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Archive for October, 2006

Illusion of Confidence

The key to self-empowerment in this culture is to do whatever one does with so much dexterity and enthusiasm and obvious self-confidence that it psychs the opposition into supporting it uncritically.

A Uniter, Not a Divider

I was thinking this morning about a phrase George Bush used in the 2000 election, “I’m a uniter, not a divider.” It occurred to me that everything that’s wrong with his administration is summed up by that one phrase, and the context in which it was used.

Musings after Dark, or before Dawn

The frightening thing for me is the way in which Margaret Atwood makes the loss of democracy in America seem plausible, even easy. The echoes with the George W. Bush era are uncomfortable. Hillary Clinton’s “vast right-wing conspiracy” is real.

Contradictions

Every so often I come across a particularly egregious example of the miscomprehension of Islam that is all too common in this country. Indeed, much of it seems deliberate and willful. I get depressed thinking about all the work that needs to be done just to return to a neutral starting point for discussion….

Islam Is Democratic

Can a religion based on submission be democratic? We all know that Islam means “submission.” Doesn’t that encourage a cowering mentality in the face of tyrants?

Did I Do Enough?

A courageous post today from billmon: “I’ve probably been as guilty as anyone of thinking of the war as some sort of strategy game, or a domestic political issue or a fascinating, if bloody, story….”

A Thought on Moroccan Politics

Power in Morocco “is monopolized by the monarchy, which is indeed a vague, unlimited and omnipotent system that interferes in everything, but at the same time admits responsibility of nothing.”

Progressive Islam (two conversations)

“I can tell you the solution that Taha came up with. He said the Qur’anic verses revealed at Mecca are pure Islam, while the later verses revealed at Medina are more limited because they respond to the needs of the moment. The extremists didn’t like that, so they killed him.”

Do They Want to Kill Us?

What about that claim, anyway, that we are surrounded by people who hate us and want to kill us? As Dr. James Dobson of Focus on the Family put it last month, “We are at war in this country with an enemy who wants to destroy us. … Let’s say four percent of Muslims want to kill us.”

Complacency

America is defined by its complacency. What we are defending when we defend the American way of life is our complacency. And what is complacency? It is the ability to insulate ourselves, to not care.