obsessions

Matthew linked to a documentary called Obsession: Radical Islam’s War Against the West. You can watch the entire film (about hour) in clips here. [Watch for the jihadi rap to Sean Paul beats in part III–I couldn’t make that up].

Matthew writes: There is no excuse for hiding from the reality of the world, right now. No excuse.

I agree. Although we disagree quite a bit (agree as well on subst. points) about what that reality is.

The film is wide-ranging but the main thrust of which is Radical Islam is a monolithic global threat to Western Civilization–it is the new Fascism (Islamo-Fascism)–and most importantly it is a religious (not political or politico-religious) ideology.

Some thoughts on the film. First what it covers well.

1. Makes the distinction between Radical Islam and Islam itself.

2. Some good background on the relationship between the Grand Mutfi of Jerusalem and Hitler. There was a strong connection between the two. And the propaganda tools of the Nazis flowed into the Arab world and anti-Semitism is rife, in fact omnipresent, in Arab (and larger Muslim) society. The Germans, for the Arabs, were allies–the Arab’s enemies were the French, British, and Russians who had colonized the Middle East. The Nazis were for the Arabs the destroyers of their enemies. Also good info. on the ways in which Nazi indoctrination techniques have been co-opted by these groups (esp. with youth soldiers).

3. Sad and awful imagery of the pathetic nature of Arab media and the pervasiveness of anti-Semitic, anti-Western propaganda. Also the reality that Arab propaganda is guided primarily by corrupt autocrats–mostly Sunni–who use the propaganda as the only outlet in police states. No dissent of the government is allowed; hence all problems are the fault of a conspiracy by the West and Zionists.

–Negative
Major flaws:

1.Radical Islam as such does not ex-ist. There are Islamists or Islamisms. The problem, from both a theoretical and certainly from a military-political pov, is that you would never unite your enemies. The entire strategy is divide and conquer. Why would we give reason for groups who certainly have connections and similiarities but also massive differences/agendas to be so intimately linked. It is the West (one monolith) versus Radical Islam (another). Why do this?

al-Qaeda is not the Muslim Brotherhood is not Hezbollah is not SCIRI is not the Mehdi Army is not the Taliban, is not the Algerian Front, is not Hamas is not PLO is not Iranian Ayatollahs, and on and on and on.

These groups often hate each other as much, if not more than the West. Bush’s foreign policy and use of terms like Islamo-Fascism only brings these groups together. They are dangerous; that is why we need to keep them as separate and in-fighting as much as possible.

2. My mind the biggest flaw of this line of argument. Suicide bombing ALWAYS takes place under political occupation. ALWAYS. Of course this Islamist version gains an extra credence from within the Islamic tradition.

Who uses suicide bombings?
–Iranians when they were fought/occupied by the Iraqis.
–The Palestinians. Especially if they still consider all of Palestine as occupied territories and not just the West Bank and Gaza (another post to come on that point)
–Taliban: Afghanistan occupied by NATO/US Troops.
–Tamil Tigers (Sri Lanka–want an independent Tami homeland….not Muslim)
–Hezbollah Lebanon 1983: Occupied by Israelis. Majority of suicide bombers were actually atheists Marxists, even a few Chrsitians under the umbrella of the Shia militant group.
–Sunni Iraqis: Occupied by US Forces and view Shia as Iranian agents (govt, army, police)

But then you may ask what about 9/11 or the attacks on European targets? The British subway attacks for example were carried out by British Muslims, born and raised. They aren’t occupied by a foreign power. These groups, not without some validation, see themselves as unaccepted by the larger society. They feel they live under an occupied foreign regime. French Arab youth as well.

And who committed the 9/11 attacks? Saudis and Egyptians. Saudi Arabia where American forces were stationed and Egypt (who along with Israel) receives over 90% of US foreign aid. Whose regime only stands and has stood becasue of US armaments, moneys, training, etc. The notion that Arab rulers are usuerpers and occupiers of Muslims and therefore Muslims can kill their Muslim rulers comes from Sayid Qutb, bin Laden’s greatest intellectual-theological influence. But even here bin Laden is in the minority of minorities; the vast majority of radical Islamists, who are themselves only the smalest minority (like 2%) of Muslim populations, want to overthrow their own governments not the US.

3. Islamo-fascism. While there are links between Arab and Nazi propaganda this film makes some ludicrous claims. Walid Shebat, former PLO terrorist says that radical Islamism is more dangerous than Nazism becomes Islamism is a religious doctrine. It is God who calls people to jihad not the Fuhrer, he says.

First off Nazism, at least among Hitler’s inner circle was a religion. That was the whole point. It was a religion of the return to pre-Christian Germanity. See the films on Hitler and the Occult. SS Leader Heinrich Himler envisioned the SS on the model of the warrior class of Brahmanical Hinduism–his favorite text was the Bhagavad Gita. They practiced vegetarianism and animal care as religious articles of faith.

Sheobat also says that Islamism is more dangerous than Nazism because Islamism exists around the world, in numerous majority Muslim countries. So therefore there could be multiple Germanies. However, outside of sub-Saharan Africa and the possibility of Egypt or SA falling, there are no Islamist regimes in the world. And the ones who are are not the world premier industrial and technological power as was the Third Reich.

George Bush is not Winston f—ing Churchill. This is not 1935.

And even if you want to go that route, which is imbecilic if you ask me, but ok, here goes. Who is completely missing from this documentary and all this talk of Islamo-fascism, Hitler, anti-Semitism, and radical Islam?

I’ll give you a hint: Churchill, Roosevelt are both in the film–but which other Yalta-member was not? Joseph Stalin. The Soviets. It’s only this Western democratic mythicism that says that the Anglo-American alliance won the day and the 20th century is only about the rise of liberal democracies. The West would not have won without millions of Soviet deaths and a frigid winter bogging down the Nazis in Russia.

We did not defeat the Nazis without the later evil commis. So who are our comrades today?
Iran–think about it. Iran is our Soviet Union. The Nazis then are the Sunni Islamist Jihadis. The Shia are the Soviets, Ahmadinejad is our Stalin not our Hitler as a result. Like the Soviets they are going to get a nuclear weapon “against our warnings.” So deal with them like we did with the Soviets–use them to beat the Nazis, contain, and let the fluctuation bring them down.

4. The influence is only a one-way street. We only hear about the talk of global radical networks and never ask how all that media technology got there in the first place for them to exploit? The radical Isamists constant refrain of America wanting to take over the world is a perverse way of explaining a half-truth (twisted though): namely that globalization is coming with a force to the Sunni world as the latest phase of Western influence or colonialsm depending on your pov and that the Arab culture/religion is not ready to handle the social dislocation that is resulting. Plus the West is unready to give space for the growth pains the ME needs to go through in order to enter the modern world. Iraq is the primary example of that reality.

5. The carciaturization of anyone who thinks they are other influences at work than Islamic reigoin as Michael Moore/Neville Chamberlains. You gotta be better than that.

No reference to the history of nations with natural resources like oil and diamonds almost always becoming failed states, from Africa, Latin America, to yes the Middle East. No reference to the history of colonialism. No reference to the work on the politics of suicide bombing. No reference to the massive dislocation the world over experienced by the influx of globalization.

[All that and I really do not like the over done-fear mongering documentary music.]

Psychologically and intellectually the movie strikes me as paradoxically quite soothing emotionally. It creates a whole climate of fear yes, there is this global enemy lurking in the shadows ready to destroy the West, they are the new Nazis. But since they are the new Nazis there is an element, a major assumption (and a wrong one!!!) I see pervasively on the right, that we know how to beat this enemy.

Nevermind we forget about the Soviets, like I said before. The view assumes that once we all get together and finally recognize the enemy for what it is, we will triumph.

THAT IS PRECISELY NOT THE CASE. The whole lesson to be learned from Iraq and Afghanistan is that the US Army has not yet learned how to fight localized (not GLOBAL) insurgencies, criminal gangs, within failed states. Global guerillas that is.

Their whole point is fragmentation, breaking down order, supporting cronies–not world domination like Hitler no matter what they say. Their rhetoric is what it is, their actions are much more important.

Hezbollah is not taking over Lebanon it is destroying Lebanon. It is a product of not even a failed state but no state to begin with really. This is the defining issue of the post Cold War world, the breaking down of the colonially imposed lines of nation-states. The wars around the globe are sectarian strife (former Yugoslavia), inter-religious conflict, etc.

[Look for the few clips from a Prof. from West Ontario Salim, who they unfortunately don’t follow up on, but who talks about failed states and non-state actors….}

It is actually in that sense darker than these prophets of doom lead us to believe. The real quesiton is how to fight, reconstruct, bolster failing states, and promote development in order to isolate these radical and unconvertible elements as much as possible.

The Nazi analogy is so awful because these guys do not wear uniforms. There is no Fuhrer, there is no German nation. There never will be an Islamic Caliphate. There is therfore no total victory. There will never be an “end” to this–it is a Long War. Not a four year one. It is degrees of victory, no peace accords or all the rest.

Published in: on October 31, 2006 at 12:50 pm  Comments (1)  

OH-IO

If you want to see my homestate and hometown blasted, honored–you have to be a Buckeye to get the humor of all this.

The Daily Show all week from (my alma mater) THE Ohio State University.

History and background on Cincinnati’s own Skyline Chili here.

LeBron for Gov? Pres? He’s already King.

Published in: on October 31, 2006 at 11:43 am  Leave a Comment  

Moqta-liki

Report: Maliki Orders Lifting of Checkpoints Around Sadr City

Story here.

Pretty much the same story last couple of weeks. A high level member of the Mahdi Army is captured and then the Prime Minister personally releases the man. The US Army sets up roadblocks in Sadr City (their stronghold, east Baghdad) and Maliki orders them down.

Maliki only got into power by the slimest margin (remember former Prime Minister al Jaffari?) through the vote of Sadr. The Army is in many ways a front for the Mahdi Army, who is also busy fighting the police, who are infiltrated by their Shia milita rivals the SCIRI–Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq, led by Abdul Aziz al Hakim.

The US keeps talking about taking on the Shia militia, which angers the Shia who see the real enemy as the Sunni-led insurgency. The Shia militias, not the US Army or the Iraqi green-zone government, are what protect Shia on the street.

Bush’s plan of building up a central gov’t, a army, and then leaving shows its weakness here. The Shia use the Army, Police, and militas as a unified strategy of protection, building up power. There is no unified Iraq–who wants this other than Bush? The Shia want any means whereby to consolidate their power and the elected govt is just one (and actually probably a small one) of achieving that end. The Shia are loyal to the Shia not the notion of a unified Iraq, secular, democratic, and an ally in the war on terror. What would they care about such nonsense?

The Army is a sectarian force which is why the Sunnis do not trust it. The Sunni Insurgency is really at this point the Sunni militia for defense of Sunnis.

If Sadr’s people went off again–as they did during 2003/4–the US would be facing a two-prong insurgency from both Sunni and Shia. The government would fall if Sadr withdrew his support and could turn large portions of the Army, who are more loyal to him than a united Iraqi state, to a larger scale civil war.

Lost in Maliki’s rhetoric of the past days about not being America’s guy, wanting the Americans out in six months bc he believes the Iraqi Army (hint, hint) can take of the security problem: what he means is that the Shia, militias and Army included, would destroy the Sunni in numbers we do not want to imagine.

It wouldn’t stop the suicide bombings, probably only increase them. But the Sunni, lost in their rhetoric and attacks on the US, are scared. Are deeply afraid of the Shia now. If the US leaves, it will be a Sunni bloodbath, with the Kurds on the sidelines.

The Sunnis do not want in on this government, the Shia don’t want them. The Kurds don’t care. The US just keeps a lid for now on the whole thing blowing up Rwanda-style, but is not leaving any stability to go forward. Every side is just keeping their guns watiing for the Americans to exit.

Published in: on October 31, 2006 at 9:14 am  Leave a Comment  

Conservatisms

Fascinating speech and respnose from Andrew Sullivan and David Brooks on the state of conservativism from C-Span BookTV. Whatever one may think of their respective views, both deeply engaging speakers/presences.

Listen really intently to what Brooks has to say–quite brilliant I think.

Sullivan does a wonderful job of explaining the core principles of conservative thought: epistemological doubt, moral doubt (not moral relativism), but doubt that any of our plans or actions are ever perfect, that anything human is perfectible. A Lockean emphasis on returning to the facts and a Hobbesian notion that human nature includes evil and therefore government must promote objective restraints which it backs up by force, if necessary (Leviathan). And even in the force to hold open the possiblity that that force is easily corruptible: power corrupts, absolute power…..absolutely.

But then Sullivan applies that core principles to what he calls Christianism. I agree with Brooks that the conservative doubt benchmark should be applied rather to the federal government and this administration. The so-called arrogance of power. And that social conservative “Christianists” have been used by Bush, as by Reagan (and Nixon), for political ends and are mostly pawns in their game (see David Kuo’s new book Tempting Faith, former 2nd at Office of Faith-Based Initiatives). And even worse the fragmented tribalism of our day.

Like Brooks I also believe that conservatism of the Hayek variety is the intellect’s suppository, flushing it of nonsense and bad-sense. But never should be the governing phlosophy AND that one must have a governning philosopohy. The absenting oneself from having such a view, participating allows far worse elements to fill that vacuum.

George W. Bush’s 2000 campaign’s slogan of “compassionate conservatism” spoke to that. It was a realization that conservatives could no longer just be the Party of Reform (’94 Contract) but were now the mainline party as the Dems were during the New Deal Days. And that running the federal government is difficult and for all the talk of a Grover Norquist of shrinking that gov’t to the size whereby it can be drowned in the bathtub is–by conservative logic of non-centralized planning–not going to happen. Bc, among other things, a la Brooks, conservatives also remember that human beings are prone to evil and brutality and you need, as a necessary evil, a Leviathan around. And truth be told, that Leviathan is never going to be dis-interested, is always going to want a piece of the pie (outside of military exploit). Human beings are not econoomic self-interested machines.

Because conservatism has a proper place for subsidiarity: the notion that decision making shoul be left to those on the scene, closest to the action (hence suppport for free-er markets). But that notion taken as a unchangable tenet is one of the prime problems of the so-called post 9/11 world.

Globalization can (and does) empower super-individuals (or 19 of them if you like). Subsidiarity here can cause a dereliction of duty and nature abhors a you-know-what. And then Sullivan’s fundamentalists enemies will be there to fill that void. Though CATO Insitute folks will hate it, there have to be rule sets created on a universal scale commensurate with our core “creed” as Brooks calls it—rule of law, freedom of worship/belief.

Otherwise subsidiarity and traditionaal European (Sullivan is British) aristocratic conservatism will just leave room for global guerillas.

40-60s Liberalism, the Great Society and all the rest failed. Contract with America Republicanism also has failed. So sadly did an attempt to bridge the gap: compassionate conservatism. Or rather not as much failed as sadly never saw the light of day. Partly that was a result of the terrorist attacks, but less so than most imagine in my view. Gandhi was once famously asked what he thought about Christianity. He said he was all for it, too bad nobody had ever actually tried it out. Same for compassionate conservatism.

Published in: on October 30, 2006 at 1:56 pm  Leave a Comment  

integralisms

Spending more time in the last couple of weeks with the so-called Wilber critics. Although critics really isn’t the right word because many hold a great deal in common with Ken. Just wanted to put down some observations on different thinkers.

I’m gonig to do a bit of categorization, which by nature is a limiting enterprise–no substitute for in-depth exploration of one’s own. Also it’s not a universal list. Also these are observations; this is not a defense of AQAL or whatever. Just exploring the interaction between the theories for now–and trying to stay away from the egoic-personality stuff on all sides. In subsequent posts, I’ll go back highlighting one/two in particular.

The two best sources for most (not all) of the thinkers covered: integralworld and openintegral. Otherwise, source is linked.

In no particular order…

1. Metaphysicians: Frank Visser and Alan Kazlev.

When Frank stays away from pathetic posts about how Ken shouldn’t use the word “simply” and sticks with the real thrust/passion of his writings, it invovles a neo-Perennialism. His main criticisms then are to do with Wilber-5, the so-called postmetaphysical writings. Or what Ken, within those writings, calls this naturalistic turn.

Alan Kazlev. Neo-Aurobindian. Kazlev disagrees with Ken’s description of Sri Aurobindo. It generally revolves around a similar issue with Frank–the labeling of Aurobdino as meta-physical and Wilber-5 as post-metaphysical.

2. Deconstructionists: Jeff Meyerhoff (and Geoffrey Falk?)

Meyerhoff uses traditional Continental (mostly French) postmodern deconstructive philosophical-literary tools, esp. diferance, in an attempt to dismantle Wilber’s meta-narrative of integration.

Falk is author of two very critical works–Stripping the Gurus and Norman Einstein. Falk relies heavily on anti-cult writings and evidence, e.g. Zimbardo’s Stanford Prison Experiment, to argue that Wilber is the Guru Head of Cultish I-I.

Both these authors also accuse Wilber of bad scholarship.

3. We-Space, Intersubjectivity: Mark Edwards, Edward Berge.

Mark has written extensively on the need for more appreciation of the We-space, the social and communal nature of integral existence. Check the integralnaked archives for his discussion/debate with Ken. Also has argued against a Flatland interpretation of the right-hand exterior quadrants.

Edward feels that Ken has not actually gone far enough in his post-metaphysical turn. He wants to see p-m applied to states of consciousness and like Mark feels Ken relies too heavily on development psychology, thereby practically privileging individualist (over more socia-communal) interpretations. Implicit in that criticism is that the individualist bent comes from his American, midwestern background–and hence the occassional charge that Ken is a Republican, right-winger.

But these two are in much more agreement overall with Wilber than any named above.

4. Holonic Theory: Andrew Smith. Smith is pretty much a category unto himself. Very hard to summarize his work–I’m still spending a lot of time with it. Smith advocates what he calls a one-scale model of hierarchy (i.e. a non-quadratic holonism). Also disagreements over the definitions of nonduality and the relationship between individual/collective dimensions.

5. Humanities/Canon. Matthew Dallman. Readers of this blog will know of my on-going dialogue with Matthew concerning definition of integral, the value (or lack) of structuralist analysis in the Humanities, definitions, scope, and methodology of integral, etc.

So just to keep in mind, this is my int. of their works and often my interpretation of their interpretation of another person’s (Wilber’s) interpretation-argument. And some of my responses may be considered traditional defenses from the AQAL vantage point, others not.

Published in: on October 30, 2006 at 10:04 am  Comments (1)  

50 Books for Evangelicals

Top 50 Books That Have Shaped Evangelicals.

Not necessarily written by evangelicals though many are.

Positive Ones (imho):
#45 The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind, Mark A. Noll (should be #2)
#42 The Purpose Driven Life (had to be on there)
#31 The Next Christendom, Philip Jenkins–the best writer on Xty alive.
#24 The Meaning of Persons: Paul Tournier
#19 Dietrich Bonhoeffer: (Lutheran), one of the top 5 theologians of the 20th c.
#11 Celebration of Discipline: Richard Foster. [From the site: “opened the door for many evangelicals to intentionally practice spiritual disciplines and find a connection with the church throughout history”]
#4 Francis Schaeffer: The God Who is There….easily the most important since Edwards, evangelical theologian/thinker.
#1 Prayer Conserving with God: Rosalind Rinker.

Negative:
#40 Darwin on Trial, Philip E. Johnson
#36 Left Behind: Timothy LeHaye (Rapture ideology)
#34 This Present Darkness: Frank Peretti (obsession over spiritual warfare, demonlogy)
#33 The Late Great Planet Earth: Hal Lindsay (The Book of Revelation as guide to determining the future)
#29 Dare to Discipline: Dr. James Dobson
#22 The Genesis Flood: Morris and Whitcomb. Young earth creationism meets hydraulic engineer (yikes).

Trends…

On the positive side, works that emphasize evangelical continuance with the Christian tradition, prayer-spiritual discipline, silence, and mystical union. That show conversion must be of the heart and head.

Negative: anti-Darwinian, creationism, anti-evolutionary ideology. And second the Rapture, apocalyptic obsession and fear-mongering of the prophet of doom from the so-called Christian Right.

Published in: on October 29, 2006 at 8:09 pm  Comments (1)  

Further Strains Afghan Mission

In light of the recent NATO attack that killed about 70 civilians, Mullah Omar has turned down an offer of true from Afghan Pres. Hamid Karzai.

On Friday, Karzai said he would be willing to hold talks with Mulla
Mohammad Omar and his followers if they stop receiving support from foreign
fighters and cut ties with al-Qaeda…Karzai has also written to influential ethnic Pashtun politicians in Pakistan asking for their support to stem the growing Taliban insurgency. The purported statement from the Taliban, sent by e-mail Saturday to the Associated Press by militant spokesman Muhammad Hanif, dismissed Karzai’s latest offer of talks and called his administration a “puppet government.”

Published in: on October 28, 2006 at 1:27 pm  Leave a Comment  

Barack and Thoughts on Race

Amidst all the Barack coverage, I find it so fsacinating (and saddening at times) how race is still thought of in American discourse. So many paeons to Barack being the possible first African American president. But I find a key elment missing in them.

Interesting to note. His father is from Kenya–so he is originally perhaps African American in a different sense we normally mean from that term. His mother is white. His parents met in Hawaii, where Barack was born and raised. He lived for a few years in Indonesia (with his then Indonesian step-father & mother), moving back to Hawaii raised by his maternal grandparents (who would be white by my reckoning).

So a black-white-Hawaiian from Kansas, Indonesia, Chicago, Harvard, Columbia. A Democrat and Christian (United Church of Christ affiliated), with strong pull in rural districts in his Illinois Senate Race.

I’m not saying he’s not black. Charles Krauthammer has an op-ed today where he encourages the Junior Senator to run for Prez. It’s well meaning, says some nice things about how a black President would be a great blessing for the US–which I happen to agree with. But there still to me is this strange idea that there’s only “black”. All the diversity is funneled down to just one label.

We are locked into these monolithic racial categories, seems to me.

John McWhorter opines here on how Obama is getting too nice of treatment precisely because he is black, which however well inteionted, McWhorter still feels does a dis-service to black people. Which may be true, but still assumes, seems to me, only the African American/black element of his background.

Barack to me represents more this post-racial, melded identity or identities really. I don’t mind people calling him black–although to be fair I haven’t heard anyone call him white, and the case could be made he is equal parts both.

I’m sure there will be charges( if not already) that because of this mestizo background, Barack isn’t really black–whatever that means. Or because he is an establishment guy, not because of his mixed racial background, he’s not really black. Black in this construct, meaning I guess, automatically against the system.

And there is this interesting question of his relationship vis a vis the descendents of enslaved peoples in America. He certainly is seen I’m sure by others through that lens. Out of college he did work with voter registration and social service for the poor. But his father is not.

Doesn’t mean he can’t identify with that strain, isn’t identified with that movement, to it’s just interesting to note. His wife is black. His daughters. And minus his time in Indonesia has lived in the US, so has experienced these emotions, viewpoints firsthand. In Dreams of My Father, Barack writes very eloquently of the spiritual legacy of the African American peoples. Their great connection to the Exodus story, to the God of the oppressed, to graciousness and hospitality, and to care for the poor.

Very similiar to Tiger Woods in my mind and how from a fluid series of backgrounds, individuals, for whatever reasons of their own, projectd onto another one construct.

I think a Barack presidency woudl help heal racial wounds, but not in the way it seems that many others think it would. I think it could help people move beyond these simplistic and outdated notins of race–instead of trying to accept everyone’s outdated version we just get to a new place where everybody is shades of everyone else.

Like Salman Rushdie said, we should all keep getting together until we’re all brown and olive. Originally we are all from Africa anyway, right?

Or as Morgan Freeman (great last name) said, I don’t want African American history month anymore. Because that assumes it isn’t American history.

Whatever value that consciousness-raising models had from the 60s, they do perpetuate the notion, I find, that Black History is different, “other” to use the postmodern jargon. Wherever there is other-ness there is fear, hatred, suspicion, even well-meaning guilt (usually among liberals).

Sameness and otherness are two poles co-arising. Like black and white.

Published in: on October 27, 2006 at 5:37 pm  Leave a Comment  

2006 Dirtball Politics

Update: The RNC has dropped the ad against Harold Ford with the Playboy bunny. They have replaced it with an ad saying he wants to give abortion pills to children. I’ve taken the YouTube video off from my previous posting.

Today’s WashingtonPost has a sorrowful but insightful account of the negativity of this year’s attack ads. The article points out that while the RNC has pulled the ad, it flourishes anyway.

From the article:

At the same time, the growth of “independent expenditures” by national parties
and other groups has allowed candidates to distance themselves from distasteful
attacks on their opponents, while blogs and YouTube have provided free
distribution networks for eye-catching hatchet jobs.

In no particular order, from the article, some of the real losers.

ยท In New York, the NRCC ran an ad accusing Democratic House candidate
Michael A. Arcuri, a district attorney, of using taxpayer dollars for phone sex.
“Hi, sexy,” a dancing woman purrs. “You’ve reached the live, one-on-one fantasy
line.” It turns out that one of Arcuri’s aides had tried to call the state
Division of Criminal Justice, which had a number that was almost identical to
that of a porn line. The misdial cost taxpayers $1.25.

In two dozen congressional districts, a political action committee
supported by a white Indianapolis businessman, J. Patrick Rooney, is running ads
saying Democrats want to abort black babies. A voice says, “If you make a little
mistake with one of your hos, you’ll want to dispose of that problem tout de
suite, no questions asked.” [Should the plural of ho be hos or hoes?]

A host of Democrats have been accused of trying to “cut and run” in Iraq —
including House candidate Tammy Duckworth of Illinois, who lost both legs in
Iraq.

Kirsten Gillibrand has an ad online ridiculing Rep. John E. Sweeney (R-N.Y.) for attending a late-night fraternity party. “What’s a 50-year-old man doing at a frat party anyway?” one young woman asks, as a faux Sweeney boogies behind her to the Beastie Boys. “Totally creeping me out!” another responds.

Published in: on October 27, 2006 at 11:59 am  Leave a Comment  

Theological Strains in Hegelian Globalized Islam(ism)

[This is a followup to the last post–that one should be read first.]

The key spiritual insight, for me, is that the entire universe is sacrificial. It is all a sacrifice.

I, as a Christian, see the Sacrifice as one of Thanksgiving and Praise. Christians call this the Eucharist.

The only spiritual inquiry worth having is: Am I avoiding relationship?

That to me is an even deeper question than Ramana’s “Who I am?” Or the other version of that question:”Who is God?”

That question brings about the realization of Oneness (Non-duality). But it is alone and can easily keep one away in enlightened bliss–very common in traditional Eastern spirituality.

“Am I avoiding relationship” is asked even after (and only really then) one has answered, “Who am I, who is God?” The answer being not an answer in a traditional sense but rather the dropping of the Witness in Presence without an Observer. No bell, no ringer, just the ring-ing.

Am I avoiding relationship is the question of sacrifice. Am I avoiding sacrifice? Am I avoiding living out in this and every moment the fact that I am always already in relationship will all beings.

It is not just that everything is One and joy/peace flows from that, although that can be experienced and is true to the degree it is true. It is that I am always related to all else.

Pulling back from that admittedly pulled back political view in the last post, my thoughts on a Europe beyond that division, is a reflection on sacrifice. The sacrificing of millenia of history and identity, even the sacrificing of the comfortable post WWII identity of bleakness, nihilism, and victimizer. That can be sacrificed by the conservative Euro backlash. But the former is far deeper, to bequeath the legacy to others.

As light, as a supernova. For no other reason than to. Sacrificing/bequeathing the heritage of rule of law, debate, universalism beyond color or creed for the salvation of both.

The Truth forgotten by both conservative and liberal Euros as well as Islamists. We are all inherently connected—not just politically and socially although that too, that is the only the result of the deeper truth. We are all in relation to the very core of our beings.

To be righteous–liberally or conservatively–is to sin against this truth. It is to forget that we always already love one another. In the true sense of love. The painful heartbeat to the Universe.

That deeper context, the reason I pull back from getting involved in too many short-term arguments, narrow thinking-feeling is that we talk without recognizing the space of Sacrifice. Capital S.

From the outside, from the pulled back view there is this great trajectory, the evolution of life and consciousness. From the inside it is Sacrifice. That “system” being impersonal is not a respecter of beings.

That is the paradox, for most the problem, of our existence. This long view, This Long View-er, has used wars to bring us together. We only know and care about Islam, Shia, Sunni, Islamism, to the degree any do because of self-interest. Because of an attack. While painful from the inside in the short term; it is actually a great blessing in disguise. Not that that excsues barbaric action or the murdering of innocents. It does not.

From the inside there is always choice. It is trajectory not imposition. There need not be the violence, the bloodshed, and sorrow–at least not the degree of–involved in the transition.

But we humans are slow learners. Power corrupts, sin is rife in the human heart. But there is alwyas hope. Things are made new. There are resurrections after we die to the known.

From the Absolute it is not learning to love, learning to understand Muslims, it is realizing they and us arise from the Same Heart. That they and us are humorous fake words we must use.

Published in: on October 26, 2006 at 4:51 pm  Comments (2)