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RAPID RESPONSE (Archives)...Daily Commentary on News of the Day
This is a new section.  It will offer fresh, quick reactions by myself to news and events of the day, day by day, in this rapid-fire world of ours.  Of course, as in military campaigns, a rapid response in one direction may occasionally have to be followed by a "strategic withdrawal" in another direction.  Charge that to "the fog of war", and to the necessary flexibility any mental or military campaign must maintain to be effective.  But the mission will always be the same: common sense, based upon facts and "real politick", supported by a visceral sense of Justice and a commitment to be pro-active.  That's all I promise.
GS

Click here to return to the current Rapid Response list


TUESDAY through THURSDAY May 29 through 31, 2012

If 10% of this is true, it is 10% too much.  NEVER.

GS

Joys of Muslim Women

By Nonie Darwish

In the Muslim faith a Muslim man can marry a child as young as 1 year old and have sexual intimacy with this child. Consummating the marriage by 9.

The dowry is given to the family in exchange for the woman (who becomes his slave) and for the purchase of the private parts of the woman, to use her as a toy.

Even though a woman is abused she can not obtain a divorce.

To prove rape, the woman must have (4) male witnesses.

Often after a woman has been raped, she is returned to her family and the family must return the dowry. The family has the right to execute her (an honor killing) to restore the honor of the family. Husbands can beat their wives 'at will' and he does not have to say why he has beaten her.

The husband is permitted to have (4 wives) and a temporary wife for an hour (prostitute) at his discretion.

The Shariah Muslim law controls the private as well as the public life of the woman.

In the West World ( Americaand Britain ) Muslim men are starting to demand Shariah Law so the wife can not obtain a divorce and he can have full and complete control of her. It is amazing and alarming how many of our sisters and daughters attending AmericanUniversities and BritishUniversities are now marrying Muslim men and submitting themselves and their children unsuspectingly to the Shariah law.

By passing this on, enlightened American and British women may avoid becoming a slave under Shariah Law.

Ripping the West in Two.

Author and lecturer Nonie Darwish says the goal of radical Islamists is to impose Shariah law on the world, ripping Western law and liberty in two.

She recently authored the book, Cruel and Usual Punishment: The Terrifying Global Implications of Islamic Law. Darwish was born in Cairo and spent her childhood in Egypt and Gaza before immigrating to America in 1978, when she was eight years old. Her father died while leading covert attacks onIsrael . He was a high-ranking Egyptian military officer stationed with his family inGaza .

When he died, he was considered a "shahid," a martyr for jihad. His posthumous status earned Nonie and her family an elevated position in Muslim society.

But Darwish developed a skeptical eye at an early age. She questioned her own Muslim culture and upbringing.. She converted to Christianity after hearing a Christian preacher on television.

In her latest book, Darwish warns about creeping shariah law - what it is, what it means, and how it is manifested in Islamic countries.

For the West, she says radical Islamists are working to impose sharia on the world. If that happens, Western civilization will be destroyed. Westerners generally assume all religions encourage a respect for the dignity of each individual. Islamic law (Sharia) teaches that non-Muslims should be subjugated or killed in this world.

Peace and prosperity for one's children is not as important as assuring that Islamic law rules everywhere in the Middle Eastand eventually in the world

While Westerners tend to think that all religions encourage some form of the golden rule, Shariah teaches two systems of ethics - one for Muslims and another for non-Muslims. Building on tribal practices of the seventh century, Shariah encourages the side of humanity that wants to take from and subjugate others.

While Westerners tend to think in terms of religious people developing a personal understanding of and relationship with God, Shariah advocates executing people who ask difficult questions that could be interpreted as criticism.

It's hard to imagine, that in this day and age, Islamic scholars agree that those who criticize Islam or choose to stop being Muslim should be executed. Sadly, while talk of an Islamic reformation is common and even assumed by many in the West, such murmurings in the Middle East are silenced through intimidation.

While Westerners are accustomed to an increase in religious tolerance over time, Darwish explains how petro dollars are being used to grow an extremely intolerant form of political Islam in her nativeEgypt and elsewhere.

(In twenty years there will be enough Muslim voters in the U.S. And Britain To elect the President by themselves! Rest assured they will do so... You can look at how they have taken over several towns in the USA .. Dearborn Mich.Is one... And there are others....) ( Britain has several cities now totally controlled by Muslims)

I think everyone in the U.S.And Great Britain Should be required to read this, but with the ACLU, there is no way this will be widely publicized, unless each of us sends it on!

It is too bad that so many are disillusioned with life and Christianity to accept Muslims as peaceful.. Some may be but they have an army that is willing to shed blood in the name of Islam.. The peaceful support the warriors with their finances and own kind of patriotism to their religion. While America and Britain are getting rid of Christianity from all public sites and erasing God from the lives of children the Muslims are planning a great jihad on America ... (andBritain ) ...


MONDAY, May 28, 2012

Adam, this is the next rr.  Please try to post it today, Memorial Day, with my introduction and followed by the attached article in toto.  Thanks.  Dad

MEMORIAL DAY, 2012. 

Our thoughts...and actions...on this day should focus on two subjects: the Heroism and selflessness of our military in action; and our Freedom for which they offer everything including their lives and limbs. 
Please see the offering in this Rapid Response section for April 29 - 30, 2012.  "IS ANYBODY THERE?  DOES ANYBODY CARE?"
See the review of a new book entitled :A History of America's Wars and Those Who Fought Them", by James Wright, published in NYTimes Book Review May 27, 2012, p14.  Here is sobering evidence that the rest of us have "no skin in the game".  This situation must be reversed, most immediately by re-institution of the Draft, something that I participated in and whose demise I have been criticizing for decades.  Also, please see the report that follows regarding the percentage of returning veterans who are filing for disability benefits, the great majority of which are warranted.  Let 's see how our "grateful nation" deals with this challenge.
And then there is the issue of Freedom.  The Saturday, May 26 edition of The Day (www.theday.com) includes an article entitled "Islamic Gathering In Hartford Looks At Anti-Shariah Movement in U.S." (Region, pF4).  Of all the hare-brained - and dangerous - ideas floating around our nation at the present time, the idea of substituting a foreign and despotic legal code for our Constitution in relation to some of our citizens is the worst.  In a word: NEVER.  This has nothing to do with Freedom of Religion or with any bias against law-abiding Muslims.  For Islam is not just a Religion, but also a totalitarian civil and military government totally at odds with the rest of the world. 
Perhaps Memorial Day is just the right time to remind our enemies within and without this nation of the Minutemen, of Bunker Hill, of Lexington and Concord...and of Admiral Yamamoto's warning to his Japanese superiors against invading the American mainland: "There is a rifle behind every blade of grass". 

GOD BLESS OUR FIGHTING AND DYING MEN AND WOMEN.

GS

Article published in The Day, May 28, 2012
Almost half of returning vets now file for disability
By MARILYNN MARCHIONE AP Chief Medical Writer
Rate has skyrocketed, straining resources

America's newest veterans are filing for disability benefits at a historic rate, claiming to be the most medically and mentally troubled generation of former troops the nation has ever seen.

A staggering 45 percent of the 1.6 million veterans from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are now seeking compensation for injuries they say are service-related. That is more than double the estimate of 21 percent who filed such claims after the Gulf War in the early 1990s, top government officials told The Associated Press.

What's more, these new veterans are claiming eight to nine ailments on average, and the most recent ones over the last year are claiming 11 to 14. By comparison, Vietnam veterans are currently receiving compensation for fewer than four, on average, and those from World War II and Korea, just two.

It's unclear how much worse off these new veterans are than their predecessors. Many factors are driving the dramatic increase in claims - the weak economy, more troops surviving wounds, and more awareness of problems such as concussions and PTSD. Almost one-third have been granted disability so far.

Government officials and some veterans' advocates say that veterans who might have been able to work with certain disabilities may be more inclined to seek benefits now because they lost jobs or can't find any. Aggressive outreach and advocacy efforts also have brought more veterans into the system, which must evaluate each claim to see if it is war-related. Payments range from $127 a month for a 10 percent disability to $2,769 for a full one.

As the nation commemorates the more than 6,400 troops who died in post-9/11 wars, the problems of those who survived also draw attention. These new veterans are seeking a level of help the government did not anticipate, and for which there is no special fund set aside to pay.

The Department of Veterans Affairs is mired in backlogged claims, but "our mission is to take care of whatever the population is," said Allison Hickey, the VA's undersecretary for benefits. "We want them to have what their entitlement is."

The 21 percent who filed claims in previous wars is Hickey's estimate of an average for Operation Desert Storm and Desert Shield. The VA has details only on the current disability claims being paid to veterans of each war.

The AP spent three months reviewing records and talking with doctors, government officials and former troops to take stock of the new veterans. They are different in many ways from those who fought before them.

More are from the Reserves and National Guard - 28 percent of those filing disability claims - rather than career military. Reserves and National Guard made up a greater percentage of troops in these wars than they did in previous ones. About 31 percent of Guard/Reserve new veterans have filed claims compared to 56 percent of career military ones.

More of the new veterans are women, accounting for 12 percent of those who have sought care through the VA. Women also served in greater numbers in these wars than in the past. Some female veterans are claiming PTSD due to military sexual trauma - a new challenge from a disability rating standpoint, Hickey said.

The new veterans have different types of injuries than previous veterans did. That's partly because improvised bombs have been the main weapon and because body armor and improved battlefield care allowed many of them to survive wounds that in past wars proved fatal.

"They're being kept alive at unprecedented rates," said Dr. David Cifu, the VA's medical rehabilitation chief. More than 95 percent of troops wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan have survived.

Larry Bailey II is an example. After tripping a rooftop bomb in Afghanistan last June, the 26-year-old Marine remembers flying into the air, then fellow troops attending to him.

"I pretty much knew that my legs were gone. My left hand, from what I remember I still had three fingers on it," although they didn't seem right, Bailey said. "I looked a few times but then they told me to stop looking." Bailey, who is from Zion, Ill., north of Chicago, ended up a triple amputee and expects to get a hand transplant this summer.

He is still transitioning from active duty and is not yet a veteran. Just over half of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans eligible for VA care have used it so far.

Of those who have sought VA care:

• More than 1,600 of them lost a limb; many others lost fingers or toes.

• At least 156 are blind, and thousands of others have impaired vision.

• More than 177,000 have hearing loss, and more than 350,000 report tinnitus - noise or ringing in the ears.

• Thousands are disfigured, as many as 200 of them so badly that they may need face transplants. One-quarter of battlefield injuries requiring evacuation included wounds to the face or jaw, one study found.

"The numbers are pretty staggering," said Dr. Bohdan Pomahac, a surgeon at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston who has done four face transplants on non-military patients and expects to start doing them soon on veterans.

Others have invisible wounds. More than 400,000 of these new veterans have been treated by the VA for a mental health problem, most commonly, PTSD.

Tens of thousands of veterans suffered traumatic brain injury, or TBI - mostly mild concussions from bomb blasts - and doctors don't know what's in store for them long-term. Cifu, of the VA, said that roughly 20 percent of active duty troops suffered concussions, but only one-third of them have symptoms lasting beyond a few months.

That's still a big number, and "it's very rare that someone has just a single concussion," said David Hovda, director of the UCLA Brain Injury Research Center. Suffering multiple concussions, or one soon after another, raises the risk of long-term problems. A brain injury also makes the brain more susceptible to PTSD, he said.

On a more mundane level, many new veterans have back, shoulder and knee problems, aggravated by carrying heavy packs and wearing the body armor that helped keep them alive. One recent study found that 19 percent required orthopedic surgery consultations and 4 percent needed surgery after returning from combat.

All of this adds up to more disability claims, which for years have been coming in faster than the government can handle them. The average wait to get a new one processed grows longer each month and is now about eight months - time that a frustrated, injured veteran might spend with no income.

More than 560,000 veterans from all wars currently have claims that are backlogged - older than 125 days.

The VA's benefits chief, Hickey, gave these reasons:

• Sheer volume. Disability claims from all veterans soared from 888,000 in 2008 to 1.3 million in 2011. Last year's included more than 230,000 new claims from Vietnam veterans and their survivors because of a change in what conditions can be considered related to Agent Orange exposure. Those complex, 50-year-old cases took more than a third of available staff, she said.

• High number of ailments per claim. When a veteran claims 11 to 14 problems, each one requires "due diligence" - a medical evaluation and proof that it is service-related, Hickey said.

• A new mandate to handle the oldest cases first. Because these tend to be the most complex, they have monopolized staff and pushed up average processing time on new claims, she said.

• Outmoded systems. The VA is streamlining and going to electronic records, but for now, "We have 4.4 million case files sitting around 56 regional offices that we have to work with; that slows us down significantly," Hickey said.

Barry Jesinoski, executive director of Disabled American Veterans, called Hickey's efforts "commendable," but said: "The VA has a long way to go" to meet veterans' needs. Even before the surge in Agent Orange cases, VA officials "were already at a place that was unacceptable" on backlogged claims, he said.

He and VA officials agree that the economy is motivating some claims. His group helps veterans file them, and he said that sometimes when veterans come in, "We'll say, "Is your back worse?' and they'll say, "No, I just lost my job."'

Jesinoski does believe these veterans have more mental problems, especially from multiple deployments.

"You just can't keep sending people into war five, six or seven times and expect that they're going to come home just fine," he said.

For taxpayers, the ordeal is just beginning. With any war, the cost of caring for veterans rises for several decades and peaks 30 to 40 years later, when diseases of aging are more common, said Harvard economist Linda Bilmes. She estimates the health care and disability costs of the recent wars at $600 billion to $900 billion.

"This is a huge number and there's no money set aside," she said. "Unless we take steps now into some kind of fund that will grow over time, it's very plausible many people will feel we can't afford these benefits we overpromised."

How would that play to these veterans, who all volunteered and now expect the government to keep its end of the bargain?

"The deal was, if you get wounded, we're going to supply this level of support," Bilmes said. Right now, "there's a lot of sympathy and a lot of people want to help. But memories are short and times change."



SATURDAY and SUNDAY, May 26 and 27, 2012

...AND WHAT ABOUT THE "PROFESSIONALS"?
WHAT A SHAME!!

GS

Education commissioner to New London schools: You can do better
By Julianne Hanckel
Publication: theday.com
Published 05/24/2012 12:00 AM
Updated 05/25/2012 04:00 PM

New London — The state education commissioner told members of the Board of Education Thursday night that he knows New London can do better.
 
Education Commissioner Stefan Pryor spoke candidly with board members about the recent state audit, which he said has raised a "number of concerns."
 
"The (State Board of Education's) concerns center upon the governance of the district and the management of the district. I'm hoping to talk about the perception of them and understand the context," Pryor said. "It's never enough to just read a report and accept its findings."
 
Pryor said the performance of the students in the district is another large area of concern. He called the path of student achievement in the district "stagnant" and students' performance levels "unacceptable."
 
Lol Fearon, chief of the state education department's Bureau of Accountability and Improvement, said the commissioner's concerns were not new.
 
"These concerns did not happen overnight and did not happen during the tenure of this specific board, but at the same time, the solution to these issues lies within the entire New London community. The state wants to be part of the solution," Fearon said.
 
New London ranks among the four lowest-performing school districts in the state. During the New London school board meeting, Pryor said that the district also has the sixth-lowest graduation rate in the state.
 
"We know New London can do better. We know that there is good will within this board, within individuals on this board and with the hardworking individuals in this school system," Pryor said. "No one is pessimistic about the prospect for growth; on the contrary, we're optimistic that there can be true progress. But there are concerns that conditions are not yet set and that the platform has not been built for progress. We can do it. We're confident that such a platform can be built. That's why we're here today."
 
Pryor began the discussion by focusing on two areas in the audit.
 
The first describes the school board's relationship with the superintendent of schools, while the second focuses on school board meetings and their lack of "focus on critical issues."
 
School board members said Thursday that they do not receive information pertinent to school board meetings on time and that their questions are sometimes not answered. They said that this lack of communication creates an environment of "distrust."
 
Other board members said that while they may receive reports and data, they do not know how to interpret them.
 
"I don't think we've received any reports on student achievement or improvement, which we're supposed to get one once a month," member Margaret Curtin said. "We ask questions and we ask for reports (and) we're told we're trying to micro-manage. I can't make a decision without knowing what's happening."
 
The purpose of the audit was to analyze school system leadership; district and school organizational arrangements; and school district governance structure and functions, including the relationships among administrators, the school board, Mayor Daryl Justin Finizio, the City Council and members of the community.
 
Since the audit's release, school board Chairman William Morse, Superintendent Nicholas A. Fischer and Finizio have met with Pryor to discuss the audit. Those discussions have been called "preliminary" by both the mayor and the commissioner.
 
Whether the state will intervene in the school district and to what degree has yet to be determined.
 
Members of the State Board of Education are slated to hear Pryor's recommendations for New London at their regular meeting June 6 in Hartford. Pryor said a recommendation for New London may come out of that meeting.
 
When asked what the board would like to see happen in the form of training, members said they wanted to learn more about how to use the data the board receives, and more about reading a school board budget.
 
Morse suggested that a "board-to-board" relationship between the Windham school district and New London would help, since the state has intervened in Windham.
 
The recent signing of the education reform bill by Gov. Dannel P. Malloy gives the state board broader authority in issuing recommendations and intervening in a school system.
 
If the state chooses to intervene by assigning a special master, replacing the superintendent or reconstituting the school board or the entire school system, the state also must require that all New London school board members attend mandatory training.


FRIDAY, May 25, 2012

AT TIMES, THE BEST I CAN DO IS TO OFFER A READING LIST.  AND THAT'S NOT SO BAD.  

Above all, you should read the same information in at least two different sources.  What used to be called "Yellow Journalism" now passes for the accepted standard: spinning and editorializing on every page - not only on the Editorial Page.  And that practice occurs through both commission and omission, particularly in the "Liberal" press.   "It's a jungle out there".

GS


SATURDAY through THURSDAY, May 19 through 24, 2012

TO MEMBERS OF THE NATIONAL REPUBLICAN PARTY:
"WE HAS SEEN THE ENEMY...AND THEY IS US".

There is only one group of voters who can guarantee the loss of the November 2012 national elections to the Obama cabal...and that is Republicans.  The following realities are the means to avoid that disaster.

If the Republican Party and its nominee, Mitt Romney, clearly espouse the above, Americans of nearly all political persuasions will change the direction and governance of this country in November by a vast majority.  BUT ONLY "IF"...

GS

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

A WORD OR TWO ABOUT SPIRITUALITY...AND RELIGIONS.

Actually, more than a few words.  Please see the many offerings on this web site to be found  under the Category entitled "Abortion, Morality and Ethics".  You might want to start with the section within "Physician-Patient Spirituality" entitled "Point and Counter-Point", addressing many of the ethical issues of the day - including some from the perspective of the other Great Religions. 
As for the Catholic Church, the continued offerings under "What's Wrong - or Right - With The Catholic Church", provide food for thought in a realm increasingly focused on authoritarian pronouncements without regard for valuable input by the loyal laity. 
And just a word about "atheists": they are, in my opinion, "certifiable".  Agnostics, on the other hand, should be embraced and helped out of their honest search for the true meaning of life.

GS


MONDAY through FRIDAY, May 14 through 18, 2012

Only in America---Top Ten

1) Only in America could politicians talk about the greed of the rich
at a $35,000 a plate campaign fund raising event.

2) Only in America could people claim that the government still
discriminates against black Americans when we have a black President,
a black Attorney General, and roughly 18% of the federal workforce is
black. 12% of the population is black.

3) Only in America could we have had the two people most responsible
for our tax code, Timothy Geithner, the head of the Treasury
Department and Charles Rangel who once ran the Ways and Means
Committee, BOTH turn out to be tax cheats who are in favor of higher
taxes.

4) Only in America can we have terrorists kill people in the name of
Allah and have the media primarily react by fretting that Muslims
might be harmed by the backlash.

5) Only in America would we make people who want to legally become
American citizens wait for years in their home countries and pay tens
of thousands of dollars for the privilege while we discuss letting
anyone who sneaks into the country illegally just become American
citizens.

6) Only in America could the people who believe in balancing the
budget and sticking by the country's Constitution be thought of as
"extremists."

7) Only in America could you need to present a driver's license to
cash a check or buy alcohol, but not to vote.

8) Only in America could people demand the government investigate
whether oil companies are gouging the public because the price of gas
went up when the return on equity invested in a major U.S. oil company
(Marathon Oil) is less than half of a company making tennis shoes
(Nike).

9) Only in America could the government collect more tax dollars from
the people than any nation in recorded history, still spend a trillion
dollars more than it has per year for total spending of $7 million PER
MINUTE, and complain that it doesn't have nearly enough money.

10) Only in America could the rich people who pay 86% of all income
taxes be accused of not paying their "fair share" by people who don't
pay any income taxes at all.


SUNDAY, May 13, 2012

The crisis in Public Education continues to worsen, nationally and locally. 
Please see the special section on this web site entitled "Public Education Politics" to review the history of how our children got here and where they are now. 
Caution: this is not for the faint of heart...or for those easily angered.

GS


SATURDAY, May 12, 2012

Radical Islam: History and, maybe, Hope.

GS

==================================================
ZENIT, The world seen from Rome
News Agency
==================================================

Radicalization of Islam; Western Response

Father Khalil Samir on a Solution

ROME, MAY 11, 2012 (Zenit.org).- Jesuit Father Samir Khalil Samir is an author and professor at the St. Joseph University in Lebanon in Catholic theology and Islamic studies and advisor to numerous Church and political leaders. 


Mark Riedemann for Where God Weeps in cooperation with Aid to the Church in Need interviews Father Samir about the increasing radicalization of Islam and the implications for western policy.


Q: Unfortunately we start to see an increasing radicalization in Islam. Why is this radicalization occurring and where is this leading us?


Father Samir: The radicalization started with the Muslim Brotherhood at the end of the 1920s – specifically with the end of the First World War and the fall of the Caliphate in 1923 -1924 in which the Ottoman Empire, the last Muslim empire, ended after 1,300 years. Additionally there was the secularization of Turkey. The Muslims did not know what to do. They asked themselves who is to be the new Caliph? Saudi Arabia, Egypt? They could not find anyone to take over this empire. A movement started which said: We have to Islamize the Muslim countries. They are too westernized. And it was true: their juridical system was based on the systems in France, in Switzerland etc., and so they founded and started the Muslim Brotherhood, which was not very powerful then. Their intention was just to change the society toward something more Muslim. They started as a political movement within Egypt. Initially they refused violence absolutely, but with time, violence became part of the st
ruggle against the Socialist revolution of Egypt’s President Gamal Abdel Nasser. Members of the Muslim Brotherhood were persecuted, put in prison or killed. Then they started to organize the resistance and the opposition. They became, every year, more violent. 


Q: But it did not remain just an Egyptian issue?
Father Samir: We have to remember that in 1948 the State of Israel was created. The Arab countries waged war against Israel. The war ended with all the Arab countries defeated by this small country. They were humiliated. They then said that this was due to the fact these countries were not Muslim enough; we now have to start the revolution. War after war was waged between Israel and the Arab world and every time it was a defeat for the Arab countries. Things began to change economically in 1973-1974, when there was a boom in the demand for petrol. The price of petrol increased four times and a lot of petrol dollars were suddenly available. What could these oil producing countries like Saudi Arabia do with this money? They built mosques and Islamic centers. In Egypt, they financed the building of thousands of schools and mosques. They are still doing that today.


Q: Is there a religious agenda and if yes, what is the purpose?
Father Samir: Yes. Wahhabism originates from the name of Abdal Wahhab who lived in 1780 who made an agreement with Prince Muhammad ibn Saud. He supported this prince and the prince adopted the religious ideology of Abdal Wahhab. There are four Sunni juridical schools in Islam. The most rigorous one is called Hanbali, which was practiced in Saudi Arabia at that time. Abdal Wahhab found even this Hanbali was not strict enough and so Wahhabism. It is the strictest practice of Islam. When Saudi Arabia was established at the beginning of the 20th century, this kind of Islam became the state religion which everyone was required to follow. With their money they exported this ideology, and so it was introduced in Egypt and in the 1990s in Algeria and Indonesia. 


Q: So in simplistic terms, oil money from the US and Europe is fueling the expansion of radical Islam?
Father Samir: Absolutely and it is going on today; they have plenty of money and a vision, an ideology. 


Q: The inter linking of politics and religion: in the West we experience secularization and a separation of Church and state. Is this possible in the Muslim world and how do we move to peace?
Father Samir: For the Muslim people who have not experienced secularization, almaniyyah means atheism. They cannot imagine a state without religion. Secularization for them means that religion is apart and is therefore atheism. I never use this word in Arabic. I say a “civil state, which does not mean that religion has no part. 


Q: What is the approach then?
Father Samir: I think we must say to the Muslims and the Eastern Christians that religion is a very important part of public life, and this we want to keep. An example is Lebanon, which has more religion than anywhere else, but all religions are recognized and respected. Here is a proposal: We all believe in God. We have different approaches to God, the Muslim approach, the Christian and Jewish as well as other approaches. This is the proposal; we will not touch religion because it is too rooted in us, but we want citizenship. We are all citizens and we want equality.


Q: Is it too late? The Christians are leaving the Middle East. Is this trend reversible?
Father Samir: Yes, that is why we have hope and this is very important. We would like, before it is too late, to say Stop; we as Christians have a proposal, not a Christian proposal but a proposal for everyone. The proposal is, please, for all those who are willing to apply this proposal, don’t leave, whether you are Christian, Muslim or Jews, we have to build together a society based on human rights.


Q: …because today the Middle East, tomorrow Europe and the United States.
Father Samir: …because if it is not done today and you don’t help us realize this project, Europe and the US be forewarned that today the radical Muslims are here but tomorrow they will come to you. They will attack you as colonialist and imperialist; these words are often used because it is expedient. You will be labelled as the bad one; you’ve put us in this situation and now we shall take revenge upon you. 


Q: But violence cannot be the answer…


Father Samir: We cannot fight an ideology with bombs. It provokes more anger among the aggrieved people. The more we kill this so called “terrorist” more will come to replace them because they do not perceive it as terrorism. It is an honour. It is the only honour they can achieve because they are often marginalized in their own country. They then say ‘we are martyrs’. We use the word ‘martyr’ Shahid every day.


Q: And the answer?
Father Samir: What we, Christians, are saying; the meaning of our life is to make peace, to have justice for the poor, the women, for everyone. For example, to have an educational system where not only the rich benefit. Egypt has one of the worst educational systems in the world. People after an obligatory nine years come out of the school unable to read or write. I was in charge of the educational system during the Socialist government in Egypt in the 1970s and I discovered during that time, at least half of the young people particularly boys could not read or write. I, as a government representative, even went to a so-called model schools where maybe 10% to 20% of the pupils could learn, and for the others it is too late. The key word is to build together because we know that we alone do not have the power to change the whole of society.


Q: You stated ‘together’…
Father Samir: Together… that is to say that the solution has to be peaceful, it cannot be a violent solution. It has to start with a political project. Firstly, the war has to end between Palestine and Israel. We will support the proposal to create two states. One would be ideal but after 60 years of war, this proposal will be impossible today. So two states with defined borders. We need one generation to transcend this. These borders are not to be walled to allow a free movement of people. The same in Iraq, we need peace between the Sunni and the Shia Muslims. I preach this among Muslims. So together with peace we can build our project – on one of social justice because this precept is in the Koran, the Bible and it is the ideal for Christians, Muslims and Jews. We propose this common project. We start. It cannot be, however, an Islamic one because it could be manipulated. The constitution is religious and will recognize God in different manners and it has to be
based on human rights. Lebanon could be a model, not a perfect model but some ideas could come from there. And we will develop … step by step. It will take some generations…


Q: …but it is achievable!
Father Samir: I think it is achievable. Then we invite the richer countries to help us, then we will do the same to help them build a society of mutual co-existence. The king of Arabia would like to change the system. He built and started a university with mixed students; can you imagine this in Saudi Arabia and by the king? He is being criticized by the Mullahs, by the shaykh… but he is taking this step.

Having read this, it is clear that the "Hope" that you note in your subject line is a fantasy until this sort of religious fanatism is simply eradicated.  Ideally, it will be disappear with acceptance of the human rights mentioned by Father Samir, but sadly I suspect it will end up (if it happens at all) being wiped out with a combination of human rights and yes, lots of the bombs also mentioned by Father Samir.  I'm continually baffled by how this world throughout history and at present rises up and wipes out (usually with savage violence) evil and extremism in all its forms, usually when it reaches a global scale.  Radical Christianity was successfully and rightfully fought; the same with radical Socialism (Communism and Nazism), Fascism, absolute monarchy, institutional slavery, and the list goes on.  Yet, like a car racing toward the cliff's edge the world comes to a screeching halt when it approaches radical Islam.

I noticed decades before 9/11 that Islam in particular is singularly supreme to every other religion and way of life in its talent for being "offended" at the slightest turn.  I specifically refrain from the term 'slightest provocation' because even moderate Muslims often see provocation where none exists.  Further, also unlike any other culture or religion Islam's reaction to "offense" is most often totally irrational, utterly lacking in proportional response, and simply accepted as one culture's way of protecting itself.  While many of the aforementioned evils used (or continue to use) the same survival tactics, only radical Islam and its often vocal media supporters are met with tolerance and/or validation.  All others are rightfully denigrated, ridiculed, and/or fought against until they are (hopefully) destroyed.       

I'm sorry if I offend anyone reading this, but other than the historical facts laid out by Father Samir much of the rest of what he said is pablum.  He has the nerve to say "so-called 'terrorist'"?  He refuses to use any connotation of the notion of secularization with Muslims as if they would spontaneously combust if they had to think the 'unthinkable'?  And,  he "invite[s] the richer countries to help" him?  Is that a joke?  The centers of the most radical Muslims on the planet are awash in the petrodollars he mentioned.  The continued propping up of corrupt military regimes by the U.S. doesn't help evolve a nation's economy they way it otherwise would be with such an influx of cash, but considering the alternative that Father Samir noted I'll take Hosni Mubarak over the Muslim Brotherhood every time.  In fact, without the fanaticism of the likes of the Muslim Brotherhood the Hosni Mubaraks of the world would never flourish.  Remember, this isn't a 'chicken-or-egg' proposition.  The consequences of WWI in the Middle East were not the catalyst for today's Muslim (and Arab) cultural and religious schizophrenia.  The West did not create radical Islam; Islam created its own fanaticism, most noteably in the late 18th Century with Wahhabism, but for centuries prior.

After 1,300 years of Ottoman rule, after 1,300 years of a Love-Hate relationship with the West, they backed the wrong horse.  And, as repeated by Iran in 1979 (notwithstanding Kemal Ataturk's endeavors in Turkey) considerable Muslim sentiment in the 1920s chose to shun Western ideology (whose cultural, religious, and economic success is unmatched in history) in favor of fanatism that continues to be their albatross, but which they irrationally view as honorable martyrdom; an expressway to God.

History is immutable, but if Hope in this case is to have any chance of success it must be manifested with exceptional understanding of that history.  Good intentions are not an excuse against the harmful consequences of those intentions.  Hoping for the sake of hope that radical Islam simply evaporates is a fool's errand.  Further, kind words and/or money directed to people many of whom already view us as weak and/or unworthy of existence will not help the situation.  While I have hope that Humanity will someday pull its head out of its ass and correct this tragedy, I have none in the notion that it will be resolved in my lifetime.

P-


THURSDAY through FRIDAY, May 3 through 11, 2012

HEREWITH, ANOTHER INSTALLMENT OF "AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 OPINIONS". 

"Nuff Said".

GS


WEDNESDAY, May 2, 2012

ANOTHER OFFERING BY CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER,
to which I have just one thing to add: PRECISELY.

GS

"President Obama, the Divider in Chief", in The Day Saturday, May 5, 2012, pA6.

TUESDAY, May 1, 2012

GREECE, USA.     GS

Magazine ranks state sixth worst for business
By Lee Howard Day Staff Writer

Connecticut may be "open for business," as Gov. Dannel P. Malloy spelled out in this year's State of the State address, but the impact of his policy changes didn't budge its business-climate ranking this year compared with 2011.

Chief Executive magazine's annual ranking of the best states in which to do business placed Connecticut at No. 44 among the nation's 50 states, the same spot it occupied last year. The rankings, based on 650 surveys handed in by chief executives of companies all around the United States, noted that Connecticut businesses are anxiously awaiting the outcome of a possible increase in the state's minimum wage.

Connecticut also saw the loss of more than 94,000 residents during the decade starting in the year 2000, according to the magazine. In addition, the combined state and local tax burden in Connecticut was put at 12 percent, compared to a national average of 2.2 percent.

"Connecticut could be the business-friendly refuge of (New York City) and New England," one anonymous executive said in a commentary section on the website ChiefExecutive.net, "but instead taxes and regulates like the crown of Old England."

Andrew Doba, director of communications for Malloy's administration, noted that the governor inherited a state that had seen no job growth in 22 years.

"We are seeing some immediate results from the governor's leadership," Doba said in an email. "Do we have more work to do? Absolutely. But that doesn't change the fact that for the first time in a long time, people know that Connecticut is open for business."

Doba pointed out that the state has seen private-sector job growth of 15,300 since March 2011. Over the same time, the state's unemployment rate has fallen from 9.3 percent to 7.7 percent, he added.

Still, the magazine survey placed only New Jersey, Michigan, Massachusetts, Illinois, New York and California in worse positions than Connecticut among state business climates. But the Nutmeg State, which had risen from 45th to 44th in the survey a year ago, was listed as in a neutral business trend rather than negative, as had occurred when it fell seven spots in 2010.

Texas earned the No. 1 ranking among states, with Florida, North Carolina, Tennessee and Indiana rounding out the Top 5.

"It may be no accident that most of the states in the top 20 are also right-to-work states, as labor force flexibility is highly sought after when a business seeks a location," according to the lead article by J.P. Donlon.



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