to preserve U.S. military needs."
The image: public "advantageous public leases" privatized to a company which has required more public money, and yet can pay $1.7 million to a CEO who was high up in the current administration's Department of Energy management and went through that "revolving door" to cash in with remuneration far above the average citizen. Such is the nature of government and those companies which need "needed repeated infusions of federal aid to stay afloat ." Consider the government's last years and those Bankrupt green energy companies with also "needed repeat infusions of federal aid to stay afloat."
The few benefit wildly, while the many pay and pay and pay. Ka-ching!
[ 6 ] Among the Obama administration's top officials for ObamaCare was Tavener, who becomes a top official in the insurance lobbying group. From government to industry leadership in one move, as the lobbying group annouced: "Today, AHIP's Board of Directors unanimously elected Marilyn Tavenner as AHIP President and CEO." "AHIP's Board of Directors Unanimously Elects Marilyn Tavenner as President and CEO," by Clare Krusing, AHIP, 15 July 2015.
AHIP's or America's Health Insurance Plans' web site states in July 2015 and after several years of ObamaCare's existence: "More than one-sixth of the U.S. economy is devoted to health care spending and that percentage continues to rise every year. Regrettably, our system is not delivering value commensurate with the estimated $2.7 trillion spent annually on health care. Experts agree that about 20 percent to 30 percent of that spending – up to $800 billion a year – goes to care that is wasteful, redundant, or inefficient. Rising health care costs punish our nation on multiple fronts. For families and seniors, the soaring cost of medical care means less money in their pockets and forces hard choices about balancing food, rent, and needed care. For small businesses and Fortune 500 employers alike, they make it more expensive to add new employees, more difficult to maintain retiree coverage, and harder to compete in the global economy. For federal, state, and local governments, rising health care costs lead to higher Medicare and Medicaid costs, and funding cuts for other priorities, such as infrastructure, education and public safety."
Even with this admission that "rising health care costs punish our nation on multiple fronts," the same web page goes on to state: On the same web page, one reads the claim: "Health plans are playing an important role in lowering health care costs."
A fair question then: Are "rising health care costs" punishing the nation the same as a lobbying group making claims of "lowering health care costs?" Such is the relationship between lobbyists for government programs and the government they lobby, in which competing assertions go unnoticed. What is assured is that health insurance costs are rising while coverage is shifting wildly, as one may see in the amusing collection of citations in A Countdown Song - counting upwards to down.
As to the healthcare insurance industry and "lowering" costs, one finds: "Recently, health insurance companies across the nation have petitioned to increase premium rates for customers covered under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). In North Carolina, Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) has proposed a 25.7 percent raise in premiums; in New Mexico, BCBS requested a 56.1 percent raise; and, in Georgia, Alliant Health Plans has submitted a proposal for a hike as high as 85 percent. Health care premiums are a significant burden on many American families, averaging about $1,000 a month, not counting thousands of dollars people pay in deductibles, copayments, medical supplies and medications." In "Rising Insurance Premiums and the Future Costs to Health Care," by Manoj Jain, MD MPH, Huffington Post, 11 June 2015.
Thus Tavener follows the revolving door from government subsidizing insurance premiums to the insurance lobby receiving the subsidies, albeit indirectly.
"Health plans are playing an important role in lowering health care costs" such that they "are a significant burden on many American families, averaging about $1,000 a month, not counting thousands of dollars people pay in deductibles, copayments, medical supplies and medications."
This is how Kaching! works in the world of revolving doors, because the CEOs -- even those once in government -- will be well taken care of, far above the average American family. The effect is a lack of competition as insurance companies lobby as a unified front, or as one reads: "What can be done to reduce health care costs? Health care, like any other industry, needs competition to push prices lower. Unfortunately, because each policy must cover the 10 essential health benefits, insurance companies have no latitude to create innovative, customized policies." In "U.S. Health Care Costs Rise Faster Than Inflation," by Mike Patton, Forbes, 29 June 2015.
And of course because "U.S. Health Care Costs Rise Faster Than Inflation," one can assert "Health plans are playing an important role in lowering health care costs."
The loftier notions - paraphrase of a poem by Wilhelm Busch
The loftier notions tend to dwell
In the loftier house of the few.
I've knocked, but have been always told:
»The lofty are not in to you!«
Now I knock humbly on other doors,
Those of the lowliest clan.
A morsel of bread, perhaps a penny
Nourish thereby this man.
If one can sober up,
Then one can sober down,
As prepositions point
To man as foolish clown.
To some sentenced constituent;
Then thesis and antithesis
Can be both wordily bent.
If one stands as above
The many pressed below,
Then prepositions rule
Not favoring quid pro quo.
Relate with prepositions
And humor can be had,
But also all man's errors,
The evil and the sad.
When the few rule, being over
The masses under their rule,
One sees in prepositions
The fascist's simple tool.
All is all as all must be;
Ups requires downs,
As aboves require unders:
Most under above-named nouns.
"One solution that Jones found compelling was by Tim S. Roberts, an adjunct senior lecturer at Central Queensland University in Australia, and an inveterate puzzle solver. 'I have an attested IQ of over 170,' he told Nautilus in an email. 'But, unfortunately, I am fairly useless at almost everything except puzzles'." In "The Artist of the Unbreakable Code," by Mark Macnamara, Nautilus, Issue 006, 2013.
It's puzzling how fairly useless
Attested genius is
According to attestations
Of one tested IQ whiz.
It's puzzling how all opinions
Prove not of equal worth,
As some bring down the mighty
And others make for mirth.
It's puzzling how all the promises
To make man new again
So often come to murder
And mayhem through promised men.
It's puzzling how reform is asked
Year in, year out the same,
Yet reform then needs reforming
In the old and oldest game.
It's puzzling how man's solutions
Breed problems in their wake,
When we would act as gods,
As once foresaw the snake.
The Lamp - paraphrase of a poem by Christian Morgenstern
The lamp was once lost to the oceans wide.
From whence came this lamp, the lamp I spied?
It is dressed in an undershirt of seaweed greens
and is found on the island, Ask Not What It Means.
The lamp, just a lamp, that lamp, beware,
it hails from the sea known as Who Knows Where!
The shipwrecked wreck is a ruinous wrack;
Newt and flounder gaze through its windows' crack.
The waves, these waves, did they wash it ashore?
Yet now it dreams, here near the ocean's roar,
dressed in its undershirt of seaweed greens
and in the background looms Ask Not What It Means.
Icy ducks go skating - paraphrase of a poem by Christian Morgenstern
The icy ducks go skating
on their tiny icy pond.
What of their tiny icy skates?
Who funds a duck vagabond?
How came they by their ice skates?
The ice skate man, erelong!
He forged them as a gift, you see,
In thanks for their quack-quack song.
The Song of the Red Nose - paraphrase of a poem by Wilhelm Busch
This, my red nose is beauteous,
Not as unlovely as some might say,
Though there are those who jeer and scoff,
Friends, I heed them not today.
This nose is my very own,
It's tried and tested true,
And if others will not praise it,
I will praise it myself in lieu.
Yes, I bear it with a lofty pride
Over seas as on the land,
For I have, you can be sure,
Spent plenty for it. Understand?
Faithfully it's accompanied me
As brandy and wine were quaffed,
And so shines bright with glory
Like a red ruby held aloft.
Oh, when the storms whistle loud
Through a wintery countryside,
Then it serves as beacon bright
In magnificence few dare deride.
It reflects then clearly on my face
As into my mirror I gaze,
Quite like a lovely purple rose,
Moist with morning's dewed haze.
My rose serves as a symbol
Of premonition deeply held,
Of cruelties such as winter storms
A hope of spring will have easily dispelled.
This rose is unlike most others,
Which rapidly, passionately rise
Only too soon to wither and fade
Near some hearth to meet their demise.
No! It is a miraculous rose,
That often is praised in song!
"That rose which is without thorns,
Blooms throughout time erelong."
Three sparrows - paraphrase of a poem by Christian Morgenstern
In a leaf-bare hazel wood tree
There perch three sparrows, abdominally.
Erich on the right and on the left Franz,
While in the middle sits sassy-mouth Hans.
With eyes rightly shuttered quite so tight,
Ah! - over all snow falls with its cold bright white.
They huddle closely closer, so tightly are they hunched.
Yet the warmest is Hans, between the others scrunched.
So near, they hear each other's heartbeat beat;
And if not flown away, they're deep in winter's sleet.
Strike It Rich
"Gillinson himself is Carnegie Hall's highest-paid employee, with a base salary of $864,928, and additional compensation worth $224,591. Add in benefits, and in 2012, Gillinson took home a total of $1,113,571. But he's the only person in the entire non-profit that makes more money than every stagehand. Here is a full list of Carnegie Hall's highest paid employees, according to the non-profit's 990, with union stagehands in bold. (Believe it or not, these salaries are actually after pay cuts in recent years.)" In "Stagehands Striking at Carnegie Hall Average More Than $419,000 Per Year," by Tessa Stuart, Village Voice, 3 October 2013.
How does one profit in a non-profit land?
One feathers one's nest with donations, and
One begs, borrows, steals just as was planned,
And then goes on strike to gain one's demand.
It is such as these, one should well understand
That profit fat cats in their non-profit land.
Next when you're asked to donate, and
You think you might, just think of quicksand
Which sucks down donations into non-profit land.
Envoi: More from the Village Voice, with data taken from Carnegie Hall Form 990: Dennis O'Connell, Properties Manager: $464,632 / James Csollany, Carpenter:$441,223 / Richard Matlaga (Chief Financial Officer, not listed on Carnegie Hall's staff website): $429,259 / John Cardinale, Electrician: $425,872 / Aaron Levine, Chief Information Officer: $406,048 / John Goodson, Electrician: $395,207 / Ken Beltrone, Carpenter: $371,813 / Anna Weber, General Manager, Artistic and Operations: $368,255 / Susan Brady, Development Director: $317,110 / Richard Malenka, Director: $315,277 / Theodore E. Phillips, Director of Finance: $259,812.
Addendum of Striking the Undisclosed Deal I: "A spokesman for Local One of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) declined to disclose the terms of the deal." In "Carnegie Hall, Stagehands Approve Labor Deal, Ending 2-Day Strike," by Brian Wise, WQXR Blog, 4 October 2014.
Addendum of the Charitable Rich: "The charity has hired a fancy law firm to fight a public request we filed with New York state, arguing that information about its Sandy activities is a "trade secret." The Red Cross' trade secret argument has persuaded the state to redact some material, though it's not clear yet how much since the documents haven't yet been released. As we've reported, the Red Cross releases few details about how it spends money after big disasters. That makes it difficult to figure out whether donor dollars are well spent. The Red Cross did give some information about Sandy spending to New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who had been investigating the charity." In "Red Cross: How We Spent Sandy Money Is a ‘Trade Secret’," by Justin Elliott, Pro Publica, 26 June 2014. [ 1 ]
Addendum of Opera Well Met: "Out of a $327 million budget for fiscal year 2013, $215 million was spent on pay and benefits for the opera’s union employees and performing artists. The average singer in the Met’s 80-person chorus makes between $145,000 and $200,000 annually. Some stage hands end up making upwards of $450,000 a year." In "Melodrama at the Met," by Rebecca Burgess, The American, 20 July 2014. [ 2 ]
Addendum of Striking the Undisclosed Deal II: "Details of the contracts haven’t been released, and terms vary among the unions." In "Metropolitan Opera reaches deal with unions, averts strike ahead of season, Associated Press, 22 August 2014.
Other fat cats and top dogs feeding:
Addendum of the Luxury Strikers: "It was an impressive show of strength by a small but confident professional group, represented by the tiny German pilots' union, Vereinigung Cockpit (VC). VC's slogan for the strike, 'Stop the profit greed,' was illustrated with signs depicting a crane (the Lufthansa symbol) in the clutches of unscrupulous financial investors. But the motto ended up backfiring on the pilots' union. In the public and the press, on television and in many Internet forums, discussions of the pilots' strike, instead of triggering debates over greedy fund managers, were focused on the pilots themselves. People across Germany were talking about whether the strike was justified or excessive. The Lufthansa pilots came under fire, given that their annual salaries can range up to €260,000 ($360,000). The tabloid newspaper Bild characterized the pilots as 'luxury strikers' and noted that the highest-paid pilots, 'with salaries of up to €21,000 a month, earn 10 times as much as bus drivers' -- the implication being that this is clearly too much." In " Bird Strike: Backlash Stirs Against Lufthansa Pilots," by Dinah Deckstein, Spiegel Online, 11 April 2014. [ 3 ]
Addendum of a Hefty Settlement Fee sought by Warner Brothers: "While Warner Bros. appear to be on sound legal ground (the song’s copyright only expires after 95 years) suing a small local business over a 80-year old song is not the best PR. That said, considering previous cases that dealt with the same issue, Giacomo Jacks will most likely lose the case or end up paying a hefty settlement fee. Meanwhile, various unauthorized copies of the track are played hundreds of thousands of times on YouTube and elsewhere." In "Warner Bros. Sues New York Bar For Playing 80-Year Old Song," posted by Ernesto, TorrentFreak, 29 August 2014. [ 4 ]
As counterpoint to this theme, see: Income Inequality and an informative survey of our Modern Times and Charity
[ 1 ] Given the "new" 1 percent vocabulary courtesy of the recent "Occupy" movement, one finds a charity resisting disclosure to an attorney general of a state as regards how charitable monies are distributed, as one examines the "rich" one-percent salaries of the American Red Cross leadership: From Form 990, 2012: Steve Wagner, CP, Development Operations, $586,630 + $33,276 in expenses, Gail McGovern, President and CEO, $564,864 + $57,497 in expenses, Shaun Gilmore, President Biomedical Services, $490,550 + $54,931 in expenses, J. Chris Hrouda, Exec. VP Biomedical Services, $478,218 + 26,317 in expenses, Gerald DeFrancisco, President Human Services, $424,658 + 31,879 in expenses, Mary Elcano, Former General Counsel and Corporate Secretary, $383,492 + $54,941 in expenses, Brian Rhoa, Chief Financial Officer, $377,846 + $39,920 in expenses, Wayne Moore, SVP, Biomedical Services, $357,809 + 43,811 in expenses, Greg Ballish, SVP, Biomedical Services, $355,586 + $47,460, John Crary, Chief Information Officer, $354,351 + $30,678 in expenses, and more.
One notes that "expenses" alone for the top paid charity leadership are greater than more than 35 percent of Americans earn in total income. The argument will always be made that a charity with such a large income and assets base should pay for the "best" in management talent is refuted by the salary of an American president, senator, representative or, in the case of New York, its governor. Fat cats are fat cats, and perhaps especially when clothed by the adjective, "charitable."
A short survey of more "charitable" folks fleshes out this sketch. 1) Peter T. Scardino, M.D., Chairman Attending Surgery, Department of Surgery, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, $2,207,147; 2) Michael Friedman, M.D., CEO, City of Hope, $1,434,148; 3) Edward J. Benz, Jr., M.D., President/CEO, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute/Jimmy Fund, $1,406,429; 4) Kenneth Guidera, Chief Medical Officer, Shriners Hospitals for Children, $1,374,996, includes $939,936 retirement and other deferred compensation; 5) Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, President/CEO, International Fellowship of Christians and Jews, $1,203,690, includes $602,397 supplemental non-qualified retirement plan; 6) Edwin J. Feulner, Jr., Past President, Heritage Foundation, $1,172,321; 7) Steven E. Sanderson, Past President/CEO, Wildlife Conservation Society, $1,163,666; 8) Jonathan W. Simons, M.D., President/CEO, Prostate Cancer Foundation, $1,123,097; 9) Robert J. Beall, President/CEO, Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, $1,073,725; 10) Brian Gallagher, President/CEO, United Way Worldwide, $1,035,347; 11) Harry Johns, President/CEO, Alzheimer's Association - N.O., $996,824, includes $393,218 retirement and other deferred compensation; 12) Robert J. Mazzuca, Past Chief Scout Executive, Boy Scouts of America - N.O., $987,412; 13) Wayne LaPierre, CEO & Executive VP/Ex-Officio, National Rifle Association & Foundation, respectively, $972,000; 14) Scott A. Blackmun, CEO, United States Olympic Committee, $965,359; 15) William R. Brody, M.D., President, Salk Institute for Biological Studies, $946,823; 16) William E. Evans, Director/CEO, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital/ALSAC, $939,979; 17) Christopher DeMuth, Past Senior Fellow, American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research, $925,950, includes $500,000 severance and $606,075 supplemental non-qualified retirement plan, and excludes $550,572 earned in prior years; 18) M. Kathryn Cloninger, Past CEO, Girl Scouts of the USA - N.O., $887,209; 19) Nancy A. Brown, CEO, American Heart Association, $843,779; 20) David Harris, Executive Director, American Jewish Committee, $842,419; 21) John R. Seffrin, CEO, American Cancer Society, $832,355; 22) Larry Jones, Past CEO, Feed the Children/Americans Feeding Americans, $800,000, $800,000 severance to fired founder; 23) James E. Williams, Jr., President/CEO, Easter Seals, $796,501; 24) Rabbi Marvin Hier, President/CEO Simon Wiesenthal Center, $790,954; 25) Michael L. Lomax, President/CEO, UNCF/The College Fund, $773,693. In "Top 25 Compensation Packages," American Institute of Philanthropy," 16 January 2014.
[ 2 ] What is a "labor dispute" to the average Joe and Jane when the "labor" conflict is between those in the 95th percentile of income and the 99th percentile?
Certainly it is not the stuff of populist politics or empathy-laden reporting.
One reads a statement from a 99th percentile "worker" complaining about salary and benefits levels: "A regular member of the chorus makes on average - and there are 80 members of the chorus - $200,000 a year, but the cost to the Met is actually $300,000 a year because of the additional costs of social benefits, which are pensions and medical care." In "New York's Met faces 'social rejection of opera'," Quote of Peter Gelb in an interview, Deutsche Welle, 28 April 2014.
One reads of possible "oppression" of those in the 95th percentile and above threatening a strike if "labor demands" are not met: "Contracts for the Met's 15 unions expire on July 31; the company is proposing compensation cuts of 16 to 17 percent. The disclosure on Monday triggered criticism from union leaders. 'Peter Gelb's salary is not only obscene but a disgraceful affront to the men and women who actually make the opera and whose lives Gelb is threatening to destroy,' said Alan Gordon, the president of the American Guild of Musical Theater Artists (AGMA), in an e-mail. AGMA represents the company's singers, dancers and production staff. The Met's tax filing also shows the ten next highest salaries, which include those of the company’s CFO, two assistant general managers, two lawyers, three stagehands, chorusmaster Donald Palumbo, and concertmaster David Chan, whose earnings of $394,652 made him the highest-paid rank-and-file musician. In a statement of the company's finances released this spring, the Met said that the average full-time chorus member in fiscal year 2013 earned $200,000, plus $100,000 in benefits. The average full-time orchestra member earned $200,000 plus $85,000 in benefits. The unions say that those figures were inflated due to improper production scheduling, resulting in significant overtime." In "Metropolitan Opera's Tax Filing Reveals Salary Details," by Brian Wise, WQXR Operavore, 16 June 2014.
And Gelb's "obscene" salary? The article notes: "Gelb took a 10 percent pay cut this year in response to its financial situation, decreasing his base pay to $1.395 million." This is what the union spokesman said while representing "workers" in the 95th percentile of Americans. To complete the picture of fact cats in a labor dispute with fat cats, one learns that Alan Gordon, National Executive Director of AGMA, has a compensation package of $286,465.00 in 2012. Source: UnionFacts.com.
So, when one indentifies the numbers while ignoring the rhetoric as found in news reports and press releases, it comes to this: Union members with salaries in the 95th percentile of all Americans, represented by a union leader in that same income category, threaten a labor strike against an organization headed up by a leader in the 99th percentile of all Americans.
So, "Peter-$1.3-million-a-year" negotiates with "Alan-$286,465-a-year" representing various "performers-at-$200,000-plus-a-year," and this is called a "labor dispute?"
The average American has an income of less that $60,000, so what sort of sympathy should "average America" have for this "labor dispute." None, as far as I can discern.
A question is asked after a short survey from 2009, which relates to the "labor dispute" in 2014 at the Met: "The corporate-level compensation plateaus a bit when put in context with the salaries of high-paid music directors, whose 2009 earnings also became public recently: Charles Dutoit, $1.83 million; Michael Tilson Thomas, $1.8 million; Deborah Borda, $1.39 million; James Conlon, $1.23 million; Franz Welser-Moest, $1.07 million; Gustavo Dudamel, $395,000 for partial year; Alan Gilbert, $539,000 for partial year; James Levine, $1.49 million from the Met Opera, plus $1.32 million from the Boston Symphony. While Borda and Dudamel seem to be proving their worth, salaries like these clearly represent the "one percent” of people employed in classical music. What do these numbers mean to you?" In "WQXR Blog - For Top Salaries in Classical Music, Head to Los Angeles," by Jocelyn Bonadio, WQXR, 7 November 2011.
It is a question worth considering. What do these numbers mean to you?
Under the larger topic of Income Inequality , the Metropolitan Opera "threatened" strike news of the day can only be seen as "fat cats" fighting with "fatter cats" for more "fat."
Obviously as mediator, one should call in a professional in such disputes. Perhaps an out-of-work Doctor Oppression comes to call ?
Perhaps it is just a matter of not enough Fund Raising ?
Perhaps it is a comment on our Modern Times and Charity ?
Perhaps such a labor dispute becomes a failing narrative filled with fattened folk wanting yet more fat, in the hopes of striking it rich?
[ 3 ] While the rhyme specifically conflates issues of "non-profit" alongside "rich" as the two come together in the stories of Carnegie Hall and the Metropolitan Opera, in terms of quasi-private sector entities, the same story is being acted out as the phrase "luxury strikers" comes into our vocabulary. When notions of "unfairness" and "oppression" and even "labor" become co-opted by those in the top ten percent of society, the notions of "oppression" and "labor" becomes almost meaningless. For the egalitarian, those in the top percentile in a population are fat cats, not an oppressed group.
In the case of the Lufthansa pilots' union complaint, one might find some perspective in facts. One reads: "In Germany, the average household net-adjusted disposable income per capita is 30 721 USD a year, more than the OECD average of 23,938 USD a year. But there is a considerable gap between the richest and poorest – the top 20% of the population earn more than four times as much as the bottom 20%." In "Germany," OECD Better Life Index, n. d.
Thus while the OECD identifies the "top" 20 percent, simple arithmetic tells that the "top" 20 percent earn $95,752 more than the median income stated. Spiegel says the top pay for Lufthansa pilots is $360,000, or fifteen times the median income of all Germans. So much for public sympathy for strikes by the "rich."
But through the clever use of words, political postures and positions, now even the "rich" can pretend to be worried about the "rich" while counting their cash. See: Wealth defends the poor? Oh sure! and a delightful request, Pass the foie gras .
[ 4 ] What is the range of this "fee?" From the lawsuit comes the request of the injured party: "...Defendants be decreed to pay such statutory damages as to the Court shall appear just, as specified in 17 U.S.C. § 504(c)(1), not more than Thirty Thousand Dollars ($30,000) nor less than Seven Hundred and Fifty Dollars ($750) in each cause of action herein." In "Warner Bros. Inc. and Pure Songs, Plaintiffs against Lagrassa, Inc. and Giacomo Lagrassa, Defendants." Case CV 14-cv-0023-SJF-ARL, 25 August 2014.
The actions are broader than demand for royalties from one restaurant. One reads: "Two local restaurants are among nine named in a lawsuit brought by The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP). The lawsuit claims that the restaurants provide paid public performances using copyrighted music and have refused to adequately compensate the writers through a licensing agreement offered through ASCAP." In "Giacomo Jack's among 9 facing lawsuit," by Carolyn James, Amityville Record, 20 August 2014.
ASCAP is acting as "Attorneys for the Plaintiff." According to Wikipedia about the plaintiff, Warner Brothers' revenue for 2013 was $12.3 billion. Obviously they can afford to be aggrieved by a restaurant in upstate New York. A quasi-anonymous comment by "One-Eyed Willie" to one site covering the Giacomo Jack story noted about how companies make money via copyright law and legal suits against small adversaries: "Oh but you can. You can make more money than you ever dreamed suing the fuck out of everyone. The American Dream. /s Destroying someone else's dream so you can have yours over and over and over!"
For some other news regarding Warner Brothers, see: Happy PD - public domain breaks the chain.
Greedy - the eighth dwarf is needy
"The copyright act of 1790 set it at 14 years, renewable once. The founders took this limit from British precedents, which went back through a series of court cases to the original copyright act of 1710. Along the way, some experts argued that copyright should be perpetual, because intellectual property was like ownership of land — absolute until alienated by sale. But that view was overridden by the notion that knowledge belonged to everyone and should revert to the public domain, where everyone can make use of it. Today, however, copyright lasts for the life of the author plus 70 years — or even longer in some cases. The Copyright Term Extension Act of 1998 (known as the Mickey Mouse Protection Act, because the monopoly on Mickey was about to expire) now prevents most 20th-century literature from being available in the public domain. When asked how long he thought copyrights should last, Jack Valenti, the lobbyist for Hollywood, quipped, “Forever, minus a day.” Valenti has won, Jefferson has lost." In "A Republic of Letters," by Robert Darnton, New York Times, 20 August 2010. [ 1 ]
Mickey owns dwarves that old Walt's boys drew --
Bashful and Grumpy and that whole dwarf crew.
But the dwarf that Mickey likes the very best
Is the dwarf we'll call Greedy, as some laws attest.
Copyright is not the right just to copy for cash,
But lengthening its term makes this dwarfed law a dash
For more and more and yet more piled upon more,
Which more-mining dwarfs like Greedy adore.
Fourteen years once? Now decades past one's death?
Even longer when one's smells some lobbyists' breath?
Extending the term is a game played for keeps
Until forever minus a day is that term as the law creeps.
Envoi: "After dark the masters of the house returned home. They were the seven dwarfs who picked and dug for ore in the mountains. They lit their seven candles, and as soon as it was light in their house they saw that someone had been there, for not everything was in the same order as they had left it." In "Little Snow-White," collected by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, circa 1812.
Addendum of Copyrighting Elements: "The fairy tale features such elements as the magic mirror, the poisoned apple, the glass coffin, and the characters of the evil queen and the seven dwarfs, who were first given individual names in the Broadway play 'Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs' (1912) and then given different names in Walt Disney's 1937 film 'Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs'." In "Snow White," Wikipedia article.
Addendum of the Firm Grip: "Although U.S. law has taken a firmer grip on copyright regulations over the years, intellectual property has still not gained worldwide acceptance, and even within the United States, the debate rages on: is information property?" In "Copyright in America," PBS. [ 2 ]
Addendum of Laws Beneficial to the Oligarchy: "Congress has repeatedly made the law more beneficial for those who hold copyrights by extending the period of time for exclusive rights. Initially, it was a maximum of 28 years; now it lasts for the life of the author plus 70 years after his death. It’s hard to see how that serves the public interest. An excellent example of the way the law has been manipulated involves the Disney Corporation. It holds many copyrights, the oldest of them being the cartoon 'Steamboat Willie' from 1928. Currently, that copyright will expire in 2023, but Bell thinks it likely that Congress will again extend the duration of copyright due to Disney’s lobbying power." In "Copyright Law Is Creating An Information Oligarchy, Not An Information Democracy," by George Leef, Forbes, 18 November 2014. [ 3 ]
[ 1 ] "On October 7, 1998, both the House and the Senate passed S. 505, the 'Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act' (CTEA), extending the already-too-long term of copyright protection by another 20 years. The legislation purports to cover even works already in existence -- a windfall gift to special interests of what rightfully belongs to the public. President Bill Clinton, a self-proclaimed supporter of the little guy, signed the bill on October 27, 1998. Like the Congress, former President Clinton sold out the interests of the American people to a few owners of valuable copyrights from the 1920's and 1930's." In "Help Protect Your Rights to the Great Works in the Public Domain!", homepage of Dennis S. Karjala, Professor of Law, Arizona State University. Also at this site: "Everyone should be grateful to the efforts of Stanford Law professor Lawrence Lessig, who was the lynchpin in the constitutional challenge, supplying immeasurable amounts of his time, money, and extraordinary talent to the cause. Although the effort was ultimately unsuccessful, he succeeded in bringing the issue before the public, which I was wholly unable to do when the bill was being considered by Congress. If we are vigilant, we MAY able to stop the rent-seeking special interests the next time they seek to line their own pockets at the expense of our cultural development."
The history of copyrighting is long. One reads: "The Licensing of the Press Act 1662 is an Act of the Parliament of England (14 Car. II. c. 33), long title "An Act for preventing the frequent Abuses in printing seditious treasonable and unlicensed Bookes and Pamphlets and for regulating of Printing and Printing Presses." It was repealed by the Statute Law Revision Act 1863. The Act was originally limited to two years." In "Licensing of the Press Act 1662," Wikipedia, n. d.
An interesting testimony becomes pertinent: "I like that extension of copyright life to the author's life and fifty years afterward. I think that would satisfy any reasonable author, because it would take care of his children. Let the grand-children take care of themselves." In a speech before a Congressional committee on 6 December 1906 by Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain) regarding the copyright bill being considered and later formalized in 1909.
By the political compromise proposed by American legend, Mark Twain, the "valuable copyrights from the 1920's and the 1930's would have taken "care" of copyright holders' children. But such as Hollywood lobbyist Valenti would seek "forever minus a day." The logical conundrum in this is interesting. Were "forever minus a day" the rule of law, then Disney's Snow White could never have been made with the permission of the Grimm brothers' progeny, and the Grimm brothers would have had to have sought permission from authors of the folk tale versions they collected from even earlier "owners."
Therefore the picture becomes simplified by being so complex. And such law at any term is a matter of the conflict between cultural development and rent-seeking, and copyright law merely establishes an arbitrary date -- usually to the lengthening benefit of the rent-seekers into future generations, as the transition from a 14 year term limit in 1790 to today's very long term attests.
In fact, in the most recent changes to copyright law within the European Union, some works in the public domain were "clawed back" into being protected by copyright law, such that one written in 1905, Heinrich Mann's Professor Unrat, is "protected" until the last day of 2019, over a century later, while in the rest of the world it lies in the public domain, there being now no worldwide harmonization of the laws of copyright. Two years to twenty-eight years, to fifty years after an author's death as advised by Mark Twain, to today's seventy years after an author's death, violating what Twain suggested, by saying "Let the grand-children take care of themselves."
[ 2 ] "The current legal arguments runs: One who by the ingenuity of his advertising or the quality of his product has induced consumer responsiveness to a particular name, symbol, form of packaging, etc., has thereby created a thing of value, a thing of value is property; the creator of property is entitled to protection against third parties who seek to deprive him of his property. . . . The vicious circle inherent in this reasoning is plain. It purports to base legal protection upon economic value, when, as a matter of actual fact, the economic value of a sales device depends upon the extent to which it will be legally protected. . . . The circularity of legal reasoning in the whole field of unfair competition is veiled by the 'thingification"' of property." In "Transcendental Nonsense and the Functional Approach," by Felix Cohen, Columbia Law Review 35 (1935): 809, 814-817.
[ 3 ] Licensing began with two years, and has lengthened in succeeding steps such that now in some cases a copyright, originally meant to protect a living author's work, now last over a century.
Moreover, in one case, a "musical" work with but a few words, no notes nor lyrics and a title is now protected by copyright. See: He allows us? - boxing in cages. This becomes all the more ironic when one realizes that a supposedly "cutting edge" and radical step in the musical avant garde has copyrighted For minootes toidytree sekunds ....
The Forbes article summarizes a fundamental question about copyright: "What would happen in the absence of copyright? Bell maintains that instead of relying on the copyright crutch to squeeze the maximum revenue out of consumers willing to pay a high price, creators would look to common law. That is, they would use the same rights everyone else has in contract to make arrangements whereby consumers would pay a small amount for access to their works and then not worry about the legal thickets of 'infringement.' As the law now stands, copyright holders usually try to cash in by charging consumers a profit-maximizing price and having their lawyers and/or the government go after anyone who infringes rather than pays. But there is a big exception for 'fair use' of copyrighted items. People can make some use of copyrighted material so long as it doesn’t go 'too far.' There is, however, no clear line between 'fair use' and 'infringement.' Bell observes that even law professors can easily find themselves facing a suit over some use they thought was 'fair' but the other party claims is 'infringement.' We could escape from much costly and pointless litigation by abandoning copyright." In "Copyright Law Is Creating An Information Oligarchy, Not An Information Democracy," by George Leef, Forbes, 18 November 2014.
With that clear line between fair use and infringement, the law ends up making the legal profession among the large recipients of copyright law, whereby control over copyrighted works are fought over as real property. This is the "thingification" of copyrighted works, as it has become the "thingification" of even Cage's some recordings of a performance of silence, copyrighted like his book, "Silence." What goes too far then? It becomes the art of politics, eclipsing art itself.
The politics behind copyright law is bounded. One reads: "Copyright, in short, was designed to protect against competitors. And its main function is to protect the entrepreneur against those who would pirate a work for competitive sale in the marketplace. The proprietary aspects of copyright thus should extend not to the individual user who only makes only a personal use of the work. The opportunity for a few to gather 'great profits in small payments' is not a proper basis for denying the constitutional rights of the many to use copyrighted works to further their learning. The framers limited copyright to the exclusive right to publish and vend having copyright subject to both conditions precedent and subsequent as a means of further limiting the copyright monopoly. The Constitution thus imposes duties on the copyright owner that require him or her to validate the statutory permission given to intrude upon the public domain for private profit. We find those duties in copyright policies and principles. They are an integral part of copyright law necessary to ensure that copyright entrepreneurs do not change their temporary easement into a fee-simple ownership of the public domain." In "Copyright and 'the Exclusive Right' of Authors," by L. Ray Patterson, University of Georgia School of Law, 1 October 1993, originally published in The Journal of Intellectual Property Law, Vol. 1, no, 1, Fall 1993.
There are those who are essentially lobbying for "fee-simple ownership of the public domain," as attested to by the quote from Jack Valenti above. "When asked how long he thought copyrights should last, Jack Valenti, the lobbyist for Hollywood, quipped, 'Forever, minus a day'.” This points to the imagery that the eighth and all succeeding dwarves are simply greedy. Fee-simple greedy for forever, minus a day.
A Shrovetide Tale - paraphrase of a Wilhelm Busch poem
"O mystery of love! O strange romance! / Among the Peers and Paladins of France, / Shining in steel, and prancing on gay steeds, / Noble by birth, yet nobler by great deeds, / The Princess Emma had no words nor looks / But for this clerk, this man of thought and books." In "Tales Of A Wayside Inn : Part 3. The Student's Tale; Emma and Eginhard," by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (circa 1871).
Soft into bed creeps great Charlemagne
Intent on some sleep, so often in vain.
Saxon Wars had cost him too dear;
His rheumatism had grown more severe.
The night groans long and leg cramps seize,
As Charlemagne writes out his ABCs.
"Ouch, ouch!" The cramps crush again;
The emperor overturns a table; and then
He rings for Old Frederick who runs to his liege.
«Rub these old bones, my pains to besiege! "
Old Frederick observes, "It's rheumatism alright!
It's been snowing most steady throughout this cold night!"
"What?" shouts the emperor, "the devil, you say!"
He approaches Old Fredrick with a look of dismay.
At the window Old Frederick steps then aside;
The emperor gazes at the snowfall outside.
What sees he there, as he stiffens affright?
Emma carries Eginhard through the palest moonlight.
He commands his marshals who watch through the night,
Saying: "Bring me these two, before they take flight!"
The guards collar Eginhard and make their arrest
As he dangles from a halberd, distraught and distressed.
When before the emperor both are then brought,
Charlemagne seems most engrossed with some thought.
They kneel and weep tears mute with remorse;
The emperor's face turns away, but perforce
In tempered and temperate mercy-filled words
He speaks: "Each shall have the other, these two lovebirds."
Roast duck for the feast, a good ending at least!
The sting of the stick and the carrot's sweet scent
Are storytelling types of encouragement
To get along, first for the sake of the stick,
Or second, to look to some coming picnic.
Which would be the best choice to drive
Your donkey and cart that they may best survive
The rigors and brambles and briars and ruts
Along with the scrapes and the nicks and the cuts?
The beat of the stick or the carrot that lures
Are methods to choose, when the clear choice is yours.
But when one clear choice is applied to your hide,
The clarity of said question is too well amplified.
The rigors and brambles and briars and ruts
And all of those scrapes and the nicks and the cuts
Are part of life's race and life's storied pell-mell.
Which urging is chosen and for whom, pray then tell?
The crack of the whip or the lure of reward?
The latter is hoped for. The former's abhorred.
Surely when the donkey turns out to be you,
The choice of the whip you would surely undo.
Precisely - paraphrase of a Wilhelm Busch poem
How dreary is the path of life,
Down which we tend to wander.
One organ makes it pleasant, rife
With thought and much to ponder.
Man's brain is filled with cunning thought,
Chock full with clever dodges;
It knows and grasps just what it ought
And stubborn things dislodges.
With reason, its utility lies
In concealing what it contains,
While a thief peering through the night's disguise
Needs light to crack its window panes.
"I don't play for an audience but for myself. If I enjoy myself, the audience will also enjoy it. I just want to play good music." Sviatoslav Richter (1915-1997)
It's good that I enjoy myself without a worried care
That someone sits to act my judge, and into me should tear
As if they could do what I do or do it quite as well;
But as they sit to hear me do, that's what they do, hear tell.
It's good that I enjoy myself without an outward gaze
To see that one approves of me, as if one could appraise
As if an asset on some shelf that can be bought and sold;
Truth be told, that demanded role I easily would withhold.
It's good that I enjoy myself and lose myself thereby
Such that some art would sweep me up, itself to amplify.
The good is in the doing and not in mirroring me;
Enjoying, I am less than I, quite absentmindedly.
It's good that I enjoy myself to ride on wings of song
Which carry off from place to place with me to tag along.
But who am I, when lost to it, when in it I lose myself?
I am then figment, dream and wisp, a spirit lost, an elf.
It's good that you enjoy some thing that I might have formed;
In such a moment as is that, both hearts are gently warmed.
And if in coming ages when surely into a dream I pass,
Perhaps a good I may have penned will touch some lad or lass.
It's good an audience sees and hears the ineffable as it flies
On soaring phrases, turns and colors deep which temporize
A moment fleeting in a life and lives which touch, then go.
This is enjoyment such as one might better come to know.
It's good; it's good and more than good, this thing
Which is no thing, but unutterable truth to sing
Of such enjoyment by which one loses meager sight
Of self, as the truest of the good takes up its goodly flight.
Envoi: "Music is the one incorporeal entrance into the higher world of knowledge which comprehends mankind but which mankind cannot comprehend." Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)
Islamophobia revisited - a thumbnail sketch of tolerance and inter-religious dialogues
"During the attack, the men reportedly shouted 'Our [holy pilgrimage] will be complete once we have killed you, ripped out your hearts and eaten them, and [then] raped your women.' In continuing the assault, the men also shouted 'We’re going to do Karbala all over again,' referring to an important historical event to Shi’ite Muslims, wherein the grandson of the Prophet, named Imam Husain, was brutally attacked and killed, after he was forced to witness the killing of many of his family members. The survivors of the incident, mostly women and children, were immediately imprisoned in circumstances that resulted in the deaths of some of the prisoners. The Americans fled the tent area, which the Saudi government had specifically designated for American and European pilgrims. During the escape, many of the group, almost entirely U.S. citizens and mostly hailing from Dearborn, Michigan suffered bruises (in one case, due to an attempted strangulation), concussions, broken bones, and black eyes. Victims of the attack reported that nearby police refused to take action, and in some cases were openly laughing at the attack." In "Americans performing Hajj attacked in Saudi Arabia," by Rahat Husain, The American Muslim via Washington Times Communities, 18 October 2013. [ 1 ]
Of the Hajj this very year,
one learns a salient fact;
A hodgepodge group of Muslims
other Muslims just attacked.
Just who fears what
and who hates who
In the circled twists
and the ballyhoo?
Who goes to heaven
and who goes to hell? [ 2 ]
Muslim against Muslim,
so this story goes,
As it has before through
long centuries of woes.
Flee from the attack
of your co-religionists,
For this is the theology
of sharpened knives and fists.
Openly laugh, for
the police have shown the way
That of the fear of Muslims
other Muslims learn this day.
Envoi: "...history is not filled with warring math cults, y'know, because you can settle the issue; you can prove something to be right or wrong, and that's the end of the argument: next case." Tom Quinn
Addendum recalling Karbala from Centuries Past - 680 AD: "The battle itself occurred as a result of Hussein's refusal to accept the Umayyad Yazid ibn Mu'awiya as caliph. The Kufan governor, Ubaydallah ibn Ziyad, sent thousands of horsemen against Imam Hussein as he traveled to Kufa. The horsemen, under 'Umar ibn Sa'd, were ordered to deny Imam Hussein and his followers water in order to force Imam Hussein to agree to give an oath of allegiance. On 9 Muharram, Imam Hussein refused and asked to be given the night to pray. On 10 Muharram, Imam Hussein ibn Ali prayed the morning prayer and led his troops into battle along with his brother Al-Abbas. All of Hussein's followers, including all of his present sons Ali al-Akbar(a.s), Ali al-Asghar(a.s) (a few months old) and his nephews Qassim(a.s), Aun(a.s) and Muhammad(a.s) were martyred." In Wiki article on Karbala.
Addendum on a more recent Karbala episode in 1802 AD: "According to an eye-witnesses account, J.B. Rousseau in his Description du Pachalik du Baghdad Suivie d’une Notice Historique sur les Wahabis (Paris, 1809), the events that transpired were as follows: 'We have recently seen a horrible example of the Wahhabis’ cruel fanaticism in the terrible fate of the mosque of Imam Husayn. Incredible wealth was known to have accumulated in that town. The Persian shahs have, perhaps, never had something like that in their treasury. For centuries, the mosque of Imam Husayn was known to have received donations of silver, gold, jewels, a great amount of rarities…Tamerlane even spared that place. Everybody knew that the most part of the rich spoils that Nadir Shah had brought back from his Indian campaign had been transferred to the mosques of Imam Husayn and Imam Ali together with his own wealth. Now, the enormous wealth that has accumulated in the former has been exciting the Wahhabis’ avidity for some time. They have been continuously dreaming of looting that town [Karbala] and were so sure of success that their creditors fixed the debt payment to the happy day when their hopes would come true. That day came at last…12,000 Wahhabis suddenly attacked the mosque of Imam Husayn; after seizing more spoils than they had ever seized after their greatest victories, they put everything to fire and sword…The elderly, women, and children—everybody died by the barbarians’ sword. Besides, it is said that whenever they saw a pregnant woman, they disemboweled her and left the fetus on the mother’s bleeding corpse. Their cruelty could not be satisfied, they did not cease their murders and blood flowed like water. As a result of the bloody catastrophe, more than 4000 people perished. The Wahhabis carried off their plunder on the backs of 4000 camels. After the plunder and murders they destroyed the Imam’s shrine and converted it into a trench of abomination and blood. They inflicted the greatest damage on the minarets and the domes, believing those structures were made of gold bricks. [Rosseau, Description, pp. 74–75]." In "The Wahhabi Sack of Karbala (1802 A.D.)," Ballandalus.Wordpress, 2 August 2014.
Addendum of the citizens of Karbala heedless of the Threat: "In the year 1216 Hijri (1802), the Wahhabis attacked Karbala and murdered many people in cold blood. They also tried to attack Najaf, but the citizens of Najaf were aware of the potential attack. Therefore they were more prepared for it and therefore the Wahhabis could not do anything serious there. However, the citizens of Karbala were heedless of the threat. During that time (year 1216 Hijri) the head of Karbala was the author of al-Riyadh (Syed Ali Tabatabaee -who passed away in the year 1231 Hijri) and Kashif al-Ghita was the head in Najaf. They (the Wahhabis) murdered in cold blood..." In "Syed Ali Tabatabaee and the Attack of Wahhabis on Karbala," by Aal e Imran, Iqra Online, 18 February 2014.
Lashing in Saudi Arabia
Addendum of the Growing Misperception: "With regard to Islamophobic trends in Europe, various reports and polls have revealed growing misperception vis-à-vis Islam and Muslims. Among the most common and recurring of these are the ideas that Muslims are inclined to violence including revenge and retaliation; that Islam is an inherently expansionist religion, which strives for political influence, and whose followers are obsessed with proselytizing others, and more generally that Islam deprives women of their rights and encourages religious fanaticism and radicalism. According to the same polls, only a minor portion of the public tends to see Islam in a more positive light, as being a religion of peace that preaches love for neighbors, charity, openness and tolerance." In "Sixth OIC Observatory Report on Islamophobia," October 2012 – September 2013 [ 3 ]
Addendum of Love for Neighbors: "Taliban insurgents cut the index fingers off 11 Afghans who participated in this weekend's presidential run-off poll, officials say. The incident, a punishment for voting, occurred in western Herat province, police spokesman Raoud Ahamdi said." In "Afghan election: Taliban 'removed voters' fingers'," BBC, 15 June 2014.
Addendum of Taliban Losing to a more vicious Islamic State: " 'They are more vicious than the Taliban, than any group we have seen.' At war for more than three decades, Afghans are familiar with violence perpetrated by a raft of armies and militias. But even by their jaded standards, the emergence here of the Islamic State — the extremist organization that arose in the Middle East — has ushered in a new age of brutality." In "The Islamic State is making these Afghans long for the Taliban," by Sudarsan Raghavan, Washington Post, 13 October 2015.
Another Addendum of Love for Neighbors: "...Shiite residents who fled said the Sunni insurgents had expelled thousands of them from the majority-Sunni province, helped by local Sunnis in neighboring villages. 'You cannot imagine what happened, only if you saw it could you believe it,' said Hassan Ali, a 52-year-old farmer siting in the al-Zahra Shiite mosque, used to distribute aid in the northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk, where the displaced had fled, some 50 miles (80 kilometers) away. 'They hit us with mortars and mortars, and the families fled, and they kept hitting us. It was completely sectarian. The Shiites, out,' he said." In "Iraqi Shiites say insurgents and neighbors expel them from their homes in Sunni province," Associated Press, 22 June 2014.
Taliban in Pakistan testifying toe "a religion of peace that preaches love for neighbors, charity, openness and tolerance."
Addendum of Tolerance: "Militants in Iraq targeted Christians in three separate Christmas Day bombings in Baghdad, killing at least 37 people, officials said Wednesday. The Christmas Day attacks brought the total number of people killed so far this month in Iraq to 441. According to United Nations estimates, more than 8,000 people have been killed since the start of the year." In "Christmas Day bombings in Iraq's capital kill 37," by Sinan Salaheddin, Associated Press, 25 December 2013.
Addendum of Charity and Openness: "...the Syrian conflict and other 'Arab uprising' environments have once again reanimated this monstrous corpse. Its malignancy has been the single biggest contributor in saving the Syrian dictatorship from what had appeared to be a looming defeat. And al-Qaeda in Iraq has also made a huge comeback in the context of the Syrian conflict, with the so-called 'Islamic State of Iraq' killing an average of almost 1,000 Iraqis per month in the last quarter of 2013." In "The monster that won't die," by Hussein Ibish, NOW, 24 December 2013.
Insurgents in Fallujah, Iraq
Addendum in a Positive Light: "An estimated two million people died in the war between the mainly Muslim north and the south, where most people are Christian or follow traditional religions." In "South Sudan leader Kiir urges forgiveness for civil war," BBC, 16 January 2011.
Addendum of the Prevailing Narrative: " 'Beginning with the Iran-Iraq War and continuing to the present day, more and more casualties are inflicted by Muslims against Muslims,' said P.J. Crowley, a former spokesman for ex-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and now a professor at George Washington University. 'The prevailing narrative in the region remains the faithful waging war against crusaders, but that is not the reality.' The data offers some support for this view, with roughly half of the deaths in the NBC analysis attributable to internecine conflict, a trend that has increased in recent years." In "How millions of violent Muslim deaths feed the cycle of terrorism," by Robert Windrem and Richard Engel," NBC News, 21 October 2013. [ 4 ]
Sunni jihadists target Shia President of Syria
"It is therefore essential to draw a line between free speech and hate speech...."
Addendum after Some Addendums: "Let us now focus on the word respectful. An open and constructive debate of ideas is indeed useful. It must be upheld as a matter of freedom of opinion and expression. It, however, transforms into a case of incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence when the freedom is abused to denigrate symbols and personalities sacred to one or the other religion. It needs to be understood as a matter of identity. It needs to be acknowledged that people in some parts of the world tend to identify themselves more with a particular religion than elsewhere. It is, therefore, essential to draw a line between free speech and hate speech...." In "Sixth OIC Observatory Report on Islamophobia," October 2012 – September 2013.
Addendum of Tolerance and Reform: "Rights groups agree, accusing Saudi authorities of targeting activists through the courts and travel bans. Many were outraged when two of the country's most prominent reform advocates, Mohammed Al-Qahtani and Abdullah Al-Hamid, were recently sentenced to 10 years in prison apiece. Amnesty International called that trial 'just one of a troubling string of court cases aimed at silencing the kingdom's human-rights activists. Here's the thing,' Abualkhair said. 'The government of Saudi Arabia, they want to show themselves outside Saudi Arabia that they are modern, that they are open-minded, that they want to change, they want to reform, that the problem is coming from the society, and that the society moves slowly. They keep saying that for the foreign media. But actually inside, when we act with our society, when we want to reform, when we want to do something with our society, they keep punishing us.' CNN has made several attempts to reach Saudi Arabia's Justice and Interior ministries for comment but received no response." In "Family pleads for jailed Saudi blogger," by Mohammed Jamjoom, CNN, 5 April 2013. [ 5 ]
Saudi execution of a Muslim
Addendum of the Saudi Standards for an Inter-religious Dialogue: "Saudi Arabia's deputy foreign minister, Prince Abdulaziz bin Abdullah, last year hailed an agreement to establish a centre for inter-religious dialogue in Vienna, stating it would 'work for establishing peace and justice and prevent misuse of religion for oppression and violence.' King Abdullah himself sponsored a conference for religious dialogue in Madrid attended by representatives of seven major world religions. Quoting a Qur'anic verse, the king told the delegates: 'God's will, praise be to Him, was that people should differ in their faiths. If the Almighty had so desired, all mankind would have shared the same religion.' These are noble ideas, but judging from the treatment of the Saudi activist and blogger Raif Badawi, the king's stated goal of religious tolerance applies only to those outside the kingdom's borders. On July 29, a Saudi court convicted Badawi of insulting Islam, saying he had founded a 'liberal' website and had insulted religion and religious authorities in television interviews. He was sentenced to 600 lashes and seven years in prison. Though Badawi has the opportunity to appeal, there is little hope that authorities will drop the verdict." In "Saudi Arabia backs religious tolerance - except at home," Human Rights Watch, 1 August 2013. [ 6 ]
Flogging in Saudi Arabia - circa 2012
Addendum on Inter-religious Dialogue in Malaysia: "Malaysia is clamping down on Shi'ism, the second branch of Islamic orthodoxy, in a move that appears to have both religious and political overtones. The nationwide crackdown began last month with the ban of local Shi'ite group Pertubuhan Syiah Malaysia. The same month, state governments gazetted a 1996 fatwa issued by the National Fatwa Council that declared Shi'ism deviant and therefore haram or impermissible." In "Malaysia cracking down on Shi'ism - Govt's move appears to have both religious and political overtones," The Straits Times, 8 August 2013.
Addendum on Inter-religious Dialogue with the Baha'i: "The murder of a well-known Baha’i on Saturday in the southern Iranian city of Bandar Abbas should be treated as a hate crime and must be investigated immediately, said the Baha’i International Community today. 'There is little doubt that the killing of Mr. Ataollah Rezvani was motivated by religious prejudice,' said Bani Dugal, the principal representative of the Baha’i International Community to the United Nations. “Therefore, it is essential that the government at the highest levels investigate this without delay under its international obligations. 'In recent years, clerics and the authorities in Iran have sought to create an atmosphere of anti-Baha’i hatred, using the pulpit and state-sponsored media'." In Baha’i International Community statement, 29 August 2013. [ 7 ]
Addendum on Inter-religious Dialogue between Sunni and Shia Muslims: "An Iranian court has sentenced 17 Iranian Sunnis, including religious scholars, to death because of their religious beliefs, leading a rights group to launch a campaign to save them. The condemned have been awaiting execution in Tehran's Gohardasht Prison, also known as Rajai Shahr, west of Tehran since early June. The Sunni prisoners have been convicted of 'acting against national security,' and 'moharebeh' (enmity against God), which is punishable by death in Iran. The prisoners are said to have confessed to these crimes under torture, according to information from the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran. The human rights organization says that Iranian Sunnis face grave religious discrimination in the country." In "Iranian Sunnis to be executed for their religious beliefs," Today's Zaman, 23 August 2013. [ 8 ]
Public hanging of Muslims in modern Iran
Addendum on Tolerance in Somali: "Authorities blamed al-Shabab, Somalia's al-Qaida-linked terror group, who have vowed to carry out terror attacks to avenge the Kenyan military presence in Somali. Along with its Somali fighters, the group also has many Kenyan adherents. Like the gunmen who attacked Nairobi's Westgate Mall last year, the Mpeketoni attackers gave life-or-death religious tests, a witness said, killing those who were not Muslim. 'They came to our house at around 8 p.m. and asked us in Swahili whether we were Muslims. My husband told them we were Christians and they shot him in the head and chest,' said Anne Gathigi." In "48 Kenyans dead: Witness: Gunmen spared Muslims," by Tom Odula, AP, 16 June 2014.
Addendum on a Tolerant Inter-religious Dialogue between Muslims and Christians: "An Iranian Christian convert has been sentenced to 10 years in prison for distributing Bibles in his home country, the Vatican missionary news agency Fides reported on Wednesday. Mohammad-Hadi Bordhar was arrested in Iran in December and reportedly said he wanted to 'evangelise by handing out 12,000 pocket bibles'. He was accused of 'crimes against state security'." In "Mohammad-Hadi Bordhar arrested for Bible distribution in Iran," Huffington Post, 21 August 2013.
Public lashing in Iran - 2007
Addendum on Parallel Developments in Human Rights with the European Union and United Nations Human Rights Standards: Brunei plans to implement a tough new sharia criminal code next year that could see citizens stoned for adultery or having a limb amputated for theft. Those convicted of drinking alcohol or committing other violations – such as abortion – could be flogged. Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah – who is thought to be worth about $20bn (£12.3bn) and exercises tight control over the Muslim-majority country – described the legislation as 'part of the great history of our nation' and a form of 'special guidance' from God." In "Oil-rich sultanate plans a new Islamic criminal code with punishments including stoning, flogging and amputation," Guardian UK, 22 October 2013. [ 9 ]
ISIS execution - 2014
A Revisit to the OIC Report for Perspective: "The first year of my tenure as Secretary General of the OIC in 2005 coincided with the worldwide provocation caused by the publication of the nefarious caricatures of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) by a Danish cartoonist in the Jyllands-Posten newspaper on September 30, 2005. This irresponsible act of abusing freedom of expression by a single individual that was among the first of many that were to follow in humiliating and negatively stereotyping Muslims, effectively contributed towards developing a culture of intolerance of Islam and Muslims in the West. The perpetrators of Islamophobia, who seek to propagate irrational fear and intolerance of Islam, have time and again aroused unwarranted tension, suspicion and unrest in societies by slandering the Islamic faith through gross distortions and misrepresentations and by encroaching on and denigrating the religious sentiments of Muslims." In "FOREWORD by the OIC Secretary General," Sixth OIC Observatory Report on Islamphobia," October 2012 – September 2013. [ 10 ]
Hanging of Mahmoud Asgari and Ayaz Marhoni - 2005
Addendum on Afghani Human Rights Islamophobia: "Sima Samar, chair of the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC), told Reuters in a telephone interview that the brutality of attacks on women had greatly intensified. 'The brutality of the cases is really bad. Cutting the nose, lips and ears. Committing public rape,' she said. 'Mass rape... It's against dignity, against humanity.' She attributed the increase in crime to a culture of impunity and the imminent departure of international troops and aid workers, leaving women more exposed to attack. In addition, more cases were reported as women became aware of their rights," In "Violence against Afghan women more frequent, brutal in 2013: official," by Jessica Donati, Reuters, 4 January 2014.
Taliban execution of Zarmeena in Kabu - 1999
Addendum on the Shia-Sunni Saga: "Bahrain presents a particularly interesting stage for the Shia-Sunni saga. The tiny kingdom's population has a Shia majority, but is ruled by a Sunni dynasty. When anti-regime protests broke out last spring, the Bahraini king recruited military assistance from neighboring Saudi Arabia (a Sunni power) to help stamp out the rebellion. Meanwhile, Shia-dominated Iran bitterly criticized the Saudi intervention in Bahrain. In turn, the Saudis openly accused Teheran of fomenting the unrest in Bahrain. Saudi Arabia has its own problems with its restless Shia minority who dominate the oil-rich eastern corridor of the kingdom. Saudi officials have responded to sporadic demonstrations with brutal, decisive force – and, again, have explicitly blamed Iran for stirring up the trouble." In "Shia-Sunni: A Deadly Ancient Schism in the Islamic World," by Palash Ghosh, International Business Times, 9 January 2012. [ 11 ]
Sunni Muslim jihadists targeting Shia Muslims in Iraq - 2014
Addendum on Compatibility with Pakistani National Laws: "Pakistan's top religious body has declared the prohibition of child marriage incompatible with Islam and demanded that the government amend its laws, prompting outrage from human rights activists. The Council of Islamic Ideology (CII), which was formed in 1962 to advise parliament on the compatibility of laws with Sharia, also ruled that a man does not need permission from his wife if he wants to marry another woman. Tahir Ashrafi, a member of the body told AFP on Wednesday that Pakistan's Prohibition of Child Marriages Act, which stipulates the age of marriage at 16 for women and 18 for men, was not in accordance with Islamic teachings. 'There is no specific age limit for marriage in Sharia,' he said. 'Sharia says an individual can marry when he or she reaches puberty and puberty cannot be defined by age,' adding: 'Family members can marry a child if they think he or she has reached puberty.' He added that the Muslim Family Laws Ordinance, which requires a wife to give her consent before her husband takes a second spouse, was also illegitimate. 'Islam allows to marry four women so there is no question of asking the consent of first wife if a man wants to marry a second time,' he said." In "Pakistan clerics declare ban on child marriage un-Islamic," Agence France-Presse via GulfToday, 12 March 2014.
Addendum on The Exclusionary Logic of Imperial Geopolitics: "The idea of Islamophobia conveys the sense of a distinctive form of racism and bigotry targeted specifically at members of Muslim communities, reinforced by negative stereotypes about Islam. In 1997, the Runnymede Trust offered its seminal definition of Islamophobia as a set of attitudes: Islam is perceived as a static, unchanging monolithic block; it is separate and 'other'; it lacks values in common with other culture; is inferior to the West; and is irrational, primitive, sexist, violent, aggressive, and supportive of terrorism. Hostility towards Islam is used to justify discriminatory practices against Muslims and the exclusion of Muslims from mainstream society, such that anti-Muslim hostility becomes normalised. In 2004, the Council of Europe defined Islamophobia as 'the fear of or prejudiced viewpoint towards Islam, Muslims and matters pertaining to them. Whether it takes the shape of daily forms of racism and discrimination or more violent forms, Islamophobia is a violation of human rights and a threat to social cohesion.' However, as Maussen points out, there are important theoretical reservations for the use of the catch-all term Islamophobia to encompass so many diverse phenomena. Primarily, the term 'groups together all kinds of different forms of discourse, speech and acts, by suggesting that they all emanate from an identical ideological core, which is a 'fear' or a 'phobia' of Islam.' This amounts to a form of ideological reductionism which, however, fails to offer any further or deeper explanation of why this irrational fear of Islam has come about, and how it refracts through myriad different social structures into such a wide array of different exclusionary behaviours and processes. Thus, Maussen notes that while 'these different kinds of discourse and speech' – such as negative media portrayals of Muslims, legislation impacting primarily or inordinately on Muslims, and sporadic acts of public violence against Muslims -- may well be 'related and feed into one another, but we cannot simply equate them all and treat them as comparable illustrations of a core ideology named 'Islamophobia.' There is therefore a need to 'distinguish speech and discourse on the one hand, from acts on the other hand.' While discourse and speech may be demeaning, it should not be conflated with 'policies which limit the religious freedoms of Muslims, or with acts of violence, such as burning mosques or attacking Muslim girls who wear the headscarf'." In "Islamophobia and Insecurity, The Exclusionary Logic of Imperial Geopolitics," by Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmed, in Abdelwahab El Affendi Osman (ed.), Killer Narratives: The Destructive Impact of Collective Nightmares", n.d. [ 12 ]
Sunnis target Shia and Kurds in Iraq - 2014
Addendum on Non-phobic Rational Fear: "The latest edition of al Qaeda‘s English-language online magazine urges its readers to attack the United States with car bombs and includes a photo of Times Square. The terrorist organization’s magazine, Inspire, specifically mentions New York, Los Angeles, Washington and Chicago as preferred targets, WCBS 880′s Rich Lamb reported. NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton said Wednesday the website calls for its readers to act as 'lone wolf' terrorists." In "Al Qaeda Magazine Calls For Car Bombings In U.S., Specifically In NYC," CBS News, 19 March 2014.
Another Addendum on a Non-phobic Rational Fear: "Amine Gemayel, the former President of Lebanon, warned on Thursday that the Arab world is experiencing a 'crisis of religious pluralism' driven by 'the rise of religious extremists,' which threatens 'any community which does not constitute the majority' – including Druze, Shiite Muslims, Alawites, Baha'is, and 'Sunni Muslims living in Shiite-dominated areas.' Speaking last night at a Christian Solidarity International (CSI) event, Gemayel paid particular attention to the plight of Middle Eastern Christians, who he said are fleeing the region 'in an exodus approaching biblical proportions.' Gemayel cited 'church burnings, physical assaults and killings' in Egypt, 'an onslaught of murder' in Iraq and 'a bloody-minded reign of terror' from 'ultra-radical Islamists in regions of Syria where they have imposed their rule'." In "Former Lebanese President Warns of "Crisis of Pluralism" in Middle East," by Joel Veldkamp, PR Newswire, 14 March 2014.
Caning in Mali
Yet Another Addendum on a Non-phobic Rational Fear: "When I met Westergaard before this latest attack, there was a touch of melancholy in his eyes – but also anger and defiance. 'I do not see myself as a particularly brave man,' he said then. 'If the country was occupied, I don't think I would be running around doing sabotage; I would probably be sitting somewhere doing my drawings. But in this situation I got angry. It is not right that you are threatened in your own country just for doing your job. That's an absurdity that I have actually benefited from, because it grants me a certain defiance and stubbornness. I won't stand for it. And that really reduces the fear a great deal'." In "The Danish cartoonist who survived an axe attack," by Marie Louise Sjølie, Guardian UK, 4 January 2014.
Addendum for the Family of a Pakistani Polio Worker: "A lady health worker was found dead in Koh-e-Daman village in the jurisdiction of Daudzai police station on Monday, Express News reported. She was kidnapped from her house in Guluzai village in the jurisdiction area of Chamkani police station on the night of March 23. The body of the worker, identified as Salma Farooq, bore torture marks as well. Earlier today, police had said that around eight armed men had entered the house of Farooq, held the family hostage at gunpoint and took the woman away with them. Chamkani is a village located on the outskirts of Peshawar." In "Polio worker kidnapped from Chamkani found dead," The Express Tribune, Pakistan, 24 March 2014.
Flogging in Pakistan
Addendum of yet Another: "They both claimed that they were 'soldiers of Allah' and were motivated by the plight of Muslims abroad to carry out the killing, and have shown no remorse." In "The final insult: Court terror for Lee Rigby's family as his Muslim killers are dragged from dock shouting 'Allahu akbar' while fighting prison guards - before judge tells them life will NOT mean life," by Martin Robinson and Mark Duell and Chris Greenwood, Daily Mail UK, 26 February 2014. [ 13 ]
Convicted Muslim murderer of Lee Rigby - 2014
Addendum of Schoolgirls who might Experience Islamophobia: "Islamic extremists have been abducting girls to use as cooks and sex slaves. Insurgents from the Boko Haram terrorist network are blamed for attacks that have killed more than 1,500 people this year alone. The group — whose name means 'Western education is forbidden' — has targeted schools, mosques, churches, villages and agricultural centers in increasingly indiscriminate attacks. They have also made daring raids on military barracks and bases." In "Islamists kidnap 100 schoolgirls who face living hell as sex slaves," by Associated Press, 15 April 2014.
Nigerian protests against Boko Haram, which threatens to sell girls "by Allah."
Addendum of a Claim of Islamic Law: "Police say a valley man threatened to kill his wife, telling his victim 'Islamic Law' gave him the right to kill her. Ansar Muhammad, 43, is facing several charges, including assault and imprisonment. According to the police report, on April 26, Muhammad sexually assaulted the victim, held her against her will while threatening to kill her, punched and strangulated her, causing physical injuries at their home near 112th Avenue and Encanto Boulevard." In "Man allegedly claims Islamic Law gives him to right to kill wife," by Kim Schriner, FOX 10 News, 28 April 2014.
Addendum of Brutality "disavowed even by al-Qaeda": "The jihadist Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) announced it had executed seven prisoners in its bastion in north-eastern Syria yesterday, two of them by crucifixion. ISIL, which has been disavowed even by al-Qaeda, said it held the seven responsible for a grenade attack on one of its fighters earlier this month in the Euphrates Valley city of Raqa, which it rules with an iron fist." In "Jihadists execute 7 in Syria, 2 by crucifixion," Agence France Presse, 30 April 2014. [ 14 ]
Syrians crucified by ISIS 2014
Addendum of Islamist Slavers: "Nigeria's Islamic extremist leader threatened in a videotaped statement seen on Monday to sell the more than 200 teenage schoolgirls abducted from a school in the remote northeast of the country three weeks ago. Abubakar Shekau for the first time also claimed responsibility for the April 15 mass abduction, in a video reviewed by The Associated Press. 'I abducted your girls,' said the leader of Boko Haram, which means 'Western education is sinful.' 'By Allah, I will sell them in the marketplace,' he said in the hour-long video that starts with fighters lofting automatic rifles and shooting in the air as they chant 'Allahu akbar!' or 'God is great'." In "276 kidnapped Nigerian schoolgirls will be sold, militants threaten," CBS News, 5 May 2014. [ 15 ]
The sign reads "Boko Haram is not Islam," but Boko Haram says it is following Islam, Which party is correct and which party is Islamophobic?
Addendum of Retaliation: "...rebels Iraqis were able to arrest the Kurdish judge Rauf Rashid, who issued a death sentence against the former Iraqi leader, which is currently in the “grip of the soldiers of the Islamic State and the men of the Baath Party'." In "Iraqi rebels: the execution of Saddam Hussein judge," Al-Mesyroon, 18 June 2014.
Addendum via an American Television Comic: "Right. So, you know, that's not a good thing. So, she was going to speak at Brandeis, but she called Islam the new fascism, so they said she could not speak. And they said she is Islamophobic, who my friend Sam Harris reminded me today our deceased friend Christopher Hitchens said Islamophobic is a word created by fascists, and used by cowards, to manipulate morons. Because to be phobic means to be scared of something that you're not usually scared of, like the great outdoors. But to be phobic about honor killings, about throwing acid in girls' faces, or marrying them off when they are eight-years-old." Quote of Bill Maher, in HBO's "Real Time with Bill Maher," May 9, 2014.
Addendum of Offend-a-phobia: "In Hollywood, attacking Christianity or Judaism is cool. But all those 'brave' filmmakers are terrified of offending Islamist activists. Instead of films about al Qaeda’s atrocities, we get movies that trash our military for 'crimes' against the terrorists. How can our elites ignore the immeasurable suffering inflicted on Muslims in the name of Islam? Al Qaeda and its franchises have slaughtered far more Muslims than they have Westerners. Don’t those victims count?" In "Stop making excuses for Islamist extremist monsters," by Ralph Peters, New York Post, 10 May 2014. [ 16 ]
Victims of chemical attack by Baathist Iraq in Hallubjah
Addendum of Possible Islamophobia in the Saudi Gazette: "I am writing with regard to the article 'What makes Dubai unique?' (May 13) by Dr. Khaled Batarfi. It is a very interesting article and I was happy and saddened at the same time after reading it. I was happy because Dubai has been able to realize and accomplish what others are still dreaming about. However, I was saddened because so many cities have had the same opportunity but have destroyed themselves instead. This is what happened to Aden, Cairo and Beirut before. And now we see Tripoli, Damascus and Karachi being destroyed by their own people. I wonder when Muslims will learn to build rather than destroy?" In "When will Muslims learn to built rather than destroy?" by Faiz Al-Najdi, Online response, Saudi Gazette, 15 May 2014.
Islamist "selfie" -- ISIL 2014
Addendum of Justifiable Islamophobia by a Sudanese Woman: "A pregnant Sudanese woman who married a Christian man was sentenced to death Thursday after she refused to recant her Christian faith, her lawyer said. Meriam Ibrahim, whose father was Muslim but mother was an Orthodox Christian from Ethiopia, was convicted of 'apostasy' on Sunday and given four days to repent and escape death, lawyer Al-Shareef Ali al-Shareef Mohammed said. The 26 year old, who is eight months pregnant, was sentenced after that grace period expired, Mohammed said." In "Sudanese woman sentenced to death for apostasy," by Mohammed Saeed and Hamza Hendawi, Associated Press, 15 May 2014.
Addendum of an apparent 9th century Islamophobe: "Most prominent among those scholars was Abu Bakr al-Razi (865-925 CE) who believed in the supreme importance of reason. He argued that the mind had an innate capacity to distinguish between good and evil, and between what was useful and what was harmful. According to him, the mind did not need any guidance from outside it, and for this reason the presence of prophets was redundant and superfluous. Al-Razi directed his most vehement attack against the holy books in general, including the Qur'an, because he saw them as illogical and self-contradictory. He also believed that all human beings were equal in their intellectual capacities as they were in all other things. It made no sense therefore that God should single out one individual from among them in order to reveal to him his divine wisdom and assign him the task of guiding other human beings. Furthermore, he found that prophets' pronouncements and stories often contradicted those of other prophets. If their source was divine revelation as is claimed, their views would have been identical. The idea of a divinely-appointed mediator was therefore a myth." In "When Islamic atheism thrived," by Amira Nowaira, Guardian UK, 10 May 2010.
Addendum of Some Arab Scholars: "From their school days onwards, Arabs are instructed that they should not defy tradition, that they should respect authority, that truth should be sought in the text and not in experience. Fear of fawda (chaos) and fitna (schism) are deeply engrained in much Arab-Islamic teaching. 'The role of thought', wrote a Syrian intellectual 'is to explain and transmit...and not to search and question.' Such tenets never held back the great Arab astronomers and mathematicians of the Middle Ages. But now, it seems, they hold sway, discouraging critical thought and innovation and helping to produce a great army of young Arabs, jobless, unskilled and embittered, cut off from changing their own societies by democratic means. Islam at least offers them a little self-respect. With so many paths closed to them, some are now turning their dangerous anger on the western world." In "Self-doomed to failure, An unsparing new report by Arab scholars explains why their region lags behind so much of the world," Economist, 4 July 2002. [ 17 ]
Iraqi Sunni Child - 2014
Addendum of Murderous Jihad in Belgium: "A French former jihadist volunteer in Syria has been arrested over last week’s deadly shooting at the Jewish Museum in Brussels. Police found a Kalashnikov rifle and a handgun similar to the ones used in the attack in the bag of Mehdi Nemmouche, a 29-year-old French citizen, when he stepped off a bus in Marseille on Friday after an overnight trip from Brussels. Investigators also found a memory stick containing a video in which a person claims to have carried out the attack, displays weapons similar to those used and unfurls a sheet of cloth with the words Islamic State of Iraq and Syria written on it, the Paris prosecutor said." In "French police arrest Syria Jihadist over Brussels Jewish Museum murders," by Rory Mulholland, Telegraph UK, 1 June 2014.
Addendum of 150,000 Islamophobes Fleeing Fellow Muslims: "More than 150,000 people have been forced to flee Iraq's second city of Mosul after Islamist militants effectively took control of it. Troops were among those fleeing as hundreds of jihadists from the ISIS group overran it and much of the surrounding province of Nineveh." In "Iraq crisis: Islamists force 150,000 to flee Mosul," BBC, 10 June 2014. [ 18 ]
"Freedom of expression is Western terrorism"
Addendum of the OIC and its Co-chairpersons: "In what can rightly be described as a seminal step in relations between the Muslim world and the Western world, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and the leading nations of the Western world led by the United States and the European Union agreed Saturday to take concrete steps to combat intolerance, negative stereotyping and discrimination, incitement to violence, and violence against persons based on religion or belief. The high-level meeting was held at the historic Yildiz Palace in Istanbul. It was attended by EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs Cathrine [ sic ] Ashton along with foreign ministers and officials from France, Germany, Britain, Italy, Japan, Australia, Belgium, Canada, Poland, Romania, Denmark, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Pakistan, Senegal, Sudan, the Vatican, UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Arab League and African Union. The meeting was co-chaired by OIC Secretary-General Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton." In "OIC, West pledge to combat intolerance," by Siraj Wahab, Arab News, 16 July 2011. [ 19 ]
Co-chairpersons Hillary Clinton and Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu at the Istanbul Process Conference of the OIC
Addendum of a Different Perspective on the OIC: " 'The OIC invented the anti-'Islamophobia' movement,' says Zuhdi Jasser, president of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy and a frequent target of the honor brigade. 'These countries . . . think they own the Muslim community and all interpretations of Islam'. ... ...attempts at censorship have become more common. This is largely because of the rising power and influence of the 'ghairat brigade,' an honor corps that tries to silence debate on extremist ideology in order to protect the image of Islam. It meets even sound critiques with hideous, disproportionate responses. The campaign began, at least in its modern form, 10 years ago in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, when the Organization of Islamic Cooperation — a mini-United Nations comprising the world’s 56 countries with large Muslim populations, plus the Palestinian Authority — tasked then-Secretary General Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu with combating Islamophobia and projecting the 'true values of Islam.' During the past decade, a loose honor brigade has sprung up, in part funded and supported by the OIC through annual conferences, reports and communiques. It’s made up of politicians, diplomats, writers, academics, bloggers and activists. " In "Meet the honor brigade, an organized campaign to silence debate on Islam," by Asra Q. Nomani, Washington Post, 18 January 2015.
Addendum of a "Seminal and Probably Islamophobic Step in Relations between the Muslim World and the Western World": "France said it had deported on Thursday an Algerian national suspected of recruiting young French Muslims to join the Syrian civil war, the first such case since Paris unveiled a raft of policies to stop its citizens from becoming radicalized. ...'The anti-jihadist plan ... foresees deporting immediately any foreign national implicated in jihadist networks,' Cazeneuve said. 'These measures will be implemented with their full force'.'" In "France deports Algerian suspected of recruiting for Syria jihad," Reuters Paris, 1 May 2014. [ 20 ]
Addendum of Islamophobia by Germany: "Officials of both the federal and state governments have already been compiling blacklists of Islamic fundamentalists for weeks. In what officials derisively refer to as '"Project Cleanup,' Germany's state interior ministers intend to address all of the troublesome cases with which they, as an official in the Interior Ministry of the state of North Rhine-Westphalia says, 'have been burdened since Sept. 11, 2001.' They include suspected terrorists such as the defendants in the Düsseldorf Tawhid trial, Afghan Islamic fundamentalists the Germans would like to see sent home, and smugglers and imams such as Salem Al-Rafei, who preaches at Berlin's Al-Nur mosque. 'Those who reject Western society and believe it to be ruled by the devil,' says Ehrhart Körting, a member of the Social Democratic Party (SPD) and a senator in Berlin's interior ministry, 'should leave this country'." In "Islamic Fundamentalism: Germany's 'Project Cleanup' Could Deport Hundreds of Radical Muslims," by Markus Deggerich and Holger Stark, Spiegel, 24 January 2005. [ 21 ]
Addendum of Islamophobia by the Netherlands: "In consultation with Home Affairs Minister Johan Remkes, Verdonk has decided to withdraw the residence permits of two radical imams because 'they posed a threat to public order and/or national security'. This has never before happened in the Netherlands. She is also rejecting the third imam's application to have his residence permit prolonged. The three imams are from Kenya, Bosnia and another country that Verdonk did not disclose. According to the secret service AIVD, the three imams are calling upon Muslims to isolate themselves from Dutch society. 'They have also allowed the recruitment for the Jihad (armed struggle against non-Muslims) to take place within their mosques. In the Al Fourqaan mosque, the imams promoted Salafism, a highly anti-Western movement within the Islam'." In "Minister Verdonk Deports Three Radical Imams," NISNews, 23 February 2005.
Addendum of Islamophobia and Racism by Italy: "Deported Senegalese Imam Mamour Fall has accused the Italian government of racism. The controversial cleric, who lived in Italy for 11 years, told the BBC he felt victimised for being an African. The Italian Interior Ministry deported Imam Fall for supporting Osama Bin Laden after he predicted more attacks on Italians in Iraq and Afghanistan. Nineteen Italian soldiers died in a southern Iraq bomb attack, sparking a crackdown on Muslim militants in Italy. The 39-year-old imam said Italy's troops would be targeted because they were aiding the US-led coalition, adding that further strikes would then follow on Italian soil." In "Italy racist says deported imam," BBC, 24 November 2003.
Addendum of Islamophobia in Great Britain: "The radical Islamist preacher Abu Qatada was arrested today and will be deported from the UK to Jordan, Sky News reported, citing sources. Qatada, who was once described by a judge as 'Osama bin Laden's right-hand man in Europe', was released from a prison in central England under strict bail conditions earlier this year after six and a half years in custody." In "Radical imam Abu Qatada arrested at home in UK, facing deportation," Sky News, 17 April 2012. [ 22 ]
Addendum of Islamophobia in the United States: "A Muslim leader from Ohio who was convicted of lying about his involvement with a group the U.S. government designated a terrorist organization has been deported to his native Palestinian territories, immigration authorities said yesterday. Fawaz Damra, 46, was convicted in June 2004 of concealing his ties to Palestinian Islamic Jihad when he applied for U.S. citizenship in 1994. Damra, who served as an imam at Ohio’s largest mosque, the Islamic Center of Cleveland, was deported Thursday, said Tim Counts, spokesman for the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). He was flown to Amman, Jordan, then crossed to the West Bank." In "Ohio imam deported for lying in probe," Washington Times, 5 January 2007.
Addendum of Islamophobia in Kenya: "A Kenyan official says a radical Muslim cleric who once served four years in a British prison for inciting murder and stirring racial hatred has been deported to the West African nation of Gambia. The government official says Sheik Abdullah el-Faisal was deported Thursday morning on a Kenya Airways flight to Nigeria, where he will take a connecting flight to Banjul, Gambia." In "Radical cleric deported from Kenya to Gambia," AP, 7 January 2010.
Addendum of Islamophobia in Egypt: "The Interior Ministry has expelled Imam of Al-Khureinaj Mosque in Farwaniya Sayyed Farraj and ordered sending him to Sudan as per his request; while his children will return to their country in Egypt after they finish their high school exams within two weeks. ...the ministry explained the decision was taken after the Imam’s Friday sermon in which he mentioned issues concerning Egypt’s politics - an act prohibited as per the Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs laws and regulations. It has been reported the Imam criticized Egypt’s presidential election." In " 'Deviating' preacher deported to Sudan," Arab Times, 16 June 2014.
Addendum of Yet More Islamophobia in Egypt: "Ahmed Karimeh, a professor of Sharia at Al-Azhar University, told Al-Monitor that legal teachings and conventions specify that Friday, Eid and main prayers must be conducted in a mosque, and not in a neighborhood place of worship. The five daily prayers can be held at these informal sites, but not the special celebration prayers. In that sense, the Egyptian Ministry of Religious Endowments upheld a recognized religious law. Karimeh explained that closing those neighborhood places of worship, located in apartment buildings, commercial buildings or factories, would help mitigate the influence of extremist religious orators such as those affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood, Salafist groups or Shiites, who use those places of worship to take advantage of religious gatherings. As such, the Ministry of Religious Endowments’ decision, while late, was the correct one." In "Egypt closes 27,000 places of worship," by Rami Galal, Al Monitor, 3 March 2015.
Addendum of Islamophobia in Kuwait: "Kuwait this month decided to deport a group of Egyptians for holding a pro-Al Sisi rally near a polling station where fellow countrymen were casting ballots to choose their president. Under Kuwait laws, foreigners cannot take part in political rallies. The authorities are also deporting a group of Syrians for causing heavy damages at a local hospital following a brawl between friends and relatives of two men. The fight was started in another location, but the relatives continued it at the hospital where one of the 'fighters' was being treated." In "Kuwait to deport Egyptian imam," by Habib Toumi, Gulf News, 31 May 2014.
Addendum of Islamophobia in Australia: "A Muslim cleric living in Australia on a religious visa believed he didn't do anything wrong by 'marrying' a 12-year-old girl to a 26-year-old man because the union was never officially registered. Muhammad Riaz Tasawar, 35, of Mayfield, appeared before Parramatta Local Court on March 19 where Magistrate Peter Miszalski accepted the plea to the offence of solemnisation of a marriage by an unauthorised person. He was fined $500 and is in immigration detention awaiting deportation to Pakistan upon the cancellation of his Religious Leaders visa." In "Cleric who 'married' 12-year-old believed he had done nothing wrong," by Rachel Olding and Louise Hall, Sydney Morning Herlad, 2 April 2014.
Addendum of Islamophobia in Turkey: "Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has urged the United States to deport a Eastern Pennsylvania-based cleric he accuses of instigating a graft probe to try to topple his government, and vowed to seek the preacher's extradition. Cleric Fethullah Gulen and his followers in Saylorsburg, Monroe County, north of Allentown, should be expelled or handed over to Turkish authorities, Mr. Erdogan said in an interview with the 'Charlie Rose' program broadcast Tuesday on Bloomberg TV." In "Turkey asks U.S. to deport Pa. cleric," by Onur Ant, Bloomberg News, 29 April 2014.
Addendum of Tolerance for a Muslim Scientist: "...a growing movement by a small but vocal group of largely Saudi-influenced orthodox Muslims who use evolution as a way of discrediting imams whom they deem to be overly progressive or 'western orientated'. Masjid Tawhid is a prominent mosque which also runs one of the country's largest sharia courts, the Islamic Sharia Council. In January, Dr Hasan delivered a lecture there detailing why he felt the theory of evolution and Islam were compatible – a position that is not unusual among many Islamic scholars with scientific backgrounds. But the lecture was interrupted by men he described as 'fanatics' who distributed leaflets claiming that 'Darwin is blasphemy'. 'One man came up to me during the lecture and said 'You are an apostate and should be killed',' Dr Hasan told The Independent." In "Scientist Imam threatened over Darwinist views," by Tom Peck and Jerome Taylor, Independent UK, 5 March 2011.
Addendum of Islamophobia by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria: "The group was formally rejected from Al Qaeda earlier this year after that organization’s leader, Ayman al-Zawahri, ordered it to withdraw to Iraq and leave operations in Syria to the local Qaeda affiliate, the Nusra Front. The split led to a bitter rivalry between the two groups, with the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria competing with Al Qaeda for resources and standing in the wider international jihadist community. Perhaps the best indication of how the group sees itself these days is a recent promotional video called 'The Rattling of the Sabers.' The hourlong video is a slickly produced, hyperviolent propaganda piece that idolizes the group’s fighters as they work for two of their main goals: founding an Islamic state and slaughtering their enemies, mostly the Iraqi security forces and Shiites." In "Rebels’ Fast Strike in Iraq Was Years in the Making," by Tim Arango, Kareem Fahim and Ben Hubbard, New York Times, 14 June 2014. [ 23 ]
Addendum of Islamophobia in Bahrain: "Previous citizenship revocations in recent years have been directed at activists abroad and in Bahrain, who were afterwards told to leave the country. 'The ruler of Bahrain revoked my citizenship today without a court, any charges or clear evidence of why,' British-based Bahraini blogger and activist Ali Abdulemam wrote on Twitter. Bahrain's governing al-Khalifa family used martial law and assistance from its neighbours in the Gulf to suppress a Shia uprising in 2011, but the unrest has persisted and protesters and police often clash." In "Bahrain revokes the nationality of 72 people," BBC, 31 January 2015.
Addendum of Islamophobia by Muslim Pakistan: "The assault essentially ended Pakistan's chances of further dialogue with the militants, who have been working for years to overthrow the Pakistani government and establish a Sharia-based caliphate, resulting in the deaths of tens of thousands of civilian and army forces in the area. 'Our valiant armed forces have been tasked to eliminate these terrorists regardless of hue and color, along with their sanctuaries,' the Parkistan army said in a statement. 'With the support of the entire nation, and in coordination with other state institutions and law enforcement agencies, these enemies of the state will be denied space anywhere across the country'." In "More Than 300,000 Pakistanis Flee Embattled North Waziristan Tribal Region," by Liz Fields, ViceNews, 21 June 2014.
Addendum of Islamophobia in Turkey: "Members of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) attacked a Shiite mosque in Istanbul last week, a human rights association has claimed in report, refuting official statements about the incident. On July 8, a fire caused significant material damage at the Muhammediye Mosque in the Esenyurt neighborhood of the city. Three Qurans and a 300-volume hadith collection were destroyed in the fire at the mosque, which belongs to the local community from the Ja’farite school of Shia Islam." In "ISIL ‘attacks Shiite mosque’ in Istanbul," Hurriyet Daily News, Istanbul, 16 July 2014. (This news item is also cited to observe that after the burning of Qurans and Hadith collections by Muslims, The Dust Settles
Addendum of Islamophobia in Qatar: "Leaders of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood group and allied clerics said on Saturday that they are departing Qatar, where they had sought refuge following the ouster of Egypt's Islamist President Mohammed Morsi and the crackdown on his supporters. Their presence in Qatar had severely strained Doha's relations with Egypt as well as Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, all of which view the more than 85-year-old Islamist movement as a threat. The expulsion threatens to further isolate the group, which rose to power in Egypt through a string of post-Arab Spring elections but suffered a dramatic fall from grace during Morsi's divisive year in office." In "Qatar expels Egypt Muslim Brotherhood leaders," by Maggie Michael, Associated Press, 13 September 2014.
Addendum of Targeting India: "The rise of al-Qaida offshoot Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) may look like a distant problem affecting the Middle East with Indians merely caught in the crossfire. But it's a danger far closer home than it appears. Security establishment sources said ISIS, which is being suspected to be behind the kidnapping of 40 Indians in Mosul, has global ambitions and aims to create an Islamic World Dominion of which even India would be a part. A recently released world dominion map by the outfit had parts of north-west India, including Gujarat, shown as part of the Islamic state of Khorasan, a caliphate that the outfit aims to achieve." In "ISIS has designs on India," by Deeptiman Tiwary, Times of India, 19 June 2014.
Addendum of True Islam Advocates in the West: "...in truth the western world’s railings against honour killings, death sentences for apostates, murderous fatwas, clitorectomy, Islamism in all its manifestations from al-Qa'eda to Boko Haram, are virtually nowhere echoed in the Islamic world itself. Good citizens of Muslim allegiance and vaguely moderating organisations like the Muslim Council of Britain are called in to the media microphones to distance 'true' Islam from the categories of barbarism. But they are a tiny western-dwelling elite, living in a part of the world informed for a couple of thousand years by the values of Hellenism and Judaeo-Christianity. They are profoundly alien to the Muslim world." In "Two stonings and a beheading – witnessing Islamic justice," by Tom Stacey, Spectator, 7 June 2014.
Addendum in Answer to the Muslim Council of Britain: "The 19-minute audiotape from Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi came two days after his organization, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, unilaterally declared the establishment of an Islamic state, or caliphate, in the land it controls. It also proclaimed al-Baghdadi the caliph, and demanded that all Muslims around the world pledge allegiance to him. In the statement, al-Baghdadi makes clear his global ambition and presented himself as the leader of all Muslims." In "Militant leader calls for Muslims to build state," by Ryan Lucas, Associated Press, 1 July 2014. [ 24 ]
Addendum of Threatening Girls: "Threatening girls to stop them from going to school is nothing new in Pakistan – Malala Yousafzai's case is just the most infamous example – but it now seems to be spreading to parts of the country that had previously been spared. Two weeks ago, all private schools in Balochistan’s districts of Panjgur and Turbat were forced to close after being threatened by a hitherto unknown group called 'Tenzeem Islami Al-Furqan' ('the Organisation of Islam for the Koran'). These shadowy extremists, much like the Taliban or Boko Haram in Nigeria, say they are against “Western education” for girls." In "Extremists force girls out of school in Pakistan," by Rezwan Riaz, France 24, 30 May 2014.
Addendum of an Example Warranting Islamophobia: "To the villagers who fled, Zowiya is now a graveyard for all they’ve ever known. Their houses have been razed, their neighbors are dead, and their tribal codes have been violated in ways they never dreamed possible. For the extremist fighters who overran Zowiya this week in a fury of mortars and bullets, the ruins of the Sunni Muslim village carry a different symbolism: an example for any 'turncoats' who dare resist the Islamic State’s self-proclaimed caliphate." In "Sunni village as a warning," by Mohammed al Dulaimy and Hannah Allam, McClathcy DC, 11 July 2014.
Comparative Addendum of the Offending Ham Sandwich in France: "...hit the victim repeatedly in the face because he was eating a ham sandwich. The two attackers, who claimed to be Muslims, said they were offended by the consumption of pork in their presence and so attacked the young man. One witness, a friend of the victim present at the time, was interviewed by investigators and confirmed the facts of the assault." [ 25 ]
ISIS "Islamophobes" killing Muslims in Iraq - 2014
Addendum of Scholars Thinking Some Muslims are Islamophobic: " 'The International Union of Muslim Scholars (IUMS) condemns the forced expulsion of the Christian brothers of Iraq from their homes, cities and provinces,' the group said in a statement posted on the website of its leader, the influential cleric Sheikh Youssef al-Qaradawi on Tuesday. 'These are acts that violate Islamic laws, Islamic conscience and leave but a negative image of Islam and Muslims.' The IUMS, comprising senior Sunni religious scholars from around the world with links to more moderate factions of the Muslim Brotherhood, views the Islamic State, which has taken control of a swathe of northern Iraq, as being too extreme and says its doctrine contradicts the true teachings of Islam." In "Islamic scholars condemn expulsion of Iraq's 'Christian brothers'," Reuters, 23 July 2014.
Addendum of Denunciation of Muslims by Muslims: " Egypt's top religious authority condemned the armed group Islamic State which has taken over parts of Iraq and Syria, describing it on Tuesday as a corrupt, extremist organization that is damaging Islam. 'An extremist and bloody group such as this poses a danger to Islam and Muslims, tarnishing its image [ 26 ] as well as shedding blood and spreading corruption,' said Grand Mufti Shawqi Allam, Egypt's most influential Muslim cleric, the state news agency MENA reported. The comments came as the Vatican called on Muslim religious leaders to take a 'clear and courageous stance' and condemn 'unspeakable criminal acts' by Islamic State. The grand mufti's view represents the opinion of Al Azhar, one of the world's oldest seats of Muslim learning, which influences the opinions of Muslims worldwide." In "Egypt's Top Muslim Leader Condemns Islamic State: Grand Mufti Shawqi Allam Denounces 'Bloody Group'," Reuters via Huffington Post, 12 August 2014.
Addendum of Islamophobia by the United Nations: "Two senior United Nations officials today condemned in the strongest terms the 'barbaric acts' of sexual violence and 'savage rapes' the armed group Islamic State (IS) has perpetrated on minorities in areas under its control. In a joint statement from Baghdad, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence (SRSG) in Conflict, Zainab Hawa Bangura and the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Iraq, Nickolay Mladenov urged the immediate protection of civilians. 'We are gravely concerned by continued reports of acts of violence, including sexual violence against women and teenage girls and boys belonging to Iraqi minorities,' Ms. Bangura and Mr. Mladenov said." In " 'Barbaric' sexual violence perpetrated by Islamic State militants in Iraq – UN," UN News Centre, 13 August 2014. [ 27 ]
Addendum of Iraqi ISIS Jihadists as Islamophobes: "Saudi Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdul Aziz al-Sheikh on Tuesday blasted al-Qaida and Islamic State jihadists as 'enemy number one' of Islam, in a statement issued in Riyadh. 'The ideas of extremism, radicalism and terrorism ... have nothing to do with Islam and (their proponents) are the enemy number one of Islam,' the kingdom's top cleric said." In "Saudi top cleric blasts Qaida, IS as 'enemy No. 1' of Islam," Times of India, 19 August 2014.
Addendum of the Muslim Problem: "Jordan’s King Abdullah believes battling the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria and other terrorist groups is 'our third world war.' Speaking to 'CBS This Morning,' Abdullah stated that ISIS is a Muslim problem that they need to take ownership of." In "Jordan’s King Abdullah: Battling ISIS Is 'Our Third World War'," CBS News, 5 December 2014.
Addendum of Banning the Islamic Face Veil: "Chad has banned people from wearing the full-face veil, following two suicide bomb attacks on Monday. Chad's government accused Nigerian militant Islamist group Boko Haram of the bombings which killed more than 20 people. The prime minister said the veil was used as a 'camouflage' by militants and said the security forces will burn all full-face veils sold in markets." In "Chad bans Islamic face veil after suicide bombings," BBC, 17 June 2015.
Addendum of Continuing Islamophobia in France: "France has deported 40 foreign imams for 'preaching hatred' in the past three years, a quarter of them since the January terror attacks in Paris, Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said on Monday." In "France says 40 imams deported for hate speech," TheLocal, France, 29 June 2015.
Addendum of France Banning Radical Muslim Groups: "The government's spokesman Stephane Le Foll said after a cabinet meeting: 'The fight against preachers of hate will be total.' He said the three banned groups 'were clearly taking action to incite jihad'." In "France bans three 'radical' Islamic groups after attacks," Agence France Presse, 13 January 2016.
Addendum of Islamophobia by Tunisia: " Tunisia's defense minister has" visited an anti-jihadi fence that's being built on the country's border with Libya to stop Islamist militants from entering Tunisian territory." In "Tunisia unveils anti-jihadi fence on Libyan border," Associated Press, 6 February 2016.
Addendum of Obey Us or Else: " 'Why are you wearing revealing clothes? You are a coup supporter and a Gülenist,' the group reportedly yelled at Ölmez, as they also called for people nearby to join them in beating her. 'You won’t get dressed this way anymore, you will get dressed the way we want you to and you will obey us,' the group also said, according to the report." In "Pregnant woman attacked for 'wearing revealing clothes, supporting coup' in Istanbul," Hurriyet Daily News, 3 August 2016.
Addendum of Islamophobia -- Muslim ISIS versus Muslim Turkey: "A suspected Islamic State child suicide bomber massacred at least 50 wedding guests dancing in a Turkey street. President Tayyip Erdogan blamed the murders on Islamic State and said the killer, who wore an explosive belt, was between the ages of 12 and 14." In "'ISIS child suicide bomber' kills 50 at Turkey wedding by detonating explosive belt amongst guests dancing in street," by Natalie Evans and David Ryan, Mirror UK, 21 August 2016.
Addendum of Islamophobia by Muslim Against Muslim for Sectarian Killings: "Law enforcement agencies on Sunday rounded up at least 40 suspects, including a prominent religious scholar, in Karachi following a spate of targeted killings. Allama Mirza Yousuf Hussain, a prominent Shia scholar and Majlis Wahdat-e-Muslimeen (MWM) leader, was arrested late on Saturday night during a raid at his house in the city’s Nazimabad area, sources told The Express Tribune. Hussain, who is a prayer leader at Noor-e-Emaan Masjid, was taken into custody just a day after a former Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) senator was arrested by law enforcers over his alleged involvement in sectarian killings in the metropolis that took place recently and in the past as well." In "Top Shia cleric, 39 others arrested over involvement in Karachi sectarian killings," Express Tribune, Pakistan, 6 November 2016.
Addendum of Islamophobia by Muslim Against Muslim for Sectarian Killings, Again: "The Syrian state news service, SANA, said attacks by two suicide bombers bearing explosive charges struck near the Bab Al Sagheer cemetery, just south of the Old City. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the two bombers had targeted buses carrying Shiite pilgrims, killing at least 44 people." In "Two Suicide Bombers Kill Dozens in Damascus," by Ben Hubbard, New York Times, 11 March 2017."
Addendum of More Islamophobia in France: "France's Interior Minister has announced that authorities have taken action to close down a mosque on the south coast suspected of promoting a radical form of Islam. The mosque, in the southern French department of Hérault, was ordered closed after a raid uncovered leaflets promoting hate. The Sète mosque, located on Rue de la Révolution, was ordered to be shut down on Wednesday until further notice." In "France forces closure of radical mosque for 'promoting hate'," TheLocal.fr., 6 April 2017.
Addendum of Muslims Killing Muslims: "The Sistan-Baluchestan province in south-east Iran has long been plagued by drug smuggling gangs and separatist militants. The population of the province is predominantly Sunni Muslim, while the majority of Iranians are Shias. Jaish al-Adl is a Sunni militant group that has carried out several attacks on Iranian security forces with the aim of highlighting what they say is discrimination against Sunni Muslims and the Baluch ethnic group in the province." In "Militants kill 10 Iranian border guards in attack on frontier with Pakistan," Reuters via Guardian UK, 26 April 2017.
Addendum of a Recommendation: "...it is dishonest to blame everything from gun laws to climate change as cause for terrorism, all so we can avoid opening the book on Islam. To run from this discussion now is an insult to Khan’s memory. Only if we foster a culture of open inquiry will we have a more liberal society where things like this are unthinkable. It falls on Muslims to address two widely noted tensions in our religion. One is the belief that the Quran is the literal word of God and that Mohammed only spoke the truth. The other is that there can be no division of church and state in Islam. Literalism is an immediate issue. Mohammed sanctioned sexual slavery, encouraged his followers to kill anyone found committing homosexual acts, and prophesied a climactic battle between Jews and Muslims in which the Jews would be exterminated. Of women, he said: 'Is not the witness of a woman equal to the witness of half a man? … This is the deficiency in her intellect'. ...although we are far away from lynching a student for criticizing Islam, our college campuses are perhaps the last place one can hear honest criticism of Islam. It has been said that Islamophobia is 'a word created by fascists, and used by cowards, to manipulate morons.' It is hard not to see reason for this definition nowadays. A political double standard has made Islam a hallowed victim — criticizing this religion, maybe even suggesting that Mashal’s lynching had anything to do with Islam, will get you labeled an Islamophobe." In "Islam needs Islamophobia right now: Voices," by Omar Mahmood, USA Today, 21 April 2017.
Addendum of Spotting the Islamophobic Version of Islam: "The essence of the problem, as Prince Mohammed identified, is Tehran’s extremist ideology. When he says Iran wants to 'dominate the Muslim world', he is not exaggerating. Tehran would march on the capitals of the Arab world if it could; instead it seeks to dominate through spreading extremism, terrorism and a warped ideology. Prince Mohammed has been as clear as he can be. The security of the Gulf is not negotiable. The Gulf does not want a long war, in Yemen or elsewhere. But it is prepared for one. If Tehran does not change, then Saudi Arabia will ensure that the battle Tehran wants to export across the Middle East finds it way back inside Iran’s own borders." In "Saudi Arabia’s patience with Iran is over," National Editorial, National (Abu Dhabi), 3 May 2017.
Addendum II of Spotting the Islamophobic Version of Islam: "Denying Shiites the right to be Muslims, the supreme spiritual authority of Saudi Arabia raised the bar of controversy to a new level. Previously, Saudi theologists who belong to the Hanbali schools of thought might have been able to state that the Shia were heretics and dissenters but none of them had declared them non-Muslims. In other words, the Saudi religious leader 'theoretically' justified refusing Shiites the right to visit Mecca! In subsequent interviews, he continued his harsh criticism of Iran, accusing it of supporting terrorism, intervening in the affairs of Arabic States and holding 'proxy wars' in them, clearly alluding to the participation of the Shiite Hezbollah in the Syrian conflict." In "Saudi Arabia and Iran: a New Burst of Confrontation," by Pogos Anastasov, New Eastern Outlook, 16 September 2016.
Addendum of Islamic State Muslims Killing Sufi Muslims: "Initial investigations showed the attackers hoisted the Islamic State flag during the attack, which was carried out by 25 to 30 militants, the public prosecutor’s office said in a statement. The militants, who stormed the mosque frequented by Sufis, a mystical sect of Islam, blocked the door and windows of the building and opened fire on worshipers with automatic weapons, according to the statement." In "Egypt Attackers Hoisted Islamic State Flag," by Tarek El-Tablawy and Ahmed Khalil El-Sayed, Bloomberg, 25 November 2017. [ 28 ]
Addendum of Afghani Muslims Killing Afghani Muslims: "An attacker driving an ambulance packed with explosives detonated them Saturday in the Afghan capital of Kabul, leaving 95 people dead and 191 others injured, Afghan officials said. Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mojahid claimed responsibility for the attack, which comes a week after militants stormed a Kabul hotel." In "Taliban attacker driving ambulance packed with explosives kills 95 in Kabul," by Ehsan Popalzai and Laura Smith-Spark, CNN, 28 Janauary 2018.
Addendum of Promoting Shiite Extremism Against Sunni Islam: "The Shirazi sect that has been labeled as 'British Shiism' by the Iranian Supreme Leader operates mainly from London. The sect also runs a satellite network called 'Fadak' from London and promotes Shiite extremism against Sunni Islam. The sect is also known to be the religious opposition of the Islamic Republic." In "Armed Men Raid Iranian Embassy in London," FNA, 9 March 2018.
Addendum of Commonalities: "Wahhabism and Nazism have a lot in common. The ideologists of Wahhabism from the ranks of the Muslim Brotherhood founding fathers supported Hitler in his opposition to the UK in the Middle East. An SS scientist of the Mauthausen concentration camp, Aribert Haim ended his days as a Wahhabi adept of the Muslim Brotherhood, a regular at of one of the mosques in Cairo. The above mentioned ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi began his terrorist journey as a member of the Muslim Brotherhood." In "Can Saudi Arabia Get any More Terrorism-prone," by Martin Berger, New Eastern Outlook, 2 February 2019.
Addendum of the Picture Getting Clearer: "Over the past decade or more, a growing body of evidence has emerged that points to the considerable impact that foreign funding has had on advancing Islamist extremism in Britain and other Western countries. The attempt by several states to influence Islamic communities and advance an illiberal — and at times anti-Western — version of the Islamic religion appears to have been an intentional and systematic policy, with the level of funding allocated to this effort believed to have grown in recent years. While some of this financing appears to originate from private individuals and independent foundations, research by the German intelligence agencies and others has pointed to these foundations being closely linked to governments of several Gulf States." In "Foreign Funded Islamist Extremism in the UK," by Tom Wilson, Centre for the Response to Radicalisation and Terrorism Research Paper No. 9 (2017).
Addendum of Islamophobia by Christian Converts: " 'ISIS members were terrorizing people and then going to the mosque to pray to Allah,' said Firas, 47, who is a farmer and asked for his last name not to be published for security reasons. 'After their prayers, they would leave the mosque and terrorize people again'." In "Life under ISIS led these Muslims to Christianity," by Yuliya Talmazan, NBC News, 3 February 2019. [ 29 ]
Addendum of the Intention to Conquer: "Members of the Turkey Youth Foundation (TÜGVA), whose founding members include Bilal Erdoğan, the son of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, said on Friday the call to prayer marks a renewed intention to complete the Ottoman Empire’s unfinished conquest of Vienna, reported Turkish daily Cumhuriyet on Friday. 'The call to prayer for us is a renewal of the intention to conquer Rome, New York, Beijing, Tokyo, Moscow, Berlin, Paris and to complete the unfinished conquest of Vienna,' TÜGVA said in a statement condemning women who hit the streets for the March 8 International Women’s Day march in Istanbul." In "Turkish pro-govt foundation links call to prayer to Ottoman invasion of Vienna," Ahval, 15 March 2019.
Addendum of Islam Against Islam: "Police said more than 20 people were wounded and the death toll could rise. The imam of the mosque, 25 kilometers (15 miles) from the southwestern city of Quetta, was among those killed, police said." In "Brother of Afghan Taliban leader killed in Pakistan mosque blast," by Gul Yousafzai and Abdul Qadir Sediqi, Reuters, 16 August 2019.
Addendum II of Islam Against Islam: "Assistant Commissioner of Hasilpur, Mohammad Tayyab led the Friday operation which saw the destruction of the Mosque's Mihrab. He was accompanied by the Police officers and officials from Bladia, the local development authority. A spokesperson for the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community in Pakistan, Saleemuddin, confirmed the incident saying the Local Government & Community Development authority 'destroyed parts of the building without notice'. He added that members of the Ahmadi community who filmed the illegal demolition were also falsely charged by Police." In "Pakistan destroys Mosque of Ahmadi Muslim minority," by Rabwah Times, 25 October 2019.
[ 1 ] "A video has surfaced from the Al Qaeda-affiliated Islamic State of Iraq and al-Shams (ISIS) in Iraq and Syria advocating the systemic genocide of Shi'ite Muslims for allegedly 'damaging Mohammed's legacy' in perpetrating their beliefs. The video opens with a speech from a judge in the northern Syrian city of Aleppo, which has been a focal point of territorial fighting between the forces of Syrian President Bashar Assad and rebel forces. The judge's job: to establish rule over the Syrian city through the implementation of Sharia, or Islamic religious law - including doling out execution orders. Brandishing a Kalashnikov assault rifle, the judge turns to jihadi fighters in the Sinai Peninsula, urging them to resist calls from the Egyptian army to back down from fighting." In "Al-Qaeda: Death to Shi'ites for 'Damaging Mohammed's Legacy'," by Dalit Halevi, Tova Dvorin, Arutz Sheva, 8 December 2013.
Damaging Mohammed's Legacy?
But retribution comes. Turkey has hunted down an ISIS executioner of Turks. "Abu Talha al Turki was living with a $320,000 (£240,000) bounty on his head after his role in a horrific execution of two Turkish soldiers. The terror kingpin had been placed on the Turkish police’s 'Blue List' of most wanted fugitives. Al Turki appeared in a sick video in 2016 burning alive two soldiers as they stood chained to a stake." In "Most wanted ISIS executioner who BURNED soldiers alive SHOT DEAD," by Henry Holloway, Daily Star UK, 3 July 2018.
In this small tale from the larger war in the Middle East, which is the potentially identified Islamophobe? The executioner who killed? Those who killed the executioner. The calculation cannot be made based on a slogan or glib word so often used as to be unusable.
[ 2 ] Who goes to hell? Apparently some Muslims consign other Muslims to this fate in little ways as with whole sectarian divides, as media makes the world more aware of such stances. One finds fatwas of all kinds identifying sins of all kinds which the majority in the Western world might find unusual.
" 'When a woman goes swimming, as the word for sea is masculine, when "the water touches the woman's private parts, she becomes an 'adulteress' and should be punished.'" - Summary of a report titled 'The misguided Fatwas of the Muslim Brotherhood and Salafis', as published in the Al Masry Al Youm." In "Fatwa: Women who swim in the sea commit adultery, should be punished," India Today Online, New Delhi, 28 November 2013.
A Sheikh Denigrates Islam, Say Other Sheikhs?
Claims by clerics can be divisive between Muslim and Muslim, as between cleric and cleric: "A Saudi cleric has called for all female babies to be fully covered by wearing the face veil, commonly known as the burka, citing reports of little girls being sexually molested. In a TV interview on the Islamic al-Majd TV, which seems to date back to mid-last year, Sheikh Abdullah Daoud, stressed that wearing the veil will protect baby girls. The Sheikh tried to back his assertion with claims of sexual molestation against babies in the kingdom, quoting unnamed medical and security sources. Recently picked up on social media, Sheikh Dauod’s statement prompted wide condemnation from his fellow Saudis on Twitter. Some tweeps [ sic ] called for the Sheikh to be held accountable because his ruling denigrates Islam and breaches individual privacy. Sheikh Mohammad al-Jzlana, former judge at the Saudi Board of Grievances, told Al Arabiya that Dauod’s ruling was denigrating to Islam and Shariah and made Islam look bad." In "“Burkas for babies”: Saudi cleric’s new fatwa causes controversy," By Mohammad Alyousei, Al Arabiya News, 3 February 2014.
[ 3 ] "...religious fundamentalism not only explains why Muslim immigrants are generally more hostile towards out-groups than native Christians, but also why some Christians and some Muslims are more xenophobic than others. These findings clearly contradict the often-heard claim that Islamic religious fundamentalism is a marginal phenomenon in Western Europe or that it does not differ from the extent of fundamentalism among the Christian majority. Both claims are blatantly false, as almost half of European Muslims agree that Muslims should return to the roots of Islam, that there is only one interpretation of the Koran, and that the rules laid down in it are more important than secular laws." In "Fundamentalism and out-group hostility," by Ruud Koopmans, WZB Mitteilungen, December 2013.
Documenting Muslim-against-Muslim Violence
As with University of Hawaii emeritus professor Rummel's fine demographic study of deaths caused by government throughout the 20th century for which he coined the term as applied to governments' actions, "democide," it becomes time for the world to examine Islam's internal wars which have killed far more than have been killed in strife with other religious and secular groups. Will this be done? I rather doubt it, for this would tell a tale many would have suppressed, and that is that in the 20th century Islam forged with a sort of pan-Arab national socialism and has warred against itself, as the Iran-Iraq war, the invasion of Kuwait by Iraq, the continuing civil war in Syria, the war between sides in Afghanistan, the fundamentalist-government divide in Pakistan, and the strife in Egypt all declare in this time. One notes that late 20th century poison gas attacks of Iraq under Saddam Hussein and only this year in Syria, with both sides claiming the other as perpetrator, so-called weapons of mass destruction are in play in this Muslim-against-Muslim violence. One might begin with the tale of Karbala (per the above news item, as with the history of it), and then follow the violent divide historically to today. As an example, the Muslim Brotherhood, a 20th century phenomenon, has been declared a terrorist entity by the current government of Egypt. If such a tally could be made as to the numbers of deaths, Muslim against Muslim, across the last century, one might well coin another term like unto Rummel's: Islamocide, as a parallel to the recently coined Islamophobia.
The Cracks in Islam Widen
Islamocide might well fit recent news: "A report on Wednesday by Iraq Body Count, a British-based NGO, confirmed the trend, predicting that the coming year could be more bloody than the last. The NGO's own figures suggest 9,475 civilians were killed in 2013, compared with 10,130 in 2008. The group said: 'Al-Qaida in Iraq has found fertile ground in all this discontent and has attacked the Iraqi government …by killing members of its army, its police forces, its politicians and journalists, as well as its Shia population. The last six months have seen the massacres of entire families as they sleep or travel to a holy place, sometimes five, sometimes 12 family members at a time.' It concludes: 'The faults are now as wide and deep as trenches'." In "Iraq suffers its deadliest year since 2008," by Luke Harding, Guardian UK, 1 January 2014.
While the OIC Islamophobia report focuses on bloggers' views on Islam, one notes that the same report ignores Muslim-on-Muslim violence. In fact a perusal of the OIC report tallies less deaths attributed to "hate speech" than a single year in Iraq's internal war, Muslim against Muslims, which itself pales in comparison to the mounting death toll in the civil war between Muslims in Syria, and that is small compared to the Iran-Iraq War's death toll. How does "Islamocide" then compare to "Islamophobia?" The OIC need answer.
[ 4 ] "The Iran–Iraq War, also known as the First Persian Gulf War, was an armed conflict between the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Republic of Iraq lasting from September 1980 to August 1988, making it the 20th century's longest conventional war. The war cost both sides in lives and economic damage: half a million Iraqi and Iranian soldiers, with an equivalent number of civilians, are believed to have died, with many more injured; however, the war brought neither reparations nor changes in borders." In "Iran–Iraq War," Wikipedia, accessed December 2013.
[ 5 ] One notes with verification from various sources that while the OIC "Islamophobia" statement indentifies bloggers and political speech with which they disagree and recommend legal proscription against it, the question of the Saudi kingdom's stance comes to the front. One reads:
"Syria's President Bashar al-Assad Monday called for a battle against Wahhabism, the political and religious ideology embraced by the Saudi government, a key backer of the uprising against his regime. The comments came amid ongoing tensions between the two countries, which are fiercely opposed to each other. 'President Assad said that extremist and Wahhabi thought distort the real Islam, which is tolerant,' state news agency SANA said. ...Groups affiliated with and loyal to Al-Qaeda are now among those fighting on the ground against Assad's government. Saudi Arabia is a key backer of the rebels fighting against Assad's regime, and the Damascus government accuses the kingdom of funding "terrorists" seeking to destroy Syria." In "Syria's Assad urges fight against Saudi religious ideology," Agence France-Presse, 30 December 2013.
For the opposing viewpoint and quote from a Muslim authority from the recent past, see: A State of War .
It is well worth posing the question then, according to the OIC "Islamophobia" document's assertion that it is "essential to draw a line between free speech and hate speech." Is some Muslim speech "hate speech?" Certainly images as above suggest this, when one can read a demonstrator's sign in the West that "Europe is the cancer, Islam is the answer" and "behead those who insult Islam." Certainly Assad's assertion that "Wahhabi thought distort[s] the real Islam" suggests that Islam -- as a word and religious phenomenon -- is in contention among Muslims worldwide who differ on what Islam is, states and requires.
Therefore it becomes odd that a group propose that it speaks for all Muslims, when all Muslims do not agree. And so we see that the OIC worries about some Western political bloggers and the lobbying for laws against so-called "hate speech" are ignoring the far larger subject -- Muslim on Muslim violence today as the historical narrative of Karbala showed centuries ago.
[ 6 ] More as to Saudi Wahhabi inter-religious dialogue: "A court in Saudi Arabia has sentenced two men to lashes and prison terms for converting a woman to Christianity and helping her flee the conservative Islamic kingdom, the Saudi Gazette reported on Monday." In "Christian conversion of woman results in lashing and prison sentence for Lebanese and Saudi men," Reuters 14 May 2013.
[ 7 ] More on Shia inter-religious dialogue with the Baha'i community: "The Supreme Leader of Iran, Ayatollah Ali Khameni, issued a fatwa (religious edict) against the Baha’i community on 31 July, calling on Iranians to avoid Baha’is and labelling them a 'deviant and misleading sect.' The edict comes days before president-elect Hassan Rouhani assumes office, illustrating that despite the president-elect’s promises to rule with moderation and ensure the rights of religious minorities, ultimate power in Iran rests with the Supreme Leader. Despite the Baha’i community being the largest religious minority in Iran, numbering over 300,000, it is not officially recognised and is refused legal status. Since 1979, over 200 of its leaders have been killed or executed, and thousands more imprisoned. Baha’is are barred from accessing further education and employment in the public sector, with over 10,000 having been dismissed from university and government jobs. In 2008, seven Baha’i leaders were arrested and were each sentenced to 20 years imprisonment in 2010 for 'forming an illegal cult.' According to the US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), as of February 2013, at least 110 Baha’is are being held in prison solely because of their religious belief, twice the number held in early 2011." In "Fatwa issued against Baha’i community," CSW, 02 August 2013.
For more on "the Supreme Leader of Iran, Ayatollah Ali Khameni," as clarification for his "supremacy" please see: Moolah .
[ 8 ] More as to Wahhabi-styled "inter-religious dialogue" between Sunni and Shia, one reads: "Daraihim's statements denouncing the Shiites as apostates — in accordance with Wahhabi Salafist doctrine — are not the first of their kind. Takfir (the idea of Muslims renouncing other Muslims as nonbelievers) goes back to fatwas issued by Sheikh Taqi ad-Din bin Taymiyyah, a Syrian sheikh from the Hanbali school of jurisprudence born in 1283 A.D. in Harran, a city near the Turkish-Syrian border. Sheikh Taymiyyah considered Shiites to be deluded heretics. He accused Shiite scholars of blasphemy and considered the general Shiite populace to be ignorant and misguided. This led his followers — in particular Sheikh Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab (1700-1791), the founder of Wahhabism — to denounce all Shiites, regardless of sect, as nonbelievers. They also authorized killing Shiites, holding their women captive, and stealing from them. This goes against the words of the Prophet Muhammad: 'The whole of a Muslim is inviolable for another Muslim: his blood, his property and his honor'." In "Saudi Wahhabi Sheikh Calls on Iraq's Jihadists to Kill Shiites," by Haytham Mouzahem, Al-Monitor - Lebanon Pulse, 2013.
Lust for Control Over Personal Life
From another source, one reads this look at history and an opinion on today: "Wahhabism emerged in Nejd three quarters of a century earlier, as a violent phenomenon. Wahhabis claimed that the Sunni Islam of the time, centered on the Ottoman caliphate, as well as Shia Islam and spiritual Sufism, represented a return to pre-Muslim polytheism and must be fought to the death. ...Muslims and non-Muslims in South Asia and elsewhere in the world should understand the identical motive behind the activities of Deobandi and Wahhabi "fatwa factories," whether originating in medresas or websites. The Deobandis and Wahhabis seek absolute direction over the lives of Sunni Muslims, and, by extension, over all Muslim relations with their non-Muslim neighbors. The aim of "fatwa fanatics" is not religious; it is political and totalitarian." In "Fatwa Fanatics – The Deobandi-Wahhabi Lust for Control Over Personal Life," by Stephen Schwartz and Irfan Al-Alawi, Millat Times [India], 11 March 2013.
[ 9 ] That one further understand "a form of 'special guidance' from God," one reads that "Mariah Carey was reportedly paid almost ₤1 million ($1.83 million) to perform for the Sultan of Brunei's son. ...The hitmaker recently attracted criticism from human rights campaigners for performing in front of Angolan dictator José Eduardo dos Santos for a similarly large sum, after apologising for singing for Libyan despot Muammar Gaddafi in 2008." In "Mariah sings for billionaire prince," The West Australian, 5 January 2014. Might one conclude that the Sultan of Brunei's family has differing standards than his citizenry?
Additionally one observes that the Sultan of Brunei's family rolls in Moolah .
[ 10 ] One might measure perspectives. The OIC takes to task the "perpetrators of Islamophobia, who seek to propagate irrational fear and intolerance of Islam, have time and again aroused unwarranted tension, suspicion and unrest in societies by slandering the Islamic faith through gross distortions and misrepresentations and by encroaching on and denigrating the religious sentiments of Muslims."
Given fatwas against Shias by Sunnis as by Sunnis against Shias justified by reason that the other stream of Muslim religious thought and behavior is "slander" or false "sectarianism," given the civil war raging in which Muslim slaughters Muslim (including nerve gas attacks), reading that fatwas against the Baha'i identify them as a "deviant and misleading sect," and reviewing the fatwa describing Shia Muslim thought as "damaging Mohammed's legacy," the "half a million Iraqi and Iranian soldiers, with an equivalent number of civilians" dead from one Muslim-against-Muslim war," and much more, apparently the greatest threat the OIC has managed to highlight is "perpetrators of Islamophobia."
Open Revolt Within Islam
Is this current news confirmation of Islamophobia: "In the western Iraqi province of Anbar, Sunnis are in open revolt against the Shiite-dominated government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki." In "In Iraq, a Sunni revolt raises specter of new war," by Liz Sly, Washington Post, 7 January 2014.
Are Muslims who issue fatwas against whole groups of other Muslims Islamophobes? Sunni-phobes? Shia-phobes?
Are some fatwas themselves Islamophobic?
Are men who sponsor wars by Muslims against other Muslims Islamophobes? Syri-phobes? Pakisto-hobes?
Are Muslims who kill other Muslims Islamophobes?
Is Bashar al-Assad Islamophobic?
Is Al-Qaeda (Death to Shi'ites for 'Damaging Mohammed's Legacy') Islamophobic?
Are human rights advocates in Saudi Arabia, Iran and other majority Muslim nations Islamophobes? Is Saudi activist and blogger Raif Badawi an Islamophobe?
Is Sima Samar, chair of the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission, Islamophobic?
Is intolerance of Shia Islam by Sunnis Islamophobic?
Is intolerance of Sunni Islam by Shias Islamophobic?
Is intolerance against the Baha'i by Muslim clerics Baha'i-phobic?
Is intolerance of Muslim conversion to Christianity Christian-ophobic? Terminology can multiply, can it not?
A relatively new term is found: "Both the extent of Islamic religious fundamentalism and its correlates – homophobia, antisemitism and 'Occidentophobia' – should be serious causes of concern for policy makers as well as Muslim community leaders. Of course, religious fundamentalism should not be equated with the willingness to support, or even to engage in religiously motivated violence. But given its strong relationship to out-group hostility, religious fundamentalism is very likely to provide a nourishing environment for radicalization." In "Fundamentalism and out-group hostility," by Ruud Koopmans, WZB Mitteilungen, December 2013.
Alas, the Secretary General of the OIC, Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, has not commented on the above news items telling of hundreds of thousands dead, sourced and easily available, but found his focus in Danish cartoons, American bloggers critical of such stories as above and those who take some note of the enormous and violent rifts occurring in Islam today, as during the first days of Karbala. They are the danger equivalent to graffiti attacks on mosques. They are the Islamophobes. But Muslims killing Muslims in the hundreds of thousands are not. Muslim men raping Muslim women are not. Muslims calling for the death of other Muslims based on sectarian divides are not. One sees the logic of the OIC argument therein.
As a response to the OIC report, one reviews the above-cited NBC News article, in which ex-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's spokesman reminds: " 'The prevailing narrative in the region remains the faithful waging war against crusaders, but that is not the reality.' The data offers some support for this view, with roughly half of the deaths in the NBC analysis attributable to internecine conflict, a trend that has increased in recent years." See the footnotes to 2 = 1 .
[ 11 ] A glimmer of hope amidst what some call "sectarian bile?" One reads: "During the Arab uprisings of 2011, embattled rulers in Bahrain and Yemen, as well as Syria, resorted to divide-and-rule tactics by pitting the sects against one another. But clashes between Sunnis and Shias have been the exception rather than the rule. For all the resurgence of sectarian identity, many of the region’s Muslims, including many deeply religious ones, disdain the rising confrontation. More voices preaching sectarian harmony are being heard, too. Among many others in Egypt, the head of al-Azhar, Sunni Islam’s leading theological institution, issued a sharp rebuke to Salafists spewing sectarian bile." In "Sunnis v Shias, here and there," The Economist, 29 June 2013.
[ 12 ] Arguments in the West for the notion of Islamophobia take such words as "imperial" from the old Marxist stance, and yet there is a monarchy which sponsors -- in Ahmed's language from the article -- "a distinctive form of racism and bigotry targeted specifically at members of...." -- and for him, it is Muslims. But one reads of the same "bigotry" without regard to Muslims as victims, but rather by Muslims as perpetrators.
One reads: "A court in Saudi Arabia has sentenced two men to lashes and prison terms for converting a woman to Christianity and helping her flee the conservative Islamic kingdom, the Saudi Gazette reported on Monday." In "Saudi Arabia to punish men for converting woman to Christianity," Reuters, 13 May 2013.
Religious Freedom? Religious Tolerance?
Expanding on this theme, one reads of Saudi Arabia: "Religious freedom is virtually non-existent. The Government does not provide legal recognition or protection for freedom of religion, and it is severely restricted in practice. As a matter of policy, the Government guarantees and protects the right to private worship for all, including non-Muslims who gather in homes for religious practice; however, this right is not always respected in practice and is not defined in law. Moreover, the public practice of non-Muslim religions is prohibited." In "Freedom of religion in Saudi Arabia," Wikipedia, n. d. The article also notes that under "...Saudi law conversion by a Muslim to another religion is considered apostasy, a crime punishable by death." (The citation for this entry is Saeed, Abdullah; Saeed, Hassan (2004). "Freedom of religion, apostasy and Islam.")
Thus the notion of anti-Muslim hostility as "irrational" is a irrational assertion, which is made. "Islamophobia becomes a self-reinforcing circular concept, in which anti-Muslim hostility is generated by nothing more than an irrational hostility toward Muslims – effectively, Islamophobia creates Islamophobia." In "Islamophobia and Insecurity, The Exclusionary Logic of Imperial Geopolitics," by Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmed, in Abdelwahab El Affendi Osman (ed.), Killer Narratives: The Destructive Impact of Collective Nightmares", n.d.
Someone asserting the reality of Islamophobia references "acts of violence" directed against Muslims? What phobia might one construct for the Saudi punishment -- lashes are a form of violence -- for apostasy? In this case, perhaps Christian-ophobia? Perhaps one might multiply the terminology further. Judeo-phobia. Baha'i-phobia. Hindu-ophboia. And of course, the now more normal assertion of homophobia.
One may rightly speak of fear, as in "Two Christian women were publicly beheaded by Islamist terrorists in southeastern Somalia, as part of a campaign to 'wipe out' any Christian presence in the east African country. The Morning Star reported Friday that the two women - identified as mother-of-two Sadia Ali Omar, 41, and her 35-year-old cousin Osman Mohamoud Moge - were executed by the Al Qaeda-aligned Al Shabaab militia in the port town of Barawa in the Lower Shebelle Region after their Christian identities were discovered. Villagers were reportedly forced to witness the murder, including Omar's eight and 15-year-old daughters. Locals described the harrowing scenes as the younger daughter screamed in vain for someone to save her mother from the brutal killing. The girls have now been relocated to another area for their own safety. 'We are afraid that the Al Shabaab might continue monitoring these two children and eventually kill them just like their mother,' said the local resident who engineered their escape. And those fears are likely to be well-founded; according to local sources, the women's executioners made their ultimate goal clear in an announcement immediately before the execution." In "Somalian Islamists Publicly Execute Christian Women," by Ari Souffer, Arutz Sheva, 18 March 2014.
May a "well-founded" fear be labeled a "phobia?" Or "irrational?" The assertion that Islamophobia is "irrational" is itself fallacious for many for whom well-founded fear can not be said to be phobic, except in the rhetoric of the apologist.
The questions cluster and amass, as in footnote 10 for this rhyme and the above survey of various facts and opinions.
The OIC's small complaints about Western Islamophobia ignore the many tens of thousands of lives lost in civil wars as in Somalia and Sudan and Libya and count many Muslim dead in a "collective nightmare." In a Westernized Muslim apologist and his "exclusionary logic" who speaks of Islamophobia ignores "well-founded" and "rational" fears by declaring such as unfounded and irrational, one sees the dilemma of the entire nexus now known as Islamophobia. It is a word which either means all and takes into account violence and murder the world around, or it means nothing.
[ 13 ] The accusation of Islamophobia ignores so much, as it complains of poor imagery for Islam itself. Yet reports from around the world show "Islamists" are often murderously violent, as the news from the UK tells.
Another from the UK tells: "Farooq Shah, 21, plunged a knife into Mariana Popa’s chest while riding his bicycle along a stretch of road notorious for sex workers. Miss Popa, 24, had been in Britain for just three weeks and was trying to earn the money to support her family when she was stabbed in Ilford, Essex." In "Muslim man murders pregnant prostitute because she was working near a mosque," by Julian Robinson, Daily Mail UK, 27 June 2014.
Murderousness Growing in Intensity
One reads from Pakistan: "Sharafat said his brother was recently acquitted in a blasphemy case but those pursuing it had threatened him of dire consequences. The district and sessions judge had acquitted Ashraf as nothing was established against him. Police have registered a case against the unidentified killers. The incident highlights how blasphemy accused are not safe in Pakistan even after being acquitted. Earlier, another blasphemy accused had been shot dead after he secured bail in Punjab. Human rights groups have alleged that Pakistan's blasphemy law is often misused to settle personal scores and grudges." In "Pak man gunned down despite being acquitted in blasphemy case," Press Trust of India, 22 March 2014.
In the same manner, one reads of Nigeria: "Nigerian security officials said the attack late on Saturday in the town of Bama in Borno state bore the hallmarks of an attack by the al Qaeda-linked militant group Boko Haram, which is fighting to carve an Islamic state out of northeast Nigeria. Security sources say Boko Haram has killed hundreds, possibly thousands, this year in a campaign of violence that is growing in intensity." In "Suspected Islamists kill 20 in market bomb in northeast Nigeria," Reuters, 23 March 2014.
In the same manner one reads of the civil war in Syria: "The Greek Catholic Church of Our Lady is a place of shame, of burnt copies of the New Testament, paintings slashed with knives - many were lying in strips of gold and red fabric beside the altar's broken cross - and mosaics chiselled from the walls. Sceptics may ask if the regime performed this act of sacrilege - for the benefit of cameras - but it must have taken weeks to have wrecked this place of worship with its ancient columns and to have gouged out the eyes of the mosaic saints. The Islamists had attacked a mosaic of St George and the Dragon - and had even gouged out the dragon's eyes as well as those of the unfortunate knight. You cannot call such sacrilege an infamy. But you have to ask how Syria can ever repair relations between its Muslims and Christians after such vandalism. Perhaps the answer is never, although in an act of immense courage, the Muslim civilians of this ancient town protected their Christian neighbours to the end." In "On The March With Syria's Army," by Robert Fisk, Sri Lanka Guardian, 20 March 2014. See: Burn, Baby, Burn .
Perhaps one who fears attack by an "Islamist" -- a word which has spring into being recently -- should be diagnosed as having Islamist-ophobia? And yet, as the article above about Syria mentions, some Muslims stood with their Christian neighbors against the so-called Islamists. So which represent Islam? The multiplication of terms seems an extension of the old Sunni-Shia schism in which competing sides declare the other side is unfaithful and in error. So then, who speaks for Islam? The answer is remarkably that no one can, because everyone does and a great portion of the "everyone" is Muslim against Muslim in this time in world history Who is blasphemer when a Pakistani court declares no blasphemy? Who rules a nation and speaks for Islam torn by war between Muslim and Muslim, as in Syria in the moment? And who among the Muslims is the kafir? And who should fear?
[ 14 ] Perusing the OIC document again and it concerns over Islamophobia around the world, one notes the utter absence of concerns for Muslims killed by Muslims throughout the world, as an absence for Muslims expressing their religious right to kill each other -- in ways "disavowed even by al-Qaeda." One might well conclude the OIC is unable to find anything approaching such brutality among those it has identified as Islamophobic. Which means....
[ 15 ] ...the OIC has little concern for Muslims, except when Westerners appear in their words to be Islamophobic. Is there reason to be Islamophobic? The continuing story from the article mentioned above suggests so.
Murder in the Name of Allah
"Wearing military uniforms, the militants arrived with three armored personnel carriers, villagers said. The attackers shouted 'Allahu Akbar' -- 'God is great' -- and opened up on the market, firing rocket-propelled grenades into the crowd and tossing improvised explosive devices, witnesses said. Some marketgoers tried to take shelter in shops only to be burned alive when the gunmen set fire to a number of the businesses, the witnesses said. A few Nigerian soldiers who had been left behind at the village could not hold off the assault and were forced to flee, they said. Many sought safe haven in nearby Cameroon. The fighters also attacked the police station during the 12-hour assault, initially facing stiff resistance. They eventually used explosives to blow the roof off the building, witnesses said. They said 14 police officers were found dead inside. Residents who returned to the village said they found 310 bodies." In "310 people killed in latest Boko Haram attack; hundreds of girls remain missing," by Vladimir Duthiers, Holly Yan and Chelsea J. Carter, CNN, 8 May 2014.
These 310 and their families and friends most assuredly had cause to be Islamophobic, as one heard "Allahu Akbar" in that attack on them.
One finds yet more: " 'Although I don’t want to mention but they are just raping the girls on camera and even showing them on video, releasing it to the public. Somebody told me that they were shown being raped, and in turn, it is the girl who was raped that came out kneeling down and begging the man to be patient. Do you know the reason why? They said when they rape them they shoot them. Therefore the girl after being raped, she curled down to the man, kneeling down and begging him to please be patient. So disturbing. Senator Khalifa Ahmed Zanna, though a Muslim, was previously accused by former governor of Borno State, Senator Ali Modu Sheriff of being a Boko Haram sponsor who sponsors people outside the country for trainings in terrorism, but since this Chibok abducted started, he has shown great concerns over the fate of the abducted girls even more than the Federal Government and had almost on weekly basis released information that might aid in the release of the girls to the security agents." In "Obinna Akukwe: Chibok Christian girls gang-raped and shot in the name of Allah," by Obinna Akukwe, Daily Post, Nigeria, 7 July 2014.
[ 16 ] A New York newspaper editorial observed and then asked: "Al Qaeda and its franchises have slaughtered far more Muslims than they have Westerners. Don’t those victims count?" The OIC Report as covered above answers with silence -- a "no" for not speaking out. Muslim victims of Muslims do not count, excepting as Human Rights groups number the dead.
In the meanwhile, the OIC complains of individual anecdotes and those who oppose Islam politically as well as ideologically.
Muslim Discrimination and Intolerance of Other Muslims
Resolution No.41/39-P - "On an OIC Approach for Combating Discrimination and Intolerance against Muslims," as mentioned by the OIC report makes no mention discrimination of Muslims by Muslims, and no mention of intolerance against Muslims by Muslims, nor of lethal violence perpetrated by Muslims against Muslims, and no mention of such as the "hate" evidenced in the "Karbala" episode which begins this rhyme and commentary through quotes. The OIC's focus is not about war in Syria of Muslim against Muslim. It is about ignoring the hundreds of thousands of deaths of Muslims by the hands of Muslims by making bureaucratic complaint against Western critics and Western politics which is pressing back against the demands of Islam within non-Muslim majority nations. The OIC urges what it calls "soft law" and a "consensual approach" in which Islam becomes a protected class in non-Muslim majority nations. It's greatest problem then is Islamophobia, as it ignores the murderous excesses of Muslims around the world, for they must be victims of Islamophobia rather than murderous men murdering in the name of their religion.
As to slaughter of Muslims by "Al Qaeda and its franchises" which asks "don't those victims count." the answer is -- silence.
There is silence from the OIC as Egypt struggles with the Muslim Brotherhood, now declared a terrorist organization by Muslim governments. There is silence from the OIC as regards the hundreds of thousands of Muslim dead in Syrian jihad, as in Libya's struggles and more. There is silence from the OIC over kidnappings, murders and slaving by Boko Haram in Nigeria, as in the Sudan-South Sudan struggle. There is silence over honor killings worldwide. There is silence and silence and silence from the enthusiastic purveyors of the term, "Islamophobia," because there must be or they would be forced to examine the sheer scale of violence, discrimination and intolerance within Islam itself.
Such is the justification behind the observation quoted above that "Islamophobic is a word created by fascists, and used by cowards, to manipulate morons."
[ 17 ] The report itself by Arab scholars speaks plainly, in a way the OIC report will not, so focused on individuals and anecdotes in the West while ignoring sectarian war and tyranny in the Islamic world.
One reads: "About 65 million adult Arabs are illiterate, two thirds of them women. Illiteracy rates are much higher than in much poorer countries. This challenge is unlikely to disappear quickly. Ten million children between 6 and 15 years of age are currently out of school; if current trends persist, this number will increase by 40 per cent by 2015. The challenge is far more than overcoming the under-supply of knowledge to people. Equally important is overcoming the under-supply of knowledgeable people, a problem exacerbated by the low quality of education together with the lack of mechanisms for intellectual capital development and use." In "The Arab Human Development Report, 2002, Creating Opportunities for Future Generations," United Nations Development Programme, Regional Bureau for Arab States, 2002.
Islamic Illiteracy, Poverty, Suffering and Dysfunction
From the UN Report one reads further in Abdul Hamid Brahimi's words: "At the start of the third millennium, the Arab countries find themselves in a state of structural underdevelopment and are suffering, in varying degrees, from poverty and dysfunctional economies. On both the theoretical and practical levels, facts have clearly proved the inadequacy of the conventional economic approach to the problems of underdevelopment and the incapacity of such an approach to provide them with satisfactory solutions."
And one reads Leila Sharaf's observation in the 2002 Report: "We entered the twentieth century calling for the eradication of poverty, ignorance and disease; and we left it still striving to combat poverty, ignorance and disease. More than ever today, as we enter the twenty-first century, we remain unprepared to face the rapid and dramatic pace of global change. Thus the gap is widening between the daily reality we see on the one hand, and our dreams of where and who we wanted to be by the end of the century on the other, exemplified by the gap between the Arab world and the advanced world. ...It is no longer possible to delay the establishment of the pluralistic, democratic state in our Arab world because we need the benefits that such a state provides--good governance, marked by transparency, accountability and participation at the grass-roots level in the march of the nation. The democratic state is the guarantor of the protection and extension of human rights, and it is the form of government that best supports the flourishing of civil society and related institutions--key elements in a democracy. The democratic state encourages participation and serves as the catalyst for society’s awareness, aspirations and hopes. It is the form of government that activates the role of women as recognized partners in the development process and seeks to ensure that no segment of society is marginalized by working to provide opportunity, empowerment and equality to all citizens. And it is the form of government that is best able to establish the kind of flexible and dynamic educational system that is essential for building, developing and empowering the individual of the new Arab age."
So What Defines Islamophobia When Islam Dooms Itself?
While the OIC reports gin up anecdotal and individual examples of Islamophobia as they define it, the UN reports detail "underdevelopment" and "poverty and dysfunctional economies." Further the UN report notes the high percentage of Arab youth who would emigrate from that world to the West with its "Islamophobia." What becomes clear when taken together is the factual picture of the Arab world tearing itself apart by civil wars, as by tyrannical governance of an elite and, of course, corruption. So which picture is the more Islamophobic?
The Economist's article uses the expression, "self-doomed to failure," while the 2002 UN report points possible ways forward, all of them involving democracy where there is tyranny, laying down arms where there is civil war and, crucially, education in place of a 'modern' Arab mentality which is "discouraging critical thought and innovation and helping to produce a great army of young Arabs, jobless, unskilled and embittered, cut off from changing their own societies by democratic means."
[ 18 ] The dark irony is fully intended, as one recalls that the OIC report states, "Among the most common and recurring of these are the ideas that Muslims are inclined to violence including revenge and retaliation...." Would these 150,000 be fleeing "violence including revenge and retaliation? Then by OIC definition one could identify the 150,000 as Islamophobes.
Whose Jihad Is It? Jihad Against Jihadists?
Why" Because Muslims are fighting Muslims: "Militants are battling Iraqi security forces in the central city of Tikrit, officials said. Jihadists have seized a swathe of the north, after taking Iraq's second city Mosul on Tuesday." In "Iraq crisis: al-Qaeda forces seize Mosul and Tikrit - as it happened." by Raf Sanchez, Harriet Alexander and Barney Henderson, Telegraph UK, 11 July 2014.
Jihad is an Islamic concept, and Iraq currently has a Muslim majority government, while the "insurgents" are Muslim. Ergo some of these Muslims must be violent, but the OIC's statement that Islam is not characterized by "violence," and with the reports of beheadings in the same Telegraph news synopsis, apparently "retaliation" characterizes rather well the violence of Muslims beheading Muslims.
Islamic Trophies and Trademarks
One reads further: "They signed up in droves to fight against the advancing ISIS forces. The refugee woman, speaking to the BBC, told how the victims' heads were in placed in rows - a trademark, trophy-style execution favoured by ISIS militants. Government forces have so far managed to stall the militants' remarkably rapid advance near Samarra, a city just 110km (68 miles) north of Baghdad and they are now bombing insurgent positions in and around Mosul - although 500,000 residents have fled, 1.3 million citizens remain in the city." In " 'They lined the streets with the decapitated heads of police and soldiers': Iraqi refugee reveals the horrors of the jihadi takeover as Baghdad vows to fight back," by Jill Reilly and Kieran Corcoran, Daily Mail UK, 12 June 2014.
Yet the OIC worried about "unwarranted tension, suspicion and unrest in societies by slandering the Islamic faith through gross distortions and misrepresentations and by encroaching on and denigrating the religious sentiments of Muslims."
Shall one ignore the jihad of Muslim against Muslim in Iraq in the moment? Is such "violence" according the OIC, a "growing misperception" which is "slandering the Islamic faith?" OIC? Oh. I see.....
[ 19 ] The meeting "co-chaired by OIC Secretary-General Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton" might have better considered the murderous and long-running Syrian civil war of Sunni against Shia Muslim. It did not.
As to the earlier war which toppled Saddam Hussein, Clinton stated of her vote as senator "This is a very difficult vote. This is probably the hardest decision I have ever had to make -- any vote that may lead to war should be hard -- but I cast it with conviction." In "A golden oldie: Hillary's floor speech to invade Iraq," by Randian, Daily Kos, 12 January 2008.
By way of editorial comment, the writer from the Daily Kos added to the varying quotes in the article his view of Clinton: "Her track record and her attempts to cover her own posterior stick out like a sore thumb."
The OIC's track record complaining of Western intolerance while ignoring hundreds of thousands of Muslims dead at the hands of other Muslims seems to "stick out like a sore thumb."
[ 20 ] Looking backwards in time, one sees France acting against Islamist jihad for years. One reads: "French Interior Minister Manuel Valls has said that Paris is set to deport a string of radical religious imams as part of a fight against 'global jihadism. Several radical foreign preachers will be expelled in the coming days,' Valls told a Brussels conference called to tackle extremism in Europe on Tuesday, without identifying any of the individuals concerned. 'I don't confuse this radical Islam with the Islam of France but there is a religious environment, there are Salafist groupings, who are involved in a political process, whose aim is to monopolise cultural associations, the schooling system,' he added." In "France to deport 'radical foreign imams'," Al Jazeera, 29 January 2013.
Islamist Contempt for Other Societies' Values
Looking further back in time: "France today deported to Egypt a radical imam who for months had been inciting followers in Paris area mosques to rise up against the West, the government said. Described as dangerous, Ali Ibrahim Al-Sudani was detained and sent back to Egypt under an emergency deportation order, Interior Minister Brice Hortefeux said in a statement. 'The secret services had identified this dangerous individual who for the past months had been delivering sermons calling for a fight against the West in several mosques in the Seine-Saint-Denis area,'' said Hortefeux in a statement. Sudani showed 'contempt for our society's values and incited violence'', he added. The man was the 29th imam or Islamic preacher to have been deported from France since 2001, according to the interior ministry. In all, 129 Islamic radicals have been expelled from French territory, it added." In "France deports radical imam to Egypt," news.com.au, 8 January 2010.
As the OIC document produced by the Istanbul Process and co-chaired by OIC Secretary-General Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton states, "With regard to Islamophobic trends in Europe, various reports and polls have revealed growing misperception vis-à-vis Islam and Muslims. Among the most common and recurring of these are the ideas that Muslims are inclined to violence including revenge and retaliation..."
Enough examples are accumulating to suggest a rather highly visible acts of "violence including revenge and retaliation" are in fact radical, global, jihadist, standing against the "West," and murderous to other Muslims.
Is France Islamophobic? "France have expelled two Turkish imams for 'illegal propaganda for supporting extremist groups,' news reports said. The two imams, working in mosques in Paris and Mulhouse, were expelled after authorities found that they were spreading propaganda for the so-called Kaplan group, a Turkish radical Islamist group based in Germany, Anatolia news agency said on Thursday, quoting French Interior Ministry sources." In "France deports Turkish imams," Turkish Daily News, 17 January 2004.
[ 21 ] Another act by Germany: "German police officials announced on Wednesday that Abu Ameena Bilal Philips, a hardline Islamic preacher from Jamaica who defends use of the death penalty for homosexuality, had been ordered to leave the country and asked never to return. The officials said that immigration authorities had issued an order - prior to Philips' address to some 2,000 spectators in Frankfurt - instructing the 60-year-old Islam convert to leave Germany within three days, claiming his professed beliefs infringed on federal laws. German law allows for the expulsion of visitors who 'incite hatred against parts of the population' or advocate the use of violence against them." In "Germany expels openly homophobic imam," by Gabriel Borrud, Deutsche Welle, 21 April 2011.
One notes the contradiction of the OIC's assertion that "misperception" is being practiced by so many nations; rather "perception" of inciting to hatred and violence is seen as a common thread throughout these many stories.
[ 22 ] Great Britain has extradited a radical for trial: "The imam of a London mosque faces life in a U.S. prison after being convicted Monday in New York on federal terrorism charges. Mustafa Kamel Mustafa, who is also known as Abu Hamza al-Masri, was convicted of aiding a group that took 16 U.S. and British tourists hostage in Yemen in 1998 and of recruiting young men for terrorist training camps." In "Imam of London mosque convicted of terror charges in New York City," by Frances Burns, UPI, 20 May 2014.
With the world aflame with violence, so much of it Muslim against Muslim, the OIC's stance seems naive at best. It worries about "the most common and recurring ...ideas that Muslims are inclined to violence including revenge and retaliation; that Islam is an inherently expansionist religion, which strives for political influence, and whose followers are obsessed with proselytizing others, and more generally that Islam deprives women of their rights and encourages religious fanaticism and radicalism." The above in news reports and pictures is a survey from around the world, suggesting that their list is rather accurate, though not in the way they intended.
[ 23 ] If the "founding an Islamic state and slaughtering their enemies, mostly the Iraqi security forces and Shiites" are proof of violence of Muslim against Muslim, and if the OIC's definition of Islamophobia is to be accepted, then Islam -- as represented by the documented violence of Boko Haram, Al Qaeda and ISIL and more -- is itself Islamophobic.
This is how political words fold in upon themselves and implode, as they attempt to obscure, revise or control reality. It seems that the "Islamic cooperation" of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation includes "slaughter" of Muslims by Muslims.
Such slaughter -- in the parlance of the OIC -- must be seen as part of a "growing misperception vis-à-vis Islam and Muslims. Among the most common and recurring of these are the ideas that Muslims are inclined to violence including revenge and retaliation; that Islam is an inherently expansionist religion, which strives for political influence, and whose followers are obsessed with proselytizing others, and more generally that Islam deprives women of their rights and encourages religious fanaticism and radicalism."
Religious Duty to Cause Havoc and Kill
Is it a "growing misperception" as the OIC calls it, or is it a growing perception that the font of this violence -- Muslim against Muslim -- is Islam itself? One reads of ISIS "...they urge their fellow countrymen to join the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), the jihadist group so extreme that it has been denounced by al-Qaeda. But these aren’t Syrians, or Uzbeks, or Chechens. They are Indonesian. 'Let us fight in the path of Allah because it is our duty to do jihad in the path of Allah … especially here in Sham [the Syrian region] … and because, God willing, it will be to this country that our families will do the holy migration,' says one in Bahasa Indonesia peppered with Arabic phrases." In "The ISIS Extremists Causing Havoc in Iraq Are Getting Funds and Recruits From Southeast Asia," by Yenni Kwok, Time, 17 June 2014.
If it is not Islam which is the source of the violence as Muslim slaughters Muslim, then who defines Islam and, as importantly, who is not allowed to define Islam? The Sunni ISIS? The Iranian Quds battalions? The Shias of Iraq? The Kurds? The OIC?
The OIC tried to defend Islam from a "growing misperception," but a growing perception in news reports and pictures, some supplied by ISIS itself, says "slaughtering their enemies" is a fact in this supposed modern world of radical, militant Islam.
And so, the picture continues as the Islamic State evidences Islamophobia directed against Iraqi Muslims: "The Islamic State group is conducting a purge, killing dozens of former policemen and soldiers living in areas of Iraq under its control, in a campaign apparently aimed at preventing any uprising against its extremist rule. Former officers have been gunned down in their homes, rounded up and shot in groups or killed in public squares as an example to others in recent weeks, particularly in the northern city of Mosul, the largest city in the swath of territory bridging Iraq and neighboring Syria that the militant group controls." In "Fearing uprising, Iraq militants hunt ex-police," Al Arabiya, 31 October 2014.
So using the loose definition of Islamophobia, is the Islamic State Islamophobic as it fears an "uprising against its extremist rule," or should other Iraqis be Islamophobic in considering the threat of the Islamic State to them? It is one, or it is the other, Muslim against Muslim.
[ 24 ] The announcements from this new leader are clear: "Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the self-proclaimed leader of the Islamic State stretching across Iraq and Syria, has vowed to lead the conquest of Rome as he called on Muslims to immigrate to his new land to fight under its banner around the globe. Baghdadi, who holds a PhD in Islamic studies, said Muslims were being targetted and killed from China to Indonesia. Speaking as the first Caliph, or commander of the Islamic faithful since the dissolution of the Ottoman empire, he called on Muslims to rally to his pan-Islamic state." In "Rome will be conquered next, says leader of Islamic State," by Damien McElroy, Telegraph UK, 1 July 2014.
While the OIC -- co-chaired by an American Secretary of State worries about misconceptions about Islam not being a expansionist religion, and while one recalls President Bush's statement that Islam is a "religion of peace," one finds the statements targeting the entire north of Africa, India and now Rome itself -- and therefore the Vatican -- one sees that the words of the OIC are patently false, the support of two American presidents' administrations for a "religion of peace" as demonstrably false, and the brutality of Muslim against Muslim is proven again and again.
This returns one to the image of Muslim against Muslim in the article, "Americans performing Hajj attacked in Saudi Arabia," and the ancient tale of Karbala. Islam is not one religion, one entity or one theological picture. It is a fractured and fractious stream of socio-political culture which cannot live at peace with itself, and demonstrably not with others. What the OIC terms "misperceptions" are perceptions. All that is needed from the talking heads of the OIC is to make peace among all Muslims worldwide, beginning with the ISIS "state" demanding that its caliph -- not the OIC and its members -- rules all Muslims. If the OIC's many participants do not accede to this caliph, shall we call them Islamophobes. Or shall we call the new caliph an Islamophobe for the murder of so many Muslims on the way to his self-appointment? This tale can never end well.
[ 25 ] The original story from Le Parisien: "Ces derniers ont frappé la victime, à plusieurs reprises, au visage parce qu'elle était en train de manger un sandwich au jambon. Les deux agresseurs, qui ont prétendu être musulmans, ont estimé avoir été offensés par cette consommation de porc sous leurs yeux avant de s'en prendre au jeune homme. Un témoin, un ami de la victime présent au moment des faits, a été entendu par les enquêteurs et a confirmé la réalité de l'agression." In "Agressé à cause d'une tranche de jambon," Le Parisien, 12 June 2014.
[ 26 ] One learns that, according to Muslim scholars, Islamists in general and ISIS in particular presents "...a danger to Islam and Muslims, tarnishing its image." The completes the circle of logic which was begun with the OIC complaint about Westerners and Western opinions of Islam, as they worried of "ideas that Muslims are inclined to violence including revenge and retaliation; that Islam is an inherently expansionist religion, which strives for political influence, and whose followers are obsessed with proselytizing others...." and so on. What Islam seems then to be facing is not only accused Islamophobia in the West, but also accused Islamophobia within Islam itself.
When Will Muslims Learn How To Build Rather Than Destory?
One sees in 2013 "Americans [Muslims] performing Hajj attacked in Saudi Arabia" by other Muslims, an echo as the article noted of the tale of Karbala, so many centuries ago. Islamophobia is therefore, from its beginnings until this day, an Islamic problem centuries in the making. The OIC worried about and defined Islamophobia by a "growing misperception vis-à-vis Islam and Muslims." The above news reports suggest that the misperception is being clarified by the enormous challenges facing Islam in a modern world, one in which a grand mufti "denounces" Muslims, while some Muslims reject such denunciation and demand all Muslims acknowledge a newly declared caliph, and another Muslim wonders, "When will Muslims learn to built rather than destroy?" Issues such as these will not be answered, but by Muslims.
The coming decades will tell the tale. It will not be one of "misperceptions." It will be one of documented stories, witnessed by the world. It will be one of perceptions.
As to perceptions, one reads: "With its fluid meaning, the word 'Islamophobia' amalgamates two very different concepts: the persecution of believers, which is a crime; and the critique of religion, which is a right. A newcomer in the semantic field of antiracism, this term has the ambition of making Islam untouchable by placing it on the same level as anti-Semitism." In "There’s No Such Thing as Islamophobia, Critique of religion is a fundamental Western right, not an illness," by Pascal Bruckner, City Journal, Summer 2017.
A Western Left Defends Radical Islam?
Bruckner notes: "...the strangest factor in the whole Islamophobia controversy emerges: the enlistment of a part of the American and European Left in the defense of the most radical form of Islam—what one might call the neo-Bolshevik bigotry of the lost believers of Marxism. Having lost everything—the working class, the Third World—the Left clings to this illusion: Islam, rebaptized as the religion of the poor, becomes the last utopia, replacing those of Communism and decolonization for disenchanted militants. The Muslim takes the place of the proletarian."
Seeking the next post-modern, cultural Marxist oppressed group, believers in Islam become "oppressed," as if this stance can pass the obvious test that the Organization of Islamic Countries with Islamic governments in an enormous group demographically. Living in Muslim-dominated societies, the only way these can be oppressed is by their Islamic governments, as by the internal contradiction that there is no one, approved and clearly defined Islam to begin with. Yet as a stance it is openly supremacist, and that cannot jive with the game of playing victim. It more clearly aligns with the view that Islam is an oppressor by reason of its supremacist stance.
Bruckner's observations end this way: "...it is precisely this indifference that the fundamentalists want to eradicate. It cannot be the equal of other faiths, since it believes itself superior to them all. This is the core of the problem."
[ 27 ] How is the "barbaric" Islamic State's sexual violence against women Islamic?
How is the "barbaric" Islamic State's sexual violence against girls Islamic?
How is the "barbaric" Islamic State's sexual violence against boys Islamic?
How is the "barbaric" Islamic State's sexual violence against minority communities Islamic?
How Islamophobic is it to inquire about such barbarity as justified by Islam?
All that need be done to the OIC statement about Islamophobia is to add words to clarify that some of Islam's tapestry is indeed radical, violent, expansionist, obsessed with conversion, and deprives women and children of their human rights and dignity. Or to define some Muslims as non-Islamic? But is that not the story of Karbala from centuries ago?
Like the imagery of the snake eating its own tale, the narrative is circular from the seventh century until now, and this argues for being informed as is Islamophobia Revisited - .
[ 28 ] Islam is not a unified religion. It is shattered, and has been since the death of Ali centuries ago, which marks a schism between the general streams of Sunni and Shia Islam. Since then more schisms have occurred, and more murderous anger stirred up thereby.
Advocating for Restrictions Against Non-Muslims
One reads as one contemporary example among many: "Pakistan born Islamic cleric Rafiq Khan defined America as “The land of Infidels” at a fundraiser for his Islamic charity this Saturday. The event which was held at a Holiday Inn in Springfield, Virginia attracted over 100 participants. Speakers included an Islamist from Pakistan as well as radical Imams from the states of Maryland, Virginia, and Texas. The conference revolved around the topics of Jihad, Infidels and what can the American Muslim community do to counter conspiracies against Islam." In "Pakistani-American Muslims call for restrictions against 'non-Muslims'," by Ehsan Rehan, Rabwah Times, 20 November 2017.
So who decides? The most numerous? The most violent? The article notes that this "cleric" who so easily sees America as a land of infidels also sees other strains of Islam in the same way. One reads: "Event moderator Omar F. Khan, who is a teacher at the 'Idara Dawat-O-Irshad' charity went to great lengths to explain why Shiites Muslims were also 'Infidels'. During a Question and Answer session, Pakistani speaker Habib-ur-Rehman Ludhianvi warned the U.S. Government to 'stop giving refuge to the adherents of the Qadiani faith [Ahmadis]' who he claimed were worse than Jews & Christians."
It becomes clear that in this supposedly modern age, 7th century rivalries are stirring the minds of many, as if the passage of time and the many lessons of history have no clarifying value. So much for coexistence, tolerance and solidarity. When Muslims must adopt Islamophobia as a way of thinking -- aggregated into these many citations and others cited in related rhymes, addenda and footnotes -- Islam cannot speak with one, consistent and coherent voice.
Convinced to Become an Apostate from Islamic State Muslims
What the many sourced examples of murderous Islamic radicals has managed is a growing revulsion around the world, and even in the Islamic world. One reads as an example: "Like Jasim, Firas also turned away from Islam after witnessing ISIS atrocities. He converted to Christianity around six months ago. 'ISIS members were terrorizing people and then going to the mosque to pray to Allah,' said Firas, 47, who is a farmer and asked for his last name not to be published for security reasons. 'After their prayers, they would leave the mosque and terrorize people again'." In "Life under ISIS led these Muslims to Christianity," by Yuliya Talmazan, NBC News, 2 February 2019.
From that NBC article one reads the testimony: " 'If heaven is made for ISIS and their belief, I would choose hell for myself instead of being again with them in the same place, even if it’s paradise,' he said."
The Islamic State Belief in a Paradise?
Then what is the scriptural justification behind such a "belief" that motivates Islamic State violence? One reads as one example among many: "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 Sunnah.com, Vol. 5, Book 37, Hadith 4337.
For those Muslims who rationalize this sort of sentiment, or even dilute it, such texts have been preserved within Islam itself. Thus the range of sample texts from the many, sourced articles above addresses directly and broadly a central problem for Islam itself, confronting a diverse, modern and multivalent world of a variety of beliefs.
The Islamic States Creates Ex-Muslims
But the carnage of the Islamic State has its effects even among Muslims, now ex-Muslims. One reads: "A community of Syrians who converted to Christianity from Islam is growing in Kobani, a town besieged by Islamic State for months, and where the tide turned against the militants four years ago. The converts say the experience of war and the onslaught of a group claiming to fight for Islam pushed them towards their new faith. After a number of families converted, the Syrian-Turkish border town's first evangelical church opened last year." In "Muslims convert to Christianity in Syrian town once besieged by ISIS," Reuters, 16 April 2019.
One notes "the experience of war and the onslaught of a group claiming to fight for Islam" cannot simply by dismissed with a wave of the hand and the accusing pejorative, Islamophobia .
Reuters reports of the Islamic State and its rejection: "...Zani Bakr, 34, arrived last year from Afrin, a town in northern Syria. He converted in 2007. 'This was painted by IS as a religious conflict, using religious slogans. Because of this a lot of Kurds lost trust in religion generally, not just Islam,' he said. Many became atheist or agnostic. 'But many others became Christian. Scores here and more in Afrin'."
[ 29 ] From the NBC article: "... the brutality he witnessed in the caliphate was too much to bear. 'If heaven is made for ISIS and their belief, I would choose hell for myself instead of being again with them in the same place, even if it’s paradise,' he said."
Of the Islamic State Muslims, it is worth repeating: "After their prayers, they would leave the mosque and terrorize people again." Are the new converts, as above, Islamophobic? If ex-Muslims are deemed by the intellectuals and fourth estate editorial writers to be Islamophobic, then the accusation itself is simply "dawa."
Increasingly outdated - costs are being tabulated
"All this is symptomatic of an international tax order under stress—unsurprisingly, since it was built piecemeal on the basis of principles that have become increasingly outdated (as a result, among other things, of the increased importance of intrafirm trade, of services that can be delivered remotely, of the easing of capital movements, and of massively increased financial sophistication)." In "Fiscal Monitor: Taxing Times," International Monetary Fund, October 2013. [ 1 ]
They're increasingly outdated, we're told some 'principles' are.
What's increasingly outdated is ignoring principles by far.
The oldest principles tell their tale that the newer lies would not,
Of frugality and conserving, of not wasting what one's got.
But waste is a matter of spending more than one takes in,
And this is the modern un-principle which is also the modern sin.
The question is not to tax yet more but rather to wisely spend
No more than one has well in hand to arrive at a principled end.
To build one's house on borrowing is construction on shifting sands,
And the oldest principles tell us true that fairylands...
...such as these modern un-principles have preached unto their choirs,
Cause debts to soar into crises, for without principle one acquires...
...only the crises built piecemeal when universal truths deep sleep.
It's time to rouse old principles, as the new lie in a heap...
...of failed promises piled to peaks as failure looms so huge.
These years of unprincipled indebtedness invite a great deluge.
They're increasingly outdated, said the outdated blithering fools
Who worked deeds of indebtedness which true principle ridicules.
Medium- and longer-term fiscal plans is oxymoronic when
Those such as these fat internationalists would tax just more again.
What objectives are to be served by the taxmen and their friends?
The same old plan as ever was, gathering wealth for their own ends.
Rent seeking by aristocrats becomes seeking by bureaucrats too,
The same seeking of the rent, by which the oldest sins are new.
They're increasingly outdated, we learn some 'principles' are.
These un-principled seekers of their rent are now each a commissar.
The oldest principles tell true tales that commissars' words will not,
Of frugality and conserving, of not wasting in waste's juggernaut.
The tax order is under stress, they say, to pay for all and more?
This is just the ancient tale, predicting what sin holds in store.
More and more, we must have more, says the politics of tax,
This is the new un-principle which defends with its attacks.
They were increasingly outdated, we were told old principles were.
What's increasingly outdated? Governments' tendencies tend to err.
Corral the wealth, and capital cage? In these most taxing times?
What then is left? Unsurprisingly, theft becomes their best of crimes.
Envoi: "The rich over the poor ruleth, / And a servant the borrower to the lender." Proverbs 22:7
Addendum to Dull the Edge of Husbandry: "Costly thy habit as thy purse can buy, / But not express'd in fancy; rich, not gaudy; / For the apparel oft proclaims the man, / And they in France of the best rank and station / Are of a most select and generous chief in that. / Neither a borrower nor a lender be; / For loan oft loses both itself and friend, / And borrowing dulls the edge of husbandry. / This above all: to thine ownself be true, / And it must follow, as the night the day, / Thou canst not then be false to any man." Polonius's advice to Laertes, a father to his son, in "Hamlet," William Shakespeare.
Addendum of the IMF's Part in Things: "Thirdly, the Wall Street–IMF–Treasury complex that came to dominate economic policy in the Clinton years was able to persuade, cajole, and (thanks to structural adjustment programmes administered by the IMF) coerce many developing countries to take the neoliberal road. The US also used the carrot of preferential access to its huge consumer market to persuade many countries to reform their economies along neoliberal lines (in some instances through bilateral trade agreements). These policies helped produce a boom in the US in the 1990s. The US, riding a wave of technological innovation that underpinned the rise of a so-called ‘new economy’, looked as if it had the answer and that its policies were worthy of emulation, even though the relatively full employment achieved was at low rates of pay under conditions of diminishing social protections (the number of people without health insurance grew). Flexibility in labour markets and reductions in welfare provision (Clinton’s draconian overhaul of ‘the welfare system as we know it’) began to pay off for the US and put competitive pressures on the more rigid labour markets that prevailed in most of Europe (with the exception of Britain) and Japan. The real secret of US success, however, was that it was now able to pump high rates of return into the country from its financial and corporate operations (both direct and portfolio investments) in the rest of the world. It was this flow of tribute from the rest of the world that founded much of the affluence achieved in the US in the 1990s (Figures 1.8 and 1.9)." "Uneven Geographical Developments," Chapter Four of "A Brief History of Neoliberalism," by David Harvey, Oxford University Press, 2005. [ 2 ]
Addendum: "The principle of spending money to be paid by posterity, under the name of funding, is but swindling futurity on a large scale." Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826) [ 3 ]
Addendum: "Now all loans, in the eyes of honest borrowers, must eventually be repaid. All credit is debt. Proposals for an increased volume of credit, therefore, are merely another name for proposals for an increased burden of debt. They would seem considerably less inviting if they were habitually referred to by the second name instead of by the first." In "Economics in One Lesson," by Henry Hazlitt, Harper and Brothers, 1946. [ 4 ]
Addendum of Collusion: "The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation sued 16 of the world's largest banks on Friday, accusing them of colluding to suppress interest rates. The lawsuit, filed in the federal district court in New York, was the latest to accuse financial institutions of conspiring to manipulate Libor, or the London Interbank Offered Rate. The FDIC said the defendants' conduct caused substantial losses to 38 banks that the U.S. regulator had taken into receivership since 2008, including Washington Mutual Bank and IndyMac Bank. 'The closed banks' losses flowed directly from, among other things, the harm to competition caused by the fraud and collusion alleged in the complaint,' the FDIC said in the lawsuit. The banks named as defendants include Bank of America Corp, Barclays PLC, Citigroup Inc, Credit Suisse Group AG, Deutsche Bank AG, HSBC Holdings PLC, JPMorgan Chase & Co, the Royal Bank of Scotland Group PLC and UBS AG. The lawsuit also named the British Bankers' Association, the U.K. trade organization that during the period at issue administered Libor." In "U.S. regulator sues 16 banks for rigging key interest rate," by Nate Raymond, Reuters, 14 March 2014. [ 5 ]
[ 1 ] The International Monetary Fund's report continues with this. "There are no universal truths as to how to make tax reform happen. Countries’ peculiarities—the idiosyncrasies of their electoral politics, third rails that no politician can safely touch—loom large. What is clear, however, is that tax systems in many countries, and the wider international setting in which they operate and interact, have been going through difficult and trying—taxing—times. Reviewing the performance of those systems, and the objectives they are intended to serve, must be a critical part of formulating and fleshing out medium- and longer-term fiscal plans."
As one often observes, the mention of "objectives" is rarely formulated and fleshed out in any detailed manner. The reasons for this become self-apparent as one observes the assertion that "there are no universal truths" as has been repeatedly demonstrated in the collapse of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, as in other failing and failed states. One notes that the crises so often mentioned by IMF analyses and working papers is about raising from and distributing money to governments. It is therefore wise of this IMF reverie about methods for better "taxing" to support government "objectives" to review the universal truth that governments tax through a variety of methods, some of which individuals see as outright theft. See: Tell me that you'll take my cash .
Confiscation of wealth is the "objective." Even and perhaps especially from a middle class, when an IMF can claim "no universal truths" about so-called tax reform. Where has debt and therefore taxation to pay for said debt been lowered under most modern governments today? Where has it increased?
[ 2 ] One reads further: "The management and manipulation of crises. Beyond the speculative and often fraudulent froth that characterizes much of neoliberal financial manipulation, there lies a deeper process that entails the springing of 'the debt trap' as a primary means of accumulation by dispossession. Crisis creation, management, and manipulation on the world stage has evolved into the fine art of deliberative redistribution of wealth from poor countries to the rich. I documented the impact of Volcker’s interest rate increase on Mexico earlier. While proclaiming its role as a noble leader organizing 'bail-outs' to keep global capital accumulation on track, the US paved the way to pillage the Mexican economy. This was what the US Treasury–Wall Street–IMF complex became expert at doing everywhere. Greenspan at the Federal Reserve deployed the same Volcker tactic several times in the 1990s. Debt crises in individual countries, uncommon during the 1960s, became very frequent during the 1980s and 1990s. Hardly any developing country remained untouched, and in some cases, as in Latin America, such crises became endemic. These debt crises were orchestrated, managed, and controlled both to rationalize the system and to redistribute assets. Since 1980, it has been calculated, 'over fifty Marshall Plans (over $4.6 trillion) have been sent by the peoples at the Periphery to their creditors in the Center'. 'What a peculiar world', sighs Stiglitz, 'in which the poor countries are in effect subsidizing the richest.' What neoliberals call 'confiscatory deflation' is, furthermore, nothing other than accumulation by dispossession. Wade and Veneroso capture the essence of this when they write of the Asian crisis of 1997–8: Financial crises have always caused transfers of ownership and power to those who keep their own assets intact and who are in a position to create credit, and the Asian crisis is no exception . . . there is no doubt that Western and Japanese corporations are the big winners . . . The combination of massive devaluations, IMF-pushed financial liberalization, and IMF-facilitated recovery may even precipitate the biggest peacetime transfer of assets from domestic to foreign owners in the past fifty years anywhere in the world, dwarfing the transfers from domestic to US owners in Latin America in the 1980s or in Mexico after 1994. One recalls the statement attributed to Andrew Mellon: 'In a depression assets return to their rightful owners'." In "Neoliberalism on Trial," Chapter Six of "A Brief History of Neoliberalism," by David Harvey, Oxford University Press, 2005.
Principles? Of course the word is misapplied. What is meant by the IMF and its partners is "strategy." As Harvey notes, the strategy is to employ crises because such "crises have always caused transfers of ownership and power to those who keep their own assets intact and who are in a position to create credit..."
Frugality is a positive principle, as is true credit of the upright and honest. But the continued issuing of credit by central banks and the IMF followed by demands to governments doing the borrowing to increase the taxation of its people is not a matter of principle, but a cynical strategy to transfer wealth -- to creditors such as national banks and the IMF. Ergo their stated concern for an "international tax order" which will restrict fungible capital from escaping them. These are indeed taxing times, and it is the middle classes which must further be squeezed to satisfy the cries of "more."
In contradistinction to frugality, one finds governments following the foolhardy path of increasing debt. A high-level confession is found now: "We went on a bond-buying spree that was supposed to help Main Street. Instead, it was a feast for Wall Street. I can only say: I'm sorry, America. As a former Federal Reserve official, I was responsible for executing the centerpiece program of the Fed's first plunge into the bond-buying experiment known as quantitative easing. The central bank continues to spin QE as a tool for helping Main Street. But I've come to recognize the program for what it really is: the greatest backdoor Wall Street bailout of all time." In "Andrew Huszar: Confessions of a Quantitative Easer," by Andrew Huzar, Wall Street Journal, 11 November 2013.
In the same way, governments around the world have been playing the same game, either foolishly believing there will be no costs or, more likely, to affect some form of what might be best described as looting of the public treasury by the mechanism of increasing and unsustainable debt.
[ 3 ] Just as Jefferson notes such "borrowing" to be essentially theft from a future generation, and as Harvey terms the repayment of such public debt a "flow of tribute," one finds plain talk irritating to the central bankers and those such as speak for the International Monetary Fund.
One reads: “If history shows anything, it is that there's no better way to justify relations founded on violence, to make such relations seem moral, than by reframing them in the language of debt—above all, because it immediately makes it seem that it's the victim who's doing something wrong.” David Graeber, in "Debt: The First 5,000 Years," Melville House, 2011.
The IMF article cited above speaks of "increasingly outdated" principles, though it is better to identify them as mere cynical strategies as justification for heavier burdens of taxes on whole nations.
One reads further: "They tell us that the government can spend and spend without taxing at all; that it can continue to pile up debt without ever paying it off, because 'we owe it to ourselves' We shall return to such extraordinary doctrines at a later point. Here I am afraid that we shall have to be dogmatic, and point out that such pleasant dreams in the past have always been shattered by national insolvency or a runaway inflation. Here we shall have to say simply that all government expenditures must eventually be paid out of die proceeds of taxation; that to put off the evil day merely increases the problem, and that inflation itself is merely a form, and a particularly vicious form of taxation." In "Economics in One Lesson," by Henry Hazlitt, Harper and Brothers, 1946.
One may thereby modify the notion of "a flow of tribute" with the adjective "vicious." This is what is espoused in part by calling for a stronger "international tax order." As was observed so long ago, "There are two ways to conquer and enslave a country. One is by the sword. The other is by debt.” John Adams (1735-1826)
Ergo this "flow of tribute" is a swindle leading into enslavement, such as many heavily-indebted nations are learning in a very real way. The lure of "financing" government was a seduction into debt and thereby into national slavery. See: Revolutionary Economics - debt slavery for a rhyme calling this out..
[ 4 ] Jefferson tells us such debt is "swindling," while Graeber suggests it is victimization of a people and Hazlitt terms the hidden tax of inflation "vicious." Graeber concludes his work with the following:
"What is a debt, anyway ? A debt is just the perversion of a promise. It is a promise corrupted by both math and violence. If freedom (real freedom) is the ability to make friends, then it is also, necessarily, the ability to make real promises. What sorts of promises might genuinely free men and women make to one another? At this point we can't even say. It's more a question of how we can get to a place that will allow us to find out. And the first step in that journey, in turn, is to accept that in the largest scheme of things, just as no one has the right to tell us our true value, no one has the right to tell us what we truly owe."
Thus one may correctly conclude that the call for an "international tax order" is the antithesis of that simple liberty by which one may affirm a human right: Excepting that personal debt each of us accepts, "...no one has the right to tell us what we truly owe." This message is essentially a revolutionary cry, but against what?
Statements such as one finds in the supposedly-antiquated Book of Proverbs -- not an "increasingly outdated" set of principles -- suggests that the "rich that rule" are. "The rich over the poor ruleth, / And a servant the borrower to the lender." Proverbs 22:7. Would one avoid being poor by being a borrower, one would eschew debt and thereby overturn "rule" for freedom. This has been a revolutionary notion for millennia.
Thus, whether in a socialist or state capitalist form of governance, it remains the rich rulers of the state who quake at such assertions, for most revolutions have merely served to install the next "rich rulers." For this, see: Revolution revolves but once - lèse majesté remains among its stunts.
For similar reasoning, the truly revolutionary truth leaks about about Capital for Communists - a story growing old, as it does regarding Western nations and the phenomenon of Fat, fat government . The truly revolutionary truth is that Socialists love money, and that the IMF and its "rich" and un-taxed leadership do as well: Hippogrizzly - a zoological fantasy.
Unsurprisingly, Communists like China's Xi Jinping, socialists like the IMF's Christine Lagarde, Western democrats like Barak Obama and central bankers like Ben Bernanke all espouse increasing national debt. There should be no question why, given the documentation as above. They seek a flow of tribute. They seek rent. They seek to capture capital for their own purposes.
Consider the language which might so easily conflate to the following sentence: Swindlers demand their flow of tribute, and are willing to be vicious and pervert promises in order to enslave people. Such is what Jefferson and Adams knew from their principles. Such is what Graeber and Hazlitt concluded from their principles. Such is what Shakespeare in Polonius' advice to his own son advised. Such is the advice of Proverbs. Avoid debt, and be free. Principles such as these are not outdated.
Accept debt -- which "no one has the right to tell us what we truly owe" -- and be enslaved to debt and ruled by the rich. This "principle" -- the un-principle par excellence -- is becoming ever more outdated. Time will tell.
[ 5 ] In spite of the IMF's assertion that the "international tax order [ is ] under stress, what seems not "increasingly outdated" is making profits by collusion. The article about the FDIC lawsuit also names others: "The complaint asserts claims against the banks including breach of contract, unjust enrichment, fraud, conspiracy and negligent misrepresentation. It seeks unspecified damages in order to recover for losses sustained by the closed banks that the regulator seized. Other defendants in the lawsuit include Rabobank, Lloyds Banking Group plc, Societe Generale, Norinchukin Bank, Royal Bank of Canada, Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ and WestLB AG."
One learns more: "The Serious Fraud Office (SFO) has charged three former Barclays employees in connection with its investigation into the manipulation of Libor. Peter Johnson, Jonathan Mathew and Stylianos Contogoulas allegedly conspired to defraud between 1 June 2005 and 31 August 2007, said the SFO. The investigation into the alleged fixing of the key benchmark Libor rate was launched in 2012. Barclays was fined £290m ($454m) in 2012 by British and US regulators. Its previous fine was over the manipulation of Libor and Euribor interbank rates between 2005 and 2009." In "Former Barclays employees named in Libor criminal case," BBC, 17 February 2014.
One might well conclude that the consumer -- who is also the ultimate taxpayer -- has been hit by "manipulation" of interest rates, as by government taxation which demands massive debts created by government borrowing be repaid. Perhaps it becomes time to consider De fault in de plan .
There's God and then there's Allah
"The unanimous decision by three Muslim judges in Malaysia's appeals court overturned a 2009 ruling by a lower court that allowed the Malay-language version of the newspaper, The Herald, to use the word Allah - as many Christians in Malaysia say has been the case for centuries. 'The usage of the word Allah is not an integral part of the faith in Christianity,' chief judge Mohamed Apandi Ali said in the ruling. 'The usage of the word will cause confusion in the community.' The decision coincides with heightened ethnic and religious tension in Malaysia after a polarizing May election, in which the long-ruling coalition was deserted by urban voters that included a large section of minority ethnic Chinese." In "Malaysian court rules use of "Allah" exclusive to Muslims," by Siva Sithraputhran, Reuters, 14 October 2013.
There's God and then there's Allah,
Said a melee fair and square.
It's odd that this distinction
Knocks Allah off God's chair.
Such is the strangest nature
Of languages and names
Which refuses plain translation
To fan religious flames.
Okay, so Allah isn't God,
Muslim judges have pronounced,
Ergo it's simple logic
Which herein now has pounced.
Shall we agree? Let's do so then.
Allah's not the same as God.
It's a logical conclusion
For this judgment day. How odd.
Names are written now à la carte,
One legal melee judged in its decree.
It's God that this distinction
Defines quite wordlessly.
There's God and then there's Allah,
So is Allah then not God?
One courts this noun'd conundrum
Through a judgment, strangely odd.
Who shall not use a word? A name?
Misuse? Abuse? It's all the same.
Not integral to a faith's the claim.
In the end it's just a naming game.
Envoi du bon Dieu, which is not Allah: "J'ai toujours fait une prière à Dieu, qui est fort courte. La voici: Mon Dieu, rendez nos ennemis bien ridicules! Dieu m'a exaucé." [ 1 ]
Addendum of So Many Names: "The 99 names of God or 99 names of Allah (Arabic: أسماء الله الحسنى ʾasmāʾ allāh al-ḥusnā), are the Names of God by which Muslims regard God (Allah) and which are described in the Qur'an, and Sunnah, amongst other places. There is, according to hadith, a special group of 99 names but no enumeration of them. Thus the exact list is not agreed upon, and the Names of God (as adjectives, word constructs, or otherwise) exceed 99 in the Qur'an and Sunnah. According to a hadith narrated by Abdullah ibn Mas'ud some of the names of God have been hidden from mankind, therefore there are not only 99 names of God but there are more." From Wikiepdia, Names of God in Islam, accessed 14 October 2013. [ 2 ]
Addendum of Equivalency: "The paradox of God’s being simultaneously near and remote is essentially expressed in the fact that he has a name. Whatever has a name can be talked about, can be talked to, according to whether it is absent or present. God is never absent. Hence there is no theoretical concept of God. God alone has a name that is also a concept; his concept is also his name." In "Franz Rosenzweig," Nahum Glatzer, ed., Schocken, 1960. [ 3 ]
Addendum from Antiquity: "The relation of this name, which in Babylonia and Assyrian became a generic term simply meaning 'god', to the Arabian Ilah familiar to us in the form Allah, which is compounded of al, the definite article, and Ilah by eliding the vowel 'i', is not clear. Some scholars trace the name to the South Arabian Ilah, a title of the Moon god, but this is a matter of antiquarian interest." In "Islam," by Alfred Guillaume, Penguin, Baltimore, 1956. [ 4 ]
Addendum to Continue the Story: "Malaysian Islamic authorities have seized more than 300 copies of the Bible from the Bible Society of Malaysia (BSM), over the use of the word 'Allah' in native translations. BSM was accused of violating the law by using the word 'Allah' to refer to God in Bahasa and Iban language Bibles." In "Malaysian Islamic Authorities Seize Bibles as 'Allah' Controversy Worsens," by Divya Avasthy, International Business Times, 3 January 2014.
Addendum as the Trend Continues: "The Brunei government will ban the use of 19 Islamic words, including 'Allah' and 'masjid', by non-Muslims, according to the Brunei Times today. The ban will take effect from April, the paper said. Under the Syariah Penal Code Order, these words cannot be used with respect to other religions. They are azan; baitullah; Al Quran; Allah; fatwa; Firman Allah; hadith; haji; hukum syara'; ilahi; Ka'bah; kalimah al syahadah; kiblat; masjid; imam; mufti; mu'min; solat; and wali. The Brunei Times quoted Hardifadhillah Mohd Salleh, a senior syariah legal officer of the Islamic Legal Unit as telling staff of the Industry and Primary Resources Ministry on key parts of the order during a briefing. He also said certain provisions of the order also apply to non-Muslims, such as zina (adultery) with a Muslim partner, drinking alcohol in a public place, and khalwat (close proximity) with a Muslim partner." In "19 Islamic words banned for non-Muslims in Brunei," by Sulok Tawie, Sun Daily (Malaysia), 23 February 2014.
Addendum of Super-Heroes with god-like Powers: "After fighting skyscraper-sized aliens and monsters for nearly five decades, Ultraman’s heroic service isn’t wanted anymore – at least in Malaysia. The Malay-language edition of the comic book 'Ultraman the Ultra Power' has been banned because it contains 'elements that may threaten public order,' Malaysia’s Home Ministry said in a March 5 statement. Another statement on Friday clarified that the ban was due to use of the term 'Allah' to describe the Japanese superhero. The move, which has drawn public ridicule on the Internet, comes amid rising tensions between majority Muslims and minority Christians over the use of the word, which means God. Malaysia’s highest court is currently weighing whether to grant the Catholic Church permission to appeal a lower court ruling that bans it from referring to the Christian God as 'Allah.' The Home Ministry imposed the ban because the character Ultraman is 'an idol for children' and the use of the term Allah could 'confuse' their thinking." In "Malaysia Takes Down Ultraman," by Jason Ng, Wall Street Journal, 7 March 2014.
Addendum of Distinction in Words: " 'I was really annoyed and sad,' Hood River mayor, Paul Blackburn, said. 'I am annoyed that in this political season there's a solid case of ugly going on. I think it norms up this kind of behavior like 'oh it's okay to be a bigot now'.'" In "Messages on church reader board stir controversy," by Stephen Mayer, KATU/FOX 57, 14 May 2016. [ 5 ]
Addendum of Ongoing Litigation in Malaysia: "...they had sought to quash the Home Ministry’s decision to seize three boxes of Malay-language Christian educational books that contained the word 'Allah'. The books for Christian children that SIB imported from Indonesia were seized at the international budget airport terminal in Sepang on August 15, 2007 while in transit. They were later returned to the Sabah church on January 25, 2008. With the books seized from the Sabah SIB church nine years ago already returned, the church is currently seeking a declaration that it has the constitutional right under Article 11 of the Federal Constitution to use the Arabic word for God “Allah” in the Bahasa Malaysia and Bahasa Indonesia translations of the Christian bible, as well as in all other religious publications and materials. The Christian Bumiputera communities in Sabah and Sarawak typically use Bahasa Malaysia in their holy scriptures and religious practises." In "In Sabah church’s ‘Allah’ case, court asks about AG’s role as public interest guardian By Ida Lim, Malay Mail, 19 July 2016.
Addendum of the Malay Theological Pushback: "Representatives of groups from the seven major religions practised in Malaysia - namely Islam, Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism, Taoism and the Bahai Faith - took part in the forum. Azman said another related proposal was to include information and knowledge about Malaysia's Constitution in the proposed interfaith subject. He said many Malaysians enter university not even knowing the position of Islam as the religion of the Federation and the guarantee given to followers of other religions to practise their respective faith in peace and harmony in any part of the country, as spelt out in Article 3(1) of the Constitution." In "Call for interfaith studies to be taught in Malaysian schools," Asia News Network, 1 August 2016. [ 6 ]
Addendum Telling a Future: "Whenever religious ideology of any shape begins to dominate public life, religious hegemony will follow. And if it happens in one place, it could happen anywhere." In "God by any other name?" by Dr. Eugene Yapp, Lapidomedia Guest Blog, 2 July 2015.
Addendum of a Name: "Meet Wise Intelligent Supreme God Allah. Belying his name, the 18-year-old Ohioan made the imprudent choice Thursday night to be carrying a loaded handgun while a passenger in a car traveling in Akron. During a police traffic stop, Allah was found with a Hi-Point .380 caliber handgun in the waistband of his pants. The Canton resident was arrested on felony weapons charges, according to Akron Municipal Court records." In "Ohioan, 18, Nabbed On Gun Charges Does Not Appear To Be Wise Or Intelligent," The Smoking Gun, 22 August 2016.
Addendum of a Translation by the US Department of Justice: "OD: Emergency 911, this is being recorded./ OM: In the name of God the Merciful, the beneficial [in Arabic] / OD: What? / OM: Praise be to God, and prayers as well as peace be upon the prophet of God [in Arabic]. I let you know, I’m in Orlando and I did the shootings. / OD: What’s your name? / OM: My name is I pledge of allegiance to [omitted]. / OD: Ok, What’s your name? / OM: I pledge allegiance to [omitted] may God protect him [in Arabic], on behalf of [omitted]." In "FBI provides investigative update on Orlando nightclub massacre," BNO News, 20 June 2016.
Addendum of "Allah's Will": "Men in the gruesome clip can be heard shouting 'it's Allah's will' while there are claims that the words 'this is for Syria' were used, in an apparent reference to Western bombing missions in the war-torn country. Separate footage has emerged today showing four men suspected of carrying out the attack pledging their alliance to ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi." In " 'It's Allah's will': Fanatics branded two Scandinavian women the 'enemies of God' as they filmed themselves decapitating one of the tourists in Morocco – 'and posted video pledging allegiance to ISIS'," by Jake Wallis Simons and Julian Robinson, Mail Online, 20 December 2018.
Addendum from the Koran to Non-Muslims: "1. Say: O ye that reject Faith! / 2. I worship not that which ye worship, / 3. Nor will ye worship that which I worship. / 4. And I will not worship that which ye have been wont to worship, / 5. Nor will ye worship that which I worship. / 6. To you be your Way, and to me mine." In "Sūra CIX, Kāfirūn, or Those who reject Faith," Quran, tr. by Yusuf Ali, .
[ 1 ] "I always made one prayer to God, a very short one. Here it is: 'O Lord, make our enemies quite ridiculous!' God granted it." In a letter by Volatire to Étienne Noël Damilaville (16 May 1767).
[ 2 ] It is instructive to note that all theological streams suggest that there is mystery and for man an unknowable or ineffable. At the same moment it is instructive to observe that governments and laws are quite incapable of this simple wisdom. When Islam in its own documents states that some names have been "hidden from mankind," one might fairly conclude that the Malay judges were unaware of or just simply ignored this historical and scriptural advice, documented as given by Abdullah ibn Mas'ud who is cited as among the first converts to Mohammed and a contemporary companion of his.
One notes that in terms of this recent Malay court decision by Sunni judges the Wiki article must also be incorrect for having posted the sentence beginning with "...99 names of God or 99 names of Allah...."
Colonialism by Both British English and Middle Eastern Arabic
It is instructive to note the picture of the banner above. The banner is neither in Malay or Arabic, but a slogan written in English. For whom is such a banner and slogan in English targeted? Obviously to those who read English. So is Allah an English name and proper noun? Imported into another language? Malaysia was a British colony from the 1800s and is a relatively new independent nation, with various steps along that process from 1957 to 1963. While Malaysia in several scripts is the official language, English remains the second language and used in business as in instruction and administration per the National language Act of 1967. These two among over 100 languages and especially Chinese for the largest of the minorities are all "imports," in one way or another, because the indigenous languages of the tribes were, well, indigenous. So the proper name, Allah from the Arabic, is an import -- one among many, and most definitely not indigenous.
Since one notes that the British "colonized" what has become the nation of Malaysia, is it not also that the English language "colonized" an indigenous culture? And if this model is held to, then both Christianity and Islam with accompanying religious texts are also "colonialism," from an earlier age. Such is the nature of the argument about culture, when one includes religion as a part of and purveyor of cultural notions, word usage and definitions and legal decisions via legislation and the courts which codify these.
Therefore, one may say with consistency that the advocacy of Islamic law is itself supremacist as well as colonial in nature. For this the Malay court has taken a word's definition and installed it into a kind of legalistic and linguistic apartheid.
[ 3 ] Taking the "concept is also his name" view suggests plainly that the Malay Muslims who argue this argue thereby that the concept and name are essentially the province only of Muslims, and given this the sentence "God is not Allah" becomes linguistically correct as well as legally true. This political judgment rends a multi-cultural society, as one reads: "The removal sparked a series of attacks on Christian places of worship in an unusual display of religious tension in the multi-faith country." In " 'Allah' banned for use by Christian publication in Malaysia," by Alexander Besant, Global Post, 14 October 2013.
[ 4 ] The question of a name is the question of a language as well. Languages and names have histories buried deep within them, antecedents and re-interpretations of words, grammars and meanings changing as time passes, referencing cultural understandings and philosophical and religious perspectives.
One reads: "The newspaper's supporters have argued that Malay-language Bibles have used Allah to refer to the Christian God since before Malaysia was formed as a federal state in 1963. 'Allah is a term in the Middle East and in Indonesia it is a term both for Christians and Muslims. You cannot say that in all of the sudden it is not an integral part. Malay language is a language that has many borrowed words, Allah also is a borrowed word.' However, some Muslim groups have said that the Christian use of the word Allah could be used to encourage Muslims to convert to Christianity." In "Malaysia court rules non-Muslims cannot use 'Allah'," BBC, 14 October 2013.
Malaysian Islam Dictates Who Can Leave Islam
The concern over conversion away from Islam is seen, as one reads: "Malaysia's highest court has ruled that Christians converting from Islam cannot change their officially registered religion without permission from a sharia court, effectively leaving converts open to being prosecuted for apostasy. The court ruled against four Christian converts from Sarawak on 27 February 2018, who had requested to be able to remove their Muslim status from their compulsory identity cards. Although the panel of five judges admitted that state Islamic courts did not have formal jurisdiction over conversion, they ruled that it 'could be implied' sharia courts could rule on those wishing to convert from Islam. In appealing to a sharia court to change religion, converts will leave themselves open to prosecution for apostasy, which carries a three-year jail term." In "Sharia courts given jurisdiction over Christian conversion in Malaysia," Global Christian News, 1 March 2018.
Herein one finds the real motivation which, as above, ignores the consequences of disputes over language. The concern is over conversion by Muslims so threatened, but obviously not the same concern as in other communities in Malaysia. In a blunder of political jurisprudence, a "decision by three Muslim judges" has demonstrated the hegemonic aim of one community over another. So much for multi-cultural understanding and so-called religious tolerance. The linguistic blunder is now rendered in a legal decision: God is not synonymous with Allah across languages.
As to the origins of Islam, there is no dispute that Islam originated on the Saudi Arabian peninsula. Given this, the Muslim name for god is Arabic in origin, if not as noted above from an earlier sect. One reads: Wikipedia suggest that "Islam was introduced to the Sumatran coast by Arabs in 674 CE." Logically then, the name also was "introduced" -- imported, or colonized -- into what is now Malaysia from what is now called Saudi Arabia. But there is an interesting conundrum specific to Islam, in one way, as to Malaysia in a parallel way. One may make the same observation about Christianity, another import or colonist religion into Malaysia from the Middle East. In both cases, a form of cultural and religious colonialism via proselytizing was the process by which this occurred.
Islam Against Islam
One reads from the same Wiki source: "Malaysian authorities have strict policies against other Islamic sects including Shia Islam." also in Wikipedia's "Islam in Malaysia." As the chief judge noted in news reports, "The usage of the word will cause confusion in the community." Which "community" is meant thereby, one must ask, given that Malay Sunnis have "strict policies against other Islamic sects?"
In the rather normal and very human competition between ideas as well as in the simple phenomenon of debating, one often senses that when words become forbidden to a party in a dialogue, the dialogue is at an end. Perhaps this is what Sunni Islam wishes as regards Christianity in Malaysia, but there are other religions as well as secular viewpoints. This suggests this story is far from over. Continuing strife is assured.
[ 5 ] The mayor of Hood River, Oregon, finds the sign's sentiment bigoted, and yet the distinction made between the words Allah and God is oddly in accord with the Malaysian Muslim 3-judge panel in 2013. If Allah is not God as seen in Western religions, as according to the Malaysia court, one wonders what the mayor of Hood River thinks about his own "solid case of ugly going on." When a American Baptist minister makes the same distinction as does a Malaysian Muslim court, perhaps the mayor proves himself the bigot. Others have trotted out a like argument that A distinction should be made .
It seems more likely that a "kind of behavior like 'oh it's okay to be a bigot now' " well suffices to describe many politically oriented views smearing other politically oriented views with simplistic, childish name-calling. Such has become the nature of poorly informed discourse.
A church pastor's assertion that "Allah is not our God" is linguistic, given the ongoing litigation by Christians in Malaysia, but the assertion that "Muhammad [is] not greater than Jesus" is a statement of Christian belief, as found in many streams of Christianity. Moreover, neither Jesus nor Mohamed are prophets in Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism, and a variety of other world religions, not to mention the modern belief in quasi-religious evangelical secularism.
When one names a belief as "a solid case of ugly," it becomes wise to question the beliefs of such an accuser crying "bigot."
[ 6 ] From a 2013 decision by a court parsing Allah away from non-Islamic translations of God to this 2016 call for "interfaith studies" noting in part that Muslim students are not informed even on Islam, one finds the religious schism of the modern age. As the article notes: "...resolution of disputes involving Malaysians of different faiths would be easier if all sides regarded themselves as Malaysians first and foremost."
One stream of Islam is raging around the world, jihad being violence against others, and another stream of Islam trying to find a different path in which "resolutions of disputes" can be "easier" than outright violence. How? By separating religion from a singular quest for political, temporal power over people "of different faiths." This predicts a new "long war" for the world with Islamic concepts at its center as at its periphery.
Ergo "Such is the strangest nature / Of languages and names / Which refuses plain translation / To fan religious flames."
No correct arithmetic
No correct arithmetic
Morphs a truth into a lie.
No amount of wordy words
Will change the math thereby.
Number. Word. One's best absurd;
The other's plainly not a word.
No process of arithmetic
Inverts a lie to truth.
No above-board figuring
Turns age back into youth.
Word. Number. One is too
Easy to easily lie thereto.
No correct arithmetic
Is what some words will do.
No account, for arithmetic
Will number those lies for you.
Numbers. Words. Both have a place,
But are unequal as to grace.
Envoi: "The math is unforgiving." In "The Clash of Generations," by Robert Samuelson, Washington Post Writers Group, 9 December 2013.
Addendum of Excessive Federal Borrowing: "The fiscal arithmetic of excessive federal borrowing is nasty even when relatively optimistic assumptions are made about growth and interest rates. Currently, net interest payments on the federal debt are around 8% of GDP. But under the CBO's extended baseline scenario, that share could rise to 20% by 2026, 30% by 2049, and 40% by 2072. By 2088, the last date for which the CBO now offers projections, interest payments would—absent any changes in current policy—absorb just under half of all tax revenues. That is another way of saying that policy is unsustainable." In "The Shutdown Is a Sideshow: Debt Is the Threat," by Niall Ferguson, Wall Street Journal, 4 October 2013. [ 1 ]
Addendum on the Scope of Unsustainable Policy: "Based on the CBO’s data, I calculate a fiscal gap of $202 trillion, which is more than 15 times the official debt. This gargantuan discrepancy between our 'official' debt and our actual net indebtedness isn’t surprising. It reflects what economists call the labeling problem. Congress has been very careful over the years to label most of its liabilities 'unofficial' to keep them off the books and far in the future. For example, our Social Security FICA contributions are called taxes and our future Social Security benefits are called transfer payments. The government could equally well have labeled our contributions 'loans' and called our future benefits 'repayment of these loans less an old age tax,' with the old age tax making up for any difference between the benefits promised and principal plus interest on the contributions. The fiscal gap isn’t affected by fiscal labeling. It’s the only theoretically correct measure of our long-run fiscal condition because it considers all spending, no matter how labeled, and incorporates long-term and short-term policy." In "U.S. Is Bankrupt and We Don’t Even Know It: Laurence Kotlikoff," Bloomberg News, 11 August 2010. [ 2 ]
Addendum of Way Underestimating: "Greenspan said the U.S. is 'way underestimating' the national debt, which is currently at $18 trillion. 'Largely because we are not including what I would call contingent liabilities, that is the issue of, which is answered by a question: what is the probability that in today’s environment JP Morgan would be allowed to default? The answer is zero or less,' he said. 'Now, that means that whole balance sheet is a contingent liability. Now to be sure, while it’s contingent, there’s no interest payments but ultimately that overhangs the structure because we have committed in so many different ways to guarantee this, that and the other thing. It’s not only Fannie and Freddie but it’s a whole series of financial institutions and, regrettably, it is also non-financial institutions'." In "Greenspan: U.S. ‘Way Underestimating’ the National Debt," by Nicholas Ballasy, PJMedia, 30 May 2015.
Addendum by Means of a Official Government Chart: "Outlays" always more than "Revenues" as a "projection." And this projects to.... [ 3 ]
Addendum of No Correct Arithmetic for Chicago: "This is now the city of big debt, where each of Chicago's 2.7 million residents — from infants in diapers to senior citizens on fixed incomes — is on the hook for about $20,000 in long-term pension promises and bond obligations. Like the relentless snow clogging the city's streets, it just keeps piling up. Chicago isn't bankrupt Detroit, junk-status Puerto Rico or New York at the brink of insolvency in 1975. Yet the city of gleaming skyscrapers along Lake Michigan's shore tripled its debt load from 2002 to 2012, as it ignored annual pension payments and borrowed for capital and operating expenses. A $590 million payment for retirement obligations is due next year, threatening cuts in everything from police to garbage collection, a tax increase, or both. The rescue Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel needs will have to come from another financial leaky boat, the state of Illinois, which has the lowest credit rating among states." In "Cradle-to-grave debt load leaves no Chicagoan free," by Tim Jones, Bloomberg via Chicago Tribune, 14 February 2014. [ 4 ]
Addendum of No Correct Arithmetic for Detroit: "Gene Sperling, the director of the White House National Economic Council and the point person on the administration's efforts to help the struggling Motor City, told reporters Tuesday that it would have raised false hopes if the Obama administration had floated the idea of a bailout for Detroit. 'We did not feel we had any available financial tools, and secondly, we did not think that the prospect of legislation was even close to viable,' Sperling told reporters at a breakfast hosted by the Christian Science Monitor. 'To have floated (a bailout) would have given false hope and taken people's eye off the important task ahead so what we tried to do was make clear that the federal government — we did not have tools at our disposal that could be helpful to Detroit.' Detroit filed for a record setting municipal bankruptcy in July, citing $18.5 billion in debt and long-term obligations." In "White House aide: Detroit bailout wasn't 'viable'," by David Sheparson, Detroit News, 11 February 2014.
Addendum of No Correct Arithmetic for the Middle Class: "The biggest issue facing the American economy, and our political system, is the gradual descent of the middle class into proletarian status. This process, which has been going on intermittently since the 1970s, has worsened considerably over the past five years, and threatens to turn this century into one marked by downward mobility. The decline has less to do with the power of the 'one percent' per se than with the drying up of opportunity amid what is seen on Wall Street and in the White House as a sustained recovery. Despite President Obama’s rhetorical devotion to reducing inequality, it has widened significantly under his watch. Not only did the income of the middle 60% of households drop between 2010 and 2012 while that of the top 20% rose, the income of the middle 60% declined by a greater percentage than the poorest quintile. The middle 60% of earners’ share of the national pie has fallen from 53% in 1970 to 45% in 2012. This group, what I call the yeoman class — the small business owners, the suburban homeowners , the family farmers or skilled construction tradespeople — is increasingly endangered." In "The U.S. Middle Class Is Turning Proletarian," by Joel Kotkin, Forbes, 16 February 2014.
Addendum of the Government Binge: "The amount of debt globally has soared more than 40 percent to $100 trillion since the first signs of the financial crisis as governments borrowed to pull their economies out of recession and companies took advantage of record low interest rates, according to the Bank for International Settlements. The $30 trillion increase from $70 trillion between mid-2007 and mid-2013 compares with a $3.86 trillion decline in the value of equities to $53.8 trillion in the same period, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The jump in debt as measured by the Basel, Switzerland-based BIS in its quarterly review is almost twice the U.S.'s gross domestic product." In "Global Debt Exceeds $100 Trillion as Governments Binge, BIS Says," by John Glover, Bloomberg, 9 March 2014.
Addendum of Business Destruction: "The American economy is less entrepreneurial now than at any point in the last three decades. That's the conclusion of a new study out from the Brookings Institution, which looks at the rates of new business creation and destruction since 1978. Not only that, but during the most recent three years of the study -- 2009, 2010 and 2011 -- businesses were collapsing faster than they were being formed, a first. Overall, new businesses creation (measured as the share of all businesses less than one year old) declined by about half from 1978 to 2011." In "U.S. businesses are being destroyed faster than they’re being created," by Christopher Ingraham, Washington Post, 5 May 2014. [ 5 ]
Addendum of Overstatement and Irregularities: "Japan's Toshiba Corp overstated its operating profit by 151.8 billion yen ($1.22 billion) over several years in accounting irregularities involving top management, an independent investigation said in a report on Monday." In "Toshiba inflated profits by $1.2 billion with top execs' knowledge: investigation," by Ritsuko Ando, Reuters, 20 July 2015. [ 6 ]
Addendum of Insufficiency: "Financial problems are in some combination always about two things — arithmetic that does not add up and a loss of confidence. Incremental steps that provide some but not large sums of assistance, that postpone but do not reduce scheduled debt payments, and that defer decisions about the future to the future run the constant risk that they will not bring convincing arithmetic into view and will be insufficient to restore market confidence." In "Complacency and incrementalism are traps to avoid," by Larry Summers, Financial Times, 12 July 2015.
Addendum of Two-Thirds of Americans: "Two-thirds of Americans would have difficulty coming up with the money to cover a $1,000 emergency, according to an exclusive poll released Thursday, a signal that despite years of recovery from the Great Recession, Americans' financial conditions remain precarious as ever. These financial difficulties span all income levels, according to the poll conducted by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. Seventy-five percent of people in households making less than $50,000 a year would have difficulty coming up with $1,000 to cover an unexpected bill. But when income rose to between $50,000 and $100,000, the difficulty decreased only modestly to 67 percent." In "Poll: Two-thirds of US would struggle to cover $1,000 crisis," by Ken Sweet and Emily Swanson, Associated Press, 19 May 2016. [ 7 ]
See: Sam? - the Debtor Man, and Politics
[ 1 ] A exemplary case is the tale of the City of Detroit. Currently in bankruptcy proceedings, its story can be told emphasizing along political party lines or via racial viewpoints, but the mundane truth at the center is arithmetic. One reads:
"Detroit got into a trap of doing a lot of borrowing for cash flow purposes and then trying to figure out how to push costs (out) as much as possible,” said Bettie Buss, a former city budget staffer who spent years analyzing city finances for the nonpartisan Citizens Research Council of Michigan. “That was the whole culture — how do we get what we want and not pay for it until tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow?" In "How Detroit went broke: The answers may surprise you - and don't blame Coleman Young," by Nathan Bomey and John Gallagher, Detroit Free Press, 15 September 2013.
A similar tale has been acted out in Greece, as one reads: "So what's the problem in Greece? Years of unrestrained spending, cheap lending and failure to implement financial reforms left Greece badly exposed when the global economic downturn struck. This whisked away a curtain of partly fiddled statistics to reveal debt levels and deficits that exceeded limits set by the eurozone." In "Q&A: Greece's financial crisis explained," CNN, 26 March 2010.
The clarity becomes astounding: "...what the Greek debt crisis is really about: Greece borrowed more money than they can pay back. In "Explaining the Greek Debt Crisis," by Tim Worstall, Forbes, 16 June 2012. One sees this same tale being enacted around the world, and of course as in the Congressional Budget Office's "projection."
No correct arithmetic will make the unsustainable sustainable.
[ 2 ] The "legal" pronouncements from government accounting cannot change fiscal realities.
One reads more of Kotlikoff's tabulation: "The liabilities the government owes are mostly off the books. We have a true debt picture which is about $205 trillion. This is recording all the future obligations the government has, whether they are official obligations or not, such as paying for your social security benefits, mine, or your mother’s Medicare benefits, defense spending, etc. All of these things are really obligations that aren’t recorded on the books as debt, whereas paying off future principal and interest payments on Treasury bills and bonds are recorded. So, anyway, if you take the value of all of those commitments and subtract all the taxes coming to pay those commitments, the difference is what’s called the fiscal gap; and that fiscal gap in the U.S. is now $205 trillion. So, the true debt is $205 trillion; the official debt is only $17 trillion. So, most of the problems we’re facing, most of the debt we have, the vast majority of it is off the books and Congress has done bookkeeping to make sure the public doesn’t see it. So, when we have these big fights over the debt ceiling, it’s really laughable because at the same time we may not be expanding our official debt at a very rapid rate, we are expanding our unofficial debt or off-the-book debt, unrecorded debt, at a very high rate." In "Professor Kotlikoff: Government Conspiracy to Hide True Debt Burden," Financial Sense, 6 November 2013.
Who is Kotlikoff? Wikipedia's quick sketch informs: "Laurence Jacob Kotlikoff (born January 30, 1951) is a William Warren Fairfield Professor at Boston University, a Professor of Economics at Boston University, a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a Research Associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research, a Fellow of the Econometric Society, a former Senior Economist, and President Reagan's Council of Economic Advisers."
If hiding the true debt burden is a bi-partisan gaming of the current political parties in the US and if greater fiscal instability does indeed come, what then? One view answers with clarity: "Our kids will handle this effectively. They will elect people to Congress who will vote to stop paying the oldsters and their physicians, the vast majority of whom will be dependent on Medicare payments. I call this 'stiff the geezers.' I also call it the Great Default. The surviving generations that ran up the liabilities will bear the brunt of the pain, as well they should. There is no way out, other than default. This will have profound consequences politically, economically, and socially. It will be the end of the Keynesian welfare state. The Keynesians will be left holding the empty bag. This is how all Ponzi schemes end." In "$205 Trillion in Unfunded Liabilities," by Gary North, Daily Reckoning, 12 February 2014.
Lest this seem merely alarmist, please see the footnotes to Free bees .
[ 3 ] "CBO projects that federal debt held by the public would reach 100 percent of GDP in 2038, 25 years from now, even without accounting for the harmful effects that growing debt would have on the economy (see the figure below). Moreover, debt would be on an upward path relative to the size of the economy, a trend that could not be sustained indefinitely." In "The 2013 Long-Term Budget Outlook," Congressional Budget Office, 17 September 2013.
"No amount of wordy words / Will change the math thereby."
In a smaller venue -- a city in a state in this debt-burdened nation -- the future of unsustainable public debt is being seen today. One reads: " 'It was a function of the mathematics,' said Buckfire, who said he did not think it was necessary for him or anyone else to recommend pension cuts to Orr. 'Are you saying it was so self-evident that no one had to say it' asked Claude Montgomery, attorney for a committee of retirees that was created by Rhodes. 'Yes,' Buckfire answered. Buckfire, a Detroit native and investment banker with restructuring experience, later told the court the city plans to pay unsecured creditors, including the city's pensioners, 16 cents on the dollar. There are about 23,500 city retirees." In "Detroit pension cuts 'function of mathematics' -investment banker," by Joseph Lichterman and Bernie Woodall, Reuters, 25 October 2013.
"A trend that cannot be sustained indefinitely" said the CBO. When a trend cannot be sustained, an end point is reached, and in the single instance of Detroit this is mathematically calculated as an 84% loss for Detroit's unsecured creditors. What about this was not foreseen? Only the refusal to examine the obvious and unsustainable mathematics, and paper over tomorrow with words, words and more political words. It turns out these words were lies.
And now in among the largest economic venues of the world today, we find "unsustainable" identified in plain talk: "So, if you took these promises that we’ve made to our seniors and put them on the balance sheet, what would it do to the current U.S. government debt? As we know, there's a lot of people walking around talking about how the U.S. government debt is $17 trillion dollars. I wish it was $17 trillion. It’s actually $205 trillion if you add in these liabilities. So, it's pretty simple. If you take current benefits promised plus the fact that you're creating so many new seniors versus workers plus expected tax revenues, the numbers just don't add up. Well, actually they do. They add up to a $200 trillion burden on the next generation." In "Stanley Druckenmiller: An Unsustainable Financial Situation," TED Talk, 9 December 2013.
"No amount of wordy words / Will change the math thereby."
[ 4 ] With the downgrade of Chicago municipal bonds to junk status, one finds the end game coming into view. One Chicago alderman noted: " 'What is the amount that will get the rating agencies off your back and not cripple the recovering housing market? No amount of property tax increase gets you out of the problem,' O’Connor said." In "Moody's, citing pension crisis, downgrades Chicago's debt to junk status," by Fran Spielman, Chicago Sun-Times, 12 May 2015.
A city in debt will appeal to a state in debt which will appeal to a nation in debt. All will be hoping that "investors" will come to the rescue through bond buying. The selling of promissory notes with a future payout did not turn out well for some already bankrupt municipal entities, as "pennies on the dollar" tallied up loss on the original "investment" in government promises.
Consider the arch of the story for another American municipality: Voted - not sugarcoated.
[ 5 ] While the Federal government touts "recovery" one learns that "U.S. businesses are being destroyed faster than they’re being created." The Brookings Study notes: "Put simply... the broad decline in business dynamism occurring during the last few decades nationally is not isolated to a few regions. In fact, the data show that it is a pervasive force evident in nearly all corners of the country." In "Declining Business Dynamism in the United States: A Look at States and Metros," by Ian Hathaway (Ennsyte Economics) and Robert E. Litan (The Brookings Institution), May 2014.
For the absurd math of the federal government as regards the so-called "recovery" while "U.S. businesses are being destroyed faster than they’re being created," see: Doing the math - blindly on politics' path.
[ 6 ] While is seems easy to identify corruption in government, the issue is broader for it is a matter of corruption in governance, and the governance of a company can be the same arithmetic nightmare in miniature.
The news article report of this major corporate scandal: "The investigation comes as Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is trying to improve the country's corporate governance in order to attract more foreign investors."
Foreign investors expect open and honest accounting. Toshiba did not offer this over a seven year span. Why? The explanation is offered: "Within Toshiba, there was a corporate culture in which one could not go against the wishes of superiors,' the report said. 'Therefore, when top management presented 'challenges', division presidents, line managers and employees below them continually carried out inappropriate accounting practices to meet targets in line with the wishes of their superiors'."
How quite like this is the parallel crisis in the Communist Chinese stock market in which the "corporate culture" is a "party structure." See the most interesting parallel: We ran out .
Toshiba seems to have been operating the accounting version of a Potemkin village, "in order to attract more foreign investors," rather like the entire state-owned complex of government, stock market, state-owned bank and state-owned enterprises of what has amusingly been called "capitalist Communist China."
No correct arithmetic can hide falsely inflated profits any more than it can hide a false facade, while capital seeks to invest where honest accounting and simple but correct arithmetic are held in highest regard.
[ 7 ] If indeed two-thirds of Americans in 2016 would struggle "to cover a $1,000 emergency," it is arithmetically assured that these same 2/3s of the population cannot be counted on as a taxable source to significantly repay federal, state, county, school district and special assessment zones, and municipal debts. This seems a simple definition of insolvency.
Ye shall be as gods
"For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof then your eyes shall be opened and ye shall be as gods knowing good and evil...." Genesis 3:5
Ye shall be as gods,
Said a serpent's tale,
Which was a clever promise
Leading to man's travail.
Ye shall know as gods,
The serpent's promise hissed,
For knowledge leads to power
As its coils tightly twist.
Ye shall act as gods;
The tongue has told you so,
And for this is man's history
A tale of bloody woe.
Ye shall be and know,
And act and hardly rue,
For the promise is oft man's god,
And where it lies men oft pursue.
Parliament - paraphrase of a Joachim Ringelnatz text
Into parliament they all of them go,
Those who would feed, don't you know,
From others; we, the orphaned foe,
Must make do with the crumbs they bestow.
My uncle Rolf -- he was Rügen-born,
Then elected thereby to toot his own horn.
When in his bully-pulpit, eve and morn,
One saw he lied in words now well worn.
I myself have seen it too well
As our politicians weave their spun spell.
It staggers me that they prosper so well,
Playing friendly games as they bicker and yell.
Then there are times when a President
Calls out for order, to better cement
The imagery which they all must invent
To pose as if they do you represent.
Then there are times of harsh reality
When all adjourn from criminality
To vacation and feast with cordiality,
Supported by taxation's fat suavity.
I think I'll stand for a parliament seat.
In their glee club, I'd not miss a beat.
Then we all could together meet,
And everyone dine off another man's meat.
A hundred bucks - aw-gee, aw-shucks
I loaned him a hundred bucks back when, and never was ever repaid. But then...
It suddenly dawned on me this thought: his blank absence is what I'd bought.
I'll never have to see him. No more. That's what that hundred bucks was for.
Will he borrow his next hundred from me? Not a chance. I've paid my way free.
He won't come back without cash in hand, and that is what he'd probably planned.
This simplest of lessons grows clearer than clear. I'd bought my way free from one so insincere.
I wager he's running out of more marks like me, for that sort is rich in insincerity.
I loaned him a hundred bucks back when. It's surely assured I'll not do that again.
Until further notice - paraphrase of a Wilhelm Busch poem
The knife gleams as a piggy screams,
For man must butcher pork;
Some folks think on porcine themes
Involving knife and fork.
And so man smiles while dining
In the manner of a cannibal's pleasure;
Until he bleats, "Egad!" opining,
"Westphalia's not ham's best measure."
The emptied hand
Light is the load of the emptied hand,
Absent its needs and wants.
After its load, its toil in this land,
It yields its aches for the nonce.
Open its palm, not clenched as fist,
Little it needs and less its cares.
After the struggles of sinew and wrist,
To rest it lies down with its prayers.
The emptied hand once labored, once slaved,
To bring each task to its end,
And now fully emptied of all it once craved,
It gives up its all, its life with its friends.
The emptied hand lies open and still,
Gone are the stresses and strains.
Little remains from the dark and the chill,
For such hands as these wear no chains.
Open the palm, as freely flies life
To where it is free of this world.
Movement escapes in the absence of strife;
Into the unknown, so love is hurled.
Light is the load of the emptied hand,
Wise in its stillness and calm.
Absent a movement, a gesture unplanned,
It holds now its deep, precious balm.
When a lie is bright exposed
“Forgetting! It is a form of suicide, a renunciation of the only good the we truly and ineluctably possess: the past. For if joys alone were forgotten, perhaps oblivion would be justly desired. But we are proud and jealous of our sorrows, we love them, we want to remember them. It is they that comprise the crown of life.” Igino Ugo Tarchetti (1839-1869)
When a lie is bright exposed,
Said exposure is called a lie,
In a game of bait-and-switch
So muddy as to buy
A little time, a little space,
A little room so sly
To make the whole disappear
Before some seeing eye.
When someone's proved well at fault,
Then blame some other guy.
Until a crime is proven done,
Excuse with alibi;
Out will come the outcome --
Noises for attention vie,
And given time and space enough
'Twill be forgotten, by-and-by.
"Study Bach. There you will find everything." Johannes Brahms (1833-1897)
Two old biddies
sitting in the church:
The both would sneer
and Bach besmirch.
"He plays too loud."
"He plays too long."
"Doesn't he know
some simpler song?"
"Why couldn't we
get the very best?"
"All this new music
leaves me quite distressed."
"Why couldn't things
stay just as they were?"
"All these new tunes
causes such a stir!"
Two old biddies
sitting in a church:
Their view was right,
adjudged from their perch.
But centuries' view
tells the better tale:
Papa Bach lives
and never grows stale.
Envoi: "If it is art, it is not for all, and if it is for all, it is not art." Arnold Schoenberg, in "Style and Idea: Selected Writings" (1950)
Addendum as Papa Says: "I play the notes as they are written, but it is God who makes the music." Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)
Addendum: " The organist, who lives in a world of ordinary citizens, is 'a skillful servant of the church and a very able performer on the clavier.' The musician and conventional performer is one whose chief virtue is cleverness: 'that which has been placed before him he sings in a striking manner and plays very easily. The implication is that his performance achieves no lasting effect. Mattheson adds the humorous comment: 'Whoever cannot at once obtain the dignity of Kapellmeister, either by force or by begging, usually permits himself to be reviled (schelten) by the title of Musikdirektor. Even such a designation is better that that of cantor or organist. In fact, many a person does not want to be called Kapellmeister, but composer of chamber music of or court compositions. Yet these expressions are poor, makeshift, and un-German'." In "Johann Sebastian Bach, the Master and His Work," Wilibald Gurlitt, trans. Oliver Rupprecht, Concordia Publishing, 1957.
Addendum: "And if we look at the works of J. S. Bach - a benevolent god to which all musicians should offer a prayer to defend themselves against mediocrity - on each page we discover things which we thought were born only yesterday, from delightful arabesques to an overflowing of religious feeling greater than anything we have since discovered. And in his works we will search in vain for anything the least lacking in good taste." Claude Achille Debussy (1862-1918)
Addendum: "He cherishes his theme, in which he as no other composer compressed what was to come, tension and the sharpest outline of tension. He goes on lovingly considering the theme from all angles and prospects until it blossoms forth and until, in the great modulations of the fugue, it has become an unlocked shrine, an internally unending melody (`internally' meaning within the context of the theme), a melismatic universe in respect of the developed individuality of his theme. For precisely this reason, Bach's layout is not purely diatonic, however clear its flagrant nature. Obviously the harmonic clement in itself becomes irrelevant with Bach insofar as it is manifested in a fortuitous, pleasantly meaningful simulultaneity of the parts. But it is surely not irrelevant to the extent that the pertinent motions and their framework, which is to say the counterpoint, are now also the paramount factor and, as such, emphasized." In "Essays on the Philosophy of Music," Ernst Bloch, translated by Peter Palmer (Cambridge University Press) 1985.
Golds now rust
And greens fade pale,
And red in every shade and vale
Is going slowly bust.
Black's not black,
And white's not white;
They say these two will always fight;
If so, I say alack.
Yellow's no race
And brown's not blue,
Nor is it dark, I say to you;
Don't turn away your face.
Such little truth;
One looks deep and then, forsooth,
Their lies lie plain and cold.
And all is that,
Say those who search for caveat,
But I say, all's a miss.
There's no gold
But many golds;
The truth of this says much and scolds.
Truth can be so bold.
There's no green
Yet some fabricated pieties
Prance vainly as they preen.
Colors just are,
Not manly made,
And no thing's hand stirs each shade
Of light, of sun, of star.
Before we brush,
And colors liven, never crush;
This answers then my quiz.
An absent truth
When used to lie rude, uncouth;
Such words are merely taint.
And dance divine,
Until we stain with ugly sign,
Diluting man to thing.
Golds now rust
And greens fade pale,
And red in every shade and vale
Is going slowly bust.
Quaint little similes
" 'They baked all this stuff into the cake with those tax cuts... and the war,' Obama said. 'It's like somebody goes to a restaurant, orders a big steak dinner, a martini and all that stuff, then just as you're sitting down they leave and accuse you of running up the tab,' Obama said." In "Obama: Debt, deficits were 'baked into the cake'," by Reid J. Epstein and Byron Tau, Politico, 12 June 2012. [ 1 ]
Quaint little similes they baked into my pie,
Or was it in a cake mix spiced with largely I?
Big steak-liked dinners? Martinis and like stuff?
Quaint and yet so homespun, but tasting of pure guff.
Quaint little similes some talkers like to bake,
Ignoring harsh realities; say, let them all eat cake.
Running up the tab for yet more years to go?
See the tab grow even more and does not even slow.
Sitting at that table after many leaning years
And now there is complaining that all is in arrears.
Quaint little similes, but naked on the street,
Prove homespun hucksters prattle while carving up your meat.
It's like -- says each simile -- as similes parade on by,
Rhetorically as -- well -- like a homespun kind of lie. [ 2 ]
Envoi: Ineptocracy - (in-ep-toc'-ra-cy) - A system of government where the least capable to lead are elected by the least capable of producing, and where the members of society least likely to sustain themselves or succeed, are rewarded with goods and services paid for by the confiscated wealth of a diminishing number of producers. From Urban Dictionary, 28 October 2011. [ 3 ]
Addendum in Plain Numbers: "On Oct. 4, the debt held by the public — not including Social Security and Medicare — had risen 89.3 percent since Mr. Obama took office, according to FactCheck.org, a nonprofit project of the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania. The administration recently projected an annual deficit of $750 billion in the fiscal year that began Oct. 1 and $626 billion the year after that. 'At that rate, the debt owed to the public will more than double during the Obama presidency,' FactCheck said in its quarterly statistical report on Mr. Obama’s tenure in office. In "Obama’s national debt rate on track to double," by Dave Boyer, Washington Times, 9 October 2013.
See: Leadership Failure - spoke a failed leader
[ 1 ] The numbers tell a less quaint but more truth-filled tale: "At the close of business on Sept. 30, 2013—the last day of fiscal 2013—the Daily Treasury Statement said the U.S. government debt held by the public was $11,976,279,000,000. The $11,976,279,000,000 in U.S. government debt held by the public on Sept. 30, 2013 was $5,668,968,000,000 more than the $6,307,311,000,000 in debt held by the public on Obama’s first inauguration day. That is an increase of 89.879 percent—or approximately 90 percent." In "Treasury: Under Obama, U.S Gov't Debt Held by Public Up 90%," by Terence P. Jeffrey, CNS News, 2 October 2013.
Yet some accuse him of "running up the tab?" How quaint. Listen to the words and ignore the numbers, for this is how that homespun political game is played. The game should be called "lying with a smile." Instead it is called politics. See: Politics .
[ 2 ] News reports tell a different tale from the homespun imagery of Obama not "running up the tab." One reads of his active participation in the debt ceiling increase process.
One reads: "Obama met with top four congressional leaders at the White House for a meeting, where leaders reiterated their positions after the meeting: Democrats continue to seek a stopgap funding bill and a debt ceiling increase with no conditions attached, while Republicans continue to mount an effort to seek concessions on the health care law." In "Obama meets with top lawmakers but no deal on shutdown," by Susan Davis, USA Today, 2 October 2013.
Correctly noted with factual information, Obama has signed off on previous increases in the debt ceiling several times during his administration's tenure. This alone refutes the "they" -- but not his own -- "running up the tab.
As an example from the government's own reporting: "The 2011 debt limit episode, during the 112th Congress, was resolved on August 2, 2011, when President Obama signed into law the Budget Control Act of 2011 (BCA; S. 365). The federal debt had reached its statutory limit on May 16, 2011, prompting Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner to declare a debt issuance suspension period, allowing certain extraordinary measures to extend Treasury’s borrowing capacity. The BCA included provisions aimed at deficit reduction and would allow the debt limit to rise between $2,100 billion and $2,400 billion in three stages, with the latter two subject to congressional disapproval. All three increases, totaling $2,100 billion, have occurred. A January 12, 2012, presidential certification triggered a third, $1.2 trillion increase that took place on January 28, 2012. A disapproval measure, which would have been subject to veto, could have blocked that increase if enacted within 15 days of the certification.8 On January 18, 2012, the House passed such a measure (H.J.Res. 98) on a 239-176 vote. The Senate declined to take up a companion measure (S.J.Res. 34) and on January 26, 2012, voted down a motion to proceed (44-52) on the House-passed measure (H.J.Res. 98), thus clearing the way for the increase, resulting in a debt limit of $16,394 billion." In "The Debt Limit: History and Recent Increases," in "CRS Report for Congress, Prepared for Members and Committees of Congress" by Andrew Austin and Mindy Levit, Congressional Research Service, 25 September 2013.
Obama signed one instance among several of debt ceiling increases in 2011, and in 2012 accuses others of "running up the tab," and in 2013 again exerts political pressure for yet another debt ceiling increase, quaint little similes notwithstanding.
[ 3 ] Why cite the Urban Dictionary definition related to this rhyme and related news? From the above cited government report, "The Debt Limit: History and Recent Increases," one reads the last paragraph in the report's "Conclusion;"
"Debate during the 2011 debt limit episode reflected a growing concern with the fiscal sustainability. Over the next decade, without major changes in federal policies, persistent and possibly growing deficits, along with the ongoing growth in the debt holdings of government accounts, would increase substantially the amount of federal debt. CBO warns that the current trajectory of federal borrowing is unsustainable and could lead to slower economic growth in the long run as debt rises as a percentage of GDP. Unless federal policies change, Congress would repeatedly face demands to raise the debt limit to accommodate the growing federal debt in order to provide the government with the means to meet its financial obligations."
As logic dictates, that which is unsustainable cannot be sustained. Therefore the quaint little simile by which the President of the United States -- who actively participated in a number of debt ceiling increases -- excuses his culpability is an outright lie.
The Congressional Budget Office writes for all member of Congress the clearly worded warning: "...the current trajectory of federal borrowing is unsustainable." Is the response by Congress and the White House therefore to continue this trajectory?
Yup. How quaint. How inept.
The Blame Buffet - society must be made to pay
If A robs B, then C must pay.
If X kills Y, then Z today
Must be penalized, come what may.
Society is guilty; that's the way
To spread the blame at the blame buffet.
If E cheats F, then G's at fault.
If M hits N, oh, peace exalt,
Exonerating each un-peaced assault,
For all's about money fleeced from its vault.
If one does something, society's guilt
Must then be driven in up to the hilt.
Guilt must not be private; it's not well built
Unless it's spread around and blood is spilt.
Society is guilty for society is rich,
And it must be scratched for most every itch.
Society's at fault; new order must bewitch
For this is how the activists get rich.
If A robs B, then lawyers work.
If X kills Y, sure the bureaucrats lurk
To find one sure who'll sure them pay.
Society is guilty; that's the way
To spread the blame at the blame buffet.
Addendum of Blaming Somebody Else: "What to do if your country’s economy is on the ropes, inflation is soaring, shortages are rampant, political support is fragile and violence is flaring? For critics of Nicolás Maduro, the president of Venezuela, the answer is that you wrap yourself in the national flag and blame somebody else, anybody else, even Spiderman. Since becoming president five months ago, Mr Maduro has routinely cited vague international conspiracies by capitalist plotters, or even cartoon superheroes, for Venezuela’s mounting problems that range from a lack of toilet paper and national electricity blackouts to one of the highest murder rates in the world." In "Nicolás Maduro seeks to deflect blame as Venezuela’s woes mount," by Andres Schipani in Bogotá and John Paul Rathbone, Financial Times, 30 September 2013. [ 1 ]
Addendum of Blaming Western Economic Imperialism: "...Stone is on a mission to whitewash Chavez’s moves toward totalitarianism. His clamping down on the media and nationalizations of private companies are enthusiastically justified. Don’t you know that the media stations Chavez shut down said nasty things about Chavez? And the nationalizations were necessary because of the legacy of Western economic imperialism. Chavez, we are told, is simply a man who wants the best for his people and his country." In "Oliver Stone, Naomi Campbell, Danny Glover, Rep. Jan Schakowsky and Sean Penn: The return of the useful idiot," by Jamie Weinstein, Daily Caller, 19 July 2010. [ 2 ]
Addendum of Blaming Requirements: "The hospital, Lake Norman Regional, defended their pricing in a statement to the newspaper: 'Hospitals only collect a small percentage of our charges, or ‘list prices.’ We are required to give Medicare one level of discount from list price, Medicaid another, and private insurers negotiate for still others. … If we did not start with the list prices we have, we would not end up with enough revenue to remain in operation. … Our costs for providing uncompensated care are partially covered by higher bills for other patients'." In "Snake Bite Costs North Carolina Couple $89,000 Hospital Bill," by Maya Rhodan, Time Magazine, 29 January 2014.
[ 1 ] The blame buffet is well-served in Venezuela in the moment.
One reads: "The Venezuelan Program of Education-Action in Human Rights (Provea), a human rights group, warned last week that Venezuelan courts have indicted 2,200 people for protesting, out of which 120 are workers, according to Provea's general coordinator, Marino Alvarado, who stressed that the figure could increase in the future. 'The criminalization of protests has become a state policy,' the representative of Provea said. In fact, Alvarado said, the government has passed three bills that punish workers for protesting under certain circumstances. These laws curtail the right to strike and represent a violation of freedom of association." In "NGO: Criminalization of protests is state policy in Venezuela," by Gerardo Cárdenas, El Universal, 20 July 2009.
While it was trendy for public figures to praise the Chavez "revolution" and blame other influences for problems, one reads things are coming undone.
"How are things coming along in Venezuela, that paradise of democratic socialism? You must remember Venezuela. That's the country that Diane Abbott said was showing 'a better way', which Owen Jones told us had proven that 'you can lead a progressive, popular government that says no to neo-liberalism'? The apple in the eye of Marx, the last hope for humanity in a world of fat cat banksters and austerity Scrooges. The Copacobana of the international revolution. Viva! How is Venezuela doing? Well, tens of thousands of protesters are in the streets, the army's been sent to crush revolt, an opposition leader has been arrested and supporters of the government just shot dead a former beauty queen. It's going to hell in a handcart, that's how it's doing." In "Venezuela: the Left's favourite 'socialist paradise' is sliding into poverty and dictatorship," by Tim Stanley, The Telegraph UK, 21 February 2014.
The latest installment in the cliffhangers which are the recent tales of the Maduro regime includes banning news reports of growing hunger and widespread protests. See: Don't look now .
[ 2 ] Blame imperialism and capitalism? Of course. One reads: "Bolivian President Evo Morales' voice cracked as he spoke to reporters, describing Chavez as someone 'who gave all his life for the liberation of the Venezuelan people ... of all the anti-imperialists and anti-capitalists of the world'." In "Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez dies," by Catherine E. Shoichet and Dana Ford, CNN, 6 March 2013.
The quasi-theological tone of this is interesting, as one notes the mythic "gave his life" for people "of the world." See: Jesus was a socialist? .
But let one ponder previous and most interesting anti-capitalist sentiment. See: Enemies of Capitalism and the links to which these notions lead.
One may "rest assured" that blame will be assigned, in this case to the United States: " 'If the United States has said that it has publicly designated $9 million to support the opposition to undermine Hugo Chavez, then you can rest assured that it is really spending $27 or $30 million because there are covert funds that they won’t let the public know,' said Cornell West. He added, 'You have to recognize that the only thing that stands in the way of the United States undermining this revolution are institutions like this,' referring to the organization of delegations, 'that convince people that this revolution is real'." In "Delegation of Prominent U.S. Progressive Leaders Visits Venezuela," by Gregory Wilpert, 7 January 2006.
The nostalgia for "revolution" often fails to note one salient feature to socialist revolutions throughout the twentieth century and now into the twenty-first -- the reality of the post-revolutionary one-party state and the passing of leadership on much like the old aristocracies had done in "imperial" eras. See: Revolution revolves but once - lèse majesté remains among its stunts.
Nostalgia for revolution can be such a bourgeois thing, it seems.
One reads of a film star's nostalgia: " 'Venezuela and its revolution will endure under the proven leadership of Vice President Maduro.' (Sean Penn, March 5, 2013.) To say nothing of the 'proven' –and particularly, the enduring– 'leadership' of Maduro’s colonial overlords in Havana, of whom Sean Penn is also extremely fond. 'I had the privilege to introduce my children to comandante Fidel Castro!' (Sean Penn, arm in arm with “great friend” Hugo Chavez, Caracas Feb. 13, 2012.) Protests rocked Venezuela this week. Hundreds of Venezuelans were arrested by Cuban-trained police and at least three were shot dead by Cuban-trained paramilitary storm-troopers. As we go to press, Caracas is under a military clampdown with government troops guarding most public buildings and patrolling the streets. In brief, Venezuelans have had it with the corruption, shortages, censorship, 56% inflation rate, crime and general privations brought on by the late Hugo Chavez’s 'Bolivarian Revolution,' especially as implemented by Chavez’ successor Nicholas Maduro, who won last October’s elections–most non-Hollywood observers believe—by stealing them." In "Venezuelans “taking it to the streets,” but no word from Sean Penn," by Humberto Fontana, Human Events, 17 February 2014.
Bourgeois? Indeed, when relatively wealthy Hollywood luminaries can find such enthusiasm: "... the state has been able to take over the public sector, primarily the resources in oil, which were abundant, and everything else, and been able to use that to eradicate poverty. So, those are the real things. I think that there—because of the situation in the region itself and the integration in the region, we may find that certainly President Chávez and those who are re-elected will really turn out—create a new page in this history of this region." Danny Glover in an interview with Amy Goodman, in "Danny Glover: Record Venezuela Turnout Hands Chávez Convincing Mandate to Continue Social Agenda," Democracy Now, 9 October 2012.
Remarkably a short eight years after Professor West declared "this revolution is real," President Maduro has declared protesting students "fascists" and basic staples become ever more scarce under socialism's economic management.
What is proving real is something Professor West failed to envision. "For weeks, Venezuela has been mired by deadly protests. Young Venezuelans unhappy with the ravaged economy and rising crime have clashed with security forces, who have fired tear gas and water cannons. Last week, three anti-government protesters died in confrontations in Caracas. The country is grappling with an inflation rate of 56.2%, the highest in the world. Many basic goods are missing from the shelves." In "17-year-old dies during Venezuelan protests," by Osmary Hernandez and Holly Yan, CNN, 20 February 2014.
One finds questions about such rhetoric being asked: "In a news conference Friday, Viktor Yanukovych, now holed up in the Russian port of Rostov-on-Don, wasted no time in describing the protesters who had ousted him from the Ukrainian presidency in now-familiar terms. Euromaidan was just a bunch of 'nationalist fascist youngsters,' he explained, in what was his first appearance since fleeing Kiev. The words might sound familiar to anyone who has been watching another crisis on the other side of the world. When Venezuelan protest leader Leopoldo Lopez was taken into custody after widespread protests this month, President Nicolas Maduro labelled [ sic ] the him the 'political boss of the rightwing fascists.' Over the past few weeks, opposition groups in these two very different countries have had this label applied to them time and time again. Does it even fit?" In "Both Ukrainian and Venezuelan protesters have been called fascists. Why?" By Adam Taylor, Washington Post, 28 February 2014.
One finds no clarity at all in such political terminology, all meant to obfuscate. For the fumbling sleight-of-hand as regards descriptions of left and right, see: Left is Right, as Right is Left .
One requires the Blame Buffet to put in place of the more horrific admission of politicians, "we were wrong."
“There is far more danger in public than in private monopoly, for when government goes into business it can always shift its losses to the taxpayers. Government never makes ends meet and that is the first requisite of business.” Thomas Alva Edison (1847-1931)
Shifty shifts his loss to you,
All the while he smiles so true.
Shifty shifts the blame as well,
And hopes to blind you with his spell.
Shifty shifts his loss to us,
Feigning surprise that we dare fuss.
Shifty was known so long ago;
One asks why folks still trust him so.
Shifty comes round in every age,
Monologues long on every stage.
Shifty plays his treacherous game;
Your losing is ever Shifty's aim.
Shifty was, and Shifty is now,
For Shifty shifts as tides allow.
Monopoly money, papered, inked,
In Shifty's hands inflates to shrink.
Shifty shifts each loss to you,
All the while he laughs anew.
Shiftless Shifty strolls away,
And leaves his bills for you to pay.
Addendum: "Do you remember why the euro was launched? Its supporters made two claims. First, that it would make its users wealthier; and second, that it would make participating countries get on better. In the event, it has inflicted unnecessary poverty and emigration across southern Europe, and is now degrading democracy. How much more has to happen before the Brussels elites accept that they have got it wrong?" In "Greece is starting to look like Weimar Germany," by Daniel Hannan, Telegraph UK, 29 September 2013.
Tell me that you'll take my cash
"A rising number of manufacturers are canceling new investments and putting off new hires because they fear paralysis in Washington will force hundreds of billions in tax increases and budget cuts in January, undermining economic growth in the coming months." In "Fearing an Impasse in Congress, Industry Cuts Spending," by Nelson D. Schwartz, The New York Times, 5 August 5, 2012.
Tell me that you'll take my cash,
Take more, then more and more;
Likely I'll sit out the crash,
While shuttering up my door.
Tell me that you'll confiscate,
While wasting much away;
Likely that I'll quiet wait
For collapse one coming day.
Tell me that what I produce
Goes to those who don't;
Likely that I'll quick reduce
Such that you simply won't.
Tell me that you'll penalize
Because I worked quite hard,
But understand you advertise
Your utter disregard.
Tell me that I hoard my cash,
When all I've done is save;
Are words spoken by a knave.
Tell me plain, and I will plan
That you'll have less to take;
Then you'll turn to triggerman
To steal for survival's sake.
Tell me, politicians, clowns,
Of hunger for what others made;
Capital will hunker down
And wait in sheltering shade.
Envoi: "Handing down one of the basic decisions of U.S. constitutional law, the Supreme Court ruled in McCulloch v. Maryland, back in 1819, that the Constitution exempts the Federal Government from state taxation. Setting forth his renowned dictum that 'the power to tax involves the power to destroy,' Chief Justice John Marshall declared that the states (and, by inference, local governments) 'have no power, by taxation or otherwise, to retard, impede, burden or in any manner control the operations of the constitutional laws enacted by Congress'." In "The Supreme Court: The Power to Tax," Time, 17 March 1958.
A short reflection:
Many private pension funds have managed the savings of middle-class individuals in society. Ironically, one reads from the 19th century, "The bourgeoisie has stripped of its halo every occupation hitherto honoured and looked up to with reverent awe. It has converted the physician, the lawyer, the priest, the poet, the man of science, into its paid wage labourers." In "The Communist Manifesto," Karl Marx, 1848.
Therefore one can now see and conclude that government has itself become, in the language of Marxism, the bourgeoisie, "stripping" every occupation excepting its own of a "halo" and now we see also of its savings, converting them to promissory notes -- IOUs which may or may not remain payable depending on the economic management of those governments who have confiscated private funds to "raise cash" in order "to reduce the budget deficit and public debt." And so...
1) "The Argentine state is taking control of the country's privately-managed pension funds in a drastic move to raise cash. It is a foretaste of what may happen across the world as governments discover that tax revenue, and discover that the bond markets are unwilling to plug the gap. The G7 states are already acquiring an unhealthy taste for the arbitrary seizure of private property, I notice." In "Argentina seizes pension funds to pay debts. Who's next?" by Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, Telegraph UK, 21 October 2008.
2) "Hungary is giving its citizens an ultimatum: move your private-pension fund assets to the state or lose your state pension. Economy Minister Gyorgy Matolcsy announced the policy yesterday, escalating a government drive to bring 3 trillion forint ($14.6 billion) of privately managed pension assets under state control to reduce the budget deficit and public debt. Workers who opt against returning to the state system stand to lose 70 percent of their pension claim. 'This is effectively a nationalization of private pension funds,' David Nemeth, an economist at ING Groep NV in Budapest, said in a phone interview. 'It’s the nightmare scenario'." In "Hungary Follows Argentina in Pension-Fund Ultimatum, `Nightmare' for Some'," by Zoltan Simon, Bloomberg, 25 November 2010.
3) "The Bulgarian government has come up with a similar idea. $300m of private early retirement savings was supposed to be transferred to the state pension scheme. The government gave way after trade unions protested and finally only about 20% of the original plans were implemented." In "European nations begin seizing private pensions," Christian Science Monitor, 2 January 2011.
4) "The cabinet agreed to transfer the assets from four of Portugal’s biggest banks to the state balance sheet. The assets will be used to bridge a gap needed to meet the fiscal deficit target of 5.9pc of GDP set by the terms of the country’s €78bn bail-out from around 10pc in 2010." In "Portugal raids pension funds to meet deficit targets," by Louise Armistead, Telegraph UK, 2 December 2011.
5) "Poland said on Wednesday it will transfer to the state many of the assets held by private pension funds, slashing public debt but putting in doubt the future of the multi-billion-euro funds, many of them foreign-owned. The changes went deeper than many in the market expected and could fuel investor concerns that the government is ditching some business-friendly policies to try to improve its flagging popularity with voters. The Polish pension funds' organisation said the changes may be unconstitutional because the government is taking private assets away from them without offering any compensation." In "Poland reduces public debt through pension funds overhaul," Reuters, 4 September 2013.
6) "Russia’s government is temporarily seizing $7.6 billion in savings from non-state pension funds while it carries out inspections, a move critics say looks like a 'confiscation' aimed at plugging a hole in next year’s state budget. Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev told ministers Thursday that the government needs to check that the money Russians channel to private pension funds is safe. To do this, it will seize 244 billion rubles ($7.6 billion) from non-state pension funds and put them into the state pension fund." In "Russia to Grab Pension Money, Temporarily," by Andrey Ostroukh, Wall Street Journal Europe, 3 October 2013.
And a year later, the adverb "temporarily" seems a grammatical misuse. One reads: "Russia's government has approved a plan to use contributions to employees' privately-managed pension funds to plug budget holes for a second year running. The move was confirmed by Labour Minister Maxim Topilin on Tuesday in comments published on the ministry's website. It has been heavily criticised by some officials and analysts, who say it will hurt the pensions industry and financial markets. The decision was taken after government ministers discussed the budget, Topilin said, adding that all obligatory pension contributions would be directed to finance the redistributive state pension system in 2015, including funds originally earmarked for private management." In "Russia diverts pension savings to plug budget hole for second year," Reuters, 5 August 2014.
As with those who lend to governments on to receive a "haircut" on their investment (see A clip job - the way to legally rob) one sees governments gathering money wherever it may be found (see Now how does that seem to a lender like you? - a run-around ).
Of course, such actions as documented above are done only "temporarily."
Temporarily, see Default on Debt - the game of centuries.
Unexpectedly has been expected
" 'None of this is all that surprising, so where is the miss?' wondered Brown Brothers Harriman global currency strategist Marc Chandler, after noting some fairly pedestrian and in-line quarterly growth results. 'Contrary to what passes as conventional wisdom, the main drag is coming from the government itself.'" In "Economy's Biggest Drag Right Now Is Government," by Jeff Cox, CNBC, 27 April 2012
Unexpectedly has been expected,
But those who spoke were first rejected.
And still it's come to be.
Surprisingly there is no surprise,
But those who shut wide blindly eyes
Mutter -- unexpectedly.
Indentured, slaves to wage, and more,
Slaves to government debt abhor
That slavery's come to be.
Unexpectedly will be expected,
As transformation will be redirected
Against governments' thievery.
It was all for the common good,
Unexpectedly in each neighborhood
Faux financing busts its spree.
Government drags itself about
With Empty promising Plenty's shout;
From such drag will men be free.
Transformations need no fuse;
Excepting governments oft abuse
Their citizens' simple plea.
Unexpectedly has been expected,
But those who dared were first rejected.
Now, Take less from me.
Addendum of Art as a Drag: "The US State Department on Friday fended off criticism for commissioning a $1 million sculpture for its London embassy, saying it was 'a good use of our limited resources'." In "State Dept on back foot over $1 mln sculpture," Agence France Presse, 6 December 2013.
The rumors Fly - don't ask me why
"Hellman disdained a system that made her fabulously rich while romanticizing one that made its citizens spectacularly poor. And as Hellman biographer Carl Rollyson noted, she never made 'more than a grudging admission of how profoundly wrong she was about Stalin.' Unlike Martin Heidegger and Ezra Pound, both of whom supported a different genocidal tyrant, Hellman barely saw her reputation suffer because of her repellent allegiances. Ms. Kessler-Harris's defense of Hellman and others who refused to abjure Stalinism will sound familiar. While some party apparatchiks were 'vaguely aware in the 1930s of Stalin's increasingly ruthless methods'—a rather limp way of describing a roiling genocide—one must remember that 'this was, after all, a period when rumors flew.'" In "When Stalinism Was in Vogue," by Michael Moynihan, Wall Street Journal, 1 May 2012.
The rumors Fly
Has buzzed about,
Its wings a shimmer
Tinged with doubt.
The noise it whirred
Was thought absurd;
It's only rumors,
In a word.
Disdain the system
But praise the one
Which has led to hell;
Man, are some
So rightly wrong,
And yet they sing
Their wrongly song.
Like Mice at the trap,
A whiff of cheese
Seems quite the thing,
A thing to please.
But then comes swift
Along the snap,
And Mice are ended
In that trap.
The rumors Fly
Senses rotting fur
As Mice scent up
With stench their err.
The errors by --
Don't ask me why.
"Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei controls a business empire worth around $95 billion - a sum exceeding the value of his oil-rich nation's current annual petroleum exports - a six-month Reuters investigation shows. The little-known organization, called Setad, is one of the keys to the Iranian leader's enduring power and now holds stakes in nearly every sector of Iranian industry, including finance, oil, telecommunications, the production of birth-control pills and even ostrich farming. Setad has built its empire on the systematic seizure of thousands of properties belonging to ordinary Iranians - members of religious minorities, Shi'ite Muslims, business people and Iranians living abroad." In "Exclusive: Reuters investigates business empire of Iran's supreme leader," by Steve Stecklow, Babak Dehghanpisheh and Yeganeh Torbati, Reuters, 11 November 2013.
Moolah akbar - money's god,
And if that prayer seems rather odd,
Just follow where the numbers lead
To see a quite religious greed
As in one land as in some other
Rent seekers behave like one another.
Mullahs, mandarins, Pooh-Bahs grand
Are systematic in what they've planned.
Potentates, leaders, kings over men
Shout their moneyed loud amen!
Gathering up both wealth and power,
Supremely they lord as little men cower.
Such is money as their lord of all,
In the stench'd decay of their towers' call.
Moolah akbar - money's god,
For some mighty few and their iron rod.
Think not this is about some few,
For it is the larger point of view.
Rent seekers reign across the globe,
And dare the news to them disrobe,
As politics is traded, bought and sold
For the sum of a little shiny gold.
In this company one diversity finds
From capitalists to the communist kinds,
From the West, from Africa and the Middle East,
From the richest nations to the least,
Both our liberals and conservatives,
Income inequality advocates? Hey, what gives?
For moolah talks and money's god,
When believers true drop their facade.
That's the view; it is worldwide,
In all cultures, the rich astride
An enormous mass of middle and poor
Who at amassing wealth are amateur
Compared to those empires of the rich
Who must have more to scratch their itch.
Moolah akbar - money's god;
You see, that prayer is not so odd,
Just follow where the numbers lead
To test one universal sort of creed,
As in one land as in some other
Rent seekers behave like one another.
Envoi for the Less Informed: Bill Gates, $72.7 billion; Vladamir Putin, $70 billion; Carlos Slim Helu, $66.8 billion; Warren Buffett, $60 billion; Amancio Ortega Gaona, $57 billion; Ingvar Kamprad, $53 billion; David Koch, $45.6 billion; Charles Koch, $45.6 billion; Larry Ellison, $41 billion; Christy Walton, $38 billion; Jim Walton, $36.6 billion; S. Robson Walton, $35,6 billion; Sheldon Adelson, $35 billion; Alice Walton, $33 billion; Jeff Bezos, $33 billion; Liliane Bettencourt, $32.4 billion; Michael Bloomberg, $31 billion; Li Ka-Shing, $30 billion; Bhumibol Adulyadej (King of Thailand), $30 billion; Bernaud Arnault, 429 billion; Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Alsaud, $29 billion; Larry Page, $28.8 billion; Sergey Brin, $28.4 billion; Stefan Persson, $28 billion; Karl Albrecht, $26.9 billion; David Thomson, $25.8 billion; Michele Ferrero, $24.8 billion; Dieter Schwarz, $24.8 billion; Lee Shau Kee, $24 billion; Aliko Dangote, $23 billion; George Soros, $23 billion; Forrest Mars Jr., $21.7 billion; John Mars, $21 billion; Jacqueline Mars, $21 billion; Jorge Paul Lemann, $20.9 billion; Alisher Usmanov, $20.4 billion; Evelyn De Rothschild, $20 billion; Hassanai Bolkiah Mu'izzaddin Waddaulah (Sultan of Brunei), $20 billion; Thomas and Raymond Kwok, $20 billion; Mark Zuckerberg, $19.8 billion; Carl Ichan, $19 billion; Leonardo Del Vecchio. $18.9 billion; Gina Rinehart, $18.9 billion; Theo Albrecht, $18.8 billion; Mukesh Ambani, $18.5 billion; Alberto Bailleres, $18.2 billion; Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahayan, $18 billion; Tadahi Yanai, $18 billion; Cheng Yu-tung, $17.7 billion; Iris Fontbona; $17.4 billion; Francois Pinault, $17.3 billion; Luis Carolo Sarmiento, $17.2 billion; Abdullah bin Abul Aziz (King of Saudi Arabia), $17 billion; Azim Premji, $17 billion; Phil Knight, $16.8 billion; Leonid Mikhelson, $16.7 billion; German Larrea Mota Velasco, $16.7 billion; Mikhail Fridman, $16.5 billion; Michael Otto, $16.1 billion; Steve Ballmer, $16 billion; Rinat Akhmentov, $16 billion; Len Blavatnik, $15.6 billion; Michael Dell, $15.4 billion; Kakshmi Mittal, $15.3 billion; Elaine Marshall, $15.3 billion; John Fredriksen, $15.2 billion; Viktor Vekselberg, $15.1 billion; Robert Kuok, $15.1 billion; Ernesto Bartarelli, $ 15.1 billion; Susanne Klatten, $15 billion; and many more. Source: Celebrity Net Worth, 2013. [ 1 ]
Addendum of Empty Rhetoric: "Obama did not propose any new policy initiatives in the speech, sponsored by the Center for American Progress, a think tank with close ties to the White House." In "Obama: Income Inequality Is 'Defining Challenge Of Our Time'," by Jim Kuhnhenn, Associated Press via Huffington Post, 5 December 2013. [ 2 ]
Addendum Explaining Empty Rhetoric: "There were at least 10 things wrong with the speech – aside from the fact that President Obama speaks as if a bad-apple president pursuing some right-wing agenda had been in the Oval Office for 5 years (in two of which he had a Democratic House and Senate)...." In "10 problems with Obama’s income inequality speech," by Jennifer Rubin, Washington Post, 5 December 2013.
Addendum of the Tax Free Folk: "As lobbying and campaign finance records show, they are sending some of this money back to Washington but to peddle influence. In fact, the 30 big corporations paid more to lobby Congress than they paid in federal income taxes for the three years between 2008 and 2010, despite being profitable. During a period when companies posted three-year U.S. profits ranging from $286 million (Con-Way) to $49 billion (Wells Fargo) and totally $164 billion altogether, all but one company in this group paid no federal income taxes at all." In "For Hire: Lobbyists or the 99%?" a report by Public Campaign, December 2011.
Addendum from an Old Foxtrot: "Times are so bad and getting badder / Still we have fun / There's nothing surer / The rich get rich and the poor get laid off / In the meantime / In between time / Ain't we got fun." In "Ain't We Got Fun," (1921) lyrics by Raymond B. Egan and Gus Kahn.
Addendum on Spreading the Wealth Around: "The richest people on the planet got even richer in 2013, adding $524 billion to their collective net worth, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, a daily ranking of the world’s 300 wealthiest individuals. The aggregate net worth of the world’s top billionaires stood at $3.7 trillion at the market close on Dec. 31, according to the ranking. The biggest gains came in the technology industry, which soared 28 percent during the year. Of the 300 people who appeared on the final ranking of 2013, only 70 registered a net loss for the 12-month period." In "Billionaires Worth $3.7 Trillion Surge as Gates Wins 2013," by Matthew G. Miller and Peter Newcomb, Bloomberg, 2 January 2014.
Addendum on Iranian Gold: "Many Iranians see this focus on ornamentation as distracting from the true morality of Islam and its key figures. One Facebook user commented: 'Gold Nahjol-balakhe, gold Quran, gold dome, the world’s largest Quran and the world’s smallest Quran… Is your religion so petty that you are trying to make it [better] by varnishing it? Meanwhile, you have bragged and shouted about Ali’s just ways and his care for orphans.' That Iranians are angry over what they see as 'vanity' projects during times of need should come as no surprise. Many Iranians have been struggling financially for the last few years, as prices of fuel, utilities and groceries have jumped in the first wave of subsidy reforms in 2010. As the Guardian recently reported, subsidized gas prices shot up 75% last week, while heating fuel prices were already up 25% from earlier this year. The second wave of those reforms is set for this week, and they are expected to hit hard in an economy already battered by U.S. sanctions and stagflation." In "Iranians Flip Out Over Government’s Gold-Book Project," by Eric Eyges, Vocativ, 29 April 2014.
See: Income Inequality and the same old, same old Raise those taxes!
[ 1 ] As one surveys the truncated list from one far longer with many more billionaires, one finds ostensible political opponents, opponents defined as supposedly advocating for opposing cultures and religions and fiscal policies, but what unites this seemingly disparate list -- from Christian and secular to Muslim (and from Sunni to Shia), from Democrat to Republican, from kings to business moguls and amusingly from ostensible socialists, is enormous wealth, plain and simple. At the same time, nations with their "activist" billionaires are in massive debt, which governments like to describe as "public." The dissonance here is obvious, for as the rich get richer while central banks prop up stock markets, losses from those with "private" wealth are being assigned to an amorphous "public."
[ 2 ] New policy initiatives? It turns out that the Obama cabinet features a billionaire. Wikipedia informs: "Penny Sue Pritzker (born May 2, 1959) is an American business executive, entrepreneur, civic leader, and philanthropist who is currently serving as the 38th United States Secretary of Commerce. She is the founder of PSP Capital Partners and Pritzker Realty Group. She is also co-founder of Artemis Real Estate Partners. She is a member of the Pritzker family. In 2012, Chicago magazine named her one of the 100 most powerful Chicagoans. In 2011 the Forbes 400 list of America's wealthiest showed her as the 263rd richest person in the U.S., estimated net worth of US $1.8511 billion, and the world's 651st richest person. In 2009 Forbes named Pritzker as one of the 100 most powerful women in the world."
It is therefore correct to say that Obama chooses millionaires and billionaires to govern. Is there any confusion about this?
Going into greater "public debt" or raising taxes on a struggling middle class are the options of choice for Washington, under Democrats as under Republicans. with the pattern repeated in nation after nation. But as a quick survey of the list above as well as a short look at Iran's Setad, "a business empire worth around $95 billion," one may easily conclude something other than the "income inequality" posture of the ruling classes worldwide, and that is that future holds what the past has held. Rent seekers seek their rent, and from whom? The powerful seek from the less powerful as from the powerless. This has been the economic history of the world. Oligarchies today often clothe themselves in other raiment as needed, because camouflage is among the strategies of the world.
And "the defining challenge of our time" as Obama stated is in the hands of this salient fact about fat cat government:
"The Center for Responsive Politics analyzed the personal financial disclosure data from 2012 of the 534 current members of Congress and found that, for the first time, more than half had an average net worth of $1 million or more: 268 to be exact, up from 257 the year earlier. The median for congressional Democrats was $1.04 million and, for Republicans, $1 million even." In "Congress Is Now Mostly A Millionaires’ Club," by Andrew Katz, Time, 9 January 2014.
You owe it to yourself
"The Keynesian intellectual 'fog,' for that is what the whole discussion surely reflected, was motivated, in part, by the underlying purpose of securing widespread public and political acceptance of an activist fiscal policy regime. To convince the non-economist public to abandon the classical precepts of fiscal prudence, the Keynesians felt that they needed to show that public debt did not matter because, after all, 'we owe it to ourselves.'" In "The Collected Works of James M. Buchanan: The Logical Foundations of Constitutional Liberty," 1999, v.1, p. 172.
You owe it to yourself
to crawl out upon a limb
And, sitting there, you saw
to fulfill your foggy whim.
You owe it to yourself
to leap from a parapet,
Just to test your notion
that you'll need no safety net.
You owe it yourself
to gorge until you burst,
And then complain to others
it was they who hurt you worst.
You owe it to yourself
as you print yourself more cash,
To ponder on such problems
as bankruptcy and crash.
Envoi: "When asked if he remember what the national debt was when he entered office, President Obama said 'I don't know what the number was precisely.' Obama told Letterman 'we don't have to worry about it short term. A lot of it we owe to ourselves. Because if you invest in a treasury bill or something like that then essentially you're loaning the government money. In fact, the majority of it is held by folks who live here, but we don't have to worry about it short term,' Obama said." In "Obama On Debt: 'We Don't Have To Worry About It Short Term'," RealClearPolitics video, 18 September 2012.
See: Leadership Failure - spoke a failed leader
"One of the many dismaying things about anti-Semitism is its lack of originality." In "Anti-Semitism 101," by Alex Joffe, Jewish Ideas Daily, 6 May 2011.
It's the same old game, from age to age,
Yet repeating it serves to enrage
Those who believe its empty charge,
Unoriginal, however large.
"It's the Jews," cries out a folk unable
Look at their own hate-filled fable.
Unoriginal as is its bile,
It is their necessary guile
To hide their own complicity
In their own lives' toxicity.
It's the same old game, from age to age,
Yet repeating it serves to enrage
Those who believe its empty charge,
Unoriginal, however large.
See: The same old story - a tale grown hoary
Seeing is believing
"All men by nature desire to know. An indication of this is the delight we take in our senses; for even apart from their usefulness they are loved for themselves; and above all others the sense of sight. For not only with a view to action, but even when we are not going to do anything, we prefer seeing (one might say) to everything else. The reason is that this, most of all the senses, makes us know and brings to light many differences between things." In Aristotle’s "Metaphysica," translated by W. D. Ross, I-i, 980a-993b.
Seeing is believing, when words so lie
On a page, in a law, when lies' lips reply.
What will you trust when words puff and fume?
Which senses bring sense, and then to whom?
Will you see light in the mythic cave?
Will you see differences when words enslave?
Will you see clarity, vision's gift to give?
Will you turn away from wicked things? To live?
Seeing is believing, when words do lie
In promises un-kept by liars sly.
Will you trust when words repeat,
Or will you like the sheep just bleat?