Insanity, Inc.

Some guy named Steven Emerson, who appears to be some kind of freelance antiterrorism expert who makes a living hyping the threat of scary Muslim people, claims to have audio tapes of Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf spouting pro-jihadist opinions. No one has heard these tapes but Emerson, but of course a big chunk of the Right Blogosphere is now uncritically repeating Emerson’s claims as facts. The only blogger I’ve found so far who even suspects the claims about what the Imam actually said might be bogus is James Joyner.

My concern is that mainstream news media also will uncritically repeat these claims before anyone has had a chance to fact check. And given the mob mentality gripping most of the nation on the Islamic Center issue, I hope the Imam has a bodyguard, and the NYPD is keeping an eye on the Park Place property before somebody blows it up in the name of fighting terrorism.

On the other hand, there is some indication that some politicians who originally sided with the mob are backing off a bit, possibly sensing the mob is becoming uncontrollable. Even Newt Gingrich and Peter King seem to want to dissociate themselves with organized protests of the Islamic center.

In the case of Gingrich, some of his rhetoric was so over-the-top that Pat Buchanan said he had gone too far. This is a bit like being judged sick and depraved by Charles Manson.

Last summer it was mobs breaking up town hall meetings; this summer it’s mob hysteria over Muslims. Maybe we should just cancel August.

And we knew this would happen:

Some counterterrorism experts say the anti-Muslim sentiment that has saturated the airwaves and blogs in the debate over plans for an Islamic center near ground zero in Lower Manhattan is playing into the hands of extremists by bolstering their claims that the United States is hostile to Islam.

Opposition to the center by prominent politicians and other public figures in the United States has been covered extensively by the news media in Muslim countries. At a time of concern about radicalization of young Muslims in the West, it risks adding new fuel to Al Qaeda’s claim that Islam is under attack by the West and must be defended with violence, some specialists on Islamic militancy say.

“I know people in this debate don’t intend it, but there are consequences for these kinds of remarks,” said Brian Fishman, who studies terrorism for the New America Foundation here.

Ah, but they do intend those consequences. Maybe not consciously, but what the mob wants more than anything else is another big strike on American soil by Islamic terrorists. That would give them license to do what they really want to do, which is to unleash murderous violence against Muslims.

And, of course, that’s what al Qaeda really wants them to do, too.

22 thoughts on “Insanity, Inc.

  1. Speaking as a resident of Houston Tx. I had no idea we could cancel August. Get with it right away Maha!!! It would solve innumerable problems. I barely lived thro the Town Hall meetings last year. Media didn’t show the half of it. This year hearing what everyone ‘thinks’/ ‘feels’/ ‘knows’ (all the same thing, right) about the Center is sending me over the edge. I yearn for the days when August heat was our only problem with August. Believe me that is enough to cancel it right there!!!!! If the Center is forced to move and the Repubs win in Nov. I will have a very hard time fighting total despair, cancelling August won’t even help.

  2. We hadn’t been attacked in a long time before 9/11. So, now that we have our very own “hallowed ground,” we need a good Holy War. We haven’t had one since the one against the heathen indiginous people we found here. But that one was only here on this continent. Now, we can globalize Holy War! Yipee!!!

    Seriously, yes, a Holy War with Islam is what the Christianist’s would love. It would allow the faithful and their political allies to make wholesale changes to this country and The Constitution, turning it into some version of Saudi America.

    August is “Stupid Month” for the MSM, so maybe all of this will blow over soon. I’m not so sure. A good wedge issue is hard for Republicans to give up, no matter what the damage to the country and its reputation.
    Hearing some strong language from respected voices on the right in favor of this center, and against religious exclusion and persecution, might to a long way towards cooling things off. They could start by putting a muzzle on the Gellers of this country. 1st Amendment rights are important, but they are inciting religious violence., if not begging for it. What they are doing is, to me, the equivalent of screaming, “Fire! in a crowded theatre;” they’re screaming, ‘Crusade! in a crowded Mosque.’
    Christianists, xenophobes, and hate-mongers, be careful what you wish for…

  3. Mosque opponents are recruiting for Al Qaeda and endangering America, just as war opponents emboldened Saddam and now the Taliban. Got it.

  4. FWIW, I semi-agree about the imam tapes. Post-Sherrod, why even edit them? No one will believe anything but a full, tedious release.

    And they have had them for four weeks – how long does it take to find a smoking gun, or building?

  5. Not only vanish August but also the first 11 or 12 days of September this year. Eid el Fitr (I think I spelled that correctly), the last day of Ramadan and the occasion for a great 3-day feast, falls on September 11 this year. Already one Muslim congregation in California has decided to cancel their yearly festival.

  6. The anti-mosque crowd may want another 9/11 so they can unleash their wrath against Muslims, but I suspect that another attack would add one more log to the fire of kill the democratic majority in Congress and get that interloper out of the White House.

    In fact, I’ve come to believe that the behavior of Republicans across the board is to restore their political supremacy at all levels of government – even if it means sinking the country into third-world status in the process. Again, I’d advise everyone to read the book “Bush’s Brain” to get the measure of the man who’s plotting the entire coup.

  7. Mosque opponents are recruiting for Al Qaeda and endangering America, just as war opponents emboldened Saddam and now the Taliban. Got it.

    No, you don’t “got it.” Here in Reality Land it was the bleeping Iraq war itself, not the opposition to it, that became a recruiting tool for jihadists. You righties never learn.

  8. Post-Sherrod, why even edit them? No one will believe anything but a full, tedious release.

    I hope that’s true, but I fear it isn’t.

    • Guys, my B-day’s in August. Don’t cancel August!

      You can have my B-day (October) if you want it. I pretty much ignore it, anyway. And, of course, Libras are way cool.

  9. My statement on this republican lie (but I repeat myself) comes from John Cole, “Two Words, Whitey Tape!” Why anyone believes them is beyond me. The rape allegation against Julian Assange (withdrawn within 12 hours) was just as transparent.

  10. Lots of people spout pro-jihadist opinions. How many videos are there of TV preachers saying America deserves what it gets because of its various sins?

    Once again it goes back to my point. In as much as oppose Muslims it’s the ones that are social conservatives. In fact, I oppose social conservatives whether they wield a bible, a koran, the torah, the vedas, the sutras, or arguments from tradition.

  11. An additional thought. When I go reading on the right I always keep in mind the immortal words of Dashiell Hammett’s Continental op…

    ” Only Genuine Pre-War American and British Whiskeys Served Here.’ I was trying to count how many lies could be found in those nine words, and had reached four, with promise of more…”

  12. Well, this answers my question about where Dumbaya is on this issue. Why am I not surprised?
    He sent Karen Hughes out to ask the Muslims to essentially do the ‘neighborly’ thing and move the center.
    So, on the only ONE thing in the defense of his catastrophic mis-Adminstration – not fueling anti-Muslim hatred, he turns out to be the same gutless partisan f***ing cowardly weasel we always knew him to be.
    Thanks George for now allowing me to totally hate EVERY aspect of EVERY second that you were in office.
    ‘Heck of a job, Georgie…’
    ASSHOLE!!! (My apologies to actual ‘assholes,’ which shit out something useful that can be used for fertilizer, not fodder for hateful ‘morans’).
    Maybe the left should protest the “Bush Library,” since George W. Bush was ‘Ground Zero’ for knowledge. Let them build a “Bush ‘Cultural’ Center.” They can borrow exhibits from the Spanish Inquisition, the USSR, and Liberty University. Leave books to people who’ll use them for something besides balancing a table, or starting a BBQ.

  13. It was a mistake to follow the weaselzippers link before dinner, likely to put me off my feed. Any article that begins singing the praises of Pam Geller tends to “poison the well” like nothing else can, except maybe one singing the praises of countless other right wing hacks that seem to lie so thick on the ground. I’m 85% “Whitey Tape” and 15% wait and see.

    Well the sun has passed the yardarm, so maybe cocktail hour will help shake off the ill effects.

  14. Not only don’t cancel August; but, don’t cancel the first 11 days in September. My birthday is September 9. Yes, if we had a better press corps, we should have been hearing about the 65th anniversaries of various WWII battles. This has been the hallmark of all my birthdays. When I turned 40, everywhere I turned someone was shouting it is 40 years since the end of WWII or 40 years since 1945! That occurred also at 45 and 50 and 60 years since the end of the war. However, this mosque (which shouldn’t even be common knowledge in Tacoma, WA) is all over the news media. And, whodathunk that the MSM would no longer be the MSM but an arm of the right wing media complex . . .

  15. SO JUST WHAT *DO* YOU MEAN????!!!!!

    I have been listening to the wingnuts for weeks on this subject. A few righties are so far out they openly espouse rewriting freedom of religion – but most have adopted something cryptic – what one commenter called dogwhistling – sending a message of bias intended for a select audience to understand. I believe Palin does this continually – sending out messages for evangelicals – without openly admitting what she’s implying.

    The overt message is – “I’m opposed to the mosque at Ground Zero.” OK. Freedom of speech says you are entitled to that opinion – but what does it mean in real terms? Are you just expressing an opinion? Asking the government to intervene? Offering a cash donation to the mosque is they build it more than 8 blocks from Ground Zero?

    (Money talks – raise 100 million for the mosque and make an offer. That’s saying you absolutely believe in freedom of religion and you ONLY object to the location. But don’t tell them to eat the 5 million they have in the project.)

    Or are you actively working against the construction – trying to ban labor and building materials – or are you going to bomb the site if they build the center. WTF do you MEAN?

    Declare – and no dogwhistling.

  16. Bonnie – Sept. 9th is the day California was admitted to the Union and my mom’s B-day, too. So Happy B-Day soon.

    Thanks for the good wishes cundgulag. I’ll keep August 25. After all, it’s Laura Ingall Wilder’s wedding anniversary. OK, so I was a geek as a child, too. AND – Once a Virgo, always a Virgo – I would besmirch Libras with my Virgosity.

  17. Emerson doesn’t have much credibility in my book. He forfeited a good bit of his public credibility with the baseless claim that Islamists were to blame for the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995, when it was actually Tim McVeigh and domestic rightists that were to blame. He also endorsed Andy McCarthy’s latest screed, which attempts to tie Islamists and American liberals together. Islam per se has become the Communism of the 21st century. The same people whose parents and grandparents feared Communism in the 20th century now fear Islam and the American right wants to fuel and milk this Manichean mindset for all it can.

  18. Thanks, Jennifer. I know what you mean about being a Virgo. My mother was a Virgo, too. And, I have a twin sister. Our family is crawling with Virgos. It had something to do with Christmas partiers, I was told.

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