When Extremism Learns to Blow things Up

From Informed Comment:  http://www.juancole.com/2011/07/when-extremism-learns-to-blow-things-up.html

By Juan Cole
Posted on 07/24/2011

The revelation by CNN that Norwegian right wing terrorist Anders Behring Breivik kept a diary in which he obsessed about the dangers of cultural Marxism, multiculturalism, and the “Islamification” of Europe will remind many Americans of the tactics of our own right wing (only these themes have been taken up by people much more mainstream in the US than Breivik is in Norway!) The movement to ban the shariah, the castigation of a progressive income tax as “Marxist,” the condemnation of multiculturalism as a threat to Western values, are all themes commonly heard in the US Tea Party and in the right wing of the Israel lobbies.

It would be wrong, of course, to suggest that anyone who hits these themes is a terrorist in waiting or supports violence.

But here is the reason for which such rhetoric is dangerous and can easily lead to social violence.

It is black and white, allowing no nuance. Immigration is not a smooth process, and is attended with problems in some cases. The history of the United States, an immigrant society, suggests that whatever the problems are, they are not insuperable. But Breivik saw Muslim immigration in particular as a threat to the very identity of Europe. That is, if the immigration from the Middle East were allowed to continue, then ultimately there would be no Europe, just a big Iran on all sides of the Mediterranean. Moreover, he imagined this process of Islamification as happening very quickly.

Breivik’s thinking is not new under the sun. Protestant Nativists of the “Native American” and later “Know-Nothing” (i.e. secret society) movement in the 1830s through 1850s in the United States felt exactly the same way about Catholic immigrants to the US. America wouldn’t be America if this went on. Their values were inherently incompatible with the Constitution. Their loyalties were to an anti-modern foreign court dedicated to reinforcement of political and intellectual tyranny. The hordes of them would take over the country before too long. The combination of black-and-white thinking and a conviction that undesirable change is coming very rapidly often provokes violence. Brian Porter’s When Nationalism Learned to Hate makes the point about Poland, that peaceful democratic processes depend crucially on patience and a conviction that the future can be won. When members of a movement become impatient and believe that the situation could quickly and unalterably shift against them, they are much more likely to turn to violence.

Catholic immigrants to the US, like Muslim immigrants to Europe, cannot in fact be characterized in a black and white way. Catholics in the contemporary US are politically and socially diverse, but on the whole are more socially liberal than evangelical Protestants. That is, if the Know-Nothings were afraid of an anti-Enlightenment religious movement, it would have been to their own, Protestant ranks, that they should have looked.

Continue reading at:  http://www.juancole.com/2011/07/when-extremism-learns-to-blow-things-up.html

New York Gay Marriage: First Gay Couples Marry At Midnight

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Divorce link to transgender recognition is questionable

From The Irish Times: http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/ireland/2011/0725/1224301312860.html

The Irish Times –
Monday July 25, 2011

That a married person seeking gender reassignment should divorce poses questions, writes FERGUS RYAN

THE RECENTLY published report of the inter-departmental Gender Recognition Advisory Group, if implemented, will allow a transgendered person to align his or her legally assigned gender with what he or she experiences as their true gender, provided certain conditions are met. While these recommendations are broadly to be welcomed, the report poses difficult questions of policy that have profound and potentially distressing implications for transgendered persons and their families.

Notably, significant concerns have been raised regarding the proposed requirement that the applicant for gender recognition not be a party to a subsisting marriage or civil partnership. The implication is that transgendered people – as a precondition to the assignment of a new legal gender – must either annul or dissolve any such existing union.

The irony of requiring people to divorce as a precondition to gender recognition should not be lost on a population that until 1995 laboured under a regime that banned divorce outright. When divorce finally was introduced, it was permitted on grounds among the most exacting in Europe, conditions that emphasise divorce should be a last resort when all else has failed. It remains an open question whether requiring couples to divorce to gain a particular benefit amounts to an attack on marriage, contrary to Article 41 of the Constitution.

The elephant in the room, however, is same-sex marriage. The group expresses the concern that allowing a person to remain married notwithstanding a formal change of legally recognised gender in effect converts an opposite-sex marriage into a same-sex marriage. This would, the group maintains, be unconstitutional.

Where a transgendered person decides to transition, this may often precipitate the end of an existing marriage. In some cases, however, spouses may opt to remain in a relationship, notwithstanding the gender transition. The group’s report places such couples in an unenviable bind. It suggests a subsisting marriage or civil partnership will be a bar to recognition of a new legal gender, such that an applicant must choose between divorce (or an annulment if this is available) or remaining in their originally assigned legal gender.

In practice this may prevent some transgendered spouses from obtaining legal recognition under the proposed scheme.

Continue reading at:  http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/ireland/2011/0725/1224301312860.html

Dear Mr Murdoch

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Norway PM “The Answer to Violence is even More Democracy”

Two Months Later, Spain’s ‘Indignants’ Converge on Madrid

From Common Dreams: http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2011/07/24-0

by Agence France Presse
Published on Sunday, July 24, 2011

MADRID — Two months after they launched a movement against the economic crisis and soaring unemployment, Spain’s so-called “indignant” protesters converged on Madrid again on Saturday.

Several cross-country protest marches reached the city’s Puerto del Sol square Saturday evening on the eve of a demonstration through the streets of the Spanish capital.

Protesters carrying sleeping bags and groundsheets set off from cities across the country at the end of June, including Barcelona, Malaga, Valencia and Bilbao, to applause from sympathisers.

They have stopped in towns and villages along the way, holding meetings at each stop to spread their message of outrage at unemployment, welfare cuts and corruption.

Madrid residents joined the marchers as they reached the outskirts of Madrid Saturday, while others arrived by car and bus.

Thousands of them gathered in the Puerta del Sol to listen to speakers at a rally Saturday evening, under a huge banner that read “Stop the New World Order.”

Other placards read: “The guilty must pay for the crisis,” and “Cutbacks for the rich first”, and “They call it democracy but it isn’t.”

Continue reading at:  http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2011/07/24-0

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Ultra Right Wing Bigot, GOP Rep Fla. Allen West Says “It’s Just a Matter of Time” Before Gays “Break Down the Military”

Homosexuality will destroy the military.  Go tell it to the Spartans.

From Miami New Times: http://blogs.miaminewtimes.com/riptide/2011/07/allen_west_says_its_just_a_mat.php

By Rich Abdill Sun.
Jul. 24 2011

In another public reaffirmation of his belief that gay people are going to make America lose wars, Florida Republican Congressman Allen West said at a dinner in Plant City Saturday night that “when you take the military and you tell it they must conform to the individual’s behavior, then it’s just a matter of time until you break down the military.”

He also said that the repeal of the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy was nothing like the integration of the U.S. military after World War II, according to the Tampa Tribune.

“Let me explain something to you,” he said. “I can’t change my color. People can change their behavior.”

The statement is a rehash of one he made to the Heritage Foundation in May, in which he said the military should not be made to accommodate the demands of “a very small special interest group.”

West has never been shy about his opposition to the repeal, which will take effect in September. He has also never been particularly eloquent about it.

When confronted at an October 2010 town hall with a question about a gay officer who came home from overseas as a double amputee, West responded with a string of non-sequiturs that suggested the injured soldier was evidence that gays in the military were serving our nation just fine. He also that during his tenure in the Army he “fined people for not having the proper haircut” and that “you can go to military prison for 18 months for committing adultery,” while avoiding the question of what being a homosexual actually has to do with combat readiness.

Continue reading at:  http://blogs.miaminewtimes.com/riptide/2011/07/allen_west_says_its_just_a_mat.php

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Dominique Strauss-Kahn accuser breaks silence over alleged sex assault

From The Guardian UK:  http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/jul/24/dominique-strauss-kahn-accuser-breaks-silence

Nafissatou Diallo, whose identity has been protected until she decided to speak, wants the former IMF boss to ‘go to jail’

in New Yorkguardian.co.uk
Sunday 24 July 2011
The hotel worker allegedly attacked by Dominique Strauss-Kahn has spoken out for the first time, revealing her identity and detailing her alleged attack.

Nafissatou Diallo, whose identity had been protected until she decided to speak, gave interviews to Newsweek magazine and ABC news detailing her alleged attack by the former International Monetary Fund boss. The case against Strauss-Kahn appeared close to collapse last month after Manhattan district attorney Cyrus Vance said Diallo had lied about her background.

In the Newsweek interview, Diallo, 32, stands by her account of the attack and criticises the former French presidential hopeful. “I want him to go to jail. I want him to know there are some places you cannot use your power, you cannot use your money,” she said. Diallo said she hoped God punishes him. “We are poor, but we are good,” she said. “I don’t think about money.”

According to Diallo, she entered Strauss-Kahn’s room in the Sofitel New York hotel on the morning of 14 May to find him naked. “Oh, my God,” Diallo said. “I’m so sorry.” “You don’t have to be sorry,” she claims he said. She claims he then attacked her, grabbing her breasts. He was like “a crazy man to me”, she said.

Diallo said she was afraid of losing her job and of hurting Strauss-Kahn, 62, who is shorter than the 5ft 10in cleaner. She goes on to recount in graphic detail the alleged attack. “I push him. I get up. I wanted to scare him. I said, ‘Look, there is my supervisor right there.’ But he said there was nobody out there, and nobody was going to hear.” After a struggle she said Strauss-Kahn forced her to have oral sex.

Continue reading at:  http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/jul/24/dominique-strauss-kahn-accuser-breaks-silence

A Writer Frees Herself by Speaking Out

I tend to believe women when they claim a man raped them.  I think women are more trust worthy regarding such claims than men who have a vested interest in lying to cover up their crime.

It is my belief based not only on the claim made by the NY City Maid that Strauss-Kahn is a serial rapist but upon the claims of the other women who have come forth as well.

From The New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/23/world/europe/23banon.html?scp=1&sq=Tristane%20Banon&st=cse

By MAÏA de la BAUME
Published: July 22, 2011

TO some, she is a frail, tormented young woman who was preyed upon by an influential politician and well-known womanizer. To others, she is a publicity-seeking fantasist. To still others, she is a skillful manipulator who helped foment a plot against the Socialist Party.

Whether fairly or not, Tristane Banon, the 32-year-old writer who contends that Dominique Strauss-Kahn tried to rape her in 2003, has become one of France’s most polarizing figures, even to some of her colleagues and friends.

She was widely criticized this month when she filed a lawsuit against Mr. Strauss-Kahn accusing him of attempted rape, eight years after she says he attacked her and four days after he was freed from house arrest in New York on charges of trying to rape a hotel maid. His lawyers immediately filed a counter-complaint here for slander, insisting that Ms. Banon’s charges were imaginary.

For Ms. Banon herself, the complaint brought an end to years of indecision and turmoil. “It’s liberation,” she said in a phone interview. “It’s the most liberating and violent thing I’ve ever done in my life.”

Ms. Banon, who is often shown in magazines here looking like a pale, skinny adolescent and wearing ripped jeans, sounded mature, self-confident and determined. If French prosecutors decide there is not enough evidence to bring her case against Mr. Strauss-Kahn, she said, “I’ll have to live with this, but I’ll live badly.”

Continue reading at: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/23/world/europe/23banon.html?scp=1&sq=Tristane%20Banon&st=cse

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