Bernie and Francis, co-religionists 1

Bernie Sanders, whether he likes it or not, is a Jew. And as he is a man of the Left, he doesn’t like it.

The Jews – UNIQUELY – are both a nation and a religion. Yet it is not only possible but common for Jews to be one OR the other. Converts to Judaism are obviously of the religion but not of the nation. Many Jews – probably a majority of Western Jews – who are of the nation by birth, are not religious.

Perhaps it would be better to speak of the Jews being “a people” rather than a nation, as a Jew’s legal nationality might be American, or British, or French etcetera.

Bernie Sanders is of the Jewish people. And for two millennia his people were despised, humiliated, robbed, tortured, murdered individually and en masse by the Christian powers – longest and most atrociously by the Catholic Church. (Except in America.)

For a while, between the early 19th century and the mid-to-late twentieth century, many of the educated Jews of Europe and Russia put their hopes for relief from persecution in the new religion of Communism, in which (its theorists claimed) there would be neither Jew nor Gentile, neither bond nor free, neither male nor female, neither rich nor poor: for all would be one in the utopia of the Communist state.

But where Communist utopias were established in the twentieth century, Jews found they were not welcome. That should have told them that Communism would not save them. But many Jews who realized that the Lenins and Stalins of the Communist faith could not be relied on to treat them much better than had the Christians, were yet unwilling to give up the utopian Communist dream. Some Jews had realized this early on, so tried forming their own Communist party – the Bund. But as a separate group what could it achieve? A society in which there would be neither regrettably-still-sort-of -Jewish Jew nor absolutely-no-longer-Jewish Jew, neither bond Jew nor free Jew, neither male Jew nor female Jew, neither rich Jew nor poor Jew: for all would be one in the utopia of a Jewish Communist … What? Where?

Other Jews,  who could think better, decided to work to regain the ancient Jewish homeland in the Eastern Mediterranean region of the Ottoman Empire, and establish an actual state on real territory. They were the Zionists. In 1948 they achieved their state, their safe haven at last, on real territory that had been part of their ancient homeland.

Those Jews who, despite being unwanted, remained faithful to the Communism imposed on Russia and Eastern Europe, stuck to their abjuration of their Jewishness, the peoplehood as well as the religion. So did – and do – most of the Communists of Jewish descent everywhere in the free world.

As Communists often object to being called Communists since the Leninist-Stalinist utopias of Russia and Eastern Europe collapsed in poverty and criminality, we will call them Leftists for the rest of this article. Bernie Sanders is a Leftist.

Meanwhile, the Jews’ ancient persecutor, the Catholic Church, has selected a leader, Pope Francis, who is also a Leftist. He has found it possible to join the new religion without leaving his old one. He owes this achievement to his fellow Latin American priests, who spun the antithetical dogmas of secular Communism and Triune-God-worshiping Catholicism together in such a whirl of words that they came out of the Synthesizer as one substance, inseparable. And the stuff, the thing, was named “Liberation Theology”.

It is Leftism. The Pope is a Leftist, like Bernie Sanders.

For Leftists, their Leftism trumps all. No appeal to loyalty, history, precedent, reason, logic, decency, or common sense can move them. They want there to be neither black man nor white man, neither civilized nor savage, neither citizen nor illegal alien, neither CEO nor minimum-wage-earner, neither one sex nor any of the others, but all to be one in the global Communist mystic egalitarian low-carbon-emission utopia ruled by themselves.

To acknowledge and strengthen their brotherhood in the Kingdom of Means-Justifying-Ends, Bernie Sanders and Pope Francis shook hands on April 16, 2016.

The other Jewish religion 2

After the First World War, most intellectuals were Socialists of one shade or another, the spectrum ranging from pale pink Fabianism (the equal-sharing classless society must gently evolve) to blood-red Marxism-Leninism (the inevitable victory of the proletariat must be achieved by violent revolution).

As a great many Jews were intellectuals, there were a great many Jewish Socialists. Quite a lot of them lived in the lower-rent parts of New York. They were the children and grandchildren of immigrants from Central and Eastern Europe. Because America was an open society where it was possible for free enterprise to be rewarded with prosperity, many did well enough to afford a college education for their sons. Yet they (not all of them, but the ones we’re concerned with here, who were probably the majority) did not approve of the open free-enterprise society which gave them the opportunities they had seized successfully. Not at all. They and their sons had an ideal, and they clung to it: an equal-sharing classless Socialist society – like, if not necessarily exactly like, the Russians had under Stalin.

Strange “cognitive dissonance”? Yes. But that’s how it was.

Bernie Sanders is one of those sons. To read about his family, his early life, his education, his political opinions is to read about thousands like him.

Now that he is a candidate for the presidency of the United States, he expresses opinions that belong to the pink end of the spectrum; but those he has expressed in the past would place him at the blood-red end – and he has never repudiated them.

Daniel Greenfield writes at Front Page that when Bernie Sanders was mayor of Burlington, Vermont, between 1981 and 1989, …

[He] enumerated detailed — and radical — foreign-policy positions and explained his brand of socialism.

[He believed that] “the basic truth of politics is primarily class struggle”; that “democracy means public ownership of the major means of production”. …

Politics is primarily class struggle is classic Marx. Government control of the means of production, think Communism. … Bernie Sanders is still touting the support of Marxist economists. …

Sanders was a big fan of the Sandinistas … [He] marveled that he was, “believe it or not, the highest ranking American official” to attend a parade celebrating the Sandinista seizure of power.

It’s quite easy to believe, actually, when one wonders what elected American official would knowingly join a group of largely unelected officials of various “fraternal” Soviet dictatorships while, just a few feet away, Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega bellows into a microphone that the United States is governed by a criminal band of terrorists.

And Sanders vocally defended the Marxist murderers.

The lesson Sanders saw in Nicaragua could have been plagiarized from an editorial in Barricada, the oafish Sandinista propaganda organ.

“Is [the Sandinistas’] crime that they have built new health clinics, schools, and distributed land to the peasants? Is their crime that they have given equal rights to women? Or that they are moving forward to wipe out illiteracy? No, their crime in Mr. Reagan’s eyes and the eyes of the corporations and billionaires that determine American foreign policy is that they have refused to be a puppet and banana republic to American corporate interests.”

President Reagan had deplored an atrocity committed by the Sandinistas: forcing Indians into a church and setting fire to it. He had also objected to their driving the Jews out of the country. The Sandinistas’ henchmen attacked a synagogue with firebombs while shouting “Death to the Jews”,  “Jewish Pigs” and “What Hitler started we will finish”. And …

The president of the synagogue that the Sandinistas had attacked was forced to sweep the streets, a scene reminiscent of Nazi behavior in occupied Europe, before being forced to leave the country with [nothing but] the clothes on his back.

The synagogue was seized and transformed into a Sandinista youth center decorated with Anti-Zionist posters.

The Jewish community of Nicaragua fled to Miami and Costa Rica.

But that is … 

Nothing Bernie Sanders cares about.

All of which re-raises a question often asked: Why do a majority of American Jews go on voting for the Democratic Party when it has become openly anti-Israel and is sliding ever nearer to the blood-red end of the Socialist spectrum?  

Answer: Because their Leftism is their religion.

The great ex-Communist authority on Communism, Sidney Hook, writes interestingly on this question:*

The political fortunes of the Communist Party in the United States began to decline precipitously as the war continued. It took another nose dive after the Soviet Union invaded Finland … Meanwhile the the details of the close collaboration between the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany were beginning to percolate to the West. Even radical circles critical of the Kremlin’s duplicity were stunned by the news that Stalin handed over to the Gestapo scores of German-Jewish Communists. …

The comparatively large following the Communists had among the Jews gradually dried up, but a sizable segment remained [who were]  professionals, especially teachers. One who found this phenomenon puzzling was John Dewey. I remember him once asking me to explain how after the Nazi-Stalin Pact so many Jews could still be numbered among the Communist faithful. I explained it in part as an expression of their idealism. Most of them  did not identify themselves as Jews. They were citizens of the world – the ideal Communist world of the future. To them what was happening to the Jews as a consequence of policies adopted by the Kremlin for raison d’état was part of the cost of historical progress.

There were other reasons why so many Jewish Communists remained faithful to the Communist Party line despite Stalin’s willingness to placate and appease the author of Mein Kampf. The political life of the Communist faithful was their whole life. It defined not only their intellectual allegiance but a network of social, emotional, and personal relationships that constituted a vibrant community. To break with the Party was tantamount to a self-imposed exile from its sustaining warmth into a cold, hostile world, in which they could hardly be integrated.

For many of the older generation of Jewish Communists, there was perhaps a deeper reason. Most of them had been reared in the orthodox Jewish religious faith, in which the whole of life from rising to retiring at night is organized around its central dogmas. These determine a complex pattern of prayers and ritual pervaded by a spirit of piety  and unquestioning acceptance of the Divine Presence. Emancipation from this mode of life meant at first a gradual and then ultimately a total rupture, culminating in a conversion to the atheism of Marxism and a total rejection of Judaism as a parochial and confining creed. Yet psychologically those who still remained faithful to some of the ideals of prophetic Judaism were drawn to a movement that, despite its militant secularism, provided a mode of life every whit as integrated and sustaining as the religion they had abandoned. They could feel themselves once more, even if persecuted, a chosen people not of God but of history, a vanguard, liberated from the exclusionist and chauvinist prejudices of their forefathers, preaching a salvation open to all mankind.These Jews were naturally reluctant to break their ties with the Communist movement, hoping against hope that the Kremlin would mend its imperial, totalitarian, and racist ways. When at last they were compelled to disavow the Soviet Union, they were for a long time bereft, psychologically akin to to those who after a crisis of belief surrender their religion. At the time of the Nazi-Soviet Pact, despite the shock, many of the faithful could not yet make the excruciating wrench with their past.

Sidney Hook may be right. Those may be the (emotional) “reasons” why Jews cling to the Left even as Jews are ever more abused by their fellow Leftists. Because it’s their religion. Because, as their religion, it’s their whole life. Because it would be painful to break with it.

But we are talking about intellectuals. People who are supposed to be devoted to Reason. How would it really hurt them to switch their votes to the side where every candidate has emphatically declared his and her support for Israel?

Those “reasons” look more like excuses. And at this point in history, they are unacceptable.

It is a simple matter for anyone who can think to see the way the wind blows, how the land lies … and change his mind.

Bernie Sanders is a relic of a bygone age. How nice it will be when everyone can see that so is the far-left Democratic Party, and the entire ideology of Socialism, in all its shades of red.

 

*Out of Step by Sidney Hook, Harper and Row, New York, 1987, pp.306-307.

(Hat-tip for the Hook quotation to Robert Kantor)

*

Afterword: We have written that Communism is Secular Christianity (see under Pages in our margin). Now we declare it to be the The other Jewish religion. We deny that there is any contradiction between the two statements. Communism is secular Christianity, and it is the other Jewish religion. Only neither Christians nor Jews (as far as we know) are generally aware that it is both those things.

The red, the green, and the white man walking 0

In September 2015, Sanders’s presidential campaign received the support of the former Weather Underground terrorist Bill Ayers, who wrote: “I believe that among the Sanders supporters there are thousands who are dissatisfied, who are disgruntled, but who do not have a coherent left analysis, who therefore are open to our ideas as they weren’t before they got involved in the Sanders surge. … So, why don’t we join a Sanders local campaign or go to a mass rally? … We could have lists of places and projects where anarchists and others are working with people in projects that are using anarchist and community participatory ideas and vision. Places where Bernie supporters might get involved once they knew about them.”

That paragraph and the following come from Discover the Networks:

In his first public speech as a presidential candidate in Burlington, Vermont, in May 2015, Bernie Sanders broadly laid out the major planks of his campaign’s agenda:

  • He declared that financial inequality “is immoral, it is bad economics, it is unsustainable”. 
  • Vowing to send “a message to the billionaire class”, he said: “You can’t have huge tax breaks [for the rich] while children in this country go hungry … while there are massive unmet needs on every corner…. Your greed has got to end…. You cannot take advantage of all the benefits of America if you refuse to accept your responsibilities.”
  • He pledged to enact “a tax system that is fair and progressive, which tells the wealthiest individuals and the largest corporations that they are going to begin to pay their fair share”.
  • He claimed that “the current federal [hourly] minimum wage of $7.25 is a starvation wage and must be raised … to $15.00 an hour”.
  • He described the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) as a “modest” step in the direction of rightfully forcing the U.S. to “join the rest of the industrialized world and guarantee health care to all as a right”.  “And we must do it through a Medicare-for-all, single payer health plan,” he explained.
  • He called for “pay equity for women workers”, and “paid sick leave and guaranteed vacation time for every worker in this country”.
  • Describing the rising costs of a college education as “insane”, he vowed to “fight to make tuition in public colleges and universities free, as well as substantially lower interest rates on student loans”.
  • He pledged to “expand Social Security benefits” and mandate “a universal pre-K system for all the children of this country”. 
  • Asserting that “there is nothing more important” than fighting global warming, he said: “The debate is over. The scientific community has spoken in a virtually unanimous voice. Climate change is real, it is caused by human activity, and it is already causing devastating problems in our country and throughout the world.” He elaborated that in the absence of government intervention, America would inevitably see “more drought, more famine, more rising sea level, more floods, more ocean acidification, [and] more extreme weather disturbances”, in the absence of government intervention.
  • He called for the government to use taxpayer dollars to rebuild America’s “crumbling infrastructure” by repairing “our roads, our bridges, our water systems, our rail and airports”.
  • He would begin this process by working to advance, in the Senate, a five-year, $1 trillion bill that he himself had proposed, claiming that it “would create and maintain 13 million good paying jobs”.

Bernie Sanders has an older brother, Larry, who says that Bernie is a “genuine socialist”.

We know about Larry from Nico Hines, who writes a quite sympathetic – even affectionate – profile of him at the Daily Beast:

[Larry Sanders is] a soft-spoken man, who has been calmly explaining his little brother’s sudden political success from his sun-drenched kitchen table in Oxford [England]. …

If Bernie is able to ride the recent surge in support all the way to the White House, Larry says he would go big — no matter what Congress, the usual conventions or even the majority of the Democratic Party might say.

“He’ll flex his muscles,” Larry said. “I mean this is not cowboy stuff, there are very intricate constitutional discussions, [but] he won’t hesitate, if he thinks he’s got the constitutional power to do something—he will do it.”

If that’s a warning to those who think President Obama has been guilty of constitutional overreach, he also has one for Democrats who would try to moderate a Sanders presidency. … Bernie wants to revolutionize politics, but he also specifically wants to revolutionize the Democratic Party.

There is no doubt that Larry was a formative influence on Bernie, who is six years his junior. When Larry was at college studying Marx and Hegel, Bernie was still at high school. “Sometimes I would tell Bernard about something I’d heard about or read about so I think he did get — at a much younger age than most people — an idea of political thought. So I think I did help him get started,” he said. “He has given me credit — not all the credit.”

As a radical member of the Young Democrats in the 1950s, Larry was already attracting political attention within the student body. “I do recall a Republican club paper called me ‘an obese socialist’, ” he said, laughing. “And I wasn’t even very fat then!”

Last week, Larry was appointed health spokesman for the left-wing Green Party in England. He had been an active member of the Labour Party in the 1980s, but he grew disillusioned once Tony Blair had taken the party into the center ground.

He is far more impressed with Jeremy Corbyn — the hard left campaigner who won a shock election to become the new leader of the Labour Party last year. Many have pointed out the similarities between the two men [Bernie, that is, and Jeremy], even though British politics is centered considerably to the left of the American mainstream — and Corbyn is way out to the left of that.

Larry isn’t so sure that his brother is more moderate, however. “Bernard is a genuine socialist in his sense of class warfare — that he thinks there is not a national interest so much as there is an interest with sectors of the population,” he said. “In that sense, his passion and the sense of conflict between the major owners and the rest of the population is very socialist — as socialist as Corbyn.”

Some of the Corbynistas have been helping Larry and the “London for Bernie” organization to raise awareness about the global primary, which allows Americans abroad to send delegates — and even some super delegates — to the Democratic convention. Larry said Corbyn supporters within the Labour Party had helped to arrange for UNITE, Britain’s largest union, to allow Bernie’s supporters to hold events in their buildings for free. The union confirmed that the group used its rooms without charge. The move might be a violation of U.S. campaign finance law depending on who was involved, according to the former general counsel for the Federal Election Commission.

Bernie has always told his brother that the cause of socialism, or social democracy, is more important than his own career.

Who put in “or social democracy”? It is extremely unlikely that Bernie has “always” told his brother that his is “the cause of social democracy”. That’s his claimed cause as he fights in the Democratic Party for the presidential nomination. His long career shows his cause to have been a deeper shade of red.  

“What he said to me very clearly was: ‘I don’t mind running and making a fool of myself, I’ve been humiliated before — I’ll go back to doing the job I love[as Senator], no big sweat, but if I do badly then everyone will say: ‘See, I told you, nobody is interested in that crap.’ And for a generation those ideas and the millions of people he thinks need those ideas will be wiped out,” Larry said.

He would not have run if he thought he would damage the cause — ‘I think I can make a respectable showing’ — that was his decision. I’m not sure that he thought he could win.”

Bernie Sanders has already surpassed the “respectable showing” stage, he has the Clinton camp on the hop, and the latest polling suggests that he has closed a 40-point deficit to come within the margin of error in Nevada.

Larry says he always had faith in his brother but he uses the word “astonishing” over and over again to describe the events of the last six months.

Bernie likes to praise the Scandinavian countries as “democratic socialist” models,

Here, in a 2013 video, Stefan Molyneaux talks about the Myth of Scandinavian Socialism.

We don’t agree with all his opinions, but find the facts he presents interesting: 

Posted under communism, Denmark, History, Leftism, Norway, Soviet Union, Sweden, Totalitarianism, United States by Jillian Becker on Saturday, February 20, 2016

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“Compassionate totalitarianism” 4

President George W. Bush was probably the most maligned president of modern times (though fans of President Obama make that claim for him).

Last night Rudi Giuliani, the great former mayor of New York, said in an interview with Sean Hannity on Fox News, that President George W. Bush had kept Americans safe after the Muslim mass-murder attack of 9/11, and for that America owes him honor and gratitude. We agree. In practice President Bush did a good job.

Where we did not agree with President George W. Bush himself, was on a matter of theory: his political philosophy of “compassionate conservatism”. (It’s a sentimentality that Governor John Kasich now puts in his shopwindow as he advertises himself for the Republican presidential nomination.)

Compassion is an emotion. Individuals feel it or hold it as a moral value. But the state has no emotion. A government has no heart. Government is for protection – of the nation by means of a strong military defense, and of the individual by the rule of law strictly and indiscriminately applied. Government is not a father or mother or nanny or sugar daddy. In conservative philosophy, it has no duty to provide for the people it protects. It has no means to do so. It is not the nation’s money earner. It ought not to be an agency that forces some people to give it money so that it can hand it to other people. .

But in socialist philosophy, providing for the people’s needs is government’s chief function. Socialist government starts by “redistributing” private wealth: taking money from those who have earned it and giving it to those who have not. The long-term plan is for government (euphemistically, “the people”) to “own the means of production, distribution and exchange”. In plain words, to own everything. A socialist government is in loco parentis. The people are its children whom it must house, feed, educate, medicate, and make all decisions for. It knows what is best for you, and your duty is to obey it. It will give you what it judges you need – or withhold it if you step out of line. If you are disobedient, you will be punished. If you put your personal interests above the government-ordained interests of the collective “All”,  you may find yourself provided with no house, no food, no schooling, no doctoring, and – once the grip of a socialist regime has become absolute, as in Russia in the last century – no means by which you can supply these needs for yourself.

Socialists, Communists, Marxists – let’s say Leftists in general – believe that History (a sort of god whose prophet was Karl Marx) is moving humankind in a certain direction it has pre-ordained. Towards a world in which people live without private possessions. Where each is concerned only with the good of All. (Invention, which is essentially an individual enterprise is thus made impossible, so no actual advance is ever made.) Moving towards that utopia is what Leftists mean by “progress“. 

That’s why they call themselves “progressives”.

Professor Walter Williams writes at Townhall:

Presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sanders seek to claim the “progressive” mantle. Both claim the other is not a true progressive. Clinton teased Sanders as being the “self-proclaimed gatekeeper for progressivism”. Bernie Sanders said that Hillary Clinton can’t be both a moderate and a progressive and that most progressives don’t take millions from Wall Street. But let’s talk about the origins of progressivism. It’s only historical ignorance that could explain black affinity for progressivism.

The Progressive Era is generally seen as the period from 1890 to 1920. President Woodrow Wilson, a leading [Democrat and] progressive, had a deep contempt for the founding principles of our nation. Progress for Wilson was to get “beyond the Declaration of Independence”,  because “it is of no consequence to us”. President Wilson implored that “all that progressives ask or desire is permission – in an era when ‘development,’ ‘evolution,’ is the scientific word – to interpret the Constitution according to the Darwinian principle; all they ask is recognition of the fact that a nation is a living thing and not a machine”.

President Woodrow Wilson was a believer in notions of racial superiority and inferiority. He was so enthralled with D.W. Griffith’s Birth of a Nation movie, which glorified the Ku Klux Klan, that he invited various dignitaries to the White House to view it with him. … When President Wilson introduced racial segregation to the civil service, the NAACP and the National Independent Political League protested. Wilson vigorously defended it, arguing that segregation was in the interest of Negroes. Booker T. Washington wrote during Wilson’s first term, “I have never seen the colored people so discouraged and bitter as they are at the present time.”

President Woodrow Wilson’s predecessor, Theodore Roosevelt, was another progressive captivated by the notions of racial inferiority. He opposed voting rights for black Americans, which were guaranteed by the 15th Amendment, on the grounds that the black race was still in its adolescence. …

The Progressive era gave birth to the “separate but equal” doctrine that emerged from the Supreme Court’s notorious 1896 decision in Plessy v. Ferguson, a case that symbolized Jim Crow racism. Progressives were also people who attacked free-market economics. Along with muckraking journalists they attacked capitalistic barons. They were advocates of what might be called “scientific racism” that drew from anthropology, biology, psychology, sociology, eugenics and medical science. …

Legal scholar Richard Epstein concludes that progressivism sought to grant the state vast new authority to manage all walks of American life while at the same time weakening traditional checks on government power, including private property rights and liberty of contract, two principles that progressives hold in contempt. Epstein notes, “The sad but simple truth is that the Jim Crow resegregation of America depended on a conception of constitutional law that gave property rights short shrift, and showed broad deference to state action under the police power.”

It is clear that today’s progressives have the same constitutional contempt as their predecessors. I hope they do not share the racial vision. Black voters ought to demand, at a minimum, that progressives disavow their ugly racist past.

They should re-label themselves to something other than progressives, maybe compassionate totalitarians. 

The end of national sovereignty 5

The EU – the European Union – is not a democracy. It has a parliament, and people are elected to it by the citizens of the member states, but it has no real power of decision. Members of the European Parliament talk there. Nobody listens. Not even their fellow MEPs.

Unelected bureaucrats decide what the 503 million people of Europe may do, eat, use, buy, sell, and say, and not do, eat, use, buy, sell, and say. In finicky detail. (See for example here and here.)

The bureaucrats compose the Commission. The president of the Commission is appointed by the Council and he appoints the other 27 members.

The Council is composed of the heads of the governments of the member states and the President of the Commission whom they have appointed.

The EU Commission – 28 unelected officials – exercises dictatorial power, and has dictated that Europe shall be terminated; and that slowly – over about three more generations – the continent will become part of the Ummah, the world unity of Muslims, governed by Sharia, Islam’s legal system inseparable from the religion. To this end, the EU is importing millions of Muslims (often under the courtesy name of “refugees”), who will have large families as multiple wives each bear many children.

The Commission’s writ does not officially run in Western countries outside the EU; but this momentous decision, a turning point in the history of mankind, is apparently approved of and being emulated by the political leadership of most Western states, notably Canada, Australia, and even the United States of America.

Or is there a conspiracy among all Western leaders to Islamize their world?

The Big Question is WHY? 

John Griffing writes at American Thinker:

Europe is on fire, in a social and financial crisis of its leaders’ own making. Its public places are now spectacles of the obscene, and its women are sexual objects for a predatory race of invaders. Its social systems are stretched to the breaking point by belligerent “refugees” who are devouring their host countries at will, while Europe’s leaders defend the invaders and blame their own citizens.

Western civilization is under attack, and rational citizens are at a loss to understand why their leaders are allowing the destruction of their societies.

Much has been written about the outrageous acts that have been committed by Muslim migrants, so we need not repeat them here. We can simply agree that the situation in Europe is disastrous, and it’s getting worse. And America is not far behind.

Western leaders are aiding and abetting this insanity with a consistency and single-mindedness of purpose that can only be explained in one way: they must think they have something to gain from the chaos created by this crisis.

What other conclusion can be drawn from the brazen ascendancy of Islam in the western world, and the deafening silence that permits its success?  Clearly, Western leaders think they can use Islam for their own ends, to consolidate their own power.

Whether their motivations are globalist, nationalist, pro-Islam, or merely megalomaniacal, they all seem to hold one belief in common: the belief that they can control Muslim migration to create the chaos necessary to justify their predetermined solutions. …

But they are dangerously underestimating those they presume to use as pawns. …

Islam is now controlling most of Europe, either actively, or passively, due to the absence of any response from local governing authorities – a curious void of law and order. …

Unless Europeans and Americans rise up now to reverse this trend, one of two things will occur. Either those in power will succeed in using this crisis to advance their aims and fundamentally transform their societies, or, more likely, Islam will become dominant in the West past the point of no return.

If those two occurrences are distinguishable from each other.

“The Moors” have come home. The Muslim horde hastily imported into Europe over the cries and screams of voters are living up to the archetypes people in the West have come to fear, especially when cartoons result in lynch-mobs, and when a woman clothed according to western custom is mercilessly raped by “migrants”. …

A majority of Muslims living in Britain say they want full Sharia law, a separate Muslim police force, and death for anyone who speaks against Mohammed.  The same survey revealed a majority percentage also favor terrorist attacks against Britain and the United States.  51 percent of American Muslims also say they want Shariah and the US government to become Islamic.

The Netherlands openly advocates placing Shariah – the desert law which commands death for adulterers, death for gambling, death for leaving the faith (or having no faith), and death for homosexuals – on the ballot.

German courts are already enforcing Shariah when requested, and the impetus for this golden nugget originated in Nuremburg.

France has over 751 “no-go zones”, i.e. areas of land ruled by Islamic law and totally unrecognizable as French.

And where French law is not enforced, the police being afraid to enter them.

This was verified again after the recent French attacks.

The British already have actual Shariah courts in operation all over the United Kingdom.  These “courts” are chaired by a man who thinks amputation for petty crimes is a great idea, something he wants to “offer British society”.

Americans and Europeans need to stop acting surprised when Muslims behave like Muslims.  They are acting according to what the Qur’an says to do. It’s there in plain sight for anyone to read. And its ultimate aim is conquest and complete domination of any other culture but Islam. …

Not only is history repeating, but it is repeating on a crash timetable, and with the perverse backing of the host countries destined to be remade in the image of Islamic hegemony.

Why would any true German, Frenchman or Briton cooperate in their own organized destruction if there were not some goal or elusive purpose to be accomplished by the ever less accountable and more distant governments that make such decisions?

It would only be logical to deduce that French leaders, German leaders and British leaders have determined that there is an acceptable cost to property and lives if the chaos resulting from the indiscriminate welcoming of new migrant hoards can be directed towards an unspoken goal.  This is not out of left field.  Angela Merkel calling her own people “neo-Nazis” and turning water cannons on her own citizens is indicative.

Amazingly, this mindset is evident in every recent action to open the borders of Europe and America to their new visitors.

Controlled chaos is the desired result.

We underestimate the depravity of Western leaders if we think the lives of American and European citizens mean anything more to them than plot points in a narrative, one leading inevitably to the end of national sovereignty.

There’s chaos all right, but where’s the control?

What is that “goal or elusive purpose to be accomplished by the ever less accountable governments”? 

Is it something beyond the destruction of their own nations? Of their continent? Of Western civilization?

Is it some earthly paradise that can only arise out of submission to Islam and Sharia law?

A vision that they alone – the political deciders and dictators who will  not explain their plan – can see?

Is that hellish path the only way to it?

If so, it would be good to be told what it is, and how it will come about, and when.

Or else there is no answer at all to WHY.   

Gas and air 2

A new Pentagon directive says that climate change must now be part of all Defense Department “programs, plans and policies”. … The Defense Department is creating a wide array of “climate boards, councils and working groups” to make this a priority. In other  words, a vast new defense climate change bureaucracy is being born, after years of defense cutbacks.

Obama has at least 22 times declared that climate change is a greater threat than terrorism. He’s so obsessed that he’s willing to damage both our economy and America’s ability to defend itself.

Investor’s Business Daily reports:

As threats to America’s security proliferate, the military has a new priority. Nuclear weapons? China? Russia? Terrorism? Nope. How about climate change.  Feel safer now?

A new Pentagon directive says that climate change must now be part of all Defense Department “programs, plans and policies”. … [It] is creating a “wide array of climate boards, councils and working groups” to make this a priority. In other words, a vast new defense climate change bureaucracy is being born, after years of defense cutbacks.

This would be laughable if it weren’t so tragic. As any objective observer will tell you, the U.S. faces a host of  grave and growing threats.

Just this week, for instance, satellite photos show Iran working on a mysterious new installation that’s tied to its nuclear weapons program. No doubt, work there is picking up since President Obama started forking over billions of dollars to them under the Iran nuclear deal.

Meanwhile, just a desert away from Iran, defense analysts fear something like World War III is brewing as the U.S., Russia, Turkey, Syria, ISIS and a number of Islamic rebel groups vie to decide the fate of the Middle East. …  But our military’s green policies are already having an impact. As Obama’s former CIA deputy director Mike Morell recently told PBS’s Charlie Rose, “we didn’t go after oil wells . . . that ISIS controls because we didn’t want to do environmental damage.”

As if that weren’t enough, North Korea on Super Sunday launched a three-stage Taepodong missile that could potentially carry a nuclear weapon to U.S. shores. Sunday’s successful missile launch is the second in a row, and comes  just a month after the Communist state declared it had detonated a hydrogen bomb.

Another foe, China, is creating a blue-water navy to challenge the U.S. dominance in the Western Pacific, building its ground forces into a formidable, modern standing army of 2 million, while making spurious territorial claims in the South China Sea. …

Add to that, Russia’s continuing threats against Eastern Europe, the Baltic states and even Finland, and the U.S. has not been this threatened since before the end of the Cold War.

Closer to home, there have been at least 81 major terrorist threats against the U.S. since 9/11, the most recent just last month …

All these threats are very real. Global warming is purely hypothetical. And yet, the military is making global warming a priority.

The Pentagon’s No. 3 official, procurement czar Frank Kendall, initiated this program. But make no mistake: It’s President Obama’s baby. His EPA, after all, has slapped strict CO2 limits on industry that will cost hundreds of billions of dollars and thousands of jobs, and now wants to raise per-barrel oil taxes by $10. …  Obama has at least 22 times declared that climate change is a greater threat than terrorism. He’s so obsessed that he’s willing to damage both our economy and America’s ability to defend itself.

We have a frivolous president who isn’t serious about defense, and our enemies know it.  … [In] the coming presidential election … America’s security, perhaps its very existence, depends on making the right choice.

This is an important article. We believe most of what it says, and are angered by it.

With only one statement we take issue. The decision to turn the military into a horde of tree-huggers (figuratively speaking, to sum up the point) is indeed frivolous, and perilously so. But we don’t agree that Obama himself is frivolous. He shares and represents the opinion of a large number of people world-wide, the self-appointed elite, the international Left.

This sinister force, this vast left-wing conspiracy, is going about its destructive business with profound seriousness. It is unrelenting. It will use everything it can to gain its totalitarian ends: Islam’s terrorist “holy war”; claims of disastrous climate change; promises of government-provided “free” lifelong support.

As for Islam’s violent onslaught, Obama is not only holding back from defeating it, but positively encouraging it by giving tax-payers’ money to its support organizations in America!

Americans have grown so accustomed to liberty that they take it for granted, expecting it always to be there, invisible, intangible, but forever sustaining them, like the air they breathe.

Many – far too many – do not understand that they are losing their liberty. Are unaware that their elected government is taking it away from them.

They don’t believe they need a strong defense. They’d rather their government force the army and the people to follow instructions which somehow, remotely, magically, will control the weather. They are told the real air is too full of carbon dioxide gas. If they do this and that, and refrain from doing that and this, the evil gas will be reduced, and they will be saved.

And no powerful voice is telling them otherwise.

Against God and Socialism (repeat) 14

This is a repeat of an essay by Jillian Becker, first posted on April 29, 2011.

The rise of enthusiasm for Socialism in America, demonstrated by the great numbers of enthusiasts flocking to hear Bernie Sanders, the Democratic candidate for the presidency, preaching it, prompts us to post the essay again.

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It is human nature to be selfish. If we weren’t selfish we wouldn’t survive. If we didn’t eat when we were hungry, warm ourselves when we were cold, seek cures for our illnesses, defend ourselves (and our children and our life-sustaining property), we’d die out pretty damn quick. Or rather, we would never have come into existence as a species at all.

We are most of us capable of sympathy with others, and we often willingly give away a thing we own to another person. Some are altruistic. A few will even give up their lives to save the lives of others. Nevertheless, we are all naturally and necessarily selfish.

Christianity and Communism require human nature to change. As it can’t, Christianity’s commandments to love our enemies and forgive those who do us harm turn many a person of good will and high aspiration into a hypocrite if not a corpse. Communist theorists have never settled the question of whether human nature must change so that the Revolution can take place, or whether the Revolution must take place in order for human nature to change. Of course it will never change, but there’s no stopping the collectivist dolts arguing about it.

Capitalism works well because it is in tune with our nature. Adam Smith called it “the natural order of liberty”. Everyone selfishly desires to provide for his needs. To pay for what he wants from others – services and goods – he has to provide something that others will pay him for. Millions do it, and the result is prosperity. Capitalism is an abstract machine most beautiful to behold in the wonder of its workings. When individuals have the incentive to achieve, acquire, and enjoy something for themselves, they’ll go to great lengths to afford it. They’ll compete with each other to provide what others want, toil to make it the better product, and set the price of it lower. The best is made available at the least cost. Everyone is both a taker and a giver, and everyone benefits. True, not everyone’s effort always succeeds, but nothing stops anyone from trying again.

Of course capitalism isn’t a remedy for every ill and discontent. But a capitalist society offers the best chance to an individual to make the best of his condition – being alive – which presents him with a tough challenge – to stay alive for a few score years, and make those years as good as his energy, cunning, and adaptability to conditions outside of his control (plus his statistically likely share of luck), can help them to be.

In a capitalist society no one has a fixed place, whether below, in the middle, or on top. A person can rise, sink, or stay. A truly capitalist society is necessarily a free society in which no one is prevented, by some ruler or ruling clique, from bettering his lot, striving, succeeding, or failing.

Capitalism is the enemy of that God of whom all the children in the British Empire used to sing at morning prayers in school assemblies before the Second World War:

All things bright and beautiful,

All creatures great and small;

All things wise and wonderful,

The Lord God made them all.

Each little flower that opens,

Each little bird that sings,

He made their glowing colors,

He made their tiny wings.

The rich man in his castle,

The poor man at his gate,

He made them high and lowly,

He ordered their estate.

The children were being taught to be content with everything as it was, trusting that God the ruler up there, all wise, permanent and unchallengeable had ordained how everyone had his fixed place and should stay in it, and because He had ordained it, it must be perfect. The recognition that such a God was an indefensible authoritarian, a whim-driven cosmic dictator, an unjust and arrogant tyrant, came – perhaps unconsciously – to the choosers of Anglican hymns only after a few of the earth’s dictators had been trounced in a prolonged and terrible blood-letting.

But then Socialists took over from God. They decided what was best for humanity. They established the Welfare State. No rich men in castles, no poor men at gates. The State would provide every citizen with depressing accommodation, dull food, health care if he were judged worthy of being kept alive, indoctrination in schools. Though the Socialist State is a slave society, the citizens are not called slaves but Social Security Recipients, National Health Patients, Students, Workers. The belief of their rulers is that they’ll be content because the State provides them with “everything”; they’ll be grateful for the food however poor, the unit in the tower block however depressing, the bed in the hospital however filthy, the indoctrination however boring. The great thing about it, to the collectivist mind, is they won’t have to strive to keep alive. And no one will have cause to pity or envy anyone else, since no one will have less or worse, or more or better – except of course the rulers up there, all wise, permanent and unchallengeable who ordain that everyone else has his fixed place. They reserve plenty, choice, comfort, luxury, information, and power to themselves.

The recognition that such a State is counter to the human instinct for freedom – call it “selfishness “ if you will – should have come to every sane adult the world over when the Soviet Empire crashed. The idea of Socialism should have died then. But if it did, it was only for a short time. Like the Christian God, it rose again, and lives now in the White House, an administration indefensibly authoritarian, whim-driven, unjust, and arrogant.

Selfish human nature with its instinct for liberty, its impelling desire to possess what is good for it materially and mentally, is the force that can and must defeat it.

Killing free thought 3

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Amnesty International (a leftist organization of which we are highly critical, but which occasionally does something right) has published a petition that we think needs to be widely circulated. (This is our Facebook version of it).

Ashraf Fayadh has been sentenced to death after being jailed for more than 22 months in the Saudi Arabian city Abha – without clear legal charges beyond “insulting Allah” and having “ideas that do not suit Saudi society”. These charges are based on the complaint of a reader’s interpretation of Fayadh’s 2008 poetry collection titled “Instructions Within”. This is not the first time that Saudi authorities have arrested Ashraf Fayadh. The poet was detained before after a Saudi citizen filed a complaint with the Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice accusing Fayadh of having “misguided and misguiding thoughts”. Fayadh was bailed out of jail at the time, only to get arrested again. According to sources close to Fayadh, the poet has been denied both visitation and legal representation rights. We condemn these acts of intimidation targeting Ashraf Fayadh as part of a wider campaign inciting hate against writers and using Islam to justify oppression and to crush free speech. We express our solidarity with Fayadh, hoping to increase support for the poet as well as pressure to release him. Our efforts should come together to ensure the proliferation of free speech and personal freedoms. We specifically call on Saudi intellectuals to express solidarity with Fayadh against Takfiris’ intimidation practices meant to silence poets, writers, and artists like him. Let the flag of creativity fly free. Remaining silent towards Fayadh’s detention is an insult to knowledge, literature, culture, and thought as well as to freedom and human rights.

Please follow this link and sign the petition to spare Ashraf Fayadh’s life. (We found it is not necessary to give more than your name and email address.)

Posted under Arab States, Islam, Muslims, Saudi Arabia, Totalitarianism, tyranny by Jillian Becker on Friday, November 20, 2015

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Barack the Bad unending 3

“Less than a year to go to the election of a new president.”

“Only 14 months more of this disastrous presidency.”

And then …?

Obama’s malign effect on the nation will be ended and undone?

Not if Obama can do anything to prevent it – and he can, and he will, and he’s doing it.

Matthew Vadum writes at Front Page:

After making America poorer, weaker, less free, more race-obsessed and balkanized throughout his tumultuous presidency, Barack Obama is gearing up to use his two tax-exempt nonprofits to continue attacking what remains of the republic’s civil society after he leaves office in 14 months.

Obama’s presidency “has been pockmarked by rioting, looting and protests”, as he “encouraged the nonstop civil unrest exhausting the nation”, writes the Hoover Institution’s Paul Sperry. Obama and his “army of social justice bullies” are going to make things worse before he leaves office on Jan. 20, 2017.

Our indefatigable Community Organizer-in-Chief is planning to use Organizing for Action (OfA) and the Barack Obama Foundation to continue punishing America for its imaginary sins and to promote manufactured controversies long after he leaves the White House.

Chicago-based OfA has trained “more than 10,000 leftist organizers, who, in turn, are training more than 2 million youths in [Saul] Alinsky street tactics,” according to Sperry. This “army of social justice bullies” will carry on Obama’s campaign to fundamentally transform America. 

OfA is a less violent version of Mussolini’s black shirts and Hitler’s brown shirts, or of the government-supported goon squads that Venezuela’s Nicolas Maduro and Cuba’s Castro brothers use to harass and intimidate their domestic opponents. OfA units brought muscle to the 2011-12 fight in Wisconsin over that state’s out-of-control government labor unions. OfA has bludgeoned Democrats that Obama deemed insufficiently left-wing, especially red-state congressional Democrats who had been wavering on the issue of Obamacare. …

Will the OfA be less violent than its forerunners? It would be a mistake to assume or expect that to be the case.

OfA, however, is only part of the picture.

Obama’s presidential foundation … may end up eclipsing OfA as a locus of destructive, nihilistic, antisocial activism in the post-Obama era. Obama intends to use his foundation, based at the planned Obama Presidential Center on Chicago’s South Side, to continue wreaking havoc in America and around the globe.

A “scaled down” version of OfA will reportedly reside at the Barack Obama Foundation whose website states ominously, “As President Obama has said, the change we seek will take longer than one presidency.  Obama’s historic candidacy was never simply about winning an office; it was about building a movement to tackle challenges that would define a generation. This work will live on in the Obama Foundation, which will inspire citizens across the globe to better their communities, their countries, and their world.”

But at least until the foundation is fully operational, Organizing for Action will remain Obama’s primary nonprofit vehicle for subjecting the American people to the community organizer-style terrorism that got him where he is today.

Sperry notes that OfA holds “organizing summits” on college campuses and uses social media to “mobilize flash mobs against ‘biased cops’, ‘climate-change deniers’,  ‘Wall Street predators’ and ‘gun extremists’.”  It organizes rallies against conservative opponents of same-sex marriage, expanded LGBT rights, abortion, and amnesty for illegal aliens.

During the nationwide battle over Obamacare, OfA sent out a mass email attacking the good faith of opponents. Those who questioned the wisdom of Obamacare weren’t Americans who sincerely disagreed with the president, but “Right-Wing Domestic Terrorists who are subverting the American Democratic Process, whipped to a frenzy by their Fox Propaganda Network ceaselessly re-seizing power for their treacherous leaders”. …

OfA was created because the White House could not lawfully use the 13 million e-mail addresses that the campaign compiled in 2008. The Democratic National Committee set up the allegedly grassroots movement as an in-house project to continue to proselytize on Obama’s behalf between elections. It was previously called Organizing for America but that name was jettisoned, probably because it sounded too pro-American.

Organizing for Action is a 501c4 nonprofit “social welfare” organization formed in January 2013. …  At the end of 2013 it reported $26 million in total revenue, 197 employees, and 27,282 volunteers.

OfA … runs something it calls the Community Organizing Institute which conducts “documentary film screenings, panel discussions and receptions with distinguished guests”.

Obama has also used taxpayer money to train “hundreds of thousands of junior agitators through AmeriCorps, a Clinton youth program he’s dramatically expanded”, Sperry writes, “and through My Brother’s Keeper, the ‘racial justice’ initiative he launched in the wake of the 2012 death of Florida teen Trayvon Martin”.

Obama openly supports the violent Occupy Wall Street and Black Lives Matter movements, which are “coordinating activities with nonprofit ACORN clones, who are being secretly bankrolled through Justice Department subprime settlement funds extracted from banks”. …

Obama is leaving behind a generation of militant jerks — collectively known as his “family” — to continue to proliferate protests and militate against everything and nothing. These irritating, self-absorbed, belligerent brats will “hands-up, don’t shoot” themselves into every cobwebbed corner of society, and the liberal media will give them the national bullhorn to amplify their hatred every time.

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Posted under Collectivism, communism, Leftism, Marxism, Race, revolution, Socialism, Totalitarianism, trade unions, Treason, tyranny, United States by Jillian Becker on Thursday, November 19, 2015

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Zikr versus Fikr 1

Poetry is taken very seriously in Iran.

It is taken very seriously by the rulers of Iran, who stand high among the rulers of the darkness of this world.

And have been further elevated by the president of the United States, Barack Hussein Obama, who has bowed deeply to them, and crawled at their feet, and grovelling there has begged them to use him as their footstool.

The highest of them all, the Ayatollah Sayyed Ali Hosseini Khamenei, writes poems.

They know what a poem is. What it should be. What it must be: a hymn to Allah. If it is not that, it is not a poem.

And if anyone writes something about anything else and dares to call it a “poem”, he or she deserves at the very least to be flogged and flogged and flogged again, and shut away for many years, and have their writings banned. Some deserve nothing less than to be shot or bled to death. 

Amir Taheri writes at Gatestone:

Does a seminar on reforming the meter and rhyme schemes of Persian poetry violate “Islamic values” and threaten the foundations of the Islamic Republic of Iran?

That is the view of the Islamic Court in Tehran, which last month sentenced two poets, Fateme Ekhtesari and Mehdi Mussavi, to nine and 11.5 years in prison respectively, plus 99 lashes of the cane for each in public.

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One of the two, Mrs. Fateme Ekhtesari, was sentenced to 11.5 years for “undermining the security of the Islamic state” by composing and reciting in public a number of “poems full of ambiguity and capable of being read in deviant and dangerous ways”.

So if any of her images turns the devout reader’s imagination to blasphemy, flog her, imprison her, and ban the evil poem.

Ekhtesari is a surrealist poet whose verse could, and indeed is intended to, be read in many different ways. One of her diwans (collections of verse), for example, is called Crying on the Shoulder of An Egg. Another comes under the title A Feminist Discourse Before Baking Potatoes.

In the case of Iranian women – of all women under the yoke of Islam – we understand the need for a “feminist” movement; a movement to set them free, whatever it may be called.

And we do not argue with any poet’s subject matter, even if it is religious.

Feminism is a strong theme with Ekhtesari, who insists that, as God created both men and women from the same “red mud” mentioned in the Koran, there is no reason to prevent the latter from enjoying any freedoms available to the former.

In Islam, for a woman to claim equality with men is a sin, a crime, an enormity.

The Tehran Islamic Prosecutor insisted that Ekhtesari’s “ambiguous poems” were meant to pass “dangerous political messages that could encourage people to distance themselves from the True Faith”.

“She writes something but means something else,” the prosecutor claimed. “Her trick is to avoid saying anything in a straightforward way, creating space for all manner of dangerous thinking.”

The prosecutor based part of his case on the claim that what matters in Islam is “zikr,” that is to say, a constant remembrance of God by repeating, if necessary in silence and to oneself, the formula “There is no God but Allah”. Those who abandon “zikr” for its opposite — which is “fikr”, that is to say, thinking — move away from the Path of Faith.

Zikr versus Fikr. Faith versus Reason. The aim of Islam is to smother the world in Zikr. Snuff out Fikr. Put an end to Reason – the most dangerous thing in the universe. 

The irony in all this is that Ekhtesari is not a political poet. In fact, she has written that those who try to use poetry to advance political ideals betray both.

As editor of the monthly literary magazine Only One Tomorrow, Ekhtesari offered space to writers and poets across the ideological spectrum, including some Khomeinists. Her magazine was shut down soon after Hassan Rouhani became president.

However, as a poet, Ekhtesari cannot but be affected by the ambient social and political order in her homeland. She cannot turn her face the other way when she sees ugliness, oppression and terror – themes that force their way into some of her poems.

Ekhtesari is also an original theoretician of poetic modes. Her collection of essays entitled Linguistic Tricks in Postmodern Sonnet [Ghazal] is both intriguing and instructive.

Ekhtesari’s fellow convict-cum-poet is Mehdi Mussavi, who received a six-year [or nine-year?] sentence. Mussavi is the founder and principal animator of a poetry workshop in Tehran where Ekhtesari has often spoken and recited her poems. The workshop is supposedly dedicated to developing a new form that Mussavi calls “postmodern ghazal”.  The classic form of Persian sonnet, ghazal, has been the subject of numerous attempts at modernization, notably by Simin Behbahani, one of Iran’s greatest contemporary poetesses.

To call the ghazal a sonnet is misleading. It is a traditional form with rules, as is the sonnet, but its form is nothing like that of the sonnet. But we’ll let that pass.

What matters here is Mehdi Mussavi’s moral wickedness as a poet and the danger it poses to the Iranian state.

Like Behbahani, Mussavi argues that, having experimented with modern forms, including European-style prose-poetry, for almost a century, Persian poets need to return to traditional forms, albeit with changes to reflect modern realities.

Mussavi rejects the argument of the older generation poets such as Ahmad Shamlou, who claimed that the traditional ghazal is so beholden to the musicality of its meter and rhyme schemes that it cannot relay any meaning in a powerful way.

According to Mussavi, once the Persian poet has learned to play by the traditional rules, he could invent virtually countless meters and rhymes capable of expressing any sentiment.

Just literary controversy, you might say. Insiders chat. But in Islam, the literary is political, every idea is political, because Islam is a totalitarian religio-political ideology. 

Literary opponents of Mussavi’s theories, especially on the left, argue that he, like Behbahani and other reformers of the ghazal before them, suffers from a sense of insecurity in a changing world where the Iran they knew is being remolded into something repulsive in the name of Islam.

The Islamic Court charged Mussavi with propagating “immoral images” in his poetry and thus “insulting sacred values of the Islamic ummah”. 

Equally painful is the Islamic Court’s decision to impose a blanket ban on the publication and recital of any poems by Ekhtesari and Mussavi. Under an edict issued by the Islamic Guidance Ministry in 2003, people like Ekhtesari and Mussavi, who are found guilty of “insulting Islam” and thus put on the official index, become “non-persons” – even their names and pictures are banned.

Both Ekhtesari and Mussavi had spent several months in prison two years ago, but were released after the Islamic Prosecutor Ayatollah Ra’isi failed to prove any political crime.

That is why this time, the prosecutor focused on a claim that the poets had attacked “the sacred tenets of the faith”.

The sentencing was made easier thanks to a recent lecture by “Supreme Guide” Ayatollah Ali Khamenei laying down the rules of what he believes “good Islamic poets” should observe when writing poetry.

Iran is one of the few countries in the world where poetry has always been regarded as the highest form of literary creation. In Iranian cities, streets and parks were more often named after poets than conquerors or empire-builders or, until the mullahs seized power, Islamic saints and/or theologians. If an Iranian home has at least one book, it is likely to be a collection of poems.

And yet, with the seizure of power by mullahs in 1979, Iran has experienced one of the most dangerous phases in its long history, as far as poets – and intellectuals in general – are concerned.

Another irony is that both the founder of the regime, the late Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, and his successor as “Supreme Guide” Ali Khamenei, cast themselves as amateur poets. Khomeini banned publication of his own divans while he was alive, believing that appearing as a poet might soften the dour persona he was building as leader of a revolution that could execute 4000 people on a weekend.

Since his death, however, hundreds of his poems, most of them traditional-style sonnets (ghazals) have been published by the foundation bearing his name.

Ali Khamenei does not publish his poems, but organizes private readings with a few dozen “appreciators” once or twice a year and is reportedly “in seventh heaven” when his entourage quote one of his verses.

Ekhtesari and Mussavi have been sent to jail, not killed. Other poets have not been so lucky.

Hashem Shaabani was hanged on the eve of President Rouhani’s visit to Ahvaz in 2014. Shaabani was not the first Iranian poet to be murdered by the mullahs. The left-wing poet Sa’id Sultanpour was abducted on the day of his wedding on Khomeini’s orders, and shot dead in a Tehran prison. Rahman Hatefi-Monfared, writing under the pen-name of Heydar Mehregan, had his veins cut and was left to bleed to death in the notorious Evin Prison. Under President Hashemi Rafsanjani, a plan to kill a busload of Iranian poets on their way to a festival in Armenia failed at the last minute. Nevertheless, Rafsanjani succeeded in eliminating more than a dozen writers and poets. The worst spate of killings happened under President Khatami, when more than 80 intellectuals, including the poets Mohammad Mokhtari and Mohammad-Ja’far Pouyandeh, were murdered by the Islamic regime’s security agents.

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