Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Greece's Bad Example, More On The Ground Zero Mosque Debate

Maureen Dowd
Kathleen Parker
Glen Greenwald
"The mosque should be built precisely because we don't like the idea very much. We don't need constitutional protections to be agreeable, after all" - Kathleen Parker
"But Obama presents himself as a paragon of high principle. So when he flops around on things like “don’t ask, don’t tell” or shrinks back from one of his deepest beliefs about the freedom of religion anywhere and everywhere in America, it’s not pretty. Even worse, this is the man who staked his historical reputation on a new and friendlier engagement with the Muslim world. The man who extended his hand to Tehran has withdrawn his hand from Park Place." - Maureen Dowd
"Just as is true of the people in the countries we invade and occupy, American media outlets spend a great deal of time talking about Muslims, but very little time hearing from them -- including, perhaps especially, American Muslims." - Glen Greenwald

The Bush ere tax cuts will soon expire, and there is a race on whether to extend them or not. Conservatives who make over $1 million per year would like to see them continued, maybe with some more benefits for the rich thrown in. Don't hate us because we're not poor... Various stripes of Democrats would like to see some of the cuts extended, and have plans on how to use the money obtained from letting other cuts expire. Neither seem concerned about actually reducing our deficit. In Europe, several countries have begun programs of austerity to reduce their debt, and some tea party folks have suggested that we follow in their footsteps, but only if we come up with some kind of snappy American name for it because we don't take well to foreign ideas, or foreign criticisms, or foreign laws. Der Spiegel reports on how well that's going for the country of Greece: "The austerity measures that were supposed to fix Greece's problems are dragging down the country's economy. Stores are closing, tax revenues are falling and unemployment has hit an unbelievable 70 percent in some places. Frustrated workers are threatening to strike back.

This dire prognosis comes even despite Athens' massive efforts to sort out the country's finances. The government's draconian austerity measures have managed to reduce the country's budget deficit by an almost unbelievable 39.7 percent, after previous governments had squandered tax money and falsified statistics for years. The measures have reduced government spending by a total of 10 percent, 4.5 percent more than the EU and International Monetary Fund (IMF) had required.

The problem is that the austerity measures have in the meantime affected every aspect of the country's economy. Purchasing power is dropping, consumption is taking a nosedive and the number of bankruptcies and unemployed are on the rise. The country's gross domestic product shrank by 1.5 percent in the second quarter of this year. Tax revenue, desperately needed in order to consolidate the national finances, has dropped off. A mixture of fear, hopelessness and anger is brewing in Greek society." Similar problems are occurring with Spain, Portugal, Germany, and Great Britain, and with the wildfires laying waste to its wheat fields, Russia will soon be scrambling. This may illustrate the advice that economists like Paul Krugman have been giving, to wait until our economy is more stable, with more people back to work, before instituting measures of austerity. It may be one thing if a small podunk country like Greece goes under, but if the US goes, we drag the rest of the world down with us...

"Why can't we all just get along?"  - Rodney King

I can handle the fact that whenever something or somebody from Colorado makes the national news, its usually because they are embarrassing. I don't hide my head in shame, but I have been long suffering. Now, the world of bloggers are becoming mentioned by the mainstream media more and more, and, of course, they always mention some right wing wacko who makes stuff up hoping that you'll fall for their crock of shit. Sure, I make stuff up all the time, but I try to keep it humorous. But I bitch and moan that its always the crazies who crave it and get the media attention, while certain grumpy old men slave away in obscurity...

Such is the case with Pam Geller, the Washington Post, and the Ground Zero Mosque. Pam is the first one to write about the planned community center on her blog, and for some reason, it caught on and blossomed into a national debate. Pam has been on a one-woman hysterical crusade against Islam, so much that you might suspect she's being financially backed by some Jewish lobbying group. It would explain how she can afford to make and buy commercials, and post vlogs on Youtube. Now, a rally is being planned for Sept 11, against the proposed Islamic community center a few blocks from where the twin towers used to be: "While some have dismissed them as bigoted attention-seekers, their attacks on the proposed Islamic center in lower Manhattan have gained currency in recent weeks among some Republican leaders. And their influence appears to be growing.

They are organizing a Sept. 11 rally against the proposed Islamic center in lower Manhattan that will feature former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich. They advise the FBI and other government security agencies on the threats posed by Islamic radicalism, headline "tea party" events and attract millions of readers concerned or curious about Islam to Web sites with names such as Jihad Watch, Creeping Sharia and Stop Islamization of America." Maureen Dowd points out that there are already two other Islamic mosques nearby, four blocks and twelve blocks away and one of them has been there since before the twin towers were built. If we are going on a jihad against a community center in that area, Maureen asks why don't we also try to ban the liquor stores and strip clubs? What! Not the strip clubs! Why, we all know that you can take away my religious freedom, you can take away my job, my house, my car, but don't take away the one thing that every red-blooded American males dreams and prays for, more than anything else in this while wide world - Titties!

Save Our Mosques!

No Stripper Jihads!

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