Tag Archives: Sunnis

From ‘audacity’ to a whimper

President Barack Obama will go down in American history something like this…

I have to agree wholeheartedly with the assessment by Michael Moore (who has been too absent from the public arena during Barack Obama’s presidency) that the American history books will mention only (or at least primarily) that Obama was the nation’s first black president. It’s sad that history will remember Obama more for the color of his skin than for the content of his character, but that’s his fault, not history’s.

In fairness, the history books also probably will mention Obamacare (for good or for ill or fairly neutrally), but what else is there to say of the Obama years?*

Allegedly with great audacity and with the dreams of his father behind him, Obama came in with a bang – “HOPE”! and “CHANGE”! “CHANGE”! and “HOPE”! – but he goes out with a whimper.

It’s ironic that Obama’s opposition to the unelected Bush regime’s illegal, immoral, unjust and unprovoked Vietraq War – which only ever was meant for war profiteering (such as by Dick Cheney’s Halliburton) and for Big Oil to retake the oil fields of Iraq – helped him into office in 2008 and that now Obama seems poised to end his second term with another war in Iraq (and possibly in Syria).

Yes, of course this time (further) war in Iraq (and in Syria ) can be justified, I think. The Islamic Slate (a.k.a. ISIL and ISIS) – at least in its current incarnation as a rapidly metastasizing, deadly cancer – needs to be stopped. The mass murder and the oppression of those who disagree with certain fascist, religious nutjobs – be they “Christian” fascist nutjobs, “Jewish” fascist nutjobs, “Hindu” fascist nutjobs, “Muslim” fascist nutjobs, whatever – should be met with opposition.

Credible news reports are that the Sunni Islamic State has been slaughtering and oppressing Shiites and other non-Sunnis in large swaths of Syria and Iraq. (No, the Islamic State did not become a problem only when it beheaded two U.S. citizens in propagandistic snuff videos.) Any such mass slaughter and oppression anywhere in the world should be stopped if at all possible, regardless of the United States ’ many missteps and failures to act in the past. (And it should not be the United States playing World Cop all of the fucking time.)

As far to the left as I consider myself to be, I do not believe in absolute, blind pacifism. I don’t believe that in most cases force or the credible threat of force should be the first resort, but nor do I believe that force or the credible threat of force should be taken off the table altogether. It can be a useful tool, and sometimes, the only effective one. And my gut response to the Islamic State, frankly, is: Pound. Them. Into. The. Sand. (With that said, gut responses do not necessarily make for sound actual foreign policy, as we learned with the debacle that was the unelected reign of the illegitimate Bush regime.)

The problem with the unelected Bush regime’s Vietraq War, again, is that of course it never was meant to “liberate” the Iraqi people from the evil Saddam Hussein (who was a “good” dictator until he stopped taking marching orders from the American elite, which then made him a “bad” dictator) – unless you want to call the more than 100,000 Iraqis who died as a result of the Vietraq War “liberated.” No, it was meant to further enrich the cronies of the BushCheneyCorp.

Such treasonously crying wolf, of course, makes it all the harder to sell the American people on military action in the same region, even when military action actually is called for this time – as President Obama surely knows right about now.

And, of course, while the Repugnican Tea Party traitors (redundant) never met a war that they didn’t love (as long as it’s others who are doing all of the dying, of course), they’ll find ways to criticize and condemn Obama no matter how he conducts things militarily in the Middle East. Because if the president is a white Repugnican guy (even one who got into the White House without even having won the highest number of votes of the American people), then to criticize his military actions abroad at all is nothing short of terrorist-lovin’ treason, you see, whereas if the president is a Democrat, and especially not a white, male Democrat, then to criticize his every fucking move is one’s God-given patriotic duty, you see.

So, of course, Obama can’t win, no matter what he does or does not do, but he should have known this political fact from Day One, and so from Day One he should have pushed through a progressive agenda instead of having tried to persuade the Repugnican Tea Party traitors to join him in “Kumbaya” around the campfire in D.C. (You don’t even bother to try to negotiate with terrorists; they cannot be reasoned with.)

Yes, I do believe that having assertively pushed a progressive agenda in the first two years of his first term would have been a winner for Obama. Had he even tried to have delivered upon his campaign promises, he could have been something like the second coming of FDR. He entered the White House with that kind of support behind him, more or less.

Yes, reportedly a majority of Americans deem Obama’s presidency to have been a failure, but these polls that are unflattering to Obama, it seems to me, widely are interpreted, incorrectly, to mean that the majority of Americans embrace the right-wing worldview. But if a pollster were to ask me (or any other actually progressive American) if Obama’s presidency has been a success or a failure, I (or he or she) would say, without even having to think about it, a failurenot because I at all agree with the right-wing worldview and agenda, but because I believe that Obama utterly squandered his chance, especially in 2009 and 2010, to push through an actually progressive agenda, while both houses of Congress still were held by his own party.**

Whereas the unelected Bush regime spent “political capital” that it never even fucking had (I remember when the Bushies called Bush’s “re”-election by only 50.7 percent of the popular vote in 2004 to be a “mandate”), Obama was too timid or too lazy or too stupid (or some combination of these things) to even touch his actual stockpile of political capital in 2009 and 2010, and his failure to have done so will go down in history (history that is thoughtful and critical, anyway) as one of the biggest missed opportunities by a U.S. president to accomplish the greatest amount of good for the greatest amount of Americans.

And I judge Obama’s presidency to be a failure because, of course, you judge a politician based upon his or her actual accomplishments in office compared to the campaign promises that he or she made in order to get elected to that office. (Yeah, as cynical as I might be, I’m still not ready to let any politician off the hook for having violated, blatantly, his or her own campaign promises.) Based upon his own relentless campaign promises of “hope” and “change,” of course Obama’s presidency – which has delivered primarily more of the same, not “hope” or “change” – has been a failure.

Of course, pretty much any Repugnican president – John McCainosaurus, Mittens Romney or any other Repugnican – would have done even worse in the Oval Office than Obama has done (except, perhaps, for the 1 percent, for the richest Americans), but that doesn’t let Obama off the hook with me; I judge Obama by actually progressive Democratic (that is, actually Democratic) standards, not by the low bar that has been set by the right wing (probably especially by George W. Bush). And speaking of the devil, of course Obama has been a better president than Gee Dubya was – for starters, Obama actually was democratically elected in the first fucking place, for fuck’s sake – but saying that President X is or was better than was “President” George W. Bush is saying exactly nothing.

And how is Obama poised to end his second and final term? At (further) war in the Middle East, with a new/old enemy this time, the Islamic State. (I write “new/old” because just as the “tea party” is comprised of the same old fascists who were around long before they started to call themselves the “tea party,” the Islamic State apparently is comprised, largely if not mostly, of the same old Islamofascists who were around before Obama ever took office. Of course, it was the Bush regime’s woefully-misguided-to-put-it-mildly Vietraq War, more than anything else, that contributed to the genesis of the Islamic State that we see today.)

I have to wonder if Barack Obama is trying to do Billary Clinton a favor right now, trying to make the Democratic Party look Tough! On! Terrorists! — just in time for the 2016 presidential election. But if more war in the Middle East (and exactly how it should be executed) is going to be the centerpiece of the 2016 presidential election, don’t the chickenhawk Repugnicans play the war card a lot better than do the Dems?

Because of that, how could the Dems expect to win the White House again in 2016 by posing as warhawks, as Billary already appears to be doing?

Didn’t someone once remark that when given the choice of voting for a Repugnican candidate or a “Democratic” candidate who acts like a Repugnican, the typical voter will vote for the genuine Repugnican?

The theofascist Islamic State needs to be checked, for sure, just as would any other insane group of murderers and fascists at home or abroad, but at the same time, potential blowback from military actions that always should be considered aside, Team Obama and Team Billary need to be careful, methinks, not to give the war-drum-beating chickenhawks of the Repugnican Tea Party political validation – and thus political victory – by also beating those tired, old war drums (only less convincingly, in the eyes of the voters, than the chickenhawks do) between now and Election Day in November 2016.

*Obama lost me, forever, after he just fucking sat on his hands while British Petroleum filled the Gulf of Mexico with millions of barrels of crude oil in 2010, and after he failed to visit the state of Wisconsin even once in early 2011, when Repugnican Tea Party Gov. Scott Walker successfully attacked the right of the workers of the state to collectively bargain.

Candidate Obama had promised in 2007: “Understand this: If American workers are being denied their right to organize and collectively bargain, when I’m in the White House, I’ll put on a comfortable pair of shoes myself. I’ll walk on that picket line with you, as president of the United States of America. Because workers deserve to know that someone’s standing in their corner.”

Again, Obama showed up in Wisconsin not once. In his first term Obama failed to lead on a huge environmental issue and he failed to lead on a huge labor-rights issue, part of a pattern of failure that his presidency has been. (As I have noted, while I [stupidly] voted for Obama in 2008, I did not vote for Obama again in November 2012, but voted for the Green Party candidate instead.)

**Indeed, I’m not the only leftist who deems Obama’s presidency a failure; the Washington Post notes of its own (with ABC News) recent nationwide poll that “Those saying Obama has been a failure include one in four Democrats (25 percent), nearly three in 10 liberals (29 percent) and the vast, vast majority of conservative Republicans (92 percent). Nearly one in five liberals (18 percent) say they feel ‘strongly’ that Obama has been a failure.

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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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