Arab civilization, such as we knew it, is all but gone. The Arab world today is more violent, unstable, fragmented and driven by extremism—the extremism of the rulers and those in opposition—than at any time since the collapse of the Ottoman Empire a century ago. Every hope of modern Arab history has been betrayed. The promise of political empowerment, the return of politics, the restoration of human dignity heralded by the season of Arab uprisings in their early heydays—all has given way to civil wars, ethnic, sectarian and regional divisions and the reassertion of absolutism, both in its military and atavistic forms. With the dubious exception of the antiquated monarchies and emirates of the Gulf—which for the moment are holding out against the tide of chaos—and possibly Tunisia, there is no recognizable legitimacy left in the Arab world.

Is it any surprise that, like the vermin that take over a ruined city, the heirs to this self-destroyed civilization should be the nihilistic thugs of the Islamic State? And that there is no one else who can clean up the vast mess we Arabs have made of our world but the Americans and Western countries?

No one paradigm or one theory can explain what went wrong in the Arab world in the last century. There is no obvious set of reasons for the colossal failures of all the ideologies and political movements that swept the Arab region: Arab nationalism, in its Baathist and Nasserite forms; various Islamist movements; Arab socialism; the rentier state and rapacious monopolies, leaving in their wake a string of broken societies. No one theory can explain the marginalization of Egypt, once the center of political and cultural gravity in the Arab East, and its brief and tumultuous experimentation with peaceful political change before it reverted back to military rule.

Nor is the notion of “ancient sectarian hatreds” adequate to explain the frightening reality that along a front stretching from Basra at the mouth of the Persian Gulf to Beirut on the Mediterranean there exists an almost continuous bloodletting between Sunni and Shia—the public manifestation of an epic geopolitical battle for power and control pitting Iran, the Shia powerhouse, against Saudi Arabia, the Sunni powerhouse, and their proxies.

There is no one single overarching explanation for that tapestry of horrors in Syria and Iraq, where in the last five years more than a quarter of a million people perished, where famed cities like Aleppo, Homs and Mosul were visited by the modern terror of Assad’s chemical weapons and the brutal violence of the Islamic State. How could Syria tear itself apart and become—like Spain in the 1930s—the arena for Arabs and Muslims to re-fight their old civil wars? The war waged by the Syrian regime against civilians in opposition areas combined the use of Scud missiles, anti-personnel barrel bombs as well as medieval tactics against towns and neighborhoods such as siege and starvation. For the first time since the First World War, Syrians were dying of malnutrition and hunger.


Read more: http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2014/09/the-barbarians-within-our-gates-111116.html#ixzz3DxZc6JGX

Was talking about #WomenAgainstFeminism today on Twitter, a trend that I see largely as a reaction to (1) extremist feminist politics found readily online and (2) ignorance/stereotypes about feminism.  I tried to handle my frustration with a bit humor but quickly realized this is actually a really emotionally-fraught topic for people.  Maybe not the time for sarcasm.

Most the time, feminism in action doesn’t explicitly call itself feminism. I’m talking about things like campaigning for sex ed, same sex marriage, equal pay, maternity leave, reproductive health access, transgender health care, representation, implementing sexual assault/harassment policies, getting women into stem, etc. I think this confused void about what feminists *actually do and believe in* allows the space to be sensationalized by a loud, extreme minority and predatory media sources who see a “hot story”. Mainstream onlookers who don’t know their history or what feminism is (and don’t take a second to learn…) naturally take the bait and then end up railing against something that isn’t even an accurate representation of feminism in the first place. Then feminists are pissed, and anti-feminists are pissed (though misogynists are usually quite happy) and we’ve whipped ourselves up a nice divisive shitstorm of “whose side are you on”?

I understand it’s unpopular amongst some feminists to concede that extremism exists; “there’s nothing wrong with radical action” and “they’re a part of the movement too”! I think those are valid points (and I certainly don’t think the solution is to silence/disown anyone), but I also think we have to admit that it can really alienate people from the cause, and perhaps #WomenAgainstFeminism is proof.  What do you think?

"…you’re living at a time of extremism, a time of revolution, a time when there’s got to be a change, people in power have misused it, and now there has to be a change. And a better world has to be built and the only way it’s going to be built is with extreme methods. And I, for one, will join in with anyone—don’t care what color you are—as long as you want to change this miserable condition that exists on this earth."

(http://malcolmxfiles.blogspot.co.uk/2013/07/oxford-union-debate-december-3-1964.html)

Watch on disciplesofmalcolm.tumblr.com

Malcolm X, Oxford Union Debate, December 3, 1964

Excerpt:

“And in my opinion, the young generation of whites, blacks, browns, whatever else there is, you’re living at a time of extremism, a time of revolution, a time when there’s got to be a change, people in power have misused it, and now there has to be a change. And a better world has to be built and the only way it’s going to be built is with extreme methods. And I, for one, will joint in with anyone — don’t care what color you are — as long as you want to change this miserable condition that exists on this earth.

Are you a conservative, a libertarian, a Christian or a gun owner?  Are you opposed to abortion, globalism, Communism, illegal immigration, the United Nations or the New World Order?  Do you believe in conspiracy theories, do you believe that we are living in the “end times” or do you ever visit alternative news websites (such as this one)?  If you answered yes to any of those questions, you are a “potential terrorist” according to official U.S. government documents.  At one time, the term “terrorist” was used very narrowly.  The government applied that label to people like Osama bin Laden and other Islamic jihadists.  But now the Obama administration is removing all references to Islam from terror training materials, and instead the term “terrorist” is being applied to large groups of American citizens.  And if you are a “terrorist”, that means that you have no rights and the government can treat you just like it treats the terrorists that are being held at Guantanamo Bay.  So if you belong to a group of people that is now being referred to as “potential terrorists”, please don’t take it as a joke.  The first step to persecuting any group of people is to demonize them.  And right now large groups of peaceful, law-abiding citizens are being ruthlessly demonized.

Below is a list of 72 types of Americans that are considered to be “extremists” and “potential terrorists” in official U.S. government documents.  To see the original source document for each point, just click on the link.  As you can see, this list covers most of the country…

1. Those that talk about “individual liberties”

2. Those that advocate for states’ rights

3. Those that want “to make the world a better place”

4. “The colonists who sought to free themselves from British rule”

5. Those that are interested in “defeating the Communists”

6. Those that believe “that the interests of one’s own nation are separate from the interests of other nations or the common interest of all nations”

7. Anyone that holds a “political ideology that considers the state to be unnecessary, harmful,or undesirable”

8. Anyone that possesses an “intolerance toward other religions”

9. Those that “take action to fight against the exploitation of theenvironment and/or animals”

10. “Anti-Gay”

11. “Anti-Immigrant”

12. “Anti-Muslim”

13. “The Patriot Movement”

14. “Opposition to equal rights for gays and lesbians”

15. Members of the Family Research Council

16. Members of the American Family Association

17. Those that believe that Mexico, Canada and the United States “are secretly planning to merge into a European Union-like entity that will be known as the ‘North American Union’”

18. Members of the American Border Patrol/American Patrol

19. Members of the Federation for American Immigration Reform

20. Members of the Tennessee Freedom Coalition

21. Members of the Christian Action Network

22. Anyone that is “opposed to the New World Order”

23. Anyone that is engaged in “conspiracy theorizing”

24. Anyone that is opposed to Agenda 21

25. Anyone that is concerned about FEMA camps

26. Anyone that “fears impending gun control or weapons confiscations”

27. The militia movement

28. The sovereign citizen movement

29. Those that “don’t think they should have to pay taxes”

30. Anyone that “complains about bias”

31. Anyone that “believes in government conspiracies to the point of paranoia”

32. Anyone that “is frustrated with mainstream ideologies”

33. Anyone that “visits extremist websites/blogs”

34. Anyone that “establishes website/blog to display extremist views”

35. Anyone that “attends rallies for extremist causes”

36. Anyone that “exhibits extreme religious intolerance”

37. Anyone that “is personally connected with a grievance”

38. Anyone that “suddenly acquires weapons”

39. Anyone that “organizes protests inspired by extremist ideology”

40. “Militia or unorganized militia”

41. “General right-wing extremist”

42. Citizens that have “bumper stickers” that are patriotic or anti-U.N.

43. Those that refer to an “Army of God”

44. Those that are “fiercely nationalistic (as opposed to universal and international in orientation)”

45. Those that are “anti-global”

46. Those that are “suspicious of centralized federal authority”

47. Those that are “reverent of individual liberty”

48. Those that “believe in conspiracy theories”

49. Those that have “a belief that one’s personal and/or national ‘way of life’ is under attack”

50. Those that possess “a belief in the need to be prepared for an attack either by participating in paramilitary preparations and training or survivalism”

51. Those that would “impose strict religious tenets or laws on society (fundamentalists)”

52. Those that would “insert religion into the political sphere”

53. Anyone that would “seek to politicize religion”

54. Those that have “supported political movements for autonomy”

55. Anyone that is “anti-abortion”

56. Anyone that is “anti-Catholic”

57. Anyone that is “anti-nuclear”

58. “Rightwing extremists”

59. “Returning veterans”

60. Those concerned about “illegal immigration”

61. Those that “believe in the right to bear arms”

62. Anyone that is engaged in “ammunition stockpiling”

63. Anyone that exhibits “fear of Communist regimes”

64. “Anti-abortion activists”

65. Those that are against illegal immigration

66. Those that talk about “the New World Order” in a “derogatory” manner

67. Those that have a negative view of the United Nations

68. Those that are opposed “to the collection of federal income taxes”

69. Those that supported former presidential candidates Ron Paul, Chuck Baldwin and Bob Barr

70. Those that display the Gadsden Flag (“Don’t Tread On Me”)

71. Those that believe in “end times” prophecies

72. Evangelical Christians

The groups of people in the list above are considered “problems” that need to be dealt with.  In some of the documents referenced above, members of the military are specifically warned not to have anything to do with such groups.

We are moving into a very dangerous time in American history.  You can now be considered a “potential terrorist” just because of your religious or political beliefs.  Free speech is becoming a thing of the past, and we are rapidly becoming an Orwellian society that is the exact opposite of what our founding fathers intended.

Please pray for the United States of America.  We definitely need it.

We conclude that verses extremists cite from the Qur’an do not suggest an aggressive offensive foe seeking domination and conquest of unbelievers, as is commonly assumed. Instead they deal with themes of victimization, dishonor, and retribution. This shows close integration with the rhetorical vision of Islamist extremists. Based on this analysis we recommend that the West abandon claims that Islamist extremists seek world domination, focus on counteracting or addressing claims of victimage, emphasize alternative means of deliverance, and work to undermine the ‘champion’ image sought by extremists.
— 

A new study of propoganda from 1998 to 2011 shows that Muslim extremists are more concerned with defending against foreign intrusion than striving towards worldwide offensive Jihad. The study’s researches, Jeffry Halverson, R. Bennett Furlow and Steven Corman, assert that

continued claims to the contrary, by both official and unofficial sources, only play into a ‘clash of civilizations’ narrative that benefits the extremist cause. These claims also undermine the credibility of Western voices, because the audience knows that extremist arguments are really about victimage and deliverance.

This, of course, only adds to the long line of research that points toward motivations for extremism that don’t agree with the Islamist narrative often promoted in the West.

Radical Feminists Strongly Against The First Amendment

As the Fourth of July is approaching, I felt compelled to make a post about this issue. We know how much debate has been over the second amendment, but how about that first amendment? Now I know this is a couple of months old story but I wanna cover this - just to show community of Tumblr the true, ugly colors of radical feminism.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M2KPeMcYsuc

The above video made by TheAmazingAtheist (whom I’m an avid follower and a subscriber) shows in detail how a bunch of freedom of speech -hating radical feminists are trying to disrupt a Canadian MRA meeting, doing so successfully. Further in that video we’re being exposed to horrifying clips of psychotic feminists swearing and calling names on men’s rights activists. Fortunately MRA’s keep their cool and don’t provoke these crazies to the brink of a physical conflict.

Now I’m not gonna analyze this further because T.J.’s doing the job pretty thoroughly for us. T.J. has also exposed lots and lots of other BS by these maniacs and I recommend you to look his channel.

Happy Independence Day everyone!

[Republicans] know deep down that there isn’t a single other figure in their party who can come within yodeling distance of 270 electoral votes [than Chris Christie]. Certainly not against Hillary Clinton. Against her, the rest of them max out at around 180, which would constitute the biggest wipeout since Bill Clinton thumped Bob Dole in 1996 (379-159)…

The fact that the GOP establishment needs to come face-to-face with is that they have no one to blame for this but themselves. They’ve reached the point where they almost have to have a Northeasterner like Christie to run for president, just as they had to settle for Romney last time. They’ve let their party go so far off the deep end that practically no Republican officeholder from any other region of the country could appeal to enough moderates in enough purple and blue states to win back the territory the party ceded to the Democrats in the last two elections.
— 

Michael Tomasky, “How Bad Does the GOP Need Chris Christie? Really Bad." The upshot of the piece is that Republicans are in a complete panic that Christie might become their 2016 nominee and as equally panicked that he may not. It’s a pickle and one that Tomasky relishes (pun intended — sorry about that). "I trust you’re enjoying the Christie panic among Republican establishment types as much as I am," he writes.

I am.

[h/t Taegan Goddard]

When Jewish Terrorists Attack

My my, Netanyahu had an interesting day yesterday:

In an attack Tuesday — which an Israeli official termed an act of Jewish terrorism — around 50 right-wing Israeli extremists infiltrated and attacked the Ephraim Regional Division Headquarters, an Israel Defense Forces military base in the West Bank.

The activists entered the base, damaged property, set tires on fire, threw stones and damaged vehicles according to a statement released by the IDF.

The right-wing extremists also tried to attack the commander of the area, Col. Ran Kahana, by throwing stones at his vehicle.

I intend to fight this phenomenon with all the force available to me as prime minister of Israel,” Netanyahu said. “No person can raise his hand against IDF soldiers and police.”

In a separate incident around 50 right-wing activists arrived Monday night at the closed military area on the Israeli Jordanian border. They cut the security fence and occupied a structure near the Qasr el Yahud baptism site.

Haaretz reports that he calls this situation “intolerable” and that “we must take care of these rioters with a firm hand”. Opposition Leader Tzipi Livni (Kadima), also took the opportunity to speak out:

The prime minister treats the incidents as matters of law enforcement rather than ideology, because “he feels uncomfortable confronting his natural allies.”

Yossi Gurvitz, a blogger for 972Mag, says the government has not been treating self-described acts of “Jewish terrorism” serious at all, and the military-police is complicent:

I assume, Carmela, that you wouldn’t expect the brigade commander to open fire at a Jew standing in front of him, I am certain you didn’t mean that.”

Central Command Chief, General Mizrahi said that “I’ve never seen such hatred against soldiers”:

"I have yet to hear any harsh condemnation from the settler leadership, which is mostly normative and Zionist," he added. "In my 30 years in the IDF I have yet to see such Jewish hatred like the one directed at our soldiers."

Mizrahi continued to say that the violence was “planned, not sporadic,” adding that it had erupted “in light of the government’s order to evict West Bank outposts by the end of the year, in accordance with its pledge to the High Court of Justice.”

The Central Command chief said Ephraim Brigade commander Ran Kahana was injured when a settler hit him with a stone at close range. Mizrahi said the settler called Kahana a “Nazi.”   “The brigade commander’s grandmother is a Holocaust survivor,” Mizrahi told the press conference. Red lines have been crossed.

The religious community also chimed in, with mixed messages. Former IDF Chief Rabbi (and head of the extremist Itamar settlement) strongly condemned the attack:

"We must stop this thing at once, we cannot carry on as normal. I am calling on educators in Judea and Samaria, and on heads of settlements, to meet and see what they should do, it is impossible to continue like this… I am telling you something from my gut. If this reality will govern here, then I have no more place here, I will not stay in this place

“The Brigade Commander described an appalling incident to me – they opened the door of the jeep and threw a concrete block that passed between the brigade commander and the driver, it could have killed him,” he said.

National Union party member MK Katz, however, said the attackers were “planted” by the government to discredit the settler movement.

We will wait and see what Netanyahu’s decision is, but the IDF is mulling evicting all the attackers from the West Bank, permanently:

Defense officials were critical Tuesday of the legal system in Israel that has until now only prosecuted a small number of those involved in so-called “price tag” attacks against IDF soldiers and Palestinians.

On Tuesday, for example, the IDF failed to arrest even a single attacker involved in the infiltration and vandalizing of the Efriam Regional Brigade base near Kedumim.

IDF officers have held talks recently with judges from courts throughout the country in an effort to explain the difficulty in collecting evidence that can be used against the perpetrators and how the light punishments, which those arrested received, was not deterring future attacks.

Even JPost’s editorial team took these attacks harshly.

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