Sunday, September 16, 2012

A Voter's Memo to President Obama

A voter’s memo to President Obama: Reply requested by Nov 5th or earlier (Shakeel S – you know where to find me!) As an independent voter, I enthusiastically voted for you in 2008. In 2012 however, I will not vote for you. Here is my very short [initial] list of top ten reasons and I will grant you an opportunity to respond and convince me otherwise. 1. Do you remember Guantanamo! During your last campaign you promised to close the dreaded Gitmo (link) but I guess you forgot. I wonder if you were thinking of them when you accepted the Nobel Peace Prize? 2. I thought no act could inflict more harm than George Bush’s Patriot Act. You proved me wrong. You not only extended the Patriot Act (link, link) but wrote your own National Defense Authorization Act (link) that makes Patriot Act look like a No-Parking sign. As a constitutional law professor, Mr. President, you have encoded sheer government abuse as law of this land (link) and you continue indefinite detentions without review (link, link). Don’t you think all this disguises the Pharaoh as an angel? 3. And, don’t you also have a kill list, assassinating (link) my fellow citizens (and citizens of other sovereign nations). And you claim that you are the judge, jury and the executioner (link) and you do not need any judicial review to kill anyone and anywhere. 4. Also, didn’t you ask for thousands of secret spying warrants (link). Who are you afraid of, Sir? Or are you simply recalling the words of your predecessor from across the aisle: “Why do they hate us?” 5. And then you have the audacity to defend your warrantless wiretapping (link) while trying to stop the Supreme Court from hearing a challenge of warrantless wiretapping (link) and also pushing for laws making it easier to wiretap (link) on innocent and law abiding citizens. 6. On your watch, my tax dollars were spent on illegal and immoral surveillance of Muslim neighborhoods and houses of worship (link). Remember that, Sir? I do. 7. And was it your administration who authorized the raids at the homes of my fellow peace activists (link)? 8. As a winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, can you rationalize your peddling $60 billion worth of arms to the Saudi Arabian dictators (link) and continuing the sickening legacy of our annual $3 billion charity to apartheid Israel while my children’s teachers are losing their jobs and their spouses have already lost theirs. 9. Your “withdrawal plan” from Afghanistan leaves more troops than when you started (link) your presidency. So who are you fooling, my friend? We may be a country of fools, but most us can still count. 10. Your drones have killed more innocent people in Pakistan and Afghanistan (link) than any of your predecessors. So, Mr. President, I was not happy but appreciated George W Bush because he was honest and said, hang-in-by-the-cliff, buddy. But in your case Mr. President, you have been dishonest and deceptive; you are asking me to jump from GWB’s cliff and “hope” for a soft landing! Standing by to hear from you & to watch who drops first from the cliff! Si Si Peude…

America: Connect the Dots

The recent tragic death of the US Ambassador and four staff members of the US Embassy in Libya by asphyxiation in the embassy fire ignited by the irate Libyans reminded me of a nomad’s satire. The nomad walks into a café and gives a verdict on the cosmos by saying “I love the moon and hate the sun.” Baffled patrons in the café ask the nomad about his love and hate relationship with the moon and the sun. The nomad explains. “I love the moon because it brightens the night and guides us to find our ways and then he adds, I hate the Sun because it comes out only during the day when it is bright anyway!” Most people miss the most obvious especially when thinking is fogged with emotions. While we condemn the senseless violence and mourn the loss of innocent lives in Libya, I cannot help but remind myself of an incident four years ago in September 2008. About 60 days before the Presidential elections in September 2008, millions of Americans in 14 battleground states received a DVD gift in the mail, titled: “Obsession : Radical Islam’s War Against the West.” That movie was produced by Rabbi Raphael Shore for a tax-exempt New York-based charity by the name “Clarion Fund ” with connections to a strongly pro-Israel Jewish educational organization – Aish HaTorah based out of Israel and an office in the United States. Clarion Fund did not just produce Obsession but also produced The Third Jihad and Iranium. News analysis at the time helped many Americans connect the dots about the September 2008 DVD being used to influence the November 2008 Presidential elections. Now, in September 2012, the world learns of yet another movie, The Innocence of Muslims. More dot-connecting is required. Los Angeles Times reports that the movie was filmed and produced in Southern California but in much mystery. Allegedly, the producer is a Coptic-Christian of Egyptian origins holding extreme anti-Islam views. And then there is a movie consultant and scriptwriter, Steve Klein, based out of the City of Hemet who claims to know but refuses to reveal the identities of those associated with the film in various capacities. Although much is shrouded in mystery, the movie consultant has revealed himself as did some of the production crew-members. And according to the Associated Press a person identifying himself as Nakoula Basseley Nakoula may in fact be Sam Bacille who initially was reported to be “the” man behind the movie. Much uncertainty remains but what we do know for certain is that this 14 minute movie has already contributed four American deaths. The nation is in mourning and political tensions are rising in the region. Conservative political leaders often speak of pre-emptive police action against American Muslims, particularly in Los Angeles. Muslim-American political rights are, to them, expendable. But when right-wing cranks like Steve Klein seek to inflame passions that lead directly to American deaths too many conservative pundits and politicians have preferred to blame President Obama. It is time for American conservatives to criticize the hatred in their own ranks. A more thoughtful position would be to criticize both the film and those carrying out the violence in Libya and other countries. An effort to label President Obama as a Muslim or a Muslim sympathizer – as if being a Muslim is unacceptable – is likely to again sweep the political rights. Mainstream conservatives should denounce such bigotry and Americans should be connecting the dots leading from September 11, 2012 leading to the election on November 6, 2012. ----------------------