173 results for d'Nalgar

Because a few inky wretches say so

 

Dear editor,

Back in the late 1960s, Simon and Garfunkel sang the question, “What’s that you say, Mrs. Robinson?” In 2017, that simple question is answered week after week, as the same ilky rabble of letter writers, merry contrarians all, stain these pages with their regressive nonsense.

Murderer. Killer. Socialist. Muslim. Mexican. Terrorist. There’s not much else in their tiny little lexicons, so they fill the gaps with endless quotes from the Christian Bible, or by quoting professional bible-thumpers who have enriched themselves mining the gold in them thar’ hills of a gullible America hungry for health and wealth and, ironically, an apocalypse to end it all.

Words matter. Women who choose abortion are not murderers or killers. They deserve compassion and care. We all do. We all deserve quality, affordable care not derided as socialism or a gateway drug to communism. Words matter. Muslims and Mexicans are not terrorists. If you really believe that Bible you love to quote, they deserve your welcome and respect and friendship.

Abortion is not murder or killing because a few inky wretches say so, or because a barely hidden political agenda says so. What is a human life? When does it start and end? For thousands of years the span of a person’s life has been measured by one simple test. If she breathes, she is alive. When he stops breathing, he is dead.

Even the ancient creation stories begin with a Creator breathing life into its creation. The same Creator who, by some estimates, smites up to 70% of all pregnancies and fertilized zygotes. It is a harsh reality, but before breath begins and after it ends, there is no human life.

There is only tissue. The blood and bone and gristle we humans are made of, to be sure, but here’s the rub. Unless you are the person attached to that tissue, what to do with it is none of your business. Got that, ladies and gentlemen? It doesn’t matter if that tissue is a fetus or a diseased body part or a limb that must be amputated. It is none of your business.

Fact is, abortion did not became such a high-profile issue, a cornerstone of regressive politics in America, until it was weaponized by the Republican Party to divide and conquer. Just about the same time public schools were desegregated… Coincidence?

Their ploy was so wildly successful that we’re now on the cusp of full-blown fascism. We may still masquerade that fascism as exceptionalism, or hide it in the shadows of a cross, or behind a façade of red, white, and blue patriotism, but America today has never looked more like 1930s Germany. Our POTUS has never looked more like Der Fuhrer.

Strangers are feared. Rights are suppressed. Obedience is demanded. Walls, big, beautiful walls are promised. Science and education are ridiculed. Ignorance and hubris are now our best-known exports.

“God bless you, please, Mrs. Robinson. Jesus loves you more than you will know.”

Monsieur Jacques d’Nalgar
Hot Springs, Arkansas

 

Photograph (modified):  http://chrisreimersblog.files.wordpress.com/2010/09/100_1674.jpg

 

Permanent link to this article: https://levantium.com/2017/10/17/because-a-few-inky-wretches-say-so/

Never been more proud

 

Kudos for Trump’s speech

 

Dear editor:

After President Donald Trump gave his remarkably great speech to the United Nations, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, “In over 30 years in my experience with the U.N., I never heard a bolder or more courageous speech.”

Many well-respected conservative leaders praised that speech as being the most impressive speech of his presidency! Of course, his enemies on the far left side hated everything about it as they always do (actually a sign that he is standing for what is good).

Personally, I’ve never been more proud that Donald Trump is my president! What a refreshment after enduring the radical Obama for eight long miserable years who was hostile to biblical faith and the ways of God upon which our exceptionally great nation was founded.

It was also wonderful to witness a genuinely patriotic leader who truly loves America instead of apologizing to the world for all of our supposed wrongs! History clearly shows that America has easily done more good for the world than any other nation ever has.

As a Christian, it is also more clear to me than ever why that God chose Donald Trump to be our president. In a previous letter, I quoted the Rev. Franklin Graham as saying, “I have no doubt that it was God who put Donald Trump in as our president.” The word of this very great Christian leader is certainly good enough for me! Apparently, it was good enough for the 82 percent of evangelical Christians who voted for him, also.

Hillary asked in her book (now discounted), “What Happened?” that caused her to lose the election. Rev. Graham said that it was “The God factor” that was responsible for her loss! Millions of Christians were praying to God about our nation and the election and God heard those prayers and answered.

Some liberal letter writers, such as George Lindholm, didn’t agree that God chose Donald Trump to be our president and also said that all of the vast number of evangelical Christian Trump voters were “misguided and confused.” Wow! Just who is it that is in a state of confusion?

Just this morning (Thursday, Sept. 21) I listened to the Rev. Franklin Graham in an interview on the Fox News Channel telling about how much he agreed with what President Trump said in his speech to the United Nations. He greatly praised Trump for trying to stand against the evil forces of the world.

Rev. Graham also said that President Trump would be greatly criticized for his speech by the far let socialists, but that he admired him for being willing to stand strongly anyway! Graham stated that whenever he has met with Trump, that he has always found him to be transparent and truthful. I believe the words of Rev. Franklin Graham to be very trustworthy.

Please continue to pray for President Trump and our nation daily! Prayer unleashes the power of God. God wants Christians to pray for our leaders!

Lloyd Hoffman
Hot Springs

 

Photo by Monsieur d’Nalgar, September 10, 2016.

Permanent link to this article: https://levantium.com/2017/09/23/never-been-more-proud/

Very disappointed

 

Disappointing performance

 

Dear editor:

I know our Arkansas congressional representative, Bruce Westerman, and his colleague, Sen. Tom Cotton, don’t pay much attention to their average constituents, and I don’t fault them for that. They have more important things to do.

However, I am not an average constituent. My family owns numerous successful businesses and we supported both of these two in previous elections, both by strongly encouraging our employees to vote for them, and more importantly, by making substantial campaign donations.

At this point, my family and I are very disappointed with their performance; they campaigned on two crucial issues — lowering the federal deficit and repealing Obamacare. At this point they have been abject failures in both regards. In our numerous successful businesses, we would consider these two upper mid-management employees, and they would have been terminated based on their performance so far.

Now a new issue has arisen and we are expecting a better outcome. “Dreamers,” as the press so eloquently describes them, are nothing more than illegal aliens, in this country illegally. Sanitize it all you want, illegal is illegal.

We want them deported, not six months from now, but yesterday. They have taken jobs from true Americans who need them, and are damaging the cultural fabric of our society.

Westerman, Cotton, now is the time to earn your pay. No excuses about congressional gridlock or partisanship, if you can’t get the job done, we will find someone who will.

The successful businesses my family owns are successful because they are run as businesses. If you can’t find a way to run Washington like that, we’ll support someone who can.

Ashton Miller III
Hot Springs

Permanent link to this article: https://levantium.com/2017/09/14/very-disappointed/

Rights are not bestowed by an oppressor

Why We Are on Hunger Strike in Israel’s Prisons

By Marwan_Barghouti, April 16, 2017

 

HADARIM PRISON, Israel — Having spent the last 15 years in an Israeli prison, I have been both a witness to and a victim of Israel’s illegal system of mass arbitrary arrests and ill-treatment of Palestinian prisoners. After exhausting all other options, I decided there was no choice but to resist these abuses by going on a hunger strike.

Some 1,000 Palestinian prisoners have decided to take part in this hunger strike, which begins today, the day we observe here as Prisoners’ Day. Hunger striking is the most peaceful form of resistance available. It inflicts pain solely on those who participate and on their loved ones, in the hopes that their empty stomachs and their sacrifice will help the message resonate beyond the confines of their dark cells.

Decades of experience have proved that Israel’s inhumane system of colonial and military occupation aims to break the spirit of prisoners and the nation to which they belong, by inflicting suffering on their bodies, separating them from their families and communities, using humiliating measures to compel subjugation. In spite of such treatment, we will not surrender to it.

Israel, the occupying power, has violated international law in multiple ways for nearly 70 years, and yet has been granted impunity for its actions. It has committed grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions against the Palestinian people; the prisoners, including men, women and children, are no exception.

I was only 15 when I was first imprisoned. I was barely 18 when an Israeli interrogator forced me to spread my legs while I stood naked in the interrogation room, before hitting my genitals. I passed out from the pain, and the resulting fall left an everlasting scar on my forehead. The interrogator mocked me afterward, saying that I would never procreate because people like me give birth only to terrorists and murderers.

A few years later, I was again in an Israeli prison, leading a hunger strike, when my first son was born. Instead of the sweets we usually distribute to celebrate such news, I handed out salt to the other prisoners. When he was barely 18, he in turn was arrested and spent four years in Israeli prisons.

The eldest of my four children is now a man of 31. Yet here I still am, pursuing this struggle for freedom along with thousands of prisoners, millions of Palestinians and the support of so many around the world. What is it with the arrogance of the occupier and the oppressor and their backers that makes them deaf to this simple truth: Our chains will be broken before we are, because it is human nature to heed the call for freedom regardless of the cost.

Israel has built nearly all of its prisons inside Israel rather than in the occupied territory. In doing so, it has unlawfully and forcibly transferred Palestinian civilians into captivity, and has used this situation to restrict family visits and to inflict suffering on prisoners through long transports under cruel conditions. It turned basic rights that should be guaranteed under international law — including some painfully secured through previous hunger strikes — into privileges its prison service decides to grant us or deprive us of.

Palestinian prisoners and detainees have suffered from torture, inhumane and degrading treatment, and medical negligence. Some have been killed while in detention. According to the latest count from the Palestinian Prisoners Club, about 200 Palestinian prisoners have died since 1967 because of such actions. Palestinian prisoners and their families also remain a primary target of Israel’s policy of imposing collective punishments.

Through our hunger strike, we seek an end to these abuses.

Over the past five decades, according to the human rights group Addameer, more than 800,000 Palestinians have been imprisoned or detained by Israel — equivalent to about 40 percent of the Palestinian territory’s male population. Today, about 6,500 are still imprisoned, among them some who have the dismal distinction of holding world records for the longest periods in detention of political prisoners. There is hardly a single family in Palestine that has not endured the suffering caused by the imprisonment of one or several of its members.

How to account for this unbelievable state of affairs?

Israel has established a dual legal regime, a form of judicial apartheid, that provides virtual impunity for Israelis who commit crimes against Palestinians, while criminalizing Palestinian presence and resistance. Israel’s courts are a charade of justice, clearly instruments of colonial, military occupation. According to the State Department, the conviction rate for Palestinians in the military courts is nearly 90 percent.

Among the hundreds of thousands of Palestinians whom Israel has taken captive are children, women, parliamentarians, activists, journalists, human rights defenders, academics, political figures, militants, bystanders, family members of prisoners. And all with one aim: to bury the legitimate aspirations of an entire nation.

Instead, though, Israel’s prisons have become the cradle of a lasting movement for Palestinian self-determination. This new hunger strike will demonstrate once more that the prisoners’ movement is the compass that guides our struggle, the struggle for Freedom and Dignity, the name we have chosen for this new step in our long walk to freedom.

Israel has tried to brand us all as terrorists to legitimize its violations, including mass arbitrary arrests, torture, punitive measures and severe restrictions. As part of Israel’s effort to undermine the Palestinian struggle for freedom, an Israeli court sentenced me to five life sentences and 40 years in prison in a political show trial that was denounced by international observers.

Israel is not the first occupying or colonial power to resort to such expedients. Every national liberation movement in history can recall similar practices. This is why so many people who have fought against oppression, colonialism and apartheid stand with us. The International Campaign to Free Marwan Barghouti and All Palestinian Prisoners that the anti-apartheid icon Ahmed Kathrada and my wife, Fadwa, inaugurated in 2013 from Nelson Mandela’s former cell on Robben Island has enjoyed the support of eight Nobel Peace Prize laureates, 120 governments and hundreds of leaders, parliamentarians, artists and academics around the world.

Their solidarity exposes Israel’s moral and political failure. Rights are not bestowed by an oppressor. Freedom and dignity are universal rights that are inherent in humanity, to be enjoyed by every nation and all human beings. Palestinians will not be an exception. Only ending occupation will end this injustice and mark the birth of peace.

Editors’ Note: April 17, 2017

This article explained the writer’s prison sentence but neglected to provide sufficient context by stating the offenses of which he was convicted. (Jacques d’Nalgar’s comment:  did the NYT’s editors also feel compelled to add similar notes whenever Nelson Mandela or Martin Luther King, Jr. wrote?) They were five counts of murder and membership in a terrorist organization. Mr. Barghouti declined to offer a defense at his trial and refused to recognize the Israeli court’s jurisdiction and legitimacy.

Marwan Barghouti is a Palestinian leader and parliamentarian.

 

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/16/opinion/palestinian-hunger-strike-prisoners-call-for-justice.html

Photograph of graffiti supporting Palestinian leader Marwan Barghouti, on the “Palestinian side” of the Israeli West Bank barrier wall, near the Qalandia checkpoint north to Jerusalem, by Eman, 15 April 2007. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marwan_Barghouti#/media/File:QalandiaWallBarghouti.JPG

Permanent link to this article: https://levantium.com/2017/04/19/rights-are-not-bestowed-by-an-oppressor/

Mad as a March hare

Alas, it seems our local newspaper, the Sentinel Record, is determined to make Hot Springs known more for its wingnut provincials than as an international tourist trap. The following article was front-page, above the fold, in today’s Sunday edition. Read it and weep. These people really believe that Trump and Jesus are two sides of the same coin of the realm, the so-fantastic and amazing mammon that will make America great “again”…

But maybe, just maybe, there’s a silver lining to these regular gatherings of loons. Cannot our professional, practiced purveyors of Hot Springs (as a worthy destination for all manner of fleecing unwary visitors) work their lemons-into-lemonade alchemy? Surely there is a way to turn these spectacles into an attraction, a novelty for beginning birdwatchers perhaps? Or a reason for anthropologists to convene and opine on the nature of American idiocy crouching behind the facade of patriotism?

— Jacques d’Nalgar, Dimanche 5 mars 2017

March supports president

By Max Bryan, 03/05/2017

FEATURED SPEAKER: Jan Morgan, owner of The Gun Cave, right, prepares to take a selfie with Barbara Williams, of Benton, following her speech at the March 4 Trump rally Saturday morning.

Scores of people toting signs and flags gathered in downtown Hot Springs on Saturday to march and rally in support of President Donald Trump.

Arkansas’ March 4 Trump rally was part of a nationwide show of support for Trump, as proponents gathered in different cities Saturday to rally behind the president.

The Arkansas event started on Arlington Lawn in Hot Springs National Park, as speakers roused the crowd and patriotic songs filled the air, and was followed by a march along Bathhouse Row to Hill Wheatley Plaza to the south.

Diane Silverman, one of the event’s organizers, said that she hoped that it would bring people together behind a common cause.

“We want people to choose, of their own free will, to unify behind our president for the sake of the welfare of the country,” Silverman said. “There’s such a divide that we want to give people the opportunity to choose to get on board so that we can get on board with what we need to do in this country.”

The event’s speakers — Silverman, fellow event organizer Joyce Shelor and Jan Morgan, owner of The Gun Cave — spoke on different topics as they related to the president.

“We welcome all who have accepted our invitation to support our president,” Shelor told the crowd.

Shelor said she voted for Trump not because he was the “lesser of two evils,” but because she had done her own independent research. She said that she truly believes that Trump will “make America great again” as his campaign slogan preached, mentioning that her generation remembers a time when the country was “great.”

Shelor told The Sentinel-Record that she believes Trump will create more jobs and stimulate the U.S. economy, and will cut government regulations on businesses.

Morgan’s speech followed along those lines, as she, too, associated the concept of American freedom with businesses facing fewer regulations.

Morgan also said that she believes Trump will keep the judicial and legislative branches’ power in check, and later told the newspaper that she thought the judicial branch “overstepped their power” when federal courts struck down his executive order restricting immigration from seven Muslim-majority nations.

“If he feels that the security of this country is at risk, he had the executive power to stop — temporarily stop — people from coming in from countries that we feel were the greatest areas of terrorist organization,” Morgan said.

GATHERING: March 4 Trump rally attendees gather on Arlington Lawn in Hot Springs National Park Saturday morning.Silverman stressed that Saturday’s event was an inclusive one, pointing out that part of Hot Springs’ history is that it used to be open to any Native American tribe, so they could interact freely with each other.

“It sort of wakes up the loving American spirit that resides in our soul,” Silverman said.

“We need to be thankful for two people that are bringing the glory of the Lord back to America,” said one man who attended Saturday’s rally, referring to the president and first lady Melania Trump. He said that he appreciated the fact that he had heard the first lady publicly recite the Lord’s Prayer at a recent rally.

Another attendee, Larry Shores, was bearing a tall U.S. flag with a sign hanging in the center of the pole, which gave the pole the shape of the Christian cross. On one side of the pole’s sign was written “Jesus,” and on the other side, “Trump.”

Shores said he is grateful that Trump is president of the United States because he believed that the nation was previously moving toward Islamic rule. He said that Muslims entering the United States from the Middle East wish to impose their law over the nation.

“He stands up for America, and he stands up for freedom,” Shores said.

Morgan described Trump as a president that will make our country “safe, free and great” and that he is the people’s President.

“Donald Trump is for all the people,” Morgan said. “We need to move forward together as a nation, into the future, fighting for our country.”

MARCHING: Supporters of President Trump head back to Arlington Lawn after marching to Hill Wheatley Plaza at around noon Saturday. The march followed the March 4 Trump rally Saturday.

Permanent link to this article: https://levantium.com/2017/03/05/mad-as-a-march-hare/

And few there be that find it

 

 

The evangelical bloc

 

Dear editor:

Even though Donald Trump won the presidential election legitimately, the extreme liberal side still cannot understand how he really won, nor can they stop their ugly and harmful opposition. Even though they are loud and very organized, they are only hurting themselves, not helping our nation and certainly don’t represent the majority of Americans who still hold to conservative family values.

These extreme liberals have tried to say that Trump won because of Russia interfering with the election, even though there is no real evidence to substantiate their wild claims. They have tried to discount Trump’s victory in every way they can think of, all to no avail.

“It was a triumph that few predicted — especially the pollsters and media. Trump won 30 states, aided by a significant bloc of evangelical (Christian) support at the polls.”

The liberal mainstream news media “kept asking ‘How did this happen?’ ‘What went wrong?’ ‘How did we miss this?’ Some were in shock. Political pundits were stunned. Many thought the Trump-Pence ticket didn’t have a chance. Few of them understood the God factor — that hundreds of thousands of Christians from across the U.S. had been praying.”

“While the media scratched their heads and tried to understand how this happened, I believe that God’s sovereign hand worked mightily on election night to help stop the godless, atheistic, progressive agenda from continuing its moral assault on our nation.” (Quotes by the Rev. Franklin Graham, Decision magazine, December 2016, Page 4.)

Now, I don’t really expect the non-Christian side to believe all of this. Why do I say that? The Bible says, “But the man who isn’t a Christian can’t understand and can’t accept these thoughts from God, which the Holy Spirit teaches us. They sound foolish to him, because only those who have the Holy Spirit within them can understand what the Holy Spirit means. Others just can’t take it in. But the spiritual man has insight into everything, and that bothers and baffles the man of the world, who can’t understand him at all. How could he? … ” (1 Corinthians 2:14-16).

These things I am writing are mainly for the encouragement of all true Christians, even though I hope and pray that some of you would also trust in Jesus Christ for eternal salvation and spiritual rebirth. “Yet to all who did receive Him, to those who believe in His name, He gave the right to become children of God.” (John 1:12).

More recently (Jan. 16, 2107), the Rev. Franklin Graham said, “As God’s people, this is not a time to stand down or drop our guard. Powerful (satanic) forces are opposing any change of direction. Our new leaders need wisdom, strength and guidance from Almighty God. The Bible says, ‘Pray without ceasing.’ (1 Thessalonians 5:17). For our nation and its future, that admonition never had more urgency. Our faith and hope is in God, not human leaders.”

“So, as we enter 2017 with new leadership for our nation, the most critical thing you can do is pray, pray, pray.” (Decision, February 2017, Page 5).

Lloyd Hoffman
Hot Springs

Permanent link to this article: https://levantium.com/2017/02/27/and-few-there-be-that-find-it/

Banned Muslims are Welcomed in Hot Springs

 

Well, I’ve gotten myself into some weird situations, but today’s was the first time I ever felt the implied threat of physical intimidation.  There was the time Cliff Jackson and I infiltrated a Christianist Glenn Beck telecast from Jerusalem, sponsored mostly by our local Tea Party types.  There was the time Sherry (my beloved) and I went to the Glory Barn (yes, that’s really its name) to see the wannabe televangelist and most assuredly reverend Dwain Miller of Eldorado, Arkansas, in the flesh.  I’ve even attended a Tea Party meeting adorned in my Palestinian keffiyeh, furiously live-chatting (this was before the days of live tweeting) as people stood and testified their anti-Obama, anti-government paranoias.  Everyone clapped.  It felt more like an old-fashioned tent revival than politics…

But today was different.  I had taken the afternoon off from work because of a short article in yesterday’s paper.  Billed as a protest to Trump’s anti-immigration executive order, the article continued with the following:

Organizer Jerry Carmack will give a lecture Wednesday titled “Trump Banned Muslims are Welcomed in Hot Springs, AR” in the library’s Gordon Williams Hall from 1-4 p.m. Wednesday.

I got there a few minutes early and noticed a handful of “interesting” people hanging around the library’s entry.  Sort of a mixture of biker, survivalist, militia play-army paramilitary types, partly bone-thin tweaker and partly, portly, well-fed hillbillies.  Black leather Harley vests with “American by birth, but Southern by the Grace of God” on the back.  T-shirts with the Confederate battle flag, loud and proud “deplorable” buttons, and most of all, Trump t-shirts sporting all manner of Trump as uber-patriot (eagles, flags, crosses, etc.) kitsch.

The library’s meeting hall was set up for maybe a hundred people, but there was only one lonely soul sitting in the back.  I presume he was Jerry Carmack, but it was hard to make out his name because of his lisp and the quiet way he spoke.  “JC” may be a wildly successful, brilliant billionaire rocket scientist, but my first impression was of someone who looked like the opportunities of life had largely passed him by.  Desperately earnest, shy, thick glasses, you could easily imagine he had been bullied as a child and probably again in the years since.  He was, in short, the sort of person Sherry (my beloved and shrewd empath) instantly feels sorry for.  Had he been selling anything at all, she would have instantly bought it just to make him feel better…

No one else showed up.  Just me and JC, making small talk about Islamophobia and the rise of bigotry and fascism in America.  We threw in the towel after 15 minutes and started to walk out of the library.  I was about 10 or 15 feet in front of him when I noticed the guy in the leather vest pass me by and confront JC.  I turned around and walked back as “Guy” was telling JC he was glad no one showed up and that most everyone in Hot Springs felt the same way he did.

Guy was probably in his 40s, but his deeply etched face, perhaps from a lifetime of smoke and drink, made him look decades older.  He was tall and thin, with long hair and a scraggly Buffalo Bill, “looky, looky, I’m a Civil War hero” beard and mustache.  I asked Guy if he had ever met a Muslim.  Sure had, he said, about 300, all the way from Hot Springs to North Carolina and Florida, and every one of them wanted to kill Americans.  The only one who was different was a Muslim he met at a Trump rally, but he wasn’t a real Muslim after all (something about not knowing or following the five pillars of Islam) and he didn’t really hate Christians.  Guy also bragged he had read the Qu’ran three times, once with the help of someone from Israel.

Guy then turned on JC again.  Would you allow a refugee family to stay in your home?  JC, clearly not ready for any of this, shrank back and mumbled in the negative.  I told Guy I would gladly take in a Syrian refugee family today, right now, if I could.  He responded that then I would be the first one they would kill.  He went on about how Muslims are trying to infiltrate this country and destroy Christianity and our American way of life.  All part of Islam’s grand scheme to take over the world.

I asked Guy if he was aware that there were Muslims right here in Hot Springs.  That some are even doctors who might save your life some day.  Not if I can help it, Guy responded.  He then turned to JC.  I’m glad no one showed up today, not that I expected them to.  But you’d better not ever try to do anything like this again.  And there it was, just a wisp of a hint that the next time Guy and his goons might not be so polite and genteel.

All in all, it was just another day in Hot Springs, Arkansas.  Welcome to the Natural State, God bless America…

— Jacques d’Nalgar, le mercredi 8 février 2017

Image (modified):  https://www.splcenter.org/issues/hate-and-extremism

Permanent link to this article: https://levantium.com/2017/02/08/banned-muslims-are-welcomed-in-hot-springs/