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What a difference a year makes

Last year about this time there were demonstrations in New York city in opposition to the building of a community center which would feature a mosque, among other places of worship, at Park 51.  Islamophobes whipped up anti Islamic fervor and garnered a lot of media attention surrounding their racist rants.  We were inundated, regaled with news articles like this and this and this. One could make the case that such constant exposure in the media was an incitement to the mosque’s opponents to continue their assault against the First amendment to the Constitution.  The New York city demonstrations were duplicated in other cities across the country, taking the form of “anti-sharia” protests, intimating that as the number of mosques grew in America the possibility of Americans being ruled by Islamic law would increase too.  Faulty assumptions built on racial prejudice, that were never called that and magnified under the  full light of America’s media and gobbled up by America’s darkside, the Ground Zero mosque debacle was fully embraced by America.  One year later and Park 51 mosque has opened, people are praying there, life is still being lived and America is no worse for that event taking place as it should have.  It is correct to point out, albeit more pointedly than a writer here that the furor over the Park 51 mosque was indeed racist, fueled by a racist media, and particularly FoxNews, that journalistic anathema  that has soiled the American conscious.

A year later and what has changed is this, there is a ground swell against the nefarious activity of Wall Street bankers who have profited greatly at the expense of  the American economy through business transactions which solely benefited them.  What has also changed is the American media’s ignoring these protests which have been equally vociferous and as well attended but which have far more impact on the lives of every American than the building of a place of worship in New York city.  Media some say  serves as a source of intelligence for the public about what is or should be important to them but it has failed miserably in the two instances for this piece, over emphasizing Park 51 demonstrators while ignoring Occupy Wall Street protestors.  It appeared media’s intent was to neglect the protests in hopes they would fizzle out, disperse and quietly go away.  That hasn’t happened, I’m sure much to the chagrin of a lot of hand wringing execs in news rooms who must now cover these protests.

If you want to know what are the goals of these demonstrations, why are they being held and what it is the people taking part in them want, you can find that information below.


People making their voices heard

This is democracy in action in the state of Wisconsin!

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Iran-Debunking the Lie

iranian_flagSay what you want about Iran, they had an election where 85% of the people who could vote did and where the candidate, Mir-Hossein Mousavi, who has now garnered the sympathy of the West is acknowledged by those in the “know” as being one of the prime movers of Iranian terrorism in the past.

What the disputed results do show is there is a vibrant electoral and democratic process going on in Iran that equals or exceeds anything else going on in the Middle East, our petulant ally Israel included, in spite of the intricate back stage maneuvering going on between the West and some of Iran’s faces and voices from the past, particularly the son of the late Shah, Reza Pahlavi.

For the West  this controversy couldn’t come at a better time.  With the Israel lobby pushing for intervention into Iranian affairs and regime change amid President Obama’s call for rapproachment with Iran, the election results are being used to influence US policy, and sometimes in ways that resemble the disinformation passed out during the lead up to the Iraq war.  There’s no doubt the neocons have their sights set on regime change for Iran and will use every pretense available to achieve that.  What’s curious is they are even using someone like Mousavi for that purpose and his allowing himself to be used  only begs the question how long has he been a tool of the same forces who now tout his legitimacy.  Was he acting on the behests of those same forces when he negotiated terror on American personnel in Lebanon during the Reagan administration’s misguided adventure in that country as he is now?

Finally, I am more than amused at the reaction of some in the West to the Iranian government’s attempt to regain control of its population.  Iran has always been ruled by the street and when demonstrators  protested  American imperialism the hue and cry for the Iranian state to control its population was raised to the heavens by America.  Now when its  state control is exerted against American interests the cries for the state to intervene are replaced with protests that it is doing too much of that. The American objection to Iranian state control of its streets is taking place at the same time Chicago police are celebrating their blood fest against protesters during the 1968 Democratic Convention, in what this observer considers  a slap in the face to the current occupant of the White House.  It would be appropriate for President Obama to direct his comments about consequences for continued threats, beatings and imprisonment  towards the CPD as well, wouldn’t it?

On second thought

protestiiProfessor Juan Cole, whose blog I read constantly comes out swinging against street demonstrations in opposition to what’s going on in Gaza.

I’m sorry, but it just doesn’t matter if tens of thousands of people demonstrate in Paris. Oh,it might put a little pressure on Sarkozy to remonstrate a little harder with the Israeli government, but in the larger scheme of things it isn’t very significant.

Europe has ceded dealing with the Israelis to the United States.

The people of the United States have ceded dealing with the Israelis to the US Congress.

All of the above is true, but the fault lies in the last statement, the people have given up their power to control politicians by allowing themselves to be easily manipulated and not throwing the scoundrels out of office if they are not in lock step with the wishes of their constituents.   For example, the mood of the people in 2008 was against the deployment of US forces in lands that have posed little or no threat to US vital interests, or even US allies, yet the likes of Nancy Pelosi,  and John Conyers,  just to name a few, were reelected inspite of this public backlash.  Why?

Later in his piece Cole describes how the Israeli lobby is able to effectively influence members of Congress, and I submit so can We the people.  Professor Cole does offer up an excellent suggestion of how that can be done, and I’ll leave it up to the reader to read what is written in Cole’s own words.  My contention to Professor Cole’s piece is this: people the world over need to see there is an active opposition in America to  government tyranny, even if the opposition is not effective in changing policy.  It’s the one way we are able to show the international community that our government may be rotten in its foreign policy but America is still a good place to live and its people are still imbued with the spirit of freedom  and liberty.  In the absence of such images people can easily justify their rhetoric of hate and fear towards Americans and their form of government.  Believe me, the distinction between America’s government  and its people  is known, recognized and appreciated the world over.

I remember how the placards and card board signs influenced America during the era of civil rights and Vietnam.  They were not solely responsible for  positive change, but they certainly played a part in that change.  When we can synchronize the protest on the streets with the protest at the ballot box, we will return America to a truly representative form of government envisioned by the “Founding Fathers”.   Until that time, I really like seeing and hearing the voices of  dissent and hope they will flourish.  When they stop being raised is when everyone should be afraid!