You Catch More Flies …

My mother had an expression I heard often as a child:  “You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.”  As a child, it made no sense to me, for who wants to catch flies anyway?  However, as I grew older, it came to make a great deal of sense, although I don’t always heed the wisdom.  In 2017, I wrote a post about a man named Daryl Davis , a Black man who reached out to KKK members, who won over people with dialogue, compassion, and understanding rather than fighting hate with hate.  This morning, I came across another such story, one of a man filled with hate who learned to love instead, thanks to a group of Muslims in Muncie, Indiana.

A stranger planned to bomb my mosque. He became a member instead.

By Bibi Bahrami

25 January 2023

Several years ago, an unfamiliar man showed up at my little mosque, a squat brick building on the side of a four-lane highway in Muncie, Ind. He had a large U.S. Marine Corps logo and a sketch of a small skull with a lightning bolt tattooed on his right arm. His face was flush, he barely made eye contact, and his fists were clenched. He seemed angry.

Naturally, we saw potential danger. In these days of intense cultural division, hatred against Muslims is palpable, and our places of worship have been the targets of terrible crimes. But we also sensed vulnerability in this stranger. My husband, an Afghan refugee and a gentle physician, welcomed the man with a heartfelt hug. Later, I sat alone with him in our mosque library — to share a smile and ask his name, to offer comfort and show him respect.

Why, you might ask, would I put myself in this position? When I was a young girl growing up in Afghanistan, I met troubled men like this at the homeless shelter run by my father. And when I fled the war in Afghanistan to a refugee camp in Pakistan as a teenager, I cared for many needy people. I have always believed in the idea that we must welcome the stranger, the person in need. And that if we search for common ground with all those we meet, we will discover our shared humanity, and we will all be better for it.

As the stranger and I sat on a green vinyl couch, surrounded by leather-bound books, he finally started to make eye contact. I learned that his name was Richard “Mac” McKinney, that he had served 25 years in the military, and that he had a wife and daughter. Over the next few weeks, Mac began making regular visits to the mosque, joining us for meals and sharing stories about his family and his time in the military.

I continually looked for ways to help him feel valued by entrusting him with responsibilities around the mosque: leading meetings, participating in prayers, even standing by the door as our resident security guard. I could tell this gave him a sense of purpose. Not long after that, he joined our community of about 200 by becoming a member of the mosque.

It wasn’t until months later that I heard unsettling rumors. Some congregants claimed they’d heard that when Mac first came to the mosque, he was on a reconnaissance mission. That he’d built a bomb to blow up the mosque and murder us.

I knew immediately what I needed to do. I invited Mac to my house for a meal of traditional Afghan food: homemade bread, chicken, kebabs, rice, eggplant, a green yogurt dip seasoned with cilantro and lime. He devoured the food. When he was done, I looked him in the eye.

“Is it true, Richard?” I asked. “Were you planning to kill us?”

He looked down. He was ashamed but answered honestly. He confessed that when he had first arrived at the mosque, he had planned to murder us by blowing up the building with an IED he had built himself.

“What were you thinking, Brother Richard?”

He explained that in the military, he had been at war with Muslims for years, and that he had developed a deep hatred in his heart. But he went on to say that the way we had treated him, with compassion and kindness, had changed his mind. He said we had given him a place to belong. We had shown him what true humanity is about.

From left, Richard “Mac” McKinney, Jomo Williams, Saber Bahrami and Bibi Bahrami. (David Herbert)

Of course, these stories don’t always go this way. In 2015, at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, S.C., Dylann Roof entered a Bible study as a seemingly curious participant but quickly transformed into a terrifying mass murderer, killing nine church members. Events like this are horrifying. But I refuse to give up hope.

We live in a time in which people have stopped talking to those who don’t share their views. It’s easy to despair. But I believe that if we continue down this road, we will never understand one another, never find our shared humanity, never have peace. If we truly want to heal our society, we need to find forgiveness in our hearts.

That’s why, in the end, our community chose to forgive Richard and allow him to remain. In fact, he not only stayed with us but also became president of our little brick mosque on the edge of the highway.

I realize that not everyone will be faced with a situation as extreme as ours. But today, tomorrow or next week, you might meet a stranger, someone who looks or thinks differently from you. It might be easy to ignore this person, to look the other way. Instead, I challenge you to smile. Ask their name. Learn a little about them. You might be surprised at what can happen.

Twelve Years of Bloomberg as Mayor: A New Yorker’s Perspective (Part Two)

Now that former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg has thrown his hat into the 2020 presidential circle, it is important to look back at his performance as Mayor. Blogger-friend Brendan Birth has lived his entire life in New York City and well remembers Bloomberg’s tenure as mayor. I mentioned to Brendan last week that I might like him to do a guest post for me, and he went one better, and is doing a mini-series! The series began with an intro on Monday that I re-blogged on Tuesday, and today he gives us Part II of a look at Mike Bloomberg as mayor. He will finish with a conclusion next Monday, just in time for Super Tuesday! Thanks Brendan, for sharing your birds-eye views!

Blind Injustice

As I announced last Monday, I will be doing a couple of posts on what it was like to have current presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg as mayor (and particularly justice-related topics from his time as mayor). This is the first of two such posts, as honestly, I have too much material to fit into one post.

This first post will focus on his treatment of other people while he was mayor, particularly his treatment of people of color, Muslims, women, and the poor. Buckle up, because this is going to be rough…

While he has apologized repeatedly for the existence of stop-and-frisk under his police force while he was mayor, I think it’s difficult to talk about his time as mayor without talking about that practice. The practice, which allowed police to stop someone temporarily to search, question, and detain someone, disproportionately targeted people of color. Consider the fact that…

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A Class Act — Ilhan Omar

It has nothing to do with how much money a person has, nor does it relate to a person’s position in society.  You cannot purchase it … you either have it, or you don’t.  Barack and Michelle Obama both have it in spades.  Donald and Melania Trump do not.  What is it, you ask?  It is a thing called ‘class’.

U.S. House Representative Ilhan Omar has this thing called class. ilhan-omarMs. Omar has been the target of some of the most vicious racist and Islamophobic threats and verbal attacks imaginable.  Why?  Because she is a Muslim, because the ‘man’ who is masquerading as president of this nation has instilled a fear of ‘other’ into some 40% of our population and has, in fact, launched a personal attack against Ms. Ilhan.

And yet through it all, she has retained her grace and dignity.

Back in March, Patrick W. Carlineo Jr. of Addison, New York, called Ms. Ilhan’s D.C. office and spoke to a staff member …

“Do you work for the Muslim Brotherhood? Why are you working for her, she’s a [expletive] terrorist. Somebody ought to put a bullet in her skull. I’ll put a bullet in her [expletive] skull.”

patrick-carlineoOn Monday, November 18th, Mr. Carlineo pleaded guilty to threatening to assault and murder the freshman congresswoman and for being a felon in possession of firearms.  He faces up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Carlineo hates Muslims and even went so far as to tell the FBI when they began their investigation into him, “if our forefathers were still alive, they’d put a bullet in her head”.

Ms. Ilhan, whose life he threatened, however asks for compassion for the man …

“We must apply a system of compassion to criminal justice. Who are we as a nation if we respond to threats of political retribution with retribution ourselves?”

This, folks, is class.  It is compassion.  It is human decency.

Although she had just turned 19 when, on 11 September 2001, 19 Middle-Eastern terrorists flew planes into the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York, the Pentagon, and a field in Pennsylvania, some have sought to place the blame, by extension, on her shoulders.  Trump himself re-tweeted an obnoxious tweet several months ago that falsely claimed she was seen partying in the aftermath of 9/11.  And, in the West Virginia State Capitol, a poster was at a table in the Capitol’s rotunda …ilhan-omar-911The poster led to a brawl outside the House of Delegates that eventually spilled into the chamber, where at least one person was injured.  The body’s sergeant at arms submitted a letter of resignation at the end of the day after being accused of a making an anti-Muslim slur during the dispute.

And then in August, Ms. Omar received an anonymous death threat …ilhan-omar-death-threatThis was shortly after Trump said that Ms. Omar and three other Congresswomen of colour should “go back to the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came”, and then-Senate candidate from Alabama, Roy Moore, echoed Trump, saying “… Trump was right, she should go back to Somalia from whence she came”.  When such ugly talk comes from our politicians, especially the faux president, is it really any wonder she receives death threats?

And that brings us to this week, when her republican challenger in next year’s election, Daniella Stella, got herself and her campaign banned from Twitter for her hateful tweets.  On Tuesday, she posted …

“If it is proven @IlhanMN passed sensitive info to Iran, she should be tried for #treason and hanged.”

And she followed up with an image of a stick-figure being hanged.  Her reference to Ms. Omar passing “sensitive info to Iran” stems from a conspiracy theory started by Canadian businessman Alan Bender who has links to the Saudi government, and he implicates everyone from Jared Kushner to Ty Cobb to Ms. Omar.  The story has been proven false, yet apparently Ms. Stella failed to get that memo.

Danielle-StellaThis is not the first time that Daniella Stella has come onto my radar.  Back in July, I wrote a snippet about her having been arrested twice for shoplifting, and once for trying to outrun the police when they stopped her for driving drunk!  She is also a supporter of the conspiracy group QAnon, if that tells you anything.  I don’t think Ilhan Omar needs to worry overly much about keeping her seat next year, if Ms. Stella is the best the Republican Party of Minnesota has to offer!

I began this post talking about class.  What is class, exactly?  It can be a lot of things – being kind and compassionate, being calm in the face of adversity, walking away from a fight.  Class is one of those things that … you know it when you see it.  Class is definitely not defined by racism or any other form of bigotry.  It is not defined by cruelty.  Those who would attack Ms. Ilhan Omar simply because of her ethnicity, her religion, or the fact that she is a woman, are the ones who have no class.  Ms. Ilhan Omar has more of it in her little finger than Donald Trump, Roy Moore, Daniella Stella, and Patrick Carlineo combined.

Note to readers:  Saturday Surprise will return next week … probably.

Still More Tears Of Shame

It’s a known fact that Trump only likes people who are Caucasian and who pay homage to him by approving of his antics and wearing an ugly red hat.  But he took his phobia  of ‘other’ a bit too far last week when speaking of four freshman democratic members of Congress …

“So interesting to see ‘Progressive Democrat Congresswomen, who originally came from countries whose governments are a complete and total catastrophe, the worst, most corrupt and inept anywhere in the world (if they even have a functioning government at all), now loudly……….and viciously telling the people of the United States, the greatest and most powerful Nation on earth, how our government is to be run.”

“Why don’t they go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came. Then come back and show us how…….it is done. These places need your help badly, you can’t leave fast enough. I’m sure that Nancy Pelosi would be very happy to quickly work out free travel arrangements!”

The comment was sexist, Islamophobic, crass, and far beneath the dignity of the office he claims.  Nancy Pelosi appropriately chastised him …

“When @realDonaldTrump tells four American Congresswomen to go back to their countries, he reaffirms his plan to ‘Make America Great Again’ has always been about making America white again. Our diversity is our strength and our unity is our power. … I reject @realDonaldTrump’s xenophobic comments meant to divide our nation. Rather than attack Members of Congress, he should work with us for humane immigration policy that reflects American values. Stop the raids — #FamiliesBelongTogether!”

I concur 100% with Pelosi’s admonishment, and as always, I am stunned at the cruelty, the ignorance of the ‘man’ in the Oval Office.  But more than that, what appalls and confuses me is that those who support Trump, both in Congress and in the population at large, can hear his words and still think he is qualified for the office he claims.  NEVER before has a president been so crass, so uneducated, so disrespectful, and yet he still has a following of somewhere around 35% – 40%.  It is jaw-dropping.

I wrote the above yesterday, planned to make it the first of a couple of snarky snippets, but this morning I awaken to news that in the face of public outrage over his comments, he has dialed up the heat even more, and I decided this is to be the sole topic for this post.

He who uttered racist, hate-filled words directed at members of Congress based solely on their ethnicity, now “demands” an apology from them!  People … this is so very wrong.  As Speaker Pelosi said above, this affirms that his plan to ‘make America great’ is nothing more than a plan to make America white.  What an abomination … what a sorry excuse for a ‘man’, for a ‘president’.  His latest …

“When will the Radical Left Congresswomen apologize to our Country, the people of Israel and even to the Office of the President, for the foul language they have used, and the terrible things they have said. So many people are angry at them & their horrible & disgusting actions!”

If people are angry with the Congresswomen, then those people are immediately identified, in my book, as racists … terrible, bigoted racists.  That the ‘man’ who sits in the Oval Office uses this level of vitriol against duly elected officials in a branch of government equal to his own, is simply beyond belief, unacceptable.

The four members of Congress with whom he has taken issue are:

  • Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts
  • Rashida Tlaib of Michigan
  • Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York
  • Ilhan Omar of Minnesota

4-muslim-congressAll but one, Ilhan Omar, were born in the United States and are therefore U.S. citizens by birth.  Ilhan Omar became a U.S. citizen in 2000, at the age of 17.  Every one of them have as much right as Trump himself to reside in this country, and they have as much … nay, more … right to sit in Congress than Trump has to sit in the Oval Office, for they were all actually elected by a majority of the voters in their districts, and without the help of Vladimir Putin or an ‘electoral college’.

“If Democrats want to unite around the foul language & racist hatred spewed from the mouths and actions of these very unpopular & unrepresentative Congresswomen, it will be interesting to see how it plays out. I can tell you that they have made Israel feel abandoned by the U.S.”

Frankly, their concerns about Israel are justified and mirror my own.  Under Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel has become a domineering bully, and Trump has fed the monster.

Only one republican in Congress found the guts to speak out against Trump’s diatribe, and that was a milquetoast reaction by Representative Chip Roy, who tweeted …

“POTUS was wrong to say any American citizen, whether in Congress or not, has any ‘home’ besides the U.S.”

All the rest of the republicans sitting in the Capitol today remained silent.  Their silence speaks more loudly than any words could, don’t you think?

Fox ‘News’ commentators Griff Jenkins, Jedidiah Bila, and Todd Piro laughed about Trump’s racist tweets.  They referred to them as “very comedic”.Fox commentatorsFortunately, other leaders around the world were appalled …

“Donald Trump telling four ethnic minority American congresswomen to “go back” where they “originally came from”. 1950s racism straight from the White House.” – David Lammy, Member of Parliament of the UK

“The President of the United States telling elected politicians — or any other Americans for that matter — to ‘go back’ to other countries is not OK, and diplomatic politeness should not stop us saying so, loudly and clearly.” – Nicola Sturgeon, First Minister of Scotland

“I’ve heard it from racists and fascists. Never from a mainstream politician. Here you have the president of the U.S.A. using that same sort of language.” – Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London

“It’s an insult to the Statue of Liberty, America’s most famous symbol, an insult to the American values where migrants from all over the world are united as one nation under one law.” – Ibrahim Milhim, spokesman for the Palestinian Authority

“Trump’s racism is sickening. Any European politician who fails to condemn this has questions to answer & should be ashamed of themselves.” – Guy Verhofstadt, Belgian politician and member of the EU Parliament

Donald Trump is the shame of this nation, a wart that grows larger and uglier with each passing day.  He shames us all when he speaks such hateful, vitriolic words.  Today, I am ashamed of this nation, ashamed to be called an “American”.

Small & Feeble Minds …

I live in a community that is probably 35% refugees from Middle-Eastern countries.  Our neighbors to the right are refugees from first Iraq, then Syria and have become our closest friends.  We share meals and holidays, share our cultures, laughter and love.  In the days following 9/11, another Iraqi family down the street whose daughters were friends with Miss Goose came to our door asking if there was anything they could do for us and saying how very sorry they were for what had happened.  I was so touched.  The police had to place patrols in the parking lot of the local mosque 24/7, for the Muslim community began receiving threats.  It was a tough time for us all … including our Muslim brothers and sisters.

We’ve come a long way since September 11, 2001.  Or have we?  Last November, the people of this nation elected three Muslim women to the U.S. House of Representatives, which would seem to indicate that we are moving … have moved … past the bigotry and Islamophobia that seemed in some ways to define the days and weeks after 9/11.  However, at least one person in this nation seems to have a problem with those women, one in particular.  The person I refer to is Donald Trump, and the newly-elected representative is Ilhan Omar, a representative from the state of Minnesota.Ilhan-Omar-Time-magIt all started back in February when Ms. Omar made a comment criticizing Israel’s occupation of Palestine.  House Minority Leader and member of the House Freedom Caucus, Kevin McCarthy, jumped all over her comment, saying it was even worse than Representative Steve King’s support of white supremacy.  He claimed her comment was ‘anti-Semitic’ (it was not), and rallied the forces of AIPAC (American Israel Public Affairs Committee) to condemn Ms. Omar.  What happened next was a series of back-and-forth that isn’t worth the time and space to relate here, but suffice it to say that Ms. Omar made quite clear that she was not speaking against the Jewish people, but against the state of Israel overstepping its bounds by occupying Palestine.  For the record, I agree with her.

“I want to talk about the political influence in this country that says it is OK for people to push for allegiance to a foreign country. I want to ask why is it OK for me to talk about the influence of the NRA (National Rifle Association), of fossil fuel industries or Big Pharma, and not talk about a powerful lobbying group that is influencing policies?”

Then last month, Ms. Omar once again came under fire after giving a speech at an event hosted by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), where she was speaking in response to the two mosque shootings in New Zealand, speaking about the lingering fear directed at Muslims since 9/11, and the rights Muslims have to speak out about being viewed with suspicion.

“CAIR was founded after 9/11, because they recognized that some people did something and that all of us were starting to lose access to our civil liberties. Many people expect our community to feel like it needs to hide every time something happens. But repeatedly we have shown them that we are not to be bullied, not to be threatened, we are not to be terrorized, we are strong and resilient, and we will always show up to be ourselves because we know we have a right to a dignified existence and a dignified life.”

Many of us knew this would get worse, we finally have a leader, a world leader, in the White House who publicly says ‘Islam hates us,’ who fuels hate against Muslims, who thinks it is okay to speak about a faith and a whole community in a way that is dehumanizing, vilifying and doesn’t understand — or at least makes us want to think he doesn’t understand — the consequences his words might have.”

And once again, the republicans and Donald Trump were off the rails, with one comment I read even referring to CAIR as a ‘terrorist organization’.  There is no need for me to repeat all the ignorant comments that came out of the depths of ignorance, but one person took the hate and bigotry a step further, possibly even putting Ms. Omar’s life in danger.  That person is Donald Trump.

On Friday, Donald Trump who calls himself a ‘president’, took one small portion of Ms. Omar’s speech out of context and re-tweeted a doctored video that I will not replay here, for it denigrates every citizen of this nation, including Representative Omar, but suffice it to say that it attempts to show her as being dismissive of the lives that were lost on that tragic day.  This is the work of a small and feeble mind.  When the ‘man’ at the helm of a nation of more than 300 million people resorts to such juvenile tactics, he incites violence by the other small and feeble minds in the nation.  Who, really, is the terrorist here?  It seems to me the one who calls himself a ‘president’ is as much a terrorist as were Mohamed Atta, Marwan al-Shehhi, and Ziad Jarrah.

Predictably, the republicans and conservative media outlets went wild.  Ms. Omar has already been the focus of threats, including one by a Trump supporter who was recently arrested.  On April 7, Patrick Carlineo Jr., an ardent Trump supporter, was arrested for making violent threats in a phone call to Omar’s office. According to the criminal complaint, on March 21, Carlineo told one of Omar’s staff: “Omar’s a fucking terrorist. I’ll put a bullet in her fucking skull.”

Is this really the sort of nation we want to be?  Is this how we want to be viewed as a society?  The majority of us are capable of thinking for ourselves, reading or hearing Ms. Omar’s speech and understanding that it was a plea for inclusiveness, a condemnation of bigotry.  Sadly, however, there are people in this nation who, rather than use their own minds, prefer to believe what they are told.  In truth, we should be able to believe what the president of the country tells us, but under the current regime, it has been proven thousands of times that he lies to suit his own purposes.

I have the utmost respect for Representative Ilhan Omar, and if anything happens to her, her blood will be on the hands of one Donald Trump.  It’s time, people, to wake up and oust this abomination who some call ‘president’.

Before The War Came

Some time ago … I believe it was early in 2016, I discovered a blogger from India by the name of Anam, writing as Love Read Dream. Anam is very young (17-18) but wise beyond her years. She is at times funny, other times pensive, but she writes as well as any I have read. A few days ago I read a poem she wrote titled Before the War Came, and I was so touched by her words that I wanted to share it with my readers. Please allow me to introduce this beautiful young lady and her touching words. Thank you, Anam, for this hauntingly beautiful poem, and for your permission to share it with my friends.

Fade Into Oblivion

a homesickness for a home to which you cannot return, a home which maybe never was; the nostalgia, the grief, the yearning for the lost spaces of your past.

“Go back to where you came from!”
I wish I could.
But my home is burning.
And I’m aching for the beautiful place my home once was.
There is a name for this feeling.
Hiraeth. It’s Welsh.
A foreign word for a foreign person.
“You are Dirty!” “Immigrants!” “Job stealers!””Refugees!”
My blood is tainted by my foreignness.
Maybe that’s the dirt you’re talking about.
I wish I had an answer for you.
But I’m drowning in nostalgia.
My dreams are invaded by images of my home.
The way my home has been invaded by war.
In this state of daydreaming,
I’m sorry if I accidentally bump into you
I’m sorry if that makes you jump out of your skin

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The Face Of Evil … Jeremy Joseph Christian

On Friday, 35-year-old Jeremy Joseph Christian, of north Portland, Oregon, boarded a light rail MAX train in Northeast Portland.  He apparently had a chip on his shoulder and, for no discernable reason, began berating two women, one of whom was wearing a hijab.  He began ranting and shouting, telling them to “Get off the bus, and get out of the country because you don’t pay taxes here”.  Fearing that his rants were escalating, at least three other passengers acted to try to calm Mr. Christian and protect the two women.  Two of the three men are now dead, the third is in the hospital being treated for non-life-threatening injuries, and Mr. Christian is being held without bond in police custody on two counts of aggravated murder, one count of attempted murder, two counts of intimidation in the second degree and one count of possession of a restricted weapon as a felon.


The face of evil – Jeremy Christian

A young woman on the train who wishes to remain anonymous said that when Christian got on the train, he was speaking on his cell phone:

“He was pretty upset, squinting his eyes, venting to his friend on the phone about some girl that just pepper-sprayed him. He was complaining about the city, complaining about Muslims, Christians, and it just got very violent very quick.”

After about 10 minutes, she apparently concluded that something was not right, and began recording him on her cell phone. To the best of my knowledge, that recording has not yet been released to the public.

Police say that his postings on social media sites typically relate to Nazis and political violence.  On his Facebook page, he expressed sympathy for Nazis and also for Timothy McVeigh, who bombed a federal building in Oklahoma City in 1995. And just last month, Christian attended a free speech march with a baseball bat to confront protesters but the bat was quickly confiscated by officers.

Jeremy-Christian-2.jpgIn an incident the night before the attack, Christian confronted a black woman at a light rail station.  He threw a Gatorade bottle at her, after which she sprayed him with mace.  Christian has a criminal record that includes a host of felonies going back to 2002, when he was convicted of first-degree robbery and second-degree kidnapping. He also has a conviction for carrying/using a dangerous weapon from 2002.

During an 8-year prison stint for robbery, Christian racked up a lengthy disciplinary record, according to Oregon Department of Corrections officials. Those violations included assault and disobedience. He moved around in the state’s prison system, serving time at four institutions in all.

Two of his Facebook postings:



Note that 8 people actually ‘liked’ the one about Norway!


Donald Trump wants to ban immigrants who are of the Muslim faith, claiming that to let them come to the U.S. is opening the door for terrorism.  Guess what … terrorism isn’t coming from the Middle East, it is right here, right now, it has a face (see above), it has a name, Jeremy Christian, and there are thousands more just like him in this country.  These, folks, are the real terrorists.

This 35-year-old-man obviously had severe problems, had been in trouble with the law numerous times, and yet nobody picked up on it, or if they did, they shrugged their shoulders and … let Jeremy keep doing what Jeremy did.  Until Friday, when he robbed two good men of their lives.

“He’s been in prison. He’s always been spouting anti-establishment stuff. But he’s a nice person. I just can’t imagine.” – Mary Christian, Jeremy’s mother

I suppose that all parents have a bit of blindness when it comes to their children, but this goes beyond blindness.  To say, after everything he has done, that he is a ‘good person’, is simply delusional.

The victims:

BestRicky John Best of Happy Valley, Oregon, died at the scene.  Rick was a city of Portland employee, Army veteran and onetime candidate for Clackamas County commissioner. Best had three teenage sons and a 12-year-old daughter. Best retired from the Army as a platoon sergeant for Corps maintenance in 2012 after 23 years in the military.

Meche23-year-old Taliesin Myrddin Namkai Meche of southeast Portland, was pronounced dead at a local hospital. A friend said that Namkai-Meche died as he lived: Standing up for something he believed in, hoping his action would change the world for the better. He held a degree in economics, worked for a local construction firm, and had just purchased his first home.

Fletcher-hospital.png21-year-old Micah Fletcher, was treated for injuries police said were “not expected to be life-threatening”. Fletcher is an aspiring poet who won a 2013 poetry competition, the Verselandia poetry slam, with a poem condemning prejudices faced by Muslims. He is a student at Portland State University, and works at a pizza shop. A GoFundMe account was established two days ago and has already received $211,685 as of this writing!  There are still a lot of good people in this world.


Micah Fletcher’s Mother With One Of The Girls He Helped Save On Friday

These three men acted without thought for their own safety, they simply jumped in and did what needed to be done.  As I write this, I feel deep sadness, particularly for the two gentlemen who lost their lives, but also for … all of us.

Micah Fletcher wrote this poem on Saturday, the day after he was stabbed:

“I, am alive,
I spat in the eye of hate and lived.
This is what we must do for one another
We must live for one another
We must fight for one another
We must die in the name of freedom if we have to.
Luckily it’s not my turn today”
Beautiful young man with a beautiful heart. 

Idiot of the Week – Allen Bernard West

Idiot of the Week medal

I wanted to do an Idiot of the Week post two days ago, but the subject (Alex Jones) turned out to be simply too evil.  But today, as I was researching a news article, this man came onto my radar and taunted me.  He perfectly qualifies as an idiot extraordinaire, as you will see in a few moments.  Allen West has been around for a while, but the reason he fell onto my radar now is that he is aligning himself with none other than da trumpeter! He has met with Trump no less than two times recently, reportedly about the possibility of joining Trump’s national security team.

West has a speckled history, at best.  He served in the U.S. Army from 1983-2004, but was relieved of duty in 2004 when he was involved in an incident whereby he threatened and attempted to kill an Iraqi detainee.  After an Article 32 hearing was held, West accepted non-judicial punishment, was fined $5,000, and allowed to retire as a lieutenant colonel.

After an unsuccessful bid in 2008 for a seat in the House of Representatives, West won a seat in 2010, but lost it in the 2012 election, making him a single-term representative.  I think we can begin to see why he lost in 2012 when we let Mr. West tell us some of the things he said during those two years:

  • In July 2011 – “You have proven repeatedly that you are not a Lady, therefore, shall not be afforded due respect from me!” – to fellow representative Debby Wasserman Schultz
  • “If Joseph Goebbels [Hitler’s Minister of Propaganda] was around, he’d be very proud of the Democrat party, because they have an incredible propaganda machine.” – statement to reporters that drew criticism from other members of Congress, as well as the attention of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL)
  • During a speech at a country club dinner, speaking of liberals: “Take your message of equality of achievement. … You can take it to Europe, you can take it to the bottom of the sea, you can take it to the North Pole, but get the hell out of the United States of America.” (Really, Mr. West???  I think I pay taxes here, too!)
  • “I must confess, when I see anyone with an Obama 2012 bumper sticker, I recognize them as a threat to the gene pool.” (Guess that makes me a threat to the gene pool!)
  • Speaking at a women’s conference: “[Liberal women] have been neutering American men and bringing us to the point of this incredible weakness — to let them know that we are not going to have our men become subservient. That’s what we need you to do. Because if you don’t, then the debt will continue to grow…deficits will continue to grow.” (So, what is he actually suggesting?  That men make it a weekly habit to beat their liberal women???)
  • During an interview on the O’Reilly Factor, West compared the Democratic Party to a “21st-century plantation.” Adding, “So I’m here as the modern-day Harriet Tubman, to kind of lead people on the Underground Railroad, away from that plantation into a sense of sensibility.” (I think you need to go back and study the history of Ms. Tubman, Mr. West!)
  • “Every time I see one of those bumper stickers, I look at the person inside that is driving. Because that person represents something that would give away our country. Would give away who we are, our rights and freedoms and liberties because they are afraid to stand up and confront that which is the antithesis, anathema of who we are.” (I guess that’s two strikes for me, as I have long sported the bumper sticker of which he speaks!)coexist2

It should come as no surprise that he has gained endorsements and support from three who have previously come onto my radar and earned my scorn:  Glenn Beck called for him to run for president in 2012; Sarah Palin and Ted Nugent both supported him for vice-president.  Can I pick ‘em, or what?

But now for West’s crowning achievement on the path to true, complete idiocy … this meme:

The above meme was shared on West’s Facebook page last Saturday morning.  There is some dispute whether West himself actually posted the meme or whether his editor-in-chief, Michele Hickford posted it.  Either way, it is West’s venue and he must take full responsibility.  The meme was taken down on Saturday afternoon, and an apology issued by Ms. Hickford.  Mr. West himself has not issued an apology.  This, my friends, speaks volumes about the character, or lack thereof, of this man.

West is also, surprise, an avid supporter of the 2nd Amendment, and is a Life and Endowment Member of the National Rifle Association (NRA). In May 2016, he announced that he had been elected as a member of the NRA Board of Directors for a three-year term. His rhetoric on gun owners’ rights is predictable as he claims that President Obama has tried repeatedly to “take guns” from “law-abiding citizens”, and the rest of the Republican rhetoric we have all been hearing for the better part of a decade.

West is also, again … surprise, a frequent contributor on Fox News, where he continually spews more of his right-wing theories and anti-Democratic rhetoric, such as this:

“Morning folks. While you were sleeping, Barack Hussein Obama took out his pen and ordered our Military to enlist illegal aliens. In other words, this charlatan has allowed those who have disrespected our Constitution and are not citizens to take an oath to support and defend the very document, our rule of law, of which they are in violation.”

The reality is that former President George W. Bush was the one who initiated the program he references.  A visit to his website  provides more proof that the man is well-qualified for this award, as do his appearances on Fox News:

  • President Obama is “siding with groups like ISIS because he supports their goal of building an Islamic caliphate”.
  • On October 3rd, 2014, Allen West makes the paranoid claim that undocumented immigrants are spreading a childhood respiratory illness through America, as part of a plan of biological warfare orchestrated by the Obama administration for providing shelter to the undocumented migrant youths from Central America to help spread it. He would repeat this claim on October 8th.
  • On April 20th, 2015, Allen West is speaking in Texas, and blames a rise in high school football injuries on taking Christian prayer out of schools.
  • A column on his website claims the Supreme Court ruling on Gay Marriage could lead to a new civil war

There is much, much more to dislike about this man, but I am tired of reading his garbage for now.  Those of you who can stomach more of this, feel free to visit his website (link above) or his Facebook page.  Meanwhile, I hereby do present this coveted award of Idiot of the Week to Mr. Allen West.  Mr. West – I hope that you are able to understand what an honour this award is and that it will add grace to your life for many years to come.

The Story of Ahmed Mohamed and a Clock

ahmedAhmed Mohamed was just 14 when he was arrested last September in Irving, Texas.  The charge?  He was accused of bringing a bomb to school, of being a suspected terrorist.  The reality?  He was a young inventor, making his own radios and repairing his own go-kart. According to The Guardian, everybody in middle school knew Mohamed as “the kid who makes crazy contraptions”, and who fixed electronics classmates brought to him, earning him the nickname “Inventor Kid”. Last September, he built a working clock out of discarded parts, and he was proud of his invention … he wanted to show it to his teachers at school, especially his engineering teacher.  But at least one teacher was unimpressed with his invention, and claiming that she thought it was a bomb, she confiscated it and reported him to the school’s principal. Local law enforcement was called and Mohamed was questioned by police for an hour and a half.

“They were like, ‘So you tried to make a bomb?’”

“I told them no, I was trying to make a clock.”

“He said, ‘It looks like a movie bomb to me.’”

ahmed-handcuffsAhmed was led out of the school at 3 p.m., his hands cuffed behind him. He was sent to a juvenile detention center where he was fingerprinted, required to take a mug shot, and further questioned before being released to his parents. The principal suspended him for three days. Two days later, Police Chief Larry Body said Ahmed would not be charged. “We have no evidence to support that there was an intention to create alarm or cause people to be concerned,” he said.

This, folks, is what happens when we let fear whip us into a feeding frenzy.  We forget our humanity and judge people by race, skin colour, religion, or national origin.  We put the lives of innocent people in danger because we have listened to those who said we must “be afraid … be very afraid” of people who are different in one way or another.

Even though he was found to be innocent of any wrongdoing, Ahmed’s life changed that day.


Ahmed received much positive support, including being invited to the White House by President Obama, and invitations to Google’s science fair, and the headquarters of the United Nations in New York City, among others.  But he also received negative feedback, including becoming the target of conspiracy theorists.  Some conservative commentators sought to cast suspicion on the Mohamed family and Muslim groups that supported Ahmed after his detainment, positing that Mohamed planned to provoke his arrest to embarrass police and speculating the incident was a plot orchestrated by Islamist activists.

A segment that aired on The Blaze last September featuring host Glenn Beck discussing the teen’s arrest with guests Irving Mayor Beth Van Duyne and Jim Hanson, the executive vice president of the Center for Security Policy. Beck and Hanson theorized that Islamist extremists or the Mohamed family may have directed the teen to bring the clock to school as a stunt.

In October 2015, the family made the decision to move back to Qatar, where they lived until last month when they returned to the U.S. for the summer to visit friends and relatives.  They plan to return to Qatar at the end of summer. “For the safety of my family, I have to go back to Qatar, because right now it’s not very safe for my family or for anyone who’s a minority,” Ahmed said at a news conference in Texas in August. “I can’t walk out of the house without being covered up because I might get shot, because that happens here.”  Since their return to the U.S. last month, here is a sampling of some of the messages Ahmed has received on Twitter:

  • “should have never let those terrorists back in the US”
  • “That Little Bastard Needs to Leave American Soil.”
  • “Go back!”
  • There’s one with a picture of a plastic bag. “Since you left there’s a new invention for breathing under water put this on your head & jump in”

Sometimes I am so ashamed of my fellow mankind.

Today, The Guardian reports that Ahmed’s father has filed a defamation lawsuit against eight conservative media figures and organizations, including Glenn Beck, media network, the Blaze; Fox Television Stations; and Beth Van Duyne, mayor of Irving.

The suit seeks damages if retractions and corrections are not forthcoming. It claims: “The public has been misled into believing that the Mohameds are terrorists who plotted to have the Irving police wrongfully arrest a teenage boy for bringing an alarm clock to school. These broadcasts irresponsibly fan the flames of fear and anger towards Muslims and immigrants. Each of these Defendants should be required to retract their falsehoods and broadcast the truth”.

I will not comment on the lawsuit, other than to say that I agree their statements and accusations were unfair and should be retracted … should never have been uttered … and that young Ahmed should receive an apology … a public apology.  But I will address the mentality that brought us to this point, the Islamophobia.  This is what comes from politicians and others shouting from the rooftops that all Muslims are bad (they are not), that Islam is a violent religion full of hate (it is not), and that we must ban all Muslims from our country, deport those already here, and always “be afraid … be very afraid”.  This is what comes from millions of people jumping on that bandwagon and blindly supporting those fear-mongering politicians.  This is what happens … a 14-year-old boy is hurt, an obviously intelligent, inquisitive boy who dreams of a future: “I just want to invent. I want to help the world a lot, and it would be amazing to see my creations in action.” Think about it.


Idiot of the Week #1 – Katrina Pierson


Idiot of the Week medalNow, I think we have all (well, mostly all) agreed that presidential candidate Donald Trump does not speak well.  I think we have agreed that there is no filter between what he thinks and what he says.  Even most articulate candidates, which would include relatively speaking, almost all other candidates, understand the importance of getting one’s message across without making costly blunders and gaffes.  Thus, politicians running for office almost always have spokespersons, people who help clean up the messes they may have inadvertently created, who do media interviews to help promote and clarify the ideas of the candidate.  That said, one can only ask the question:  why in the Sam Heck did Trump select an idiot like Katrina Pierson to be his National Spokesperson???? (As always, my snarky remarks are recognizable)


Can we say “Botox”?

Allow me to introduce Ms. Katrina Pierson.  Born in Kansas, but now a Texan, she earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from the University of Texas in Dallas in 2006.  At age 20, she was arrested for shoplifting $168 of clothing from a J.C. Penney store, to which she pleaded ‘no contest’. She voted for Barack Obama in 2008 because she “thought it was pretty awesome … that Barack Obama was a black guy running for that office.” But then she changed her allegiance to the Republican Party, saying “Everything that he [Obama] stood for was in complete opposition to what I felt.” Her two chief complaints about President Obama seemed to be that he did not always wear an American flag lapel pin, and the “whole socialized medicine thing.”  Very serious issues, indeed, Madam Pierson.



McCain is welcomed home by President Richard M. Nixon

At first she was not enamored of the Republican Party because she did not like John McCain (perhaps because he was captured in Vietnam?), but she says she did “kind of like Sarah Palin, who seemed ‘more normal’”Already you see why she is being named this week’s “Idiot of the Week”, yes?  She has said that when she went to her first Tea Party meeting, she felt like she found ‘her people.’ She especially liked their stance against government spending on social programs.  Is it an oxymoron, then, that she received government benefits while working on Ted Cruz’ campaign in 2012?


In 2014, she somehow got the notion in her head that she should run against incumbent Pete Sessions for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.  (Please excuse me for a moment while I go get some aspirin for the headache brought on by the thought of a Palin-admirer in the House!)  Ted Cruz was lukewarm in his support of Pierson, however his father, right-wing evangelical preacher Rafael Cruz, enthusiastically backed her.  Needless to say, she lost the primary and took a job as spokesperson for the Tea Party Leadership Fund, which has a somewhat questionable reputation.  According to Matt Mackowiak, a Republican consultant from Texas, “We all have to pay the bills, but for Katrina, there is no principle that she isn’t willing to abandon for the right price.”

circus train.jpgThen along came the Donald Trump Circus Train, and just like any kid, when she saw the circus come to town, she dreamed of joining.  And from this point, I will let Ms. Pierson tell you a bit of her story in her own words:“Islam preys on the weak and uses political correctness as cover. Two things that Americans won’t be concerned with when @realDonaldTrump is in the White House.”

  • “What good does it do to have a good nuclear triad if you’re afraid to use it?” (Please excuse me again while I go for more aspirin, and perhaps some Tums)
  • “When Donald says, ‘I think you’re great, I really want you to work for me,’ I don’t think any sane person would say no to that.” (Apparently I am not sane.  Oh well.)
  • “Cruz would be a good president, but I think right now with all the hyper-partisanship in the country, I think Trump would be the better person to transition out of Obama.”
  • “So what? They’re Muslim!” Upon debating the constitutionality of Trump’s proposed ban on Muslims.


  • “Maybe I’ll wear a fetus next time & bring awareness to 50 million aborted people that will never get to be on Twitter.” This after being criticized for wearing a necklace made from shotgun shell casings. (Am I the only one who thinks this is beyond even inappropriate?)
  • “Perfect Obama’s dad born in Africa, Mitt Romney’s dad born in Mexico. Any pure breeds left?”
  • “A lot of times, you have to use restructures to preserve jobs. Mr. Trump believes in putting your oxygen mask on first before helping others.” This in defense of Trump’s multiple bankruptcies.
  • “Gay is not normal, accept that.”


Which brings us to this week.  As I mentioned in an  earlier post, Mike Pence, in an attempt to clean up the mess made by Mr. Trump last week when he mocked and insulted Khizr and Ghazala Khan, claimed that President Obama and his policies were the cause of the death of the Khan’s son … in Iraq … in 2004 … fully four years before President Obama was elected.  Okay, bad enough, but easily fixed with a retraction and an apology, right?  Wrong.  Enter Trump’s illustrious National Spokesperson, Katrina Pierson.

On Tuesday, Pierson upheld Pence’s statement: “Donald Trump never voted for the Iraq War; Hillary Clinton did,” Pierson argued. “It was under Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton that changed the rules of engagement that probably cost [Khan’s] life.”  Despite the facts above that make it quite clear that President Obama had nothing to do with Khan’s death, Pierson persisted on Wednesday in an interview with CNN’s Alisyn Camerota and John Berman:

Camerota: “Do you want to apologize to [Humayun Khan’s father, Khizr Khan]?”

Pierson: “Apologize for the timeline. The timeline is very simple and true. Hillary Clinton voted for the war in Iraq. She did not support the surge [after Khan’s death]. Barack Obama made things worse by invading more countries.” 

Camerota: “But this was in 2004 when George W. Bush was president.”

Berman: “You do acknowledge now that there you were just wrong,”

Pierson: “Absolutely. That’s why I used ‘probably’ because I was just going through the timeline. Because since then we have had tens of thousands of soldiers that have been lost. Trump had absolutely nothing to do with it.” *

Camerota: “But no one was blaming Donald Trump for Capt. Khan’s death. You were blaming President Obama. He wasn’t president yet.”

Pierson: “Donald Trump did not vote for that war, period! That’s why this is a ridiculous conversation. Donald Trump had nothing to do with sending troops into Iraq in the first place.”

Pierson: “This father [Khan] apparently has been a strong proponent of Sharia law.”

Camerota: “Katrina, he doesn’t stand for it, he never has stood for it. He carries around the U.S. Constitution. He abides by the Constitution.”

Pierson: “That’s what he said.  I’m just telling you the report and the document that he wrote were put out there for all to see.”

At that point, an audible sigh came from Camerota as the segment ended to cover breaking news about an airplane crash-landing in Dubai.

And so, without further ado, I would be remiss if I did not award the Idiot of the Week award to Ms. Katrina Pierson!  {clap, clap, clap}  I was about halfway through the reading and researching for this article when it came to me that, in addition to being fully qualified for Idiot of the Week, she is also qualified for a second Filosofa’s award:  America’s #3 Bimbo!  Trump sure knows how to pick ‘em, doesn’t he folks?

* Notes:  The death toll from the Iraq war numbers approximately 4,491, significantly less than ‘tens of thousands’; Trump did, initially, support invading Iraq.