Posted by: quiscus | September 9, 2010

September 9, 2010

1.  “Islam and America’s Most Powerful Cult

Such is the backdrop of the anti-Islam movement in America. Learning from past mistakes, filling gaps of ignorance, and engaging with Muslims might produce the dreaded result of peace, so disciples of the nationalist cult fan the flames of hatred at the altar of endless, winless war.

It is tempting to believe that this cult is limited to conservatives, but some liberals are also devotees. A writer at American Prospect recently inveighed against a new book that dared to compare American conservatives to Islamic extremists, intoning that there is no “excuse” for the “obscenity of comparing our political opponents to killers and terrorists.” As Glenn Greenwald reminds us, the comparison “is true by definition”: those who attacked Iraq are responsible for ruining and ending the lives of hundreds of thousands of civilians. The nationalist, however, always places the nation “beyond good and evil” and “the smallest slur upon his own unit…fills him with uneasiness which he can relieve only by making some sharp retort,” as Orwell observed.

It is also tempting to believe that our nationalism-gone-amok is a new phenomenon, but America’s militarist and messianic strains go back to its early days. As the scholar Eric Foner noted in his 2001 address to the American Historical Association, “The nation’s rapid territorial growth was widely viewed as evidence of the innate superiority of a mythical construct known as the ‘Anglo-Saxon race,’ whose special qualities made it uniquely suited to bring freedom and prosperity to the continent and the world.”

2.  “US soldiers ‘killed Afghan civilians for sport and collected fingers as trophies’

Soldiers face charges over secret ‘kill team’ which allegedly murdered at random and collected fingers as trophies of war”

3.  “US Leaving Iraq in Worse Shape Than Saddam”

4.  “America’s Economy Is Not Here to Pay for Wars

In a recent speech at Wayne State University in Detroit, America’s top military commander, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Admiral Michael Mullen declared that the most serious threat to America’s national security is the national debt. His argument for this was that the debt and its deleterious effect on America’s economy could hinder the growth of military expenditures.

Mullen further lamented that current estimates have the federal government paying some $600 billion in interest on the debt in 2012 adding, “That’s one year’s worth of defense budget.”

But America’s civilian economy isn’t just something to be taxed to pay for war, and America’s civilian population is not just a collection of potential recruits and sources of revenue for the military. The military is supposed to be here to serve America, not the other way around.

And without downplaying the various serious economic consequences of America’s national debt, Admiral Mullen’s comments betray a very disturbing (and increasingly common) view of the American economy as little more than fuel for its ever-growing war machine.”

5.  “Five myths about mosques in America

2. Mosques try to spread sharia law in the United States.”

6.  “They used to Burn Catholic Churches, now they Burn Mosques

The hysteria about mosques in the United States is nothing new in our history. Even though the United States was founded by a ragtag series of religious heretics seeking freedom to worship as they would; even though its constitution enshrines freedom of religion– even so, periods of religious intolerance have reared their ugly heads repeatedly in American history.

The kind of opposition nowadays expressed toward the mosque and the Quran was directed in the 1840s against Olde St. Augustine Church in Philadelphia, its ‘dangerous’ Irish congregation, and their Catholic Bible.

As with today’s anti-Muslim bigots, who charge Muslims with wanting to rule the world and impose their religious law on everyone, so the mainstream Protestant rap against the Catholic church was also the charge that it sought political dominance.

After that mobs formed and burned St. Michael’s Catholic church. Then they attacked Olde St. Augustine and burned it down, library, Sister Bell, and all. William Penn and George Washington were spinning in their graves.

When they poured the library’s books into the street and set them afire, the Nativist mob ended up burning the Bible.

People who would burn down a church to which George Washington had made a donation don’t care anything about American values.

And people who would burn a mosque might as well buy a copy of the constitution and light it up.

In the real United States it doesn’t matter what your religion is, and you can build your house of worship where you please, and you don’t have to be born here to be a citizen. Nativists believed the opposite of all these things. They formed a secret party in the nineteenth century that they called the “Know-Nothings.”

They are back.”

7.  “Supreme Court: Corporations Can Buy Judges

The Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision allows businesses to make unlimited political contributions to judges and politicians. When judges are elected, the need for these contributions inherently turns judges into politicians. Sympathetic judges are corrupt businesses’ most valuable all…ies. Corporations and their senior officials can commit civil or criminal wrongs with impunity if their case is assigned to a friendly judge. The Robber Barons often had judges on their payrolls. Judges can serve a corporation as both a shield and a sword. They can declare statutes and regulations unlawful. They can issue favorable decisions when corporations sue their critics, which can intimidate, tie up, or even bankrupt the critics.

The fact that corporations are “investing” so heavily in getting pro-business judges elected demonstrates that their CEOs believe that the election of friendly judges will increase their incomes and decrease the risk that they will ever be sanctioned. It’s a business decision – not a decision based on which judicial candidate would be more qualified or better serve justice. CEOs want to win cases when doing so would be unjust and contrary to the law, which is why they hire top attorneys and make the contributions necessary to elect judges they believe will be allies. The empirical evidence in Texas shows that judicial elections and contributions produces perverse dynamics. One study showed that hiring the former law firm of a Texas Supreme Court justice markedly increased the chances that the Texas Supreme Court would exercise its discretion and hear your appeal from an adverse decision. Hiring the former law firm of the Chief Justice of the Texas Supreme Court produced an even greater chance of having one’s appeal heard. “

8.  “Obama wins the right to invoke “State Secrets” to protect Bush crimes

The New York Times has a quite good Editorial on this matter this morning — headlined:  “Torture Is a Crime, Not a Secret” — and explains: “Barack Obama told voters in 2008 that he opposed the government cult of secrecy, but once he became president, his Justice Department also argued that the case should be dismissed on secrecy grounds.”  The history of America’s torture regime will record not only the criminality and shamefulness of the torture itself, but also the subsequent — and ongoing — effort by the U.S. Government to prevent its victims from obtaining any justice while protecting the perpetrators from all accountability. ”

9.  ”

No-Drama, No Storyline Obama Tragedy

If this White House cannot find a gripping narrative to justify its power, then – rest assured – wingnuts in the wings will reprise their perfectly coherent storyline. Brace for new and improved wedge-driven crusades against sham enemies, domestic and foreign.

Retro Bush-Cheneyism, re-sharpened by cruder minds (Beck, Palin, Limbaugh), provides breakthroughs all right, with more emotive, racial sound bites.  So, what can reverse the tectonic shifts under our feet?  Bad guys own a polished delivery system, with clearer story, frames, and pithy proverbs, while dazed Democrats appear mute, void of rousing messages but not delayed, defensive misdirection.   Game, set, and match for this midterm madness. ”

10.  “Ultra-Rich in Finance Are Meaner Than Rest of Us

There is an increasing amount of evidence that the rich are a vicious tribe of people. One study last year from the University of California, Berkeley, found that the rich are ruder than others. Another piece of research, conducted at the same institution, concluded they were less likely to give to charity than poorer people were. A third study, carried out at the Humboldt University in Berlin, concluded they were “nastier,” in the sense of being keener to punish others.”


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