Let’s Play…Global Strategic Realignment!

 

wargameUnlike the computer simulation in 1983′s “War Games,” this is a board game, a combination of Risk and Monopoly.  In Risk early and bold moves are essential.  A firm grasp of strategy wins every time; the dice won’t bail you out, unless you’re evenly matched.( I’ve lost every game of Risk I’ve ever played, so why should you read this?)The same is somewhat true with Monopoly, but a bad card early on can set you back hopelessly, or derail what looked to be a winning surge.
It’s pretty clear that the U.S. is distracted, or perhaps largely indifferent to what is going on around the globe.  That goes for the current administration; as to the country’s intelligence services, who knows?

pivot

This nifty 33 page Congressional Research Service position page turned out to e a waste of time as President Obama pivoted somewhere else.

Late in 2011, the Administration announced a strategic realignment, or an intensified focus (accounts vary) de-emphasizing the Middle East and looking to the Pacific. With China continuing to make ir-redentist territorial claims, and given the chronic instability in the Middle East, and its lack of economic significance outside the energy sector, this made a good deal of sense, especially with a background of rising gas and oil production in North America, and great potential elsewhere.

Buttressing such a strategic would require a strong naval and air presence in the region, and a commitment to maximize North American energy production. We’ve seen the opposite.  The indefinite Keystone  XL Pipeline delay, slow permitting for exploration on Federal lands, and crippling EPA regulations on the use of coal for power generation, it’s clear the Obama  Administration, at best, simply does not understand correlation, or worse, suffers from crippling cognitive dissonance. In what the New York Post calls “Obama’s Incredible Shrinking Pacific Pivot,” the President instead places his faith in adherence to international norms.

As to U.S. Naval strength. expert debates rage, and are beyond the non-specialist – this one, at least, but one does get the sense the U.S. is still more than capable. However, the administration seems to have given the Navy little attention, other than the installation of gender neutral heads, and arranging for some of  the fleet to be fueled on algae, at substantial cost.

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Like so many of Mr. Obama’s pivots, from jobs, to immigration, to gay whatever, and back again, the Pacific pivot in the end is reduced to no more than an interpretative dance move depicting a world that exists only in the CIC’s imagination.

Now, let’s game this.

senkaku

Some of the Senkaku Islands, near Taiwan, in the South China Sea. Picturesque, but it’s about oil and gas.

An administration distracted by midterm elections, border chaos, and perhaps new revelations in ongoing scandals, and fresh ones yet to surface, presents an opening to China, who grab the Spratlys, and if they are feeling particularly bold, the Senkakus.  With Japan moving to a more robust defense doctrine, and the weakest U.S. posture since before the Second World War there will never be a better chance.

Japan and China fight a short naval conflict, with both taking losses, but neither fully committing.  War with China is not an option for the Japanese, who retire with honor intact. VietNam and the Philippines  are chased from the Spratlys.

One of the man atolls in he Spratlys.  Claimed by pretty much everyone around the South China Sea, but china is the big dog

One of the many atolls in the Spratlys. Claimed by pretty much everyone around the South China Sea, but china is the big dog

The U.S. tut tuts like a worried grandmother surrounded by squabbling grandchildren, but it is apparent  American security promises are worthless.  India, which has been in a naval race with China, its navy, offers strategic guarantees to Southeast Asian nations, and acquires bases, with a forward position in the Philippines.  Australia, after initial reluctance, realizes it is far from any other allies, and joins India, in combined naval operations, and provides basing rights.

Does China then make its play for Taiwan?  Amphibious invasions are expensive, bloody, and highly risky affairs. Beijing strikes a deal with Taipei for autonomy within the PRC in return for withdrawal of U.S. forces from the island.

Japan builds a nuclear deterrent, and announces its deployment.  Tokyo abrogates the U.S. Japan security treaty and U. S. forces withdraw.

Where is Europe in all this?  Busy dealing with the rising chaos as migrants pour in, spurred by violence and disruption in the Middle East and Africa as world tensions and currency crises buffet already fragile economies. Nationalist governments rise in Britain, and in newer EU members from the former East Bloc.  Germany is happy to be Moscow’s banker as Russia and China form an entente cordiale.  The U.S. fades from the world scene, as two far lesser powers divide most of Eurasia and dominate its maritime periphery.

frigate

Indian Shivalik class Frigate

India waits, and is riven by dissension over the massive cost of its new hemispheric defense posture.

One of the man atolls in he Spratlys.  Claimed by pretty much everyone around the South China Sea, but china is the big dog

One of the many atolls in the Spratlys. Claimed by pretty much everyone around the South China Sea, but China is the big dog

Latin America continues to be Latin America, with weak institutions and unbalanced economies.  In the South, Brazil dominates, while to the North, the United States, Mexico and Central America are joined in a de facto Anschluss driven not by American power, but migration northwards. Canada realizes that its southern neighbor is lost, and plays itself between China and the Anglosphere as best it can.

In my scenario, China is the precipitating actor. One asks immediately, why would they do it? Are some small scraps of territory and national honor worth the enormous risk?  I have no idea what competing factions within the PRC, in both the party and the military, might militate for or against such aggressive action.

In the light of rational thought, it seems insane.  First it requires absolute confidence that the current administration in Washington would not meet its commitments; next, that the Chinese economy could weather the economic disruption sure to follow its action.  And, as Messrs Obama and Kerry indignantly point out, this is the 21st Century, as they protest Putin’s 20th Century moves in the Ukraine.  Meanwhile, ISIS has has gone all 19th Century in setting up their Islamic state,  and different to the Sudan back then, there is no Kitchener to set things right; not even a Gordon, for that matter.

As we approach the centenary of the Guns of August, it is wise to reflect on how often before, leaders have miscalculated, and to recall the catastrophes that followed.

Now, play the game yourself!

Your wild cards are: Pakistan, Iran, and North Korea.

Between Iraq and a Hard Place: In Which I Bail the President Out From His Bad Middle East Optics

ISIS-truck-convoy-Anbar-Province

ISIS column in Anbar Province, Iraq.

After an early enthusiasm for the Viet Nam war, other than Grenada, I have not supported any American intervention overseas in my lifetime. So for once, I find myself in agreement with the 44th president.

Mr. Obama has some bad optics with the ISIS assault in Iraq. Sure, it wasn’t his war, but his Vice President did say this in 2010:

(Iraq )”could be one of the great achievements of this administration. You’re going to see 90,000 American troops come marching home by the end of the summer. You’re going to see a stable government in Iraq that is actually moving toward a representative government.”

The rout of the Baghdad government from large parts of the country looks bad, and calling it Bush’s war will resonate with the faithful, but others are a bit jaded with the” Bush did it” excuse six years in.. No matter who may be seen to “own” Iraq politically, the ISIS advances represent at the very least, a massive intelligence failure – or perhaps failure to act on intelligence. Coming so soon after the Crimea takeover, it just looks like crap.

As senator, Obama did not vote for Iraq, and rather than his frequent custom of listing himself “present,” voted against it. Others in his party cannot say the same. Mrs. Clinton was in, and both her husband and his VP, Al Gore, are on record long before the war, pointing to the danger posed by Saddam. Many other Democrats joined in the war vote, including the current Secretary of State, John Kerry.

nissan

Shiite militia parade, Baghdad, June 20, 2014. Despite the Nissan in the lead, from the headlights, it looks like Toyota has the conflict sewed up,truck-wise.

So how can Mr. Obama clear up his Iraq optics?

Embrace the Iraq war, and then kiss it goodbye.

Here, Barrack, let me show you how to do it.

“Good evening.

My fellow Americans, I am asking for your time this evening to speak on the recent and ongoing events in Iraq. This country has cast a long shadow on American politics and foreign policy, across administrations and parties, long before I became President.

Mehdi Army Women loyal to Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr march during a parade in Najaf

These Shia ladies are on our side, sort of.  In Syria and Lebanon, their veiled sisters are on the other side. Got it?  I don’t. Did American really think it could handle this place?  What were we thinking?

It is no secret that I voted against the Iraq War as Senator and ran against it when I first campaigned for the office of President. I promised an end to ur role in the conflict, and I kept that promise. As President I have learned much, and I have come to know this about America’s role in Iraq.

The men and women, in both parties, who voted for, and worked towards the ouster of Saddam, l believe, especially in view of Iraq’s present agony, were wrong.

But they were not, and are not, selfish or evil. There was no war for oil. Those who supported the war policy had two things in mind:

The national security of the United States, and, along with a hatred of Saddam’s tyranny, a sincere wish that Iraq be stable and free, and in time, lead the region out of its sad history of conflict and deprivation.

They should not be vilified for misplaced hope.

I, they, and all Americans honor the courage and sacrifice of the many thousands of our forces who served, died, and were maimed in Iraq. We also recognize the contributions of our civilians there, the diplomats, engineers and technicians, doctors and nurses, educators, and the whole range of specialists who worked to bring Iraq back from ruin.

In 2010, when we finally withdrew our forces it seemed we had succeeded.

That we have not is not the fault of any administration. America expended massive amounts of her treasure and expertise, and above all, the precious lives of our best and brightest young people, to give the Iraqi people a chance at a future of freedom and progress.

We are deeply saddened that ancient hatreds should make this unlikely for the foreseeable future.

But we have done enough, and can do no more. Nor would we if we could.

Self reliance is a core American value. While we cannot instill such a value where it is not, we understand that it must exist for any nation to succeed.

Therefore, while I will take such action as may be necessary to our immediate security needs, and may provide assistance where it can be used efficiently and honestly, the United States under my administration will not intervene in Iraq. Our time in Afghanistan is also coming to an end, and I hope profoundly hope that our friends there will look to Iraq and resolve to do better.

That so grand an undertaking has failed is a tragedy, but I urge you all tonight and in the days to come, to look back upon this chapter in our history as one of many times when America has given much, in return for little.

God Bless America

God bless our veterans

Thank you, and good night.”

 

C’mon, Mr. President. I guarantee you a 5% overnight bounce in the polls.

But for Barrack Obama to make such a statement would require both humility and magnanimity, two qualities in which he is signally lacking.

Not a chance.

 

 

2016 U.S. Presidential Election: Restoration or New Royalty?

It’s not too early to talk about the U.S. 2016 Presidential Election.  Most everyone else is, so I will too.

Back in September, 2011, I wrote a generally optimistic post on the role of race in the approaching election. While race was a factor in the near unanimous black turnout for the President, it was little apparent in the course of the campaign.

2016 will be different.

I don’t like commenting on race.

This is not because I am a coward, as Attorney General Holder so designated his fellow citizens in 2009 for not openly discussing race; something the Obama administration has never ceased doing.

Rather, I find it depressing, and even distressing that so many years after the great struggles of the Civil Rights Era, the issue should still exist at all, let alone have become as prominent as it has since the ascendance of President Obama.

He sees everything through the prism of race, as does his wife, and they are not shy about encouraging others to do the same. The President of course, has no inheritance from those Africans brought to the Americas in bondage, whose descendants constitute the majority of Black Americans, but by virtue of his pigmentation may lay claim to that sad, and, proud, history.

Racists seeing  an African looking man will not stop to question his ancestry, but Mr. Obama has no history of having been harassed or held back for his color. Rather, in his autobiographical composition, “Dreams of My Father” his palpable resentment is based on what he imagines to be in the minds of others.  The President’s time is winding down, and one would hope that the racially charged atmosphere he has fostered would also decline following his exit, but I think not.

Race will, I believe, be central to 2016. How can it, one might ask, without Mr. Obama on the ticket? All the signs are here. Social and broadcast media reverberate unceasingly with the racial outrage du jour. The 2012 coalition of blacks, Hispanics, Asians, young people, singe college educated women, union members, Gays, environmentalists, and other odds and ends I mayhave forgotten, is fragile and its segments have little in common. Turning out the 90plus per cent black Democrat vote will be critical.

There will be another black person on the Democrat ticket, perhaps heading it. The President may endorse Hillary Clinton but will damn her with faint praise. The fever pitch of racial hysteria seen in a seamless line up of “racist scandals,” such as remarks by Donald Sterling and Mark Cuban ,the asinine tweets of MSNBC’s Toure, and renewed rumblings on reparations for slavery and Jim Crow serve as efforts not only to excuse the President’s sorry record, but to push a zeitgeist where American racists hide everywhere in plain sight, and those who don’t care to join the hunt are best advised to lie low. America must then once again prove its bona fides by electing a black chief executive.

Mrs. Clinton is weakening. Benghazi continues to drip away and the high decibel deflecting by Democrats shows that it is beginning to tell. Republicans can be relied on the fudge the most perfect opportunities to do in an opponent, but this story is finally developing tiny legs of its own. The State Department’s failure on her watch to tag Boko Haram as terrorist, has been noted, Libya is in turmoil, and the Russian reset is a joke. The former First Lady herself cannot name her accomplishments. Foreign policy, as we saw in 2012, isn’t a big deal, especially when the Republicans are so timid and have sins of their own.  The problem for Hillary, however, is that foreign policy is all she has, and her work there is best forgotten.

hillary2007New Hampshire

Mrs. Clinton on the campaign trail, 2007 in New Hampshire. Over 60, the wrinkles accelerate. I know.

And, she looks terrible.

grandma-warren1-505x569

This speaks both to Ms Warren’s age, which after Reagan and McCain, is fair game – and her tenuous 1/32 (Not really) Native American ancestry.

So who does this leave? Elizabeth Warren? Her media supporters managed to keep the “Fauxcahontas” story from getting much further than Massachusetts, and Massachusetts is, after all, Massachusetts, but putting aside her extreme redistributionist ideas, she could not survive the mockery nationally.

Both Clinton and Warren are old.

And where did Barrack Hussein Obama come from anyway, other than left field? There is no reason someone could not challenge inevitable Hillary, and it is far from a foregone conclusion that she will run at all. My front runners are Corr Booker and Deval Patrick.

Mr. Patrick, in his second term as governor of Massachusetts, has stated he will not seek reelection. Like the President, he graduated from Harvard Law School. The black population of the State is around 7.9%, well below the national average of 13.1%, which indicates his viability with a largely white electorate. The governor has said he will not be a candidate 2016, but things change. Black, or any color or ethnicity, Patrick is a reasonable candidate.

Cory Booker, former Mayor of Newark, where he was famed for superman-like exploits, even rescuing someone from a burning building, is only in his first term as junior Senator from New Jersey, but not fulfilling a first term wasn’t in the end held against President Obama.  Now that we’ve elected a first term senator, and as conservatives swoon for first-termers  Rand Paul and Ted Cruz, Booker can’t be faulted for inexperience.  .

Thus, there are two black men who can meet both the Party’s and the President’s needs.  Obama identifies as black, but he cares nothing for black people.  There hasn’t been so much as a Beer Summit to address persistently higher unemployment among blacks compared to the general population. The Selfie- in-Chief loves only himself. So why would he care much who came after? The President dislikes white people as a class.  He has no reason to, as they have always done well by him, but he doesn’t need one. While he has the lack of self awareness of a narcissistic sociopath, he is not entirely divorced from reality, and is, I think, driven to rage when he contemplates his in-authenticity. His narcissism means he doesn’t really care who succeeds him, but since he can’t succeed himself, he’d prefer someone black, who would, in that respect, mirror him. He would rather a black run, and lose, than he be followed by a white.

Thus, I am convinced that the next Democrat national ticket will have a black person, on it, and quite possible at its head. The only question is which one. I’ve mentioned two, but there is always the wild card.

vogue-cover-michelle-obama2

Indeed, Mrs Obama has had a worldwide impact. This photo is from a daily in Tabasco, Mexico.

 

When you’ve stopped laughing consider how many have wished that Mr. Obama could have a third term, and have called for an end to the 22nd amendment.

Impossible, you say? In a nation with persistent joblessness and endemic underemployment, inner city war zones, humiliations abroad, the focus as I write on social media is on the Kim and Kanye wedding. Mr. Obama has been called by many the “Kardashian” president, but Michelle would be the true Kardashian candidate, without any experience or accomplishment, her being who she is qualification enough. Her campaign might dip into the TMZ stable for media management. The First Lady has long been a prominent figure on our electronic agora, that is to say The View and late night talk shows.  Now, she’s getting involved in political matters.  Pre-positioning?

This possibility is not at all outlandish in a nation where a large portion of the political class and the electorate that follows them, find something profound in this:boss

Mr. Obama’s successful campaigns have demolished any lingering idea of a necessity for qualifications, and the dynastic aspect of a wife succeeding a husband is not troubling at all to substantial numbers of voters. Consider that the term ”Clinton Restoration,” with its echoes of the Stuarts, is used quite seriously. Kennedy worship has never ceased, despite succeeding generations have shown the intelligence and talent of the latter Hapsburgs, the longest serving of them so far that murderous free diving Falstaff from Massachusetts who, after decades in the Senate reached apotheosis as the ”Lion of the Senate” before his final departure. Two Bushes, and talk of another. Pop and Kid Paul.  ,  and .  If you like Ben Carson, why shouldn’t someone like Michelle?

Then there is the gormless mania for British Royalty when they marry, give birth, or travel across the water to show us their funny hats. Perhaps we do want a king, and in the post feminist era, why not a queen? Why shouldn’t Michelle be a black Lurleen Wallace? And she could be far more than that. The infantilized electorate is ready for a Populist Madonna a la Eva Peron. Mrs. Obama has spent a great deal of time telling us to eat our vegetables. From First Lady to First Mother of the Nation is a logical step.

Historic first black president followed by historic first black female president. Rather than being seen as absurdity, this would be celebrated. Oppose it, and you are not only racist, but sexist. Talk about twofers!

Jabringing? Hope So, Because I’m Not: “White Privilege” in Debate

“College Wins US Debate Championship By Repeating the N-Word Over and Over, Speaking Incomprehensibly”

This particular bit of progressive nonsense was brought to my attention by WeaselZipppers, a right blog that can be counted on to put forth the most egregious outrages of Progressives, Leftists, Democrats, Islam, and the Obama administration
I enjoy agenda sites, but check things out. Here, Zippers links to a site called Pundit  Press, which has further links to an Atlantic story with this headline and sub header:

Hacking Traditional College Debate’s White-Privilege Problem

“Minority participants aren’t just debating resolutions—they’re challenging the terms of the debate itself.”

Speaking truth to power or something.

Debate-Team

The Tyson winners

“On March 24, 2014 at the Cross Examination Debate Association (CEDA) Championships at Indiana University, two Towson University students, Ameena Ruffin and Korey Johnson, became the first African-American women to win a national college debate tournament, for which the resolution asked whether the U.S. president’s war powers should be restricted. Rather than address the resolution straight on, Ruffin and Johnson, along with other teams of African-Americans, attacked its premise. The more pressing issue, they argued, is how the U.S. government is at war with poor black communities.”

  .

It appears that the Atlantic writer has no experience in debate, or training in rhetoric. “Premise” Is defined as “a previous statement or proposition from which another is inferred or follows as a conclusion.”

No conclusions or inferences were made. The Towson students simply changed the subject. The proceedings then went in an unusual direction:

“Over four hours, the two teams engaged in a heated discussion of concepts like “nigga authenticity” and performed hip-hop and spoken-word poetry in the traditional timed format. At one point during Lee’s rebuttal, the clock ran out but he refused to yield the floor. “Fuck the time!””

“Fuck the time!”

I rather like that. Good song title or t-shirt meme.

The Atlantic is somewhat reticent in describing the flavor of the debaters’ language and thrust of their rhetoric. Pundit Press is more forthcoming and offers some transcription. The transcription is accurate as far as it would be possible to transcribe this kind of speech, if such it is.   (A short video link here, and the entire session, here)

“Uh, man’s sole “jabringing” object disfigure religion trauma and nubs, uh, the, inside the trauma of representation that turns into the black child devouring and identifying with the stories and into the white culture brought up, uh, de de de de de, dink, and add subjectively like a white man, the black man!”

I’m stumped by “jabringing” as the only search result leads back to this article.

A “ jabring” is apparently a breed of cat and maybe a word in Swedish.

And this:

“When the n*****, uh, sees these pains and suffering that he can only, uh, envision himself that he, uh, does not see another n***** that he, uh, can feel sympathy for or embrace, but rather, uh, that, a-bluh, that that otherness gets obliterated.”

I thought I could follow this, but came up short.  ”Otherness” is bad,we’re often told, so the speaker should be happy that it is obliterated, but the tone indicates otherwise. Perhaps an undigested bit of Edward Said in an otherwise unidentifiable spew. The passage is not coherent enough to be termed a rant.

As one would expect, comments express outrage at falling, or non-existent standards, ghetto trash talk and the Third Worldization of America,

As for me, I’m not so hard on these kids.

I get what they are doing. I was a high school debater, eventually captain of the team.

And I was crap.

We had intramural debates, and those we called “Oxford Style” full on snark, sarcasm, vilification of opponents, a lot of humorous nastiness, with the audience awarding victory. I did quite well at those. It was basically verbal bullying, elevated above the playground variety by elegant terms of phrase, but just as vicious.

Interscholastic debating, under the aegis of the association to which we belonged, went on throughout the year on a single topic. A thick briefing book was issued and participants were enjoined to learn the basics, and go on to their own research.

debate

Me getting my ass handed to me at a regional debate, University of New Hampshire, 1965

I never did because I was bone idle, and my crew was a similar bunch of no accounts, whom I made no effort to whip into shape. So, while we often got high marks for delivery, we were marked down for everything else.

Now, we had well developed vocabularies and rhetorical technique, and even some degree of oracular artistry, but our basic skill was the same as that deployed by these Towson kids:

Bullshit

The difference was, of course, that we were not rewarded for it. Not only did we bring home no trophies, but the headmaster made sure I was left out of the yearbook picture.

Some comments express concern for the debaters, in that these synthetic accolades set them up for failure in later life. I’m not so sure in their particular cases. The articles give no information on their fields of study, but even if their degrees are insubstantial, their notoriety should help, and I expect places will be found for hem in government, NGOs, or even progressively oriented corporations.

One has to remember that these young people are outstanding in their milieu. Those who are not, but whose education reflects the same kind of standard, will not have much to recommend them. This is one more example of the endless bigotry of low expectations, and the accommodation, and even celebration, of a culture that does not respect learning. Any who aspire to emulate the Towson debaters may have gone to college, but they are in the same trap as are others who eschew schooling to become rappers or athletes.

Not everyone can; most cannot.

The Atlantic quotes academics finding nothing wrong in all this, and who, indeed, celebrate it. These are the real villains of the piece. They have their tenure, but those schooled under their ideas will be lucky to have any kind of job.

In the end, these kids are right. There are white people keeping them down,

Still Straight: Always Was, Even When I Wasn’t

Language changes, and the rate of change has been accelerating ever since the invention of print.

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Home from College: Parental Grooming Rules in Effect

I’m old enough to remember people, even older, saying things like “We had a gay old time,” without any raised eyebrows or eye rolling, , although there may have been someone in the background stifling a giggle even then.

When I joined the YMCA, at about age nine, it still had nude swimming. My Dad warned me to be on the lookout for “queers.” Somehow, I knew what he was talking about although I don’t remember when anyone told me exactly that that meant. Part of the free floating zeitgeist of scary childhood things.

When I lived in San Francisco in the 70s, the straight-gay dichotomy was widely understood, with some of the more militant using the word “breeders” for those who tended to PIV sex. Having sex with women was something I was very much in favor of, and had been from the first time I heard of it, although I didn’t get the connection with reproduction until a bit later.

So, in the late 60s I chose to be not straight, and the hope of bonking women was a major factor in the move.

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No long Hippie hair. Just what was known as a “Jewish ‘Fro.” I’m Irish

How so?

It may be that the term straight for heterosexual was already current in the time, but among hippies, and various adherents of the counter culture, including hangers on like me, it meant what the Beatniks had called “square.” Those of us who were emphatically not straight called ourselves “heads, as in “Feed your head(with mind-altering substances)” in Jefferson Airplane’s “Go Ask Alice.”   This signifier meant a person likely smoked weed, and maybe did some more interesting chemicals as well, but only psychedelics. Opiates and speed were anathema. It also indicated a general political outlook: anti-Vietnam War, interested in peace initiatives of all sorts, and partial to social legislation that wouldn’t cost us any money, largely because we didn’t have any. Marxism, however, was beyond this pale. Guys quoting Karl and his acolytes and telling us that our partying was counterrevolutionary weren’t heads; they were just crashing bores.

The political side for most was rather marginal. “ Sex, Drugs and Rock n’ Roll.” And sex meant hippie chicks. Their glorious tresses, fresh and unmade up faces, halter tops and tight jeans adorned the happenings, protests, and concerts that were nearly unending, a seamless time of, um, stimulation, for young males.

Well, I read “Rolling Stone, fooled around with stuff that the FDA did not approve, saw Cream, Hendrix and Zeppelin, but hippie chicks…didn’t happen for me.

hippie chick

Woodstock. You didn’t have to go to Woodstock to find hippie chicks. h/t: http://iwishicouldblank.blogspot.com/2009/09/i-wish-i-could-have-gone-to-woodstock.html

Back then, straights didn’t enjoy altered consciousness, and quite a few got married before they had sex, or married the girls they had sex with, worked, saved, bought stuff, and had children. Hitchhiking, sometimes you’d be picked up by some poor slob of a straight hoping you had a joint, and who would assure you that he really was a head. And, at times the transaction went the other way.

I wish I could apologize to all those straights I snickered at because, as was inevitable, for me, at any rate, I did cut my hair, work, buy suits, save, marry and have children. And quite liked it.

So, I was straight, both ways, all along.

In view of the current furor of same sex marriage, or marriage equality, one could also say that a lot of gays, too are straight.

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Gay Pride Parade, San Francisco, 1973. Seems modeled on a Homecoming Parade. Pretty Straight, eh?

 

 

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Who is a “Climate Scientist?” Maybe You Are.

nasa

Michael Crichton: “Let’s be clear: the work of science has nothing whatever to do with consensus. Consensus is the business of politics. Science, on the contrary, requires only one investigator who happens to be right, which means that he or she has results that are verifiable by reference to the real world. In science consensus is irrelevant. What is relevant is reproducible results. The greatest scientists in history are great precisely because they broke with the consensus. There is no such thing as consensus science. If it’s consensus, it isn’t science. If it’s science, it isn’t consensus. Period.”

Whether Climate Change (nee Global Warming) is  as serious a problem as scientific, academic, governmental  and media elites tell us, is open to debate in my view, so I guess that makes me a “denier.”

The term “denialist,” with its subliminal echo of Peter turning his back on Jesus, is clever, but typical of the triumphalist crowing that is standard in AGW (Anthropogenic  global warming) proponents’ appeals to the larger public.

The framing of these appeals ranges from rude bullying, adolescent snark, to arrant silliness.  The physical sciences relevant to the study of climate change are not only beyond me, but beyond the mastery of any one person, but the tone of a message is a clue to the veracity of its originators.

“Consensus” and “the Science is settled” sound aimed to stifle dissent.

A case in point is this page from NASA, headlined “Consensus: 97% of climate scientists agree.”  So do nine out of ten dentists, according to Crest..

How is the casual reader is to determine the truth of this statement?  Most will simply accept it.   This is NASA, after all, the organization that led the Moon missions, and continues to expand planetary and cosmological knowledge.  It is, however,  also an agency past its glory days and hardly immune from unscientific posturing as a result of political pressure, as in its 2010 outreach to Muslims.

The consensus assertion is footnoted to three journal articles, Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, Eos Transactions American Geophysical Union Vol. and Science, 2010, 200, 2004, respectively.

The remaining 14 footnotes are policy assertions from various organizations including the IPCC.

The question that hit me immediately upon viewing this page was:  what is a “Climate Scientist?”  I was puzzled to see geologists and medical doctors being cited as such. I suppose geologists might be concerned with core samplings and such, but how did the doctors become climate scientists?  Extension courses?

As I looked over  the PNAS article,the question was quickly answered::

“This result (97 percent consensus closely agrees with expert surveys, indicating that ≈97% of self-identified (Bold italics mine) actively publishing climate scientists.”

That was enough for me. I went on to read the references at the end of the article.  While the greatest number were from Scientometrics, and are concerned with methodology in citation analysis, there are also those that lead one to suspect we are not dealing with entirely disinterested science.

(2000) Challenging global warming as a social problem: An analysis of the conservative movement’s counter-claims. Soc Probl 47:499–522

 The mission statement of Social Problems, from its inaugural issue states that the journal “…will devote itself to original research, whether empirical or theoretical, which brings fresh light to bear on the concepts, processes and consequences of modern science. It will be interdisciplinary in the sense that it will encourage appropriate contributions from political science, sociology, economics, history, philosophy, social anthropology, and the legal and educational disciplines.”

I don’t see anything to do with “modern science” there.  None of the disciplines mentioned would require even high school physics or chemistry.

And:

(2008) The organisation of denial: Conservative think tanks and environmental scepticism. Env Polit 17:349–385.

 A quick look at the free online sample of Environmental Politics will show that rather than science, politics – and environmentalist politics in particular – is exactly what it is about.

And:

(2003) Defeating Kyoto: The conservative movement’s impact on US climate change policy. Soc Probl 50:348–373.

Those evil conservatives!

And then, there is this;

(2006) Science studies, climate change and the prospects for constructivist critique. Econ Soc 35:453–479.

Reminds me of the excruciatingly dull and largely content-free literary criticism I endured in grad school.

Further:

 (2009) Featuring skeptics in news media stories about global warming reduces public beliefs in the seriousness of global warming (Woods Institute for the Environment, Stanford University, Technical Paper), Available at http://woods.stanford.edu/research/global-warming-skeptics.html.

A technical paper?  Seriously?  Show me the math!  If AGW skeptics are featured anywhere save Fox(rarely) and Glen Beck, I missed it.

In addition to the risible assertion that one hundred per cent of climate scientists, whoever and whatever they may be have chimed in on AGW, neither the study nor the NASA page address the real issue which how devastating “experts” think this climate change will be, and how strong their support is for prevention and/or mitigation  measures, not to mention what and how extreme  such measures should be, or what they should be.

Climate Change/AGW may stem from science but as presented to the public it is all about politics, and the politics spread through both the mass media and obscure journals that almost no one will read form a positive feedback loop through peer approbation and shaming of outsiders with differing opinions.

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Drowning polar bears? Not these. But Al Gore is drowning in loot. He finally coughed up a license for the pic. http://www.abc.net.au/mediawatch/transcripts/s1887890.htm

I would no sooner leave the fate of our economies and, ultimately, our civilization to members of this unelected and self described scientific elite than I would to a curia of priests.

The Obamas’ Not So Excellent African Adventure

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The Obamas arrive in South Africa

President Obama’s recent trip to Africa drew some criticism for its estimated  60-100 million dollar cost. In addition to his wife and daughters, his mother-in-law and a cousin were in tow. Much of the costs are guess-work as security operations are classified. Overall,there is a case for the president as a big spender, but this trip is more or less in  line with what has gone before.

US presidents go to Africa. The president went briefly to Ghana  in 2009. Mr Bush went twice, and as ex-President has been a number of times, and was on the continent while Mr Obama was traveling there this time. President Clinton took a one week trip in 1998. Jimmy Carter was the first American President to visit Sub Saharan Africa. While Presidents Reagan and H.W. Bush did not follow on Mr Carter’ s trailblazing, it now appears to be de rigueur for American presidents to take an African trip.

The question is, why? With it its resources and unstable governments, the continent was a cockpit during the cold war, but left to development and intelligence types. The US has no strategic alliances with any black African nation, and while the establishment of the Africom (Established in 2006 under the Bush Administration) command may presage a future struggle, it would be hard now to find any compelling national interest in Africa. Wars may rage and populations flee, but the brutal fact is that ii matters little in current geo-strategic terms, and not at all to ordinary citizens.

So why do our leaders go there?

First, it’s fun. The reception there seems heartfelt, and it’s hard to find anyone getting the treatment Nixon once did in South America.

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Cute kids, colorful local dress

There were a few demonstrators out in South Africa, but Mr. Obama was generally received enthusiastically, and courteously. African kids are just too cute, and that makes for great visuals. The music, dancing and colorful dress must provide a real boost, particularly when things are not going so well Stateside.

Then, being from the government, and leaders, our Presidents want to help, and do stuff. Every African trip results in some sort of “initiative” with a few billion dropped off to keep the local rulers in gold braid and the foreign NGOs in SUVs and Macs.

OBAMADANCE

The LA Times noted the proclivity of American leaders to dance when introduced to African rhythms. The President refrained, they say, but he’s either jogging or getting with the beat. Messrs Carter and Clinton kept their feet firmly on the ground, But Mr. Bush and Mrs. Clinton get their groves on whenever they are in the region.
   The VOA, Hurriyet, the Tanzanian press, and other displaying this image all lead with news of a new ‘initiative.”

That all such help seems to have had no effect at all is lost on these guys, regardless of party. There is a bland well-meaning and quite unself-conscious condescension in all this.

Really, what on earth can people who live in a taxpayer-funded mansion, travel in a luxury jet, and who move with great ease through a continent were many are lucky to find an over crowded bus on an appalling road. If there are roads at all. The Obamas did as well as any of their predecessors in displaying a tin ear as they dispensed platitudes in the course of their progress.

In Senegal, the First lady engaged with students at a girls’ school. It is customary for politicians to “relate” to their constituents. Just a regular Joe.  Mrs Obama deployed this technique when she said:

I know a little bit about this{the students’ struggles and adversities} from my

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Heartfelt reception: First Lady at girls’ school in Senegal

own experience.  See, like many of you, I didn’t grow up in a family with a lot of money.  My parents had to work hard every day to support us, so they never had the chance to get the kind of education they wanted for themselves.  But they had big dreams for me.  And more than anything in the world, they wanted me to graduate from secondary school and attend a university.  So they, too, made tremendous sacrifices to make that dream come true.”

Michelle-ObamaHouse07

             The First Lady’s childhood home.

The President’s wife has been poor mouthing this way since at least her time in Princeton, as  her thesis demonstrates. Her father had a secure city government job that provided adequately for his family. Working hard every day to support a family is a situation millions would wish for. Michelle Obama has always had a warm bed, food on the table, decent clothing and, beginning not long after her graduation from Princeton, considerably more.

It is grating enough for public figures who have never suffered want, and who have done extremely well, to pretend to a history of deprivation so as to make themselves seem authentic, but it is downright embarrassing to have such people wallow in this petty whining abroad in a far less fortunate corner of the earth, in the faces of some who have known, and are still engaged in real struggle. One wonders what the young ladies thought. The First Lady at least was attempting to encourage her audience. Her husband was distinctly discouraging, although one doubts he would see it this way.

Ultimately, if you think about all the youth that everybody has mentioned here in Africa, if everybody is raising living standards to the point where everybody has got a car and everybody has got air conditioning, and everybody has got a big house, well, the planet will boil over — unless we find new ways of producing energy.

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             Boiled planet

I took this quote from Media Matters, which was incensed that these remarks would be seen as condescending and demanding. They point out that the president spoke in the larger context of aiding Africa in benefiting from the advances he sees as necessary to prevent the continents from melting and the seas vaporizing.

This could exonerate the President only in the eyes of those who are thoroughly committed to the green agenda. The “new ways of producing energy” are not rolling out next week, so the essence of the President’s admonition is that Africa( and the world’s poor) must wait.

Why should they?

One wonders if any of the young African audience were science majors. The most ardent anthropogenic global warming seers do not posit a burning planet. Climate scientists are in fact revising their forecasts downward. Mr. Obama has perhaps been too busy with one thing or another to have heard about this.  Wherever one stands on the climate issue, the President in this instance sounds like an arrogant fool.

There is nothing wrong, in my view, with privilege. We should all aspire to it. Too often, however, the privileged are not only blind to their own advantages, but rather mean when it comes to extending them to others.

The kindest thing world leaders such as Mr Obama could do for Africa would be to simply stay away. And the same could be said for the “initiatives” they scatter like party favors.

A public figure long associated with Africa related causes, who has learned a little something about condescending to Africa, is Bono of U2, who last year said in regards to development in Africa:

Job creators and innovators are just the key, and aid is just a bridge,” he told an audience of 200 leading technology entrepreneurs and investors at the F.ounders tech conference in Dublin. “We see it as startup money, investment in new countries. A humbling thing was to learn the role of commerce.”

Humility in regards to Africa is not something we can expect from Western leaders. It just feels too good to spread money and good cheer in places where men and women survive, live, and sometimes, yes, thrive, in conditions the President, you, or I, cannot comprehend and could not last out a day.

The Romans had  saying “Semper Aliquid Novo ex Africam.”  “There is always something new coming out of Africa”.  While it is a continent of wonders, for too long the news has been monotonously dismal.  This has changed.  Unevenly, not fast enough perhaps, but still, incomes in Africa after decades of stagnation and decline, are rising.  Not “initiatives,” but Africans themselves are bringing this about.

Thus it behooves us to take something new to Africa.

Respect.

//

Does One Voice Matter?

It does.

To me.

And that’s enough.

As did many observers,after the 2012 U.S. Presidential election, I felt a sense of great futility.

A president with one of the worst economic records in history, a clearly failing foreign policy, a man of no managerial or administrative skills whatsoever, had been reelected on the basis of “coolness.” Familiarity with rap and basketball, ease in the talk show guest chair and near universal adulation as a great husband and fine father were the qualities judged by a plurality essential to leading to a country of 300 plus million.

Then there was his hapless opponent, and the stumble bum Republican campaign, which, while ably and precisely aided on its disastrous course by Obama For America, would have buried Mr. Romney all on its own. With of course, plenty of assists from a phalanx of media fellatrices.

Another four years of policy based on feelings, which sounds silly and insubstantial, but is all the more dangerous for its inchoate millenarian utopian longings manifested in multiculturalism, politically correct nostrums rooted in Stalinism, all backed by the coercive power of the sate, shown only occasionally with guns, more oftenly cloaked in a phantasmagoria of regulations and impenetrable law. Lawlessness is shrugged off with a giggle or a sneer, as the opposition party has the vapors and clutches its pearls.

Across the conservative threads(libertarians were largely cheering what they see as the coming conflagration, there were repression of weary defeat, and a strange sense of relief: If it’s all over, one no longer needs to care, as often expressed in the comment threads:.

It’s over

Fuck it.

Let it burn.

And my favorite:

Burn it down

Scatter the stones

Salt the earth where it stood.

So I quit blogging, restricting my writing to outraged, or cynical tweets, far easier to do while surfing the net, reading, watching TV or doing all three.

I mean, why bother?

Yet, over these last months things, some small and obscure, some momentous and widely known lead me to believe that it is not all over. The tide of infantile leftism has not washed away everything.

While Europe and the U.S. may be turning on the economic system that made them havens where humanity is safest, richest, healthiest, and happiest, much of the rest of the world – with the exceptions of some foolishly misguided regimes in Lain America, and of course, the Middle East – even large parts of Africa, are emerging from the poverty and oppression that has been the lot of most since humans first formed governments.

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I admit to only skimming this 2000 page plus behemoth back in the 70s.

The Malthusian misery that experts saw as Asia’s inescapable fate turned out entirely wrong. Gunnar Myrdal’s Asian Diilemma of burgeoning populations and scarce resources gives way to an Asian dilemma as how best to supply the goods, services and opportunities the continents’ new middle classes demand.

While Mr Obama, fresh off diversionary feints on immigration and gun control, turns to “Climate Change,” that issue has nearly dropped out of public consciousness, as the defects in it proponents” arguments become more and more clear as they themselves cannot explain the failure of their models.

Even as, in the wakes of the Boston bombing, and the Woolich beheading, governments and media rush to assure us that these atrocities have nothing to do with Islam, public disapproval of Islam rises.

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Evil White racists just didn’t bring out the fans.

While much of American made television and film is filled with endless anti-male, anti – christian, and, dare I say it anti white –sentiments(See “White House down.” Better yet, don’t) some science fiction seems to feel freer to express sentiments not acceptable in mainstream Hollywood drama or comedy, and go beyond the Left Coast’s pet hates to address issues and ideas of real substance. Resistance to big government and constitutional legitimacy are common themes(More on this topic here).

There is of course schadenfreude in Mr. Obama’s current travails. To those who have shifted their views to give him approval ratings that would have sunk him in the election, it’s” We told you so ” time. The president’s Olympian distance( some call it cluelessness), and the dodge and weave tactics of his operators have held back the deluge so far, and while wouldn’t bet on a “Downfall” scenario, irrelevance, however, is quite possible, and more than enough.

Better yet, while the Presidents approval remains in the mid to high forties, an indicator of the truth in Romney’s 47pct remarks, there is a growing sense that something is amiss. In the “Wizard of Oz it was a diminutive nobody pulling the levers powering the illusion. Now, many have the queasysy feeling that there is no one at all behind the curtain.

Republicans can be counted on to cringe at exactly right moment, and decades of of indoctrination and propaganda from left dominated institutions will not be undone by a scattered and not yet self conscious opposition, but it may be – yes ,I understand my weaselly use of the conditional here – that a second term for Mr. Obama, even with all its costs in money and institutional damage, is what is necessary to once again discredit leftism at a time when growing numbers are not old enough to remember its previous failures.

Stay tuned.

Televison Science Fiction Speaks Truth to Power

That is, truth in the face of  Hollywood tired left orthodoxy.he

While much of American made television and film is filled with endless anti-male, anti – christian, and, dare I say it anti white –sentiments(See “White House down.” Better yet, don’t) Science fiction seems to feel freer to express sentiments not acceptable in mainstream Hollywood drama or comedy.

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Misfits stay one step ahead of a Government that only wants to help.

2002′s  “Firefly”  was a space opera western in which liberty living losers in a war against an all powerful “Alliance” roam the fringes of humanity’s new home in another galaxy. The Alliance governed “Core” is clean, perfect, and monstrously oppressive. Its all pervading order and surveillance seem prescient in view of today’s data seizure revelations(Well, not revelations to me, or those who conceived this series).  A good deal of their semi-criminal activity involves avoiding revenue collectors.  Nobody’s perfect: there is one episode in which a colony of Christian fundamentalists decide to burn a psychic crew member as a witch.  Islam doesn’t seem to have made the the extraterrestrial jump.

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Nearly twenty nuclear detonations cannot destroy American’s desire for union and liberty.

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Dramatic ending to Season One: A refugee, relieved to be sheltered by the US military, finds that all is not well.

Later in the decade, “Jericho,” while positing an “evil corporation” of the Halliburton type as responsible for the nuclear decapitation of the American republic, then goes on to show hardworking, god fearing small town Americans defending themselves, and the Constitution, with firearms they know well how to use. DeToqueville’s observation of the American character as both individual and associational is clear and consistent throughout the series.

ImageThe Second Massachusetts resistance regiment in the current “Falling Skies “ is an  unsubtle and proud reference to the original Minutemen. Nationwide authority has been taken out in the initial stage of the alien invasion. It falls to citizen soldiers to carry on the fight. While it is hard to imagine the city of “Shelter in place” actually taking such action, it is cheering that someone writes scripts that find the idea inspiring. At the end of the last season, the 2nd Mass bailed out of an authoritarian non-constitutional restored government to fight the aliens on its own. Given the USA’s difficulties in Afghanistan, “Falling Skies” might also be seen as making a point on the power of assymetrical warfare

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Plenty fo guns, and an ongoing Starwars bar scene – with hookers!

Yes, the bad guys in “Revolution” are a militia, but the rebels fight to restore the Constitution and are willing to die for the Stars and Stripes.Image “Defiance,” while pushing a “Coexist” message of “Why can’t we all get along,” after alien invasions, also shows a healthy respect for self defense and entrepreneurship, with one important character the unashamed female owner of a thriving bar and brothel. Social conservatives might find this a left libertine thread, but it appears to me to be pure libertarian.

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Isolated group fighting off hordes of, um, “savages.” Is this racist, or something?

And then there is “Walking Dead.”  Pure atomistic survival. The one authority re-established after the fall of the old order, the Governor, is pure evil. Once again, it takes families and small groups – with guns – to resist.

I don’t know whether there is a conscious resistance in Hollywood, or writers  and producers simply cannot ignore the fact that warmed over 60s leftism doesn’t sell outside of Sundance, but there is an audience for values traditionally seen as American.

Reason to celebrate – and tune in!

“Innocence of Muslims:” Innocent of Craft, but not Truth

(I began this piece months ago. Events have had a way of running beyond my ability to keep up and write about them.)

muslims

That backdrop looks like Death Valley to me.

As the controversy over Benghazi snowballs, more and more have heard of “Innocence of Muslims,” a a film that few – if any have seen – but the trailer for which the Administration posited as the proximate cause of the assault on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya.

(The snowballing controversy I mention has melted into slush, after endless obfuscation b the President and many members of his administration, and such distractions as the Petraeus resignation.)

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‘The future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam’ Why not? And, who cares? Truth is not slander.

Secretary Clinton called it “disgusting and reprehensible.” The President of the United States saw it as “crude and disgusting.” Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney joined the chorus of condemnation calling the YouTube sensation “… a reprehensible video insulting Islam.”

For years, it has been apparent to me that most of the politicians, reporters and pundits who routinely comment on matters pertaining to Islam actually have little direct knowledge of the religion, and simply accept that it much like any other, but one with some problematic followers.

It is unlikely that any of the major players in the Benghazi controversy have watched the full trailer, and the odds are astronomical that in the unlikely event they have, or had a member of staff do so, none have looked into the origins of the points the film makes, and whether they have any basis in Islamic doctrine and tradition.

Foreign Policy Magazine did have a look, but provides a joking precis rather than any real analysis. It is sad to see this venerable publication trying to snark like a junior writer on Slate. They did this, they say, so their readers would not have to watch the film. This video clip was elevated to worldwide importance by the administration, including the President, who mentioned it no less than six times in his address to the United Nations.

Let me then do the work that Foreign Policy did not.

FP’s summary:

An introduction featuring a Muslim mob in fake beards slaughtering Christians in modern-day Egypt as police look on. The rest of the film seems to be a flashback in which a father explains the roots of Islamic extremism to his daughter.

The insinuation that Mohammed is a “bastard of an unknown father”

Khadija comforting Mohammed by placing his head between her legs

Mohammed calling a donkey “the first Muslim animal”

Mohammed telling his followers they should feel free to molest children

Mohammed having sex with the wives of his followers

Mohammed also being gay. (When a follower asks if he is “dominant or submissive,” he replies, “both.”)

An old lady — with a mysterious New York accent — being drawn and quartered by camels

Lots of terrible overdubbing, cheesy green screen backgrounds, and The Room-level dialogue and acting. 

As Foreign Policy says, the film begins with Muslim mobs slaughtering Coptic christinas while polce look on. This is hardly entierely fctive. The opening scene could, sadly be generic, in today’s Egypt. Simply search “Christians,” “Copts,“Muslims, and “clash” -the favored term for a Muslim attack on minorities – and you will get plenty of results.

The aspersion on Muhammad’s parentage is weakly founded on the tradition that his father Abddallah, died away from home some months before he was born. There appears to be no scholarship pointing to Islam’s founder as illegitimate. The mention of bastardy is clearly put forth as an insult; a particularly pointed one for a religion that prescribes lashing or even death for extramarital sex.

We of course have no word on the martial relations between Muhammad and his first wife Khadidjah, a considerably older, and wealthy woman. Muslims see the marriage as their founder taking a lonely and defenseless woman under his protection, and claim he increased her fortune; detractors say that the founder leeched off a helpless woman because he had no talent of his own. This scene may then be a metaphorical statement of the latter view, but that is a a bit of stretch considering the writing overall.

Showing a donkey as Muhammad’s first convert is over the top, but while not canonical ,there is a story of a there is talking donkey in Islamic tradition. This amazing ass was part of the spoils from the subjugation of the Jews of Khaybar.

The bit about the Messenger allowing his followers to molest children is  excessive, but has its origin in an undisputed – and to modern eyes – thoroughly distasteful aspect of Muhammad’s life. One merely needs point to the settled fact – among Muslims –  that Muhammad married a six year old, and while he did not consummate the marriage until she was nine, in the intervening years he did find gratification with her. This may have been customary in that place and time, but this tradition is remarkable for its uniqueness among religious figures, and continues to provide a rationale for child marriage in the Muslim world to this day.

“Use of the children whom you wish. The rest are to be sold as slaves,” Says the messenger Again, this is an accusation of pederasty. While there is little to rest this on other than Muhammd’s relationship with Aisha, it is partly true: In the aftermath of the Battle of the Trench, men and boys were killed. Women, girls, and those boys without pubic hair were were spared,but sold as slaves.

As for Muhammad having sex with the wives of his followers, that is something of a broad brush, but not entirely unfounded. The story of his marriage to Zaynab is illustrative. This woman was married to the prophet’s adopted son Zayd. When His eye fell on favor on his daughter in law, Muhammad was place in a dilemma as the relationship while not consanguineous, was considered too close. The adoption was nullified via one of a typically many convenient Koranic revelation, as the film shows:

“I’m canceling the adoption that business with my adopted my son’s wife”

“Islamic nation forbids adoption. That is next verse of the Koran” Muhammad does have rather convenient revelations.  Thereafter adoption was forbidden in Islam. This is something to consider when one is asked to contribute to a Muslim orphanage. The children may be kept of the street, but they will never find homes.

And the prophet was not limited to a set number of wives. Zyanab, also his first cousin, was his fifth., and like all Muslims was allowed to have sex with his slave girls.

“Is the messenger of god gay?” a character asks.

Type in “Was Muhammad Gay “ in your search bar and you will get quite a number of posts. The very idea seems absurd, as Islam is quite clear on what should be the fate of homosexuals: death. The prevalence of same sex affection in Islamic countries where women are simply not available to unmarried men, but as there are references to beautiful boys in Islamic paradise, stories in the hadith that Muhammad wore kohl to highlight his eyes, and sometimes liked to wear his wife Aisha’s clothes, discussions of Muhammad’s gayness abound However, all these references are disputed and there are lengthy debates on translation involving Syriac versus Arabic vocabulary, far too abstruse to go into here.

Again,there is little on which to base this accusation, and it is clearly a calculated insult, but understandable given the low status and near invisibility of women in orthodox Islam.

he old lady’s “mysterious New York accent” is, I think, either a deliberate obfuscation, or lack of the simplest research on the part of FP. . There is no one New York accent. New York Irish, Italians, blacks, and, as in this case, Jews, have distinct ways of speaking that while commonly identifiable as New Yorkese, are also distinguishable as to ethnicity. The old woman is clearly meant to be Jewish

This scene refers to a story that is not canonical, but which does appear in some Islamic chronicles.

“….and Umm Qirfa Fatima was taken prisoner. She was a very old woman, wife of Malik. Her daughter and Abdullah Masada were also taken. Zayd ordered Qays to kill Umm Qirfa and he killed her cruelly (Tabari), by putting a rope to her two legs and to two camels and driving them until they rent her in two.)”

The problem is that this woman was Bedouin, not Jewish. Had the producer done his research, he would have found ample examples in Islamic scripture of atrocities, murder and plunder of Jews. This scene conflates those with the murder of the old woman, something FP could easily have ascertained

The Foreign Policy précis leaves out some other important points the film clumsily attempts to make.

The Koran is depicted a  purpose built fiction,and indeed, it is such..

“I will make a book for him. It will be some version of the Torah and the New Testament. Which is clearly what the Koran is.  The Koran does contain many elements from both the Torah and New Testament, some quite distorted, or as Muslims believe, corrected, so as to agree with the eternal Koran which has been corrupted by Jews and Christians.Biblical figures and stories float through the book, with no clear narrative structure, so that Jesus, Moses, and Abraham appear as contemporaneous forbears to Muhammad.

Muslims believe that the Koran has existed eternally and was revealed to Muhammad at the time of his prophet-hood. At the same time their historical tradition admits that the founder, an illiterate, did not write, or cause to have written down a single version of the book, but rather that its fragments, written on scraps of paper, cloth, and bone, were gathered together at the command of the Caliph Usman many years subsequent to Muhammad’s death. Unless one does believe in Divine guidance, it is clear that such a process would result in many unacknowledged sources.

In another r scene the founder tells his followers prior to a caravan raid“We will kill the men, loot the goods and take the women.”

This is an accurate summary of Islamic rules of war. The goods and persons of non-Muslims, or those Muslims deemed to be in opposition to true Islam, are forfeit. That Muhammad was a leader in the sole Bedouin industry – plunder – is acknowledged,and indeed, celebrated in both the Koran and hadith.

There is much more, but I will conclude with this:  Islam is on earth, not to complete revelation,but to suppliant it, and those who resist do so at their peril.

In the film, Muhammad asks a Jew “What about Jericho?”

The Jew replies that Jericho “had a chance.”  This is not the way I remember the story, but he goes on to say that Jews  didn’t ask others to convert to Judaism. This is true, and the lack of a proselytizing urge in Judaism is in stark contrast the Islamic mandate to dominate the globe.

The Jew goes on to say that Jews believed in one god long before Muhammad, as did the pharaohs  of Egypt.  This last is a stretch, but one Egyptian ruler, Akhenaten, did briefly establish monotheism.

To this, Muhammad replies that  it is not not enough to believe in one god, but rather  “you must say God and Muhammad his messenger.”  Muslims were once commonly called Muhammadans, and this term, while no longer acceptably, is accurate..  The cult of the Prophet,”al-Ihsan”, the perfect man,is what the “religion” is about.

Christians are taught to emulate Jesus, whom the believe was divine; Muslims emulate Muhammad, who was human, and throughtly profane.

“Innocence cf of Muslims” seems designed to show that Muslims are not innocent of the violence that is endemic in their lands and along their borders, and which has been brought to the West and elsewhere again and again since the six Day War . The film is indeed crude, but not vile or reprehensible. The points it makes could have been better supported, and are so in countless books, blogs, and better made videos.

In its negative aspersions upon Islam it is, on the whole, truthful.

Finally, I disagree with FP in its comparison of “Innocence” to “The Room:” “‘The Room” was better.

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