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August 31, 2010

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You've really got the knack for this blogging thing, Eric.

slarti beat me to it.

In fact, there is a mosque in the Pentagon itself

That's just there for when the President visits. (rimshot)

Hmmm...

However, the Republican Party's demagoguery in recent years has taken the form of an indiscriminate hostility toward all Muslims and Islam in general - thus helping hoping to alienate young Muslim Americans that would otherwise feel a part of American culture and society.

Better.

Agreed on slarti's sentiment.

________________

The Mosque in the Pentagon will be under attack and dismantled one year from now, probably while the government is shut down by the filth in the Republican Party.

From a Newsweek poll:

'A full 14 percent of Republicans said that it was "definitely true" that Obama sympathized with the fundamentalists and wanted to impose Islamic law across the globe. An additional 38 percent said that it was probably true -- bringing the total percentage of believers to 52 percent. Only 33 percent of Republicans said that the "allegation" (as Newsweek put it) was "probably not true." Seven percent said it was "definitely not true" '

American Muslims have every right to be frightened, angry, desperate, and radicalized by this malignant behavior. They have every right to become heavily armed to protect themselves and their places of worship.

Look, good people of all political persuasions may have genuine misgivings about the community center in New York.

But the demagogic scum running the Republican Party hate-machine are NOT interested in short-term political gain any more than Hitler's anti-Semitism in the 1920s and early 1930s was a cute political tease to gain power with no consequences later.

This is palpable, malignant evil on its way to slaughter.

the Republican Party hate-machine are NOT interested in short-term political gain

I think this religion-baiting is mostly being done for short term gain, simply because the GOP isn't interested in long term planning about anything - these days, not even their own political prospects, something they used to be at least sort of good at.

If the morally null, idiotic, knish named 'Gingrich' and his like, thought it was to his/their short term advantage to *flatter* Muslims extravagantly, they would do that, too. In fact, the GOP sort of tried to do that a few times in recent years. They just don't care one way or another what comes out of their mouths. That doesn't make it better, nor does it forestall slaughter.

The most distressing part of this whole thing is how morally repugnant it is. But a VERY close second is the fact that it's also the purist kind of bovine-drooling stupidity. At the risk of being pompous, I want to repeat an analogy I used before, which I think sums up this latter: trashing a clear moral and strategic advantage the US has spent many decades building up - the traditions, and skills, of tolerance and assimilation - for cheap, fleeting political gain, is precisely as stupid as feeding a rare coin collection into a gumball machine. It's 'Darwin Award' material.

I honestly am not sure which aspect of this bothers me more - the moral depravity, or the sheer, pointless idiocy on a grand scale. An evil degenerate plan to foment religious war is obviously very bad and very stupid in a larger sense, but at least it's a plan; bumbling your way into religious war because you wanted a gumball is...well, it's just unspeakable.

At least a sixth of the pollable population is measurably loony, Countme. At one point, about that many people thought that the WTC towers were probably taken down by controlled demolition.

jonnybutter,

I think this religion-baiting is mostly being done for short term gain, simply because the GOP isn't interested in long term planning about anything - these days, not even their own political prospects, something they used to be at least sort of good at.

Whether you are right or not, and I'd say it depends on the individual doing the baiting, doesn't matter.

These a**holes are playing with fire, and like countme, I'm fearful that it's going to lead to some very serious ugliness. Trashing an American asset is stupid, no doubt, but there are things even worse than stupid, and I'm fearful we're going to see some of them.

The deeper question is not whether the GOP pundits working this line are doing it for short term gain or ideological reasons, but rather what effect this line is going to have on the population that is ominously receptive to it. Don't look at the match. Look around the match for dangerously close fuses and puddles of gasoline.

I think I'm in shock. We got this far thru the comments, on a post I agree with, and nobody has posted a comment that I significantly disagree with yet. Where are all our in-house nut cases?!?!?

Where are all our in-house nut cases?

Other than Jay Jerome and his many incarnations, I don't think we have any of those.

Slarti:

"At one point, about that many people thought that the WTC towers were probably taken down by controlled demolition."

True, and I expect I've seen pictures of a few of them at Tea Parties and public meetings last August holding up caricatures of President Obama dressed as a mammy witch-doctor.

But other than the odd duck who got through the electoral filtering device, I don't recall so many political candidates as we have now about to win national leadership positions who are fully on board with whacko, dangerous ideas, and, who in fact have been recruited because of their bedrock sincerity about whacko, dangerous ideas.

jonnybutter:

Well said.

There comes a tipping point when ignorant free-floating hate, previously and repeatedly bought off with gumballs, coalesces around a monster who offers the real deal.

Gingrich is not the monster -- he's a mildly clever punk and cheap opportunistic apparatchik Orc from whom the monster will extract the last rare coin in exchange for a job as some bureaucratic capo gog in the killing machine, perhaps supervising a crew hosing out railroad boxcars.

Btw, as to the definition of "mosque," and whether there is one in the Pentagon, it seems that there isn't one per se.

Moslems have no space exclusively for their practice and use an inter-denominational chapel.

So is it a "mosque?" No idea. You wouldn't call it a synagogue or church but -- as people call it now -- a chapel, even though it has clear Christian origins.

David,

That is a good point, but there isn't much cause to call the Park51 project a mosque either. At least, the criteria applied evenly would seem to suggest that they are both mosques, or not.

A mosque, or masjid, is literally any place where Muslims make salat

That is, David Brooks thinks there's a mosque at Applebee's.

The "measurably looney" malignant haters make further inroads and consolidate their power within the halls of the U.S. Government -- via Washington Monthly

"On his nationally syndicated radio program Sunday night, hate radio host Bill Cunningham said that he will broadcast his show from the office of Minority Leader Rep. John Boehner (R-OH) on this November's Election Day, and was invited by Boehner himself. "I'm going to do my show that day from the portico of the Speaker of the House's office in the U.S. Capitol. I've been invited there by the new Speaker of the House, John Boehner, and I'll be the only radio talk show host in the speaker's office, doing my show from the portico overlooking the Washington Monument," Cunningham said. "And I'm going to do it."

And who's Bill Cunningham? This is Bill Cunningham.

Vituperative remarks about President Obama are a staple of Cunningham's radio show. He has attacked Obama as a racist, alleged that the president wants to "gas the Jews," and invoked "six-six-six" and "the beast" in discussing "Barack Hussein Obama." He's adopted the rhetoric of birthers and even made racially charged remarks about Obama's father, stating, "That's what black fathers do. They simply leave."

The poor are also among Cunningham's favorite targets for attack: He has stated that they are impoverished "because they lack values, ethics, and morals," and advocated "beat[ing] the hell outta" homeless people with "a big old cane, Singapore-style."'


There's going to be an inside job alright.

Bernard and nous:

I agree that, in the end, it doesn't matter what motivates the bigotry-mongering. I just get stuck on this sort of point because I, like Glenn Beck, am very upset about the rotten state of our 'ethical moorings' in this country (not to say that either of you don't care about that).

In recent years, I've repeatedly seen the oh-they-don't-really-*mean*-it-they're-just-playing-politics explanation (for racism/bigotry) attributed to GOP politicians as if it were exculpatory (including by Yglesias)! How morally skewed is THAT?! Bigotry is a base, ugly, stupid thing, but it must be said that bigots generally don't recognize the fact that they're scapegoating; they are, in that sense, honest. That kind of 'honesty' is much more amenable to change than the other phenomenon: the deliberate stirring up of hatred which you don't even feel. Much worse, IMO.

I mean, compare a.) a regular joe or jane, perhaps under financial and/or many other kinds of pressures, perhaps with sub-optimal mental health for whatever reason, being engulfed by real fear and hatred for something they don't understand, and, b.) some jagoff in DC who mindlessly, and coldly, with malice aforethought, deliberately stokes the fires burning in joe/jane, for some petty gain. Who's worse? I think it's obvious.

In the case of Park51 it is demostrably true that the main instigator, Faux Noise, is acting in bad faith. A few months ago the project was a topic on Faux and there was no criticism at all but even explicit praise for the 'good muslims' behind it. Also to demonize the projext for a money source that is also behind Faux itself hints at rather bad faith; or even more blatant ignorance by Faux critters (but then the management would have had to interfere which it clearly did not).

countme?

Gingrich is not the monster

I don't really agree. He is what real world monsters often look like. Small, mediocre, morally vacant. Nice suits. People who believe that they are exempt from responsibility for their words and actions - they're Great Men, after all. Seriously, Gingrich is a very familiar kind of monster.

Actually, I think it's both a short-term plan AND a long-term strategy: I think the Republicans WANT more terrorist attacks on the US. It would scare people back into the safety of their abusive Dad's arms.

However, the Republican Party's demagoguery in recent years has taken the form of an indiscriminate hostility toward all Muslims and Islam in general - thus helping to alienate young Muslim Americans that would otherwise feel a part of American culture and society.

which party would likely do better if another 9/11 happened: the feverish War And Anger party, or the befuddled Can't We All Just Get Along party ?

also, Muslims only understand Power.

"In 1921, Sunni, Shiite and Ahmadi Muslims in Detroit celebrated the opening of perhaps the first purpose-built mosque in the nation."

I'm pretty sure that was in Dearborn, Michigan, not Detroit. Perhaps picky, but those of us from other parts of the state tend to get a bit prickly about the habit of treating the entire South-east corner of the state as though it were Detroit.

Apparently the first mosque was in Highland Park. When Ford opened the River Rouge plant in Dearborn, the Muslim employees followed the work and built a new mosque there in 1937.

Re jonnybutter's "I honestly am not sure which aspect of this bothers me more - the moral depravity, or the sheer, pointless idiocy on a grand scale": jon, the treacherous boneheads who call themselves Beck, Palin, Gingrich, et al. have rarely, if ever, left the U.S. and have no conception as to the magnitude of what it is they're stirring up. Dingbats at the levers of putative power that, in this current climate, passes for the real thing.

I have said this before, but this is the civic decline of our country. People who fall for this, who allow themselves to be conned in this way, are inadvertently doing more damage to our country because they are realizing what it is they fear most as a self-fulfilling prophecy. The worst part of it is that in some cases, they really don't know better. Their real fears - loss of economic status, loss of health care, loss of their homes - have been conflated and confused by a party that preaches to their worst instincts and reinforces their diminished situation, then blames it on the guy in the White House, who, warts and all, has demonstrated that he takes the problems of governence seriously. And all for a population within whom a sizable chunk has been reduced to the level of six-year-olds in fear and befuddlement.

In other words, they have been made to believe they are victims of a situation that really doesn't exist, while kept ignorant of what it is that really victimizes them. This is America's real enemy - an acceptance of iniquities that, with effort, could be fixable but deliberately aren't being fixed, while wasting our strength and wealth on hydra-headed bogeymen.

But that's par for the course with the GOP - manufacture an antagonism, stir up the base to make it happen, then betray those in it when it finds something better to amuse itself.

In this climate, I doubt seriously anymore that Obama can get a second term. I even doubt that he'd want it, knowing what a pallid, cowered, lifeless ghost of civic-mindedness he would be at the helm of.

The Democratic Party is hardly a liberal beacon, but I shall never forgive the Republicans for the ruin to civic life they are rendering.

GOP bigotry may be the Dem's best hope in not having Mitt Romney elected as president since Mormons are also still a target of hate from the Religious Right. A number of influential evangelical leaders have stated in just the last few days that however they agree with Beck (and Romney) on most aspects of policy they could never vote for them since their Mormonism is unacceptable to them. Btw, the new birtherism clone is the demand for Obama's certificate of baptism (combined with hints that pastor Jeremiah Wright is actually a secret Muslim too).

"A number of influential evangelical leaders have stated in just the last few days that however they agree with Beck (and Romney) on most aspects of policy they could never vote for them since their Mormonism is unacceptable to them. Btw, the new birtherism clone is the demand for Obama's certificate of baptism (combined with hints that pastor Jeremiah Wright is actually a secret Muslim too)."

Not being cite happy myself, I would still love to actually see something on either of these two claims.

Marty, http://www.rightwingwatch.org/ has numerous examples. The 'Obama's baptism is fake' meme is yet limited to a few admittedly (I think many simply don't need this extra dose of insanity).

"But that's par for the course with the GOP Democrats - manufacture an antagonism, stir up the base to make it happen, then betray those in it when it finds something better to amuse itself"

This defines much of Obamas presidency, from the left(long list starting with gay rights and the HCR deals with doctors and big pharma) and the right (longer list starting with the hate mongering of all bankers).

On the other hand, he gave his most Presidential speech ever last night. You can tell because he actually tried to talk to everyone in the country about moving forward, not just his constituents. It is a good plan for the President to try to represent and respect all of the people he is the President of.

Eric and Hartmut, Thanks.

Marty,

Wha?

Obama stirred up anti-gay bigotry by pushing for more gay rights? Wha?

And he didn't hatemonger all bankers. Can you show where he did that? Actual examples, please.

Obama stirred up anti-gay bigotry by pushing for more gay rights? Wha?

Much like LBJ (and that no good commie agitator MLKjr) stirred up racism by pushing for Civil Rights.

Shorter Marty: "Stop hitting yerselves!"

On gay rights, no, he focused on it as an issue in the campaign and then managed to ignore it for 19 months as he focused on "other things".

I will defer the answer on the bankers because I am sure that your question can't be serious. If I do need to start collecting cites from his speeches on bonuses and payments and greed and, oh crap, anything he has ever said about bankers then let me know.

With all due respect, Marty (such as it may be), while it's cute to watch you appropriate the civil rights struggle of us queers as a convenient rhetorical cudgel to bash teh POTUS, unless you ID under the LGBTIQ rubrik (and my apologies if you are indeed a Friend of Dorothy), it's really in poor taste (IMHO).

We aren't your Afghan Women.

(Also, "won't somebody puh-leeease think about teh poor bankers?" That's the cudgel in your right hand -- really?)

"With all due respect, Marty (such as it may be)."

I get to bash the POTUS for pretty much anything I want, and I get to have an opinion and concern on lot's of subjects where I don't fit the category.

That I can, and do, is actually something that lots of political activists spend a lot of time hoping they can create.

As for respect, I don't really crave yours so we're good.

Marty,

I get your point on Gay rights. Fair enough.

As to bankers, I'm not so sure.

You say that he hate-mongered, but I'd ask for actual quotes displaying that.

After all, there is no debate that bankers make a ton of cash, and that their bonuses are enormous compared to average salaries, and that their bonuses are paid in good times and bad, for good performance and bad.

That is not hatemongering as much as asking Wall St to consider the state of the nation.

But if you have quotes that you think are particularly egregious, I REALLY would like to see them.

Dead serious.

You're entirely correct, Marty -- it is indeed your God-given and constitutionally mandated right (and, far too often, your wont) to act like a complete dick.

Respect is earned -- much like contempt. Considering how little of the former I have for you (based on your long tenure at ObWi of disingenuous engagement and shoddy reasoning) it's indeed a great comfort to know that I provoke the latter in return.

But hey, on behalf of the Pink Mafia, thanks for taking one for the (other) team.

On gay rights, no, he focused on it as an issue in the campaign and then managed to ignore it for 19 months as he focused on "other things".

Absolutely true. How it's relevant to the topic of the thread, on the other hand, I have no idea.

You seem to be groping towards some kind of analogy between the Republicans stirring up their base by pumping up antagonism against Muslims, and Obama stirring up his base by making pumping up the LGBT portion of his base by pumping up antagonism against...??

Sorry, my bad. I should have known better than to expect anything more than a desperately strained attempt at "tu quoque" here. Carry on.

Marty: In the words of Pat Moynihan, you're entitled to your own opinions, but not to your own facts. Promising to act vigorously to advance gay rights is not "manufacturing antagonisms." Neither is calling some business executives on their bad behavior, and the most significant tightening of financial regulation in decades is hardly "betraying the base."

I'm not saying there are no examples from Democrats of what you're claiming, but those aren't them.

DNFTTQ

Do Not Follow The Tu Quoque.

Promising to act vigorously to advance gay rights is not "manufacturing antagonisms."

True. But it can look that way under certain assumptions. For example, if you assume that LGBT folk have no legitimate basis whatsoever for seeking the right to marry or the right to serve in the armed forces, then promising to ensure those rights may in fact be manufacturing antagonisms.

On the other hand, if you think that there is a possibility that such people might have a legitimate claim to such rights, even if you ultimately reject that claim, then advocacy for them cannot be seen as just manufactured antagonisms. I think Marty has proved altogether too much with this comment. Not only are people who seek greater legal protections for LGBT folk wrong in his view, but their project is so absurd that to even broach the discussion is proof positive of bad faith and demagoguery.

matttbastard, I am now filled with the urge to buy you a t-shirt that says "We will not be your Afghan-women" -- that quote is full of much win.

Do Not Follow The Tu Quoque

...down the rabbit hole.

Anyway, re: the demagogueic creep of ZOMG CREEPING SHARIA!!1, Sarah Posner alerted me yesterday to this 2008 Jewish Week piece of hers re: that hate-saturated 'Obsession' DVD.

Many have long been working hard to expand the creep of nativist panic re: a fundamentalist Muslim 5th column.

"We will not be your Afghan-women"

and i'm glad i'm not an Afghan boy.

Hogan,

There were three parts to the statement, the other two

"stir up the base to make it happen, then betray those in it when it finds something better to amuse itself"

Certainly qualify.

Eric,

There a dozens of articles on Obama and the fat-cat bankers, this is a good summary.

Marty,

That's an article. I asked for quotes from Obama that constituted hate-mongering.

Do you have?

And for the tq folks, when an attack is made that implies that only one side is doing something then rebutting that assertion is not tu quoque, it is rebutting THE POINT.

Silly E-Mart -- didn't you see the statement from POTUS in there about "'fat-cat' bankers"?

The rank hate is positively gushing out of Obama like a blown deepwater oil reserve.

stir up the base to make it happen

What do you think the "it" is in that clause? I think it's the manufactured antagonism. So, not that either.

As for that last one, if your response to Republican demagoguery and hatemongering is "but Obama hasn't kept all his campaign promises," well, fair enough, but so what?

when an attack is made that implies that only one side is doing something then rebutting that assertion is not tu quoque, it is rebutting THE POINT.

Eric can speak to his own intent, but that's definitely not THE POINT that i see in what he wrote.

Marty trying to school the rabble in argumentation theory is like putting Dick Cheney in charge of orientation at the Peace Corps.

Somewhat off topic, but the article cleek pointed to confuses me to no end. Specifically, I can't reconcile the parts where the author ties boy-raping to Islam. The author doesn't mention this, but I thought the Taliban were known for brutally punishing people who engaged in this practice. Their Islamic fundamentalist credentials are, I trust, well regarded. So what gives? Is boy-raping a well accepted part of Pashto culture but not of Talib culture? Is the Pashto's rush to justify it based on Islam just completely wrong?

Is boy-raping a well accepted part of Pashto culture but not of Talib culture?

As per many in-depth discussions with a dear friend of mine of Afghan origin, this, especially in Kandahar Though take my anecdotal confirmation with a heaping spoonful of salt.

Is the Pashto's rush to justify it based on Islam just completely wrong?

Islam is the standard language of justification there, so it's not surprising that that's what he invokes. But it sounds more like he's using some features of local Islamic practices as excuses, rather than drawing on Islamic theology.

In fact, there is a mosque in the Pentagon itself

Let's get the facts straight here, Eric. I know it's already been done above, but I think it's worth another comment. There is no mosque in the Pentagon. Just as I don't like the "ground zero mosque" label in terms of what it does to the debate, misstatements like this (and the YMCA argument too; Park51's own website says there will be a mosque on site under a separate non-profit, and that it is distinct from the Cordoba initiative, but Cordoba House is going to run the programs, if you can keep all of that straight)detract from the true debate. It doesn't do any good to fight right wing red herrings with left wing red herrings, or something like that. No fish fights.

And I think you are missing the main point in the Sharia debate vis-a-vis Rauf. I'm certainly no expert here, but he talks about what the American legal system would need to do to be "Sharia compliant." That raises the issue of what he means by that. My understanding is that Rauf, probably in large part due to his being a Sufi, looks at the basic principles of Sharia law rather than the specifics, e.g. protect property rights vs. cut off a hand. And he would support allowing religious communities to judge themselves in some sort of way, not necessarily (to my understanding) in subversion to the existing legal system.

I don't think Muslims in other countries would agree with the statement that "It's [Sharia law] too complicated for the average believer and even for some imams." Nor do I think that many Muslims would agree with Rauf's definition of Sharia law. Hence the issue.

In short, I don't think you can simply be dismissive of concerns about Sharia law in the U.S. If someone supports it, the question should be what, exactly, do they support. Just because different people define it differently doesn't mean the issue ends. On the other hand, I agree that one shouldn't assume that every Muslim supports "Sharia" as it may be defined, in say, Saudi Arabia or by the Taliban.


There a dozens of articles on Obama and the fat-cat bankers, this is a good summary.

Seriously, that is not remotely close to "hatemongering".

This (NSFW) and this (NSFW) are hatemongering.

Or maybe not even that, maybe it's just being really, really pissed off.

And, of course, even though to the casual observer it may seem like we're dealing with a case of equivalent expressions of anger (lefties hate bankers, righties hate mosque-building Muslims), there is a difference.

Many of the folks working in the financial sector on Wall St actually did ruin lots of other people, and that quite thoroughly.

Muslims wanting to build mosques in the US, not so much.

It would be nice, I guess, to think of all of this as just two sides yelling at each other from positions of more or less equal stupidity, but it really just isn't that way.

That raises the issue of what he means by that.

He explained what he meant by that quite clearly, in the address from which the "US Constitution is sharia-compliant" line came from.

It's been cited in threads here, it's on YouTube, it's readily available.

If you're interested, you can go look it up. Easy peasy, no need to speculate.

Let's get the facts straight here, Eric. I know it's already been done above, but I think it's worth another comment. There is no mosque in the Pentagon. Just as I don't like the "ground zero mosque" label in terms of what it does to the debate

If we concede that tehre is no mosque at ground zero, I'll concede that there is no mosque in the Pentagon. If the former, then the latter.

I'm certainly no expert here, but he talks about what the American legal system would need to do to be "Sharia compliant."

No, he doesn't. He says that it already is Sharia compliant. He doesn't say it needs to change. That's the thing.

I don't think Muslims in other countries would agree with the statement that "It's [Sharia law] too complicated for the average believer and even for some imams."

Well, that depends on the Muslims and depends on the country, right? Do you think some Muslims in England might agree? France? Germany? Morrocco? Indonesia? Turkey? India? If not, why not?

In short, I don't think you can simply be dismissive of concerns about Sharia law in the U.S.

Huh? I'm 100% certain that the US will not adopt Sharia law. Thus, I feel quite free to be dismissive of any such claims.

Nor do I think that many Muslims would agree with Rauf's definition of Sharia law. Hence the issue.

Huh? So the problem with Rauf saying that the Constitution is compliant is because many Muslims will disagree with him, hence Rauf...shouldn't have said it? Secretly means something else? Is not a moderate that we should be promoting rather than demonizing?

If someone supports it, the question should be what, exactly, do they support. Just because different people define it differently doesn't mean the issue ends.

Sure. I never said otherwise. Ask away. But pay attention to the actual answers, not the insinuations and innuendo fueled by anti-Muslim bigotry on the right.

I will defer the answer on the bankers because I am sure that your question can't be serious. If I do need to start collecting cites from his speeches on bonuses and payments and greed and, oh crap, anything he has ever said about bankers then let me know.

I know I may be setting myself up here, but I'm finding it difficult to believe that the real Marty said this. It's too stupid. Equating an opportunistic, prejudiced condemnation of all of Islam with Obama's completely warranted (and too-mild, frankly) criticism of some bankers who were instrumental in crashing the world economy, is too stupid for Marty. Honestly, check the IP.

jonny: please keep it civil.

nous,

Don't look at the match. Look around the match for dangerously close fuses and puddles of gasoline.

Indeed. And now we see puddles not only in Murfreesboro, TN, but also in upstate New York.

jonny -- I recommend cleek's pie filter, or some similar arrangement. It gets hard when everyone else keeps biting the hooks, but it's a start.

Sorry Eric. I wasn't mostly being sarcastic, though; I was honestly wondering if that was really him. He usually makes better arguments than that. It was the argument - not Marty himself - that I meant to call 'stupid', but I guess I stepped over the line. My apologies.

"At least a sixth of the pollable population is measurably loony, Countme. At one point, about that many people thought that the WTC towers were probably taken down by controlled demolition."

On comment threads at far left blogs, you still find a fair number of people who think this. I'd be surprised if it's as low as one sixth at some blogs.

Every part of the spectrum probably has its share of, um, believers in highly unlikely theories, centrists included. Centrists are probably too prone to believe authority figures and so they believe Colin Powell when he warns about Saddam's WMD's. That was a conspiracy theory for centrists and righties and liberal hawks. Lefties go for 9/11 truth style silliness, but they don't get very far in political life. The rightwing crazies seem to do better.

Every part of the spectrum probably has its share of, um, believers in highly unlikely theories ...

Which is the most unlikely theory:
1) Obama was born in Kenya?
2) CIA blew up the Twin Towers?
2) The god of Abraham created the universe?

Nobody gets very far in American politics without espousing at least ONE of those unlikely theories.

--TP

Heh. There goes your Senate run, Tony. ;)

matttbastard -- poll is down now. I do notice, however the '...like gun owners' bit they put up there to be cute in a "well WE have to register..." way. I also not that by this set of standards practicing Islam equates to gun ownership and thus freedom of religion = right to bear arms -- nevermind the problems inherent in guns=Islam in the first place.

Any bets on whether they also think there should be no gun stores allowed within x miles of Columbine or VA Tech? Seems to me they always use these as excuses why campuses need more guns. Hmmm...

Huh? So the problem with Rauf saying that the Constitution is compliant is because many Muslims will disagree with him, hence Rauf...shouldn't have said it?

I don't follow. The problem isn't that he shouldn't have said it because some Muslims might disagree. The problem is it is hard to see what he actually means. I think he is being purposefully vague. Read this and tell me what the heck he means. And this from an article entitled "What Shariah law is All About."

So Shariah law is "God's law" and therefore not far from the Laws of Nature and Nature's God" in the Declaration of Independence? Yes, that explains everything! The checks and balances of the Constitution on the three branches of government are somehow analogous to the Muslim's ideal judiciary keeping laws in balance with the Quran and Hadith? Boy, now I'm really getting it.

I do get that he thinks some of the ways the penal code is applied towards women "flow out of a cultural context" and, apparently not from the "religious imperative." But I'd like him to reconcile that with his statement that "[w]hat Muslims want is to ensure that their secular laws are not in conflict with the Quran or the Hadith, the sayings of Muhammad." The basis of the objectionable parts of what is commonly understood to be Shariah law is the Quran and/or Hadith.

He could be more direct and renounce the "versions" of Sharia law that are objectionable to our modern society. That would help understanding and bridge building. But he appears to compound the problem by telling foreign Muslims in Arabic (I don't speak Arabic, so I can't vouch for the translation) that "I do not believe in religious dialogue" and that an Islamic state can be established through different forms of government, including a democracy. Makes me wonder what he is all about.

But I am probably biased just by the name "Cordoba." I minored in Spanish and studied the history of the Iberian Peninsula. I don't think the Spaniards prior to the reconquista viewed that period of history in quite the same way as Rauf does. Seems like a bad choice of names to me.

The problem is it is hard to see what he actually means.

If he would just come out in favor of torture and abandoning habeas corpus he'd set a lot of minds at ease.

I don't think the Spaniards prior to the reconquista viewed that period of history in quite the same way as Rauf does.

reconquista... you're talking about the middle ages, a period of time that was over before Columbus' first voyage ?

we should be sensitive to the feelings of people who have been dead since before America was even known to Europeans ?

Rauf thinks the US Constitution "complies" with God's law.

Do Pat Robertson, Billy-boy Graham, or "Pastor" Hagee agree?

--TP

He could be more direct and renounce the "versions" of Sharia law that are objectionable to our modern society.

Rauf could pee on a Koran on Broadway and that would not be enough.

He's made his position clear regarding fundamentalist / militant / illiberal / terror-supporting readings of Islam in print, on the radio, on TV, and on his website.

He's not looking to overthrow the Constitutional government of the United States, he's not looking to institute Islamic theocratic rule here, he's not looking to make the US an Islamic nation.

He wants to build a freaking YMCA. Yeah, some Muslims will pray there. They do now, in that very building, and in another one two blocks from there.

There's nothing this guy can do that will satisfy folks who, plainly and simply, don't like Muslims, don't trust Muslims, and don't want any form of Muslim-sponsored institution, religious or otherwise, built within a mile of the WTC site, Shanksville, or any other place that they have decided is "holy ground".

Muslims are weird, they wear funny hats and have beards, they pray in some bizarre moonman language, they don't think Jesus is God but they're not Jews, and lots of them are brown.

And yeah, some of them are militant religious fanatic terrorsts, like some of quite a number of religious and political groups are militant fanatic terrorists.

But they're not "like us". So they're screwed.

Russell:

With respect, all you saying is that any objection to Rauf/mosque near ground zero be labeled "bigoted." Eric did the same thing with his "give me one non-bigoted reason" line of thinking. I'm not saying there are NOT bigots out there who don't like Muslims, or that there are not pundits cashing in on uninformed animus. But not every objection to Sharia law or the mosque near ground zero etc. should be labeled bigoted. That's not engaging in true debate either.

bc--

Over the past month or so I've seen several people online say there are non-bigoted reasons to support moving the mosque and the reasons have so far turned out to be bigoted. At best one could say that some feel the mosque should be moved because some of the friends and families of the victims are offended by it, but then why are they offended? Because the terrorists were Muslim fanatics and Rauf is a Muslim. Which is like holding Mennonites responsible for Christian religious wars. What the non-bigoted argument amounts to is bigotry --oh, I'm not a bigot, but those other people have a legitimate right to be offended by your mosque, so move it. That word "legitimate" is what makes that argument bigoted. The one thing I'd grant here is that many people making this argument probably haven't thought it through. They may not realize the bigoted implications of what they're saying, though I think they'd see it quickly enough if similar reasoning were applied to them in some fashion. But that's human nature.

Rauf is guilty of one thing--he greatly overestimated many Americans. He should have known better. He should have realized that bigots would demand that he demonstrate he's a good Muslim by giving in to their bigotry, by acknowledging that there is something inherently offensive about a mosque because some Muslims are fanatics. Now maybe one could argue that in order to win over bigots who don't realize they are bigots, you have to meet them halfway and give in to their bigotry to some extent before they will listen to you. I can understand why that thought would not have occurred to him. It's not an argument I would make.

bc,

But I am probably biased just by the name "Cordoba." I minored in Spanish and studied the history of the Iberian Peninsula. I don't think the Spaniards prior to the reconquista viewed that period of history in quite the same way as Rauf does. Seems like a bad choice of names to me.

I don't want to turn this into a debate on Spanish history, but I find this statement quite odd. Muslim Spain was a vastly more attractive place to live than Carolingian Europe.

The reconquista, whatever it did for Christian rulers and Popes, ultimately produced the expulsion of the Jews, followed soon thereafter by that of the Muslims, and of course the Inquisition. It's hard to see it as a wonderful thing.

Marty's impassioned defense of bankers reminds me of the story of a little old lady approaching Alex Karras and berating him for being so mean to quarterbacks. Alex Karras looked down at her and said 'lady, you do know they get paid a helluva lot more than anyone else.'

But I am probably biased just by the name "Cordoba.

I'm thinking that it is a human trait to get fired up by losses, not victories. All the great coaching anecdotes I can think of don't make reference to great victories ("You've been the best in the league for the past 5 years, so let's go out there and win it for the 6th time"?) but by defeats or insults ('This is our house, do you want them to come in and think they own this place?'). The only exceptions I can think of is high school or college programs, where the incoming players are told they have to live up to the reputation of their predecessors and I find it hard to think that the name Cordoba is calling a new generation of Muslims to live up to the standards of Umayyad. In that sense, the outrage over Cordoba tells us a lot more about the thought processes of the offended.

Muslim Spain was a vastly more attractive place to live than Carolingian Europe.

Especially for Muslims. Yes, culturally too. But that's kind of my point. I don't think both sides necessarily view it as an ideal of Muslim-Christian interaction. One side might tend to look at it as a time as living under conquest even if the other sees it as a time of Muslim-Jewish-Christian interaction. Just saying.

LJ: I'm just trying to figure out what it says about those choosing the name.


BC:

But not every objection to Sharia law or the mosque near ground zero etc. should be labeled bigoted. That's not engaging in true debate either.

If people are using "Sharia" as an unquestionably bad thing, they are being prejudiced, at best - they are forming judgments before they have the facts (pre-judging - hence, prejudice). Is this "bigotry"? Well, that depends - if calling it bigotry makes that person realize they're engaging in something ugly, and decide not to make the same mistake in the future, yes. If calling it merely "factually incorrect" will accomplish that instead, I'm willing to go with factually incorrect. But bigotry is a fair name for the evil of attacking something different without knowing that it's bad.

As for opposing the center's location, yes, I do think that's bigotry - it's treating people badly because they're Muslims. That doesn't mean a person who thinks that they shouldn't build it there is a bigot - there's a difference between a person engaging in some unthinking bigotry and being a bigot.

I'll be glad to avoid the use of the word bigot if it helps me make a connection to someone and explain that, no, there's no reason to bully those nice, peaceful Muslim folks.

But that won't mean that bullying those nice folks isn't bigotry.

I don't think both sides necessarily view it as an ideal of Muslim-Christian interaction.

If you wanted a shorthand rendering of that ideal, what would you suggest?

bc,

Especially for Muslims. Yes, culturally too. But that's kind of my point. I don't think both sides necessarily view it as an ideal of Muslim-Christian interaction.

It was quite possibly a better deal for the average Christian too, as a matter of fact. Most of those living in Christian lands were serfs, so having a Christian monarch was probably not that big a deal to them. Even if you disagree, I think it's clear that the Christians fared much better under the Muslims than the Muslims later did under the Christians.

I do take your point, though, that the name represents a period of Muslim dominance. Still, I wonder what historical Islamic or Arab allusion would not refer to a place where Muslims ruled. Political power is historically intertwined with religion after all. Maybe he should call it Algebra House.

But that's kind of my point. I don't think both sides necessarily view it as an ideal of Muslim-Christian interaction. One side might tend to look at it as a time as living under conquest even if the other sees it as a time of Muslim-Jewish-Christian interaction.

So you're saying that they should've taken their name from the non-existent time and place in medieval history when religious tolerance was practiced by a non-religious government? Or the non-existent flourishing multi-religious culture run by a Christian government?
I dont think it's hard to view the name as a nod to the cultural richness and religious tolerance of the period (particularly the flourishing of Jewish culture, especially compared to their treatment in Christendom), rather than a nod to the Muslim conquest of Spain.

But he appears to compound the problem by telling foreign Muslims in Arabic (I don't speak Arabic, so I can't vouch for the translation) that "I do not believe in religious dialogue"

Both translation and context might be important in understanding this, especially since it seems to contradict not only other statements that he's made but also his behavior.

But I'd like him to reconcile that with his statement that "[w]hat Muslims want is to ensure that their secular laws are not in conflict with the Quran or the Hadith, the sayings of Muhammad."

Are there not a large number of Christians in the US who espouse a similar philosophy? I thought that people could use their religion to inform their political and moral views- is that not Ok for Muslims? Or is Christianity also not compatible with western democracy?

bc:

Your objections have a circular ring to them. They all presume an original, unspoken offense, which Rauf then 'compounds' or 'doesn't help', etc. What is the original, underlying offense?

I am discriminating enough to be prejudiced in favor of different meanings for different words, though not so bigoted as to deny that common usage has muddled the following definitions a bit:
o Discrimination is opinion based on evidence;
o Prejudice is opinion in advance of evidence;
o Bigotry is opinion in spite of evidence.

Any opposition to replacing the abandoned Burlington Coat Factory that even mentions Islam is discrimination between religions. (Religions are self-evidently different from each other.) This is discrimination in the good old-fashioned sense that Jane Austen would have used the word.

If people who even casually mention Islam in their reasons for opposing the "Ground Zero Mosque" are willing to own up to their discrimination, I am willing to defer the question of their prejudice or bigotry. If not, they can kiss my ass.

--TP

But not every objection to Sharia law or the mosque near ground zero etc. should be labeled bigoted.

First, sharia law and building an Islamic YMCA near ground zero are distinct things.

The substance of the objection to Park51 is as follows:

(a) Muslims committed terror attacks on 9/11
(b) Rauf and the Cordoba Institute are Muslims

Rauf has, for years, been crystal clear on his position about the attacks of 9/11. The only way you can derive an objection to Park51 from the attacks on 9/11 is to willfully ignore everything the guy has ever said on the topic.

What Rauf is all about is *demonstrating that Muslims can live peacefully and in good faith in a secular Western democracy*.

Looking for the moderate Muslim who wants to live harmoniously in our society? He's your guy. It doesn't get any better.

With respect, I don't see grounds for objecting to Park51 that don't boil down to (a) I don't like Muslims, (b) I have no idea what Rauf has actually said or done for the last ten years, (c) Rauf isn't telling the truth, or (d) I just don't like it.

If you got something else to bring to the table, feel free. Otherwise, it looks like either bigotry, ignorance, or gut-level discomfort to me. The last is fine as far as it goes, and if that's your beef you're entitled to it, but it's not a good enough reason to prevent other people from doing what they want to do.

bc,
About once or twice a year, I have to tell a student or two something like 'Taking a shirt that says 'F**king A!' for your homestay is not such a good idea' or 'adorableslut47 is not the best email address'. That is to say that it is not important what they thought the phrase in question meant, it is how the phrase sounds to other people. From my point of view, people are not claiming that the name Cordoba instills fear in them, they claim that the people who choose that name have some nefarious purpose in doing so. It's already been pointed out, both here and other places, that the Caliphate of Cordoba marked a period of religious tolerance, and the choice of name is argued to speak more to the syncretic nature of the Visigoth Church cum Mosque cum Church than to some desire to conquer the West. That you keep trying to impose that notion suggests that you won't be happy unless they name the place after Charles Martel.

May I remind people again that Cordoba was originally founded by Neanderthals and turned into an actual city by the Carthaginian invaders of the 3rd century BC? Christianity was a real latecomer and imo not even a welcome one. And the poisonous spawn of reconquista is still with us and imo the Iberian peninsula would have fared better had it never happned (although the world would have lost a precious Monty Python sketch then).

Along with those nice red uniforms.

At this point, much like Obama's prospects for a second term, I doubt Rauf could do anything - a wee-wee on the Koran, a translation of his remarks on sharia into English, a mini-history lesson on the idea behind the choice of 'Cordoba Initiative' as the name of the thing, for crying out loud - that would satisfy the right because they've decided to have it out for all Muslims. After all, Muslims in the U.S. are the new post-Pearl Harbor Japanese-Americans, damned by association.

Without beating up on Marty more, I have to remark here, albeit late in the day thanks to my being in a far-flung time zone - it was rather cute of you shanghai'ing my remarks on your 9/1 at 11:40 post in a ludicrous stab at equivocating Obama's (albeit weak) attempt at speaking truth to power with the piss and vinegar the GOP's peddling right now. What on earth has he done that has such equivancy? Are blogging mob-mongerers pounding their keyboards with venom, ready to take the head of the columns that will stalk Wall Street at night for anyone in a cravat and Boston shoes? No, Marty, they aren't. If anything, the contemporary equivalent of mad men have gotten off again, with boredom as their worst enemy.

Now I'm done, and take my place at the head of the column to defend you against anyone roaming the blogosphere for your head. Seriously. You are needed here for the test, the healthy resistance of ideas that is necessary.

sekajin,

I am sure I was not drawing the equivalency you have read into it. I was pointing out that it is not uniquely GOP to build an issue for political support and then move on. The Obama administration has talked down bankers and insurance companies regularly to create an environment that they believed would drive support for HCR and financial reform, then having Obama clear things up by saying we don't really begrudge people being wealthy, heck there all lots of sports figures that are overpaid.

I could go back through the 40 years of politics I have been aware of and find lots of examples on both sides at varying levels abhorrence.

It really is a simple notion that somehow I found as self evident. I was surprised that, when pointed out, there weren't a number of people who agreed that the current idea that only Republicans do that is pretty far fetched.

Eric did the same thing with his "give me one non-bigoted reason" line of thinking. I'm not saying there are NOT bigots out there who don't like Muslims, or that there are not pundits cashing in on uninformed animus. But not every objection to Sharia law or the mosque near ground zero etc. should be labeled bigoted. That's not engaging in true debate either.

So instead of telling me that non-bigoted reasons for opposing the mosque exist, tell me the actual reasons!

Please.

I've been asking for months, of you, Marty, anyone else.

Thus far: nothing.

I am sure I was not drawing the equivalency you have read into it. I was pointing out that it is not uniquely GOP to build an issue for political support and then move on.

Then you shouldn't have hooked it onto sekajin's comment, because that's not what s/he was talking about. If you weren't trying to draw that equivalency ("Democrats manufacture hate for cynical political advantage, just like Republicans"), then it wasn't wise to, you know, draw it.

Hogan,

Probably right. Sometimes strange things draw my attention, particular in threads where the basic points seem to be kind of "me too" obvious.

The Obama administration has talked down bankers and insurance companies regularly to create an environment that they believed would drive support for HCR and financial reform

For me, personally, it's just not that hard to get my head around the idea that bankers and insurance companies actually have acted irresponsibly and in bad faith, and that financial and health care reform were and are, really and truly, needed.

And when I say "it's not that hard to get my head around it", I mean "it's blindingly obvious".

You can either look at Obama's statements and see political game-playing, or you can look at Obama's statements and see simple candor. Which way you roll is, I guess, a function of how you view the underlying reality.

To my eye, the bankers and insurance companies were behaving, quite overtly, like irresponsible greedheads, and Obama was making a simple statement of fact.

It's like saying, "You have pneumonia, you need to take an antibiotic".

I know this flies in the face of the idea that it's all just two tribes yelling at each other from their positions of respective and equal ignorance, but so be it.

Sometimes politics is partisan BS, and sometimes it's just dealing with reality.

Sometimes people really do behave badly and harmfully, and pointing that out is not necessarily evidence of some weird agenda.

Russell, so I guess he has been successful demonizing them. Banks and insurance companies are businesses, public and private. Their were some bad, risk taking players and there were some conscientious hard working people (even at the top) who were trying to serve their customers and remain competitive. Many of the 839 troubled banks are victims of the crisis, not the cause. But "bankers" are just accepted to be greedy people taking advantage. Point, set, match Dems, huh?

Their were some bad, risk taking players and there were some conscientious hard working people (even at the top) who were trying to serve their customers and remain competitive.

The problem with this analysis is: why aren't some of these "good" bankers/insurance execs spilling the beans and telling us who among them were good and who were bad? Why weren't "good" bank/insurance execs publishing blistering critiques of common industry practices BEFORE the bubble burst? Why haven't these same "good" execs publicly advocated for legal or regulatory changes to clean up their industry?

Why? Incredible class solidarity. The bankers have closed up ranks. That's why you didn't see bankers publicly pointing to bad practices before the bubble burst. And that's why they've all been working hard to minimize and regulatory changes, no matter how necessary. And that's why you don't see bankers publicly calling out their own. I mean really now: banks were offering huge loans to many many people without bothering to verify income or assets. That is simply insane. Lots of people in the industry knew it at the time. Some of them spoke up. None of those speaking up were high level officers.

If the public can't differentiate the "good" from the "bad", maybe it is because the "good" have done nothing to differentiate themselves from the "bad" to the public. But I suppose expectations premised on personal responsibility are automatically suspect.

To the extent that some of the banks were victims of the crisis, they should welcome the reforms intended to prevent similar future crises. I'm not sure many Muslims looking forward to their community center have any grounds on which to welcome the protests of it.

Here's the thing - the banking industry, generally, was the culprit, or at least one of the biggest culprits, in the financial crisis, whether or not each and every "banker" did something wrong. (I'm not sure where you have to be on the org chart to qualify.) He's criticising the industry and certain members of it for what the industry and certain members of it did.

The community center is being protested based on the 9/11 attacks. The community center had nothing to do with the 9/11 attacks.

These things are not of the same cloth, Marty, no matter how many times you try to say or imply that they are.

Beyond that, the set of Muslims is much larger, more varied (in terms of what it means to be a Muslim, as opposed to a banker) and membership of that set is far more personal of a thing than being a banker. People aren't generally born into banking and raised as bankers. Bankers can decide to stop being bankers and non-bankers can decide to start being bankers in ways that people generally can't or don't decide to start being or not being Muslims. Working in an industry is not like belonging to a religion, particularly one with a billion and a half members.

And do you think Obama would suggest shutting down some small community S&L that did none of the stupid, risky, greedy sh1t that let to the financial crisis simply because it could be called a "bank?" That might be somewhat equivalent, but it's not anything like what he's suggested.

Many of the 839 troubled banks are victims of the crisis, not the cause. But "bankers" are just accepted to be greedy people taking advantage.

you're conflating traditional banks and Wall St. investment banks. why? i don't know - maybe it makes it easier to complain about Dems. because it seems to me that when people criticize "bankers" in the context of the current crisis, they're talking about the people on Wall St. who over-leveraged their companies, nearly fell over, then got a big bunch of bailout cash, and rewarded themselves with enormous piles of bonus cash - you know, Goldman Sachs et al, not the people who run traditional consumer/local business banks.

What Cleek said.

Obama addresses Wall Street, not the neighborhood bank in Peoria.

Come on Marty, I think you know that.

C'mon Eric when he says fat cat bankers and banks need to start lending money because we helped them out, is he really talking about the same banks?

You know better than that.

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