Tuesday Reads: Donald Trump is A Threat to National Security and to Democracy

Trump cartoon by Matt Bors, www.gocomics.com

Trump cartoon by Matt Bors, http://www.gocomics.com

Good Afternoon!!

It’s time to break through the Overton window and speak truthfully about Donald Trump. This awful man is a national emergency. The extreme language he has been using in his campaign for President is damaging our country both domestically and internationally.

Trump is playing into the hands of ISIS and other extremists, including right wing groups here in the U.S. His words have already inspired violence and could lead to more attacks on Muslims, African Americans, and Latino-Americans. He is an embarrassment that all Americans should reject–but many won’t.

Trump can no longer be viewed as just a clown or a blowhard jerk. He is dangerous.

What if Trump somehow wins the Republican nomination? What if he actually wins the general election and his fascist ideas become White House policy? He has to be stopped. But how?

Yesterday Trump called for a ban on all Muslim immigration to the U.S. Here’s his campaign press release:

(New York, NY) December 7th, 2015, — Donald J. Trump is calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on. According to Pew Research, among others, there is great hatred towards Americans by large segments of the Muslim population. Most recently, a poll from the Center for Security Policy released data showing “25% of those polled agreed that violence against Americans here in the United States is justified as a part of the global jihad” and 51% of those polled, “agreed that Muslims in America should have the choice of being governed according to Shariah.” Shariah authorizes such atrocities as murder against non-believers who won’t convert, beheadings and more unthinkable acts that pose great harm to Americans, especially women.

Mr. Trump stated, “Without looking at the various polling data, it is obvious to anybody the hatred is beyond comprehension. Where this hatred comes from and why we will have to determine. Until we are able to determine and understand this problem and the dangerous threat it poses, our country cannot be the victims of horrendous attacks by people that believe only in Jihad, and have no sense of reason or respect for human life. If I win the election for President, we are going to Make America Great Again.” – Donald J. Trump


The hatred being spewed by Donald Trump and his advisers is what is “beyond comprehension.” It’s gotten to the point that I’m afraid to look at the latest news for fear there will be more ugly hateful reports on the latest speeches and statements by this evil man.

Fortunately, some Republicans are finally speaking out against him, although not very forcefully. Republicans are probably the only people who can stop this man, but they are going to have to get organized very quickly if they really hope to do it. Two Republican reactions:

Time Magazine: Speaker Paul Ryan Condemns Donald Trump’s Ban on Muslims.

House Speaker Paul Ryan on Tuesday condemned Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s call for a ban on Muslim immigrants to America “until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on.”

Ryan, who has been Speaker of the House for less than six weeks, had previously eschewed weighing in on presidential politics. He did so Tuesday after an announcement late Monday that Trump would no longer be participating in a Republican National Committee fundraiser later this week.

“This is not conservatism,” Ryan said in the RNC lobby on Capitol Hill. “What was proposed yesterday is not what this party stands for and more importantly it’s not what this country stands for. Not only are there many Muslims serving in our armed forces, dying for this country, there are Muslims serving right here in the House working every day to uphold and defend the constitution. Some of our best and biggest allies in this struggle and fight against radical Islamic terror are Muslims, the vast vast vast majority of whom are peaceful, who believe in pluralism and freedom, democracy and individual rights.”


WMUR ABC9 (Manchester, NH): State GOP chairwoman says Trump’s call to ban Muslims from U.S. is ‘un-American.’

State Republican Party chairwoman Jennifer Horn said Monday that Donald Trump’s call for a “total and complete shutdown” of Muslims entering the United States is “un-American.” ….

Horn, who has been a frequent critic of Trump in recent months, said:

“There are some issues that transcend politics. While my position (as party chairwoman) is certainly political, I am an American first. There should never be a day in the United States of America when people are excluded based solely on their race or religion. It is un-Republican. It is unconstitutional. And it is un-American.”

All well and good.

But two top Trump supporters in New Hampshire said the controversial Republican presidential frontrunner is right.

State Reps. Al Baldasaro of Londonderry and Steve Stepanek of Amherst said Horn should resign her post for criticizing Trump because she is not being neutral in the presidential primary.

Mediaite reports: Several Papers Depict Donald Trump As ‘the New Furor’ With Hitler Comparisons.

Following Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump‘scall for a ban on all Muslim immigrantson Monday, newspapers and digital media outlets around the world responded with tired Nazi comparisons. In particular, the Philadelphia Daily Newsand the Times of Israelpaired their stories with images depicting Trump giving what looks like the infamous Nazi salute.

The Times of Israel‘s image selection was especially noticeable for two reasons, the first being that it was taken fromTrump’s speech at the Republican Jewish Coalition meeting last week. The New York real estate magnate, standing before the crowd of conservative Jewish voters, is seen giving what looks an awful lot like Adolf Hitler‘s trademark stance.

Trump hitler philly

Excuse me? “tired Hitler comparisons?” Who else should Trump be compared to based on his language and stated policies? The Philadelphia Daily News put a photo of Trump as Hitler on its front page. From Business Insider:

The Philadelphia Daily News had a hard-hitting reaction on Tuesday to Donald Trump’s proposal to bar all Muslim immigrants and tourists from entering the US.

The tabloid’s cover directly compared Trump to Adolf Hitler, using a photo of the Republican presidential front-runner with his arm raised to look like a Nazi salute. The front-page headline further used a “furor” pun to compare Trump to the German führer.

And there’s this news from Philly.com: Severed pig’s head left at N. Phila. mosque.

Philadelphia police, the FBI, and the city’s Human Relations Commission launched investigations Monday after a worker at a North Philadelphia mosque found a severed pig’s head outside its door.

Surveillance video outside the Al Aqsa Islamic Society, on Germantown Avenue near Jefferson Street, showed a red pickup truck drove past the building twice just before 11 p.m. Sunday.

The first time it crept along slowly near the curb. On its second pass, the video shows, someone extended an arm from the passenger window and tossed something that rolled to a stop near the mosque’s front door.

An employee found the bloodied animal head there around 6 a.m. Monday. Pigs are considered insulting to Muslims who observe halal dietary laws.

Police and the FBI confirmed they were reviewing the incident, though they said it was too early to discuss potential charges.

“We’ve got to be involved,” said Officer Pete Berndlmaier of the 26th District, who gathered information at the scene. “If they get away doing something like that, they are going to up the ante.”


No kidding. Just as Donald Trump keeps “upping the ante.”

According to Politico, he is “not bothered by comparisons to Hitler.”

Donald Trump went on a series of rhetorical rants on Tuesday morning, saying he does not mind comparisons to Adolf Hitler and tussling with morning show anchors about his proposal to temporarily ban all Muslims from entering the United States, calling his approach more akin to what Hitler’s American contemporary did during World War II.

“You’re increasingly being compared to Hitler. Doesn’t that give you any pause at all?” ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos asked the Republican poll leader on “Good Morning America,” displaying an image of the Philadelphia Daily News’ punning Tuesday front-page headline “The New Furo

In response, Trump said no, invoking what he termed President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s “solution for Germans, Italians, Japanese many years ago” during World War II. “This was a president that was highly respected by all,” Trump said, remarking upon the Democratic president’s actions during the war. “If you look at what he was doing, it was far worse.”

Yes, and Ronald Reagan approved reparations for Japanese Americans. But apparently Trump thinks one terrible mistake justifies his own ghastly policies.


And get this: Trump wants to shut down the internet to stop jihadists from communicating with each other!

The Verge: Donald Trump thinks he can call Bill Gates to ‘close up’ the internet.

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump just said the US should consider “closing up” the internet to curb radical extremism. Trump, a man that routinely claims everyone in charge of the US is stupid, believes that as president he could just call up Bill Gates to help him shut off the internet. Trump floated the idea at a campaign rally at the USS Yorktown in South Carolina tonight as a way to stop ISIS “jihadists” from recruiting Americans to commit acts of domestic terrorism. The idea is so dumb it almost has us, too, at a loss for words.

“We’re losing a lot of people because of the internet,” Trump said. “We have to see Bill Gates and a lot of different people that really understand what’s happening. We have to talk to them about, maybe in certain areas, closing that internet up in some ways. Somebody will say, ‘Oh freedom of speech, freedom of speech.’ These are foolish people.”

Trump may be ignorant. He may even be stupid. He’s also very dangerous.

What stories are you following today?

Monday Reads: Party Nomination Races Beginning to Heat Up

Worlds Full of Lemons by Vitaly-Urzhumov

Worlds Full of Lemons by Vitaly-Urzhumov

Good Morning!!

Following last week’s marathon “debate,” Republican presidential candidates have continued to spread hate everywhere they go.

Current front runners Donald Trump and Ben Carson are pushing hatred of Muslims, along with insinuations that we already have one in the White House.

Bloomberg Politics: Donald Trump on Muslims: ‘Are You Trying to Say We Don’t Have a Problem?’

Trump, the front runner for the 2016 Republican nomination, was asked on CNN’s State of the Union about his campaign rally in New Hampshire on Thursday. At the event, an audience member said President Barack Obama was a Muslim, that the U.S. has a problem with Muslims, and asked “when can we get rid of them?” At Thursday’s event and again on CNN, Trump did not criticize or correct the question.

“We could be politically correct if you want,” Trump said. “Are you trying to say we don’t have a problem?” ….

“We have radicals that are doing things,” he said. “It wasn’t people from Sweden that blew up the World Trade Center.”


On This Week, continued his anti-Muslim ranting. Bloomberg reports:

On ABC’s “This Week” broadcast, Trump again referred to “a worldwide problem” with Muslims, according to a transcript provided by the network.

“You look around the world, it is a problem,” Trump said.  “You know, the terrorism and everything else, it seems to be pretty much confined there.”

Trump also declined several times during the ABC interview to say that he believed Obama was born in the U.S.

Lovely. I guess Trump hasn’t noticed all the domestic terrorists here in the U.S. Dylann Roof, for example is no Muslim.

From the transcript of This Week, Jonathan Karl reports on a Trump appearance in Iowa at a high school homecoming.

KARL (voice-over): Trump didn’t challenge his supporter’s false claim about the president’s background….

KARL (voice-over): But Trump has no apologies. He recited his Twitter account for an Iowa crowd on Saturday.

TRUMP: So I started by saying, “Am I morally obligated to defend the president every time somebody says something bad or controversial about him? I don’t think so.”


KARL (voice-over): So is Donald Trump playing with fire? Or simply playing to his base?

A recent poll shows more than half of Trump’s supporters believe President Obama is Muslim and 28 percent of Republicans think the president wasn’t born in the U.S. Even Trump has admitted his conspiracy theories over the president’s birth are part of his appeal, as he told me two years ago.

KARL: You don’t acknowledge that you went overboard on this whole birther stuff?


TRUMP: Actually, I think it made me very popular, if you want to know the truth, OK? So I do think I know what I’m doing.

Yes, Trump is spreading hate, and he knows exactly what he’s doing.


And then there’s Ben Carson. The Guardian: Ben Carson says no Muslim should ever become US president.

The Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson has said no Muslim should be president of the United States of America.

In an interview with NBC for broadcast on Sunday morning, the retired neurosurgeon said: “I would not advocate that we put a Muslim in charge of this nation. I absolutely would not agree with that.”

Carson’s discussion with Meet the Press host Chuck Todd centered around controversy that arose this week when Donald Trump – the real-estate mogul keeping Carson in second place in the pollsfailed to correct an audience member at a New Hampshire campaign rally who said President Obama was a Muslim.

The audience member also appeared to advocate the forcible removal of Muslims from the US….

In his NBC interview, Carson was asked: “So do you believe that Islam is consistent with the constitution?”

“No,” he said, “I don’t, I do not.”

Article VI of the US constitution states: “No religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.”

The first amendment to the constitution begins: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof …”

What does Carson think about Muslims as Congresspeople?

Carson was also asked if he would consider voting for a Muslim candidate for Congress.

He said: “Congress is a different story, but it depends on who that Muslim is and what they’re policies are, just as it depends on what anybody else says, you know.”

Two members of Congress, both Democrats, are Muslim: Keith Ellison of Minnesota was elected to the House of Representatives in 2007 and André Carson of Indiana followed in 2008.

Fortunately, neither of these freaks is likely to be president or even see the inside of the White House anytime soon.


Fading presidential candidate Scott Walker’s hatred is focused on labor unions. From The American Prospect: A Desperate Scott Walker Brings Anti-Labor Crusade to National Stage.

Earlier this week, Republican presidential contender Scott Walker detailed how he would bring his anti-labor crusade to the federal level, unveiling an expansive plan that would eliminate the National Labor Relations Board, ban federal public sector unions, and make the United States a right-to-work country, among a host of other anti-worker policies he said would give “power to the people, not the union bosses.” ….

As recently as July, Walker was leading the polls in Iowa. He’s since plummeted to the bottom of the Iowa field with just 3 percent support. Worse yet, as he admitted after yesterday’s debate, his entire campaign is premised on winning the Iowa caucuses, which kick-off the contest for delegates. “I think we’re putting all our eggs in the basket of Iowa, we’re committed to Iowa, and I think that’ll help us make the case all throughout the country,” Walker told MSNBC .

With Walker following a similar downward spiral as the announcement of his anti-labor plan appears to be an attempt at to lock-down uneasy big-money donors who stand to benefit from gutting worker rights. Walker needs to ensure that he will remain funded well into the primary season.

“The way the system is now set up, to stay alive, you have to really convince your relatively few big donors to stay in the game,” says Larry Noble of the Campaign Legal Center. “[His plan] seems to be aimed at the donors, not the public.”


Hillary Clinton appeared on Face The Nation yesterday. Here’s the transcript of the interview. And here are the headlines in the corporate media.

Buzzfeed News: Hillary Clinton Calls For The U.S. To Take In 65,000 Syrian Refugees.

Hillary Clinton said Sunday the U.S. should commit to taking in 65,000 Syrian refugees next financial year, a significantly higher number than the 10,000 the Obama administration has announced it will accept.

“We’re facing the worst refugee crisis since World War II, and I think the United States has to do more, and I would like to see us move from what is a good start with 10,000 to 65,000, to begin immediately to put into place the mechanisms for vetting the people that we would take in,” Clinton told Face the Nation moderator John Dickerson on Sunday….

Clinton said on Sunday that the U.S. should prioritize taking in the most vulnerable — including, she says, Christians and Yazidi women — before repeating her call for a global meeting to address the issue.

“I also want the United States to lead the world, and I’ve recommended at the upcoming U.N. General Assembly there be an international meeting called by the secretary general and literally get people to commit [to] putting money in, helping the frontline states like Jordan, Turkey, and Lebanon who’ve absorbed a lot refugees, working with the EU and the European countries, but getting everybody to make a contribution,” Clinton said.


Real Clear Politics: Hillary Clinton: “I Cannot Imagine Anyone Being More Of An Outsider Than The First Woman President.”

In an interview with John Dickerson, moderator of CBS’s Face the Nation, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton said she can claim outsider status since she could possibly be the first female president.

“In politics this year, it looks like everything wants an outsider,” Dickerson said. “Now that puts you in a fix.”

“Tell us why this doesn’t put you in a fix,” Dickerson said to laughter from Clinton.

“I cannot imagine anyone being more of an outsider than the first woman president,” Clinton stated. “I mean, really, let’s think about that.”

CBS News: “I am a real person,” Hillary Clinton says.

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton was stumped Sunday when “Face the Nation” moderator John Dickerson asked her to name three words that describe “the real Hillary Clinton.”

“Just three? I can’t possibly do that!” Clinton said, throwing hear head back with laughter. “I mean, look, I am a real person with all the pluses and minuses that go along with being that. And I’ve been in the public eye for so long that I think, you know, it’s like the feature that you see in some magazines sometimes, ‘Real people actually go shopping,’ you know?”


On Dickerson’s question about voters wanting an outsider as president:

“I know you’re asking, ‘Do we want people who have never been elected to anything, who have no political experience, who have never made any hard choices in the public area?'” she told moderator John Dickerson. “Well, voters are going to have to decide that.”

She also addressed criticism that she is too deep inside the political system to help reorient the economy back toward the middle class.

“I have an economic policy that is centered on raising incomes, because I think what we inherited from the Bush administration, what President Obama had to deal with, had the potential of becoming a ‘Great Depression,’ not just a ‘Great Recession,'” Clinton said. “We have now recovered 13 million jobs after losing 800,000 a month when he came into office. So why would we go back to the same policies? Call them insider, call them tilted toward the rich, call them giving corporations a free pass to do whatever they want. I’m against that, I’ve always been against that.”

She added, “So you know, I’m not running for Bill’s third term, I’m not running for President Obama’s third term, but it would be foolish of me not to say, ‘You know, that worked better than what the Republicans offer.'”


Channel 10 News Tampa Bay: Hillary Clinton: I’m not preparing for Joe Biden.

Hillary Clinton said she and her team are not taking steps to prepare for a possible late entry into the Democratic presidential primary by Vice President Joe Biden.

“This is such a personal decision and the vice president has to sort this out,” Clinton said Sunday on CBS’ “Face the Nation.” “He’s been so open in talking about how difficult this time is for him and his family and he’s obviously considering what he wants to do including whether he wants to run.”

“I just have the greatest respect and affection for him and I think everybody just ought to give him the space to decide what’s best for his family,” she added.

Biden met with political advisers Monday at his residence in Washington, D.C. as part of his ongoing conversation with family, friends and staff over whether to jump into the 2016 presidential race.

Over the last few days, some Democratic donors have also calls for the vice president to mount a challenge to Clinton.

According to Chuck Todd and friends, Biden’s wife has given him her blessing to joint the presidential race.

Contrary to reports suggesting Vice President Joe Biden’s wife remains an obstacle to his potential presidential run, sources tell NBC News that Jill Biden is fully behind him for another bid.

Jill Biden, sources tell NBC’s Chuck Todd, is 100 percent on-board with a presidential run, despite reports indicating her hesitation is part of what’s keeping Biden from jumping into the race.

And that looks more likely by the day, as sources have indicated Biden’s been meeting with Democratic leaders during his travels around the nation over the past week to tell them he wants to do it and thinks there’s room for him to make a credible bid if he does.

The key question that’s still weighing on his mind as he decides whether to make another go of it: Does he have the emotional energy to give it his all, sources say.

Whatever. I still don’t think he’ll do it. Apparently he thinks he needs to make up his mind by October 1, so we won’t have to listen to the speculation much longer.

What else is happening? What stories are you following today?


Franklin Graham Just Doesn’t Buy President Obama’s Claim to be a Christian

Franklin Graham, son of Nixon pal and fellow anti-Semite Billy Graham was invited on MSNBC’s Morning Joe show today to opine on the religious beliefs of the various candidates for President of the United States. Why anyone gives a sh&t about whether these guys are “christians” or not is a mystery to me, but it seems it’s all we hear about since Rick “The Dick” Santorum became the frontrunner for the Republican nomination.

Graham had no trouble saying that Santorum and Newt Gingrich are “christians.” But he was very wishy washy about Obama, and in the end left the impression that he believes Obama to be a Muslim. As for Mitt Romney, Graham “likes him,” but Mormons aren’t “christians.” Here are some of the relevant quotes from the interview, via Politico:

ON OBAMA: “You have to ask him. I cannot answer that question for anybody. All I know is I’m a sinner, and God has forgiven me of my sins… You have to ask every person. He has said he’s a Christian, so I just have to assume that he is.”

Graham told the interviewers that he had talked to Obama personally about his beliefs and that Obama told him he only started going to church because he was told it would help him as a community organizer.

“If he says he’s a Christian, I can accept that. All I know is what Jesus Christ has done in my heart and how he changed my life,” said Graham.

ON SANTORUM: “Do you believe Rick Santorum is a Christian?” asked Geist. “I think so,” responded Graham.
“How do you know, if the standard is: only the person knows what’s in him when you apply it to the president, why is it different for Rick Santorum?” replied Geist.

“Well, because his values are so clear on moral issues. No question about it. I just appreciate the moral stances he takes on things. He comes from a Catholic faith… I think he’s a man of faith,” said Graham.

Graham wasn’t quite so enthused about Gingrich’s beliefs and he was definite that Romney is a mormon, and while mormons may believe in Jesus, they believe in a lot of other funny things too so they can’t be christians.

But that’s not all. There’s more that isn’t in the Youtube video above. From the WaPo On Faith column, Graham also told the stunned Morning Joe panel:

Graham: “Under Islamic law, under Sharia law, Islam sees him as a son of Islam because his father was a Muslim, his grandfather was a Muslim, his great-grandfather was a Muslim. So under Islamic law the Muslim world sees Barack Obama as a Muslim, as a son of Islam. That’s just the way it works. That’s the way they see it. But of course he says he didn’t grow up that way, he doesn’t believe in that, he believes in Jesus Christ so I accept that. But I’m just saying that the Muslim world, Islam, they see him as a son of Islam.

Morning Joe: But you do not think he’s a Muslim.

Graham: No.

Morning Joe: Categorically not a Muslim.

Graham: Well, I can’t say categorically because Islam has gotten a free pass under Obama and we see the Arab Spring and coming out of the Arab Spring the Islamists are taking control of the Middle East. People like Mubarak, who was a dictator, but he kept the peace with Israel. The Christian minorities in Egypt were protected. Now those Christian minorities throughout the entire Arab world are under attack. Newsweek magazine last week, cover story, was the massacre of Christians in the Islamic world from Europe all the way through the Middle East, Africa, into Asia and Oceania. Muslims are killing Christians. And we need to be forcing, demanding, that if these countries do not protect their minorities, no more foreign aid from the United States. They are not protecting the minorities.”

MSNBC checked with an expert to see if what Graham said about the Muslim religion being automatically passed down from father to son is true.

According to Edina Lekovic, director of policy at the Muslim Public Affairs Council, being born in a Muslim family doesn’t make one a Muslim. A person has to make an active choice to become a Muslim, Lekovic said.

As everyone knows by now–even if we never wanted to–Rick Santorum thinks that Obama believes in “some phony theology. Oh, not a theology based on the Bible. A different theology,”

I’m beginning to get the feeling that some kind of poison has been released into the body politic–a poison that has driven a large percentage of our politicians and corporate media mavens insane. Why are we talking about this? Why should I care who is a christian and who isn’t? Most of all, why should I care what Franklin Graham thinks about anyone’s “moral values?

But of course, I have to care about this poison that’s been injected into the body politic because I don’t want crazy people like Franklin Graham and Rick Santorum to actually take over and run the government.

I read an interesting post by Ed Kilgore this morning before I heard about the Morning Joe ruckus. It’s called What It Really Means When Santorum Attacks Obama’s “Theology” Kilgore heard from former Beliefnet editor Steve Waldman about a 2008 interview Waldman had done with Santorum in which Santorum said

Obama’s efforts to talk about the importance of faith in his life is “phoney–absolutely disingenuous. I think he’s a complete phoney.”
Obama, Santorum argued, chose Trinity Church in Chcago because it was politically advantageous — “faith was an avenue for power.”
(At the end of the attack, he added that of course it would be inappropriate for him to judge the authenticity of Obama’s faith, as only God could do that.)


After he’d accused Obama and other Democrats of religoius fraudulance for a few minutes, journalist Terry Mattingly of GetReligion.org asked whether it’s possible that rather than being fake, perhaps, Obama was sincerely reflecting a form of liberal Christianity in the tradition of Reinhold Neibuhr. Santorum surprised me by answering that yes, “I could buy that.”

However, he questioned whether liberal christianity was really, well, Christian. “You’re a liberal something, but your not a Christian.” He continued, “When you take a salvation story and turn it into a liberation story you’ve abandoned Christiandom and I don’t think you have a right to claim it.”
In other words, Obama’s faith is fraudulant in part because liberal Christinaity is.

I’ve come across this sentiment before. To a degree rarely discussed, many conservative Christians truly doubt both the theological truth and the spiritual authenticity of liberal Christians

So in other words, in order to be a “christian,” you have to be a conservative. Religion is somehow wrapped up with politics. Talk about twisted!

Here’s just one more perspective from a professor at Georgetown University:

“He [Santorum] has this internal tic, of wanting to get into what I call theological disputation. And theological disputation is a loser,” said Jacques Berlinerblau, a professor at Georgetown University who has studied the use of religion in U.S. politics. He meant that Santorum seeks to tell others how to behave and even what to believe, using his own specific beliefs as an unshakable guide.

Berlinerblau said the danger, even among other Catholics, was that Santorum would seem gratingly familiar. “They know Rick Santorums. They’ve met Rick Santorums their whole life,” he said. “It’s just, ‘Well, I know what that guy’s about, and I don’t want anything to do with it.’ ”

I can definitely agree with that sentiment. There something very wrong with people like Franklin Graham and Rick Santorum, and I sure don’t want anything to do with it. I don’t even want to hear about it anymore.

The Battle for Human Rights in Egypt

This is a follow-up to my post about Egypt and the million woman march. I put up some more news excerpts last night in the comments… I thought I’d bring some of them up here on the frontpage along with a few other updates.

Before I do that, here’s some footage from Tahrir. This one is a brief clip of the “shouting match” from CNN:

Vodpod videos no longer available.

I don’t know about you, but I thought the smarmy expressions on the face of the young men who were shouting at the women said a lot. They seemed to have nothing better to do than to taunt these women demanding their rights.

Seemed reminiscent of this video awhile back where a young Yemeni girl responded to a bunch of young men telling her to wear a veil and all this other nonsense she seemed to be an old soul with great wisdom and quick wit as she told them, among other things, “go get a job, all of you, sitting here like a bunch of bums.”

Here’s a link to a video from Tahrir posted on Facebook that Woman Voter sent to me. I don’t know exactly what’s going on, but the unsettled expressions and voices of the women at the beginning of this as at least one woman appears to be grabbed and hassled have stuck with me.

Ok, now for the excerpts and updates.

A lot of things went wrong yesterday in Tahrir, and women were doomed it seems. There was an outbreak of tension between Copts and Muslims that took away some of the activism and attention.

Irish Times:

A worker living in Manshiyet Nasser holds a paper reading: 'Christian and Muslim, we are Egyptian' in eastern Cairo on March 9, where clashes between Egyptian Christians and Muslims occurred on Tuesday night. (Amr Abdallah Dalsh/Reuters)

Part of the reason the women’s march failed was that many decided to participate in a sit-in staged by Coptic Christians in front of the radio and television building, a few hundred metres from the square. The Copts are protesting the burning of a church in Helwan province during a Christian-Muslim clash over a romance between a Christian man and a Muslim woman, and are urging army protection for Copts who fled the village but seek to return.

Here is an Al Jazeera report from today with more on what happened with the clashes between Copts and Muslims yesterday. At least 11 people have died according to this, though I am seeing the count has been upped to 13 in some other reports.

From the Al Jazeera link:

At least 11 people have been killed and around 100 others injured in religious clashes with Muslims in the Egyptian capital Cairo.

A security source told Al Jazeera that of the 11 that were killed on Tuesday, six were Coptic, five were Muslim and that at least 25 people were arrested by the country’s military police for their involvement in the clashes.

The deaths on Tuesday occurred in the working-class district of Moqattam after at least 1,000 Copts gathered to protest the burning of a church last week.

It was the second burst of sectarian fighting in as many days and the latest in a string of violent protests over a variety of topics as simmering unrest continues nearly a month after mass protests led to the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak.


The protest outside Cairo’s radio and television building also came a day after at least 2,000 Copts demanded the re-building of the torched church, and that those responsible be brought to justice.

The Shahedain [Two Martyrs] church, in the Helwan provincial city of Sol, was set ablaze on Friday after clashes between Copts and Muslims left at least two people dead.

The violence was triggered by a feud between two families, which disapproved of a romantic relationship between a Christian man and a Muslim woman in Sol.

Here’s another Al Jazeera report about more clashes erupting in Tahrir today.

Also, an informative feature over at the Christian Science Monitor (from which I got the photo above) that gives a quick click-through overview on some background about the Copts and the tension — Copt-Muslim clash in Cairo renews question: Who are the Copts?

Anyhow, getting back to the women’s march. It seems like women’s rights, as always, got overshadowed yesterday and energies got divided between causes and injustice that all deserve attention.

This sort of goes along with what I’ve been discussing in the comments… women need strength in numbers here and really strong organization because this is going to be a very long hard road… this Women’s March was announced on the fly to coincide with International Women’s Day. I’m very proud of those who turned up and fought back what happened yesterday in Tahrir… I just hope as they continue to organize that they take time before the next women’s march or event. What looked like protests materializing overnight in Egypt over the last few months were really months and months in the making after the murder of Khaled Said. Women are up against the thugs who showed up yesterday and their ilk as well as a media filter that will say women aren’t turning out for themselves, etc.

Especially when just as here in the US we have the Phyllis Schlaflys… there are women in Egypt who are working for the patriarchy too. It’s not just the men saying “go home, wash clothes.” Again as I mentioned yesterday, this has written all over it shades of the Iron My Shirt chant that reared its ugly head when Hillary vied for the presidency here in the US. Come to think of it, it’s also the perfect bookend to the When Will that Stupid Bitch Quitdrumbeat that she and her supporters faced throughout the primaries and pretty much since before she even ran!

Take the following from the New Yorker News Desk’s report on yesterday’s events:

Men were hardly the only dissenting voices. At one point, a woman in a niqab began screaming at a cluster of people. Her son had died in the protests, and the conduct of the people in Tahrir—particularly the uncovered women—was inappropriate. They were dating, she insisted, not protesting. It was a sad echo of a rumor levelled at the protesters before Mubarak’s resignation, accusing them of KFC-fuelled courtship. Other women objected to the feminist values being voiced, which, they felt, were old-fashioned. Alia Mossallam, a student and writer, said, “There has always been a female presence. If you set yourself apart, you make yourself a spectacle.” Two young women said, simply, “Egypt is in a dangerous time right now. We should wait.”

Dating not protesting? *Headdesk*

So I suppose in 2008 we weren’t campaigning for Hillary, we were just having a big lesbo orgy out in public (remember, the Matt Taibbis called Hillary rallies the “Lifetime demographic”).

Women wouldn’t have to “set themselves apart” if their economic, social, and political rights were adequately protected by law and in practice.

When our rights to political protest or expression are so ubiquitously dismissed as “dating” or “Lifetime programming,” be it in Egypt or the US, then yes, we have to set ourselves apart and demand for what is rightfully ours.

As the quote that inspired the name of my blog goes:

“There are some who question the reason for this conference. Let them listen to the voices of women in their homes, neighborhoods, and workplaces.” –Hillary Rodham Clinton, Beijing 1995

I didn’t like it when the youth movement in Egypt gathering to demand their rights was dismissed as a “facebook party” either, or when the workers in Wisconsin and other states doing the same similarly met sneers that they were Democratic party lemmings, etc. It takes a lot to get people past complacency and out to protest in the streets.

Workers, young people, seniors, and women all have rights and one of those rights includes the rights to protest, dissent, and civil disobedience. If all people were doing at any of these protests was socializing and partying, there wouldn’t be so much hostile resistance. There wouldn’t be violent thugs, there wouldn’t be police state style crackdowns, and there wouldn’t be an effort to annihilate the rights to collectively bargain itself.

People around the world are gathering to demand their rights and they are threatening the status quo bigtime. We see the fear reflected in all the pushback this demand for equality is creating.

More from the New Yorker:

Still, on the elevated concrete median across the street from the tents, Wassef was glowing at the turnout, which he estimated at a thousand. “I am ecstatic,” he said. There had been some negative feedback on the Facebook page, but “you can’t print taboos and expect all positive feedback.” Most of the men on the median were repeating the same argument as that in the square: a female President was forbidden by Islam. But the women were arguing back, and that was important. “It’s like lancing an abscess. What’s coming out is disgusting, but it needs to be done,” Wassef said.

Wassef is the guy who put up the facebook page calling for the march. I was wary of what would happen when I heard about the march because it all sounded so haphazard and hastily organized to coincide with International Women’s Day, but I agree with that quote in bold emphasis about lancing an abscess. Again, I just hope women and like-minded men get the time they need to build up the strength in numbers they deserve and need.

Which brings me to a few other things I wanted to highlight.

While nothing that happened was terribly surprising yesterday, given the history and the attack on Lara Logan, I noticed in a lot of these reports, particularly Nima Elbagir’s reporting to CNN, that reporters emphasized how there were men marching with women on behalf of women’s rights. Of course it was mostly women, but there seems to have been more men there than one would have thought or enough to have made all the journalists take particular note of it. Men even formed a human chain around the women. Unfortunately the thugs outnumbered them by a lot and broke through.

Since so much of patriarchy is deeply embedded within attitudes–and those attitudes can be held by women too–I think it is important that women for women work together with the men who do truly seem to be like-minded. I know most men won’t stand up for women and that ultimately women are the key to progress for women, but with so many women still caught in selling the rest of us out, I think allies in this fight are important wherever we can find them, and that the women in Egypt have found some does strike me as one of the few bright notes in this story, along with the fact of course that the brave women who showed up didn’t stay silent and fought back.

Also, another point from the Nima Elbagir report. In the youtube that I linked to above (at around the 2:40 mark for anyone interested), Nima talks about how just the leaflets alone were a point of contention–one of the leaflets said “we demand control of our reproductive rights”–and how men considered it shameful for women to be distributing materials with words like that printed on them.

Again, the contrast between that and the men who formed the human chain strikes me as poignant. Especially given the following (via the Guardian):

“Women were caught in the middle and groped,” witness Ahmad Awadalla said. “When I tried to defend them they said, ‘why are you defending women? Are you queer?’”

Once again misogyny and homophobia collide underscoring that this is a fight for human rights for every last one of us. All of us–women or man, young or old, working or middle class, gay or straight, Christian or Muslim or anything else, white, black, and everything in between, and on and on–we all share a stake in this fight, and we’re all connected. The forces trying to convince that we’re not are trying to break up the strength in numbers built in to our human coalition.

One last excerpt from the New Yorker link:

The men were particularly incensed at the notion that a woman could be President of Egypt. It was, they argued, against a hadith which states that men should not take orders from women. “Don’t you obey your mother?” wondered a colleague of mine, an Egyptian whose style of dress often causes her to be mistaken for a foreigner. “I obey religion,” he replied.

“They were saying that my opinion did not exist,” my colleague said. “Still, when I asked them to step back, they stepped back.”

When I read that, I couldn’t help but think of the following 1948 Olive Oyl for President cartoon (a reworking of the 1932 Betty Boop for president cartoon that was released just days before FDR was elected)… if only all these people who fear women having any sort of power got a metaphorical thwap from Olive Oyl’s skillet and had the dream that Popeye has…