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February 13, 2015


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Don't fret about Douglas. She will self-destruct. It was written in the cards the day she decided to run. Give her time. It won't be long.

You have to give credit to the governor, although I know you won't. He really played the CAP people. It was pure artistry to say to them, "Sure abortion is your issue, but how about all the kids this side of the womb?" He caught them flat footed and had them back pedaling all the way out of the capitol. Very well played.

Can't wait for July to start the process of getting our latest nut job out of office.
Doesn't anyone do any research before they vote

I have read that Mrs. Douglas accused Ducey of creating "a shadow faction of charter school operators and former state Superintendents who support Common Core and moving funds from traditional public schools to charter schools." Take out ‘Common Core’ and there is an interesting conversation. However, because she obsesses over Common Core, she loses.

I am impressed with Gov. Ducey’s appeal to the attendees who support the Center for Arizona Policy (an organization determined to end women’s reproductive freedoms) .
Gov. Ducey said, “We have 16,900 children that are now outside of the womb and are wards of the state and I'm asking specifically for your help as an organization, the faith-based community to re-engage in this issue of child safety, whether it's foster parents, whether it's adoption, whether it's as a court-appointed special advocate for these children. …”
I hope he persists in that public appeal.

I miss Carolyn Warner......it's been a LONG while since AZ had a competent actual educator as state superintendent. Our kiddos have had to bear the brunt of their incompetence for FAR too many years.

Douglas is a self-created train wreck.

Douglas should apply for Social Security benefits for the mentally challenged. And her campaign financial advisers should be criminally indicted for intentionally promoting the political career of a obviously mentally incompetent individual.

Ms. Douglas failed to heed my #1 axiom: "It is better to keep one's mouth shut and be thought a fool than to open it and confirm it"
Lisa Keegan started the march toward charters during her tenure. It's interesting that she is now double D's education adviser.
Charter schools, unlike public schools can pick and choose who they enroll. This allows them to show high achievment rates.
The state's political pundits probably had a party last night. She is making their job a lot easier.
Has Ev returned?

To paraphrase-"We have met the enemy-and he is us,the voters"Anybody who makes Ducey look reasonable is way beyond the pale.

"But of the 36.42 percent of registered voters who cast a ballot..." Well, this may be good or bad, but the actual turnout, statewide, was 47.52 percent.


Nevertheless, the point that it wasn't really a majority of registered Arizona voters who elected Diane Douglas or Scrooge McDucey is well taken.

I'm concerned that the 400,000 signatures necessary to recall Ms. Douglas will be an incredibly high hurdle. It's about three times the number of signatures gathered for the HB2305 referendum push.

"...she was quickly hauled back into the building and sedated." Indeed, the monster got loose, but I don't see the villagers wondering where they left their pitchforks.

Some food for thought for the "Double D's."
"He who opens a school door, closes a prison."
Victor Hugo
" If you think education is expensive, try ignorance."
Derek Bok

"Your comment has been posted." But no sign of it.


ramjet wrote:

"Charter schools, unlike public schools can pick and choose who they enroll. This allows them to show high achievment rates."

Arizona law (A.R.S. 15-148) requires charter schools to admit all pupils who submit a timely registration, without reference to their academic performance. If the number of admission requests exceeds the number of available seats, charter schools are required to use a lottery. The exception to this is preference given to the siblings of already enrolled pupils.


Of course, it's possible that in practice the law is flouted. I would certainly be interested in hearing from anyone with definite knowledge of such practices, and the means used.

The law would only be effective if the state effectively audits and enforces compliance. If auditing is rare or enforcement spotty, playing the odds might be appealing to charter school administrators, especially if the penalties are light or non-existent, or if it was difficult to prove non-compliance.

I would imagine that charter schools might attempt to select high performing students from among the "timely applications" and then use the sibling preference exemption to reduce the effectiveness of a lottery in randomizing admissions.

But this is merely a surmise. What is needed is for the state's newspaper of record to investigate and report; or else for individuals with definite knowledge of non-compliant practices to share the facts here, perhaps using an alias for posting.

Rogue wrote:

"...knowledge is dangerous if it strays from the fixed dogma of Fox "News," Rush Limbaugh and the "think tanks" of the right."

I saw a segment on FOX News Sunday, hosted by Chris Wallace, previous moderator of Meet The Press. The show is a cut above the usual Hannity style of demogoguery, including guests of opposing views who are allowed to have their say without being interrupted and browbeaten.

The segment in question, on Common Core, featured a face-off between Bill Bennett, conservative Reagan era Secretary of Education, who supports Common Core, and Governor Greg Abbott of Texas, which is one of a handful of states to reject Common Core.

Bennett said that the opponents of Common Core are motivated either by wildly-off base mythology (propagated on the Internet and on conservative talk-radio, of course), or else by a desire to maintain a system where local school administrators can manipulate test results favorably, and who wish to avoid independent national testing which would take this prerogative away from them.

Some of the myths include claims that Common Core requires teaching Islamic radicalism, learning all of the speeches of President Obama, the implementation of a code of political correctness, and other Tea Party bugbears.

Bennett noted the absurdity of these claims and suggested that the cure for these delusions was to download the publicly available Common Core standards themselves instead of relying on the characterizations of third parties.

Characteristic of the opposition, Abbott ignored this and referred viewers to a YouTube video purporting to show that Common Core requires teachers to offer byzantine, nonsensical versions of elementary arithmetic. All that it actually shows is the approach of a particular teacher, which is both atypical and completely unrelated to the Common Core standards. Given that public school systems in the United States employ more than three million teachers, it isn't difficult to find something odd or substandard and then arbitrarily associate it with Common Core (or anything else you oppose) in order to discredit it.

My concern is whether testing under Common Core will prove to be genuinely national and independent in character. If testing of Common Core standards is delegated to local administrators who are allowed to influence the selection of test administrators, instead of relying on the appointment of proctors who have no loyalty to any school and no preference with respect to outcomes, the so-called national standards will be a farce and a delusion.

P.S. Here's a link to a website (Real Clear Politics) which provides both a transcription and the broadcast video of the Bennett - Abbott debate:


P.P.S. The statute in question is actually A.R.S. 15-184, not "15-148" as I wrote. The hyperlink to the text of the statute is correct.

In response to this counterfactual:

"Charter schools, unlike public schools can pick and choose who they enroll. This allows them to show high achievment rates."

Emil wrote:

Arizona law (A.R.S. 15-148) requires charter schools to admit all pupils who submit a timely registration, without reference to their academic performance. If the number of admission requests exceeds the number of available seats, charter schools are required to use a lottery. The exception to this is preference given to the siblings of already enrolled pupils.

Emil is quite correct about that. Most newspaper articles in the Tucson Daily Star include that fact when writing about charter schools. It should be common knowledge by now.

Although this is the first time I've heard about a lottery and family favoritism.

I'd be very curious to know about enforcement of the lottery and attendant facts, such as:

1) How often has a lottery been held and for what schools?

2) How is the integrity of the lottery ensured?

Such questions should be delivered forthwith to the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism forthwith.

Side notes:

koreyel. And who exists at the Walter Cronkite school of journalism that could competently and objectively handle such an assignment? This is a job for a REPORTER not a journalist. I had a friend that was a reporter, a writer of factual books and a publisher that would not hire anyone that majored in journalism. Most the good reporters I know are dead. And if you are a good reporter, the jealous journalistic world will Kill the Messenger.

Maybe u missed the taking of ASU by large East Valley donors.

Emil, thanks for the facts again but Arizona is a state ran by folks that first think of $$$$$ for me and my cult and how can I be sure my family is not exposed to the poor and filthy.

See this local news article from 2010 for a real eye-opener. Douglas' views on the IB (International Baccalaureate) program, which she believes "is to promote world government" and has "no place in American education" give a clue to where she's coming from.

Reference to Doug Ducey as Double-D gave me the idea for a political cartoon. DD as Mae West, surrounded by a clique of wolfish, salivating charter school CEOs, saying "Come on up and see me sometime, big boy!"

Another possible loophole: admission preference may be given to applicants from the charter school district: but since charter schools can set up wherever they wish, this allows them to legally cherry-pick pools of students with any ethnic or economic demographic they choose.

Good questions. koreyel. Until a 2012 change in the law, charter schools in Arizona could go 15 years without a review. This plus very skimpy publicly available data makes performance comparisons difficult, as Brookings noted in a 2014 study which found no performance advantage to Arizona charters over public schools on average.

Brookings did find that charter schools close poorly performing schools faster, but since public schools have a legal requirement to educate the school age population, closure is seldom a realistic option.

You are making it too complicated. Just ask yourself, Why did the white man's god invent charter schools?

Koreyel, thank you for pointing out the proper use of ensure vs insure. That is one of my pet peeves. If you aren't buying a fucking policy, you aren't insuring shit.

Cal, journalism is in fact:

a : the collection and editing of news for presentation through the media
b : the public press
c : an academic study concerned with the collection and editing of news or the management of a news medium
a : writing designed for publication in a newspaper or magazine
b : writing characterized by a direct presentation of facts or description of events without an attempt at interpretation
c : writing designed to appeal to current popular taste or public interest"
*Definition from Marriam-Webster

"Reporter" is a newer, more colloquial term. When I think of a reporter, television newscasters are imagined first and less so are actual writers. Nothing is being journaled or chronicled in the old sense of those definitions when it is being broadcasted.

There is no doubt that Doug Ducey and Diane Douglas are products of the crazy Whiteness that has taken hold of Arizona (thanks in large part to our Midwestern transplants, which I always feel obligated to add). Yet, I am more annoyed with my fellow Latinos and progressives in Arizona who sit on the sidelines. The feeling of disconnection and ambivalence is real, I give them that.

I feel it within my own family whom are mostly Latino - those who look Mestizo, to be sure, as opposed to those who look more ... dusky, often mistaken as European (although, they do make up a large part of my family). Arizona/New Mexico has been home to our family going on 7 generations now. It is not an easy place for us to leave en masse for that reason. There are so many Latinos here, living comfortably even if they would be considered poor, that the political wasteland in this state is almost surreal: A circus that on the surface doesn't touch our everyday realities. The wounds are deeper than that.

For Latinos like me under the age of 30 or even 35, the state of politics in Arizona seems like the vestige of a creature that is nearly extinct. Therefore, most of us are just waiting out the current firestorm. This is nothing compared to what our relatives endured a few generations ago. As a for instance, my great-aunt was "mistakenly" deported to Mexico from California in the 1930s.

I couldn’t imagine that happening to a young relative today. Unlike my great-aunt who spoke with an accent, worked in the fields before becoming a nurse, and was soft-spoken, a relative today at the same age would raise quite the raucous if treated in a similar fashion. I am specifically thinking of family, reluctantly including myself, who are spoiled and whose parents have purchased vehicles for them that our older relatives wouldn’t have dreamed of touching in their lifetimes.

It is quite the paradox that my great-aunt is now being driven around by one of her descendants in a Cadillac CTS-V Coupe. Even those who are less well-off are now afforded the comfort of being what older relatives would define as “American enough” to ignore the polity. Historically, many Latinos in the Southwest have felt as though they were living in a rift. In the movie about Selena, Edward James Olmos summed up the feeling best when he said: “We have to be more Mexican than the Mexicans, and more American than the Americans.” Younger Latinos who are 3rd generation American no longer feel that mold holds true. I get the sense that many Latinos believe it will continue to improve with time; it is an inherent belief. It is a dangerous belief. Arizona isn’t all crazy. Arizona is mostly politically lazy. That is why I am still here. There are too many family members buried in the soil and too many memories physically left behind that tie me to this place.

To answer Soleri’s question in another thread: Yes, reading Rogue Columnist about why Phoenix has failed contributed to lessons learned. I have been asked by friends in other, “better” places why I haven’t left Phoenix to live in say, Portland or Seattle. I have been honest. One cultural reason that is not mine alone is that Portland and Seattle are too White. Even for me, a self-described progressive, gay Latino, I am not completely at ease in such places. I feel like something is missing. I am a brown dot in the great White Sea. On the surface I would be extremely comfortable and even in my element. Buried deeper I have always felt there to be underlying tensions in such places that are smugly denied. I’d rather see what I’m fighting. One thing is for sure, in most cities like Seattle the borders are clearly defined. Most of the city is Whitelandia while South Seattle’s Rainier Valley is where the minorities hold fort.

In saying that I am not condemning one place while cheerleading for another, rather I am picking which fight is more worthwhile. There is still plenty to fight for in Arizona: its natural beauty is too grand and Phoenix has so much potential. What Latinos here need to understand is that we are not just fighting for comfort anymore. We are fighting against a foe that is destroying Arizona politically and environmentally. More importantly, we now understand that we are also running up against the clock. One that doesn’t care about tradition and heritage: climate change. No one can afford to wait it out any longer. Too many Republicans in our Legislature deny the existence of this threat. We can’t allow that because unlike our Wisconsinite neighbors who left their wintery hell and rusting cities (Ducey is from Ohio, Douglas is from New Jersey), our roots are buried here. We are hosting a threat and symbiosis is not in their vocabulary.

I do find myself becoming increasingly frustrated with it all but that isn’t a good enough reason to leave. Not just yet.

I should add that is was extremely frustrating that David Garcia lost to Douglas by only 1.24% of the vote.

What was I thinking? No one would ever not follow state law to the letter. Shame on me!

Perhaps you might be more comfortable in Venezuela or Argentina, phxSUNFan. The politics in either of those countries are settled in favor of your tribe.

Forgive my snark, but the recital of your origins in this country mirror hundreds of millions of other stories; obviously, your family has done okay. It seems, certainly better than if they had stayed in wherever they came from - you never said exactly. If it was Mexico, study up on the static dynamic of that failed place before you rail against AZ whiteness. BTW, if you ARE Hispanic, you are lumped in with us Caucasoids - you are NOT a separate race. Check it out on google.

I will want royalties in any double d cartoons.

Terry, my family never left another country for the U.S. Instead the U.S. came for us and, as such, you are stuck with us.

Terry, it is not about what boxes you would check off on a census form. Latinos can be defined as "White" but that is not quite accurate. The picture is more complex. Most Latinos in the U.S. are Mestizo, a mixed race. My family is Spanish with a mix of Native American. Family lore traces our ancestry to various people of Pueblo heritage. We don't have enough documentation to be sure.

Again, these neat little facts aren't the issue. I, like many other family members, share a bed with a White person. The issue is a construct of the institutions that have been created for White Americans. For simplicity's sake, I'll say that Latinos, like all minorities, don't want to destroy American institutions. We want to share in them, completely. The issue is not that 70+ % of a city can check a White box. It is that despite cities like Seattle making so many strides in becoming an inclusive place, challenges still remain. Discourse regarding those challenges aren't allowed to be discussed. Unfortunately, that leads to events that are tragic and the legacy continues.

In Seattle I have heard things such as; "Why can't Blacks be more like Asians and stop complaining and get an education. Seattle is a great place you just have to be smart to get in." I heard this in 2012 after a “"race riot" during a Seattle "Mardi Gras"”.

Enjoyed your posts on this one phxSUNSfan!

Correction, the Mardi Gras riot was 2001, not 2012. The riot I'm recalling was not during the Mardi Gras celebration.

Dudas, no new news on Caucasian's.
I is one also.Northern European version.
However in my 64 years in Arizona I have encountered many "White" folks that are certain brown folks are not part of the "superior" human race.

I should add that I don't think Phoenix is ahead of Seattle in terms of "racial harmony". But that is another reason worth staying in Phoenix. Seattle has in place enough people working towards inclusion and becoming a great city. In Phoenix, we need all the help we can get.

Cal - you know what - I haven't run into those sorts of people. Who are you hanging with?

Dude, you sound like my mother.
I envy you in that you seem to be surrounded by JC and crew. My travels in life had brought me in contact with people of all opinions including bigots. Currently in my space in Pinal community I am surrounded by Birth of a Nation folks. So maybe I'll move to Tucson. You got a space? PS. I lived in Tucson and found the air quality better than Phoenix and a lot less bigots.

Wkg u out thar? A line in the sands question.
so if I'm standing with one foot in Mexico and one foot in the US, are the stars to the south twinkling Red, Green and White and to the North Red White and Blue.

PHXSUNFAN I'm occupied but intend to get back to U on journalists and reporters. In the meantime i hope you have purchased the "Border Music" production.

@Cal: Yep still here. Been sitting out of late. By the time I figure out maybe something worth writing, the topic has moved on. Also, InPhoenix upholding the righty side of things OK all by himself.

The line in the sand may be imaginary, but it matters – a lot. Otherwise, why would the millions that have drifted North of that imaginary line be so insistent on the (imaginary) label of “citizen”?

On the current article, I know nothing about the persons involved or their history. I do have big time reservations about “common core”. Not the idea that there are certain things that all people should know. All I have seen are vague generalities. Also, that there is more to this than just a minimal list of “must have” concepts. It may also include the “how it’s taught” and “how teachers are evaluated” among other things. I suspect that testing is involved. If so, you can be sure the focus of teaching will be to the test – and not much of anything else.

The conservative in me (this is not a political statement) says that we should incorporate a small part of the C.C. agenda and give it time and a fair test. If things go well, we incorporate more. If not – we kill the whole thing.

phxSUNSfan wrote (rather fiercely) wrote:

"Koreyel, thank you for pointing out the proper use of ensure vs insure. That is one of my pet peeves. If you aren't buying a fucking policy, you aren't insuring shit."

Perhaps it isn't quite as simple as that. After all, Koreyel's source noted that The New York Times and The New Yorker both use "insure" as the equivalent of "ensure", calling the practice "archaic", however.

The Preamble to the U.S. Constitution begins: "We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility..."

To make matters more confusing, an Internet search will reveal numerous "assurance corporations", which sell insurance, not averments.

Insure is a Late Middle-English variation of ensure. All three words (ensure, insure, assure) come from an Old French base word, seur, meaning sure. Thus, they all refer to the offering of a guarantee.

I like the modern, American tendency toward distinction in use, because it makes words more specific and thus more useful and less ambiguous. Ensure to make sure of something, insure to have it covered by insurance, and assure to confidently assert something for the benefit of the listener.

To some extent, differences in usage arise between British and American writers and speakers. Americans are far more likely (these days) to use insure as a synomym for ensure.

I read a lot of British writers. Today I read about a character who stripped off his trousers, jacket, shirt, and shoes, in order to rescue a swimmer in trouble. The author described him as wearing his "vest" and his "pants" when he went in. I had to read this several times before I remembered that the British use "vest" to mean undershirt; and I guessed that "pants" are underpants. (The book was published in the 1990s.)

Female American travelers might lock their doors after being told by an English bed & breakfast owner that he'll "knock them up" in the morning. Some British authors write about "making love" in public places, when they only mean kissing.

I sometimes find myself incorporating English spellings, either whimsically or inadvertently. Occasionally I do a crossword only to find an error where I've used an "s" in a suffix instead of the "z" expected by American constructors.

wkg wrote:

"I do have big time reservations about “common core”. Not the idea that there are certain things that all people should know. All I have seen are vague generalities. Also, that there is more to this than just a minimal list of “must have” concepts. It may also include the “how it’s taught” and “how teachers are evaluated” among other things. I suspect that testing is involved."

Why don't you take Bill Bennett's advice and read the actual standards? Then you won't have to "suspect" or rely on "vague generalities". Apparently you haven't even read them, yet you have "big time reservations" about them. Here's something from a website which has the complete standards, including appendices, as well as FAQs and mythbusting sections:

"While the standards set grade-specific goals, they do not define how the standards should be taught or which materials should be used to support students. States and districts recognize that there will need to be a range of supports in place to ensure that all students, including those with special needs and English language learners, can master the standards. It is up to the states to define the full range of supports appropriate for these students."


I use "make sure" rather than insure, ensure, or Ensure (aerospace simplified English standard).

Off topic, but AZ seems to be ground zero for a slew of articles on white supremacy (I've included two local sites):




The trolls are in full force defending their "culture".

"Nobody seems to be admitting to voting for Diane Douglas as Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction." Rogue
Tea party affiliates voted for her and are now supporting her through this episode.

phxSUNSfan - I can not speak for cal Lash on the issue of journalism, however there is a good article on 'The Front Page' sidebar (top left) http://www.takepart.com/feature/2015/02/13/pr-jobs-journalism-jobs

A problem with journalism is that ever so touchy issue of public relations.

A bit off-topic, but having participated in the current thread and watched it wind down, I wanted to share something that made me cackle.

In previous comments in other Rogue threads, I've noted that Islam is a bizarre patchwork religion, similar to Mormonism, that piggybacks on established religions (in both cases, Judaism and Christianity).

There's an excellent (but by no means perfect) article which just came out in The Atlantic and is making the media rounds at the moment. One passage from it demonstrates just what a wacky, patchwork ideology underlies the dogmas of ISIS:

"An anti-Messiah, known in Muslim apocalyptic literature as Dajjal, will come from the Khorasan region of eastern Iran and kill a vast number of the caliphate’s fighters, until just 5,000 remain, cornered in Jerusalem. Just as Dajjal prepares to finish them off, Jesus—the second-most-revered prophet in Islam—will return to Earth, spear Dajjal, and lead the Muslims to victory."


In the article above, this is sourced to an ISIS adherent named Cerantonio. I wanted to make sure this wasn't something idiosyncratic to him or deviational. I managed to trace this to the English language version of Dabiq, which is ISIS' own magazine. Confirmation of this, with a further description of the ISIS article, can be found here:


The article in the Atlantic, by Graeme Wood, while excellent and informative, is arguably flawed in certain respects.

The article quotes Bernard Haykel, "the foremost secular authority on the Islamic State’s ideology" in saying that ISIS is indeed Islamic:

"He regards the claim that the Islamic State has distorted the texts of Islam as preposterous, sustainable only through willful ignorance. “People want to absolve Islam,” he said. “It’s this ‘Islam is a religion of peace’ mantra. As if there is such a thing as ‘Islam’! It’s what Muslims do, and how they interpret their texts.” Those texts are shared by all Sunni Muslims, not just the Islamic State. “And these guys have just as much legitimacy as anyone else.” "

A couple of points. First, the article was sourced prior to the latest executions through burning of ISIS captives (not only a Jordanian fighter pilot, but Egyptian Christian migrant workers in Libya).

While beheading and slavery were indeed practiced in the days of Mohammed, I doubt that he would characterize execution by burning, much less of Christian migrant workers from Egypt, as consistent with the dictates of Islam. I recently posted a link to a wire story about the head of the Sunni world's most prestigious center of Islamic scholarship, in which, in the wake of the execution by burning, the center finally declared ISIS to be apostate:


Second, note that Dr. Haykel's statement is less of an assertion that ISIS is Islamic, than it is a statement that Islam is defined by its practices, and that as practitioners, ISIS is just as Islamic as any others. This would seem to imply that anyone calling themselves Islamic are ipso facto Islamic, regardless of the consensus views of Muslim scholars and theologians.

Third, the article oversimplifies in characterizations of, and comparisons between, the Nazis and ISIS:

"Fascism, Orwell continued, is

psychologically far sounder than any hedonistic conception of life … Whereas Socialism, and even capitalism in a more grudging way, have said to people “I offer you a good time,” Hitler has said to them, “I offer you struggle, danger, and death,” and as a result a whole nation flings itself at his feet … We ought not to underrate its emotional appeal."

In fact, the Nazis, under Hitler's guidance, changed their message to voters while campaigning in 1932, from a negative one to positive promises of the good life, offering jobs to workers, profits to business, militarization to the army, land and debt relief to farmers; and in one speech, Hitler even promised that under Nazism "every German girl would find a husband". This was a deliberate attempt to gain greater voter support. ISIS has behaved similarly, changing its message for different audiences under different circumstances for different purposes. The ordinary German man in the street, far from clamoring for world war, was stunned and dismayed when Hitler gave invasion orders taking Germany along that path. It was a qualitative departure from previous bloodless victories won by bluff, manipulation, threat, and force on the level of gangsterism rather than national military affairs.

Information on the Nazis' changing message to voters, and German attitudes, courtesy of William L. Shirer's The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, a 1500 page gift that keeps on giving, and is highly readable from start to finish, relying on the Nazis own papers, communications, debriefings, and testimonies.

Ah, don't sweat it, Emil, it's just junior varsity stuff. Sleep tight.

Another point: I have to wonder whether ISIS' "caliph", al-Baghdadi, is actually in charge of the group these days. He was reported to have been badly wounded in air strikes not long ago. As Graeme Wood noted in another article (this one in The New Republic):

"Interpretations of what constitutes a legitimate caliph are so loose that it’s surprising how few caliphates have been declared since 1924. But radical Muslims have been reluctant to invoke the word for reasons both practical and purist. “If you go back to the 1970s, you’ll find they all just call themselves ‘groups’ or ‘fronts,’” says Thomas Hegghammer, who studies jihadists for the Norwegian government. Not until the late ’80s do you find the first jihadist “emirate,” which is a state run by an emir, a secular prince. Some Muslims have suggested that the Taliban’s Mullah Omar is caliph material. He styles himself “prince [emir] of the faithful,” a historical term nearly but not quite synonymous with “caliph.” But he is neither Qurayshi nor (some would say) physically intact, due to an eye lost in battle. And bin Laden never declared himself caliph, either, in part because he lacked Qurayshi blood. (Fred Donner told me that the bin Ladens’ Kennedy-like prominence in Saudi Arabia ensured that no lie about Qurayshi descent could gain traction.)"

It should be noted that ISIS is different from other jihadist groups for the very reason that it defines its existence not as a generic struggle group but as a caliphate. A caliphate requires its head (caliph) to possess certain qualities. Critical among these are the right lineage (Qurayshi blood) and physical wholeness.

If ISIS' leader al-Baghdadi has been maimed (or killed), it would effectively end not only his own career as caliph, but the Islamic State itself. There is nobody waiting in the wings with the proper bona fides. ISIS has (contrary to Wood's claim) already played fast and loose with the rules, by unilaterally declaring a caliphate instead of having it declared through consensus opinion of Muslim scholars and theologians. If its leader, al-Baghdadi, is killed or maimed, this would, in the dogma of ISIS followers, be a clear indication from God that their leader, and his vision, are not legitimate, since under radical Islam God is a "might is right" kind of spiritual ruler who lends his support to the victors (else they could not be victors).

So, it may be that other, more political IS leadership, with or without al-Baghdadi's support, have decided to keep any such injuries quiet. The only way to disprove this would be for him to appear in public, and this he either cannot, or will not do.

P.S. Here's a link to the second Wood article quoted directly above:


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