Tuesday, August 17, 2010

That Damned Mosque Debate, Mexico To Legalize Drugs?

William Dalrymple
Eugene Robinson
Joe Klein
"Lies, distortions, jingoism, xenophobia -- another day, another campaign issue that Republicans can use to bash President Obama and the Democrats." - Eugene Robinson
"Despite all the high-minded words about "sensitivity" for the families of the victims, this is slimeball politics, pure and simple, except for when it descends into outright religious bigotry--which seems to be what happens every time Newt Gingrich opens his mouth." - Joe Klein
On Israel and Iran:
Robin Wright
Michael Anton
George Friedman

Evidently I missed the most debated news item over the last few days, whether to support building an Islamic community center a couple of blocks away from where the twin towers fell down on 9/11, now creepily referred to as Ground Zero. Now, I'm not trying to disrespect those who lost their life there, or disparage the courage of those who responded and risked their lives to save others, but I am against turning the site into a death fetish, especially when one of the buildings seems to have been brought down for the insurance money...

The proposed community center is sponsored by a Sufi group, which is the one of the most moderate and tolerant expressions of Islam. Sufis have historically been persecuted and executed by the more conservative, right wing elements, most notably in Pakistan over the last several months. The Taliban hate them and have bombed their shrines and mosques. I think it shows our ignorance and lack of Christian values to attack a moderate Islamic group as if we ourselves were a Taliban group. When asked for his opinion on the subject, our brain-dead conservative leader-who-wants-to-be-our-next-president said:
"Nazis don't have the right to put up a sign next to the Holocaust museum in Washington ... We would never accept the Japanese putting up a site next to Pearl Harbor." - Newt Gingrich
Mr Gingrich seems to have forgotten that people from all over the world died in the twin towers, including some who were Muslims. There were Muslims who were among the first responders, and many Muslim countries expressed their sorrow over our loss. If I remember correctly, even Iran sent their condolences. We passed up a window of opportunity to befriend Iran at the time, as they also were worried about al-Qaeda. It wasn't until Bush included them in the Axis of Evil that they went full bore and supplied most of the bombs that have gone off in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan for the last six years...

What also is obnoxious is manufacturing an incident and using it to attack the president, trying to make it fit into the GOP gameplan of isolating Obama and separating him from his support base. Our friend Sarah Palin uses the device of pretending she knows what the "American public" is thinking and feeling. I would describe her as illiterate and arrogant, someone who is happy when she attacks and never forgets a slight.
“It sounds cliched to say that the president is disconnected from the American people on this issue, but how else do you describe it,” the former Alaska GOP governor said on Fox News. “He just doesn't get it, that this is an insensitive move on the part of those Muslims who want to build that mosque in this location. It feels like a stab in the heart to, collectively, Americans who still have that lingering pain from 9/11.” - Sarah Palin
If you are one of those Americans who still has that lingering pain, isn't it about time you did something and learned how to heal it? Something other than prescribed happy pills, that's healing the Rush way. Something other than a lot of booze, that's the Glenn Beck way... I get angry when I feel I'm being manipulated like this, and one reason why I hate personal attack ads in politics, and why I became disillusioned by the old school GOP. Because you'd think by now that they would take the advice of their grandchildren, learn to be more tolerant and accepting, because surprise!, you can be both tolerant and a Christian at the same time.

But this isn't really a political war as much as it is one of ideals - the right wing mentally ill people against everyone else. The right wingers in charge in Israel have decided that Obama is not their friend, so now we are getting articles by folks criticizing Obama for not supporting Israel unconditionally and forcing poor Netanyahu into peace negotiations, and we get this trumped up mosque affair, with the implications that Obama  is wrong to support Muslims and their wishes over American Christians and Jews. Next week it will be something else just as phony and it will get a lot of press, and if Obama's poll ratings drop by another point or two, it will have been worth it, and an endless stream of these events will continue until election day in 2012...

Ever notice that with all of the articles on Afghanistan, we haven't seen anything much on the drug trade? Why has the heroin industry flourished more whenever the Americans are there? Nobody wanted to believe that our military and the CIA were involved in the Southeast Asian drug trade during the Vietnam War era, either, unless you were a soldier who came back an addict or were personally involved. We glossed it over, just as we are currently doing in the #1 area of heroin production in the world... I often wonder where all of that heroin goes, since we have less addicts in the US than we did 30 years ago. Maybe the hospitals are using more of it to numb the pain from all of the head injuries and loss of limbs from roadside bombs... It can't all go to Dutch cafes...

A weary president of Mexico, Felipe Calderone, is calling for a debate over drug legalization. "In all, since Felipe Calderón sent the army against the drug gangs when he took office as president almost four years ago, some 28,000 people have been killed, the government says. There is no sign of a let-up, on either side.

So it came as a surprise when on August 3rd Mr Calderón called for a debate on whether to legalise drugs. Though several former Latin American leaders have spoken out in favour of legalisation, and many politicians privately support it, Mr Calderón became the first incumbent president to call for open discussion of the merits of legalising a trade he has opposed with such determination."

If Mexico legalizes marijuana, and the state takes over the cultivation and selling of it, not only will half of the drug cartels money dry up, but the bloody wars might stop, and Mexican citizens would sleep a lot safer at night. Mexico is also betting that more states other than California will soon legalize the use of marijuana, either in medical mode or being able to buy it over the counter at your local 7-11 or liquor store. Since US states are too reticent to get into official production, Mexico could reap quite an economic benefit, there would be less reason for folks to cross the borders illegally, and it would start a tourist boom. I can see the commercials now, or the shows produced by the Travel Channel: The Ten Best Places To Stay and Buy Marijuana In Mexico...

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