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|Indecision 2012 - Survival of the Funded - King of the Jungle|
|The Daily Show With Jon Stewart||Mon - Thurs 11p / 10c|
|Indecision 2012 - Survival of the Funded - King of the Jungle|
When Maureen Dowd is awful, she's really awful. When she's good, she's very good. Today she's good. Here's the takeaway from this:
Pope Benedict has wanted to beatify John Paul, who shielded pedophiles, and Pope Pius XII, who remained silent about the Holocaust as it happened. Meanwhile, Dorothy Day hasn’t been beatified.
Useful fools for the bin Ladenists, cited in today's Wall Street Journal, no less:
Islamic radicals are seizing on protests against a planned Islamic community center near Manhattan's Ground Zero and anti-Muslim rhetoric elsewhere as a propaganda opportunity and are stepping up anti-U.S. chatter and threats on their websites...
Controversy over the community center, which will contain a mosque and other facilities, has helped fan anti-Muslim rhetoric in the U.S. far from Lower Manhattan in recent weeks.
Jarret Brachman, director of Cronus Global, a security consulting firm, and author of the book Global Jihadism, said al Qaeda and other groups have long used imagery from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to recruit new members. But the U.S. position has been that those wars are not against Islam and that the U.S. has Muslim allies in the fight.
Anti-Muslim rhetoric in the U.S is different, since jihadists can use Americans' words to make the case that the U.S. is indeed at war with Islam. The violent postings are not just on al Qaeda-linked websites but on prominent, mainstream Muslim chat forums, Mr. Brachman said.
"We are handing al Qaeda a propaganda coup, an absolute propaganda coup," with the Islamic-center controversy, said Evan Kohlmann, an independent terrorism consultant at Flashpoint Partners who monitors jihadist websites.
Critics of the proposed Islamic center said their right to speak out shouldn't be influenced by the possibility of jihadist threats. "We will never win a war when we are afraid to even name our enemies," former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said in an e-mail Sunday.
So the egregious Mr. Gingrich has named American muslims who have absolutely nothing to do with violent extremists or the 9/11 attacks "our enemies." Good work, Newt! Out of respect for the sensitivities of our readers, I won't use the only descriptive words for this creature that reach far enough into the gutter to brand Mr. Gingrich appropriately and where he lies.
Yeah, I guess I'm harping on this controversy, but nothing has struck me as such a perfect storm of nothingness - in terms of any substantive issue - combined with an aggressively ignorant, and even vicious, mean-streak, courtesy of cold, calculating demagogues of the Right. Not to mention the cowardice of too many politicians who should know better. I try not to use the term "Un-American" because it's so easily and often misused, but if it ever had any meaning - in the sense of a willful departure from the values of the Bill of Rights - it surely applies to the likes of Gingrich and Co.
I'm sorry about that. But this episode is just beyond the fringe IMHO and I keep getting drawn into deeper disgust with the folks who are ginning up a phony controversy for political gain, as well as those who are bending to fear of Public Opinion in the wake of this indecency. I just read this by Atlantic author Jeffrey Goldberg (who is rather notoriously - if you look at this month's Atlantic cover story - a conduit for Israeli officials into the US press, as well as a former IDF member - therefore hardly a shrinking violet when it comes to "Islamic Extremists Are Coming!" hysterics) :
What exactly do the "antis" want out of American muslims, other than to high-tail it out of town before sundown?
The right-wing campaign against the so-called "Ground Zero mosque" includes vicious personal attacks on the Muslim cleric who leads the Cordoba Initiative, the organization behind the plan. I know Imam Faisal Abdul Rauf, and I know him to be a moderate, forward-leaning Muslim -- yes, it is true he has said things with which I disagree, but I have never expected him to function as a member of the Zionist Organization of America.
In 2003, Imam Rauf was invited to speak at a memorial service for Daniel Pearl, the journalist murdered by Islamist terrorists in Pakistan. The service was held at B'nai Jeshurun, a prominent synagogue in Manhattan, and in the audience was Judea Pearl, Daniel Pearl's father. In his remarks, Rauf identified absolutely with Pearl, and identified himself absolutely with the ethical tradition of Judaism. "I am a Jew," he said.
There are those who would argue that these represent mere words, chosen carefully to appease a postentially suspicious audience. I would argue something different: That any Muslim imam who stands before a Jewish congregation and says, "I am a Jew," is placing his life in danger. Remember, Islamists hate the people they consider apostates even more than they hate Christians and Jews. In other words, the man many commentators on the right assert is a terrorist-sympathizer placed himself in mortal peril in order to identify himself with Christians and Jews, and specifically with the most famous Jewish victim of Islamism.
UPDATE: Howard Dean's "Democracy For America" grass-roots and on-line movement breaks with him over his weak-kneed dithering on the mosque. Story and the very good statement from DFA here.
I'm not saying that they don't have a right to under the First Amendment, but their churches make me uncomfortable. What about my "right" to not being subjected to the "triumphalism" of religious extremists who hate my values. The Southern Baptist's churches are an affront to the equal rights and freedoms that America stands for.
As example, this morning on my TeeVee a Southern Baptist minister was arguing that Muslims shouldn't build mosques in the United States - anywhere - because of the 9/11 attacks and various other crimes committed in the name of Islam by extremist Muslim fundamentalists. He stated that these crimes are what Islam stands for throughout its history. His argument reminded me of the ugliness and hate that Southern Baptists have preached throughout their own history.
The Southern Baptist Convention was born of a single issue: human slavery. Southern Baptists were for it. When northern Baptists began to criticize the institution as inhuman and anti-Christian in the decades prior to the Civil War, the Southern Baptists broke off relations and instituted their new denomination on the basis of a defense of human slavery.
Their Biblical expositions of Negro inferiority were based on Noah's curse of slavery upon Canaan, son of Ham, who was presumed to be the ancestor of the Black race; and also based on the patriarchal and Mosaic acceptance of slavery, and, also based on the New Testament commands of Peter and Paul regarding slave-master relationships. Rev. Furman (a leading Southern Baptist spokesman) stated, "For though they are slaves, they are also men; and are with ourselves accountable creatures; having immortal souls, and being destined to future eternal reward." The Southern Baptist view was that slaves were better off under the loving, tender, compassionate care of Christian slaveowners, and the institution of slavery was to be "a blessing both to master and slave." *
Throughout the civil rights era, Southern Baptists defended racism and segragation on Biblical grounds. For most of the life of their sect, they have represented racism, slavery and segregation as essential to their Biblical beliefs. The church is rooted in the doctrine of "Biblical inerrancy", aka "literalist fundamentalism", so eventual disavowals of their foundational history (which came late in the 20th Century when overt racism was, finally, becoming untenable in polite circles) obviously involve a bit of interpretive contortionism and raise questions about the very notion of their belief in"inerrancy." While there have been "official" disavowals of their racist past - which was their ONLY rationale for existence as a separate denomination - can we trust them? For more recently the Southen Baptist Convention has affirmed another to0-familiar invocation of inequality and servitude, wrapped in denials of a clear intent.
On June 10, 1998, the Southern Baptist Convention, for the first time, amended the 1963 Southern Baptist statement of faith known as the Baptist Faith And Message, adding a brand new section (XVIII) entitled the “Family Amendment” that states in part, “A wife is to submit herself graciously to the servant leadership of her husband even as the church willingly submits to the headship of Christ. She, being in the image of God as is her husband and thus equal to him [spiritually], has the God-given responsibility to respect her husband and to serve as his helper in managing the household and nurturing the next generation [in the societal realm].” Of course, Southern Baptists believe their amendment concerning the necessity of wifely “submission” and the wife’s duty to “respect, serve and help” her husband, is what the Holy Scriptures demand. But Southern Baptist slaveowners once believed the same thing regarding the “submission” of slaves and the slave’s duty to “respect, serve and help” their masters.*
So there you have it. A church steeped in bigotry and discriminatory beliefs based on extreme fundamentalism. And if any in the church object ?
Southern Baptist seminary professors were forced to sign a pledge of acceptance of the Family Amendment, or be fired. And denominational leaders were given the green light by their agencies to brand dissenters as heretics. Dr. Richard Land, President of the Southern Baptist Convention Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, and drafter of the Amendment, has written that those who do not support the Family Amendment are either "goddesses of radical feminism," "gurus of political correctness," "defenders of the subjective, secular Church of Sociology and Political Correctness," or have succumbed to the "trendy egalitarian rhetoric of the late 20th century." [November/December 1999 issue of Light (official magazine of the SBC Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission) entitled, "Questioning Biblical Submission: Religious Critics Renew Debate."] Similar ridicule was heaped on Black Baptist ministers mere decades ago for refusing to attend the then segregated Southern Baptist Convention meetings and who insisted on the full equality of Blacks. Back then the pro-segregation Southern Baptist Convention leaders ridiculed the Black ministers, calling them "unchristian" in their objections, and unduly influenced "by what are essentially Russian Communistic theories."
Let’s review. Southern Baptists favored slavery, Jim Crow laws, segregation, and fought against women's suffrage, federal lynching laws, desegregation and civil rights. Now they call for women to submit to their husbands regardless of the talents, abilities or calling of the parties… *
So, Southern Baptists, please don't build your churches near me or my family. I say it in the spirit of ridicule, satire and irony...they have First Amendment protections to spread their aggressive ignorance and bigotry. And I suppose we should accept at face value their expressions of remorse at using "Christianity" to rationalize the crimes of slavery and segregation. But honest to God, I really don't want these creeps like the raving preacher I encountered over my morning coffee - with their "inerrant" track record of extremism, prejudice and bigotry - anywhere near me, not even on my TeeVee. The irony, of course - and it's a rather pathetic irony - is that this character (his name thankfully escapes me) was fulfilling the perfect stereotype of the "Christian crusader" as an enemy of all Muslims of every stripe, everywhere, drawn to the specifications of the bin Ladenist cohort of extremist Islamic fundamentalism.
(* Block quotes are borrowed - freely and extensively - from Duke University professor Edward T. Babinski's "Southern Baptist History 101.")
In another bit of rancid intolerance against the Muslim group seeking to build a mosque and community center several blocks from the WTC "9.11" site at the lower tip of Manhattan - and joining the likes of Sarah Palin and Newt Gingrich - the Anti-Defamation League has issued a statement opposing the mosque.
This isn't the ADL's first turn toward affirming defamation and intolerance in the service of an allegedly "anti-defamation" agenda. The ADL's major domo, Abraham Foxman, has been slinging the "anti-Semite" slur against critics of Israeli policies for years. In fact, some question whether the ADL is anything other than Foxman's letterhead and Blackberry in service of a rabidly pro-Israel agenda.
The group's statement contains some of the slipperiest, most hypocritical, calculated and dishonest language I've seen in years:
"Proponents of the Islamic Center may have every right to build at this site, and may even have chosen the site to send a positive message about Islam. The bigotry some have expressed in attacking them is unfair, and wrong. But ultimately this is not a question of rights, but a question of what is right. In our judgment, building an Islamic Center in the shadow of the World Trade Center will cause some victims more pain -- unnecessarily -- and that is not right."
I'm not often inclined to cite The Atlantic's Jeffrey Goldberg on issues related to Zionism, but "even Jeffrey Goldberg" understands clearly why this crusade against a Manhattan Muslim congregation is, in effect, "worse than a crime, it's a blunder." Read this defender of all-things-Israel's take here.
And Steve Benen takes the ADL's sleazy proclamation apart - after noting his initial assumption on hearing that the ADL was weighing in that "of course" they would be bringing some "anti-defamation" sanity to the situation. Check out Benen's excellent post here.
Update: The Goldberg/Atlantic link was initially a redundant link to Washington Monthly/Benen. Fixed! Also I think I was mistaken in calling Foxman "rabidly pro-Israel." Since Jeffrey Goldberg - having served in the IDF - is, at least, "fervently" pro-Israel but can see through this BS, and the editors of the Israeli daily Haaretz are real Israelis with concern for their country's security but persist in criticism of the "Netanyahoo" zealots, I should have called Foxman "rabidly anti-Muslim" and uncritically "pro" any damn fool thing the Likudniks and other extremists conjure up to assert unbridled Israeli power over the Palestinians and inflame the tragic and seemingly interminable conflict. I do not consider opportunistic and chauvinistic characters like Foxman friends of the people who actually live in Israel, be they Jews or Arabs.
Robert Wright has an excellent piece on the shameful opposition - here.
(Note: Wright reaffirms what I've long felt to be the case - The Weekly Standard isn't just a magazine I disagree with politically . They're bad people.)
We've seen in recent days some public shaming and exposure of the overt racism that undergirds and infects factions of the Tea Party movement. Sarah Palin's role in this, of course, was to attack the NAACP for calling attention to what proved to be a very real problem. Then Palin "tweeted" against the building of a Muslim community center near the 9/11 site as some sort of affront to "heartland" Americans - asking Muslims to "refudiate" their "stab in our hearts", i.e. building a meeting place for the mainstream Muslim community of New York City. Aside from the flagrant bigotry, it strikes me that the construction of a center for Muslim Americans in the "Ground Zero" neighborhood would be a statement of precisely what it is that set us apart - at our best - from our enemies. Instead, the right-wing wants to invoke the same fundamentalist fear-mongering that drives the Islamist extremists who attack us in the name of their religion.
Now, with the obvious backing of high-profile "conservatives" like Palin, this bigotry and petty pandering to prejudice is spreading:
In big cities and small rural communities, from New York to Tennessee to California, the right-wing fear machine is spinning up to take on the construction of mosques and Muslim community centers. In each case, the argument is essentially the same, when the hedging is peeled away: you don't necessarily have to exercise your freedom of religion in the privacy of your own home, but hey, you can't do it in public here either.
July is proving to be the month where the tea party movement is finally coming to grips with -- and rebuking -- some of its more racist elements, a move that many observers would say is a long time coming. But at the same time, plans to build an Islamic community center near the Ground Zero site in New York City has brought to the surface a different kind of bigotry among some conservatives -- namely, the idea that if Muslims are allowed to worship where they want, terrorist violence will spread across the country. (More HERE at TPM.)