Archive for the “General” Category

Posts of a general nature

Rainbow flag on white background - harvey milk plaza, san francisco (2012) (8148105584)This is the sixth in a series of posts I plan about the recent Orlando gay-nightclub shooting, by an American Muslim who appears to have been influenced by ISIS and other violent Islamists. By now my readers will surely know a great deal about this horrific event. The topic of this post is:

Terrorism Isn’t Just an “Islam” Problem

A lot of Americans — especially on the Right — tend to view terrorism, especially when it occurs within the US, as solely the product of Islam. The only terrorists we’ve dealt with, they’d tell you, are Muslims. Thus, as they see it, terrorism an an Islam problem.

This has led to all sorts of idiotic tripe; for instance, Breitbart announced that fierce Religious Rightist Newt Gingrich called for a Congressional inquiry into “Islamic supremacism” (WebCite cached article):

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich called Tuesday for the creation of a congressional commission to examine the radical Islamic terrorist threat.

Gingrich said Tuesday in a Facebook video chat:

We can no more afford to have fanatic terrorists at home just because they’re American citizens, be allowed to run around, get organized and kill people, than we can afford to bring in thousands of unvetted and unverified Syrian refugees. So I believe the president is profoundly, fundamentally wrong. I believe the Congress should create a commission on Islamic supremacism and terrorism in the United States. I think we should start looking at serious new laws.…

Gingrich noted that he welcomes the “modern Muslim” who accepts the authority of “secular law” and the reality of “diversity,” but that adherents of Sharia law should be inadmissible to the United States.

Gingrich’s commission would surely resemble the anti-Muslim show-trials Rep. Peter King hosted a few some 5 years ago. Those never went anywhere, since they were never intended to do anything other than allow King and other Neocrusaders to grandstand. Also note the requisite bellyaching about the bogeyman of “shari’a law” in the Newtster’s Neocrusading comments. Perhaps he imagines this investigation somehow will prove his contention, a few years ago, that “radical Islamists” are “secular atheists” and vice versa. (In case you didn’t realize it, that would be a staggering contradiction: “Secular atheists” are non-religious, while “radical Islamists” are exceedingly religious. It’s literally not possible to be both at the same time.)

I’ve said it before and will say it again: Terrorism — both worldwide and in the US — is most assuredly not just an “Islam” problem. It’s a “religious extremist” problem! And extremism can be found within any religion.

The reality of terrorism in the US is that there have been Christian terror attacks in addition to Islamist attacks — not to mention ordinary, mundane, sociopathic attacks.

Many people refuse to believe there is such a thing as Christian terror, but there is! Among the most recent examples of it is the Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood shooting, just last November (cached). There was also a guy who shot up Austin TX almost a year and a half ago (cached). There’s also a guy who was indicted for conspiring to kill Muslims in upstate New York (cached). Another guy conspired to kill Muslims and the president using some kind of radiation weapon (cached). And another creep tried to bomb the Kansas clinic that Dr George Tiller had worked at (cached).

Ultimately, any given American is much more likely to be attacked by a criminal with no religious motivation at all, or a Rightist with a potentially Christian motivation, than fall prey to a raging Islamist barbarian.

For Christianists like Newtie, or any other Neocrusaders, to scream and holler about how horrible and violence-prone Islam is, without acknowledging the violent militancy of some of their own co-religionists, is hypocritical. And hypocrisy is something that their own Jesus clearly, explicitly, and unambiguously forbid them ever to engage in. They should clean up their own religion before running around trumpeting about the faults of others. But of course, they will never do so.

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons.

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Comments Comments Off on Orlando Shooting Observations, Part 6

Rainbow flag - DC Capital Pride parade - 2013-06-08 (8992857356)This is the fifth in a series of posts I plan about the recent Orlando gay-nightclub shooting, by an American Muslim who appears to have been influenced by ISIS and other violent Islamists. By now my readers will surely know a great deal about this horrific event. The topic of this post is:

Militant Christianists Spout Off Like the Hateful Cretins They Are

We all know by now that America’s Christianists are hateful little monsters who simply cannot — and will not — tolerate anything they dislike. They constantly rage and bluster and fume about all sorts of people they think shouldn’t be allowed to exist. A lot of the time they’re able to hide their despicable hatred, but all too often, something triggers them, their sanctimonious fury takes over, and they show their true colors. Talking Points Memo reported on a couple of them doing just that (WebCite cached article):

After 49 people were gunned down in an Orlando gay nightclub in the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history, pastors in California and Arizona praised the gunman for massacring “perverted predators” and “pedophiles.”

In Sacramento, Pastor Roger Jimenez of Verity Baptist Church said the killer succeeded in making Orlando safer.

“Are you sad that 50 pedophiles were killed today?” Jimenez said in a sermon originally posted on YouTube. “Um no, I think that’s great! I think that helps society. I think Orlando, Florida is a little safer tonight.”

In the sermon, delivered just hours after the rampage on Sunday morning, Jimenez also said, “I wish the government would round them all up, put them up against a wall, put a firing squad in front of them and blow their brains out.”

Tempe, Arizona preacher Steven Anderson also rushed to praise the “good news” that “there are 50 less pedophiles in this world.”

In a video posted online, Anderson, a pastor at Faithful Word Baptist Church, said while he wouldn’t advocate for violence, he said LGBT people should be “executed by a righteous government.”

“The bad news is that a lot of the homos in the bar are still alive, so they’re going to continue to molest children and recruit children into their filthy homosexual lifestyle,” he said, adding the attack would be used to attack Christians and push gun control.

“I’m not sad about it, I’m not gonna cry about it because these 50 people in the gay bar that got shot up were going to die of AIDS and syphilis and whatever else,” he continued. “At least these dangerous, filthy predators are off the streets. I’m just trying to look on the bright side.”

The videos were taken down by Youtube, but Anderson’s has been preserved:

Please note, Jimenez has since doubled down on his remarks and is unrepentant about his hatred for gays (cached).

In addition to these two creatures, longtime Christofascist prick Marion “Pat” Robertson, as Right Wing Watch reports, spewed yet more of his asinine ridiculousness (cached):

Today on “The 700 Club,” televangelist Pat Robertson reacted to the massacre at an Orlando gay club by making the absurd claim that liberal LGBT rights advocates have aligned themselves with radical Islamists and are now reaping what they have sowed.

Robertson said that liberals are facing a “dilemma” because they love both LGBT equality and Islamic extremism, and that it is better for conservatives like himself not to get involved but to instead just watch the two groups kill each other.

“The left is having a dilemma of major proportions and I think for those of us who disagree with some of their policies, the best thing to do is to sit on the sidelines and let them kill themselves,” he said.

Robertson, like Newt Gingrich, incorrectly presumes the American Left is “allied” with, or even includes, militant Islamists. In reality, a lot of Islamists effectively lean in the direction of fascism, and have nothing in common with American Leftists. Moreover, the Left is a secular movement, and Islamists despise secularism above most other things. So they can hardly be viewed as having any connection.

What bothers Robertson is, in all likelihood, Leftists’ determined avoidance of saying or doing anything that might even remotely be viewed as denigrating to Islam or to Muslims. Although this policy is misguided — it purposely ignores the fact that some terrorism, such as the Orlando massacre, is in fact driven by Islam (cached), in the minds of those who carry out these atrocities — that doesn’t mean Islamists are allied with, or part of, the American Left. Far from it! All it means is that they’ve successfully intimidated the Left. Which really, isn’t much of an achievement, since they intimidate pretty much everyone.

Now, with all of this said, it’s easy for moderate and reasonable Christians out there to point out that we’re talking about just 3 people here (Jimenez, Anderson, & Robertson), and they hardly reflect on Christianity as a whole. But let’s be honest: Those moderate Christians will do absolutely nothing about any of them. Each will retain his ministry, or in the case of Robertson, his broadcasting network. None of them will be ousted from their positions, or in any other way punished or disciplined because of what they said. They will, instead, be allowed to rant and rave all they want, however they want, whenever they want.

None of those moderate Christians cares enough to correct any of them … and they will never do so. (No, merely stating disapproval of what these animals said does not, in any way, constitute “correction.” Words are cheap and mean nothing. They’re just a cop-out.) That’s what “the religion of love” stands for. And it’s sickening.

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons.

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Comments Comments Off on Orlando Shooting Observations, Part 5

rainbow peace warrior flag : harvey milk plaza, castro, san francisco (2013)This is the fourth in a series of posts I plan about the recent Orlando gay-nightclub shooting, by an American Muslim who appears to have been influenced by ISIS and other violent Islamists. By now my readers will surely know a great deal about this horrific event. The topic of this post is:

The FBI Blew It … Again!

I’ve blogged previously about the clusterfuck which is the US anti-terror effort. As I’ve said, it’s mostly all just “security theater,” pointless exercises intended to make people think they’re being kept safe, when in fact, they’re not. White-powder freakouts do nothing for anyone except cause needless anxiety and inconvenience.

You may recall the background of the Boston Marathon bombers. Russian intelligence had found the elder of the two was likely radicalized; they contacted the FBI, which ostensibly “investigated” him, but closed the book without doing anything. He and his brother subsequently carried out a devastating terror attack. Well, as many outlets — including the New York Times — have reported, the Orlando shooter had been on the FBI’s radar too … not just once, but twice (WebCite cached article):

Two years after [the shooter’s divorce], the Federal Bureau of Investigation was called in after reports from [his] co-workers that he, the American-born son of Afghan immigrants, had suggested he may have had terrorist ties. The F.B.I. interviewed him twice, but after surveillance, records checks and witness interviews, agents were unable to verify any terrorist links and closed their investigation.

Then, in 2014, the F.B.I. discovered a possible tie between [the Orlando shooter] and Moner Mohammad Abusalha, who had grown up in nearby Vero Beach and then became the first American suicide bomber in Syria, where he fought with the Nusra Front, a Qaeda-aligned militant group. Again, the F.B.I. closed its inquiry after finding “minimal” contact between the two men.

After the terrorist investigations cleared [the shooter], he maintained both his Florida security-officer license and his job. He also kept his Florida firearms license, and within the last few days he legally purchased a handgun and a “long gun.”

In the cases of both the Boston bomber and the Orlando shooter, the FBI had been handed leads on proverbial silver platters: Others had already done some work (in the case of one, the Russian government; in the latter, his own co-workers) and provided evidence of potential radicalization. And in both cases the FBI went through the motions of “investigating” — whatever that may have entailed. But also, in both cases, the FBI decided nothing was afoot and did nothing. Clearly, however, they were demonstrably wrong — both times. Something was, indeed, afoot with both of these terrorists … even so, the FBI, after looking into them, apparently never noticed any of it.

How could that be? The US has the most pervasive and comprehensive intelligence operation the world has ever known. They have the benefit of laws that permit them warrantless access to information during anti-terror investigations. There are virtually no limits to how deeply they can dive into a person’s life, if that person is suspected of having even a minor connection to terrorism.

Think about this the next time you’re in an airport and are asked to take your belt and shoes off, or if you see a frail 90-year-old lady being wanded by TSA agents. Just think about it. Think about the hurdles they make every American jump through, in the name of keeping us safe from terror … yet, when they actually have evidence someone might be a terrorist, they turn away and do nothing.

Just think about it, and wonder how rational all of this is. I suggest it’s not rational at all. If anything, it’s pointless and maybe even counter-productive (because it gives everyone a sense of security we don’t actually have).

I had expected there to be an investigation into why the FBI never caught onto the elder of the Boston Marathon bombers a few years ago, but that never materialized. So I don’t expect there will be any investigation into how the Orlando shooter squeezed out from under them, either. More’s the pity.

Photo credit: torbakhopper, via Flickr.

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Comments Comments Off on Orlando Shooting Observations, Part 4

rainbow flag : pride weekend, castro, san francisco (2014)This is the third in a series of posts I plan about the recent Orlando gay-nightclub shooting, by an American Muslim who appears to have been influenced by ISIS and other violent Islamists. By now my readers will surely know a great deal about this horrific event. The topic of this post is:

The Right Wing Takes Advantage

I just blogged about how some Leftists leapt on this massacre to use it for all the wrong reasons, but even more odious is what a lot of Rightists are doing with it. CNN reports on some of their rhetoric, and some of it is really stupid (WebCite cached article):

Late Sunday afternoon Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, said President Barack Obama was far too timid in his White House appearance. Trump issued his first call in the campaign for Obama to step down from the presidency and challenged presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton to ratchet up her language about terror threats.

“President Obama disgracefully refused to even say the words ‘Radical Islam,'” Trump said in the statement. “For that reason alone, he should step down. If Hillary Clinton, after this attack, still cannot say the two words ‘Radical Islam’ she should get out of this race for the Presidency.”

I hate to break it to Donald “it’s my own orange hair!” Trump, but the fact that President Obama won’t use the phrase “radical Islam” did not cause this massacre. It just didn’t. I don’t agree with Obama’s refusal to use the phrase; the notion that, if he avoids it, it will pacify Muslims around the world and make them support the US, naïve and foolish. But Trump’s complaint is even more ridiculous.

Fierce Rightist Andrew McCarthy (not the actor!), meanwhile, took to the National Review to pen a vilification of Islam as an inherently and pervasively anti-gay religion (cached):

The mandate that homosexuals be killed is not from ISIS or al-Qaeda. It is from sharia — which draws on Muslim scripture.…

The inspiration for Muslims to brutalize and mass murder gay people does not come from ISIS. It is deeply rooted in Islamic law, affirmed by many of Islam’s most renowned scholars. This is why, wherever sharia is the law, homosexuals are persecuted and killed.

McCarthy claims to be an “expert” on Islam, yet he equates that religion with “shari’a law” apparently without realizing that “shari’a law” is hardly universal within the Muslim world, and where it can be found often varies. So how much of an “expert” on Islam can he really be? Answer: He isn’t one! All he does is cherry-pick his way through Islam, sucking up the bits and pieces that support what he thinks while leaving the rest behind. He just wants Islam wiped off the face of the earth, and is willing to say and do anything he thinks he needs to in order to justify that. Even make it seem as though every Muslim on the planet is required, by his/her religion, to kill every gay they ever come across. Which, of course, is absurd.

What’s more, he conveniently forgets that his own religion, Christianity, has been anti-gay for a very long time.

Photo credit: torbakhopper, via Flickr.

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Comments Comments Off on Orlando Shooting Observations, Part 3

Rainbow flag and blue skiesThis is the second in a series of posts I plan about the recent Orlando gay-nightclub shooting, by an American Muslim who appears to have been influenced by ISIS and other violent Islamists. By now my readers will surely know a great deal about this horrific event. The topic of this post is:

The Gun-Law Angle is Misapplied Here

It was inevitable, I suppose, that gun-control advocates (mostly Leftists and Democrats) would jump on this massacre as fuel for their efforts to enact stricter gun controls in the US. CNN, for example, reports on some of their rhetoric (WebCite cached article):

Within hours, the Orlando mass shooting at a gay nightclub set off renewed political debates — with Democrats calling for gun control and Republicans blasting “radical Islamic terrorism.”…

“Congress has become complicit in these murders by its total, unconscionable deafening silence,” [Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Connecticut] said in a statement. “This doesn’t have to happen, but this epidemic will continue without end if Congress continues to sit on its hands and do nothing — again.”

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, a Democratic presidential contender, offered similar comments on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

“We should not be selling automatic weapons which are designed to kill people,” Sanders said. “We have got to do everything that we can on top of that to make sure that guns do not fall into the hands of people who should not have them, criminals, people who are mentally ill. So that struggles continues.”

In this case, the shooter was educated in criminal justice, and worked for a security contractor (cached); thus, he was fully licensed to purchase guns, and that wouldn’t have been affected by most gun-control reforms (since his job would have allowed him access to guns even if most of the general population was prevented from getting them).

I’m not particularly sympathetic to Right-wing, NRA-promoted “let’s-go-back-to-the-Wild-West-when-everyone-was-armed-to-the-teeth” propaganda. In fact, their notion that arming everyone, all the time, will eliminate all violent crime, is laughable and asinine. It just doesn’t work that way … and they know it. All I wish to do here is point out that, in this particular case, gun-control reforms would not have mattered and wouldn’t have prevented this massacre. Advocates of gun control need to learn to pick their battles and choose causes that meaningfully support their arguments and their policies. This shooting — unfortunately for them — doesn’t do so.

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Comments Comments Off on Orlando Shooting Observations, Part 2

Rainbow flag breezeThis is the first in a series of posts I plan about the recent Orlando gay-nightclub shooting, by an American Muslim who appears to have been influenced by ISIS and other violent Islamists. By now my readers will surely know a great deal about this horrific event. The topic of this post is:

Why, Of Course It Was About Religion!

Rather soon after the shooting, the shooter’s name was known to the media and they began inquiring about him. His father made an early statement to NBC News, trying to deflect the whole thing (WebCite cached article):

His father told NBC News that his son was affected by a recent incident involving two men showing each other affection.

“We are saying we are apologizing for the whole incident,” the elder Mateen said. “We weren’t aware of any action he is taking. We are in shock like the whole country.”

He added: “This had nothing to do with religion.”

Sorry, pops, but no. That’s not going to fly. Not with me, anyway. Pretty much all hatred of gays, and distaste for homosexuality, follows from religious objections to it. There’s no rational, non-metaphysical reason to be obsessed with homosexuality or to be outraged at gays’ existence. That’s something only religion teaches people.

Reports are trickling in that the shooter may have been bipolar and abusive, according to his ex-wife (cached). Also, co-workers had observed him to be “unhinged and unstable,” among other things (cached). So those who wish to absolve religion for any role in this, would seem to have plenty of ammunition: They can protest that he was mentally ill, sociopathic, etc. Any or all of those, however, can very well co-exist alongside a religious motivation. (I won’t even mention that we don’t, in fact, know with any certainty that the shooter had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder or any other mental illness, to begin with.)

Let’s be honest: If not for widespread, longstanding, pervasive religiously-motivated hatred for gays, why would anyone — even a (possibly) mentally-ill sociopath — have carefully selected a busy gay nightclub as his massacre target? The Abrahamic faiths have had their collective panties in knots over gays and homosexuality for something like 2,500 years, and they’ve infected occidental and Muslim civilizations with their nasty, odious bigotry. How can anyone reasonably insist that this played no role whatever in this savagery?

Oh, and in addition to the aforementioned insistence that his son’s massacre “had nothing to do with religion,” it turns out the shooter’s father actually shared his religiously-inspired hate for gays. CBS News reports on additional comments he posted to Facebook (cached):

The Orland gay club gunman’s father has well-known anti-American views and is an ideological supporter of the Afghan Taliban. A new message posted by the father on Facebook early Monday morning also makes it clear he could have passed anti-homosexual views onto his son.…

The elder Mateen says he was saddened by his son’s actions during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

He then adds: “God will punish those involved in homosexuality,” saying it’s, “not an issue that humans should deal with.”

So it seems the apple didn’t fall far from the tree. Let’s hope everyone keeps an eye on pops, from now on.

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons.

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Comments Comments Off on Orlando Shooting Observations, Part 1

Governor Phil BryantChristianists’ persecution complex ramped up severely in light of Obergefell v. Hodges (2015). They actually think it causes them injury to have to treat gays as though they’re fellow human beings. I’m not sure how or why that’s the case, but they’re convinced of it, and that conviction drives them to keep pitching fits over it.

Of course, a desire to be persecuted for their Jesus is inherent in Christianity’s psychopathology, and has been since its inception. To a large extent, they can’t help themselves. That’s especially true for fundamentalist Christians, because their fundamentalism has infantilized them to the point where they’re incapable of knowing any better.

This persecution delusion explains something Mississippi governor Phil Bryant recently said. As the Associated Press reports via the Washington Post, he made some telling comments during a Religious Right conference in Washington (locally-cached article):

Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant says the “secular, progressive world” vented at him for signing a bill that would let clerks cite religious beliefs to recuse themselves from issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

The Republican governor spoke in Washington as the conservative Family Research Council gave him an award last Thursday for signing House Bill 1523 this year and a similar one in 2014 called the Mississippi Religious Freedom Restoration Act.…

During his speech at the Family Research Council event, Bryant asked whether critics believe people of faith will abandon “freedoms that our forefathers died for,” including religious freedom.

“They don’t know that Christians have been persecuted throughout the ages,” said Bryant, who is United Methodist. “They don’t know that if it takes crucifixion, we will stand in line before abandoning our faith and our belief in our Lord and savior, Jesus Christ.”

Yes, indeed, folks. You read that right. Bryant actually said that Christians would prefer to be crucified than treat gays fairly. Seriously. He said it. He said it proudly and gladly. Bryant spoke for all Christians as though all of them agree with him and share his deluded martyr complex … even though some churches don’t actually object to gays the way he does.

Still, that means nothing to Christianists like the governor. He’s very myopic where his faith is concerned: In his eyes, all Christians think and believe precisely as he does, and there is no variation. Should any disagree, they’re the proverbial “not ‘Real’ Christians” who — in his mind — make him and his religion look bad. In truth, Bryant is making his religion look bad, all by himself. And he’s done a marvelous job of it! Way to go, Guv! You must be so proud!

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Comments Comments Off on MS Gov. Says Christians Prefer Crucifixion to Treating Gays Like Humans