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David Horsey | Unavoidable Blame / SeattlePI.com

The Far-Right's Anti-Mosque Mania Spreads from Ground Zero to Across the U.S., Pointing to Dark Politics Ahead

  • The phony 'debate' over the construction of an Islamic cultural center near the former World Trade Center portends darker things to come.
  • The Right's Shameful Muslim-Bashing

Stephan Salisbury,  Tomdispatch.com

There is a distinct creepiness to the controversy now raging around a proposed Islamic cultural center in Lower Manhattan.  The angry “debate” over whether the building should exist has a kind of glitch-in-the-Matrix feel to it, leaving in its wake an aura of something-very-bad-about-to-happen.

It’s not just that opposition to the building has coalesced around a phony “Mosque at Ground Zero” shorthand (with its echoes of dust, death, and evildoers). Many have pointed out -- futilely -- that the complex will be more than two blocks from the former World Trade Center, around a corner on Park Place, and will feature an auditorium, spa, basketball court, swimming pool, classrooms, exhibition space, community meeting space, 9/11 memorial, and, yes, a prayer space for Muslims. The shorthand still sticks.

Nor is it just that this is only the most visible of a growing number of nasty controversies over proposed mosques in Tennessee, California, Georgia, Kentucky, Wisconsin, and Illinois as well as Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, and Midland Beach, Staten Island, in New York City.  Such protests are emerging with alarming frequency. Nor is it simply that political leaders -- from Republican presidential wannabes to New York gubernatorial hopefuls -- have sought to exploit the Lower Manhattan controversy. (Sarah Palin demanded that “peaceful Muslims” step up and “refudiate” the plan; Newt Gingrich denounced the building of such a “mosque” as long as Saudi Arabia bars construction of churches and synagogues; Rick Lazio, a Republican campaigning for the governorship of New York state, asserted that the plan somehow subverted the right of New Yorkers “to feel safe and be safe.”)

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Related:

The Right's Shameful Muslim-Bashing, The Progress Report

  • "If the prospect of losing our Constitution to religious government frightens you, don't worry about the tiny Muslim-American minority. Worry about the anti-mosque majority Gingrich is working to mobilize." --Slate Magazine's Will Saletan
  • Zero Tolerance

These Empty Spaces

We are an idea, and all of us are bound to it through the ink that explains us on old pieces of parchment. We are an idea, and in that idea, we can locate our nobility, our strength, and the better angels of our nature. Too many of us, including our president and congressional representatives, have forgotten this. Perhaps, if we remind them in strong enough terms, if we make We The People a true force for right instead of a catch-phrase, things would get better. Until then, the idea that is America will continue to wither, and the empty spaces within will endure.

William Rivers Pitt, t r u t h o u t

(Illustration: Jared Rodriguez / t r u t h o u t)

My purpose in this life is to chronicle the events of our time, to shine a light on events and actions that damage us all, to reveal good works whenever they actually happen, and when possible, to show people places and times where they can make a difference should they choose to get involved. In the ten years I've been at it, I have seen everything: wars and rumors of wars; economic collapse and environmental calamity; state-sanctioned murder and torture and rape; theft, graft, fraud, deception and greed vast and dense enough to bend the light.

I have also seen millions upon millions of people pour into the streets to raise their voices as one against all these terrible things. I have seen people hurl themselves into political campaigns that have no hope of succeeding because they believed in the candidate, because the campaign message mattered as much as winning, and was made of so much truth that it required their labor. I have seen previously disconnected people get plugged in somewhere, anywhere, because they could no longer abide the silence of the sidelines.

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Republicans are at it again

  • They were lying then (about Social Security) and they're lying now.
  • Add your name and tell Congress "Hand Off Social Security."
  • Top 5 Social Security Myths
  • Five myths about the Bush tax cuts

Jim Dean, Democracy for America

The Deficit Commission is the most dangerous threat Social Security has ever faced. Republicans stacked the bipartisan commission with right-wingers who've spent their careers trying to kill Social Security -- and Congress has promised to fast-track the Commission's recommendations.

These right-wingers are spreading the same myths they did during George Bush's privatization scheme, saying Social Security is in crisis, it's going bankrupt, and it's adding to the deficit.

They were lying then and they're lying now.

Social Security works and has worked for 75 years. Right now, the Social Security Trust Fund has a surplus of over $2.5 trillion. That surplus is projected to grow to $4.3 trillion by 2023.

Republicans are spreading lies about Social Security and it's up to us to stop them. Join us in standing strong for Social Security -- no cuts, no raising the retirement age. Sign our pledge today and send a clear message to Congress and candidates for Congress -- Hands off Social Security.

Hands off Social Security -- Join us and sign the pledge right now.

In 2005, I had the great honor of working with DFA members across the country to beat back Republicans and help save Social Security. But Republicans in Washington never change and Social Security is under attack again.

These right-wing Republicans on the Deficit Commission have pulled out the old Bush playbook. They're working to end Social Security as we know it -- cutting benefits and raising the retirement age all in the name of "deficit reduction."

To that, we say not just "no" but "Hell No!"

Add your name and tell Congress "Hand Off Social Security."

We're not pulling any punches in our campaign to save Social Security. We're organizing DFA members across the country to sign the pledge, call Congress, and knock on doors to organize their friends and neighbors. We'll do whatever it takes to keep right-wing Republicans and Corporate Democrats from ending Social Security as we know it.

Thank you for everything you do.

Related:

Top 5 Social Security Myths, Nita Chaudhary, MoveOn.org Political Action
We've put together a list of the top five myths about Social Security, along with the real story.

Five myths about the Bush tax cuts, William G. Gale, Star Tribune | MN

  • A gloomy economic outlook...has given rise to a number of stubborn myths about what extending the Bush tax cuts would -- or wouldn't -- do.
  • Tax the rich more. (They can take it.)
  • Trickle Down Economics doesn't work
  • Top 5 Social Security Myths

Camden, NJ library rescued

Camden Mayor Dana Redd announced today (August 9) that city and county officials have agreed to let the troubled municipal library be taken over by the Camden County library system.

Joseph Picard, International Business Times

Six original copies of "Leaves of Grass," published in 1855, are displayed at the New York Public Library September 13, 2005. Whitman, often considered America's premier poet, passed his last years in Camden, NJ, which was almost forced to close its public library system until help materialized today (August 9). Chip East / Reuters

Although once the beloved residence of world-renowned American poet Walt Whitman, and the place of his gravesite, things have not of late been particularly inspiring in Camden, New Jersey.

In 2009, Camden had the highest crime rate in the nation. Over 35 percent of its 80,000 residents live below the poverty line. The school system and the police department, because of poor performance, have been taken over by the state. Unemployment is close to 20 percent, and housing advocates say that over one-third of the dwellings in the city are unoccupied.

But one shame Camden will not, apparently, have to endure is the closing of its public library system.

Motivated by numerous press reports last Friday (August 6) that Camden was about to add to its negative fame by becoming the first municipality in the nation to close its entire public library system, county and local officials worked through the weekend to come up with a proposal aimed at rescuing the town's three library buildings, its 192,600 volumes and the other resources and services the library provides.

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