Quid Rides? De te Fabula Narratur

What are you laughing at? The joke's on you.

The Siege Mentality

Posted by Anthony on July 27, 2015

Retired General Wesley Clark said last week what all too many U.S. citizens have quietly thought at one time or another: why can’t we just round up all of these radical Muslims and throw them into prison? Certainly there would be little argument if the individuals were spewing anti-American hatred and endorsing or lending moral support to forces currently fighting the country. To be quite frank, it would not be anywhere close to the first time that the United States had acted in a manner of collective punishment against a particular group that presented a “threat” to any of a number of considerations.

This palpable sense of fear is especially tangible when it comes to Muslims in the United States. When a young man murders his mother, then goes on to murder a classroom of children we explain it away as that he was “mentally ill”. When a young white male sits in the pews of a church before murdering multiple blacks with the intention of starting some kind of white backlash against African Americans, we label him “disturbed” and try to look for reasons in his upbringing that could explain why he would be driven to commit such a hideous act. The bottom line is that overwhelmingly, if you are not Muslim you will somehow be excused as either insane or deluded or a multitude of other words that have in effect the same meaning. Read the rest of this entry »

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The Moral Imperative to Destroy ISIS

Posted by Anthony on July 20, 2015

This is an article which I had been planning, and wanting, to write for some time. The issue isn’t what to write about or how to present the facts; rather, my concern here was that I would not be able to restrain myself from lashing out in an overly emotional morality infused rage before I even got to the mid-point of the writing. Surely, if anyone can bring that out in abundance it is ISIS.

Comparing ISIS to other historical organizations is not entirely fair. For example, to bring up the Nazi regime is to insult the memory of the tens-of-millions of deaths that abomination was responsible for both directly (through their racial policies and the Holocaust) and, well, directly by starting the Second World War. In this regard, ISIS is, as President Obama referred to them, “the JV team”. Their death toll pales in comparison to regimes such as that which existed under Stalin in the Soviet Union, Mao in China (who may well hold the record for deaths), the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia under Pol Pot which, although much lower on the scale for total deaths must be recognized for the absolute barbarity of the regime, or even any of the more localized genocides such as the Hutu extermination of Tutsis in Rwanda. Read the rest of this entry »

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As You Sow…

Posted by Anthony on July 16, 2015

In a conversation with a moderate Republican the other day (yes, they still do exist though they are certainly on the endangered species list), I was asked with all sincerity what is to be done about Trump and his recent poll surges. Certainly, this individual asked with palpable concern, there was no way that he could win the nomination much less a national election, was there? After all, his rhetoric was bordering on the ludicrous; his message was appalling to the vast majority of Americans, or at least one should hope it was. My answer was somewhat less comforting than the individual would have liked it to be.

I explained with all sincerity that Republicans have nobody but themselves to blame for this latest catastrophe. For the last twenty or so years, FOX News and various right wing personalities have been spewing forth a litany of condescension and moral outrage about perceived slights to America committed by “those people” as well as stoking anger, fear, and resentment in mainly white America. Now this creation of theirs has taken shape, embodying all of the ills they have built into it and, much like the titular character in Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein, they find themselves unable to control it. Read the rest of this entry »

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Speaking about healthcare…

Posted by Anthony on March 31, 2015

Well, as some of you may have noticed it has been a little while since I last posted here. Fear not, though, for there is a good reason and it has nothing to do with being lazy! Allow me to explain…

About a few months ago (late 2014), I began having bad night sweats. How bad? Bad as in having to get up in the middle of the night and completely change what I was wearing and change the pillow bad. I blamed it on the heat in the room (it was, after all, the chilly part of the year), on what I was wearing, on what I had eaten that day… basically on anything that would allow me to avoid having to recognize it as a symptom of something crying out for attention. During the time period from around the end of December until a few weeks ago I also suffered from numerous minor illnesses. A cold here, a sinus infection there… nothing either some NyQuil/ DayQuil or a quick trip to the doctor couldn’t fix! So it went on, week after week and the months rolled by. Read the rest of this entry »

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Who Thought Vaccines Were an Option?

Posted by Anthony on February 4, 2015

 

As we have just turned over a new year (well, for those following the Gregorian calendar in any case), it is always a good idea to take stock of where we are, how the past year has been, and where we’re going from here. I had a discussion the other day with a friend who asked about how much longer I thought the human race would manage to keep itself on the universal stage. An interesting question, to be sure, since it requires one to contemplate any number of the myriad situations that might bring about the extinction of humanity (even if not rendering the Earth a lifeless globe). Some are, of course, beyond anything we can stop: a rogue black hole finding its way into the Solar System, or a Gamma Ray Burst that happens to annihilate the atmosphere. Some, however, are preventable even if to certain degrees: we could, for example, take measures to stop an asteroid from obliterating our planet though it would require a tremendous effort and cost, just as we could make the inevitably required move off of our planet and either onto Mars, the most likely candidate as a planet, or to a ring-world of sorts, which is not nearly as fantastical as it might seem. Read the rest of this entry »

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A Turkish Non-Delight: Facebook and Freedom of Speech

Posted by Anthony on January 26, 2015

First, allow me to start off this entry with a blanket statement: I love Turkey. I visited Turkey in 2012, and can honestly tell you that there are very few places in the world I have been that were as enjoyable. For me, it contained the perfect mix of ancient, medieval, and modern along with the fine balance so difficult to find these days of European and Middle-Eastern mixed into one fantastic city: Istanbul. The people are about the best you will find anywhere, the food is excellent, and history is everywhere you step which, to me as an historian, was quite thrilling. Read the rest of this entry »

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How Much Wealth is Enough?

Posted by Anthony on January 19, 2015

Anti-Poverty charity Oxfam released a report the other day wherein their studies show that by 2016 the wealthiest 1% of the global population will own more than 50% of the wealth. By 2020, that percentage is due to rise to 54%. Whereas the elites have been getting wealthier, the poor of the world have seen a marked drop in the amount of wealth they posses: the same report explains that the bottom 50% has seen their wealth drop by $750 billion in the last four years. This bring us to some interesting observations… Read the rest of this entry »

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A Few Thoughts on Freedom of Speech

Posted by Anthony on January 13, 2015

At the time of this writing, the streets of France are once again quiet (or at least quieter), and the world leaders who had gathered there to express solidarity with the Republic have gone home. Except, of course, for the one glaring omission: who exactly did the United States send again? One cannot seriously make the argument that there was no way to send a high profile individual to represent the States. While it is true that the President most likely could not have gone (President’s don’t usually go on spur of the minute trips because of the immense background work that has to go in to him going pretty much anywhere), but one could have at least expected the Vice-President to go, or perhaps even better to have a former President who is well known for his ability to show compassion for the cameras (yes, it’s Bill Clinton) march arm in arm with those heads of state. A no-show, or rather, a minor-league show just seems in bad taste for the the United States at this critical time.

Discussing this issue with others, I am amused to think back on the Satanic Verses travesty and how that matches up to this current issue. Back then, the majority of the “free world” hammered Mr. Rushdie and even the liberal left came out against him. How dare he create an allegorical story that had a section eerily similar to the foundation tale of Islam! How few were they who stood up for his freedom of speech, for his right to write what he wanted regardless of whom he might offend. Today, thankfully, we do not see the same attitude being shown in the western world: almost to a one, the leadership of Europe has come out in steadfast defense of the right to offend and for freedom of expression. One wonders here if the last thirty years have taken their toll on the desire of those in Europe to stay silent, or at least to beg not to offend. One is perhaps not so afraid of Iran exporting her (now completely discredited) revolution to Shia Muslims worldwide, nor is one apt to back down as much now that the threat of violence has been realized rather than imagined. Whatever the reason, it is refreshing to see from a dozen states and then some the impassioned voices of millions rising up as one in claiming the (yes, I’ll use the term) sacred right to offend, or at the very least to feel one can write/ draw/ say something and not have to worry about being murdered for it. Finally, we may stop blaming the victim here and turn our collective finger in an accusatory fashion at the real villains of this travesty: those who murdered individuals because they wished to silence them.

Finally, a comment on Charlie Hebdo itself: good on them for going ahead and printing a cover with a picture of Muhammad on it. This was really the only feasible reaction: answer back the sword with the pen, a long arm from the grave, and show that although you might be able to kill some people, you will never be able to kill off all voices who cry out for justice against such a heinous act. When Creedy had finished pumping bullets into V, only to have the latter stumble forward and grab him by the neck, he asked him in an almost pleading manner “Why won’t you die!?” V‘s answer, of course, was brief yet eloquent: “Beneath this mask there is more than flesh. Beneath this mask there is an idea, Mr. Creedy, and ideas are bulletproof.”

Indeed they are, and so long as that remains the case we have nothing to fear from these ruffians.

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Returning to the Fray…

Posted by Anthony on January 11, 2015

When I had initially begun this blog, it was to be as a repository for my published articles while I was in graduate school and wrote for the Rutgers (Newark) Observer. The idea was that I would put the articles out for consumption in case anything ever happened to the website for the paper, a wise decision in hind-site. I did write a few articles after the fact, but as life often can do to one I found myself flooded with all sorts of distractions and so felt that the time had come to cease my publications here. This would simply be a testimony to my past for anyone who cared to read the articles.

No longer…

The recent events in France involving the massacre of cartoonists at Charlie Hebdo has galvanized me and reminded me of why I began writing in the first place: the need to wield the pen as a weapon against ignorance and violence is as real today as it was when I first started writing this blog almost eight years ago. The assault on freedom of speech and expression has now entered (in fact, it has been going in this direction for a while now) a new phase where the theocratic encroachments on us threaten to render us all mute. This is something up with which I will not put.

So, for those of you who have read this page in the past, I welcome you back. For those of you who will find this page in the future, I welcome you in general. And for those of you who truly and earnestly believe that you can silence a civilization through blood and terror, you have another thing coming…

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The Blood is on Your Hands (J’Accuse)

Posted by Anthony on September 1, 2010

By Anthony J. Aschettino

There is not much time left; nobody really knows how much, but we feel that a number less than ten years is probably a good ballpark to go by. Ten years. That’s how long Americans have to decide the future of Islam in America. Ten years to decide what kind of a future society Americans want to build, and what sort of social atmosphere they want to exist for their children in the coming decades.

Of course we are not speaking to all Americans here; rather, we are speaking to “Americans™”. We are speaking to the conservative, right wing denizens of this country who are doing their best, and sadly succeeding in many respects, to drive a definitive wedge between America and Islam. Their constant demonizing of the religion is sowing the seeds of a future harvest that will see the crippling of the America that most ordinary people know and desire, and that grim visage will be an unalterable fact after a certain point. The event horizon is looming in the near distance, and the right wing in this country is hell-bent on diving head-first into it. Read the rest of this entry »

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