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Happy Hour Roundup

* Fun while it lasted: Rod Blagojevich found guilty of just one count of lying to investigators.

* Interesting take on the Blagojevich verdict from the Campaign for Fair Elections' David Donnelly:

"You can try to tell a Senate seat, but what can be proven as corrupt in today's political system is nothing but the cover-up."

* New Reuters poll has Rand Paul only leading by five.

* Jonathan Bernstein, whose blog you should read, says the mosque controversy is a non-story that won't have any political impact in the midterms and "won't have any actual substantive effects."

I totally agree that the political impact is overstated -- which is why Dems should stop running away from the project. But it's not impossible that this controversy could have a substantive effect: It could end up forcing the center to move. That would send a terrible message abroad, and some have argued it could even adversely impact our national security. What's more, this is about insisting that Dems show spine at politically difficult moments. It's an important story on many levels.

* Wow: Guess who says Newt Gingrich went too far in comparing the project's developers to Nazis? Pat Buchanan! If even he's saying you went too far...

* More fun while it lasted: The developers of the Islamic center deny claims they're meeting with New York's Governor to discuss moving.

* Great line from one of Jonathan Capehart's readers about the mosque fight:

"If only conservatives could bring the passion they have for the Second Amendment to the rest of the Bill of Rights."

* Also: Capehart asks a good question: Why haven't we heard more from 9/11 Patron Saint Rudy Giuliani on the mosque story?

* Peter Beinart says our national response to the mosque story shows it's time we "stop condescending to the French about their anti-headscarf laws."

* Breaking: Another Democratic member of Congress expresses strong support for freedom of religion and condemns religious intolerance.

* Details, details: Mosque foes are planning a rally against the project on (natch) 9/11, but it's unclear who's actually going to show up.

* It's funny that News Corp gave $1 million to the Republican Governors Association this year, scince Rupert Murdoch recently insisted Fox shouldn't support any political party.

* Self-defense of the day: News Corp. defends the contribution: "It's patently false that a corporate donation would have any bearing on our news-gathering activities at Fox News."

* Remember climate change? Al Gore wants to know why "tens of thousands" haven't taken to the streets to protest our government's inaction on the issue.

* Conservative talk radio is going FM -- which means it could be heard by far more swing state voters.

* Voters want to soak the rich.

* And conservatives who are trying to tar Islam as a whole really hate it when you point out that they're tarring Islam as a whole.

What else is happening?

By Greg Sargent  |  August 17, 2010; 6:56 PM ET
Categories:  2010 elections , Foreign policy and national security , Happy Hour Roundup , Senate Dems  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Breaking: Two Dems back "mosque," sky remains in place
Next: The Morning Plum

Comments

""If only conservatives could bring the passion they have for the Second Amendment to the rest of the Bill of Rights."

Or even the rest of the first amendment. They seem to stop after freedom of speech...

Posted by: soapm | August 17, 2010 7:05 PM | Report abuse

"* And conservatives who are trying to tar Islam as a whole really hate it when you point out that they're tarring Islam as a whole."

And if you every try to group Christians into a single category, even as being Christian, the evangelicals are sure to put you strait. They, the intolerant haters who lie at the drop of a hat are the only true Christians. But they do protect the unborn...

Posted by: soapm | August 17, 2010 7:09 PM | Report abuse

Greg, this will be fun:

Sarah Palin Endorses Sharron Angle In Nevada Race: 'She's Got GUTS'

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/08/17/sarah-palin-endorses-shar_n_685465.html

Posted by: suekzoo1 | August 17, 2010 7:09 PM | Report abuse

News Corp. defends the contribution: "It's patently false that a corporate donation would have any bearing on our news-gathering activities at Fox News."

Comedy Gold.

Posted by: wbgonne | August 17, 2010 7:17 PM | Report abuse

"Al Gore wants to know why "tens of thousands" haven't taken to the streets to protest our government's inaction on the issue."

Schedule it, Al. The Left could use the exercise.

Posted by: wbgonne | August 17, 2010 7:19 PM | Report abuse

"Voters want to soak the rich". I guess we're all socialists now.

This goes back to what someone at TPM said yesterday: Republican policy issues aren't popular. They HAVE to run on emotional issues like the Cordoba House or gay marriage or flag burning. That's all they got.

Posted by: schrodingerscat | August 17, 2010 7:26 PM | Report abuse

What does it say about Newt Gingrich's completely bigoted statement even Pat BucKKKanan says you've gone too far.

To be clear though Greg, BucKKKanan is still as bigoted as ever. I patiently await his next "black people sticking it to whitey" blog post, still, they say "a broken clock is right at least twice a day"!

Posted by: lynell33 | August 17, 2010 7:33 PM | Report abuse

If you are going to try and slam News Corp, at least be fair.

ABC clearly supports Democrats. In 2008 they gave just over $1,000,000 to the Dems, while only $350K to R's. I guess that also puts ESPN in Obama's corner too. Maybe they should interview him in prime time...

General Electric split their donations 66% to 33% D's to R's. That means NBC is Democratic. Well, we all knew that anyway with MSNBC (the Democratic answer to Fox)

Couldn't find anything on Viacom, but I only spent a few minutes on OpenSecrets.

So the point is??...?

Posted by: Bailers | August 17, 2010 7:43 PM | Report abuse

Here's another Democrat weighing in on the the "mosque" controversy:

http://www.newsnet5.com/dpp/news/political/sherrod-brown-discusses-proposed-nyc-mosque

Sherrod Brown doesn't come out and endorse the building of the community center, and I'm glad, because it shouldn't matter whether he or anyone else thinks it's a wise thing to do. But at least he calls out the opponents for creating the controversy to distract people from the important issues.

Posted by: carolanne528 | August 17, 2010 7:48 PM | Report abuse

Sherrod Brown's response should be made as an example for other Dems. It was pitch perfect!

Here's a partial transcript from Jed over at DKOS:

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2010/8/17/893876/-Brown-turns-the-mosque-issue-against-GOP

"QUESTION: Are you for or against the mosque issue?"

"BROWN: Oh, I think it’s a local decision. We’re not at war with a religion, we’re at war with terrorism. And I thought it was interesting, the first clip on your news story is Karl Rove who is great at dividing the country and turning people against people. I mean, this and the Fourteenth Amendment and other issues—conservatives who simply want the president to fail are using issues like this, the Fourteenth Amendment, the mosque, to distract the public away from what we need to be doing—that’s passing a jobs bill, paying special focus on manufacturing. We in Ohio know how to make things, and we ought to have a real manufacturing policy in this country."

"QUESTION: You talk about manufacturing, let’s turn to unemployment right now. You have fought for extending benefits to people unemployed for about two years now. While companies are posting profits, they are still cutting jobs, especially in manufacturing. The latest numbers show unemployment in Ohio is at 10.5%, but that’s down from 11% in March. You’re in Cleveland today for a couple of events related to jobs. Talk to us a bit about that…"

Posted by: lynell33 | August 17, 2010 8:02 PM | Report abuse

Greg, from an earlier post:

"He says it's not his place to endorse it, but insists that once the group decided to build there, it became incumbent upon us to respect the group's decision, in accordance with American ideals dating back to the founding. Is that so difficult?"

I ask you the same questions that, to date, you have utterly refused to answer:

Is it incumbent upon us to respect Augusta National's decision to refuse to admit women as members once they have made that decision?

Is it un-American to lack respect for FNC's decision to broadcast Glenn Beck once they have made that decision?

Do you respect the Catholic church's decision to counsel people that the use of artificial birth control is immoral simply because it has decided to do so?

Is it really so difficult for you to face the logical implications of your position on this issue?

Posted by: ScottC3 | August 17, 2010 8:04 PM | Report abuse

Bailers:

"If you are going to try and slam News Corp, at least be fair."

Boy are you in the wrong place if you are looking for honest objectivity.

Posted by: ScottC3 | August 17, 2010 8:06 PM | Report abuse

"Jonathan Bernstein, whose blog you should read, says the mosque controversy is a non-story that won't have any political impact in the midterms"

LOL! But of course here at MosqueBlog, that's regarded as a ~reason~ why everyone serving in government anywhere in the country MUST TAKE A STAND!

Tallying up the bullet points in today's Mosquey Hour round-up, we've got 9 Mosque-related and 8 for everything else in the word combined. But this is not to suggest that anyone is obsessing a little.

Speaking of the Mosque though -- I'm pretty sure someone did mention it -- I liked this line from Howard Kurtz's run-down of the whole silly brouhaha:

"It is as if the country's agenda has been reduced to a noisy cable TV debate."

Truly. And I actually swore off cable "news" two years ago and counting. Just when I thought I was out, they pulled me back in.

Posted by: CalD | August 17, 2010 8:13 PM | Report abuse

Why isn't someone screaming!!!!!!

Washington Independent:With No Climate Bill in Sight, Investors Turn to China
http://washingtonindependent.com/94984/with-no-climate-bill-in-sight-investors-turn-to-china

"Politico pointed today to an Aug. 11 Reuters story that says Deutsche Bank will funnel the $6 billion to $7 billion in investment money it puts aside for climate change not to the United States, but to Western Europe and, wait for it, China."

Posted by: avahome | August 17, 2010 8:21 PM | Report abuse

James Taranto at WSJ today notes precisely what I noted the other day...Greg's absurd flailing around on this mosque issue.

"What purports to be a principled stance is in fact nothing of the sort.

This is entertainingly illustrated by the prolific Greg Sargent, a left-wing blogger for the Washington Post, whose berserk flailing on the topic the past few days has provided the unwittingly funniest political commentary since Journolist--in a way even funnier, since Sargent knows that he is writing for public consumption."

Taranto even invokes the example of Glenn Beck, as I have done repeatedly in an attempt to get Greg face up to the implications of his, er, principle.

"Now, Beck has made a decision to exercise his First Amendment rights in a particular time and place. According to the Sargent Principle, doesn't this mean that American ideals oblige Al Sharpton and everyone else to "welcome and respect" him? That depends. Is Beck one of "such people"? Is his a "situation like these"? We have no idea who, other than the organizers of the Ground Zero mosque, fit the bill. These terms are so vague and subjective that Sargent has not asserted a principle at all. He has merely given himself (and people like him in situations like these!) license to call anyone whose views he doesn't like "un-American."

Good stuff. Read it all.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704554104575435484116485898.html?mod=WSJ_Opinion_MIDDLETopOpinion

Posted by: ScottC3 | August 17, 2010 8:34 PM | Report abuse

"Fun while it lasted."

You know, evidently Fitzgerald didn't have much of a case. Beltway journos just ate this "Blago" thing up -- immediately convicted the guy in print, howled with delight at every new tidbit. (See Karen Tumulty, the tittering gossip queen. Josh had a little too much fun, too.) The scandal was safe to hump and pump because he's a Democrat -- how about that Ensign thing? -- and entertaining because of the guy's colorful mental issues. And the hair, of course.

But in the end, Fitzgerald didn't have much of a case. What does that say about you beltway journos, Greg? Fun while it lasted? Let's see how much "fun" it is for you to be indicted, go through a trial, have your career and your reputation destroyed, all the while entertaining no end the beltway elite. And the expense of it. That doesn't sound like much "fun" to me.

You ought to be a little bit embarrassed.

Posted by: TomBlue | August 17, 2010 9:03 PM | Report abuse

BTW, in the item right below Taranto's item about Greg's "berserk flailing", he also points out the obtuseness of Greg's earlier post today regarding the "right wing's latest falsehood."

Again, good stuff.

Posted by: ScottC3 | August 17, 2010 9:05 PM | Report abuse

ScottC3...

I'm still waiting for Taranto to respond to two of my requests on Twitter to show me where, exactly, I called right wing opponents of the mosque "unAmerican."

That was the basis for an entire post he wrote today, which you are calling "good stuff."

I aggressively attacked Harry Reid for being on the wrong side of this issue. And yet, rather than acknowledge my willingness to attack Dems on this issue too, Taranto is using the fact that I didn't call Reid "unAmerican," a word I never applied to Republicans, as proof that I went soft on Reid.

And you are playing along with this comic level of dishonesty. Sad.

Posted by: Greg Sargent | August 17, 2010 9:18 PM | Report abuse

And conservatives who are trying to tar Islam as a whole really hate it when you point out that they're tarring Islam as a whole.
================================

The "you have the right to build it, but you should build it somewhere else" argument boils down to this:

Dear Muslim Devils, please be sensitive to our desire to conflate all of you with a small band of homicidal maniacs.

(h/t commenter Jason at Roy Edroso's:
http://tinyurl.com/2ck7ecn)
~

Posted by: ifthethunderdontgetya | August 17, 2010 9:39 PM | Report abuse

As for being attacked by Taranto, Greg, you're in good company.

http://mediamatters.org/blog/201004230010

Taranto has no integrity. Wouldn't fit in with his chosen career.
~

Posted by: ifthethunderdontgetya | August 17, 2010 9:50 PM | Report abuse

"It's patently false that a corporate donation would have any bearing on our news-gathering activities at Fox News."

That's only because they can't do any less news-gathering than "none" which is what their current rate is.

Posted by: TheBBQChickenMadness | August 17, 2010 9:59 PM | Report abuse

@Scott: "whose berserk flailing on the topic"

(btw, I recognize Scott is quoting here, not writing that himself)

Now, I've been here through all of this, and there has been some "berserk flailing" on the topic in the comments, maybe, from a very select few, but from Greg?

He has a position, which he has articulated, and that I actually tend to agree with (until he gets to the part where it's because opponents are racists, or xenophobes, or what have you, if he does), But even if I was 100% opposed, I'd find "berserk flailing" to be a very hyperbolic way of characterizing a pretty reasonable expression of an opinion.

"license to call anyone whose views he doesn't like 'un-American.'"

I may be mistaken, but I think the number of times people have actually called anybody un-American is now down to .001% of the times people have accused someone of calling them (or other people) un-American.

BTW, re: this: "What purports to be a principled stance is in fact nothing of the sort."

I see that sort of thing a lot. Why can't someone we disagree with be taking a principled stand? More importantly, how can we assert that we can see into their heart and mind and someone know definitively that they aren't taking a principled stand?

And . . . can't people take principled stands on some issues, but have excuses for why they take opposite positions on other issues, and still be principled in their first positions? I think people do it all the time, myself.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | August 17, 2010 10:02 PM | Report abuse

Greg: My two cents. Being attacked by the Wall Street Journal editorial page is a Badge of Honor. Mazel tov!

Posted by: wbgonne | August 17, 2010 10:02 PM | Report abuse

Greg:

"I'm still waiting for Taranto to respond to two of my requests on Twitter to show me where, exactly, I called right wing opponents of the mosque "unAmerican." "

Given your continued refusal to respond to my questions to you, I don't think you are exactly in a strong position to be taking others to task for not getting back to you quickly. Hypocrisy, thy name is Greg!

"That was the basis for an entire post he wrote today..."

Perhaps you should read it again, this time for comprehension. The basis of the post was your "berserk flailing" about on the issue. Your un-American comment was just one aspect of your ever-evolving take on what Obama said and what Taranto was mocking.

But in any event you undeniably suggested that those who oppose the mosque are un-American. You said:

"But Obama went much further than that. He asserted that we must "welcome" and "respect" those of other faiths, suggesting that the group behind the center deserves the same, and said flat out that anything less is un-American."

Now, although you have attributed the un-American claim to Obama, the surrounding context undeniably demonstrates that this is a position of which you approve and with which you agree. And as if it wasn't clear already, your later posts clarify even further that you understand this "respect", the lack of which is "un-American", to be not just a respect for the right of the project organizers to build where they want, but indeed to be a respect for the very decision to build it. You have been very, very specific about this point. So, again, the implication is undeniable (at least to an honest observer) - those who do not respect the decision to build it, ie those who object to it, are un-American, even if they acknowledge the right of the organizers to build it.

Regrettably albeit not surprisingly, Greg, it is you who is being dishonest here, not me. And your steadfast refusal to face the implications of your thinking by answering my questions, even as you stop ignoring me just long enough to accuse me of dishonesty, is simply more evidence of the fact.

Posted by: ScottC3 | August 17, 2010 10:07 PM | Report abuse

Jesus H.

It's NOT a mosque! It's a community center!

Please stop playing into the hysteria by using inappropriate terminology. It's no more a mosque than a Catholic high school is a cathedral.

Posted by: pj_camp | August 17, 2010 10:35 PM | Report abuse

Please stop playing into the hysteria by using inappropriate terminology.
===========================

You might as well ask ScottC3 to stop breathing, or a fish to stop swimming.
~

Posted by: ifthethunderdontgetya | August 17, 2010 10:47 PM | Report abuse

Damn Greg, looks like they're sending in the "intellectual" conservatives. Obviously the right is getting scared of you. The race/religion-baiting trolls who've posted recently couldn't do enough damage so News Corp is apparently going to step into the ring. Maybe next Palin will ask all peace-loving democrats to "refudiate" you. Keep up the good work and always remember,

the facts have a liberal bias

Posted by: eadsiv | August 17, 2010 10:48 PM | Report abuse

Kevin:

"Now, I've been here through all of this, and there has been some "berserk flailing" on the topic in the comments, maybe, from a very select few, but from Greg?"

Yes indeed from Greg

First, in what was cast as Obama's "finest moment" as president (talk about hyperbole!), Greg claimed that Obama was going "much further" than simply supporting the right to build the mosque. He claimed that Obama was declaring that American ideals demand that we "welcome" and "respect" the organizers of the mosque (and by implication their decision to build, a point which he has subsequently made explicit), and that anything less would be "un-American".

Then, when Obama seemed to be explicitly denying the above and proclaiming that he wasn't going to go beyond simply asserting the right of the organizers, Greg returned with an equivocation on the word "endorsement", claiming that Obama's clarification really didn't change what he had said the night before at all.

The next day, when Obama fell under criticism from the right, Greg expressed bewilderment about what they could possibly be criticizing, since all Obama had done was acknowledge the right of the organizers to build, which afterall most of the right had already done. Gone, suddenly, was the claim that Obama had gone "much further" than just this simple and fairly uncontroversial point.

Then, later that very same day, back Greg came with the claim that, contrary to what he had written just a few hours before, yes indeed Obama had gone above and beyond by declaring that American ideals demand that we respect not just the right, but indeed the decision to build the mosque.

Greg has been all over the map on this, depending on whether he is trying to paint Obama as having "spine" or whether he is trying to protect him from criticism.

"I may be mistaken, but I think the number of times people have actually called anybody un-American is now down to .001% of the times people have accused someone of calling them (or other people) un-American."

Be that as it may, I think it is pretty undeniable that Greg intentionally implied (yes, without explicitly saying it) that anyone who does not "welcome" and "respect" the decision to build the mosque is un-Amreican. I quoted the relevant passage in my post to Greg above.

(cont'd below)

Posted by: ScottC3 | August 17, 2010 10:57 PM | Report abuse

"Why can't someone we disagree with be taking a principled stand?"

They can be, but in this instance it is pretty clear that Greg's position on this has nothing to do with principle. Indeed, the entire point of my repeated and as yet unanswered questions to Greg was to establish whether or not his position was determined by principle. His obvious reluctance to answer pretty much confirms that he is not applying a principle.

Allow me to explain.

Greg has repeatedly and vociferously drawn a distinction between a respect for the right of the organizers to build (which he acknowledges many opponents do) and a respect for the actual decision to build (which opponents obviously do not). He has asserted, as recently as earlier this evening, that once a decision has been made with regard to exercising the right to build, American ideals demand that we respect not just the right, but the decision itself.

If this were the result of the application of a principle, then it would not be situation specific. This principle could be stated as follows:

If the right to behavior X exists, then once Y decides to engage in behavior X, American ideals demand that we respect the decision to engage in X.

I have substituted various alternatives for X and Y, and asked Greg if the principle holds with regard to these various alternatives. I have deliberately chosen alternatives that I strongly suspect Greg personally objects to, in order to put him in the position of those that oppose the building of the mosque, to see if he really is applying a principle in the manner that he expects opponents should be applying it. Greg has repeatedly and conspicuously refused to answer. Why would that be? While obviously not determinative, it is strong evidence that Greg is not really applying any kind of principle at all. He is merely being a partisan while claiming that his position is being driven strictly by “American ideals”.

“And . . . can't people take principled stands on some issues, but have excuses for why they take opposite positions on other issues, and still be principled in their first positions?”

Possibly, yes. But if they are unwilling to provide those explanations when asked, why should we conclude anything other than that it is no principled stand at all?

Posted by: ScottC3 | August 17, 2010 10:58 PM | Report abuse

I thought this was a pretty interesting exchange at CNN over the weekend. I'm hoping that people who support the building of the community center continue to link it to our founding principles.

Greg, I found your commentary very insightful over the weekend, although I do agree with CalD for a change that maybe we've spent a little too much time on it.

Also, I'm having a lot of trouble understanding how Glenn Beck usurping a National Civil Rights leader's message compares to a recognized world religion exercising their civil rights as Americans. That's some convoluted thinking IMO.

"Glenn Greenwald at Salon.com gave his opinion today that this brief exchange on CNN this weekend encapsulated what the real opposition to this "mosque" business is all about. Eboo Patel, Executive Director of the Interfaith Youth Corps tried to get through that religious freedom and diversity is what America was founded on and all about.

Lemon: Don't you think it's a bit different considering what happened on 9/11? And the people have said there's a need for it in Lower Manhattan, so that's why it's being built there. What about 10, 20 blocks . . . Midtown Manhattan, considering the circumstances behind this? That's not understandable?

Patel: In America, we don't tell people based on their race or religion or ethnicity that they are free in this place, but not in that place --

Lemon: [interrupting] I understand that, but there's always context, Mr. Patel . . . this is an extraordinary circumstance. You understand that this is very heated. Many people lost their loved ones on 9/11 --

Patel: Including Muslim Americans who lost their loved ones. . . .

Lemon: Consider the context here. That's what I'm talking about.

Patel: I have to tell you that this seems a little like telling black people 50 years ago: you can sit anywhere on the bus you like - just not in the front.

Lemon: I think that's apples and oranges - I don't think that black people were behind a Terrorist plot to kill people and drive planes into a building. That's a completely different circumstance.

Patel: And American Muslims were not behind the terrorist plot either.

Greenwald:

"That sums it up about as well as anything I've heard. Nothing related to Muslims should be near Ground Zero, because it was Muslims generally -- not the handful of extremists -- who flew the planes into those buildings. It's just amazing that that last point from Patel even needs to be uttered, but it does. This campaign is nothing different than all of the standard, definitively bigoted efforts to hold entire demographic groups of people responsible for the aberrational acts of a small percentage of individual members. Congratulations to CNN's Don Lemon for laying it all out in its naked clarity. This whole controversy is exactly that disgusting."

http://videocafe.crooksandliars.com/node/39079

Posted by: lmsinca | August 17, 2010 11:01 PM | Report abuse

Republican principled stands = whatever dishonest pandering they're serving up this week.

Remember when it was the New Black Panthers? Then it was the Sestak job offer? Then it was the scary Mexi-fascist invasion. And now it's the community center two New York blocks from the WTC site.

It'll be some new cr@p next week, and as always it will be another pile of hypocrisy and/or race-baiting.

I.e., Republican principled stands.
~

Posted by: ifthethunderdontgetya | August 17, 2010 11:12 PM | Report abuse

@ScottC3: Well, I understand how you can see it that way. I'm still not sure "berserk flailing" is accurate, but . . . fair enough.

"But if they are unwilling to provide those explanations when asked, why should we conclude anything other than that it is no principled stand at all?"

In the end, not everybody can explain themselves in detail to everybody who wants to challenge them. I'd still be prone to give Greg (or anybody) the benefit of the doubt on that.

I can understand why Greg might not answer "If you support x, then you must support y, so, do you?" questions. If I ran a blog where every post got 50+ or 100+ posts, I probably would be more careful about what sort of questions I responded to.

On the un-American thing . . . okay, yeah, I see where that's coming from. Just another good reason not to call people who disagree with you, or frame positions on positions that don't match your own, as un-American. How about unconstitutional? I think that works better, and comes without the baggage.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | August 17, 2010 11:24 PM | Report abuse

lms:

"Also, I'm having a lot of trouble understanding how Glenn Beck usurping a National Civil Rights leader's message compares to a recognized world religion exercising their civil rights as Americans."

Allow me to try to help you understand.

Glenn Beck exercises his civil rights as an American to do X.

A group of Muslim Americans exercise their civil rights as Americans to do Y.

If American ideals require that we react in a given manner to the exercise of a right because it is a right, then it doesn't matter what either X or Y is. All we need to know is that the actors have a right to do them.

However, if American ideals allow lms (or Greg, or anyone) to legitimately object to X just because they don't like X even though Glenn Beck has a right to do it, then it is possible for American ideals to allow for others to legitimately object to Y if they don't like Y even though Muslims have a right to do it.

Posted by: ScottC3 | August 17, 2010 11:31 PM | Report abuse

Kevin:

"In the end, not everybody can explain themselves in detail to everybody who wants to challenge them."

That is true. But twice now Greg has actually taken the time to respond directly to me after I posed the challenge, but in each instance he ignored the questions themselves (although he did manage to find the time to suggest I am being dishonest). Why respond at all if you have no intention of responding substantively?

"How about unconstitutional?"

I don't think that works. Remember that Greg was drawing an explicit distinction between respecting the right of the organizers to build, and welcoming the decision itself. It is most definitely neither un-American nor unconstitutional to object to a particular exercise of a particular right in a particular circumstance. That was precisely the point of my questions to Greg...to point out that people, including the likes of Greg himself, object to and don't respect specific exercises of constitutional rights all the time.

There is nothing unconstitutional about opposition to the building of the mosque/Islamic center/whatever.

Posted by: ScottC3 | August 17, 2010 11:50 PM | Report abuse

Kevin:

I'm off. Til tomorrow.

Posted by: ScottC3 | August 17, 2010 11:56 PM | Report abuse

@scottsc3:So, again, the implication is undeniable (at least to an honest observer) - those who do not respect the decision to build it, ie those who object to it, are un-American, even if they acknowledge the right of the organizers to build it.

Way to rant dude...I know this might make your head explode, but it is possible to both respect a decision and object to it, i.e. think it is a bad idea for whatever reason. And it could very well be that a only a small subset of those in opposition that are expressing an Unamerican objection, the Islam = terrorism crowd on the right.

""respect", the lack of which is "un-American""-- I don't believe that Obama or Sargeant said that all objections to the muslim Y are Unamerican, but a particular strain that tars muslims as terrorists is unamerican. Islam is a religion on par with Judiasm and the Christ followers of many colors...

You are basing your endless diatribe on the meaning of "respect the decision". Comparing the constitutional right to private property and non-establishment clause to an organization that practices gender discrimination, clearly a violation of the constitution as we presently understand, it is as ludicrous as it is odious.

Last time I looked, Beck wasn't a religion deserving of respect, but feel free to worship him...

"Do you respect the Catholic church's decision to counsel people that the use of artificial birth control is immoral simply because it has decided to do so?"

Again, catholics can counsel people to do or not do whatever their sky wizard interpreters have divined is the his will. So how is respecting this decision without agreeing with it and in fact objecting to it somehow incongruous?

I personally object to catholic doctors not informing patients of all of the legal treatment options that pregnant (particularly the morning after pill for sexual assault victims) women have and I don't respect their right to deny patients information based on their religious beliefs. I work hard to change that law. Are you seriously suggesting that this kind of advocacy for or against a religious practice as it affects the practice of medicine is somehow comparable to THE DEMONIZING OF AN ENTIRE RELIGION FOR THE ACTS OF A HANDFUL OF DEMENTED TERRORISTS? I think that people have a right to peacefully protest anything they want. I think that the kind of vitriolic, hyperbolic, rhetoric coming from the, kdaffys, Pipes, Gellers, Gafneys and the others screaming from farrightwingnutistan is in fact Unamerican demonization of Islam for the acts of a few crazed terrorists.

Conversely, government officials, members of congress, and especially the executive branch should neither endorse or oppose the siting of a religious building as long as LOCAL building codes are followed. That is what separation of church and state means in practice. Politicians' oaths to the constitution override their right to voice their individual opinion, IMHO.

Posted by: srw3 | August 18, 2010 12:18 AM | Report abuse

Scott, no need to explain your X, Y scenario for me again, I understand now about as well as I understood it a year ago. This is how you simplify an argument without explaining the larger issues and hope to trap someone into agreeing with your basic premise. The problem is that life is more complicated than X,Y and comparing reactions to Beck's rally, an exercise in free speech and reaction to a Muslim community center claiming a right to be free from religious persecution are not the same and you cannot use a simple mathematical equation to solve the differences.

Posted by: lmsinca | August 18, 2010 12:53 AM | Report abuse

"Now, although you have attributed the un-American claim to Obama, the surrounding context undeniably demonstrates that this is a position of which you approve and with which you agree."

Scott, that's just pathetically weak.

Posted by: Greg Sargent | August 18, 2010 6:27 AM | Report abuse

Greg:

"Scott, that's just pathetically weak."

Are you saying that you disagree with the position which you attributed to Obama? Really?

Set the record straight once and for all. Do you or do you not agree with the notion that American ideals demand that we must "welcome" and "respect" the decision to build the m/Ic/w, and that anything less would be "un-American"?

Posted by: ScottC3 | August 18, 2010 7:18 AM | Report abuse

Fox's parent organization donations to the GOP along with their coordination of Tea Parties and other GOP events dwarfs any perceived Journolist political coordination.

Talk about politically motivated journalism. They don't even try and hide it any longer.

Posted by: mikefromArlington | August 18, 2010 7:34 AM | Report abuse

ScottC3: "Are you saying that you disagree with the position which you attributed to Obama? Really?"

I don't think Greg wants to take part in that conversation. Also, Imsinca, he was directing the X,Y explanation at me (at least this time). I thought it was well done, and he makes an interesting point worth considering.

However, it's clear Greg isn't going to engage the argument at that level, but I'm glad Scott took the time to clarify for me. Thanks!

And, just as I didn't see Greg as "berserkly flailing", I don't particularly regard Scott's points as pathetic, or "as ludicrous as it is odious".

Myself, I don't agree with Augusta's gender discrimination, but I respect the right of free association, which means they get to have a He-Man Woman-Haters golf club, I suppose. Certainly, we still have gender-based private schools.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | August 18, 2010 8:09 AM | Report abuse

srw3:

"I know this might make your head explode, but it is possible to both respect a decision and object to it"

Tell it to Greg. He is the one who is conflating the two, saying that American idelas demand that decision must be "respected", and then condemns anyone who objects to it as not adhering to American ideals.

"You are basing your endless diatribe on the meaning of "respect the decision". "

Yes. This has been a very specific and important point for Greg.

"Comparing the constitutional right to private property and non-establishment clause to an organization that practices gender discrimination, clearly a violation of the constitution as we presently understand..."

You are entirely incorrect. As a private club, Augusta National has just as much of a constitutional right to discriminate against women in its membership process as Muslms have to open a mosque/Islamic center/whatever where ever they want.

"Again, catholics can counsel people to do or not do whatever their sky wizard..."

Ah, such respect for the religious beliefs of Catholics!

"Are you seriously suggesting that this kind of advocacy for or against a religious practice as it affects the practice of medicine is somehow comparable to THE DEMONIZING OF AN ENTIRE RELIGION FOR THE ACTS OF A HANDFUL OF DEMENTED TERRORISTS?"

No. (And thanks for the caps. I was going to say yes, but by shouting at me you really convinced me of my wayward thinking!)

"Conversely, government officials, members of congress, and especially the executive branch should neither endorse or oppose the siting of a religious building as long as LOCAL building codes are followed."

Again, tell it to Greg, who for weeks has been insisting that politiciians take a stand on this, and who celebrated Obama when he though Obama was doing precisely that.

Posted by: ScottC3 | August 18, 2010 8:15 AM | Report abuse

@mikefromarlington; "Fox's parent organization donations to the GOP along with their coordination of Tea Parties and other GOP events dwarfs any perceived Journolist political coordination."

So, since those guys rob banks, nothing wrong with us taking as many five-fingered discounts as we want, eh?

"They don't even try and hide it any longer."

I don't think they ever tried to hide it. The "Fair and balanced" catch phrase, maybe, when it should have been: "We balance out the other side. And also cover the stories people want to watch in the ways they want to watch them, cuz, dude, look at our ratings."

But even early on, I saw interviews with conservatives that tossed so many softballs, it was like watching Chris Matthews interview Al Gore while pleasuring himself.

That being said, Fox's parent corporation (who doesn't just donate to Republicans, btw--that's just the normal shakedown money the street vendors gotta pay the neighborhood government Godfathers) is free to donate to who they want. Just as the journalists on Journolist were free to associate, and even talk about their stories they were writing. Ooooh. Journalists talking to each other in a quasi-private setting! Scary. They liked Obama? Shocking! They didn't like Palin, and there was a semi-coordinated attempt to smear her? Why, that wasn't totally and transparently obvious from what we could see, you know, happening every day.

Sorry. Off-topic.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | August 18, 2010 8:24 AM | Report abuse

Kevin:

"I don't think Greg wants to take part in that conversation."

Regrettably, I think you are correct. I think it tells us something about the character of someone who takes the time to call a challenge to his thinking "pathetic", but refuses to engage when asked to clarify why that might be so.

Posted by: ScottC3 | August 18, 2010 8:25 AM | Report abuse

Actually Kevin, I was responding to Scott's 11:31 pm comment to me. And while you may be impressed with his X,Y over-simplification of every situation, I've heard it before and find it lacking in humanity.

Posted by: lmsinca | August 18, 2010 8:34 AM | Report abuse

The WSJ published an op-ed yesterday by Dick Armey, titled "A Tea Party Manifesto."

It kind of meanders around, is light on policy, but ends with this:

"These young legislative entrepreneurs will shift the balance in the next Congress, bringing with them a more serious, adult commitment to responsible, restrained government.

But let us be clear about one thing: The tea party movement is not seeking a junior partnership with the Republican Party, but a hostile takeover of it."

No more room will be made for centerist Republicans, I guess?

Posted by: suekzoo1 | August 18, 2010 8:34 AM | Report abuse

sorry, forgot the link.

http://online.wsj.com/article/NA_WSJ_PUB:SB10001424052748704407804575425061553154540.html

Posted by: suekzoo1 | August 18, 2010 8:35 AM | Report abuse

All, morning roundup posted:

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/plum-line/2010/08/the_morning_plum_76.html

Posted by: Greg Sargent | August 18, 2010 8:38 AM | Report abuse

lms:

"This is how you simplify an argument without explaining the larger issues and hope to trap someone into agreeing with your basic premise."

Please. I am not hoping to "trap" anyone, and the only premise I have been operating under has been Greg's.

You claimed not to understand the comparison being drawn between Beck and the m/Ic/w siituation. So I explained to you the connection being made. If I realized that you actually had no real interest in understanding the connection, I wouldn't have bothered.

Posted by: ScottC3 | August 18, 2010 8:40 AM | Report abuse

lms:

"I've heard it before and find it lacking in humanity."

Ah, the moral preening of the self-righteous left is a sight to behold.

Posted by: ScottC3 | August 18, 2010 8:47 AM | Report abuse

One has to appreciate Scott's contributions here. It is always worth the reminder that certain sorts of intellectuals, in their zest for theoretical purity, can express great passion and rigor at arguing which is the exact number of perforations in the skin of a woman that proves Satan has entered her body, thus making her a valid subject for stake-burning. These sorts of intellectuals understand clearly that they have their priorities as perfect as their theories.

Let's take Scott's principles and rights notion. Rabbi Goldstein has the right to speak out against anti-Semitic tracts flowing through the intertubes. White Power advocates have the right to express their approval of the idea that all blacks and all jews ought to be jailed, made infertile or held in camps in Manhattan.

Mrs. Scott has the right to argue that the distribution of child pornography is destructive, negative, a bad thing. Child pornography fans have the right to tell us how exciting they find such images and why it is a good thing for the eight year olds.

The only important issue here is the right to express an opinion or a preference. If someone suggests there are other considerations - or other principles - in conflict with speech rights, then they are making an unprincipled argument.

Take the right to bear arms. A reading of the constitution finds no limitations on this right of citizens to bear arms. Machine guns brought into the WH by a militia member ought to be, by the text, unregulated by oppressive government "interpretations" of founders' intent. Likewise, where does the 2nd A state that my garage cannot have a stockpile of chemical weapons? I shall not have my constitutional rights abridged by liberal jurists out to fulfill their social reorganization agendas! It is unprincipled, you see. There's only one principle - the right to bear arms - that is applicable in this perfect and pure intellectual exercise.

@Scott - Greg's not bothering with your question and I'm not much bothering with you anymore because your intellectualism is a shoddy Walmart off-the-shelf copy and because your rhetorical style is that of a loud bully. Or, I guess one could just say you represent the modern conservative mind quite perfectly.

Posted by: bernielatham | August 18, 2010 8:52 AM | Report abuse

Scott, I was not arguing with you either way morally about any of the X,Y positions, we all fall into different layers and complexities of moral certitude or not. I was simply pointing out that your little scenario lacks any human element. I find that libertarian views in general leave out the human connection we all have with one another. Just my opinion.

Also, when I asked that question it was more rhetorical than anything else.

Posted by: lmsinca | August 18, 2010 9:07 AM | Report abuse

Bernie:

"The only important issue here is the right to express an opinion or a preference. If someone suggests there are other considerations - or other principles - in conflict with speech rights, then they are making an unprincipled argument."

This is not my argument...it has been Greg's and yours!!!

Greg has insisted that the right of the organizers to build the m/Ic/w is the only thing that matters. There are no other legitimate considerations. Greg has explicitly argued that, once the decision to build has been made, we must "welcome" and "respect" it because they have the constitutional right to do it.

I whole heartedly disagree. Even though I, myself, don't care at all whether they build the m/Ic/w, and I fully recognize their right to do so, I am not willing to condemn those who do care as "un-American" or anti-constitutionalists or bigots or racists. I am not so willing because, apparently unlike you and Greg, I recognize that there may indeed be other considerations involved for those people.

I have attempted to get Greg to see this by presenting situations in which the roles are reversed...where he objects to an action that the actor has every right to undertake. Does he still insist that the mere existence of the right deems that a decision to exercise it must be "welcomed" and "accepted"? He won't answer, but I think we all know the answer...of course he doesn't. His argument, hence, falls apart.

"I'm not much bothering with you anymore because your intellectualism is a shoddy ."

Heh. You accuse me of doing in fact what you are doing (classic Alinksy), and my intellectualism is shoddy? You are a pip.

Anyway, yada, yada. You know, Bernie, lately you seem to spend almost as much time announcing that you aren't going to bother with me anymore as you do, well, bothering with me. There's definitely some tension there.

Posted by: ScottC3 | August 18, 2010 9:31 AM | Report abuse

"accepted" above should read "respected".

Posted by: ScottC3 | August 18, 2010 10:00 AM | Report abuse

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