Afternoon Links

Thursday, August 19th, 2010
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97 Responses to “Afternoon Links”

  1. #1 |  Elemenope | 

    Bridgeport…that’s close enough that I can throw rocks at the protesters.

    Neato.

  2. #2 |  ClassAction | 

    The Islams want to destroy our Constitution! Let’s tear it up quick so they don’t get a chance to!

  3. #3 |  Yizmo Gizmo | 

    “Presented with convincing data, I’m prepared to believe that child porn is growing. But if a Department of Justice report states that the number of offenders is unknown and the quantity of images and videos of child pornography being traded is also unknown, how can anybody say that the distribution of child porn is on the rise? ”

    This is the type of “hot shot” journalism that really disgusts me.
    Not only does he use logic to dissect a fearmongering, manufactured, non story, he also compromises the delicate partnership between police and Journalism, something Communities across America have worked so hard for.
    Also I get the feeling he thinks he can just write whatever he wants,
    hoisted on his own pitard, without proper Editorial discretion.
    Let’s see how long Mr. Fancy Pants keeps his job writing editorials.
    I hope somebody takes away his pitard.

  4. #4 |  J | 

    re: Mosque-a-mania:

    Ahh, sweet sweet bigotry and intolerance. It smells so…American. Oh and is that a hint of Christian superiority that I also smell? Why, yes. Yes it is.

  5. #5 |  Brandon | 

    Come on now, Radley. Antioch is hallowed by the blood of thousands of soldiers over the millenia, and nothing should be built there that will besmirch the memory of all the Egyptian, Syrian and Roman warriors who gave their lives for a higher…what? You mean Tennessee isn’t in Syria? Someone should tell the people who signed that petition. I’m sure they’ll feel so silly once they realize it’s a different Antioch, then immediately rethink their rationale for opposing the mosque, and we’ll all have a good laugh…

  6. #6 |  jrb | 

    I don’t mean to hijack this thread, but there’s some new development in the Drunk Cop case in Indy that people here might be interested in:

    http://www.indystar.com/article/20100819/NEWS02/8190485/Cop-s-blood-draw-not-admissible-in-court

  7. #7 |  Michael Chaney | 

    I had a call yesterday from one of those ambiguous police-related groups (who typically aren’t too closely related) wanting money for a memorial for fallen officers or something like that, and also to help with their lobbying efforts to get stricter penalties for internet predators. He then went on to describe how men go online posing as teens to lure kids to kidnap them. (As an aside, has that ever happened?) Anyway, I said “the only people I’ve ever heard of posing as teens on the internet are FBI agents”. He was proud of that. Obviously, I gave them no money.

    But, geeze, you’d think there were these internet predators everywhere to hear him tell it. Maybe there are, but you’d think it’d be bigger news.

  8. #8 |  Eddie | 

    I’m not a bigot. I just hate religions that, right or wrong, have a reputation for stoning people, forcing women to wear burkas, etc. A mosque for me is a symbol of oppression.

    And if you think that’s a Christian bias, then you should know that I’m also against churches too. Fortunately, the Christians nowadays have become relatively docile, and I’m not (yet) currently worried that they will put me to death for not believing in their religion.

  9. #9 |  Michael Chaney | 

    Re: #6 – LOL! I was just waiting for the technicality that would get him off. They’re pretty brazen about it. I’m sure the DA is now digging through past DUI cases to see what others weren’t drawn properly so he can crawl back to court and beg the judge’s forgiveness while he throws those out, too. j/k

    So this is their out – they claim that they had no idea he was drunk (although he came in at .2, which is a lot of drinking in a short time) and so no probably cause. You can guess how all officer-involved crashes will be handled from now on. “Passed out drunk? We thought he was taking a nap!”

  10. #10 |  Christopher P. Brown | 

    Did the protests at the other mosque sites happen before or after the World Trade vicinity mosque imbroglio ?

    If after, hopefully it may just be a momentary overreaction to that “unwise” project.

  11. #11 |  Waste93 | 

    The same amendment that protects the rights of Muslims to build also protects the right of those opposed to their ways to protest. Sorry, but you can’t have it both ways.

  12. #12 |  Matt Moore | 

    The prosecutor she interviewed is flat wrong when he says it might be “technically illegal” to record an arrest. North Carolina is a one-party consent state. No way recording a public arrest could be illegal.

    The prosecutor is saying that it could be illegal for a third party (i.e., not the cop or the person being stopped/harassed/arrested) to record a police action. He’s definitely not claiming that what the Maryland motorcyclist did could be illegal in NC.

  13. #13 |  Rick H. | 

    Waste93, I am opposed to your ways.

  14. #14 |  MacGregory | 

    It would please me greatly if there was never another religious structure of any kind built anywhere in this country.

  15. #15 |  Portocan | 

    #11
    I don’t think Radley is saying they don’t have a right to protest. He seems to be questioning the motives behind those protests though.

  16. #16 |  Matt Moore | 

    #11 – Where in the 1st amendment does it say we can’t call a bigot a bigot?

  17. #17 |  Nando | 

    On the NC cop-taping: the prosecutor is claiming that if you are not a party involved in the events then you are eavesdropping, which would be illegal. However, I would counter with the following: if you’re in PLAIN SIGHT (i.e. not hiding) and in a public location (i.e. a street or sidewalk) then you are not eavesdropping, even if you are not a party of what you are taping.

    BTW, the one-party consent in NC means that you have to be one of the parties involved in order to be able to record; else it’s eavesdropping.

  18. #18 |  KRF | 

    Follow up on drunk cop who killed motorcyclist in Indpls. http://www.theindychannel.com/news/24686898/detail.html

  19. #19 |  KristenS | 

    (@Brandon – Antioch is in Turkey)

  20. #20 |  Waste93 | 

    #13 You have that right :)

    #15 Fair enough. But why not also question the motives of those building the mosques?

    #16 You can. But are you only calling the protesters bigots? Or also those that promote a bigoted ideology that want to build the buildings?

    The issue I have is with the double standard. People call the protestors bigots, and they may well be, but give a pass on the bigoted ideology those same protesters are protesting against. The bending over backwards that people feel the need to give deference to the GZ Mosque while a Greek Orthodox church destroyed on 9/11 has been mired in red tape and may have even been canceled. To retain credibility one must remain consistant.

  21. #21 |  Cynical in CA | 

    @#4 — here’s the money quote:

    “Every new group coming to this country — Jews, Catholics, Irish, Germans, Japanese — has gone through this,” Dr. Mirza said. “Now I think it’s our turn to pay the price, and eventually we will be coming out of this, too.”

    What’s more American than racial or religious intolerance? Oh, I know, it’s only half the equation. But it’s a big half.

  22. #22 |  Mattocracy | 

    What clever ways to deny people their property rights.

    You can’t build this, there’s a historic site nearby. Can’t build that, this area can’t support the added traffic. We know you want this building, but the community college really needs it more. You don’t hate education, do you?

    If there wasn’t an election in 3 more months, I doubt that this would be getting the play that it is in the media.

  23. #23 |  Waste93 | 

    Matt,

    I’m not sure it’s really that clever. These methods have been used for a fairly long time. There is a debate about the Gettysburg battlefield along these lines. You also have national parks/forrests. Zoning regulation, enviromental impact studies, traffic studies, and a host of other means of red tape so government can tell people what they can and can not do with their own property and make cash off of it have been in use for a long time.

    I think the GZ Mosque issue would have happened regardless of the election. The only thing I think would change would be that a number of politicians trying to score points off of it, on both sides, would be slightly lower. The media likes controversy and with the oil spill capped they’ve entered a bit of a slow period. This fills their time slots for them.

  24. #24 |  Mattocracy | 

    Every religion treats people like shit. Buddhism, Christianity, Islam, Scientology, Judiasm, the flying spaghetti monster-every single damn one. They all have really awful things written in their respective texts that degrade people in one manner or another.

    Most religious people ignore the retarded parts of their religion. That’s why Christians don’t go around stoning people for not adhering to the sabbath and why the majority of Muslim women don’t wear burkas over here. The Koran and the Bible both have passages advocating violence against people. The whole reason why religious people came over here in the first place was to get away from the extremists in Europe. I have a feeling most muslims come to America because the zealots running their own country made life unbearable. If they were really zealots themselves, they would have stayed home.

  25. #25 |  flukebucket | 

    I was kinda hoping the tainted eggs story would get everybody’s mind off of the New York controversy.

  26. #26 |  Dave Krueger | 

    Child pornography, sextortion, and Chinese hymenoplasties: Jack Shafer’s roundup of bogus trend stories.

    That strategy has become universal among anti-prostitution zealots, too. At the same time as they are denouncing how much sex is still being sold through craigslist, they admit that no one knows how many of the ads are illegal advertisements for sex. And, of course, the media mindlessly and uncritically repeats the claims, hyping them up even further with images of children being bought and sold by the boxcar load, only to be used discarded the next day like yesterday’s paper.

    The anti-prostitution crusaders are apparently very angry that craigslist has not stamped out, in a few months, a business that has permeated human civilization since the beginning of recorded history. And they are more than willing to gut the First Amendment of its protection of grownup expression in the process. After all, what is the Bill of Rights next to an abused child prostitute (whether real or imaginary)?

    I think it’s about time moral crusaders are recognized for being among the most morally challenged people on the planet. When it comes to feeding on people’s natural emotions with regard to children, these people are worse than a flesh eating virus.

    When it comes to being trendy, nothing is more stylish these days than condemning anything sex related (usually after dipping it in a big bucket of “save the children”).

  27. #27 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    Threadjack.

    http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=9aa_1282200247

    Denver cops beat dog owner by the side of the road…but there’s massive improvement because they didn’t shoot his two 8 pound dogs!

    Internal investigation is already finished with no wrongdoing found by police (I’m just guessing).

  28. #28 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    When it comes to being trendy, nothing is more stylish these days than condemning anything sex related (usually after dipping it in a big bucket of “save the children”).

    The best thing about the zealots who wrap every sex-issue in “save the children” is that every one of their children will become fornicators…over and over again some day. That has to burn ‘em up inside.

  29. #29 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    I think it has been posted here before, but the couple-hundred-religious-posts on The Agitator the last few days have me wanting to post it again:

    Vanity Fair: You’ve said that you’re beyond atheism. What does that mean?

    Penn Jillette: I have trouble believing that other people believe.

    I really, really don’t believe other people really believe.

  30. #30 |  J sub D | 

    From the Staten Island mosque link –

    “Wouldn’t you agree that every terrorist, past and present, has come out of a mosque?” asked one woman who stood up Wednesday night during a civic association meeting on Staten Island to address representatives of a group that wants to convert a Roman Catholic convent into a mosque in the Midland Beach neighborhood.

    Arrgh! The stupidsss. It burnsss usss. Yesss it doesss.

  31. #31 |  BamBam | 

    #2, this has been in effect for 200+ years. It’s time to try something else, this time doing away with The State and moving towards a smaller scale monopoly, if any.

  32. #32 |  Dave Krueger | 

    #29 Boyd Durkin

    I really, really don’t believe other people really believe.

    I can definitely see your perspective on that. If religious people really believed that death really led to someone going to heaven, why do they agonize over those who die? Moreover, why are they so fearful of their own death?

    I can no more force myself to believe in a god than I can convince myself that a brick won’t hit the ground if I drop it. Believers commonly question their faith. It goes with the territory of believing something for which there is no concrete evidence. Even Mother Teresa supposedly questioned her faith. It’s because they aren’t really convinced.

  33. #33 |  Waste93 | 

    #24

    Most religions don’t treat people poorly, they just tend to treat non-believers poorly.

    The reason most Muslims come here from Muslim countries has little to do with their religion. It’s more economic. The problem with most Muslim dominated countries is that they are domintated by dictatorships. So most of the economic opportunities is limited to those with connections to the ruling class. This is fairly common in dictatorships. You also have the different factions of Islam that are frequently fighting each other so one could be from a minority sect and want out for that reason also. Without oil revenue, the GDP of most of the middle east is non-existant and the manafacturing base is pretty much absent.

    The difference between most religions is that though they have had periods where their followers have commited acts of violence in the name of their religion, those religions tend to mature and grow past that point. Judaism and Christianity both had violent pasts that can be attributed to their religions, however the matured past that point for the most part. There are still some who practice violence in the name of those religions however those are extremely small numbers usually lone individuals or very small groups. Most religions recognize that their holy text comes from mens interpretations and as such open to interpretation and error.

    The other difference is that most religions are just that, religions. That speak to the spiritual/moral side of things only. Islam is different in that it is not only a relgion. It’s also a political system and judicial system wrapped up into one and the components are not seperable.

  34. #34 |  Mattocracy | 

    But Waste,

    Christianity used to be the same way. And honestly, a lot of our laws are still religious based. Alcohol sales on Sunday, prohibiting prostitution, etc. You’re saying that “These People over here” haven’t progressed as much as “We” have over here sounds a lot like supremacist talk. Plenty of people in America want our government Christian based and make no bones about it. The notion that we seperate our church and state and they don’t is false. But in both cases, the number of christians and muslims looking to create a government intertwined with religion are not clear majorities.

    I have a hard time believing that people looking for higher standards of living are going to keep their religion and their state intertwined like you suggest. Our founding fathers rejected that idea. So did the French. The Turks still have a strong secular side of their populace. First generation immigrants have always grouped together, usually through their religious institutions. The Irish did it, the Jews, the Italians. But their kids get Americanized and their grand children even moreso. I just can’t imagine that whatever sentiment there is with muslim immigrants to intermingle religion and governance is going to last very long.

  35. #35 |  Andrew S. | 

    Waste93, have you ever looked at how the orthodox of any religion treat their women?

    A long long time ago (early 90s) I was in Israel with a Jewish youth group (a bunch of 16-17 year olds. Was a relatively calm time as bombings went). We were let loose on the streets of Jerusalem one day. There was a group us together, 3 guys and 2 girls. One of the guys had wanted to go to this shop in an Orthodox section of the city. So we pile into a cab. Once we told the cab driver where we were going, he told us that the girls had to get out of the cab; the residents of that area were known to throw stones at women who they didn’t feel were dressed properly (in other words, weren’t wearing ankle-length dresses or skirts). Once we saw the area, there was, in enormous lettering, a sign (or maybe it was painted on the side of a building, don’t remember), in Hebrew and English, exclaiming “Women who are not dressed properly are not welcome here”.

    And both Christianity and Judaism, at the very least, can be seen as political and judicial systems. Google “Beth Din” for the Jewish side of things.

  36. #36 |  Mattocracy | 

    I just don’t like how the most extremist views from a sub-sect of people is enough to think that everyone in the larger group is just as extremist. The Tea Partiers and Muslim Immigrants are almost complete parallels of each other. One is attacked by the Liberal Media and the other is attacked by those attacked by the liberal media.

    “These two guys said Obama isn’t an American so all Tea Partiers are birthers now.” “These Muslisms are terrorists so they all are now.”

    “These guys said racially motivated things so their all racists now.” “This Muslim called America the Great Satan so all Muslims hate America.”

    “This one guy had a Gadsden Flag so he’s an anti government domestic terrorist.” “These guys call their Mosque Cordoba. It’s so obvious they’re going to bomb us.”

    Karma’s a bitch. I think the Bible says something about doing untue others as you want them to do untue you. Maybe if conservatives did that, liberals wouldn’t try to label them as terrorists like they are to Muslims.

  37. #37 |  Waste93 | 

    Matt,

    The difference is that those extremeists are the sub-set in Christianity and Judaism. They however are not the minority in Islam. They are the minority in the US, but most Muslims are not here in the US. Not all Muslims are terrorists of course. But there are large swathes of the Muslim population, mostly overseas, that does support it. The reasons are numerous. However the education in Muslim countries is very dogmatic. Blind obedience to the religion is taught at a young age. Literacy is those countries is fairly low with most of the literary works taught being religious works. There are moderate Muslims, however there is no moderate Islam.

    The Tea Party / Muslim comparision doesn’t hold up. The liberal media dislikes the Tea Party because the Tea Party is against big government and big spending while the same media adore Muslims since they are protrayed as ‘victims’. The medias love affair had to do more with the enemy of my enemy is my friend. It also gives them the opportunity to show the ‘intolerance’ of the US.

  38. #38 |  Waste93 | 

    Andrew,

    Yes some orthodox groups treat their women badly. However as you said in your post, the group you saw was in one small section of one city. A rather small group. Now that same behavior is also exhibited in the entire country of Saudi Arabia. My mother was hit on the legs by the mutawa because her ankles were showing in Saudi. Most people know that females can not drive or vote in Saudi, but how many know they also can not leave the country without the permission of their husband or male relative? Nor is Saudi the only country to have such rules for female. Iran recently cracked down on the same kind of thing. You’ll also see such stories, along with stonings and executions for dress code and moral code violations in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, and the Sudan.

    So while in Judaism and Christianity it is a very small minority that practice such things. In Islam it is far more significant and instead of shrinking, it is growing in many places. Hence my earlier post about religions maturing.

  39. #39 |  Les | 

    Waste, Muslims are no different than Christians and Jews in that individuals practice their religion differently. They all accept and ignore parts of their scriptures as they see fit. Just as most Christians and Jews don’t believe people should be put to death for working on the Sabbath, most Muslims don’t believe that non-believers should be killed.

  40. #40 |  jrb | 

    Every religion treats people like shit.

    See, that”s why worshipping Cthulhu is so awesome. We’re treated as food, which is a big step up from shit, I’d say.

  41. #41 |  Waste93 | 

    Matt,

    Some people will always want a government based on their religion. It’s unavoidable. Yes some of our laws still are relgion based like the blue laws you mentioned. They are also slowly being peeled away in some places or have already been repealed. Part of the reason, IMO, is the overlap in regards to morals. Religion is about imparting morals onto it’s followers. Government is pretty much about the same thing. All laws passed are moral judgements.

    It may sound supremicist but saying we shouldn’t judge others by our own standards I don’t see as a valid arguement. If that were the case we wouldn’t push human rights since those are rights based on our standards of what constitute human rights. Was the push to ban slavery supremicist talk? You may also want to look up the Human Rights declarations that Islamic states sign, it states that the Human Rights only apply up to where they are contradicted by Islam, in which case Islamic doctrine reigns supreme.

    We do seperate religion and government to a fair amount. We are not the United Christian States of America. However you do have the Islamic Republic of Iran. The US Constitution states that there shall be no establishment of an official religion (not the same as the seperation many claim), while the Constitutions of both Iraq and Afghanistan explicitly state no law, including religious freedom, shall contradict Islam.

    Yes immigrants tended to group together for a number of reasons historically. However they also tended to assimilate. Immigrants assimilating has changed however over the past couple of decades. Many groups, though not all, tend to think that they shouldn’t assimilate. Examples of this can be found in France and other countries where this is causing problems.

    Turkey is/was secular. The current ruling party is trying to change that and the populance is shifting away from secular. Where Turkey ends up remains to be seen, however the signs are not encouraging.

  42. #42 |  jrb | 

    The Tea Party / Muslim comparision doesn’t hold up. The liberal media dislikes the Tea Party because the Tea Party is against big government and big spending while the same media adore Muslims since they are protrayed as ‘victims’.

    I dislike the tea party because they claim to be against big government, yet they seem to support the warfare state unconditonally. And most of us understand that war is the health of the state, and that supporting the warfare state implicitly supports big government. I doubt the ‘liberal media’ understands that (especially since they seem to support the warfare state as well), but I’m infavor of them knocking down the tea party.

  43. #43 |  Waste93 | 

    Les,

    Correct. The difference however is in the religious doctrines themselves. Which is why I said there are moderate Muslims, but there is no moderate Islam.

    The majority of Muslims in the US may not believe non-believers should be put to death. But how about the majority in the Mid East? Every major school of Islam teaches that the penalty for leaving Islam is death. All the Islamic countries in the Mid East proscribe the death penalty for blasphemy which is defined as saying or doing something that dishonors their prophet. The blasphemy laws do not protect other faiths.

    The Koran does not require death for non-believers. It offers people of the book three choices in Muslim dominated countires. Subjucation, Conversion, or Death. Others it mandates Conversion or Death. So it would be interesting to do that poll in the west to see if the majority believe that non-believers should be subject to those conditions and then do the same poll in muslim dominate countries. I strongly suspect you would have a large difference between the two.

  44. #44 |  Dave Krueger | 

    Speaking of North Carolina, this story about corruption in blood evidence testing is interesting.

    A new report released by the FBI showed that North Carolina crime lab workers omitted, overstated or falsely reported blood evidence over a 16-year period.

  45. #45 |  damocles | 

    Mr. Balko,

    You’ve an excellent blog and I’m a big fan, but I think you’ve got this issue framed all wrong — it’s not about religious freedom, at least not as the children of the Enlightenment think about such things. Ayaan Hirsi Ali writes much more eloquently than I do, so I invite you to read her recent op-ed in the Wall Street Journal:

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703426004575338471355710184.html?mod=WSJ_hp_mostpop_read

    Of course, many of the protestors are bigots, and many of them frame the issue incorrectly as well, but it just so happens that they’re right.

    d.

  46. #46 |  Yizmo Gizmo | 

    “A new report released by the FBI showed that North Carolina crime lab workers omitted, overstated or falsely reported blood evidence over a 16-year period.”
    Yeah, the news is all over the place here in NC.
    Day been cookin da books.

  47. #47 |  J | 

    RE: Jack London
    The author is Johann Hari. I recognized his name and I was right; he was the one who wrote a fascinating article on Dubai some years ago that got him a lifetime ban from the country. He’s a great journalist, and he is also fairly young.
    His writing has always stood out as nothing short of amazing and, after reading the Jack London article, I wasn’t surprised when I saw his name as the author.

  48. #48 |  PW | 

    FWIW, I’d probably find it annoying if a fundamentalist Baptist megachurch decided to raze the block of houses across the street from me and move in. Same goes for a mosque. And why shouldn’t I? One of the reasons I bought my house because its in a secluded and largely green residential neighborhood. A giant mosque or Baptist megachurch would surely bring increased traffic to my street, in addition to attracting gatherings of large groups of people who practice two systems of theology that I personally find to be at odds with my values for very similar reasons. And if they announced a desire to move there, I wouldn’t hesitate to use my voice to urge them to pick a different place.

    THAT SAID, they do have property rights as well and so long as they aren’t impeding on my own property, there is nothing I can do to legally stop them from building there and that I would be completely out of place if I tried to use the government to stop them.

    See the difference? One is perfectly acceptable free speech and the other is unacceptable coercion through the state.

  49. #49 |  PW | 

    And just to be clear, if a Baptist megachurch or a mosque moved in across the street from me I’d fully respect their property rights to do so. But I’d also exercise my own property rights to hold a giant pig roast cookout on the front lawn with lots of booze, dancing, and rock and roll music.

    I’m not sure which religious group would be more likely to try to use government coercion to prevent me from doing so, though I am fully confident that both would eventually try.

  50. #50 |  PW | 

    “I have a feeling most muslims come to America because the zealots running their own country made life unbearable.”

    That is indeed likely the case for most. The dangers of radicalization in the U.S. at least are usually the domestic converts. Examples: the Nation of Islam types who usually convert in prison or through already radicalized “black power” movements, and the guy who made the threats against Comedy Central that led to the censoring of South Park (a white kid from suburbia who converted in college and became a wacky jihadi).

    I do think there is a legitimate case to be made against the various muslim “religious centers,” “charities,” and “schools” etc. that receive most of their funding from the Saudis and similar regimes, because they do indeed usually come with a far more radical version of Islam. And I’d even go so far as to suggest it’s a reasonable policy for us to curtail or severely tax such funds at the borders, not unlike stopping Hitler if he had tried to set up a “German American Charitable Foundation” in Cleveland during WWII. Unlike most muslim refugees into the U.S. who tend to be successful and productive immigrants, there is indeed a lengthy record of criminal convictions where these foreign-funded “religious” centers have turned out to be front groups for generating radicals and slushing funds around for Hamas.

  51. #51 |  PW | 

    I’d even be okay with some sort of reciprocity law. If the Saudis or any other a muslim country wants to fund islamic “charities” etc. in the U.S., it should be a precondition that their laws must allow any non-muslim U.S.-based religious group unimpeded rights to fund similar activities within their borders.

    Right now most muslim countries do not. Unless they change those laws, I see no reason why we should treat them any differently.

  52. #52 |  Dave Krueger | 

    #45 damocles

    …it’s not about religious freedom, at least not as the children of the Enlightenment think about such things.

    No, I think Radley hit the nail on the head and I don’t think the article you refer to has anything to do with religious freedom in the U.S. It’s far more about foreign policy.

    The dominance of the west over the rest of the planet is not going to last forever. Nothing does. But the notion that the U.S. can’t afford a First Amendment because someone is going to use it to destroy us has repeatedly proven to be bullshit. If there is anything that the attacks on 9/11 have shown, it’s how willing we are to trade freedom for the illusion of security. Currently that very same zeal is illustrated by how quickly we are prepared to sacrifice the First Amendment to marginalize those we fear and hate.

    Building a mosque is not an attack on freedom. Prohibiting it is.

  53. #53 |  Ace_of_Spades | 

    Mattocracy said “The whole reason why religious people came over here in the first place was to get away from the extremists in Europe. I have a feeling most muslims come to America because the zealots running their own country made life unbearable. If they were really zealots themselves, they would have stayed home.”

    Ever been to Salem, MA? Nothing against Mulims, just pointing out the error in the argument.

  54. #54 |  Peter Ramins | 

    @51 – Because we should set and live the standard. It’s as simple as that.

  55. #55 |  Ace_of_Spades | 

    You can’t put that Mosque there. It’s shadow might touch the shadow of the Ten Commandmenths monument we’re going to put on the courthouse lawn.

  56. #56 |  Ace_of_Spades | 

    Its and commandments. Tired. Sorry.

  57. #57 |  Pinandpuller | 

    One point for having a mosque next to your house is that you will never have trouble hailing a cab.

  58. #58 |  Windy | 

    # 26 “I think it’s about time moral crusaders are recognized for being among the most morally challenged people on the planet. When it comes to feeding on people’s natural emotions with regard to children, these people are worse than a flesh eating virus.”

    Yep:
    “It is indeed probable that more harm and misery have been caused by men determined to use coercion to stamp out a moral evil than by men intent on doing evil.” — Fredrich von Hayek, Nobel Laureate in Economics, from “The Constitution of Liberty”

    As for believing in God/religion, all one has to do is look at the human body’s design flaws (there are a great many of those flaws) to know without a doubt that there is no such thing as an all-knowing God which created human beings “in his own image”.

  59. #59 |  BSK | 

    “I’d even be okay with some sort of reciprocity law. If the Saudis or any other a muslim country wants to fund islamic “charities” etc. in the U.S., it should be a precondition that their laws must allow any non-muslim U.S.-based religious group unimpeded rights to fund similar activities within their borders.

    Right now most muslim countries do not. Unless they change those laws, I see no reason why we should treat them any differently.”

    So we should violate OUR Constitution because the leaders of a sovereign nation have chosen to enact very different laws from our own? Does that mean we should grant Italian immigrants extended unemployment benefits because they would grant Americans who become citizens there extended unemployment benefits? Should we go tit-for-tat with any foreign power, essentially saying we will treat your people as you would treat our people? I guess going LITERALLY morally bankrupt is okay in your eyes. Huzzah for America!

    (Note: This is not a defense of Saudi law. Acknowledging that our laws are different from theirs and that we should avoid going tit-for-tat with a repressive regime is not defending their regime. I am defending our rule of law. You seem content to ignore it when it suits your agenda. Wonderful.)

  60. #60 |  PW | 

    “So we should violate OUR Constitution because the leaders of a sovereign nation have chosen to enact very different laws from our own? ”

    Exactly how would it be a violation of our Constitution to embargo external funds from countries that do not respect the freedom of worship? If anything, the regulation of international commerce is one of the few areas of policy where Congress has a clear and explicitly recognized constitutional power!

    You’re so drunk on the multiculturalist kool-aid, BSK, that you cannot even recognize the difference between the restriction of a single religion under the 1st amendment and the penalization of OTHER COUNTRIES that restrict religious freedom under Article I, Section 8’s international commerce clause.

  61. #61 |  BSK | 

    Because your proposal is only targeted toward Muslim countries, ergo, it singles out a specific religion. Was that so hard?

  62. #62 |  qwints | 

    PW’s proposed ban on Saudi funding is intriguing. I don’t think it’s a horrible idea given the fact that the Wahhabi version of Islam has a strong history of being anti-Western and is much more closely linked to Islamic terrorists than Islam in general. That said, it’s probably unconstitutional.

    The obvious parallel is found in the history of anti-Catholic sentiment. Many Americans feared immigrants who first loyalty they thought ran to a foreign head of state. Consequently they attempted to ban Catholic schools. The Supreme Court found such bans unconstitutional in Pierce v. Society of Sisters. (Although the case was decided on due process grounds, there have been many – including Justice Kennedy – who have argued for the holding on First Amendment Grounds.)

    Tl;dr
    Even though Congress has the power to regulate commerce, it still may make no law prohibiting the free exercise of religion.

  63. #63 |  Waste93 | 

    PW,

    Agree for the most part. We do have freedom of religion in this country and there is nothing wrong with them wanting to build a mosque. However it is not a violation of the Constitution to prohibit foreign government for contributing the money.

    Part of the issue with these mosques is that they are being funded by foreign governments that also sponsor terrorism. The imam in NY said he wouldn’t exclude money from Saudi or Iran. He also blamed 9/11 on US policy and would not call Hamas a terrorist organization. A member of the board in the Murfresboro mosque was removed after posting support for Hamas. There is history of the groups that are supporting these mosques of also supporting terrorist groups. It isn’t unreasonable to not rush things through and take a look at where their money is coming from and who is hiding behind the curtains.

    I saw a good analogy on another site. What would the reaction be in Japan if an American wanted to build a museum in Hiroshima dedicated to US Aviation and placed it two blocks from the Industrial Promotion Hall?

  64. #64 |  Waste93 | 

    BSK and qwints,

    The proposal probably would be Constitutional. The Constitution prohibits an establishment of religion. A law could be drafted that would prohibit countries that don’t allow religious freedom from spending money in the US. As no specific religion is named it is content neutral. Also the US already keeps a list of these countries and updates it yearly. This law would also be a foreign policy decision by the government and wouldn’t run afoul of the Constitution. We already prohibit foreign money from elections, and foreign lobbyists have to register with the government. This wouldn’t be much different. The other option would be to limit the amount of funds that could be raised per foreign individual as is done in campaign contributions domestically.

    This doesn’t prohibit the free exercise of religion. It would prohibit foreign funding of religion. Funds could still be raised domestically or from countries that have religious freedom.

  65. #65 |  qwints | 

    Waste, you may be right given the Court’s recent decision on the ban on “material support” in Holder v. Humanitarian Law Project. I don’t think, however, that the correct analogy is to political contributions as there is an obvious compelling government interest preventing foreign influence on the government.

  66. #66 |  Tom Barkwell | 

    I’m no fan of any organized religion. Too much focus on rules and control. Too many do’s and dont’s. Not enough soul. But one must admit, the amount and severity of pushback against Muslims in our Christian majority nation pales in comparison to the fates of non-Muslims attempting to openly practice their religions (much less build churches/synagogues/temples) in many Muslim majority countries. That says something about America.

    Yes, we have our bigots and hassle mongers. But on the whole, people will leave you be to live as you choose. If only our government would follow suit.

  67. #67 |  Waste93 | 

    qwints,

    Is there also not a compelling government interest in promoting human rights in foreign countries? Frame it as a foreign policy issue and the courts will also give great deference to that. We already do a similar policy with our import taxes I believe. Are they not often tied to the taxes those countries charge on American goods? Same concept.

  68. #68 |  BSK | 

    Waste93-

    I was referring to PW’s proposal that this only be done with Muslim countries. I could be behind attempts to use our economic power to support the promotion and protection of rights around the world, so long as it was done regardless of politics. If we only held folks we didn’t like to this standard, I would be bothered, even if it was legal. And if we only hold folks of a given religion to this standard, I struggle to see how it would be constitutional.

  69. #69 |  BSK | 

    Waste-

    Just saw your second post… that is much more in line with something I could get on board with. I couldn’t get on board with PW’s assertion that this be uniquely applied to Muslim countries.

  70. #70 |  PW | 

    No BSK. It need only to target countries that prohibit American religious groups from engaging in similar activities in their borders. Regardless, the first amendment does NOT establish any “rights” belonging to foreign governments, only the rights of individuals in the U.S.

    According to your interpretation, foreign governments should also be able to make campaign contributions in our elections under the 1st amendment’s protection of free speech. Yet they are not. Why do you think that is?

    It’s called the commerce clause and permits Congress to do more or less whatever it wants to regulate international commerce.

  71. #71 |  PW | 

    qwints – I’m not advocating any law that would ban islamic schools in the U.S. though. That would indeed be unconstitutional.

    I am simply saying we should regulate the flow of international FUNDING of religious schools etc. by foreign governments that have laws discriminating against American religious groups within their own borders. There is nothing about the 1st amendment that establishes or extends its “rights” to foreign governments. And there is ample precedent demonstrating that we can indeed impede those rights through the commerce clause, to wit: bans on foreign governments from making campaign contributions in our elections, bans on trade with governments that are designated state sponsors of terror and so forth.

  72. #72 |  BSK | 

    PW… you’re cheating again…

    You said:
    “I’d even be okay with some sort of reciprocity law. If the Saudis or any other a muslim country wants to fund islamic “charities” etc. in the U.S., it should be a precondition that their laws must allow any non-muslim U.S.-based religious group unimpeded rights to fund similar activities within their borders.

    Right now most muslim countries do not. Unless they change those laws, I see no reason why we should treat them any differently.”

    Now, maybe you meant that this would apply to ANY country that acted this way, but you specifically spoke of Muslim countries donating to Islamic charities.

    I would likely not have a problem if the prohibitions were applied universally. Or, if I did have a problem, it at least would not be on constitutional grounds.

    So, which is it… does this apply to ALL countries or just to Muslim countries? If it applies to all countries, it would likely put a lot of Catholic churches and charities at stake, since I don’t know how welcoming they are to non-Catholic religious groups setting up shop. I realize that there is not necessarily moral equivalency between Islam and Catholicism, but you’d have to pick where you draw the line. And if the line is based upon religion, well, that there, sir, is a problem.

  73. #73 |  BSK | 

    When I refer to “they” in the last paragraph, I am referring to Vatican City and the Holy See.

  74. #74 |  PW | 

    “If it applies to all countries, it would likely put a lot of Catholic churches and charities at stake, since I don’t know how welcoming they are to non-Catholic religious groups setting up shop.”

    Considering that the Vatican is about the size of a city block, its property is 100% built upon, and 100% of its tiny resident population are Catholic clergy, I seriously doubt there are any other religious groups who would ever attempt to “set up shop” there for the simple reason that there isn’t really anything for sale to build a new church or anyone worth trying to convert. That said, the Vatican is very much open to non-Catholic visitors and receives millions of them every year.

    Compare that to, say, Mecca where non-muslims are prevented by law from even entering the city, and it becomes quickly apparent that your comparison is inaccurate and, in typical fashion for you, largely contrived.

  75. #75 |  Waste93 | 

    BSK,

    I don’t think the prohibition would effect the Catholic Church much. I doubt they receive much of their funding directly from Vatican City. They would still be allowed to raise money domestically and even from catholics in other countries. So it may prohibit funds from the Vatican, they could still collect from catholics in Ireland for example. Or even the Irish government.

    I’d prefer it to be content neutral. However even if it specified specific countries it would probably hold up Constitutionally. We restrict immigration based on nation of origin and various groups have different numbers that are allowed in based on their nationality. This is Constitutional. But a content neutral law would be better for the obvious reasons.

  76. #76 |  PW | 

    “PW… you’re cheating again”

    Translation: BSK is frustrated at the failure of his attempts to construct straw men.

    Now I did specifically refer to the example of muslim countries that persecute other religions by their laws. That in itself, however, in no way precludes similar penalties being levied against countries that persecute based on other religions besides islam. It is an incontrovertible reality though that almost all of the countries in the world today that actively persecute other religions happen to be muslim. So yes, they would obviously have the most to lose from such a policy.

  77. #77 |  PW | 

    Waste – also note that the policy would NOT apply to a government simply because it decides to affiliate with a single religion. In other words, it is NOT an attempt to force all countries to become secular and religiously neutral, which is the strawman that BSK has been attempting to construct.

    The restriction would apply to countries that actively persecute other religions by their laws – e.g. those that prosecute converts away from the state religion, that legally prohibit the construction of non-approved places of worship, that confiscate or destroy the property of non-approved religions, and that criminalize proselytizing by non-approved religions. It happens that almost all countries in the world today that do that sort of thing are muslim. But theoretically, it could apply to any other religion without precluding a government from officially adopting that religion as its own.

  78. #78 |  Deoxy | 

    “But it has nothing to do with bigotry! These protesters are just protecting sacred sites.”

    It’s also LOCAL. There are local protests, etc, about ALL KINDS OF THINGS, including Christian churches upon occasion. The one in NY is the only one getting any national attention, and, as has been repeatedly pointed out, there are some very good reasons (the easiest one being that Islam has a long history of building a mosque on battlefield sites to proclaim victory and “own” the site forever, but there are several other reasons I’ve seen listed in the comments on this very site).

    You may certainly disagree with those reasons, but to simply call people who in good faith hold those as their reasons “bigots” (as you have done a great deal) is simply dishonest.

  79. #79 |  Mattocracy | 

    The difference between Waste93 and PW is that Waste isn’ snarky in his comments. So thanks Waste.

    If you believe in personal freedom, then you should believe that individuals should be free to intereact with whoever they want, exhange goods and services with whoever they want, and recieve and give charity with whoever they want.

    Just because someone receives money from questionable characters doesn’t mean that money will be used in that manner. You hold people accountable for the crimes that actually cause harm to others, not for the actions that might or could or that you don’t agree with.

    If countries started creating these reciprocity laws as suggested above, half the countries on this planet would refuse charitable donations from Americans because of our government aid to Isreal. I don’t think people of need should be denied charity from individuals becuase of what their governments do. This seems like a dangerous and slippery slope.

  80. #80 |  BSK | 

    PW-

    I constructed no straw man. You specifically referred only to Muslim nations and I said your proposal is one I find objectionable and would likely also prove unconstituional. Others offered more content-neutral suggestions which I said I could likely get behind. How is that a straw man?

    I also noted that I don’t know the specifics of how the Vatican views other religions in their country. I do know they welcome visitors of all faiths. I said it would likely put some Catholic institutions at stake, not that it definitely would. So, there, I was a bit off-base as I wondered aloud.

    In general, I find it interesting how non-libertarian this conversation has gotten. While such laws may be constitutional, I am troubled at the notion that we should have our government limit the actions of others (individuals, groups, and countries alike) because we don’t like how they do things. Obviously, private groups ought to be entitled to choose who they accept money from, but do we want the government to say, “Sorry guys, you can’t get money from those folks because we find them deplorable?” Kind of a scary premise. Even if the group is immensely deplorable.

  81. #81 |  BSK | 

    Deoxy-

    The NYC situation isn’t really all that local… the neighborhood residents really don’t care. A lot of the protestors are out-of-towners.

  82. #82 |  PW | 

    “Just because someone receives money from questionable characters doesn’t mean that money will be used in that manner.”

    Fair enough, though it is also generally true that questionable characters tend to fund questionable causes more often than not. And while it is equally fair to hold that people should be able to give as they please to whatever they please, when enforced to its logical end this position would also see no wrong in the use of a slush fund to finance criminal activity until after it inflicts physical harm. Surely you wouldn’t suggest that it’s okay to use an offshore bank account to purchase large quantities of plutonium, only subject to scrutiny after the bomb it is used for actually goes off.

    Is this a slippery slope to the extreme case? Certainly, but no more so than your suggestion that American pressure against Islamic state-sanctioned religious persecution would cause half of the world to cut off American charities in protest over Israel (in fact, that scenario would likely not happen simply because it is in the self-interest of those other nations to receive American charity aid, considering that it is so abundant relative to the rest of the world).

    My point is that there can and should be a line on what we accept for the use of foreign government money for ideological and religious purposes in another country. There is a reason why we don’t allow foreign governments to donate to our internal election campaigns. There’s also a reason why most of us here (and I suspect this includes you, matt) find it objectionable when our government spends money to bombard other parts of the world with pro-America propaganda, even when we admit that its target regime is pretty awful.

    We are under no obligation as a country to permit a foreign government to heavily subsidize the promotion of a religion in our borders, and certainly not when that same government has a horrendous track record of state-sanctioned religious persecution.

  83. #83 |  PW | 

    “You specifically referred only to Muslim nations ”

    Show me a list of nations across the world, BSK, that persecute other religions as state policy. Next tell me how many of them are muslim.

  84. #84 |  PW | 

    “The NYC situation isn’t really all that local… the neighborhood residents really don’t care. A lot of the protestors are out-of-towners.”

    And your evidence for this is???

  85. #85 |  Waste93 | 

    BSK,

    The problem with that Libertarian arguement is that what you are implying is that money from any source should not be a concern of the government. If that were the case we’d have have toss all our money laundering laws. If someone knowingly receives money from the Mafia shold that be ok? I know there is a case going on with Naomi Campbell receiving ‘blood diamonds’. Should we have no concern about where those diamonds came from?

    A year or two ago we had the Holy Land case where some Islamic Charities were funneling money to terrorist groups. If the libertarian arguement is that we shouldn’t be concerned where groups receive their money from, should we also not be concerned where they send it?

    Personally I see far to many problems with that view. People and groups tend to fund like minded groups for the obvious reasons. So when terrorist groups support something they probably should be looked at with a critical eye. I tend to doubt that Hamas funds groups just to win Hearts and Minds.

  86. #86 |  BSK | 

    Waste93

    I’m speaking more towards the argument about restricting the rights of governments that don’t allow religious freedoms and other types of actions. You are right that terrorism and other criminal activities should be viewed differently. But if we are going to say, “Hey, Saudi Arabia, we don’t like your treatment of women so no one there can send any money here,” I think that is dangerous ground. Obviously, this already happens with many countries, including Cuba, Iran, and previously Iraq. That doesn’t make it right.

  87. #87 |  Waste93 | 

    Matt,

    Not exactly. People are free to do as you say but with some narrow limitations. You can’t go and give aid to criminal organizations. Nor should you be allowed to. This, as I see it, is just a continuation of the accesory laws we’ve had for along time. If I give a gun to someone I know is gonig to commit a murder I can, and should be, charged as an accessory to the crime of murder. Just because I give it to an organization this doesn’t change. No different if I give money to that group knowing they will use the money to build a bomb to kill someone.

    There is an old adage, ‘the right of my fist stops at the tip of your nose’. I think that applies in this case.

    I see your concern about denying aid to countries and the people suffering. However that is something that almost always happens. The ruling class rarely suffers from an embargo, look at Iraq during Sadam or North Korea, while the people do. However you also can’t just ignore the actions of the government and do nothing. It’s a lose-lose situation regardless.

    Even when we do provide aid many times it goes into the pocket of the ruling class anyways and the goodwill towards the US is brief and not long lasting. After the tsunami in Indonesia the US contributed a great deal while the wealthy Mid East countries barely contributed anything even though Muslim countries were hard hit. Samething in Pakistan with the floods now. Any goodwill we generate will last until the next drone attack. We’ve been funneling large sums of funds to Pakistan for awhile now with little to show for it. If countries want to deny our aid because of our support for Israel that is their choice. Just means we save that money and can pay off our debt so much sooner or lower taxes ( yes that’s a joke ).

    I’ve found that when you have to resort to snark or name calling you’ve probably already lost the debate.

  88. #88 |  Waste93 | 

    BSK,

    What solution do you propose to have countries live up to their obligations? Saudi Arabia has signed a number of treaties about human rights that they ignore along with ones about the treatment of women. You may have missed this story from the other day.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/worldnews/article-1304497/Saudi-man-paralysed-countryman-cleaver-faces-having-spinal-cord-severed-eye-eye-punishment.html

    I’m sure that violates some of their treaty obligations too.

    Something to remember about most third world countries, the government controls a lot of the buisnesses, especially on the international level. So you can use access to our markets as leverage on those governments.

    This isn’t an ideal solution of course. I don’t think there is one. But bringing pressure to bear on foreign governments for basic human rights is something governments should do IMO.

  89. #89 |  Waste93 | 

    For those still interested. There may be some new developments in regards the GZ Mosque imam. Guess we’ll know more next week.

    http://atlasshrugs2000.typepad.com/atlas_shrugs/2010/08/imam-raufs-newly-discovered-explosive-audio-tapes.html

  90. #90 |  PW | 

    ““Sorry guys, you can’t get money from those folks because we find them deplorable?” Kind of a scary premise”

    No, BSK. It’s something more along the lines of “sorry guys, you can’t be subsidized by that backwards tyrannical terrorist-funding government to import their radical ideology into the United States.”

    And I’m still waiting for you to show me exactly where the first amendment says anything about its protections applying to the “right” of a foreign government to promote its state religion and associated political ideology within our borders.

  91. #91 |  PW | 

    #89 – Gee, you mean there was an imam being duplicitous about his stated intentions with this mosque and his claimed version of islam? Sounds like he has a lot in common with certain persons around here.

  92. #92 |  PW | 

    Also keep in mind we’re not talking about embargoing all trade coming into the United States from Saudi Arabia. We’re talking about specifically embargoing the FUNDS their government provides to subsidize Wahhab-based radical islam.

    Those funds are already being stolen from the people by their corrupt governments in the first place. Nobody in Saudi Arabia is going to suffer if that government can’t spend them on mosque construction here.

  93. #93 |  BSK | 

    Waste93-

    A treaty is an entirely different issue. If a country agrees to do something in exchange for something else and fails to hold up their end of the bargain, then they miss out on what they get in return, or whatever other penalties are written into the treaty. Going forward, it’s unlikely countries will continue to sign treaties with the violating country.

    I’m not saying there is no way for such efforts to be accomplished legally, morally, and ethically. I just think we should be careful and make sure we aren’t abandoning one set of principals to achieve another.

  94. #94 |  PW | 

    Also regardless of whether you are for or against it, let’s put the “2 1/2 blocks away” thing to rest. Whether it is to provoke or make peace, the mosque was indeed chosen for its proximity to ground zero. “City blocks” in that part of Manhattan are NOT your typical square formed by evenly spaced streets. They are about twice as long as they are wide, and the mosque site is two width lengths from ground zero and only one width length from WTC 7, the third building that collapsed. To put it another way, it is sufficiently close to ground zero that the front facade of the building on the street corner diagonally opposite of it was obliterated by the falling towers.

    Here’s a satellite photo of the whole damn thing.

    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/7/7e/World_Trade_Center_Site_9-23-01_with_Cordoba_House_location.jpg

  95. #95 |  Pinandpuller | 

    PW

    Also didn’t they want to dedicate the new building on 9 11 11? I’m sure that was for healing purposes right?

  96. #96 |  BSK | 

    Pinandpuller-

    There is no evidence to support that claim. There was never a dedication date planned. That was drummed up by opponents looking to further demonize the group.

    As more evidence surfaces, there is enough real things to question/criticize the imam about. Making stuff up (not saying you did but the folks who put that out there) only dilutes any real opposition that might exist.

  97. #97 |  BSK | 

    “When will Park51 open?

    Daily Muslim prayer services have been held at 51 Park Place since late 2009. We hope to expand services and facilities in the coming months, although a firm date has not yet been set for the opening of Park51. For more information about worship services, see our Ramadan page.”

    -from http://www.park51.org/whynow.htm

    So, somehow the prayer services have been offered for over 6 months now and no one was bothered. And the notion that the building is set to be dedicated on 9/11/11 is clearly made-up. Now, it’s possible that their may be major services AROUND September 11th, 2010, as Ramadan ends on September 9th/10th. But the dates for Ramadan are based on the lunar calendar, so we’d have to blame the moon for that coincidence.

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