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Happy Hour Roundup

UPDATE, 8:30 p.m.: President Obama is voicing strong support for Cordoba House at tonight's Iftar Dinner. From the prepared remarks:

Recently, attention has been focused on the construction of mosques in certain communities -- particularly in New York. Now, we must all recognize and respect the sensitivities surrounding the development of lower Manhattan. The 9/11 attacks were a deeply traumatic event for our country. The pain and suffering experienced by those who lost loved ones is unimaginable. So I understand the emotions that this issue engenders. Ground Zero is, indeed, hallowed ground.

But let me be clear: as a citizen, and as President, I believe that Muslims have the same right to practice their religion as anyone else in this country. That includes the right to build a place of worship and a community center on private property in lower Manhattan, in accordance with local laws and ordinances. This is America, and our commitment to religious freedom must be unshakeable. The principle that people of all faiths are welcome in this country, and will not be treated differently by their government, is essential to who we are. The writ of our Founders must endure.

We must never forget those who we lost so tragically on 9/11, and we must always honor those who have led our response to that attack -- from the firefighters who charged up smoke-filled staircases, to our troops who are serving in Afghanistan today. And let us always remember who we are fighting against, and what we are fighting for. Our enemies respect no freedom of religion. Al Qaeda's cause is not Islam -- it is a gross distortion of Islam. These are not religious leaders -- these are terrorists who murder innocent men, women and children. In fact, al Qaeda has killed more Muslims than people of any other religion -- and that list of victims includes innocent Muslims who were killed on 9/11.

The foes of the Islamic center have been trying to drag Obama into this debate, and some have urged Obama to avoid wading into it. But now he has, and he isn't hedging a bit: He's saying that opposing the group's right to build the Islamic center is, in essence, un-American. I look forward to the response from the project's opponents.

* Wow: Fox News polled on Cordoba House and found that while a big majority opposes the plan, an equally sizeable majority also says the group has the right to proceed with it.

The poll found that 64 percent think it's "wrong" to put the mosque near Ground Zero. But when asked whether "the Muslim group has the right to build a mosque there," 61 percent said yes. Even a majority of Republicans, 57 percent, supported this right. And keep in mind that the pollsters called it a "mosque."

* Obama will address the Cordoba House controversy tonight, and judging by Robert Gibbs's hint, he'll come down on the right side:

"Religious freedom is something that the president believes in, and I think you'll hear him talk about it tonight."

* Joe Klein labels Charles Krauthammer's prescription for the Islamic center "intolerance zoning."

* Steve Benen agrees with Krauthammer that we shouldn't build a mosque at Ground Zero, and notes with relief that this isn't the plan. Read Benen's whole takedown.

* Adam Serwer notes that there's already a Federal law, passed with bipartisan support, that dramatically limits using zoning against houses of worship.

* And of course, Imam Feisal Adbul Rauf's allegedly anti-American claims about 9/11 aren't really controversial at all.

* Obama officials come out hard against Republicans looking to change the 14th amendment.

* Gibbs, still cleaning up his attack on the "professional left," acknowledges to Sam Stein that the president himself has said he wants the left to criticize him:

"The President has urged those who want change to push for it and hold him accountable, and that's how he feels."

Of course, Obama's past statements on this are littered throughout the public record, so Gibbs could hardly ignore them.

* Katrina Vanden Heuvel reminds us that the left's much-maligned ideological purity on war enabled him to win the 2008 Dem primary (and is hence partly responsible for making him president).

* The gang at First Read rounds up the 64 House seats most likely to change hands. Cliff notes version: Fifty five of them are held by Dems; only nine by Republicans.

* Not even Tea Partyers prefer Sarah Palin for president! A new CNN poll finds they give Mitt Romney the edge, though not by much.

* Clarification of the day: John McCain says he doesn't mind hearings into the 14th amendment, but does not support repealing it. The key thing here is that Senators support hearings in order to avoid taking positions.

* Sharron Angle says they privatized Social Security in Chile. What's next, a "right wing South American dictators for Angle" event?

* And here's an image to start your weekend: Jon Chait notes the trend of Republican presidents looking better in retrospect as the current GOP move to the right, and predicts that one day we'll all be saying....

"You know, I never really appreciated President Palin at the time, but her policy of having intellectuals publicly flogged seems pretty humane compared with President Angle."

What else is happening?

By Greg Sargent  |  August 13, 2010; 6:10 PM ET
Categories:  House Dems , House GOPers , Senate Republicans , Tea Party  
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Next: One of the finest moments of Obama's presidency

Comments

Greg, any idea the where/when/what of Obama speaking tonight?

Posted by: suekzoo1 | August 13, 2010 6:20 PM | Report abuse

"Sharron Angle says they privatized Social Security in Chile. What's next, a "right wing South American dictators for Angle" event?"

Imagine if the Democrats proposed what they did in some other country??? Why does the right get away with this stuff? Who cares what Chile did, we ain't Chile...

Posted by: soapm | August 13, 2010 6:43 PM | Report abuse

@sue: Obama's holding an Iftar dinner tonight at the WH.

Posted by: schrodingerscat | August 13, 2010 6:44 PM | Report abuse

@Greg: Could you verify for us that you actually read the Reid speech in which he supposedly apologized? Per Spruiell at The Corner:

"Earlier today Kerry Picket of The Washington Times called out Harry Reid for introducing a bill in 1993 that would have restricted birthright citizenship to children born to mothers legally present in the United States. Reid’s office subsequently called it to Greg Sargent’s attention that Reid apologized in 2006 for ever supporting this idea. Actually, Reid apologized for supporting legislation to “to close the borders between Mexico and the United States; in effect, stop people from coming across our borders to the United States,” which is not the same thing. But the speech was so rambling and incoherent that Reid can plausibly claim to have repudiated every position he ever held on immigration that conflicts with whatever he’s advocating now."

http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/243720/harry-reid-tried-restrict-birthright-citizenship-1993-stephen-spruiell

Posted by: sbj3 | August 13, 2010 6:56 PM | Report abuse

Greg:

"Wow: Fox News polled on Cordoba House and found that while a big majority opposes the plan, an equally sizeable majority also says the group has the right to proceed with it."

Will you now, finally, stop with the accusations/implications that those opposed to it are bigots trying to violate the rights of Muslims?

Posted by: ScottC3 | August 13, 2010 7:06 PM | Report abuse

I know some of you get tired of me harping on the things the Administration has done or is doing that I don't believe have helped the middle class get out from under this recession, oh well, here I go again. One of those programs that IMO has been a dismal failure is HAMP, the foreclosure mitigation program. There has been talk of Fannie and Freddie suing some borrowers or otherwise punishing them for strategic defaults, which I believe is another bad idea.

Today, a couple of Reps began circulating a letter to stop Fannie and Freddie along with Geithner and to postpone the implementation of this policy. David Dayen has quotes from the letter as well as quotes from another letter to the President from Brad Miller which is quite interesting. Below is from DDay and the letters are in the link.

"Fannie Mae’s proposed action represents government entering the markets on the side of the banks, forcing people to become indentured servants to their underwater homes. In addition, as Conyers and Kaptur say in the letter, it has nothing to do with stopping foreclosures, which should be the core policy objective. Your tax dollars would be used to pursue legal cases against borrowers, instead of trying to keep them afloat. And millions would be spent determining just who defaulted strategically and who defaulted as a result of lack of funds."

http://news.firedoglake.com/2010/08/13/house-democrats-fight-back-on-housing-policy/

Posted by: lmsinca | August 13, 2010 7:09 PM | Report abuse

in case anyone is interested (i am, cuz i live in in SC)

response to Alvin Greene's "pr0n" indictment

COLUMBIA- South Carolina Democratic Party Chair Carol Fowler released the following statement today in response to the indictment of US Senate candidate Alvin Greene.

"In June, I asked Mr. Greene to withdraw his candidacy because of the charges against him. Following today's indictments, I repeat that request. It will be impossible for Mr. Greene to address his legal issues and run a statewide campaign. The indictment renews concerns that Mr. Greene cannot represent the values of the Democratic Party or South Carolina voters."

Paid for by the South Carolina Democratic Party - 1.800.841.1817


does anyone know if Vic Rawl could revive his campaign???

he had a good chance -- poll done BEFORE the primary:

"...In a head to head question with Democratic challenger Vic Rawl, DeMint gets 50% of the vote to Rawl’s 43%. ... DeMint’s tepid showing in the early horse race numbers may also indicate that other statewide races will be equally competitive. When asked in the May survey if they would most likely vote for a Democrat or a Republican candidate for governor this November, voters split 46% for the Republican and 44% for the Democrat. ..."

http://scindex.blogspot.com/2010/05/new-poll-results-for-sc.html

Posted by: jeeze56 | August 13, 2010 7:15 PM | Report abuse

scat, thanks. I remembered that right after clicking "post."

Posted by: suekzoo1 | August 13, 2010 7:24 PM | Report abuse

A perspective for your consideration:

http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/nilegardiner/100050412/the-stunning-decline-of-barack-obama-10-key-reasons-why-the-obama-presidency-is-in-meltdown/

Posted by: actuator | August 13, 2010 7:29 PM | Report abuse

Looks like Reid apologized for the birthright citizenship bill back in 1999. From the Las Vegas Review Journal at the time:


Six years ago, Reid offered legislation that would have slashed the limit of immigrants from 800,000 to 300,000 a year. Reid recommended denying U.S. citizenship to babies born to illegal aliens.

'We've got too many immigrants, legal and illegal,' he said at the time.

Reid's measure did not become law, but it reflected a strong sentiment in Congress that the United States had lost control of its borders. As the economy continued to flourish, however, the call for a crackdown on immigration faded.

'I believe if I had to list the mistakes I have made, that legislation would be way up high,' Reid says now. 'It was short-sighted. I didn't understand the issue. I'm embarrassed that I made such a proposal.'

Posted by: Greg Sargent | August 13, 2010 7:33 PM | Report abuse

sorry actuator, it won't work, mostly bs.

Have a good weekend all.

Posted by: lmsinca | August 13, 2010 7:35 PM | Report abuse

"Obama will address the Cordoba House controversy tonight, and judging by Robert Gibbs's hint, he'll come down on the right side..."
----------------------------------------------

Congratulations on your able assistance in helping the radical right elevate this spat into a national issue. Nicely done. Good thing there's nothing else to talk about.

Posted by: CalD | August 13, 2010 7:38 PM | Report abuse

Imsinca,
You wish.

Posted by: actuator | August 13, 2010 7:38 PM | Report abuse

Gibbs (from Greg's link) speaking of Republicans:

"It is always interesting that those that have with steadfast fidelity talked about not tampering with our Constitution have now swerved to pick the 14th Amendment as the best place to address comprehensive immigration reform."

Who has talked with "steadfast fidelity" about "not tampering with the Constitution"? Conservatives often criticize the way in which liberals tamper with the constitution, ie by appointing judges who will "interpret" the constitution to say things they want it to say. But I am not aware of any conservatives who say flat out that the constitution should never be changed. It has been changed 17 times already in our history (excluding the Bill of Rights, which don't really constitute a change), and the constitution itself anticipates the need/desire to change it, and therefore sets out a method by which it should be changed (which is not, regrettably, the Dems preferred method).

The article also points out:

"[Gibbs] added that the 14th Amendment enshrines equal protection and due process -- "two things that don't need to be tampered with."

Shockingly, Gibbs is being dishonest yet again. No one has proposed altering the due process or equal protection clauses. The issue under debate is an entirely different part of the 14th amendment.

Posted by: ScottC3 | August 13, 2010 7:42 PM | Report abuse

actuator:

Good link.

Posted by: ScottC3 | August 13, 2010 7:48 PM | Report abuse

Grandpa McCain kinda/sorta walks back his support for repealing the 14th amendment.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/08/13/john-mccain-breaks-with-g_n_681761.html

Posted by: suekzoo1 | August 13, 2010 7:54 PM | Report abuse

"The President has urged those who want change to push for it and hold him accountable, and that's how he feels."
----------------------------------------------

Nice try, but the question rather obviously isn't whether it's OK to criticize. Of course it is. The question is, to what degree it's really productive and at what degree does it start being counter-productive and I am perfectly capable of forming my own opinions about that. It isn't a question that I need the president of the United States to answer for me and it certainly isn't constructive criticism that I oppose. It's the constant whining and nastiness over unrealistic demands and expectations unfulfilled and the unmasked viciousness with which many on the ideological left have taken to treating even minor departures from accepted groupthink that I personally find offensive. Mr. Obama can say what he likes but me, I'm a long way from finished "urinating" on haters, wherever I find them.

Posted by: CalD | August 13, 2010 8:16 PM | Report abuse

"Katrina Vanden Heuvel reminds us that the left's much-maligned ideological purity on war enabled him to win the 2008 Dem primary (and is hence partly responsible for making him president)."
----------------------------------------------

Her point being what? Bush's war in Iraq was obviously pretty instrumental in Democrats taking control of Congress in 2006, and the meltdown of the mortgage markets due to deregulation and a decade of lax enforcement put the final nails in the McCain campaign's coffin in 2008. Does that make those things cool now too?

Posted by: CalD | August 13, 2010 8:32 PM | Report abuse

All, Obama is taking a strong stand on behalf of Cordoba House. His remarks added above.

Posted by: Greg Sargent | August 13, 2010 8:35 PM | Report abuse

Greg, thanks for the update. I agree with Obama 100%.

(Cue the fright-wing in 3..2..)

Posted by: suekzoo1 | August 13, 2010 8:52 PM | Report abuse

It's the constant whining and nastiness over unrealistic demands and expectations unfulfilled and the unmasked viciousness with which many on the ideological left have taken to treating even minor departures from accepted groupthink that I personally find offensive. Mr. Obama can say what he likes but me, I'm a long way from finished "urinating" on haters, wherever I find them.

Posted by: CalD | August 13, 2010 8:16 PM |
=====================================

How very sensible of you, CalD.

http://www.salon.com/entertainment/comics/this_modern_world/2010/06/29/this_modern_world

~

Posted by: ifthethunderdontgetya | August 13, 2010 8:56 PM | Report abuse

"I look forward to the response from the project's opponents."

Ugghhh....I sure don't. It's probably going to be very, very ugly.

Posted by: schrodingerscat | August 13, 2010 9:33 PM | Report abuse

"But now he has, and he isn't hedging a bit: He's saying that opposing the group's right to build the Islamic center is, in essence, un-American. I look forward to the response from the project's opponents."

Hmmm... What an interesting -- by "interesting," I mean incendiary -- way to frame Obama's statement.

Everything is zero-sum with the press... Of course, that's only because they want to present the nuance in a person's position and avoid inciting further disunity among Americans. Oh, wait...

And they really have the audacity to feign ignorance about why the nation is so polarized?

Everything in life is not zero-sum, and some matters should be treated with nuance, or even exceptional nuance. Certainly, learned individuals of the press understand that it's possible to note that religious freedom is a core principle of this nation, without suggesting that people who oppose the "mosque" are "un-American"?

By the way, this kind of ham-handed treatment of sensitive issues is precisely why it's so difficult to have serious discussions about these matters.

When issues of tolerance, race, religion, gender, sexuality, etc.., cease to be potential areas of serious discussion, enlightenment and/or introspection, and become sport (i.e., means for greater ad dollars, web hits and/or self aggrandizement), we have a serious problem.

Here's a newsflash that much of the media has seemed to miss: We have a serious problem.

Posted by: associate20 | August 13, 2010 10:28 PM | Report abuse

Well said, Associate20, very well said.

Posted by: tao9 | August 13, 2010 11:02 PM | Report abuse

assoc,

mcveigh was a christian. christianist american taliban have murdered doctors who perform abortions. clergy of all denominations have abused children and gone unpunished.

does that mean we should ban churches near all government buildings, hospitals, schools, etc?

if not, why?

Posted by: blahgblogwordpresscom | August 13, 2010 11:04 PM | Report abuse

I agree A20 and thanks for saying it. The part of Obama's speech that Greg bolded above pretty much summarizes my sentiments and I'd prefer to just leave it at that.

Posted by: lmsinca | August 13, 2010 11:10 PM | Report abuse

Bush had something to say a few years ago as well.

"During Ramadan, we are reminded of Islam's long and distinguished history. Throughout the centuries, the Islamic world has been home to great centers of learning and culture. People of all faiths have benefited from the achievements of Muslims in fields from philosophy and poetry to mathematics and medicine.

This reminds us that one of the great strengths of our nation is its religious diversity. Americans practice many different faiths. But we all share a belief in the right to worship freely. We reject bigotry in all its forms.

And over the past eight years, my administration has been proud to work closely with Muslim Americans to promote justice and tolerance of all faiths."

h/t Digby

Posted by: lmsinca | August 13, 2010 11:16 PM | Report abuse

blahg, I don't think A20 was discussing whether it should be built or not, but rather the direction the debate has taken between the two or actually numerous sides. We see that here and in the comment sections of a lot of blogs, no nuance just right/wrong, black/white. It's not a reasonable discussion, more of a demagoguery fest.

Posted by: lmsinca | August 13, 2010 11:26 PM | Report abuse

I came across this at the Daily Beast.

"In the midst of the drama around the mosque that’s being erected two blocks from Ground Zero, a few details have been left out that provide some clarity as to the purpose of this project. Specifically, the project will be the country’s first certified “green mosque,” in full compliance with stringent LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) standards, which is why organizers have named the project Park51, rather than the oft-cited “Cordoba House.”

The mosque (which is more accurately a community center with a prayer space) is located on Park Place in Downtown Manhattan, but the new name also reflects a desire to emphasize the intricate (though widely unknown) connections between Islamic teachings and environmentalism. For example, Islam calls upon people to be "stewards of the Earth" and to treat all things in nature as sacred."


















































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































Posted by: lmsinca | August 13, 2010 11:32 PM | Report abuse

Wow, sorry everyone, no clue how that happened. I better say good night and exit in shame. LOL

Posted by: lmsinca | August 13, 2010 11:39 PM | Report abuse

lm,

i was responding to this quote from assoc: 'Certainly, learned individuals of the press understand that it's possible to note that religious freedom is a core principle of this nation, without suggesting that people who oppose the "mosque" are "un-American"?'

while i don't like or endorse the term 'un american,' it does strike me that opposing the community center two blocks from the wtc site is fundamentally antithetical to the ideas that are put forth in the constitution and broader secular and humanist thought concerning the relationships among individuals, society and government.

Posted by: blahgblogwordpresscom | August 13, 2010 11:39 PM | Report abuse

lms,

BEST ghost-in-a-snowstorm evah!

Posted by: tao9 | August 13, 2010 11:42 PM | Report abuse

lm,

np and that seems like a interesting article. can you post the url?

Posted by: blahgblogwordpresscom | August 13, 2010 11:43 PM | Report abuse

Obama said:

"Al Qaeda's cause is not Islam -- it is a gross distortion of Islam."

How does Obama know this? In what way is Al Qaeda's cause distorting Islam, and what has informed this claim?

Posted by: ScottC3 | August 13, 2010 11:57 PM | Report abuse

wow, lmsinca, what happened there? no worries. ;)

Posted by: sargegreg | August 13, 2010 11:58 PM | Report abuse

Greg:

"He's saying that opposing the group's right to build the Islamic center is, in essence, un-American."

Perhaps, but if so he is engaging in the same deceit that you have been engaged in here for days. Contrary to what you have been both assuming and implying, most people do not oppose the group's right to build it, they simply oppose the group's decision to build it.

Posted by: ScottC3 | August 14, 2010 12:07 AM | Report abuse

I think the choice of site is intentional. In that sense it is quintessentially Islamic.

Posted by: tao9 | August 14, 2010 12:33 AM | Report abuse

BTW: here's ("This Week In God") ex-Carpetbagger bigot Benen's money(!!1!!1) takedown.

"Great idea, Chuck. Let's have the government deny Americans their First Amendment rights based on a hypothetical scenario about a possible employment decision that may or may not happen at some point in the future."

That is exactly what the DC CityCouncil did when they shut down Catholic Charities operations in the District.

What's it gonna be, Boy? Slip showin' or fraidy of the Crescent?.

Posted by: tao9 | August 14, 2010 12:58 AM | Report abuse

It's refreshing to have a president who reminds us of our moral compass and that our funders weren't crazy, this experiment in freedom can work. I chose that over fear and hate any day...

Posted by: soapm | August 14, 2010 1:06 AM | Report abuse

Has Reid apologized for the 1994 bill as well or just the 1993 bill? Who's "got the goods" on the 94' bill which was the same bill as the 93' bill minus the birthright citizenship provision?

Posted by: Truthteller12 | August 14, 2010 2:10 AM | Report abuse

Greg said:
"He's saying that opposing the group's right to build the Islamic center is, in essence, un-American."

ScottC said: "Perhaps, but if so he is engaging in the same deceit that you have been engaged in here for days. Contrary to what you have been both assuming and implying, most people do not oppose the group's right to build it, they simply oppose the group's decision to build it."

Let's work this through carefully, shall we?

First, you obviously can't forward that "most people" claim as a truth-claim. It's a guess or supposition on your part. Clearly, there are numerous voices (all on the right, so far as I can see) which arise from the opinion that this particular faith group should be denied the protections and equality guaranteed by the Constitution. We'll put these folks in the Full Bigot category.

But, for the sake of argument, let's assume these folks don't really exist and everyone or most everyone believes that the legal/constitutional right is sacrosanct. Yet, you suggest, there's some other factor (some responsibility or some other right) which determines that the group ought not to have their building in that place.

What exactly would this other factor be?

Let's take Krauthammer's formulation. First, he suggests there may be some zoning precedent which could be used as a model to deny them the spot. As Greg smartly lays it out, it's completely unclear how, legally, he can get there, given the 1st Amm.

The more interesting tact he takes is "violation of the sacred". Of course, this isn't a legal or constitutional 'argument' at all. It's a species of moral argument. It is 'wrong' to do X. He's hoping that some version of a moral argument will trump, or ought to trump, the 1st Amm. They have the legal right but that's less important and less powerful than the moral responsibility to forgo their legal/constitutional right in this case.

It's hard to see, of course, how that constitutional or legal right can be maintained as fundamental in American society if it is so easily trumped by some individual's conflicting principles or some group's notion of moral responsibility. I/we are offended so you really must forgo your constitutionally guaranteed protections. Eg, we Baptists are offended by billboards that display cleavage and therefore, though you clearly have the legal right to display such, you shouldn't and that ought to trump your legal right.

And that's really what seems to be going on here. It's an attempt to bully as an over-ride of the constitutional rights. You've got the right but we're going to make bloody sure you can't avail yourself of it (because we really don't like you and we don't think you really deserve such a right, being who you are).

Posted by: bernielatham | August 14, 2010 7:48 AM | Report abuse

Let's follow up with a look at the increasingly shrill and paranoid stuff from people like Bachmann who warn of the dire threats from an imminent or likely or possible evisceration of western world judicial traditions through the machination so those who wish to impose Sharia.

Just who are 'those' who wish it? Obviously, we know of some. Some will be sitting in caves, some in mosques, some in office buildings and probably some in the back seat of a Rolls throwing up dust as it careens towards Riyadh.

But Muslims broadly? Muslims comprising any significant portion of the community?

Not even the neoconservatives think such a thing close to being so. If one reads what they have written regarding Iran and how we ought to proceed as regards them (when they fall back a step from hoping to just blasting them to hell with bombs) the notion is that the people of Iran don't want to be oppressed by their religious leaders. What those citizens really want is a system much more liberal or secular or with the sorts of freedoms that our traditions demonstrate.

And who really thinks that Muslims who have lived or worked or traveled in the west or in other parts of the world are going to be more compelled to live under strict Sharia than the folks in Iran?

I'll grant that the chances of the west falling under the control of a sliver of the Muslim community who insist that Sharia is just peachy for the world are greater than the chances of spyders from Tau Ceti arriving and eating all our bauxite (it's a staple foodstuff for them and now in short supply on the home planets) but it's only barely more likely.

Posted by: bernielatham | August 14, 2010 8:09 AM | Report abuse

Sorry. One day I'll take to proofreading like a duck to broccoli. I'm sure the day will come.

Posted by: bernielatham | August 14, 2010 8:12 AM | Report abuse

Here's a bright bit from Tomasky and Sullivan.

Tomasky writes:
"The arsonist and the fire fighter

Andrew Sullivan makes an excellent argument (I know it's excellent because I've made it myself) and concludes it with a boffo line:"

And here's the Sullivan quote:
"But [the Tories] are doing what Obama should, in my view, have done from the start: relentlessly remind people of what the GOP did to this country. Obama allowed the hacks on the right to pivot immediately to pinning the entire deficit and debt on Obama - and, amplified by the FNC, they have somehow managed to turn the debate back into the exhausted big-government vs little-guy choice - rather than debating exactly what, if anything, we can do to rescue ourselves from the Bush-Cheney hangover.

Here's an alternative approach - aggressively blaming even future bleakness on the GOP, matching their refusal to take any responsibility for the worst period of governance in modern times with a no-holds-barred assault on their brand. It will soon be time for Obama to go on the offensive against these nihilists and amnesiacs and to remind people of the difference between the arsonist and the fire-fighter."
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/michaeltomasky/2010/aug/12/obama-administration-us-midterm-elections-2010-blame-gop

That really is quite boffo, isn't it?

Posted by: bernielatham | August 14, 2010 8:16 AM | Report abuse

Here's a header from NRO linking to a piece from Andrew McCarthy (and by the way, if you go to the link I've added at the bottom here, you'll see that McCarthy is very clearly the model used to draw the used-car salesman featured in episodes of The Simpsons).

"AIG, a taxpayer-funded American company, is advancing the jihadist agenda."

And this gives us, it occurs to me now, the perfect and foolproof way for Protectors Of The Fatherland to quickly spot those who seek to destroy the country. Simply, put an agent in every Staples, Office Depot and Office Max and identify those individuals who purchase an Agenda.

http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/243717/american-taxpayer-financial-jihadist-andrew-c-mccarthy

Posted by: bernielatham | August 14, 2010 8:34 AM | Report abuse

And a bit from a good column by Greenwald on the political courages/risks of Obama's stand against the "we sure do hate them Muslims" crowd...

"The campaign against this mosque is one of the ugliest and most odious controversies in some time. It's based purely on appeals to base fear and bigotry. There are no reasonable arguments against it, and the precedent that would be set if its construction were prevented -- equating Islam with Terrorism, implying 9/11 guilt for Muslims generally, imposing serious restrictions on core religious liberty -- are quite serious. It was Michael Bloomberg who first stood up and eloquently condemned this anti-mosque campaign for what it is, but Obama's choice to lend his voice to a vital and noble cause is a rare demonstration of principled, politically risky leadership. It's not merely a symbolic gesture, but also an important substantive stand against something quite ugly and wrong. This is an act that deserves pure praise." http://www.salon.com/news/opinion/glenn_greenwald/2010/08/13/mosque/index.html

Right on, as they say. And we understand that, for quite a few crazoids, it will only represent further evidence that Obama is a secret Muslim himself.

Posted by: bernielatham | August 14, 2010 8:55 AM | Report abuse

An earlier day in New York and an earlier example of an evil religious group's attempts to get one of their subversive buildings located there...

"Synangogues were banned in New Amsterdam, and even after the signing of the Constitution, First Amendment protections didn't stop cities from preventing the construction of Jewish housesof worship, writes Jonathan Sarna in The Forward:

'In Connecticut, for example, statutes limited the right of religious incorporation to Christians long after the Bill of Rights mandated religious liberty for all on the federal level. It took a special act of the state legislature, in 1843, to ensure that “Jews who may desire to unite and form religious societies shall have the same rights, powers and privileges as are given to Christians of every denomination.” Thanks to this act, Congregation Mishkan Israel opened in New Haven that year; it was only the second synagogue in all of New England.
The New Haven Register viewed the synagogue as a public defeat for Christendom. “The Jews…,” the paper thundered, “have outflanked us here, and effected a footing in the very centre of our own fortress. Strange as it may sound, it is nevertheless true that a Jewish synagogue has been established in this city — and their place of worship (in Grand Street, over the store of Heller and Mandelbaum) was dedicated on Friday afternoon. Yale College divinity deserves a Court-martial for bad generalship.'”
http://www.tnr.com/blog/jonathan-chait/77011/when-shuls-were-banned-in-america

Posted by: bernielatham | August 14, 2010 9:02 AM | Report abuse

blagh, here's that link for the "green" mosque. Hopefully, it won't "white" the thread again. BTW, I agree with you re building the mosque/community center and have absolutely no issue with it's being built, but to call everyone who opposes it un-American or bigots is neither helpful nor true. I may disagree with their reasoning and reasons for opposing it but as Associate20 said this isn't a zero sum game IMO, most issues aren't. I think his other complaint about how the media frames the issue is also valid.

Again, sorry for the weird post last night. Greg could you give everyone a new thread so they don't have to wade through that and besides it's embarrassing, LOL.

http://www.thedailybeast.com/blogs-and-stories/2010-08-12/exclusive-ground-zero-mosque-goes-green/?cid=hp:beastoriginalsC5

Posted by: lmsinca | August 14, 2010 9:38 AM | Report abuse

All, my take on the larger meaning of Obama's speech on Cordoba House last night:

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/plum-line/2010/08/obama_takes_on_the_demagogues.html

Posted by: Greg Sargent | August 14, 2010 9:40 AM | Report abuse

The POTUS has said that our constitution is racist and outdated. He also cites our constitution after bastardizing its' meaning when it furthers his cause. I am personally offended when he explains to me what our founding fathers intended. If one will read The Constitution of the United States and all amendments it is crystal clear. We should understand that Islam is a political religion and seeks to impose the Islamic faith as well as the Sharia ideology of governance. Why have we allowed a foothold for this ideology in our Constitutional Republic? It is the epitome of stupidity for Obama to assume that we believe that our founders intended for us to welcome a religious/political ideology to stand at a place such as ground zero and build a symbol such as Cordoba House. What do you think they would have done to those among them who would take tax dollars of it's citizenry and finance a fund-raising tour of the Middle East and Europe for that cause? Islam and Sharia Law are at war with the United States of America. Refute that if you can.

Posted by: castloo | August 14, 2010 10:03 AM | Report abuse

...says a Full Bigot

Posted by: bernielatham | August 14, 2010 12:06 PM | Report abuse

Bernie:

“First, you obviously can't forward that "most people" claim as a truth-claim. It's a guess or supposition on your part.”

Ummmm....To quote from Greg's post: “Fox News polled on Cordoba House and found that while a big majority opposes the plan, an equally sizeable majority also says the group has the right to proceed with it.”

More Bernie:

“Yet, you suggest, there's some other factor (some responsibility or some other right) which determines that the group ought not to have their building in that place.”

Wrong again. As I said quite some time ago, personally I don’t particularly care whether it gets built there or not. However, I can understand why others might find it upsetting and not want it to happen for emotional and symbolic reasons and not out of a bigotry that wishes to deny someone their rights.

Did the people of Littleton, Colorado earn your contempt and vituperation when they objected to the NRA holding their annual meeting in Littleton following the nearby Columbine High School massacre? Afterall, the NRA certainly had a legal right to hold its meeting there, and the NRA is an organization dedicated to protecting 2nd amendment rights. Please do fill us in on your outrage at the protests.

“He's hoping that some version of a moral argument will trump, or ought to trump, the 1st Amm.”

I don’t know what Krauthammer is hoping for, but your use of the word “trump” in this context is foolish (and propagandistic). I have a first amendment right to pontificate on political topics at a dinner party I have hosted, but if my wife, wanting to avoid tension, pressures me into avoiding those topics, has she “trumped” my first amendment rights? Of course not.

People have the legal right to do a lot of things that might upset others. Trying to get them not to exercise that right is not an example of "trumping" or denying that right.

“Eg, we Baptists are offended by billboards that display cleavage and therefore, though you clearly have the legal right to display such, you shouldn't and that ought to trump your legal right.”

Again, your use of “trump” here is stupid, but the example is instructive. Let us suppose that the plan is to place the billboard right across the street from a Baptist church. It is, apparently, your claim that the church members have no grounds whatsoever on which to express dismay over the plan, and any such expressions of dismay are necessarily evidence of a lack of respect for the constitution. How absurd can you get, Bernie?

“And that's really what seems to be going on here.”

It seems that way only to someone intent on attributing ill-will and malign motives to those who dare to disagree with The World According to Bernie.

Posted by: ScottC3 | August 14, 2010 1:51 PM | Report abuse

Bernie:

BTW...I assume you fully support the initiative to open a gay bar right next to the mosque/Islamic center/whatever. And any objections to it are, of course, attempts to shred the constitution. Right?

Posted by: ScottC3 | August 14, 2010 1:54 PM | Report abuse

Greg:

Last night I asked how Obama knows that Al Qaeda's cause is a "gross distortion" of Islam. It is notable that no one has provided an answer.

Posted by: ScottC3 | August 14, 2010 2:29 PM | Report abuse

@Scott - re last post to me...as I said to another poster on this question (gay bar) earlier, no objection from me at all. Fine idea. A celebration of diversity.

On the larger post, re polling, you have that right. Sorry.

"As I said quite some time ago, personally I don’t particularly care whether it gets built there or not. However, I can understand why others might find it upsetting and not want it to happen for emotional and symbolic reasons and not out of a bigotry that wishes to deny someone their rights."

OK, not you but others (I hadn't seen your earlier post). Anyone can understand that some feel a negative emotional response here but a negative emotional response on the part of someone(s) is hardly a compelling ground for the rest of the community to behave as those offended wish. Particularly as regards matters so central to the Constitution (religious liberty was a fundamental principle the founders wished to forward because of the historical tendencies for human groups to advance religious bigotry, my church and not yours).

"Did the people of Littleton, Colorado earn your contempt and vituperation when they objected to the NRA holding their annual meeting in Littleton following the nearby Columbine High School massacre? Afterall, the NRA certainly had a legal right to hold its meeting there, and the NRA is an organization dedicated to protecting 2nd amendment rights. Please do fill us in on your outrage at the protests."

I suppose one could consider the NRA a faith community and objections to it an example of religious bigotry. Obviously, the NRA had a right to assemble there even if I consider them to have evolved into a destructive and nutty entity. Objections or protests would be fine, of course. Organized moves to prevent them from assembling (or, as is common in the comments on this case at issue) or to prevent them from having any right to exist in the country would be something else, no? Such would be a purposeful attempt to deny them the right to assemble.

But let's turn your rhetorical question around...did you believe at the time that the protesters' wounded sensitivities (parents of those killed, say) carried enough moral force to justify attempts to deny the NRA a right to assemble? Obviously (more so than in the case at issue, it seems to me) the NRA chose that location for reasons of symbolism.

The rest of your post is of the jerk variety so I'll let it pass.

Posted by: bernielatham | August 14, 2010 3:41 PM | Report abuse

"Last night I asked how Obama knows that Al Qaeda's cause is a "gross distortion" of Islam. It is notable that no one has provided an answer."

It's not a very profound question, Scott. If I were to ask you to justify the claim that serial child molestation with the Catholic church and institutional attempts to hide evidence regarding such crimes along with legal attempts to protect the church from liability even in cases where guilt was clear you would probably be able to make the justifiable claim that this was all a gross distortion of Christianity. All that is required is an easily achievable level of education on the faith.

Posted by: bernielatham | August 14, 2010 3:54 PM | Report abuse

Bernie:

"A celebration of diversity."

You know as well as I that it would be no such thing. It would be a deliberate provocation and tweak of the nose. Perhaps well deserved, but lets not pretend it is anything other than what it would be.

"Anyone can understand that some feel a negative emotional response here but a negative emotional response on the part of someone(s) is hardly a compelling ground for the rest of the community to behave as those offended wish."

How utterly ironic to hear a "progressive" liberal claiming that sensitivity towards the feelings of others is an entirely irrelevant factor in deciding the way in which one behaves. I guess you adopt an Ayn Rand philosophy as and when necessitated by your political views.

If you truly think this (which you almost certainly do not), you must be the neighbor from hell.

"I suppose one could consider the NRA a faith community and objections to it an example of religious bigotry. "

Why are you introducing religion? Religion has nothing to do with my analogy.

"Objections or protests would be fine, of course."

Then why are objections and protests over the mosque/Islamic center/whatever not, of course, fine?

"Organized moves ...to prevent them from having any right to exist in the country would be something else, no?"

Please identify these organized moves to prevent Muslims from having any right to exist in the country.

"But let's turn your rhetorical question around...did you believe at the time that the protesters' wounded sensitivities (parents of those killed, say) carried enough moral force to justify attempts to deny the NRA a right to assemble?"

They were not attempting to "deny" their right to assemble. They were objecting to a decision to assemble in a particular place at a particular time. And yes, I fully understood and sympathized with their objections. So did the NRA, as you will see below.

Posted by: ScottC3 | August 14, 2010 4:52 PM | Report abuse

Bernie:

"Obviously (more so than in the case at issue, it seems to me) the NRA chose that location for reasons of symbolism."

Obviously you are ignorant of the facts.

As a corporation, the NRA is required by law to hold an annual meeting for members to conduct annual corporate business (pass by-laws, elect officers, etc.) Generally the meeting is held amidst several days of related, pro-gun and pro-2nd amendment activities. The site is chosen well in advance of the event.

Littleton had been chosen as the site of the meeting well before Columbine occurred, and 11 days before the meeting, the Columbine massacre took place. Again, by law, members must be notified 10 days prior to any change in venue of the annual meeting. Since the NRA did not have enough time to legally notify members of a change in the meeting place, it had to take place in Littleton.

However, in deference to the sensitivities of the community following the massacre, the NRA cancelled all related events except the legally required annual meeting, which took place as scheduled. They had, of course, every constitutional right to hold those other events. And according to you, the negative emotional response of some towards the NRA meetings “is hardly a compelling ground for the rest of the community to behave as those offended wish.” Obviously the NRA did not share your Randian attitude towards interaction with others, and treated Littleton with a lot more sensitivity than you apparently would have.

BTW how is it you are so sure the site of the mosque/Islamic center/whatever was not chosen for reasons of symbolism?

“The rest of your post is of the jerk variety so I'll let it pass.”

A convenient excuse to ignore the obvious fact that I am right about both the fact that attempting to pressure someone into changing their behavior is not an attempt to “trump” their rights and the fact that people very often have legitimate grounds on which to object to behavior in which, strictly speaking, the actor has a right to engage.

Posted by: ScottC3 | August 14, 2010 4:57 PM | Report abuse

Bernie:

"If I were to ask you to justify the claim that serial child molestation with the Catholic church and institutional attempts to hide evidence regarding such crimes along with legal attempts to protect the church from liability even in cases where guilt was clear you would probably be able to make the justifiable claim that this was all a gross distortion of Christianity. "

This sentence is unintelligible.

"All that is required is an easily achievable level of education on the faith."

Is it really so easily intelligible in the case of Islam? Tell me, Bernie, are you so educated with regard to Islam? How did you come by this education? What authority exists, and which did you consult, within the worldwide Islamic "community" that is competent to clarify whether or not Al Qaeda is a gross distortion of Islam?

Posted by: ScottC3 | August 14, 2010 5:06 PM | Report abuse

Bernie:

"If I were to ask you to justify the claim that serial child molestation with the Catholic church and institutional attempts to hide evidence regarding such crimes along with legal attempts to protect the church from liability even in cases where guilt was clear you would probably be able to make the justifiable claim that this was all a gross distortion of Christianity. "

This sentence is unintelligible.

"All that is required is an easily achievable level of education on the faith."

Is it really so easily achievable in the case of Islam? Tell me, Bernie, are you so educated with regard to Islam? How did you come by this education? What authority exists, and which did you consult, within the worldwide Islamic "community" that is competent to clarify whether or not Al Qaeda is a gross distortion of Islam?

Posted by: ScottC3 | August 14, 2010 5:06 PM | Report abuse

Scott - I stand corrected on the timeline of the NRA's decision to have their meeting at that time and place. Thank you.

Otherwise, you are playing a game here ("win" the debate) which doesn't interest me. No one else is in attendance on this aging thread and your bluster and insults are simply unpleasant.

Posted by: bernielatham | August 14, 2010 6:01 PM | Report abuse

Bernie:

As expected. You say silly things, I point out why they are silly, and you accuse me of playing a "game", pretending that you are no longer "interested". You call me a jerk, but I am the one being unpleasant. You are a never ending source of self-contradiction, Bernie.

Suit yourself. You are probably correct that no one else is paying attention, but that is neither here nor there. You and I both know you have little or no justification for much of what you say, and that you are simply propagandizing. I am content to point it out regardless of your "interest" level.

Posted by: ScottC3 | August 14, 2010 6:20 PM | Report abuse

For those of us who are anti “One World Government”, “New World Order”, by the Global Elitists of the Bilderberg Group, Trilateral Commission and the Council on Foreign Relations etc.

Write to David Rockefeller and protest their War Policies, Eugenics and de-industrialization of America at:
David Rockefeller, 146 – East 65th Street, New York City, NY. 10065 USA

http://www.metacafe.com/watch/1107696/david_rockefeller_speaks_about_population_control/

David Rockefeller Speaks About Population Control

http://zombietime.com/john_holdren/
Another concern we have is John Holdren, Obama’s Science Czar: John Holdren = Forced abortions. Mass sterilization.

A "Planetary Regime" with the power of life and death over American citizens.
People who "contribute to social deterioration" (i.e. undesirables) "can be required by law to exercise reproductive responsibility" -- in other words, be compelled to have abortions or be sterilized.

• A transnational "Planetary Regime" should assume control of the global economy and also dictate the most intimate details of Americans' lives -- using an armed international police force.

Along with his close friends and colleagues, Paul Ehrlich and Anne Ehrlich, John Holdren desires to see American's lives controlled by Big Government, from the cradle to the grave!

Impossible, you say? That must be an exaggeration or a hoax. No one in their right mind would say such things. Check it out!

The reason we must vote out Establishment Government Representatives whether they are Left or Right, Incumbent or Candidate is explained on this 2 minute News Clip below: TWO Party Paradyne System News clip:

http://www.metacafe.com/watch/2824363/the_obama_deception_extra_part_2

Posted by: PaulRevere4 | August 14, 2010 11:01 PM | Report abuse

You can't build a religious building in many parts of America. The muslims have one just 4 blocks from ground zero. This one is just to snub America. We aren't saying they can't build their cult terrorist training buildings in America ... just NOT there, out of respect for ALL Americans. Too bad BO can't see this simple fact. Once again his is out of step with America. We don't want a Japanese memorial in Pearl Harbor, and we don't want a terrorist building at ground zero. Get it!

Posted by: biz1231 | August 16, 2010 3:49 AM | Report abuse

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