Friday, February 24, 2006

Fighting Terrorism

Although it irritates me that Muslims must constantly prove their loyalty to America in a way that no other Americans are required to do, such is the status of being the shit-list minority. The following is an important story that the mainstream media, of course, are ignoring because it does not fit their fear-mongering, racce-baiting paradigm:

When suicide bombers blew up a London subway last year in an attack that British police suspect involved several local Muslims, Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca began questioning what else he could do to help prevent homegrown terrorism here. So he called a man he thought could offer some answers: Maher Hathout, senior advisor to the Los Angeles-based Muslim Public Affairs Council.

In 2004, the council launched a national terrorism prevention campaign, endorsed by more than 600 Islamic centers nationwide, featuring religious education against violence, partnerships with law enforcement and scrutiny of literature, sermons and sources of donations in mosques.

One call led to another, and today Baca and several Southern California Muslim leaders plan to unveil the result of more than six months of discussion: a Muslim-American Homeland Security Congress to consolidate, expand and publicize Islamic efforts against terrorism. The new organization plans to deepen ties with law enforcement, encourage more religious leaders to speak out against terrorism, form a youth council and reach out to alienated Muslims to prevent any drift toward extremism. "I don't think we can ever believe for one minute that the battle against terrorism can be won by secular society alone," Baca said this week. "Muslim Americans are in the position of playing the greatest role."

Muslim leaders said they were eager to use the new congress as a showcase for their anti-terrorism efforts, which many believe remain little known by most Americans. The Council on American-Islamic Relations, for instance, has routinely issued public condemnations of terrorism, collected more than 690,000 signatures in a petition campaign denouncing hatred in the name of Islam and coordinated a group of North American scholars to issue a fatwa, or religious edict, reiterating Islam's repudiation of religious extremism and violence against innocent people — including suicide bombings.

Yet Baca and Muslim leaders say there is little public awareness about such actions. In her various meetings with interfaith, educational and other community groups, "the common question is why Muslims haven't condemned terrorism," said Sireen Sawaf of the Muslim Public Affairs Council.But Sawaf and others say they hope the congress will help them do even more in the fight against terrorism — especially building greater trust among a broader swath of Muslims toward law enforcement." Muslims are not the problem, they are an essential part of the solution," Hathout said. Indeed, Baca said he hoped the community would serve as the "eyes and ears" of law enforcement to alert them to any potential criminal acts, a role many Muslims say is part of their civic and religious duty.

Baca said that extremism among Southern California Muslims was a "small but real" problem. He cited ongoing multi-agency investigations into local money laundering schemes, possibly to support Mideast terrorism; the indictment last year of four California Muslims for allegedly plotting attacks on U.S. military facilities and synagogues; and the expression of "extremist views" at some local mosques. At one Culver City mosque, for instance, Baca said he was given a Koran by the imam and invited to read from it during an interfaith service after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. But he was approached by a man afterward who told him that non-Muslims such as him were forbidden to touch the Koran. "That's extremism at its worst," Baca said.

Several Muslim leaders, however, said they had not personally encountered anyone ever advocating violence in the name of Islam at any Southern California mosque. According to Hussam Ayloush of the American Islamic Council, imams in fact are becoming so concerned about inflammatory sentiments that some are banning political speech in mosques entirely — a move Ayloush disagrees with. Many community leaders said they were more worried about selective targeting of mosques for surveillance and of Muslims for immigration violations, according to

Shakeel Syed, executive director of the Shura Council of Southern California, an umbrella organization of more than 60 mosques. Syed said imams at two mosques had been deported on visa violations in recent years, and wondered why they were targeted. In addition, he said, his Islamic council was disturbed over reports from at least four or five Muslims who said they had been asked by law enforcement to monitor certain mosques, including the sermons of the imam. He declined to identify the mosques and said he has been unable to obtain information about why such targets were chosen and who approved them. Syed said he hoped that building deeper ties with law enforcement through the congress would help ease such concerns.

The new organization has a nine-member executive board. The congress will draw membership from mosque members, students, civil rights advocates, educators, religious scholars and others. An advisory council will include law enforcement officers, elected officials and business leaders. U.S. Rep. Jane Harman (D-Venice) has signed on. Baca said he hoped to take the idea of the congress across the country. "What I think this congress will achieve is another level of security for our country," he said. "Whoever is thinking of trying to infiltrate America is going to have a harder time."


At 1:20 PM, February 24, 2006 , Blogger Boris Yeltsin said...

Loved this post!

At 3:26 PM, February 24, 2006 , Blogger bombsoverbaghdad said...

Muslims in America are in a tight spot. They are the new "n-ggers." Public Enemy #1. Their arch-enemies run the American presses.

I participated in a jury trial a few years back where the client on the other side was a Lebanese Christian. He looked "Middle Eastern." His lawyer asked the jury if they had any biases towards people from the Middle East, and several people vented some serious hatred quite openly. I was like "dang." It was not cool. Like any place in the world, America is a place where ethnic hostilities are easily stirred.

At 3:42 PM, February 24, 2006 , Blogger Boris Yeltsin said...

The Enron trial: I think that's further proof that extremists like UBL are so much smarter than we give them credit for. One day's worth of terrorism brings down an energy company that was a house of cards - which also happened to be Bush's largest campaign contributor.

Had September 11 never happened, Enron would have never been exposed as the house of cards it was. Everything would have been business as usual. I honestly don't think it was coincidental that UBL chose a terrorist event that caused the downfall of Bush's largest campaign contributor.

Who better to know the oil futures market than a man who comes from the richest family outside of the Saudi royal family - in Saudi Arabia? I'm sure in a family the size of UBL's, there was probably plenty of talk at family gatherings which included insider-information on oil futures. When you think about it, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure it out. They're smart - very smart.

I'm glad to see moderate Muslims getting together to show the rest of the Muslim world that being a moderate doesn't mean selling your soul. I know the extremists want Muslims to believe that if you're not prepping your son to be a homicide bomber from the time he's old enough to suck his thumb, you're not really "of the faith."

Extremists of all stripes place these types of heavy burdens on those they perceive to be below them.

In extremist Republican circles, if you're not out to enslave everyone but your own family (and sometimes even them too) then you're some kind of bleeding-heart liberal.

In extremist Democratic circles, if you're not subscribing to every concept that gets on it's knees and begs to defy common sense, you're a "wing-nut."

I hate extremism of all kinds because it's all the same.

On an unrelated note: I started blogging to further my own pet cause, and this blog has nothing to do with it, but I have so much fun here, that I haven't been keeping up with the reason I started blogging! You've got a great blog here!

At 3:42 PM, February 24, 2006 , Blogger Intellectual Insurgent said...


Please use correct terminology - it's sandni**er. :-) Yes, you are absolutely right about our status in America.

Boris -

Maybe 9/11 precipitated the collapse of Enron, but I think Bin Laden is a boogeyman more so than a brilliant mastermind who is destroying America one corporation at a time. Indeed, there is no one on the planet who has assisted Bush's presidency more than Bin Laden. The guy is probably dead already, but he will be kept alive by the media to make sure Americans willingly hand over what little is left of their liberties. If you have read Animal Farm by George Orwell, Bin Laden is Snowball.

At 3:43 PM, February 24, 2006 , Blogger Boris Yeltsin said...

BOB: wow! What an eloquent post!

At 5:53 PM, February 24, 2006 , Blogger Chris said...

I guess I'm surprised. I didn't know that American Muslims were getting peed on... I'm awfully insulated out here on the plains - there just aren't many Muslims around. Does it really happen?

I would LIKE to think that people can make the distinction between "Muslims" and "Extremists." That must not be the case. *sigh*

Somewhere in this house is a copy of "Animal Farm." Probably right next to "1984." I should go re-read both of 'em. (Actually, I really want to re-read "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress." Great political theory.)

At 6:48 PM, February 24, 2006 , Blogger Intellectual Insurgent said...

Chris -

Nothing has ever happened to me or anyone in my family, but I have heard the horror stories of employment discrimination and harassment, we have several family friends who, when traveling, book the first flight of the day because they know they are going to get profiled and harassed so much that they will miss the first flight and will have to catch a later one; there are the outright hate crimes, but those happen in smaller towns more than in urban centers like LA; I have a friend who is contemplating legally changing his very Arab last name because the harassment is getting to him and my dad has never gone by his very Muslim first name the entire 38 years he has lived in this country.

I don't think Americans make the distinction between Muslims and fanatics. They repeat all that nonsense about Wahhabis infiltrating America but, at the end of the day, they hate Muslims, they hate Arabs and it is irrelevant whether their targets follow the Wahhabi school of Islamic jurisprudence or are simply pious Muslims.

At 6:37 AM, February 25, 2006 , Blogger Boris Yeltsin said...

The reason I think non-Muslim Americans are concerned about Wahhabist "infiltration," is because we see news stories about the Wahhabist doctrine telling children that infidels are people who aren't Muslim, and killing infidels who refuse to convert, is their duty.

I know they have an Arab word for a tax that infidels are supposed to pay if the infidels refuse to convert; kind of like a protection racket - if you pay this tax, we'll make sure you're not strung up and beheaded in the public square on Friday afternoon.

The death to Israel mantra, the "Israel doesn't have a right to exist, therefore we should kill 'em all," that type of thing. That scares non-Muslim Americans - if this is true.

In my opinion, one of the reasons middle America and the southern states are so conservative, is because middle America and the South, have so many, what you might call, Zionist, fundamentalist, evangelical churches. These people take their church attendance very seriously, and it's commonplace for people to go to church every Sunday.

It's a commonly held belief that every American president since 1948 (the year Isreal became a nation) has used one passage in the Bible to conduct relations with Israel.

This is why America has so steadfastly given Israel carte blanche whenever Israel has gotten into trouble.

There are alot of people who think there must be something to this passage, because in the cold war, the US was the "last man standing" in the super power race. People are under the impression that as long as we support Israel, America will be blessed by God.

I'm not trying to change anyone's minds here, I'm just stating what I perceive to be why things are, the way they are.

At 11:16 AM, February 25, 2006 , Blogger Intellectual Insurgent said...


You are probably correct as to why middle America thinks that way. Their leaders have to make sure that is the case because the middle Americans would not otherwise be excited to send their kids to die in wars for the rich.

They are the same people whose pensions get robbed without a hint of apology, they are the same people who are sent to fight rich mans' wars only to return home to reduced GI benefits, their jobs are sent to China and their unions are being destroyed. How else do you distract them and keep them patriotic than by giving them an enemy they know nothing about and telling them wild stories about paying the jizya tax. It's only going to get worse and more absurd as middle America continues to be economically decimated.

Hitler used to tell Germans that Jews killed Christian babies to use their blood to make passover matzo. Nothing new is going on here.

At 12:19 PM, February 25, 2006 , Blogger Stalin the Shark said...

I just wrote a novel starting out with this post, here.

:-), StS

At 5:43 PM, February 25, 2006 , Blogger bombsoverbaghdad said...

The wierd thing is that Muslims were nearly invisible in America pre-9/11. There was no tension; Islam was not an issue. One day and successive wars made the lives of Muslims in America exponentially more difficult.

Quite honestly, Muslims are getting just a taste of what it's like to be black in America. I am a dark, bald, 6'5" black man and I am acutely aware of peoples' reaction to me wherever I go--because I have to be. I assume Muslims are the same way now. Police harassment and surveillance, harassment in stores, harassment in airports, job discrimination, discrimination because your name gives away your ethnicity, over-prosecution for small crimes, residential discrimination, etc.

Suck it up. It ain't gonna get no better.

II, I'd like to hear your thoughts on your personal experiences since 9-11. Do you feel nervous in airports, etc??

At 6:42 PM, February 25, 2006 , Blogger Intellectual Insurgent said...

BoB -

I personally haven't had any issues, but that is because I don't "look" Arab (inasmuchas in LA people assume I am Latino or mulatto) and because I don't have an identifiably Arab/Muslim name. The situations that cause me anxiety are when I go into a new group of people and I wonder if someone is going to freely use racial slurs not realizing what I am. Sometimes I find a reason to bring up my race just to preempt the awkward moment when someone puts his foot in his mouth (which has happened before), but I purposely keep my social circle tight to avoid just those situations.

After 9/11, a few co-workers sat me down to apologize for the discomfort and suspicion they had for "Middle Eastern" looking people at the airport, as if they could absolve their sins by confessing to me, but there is nothing I can do to change their feelings.

Muslims weren't all that invisible before 9/11 though. Arabs/Muslims weren't much liked before, but it wasn't in the forefront of the news the way it is drilled in daily in this era.

My dad and I were talking about the racism that is coming out of the Dubai debate and we both said that maybe all those delirious Arabs who think they are White (a few of whom are in my family) will finally realize they are nigg*rs like the rest of us.

Honestly, though, it's only poor America that loses. Arabs/Muslims are some of the highest income earners in the nation. We are smarter, more dedicated and more innovative than the white trash that spew racist trash against us. At the end of the day, I am still an entertainment lawyer, and the white trash are collecting my garbage. They can have their Christianity, yellow ribbons and flags, and I will continue to play in the stock market, buy property and plan for an early retirement. What they will never learn is that their racist brand of patriotism does not pay the bills.

At 7:02 PM, February 25, 2006 , Anonymous Anonymous said...


You have to come to the point where you don't feel the need to preempt others' racism. That is detrimental to your own self.
Try to love them and have pity on them, for they are ignorant. Or they will destroy you slowly from the inside. Trust me. You've already allowed them to tighten your inner circle of friends. That's not cool.

At 9:50 PM, February 25, 2006 , Blogger Boris Yeltsin said...

Prior to 9-11, I honestly don't think the Muslim thing was a big deal. I'm from NW Ohio, and that's the home of Jamie Farr, the transvestite Corporal Clinger on the 70s comedy, MASH who is of Lebanese descent. He was (and still is) big into Toledo.

There's a Jamie Farr golf classic that's a huge celebrity event; maybe not for LA, but for Toledo, for sure. And my hometown just got a Tony Packos hotdog franchise. You'd know the significance of that if you ever watched MASH.

I don't think people in middle-America ever wanted to fly to Saudi Arabia for a vacation, and given the fact that I'm not of Middle Eastern descent, I can't say for sure from first hand experience, but I can say that prior to 9-11, middle-America didn't have too much of an opinion about Muslims, one way or the other.

This 9-11 thing just kind of personalized it for alot of folks. Getting attacked was something that happened to countries who're too pacifist to defend themselves, like France - this wasn't supposed to happen to us.

Why does middle-America seem to have such disdain for liberal causes like pacifism, unions, or anything else that smacks of a hand-out or free ride?

With this town being the headquarters of the fourth largest oil company in the US (and believe it or not, tax revenue from farm income is higher here, than any one corporation's!) and with the mix of truck drivers, farmers, factory workers and oil company executives, this town is a mix of people (with the exception of factory workers) who are very independent - and I've had occassion to talk to and become related by marriage, to quite a few of these folks.

They're very conservative and are proud that they don't need a hand-out or a hand-up. They'll walk through fire, fall into a pile of shit and fight their way out of a screaming horde, before many of them will take a hand-out. They're stubborn - and they own land; lots of it.

They know the federal laws pertaining to how many feet from the street your front door has to be, before a cop has to get a warrant to look into your windows - even if the cop suspects suspicious activity. Why do you think they own so much land? That's a big deal.

There are 3 things they take pride in owning: land, guns and dogs (and a vintage muscle car or two). There's a bunch of them who show off pictures of their gun collections like women show off pictures of their kids.

Many of them take pride in the fact they can shoot a skeet in 2, then shoot the 2 parts that break off, before they hit the ground.

And their dogs? Their dogs are trained to dig out wounded animals that burrow after being shot, but the good ones will bay at the hole - not go in it. Why waste all that time training a good hunting dog, if you lose it to a cave-in, because the dog burrowed too far into a hole, and you can't hear it bark when the ground collapses? People lose alot of poorly trained dogs that way in the field.

It's a different way of life; something an entertainment lawyer would never want to be part of - but I think I will blog about why I think these people are conservative. It's not for the reasons you may think.

At 10:56 AM, February 26, 2006 , Blogger Intellectual Insurgent said...

BoB -

That is definitely my struggle. I finally have reached the point where I don't take the racial slurs personally, but I used to have a group of "friends" who truly exhausted me with their underlying hatred. I don't have patience for people who try to rationalize and convince me that Arabs are lesser human beings. Nor am I flattered by their willingness to exempt me from the broad brush - "Arabs are X, but you aren't like that." I am over it.

At 5:39 PM, February 26, 2006 , Blogger Stalin the Shark said...


the lifestyle you'e describing is quintessentially rural Democratic, not 'conservative' or anything else. The governor of Montana, a Democrat, would have no problem fitting right in where you describe. That's also where major Democratic leaders, like John Edwards, Mark Warner or Howard Dean, come from - Dean being a country doctor. It's precisely the people you're describing who are getting screwed by the repug kleptocracy, and finally, they are starting to realize it.

On and after 9/11, there was obviously an undercurrent of anger in my little neighborhood of New York. The local firehouse lost a couple of men, and it seemed that everyone knew somebody who was missing and later, dead; I did and do. Nonetheless, there was an informal neighborhood watch that looked out for the three delis that are Arab-owned, including myself. That's the reality on the ground.

I'd suggest to everyone to occasionally not just take people's reactions for granted. The white folks could benefit by going to a black church, or carrying a petition for a black candidate in a black neighborhood; you'll be surprised just how much you learn. And to the city folks, I'd suggest that going into the country and so something in the community for a week or two isn't the worst thing you can do. We all need to leave our comfort zones every once in a while.

The 'oh, you're not like THEM' ain't pretty. But I'd consider it a milestone on a road that leads to better thigs.

:-), StS

At 5:47 PM, February 26, 2006 , Blogger Intellectual Insurgent said...

StS -

I used to think that if people knew me and my family, they would have to rethink their prejudices against Arabs and Muslims, but people who are racist do not care about facts. They really don't.

Group think is a powerful motivator. It's what keeps Middle America in line, sending their kids to tie and voting for GW even though he is fleecing them.

At 7:20 PM, February 26, 2006 , Blogger Boris Yeltsin said...

Oh, but it is conservative. Here in my county, there's only one Democrat holding office - and the only reason he got in, is because he's a judge, and the requirements for judges are so stringent, the GOP didn't have anyone that election cycle to run against him.

Democrats (like you described) are conservative. Thus, the Zell Miller speech at the RNC. From my vantage point, people didn't see Zell as a traitor - they saw him as a breath of fresh air.

There are conservative Democrats. In fact, I'd say a majority of them are. I think people see all the super left-wing stuff and just pass it off as a Hollywood-styled news media, run amok. It's easily dismissed, and because it is, it's very frustrating for the far-left.

When we see stuff that goes against the grain (like Ward Churchill) it gets the same reaction as the special effects you see in Star Wars or The Matrix. At first, you're awed, but after a while, it just becomes old hat, and the perceptions never change.

I think there might be one or tow Mafia-controlled unions left - for the rest of seems like they're not very effective. Factories still leave the country, and benefits and retirement pensions still get slashed. Without Mafia muscle, unions are basically worthless.

I think the answer is, a moderate approach to politics. Unfortunately, there's no money in moderate politics. The middle class just expects that things will work in a common sense manner, and they don't see any point to contribute to something they think should be the status quo to begin with. That's why they're getting screwed so bad.

The Bush thing: I've always thought that we have a one party system here in America. Look at GM: they have many divisions, but all the profits go to the parent company. I think the same goes for politics.

Is there a battle of ideas going on? Yes. I think the "powers-that-be" behind the scenes just use the results of elections as a way to gauge how the next winning candidate will be positioned to the public during the next presidential election. This way, no one suspects that the winners are already selected before the conventions. But hey, that's just my opinion.

At 9:09 AM, February 27, 2006 , Blogger Intellectual Insurgent said...

Boris -

I completely agree with you about the one-party state (which I think is how we started reading each other's stuff) and you are right about using it as a gauge of public sentiment. Seems pretty fishy to me that two guys from the same ultra secret society ran against each other in the last election as if they really were opposites. It's a farce.

At 9:53 AM, February 27, 2006 , Blogger bombsoverbaghdad said...

I'm still amazed about how much the media openly talks about "teaching the Arabs" democractic government, peace and religious tolerance. Totally cracks me up--in a bad way.

One other problem is that countries in the Arab world, and the people in the Arab diaspora, don't have allies. Arabs tend to be insular--in my experience. The terrible relationship between Sudanese Arabs and black Africans, as well as other Arab-Asian issues make it so that no other countries are willing to stand up for them. I know I'd be willing to say more if I didn't feel like Arabs and Muslims prolly hate my ass anyway. For real.

At 10:34 AM, February 27, 2006 , Blogger Stalin the Shark said...

You know, Boris, you're positing two mutually exclusive fallacies here. One, the parties are just the same, so a pox on both your houses; and two, the Democrats are nonetheless 'far-left'.

I would note that anyone who thinks the parties are the same in any way, other than basic structure, after the last ten years, really should go back and take a look at the actual record. Democrats support things like church-state separation, as does a vast majority of the country; the right to choose, which 3 out of 4 Americans also support; a balanced budget, environmental protection, entitlement programs like Social Security and Medicare. The country is with us on all of these - all. The other side is not; in fact, they're a fascist cult dedicated to worship of the leader and equipped with a rigid ideology to rival doctrinaire Marxism. So, where's the equivalency? And where's the 'far-left' element? Who cares about Ward Churchill? Who exactly - names, please? When is he invited to speak at our events, like Ann Coulter is for the other side?

II, the same applies to your argument. There's only a small class of people, maybe a hundred at any given time, that has any realistic chance of even running for the Presidency. That has everything to do with preparation, and nothing whatsoever to do with governing philosophy. Running for President isn't something that Joe Shmoe can just decide to do, realistically, unless Joe goes to the right schools, then goes into public service, cultivates friends and donors, and so on, in a process that takes decades. Kerry and Bill Clinton started prepping in the 1970s; Reagan, in the 1950s. Bush, of course, sidestepped the entire process, which is one reason why things are as they are. That is really how it works. A 'conspiracy' has nothing to do with it.

:-), StS

At 3:36 PM, February 27, 2006 , Blogger Boris Yeltsin said...

Well, not really. First of all, I've tried to make a distinction between Democrat and the far-left. Zell Miller is a Democrat. Ted Kennedy and Diane Feinstein are far-left.

Let's see some of the things that presidents of both parties have aggressively pushed for, despite the fact that it's gone against their "party platforms":

Bush Jr.: never vetoed a damned thing
Clinton: aggressively pushed for NAFTA
Bush Sr. Raised taxes
Bush Sr. built an international coalition.
Bush Jr.: got tough on corporate criminals - at least as far as we can see. The Enron verdict is still out.
Bush Jr.: wanting to rebuild New Orleans at any cost (definately against party platform of personal responsibility.)
Bush Jr.: granting amnesty to illegal aliens (worker programs, whatever you want to call it.)
Clinton: Welfare-to-Work reforms.

If you want a truck from GM, you don't go to Buick. But if you buy a truck from GMC or Chevy, the profits go to the parent company - which is the same parent as Buick - even if you didn't buy a truck from Buick.

In my opinion, same goes for the politcal parties. If you want gay rights, pro-choice, government entitlements, you go Democrat; if you want rights for the rich, you go Republican. Same difference as Buick not selling trucks, but getting one from Chevy or GMC: the profits all go to the same rich people at the top.

At 3:38 PM, February 27, 2006 , Blogger Intellectual Insurgent said...


You hit the nail on the head about the insularity of the community. They are even insular among themselves with regard to class and status. Arabs are reaping what they have sowed. My uncle is part of an Egyptian-American organization, which is typical. Myself and two friends went to one of their summer picnic events and no one spoke to us. You would think they would be more friendly, but they weren't. The mosque is the same way, which is probably why we have never been members. And they are painfully racist, so I find it incredibly disingenuous that the leaders of the Arab and Muslim communities decry racism against them when they promote racism against so many others.

StS -

It doesn't need to be a conspiracy to illustrate that there is little difference between the parties. They may differ on matters of brain candy, but they are in sync on issues that actually matter, like the war, like the PATRIOT Act, like corporate corruption.

What difference does it make if women can't have abortions if the Dems have accepted the destruction of the Constitution? What did Kerry sauy about the war - he would have sent more troops. Puh-leez!

At 6:59 PM, February 27, 2006 , Blogger Stalin the Shark said...

Boris, maybe we're talkinbg at cross-purposes here, because you say 'Ted Kennedy' and think that is enough to describe 'far-left'. Thing is, it's not. The far left agitates for things like the abolishment of private enterprise, the nationalization of banks, immediate nuclear disarmament, and stuff like that. That ain't Teddy Kennedy, that's for sure.

In a sense, what you're saying reflects decades of successful repug propaganda. Just to give two examples: universal healthcare is an eminently desirable and doable policy - but it's branded as 'communistic' by people who have no idea what communism is. On the other hand, from the right, you get judges pushing forced pregnancy and mandatory public religion, neither of which find support from more that a quarter of the electorate. So, again, who are the radicals? Zell Miller and other repugs - he's no Democrat anymore - or eminently reasonable people like Ted Kennedy? Seriously? Look at their policy agendas before you buy into the 'far-left' spin coming from people who are much further to the right than they are to the left.

II, seriously, you need to get into politics. I'm directly or indirectly in touch with several people who are running or have run, and really, based on that experience, I think you're painting with too broad a brush. As I said previously, it's easy and rhetorically compelling to fall into 'they're all the same' groove, but that disregards both the importance of the process and the huge role personality plays.

:-), StS

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