A Crisis made worse by Religious Nuts and Political Dunces

We’re all still trying to unravel the reasons and events unfolding in Cairo and Libya.  The basics point to religious fundamentalism here and abroad fueled by irrational hate that’s being cynically exploited by politicians riding religious zealotry and bigotry to headlines. We have a nexus of religions that hate and politicians that thrive on hate.  It’s beyond disturbing.

First, we have a two religious extremists in the United States that produced and/or promoted a “movie” that shows a competitor religion in such an offensive light that it sets off the religious extremists in the other religion. Florida Christian whack job Terry Jones is well know for his adventures in Koran-burning.He’s been promoting a movie that vilifies Egyptian Muslims.  You can see bits and pieces of it at The Atlantic and read about some of the highly offensive content.

The movie is called Innocence of Muslims, although some Egyptian media have reported its title as Mohammed Nabi al-Muslimin, or Mohammed, Prophet of the Muslims. If you’ve never heard of it, that’s because most of the few clips circulating online are dubbed in Arabic. The above clip, which is allegedly from the film (update: Kurt Werthmuller, a Coptic specialist at the Hudson Institute, says he’s confirmed the clip’s authenticity) is one of the only in English.*  That’s also because it’s associated with Florida Pastor Terry Jones (yes, the asshole who burnt the Koran despite Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates’ pleas) and two Egyptians living in the U.S., according to Egyptian press accounts.* The Egyptians are allegedly Coptic, the Christian minority that makes up about a tenth of Egypt.

Obviously, there’s a lot to this story that’s still unclear. What we do know is that some members of Egypt’s sometimes-raucous, often rumor-heavy media have been playing highly offensive clips from the highly offensive film, stressing its U.S. and Coptic connections. In the clip below, controversial TV host Sheikh Khaled Abdallah (known for such statements as “Iran is more dangerous to us than the Jews” and that Tehran had engineered a deadly soccer riot in Port Said) hypes the film as an American-Coptic plot and introduces what he says is its opening scene.

As the fervor has built, both the Coptic Church and the U.S. embassy to Egypt issued formal condemnations of the film. The latter, made just this morning, began, “The Embassy of the United States in Cairo condemns the continuing efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims.” The statement also noted the September 11 anniversary, adding, “Respect for religious beliefs is a cornerstone of American democracy.”

I won’t print the descriptions of some of the most offensive things, you can go read it at the link. This is what set off the riots at the Cairo Embassy and has now led to the death of a US ambassador and 3 other diplomats in Libya. 

Libya, J. Christopher Stevens, was killed along with three of his staff members in a fiery and furious attack on the American Consulate in Benghazi on Tuesday night by an armed mob angry over a short American-made video mocking Islam’s founding prophet, the White House and Libyan officials said on Wednesday.

President Obama strongly condemned the killings and ordered increased security at American diplomatic posts around the world. American defense officials said 50 Marines were en route to Libya to strengthen security at United States diplomatic facilities.

The death of Ambassador Stevens was the first of an American envoy abroad in more than two decades.

“These four Americans stood up for freedom and human dignity,” Mr. Obama said in a televised statement from the White House Rose Garden where he stood side-by-side with Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. “Make no mistake: we will work with the Libyan government to bring to justice the killers who attacked our people.”

Mr. Obama also offered praise for the Libyan government, noting that Libyan security forces fought back against the mob, helped protect American diplomats and took Mr. Stevens’s body to the hospital. “This attack will not break the bonds between the United States and Libya,” he said.

Enter the right wing kooks and we now see how extremely offensive and extremely connected to religious extremists that some of our own politicians can be.  We’re seeing this from two sources of extremely unhelpful people.  The first is Netanyahu who is under increasing criticism from the opposition in Israel for “wagging the dog” and being more interested in ‘regime change’ in the US than in Iran.  (“Who are you trying to replace?” Shaul Mofaz asked Bibi Netanyahu. “The Administration in Washington or in Tehran?”)  Netanyahu has invented a snub by Obama out of whole cloth and seems to be pressing the case for Romney who has pretty much guaranteed he’d join in a war against Iran and who knows else in the Middle east.

The Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported that the White House had declined the Israeli government’s request for a meeting on the sidelines of a U.N. confab later this month in New York City. The White House cited a scheduling problem, but denied reports that they had refused to meet with Netanyahu in New York.

“Contrary to reports in the press, there was never a request for Prime Minister Netanyahu to meet with President Obama in Washington, nor was a request for a meeting ever denied,” the White House said.

The US and Israeli right wing press has gone crazy-go-nuts over another complete fabrication about Obama’s love of Muslim countries and distaste for poor little Israel and its leader’s lust for all out war in the middle east.  Read this analysis of NeoCon Benjamin Netanyahu at The New Yorker.

In his first term as Prime Minister, in the nineties, Netanyahu used to behave in such a high-handed way with White House officials that Bill Clinton left meetings with him bewildered and bemused, wondering who, in their relationship, was the leader of a superpower. But Netanyahu’s arrogance, in the guise of Churchillian prescience, has hardly receded over the years. Obama, in an attempt to cool the latest crisis, called Netanyahu last night and spent an hour talking with him.

Adding to the outrage is the fact that Netanyahu is performing not just for his allies on the Israeli right but for those he perceives as his allies on the American right, including those in the Jewish community. His performance is in the same neocon voice as the one adopted by the Romney campaign and in its opportunistic reaction to the attacks on the U.S. diplomatic outposts in Cairo and Benghazi, which left our Ambassador to Libya, Christopher Stevens, and three other consular employees dead. Unbelievably, the Republican National Committee chairman, Reince Priebus, took to Twitter and wrote, “Obama sympathizes with attackers in Egypt. Sad and pathetic.” Romney himself accused Obama of sympathizing with the attackers in Libya.

The neocon strategy, in both Israel and the U.S., is to paint Obama as naïve in the extreme. In this, Netanyahu and Romney are united—and profoundly cynical.

Meanwhile, enter our Republican whack jobs and the completely feckless and worthless bubble boy, Netanyahu fan boi, Mitt Romney.  How can one person have so much money and be so clueless about so many things? This analysis is by Josh Marshall at TPM.

As noted, we have two simultaneous crises washing over Washington tonight from the Middle East. First, the US-Israel blow up, which I discussed below. Next, riots which escalated into full-scale attacks on US embassies in Cairo and Benghazi, triggered by another stunt by Quran-burning ‘pastor’ Terry Jones down in Florida.

A State Department officer was actually killed in the attack on the compound in Benghazi.

In the midst of this, the Romney campaign put out this statement …

“I’m outraged by the attacks on American diplomatic missions in Libya and Egypt and by the death of an American consulate worker in Benghazi. It’s disgraceful that the Obama administration’s first response was not to condemn attacks on our diplomatic missions, but to sympathize with those who waged the attacks.”So Romney jumps to politicize a genuine crisis in which a Foreign Service Officer has been killed. And the attack itself is based on a falsehood. The reference is to a statement released by the Embassy in Egypt which in fact came out before the attacks took place. The entire thing is based on a lie. Here’s our full story.

Here’s the latest entry in the Romney jerk-a-thon the Republicans are calling a presidential campaign from WAPO.

In a statement Tuesday night, Mitt Romney accused the Obama administration of sympathizing with the Libyan protesters who attacked a consulate in Benghazi, killing the U.S. ambassador and three other American diplomats.

“I’m outraged by the attacks on American diplomatic missions in Libya and Egypt and by the death of an American consulate worker in Benghazi,” Romney said. “It’s disgraceful that the Obama Administration’s first response was not to condemn attacks on our diplomatic missions, but to sympathize with those who waged the attacks.”

Romney’s remarks came before the White House confirmed Wednesday morning that U.S. ambassador to Libya, John Christopher Stevens, was among those killed in the Benghazi attack.

Romney foreign policy adviser Rich Williamson told Foreign Policy magazine Tuesday evening, before the deaths were reported, that the attacks were related to Obama’s “failure to be an effective leader for U.S. interests in the Middle East.”

Romney has often tried to sharpen the contrast between his foreign policy and Obama’s by  arguing that the president is apologetic towards America’s enemies.

Obama spokesman Ben LaBolt responded a few hours later that it was Romney who was out of line. “We are shocked that, at a time when the United States of America is confronting the tragic death of one of our diplomatic officers in Libya, Governor Romney would choose to launch a political attack,” he said

I guess Romney doesn’t consider SOS Hillary Clinton to be a part of the Obama administration or something.  This is the next paragraph in the WAPO article cited above.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton condemned the attack “in the strongest terms,” adding that  while the United States “deplores any intentional effort to denigrate the religious beliefs of others … there is never any justification for violent acts of this kind.” Wednesday morning, Obama released his own statement condemning “the outrageous attack.”

Speaking of Hillary, let’s just take a look at what James Fallows writes  at The Atlantic and a reminder of one of her best political ads of 2008.

On the longer-term temperamental politics, this is a very vivid example of what people mean when they talk about “the 3 a.m. phone call.” In these next few hours let us look very carefully at the first-reaction quick responses, and then the considered second-take positions, by the two candidates.* One or the other of them will be in charge of U.S. response to similar inevitable-surprise episodes in the next four years.

His article also reviews some of the various media responses to Romney’s stupid comments.  This one is on the Fox Propaganda Network.

Have just seen Jeffrey Goldberg’s report on an immediate response from the Romney camp. That is revealing and not encouraging. On the other hand, I am watching Fox & Friends right now to see how they are presenting things. They’ve just finished with a foreign-policy expert who urged Romney to stand down for a day or so. She says, “I am a hawk, but this is not the time to politicize the issue.”

Update-update. Here is the New York Times report on the Romney response Jeff Goldberg is referring to. Read this carefully. It is a “midnight phone call” rather than 3 am, but this tells me something:
Bracing for trouble before the start of the protests here and in Libya, the American Embassy released a statement shortly after noon that appeared to refer to Mr. Jones [the idiotic Koran-burning “pastor” Terry Jones]: “The United States Embassy in Cairo condemns the continuing efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims — as we condemn efforts to offend believers of all religions.” It later denounced the “unjustified breach of our embassy.”

Apparently unaware of the timing of the first embassy statement, the Republican presidential candidate, Mitt Romney, put out a statement just before midnight Tuesday saying, “It’s disgraceful that the Obama administration’s first response was not to condemn attacks on our diplomatic missions, but to sympathize with those who waged the attacks.” Mr. Romney also said he was “outraged” at the attacks on the embassy and consulate.

Here’s one other thing that I’d like to share.  It’s a Politico story on the murdered US Ambassador Chris Stevens.

I’m sure we’ll be hearing more about all of this for some time.  I know two things.  I’m rooting for the Israeli Opposition and our State Department.  The last thing we need is for a bunch of lying war thumping neocons to start pushing lies again and drag us into the Religious Fantastic’s wet dream of the so-called ‘end times’.  Pray that the cooler minds prevail and the others STFU. The last thing we need is shameless exploitation of religious bigotry by folks whose voting base is filled with folks who would like to rid the world of all religions but their own.


93 Comments on “A Crisis made worse by Religious Nuts and Political Dunces”

  1. ecocatwoman says:

    Terry Gross is interviewing Michael Lewis about his book & time with President Obama. So far, fascinating. Obama’s favorite spot in the WH is the Truman balcony.

  2. Fannie says:

    I think it’s is like the right wing nuts of far side here at work, and the salafist activist on the far side at work in Libya.

  3. Pat Johnson says:

    Excellent summary, dak.

    Has it ever occurred to anyone that the foreign policies of many nations are essentially tied to religious views?

    The Muslims object to any perceived slight aimed at their religious beliefs. The Israelis believe their pile of sand is “decreed” by an unseen creator. The Religious Right accepts a “Rapture” is forthcoming. And the Catholic Church inserts their beliefs into national law that targets women in a nation considered secular.

    Each side expects the world to succumb to their theory that they are guided by an unseen “supreme being” sending “coded messages” by way of storms or interpreted by innards. For these beliefs the entire planet is held hostage in one form or another by unreasoning “truths”.

    But taken together each religion is firm its focus to overrule the other guy by force if necessary which leads to the calamities they visit upon one another day by day. Killing is considered “god’s will” which escalates with every generation as weapons of mass destruction become more available and sophisticated.

    Enter the opportunists known to us all as the politicians. Pulling their “truths” from the Bible, the Koran, or the Talmud – or out of their ass! – they play upon these “fantasies” while taking donations from the war machine industry who profit from the carnage.

    The fear of ever attacking these superstitious assumptions continues down through the ages and we will never advance much further as long as the fear of death and its aftermath remains the focus since so much of what civilization has endured since its inception is based on this “tale” alone.

    To think that ancient Greek writers and philosophers created these “stories” for the enrichment and education of their people should be utilized today as a belief system to form a society of chaos is remarkable.

    • ecocatwoman says:

      The human race really hasn’t progressed very far, has it? We continue to cling to our superstitious beliefs, follow the dictates of the shamans & oracles and are willing to sacrifice our lives for our gods’ wills.

      • dakinikat says:

        Most of these superstitions are based on stuff from the iron age too. That’s just REALLY comforting.

      • ANonOMouse says:

        Romney can’t work this issue to his advantage, no matter how hard he tries, because American’s understand that there are boundaries of speech when the lives of U.S. Citizens are involved. It was just 2 years ago that Secretary of Defense Gates called Terry Jones and asked him to can his Islamophobic koran burning event because it could cost U.S. Lives in the Middle East . I think every SANE person in the U.S. remembers that and knows that Terry Jones is a religious kook, a coward who has no concern for the lives of our foreign service employees and our soldiers in the Middle East. What Mitt Romney did this morning was give a back door salute to Terry Jones when he supported his “freedom of speech”.

        Well, Jones got his freedom of religious speech and his equally batshit crazy adversaries on the other side of the globe got retribution against innocent American’s. Jones should be relegated to the status of Pariah. Mitt Romney is the biggest chickenhawk to come along since Dickless Cheney. Both draft dodging, warmongering cowards who use other peoples children and grandchildren to fight their wars for wealth. Fuck them both!!!!

      • ANonOMouse says:

        Excuse my speech, but I feel very selfish today. I have a loved one in Afghanistan and 2 more preparing to go. I read that the news of these events have been shutdown in Afghanistan for fear this will spread there. Goddamit, isn’t there enough hurdles to clear as we attempt to leave Afghanistain without having the RELIGIOUS-ZEALNUTS and their apologists (MITT ROMNEY/PAUL RYAN) throw up more hurdles for our troops and those who serve in our Diplomatic Corps? I’m just fucking fed up with the bullshit from these people.

      • ANonOMouse says:

        Also sorry for my tortured slaughter of the english language, punctuation and spelling. Obviously I’m not as educated as a lot of commenters here.

      • NW Luna says:

        ANonOMouse, your language and punctuation express your intense and very understandable emotions.

        If education level always related to intelligence, Romney and his war-mongering crew wouldn’t talk like idiots.

        May your loved ones stay safe.

    • @ Pat 11:34

      Wow, that was an amazing comment!

  4. ecocatwoman says:

    Thanks for all of the links kat. I can’t help thinking that Romney’s intent is to make this more about him & his Repug base than the actual people involved or the actual people who have to try to handle this frightening & tragic event. Nothing like throwing more fuel on the fire. It’s just what the Rombot has done with Israel & Netanyahu. Romney, in fact, brought up America’s “might” & our military in his statement. Yes, a presidential candidate threatening a military strike – yeah, he’s a genuine foreign policy expert. People should be running & screaming far, far away from him.

  5. bostonboomer says:

    This link is to a must-see photo at dailykos, showing Romney walking away from the podium with his back turned to the press. He has a big smirk on his face and his eyes even look happy. He’s very pleased with himself.


  6. dakinikat says:

    StateDept ‏@StateDept

    #SecClinton: We are working with partners around the world to safeguard other U.S. embassies, consulates, and citizens. http://go.usa.gov/rGzY

  7. dakinikat says:

    StateDept ‏@StateDept

    #SecClinton remarks on the deaths of U.S. personnel in #Benghazi, Libya: http://go.usa.gov/rGzY.

  8. dakinikat says:

    CNN is reporting this as breaking news:

    Deadly assault on U.S. Consulate in Libya was planned by attackers who used protests as a diversion, U.S. sources say.

  9. Pat Johnson says:

    The condemnation toward Mitt Romney coming from his own side is telling.

    Let’s see how he wiggles out of this one with his usual denials, qualifications, and general flip flopping when even his “supporters” seem to conclude that he is a total washout.

  10. Pat Johnson says:

    Is it possible that Mitten’s response, which was completely unnecessary in the first place at that chosen moment, invited comparisons to the ignorance of Sarah Palin in her response to questions surrounding foreign affairs?

    No candidate worth his/her salt would ever want those comparisons made under any circumstances which is the primary reason she was not invited to address the GoP convention yet here’s Mitt, only a week later, doing just that.

  11. Pat Johnson says:

    This very well could be Romney’s “McCain moment”.

    As the American economy collapsed in 2008 it was McCain the candidate who declared “the American economy is strong”. It was all but over come November.

    Romney “rushed to judgment” before the facts were revealed showing what a craven piece of work we knew him to be all along. You can’t “ride the wave” to victory when most of the pundits and talking heads – many from your own party – consider this to be a blunder of monumental importance.

    He should have stayed in bed.

  12. dakinikat says:

    AdamSerwer ‏@AdamSerwer

    US ambassador Stevens was brought to the hospital by Libyans as he was dying of smoke inhalation. http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/P/PROPHET_FILM?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2012-09-12-12-35-16

  13. bostonboomer says:

    OT– Obama is leading Romney by 7 points today, according to Gallup–and that still includes people who were interviewed before Clinton’s speech at the convention.

  14. Pat Johnson says:

    Ryan is smart enough to know that opening his mouth right now is political suicide for him.

    He is well aware that this campaign has just hit a brick wall and going down with this ship will hamper his chances in 2016 when he plans to elbow his way past Santorum to being the biggest bigot in their playground.

  15. Pat Johnson says:

    I am thoroughly disgusted with myself since I have not done on lick of housework today.

    Sometimes I just get “giddy” when watching Mittens stick the fork in himself.

  16. Beata says:

    Joseph Cannon dives into some dangerous waters in his new post, “The war conspiracy”. Take a look.

    • Pat Johnson says:

      I have to admit that “conspiracy theories” scare the hell out of me.

      This one sure does.

      • ecocatwoman says:

        Not a conspiracist, but from time to time some seem obvious. Cannon makes some good arguments. And, the first thing I heard this AM about the video is that basically no one had seen “the video” on the internet. Aren’t Netanyahu & Rombot college buddies? Seems I heard that somewhere. Maybe the real purpose of the Romney trip was to meet with Beebee (sp?) in private with no one listening in. No emails, no phone taps, etc.

      • Beata says:

        Connie, they didn’t go to college together, but they both worked for Boston Consulting Group (BCG) . That is the connection.

      • ANonOMouse says:

        Bibi is making me nervous, It looks as if he’s going to make a run on Iran, or at the very least, put forth a strong bomb-bomb Iran posture pre-election. No doubt, his posturing raises the spectre of conspiracy. BiBi and Mitt are friends and BiBi is being accused of fooling around in U.S. politics by the opposition in Israel. My old brain, which has processed a lot, is screaming Beware, Beware!!!!!

      • Beata says:

        They have been friends since the mid-1970’s. Google the NYT article about them written earlier this year. ( I’m not going to link to it. )

    • janicen says:

      I am not a regular reader of his blog but I have visited occasionally when directed there. I don’t know about the accuracy of what he’s saying, but I have to admit that something has smelled really bad about all of this since the story first broke. Romney’s smirk in the photos of him isn’t helping any. My tinfoil hat is twitching away.

    • RalphB says:

      Palin said, adding that the Republicans need to make the choice clear in this election between “free stuff and freedom.”

      Without “free stuff” that idiot would be living in a tent or a refrigerator crate.

      • Pat Johnson says:

        Stop! I just spit my coffee onto the screen with that one!

        I also loved when she said “I couldn’t have said it better myself” when we all know she lacks the ability to say it when scripted.

  17. The basics point to religious fundamentalism here and abroad fueled by irrational hate that’s being cynically exploited by politicians riding religious zealotry and bigotry to headlines.

    Yes, that is a wonderful sentence…back to reading your post Dak.

  18. Fannie says:

    here is another dunce: Richard S. Williamson……he was on cnn spewing it for Romney – he’s a hawk:


  19. Pat Johnson says:

    Mouse: Never apologize: half the fun of being on the same blog with you at the same time is for your ability to include humor into your responses.

    Especially on those “other blogs” that gave me migraines from the morons beating the GOP drum but calling themselves “liberals” as they discussed Obama’s “gay marriage”.

    • ANonOMouse says:

      Pat: How could I not find the humor in a man playing with his own disco-ball, in public?

      When I re-read my comments and notice all of the grammatical errors and the spelling errors and the punctuation errors, especially in the comments where I’m expressing my anger, I realize that my grade level is showing. 🙂

      • Pat Johnson says:

        Mouse: I do that all the time. I get so angry that I just beat away at the keys and it is not until I re-read what I sent out that I see the errors pop off the page. This is when I begin to think I may sound like a moron.

        You have made me chuckle for so long and I always get your point. It is always worth reading.

        Apologize for actually “feeling” something? Not necessary.

      • ANonOMouse says:

        You couldn’t sound like a moron if you tried. I love your comments because you always write exactly what I’m thinking, what I wish I could say, but just can’t articulate. When I read here, it’s like you and dak, bb, beata, JJ, ralph and most of the commenters here, are reading my mind. Maybe we’re all sharing a piece of the same soul. Maybe we’re Soul Sisters with our Soul Brother, Ralph. It could happen!!! 🙂

      • NW Luna says:

        Mouse, pls see my comment at 3:17 above. Screw grade levels. It’s your heart and brain that count. Yes, and sense of humor!

      • ANonOMouse says:

        NWLuna…..Thank you for your kindness. Peace

      • bostonboomer says:

        I feel the same about you Mouse.

  20. ecocatwoman says:

    Interesting post from Charlie today. His last paragraph was a doozie:

    Let us be clear. On all four of these issues, the president is clearly vulnerable — most directly on No. 1, because of his close ties to Emanuel and the education “reform” community, and No. 3, because the administration did not make wrecking the lives of the thieves who wrecked the economy a priority upon taking office. He is confronted in this election by a man with a positive gift for spinning gold into straw. Romney was last heard reiterating the sentiments for which he was excoriated for the past 12 hours. Give this man a steak and he’ll send it back for shoe leather.

    Read more: http://www.esquire.com/blogs/politics/how-to-lose-an-election-12636525#ixzz26HZFUIIN

    I loved, spin gold into straw. LOL.

  21. RalphB says:

    Well this is interesting and ties in with Joe Cannon’s post a little bit. This whole thing could be an al Qaeda op or some fundie bs.

    Jeffrey Goldberg: Muhammad Film Consultant: ‘Sam Bacile’ is Not Israeli, and Not a Real Name

  22. Pat Johnson says:

    I could never understand our pledge to go to war as a partner with Israel.

    They have demonstrated that they have a well funded, well equipped, well prepared military with one of the best intelligence agencies in Mossad working on their behalf.

    We have funded their efforts to protect themselves which should be enough to remain as “partners in theory” without having to commit our own military in the process.

    Joining forces in this conflagration is a recipe for worldwide disaster beginning with the economy when oil resources are at stake in this region. The worldwide dependency for this product would be felt on a global level and destabilize the planet as one reason to employ reason before we go off half cocked.

    Our foreign policies toward other nations like Darfur and places where genocide is a daily occurrence flies in the face of our constant tribute to Israeli policy when they have a command of the military that far outweighs what these smaller countries must endure when engaged in combat.

    Bibi is Cheney in his pursuit of war at any cost and I don’t quite understand the US commitment to follow them into battle each time the flag is raised.

    Venturing into a war with Iran is a guaranteed failure for the chaos it will bring that has far more reaching effects than displaying our “friendship” with a nation determined to make it happen.