10 thoughts on “Happy New Year!

  1. Retired Spook January 1, 2017 / 11:09 am

    I can’t remember ever entering a new year that was as much of a crap shoot as this one. This year has the potential to be the year that future historians look back on and write that it was a major turning point in the advancement of human civilization. The opposite is also a possibility, but only if we let it be that way.

  2. Amazona January 1, 2017 / 11:31 am

    Personally, I’m feeling better about it than I have for the last eight years. I agree that it is likely to be seen as a turning point in our own history, as we were at the point where one more term of radical Leftist leadership would have shaped our country in what might have been a permanent way. Given the negative impact of Islam on human civilization in general, I can see a dramatic turnaround in the trajectory of Islamic expansion affecting nations far beyond ours. Just a new alliance between the United States and Israel, and our combined forces, might be what it takes.

    • Retired Spook January 1, 2017 / 1:44 pm

      Hopefully this will be the year that Liberals pull themselves up by their bootstraps and decide that they are Americans first and ideologues second, that our mutual goals should be based on principles like honor, integrity and self-reliance, and that our number one mutual goal should be leaving the planet a better place than we found it. That can’t be done by rewarding sloth and punishing initiative and hard work. That can’t be done by forcing people to violate their conscience in the name of diversity. And that can’t be done by constantly pushing a false narrative to further an agenda that has never succeeded in history and has almost always resulted in misery and genocide.

  3. Amazona January 1, 2017 / 3:04 pm

    I don’t anticipate the kind of movement you are hoping for, Spook, but I do think there will be some changes. The hard-core snarling hate-driven Liberal is not going to change. On the contrary, he or she is going to double down on the insanity, getting more and more rabid and irrational and hysterical, and I think that is a good thing.

    If the Trump administration moves forward as I expect it to, simply taking care of business in a straightforward and businesslike manner, doing things that clearly need to be done, and the nation in general starts to feel more confident and optimistic, the contrast between Us and Them will be more and more stark, and it will be easier and easier for the average run-of-the-mill Unexamined Liberal to decide which side he or she wants to be on.

    A lot of this will depend on us, finally, developing a good communications platform, a likable and coherent spokesperson who can and will explain things.

    Take the Russia thing, for example. It appears, on the surface, that there is dissension and confusion in the ranks on the Right, regarding what Obama is doing. People like John Bolton say it’s about damned time we cracked down on Russia, in contrast to Trump. But no one is explaining that Bolton is talking about the ways Russia has been goading us, treating our diplomats, etc. as well as engaging in cyberwarfare against us.

    We need someone to point out that for eight years our national relationship with Russia has been one of meekly handing over our lunch money while groveling for acceptance. Starting with that embarrassing “pleasepleasePLEASE be our friend, and here is a RESET button to show you how much we will change to make you happy” introduction to Hillary Clinton’s State Department under Barack Obama’s administration, on to the granting of so much of our uranium to Russia, including our meekness at their ongoing efforts to penetrate our security and communications, we have been eagerly acting like Putin’s lapdog. Obama even admitted as much, promising that he would be even more “flexible” once he got that pesky reelection thing out of the way, in yet another effort to be invited to sit at Putin’s table at lunch.

    We need someone to explain that Obama is not now taking a hard line against Russia for its long list of offenses against us, offenses he has carefully ignored, but is now taking one small aspect of one of those offenses and using it as the basis for an invented offense, that of trying to rig our election, solely for the purpose of delegitimizing Trump’s presidency.

    We need someone to explain that stomping around acting like tough guys on an invented pretense that was created solely for political purposes is seriously counterproductive, even dangerous, while serious people will take action on serious offenses that the Obama administration has ignored.

    I think if this is explained, a lot of Democrats will understand it.

    It looks like the administration will have at least one person not afraid to come right out and say, again, that Islam is a political movement with the goal of world domination, masquerading as a religion. While some lip service will be paid to outrage on the Left at this lack of respect for this “religion of peace” a good communicator can make the case for needing to differentiate between the aspects of Islam that are simply religious belief and those that are by definition anti-American and even anti-civilization.

    I think it will be a gradual realization by many who vote Dem but who are not wild-eyed hate-driven fanatics that Trump is not going to start a nuclear war, that he does not throw puppies into a wood chipper, that he does not demean women or clear-cut our forests to enrich his logger friends, that police forces are not turned loose to slaughter black people, that illegal immigrant children are not ripped from the arms of their families, etc. I think that if the Trump administration and the Republican Congress can just take care of business and stay above the fray, the nation will settle down and a lot of people will have a chance to see how things work when the Left is not driving the bus.

  4. Retired Spook January 1, 2017 / 3:24 pm

    It looks like the administration will have at least one person not afraid to come right out and say, again, that Islam is a political movement with the goal of world domination, masquerading as a religion. While some lip service will be paid to outrage on the Left at this lack of respect for this “religion of peace” a good communicator can make the case for needing to differentiate between the aspects of Islam that are simply religious belief and those that are by definition anti-American and even anti-civilization.

    I could not agree more, and I see it as a two-edged sword. One of the few voices in the wilderness pushing for a reformation of Islam is Dr. Zuhdi Jasser. I would hope a Trump administration will give voice and its full support to such a movement. A reformation of Islam and a purging of the radical forces within Islam are a must if our civilization is to survive. For the record, had I been alive in 1517, I would have said the same thing about the Catholic Church.

    • Amazona January 1, 2017 / 3:49 pm

      Well, I don’t think the Catholic Church had world domination as a tenet of its catechism, or was heading toward the destruction of civilization, but clearly its dogma did not meet the needs of many people. We tend to forget that the “radical” aspect of Catholicism, known as the Inquisition, has been wildly distorted by modern efforts to portray it as far more sinister and malignant than it was, and it was after all a fleeting blip in the history of the Church. But Mark can address this far better than I, if he chooses.

      The thing is, Catholicism has survived as a strong religion, even after the reforms instituted by people who found fault with some of its teachings. Reform Judaism is doing just fine and cohabiting with Orthodox Judaism. All we have to do is look at the vast array of religions which have spun off from their origins, and their pretty peaceful coexistence with each other, to see that reform is not the death knell of a religion.

      I think failure to reform Islam may well result in its destruction, as the fundamentalists will drag down those less committed to the strict letter of the law as laid out in the Koran. They are poisoning the well for all, and those so-called “moderates” who claim to be peaceful but still support the violence and hatred of the core teachings by refusing to stand up agains them will be in their own way as responsible for its downfall as the head-choppers.

      • M. Noonan January 1, 2017 / 8:37 pm

        The Church was desperately in need of reform in the 16th century and St Ignatius of Loyola provided it…I take a more jaundiced view of the activities of Luther and Calvin, as one might expect a Catholic to do. The breaking of Christian unity and the setting up of individuals as sole judge of matters theological has not, in my view, worked out well in the long run. The problem with Islam is that there is no body capable of defining it for all Muslims…not even considering that even if there was such a body, some Muslims might reject the definition…but the Catholic Church keeps Christianity theologically sound…even for our Protestant brothers and sisters. Dispute this and that and ok…but when a Christian group goes way out of whack, there is still the Church as the standard. This, in my view, is why the Church of England is dying out…it went too far away from anything Christian, and so the membership is abandoning it in droves (and often parishes are going bodily over to the Catholic Church). Islam lacks this steadying influence…and, so, we can get Muslims clerics who will, on one hand, say that terrorism is a direct contravention of Muslim teaching and then get another, on the other hand, who will say that terrorism is A-OK…and both are being honest and neither can point to a set body of doctrine as referee.

      • Amazona January 2, 2017 / 12:26 pm

        However, those who sought to “reform” the Church did so on theological grounds, no matter what we may think of the theology. I guess the best comparison might be if the Catholic Church demanded the elimination of all non-Catholics from the face of the earth, and declared the goal of dominating all who live on earth. The question would be, what does that have to do with theology? What does that have to do with salvation, redemption, connecting with God? The argument of strict fundamentalists would be that in one belief system these are requirements by God for salvation, but they are still elements of the religion that can easily be separated from the elements of prayer and efforts to lead better lives in order to attain redemption and salvation. (We live daily with the result of the Church moving away from anything like that belief system.)

        Yes, the true fundamentalists would insist that the killing of vast numbers of people, and the behaviors that go along with this, are essential parts of their salvation, but they would still be set apart from the Reformed Church, which rejects them.

        My personal idea of a Reformed Islam is not to change the way Muslims believe, but to allow nations to address the violent and murderous aspects of the religion without infringing on the wholly religious aspects, such as how Muslims see God and how they relate to Him.

        Right now any Muslim can say to the world “I do not support terrorism” but still be part of the system that is responsible for it. I believe that forcing people to make a choice—-“I choose the religion that formally renounces terrorism and does not demand or condone the killing of non-believers” or “I formally choose to remain on the side of terrorism and the killing of non-believers”—would remove, to some extent, that built-in ability to straddle the fence and posture as “moderate” while still being part of the problem. And the “force” would be, at least initially, that those who still subscribe to fundamental Islam would be worshiping in places not protected from surveillance, as well as places publicly identified as supporting of sanctioned hatred and violence. Eventually, if surveillance proves that subversive activities and teachings are taking place, legal actions could be taken, but taken against an organization officially identified as political in nature, not merely a religion.

        There is something about publicly going into Door A to worship instead of Door B, about publicly choosing the fundamentalist religion with all its violence and hatred, that can be powerful. Every friend, relative or neighbor who has publicly renounced hatred as a religious tenet, who has renounced murder as a religious requirement, who publicly goes through Door B, is basically making the statement “I am a better person than you”. The guy who chooses Door A might be proud of being a better Muslim, but he has still lost something when the elements he prefers have been formally rejected by his friends and family and peers.

        It would be a long and gradual process, but I think over decades the fundamentalists would take on the stature now associated with fringe “Christian” groups such as Westboro Baptist. In the meantime, do I think many would simply lie and go through Door B while retaining their true commitment to hatred and violence? Of course I do. But they would also be making a public statement that such lying is not acceptable, and they would be setting up the mosques behind their Door Bs to reclassification if they also teach fundamental Islam while pretending to be reformed.

        It would not solve every problem, but it would at least make the statement that one can be a religious Muslim without being governed by hatred and love of violence and death, and it would require an official choice between the two models of Islam. Official recognition has its own power. Look at the change in attitude toward abortion once the Supreme Court gave it constitutional approval. Here in Colorado, simply making marijuana legal has taken away the a lot of the moral stigma of marijuana use.

        There are no fast answers, no easy answers, no absolute answers. All I want for now is the ability to act against subversives without violating pure religious rights. We absolutely NEED the legal ability to do surveillance on groups that meet to plan the destruction of our nation and the murder of our citizens. It is insanity to be deprived of that ability. We NEED the ability to ask of immigrants, “do you agree to support and be governed by the laws of the United States?” and to reject those who do not, without fear of violating some “religious” right. We NEED the legal ability to deport or imprison people who actively work to undermine or destroy our government, people who now do so more and more openly because of their confidence that they are protected by their claim of merely practicing their religion.

    • M. Noonan January 1, 2017 / 8:31 pm

      Wahhabism, which seems to be central to our most vigorous enemies in the Islamic world, is a “reformation” theology. While some of it’s theological roots go back quite a ways, the guy who got it rolling (Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhabi) was active in the 18th century…and his theology is a reaction against what he considered un-Islamic additions to the faith preached by Mohammad…much as Calvin, especially, was at war against what he considered un-Christian additions to the faith brought about by the Catholic Church (my view is that if the Reformation has stopped at Luther, it would have eventually wound up back in the Catholic Church as Luther held to almost all Catholic Dogma…Calvin had quite a different idea of what Christianity is supposed to be).

      I will never get out of my mind something I read long before 9/11 – a history of the Indian Mutiny, where one British governor, at the first sign of rebellion in his territory, simply locked up all the Wahhabist preachers in his area and things calmed down right away; no other British governor thought to do that, and so they got stuck with a two year long rebellion which took countless lives. After 9/11 I remembered that – and re-read the history – and have come to the firm conclusion that, indeed, our problem isn’t Islam, as such (save as Islam is inherently a standing challenge to Christian theology) but the Wahhabist version of it. Wahhabism is an extremely strict version of Islam…no deviation is (allegedly) allowed from the teachings of Mohammad (though, of course, it is Wahhabist clerics who get to decide what Mohammad meant…).

      I bring this up because a Reformation isn’t necessarily an improvement…

      • Amazona January 2, 2017 / 12:52 pm

        Your link to the Wikipedia article has many references to the belief that Wahabbism is not merely, as you say, “…an extremely strict version of Islam…” it is to many the ONLY definition of Islam. emphasis mine

        “pure Islam” (David Commins, paraphrasing supporters’ definition), that does not deviate from Sharia law in any way and should be called Islam and not Wahhabism. (King Salman bin Abdul Aziz, the King of the Saudi Arabia)

        Mahdi, Wael (March 18, 2010). “There is no such thing as Wahabism, Saudi prince says”. The National. Abu Dhabi Media. Retrieved 12 June 2014.

        In 1159/1746, the Wahhabi-Saudi state made a formal proclamation of jihad all who did not share their understanding of tauhid, for they counted as non-believers, guilty of shirk and apostasy. It is significant that whenever the term ‘Muslims’ occurs in Uthman b. Abdullah b Bishr’s chronicle, `Unwan al-Majd fi Tarikh Najd, it refers exclusively to the Wahhabis. But the Wahhabi dismissal of all Muslims other than themselves as non-believers is of more than historical significance. Discreetly concealed over the years because of a variety of factors –above all the desire of the Saudi regime to portray itself as a protector of Muslim interests, despite abundant evidence to the contrary – this attitude of monopolistic rejection continues to inform the attitudes to Muslims held by contemporary Wahhabis and those under their influence, even when not fully articulated.”

        In other words, there is abundant proof throughout Islamic writings that support the idea that the most rigid, fundamentalist and literal taking of the Koran IS Islam. And it is this that forms the core of hate-driven violence that we now have to deal with.

        WE can add labels to Islam—“radical Islam” or “fundamentalist Islam” but to Islamic scholars there is no difference, and we should not try to override their beliefs and teachings by constantly trying to modify the term.

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