shifting mainstream: a murky sideshow

You have to wonder whether the current, almost virulent anti-Arab and Muslim invective in America and to some extent in Canada is not induced by a larger effort, principally using the media, in order to enact behavior modification through a form of cultural learning, one in which the integrity of the individual is at a minimum. There is a certain amount of mischief being carried out. That is, talking heads like a Paul Krugman or some FOX commentators having their behavior modified and who are unconscious of being manipulated in the pursuit of goals set by somebody else. The complete absence of substance, the rhetoric and outright demagoguery leads me to surmise whether a chain reaction is not set in motion that serves to shape opposing viewpoints of public opinion. A bit akin to Chomsky’s thesis on the manufacture of consent- of which he is a part- which is a bit more sophisticated say than what Michel Foucault described in Madness and Civilization where rather broad definitions of mental illness were used, for practical purposes to lock up substantial numbers of people because their behavior is dangerous, distracting or annoying to the rest of us.

---At just before 9 a.m. this morning, New York Times Op-Ed columnist Paul Krugman took to his official Times blog, The Conscience of a Liberal, for a personal, two sentence post headlined, "I Love The Smell Of Death Threats In The Morning." It's humanizing! "Haven't gotten one of those in a while; I was starting to think I was losing my touch," he explains. But we see this tactic all the time -- the subtle brag, the This Just Happened To Me winky face -- from lesser bloggers. New York Times columnists, they're just like us! You know, just Krugman giving you a little window into his life, dropping by to tell you how much he matters.---Read More:

“But when a Republican representative took the Statehouse floor during a recent hearing, he warned of a new threat to his constituents’ way of life: Islamic law. The representative, a former fighter pilot named Rick Womick, said he had been studying the Koran. He declared that Shariah, the Islamic code that guides Muslim beliefs and actions, is not just an expression of faith but a political and legal system that seeks world domination. “Folks,” Mr. Womick, 53, said with a sudden pause, “this is not what I call ‘Do unto others what you’d have them do unto you.’ ”

Similar warnings are being issued across the country as Republican presidential candidates, elected officials and activists mobilize against what they describe as the menace of Islamic law in the United States.” Read More:

---The message has caught on. Among those now echoing Mr. Yerushalmi’s views are prominent Washington figures like R. James Woolsey, a former director of the C.I.A., and the Republican presidential candidates Newt Gingrich and Michele Bachmann, who this month signed a pledge to reject Islamic law, likening it to “totalitarian control.” Yet, for all its fervor, the movement is arguably directed at a problem more imagined than real. Even its leaders concede that American Muslims are not coalescing en masse to advance Islamic law. Instead, they say, Muslims could eventually gain the kind of foothold seen in Europe, where multicultural policies have allowed for what critics contend is an overaccommodation of Islamic law. ---Read More: image:

It appears this whole issue makes no sense. The Islamification of America is not imminent. The social and moral problems represented by modifying peoples behavior and public opinion, are quite complex. What seems obvious at the center of this nest of problems is the question of whether we are being influenced through techniques that make possible the control of mass populations through ideology and invoking behaviors such as returning Muslims to their countries of origins. Sarah Palin asserted that if Sharia law “were to be adopted, allowed to govern in our country, it will be the downfall of America.”

Rick Salutin:Angela Merkel says multiculturalism has “failed, utterly failed,” then quickly adds that immigrants are welcome in Germany. France’s Sarkozy, Britain’s Cameron, and our own government echo that. New York Times columnist Ross Douthat writes, “Mass immigration really has left the continent more divided than enriched, Islam and liberal democracy have not yet proven natural bedfellows . . . ” None of them would draw Anders Breivik’s murderous conclusion. But he could easily feel encouraged by their words and decide they just lack the courage to do what is necessary. What follows from that? Should they shut up? Of course not.Read More:–salutin-the-most-chilling-words-breivik-uttereda

---The more tangible effect of the movement, opponents say, is the spread of an alarmist message about Islam — the same kind of rhetoric that appears to have influenced Anders Behring Breivik, the suspect in the deadly dual attacks in Norway on July 22. The anti-Shariah campaign, they say, appears to be an end in itself, aimed at keeping Muslims on the margins of American life. ---Read More:

Sometimes it seems like we have little sense of the direction and the speed with which the technology of behavior is being pushed. There is a moral issue involved here since it touches directly on our conviction of individual freedom. It is one think to learn and quote Ayn Rand or Ron Paul or Paul Krugman, or absorbing an anti-Islam body of information. But ideology and being a decent individual is something else entirely. The kind of behaviorism being heaped onto us as a principle of social organization is to be feared. The world is changing both irreversibly and quickly. We know from history that changes of this order of magnitude are, for better or worse , accompanied by changes in the social order.

Pamela Geller. ---“There’s a conflation between the idea of Islam being a universalist, proselytizing religion and reducing it to a totalitarian movement,” said Mohammad Fadel, an associate professor specializing in Islamic law at the University of Toronto. “All good propaganda is based on half-truths.” ---Read More: image:


…A confluence of factors has fueled the anti-Shariah movement, most notably the controversy over the proposed Islamic center near ground zero in New York, concerns about homegrown terrorism and the rise of the Tea Party. But the campaign’s air of grass-roots spontaneity, which has been carefully promoted by advocates, shrouds its more deliberate origins.

In fact, it is the product of an orchestrated drive that began five years ago in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, in the office of a little-known lawyer, David Yerushalmi, a 56-year-old Hasidic Jew with a history of controversial statements about race, immigration and Islam. Despite his lack of formal training in Islamic law, Mr. Yerushalmi has come to exercise a striking influence over American public discourse about Shariah.

Working with a cadre of conservative public-policy institutes and former military and intelligence officials, Mr. Yerushalmi has written privately financed reports, filed lawsuits against the government and drafted the model legislation that recently swept through the country — all with the effect of casting Shariah as one of the greatest threats to American freedom since the cold war. Read More:

The balance of the evidence, especially since 9/11 is that we have been bombarded with a pseudo-science of behavior modification type propaganda resulting in the pursuit of activities and goals which seem incomprehensible to the mass of citizens. One can even presume that this rough and ready onslaught through the media and entertainment industries act as a control mechanism well fitted to the needs of government and large corporations intent on extending their authority ever more widely over the behavior of its citizens. In spite of this, these essentially militaristic, consumerist and racist forces cannot destroy the essential integrity of the individual, but it can and does help make the world an intolerable place for people who persist in thinking they are free.

…After moving to Brooklyn the following year, Mr. Yerushalmi said he began studying Arabic and Shariah under two Islamic scholars, whom he declined to name. He said his research made clear that militants had not “perverted” Islamic law, but were following an authoritative doctrine that sought global hegemony — a mission, he says, that is shared by Muslims around the world. To illustrate that point, Mr. Yerushalmi cites studies in which large percentages of Muslims overseas say they support Islamic rule.

In interviews, Islamic scholars disputed Mr. Yerushalmi’s claims. Although Islam, like some other faiths, aspires to be the world’s reigning religion, they said, the method for carrying out that goal, or even its relevance in everyday life, remains a far more complex subject than Mr. Yerushalmi suggests. Read More:

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