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August 23, 2010

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"Why do so many Republicans find strip clubs appropriate for the ground zero neighborhood but object to a house of worship? Are lap dances more sanctified than an earnest effort to promote peace?"

I'm reading "The Zeroes -- My Misadventures in the Decade Wall Street Went Insane" by Randall Lane.

Yet another fast-paced potboiler about yet another decade when Wall Street yet again goes insane -- this last time of course with near fatal consequences for the world's economy.

Answer to the first question: The Pussycat Lounge and other such establishments are close to Wall Street's trading desks.

Also, strip clubs are SO yesterday's culture war. Plus, they probably have girls there who dress like "I Dream of Jeannie" with vaguely Arab and Persian music.

The coming sequel to "Wall Street" should be entitled "The Quant and the Stripper".

The Alphas on Wall Street and some of the 9/11 hijackers both patronized strip clubs.

Answer to the second question: Yes, if a deal is in the works, peace will not be given a chance.

I wonder if there might be a trader who stopped by for a quick morning lap dance on 9/11 before heading to work at the World Trade Center. Of course, the joint might have been closed that early in the day.

If so, however, the place saved a life.

Here's some delicious, lip-smacking irony for ya:

The second largest shareholder in News Corp. -- the parent company of Fox News -- has donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to causes linked to the imam planning to build a Muslim community center and mosque near Ground Zero in Manhattan, says a report from Yahoo!News.

According to the report from Yahoo!'s John Cook, Saudi Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal, who owns seven percent of News Corp., "has directly funded [Imam Feisal Abdul] Rauf's projects to the tune of more than $300,000."

Cook reports that Prince Al-Waleed's personal charity, the Kingdom Foundation, donated $305,000 to Muslim Leaders of Tomorrow, a project sponsored by two of Rauf's initiatives, the American Society for Muslim Advancement and the Cordoba Initiative, which is building the Manhattan mosque.

That Fox News' second-largest shareholder, after Rupert Murdoch, has financial links to the "Ground Zero mosque" will be seen as ironic by critics of the news network, who have watched with chagrin as the network's talking heads attempt to link the mosque to radical Islamism.

Last week, Daily Show host Jon Stewart lambasted Fox panelist Eric Bolling's attempt to link the Cordoba Initiative to Hamas and Iran. Stewart used News Corp.'s connections to Prince Al-Waleed, and the prince's connections to the Carlyle Group and Osama bin Laden to make a tongue-in-cheek argument that Fox News may be a "terrorist command center."

There must be something in the water of the Middle East that makes people insane.

Funny thing, I saw a comment "What if the US set up a cultural friendship building near Ground Zero in Hiroshima???" But we did, many times over, it seems. There's even a site that lists them all, with little flags to tell you sponsorship.

And amazingly enough, the Japanese seem to be totally okay with it.

It’s striking that many American Republicans share with Al Qaeda the view that the West and the Islamic world are caught inevitably in a “clash of civilizations.”

it's only "striking" if you haven't been listening to them for the past 8 years.

@Snarki--there are also Shinto temples in Hawaii. I thought we had come SO FAR.

Of course, it could just be that warmongers want to make war, and with the President pulling out of Iraq, inciting violence is the new game the whole family can play.

Funny thing, I saw a comment "What if the US set up a cultural friendship building near Ground Zero in Hiroshima???"

Wow, see, I can't even imagine a conservative posing that question, since it implies -- even theoretically -- that there might have been something bad about the Hiroshima bombing.

It’s striking that many American Republicans share with Al Qaeda the view that the West and the Islamic world are caught inevitably in a “clash of civilizations.”

I agree with cleek.

A "clash of civilizations [sic]" provides the same rationale for U.S. military and economic hegemony over the rest of the world as the "Cold War" did. Such hegemony is "good" by definition and viewed as helping to elect Republican pols to run the hegemon.

If that requires whipping up some good old bigotry and paranoia, well, what could be more American?

Palin-Huckabee '12! - We're wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross for you!

I have spent a lot of time and thought on this. I wrote about ten paragraphs, then deleted them. So shorter Marty:

While I grant that many of the elite have abused their privilege of having a public voice for political gain, the voices of of the many people who object to this , and the voices of those that object to them, are protected equally with the religious freedom of the American Muslims.

Almost every person I have seen or heard address this after the initial wave of high rhetoric has started with the disclaimer that the freedom to build the center is unquestionable.

It stikes me that America at its best is not when we homogeneously agree on simple issues. What seperates us and distinguishes us, is when we disagree, vigorously, on an issue, and yet, we protect the right of the minority against the preference of the majority. We don't always do this in real time, there have been many examples where it took decades to right those wrongs and some still exist. The ones that still exist are examples of how we need to continue to improve.

But, in a way that perhaps I can't express adequately, this issue represents the ideals of America. Protecting the right of American Muslims to worship and build a controversial cultural center despite a majority of Americans who object to the site.

Perhaps little solace in the short term for those that feel the brunt on a personal level, but in the long run their right to worship and build as they see fit is even more meaningful because there are those who oppose it.

Perhaps we should point out more often that a free country doesn't mean one with no conflict or disagreement, just one where all sides are equally protected to have a voice and still worship as they see fit.

Marty,

I like that.

I've had that experience here many times, Marty, and I think what you did post was well-said. However, I'm having some trouble parsing the word "meaningful" as you've used it:

"but in the long run their right to worship and build as they see fit is even more meaningful because there are those who oppose it."

Like many things, rights are often much sweeter after deprivation. I would not go so far as to call it more "meaningful," because there's an implication that the deprivation was a net benefit or superior. That's along the lines of Douthat's recent controversial column about nativism and bigotry being good for the process of assimilating immigrants.

Today’s crusaders against the Islamic community center are promoting a similar paranoid intolerance, and one day we will be ashamed of it.

Right.

I wouldn't count on the 'one day will be ashamed of it' part. Maybe a few will, but many won't.

Perhaps we should point out more often that a free country doesn't mean one with no conflict or disagreement, just one where all sides are equally protected to have a voice and still worship as they see fit.

Totally with you, Marty. In fact, there is no need for the protection if there's no disagreement.

I, and some others here, would go further, and say that lower Manhattan is the absolutely perfect place for this kind of project. It makes perfectly clear to the world - the Muslim world in particular - how strong we are (NOT how weak), what we stand for and what kind of country we are. That our national identity is not racial, as it often is in Europe, or religious, as it is some other places, but civic, and one you can choose to take on; our civic creed is one you *choose* to give allegiance to.

I know I'm bordering on syrup here, but really! The above is the glory of this country! I suspect the reason so many of us get so emotional about this issue is that seeing perhaps the greatest thing about the US casually defiled just drives us up a wall. And it's not even an academic issue: Rauf and Kahn are not only not radicals, but they're admirable people - and exponents of just what you'd hope Islam in the US would be.

What seperates us and distinguishes us, is when we disagree, vigorously, on an issue, and yet, we protect the right of the minority against the preference of the majority.

What? Separates and distinguishes us from who exactly? Many western countries have strong legal protections for minority rights. Why exactly do you think the US is better in this regard than, say, Canada?

American exceptionalism is so bizarre.

Perhaps we should point out more often that a free country doesn't mean one with no conflict or disagreement, just one where all sides are equally protected to have a voice and still worship as they see fit.

I don't care that there is disagreement. I care that many Americans agree with Osama Bin Ladin and are now working to further his goals.

"Today’s crusaders against the Islamic community center are promoting a similar paranoid intolerance, and one day we will be ashamed of it"

One day we will be ashamed of it? Why? There will be dozens of people around to rationalize how it was all well intentioned and good faith and based on the facts as the facts were understood at the time. If people aren't willing to feel shame for allowing themselves to be bamboozled into supporting a war, I don't know why they should be ashamed of allowing themselves to take part in bigoted hatemongering.

Hmm .. let freedom ring.

A majority of individual Americans disagreeing with me is fine and dandy.

Fascist superstars like Sean Hannity, Newt Gingrich, Pam Gellar, Rush Limbaugh and the boatload of demagogues inciting hate through media that I mostly don't have equal access to for their own ideological and political ends is an entirely different matter.

The first group, like Italians during World War II, will continue to live their lives and continue on to the next argument and express their opinions, wrong as they might be.

The second group, like Mussolini, may need to end up upside down with their tongues lolling and their change falling out of their pockets in order to preserve the Republic and the ultimate freedom of the first group.

I wonder how protected Imam Rauf's speech would end up being if he called for revoking whatever zoning certifications enable the FOX studios to be housed in snakepit structure they inhabit now and he broadcast a daily cable show from the community center calling for revoking Rupert Murdoch's American citizenship and deporting Murdoch and Sean Hannity.

I suspect that if Rauf tweeted angry disagreement with Death Palin's and Gingrich's angry tweets he would need more than First Amendment protection from the thugs sent his way by their follow-up tweets.

But I guess if Hitler was alive to twitler, we'd praise our slavish devotion to his First Amendment Rights right up until the trains were loaded.


A "clash of civilizations [sic]" provides the same rationale for U.S. military and economic hegemony over the rest of the world as the "Cold War" did.

Not to mention that there are those, like John McCain and any number of defense contractors, who pine for an endless war on terrorism.

I come here often for the intelligent dialogue, although I don't comment very often. However, I must say that agreeing with Kristof makes me 1) feel awfully strange; and 2) gives me some hope that reasonable voices still exist on the right.

I fear, however, that his voice (and those he represents) is drowned out by the general hate- and fear-mongering going on today, and not only on this issue. Hell, if it were just this one issue, I wouldn't be so worried.

It's a small but terrifying step from "I don't like it" to "we should revoke their constitutionally-granted right to do it." I'd have hoped that the small-government libertarian types would be on the reasonable side of this, but (as they say) sadly, no.

Kristof's easy-to-grasp point--that Limbaugh/Palin/Geller and bin Laden are in agreement on this--is more broadly applicable to the larger Perpetual War on Terror. This is neither difficult to see nor to demonstrate.

Ah, but Phil, it gets so much better.

From Washington Monthly:


'LET'S DO AS FOX NEWS COMMANDS, AND FOLLOW THE MONEY'.... "The Daily Show" is known for occasionally skewering Fox News, but some segments are truly special. Last night offered just such an episode.

On "Fox & Friends" yesterday, the Republican network continued in its campaign to destroy the reputation of Faisal Abdul Rauf, the head of the Park51 project that Fox News used to find unobjectionable. As part of the shameless smear, "Fox & Friends" is "following the money trail," asking questions like, "Where is this money coming from? ... This guy has questionable ties."

Former Bush administration official Dan Senor appeared on "Fox & Friends" and pushed a fairly specific angle: "The Kingdom Foundation, which has been a funder of Imam Rauf in the past, the Kingdom Foundation, so you know, is this Saudi organization headed up by the guy who tried to give Rudy Giuliani $10 million after 9/11 that was sent back. He funds radical madrassas all over the world." Brian Kilmeade added, "And he funds this imam."

That's not all he funds.

"The guy" Fox News is so upset about is Saudi Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal, who has extended support to Rauf. But Jon Stewart also brought up the inconvenient fact that the largest News Corp shareholder outside the Murdoch family is ... the Saudi Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal.

"That's right. The guy they're painting as a sinister money force owns part of Fox News. Let's do as Fox News commands, and follow the money:

"This is the proposed 'terror mosque.' We know that it's a terror mosque, because the money may be coming from a bad guy, who definitely owns part of Fox News. Now we know that he's a bad guy, because we just heard it on Fox News. And by hearing it on Fox News, watching Fox News, I'm increasing their viewership, and their advertising rates go up. Now part of that money goes to the bad guy we learned about on Fox, because he's their part-owner, Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal, allowing him then to 'make it rain,' so to speak, on the terror mosque.

"My point is this. If we want to cut off funding to the terror mosque, we must, together as a nation, STOP WATCHING FOX! It's the only way! Using their reasoning, it's the only way to cut off the revenue stream to these 'bad dudes.'"

That's extremely funny, and an extremely good point. Fox News wants Americans to believe Al-Waleed bin Talal is responsible for funding Islamic radicalism. Fox News doesn't want Americans to know that Al-Waleed bin Talal is also responsible for funding Fox News.

If we should necessarily look askance at projects financed by this Saudi prince, it's only logical to suspect Fox News of wrongdoing, if not terrorist sympathies -- since, after all, some of it's financial backing comes from the same guy funding "radical madrassas" and the Burlington Coat Factory community center.

Also note, during the Fox News broadcast, the various Republican media personalities refused to actually say Al-Waleed bin Talal's name, prompting a delightful discussion on "The Daily Show" about whether Fox News is "staggeringly, achingly, almost inspiringly stupid," or "really fu**ing evil."

Take the time to watch this one. You'll be glad you did. The only decision now is whether to start reflexively referring to Fox News, just as a matter of course, as being financed by questionable Saudi royalty with ties to radicals.

Postscript: Faiz Shakir also notes this morning that the Arab News, just today, published a photo of Prince Al-Waleed "meeting with News Corp executives to discuss how to 'further strengthen the strategic corporate alliance between Rotana and News Corp.'"

They don't even have the decency to hide their dangerous foreign financiers....

—Steve Benen 12:35 PM Permalink | Trackbacks'

I guess we know who Briane Kilmeade's and Steve Ducey's and the fascist terrorist blonde's "Friends" are.

Time for zoning changes for all FOX terrorist caves in America.

Let's be Thomas Pynchon for a moment and braid together several paranoid threads and then ask a question or two.

Read these articles at Think Progress (think progress.org/2010/02/10/right-rebels-foxnews/):

"Conservative Activists Rebel Against FOX News: Saudi Ownership is 'Really Dangerous For America'"

"Anti-Mosque Coalition's Website Owned by Neo-Conservative Islamaphobe Frank Gaffney"

"Gingrich Won't Explain Why He's Backing Out Of Participating in 9/11 Anti-Mosque Rally"

Then go to Marketwatch and read Paul B. Farrell's (MarketWatch's resident curmudgeon) and read "Righteous Right Leads US Straight to World War III"

Add in the fact (sorry, no link) that young American Muslims are showing up in increasing numbers at pro-jihadist websites BECAUSE of this Mosque (sic) controversy and the hate being generated by the Republican Party and their official outlets like FOXNews.

Two questions for FOXNews and its owners:

First, Al-Waleed bin Talal, by all signs an arbiter of peace in the Mideast and between the Arab world and the U.S., owns 7-some-percent of News Corp. Given the anti-mosque hate ginned up by multiple programs on FOXNews and the coming neo-conservative blitz on FOXNews for bombing and war with Iran, AND FOXNews total bias against renewable energy as a way of weaning us off of Saudi-Arabian oil, who exactly is Al-Waleed bin Talal?

Second, what are Rupert Murdoch and FOXNews up to?

What interests are bing served by the coming slaughter?


Really, what we want now, is not laws, against crime, but a law against insanity. (Mark Twain, American writer)

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