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Table of Contents
On the Degree of Radical Islam in the Muslim World
Open Letter to an Educator on Strategies to Help Young Black Adults
Trump's Ideas about Controling Muslim Movement in the US Offer Other Benefits
Reasons why strangers should not be greeted with "how are you?"
An Open Letter to Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA)
Jude Dougherty Studies Islam in a Deeper Way, while David Brooks Takes a Shallow View of Character Formation
Two Items that Need Attention to Reduce Polarization in D.C.
An Open Letter to Dr Christopher Bail


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On the Degree of Radical Islam in the Muslim World

The Clarion Project has looked into the degree of penetration Radical Islam and Islamic Fundamentalism has had among the 1.6 Billion Muslims in the world. This group of moderate Muslims has studied extensive world wide polling conducted by such groups as Pew Research. It seems that only about 1 million Muslims believe in perpetrating violence again Jews and Christians. However about 50% of Muslims worldwide believe in various alarming doctrines of traditional Islam such as stoning or wiping of those improperly dressed, or killing of those who leave Islam, or imposing Sharia on all citizens in every country with a majority of Muslims, or executing female relatives who engage in adultery or fornication, or cutting off the hands of those who steal, etc. These fundamentalists Muslims tend to be found in greater percentage in Arab countries and in Muslim minority communities in western countries.

All this would lend support to Mr. Trumpís suggestion that the USA stop allowing any addition Muslims into the country until the people in Washington figure out how to manage this problem.

The USA believes in freedom of religion, but religions that promote or allows actions that violate the civil or criminal law must be curtailed or outlawed. Perhaps an example from history would enlighten. Mormons originally believed in polygamy. That religionís practice had to be outlawed before Mormons majority areas were allowed to join the USA. Unfortunately not all Mormons accepted this mandated change in doctrine, and to this day some Mormon men have multiple wives in rural areas. However, since Mormonism has a high priest or prophet headquarters in Salt Lake City, all Mormons would admit that Mormon official policy today does not countinence polygamy.

In Islam there is not central authority that can speak for all of Islam, that means that each Muslims is free to interprets the Koran as he sees fit. This makes Washingtonís task very daunting. Take a situation where moderate Muslim parents give birth to a son who becomes a Radical Muslim through his associations at the Mosque and material he reads on the Internet. Here, the combination of 1) the Koranís violent passages, 2) the lack of cental teaching authority in Islam, and 3) America great protection of freedom religion and speech, has allowed a young Islamic US citizen to become radicalized into an Islamic terrorist. Given the freedoms America cherishes there is no perfect way the government can developed a strategy for coping with this situation.

Of course, if one Muslim is radicalized every dozen years or so the damage that one person might do would be perhaps acceptable. But the Pew research shows that 50% of Muslims are sympatric to fundamental. Going further, the statistics show that 1 terrorist will emerge from every 800 fundamentalist Muslims. If Muslims represent 1% of the 350 million Americans, and if 50% of Muslims will adopt one or more fundamentalist beliefs, then America can expect that 17,000 homegrown Muslim terrorists will emerge in this county.

Even if Trumpís plan to stop Muslim immigration to America is implemented, the problem in America is likely to grow because 1) Muslim birthrates are higher than other groups in America, 2) more and more non-Muslim Americans are marrying Muslims and since Muslim canít leave their faith many of these non-Muslims become Muslim to achieve religious unity in the home, and 3) non-Muslims in the US are generally poorly catechized into their own family religion, such people are very susceptible to recruitment by well Catechized members of other faiths such as Muslims.

At 17,000, the situation is perhaps manageable but just barely. However, this county has to develop plans for countering the trend. Perhaps every religious leader in America should be asked to issue a letter instructing all members not to kill anyone who decides to leave the religion. If a religious leader refuses to send the letter, his church or mosque would be closed. Muslim religious leaders would likely not issue such letters because such a letter directly counters the Koranic command to kill those who leave Islam. All fundamentalist mosques would probably have to shut down. Then the government might ask everyone who was a member of the mosque to sign a letter declaring the same thing. The legal rational could be "it is illegal to advocate the killing anyone except a person sentenced to death pursuant to a proper legal process". To cushion the consequences of this process, America might offer free transport from America to any person who felt it would be against their religious belief to sign the declaration.

Of course, moderate Muslims and their religious leaders would have no trouble signing the declaration and they would be welcomed to stay in the USA. ......................(prepared by Hugh Murray on 1/4/2016)


Open Letter to an Educator on Strategies to Help Young Black Adults

Dear Professor,

The problem of blacks "that donít finish school and donít marry before children are born" has to be dissected. Various aspects need to be looked a separately and yet with reference to each other. Below are listed eight items with possible solutions:

1) Most blacks have difficulty with math, and without math access to higher education and better jobs is blocked. The reasons for this difficulty is unknown but every teacher who has worked with this population has identified this problem. The society can devote huge amounts of resources trying to overcome this barrier, or we can accept that the barrier exists and focus on creating jobs that people with limited math skills can do and have a reasonably full life. The jobs might be labor intensive, low skill manufacturing jobs that exist by the millions but mostly in China, Vietnam, and Mexico. Why are these jobs in these foreign locations? Because the American government has adopted a free trade stance and allowed American businessmen to offshore their factories. If America reversed its free trade stance these factory jobs would be forced back into this country creating a huge demand for low skilled workers.

2) Throughout history woman have looked to men for protection, for family support, and for help raising the children. Today because of the skewed incentives of the welfare support programs the women looks to the government (not to the father of their children) for family support. The necessary money comes in and the police provides some protection, but the father as help mate, role model, and disciplinarian of children is missing. Women must again be brought to focus their attention on socializing the father of their children. Since these men lack the skills and habits to earn decent incomes, and since these jobs they can do are not available in large enough numbers, the society must create millions of low skill labor intensive jobs (see #1 above) and government must augment the wages these jobs pay with EITC payments so the father has enough money and work benefits in hand to provide all the support the mother of his children receives from the government. Once the father of the children has the money, the woman will use all tools at her disposal (withdrawal of sex, shouting, smooth talking, arranging for relatives to intervene, etc.) to get the man into the familyís dwelling because she needs the money and benefits. But in the process she will also be getting a "help mate" to assist her in raising and disciplining the children.

3) A big problem in cities is anonymous anti-social behavior. Much of this behavior can be attributed to young black men who have not been properly raised. Although small town life doesnít eliminate anti-social behavior it make it very hard to do such things in an anonymous way. Accordingly the low skill labor intensive jobs that will have to come back from China, Mexico, and Vietnam should if at all possible be located in smaller communities. This will in turn require these black men who are loosely attached to the labor force to relocate mostly from cities to smaller communities and their children with the mothers can be induced as their other benefits are cut off. It would be best if communities 100 to 200 miles away from cities be chosen for these factories. This will allow the father, the mother, and children to be within a difficult, but manageable, commuting distance of a city where significant numbers of their extended family live.

4) A huge increase in the number of low skilled labor intensive jobs will be magnet that will draw immigrants like a moth to a flame. This program will require strict boarder enforcement to have even a slight chance to work.

5) The transfer of million of people to small communities from big cities will require massive amounts of coordination as all the support jobs follow the workers from the cities to smaller communities. Think of teachers and social workers whose student and clients are suddenly relocated. These middle class people will suddenly be needed not where they are currently, but in small outlying communities all around.

6) It took 30 or 40 years to strip these jobs out of America, it will probably take another 30 to bring them back in an orderly way to this country.

7) Manufacturing plants that participate must not be allowed to install labor saving devices that cost jobs during the first 30 years of transition. If labor saving robots or other machines are installed the full effect of these changes will be lost.

8) Americaís cities will lose people, but they will become more livable. As crime declines there is no good reason to live in the far suburbs and commute an hour each way when you could live safely within walking distance of your law office or accounting firm. With modern instant communication on multiple platforms the stacking up of people in cities makes little sense. I canít think of any good conclusions to all this "venting of hot air". .................. (prepared by Hugh Murray on 1/3/2016)

Trump's Ideas about Controling Muslim Movement in the US Offer Other Benefits -

Trumpís idea about limiting or restricting the mobility of Muslims in the US might have the effect of getting Muslim leaders and elders to crack down on their young fellow believers who would set out on jihad against non-Muslims. If prominent Muslims wishing to come to the US had to endure exclusion or very tight travel restrictions with close monitoring, these Muslim leaders might speak out against the crazy people in their religion who wish to implement the more extreme edicts from the Koran............... (prepared by Hugh Murray on 1/13/2016)


Four reasons why strangers (or acquaintances) should not be greeted with the question "how are you?" >

Four reasons why strangers (or acquaintances) should not be greeted with the question "how are you?" ..... It is very common in America today to greet strangers or casual acquaintances even in public places with the question "how are you?". People will even call into radio shows and begin their comment by saying "how are you?" People consciously or subconsciously ask the question, not because they are really interested in the answer, but because it forces the other to pause, give attention, and respond, or risk being considered a rude person. .... >

Consider these arguments against the practice: ......... >

First, unless you have a long term closeness with the person you are addressing, this question is on its face too personal an inquiry into the current psychological or health situation of the other person. After all to really answer the question would likely require the disclosure of some very personal factors e.g. "Iím troubled I keep thinking of those Germans tourists I killed five years ago in that auto accident." ...... >

Second, This question should never be asked when other people are present. Consider, if there is any possibility of a third person overhearing the answer, then the questioner puts the other person in the position of possibly inadvertently revealing personal facts he would not really want in the hands of a total stranger ........ >

Third, the questioner might think "well all the other person has to say is 'I'm ok' ", but that simple answer might be a lie and the person responding to the question is uncomfortable telling any lie particularly because they donít want to get in the habit of lying. ...........

Fourth, the questioner puts the person in the position of being considered rude by ignoring a direct question. A person who doesnít want to answer is put on the horns of a dilemma dealing with such a direct personal question. He can: 1) be rude and not answer, or 2) give a non-answer answer like "Iím ok" which might be a lie or at least less than the full truth, or 3) begin a long explanation designed to make the questioner realize the question was inappropriate in the first place. ............. >

In France it is considered very rude to even ask the question to anyone other than a long time friend or relative. ............... (prepared by Hugh Murray on 2/13/2016)


An Open Letter to Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) -

Dear Rep. Cathy McMorris Rogers,

I write to thank you for the quick insightful comment you made when you were with Sen. Thune kicking off the Republican retreat before C-SPAN cameras.

The quick comment that caught my ear was when you said something like "the most important thing we have to do is figure out how to get our Article I power back from the President and the Supreme Court."

You hit the nail on the head.

That is your most important job, and it wonít be easy.

Regarding Presidential (Article II) power grabs, consider :

...(1) all legislation needs "sunsets" and these "sunsets" might have to be established in a Constitutional Amendment so future Congresses, or Presidents, canít ignore this requirement.

.......NOTE: (There needs to be an initial Sunset Bill assigning "sunsets" to all existing legislation that currently lack sunset provisions.)

...(2) The government has to have a minimum of one appropriation bill for each cabinet dept and each independent agency with no more continuing resolutions or omnibus appropriations ; again this requirement might have to be protected by a Constitutional Amendment.

...(3) All spending, discretionary and non-discretionary, has to be appropriated each year (no continuing resolutions)...... again this practice might need to be protected by a Constitutional Amendment.

......NOTE:(On the non-discretionary you should appropriate a lump sum for each item (SS, Medicare, Disability, etc) and then give each recipient a percentage of that large pie. If there is an unexpected influx of newly eligible recipients there would have to be an additional downward percentage adjustment provided for in the law. In other words a percentage of a percentage. This is easy today with computers. Of course, recipients will have to adjust to a slightly fluctuating benefit amount. )

Regarding Article III power grabs, consider a Constitutional Amendment that says " any court decision that references a Constitutional right would automatically go to Congress for an approval/disapproval vote to be held during the next 15 legislative days - if 2/3s of both houses voted "no approval" the court would have to re-write and then re-submit the re-written decision for Congressional review. The new decision would again be subject to Congressional approval/dis-approval."

...... NOTE: (Pres. Teddy Roosevelt floated a similar idea a century ago) .

Since the court has given itself the right to determine the Constitutionality of legislation, this would probably need a Constitutional Amendment to enforce, and additionally the Amendment might have to say "this Amendment is outside of the Courtís "right" to interpret or decide its meaning."

......NOTE: (Of course, the Court should never have been allowed to grant to itself such power, but after two centuries, how to take it away? It happened when most political activity was at the state level, but the Civil War transferred all that political power to Washington and thence ultimately to the Supreme Court. Perhaps Jefferson was right we need a Constitutional Convention every twenty years?)

Additionally, there is a need to overturn several disgraceful old decisions (like Roe). How to do this? Iím not sure. You might have to write specific decision reversals into this "protected amendment" saying certain early decisions are hereby overturned. (This will be hard to do because many people have come to relay on these well established, but morally bad decisions. )

It will likely require a "traditional values" Congress and White House of the same party to get the forgoing done; so realistically you have to wait until the nation has both a majority Republican Congress and a Republican President.

This is much longer than I had intended, but you were the one who made the insightful comment in the first place.

Sincerely,

............... (prepared by Hugh Murray on 1/19/2016)


- Jude Dougherty Takes the Study of Islam to a Deeper Level while David Brooks Takes a Shallow View of Character in the US

I. Beginning with Doughtery

Saint Jude Thaddaeus, one of the apostles, is the Patron of Hopeless Cases.

Retired Prof. Jude Dougherty from Catholic University has thought deeply about the most important hopeless case in the world today, Islam's resurgence. His interest has caused him to study 1) the Jewish scholar Ignaz Goldziher's Introduction to Islamic Theology and Law, which Bernard Lewis called one of the most insightful examination of Islam, and 2) University of Paris Prof. Remi Brague's The Legend of the Middle Ages: Philosophical Explorations of Medieval Christianity, Judaism, and Islam.

Prof Dougherty concludes that the Islamic state (ISIS) is not a state with boundaries and an established central government. Rather it is a slash and burn military force that wishes to conquer the entire world. This means ISIS will attempt to use all tools of intimidation and conquest to subjugate the entire world to Islam.

Western leaders want ISIS to be a state so they can say "we are re-taking ISIS territory" or "we have destroyed certain assets". ISIS is not shaken by such losses if it helps them bring young Muslims to the ISIS banner. It is the "world wide jihad" that counts for ISIS, not the small swath of land they currently occupy. The particular swath of land might change from time to time, but the goal is world conquest.

Western leaders donít want to admit that ISIS is the vanguard of a new Islam rising, a new military jihad. Why not admit this? If they admit that Islam is on the march again and is prepared to activate Muslims wherever and whenever, western leaders must be prepared to find and study the "petri dishes" where young Muslims might absorb ISIS propaganda. The Muslim internet sites and every mosque becomes a place of interest. But western leaders have placed personal privacy, freedom of speech and freedom of religion at the top of their sacrosanct "do not touch" lists.

However, ISIS believes Islam means submission, not just submission to God in a spiritual sense, but also submission to the religious and political laws promulgated by God through his prophet. The political side of this is called "sharia" law. Part of shiaria is the requirement to bring all people to Islam. Ibn Khaldun, the great 15th century Islamic scholar, puts it in these terms: Islam is required to convert all non-Muslims to Islam either by persuasion or force. This scholar goes on to admit that only Islam, among the major religions, has a doctrinal right to wage such a holy war, other religions he acknowledges limit themselves to basically defensive conflict.

So what is the west to do to protect itself from ISISí efforts. Should Muslims be required either to convert to another non-jihadist religion (such as Christianity) or to emigrate to Muslim lands? (This was the solution Spain came up with after the re-conquest of the Iberian peninsula in the 16th century.) Should Muslims be prohibited from entering western countries? (Donald Trumpís solution). Or should the west give up resistance and continue its gradual slide into the "dark night" offered by Islam.

But Jude Dougherty does not speculate in this way. He instead asks why is ISIS (or fundamental Islam) so oriented to a political conquest of the world. It turns out that Islamís doctrines, laws and theology were formulated during Islam's great period of expansion (approximately AD 700 to AD 1500). This meant Islam took on both:

a) a very legalistic, law based view of governance where political and religious rules were merged into sharia , and

b) where great military success gave Muslim leaders the understandable feeling that Islam is God's preferred religious system and that ultimately all people should be brought first under Islamic political control and eventually to voluntary (or forced) conversion to Islam; this deep sense of religious superiority characterizes many Islamic people to this day.

Prof Doughtery pointed out that even the most famous of Islamic scholars: Al Farabi, Averroes, and Avicenna, all promulgated views which authorized the subjugation of non-Muslims. More specifically:

Averroes approved the slaughter of dissidents, calling specifically for the elimination of people whose continued existence might harm the state.

Al-Farabi felt it was justified to conduct a war of aggression to acquire something the state desires but which another state currently holds, and it was right to force people to accept what was better for them if they did not recognize it spontaneously.

Avicenna felt Islam leaders were allowed to annihilate those who were called to the truth but rejected it.

Prof. Doughtery has truly taken on a most important, but seemingly hopeless, project. The west has the means to defend itself. However, the west is ideologically weak and culturally confused. It lacks enough cultural cohesion or understanding of its Judeo-Christian roots, which produced the values that western leaders jingoistic-ly proclaim, to organize an intelligent defense. The west will never be able to defend itself from ISIS if its leaders canít even define the source of its basic values.

To read the full Jude Doughtery article.(click here) (This article is provided through the generous permission from The Wanderer, 201 Ohio St.; St. Paul, MN 65107)

II . Kenneth McIntyreís review of David Brooks' book on character formation The Road to Character is very instructive about the huge holes that have opened up in Americaís moral fiber. Post Modernist standards hold there is no societal truth there is only "your truth and my truth".

There is no longer an "judeo-Christian based America culture", a sort of universally accepted set of standards for behaviors and beliefs about what is good and what is bad. Individuality, self-aggrandizement, and plain old selfishness has gained new acceptance. Social sanctions are weak or non existent in most places. People no longer allow themselves to feel shame or guilt. Even parents can no longer assume that other adults in the neighborhood will basically support the values they wish to instill in their children.

Both Brooks and his reviewer acknowledge this change in America. Brooks sees the new freedom from cultural restraint as desirable. McIntyre disagrees.

However, Brooks acknowledges we need character improvement in America. Brooks sees this effort as an individual self improvement program, like a dieting plan, or exercise routine. Brooks suggest each person focus on being more humble and more self effacing, thinking more about what might be written in their obituary rather than what is written in their resume', concentrate on doing the good and avoiding the bad.

McIntyre sees this as "shallow" analysis. He would, go back to the greats of the past, Aquinas and Aristotle, who taught that good character grows out of the instillation of good values and habits in young people. McIntyre notes that youthful formation requires a common culture underlaid by an integrated widely accepted answer to Socratesí question "how should I live?". Going further, McIntyre believes that the Christian roots of the nation provide the needed cultural framework, these values provide a means of accomplishing Brooks' goals and much more as they: 1) separate behaviors into sinful behavior deserving eventual punishment and virtuous leading to eventual reward, 2) help people reconcile current behavior with their eventual death, and 3) give a rationale for charitable behavior in this life.

Both Brooks and McIntyre give a nod to the importance of a homogenous society for the formation of character in the youth. Brooks does it inadvertently through his selection of historical figures as exemplars of good character most of these people were raised in culturally homogenous environments (e.g. Dwight Eisenhower ). McIntyre, of course, is quite overt in his support of virtuous homogenous environments.

To read the entire McIntyre review (click here)

III. Analysis

The forgoing leads to a need for some knitting together of these two different but related ideas. ISIS is determined, deeply in touch with its roots, and possessed of a will to conquer the world. The west, here represented by America, is possessed of little common ideology other than attachment to 1) the ever evolving Constitution as defined by the ever evolving Supreme Court and 2) the "your ok, Iím ok .... go along, get along" world view.

Of course, this clash is only a potential clash if the numbers of ISIS members in the west and America are so small as to inconsequential. But it happens that there are probably about 17000 Islamic extremist types in the US today and there are perhaps 200,000 other conservative Muslims in the US who agree with the extremist's goals and would help them carry out acts of terrorism. (see the first essay on this page (above) for the source of these estimates).

America has to take corrective action to identify hopefully the 200,000 but at a minimum the 17,000. So how does America gain visibility on these people?

Of course, another key question here is - do the American people possess the community spirit, community character, if you will, to engage and defeat Islam's extreme elements?

Doughteryís analysis of ISIS, and other such groups, indicates that Islam is readying a multi decade "a-symmetric" war against the West. So how will this war be implemented: through legal immigration from Muslim lands into western countries, through illegal immigration, through internet recruiting of indigenous sympathizers (e.g. American born Muslims), through one-on-one and small group activity in American mosques, through intimidation of moderate Muslims who indicate disapproval of the extremists plans, through using political power at the local level to push forward sharia based restrictions where Muslims are concentrated, through random acts of killing design to engender fear into the hearts of non-Muslims, etc.

Consider what the west will have to do to counter this threat:

1) Block, or track closely, any newly arriving Muslims and/or returning American Muslims who have visited Muslim lands.

2) Monitor the activity of every American mosque where perhaps each member would have to sign a pledge rejecting the more repugnant Islamic commandments. (Items from Islamic Law specifically to be rejected might include: a) no cutting off the hands of thieves, b) no killing of Muslims who decided to join a different religion, c) no honor killing of female family member who engage en ex-martial sex, d) no lying to non-Muslim to further the cause of Islam or protect another Muslim, e) rejecting the command that there is no law except sharia law, etc.)

3) Institute a reporting system were friends, neighbors and relatives of Muslims would be visited and instructed to "when you see something strange tell someone in authority". The question would be should there be a civil or criminal consequence if you donít "tell someone in authority".

4) Run public service spot reminding everyone that loyalty to community has to come ahead of loyalty to a relative or co-religionist. State clearly that "if we become atomistic or tribal protecting only our own friends and fail to report suspicious activity the America community will unravel".

5) Be prepared to look the Muslims in our communities in the eye and say, when they demand change in our schools or neighborhoods, that is not the American way we do things differently. But, of course, we can only do this if local Americans have some pride in the American way of doing things.

Link to an essay about a Canadian mayor who handled Islamic demands well.

6) A domestic defense force needs to be created. Young and middle aged men should be trained to identify suspicious activity, to spot protective places people could use to hide, use a wide array of police side arms, how to use common items found in public places as shields, etc. The idea is that one of these men would be present at an Islamic attack site and be able to save some lives.

Note: Much of the foregoing would likely be considered a violation of Constitutional guarantees of privacy, freedom of speech or freedom of religion. However, the Constitution was never designed to be suicide pact under which evil people are permitted to spread havoc. So authorizing legislation would have to limit the Supreme Courtís jurisdiction regarding these matters. Additionally, this legislation because of its anti-Constitutional nature should require re-authorization at least once every five years.

How the average American responds to the above will indicate if there is enough good character left in most Americans to mount a defense against an "a-symmetric" war with Islam.

However, the McIntyre review of Brooks' book would led one to believe that American Character is not adequately formed for this task.

The Brooks' book is much acclaimed as a guide to proper character formation in 21st century America. It is this book which, by its missing elements, points up the weaknesses in Americaís concept of both a good community and good behavior. It points up this country's particular vulnerability in dealing with a focused ideological threat such as that which Islam currently presents.

America and Americans are pretty good at "sitting down and talking things through" to find a workable compromise. But when attackers donít wish to talk but simply wish to kill en masse, Americans, indeed all westerners, have trouble presenting a unified resolute defense.

Kenneth McIntyre has written a review of Brooks' book, which points up its many flaws. In his analysis McIntyre makes these key points:

1) good character in the individual is built upon good "character" in the underlying society, and Brooks specifically rejects the requirement of a virtuous , homogeneous underlying society,

2) the subject of character formation has a long history with great minds engaging the issue extensively, Brooks again gives little attention to this history, and

3) most thinkers about good character believe that good character mostly grows out of instilling good habits in the young which is the work of families, schools, and neighborhood. However, This process of instilling good habits requires broad societal agreement on what is good, what is virtuous.

IV. Conclusion:

G. K. Chesterton has pointed out that when a people stop believing in ultimate things like Christianity. The void thus created does not remain a void, it will be replaced by anything that offers order and peace. Twenty percent of America denies belief in God, another 40% rarely goes to church. Islam is offering order (sharia) and peace through (submission to Islam). It is possible large numbers of America will "throw in the towel" in the coming war with Islam and say "we canít stop their attacks, so letís join them" . The process is underway in Dearborn, Michigan where Islam is pushing Shiria at the expense traditional American values.

It seems proper character formation is missing in the west so one has to conclude the coming war with Islam will be a close run affair. .............. (prepared by Hugh Murray on 2/12/2016)


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Two Items that Need Attention to Reduce Polarazation in D.C

To begin it is important to look at the many congressional districts that are drawn intentional to help super liberal blacks get elected to Congress

Missouri is a good example. The state has two Democrats (both blacks) with conservative Republicans everywhere else. The state is really purple "evenly divided" but its Congressional delegation is very polarized. And because those Congressional seats are the only mid-level offices available, that are not term limited, they are the breeding ground for future Senators. Missouri has seen very conservative Senators emerge from House of Representative to become Senators.

Missouri would likely have four moderate Democrats and four moderate Republicans if we didn't have 2 such overwhelming Democratic Districts, .... (characterized by black control of the Democrat primary, followed by a huge Democrat majority to assure the election of the Democrat in the general). .... Missouri could be sending a more moderate set of people to Washington.

Also by allowing the Supreme Court to wade into hot button issues like abortion, prayer in public school, and gay marriage you allow very conservative candidates to mobilize voters on these issues that they have no ability to change. Even if they get a Constitutional Amendment passed it is meaningless because the Supreme Court gets to say what the new amendment actually means.

Teddy Roosevelt had a plan for checking the Supreme Court's ability to re-write the Constitution on the fly but his idea got nowhere. ...............(prepared by Hugh Murray on x/xx/2012)

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An Open letter to Dr Christopher Bail

(Note: This letter was prepared in response to a presentation by Dr Bail in which he argued that when, anti-Muslim groups blamed the Muslim religion for terrorist attacks, pro-Muslim groups should have spent their efforts condemning the Islamic terrorists rather than spend their efforts attacking the anti-Muslim groups. Dr. Bail's presentation argued that this failure on the part of the pro-Muslim was largely responsible for the rise of anti-Muslim feeling in America.)

Dear Prof. Bail

Saw you on C-SPAN.

I'm fascinated ... why would you present your slide show on changes of attitudes of Americans toward Muslims without mentioning the impact of Muslim violence against Christians around the world during the 2001 to 2015 period. Why ignore the elephant in room?

Americans are mostly Christians and when they, for instance, see Christian girls being kidnapped in Nigeria by Muslims or see Christian Coptic oil field workers having their heads cut off by ISIS sympathizers - they simply can't help themselves, they are going to react negatively . It might have helped if American Muslims had bought TV ads for a week on all the networks saying "we condemn this" .... but in general American sentiment would have still moved strongly against Muslims regardless of the public relations activities of any groups pro or con.

American Muslims need to educate middle class Americans on Islam, which is both a political and a religious system. They hear Islam is the religion of peace but they need to understand this means peace through submission to Islam, both its political and religious side. Modern Americans don't understand that kind of religion. Since the Treaty of Westphailia, Christians have separated the political from the spiritual. American Christians have forgotten that these kinds of all encompassing religious/political structures still exist.

If Americans understood the two sides of Islam ...... and if American Muslims explicitly rejected Political Islam and worn labels buttons saying "I've taken the pledge.... I reject political Islam". Christian Americans would begin to feel more comfortable with Muslims.

If American Muslims took the first step, I believe the Muslims of western Europe might follow. This would separate all these Muslim communities into those that might contain possible terrorists and those who have forsworn Islamic inspired violence and the protecting or aiding of terrorists.

You are right to raise the issues you raise, but you must present more facts that explain the results you condemn .... and you need to work up a longer stronger list of solutions. .......................... (prepared by Hugh Murray on 3/25/2016)

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This page hopes to bring a common sense, old fashioned view to today's news. The comments displayed on this page were prepared by Hugh V. Murray, who can be reached at hvm@aol.com