20. November 2005 · Categories: Politics · Tags: , ,

I recently saw a chain-letter regarding the holiday stamp issued by the U.S. Postal Service to commemorate the EID Muslim holiday. The chain-letter enumerated a list of terrorist actions commited by Muslims and urged a boycott of the stamp.
A copy of the actual letter can be found here at BreakTheChain.org, a site that does not support the intention of the chain-letter, but are dedicated to reducing junk mail and breaking pointless chain letters and this chain-letter is a case study.

The list goes like this…
REMEMBER the MUSLIM bombing of PanAm Flight 103,

REMEMBER the MUSLIM bombing of the World Trade Center in 1993,

REMEMBER the MUSLIM bombing of the Marine Barracks in Lebanon,

REMEMBER the MUSLIM bombing of the military Barracks in Saudi Arabia,

REMEMBER the MUSLIM bombing of the American Embassies in Africa,

REMEMBER the MUSLIM bombing of the USS COLE.

REMEMBER the MUSLIM attack on the World Trade Center on 9/11/01.

REMEMBER all the AMERICAN lives that were lost in those vicious MUSLIM attacks.

Followed by this message…
“Now the United States Postal Service REMEMBERS and HONORS the EID MUSLIM holiday season with a commemorative first class holiday postage stamp.
I strongly urge you to REMEMBER to adamantly and vocally BOYCOTT this stamp when purchasing your holiday stamps at the post office. To use this stamp would be a slap in the face to all those AMERICANS who died at the hands of those whom this stamp honors.”

This strikes me as nothing less than stark, raving racism. The World Almanac estimates there are about 1.1 billion Muslims in the world, which is about 17% of the world population. Other sources estimate larger numbers, reaching to 22%. So we’re going to openly demostratrate our hostility to approximatley a fifth of the world population based on a handful of actions by some extremists?

The person who passed the chain-letter to my wife, which is how I first saw it, is Irish-American. Well, I have another list for that person.*

REMEMBER the IRA abducting and killing Jean McConville, mother of 10. – 1971.
REMEMBER the IRA setting off 22 bombs killing 9 innocent people. – 1972.
REMEMBER the IRA bombing a coach carrying British Army personnel and their families. – 1974.
REMEMBER the IRA bombing of two pubs killing 24. – 1974.
REMEMBER the IRA bombing of a popular department store in London. – 1974.
REMEMBER the IRA assasination of Sir Richard Sykes, British Amabassador to the Netherlands, in front of his house. – 1979.
REMEMBER the IRA assasination of Earl Mountbatten and members of his family. -1979.
REMEMBER the IRA bomb planted in a fast-food resteraunt that killed the officer trying to diffuse it. – 1981.
REMEMBER the IRA bombing in Hyde Park and Regents Park in London. – 1982.
REMEMBER the IRA bombing of a popular department store in London during the Christmas shopping season. – 1983.
REMEMBER the IRA bombing of the Grand Hotel in Brighton. – 1984.
REMEMBER the IRA bombing of a Rememberance Day parade killing 11 civilians in Enniskillen. – 1987.
REMEMBER the IRA killing two Australian tourists in the Netherlands mistaken for off-duty British soldiers. – 1990
REMEMBER the IRA bombing of the London Stock Exchange. – 1990.
REMEMBER the IRA mortar attack on 10 Downing Street. – 1991
REMEMBER the IRA bombing of the London Bridge Railway Station. – 1992.
REMEMBER the IRA bomb that went off in a Fish & Chips shop prematurely, killing 10 people including the bomber himself and his child. – 1993.
REMEMBER the IRA mortar attacks on Heathrow Airport. – 1994.
REMEMBER the IRA bombing in London that killed two U.S. citizens. – 1996.
REMEMBER the IRA bombing of another shopping center in Omagh, Northern Ireland killing 29 innocent people. – 1998,
REMEMBER the IRA bombing outside the BBC studios in London. – 2001

I didn’t want this list to get so long that it would divert the focus of my message, so I only listed some of them. My message is that after all these attacks by the Irish Republican Army, most of which killed innocent people, I haven’t developed any hostility toward Irish people and I don’t write chain letters about “boycotting” St.Patrick’s Day because of the simple fact that I can distinguish the difference between being Irish and being a terrorist. And as I am sure is the case with most Americans, I can also distinguish the difference between being Muslim and being a terrorist.

* sources: www.wikipedia.com and the US Department of State

The “good life” was a definition that recently surfaced to the center of attention at a political online discussion in which conservatives used the term to describe what conservative politics offers… A chance at the “good life”.

As one of the conservative participants put it so eloquently… I prefer to live in a country, and have a form of government where I do have a chance at the good life however slim it might be. What the libs want for this country would mean ZERO chance of my ever becoming rich.

That’s a new one one me, I guess I need to brush up on the “liberal agenda” 😉

For the sake of argument, I mentioned that perhaps there is more to the good life than getting rich. I suggested that my own life is pretty good, I have a good job, great family, nice house in a nice neighborhood… Of course, there’s always more that I would like, but when I look at other people across the world, it’s not too hard for me to see that the American middle-class is a pretty damn good place to find the “good life”.

Then I made the big mistake. (Folks, never do this when talking to conservatives about economics or politics…) I pointed out how I thought the liberals created the American middle-class. Well as far as I can tell, the middle-class emerged out of the Progressive era as a result of political compromises with workers’ movements. As someone else on the discussion board pointed out…

“[FDRs] new deal enshrined them [protections] after ordinary Americans organized, struck, negotiated, stood their ground and refused to acquiesce to industrial feudalism. Without the New Deal, we might have had a real revolution…”

I can see that compromises like that tend to avoid the bloody alternatives. The Magna Carta for instance is probably a contributing reason why the English never had a violent king-killing revolution like the French and Russians did. In any case, the FDR compromises and resulting “social” programs initiated a promotion in living standards for the working class family, much like what the poor Russian people thought communism was going to do for them, but didn’t.

Although it’s flamboyant capitalism that gets the limelight, I think that behind the scenes, it’s our modest version of socialism that makes America so attractive to immigrants. They see every American with a personal car and TV – as materialistic and attached to vibrant capitalism as that seems, it’s the government enforced wages and compensation that increased the savings and purchasing power of the working class, which led directly to the opportunity to tap their savings and hence one of the multiple orgasms of capitalism, consumerism. Dwellers of the third world already see the success stories of capitalism in their own countries, the treads of the boots that crush them.

I wouldn’t even call myself a socialist, at least not an anti-capitalist, there’s a lot to be said for the incentives and dreams of capitalism. I value the mix of both that we have here in this country, which was the point of my argument. We incredibly lucky Americans benefit from the best of both worlds. These whiny conservatives should look around and see how lucky they are, most of them *are* living the good life. It would be nice also if they understood that socialism is just as important to their current good life as capitalism is before they go pissing on it. (Talk about biting the hand that feeds…) After all, it’s nice to dream about making it big, and it’s nice to work toward it too, but for the enormous majority of Americans that try but don’t make it, they can still count on minimum wage, health benefits, human resource departments, overtime pay, 40/hr work weeks, weekends, vacations, maternity leave… All those things brought to them by the very liberal notion of social obligation.

I went on to explain how capitalism, with it’s dedication to a disinclined market, is a functional, bi-polar model that really only works for those who have actually achieved a position of control. Everyone else gets the Newtonian equal and opposite force. In other words, to make money, you have to take it from someone. So to put this in simple terms, anyone dreaming about making it big in capitalism is currently under attack by those who are already there and if they aren’t pinned down to the dirt, chances are they have some liberals to thank.

And after my explanations, what kind of response do you think I got? Well, here’s another quote…

“The “good life” consists of the total absence of people with a mediocre education attempting to use government to give everyone else their own particular definition of the “good life”. Simply put this means…the absence of liberals…even the worst evangelist cannot use government to enforce their vision without becoming a liberal in the process.”

oh, well.