Fighting Terrorist With Terrorism

The really sad part is that you probably have friends that think this was a good idea.

FacebookTwitterGoogle+ A seventh-grade Ohio boy is accused of threatening to shoot and kill a sixth-grade Muslim classmate, calling him a “terrorist” and “son of ISIS,”…
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Iraq records huge rise in birth defects, the Cost of War, Continued….

It played unwilling host to one of the bloodiest battles of the Iraq war. Fallujahs homes and businesses were left shattered; hundreds of Iraqi civilians were killed. Its residents changed the name of their “City of Mosques” to “the polluted city” after the United States launched two massive military campaigns eight years ago. Now, one month before the World Health Organisation reveals its view on the legacy of the two battles for the town, a new study reports a “staggering rise” in birth defects among Iraqi children conceived in the aftermath of the war.High rates of miscarriage, toxic levels of lead and mercury contamination and spiralling numbers of birth defects ranging from congenital heart defects to brain dysfunctions and malformed limbs have been recorded. Even more disturbingly, they appear to be occurring at an increasing rate in children born in Fallujah, about 40 miles west of Baghdad.

via Iraq records huge rise in birth defects – Health News – Health & Families – The Independent.

There is “compelling evidence” to link the increased numbers of defects and miscarriages to military assaults, says Mozhgan Savabieasfahani, one of the lead authors of the report and an environmental toxicologist at the University of Michigan’s School of Public Health. Similar defects have been found among children born in Basra after British troops invaded, according to the new research.

US marines first bombarded Fallujah in April 2004 after four employees from the American security company Blackwater were killed, their bodies burned and dragged through the street, with two of the corpses left hanging from a bridge. Seven months later, the marines stormed the city for a second time, using some of the heaviest US air strikes deployed in Iraq. American forces later admitted that they had used white phosphorus shells, although they never admitted to using depleted uranium, which has been linked to high rates of cancer and birth defects.

The Iraq War happened.  Even when many in this country can’t remember how Wall Street destroyed the economy four years ago and are now poised to vote for a Wall Street Tycoon, err, “Job Creator, we also forget about the nearly decade long occupation of Iraq.   There’s going to be more to this story.  I’ll write about it from time to time, but if anyone wants to dedicate their lives to solving a real and horrid problem…this is a good one.

You can also continue to advocate against offensive, BASED-ON-UTTER-BULLSHIT WARS!!

The problems they cause tend to last for generations.  Generations.

If you’re wondering why I fight for peace so hard, this is reason N!.

Liz Cheney…Proof that evil is a genetic trait?

Liz Cheney accuses Obama of abandoning non-existent country ‘Czechoslovakia’ | The Raw Story

Cheney concluded: “But there’s no question but that we’re weaker than we were when Barack Obama took office. And if he has four more years, we may well be unrecognizable.”

An Associated Press fact check last week determined that President Obama never apologized for the United States or expressed sympathy for the people who attacked the U.S. embassy in Libya.

“The claim that Obama repeatedly has apologized for the United States is not borne out by the facts, especially if his full quotes are viewed in context,” Washington Post fact checkers wrote in 2011. “Note to GOP speechwriters and campaign ad makers: The apology tour never happened.”

As for the claim that Obama “abandoned” Czechoslovakia, that country was dissolved in 1992 — over 16 years before he took office.

The sickest part is how she blames him for doing things he didn’t do to countries that don’t exist. I will say though…at the end of this episode Jake Tapper came out and said how objective he was because he doesn’t vote. It would violate his integrity. Quick question…doesn’t airing blatant lies without correction violate some ethical standards? Or is it only when you invite someone back who displays this behavior that it becomes an endorsement of said behavior?

I’d love to see this kind of spending stopped immediately

Where have all the protesters gone?
http://www.cnn.com/2012/09/02/politics/rnc-protest-vermin-supreme/index.html?hpt=hp_c1

“This RNC has been so over-militarized, even attendees were complaining about the level of security,” said sociology professor Sarah Sobieraj. “They were ready with everything — unscalable fences, bomb-sniffing dogs, even long-range acoustic devices, which are nasty.”

The unmistakable message to the protesters: Don’t mess with Tampa.

“It is clear that these extreme measures were not intended to prevent a terrorist attack, they were for protesters,” Sobieraj added. “There has been a shift toward a criminalization of dissent that is a real problem.”

Looks like they spent about $50,000,000 between the city and the Feds.  Up to and including those freaky-ass acoustic deterrents.  I guess it really is the 21st century.  Hrmmm..

Keeeyyyystoooooooone!!!

A member of the House Tea Party caucus said Republicans are rallying behind Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) in the payroll tax cut standoff, calling him “William Wallace” in their “‘Braveheart’ moment.”

Speaking Monday on Fox News, Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-Ga.) suggested contrary to reports that the Tea Party wing of the party is forcing Boehner’s hand, his colleagues are actually rallying to defend the Speaker of the House. […]

“Out of 75 responses, there may have been one person that thought it was OK that we would put the fight off until two months from now,” he continued. “Everybody else said, ‘Look, this is a ‘Braveheart’ moment. You, Mr. Speaker, are our William Wallace. Let’s rush to the fight. Get us back to Washington, let’s get to our work and we’re doing that.””

via Daily Kos: Rep. Phil Gingrey: Payroll tax fight is GOP ‘Braveheart moment’.

Yea…so anyway…here’s the latest on the extension of the payroll tax that President Obama got for 95% of Americans (more than half of whom thanked him by thinking he raised their taxes) and is currently fighting to extend.

The Senate passed a two-month extension after the House passed a ridiculous version that included approval of the Keystone pipeline (referenced in the title), simply because Obama said he didn’t want it and would veto it.

Mitch McConnell (the Turtle or “Tortuga”), was for the plan, then figured he’d be against it.  Now the Democrats and Obama have to figure out a way to compromise, once again, with economic “terrorism”.   That is…everyone knows this extension is needed, without it, the recovery stalls even more (after being knee-capped by Republicans this summer with the debt-ceiling debacle).

So the Dems, in the objective “good for the country” sense, need to get a deal, the Republicans, once again, get the throw a gremlim in the gears, and hope nobody remembers who did it, and blames Obama for the results, in…11 more months.

IMHO, as a constant spectator of this charade, and of the American people…I’m about 67% sure this strategy is going to fail, and Obama is going to crush the R’s in 2012.   There is a sizable portion of my country (about 20%) that thinks Obama is the reincarnation of Mao/Hitler/Muhammed (the bad version)/Marx.   They can’t be reasoned with, they can’t be bought, most of them are retired or soon will be, and most of them (80% or so), will vote against Obama.   The other 20% doesn’t believe in elections anyway (but love the Constitution) and will stay away.     That’s about 16% of the gen pop against Obama.

This is a significant hurdle for 2012, but…outside of the nuts and the truly devoted, this long and what look’s to be a drawn out, if-not-totally-inconclusive, Republican primary session is going to devastate that Party.   Some of the stuff coming out of this is so noxious to most people (Newt threatening to do away with judges he doesn’t like being the latest example), that a tested and tried solution in Obama is going to look mighty appealing.

The U.S. economy is actually recovering, albeit slowly.  If the unemployment rate drops below 8%…which is entirely possible before next November, Obama is actually going to look like a “Messiah” in retrospect.

He killed Bin Laden (gave the order to do so), Kim Jung Il is gone, Kqadaffai [sp] is gone, Egypt is free (and chaotic, as freedom is), the  Iraq War is done, he was a damn Peace Prize, and looks to have some actual dividend coming from bringing a lot of peace to the world (compared to when he took office, mind you).

Against this….you have Republicans going to the wall for Big Oil.

It’s really not a tough game to call.

This Week in the Police State…

First up…the Comitatas Posse is back in town, militarizing the homeland.

WASHINGTON — The Senate voted Tuesday to keep a controversial provision to let the military detain terrorism suspects on U.S. soil and hold them indefinitely without trial — prompting White House officials to reissue a veto threat.

The measure, part of the massive National Defense Authorization Act, was also opposed by civil libertarians on the left and right. But 16 Democrats and an independent joined with Republicans to defeat an amendment by Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.) that would have killed the provision, voting it down with 61 against, and 37 for it.

“Congress is essentially authorizing the indefinite imprisonment of American citizens, without charge,” said Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), who offered another amendment — which has not yet gotten a vote — that she said would correct the problem. “We are not a nation that locks up its citizens without charge.”

Backers of military detention of Americans — a measure crafted by Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) — came out swinging against Udall’s amendment on the Senate floor earlier Tuesday.

“The enemy is all over the world. Here at home. And when people take up arms against the United States and [are] captured within the United States, why should we not be able to use our military and intelligence community to question that person as to what they know about enemy activity?” Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said.

“They should not be read their Miranda Rights. They should not be given a lawyer,” Graham said. “They should be held humanely in military custody and interrogated about why they joined al Qaeda and what they were going to do to all of us.”

[full story]

The White House has promised a veto, so we’ll see if that happens or not.

When it comes to partisan divide…this is a pretty bright line in the sand.

“It’s one of those things where … it’s bipartisan on both sides. Levin’s not on the same page as the White House. We’ve got our own internal differences; Paul and Kirk don’t agree with Graham,” said a senior GOP aide just before the vote. “Everybody’s trying to do the right thing. There’s just a difference of opinion.”

Even though Paul was joined only by Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) on his side of the aisle, the issue was contentious at the Republicans’ weekly caucus lunch.

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) emerged from the meeting — where former Vice President Dick Cheney was in attendance — saying his colleagues had “a spirited discussion” about Udall’s amendment, and predicted nearly all Republicans would oppose the amendment, as they did.

Nothing like having a war criminal tip the balance of debate.

On the corporate side of things, there is another strong push to give Corporate America control of the Internet (via DNS-blacklisting, a la China).   Sadly, some judges already think they have this authority.

As a whole bunch of folks have sent in a District Court judge in Nevada issued some rather stunning orders lately concerning websites that luxury brands company Chanel has argued “advertise, promote, offer for sale or sell” possibly counterfeit Chanel goods. The order is basically a more expansive private version of SOPA, in which the judge has let Chanel directly “seize” about 600 domains, as well as issued restraining orders and injunctions, including orders to Google, Bing, Yahoo, Facebook, Google+, and Twitter to “de-index and/or remove [the domain names] from any search results pages.”

[full story]

There has been a steady and consistent drumbeat from copyright holders to expand their protections in a more competitive environment.   Their history of hyperbole is legion, and all statements coming from their trade groups should be taken with several tons of salt.

 

Seems like a good week to end Wars

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama on Friday declared an end to the Iraq war, one of the longest and most divisive conflicts in U.S. history, announcing that all U.S. troops would be withdrawn from the country by year’s end.

Obama’s statement put an end to months of wrangling over whether the U.S. would maintain a force in Iraq beyond 2011.

“After nearly nine years,” the president, “America’s war in Iraq will be over.”

via Obama announces total Iraq troop withdrawal – seattlepi.com.

Wonder if this guy will ever get a prize for doing so much to bring peace and freedom to the parts of the world that long for it.

....aaaand done.

Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. For whatsoever one soweth, that shall she also reap

*long exhale*

I’ve been thinking about where to go with this one.  As pretty much everyone is aware by now, over this last weekend a U.S. Congresswoman was gunned down during her first public event with constituents after a hotly contested election.

Since then….well…it’s been a cavalcade of finger-pointing, deflection, protesting too much, more blame, more accusations, and more crap.

Personally, having watched the rhetorical scale creep up over the last couple years, and having predicted an event just like this would likely follow, I can only shake my head and quote the Bible (kinda…had to clean it up a bit).    Great. Right again.  Awesome.  This feels about as good as being right about Iraq.  Bunch of people dead, the prime motivator being lies and fear, coupled with arrogance and ignorance.   

The way it has played out since has been sadly predictable [modified from a comment]…

RIGHTIES:  They’re destroying our way of life! Vote from the rooftops! We need a Second Amendment solution!  Obama’s not a real American!  Death panels are coming!
LEFTIES: Hey, knock that crap off! Sooner or later, the wrong person’s gonna take you seriously and start shooting.
RIGHTIES: STFU, you anti-American communist nazi terrorist-coddlers! Here, here’s a list of 20 congresspeople to target! Don’t retreat, reload!
JLL: *bang*,*bang*,*bang*,*bang*,*bang*,*bang*,*bang*,*bang*,*bang*,*bang*,*bang*,*bang*
LEFTIES: Look, now one of them got shot. Are you happy now?
RIGHTIES: How dare you link us to this! That’s disgusting! You monsters! And besides, it’s the left’s fault! Send us money!

And it’s not even like the whole political atmosphere doesn’t have precedence.  1992, Democrat elected,  Limbaugh goes ballistic, anti-government rhetoric spews from every corner of the dial.  Two and a half years later…anti-government nujtob takes it upon himself to solve the problem.   2008, Democrat elected, Limbaugh goes ballistic, anti-government rhetoric spews from every corner of the dial and the net.  Two and a half years later…anti-government nutjob takes it upon himself to solve the problem.

“Some” might say this is a bit of cherry-picking on events.  Or that Palin’s contribution is insignificant, and that cause/blame and correlation are impossible to say.   I would say “some” are focusing only on this latest sprout and missing the growing forest.   

While I do agree that direct culpability is an illogical stretch, there is no question in my mind that the political atmosphere directly contributes to the likelihood of extreme political action.   Nor is there any question in the minds or datasets of the Secret Service.

The Republican vice presidential candidate attracted criticism for accusing Mr Obama of “palling around with terrorists”, citing his association with the sixties radical William Ayers.

The attacks provoked a near lynch mob atmosphere at her rallies, with supporters yelling “terrorist” and “kill him” until the McCain campaign ordered her to tone down the rhetoric.

The Secret Service warned the Obama family in mid October that they had seen a dramatic increase in the number of threats against the Democratic candidate, coinciding with Mrs Palin’s attacks.

It should be noted that this is an old article and did absolutely nothing to alter Palin’s behaviour.    Being a vicious attack bulldog was how she made her bones on the national stage, it’s her bread and butter, and it finally bit her in the ass.

 Those who try to remove politics and political considerations from a political assassination attempt are fooling themselves, IMHO, and trying to fool you.   Those who think political rhetoric is just sent out into the ether, with no effect or repercussions are fooling themselves.    There are crazies in the world, and some of them, if you hammer away hard enough, will see this…..

….as this….

…when surrounded by this…

As a good friend of mine is fond of saying….”Sow bitter seeds, reap a bitter harvest”.

In you sow seeds of anti-Government doubt, secret associations, impending societal destruction, and violent revolution, don’t be surprised when what grows tastes the same.

And don’t blame me for pointing it out.

UPDATE:  A bit more insight into the crazy….

Since hearing of the rampage, Tierney has been trying to figure out why Loughner did what he allegedly did. “More chaos, maybe,” he says. “I think the reason he did it was mainly to just promote chaos. He wanted the media to freak out about this whole thing. He wanted exactly what’s happening. He wants all of that.” Tierney thinks that Loughner’s mindset was like the Joker in the most recent Batman movie: “He fucks things up to fuck shit up, there’s no rhyme or reason, he wants to watch the world burn. He probably wanted to take everyone out of their monotonous lives: ‘Another Saturday, going to go get groceries’—to take people out of these norms that he thought society had trapped us in.”

When one’s goal is to pour gasoline on a fire, is it wrong to think the existence of that fire is a motivating factor?

U.S. Occupation of Iraq More Than Doubles Poverty, Sickness — Leaves Country a Total Disaster

http://www.alternet.org/module/printversion/147928

According to the U.S. Census of 2000, 80 percent of the 285 million people living in the United States are urban dwellers. Those living in slums are well below 5 percent. If we translate the Iraqi statistic into the U.S. context, 121 million people in the United States would be living in slums.

If the United States had an unemployment rate of 25-50 percent and 121 million people living in slums, riots would ensue, the military would take over, and democracy would evaporate. So why are people in the United States not concerned and saddened by the conditions in Iraq? Because most people in the United States do not know what happened in Iraq and what is happening there now. Our government, including the current administration, looks the other way and perpetuates the myth that life has improved in post-invasion Iraq. Our major news media reinforces this message.

The end[?] result of the last time we got back at “them” for 9/11.

Congrats, Assholes. You won.

Read this comment today.   Figured it was pretty honest about the whole thing, and certainly reflects what I would feel.    So congrats, assholes hoping for a generations long war against most of the world, you are one step closer to that goal.

Nudge [TotalFark] Quote 2010-08-23 07:06:58 AM
I’m a Muslim American, and the nationwide attempt to ban mosques in various locations has made me extremely frustrated, angry, and feeling helpless. I’m by and large considered one of the most passive individuals in our local community, ardently arguing against individual Muslim action in foreign-occupied countries against American Soldiers (I believe Islamically, only one state can declare war on another state).

Keep that in mind when I say that, through gentle persuasion of anti-Muslim actions, I find it harder to defend these points and harder to believe them myself. A brother told me recently that, out of defense, every Muslim in this day ought to have a gun in his home. I’ve never, ever wanted to own a gun in my life, let alone condone the usage of one except under extreme circumstance, but his suggestion in today’s conflict made me consider the thought for quite some time.

My hometown has a mosque being protested. I’m friends with a lot of the young men organizing its construction. Today, thousands of Muslims in the area pray out of office buildings and garages, simply wanting a place to worship that looks beautiful and doesn’t remind them of a tool shop. These men have spent the last several years planning this project and have been excited about every step forward. Now, protesters are essentially shutting them out, declaring in no uncertain terms that they must fight for their rights. Some of the happiest people I’ve ever seen have become angry, bitter, and hateful because of this.

I just wanted to congratulate the protesters. You’ve managed to begin the ruination of the one, and only, fully-integrated Muslim society success story in the Western World. You’ve shut down our charities, protested our religious rights, spat and and disrespected our women, and ended belief in the superiority of American tolerance.

Way to go, fuckjobs.

UPDATE: It should be noted that the “win” doesn’t include stopping the mosque, it will most likely go through anyway.  The “win” is for people like Palin, Gingrich and Bin Laden, who want a no-holds-barred war between peoples.   They made progress toward that goal today.

UPDATE2: For a slightly longer version of this (and a lot more specifics), check Frank Rich’s column for today.   Short-term political gain vs. real world progress in that war we started.

UPDATE3: Here’s a longer story about the wider phenomenon I noticed on a simple message board.  These kinds of changing attitudes are happening, today, at a rate of about 1,000 a second, I’d guess.   Thanks all that is good and holy we have a rational President right now, and not one of the bomb throwers with an even bigger bullhorn.

Like most non-Americans, Muslims across the world barely understand the vagaries of U.S. politics, including the wedge issues and posturing that turn midterm elections into mud fights. Commentators from the Middle East to South Asia to Indonesia to Nigeria praised Obama and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg for coming to the defense of the community center, even as the president hedged his apparent initial support for the project.

Obama has “placed ethics and principles ahead of politics that not only enhances his credibility to the Muslims only but also his stature as a statesman to the rest of the world,” read an opinion piece in the Daily Star of Bangladesh.

[first link]

Is there anything that would make Islamic terrorists like Osama bin Laden happier than to watch the world’s media broadcast footage of angry American protesters, whipped into a frenzy by Fox, saying hateful things about Muslims? Why are Sarah and Newt doing bin Laden’s work for him? Can’t they show just a little patriotism?

[second link]

How Crazy Have We Become When…

George W. Bush comes across as a voice of reason (or when viewed through the skewed prism of Election 2010, a terrorist sympathizer).

Thank you all very much for your hospitality. We’ve just had a wide-ranging discussion on the matter at hand. Like the good folks standing with me, the American people were appalled and outraged at last Tuesday’s attacks, and so were Muslims all across the world.

Both Americans, our Muslim friends and citizens, tax-paying citizens, and Muslim in nations were just appalled and could not believe what we saw on our TV screens. These acts of violence against innocents violate the fundamental tenets of the Islamic faith, and it’s important for my fellow Americans to understand that.

The English translation is not as eloquent as the original Arabic, but let me quote from the Quran itself: “In the long run, evil in the extreme will be the end of those who do evil, for that they rejected the signs of Allah and held them up to ridicule.”

The face of terrorist is not the true faith of Islam. That’s not what Islam is all about. Islam is peace. These terrorists don’t represent peace, they represent evil and war.

When we think of Islam, we think of a faith that brings comfort to a billion people around the world. Billions of people find comfort and solace and peace. And that’s made brothers and sisters out of every race, out of every race.

America counts millions of Muslims amongst our citizens, and Muslims make an incredibly valuable contribution to our country.

The Muslims are doctors, lawyers, law professors, members of the military, entrepreneurs, shopkeepers, moms and dads, and they need to be treated with respect.

In our anger and emotion, our fellow Americans must treat each other with respect. Women who cover their heads in this country must feel comfortable going outside their homes. Moms who wear covering must not be intimidated in America. That’s not the America I know; that’s not the America I value.

I’ve been told that some fear to leave; some don’t want to go shopping for their families; some don’t want to go about their ordinary daily routines because, by wearing cover, they’re afraid they’ll be intimidated. That should not and that will not stand in America.

Those who feel like they can intimidate our fellow citizens to take out their anger don’t represent the best of America. They represent the worst of humankind. And they should be ashamed of that kind of behavior.

And it’s a great country; it’s a great country because (we) share the same values of respect and dignity and human worth. And it is my honor to be meeting with leaders who feel just the same way I do. They are outraged; they’re sad. They love America just as much as I do.

And I want to thank you all for giving me a chance to come by, and may God bless us all. Thank you.

“The worst of humankind”, indeed.

How quickly so many forget the lessons of 9/11.

UPDATE: Here’s a few of them…

The harsh Republican response to President Barack Obama’s defense of a mosque near ground zero marks a dramatic shift in the party’s posture toward Islam — from a once active courtship of Muslim voters to a very public tolerance after Sept. 11 to an openly aired sense of mistrust.

Republican leaders have largely abandoned former President George W. Bush’s post-Sept. 11 rhetorical embrace of American Muslims and his insistence — always controversial inside the party — that Islam is a religion of peace. This weekend, former Bush aides were among the very few Republicans siding with Obama, as many of the party’s leaders have moved toward more vocal denunciations of Islam’s role in violence abroad and suspicion of its place at home.

Desktop clearing link dump re: Ground Zero Mosque

Well I’ve got some bad new for y’all.  Looks like I’m backing to selling my skills on the open market, which means *much* less posting (if history is any indication).  That being said, here’s the stuff that I found interesting lately and some quick blurbs and all that.  You know the drill.

First up is some more reading on the so-called “Ground Zero Mosque” (first mentioned here, here).  It’s the latest in a long line of  “scare the base about the brown people” tactics that seems to work wonders at the polls.   As the best antidote for bigotry and ignorance is exposure and information, here’s some interesting reading in that direction.

Here we have a nice dissection of Newt Gingrich’s (and other commentators) understanding of history regarding the name of the group building the mosque.

This is the important fact that Newt hopes those who read his polemic will be ignorant of: for a ruler to be legitimate in Muslim eyes in the tenth century, during the time when the Great Mosque was being expanded into its present-day dimensions, it was important to emphasize the peaceful succession of Islam from the other religions in the area.  A caliph was expected to have arrived at an accord with the Christians and Jews over which he ruled.****** Far from “symboliz[ing] their victory” the Mosque was held up by Muslim historians a symbol of peaceful coexistence with the Christians–however messier the actual relations of Christians and Muslims were at the time.*******

So what should modern Christians think when they hear a Muslim use the word “Cordoba”?  Well, I know that Newt hasn’t been a Catholic for very long now, but maybe his priest ought to direct him to read a little thing called “The Catholic Encyclopedia“.  Allow me to quote from the 1917 edition (which has the virtue of being in the public domain and easily searchable) and its entry on Cordoba:

In 786 the Arab caliph, Abd-er Rahman I, began the construction of the great mosque of Cordova, now the cathedral, and compelled many Christians to take part in the preparation of the site and foundations. Though they suffered many vexations, the Christians continued to enjoy freedom of worship, and this tolerant attitude of the ameers seduced not a few Christians from their original allegiance. Both Christians and Arabs co-operated at this time to make Cordova a flourishing city, the elegant refinement of which was unequalled in Europe.

Yes, yes, I know, history can be a bit boring and dauting at times, but my what it does for context.

Along that same line of thinking, here’s a long and detailed history of the curiously named city of Elkader, Iowa.

Elkader, Iowa was founded in 1846. It remains today as the seat of Clayton County, with a population of around 1500. It is the only city in America named after an Arab.

There’s a long and detailed history of the intereactions between Muslims and Christians, and it’s five times longer than the history of the U.S.   When someone wants to use a reference that calls to mind the positive and peaceful interactions between the popular Abrahamic faiths, and is instead smeared with the very broad brush of “terrorism”, it’s time to break out the history books.

Unfortunately this type of informed, measured response goes against the tide of the time.  That tide, to my mind, is very much along the lines of this piece, entitled:  “The state of America?  Hysteria“.

If you reengage the American media after a month out of the country, as I’ve done this week, it’s hard not to conclude that hysteria is now the dominant characteristic of our politics and civic conversation.

How else to explain the fact that questions like secession and nullification — issues that were resolved in blood by the Civil War more than a century ago — have come alive again and are routinely tossed around, not just by fringe figures but by Republican officeholders and candidates?

For example, Zach Wamp, a Tennessee congressman who opposes the recently enacted healthcare reforms and is running for governor, told an interviewer that he hopes “the American people will go to the ballot box in 2010 and 2012 so that states are not forced to consider separation from this government.”

The most popular such movement involves abolishing or gutting the 10th Amendment as a way to deny American citizenship to the U.S.-born children of undocumented immigrants. Even the ostensibly moderate Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) has signed on to that one, while Rep. Louie Gohmert (R- Texas) speculates that such children actually are terrorist moles planted here to grow up as U.S. citizens as part of a long-range plot.

Nothing quite tops the anti-Muslim hysteria, which has led people to organize opposition to the construction of new mosques in places from Lower Manhattan to Temecula. One candidate for statewide office in Tennessee — somebody should examine their water supply — argues that the 1st Amendment does not cover Muslims.

The piece ends with what I think is probably the single best description of the modern politics landscape.

In the midst of moral panic, inchoate indignation stands in for reason; accusation and denunciation supplant dialogue and argument; history and facts are rendered malleable, merely adjuncts of the moral entrepreneur’s — or should we say provocateur’s — rhetorical will. As we now also see, a self-interested mass media with an economic stake in the theatricality of raised and angry voices can transmit moral panic like a pathogen.

I think that sums it up nicely.  It takes cooler and wiser heads to prevail in such a situation, and given the volume and reach of the provocateur’s mouthpiece (my local Fox news affiliate ran a hit piece of the First Lady tonight, something they usually reserve for their cable outlet), it’s dang hard to get a wise word in edgewise.

Humor works as well, occasionally, although sometimes the subtlety can be a bit much for the morally outraged.

Why is this an insult to the victims of 9/11? The answer, I think, is obvious. Among the titles published by Conde Nast is the fashion magazine Vogue. Vogue publishes an Italian edition. Italy, of course, was the incubator of fascism. The terrorists who destroyed the World Trade Center were Islamofascists. I think the connection is clear.

It is not only the presence of Vogue at Ground Zero that is such an awful affront and insult. The Fairchild division of Conde Nast is the publisher of Women’s Wear Daily. The initials of Women’s Wear Daily are WWD. WWD sounds almost exactly like WMD. The Islamofascists who attacked our country on 9/11 are part of an Islamofascist movement that seeks to use WMD against Americans. Also, they want to use IEDs. IED also sounds like WWD, though not as much. Also, IED sounds like IUD, and many of the women-oriented magazines published by Conde Nast advocate the use of IUDs as a method of birth control. Those who advocate the use of IUDs cannot be allowed to sully the memories of the dead by building their headquarters on the site of Ground Zero.

I wanted to finish this up with a link to an act I found surprising and refreshing.  Quick background, the Anti-Defamation Leage (ADL) who claim to be “the nation’s premier civil rights/human relations agency, ADL fights anti-Semitism and all forms of bigotry, defends democratic ideals and protects civil rights for all“, came out *against* the building of an Islamic community center in New York City.
I listened to their director, Abraham H. Foxman (I’m guessing the “H” ain’t for Hussein), on NPR defending their decision to side with the ignorant and I just couldn’t wrap my head around his point.  He kept saying how people need to be more aware of those around them and give into the bigots and fools, or something.  It really was a twist, listening to someone who, by all their own statements, should have been out in front of this thing, being that cooler, wiser head.    Instead they joined with the small-minded political opportunists, and lost the support of a powerful voice in the opinion-maker’s bracket, Fareed Zakaria.   While I find Fareed a bit too corporate for my tastes, I do think he’s, by far, one of the best international commentators you’ll find on the tubes.  Well-spoken, well-read, and now very well connected, his insights are worth paying attention to.
In regards to this topic, he can explain it much better than I, so I’ll let him have at it. (really, watch that video, he covers all the bases, including pointing out the hypocrisy involved with a primarily jewish organization telling *others* to be wary about building things in places you aren’t very welcome and causing more pain…).
Fareed then put the money where his mouth was, and returned his reward.   That’s what they call integrity ’round these parts, and it *is* rare enough to find in a media personality in this day and age to be notable.  It’s good to know there’s at least one rational voice, speaking only after taking it all in and thinking about what it all means.
I think there might be only one, to be honest.
UPDATE: Here’s a solid refutation of those who continue to try and paint the imam in question as a radical…

And, of course, an interview with Foreign Policy in 2007 explored both the depths of [Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf’s] ongoing contact with the Administration and his so-called radical views.

I have had meetings with Karen Hughes. However, I would welcome the opportunity to have further, deeper, and more nuanced discussions with other members of the Bush administration on how they need to understand religion and how it intersects with political affairs. To not understand the role of Islam and faith as a motivator is to be incapacitated in shaping a foreign policy that achieves the objectives of the United States.The perception in the Muslim world is that the West wants to impose a secularism upon it, which to them is equivalent to the erasure of religion in society. As an American, I know that is not the intent of the United States at all. But thats the perception. The perception in America is that when people say they want an Islamic state, they want something like the Taliban. And that is not true at all.

Rauf added that, during Ramadan, it was important to remember the love that Jews, Muslims and Christians agree that their gods preach, adding, “It also means do not do unto others what you do not want others to do unto you.” Guess that’s one thing Rauf’s critics forgot.

This whole issue is, largely, one based on those perceptions and on clarifying the reality of the situation.  Asshats like this ain’t helping.

“Permits should not be granted to build even one more mosque in the United States of America, let alone the monstrosity planned for Ground Zero,” Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association wrote this week on the AFA website. “This is for one simple reason: each Islamic mosque is dedicated to the overthrow of the American government.”

That’s a bit too Palin-American for even the most xenophobic folks, one would hope.

That said, ADL’s misguided excess of feeling in a case in which clear thinking was requisite is not part of a pattern, which is why it stands out so clearly as a mistake. In fact, since 9/11 the organization has spoken out frequently and clearly against discrimination toward Muslims.

As Amanda Susskind, who directs ADL’s Pacific Southwest Region, told me this week, “ADL is not in the business of promoting an anti-Muslim agenda. Our original statement focused on the issues of location and sensitivity of the Islamic Community Center. The debate on those issues was hijacked by bigots, Islamophobes and those who wanted to promote their own political agendas.”