Now it's FWM (Flying while Muslim)
So six Imams, coming home from a conference on religious tolerance, wait together in the Minneapolis airport for their flight. The sun sets and three of them go off to one side to make their evening prayers. A bit later the Plane boards and the Imams get on. A few minutes later the police show up and take the Imams off the plane in handcuffs.
It seems that some person saw them praying and freaked out, then passes a message to an attendant warning that the Imams may be terrorists.
Whatever the folks at US Airways is claiming, what we have here is a case of fundamentalist bigotry perpetrated against American citizens because of their religion.
And before one of the Right Wing Authoritarian "Bottoms" who breeze through here from time to time starts spouting off about how these people are not real Americans, All of you who are reading this, unless your name is something like Red Cloud, or Begay, are children of immigrants. Take a look at the CNN Article here, and take a look at the video while you're at it.
It is rather ironic that CNN reports this, being that they promote this sort of bigotry. Take a look at CNN's Glen Beck and what he has to say to our first Muslim Congressman, "Sir, prove to me that you are not working with our enemies". The funny thing is that he is still on the air. If he had asked the same question to a Jewish member of Congress in regards to the bombing if the USS Liberty during the Sid Day War he would have been handed his walking papers before his show was done.
This happened because the Right Wing Authoritarian hate mongers have worked people up into a state of hysteria, and it has got to stop! They only do it for the money anyway.
So if you are sick of this shit please Contact CNN and tell them that we don't need Glen Beck fostering bigotry and hatred in our country just so CNN can make a buck.
And I would be vrey greatful if people started contacting US Airways and letting them know that what they did was not something that Americans do to our citizens.
If you don't want to email them you can use these other contact methods.
5 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday-Friday, MST
6 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sat-Sun, MST
Attention: Customer Relations
4000 E. Sky Harbor Blvd.
Phoenix, AZ 85034.
Wednesday, November 22, 2006
Now it's FWM (Flying while Muslim)
and before I go back to sleep I check my email.
I found this, I laughed so hard I may not be able to go back to sleep for a while. Thanks Chuck.
The guy was lucky he was not shot considering where he decided to do this, and I bet no one there got it.
Posted by Mushtaq Ali at 2:00 AM
Friday, November 17, 2006
Cus D'Amato has got to be rolling in his grave.
You just know that this is going to end badly. It seems that Mike Tyson is about to embark on a new career as a male prostitute.
Yep, Hidi Fleiss just added Iron Mike (soon to be known as viagra Mike no doubt) to her stable of male hookers at her new brothel for women, soon to open in Nevada.
A hat tip to Raw Story for making my day a bit more surreal.
Posted by Mushtaq Ali at 12:57 PM
Thursday, November 16, 2006
Leave it to Steve Perry to come up with interesting questions about South African knife skills
Steve made this comment to the post I did on the Piper System blog. I thought that the questions were important enough that I pulled the comment out so that no one will miss it.
Before I answer though, I want to make sure that I am clear on a couple of things.
First, I don't speak for Piper System. I have not trained in the system, I am not a member of the system. Nigel, Lloyd and Jason do a good job of speaking for themselves and I am really happy that they are developing ways to do that more publicly. I am however also happy to call them friends, and because of my own experiences I have enough background in SA-Knife to understand what they are saying.
Second, I am not an expert in South African knife fighting.
I have however followed a parallel path, in that I studied Cape style knife methods while I was living in Africa. I learned from two African fellows who grew up in Cape Town and learned what they knew on the streets. They told me that they were only "average" in their skills and there were people who would take them "while reading a newspaper". Never the less I found their skills to be formidable, and I am considered not entirely unskilled with a knife. I was only able to study with them for about six months (though it was a very interesting six months). The guys I learned from just did what they did. They had no system or theories, no set of principals, it was all "hands on" material of the "learn by doing" sort.
That being said, I will presume to answer as a neutral, but informed, party.
Steve Perry speaks in green:
Hmm. Sounds from the tone at the blog that the Piper guy are getting a lot of flak. Understandable, given that we all tend to think our arts are the cat's pajamas, else we'd be training in something else, but I still see promise.
Indeed. Think back to the sort of flack they got on the Animal list, only quicker and perhaps with a bit more venom.
As I like to point out in situations like this, there is a time lag of one generation between the time that a new scientific theorem is proven and the time that it is generally accepted. People just don't like to deal with paradigm shifts. Remember Einstein never accepted Quantum theory, the British medical community tried to pillory Dr. Lister for suggesting that people would be better off if doctors washed their hands from time to time. History has demonstrated over and over that the majority is uncomfortable with new ideas and just want things to be comfortably the same. You are one of the rare ones who enjoys new information, much more often the novel is perceived as a threat.
My knifefighter Mourn in the Flex wasn't too impressed, but he'd seen the stuff before and was an adept with a blade on his own, so that's understandable, too.
Morn was at the top of his game, and a thinking man's fighter. I am positive he made sure he understood what he was up against in regard to any martial art he might encounter.
Which brings up a point -- excuse the word play -- how well do you think Piper stacks up against somebody else also using an art that came out of the jungle in the last generation or two? I mean, I'm not the expert at flaying, but at least some of the stuff Piper shows on the two vids I've seen doesn't really look that unfamiliar -- elbows in, closing, level changes, arms tight. And I believe that if slash came to stab and I had my knife, they wouldn't be walking away any faster than I would when the cutting was done.
while I hesitate to speculate without knowing something about the art in question, I have to say that in general Piper will do well against anything I have run across. That doesn't mean that it is unbeatable, just that it has some interesting things going for it.
there are some things that are going to be familiar, as you mention above, and there are some things that are unfamiliar. Those are found in the rhythms and in the way the movements are chained together.
Not talking about a gifted player, but as a system -- do you think that Piper is intrinsically superior to say, FMA or silat? I give 'em the mean-streets and intent, and a "do" isn't a "jutsu;" still, I don't see that the Piper guy has it all over the silat guy to the point that he wins every time.I don't think you are missing anything, though you may be being a bit too general.
Am I missing something?
I will speak to Silat as I am most familiar with that.
In my opinion, there are some Silat players in the States that would fare well against Cape style knife, but many would not.
I don't know if you noticed that when I was up at the welding shop, Guru Plinck and I spent a bit of time over in one corner. We were going over the ideas he had come up with to deal with Cape knife work. To be totally honest, and at the risk of offending some people, he is the first Silat player I have run across in the States who had come up with something I thought was workable. I do suspect that Bobbe might have something up his sleeve that would be useful, but these have been, in my experience the exceptions rather than the rule.
There are a couple of things that make Piper different enough that it is quite dangerous to people who have not examined it with an open mind.
First, to put it bluntly, Africans tend to be less inhibited about hurting, maiming and killing someone than most of us in the West. Africans tend to go from "mellow" to "kill you right now" without hitting any if the intermediate steps that you or I might pass through. For instance, one of the first things I learned about the Maasai is that they would not hesitate in the slightest to kill you if you crossed the line with them. There were absolutely no inhibitions that you would find here in most people. The willingness to do violence without having to justify it gives one an edge, at least in Africa.
The second thing that gives Cape knife an edge (no pun intended) is the use of African polyrhythms in movement. One of the hallmarks of this kind of rhythm is that it has an unpredictable quality. If you listen to someone like Mamaday Kita playing with group of drummers, there will come a point where he starts riffing. When he does he will be completely unpredictable (in the sense that you won't know when he will add beats, or in what patterns) but he will still be completely within the rhythm of the group.
Cape knife has that same quality. So if someone can't adapt to the seeming chaotic nature of that style of movement, it can be unfortunate.
That being said, no one wins every time. I don't think the Piper guys think that this is the case in any event. But they know that they have a very effective system, and it is based on rhythms and ways of chaining movement that we are unfamiliar with in the West.
In recent days I have seen people examine 1 minute 26 seconds of movement and then leap to judgment as to a whole system. This worries me.
On the other hand a very few others gave long thought to that 7 minute tape and came up with ways to counter what they saw. Like Mourn, they are a thinking man's fighter.
So I guess the answer is that if someone is flexible, willing to think outside the box, and can adapt on the fly, they will do well when the meet the unknown. If someone puts more credit in their preconceptions than in to actual reality, and is unwilling to let anything new into their thinking, they will not.
And of course I could be completely wrong about all this.
South Africa Knife
Cape Knife Fighting
Posted by Mushtaq Ali at 5:54 PM
At our last Gathering of the Tribes one of the participants had a really groovy tee shirt.
it looked like this
and everyone thought it was the bee's knees.
As it turns out, this shirt was done by my friend Guru Sean Stark of PSP Combat Silat.
In talking with Sean I found out that he has done a whole line of cool Silat stuff and put them up on Cafe Press.
Everyone knows that you are not official without a tee shirt so I suggest that you head over to The Silat Shop and take a look at what Sean offers.
Along with the tees and other clothes Sean sells some really nice Indonesian weapons that are well worth looking at and can be purchased at a fair price.
so go check his stuff out, and tell him I sent you (that won't get you a better price, but what the heck).
Posted by Mushtaq Ali at 5:27 PM
Wednesday, November 15, 2006
Tuesday, November 14, 2006
I had trouble sleeping tonight. I had news from a friend who had a tragedy rip through his life recently.
I have been concerned for him since I heard the news, though he seems to be doing OK, and one thing leads to another. So I spent a good part of the night remembering things rather than sleeping.
Feeling the need to clear my head I decided to take a walk at about 3:00 am. It was cold, with a drizzle of rain drifting down, but refreshing.
It got me to thinking about a good number of things.
The first was how luck I am to live in a place where I feel comfortable walking around at night unarmed and by myself.
I have done that a lot in my life. I love walking, and a good long ramble is sometimes one of the best things there is to do. One of my favorite places ever for night time walks is Stockholm. When I was living there I don't think I ever rode in a car, it was always busses and the underground, and lots of walking. My favorite place to walk there was the Gamla Stan, old town where many of the buildings are older than my whole country.
One of my favorite things about Stockholm is that people spend time outside, much more than here in the States (at least in the summer) and the streets have an aliveness that you don't find as often here.
Here is an example of a day on the street in Stockholm.
People actually interact with each other rather than just hurrying from place to place. I have spent a good number of late nights/early mornings walking home from the clubs and such. Stockholm is nice that way, one of the safest, cleanest cities, with some of the nicest people, I have ever had the pleasure of roaming around.
My other favorite place to roam is at the other end of the spectrum, Arusha, Tanzania.
Arusha town sits at the foot of Mount Meru, and it is one of my very favorite places in all of Africa (note: with the exception of the one above, the pictures were taken by other people. All my photos are in storage in New York at the moment)
This is a shot of the main market in Arusha. My home was just a little less than a block from here. The market covers something over a block with both inside permanent stalls and shops, and a large outdoor area where local farmers bring their produce. From sun up to sun down this is one of the liveliest places in town. If you have never heard the sounds of a place like this, where everyone bargains and haggles down to the last shilling, it can be almost frightening at first. The sound is a constant roar of voices, almost like one huge living creature, sometimes purring, sometimes roaring in defiance or anger. You hear the last when the locals catch a thief.
This is something that is very shocking to most westerners. Thieves are killed outright by whoever is around. What you need to understand though is that conditions in Africa are very much different than in the West.
The courts are almost worthless and both the police and the judges are very bribable. A thief that is arrested in the morning will most likely be back on the street that afternoon.
So the people serve up justice themselves, in a way that seems very brutal to outsiders. A thief will be stabbed, or beaten to death with rocks, or burned to death if there is a handy tire and some petrol around. You do have to understand that a thief in Africa has absolutely no hesitation to kill someone in order to make their job more easy, so such rough justice as they receive is more deserved than one might think at first.
One of the things I love about the market is that you get truly fresh food and you most often get to talk with the person who grew it. Another thing I like is that you can get a mango as big as your head for a nickel or less. The market is the social heart of the town as well. People will sit in the market, visit, enjoy a cup of coffee or tea delivered by a wandering vendor with a huge urn heated by a basket of charcoals. Other vendors will roam the market with a tray full of cigarettes, roasted peanuts and candy, selling to anyone they can. They have a way of holding 20 or more coins in their hand and shifting them back and forth to make a loud rhythmic clinking to let potential customers know where they are. I found out that this roll of coins works as a convenient fist load in case someone tries to rob them.
Along the walls of the market you find the fundis, the craftsmen of one sort or another. Here we have a tailor and a shoe maker. You would go to the tailor, with his treadle sewing machine and tell him what you were interested in, say a pair of pants. He would take a couple of measurements, then tell you how much cloth you needed. You would get a couple of yards of wonderful Mgoromgoro cotton for two dollars or so then bring it back to the tailor. You come back in a couple of hours and you have a perfectly fitting pair of pants. If you have bargained well you will pay the tailor another two to three dollars.
this is the east side of the market (the far side from the first picture). As you can see, it is devoted to stalls filled with shoes and slippers. I cut through here twice a day on my way to and from work. At first the locals looked at me as if I were a little nuts. Whites don't much mingle in the every day life of the town. After a few weeks of me going past, some of the folks were curious enough to start conversations with me and a number of casual friendships developed around the market.
One of the things I love about Africa is that people take the time to stop and talk with each other, that their relationships with their friends are very important to them.
Most days, when I returned home I would pass a particular shop on my block. It sold electrical equipment, but most of its income came from money changing. The banks tend to "buy cheap and sell dear", so mostly one avoids the banks as much as possible. Tanzania has two currencies, the official, the Tanzanian Shilling, and the unofficial, the American dollar. Most large purchases are done with dollars, every day buying and selling is done with shillings.
The man who over-saw the money Exchange was named Mushi. He was of the Chaga tribe, who have a reputation (a well deserved one) for being formidable business people.
Mushi had been Tanzanian Army Special Forces during the war with Uganda back when Idi Amin thought he could take over all of East Africa. In a sort of general way he was one of the scariest human beings I have ever met. I guess he would be considered a gangster. Black market money changing is frowned upon by the government, and people who run this sort of business are potential targets for thieves and there is often thousands of dollars of cash on hand.
One of the reasons that my block was such a nice place to live was that Mushi had put the word out that he would be upset if any crime happen on our street.
So every day I would pass by the shop, and if Mushi were around he would make a point of coming out and greeting me, almost always reminding me that "This is Africa my friend, here we have time to slow down and talk with our friends". We would spend from several minutes to an hour chatting about the news of the town and world, of family and friends and the new coffee crop. We would drink the strong tea from the roaming vendors and enjoy the day. All the while Mushi's men would be moving in and out of the shop making deliveries or picking up bundles of cash to take to one merchant or another.
This is one of the streets that end at the market. It is just after one of the heavy monsoon rains that hit from time to time, so everyone is inside for a change. This street would be quite safe to walk down during the day (at least safe for Africa) but at night it could be worth your live to be here if you were not African and local.
And this is the street where the school I taught at is located, it is about ten blocks from the market. It was odd at first to come to the school which always had a watchman armed with a shotgun out front.
This is one of the two landmarks in Arusha, the town clock on Sokone road. This is in the more affluent part of downtown. It is a more "tourist area". It is known as robbery central because bandits will often attempt to rob people as the visit the banks in the area, knowing that they have money with them.
And this is a whole different kind of market. This is the Maasai market on the outskirts of town. I would come here every couple of weeks to do business with one fundi who made Sime, the traditional Maasai short sword, and an old man who carved the best fimbo in all of East Africa.
This is a very dangerous place, even for Africa. Everyone you see in the picture is armed, men women and children. And if you were to do something wrong, or if they thought you were good victim material you could find yourself hyena food in an eye blink.
When I went to the Maasai market I never went alone, but always with a Maasai elder who was a friend. The first thing he would do when we got there was to hire about three young warriors, one to watch the truck and make sure that no one would try to break into it. The other two would shadow us and watch our backs.
This market is very much "old Africa". You will find all manner of traditional hand crafted practical items, food, livestock, and here is where you find the traditional healers with their herbal remedies as well. If you are not African you are an interloper here, and tourists have been killed for coming to the wrong part of this market more than once. There is one section closest to the town where tourists can safely come and buy beadwork and such, but the heart of the market is well away from that.
What does all this have to do with taking a walk?
When I was living in Africa you didn't take walks at night. You stayed safely home, or if you had to go somewhere you went by car. It was so dangerous to walk the streets at night we in the West can't even get our minds around the idea.
So I value being able to walk at night and not worry about being robbed or killed, something we take for granted here, but should not.
Posted by Mushtaq Ali at 5:11 AM
Thursday, November 09, 2006
Even though he truly deserves to be.
Now that we again have a government that has some checks and balances it is time to get our nation back on track.
I know that some people are looking for a little payback at this point.
All the name calling from the Right Wing Authoritarian "Bottoms" for the last twelve years is still ringing in our ears. We look at our country and the mess it's in and it is natural to want to drag a few people out to the public square, shove them in the stocks and indulge in a bit of rotten vegetable throwing, but we can't let ourselves do this. If we do we are no better than the Right Wing Authoritarians who tied up the last two years of the Clinton Administration with his pointless impeachment.
What we really need now is for the House and the Senate to roll up their sleeves and get to work on the things that really matter, and we need them to do so in a bipartisan way.
That's the important word Bipartisan.
America has had enough of partisan politics, the country is sick of it, the country is sick of the mean spirited, hateful name calling that has gone on for the last twelve years. The country is sick of replacing positive action for the common good with elitist rhetoric that disenfranchises most of the citizens of our great nation.
That is what the election is telling us, that we want positive action, not that we want the Democrats to do the same thing that the Republicans have been doing for the last six years.
So as much as it might be gratifying to impeach the Shrub and then try him for war crimes, that will not serve to do anything but divide the country more deeply. We can put up with him for two more years now that the checks and balances on his power have been restored, and frankly I don't think the country can survive another impeachment at the expense of doing the real work that needs to be done.
We need to concentrate on the things that really matter.
The war in Iraq and the war in Afghanistan need to be addressed.
congressional oversight needs to be put back on all of the war spending, especially the outsourcing that has been done.
If we want to put some people in jail let's start with the good folks running Haliburton and Blackwater. Perhaps we might even get some of the money back that they have walked off with by doing things like charging our troops US $50.00 for a sixpack of Coke.
We need to address sustainable energy and the malfeasances of the Oil Companies.
We need to get the economy back on track, balance the budget again and do something to get rid of the crushing dept that the Bush administration has put us under.
I could go on, but you get the idea, there is so much real work to do that there is no time to indulge in revenge.
We have two years to prove to the world and to ourselves that we are better than we have been acting.
And make no mistake, the rot in our country is still there. I have been watching the Right Wing Authoritarians, both "Tops" and "Bottoms", as they spew out their bile over the election. For the Authoritarian "tops" there is still much money to be made and power to be grabbed for them to give up. For the "bottoms", they have their self image tied up in being "right" and can't deal well with finding out that most people just don't think the way they do. If we let our vigilance slip for a moment they will find a way to "poison the well" again.
So what can we do? We have to make sure that our elected officials stay on the job and do what we want them to do.
As it happens, it has never been easer to do this.
Our Senate and House has email, and you know what? They actually pay attention to what people say because they know that someone who takes the time to write them also takes the time to vote.
Right now our elected representatives are just a bit nervous. They just got reminded that they serve at our pleasure, not the other way around. We need to keep this in the forefront of their minds, they need to know that we are paying attention.
All of us need to be writing the people we have put in office at least once a month and letting them know how we feel about what they have been doing.
Of course that means we have to pay attention to what they are doing, something that historically we have not been too good at. Politicians have believed that if they win the election that they can count on us going back to sleep and not noticing what they are doing with the office we put them in. That has got to change.
You, my dear reader need to have the email addresses of your representative and your senator in your address book so that you can drop a note to them any time you see them doing something that you like or don't like.
They need to be reminded that they can be voted out of office just as quickly as they were voted in. We, the citizens of the country are the true "oversight committee", we need to do our jobs if we want good government, and trust me, after last Tuesday they will listen.
To find out how to Write your Representative just click this link
To find out how to Write your Senator go here.
Remember, it's called a Democracy for a reason.
Posted by Mushtaq Ali at 11:14 AM
Wednesday, November 08, 2006
Evolution is an interesting process, and no evolution is more interesting than that of ideas.
One of the things I find so interesting about Piper system, the South African method of knife combat developed by Nigel February, Lloyd De Jongh and a small group of people in Cape Town, South Africa, is that it represents an evolutionary cusp, a transition point where a martial practice moves to a new form qualitatively.
There are two examples from recent history that are salient. The first can be found in Brazil in the early 1930's. At that time Capoeira was regarded as part of the criminal subculture, and decent people didn't want to have anything to do with it. As a matter of fact, Capoeira was outlawed by the Brazilian government.
Then, thanks to the work of just a handful of people, Capoeira was transformed from something that criminals used to settle differences and to rob people to one of the most exciting and beautiful martial arts.
The other example of course is found in the work of Bruce Lee, who managed to successfully question tradition in a very productive way, and in doing so change the face of martial arts forever.
I see the same thing happening with Piper System. We have a grouping of fighting techniques developed in large part by the disenfranchised, the criminal elements and the gangs in and around Cape Town SA. This fighting method (or group of methods) never managed (or needed) to be anything more than a loose grouping of techniques.
Then along comes Nigel and his group, and they begin to analyze, question, test, and outline underlying principles. What we are seeing is the evolution of a group of fighting methods into a martial discipline (A "jitsu" rather than a "Do" to use the Japanese way of looking at these things)
the other thing that the Piper System does is challenge the "conventional thinking" of many martial arts when it comes to knife methods.
In some of the traditional martial arts, thinking about the knife has become channelized into one or two general methods of attack and defense, Piper thinks way "outside the box" in comparison. The fact that Piper has a base in African style and rhythms of movement make it quite a bit different than the Asian based methods. The fact that Piper has drawn from its contact with Malay and Indian fighting traditions has, I think made it more flexible.
Piper will force all of us to reevaluate what we do, much in the same way that Bruce Lee did with his approach to Jeet Kun Do.
So what we see with Piper System is something like being able to observe the emergence of a new species, shaped by its genetic history and the unique environmental factors it has developed within.
I feel profoundly lucky in that I have been able to observe this not once but twice in my lifetime (the other being Scott Sonnon's RMAX) I can think of little that is more exciting.
South Africa Knife
Cape Knife Fighting
Posted by Mushtaq Ali at 2:23 PM
And the Right Wing authoritarians are removed from power.
Yesterday's election was a powerful message to BushCo and the so called "conservatives" who have been running this country into the ground for the last six years. There is an old saying where I come from, "Don't piss down my leg and tell me it's raining". We have just seen what happens when you do, over and over, and the American people finally figured out that the Right wing have been pissing down our collective leg all this time.
This election was without a doubt a referendum on BushCo policies, especially the war on Iraq, but it is also a response to the Right Wing Authoritarian sense of entitlement that has relegated all of us who did not buy into their pipe dream to the status of second class citizens, "unpatriotic", "traitors" and all those other cute little labels they tries to stick on us.
What we have now is a government that will have to work together. The balance of power is such now that if BushCo (or any real conservatives, if there are some left in Washington) will have to strike a balance to get anything done, no more rubber stamp.
Given the mess the country is in, what with the war, the crushing debt, and all the rest of the Bush legacy, I can only hope that the Democrats will not indulge in some (admittedly well deserved) payback for their treatment these last six years. The country doesn't need any more of that sort of thing. What we need is to get out of the hole that BushCo dug for us, and quickly.
One of the things that I found very interesting is that the TheoCon power seems to be broken as well. (Thanks in part to Ted Haggard no doubt).
Their three big issues were all defeated in the most interesting ways. The South Dakota anti-choice abortion initiative was struck down, Missouri passed the Stem Cell initiative (thanks in part to Rush Limbaugh) and most surprising of all, Arizona, a very conservative State defeated a same sex marriage ban. All three of these suggest that we see a weakening of the TheoCons and we are just a little less likely to have their religious mythology shoved down our throats.
In our local election Governor Granholm defended her seat successfully against Dick DeVos, an extremely creepy TheoCon.
DeVos, the son of the co-founder of Amway, is a little rich boy, born with a silver spoon in his mouth, who has never had to work for anything in his life until now. He believes (by his own admission) that only the rich should be allowed to govern, and has a profound sense of entitlement.
Let me give you a telling glimpse into the character of both candidates.
I live on the corner of two well used roads and the property has a lot (over a thousand feet) of road frontage. Two days before the election I get a call from Governor Granholm's election committee asking permission to put up a couple of signs in front of the house and along the road. I told the woman who called I would talk with the household and get back to her.
While I was having this conversation, the DeVos camp was out pounding signs into the property every ten feet, without so much as a "by your leave". That is the kind of entitlement he had.
DeVos also spent more money trying to win the Governor's seat than has ever been spent in a governor's race anywhere. He would have been so bad for this State it isn't funny, but even with all his money, his corporate connections and his silver spoon, he went down to defeat.
All told, it was a good day for freedom. Perhaps the people in Washington will remember that we are not quite the sheep they thought we were.
Posted by Mushtaq Ali at 11:14 AM
Tuesday, November 07, 2006
These are the words that come to mind as I watch Republican behavior this election.
I am sitting here wondering when we became a third world country.
We have fake sample ballots being distributed by Republicans in one Governor's race.
Worse than that, we have one of the Right Wing Talking Heads urdging her listeners to Jam the phones at the Democrat voter protection line.
This woman needs to at the very least lose her job, but being a Right Winger she is no doubt above the law.
There is just too much of this thing going on to even write about. This has got to stop.
Posted by Mushtaq Ali at 3:55 PM
And the only thing to worry about is how successful the Republicans will be in their attempts to suppress votes and steal the election.
Of course as we saw six years ago, this is something they are very good at.
I do not remember any election in my lifetime that has had so many blatant, illegal attempts to disenfranchise voters. (with the possible exception of the deep South in the early Sixties)
We have seen The Republican Party use a whole bunch of dirty tricks, many of them against the law it seems, to chase people from the polls.
In Missouri, we see Republican pole workers demanding photo ID when people come to vote (a tactic to keep the poor the elderly and the dark skinned from voting) even though this has been deemed against the law. Fortunately, the did so to the wrong person.
In my home state of New Mexico, the Republicans have been attempting to target voters with Latio names, telling them that their polling place has been moved to some location that will be very difficult to get to.
The Dirty tricks to keep people from voting in Virginia have gotten so bad that the FBI has become involved. Personally, I am surprised that we are not seeing Allan at a polling place with an ax handle.
In Utah we have more voters registered that there are people to register, go figure.
And then there are those darn "Robo-Calls" that the republicans have been using to attack Democrats and to turn off voters.
The question is not will the Right Wing Authoritarians win, it is will they be successful in stealing the elections through dirty and sometimes illegal means.
Posted by Mushtaq Ali at 11:11 AM
Monday, November 06, 2006
As if things weren't bad enough, the Right Wing Republican Authoritarians masquerading as "Conservatives" Have found another way to limit our freedoms.
It is the kind of thing that I remember being held up as evidence that the USSR was a slave state. The fact that no one could move around without permission from the State. I remember being told that we should be proud of the fact that we were a free people and could come and go as we choose.
Well, if BushCo has its way there will be an end to all that untidy, unregulated travel.
This just in from Slashdot,
"The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has proposed a system which will in essence make it mandatory for you to have permission before leaving or entering the country, effectively putting everyone on a no-fly list unless the government says otherwise. Interestingly, the proposal does not seem to cover personal travel, only that on some sort of carrier like an airline or cruise vessel. While this certainly is concerning, it isn't exactly new, as a passport is already required for circumstances covered under the proposal."
The article take you to another article at Friends of Liberty which discusses the implications of the proposal, and offers a link to a PDF file that is of quite a bit of interest.
This is the world that the Republicans are trying to make for you to live in. If you are happy with that then just sit on your hands and it will be here soon.
If you would rather have the world our forefathers (and foremothers) made for us, the one outlined in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, then
Posted by Mushtaq Ali at 9:43 AM
Sunday, November 05, 2006
This is something you should watch before the election.
You can access the full documentary, "Iraq for Sale" on google for free, though it would be a kindness if you bought the film as well (it is only about twelve bucks).
I mentioned this documentary in September, you can read the initial post here. To say that it is disturbing would be a whooper of an understatement. Check it out, think about what you see and remember it when you vote.
Iraq For Sale
Posted by Mushtaq Ali at 10:55 AM
Saturday, November 04, 2006
After all, he was their boy when it came to invading Iraq.
In this issue of Vanity Fair, Richard Perle, when of the architects of the NeoCon takeover of the American Government, calls the bush administration "dysfunctional".
"The decisions did not get made that should have been. They didn't get made in a timely fashion, and the differences were argued out endlessly.Â At the end of the day, you have to hold the president responsible."
Of course, like a good little goose stepper he has a place to fix the blame, he says of Bush;
"I don't think he realized the extent of the opposition within his own administration, and the disloyalty."
Then we have Kenneth Adelman who served on the Defense Policy Board until 2005 and is one of the big NeoCon "names". He had this to say about the Bush administration;
"I just presumed that what I considered to be the most competent national-security team since Truman was indeed going to be competent. They turned out to be among the most incompetent teams in the post-war era. Not only did each of them, individually, have enormous flaws, but together they were deadly, dysfunctional."
It has only taken six years and thousands of deaths, but know we know that the Bush administration is the most incompetent to sit in the White House since it was built. The real power Base of BushCo is to be found in the Multi-Nationals and the oil companies, who are the only groups that have thrived under Bush. The NeoCons on one side have seen that their policies are complete failures (especially when they get in the way of Haliburton making money)
On the other side, we see the Dominionists imploding from within as congregations all over the US discover just how corrupt their leadership actually is. The religious Right has proved to be nothing more than expendable "shock troops" for BushCo which could really care less about the Dominionist agendas.
Well, in just a few days we can change things,
Posted by Mushtaq Ali at 11:09 AM
Friday, November 03, 2006
Or, A Dark Lord of the Sith reveled for what he is!
Last year I observed that there was a strong resemblance between the authoritarian Religious Right and the Sith Lords from Star Wars.
The latest event is too rich. I had to wait for a while to see if there were truth in the allegations, but today our Sith Lord admitted that "some" of the indiscretions happened.
So, "what's going on" you ask?
Well. Pastor Ted Haggard, the leader of the 14,000 member New Life Church, the biggest "Mega-Church" in the world or so they say, President of the National Association of Evangelicals, was accused of having a three year paid "gay affair" with a male prostitute in Denver, CO, and of using methamphetamine with him.
Now this is the guy who has been behind a good deal of the "Hate the gays" material that has come from the
hypocrites and pharisees Religious Right.
What is most obvious is that the leaders of the Religious Right don't actually believe anything that they preach, it is just a means to power for them.
Think about it, when was the last time you saw Ted Haggard or James Dobson do anything to help the poor, feed the hungry, aid the sick, or anything else that Jesus instructed them to do.
Instead it's always "Vote Republican, stop the fags from getting married, fight the Democrats before they make your daughter marry a dark skinned person, get an abortion and convert to Islam". In other words, "Come over to the Dark Side, there is great power here".
Posted by Mushtaq Ali at 8:57 AM
Wednesday, November 01, 2006
If DeVos becomes Governor of Michigan
Only it is likely that it will be "private contractors" from Blackwater who have taken over security for our schools to "save money". (You do know that DeVos is deeply connected to the owner of the world's largest and best funded right wing para-military organization by marriage don't you? You know that Blackwater is supporting his bid for Governor, right? How much would you like to bet that there have been some "outsourcing" agreements made?)
So check it out! There was a little "drill" in the town of Wyoming, Mich. a couple of days ago. We didn't hear much about it here, though Wyoming borders Grand Rapids. I wonder why it is a story picked up in Florida but not reported locally.
The entire thing seems quite ill conceived, no parental notification, terrorizing the children involved, Swat teams carrying guns into a school after there has been so much press on the latest school shootings, these thing are not designed to build confidence. But no doubt Blackwater will do a better job.
Hat Tip to Bill for this story
Posted by Mushtaq Ali at 10:08 AM