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[Late Update: Quran burning back on? Maybe. Late, Late Update: "We will definitely not burn the Quran. Not today, not ever." "Pastor" Terry Jones. Despite the cancellation, deadly protests are staged in Afghanistan. See updates at end.]
Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning
Burn the light to satisfy your darkness….
Burn the love to satisfy your hatred….
Burn the peace to satisfy your anger….
Burn the compassion to satisfy your cruelty….
Burn the knowledge to satisfy your ignorance.
While many have been disturbed by dangerous implications of the process of dehumanization, which we covered here at The BRAD BLOG in "The 'Ground Zero Mosque' and the Hypnotic Power of Republican Race-Baiting," "Gainesville, FL, Blocks 9/11 'Koran Burning,'" and most especially in the ugliness of "Video: 'I'm Not Even Muslim,' the Black Man in the White Hat Had to Tell the 'Ground Zero' Mob," there is a flip-side.
A display of hatred and intolerance can also bring out the best of our species, as reflected by the elegant words seen above from commenter Hassan Yaghi in response to a whacked out fundamentalist Christian's announced intention to burn the Quran. We covered the recent appropriate and moving response to the "Ground Zero Mosque" silliness by Iraq and Afghan vets standing up to the haters, and now in the following email announcement from Rabbis for Human Rights, announcing a petition and march this weekend in New York City for religious freedom and against intolerance.
Their email, published in full below, notes the group is "concerned by an upsurge in Islamophobia, religious intolerance, hate crimes and attacks on religious freedoms in the United States in recent weeks," and highlights both the planned Quran burning as well as the protests against the planned "Park 51" Muslim community center in downtown New York City, near "Ground Zero." The group also condemned their fellow Jewish organizations, the Anti-Defamation League and Zionist Organization of America for their efforts to derail the community center.
While near universal condemnation appears to have put a halt to "Pastor" Terry Jones' planned "International Burn-a-Quran Day," late today --- along with a bizarre attempt to intercede by Donald Trump --- actions and words by good people remain essential in order to counter the virulent and dangerous Islamophobia that has been propagated by hard-right demagogues and their dehumanized followers...
Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning
"The terrorists who attacked us on 9/11 do not represent Islam. Far better representatives of Islam are the over 100 Muslims who died at work in the towers that day. No one need apologize for Islam."—Hal Donahue, VoteVets.org
Seeing it as part of their duty to support and defend the Constitution and dismayed by the "toxic effect" of the never-ending "war on terror" upon our society by the process of "dehumanization" which has created "a propensity to violence, a devaluing of others, even our own citizens, and a decided lack of empathy," VoteVet.org, a nation-wide group of veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan is circulating an "open letter" in support of the right to build a Muslim community center near "Ground Zero"...
As the disinformed and hypnotized crowd of angry protesters in downtown New York chant "No mosque here!" over the weekend, a black man in a white hat strolls through and the crowd instantly turns on him.
"Ya'll don't even know my opinion on shit," he's forced to reply in his own defense as the tension rises and the possibility of violence becomes imminent. "I'm not even Muslim!" shouts the man who, it turns out, was apparently a construction worker at Ground Zero.
Sick. August, 2010. U.S.A.
With the deepest and sincerest apologies to our good friend Jeannie Dean (look away, Jeannie, seriously), some things just need to be seen to be believed. And no, I don't believe this thing is a joke, despite what may be the most ironic (and awful) lyric of all time...
Yes, you read that right...
And with this, the Rightwing "civil rights" movement, has finally taken full flower. God save us all. Mindblowing Accomplished.
[Hat-tip Digby. The drink is on us. We'll join ya.]
Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning
"Where they burn books, at the end they also burn people."- Heinrich Heine (1823)
"Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it." - George Santayana
Heine's ominous warning came more than a century before the infamous May 10, 1933 Nazi book burning where Joseph Goebbels told the Berlin student book burners, "The era of extreme Jewish intellectualism is now at an end."
It was the beginning of the end for millions who would be gassed and then shoved into the death camp ovens over the next twelve years.
Today, we find a group of whack right-wing Christians operating under the Orwellian-labeled Dove Outreach Center. The group, which openly proclaims "Islam is the Devil," announced that they planned "to commemorate the anniversary of the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001 by burning Korans."
Today, the Los Angeles Times reported that Gainesville officials denied the group "a bonfire permit."
I'm reminded of Pete Seeger's Where have all the flowers gone?: "When will they ever learn?"
Update: Despite the denial of the permit, the Dove Outreach Center has vowed to proceed with its plan to burn Korans. I suppose one could call it an act of uncivil disobedience.
Update 08/20/10: There have been a number of comments, here, and elsewhere, raising First Amendment concerns about the City of Gainesville's decision to deny a bonfire permit. Deputy Chief Tim Hayes of the Gainesville Fire Dept., however, said that his department's denial was not related to the content of the books but on a city ordinance which prohibits the burning of "newspaper, corrugated cardboard, container board or office paper, which are akin to books."
No doubt, attendees from the Sarah Palin/Dr. Laura School of Law would regard it as an infringement of the Dove Outreach Center's First Amendment rights, should a group of concerned citizens peacefully surround these book burners, whom Gainesville Mayor Craig Lowe describes as a "tiny fringe group and an embarrassment to our community," holding up signs which quote Heine's "Where they burn books, at the end they also burn people."
Update 09/07/10: General David Petraeus has expressed his concern that the proposed Quran-burning "could endanger troops and it could endanger the overall effort in Afghanistan."
What Petraeus fails to mention is that the swiftest way in which he and his boss, President Barack Obama, could insure the safety of American troops and ratchet down tensions between the people of the Middle East and those residing in the U.S. would be to immediately end our imperial occupations in Iraq and Afghanistan by way of a orderly but complete and total withdrawal of all U.S. military forces as well as all private mercenaries.
Guest editorial by Ernest A. Canning
On Sunday, Brad Friedman posted a "Toon of the moment" in which a hypnotist sits dangling a watch in front of two stupified voters as Senators Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Chuck Grassley (R-IA) look on. The hypnotist tells the voters:
Replace the hypnotist and watch with "illegal immigrants" or a "Ground Zero Mosque" (what the Los Angeles Times' Tim Rutten refers to as a "rising tide of Nativism") and the cartoon would be equally spot on, though this form of hypnosis is utilized by the billionaire-funded hard-right not only to "forget" the disaster that was the Bush/Cheney cabal but to avoid a debate on the Republicans' cold and heartless, class-based decisions to oppose an extension of unemployment benefits, to block funds for state governments intended to prevent a layoff of thousands of teachers, to block vital environmental legislation, to engage in never-ending privatization schemes, which by design are intended to destroy government's ability to provide vital public services (police, fire, health care, education), and to repeatedly level false charges of insolvency as part of their scheme to permit the thieves of Wall Street to raid the Social Security trust fund.
Those who are rational and see the mosque as an issue of First Amendment religious freedoms (and common sense) fail to appreciate the visceral appeal of Republican race-baiting, which, in the case of the mosque, seeks to tap into a deep-seated, cultural anxiety that has been created not only by 9/11 but --- as I explained in "Hate Speech and the Process of Dehumanization" here at The BRAD BLOG, and in its follow-up --- by the vilification of Arabs and Muslims in books, films and on television over a span of decades. It was this same deep-seated and subconscious loathing which permitted the Bush/Cheney cabal to conflate Saddam Hussein --- just another swarthy, mid-Eastern bad guy --- with al Qaeda for the purpose of invading Iraq.
The politics of Republican fear-mongering and race-baiting exploits cultural dehumanization so as to conflate all Muslims with 9/11. The result is a perversion of that seminal event --- which, even under the Bush/Cheney Administration's own "official theory," entailed only al Qaeda --- into an unprovoked assault by the Muslim world on "Christian America."
"You know nothing. You remember nothing. You don't remember George W. Bush or how badly he screwed things up. You love Republicans. They are here to help you. You will welcome them back..."
[Ed note: This blog item was originally published on 2/6/2010. I'm re-dating it to today, to let you know that my full Hustler article, sans graphics, has now been posted online at the LarryFlynt.com site.. Edmonds has now named names, but the media won't investigate. Why would that be? I look at the possibilities in my article. --- As well, the Mike Connell feature story in February's Maxim, mentioned below, is also now posted online. -BF]
You're welcome. My 2000+ word article on former FBI translator-turned-whistleblower Sibel Edmonds is now featured in the March 2010 edition of Hustler. Sorry, she's wearing all her clothes. Go buy it anyway.
The article brings the story of Edmonds, who was twice-gagged by the Bush Administration's outrageous use/abuse of the "States Secrets Privilege," fully up to date following her naming of names, finally, under oath, in remarkable testimony last summer. (Some of those names: Hastert, Burton, Blunt, Lantos, Schakowsky, Wolfowitz, Perle, Grossman, etc.)
Guest essay by Ernest A. Canning
Irrespective of whether one accepts the government's official explanation or one of the multiple "inside job/false-flag" theories advanced by the "9/11 Truth" movement, or even if you simply regard the current state of public information about 9/11 to be inadequate to arrive at any hard-and-fast conclusions about that seminal event, the mere mention of it evokes the word "terror" in some way for all Americans.
But the word "terror" is rarely applied to Donald Rumsfeld's "shock and awe" assaults on the city of Fallujah. Why?...
The baseball metaphors were theirs. I just thought I'd pick up on them.
Over the holiday weekend, there was a bit of an "academic" tête-à-tête in the upper-blogosphere over President Obama's handling of the arrest, detention and prosecution of Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the Detroit "Underwear Bomber," as it compared to George W. Bush's almost exactly similar handling of the arrest, detention and prosecution of Richard Reid, the "Shoe Bomber," and other alleged terrorists by the former administration.
While there were swell arguments into which "both" sides could firmly dig their heels, as usual, the conversation that the people of this country really need to be having was shunted far aside in favor of the one Dick Cheney and Karl Rove prefer to be having...
Guest essay by Ernest A. Canning
I directed readers’ attention to King’s assessment that our obsession with war and occupation was but a symptom of “a far deeper malady within the American spirit;" that our presence in Afghanistan and so many other conflicts over the past 60 years was not the product of a desire to insure our safety; that it was the product of a military-industrial complex and a U.S.-led, corporate Empire whose core purpose is to feed the insatiable greed of the privileged few.
In the short time since I wrote “Beyond Afghanistan,” we have witnessed an expansion of the absurd...
Odds of being on an airplane attacked by a terrorist over the past decade, according to Nate Silver at FiveThirtyEight.com: 1 in 10,408,947.
Odds of being hit by lightning in any single year: appx. 1 in 500,000.
Odds the U.S. will wage a War on Lightning: 0 in a Gazillion.
Odds we'll talk about all of the above tonight when I guest host The Mike Malloy Show: appx. 1 in 3 (if that high).
UPDATE: And furthermore, why no 'War on Salmonella'?
Guest essay by Ernest A. Canning
"Somehow this madness must cease."
- Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., "Beyond Vietnam" April 4, 1967.
On Jan. 18, 2010 our nation will observe Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, commemorating the extraordinary life of an intellectual and moral giant. The corporate media will fill the airwaves with excerpts of his uplifting August 28, 1963 "I Have a Dream" speech in which Dr. King called upon us to judge one another by the content of our character and not by the color of our skin. And, during that same holiday, the corporate media can be counted upon to ignore his April 4, 1967 "Beyond Vietnam" speech just as they have every year since the first Martin Luther King, Jr. Day in 1986.
Why? Because the egalitarian principles enunciated in "I Have a Dream" challenged only the now (largely) defunct Jim Crow regime.
While de facto, race-based economic inequality stubbornly remains as a vestige of slavery and Jim Crow, the elimination of de jure segregation posed no threat to the stark economic inequality created by an increasingly brutal form of U.S. capitalism and imperialism. It was the brutal reality of corporate Empire which led Dr. King, in "Beyond Vietnam," to describe his own government as "the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today" --- a point which exposes the hypocrisy in that same government's celebration of the life of a man singularly devoted to non-violence.
If you have not read "Beyond Vietnam" in its entirety, you should. If you have, you should read it again, for Dr. King's message is as applicable today as it was then.
Particularly, as we deconstruct the empty words used by our Harvard-educated President to justify an escalation of what Robert Scheer aptly describes as a "War of Absurdity," and as we look "Beyond Afghanistan"...
[12/7/09: Updated again at bottom of article. Petruna standing by story. Sort of... & Now again on 12/8/09 as other passengers on flight say Petruna "living in a fantasy world".]
More evidence --- rather hilarious, or sad, depending on how you choose to look at it --- that rightwing Muslim-fearing Fox "News"-addled cowards live in an alternate-reality fantasy world entirely of their own making. In this case, quite literally.
First read the email frantically circulating around wingnut sites, according to Josh Marshall at TPM, including Glenn Beck's 9/12 Project site, as if it were fully based on reality.
Then read the airline's detailed account of what really happened, wholly debunking the email of Tedd Petruna, the "heroic" passenger from Texas, and his account of single-handedly saving a plane full of good Americans from 11 Muslim terrorists on an Airtran flight in Atlanta as it prepared for takeoff to the Houston-Hobby airport.
Your appetizer: Mr. Petruna, the courageous Texan who authored the email describing his own heroics, wasn't even on the plane that he claims to have personally saved from the evil Muslim terrorist hijackers, and the plane was never canceled at all, having continued to the Houston-Hobby airport as scheduled.
As we've been highlighting for some time now here at The BRAD BLOG --- our Rise of the Tea Bags video paints such a picture, and Frank Schaeffer has done a fine job illustrating it as well, most recently here and here) --- we really do now, officially, live in two different Americas. One actual America, with all its flaws, failures, and frustrations, and another world completely existing only in the minds and self-produced group hallucinations of wingnut media-addled fantasists, fear-mongers, and phonies. How that changes at any time in the near future is a question to be answered by someone well above our pay grade.
Guest blogged by Frank Schaeffer
Op-Ed Columnist Thomas Friedman's editorial in today's New York Times , "America vs. The Narrative", sparked this thought:
If the Islamic world has a fantasy "narrative" about America and our intentions, don't we ourselves --- those within the American religious right --- have a similarly misinformed "narrative"?
Here's my thought experiment: Read Friedman's original, posted below for your convenience, then read my Americanized version which follows. All I've done is change a few names and issues and you'll get the point.
We have our own religious/political myths and they are no less dangerous...
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