'cookieChoices = {};'


The Right of the People to be Secure in their Persons, Houses, Papers, and Effects,
Against Unreasonable Searches and Seizures,
Shall Not Be Violated

click.jpg

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Blue Cross Blue Shield: If Republicans kill a bailout for insurers under ObamaCare, it’ll lead to single-payer


They're pigs at the feeding trough. A big "business" willing to take down the entire Capitalist system, if we don't keep shoveling them their slop.

From BuzzFeed:
“We are becoming increasingly concerned about momentum that is quickly building among some leading conservatives for elimination of the risk corridor and reinsurance programs,” [Blue Cross Blue Shield Association CEO Scott] Serota wrote… 
“Their efforts, along with growing support for repealing the risk corridor and reinsurance programs, could combine to create a perfect storm to, at a minimum, dissuade the Administration from modifying risk corridor program rules to provide increased funding in light of the recent ‘transitional policy’ allowing insurers to offer consumers the option to renew their 2013 health plans for 2014,” Serota wrote. 
In attached talking points, seemingly directed at Republican lawmakers opposed to risk corridors and reinsurance, BCBSA is asking members to argue that eliminating the risk corridors will lead to the eventual downfall of Obamacare and lead to a single-payer system: “It jeopardizes the entire private health insurance market and will ultimately lead to a single-payer system. 
Furthermore, it will close the door to pro-competitive health care reform alternatives.” One bolded talking point, “use with appropriate audiences only,” charges that “eliminating these programs will result in massive premium increases and could cause private insurers to become insolvent.” In Serota’s email, however, this point is intended for Democrats only.
The reason I put "business" in quotation marks above, is because Blue Cross/Blue Shield are no longer a Business under the rules of Capitalism.

Instead they are a Welfare Queen looking for their government handout.
Bookmark and Share
posted by Pastorius at permanent link# 0 Comments

Bookmark and Share
posted by Pastorius at permanent link# 0 Comments


Israel’s political leaders mourn ‘great warrior, extraordinary leader’ Ariel Sharon: Israel’s Soldier and Strongman, 1928-2014


From Will at THE OTHER NEWS:

Israel’s political leaders mourn ‘great warrior, extraordinary leader’Ariel Sharon: Israel’s Soldier and Strongman, 1928-2014.


Ariel Sharon died Saturday after having spent the last eight of his 85 years on life support. Incapacitated by a coma that followed a massive stroke, Sharon’s last hours were spent with members of his family at his bedside. Outside, an Israeli nation watched with one eye on the news and another on the past, re-assessing the qualities of a leader whose lifetime spanned the life of the nation. 

The long illness, out of public view, seemed to transform how Israelis viewed Sharon. In active life, he had always been a warrior first — a profoundly polarizing one, in the thick of every major conflict during the nearly six decades Sharon spent either in the Israeli military or running it. As an invalid, the hard edges disappeared.Read the full story here and here.

Related: Last Prophecy of Rabbi Yitzhak Kaduri (2006).

Before he passed away in 2006 at the age of 108, he left a note for us. Per his request, the note was read a year after his death. In it Rabbi Kaduri states that he met the Messiah, who will come shortly after the death of Ariel Sharon. 

He also said that the name of the Messiah is Jesus Christ.


Bookmark and Share
posted by Pastorius at permanent link# 1 Comments

Not required to sign up for Obamacare?

There is what I would call a meme going around that states we are not required to sign up for Obamacare.


Before its news is one place that has it.

But according to Healthcare.gov, this cannot be true. It's called Individual Mandate:

If someone who can afford health insurance doesn’t have coverage in 2014, they may have to pay a fee. They also have to pay for all of their health care.
The fee is sometimes called the "individual responsibility payment," "individual mandate," or penalty.

When the uninsured need care

When someone without health coverage gets urgent—often expensive—medical care but doesn't pay the bill, everyone else ends up paying the price.
That's why the health care law requires all people who can afford it to take responsibility for their own health insurance by getting coverage or paying a fee.
People without health coverage who pay the penalty will also have to pay the entire cost of all their medical care. They won't be protected from the kind of very high medical bills that can sometimes lead to bankruptcy.

The penalty in 2014 and beyond

The penalty in 2014 is calculated one of 2 ways. You’ll pay whichever of these amounts is higher:
  • 1% of your yearly household income. The maximum penalty is the national average yearly premium for a bronze plan.
  • $95 per person for the year ($47.50 per child under 18). The maximum penalty per family using this method is $285.
The fee increases every year. In 2015 it’s 2% of income or $325 per person. In 2016 and later years it’s 2.5% of income or $695 per person. After that it is adjusted for inflation.
If you’re uninsured for just part of the year, 1/12 of the yearly penalty applies to each month you’re uninsured. If you’re uninsured for less than 3 months, you don’t have a make a payment.

Enroll by March 31, 2014 and you won’t have to make the individual shared responsibility payment

If you enroll in a health insurance plan through the Marketplace by March 31, 2014, you won’t have to make the payment for any month before your coverage began.
For example, if you enroll in a Marketplace plan on March 31 your coverage begins on May 1. If you didn’t have coverage earlier in the year, you won’t have to pay a penalty for any of the previous months of 2014.

If you pay the penalty, you're not covered

It's important to remember that someone who pays the penalty doesn't have any health insurance coverage. They still will be responsible for 100% of the cost of their medical care.
After open enrollment ends on March 31, 2014, they won't be able to get health coverage through the Marketplace until the next annual enrollment period, unless they have aqualifying life event.

Minimum essential coverage

To avoid the fee you need insurance that qualifies as minimum essential coverage. If you're covered by any of the following in 2014, you're considered covered and don't have to pay a penalty:
  • Any Marketplace plan, or any individual insurance plan you already have
  • Any employer plan (including COBRA), with or without “grandfathered” status. This includes retiree plans
  • Medicare
  • Medicaid
  • The Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP)
  • TRICARE (for current service members and military retirees, their families, and survivors)
  • Veterans health care programs (including the Veterans Health Care Program, VA Civilian Health and Medical Program (CHAMPVA), and Spina Bifida Health Care Benefits Program)
  • Peace Corps Volunteer plans
  • Self-funded health coverage offered to students by universities for plan or policy years that begin on or before Dec. 31, 2014
Other plans may also qualify. Ask your health coverage provider.

What kinds of health insurance don't qualify as coverage?

Health plans that don't meet minimum essential coverage don't qualify as coverage in 2014. If you have only these types of coverage, you may have to pay the fee. Examples include:
  • coverage only for vision care or dental care
  • workers' compensation
  • coverage only for a specific disease or condition
  • plans that offer only discounts on medical services

Exemptions from the fee

Some people with limited incomes and other situations can get exemptions from the fee. Learn about exemptions from paying the fee.

But, these are the exemptions. So it is these people who are not required to sign up or pay the fee:

Exemptions from the payment

Under certain circumstances, you won’t have to make the individual responsibility payment. This is called an “exemption.”
You may qualify for an exemption if:
  • You’re uninsured for less than 3 months of the year
  • The lowest-priced coverage available to you would cost more than 8% of your household income
  • You don’t have to file a tax return because your income is too low (Learn about the filing limit.)
  • You’re a member of a federally recognized tribe or eligible for services through an Indian Health Services provider
  • You’re a member of a recognized health care sharing ministry
  • You’re a member of a recognized religious sect with religious objections to insurance, including Social Security and Medicare
  • You’re incarcerated, and not awaiting the disposition of charges against you
  • You’re not lawfully present in the U.S.

Hardship exemptions

If you have any of the circumstances below that affect your ability to purchase health insurance coverage, you may qualify for a “hardship” exemption:
  1. You were homeless.
  2. You were evicted in the past 6 months or were facing eviction or foreclosure.
  3. You received a shut-off notice from a utility company.
  4. You recently experienced domestic violence.
  5. You recently experienced the death of a close family member.
  6. You experienced a fire, flood, or other natural or human-caused disaster that caused substantial damage to your property.
  7. You filed for bankruptcy in the last 6 months.
  8. You had medical expenses you couldn’t pay in the last 24 months.
  9. You experienced unexpected increases in necessary expenses due to caring for an ill, disabled, or aging family member.
  10. You expect to claim a child as a tax dependent who’s been denied coverage in Medicaid and CHIP, and another person is required by court order to give medical support to the child. In this case, you do not have the pay the penalty for the child.
  11. As a result of an eligibility appeals decision, you’re eligible for enrollment in a qualified health plan (QHP) through the Marketplace, lower costs on your monthly premiums, or cost-sharing reductions for a time period when you weren’t enrolled in a QHP through the Marketplace.
  12. You were determined ineligible for Medicaid because your state didn’t expand eligibility for Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act.
  13. Your individual insurance plan was cancelled and you believe other Marketplace plans are unaffordable.

How to apply for an exemption

If you are applying for an exemption based on: coverage being unaffordable; membership in a health care sharing ministry; membership in a federally-recognized tribe; or being incarcerated:
You have two options--
Note: If you get an exemption because coverage is unaffordable based on your expected income, you may also qualify to buy catastrophic coverage through the Marketplace. This may be more affordable than your other options.
If you’re applying for an exemption based on: membership in a recognized religious sect whose members object to insurance; eligibility for services through an Indian health care provider; or one of the hardships described above:
If your income will be low enough that you will not be required to file taxes:
  • You don’t need to apply for an exemption. This is true even if you file a return in order to get a refund of money withheld from your paycheck. You won’t have to make the shared responsibility payment.
If you have a gap in coverage of less than 3 months, or you are not lawfully present in the U.S.:
You don’t need to apply for an exemption. This will be handled when you file your taxes.

So yes, some people are not required to sign up.

I believe 42 USC 18115 pertains to insurance providers. It is as confusing as the whole Obamacare fiasco.

Bookmark and Share
posted by Christine at permanent link# 3 Comments

Amy Winehouse Live

Bookmark and Share
posted by Pastorius at permanent link# 0 Comments

Fly Me To The Moon

Tony Bennett

The best version of this classic song, in my opinion.

Bookmark and Share
posted by Pastorius at permanent link# 1 Comments

Miles Davis, Live in Europe - 1967

Miles Davis - Trumpet
Wayne Shorter - Sax
Ron Carter - Bass
Herbie Hancock - Piano
Tony Williams - Drums

Bookmark and Share
posted by Pastorius at permanent link# 1 Comments

UK: Muslim Birthrates Skyrocket, One In Ten Children Under Five Are Muslim, Up 80% Over Last Decade


From the AFP:
London (AFP) – Almost one in 10 babies and toddlers in England and Wales are Muslim, according to new analysis of census figures published Friday, illustrating the growth of the minority community. 
Some 317,952 children aged under five, or 9.1 percent, were registered as being Muslim in the 2011 census, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures show. 
As a measure of how the religious demographics of England and Wales are changing, the figure is nearly double the 4.8 percent of the whole population who are Muslim, while fewer than one in 200 people aged over 85 are Muslim. 
It is also an 80 percent increase on the 176,264 Muslim under-fives recorded in the 2001 census. “It certainly is a startling figure,” David Coleman, professor of demography at Oxford University, told The Times newspaper on Friday. 
“Continuing immigration from Pakistan, Bangladesh and India has been added to by new immigration from African countries and from the Middle East.
Bookmark and Share
posted by Pastorius at permanent link# 0 Comments

White House Fires CGI, The Creator of the Failed Obamacare Website - Hires Another Company That Has Defrauded The U.S. To Fix Site


Oh for God's sake:

So the White House finally got around to canning CGI, the company that failed to deliver in building the Healthcare.gov website. The Obama regime had ample reason to know that there would be a problem with this company as it already had a history of problems in Canada and building state websites.
The White House has hired Accenture (a Dublin-based company) in CGI’s place to finish the rest of the work (rest of the work???) on the website, and is throwing another 90 million dollars of our money at them.
What a great choice! Another company that defrauded the US government in the past! What kind of fraud? Why government contracting fraud! No reason to think they’ll give any phony numbers or bills here…
The White House says because of “time urgency”, they had to hire Accenture, without going out to bid, the sole company they considered. Again, same as CGI.
Let’s read about that company, Accenture, from 2011:
Via AFP:
Global consulting giant Accenture has agreed to pay $63.7 million to settle a lawsuit alleging that it defrauded the US government, US officials said on Monday. 
“Accenture has agreed to resolve allegations that it received kickbacks for its recommendations of hardware and software to the government,” the US Department of Justice said in a statement. 
The firm also “fraudulently inflated prices and rigged bids in connection with federal information technology contracts,” the statement said. 
The lawsuit was brought against Accenture in the southern state of Arkansas by two whistleblowers who are entitled to receive part of the settlement under a US law designed to help ferret out fraud in government contracting. 
Accenture, which employs more than 223,000 people around the world and had more than $21 billion in revenues last year, is one of the world’s largest technology outsourcing and management consulting companies.
Bookmark and Share
posted by Pastorius at permanent link# 2 Comments

Bookmark and Share
posted by Pastorius at permanent link# 2 Comments

Friday, January 10, 2014

Stevie Ray Vaughan
Live At The El Mocambo 1983


1. Program start 0:00
2. Testify 00:14
3. So Excited 3:33
4. Voodoo Chile 7:40
5. Pride & Joy 14:21
6. Tell Me 18:53
7. Mary had a little Lamb 21:58
8. Texas Flood 25:13
9. Love Struck Baby 35:03
10 Hug You, Squeeze You 37:48
11. Third Stone From The Sun 41:34
12. Lenny 48:35
13. Wham! 57:25

Labels: ,

Bookmark and Share
posted by midnight rider at permanent link# 1 Comments

WRECKOVERY!

Go ahead and read the stories if you like. It is nothing anyone who has been paying any mind to anything I have been ranting about lo these past four and a half years would be surprised by. And you know it must be bad if even The State Media is no longer trying to cover it up completely.

But the numbers themselves are stunning.

535,000 people quit looking for work in December. Just gave up.

92 million Americans are not in the labor force. A percentage not seen since the middle of the Carter Administration.

As for me I am still well underemployed by a certain big box retailer (no, not that one, yeah THAT one) working long hours at a job where the next person closest to my age doing the job is 16 years my junior. Good god I come home tired.

And keep in mind, with this latest extend the unemployment benefits kerfuffle, if benefits are not extended and these folks fall off the rolls because they have expired THEY WILL NO LONGER BE COUNTED AS UNEMPLOYED AND THE UNEMPLOYMENT NUMBER WILL DROP FURTHER.

FOR ALL THE WRONG REASONS.

It's an Obamanation I tell you.





 












FUCK YER

 
 HOPE AND CHANGE

Labels:

Bookmark and Share
posted by midnight rider at permanent link# 0 Comments

Islam fastest growing religion in Manchester, UK

But it was to be expected, seeing how the British government's been facilitating the rise of Islam in the UK. Mancunian Matters reports:
Islam is officially Manchester’s fastest growing religion and is expanding at more than double the rate of Christianity, MM can reveal.

University of Manchester data analysed by MM revealed that Islam is out-growing every other religion in the city.

According to the data 12.5% of those identifying themselves as Muslim in the 2011 census were aged between 0-4.

This is more than double the 5.6% of Christians aged 0-4 and significantly larger those of no religion at 6.8% [...]

“The size of Muslim families in general is double that of the European family and we have waves of Muslim immigrants coming to the UK.”
Soon, they're bound to become much like Bradford is today, with its significant Muslim population.
Bookmark and Share
posted by Avi Green at permanent link# 0 Comments

With this AR-15 any moron can hit any moving target at 500 yds

War is Boring:
THE ACTUAL
This week at the 2014 Consumer Electronics Show, firearms-manufacturer TrackingPoint announced an AR-15 version of its computer-controlled precision rifles. The company claims that the new weapon can hit moving targets “out to five football fields away.” And anyone can use it.
Described by the company as a “precision-guided firearm,” the 500-Series rifle could revolutionize how armies all over the world prepare for war. The technology promises a world where expert riflemen can be trained with very little effort—blurring the distinction between infantry and sharpshooters.

Tank technology

TrackingPoint rifles include what are known as a ballistic computers. Used for decades on tanks, a ballistic computer takes into account a number of factors—wind speed, barrel and ambient temperature, range to target and ballistic performance of the cannon round—and computes what it would take to hit a target.
The computer then compensates for those factors and makes corrections when the shot is fired. It makes tank guns extraordinarily accurate and is the reason why an M-1 Abrams has a 90-percent hit rate on a moving target 2,000 yards away.
The size and complexity of the ballistic computer, as well as the sensors it needs—weather sensors, thermometers and laser rangefinders—are why these computers have, until now, stayed on tanks. However, miniaturization has finally made both processors and sensors small enough to mount on individual rifles.
The TrackingPoint ballistic computer runs off Linux and is about the size of a pint glass. It has the same set of built-in sensors as a tank. The shooter acquires the target in the built-in heads-up display and places a red ‘X’ over it. This locks the rifle on the target. The shooter pulls the trigger, but the rifle doesn’t fire—yet.
The computer takes into account known bullet performance, sensor data and even barrel wear. It crunches this data, determines when the rifle is on target and then fires.
And it will hit the target.
Bookmark and Share
posted by Epaminondas at permanent link# 0 Comments

Gay marriage opens the door to sharia in America

Screenwriter Robert J. Avrech, who wrote the Devil Arithmetic movie in 2000, told the LA Jewish Journal that gay marriage and the political structure supporting it at all costs has given Islam an opening for polygamy:
In your recent piece for Jewish Action, the official magazine for the Orthodox Union, you claim Hollywood is executing “a brilliant, insidious stealth attack” on Jewish values and American culture. Is that because you would prefer Hollywood to foreground your own conservative values?

Robert Avrech: Obviously I would prefer that there be conservative values pushed in Hollywood movies, the way it used to be. But what’s happening now is that the values that are being pushed in Hollywood are pretty radical. There was a tremendous turning point in the culture when the sitcom “Friends” put on a lesbian marriage. And the redefinition of marriage is a radical idea, whether you agree with it or not.
To be fair, I'm not sure Hollywood pushed wholly conservative values in the yesteryear, because if you know where to look, there were movies and TV programs where the filmmakers made no secret of their preference for leftism over rightism. Granted, there was more respect for Judeo-Christianity back then, but the liberal bent they were so obsessed with upholding might have taken its toll as time went by.
You seem bothered by the preponderance of same-sex marriage in television and film.

I’m not really interested in gay marriage. I believe gays should get married if they want to get married. I have no problem with that. I want people to love each other. It’s the state intervention that bothers me, because then the state is going to have to involve itself in polygamy. One has to accept that when gay marriage becomes the law of the land in a majority of states. Then a Muslim is going to come forward with two wives, and he’s going to demand the right to marry his two wives. And once that happens, the door to Sharia in America is opened.
Yes, he has a point there. It's bad enough that mainstream TV and film have become so obsessed with featuring a predisposed view of homosexuality, and worse if politicians are going to go miles out of their way to persecute Christians and Judaists who oppose the belief system or just don't want to service it at the expense of their own faiths. Now, making this law of the land and forbidding Judeo-Christians the right to decline services is going to open the door to polygamy in the USA, with Muslims guaranteed to exploit every bit of it. Ironically, there's little or no chance Muslim homophobia will be opposed or even remotely condemned by propagandists like GLAAD
What values should Hollywood promote?

[My first choice] would be Hollywood admitting that the greatest danger to civilization itself right now is jihad and jihadists. Hollywood should confront that the way they confronted the Nazi threat and the imperial Japanese threat. [...]

In your article, you sound kind of peeved recalling a time when a studio hired you to write a script for a film (that ultimately didn’t get made) with the caveat: “Don’t malign all Muslims.” Isn’t that a reasonable request?

If you read the script, you would see that there were sympathetic Muslims within the movie. One of the characters was quite heroic, as a matter of fact. The problem is CAIR [the Council on American-Islamic Relations], which is a front for the Muslim Brotherhood. Their position is clear and unequivocal: No Muslim should ever be presented as a terrorist. Period. End of story.
Without a doubt, this was also a studio that was most kowtowing to such a vile organization. I don't know which one it was, but their modern MO makes it one studio that probably doesn't deserve any sane person's dollars.
Bookmark and Share
posted by Avi Green at permanent link# 2 Comments

Jeff Beck Group
Beat Club, Germany 1972

 
01 - Got The Feeling (6:17)
02 - Situation (5:55)
03 - Morning Dew (5:54)
04 - Tonight I'll Be Staying Here With You (5:10)
05 - Going Down (5:01)
06 - Definitely Maybe (7:27)

Labels: ,

Bookmark and Share
posted by midnight rider at permanent link# 0 Comments

Poll of Islamic World Finds Only 4% Believe Women Should Be Uncovered


From the Daily Mail:
The way Muslim women should dress in public has been a strongly debated topic in recent months. But a new study has now revealed what the citizens of different Muslim countries believe is appropriate female dress – and how widely views differ between them. 
The survey was conducted across seven countries – Tunisia, Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Turkey – which all have a majority Muslim population. And the research from the University of Michigan’s Institute for Social Research found that most residents in these countries prefer women to cover their hair with a traditional hijab, al-Amira or head scarf rather than cover their entire face with a full burqa or niqab. 
Researchers asked respondents to pick their favoured style of female Muslim dress from a chart, assembled by the Pew Research Center, showing a range of clothing from the full burka (see image one on the chart above) and niqab (see image two) to types of hijabs (image four and five) to no head covering at all (image six).
Bookmark and Share
posted by Pastorius at permanent link# 3 Comments

Harry Reid Accidentally Tells The Truth: "Today’s long-term unemployment rate is more than double what it was" (during the Bush Administration)

I Can Tell The Truth, 
Or I Can Lie My Ass Off. 
It Don't Matter For Shit, So Fuck You!


From Reid.Senate.gov:
Another day has passed, and the vast majority of Republican Senators still stand in the way of extended unemployment benefits. But I understand that some Republican Senators are having productive conversations about possible offsets for a full-year extension of unemployment insurance benefits. 
I repeat: I am personally opposed to offsetting the cost of emergency unemployment benefits. President Bush extended emergency unemployment insurance five times. Not one of those five times did Republicans ask him to offset the cost. It wasn’t right to offset the cost when Bush was President, and it’s not right to offset the cost now that President Obama is in the White House. 
We’ve cut the deficit in half since President Obama took office. And while we must keep up the good work, we must also solve the nation’s jobs crisis if we ever hope to solve its fiscal problems. Today’s long-term unemployment rate is more than double what it was at any other time Congress let emergency jobless assistance expire.
Bookmark and Share
posted by Pastorius at permanent link# 0 Comments

Thursday, January 09, 2014

Yes, Virginia, Congressmen and women are just like you and me

What political class?
Time:

Congress Is Now Mostly A Millionaires’ Club

For the first time, more than half of congressional lawmakers are worth at least $1 million
Congress is loaded, if you weren’t already aware.
The Center for Responsive Politics analyzed the personal financial disclosure data from 2012 of the 534 current members of Congress and found that, for the first time, more than half had an average net worth of $1 million or more: 268 to be exact, up from 257 the year earlier. The median for congressional Democrats was $1.04 million and, for Republicans, $1 million even.
To calculate the net worth of lawmakers, the Center added together members’ significant assets, such as corporate bonds and stocks, then subtracted major liabilities such as loans, credit card debt and property mortgages.
Here’s the breakdown: the median net worth for all House members was $896,000 (Democrats averaged $929,000 to Republicans’ $884,000) and, for Senators, $2.5 million. The median net worth for Senate Democrats was $1.7 million, down from $2.4 million in 2011; for Republicans: $2.9 million, up from $2.5 million in 2011.
And I’m sure every mother’s son and daughter in the house and senate has the same daily concerns I do.
No one should serve more than 2 terms.
No one in the bureaucracy should be able to server more than 5.
Cabinet members MUST leave ALL GOVT when their term ends.
I will take my chances with that, and I know ALL THE ARGUMENTS.
A professional govt class has more problems than those who serve for a short time because it is their duty to do so.
    Bookmark and Share
    posted by Epaminondas at permanent link# 1 Comments

    G. Willow Wilson remains very dishonest about Islam

    She gave an interview to Wired about the Muslim character being shoehorned into the Ms. Marvel role. Predictably, she won't be transparent about the belief system she thinks is so great, and in fact, she's being a tad insulting toward dissenters:
    WIRED: There’s been a lot of scrutiny of the character since the announcement, particularly because of her Muslim faith. Do you feel like there’s extra pressure to treat her as a representative for all Muslims?

    Wilson: There’s a burden of representation that comes into play when there aren’t enough representatives of a certain group in popular culture. So the few ones that do exist come under increased scrutiny and pressure, because they’re expected to represent everybody. Obviously, you can’t do that with one character and you shouldn’t, because it would stifle the narrative and prevent them from becoming a fully-realized person. So I think in situations like that, you just have to tread lightly and trust your gut. Kamala is not a token anything in any way. She’s very much her own quirky, unique, wonderful person. She’s not a poster girl for her religion and she doesn’t fall into any neat little box.

    If you put the shoe on the other foot and said we’re going to have one Christian character that represents all Christians, the ridiculousness would be obvious right away. Are you talking about white Methodists from Oklahoma? Are you talking about Anglicans in Africa, who are the fastest growing group of Christians on planet Earth? It’s patently impossible for a Muslim character to represent “all Muslims.”
    Who said anything about "tokens"? If you asked a realist, they'd say it was awarding all Islamofascists who condone the darkest passages of the Koran. If one knows where to look, there's members of 9-11 Families and victims of the Boston jihadists whom you can be sure would not approve of a propaganda piece that paints a false, superficial picture of Islam with no traces of the worst parts.

    I notice she may also be resorting to a defense that Muslims committing violent jihad don't represent "true" Islam by first implying that "one Christian character" doesn't represent all Christians. Nobody said her creation was going to represent Muslims who believe in jihad, but if she won't be transparent about the Religion of Peace in and of itself, then she's only confirming what's wrong with the portrayal of Islam in various forms of mainstream entertainment today: they won't depict Islam in itself for what it truly is by quoting the darkest of verses like Sura 3:151, which says, "soon shall we cast terror into the hearts of unbelievers". I don't expect it to turn up in the series she's writing either. (And I might as well make a special note that it's easier to make clear that extremist Haredi clans like Neturei Karta and Satmar don't represent Judaism than it is to just merely say jihadists don't represent Islam.)
    WIRED: What sort of response have you gotten since the character was announced in November? Has there been any backlash?

    Wilson: There’s been some hate from people who don’t read comics, which I ignore because in terms of this medium, they are illiterate. There’s this sense that [Muslims] shouldn’t even be there because it’s somehow un-American… Especially in comics, because [comics] are seen — by people who don’t read comics – as this wholesome, 100% “truth, justice and the American way” product. They’re not thinking about manga; they’re not thinking about all the changes that have occurred in comics over the last decade or so. They don’t know the history of the medium that well… and the medium has evolved.

    On the other side, there’s a certain amount of apprehension from the Muslim community about whether or not [Kamala] is going to be a stereotype or a whitewashing. I think lot of Muslims have gotten fatigued by the way Muslim characters, even “positive” ones, are portrayed in the media. But I think that [apprehension] will go away when the book actually comes out, because no one’s actually read it yet! It’s something that we really put our heart and soul into. I’ve spent my entire adult life in Muslim communities of various kinds both abroad and here in the U.S. and these are issues that are really close to my heart. So I hope people will be pleasantly surprised.
    It's un-American to be calling detractors "illiterate", or hasn't she thought about that? That's an awfully insulting way to talk about people she disagrees with. And since when was it only people not reading comics who "hate" this? What about those who do read comics and manga? That's a pretty laughable defense she's using there. She must think they don't watch movies and TV either, and obviously hasn't considered that her taqqiya (deception) is something that'll tell knowledgeable people how the medium has devolved into something less than honest. Nor has she pondered that there's people who have read the Koran/Hadith and know what the belief system is like, and will be wondering if any of the most telling verses will ever be mentioned inside. Wilson hasn't cited any in the interview, and if she hasn't, then again, we can't count on her to be transparent about it in the comics. Nor for that matter can we expect her to make any mention of non-Muslims who were hit the hardest by the tragedy on 9-11 or deal with them respectably.

    And again, despite what she might think, there are Muslims out there who wouldn't approve of how she's written up the the character, no matter how positively she depicts the religion itself. She's also pretty oblivious to how, over the past decade, almost every depiction of Islam in mainstream showbiz has been otherwise positive, favorable, ignorant and unrealistic.
    WIRED: Do you think the fact that Kamala is a woman as well as a Muslim will provoke different reactions?

    Wilson: Possibly yes. We have this conversation in the American Muslim community a lot. Because the traditional mode of dress for Muslim women is so distinct – the headcovering, which is not there for guys – women carry a greater burden of representation than Muslim men do in non-Muslim societies. So there is that extra level of scrutiny about things like how the character is dressed or whom she interacts with. In the case of Kamala, I really wanted her to be representative of young American Muslims as they are, not how we idealize them. Most young American Muslim women do not cover their hair, so she doesn’t cover her hair… The key thing is authenticity, and not trying to please everybody with a cardboard cutout that doesn’t feel like a human being with flaws and quirks and charms.
    Really? She hasn't seen the leading picture of Colleen LaRose, who wears a burka? Or what about one who insisted on wearing it at Disneyland? There's also 2 Muslim women - victims of honor killings, I might add - seen in this AFDI advertisement who wear burkas. Yet again, I think Wilson is being pretty dishonest, naive and certainly ambiguous here. No, of course not all Muslim women wear head coverings, but that doesn't mean they aren't upholding the worst beliefs in the religion (if they adhere to it, they're de facto casting a vote in favor of the worst parts no matter how "moderate" they might be), and not all of them are wearing it optionally either. Some have even lost their lives for not doing so. In LaRose's case, it does stem from a form of self-isolation, contempt and low self-esteem, but there's also plenty who are wearing those backwards garments because they're forced to.
    WIRED: There’s a long tradition of super-powered characters like the X-Men in superhero comics serving as metaphors for issues of societal prejudice. Is there a metaphor behind Kamala’s shapeshifting powers?

    Wilson: At the very early stages, I [said] I did not want her to have stereotypical girl powers. Nothing’s going to sparkle; she’s not going to float. I wanted her to have something kinetic and physical that would look fun on the page. There was a lot of back and forth about what her power set should be, and we settled on making her a polymorph.

    Polymorphs have a very interesting history in comics, though, because they’re most often bad guys. They’re painted in a negative light because their powers are considered somewhat sneaky compared to the classic power sets like being strong or flying or shooting lightning bolts. So when we decided to make her a polymorph, it was very fraught because she can use her powers to escape what she sees as the conflict in her life between her family and faith and being an American teen. She can hide [from it], and that temptation is there. She can use her powers to try and be all things to all people, which also isn’t healthy. In a way, you’re unpacking two stereotypes, one about Muslims and one about shapeshifters, which I thought meshed nicely with the storyline. But it was a big risk. And I’m still having conversations about what lines to cross and which ones not to cross.

    WIRED: In terms of her faith or her powers?

    Wilson Both. Actually, in a lot of ways I’m a less concerned about the religious aspect. I’ve been writing about religion for a decade now and I’ve had these conversations many times. But when it comes to a polymorph, that means that you can change the look of a character in ways that are often very intrinsic to identity. You can change the character’s outward appearance of gender, you can change the character’s outward appearance of race.
    I think this is pretty dishonest and distorted too, because Metamorpho is a shape-shifter who gave his powers a good name, and Plastic Man could count too. Why, even Dr. Strange might count, recalling an issue of the Defenders where he disguised himself magically as another person. But I'm not surprised she's unconcerned about religious aspects. Specifically, she doesn't care what critics of religion think of any refusal on her part to acknowledge the Koran's content, and she's not giving a good impression of herself when she describes the dissenters as "illiterates".

    She also told the UK Guardian a week ago:
    Kamala's faith, she says, "is part of her personal journey, but she is in no way a poster child for religion [...]
    Well I'm sorry, but if her religion plays the kind of role it does here, it's not a matter of whether she's a poster child, but whether her storytelling acknowledges the verses in the Koran. If not, then once again, we have a case of a belief system nobody wants to be open about.

    In the end, she does not sound like a very respectable or dignified person and her defenses sound silly at best. Oddly enough, the Kuwaiti Naif al-Mutawa who published The 99 comic was more honest about Islam 3 years ago, though he still signaled he was unhappy that anyone would take a negative stand about it:
    Al-Mutawa called “Holy Terror” par for the historical course for Islam.

    “There’s no denying that terrible things have happened in the name of my religion – as they have in the names of most religions, if not all religions,” he said. “As human beings, we’re a little bit lazy. We don’t like to change the schemas in our minds. We like to fit new information into existing schemas. That’s why to some people anything to do with Islam is going to be bad.”
    Not everything. If Holy Terror took an unapologetic and critical approach, that's just what most realists today appreciate. It doesn't mean the book wouldn't be lousy, but the position on the Religion of Peace in itself is much preferred to one that takes a naive, dishonest approach that won't be open about the contents of the Koran's belief system. His claim we like to inject "new information" is also pretty fishy, suggesting he's still deriding anybody with a negative opinion of Islam as some kind of a schemer. Too bad.
    Bookmark and Share
    posted by Avi Green at permanent link# 0 Comments


    Older Posts Newer Posts