Archive for Ground Zero Mosque

On Pastor Jones and the Republicans!

Posted in On Right Wing Pundits and Bloviators, Playthell on politics with tags , , , , , , on September 10, 2010 by playthell

 Florida Fanatic Terry Jones


The case of Terry Jones, the Florida Fundamentalist Fanatic who has a threatened to burn the sacred texts of the Islamic world on the anniversary of the 9/11 attack by Al Qaeda, has presented this nation with an unprecedented crisis. Although he appears to be just a publicity  seeking  oddball, his present ploy has been nurtured and even inspired by the rancorous Republican rhetoric that has poisoned the atmosphere in this country and made it safe for freaks and fanatics to come out and play.  The finger pointing as to who is responsible for this mess, accompanied by public hand wringing about what to do now, is putting the beliefs of right-wing Constitution quoting super-patriots to a rigorous test, and exposing hysterical Republican charlatans as a danger to the national security of this country.

For instance, the right wing racist and verbal arsonist Patrick J. Buchanan, one of the most prominent pundits in the nation, has used this incident to once again declare the incompetence of President Obama to serve as commander-in-Chief of the nation’s armed forces, and ridiculed his reverence for the US Constitution and credentials as a Harvard trained Constitutional scholar. Once again he has scoffed at an Ivy League education as a liability.  Which is the last thing we need in a nation suffering that is presently suffering from a crisis of educational achievement.  And undermining our chief executive at this critical moment borders on treason!

The pressing problem for America is how to avoid conflict with over a billion Muslims in the world, who believe the Koran is the revelation of God’s divine plan for mankind; Four fifths of whom are not Arabs, do not live in the Middle East, and with whom we are not presently at war. Since most of these people live in countries where the government can do whatever they please, they cannot began to comprehend how the President of the most powerful Nation in the world – a country that is now waging two wars in Muslim countries in order to tell them how to conduct their societies – cannot stop one fool from desecrating the word of God. 

The first Amendment is incomprehensible to the masses of Indonesia, the largest Muslim country in the world, and the letter from the Indonesian President asking President Obama to stop the Koran burning suggests that their President doesn’t understand it either.  Hence to them the Koran burning is seen as an American attack on Islam. And judging by the rioting in Pakistan and Afghanistan before the act, it is reasonable to assume that this is the common view throughout the Muslim world.  And thus, as General Pratraeus has pointed out, the actions of this Florida fool will serve as a powerful recruiting tool for the Islamic Jihadists our soldiers are trying to defeat.

Only in a country where the population is over represented by the fat dumb and stupid could the Republicans and their media shills – Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and their imitators around the country – escape blame as the true cause of the present crisis.  Consider the position of venerable Republican strategist, former Speaker Of The House and presidential aspirant Newt Gingrich. 

In an attempt to project himself back into the epicenter of right wing politics, Newt has attacked the proposed Islamic community center in down town Manhattan; proffering the spurious argument that no Muslims should claim the right to build a Mosque where they choose in this country until Christians are permitted to build churches in Saudi Arabia!  Now this view is being echoed by pro-Zionist Jewish groups regarding the building of synagogues in Mecca, the holiest city of the Islamic faith.

Typical signs reflecting Newt’s Rhetoric


 Faces of the hysterical intutored mob!

 Nothing demonstrates the irresponsibility of the Grand Obstructionist Party more than this bit of blatant hypocrisy.  Gingrich holds a PhD in American history.  He does understand the First Amendment; hence he knows that the US government has no legal means with which to stop American citizens from building a house of worship on property they own. 

 Newt’s Progeny



Yet Newt is willing to cynically incite hatred against President Obama – whom the Republicans have managed to convince millions of Americans is a secret Muslim and undercover Jihad lover – and blind hatred against all Muslims – which produces Koran burners here at home and imperils the lives of our soldiers and civilians stationed in Muslim countries abroad. Especially since Pastor Terry Jones has now tied his decision to burn thousands of Korans to the demand that the Muslims not build their downtown mosque. 

There is a sad irony about the protest against this Muslim community center – which is neither a Mosque nor is it situated at Ground Zero, but five New York City blocks away –  is that it is being built by the Cordoba Initiative.   This organization was formed after the 9/11 attack to foster understanding and “build bridges” between the Christian and Muslim communities.  The name was taken from the Spanish city of Cordoba, because this was a place where Muslims, Christians and Jews lived in peace and harmony as neighbors.  Yet Newt, shameless Christian bigot unrepentant demogogue that he is, wrongly labled the choice of name a symbol of Muslim triumphalism!  

 The Great Mosque at Cordoba

Fired up by this kind of reckless rhetoric, misguided Christians picketed the site of the proposed center while the Iman, Fisal Abdul Rauf, was touring the Muslim on behalf of the US State Department trying to win hearts and minds for America by arguing the the US is not waging a war against Islam.  Well…good luck with that.  This is why Frank Rich, the ever insightful Sunday columnist with the New York Times, argues that FOX News has stabbed US troops in the back with their constant Muslim bashing!   People who think this kind of mindless grand standing is a good for our country – ala Sarah Palin, John Boehner and legions of Republican bigwigs – do not understand how radical movements work. 

But then, they understand little about how the the world works.   Yet facts are stubborn things, and they don’t go away because one id ignorant of their existence.  An unpleasant fact about the growth of transformative movements is that they  are stimulated by visible opposition to their aspirations.  Hence in the Muslim world, where American intentions are highly suspect – to say the least – all of this provocative rhetoric serves as fuel for a Jihadist movement which dipicts the US as “The Great Satan.   

This multi-national movement is world wide and growing.  And meglomaniacal buffoons like like Terry Jones, along with his Republican comrades-in-arms, are doing their level best to insure that we will be struck by terrorist again; once on their watch is evidently not enough.  This is precisely why Republicans cannot be trusted with the reins of state power, for their reckless rhetoric, incompetent stewartship of the public interests, and scurrilous anti-Muslim antics have become a clear and present danger to our national security!




Playthell Benjamin

Harlem, New York

September 10, 2o10

Are Media Provocateurs Inciting Violence?

Posted in On Right Wing Pundits and Bloviators, Playthell on politics with tags , , , , on August 28, 2010 by playthell


 Glenn Beck: Just your Friendly Demogogue!


 Some Reflections On the Ahmad Sharif Affair

 The attack on Ahmad Sharif, a Muslim American cab driver working Manhattan, by Michael Enright, a big blond boyish looking white college student wielding a knife, should come as no surprise.  Given all the anti-Muslim hysteria generated by right-wing media provocateurs, and the boisterous protests against the building of an Islamic cultural center in downtown Manhattan, this was predictable.  I’m waiting with baited breath for one of these enraged fanatics to take a shot at President Obama any day now. 

The  constant haranguing of frustrated Americans – who are mostly white, male, and imbued with a deep sense of entitlement by virtue of their race and gender – with hysterical propaganda about how everybody is out to get them, will inevitably drive some to violence.  Republican politicians who echo the extreme views of these media fear mongers must share equal responsibility for the crimes they inspire.

Nearly a year ago I  posted a commentary titled: “Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck Incite Mayhem and Murder.”  What occasioned that piece was my alarm over the rising number of dramatically violent incidents that were perpetrated by men who gave reasons for their actions that echoed the themes of daily rants by Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity, and their fellow verbal arsonists on the right. The three cases I  cited back then were Richard Popolowski, Steven Von Bruhn and Scott P. Roeder.

Popolowski ambushed and murdered three Pittsburg Policemen who were answering a routine domestic disturbance call placed by his mother.  Von Bruhn murdered an Afro-American guard at the National Holocaust Museum, and Scott Roeder murdered gynecologist Benjamin Tiller – whom that pompous windbag Bill O’Reily labeled “Tiller the Baby Killer” because he performed abortions.  And old crazy Billy Boy even gave out the Dr.’s address on the air.  Although he can never be sure of the role he played in causing the Doctor’s death O’Reiley, arrogant megalomaniac that he is, remains unrepentant.

What all of these crazed killers have in common is that they had been obsessing over issues that are the daily fare of the radio arsonists.  Popolowski thought Obama was going to take his guns away so the government could oppress white men; Von Bruhn – a white supremacist and eugenicist – is convinced that non-white aliens are taking over the USA, and whites must take their country back by force of arms. Scott Roeder thinks abortion is mass murder and felt compelled to stop it by murdering medical doctors who treat women seeking legal abortions.  The violent attack on Mr. Sharif by Michael Enright follows this same pattern of obsessive irrational behavior.   Their obsessions are the same issues the right-wing media provocateurs harp on everyday.  Hence I think the Attack on Ahmad Sharif is a harbinger of things to come…so long as Limbaugh, Beck and company remain in business.

Sharif says they were carrying on a civil conversation when Enright suddenly shouted the Muslim salutation “Ai Salaam Alinkum” and began stabbing him. Unless the greedy amoral corporations who profit from the ignorance and bigotry spewed by murderous windbags over the airwaves put the national interest above corporate profits, or those opposed to their destructive business find a way to effectively strike at their bottom line, this murderous monologue will go on. 

 Ahmad Sharif


 After His encounter with A Christian Avenger

 Until they are restrained either by their bosses or the forces of the marketplace, the verbal arsonists in right-wing media will continue to incite murder and mayhem.  Alia Lateef, speaking on behalf of the Taxi Drivers in New York, has no doubt that the attack was incited by the constant anti-Muslim diatribes in the media.  That’s why I intend to join my fellow citizens who are standing up for the rights on Muslims to build their Mosque wherever they wish.  In my view the issue is clear: To make any attempt to deny them this right is religious bigotry!   Any attempt to curtail or mediate that right – which is absolute under the US constitution – is unacceptable and illegal if it involves any act of government.




Let me be clear where I am coming from on this question.  I am not, as many mistakenly believe, pro-Islam.  Rather I agree with Franz Fanon, the black Psychiatrist from Martinique in the French Antilles who became the leading theoretician of the Algerian Revolution against France.  When the leadership of the FLN was debating about what a liberated Algeria would be like, the Islamicist wanted to establish Sharia law, but Fanon protested, arguing that establishing an Islamic theocracy would be “a return to primitive medievalism!” However I think that Christian fundamentalist control of the US government would also be a return to primitive Medievalism too.  

 I believe the molders of the US constitution got things just right!  The government shall have no role in promoting specific religious beliefs, and freedom of religion also means freedom from religion.  I am now, and have been for over half a century, an avowed atheist.  I refused to indoctrinate my children with any kind of religious dogma, and specifically warned by daughters against acceptance of religious philosophies that would deny them full equality on all planes of existence with their male counterparts.   So when it comes to religious fundamentalist of any stripe, I say a pox on all your houses!  But it is not my business what others choose to believe, and it’s certainly not the government’s business.

 Thus there is no alternative for those who love our Constitutional liberties but to support the Muslim’s right to build their mosque wherever they choose – even if it is directly on the site of “Ground Zero,” let alone five blocks away!  I take this position in spite of the fact that my first wife was a casualty of the 9/11 attack, and several friends also died there. This is because I don’t equate all Muslims with Al Qaeda any more than I would equate all Christians with Timothy McVey and the “Christian Identity movement. ”   Furthermore, if most Americans were not so abysmally ignorant about the rest of the world, they would know that fourth fifths of the world’s Muslims are not Arabs, and don’t live in the Middle East!  I am therefore compelled to oppose those who oppose the building of the Mosque downtown because I cannot stand idly by while ignorant and bigoted rabble turn my beloved city into a racial and ethnic battleground.  You see, I am a New Yorker who loves this city as much as anyone alive.   

I have often said publicly: “I would rather be a fire hydrant in New York City, and be pissed on by dogs all day long, than a king in a castle anywhere else!”  I witnessed the plane crash into the second tower, and experienced the terror of that moment; if I’m not mad about the Mosque’s location then I am unmoved by the vitriolic rhetoric of those out in the boonies.  I am suspicious of those talking heads in the media who have neither the best interests of this city, or the nation for that matter, at heart.  These bogus bloviators, who are stirring up all the trouble, only care about increasing their ratings so they can maintain their multi-million dollar salaries and princely lifestyles.   And they have told us so publicly!

Thus it is safe to conclude that the people who will journey to our nation’s capitol this weekend to attend Glenn Beck’s rally, will be disproportionably composed of emotional cripples and abysmal ignoramuses. It would behoove all of us to pay close attention to what happens there.  It is an obscene burlesque on the great March on Washington in 1963, which was a march against racism, war, poverty and avarice – all the things that Beck and his Tea Party cronies promote. 

This vulgar side show, hosted by an amoral clown who incites homicides for fun, featuring Sarah Palin as keynote speaker – a racist vulgar opportunist who has the values of a barbarian and the intellect of a Neanderthal –is both an insult to the memory of Doctor King and the great work he did.  And it is a dangerous diversion for the poor deluded white folks who sincerely believe that this scurrilous buffoon is offering wise counsel that will show them the way out of their misery.  Not so. 

Instead they will be provided and opportunity to engage in a collective venting of rage – not unlike the giant Nazi rallies at Nuremburg Germany in the 1930’s.  In those rallies the major issues were also rooted in economic dislocation and a growing feeling that the “true Germans” were having their country taken over by alien elements of their own population.   And as any historian of the period will verify, protestant fundamentalism and Catholic complicity played a major role in the rise of Fascism that led to the Holocaust.   There are many who throw the Nazi analogy around falsely, but I’m dropping some real science here. Check it out!!!   In any case I will have more to say on this subject in a forthcoming commentary.

Alas, Beck’s rally may prove cathartic for the moment, but no solutions to the problems of struggling white folks who despair that they may ever realize their American dreams will be provided by this shameless charlatan, verbose ignoramus and friendly fascist.  For when it is all said and done, they will still be in the same boat: the Darwinian struggle for bread that is the lot of the working class of all colors in an increasingly post industrial cybernetic American economy that no longer needs them. 

Who knows, if we use the past as a guide to understanding the present and predicting the future, this mass outpouring of white grievances – the great majority of which are imagined in the fevered mind of Beck and his ilk – could well push more clueless white saps into violent attacks on Muslims and people of color.  That’s what usually happens when white Americans descend into a state of racist rage popularly known as “white backlash.   There is a rush to convince us that the attack on Sharif was an aberration, the demented act of one deranged individual and we need not worry about a recurrence…We’ll see.

 The White Christian Avenger


 Just Another Poor Sap Pushed Over the Edge?




 Playthell Benjamin

Harlem, New York

August 2010