- I say good night to I in the mirror,
- and the mirror says good night right back.
- It's companionship couldn't be clearer
- I enjoy the company of my creaking house,
- and the odd sounds in the night.
- The House talks to me when no one is around.
- and I talk to it in turn.
- And when I think of loved ones who passed,
- I set a candle in my window to burn.
- Oh, my little dog is companion enough,
- and I am companion to my self.
- And, I've friends who lend a hand when it's tough,
- I am grateful to them for my mental health.
- No man is an Island, a Rock, Dunn said,
- But I think he understood we are more like a ship instead.
- We need our ports and we need our journeys,
- We need our trials and we need to rest and be repaired.
- I am lonely for missing dear friends long gone,
- And sometimes I sing that despairing song.
- But their voices are alive within my mind
- And I hold onto them tightly in my heart.
Monday, September 29, 2014
Wednesday, September 24, 2014
Once there was a tribe of monkeys who thought they were so clever. God saw them and wanted to warn them, so he cut off their beautiful tails. They being the arrogant monkeys they were just congratulated themselves on how fine they looked without tails and what fine monkeys they were. They didn't learn anything. But learned to hang from branches with their hands and race through the trees.
So God punished them by taking away their trees and surrounding them with lions, panthers and bears. And now they were very afraid because monkeys without trees have nowhere to run when the predators come. So they banded together and stood up all the time to watch for the predators and learned to throw rocks at them. They learned to fight off predators with sticks and stones and after a while they started congratulating themselves on how tall and strong they were and were even more arrogant at being able to stand straight and look far away for enemies. They hadn't learned a thing.
So God punished them by giving them all scabies and taking away their fur. So they learned to use their sticks to kill animals and wear their skins or build shelters from them. And they began killing things for sport and taking animals and making them do their work for them. Once again they hadn't learned a thing.
So God sent fire to them to burn their huts and burn their food. But the clever monkeys took the fire and kept it and even learned how to make fire from rocks and sticks. They started cooking food and eating it. And they lived like locusts on the land eating what they chose and using the fires to keep predators from eating them. They congratulated each other on their wisdom and learned to sit around the fires jabbering at each other and to call that talking. They became very dangerous. Not just to themselves but to all the animals and plants of the world. At that point they began calling themselves humans.
God next tried flood. But one of them built a giant boat and brought his livestock and goods on it. And after this the strange monkeys got even more arrogant.
God had tried fire, and rain, flood and earthquake, but at length after all these punishments God showed them a poisonous rock. And told them never to gather all those rocks in one place. Being the arrogant monkeys they were the monkeys of course gathered the rocks in one place and they called it Fukushima. Naturally the rocks grew very hot and melted and killed all the monkeys. And God was very sad and he wasn't sure what to do because they killed everything else too.
Tuesday, September 23, 2014
There are many great examples of peace making. All of them required leadership. Not always of a single individual, but always of a vision that switched from pre-programmed default behavior to more universal concepts. All of them involved uniting previously separate people into a more functional whole. Examples are Egypt where the Northern Kingdom was united with the Southern Kingdom creating a peaceful kingdom for more than 3000 years. Hammarubi's Babylon where disparate city states were united and came to be under a uniform civil code which aimed at ending the constant tribal warfare that had been the previous state of human relations. And we have many other examples, including Saladin's defeat of the Crusaders and revival of the middle east
And the successes of the Ottoman Empire, which may have been enabled by Ottoman arms, but were secured by Ottoman justice and relative tolerance of subject people. For example when the Greeks in what had been the Byzantine Empire were forced to choose between "Franks" who came to "help" them by looting and for a time conquering the Byzantine Capital, the Greeks wound up preferring Ottoman rule to Frankish rule. Why? Because the Ottomans were (relatively) more fair than the Roman led Franks. The Ottoman Empire was created through justice and tolerance and foundered on corruption and intolerance.
When the British were contemplating the oil resources in the Middle East, their first thought was to preserve the Turkish Empire. They changed their minds when the Turks sided with the Germans during World War I and because they and the French's greed and hubris overcame any common sense about the long term future of the mideast. We now know that foresight was better than implementation. The best solution for the Middle East would have been to transform the Turkish Empire into something like a commonwealth Union modeled on the British. All this talk about a "Caliphate" would be moot if they'd been able to do this. The Turks already were a "caliphate".
The Brits practiced divide and Rule in creating future nation states instead. Syria, Iraq and Jordan were more lines on a map than divisions respecting the actual people living there. Creating Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states was simply a means to get hold of the oil in the ground in those places or ports. They eschewed a General Government that could respect the needs of all the people in the area to work together and engage in commerce; and that could serve as a place of appeal for problems between local people and each other, ethnic and religious conflict, was eliminated in exchange for nation states that were too small to be universal and too large to be fair to principles of local rule. It is time to correct that gross error. Without a functional general government, with a constitution, basic rights and representation of all parties the mideast has been a chaotic place since. The Sunnis rightfully dream of a Caliphate. The Shia rightfully fear it.
Turkey could play a role in rectifying this. The Turks, the Persians and all the ethnicities that are among them and in Syria and Iraq, should have local rights to elect their own local governors and to representation in local government and in higher orders of organization. The mideast needs it's own Union that respects Mideast History and analogous to the European Union. Turkey could help birth that.
Key is a system that respects local autonomy and that reduces religious power to a local affair. One that provides and governs transportation, infrastructure, ports, trade and mutual self defense to it's members. It should guarantee religious freedom, freedom of speech and similar.
I have a book called "Interpreting Difficult Texts" by Clark M. Williamson, written by a theological scholar which is actually about how to interpret anti-semitic Christian Texts. The book makes a great parallel text to my other Book "Verus Israel" by Marcel Simon which talks about the genesis of Christian anti-semitism in the Early Church in the estrangement between Jews and what was originally a Jewish Messianic Sect. I've done a lot of reading on exegesis and religious interpretation and found that every religion has it's texts with problematic passages.
I bring this up because there are "problematic passages" in Muslim teachings too, and there is a duty for religious scholars and ministers (in broad sense including Rabbis, Imams, Priests, or anyone who preaches and teaches religion for a living) to understand that texts are preached in a context, that contexts change, that many of them are themselves interpretations of other texts. And that divine word passes through human beings. So when a person says "this is what God said" it doesn't mean that G-d is instructing folks to do the same thing now. That is a problematic thing, hence the author referring to it as "interpreting difficult texts." If the Five Books of Moses admonish Israel to "Blot out the Name of Amalek", whether or not anyone or any group can be considered "Amalek" in our own day another matter. Joseph Smith labeled settlers on their way to California as "Amalek" and his General took him seriously and infamously massacred a caravan. All religions have problematic passages. All religious sages, except those who've been thoroughly mythologized, are imperfect human beings at some level.
Mohammed preached some things that modern angry fools are taking into a destructive, revanchist absurd implementation. He preached some things that were moderate or advanced in his own time, but act to repress women and are injust in our time. Times change, and our understanding of both justice and the divine evolve with times. If any text is infallible, it is infallible in it's original context. Jews once insisted that the Torah was infallible. With time they've interpreted the difficult passages to be more just in execution. Christians once attacked the Torah as fallible and their "New Testament" as infallible. They tend to ignore their own teachings but still cling to that claim.
Muslims, likewise, need to recognize that holding women down in the name of the prophet is wrong. That cutting off heads is repugnant. That cutting off hands is injustice. And that we don't need to return to the 7th century. If a preacher issues a religious holding, that doesn't mean it's infallible. It's his opinion! Mohammed's Mecca teachings should apply in this day. His Medina teachings and his efforts to conquer the world didn't produce that much good for his people in the long run. In fact religious chauvinism and conflict has brought only suffering. The Caliph of Baghdad was conquered by the Mongols because he was greedy and corrupt[and didn't do a good job defending his kingdom], not because he was either irreligious (thought that might have played a part) or God's representative on Earth. Catholic dogmatism led to good people being burned at the stake. The protestant reformation led to darkness for millions. We've all been rebuked. None of us owns G-d. Some even believe there is no G-d or that he's turned his face from us. This is just the message that the ineffable seems to be sending us in this day. I hope my muslim brothers and sisters will start to listen. A spiritual struggle is a political struggle, but it is first a spiritual struggle. To hear truth and light, not darkness and hate.
I've come to admire the Sufi, the culture of Islam, and the history of the Muslim States. At its best religion exalts us and uplifts us. I am a human being who loves all religions, but I don't want to become a Muslim and I'd never even consider going deeper into my research until I'm sure they truly are a "religion of peace" and have shed hatred and can respect non-Muslims. I both admire and Critique all the Fearless leaders. The Caliphs, the Sheikhs, the Kings, the Emperors, Tsars, Pashas, Kings of Kings, Caudillos, Dictators. My own feelings are based on exegesis of the story of the Golden Man in the Book of Daniel and throughout subsequent Jewish and Christian Literature, to Ozymandias. What kind of monuments, eroding in the sand, do we want if none remain to admire them?
- Clark M. Williamson bio: http://www.disciplesworldmagazine.com/node/5260
- Verus Israel:http://books.google.com/books/about/Verus_Israel.html?id=90YwAAAAYAAJ
Friday, September 19, 2014
From reading David Stockman's book "The Great Deformation" one wouldn't know his central role in the triumph of Reaganomics in the early 80's. The book drips with condemnations and loathing for his Master, but also is loaded with time honored elitist con arguments from the Point of View of Wall Street and the countries established "old wealth". Reading him is valuable however, because unlike his fellow con artists Stockman has a habit of being relatively honest and is usually factual. For that reason I'm reading him with a figurative red pencil. His book is worth reading if one is able to read it critically. He's famous for an article "The Education of David Stockman" where he dissed his own Administration's policy.
"The Great Deformation: The Corruption of Capitalism in America Hardcover – April 2, 2013 by David A. Stockman (Author)"
David Stockman was one of the architects of Reaganomics. He is famous/infamous for both his sales statements and his disclosures. He was an early defector from wholesale support for Reaganomics, but this book demonstrates that he did so because Reaganomics wasn't conservative enough! He is famous for example for articulating the "Starve the Beast" concept in a conversation with Frederick Hayek. I didn't find any mention of Hayek in this book or even of this conversation but Hayek hovers in his language and conceptualization (possibly because he covered it in his previous books).
Instead he dismisses Reaganomics as another form of Keynesianism. Keynes didn't advocate deficit spending except in the limited temporary circumstance of a liquidity trap, but he attacks Keynesianism savagely, including his own Military Keynesian adventures as Reagan's Budget Director. Indeed, he attacks just about every administration from Roosevelt on and spreads his bile at everyone from Roosevelt to Nixon and onward. Some of it is masterful. Some of it reflects the Neo-liberal, Hayekian Point of View that infuses his book.
He writes about Reagan and Wall Street, sometimes, as if he wasn't there. But he worked at Blackstone and later his own company "Heartland" during much of the period he covers. He seems to pine for the days of sound money when the dollar was backed by Gold but he took advantage of the bubble swindles happening all around him. He also experienced first hand the offshoring and decline of US manufacturing. He ran a manufacturing company "Collins and Aikman" that eventually filed for Chapter ll bankruptcy. He was sued by SEC for manipulating statements. He seems to have avoided indictment because our system is so corrupt that much of the corruption is perfectly legal, and he lost money on the company too.
On the other hand he mostly correctly dissects the sheer dishonesty and greed of our current system, especially at high levels. He correctly identifies the corruption and misdirection that was the execution of TARP. And skewers the reality that TARP bailed out crooks and failed to protect their victims. He loads his book with a lot of history, which is extremely informative. He might be coming at the issues from the right, but he's also skewering people who, right or left, are scoundrels; and telling on the hypocrisy and hubris of people who claim to be conservatives, but are really just cons.
Like I said I'm reading the book with a red pencil as his knives he aims at Progressive economic politics really skewer his own con artist allies. When he talks about "statist" and reckless spending, he's talking about folks who use the same language he's using, play the same games, and belong in the same prisons.
More to come (hopefully)....
- Next Chapter: Introduction to the Good Money Debate
Wednesday, September 17, 2014
Part of a Twitter post: [https://twitter.com/daveydreadnot/status/512391963778510849]
Tuesday, September 16, 2014
Just for the heck of it. These are some of the reasons the Federal Government had the right to put down the Secessionist/insurrectionists of the 1860's:
"No State shall enter into any Treaty, Alliance, or Confederation; grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal; coin Money; emit Bills of Credit; make any Thing but gold and silver Coin a Tender in Payment of Debts; pass any Bill of Attainder, ex post facto Law, or Law impairing the Obligation of Contracts, or grant any Title of Nobility."
This means the confederacy was unconstitutional on it's face.
"No State shall, without the Consent of the Congress, lay any Imposts or Duties on Imports or Exports, except what may be absolutely necessary for executing it's inspection Laws: and the net Produce of all Duties and Imposts, laid by any State on Imports or Exports, shall be for the Use of the Treasury of the United States; and all such Laws shall be subject to the Revision and Control of the Congress."
This means that the New York Port Authority may be behaving unconstitutionally.
"No State shall, without the Consent of Congress, lay any duty of Tonnage, keep Troops, or Ships of War in time of Peace, enter into any Agreement or Compact with another State, or with a foreign Power, or engage in War, unless actually invaded, or in such imminent Danger as will not admit of delay."
Of course once the North invaded the South they had a right to defend themselves. But since they had no right to form the confederacy in the first place, they had no right to raise the armies they raised either.
"This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding."
They had no right to leave the United States without the permission of the rest of us.
Which is why Abraham Lincoln had a difficult time with the diplomacy of the Civil War. Had he granted them bellicose status as if they were a nation that would have ratified their leaving. Of course West Virginia only had the right to become a State without the permission of the Rest of Virginia by the rest of Virginia seceding. By seceding the rest of Virginia was breaking the law and so West Virginia had a right to claim it was the true Virginia, though the constitution is clear otherwise:
"New States may be admitted by the Congress into this Union; but no new States shall be formed or erected within the Jurisdiction of any other State; nor any State be formed by the Junction of two or more States, or parts of States, without the Consent of the Legislatures of the States concerned as well as of the Congress."
I guess one day West Virginia ought to put a resolution to vote in Virginia to ratify it's existence.
Tuesday, September 9, 2014
The word commonwealth may have entered English sooner, but it was John Locke who gave it a more modern definition (literally) segueing from a speech by King James that referred to the concept. In his book "Twin Governments he contrasted the concepts of commonwealth with those of monarchy, admitting that only with checks and balances can a Kingdom be a commonwealth and of a state of nature with that of a "man in society,"
Definition of Commonwealth
Locke distributes his argument among many arguments, so understanding him requires one to analyze what he says a bit out of of order, as he builds up the arguments supporting his argument before summarizing them. One has to read the whole book through and then go back (unless one has perfect recall).
133. "By “commonwealth” I must be understood all along to mean not a democracy, or any form of government, but any independent community which the Latins signified by the word civitas, to which the word which best answers in our language is “commonwealth,” and most properly expresses such a society of men which “community” does not (for there may be subordinate communities in a government), and “city” much less. And therefore, to avoid ambiguity, I crave leave to use the word “commonwealth” in that sense, in which sense I find the word used by King James himself, which I think to be its genuine signification, which, if anybody dislike, I consent with him to change it for a better."
We can thank Locke for introducing the term in it's modern form. Not a "direct" democracy, but one where government is by consent of the governed. Ironically in the British monarchal mind, thanks to years of propaganda from the monarchy, the word has become synonymous with monarchy. But when Locke introduced the term it was in contrast to monarchy. As a Democratic Republican who believes in the concept of Commonwealth I find this ironic.
For example one argument made by the royalists was that monarchs have the power to make war:
"§132. The actual making of war or peace is no proof of any other power, but only of disposing those to exercise or cease acts of enmity for whom he makes it, and this power in many cases any one may have without any politic supremacy: and therefore the making of war or peace will not prove that every one that does so is a politic ruler, much less a king; for then commonwealths must be kings too, for they do as certainly make war and peace as monarchical government."[Two Treatises. page 85]
In Book II chapter 1 he notes (page 106):
3. [Legitimate] "Political power, then, I take to be a right of making laws, with penalties of death, and consequently all less penalties for the regulating and preserving of property, and of employing the force of the community in the execution of such laws, and in the defence of the commonwealth from foreign injury, and all this only for the public good."
Liberty in Context of Commonwealth
From Chapter IV Of Slavery:
21. "The natural liberty of man is to be free from any superior power on earth, and not to be under the will or legislative authority of man, but to have only the law of Nature for his rule. The liberty of man in society is to be under no other legislative power but that established by consent in the commonwealth, nor under the dominion of any will, or restraint of any law, but what that legislative shall enact according to the trust put in it."
"Freedom, then, is not what Sir Robert Filmer tells us:
“A liberty for every one to do what he lists, to live as he pleases, and not to be tied by any laws”;
but freedom of men under government is to have a standing rule to live by, common to every one of that society, and made by the legislative power erected in it. A liberty to follow my own will in all things where that rule prescribes not, not to be subject to the inconstant, uncertain, unknown, arbitrary will of another man, as freedom of nature is to be under no other restraint but the law of Nature."
Locke uses negative illustration to contrast freedom with slavery:
22. This freedom from absolute, arbitrary power is so necessary to, and closely joined with, a man’s preservation, that he cannot part with it but by what forfeits his preservation and life together. For a man, not having the power of his own life, cannot by compact or his own consent enslave himself to any one, nor put himself under the absolute, arbitrary power of another to take away his life when he pleases. Nobody can give more power than he has himself, and he that cannot take away his own life cannot give another power over it. Indeed, having by his fault forfeited his own life by some act that deserves death, he to whom he has forfeited it may, when he has him in his power, delay to take it, and make use of him to his own service; and he does him no injury by it. For, whenever he finds the hardship of his slavery outweigh the value of his life, it is in his power, by resisting the will of his master, to draw on himself the death he desires.
23. This is the perfect condition of slavery, which is nothing else but the state of war continued between a lawful conqueror and a captive, for if once compact enter between them, and make an agreement for a limited power on the one side, and obedience on the other, the state of war and slavery ceases as long as the compact endures; for, as has been said, no man can by agreement pass over to another that which he hath not in himself—a power over his own life.
Henry George on Commonwealth
John Locke's common sense and progressivity is important to understand in our own Day. Henry George Encapsulated the concept in his Apostle of Freedom 1878 speech:
"It was a commonwealth based upon the individual – a commonwealth whose ideal it was that every man should sit under his own vine and fig tree, with none to vex him or make him afraid. It was a commonwealth: in which none should be condemned to ceaseless toil; in which, for even the bond slave, there should be hope; and in which, for even the beast of burden, there should be rest. A commonwealth in which, in the absence of deep poverty, the many virtues that spring from personal independence should harden into a national character – a commonwealth in which the family affections might knit their tendrils around each member, binding with links stronger than steel the various parts into the living whole." Henry George [http://www.wealthandwant.com/HG/Moses.html]
All Quotes from Two Treatises of Government, my downloaded copy.
- My Essay:
- Edmund Burke Versus John Locke
- Definition of Tyranny according to Locke:
- Property and Reason:
- Rights come from Below:
- Commonwealth as an Antidote to Tyranny:http://holtesthoughts.blogspot.com/2012/08/the-concept-of-commonwealth-as-antidote.html
- John Locke Teaching:
- The real problem:http://holtesthoughts.blogspot.com/2011/10/i-hear-people-railing-against.html
- Henry George, apostle of Freedom speech:
First published 9/9/2014, Revised 12/9/2014, Christopher H. Holte
Saturday, September 6, 2014
|Lee Atwater clip on Youtube|
I find the subject of race and class sometimes painful because my family background is a mix of North South, East and West, and because some of my ancestors were on opposite sides of the Civil War. My family has a strong preachy element and that is where I drew my earliest efforts to understand the subject outside of cultural conditioning. Observing how it influenced my own family shaped me from someone who might have grown up a racist, bigoted Christian Fanatic, into someone who's been on a life long vision quest. I've had some great teachers who sometimes taught me by example, and sometimes by doing the wrong thing in an illustrative fashion.
Recent studies have added welcome complexity to the debate about race and class in the United States. Unfortunately our far right wing nut jobs (RWNJ) have tried to muddy the subject by using them as a source for denying reality. The Southern Strategy was more complex and a longer and more nuanced campaign than it is sometimes portrayed. I lived it and saw the complexity first hand so I'm not surprised at either the studies, their conclusions or how they are used by RWNJs as part of a strategy that was first articulated by Lee Atwater (although he really was following other teachers rather than inventing something).
The Modern Southern Strategy
James Carter IV interviewed Lee Atwater way back in 1981 and The nation published an article on Lee Atwater that shared the audio from that famous interview in 2012. They advertize:
"Now, the same indefatigable researcher who brought us Mitt Romney’s “47 percent” remarks, James Carter IV, has dug up the entire forty-two-minute interview from which that quote derives. Here, The Nation publishes it in its entirety for the very first time."[Lee Atwater]
It has become, for liberals and leftists enraged by the way Republicans never suffer the consequences for turning electoral politics into a cesspool, a kind of smoking gun. The late, legendarily brutal campaign consultant Lee Atwater explains how Republicans can win the vote of racists without sounding racist themselves:
It also turned out to be a wonderful tool for getting blue collar workers and the poor to vote against their own best interests:
“You start out in 1954 by saying, “Nigger, nigger, nigger.” By 1968 you can’t say “nigger”—that hurts you, backfires. So you say stuff like, uh, forced busing, states’ rights, and all that stuff, and you’re getting so abstract. Now, you’re talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you’re talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is, blacks get hurt worse than whites.… “We want to cut this,” is much more abstract than even the busing thing, uh, and a hell of a lot more abstract than “Nigger, nigger.””[Lee Atwater]
And that abstraction winds up being aimed at things that benefit working people who happen to be white as well as black. Cutting taxes benefits the rich. Cutting "welfare" cuts the welfare of the working poor who think that the politicians are going to only cut benefits to black poor and working folks.
It's more complicated
Of course Nixon's southern strategy was halting. Otherwise he wouldn't have had to contend with George Wallace. His Silent Majority talk was not explicitly racist. He used some of the code words; "law and order", etc... but wasn't willing to break with Republican Tradition. That took even less ethical Republicans like Ronald Reagan. Nixon:
"In 1968, George Wallace ran as a third-party candidate against Nixon and Humphrey, on an explicitly segregationist platform. Humphrey had been the main champion of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 in the Senate; Nixon, while no civil rights activist, rejected an overtly racist platform. Feeling abandoned by both parties, Southern white racists flocked to Wallace's cause, winning him the Deep South states of Ark., La., Miss., Ala. and Ga."[http://www.umich.edu/~lawrace/votetour10.htm]
The Article notes that Nixon did originate the "Southern Strategy:"
"Political analyst and Nixon campaigner Kevin Phillips, analysing 1948-1968 voting trends, viewed these rebellious Southern voters as ripe for Republican picking. In The Emerging Republican Majority (Arlington House, 1969), he correctly predicted that the Republican party would shift its national base to the South by appealing to whites' disaffection with liberal democratic racial and welfare policies. President Nixon shrewdly played this "Southern strategy" by promoting affirmative action in employment, a "wedge" issue that later Republicans would exploit to split the Democratic coalition of white working class and black voters. (See John Skrentny, The Ironies of Affirmative Action (U Chicago Press, 1996)). This strategy soon produced the racial party alignments that prevail today."
Kevin Phillips went on to write prophetic books about the results of Nixonian and RW policies. He predicted the financial collapse of 2008 and uncovered a history of fraud and manipulation in Wall Street. But in 1968 he showed Republican operatives where to go.
“From now on, the Republicans are never going to get more than 10 to 20 percent of the Negro vote and they don’t need any more than that….but Republicans would be shortsighted if they weakened enforcement of the Voting Rights Act. The more Negroes who register as Democrats in the South, the sooner the Negrophobe whites will quit the Democrats and become Republicans. That’s where the votes are. Without that prodding from the blacks, the whites will backslide into their old comfortable arrangement with the local Democrats.” Nixon’s Southern Strategy: ‘It’s All in the Charts’ New York Times (May 17, 1970)"[http://samuel-warde.com/2014/08/republican-southern-strategy/#]
And they went there. Jimmy Carter won newly enfranchised whites and progressive southerners (they do exist) in 1976, but lost most of them by 1980 and by 1984:
"The success of the "Southern strategy" was made evident at the Presidential level in the 1984 election, pitting Ronald Reagan against Democrat Walter Mondale. (Georgia Democrat Jimmy Carter, the Democratic nominee for 1976 and 1980, obscured this because he was competitive in the South). Democrats had picked up votes in the South due to the re-enfranchisement of blacks via the Voting Rights Act of 1965. This is observable in the low Republican (hence high Democratic) turnout in areas with large black populations--the Southern Black Belt and urban North. However, Democrats lost more white votes than they gained black votes--not only in the South, but in white Northern suburbs. Thomas and Mary Edsall, in Chain Reaction (W.W. Norton, 1991), argue that Republican success in the Northern suburbs showed that opposition to government programs that benefit blacks appealed to Northern whites, who, identifying crime and welfare dependency with blacks, were receptive to coded Republican messages ("welfare queens," "special interests," "quotas") appealing to antiblack racial antipathies."
This was the southern strategy articulated by Lee Atwater. And it would gradually lead to Southern Politicians abandoning the Democratic party for the new Republican party's new organization and the rise of politicians like Newt Gingrich. It also led to the spread of these racist concepts to areas in the North where there were also black people. This has been a tragedy, because it has led to a war on the poor championed by by people who are nearly as poor.
And of course the battle is three ways: Country versus city versus suburbs. I have more to say but I can't find the articles today that I was reading yesterday so it will have to wait for another post. This makes a nice intro.
Origins of Racism
Wednesday, September 3, 2014
I've been talking about ISIL for almost a year. I traced it's origins as an outgrowth of Al Qaeda. I've traced those origins to CIA programs and shown the circumstantial links to the Saudis, especially Prince Bandar. All to establish my belief that they are a tool of the Saudi Secret Service, maybe P. Bandar, maybe renegades, but certainly a tool of Saudis. But the question becomes. How to actually defeat ISIL?
To Defeat ISIL, a head on attack by USA forces might send them packing. But unless it is a complete extermination it will only send them underground. The fighters might decamp to other battle fields, or carry out terror attacks. Indeed more than likely they will try to do both. Some of them will decamp back home, having established bona fides as warriors. Whatever happens it will feed into the Al Qaeda Salafist propaganda machine. A sort of Arabic Robin Hood narrative of good outlaws versus an evil machine of crooked government enemies. In any case, the fact that we only seem interested in organizations like ISIL when we are protecting our oil transportation lines also feeds into the street narrative of the Arabic world that European, USA and Israel are behind the whole mess. The Saudis would rather hear that narrative than one that points back to them and the gulf states.
So to defeat ISIL we need to make noises about how the Saudis oil interests are at stake. How the Saudis are behind ISIL. And how they are playing a duplicitous game to take the world's eyes of the fact that they use their oil revenues to make a very small subset of Arabs incredibly wealthy while repressing their brothers around the world. Including the Palestinians who are expected to somehow conquer Israel with no help from them, and aren't allowed to resettle elsewhere as citizens of an Arab Brotherhood.
The Betrayal of the Ummah
I'm not strong on Muslim belief. But I believe they emphasize the brotherhood of the Ummah[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ummah]. In that concept the Muslim World ought to be like a commonwealth or the United States, where all Arabs are equal. Heck all Muslims are part of the Ummah. Anyone who has experienced Islam up close knows about this sense of brotherhood. Even Shiah and Sunnah put aside their differences long enough to visit Mecca or other primary holy sites. One goes to a mosque and one senses this sense of brotherhood. Malcolm X experienced it in his trip to Mecca. http://middleeast.about.com/od/religionsectarianism/a/me080220b.htm]He is said to have experienced an epiphany on his trip to Mecca [http://middleeast.about.com/od/religionsectarianism/a/me080220b.htm] which changed his attitude towards both race and religion. Islam is based on a concept of universal brotherhood. It's not supposed to be about virulent hate of Christians and Jews.
In his experience he recounts that people “were hugging and embracing. They were of all complexions, the whole atmosphere was of warmth and friendliness. The feeling hit me that there really wasn’t any color problem here. The effect was as though I had just stepped out of a prison.” To enter the state of ihram required of all pilgrims heading for Mecca, Malcolm abandoned his trademark black suit and dark tie for the two-piece white garment pilgrims must drape over their upper and lower bodies. “Every one of the thousands at the airport, about to leave for Jedda, was dressed this way,” Malcolm wrote. “You could be a king or a peasant and no one would know.” That, of course, is the point of ihram. As Islam interprets it, it reflects the equality of man before God."
Democracy is congruent with Muslim theory too. Muslims operated by consensus in their early years, and the purpose of structures like voting is to establish a sense of consensus and a means of re-establishing consensus when consensus is broken that is superior to warfare and internal insurrection.
Compatibility with Secular Government
This equality of man before God is also the belief of other Western Religions. The reason that early Islam was able to conquer much of the ancient Christian world is as much the disunity and hypocrisy of the people running Christian institutions and governing Christian Countries. Had these people accepted the universal principles of Islam, the program of conquest and destruction might have been less successful, and Islam would have been forced to accommodate them instead of trying to supplant it. A "Dhimmi" status might have been appropriate in the early days of Islam, but time has shown that not only are all men equal before God, but God doesn't play favorites between Christians, Muslims or Jews.
Thus modern Islam should not be incompatible with Secularism. The Shia know that Islam went wrong when the Caliphate suppressed the children of Ali. The Sunna lived under the yoke of foreigners for centuries because of their arrogance. It is time for Muslims to accept that secularism is the best way to live up to Islamic theory. It need not be incompatible with secular democracy.
And indeed Our first treaty with the Barbary states established that the USA, being a Secular Democracy, was not incompatible with Islam:
"Art. 11. As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion; as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquility, of Mussulmen [Muslims]; and as the said States never entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mahometan [Muslim] nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries."
Sane Foreign policy based on principle of freedom of Religion embodied in Secular Government
A sane foreign policy would use this reality in the same way that Adams and Jefferson did in dealing with the Tripolitarian princes in the early 1800's. The divide between Shia and Sunnah is founded on it's surface on disrespect for the principle of freedom of religion. But deep inside the real issue is the respect of those who are elevated to power for those who elevate them. And that means respecting differing opinions. Secularism is not about eliminating religion, but respecting different points of views. In the long run the Muslims must fashion their own secular Federation. They can't impose Shiah or Sunnah, but they can create a government that respects consensus by building it through republican forms.
Defeating ISIL is actually conceptually Easy
Meantime the easiest way to defeat ISIL is to help the folks who find ISIL obnoxious: Sunnah tribesmen, Kurds, local folks, Shiah and just about everyone except their fellow fanatics. It also means shaming the Saudis into admitting that their Salafist Caliphate dreams are not likely to involve the Royal Saud line becoming Caliph if they keep funding terrorists. That would require admitting who funds, supports, trains and creates groups like ISIL in the first place. Sure now their most respected Preacher is criticizing ISIL (the Russians are right on this one):
If we want to stop ISIL we have to cut off the money coming to them from our Saudi Frenemies:
"The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) now threatening Baghdad was funded for years by wealthy donors in Kuwait, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia, three US allies that have dual agendas in the war on terror… Sometimes the support came with the tacit nod of approval from those regimes," emphasized Josh Rogin, a foreign policy correspondent for The Daily Beast, in his article "America's Allies Are Funding ISIS" published in June, 2014.
The Russians further report:
"ISIS is part of the Sunni forces that are fighting Shia forces in this regional sectarian conflict. They are in an existential battle with both the (Iranian aligned) Maliki government and the Assad regime," said Andrew Tabler, a senior fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, as cited by Josh Rogin."
They actually go so far as to suggest that the Saudis were bribing McCain and his buddies:
"However, it looks like the US leadership has no influence on the Gulf elites: Prince Bandar bin Sultan, the head of Saudi Intelligence, openly criticized US President Obama for his "inability" to invade Syria after chemical attacks had been conducted against its civilians. Experts claim that the notorious Saudi prince was behind the sarin gas attacks in East Ghouta and Aleppo, which were aimed to provoke the US to strike Syria. Moreover, according to Wayne Madsen, an American investigative journalist, Prince Bandar had allegedly bribed key US Senators to approve a "shock and awe" military attack on Damascus."
Bandar has recently been removed from office and the Saudis now say:
"The ideas of extremism, radicalism and terrorism ... have nothing to do with Islam and (their proponents) are the enemy number one of Islam," claimed Saudi Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdul Aziz al-Sheikh on Tuesday, August, 19, as cited by Al Arabiya.
So to defeat ISIL we have to recognize that we can't protect our oil supply by supporting tyrannical regimes whether secular or religious, but by promoting secular government, republican forms, and freedom of religion. That includes existing institutions such as tribal leaders, mosques, and fostering local leaders. It doesn't mean letting others bribe our officials or run false flag operations using religious fanatics as useful idiots in their efforts to make money by keeping things churning.
And that means recognizing the double dealing of our "frenemies" and stopping our own crooked politicians from receiving their bribes.
Read Wayne Madsen's shocking allegations here:
"“Wayne Madsen, moreover, has learned from multiple intelligence sources in Washington, London, Beirut, and Paris, that Saudi intelligence chief Prince Bandar bin Sultan has paid off key members of the US Senate and House leadership, as well as key ministers of the French government, with ‘incentive cash’ to support an American and French ‘shock and awe’ military strike on not only Syria but (also) Hezbollah positions in Lebanon,” Fetzer wrote."
Fortunately the man who they wanted to bribe the most didn't take the money. Thank God our President is honest. Something I'm not so sure about with regard to certain Senators.