Posts Tagged ‘ islam ’

Ron Paul and what causes suicide terrorism

Rep. Ron Paul is always a guy you can look to for some crazy comments. Whether its his views on the economy or on health care, this guy is always good for some raised eyebrows and a laugh or two. Recently, Paul has argued that the primary motivation for suicide attacks on the United States, like 9/11, is US occupation of Muslim countries. First, Paul made that claim in a web post . He said:

Though it is hard for many to believe, honest studies show that the real motivation behind the September 11 attacks and the vast majority of other instances of suicide terrorism is not that our enemies are bothered by our way of life. Neither is it our religion, or our wealth.

Rather, it is primarily occupation. If you were to imagine for a moment how you would feel if another country forcibly occupied the United States, had military bases and armed soldiers present in our hometowns, you might begin to understand why foreign occupation upsets people so much.

He was attacked for this view at the last debate when Rick Santorum said “We were not attacked because of our actions,” Santorum said. “They want to kill us for who we are and what we stand for.”

However, as much as it pains me to say it, on this point Ron Paul is mostly right. Robert A. Pape , one of the most respected academic experts on national security, recently published a book (with James K. Feldman) titled “Cutting the Fuse: The Explosion of Global Suicide Terrorism and How to Stop It.” In it they argue that Muslims are motivated to kill Americans and other Westerners because of

“deep anger at the presence of Western combat forces in the Persian Gulf region and other predominantly Muslim lands….  nationalism–the desire to protect and perpetuate their community’s political, religious and social institutions –is the central explanation for why some individuals …willingly chose to defend their community’s way of life by sacrificing their own in carrying out suicide attacks.”

Their evidence is compelling. They have compiled a worldwide database of every known suicide attack and confirmed suicide attacker since 1980. After looking at the database, one comes to the unmistakable conclusion that occupation and a desire to protect a community’s political, religious and social institutions are the root causes of suicide terrorism. Continue reading

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GOP Presidential Candidates Series: Herman Cain

I’ve decided that it would be good to do an intermittent series on the numerous candidates who want to run for President on the Republican ticket. Even though chances are very low that I would ever vote for one of them in the general election, the choice of who will run against President Obama is a very important one. I hope I can shed some light on the major players.

That being said,  I will start by looking at a candidate that I don’t think I could ever support (to give me time to make  up my mind about the rest!). Herman Cain is the former CEO of Godfather’s pizza, a radio host and a Baptist minister. He is  the only black man in the race on the Republican side and was raised from very humble origins in segregated Georgia to become a successful businessman. However, he has  never held any elected office, though he did run for the Republican nomination to be the US Senator from Georgia in 2004  (and lost badly). Lately he has been making some huge waves in conservative Republican circles by drawing considerable support from Tea Party Republicans. As Nate Silver explains, Cain’s poll numbers are  what makes him such  an anomaly:

In the post-reform primary era (1972 onward), there’s never really been a candidate that combined such limited name recognition, such underwhelming credentials — and such impressive polling.

So, not many Republicans know of Cain, but among the ones that do, he is very popular. This probably speaks to the anti-Washington fervor of many Republicans  more than anything, but it is very interesting that someone with no political background is being considered by so many for so high a position. Let’s leave it at that and dig into his policy positions, which is where the interesting stuff is.

Cain has said (and I have heard it repeated by some Republicans) that his candidacy would “take race off the table”  because  he could criticize Pres. Obama without being labeled a racist. Well, as this piece in Slate  magazine lays out, Cain’s candidacy might take some black/white racial issues off the table, but nominating him would bring other racial/ethnic issues to the fore.  You see, Cain has a problem with Muslims. Specifically, he does not trust Muslim doctors to operate on him (He though he was being operated on by a Muslim once, but phew!  it was only a Lebanese Christian). He also said he would not appoint a Muslim to be a federal judge or as a  cabinet official (the Slate article) because apparently Muslims are  not dedicated to this country or to the Constitution. This was not a temporary slip-up either. He has repeatedly said that he would illegally administer a religious test for people to take office in the United States. He said he would force Rep. Keith Ellison (who is  a Muslim) to swear his oath of office on a Bible, instead of on his Holy book. In a country where Herman Cain was once forced to the back of the bus and denied  the chance to drink from a “whites-only” water fountain, a President Cain would bring back prejudice and racism towards people from a different background than himself.

But its OK because  he’s only targeting Muslims, right? (sarcasm)

Among Cain’s other stances he has promised not to sign a bill that is longer  than 3 pages (though that’s probably just a stupid, populist pandering line and not a serious pledge). On his website, Cain states: “liberals have forced excessive environmental regulations that have stifled our domestic energy production, and instead, forced American consumers to rely far too heavily upon foreign oil.” I have never seen a serious study that says getting rid of regulations would significantly reduce our dependence on foreign oil. (if you know of one, put it in the comments) He really does  not like the EPA at all and has  said that he would appoint the CEO of Shell Oil and other energy executives to a commission that would get rid of regulations on their own companies. Is that a conflict of interest?

On healthcare, his website is mostly just a bunch of lies about the Affordable Care Act and then a couple of platitudes about tort reform and promoting HSAs, neither of which would address rising costs more than a percentage point or two. He also wants to expand the health insurance tax exemption for employers to include employees as well. The exemption is certainly a problem for the market, but the way to fix  it isn’t to expand it, the way to fix it is to get rid of the special tax  break for employer-sponsored insurance. Interestingly, in the “economy” section of his campaign platform he lambastes the federal government because

The federal government should not be in the business of picking and choosing industries they support financially. This happens in the form of subsidies, and special tax breaks in which the government “plays favorite” with one industry and in turn, hinders the competitiveness of another.

So he doesn’t support special tax breaks for specific industries… except he does support the biggest one of those special tax  breaks. He doesn’t support the government “picking and choosing industries” to support financially, unless its the health insurance industry, presumably…. how inconsistent.

Well, I cant find much to like here. I hope Cain fizzles out soon. America would probably be better for it. If you have any questions or disputes, leave a comment.