Destroying the Enemy

We didn’t vote for Trump, but we do shop at Wegman’s…and we hate petulant little snowflakes.

The Liberty Zone

OK, at first it was kind of amusing. Snowflakes nationwide were losing their collective shit over the election of someone they did not support, because they were so enamored with the idea that Queen Pantsuit would be crowned on January 20, 2017. Things didn’t quite pan out that way, and things got out of hand very quickly.

There were recount demands.

There were unhinged lectures by out-of-touch, billionaire Hollywood actors, ivory tower academics, and snotty artists demeaning and harassing their fellow Americans, as well as the President’s family.

There were protests… sometimes violent ones.

And then there were the boycotts.

Uber, Nordstrom, UnderArmour, Nieman Marcus, “grab your wallet,” hearings on Trump nominees, unhinged demands that Ivanka Trump take art she has purchased off her walls, deranged mommies soiling themselves because a toddler – A FOUR YEAR OLD CHILD – whose grandfather happens to be the President, is attending pre-school…

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Takfiri for Dummies

Since invoking Islam for one’s political agenda is all the rage these days, it’s helpful to those who at least aren’t fellating sycophants……to have a basic understanding of of Islam….just as a good Christian wouldn’t want to be lumped in by Leftists as part and parcel to the Westboro Baptist Church.

Information Mullet: There are those who want to (rightfully) avoid the fallacy of generalizations (1) in describing the attackers I recommend using the term “Salafist Takfiri” to *specifically* describe militant members of groups such as AQ, ISIS, AQAP, Boko Haram etc. who share a common set of behaviors and beliefs. These behaviors and beliefs are *not* the same as Muslims or even Islamists and understanding the difference is key to working together with our allies in this fight and isolating those who are our enemies.

In 2006 the West Point Center for Combating Terrorism released it’s Atlas of Militant Ideology with a very handy segmentation (2) that I roughly reproduce below. 

Those who believe in Islam are Muslims.

Muslims who believe that Islam should be the basis of the state are Islamists.
Suuni Islamists who believe the Islamic state should be built off of 14th Century principles or the restoration of the Caliphate are Salafists.
Salafists who are willing to break the law of the Koran by declaring another Muslim apostate and kill them are Takfiri.(3)

Takfiri are largely our problem.
Not Salifists.
Not Islamists.
And certainly not Muslims.

AQ, AQIP, AQIM, Al Nusra, Ansar al Sharia, Boko Haram, ISIS, Jemiah al Islamiah, JWT, the Mujhadeen Shura Council….all Salifist-Takfiri, largely influenced by the same Whabbist split of the Salafist creed. (Parphrased elsewhere all Whabbists are Salafists, but not all Salafists are Whabbist.)

There are Shia bad actors as well.
The Shia version of Islamist is a Khomeinist (those who believe Islamic clergy & jurists should run the state on Islamic principles).
The Shia don’t really have a version of Salafist/Whabbiest – but their version of Takfiri are groups like Hezbollah, the Al-Sadr Brigades and Shia death squads in Iraq.

I don’t expect everyone to know this. The “mafia” that kills Muslims for drawing pictures, those are the Salafist Takfiris. They are *not* Muslims in the broader sense.

And as for “Muslims speaking out” against Salfist-Takfiri militancy I’ve got a list as long as my arm I can point you too. Each entry itself a major rebuttal or condemnation of Salifi-Takfirism signed by hundreds of prominent Muslim officials and scholars including the Aman Message in 2004.(4)

And to every commentator who gets on a TV show or a radio or a news site and claims that because they have “read the Koran” and suddenly thinks they are an expert on militants or fundamentalists or even Muslims.The book is meaningless in this conversation.

Salifist-Takfiri are prolific writers and readers, and they don’t cite the Koran, they cite *scholars* of the Koran. Not unlike politicans today are likely to cite founding father and courts are likely to cite court cases.

Indeed trying to understand what’s going on in modern Islamic militant fundamentalism by only reading the Koran book is like trying to understand the history of US politics in the 20th Century by only reading the magna carta.

When creating their militant atlas of ideology, West Point Center for Combating did a citation analysis, looking at over 100 texts of Islamic scholars and then seeing which scholars the ideologues cited and grouping them that way. It would be like identifying American political figures by looking at who cites Jefferson, Madison or Adams most. (And yes, just between those three Founding you can tell a lot about the person citing them if they favor one over the other two as they represent three persistent factions/trends in American political theory.)

Back to the subject at hand – the Whabbist faction of Salafism is indeed named for the scholar Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab (18th century) and Salafism itself is named for the Islamic scholar & cleric Ibn Taymiyyah (14th Century).

If folks wish to inform themselves better on this subject I urge to read the executive summary (26 pages) of the Atlas. Its a quick read and not too dense, and a far better source than Bill Maher or commentators who have zero expertise in the subject. If you want to go “deep”, the attached Research Compendium, clocking in at over 300 pages, provides a great guide to the scholars, and the nuances of the ideology that form these splits.

https://www.ctc.usma.edu/…/2012/04/Atlas-ExecutiveReport.pdf

(1) Every *legitimate* problem solving method in the world seeks to reduce the scope of the problem by separating wheat from chaff, signal from noise. Almost every form of analysis is an attempt to isolate further, what is the root cause activity that is driving the negative behavior. Because once you find that smallest part…you can focus on it, put all your attention into that part and not defuse any effort by spreading it thin on the uninvolved.

It’s a form of logic – given group A and group B, and group B is the root cause of behavior C – no matter how much effort you spend working to modify group A, you will not change group B and therefore not improve behavior C.

Everything bad you could say about Salafist-Takfiri I would accept and add a few more.

This very small subset of all Muslims is punching far above its weight and are a true manifestation of evil on this planet. So why waste our time and resources on the other 1.49B Muslims who *aren’t* Salafist Takfiri? This is not about political correctness, this is about utility in target selection.

(2) I call this fractal segmentation and it’s based off of statistical self similarity of fractional units, or more easily called “the coastline of britain problem”. Stated simply as you increase the fidelity of your measure, and are able to read in ever smaller units of measurement, the figure you are studying literally changes in its shape,dimensions and measurement. The thought experiment which demonstrates this is if you imagine measuring the Coastline of Britain with a 200km stick, it will be one shape and have a distance of 2400km. But if you measure the Coastline of Britain with a 50km stick, it will have a very different shape, and a coastline distance of 3400km.

When someone says “Muslims are the problem” their ‘stick’ is 1.4B people large. The Salafist Takfiri measurement ‘stick’ is maybe a few million. The shape and nature of the problem generalists describe is very different than the actual shape and nature of the actual problem. The generalists rough blob of a measure is like looking at a 10,000 piece puzzle after you’ve spent the night in a mexican bar drinking the worm – it’s fuzzy, hard to describe and not easy to work on. The Salafist Takfiri measurement is like picking up a single piece of the puzzle, with clarity, and saying “this…this is what we need to focus on.”

The majority is posted here, but for the full article, visit Rogue Dynamics. H/T to I aim to misbehave.

Kellyanne whines….

Trump surrogate/advisor took to the Sunday talk show circuit and ironically called for her bosses dismissal……she just did’t realize it.

“Not one network person has been let go. Not one silly political analyst and pundit who talked smack all day long about Donald Trump has been let go,” Conway said on “Fox News Sunday.” “I’m too polite to mention their names, but they know who they are, and they are all wondering who will be the first to go. The election was three months ago. None of them have been let go.”

She added that the networks should be “cleaning house,” firing “these people who said things that just weren’t true.”

So……lying should get one fired, right? I’ll welcome President Pence then.

This is just plain cool

At least if you’re  military/history nerd like I am.

The last surviving photographs of the veterans who formed part of Napoleon Bonaparteís famous Grande Armée and fought in the Napoleonic wars have been revealed in full remastered colour.

The expertly colourised historic images inject exciting new life into the 159-year-old monochrome originals, transforming them from a dreary black and white into a vibrant work of art which shows off every intricate detail of the men’s uniforms, from their medals, swords right down to their shoes. 

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See the rest here.

Creepy Patriotism

From Reason:

Politicians have no business directing or defining patriotism, especially when their rhetoric sounds like 1950s-era Soviet sloganeering.

It was creepy when former President Barack Obama declared his first Inauguration Day as “National Day of Renewal and Reconciliation” and called upon us to find “common purpose of remaking this nation for our new century.” And it’s creepy when President Donald Trump declares his Inauguration Day as “National Day of Patriotic Devotion,” one in which “a new national pride stirs the American soul and inspires the American heart.”

This kind of self-aggrandizement is what you see under cults of personality, not American republicanism. Far be it from me to lecture anyone on how to love their country, but if your devotion to America is contingent upon the party or the person in office, you’re probably not doing it quite like the Founding Fathers envisioned. It’s bad enough that these inaugurations are treated as coronations. It can’t be patriotic to treat politicians like quasi-religious figures. Moreover, this kind of devotional ties patriotism—either implicitly or in some cases rather explicitly—to a preferred set of policy initiatives or a political office.

Each major party treats it candidate/nominee like a combination of pop star/life coach/spiritual mentor. I don’t get it. POTUS gets interviewed [in an excruciatingly long and costly process] to be hired to manage the nation, in the People’s name. Why do we pledge such salivating fealty to a man [or woman]….who is in almost every case….nothing more than a facade of the ideals they espouse during their campaign?

Now, to be fair…Trump probably breaks this mold….being every bit as petulant in office as was a candidate….though there have been some marked improvements in policy since his inauguration, so far.

This cult of personality wouldn’t be quite as creepy, were it not for the rank hypocrisy exhibited by their supporters and surrogates when one Administration switches to another.

Is it that difficult to be better than this???

 

 

Our National Honor

It’s no surprise to any who know me, that I don’t care for Trump’s character, demeanor or rhetoric….and I don’t hold much hope for the sanctity of our Constitution, given Trump’s very own narrative and apparent ignorance of our civil liberties.

That said, I hope his assembled team can keep him blissfully distracted with trite and meaningless trivia…allowing Pence and the other adults the latitude to manage the nations affairs as they should be.

On this Inauguration Day, I’m reminded [thanks to War on the Rocks] of James Monroe’s inauguration speech, where he eloquently states: We must support our rights or lose our character, and with it, perhaps, our liberties. A people who fail to do it can scarcely be said to hold a place among independent nations. National honor is national property of the highest value. The sentiment in the mind of every citizen is national strength. It ought therefore to be cherished.

My Leftist Governor unintentionally supports the 2A

From Reason Magazine:

Four months later, the governor grandly announced that he was restoring the voting rights of 206,000 felons. Republican heads exploded, and the ensuing debate eventually had to be settled by the Virginia Supreme Court, which struck down McAuliffe’s order, requiring him to continue making restorations on a case-by-case basis.

In the meantime, though, a question arose: What about gun rights? Although McAuliffe’s order stipulated that “nothing in this Order restores the right to ship, transport, possess, or receive firearms,” the governor’s order made it much easier for a felon to get his gun rights back. Formerly, an offender first had to petition for restoration of his civil rights, and once they were restored, go to court to retrieve his gun rights. McAuliffe’s order eliminated the first step.

That was purely unintentional. “My actions were about giving you the right to vote, to serve on a jury and run for political office,” McAuliffe admitted. “My action, I didn’t think it had anything to do with gun rights. I stayed away from that.”

Since the Supreme Court decision, the governor has continued to restore felons’ rights on an individual basis; he’s up to 140,000 now. And lawmakers are introducing bills to make the process automatic. Along similar lines, Republican Del. Greg Habeeb has introduced a measure to automatically restore gun rights to nonviolent felons.

Anybody who supports restoring voting rights will be hard-pressed to produce a persuasive argument against Habeeb’s bill. Both voting and gun ownership are constitutionally protected, fundamental rights. The rationales that support restoring voting rights (e.g., the offender has paid his debt in full, African-Americans are disproportionately affected, the restriction has a sordid racial history, and so forth) apply with equal force to restoring gun rights.

Politicians of all stripes appear to have a deficit in foreseeing 2nd and 3rd order effects of their legislation. This time at least, the deficit is in favor of the Citizen.

“The Myth of Conservative Patriotism”

Posted in its entirety, from Christian Newman at LewRockwell.com. A tough read if you’re a modern “Conservative” and actually have an open mind. It does an admirable job at illustrating the political correctness of the modern Right, and well as framing the various means by which the Right seeks a status of victimhood every bit as much as does the snowflakes on the Left.

The word “patriot” holds a special place in the heart of America, and the attachment to that word, in particular, runs deep into the roots of the United States’ history to its founding. While the word has taken on a meaning of national pride and attachment to one’s homeland, the American usage of the term brings with it a certain kind of pride that goes back to the American revolution. For it was the Patriots who ultimately loved their homeland, who stood for local and (in most cases) limited self-government, and grew to hate the established and increasingly obnoxious and interventionist Imperial British regime.

In contrast, modern “conservatives” and right wingers also lay a claim to the word “patriot,” and on the surface, it seems like the shoe fits. After all, it is the loud and proud American right that stands up for such time-honored American traditions like standing for the national anthem, keeping “under god” in the pledge of allegiance, proudly displaying their “thin blue line” bumper stickers (sometimes ironically and paradoxically next to the Gadsden flag), and honoring the veterans of America’s wars abroad. It’s nearly easier to start a “USA! The USA!” chant at a sporting event than a wave. After all, since July 4th is a revered holiday, surely there couldn’t possibly be a contradiction in rhetoric and reality?

Yet upon closer examination, it seems the rank-and-file right-wing is rather picky and choosy about exactly what American patriotism means. They proudly give lip-service and reverence to the founding of the country, to the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights, but their actions speak otherwise. Modern conservatism seems to have severed its relation to the Patriotism of America’s birth and instead has embraced a nationalist, collectivist strain of statist pride dating back to the Progressive Era and bolstered by two “victories” in the World Wars. Today, the right wing with their almost religious and spiritual devotion to support for military servicemen, will proclaim their devotion to swift justice and an active foreign policy to fight for “freedom” abroad, to topple dictators, and to defend our vital allies and friends around the world from boogeymen that never seem to go away.

The parallels are eerily similar to the glory days of the British Empire, where British dominance on the field of battle or in the sporting arena was a testament to its greatness, as if the random Midwestern American conservative had any hand at all in Michael Phelp’s amazing Olympic achievements. Enemies of America’s foreign policy today are dehumanized right-winging news outlets, Assad and Gaddafi were brutal dictators committing human rights violations, and Palestinians are bloodthirsty monsters who launch rockets unprovoked into poor, defenseless Israel.  The evangelical conservative (who has far more in common with Puritan Progressives than the Patriotic Classical Liberals of Jefferson’s era) faithfully does not question the American-Israeli alliance. They’re all alone in the region, after all, and if there’s anything apple-pie Americans love, it’s an underdog story. Unfortunately, the backing of the awesome military might conservatives love to flaunt about (ex: the idea of singlehandedly saving Europe during WWII) of the United States hardly makes Israel an underdog in any sense of the word, much less from the right’s own perspective. Nevertheless! Any good American supports the noble colonies (correction: allies) around the globe.

The military industrial complex easily harvests the military devotion of the right. It openly boasts in their television recruitment ads of the number of ships they have deployed globally, and luring America’s youth into the servitude of the political class by offering numerous “opportunities” anywhere in the world. The expansive and intimidating reach of the American empire exerts far more influence today than the British ever did. To the new recruits and their families, they are performing an honorable service defending American freedom, which somehow waddled its way halfway around the world, and now must be retrieved by refueling Saudi jets that coldly and often bomb civilians in Yemen in their own local crusades. Conservatives are proud of spreading the American doctrine and making the world safe for democracy in a way that would put a smile on accomplished Democrat Woodrow Wilson’s face. It doesn’t matter to them that now their boys and girls in uniform have been used to train the same bin-Ladenite jihadis that shot at (and in some regions, are still shooting at) their brothers a decade previously. What matters is “getting the bad guys,” and defending America’s colonies from whichever dictator or radical guerilla organization is a foe today, and forgotten ally yesterday. What matters is a return to World War dominance, victory for victory’s sake, and civilizing a barbaric foreign foe. Not even pretending to abide by “conservative” principles of fiscal responsibility is enough to reign in the leviathan and gluttonous size of the supposedly “dismantled” Pentagon (that still seems to procure massive budgets despite its misplacement of $6.5 trillion).

Combined with the right’s reverence for the international might of the American state is a desire to “civilize” his or her own neighbors. Whether it be a prohibition of drugs (mother knows best, after all), or a desire to teach the conservative’s backwards and ignorant countrymen that the rule of law must be followed, and that our police must always be respected, we must all move into a civilized age of practices approved by their own code of ethics. After all, the police are just trying to protect and serve the living daylights out of you, because smoking pot might be a gateway drug. The statutory law, the collectivist will divinely inspired as “one nation under God,” has become the new ten commandments. Conservatives no longer wish to conserve such long-dead traditions of individual liberty and federalism, they wish to uphold the tradition of an all-powerful state to actively assert itself on the side of “good.” The propaganda of the lurking and seemingly imminent threat of religious terrorism is enough for conservatives to give up their fourth amendment rights to a warrant and thank the omnipotent NSA for keeping them safe through their civilian surveillance program that has stopped a whopping zero terrorist attacks. The Patriot Act, as it was so Orwellian named, has become the new Quartering Act with the Central Government able to enter anyone’s home on a whim of presumed guilt by association. After all, if you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear, correct?

Modern conservatives have shown not a love for country, a love and respect for the liberties and freedoms of their neighbors and people who live alongside them, but they have shown a love for the state and the American empire. They’ve shown a love for activist government, for taxation above and beyond what their supposed heroes dumped tea into a harbor for. They’ve welcomed the red-coats into their homes through warrantless searches, and they worship the red, white, and blue calf that the Bible warned them against. Through their action, they’ve shown time and again that rather than freedom and liberty, they love empire, the divine right of ‘Murica, and a heavily armed police state with a nanny complex. They have their own form of PC, and one must not dare question friendship with Israel or point out the futility and moral atrocity of America’s own military interventions. Yet how ridiculous it would have been for Benjamin Franklin to lecture Patrick Henry to keep to himself his disdain for the British troops- after all, some of them died fighting during the French-Indian war, and criticism is disrespectful. It’s time for the American right to dump the word “patriot.” Freedom, liberty, and a love for their fellow countrymen now plays second fiddle, if in the orchestra at all. They’ve shown time and again that they’re nothing less than invasive government-loving, expensive (in terms of lives and money) empire building, collectivist Tories.