Wrong Lesson- it’s Trumps’ (perceived) honesty that resonates with voters- the insults are merely a bonus.

The Republican campaign has deteriorated into quite a sad state of affairs.  The shock of watching Donald Trump hurl insults, and make grandiose claims of achievement, has warn off and stunningly become the norm.  As if in a warped response to the medieval age ISIS has dragged the world into, our political campaign is rising to the level of Roman gladiators, with the crowd only satiated by more blood, and the willingness of all sides to fight to the death.

You think I exaggerate?  Explain the almost universal praise by pundits of Marco Rubio’s debate and other public performances, when he finally rolled up his sleeves, gave into the crowd, and fought with the same viciousness, insults, and mocking that Trump has used to rise in popularity.

When Vicente Fox and others say Donald Trump reminds them of Hitler, they are not far fetched.  He has the same ability to use hate and paranoia to work his followers into a frenzy, even a cult following.  Watch Hitlers’ speeches.  Watch the crowd.  Trump himself has stated that his supporters blindly follow him, and that even should he shoot someone in the middle of Time Square, he would not lose a single follower.  Are you not afraid?

I refuse to believe that the American people are all this blind or hateful.  What I take from that blind following is that the public does not care about what he says, but how he says it.  He could be completely off party lines, as with many of his past actions and even current remarks (see support of Planned Parenthood.)  I believe that it is not as much the extremist statements of Trump that the voters are responding to, but his perceived honesty that so contrasts with the conventional political campaigning, always afraid to say anything that has not been well vetted or remotely out of party lines.  Rubio and Cruz have somewhat missed the call of the public.  Sure, they love a good fight.   However, in this battleground, Trump will retain his edge- he is good at mud throwing.  You must use your intellect- throw those punches that actually have meaning and weight, not just “You are a liar”.  That’s all Trump has, but you have far more than that to work with.

The real missed lesson is not how to come up with insults.  It’s breaking the format- speaking off the cuff, answering questions without looking to your campaign managers for the appropriate answer.  You need to say out loud what you are thinking- the truckload of reasons that Trump will not make a good President- why the U.S. cannot afford to be his next business.  We can’t afford to fail, as some of his companies and business deals have.  We can’t just leave and get cheap labor elsewhere.  We can’t break our promises in relationships with allies or wives, trading in for new ones on a whim.   We can’t risk Donald Trump running the United States in the way that most benefits Donald Trump- a consistent approach to everything he has touched.  He has admitted that his political support goes wherever the wind blows, and that his principals change as benefits his financial interests.  Isn’t this really just his biggest business deal?  Can anyone doubt that he will shamelessly use the presidency to obtain his biggest financial advantages yet?  Ask the questions.  Out loud.  Again and again.

Do what should have been done unapologetically from the start- don’t just say that Trump has filed bankruptcies, tear those bankruptcies and lawsuits apart.  Bring out the nice old people from Scotland that Trump viciously and unrelentingly called stupid, publicly shaming them in an effort to obtain their land for a golf course.  Look at the environmental reports on that.  Don’t allow him to stand up there and claim he is supported by environmentalists- trot them out.  Rubio’s rightful criticism of a candidate being sued for FRAUD- where have you been for all of these months- these are not a few complainers, they are joined by the New York Attorney General.  How often and to what extent was Trump paying illegal workers?  How much?  I want to know.  Let’s send someone to his factories in China, and explore the working conditions.  Spend your advertising money showing his exploitation of the working class- will he really support unions?  Not if it hurts his bottom line.  There is a wealth of obtainable information to be evaluated.  Why are you not doing so?  Why is the media not doing this to inform the people?

Here’s a place to start- read Wayne Barretts’ 2011 article discussing Trumps’ decision to drop out of the 2012 Presidential race due to the magnifying lens into his businesses and alleged associates, even alleged ties to organized crime. His public excuse, that he was offered too good of a deal to renew his TV show, should give one pause.  http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2011/05/26/inside-donald-trumps-empire-why-he-wont-run-for-president.html

Say what everyone is thinking.  That is what the public wants.  No more politicians, full of dishonesty and double speak.  If you changed your mind, say so.  The ridiculous attempts to claim you haven’t only make you look foolish when you sheepishly attempt to turn it around. Don’t criticize spelling on tweets- is that the best you’ve got?  How about interviewing Marla Maples?  Let’s point out the lack of integrity, the inherent dishonesty exposed by his affair.  Where is Tiffany Trump?  Has no one noticed that Melania Trump has posed naked and provocatively- is she an appropriate first lady and role model?  How about that she speaks in broken English?  Is that acceptable for a first lady that must communicate well with heads of state and their wives- or is it everything that this country is about?  Why don’t you interview her?????  As always, the point is to ask the questions.  When interviewed, Trumps’ followers have said they follow him because he speaks the truth, not many cite his political platform.  Point out his dishonesty, not his spelling errors.  Rubio, Cruz, even Kasich, that’s what you learn from this- you don’t need the comedy writers- rip up the speeches, and just talk. #SpeakUp  and Speak Loudly.   Answer questions without canned responses. The old style of being overly careful not to offend any constituents is dead.  Just go for it.   This is what the public is clamoring for.  Listen.



American Terrorist-Why Don’t you Know About This?


Take a look at this Justice Department release- regarding a 21-year old Kansas resident named John T. Booker, who was in the process of enlisting in the U.S. army to support ISIS with an attack from the inside.  His plan to detonate a bomb at an Army post was thwarted, and a terrorist attack averted.  Right here in the U.S.  An American. A Muslim.

Why did most media outlets not report on this story?  I couldn’t find it on the Fox News website.  It was reported on CNN and CBS, but not given “front page” status.  I found it on page 7 of the Los Angeles Times, a 3-paragraph tidbit under “National Briefing”.  It was not reported because the story does not fit the media and political agenda- had Booker been an immigrant, there would have been something to wave flags and rant about.  Keep the Muslims out.  Now it’s about freedom of religion (and potentially mental health) and no-one wants to touch on those issues.

Does the very topic-  U.S. citizens supporting ISIS out of faith in Islam- hold a key to dealing with the problem?  Does this support the need for DeJihadification of Islam, as described in my earlier post?  Can or should the United States participate in the censorship of religion?  Incitement to violence is an exception to the rights of the First Amendment.  Censorship goes against everything we stand for, and government censorship of the Quran would be a tough sell.  So what can we do?  Can we put a terrorist tax on the Quran and any other books that advocate violence?  Can we pressure religious leaders in conjunction with publishers to only sell the Quran in the U.S.  with an annotated or amended version outlawing its illegal provisions calling Muslims to jihad?  This article is not intended to be controversial, but is intended to be thought provoking.  What are your ideas?  Please don’t let the party or media agenda stop us from protecting our country and working on solutions rather than useless rhetoric or hateful grandstanding. #SpeakUp

DeJihadification of Islam-What can we learn from DeNazification?

Yes, I know I could be writing about the primaries, and I will.  However, what I hope to do here is bring constructive discussions of topics in ways that the soundbites and memes that seem to serve as the political education of the masses, are lacking.  I’ve been working on various forms of this post for a while, and kept hitting the roadblock when it came to how to resolve it.  I’m not suggesting this is the only solution, but I simply don’t hear of enough ideas so I’m going to give mine.  In every conversation I have had with those who are unapologetically Anti-Muslim, the “Not all Muslims are terrorists, but all terrorists are Muslim” crowd, there is no meaningful solution other than to close our borders, cover our eyes, and let the Middle East fight to the death, hoping that we can successfully isolate ourselves from the carnage, wake up one day and see who won.  I believe that there are other options.  There must be.  Too many people are dying- we must not only care when we fear a terrorist attack, we must care always when such masses of people are suffering- we made the mistake of remaining uninvolved in WWII for too long- we must not repeat history, and we know this time for certain what is happening.

This article began as one on Islamic Reformation.  There are many within and outside the community of Islam arguing for its reformation- these are voices that need to be heard- the media and politicians need to assist them and put a megaphone to those voices.  My research and analysis brought me back to the very foundation of the unsuccessful attempts to substantively reform Islam.  Why has every other major religion gone through reformations of some kind, but not Islam?  No respected religious leaders or scholars, other than of Islam, advocate the punishments similarly described in their own texts- death or maiming for various crimes against the religion.  Most world religions have evolved their policies, even at their beginnings- to adapt to changing times.  (Christianity, for example, in order to gain converts to the new religion, declared that circumcision and certain kosher practices, would not apply to new converts.)

The reason that Islam has not been able to issue new, updated policies or ideologies, is that the Quran expressly prohibits any amendment, and to do so is a crime against Islam.

Where the world sees hope when Muslims point to the early, peace-avowing, religious tolerance of Mohammed’s writings (the Quran consists of a series of Mohammed’s writings over a 22-year period), the Quran states that wherever there is contradiction within its writings, the later writings shall be taken as law.  Mohammed’s later writings are those that ISIS, other extremists, and too many nonviolent believers follow.  They will never be convinced that the Quran is fallible or amendable.  An analogy in U.S. terms- conservatives who oppose gun control based on the existence and infallibility of the Constitutions’ Second Amendment (ironically, since it is, in fact, an Amendment, by nature an admission of the ability and necessity to make changes) will never be convinced that the right to bear arms is anything but a firm constitutional, even God-given right, not subject to regulation, let alone abolition.  Even more progressive Americans are reluctant to disavow that recognized part of our Constitution entirely.  This is how the majority of even non-extremist Muslims see the Quran- although the masses may denounce terrorism, an alarming number of Muslims do believe in those core ideologies- death to apostates, adulterers, etc.

What can be done?  This is a problem that faces the entire world.  Carpet-bombing sounds fun, but will that be the end of it?  Unfortunately, it’s not that easy.  There is no easy solution.  At the end of WWII, the Allies constructed and enforced a new policy- Denazification.  In occupied Germany, as well as across much of Europe, various laws were put in place to make Nazism illegal.  How do you illegalize an ideology?  The Allies made it illegal to belong to the Nazi party, all emblems and symbols were prohibited, and still are in some European nations.  All forms of Nazi support were evaluated and punished accordingly, from active proponents to lesser collaborators, to even those guilty through inaction.

The enforcement of the criminality of an entire ideology, which Islam clearly is, or even just aspects of it, would be no easy task.  Allied enforcement became an overwhelming task in Germany,  Enormous caseloads became unmanageable- consisting of trial and execution of the worst war criminals to barring Nazi party members from obtaining work permits.  The Allies each monitored zones, and it became imperative to gradually turn the governing over to Germans.  That took time- meanwhile, the Allies censored media, and the German people were forced to see the atrocities that many did not know of or support, in a misguided policy of collective guilt, but also to cement the condemnation of Nazism.  Conventional wisdom decries the effectiveness of DeNazification- but I disagree.  Eventually policing internally, no country continues to have stronger policies prohibiting the Nazi ideology, and its flag remains illegal.

Can or should such a policy be applied to Muslim extremism?  Would it be possible for a new group of Allies to institute and enforce a policy of Anti-Jihadism?  Can we learn from the failures and trials of Denazification to do it better now?  The United Nations already has laws, via resolution, outlawing genocide on the world stage.  U.N. Resolution 260 (III) Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, Article II, defines genocide as “acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, or religious group”.  Islamic leadership and groups, not just as political parties, but as nations, that call for death to apostates or non-believers of Islam, clearly fall into that category.  Am I suggesting that the United Nations (ha) or a group of Allies formed against Muslim extremists, invade Middle Eastern countries, pass this law and enforce it?  Not necessarily, but if this was the only way, why wouldn’t we consider it?

Who is best situated to eradicate extremism?  The nations that advocate on their behalf and/or allow these groups the freedom to exist.  As there is no recognized leader of Ialam, we must start from a civil perspective.  I believe that Iraq and Afghanistan were squandered opportunities to formally and uncompromisingly insist on absolute enforcement of laws to criminalize the ideologies within Islam of jihad, genocide of non-believers, including honor killings, and other aspects of Sharia law that violate human rights.  Pakistan has surprisingly been cracking down on ISIS, making necessary arrests.  However, any nation assisted by the U.S. through financial aid, trade, or diplomatic alliance, should be required to unequivocally restate the Quran and its interpretation/enforcement regarding positions recognized as illegal and genocidal throughout the world.

What does that look like from within?  Those governments would need to support the voices of reform, reflect the reform as established part of official religion and civil law.  Yes, there are many degrees to be negotiated in reform-legal and religious amendment of the Quran to denounce murder, religious intolerance- should they be required to abolish child marriage (Pakistan declined to recently pass a law banning child marriage), blasphemy laws, adultery, punishments of physical abuse or maiming.  There is much to be discussed.  What do we as a world insist upon as a baseline for human rights?

Let’s start with Saudi Arabia- statistics lead us to believe that a majority of IS followers are living and thriving within their borders.  Once a U.S. ally, those ties have considerably broken down, and power within the nation is tenuous. However, the U.S. provides financial aid to Saudi Arabia, even as the nation fails to meet the financial transparency regulations required for that aid, and denies reports that indicate that ISIS’s most significant donors are within their borders.  (Please don’t write comments that it’s all about oil dependency- the U.S. has significantly decreased any dependence on Saudi Arabia for oil.)  Why don’t we DEMAND allegiance from nations to whom we provide financial aid???  Is it unfair to at least require that they not support our enemies?  That we not finance the continued existence and rise of those enemies to power?  U.S. humanitarian aid is the primary source of aid to Sudan, a nation with one of the worst records of violations of human rights, and a strong enforcer of Sharia law.

You will not find a stronger advocate for the victims of Islamic extremism, humanitarian abuses, or corruption.  But we must do more to ensure that we are not feeding the people to give them strength as soldiers against us or against the innocent of their own people.  We also must find a way to rescue those that are innocent from genocide. We must be unmovable in our treatment of countries that support extremism or fail to enforce laws against it.  Why should a U.N. coalition not engage to prevent genocide in Syria?  There is ample evidence that the government used chemical weapons against its own people.  Hundreds of thousands are fleeing Syria, most are innocent, and some just looking for a more comfortable place to conduct IS operations.  Why not have a U.N. or allied coalition take control of the Syrian government (which one, you might ask-fair question), provide safety for its people, integrate reformist, peace-advocating Syrians, and provide them the manpower to eradicate the extremists and enforce laws that denounce Jihad and its interpretation within the Quran.

If we do not create and foster a policy of De-Jihadization, the future may look much like the present, maybe worse.  It is in the Quran.  Islam is prohibited from amending the Quran, so do we need to do it for them?  Not give them a say in this?  Despite the inevitable and substantial carnage that enforcement and a retaliatory rise in initial war against it, would it not be worth it for worldwide good?  Do we, as a nation, have the patience we didn’t even have with Germany, to stick this out for a generation or two until self-governance is possible?  Why or why not?  Would we create an opportunity for Russia or China to step in?  How can that threat be mitigated?

Is a global policy of De-Jihadization what we need?  Can it come from within or must the individual nations be strong-armed?  Can they be influenced by strong diplomatic and financial sanctions?  Do you believe that such an approach would only strengthen their movement?  What solutions do you advocate?  I don’t pretend to have the world’s solutions.  But, I won’t be quiet.  I will always speak up because this is not OK.  The suffering of innocent people daily within these nations is not OK.  Worrying whether my son’s school will be blown up by terrorists is not OK.  So, we must all work together, think together, and demand solutions.  This is just one forum to do so.  Thanks for reading.  Please share, comment, and discuss, whether you agree or disagree.