Against my better judgment, I decided to take a peek at AltMuslim, and lo and behold theres Ali "I'm not a pro-regressive, really" Eteraz with his little hatchet job on Republican Presidential canditate Ron Paul, exhorting Muslims not to support him. A real hotch potch, tabloidesqe screed with more holes then swiss cheese. Moot point considering that Paul hasn't won a single state primary(swiftboated thanks to the media and political establishment) and has zero chance of becoming president. So why the need to go after the man? Its because Ron Paul represents more then a candidacy, he represents a fresh set of ideas which have struck a cord with millions of Americans eager for real change.
It's possibly the worst article I have read on elections since Muqtedar "muslim kissinger wannabe" Khan's dogmatic shilling for Kerry back in '04. In all fairness, Altmuslim did post a counter article, but I think time I throw my shoe in the pudding. My comments are in red, as usual :
Every few election cycles, from the tintinnabulation( impressive, SAT word) that is America’s two party system there arises a maverick, a pariah, and a rebel. He promises a third way. He promises an end, simultaneously, to leftist bureaucracy and rightist hypocrisy. He makes puritan appeals about ridding the political landscape of all of its technocrats and courtiers and overlords. He looks into the cameras with, quite often, a doey-eyed avuncular expression and steals the hearts of all those millions of Americans who have ever hoped to turn the profanity that is politics into a beautiful Paradise.(He's running for office, not claiming to be a genie in a lamp)
Wherever purity might be found, a Paradise might be erected, and hypocrisy removed, there you will find Muslims. It is, therefore, no surprise, that any time American politics produce a rebellious candidate, Muslims flock to him.(really? Bush was a rebellious candidate in 2000, as was Kerry in 2004?)
In 2000, this man was Ralph Nader. Ultra-left-wing, anti-corporation, big-government Ralph Nader.(Wrong. Muslims voted for Bush in 2000, a disastrous mistake. Nader only got a fraction of the Muslim vote back then. Is Eteraz immature enough to suggest we block vote again? Maybe he should ask his pro-regressive bedfellows in now defunct PMNUA eager to offer the red carpet to the crooked "Muslims for Bush" in 2004)
In 2008 this man is Ron Paul. Ultra-right-wing(a moderate, if not a paleocon in a party infested with neocon lackeys), pro-corporation(quite the opposite, he opposes corporate power and influence) , small-government(guilty as charged) Ron Paul.
In the case of both, the draw for Muslims has been each man’s foreign policy pronouncements. Both men were critical of American support of Israel, opposed American intervention around the world, and proposed a check on American power (in Nader’s case via international law, in Paul’s case via isolationism(isolationalism and non-interventionist foreign policy are two very different things, crack open a history book once in a while, bunty). On a lesser level, they both took civil liberties positions that Muslims found heartening.
However, I have noticed that the amount of fervor that Ron Paul has inspired among Muslims has been far greater than the fervor Nader inspired. This has to do with the fact that in addition to his foreign policy positions, Paul is also religious, and socially conservative. I’m thinking that Muslims get way too worked up about conservative men who criticize Israel (thus Pat Buchanan’s popularity). This, probably, has something to do with the fact that according to surveys vast numbers of Muslims — not including me please(of course not, you're not a member of the Muslim community, o political transvestite) — are actually more socially conservative (his source for this? A piece he wrote for the Huffington Post. Nothing like a little self-promotion waving shoddy and poorly interpreted surveys) than Evangelical Christians.(socially conservative according to who? The same people who compare us with Evangelical lunatics trying to jump start Armageddon?)
Paul, therefore, has been turned into the perfect candidate for a large number of Muslims. Challenges to prove that Ron Paul isn’t the best candidate “for the Muslimeen!” have deluged me. In fact, on the issue of Ron Paul I’ve had to take on my usually politically apathetic (and more conservative) brother as well. The fact that Ron Paul roused him from his World of Warcraft stupor is telling.(strawman argument = if you're "conservative," you're apathetic politically. Eteraz is beyond clueless)
Yet, the simple fact is, Ron Paul is not the right candidate for Muslims. Both his foreign and domestic policy are devastating to Muslims.(better then what the other candidate offer?)
Ron Paul takes money from Neo-Nazi groups( FALSE, this was exposed as a hoax thanks to neocon operatives in the media and lgf style bloggers. Check this video)
and is near and dear to the notorious racist and former Imperial Wizard of the Ku Klux Clan, David Duke. Mr. Duke publicly gives advice to Paul.(David Duke is a has been, with zero influence) While its true that Paul may or may not be listening, but the fact that Duke leans into Paul to make his whispers, is troubling to me.(Its troubling to me that virtually all other candidates are on the AIPAC pay roll, but I'm supposed to ignore all that because some hillbilly supposedly sent Paul a few bucks because of his opposition to amnesty for illegal immigration)
I’m sure Mr. Paul is a kind and ethical human being, but the involvement and approval he gets from right-wing Neo-Nazi groups ought to put Muslim on alert that just like the Evangelical Christians were a part of George Bush’s base (and hijacked it), so too are Neo-Nazis a part of Mr. Paul’s (and could hijack it).(More fear mongering nonsense and guilt by association. I guess Obama's Church will "hijack" the country if he's elected. But wait, isn't he a "secret Muslim"?)
Followers of Ron Paul have written some very unsavory things about blacks. In one newsletter published for nearly a decade bearing Paul’s name, his supporters ridiculed some black activists who wanted to renamed NYC after MLK Jr by suggesting that “Welfaria,” “Zooville,” “Rapetown,” “Dirtburg,” and “Lazyopolis” were better alternatives. Ron Paul didn’t put a stop to this. Why should he? He’s a libertarian. He is, by principle, not able to put a stop to others’ racism. For more background on the newsletter, go this investigative piece by Jamie Kirchik here. (What Eteraz doesn't tell you is that James Kirchick of right wing "New Republic" fame is an admitted neocon liar and a Podhoretz wannabe. Austin NAACP President Nelson Linder, who has known Ron Paul for 20 years, unequivocally dismissed charges that the Congressman was a racist in recent smear attempts, and said the reason for him being attacked was that he was a threat to the establishment)
How about worker’s rights like no hiring/firing on the basis of skin color? Ron Paul doesn’t care. Fired because you wear hijab?(since when has Ali Eteraz, a "man" with a history of disrespecting and objectifying hijabi woman become so concerned about their civil rights?) Ron Paul doesn’t care. Fired because you grew your Islamic beard?(yeah man, I'm going to go stock up on Gillittes) Ron Paul doesn’t care. In a Ron Paul world, get used to hearing the words: at-will-employment. It means pretty much what it sounds like: your career is at the mercy of the employer’s will. You can be fired just for being Muslim, and that’s OK: at-will-employment baby!(this is nothing but a rehash of Tim Russert's hit job on Paul. The guy who wants to dismantle the Patriot Act and restore civil liberties is not the one threatening anyone's ability to land a job) If there is one single issue that Muslims need to be wary of when it comes to Ron Paul, its employment rights. For a constituency that likes working — a little too much — this should be a great problem, yet its not, since in utopia you can’t get fired. This probably explains why the biggest support for Paul is among Muslim college students: people who don’t hold real jobs.(What a pathetic cheap shot. College students who don't agree with your political views don't work or know the meaning of responsibility? Yes, I'm sure yuppified spinsters and self styled "reformists" like Eteraz know all about having a real job parked at laptops in a Starbucks)
Paulian opposition to nearly all government programs initiated in the New Deal and after is also troubling. Muslims get excited by the desire among Paulians to get rid of the IRS. However, in a Ron Paul America, there wouldn’t be an FDA (hello untested drugs)(Do you actually know anything about the corruption and nepotism within the FDA? Oh yeah, a physician like Paul wants us to be on untested drugs because he opposes a bloated and inefficient bureaucracy.), or an FAA (airlines thus making their own rules)(actually they already make their own rules), or EEOC (goodbye employment discrimination complaints) or even the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice. No Department of Homeland Security and no INS either: why bother when we won’t be allowing immigrants in? Good-luck trying to get your brother a green card.(What a clown, Paul opposes amnesty for illegal immigration, not scape goating or a moratorium on immigrants)
Further, Mr. Paul opposes any restrictions or regulations on corporations. In other words, the few restraints that two hundred years of American activists have fought so hard to place upon American arms dealers, gun dealers, tobacco merchants, mortgage companies, liquor companies, pharmaceutical companies, will be gone.( Which explains why the corporate media has done everything to slander and smear Paul, right? Does this guy sound like the corporate lackey in the following video?)
Take the sub-prime mortgage crises that has hit many Muslim families. If your house is foreclosed because some banks in NY and Switzerland didn’t do proper due diligence before financing, in a Ron Paul world, the fault is yours. End of ballgame, move on folks. Say you lose your entire 401K and pension in an Enron-like fiasco; sorry, says Ron Paul, it was not the duty of the corporations to give those things to you anyway.(check the video above, tool)
In Ron Paul’s world, the state cannot meddle with the affairs of the corporations. Muslims sophisticated in history might care to recall that the era of colonialism began with a corporation that operated free from the strictures of a nation-state: British East India Company. (Once again Eteraz demonstrates his non-existent knowledge of history and a brazen disregard for facts. Comparing British imperialism with a man who stands opposed to empire is clearly an act of desperation as the part of this brown sahib)
This – corporations – is where we move to the area of foreign policy.
In a Ron Paul world, all the major American corporations will become freed from the hundreds of treaties, regulations, and laws that we pass every year to regulate their behavior. Under current international law, DC is accountable for the crimes carried out by its corporations. Not so in a Ron Paul world. Right-wing libertarianism hates international law; they consider it a communist conspiracy.(more chaff)
Oddly, Muslims who support Ron Paul go off a bridge at this point. They say: the neo-conservative years demonstrate that corporations run the show anyway so why bother with anything?(Hmm, which Muslims would these be?) Not only is this defeatist, its also sad (only among Muslims is revenge against neo-conservative corporatism carried out by running away). The solution to preventing corporate greed isn’t to give into corporate greed and leave it unfettered; it is to contain it. Exxon’s yearly profits exceed those of a vast majority of the countries of this world. Just a few years ago in Nigeria and Indonesia, major American oil corporations formed militias in order to intimidate and assassinate opponents. And this was during the Clinton years, way more stringent towards corporations than Ron Paul would ever be. (Victims of these crimes were able to bring a case against the corporations in California federal courts — which wouldn’t exist in a Ron Paul world).(more fictitious chaff)
Diplomatic blow-back and international shame are considered by most foreign policy experts to be significant in terms of deterring a country’s aggression and stupidity. In a Ron Paul world America would be less diplomatic and less ashamed than it was during the Bush administration.(you just described McCain) In the case of Bush this was due to his foolishness; in the case of Paul its due to principle. What’s the difference? We need accountability, not its opposite.(You need to take lie detector test and take an entry level course in logic)
At the end of the day, Muslims should be agitating for America to adopt a multi-lateral foreign policy, to participate in the UN, and to follow the human rights and non-proliferation and anti-torture conventions to which it is a party. Another area where Muslims can do some good within the US is to track which human rights treaties the US signs but does not subsequently “execute.” There is a loophole in American treaty-law. We often sign treaties but have created an artificial constitutional barrier which allows us to forswear applying them. For example, Bill Clinton signed the US onto International Criminal Court, yet Bush has pretended that it doesn’t apply to us. (Clinton did so on his last day in office, ignoring it for 2 years after the 1998 Rome treaty on the Interntional Criminal Court was ratified)This is the kind of stuff that Muslims who are unhappy with American foreign policy should be looking at. Instead, sigh…(Instead some of us actually do our research)
Thankfully, not all Muslims have been duped(only the ones voting for Obama and Hillary). Anecdotally speaking, African-American and Latino-American Muslims do not go close to right-wing libertarianism.(and they're also tired of being looked upon as reliable voting blocks for the Democrats) Together, these two groups compose at least 1/3rd of American Islam. Paul acquires most of his support among Muslims from first-generation Pakistani and Arab immigrants (or converts brainwashed by such immigrants). This split in our communities reveals, yet again, the sad reality of immigrant-domination of American-Muslim communities. Support for Ron Paul should be added to the entire litany of complaints that Black and Latino (and other convert) Muslims have towards immigrant Muslims. (Ah yes, notice the ol' pro-regressive smear against Muslims immigrants, setting up the false dichotomy of smart American born Muslims vs. primitive Immigrant Muslims. Its called divide and conquer, folks)
There is, however, a more compelling reason to not support Ron Paul. It’s compelling because its pragmatic: Ron Paul is not viable.
Many Muslims are in the terrible habit of chasing mirages, especially when it comes to politics.( I agree, you and your proggie bed fellows think we have short memories about your failed RAND experiment) Believing that they are eternally destined to remain victimized and marginalized by “the system” (all while they go to top schools and work at top hospitals) they concede pre-emptive defeat and never bother to engage the system at all.(Another lame attempt to stereotype the community)
Muslims should take heart from the progressive movement. Progressives – who have over and again demonstrated that many of the things they believe in benefit Muslims – are instructive in showing how a small group of dedicated individuals can change the discourse.(Uh huh, now where have I heard that before? Just another shallow election year slogan to mobilize the sheep to throw their lot in with one of the two selected candidates)
It was a progressive Senator who cast the only vote against the Patriot Act (Senator Feingold)(Ron Paul also voted against the Patriot Act); it was a progressive act on the part of Barack Obama that led him to oppose the War in Iraq(then why does he support the continued presence of troops in Iraq? Is he going END the war? Nope, but he has said he would bomb Pakistan and Iran); it was a Muslim running on a progressive platform that became the first Muslim in Congress (Keith Ellison — see my profile of his relationship to Muslims here); it was the progressive movement that has been a longstanding critic of Rudy Giuliani and police brutality(nobody likes Adolf Giuliani, not even New York fire fighters, not just these card carrying progressive buddies of yours); and it’s a Senator (Dodd) backed by progressive gusto who is trying to do away with FISA, the wiretapping law.(also opposed by Ron Paul) If these progressives are having so much success, then clearly being a part of “the system” isn’t all that meaningless.(Where have you been the last 8 years, junior?)
In fact, if the example of Barack Obama and John Edwards has shown anything, its that a dedicated participation in the American system is not misplaced. Poll after poll is showing that the two most important issues in this election are not Terror and War, but Healthcare and Economy.(Wrong again, the condition of the economy and the lack of health care is directly related to the costs of the war in Iraq) This is due, almost entirely, to the conviction among progressives that these issues mattered and their willingness to show why. Both of these candidates pledged not to take any lobbying money from DC lobbyists, and have had significant success without so doing.(What Eteraz doesnt tell you is that Obama shunning money from lobbyists registered to do business on Capitol Hill does not extend to lawyers whose partners lobby there. Nor does the ban apply to corporations that have major lobbying operations in Washington. And the prohibition does not extend to lobbyists who ply their trade in such state capitals as Springfield, Ill.; Tallahassee, Fla.; and Sacramento, though some deal with national clients and issues. Smoke and mirrors thanks to fall out from the activities of disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff.) I provide the examples of progressives not to persuade Muslims to become members of the left, but to demonstrate that participating in the system is not hopeless, and that change comes from within (the system).(Oh please, you want us all to vote for the Democrats, it couldn't be more obvious)
Ron Paul was not part of the system.(Thats why he's so popular) Even he recognized that, crafting “revolution” based campaign strategy, which I admit was cute and romantic and all the references to the film V for Vendetta(put away the comic books) were omg so cool w00t. However, being an outsider to politics means that one has almost no influence on actual policy.(Really? Do you know how many politicians run on an "outsiders" platform in order to reach out to people who feel the system isn't working?) Muslims have to break the habit of supporting candidates who willfully isolate themselves. Instead, they must start joining big-campaigns where their imprint may be smaller, but can be more permanent.(Who cares about principles when you can go for power chilling with the big dogs who won't do anything for you)It is possible that this will mean that Muslims join many campaigns instead of one. That’s fine, Muslims don’t all think alike and in fact, should be spread across the various campaigns.(this statement contradicts your entire screed)
One counter-argument I’m willing to concede is that supporting Ron Paul would have been a sort of symbolic protest. Yet, my concession is, at best, due to pity. On closer inspection this makes little sense. Why would you carry out your protest within the Republican Party?(translation : just stick to the Democrats, and not work to change and influence the other party, or reach out to its moderates) Fact is, since 9/11, the Republican Party – with some exceptions – has made it an art-form to demonize Islam. (I, in fact, declared that the GOP had a Muslim Problem)(another self-referral from a site where Eteraz shares space with neocon kabbanite Stephen Schwartz. Only an ignoramus believes that there are no Islamophobes in the Democratic party, ever heard of Jane Harman, Diane Fienstein or Tom Lantos(currently taking a well deserved dirt nap) to name a few). 40% of Republicans polled supported mapping Muslims and under a Republican attorney general major Muslim organizations like ISNA were ridiculously named “un-indicted co-conspirators” by US Attorneys. So if symbolic support was really the modus operandii, Muslims should have put their focus on the Democratic Party and getting behind people like Edwards.(you mean the guy who couldn't even win his own home state in 2004, let alone a single state primary this year? What was that about Paul not being a viable candidate?) That would have been real protest for how a Republican President treated Muslims after the 2000 bloc vote Muslims gave him. Instead, by staying with Republicans, Muslims just showed that they have no dignity.(Do tell us about dignity, Mr.I-don't-pay-child-support) Well done.
Anyway, I purposefully held off writing this article until Super Tuesday so Muslims could see how not-viable Ron Paul was from the get-go, despite all the hoopla. Hopefully a light bulb will go off.(You don't get it, do you? We're not buying the steer manure you're selling. The wheel is turning but the hamster is dead.)
Thankfully, it is not yet too late for Muslims to regroup. Primary season is still in full-swing and viable candidates are still pandering to constituents.( oh yeah so many, many candidates to pick from..McCain, Hillary and Obama, let me get my abacus) Both the Republican and Democratic nomination efforts are still going. Muslim groups, mosques, activist communities and intellectual should get off their Ron Paul kick and enter the reality-based community.(You can join the rest of us in the real world if you can manage to pull yourself away from the neocon/neolib crack pipe. Get over yourself, you may think you're some sort of high roller but you're not. Should any of us be surprised that this imbecile is part of the MSM now? Eteraz offers nothing but alarmist sophomoric conjecture, the sort of easily refuted hackneyed nonsense which has become the hallmark of journalism these days. I'm not a Ron Paul groupie, but I can see that the man is being shafted by the establishment which refuses to let a voice of sanity offer a different way. Politicians are not saints, and Muslims more then anybody else know that. Thats why we're not taken in by the glitz, glamor and promises of election year politics. We understand very well that both the Republicans and Democrats are part of the same bankrupt system which has made so many Americans apathetic to the political process. Thats why third and fourth party politics is the way to go, it wont win us elections anytime soon, but it will get the ball rolling to break the strangle hold of the two party system.
I always knew Ali Eteraz was a crass opportunist who would never challenge the powers that be, but his latest online droppings reveals him to be nothing more then a sycophantic blithering idiot unable to offer any cogent analysis. A real Fareed Zakaria style peon who thinks condescending smear jobs will endear him to the usual suspects. Don't quit your day job, assuming you have one. I think there might be an opening for reviewing cheesy Bollywood flicks somewhere...