Muslims and Pagans Oh My! (A Christofascist Nightmare)

Dec 03 2010 Published by under Featured News, Issues, Republican Party

The Big Hater of Christofascist Imagination

I was reading one Right Wing Watch yesterday and saw an article about how a Tea Partier named John Trautman opposes a California mosque because he “doesn’t want terrorist pagans in his back yard.”

Are Muslims Pagans?

I’ve looked elsewhere at the question of whether or not Satanists are Pagans (Tea Partiers and Republicans hate them too, and my answer is “no”) but it never occurred to me to question Islam’s status as a religion; it seems fairly obvious. I mean, first of all, Islam is one of the three forms of Abrahamic monotheism, one of the three religions of the book: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam; they share a common ancestry and like it or not, a common god, even if they know him by different names.

In fact, they are so closely related that one the Byzantine Saint John of Damascus argued that Islam was not a separate religion but a form of heresy – in other words, a heretical form of Christianity. One could, I suppose, argue the same thing about Christianity with regards to Judaism. The polemics are all in place; Nicetas of Byzantium even leveled a charge against Islam Christians ought by now to be familiar with: that their holy book is a forged mythology.

There seems to be a lot of pot calling kettle black involved and there still clearly is and perhaps that’s just an inevitable problem to be associated with three religions each claiming sole possession of some cosmic truth – and God besides.

Honestly, it’s none of my concern what they think about each other. That’s their business unless they start talking about winging around nukes and so forth. Then it becomes an issue of worldwide concern.

And in fact, we’ve come close to that point, closer than ever since the Religious Right began to gain dominance in the American political landscape. Having an apocalyptic religion in charge – one with access to nukes – and believing that their big end-game scenario, the Parousia, will start in the Middle East – that is a frightening reality.

Obviously there is the ongoing problem of definitions. You can’t have polemics without definitions! Not only do you have to define what “religion” is but what qualifies as a religion. There are some Republicans who want to reduce Islam to the status of a cult, even though it’s the world’s second largest religion after Christianity itself. And of course, we have to define Judaism and Christianity as well.

And we have to define “Pagan” and “Paganism.”

I have followed French historian Pierre Chuvin (A Chronicle of the Last Pagans, 1990) in defining Pagans as “people of the place” and Paganism therefore as “religion of the place” – in short, ethnic religion. This is not a modern definition but an attempt to understand what the ancients meant when they used the term “pagan.” I find it a very useful one. As someone once said, what’s important is not how we understand say, the Iliad, but how the ancients understood it.

But back to our problem: Historically, the people of the Arabian Peninsula were Pagans – a polytheistic ethnic group. They were Pagans when Mohammed was born but by the time he had died they had been forcibly converted to Islam (submitted, in other words – Islam means “Submission to God”).  The same fate had befallen the polytheistic Israelites and the same fate befell the polytheists of Europe and the Mediterranean littoral when Christianity became ascendant.

All three of these religions are “universal” religions – that is, they claim a God who is a God of everyone, of all the earth and all its peoples. They do not recognize ethnic religions. Ethnic religion must be subsumed by an inherently superior “True” religion. By definition, they cannot any of them lay claim to being Pagan, as Paganism makes much more modest claims – the much maligned “relative” truths of the ethnic group and it’s gods.

That they like to insult each other as some form of “pagan” does not imply that they are indeed Pagan. It is well known that the Jews called everyone else “Gentiles” and the Early Church adopted this term and applied it to their polytheistic neighbors until adopting the term “Pagan” by the time of the Fifth Century Theodosian Code.  In post-exilic Israel to be a Gentile was to convert or die. In the Early Church the same choice was offered. Europe was brought to Christianity with the cry “convert or die.” Islam calls such people “Kafir” – which means “unbeliever.” But Islam has two forms of unbelievers: other children of the book and those who have no book.

The Tea Partier in question, John Trautman, was criticizing the build of a mosque. He said “are not only our enemy but pagans. Why would we want them in our backyard?”

We’re already familiar with the polemical attack unleashed by Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson on Pagans and the rest of today’s “Canaanites”:

I really believe that the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People For the American Way — all of them who have tried to secularize America — I point the finger in their face and say “you helped this happen.”

You can make any word an insult, I suppose, and put it to polemical uses, including Pagan. In the end, the purpose of polemic is to delegitimize the target and privilege your own and the attitude of Tea Partiers and Republicans is clear: Islam and Pagans are on a par, both in some tenuous way responsible for the WTC attack and together guilty of unraveling the fabric of American society. But they are not the same. Islam and Christianity are the same, two peoples of the book separated by a common mythology.  Paganism, ancient or modern, has nothing to do with revealed religion or book religion. Paganism is nature-based; Paganism is of the world.

In the end I suppose it isn’t a matter of who is more or less tolerant or enlightened. There is no true sense of tolerance in any of the three religions when it comes to other religions. The end time, for all three, looks for a day when everybody will be forced to “convert or die” so we Pagans would just as soon they can all be kept from “forcing god’s hand” and manufacturing an “end-time” scenario.

I can tell you right now that if that day comes, it won’t be Pagans who manufactured it, or feminists, or lesbians, or “abortionists” – or the ACLU.

10 responses so far

Analyzing What November 2nd Means

We’ve all seen the graphs, the raw voter data. But what does it all mean beyond Republicans up and Democrats down? I have been wondering about this myself, and on the advice of a Canadian friend, I turned to the conservative (by Canadian standards) National Post. In a wonderfully titled article, “What the #!%*?: The U.S. mid-term elections?” the National Post’s Peter Goodspeed asks and answers some very important questions about the midterms.

It is a useful and interesting analysis of the disastrous turnaround in the American political landscape and helpful for being a view from the outside looking in.

Mr. Goodspeed makes some interesting points (my comments in italics):

  • “Democrats have been driven from office in…every one of the 11 states of the old Confederacy.” We knew there was something to the waving of Confederate flags at those Tea Party rallies.
  • “This is the third election in a row in which U.S. voters kicked out the party in power.” (the others being 2006 and 2008). This was not unexpected. Voters have short memories. As Paul Krugman has predicted, the Republicans will probably be out on their backsides in 2012.
  • “Exit polls show the Democrats lost the votes of women, middle-income workers, whites, seniors and independent voters.” Most important was the loss of the independent voters who put Obama in office in the first place. This is ironic as most of these people voted against their own interests the other day. They will likely regret it before too long. Evan Bayh has some ideas about what the Democrats can do to recover in an op-ed piece in the New York Times.
  • “Voters are disenchanted with both parties… When Marco Rubio, Florida’s Republican senator-elect, took his victory bow, he made a point of warning his party to be cautious. “We make a great mistake, if we believe that tonight, these results are somehow an embrace of the Republican Party,” he said. “What they are is a second chance — a second chance for Republicans to be what they said they were going to be, not so long ago.” Rubio is right. This is neither a sweeping indictment of the Democratic Party nor a sweeping embrace of the Republican. The voters blamed the most handy target – the party currently in power. For an analysis of Rubio, see the New York Times bio.
  • “Democrats lost a generation of powerful centrist leaders.” I find this interesting given that Obama governed as a centrist. Is this yet another slap against centrist politics, diktat vs. compromise?
  • The Tea Party shouldn’t celebrate. Not only are they not popular with “Wall Street Republicans” but “According to the CBS television network’s exit polls, 58% of Tea Party supporters identify themselves as Republican, 33%  as independent, and 9% as Democrats. However, 80% are white, 55% are male and 56% are aged 50 and older. Not exactly a growing demographic.” No, indeed. The Tea Party is neither a grass-roots nor a populist movement. It has a very narrow focus and a very narrow support base and it really offers nothing new or dramatic outside of new levels of hate and bigotry. And “Tea Party candidates” have already demonstrated a willingness to compromise their principles to get elected. The lesson of Scott Brown should not be lost on anyone.
  • “Obama still has a veto and can scrap any Republican legislation.” So true. No doubt he will have cause to use it. We might note the importance too of continued Democratic control of the Senate.
  • “It’s unlikely [Obama will] have a chance to advance his domestic agenda. “ This does seem unlikely. He will be struggling to maintain the changes he brought about from 2006-08.
  • Obama may be vulnerable in 2012, particularly if he “concedes too much to the Republicans.” This will clearly be a problem as many of us felt Obama has already done this, catering too much to Republican concerns despite ongoing evidence that the Republicans had no interest in joining the Democrats in governing the nation.
  • The events of 1952 (and its aftermath) provide precedent for what took place on November 2 and this suggests that Republican gains will be ephemeral, at least in the short term.

I think many of these points are valid and bear further investigation and discussion. Clearly the next two years will be rocky not only for the administration and for Democrats, but for the country as a whole. The Republicans are far from united. The Tea Party is a divisive force and who knows, we may see some of those Old School “Wall Street” Republicans reaching across the aisle in exasperation. Two years of gridlock is unconscionable and it is difficult to see how, if Obama could be hurt in 2012, the Republicans could not also be if they spend the next two years bringing government to a complete halt.

Of course, there is more to it than this. We are mired in a war seemingly without end. The Republicans have attempted to assign blame for Bush’s Afghanistan War to Obama, and they have even tried to present 9/11 as somehow being Obama’s fault; the same goes for the economic crash of ’08, which took place while Bush was in the White House. Other important issues are corporate money and foreign money and the ways in which these impact American democracy. Republicans, who despise the already existing Constitutional amendments, are unlikely to support an amendment to correct the Supreme Court’s heinous betrayal. And the war on the First Amendment will no doubt gain strength.

There will no doubt be collateral damage from this election. If the election was about the economy, there will also be attacks, as I noted above on the First Amendment, but also on women’s reproductive rights, LGBT rights and environmental regulation, to name just a few. What is essential is somehow keeping our government and our country going for two years until we can correct the mistakes of November 2nd, when it is to be hoped voters will wake up to what they wrought.

11 responses so far

Judson Phillips’ Islamophobic Doublespeak

Oct 30 2010 Published by under Featured News, Issues, Republican Party

Judson Phillips is well known as the founder of the Tea Party Nation. If you feel at all in doubt about this group and its aims, you can learn everything you need to know about this group by visiting its website.

If you visit www.teapartynation.com/ you will be told that

“Tea Party Nation (or TPN) is a user-driven group of like-minded people who desire our God given Individual Freedoms which were written out by the Founding Fathers. We believe in Limited Government, Free Speech, the 2nd Amendment, our Military, Secure Borders and our Country!”

One problem we might note up front is that our freedoms are not “God-given.” They are constitutionally guaranteed but seen by our founding fathers as natural rights – endowed by “our Creator” who is in no way, shape or form identified with as the Christian god “YHWH” or “Jehovah” or “Jesus.” The implication that the Christian God has anything to do with it is nowhere found in the Founding Documents (Constitution and Declaration of Independence). You could as easily assume that the Founders were talking about the Neoplatonic “One” as “God.”

Or Allah.

Phillips wants Keith Ellison (D) U.S. Representative for Minnesota’s 5th congressional district, out of office. Why is this any surprise, you might ask. Ellison is, after all, a Democrat, and Phillips is a Tea Partier. But there is more to it than that.

Ellison is a Muslim.

Phillips does not like Muslims any more than he likes liberals. Ellison is, in his eyes, twice-damned.

There are a lot of liberals who need to be retired this year, but there are few I can think of more deserving than Keith Ellison. Ellison is one of the most radical members of congress. He has a ZERO rating from the American Conservative Union.

Radical…an interesting accusation coming from the founder of the ultra-radical, one might say extremist, Tea Party Nation.

A few days ago, Phillips sent an email to his supporters regarding his endorsement of Lynne Torgerson, an Independent:

A few days ago, we sent out an email telling TPN members about Lynne Torgerson, who is running against Keith Ellison, in Minnesota’s 5th congressional district.

Ellison proudly proclaimed that he was a Muslim and was sworn into office on a copy of the Koran, which had been owned by Thomas Jefferson.

We mentioned that Ellison is a Muslim and the liberal blogosphere went nuts. They claimed we said do not vote for him because he is a Muslim. No we didn’t and I might think about correcting them, except it is too much fun to watch them lose their minds.

Consistency has never been one of the liberals’ strong points. They hate conservatives. They argue that conservatives want to strip women of their rights, execute homosexuals and impose a theocracy, all of which are lies born of a desperate and idiotic mindset. When an ideology such as Islam comes along that actually does all of those things, the liberals embrace it.

The left screams that those of us who have a problem with Islam are “intolerant” and (here’s a new one) “racist.”

What do they say about an ideology that says, “kill the Jews” and “kill the infidels?”

I am not going to apologize because I’m bothered by a religion that says kill the infidel, especially when I am the infidel.

Growing up in the Methodist church, I read enough of the Bible to know the Bible does not tell Christians to kill those who do not believe. The Talmud does not say kill those who are not Jews. I’m relatively certain the book of Mormon does not say kill non-Mormons. Ditto for the Hindu scriptures and the writings of Buddha.

So why do we tolerate an ideology that at best, promotes genocide and ethnic cleansing. Can you imagine a right wing candidate who supported a group that said “kill the Jews” even being given the time of day? They would be run out on a rail. Yet, in the name of “tolerance” we are supposed to ignore the central teachings of an ideology that says kill those who disagree with you or at the very least, they should be treated as second-class citizens.

Why do we tolerate adherents to an ideology that tells someone, go kill people for your religion and you will get 72 virgins? I have always been curious about that. You would think that after a point, you would have 72 no longer virgins. Or perhaps they are going to be tricked into a form of hell, where they get the 72 virgins, but they stay virgins.

Should we vote out Keith Ellison just because he is a Muslim? No.

But his beliefs define his character and his character is a central issue. Do we want someone who supports and defends the Constitution or someone who supports the imposition of a theocracy?

Should Muslims be denied the right to run for office because of their religion? No. The Constitution specifies that no religious test can be used to exclude someone from public office. But when someone adheres to an ideology that says kill people who disagree with you, that is something voters should seriously consider when they vote.

Liberals go nuts when they hear this stuff. They think we should simply forget and just be “tolerant.”

I learned everything I needed to know about tolerance on September 11th.

It is quite clear from this that Phillips contradicts himself. He does say to not vote for Ellison because Ellison is a Muslim. He cannot have it both ways. Nor does he deny his own intolerance even while excoriating Islam for being intolerant. Keith Ellison did not kill anybody. He did not advocate that anybody should be killed. Most Muslims oppose the views of the Wahhabist Islamic extremists who were behind the attacks on 9/11. None of that matters. And Phillips needs to consult his Bible again. It is full of the killing and genocide of non-believers at the command of the God Phillips says he worships. In light of this, one has to wonder if, in the event a Christian extremists murders somebody or multiple somebodies, we have to hold all Christianity accountable.

Related Posts :

4 responses so far

Obama Administration Takes Aim at Defense Spending Overruns

Oct 15 2010 Published by under Featured News, Issues, White House

The bloated U.S. defense budget has been a topic of discussion and debate for some time. The Bush era invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan stretched the U.S. military to its limits and even with the Iraq war now officially ended U.S. commitments overseas remain high.

The U.S. military has been transitioning from it’s Cold War-era  order of battle to one better suited to fighting  “asymmetrical” wars. Not only does old equipment have to be replaced, but new weapons systems have to be developed and deployed. All this is expensive. Some very expensive systems don’t make the grade and we only find out after the fact.

Humvee with IED damage

American Humvees  (High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle aka Hummers) had to be upgraded to protect them from an unanticipated threat, IEDs (improvised explosive devices – in short, roadside bombs), and a whole new class of vehicle was developed and deployed that sported better armor – MRAPs (Mine Resistant Ambush Protected).

MRAP during testing

Republicans claimed that as president Obama would naively gut the U.S. military. That has not happened, just as Obama has not taken anyone’s guns away or raised taxes on everyone. This was typical – and remains typical – Republican hyperbole. In fact, as USA Today reports,

The budget calls for $205.5 billion in war costs for Iraq and Afghanistan over the next year and a half, including $75.5 billion more this year and $130 billion for fiscal 2010. Those costs are included in the overall budget for the first time. The budget includes a 4% increase to $533.7 billion for the Defense Department.

Not a gutting – far from it – an increase. We can ask ourselves whether the spending is justified. It’s a legitimate question after all, whatever Republican rhetoric says about it. Few, I think, would argue that the military must have the equipment it needs to fulfill its mission, and right now that mission is the suppression of Taliban activity in Afghanistan and the support of a friendly, democratic regime in Iraq. But there is more to the story of developing and deploying new weapons systems than meets the eye.

President Eisenhower warned America of the dangers posed by the military industrial complex, a threat that has proved very real. There is money to be made, not only by contractors and subcontractors but by lobbyists and politicians. Most of these activities do not take place in the public eye; few people realize how much money is wasted in partisan battles over contracts but also through incompetence, waste, and dishonesty.

Defense Talk, the Global Defense & Military Portal, reports that,

Over the last few days, word got out that defense industry giant Lockheed Martin has lost government approval for its cost and schedule tracking systems on the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) and F-16 programs. The Pentagon has said problems with Lockheed’s system are part of the reason there have been 80 percent cost overruns in the estimated $382 billion Joint Strike Fighter program.

What people need to understand is the way in which contracts are awarded. Companies try to underbid each other to win the contract. Once awarded, the company will begin to develop the system or component. Sometimes, the company puts a great deal of time and effort (not to mention money) into the project only to have the government tell them that they have changed it. Sometimes what has already been done is made in part or in whole irrelevant. Sometimes, the engineers have to go back to the drawing board and start again. And of course, the changes lead to increased expenses. It is wrong to always assign blame to the contractor.

But in this case, as Defense Talk says,

A spigot of defense spending opened up after 9/11, yet for years, there has been dismal oversight of contractors handling hundreds of billions of dollars in contracts for weapons and other goods and services. In the last few years, Defense Secretary Robert Gates has embarked upon numerous initiatives to control the often spiraling growth in the cost of weapons programs. Increased pressure on defense contractors is part of the effort to turn “fat into muscle.”

“The action against Lockheed for its deficient tracking system has to be viewed in context of this overall effort.”

The tracking system is known in the industry as the Earned Value Management System, or EVMS. EVMS is supposed to help companies manage large, complicated projects and measure performance against a baseline. Lockheed’s EVMS was deemed deficient in 19 of 32 areas in a November 2007 report by the Defense Contract Management Agency (DCMA), which was made public by POGO in 2008. The report concluded that Lockheed does “not provide the requisite definition and discipline to properly plan and control complex, multibillion dollar weapon systems acquisition programs.”

And “Lockheed isn’t the only contractor with problems.”

Companies that fail to adhere to expectations will suffer in future contract negotiations:

Although Lockheed has made progress since 2007, the Pentagon apparently decided Lockheed wasn’t acting fast enough. It’s still not totally clear what’s going to happen to Lockheed—at a minimum it will have to disclose its EVMS is not approved when it bids for government contracts.

“The decertification this week was “really a slap in the face to Lockheed.”

What’s at stake for taxpayers? “The Pentagon noted Lockheed’s deficient EVMS system this June when it issued a report on the staggering cost overruns in the Joint Strike Fighter program, which the report estimates will cost $382 billion—an 80 percent increase in the program’s initial projected cost.”

What’s at stake for the people doing the fighting is potentially much-needed weapons systems upgrades being denied them through defense spending wastage like this. The Bush administration did not believe in oversight and it applied it nowhere – to the environment, to Wall Street, or to defense spending.

The military deserves better, and so do the American people. Fortunately, the Republican plundering expedition came to an end in 2008 and we have a Democratic administration in place that is doing something about it.

Comments are off for this post

The Republican Narrative and Cognitive Dissonance

Sep 28 2010 Published by under Featured News, Issues, Republican Party

Listening to the Republican narrative, one has to assume that either,

a)      They’re being gratuitously stupid; or

b)      They’re being gratuitous liars.

It’s not a happy choice; it says nothing good of the Republicans either way.  It’s seldom true that there are only two alternatives but it’s extremely difficult to find a third that might apply. It’s very difficult to believe that they seriously mean what they say. It’s like catching your child with his hand in the cookie jar and crumbs all over his face, and saying, “You can’t eat any cookies, Johnny” and his response being, “I know, dad!”

Obviously he doesn’t know or he wouldn’t have his hand in the cookie jar. If they do seriously believe they know then the only explanation can be is that they are stupid. It’s pretty obvious, with your arm buried to the elbow in the evidence that you are lying.

So why attempt the lie in the first place? We can all see the crumbs all over their faces. It is no secret what they’ve been up to. Just turn the cookie jar into the “United States” and you have a measure of the problem faced by America’s voters.

Are they stupid too?

One wouldn’t think so, given the outcome of the 2008 elections. The voters rejected the Republican narrative then, and in two years, as John Stewart recently – and hilariously – demonstrated, it hasn’t changed. Will people honestly believe a lie they’ve already seen through?

On the other side of the coin, it’s difficult to believe that having once been caught Republicans would try the same lies again. That they are seems to indicate that they think the voters are stupid. Or are they counting on voters memories being short?

Sure people are fed up with the rate of recovery. We didn’t get out of the Great Depression overnight either. But consider the fact that it took George W. Bush eight years to reduce the American – and global – economies to utter ruin. It’s simply unreasonable to expect President Obama to fix everything in two years. No economic policy, even if passed, can have an effect that quickly, and Republican obstructionism has meant that Obama has not been able to do everything he has wanted to do to fix it.

Polls demonstrate that most Americans recognize this. Bush still gets the blame from the majority for wrecking our economy. Yet the Republican narrative insists that the voters are fed up with the Democrats and will oust them. There seems to be some sort of disconnect here.

Keep in mind that the Republican narrative also insists on a few bald-faced lies, for example that the Tea Party is a grassroots, populist movement, when it is in fact funded by rich conservatives who are manipulating the masses for their own gain. Another is that the Democrats are the party of big government and deficit spending, when it is in fact demonstrably untrue that the Republicans are not guilty of huge deficit spending or huge increases in the size of government.

They seem to be insisting that 2+2=5.

Of course, some of them have been able to convince themselves that Obama was president when 9/11 took place, or that it was Obama who invaded Afghanistan.

Cognitive dissonance seems to run through the Republican narrative. Cognitive dissonance was first proposed in the 1950s by Leon Festinger. He explains it in the following terms:

Whenever an individual holds two cognitions (beliefs, ideas, opinions) which are psychologically inconsistent, he will experience a drive to reduce this inconsistency. Dissonance may be reduced by changing either or both of the existing cognitions or by adding new cognitions which reduce the conflict by putting it in a new perspective.

Since it is impossible that 9/11 could have happened on the Republican watch, it must have happened under a Democrat. Many other “impossibilities” mean that whatever the historical record says – and modern history is extremely well documented – certain things must or must not be true.

In layman’s terms, the Republican narrative is divorced from reality. So perhaps this is our third choice:

c)       They’re suffering from cognitive dissonance.

Since their narrative sells very well to the base, it’s not an unlikely explanation; the base too, might be suffering from the same form of debilitation.

Is there a remedy? Intervention might be suggested, but the 2008 election outcome could be seen as a form of intervention and it seems to have had no effect at all. Since they represent the will of the American people they could not have possibly lost the election, Even Sarah Palin promised that “God would do the right thing on Election Day.”

As a result, Republicans seem unable to grasp the fact that they lost. Instead, they see Obama as a usurper and themselves as a government in exile. Instead of an election defeat, they have fashioned a narrative in which a left-wing coup has displaced them from their proper place at the helm.

The possibility that the American voter could reject them doesn’t seem to exist in their warped version of reality.

So it is quite unlikely that another intervention – defeat in 2010 – will have any discernible effect on their symptoms or on their disease. They continue to insist that the popular rising none of us are seeing has displaced incumbents nationwide when in fact this is not the case, and polls do not demonstrate that Democrats facing re-election are as unpopular as the narrative insists they must be.

It is to be hoped that the delusions of the Republican base are not shared by those on the left and – in particular – by those in the center. The independent vote was essential in Barack Obama’s election in 2008 and their vote will be critical in the Midterm elections. The American voter must not be fooled by the Republican inability to discern fact from fantasy. When they tell you that used car was never in a flood, the water still sitting inside it should be evidence enough that what they’re selling you is a lie – a lie you don’t have to be part of.

11 responses so far

Rudy Giuliani Blames Bill Clinton Not Bush for Letting Bin Laden Go

Sep 12 2010 Published by under Featured News

Rudy Giuliani was on Meet The Press today engaging in a bit of GOP revisionist history, as he claimed that it is Bill Clinton’s fault that Bin Laden is still free, “The reality is, in the period of time when we weren’t paying as much attention to bin Laden and al-Qaeda, they were attacking us almost every other year. I’m talking about in the, in the ’90s.”

Here is the video:

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

David Gregory asked Giuliani to respond to Ted Koppel’s recent New York Times piece which argued that Bin Laden goaded the United States into an excessive response. Giuliani answered by blaming Bill Clinton, “Well, it’s, it’s–there’s a bit of a, of a policy problem for the United States here that if, you know, if you do, you’re damned and if you don’t, you’re damned. The reality is, in the period of time when we weren’t paying as much attention to bin Laden and al-Qaeda, they were attacking us almost every other year. I’m talking about in the, in the ’90s, culminating in the attack of the USS Cole, in which we didn’t respond because we weren’t clear enough about who the, who the enemy were.”

He continued, “Since we’ve had those kind of change in policy, call, call it going on offense against Islamic terrorism, which Bush began and which, in the case of Afghanistan, the Obama administration, and I support them in this, are, are continuing, at home, at least, we’ve been able to avoid a repetition of the September 11 attack, which I have to tell you, nine years ago today, which would have been the day after September 11, when I was still mayor, I was being briefed we were going to be attacked numerous times. So I can’t tell you all the reasons that we haven’t been attacked in the way in which everyone predicted, but I think part of it is that big response that Ted is, is talking about. That’s keeping them on defense. And I wouldn’t, wouldn’t pull that away without analyzing it very closely because, in my view, the more you have Islamic extremism on defense, the safer we are. The more you give them room to plan, maneuver, and work out a tax, the more dangerous we are.”

Giuliani claims that al-Qaeda was attacking the United States every other year in the 1990s, but this is simply not true. There were three al-Qaeda attacks during the Clinton years, the first World Trade Center bombing in 1993. The bombing of two US embassies in Africa in 1998 and the U.S.S. Cole attack in 2000. Sorry Rudy, but 1993, 1998, and 2000 does not equal every other year. Placing blame on Clinton is neat revisionist trick that Republicans have come up with to deflect attention away from the fact that George W. Bush gave up very quickly on catching Bin Laden.

Six months after 9/11 Bush admitted that he wasn’t concerned about Bin Laden:

Here is Giuliani’s talking point about being on the offense, and Bush shifting the attention from Bin Laden to Iraq in 2006:

The next time you hear a Republican whine about how Obama is blaming Bush for the economy, you might want to politely remind them that their own party is nonsensically blaming Bill Clinton for not capturing Bin Laden. It was not Bill Clinton who swore that Bin Laden would be captured after 9/11. Nor was it Clinton who quickly lost interest in Bin Laden and started a war in Iraq. Osama Bin Laden is still free to keep plotting terrorist attacks because George W. Bush and the Republican Party gifted him his freedom.

Republicans like to pretend that they are tough on terrorism and national security, but I am sure that you all are familiar with the old saying, when the going gets tough; the Republicans quit, and start a preemptive war in Iraq. Blaming Bill Clinton for Bin Laden is a lot like blaming Woodrow Wilson for Adolph Hitler. It doesn’t pass the smell test. Leave it to 9/11’s Punxsutawney Phil, Rudy Giuliani to pull some four year old talking points out of mothballs to try to keep the myth of Republican strength on national security alive. September 11th is over now Rudy, you can go back into your hole, and please take your moldy talking points with you. No matter how they try to spin it, the responsibility for Bin Laden falls squarely on the shoulders of the GOP.

25 responses so far

Sarah Palin Hijacks 9/11 to Bash Obama

Sep 12 2010 Published by under Featured News

Sarah Palin put her brand of patriotism on full display on 9/11. Apparently to Palin patriotism means betraying America’s basic constitutional rights, while betraying our commander in chief, and holding a benefit for Sarah Palin Inc., not the victims or families of 9/11. Could it be any more obvious why Palin is a danger to our freedoms?

Here is video of Palin addressing the Wasilla 9/11 rally via the Alaska Dispatch:

Palin started off the day by saying, “We must commit to never allowing it to happen again, and it does matter to those families who lost loved ones to know that even up here in Alaska, we will take the time to honor the sacrifices that were made that day, and of course to always honor and appreciate our military.”

At the Wasilla event Palin remembered the dead of 9/11 by attacking the media and the First Amendment right to freedom of speech, “”The mainstream media has obviously a biased agenda against common-sense conservatives. That’s no secret. And we just happen to represent a lot of common-sense conservatives. And they just don’t like it. So they make things up.” Please keep in mind that this is a woman who draws a check from Fox News complaining about media bias, and, “making things up.”

Palin continued her self serving and completely unrelated to 9/11 attack on the media, which she is also a member of later that night by saying, “Let me tell you, folks, it’s a brutal, leftist-dominated lamestream media world out there.” By leftist dominated, Palin is obviously referring to the fact that the top cable news, network and top 3 radio talk shows are all conservative.

Lest you think that the Palin/Beck kegger had nothing to do with 9/11, Palin took the time to put her patriotism on full display by attacking President Barack Obama with the insinuation that Obama is making America less safe by being less vigilant on terrorism, “It starts from the top,” she said. “Those who kind of set the tone in our country that would lead us towards a complacency that is very, very, very dangerous. I fear that is why we are seeing the patterns we’re seeing right now, especially over the last 20 months.”

To be fair, Palin and Beck did talk about what they felt on September 11, 2001, but Palin spent most of her time being coy about 2012, and rambling about American exceptionalism and warning about socialism, “This Statue of Liberty was gifted to us by foreign leaders, really as a warning to us, it was a warning to us to stay unique and to stay exceptional from other countries. Certainly not to go down the path of other countries that adopted socialist policies.” For his part, Beck did his usual the fate of this country is on the line, the end is near shtick that has made him a very, very wealthy man.

To an authoritarian theocrat like Sarah Palin 9/11 is nothing more than a chance to attack our constitutional freedoms, and bash the man who is leading this nation in the war on terror. We all knew that Sarah Palin hates America, but she loves capitalism. She mouthed the talking point about remembering the victims of 9/11, but she wouldn’t do anything for the victims or their families. If Palin really was a patriot, she would have not only not attacked Obama on 9/11, but made sure that all of the proceeds from her 9/11 house party went to the victims or 9/11 families. The fact that Palin kept the cash, and Beck donated his to a non-9/11 charity demonstrated just how little these two hucksters really care.

The anniversary of September 11 should not be about anything other than remembering the terrible events of that day, and contrary to what Palin thinks, 9/11 is not about the military. We already have a holiday for that. It is called Memorial Day. By trying to tie the military into 9/11, Palin engaged in a revisionist bit of history that justifies the notion of preemptive war by linking it to 9/11. Sarah Palin presents a bigger danger to our freedoms than Osama Bin Laden ever could. Bin Laden can only spread fear. It is the reaction to that fear, as embodied in people like Palin, which places our very freedoms in danger. This is one lesson that we should never forget.

26 responses so far

The Burning of the Quran Will Be Another Dark 9/11 Moment

Sep 08 2010 Published by under Featured News, Issues

Fear mongering leads to endangering US and Troops

Certainly, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison never envisioned such a thing. Thomas Jefferson owned a copy of the Qur’an. You can be sure he read it.

Pastor Terry Jones probably has not, and he wants to burn them. Lots of them.

By now, most everybody in the World who has access to television, radio, or who does not live in a cave, knows that there will be a burning of Qur’ans held in the United States.

On September 11, 2010, which happens to be the ninth anniversary of the attack on the WTC in 2001, the ironically-named Dove World Outreach Center in Gainesville, Florida, will burn copies of the Muslim holy book.

Consider it a Bible burning, for it is no different in any way than if some group had decided to throw a bunch of Bibles into a fire.

All Book Burnings are the Same

Remember, if you will, the Nazi book-burnings of the 30s, or other burnings of books held before or since.

And ask yourself, is this America?

The church claims that the burning is “neither an act of love nor of hate” toward individual Muslims and that “We love, as God loves, all the people in the world and we want them to come to a knowledge of the truth.”

If someone told this to Christians, would they buy it? No, and you shouldn’t either. They almost admit it, in fact, saying that they’re doing it “to warn about the teaching and ideology of Islam, which we do hate as it is hateful.”

So they don’t hate individual Muslims, but they hate their religion. So the message is: We don’t hate you, but we hate your religion and we’re going to burn you sacred book.

I’m a little fuzzy on how that’s meant to placate Muslims both here and abroad. I’m a little fuzzy too on how that message would placate members of the Dove World Outreach Center if an Islamic group held a similar Bible burning.

Can you imagine the outrage then?

The situation is so potentially explosive that Secretary of State Hilary Clinton has condemned it, reports CNN.  The U.S. Embassy in Pakistan called it, “disrespectful, intolerant and divisive.” According to a report by MSNBC, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder is said to have called the planned burning “Idiotic and dangerous,” and CNN has also reported that General David Petraeus, “The U.S. commander in Afghanistan on Monday criticized a Florida church’s plan to burn copies of the Quran on September 11, warning that the demonstration “could cause significant problems” for American troops overseas.”

If US soldiers abroad must be braced for violence, the church itself seems to understand that their protestations of innocence will not be believed. Another report on CNN reveals that “Dove World Outreach Center Pastor Terry Jones has accepted the support of Right Wing Extreme, which he said offered to come to the church with between 500 and 2,000 men on September 11. He described the organization as an armed civilian militia group.”

It sounds like they’re planning not on a few demonstrators, but on a war. You would think the police could handle anything that comes up, but I suppose it’s more fun to shoot a few angry Muslims yourself should push come to shove. And they get to play with their guns.

“There is a need for this protection. It is absolutely necessary in light of the death and terror threats we have received,” Jones said in an e-mail to CNN.

Surprise! Surprise! Surprise!

Shades of Gomer Pyle: Surprise! Surprise! Surprise! And do you wonder why you’ve received death and terror threats, Pastor Jones?

And while you are being protected by the police and your private army, have you given any thought to the life and safety of other Americans, including the 120,000 U.S. and NATO troops fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan? Fighting to protect the freedoms of people like you so you can get them killed?

Pastor Jones had something to say to Petraeus. On CNN’s “AC360.” he said, “The general needs to point his finger to radical Islam and tell them to shut up, tell them to stop, tell them that we will not bow our knees to them.”

Nobody can deny that Pastor Jones can demonstrate as much hate and intolerance as he would like by exercising his First Amendment right of free speech, but is this the way a civil society shows its disapproval, through acts of violence?

Reject what you claim is a message of hate by showing hate?

Back in 2009, Aljazeera reported that “Afghan police have fired into the air to break up a protest in Kabul by thousands of people who are condemning an alleged desecration of a copy of the Quran by foreign soldiers.”

You can easily imagine that if the alleged burning of one Qur’an led to violence what the burning of perhaps dozens or hundreds of Qur’an’s will do.

Aljazeera reported that “Thick plumes of smoke rose above the crowd as protesters set fire to a large effigy of what they said was Barack Obama, the US president.”

“Death to America. Down with Israel,” chanted one man at the rally, which was organised mainly by university students.

CNN reports that the founder of the hate posse which will protect the haters who are protesting hate, Right Wing Extreme founder Shannon Carson, said: “We fully support Dove World Outreach Center and its efforts to put an end to the notion that Islam is a peaceful religion. Islam is a violent cult with the goal of world domination.”

And nothing says Islam is a violent religion like a well-armed, conservative Christian rabble.

And as far as world domination goes, Christianity is still working towards that, with missionaries active on every corner of the earth’s surface. All Abrahamic monotheisms, incidentally, claim identical goals, that eventually “God” will destroy everyone who isn’t a believer and thus ensure world domination for its chosen religion. But then conservative Christians have never hesitated to dig deep into the well of hypocrisy when making their arguments.

To do them justice some Evangelicals have protested the burnings and CNN reports that “Religious leaders in Gainesville have planned an event billed as a “Gathering for Peace, Understanding and Hope” on September 10, in response to the church’s proposal.”

The New York Times reported today that dozens of events are planned in Gainesville, FL: “On Saturday, hundreds of local residents and visitors are expected to rally against Mr. Jones, an evangelical pastor, with signs containing messages like “Peace among religions leads to peace among nations.”

One pastor, Larry Reimer, points out that Pastor Jones only “represents only 30 people in this town.” But if the rumor of one American soldier desecrating one copy of the Qur’an can bring shouts of “Death to America” and riots, it’s pretty clear that the size of Pastor Jones’ congregation is irrelevant.

We are told that Jones has suggested that he and Abdul Rauf, the imam who wants to build the Islamic Cultural Center at 51 Park, near ground zero, get together to talk.

The meeting would be meant to negotiate a “peaceful resolution,” said a statement from Dove World Outreach Center on Tuesday.”

You can well imagine what Jones’ blackmail terms will be.

16 responses so far

Rush Limbaugh Claims that Obama is Using 9/11 As Propaganda

Jan 18 2010 Published by under Featured News

On his radio show today, Rush Limbaugh claimed that Obama’s declaration of 9/11 as a day of service is really nothing more than Obama recruiting people to support him. He said, “There are endless and countless examples of subtle and not so subtle efforts by this White House to recruit and organize Americans.”

Here is the audio courtesy of Media Matters:

Limbaugh said, “This White House politicized 9/11. What do you mean Rush? What do you mean? Let me remind you, the White House politicized 9/11 when it made it a day of service. Remember that? 9/11 should be a day of service, which is a left wing political belief. It politicized art and artists. The White House in a conference call with selected artists who were rounded up by the National Endowment for the Arts to participate in paid political art to help support administration policies. This has been exposed by Andrew Breitbart at Biggovernment.com”

He continued, “There are endless and countless examples of subtle and not so subtle efforts by this White House to recruit and organize Americans for the political benefit of one Barack Obama. You know it and I know it. The White House website has been used to recruit union members to disrupt the tea parties and town halls last August.”

The idea that community service is some how a way to support Obama, just won’t die in right wing circles, like all conspiracy theories, this one makes no sense. The White House is supposed to spreading propaganda through art. Is this 1905? If any White House was really out to spread propaganda, they would do what the Bush administration did. They would pay writers and pundits to support their policies in the media. Propaganda through art is a very effective strategy in 2010.

Right wingers have always hated the NEA, so it is an old favorite of all their conspiracy theories. Does anyone else see the irony of Limbaugh complaining that the White House organized people to disrupt the right wingers who were organized to disrupt the town halls? By the way, the White House never organized unions though the official website.

This is a bizarre conspiracy theory that is nothing more than Limbaugh trying to take a page of Glenn Beck’s book of paranoia. The right wingers are engrossed in paranoia right now, and like any good showman Limbaugh is giving his audience what they want, even if each word takes him one step farther away from sanity.

2 responses so far

The GOP’s Collective Case of National Security Amnesia

Jan 05 2010 Published by under Featured News

We are in the midst of one of the nation’s greatest fears, being attacked by extremists. No, not just the “Underwear Bomber from Nigeria, but also Dick Cheney, Jim DeMint, and other right wing extremists who are suffering from a case of collective amnesia related to how they dropped the ball on national security.

The Christmas incident brings very serious and major concern for us all. We should come together at this point for the safety and security of our nation from a very complex and highly dangerous enemy. Instead many of the GOP are at it again. Give the GOP an “A” for consistency in attacking the Obama administration on everything.

We had a near catastrophe on Christmas day with the failed attempt of the young Nigerian bomber to literally blow up a plane along with it’s passengers and crew over the city of Detroit right here in the US. Thank God for the bravery of the heroes who assisted in preventing this potentially horrific act against the US from taking place.

SO HERE THEY GO AGAIN! In a matter of moments, before any real facts were known, the usual suspects, the GOP leaders are blaming the Obama administration for the near tragedy. President Obama is our Commander in Chief so there is a certain amount of responsibility that he must and should take in this.

He is very angered by the failure of the system to prevent a potential disaster like this from occurring when the warnings were present. His intent is to fix the problem and improve the system for our national security. His manner is
serious and concerned and the President does not want to promote fear in the American public. Despite the criticism of his tone and delay in speaking, most understand that the facts needed to be gathered before proceeding, taking actions, or making statements.

Many GOP leaders and some citizens don’t care for this conscious mode of operation. But I would like to remind these individuals of another similar incident
and what took place afterward. Former President George W Bush took 6 long days before commenting on the incident involving the now convicted “Shoe” bomber, Richard Reed who has been tried in our federal courts and is now serving time in our Colorado prison system.

Let’s take a moment to examine some of the facts with this new incident, the Nigerian extremist and his background and associations. We need to also explore this nation’s process and it’s ability to safeguard us from attacks of any kind.

While the GOP leaders like former VP Dick Cheney, come out to slam the President’s ability to keep us safe, let’s understand what took place before this man was able to board a plane with a bomb with the intent to murder about 300 innocent people. Their claim is that Obama should have known based off the warning signs and prevented this from happening. And I don’t disagree. But let’s also look at the fact that it was the Bush/Cheney administration that first issued the young Nigerian’s visa.

Two Al Qaeda leaders are claiming responsibility for influencing, training and constructing the explosive used in this failed attack. These two Yemen Al Qaeda leaders were formally Gitmo detainees released in 2007 by the Bush/Cheney administration and considered not to be threats to the US. Those two detainees should not have been candidates for the art REHAB program.

It is shocking that the main media outlets and some Americans give so much credence to Cheney who falsely led us into war with Iran and used illegal torture with no evidence of it’s benefit. How ridiculous of Dick Cheney to crawl out from his dark place to accuse the President of pretending not to be in the war against terror.

Let’s also take notice of Congressman GOP Pete Hoekstra who originally made the false claim that there were indeed weapons of Mass Destruction found in Iraq. Hoekstra is now shamelessly using this national security incident against America to campaign for funds to run for Governor of Michigan by denouncing the Obama’s administration to keep the nation secure.

Then we have GOP Sen. Jim DeMint speaking out against the President.  DeMint is known for his claim to make Healthcare Reform Obama’s “Waterloo”! This is where you observe the party of “NO” in action. The people and Congress
have a right to disagree with Obama’s policies if they don’t believe in them. But most of the GOP has decided to challenge all policies that this President promotes by any means necessary. It is not for the good of the people or our nation.

DeMint has decided to block the appointment and approval of Obama’s recommendation for a new TSA chief urgently needed for our nation’s airport security.

DeMint would rather have no TSA leadership than a leader like Southers who has proven qualifications. Southerss has experience in coordinating the LA police department and the FBI. He is known for his leadership in improving employee morale which has been needed at our TSA departments involving a safe airport environment. DeMint is more concerned that there will be some form of unionization that he can’t control.None of his claims have been substantiated.

It is also interesting that former VP Dick Cheney had such a close relationship with the CIA during the Bush administration and there are indications that
those relationships still exist even though Cheney is no longer in office.

It is also interesting that Cheney keeps announcing to the world that the country is
not safe under the Obama administration. How is it that in regards to this dangerous incident with the young Nigerian bomber that the CIA did not coordinate and pass these red flags and warnings to the right people and departments that are responsible for preventing attacks against the US?

How can you say there was not enough information to say that he should have been put on a “No Fly” list? His own father who is a wealthy man of distinction and respect talked to the necessary departments and no one saw need to validate that report? Hopefully this was some sort of breakdown in the system or human error that can be fixed or improved and not some form of direct sabotage.

The relations between the White House and the CIA have been a little tense. You have to have loyalty and coordination between these two departments to truly keep our nation safe. And how is it that seven CIA agents and one Jordanian agent were killed by a double agent last week? What is really going on? Who was really the President under the Bush administration? Is the department of the CIA loyal to Cheney or to this nation and our new President? Who is actually patriotic here?

While President Obama has been working tirelessly to improve the image and leadership role internationally of the US, he has also improved the relations with the enormous Muslim community in order to attempt to reduce recruitment by Al Qaeda leaders who promote extreme radical ideologies. Cheney and other GOP leaders are doing everything to continue the hatred of the US and to project the new President as weak and that the country is not safe.

That’s a scary message to send out to the world about the US. You would think that Cheney and the GOP want the US to be attacked. And it creates confusion with our allies. Did Cheney forget that the most horrible terrorist act in the history of this country happened under his watch?????????

The GOP continues to work against Obama’s intent to close Gitmo. Gitmo is used as propaganda by Al Qaeda for recruitment. The GOP continue to fight against detainees being housed in our prison system even though other terrorists have been securely housed there.

Housing those detainees could also provide jobs for many. The GOP also continue to fight against terrorists being tried in our federal court system even though the nation has been previously successful at doing so.

HERE THEY GO AGAIN! The GOP is simply about one thing and one thing alone……….defeating our President and taking over the country again. They were quite successful in almost destroying this country. They are looking for another opportunity to live out heir greed and corruption. As Obama tries to correct the corruption, the GOP makes sure that more takes place. The GOP are not for the people of the US. They are for that small percentage that already own the world.

8 responses so far

Older posts »