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Monday, August 9, 2010

Racist Hysteria over Mosque; Climate Change Here NOW; Lying Republicans & Constitutionalists; Target Butchers Progressive Music Legacy; Prop 8; Toyota Sponsors Climate Change Denial Debate; Vogue Oiled Up

- Racist Republican Hysteria Over Mosque Unfounded Despite the uproar over the so-called Ground Zero Mosque - which in fact is a Muslim community center several blocks away - Muslims have been peacefully gathering for years at Islamic prayer centers at West Point, several Air Force Bases, Quantico Marine Corps Base and, yes, the Pentagon  - where 184 people died on 9/11. But do let's manufacture a little more right-wing hysteria over Muslims infiltrating life as we know it; it's so helpful toward fostering understanding.

- Media Matters: Of Mosques and Mendacity- Republicans Lying Again That message, however, is unimportant to right-wingers who are more interested in turning the "Ground Zero mosque" into a wedge issue and stoking Islamophobia for political benefit. The tragic farce of it all, as described by Slate's William Saletan, is that people like Palin and Gingrich, who purport to be standing up against terror and for America, are actually promulgating the same message as Osama bin Laden -- that "the United States represents Christianity, al-Qaida represents Muslims, Christians won't protect Muslims, the West hates mosques, peaceful coexistence is a fraud, and the 'war on terrorism' is really a war on Islam." It's hard to argue with that assessment when you hear the likes of Limbaugh claiming that the "Ground Zero mosque" means Muslims are "planting the flag of victory."

- One Part French Revolution, One Part Race Baiting = Rush Limbaugh If you thought Rush Limbaugh would simply be content to just echo his fellow conservatives in a misguided and counterfactual attack on Michelle Obama by comparing her to and calling her "Marie Antoinette" you would be very wrong. Today, he added to that smear the racially charged rhetoric that he's employed for years.

- Vogue Italia's Oil Spill Fashion Shoot But is it, as Tyler Gray asserts, "too soon"? Is it ever appropriate to use a distressing catastrophe as a vehicle to shill luxury goods? Apparently one of the captions reads, "She keeps her skin golden thanks to Self Tan Face Bronzing Gel Tint (to wear alone or with foundation): it takes care of the skin, while giving it a hint of color." [NOTE FROM SEAN: With so many young people unable to infer any sort of message behind art these days, will this do some good or simply desensitize people to the horror that is the oil industry?]

- Target and LL Bean Butcher Progressive Music Legacy We all remember Nike using The Beatles' Revolution in a commercial, or when Wrangler used Creedence Clearwater's Fortunate Son (to make it look like a patriotic song, not the antiwar ballad it is). Now Target and L.L. Bean have co-opted 2 more progressive classics.

- Heat Wave and Drought in Russia Linked to Climate Change The heatwave has already destroyed 10 million hectares of crops and downscaled Russia’s grain harvest forecast from 90 million tons to under 85 million tons. The heatwave has also triggered forest fires and destroyed millions of hectares of crops.... “the heat we are suffering from now as well as very low temperatures we had this winter, are hydrometeorological tendencies that are equally harmful for us as they both were caused by human impact on weather and greenhouse effect [Global Warming] which has grown stronger in the past 30-40 years, said Dr Alexey Kokorin, the Head of Climate and Energy Program of the World Wide Fund (WWF) Russia.

- Huge ice sheet breaks from Greenland glacier A giant sheet of ice measuring 260 sq km (100 sq miles) has broken off a glacier in Greenland, according to researchers at a US university... There was enough fresh water locked up in the ice island to "keep all US public tap water flowing for 120 days," said Prof Muenchow... The first six months of 2010 have been the hottest on record globally, scientists have said.

- Toyota Touting Climate Deniers to Sell Cars In an attempt to look edgy and sell more hybrid cars, Lexus, the luxury division of the Toyota Motor Corporation, is holding a series of debates featuring professional climate deniers who have no research background in the area of climate science, other than their ability to spindoctor [and who are also INSANE. Read for proof].

- Right Wing Racism- Dishonoring MLK's LegacyWhat do Beck, Palin, and the NRA have to do with the 1963 March on Washington? .... If Glenn Beck sincerely wants to advance the Dr. King's vision and the March on Washington's legacy, he could go to Detroit on Aug. 28. There Rev. Jesse Jackson, one of King's lead organizers, and the United Auto Workers (the union was one of the main sponsors of the 1963 March on Washington) will kick off a campaign to rebuild America with jobs, justice, and peace. Unlike Beck's "Restoring Honor" rally/book launch, the Detroit march will echo the civil rights movement's call to invest in opportunity for all Americans.

- Target Faces More Heat Over Political Donation Reitan, of Eden Prairie, has become the public face in a growing controversy over a $150,000 Target political contribution. When she heard Target's money helped Republican gubernatorial candidate Tom Emmer, who has an anti-gay-rights record, 'I was just shocked,' she said. 'The Target I knew was the Target that embraced its gay employees.'

- Landmark Ruling Declares Prop 8 Unconstitutional In a stunning, carefully crafted 136-page opinion, U.S. District Court Judge Vaughn Walker held in Perry v. Schwarzenegger that California's Proposition 8, which outlaws same-sex marriage, is unconstitutional.

- "The One Who Loves Another Has Fulfilled the Law" - St. Paul Why Judge Walker's ruling striking down California's Proposition 8 is theologically, morally, socially, and legally correct. And a toast to love.

Republicans and Political Madness
by Christopher Brauchli
Published on Sunday, August 8, 2010 by
Under every stone lurks a politician.
-- Aristophanes, Thesmophoriazusae
Sarah Palin, who symbolizes the folly of the 2010 political scene, is not without competition from other inhabitants of the loony bin. (Her latest contribution is to etymology. Commenting on the Muslim mosque the construction of which near the World Trade Center site has created controversy, she said New Yorkers should “refudiate it.” When criticized for her English usage she said on twitter: “English is a living language. Shakespeare liked to coin new words too.”

The American Constitution Party, which has a special place in the loony bin, has come into the news because of a quixotic series of events that took place in the Colorado Republican primary contest among aspirants to the office of governor of the state of Colorado. The two Republican candidates come with self-constructed infirmities. One, Scott McInnis, is a self-acknowledged plagiarist, who was paid $300,000 for his stolen work. His competitor is Dan Maes who sees in the bicycle-sharing program in Denver a “strategy to rein in American cities under a United Nations treaty.” The program, said Mr. Maes, “is bigger than it looks like on the surface, and it could threaten our personal freedoms.”

Former Republican, Tom Tancredo, decided to rescue the state from these two men and entered the gubernatorial race under the banner of the American Constitution Party, bringing prominence to a party whose platform includes abolishing the Food and Drug Administration, the Internal Revenue Service , the Departments of Education and Energy and the Federal Election Commission. Notwithstanding its palpable wackiness, the Constitution Party doesn’t hold a candle to the Republican Party of Iowa.

Iowa is the state that has the distinction, every four years, of selecting the next person to be the president of the United States. Mindful of its importance, the Republican Party of that state takes great pains to carefully articulate its beliefs so as to be worthy of the place in the electoral process it enjoys. In its most recent state convention it adopted a platform that consisted of 387 planks and principles.

The second statement of principles that begins the document sets the tone by solemnly declaring that “America is Good.” Some things in America, however, are not good. Paragraph 2.09 says that “we are opposed to protecting mountain lions, cougars, wolves, elk, moose, and black bear or similar dangerous animals.” Paragraph 2.08 deals with semantics in a way that is probably mysterious to a non-Iowan. It says that “We support the definition of manure as a natural fertilizer.” It is not clear who is attacking the definition.

The most important section of the platform is 7.19 . That section calls for the “reintroduction and ratification of the original 13th Amendment, not the 13th Amendment in today’s Constitution.” There is considerable difference in the two versions and an excellent article by Jerry Adler in Newsweek contains a comprehensive description of the earlier version. The 13th Amendment now in the Constitution abolishes slavery and involuntary servitude (except as criminal punishment) and gives Congress the power to enact appropriate legislation. The drafters of Iowa’s Republican party favor what they believe to be an earlier version that has nothing to do with slavery. It was introduced in 1810 by Sen. Philip Reed of Maryland and provided: “If any citizen of the United States shall accept, claim, receive or retain any title of nobility or honour, or shall, without the consent of Congress accept and retain any present, pension, office or emolument of any kind whatever, from any emperor, king, prince or foreign power, such person shall cease to be a citizen of the United States and shall be incapable of holding any office of trust or profit under them, or either of them.” (This is not the same as stripping citizenship from children of illegal immigrants by getting rid of the 14th amendment to the U.S. Constitution a possibility such luminaries as Senators McCain, Graham and others suggest should be considered by Congress.)

Iowans believe that this Amendment was adopted and should be in the Constitution in place of the one that is now there. Slavery being gone, there is no real reason to have an amendment abolishing it nor would its abolition reverse emancipation. According to Mr. Adler, he asked the state Republican Communications Director, Danielle Plogman, whether Iowans wanted to reverse emancipation and she assured him that was not the purpose. It’s a safe bet none of those voting for the restoration of the old 13th (that Mr. Adler’s column suggests was never the real 13th Amendment) realized that they would be abolishing the abolition of slavery amendment in favor of protecting the country from citizens receiving honors from “any emperor, king, prince or foreign power.”

The loonies are on a rampage. Only time will tell whether the voters have the strength to withstand their onslaught.