Some Morning Internet Tubes

A “My Word” from 99 year old Mayer Sagel in the Times Standard today.

Ungoverning in North Carolina

North Carolina Republicans Sink to New Depths

The World, Not Just Assad, Is to Blame for Aleppo Tragedy




The Consequences of Fighting Over There: #surrendered

The chaos and conflagration in the Middle East has expanded into Yemen this month with another poor country devolving from a barely stable and increasingly polarized state to another war zone.

I don’t think we should be the world’s police, I also don’t think we are serving the people of the region well.  Our schitzophenic domestic politics have effects all over the world and especially the Middle East.  For me, this Syrian refugee’s reaction to a camera is part of our country’s epic and continuing fail.

Inshallah, this 4 y/o girl will be here for many years beyond those of us old enough to read this are gone.  But just think of the scars she and the hundreds of thousands or millions of other survivors will carry into the future.

As I was searching twitter for the hashtag #surrendered, I also found this tweet from late February stating simply “God will provide #surrendered”.

I’m not religious myself, but for those of you who are, doesn’t he need our help down here?  Isn’t it so clear that God, or the Muslim’s, Christians, Jewish vision or our path to the divine is the root of so much of this chaos?

I do believe God will provide, but I also believe that we are active participants.  Once in a while we get an extraordinary chance to share the trauma of another region in a way that might re-adjust our own priorities and help us to empathize with our fellow humans before we all wind up where whereever we will.

Continue reading “The Consequences of Fighting Over There: #surrendered”



For Muslims, Social Media Debate on Extremism Is Reflected in Dueling Hashtags

The Active Change Foundation

Imams Online


Newly Harrowing Times in the Middle East

A new Sunni-Islam sect has grown out of the Syria conflict and the power vacuum of the large swaths of sparsely populated NW Iraq.  The new power is ISIS  The Islamic State of Syria and Iraq and they are frightening.

I think left and right in the U.S. can agree on that.

I know we all feel overwhelmed from all the continuing and seemingly never-ending traumatic news from the Middle East, but this seems to be rising, again, to can’t-ignore status.

Unfortunately, under the “you broke it, you bought it” ethic, the U.S. has, in my opinion, an ethical responsibility to this region.  On the right, with gas prices rising, others might see a national security reason to be interested.  Other’s still, also including myself, believe as the world’s premier military power, we have a responsibility to act in coordination with other’s to work against bad actors – like ISIS is.

I still think that Joe Biden was right when some time before Barack Obama was President he mentioned the idea of redefining the boundaries of Iraq.  This would be difficult, but it seems it is where we are heading anyway.  It was always going to be a struggle to maintain any sort of national government in Iraq, especially a Shiite-majority one, with the continued fighting between the militant wings of the Sunni majority and Shiite minority.  Not to mention the Kurdish minority in the NW.

I think what we are seeing here is the familiar pattern in the Middle East of the most militant, the ones with the power (ie gunpowder) making their presence known and taking power relatively easily given the power vacuum in this poor and sparsely populated section of the Middle East.

Unfortunately, this militant and extreme brand of power hungry individuals using Islam as the excuse to conquer and rule a region is the Taliban in Afghanistan all over again.  We have to be pro-active and we should all support some sort or action, not necessarily military, in this region.

We will disagree on the U.S.’s role in inflaming this mess, we will also disagree on what the U.S. role should now be.  However, hopefully the one thing we might agree on is we can’t  bury our heads in the sand on this.

Dear Congressman Huffman: Syria Thread Part i

I will do this only very rarely, but this is entirely new content under this post.  THIS POST IS NEW TODAY – 9/6/13 and completes this series for this post.  Comments on Syria from dJon, dAlex, dRams – 3 brothers are now found below the fold in the comment zone.

Here’s democratic Dad who was born and lived in Tunis, Tunisia until his mid twenties (I think).  Recently he has lived and worked for international non-profits in Yemen off and on, but mostly on, for around 10 years.   He is an American citizen with roots in this region and has lived and worked here for many years.  I think his opinion carries weight!

1- if we are trying to uphold an international law, we should get an international request (approval does not sound good for US ego). Why should we feel that we have to be the police of the world against everyone else’s view? It is significant that no other country has yet joined the US in support of the strike (Israel does not count). Are they less “compassionate” than we are? Or are we just more prone to use force against other nations than any other country?

2- our congress hopefully will do what the Brits did, Obama will not lose face and better be refused than make a blunder ,  kill more people and drag the country into a new war.

3- a no vote does not mean doing nothing, it keeps the door open for working on international pressure and consensus and in the meantime Obama should look into covert action specifically to eliminate Assad (including using Israeli help),  providing arms to the opposition and making a big gesture to help Syrian refugees in Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and those internally displaced. Each bomb not dropped is a few million dollars than can be used for humanitarian aid.

4- it is embarrassing that Putin is now giving us lessons on respecting the international law!

5- above all else Obama as a Nobel peace laureate should think twice before engaging into a war no one else is supporting. Remember they gave it to him preventively so he would be a peace advocate.

Righteous! and with an added dig at Vice Presidential Candidate Palin too.  Excellent – Thanks democratic Dad.