The Confederacy and Britain

June 28, 2013


Hatfield House in Hertfordshire boasts a very English interior, accompanied by a beautiful garden. It is owned by former leader of the opposition in the House of Lords, Robert Gascoyne-Cecil, 7th Marquess of Salisbury. It has been in the Cecil family since the 17th Century. Among its occupants was former Prime Minister, Robert Cecil. And in Hatfield House, remains a painting of Cecil’s hero; Confederate General Thomas ‘Stonewall’ Jackson.

June 1861. Two months had passed since secession and skirmish turned into full blow civil war as the shots rang out through Fort Sumter. Three months earlier, civil war was a possibility, but not a reality. Federal buildings had fallen into Confederate hands without a declaration of war, and though supplies to the Fort had been prevented by the odd skirmish out of South Carolina, it was not enough to provoke all out conflict. That all changed as President Lincoln took the initiative to begin hostilities whilst putting that particular ball firmly in the Confederate court by letting the Confederacy know that he was indeed going to reinforce Sumter, but not violently, and that war would be initiated if supplies were prevented from reaching the Fort. Reinforcing Sumter was of course provocative after the previous unsuccessful attempts in January 1861, and Lincoln knew it’d end violently, but it would be the Confederacy that fired the first shot after a tense stand off, and so appearing to be the aggressors.

James Bulloch arrived in Liverpool, England, two months after the attack on Fort Sumter and the beginning of the United States Civil War. His job; Chief Foreign Agent of the Confederate States of America. His task; to procure British ships in order to aid the Confederacy. His name is unknown to most, but his influence kept the Confederacy going, shook President Lincoln’s confidence, and almost brought Britain into the conflict on the side of the Confederacy. The Union State Department Officials referred to Bulloch as “the most dangerous man in Europe“.

Lincoln knew that sympathy in the UK for the Confederacy was intricately linked to high flying members of the British establishment (though, class doesn’t seem to play too high a part in support for either side). He sent a letter of thanks to Manchester workers who issued a proclamation of support for the Union. A statue of Lincoln now resides in Manchester. Lincoln thus played a very cautious game with the British. He was up against members of the Palmerstone government with obvious sympathy and suspect ties to the Confederacy, as well as newspapers such as the Glasgow Gazette and Manchester Weekly Budget. It’s true that most MPs and Lords and in fact, people in general, distrusted both sides.

President Lincoln thus sent Charles Francis Adams as United States Ambassador to Great Britain. Adams was the grandson of President John Adams, and son of President John Quincy Adams, and thus, had a degree of notoriety in the UK. He was tasked with making it abundantly clear to Great Britain, that with British possessions scattered all over the World, and US power increasing, that Britain should be careful about recognising the Confederacy, or sending ships to the Confederacy, or any other policy that could “set a dangerous precedent“. Washington was worried. Eduard de Stoeckl, the Russian Minister to Washington expected Britain to declare for the Confederacy at any moment, stating:

“The Cabinet of London is watching attentively the internal dissensions of the Union and awaits the result with an impatience which it has difficulty in disguising.”

Adams was worried, by 1862, that the British were considering brokering a peace deal between the North and South. Adams further worried, that brokering peace, meant offering concessions to the South.

Great Britain was officially neutral during the Civil War. It was in Britain’s interest not to throw its lot in with either side. Unofficially, there were those in high places handing out favours to both sides. Companies in the UK took advantage of the US civil war. Whilst it’s true that the Confederacy, despite its lack of strong industrial base that the North had, managed to produce some impressive arms, they also imported much from Britain. Especially rifles. It’s suggested that around 900,000 rifles were imported between 1861-1865, almost all made in Enfield.

Bulloch took advantage of this, knowing that British companies noted a brand new war market. He engaged with a company in Liverpool called Fraser, Trenholm Company; a large shipping company specialising in buying – and thus, bankrolling – the Confederate cotton industry, located in a rather unimpressive part of Liverpool close to the Thistle Hotel. From the offices of Fraser, Trenholm, Bulloch managed to purchase the CSS Alabama, despite British neutrality. CSS Alabama was built in secret though the Prime Minister knew, in Birkenhead. Bulloch managed to sneak Alabama out of Liverpool, and over to the the Confederacy, though the ship never docked in any Confederate port. For the next couple of years, it managed to raid 450 Union vessels, burn 65 Union merchant ships, and take 2000 prisoners. CSS Alabama (along with other ships out of Liverpool, including the CSS Shenandoah) was key to the Confederate war effort. It is also notable that Prime Minister Palmerstone most probably knew that the ship was headed for the Confederacy, and yet, he still let it depart pleading ignorance to where it was headed. Following the war, the US claimed damages for the destruction caused by the Alabama. Senator Sumner (a radical abolitionist) wished the claim to include the Canada becoming a part of the USA. In the end, the matter was settled for $15.5m.

In 1862, William Gladstone, then Chancellor under the Prime Ministership of Palmerstone, angered both his boss, and Queen Victoria with a speech made in Newcastle, in which he stated:

“….there is no doubt that Jefferson Davis and other leaders of the South have made an Army; they are making, it appears, a Navy; and they have made — what is more than either — they have made a Nation.”

– It is also rumoured that Gladstone had purchased Cotton bonds from the Confederacy also. It was a great deal at the time. Jefferson Davis policy was to hold back cotton from Europe, because he believed Britain especially was so reliant on Southern cotton, that they’d eventually have no choice but to back the Confederacy. And so, whilst holding back cotton, the South tried to strengthen their position by attracting European investors for such a sought after product in purposely short supply. Bankers from Paris were involved in the underwriting of cotton bonds – floating a loan of $3,000,000, redeemable in cotton at sixpence a pound – secretly authorised by the Confederate Congress in order to raise funds for arms. As Britain remained neutral, Gladstone appeared to be both a vocal supporter of Jefferson Davis, and a financier of the Confederate cause.

Another subscriber to the Confederate cotton loan program was John Arthur Roebuck, the Liberal MP from Sheffield. His reasons for supporting the Confederacy, like Gladstone, seem to be entirely related to profiting from the cotton loan program. It is no shock then that Roebuck was a member of the UK’s Southern Independence Association, and that he raised a motion in Parliament for the House of Commons to officially recognise the independence of the Confederacy. Roebuck, in proposing full recognition of the Confederacy, also strongly advocated sending arms and aid to the rebels. Roebuck overstepped the mark, perhaps delivering the biggest blow to the Confederate cause in the UK, on his visit to France in order to try to convince Napoleon III to support the Confederate cause. Roebuck returned to England insisting that the French Emperor had agreed to recognise the rebel States. This was a fabrication. The Emperor had completely rejected to idea. The fabrication was soon discovered, and used to ridicule Roebuck’s cause. The Confederate offensive in the UK Parliament, had been dealt its deathblow. A Confederate agent in Britain, Henry Hotze, charged with helping to lead the cause for recognition noted after the withdrawal of Roebuck’s motion:

“All hope of Parliamentary action is past. Diplomatic means can no longer avail. Everybody looks to Lee to conquer recognition.”

– At around this time, sympathy for the Confederate cause in Britain was drying up.

Colonel John Lewis Peyton of Virginia was sent to Britain in 1861, sent with instructions to buy arms for the Confederacy. He docked at Southampton, and resided in Jermyn Street, adjacent to Piccadilly in Westminster. He quickly became a member of Pall Mall’s Reform Club – a club that still runs today and boasts members such as Prince Charles and former Mi5 Director General, Stella Rimington. Peyton managed to secure a deal worth 1760 Enfield rifles which reached Confederate troops in South Carolina, in 1862.

One of London’s most famous Confederate guests was Matthew Fontaine Murray. His bust currently resides at the ‘Hall of Fame for Great Americans’ in New York City. His statue presides in Richmond Virginia. Murray was a great oceanographer, nicknamed ‘the pathfinder of the seas’, a wonderful astrologer, and great navy man. He landed in Liverpool, with his son, in November 1862, met with Bulloch, and then onto London to advance the Confederate cause. He made lasting friendships with high members of British society including Lord Wrottesley and Roberts Fitzroy, the captain of HMS Beagle, of Charles Darwin fame. Along with a distant cousin, Murray worked to establish ties that would supply the Confederates with support, and arms, whilst trying to give credit to their cause by mixing with those of important standing.

Peyton and Murray were just two of many agents sent to London, and other parts of England, to mix with high ranking officials, to use cotton bonds for funds and arms used to kill Union soldiers and prolong a vicious civil war. Confederate operations in London, were extensive; this included the business World, the journalism World, and deep inside the corridors of power in Parliament and Whitehall. John D Bennett, in his book “The London Confederates” notes of the South’s agents in England:

“For four years their efforts helped the Confederacy maintain its armies in the field; and without them the South would almost certainly have been defeated much earlier.”

A small Confederate community began to occupy Royal Leamington Spa in Warwickshire – and about 30 minutes from my house – including Major Norman Stewart Walker, a Confederate officer, who was sent to Britain with Confederate bonds to buy arms. Another visitor to the Royal Leamington Spa Confederate community, was youngest officer on board the CSS Alabama, Irvine Bulloch; whose nephew went on to become President of the United States; Theodore Roosevelt. James Murray Mason – grandson of George Mason known as the “father of the Bill of Rights” – stayed in Leamington Spa, sent by Jefferson Davis himself, to try to win over the British by appealing to the necessity for cotton. Writing to Confederate Secretary of State Judah Benjamin about the town, he remarked on the:

“…large circle of Confederates in this retired town”

– Thus, the town has a unique history in Britain with its links to the Confederacy. Many more Confederate agents were sent to Britain to procure arms, investment and support for the Confederate cause, knowing the CSA had quite a strong presence already.

The Confederate agents didn’t stand too much of a chance of succeeding in bringing Britain over to their corner. Loss of US grain supply, war with the US, potential loss of Canada, a rise in tariffs and risking aggravating large groups of pro-Union working class Brits, especially in the North, was too big a risk for the British to take for very little return.

Agents of the Confederate States of America flooded the shores of Britain during the war, in order to secure weapons and aid for the Confederate war effort, and whilst Britain publicly remained neutral and showed very little desire to recognise the Confederacy on an international state level; in private many of the country’s high ranking members of society gladly aided the Confederacy in big, and small ways. Wealthy Brits saw the US civil war as a great time to profit from death. This makes Britain – specifically in relation to keeping the Confederacy armed and dangerous, in which hundreds of thousands died – intrinsically linked to the attempts to both perpetuate and nationalise African American slavery in the US, far more so than most Brits care to admit.

Bad Day for Bigots III: DOMA Struck Down.

June 26, 2013

Cheers rang out across America today. Firstly, the wonderful filibuster in the Texas State Senate by Senator Wendy Davis, defeating the anti-women bill, and secondly, the Supreme Court has just struck down The Defence of Marriage Act as unconstitutional, 17 years after President Clinton signed it into law. Most recognise the incredible step forward for human equality and progress and the right to love that SCOTUS has affirmed today. Predictably, certain people were not too pleased with the ruling. I thought I’d post some of my favourite right winged meltdowns from the World of social media. And what better place to start than Fox News:

– This overly dramatic nonsense is brought to you by Fox News’ Todd Starnes, who seems to be under the impression that his definition of ‘God’ has the right to legislate, in a secular democracy. Not only that, but he seems to be complaining, whilst completely clean shaven. This of course being in direct contradiction – or, direct overruling – of God’s law found in Leviticus 19:27. Theocrats tend to ignore Biblical rules not pertaining to discriminating against same-sex couples.

Here are a few of my favourite post-DOMA freakouts:

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– “Becoming Sodom and Gomorrah” (a place that didn’t actually exist) needs to be added to my list of terrible things same-sex marriage will lead to according to conservatives. This list so far includes; marrying your duck, marrying your computer, a lesbian Queen with an artificially inseminated heir, and a US radio DJ vomiting continuously.

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– Another that relies on a Christian interpretation only of the word ‘marriage’. So culturally narrow, and so wrong to impose this one religious concept of marriage on a secular nation. Marriage, of course, has many different definitions throughout history (as I note here). Enshrining a Christian definition only, institutionalising a Christian understanding of marriage, completely shatters the wall between Church and State, and could not be any more anti-constitutional if it tried. Theocracy is not an American value.

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– Massive population losses? Because heterosexual people will all now decide they’re gay?

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– Are the Supreme Court Justices not aware that we should be basing all rational discourse on dust man and rib lady myths? If not, why not?

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– As well as dust man and rib lady myths, why aren’t the Supreme Court framing law around principles of IKEA furniture assembly?

This guy is entertaining all by himself. He appears to be having a homophobic meltdown. One of those “he’s protesting a lot…… perhaps he has something to hide” sort of meltdown:
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And he continues, in a somewhat more flirtatious style:
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– Southern States were pretty overruled in the 1860s too. Are we going to suggest that shouldn’t have been the case? Institutional bigotry is acceptable, if the majority who benefit from it say so? Really? Denying equality under the law based on biological differences like race, or gender, or sexuality, is not a States Rights issue. Conservatives do not get to decide the superiority of one race, or gender, or sexuality. Permitting the same rights that they themselves have always enjoyed, to another group, takes nothing away from their rights. And of course, the repeal of DOMA simply means States now rule on same sex marriage. So, a victory for States Rights as well as equality.

– Yes! Exactly! You must be exactly what you support. Support women’s suffrage? You must be female. Are you pro-life? You must be a fetus! Support 1960s civil rights movement? You must be a racial minority. Support funding for NASA? You must be an astronaut! That’s how supporting things works.

Here’s a few more overly dramatic, end times tweets to enjoy:

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And my absolute favourite of them all:

From the bigoted, to the ridiculous, to the incredibly funny, we see that progression, is still met with mind blowing overly dramatic, conservative meltdowns. We should check back with them in a years time to note if any of their marriages have failed due entirely to same-sex marriages, or if Jesus has returned, wrapped in a Confederate flag, unleashing end times on California. Naturally, God will take revenge through right winged commentators, insisting that perfectly natural weather cycles are actually His wrath.

Today is a wonderful day, for liberal, progressive, secular, Constitutional America. It is a wonderful day, for the battle for equality, and natural human rights. But it is a terribly bad day for bigots.

For ‘Bad Day for Bigots’ part I, click here. For Part II, click here.

The Elephant in the Womb

June 25, 2013

If the Republican Party left 2012 hoping to start afresh – following a President election defeat that quite comically they were certain that they’d win – in an attempt to broaden their base, inclusive of both the Hispanic community, and women that abandoned them in huge numbers; by mid 2013, they’ve failed horrifically on both of those counts.

As noted yesterday, in my article on immigration reform, the obvious attempts by a few outspoken Republicans to put a halt on legalising 11,000,000 undocumented workers only works to narrow their base even further. They appear wholly antagonistic, when they need to be appearing far more inclusive. It seems they’ve learnt nothing in past seven months.
67 votes in the Senate yesterday secured proceeding with the immigration bill on the basis of the Border security amendment.

Today, the focus is on their renewed war on women. The 21st Century Republican Party appears to be based on one simple sentence: “Get Government out of everything (except a woman’s womb)“. Yesterday, Republicans in the Texas State House of Representatives cowardly voted to restrict access to abortion by 97-33 on an anonymous Bill made up of past Bills that had failed in the House during the regular session. The Senate had already passed the Bill, but the Amendment to restrict access to abortion was added at the last minute by House Republicans. The Bill was voted on and passed at 3:23am. It must now return to the Senate. Cries of ‘Shame on you’ could be heard as the Bill was passed in the dead of night by cowardly Theocrats.

State Democratic Senators have today announced they will filibuster the vote in the Senate until Midnight tonight, when the session officially ends. If that happens, Governor Perry, a pro-life advocated, but on whose watch 250 people have been killed by the State’s death penalty, which he so shamefully boasted of during the Primary debates, could call for a special session of the Legislature to take place, for further discussion of the Bill. We shouldn’t be surprised if he does this.

If the Bill were to pass, it would threaten the running of abortion clinics across the State. Many may close. Again, Republicans promoting very dangerous anti-women policies.

The bill to restrict safe access to abortion is quite obviously not the first time Republicans have taken aim at women. It is a growing trend for the GOP. We see the nature of the debate on abortion from the right winged fringes, when presented with campaign literature like this:
– I’m not even sure what he’s suggesting here? Give guns to cells? Maybe just a knife to sperm, in an attempt to stop masturbation? Linking guns and children probably isn’t the most sensitive of campaign slogans the Republicans have ever came up with. But then, ‘National Association for Gun Rights’ and ‘Gun Owners of America’ are two of Stockman’s key campaign contributors, so it shouldn’t surprise us.

Stockman goes one further. He doesn’t just take aim at women, but also the transgendered community, and why he believes the Violence Against Women Act should not include them:

“This is a truly bad bill. This is helping the liberals, this is horrible. Unbelievable. What really bothers—it’s called a women’s act, but then they have men dressed up as women, they count that. Change-gender, or whatever. How is that—how is that a woman?”

Similarly, in 2010 Medina County Republicans put out a leaflet that included this little gem:

It isn’t just Republican men that are obsessed with both patronising, and controlling women. Republican women seem to be just as awful. Rep. Ann Wagner (R-MO) wants to recruit women to the Republican cause in 2014. She says:

“Women need to be asked. They have to be told of the opportunity and be encouraged to run.”

– That’s right! Women need to be told of the fact that they can run for public office. Really slowly. So the pretty things can understand. Perhaps their minds are too filled with getting dinner ready for the man of the house, in between thinking of kittens and flowers.

Ann Coulter, reflecting a general Republican anti-women stance once said:

“If we took away women’s right to vote, we’d never have to worry about another Democrat president. It’s kind of a pipe dream, it’s a personal fantasy of mine, but I don’t think it’s going to happen. ”

– Even female Republicans, are anti-women. Some, cloak their inherent anti-women sentiment, behind creative, and horrendously offensive statements. The level of debate in the Texas House of Reps can be summed up quite wonderfully, by the statement of State Rep. Jodie Laudenberg (R):

“In the emergency room they have what’s called rape kits, where a woman can get cleaned out,”

– Cleaned out? Really? That’s what you’re going with? Let’s also not forget that beyond the horrendous sentiment, she’s also entirely wrong. A ‘rape kit’ is used primarily to collect evidence, it isn’t used to perform an abortion. She is using the issue of rape, in order to pass an amendment, by blatantly lying.

A couple of days ago, Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant (R) stated that problems with the US education system began, when women started working outside of the home.

During the debate, Texas Congressman Michael Burgess (R) told us we should ban abortion, because fetuses cannot stop masturbating:

“Watch a sonogram of a 15-week baby, and they have movements that are purposeful … They stroke their face. If they’re a male baby, they may have their hand between their legs. If they feel pleasure, why is it so hard to believe that they could feel pain?”

– What’s most worrying about this, isn’t the level of stupidity that public debate has seemingly fallen to, but the fact that Burgess is a doctor of obstetrics and gynecology. Here is what the GOP would call an expert in their ranks, on the subject of reproduction. Would anyone let this man check you over?

It seems pretty obvious, private citizens do not want Republican Senators and Representatives taking ownership of their wombs.

In 2012, Wisconsin voted to repeal the Equal Pay Enforcement Act; a law that helped to address the growing pay gap between men and women. Upon repeal, Republican State Senator Glenn Grothman said:

“You could argue that money is more important for men. I think a guy in their first job, maybe because they expect to be a breadwinner someday, may be a little more money-conscious.”

And then we have the mouthpiece of mad, ranting, misogynistic, Tea Party Republicans, Rush Limbaugh. When it comes to women, Limbaugh said:

“So Miss Fluke and the rest of you feminazis, here’s the deal. If we are going to pay for your contraceptives and thus pay for you to have sex, we want something. We want you to post the videos online so we can all watch.”

– Wealthy, white, conservative, male attitudes to women are simply a reactive response against a growing modern, progressive, liberal inclusive culture that they very much dislike, because it threatens their unjustifiably privileged position in life. Whether they’re consciously aware of that or not. We can attach this reactive response to almost every group conservatives take aim at. They are a threat to privilege, and Republicans are the protectors of archaic and regressive privilege.

Republicans apparently agree with Rush, given their 2011 attempts to not just cut levels of funding to, but completely cut Title X. Title X offers family planning funding and services including breast and cervical cancer screenings and preventative healthcare to millions of low income women and families. The Republicans, not content with trying to cut Title X entirely in 2011, then sought to ban Title X funds reaching the Planned Parenthood Program. A program that also offers: contraceptives; emergency contraception; screening for breast, cervical and testicular cancers; pregnancy testing and pregnancy options counseling; testing and treatment for sexually transmitted diseases; comprehensive sexuality education, menopause treatments; vasectomies, tubal ligations, and abortion. Naturally, because of the last in that list, the Republicans believe Planned Parenthood deserves no funding whatsoever, for any of its services. Some States have already completely defunded Planned Parenthood, including Tennessee, despite no State money going to support Planned Parenthood abortions. In Wisconsin, nine of the State’s 27 Planned Parenthood clinics were completely defunded by State Republican legislatures. The nine clinics provided 12,000 uninsured women with low cost, and easily accessible health care. The Women’s Health Program in Texas receives 90% of its funding from Planned Parenthood… Texan lawmakers reduced its funding from $111 to $37. Wealthy State Republicans took that away. And they ask themselves why women have a problem with Republicans?

In 2011, Republicans also wished to cut funding to The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children. A program designed to help low income mothers, and pregnant women. Despite WIC funding leading to lower infant mortality, and higher birth weights, the GOP are unhappy with it, and demanded a cut of $747 million. This, alongside a $50 million cut to the Title V Maternal and Child Health Block Grant, which helps millions of impoverished and low income women and children every year. That’s not all. They demanded a $1 billion cut to Head Start, $39 million from Child Care Development Block Grant. 368,000 estimated to lose learning support in their early years, along with those mothers who rely on child care, in order to work.

When political and religious ideologies are used to not just tell others, but force others to live their lives according to that ideology, and especially when it pertains to that individual’s body, your Party cannot then claim to be a Party dedicated to individual liberty. You are a Party dedicated to control.

From Mitt’s “binders full of women” to Akin’s “legitimate rape” to Chambliss almost whimsically shaking off the seriousness of sexual assault in the military by claiming it’s simply down to young men’s “hormone level created by nature“, to the anti-women bills and underfunding of important health services; the GOP really has a problem. It isn’t just the perception that they are anti-women. They can’t just ‘re-brand’ and hope people will forget. The things they say and do, are so blatantly anti-women, that there is no other possible perception. The GOP has an extremely long road ahead of it if it wishes to be an electable force again. At the moment, an all out, relentless attack on women’s health and reproductive rights, renders the GOP the same fringe Party of mad bigots that it was before the Presidential election.

Yearning to breathe free

June 24, 2013

“Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free;
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore,
Send these, the homeless,
Tempest-tossed to me
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

The Senate is very close to voting in favour of a huge historic overhaul to the US immigration system. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) is sure that the Bill is close to reaching 70 votes in the Senate.
And then there’s Rand Paul.
An interesting figure.
One of the many Republicans who think too highly of themselves, seem to be under the impression that they have the House, Senate, and White House under their personal control, and that the country is entirely painted – not just red – but with his face on it. But also a Republican who uses the term ‘border security‘ as shorthand for ‘I don’t want 11 million undocumented workers to have a pathway to citizenship because they’ll definitely vote against my Party for our history of prejudice against them…… can we stop gays voting too?

Four days ago, Paul introduced an amendment to the Immigration Bill in the Senate, designed to take away the pathway to citizenship and make it just as difficult as ever for undocumented workers to apply for citizenship. The amendment, would allow undocumented workers the right to be in the US, and to apply through the new Registered Provisional Immigrants visa, but they would be treated as if they were the same as someone wishing to immigrate, living in their home country.

As a UK citizen myself, I hope one day to be afforded an opportunity to emigrate to the US (Seriously, someone employ me!) though I accept that I certainly shouldn’t be afforded the same opportunity as those already in the US, who have contributed to the US over the years, who consider themselves American, who escaped to a better life in the US, and simply want to be treated the same under the law as Rand Paul.

Yesterday, Rand Paul told CNN that he will vote against the Immigration Bill, because it doesn’t provide the border security he wishes to see. This, despite concession after concession made to Republicans obsessed with derailing a pathway to citizenship for workers that they consider a threat to their party. The concessions include a significant raising from 21,000 border agents in the original bill, to 40,000 border agents in the new bill; a massive increase in funding for surveillance including aerial drones; and 700 extra miles of border fence, at a cost of $30bn; apparently this doesn’t count as expanding the role of big government.

One wonders what exactly Paul wishes to see, what added security? Mines? The military patrolling the border? Paul is simply moving the goalposts. His latest demand – which received unanimous cross-party rejection from the 8 members responsible for the Bill – was to see Congress be responsible for deciding whether the border was more secure, year on year, for a five year period. Moving the goalposts. The concessions made provide the border security that Republicans complained was missing from the original bill. Border security is now ramped far more than before, despite increases in funding for border security over the past decade and half, proving ineffective at best.
As always, Republicans get their concessions, but wish to concede nothing themselves.

Rand Paul, in voting against the Bill, is voting against Senator Brian Schatz’s (D-HI) amendment, that would allow those people displaced by climate disasters, who are rendered stateless, to be granted conditional legal status in the US. Schatz explained the amendment:

“We have an obligation not to deport people back to a country made uninhabitable by sea level rise and other extreme environmental changes that render these states desolate.”

– For me, this seems perfectly reasonable, compassionate, and based on humanitarian concerns. This is most notable, given that according to World Resources Institute estimates, almost 30 percent of cumulative carbon dioxide emissions since 1850, is the responsibility of the US. Islands across the globe are threatened with extinction through climate disasters. Rand Paul does not believe the USA, with its history of affording, what Emma Lazarus so beautifully referred to as “your huddled masses”, has any responsibility for protecting the most vulnerable.

A recent study by the Hamilton Project on the economics of immigration reform, shows that the reforms have significant benefits, not just for immigrants, but also for American citizens. They note:

“…immigrants create average wage increases of between 0.1 percent and 0.6 percent for American workers.”

They continue:

“The most recent academic research suggests that, on average, immigrants raise the overall standard of living of American workers by boosting wages and lowering prices. One reason is that immigrants and U.S.-born workers generally do not compete for the same jobs; instead many immigrants complement the work of U.S. employees and increase their productivity. For example, low-skill immigrant laborers allow U.S.-born farmers, contractors, or craftsmen to expand agricultural production or to build more homes—thereby expanding employment possibilities and incomes for U.S. workers. Another reason is that businesses adjust to new immigrants by opening stores, restaurants, or production facilities to take advantage of the added supply of workers; more workers translate into more business.”

They continue:

“Taxes paid by immigrants and their children—both legal and unauthorized—exceed the costs of the services they use. In fact, a 2007 cost estimate by the Congressional Budget Office found that a path to legalization for unauthorized immigrants would increase federal revenues by $48 billion but would only incur $23 billion of increased costs from public services, producing a surplus of $25 billion for government coffers.”

They continue:

“Today’s immigrants possess a strong entrepreneurial spirit. In fact, immigrants are 30 percent more likely to form new businesses than U.S.-born citizens.”

– So, people wishing for a better life, an on average wage increase for American workers, new businesses, a rise in overall living standards of American workers, and an increase in Federal revenues by $25bn. They help to boost economic activity, they help to create jobs, they help with economic stability, and they themselves live better lives. it would seem that the only reason to keep moving the goalposts on immigration reform, is for the sake of votes. Rand Paul, with his idea to allow undocumented workers to stay, but insist they apply in the same way as someone who has never even been to the US but may wish to emigrate, is clutching desperately at straws, to save votes. He is playing with lives, for the sake of Party politics. He wishes to be allowed to keep on benefiting economically and socially from immigration, from people who have been exploited for years to help build American businesses….. Paul insists his plan will indeed allow those people to stay (how lovely of him) but not to gain a pathway to citizenship. The only reason to be so, not just mean spirited, but horrendous spirited, is for the sake of votes. Perhaps this desperation would not have been necessary, had the GOP a better record on its treatment of minorities.

One would think that any GOP attempt to derail the bill either in the Senate or the House, will only result in further alienation of Hispanic voters. I’d suggest it could also lead to widespread anger and political activism aimed at the Republicans, at a time when they need to be showing even a little progression and modernising. Killing the Bill could prove to be far more politically toxic, than letting it pass. It would be political suicide.

Let’s be clear, Rand is not prepared to derail such an important bill, simply because he wishes to see Congress in control of deciding whether the border in more secure year on year. That’s a smokescreen. His issue, is votes. This will also be the hidden reason the House Republicans kick up a fuss in the coming months.
Those who opposed immigration reform based solely on border security, no longer have that to hide behind. They must now admit that this is about citizenship. And there really is no reasonable excuse to oppose a pathway to citizenship.

The US immigration system is broken. It may be that the border needs strengthening. Perhaps so. But primarily, it is about people, and families, and lives. There are millions who simply wish to live a better life, and provide a better existence for their family. They wish to reunite with family. They did not ask to be born in countries that do not afford them the opportunities they so desperately wish for. They do not seek climate disaster. They did not seek poverty, nor lack of basic human needs or infrastructure. They did not seek corrupt governments and political irrelevance. They wish for America, to find work, to start businesses, to raise families, to pay taxes, to contribute to an economic recovery, to contribute culturally. They wish to be the people that the grandparents and great grandparents of American citizens were, 100 years ago and before. They should not face exploitation at the hands of employers wishing to gain advantage. They should not be split from family. They should not feel that due to their place of birth, they are less than worthy to be called American. It makes sense to offer a path to citizenship for them and their families, and to offer the stability they need to set down their roots in a country that they wish to be a part of. It is about people. It should not be about votes.

Now, someone in the US employ me.

A list of things gay marriage leads to….

June 23, 2013

When it becomes very clear that rational argument and debate is over; when one side has clearly won, the other side has two choices. Firstly, they can give up. They can admit defeat, and move on. Their argument wasn’t strong enough, the facts were not with them. The right thing to do, is to admit this. Secondly, they can choose to become hysterical. This is usually accompanied by presenting prejudice as factual. Conservatives, when it comes to the same-sex marriage debate have lost the argument. And so, they choose the latter option. They become hysterical. Fallacy after fallacy is employed. We are treated to their creative ingenuity on quite a spectacular level when attempting to present prejudice as factual. Allow me to summarise their creative arguments against same-sex marriage, and what legalising marriage for same-sex couples will inevitably lead to in the minds of conservatives:

  • A Marxist-Leninist coup designed to bring down British culture and government. here.
  • Marrying your dog: Here.
  • Marrying your brother or sister. Here.
  • A father marrying his son for inheritance tax purposes.Here.
  • A generation of barbarians. Here.
  • God destroying the World Here.
  • Marrying your computer. Here.
  • The legalisation of child molestation. Here.
  • Making destroyed children commit all sorts of terrible crimes. Here.
  • Gay propaganda Disney films. here.
  • Granting special rights to people who sleep specifically with St Bernards. Here.
  • The 2008 Financial crash. Here.
  • Michael Savage puking, continuously. Here.
  • ‘Sexual anarchy’ that will destroy the soul of America. Here.
  • Marrying a lot of people. Here.
  • Everyone becoming gay and not having children, leading to human extinction. Here.
  • Churches forced to hire Satan Worshippers and Cross Dressers. Here.
  • Marrying a turtle, a goat, a duck, or a dolphin. Here.
  • Children’s minds being raped by a ‘homosexual mafia’. Here.
  • The normalisation of paedophilia. Here.
  • Poverty. Here.
  • The reason for the collapse of the Roman Empire and Weimar Republic. Here.
  • A lesbian Queen with an artificially inseminated heir. Here.

    Strangely, none of this has happened in Canada, who legalised same-sex marriage in 2003 through the courts and 2005 nationwide. Perhaps the Marxist-Leninist, homosexual mafia like to wait over a decade before striking at the heart of the ‘soul’ of a nation and forcing churches to hire cross dressers.

    Once all of these grievances have been aired in public, conservatives then tend to get defensive. They insist, after all of that, that they aren’t the bigoted ones after all. Their hysteria, leads to defensiveness. We are trying to silence them, they shout, as if the rhetoric of a Marxist-Leninist coup of crossdressing Priests represents a genuine threat. I guess it is a coping mechanism for subconsciously accepting that their hysterical arguments are intensely ridiculous. They insist that it is in fact the pro-same sex marriage majority – with our pesky historical and scientific facts – who are the bigoted ones, for not taking seriously the idea that gay marriage will lead to marrying a computer, or cross dressing Satan worshippers leading Sunday prayers, or a lesbian Queen with an artificially inseminated heir, or Jeremy Irons marrying his son, or a homosexual mafia raping children’s minds, or God destroying the World. And why would we not take those arguments seriously? They all seem mightily well thought out arguments to me. Hysterical conservatives. A gift that keeps on giving.

  • To flee Syria: From hell to hell.

    June 21, 2013

    The Syrian crisis poses an intense amount of questions for lawmakers across the Globe, with each question just as important and as crucial to the process of peace than every other. Do we arm the rebels? If not, then what next? If we are to provide arms to the rebel groups, which rebel groups to provide arms to? How to know and ensure those arms won’t fall into Islamist hands? How to ensure a peaceful and stable democracy upon the fall of Assad? What balance to strike with regard diplomacy with the Russians? How to deal with unwanted intrusions of Iran? These are all grand scale, legitimate questions that rightly require thoughtful and decisive action from the international community. There is however, one major and shocking crisis that we seem to hear very little about, and that is the refugee crisis. And within that crises, is the crisis of the truly horrendous exploitation of female Syrian refugees.

    It is of course obvious that Syria faces a humanitarian disaster, as the rest of the World struggles to find any sort of political, and humanitarian solution. As of June 3rd 2013, 472,764 people have fled Syria, into Jordan. A further 1.2 million have fled to other countries since the beginning of the civil unrest. A recent report by UN Women, shows the scale of exploitation of Syrian female refugees, particularly in Jordan, but also Egypt. This crisis is often engulfed by the question of arms to rebels, and Russian/Western diplomacy.

    Syria itself is a hotbed of sexual exploitation right now, and one of the key reasons for fleeing, is the protection of children from sexual exploitation, and the hope of protection in neighbouring Nations. Stories from refugees of the crisis tell of the shocking abuse they suffered inside Syria. Roadblocks in Syria are often used to kidnap, and rape young women. The International Rescue Committee was told of roadblocks in Syria in which girls were taken, raped, and murdered. Others were left to wander alone, often naked, after being raped. Some media outlets, for some reason, ask “Is this policy of the Assad regime? Or punishment for Assad supporters?” It is neither. It is sexual exploitation. It is rape. And so it has no political motive.

    Sexual exploitation is given as one of the key reasons for fleeing Syria, in attempts to get away quickly, and to find protection, especially in refugee camps administered by international AID agencies.

    And yet, many only make it just across the border before the exploitation begins. The border towns in Jordan, right into Amman are now home to Syrian women pushed into prostitution, as well as pushed into marrying their children to older Syrian men, simply to survive. More find themselves and their children thrown into very tightly packed refugee centres, and treated as prisoners. The tented refugee community of Za’artari in the north of Jordan, a place supposed to protect the vulnerable and overseen by UNHCR, is treated like a toy shop for exploiters, as well as being completely underfunded, lacking basic resources, under prepared for the extreme weather conditions, and under protected. Those who work within the camp from aid agencies face an uphill struggle every day. One Syrian refugee, who fled to Jordan with her children, and is now in Za’artari told the BBC of conditions back home in Syria:

    “They come into our homes. They rape us, and they kill, in front of our eyes.”

    – To flee this appalling situation, only to find yourself in an equally as appalling situation, having been under the impression that you would be protected by the international community, is unimaginable. From hell, to hell.

    Fathers in the camp, who fled with very little money, and very little way to support their families find themselves and their families now living in a far more patriarchal and dangerous situation, especially for their female children, than before. Abu Sanad, a father in the camp said:

    “People from Jordan, from Saudi Arabia, from Qatar, they come and ask: ‘Do you want to give your daughters for marriage? What do they see us as? A market place for selling? Like selling sheep.They see we don’t have money. They want to exploit us. Give me your daughter for 200,000 lira or 100,000 lira. ”

    In Jordan, Syrians are pushed to the brink, and so believe that selling their child into early marriage offers their child a form of security and protection. It is desperation. A desperation no parent should ever feel forced to consider. Their children, and their bodies, are treated as commodities.

    One teenage girl, whose eyes appeared red from fatigue, and heart breakingly teary throughout her interview, told the BBC that she was forced into marriage to support herself, noting:

    “I can’t describe him as a man. The way he treated me. He treated me savagely. He was a monster. He was hitting me so much. The bruises are still on my body. He said ‘I do not love you. I only married you for my pleasure’ “.

    – This is the reality of the humanitarian disaster facing Syrian female refugees every day, and it is caused by other human beings.

    In the camps, what tends to be the case, is that wealthy men, almost predominantly from Saudi Arabia or Qatar, are allowed into Zaatari, under the guise of charity, but who are looking mainly for young girls to exploit. They offer charity, in exchange for a wife. The girls are promised everything they could wish for, and protection for their families, but within days are often found wandering in Jordanian streets having been viciously abused, and dumped. Their ‘honour’ is thus considered to have been destroyed. Nour, a Syrian refugee now in Jordan, told that after being chained up, and raped for two months, inside Syria, in a detention centre, her family issued a death certificate for her. She told how they now consider her disgraced, and dead. Her husband fled with her children.

    IRIN News reported that a Syrian mother, named Um Sarah, of two daughters ages 14 and 15 told:

    “As a single mother, I cannot support them. I cannot feed them. I wanted to make sure they are OK, so I asked around if people know of good Syrian men they could marry. They rape girls who are as young as her in Syria now. If they raped a nine-year-old girl, they can do anything. I will not feel OK if I do not see her married to a decent man who can protect her,””

    – The heavy reliance on men, who will only provide a young and vulnerable girl with any assistance if he is able to sexually exploit her, speaks to the heart of two problems. Firstly, the Syrian crisis itself, and secondly, the patriarchal societies that patriarchal religions and the men that control them create and perpetuate, which inevitably leads to the very dangerous myth that women require men for survival. Um Sarah, no doubt as a result of both desperation, and of regional biases, believes that her daughters are safer in the hands of men who will marry them, in order to sexually exploit them (we know this, because the majority of young girls who enter into child marriages are pregnant soon after marriage), rather than those who actively seek out women to abuse without the promise of protection and food. Not only that, but rape is only named so, when the rapist isn’t married to the victim. It is also considered a dishonour to the family of the victim, if she is raped, and so marriage apparently safeguards the family against dishonour. This is the result of empowering one gender, and crushing the other. Both of those two groups of men, are vicious abusers, exploiting the appalling situation refugees are finding themselves in.

    Similarly, in Egypt, we see Syrian female refugees finding that they have in fact fled a hostile environment, only to be presented with a new hostile and extremely dangerous environment of people that see them as vulnerable and so easily exploitable. Life in refugee camps is horrific, but life outside of refugee camps, can often by far worse. Refugees in cities often squat in broken buildings, living in squalid conditions, suffering terrible illnesses that they have no access to even the most basic of healthcare. They often take out loans from dubious sources, and with no real income, turn to prostitution, and again, marrying their children young in exchange for a dowry. The International Rescue Committee spoke to Syrian refugees inside Egypt and found numerous accounts of women turning to sex, to pay rent, and to feed their children; children who are threatened daily with exploitation, unless they’re married off. Islamist preachers in Egypt actively encourage Egyptian men to marry young and vulnerable Syrian girls. The Syrian activist Lina Al-Tiby works in Cairo with Syrian female refugees in order to keep them away from sex trafficking and horrendous exploitation, noted:

    “Egyptian men tell Syrian women they will marry them to help them and their families, but… can’t these men help Syrian women without marrying them?”

    – Under Syrian law, the legal age for marriage is 16 (though so-called “informal” marriages allow girls as young as 13 to marry and have children, if “religious leaders” deem it acceptable). Under the new Egyptian charter, thrown together by horrendous Islamist child abusers, the legal age has been dropped from 18, to 13, with Islamists inside the Morsi supported Brotherhood calling for the age to be dropped further, to 9. Couple this with the apparent ‘dishonour’ a young girl is supposed to feel if she is raped, and so the Syrian refugee crises marks a perfect opportunity, in Middle Eastern countries run almost predominantly by men, for men, to lawfully exploit the most vulnerable people – who need the most support – for the perverted fantasies of Brotherhood child and women abusers.

    UNICEF Jordan Representative working at Za’artari noted in January this year:

    “The resources we raised in 2012 have been exhausted, and no fresh funds have come for this year. We urgently appeal to the international community and donors in general to commit fresh funding as soon as possible.”

    – Conditions at the camp are only likely to deteriorate further as more and more Syrians flee across the Jordanian border.

    UN Women are working hard to change conditions, and fight for international recognition of the problems in Za’artari and beyond.

    The camp at Za’artari falls under the responsibility of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, and yet is slowly diminishing into a hotbed of sexual exploitation of women and children. The camp at Za’artari is also accused of a severe lack of resources for abuse victims, including counseling services and a lack of knowledge of those services that do exist in the camp, with 83% of Syrian refugees completely unaware that any services like that exist at all. This is not the fault of the aid workers in the camp, it is the fault of massive underfunding by our governments. It is a humanitarian catastrophe on so many levels, right down to the most basic of humanitarian concerns; protecting children from sexual exploitation. Medical care, food and water supplies dwindle, they are not protected from harsh climate conditions, and this naturally exacerbates fears from refugee parents that their children will suffer the most, which pushes them into the arms of abusers promising protection. Western politicians can argue daily on the subject of who to provide arms to, in the hope that the country will sort itself out, but the crisis that absolutely needs our full attention, and funding, is on the humanitarian level.

    The situation in Za’artari and elsewhere is shameful to the international community as a whole. It also highlights the most telling flaws in a society that promotes one gender above another, based on religious principles. This is why a political solution, as well as being democratic, must not be allowed to institutionalise patriarchy. It must move past this archaic phase. The empowerment of women, must be one of the key aspects to any solution in Syria.

    Buying Mitch McConnell.

    June 20, 2013

    By United States Senate ( [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

    Mitch McConnell, By United States Senate ( [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

    “The people of the state of Colorado hereby find and declare that large campaign contributions to political candidates create the potential for corruption and the appearance of corruption; that large campaign contributions made to influence election outcomes allow wealthy individuals, corporations, and special interest groups to exercise a disproportionate level of influence over the political process”
    – Article XXVIII, Section I, Colorado Constitution.

    The Kentucky Republican Kingmaker and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, is perhaps not a name too many of us are all that familiar with over here in the UK. We may have heard his name banded about occasionally but we really have to delve a little deeper into the murky World of US politics to come across anything of significance, and when we do, we’re presented with a self created ‘maverick’ image of a lone senator willing to be a voice for the Constitutional rights of massive Corporate campaign finance. A worthy cause, I’m sure none of us would agree.

    Why, you may ask, does McConnell care so deeply about thwarting any attempts – supported by both Parties at different times – to regulate campaign finance? Well, the Senate Republican filibuster timings, along with McConnell’s own campaign finance, are all rather telling. McConnell’s work blocking legislation at times appears to reflect periods in which he is receiving massive campaign contributions from Corporate titans.

    A couple of years back, McConnell attacked Democrat attempts to prevent foreign companies from financing US public figures and elections. He claimed laws already exist to stop this from happening. He of course failed to mention that existing laws do not prevent foreign corporations with US subsidiaries from channelling money to preferred candidates. This omittance shouldn’t come as too much of a shock, given that McConnell, from 2005 to 2010, received around $21,000 from BAE Systems Inc. BAE Systems Inc is a US subsidiary of the World’s 2nd largest defence contractor, BAE Systems, based in the UK. In 2010, McConnell asked for $17,000,000 of Federal funds to be earmarked for BAE defence improvements, at the exact same time as BAE was under State Department investigation for alleged widespread corruption (including the bribery of public officials). Of course, any link between McConnell’s apparent passion for outspokenly opposing campaign finance regulation from foreign companies who are under investigation for bribing public officials, at the same time as one of them is funding his own campaign – and in fact funding the Mitch McConnell Centre at the University of Louisville to the tune of $500,000 through a subsidiary – is just speculation.

    So to continue to speculate; according to Oil Change International, McConnell has voted in favour of the big oil companies 100% of the time during the period 2005-2007. In 2011, McConnell decided to push for the extension of the Keystone oil pipeline, by adding it onto the end of a bill designed to extend year-end payroll tax cuts for middle class people and families. Yes. Senate Republicans would vote down tax breaks for struggling people, unless the Obama Administration succumb to Republican demands for the pressing ahead with the Keystone XL oil pipeline. The Senate Republicans insist that they support the pipeline for the sake of American jobs, and energy independence. I’m sure that must be the case. Yes. It can’t possibly be anything to do with the fact that the recipient of the most Oil and Gas contributions in between 2011 and 2012, was Senate Republican Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, racking up an astonishing $583,550. His main contributor, being Exxon Mobil, at $48,000 for that period. In fact, McConnell is the biggest benefactor from Exxon’s generosity in 2011-2012. In 2013, ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson publicly urged the Obama Administration to press ahead with the Keystone pipeline extension. Draw whatever conclusions you so wish.

    McConnell is a good friend to big oil. On the actual day of the debate on the so-called “Repeal Big Oil Subsidies Act” – an Act designed to end the tax breaks afforded to the wealthiest oil companies in the World of up to $24bn – in 2012, McConnell received $131,500 from oil donors in Midland, Texas. The Act failed by filibuster. One of many very dubious filibusters promoted by McConnell since the Republicans lost the Senate in 2006. There is no reasonable excuse to filibuster an Act designed to stop unnecessary Federal funds subsidising very wealthy oil companies. A few Republican bloggers insist that the Act is unconstitutional, because it didn’t originate in the House. How desperately naive to believe that’s the point the Senate Minority are most strongly concerned with.

    In 2011, the “Close Big Oil Tax Loopholes Act” also failed in the Senate – an Act which would have closed loopholes for the main oil companies, including Exxon – due to Republican derailing tactics, despite the revenue raised from the closure of loopholes being earmarked for debt reduction, something the GOP seems to be obsessed with, when it suits their electoral chances. McConnell, like every great Republican, managed to appear as if he cared about actual American people and their concerns (the same people, he thinks don’t deserve a tax break extension unless an oil pipeline is built) by saying:

    “Clearly, this is not a serious effort to address the price of gas at the pump.”

    – As if addressing the price at the pump, is impossible if you close tax loopholes for your corporate donors. Those Senators who voted against closing tax loopholes, allegedly received on average $370,664 from big oil, compared to $72,145 for those Senators who voted against. Again, draw whatever conclusions you so wish.

    Harking back a couple of paragraphs, I wish to reiterate that McConnell and Senate Republicans in general argued that the Keystone XL pipeline, would create real jobs for Americans. This is one of their main arguments. It’s all about jobs. Job creation… for Americans…. in America. And yet, oddly, if we look back to 2010, we note that Republicans including McConnell voted against the “Creating American Jobs and Ending Offshoring Act“, offering payroll tax relief to companies hiring domestic workers, for a three year period. According to a Senate Democrat Aide, there was also a provision that:

    “basically eliminates deferral of taxes for companies that move overseas but continue to sell products back in the United States.”

    – A practical incentive to keep jobs in the US. The GOP opposed it. The Senate Minority Leader, Mitch McConnell opposed it. According to reports, of the companies that lobbied on this Bill, McConnell received over $1,000,000 from executives and the PACs connected to the lobbying companies.

    According to, McConnell’s share of small donations has fallen to just 5%. He is reliant on huge companies, most outside of Kentucky – the State he represents – and companies for whom he coincidentally, votes in favour of, practically any time they will benefit from such a vote.

    According to the same report, in 2004 McConnell was the 41st wealthiest Senator. By 2010, and despite a massive global economic crises, McConnell became the 10th wealthiest Senator. It is McConnell who is responsible for the super-majority tactic that brings the Country to a standstill. He does this, whilst the companies that fund his sordid Political life, continue to gain from unnecessary tax privileges that benefit no one but the companies… and McConnell.

    Any politician who is tempted to sacrifice duties or principles to get more money doesn’t belong in office.
    – Mitch McConnell, 1987

    Dark money, is money spent by political groups who do not have to disclose their funding. McConnell, predictably, isn’t a big fan of the disclosure of dark money, though he hasn’t always had that attitude. In 1997, McConnell said this:

    “Public disclosure of campaign contributions and spending should be expedited so voters can judge for themselves what is appropriate,”

    – And yet, when the Disclose Act was introduced into the Senate in 2010; at a time when campaign contributions are far higher and far more suspect than back in 1997, Mitchell voted against. His 1997 love for transparency, appears to have died by 2010, at a time when he was racing up the richest Senators list, and attracting huge campaign contributions. According to reports, enormous pressure was placed on Republican Senators to vote against the Disclose Act.

    Campaign finance reform seems to have bipartisan support much of the time. Those who oppose it most outspokenly, and most vehemently, appear to be the Senators and Representatives – like McConnell – that have a stake in big monied, campaign finance. And the one reason campaign finance reform, through a deadlocked and Partisan FEC, is so notably difficult to push forward, is because those who lobby against it, pay very good money, to very powerful Senators, who then vote in turn to kill off reform.

    It is so incredibly transparent that certain Senators, who have a terrific amount of power, exist for the benefit of multinationals regardless of the consequences felt by the public at large. The dismissive nature of the GOP in the Senate, and the vicious experiment in Corporate-sponsored political obstruction, occurs for one specific reason; the corruption of campaign finance. GOP obstruction since 2009, has been off the scale. It should be treated for the hellishly radical and dangerous policy that it is. But much of the obstruction exists purely because it benefits the very wealthy lobbyists. Something Mitch McConnell has fought for years to protect.

    Senators like Mitch McConnell, are poisonous to Democracy.

    Paris stays with you.

    June 13, 2013

    You can hear the World, in a coffee shop.
    It is shapeless rumbles of noise that emanate from all corners and they crash into each other and I think the human mind learns how to drown it out without knowing that’s what it’s doing, dismissing it all as dreary, though it is anything but.
    I sit with a book.
    Hemingway’s ‘A Moveable Feast’.
    It’s a quaint little book that reminds me of Paris, and Michigan and I read it with the desire of a wealthy traveler but the wallet of a beggar.
    I first drank a Mocha in Michigan. I’m drinking one now as I write this. I drink one in the coffee shop. If I drink two in the coffee shop, I wont sleep much that night.
    But I feel as if I am being judged, if I only have one, yet expect to be in there for an hour or two. So I buy two. And then I don’t sleep much that night.
    … and then there’s 37 rue de la Bûcherie.
    With its Tudor-style beams overhead, and its drooping book shelves under the weight of so much genius. The staircase has books running up it. There are old typewriters too. Quintessentially Parisian, with a nostalgic charm, as you climb the little wooden ladder to your chosen book.
    Hemingway knew it when it was on rue de l’Odéon.
    Joyce stayed there. T.S Eliot. D.H Lawrence. Larbaud.
    We owe this to the wonderful Sylvia Beach.
    On a step, you read “Live for humanity“.
    A wonderfully simple yet beautiful command.
    It reminded me of Aeschylus, the Greek Tragedian:
    To tame the savageness of man, make gentle the life of this World“.
    Parisians don’t like you paying with notes. They like coins. Notes seem to offend them. I don’t know why. The man at the Eiffel Tower, selling crepes huffs and puffs if you hand him a note. Maybe they don’t offend him. But they seem to bore him. Bank notes are boring. I’m huffing and puffing just talking about it. Pay with coins. But always buy a crepe on the cobblestoned lanes of Montmartre.
    The walls are thin and cracked and the tiny balconies with the black metal frames of the hotel rooms are the beautiful lookout of millions of lovers in the morning, passing through Paris on their way.
    She has pale skin, and freckles, and reddish hair which she often brushes behind her ear and she smiles as me. I smile back. It is easy to fall in love with a smile. You can fall in love on a train station platform three or four times before the train arrives, all for a smile.
    And then forget it all by the time you sit down.
    Even on warm days, I choose to sit inside the coffee shop.
    I seldom contemplate sitting outside on the terrace, as I stand in line.
    Because when I do contemplate it, I exaggerate the significance of it.
    I am convinced that it is reserved for Macbook clad, cigarette’d business people.
    The ‘yar…. yar, like… totally‘ people.
    And that the busy shoppers walking by would look at me in disgust if I were to sit outside.
    And they’d all stand still, in shock.
    And they’d cover their children’s eyes.
    And they’d go home and recite to their friends, that the man without the Macbook, who didn’t sit cross legged, smoking a cigarette, was sat outside the coffee shop, and their friends would recoil in horror as thunder crashed dramatically over head.
    And then I’m back in line being asked what I’d like to order.
    So I seldom contemplate sitting outside, as I stand in line.
    Because when I do contemplate it, I exaggerate the significance of it.
    You can sit outside the coffee shop in Paris though. It is almost necessary. At least it feels necessary. And I like that. You are surrounded by lovers in their romantic dream, and a faint sound of an accordion player. You are surrounded by cafes and shops with dirty old verandahs, and nuns walk by on their way to Mass. You are surrounded by the shading trees and bicycles with baskets on the front. You are surrounded by Paris.
    The soft light of sunset that glistens the Seine, and that hugs the Pont Neuf, makes it hard to place the terror of Robespierre’s reign, or the riots at the Bastille, or the Napoleonic era, in such a serene city. But it happened.
    Hemingway speaks beautifully of the Jardin du Luxembourg before reminding me of Chicago.
    But as hard as I try, I can’t focus in a coffee shop on the book.
    The people are too distracting.
    But people are fascinating.
    Intimate detail of lives are expressed so openly, as if no one can hear.
    And so I thought I’d learn to make order from the chaos, and take my little black notebook, and write down the odd snippets of conversation that distract me and make distinction between them.
    And not know which face belonged to each voice.
    And not know the context of the stories.
    And not know the turn the conversations would take, or the ending to the conversations, just a line here and a line there.
    Mixed together.
    The result – that I have so far written down – is exceedingly mundane, yet fascinating to me.

    A metre. I told him. No. …. Yeah. A metre but He never fucking listens. I hate squatting… oh… before I forget… do you have Fletch’s number? With a big fat cherry on top? There are usually seventeen but I swear she stole one. Yeah things aren’t going too well for me at the minute. No reason for us to stay together when the cat died. Two coffees too many dad. I can’t believe it was 2, I didn’t think there’d be time. Tell her we can go ahead with terminating his contract… yeah he deserves it. Sometimes you’ve just gotta say fuck it, you know? It’s a shame, he seemed nice enough at the time… I never thought he’d do it. Some solids. Walked home until I had a car. Cream on that? I swear mate, she doesn’t even get off the couch, fucking lazy. People die, it happens. They don’t do curry sauce with the chips any more though. Nah Liz told me that it’s likely Jen will be cautioned for it but probably not Bek. Blatantly gay. What if he finds out? They don’t teach manners at the fucking border agency. She ain’t even sucked his dick yet. Twice but sometimes if it’s raining there will be more. Sensed it. Two brake lights I think. Yeah Dave’s had it with Sky, never fuckin’ works when it rains. A girl? Daisy? Or not?. Isn’t it though?. Season 4 was the best so far but. Does it smell funny in here to you?……… oh. Birmingham is quieter I think. Three massive blokes just fucking…just…came out of fucking nowhere. I don’t think they’ll get married. Repping in Mabella I think.

    Sometimes I wonder who these people are; their names; what comes next; if they have terrible secrets; when their parents first laid eyes upon each other; their favourite subjects; if they talk to themselves when they’re alone; if they’re in love; if they ever called their teacher “mum”; have they ever ran from the police; how old they were when they first smoked a cigarette; if they play the piano; what expletive do they shout when they stand on an upturned plug?; where they will be when they’re 80; what pressures they’re under; do they write? sing? do they want children? are they scared of spiders? do they have an incredible family history they’re yet to uncover? do they drink? What insecurities plague them? What did they do on their 18th birthday?

    Sometimes I imagine their stories.
    The old man who sat three tables out from me, wore a grey beanie hat.
    He looked cautious and uneasy.
    I imagined he was hiding out. I imagined he’d fled to Vegas in the 60s in search of a piece of the pie. The small Nevada town exploded into a heaven of seedy gamblers and quick-buck gangsters in the 50s. Grey beanie wanted in on it. Being a young hothead, believing the World was his to take, he just pushed his luck a little bit too far. He now owed millions of dollars, that he lost in a string of bad luck, back room, smoke filled poker games, surrounded by strippers and the smell of desperate nobody’s, in the mid 70s. He borrowed more and more to try to win it all back. And now he owed. Having packed up in the middle of the night in August, ’76, he fled eastward. Having walked for miles, hitched for miles more, snuck onto trains, and slept with one eye open in the dingiest motels that lined the route, he spent the 80s hiding out in a tiny one roomed shack in the Shenandoah valley in West Virginia, just outside of Jefferson County. He had a stove, and a stream near by to collect water. He hunted for food. He learned to love the basic life. He would sit outside every morning with a coffee, and just listen. Listen to the soft, mellifluous sound of nature. He would close his eyes and the sounds seemed more prominent. They made him feel alive. This is what it was to be living. Vegas didn’t exist. Money didn’t exist. Nothing else existed. Reality though, reality is indifferent to the dreams of absolute serenity of one man. His creditors caught up with him. In 1991, he fled to England. He’s been here ever since. First, in the Welsh valleys; in a town called Hirwaun in the Cynon Valley, before marrying a girl in Yorkshire. He wears the beanie to cover the scar from a barroom fight in Vegas; an easily identifiable scar. His wife doesn’t know his past. He thinks it’s safer that way. And all of the places he’s been, from Vegas, across the midwest, to the Shenandoah Valley, I want to see.
    It is me, living vicariously through stories that I attribute to unsuspecting faces.
    And here he is. Cautiously watching the World go by, in a little unknown coffee shop, in England, as if any second could be his last, as if Michael Corleone could walk out of the bathroom at any moment and end it all in a flash. I watch him as I take a sip of Mocha.

    These are lives. It is a World that you hear in a coffee shop.
    We all share a single ancestor. All of us. And yet here, in a coffee shop, we are all a rich tapestry of easily forgettable, beautiful mundanity, dreaming with stories that aren’t real, and Paris stays with you.

    “….children of the devil.”

    June 7, 2013


    As previously noted, the old Pope, Benedict XVI, upon his visit to Britain, alluded to the notion that the exclusion of God from the public sphere, lead directly to Hitler massacring the Jews. A subtle attack on the removal of what the religious perceive to be their ‘anchored morality’ provided by religion, substituted for new, “relative”, secular values, and a more open society. In my previous article, I try to counter this by providing Hitler’s Christian credentials, and point to centuries of Christian anti-Jewish sentiment that helped accommodate a negative view of the entire population of Jews. I wanted to elaborate on that particular Church-led sentiment in this article.

    In the 12th Century a rather nasty little Benedictine Monk named Thomas of Monmouth started to spread the false rumour that Jews killed children, and made wine out of their blood, for ritualistic purposes. He concocted a story about a child named William of Norwich, whom, according to Monmouth, was ritualistically sacrificed by a Jewish community. The secretive but apparently extremely powerful Jewish community apparently selected a Jewish Council, to meet once a year, in order to select a country in which they would kill a Christian. They controlled the World (similar stories of Jewish World domination can still be read on conspiracy sites today). Monmouth apparently heard this story from a Christian convert named Theobald of Cambridge, who claimed the Jewish council were looking to reclaim Jerusalem, but could only do it, if they ritualistically murdered one Christian every year, and that this year, they had chosen William of Norwich.

    After the rumours started, they gained pace. Spreading like fire, every unsolved child murder suddenly had a supposed Jewish element. The Jewish communities then paid the price, by being tortured into confession, and swiftly executed. A child called Little Saint Hugh of Lincoln was killed in Lincoln in 1255. A local Jewish man named Copin was accused of kidnapping, torturing, and crucifying the boy. He denied it, until he was imprisoned, and tortured, at which point he predictably confessed and implicated the entire Jewish community in a conspiracy. He was then executed.
    Matthew Paris, another Benedictine Monk of the time, wrote on the murder, with disturbingly anti-Jewish rhetoric:

    “This year [1255] about the feast of the apostles Peter and Paul [27 July], the Jews of Lincoln stole a boy called Hugh, who was about eight years old. After shutting him up in a secret chamber, where they fed him on milk and other childish food, they sent to almost all The cities of England in which there were Jews, and summoned some of their sect from each city to be present at a sacrifice to take place at Lincoln, in contumely and insult of Jesus Christ. For, as they said, they had a boy concealed for the purpose of being crucified; so a great number of them assembled at Lincoln, and then they appointed a Jew of Lincoln judge, to take the place of Pilate, by whose sentence, and with the concurrence of all, the boy was subjected to various tortures. They scourged him till the blood flowed, they crowned him with thorns, mocked him, and spat upon him; each of them also pierced him with a knife, and they made him drink gall, and scoffed at him with blasphemous insults, and kept gnashing their teeth and calling him Jesus, the false prophet. And after tormenting him in divers ways they crucified him, and pierced him to the heart with a spear. When the boy was dead, they took the body down from the cross, and for some reason disemboweled it; it is said for the purpose of their magic arts.”

    – Note the parallels drawn between Little Saint Hugh, and Jesus. Between the Jews of the 13th Century, and the Jews blamed for the killing of Jesus. A ‘Jew of Lincoln Judge’ is given the pleasure of being compared to Pilate. ‘…. with the concurrence of all’ the boy was horrifically tortured. With the concurrence of all. The entire Jewish community.
    The murder of a child, tortured and crucified, is presented as a Jewish tradition, starting with Jesus. It is supposed to present the Jews, as evil, and Little Saint Hugh as a martyr for Christ. It is a story to remind people of the apparent betrayal of the Christians by the Jews. Christian blood has always been placed on the hands of the Jews.

    It wasn’t only in England that the idea of blaming a Jewish conspiracy for unsolved murders took form. It was only in 1965, that Pope Paul VI removed the Sainthood of Simon of Trent, admitting that there is no evidence to suggest a Jewish conspiracy in the boys death in Trento, Italy, in 1475. 15 Jewish members of the community were tortured and burnt at the stake. Jewish women were also tortured. Surrounding Jewish communities were violently attacked. And not a shred of evidence was provided connecting the Jews to Simon’s death. His father came up with the idea that Simon must have been kidnapped by the Jews, his blood used in baking the Passover Matzah.

    In 1543, Martin Luther produced his work “On the Jews and their lies“. In it, Luther calls for Jews to be put to work as slaves, for Jewish schools to be burnt to the ground, for
    Johannes Wallmann writes:

    “The assertion that Luther’s expressions of anti-Jewish sentiment have been of major and persistent influence in the centuries after the Reformation, and that there exists a continuity between Protestant anti-Judaism and modern racially oriented antisemitism, is at present wide-spread in the literature; since the Second World War it has understandably become the prevailing opinion.”

    The Nazis held dear to the ideas expressed by Luther in this work. Luther is vicious in his criticisms and his ideas for the future. He helped to purge German towns of Jews, driving them from their homes and businesses with threats and intimidation.

    Luther’s work is full of “I heard this about them…” and “Someone once told me this…” before launching into baseless accusations:

    “I have read and heard many stories about the Jews which agree with this judgment of Christ, namely, how they have poisoned wells, made assassinations, kidnaped children, as related before. I have heard that one Jew sent another Jew, and this by means of a Christian, a pot of blood, with a barrel of wine, in which when drunk empty, a dead Jew was found. There are many other similar stories.

    For their kidnaping of children they have often been burned at the stake or banished (as we already heard). I am well aware that they deny all of this. However, it all coincides with the judgment of Christ which declares that they are venomous, bitter, vindictive, tricky serpents, assassins, and children of the devil who sting and work harm stealthily wherever they cannot do it openly.

    For this reason I should like to see them where there are no Christians. The Turks and other heathen do not tolerate what we Christians endure from these venomous serpents and young devils. Nor do the Jews treat any others as they do us Christians. That is what I had in mind when I said earlier that, next to the devil, a Christian has no more bitter and galling foe than a Jew. There is no other to whom we accord as many benefactions and from whom we suffer as much as we do from these base children of the devil, this brood of vipers.”

    This practice of not only blaming the Jews for unsolved murders, but also the hatefilled rhetoric based on nothing of substance, became prevalent, and spread suspicion of Jews throughout Europe, leading to many murders of innocent Jewish people. Martin Luther, the reformers, as well as the Catholic Church leaped on this growing antisemitic movement, and vicious new rumours sprang up. The Papacy pounced on the antisemitism of the day, and institutionalised the growing suspicion and hate. Antisemitism was very much official Church policy.

    In 1555, the new Pope Paul IV issued papal bull Cum nimis absurdum. In its opening phrase, the bull states:

    “Since it is completely senseless and inappropriate to be in a situation where Christian piety allows the Jews (whose guilt—all of their own doing—has condemned them to eternal slavery) access to our society and even to live among us; indeed, they are without gratitude to Christians, as, instead of thanks for gracious treatment, they return invective, and among themselves, instead of the slavery, which they deserve, they manage to claim superiority.”

    – The Jews, simply by not being Christian, are referred to as slaves. They are told they deserve slavery.
    The Nazi precedent of forcing Jewish people to wear something that makes them identifiable as Jews, and inferior to the Christian population, was not a Nazi precedent at all. It began much earlier. The Nazis simply appropriated it. The Bull issued in 1555 states:

    “Moreover, concerning the matter that Jews should be recognizable everywhere: [to this end] men must wear a hat, women, indeed, some other evident sign, yellow in color, that must not be concealed or covered by any means, and must be tightly affixed.”

    – The Nazis are of course famous for the setting up of new Jewish ghettos in which they forced the Jewish populations of occupied cities and countries to live, in awful circumstances and conditions. But, much like forcing the Jewish population to wear identifiable clothing wasn’t a Nazi precedent, neither was the creation of Jewish ghettos. The Bull in 1555 states:

    “…all Jews are to live in only one [quarter] to which there is only one entrance and from which there is but one exit, and if there is not that capacity [in one such quarter, then], in two or three or however many may be enough; [in any case] they should reside entirely side by side in designated streets and be thoroughly separate from the residences of Christians, [This is to be enforced] by our authority in the City and by that of our representatives in other states, lands and domains noted above.”

    – The Ghetto of Rome was set up at this time, and Jews living throughout Rome were forced to move to it. Life in the Rome Ghetto was horrendous. It constantly flooded due to its location by the banks of the Tiber. The overcrowding led to apartments being built upwards, in dangerous conditions, by the inhabitants themselves, which blocked all sunlight, and often led to buildings collapsing and killing the inhabitants. It was the most undesirable part of the city of Rome, laced in poverty. Napoleon had freed the Jews from the Roman Ghetto, only to have the wall rebuilt and the poverty stricken conditions reinforced by Pope Pius VII in the early 1800s.

    And so it continued. In 1823, the town of Velizh in Russia promoted the idea that a Jewish conspiracy led to the murder of a child. Local Jews were rounded up and imprisoned, released 12 years later on lack of any evidence.
    In 1840, a Christian Monk was murdered in Damascus, and eight notable Jewish leaders were condemned to imprisonment, and torture, under which some died. The accusations were false.
    In 1928, the Jewish community of Messena, New York, were accused and kidnapping and ritualistically murdering a Christian girl named Barbara Griffiths. She was then found alive, and described how she had become lost in the Woods and slept there.

    By the 19th, 20th centuries, the suspicion had shifted from child-murdering rituals, to Jewish desire to control the World; through media, banking, left wing groups. The Papacy decided, in all its wisdom, that there was in fact two types of antisemitism…. ‘good’ antisemitism and ‘bad’ antisemitism. The good antisemitism was the Church’s crusade against the Jews trying to control the World. The irony of course being that the Vatican had controlled the World for the past 1600 years at the very least, and happened to be one of the most influential and wealthiest institutions on the planet. The idea of an international Jewish conspiracy can be found in 20th Century Christian literature, right winged literature, left winged literature, Islamic literature. It’s the new blood-libel. We seem unable to accept that it isn’t Jewish propaganda that has controlled our thoughts and actions for far too long, it is Christian propaganda.

    Suspicion and hatred for the Jewish populations in Europe did not begin with Hitler. It was not motivated by secularism, by a lack of God in schools, by an attempt to separate Church from State, by Atheism, or by any other modern theories. It was the culmination of Centuries of antisemitic attitudes and rhetoric shaped by Christian communities both at local levels, by the evangelical reformers and by the Catholic Church. It wasn’t abandoned by the reformers of the 16th Century, is simply became more vicious when names with such power as Luther jumped into the argument. Hitler wasn’t reading Thomas Paine, Hitler was reading Luther. The Church, right up until the 20th Century openly preached and promoted antisemitism whilst aligning themselves with the Nazis. The Church’s attempts to deflect blame, shelter a deep rooted sense of guilt no doubt, over the fact that the attempt to eradicate the Jews entirely was the logical conclusion to 2000 years of vicious Church-made institutionalised antisemitism and blood libel.

    The UAF: Fighting Fascism with Fascism.

    June 1, 2013

    On the surface, the Unite Against Fascism movement appears to be a promising prospect. A counterbalance to the ignorance and promotion of violence of groups like the English Defence League. Fighting Fascism is indeed a noble cause. It is well known that Fascism tends to gain support during economic downturns. We see Golden Dawn in Greece capitalising on that, whilst the ruling authorities have absolutely no idea how to deal with the growing threat from the far right. And so grass roots, anti-Fascist organisations are indeed welcome, and necessary. But slowly peel away the top layer of the UAF, and we’re left with a rather bleak picture. A stinging lack of consistency, and in fact, we see a leadership closer in authoritarian far-right principles, to the EDL, than either side would care to admit.

    On the UAF website we are treated to the names of the elected officials in charge of running the operation. Azad Ali being one of the Vice Chairs. Ali was also community affairs coordinator for the Islamic Forum of Europe. During a Dispatches undercover report a couple of years back, Ali, when asked his feelings on Democracy, implied his rather Fascist tendencies thusly:

    “Democracy, if it means at the expense of not implementing the sharia, of course no one agrees with that”.

    The Islamic Forum of Europe itself, produced a leaflet in which it noted that one of its main goals was to change the:

    “very infrastructure of society, its institutions, its culture, its political order and its creed … from ignorance to Islam.”

    And how would that change from “ignorance” to “Islam” be noticable to the ordinary citizen of a Country that Azad’s group wishes to replace democratic secularism with? Well, they kindly tell us:

    “Protect yourselves from all types of haram … music, TV, and freemixing with women in that which is not necessary.”

    Predictably, in much the same way that the BNP and EDL blame the media for misrepresenting what they say, by presenting, well, what they actually say, the IFE commented:

    “I write to express my disgust and disappointment at Channel 4’s wholly inaccurate and defamatory accusations … The documentary is Islamophobic in nature … uses emotive and provocative language … is part of a series of organised, vindictive and orchestrated witch-hunts.”

    Equally as predictable, George Galloway referred to the Dispatches programme as a smear campaign. But then, he also noted that he owed his election to the IFE. And of course, let’s not forget that Mr Galloway openly & happily funds Hamas. So I’m not sure such a man is worth listening to when bemoaning smear campaigns against religious Fascists. When calling it a smear campaign didn’t work, Ali simply resorted to subtle threats. On the IFE radio station, sounding like an EDL thug, Ali said of the Dispatches reporter:

    “We’ve got a picture of you and a lot more than you thought we had. We’ve tracked you down to different places. And if people are gonna turn what I’ve just said into a threat, that’s their fault, innit?”

    Ali also keeps a blog for the IFE, on which, in 2008, he openly lavishes praise on Imam Anwar Awlaki. Awlaki is of course known for being a key player in the planning of terrorist attacks for Al Qaeda, and a key recruiter for such enterprises. He preached to three of the 9/11 hijackers. Azad Ali, the Vice Chair of Unite Against Fascism says of Awlaki, on the subject of US elections:

    “….one of my favourite speakers and scholars Imam Anwar Awlaki – of course those of you who know me will know that I disagree with the Shaykh on this matter – however I really do love him for the sake of Allah, he has an uncanny way of explaining things to people which is endearing.”

    – Oh that old endearing, lovable mass murdering terrorist.

    It isn’t just George Galloway who has a bit of a love affair with Hamas. Ali also praises them:

    “Today we read from the leader of Hamas, their strength and courage and sheer determination to stand up to the Zionist onslaught. Let us to do something to help them by holding our government to account for the lack of transparency. Until we have a clear unequivicol and unconditional condemnation of the Zionist state’s terrorist attacks, they can – talk to the hand, cos the head aint listening!”

    – Yes! The strength of courage of Hamas. The leadership of Hamas! All praise be to a group that gleefully pronounces in its Charter that:

    “The state of truth has disappeared and was replaced by the state of evil. Nothing has remained in its right place, for when Islam is removed from the scene, everything changes. These are the motives. As to the objectives: discarding the evil, crushing it and defeating it, so that truth may prevail, homelands revert [to their owners], calls for prayer be heard from their mosques, announcing the reinstitution of the Muslim state. Thus, people and things will revert to their true place.”

    – The “State of Evil” naturally being anything that isn’t fundamentalist Islamic. Ali is wrong to promote Hamas as simply a force that wishes to prevent any further Israeli aggression against Palestinian Muslims. This isn’t the goal of Hamas, and never has been. Their goal has always been a resurrected Caliphate, under the shoddy assumption that the entire Middle East is Muslim. Hamas are not angry at Israel’s aggression, they are angry that Israel isn’t Islamic. This is the very epitome of Imperialism. How do we know this? Well, we can start by looking at their Charter, in which Part III Article 11 states:

    “The Islamic Resistance Movement believes that the land of Palestine has been an Islamic Waqf throughout the generations and until the Day of Resurrection, no one can renounce it or part of it, or abandon it or part of it. No Arab country nor the aggregate of all Arab countries, and no Arab King or President nor all of them in the aggregate, have that right, nor has that right any organization or the aggregate of all organizations, be they Palestinian or Arab, because Palestine is an Islamic Waqf throughout all generations and to the Day of Resurrection.”

    Their distinct lack of dedication to any peace effort, is also noted in their Charter:

    “…the so-called peaceful solutions, and the international conferences to resolve the Palestinian problem, are all contrary to the beliefs of the Islamic Resistance Movement. For renouncing any part of Palestine means renouncing part of the religion; the nationalism of the Islamic Resistance Movement is part of its faith, the movement educates its members to adhere to its principles and to raise the banner of Allah over their homeland as they fight their Jihad”

    – Their entire Charter reads like one long anti-semitic, violent, anti-democracy, anti-anything that isn’t Islamic, rant that isn’t all that dissimilar in tone and pronouncements, to those of Fascists like Anders Breivik. It seems extremism comes full circle. Imperialism, and nothing else.

    Azad Ali’s motives for fighting the Fascism of the Nationalists like the EDL is not the same as the rest of us. We value our secular, democratic system. We value the heroes who have fought for centuries to get to where we are now, the philosophers that have shaped our way of thought. We value the forward march of equality for gender, for sexuality. We value the right to believe whatever you wish and be treated equally under the Secular law. Ali values none of this. He is fighting groups like the EDL, because they don’t fit into his Theocratic dream for the future of Britain. On his blog, Ali quite disturbingly writes:

    So, since we are all working our socks off, in different ways, for the resurgence of the Khilafa, I have one question who would you give bayyah to today and what would you say are the qualities needed for them to get your vote? Please, no essays or dissertations!

    – Here, Ali is wishing for an Islamic candidate to stand for election, on the platform of dismantling our entire Parliamentary secular system; to be replaced by a Theocratic Caliphate. This would naturally include far less rights for women (whom, according to Hamas’s charter, are to only be educated in how to keep a household in order), homosexuality crushed viciously, and anything the Fascists deem to be “haram” banned…. goodbye Glastonbury Festival, you banquet of immoral hedonism, you, with your… music.
    How is this putrid philosophy any better, or more respectable, than that of the BNP or EDL?

    The love fest with Hamas keeps going, with Ali. After declaring that he’s working his socks off for a brand new Islamic Empire, he announces to us all, his ideal candidate:

    “My vote for the title of Amir al-Mu’mineen would have to go to the Palestinian Prime Minister, Ismail Haniyeh. Not only is a motivational leader, with political depth and skill, but also he is a Hafiz of the Qur’an, Mashallah!”

    – Ismail Haniyeh is a top political leader of Hamas, who, upon hearing of the death of Osama Bin Laden, said:

    “We condemn the assassination and the killing of an Arab holy warrior. We ask God to offer him mercy with the true believers and the martyrs.”

    – Azad Ali would like to see a candidate like Haniyeh stand for election in a secular democratic country like the UK. A man who praises Osama Bin Laden, leads Hamas, and wishes to see a global Islamic Empire. Fight against Fascism? Are you kidding me?

    Ali doesn’t stop there. He keeps reiterating his intense opposition to secular democracy, by echoing the thoughts of Hamas:

    “Of course I am still convinced that participation is correct, but my contention is that it should be on our terms, and not on terms set by others. Why allow ourselves to be boxed in by “rules” that are clearly designed to destroy us in this world and the hereafter? These rules are underpinned by the notion of secularism that is followed by immorality and basic deconstruction of the pillars of what a good society should be based on, according to God. This is manifested in almost every Western government’s foreign policy in the guise of spreading democracy. If only they would spread freedom!”

    – The rather curious line “I am still convinced that participation is correct” that precedes a tearing up of Western democratic and secular ideals, can only be seen as essentially a far-right Islamic rehash of “I’m not racist, but….“. The point being, he is convinced democratic participation is correct, just not Western Secular Democracy, which is full of immorality solely based on the fact that it isn’t ordained by his particular God.
    The theme running through a lot of far-right Muslim commentators, is indeed rooted in their utter contempt for liberal, secular values. As much as some would like us to believe that it is Western aggressive foreign policy that Islamic fundamentalists like Ali are responding to, it really doesn’t play out when we read what they have to say. It is an excuse. A game of victimhood whilst promoting an eerily similar imperialist, and fascist agenda, they claim to be fighting against. They really do dislike, and wish to see dismantled, Western secular liberalism. This cannot be seen to be all that different from the authoritarian, far right principles espoused by groups like the BNP.

    If we are to unite against Fascism, we must unite against all forms of Fascism. Including that coming from dangerous and vicious extremists like Ali. The UAF website says:

    “Fascists and racists are trying to take advantage of the terrible murder of Lee Rigby to whip up racism and hatred for their own anti-democratic ends.”

    – I couldn’t agree more. And that is why I cannot support an organisation that claims to be a beacon of anti-Fascist principles, when one of its key players, praises Hamas, loves Awlaki, wishes to resurrect a barbaric, backward, Theocratic Empire, and considers those of us who value secularism and democracy to be inherently immoral. This is nothing more than fighting Fascism with Fascism.