Sunday, September 5, 2010

Hatred in America: Muslims are the New Jews

This country is headed down an ominous path. Contrast two stories in the NYT yesterday which showed the chilling effect of what happens when a country decides people who practice a certain religion are a cancer that must be cut out of the body politic.

One article told the story of German child psychiatrist Hans Keilson, a Jew who fled Germany in 1936 after his first novel was banned by the Nazis. He had watched the brownshirts grow in power but never thought he'd be a target:

"I was so German," he said. "I thought they would not do this to me. I am one of them." But he soon realized that Germans no longer recognized him as part of themselves. He remembered a literature class in which he read a poem by Heinrich Heine, who was born Jewish. The class president stood up and said: "We refused to talk about this. This is not a German poem."

The same tactics and even the same language are being used against Americans who practice Islam. People have been worshipping at a tiny mosque in upstate New York for the last 30 years. It's housed unobtrusively in a plain, unadorned building. Recently a pack of teenagers tried to hit the son of one of the mosque's founding members. One of them fired a shotgun in the air. A few days before that, he'd driven by shouting anti-Muslim epithets.

The ancient (but still invoked) charge of blood libel, the belief by Christians that Jews drain the blood of Christian children for their religious rituals, was echoed by this teen's words. He heard it was a cult house where people drank blood. He added as justification, "How many real religious places do you see that do not have a sign stating that it's a religious place?"

Right now it's mainstream discourse in America to question whether a citizen practicing a certain religion is a loyal American. In fact, the atmosphere is poisonous with accusations that we have terrorists within our midst (especially the President) with a secret agenda to take over.

This is not new in our history. Senator Joseph McCarthy made his bones on accusations that the American government was infiltrated by American communists. JFK had to contend with accusations that his loyalty was to the Pope in Rome. (Ironically, Kennedy was one of the few Democrats who never denounced McCarthy. McCarthy was also a Catholic and extremely influential.)

The amount of hatred and vituperation against Muslim Americans is reminiscent of Dr. Keilson's story. The desire to cleanse America of a foreign toxin in order to purify it has echoes in the darkest times of civilized society.

Unless we have some pushback from powerful voices, this unchecked aggression will destroy people. The hordes will pour forth strippping the flesh from the bones of what's left of the rule of law. How can such ignorant hatred drive American policy without being called out?

"Have you no sense of decency? Have you left no sense of decency?"--U.S. Army's chief legal counsel Joseph Welch to Senator Joseph McCarthy

Friday, September 3, 2010

Burn, Baby, Burn--Who's Next?

Pastor Terry Jones of Gainesville, Florida plans to publicly burn the Koran on the ninth anniversary of the 9/11 tragedy. Even Fox News thinks that's a bad idea.

As the Reverend John Rankin writes:

[Jones] admitted to the New York Times in an August 26 article that he has no knowledge of the Koran: “I have no experience with it whatsoever. I only know what the Bible says.” As well, in my direct contacts with his church, I have learned that he claims God told him “to do this burning.”

Really? How well does he know the Bible? Is it biblical to be deliberately ignorant concerning a matter about which you write a book? Is he claiming to be a prophet, and if so, what will the results show?

This man will burn the sacred book of the third branch of the Abrahamic religion and upload it for all to see. The word of the prophet Muhammad, just as the Bible is the word of the prophet Jesus. Abraham was the father of Isaac and Ishmael. Moses is there. Mary is there.

All these shouters are so proud of their ignorance and proud to provoke civil disorder, unrest and murder with the click of a mouse.

Where were they when Timothy McVeigh blew up the Oklahoma City Federal Building, killing 168 people? Oh, I forgot. They CELEBRATED his bombing on April 19, the anniversary of this American terrorist.

If you are sincerely interested in understanding Americans who practice Islam, check out this video . It's the Congressional Muslim Staff panel discussion on the Image of Muslims in America.

By the way, isn't Terry Jones an original member of Monty Python?

He's the judge here, too. Check out Cardinal Richilieu.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Glenn Beck's Glasses Lead the Nation...

unless you, my progressive and/or Democratic compatriots, vote.

Ah, the run-up to the midterms! Fall is in the air. That means time to exploit 9/11 for political opportunity! Blame Obama and march to victory!

Overthrowing the government is good. But remember to propagandize correctly. "Take back the country!" "Patriot points"!

Hold a mass meeting at the Lincoln Memorial on 8/28, the same place and day as Martin Luther King when he gave his "I have a dream" speech, then deny disingenuously that you are doing that. If someone happens to mention that fact, say, "THEY are accusing me of stealing the date. How dare they?" Who are THEY? Subtext subtext subtext.

Ooo, the tea party. They hang on Sarah Palin's every tweet. Those tweets, they sure are perky and ample. Appeal the 14th amendment. Hell, appeal the Civil Rights Act. However, thank God it was fought for with blood, sweat and tears in the first place. Otherwise Glenn Beck couldn't usurp the symbolic importance of MLK and present himself as the strong man leader of the aggrieved white people who respond to his dog whistle methods and think of themselves as "slaves" to Obama's "plantation owner" strategies.

This is the grass roots party that's created and financed by the fossil fuel/chemical billionaire Koch brothers. And their agenda is not populist. In the August 30, 2010 article in the New Yorker, Jane Mayer , one of the best investigative reporters left, spells it out:

With his brother Charles, who is seventy-four, David Koch owns virtually all of Koch Industries, a conglomerate, headquartered in Wichita, Kansas, whose annual revenues are estimated to be a hundred billion dollars. The company has grown spectacularly since their father, Fred, died, in 1967, and the brothers took charge.

The Kochs operate oil refineries in Alaska, Texas, and Minnesota, and control some four thousand miles of pipeline. Koch Industries owns Brawny paper towels, Dixie cups, Georgia-Pacific lumber, Stainmaster carpet, and Lycra, among other products. Forbes ranks it as the second-largest private company in the country, after Cargill, and its consistent profitability has made David and Charles Koch—who, years ago, bought out two other brothers—among the richest men in America. Their combined fortune of thirty-five billion dollars is exceeded only by those of Bill Gates and Warren Buffett.

The Kochs are longtime libertarians who believe in drastically lower personal and corporate taxes, minimal social services for the needy, and much less oversight of industry—especially environmental regulation. These views dovetail with the brothers’ corporate interests. In a study released this spring, the University of Massachusetts at Amherst’s Political Economy Research Institute named Koch Industries one of the top ten air polluters in the United States.

Maybe you're disappointed in Obama. Maybe he's a captive of corporate interests. But VOTE anyway, you goddamned Democrats. I didn't want Obama. But I voted for him anyway.

As the angry Republicans eagerly vote out the incumbents, remember who their puppetmasters are. And they are much, much worse.