Siren Ships

Odysseus_Sirens_BM_E440_n2make music
move about, dance-like
remember days past
die with dignity
slow the passage of time
so all expressions diarrhea forth
no sphincter of conscious restraint
rip them free my Captain–
say to the fingers of shame
be thou hacked off and thrown into seminal seafoam–
Οὐρανός testicle icebergs long melted

Nathan Zalman
January 20, 2015

The Romney Vision

To Serve Man

So Mitt is making noises like he (still) wants to be President, because reasons. Ah, the entitled bleating of that deluded and dangerously rich bleeding heart… Mor(m)on.

Here’s an okay-but-not-great summary of his remarks January 16, from the Washington Post:

“Under President Obama, the rich have gotten richer, income inequality has gotten worse and there are more people in poverty than ever before,” Romney said. “Under this president, his policies have not worked. Their liberal policies are good every four years for a campaign, but they don’t get the job done.”

Of course the obstructionist Congress, which began its obstruction the moment Obama was elected by refusing to pass equal-pay-for-equal-work legislation, had nothing to do with it. Of course not.

As with others in his party, he raised the issue of social mobility and the difficulty of those at the bottom from rising into the middle class. He cited former president Lyndon B. Johnson’s War on Poverty half a century ago. Johnson’s intentions were good, he said, but his policies had not worked. He argued that Republicans must persuade voters that conservative policies can “end the scourge of poverty” in America.

And let’s just pretend that the years of union-busting and demonization of the poor, not to mention the mass criminalization and incarceration of the poor carried out by Nixon and Reagan and the Bush Babies never happened. Well, we had wars to pay for, didn’t we? Let the poor do their duty and die for the rich freedom.

And for heavens’ sake let’s not bring up how the success of the Affordable Care Act has improved the lives of so many millions of people… including me.

Demagoguery has no use for facts. The election season has started, and now the lies and half-truths have a vital purpose: to make sure Romney and the rest of the Wall Street Carnivores get all the meat they want.

And if Mitt is really out to do something about poverty… I’d be as suspicious of him as I would be of Aliens bearing cookbooks.

That will be all, Francis.

For a time, I secretly harbored positive feelings about the current Pope. I mean, he’s pretty positive, compared with that cretin he replaced. But he’s screwed the pooch as far as I’m concerned after this business with Charlie Hebdo.

I’ve been following the backlash against the Roman Catholic Prelate’s over-the-top remarks about how punching out someone for insulting your mother is normal and (by analogy) exactly similar to murdering people in cold blood for making fun of sick dead fuck Abū al-Qāsim Muḥammad ibn ʿAbd Allāh ibn ʿAbd al-Muṭṭalib ibn Hāshim[sic]. You’ve seen this around the internets, I’m sure. Here it is in all its glory (with subtitles:

He ends with this: “There’s something here that’s not right.” That’s not exactly a strong condemnation of violence, is it?

I love this reply from a prominent YouTube satirist. It captures my own response to that equivocating toad very eloquently.

[Warning: this video contains language that would be NSFW for many people.]

Idiot. These attacks are about religion and NOTHING ELSE

Let's remember what he was once good at. Not writing, apparently.
Let’s remember what he was once good at. Not writing, apparently.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, peripatetic tame Muslim, is trotted out of retirement to dribble spittle all over my clean computer monitor this morning. He should have stayed in bed, or one of us should have. He apparently takes a Marxist-Muslim dialectic point of view  (it’s all about the money), but first he dismisses religion as the most important trigger for the terrorist attacks in Paris a few days ago.

Charlie Hebdo Attacks Are Not About Religion

Let’s set aside the fact that we have audio recordings of the perpetrators of the Charlie Hebdo attacks stating for the record what their intention and purpose was, i.e., it was their obligation as “guardians of Islam” to protect “the honor of the Prophet” and to exact revenge on those who blasphemed, as required by Sharia law. That’s a pretty clear statement of the purpose of the attacks, it seems to me. (Listen to the recording of that conversation here.)

But Mr. Abdul-Jabbar begins by dismissing that, and by stating:

When the Ku Klux Klan burns a cross in a black family’s yard, Christians aren’t required to explain how these aren’t really Christian acts.

That’s intuitive, isn’t it? He’s saying that Islam is not about violence any more than Christianity is, only Christianity is never called into question when someone acts up. Makes a kind of sense. Only it isn’t true, but that’s not the only problem.

The reason that we don’t explain what is non-Christian about cross burning is that “we,” (and by that I mean white Americans), are primarily a Christian nation, with institutions largely informed by christianist values. Consequently we will ignore those dissenting voices that have always been there, because they are a shrill minority, and, well… because we can. We ignore the dissenters (people like Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens and Sam Harris…) and treat them like eccentrics because we want everyone to be “nice.”

The truth is that there is now and always has been a “christianist” equivalent strain among Christians (parallel to the “islamist” strain in the umbrella religion we call “Islam,” something which, like “Christianity,” is not the least monolithic). Just try to challenge the prevailing religious dogma in parts of the South and see what happens to you.

The same “failure to scrutinize” (for that’s what is actually is, in the case of the KKK not needing “explanation”) is not true for Islam in this country and in most of the West in general, simply because they’re not in power.

On the other hand, just look at the places where Islam holds power. Look at the places where people are being beheaded for witchcraft. Look at the places where people are being flogged and executed for dishonoring the Prophet, or worse yet, becoming apostates (e.g. converting to another religion, forbidden in Islam). Consider the forced marriages, forced conversions of hostages. You’ve been watching the news since September 11, 2001, haven’t you? Why is it that everybody knows what “Allah hu achbar” means? It’s not because we’ve all been reading the Qur’an.

Criticise those practices, in these countries, and you will face death at the hands of the law, if not the mob.

As much as we would like to live in peace with every religion, peace is contrary to the nature of every one of them, no exception. Believe their advocates and apologists all you like, history, what remains of it after they have sanitized it, tells the truth. A religion may give lip service to the most liberal of ideas (go back and read Abdul-Jabbar’s piece for an excellent example of the genre), but once you see them take power, you see their real faces.

For me, personally, this is the great tragedy of the State of Israel. There is probably no more racist and xenophobic place on earth. That is what power has done: it has unleashed the violence and hate that lies at the heart of that religion. The most shocking thing it that it rises from the most comprehensively persecuted minority on earth. Who knew?

No religion is any different. Religion is the real face of evil. It is from religious belief, and religious zeal, that these terrorists spring.



The vastness in the sky
Touch it and disappear
Are we in that teeming,
Uncreated and ill-formed?

Look children!

The floods
In which we live,
In which we drown.

Nathan Zalman
January 6, 2015