While he goes low, we went high

While a funny cartoon published on Truthdig had expected a million MEs in Donald Trump’s inaugural speech, it was rather dozens of WEs. Despite seemingly lining up with millions of American assumed losers, it was factually the majestic plural. Like sheepish schoolchildren, former presidents Carter, Clinton, and Bush jr. had to listen to what had gone wrong in the country (and that, not how) Trump will make America great again. Immediate past president Obama was just smiling. It is said that Trump had worked himself on the speech but it wasn’t anything else than what he had yelled during an endless and extremely profane campaign. Populism at its best. Dangerous and scary.

Inaugural Address 20 January 2017.

By President Donald Trump

Chief Justice Roberts, President Carter, President Clinton, President Bush, President Obama, fellow Americans, and people of the world: thank you.

We, the citizens of America, are now joined in a great national effort to rebuild our country and restore its promise for all of our people.

Together, we will determine the course of America and the world for many, many years to come.

We will face challenges. We will confront hardships. But we will get the job done.

Every four years, we gather on these steps to carry out the orderly and peaceful transfer of power, and we are grateful to President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama for their gracious aid throughout this transition. They have been magnificent. Thank you.

Today’s ceremony, however, has very special meaning. Because today we are not merely transferring power from one Administration to another, or from one party to another – but we are transferring power from Washington DC and giving it back to you, the people.

For too long, a small group in our nation’s Capital has reaped the rewards of government while the people have borne the cost.

Washington flourished – but the people did not share in its wealth.

Politicians prospered – but the jobs left, and the factories closed.

The establishment protected itself, but not the citizens of our country.

Their victories have not been your victories; their triumphs have not been your triumphs; and while they celebrated in our nation’s capital, there was little to celebrate for struggling families all across our land.

That all changes – starting right here, and right now, because this moment is your moment: it belongs to you.

It belongs to everyone gathered here today and everyone watching all across America.

This is your day. This is your celebration.

And this, the United States of America, is your country.

What truly matters is not which party controls our government, but whether our government is controlled by the people.

January 20, 2017, will be remembered as the day the people became the rulers of this nation again.

The forgotten men and women of our country will be forgotten no longer.

Everyone is listening to you now.

You came by the tens of millions to become part of a historic movement the likes of which the world has never seen before.

At the center of this movement is a crucial conviction: that a nation exists to serve its citizens.

Americans want great schools for their children, safe neighborhoods for their families, and good jobs for themselves.

These are just and reasonable demands of righteous people and a righteous public.

But for too many of our citizens, a different reality exists: mothers and children trapped in poverty in our inner cities; rusted-out factories scattered like tombstones across the landscape of our nation; an education system, flush with cash, but which leaves our young and beautiful students deprived of all knowledge; and the crime and the gangs and the drugs that have stolen too many lives and robbed our country of so much unrealized potential.

This American carnage stops right here and stops right now.

We are one nation – and their pain is our pain. Their dreams are our dreams; and their success will be our success. We share one heart, one home, and one glorious destiny.

The oath of office I take today is an oath of allegiance to all Americans.

For many decades, we’ve enriched foreign industry at the expense of American industry; subsidized the armies of other countries while allowing for the very sad depletion of our military; we’ve defended other nations’ borders while refusing to defend our own; and spent trillions and trillions of dollars overseas while America’s infrastructure has fallen into disrepair and decay.

We’ve made other countries rich while the wealth, strength, and confidence of our country has dissipated over the horizon.

One by one, the factories shuttered and left our shores, with not even a thought about the millions and millions of American workers that were left behind.

The wealth of our middle class has been ripped from their homes and then redistributed all across the world.

But that is the past. And now we are looking only to the future.

We assembled here today are issuing a new decree to be heard in every city, in every foreign capital, and in every hall of power.

From this day forward, a new vision will govern our land.

From this day forward, it’s going to be only America first, America first.

Every decision on trade, on taxes, on immigration, on foreign affairs, will be made to benefit American workers and American families.

We must protect our borders from the ravages of other countries making our products, stealing our companies, and destroying our jobs. Protection will lead to great prosperity and strength.

It’s time to stop playing nice with those who want to destroy us. To win, politicians must offer more radical dreams

I will fight for you with every breath in my body – and I will never, ever let you down.

America will start winning again, winning like never before.

We will bring back our jobs. We will bring back our borders. We will bring back our wealth. And we will bring back our dreams.

We will build new roads, and highways, and bridges, and airports, and tunnels, and railways all across our wonderful nation.

We will get our people off of welfare and back to work – rebuilding our country with American hands and American labor.

We will follow two simple rules: buy American and hire American.

We will seek friendship and goodwill with the nations of the world – but we do so with the understanding that it is the right of all nations to put their own interests first.

We do not seek to impose our way of life on anyone, but rather to let it shine as an example for everyone to follow.

We will reinforce old alliances and form new ones – and unite the civilized world against radical Islamic terrorism, which we will eradicate from the face of the Earth.

At the bedrock of our politics will be a total allegiance to the United States of America, and through our loyalty to our country, we will rediscover our loyalty to each other.

When you open your heart to patriotism, there is no room for prejudice.

The Bible tells us: “How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity.”

We must speak our minds openly, debate our disagreements honestly, but always pursue solidarity.

When America is united, America is totally unstoppable.

There should be no fear – we are protected, and we will always be protected.

We will be protected by the great men and women of our military and law enforcement and, most importantly, we are protected by God.

Finally, we must think big and dream even bigger.

In America, we understand that a nation is only living as long as it is striving.

We will no longer accept politicians who are all talk and no action – constantly complaining but never doing anything about it.

The time for empty talk is over.

Now arrives the hour of action.

Do not let anyone tell you it cannot be done. No challenge can match the heart and fight and spirit of America.

We will not fail. Our country will thrive and prosper again.

We stand at the birth of a new millennium, ready to unlock the mysteries of space, to free the Earth from the miseries of disease, and to harness the energies, industries and technologies of tomorrow.

A new national pride will stir ourselves, lift our sights, and heal our divisions.

It is time to remember that old wisdom our soldiers will never forget: that whether we are black or brown or white, we all bleed the same red blood of patriots, we all enjoy the same glorious freedoms, and we all salute the same great American Flag.

And whether a child is born in the urban sprawl of Detroit or the windswept plains of Nebraska, they look up at the same night sky, they fill their heart with the same dreams, and they are infused with the breath of life by the same almighty Creator.

So to all Americans, in every city near and far, small and large, from mountain to mountain, and from ocean to ocean, hear these words:

You will never be ignored again.

Your voice, your hopes, and your dreams, will define our American destiny. And your courage and goodness and love will forever guide us along the way.

Together, we will make America strong again.

We will make America wealthy again.

We will make America proud again.

We will make America safe again.

And, yes, together, we will make America great again. Thank you, God bless you, and God bless America.

—————————————————————————

Inaugural Address 20 January 2009.

By President Barack Hussein Obama

My fellow citizens:  I stand here today humbled by the task before us, grateful for the trust you’ve bestowed, mindful of the sacrifices borne by our ancestors.

I thank President Bush for his service to our nation — (applause) — as well as the generosity and cooperation he has shown throughout this transition.

Forty-four Americans have now taken the presidential oath.  The words have been spoken during rising tides of prosperity and the still waters of peace.  Yet, every so often, the oath is taken amidst gathering clouds and raging storms.  At these moments, America has carried on not simply because of the skill or vision of those in high office, but because we, the people, have remained faithful to the ideals of our forebears and true to our founding documents.

So it has been; so it must be with this generation of Americans.

That we are in the midst of crisis is now well understood.  Our nation is at war against a far-reaching network of violence and hatred.  Our economy is badly weakened, a consequence of greed and irresponsibility on the part of some, but also our collective failure to make hard choices and prepare the nation for a new age.  Homes have been lost, jobs shed, businesses shuttered.  Our health care is too costly, our schools fail too many — and each day brings further evidence that the ways we use energy strengthen our adversaries and threaten our planet

These are the indicators of crisis, subject to data and statistics.  Less measurable, but no less profound, is a sapping of confidence across our land; a nagging fear that America’s decline is inevitable, that the next generation must lower its sights.

Today I say to you that the challenges we face are real.  They are serious and they are many.  They will not be met easily or in a short span of time.  But know this America:  They will be met.  (Applause.)

On this day, we gather because we have chosen hope over fear, unity of purpose over conflict and discord.  On this day, we come to proclaim an end to the petty grievances and false promises, the recriminations and worn-out dogmas that for far too long have strangled our politics.  We remain a young nation.  But in the words of Scripture, the time has come to set aside childish things.  The time has come to reaffirm our enduring spirit; to choose our better history; to carry forward that precious gift, that noble idea passed on from generation to generation:  the God-given promise that all are equal, all are free, and all deserve a chance to pursue their full measure of happiness.  (Applause.)

In reaffirming the greatness of our nation we understand that greatness is never a given.  It must be earned.  Our journey has never been one of short-cuts or settling for less.  It has not been the path for the faint-hearted, for those that prefer leisure over work, or seek only the pleasures of riches and fame.  Rather, it has been the risk-takers, the doers, the makers of things — some celebrated, but more often men and women obscure in their labor — who have carried us up the long rugged path towards prosperity and freedom.

For us, they packed up their few worldly possessions and traveled across oceans in search of a new life.  For us, they toiled in sweatshops, and settled the West, endured the lash of the whip, and plowed the hard earth.  For us, they fought and died in places like Concord and Gettysburg, Normandy and Khe Sahn.

Time and again these men and women struggled and sacrificed and worked till their hands were raw so that we might live a better life.  They saw America as bigger than the sum of our individual ambitions, greater than all the differences of birth or wealth or faction.

This is the journey we continue today.  We remain the most prosperous, powerful nation on Earth.  Our workers are no less productive than when this crisis began.  Our minds are no less inventive, our goods and services no less needed than they were last week, or last month, or last year.  Our capacity remains undiminished.  But our time of standing pat, of protecting narrow interests and putting off unpleasant decisions — that time has surely passed.  Starting today, we must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and begin again the work of remaking America.  (Applause.)

For everywhere we look, there is work to be done.  The state of our economy calls for action, bold and swift.  And we will act, not only to create new jobs, but to lay a new foundation for growth.  We will build the roads and bridges, the electric grids and digital lines that feed our commerce and bind us together.  We’ll restore science to its rightful place, and wield technology’s wonders to raise health care’s quality and lower its cost.  We will harness the sun and the winds and the soil to fuel our cars and run our factories.  And we will transform our schools and colleges and universities to meet the demands of a new age.  All this we can do.  All this we will do.

Now, there are some who question the scale of our ambitions, who suggest that our system cannot tolerate too many big plans.  Their memories are short, for they have forgotten what this country has already done, what free men and women can achieve when imagination is joined to common purpose, and necessity to courage.  What the cynics fail to understand is that the ground has shifted beneath them, that the stale political arguments that have consumed us for so long no longer apply.

The question we ask today is not whether our government is too big or too small, but whether it works — whether it helps families find jobs at a decent wage, care they can afford, a retirement that is dignified.  Where the answer is yes, we intend to move forward.  Where the answer is no, programs will end.  And those of us who manage the public’s dollars will be held to account, to spend wisely, reform bad habits, and do our business in the light of day, because only then can we restore the vital trust between a people and their government.

Nor is the question before us whether the market is a force for good or ill.  Its power to generate wealth and expand freedom is unmatched.  But this crisis has reminded us that without a watchful eye, the market can spin out of control.  The nation cannot prosper long when it favors only the prosperous.  The success of our economy has always depended not just on the size of our gross domestic product, but on the reach of our prosperity, on the ability to extend opportunity to every willing heart — not out of charity, but because it is the surest route to our common good.  (Applause.)

As for our common defense, we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals.  Our Founding Fathers — (applause) — our Founding Fathers, faced with perils that we can scarcely imagine, drafted a charter to assure the rule of law and the rights of man — a charter expanded by the blood of generations.  Those ideals still light the world, and we will not give them up for expedience sake.  (Applause.)

And so, to all the other peoples and governments who are watching today, from the grandest capitals to the small village where my father was born, know that America is a friend of each nation, and every man, woman and child who seeks a future of peace and dignity.  And we are ready to lead once more.  (Applause.)

Recall that earlier generations faced down fascism and communism not just with missiles and tanks, but with the sturdy alliances and enduring convictions.  They understood that our power alone cannot protect us, nor does it entitle us to do as we please.  Instead they knew that our power grows through its prudent use; our security emanates from the justness of our cause, the force of our example, the tempering qualities of humility and restraint.

We are the keepers of this legacy.  Guided by these principles once more we can meet those new threats that demand even greater effort, even greater cooperation and understanding between nations.  We will begin to responsibly leave Iraq to its people and forge a hard-earned peace in Afghanistan.  With old friends and former foes, we’ll work tirelessly to lessen the nuclear threat, and roll back the specter of a warming planet.

We will not apologize for our way of life, nor will we waver in its defense.  And for those who seek to advance their aims by inducing terror and slaughtering innocents, we say to you now that our spirit is stronger and cannot be broken — you cannot outlast us, and we will defeat you.  (Applause.)

For we know that our patchwork heritage is a strength, not a weakness.  We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus, and non-believers.  We are shaped by every language and culture, drawn from every end of this Earth; and because we have tasted the bitter swill of civil war and segregation, and emerged from that dark chapter stronger and more united, we cannot help but believe that the old hatreds shall someday pass; that the lines of tribe shall soon dissolve; that as the world grows smaller, our common humanity shall reveal itself; and that America must play its role in ushering in a new era of peace.

To the Muslim world, we seek a new way forward, based on mutual interest and mutual respect.  To those leaders around the globe who seek to sow conflict, or blame their society’s ills on the West, know that your people will judge you on what you can build, not what you destroy.  (Applause.)

To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history, but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.  (Applause.)

To the people of poor nations, we pledge to work alongside you to make your farms flourish and let clean waters flow; to nourish starved bodies and feed hungry minds.  And to those nations like ours that enjoy relative plenty, we say we can no longer afford indifference to the suffering outside our borders, nor can we consume the world’s resources without regard to effect.  For the world has changed, and we must change with it.

As we consider the role that unfolds before us, we remember with humble gratitude those brave Americans who at this very hour patrol far-off deserts and distant mountains.  They have something to tell us, just as the fallen heroes who lie in Arlington whisper through the ages.

We honor them not only because they are the guardians of our liberty, but because they embody the spirit of service — a willingness to find meaning in something greater than themselves.

And yet at this moment, a moment that will define a generation, it is precisely this spirit that must inhabit us all.  For as much as government can do, and must do, it is ultimately the faith and determination of the American people upon which this nation relies.  It is the kindness to take in a stranger when the levees break, the selflessness of workers who would rather cut their hours than see a friend lose their job which sees us through our darkest hours.  It is the firefighter’s courage to storm a stairway filled with smoke, but also a parent’s willingness to nurture a child that finally decides our fate.

Our challenges may be new.  The instruments with which we meet them may be new.  But those values upon which our success depends — honesty and hard work, courage and fair play, tolerance and curiosity, loyalty and patriotism — these things are old.  These things are true.  They have been the quiet force of progress throughout our history.

What is demanded, then, is a return to these truths.  What is required of us now is a new era of responsibility — a recognition on the part of every American that we have duties to ourselves, our nation and the world; duties that we do not grudgingly accept, but rather seize gladly, firm in the knowledge that there is nothing so satisfying to the spirit, so defining of our character than giving our all to a difficult task.

This is the price and the promise of citizenship.  This is the source of our confidence — the knowledge that God calls on us to shape an uncertain destiny.  This is the meaning of our liberty and our creed, why men and women and children of every race and every faith can join in celebration across this magnificent mall; and why a man whose father less than 60 years ago might not have been served in a local restaurant can now stand before you to take a most sacred oath.  (Applause.)

So let us mark this day with remembrance of who we are and how far we have traveled.  In the year of America’s birth, in the coldest of months, a small band of patriots huddled by dying campfires on the shores of an icy river.  The capital was abandoned.  The enemy was advancing.  The snow was stained with blood.  At the moment when the outcome of our revolution was most in doubt, the father of our nation ordered these words to be read to the people:

“Let it be told to the future world…that in the depth of winter, when nothing but hope and virtue could survive… that the city and the country, alarmed at one common danger, came forth to meet [it].”

America:  In the face of our common dangers, in this winter of our hardship, let us remember these timeless words.  With hope and virtue, let us brave once more the icy currents, and endure what storms may come.  Let it be said by our children’s children that when we were tested we refused to let this journey end, that we did not turn back nor did we falter; and with eyes fixed on the horizon and God’s grace upon us, we carried forth that great gift of freedom and delivered it safely to future generations.

Thank you.  God bless you.  And God bless the United States of America. (Applause.)

20 January 2017 @ 7:51 pm.

Last modified January 21, 2017

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Where is Mitribah?

Mitribah

Temperatures the last couple of days in Kuwait and southern Iraq broke long-standing records for Asia with reaching 54 centigrades (129 F) in Mitribah and Basrah (on July 21 and 22, respectively), see here. Weather historian Christopher C. Burt even made the claim that the Kuwaiti reading may be the hottest temperature ever measured reliably on Earth.

In the above table, temperatures are displayed for the previous day. One may observe that Mitribah is right now hit by another heat wave, the third this summer with temperatures beyond 50 degrees.

When I lived in Kuwait between 2001 and 2007, never temperatures rose (officially) to or beyond 50 degrees (122 F). But people distrusted official announcements then. There seems to be a vividly discussed article in the Labor Law that nobody has to work outdoors if it is 50 degrees plus (as if it would make a difference if it was 49), and on one of the tall towers downtown the actual temperature was prominently displayed (in a way cheating the public since at 50 meters altitude it is considerably cooler anyway).

But where is Mitribah?

Mitribah2

At the right longitude and latitude, GoogleEarth indicates in fact an outpost in the middle of the desert. It is actually located 34 km west to Highway 80, the road to and from Basrah. On that Iraqi armored divisions invaded Kuwait exactly 16 years ago in August 1990. And on that road the infamous turkey shoot happened six months later, when US and Canadian aircraft and ground forces attacked retreating Iraqi military personnel attempting to leave Kuwait on the night of February 26–27, 1991. Since then, the road is known as Highway of Death.

At the latest, since last year when probably thousands died in devastating heat waves in Pakistan (this year the same happened in India before the monsoon), the hottest places on Earth have ultimately been taken captive by global warming.

4 August 2016 @ 4:16 am.

Last modified August 4, 2016.

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Bazm wa Razm

Update below

Kharraqan01

I have written about the two Kharraqan towers before, see here. Both had been heavily damaged in a 2002 earthquake. They are located about one km west to the village of Hisar-i Valiasr and 33 km west to Ab-i Germ on the Qazvin-Hamadan road in the Qazvin province.

The towers are basically octagonal with a height of about 15 meters and a width of 4 meters. They are considered the earliest examples of double-domed buildings in Iran.

Due to their extraordinary ornamental brickwork the Kharraqan towers belong to the finest Seljuq monuments found in Iran. Execution of artistic ambition directly relates to that of the Maraghah towers, see here. They were built by Muhammad b. Makki al-Zanjani in 1068 and 1093 CE. It is amazing that they had been discovered in the west not before 1963 by William Miller and described shortly afterwards by archeologists David Stronach and T. Cuyler Young Jr.

The Kharraqan towers are tombs, and the occupants are most likely unknown Seljuq chieftains. The towers resemble in fact typical trellis tents, then so-called khargahs, which are still in use by Turkmen tribes.

Structure of a trellis tent of the Yomut Turkmen of Iran. (Courtesy Durand-Guedy, 2013.)

Structure of a trellis tent of the Yomut Turkmen of Iran. (Courtesy Durand-Guedy, 2013 [1].)

Nomad Rulers and Cities in Iran

After a successful siege of Isfahan in 1050/51 by Toghril Beg it is usually held that the city had been made a capital of the Seljuq empire under one of his successors, Malikshah I. One might wonder, though, what “a capital city” actually means for nomads such as the Seljuqs. It is amazing to read that this question has largely been ignored until very recently.

Isfahan is still home of most impressive Seljuq monuments. I have written about the stunning Friday mosque many times on this blog, see, for instance, here and here. While construction of the larger south dome had been commissioned by Malikshah in 1087, the awesome and almost perfect north dome was built on request of Taj al-Mulk, arch enemy of vizir Nizam al-Mulk, just one year later.

In addition to the Friday mosque, which displays an amazing plurality of Seljuq, Il-Khanid, Timurid and Safavid architecture, Isfahan’s old city is home of a couple of surviving Seljuq minarets, for instance the minaret of the Ali mosque (ca. 1200), the Sareban minaret (both 50 meters tall) and the 29 meters tall Chehel Dokhtaran minaret (1107/08). Far more of such buildings can be found in the countryside.

But where has the palace of the sultan been? A recent study considerably substantiated the hypothesis that Seljuq chieftains did not live in cities at all [2]. They lived in luxurious tents pitched in vast camps outside the city walls.

In the first half of the 11th century, Isfahan had been ruled by local Kayukid emirs, in particular Ala al-Dawla Muhammad (d. 1041) who had invited Ibn Sina (Avicenna, d. 1037) to his court. Since 1029, the city had been under attack several times by Turkish military powers, first the Ghaznavids, then the Seljuqs.

When the Isfahanian citizens finally opened the gates in 1051, Toghril had decided to spare the city. One of the main reasons was that he strove for the title of sultan conferred to him by the Abbasid caliph al-Qa’im in Baghdad. The conquest put an end to twenty years of war.

Seljuq

Court and Cosmos

When hordes of Seljuq Turkmen invaded the high plateau in the early decades of the 11th century Iran experienced an unexpected blossoming of art and science. An exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York with just 250 objects (for instance gold and silver-inlaid brass ewers, basins or candle stands, glazed fritware, gold coins and jewellery, illuminated Qur’ans) on display until 24 July paints a picture of the rather pleasant and luxurious life of noblemen and members of the middle class alike who engaged in hunting, fighting and feasting (bazm wa razm).

One may in fact ask (as the New York Times does), What is actually genuinely nomad Seljuqian?

“While all of this testifies to an aesthetically and technologically sophisticated culture, a nonspecialist might wonder what is distinctively Seljuqian about it — what distinguishes it from, say, medieval Islamic arts and crafts in general. Nomadic invaders from Central Asia, the Seljuqs did not impose on their subjects a traditional aesthetic or religion of their own. Rather, they commissioned artistic and decorative works from artisans of various subject peoples. They built palaces, mosques, madrasas and hospitals in Islamic architectural styles. But what the Seljuqs created most consequentially was a relatively peaceful, prosperous and unified world wherein indigenous literature, arts and sciences were able to flourish in urban centers throughout the region.”

The beautifully written and carefully edited catalog of the exhibition [3] provides invaluable further information about this rather short-lived dynasty of sultans who had conquered much of the then known world.

 

Notes

[1] Durand-Guedy D. Tents of the Saljuqs. In: Durand-Guedy D (ed.) Turko-Mongol Rulers, Cities and City Life. Brill: Leiden, Boston 2013, pp. 149-190.

[2] Durand-Guedy D. Iranian Elites and Turkish Rulers: A History of Isfahan in the Saljuq Period. Routledge Studies in the History of Iran and Turkey. Routledge: London, New York 2010.

[3] Canby S, Beyazit D, Rugiadi M, Peacock ACS et al. Court and Cosmos. The Great Age of the Seljuqs. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York 2016.

13 July 2016 @ 6:52 pm.

Update 29 August 2016

See Deniz Beyazit’s introduction to the amazing exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art below.

 

 

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An Angry and Uninformed Obama

As Juan Cole has pointed out, President Obama seems not to be aware of the likely real motives of Omar Mateen, who had killed at least 49 guests of the Pulse nightclub in Orlando last weekend, when mentioning “self-radicalization on the internet”. This hateful man now appears having been first and foremost self-hating. A “closeted gay man” and frequent visitor of the gay nightclub himself. Rather than addressing GOP’s likely presidential candidate Donald Trumps usual rants (“Where does this stop?”), it would have been more appropriate to publicly rectify that is wasn’t self-radicalization, ISIS, not even terrorism, but probably sad personal motives and baseless self-hate of a confused young Muslim man who could not accept his own sexual orientation. Facilitated by dangerous American gun politics (“Second Amendment”).

Where does this stop? Well, the still sitting president and Nobel laureate of 2009 should have a lower profile, really. Obama has escalated a drone war to an extent nobody could ever imagine. He once joked, “Turns out, I’m really good at killing people.” In a constitutional democracy that would have prompted prosecutor investigation. He should have asked himself, “Where does that stop?” Sad conclusion, that won’t stop, neither with Trump or Clinton, rather the opposite.

16 June 2016 @ 7:15 am.

Last modified June 16, 2016.

 

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The Real Power of Satire

Thank you Jan Böhmermann! The German comedian is now being threatened with prosecution. That has Turkish President and wannabe sultan, notorious Islamist Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, demanded. Böhmermann had made clear, in sort of poem which was broadcast in his late-night show (largely hidden in an offshoot of Germany’s second public service television broadcaster ZDF and immediately removed from the internet) what is allowed under German law, namely all kinds of satire, and what is not, namely blatant revile, or schmähkritik, in particular of a foreign government representative. So, after all and, in particular, under German law (based on rather obscure §103 of Germany’s legal code), it is not satire to call Erdogan, for instance, homosexual, a pedophile or a zoophile. Probably with a tiny dick. All that is not allowed.

But the real satire is that German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who seems to get completely confused of all her recent turns,  has stepped in, in a telephone call with Turkish Prime minister Ahmet Davutoğlu, and called the poem in a hurry and quite obedient “intentionally transgressing”.

Well, enlightenment has always been transgressing.

12 April 2016 @ 9:10 am.

Last modified April 15, 2016.

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