ModernityBlog

“Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.” Abraham Lincoln

Posts Tagged ‘Obama

Osama Bin Laden, An Antifascist’s Approach.

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I had previously wrote a longer draft on the similarities between Osama bin Laden and other rich sociopaths that indulge their hatreds, but on reflection I am not so sure that is the best description for him.

For all I know bin Laden might just have been a misanthrope with a love for AK-47s?

Still, with his views and participation in the death of others he strikes me, at the very least, as a quasi-fascist, someone who revels in the use of violence and mass murder as a means to an end.

Directly or indirectly, he murdered hundreds of civilians in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam.

So in the same way I didn’t mourn over the deaths of António Salazar, Francisco Franco or Augusto Pinochet I don’t worry about bin Laden’s demise either.

Neither should anyone else, particularly those who consider themselves to be anti-fascists.

Update 1: Norm look at this way:

“As a subordinate matter here, those of us who recognize the above difference can’t help but notice the contrasting reaction of others ‘not mourning’ Bin Laden but seemingly capable only of biliousness in speaking about his death. Poor lost socialist, liberal and democratic souls (for that is what they mostly are). In the demise of a reactionary murdering theocrat they are unable to see and plainly articulate the sense of anything good. That, in its way, also gives grounds for satisfaction: many people bothered who ought to be.”

Written by modernityblog

05/05/2011 at 23:58

A Grumpy Stop the War Coalition And Bin Laden.

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StWC Tweets

StWC Tweets on bin Laden

I am not the only one to notice that the Stop the War Coalition were not too happy at bin Laden’s death.

StWC’s latest tweet suggests they are decidedly grumpy on this issue.

Carl Packman, at Though Cowards Flinch, ably analyses the problem with the StWC’s approach:

“However many of us are quietly pleased that Bin Laden is history.

That is, of course, with the exception of the Stop the War Coalition, who today put out a statement which had the following to say (authored by Lindsey German):

The US and Britain should remind themselves of the grievances which bin Laden claimed in 2001: the presence of US troops in the Middle East; the treatment of the Palestinians; and the continued sanctions against Iraq. All of these grievances have worsened in the last ten years. There are now western troops in Iraq, Afghanistan, US bases all over the region, and an intervention including troops and airstrikes in Libya. The Palestinians suffer even more, and have been subject to aerial attack by Israel. Iraq suffers full scale occupation as a result of the war in 2003.

Why have they chosen to dignify the grievances of Bin Laden? Granted these include worthy grievances, but to put Bin Laden’s name next them, on this day of all days, comes dangerously close to saying “Bin Laden was right” – in the same way the National Front would say Enoch Powell was right.

The way they’ve juxtaposed the name of an evil terrorist with legitimate concerns is tasteless – and should be retracted, and reworded. “

Read more.

Update 1: Ken Livinstone doesn’t seem too pleased at bin Laden’s demise either:

““I just looked at [the scenes of jubilation in the US] and realised that it would increase the likelihood of a terror attack on London… That’s very much the American style but I don’t think I’ve ever felt pleased at the death of anybody.

“The real problem for London is that after America we’re a big target so it’s a very dangerous time at the moment…

“We should have captured him and put him on trial. It’s a simple point – are we gangsters or a Western democracy based on the rule of law? This undermines any commitment to democracy and trial by jury and makes Obama look like some sort of mobster.

Update 2: Eamonn Mcdonagh has a funny take on it.

More On Irrationality.

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Adam Holland skewers the cranks, bigots and historically illiterates congregating around David Horowitz’s blog.

Elsewhere Jeff Goldberg reminds us:

“In 2003, Imam Rauf was invited to speak at a memorial service for Daniel Pearl, the journalist murdered by Islamist terrorists in Pakistan. The service was held at B’nai Jeshurun, a prominent synagogue in Manhattan, and in the audience was Judea Pearl, Daniel Pearl’s father. In his remarks, Rauf identified absolutely with Pearl, and identified himself absolutely with the ethical tradition of Judaism. “I am a Jew,” he said.

There are those who would argue that these represent mere words, chosen carefully to appease a postentially suspicious audience. I would argue something different: That any Muslim imam who stands before a Jewish congregation and says, “I am a Jew,” is placing his life in danger. Remember, Islamists hate the people they consider apostates even more than they hate Christians and Jews. In other words, the man many commentators on the right assert is a terrorist-sympathizer placed himself in mortal peril in order to identify himself with Christians and Jews, and specifically with the most famous Jewish victim of Islamism. “

Obama Makes Sense.

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For once President Obama agreed with me, which is not surprising.

The issue is, of course, the proposed mosque in New York.

I have followed this issue over weeks and been largely mystified by the angry and thoughtless responses, that is even excluding the lump in the US Constitution which deals with freedom of religion and must be relevant in this situation.

It is not as if these issues have not been debated and who can forget the 10 Commandments controversy in Alabama and Judge Roy Moore?

Often I get the impression that many of these issues are purely seen on an emotional and subjective level, without any reference to history or the US Constitution.

I simply can’t understand the reasoning behind many of the objections. If it is permissible to build a church, synagogue or ashram, etc in New York then surely the same rules apply to a mosque?

That is, if you believe in the universal right to religious beliefs.

Or are the rules changed according to the nature of the religious building?

Which would obviously be inconsistent, bias and suggests that prejudice, not reason, is at work here.

Still, I can’t do all these arguments justice, so Mystical Politics has some delightful and informative posts on the topic of the new New York mosque.

Matt at ignoblus makes some good points too about racialicious and the nature of much of the debate.

Michael Weiss offers his own arguments.

Incidentally I think Abe Foxman is very wrong on this issue, but there is no need to racially abuse him as denizens of racialious do.

Update 1: Things have moved on a bit since I first penned this a few days ago, as Mark Mardell argues:

“Within 24 hours he’d performed the trick that is beginning to frustrate and upset those who should be his most loyal supporters.

In that airport sound bite, he said that he was not commenting and would not comment on the wisdom of building the mosque, merely the right to do so. It may well be that this is “Professor Obama” to the fore again, making a distinction that would be obvious to anyone at Harvard Law School between what the constitution says and what is morally or culturally desirable.

But politicians live and die by crude sound bites and the even cruder caricatures that flow from them and would-be liberal supporters despair that this looks like taking fright and running away. They despair that he is holding too true to campaign promises to stand above petty party politics when the fray is at its height.

To be seen as moderate and judicious might be no bad thing for the president. The trouble is that in these febrile times, there is no chance of that: the right immediately leapt on his remarks and portrayed them as un-American. Those planning the mosque, within an Islamic cultural centre inside a tall building, say it is a monument to peace and they want a memorial to the victims of the attacks inside. No matter. Conservatives compare them to Nazis building near a concentration camp or the Japanese setting up a cultural centre at Pearl Harbour.”

Update 2: The New Times has a piece on it too.

Update 3: Thanks to Adam Holland, Salon covers it too:

“A group of progressive Muslim-Americans plans to build an Islamic community center two and a half blocks from ground zero in lower Manhattan. They have had a mosque in the same neighborhood for many years. There’s another mosque two blocks away from the site. City officials support the project. Muslims have been praying at the Pentagon, the other building hit on Sept. 11, for many years.

In short, there is no good reason that the Cordoba House project should have been a major national news story, let alone controversy. And yet it has become just that, dominating the political conversation for weeks and prompting such a backlash that, according to a new poll, nearly 7 in 10 Americans now say they oppose the project. How did the Cordoba House become so toxic, so fast?

In a story last week, the New York Times, which framed the project in a largely positive, noncontroversial light last December, argued that it was cursed from the start by “public relations missteps.” But this isn’t accurate. To a remarkable extent, a Salon review of the origins of the story found, the controversy was kicked up and driven by Pamela Geller, a right-wing, viciously anti-Muslim, conspiracy-mongering blogger, whose sinister portrayal of the project was embraced by Rupert Murdoch’s New York Post.”

Update 4: I found this web site for stopping the building of the mosque, not sure who or what they are, I’d welcome any background info on the stopthe911mosque.com

Written by modernityblog

18/08/2010 at 13:55

Dalai Lama And China.

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[I wrote this a day or so ago and forgot to post it]

The Chinese government’s reaction to a proposed meeting between the Dalai Lama and President Obama is almost one of spitting blood. They have threatened some unnamed consequences if the meeting goes ahead.

What I thought was most interesting wasn’t the meeting itself or China’s reaction, which clearly was overkill, rather how a comparatively moderate individual figure, the Dalai Lama, is almost portrayed as a Baader-Meinhof psychopath, hell-bent on China’s destruction irrespective of the consequences.

That doesn’t seem to me to be a reasonable or accurate representation of his views. I could be wrong, and I confess I don’t follow his views that closely.

AS far as I can tell he holds very, very moderate views on Tibet, that it should still remain linked to China, but with the Tibetans actually running the country, as opposed to Beijing appointed Party Secretary. Nothing too radical there.

In fact, the Dalai Lama’s continued peaceful attitude towards China’s brutal occupation of Tibet is opposed by many Tibetans as inadequate, inappropriate and obviously not working.

Nevertheless, the Dalai Lama hasn’t recommended suicide bombings, random shootings or even murder of Chinese officials in Tibet, quite the opposite.

So it is all the bizarre that China’s government tries to depict his views as extreme, when they are clearly peaceful.

Written by modernityblog

03/02/2010 at 16:37

Politics, police and military in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

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Not quite that grandiose title, but I was pondering those two countries and with the news that is filtering out a couple of things seem clear to me.

In Pakistan there is the question of dual power, not between the people and the military, rather than military and the Islamists. The Islamists chose to attack military installations not civilian ones, as that is where power ultimately resides in Pakistan, with the military.

The audacious nature of the attacks was meant to cower the Pakistani military and leave the road open for the Islamists to take full power. Their attacks were meant to show their strength and instil fear into the Pakistani military, which they hoped would eventually capitulate and allow the takeover of the Pakistani state by the Islamists. I feel that they have underestimated the desire for self-preservation in the Pakistani military as they move into the South Waziristan heartlands. Whatever happens it will be a bloody and murderous campaign.

Listening to the news coming out of America I couldn’t understand why the Obama regime was seemingly dithering over Afghanistan and McChrystal’s request for 40,000 troops, but it’s apparent the politics of the Presidential election is part of the reason. Hamid Karzai doesn’t want to hold a run-off and the Americans are using the issue of reinforcements as pressure on him, after considerable election fraud. Whatever happens any government in Kabul it must have a degree of legitimacy and the extent of fraud perpetrated in the recent presidential election makes it hard for the Americans and others to garner support for a continued presence in Afghanistan. Karzai for his part is reluctant to 1) admit that there was election fraud 2) fight it off in a two way contest, lest he loses.

Not sure which way it will go, but there is more going on than we hear.

On a related topic, a kidnapped American journalist, David Rohde, tells of his time in the hands of the Taliban.

Written by modernityblog

19/10/2009 at 15:21

He Hates Most People, Including Obama.

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I am indebted to one of my readers, for this clip from Steven Anderson, who apparently is an independent Baptist preacher.

Anderson was one of those that threatened Obama’s life, but if you read the partial transcript from a previous sermon you will see that Anderson has a thing about Jews too? He goes on about “Levi Mordachai – also known as Karl Marx ?”

Well, like that’s a surprise?

Still, Pastor Anderson has a cunning defence against any accusations of racism, “One of my best friends is black.”

As if we haven’t heard that one before!

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14/09/2009 at 14:50

Racism, Special Interest Groups And Nativism?

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I am not sure what to make of the 400% increase in threats against the US President, whether or not they are motivated by actual racism, simply venting of the spleen, tied to the economic decline in the US or as a result of the hatred stirred up by medical and other special interest groups against health reforms in the US.

It could be anyone of them, bits of them or a combination.

That’s excluding that streak of Nativism which has come to the fore over Obama’s birth certificate. Whatever happens I think that the tactics of right-wing shock jocks in talk radio stations vilifying Obama are dangerous and partly to blame for this situation.

Read more at Racismreview and see the video clip.

Update 1: I should add for European readers that it is, basically, against the law to threaten to kill (directly or indirectly) a US President, under United States Code 18, section 871:

“(a) Whoever knowingly and willfully deposits for conveyance in the mail or for a delivery from any post office or by any letter carrier any letter, paper, writing, print, missive, or document containing any threat to take the life of, to kidnap, or to inflict bodily harm upon the President of the United States, the President-elect, the Vice President or other officer next in the order of succession to the office of President of the United States, or the Vice President-elect, or knowingly and willfully otherwise makes any such threat against the President, President-elect, Vice President or other officer next in the order of succession to the office of President, or Vice President-elect, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than five years, or both.”

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13/09/2009 at 14:48

Attacking the Obamas And More.

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13/07/2009 at 02:56