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Thursday Bag o’ Links

Sausages

Many months ago I said I’d monitor news coverage of the trials of the 11 motorcyclists arrested after a videotaped beating of a motorist in New York City. I believed then, and believe now, that the motorist did something to start the fight, but unfortunately whatever happened to set things in motion was not videotaped. I hoped that once the bikers came to trial more information would come out and we’d learn what really happened.

From day one, the media, public opinion, and of course law enforcement came down on the side of the motorist, portraying the bikers as a vicious gang of thugs who’d gone after an innocent driver for no reason. As a long-time motorcyclist, I know better: the motorist did something to start the fight. I’ve seen it happen more times than I can count.

I was naive to believe the trials would be more honest than the press coverage. I see now what’s going to happen. The district attorney is going to pick off the motorcyclists, one by one, pressuring them to plead guilty to lesser crimes in exchange for reduced sentences, and then the judge is going to impose gag orders to prevent them from ever telling their stories out of court. Okay, this article doesn’t mention any gag order, but I’m willing to bet it’s part of the deal. We’re never going to find out what the son of a bitch in the SUV did to start the fight.

I guess I’ll have to content myself with the one bit of information that managed to slip through the media’s biased coverage of the incident, never to be reported on again: one of the bikers involved said the driver swerved into the bikers as they passed his SUV in the fast lane, hitting one motorcycle and causing its rider to crash, then speeding away, a classic hit & run. I’d have gone after him too.

——————–

If you read one thing about Harper Lee’s “new novel,” read this.

When I worked at the VA, I couldn’t help but notice that every elderly vet living on full disability had one or two unemployed adult children sponging off him. You can only imagine the kind of sponges an elderly, infirm, semi-senile author with a million-dollar-plus annual royalty income will attract. People are greedy and awful, and I’m not going to read the damn book.

——————–

What is so hard to understand about this?

President Barack Obama said Wednesday that he refuses to describe the Islamic State and al Qaeda as groups fueled by “radical Islam” because the term grants them a religious legitimacy they don’t deserve.

“They are not religious leaders; they are terrorists,” Obama said during remarks at a White House event on countering violent extremism. “We are not at war with Islam. We are at war with people who have perverted Islam.”

Obama said the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq, also known as ISIS or ISIL, is “desperate” to portray itself as a group of holy warriors defending Islam. It counts on that legitimacy, he said, to propagate the idea that Western countries are at war with Islam, which is how it recruits and radicalizes young people.

“We must never accept the premise that they put forward, because it is a lie,” he said.

Do people have any idea what declaring a holy war on Islam would mean? If the leader of the free world called ISIS “radical Islam,” he’d be condoning holy war against all of Islam, starting with the nearly 3 million Muslims living in the USA, then on to 1.6 billion Muslims worldwide.

Want to guess what the original Crusaders did while marching to the Holy Lands to kill Muslims? They stopped in several German cities to massacre Jews. But of course. Not only that, they dragged them out of the Christian churches where they had sought refuge. You can’t tell me today’s wanna-be Crusaders will turn out any better. Their ranks are already infested with racists and anti-Semites.

As far as I’m concerned, Fox News has crossed the line and is now shouting “Fire!” in a crowded theater. I’d pull their fucking FCC license.

——————–

The story of the Las Vegas mother who was gunned down in her own driveway by some road rage maniac with a gun turns out to be, well, rather different than first reported. What a surprise. I wonder how things might have turned out had neither of the belligerents had guns. If this confrontation had happened in Australia or the UK, that mother would still be alive (says the man who just mailed in his CCW permit renewal today). She’d still be an asshole, though.

——————–

I see the Oklahoma legislature is moving toward cutting state funding for advanced placement history classes in public high schools. This fits right in with the culture wars going on in other red states, where similar campaigns are underway to replace recorded history with the whitewashed version favored by uneducated, jingoistic America-Firsters.

My kids got a decent public school education. They learned about the scientific method, evolution, slavery, the Civil War, and the civil rights movement. All this will disappear from pubic schools in states where the forces of ignorance hold sway. So what do you do if you’re an Oklahoma mom, say, who wants her kids to get a real education, but can’t afford to send them to Groton or Exeter? What are the options? Do charter schools in red states offer a classic liberal education, plus college-credit AP classes for the strivers? I don’t know, but I sort of doubt it. How about parochial schools? If you don’t mind your children getting some religious instruction along the way — even if it’s not your religion — that might be an option. Of course even that is beyond the financial reach of many parents.

Home schooling? I know there are textbooks, lesson plans, and home-schooling curricula for conservative and fundamentalist parents, but what do you do if you want your kids to get a proper education? Few of us are qualified to provide such an education on our own, and where would we get the teaching materials and lesson plans? Do these things even exist?

You can always move your family to a blue state, I guess — if you have the resources to relocate and find a new job.

Damn, sheeple, just how far down are we going to let the stupids drag us before we start fighting back?

——————–

I’ll close today’s linkfest & commentary with two photos shamelessly stolen from this Wonkette entry. Count the Muslims!

Screen Shot 2015-02-19 at 12.55.06 PM

Screen Shot 2015-02-19 at 12.55.39 PM

Now you see why I want to wage holy war against the stupids!

© 2015, Paul Woodford. All rights reserved.

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4 comments to Thursday Bag o’ Links

  • Please forgive me while I bloviate for a few words. Granted, I am of that evil clan called conservatives, but I like to think that I’m a Harry Truman/Scoop Jackson Democrat who was mugged by reality. First, President Obama has it right about not wanting to grant the terrorists religious legitimacy. But here’s the problem, the Islamic radicals are a legitimate expression of Islam. More on this in a moment. Further, the term “Islamic radical” or “Islamic extremist” does not translate as a pejorative in Arabic. Also, the radicals recruit from the Islamic community (the proper term is Dar al-Islam), and they do this based on ideology, not economics nor nationalism.

    It is true that Islam has a peaceful side, which is also a legitimate expression of Islam. So why the dichotomy? It stems from the Islamic “Holy Books”, the Koran and the Hadith. There are numerous verses in the Koran that command the faithful to be both. The Hadith is another story, especially the second book, Sahih Muslim. Read it and there is no doubt as to the meaning of “jihad.”

    Now that gets me to the Crusades, also an ideologically based endeavor. The so-called, but ill fated “Childrens’ Crusade” is a good example of the role played by the Christian faith. To sum up the Crusades – a pox on both sides. But to assume there is a moral equivalency in today’s conflict because of the Crusades reveals a deep misunderstanding of historical process and change. Today’s Christianity is the product of the Reformation and the Enlightenment. You can argue that we haven’t got it right yet, but the Christianity of the 21st Century is not the Christianity of the 13th Century. If it was, you and I would not be having this conversation.

    However, Islam has not changed because the Koran forbids change. The reality of contemporary Islam, especially in the Middle East, is that it is incompetent in the world of material progress – it cannot provide for its own people. If Islam is to become a viable and peaceful ideology, it must undergo a process similar to the Reformation and Enlightenment in order to resolve the basic conflict between the violent and peaceful commands of the Koran and Hadith. Until that happens, we have conflict.

    The simple truth is that we are caught up in a war with certain factions of Dar al-Islam, who have declared jihad on the modern western world, whether we like it or not.

  • Dick, you still have guest posting privileges here, so bloviate all you want! I agree with what you say about Islam, but put yourself in Obama’s shoes. He’s put together a very fragile coalition of Muslim countries willing to fight ISIS. How long will Jordan and the UAE stick around if we condemn Islam? And I am not willing to dismiss the Crusades, because there is a strong fundamentalist tribal impulse in this country, waiting only for the right demagogue to come along and stir it to action. You are an intelligent, reasonable conservative, not motivated by resentment, spite, or tribalism. But a hell of a lot of your fellow cons are, and I have good reason to fear them.

  • Paul, just another thought. The strong fundamentalist tribal impulse you are witnessing exists in every culture, but it takes different expressions. It exists even in the most civilized of places, like the Netherlands. Personally, I think it is in our genes. One reason it is so obvious in the U.S. Is because we are such a freewheeling, open society. But if you can see them, you can deal with them. Given the ready availability of guns in our society, I would be more worried if they were off the radar scope. Also, I know a lot of conservatives, and every one of them, without exception, is law abiding, pays his or her taxes, and takes care of their family. Having said that, I know that there are a few out there who make an excellent case for retroactive abortion, or at least a round of rabies shots. For what it is worth, the only folks who ever shot at me were on the the far left politically: Cebu City in the Philippines, the Dominican Republic, the Congo, Mozambique, and Angola. I don’t include Vietnam, which was a different story.

  • I think racism, or more precisely fear of the other, is also in our genes, but as you and I know from our military experience, we can learn to change our behavior, and after a while some of the baser impulses wither away. The communist reference is intentional, since you seem to be equating progressives and liberals with communists. I think it is just remotely possible that liberals and leftists are law abiding citizens as well, and some even may pay taxes — I wouldn’t know; my millions are in the Caymans, in a bank recommended by a conservative CEO friend. Last point: our enemies in WWII could hardly be labeled far left, nor could the conservative fundamentalists who attacked us on 9/11. American kids are being shot at today by conservative fundamentalists in Afghanistan and Iraq.

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