Monthly Archives: September 2014

Islam

What Flavor of Islam Do You Like?

Do you remember the Baskin Robbins ice cream stores?

I can still remember the jingle:

Look for the sign of the big 31;

                         It’s Baskin Robbins, where ice cream’s fun!

I particularly liked both the watermelon and the peaches and cream flavors.  Sometimes I would get a scoop of each on the same cone.  Yummy!   Their principle attraction was that they had many wonderful, off-the-wall flavors.   I have not been to a Baskin Robbins ice cream store for years, so I am not sure how they are performing amongst the plethora of ice cream and yogurt shops in today’s economy.

As a part of my continuing effort to educate myself and to educate the three or four people that read my blog, I have decided to learn something about the Islamic religion.  After all, they are now in the news constantly.  How can you miss the beheadings of two journalists?  News has just been released about the execution of over 700 Iraqi soldiers by ISIS in the month of June.  We now have word of a second Minnesotan killed while fighting for Islamic terrorists.

How many flavors of the Islamic religion do we have and what is it in the Muslim religion that promotes widespread terrorism and killing?

The number of Islamic religious sects changes as frequently as the tide.  According to one source, there are 78.  According to the prophet Muhammad, himself, there is 74.  Another source says there are over 150 branches of the Islamic religion.

Be that as it may, the two principle sects are the Sunnis and the Shia (Shiites.)  The Sunnis make up approximately 75-90% of the world’s Muslim population.  The Shia are estimated at 10-20% of the world’s Muslim population.  The discrepancy of those statistics should indicate the inexactness of these estimates.

The majority of Muslims live in Asia and Africa.  Approximately 62% of the world’s Muslims live in Asia, with over 683 million adherents in Indonesia, Pakistan, India and Bangladesh.  Approximately 57 countries are Muslim-majority, and Arabs account for around 20% of all Muslims worldwide.  Twenty-three percent of the world’s population, or 1.57 billion people, are Muslim, making it the second largest religion in the world.

The division between Shia and Sunni dates back to the death of their Prophet Muhammad, and the question of who was to take over the leadership of the Muslim nation.  Sunni Muslims agree with the position taken by many of the Prophet’s companions that the new leader should be elected from among those capable of the job.  This is what was done, and Muhammad’s close friend and adviser, Abu Bakr, became the first Caliph of the Islamic nation.

On the other hand, some Muslims share the belief that leadership should have stayed within Muhammad’s own family, among those specifically appointed by him, or among Imams appointed by God himself.  This is the Shia belief, and they believe that the successor to Muhammad should have been his cousin/son-in-law.

Shia Muslims believe that the Imam’s authority is infallible and it comes directly from God.  Sunni Muslims counter that there is no basis in Islam for a hereditary privileged class of spiritual leaders.  Therefore, they contend that leadership of the community is not a birthright, but a trust that is earned and which may be given or taken away by the people themselves.

Over the centuries, there were many wars fought over who should rule the Muslim empire.  The Sunnis had their Caliphs, and the Shia had their Imams.  As time passed, smaller minority sects were formed as offshoots to a particularly popular Caliph or Imam.

As an outsider looking in at the Muslim religion, I am intrigued by the similarities to Christianity.  The Islamic ‘bible’ is the Quran.  The Quran is viewed by Muslims as the final revelation and literal word of God.  Muslims believe that the verses of the Quran were revealed to Muhammad by God through the archangel Gabriel on many occasions before his death.  It is divided into 114 chapters and contains 6,236 verses.  Muhammad’s followers copied the verses as received while Muhammad was alive.   The Quran mentions the names of numerous figures considered prophets in Islam, including Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses and Jesus.  Of course, us Christians are familiar with all of these men.  Mohammad is considered the last Muslim prophet.

So much for the similarities; now we get to the differences.  Whereas most Christians reside in democratic countries that have judicial law systems tracing their roots to Roman origins, the Muslims believe in Sharia law.  Sharia law is the law of Islam.  The Sharia law is cast from the actions and words of Muhammad, which are called ‘Sunnah,” and the Quran, which he authored.  The Sharia law itself cannot be altered.  As a legal system, the Sharia law covers a very wide range of topics.  While other legal codes deal primarily with public behavior, Sharia law covers public behavior, private behavior and private beliefs.  Of all legal systems in the world today, Islam’s Sharia law is the most intrusive and strict, especially against women.

According to Sharia law:

Theft is punishable by amputation of the right hand.

Criticizing or denying any part of the Quran is punishable by death.

Criticizing or denying that Muhammad is a prophet is punishable by death.

Criticizing or denying Allah, the Moon-God of Islam, is punishable by death.

A Muslim who becomes a non-Muslim is punishable by death.

A non-Muslim who leads a Muslim away from Islam is punishable by death.

A non-Muslim man who marries a Muslim woman is punishable by death.

A man can marry an infant girl and consummate the marriage when she is 9 years old.

Girls’ clitoris should be cut (per Muhammad’s words in Book 41, Kitab Al-Adab, Hadith 5251.)

A woman can have one husband, but a man can have up to 4 wives.

A man can unilaterally divorce his wife but a woman needs her husband’s consent to divorce.

A man can beat his wife for insubordination.

Testimonies of four male witnesses are required to prove rape against a woman.

A woman who has been raped cannot testify in court against her rapist(s).

A female heir inherits half of what a male heir inherits.

A woman cannot drive a car, as it leads to upheaval.

A woman cannot speak alone to a man who is not her husband or relative.

Meat to be eaten must come from animals that have been sacrificed to Allah.

Muslims should engage in Taglyya and lie to non-Muslims to advance Islam.

The list goes on………………..

Talk about chauvinistic!  During the 60s and 70s, when women were burning their bras and accusing men of being chauvinistic pigs, they had no idea they were going against sharia law, the preferred law of 23% of the world’s population!  After reading some of the tenants of Sharia law, doesn’t it make you wonder why any woman raised in a western civilization as a Christian would want to marry a Muslim?  It perplexes me, but it is done all the time.  One example is the young wife of the Boston marathon bomber.  (It is estimated that over 90% of Iraqi citizens would prefer Sharia law over the democracy established by the US!)

One can only hope that not all the Muslims in the world take each and every tenant of Sharia law literally.  After all, look what happens when the Bible is taken literally.  When I was younger and my head was full of mush and my body had raging hormones, my favorite excuse for my actions was that, “I haven’t done anything that is not in the Bible.”  Everything is in the Bible!  Murder, sacrifices, war, adultery – you name it, and it is there.

But our laws are only as good (or bad) as our leaders.  In the Muslim world, it would be their religious leaders.  Need an example of bad Christian leaders?  Remember that little dust-up during the Middle Ages called the Crusades?  Yep.  A few popes called on all ‘believers‘ to eliminate the non-believing Muslims in the Holy Lands.  Jerusalem needed to be liberated!  There were actually over ten major and minor Crusades over a 200 year period.  The home team (Muslims) eventually won the match.

So here we are, about 800 years after the last Crusade, and now we have various Muslim groups warring, pillaging, raping and murdering with impunity.  What gives with that?

Here is my theory on this whole mess.  Religion may be the gun, but money is the bullet.  Yup.  Grandpa T thinks all of this religious hocus-pocus has money and wealth at its core.  No doubt there are some religious zealots involved, but the latest group of terrorists are too well-organized and too well-funded to be a groundswell Islamic movement.  The participants are professionals, not ordinary people off the street.  (The Crusaders brought back boatloads of loot, and they shared it with the Catholic Church!)

We need to find out who is doing the funding.  Then we need to act.  It often appears that our nation is afraid to admit who is actually funding these different terrorist groups because we indirectly funded them ourselves with petro-dollars.  Did you pick up on that tenant from Sharia law that you can lie to advance the Islamic religion?  Could this be taken to the national level?  Hmmm.

We need to find out who is doing the recruiting.  Again, we need to act.  Unfortunately, too many of these recruits are coming from the US, England and other western nations.  It is estimated that close to two hundred Muslim Somalis from Minnesota are currently fighting for one of these terrorist groups.  Many of these people were born in the US!  England is estimating that up to two thousand of their citizens are currently fighting with terrorists.

If the primary motivation of these acts of terrorism was not money, why would the Muslims be killing other Muslims?  The terrorists don’t seem to be taking the time to differentiate as to what brand of Muslim they are killing.  They just seem to be killing.   The killing of Christians serves both to get publicity and garner more financial and recruiting support.  It also draws the support of disaffected westerners, who have never had a cause or been a part of a team.  Thus, they have decided it would be adventurous to sample this flavor – i.e.  join Team Terrorist!

England is going to invalidate passports of English citizens believed to be fighting with terrorist organizations.  The US needs to do the same.  Additionally, we need to punish these people with the use of  a military tribunal.  After all, if a US citizen decides to fight with our enemy, they have declared war on their home country!  No ACLU.  No lengthy, public civil trial.  Only the swift justice of a military tribunal.  (Which brings up the question, why has Nidal Malik Hasan not been brought to trial for the November 9, 2009, Fort Hood shooting in which 13 people were killed?)

After researching this blog, I will tell you that the Muslim religion is complicated to understand.  Their flavors don’t appeal to this retired veteran of the U.S. Army.  Recognizing greed is much easier than attempting to comprehend the Muslim religion.

New Political Party

GRUMPY – The Party that Dwarfs all Others!

Sound the trumpets!  Hang the banners!  Unfurl the flags!  It is time to unleash a new political party in the United States.  Move over Democrats.  Tremble with fear Republicans.  The newest and greatest political party to appear in the history of the United States of America is making its debut!

The name?  Our new party is called  ‘Government Revisions Utilizing Many Practical Years’  party.  If you are having a difficult time remembering the name, it is perfectly acceptable to refer to the ‘party’ by its acronym.  We are the ‘GRUMPY’ party!

In lieu of having a donkey or an elephant as a mascot, we will use Grumpy from the fairy tale Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs as our mascot.  Why?  First of all, Grumpy is a person, not an ass or a mammoth.  Secondly, Grumpy looks a lot like me and most of my readers, both in appearance and temperament!

Our party is founded on the basis and belief of ‘common sense.’  As the party chair, I make a motion that we accept the definition of common sense as follows:  Common sense is knowing the difference between right, wrong and stupid!  All in favor of accepting this definition signify by saying aye?  Opposed?  Motion carried unanimously!  (Could it get any easier?)

The GRUMPY party will now establish the party plank.  The following items have been submitted for the GRUMPY party plank.

Balance the budget,

Term limits,

Uphold the constitution

Support our military and law enforcement officials,

Stop illegal immigration,

Reduce corporate taxes,

Birth control,

Attack terrorism wherever it rears its ugly head,

Balancing the Federal Budget

Balancing the budget will never be an easy task, but it will always be a necessary one.  No other item poses as much of a threat to the US, or our way of life, than our mounting national debt.  We may think that external enemies are our largest threat, when in fact, it is our internal fiscal policies that will eventually have a greater and more devastating effect.

Social/welfare programs take up the largest share of our budget.  There are 79 welfare programs managed by the federal government!  These programs, in fiscal year 2011 cost America $717 billion!  Social security cost us $785 billion.  Medicare costs totaled $574 billion.  That accounts for $2.1 trillion of our $3.7 trillion total budget!  How can we afford this?  The short answer is that we can’t, so the government continues to borrow.  The current interest on this debt is about $260 billion every year.  This is the  interest cost during a time when the interest rates are historically low.  It is anticipated that, when the fiscal 2013 figures are released, all of these expenses will increase.

There was a ‘talking head’ on television yesterday that forewarned that at our current rate of government borrowing, and with interest rates expected to rise to a modest 6%, that by the year 2022, the interest rate costs on our growing debt will exceed $1 trillion!  That is only 8 years away!

Social Security, Medicare and the other welfare programs need to scrutinized and revamped or eliminated altogether.

Currently, the federal government pays 75% of the welfare costs, with the state governments paying 25% for the 79 programs that exclude Social Security and Medicare. The states provide the administration for these programs.  During the Clinton administration, there was a bill passed that put the limit for receipt of welfare to a 5-year term.  Do you think that is being enforced at the state level? Probably not, with the ‘big brother’ federal government footing 75% of the cost.  Our party plank proposes that the federal government cuts their welfare contribution for the 79 programs to $210 billion, which matches the states’ contribution.  That would save over $500 billion.  You can rest assured the state governments would become much more ‘efficient’ out of necessity.

Here are some suggestions for further reduction of government spending. We could eliminate most, if not all, of the czars.  We currently have 38 czars drawing salaries and employing their own staffs.  We could eliminate the Asian carp czar, bird flu czar, climate czar and the Great Lakes czar without much governmental degradation!  (Yes, these are real czars!) We could eliminate the Department of Education and the Department of Energy.  They are both unnecessary and were not a part of the administration until Jimmy Carter became POTUS. The country survived before their presence.

Term Limits

The GRUMPY party recognizes that balancing an inflated budget requires smart people with a sense of what is right for America.  Most of the people currently representing our electorate are more concerned with getting re-elected than with doing what is right for our country.  Thus the term limits.

During the early 90s, there was a groundswell movement to place term limits on our federal officials.  It was popular with the majority of the people in the United States, but it never became a law. Why?  Because the Supreme Court, that group of legal adventurers that do not have any term limits, determined that it was unconstitutional.

Grandpa T’s Rule Number 1:  Politicians are more concerned about getting re-elected than they are about doing what is good for the country.

We need to raise that groundswell again.  Additionally, we should put term limits on the Supreme Court.  They should not be allowed to fossilize while sitting on the bench!

Uphold the Constitution

Our forefathers agonized and debated over what would be in our Constitution.  They masterminded a document that has not only been a model for this country, but for other democratic countries that followed us.

So does it not appear that more effort is being placed on circumventing the constitution than on enforcing it?

Obamacare?  How exactly was that determined to be constitutional by the fossils, oops, I mean the Justices of the Supreme Court?  Politics!   You can imagine the pressure placed on these Justices to further this program because it would garner votes for the Democratic party.  It was another ‘feel good’ program that was not affordable and now appears to be unmanageable.  Remember, the Republicans have been strongly criticized for opposing this program.

The Constitution and the Bill of Rights have insured individual freedoms.  Yet, we have people continuously attempting to chip away at both in the hope of converting this country from a democratic nation to a socialistic nation.

The GRUMPY party position?  Defend and enforce the Constitution!

Support our Military and Law Enforcement Officials

The GRUMPY party supports our Military and Law Enforcement officials for all of the sacrifices that they have made to protect our country and to ensure our safety.

We, oftentimes, overlook the dangers that law enforcement faces.  I have known many people that were in the military but were also cops.  I have often said that I would rather be in the military, because you normally knew who the enemy was.  When you are a cop, the enemy looks just like anyone and could strike at any time without warning.  A routine traffic stop can turn into a policeman’s fatality.

If you don’t support these people, then imagine yourself in the position to replace them and do the job yourself.  You would appreciate their service all the more!

I find it interesting that our current POTUS has taken it upon himself to criticize the law enforcement community on numerous occasions.  Trayvon Martin and the current situation in Ferguson comes to mind. Aren’t the Secret Service basically policemen?  Isn’t their mission to protect and to serve? What would the POTUS do if they walked off the job?  Hmmmm.

Stop Illegal Immigraton

There are ways to become a legal US citizen.  It takes time and effort to become a legalized US citizen.

Allowing 10,000 illegals to cross the border every day is not the way to develop a stronger America.  Our southern border is so porous that it has been used by terrorists.  Many of these people are illiterate, diseased and of questionable character.  Yet, the POTUS has deemed “mean” the Republicans  that want to strengthen our southern border.

A policy that allows temporary work permits needs to be put in place.  The borders need to be regulated.

The GRUMPY party position is that we do not want people in this country whose first act was to commit a crime by entering it illegally.  There are laws and we need people to have the guts to enforce them.

Reduce Corporate Taxes

We exist in a global economy and yet we expect our corporations to compete globally  while paying the highest corporate taxes in the world.

The real way to strengthen our country, increase employment and expand our economy is through private businesses and corporations, not by increasing the size of government.   Corporate taxes represent about 16% of the federal taxes received.  That means that 84% come from working, tax-paying individuals.  Reduce corporate taxes and we will really stimulate the economy, not artificially stimulating the economy as the Federal Reserve has been doing.  Reagan did it.  Even JFK reduced corporate taxes to stimulate the economy.

Grandpa T’s Rule Number 2:  Corporations and businesses are in business to make a profit.

The GRUMPY party  supports cutting corporate taxes in conjunction with cutting government spending.

Birth Control

Here is the GRUMPY party’s most controversial position concerning birth control and abortion.  The GRUMPY party has decided not to have any position!

Yup.  As a man, I have never understood how something as personal as birth control and abortion have made it to the national arena.  Isn’t this a very personal item?

I have my opinions, but I also firmly believe this issue should be at the state governmental level or lower.  I would be perfectly content with allowing any woman to choose her own option concerning this matter.  As mentioned, I have difficulty understanding how this has been elevated to a national issue.

Terrorism

ISIS is a well funded, well organized terrorist group that has already killed Americans and is holding other Americans hostage.  Where did they get their money?  Which countries are giving them military and financial support?

Whether you call them ISIS, Hamas, Al Qaida or any of a number of other names, it all boils down to the same thing – they are all terrorists. They will kill innocent people without mercy.  They particularly relish nabbing and killing Christians or people of any religion that differs from their fanatical teachings.  They especially enjoy capturing American Christians, which equates to being a ‘terrorist twofer.’

The GRUMPY party position?  Kill and engage any terrorist organization that rears its ugly head. (I would like us to go to the sponsors of these terrorists, but I would sound like a warmonger if I were to say that Iran and Saudi Arabia would be prime suspects.  Saudi Arabia, you ask?  Remember, most of the 7/11 terrorists were Saudis.  Yet the POTUS knelt to kiss their king’s hand.)

There you have it.  We have launched a new political party and have established a party plank.  This is much more of an accomplishment than what has been done in Washington during the month of August.   I can hear the groundswell for GRUMPY party support gaining momentum as my fingers fly over the keyboard.  And just like the Russians invading the Ukraine, we launched our party during the Congressional summer recess and while the POTUS was golfing.

Sometimes, it is just too easy.