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Was the London murder a murder or a ‘terrorist attack’?

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Michael Adebolajo: Murderer or “terrorist”? Is he a “terrorist” because he’s Muslim? And of Nigerian descent?

First off, let me be clear: I am not at all OK with the grisly murder of 25-year-old British soldier and Afghan war veteran Lee Rigby just outside of his barracks in London yesterday. And I reject the idea of killing one person in retaliation for killings that other people committed. In my book, revenge, if it is going to be exacted, should be exact, not approximate.

One of Lee Rigby’s two very apparent murderers, 28-year-old Michael Adebolajo of London, “a British-born convert to radical Islam,” according to Reuters, notoriously calmly explained to someone with a video camera — while he still held a knife and a meat cleaver in his bloodied hands (see the video still above) — why he and his companion, also of Nigerian descent, according to Reuters, attacked and killed Rigby, whom they reportedly first ran down in a car and then started hacking with a meat cleaver and knives: “We swear by almighty Allah we will never stop fighting you. The only reason we have done this is because Muslims are dying every day. This British soldier is an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth.”

In Greenwich Village this past weekend, 32-year-old gay man Mark Carson was shot to death in an apparent hate crime; reportedly, Carson’s accused murderer, Elliot Morales, 33, who was apprehended by police, had used anti-gay hate speech before he shot Carson to death.

New York City Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said of the murder: “It’s clear that victim here was killed only because, and just because, he was thought to be gay. There’s no question about that. There were derogatory remarks. This victim did nothing to antagonize or instigate the shooter. It was only because the shooter believed him to be gay.”

Reuters reports that many posit that recent advances in same-sex marriage rights in the U.S. — including three states having gone for same-sex marriage earlier this month — might have been behind the murder of Carson.

Yet the murder of Carson is called a “murder” and the murder of Rigby is called, automatically, a “terrorist attack” or “act of terrorism.”

What’s the difference between an act of murder and an act of terrorism/“terrorism”?

The murder of Carson, I surmise, was meant to send this message to all gay men or even to all non-heterosexuals and non-gender-conforming individuals: You are not safe walking the streets. You might be the next one to be shot (or stabbed or beaten up or whatever).

That’s not a form of terrorism — an act of violence (a murder, no less) apparently committed with the intent to strike fear within a whole class of people?

Michael Adebolajo very apparently was using Lee Rigby as an example — he killed him in effigy of all British soldiers, in effect — just as Elliot Morales very apparently was using Mark Carson as an example — he killed him in effigy of all gay men, in effect.

So if Adebolajo and his cohort are “terrorists,” why isn’t Morales a “terrorist”?

My answer to my own question is that when a member of a historically oppressed minority group (like gay men) is murdered, it’s not considered to be a big deal. We can call it just a “murder,” as though it didn’t extend beyond just the murdered victim at all, but was just one of those random things — an act of God, Wolf Blitzer might say.

But when even one soldier is murdered — even on a public/civilian street, and while not on duty, which very apparently is how Rigby was murdered — that’s considered an attack on the plutocrats, the elites, of whom the commoner-funded military (Britain’s as well as the United States’) is just an arm.

The plutocrats, the elites, can’t maintain their overprivileged status without whole armies at their command, and the plutocratic elites are far, far more important than any of the rest of us ever could be, so the murder of just one of their soldiers — even in a non-combat situation — automatically is branded as “terrorism,” a more serious crime than plain-old murder.

I disagree that Rigby’s murder was an act of “terrorism.” Rigby’s murder was much closer to a murder than to an act of “terrorism.”

If we’re going to call Rigby’s murderers “terrorists” instead of just plain-old “murderers,” then we’re going to need to call Elliot Morales a terrorist, too — because his crime very apparently was motivated by his religious and political beliefs, just as Adebolajo’s and his partner’s crime was motivated by theirs.

The act-of-murder-vs.-act-of-terrorism problem largely can be solved if  the usage of the “t” terms — “terrorist,” “terrorists,” “terrorism” — returns to the terms’ status before 9/11. Cases of murder committed by an individual or two people apparently acting on their own and not as part of a known terrorist/“terrorist” group — such as the apparent case with the Boston Marathon bombings (I refer to the two Tsarnaev brothers, of course) and the apparent case with the British soldier who was murdered yesterday — are probably much closer to murder cases than they are to terrorism/“terrorism” cases.

We don’t refer to the two Columbine High School killers as “terrorists,” for example, even though they slaughtered many more people than did the Tsarnaev brothers or Michael Adebolajo.

That’s at least in part, of course, because the two Columbine killers were two white “Christian” kids, and you’re much more likely to be branded as a “terrorist” if you are Muslim — and even more so if you are a non-white Muslim.

That shit needs to stop. We can’t have a two-tiered system of “justice” in which it’s only “terrorism” if the (accused) perpetrator is Muslim or non-white or both. If we must go hog wild with the “terrorism” thing, then it must apply to so-called “Christians” and to other non-Muslims and to whites and to other non-blacks as well.

Update (Sunday, May 26, 2013): Columnist Glenn Greenwald, who once wrote for Salon.com but now works for The Guardian of the United Kingdom, on Thursday also tackled the question of “Was the London Killing of a British Soldier ‘Terrorism’?”

In his column, Greenwald notes that

An act can be vile, evil, and devoid of justification without being “terrorism”: indeed, most of the worst atrocities of the 20th Century, from the Holocaust to the wanton slaughter of Stalin and Pol Pot and the massive destruction of human life in Vietnam, are not typically described as “terrorism.”

Yup. Here, I think, is the money shot of Greenwald’s analysis:

The reason it’s so crucial to ask this question [of whether or not an act of violence constitutes “terrorism”] is that there are few terms — if there are any — that pack the political, cultural and emotional punch that “terrorism” provides. When it comes to the actions of western governments, it is a conversation-stopper, justifying virtually anything those governments want to do.

It’s a term that is used to start wars, engage in sustained military action, send people to prison for decades or life, to target suspects for due-process-free execution, shield government actions behind a wall of secrecy, and instantly shape public perceptions around the world.

It matters what the definition of the term is, or whether there is a consistent and coherent definition. It matters a great deal.

There is ample scholarship proving that the term has no such clear or consistently applied meaning. … It is very hard to escape the conclusion that, operationally, the term has no real definition at this point beyond “violence engaged in by Muslims in retaliation against Western violence toward Muslims.” …

Actually, it seems to me, in the Western world, especially in the U.S. and the UK, “terrorism” has come pretty much to mean just “violence engaged in by Muslims.” Even the acknowledgment that such violence might be “in retaliation against Western violence toward Muslims” usually never is made in Westerners’ discussions of “terrorism,” since that obviously would be to bring Westerners’ guilt into the discussion, and most Westerners, it seems to me, will have none of that.

Greenwald also notes that “earlier this month, an elderly British Muslim was stabbed to death in an apparent anti-Muslim hate crime and nobody called that ‘terrorism,'” and adds that the term “terrorism” “at this point seems to have no function other than propagandistically and legally legitimizing the violence of western states against Muslims while delegitimizing any and all violence done in return to those states.”

Yup.

There are news reports, such as this one, of actions perpetrated against Muslims in Britain by non-Muslims in “retaliation” for the slaughter of the British solider in London. This report (from Slate.com) states that “The incidents [so far have ranged] from name calling and abuse on social media, to the painting of graffiti, attacks against mosques, and pulling off women’s headscarves in the street.” (“Attacks against mosques” is so vague as to be almost meaningless. I wish that the writer had given us the details there, or if he didn’t have the details, to have stated that fact.)

Of course, such low-level, “harmless” terrorism is what the Jews in Nazi Germany experienced before the Nazis ratcheted things waaay up.

This leads to yet another question: Is an act in which someone is not injured or killed “terrorism”? Is it only “terrorism” if someone is injured or killed? These thugs pulling Muslim women’s headscarves off — that is not done with the intent of terrorizing these women?

Is such terrorizing OK if it’s considered in “retaliation” of, or just in reaction to, another incident? Would this be “counter-terrorism”? Or would this be something like just plain-old “justice,” since we non-Muslims never use the “t-” word to refer to any of our own actions?

Anyway, as I wrote in my first paragraph of this post, “In my book, revenge, if it is going to be exacted, should be exact, not approximate.”

As a gay man, I’m never happy to read about the slaughter of a gay man because he’s gay. To use an example that hit close to home, in July 2007, 26-year-old Satender Singh, a Fijian of Indian descent, was killed in my area (Sacramento) because he was suspected of being gay.

Whether he was gay or not I don’t know, but the two men from Eastern Europe who were charged with his murder very apparently thought that he was, because, witnesses said, the Slavic thugs who attacked Singh expressly targeted him because he was, they said, a “faggot” and a “sodomite,” among other things.

According to the hate-group watchdog Southern Poverty Law Center, witnesses also reported that these Slavic thugs “bragged about belonging to a Russian evangelical church and told Singh that he should go to a ‘good church’ like theirs.” This was right before one of the thugs delivered a blow to Singh’s head, a blow that later caused his death. (Great “Christians,” eh? Well, even the Nazis considered themselves to be great “Christians.”)

While I truly wish that the homophobic Eastern European immigrants here in California would fucking respect and honor how things are done and are not done here in California (and not act here as it’s OK to act in their backasswards countries in Eastern Europe) — and if they don’t like our freedoms here, including our freedom from their brand of theofascism, they are free to return to Eastern Europe — never would it have occurred to me that it would have been OK to randomly attack (apparent) Eastern European immigrants on the street in “retaliation” for the murder of Satender Singh.

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Since when have we been at war with Dagestan? (Or, Orwell was right)

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No doubt, justice needs to be done in the Boston Marathon bombing.

Branding and then handling 19-year-old American citizen Dzhokhar Tsarnaev as an “enemy combatant,” however, would not serve justice. Quite the opposite.

It is the idea of the Gang of the Three — U.S. Sen. John McCainosaurus of Arizona, closet case U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, and newbie fascist U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire — along with brazen Islamophobe U.S. Rep. Peter King of New York, who also is a fucking joke of a statesman — that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev should be treated as an “enemy combatant”Guantanamo style.

This isn’t about Dzhokhar Tsarnaev or the victims of the Boston bombing, of course. This is about the opportunity for self-serving Repugnican Tea Party traitors to once again use the occasion of a national tragedy to grandstand and try to concentrate their personal and political power.

Because, as both George Orwell and George W. Bush (and, I will add, Adolf Hitler, even though we’re never to mention him anymore because it’s always hyperbolic to do so, right?) taught us very well, there’s nothing like exploiting a nation’s fear in order to create hatred with which to fascistically consolidate your political power.

John McCainosaurus still wants us Americans to know what a huge “mistake” we made when we overwhelmingly elected Barack Obama over him in 2008 (McCainosaurus won only 45.7 percent of the popular vote and only 173 electoral votes to Obama’s 52.9 percent of the popular vote and 365 electoral votes).

McCainosaurus, our self-appointed shadow president, still is raging that the much younger, uppity black guy who didn’t have Vietnam-era POW status to shamelessly exploit for political gain (“I was a POW, so I deserve [fill in the blank]”) won the White House that McCainosaurus deserved. It was McCainosaurus’! He was robbed!

And McCainosaurus also wants to remain politically relevant in the increasingly insanely right-wing state of Arizona, the South Africa of the Southwest.

Speaking of racists, Lindsey Graham hails from the first state that seceded from the Union before abolitionist Abraham Lincoln even was inaugurated.

Graham, a “bachelor” who obviously is gay (I’m gay, but unlike the evil loser Graham, I’m not in the fucking closet), obviously is overcompensating with the right-wing fascism thing because he doesn’t want his homophobic, backasswards state’s attention turned to his sexual orientation, which would be disastrous for his next election. It’s a psychology-textbook case.

Kelly Ayotte, who usually is just window dressing at McCainosaurus’ and Graham’s public pronouncements — three U.S. senators supposedly in agreement with each other looks better than two, and perhaps the addition of the junior senator from the blue state of New Hampshire is meant to offset the fact that McCainosaurus and Little Gay Boy Graham come from two of our reddest states — is only in her third year in the Senate, but apparently she believes that her association with the crusty McCainosaurus and the mincing Graham will pay off in her political future.

Peter King, a real piece of shit, is most known for his blatant support of the terrorist Irish Republican Army — because he’s of Irish descent, and so of course they can’t be terrorists — while he alleges that it’s the Muslims who are the real terrorists.

His repeated attacks on Muslims, culminating in his 2011 “hearings” on Exactly How Evil and Dangerous Muslims in the United States Are — I use quotation marks because an Islamophobe conducting a “hearing” on anything Islam-related isn’t there to hear anything, but is only there to pontificate the conclusions that he drew long before the “hearing” began — did nothing for “national security,” but only inflamed relations between Muslims and non-Muslims in the United States.

Which is what King and his piece-of-shit ilk want, of course. They create the very same hatred that quite predictably results in terrorist attacks and at the very same time proclaim that they are going to keep us safe from terrorist attacks. They want to perpetuate the problem that they claim they are the best ones to solve.

They call themselves patriots. I call them traitors, because their insatiable quest for more and more personal and political power only gets more and more Americans killed, and the only good traitor is an executed traitor.

I start off with the Gang of Three and the piece of shit Peter King because, as I said, it’s all about the Gang of Three and the piece of shit King.

For U.S. senators (and at least one U.S. representative) to actually publicly proclaim that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev should be treated as an “enemy combatant” already is creating an unfair and hostile environment in which the young man is to be tried for Monday’s twin bombings in Boston. His defense attorneys already can show that there is a threat to a fair trial for him.

Of course, it’s not a fair trial that the fascists of the Repugnican Tea Party want (after all, it’s someone else; why care about whether someone else gets a fair trial?). No, it’s more political power that they want.

Expanding the definition of an “enemy combatant” is a slippery slope to hell.

First, you twist and warp and pervert the definition of the word “war.” “War” no longer is a formally declared battle between two nations that will use their military forces to duke it out in a combat that presumedly will result in a “winner” and a “loser.” No, “war,” in Orwellian style, is whatever the fuck you say it is.

The Gang of Three and their ilk claim that We’re still at war! They love that shit. They have loved that 9/11 (which always was, is and always will be a terrorist attack and not part of any real or actual “war”) happened. It gave them, in their minds, a perma-enemy that they could milk for personal and political gain for infinity.

About a quarter of the human beings on the planet identify themselves as Muslims, and they are spread all over the world. If we are “at war” with these people, then obviously that “war,” very conveniently for the Repugnican Tea Party traitors and other assorted war-mongering fascists, never will fucking end.

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is an American citizen who identifies himself as a Muslim. It is the religion that he was born into. You most likely would identify as a Muslim, too, if you also were born into a Muslim family and Muslim environment.

It’s true that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev hasn’t been a U.S. citizen for even a full year, having become a citizen on September 11, 2012. (I don’t know if he chose that date for its symbolism or if those who put on the naturalization ceremony chose it for its symbolism or if it was coincidence or what.)

But even if he became a citizen just a week before Monday’s twin bomb attacks on the Boston Marathon, the fucking fact of the matter is that as an American citizen, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is protected by the Constitution of the United States of America.

And that means that he gets a fair fucking trial.

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and his now-dead older brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, apparently grew up in Dagestan (which is next door to Chechnya, and like Chechnya, is a part of Russia) and in Kyrgyzstan (a central Asian nation that once was part of Russia but that now is independent, and that, like Chechnya and Dagestan, has a Muslim majority) before they came to the United States about a decade ago.

Their parents left the United States and returned to live Dagestan, where Tamerlan Tsarnaev reportedly visited (visiting one’s parents is not, um, an uncommon thing for a son or daughter to do) before he later apparently masterminded Monday’s bombing of the Boston Marathon. (I still surmise that the 26-year-old Tamerlan Tsarnaev dragged his impressionable younger brother into his plot.)

Tamerlan Tsarnaev wasn’t yet a U.S. citizen but reportedly had hoped to become one. But calling even him an “enemy combatant” (were he still alive) is utter bullshit, since we’re not at war with Dagestan (or with any other nation we know he visited after his family moved him to the United States), for fuck’s sake.

To call anyone (like Dzhokhar Tsarnaev) who has been living in the United States for a fucking decade (or even longer) and who is a U.S. citizen an “enemy combatant” after he or she has been accused of having committed a crime here (yes, even an egregious crime) when the United States is not actually at war with any other nation also sends the message that No matter how long you’ve been here, you’re not a real American — even if you have gained American citizenship.

This dark path is diametrically opposed to the path that we should take, which is to give Dzhokhar Tsarnaev a fair criminal trial. (Under the Obama administration, that probably will happen, but with Obama’s frequent pandering to the right wing and his frequent blatant, Bush-regime-like disregard for the U.S. Constitution, of course we cannot take that for granted.)

We didn’t declare domestic terrorist Timothy McVeigh an “enemy combatant” and then strip him of his constitutional rights, even though he slaughtered and injured far more people in Oklahoma City than the Tsarnaev brothers are accused of having slaughtered and injured in Boston. No, we gave McVeigh a fair fucking trial.

True, McVeigh’s 1995 crime preceded 9/11 and the post-9/11 hysteria, but the fact of the matter is that the label “enemy combatant” chiefly is to apply to those who aren’t Anglo and who weren’t born on American soil and to those who predominantly identify themselves as Muslims, and that’s some fucked-up shit, to have one system of “justice” for the Good Old Boys, the so-called “Christian” whiteys who were born here, and another system of “justice” for the rest of us, the so-called “enemy combatants.”

Once we can call even one American citizen an “enemy combatant” when that citizen is not actually an operative for an enemy nation during an actual war, then we can call any American citizen an “enemy combatant.”

Any American citizen who expresses any view and/or commits any act that those in power at the time don’t like can be deemed by the powers that be an “enemy combatant” with whom they then can do as they please in the sacrosanct names of “national security” and the “war” on “terror.”

Killer drones, of course, will make the elimination of such so-called “enemy combatants” as easy as playing a video game.

Today, American citizen Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is proclaimed an “enemy combatant” who is stripped of his constitutional right to a fair trial and shipped off to Guantanamo or some other shrouded location, where God knows what will be done to him.

And you’re perfectly OK with that, because Hey, I saw the horrific images of the Boston bombing and I don’t ever want to get bombed! And Besides, you say, if you’re not guilty, then what do you have to be afraid of?

But tomorrow, like something out of George Orwell’s 1984, you say something to a fellow citizen that he or she perceives as unpatriotic. He or she dutifully reports you to the authorities as he or she repeatedly has been instructed to do by the authorities, and then the drones or the thugs come for you, you “enemy combatant,” and you are, as they say, disappeared.

Then, if you still are alive, as you sit in your tiny cell that is located God knows where, you kick the holy living shit out of yourself because  in 2013 you had had no problem whatsoever with American citizen Dzhokhar Tsarnaev being called an “enemy combatant” and stripped of his constitutional rights.

Update (Monday, April, 22, 2013):

NBC News reports today:

The hospitalized Boston Marathon bombing suspect, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, was charged [today] with using a weapon of mass destruction – and the White House said he will be tried in a civilian court.

“He will not be treated as an enemy combatant. We will prosecute this terrorist through our civilian system of justice,” White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said.

“Under U.S. law, United States citizens cannot be tried in military commissions. And it is important to remember that since 9/11 we have used the federal court system to convict and incarcerate hundreds of terrorists.” …

Contrary to the wishes of the wingnuts, the U.S. Constitution prevails.

But of course the Obama White House just can’t resist pandering to the right — God forbid should Barack Obama be called weak. on. TERROR! — with the White House press secretary already proclaiming the suspect to be guilty by referring to him as “this terrorist” and heavily suggesting that “this terrorist,” too, will be convicted and incarcerated, has have “hundreds of [other] terrorists.”

Gee, in my Civics 101 class, I was taught that it is the job of the judicial branch, not the executive branch, to determine someone’s innocence or guilt.

This is why I couldn’t vote again for Barack Obama in November — he’s George W. Bush Lite.

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Boston bombers were tweeners — homegrown and from Chechen region

This combination of undated photos shows Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, left, and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19. The FBI says the two brothers and suspects in the Boston Marathon bombing killed an MIT police officer, injured a transit officer in a firefight and threw explosive devices at police during a getaway attempt in a long night of violence that left Tamerlan dead and Dzhokhar still at large on Friday, April 19, 2013. The ethnic Chechen brothers lived in Dagestan, which borders the Chechnya region in southern Russia. They lived near Boston and had been in the U.S. for about a decade, one of their uncles reported said. (AP Photo/The Lowell Sun & Robin Young)

Associated Press image

Brothers Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, left, and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, right, have been identified by law-enforcement authorities as the probable perpetrators of Monday’s twin bomb blasts during the Boston Marathon that killed three and maimed many others. The brothers came to the United States from the area of war-torn Chechnya about a decade ago. The older brother was shot dead by police and the younger brother remains on the run. Despite having expressed his support of Chechen independence from Russia and his support of Islam, the younger brother on a social networking website reportedly listed his “personal priority” as “career and money.”

So the Boston Marathon bombing apparently was indeed an act of domestic terrorism, but the apparent terrorists weren’t anyone we had suspected.

Those on the right, apparently, were hoping for an Arab terrorist or Arab terrorists, fitting in nicely and neatly with the 9/11 scenario (15 of the 19 9/11 hijackers were from Saudi Arabia, and the rest from Egypt, Lebanon and the United Arab Emirates [not one of them was from Iraq, I will add]).

There was the 20-year-old Saudi man — a college student — who was tackled by a bystander at the site of the Boston Marathon just after the twin explosions on Monday because of course the Arab-looking man in the crowd was the perpetrator (of course this young man was not the perp).

The right-wing rag the New York Post (which, along with Faux “News,” is owned by right-wing plutocrat Rupert Murdoch) yesterday ran a cover image of a 17-year-old high school track athlete (the one in blue with the blue duffel bag in the image below) and called him a suspect in the Boston bombing when he never was a suspect at all. The other “bombing suspect” in the image that the Post ran on its cover (the man with the black backpack) actually is the student’s 24-year-old track coach.

new york post

But the high-school athlete and his coach, who are from Morocco, look like the usual suspects — here is another image of them that the Post published, encircling their faces with big, red, attention-grabbing rings:

— and that, for the Post, was enough.

I hope that the young men wrongfully called terrorism suspects because they were At the Boston Marathon While Arab sue the Post for libel.

I, on the other hand, had figured that the perpetrator or perpetrators of Monday’s bombing in Boston probably were along the lines of a Zeke or Jeb or Cooter or Skeeter, a homegrown, white, “tea-partying,” anti-federal-government-and-so-of-course-also-anti-tax type, such as we saw with Timothy McVeigh. I mean, a bombing on Tax Day in Boston, home of the Boston Tea Party.

It turns out that the actual probable perps of the bombing apparently are somewhere between the two stereotypical terrorist types of the “Islamofascist” from abroad and the terrorist from home. There is more to be learned, but that’s where it stands right now.

The probable perps of Monday’s terrorist attack in Boston reportedly were two brothers from the area of Chechnya (also called the Chechen Republic, which is part of Russia), Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and Tamerlan Tsarnaev. Tamerlan, 26, reportedly was shot dead during a police shootout that took place in Boston between yesterday, when the brothers’ surveillance-camera images were released by the FBI, and early this morning, and Dzhokhar, 19, a student at University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, reportedly still is on the run. I hope that he is captured alive so that we learn more about the motives behind the bombing.

Being an American, I don’t know much about Chechnya, but there is Wikipedia, a blogger’s best friend, and from Wikipedia I see that Chechnya has a population of less than 2 million people, and that racially, the denizens of Chechnya are grouped as “Caucasoid,” Wikipedia notes, adding, “The majority of Chechens are dark-haired (medium to dark brown or black), but there are Chechens with blond or even red hair, while eye color ranges from blue to brown and skin tone is typically rather pale and light (though there are some Chechens with olive complexions).”

Arabs, anthropologically speaking, also are “Caucasoid,” but apparently among the Chechens there are some who look Anglo (all Anglos are “Caucasoid,” but not all who are “Caucasoid” are Anglo).

The right-wingers no doubt feel vindicated, however,  over the fact that (per Wikipedia) “Islam is the predominant religion in Chechnya. Chechens are overwhelmingly adherents to Sunni Islam, the country having converted to Islam between the 16th and the 19th centuries.”

But Chechens aren’t Arabs, the usual terrorism suspects in the eyes of many if not most Americans, and reportedly the Tsarnaev brothers came to the United States about decade ago as refugees from the war-torn Chechnya.

Because they (have) lived in the United States for about a decade, and because they came here when they were young, I still would call the Tsarnaev brothers homegrown terrorists, but, of course, not of the usual variety of homegrown terrorists.

My guess is that the older Tsarnaev brother influenced the younger, and that the older brother was quite unstable and the younger brother was quite impressionable, as younger brothers often are.

Yahoo! News notes that Tamerlan Tsarnaev reportedly had a wife and young child and that “Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, who was remembered by former classmates as bright and personable, posted links to pro-Chechnyan independence sites on his social media page, and listed his worldview as ‘Islam.'”

Yahoo! News also reports that “in an emotional press conference,” the brothers’ uncle, Ruslan Tsarni, “said his nephews had brought shame upon his family, and called them ‘losers.’ He said they were not ‘able to settle themselves’ and were ‘angry at everyone who was able to.’ He said he did not believe they were motivated by the radical politics in Chechnya or their Muslim religion.”

Again, hopefully the younger brother will be captured alive and will tell us exactly what happened and why. His role might have been only as an accessory to his much more radicalized older brother, it seems to me.

The take-home lesson in all of this, it also seems to me, is that any chronically angry young man, foreign or domestic, white-skinned or brown-skinned, identifying as a Muslim or a Christian (or as a member of another religion), can perpetrate an act violence or even of terrorism — chronic anger and testosterone are a dangerous, explosive mix — and that the best way to prevent terrorist attacks in the future is to address, seriously and significantly, that which causes chronic anger in young men.

Chief among those causes here at home, it seems to me, is a lack of economic opportunity in the United States of America. In the so-called land of opportunity, our young people are struggling. And, despite their hard work and their struggle, they are told that their lack of progress is entirely their fault — certainly not the fault of the plutocratic system of the haves and the have-nots that actually has their failure built in, that has institutionalized it, pretty much guaranfuckingteed it, in fact.

Before you claim that I’m full of shit, know that while Dzhokhar Tsarnaev (according to Reuters) on his Russian-language social networking website posted links to websites promoting Islam and Chechen independence from Russia, he listed his “personal priority” as “career and money.”

So while his Chechen birth gave him an identity as a Chechen/Chechen American and a Muslim, his most immediate personal concern apparently was “career and money.”

And over that issue, it seems to me, we Americans, who forfuckingever now have been perfectly complacent with our system of haves and have-nots that eats its own young, should be surprised — and probably thankful — that justifiably chronically angry young men of all identities in the United States aren’t blowing shit up all over the fucking place.

P.S. I have to note that while I find the pervasive presence of surveillance cameras in public to pose real threats to privacy, and to create an oppressive, Big-Brother-like atmosphere, one has to be impressed, I think, by the swiftness with which the apparent perpetrators of Monday’s terrorist attack on the Boston Marathon were identified by law-enforcement officials.

Once the FBI released the surveillance-camera images of the two suspects yesterday, it was just a matter of time before they were identified as the Tsarnaev brothers.

Update: I want to be accurate, so let me clarify: Apparently the Tsarnaev brothers might have come to the United States from Dagestan, which borders Chechnya, and the brothers are (well, one is and one was…), according to media reports, “ethnic Chechens.” I am not certain of the exact nation of the brothers’ birth, but apparently they were born in one or both of the two neighboring nations of Chechnya and Dagestan.

Per Wikipedia, Dagestan has a population of about 3 million and, like Chechnya, its primary religion is Sunni Islam.

From Wiki, here is a map of Chechnya and Dagestan:

And here is a map of the larger area, known as the North Caucasus:

File:Chechnya and Caucasus.png

Second update: According to NBC News, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was born in Kyrgyzstan and became a U.S. citizen on Sept. 11 of last year, and Tamerlan Tsarnaev, who was married to a U.S. citizen and had hoped to become a U.S. citizen himself, was born in Russia. The Associated Press reports that

Dzhokhar’s page on the Russian social networking site Vkontakte says that before moving to the United States, he attended School No. 1 in Makhachkala, the capital of Dagestan, a predominantly Muslim republic in Russia’s North Caucasus that has become an epicenter of the Islamic insurgency that spilled over from Chechnya. On the site, he describes himself as speaking Chechen as well as English and Russian.

The same AP story also reports that the two brothers “had come to the United States about 10 years ago from a Russian region near Chechnya [Dagestan, I presume], according to an uncle, Ruslan Tsarni of Montgomery Village, Md. They had two sisters. As kids they rode bikes and skateboards on quiet Norfolk Street in Cambridge, Mass.”

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Mittens: ‘No apology’ for Terry Jones, whose Islamophobia has killed again

Dove World Outreach Center church pastor Terry Jones

Reuters photo

Presidential wannabe Mittens Romney defends the likes of Florida “Pastor” Terry Jones, who is banned from entering the United Kingdom because of his anti-Islamic hate-mongering.  Jones is pictured above promoting his “International Burn a Koran Day” in 2010, and today Jones is promoting the incredibly bad, anti-Islamic film “Innocence of Muslims,” which has cost even more lives in the Middle East — but this time, American lives.

When Florida “Christo”fascist nutjob “Pastor” Terry Jones threatened to burn copies of the Koran in 2010 on the ninth anniversary of 9/11 — on what he called “International Burn a Koran Day” — more than a dozen people died during the protests that he sparked in the Middle East and Asia.

Americans didn’t care too much then because none of the dead then was an American.

Jones backed off on his threat to burn any Korans in 2010, but then in March 2011, he did burn a Koran in his Gainesville “church” after he had “put it on trial.” In reaction, dozens more people were killed in protesting in Afghanistan, including seven United Nations workers.

Americans still didn’t care too much then because none of the dead was an American.

This time, however, angry Muslims in Libya slaughtered the U.S. ambassador to Libya, Christopher Stevens, and three American staffers in a rocket attack on the American Consulate in Benghazi.

American officials posit that the attack on the American embassy might have been planned already, but in any event, the stated reason for the attack, apparently, is a “low-quality” and “extremely amateur” anti-Islamic film called “Innocence of Muslims” that reportedly portrays “the Prophet [Mohammed] as a homosexual who endorses extramarital sex and pedophilia.”

Even flattering depictions of Mohammed are considered blasphemous in Islam, so this

There is an apparent clip from the “film” on YouTube in which the actors portraying Middle Eastern Muslims appear to be white people wearing badly done brown makeup. (Disclaimer: I could not watch more than a few minutes of the clip, it’s that bad.)

Reportedly the said director and/or producer of the incredibly bad “film,” a “Sam Bacile” of California, is in hiding as a result of the reaction to his “film,” but also reportedly, no one can find evidence that a “Sam Bacile” actually even fucking exists. (The film could credibly be credited, however, to an “I.M. Bacile.”)

What is known, however, is that “Pastor” Terry Jones has promoted “Innocence of Muslims” and that Jones screened at least a trailer for the “film” for his followers in Florida yesterday, the 11th anniversary of 9/11, which he dubbed “International Judge Mohammed Day,” and Reuters reports today that

General Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the U.S. military’s Joint Chiefs of Staff, spoke with Pastor Terry Jones by phone [today] and asked him to withdraw his support for a film whose portrayal of the Prophet [Mohammed] has sparked violent protests — including one that ended with the death of America’s envoy to Libya.

Now, would the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff have called “Pastor” Jones if he didn’t feel that Jones’ actions were putting American lives at risk?

I’m an advocate of free speech, but the problem with Terry Jones is that every time the self-promoting bigot publicly bashes Islam, people tend to die.

Knowing this, it’s harder to protect Jones’ brand of free speech.

Is a worthless piece of shit like Terry Jones worth it?

Jones reportedly proclaimed in a statement today that “The film is not intended to insult the Muslim community, but it is intended to reveal truths about [Mohammed] that are possibly not widely known,” adding that the violence in apparent reaction to the film only shows the “true nature of Islam.”

Bullshit. Of course Terry Jones, with “events” such as “International Burn a Koran Day” and “International Judge Mohammed Day,” is doing his very fucking best to offend Muslims.

Terry Jones does not get to intentionally outrageously offend Muslims, which quite predictably results in violence, and then say, “See what I told you? They’re violent!”

That’s like repeatedly poking a dog with a sharp stick and then proclaiming, when the dog finally bites you, that the dog was inherently prone to violence. (Um, I’m not comparing Muslims to dogs… I’m saying that you don’t get to provoke violence and then fault the violent reaction that you have caused.)

The best thing that can happen is that some jihadist takes out Terry Jones. Seriously. A hundred Terry Joneses aren’t worth a single human life that his inflammatory speech — his hate speech, which, I could argue easily, is not speech that is worth protecting — has snuffed out.

And Mittens Romneywhat the fuck?

The U.S. Embassy in Cairo, Egypt, reportedly fearing for possible violence there apparently related to “Innocence of Muslims,” issued this statement yesterday: “The Embassy of the United States in Cairo condemns the continuing efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims — as we condemn efforts to offend believers of all religions.”

Team Mittens pounced on this statement as part of its bullshit narrative that the Obama administration is always “apologizing” for the United States abroad. Mittens proclaimed today in Terry Jones’ Florida that the Cairo embassy’s statement “appeared to be an apology for American principles.”

(See, this has to fit in nicely with Mittens’ book that is titled No Apology, which, when it was first released in 2010, was subtitled The Case for American Greatness, but which, when it was released in paperback last year, was re-subtitled Believe in America, which just coinky-dinkily is Team Mittens’ 2012 presidential campaign slogan.

It’s funny, because not only is the vulture capitalist multi-millionaire Mormon baby-boomer asshole Mittens not a part of “American greatness” in any shape or form, but who, exactly, is “apologizing” for America?

There are some things that we Americans should fucking apologize for, such as the illegal, immoral, unprovoked and unjust invasion of Iraq by the unelected George W. Bush administration in 2003, and the American-perpetrated torture and other assorted crimes against humanity that followed 9/11 and the wholly-unrelated-to-9/11 Vietraq War, including the Abu Ghraib House of Horrors, and for the continued slaughter of innocent civilians in the Middle East by U.S. drones like something out of the fucking “Terminator” movies, but who the fuck, in general, “apologizes” for America?)

Now, would Mittens object to the condemnation of “continuing efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of” Mormons?

Seriously — how would Mittens respond to an anti-Mormon film? Much more is known about the personal lives of Mormon cult’s founding fathers than is known about the personal life of Mohammed, that’s for sure, and there are plenty of unflattering things that we could say about Mormonism’s polygamous, patriarchal, misogynist founding fathers, aren’t there? How about a hate-filled film called “Innocence of Mormons”?

How would Mittens feel about that?

I see nothing wrong with the Cairo embassy’s statement. Sure, there is the First Amendment — but at the same time, you don’t have to be a mega-dick and intentionally inflame, with your hate speech, the passions of religious inherents who in the past have become violent when their religion has been quite intentionally disrespected.

Apparently, presidential wannabe Mittens Romney believes that in the likes of Terry Jones, we Americans have nothing to apologize for.

Those are some great fucking values there, Mittens!

And great attempted use of the violent deaths of four Americans for your own petty political gain!

Expect Mittens’ poll numbers to continue to slide.

The Gallup daily tracking poll for months had Obama and Mittens neck and neck, with both of them at 40-something-percent each, but now has Obama at 50 percent and Mittens at 43 percent.

And an ABC News/Washington Post poll taken from September 7 through 9 showed Obama with 50 percent to Mittens’ 44 percent, and a CNN/ORC poll taken the same dates showed Obama with 52 percent to Mittens’ 46 percent. Even a Faux “News” poll taken September 9 through 11 showed Obama five points ahead, 48 percent to 43 percent.

Maybe this is Obama’s post-convention bounce, but I expect Obama to maintain a lead of at least 4 percent or 5 percent from now until Election Day.

All that Mittens has to do to ensure Obama’s re-election, it seems to me, is to continue to open his fucking mouth.

Next month’s three presidential debates should be great fucking entertainment.

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Democratic pussies cave to Repugs even during their convention

Updated below

I hope that I live to see the nation’s first openly atheist president. I suspect that Barack Obama actually is an agnostic, maybe even an atheist, but he’d never publicly admit it because, like most politicians do, he panders to the fucktards who still believe in mythology.

Leave it to the spineless fucking Democrats to capitulate to the Repugnican Tea Party “Christo”fascists yet once again — even during the Dems’ quadrennial convention.

Earlier today I read with glee that the word “God” didn’t make it into this year’s Democratic Party platform, which is great news, since “God” doesn’t belong in the party’s platform any more than does Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy or the Great Pumpkin.

Of course, we’re talking about the Democrats, so it couldn’t last. Reports The Associated Press today:

Charlotte, N.C. — Embarrassed by Republicans, Democrats amended their convention platform [today] to add a mention of God and declare that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel.

Many in the audience booed after the convention chairman, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, ruled that the amendments had been approved despite the fact that a large group of delegates had objected. He called for a vote three times before ruling.

The party reinstated language from the 2008 platform that said “we need a government that stands up for the hopes, values and interests of working people and gives everyone willing to work hard the chance to make the most of their God-given potential.”

It also reinstated its 2008 language that Jerusalem “is and will remain the capital of Israel. The parties have agreed that Jerusalem is a matter for final status negotiations. It should remain an undivided city accessible to people of all faiths.”

Democrats had approved a platform [yesterday] that made no mention of God or Jerusalem. Instead, it expressed “unshakable commitment to Israel’s security.”

Republicans pounced quickly on both omissions.

GOP officials argued that not taking a position on Jerusalem’s status in the party platform showed the president was weak in his support of Israel. Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney said omitting God “suggests a party that is increasingly out of touch with the mainstream of the American people.”

“I think this party is veering further and further away into an extreme wing that Americans don’t recognize,” Romney said.

The Democratic Party’s decision to restore the mention of Jerusalem reflected what advisers said was the president’s personal view, if not the policy of his administration. The administration has long said determining Jerusalem’s status was an issue that should be decided by Israelis and Palestinians in peace talks, but has been careful not to state that Jerusalem is Israel’s capital.

Romney’s campaign quickly sought to capitalize on the slight, but important difference.

“Mitt Romney has consistently stated his belief that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel,” said Andrea Saul, Romney’s spokeswoman. …

The White House wouldn’t say whether the change in the Democratic platform language reflected a change in administration policy.

Democratic National Committee chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz said the reinstated party language reflected “the policy of both Republican and Democratic administrations for decades.” … [Yes, because “That’s the way we’ve always done it!” is such a convincing “argument”! And surely, anything that the Repugnican Tea Party has always done must be
right!]

But the decision to amend the platform did not rest well with some delegates.

Noor Ul-Hasan, a Muslim delegate from Salt Lake City, Utah, said she felt it went against the principle of the separation of church and state.

“There are people who don’t believe in God and you have to respect that as well,” Ul-Hasan said. She also questioned whether the convention had enough of a quorum to even amend the platform. “There was no discussion. We didn’t even see it coming. We were blindsided by it.”

Angela Urrea, a delegate from Roy, Utah, said she felt it was sprung on the convention without any discussion.

“The majority spoke last night,” Urrae said, noting [that] the platform was approved [yesterday]. “We shouldn’t be declaring Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.”

Republicans declared Jerusalem the capital of Israel in the platform the party approved last week at its convention in Tampa, Fla. …

When was the last fucking time that the Repugnican Tea Party traitors changed their party platform in the middle of their fucking convention because of criticism from the Democrats?

Jesus fuck, you would think that the one God-damned time the Dems could show some fucking backbone would be during their fucking convention.

And what, exactly, does this last-minute capitulation to the “Christo”fascists get the Dems, politically speaking?

Committed “Christo”fascists already support the Repugnican Tea Party, which consists of millionaires and billionaires, but there aren’t enough plutocrats among us to win elections, so the millionaires and billionaires also pretend to love the white supremacists and the Jesus freaks and other assorted white trash, and that is the bulk of the Repugnican Tea Party: the plutocrats, the remnants of the KKK and the “Christo”fascists (with a lot of overlap among those categories).

Jerusalem is not the capital of Israel, but that’s one of at least a few things that the Coke Party and the Pepsi Party have in common: They both want Jewish dollars, so they can’t pander to the Israel-firsters enough. It’s treasonous to put the interests of a foreign nation above the interests of one’s own nation, but with the shameless money whores who comprise the “leadership” of both of the major parties, expect both parties to continue to lick Israel’s ass like no other nation’s ass.

And if God exists, then maybe God should be a suprise guest at the Democratic National Convention!

Yes, indeed: Barack Obama should scrap his acceptance speech and instead bring an empty chair on stage with him and have a conversation with God, a la Clint Eastwood. God could even endorse Barack Obama on live television!

What, that’s bullshit? It’s no more bullshit than is the utterly unprovable assertion that there even is a fucking God, who is like a reward- and punishment-doling Santa Claus on crack. (He sees you when you’re sleeping; he knows when you’re awake. He knows if you’ve been bad or good, so be good for goodness’ sake!)

If the Repugnican Tea Party traitors want to continue to pander to the dipshits who still believe in a God, fine, but it would be fucking nice if the Democratic Party “leadership” would respect the long-standing concept of separation of church and state.

The job of a political party is to govern, and our government is to remain neutral in affairs of religion. That is the only fair way to govern. Otherwise, you have a theocracy, and I, for one, just say hell fucking no to an American Taliban.

I don’t give a rat’s ass what the religion is, whether it’s Judaism, whether it’s what we actually call here in the United States “Christianity,” whether it’s Islam, whatever — I don’t want retards who believe in non-existent deities to shove their delusions down my fucking throat through the vehicle of government that my tax dollars make possible.

Atheism, agnosticism and other belief systems (such as the Eastern belief systems) are growing in the United States of America.

The Repugnican Tea Party and the “Christo”fascism that the Repugnican Tea Party espouses are going the way of the dinosaurs.

It would be fucking fantastic if the cowardly fucktards who “lead” the Democratic Party wouldn’t follow the Repugnican Tea Party traitors into the fucking tar pits.

P.S. Now comes the news that the Big Man Himself — no, not God, but Barack Obama — had the party’s platform changed. Reports The Associated Press:

Charlotte, N.C. — President Barack Obama personally intervened to order Democrats to change language in their party platform to add a mention of God and declare that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel, campaign officials said [today].

Scrambling to end the furor, Democrats abruptly changed the platform early [this] evening to reinstate language from the 2008 platform that said “we need a government that stands up for the hopes, values and interests of working people and gives everyone willing to work hard the chance to make the most of their God-given potential.” …

Democrats also restored 2008 language on Jerusalem, declaring the city “is and will remain the capital of Israel. The parties have agreed that Jerusalem is a matter for final status negotiations. It should remain an undivided city accessible to people of all faiths.”

Campaign officials said Obama’s reaction on the omission of God from the platform was to wonder why it was removed in the first place.

The officials requested anonymity because they were not authorized to speak about private discussions.

The platform changes did not sit well with some Democratic delegates gathered in Charlotte, N.C., for the party’s three-day convention. Many in the audience booed after the convention chairman, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, ruled that the amendments had been approved despite the fact that a large group of delegates had objected. He called for a vote three times before ruling.

The revisions came as Obama struggles to win support from white working-class voters, many of whom have strong religious beliefs, and as Republicans try to woo Jewish voters and contributors away from the Democratic Party. Republicans claimed the platform omissions suggested Obama was weak in his defense of Israel and out of touch with mainstream Americans.

Democrats had approved a platform [yesterday] that made no mention of God or Jerusalem. Instead, it expressed “unshakable commitment to Israel’s security.” Republicans quickly pounced. …

Who fucking cares what the Repugnican Tea Party traitors think?

The Democratic Party’s platform had been approved democratically. It should have stood, regardless of what Barack Obama believes. Why should the members of the party vote on anyfuckingthing at all if they then can be overriden by one individual?

And no one caves in better to the thugs on the right than does Barack Obama, who makes them look like they are right by caving in to them almost every single fucking time.

Barack Obama has turned caving in to the radical right wing into a fucking Olympic sport.

Update: I just watched the video of the actual vote on the changes to the Dem Party platform. What a fucking weasel Antonio Villaraigosa, chair of the convention, is.

The change to the party’s platform required a two-thirds vote by the delegates, which Villaraigosa did on a voice vote. Villaraigosa had the delegates voice-vote three fucking times, apparently believing that the third time would be a charm, that the delegates would fall in line like good little lemmings.

Yet by even the third voice vote, it doesn’t sound at all like Villaraigosa reached the two-thirds threshold.

Nonetheless, the weasel-bastard, undaunted by the fact that sometimes democracy doesn’t go your way, declared that the changes to the platform had passed by two-thirds of the delegates.

This blatantly dishonest, anti-democratic, hierarchy-ass-licking bullshit is what you would expect from the Repugnican Tea Party Nazis, not from the Democratic Party — and this is yet another reason why I call the two parties of the partisan duopoly the Coke Party and the Pepsi Party: because there’s not a dime’s worth of difference between the two.

I place most of the blame on the Democratic Party’s worthless “leaders,” like Barack Obama and Antonio Villaraigosa, who apparently has gotten ahead in the Dem Party only by going along with the fucktards who outrank him, by putting blind personal political ambition — and thus blind obedience — far above decency and integrity.

Kudos to the delegates who at least tried to stop the anti-democratic coup that their party’s selfish, shameless “leaders” perpetrated upon them today.

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YES, Mittens’ Mormonism MATTERS (and other heretical thoughts on this Easter Sunday)

Ah, Easter Sunday.

No better day (except Christmas, perhaps) to discuss religion.

The Los Angeles Times’ website had two interesting headlines this past week. The first, posted Thursday, was “Sen. Hatch Predicts Obama Campaign to ‘Throw Mormon Church’ at Romney.” It begins:

In a prediction of underhanded campaign tactics to come, [Mormon U.S.] Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) told GOP delegates Tuesday that he foresees that President [Barack] Obama’s campaign will try to use Mitt Romney’s Mormon faith against him.

“You watch, they’re going to throw the Mormon church at him like you can’t believe it,” Hatch said.

He later reiterated his point on Wednesday in Draper, Utah.

“For them to say they aren’t going to smear Mitt Romney is bologna. It’s way out of bounds, but that’s what is going to happen.”

Hatch, also a Mormon, and seeking re-election in a state with more than 60 percent of the population following the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints [the Mormon cult], specifically pointed his finger toward Obama’s campaign adviser David Axelrod and White House aide David Plouffe.

“Let me tell you something. The Obama people have some of the best political consultants in the country and they don’t get there because they’re always wonderful people. They’re very tough,” Hatch said. “I’ve met with Axelrod, he’s the best there is in the business. Plouffe, you’ve got to say he’s one of the best. And there is nothing they won’t do.” …

Yesterday, the L.A. Times ran another story, authored by someone else, with the headline “Obama Praised – and Pummeled – on Matters of Faith.”

Indeed, as the story points out:

… Few presidents have spoken about their religious faith as often, as deeply or as eloquently as Obama. “We worship an awesome God in the blue states,” he declared at the 2004 Democratic convention, and he has sought since then to rebuild ties between the Democratic Party and the world of faith.

Yet no president has faced such sustained hostility over issues of faith, including Republican charges that he is waging a “war on religion,” widespread suspicion about the sincerity of his Christian faith, and the persistent legend that he is a practicing Muslim. … [Emphasis mine.]

Indeed, Barack Obama’s having tossed some bones to the believers in God as A Super-Duper Wish-Granting and Punishment-Doling Big Santa Claus in the Sky on Crack — He’s making a list and checking it twice; he’s going to find out who’s naughty and nice! He knows if you’ve been bad or good, so be good for goodness sake! — always has unsettled me, someone whose views on religion decidedly do not follow those of the pack of wolves in sheep’s clothing.

However, I’ve lived with Obama’s occasional God crap because (1) I’ve pretty much had no choice, and (2) I’ve never had the sense that he would govern the nation theocratically — and certainly not as a Muslim!

The problem that the “Christo”fascists have with Obama is not that he has waged an actual “war on religion.” He has not. He has not ordered that any churches or any church publications be burned or banned, that any religious leaders be burned at the stake or crucified or even just exiled.

Shit, the Obama administration allows “Christo”fascist organizations to, as I understand it, blatantly violate their tax-exempt status by openly participating in politics and in political campaigns, such as in the “Christo”fascists’ jihad against women, non-heterosexuals, non-whites, non-“Christo”fascists, et. al.

(Disclosure: I never will forgive the Mormon and Catholic cults for their hateful, mean-spirited, anti-Christian support of the incredibly hateful, mean-spirited, anti-Christian Proposition 8, which wrote the hatred of and the discrimination against an historically oppressed minority group into the state’s constitution here in California.)

It has been business as usual for the “Christo”fascist churches under President Obama*, and any drop-off in church membership can be attributed to the fact that the backasswards, anti-science and anti-reality “Christo”fascism, which picks certain groups out for continued persecution and subjugation, in direct violation of the actual teachings of Jesus Christ — I need only point to the “Christo”fascists’ ongoing war on women, in which both Catholic Prick Santorum and Mormon Mittens Romney are active, bomb-lobbing enemy combatants — doesn’t fucking work in 2012, if it ever worked at all (it did not).

But the right-wing fascists love to blame everything, even their own miserable failings — perhaps especially their own miserable failings — on the nation’s first black president.

The problem that the “Christo”fascists have with Obama is not that he is waging some “war on religion,” but that he is not giving favored status to the stupid white men — like the cabals of stupid, old, evil white men who lead the Mormon cult and the Catholic cult, who would love to get their hands on the White House via Mormon Mittens Romney or Catholic Prick Santorum — stupid, evil white men who use the names of God and Jesus to try to advance their own personal lust for power and money.

Historically there have been two broad visions of Christianity.** The historically dominant one is the one supported by the likes of Prick Santorum and Mittens Romney, the one in which certain power-grubbing men have all of the power and the only way to God and Jesus and “salvation” is through these men — which is awfully convenient for these men, but not so great for the rest of us. They have the monopoly on God and Jesus and “salvation,” you see, and they will defend this monopoly because no one with a ridiculous amount of power and money will part with it without a fight.

The other vision of Christianity is a minority vision. It views spirituality as a personal matter that the individual must cultivate within herself or himself. Indeed, under this vision some gargantuan “Christian” institution cannot somehow magically “save” the individual merely by the individual’s identification with or membership of the institution. The individual has to do the work of “salvation.” No one else can do it for her or him.

Indeed, Jesus himself is recorded to have said, “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” (Matthew 6:5 and 6:6)

I see no other way to interpret that than that Jesus was saying that prayer is an intensely personal, not a public, matter, yet the “Christo”fascists are all about prayer in public, even in our public schools, although Jesus himself clearly called such practitioners and advocates “hypocrites.”

Jesus also had choice words about rich people, such as “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” (Matthew 19:24)

Hmmm. Is multi-millionaire Mittens Romney going to heaven?

If his millions have bought him a method of shrinking himself so that he can squeeze through the eye of a needle, then sure.

But seriously, here is “Christo”fascist Mormon tool Orrin Hatch insinuating that all discussion of Mittens Romney’s Mormonism should be off limits, yet it’s been wide open fucking season on Barack Obama’s religious beliefs since before he took office. How conveniently convenient it is for the Mormon cult that we should be able to discuss Barack Obama’s religious beliefs (or supposed lack thereof) ad nauseam, but that to discuss Mittens’ religious beliefs is, according to Mormon cult spokesnake Sen. Orrin Hatch, “way out of bounds.”

This is the rank hypocrisy that Hatch and his “Christo”fascist ilk have been so steeped in for so long now that they apparently can’t even see it; they take it for granted like a fish takes water for granted.

Whatever Barack Obama does or does not actually believe about God and/or Jesus, I don’t much care, as long as he doesn’t try to govern the nation theocratically. In a nation of diverse believers and non-believers, to govern theocratically is to govern only for some and not for all. The only way to govern for all is to govern secularly.

I, for one American, don’t want theocracy. I want secular democracy. I have good reason to believe that Mittens Romney would take marching orders from the cabal of stupid, old, evil white men in Salt Lake City. Every Mormon is expected to obey and to answer to the cabal in Salt Lake City, which is to have the supreme authority in Mormons’ lives. Mormons ultimately don’t answer to their country. They answer to the cabal in Salt Lake City. I lived among Mormons in Arizona. I know.

Nor do I want Pope Palapatine’s puppet, Prick Santorum, in the Oval Office. I don’t have to worry about him being elected president, since he has a snowball’s chance in hell of that ever happening, but I’m not OK with him being vice president any more than I was OK with Sarah Palin being a heartbeat away from the highest political office in the land.

On this Easter Sunday, I want to tell the “Christo”fascists of the world: Fuck you. For centuries you have been calling the shots and persecuting your detractors in the names of God and Jesus Christ, using rank hypocrisy as your main weapon of choice. Your anti-Christian reign is ending. You know it, which is why you are in your death throes — and better, the rest of us who for centuries have been your victims know it.

*Indeed, as the L.A. Times notes:

Obama gets generally high marks from faith organizations for maintaining, and in some ways strengthening, the Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships begun by [former “President”] George W. Bush. Obama faced pressure from secular liberals to scuttle the office, which was seen as blurring the line between church and state. Instead, he used it to reach out to faith groups across a broad spectrum of theology and politics.

“The president was very bold in deciding not just to drop something that a lot of people who supported him thought was not a great idea,” said Stanley Carlson-Thies, who served under Bush in what was then called the Office of Faith-based and Community Initiatives.

Under Joshua Dubois, a Pentecostal minister Obama appointed to head the office, it has expanded its focus from primarily funneling government contracts to faith-based groups to also engaging religious organizations as volunteers. It has, for instance, trained churches and other religious organizations in disaster preparedness and response. It also enlisted more than 1,000 churches in a Job Clubs program to help the unemployed.

A rather different message has emerged from the Republican presidential contest. “This president is attacking religion, and is putting in place a secular agenda that our forefounders would not recognize,” his likely Republican challenger, Mitt Romney, has said. …

**For more on this, see the writings of Elaine Pagels, perhaps especially her seminal The Gnostic Gospels.

She begins her conclusion of that work with this paragraph:

It is the winners who write history — their way. No wonder, then, that the viewpoint of the successful majority has dominated all traditional accounts of the origin of Christianity. Ecclesiastical Christians first defined the terms (naming themselves “orthodox” and their opponents “heretics”); then they proceed to demonstrate — at least to their own satisfaction — that their triumph was historically inevitable, or, in religious terms, “guided by the Holy Spirit.”

In her work, Pagels chronicles how Christianity, quite early on, was hijacked by power-hungry, ruthless men who wished to mangle the message of Jesus Christ into something that no longer freed people, all people, as it was intended to do, but into something that instead enslaved people and that served these power-mad men and their own selfish, ultimately petty interests.

This bastardization of the teachings of Jesus Christ began as early as with Bishop Irenaeus, who within the two centuries after the death of the historical Jesus determined which early Christian gospels (there were many of them, not just four of them) would become official and “true” and which would be deemed apocryphal and “heretical.” Irenaeus advocated for a rigid, all-male hierarchy that decided all matters, against the early gnostic Christians’ belief that spirituality is an individual practice, not an institutional or hierarchal practice, and that this is what Jesus Christ taught.

Once the early patriarchal/hierarchal “Christian” church gained the military strength of the Roman empire under Roman Emperor Constantine about a century after Irenaeus, this bastardized vision of Christianity as a rigid patriarchy that could persecute — even slaughter — others in the names of God and Jesus became the dominant form of “Christianity” that we know today.

The early gnostic Christians — the true Christians, in my book — who by definition opposed hierarchy and militarism, were no match against the unholy alliance between the early patriarchal/hierarchal “Christians” and the militaristic Roman empire. They were, in essence, crucified, and their teachings, including the gnostic gospels, deemed “heretical” by the early patriarchal/hierarchal “Christian” church, were lost. (Many of the gnostic gospels later were discovered, however, especially the find in Egypt in 1945, as Pagels chronicles in her books on the topic.)

Bringing this true Christianity back would be, symbolically, the resurrection of Jesus Christ, and that, in my book, is the real message of Easter today.

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It’s past time to reel in our stormtroopers and shrink the Death Star

There comes a time when you should see things clear [sic]
Free from my innocence, there is no circumstance too severe
Only the need for us, for us to believe again
There is a time, temptation’s on the run
Dreamer, you’ve had your way
Soldier, you’ve had your day in the sun
Now it’s time for us to begin again

Le Bel Age
Only our love will remain
Le Bel Age
Close to the truth once again …

— Pat Benatar, “Le Bel Age”

Please forgive my incredibly cheesy ’80s reference, but I’ve always loved that line: “Soldier, you’ve had your day in the sun.” (I don’t know that that the “dreamer” has had his or her way; I suppose that we need to know what it is, exactly, that the said dreamer dreams.)

At least since after Sept. 11, 2001, “hero” worship — worship of the mostly white male members of the U.S. military, law enforcement and, to a lesser extent, firefighters and emergency medical personnel — has gripped the nation.

Never mind that it’s the blowback from our military “heroes'” actions in the Middle East (where they were sent by stupid, white, filthy rich, greedy white men) that brought us 9/11 in the first fucking place.

Blowback is quite real. Take the 16 Afghan civilians, nine of them reportedly children, who reportedly were mowed down by one or more American stormtroopers today in what Reuters calls a “U.S. shooting spree.” Their relatives won’t want revenge against the United States of America?

Shit like this — the stuff of which 9/11 was made — happens, and then when shit like 9/11 happens, American fucktards scratch their heads and ask, “Why do they hate us so much?” (They then conclude that “they” hate us for our “freedom” and our “democracy” and our general lily-white goodness.)

So the endless loop — endless until we sane, actually patriotic Americans put an end to it or until the American empire collapses completely — is that the U.S. war machine slaughters innocent people in the Middle East, there is predictable retaliation in the form of “terrorism” (it’s never called terrorism when the U.S. military or the military of an American ally, such as Israel, slaughters innocent people), and then the members who comprise the U.S. war machine claim that their existence — indeed, their expansion — is necessary because of the global threats! (Never mind that they are the ones who are creating any actual threats.)

Yet a nauseating pro-military, pro-“hero”-worship meme that ABC News rolled out recently is that the members of the U.S. military are “the other 1 percent,” and that the rest of us just don’t appreciate them enough.

Really? Really? The U.S. military is bleeding us dry of our tax dollars — and because of this obscene military overspending we are watching our empire crumble as did past empires that overspent on their militaries — but we civilians owe the members of the U.S. military even more?

This is the deal: China, which is second in the world in its military spending, spends only one-sixth of what the United States spends on its military. This is what world military spending looks like:

The United States easily could more than halve its military spending and still maintain its undisputed global military dominance. At this point — the point on which the American empire teeters upon collapse — I would accept even a one-third reduction in U.S. military spending (for now), with those funds returned to domestic spending in order to save the fucking empire.

But we are told by the pro-military wingnuts that we must have this level of military spending, even though millions of Americans cannot afford health-care costs (health care never should have been made for-profit), even though our public schools continue to crumble and our teachers don’t have the funding that they need (they pay for many things out of their own pockets), even though almost no American (except for the actual 1 percent, the plutocrats) feels any retirement security, even though we have plenty of homeless people in our streets, and speaking of which, our streets are disintegrating and our bridges are falling down.

But even though the U.S. military is bleeding the United States of America fucking dry, ABC News quotes one veteran as having said, “‘It’s hard not to be a little bit angry when you see the tremendous sacrifice that some have paid in this war’ while others have been completely unaffected.”

No, the 99 percent of us have been quite affected by the right wing’s wars of choice in the Middle East for the benefit of the oily war profiteers, such as Dick Cheney’s Halliburton, which received no-bid contracts for the wholly unnecessary war in Iraq that the treasonous, unelected Bush regime delivered for Halliburton and the other oily, war-profiteering subsidiaries of BushCheneyCorp. (No war, no profits, so indeed, BushCheneyCorp created a war.)

Largely because of the astronomical costs of the Vietraq War (and also, of course, because of his tax cuts for the wealthiest among us), while George W. Bush inherited a record federal budget surplus from Bill Clinton, Bush handed over to Barack Obama a record federal budget deficit.

Americans who have been unemployed and who have lost their homes and who can’t afford decent health care (and for whom a college education is pretty much a financial impossibility) don’t need to be lectured to by any bitter veterans that they haven’t sacrified enough. They have. We have. We have sacrified ridiculously more than enough to the U.S. war machine, and while the mostly-white-male objects of “hero” worship expect us to get on our knees and suck their dicks (or maybe they want us to play dead and they can then urinate on our “corpses” — that certainly seems to be their fetish), the members of the female-dominated professions, such as teachers and nurses, whose sacrifices also are immense, not only go unappreciated and unrecognized, but are told by the stupid white men that they must continue to suffer budget cuts and have their unions eliminated so that they lose altogether what paltry remaining rights that they have.

(I used to be a nurse in the for-profit wealth care — er, health care — system. I can tell you that with chronic understaffing and other lack of resources due to capitalistic greed, and with patients [most of them baby boomers] feeling entitled to the best health care possible even though most of them put themselves into the hospital because of their selfish, greedy, irresponsible lifestyle choices, going to work felt very much like being in a war zone — so again, nurses and teachers need no fucking lectures on the topic of self-sacrifice from egomaniacal G.I. Joes.)

If American veterans want to be angry for what they have been put through — and I suppose that they should be angry — then they need to be angry at the plutocrats who sent them unnecessarily to war in the first fucking place — and not at us civilians who pay for these military misadventures that are initiated by the treasonous, chickenhawk plutocrats who cannot empty the U.S. Treasury via the military-industrial complex fast enough.

And you know, I was one of millions of Americans who protested during the run-up to the Bush regime’s launch of its bogus Vietraq War in March 2003. Yes, I was at the California State Capitol at an anti-imminent-war rally in early 2003. I knew that invading Iraq was a horrible fucking idea, that it was a bogus war that was about to be launched by the treasonous, unelected Bush regime, and I registered my protest.

But at that time we progressives who opposed the impending Vietraq War were branded by the pro-military wingnuts as lunatics or “terrorist”-loving traitors or both.

And today, these pro-military wingnuts are telling us that we’re not sacrificing enough for the bogus warfare in the Middle East that we opposed from Day One.

And it’s interesting: The members of the U.S. military predominantly come from the red states, and the denizens of the red states are always accusing others of being parasites. They’re the hard workers, and we of the blue states are the slacking parasites on their hard work and their sacrifices, according to their narrative, yet it has been the case for years that the blue states get back significantly less from the federal government than they pay into it, while the red states get back significantly more than they pay into it. (I wrote about this fact here way back in April 2009.)

I assume that the calculations that show that the red states actually are the parasites on the blue states factor in the federal tax dollars collected from the blue states that go into the U.S. military and then are diverted predominantly to the red states, but if not, then the parasitical relationship is even more severe than it has been reported.

In any event, upon examination what emerges is the truth: Which is that the red states, appropriate to their assigned color, are blood-suckers — ticks, fleas, leeches — while we of the blue states, appropriate to our assigned color of oxygen-deprived, near-death blue, are the host, and not fucking vice-versa.

The right-wing fascists love the U.S. military because whatever they do not understand or they do not like or agree with they wish to destroy, and because of their ignorance they are fearful, and because they are fearful, they glorify the capacity to kill those of whom they are afraid. Fearful idiots — not truly brave and loving individuals — glorify guns, bombs and other means of killing people.

And, of course, there are millions of traitors — from big-time military contractors all the way down to individual soldiers — who feed at the trough that is U.S. military overspending. They are traitors because they don’t care that U.S. military overspending is destroying their own nation; they just want their gravy train to keep on chugging. To justify their continued looting of the U.S. Treasury — to continue to rob us blind — they have to invent perpetual “threats” and “national interests,” when the real interests sure the fuck aren’t national, but quite personally financial.

Religion has played a role, too, of course. Most members of the U.S. military, most of them being from the “Christo”fascist red states, identify themselves as “Christians,” even though, perversely ironically, Jesus Christ was all about nonviolence (turn the other cheek, he taught, not gun down your opponent and then piss on his corpse). These “Christo”fascists are having their little crusade in the Middle East, slaughtering Muslims left and right, but why should atheist taxpayers like me have to fund their fucking crusade?

Prick Santorum and Newt Gingrich and their “Christo”fascist ilk whine that the U.S. government “persecutes” “Christians” and that there should be no separation of church and state in the United States, but when the U.S. government is sponsoring their anti-Muslim crusade, I don’t see any real fucking separation of church and state.

Indeed, the U.S. military is rife with “Christo”fascists like Marine Sgt. Gary Stein, who, The Associated Press reports, “first started a Facebook page called Armed Forces Tea Party Patriots to encourage service members to exercise their free speech rights [and then] declared that he wouldn’t follow orders from the commander in chief, President Barack Obama.”

This is a photo of the traitor Stein, out of his pointy white hood:

He looks just like all of the other embittered right-wing bald white guys, like “Joe the Plumber,” who is running for the U.S. House of Representatives in Ohio:

(Yes, apparently “Joe the Plumber,” a.k.a. Samuel Wurzelbacher, had someone write a book for him. No, he is not expected to win the election in November, and very apparently “the American dream” is that right-wing white guys maintain the control that they’ve had since the nation’s inception. A “dream” for the stupid white men, I suppose, but a fucking nightmare for the rest of us, such as women, non-whites, non-heterosexuals, non-“Christians” and non-fascists. [And civilians in the Middle East, of course…])

So: My — our — federal tax dollars don’t go things that we need, such as health care, education, infrastructure maintenance and environmental protection, but go instead to the U.S. military, where blatant traitors like Marine Sgt. Gary Stein proclaim that they don’t have to follow the orders of the nation’s first black president. On our dime.

Any member of the U.S. military who dared to publicly announce that he or she would not follow George W. Bush’s orders would have found him- or herself in knee-deep shit. He or she would have been expected to keep any dissenting political opinions to him- or herself or to be disciplined, but obviously Marine Sgt. Gary Stein and his treasonous, fascistic ilk feel that the U.S. military is only an arm of the American right wing, and thus only Repugnican Tea Party presidents are to be obeyed.

We truly patriotic Americans — who fucking fund the U.S. military in the first place — need to reel in this treasonous bullshit quickly. I see precious little difference between the supposed “subversive,” “Communist” infiltration of the U.S. military during the McCarthy era and the actual subversive infiltration of the U.S. military by the right-wing, white supremacist “Christo”fascists today.

It’s not their fucking military. It’s our fucking military, and it’s insane that we fund them only so that they then can bite the hands that feed them.

We progressives need to man up, so to speak, and demand that politicians, perhaps especially those who call themselves “Democrats,” stop being cowed by the pro-military, “Christo”fascist right wing and stop being the Pentagon’s little bitches. The stupid-white-male-dominated Pentagon (the “Death Star” that I made reference to) should answer to us, the people, and not vice-versa.

Military overspending must be contained before the American empire collapses completely. To be complicit in the empire’s collapse is to be a fucking traitor. There is no way around that.

I don’t want the members of the U.S. military to be unemployed. We have enough unemployment. I want a great number of those employed by the U.S. military to be re-employed, but this time in capacities that help the taxpayers of the United States of America — and not the greedy, treasonous actual 1 percent, who are the only ones who really benefit from the perpetual bogus warfare that they impose upon the 99 percent of us for their own treasonous war profiteering.

These re-employed, redirected individuals from the U.S. military can be engineers, teachers, nurses, doctors, lawyers, scientists, construction workers, architects, cooks, environmentalists, artists (yes, we need art much more than we need more bombs and fighter planes), whatever they want to be that they are able to be, and those services are worth paying for.

American stormtroopers urinating on corpses and mowing down innocent civilians in the Middle East as a by-product of obscene war profiteering — that, apparently, is what the pro-military right wing wants.

That’s not how I want my tax dollars spent, and the progressive vision, I argue, is infinitely better for the United States of America than is the apocalyptic “vision” of the pro-military “Christo”fascists who tell us progressives that we’re just not sacrificing enough for them.

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