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"Israel is our only hope as the post-American president is aiding and abetting a nuclear Iran. Barack Obama is enabling Iran’s Islamic bomb" - Pamela Geller
August 18, 2010 2:27 PM   Subscribe

As the "ground zero mosque" story approaches bipartisan consensus, thanks to unexpected statements by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (joining a growing opposition), several journalists trace the origins of how the Park 51 community center became(warning: CNN) a toxic subject. What they found was Pamela Geller, a blogger at Atlas Shrugs, who has some very interesting vlogs. You may previously know her from this cozy 2006 interview with Bush's infamous anti-UN UN ambassador John Bolton.
posted by mek (439 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite

 
"Some Muslims Americans outraged about senator's opposition to plan"
posted by yeloson at 2:31 PM on August 18, 2010 [8 favorites]


When you used the words "bipartisan consensus" I thought this was a positive thing. Then I realized the horror of what you meant.
posted by Salvor Hardin at 2:35 PM on August 18, 2010 [31 favorites]


xenophobes gonna phobe.
posted by GuyZero at 2:35 PM on August 18, 2010 [40 favorites]


Perhaps unfortunately, the US population does not consist mostly of gay Brazilian civil rights lawyer-bloggers. Therefore, Mr. Greenwald will probably not approve of the actions what the political representatives of this population.
posted by goethean at 2:36 PM on August 18, 2010


And in today's news regarding the 'mosque controversy':
'No regrets' on mosque issue, Obama says.

Sam Stein On Ground Zero Mosque Imam: A Voice "We Should Be Elevating, Not Downplaying".

Nancy Pelosi Calls For Probe Into Funding Of Opposition To 'Ground Zero Mosque'.

9/11 family member Ted Olson breaks from the GOP on NYC mosque: Obama ‘was right about this.

Grover Norquist Says Mosque Controversy Is Bad For Republicans.

Joe Scarborough Takes On Newt Gingrich's Mosque Comments: 'It's Deplorable, It Is Sick Politics'.

Rove Equates Building Of A Mosque Near Ground Zero With A Neo-Nazi Meeting At A Jewish Hotel.
posted by ericb at 2:36 PM on August 18, 2010 [13 favorites]


Harry Reid is a brave and stalwart voice of progressive values, and has been a driving force behind the dynamic and effective Senate that has become the defining characteristic of the 111th Congress.

So we should all carefully consider what he has to say.
posted by [citation needed] at 2:36 PM on August 18, 2010 [16 favorites]


It's like the general sucky hatefullness of America under Bush was released as a cloud of evil smoke once McCain was defeated but settled over the country as a whole in a post credits shocker-shot.
posted by Artw at 2:36 PM on August 18, 2010 [15 favorites]


Thank you, Senator Reid, for making me feel good about my decision to never again vote for a Democrat as long as I live.
posted by Joe Beese at 2:37 PM on August 18, 2010 [5 favorites]


Also, I hope Harry Reid loses his job, and several of his houses, despite this naked attempt to pander to conservatives in his upcoming election. Freaking weasel of a politician. He should have gone down with honor rather than frantically scrabble his weaselly way back into Congress as a disgrace.
posted by Salvor Hardin at 2:39 PM on August 18, 2010 [5 favorites]


On postview, essentially what Joe Beese said.
posted by Salvor Hardin at 2:40 PM on August 18, 2010


Goodnight, America.
posted by Azazel Fel at 2:42 PM on August 18, 2010 [3 favorites]


Thank you, Senator Reid, for making me feel good about my decision to never again vote for a Democrat as long as I live.

If we ever needed a legitimate third-party option, now is the time.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:43 PM on August 18, 2010 [13 favorites]


Reid has an opponent so over the top conservative he knows liberals in the state will vote for him, so he has all the room in the world to pander to the right a bit to get the centrist Republicans. This issue was a perfect moment for him to do that considering the polls on this issue.

The worst thing the tea party has done is nominate that nut Angle and resurrecting Reid in the process.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 2:43 PM on August 18, 2010 [8 favorites]


Let's just call it a "human shield" and redirect the anger more appropriately to our inability to rebuild anything at "ground zero" in nearly a decade after the attacks.

I don't particularly care for political theater, but given the choice between bigotry and actually getting something done at "ground zero", the Obama administration in their first few months should have knocked heads together to finally get something built at that site. A presidential ribbon cutting ceremony on the world's tallest, twin spire building before the 2012 election = reelection. Instead, Democrats are being cowed by mobs of bigots. Stupid country.
posted by Davenhill at 2:45 PM on August 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


Thank you, Senator Reid, for making me feel good about my decision to never again vote for a Democrat as long as I live.

Because everyone in the Democratic Party supports Harry Reid and agrees with everything he says?
posted by naoko at 2:46 PM on August 18, 2010 [8 favorites]


From the Economist:

Is a mosque to 9/11 as a swastika is to the Holocaust? No

The campaign against the Cordoba centre is unjust and dangerous

Is there really nothing to be done about silly wedge issues?

A little knowledge of medieval history is a dangerous thing

Religious freedom is an American value. So is the freedom to offend

From the medieval history story, a link to a medieval history scholar's blog with several insights, for example, "Mr Gingrich's description of the mosque at Cordoba is akin to describing 'the Statue of Liberty as being built by English conquerors in their capital of New York to symbolize their victory over the Dutch.'"
posted by jedicus at 2:46 PM on August 18, 2010 [14 favorites]


The common denominator of the 9/11 hijackers wasn't that they were Muslims. Or that they were of Arab descent. Or that they were men.

It was that they were extremists.

The intolerant have more in common with them than the average Muslim in this country.
posted by justkevin at 2:47 PM on August 18, 2010 [130 favorites]


... so he has all the room in the world to pander to the right a bit to get the centrist Republicans.

I understand where you're coming from, I just think it's sad that "centrist Republican" now includes people who think that certain religions shouldn't be able to gather on their own private property in certain parts of our country.

I mean, we have Democrats who are openly saying that Muslims really aren't welcome in lower Manhattan. This is one of those moments that you can make legitimate comparisons to Wiemar-Germany without Godwinning yourself.
posted by Azazel Fel at 2:48 PM on August 18, 2010 [6 favorites]


Perhaps unfortunately, the US population does not consist mostly of gay Brazilian civil rights lawyer-bloggers.
posted by goethean


You might think it's funny to make a gay joke at the expense of the one openly homosexual American blogger I linked to, but I find it deplorable, and a clear example of the xenophobia this post is documenting. Next time try reading past the author's name. Shame on you.
posted by mek at 2:50 PM on August 18, 2010 [17 favorites]


Currently upon the 'hallowed ground': Strip club, Bookie, McDonald's, Irish pub, 9/11 souvenir hawkers. (locations mapped at bottom of this link)
posted by IanMorr at 2:51 PM on August 18, 2010 [14 favorites]


"It's not a mosque, it's a community center with a Prayer Room."
"A Prayer Room. If Park51 is a Mosque, then the Intel office in Cairo is a Mosque, and the Motorola office, and the Audi office. They all have 'prayer rooms' so that devout Muslims can ... pray. It's what Muslims do, several times a day. They usually look like offices. They're usually labeled 'Prayer Room.'

Every Western company in a Muslim country has a Prayer Room. Are all of these offices really Mosques?

..the Pentagon may be a Mosque as well. (Gasp!)"*
posted by ericb at 2:51 PM on August 18, 2010 [14 favorites]


Fuck you Howard Dean.

Thanks to everyone above who's finding the bright lights in this godawful mess.
posted by kipmanley at 2:52 PM on August 18, 2010 [5 favorites]


It is all well and good to support the buidling. But this is Sacred Ground

http://daryllang.com/blog/4421
posted by Postroad at 2:53 PM on August 18, 2010


Actually, I am enjoying the backlash against haters that I see developing now. Take a look at erich's lnks above. I'm also liking that the chief haters who launched the controversy -- I'm looking at Palin and Gingrich -- are now sidestepping to stress the supposed trauma to 911 survivors, instead of their original anti Islamic stance.

I'm also pleased with the President. He spoke up, he spoke clearly, and he's not backing down.
posted by bearwife at 2:53 PM on August 18, 2010 [8 favorites]


So neither a mosque, nor actually at Ground Zero, still, I guess I can understand people being sensitive to the idea, if they're not familiar with the area. Especially in light of the tasteful and sober monument they have planned at the actual site.
posted by electroboy at 3:00 PM on August 18, 2010 [4 favorites]


Why can't these Muslims just accept that the 1st Amendment doesn't apply to their fake religion, just like the Irish Catholics and Mormons* did before them?

Don't they know not people with rights but just boogie-men, a Republican election year wedge issue designed to motivate Neanderthals to vote? The gays understand that's their sole purpose in life!

It's the American Way!

* "In late October, [1838] Missouri governor Lilburn Boggs issued an official decree, declaring, 'The Mormons must be treated as enemies, and must be exterminated or driven from the State.'"
posted by orthogonality at 3:01 PM on August 18, 2010 [4 favorites]


The fact that this is still in the news makes me so sad. The fact that so many people think this way makes me sadder.

It seems like we're a nation of bigots and cowards.
posted by brundlefly at 3:02 PM on August 18, 2010 [15 favorites]


Does the Federal government have any conceivable legal power to block this? I mean, I could see the New York city government denying a building permit or something, but I don't see them doing that. Federalism is a two way street and Congress shouldn't have any role in a local property rights dispute.
posted by miyabo at 3:02 PM on August 18, 2010


Ack! Pamela Geller is the very definition of Bat. Shit. Insane. I honest to god thought her site was some kind of sick, Onionesque satire... What a fucking wretched display of inhumanity.
posted by OneMonkeysUncle at 3:03 PM on August 18, 2010


It seems like we're a nation of bigots and cowards.

Well, we have one party of racist bigots, and one of fucking pansies.

Goddammit Dean, what the fuck.
posted by graventy at 3:04 PM on August 18, 2010 [7 favorites]


Geller argues the building where the Cordoba House is sacred because it was hit by landing gear on Sept. 11, 2001, and doesn't buy arguments about some of the more seedy buildings in the area desecrating the memory of those killed nine years ago.

"Strip clubs didn't bring down the towers. It's faulty logic."
—TPM talks to Pamela Geller.
posted by kipmanley at 3:05 PM on August 18, 2010 [3 favorites]


I should say, so yes, you're absolutely right brundlefly.
posted by graventy at 3:05 PM on August 18, 2010


So with all this gasbagging, what do they propose to do about it? Eminent Domain? It's private property, it's zoned for the purpose, all permits are already approved.

But that's probably all the better for the populists. They can pretend to pontificate without actually having to do anything about it, then after the suckers go to the election booths, never bother to mention the "issue" again.
posted by -harlequin- at 3:06 PM on August 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


One could argue that stripper poles actually add structural integrity to more buildings than they bring down.
posted by graventy at 3:06 PM on August 18, 2010 [4 favorites]


I am getting sick of the whole 'Ground Zero' mosque discussion. The only good part about it is I guess I know who not to to trust. Some of the people opposing the cultural center remind me of the likes of Karadzic, Mladic and Dodik.
posted by Katjusa Roquette at 3:08 PM on August 18, 2010 [3 favorites]


The great irony here is that al Qaeda desperately wants a holy war between Christian America and all Islam. If the Coat Factory Mosque is built it won't be because the terrorists have achieved victory, but because they have failed to precipitate that holy war. (Sadly they are looking more successful by the day.)
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 3:08 PM on August 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


Don't care if Reid is "just pandering for votes". As far as I am concerned, he just crossed a big, bright line. I hope you get nothing in return for selling your soul, Senator; apparently, it wasn't worth all that much in the first place.
posted by kyrademon at 3:09 PM on August 18, 2010 [13 favorites]


This seems like a repeat of the Terry Schiavo debacle - Congress is up for reelection so let's all latch on to a non-federal issue and make a national debate about it.
posted by msbutah at 3:09 PM on August 18, 2010 [9 favorites]


If they can't build a prayer room in Manhattan, the terrorists win.

who am I kidding, they won a long time ago.
posted by -harlequin- at 3:10 PM on August 18, 2010 [7 favorites]


"“The Republican Party is on track to win a major victory in November based on the issue that Democrats are spending the country blind,” Norquist told me Tuesday evening. “There isn't a single voter in the country that was planning on voting for the Ds, who says, ‘Oh, mosque issue, now I will vote for the Rs.'”

Norquist is right and wrong. Sure, nobody's defecting over the Repbulicans over this, but he doesn't seem to understand there's a substantial portion lining up with Joe Beese and Glen Greenwald at the exit to defeat, where they will continue their efforts to convince themselves that there are literally no differences whatsoever between Democrats and Republicans and that they have no other tool than a strictly ideological application of their vote.

Reid, of course, deserves real contempt for dancing to the tune the Republican media strategists are playing, but the funny thing is how many of you oh-so-much-smarter-and-more-principled folks haven't realized you're doing exactly the same thing.

The not so funny thing is that some of you won't even catch on after I've made this post.
posted by namespan at 3:11 PM on August 18, 2010 [4 favorites]



Currently upon the 'hallowed ground': Strip club, Bookie, McDonald's, Irish pub, 9/11 souvenir hawkers. (locations mapped at bottom of this link)

I've been to that strip club, now we're talkin' hallowed ground! *
posted by xetere at 3:14 PM on August 18, 2010


You know, I can understand not remembering all of the Amendments. There are a lot of them. Hell, there's 10 of the Bill of Rights, and that's still overwhelming to people. But this? This is right there in the FIRST ONE, folks.

Also, please tell me what this mosque has to do with A) fixing the economy or B) energy independence.
posted by Eideteker at 3:14 PM on August 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


What the fuck?! I know this is supposed to be a simple community center, but honestly at this point, I hope they build a full fledged mosque, minarets and all.

The Muslims that will use it are a part of the community, and they have been since long before some assholes got it in their head to terrify people. And if this is still up for discussion, I seriously want to see some conversations about restricting other houses of worship due to the actions of a very vocal minority.

Fuck!
posted by quin at 3:15 PM on August 18, 2010 [7 favorites]


Speaking of wimpy Democrats, did you all see that Harold Ford Jr., chair of the Democratic Leadership Council -- who also has a history of opposing gay marriage, is another who recently suggested moving the community center?

"It may be that the politics has gotten so intense that you may have to consider moving this just a few blocks away," Ford said. "And perhaps you can find democrat, republican, liberal, conservative support for this."

posted by bearwife at 3:16 PM on August 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


Won't somebody think of the coats? We must rebuild the Burlington Coat Factory!
posted by defenestration at 3:16 PM on August 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


Is Harry Reid is finally speaking out against the construction of churches near the site of the September 11 attacks? Churches of the same denomiation as that of the terrorists who brutally murdered 140 Americans in the name of religious extremism on September 11, 1857? Because there are Mormon churches in Enterprise, UT and Central, UT, so I assume those are the ones Harry Reid is speaking out against. No? Ah. I see.
posted by The World Famous at 3:16 PM on August 18, 2010 [4 favorites]


Trade Martin has released a new single, "We've Got To Stop The Mosque At Ground Zero."

It is amazing.
posted by EarBucket at 3:17 PM on August 18, 2010 [6 favorites]


>Also, please tell me what this mosque has to do with A) fixing the economy or B) energy independence.

It has nothing to do with any of that, which is exactly why all our politicians are talking about it. Because bringing up anything serious means you get attacked and drug through the mud by your opponents purely out of obstructionist reasons. I would happily say "Fuck em all!" if they didn't have such a heavy hand over my future and the future of the world.
posted by msbutah at 3:17 PM on August 18, 2010


It's hard for me to express in words how angry this entire issue makes me, particularly the ways in which its been co-opted by politicians on the national stage.

I've lived in New York City since 1999, and watched the towers fall from my Broome Street dorm room window, and I have absolutely no problem with the idea of this community center being built downtown. But of course, no one cares about the opinions of the people 9/11 actually directly affected! Ironically, most of these assholes probably hate NYC and the majority of the people who live here.

BAH!

I throw up my hands.
posted by Narrative Priorities at 3:17 PM on August 18, 2010 [7 favorites]


Geller argues the building where the Cordoba House is sacred because it was hit by landing gear on Sept. 11, 2001...

Most of Manhattan must have been covered, to varying degrees, in dust from the WTC after the attacks...I guess no-one can ever build anything new there, ever.

> and doesn't buy arguments about some of the more seedy buildings in the area desecrating the memory of those killed nine years ago.

"Strip clubs didn't bring down the towers. It's faulty logic."


Let's see...should I go with something something FACEPALM or something something HEAD ASPLODES?
posted by The Card Cheat at 3:18 PM on August 18, 2010


Howard Dean: "There's no point in starting off doing something that's good if it's going to meet with an enormous resistance."

Right on. What the fuck were Gandhi and King thinking?
posted by Eideteker at 3:18 PM on August 18, 2010 [32 favorites]


The not so funny thing is that some of you won't even catch on after I've made this post.

Could you elaborate?
posted by jnrussell at 3:20 PM on August 18, 2010 [1 favorite]



The common denominator of the 9/11 hijackers wasn't that they were Muslims. Or that they were of Arab descent. Or that they were men.

It was that they were extremists.

The intolerant have more in common with them than the average Muslim in this country.


Thank you, justkevin. Could we all please say this in forums other than Metafilter, as loudly and as often as possible? I think it is an extremely important (and well phrased) point.
posted by theredpen at 3:20 PM on August 18, 2010 [5 favorites]


The fact that this is still in the news makes me sad means it's an election year.

This crap makes me so unbelievably angry. In an election year, apparently there is no sacred ground, where the Constitution is concerned. The point at which you as an elected politician can't even stand up to support what is so clearly a first amendment issue? Not even the first amendment now?

I'm beginning to lose the last slivers of hope I have that the federal government can be salvaged from the shitpile of dysfunction it has become.
posted by Brak at 3:21 PM on August 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


This is a great issue to create a circular firing squad within the republican party and illustrate the lack of belief some members have in the stated ideology of their party.

Bring it on.
posted by vapidave at 3:21 PM on August 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


I don't think I've ever been as proud of Obama as I was when he stood up and spoke out for freedom on this issue. This article sums it up really well--it was a terribly risky move with no real political upside, but it was the right thing to do, and he did it.

I haven't ever been as ashamed of the Democrats as I am by Harry Reid deciding to sell an entire religion out to pull a couple more percentage points against Sharron Angle.
posted by EarBucket at 3:22 PM on August 18, 2010 [10 favorites]


If they can't build a prayer room in Manhattan, the terrorists win.

who am I kidding, they won a long time ago.


THIS.

Surely I am not alone in thinking that to the terrorists, their greatest victory was not when the towers came down, but rather when we passed the Patriot Act, and gave up on our own constitution.
posted by nomisxid at 3:23 PM on August 18, 2010 [7 favorites]


It seems like we're a nation of bigots and cowards.

I would amend that to state, "living in a nation of bigots and cowards." I may live here, but I am neither. At least I try very hard not to be either.
posted by Splunge at 3:23 PM on August 18, 2010 [4 favorites]


Also, that guy Christ? What an asshole.
posted by Eideteker at 3:25 PM on August 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


Oh my gosh you guys:

There are no fewer than six Mexican restaurants within a block of the Alamo!!!

Surely President Obama will not let this unchecked aggression stand!
posted by The World Famous at 3:27 PM on August 18, 2010 [47 favorites]


> "There's no point in starting off doing something that's good if it's going to meet with an enormous resistance."

As political epitaphs go, that's pretty good.
posted by The Card Cheat at 3:27 PM on August 18, 2010


Trade Martin has released a new single, "We've Got To Stop The Mosque At Ground Zero."

Goddammit, I knew my evil twin was a freeper.
posted by cortex at 3:28 PM on August 18, 2010 [4 favorites]


If we keep calling it "Ground Zero" the terrorists win. After all zero is an ARABIC numeral.
/hamburger
posted by ambulocetus at 3:30 PM on August 18, 2010 [7 favorites]


Dear pundits: the people who want to build this community center have the right to do so. You can all shut up now.

Unless you're actually Muslim. Then you can appear on national television to remind the rest of America that you have the right to build this community center.
posted by vverse23 at 3:30 PM on August 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


I'm also pleased with the President. He spoke up, he spoke clearly, and he's not backing down.

The headline of the NY Post (y'know, the one owned by NewsCorp) was: "9/11 Slam on Bam: You Back the Mosque But You Ignore Us." As if the vote on health care for responders wasn't a "No" from every single Republican. This is going to keep the SEEKRIT MUSLIM TERRISTS brigade with contra-reality fuel for a long while, I'm afraid.
posted by Amanojaku at 3:30 PM on August 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


We live in difficult times. When I got incredibly cranky during the Bush years about the wholesale abridgment of the U.S. constitution and shouting down of all dissent as disloyal and traitorous, my dad -- boy, I miss my dad -- reminded me that the U.S. has been through these tests of our liberties and our constitution many times before. Examples: passage of the Alien and Sedition Acts. The viciousness of both Reconstruction and the Jim Crow era. The repression of women, including denial of the vote. The McCarthy era. Etc.

If we don't stand up and fight for our principles, they die a fast death. So good for our President, good for Michael Bloomberg, and good for everyone else that has pointed out that when the Cordoba Center opens, the terrorists will truly have been defeated.

In short, fight fight fight!
posted by bearwife at 3:30 PM on August 18, 2010 [12 favorites]


Slightly off-topic, but: can I become an advance member of the Park 51 community center, or something? I want this thing to happen and am itching to make a symbolic gesture.
posted by grobstein at 3:30 PM on August 18, 2010 [9 favorites]



Trade Martin has released a new single, "We've Got To Stop The Mosque At Ground Zero. "

It is amazing.


We are truly living in a post-irony world.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 3:31 PM on August 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


Because everyone in the Democratic Party supports Harry Reid and agrees with everything he says?

Let's see...

The Senate Majority and Minority Leaders are two United States Senators who are elected by the party conferences that hold the majority and the minority respectively. These leaders serve as the chief Senate spokespeople for their parties... - Wikipedia

Perhaps it's terribly unfair of me to judge a political party by their elected spokesperson. But there you have it.
posted by Joe Beese at 3:32 PM on August 18, 2010 [9 favorites]


The whole "debate" has gone so far beyond anything resembling rationality that is really is quite sick. I understand that lots of people hate Muslims, but why do they get such a prominent stage to speak from? There really isn't anything to this debate other then hating a certain type of person and it's sad and worrying how many people seem willing to latch onto this issue.
posted by cell divide at 3:32 PM on August 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


So, a poll showing 70% opposition means ignore the constitution? I don't have a joke or remark on that. That's just kinda sad.
posted by mccarty.tim at 3:33 PM on August 18, 2010


As someone else said: In fairness, we've been building ground zeros near Iraqi mosques since 2003.
posted by mattdidthat at 3:38 PM on August 18, 2010 [39 favorites]


BTW, my favorite thing to come of this was Rush Limbaugh comparing this to building a Hindu temple next to Pearl Harbor or a mosque next to the Pentagon. I'm sure most of you will get what's wrong wtih the first part, but there's already a mosque inside the pentagon.

Anyway, are we going to have to go through this song and dance every time an unpopular minority wants to build something? New York is a mega-mega city. Things are close together by nature. Deal with it.
posted by mccarty.tim at 3:38 PM on August 18, 2010 [3 favorites]


I certainly did enjoy that song about stopping the moss at ground zero. I couldn't agree more, can't we keep the place clean?
posted by kingbenny at 3:42 PM on August 18, 2010


GOP conservative stalwart Ted Olson (who lost his wife on 9/11): "We don't want to turn an act of hate against us by extremists into an act of intolerance for people of religious faith."
posted by ericb at 3:45 PM on August 18, 2010 [14 favorites]


This seems like a repeat of the Terry Schiavo debacle - Congress is up for reelection so let's all latch on to a non-federal issue and make a national debate about it.

It's completely Terry Schiavo-like! I'm beginning to think a lot of people's idea of "small government" is "a government that deals with small things."
posted by furiousthought at 3:45 PM on August 18, 2010 [9 favorites]



The whole "debate" has gone so far beyond anything resembling rationality that is really is quite sick.


I was just thinking, the 9/11 Hallowed Ground mythology has become so emotionally ingrained, so instinctively embedded among these people, there's really no rational discussion at this point. It's like trying to reason with your dog to give up his bone. I suppose that's why it's important that this Muslim center get built, and I do hope they're successful.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 3:45 PM on August 18, 2010 [3 favorites]


Issues like these seem to me such total no-brainer non-issues that they make me want to fire each and every lawmaker who gives the controversy's no mosque position serious thought. These people should be fired for incompetence - because it's clear they do not understand the United States Constitution.
posted by kalessin at 3:46 PM on August 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


Why America is going to regret the Cordoba House controversy
posted by homunculus at 3:46 PM on August 18, 2010


Pick whatever party you want - it's a kakistocracy
posted by Pressed Rat at 3:46 PM on August 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


I can't believe this is even an issue, let alone one that people are still talking about.

Just because you are afraid of the boogeyman, doesn't mean we need to toss out religious freedom for all. I mean, I do still live in America right?
posted by cirrostratus at 3:47 PM on August 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


This will blowback on the GOP.

There is an upside. I've been saying of years there is Clinton messaging and Obama messaging. Clinton messaging avoids the other guys' message and stays on your own. But the GOP has learned to exploit this. Their constant whining got the media to basically give anything they said a basic hearing, no matter how divorced from reality it is. So a lot of Clinton was a KGB agent and Whitewater shit got play.

And the constant avoiding of attacks makes them look weak.

Obama messaging is different. He uses marginal analysis. By answering the attacks he gets to get them to pay for the stupidity. Reporters ask about the assertions. They want to know if its true. The GOP looks dumb. Sometimes the GOP still gets a win. But the amount of gain for them goes way down. They only get a little bang for the buck.

And sometimes it goes terribly wrong for the GOP. Take the classic--McCain "suspending" his campaign and calling on Obama to do the same. I remember the thread here on the blue--we're doomed--he set a trap. It turned into a chorus of wails when Obama refused to play along. But when McCain crawled back into the debate on all fours, that election was over. He had bigger balls than a war hero.

Same thing here. Let them keep talking. Let them ride the lightning. Because they are bigots and Americans are not that. They can simultaneously be worried about the Cordoba center and believe that they have the right to build it there. And this means that in the end, this issue cannot win for them. Obama is right to play the long game on stunts like this.
posted by Ironmouth at 3:47 PM on August 18, 2010 [10 favorites]


If we keep calling it "Ground Zero" the terrorists win. After all zero is an ARABIC numeral.

You are kidding, but I had a student last year who objected that I kept referring to partciluar line numbers in our text as ARABIC numerals in class just quote-unquote to be inclusive to Muslims.* And not, you know, to distinguish between them and the Roman numerals in the text.

I am not kidding.

* Same student who insisted there were zero historical connections between Stoicism and Christianity and that said claim was a diabolical trick. He also dismissed every single moral philosopher we studied (including Immanuel Kant!) as heretical pagans. I, again, am not kidding. Man was I happy when that semester was up.
posted by joe lisboa at 3:48 PM on August 18, 2010 [4 favorites]


The statement from the Senator that many are all getting worked up about is the following:

The First Amendment protects freedom of religion. Senator Reid respects that but thinks that the mosque should be built some place else. If the Republicans are being sincere, they would help us pass this long overdue bill to help the first responders whose health and livelihoods have been devastated because of their bravery on 911, rather than continuing to block this much-needed legislation.

I don't get the outrage. He thinks it should be built somewhere else; but recognizes the first amendment. For those of you planning to sit out the election recognize that under a Republican Maj Leader McConnell the senate would be in session right now considering emergency legislation to block the mosque construction. Apparently a few Muslims think perhaps the center's location should be reconsidered as well.
posted by humanfont at 3:48 PM on August 18, 2010 [3 favorites]


particular, of course
posted by joe lisboa at 3:48 PM on August 18, 2010


What a nasty bigoted piece of trash.

I am sickened by this "debate." Do we want to be the country we think we are? Apparently not.

And fuck Harry Reid. I no longer care if the dems win the fucking senate.
posted by fourcheesemac at 3:49 PM on August 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


Speaking of John Bolton: Bolton calls for Israel to strike Iran in the next eight days.
posted by homunculus at 3:49 PM on August 18, 2010


homuculus: Your link doesn't work. I believe this is what you meant.
posted by jedicus at 3:50 PM on August 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


homunculus
posted by jedicus at 3:50 PM on August 18, 2010


Some are saying that the GOP latched onto this "issue" in order to avoid being taken to task for the blocking the 9/11 First Responders bill. Is there any truth to that?
posted by cell divide at 3:51 PM on August 18, 2010 [3 favorites]


The fact that this is still in the news makes me so sad.

News is a business, and nothing draws a crowd like a crowd.

The fact that so many people think this way makes me sadder.

The fact that some people don't question what they're saying saddens me. There are a multitude of voices, but some people aren't listening and thinking enough, just reiterating talking points.

It seems like we're a nation of bigots and cowards.

Nope, we live in a nation where attention whores make news for ridiculous statements, and fearmongers make megabuxx off hyping trivialities, which also makes news. We are not all the same, but it's the loud ones who get counted more often.

So with all this gasbagging, what do they propose to do about it? Eminent Domain? It's private property, it's zoned for the purpose, all permits are already approved.

It's like you've read Carl Paladino's mind, or heard his radio ads. Or read his website.
posted by filthy light thief at 3:53 PM on August 18, 2010


Just because you can exercise your first amendment rights doesn't mean you should. It's insensitive to the victims.

So, out of sensitivity to the victims of religious oppression, Palin, Gingrich, Reid, and Dean should shut the hell up.
posted by Cookiebastard at 3:54 PM on August 18, 2010 [6 favorites]


FAQ: Mosque near Ground Zero.
posted by ericb at 3:54 PM on August 18, 2010 [5 favorites]


For those of you planning to sit out the election recognize that under a Republican Maj Leader McConnell the senate would be in session right now considering emergency legislation to block the mosque construction.

Yes. Quoted for Truth. Former R here, now a dedicated Independent. I am never going to be a Democrat -- Democrats drive me crazy, in part because many are wimps -- but I do vote, and I almost always vote these days for Democrats. Why? Because the alternative is the Republicans, period, and the previous decade tells us just what that means.
posted by bearwife at 3:55 PM on August 18, 2010 [8 favorites]


Slightly off-topic, but: can I become an advance member of the Park 51 community center, or something? I want this thing to happen and am itching to make a symbolic gesture.

Here's the Park51 website. There's a donate button on the left hand side that takes you to a Paypal donation form.
posted by jedicus at 3:57 PM on August 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


Someone somewhere is going to step up and say "at long last, have you fuckers no decency?"

Right?

I'm looking at you, Colin Powell.
posted by fourcheesemac at 3:58 PM on August 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


Eh? Was Colin Powells spine found at some point recently? I don't recall hearing about this.
posted by Artw at 4:00 PM on August 18, 2010 [4 favorites]


He thinks it should be built somewhere else; but recognizes the first amendment

"Can't have Free Speech Zones without free speech, amirite?" - Harry Reid
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:01 PM on August 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


Good god, what's next? A Tim Horton's in D.C.?
posted by Zed at 4:02 PM on August 18, 2010 [6 favorites]


China Mieville's smackdown of those opposing the Muslim Community Center and a request for for supporting visuals for Racism Out of Manhattan.
posted by ShawnStruck at 4:02 PM on August 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


There are no fewer than six Mexican restaurants within a block of the Alamo!!!

Not to mention the many Japanese restaurants near Pearl Harbor!
posted by ericb at 4:03 PM on August 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


Good god, what's next? A Tim Horton's in D.C.?

It's worse than that. There are several Tim Hortson's in Detroit - the very battlefield of our most bitter war against Canada (I speak, of course, of the War of 1812).
posted by The World Famous at 4:05 PM on August 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


And I can't spell "Horton's."
posted by The World Famous at 4:06 PM on August 18, 2010


For those of you planning to sit out the election recognize that under a Republican Maj Leader McConnell the senate would be in session right now considering emergency legislation to block the mosque construction

Obama said we should be guided by hope, not fear - yeah?

So I'm going to ignore the fear of Republicans that is the only reason Democrats can seem to come up with as a reason to vote for them - and focus instead on my hope that Reid will have his bony ass forcibly ejected from his plush Senate seat.
posted by Joe Beese at 4:07 PM on August 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


Good god, what's next? A Tim Horton's in D.C.?

Facebook page: Bring Tim Horton's To Washington D.C.
posted by ericb at 4:07 PM on August 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


Posted this in the other thread, but in case anyone missed it: read about the Imam whose center this is. Remember that Islam is almost as large a group of people as Christianity, and to equate religious terrorists with interfaith-loving immigrants is just nuts.

There are Christian terrorists - the Irish Republican Army, the Ku Klux Klan, the God Hates F--- guy... But we don't try to stop everyone who wants to build a church from doing so because of the actions of a few fringe groups. We understand that they're distinct. This guy is even a Sufi, an explicitly peaceful and mystical branch of Islam. To draw connections between him and al-Queda is nothing but discrimination, based purely on negative stereotypes of what "muslims are like". It's ridiculous.
posted by mdn at 4:08 PM on August 18, 2010 [5 favorites]


There is a difference between what you can do, and what you should do. For instance: you can build a Catholic church next to a playground. Should you?
posted by kipmanley at 4:09 PM on August 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


Not to mention the many Japanese restaurants near Pearl Harbor!

Or the multiple Shinto shrines in the same area!
posted by jedicus at 4:10 PM on August 18, 2010


Another tidbit of ironical interest, Feisal Abdul Rauf, the Imam behind the cultural center, was hired by the Bush administration to be our spokesman to Islam. On our behalf he preached the virtues of the United States as a nation of religious inclusion.

Admirably, we're sending him off to do it again.
posted by clarknova at 4:11 PM on August 18, 2010 [9 favorites]


OMG Obama hires terrorists!
posted by Artw at 4:17 PM on August 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


I can think of one good reason for moving the proposed Islamic Community Center far, far away from its proposed site: its public vilification will motivate and reassure Right-Wing American Terrorists in the U.S. to target it for bombing and other violent attacks. (No suicide attacks though, the RWA Terrorists aren't into giving up their own lives) I consider it getting more likely daily as a part of a sadly inevitable wave of terrorism when the Radical Right realizes that electing a Tea Party Majority in Congress will not save 'their' country.

of course, making that argument publicly would put the 'moral' opposition to the center on the defensive...

One thing that would be good to know is Osama Bin Laden's opinion on this; chances are there's a quote somewhere of him opposing any Islamic Holy Things in the Infidel Central that is New York City. And then he'd be on the same side with Newt, Sarah and their ilk. There are so many ways to turn around this issue that the 'good guys' aren't using. I guess they're too busy fleeing the Democratic Party.

And to all of you who promise never to vote for a Democrat ever again, the Republican Party thanks you and welcomes you.
posted by oneswellfoop at 4:18 PM on August 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


Why can't these Muslims just accept that the 1st Amendment doesn't apply to their fake religion, just like the Irish Catholics and Mormons* did before them?

The Founding Fathers and Islam: "it is clear that the Founding Fathers thought about the relationship of Islam to the new nation and were prepared to make a place for it in the republic." Thomas Jefferson's Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom was a precursor to the First Amendment and Jefferson said it was "meant to comprehend, within the mantle of its protection, the Jew and the Gentile, the Christian and the Mohammedan, the Hindoo and Infidel of every denomination" (emphasis added).

Strip clubs didn't bring down the towers. It's faulty logic.

Actually they kind of did. Sayyid Qutb, whom the New York Times called "The Philosopher of Islamic Terror," was turned against the United States during a six-month stay in 1949. The animalistic American sexuality he saw at a church dance was one of his main complaints.

This seems like a repeat of the Terry Schiavo debacle - Congress is up for reelection so let's all latch on to a non-federal issue and make a national debate about it.

Not the "states rights" Republicans, surely. They would never back federal intervention in a state or local matter.
posted by kirkaracha at 4:22 PM on August 18, 2010 [4 favorites]


They would never back federal intervention in a state or local matter.

Depends. Are we talking about screwing white people or brown people here?
posted by Talez at 4:27 PM on August 18, 2010 [3 favorites]


What this affair really needs is a Murrow Moment. Here it is: Keith Olbermann on GZM — as good as Edward R. Murrow on Joe McCarthy.
posted by beagle at 4:29 PM on August 18, 2010 [5 favorites]


So I'm going to ignore the fear of Republicans that is the only reason Democrats can seem to come up with as a reason to vote for them - and focus instead on my hope that Reid will have his bony ass forcibly ejected from his plush Senate seat.

While we're looking on the sunny side, it's heartwarming to see you cheer for the Democrats who've defended the mosque, and let everybody know that this is the kind of thing that gives you hope the D's are worth voting for.
posted by namespan at 4:32 PM on August 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


it is clear that the Founding Fathers thought about the relationship of Islam to the new nation

And in his autobiography, Franklin notes with pride regarding a Philadelphia church: "the design in building not being to accommodate any particular sect, but the inhabitants in general; so that even if the Mufti of Constantinople were to send a missionary to preach Mohammedanism to us, he would find a pulpit at his service."

The edition I read noted in a footnote that Franklin was overstating the religious tolerance of the time. But it seems clear enough that he liked the idea of it being true.
posted by Zed at 4:33 PM on August 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


Mr Lisboa, was he previously home-schooled?
posted by ambulocetus at 4:37 PM on August 18, 2010


The Senate Majority and Minority Leaders are two United States Senators who are elected by the party conferences that hold the majority and the minority respectively. These leaders serve as the chief Senate spokespeople for their parties... - Wikipedia

Perhaps it's terribly unfair of me to judge a political party by their elected spokesperson. But there you have it.


Except that not every elected official in the Democratic Party was involved in that vote. US House members, governors, state legislators, mayors, city council members, etc. didn't have the opportunity to vote for or against him. Or were you just talking about Senate Democrats? Wither way, there are plenty of people in the Democratic Party who ARE speaking out for tolerance and religious freedom right now. If you live in Nevada and don't want to vote for Harry Reid despite him being the lesser of two evils, that's a principled stance and I can't say I really blame you - I'm no fan of the man, However, I fail to see how you not voting for the good Democrats that had nothing to do with this teaches bigots a lesson.
posted by naoko at 4:38 PM on August 18, 2010


Even though I consider myself generally agnostic, wouldn't it be great to try to get a lease on office space inside the Freedom Towers themselves and build a mosque right above the exact site that the Twin Towers stood? In terms of the right wing reaction?
posted by mccarty.tim at 4:42 PM on August 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


Artw:

"Is there something wrong with being a Muslim in this country? The answer's no, that's not America."

posted by Cookiebastard at 4:42 PM on August 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


There are some days when I think American culture is beyond rescue, beyond the reach of even the most basic rational appeals to the fundamental freedoms that define our civilization. After reading a few polls and being assaulted with anti-Muslim statements from Harry Reid, Howard Dean, and even the ADL, today is one of those days.

I used to listen to this song with seething anger when I thought we had a horrible President because he sullied the Oval Office with a blowjob. Now the same guy who started all of that horse shit is stirring up religious tension for political purposes. He wants to be the president, and he'll gladly fill the airwaves with enough racial hatred to make anti-Western propaganda as easy as pressing record.

You know what, forget imagery about the decline. I feel like I'm living in the last terrifying moments before the collapse.
posted by atypicalguy at 4:44 PM on August 18, 2010 [3 favorites]


Here it is: Keith Olbermann on GZM

Keith Olberman, who, in that very video (at 10:08), characterized the Republicans' criticisms of the community center as the United States being told to "sell our birthright." Can someone punch Keith Olberman in the face for me? Thanks.
posted by The World Famous at 4:46 PM on August 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


So it appears that Sarah Palin is now effectively POTUS. Why bother with the next election?
posted by Danf at 4:47 PM on August 18, 2010


The day I cheer Ted Olson and want to slap Howard Dean is a strange day indeed. There aren't any monkeys flying out of my butt, are there?
posted by CunningLinguist at 4:47 PM on August 18, 2010 [14 favorites]


The more I think about this, the more I want to find someone to spit on. If the Ku Klux Klan added a plank to their platform about raising taxes on poor people to cut millionaires' taxes, they'd be indistinguishable from Republicans.
posted by EarBucket at 4:52 PM on August 18, 2010


Are Republicans Alienating Hispanic and Muslim Voters?

An article that discusses the delicate ballet the Bush administration played to win over Muslim (yes, Muslims were pro-Bush) and Hispanic voters. Right now, what with the Tea Party setting the score, it seems almost like they're less about votes and more about what the GOP fringe wants.
posted by mccarty.tim at 4:54 PM on August 18, 2010


"Howard Dean: 'There's no point in starting off doing something that's good if it's going to meet with an enormous resistance.'

Right on. What the fuck were Gandhi and King thinking?"


Replying to myself here because I'm feeling ranty tonight. I just launched a world-shattering treatise on this very subject on facebook (the mosque).

I have a problem with American politics. I have a problem with American politicians. And that problem is the Least Common Denominator. Like our music and movies, in order to cater to the widest possible tastes, they have become so watered down and bland as to be "inoffensive" to the most sensitive palates.

Fuck that.

I've said this before, but my kind of politician is the "Give 'em Hell, Harry!" sort. I want a politician who's not afraid to cuss, who's not afraid to put his foot down, who's not afraid to make enemies. It's possible to achieve consensus while retaining a spine. In this representative democracy, I want an elected official who I can vote for yet who is an independent thinker. I want to elect someone to represent not fringe views but the principles of democracy. We don't have to agree 100%. It's not about the lesser of two evils. It's about electing someone because they will stand up and fight, because they will employ their reason to make the decisions it's too unwieldy to put up for a direct vote, and because I respect their integrity. Reid here is showing he values agreement over integrity. Well, shit, son. I don't agree 100% on everything with my closest friends. I don't expect that from my politicians. I *do* expect them to exhibit some integrity, because THAT is what I am voting for.

Folks overwhelmingly hated Truman, and yet he still got re-elected, because folks said, "Well, I don't like him, but he'll get the job done." Guess what, Reid, Dean, and the like. You're not getting the job done AND I hate you. I know, you'll cry yourself to sleep on your gold featherbeds. But when you do douse the lights in your comfortable homes tonight, stop to think about the people you ostensibly serve(d)/represent. Think about where they're sleeping tonight, and how comfortably. Are they tossing and turning because medical bills are piling up? Because they're underwater on a bubble house? Are they sleeping as well as you are? And think about this: How well have you served them? How well have you served democracy and the Constitution? Carry these issues with you into your sleep, and see how soundly you rest. And if you're a Christian, which so many of you assholes on either side of the aisle claim so vociferously to be, think about sacrifice, and what it meant to be a Christian in the early days. Think about giving up your life in the service of the people, and whether you could do it. See what comfort you find in dreams after that.
posted by Eideteker at 4:56 PM on August 18, 2010 [14 favorites]


Ugh. Today my normally ultra-liberal boss informed me that Obama's speech was a stupid move and that building the "mosque" was like putting a German cultural center near Dachau.

What the fuck is wrong with this country?
posted by dirigibleman at 5:00 PM on August 18, 2010


From a Siena College poll [PDF] of New York State voters released today:
Three-quarters of voters have been following the news about the proposed Muslim community center and mosque in lower Manhattan at least somewhat closely, up significantly in two weeks. Opposition remains strong against building the mosque, 63-27 percent, however, by a margin of 64-28 percent voters say that the developers of the Cordoba House have a Constitutional right to build it.
posted by Combustible Edison Lighthouse at 5:02 PM on August 18, 2010


Today my normally ultra-liberal boss informed me that Obama's speech was a stupid move and that building the "mosque" was like putting a German cultural center near Dachau.

Dachau is... in... Germany... ???

Whatever the hell this issue is it has made people say some crazy-ass shit that makes absolutely no sense.

Anyway, I'm going to start a petition to ban people named "Tim" from Oklahoma City.
posted by GuyZero at 5:05 PM on August 18, 2010 [3 favorites]


It is all well and good to support the buidling. But this is Sacred Ground

http://daryllang.com/blog/4421


If you want people to go to your links, that's not the way to do it.
posted by Jaltcoh at 5:06 PM on August 18, 2010


dirigibleman, sounds like he's a secret Fox viewer. That's a verbatim talking point.
posted by ambulocetus at 5:06 PM on August 18, 2010


Are Republicans Alienating Hispanic and Muslim Voters?

The answer is yes. And the deep irony is that these people would be their natural allies on issues on the social side of conservative issues. At least, at the opportune moment, which will be well past by the time the xenophobia subsides.

I've said this before, but my kind of politician is the "Give 'em Hell, Harry!" sort. I want a politician who's not afraid to cuss, who's not afraid to put his foot down, who's not afraid to make enemies.

So, Dick Cheney, then.
posted by namespan at 5:06 PM on August 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


As many others have said, all you need to know about the Ground Zero mosque controversy is that it's not a mosque and it's not at Ground Zero. But we're still fucking talking about it. And I'm still going to have to vote for fucking Democrats, because the alternative is voting for the Tea Party, so they get to keep being spineless appeasers. I firmly believe that the only mission statement either of these so-called "parties" has is to divorce voters from democracy through disgust. In that light, you'd have to say they're awfully good at their jobs.

"There's no point in starting off doing something that's good if it's going to meet with an enormous resistance."

That's non-office-holding Howard Dean, or as he prefers to be called these days, "Vermont's Own John McCain". Mr. Dean, you are such a goddamn coward, not even Zell Miller would lower himself to duel you.
posted by Errant at 5:07 PM on August 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


On re-read, it's mangled talking point.
posted by ambulocetus at 5:08 PM on August 18, 2010


64-28 percent voters say that the developers of the Cordoba House have a Constitutional right to build it.

So 28% of the voters surveyed do not believe muslims deserve 1st amendment protection, I guess...

TAKE A FUCKING CIVICS CLASS.
posted by Mister_A at 5:11 PM on August 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


Moving your position to find common ground with people who are dead wrong is a stupid thing to do.

The Democrats' continual move to the right in order to narrow the difference with the Republicans and pick up some uncommitted voters is why there are so few committed Democratic voters. It is also why they can't seem to form a durable majority.

It is worth pointing out that all the people who are pissed off at the Dems sucking up to intolerance were unlikely to be contributing to the Democrats in the first place. If you don't buy the ticket, you can complain that you didn't get the ride.

I'm not saying that if they started doing the right thing as a party that they would form a durable majority, but at least we'd know as a result of that experiment that it's a complete waste of time trying to reform politics in a decaying empire.

It really looks like the Dems and Reps are in a contest to see who can alienate the largest number of marginal voters. My guess is the Reps will show they are more hateful, but if they alienate n cultural minority votes while gaining m frothing bigots, and n < m then it's a net win for being hateful. The Dems, on the other hand, only seem to be alienating a bunch of passive-aggressive and whiney progressives who don't have anywhere to go anyway, so fuck 'em.

Don't ya just love politics?
posted by warbaby at 5:11 PM on August 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


Aagh! How do the fucking Republicans do this every god damn time? They can take some insignificant issue and manage to drum it up to a giant national crisis over nothing. And the Democrats fall for it every fucking time. It's prayer room in a community center in the middle of a city of 8 million people. We've got a thousand more important issues to deal with, many of them in a crisis state, but somehow we're spending all our time talking about something that no one two door down would have noticed otherwise. What is wrong with us?
posted by octothorpe at 5:13 PM on August 18, 2010 [16 favorites]


What this affair really needs is a Murrow Moment. Here it is: Keith Olbermann on GZM — as good as Edward R. Murrow on Joe McCarthy.

That was wonderful, and I hadn't seen it yet. Thank you.
posted by gilrain at 5:13 PM on August 18, 2010


Hey, my name's Tim and my last name starts with Mc. Perhaps I should buy that "All-You-Can-Eat" JetBlue ticket and be insensitive.
posted by mccarty.tim at 5:15 PM on August 18, 2010


It's JetBlue's "All You Can Hijack" ticket.

Te catch is most people only actually hijack one plane, so the airline makes a killing.
posted by GuyZero at 5:16 PM on August 18, 2010


Politico: The mosque is a poorly planned long shot.
The group’s latest fundraising report with the State Attorney General’s office, from 2008, shows exactly $18,255 – not enough even for a down payment on the half of the site the group has yet to purchase.

The group also lacks even the most basic real estate essentials: no blueprint, architect, lobbyist or engineer — and now operates amid crushing negative publicity. The group’s spokesman, Oz Sultan, wouldn’t rule out developing the site with foreign money in an interview with POLITICO – but said the project’s goal is to rely on domestic funds. Currently, they have none of either.

“They are in the process of hiring an architect — but here’s the thing, you’re not going to get the architect or the engineer because they don’t want to be involved in this,” Sultan, the new media consultant hired to handle some of the projects imaging — mostly via Twitter — told POLITICO.
posted by Jaltcoh at 5:19 PM on August 18, 2010


Mister_A, if you wanted me to stop reading after your first paragraph, you did a good job.
posted by Jaltcoh at 5:20 PM on August 18, 2010


As many others have said, all you need to know about the Ground Zero mosque controversy is that it's not a mosque and it's not at Ground Zero.

It isn't at Ground Zero, but the NYT — no opponent of this construction project, based on prior coverage — calls the Cordoba House both a community center and mosque. The NYT has not issued a correction on this detail, as far as I know.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 5:21 PM on August 18, 2010


So, the Republicans are deciding to be less anti-gay, but the Democrats are deciding to be more anti-Islam. I fear we're approaching a cosmic equinox where everyone agrees on everything, despite hating each other. Nobody will get what they want, the constitution gets shredded, and so on, and then the bleary eyed and angry voters turn to Nader, in hopes of relief.

And that's how Palin gets elected in 2012.
posted by mccarty.tim at 5:23 PM on August 18, 2010


it's not a mosque

You mean the plan is to build a mosque within a larger building, and people are using "mosque" to refer to the whole thing?

First of all, how do you know that's what they're referring to? How do you know they're not just referring to the mosque part?

Second of all, even if they are using "mosque" to refer to the whole thing, why isn't this an acceptable use of synecdoche?

People are calling it a mosque because that's the most evocative word to describe an Islamic place of worship. If the planners wanted it to be referred to by a proper noun rather than the generic "mosque," they should have (1) picked one name and stuck to it (rather than calling it the "Cordoba House" and then switching to "Park51") and (2) chosen a less forgettable name than "Park51."
posted by Jaltcoh at 5:27 PM on August 18, 2010


Hmm, I don't have time to read the whole thread, but there are some republicans who have come down on the side of sanity. Ted Olson, Chris Christie (who took a random dig at democrats while he said it, though).

This demagoguing on this is just disgusting. But apparently polls show that while a majority of Americans don't think the mosque should be there, they also think they do have a right to build it. So there's that, at least.

Gingrch, Palin, and the like actually don't give a damn about this, but they're demonizing their fellow Americans in order to gin up their base and win some elections. It's disgusting behavior.
posted by delmoi at 5:30 PM on August 18, 2010


The World Famous: Keith Olberman, who, in that very video (at 10:08), characterized the Republicans' criticisms of the community center as the United States being told to "sell our birthright." Can someone punch Keith Olberman in the face for me? Thanks.

Dude, you need to listen to that again.
posted by beagle at 5:31 PM on August 18, 2010


Ugh, I feel sick. I agree with my governor on this.

Fucking cognitive dissonance. How does it work?
posted by mccarty.tim at 5:31 PM on August 18, 2010


Cordoba House is to a mosque as a YMCA is to a church.

Well, maybe not as I doubt the Village People are going to get all slippery there.
posted by GuyZero at 5:32 PM on August 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


However, I fail to see how you not voting for the good Democrats that had nothing to do with this teaches bigots a lesson.

It does teach them a valuable lesson. It teaches them that being bigoted helps them win elections.
posted by Joey Michaels at 5:32 PM on August 18, 2010


Second of all, even if they are using "mosque" to refer to the whole thing, why isn't this an acceptable use of synecdoche?

I'm going to start calling O'Hare airport a church.
posted by dirigibleman at 5:34 PM on August 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


I'm going to start calling O'Hare airport a church.

A Church of Stan perhaps. It's obviously been abandoned by God considering the on-time departure statistics. Someone should fly a plane into O'Hare.
posted by GuyZero at 5:35 PM on August 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


Stan! Heh. Add an extra "a" in there.

Oh 3-minute edit window, why hast thou forsaken me?
posted by GuyZero at 5:37 PM on August 18, 2010


I have no doubt in my mind that everone who objects to the "mosque" and refers to it such either believes it to be a full on mosque with fucking domes and a minaret and all that shit or wishes to plant that image in the minds of others.
posted by Artw at 5:38 PM on August 18, 2010 [3 favorites]


I'm going to start calling O'Hare airport a church.

If that's where you go to church, that's fine with me.
posted by Jaltcoh at 5:39 PM on August 18, 2010


Dachau is... in... Germany... ???

Just in case you didn't google it... Yes. (Even if it was in Poland or something Germany would still be responsible for the crimes committed there.)
posted by two or three cars parked under the stars at 5:46 PM on August 18, 2010


I would also like to hear from those who don't want it to be called a mosque: why? What's wrong with a mosque? It seems counterproductive to defend it on the grounds that "Don't worry -- it's not a mosque, it's just an Islamic center." The much better argument is: "OK, so it's a mosque -- so what?"
posted by Jaltcoh at 5:47 PM on August 18, 2010 [6 favorites]


> And to all of you who promise never to vote for a Democrat ever again, the Republican Party thanks you and welcomes you.

Such an argument indicates a short-term and defeatist attitude. We on the left have had this attitude for decades, and this has resulted in the deplorable state we're in now.

Arguing with numbers makes it much clearer. Suppose that we get "+2" each time a Democratic President is elected, and "-10" every time a Republican one is (the actual numbers and units do not exist, this is a demonstration rather than a proof).

Every election we get the same argument: +2 > -10. We vote for +2 - half the time we get the -10 - on the average we lose on each election.

But there's a third option.

If we withhold our votes until either the Democrats collapse, or they get heavily beaten with a clue stick, we can start to score +10s ourselves.

"That's insane! Think of all those -10 scores we'll have to endure!"

But we're scoring a lot of these -10s already - and we're guaranteed to continue to get a lot of them, because those +2s we're scoring aren't really enough to excite Americans.

We cannot win with with our current strategy. We will not galvanize our lukewarm leaders to action with our lukewarm support for their lukewarm policies. Things are only going to get worse and more complex; the consequences of a Republican administration will be greater and greater as we run out of oil and the climate changes; our only chance to make a real change is now, because that +2 > -10 argument gets much more persuasive as our net value drops toward 0...
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 5:49 PM on August 18, 2010 [8 favorites]


I have no doubt in my mind that everone who objects to the "mosque" and refers to it such either believes it to be a full on mosque with fucking domes and a minaret and all that shit or wishes to plant that image in the minds of others.

As far as I can tell from reporting, if this is both a community center and mosque, people should continue calling the mosque portion of the Cordoba House a mosque.

Going out of our way to call it something else plays into the hands of bigots who want to control the discussion about eliminating personal freedoms.

There should be no shame, reluctance or nervousness about calling a place of worship such, if that is its function. In a free and democratic society, this would be a non-issue.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 5:52 PM on August 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


I would also like to hear from those who don't want it to be called a mosque: why? What's wrong with a mosque?

It's not that there's anything wrong with a mosque. It's that it's helpful to illustrate just how fundamentally dishonest the opponents of the community center are being--they're willing to tell outright lies along with their race-baiting.
posted by EarBucket at 5:52 PM on August 18, 2010 [3 favorites]


The whole it isn't a Mosque crap is so misleading. Who cares what it's called.

You can't build a church here! Call it a basketball court!

Fuck that. What part of the USA did people miss here?

On preview, what Jaltcoh said and much better than I did.
posted by Splunge at 5:55 PM on August 18, 2010


I have no doubt in my mind that everone who objects to the "mosque" and refers to it such either believes it to be a full on mosque with fucking domes and a minaret and all that shit or wishes to plant that image in the minds of others.

Well, then they should be more open-minded. In the meantime, I see no reason why I shouldn't keep calling it a mosque, since that's my understanding of what it is. If I'm wrong about that, then the Park51 promoters should come up with some better PR to explain to the public what it actually is, if not a mosque (and Islamic community center).

On my walk to the grocery store I often pass by a building that looks nothing like how I expect a church to look, but there's a sign with the word "church" on it, and there seem to be Christians congregating and worshipping inside ... so, it's a church. And if I found out that there's another part of the building that would be best described as a "Christian community center," I would still call the church part a church. Can't a mosque be a mosque without a minaret? (And what's wrong with a minaret?)
posted by Jaltcoh at 5:59 PM on August 18, 2010


The World Famous wrote: "Keith Olberman, who, in that very video (at 10:08), characterized the Republicans' criticisms of the community center as the United States being told to "sell our birthright." Can someone punch Keith Olberman in the face for me? Thanks."

Uh, what?
posted by wierdo at 6:01 PM on August 18, 2010


Hey all, sorry, lost my cool and used some very inappropriate language. I messed up, shouldn't write while extremely enraged and tired.
posted by Mister_A at 6:03 PM on August 18, 2010 [5 favorites]


So with all this gasbagging, what do they propose to do about it? Eminent Domain? It's private property, it's zoned for the purpose, all permits are already approved.
A week or so ago they sent some people to bitch during the historic preservation committee (or whatever), which basically told them to fuck off.

Anway, there's nothing standing in the way of the construction at this point (as far as I know). But they don't actually want to stop the construction. They want to demogauge this and use it to get back into power demonizing U.S. Muslims. They don't give a fuck what actually gets built.
Norquist is right and wrong. Sure, nobody's defecting over the Republicans over this, but he doesn't seem to understand there's a substantial portion lining up with Joe Beese and Glen Greenwald at the exit to defeat
This isn't about a few Dems bailing because the democrats don't have a spine. Although I suppose it might affect some Muslim voters who feel betrayed. But what this is really about is motivating the base. It's (symbolic) red meat for the base. Just like their bullshit about the 14th amendment (creating TERROR BABIES)

I wish democrats would take more of a stronger stand against this disgusting... I don't even know what to call it. Hate mongering. The fact they're not is depressing.
What this affair really needs is a Murrow Moment. Here it is: Keith Olbermann on GZM — as good as Edward R. Murrow on Joe McCarthy.
Oh god. Olbermann's cheezy 'special comments' are the last thing anyone needs. I mean I realize that some people like them, but they come across as so affected and silly. If you want righteous indignation expressed in a modern and sincere way John Stewart is probably the best example. Ironically, Olbermann is the one who sounds like a clown. I can hardly stand listening to these things, despite the fact I agree with almost all of them.
The answer is yes. And the deep irony is that these people would be their natural allies on issues on the social side of conservative issues. At least, at the opportune moment, which will be well past by the time the xenophobia subsides.
I saw some statistic the other day that Bush actually got 80% of the Muslim vote in 2000. That's not much but Michigan is a pretty big swing state.

I hope this stuff blows up in their faces. But the Democrats need to take a stronger stand against this shit. They don't need to say the Mosque needs to be built in exactly that spot. That's not even the issue. The issue is whether or not it's OK to demonize fellow Americans based on their religion. And the answer is NO.
posted by delmoi at 6:04 PM on August 18, 2010 [2 favorites]



Today my normally ultra-liberal boss informed me that Obama's speech was a stupid move and that building the "mosque" was like putting a German cultural center near Dachau.

Dachau is... in... Germany... ???

Just in case you didn't google it... Yes. (Even if it was in Poland or something Germany would still be responsible for the crimes committed there.)


First of all, the reason for the question marks is that it would be silly to complain if the Germans put a cultural center anywhere in their very own country.

The ultra liberal boss seems to have picked up Charles Krauthammer's slightly less idiotic argument (slightly less idiotic geographically, I mean, because Treblinka is in Poland) that

no German of goodwill would even think of proposing a German cultural center at, say, Treblinka.

To which I said in an earlier thread and say again here:

What are you talking about, Krauthammer? This is Treblinka This is NYC. Here are some other thoughts for you:

1. Treblinka is the site of an extermination camp. NYC is one of the most ethnically diverse cities in the world.

2. The entire German nation was run by a dictator and a party which implemented the killing at Treblinka as part of a state policy of genocide. The murderers of 911 are a tiny fringe group who are not the legitimate leadership of any nation and whose doctrines are contrary to principal teachings of Islam.

3. There is no known constitutional right at issue for your posited German cultural center. There are recognized first amendment rights of association and religion which support the right to open the Cordoba center.

Etc. How absurd. I'd add as a person from a family that suffered badly in the Holocaust, as well as someone who lost classmates in the WTC attacks, that the only messages that really offend me as to either event are those that suggest they didn't happen, or (WTC) were somehow justified.
posted by bearwife at 6:05 PM on August 18, 2010 [4 favorites]


I heartily support of the Muslims right to build a mosque anywhere within the law and according to local building codes. From what I understand, the "ground zero" mosque meets those criteria. There is something to be said for choosing your battles wisely, however.
posted by Daddy-O at 6:06 PM on August 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


Uh, what?

Yeah, that's what I thought when I heard him say it, too.
posted by The World Famous at 6:08 PM on August 18, 2010


In more realpolitik terms, I think Obama may have made a genius move with his remarks in support of the community center. Gingrich and others on the right have been turning it up their stupidity to 11 ever since. Granted, it was at 9 before, but they've gone into outright holy war what with the Nazi comparisons.
posted by wierdo at 6:08 PM on August 18, 2010


And on not-preview: TWF, what do you disagree with there? Is criticizing other people's speech now not within the bounds of free speech? What fucking planet do you live on?

I was trying to get you to clarify yourself so I didn't have to go apeshit, but instead you decided to snark, so there it is.
posted by wierdo at 6:10 PM on August 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


Dachau is... in... Germany... ???

Just in case you didn't google it... Yes. (Even if it was in Poland or something Germany would still be responsible for the crimes committed there.)


! I think the poster was pointing out that since Dachau was in Germany to start with, the idea that it would be offensive to put a german cultural center somewhere near to it just doesn't make sense. It's surrounded by "german culture" simply by where it is located to begin with.

These analogies are just silly, though. Muslims make up over one fifth of the world's population. To suggest or imagine that all of these people are secretly terrorists is just stupid. Terrorism is a completely separate issue from religious difference.
posted by mdn at 6:10 PM on August 18, 2010


TWF, what do you disagree with there? Is criticizing other people's speech now not within the bounds of free speech? What fucking planet do you live on?

What I disagree with here is Keith Olbermann angrily accusing Republicans of trying to get America to "sell our birthright" in the context of a discussion about discrimination against Islam, given the origin and controversy surrounding that particular phrase. Maybe he, like you, just doesn't understand. Still, someone should have caught that before he shouted it on the air.
posted by The World Famous at 6:16 PM on August 18, 2010


Having read the entire thread I'd like to say that I'm impressed by the not having to go to MeTa quality of the discussion here. I'd like to think it will continue this way.
posted by Splunge at 6:19 PM on August 18, 2010


I'm kind of over the whole designation of the former WTC site as "sacred ground." Especially since the sacred ground label is being put on everything within a fuzzy border around it (as long as one wishes to build a Muslim cultural center on it, at least). Either it's all sacred ground or none of it is. And if it is sacred ground, why is another monument to greed being built upon it? Where's the outrage over that?

A horrifying and tragic thing happened on that spot, but I submit that anybody who pays lip service to an unspecified block-radius from the WTC construction site as being sacred in any way (yeah, even you Obama) is only furthering the goals of hypocrites and political schmucks who are scoring points off of it left and right.
posted by contessa at 6:20 PM on August 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


And speaking of weird aspects to the whole community-center-that-includes-a-mosque-flap, here are a couple more:

1. No one is complaining that there are regular Muslim prayer services at the Pentagon, the second major 9/11 target.

2. Also, while the anti-community center folks howl about the insensitivity to 911 survivors (including Muslim survivors?) of building it a couple of blocks away from NYC's Ground Zero, isn't it interesting that the center has changed its name? Originally named the Cordoba Center, in commemoration of a city where Muslims, Christians and Jews lived together, after criticism that Cordoba was part of the Islamic caliphate, it started using the neutral label of its proposed address. Someone is being culturally sensitive here, and it isn't the anti-community center crowd.
posted by bearwife at 6:21 PM on August 18, 2010 [3 favorites]


jaltoh:"Don't worry -- it's not a mosque, it's just an Islamic center."

You can't reason someone out of a position that they didn't reason their way into. If you say this to one of the "OMG GROUND ZERO MOSQUE HALLOWED GROUND" types, they'll only call you a naive liberal moron and go right on believing what they want to believe.

One of my classmates who lost her FDNY brother on 9/11 has been frothing about this non-stop. She's added new details of a room that will have pictures of the 19 hijackers and that it will be dedicated on 9/11/11. Soon, I'm sure it'll embellish to the point that they'll have jihad sign-up sheets and weekend knitting/bomb making classes.
posted by dr_dank at 6:22 PM on August 18, 2010


lupus_yonderboy: "We cannot win with with our current strategy. We will not galvanize our lukewarm leaders to action with our lukewarm support for their lukewarm policies."

This.

With all due respect, naoko, when the Lesser Evil party's leader proclaims the right to execute me without trial*, that party has become insufficiently less evil.

* Sorry to keep bringing that up. It just upsets me for some reason.
posted by Joe Beese at 6:29 PM on August 18, 2010


I think the poster was pointing out that since Dachau was in Germany to start with, the idea that it would be offensive to put a german cultural center somewhere near to it just doesn't make sense.

Actually, I didn't even make that connection. I was too baffled by the comparison of Muslims = Nazis coming from a guy who once said that electing a black president would be a great thing and then complained when Obama had that gay-hating preacher at his inauguration. But anti-bigotry in some areas obviously doesn't translate into others (plus he's said some borderline Islamophobic comments before), so I guess I shouldn't have been that surprised.
posted by dirigibleman at 6:29 PM on August 18, 2010


On the bright side, every year we seem to give "them" less reason to hate us for our freedoms.
posted by klarck at 6:31 PM on August 18, 2010 [3 favorites]


I heartily support of the Muslims right to build a mosque anywhere within the law and according to local building codes. From what I understand, the "ground zero" mosque meets those criteria. There is something to be said for choosing your battles wisely, however.

Exactly. I say the same thing about Mandela, Gandhi, and Rosa Parks. They should have just moved if they wanted to exercise their rights as a human being.
posted by hal_c_on at 6:32 PM on August 18, 2010 [4 favorites]


China Mieville's smackdown of those opposing the Muslim Community Center and a request for for supporting visuals for Racism Out of Manhattan.

I already admire him but this, this, makes me outright adore him.
posted by nikitabot at 6:35 PM on August 18, 2010


I no longer care if the dems win the fucking senate.

Oh, because a Congress full of Angles and Pauls will be so much better. Jesus fucking Christ. Fuck Pam Geller, fuck the Muslim haters, fuck Harry Reid, fuck Howard Dean, fuck you, and fuck this whole goddamned stupid country.
posted by octobersurprise at 6:37 PM on August 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


no German of goodwill would even think of proposing a German cultural center at, say, Treblinka.

Just to roil the pot a bit -
posted by IndigoJones at 6:39 PM on August 18, 2010


With all due respect, naoko, when the Lesser Evil party's leader proclaims the right to execute me without trial*, that party has become insufficiently less evil.

I guess what I'm I'm saying is, don't throw the baby out with the bathwater. I don't like Harry Reid either. Harry Reid sucks. That does mean that every Dem in every single elected office in America sucks. If you want better Dems who behave like Dems, do stuff to support the good ones. If your elected officials aren't good ones, find one somewhere else. Find a House Rep in a tough district who did the right thing on a hard vote like energy or health care or whatever issue(s) matter most to you, and give them money or make phone calls from home for them or whatever you can to help them win. Reinforce the good behavior of the people who do right and give a damn. When these people continue to win, it proves that the American people don't want weak, spineless appeasers like Reid, but rather people who are willing to take a stand on tough issues. I think that this, not just "vote all the bums out" is how will build a government with leaders that actually stand for something.
posted by naoko at 6:46 PM on August 18, 2010 [3 favorites]


*that doesn't mean. I am a veritable typo machine today.
posted by naoko at 6:47 PM on August 18, 2010


I don't understand the arguments here that the Democrats should be punished for some Democrats being idiots. I mean, maybe those specific Democrats deserve to lose, but the party's leader (Obama) is being reasonable. Pelosi is reasonable on this, AFAIK. The Senator I'll be voting for, Barbara Boxer, is reasonable. Just because Reid and Dean (who isn't elected to anything, so who cares) and a few others are idiots doesn't indict the whole party.
posted by wildcrdj at 6:49 PM on August 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


Even though I consider myself generally agnostic, wouldn't it be great to try to get a lease on office space inside the Freedom Towers themselves and build a mosque right above the exact site that the Twin Towers stood? In terms of the right wing reaction?

These people aren't trying to get a reaction out of anybody. They just want the freedom of religion just like every other American.
posted by hal_c_on at 6:52 PM on August 18, 2010


I heartily support of the Muslims right to build a mosque anywhere within the law and according to local building codes. From what I understand, the "ground zero" mosque meets those criteria.

That is not so clear.
posted by Jaltcoh at 6:52 PM on August 18, 2010


bearwife:1. No one is complaining that there are regular Muslim prayer services at the Pentagon, the second major 9/11 target.

When 9/11 comes up in the news media, is the Pentagon ever really mentioned? It always seemed weird to me that 9/11 came to be exclusively about the WTC and the Pentagon is practically swept under the rug.
posted by dr_dank at 6:54 PM on August 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


If the planners wanted it to be referred to by a proper noun rather than the generic "mosque," they should have (1) picked one name and stuck to it (rather than calling it the "Cordoba House" and then switching to "Park51") and (2) chosen a less forgettable name than "Park51."

Dude.....you know they changed the name from "Cordoba House" because Rush Limbaugh complained that "Cordoba House" sounded like it was glorifying the medieval conquest of Spain, right? They....they were trying to be less offensive to the delicate ears of Americans. They shouldn't have bothered.
posted by Salvor Hardin at 6:55 PM on August 18, 2010 [4 favorites]


Maybe I misunderstood you. It's not entirely clear to me.
posted by Salvor Hardin at 6:56 PM on August 18, 2010


The World Famous wrote: "What I disagree with here is Keith Olbermann angrily accusing Republicans of trying to get America to "sell our birthright" in the context of a discussion about discrimination against Islam, given the origin and controversy surrounding that particular phrase. Maybe he, like you, just doesn't understand. Still, someone should have caught that before he shouted it on the air."

Perhaps rather than being opaque you could share with the rest of us?
posted by wierdo at 6:57 PM on August 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


dr_dank: "bearwife:1. No one is complaining that there are regular Muslim prayer services at the Pentagon, the second major 9/11 target.

When 9/11 comes up in the news media, is the Pentagon ever really mentioned? It always seemed weird to me that 9/11 came to be exclusively about the WTC and the Pentagon is practically swept under the rug.
"

Because it never happened!
posted by Splunge at 6:58 PM on August 18, 2010


Perhaps rather than being opaque you could share with the rest of us?

I think he may be conflating the Biblical story of Esau, who sold his birthright to his brother Jacob for a bowl of porridge, with the story of his uncle Ishmael, the brother of Isaac and supposed ancestor of the Arabs.
posted by EarBucket at 7:18 PM on August 18, 2010


Oh, and tomorrow's Tea Party Jesus comes courtesy of Howard Dean.
posted by EarBucket at 7:19 PM on August 18, 2010


people should continue calling the mosque portion of the Cordoba House a mosque.

Say "mosque" and in a majority of American--and maybe even Western--minds you've got a good chance of conjuring up an image of golden, onion domes and tall towers broadcasting the call to prayer. Basically, the Taj Mahal (And I know that's not a mosque. You almost certainly know its not a mosque. Someone with a "Palin 2012!" bumper sticker? I'd lay down money on those odds.)

The cynical people who are inciting the monkeys to dance know this. It's what they're counting on. I can only speak for myself, but when I've said, "It's not a mosque!" what I have been inartfully trying to communicate was, "If you walked by the building after it was finished and had never heard of this ginned up bullshit, you'd probably have no clue what was in there. So chill."
posted by Cyrano at 7:21 PM on August 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


Perhaps rather than being opaque you could share with the rest of us?

Rather than attempt to write a treatise on the origin stories of Islam and Judaism, why don't I just refer you to read about the respective interpretations and commentary of Christianity, Judaism, and Islam on the story of Jacob and Esau, the alleged sale of Esau's birthright in exchange for a mess of pottage, and the implications of that story with regard to the relationship between Judaism and Islam.

You might start here, then move on to here, then move on to here. When you get to that last one (the islamicweb.com link), don't miss this quote: "The story of Esau's selling his birthright to Jacob for a dish of pottage is foul trick invented to justify the ill-treatment ascribed to Ishmael."

While there are apparently some people who miss the significance of Olbermann's reference (seriously, though, how can anyone who has been through high school not catch it?), I am fairly confident that no practicing jew or muslim missed it.
posted by The World Famous at 7:21 PM on August 18, 2010



I don't usually read long threads like this, but this whole issue has been so beyond my comprehension that I can't pull away from it. I don't understand how the other side can't see how weak and void of substance their arguments really are. They use emotional appeals, inappropriate comparisons , drive their arguments via fear and abandon their cherished Constitution that they claim to hold so dear. But then again, I'm glad I'm living through this season of lunacy because then I may be able to comprehend a little the following events in American history that I never got to experience firsthand:

- Vietnam war protesters debating the war hawks
- Civil Rights advocates arguing with racist Southerners
- Red scares of the 50's and after WWI
- Japanese interment camps
- Xenophobia against Chinese and other immigrant groups
- Americanization/Assimilation attempts on Native Americans
- etc

I guess American history goes in these cycles where a large number of people just lose their ability to think rationally or see long-term consequences of their actions. I wish I had a better explanation for it than that, but I am eager to use this issue in my history classroom and see how my high school students react and compare it to events we study.
posted by dealing away at 7:24 PM on August 18, 2010 [4 favorites]


Yeah, it's simply not possible that the phrase's meaning has evolved away from being purely religious in the last couple of thousand years.

Seemed to me like he was talking about our right as Americans to practice (or not practice) our respective religions. I guess that's what I get for not being a Bible scholar.
posted by wierdo at 7:28 PM on August 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


This is not an exaggeration (and at this point, I hope it's exactly what they build -- it has a very nice sidewalk).
posted by dirigibleman at 7:30 PM on August 18, 2010 [5 favorites]


I think any Democrat who doesn't run on, and legislate for, Campaign Finance Reform and/or Term Limits is part of the problem.

The time for baby with the bathwater analogies is over. To keep voting for the same sorts of candidates and expecting different results is committing the Einsteinian act of insanity.

Unless things change (and I'm far from sure they can) what can happen other than a catastrophic failure?
posted by Trochanter at 7:33 PM on August 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


Campaign Finance Reform and/or Term Limits

One of these things is definitely not like the other.

Term limits prevent an effective individual from getting things done. They prevent voters from voting for candidates that they might want in office.

What would you think of a job that guaranteed you got fired after a fixed time, IF you did a good job?

But most important, term limits are very good for the two major parties and bad for splinter parties.

If I'm a Green Party member and happen to be personally popular, I might be able to receive as many terms as I like without term limits - but if there are term limits, once I'm forced to retire, the ability to elect the next candidate depends entirely on the strength of the Green Party, which is none.

On the other hand, the two established parties have no problems in finding and pushing new candidates when there are term limits - they have the funding, they have the manpower, they can afford even to drop candidates in from other places!
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 7:41 PM on August 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


Joe Beese: "lupus_yonderboy: "We cannot win with with our current strategy. We will not galvanize our lukewarm leaders to action with our lukewarm support for their lukewarm policies."

This.

With all due respect, naoko, when the Lesser Evil party's leader proclaims the right to execute me without trial*, that party has become insufficiently less evil.

* Sorry to keep bringing that up. It just upsets me for some reason.
"

This rang a bell for me. As far as I'm concerned, there is no longer a lesser evil. There is just evil. Shade it as one might, the USA no longer has a lesser evil "party". I was one of the lesser evil supporters until I realized that there is active evil and passive evil and I was tacitly supporting the passive evil party. At least internally.

For a long time I considered Republicans as evil. And while I said that I wasn't about political parties in general, I was sort of in the Democrat's camp.

Now I see that what I said as a youth is true. Nobody that wants to be a politician is to be trusted. For a while I thought that this was some kind of silly callow youth thing.

Now I see that it's actually true. At least now. In this time that we are experiencing. Politicians are liars. And what do I do now? If I don't trust the people in power do I become an anarchist?

And what does it say that I've come full circle and become a child in my perception of the "leaders" of my home country?

Maybe someone will prove me wrong. I honestly don't know. How can I be so disillusioned at the age of 51?
posted by Splunge at 7:42 PM on August 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


I think any Democrat who doesn't run on, and legislate for, Campaign Finance Reform and/or Term Limits is part of the problem.
The time for baby with the bathwater analogies is over. To keep voting for the same sorts of candidates and expecting different results is committing the Einsteinian act of insanity.


This is what I'm talking about, though. I'm going to ignore term limits for the moment, but ok, campaign finance reform, that's good issue. There are currently people in government who care about this sort of thing. The House of Representatives recently passed the DISCLOSE Act*, which makes corporate campaign expenditures more transparent (unfortunately, the Senate sucks). After Citizens United, numerous Members of Congress introduced legislation on this issue that was stronger than what ended up coming to the Floor. There is also a bill in the House with a decent number of cosponsors (160) to implement public campaign financing, the Fair Elections Now Act. Find people who have been active on this issue - who cosponsored/voted for DISCLOSE, who introduced other Citizens United response legislation, who are cosponsors of FENA, and support those people. Donate to them. Volunteer for them. Write a letter to the editor about how your rep rocks for supporting this kind of legislation or sucks for not supporting it. This is what I'm talking about with babies and bathwater - the "babies" are the individual electeds doing good shit, the "bathwater" is Reid or fill-in-worthless-Dem-of-your-choice. Believe me, I'm often concerned about where the Democratic party is going as a whole, but voters have to show what kind of Democrats they want.

And if you aren't a fan of the specific legislation I mentioned in here, that's fine, it was just an example. Find someone who is on the same page as you and make damn sure that person stays in Congress. And it's not just about that one Member's vote - one Member making brave choices encourages other ones to do the same.
posted by naoko at 8:06 PM on August 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


Oh thank God and His Son the Everliving Christ that Metafilterians got to express their opinions on this subject after a long opinion blackout.
/prays to the West
posted by yerfatma at 8:07 PM on August 18, 2010


Sen. Feingold speaks out in support of religious freedom

THAT'S MY HOMEBOY! On Wisconsin, motherfuckers!
posted by desjardins at 8:09 PM on August 18, 2010 [3 favorites]


There. Feingold. Proof that not every single Dem sucks. God I love Russ.
posted by naoko at 8:10 PM on August 18, 2010


lupus_yonderboy: As a Green Party member, what makes you think you'll get even a whiff of a chance without major changes to the system. Govern for eight years and then go home. A citizen government. If you couldn't get it done in eight years maybe you weren't that good in the first place.

Besides, I pretty much threw term limits in there at the last minute. Campaign Finance is the big, grey elephant.

But you know, a long time ago, there used to be the odd good president, and they only serve eight years.
posted by Trochanter at 8:11 PM on August 18, 2010


Sen. Feingold speaks out in support of religious freedom

That's an accurate summary of what Feingold said -- unlike the way the article is written, which makes it sound like he specifically wants the mosque to be built at 51 Park Pl. In fact, he specifically says he can't speak for Muslims (or Christians) in deciding where they should built their houses of worship.

I also don't know how what Feingold said is any different from what Obama said, despite the last paragraph of the article.
posted by Jaltcoh at 8:15 PM on August 18, 2010


One of the things that confuses me still is the original pitch for Park51. I could swear that it was first proposed as a community center "with a mosque". I'd felt it was unnecessarily agitating on the part of conservatives to call it a mosque (although that has more to do with that particular mindset than anything I feel).

Reading about it online, it seems that it's universally being called a mosque, and I'm not sure if popular culture has been overwhelmed by a radical right talking point, or if the Cordoba Institute said that yes, it really is primarily a mosque.

And as jaltcoh quite correctly says above, it's ok if it is just a mosque. I'm just curious if we're falling prey to a framing technique designed to agitate religious conservatives.
posted by boo_radley at 8:17 PM on August 18, 2010


To address the "mosque / not mosque" thing: I care about what they, the owners/founders/etc., call it. On their website, they call it a community center, so I call it a community center. Sharif El-Gamal also calls it a community center and only refers to some people deeming it a "mosque" (his quotation marks) in this editorial from a couple weeks ago.

If they wanted to call it a mosque, that'd be fine too. It wouldn't be any less legitimate or unworthy of being constructed. Having a mosque or other consecrated place of worship inside does not mean that religious worship is its primary function, however, any more than a hospital having a chapel inside means that the hospital is primarily a place of Christian worship. According to the Park51 website, the mosque inside the center is a separate entity and will be run independently. So, if that's true, Park51 is not, itself, a mosque, and the CEO of the building organization does not consider it a mosque. So neither do I.
posted by Errant at 8:18 PM on August 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


- Japanese interment camps

Admittedly, interring innocent people is even harsher than anything at Gitmo.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 8:24 PM on August 18, 2010


Won't somebody think of the coats? We must rebuild the Burlington Coat Factory!


Actually, they are more than great coats.
posted by yeti at 8:25 PM on August 18, 2010


Thank you, Errant. That's what I was looking for.
posted by boo_radley at 8:27 PM on August 18, 2010


posted by ricochet biscuit Admittedly, interring innocent people is even harsher than anything at Gitmo.

Interring innocent people is exactly what we're doing at Gitmo.
posted by mattdidthat at 8:27 PM on August 18, 2010 [5 favorites]


Splunge wrote: "Politicians are liars."

Some politicians are liars. Some change their minds in the face of new evidence. Some have their words twisted beyond recognition by partisan hacks attempting to make them appear to be liars.

This sort of shit is exactly what the Republicans are gunning for. They do their absolute best trying to fragment the left and center so that they can keep moving our country farther towards the precipice of religious intolerance, endless war, and ever more concentration of wealth in the hands of the elite.

It makes me sad when I see it working.

Yeah, there are quite a few shitheels in the Democratic camp. There are also some who have honest disagreements with you and I on how the country should be. They aren't by any means the same as fucking Republicans. It's amazing how we can have a lesson knocked into our heads for eight long fucking years and within 18 months, it's all forgotten.

And yes, I'd love to see the system changed in such a way as to make a multi-party system work. It's not all roses, though. It's not as if it's prevented fuckwads from gaining power in every parliamentary government at some point or another.
posted by wierdo at 8:29 PM on August 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


Sharif El-Gamal also calls it a community center and only refers to some people deeming it a "mosque" (his quotation marks) in this editorial from a couple weeks ago.

Here's what he says in the article you link to:
Park51 will be a community center to serve the needs of the world's greatest city, a city that continues to inspire and amaze. It will be a world-class house of culture and art, education and recreation, for every New Yorker to find something to benefit from. A facility where you can find children's swim classes, photography exhibitions, Pilates sessions, Spanish-language lessons and an amazing gym.

We're determined to build something all New Yorkers can be proud of, because we're part of this city. We see our future here, and our children's future, too.

Muslims have lived, worked and worshiped in New York for centuries. Today, the tristate area hosts about 1 million Muslims. Mosques have been serving lower Manhattan for decades.
That seems to be implying that he wants to build a mosque. Otherwise, why mention mosques with no quotation marks?

I still think all this objection to the word "mosque" is deeply ironic. It seems to depend on a view that "mosque" is an inherently scary word. Why not challenge that assumption rather than fussing over the semantics?
posted by Jaltcoh at 8:35 PM on August 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


I sometimes think the whole radical right thing, as illustrated by Bolton's quote in the thread title, is really a strategy to keep the left afraid, so they will vote for whatever blue dog empty suit the Dems throw out there, just out of fear of losing to the loony-tunes, and thus maintain the plutocracy.

Now, excuse me, I have to shampoo my spaghetti strainer.
posted by Trochanter at 8:36 PM on August 18, 2010


America and I are quickly approaching a DTMFA situation.
posted by schmod at 8:37 PM on August 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


Jaltcoh wrote: "Why not challenge that assumption rather than fussing over the semantics?"

Because it's another example of the right lying and exaggerating to scare people so that they get their way.
posted by wierdo at 8:38 PM on August 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


That's a non sequitur. The fact that the right is saying something wrong doesn't mean we don't have a responsibility to get things right.
posted by Jaltcoh at 8:40 PM on August 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


oops. not bolton.
posted by Trochanter at 8:41 PM on August 18, 2010


Jaltcoh wrote: "That's a non sequitur. The fact that the right is saying something wrong doesn't mean we don't have a responsibility to get things right."

"Mosque," whether it's a scary word or not to most people is simply not an accurate description of the project. Correcting the record is "getting it right."
posted by wierdo at 8:51 PM on August 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


interring interning
posted by mattdidthat at 8:52 PM on August 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


Harry Reid is facing reelection in Nevada; his Republican opponent is the sort of figure who will shamelessly and clumsily reverse herself on key policy questions and then blame Reid for it, claiming that through some unexplained process of improbable rhetorical alchemy, Reid himself distorted her earlier remarks, which is why saying the opposite of what she said before can mean the same thing. Or something. He's running against an Orwellian caricature of a politician and he wants to get reelected.

Democrats, individually, may take admirable public stances on issues or may have impressive voting records. They might champion gay rights. They might push for universal health care. They might do lots of things for Americans, but for the most part they simply don't. Is it more likely that these powerful, well-connected professional politicians are just too nice and decent to get things done, or that they don't really need to? They're not spineless. They're not incompetent. They're part of the ruling class, and the margin by which they care more about us than the Republicans do is razor thin. They've collectively got a pretty good thing going: Republicans inflame their base and get votes, Dems do the same, both parties keep on truckin', and in that dynamic they have an eternal, insoluble conflict that is always there to accept blame for each party's lack of meaningful results for most Americans, whether the issue the constituency wants solved is Too Many Damn Mexicans or Corporate Personhood is An Abomination.

I dunno. Maybe I'm wrong. It just seems more sensible to conclude that, for example, Reid doesn't care about freedom of religion than to harbor faith that he totally does but he can't, like, act on that conviction? because it's a really bad time right now?
posted by clockzero at 8:55 PM on August 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


"Mosque," whether it's a scary word or not to most people is simply not an accurate description of the project. Correcting the record is "getting it right."

How is it not an accurate description? I don't understand. Because there's also a "community center"? OK, but there's a plan to build a mosque, and that's what's controversial.
posted by Jaltcoh at 9:00 PM on August 18, 2010


If congress swings to the GOP, Obama will have a hard time getting anything done, and he might not get re-elected. Then Palin or Gingrich or worse will get to appoint a Supreme Court Justice or two. That would be a bad thing. I'm fed up too, but think of the big picture.
posted by ambulocetus at 9:02 PM on August 18, 2010


I would also like to hear from those who don't want it to be called a mosque: why? What's wrong with a mosque? It seems counterproductive to defend it on the grounds that "Don't worry -- it's not a mosque, it's just an Islamic center."

You have it wrong way round -- the people insisting on calling it a community center aren't saying it is "just" a community center. They want you to call it a community center because it is MORE THAN "just a mosque."

It's like: my high school decided to expand its health services program for students, above and beyond the nurse in her office handing out bandaids and asprin. They were going to have abuse counseling, alcohol and drug abuse counseling, mental health screening, support groups for kids with serious illnesses -- oh, and sexual education and teen pregnancy counseling.

It was that last bit that made the more conservative members of my town flip right the fuck out -- suddenly they were talking about how the school was going to open "a chapter of Planned Parenthood" in the school. By reducing the whole health services program down to just the sex ed stuff, they overshadowed all of the other vital services that the program would have provided. And they focused on the one most controversial part because they knew that was the easiest way to cause controversy and sway opinion. They were counting on people to think of it as "a Planned Parenthood" because that way it was easier for them to get people to vote down "a Planned Parenthood" than it would have been for them to get rid of
"abusecounselingalcoholanddrugabusecounselingmentalhealthscreeningsupportgroupsforkidswithseriousillnessesohandsexedandteenpregnancycounseling".

That's why people who call Cordoba House "a community center" are saying "it's not a mosque". What they mean is "it's not JUST a mosque."
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:12 PM on August 18, 2010 [7 favorites]


Oh, and as for the "Atlas Shrugs" bimbo -- she's also behind the anti-Cordoba House ads that will be going up in the transit system.

And that is precisely why I plan on buying up a hell of a lot of those "Coexist" bumper stickers -- so I can carry them around with me and slap one over each and every one of those ads I see.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:15 PM on August 18, 2010 [4 favorites]


> It's amazing how we can have a lesson knocked into our heads for eight long fucking years and within 18 months, it's all forgotten.

Please go back and read what I wrote here.

I've forgotten nothing. We went in the wrong direction for eight years but we are still going in that wrong direction.

The issue of the endless war state is the most important issue to me and on that matter, Mr. Obama has delivered us nothing. We've had two of his four budgets and each one has INCREASED military spending. There are the endless drone attacks, Mr. Obama's pet invention (I noticed and commented about this in the first week of his administration but it was worse than I thought), the escalation in Afghanistan, the new theaters of war in Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia...

The rule of law is almost as important to me. There I do honestly think that Mr. Obama has gone one step worse than W, who at least respected the rules by paradoxically sneaking around them. By trying to put these violations of the Constitution within the law, Mr. Obama has dramatically moved the goalposts far in the direction of "the government can do as it pleases".

Then we have the looting of the economy by Wall Street. I've had disputes with many of you on this, but the fact is that the tiny and ineffectual reforms passed are not going to change anything at all, the idea of creating a new and unfunded department to enforce rules that haven't even been written yet is absurd (we already have the SEC who's been very effective in the past on these matters) and the tiny slaps on the wrist that Goldman et. al received for their actions which are indubitably felonies (tiny fines which are less than a day's profits) simply reinforce their behaviour.

In general, the fact that eight years of blatant criminal activity were followed by precisely zero trials is deplorable. There is simply no reason why the next Republicans won't go much further - if they don't even get a wrist slap for this again simply tells them that they did the right thing. And don't get me started on the whistleblowers.

I personally have very little faith in the health care bill. Nor do I believe Mr. Obama has any faith in it either or else it wouldn't be set up so the bulk of it doesn't even turn on till after the next Presidential election.

Now a lot can happen in two years. But my personal theory is that Mr. Obama will not get a second term. I don't see this economy picking up - and nothing is as important as the economy.

Let me make one more final point. If you want to negotiate with these evil fuckers, the way to start the negotiations is not by saying, "No matter what you do, we'll vote for you anyway," because that way they are guaranteed they are going to screw you over for their financial contributors. There are two years till the elections - if we start telling the Democrats NOW that we won't vote for them unless they move to the left, well, we're giving them fair warning, aren't we?
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 9:17 PM on August 18, 2010 [3 favorites]


the difference that makes a difference is this: the Republicans get a lot of mileage and attention by playing as far away from the center as they can, while the Democrats play as close to the center as they can. The result: Dems look like spineless, calculating panderers and the Republicans look like highly motivated and charismatic believers. Neither is true, but truth doesn't affect voter turnout, mobilize fundraising or win elections. Emotion does and the negative emotions are the more powerful ones.

the odd part is that the Democrats can't seem to figure out that depressing voter turnout puts Republicans in office. But since most seats are safe seats, controversy will always be avoided by incumbents.

The upshot: if you don't like, tough luck. The game is going to be played this way for a long, long time to come.

Life sucks and nobody cares about your feelings.
posted by warbaby at 9:18 PM on August 18, 2010


Oh, yes. Threatening to withhold your vote will not get any traction at all with an elected politician. It just means they can ignore you. Now if you donate several hundred thousand dollars to a collection of PACs, they will be all ears.
posted by warbaby at 9:21 PM on August 18, 2010


That seems to be implying that he wants to build a mosque. Otherwise, why mention mosques with no quotation marks?

The line you refer to is El-Gamal pulling back from the issue of this specific site to the greater issue of Muslim integration in New York. Here is that paragraph, with the one before and after:

We're determined to build something all New Yorkers can be proud of, because we're part of this city. We see our future here, and our children's future, too.

Muslims have lived, worked and worshiped in New York for centuries. Today, the tristate area hosts about 1 million Muslims. Mosques have been serving lower Manhattan for decades. We are your doctors and cab drivers, kindergarten teachers and bankers, artists and engineers.

When our city was attacked on Sept. 11, Muslim New Yorkers were attacked, too. Scores of Muslim Americans perished, both in the attacks and as first responders. Hundreds of Muslims serve in our Police and Fire departments. Many Muslims are fighting alongside their fellow Americans in our armed forces.


It seems quite clear, in context, that he mentions mosques in New York as part of a greater point about how long Muslims have lived in and served New York, the same as a Jewish builder facing anti-Semitic criticism might discuss how long a synagogue has served a particular community and that the anti-Semitism is therefore especially unjust. To read that editorial, with its mention of mosques in two places -- once as a quoted reference to what other people are calling his project, and once as part of a discussion on Muslim presence in New York -- and decide that it means El-Gamal is trying to build a mosque seems like a stretch, just because he said the word "mosque" in an editorial.

In the editorial, he says, "Our first priority is establishing a nonprofit, which will seek federal tax-exempt status. This nonprofit will be overseen by a diverse board of directors, people from various professions, regions and religions - guaranteeing that Park51 works as best as it can." That's not a mosque; mosques don't have interfaith boards of directors. He also says, "Park51 will be a community center to serve the needs of the world's greatest city, a city that continues to inspire and amaze." That's absolutely pandering to the audience, but that's not a mosque either. On their website, they say, "This non-profit will be run by an Executive Director, yet to be selected, support staff, and a 23-member Board of Directors. We will choose a diverse Board of Directors, based on leadership, experience and perspective. The Board will not be limited by religion or region. The mosque, yet to be named, will be run by a separate non-profit whose Board of Directors will reflect a broad range of experience. While the mosque will be located in the planned final structure of Park51, it will be a distinct non-profit."

There is going to be a mosque. That mosque isn't Park51, and it's not Cordoba House, which is a "multifaith programming cluster". It will be a separate entity, with its own tax designation and board of directors, which will be housed in Park51. It will potentially not be built at the same time as Park51 but at a later date, depending on that organization's board, fundraising, and tax exemption paperwork. When Park51 is built, it will reserve space for that mosque. That mosque does not currently have a name. Park51 is not a mosque. Cordoba House is not a mosque. I'm suddenly very tired of looking at the word "mosque". I applaud your zeal to defend houses of worship from the intemperate; hopefully you can find it within yourself to extend that fervor to cultural community centers as well.
posted by Errant at 9:41 PM on August 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm fed up too, but think of the big picture.

There are nefarious actors in our economic system that are threatening the collapse of that very system. The government is killing blameless people in two theatres of war, and there is rising clamour to open a third. Almost everything we consume is produced by people working for wages we consider it a crime to pay ourselves.

That's the big picture, and it's not changing because people who gain by these things pay for the laws that allow them.

I'll tell you there's one effective citizens group in the country and that's AIPAC.

THERE'S a lesson for the "professional left." It's not about elections, it's about lobbying.
posted by Trochanter at 9:42 PM on August 18, 2010


Jaltcoh wrote: "How is it not an accurate description? I don't understand. Because there's also a "community center"? OK, but there's a plan to build a mosque, and that's what's controversial."

So you're saying that any building with a prayer room is a mosque/church/temple/whatever? I strongly disagree with that statement. Unless you contend that hospitals are churches because they have chapels which occasionally have services for the ambulatory patients to attend. Or the Petronas towers are mosques because they have prayer rooms.

I think that's a functionally useless definition.

lupus_yonderboy: Sometimes you have to choose between bad and some bad and some good. It sucks, but that's life. I can do my best to keep lying sacks of shit out of office while still wishing for and working for more fundamental change. Either way, it's patently ridiculous that you're denouncing reform before it's even in effect. The health care bill isn't the one I would have liked, to be sure, but it's way the fuck better than the nothing we had before.

It's like you thought that as soon as Obama was elected, everything would suddenly be candy and roses. It don't work that way.

My point being that if you're sniping at Obama and the Democrats right now, you're increasing the chance that things will get even worse than they already are. IMO, given the present system, the place for that kind of shit is in the primaries. Give the milquetoast wing of the Democratic Party something to fear by putting up a strong primary challenger from the left. Call and write your Congresspeople. Make noise. Become one of the donors that they listen to. Just don't give the fucking Republicans one inch. God help us if Newt Gingrich or his ilk get to appoint a Justice with a Republican Congress in their pocket.

Listen to the things they want to do if/when they regain control of the House and Senate. I like those things even less than I like what's going on now. Believe me, you will not be happy with another Scalito or Roberts on the Supreme Court. Without those two dipshits, we wouldn't have the Citizen's United case to contend with. We'd actually stand a chance at real campaign finance reform, which has been utterly closed off from us until we get some justices who can understand that there are differences between people and for profit corporations.

The attitude you espouse is exactly what got us Bush.

There is another option, but it's the horseshit peddled by the likes of Sharron Angle who would just as soon use armed revolution to get their way as work within the system to change it.
posted by wierdo at 9:49 PM on August 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


Evidence that the right is totally controlling the debate: I just talked to someone who is a very smart, religiously-tolerant NPR-listening liberal mefite-lurker, and even he thought that Park51 was purposely being provocative and insensitive by building near Ground Zero. I turned him around on that in less than two minutes, but he is somehow getting that message from listening to NPR and reading the NYT or whatever. If that's the case, there is no hope for my Fox News watching grandmother.
posted by desjardins at 10:04 PM on August 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


> lupus_yonderboy: Sometimes you have to choose between bad and some bad and some good. It sucks, but that's life.

Please read what I wrote above. You are yet again saying, "Our choice is between +2 and -10 so we must choose the +2" - but this choice prevents us from ever scoring a +10 so even though that strategy is safer, it is guaranteed to fail.

> It's like you thought that as soon as Obama was elected, everything would suddenly be candy and roses. It don't work that way.

It's like you didn't read a word I wrote. It's not that Mr. Obama's progress is too slow - it's that he is progressing in the wrong direction.

Frankly, I didn't have much of an expectation for Mr. Obama - I already suspected he was an empty suit after his disgraceful turn around on the FICA bill. I cried when he was elected, simply because I detested Bush so very much.

Unfortunately, Mr. Obama did not meet even my limited expectations. I anticipated competence and some basic level of support for the Constitution from him - I've seen precious little of either.

> The attitude you espouse is exactly what got us Bush.

A lackluster campaign by Gore, massive voter disenfranchisement, and a pre-emptive Supreme Court decision had nothing to do with it - it was ME, me and my bad attitude that did it!
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 10:06 PM on August 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


Admittedly, interring innocent people is even harsher than anything at Gitmo.

Yeah, the fourteen year old kid we captured after he killed a US soldier in a firefight (not in a terrorist act -- in a battle). The kid we then tortured and threatened to rape to death. The kid we've held at Gitmo for seven years. The kid we are now trying as a war criminal in front of a military jury made up of US soldiers who were wounded or saw friends killed in Iraq and Afghanistan, yeah, he's certainly no innocent.

Our soldiers came to his country. He defended his country, and in so doing he unfortunately he killed a US soldier. But he's not a soldier, he's not an innocent, he's no POW. He's a war criminal. Like Himmler or Goering.
posted by orthogonality at 10:13 PM on August 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


Here's an interesting article about the rumour mongers.

Here is the link to Fascism.

Here Geller praises the English Defence League as " courageous English patriots", and "Free people should support the English Defence League in its efforts to stand for England and the West against the belligerent invaders and Islamic imperialists."

Read the article, it's insane.

But who are the English Defence League? Fascists and football hooligans.

How extreme are they? The neo-Fascist British National Party lists them as a proscribed organization.

So, there you are. The people behind the anti-mosque are linked to organisations to the right of the BNP.
posted by quarsan at 10:23 PM on August 18, 2010 [5 favorites]


So, when was the last time any one of us consciously decided not to drive a car, even for one day, as an act of protest to the oil economy that makes these conflicts possible? I haven't. Have you? We're getting diverted again. It's not about the mosque; it's about an American way of life that is on schedule for major recalibration - like it or not. Again, the mosque is a diversion - a way to avoid the pain of real change; it's something to hang on to and debate, while we drive down the street listening to NPR debates in our car. Hang on; this is going to be one, tough, 20-year ride as we live through a cultural redefinition of the American Dream.
posted by Vibrissae at 10:23 PM on August 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


lupus_yonderboy wrote: "A lackluster campaign by Gore, massive voter disenfranchisement, and a pre-emptive Supreme Court decision had nothing to do with it - it was ME, me and my bad attitude that did it!"

Not you personally, but yes, had people not had it hammered into their head that there was "no difference," Gore's margin would have been higher, to the point hanging chads wouldn't have mattered. Third parties splitting the left and center's vote guarantees failure, as has been shown time and time again. Similarly, Perot splitting the right and center-right vote was arguably what put Clinton over the top, spoiling the Republican ticket in 1992. This is how our country has worked for the last hundred years, if not longer.

I guess if you want -10, go ahead and do your thing. It's your perogative. I fail to see how taking votes away from the Democrats in an attempt to help out a third party who simply can't win on a broad scale will help things. We have a two party system. Work to change one of the parties to something you're more interested in.

Personally, I'm pretty happy with not torturing people anymore. It's a good start. I agree that on some issues, Obama is going in the wrong direction, but I think that overall he's not. I'm hopeful that the Supreme Court can be enticed to step in and help limit the overreach of government.

About the only thing that would turn things around real quick was a MeFi PAC. With lots and lots of dough. Making it clear to the centrists that all those funds will be used against them if we don't like their anti-liberty stance.
posted by wierdo at 10:31 PM on August 18, 2010


The law no passion can disturb. 'Tis void of desire and fear, lust and anger... 'Tis deaf, inexorable, inflexible. On the one hand it is inexorable to the cries and lamentations of the prisoners; on the other it is deaf, deaf as an adder, to the clamors of the populace.

- John Adams - Argument in Defense of the British Soldiers in the Boston Massacre Trials (4 December 1770)
posted by jcking77 at 10:36 PM on August 18, 2010 [5 favorites]


You are yet again saying, "Our choice is between +2 and -10 so we must choose the +2" - but this choice prevents us from ever scoring a +10 so even though that strategy is safer, it is guaranteed to fail.

What's the strategy to get us the +10? No snark; I honestly want to hear ideas.
posted by naoko at 10:51 PM on August 18, 2010


They should just call the community centre the "George W Bush Centre for Interfaith Goodwill".

Apart from confusing the hell out of conservatives, this would also cause a rupture in the very fabric of the cosmos, which might allow us to master time travel.
posted by UbuRoivas at 10:53 PM on August 18, 2010


> I guess if you want -10, go ahead and do your thing.

Your inability to read and process what I wrote has become extremely tiresome. I'm curious - what possible thing I wrote let you to conclude that I wished to score a loss on this game?

> I fail to see how taking votes away from the Democrats in an attempt to help out a third party who simply can't win on a broad scale will help things.

To repeat myself yet again

- even if you are eventually intending to vote Democrat, right now is the time you should be trying to convince them that you're NOT going to UNLESS they move in a direction you like - because up until now the Democrats act as if the Left will vote for them no matter what shit they pull, and dump their contempt on us while fawning over the contemptible Right.

- it is absolutely not necessary for some third party to appear. What needs to happen is that the Democrats get a clue, and that clue is that they need to actually appeal to their politically active base in exactly the same way the Republicans consistently do to theirs.

They clearly are never going to figure this out on their own - all our emails, phone calls, and such might as well be farts in a windstorm. What will make them listen is to withhold our support, withhold our money and, if they don't wise up, withhold our votes in 2012.

Your feckless strategy is guaranteed to lose in the long term. You're saying, "We can never ever take any chance at all. We must resign ourselves to systematically losing over time, because the risk of losing one election is far too great to take. We can never express our dissatisfaction with the Democrats at any time, for that same reason."

Anyone who has studied game theory, or any halfway serious poker or Go player, knows it's perfectly possible to play a lot of games, never make a "mistake" and still consistently lose, precisely because you are unwilling to take any chances and therefore miss out on the large gains.

I've proposed this argument, what, three times now? And you've willfully misinterpreted this three times. The last time, where you're basically accusing me of wanting to throw the game, is insulting.


> I'm hopeful that the Supreme Court can be enticed to step in and help limit the overreach of government.

It's a crying shame, then, that Mr. Obama's Supreme Court pick's record in that area is so dismal.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 10:55 PM on August 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


> What's the strategy to get us the +10? No snark; I honestly want to hear ideas.

Ideally we'd have a third party but that's a pipe dream. The system has long been set up so that's completely impossible.

Instead, we need to use the threat of withholding our money, support and votes as a stick to goad the Democratic party into actually moving away from the Right where it lives now and toward the center.

Consider that on the great issues of our day there is no light between the two parties. The endless war, off-shore drilling, the indefinite suspension of the Bill of Rights, there is nothing to choose between them.

My reading of this is that the best way to proceed is to pick one issue and go medieval on their asses on it. And that issue is the war machine. The United States have killed hundreds of thousands of innocent people who did precisely nothing to us. Sure, we've pissed away trillions of dollars, thousands of Americans have died mostly horrible deaths in foreign battlefields for precisely nothing, but the worst issue is that our children have been turned into murderers.

It's not good enough to slowly, limpingly get out of these wars - because the next Republicans will start more (or Mr. Obama will start one with Iran, every President's secret desire is to start their own war it seems).

We need to force Congress to actually obey the fucking Constitution and follow its own rules on declaring war.

We need to turn off the permanent emergency that Mr. Obama just re-extended and that has gone on for almost a decade.

We need extremely stringent laws regarding incitement to war so that lying to the American people in order to start a war is treated like the treasonous act it obviously is to any person of conscience.

We need to stand up and scream these demands, demands that are completely reasonable to any thinking, ethical person - demands that we almost certainly won't get, right now, but if we show them that we're damned fucking serious that WE DON'T WANT ANY MORE STUPID WARS EVEN AGAIN AND IF YOU START ONE THEN YOU'VE LOST OUR VOTES AND OUR CASH then at least they might not start any more for a few years and we can desperately attempt to fix this sick old country up while we have a little breathing room.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 11:14 PM on August 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


(In the list of great issues of our time that the Republicans and Democrats walk lock-step on, a key one I forgot is neglecting to enforce the existing laws against securities fraud.)
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 11:21 PM on August 18, 2010


Ignoring the good to favor winning the perfect is going to fail when applied to governance.

In the next election, vote for the least evil person who is most favored. Don't vote for a perfect candidate who can not win.

Now, the election after that you might have reason to vote for an even less-evil candidate. But for the next one, ya gotta compromise a bit. You just can't afford to let the hatred get power.
posted by five fresh fish at 11:23 PM on August 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


Ignoring the good to favor winning the perfect is going to fail when applied to governance.

Whatever we've been doing, has failed.
posted by mek at 11:47 PM on August 18, 2010


Anti-Mosque Leader Pamela Geller Is Just Standing Up for South Park
posted by homunculus at 12:39 AM on August 19, 2010


Well, at least that guarantees us an upcoming South Park episode about Pamela Geller.
posted by mek at 12:53 AM on August 19, 2010


The entire US media and right-wing brigade are acting as if Muslims have invaded America and are building a monument to Osama Bin Laden at the site where the World Trade Center once stood.
For those of us outside the hub of Empire and not immersed in the day to day of US politics The Guardian tells us a bit more about those charming people Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer.
posted by adamvasco at 1:06 AM on August 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


Isn't Pamela Geller the one who literally speculated that Barrack Obama might secretly be the son of Malcolm X?
posted by mccarty.tim at 2:00 AM on August 19, 2010


Ignoring the good to favor winning the perfect is going to fail when applied to governance.

I profoundly sympathise with all the people on this thread who are disappointed by some of the democrat responses on this.

However, it really does seem to me that the best thing they - we - could be doing is looking for ways to use that energy to make things better in the long term in a way that doesn't cost us in the short term either.

It must be possible to do stuff that has a long term good effect and a short term good effect.

Are there no progressive groups out there that are doing this?
posted by lucien_reeve at 2:03 AM on August 19, 2010


Actually they kind of did. Sayyid Qutb, whom the New York Times called "The Philosopher of Islamic Terror," was turned against the United States during a six-month stay in 1949. The animalistic American sexuality he saw at a church dance was one of his main complaints.

I thought Giuliani did away with that sort of thing.
posted by krinklyfig at 2:20 AM on August 19, 2010 [2 favorites]


Isn't Pamela Geller the one who literally speculated that Barrack Obama might secretly be the son of Malcolm X?

Thats the coolest rumor i have heard about Obama. Let's keep it going.
posted by hal_c_on at 2:31 AM on August 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


Aagh! How do the fucking Republicans do this every god damn time? They can take some insignificant issue and manage to drum it up to a giant national crisis over nothing. And the Democrats fall for it every fucking time.

We've had that round of silly season in India, when a competent, UN-returned technocrat, Shashi Tharoor, was hounded out of office. It's quite simple: find a wedge issue. Magnify it to about 10 times. Hammer, hammer, hammer, hammer. Don't let up one go; keep hitting the same talking points over and over and over and over again. At some point, this perception becomes reality; that's when the "good" side, the side that thinks it's a non-issue, will have to react. Once you're in the position of having to react, it's game over.

My initial support for Obama was primarily for how he seemed to go beyond the game; in particular, the way he handled the Wright "issue" was impressive. However, the spam-meisters (for this is not unlike that Monty Python spam sketch) seem to have gotten figured him out. And Team Obama seems tired by now, either giving up or uncaring or both.

Or it's all just maya.
posted by the cydonian at 3:43 AM on August 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


Because one egg is un oeuf

Ever played Monopoly with someone who's cheating? You know they're cheating and they might know you know but you're not a cheat and 'cheaters never something something' so you're pitching a tent on the moral high ground and you're gonna beat them fairly and feel great and wipe the smile of their DVD. But two hours later you're somehow still in the game. You've got hotels on the oranges and you've had a bit of luck with free parking but you've just landed on a green with three houses an suddenly you've mortgaged your railroads and you're outta cash and you roll a seven and it's about to all be over and a seven looks a liitle like an eight and you're tired and your left leg is numb where you've been sitting on it for the last five or six times round and you casually move to GO as if you've simply misread the dice and seriously, they've been cheating the whole game and that smug smile and that pile of cash and yeah you'll lose the high ground if they notice but they won't notice. And that all plays out on your face and then you're staring at them like an idiot an they're horribly offended that you'd ruin a fun game by cheating and 'Jesus, what the fuck, man?' And you feel bad for cheating and bad for being an asshole friend and bad for getting caught and bad because you probably would've been fine if you'd sold a few houses and when the fall is all that's left it matters and even though you had the rulebook on your side the whole time you packed up your tent and didn't even book in for next summer and now they're building condos up there, with fuckin matching fuckin everything, and you'll play Monpoly with them again but you'll supplicate yourself and guilt will see you let them roll again 'cause it hit the side of the couch' and you'll lose without grace or glory, Canute standing in the tide, MC Hammer in an empty room as they dig up the garden. And next time you won't even play with the rulebook. It was written a hundred fuckin years ago and it doesn't account for things like cheating and everyone knows the rules and what's right and wrong, you know? And then you're missing a turn for rolling dice in the wrong part of the board and you don't have auctions any more cause that'd let just anyone get property without landing there and there's a weird stigma about playing with the iron for some reason. Like it's not that it's bad or that anyones said anything but just nobody ever plays as the iron. And eventually you don't think about monopoly very much and you watch tv instead and the box sits in the cupboard under the vacuum cleaner fittings that you never use but you don't want to lose just in case someone rubs a puppy on the fridge or you get sugar in the gap between the washing machine and the dryer, and it's not so bad because it's jut cheating at monopoly - it's not the end of the world. Ever had that happen?

and yeah, that should have been face, not DVD. iPhone autocorrect is a nightmare.

posted by doublehappy at 3:57 AM on August 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


Or: Even if you didn't have the constitution on your side these assholes would still be assholes. So don't engage them any more and theyll go away
posted by doublehappy at 5:33 AM on August 19, 2010


Instead, we need to use the threat of withholding our money, support and votes as a stick to goad the Democratic party into actually moving away from the Right where it lives now and toward the center.

Has this ever worked before? I mean, worked to pull an entire national party, a party historically notorious for its lack of cohesion, in one direction or another? I can think of individual races where this strategy is effective is influencing a particular candidate, but I'm having trouble remembering instances where a national party was influenced this way. Didn't work in the run up to the Iraq War; it didn't influence Gore's campaign in '00; it didn't influence the Persian Gulf War, or the Vietnam War. Maybe the Civil Rights movement; I'll give you that one, though it wasn't precisely the threat of withholding money and votes that persuaded LBJ to sign the Civil Rights Act.

What will make them listen is to withhold our support, withhold our money and, if they don't wise up, withhold our votes in 2012.

I don't see any evidence that failing to vote for a party has ever made that party more receptive to the wishes of non-voters. I've been withholding my support, money, and votes from the Republican Party for a quarter century now and they still won't listen to me! But, you know, knock yourself out. Give it the old college try! Let me know how it works out!
posted by octobersurprise at 6:40 AM on August 19, 2010 [3 favorites]


Biking in to work this morning, I passed the Bedlam Theater, a nice little Minneapolis Theater that's closing soon and being converted into a mosque.

And then it hit me, I was only a few blocks from the site of the 35W bridge collapse.

IT REALLY IS A CONSPIRACY. THOSE BASTARDS GOT MINNEAPOLIS, TOO.
posted by COBRA! at 7:25 AM on August 19, 2010 [2 favorites]


Muslims have lived, worked and worshiped in New York for centuries.

That was striking and interesting. Short investigation suggests it's kind of an over statement. Anyone with further solid information on this? Always curious.
posted by IndigoJones at 7:56 AM on August 19, 2010


> Has this ever worked before? I mean, worked to pull an entire national party, a party historically notorious for its lack of cohesion, in one direction or another?

Certainly, even a few seconds' thought can come up with examples of specific issues, as you do (or think of Prohibition, which was as far as I can recall entirely inspired by "grassroots").

> I don't see any evidence that failing to vote for a party has ever made that party more receptive to the wishes of non-voters.

Say, what? We're not talking about people becoming permanent non-voters - we're talking about them threatening not to vote in one election.

Quick skim of Google seems to show that both parties worry desperately about voter turn-out and work aggressively to get their voters out. So why, exactly, do you think that in this case the Democrats would say, "Eh, we don't need them?"

Again, I point out that the alternative strategy is simply giving blanket approval to the Democrats no matter what they do, and that strategy is clearly failing.

> I've been withholding my support, money, and votes from the Republican Party for a quarter century now and they still won't listen to me! But, you know, knock yourself out. Give it the old college try! Let me know how it works out!

har har har har. You are so teh funny. Good luck with the future of your country: you're really going to need it if that's the best you can do.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 8:30 AM on August 19, 2010


Typical. Given a chance, the Left will devour itself. Meanwhile, the Right concentrates on winning elections and the country. Which is why the Left is marginalized in America, and always will be. With the Republican party fracturing, this should be the time to press home the advantage. Instead the Liberals are using this opportunity to fight with themselves.

I honestly think the Left in America has a political death wish. Rather than sully their ideals by dealing with the compromises and ugliness of lobbying and politics in general, they'd rather let the country go to shit while they daydream of who wonderful it could and should be, if only their ideals were magically enacted.

Or maybe they'd rather play World of Marxcraft than get their hands dirty. Who knows?
posted by happyroach at 8:46 AM on August 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


There were millions of Muslims moving through NYC as early as the 1600s. While it's safe to say they lived and worked in the city, it's a little harder to argue that they worshiped there, since they happened to be enslaved at the time.

I do find it interesting that the very first few wars our country engaged in after independence were against the (Muslim) Barbary Coast, that we eventually came to a peaceful truce, and the founding fathers had substantial respect for their enemy's religion. Thomas Jefferson owned a Koran, I bet Harry Reid doesn't.
posted by miyabo at 8:50 AM on August 19, 2010


> It must be possible to do stuff that has a long term good effect and a short term good effect.

"I want to win money in poker, but I don't want to risk any money."

The Democrats have worked very hard on becoming unresponsive to us. It's probably not possible to change their direction without coercion.

Threatening not to vote for Mr. Obama in 2012 is a perfectly viable strategy, one you can pursue for a couple of years and still, at the end, bite the bullet and vote for him anyway. If you're really, really risk-averse, you can wait till after the 2010 elections and then start.

I have to say that Howard Dean's actions are really depressing me this morning. WTF is wrong with him!? Did he simply get emasculated after, you know, essentially being thrown out of the party after architecting their big win in 2008?
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 8:50 AM on August 19, 2010


Outrage over plans to build library next to Sarah Palin
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:00 AM on August 19, 2010 [4 favorites]


The "German cultural centre in Dachau" issue reminded me of the attempt to open a nightclub near Auschwitz-Birkenau. The landowner backed down after an international outcry.

Want to see an eerie coincidence? Look at the time/date stamp on that article.
posted by Clandestine Outlawry at 9:07 AM on August 19, 2010


> I honestly think the Left in America has a political death wish. Rather than sully their ideals by dealing with the compromises and ugliness of lobbying and politics in general, they'd rather let the country go to shit while they daydream of who wonderful it could and should be, if only their ideals were magically enacted.

I would summarize your reasoning as: "Since we can't get everything we want, we should be happy with nothing at all."

After four or five times of demolishing this cowardly argument, it's getting really, really tedious, but here it is again.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 9:10 AM on August 19, 2010


Hatred is easily focused and can cut like a knife. Love is rather broad and fluffy. Social liberals will *always* face an uphill battle against the troglodytes.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:17 AM on August 19, 2010


We've had twenty years of pragmatic, conciliatory centrism on the part of the Democrats. Seriously, how's that working out for you? Clinton's move to the right has led the country to the right, not the center.

The compromises and ugliness of lobbying and politics would be fine if we were 'muddling through' but we're not. We're right on the edge of a big time fuck up. Unemployment in Camden, New Jersey is at twenty percent. Detroit is being plowed under.

Democrats aren't at the center because it works better, they're at the center because that's where the money is.

They're taking Boxer to the glue factory.
posted by Trochanter at 9:22 AM on August 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


Threatening not to vote for Mr. Obama in 2012 is a perfectly viable strategy, one you can pursue for a couple of years and still, at the end, bite the bullet and vote for him anyway.
"I won't vote for you! I won't! I won't! Ok. I'll vote for you."
A threat's only as good as the willingness to carry it out. An idle threat not to vote is just silly; the threat made good is self-defeating. What's the payoff here again?

Certainly, even a few seconds' thought can come up with examples of specific issues

The sort of tactical voting, or non-voting, that you advocate might work on a specific, targeted issue. I still see no evidence to suggest that abstention or the threat to abstain from voting has ever produced broad shifts in a party's political direction. I asked you if you could cite instances where "us[ing] the threat of withholding our money, support and votes as a stick to goad" a national political party resulted in a broad change of direction and your reply was to say "Certainly!" and then fail to cite any. I don't think Prohibition was repealed by a threat not to vote or support the Democratic Party.

the alternative strategy is simply giving blanket approval to the Democrats no matter what they do, and that strategy is clearly failing.

No, the alternative strategy is picking your battles, resigning yourself to (probably) making small differences, acknowledging that politics sucks, that it isn't about feeling virtuous, and always, always choosing the lesser of evils. Now that's a pretty shitty strategy, I admit. But it isn't any less shitty than taking your ball, going home, and settling for fantasies.
posted by octobersurprise at 9:34 AM on August 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


The "German cultural centre in Dachau" issue reminded me of the attempt to open a nightclub near Auschwitz-Birkenau. The landowner backed down after an international outcry.

What it's even more like is the Auschwitz Nuns controversy of the 1980's.

The Roman Catholic Archbishop of New York, Timothy Dolan, also referenced the nuns yesterday as he offered to help mediate the dispute.

Ironically, most of these assholes probably hate NYC and the majority of the people who live here.

The new Siena College poll released yesterday reports 56% of NYC voters oppose the building (pg 5.)
posted by Jahaza at 9:35 AM on August 19, 2010


This is an article about Wayne B. Wheeler, The Man Who Turned Off the Taps. Prohibition has been mentioned a few times and this is a look at the guy who pretty much made it happen in terms of the political machinations.

It is very instructive in terms of effective political action. As I said above, the other possible model the left may look at is AIPAC.
posted by Trochanter at 9:50 AM on August 19, 2010


Growing Number of Americans Say Obama is a Muslim
posted by homunculus at 9:54 AM on August 19, 2010


"This is a defining moment for you and I and the First Amendment, and I see us passing this test as Americans"

The fact that this is still in the news makes me so sad. The fact that so many people think this way makes me sadder.

I feel the exact opposite. I think it's wonderful that this story happened and that it's making so much news, because I'm confident in a happy resolution (which for me, would be that the center gets built no matter what). Even if the worst happens and it doesn't get built, then at least we had a chance to confront and expose anti-Americanism. In the long term, this controversy is a good thing.

Racism is dying off and it's happening before our eyes. It's not a pretty death, but it's dying.

I see the Cordoba controversy as another learning opportunity for Americans. Without this controversy (if say, it had been built and opened with no news coverage), Americans would not have had this chance to consider their "post-9/11" views of religious freedom.

Even when the haters are done yelling and lie down to sleep at night, the logic and reasoned arguments *must* sink in to their fucking thick skulls.

Thank you, Senator Reid, for making me feel good about my decision to never again vote for a Democrat as long as I live.

Because everyone in the Democratic Party supports Harry Reid and agrees with everything he says?


No, because he exemplifies a lot of what we hate about the Democratic Party. When you don't identify with a party's platform, members, or candidates, you stop supporting them.

I switched to the Peace and Freedom Party back in '97, but now I am considering going Communist, if only to say fuck you, Arnold (and to provide another rationalization for not becoming a public-school teacher.)

If we ever needed a legitimate third-party option, now is the time.

... part 1,395.

How about a political party that supports:

* peace and peaceful exits from Iraq and Afghanistan
* equal rights for all Americans, regardless of religion or sexual orientation
* the economic interests of the working class
* environmental justice, wilderness preservation, consumption reduction
* IRV or ranked-choice voting systems
* full transparency from all areas of government
* an end to the War on Some Drugs
* open borders and immigrant rights
* tighter regulation or government operation of public utilities

that's certainly not the Democratic Party.

If your elected officials aren't good ones, find one somewhere else.

WHERE?

Don't vote for a perfect candidate who can not win.

I LOL'd. Have you seen the third-party candidates. Perfect?! HAHAHAHA!

Don't vote for someone you don't support just because they can win. That's how we got here.
posted by mrgrimm at 9:57 AM on August 19, 2010


If they can't build a prayer room in Manhattan, the terrorists win.

Even worse, if Muslims can't build a community center in Manhattan, the "terrorists" have a legitimate reason to "hate America."
posted by mrgrimm at 10:03 AM on August 19, 2010 [5 favorites]


The only way to get the Democrats to recognize their progressive base is to threaten them. Reid's actions here are exactly because he takes those votes totally for granted. Support groups like Blue America and other grassroots organizations which support alternative candidates in the primary process. The loss of their nomination is the kind of threat that incumbent Democrats recognize.

Of course, it's much too late to do anything about 2010 - grassroots primary organizing will have to wait until 2012. The Democrats already have their cynical, fear-based strategies in place, and they are almost certain to destroy voter turnout and lose control of the House at the very least - hopefully that will be enough of a wake-up call to make 2012 less of a disaster.
posted by mek at 10:06 AM on August 19, 2010 [2 favorites]


How about a political party that supports:

* peace and peaceful exits from Iraq and Afghanistan
* equal rights for all Americans, regardless of religion or sexual orientation
* the economic interests of the working class
* environmental justice, wilderness preservation, consumption reduction
* IRV or ranked-choice voting systems
* full transparency from all areas of government
* an end to the War on Some Drugs
* open borders and immigrant rights
* tighter regulation or government operation of public utilities


I guess you Americans need your own branch of the NDP. Although, honestly, even in Canada they're a 4th-place party.
posted by GuyZero at 10:14 AM on August 19, 2010


The "German cultural centre in Dachau" issue reminded me of the attempt to open a nightclub near Auschwitz-Birkenau. The landowner backed down after an international outcry.

What it's even more like is the Auschwitz Nuns controversy of the 1980's.


If the WTC area were comparable to nazi death camp locations, then there could not be strip clubs, fast food restaurants, off track betting, and street vendors in the vicinity. It is just not the same.

9-11 happened in a densely populated urban environment, full of a large variety of people, including plenty of muslim people. The people who live there still do all the things they did before, within blocks of the site. It is not "hallowed ground" in any recognizable sense, any more so than the Pentagon is. The plan is for it to become a new office building. I'm sure there will be a memorial of some kind, but it's simply nothing like Auschwitz. Not to mention that we're talking about less than 3k people, not more than 6m.

A Sufi-interfaith community center in lower manhattan should not be a controversial thing. If it were really about keeping the area "hallowed" there is much more that's offensive, and a lot closer to the actual site. If this hadn't been pointed out by the media, I doubt many people would have even noticed it.
posted by mdn at 10:21 AM on August 19, 2010


> A threat's only as good as the willingness to carry it out. An idle threat not to vote is just silly; the threat made good is self-defeating. What's the payoff here again?

Everyone's attacking me because I'm saying, "Don't support the Democrats". Now you're attacking me for the reverse reason?

As I have made abundantly clear above, I think we should tell the Democrats we won't support them if they don't move towards our position - and then really not support them if they don't. There is actually the possibility that, you know, they might actually change their position if we do that.

I then pointed out that if you really didn't have the guts for this strategy, another one is to threaten to not vote for them - and then not go through with it at the last minute. While I clearly think this is suboptimal, it would still have a substantial effect, particularly if a lot of people did it.

Remember - bluffing is a viable strategy, because your opponent doesn't actually know you are bluffing.

> No, the alternative strategy is picking your battles, resigning yourself to (probably) making small differences, acknowledging that politics sucks, that it isn't about feeling virtuous, and always, always choosing the lesser of evils. Now that's a pretty shitty strategy, I admit. But it isn't any less shitty than taking your ball, going home, and settling for fantasies.

I have to believe that the fact that every single person who's critiqued my argument has resorted to personal insult means I'm getting somewhere.

But no, I'm not "settling for fantasies". As I have pointed out half a dozen times above, settling for small victories and huge losses means you will LOSE in the end - you yourself admit it by calling it a "shitty" strategy. So who's in fantasy-land here - the person who suggests a strategy that is guaranteed to lose, or one who suggests strategies that might have a chance of winning?

I have a degree in mathematics; I play a lot of Go, and win a lot of my games; I'm a very realistic guy, but part of that realism involves looking at the picture with a longer term view than "the next few months". I am proposing to pick the rational best strategy that will result in the greatest gains overall - as opposed to always to looking simply to "minimize our immediate losses".

Thinking of it as a Go game makes it abundantly clear. I used to get worried when I played handicap games against weaker but competent players - how can I get past the handicap if the opponent isn't going to make any gross mistakes?

A little experience made it clear that a lot of these opponents simply make small moves. They start with an advantage - 20 moves later, I've made a lot of big moves, they have made a lot of small ones, and suddenly the advantage is mine. Then they start to sweat and make mistakes because they suddenly see the writing on the wall. It's very heady. :-D

Now, a lot of my big moves are somewhat insecure. Probably any individual stone I play could be captured if my opponent put his mind to it. But while he's concentrating his stones capturing my one stone, I'm spreading out all over the board. This is one of my great enjoyments in such games - where my opponent mounts an attack on an area and then is baffled when I simply ignore it (part of the reason Go kicks chess's ass - you simply can't do that in chess) and then chagrined when I win.

Mr. Obama and the Democrats in general play politics like a bad Go player. They're only willing to place stones in areas where they think they cannot be lost.

A classic Go proverb says something like: "Playing too close to your own strength is inefficient. Playing too close to your opponent's strength is dangerous. Playing too far away from your own strength is ineffective. Playing too far away from your opponent's strength is spineless."
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 10:36 AM on August 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


"Ground Zero Mosque" could be the nation's first LEED-certified mosque.
posted by albrecht at 10:50 AM on August 19, 2010


NY Post: "Stung by the uproar over a snarky Twitter response to an Israeli newspaper report on the Ground Zero mosque, organizers have sacked the smart alecks behind the trash-talking tweets." (More from DNAinfo and from Politico)

Politico had previously run an item on the Twitter Feed (@Park51)
posted by Jahaza at 11:06 AM on August 19, 2010


This is totally reminding be of Bush-era hysterical bullshit without the Bush. It is not a good thing to be reminded of.
posted by Artw at 11:13 AM on August 19, 2010


THIS, a thousand times, this:

The only way to get the Democrats to recognize their progressive base is to threaten them. Reid's actions here are exactly because he takes those votes totally for granted. Support groups like Blue America and other grassroots organizations which support alternative candidates in the primary process. The loss of their nomination is the kind of threat that incumbent Democrats recognize.

If you don't like where the Democrats are going, participate in the Democratic party! Get out there and create credible primary challengers!
posted by Freen at 11:42 AM on August 19, 2010 [2 favorites]


Everyone's attacking me because I'm saying, "Don't support the Democrats". Now you're attacking me for the reverse reason?

I wasn't "attacking" you at all. I was asking you what was the payoff for letting the Democratic Party collapse.

I have to believe that the fact that every single person who's critiqued my argument has resorted to personal insult means I'm getting somewhere.

Nothing I've written so far insulted you personally, so I'm disinclined to feel very sorry for you, especially when you write "After four or five times of demolishing this cowardly argument, it's getting really, really tedious, but ...". But by all means, continue to believe that your interlocutors here all hate you. That kind of thing is wonderfully persuasive.

I think we should tell the Democrats we won't support them if they don't move towards our position - and then really not support them if they don't

I should be clear that I really don't oppose pushing a party or legislators to endorse (or refrain from endorsing) some particular issue. Of course you should tell the Democrats that you're mad as hell, of course you should put as much pressure as you are willing to put on your legislators or the legislators of every state in the union. That's a good idea. Sometimes primarying candidates from the left is good idea, too (and sometimes not). But at the end of every race, voting is about trying to put the least offensive person in power and keeping the more offensive person out of power. And in the US, now, if you're anywhere left of center, the least offensive person you can put in power is probably a Democrat.

who's in fantasy-land here - the person who suggests a strategy that is guaranteed to lose, or one who suggests strategies that might have a chance of winning?

I don't even know what "winning" means in this context. Politics isn't a game where you slap down your cards or checkmate your opponent and you've won. Wins and losses take place every day in politics, in the world. As far as who's in fantasy land, I think it's any one who thinks that electing politicians is the same as playing a game of Go.
posted by octobersurprise at 11:43 AM on August 19, 2010 [3 favorites]


Mosque a long shot to be built -
The Cordoba Initiative hasn’t yet begun fundraising for its $100 million goal. The group’s latest fundraising report with the state attorney general’s office, from 2008, shows exactly $18,255 — not enough even for a down payment on the half of the site the group has yet to purchase.

The group also lacks even the most basic real estate essentials: no blueprint, architect, lobbyist or engineer — and now operates amid crushing negative publicity. The developers didn't line up advance support for the project from other religious leaders in the city, who could have risen to their defense with the press.
[via]
posted by Burhanistan at 11:48 AM on August 19, 2010


> Nothing I've written so far insulted you personally,

You personally have accused me of being in a "fantasy" world. I've been directly and indirectly accused of being responsible for Bush's election, and for wanting the Republicans to be elected again. I have to say that I found that last suggestion particularly offensive.


> I don't even know what "winning" means in this context.

Then you should develop some idea of what your goals are. If you have no goal to aim for then you will definitely lose.

Oh, sorry, I can't use the word "lose," can I, if you think the idea of "winning" is meaningless? Um, if you have no goal to aim for then you will definitely get very suboptimal results - is that acceptable to you?

But I don't think you're serious. I could list a sequence of outcomes (like "Guantanamo closed", "War with Iran") and in your heart you'd know, "This is a win," "This is a big loss."


> Politics isn't a game where you slap down your cards or checkmate your opponent and you've won.

Yet you are the one who is acting that way. You act as though losing the next election is the only goal. According to you, we cannot ever do anything that will possibly score a loss - any strategy that has the faintest possibility of losing that next election is completely out.

We are working on a larger scale than a single election: this is not like a hand of cards or a game of chess for that very reason. This is why I keep emphasizing that we might have to take a short-term loss in order to score a long-term gain.


> As far as who's in fantasy land, I think it's any one who thinks that electing politicians is the same as playing a game of Go.

I'm sorry you don't like my analogy but nowhere at all did I state that these were the same.

I picked Go as an analogy precisely because it's not a game like chess or a hand of cards, but one where you build an increasingly strong position over time, where you can take losses in some part of the board and still win overall. Perhaps another analogy might have been a long session of poker, rather than a single game.

Feel free to explain to me what's specifically wrong with it, rather than reiterating that I'm in a fantasy world.

I should add that game theory is routinely and successfully used in all branches of commerce and in the military to get better results in exactly such situations as this.


> But at the end of every race, voting is about trying to put the least offensive person in power and keeping the more offensive person out of power.

This quote, I believe, sums up the differences in our positions very clearly.

We should be trying to do a lot better than "the least offensive person" - we should be trying to elect candidates who are actually good.

The idea that you can effect change by repeatedly electing the least offensive person is exactly the same as imagining that you can get to a positive by repeatedly adding small negatives.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 12:13 PM on August 19, 2010


So David Patterson wants to use state money to build the mosque somewhere else.
I guess that would be the ultimate irony -- this hysteria has created this thing which has done an end run around separation of church and state.
Congratulations, America!
posted by angrycat at 12:25 PM on August 19, 2010


AP Fact Checks Mosque Controversy: "A look at some of the claims and how they compare with the known facts."
posted by ericb at 12:36 PM on August 19, 2010


Park51's official Twitter account refers to the "Park51 mosque" or "the mosque near Ground Zero." You can find many other such references by looking through that Twitter feed.

The only places I see them putting "mosque" in scare quotes is when they're quoting other people saying gratuitously inflammatory things like "Ground Zero mosque." In that case, the scare quotes are appropriately placed around the entire phrase to signify that it's not actually at or affiliated with Ground Zero. I do agree that it shouldn't be called the "Ground Zero mosque," for the same reason we don't call the strip club within 2 blocks of Ground Zero the "Ground Zero strip club," and I didn't say I was staying at the "Ground Zero hotel" when I stayed at the Marriott at West St. and Albany St. last month, nor did I say I was working at the "Ground Zero office building" back when I had a job a block up from Ground Zero on Church St. But that doesn't mean the "mosque" part isn't accurate.

OK? Can we please stop with the "not a mosque" nonsense now?
posted by Jaltcoh at 12:38 PM on August 19, 2010


So David Patterson wants to use state money to build the mosque somewhere else.

It's actually kind of brilliant on behalf of the organizers, if Burhanistan's link above is accurate. Achieve a "compromise" in which you get a $100 million community center paid for by the government, when you could never actually afford to build one at the original site anyway. I'm sure they will smile and shake on that!

Can we please stop with the "not a mosque" nonsense now?

And move on to just pure nonsense, I suppose?
posted by mek at 12:39 PM on August 19, 2010


It's not about the mosque -- it's America's war on "the Other".
posted by ericb at 12:46 PM on August 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


Just to throw this out there:

You can stop calling it a mosque, and get others to as well. It's a community/civic center and should be publicly recognized as such.

This is an oft-repeated perspective. I am skeptical of its accuracy. It relies on the assumption that places of religious worship and places of community and civic activity are distinct. My understanding is that such an assumption does not hold for Islam - a religious tradition that not only is highly concerned with political and community affairs, but has historically blurred the line between worship-place and civic center.

"The late twentieth century saw an increase in the number of mosques used for political purposes. Today, civic participation is commonly promoted in mosques in the Western world.... American mosques host voter registration and civic participation drives that promote involving Muslims, who are often first- or second-generation immigrants, in the political process. As a result of these efforts as well as attempts at mosques to keep Muslims informed about the issues facing the Muslim community, regular mosque attendants are more likely to participate in protests, sign petitions, and otherwise be involved in politics." [link]

"When Muhammad arrived in Medina one of his first actions was to build a simple mosque (masjid: literally, place of prostration).... There was also a courtyard, where Muslims met to discuss all the concerns of the ummah [ed: 'community'] -- social, political and military as well as religious. Unlike a Christian church, which is separated from mundane activities and devoted only to worship, no activity was excluded from the mosque. In the Quranic vision there is no dichotomy between the sacred and the profane, the religious and the political, sexuality and worship. The whole of life was potentially holy and had to be brought into the ambit of the divine. The aim was tawhid (making one), the integration of the whole of life in a unified community, which would give Muslims intimations of the Unity which is God." Karen Armstrong, ISLAM: A SHORT HISTORY 14-15 (2000) available at http://books.google.com/books?id=ROF57nr4QboC&pg=PA14

Even if there is a legitimate distinction, doesn't it seem pedantic? Should it matter? It seems to me that whining about how it "isn't really a mosque" just implicitly validates the preposterous idea that a mosque would be inappropriate.
posted by thesmophoron at 12:49 PM on August 19, 2010


lupus_yonderboy wrote: "The idea that you can effect change by repeatedly electing the least offensive person is exactly the same as imagining that you can get to a positive by repeatedly adding small negatives."

The idea that you can effect change by repeatedly electing the most offensive candidate is exactly the same as imagining that you can get to a positive by repeatedly adding large negatives.
posted by wierdo at 1:22 PM on August 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


gonna put this here
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 1:30 PM on August 19, 2010 [7 favorites]


You personally have accused me of being in a "fantasy" world.

No more than you accused me of being a coward. Moderate your own tone if you're so sensitive to slights.

I've been directly and indirectly accused of being responsible for Bush's election, and for wanting the Republicans to be elected again.

You aren't directly responsible, but you're being foolish. The Democrats and the Republicans are the only two parties in this country who are likely to hold national offices. The absence of one means the presence of the other. When you write "If we withhold our votes until either the Democrats collapse, or they get heavily beaten with a clue stick" you are, indirectly, endorsing the election of all the Republicans who would presumably be elected to fill Democratic seats following their collapse. Now I know you don't want that to happen, and I know you think that the Democrats "would get beaten with a clue stick" or that the Greens, or the DSA, or what have you would fill all those Democratic seats and everything would be lovely. I think such a result is very unlikely. But maybe after a period in the wilderness the Democratic Party would recast itself leftwards. But in the meantime ...

I could list a sequence of outcomes (like "Guantanamo closed", "War with Iran")

Yeah, war with Iran. With a Democratic Party in collapse and a Congress full of Teabaggers and Muslim-haters how long would that take? I just don't get it. I had these same arguments with people in '99 and '00. "Oh, the Democrats don't take us seriously enough! Oh, those corporate fuckers need to be taught a lesson! Oh, let the Republicans run this country for a while and people will really see the necessity for a strong left-wing party!"

Well, they did. And now there's a fucking mess to clean up. And now people want to teach the Democrats a lesson again.

We should be trying to do a lot better than "the least offensive person" - we should be trying to elect candidates who are actually good.

The two aren't mutually exclusive. I agree with you. We should be trying to elect candidates who are actually good. But when we can't, or don't, electing the least offensive is still better than electing the more offensive.

The idea that you can effect change by repeatedly electing the least offensive person is exactly the same as imagining that you can get to a positive by repeatedly adding small negatives.

No, it isn't. People aren't mathematical equations. People aren't "negatives."

I'll let you have the last word if you wish. My point is very simple, repeating it ad nauseam isn't helpful: as frustrating as the Democratic Party is, the absence of the Democratic Party is worse. It's very unlikely that you will teach anyone a lesson simply by not voting.
posted by octobersurprise at 1:30 PM on August 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


He was trying to take "repeatedly" out of the equation. You put it back in.

The plan is to take a loss, ala the '64 Goldwater republicans, in order to make a larger gain. Instead of repeating the same tactics liberals have been using for some twenty years, ie: electing unprincipled opportunists who pay lip service to liberal issues while catering their lawmaking to the plutocrats. Which, in case you haven't noticed, hasn't freaking worked.
posted by Trochanter at 1:36 PM on August 19, 2010


Before this falls off the front page: today's NY Metro covers the "controversy" a little bit, and points out that there's going to be a 9/11 rally.

When I passed by the mosque/community center yesterday, there was quite a bit more commotion than usual, but among the people there were an East Village couple, carrying signs of support. I applauded them when I went by, and I've been thinking about going back to lend some help ever since. I've refrained so far, because this topic makes me too angry, and I'd be too confrontational to really be the kind of guy the Park51 folks would want on their side right now (a lesson I learned from an ex-girlfriend who rightly suggested I NOT to volunteer as a clinic escort, for the same reasons).

But here's the bottom line: if you're in NY and this shit is making you angry? September 11, twenty-three days from now: Go over to the planned community center. Go do something to help them. Ask them what they need. Maybe it'll be a counter-protest, maybe it won't. I plan on buying the folks doing the right thing outside some lunch or at least some bottled water when I go past for my own lunch, at least. I don't know. But I do know that's the day to not sit at home, because the other side sure as hell won't be.
posted by Amanojaku at 1:37 PM on August 19, 2010 [2 favorites]


I had these same arguments with people in '99 and '00.

Not fair. Nobody knew 9/11 was coming.
posted by Trochanter at 1:39 PM on August 19, 2010


"that's not the day to sit at home, because the other side sure won't be ... aw, dammit"
posted by Amanojaku at 1:39 PM on August 19, 2010


I was discussing with somebody the idea of going to the site this 9/11 in support of the mosque, along with said someone's wee tot, with a sign reading "terror anchor baby" draped around his/her neck.

I think we've decided against it.
posted by angrycat at 1:59 PM on August 19, 2010


Trochanter wrote: "Not fair. Nobody knew 9/11 was coming."

Other than the CIA and FBI and Condoleeza Rice. (Perhaps should have known would be better).

However, that has absolutely nothing to do with the 2000 election. If, like myself, you weren't following politics in the mid to late 90s, it wasn't plainly obvious that the Republicans were being led by lunatics, but if you were, it was. The Bush presidency would have been no less awful without the 9/11 attacks. You think he couldn't have pulled the same Iraq crap? I guess we wouldn't be in Afghanistan now. That would be something...
posted by wierdo at 2:13 PM on August 19, 2010


> The idea that you can effect change by repeatedly electing the most offensive candidate is exactly the same as imagining that you can get to a positive by repeatedly adding large negatives.

My claim: I believe it's worth taking a chance on a bad candidate being elected, if it results in better candidates being elected in the long term.

Your restatement of my claim: I wish to repeatedly elect the most offensive candidates.

We keep going in circles where you resolutely refuse to see my point and repeatedly accuse me of wishing to elect Republicans. I see no point in continuing talking to you.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 2:33 PM on August 19, 2010


The NYC mosque: A view from abroad
posted by CunningLinguist at 2:55 PM on August 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


lupus_yonderboy wrote: "We keep going in circles where you resolutely refuse to see my point and repeatedly accuse me of wishing to elect Republicans. I see no point in continuing talking to you."

You're reading it that way, but that's not what I'm writing. I know you don't desire that Republicans be elected, but that is exactly what you will get if you suppress Democratic turnout.

You seem to be having a real problem making that distinction in this thread, instead choosing to construe all opposition to your position as a personal attack.
posted by wierdo at 2:55 PM on August 19, 2010


I know you don't desire that Republicans be elected, but that is exactly what you will get if you suppress Democratic turnout.

Your mental hiccup is assuming that lupus_yonderboy's protests will suppress Democratic turnout, when in fact the Dem's current strategy is doing an excellent job of suppressing turnout all by themselves. Your continued support of "least evil" candidates does not motivate new voters, especially as this lowest-common-denominator sinks ever lower.

On the other hand, progressive activism which rejects limp, corporate, empty-suit Blue Dog candidates in favour of individuals who actually have a moral compass will engage voters - why do you think it wouldn't? You just need to think past the very next election to see how terrible Dem's current strategies are.
posted by mek at 3:09 PM on August 19, 2010


lupus_yonderboy: "My claim: I believe it's worth taking a chance on a bad candidate being elected, if it results in better candidates being elected in the long term."

After 8 years of Bush, and the current crop of feral loons on the R benches in the Senate and the House, I've got to ask: how much worse do the candidates have to get before this resurgence of the Left kicks in? A Republican majority in November would amp up the crazification that's been going on these past 18 months, drag the conversation further to the right, and make it still harder for the next moderate-to-left candidate to win. And meanwhile, the Republicans who win office get to do a lot more harm to a lot more people and institutions. That's a lot of collateral damage while we test the (unfalsifiable) hypothesis that eventually the Dems will be forced to swing further left to win back votes. Too much of Obama's time in office is lost on dealing with problems inherited from Bush; how much genuinely progressive work is the guy who comes after President Palin going to get done?
posted by logopetria at 3:31 PM on August 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


I've got to ask: how much worse do the candidates have to get before this resurgence of the Left kicks in?

The same could be asked about how much worse the candidates on the "right" have to get before a resurgence of actual conservatism kicks in. The answer to both questions is: Resurgence? Really?
posted by The World Famous at 3:33 PM on August 19, 2010


mek wrote: "On the other hand, progressive activism which rejects limp, corporate, empty-suit Blue Dog candidates in favour of individuals who actually have a moral compass will engage voters - why do you think it wouldn't? You just need to think past the very next election to see how terrible Dem's current strategies are."

If you had evidence for your thesis, I might be more amenable to agreeing. Lieberman was challenged from the left, was beaten in the primary, and went on to win the general as an independent, leaving him with even more power to wield over the Democrats. Bill Halter ran a primary challenge from the left against Blanche Lincoln in Arkansas and failed to win the primary.

This energy you seem to think will come with challengers to the establishment Democrats seems not to materialize on election day. When it starts working, I'll join you. Until then, I'll do what I can to keep the Republicans out of power. Worse is worse any day of the week.
posted by wierdo at 3:35 PM on August 19, 2010


When it starts working, I'll join you.

I couldn't have captured the typical Democrat's cynical, defeatist essence any better than that.
posted by mek at 3:41 PM on August 19, 2010


Unlike a Christian church, which is separated from mundane activities and devoted only to worship

Pull the other one, it's got bells on.
posted by five fresh fish at 3:54 PM on August 19, 2010


mek wrote: "I couldn't have captured the typical Democrat's cynical, defeatist essence any better than that."

Mmmhmm. And why should I do something that has been proven not to work?
posted by wierdo at 3:54 PM on August 19, 2010


And why should I do something that has been proven not to work?

To test whether the prior results of the experiment are falsifiable ;-)
posted by The World Famous at 4:12 PM on August 19, 2010


Lupus, I think the earlier post was trying to demonstrate that if you still intend to vote for Obama in 2012 you would be in effect making a non-credible threat. The problem is that general elections are not 2-player games. You are not so much punishing the the players who would benefit from a Democrat as rewarding the Republican-preferring players. The best strategy would be to change the payoff matrix in the "general election game" at an earlier stage by electing someone in the primaries that would be preferable to you.

That's what I think.
posted by donttouchmymustache at 4:15 PM on August 19, 2010 [2 favorites]


Here's the AP story guidelines.
posted by warbaby at 4:19 PM on August 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


A 21st Century Twist on Old Standbys: The Islamophobic Southern Strategy
posted by homunculus at 4:45 PM on August 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


WHERE?

Well, Russ Feingold was mentioned above, and I think he's an example of a good guy in government. I have my own personal favorites (at the national, state, and local levels), but I'm not super interested in arguing over the worthiness of each one individually; my point is just that there are in fact a few (not tons, but a few) good, serious, hardworking people doing the right things, sometimes even at great risk to their careers. If you really think that there is no Democrat in America, from the President down to some local school board member, worth supporting because Harry Reid or whoever is being a jerk, well then, I don't know how to respond to that. I maintain that when voters (and volunteers and donors) throw their weight behind those good individuals, it sends the message that that's what we're looking for, but I certainly don't expect all of you to agree.
posted by naoko at 4:47 PM on August 19, 2010


Huffpo gets to the heart of the matter:

STRIPPING DOWN 'MOSQUE' CONTROVERSY
Ground Zero Dancers Weigh In On Proposed Neighbor


Yeah!!!! USA! USA!


actually links to a WSJ blog, but you gotta love that headline.
posted by Trochanter at 4:55 PM on August 19, 2010


Well, Russ Feingold was mentioned above, and I think he's an example of a good guy in government.

Commence hooker scandal in 10....9.....8....


Actually Franken's take is a good one. Essentially, "Relax, it's a fucking gym."
posted by Trochanter at 5:02 PM on August 19, 2010


A hooker scandal (or worse) is of course always a possibility with electeds, even the ones you don't expect it from. And I know it's really fun to make cracks about what a bunch of greedy clueless corrupt old losers they all are, but in my experience there is a the occasional stalk of wheat mixed in the political chaff. Some people actually do enjoy public service, freakish as that may sound.

Not sure what Franken comment you're referring to, but I'm curious...?
posted by naoko at 6:04 PM on August 19, 2010


Franken's take.
posted by Trochanter at 6:08 PM on August 19, 2010 [2 favorites]


Some people actually do enjoy public service, freakish as that may sound.

I'm kidding about Feingold, I don't know him. But, the question is: can a good man stay good in politics?
posted by Trochanter at 6:12 PM on August 19, 2010


It's amazing how the "intellectual" Democratic camp will look at an issue like this and argue about it, when that's precisely the response desired by the Rovian camp.

It's like the conservative political strategists are the school bully telling the dorky kid a "your momma" insult incorrectly which still prompts the bystanders to laugh while the dorky kid retorts by trying to explain the logical flaw in the joke. When the bystanders get bored and leave, only the dorky kids' best friend remains and they're still talking about it and how stupid the bully is for not seeing the incongruousness of the insult.

A simple response in this case is best. They have a right to build a mosque, gym, school or whatever, if they own the property and they aren't violating any zoning laws. That's it. There is no "wisdom" about it. I question the wisdom of questioning the wisdom of the people building there. Perhaps an environment with greater journalistic integrity would reward journalists who disabuse the readers of any further misconceptions like tying all of Islam to the fringe extremists. But the politician's job is to respond politically.

And on that note, my payoff matrix would have given me more utility in the case of a Democrat win had Hilary won the primaries. But I realized that the reverse would be the case for more people around the world if Obama did. I did my best to support her, but people who shared my preferences were outnumbered. So, during the general election, I voted for the person who most closely represented my views, even though they may be far from ideal.

And I completely agree with some of you that there needs to be an ideology to the "left" (and I hate the uni-dimensional representation of political ideology) of the Democratic party, but if there is no market for it, then it won't be sold. Why are European conservatives often to the "left" of American liberals? Because there is a market for those ideas, and the left-leaning parties have won many elections, "recalibrating" the political center and forming new parties to the left and right of those now "centrist" (previously leftist) ideologies.

By letting the right win here in the U.S. and granting the fringe Tea Party audience, we are in effect sending the message that our own ideology is moving rightward. That "dream party" to the left of the Democrats will never appear in that environment. Withholding your vote doesn't work in this case. Believe me. The only way it would is if you do so in order to allow the country to go in a terrible direction to create resentment among the marginalized classes and enough support and passion to overthrow the government. Nothing short of a coup will remove the right from power if we keep allowing them to select justices and redistrict states. Be honest with yourself.

Again, withholding your vote is a losing strategy. This is no "risk" like in poker in order to win a bigger prize later. This is the only surefire way to ensure you NEVER win -- by not playing.
posted by donttouchmymustache at 6:13 PM on August 19, 2010 [3 favorites]


Any ground that is lost will have to be made up later regardless of the ideologies of those in power. American politics are more Tug-of-War than Go.
posted by donttouchmymustache at 6:23 PM on August 19, 2010


There seem to people who think that with a few little tweaks all will be well, when really the graphs seem to point to U.S. working people having a standard of living somewhere near that of Mexico's. That's the trend. That's the status quo. It's the trend established and maintained under the tactics people in this thread are advocating.

Why do you expect a change?
posted by Trochanter at 6:39 PM on August 19, 2010


Franken's take.

“I don’t know how many of you have been to New York, but if a building is two blocks away from anything, you can’t see it. It’s a community center. They’re going to have a gym. They’re going to have point guards. Muslim point guards.”
posted by NoMich at 6:53 PM on August 19, 2010


But, the question is: can a good man stay good in politics?

Does this mean "can a good man get reelected?" or "will a good man want to stay?" or "will even a good man be corrupted if he stays long enough?" It's an important question, though, regardless of how you meant it, and I honestly don't know - especially interpretations 2 and 3, since they're more long-term. As far as interpretation 1 goes, I'll let you know how I feel about that after November 2nd.
posted by naoko at 7:29 PM on August 19, 2010


My claim: I believe it's worth taking a chance on a bad candidate being elected, if it results in better candidates being elected in the long term.

I promised you the last word, but a response to this remark seems pertinent to the argument you've been making. Your theory is that taking a chance on a bad candidate is ultimately beneficial if it results in better candidates being elected in the long term. Well, we took a chance on having the bad candidate (Bush) and it ultimately resulted in Obama and the current Democratic Congress, a state of affairs which is much better than Bush but with which you (and I, I'll admit) still aren't (entirely) happy. But this is counter to your theory. If people don't reliably elect much "better" candidates after the term of a "bad" candidate, then why even tolerate the possibility of a "bad" candidate, why not work just as hard for a "mediocre" candidate (Al Gore, let's say, but maybe, looking forward, Obama himself).

My point is that your claim has already been tested and has failed to provide the return that you say it will. Why do think it's worth testing again and again and again?
posted by octobersurprise at 7:41 PM on August 19, 2010


The third sense is what I meant. I posted this quote in another thread, because I'm going through Shelby Foote's book just now:

"...Lincoln could say of the men who had engineered his
nomination in Chicago, "They have gambled me all around,
bought and sold me a hundred times. I cannot begin to fill all
the pledges made in my name.""
posted by Trochanter at 7:49 PM on August 19, 2010


I propose we tug back leftward and then tug some more. It's not a quick process. Except for coups, government change never is.

The standard of living in the U.S. is going down the tubes, the Gini coefficient is rising and some in this thread are proposing that we ignore the problems (yes, I've read the "strategy" many times, and no, that's not how it works. That's how you get 12 years of Republican leadership like Reagan and Bush I, and that's how you get Bush II.) and hope that something better comes along, or that the remaining Dems will suddenly see all signs pointing rightward and assume that the withheld votes are from those Democrats that want a more leftist approach.

Why do you expect a change? Or do you just expect things to sort themselves out? Or are you just a fatalist with no remaining hope?

Really, what do you expect will happen?
posted by donttouchmymustache at 7:55 PM on August 19, 2010


That's how you get 12 years of Republican leadership like Reagan and Bush I, and that's how you get Bush II
posted by Trochanter at 8:03 PM on August 19, 2010


Indeed, on rereading what you wrote, that would have been by far the most logical interpretation. Duh. Time for me to pack it in for the evening, I think.
posted by naoko at 8:04 PM on August 19, 2010


That's how you get 12 years of Republican leadership like Reagan and Bush I, and that's how you get Bush II

It seems to me you get this by holding your nose and voting for lousy candidates. Then you marvel that the left is dispirited and aimless. You scare the Naderites into voting for coathanger Gore with the same arguments you're using right here. And walla! Nothing changes, and the trends toward third world living conditions continue.

Your tactics have been those of the Democratic mainstream for a generation. Why do you expect change?
posted by Trochanter at 8:13 PM on August 19, 2010


PS: sorry about the errant post.
posted by Trochanter at 8:14 PM on August 19, 2010


Trochanter wrote: "Your tactics have been those of the Democratic mainstream for a generation. Why do you expect change?"

Because electing Democrats helps shift the balance of thought leftward somewhat, or at least should. Making it easier for Democrats to move further leftward. Obviously, there's a limit to how far left they'll go as long as unlimited corporate cash is allowed in elections, but Republican-appointed judges aren't going to help that situation in the least.

I'd be happy if it weren't an either or choice, but at the moment it is, and there's not a damn thing I can do about it.

When Obama wins a second term, it'll be interesting to see if his politics change at all.
posted by wierdo at 8:22 PM on August 19, 2010


lupus_yonderboy wrote: "It's a crying shame, then, that Mr. Obama's Supreme Court pick's record in that area is so dismal."

When one is working with the threat of a Republican filibuster in the Senate, it limits one's options significantly.
posted by wierdo at 8:24 PM on August 19, 2010


Actually trying to stop a Supreme Court nomination is not something I think the Republicans are really up to. I think you are seeing the nominees that Obama considers the best judges that best fit his own legal philosophies.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 9:04 PM on August 19, 2010


Mr. Obama's Supreme Court pick's record in that area is so dismal.

Do we know that? It seems all we know about her is that she was able enough not to let us know anything about herself during the confirmation process.

She has a pleasant face...
posted by Trochanter at 9:16 PM on August 19, 2010


First you get solid, consistent Democrat majorities. Then you start building parties to their left. Then you get the society you want.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:42 PM on August 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


Unless you jump-start it with a revolution.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:44 PM on August 19, 2010


Obama will never be able to make up for the harm caused by Bush.

It's easier to break an egg than to put it back together.

Worth thinking about in races where it's neck and neck. Don't carelessly piss away your vote.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:54 PM on August 19, 2010 [3 favorites]


If the American left had stayed in power somewhat consistently we wouldn't have the justices in the Supreme Court right now that lifted the ban on corporate political contributions. Is this not enough evidence of the damage that conservatives in power have wreaked on the U.S.?

Instead we have lukewarm liberals who respond to the admittedly good politicking by the conservatives, and the regrettably bad charisma of the Democrats, and allow these atrocities to happen. That Supreme Court vote, the Patriot Act, the current political dialogue about Cordoba House (much better name than Park51) are all things that should not have been.

We should not be here. Nader had great ideas, but we should not be here. The political atmosphere should have changed long ago to allow Republicans to realize that we are progressing leftward. Instead, the consensus is that we are becoming more conservative. The Tea Party should be harming the Republicans' chances. Instead, we have the Republicans looking like centrists.

Do you think that if "coathanger Gore" had won we would be in a similar situation?

I don't know what more to say. If you still believe that not voting is a sound strategy, then I would wager you haven't been paying enough attention to the overall condition and the direction of the country.

I expect change because although you seem to be implying that my current philosophy is what got us here, I must insist that it is people with your ideas that have facilitated this result.

You contend that we should not vote. This leads to more conservatives in power. I believe putting Republicans in congress and in charge of redistricting would put Obama in a lame duck situation which would prevent the Dems from enacting any legislation, watered down or otherwise, and would paint a picture of how the left gets nothing done (even though the obstructionists should be blamed) and finally secure the Republican win in 2012.

So I ask once more. If you don't vote, what do you expect to happen? Why do you expect change? Why didn't it happen when people voted for Nader in 2000? Or did it? Please show me what you see. I would love to feel your hope.

On preview, what five fresh fish said.
posted by donttouchmymustache at 9:55 PM on August 19, 2010


Do you think that if "coathanger Gore" had won we would be in a similar situation?


I used "coathanger" because that was how he was perceived at the time. That term was used of him at the time. Gore now is not the same man. You have to be careful not to project the Inconvenient Truth guy back onto the political animal guy he was. There was not a whiff of financial reform about the man. He was Clinton II. Globalization! Markets! Economically, we would be in some kind of similar boat. Even in this incarnation, he was all about carbon trading, not about the housing bubble, and the financial system that led to it.

But, I'll grant that Iraq II would almost certainly not have happened. That's four thousand young people that would not be dead, so yeah, I wish he had won. A lot.
posted by Trochanter at 10:34 PM on August 19, 2010


But, I'll grant that Iraq II would almost certainly not have happened. That's four thousand young people that would not be dead, so yeah, I wish he had won. A lot.

A lot more than 4,000 people have died. I don't want to be a scold, but don't make the mistake of only counting American lives.
posted by grobstein at 7:45 AM on August 20, 2010 [3 favorites]


There were millions of Muslims moving through NYC as early as the 1600s. While it's safe to say they lived and worked in the city, it's a little harder to argue that they worshiped there, since they happened to be enslaved at the time.

I do find it interesting that the very first few wars our country engaged in after independence were against the (Muslim) Barbary Coast, that we eventually came to a peaceful truce, and the founding fathers had substantial respect for their enemy's religion. Thomas Jefferson owned a Koran, I bet Harry Reid doesn't.


Population of NYC did not break five figures in the seventeenth century and the US population as a whole as of 1790 did not break four million. Nor can we assume that Islam was a dominant faith among the slaves of NY or really anywhere else in the rest of the US.

As to founding fathers substantial respect, I really doubt they gave much thought to Islam at all. The standard Jefferson quotes re Islam strike me less as substantial respect for the religion so much as respect for pluralism, Islam being no more or less worthy of respect than any other faith ("the Jew and the Gentile, the Christian and Mahomedan, the Hindoo, and Infidel of every denomination.") Rhetorical hyperbole, in other words, and quite right.

In general, however, Jefferson seemed to find at least the Christian faith more suitable for dispassionate inquiry rather than personal faith. I can imagine, if his curiosity had run that way, that his koran might have met the same fate as his personal bible. (Whether it was respectful or no you can judge for yourself, but NB that he was tactful or prudent or scared enough to keep the confetti'ed results thing pretty much to himself.)

The other standard quote is soft soap diplomatese geared to smoothing over the tiresome Barbary affairs (""the government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion, as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion or tranquility of Musselmen.") I've sometimes wondered how the sheiks took that line- something for an energetic grad student to look into. Bear in mind that this was while we were sequentially at war or paying danegeld (so humiliating) to a government whose Ambassador Sidi Haji Abdrahaman told our envoys that Islam gave the pirates the right to enslave infidels. Bit of a conversation stopper, that. What could one say?

What Jefferson said is unknown (at least to me), though Franklin used a fictional Barbary Pirate to satirize the absurdities of the Southern Slave states. The market for prisoner narratives was to become quite brisk in the coming years.

All of which is off topic, but please let's not distort or stretch history to bolster POVs that it cannot support. Enough to say that the country is based on pluralism than to suggest that the founders were bully boosters of Islam.

(And I expect Reid does have a copy of the Koran. Senators get all sorts of gifts. Whether he's read it....)
posted by IndigoJones at 8:42 AM on August 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


The Bush presidency would have been no less awful without the 9/11 attacks.

hamburger? I'm not sure how anyone could say that with a straight face. Bush was absolutely floundering in 2001. He continued to flounder, but America had to back its fucking leader after 9/11 or the terrorists would win.

Sure, Bush wanted to invade Iraq before he was even "elected," but there's no way it would have happened (no WMDs) without 9/11 or some other attack of that magnitude (or actual international offense by Iraq).

Without 9/11, I don't think we'd have had the whole Department of Homeland Security reorg either.

So, Iraq War and national security state. I'm sure there are other things that wouldn't be as bad without 9/11. Oh yeah, Bush wouldn't have been "re-elected" in 2004.
posted by mrgrimm at 10:03 AM on August 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


Without 9/11 the "small government" Republicans wouldn't have doubled the size of government.

They'd only have increased it by 30% or so.

Without 9/11 the "decrease spending" Republicans wouldn't have bankrupted the USA.

They'd only have drawn down the surplus to a few trillion in debt.
posted by five fresh fish at 12:40 PM on August 20, 2010


I've forgotten nothing. We went in the wrong direction for eight years but we are still going in that wrong direction.

Spoken like someone who doesn't believe their own comment about -10's and +2's.

But more importantly, like someone who believes the most important tool for influencing the system is their primary election vote.

If you ever want any hope of score your own +10s, then you need to get this idea out of your head for good. Withholding your votes until the democratic party collapses and is magically replaced by the party of your +10 dreams is only slightly more likely to lead to the desired outcome than holding your breath.

I will grant you that there is some possibility that taking your foot off the brake and letting the country accelerate into a downright unstable phase could lead to the right populist backlash. But that's only because unstable phases don't resolve predictably. You might also get that moose you're about to hit to flip straight over the car instead of going through your windshield, too.

No matter what you're envisioning, no matter how frustrated you are with the democratic party, the work you'd have to do to create a third party to fulfill your vision is going to be the same as the work you'd have to do to get Democratic party to start scoring +3s. And then +4s. And then +5s. And so on. Except you're going to get better ROI.

Here's the thing, though. Withholding your vote and waiting is easy. It's so much more convenient than the work I'm talking about -- whether you really do decide to commit yourself to hard labor of making a third party that IMHO a majority of the country isn't ready for, or whether you decide to work towards rehabilitating the Democrats or even the Republicans. Most of us want to believe all we should have to do is study our issues and candidates and cast (or withhold) our votes, and I'm not that much different, because even though I know it's not enough, I'm a hypocrite. I don't do enough either. I'd rather play video games and watch TV and try to manage my own tiny life better than do more. But then again, I'm not that different from anybody else who's frustrated here. I've looked around, and I don't like the reality I see. My choice is a little bit different, though: I'm putting in a little bit of time trying to organize people, and talking to the offices of my elected reps (note: conversations are different from one-off expressions of outrage or opinion), and I put little bit of the limited money I have towards the PACs I think will encourage Dems who are inclined to be more genuinely progressive.

It would be easier to not do any of that. It would even be more emotionally satisfying in some ways to take my ball and go home, to respond to the internal geiser of frustration inside with the equally strong and grand and hot resolve of the grand gesture of forsaking this shit, of being above all this compromised stuff that simply doesn't meet my standards, and imagine that there is actually a silent majority who are just waiting for enough people to stand up and make the same decision (and their ranks will have to grow as we see the -10s rack up, right?) and we'll all agree with each other on what +10 means and act with such coherence and discipline that we'll be an irresistible force for progressivism.

And this, precisely, is what will be conveyed and set in motion if I withhold my vote from the Democrats, no, there's no chance the vague message hidden in the aggregated election data will be understood in any other way, they'll surely count my vote from the left more dearly than any lost from the center-right.

It's a pleasant dream and requires less of me. But I know which one is more likely to actually make a difference in the end.
posted by namespan at 1:03 PM on August 20, 2010 [3 favorites]


Very interesting and in some ways heartening August 19 poll on the community center/mosque from The Econonomist/YouGov.
posted by bearwife at 2:01 PM on August 20, 2010


"We should not be here. Nader had great ideas, but we should not be here."

What the fuck does Nader have to do with it? If you're trotting out that old chestnut that Nader cost Gore the election, you have no right to blame that on Nader, or the people who voted for him. If anything, blame our "first past the post" voting system and support election reform. This is America; we're entitled to vote for whoever the fuck we want to, even if you don't like it.
posted by Eideteker at 2:17 PM on August 20, 2010


Yeah, being allowed to vote any way you like doesn't mean you get to ignore the consequences of that choice. Sort of like all the people who voted for Bush got just as screwed as the people that didn't.

BTW, I completely agree on FPTP. The big problem with FPTP and a two party system is that a vote for a small third party candidate might as well be a vote for the candidate most ideologically opposite your vote. It blows.
posted by wierdo at 3:48 PM on August 20, 2010


Ross Douthat Clarifies Why He's Wrong About the "Ground Zero Mosque"
posted by homunculus at 5:00 PM on August 20, 2010


Lower Manhattan: Birthplace of religious freedom
posted by homunculus at 10:57 PM on August 20, 2010


Jon Stewart: 'Is Fox News a Terrorist Command Center?"
posted by homunculus at 3:51 PM on August 21, 2010


'Queen Of Muslim Bashers' At Center Of 'NYC Mosque' Debate.
posted by ericb at 4:21 PM on August 21, 2010


NYC Imam's Goodwill Tour Comes Amid Mosque Furor.
posted by ericb at 4:22 PM on August 21, 2010


Outrage Over Plans To Build Library Next To Sarah Palin.
posted by ericb at 1:20 PM on August 22, 2010


Frank Rich: How Fox Betrayed Petraeus.
posted by ericb at 1:21 PM on August 22, 2010


WE HAVE ALWAYS BEEN AT WAR WITH MIDDLE-EASTASIA
posted by homunculus at 1:45 PM on August 22, 2010


Muslim center dispute sparks dueling rallies.
posted by ericb at 4:51 PM on August 22, 2010


Mosque imam: Attention from project is positive.
posted by ericb at 4:51 PM on August 22, 2010


Holy shit, this video.

Honestly, I wasn't scared of the teabaggers until I watched that. These are the same people who stood in schoolhouse doors in the 1960's. Fucking Christ.
posted by EarBucket at 8:31 PM on August 22, 2010


From ericb's link:

Bruce Springsteen's "Born in the USA" blared over loudspeakers as mosque opponents chanted, "No mosque, no way!"

*stares*

DO CONSERVATIVES EVEN LISTEN TO THE WORDS OF THAT SONG????
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:36 PM on August 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


Those signs. Just Wow. "Mosque Supports Hamas"

WTF?
posted by wierdo at 8:44 PM on August 22, 2010


This article is so good I hope there are people left in this thread to see this and check it out:

Muhammad Comes to Manhattan
The imbroglio over the ground-zero mosque, like all New York stories, is about the clashing dreams of ordinary folks—and, of course, real estate.

posted by availablelight at 8:55 PM on August 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


Man, how completely fucked-up. So much hate.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:09 PM on August 22, 2010


Crowd of self-proclaimed Christians intimidates a carpenter.
posted by dirigibleman at 11:03 PM on August 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


Holy shit, this video .

WTF?!
posted by homunculus at 11:21 PM on August 22, 2010


So in the end, Murdoch's media empire is behind all this.

What does he — or his friends — gain by this?
posted by five fresh fish at 8:20 AM on August 23, 2010


Higher ratings which lead to selling more ad time at a higher cost to advertisers. cha-fucking-ching!
posted by NoMich at 8:24 AM on August 23, 2010


The "mosque" debate is not a "distraction"
posted by homunculus at 8:36 AM on August 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


Ron Paul breaks with GOP on New York mosque: The opposition ‘is all about hate and Islamaphobia.’
"Many fellow conservatives say they understand the property rights and 1st Amendment issues and don’t want a legal ban on building the mosque. They just want everybody to be “sensitive” and force, through public pressure, cancellation of the mosque construction.

This sentiment seems to confirm that Islam itself is to be made the issue, and radical religious Islamic views were the only reasons for 9/11. If it became known that 9/11 resulted in part from a desire to retaliate against what many Muslims saw as American aggression and occupation, the need to demonize Islam would be difficult if not impossible. [...]

It is repeatedly said that 64% of the people, after listening to the political demagogues, don’t want the mosque to be built. What would we do if 75% of the people insist that no more Catholic churches be built in New York City? The point being is that majorities can become oppressors of minority rights as well as individual dictators. Statistics of support is irrelevant when it comes to the purpose of government in a free society—protecting liberty. [...]

This is all about hate and Islamaphobia."
posted by ericb at 9:59 AM on August 23, 2010 [5 favorites]


2006: Glenn Beck, Imam Rauf Both Denounced Radical Islam.
posted by ericb at 10:06 AM on August 23, 2010


I'll betcha I disagree with Ron Paul on market regulation and environmental protection of public spaces, but that was well said.
posted by Trochanter at 10:32 AM on August 23, 2010


I think it's time we banned the construction of churches anywhere near schools and families. Far too much risk of Priests engaging in kiddy-raping.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:36 AM on August 23, 2010


I'm going to have to stay out of these threads about the mosque and avoid going to ground zero to demonstrate in support of the mosque, because I am thoroughly worried that I'm going to start throwing some punches.

Since I"m in a wheelchair, these punches would end up in people's crotches, and o man alive do I want to make some sterility quip here.
posted by angrycat at 11:05 AM on August 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


In Calling For Islamic Center’s Relocation, Former Bush Official Karen Hughes Ignores Message She Touted Abroad.
posted by ericb at 1:12 PM on August 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


Jon Stewart: Fox News Omits Facts to Further Its "Fear-Driven Narrative"
posted by homunculus at 10:12 PM on August 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


The point being is that majorities can become oppressors of minority rights as well as individual dictators. Statistics of support is irrelevant when it comes to the purpose of government in a free society—protecting liberty.

I can't believe that I'm in 100% agreement with Ron Fucking Paul on this one.

It seems like the dividing line in this "debate" isn't between liberal or conservative, but rather between Liberty and Nationalism. It's possible to be a vicious hate-spewing liberal Nationalist just as it's likewise possible to be a fundamentalist Christian conservative who also loves Liberty. Personally, I'll be friends with the ones who love Liberty over the ones who love Nationalism any day, no matter how strange of a bedfellow it makes me.
posted by Azazel Fel at 9:11 AM on August 24, 2010


It seems like the dividing line in this "debate" isn't between liberal or conservative, but rather between Liberty and Nationalism. It's possible to be a vicious hate-spewing liberal Nationalist just as it's likewise possible to be a fundamentalist Christian conservative who also loves Liberty. Personally, I'll be friends with the ones who love Liberty over the ones who love Nationalism any day, no matter how strange of a bedfellow it makes me.

I can be pretty "nationalist" - I am a firm believer in American Exceptionalism, I support cutting all government education aid that isn't tied to military or other national service, and I support the export of American democracy abroad (though I think if we're going to do so through war, without any other cause for war, the leaders in charge of doing so need to be honest and upfront about it so that citizens can evaluate whether building a democratic regime is likely to be viable and if so whether it's likely to do more good than harm in the long run) - and I 100% support the building of this mosque. By saying that the divide is between liberty and nationalism, with nationalists being against the mosque, you're introducing a false dichotomy between being pro-Muslim and pro-American, and that's EXACTLY the wrong kind of thinking.
posted by thesmophoron at 10:04 AM on August 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


Lessons from the Weimar Republic
posted by homunculus at 1:31 PM on August 24, 2010


Islam did not attack the World Trade Center-–Al-Qaeda did. To implicate all of Islam for the actions of a few who twisted a great religion is unfair and un-American.
posted by dirigibleman at 12:45 AM on August 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


Cab Driver Stabbed By Passenger Who Asks 'Are You Muslim?'
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 8:36 AM on August 25, 2010


Right-Wing Christian Militia Vows To Protect Florida Church Burning Qurans On September 11.
posted by ericb at 9:18 AM on August 25, 2010


Right-Wing Christian Militia Vows To Protect Florida Church Burning Qurans On September 11
posted by homunculus at 9:18 AM on August 25, 2010


Whoa.
posted by homunculus at 9:19 AM on August 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


When is Obama going to give the speech this country needs? He has the bully pulpit. He is capable of giving a great speech. This shit is insane and we need the President as father to calm it down.
posted by angrycat at 9:23 AM on August 25, 2010 [2 favorites]


Great minds and all. BTW -- jinx, you owe me a Coke.
posted by ericb at 9:24 AM on August 25, 2010


Yeah, that's kind of crappy. Welcome to the wonderful world of (completely futile) spiraling social unrest. If you told me 10 years ago that civil war might flare up again in the US I would've said you were nutty, but now the possibility, while still hopefully just marginal, is definitely broached.

As a Muslim, I can only shake my head and denounce the book burning, but take comfort that there aren't enough nuts in the US to burn them all so there's no reason to escalate this. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia alone has printed something like 130 million copies since the 1980s, and there are other printing operations around the world.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:28 AM on August 25, 2010


take comfort that there aren't enough nuts in the US to burn them all so there's no reason to escalate this.

Try burning even one flag and see if anyone takes the same attitude. Also, Niemöller.
posted by GuyZero at 10:07 AM on August 25, 2010


I think not a civil war. I think an incremental expansion of repression. Cops (possibly private contractors) in riot gear on every corner. Road blocks. ID checks. Less and less right to privacy.

Oh, and tax cuts to the wealthy and corporations. THOSE processes are safe. We'll need the wealth trickling down in torrents to pay for all this.
posted by Trochanter at 10:16 AM on August 25, 2010


> I think not a civil war. I think an incremental expansion of repression.

Oh, I wasn't thinking of a Civil War in the sense of the large scale battles that took place in the 1860s. More just lower case civil war with lots of flare ups here and there.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:19 AM on August 25, 2010


Yup. Flare ups too small to matter. Probably complaining about entirely the wrong things. And with escalations of security every time. Public Order candidates and platforms. And all the while putting up with less. Lower wages, less job security, bigger and bigger holes in the safety net, infrastructure failing.

God, it's so bloody depressing, and yet I just don't see how this isn't what's coming.
posted by Trochanter at 10:44 AM on August 25, 2010


Right-Wing Christian Militia Vows To Protect Florida Church Burning Qurans On September 11

Metajinx!

It seems to me that if Park51 should be "allowed" to be built in downtown Manhattan, Christians should be allowed (fire codes aside) to burn copies of the Koran. (I do suppose that there is an inflammatory/hate speech line there somewhere, i.e burning crosses.)

Likewise, I'll do my part on 9/11 by burning both an American flag and a Christian bible.

Burning a book is one of the most nihilistic things you can do. I highly recommend it.

When is Obama going to give the speech this country needs? He has the bully pulpit. He is capable of giving a great speech. This shit is insane and we need the President as father to calm it down.

I'm wondering the same thing myself. I guess he only busts out the important speeches when he's running for office.

Cab Driver Stabbed By Passenger Who Asks 'Are You Muslim?'

Bizarre story, but does not seem Park51 related... What We Know About Michael Enright, The Alleged Slasher Of The Muslim Cabbie
posted by mrgrimm at 1:45 PM on August 25, 2010


When is Obama going to give the speech this country needs? He has the bully pulpit. He is capable of giving a great speech. This shit is insane and we need the President as father to calm it down.

Prezbo already gave two speeches on this, didn't he? They weren't the ones I would've liked, but he never gives the speeches I would like.
posted by grobstein at 1:48 PM on August 25, 2010


Do the things he does even actually get reported on anymore?
posted by Artw at 1:55 PM on August 25, 2010


Bizarre story, but does not seem Park51 related


And it gets dramatically more bizarre:

From Meet the New York cabbie-stabber: "Enright...shoots video for a New York-based peace group that counts Cordoba Initiative as one of its partners."
posted by CunningLinguist at 3:11 PM on August 25, 2010


Press Release: Armed Christian Conservative Group Pulls Support of Burning of Koran (link goes to "Right Wing Extreme" group's site)

So, good on them, I guess.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:26 PM on August 25, 2010


Right Wing Extreme sounds like Young Republicans + Mountain Dew.
posted by electroboy at 11:11 AM on August 26, 2010


Yeah, I couldn't help but picture dudes wearing brown shirts with Red Bull logos running around air guitaring and trampling civil rights.
posted by Burhanistan at 11:23 AM on August 26, 2010 [2 favorites]


GOOGLE RON PAUL

Ron Paul speaks out IN FAVOR of the mosque. 'The opposition ‘is all about hate and Islamaphobia.’
posted by blue_beetle at 11:49 AM on August 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


As I understand it, Rand Paul has either not said as much or has come out against it. And you know what the say: a house divided against cannot Rand.
posted by cortex at 1:31 PM on August 26, 2010 [2 favorites]


Ron Paul speaks out IN FAVOR of the mosque.

We know. ; )
posted by ericb at 2:07 PM on August 26, 2010


I will give him this: He may be a nutjob and often quite racist, but he does it from conviction and he's pretty consistent, so he's not always in lockstep with other Republicans on the horrible thing of the day.
posted by Artw at 3:29 PM on August 26, 2010


I just noticed that one of my Reward Zone certificates expires on 9/11/2010. Needless to say I think it's too soon to have things "expire" on that day. I am incredibly offended. Couldn't they move the expiration by one measly day?
posted by wierdo at 7:57 AM on August 27, 2010 [4 favorites]


> I just noticed that one of my Reward Zone certificates expires on 9/11/2010.

Let's just be glad that this year's Eid will be on 9/10.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:12 AM on August 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


You know, when one looks at and listens to someone like Harry Reid, and then realizes what elected post he holds, one gets the sense that there is something terribly wrong with America. How on earth does someone like Harry Reid get to be elected to *anything*? Seriously. I have seen high school class presidents with more common sense and panache than Reid. He is an embarrassment to the Senate, to the Party that he has betrayed, and to the long term interests of his constituents, who appear to be reaping the rewards of the ignorant decisions they make at the polls. Want evidence of that? Just take a look at where Nevada stands in key social and fiscal well-being categories. Wake up, Nevadans!
posted by Vibrissae at 8:11 PM on August 27, 2010


How on earth does someone like Harry Reid get to be elected to *anything*?

Voter apathy.

ACT I: "...What? The primary's today? ...Eh, fuck it, American Idol is on."

ACT II, SCENE 1: "What? That asshole's who they're putting up as the candidate again? Eh, fuck it, I don't like the other guy either, I'll stay home voting day."

ACT II, SCENE 2: "What? Voting day? ...Eh, fuck it, the incumbent's gonna win anyway, he always does, what's the use."

This little play playing out in every district means that the only people who take part in voting are the people who are big Harry Reid (or whoever) supporters, and that's how he gets in.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 5:28 AM on August 28, 2010


Crazy John Bolton Could Run for President
posted by homunculus at 11:45 AM on August 30, 2010


I love the quote from Alex Pareene's War Room piece on Bolton's aspirations.
John Bolton (...) is one of those think tank-ensconced nuts who is surrounded at all times by sycophantic fellow nuts who think he is the bee's knees, so it's really only natural that he is "flattered" that some of the nuts think he should be the president of the entire United States

posted by Trochanter at 12:45 PM on August 30, 2010


After this weekend I now think that America is crazy and stupid enough to welcome a Bolton presidency.
posted by Artw at 12:50 PM on August 30, 2010


John Bolton could never be President; he's a nerd.
posted by grobstein at 1:06 PM on August 30, 2010


Imam: Election-year politics to blame for mosque flap -- Opposition to Muslim center near ground zero is led by “tiny, vociferous minority,” says Muslim cleric.
posted by ericb at 1:50 PM on August 30, 2010


Anti-Muslim, Anti-Gay '9/11 Christians' Plan Church Near Ground Zero.
posted by ericb at 2:05 PM on August 30, 2010


Sen. Orrin Hatch: ‘I’d Be The First To Stand Up For Their Rights’ To Build A Mosque Near Ground Zero.
posted by ericb at 2:08 PM on August 30, 2010


Taliban officials know it’s sacrilegious to hope a mosque will not be built, but that’s exactly what they’re wishing for: the success of the fiery campaign to block the proposed Islamic cultural center and prayer room near the site of the Twin Towers in lower Manhattan. “By preventing this mosque from being built, America is doing us a big favor,” Taliban operative Zabihullah tells NEWSWEEK. (Like many Afghans, he uses a single name.) “It’s providing us with more recruits, donations, and popular support.”
posted by homunculus at 2:29 PM on August 30, 2010


Sen. Orrin Hatch: ‘I’d Be The First To Stand Up For Their Rights’ To Build A Mosque Near Ground Zero.

* blink*

*stare*

*blink blink*

...No matter how long I stare, those words are still there. I don't....know what to think.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 5:57 PM on August 30, 2010


I think, "fuck, finally some sense." Most Republicans Senators may be the biggest walking assholes in their state, but when one of them gets a fucking clue and does the right thing, I'm all "hallelujah" and "welcome to the 21st century!"

I sometimes hope that the USA will be dragged kicking and screaming into currency.
posted by five fresh fish at 6:26 PM on August 30, 2010


Also, FUCK THEM. What a bunch of assholes. Just pure, unadulterated, fucking assholes.
posted by five fresh fish at 7:21 PM on August 30, 2010


Sen. Orrin Hatch: ‘I’d Be The First To Stand Up For Their Rights’ To Build A Mosque Near Ground Zero.

* blink*

*stare*

*blink blink*

...No matter how long I stare, those words are still there. I don't....know what to think.


From the beginning, I've been convinced that opinions on this issue will veer towards sanity.

It's sad that Orrin Hatch is the man keeping my dreams alive.

John Bolton could never be President; he's a nerd.

And too ugly. I'm convinced we'll never see another unfuckable president again.
posted by mrgrimm at 12:10 PM on August 31, 2010


Poll: Majority Of GOP Believes Obama Sympathizes With Islamic Fundamentalism, Wants Worldwide Islamic Law
posted by homunculus at 2:15 PM on August 31, 2010


How the hell are we supposed to have a civilization when there are do many goddamn idiots?
posted by five fresh fish at 4:21 PM on August 31, 2010


If it's any consolation it makes me feel slightly better about the tiny fraction of Britons voting for the BNP.
posted by Artw at 4:35 PM on August 31, 2010


How the hell are we supposed to have a civilization when there are do many goddamn idiots?

Thus spake the prophet Mike Judge.
posted by Trochanter at 5:24 PM on August 31, 2010


Actually, fff, I think this question is the central one of our time. Seriously.
posted by Trochanter at 5:32 PM on August 31, 2010


For US Muslims, a 9/11 anniversary like no other
posted by homunculus at 12:25 PM on September 5, 2010


Petraeus Condemns U.S. Church's Plan to Burn Qurans
posted by homunculus at 1:15 PM on September 6, 2010


National Burn A Quran Day.
posted by ericb at 5:06 PM on September 6, 2010


Church is 'praying' about plan to burn Quran, pastor says, after general's warning.
posted by ericb at 8:31 AM on September 7, 2010


TVs anti-Muslim hate lady sued for $10 million by lawyer she defamed by calling him a ‘terrorist’
posted by homunculus at 9:06 AM on September 8, 2010


Top Republicans Silent On Hate Pastor’s Planned Quran Burning Event.
posted by ericb at 2:00 PM on September 8, 2010


Building on Faith - Feisal Abdul Rauf, chairman of the Cordoba Initiative and the imam of the Farah mosque in Lower Manhattan.
posted by Artw at 2:46 PM on September 8, 2010


TVs anti-Muslim hate lady sued for $10 million by lawyer she defamed by calling him a ‘terrorist’

...Ordinarily I try not to celebrate the misfortunes of others.

This time, all I have to say is: GOOD.

I'm a firm believer in the First Amendment -- but I also believe that with every right we have, we have the responsibility to not ABUSE it, and we also all have the responsibility to call others out on it when THEY are abusing it.

And someone who uses their First Amendment rights to lie about someone is ABUSING that right, and the way you call someone out on this is not by trying to stop them from speaking -- it is by giving their lies a consequence. Whether the consequence of their lying is a lawsuit or a general defamation and a shunning from the public eye -- it is still consequences the rest of us impuse on them for lying.

And it is absolutely about GOD-DAMN-FUCKING time someone had the BALLS to call out one of the liars perpetuating the xenophobia and Islamophobia in this country on their ABSOLUTE AND SHRIEKING BULLSHIT.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:54 PM on September 8, 2010 [2 favorites]


It has become far too easy to promote hate in the US. One of the things citizens who desire change must do is start hitting the news-entertainment media where it counts: the pocketbook.

Companies that advertised during the show where Geller spewed her filth should be contacted in writing, and told they are being boycotted until they quit supporting hate-mongers.

This action works. Schlesslinger lost her access to Canada because Canadians boycotted advertisers on the channel that carried her. Beck has no independent advertisers left on his show and is on his way out.

If you don't like the way things are, do something about it.
posted by five fresh fish at 8:50 AM on September 9, 2010


Mosque investor nixes Trump buyout offer
"Donald Trump's offer to buy an investor's stake where a mosque is planned near ground zero is falling flat.

Wolodymyr Starosolsky is a lawyer for the investor in the real estate partnership that controls the site. He says Trump's offer is 'just a cheap attempt to get publicity and get in the limelight.'

In a letter released Thursday by Trump's publicist, Trump told Hisham Elzanaty he would buy his stake in the lower Manhattan building for 25 percent more than whatever he paid.

Trump says he's making the offer not because he thinks the location is spectacular, but because it would end 'a very serious, inflammatory, and highly divisive situation.'

Critics say building a mosque so close to where Islamic extremists brought down the World Trade Center would be an insult.

Trump had also attached a condition to his offer: He said that as part of the deal, the backers of the mosque project would need to promise that any new mosque they constructed would be at least five blocks farther away from the World Trade Center site.

... It's unclear how much control Elzanaty has over the property, which is owned by an eight-member investment group led by Soho Properties.

A spokesman for Soho Properties general manager Sharif El-Gamal and his nonprofit group, Park51, did not immediately respond to a request for comment Thursday. Earlier in the day, the organization sent a statement to The Associated Press affirming that Soho Properties controlled the real estate and that Elzanaty was one of several investors.

El-Gamal and other people associated with the Islamic center have refused to detail the ownership structure of the real estate partnership that holds the site.

Elzanaty's lawyer did not immediately return a phone message Thursday. But in a pair of interviews with the AP this week, Elzanaty said he had invested in the site with an intention of making a profit and was willing to sell some of it for private development. He also said he supported building a mosque on at least part of the property."
posted by ericb at 2:58 PM on September 9, 2010


Critics say building a mosque so close to where Islamic extremists brought down the World Trade Center would be an insult.

It so ticks me off that this is an accepted term of the discussion because some fruitcake blogger said so. The stupid wins.
posted by Trochanter at 3:08 PM on September 9, 2010


Koran burning canceled.

"Jones said he agreed to cancel "Burn A Koran Day" in exchange for Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf agreeing to move the proposed Islamic center further away from Ground Zero."

He hasn't, of course.
posted by CunningLinguist at 5:28 PM on September 9, 2010


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