Jon Stewart on Protecting Our Rights After a Tragedy

Friday, August 20th, 2010

Stewart was brilliant last night. Eloquent, earnest (in a good way), and funny. He even showed some humility, pointing out his own inconsistency, and admitting he was wrong about the NRA-Columbine controversy.

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142 Responses to “Jon Stewart on Protecting Our Rights After a Tragedy”

  1. #1 |  Mike Leatherwood | 

    Wow. I have more respect for the guy now.

  2. #2 |  Dave Krueger | 

    I think most American’s strongly believe in freedom of religion. And since we already have one, that requirement is satisfied.

  3. #3 |  Nipplemancer | 

    I watched this last night. I can’t believe that I forgot about the Columbine/NRA convention bruhaha. You really could change out all references to the NRA and insert Islam/Mosque into that Heston speech and it would be completely relevant today.
    I’m tempted to build a cardboard mosque and set it up right on the sidewalk along the big fucking holes in the ground, in the same vein as Everyone Draw Muhammed Day, but I know that someone will kick my ass within minutes for doing it. The question remains who does it first, an islamophobe or a muslim?

  4. #4 |  qwints | 

    It really was pretty brilliant and in sharp contrast to Stewart’s interview of Dick Armey on Monday. Although Armey is a bit of a political hack, Stewart completely missed Armey’s legitimate point about how an unchecked bureaucracy can be tyranny.

  5. #5 |  dsmallwood | 

    that was pretty good. and I respect Stewart for acknowledging the weakness of his previous comments. maybe I could almost watch his show now. maybe.

    since I don’t watch the Fox News shows … are those file cards are regular feature?

  6. #6 |  Heynow | 

    My wife and I watched The Daily Show last night, like we do every night, before going to sleep. I commented to her that Jon Stewart and his staff are brilliant. No one in mass media is doing what Stewart is doing. He is fearless, seldom wrong and indispensable.

  7. #7 |  perlhaqr | 

    Props to Stewart for admitting he was wrong. Don’t see a lot of that sort of thing on the national scene.

  8. #8 |  Rhayader | 

    Yeah that was good shit. I’m so sick of that stupid conspiracy theory connect-the-dots shit on Fox (and other places of course). Totally substance-free; a way to fire of accusations without a shred of actual evidence. And then absolve yourself at the end by saying “I don’t know, I’m just asking questions.”

  9. #9 |  pris | 

    Should be on everyone’s watch list- brilliant-

  10. #10 |  BSK | 

    I’m too young to remember the NRA/Columbine situation (I remember Columbine, but not the NRA situation afterward), but I do remember how Michael Moore twisted the situation in his documentary to demonize Heston and the NRA. That was several years after the fact, but I know members of my generation only really know that side of the story, and unfortunately, many of them have bought it hook, line, and sinker. It was wrong when it happened to the NRA and it is wrong when it is happening now. And not just LEGALLY wrong, but ethically and morally wrong as well. Abandoning our rights and freedoms under the guise of protecting them is such utter bullshit, I don’t know whether to laugh or vomit. I don’t know enough about Heston one way or another to really comment on who he was as a man, but I do know that first quote that Stewart played was quite powerful and poignant, and should have been replayed time and time again since then, every time a situation like this happens. Whether it is everyday Catholics on the street being asked to answer or pay (literally and figuratively) for the sins of the Church with the child abuse scandal or Muslims being scapegoated because of the actions of a small but very determined minority or the NRA being chased out of town because of two psychos in trenchcoats, it is wrong in every instance. Humanity has a long history of going down this path. Why not step up and say this time will be different?

  11. #11 |  frank n | 

    That is great…as an NYC local though I of course I think someone should put a Synagogue on one side and a gay bar on the other side of the mosque…

  12. #12 |  Cyto | 

    Part of getting older is seeing the cycle of idiocy. That’s part of the reason for the truism about under 30 liberal / over 30 conservative.

    Unfortunately, despite his revelation about his earlier attitudes about the NRA (and he undersold it – he and his had Heston down as the anti-christ at the time), he still plays the “my opponent is a soulless devil” game. He doesn’t disagree with Bush’s politics, in his world Bush is an evil idiot, controlled by a more evil Darth Vader puppet master in Dick Cheney. People don’t disagree with Obama’s takeover of GM on behalf of the auto-workers union on constitutional or public policy grounds – in his world they are motivated by hatred and racism.

    Stewart has clearly shown growth over the last year. He has moved away from being a team blue only guy who viewed his pulpit as a tool for helping the team gain power and toward a more independent political humorist. He has even been (mildly) critical of Obama on the issues – particularly war issues. It has made him better as a comedian – ideology gets in the way of humor – but he still has a long way to go before he is as open minded as he believes himself to be.

    Trey Parker and Matt Stone are the only social/political commentators that I can think of who are consistently even handed. On South Park they will gore anyone’s ox, even their own. Many episodes will hold both sides of an issue up to ridicule. As a Libertarian I can appreciate this, because this is our forte. Perhaps Stewart’s growth will enable his audience to grow with him. He has a large, engaged audience. If he would cast his skeptical eye equally toward his own camp he might just make a difference. As it stands, he’s mostly a more talented version of Sean Hannity for the left.

  13. #13 |  Rhayader | 

    I think someone should put a Synagogue on one side and a gay bar on the other side of the mosque

    Yeah, that’s obviously the proper sort of reaction. I can’t believe what a bunch of pantywaists we are. Shut the fuck up about what the other guy is doing, and do your own thing. For shit’s sake people.

  14. #14 |  Cyto | 

    BSK – Heston was demonized by the left at the time. His “you can have my gun when you pry it from my cold, dead hands” line was singled out for particular abuse. They often wished that death upon him. They demonized him as a hate filled member of a racist hate group.

    Despite a lifetime of activism for individual rights – including major works for civil rights for minorities long before such was fashionable in Hollywood – the left chose to portray him as a right-wing nutcase when his principled stands in favor of concepts like “all men are created equal” disagreed with their leftist agenda. As an example – he marched with King in the early 60’s – one of a very few celebrities to do so – because he believed in equal treatment under the law. Later he opposed affirmative action and quit the actors guild when they refused to allow a white actor to play an asian character based on the same beliefs in equality. To the left these are diametrically opposed actions, but to a man of principle they are inescapable conclusions of the same base principle. He was a strong conservative-libertarian, perhaps the most evil thing there is to a “progressive”.

  15. #15 |  Joe | 

    Ace has a different take on it.

  16. #16 |  BSK | 

    Cyto-

    Thanks. I had a basic understanding that Heston was far more nuanced than the current portrayal of him would lead us to believe. I knew he was involved in the civil rights movement. The loose narrative I had been given was that he once had it but then lost it…. whatever “it” is. I always felt that, whatever my misgivings might have been about his positions, I knew where he came from and understood his perspective. He wasn’t some whacko coming out of left (right?) field, he did seem to be a man of principal. I’ll have to look more in to him.

    I do know that, whatever you think of guns and Michael Moore and the NRA/Columbine situation, nothing forgives dishonest editing and what I found MOST egregious about that whole situation was the obvious attempts at portraying him as a racist. Even if he didn’t have the history he did, sandbagging someone into a racist demon takes attention away from real racism. But I guess that doesn’t get good ratings?

  17. #17 |  flukebucket | 

    Ace mentions 70% of Americans as if that makes any difference. Freedom of religion is not up for a vote in this country and I cannot for the life of me figure out why that is such a hard concept to grasp.

    And Radley nailed it yesterday. If this is really just about hallowed ground in New York then why is it happening in Tennessee and Kentucky and California?

    I really thought we were a better country than what I am seeing.

  18. #18 |  GregS | 

    I have kind of a love-hate relationship with the Daily Show. I still watch it every day; it’s sometimes infuriating and sometimes hilarious.
    Did you happen to watch the full interview with Dick Armey from this week? Stewart repeated the false narrative that the financial markets caused the housing bubble/collapse, which he does often. It frustrates me to see someone I otherwise respect recite nonsense. But when he’s good, he’s good.
    It would be awesome to see Radley Balko interviewed on The Daily Show.

  19. #19 |  Jozef | 

    Sooooo… Are we going to ban all Catholic churches from within 1000 feet of schools because a few priests are pedophiles?

  20. #20 |  BSK | 

    Jozef-

    Only if the churches receive funding from overseas.

    Oh… wait…

  21. #21 |  Grenadier1 | 

    Cyto spot on Chuck Heston was as good as they come and truely a man of honor. I loved his acting and deeply repsected the man.

    I did not watch the JS clip yet but will do so as soon as I can. Cant listen to audio right this minute. I will however comment on what I am reading from the remarks. I assume this relates to the NRA convention in Denver soon after the Columbine shootings. I do not see a relationship. The convention was set up well before the shootings and the convention center was miles away from the school. The convention only took place once and was not a lasting insult. The convention was not intended as a political statement related to the shootings. It was coincidence that Denver was the location.
    I dont give a rats ass where normal everyday muslims worship, however this “Cultural center” is intended to stick a needle in the eye of the west. It is being put into place because this group intends to use it as an example. We loose either way. If it goes in it will be used as an example of our weakness (right or wrong we dont see it as weak but the radical islamists do). If we protest and scream about it they will use it as an example of hypocracy and antiislam.
    I am not sure what to think about the mosque. I dont like the idea of radical muslims getting a free peice of propaganda but I hate zoning laws as well.
    There is so much bullshit on both sides of the isle I am going to have to think about it for a little bit.

  22. #22 |  Marty | 

    ‘…. in his world Bush is an evil idiot…’

    mine too. but, to be fair, I feel that way about most politicians.

  23. #23 |  flukebucket | 

    #18

    You can build a Catholic church next to a playground, but should you?

    I love Jon Stewart.

  24. #24 |  Jozef | 

    Damn, Jon Stewart beat me to it… I must confess that ever since the show was taken off Hulu, I’ve only seen bits and pieces when embedded on one of the blogs I read.

  25. #25 |  Andrew S. | 

    #21 | Grenadier1 | August 20th, 2010 at 12:14 pm

    I dont give a rats ass where normal everyday muslims worship, however this “Cultural center” is intended to stick a needle in the eye of the west. It is being put into place because this group intends to use it as an example. We loose either way. If it goes in it will be used as an example of our weakness (right or wrong we dont see it as weak but the radical islamists do). If we protest and scream about it they will use it as an example of hypocracy and antiislam.

    [Citation Needed]

    You’re doing the same thing, ironically, that Stewart talks about in the video: You’re using your own opinion of the Imam and those that want to build Park51, and you’re using leaps of logic in order to determine that what you believe are the motivations behind this project are actually the true motivations.

  26. #26 |  Charlie O | 

    #19 Jozef,

    Works for me. But then I’m an atheist and no fan of churches anywhere. Specially that one that is three doors up my block when they ring the bells early on Sunday morning. Damn them!

  27. #27 |  Joe | 

    #17 | flukebucket | August 20th, 2010 at 11:51 am
    Ace mentions 70% of Americans as if that makes any difference. Freedom of religion is not up for a vote in this country and I cannot for the life of me figure out why that is such a hard concept to grasp.

    And Radley nailed it yesterday. If this is really just about hallowed ground in New York then why is it happening in Tennessee and Kentucky and California?

    I really thought we were a better country than what I am seeing.

    You guys have your head up your ass. “I really thought we were a better country than what I am seeing”? What sanctimonious tripe.

    This is not seventy percent of Americans voting to outlaw Islam, or prevent mosques from being built anywhere. This is about seventy percent of Americans saying they have a problem with that project being built there. It is not a matter of rights. It is a matter of appropriateness. Tying that project to that site is offensive (and yes, there is evidence its location is being used by the promoters to get funding for the $100 million dollar project from the Gulf). The PC special treatment for the project by Nannymayor Bloomberg is just icing on this shit cake.

    And oh by the way, about 64% of New Yorkers are against it too. As are a majority of Democrats. Even Howard Dean and Harry Reid said an alternative location should be found.

    Now that said, of course you can argue the other way. Free speech means free speech. And if there was a serious attempt to try to block this project by legislation or government action that would violate the first and fifth amendments I would join you all in speaking out against that. But to suggest that motivations must be bad, or dark, or sinister to oppose this project is just crap.

    But I will note this Podhoretz and the Anchoress hit on a issue that needs more attention. The real blame for this mess may ultimately rest with New York State officials who have left that ground zero site fallow for nine years.

  28. #28 |  Cyto | 

    At the risk of being lumped in with people I don’t actually agree with, there is a difference of perception between America and the Middle East on things like where to put churches. Lots and lots of people have been and continue to be killed over the placement of Mosques and Synagogues on the Temple Mount in Israel. They actually designate entire cities as “holy cities” over there. They seem to have a pretty pliable view of what this means (Islamic fighters regularly used the holiest mosque in the holy city of falluja as an arms depot and fortress – hardly in line with other attitudes about respecting their holy sites), but it is clear that the people of the region are very attached to symbolism in this area.

    We in the US understand symbolism too – witness the current mosque/911 controversy – but our understanding is very, very different. Sure, we have a few nutjobs running about, but I really don’t see us getting into a multi-generation blood feud over an over-glorified YMCA in Manhattan. Mostly this is about talking points and pointing out various hypocrisies, real or imagined (i.e. the Islamic extremists get to have their holy sites but they don’t have to respect ours). Once the thing is built it will fade into history just like all the other story-of-the-minute controversies.

    For most of us the real symbol is the symbol of freedom here in America – where even when large numbers of us are pissed off at you we’ll still defend your rights to free speech and free expression of religion and freedom of assembly… while you use those rights to subvert those very rights. We do it for the right (Fallwell et.al. trying to ban various disapproved activities) and the left (Citizens United, the PC police) and for those who want to impose sharia law. For all of the above we fight to protect their right to their thoughts and to share their beliefs while we fight to prevent their beliefs from becoming law. We are a weird, weird people. It makes you proud.

  29. #29 |  shecky | 

    Any mosque on the North American continent is meant to stick a needle in the eye of the West. Because we’re weak, you see.

  30. #30 |  Joe | 

    It would never even occur to me, or any decent person, to erect a Museum of American Achievements in Aviation in Hiroshima.

    This is not a joke — I am not saying a museum celebrating the bomb. I am saying a museum that does exactly as I said — notes American achievements in aviation. Not the Enola Gay, but the Wright Brothers, etc.

    The museum I am talking about, hypothetically, would not be baiting, nor celebratory of the bomb, in the least. It would just be a museum of American advancements in aviation.

    But of course no sentient being could possibly fail to see how Japanese would take it as a direct provocation, and a nasty reminder of the bomb that fell on Hiroshima 6 August 1945.

    And if I were so stupid, tasteless, and Asperger’s-afflicted to have suggested such a museum in the first place, if Japanese then told me “That brings up horrifying memories,” I wouldn’t then arrogantly double-down and begin explaining to them how intolerant they’re being, how irrational they’re being, how unfair to my enthusiasm for American airpower they’re being.

    I would say, “Damn, I didn’t think of that! I intended this as just a museum of aircraft, but I can in fact understand how you, a Hiroshima survivor, would even 50 years later have a rather more negative feeling about American airplanes in the sky that I do. Thank you for informing of this — my bad. I’ll put it up somewhere else.”

    Because — why wouldn’t I put it somewhere else…. unless my intent all along was in fact to remind Hiroshima residence of what happens when you defy the Big A? (A as in America.)

    Ace is right.

  31. #31 |  Joe | 

    Cyto, I am proud that these Mosque promoters have the right to do what they are doing. I am certainly not arguing those rights should be abridged. But that those rights exist does not mean I give up my right to criticize the project as inappropriate.

  32. #32 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    this “Cultural center” is intended to stick a needle in the eye of the west. It is being put into place because this group intends to use it as an example.

    No, it is not.

    JS must thank God for Fox every day.

  33. #33 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    But that those rights exist does not mean I give up my right to criticize the project as inappropriate.

    Why does this keep coming up? Who is saying “You cannot criticize?” I hear a lot of “Your criticism is stupid, inconsistent, bigotted, racist, moronic, or silly” followed by debate, but I haven’t heard “should not be allowed to criticize”.

    YES! You can promote the merits of your premise. If people challenge your premise they are not challenging your right to debate and promote your premise (unless that’s specifically what the debate is about).

  34. #34 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    Test:
    “Museum of American Achievement in Aviation” is to “Hiroshima”

    as

    “Mosque” is to “NYC WTC neighborhood”

    Some people see these as a match. They are not a match.

  35. #35 |  Ben | 

    I just pulled up the full text of Heston’s speed on 5/1/99, and godDAMN is it fantastic.

  36. #36 |  Stormy Dragon | 

    This is not seventy percent of Americans voting to outlaw Islam, or prevent mosques from being built anywhere.

    It is 53% of Republicans saying that though:

    http://www.economist.com/blogs/democracyinamerica/2010/08/islamic_cultural_centre_sorta_near_ground_zero

  37. #37 |  Maria | 

    JS has once again reminded me why, despite how occasionally I really disagree with him, I keep tuning in. Not because of some easily satisfied urge for comedic entertainment but because he’s a good and thoughtful man.

    As to the mosque. Houses of worship should be built in their own specially zoned areas and grouped together. All these worshiping folks can go and hang out together and drink their tea. I think that would be wonderful.

  38. #38 |  Rhayader | 

    And oh by the way, about 64% of New Yorkers are against it too. As are a majority of Democrats. Even Howard Dean and Harry Reid said an alternative location should be found.

    Ah. Well in that case, who could honestly support — and by “support” I mean “decline to oppose” — such an abomination?

  39. #39 |  Joe | 

    Rhayader, you can honestly say you support the project or decline to either support or oppose the project. Just like you can honestly say I find the project offensive and wish they would build it elsewhere but do not want the government to take any steps that would violate the first and fifth amendments.

  40. #40 |  Joe | 

    The point is that the appropriatness of this project is open to debate. The first amendment does not close that debate, it in fact encourages it.

  41. #41 |  Guido | 

    “And oh by the way, about 64% of New Yorkers are against it too. As are a majority of Democrats. Even Howard Dean and Harry Reid said an alternative location should be found”
    Mob rule is awesome! Why bother with that silly dated constitution.

  42. #42 |  Joe | 

    The Atlantic’s Michael Kinsley was typical in arguing that the only possible grounds for opposing the Ground Zero mosque are bigotry or demagoguery. Well then, what about Pope John Paul II’s ordering the closing of the Carmelite convent just outside Auschwitz? (Surely there can be no one more innocent of that crime than those devout nuns.) How does Kinsley explain this remarkable demonstration of sensitivity, this order to pray — but not there? He doesn’t even feign analysis. He simply asserts that the decision is something “I confess that I never did understand.”

    Krauthammer is on a roll.

  43. #43 |  Rhayader | 

    Rhayader, you can honestly say you support the project or decline to either support or oppose the project. Just like you can honestly say I find the project offensive and wish they would build it elsewhere but do not want the government to take any steps that would violate the first and fifth amendments.

    Uh, yeah. We all have a right to speak our minds, and to respond to each other’s opinions. I think Boyd #33 took care of this one.

  44. #44 |  Elemenope | 

    Why not debate about the appropriateness of debating the appropriateness of the project? After all, it seems to me that it is ethically inappropriate to insert one’s complaint about something that cannot conceivably affect you and has nothing to do with your interests. How unseemly is it to whine on behalf of other people who are more than capable of whining themselves if they felt so inclined?

    I cannot fathom why anyone could possibly give a damn about a mosque being built anywhere unless:

    1. they were Muslim and lived in the area and looking for a place to worship
    2. lived in the area and had a problem with the aesthetics and/or practical effects of the building
    3. believed that Islam is fundamentally evil and/or wrong and/or not deserving of civil protection

    The people who are bitching about this (outside Manhattan) aren’t 1, and they aren’t 2. What does that leave? Giving cover to bigotry in the name of being righteously offended (on behalf of others, no less) is pretty disgusting, all around.

  45. #45 |  Joe | 

    Again Elemenope, so you argue no one outside of New York has a say, and if they do and are against it, it’s bigotry.

    Ground Zero is the site of the most lethal attack of that worldwide movement, which consists entirely of Muslims, acts in the name of Islam and is deeply embedded within the Islamic world. These are regrettable facts, but facts they are. And that is why putting up a monument to Islam in this place is not just insensitive but provocative.

    You are entitled to your view. I am entitled to mine.

  46. #46 |  Rhayader | 

    You are entitled to your view. I am entitled to mine.

    Joe, for the love of Allah, do you have any other point? Because nobody here is disputing that one.

  47. #47 |  Elemenope | 

    Again Elemenope, so you argue no one outside of New York has a say, and if they do and are against it, it’s bigotry.

    Not quite what I said. What I actually said was that it was ethically suspect to be outside NYC and insert oneself into a NYC local matter. Obviously, ethics aside many can and do have a “say” (heaven knows talking heads blather about it ad nauseam and have through their bloviating actually formed the contours of the debate). In other words, you can express a strident opinion about something that has nothing to do with you–absolutely, you can–but it makes you sort of an asshole to do so. I’m pretty comfortable with being an asshole, but you seem to want to find something virtuous in the undertaking. That I find somewhat deluded.

    And yes, unless you can articulate why someone building a house of worship somewhere else in the service of a religion you don’t participate in could possibly practically matter, it is just cover for bigotry, straight up.

  48. #48 |  Shannon's Mouse | 

    Joe:

    If 2 blocks away is inappropriate, what is an appropriate distance? 10 blocks? 20 blocks? Let’s say that 26 blocks from the WTC site is THE appropriate distance to build an Islamic Community Center. What makes 26 blocks appropriate but 25 blocks NOT appropriate?

    What’s the appropriate distance that Catholic churches must stay from playgrounds and elementary schools?

  49. #49 |  Charlie Potts | 

    Because it is “insensitive” and “inappropriate” a mosque near the World Trade Center is perfect. What better way is there to demonstrate freedom of religion in the US?

  50. #50 |  J.S. | 

    Meh, its nice to see Stewart proffer his apologies but to me it is a day late and a dollar short. As others have mentioned the NRA and Heston got hammered hard on that and the situation wasn’t exactly the same.

  51. #51 |  Joe | 

    Shannon’s Mouse. I have answered this question before. Tying the project to the ground zero site is the problem (and yes the promoters did do it). It is not the fact it is a mosque (there are a couple near by).

    You just assume this is a mosque to service the neighborhood muslims. If that were the case, I would have no opposition to it. But that is not the case. First of all the Cordoba House is not some local mosque, it is a $100 million dollar 13 to 15 story center. The Cordoba House is seeking funding, under the premise it will be some bridge of understanding for 9/11. Its rationale, in terms of soliciting funding, is to tie it to the events of September 11, 2001.

    That is provocative. And no, that is not merely a New York City issue.

  52. #52 |  Philly Girl | 

    I read this quote the other day.

    “The United States has been building ground zeros next to mosques for years.”

  53. #53 |  Elemenope | 

    So it is absolutely a coincidence that protests against mosques have sprung up across the country, whereas before they were nearly unheard of?

  54. #54 |  Grenadier1 | 

    Andrew S- No I am not I am quite capable of deciding that this is a bad idea based purely on my compassion for the families of 911 and the timing of the project in question. Maybe if the group were to keep its current operation in place and begin a better local PR campaign they could build their project in a few more years with no insult to the families. Right now it would be best for them to drop the project and allow the smoke to settle. This would dampen the symbology, which is very important in the islamic world especially to the radical sects.

    Joe – Keep preaching brother! I am not quite sure how it is that so many folks cant see how something can be perfectly within the rights of an individual or group and still be a bad idea? I assume that most of the readers here are libertarian in at least some respects, great me too, however there is being within your rights and then there is being a dick.
    If we had our way and zoning laws were nonexistant would it be fine for a land owner to build a sewer treatment plant right in the middle of a neighborhood just because he owns the property? That would be a right but it would also show a considerable amount of disrespect to his neighbors and he would be a dick. Yes these folks have the right to build their center, worship whomever they want and feel great doing it, however putting this mosque at that location is being a dick!

  55. #55 |  kino | 

    “Are we going to ban all Catholic churches from within 1000 feet of schools because a few priests are pedophiles?”

    @19 jozef, if we did that we’d hafta ban all teachers from within 1000 ft. of school too LOL !

  56. #56 |  parse | 

    It would never even occur to me, or any decent person, to erect a Museum of American Achievements in Aviation in Hiroshima.

    Right. Because that would cause offense. Unlike building actual U.S. air bases in Japan, including some with nuclear weapons. Because no reasonable Japanese person would be offended by that.

  57. #57 |  PW | 

    A little free market fun at the expense of the mosque…

    http://www.dailygut.com/?i=4696

    Satirist Greg Gutfeld is trying to pull together a group of investors to open an Islamic-themed gay bar on the same block that caters to gay muslim men. One already rumored name: Outfidels.

  58. #58 |  Joe | 

    Grenadier1, I consider my self libertarian too. But something stinks with this Cordoba project and it isn’t bigotry by those opposed to it.

    That said, Nanny Lord Bloomberg should lay off the jihad on transfats, smoking and preaching on proper PC conduct (at least when he has dreams of new regulations and codes dancing in his head)…

    although, of course, I will defend Bloomy’s free speech right to say what he believes.

  59. #59 |  BSK | 

    Grenadier-

    What I struggle to understand is just what is so insensitive about it? It is 2 1/2 blocks away, out of line of sight. It’s not solely a $100 million mosque, but a cultural center that contains a mosque within it. When the debate begin with it being framed as a $100 million mosque being built at Ground Zero, a lot of emotions were inflamed because many folks genuinely thought a giant mosque was being built at or adjacent to Ground Zero. But that is not the case, even though some insist on continuing to refer to it as the Ground Zero Mosque.

    How close is too close? How big is too big? Where would they need to build the mosque to avoid being offensive? Just because someone is offended does not mean that something is offensive. People find ways to get offended at EVERYthing nowadays.

    I am not saying that there is no way for people to be bothered, but I haven’t really heard a reasoned argument as to WHY it is offensive. Most of the arguments I have heard is predicated upon the idea that this is Islam sticking needles in our eyes or giving us the finger or celebrating their triumph. I’m sorry, but that is predicated on basic ignorance, if for no other reason but it generalizes the actions of 19 men to all Muslim people around the world. So, if there is a reasoned argument to why people are offended, I am happy to hear it. But I haven’t heard it yet. And I know a lot of people that were personally impacted by 9/11. I grew up just across the river in NJ, lived in Manhattan, and my father was a first responder who ferried over the Hudson to lend support. Several people from my hometown, including parents of classmates, lost their lives that day. That doesn’t offer me more or less credibility on the issue, but I offer it because I know some people who take the stance that I am are dismissed by being told we don’t know what we’re talking about because we weren’t there, etc, etc, etc.

  60. #60 |  André | 

    I want them to build another mosque on top of the freedom tower and watch some terrorist assholes crash a plane into it then. Yeah, I don’t think they’d do that.

  61. #61 |  Jack Slater | 

    white man come, white man terrorize american indians, white man commit genocide, remove surviving indians, build towns and churches. all white man churches represent murderous acts of terror where american indians once lived freely. all white man churches must be torn down.

    same logic.

    build the cultural center.

  62. #62 |  PW | 

    “It’s not solely a $100 million mosque, but a cultural center that contains a mosque within it.”

    That’s like saying one of those Baptist megachurches with the daycare, school, gymnasium, and mini-mall built in is not really a Baptist megachurch, but a “community center” even though we all know that it is in fact just a Baptist megachurch.

    Regardless of how many silly frills and features they have, they are both first and foremost a place of worship for their respective religions and all activities under their purview are intended to support and promote those religions. Calling it something other than a mosque despite of what it is only pollutes the debate, regardless of whether you are for or against it. In other words, BSK, you’re doing what you do best: making duplicitous use of language to obscure the discussion.

  63. #63 |  PW | 

    “What I struggle to understand is just what is so insensitive about it?”

    Odd. Something tells me you’d be among the first to blather endlessly about “insensitivity” if, oh, say somebody tried to put up a giant confederate flag across the street from the Lorraine Motel in Memphis.

    And you’d even be justified to call it that because that would be an amazingly rude gesture, even though it would also be a clear matter of private property rights to the owner of the flagpole.

    Can you really not even comprehend how, despite the property right to do it, the owners of the mosque are behaving in such a way that a great majority of Americans construe as you likely would the confederate flag?

  64. #64 |  M. Zinnen | 

    Having watched the clip, let me first say that Stewart was 100% right about the issue of private property, and he was spot-on and quite funny in his take-down of the ridiculous connecting-the-dots via unsubstantiated rumors about the imam and his connections. Of course, a child should have been able to pick fruit hanging so low. I agree completely with Heston regarding not surrendering our rights because of crisis. However, I am disinclined to give Stewart any credit whatsoever for his belated realization, delivered in a glib “oh, I was kinda wrong and look how my suit wasn’t stylish enough” fashion, that slandering Heston was morally repugnant and astoundingly ignorant. I also find the analogy to today’s situation weak at best. Here’s why: going after Heston and the NRA in the wake of Columbine is like going after the spokesperson for the American Recreational Pilots’ Association after 9/11. The two killers at Columbine weren’t murdering people for the sake of the right to bear arms, or from some misguided reading of the 2nd Amendment. Nor were they following overzealous, doctrinaire NRA recruiters who taught that non-gun owners must be forced to own guns or else killed in the name of the Constitution—or that slaughtering fellow human beings was the proper response to some alleged affront to Heston or his belief in gun ownership. Additionally, I have never seen, heard, or read of any evidence that Heston or anyone else at the NRA ever implied that the victims at Columbine, or the members local community, were somehow culpable because there may have been bullying or ostracism of the killers.

    Nevertheless, were Heston alive today and in the process of building a museum on his own private property across from Columbine which would celebrate the history of firearms and tout the virtues of the 2nd Amendment (but which would also, of course, have one or two small displays dedicated to firearm safety and non-violent conflict resolution), I have no doubt in my mind that Stewart would be on-air nightly railing about the inappropriateness of it all, mocking Heston for all he’s worth and soaking up the applause of his trained-seal, too-hip-to-think audience. I also doubt that Stewart would label those opposed to Heston’s museum, but not a natural science museum at the same site, as bigots and hypocrites.

    What would be the responses in the comment section of this blog if Radley reported that the Fraternal Order of Police had bought a plot of land in the neighborhood of Kathryn Johnston’s house, on which it was planning to build a museum dedicated to showing the heroism and nobility of America’s police officers, with special emphasis on the policeman’s role in saving American lives via the War on Drugs? We would all defend their right to build on their own property, of course. But how many would blast those bigots who found the placement of the museum inappropriate by reminding them that only a small minority of police officers plant evidence to cover up the murder of elderly women in illegal raids?

    Let me say that the purpose of this post (sorry for the length) is not to comment on the appropriateness of the mosque. It’s on private property, and as far as all these allegations that the imam has made remarks sympathetic to terrorism/terrorists, I have not bothered to investigate the matter, and so I currently regard them as unsubstantiated rumors. And I have no idea if the mosque is meant as a symbol of conquest. But there is a far more tenable link between 9/11 and Islam then there ever was between the 2nd Amendment/NRA and Columbine. Stewart was content to bash Heston regardless, but now wants to steal his words to support his own point of view that Islam=terror is the same as NRA=Columbine. Stewart can go and fornicate with himself.

  65. #65 |  Joe | 

    #60 | André | August 20th, 2010 at 8:52 pm
    I want them to build another mosque on top of the freedom tower and watch some terrorist assholes crash a plane into it then. Yeah, I don’t think they’d do that.

    –1

    Tell that to all those Muslims killed at Friday prayers by al Qaeda because they disagreed with them on some minor point of faith.

    Seriously, wake up.

    If I mistakenly assumed you were serious and you were engaging in irony. My bad.

  66. #66 |  Elemenope | 

    #62

    I, for one, can’t bring myself to get worked up about confederate flag wavers either.

    To the point, this whole Cordoba Center thing wouldn’t have even been on the radar screen if it weren’t for politicians and media personalities cynically milking it by ginning up outrage. There are already mosques in NYC, the site is in a burned-out clothing warehouse not even in visual range of Ground Zero, but suddenly Sarah Palin tweets her outrage and Fox News takes it out to the ballgame. As the Daily Show clip of a Fox News program from prior to the outrage-tweet shows, even the Fox News-heads didn’t see a problem. They had to be told to care, and obediently, they did.

  67. #67 |  BSK | 

    PW-

    I’m trying to have a conversation with someone else. Please keep the blather to a minimum. Your obsession with me is just getting a bit creepy at this point. Thanks.

  68. #68 |  PW | 

    #65 – I suspect, however, that the vast majority of people who support the mosque from a multiculturalist angle (though they disingenuously cite property rights for it) would in fact get upset at the confederate flag. Mayor Bloomberg is probably among them.

  69. #69 |  PW | 

    “Your obsession with me is just getting a bit creepy at this point.”

    And that from the same guy who spent the better part of the day directly multi-paragraph rants towards me on an all-but-dead thread from several days ago, most of them “provoked” by no more than a sentence or two of my own.

    You really are an oddball, BSK.

  70. #70 |  Elemenope | 

    Yeah, but one thing they probably wouldn’t do is make a protracted national political issue out of a private property owner putting up a confederate flag. They would weep and gnash their teeth over it for about the length of a sneeze and then move on.

    The Left and the Right may be petty and stupid in fairly equivalent ways, but the Right has elevated taking dog-whistle bullshit issues and making them into national two-minutes hates on loop into a bloody art form.

  71. #71 |  PW | 

    #69 – You wanna bet? Just look at the NAACP and the confederate flag in South Carolina. When they took it off the capitol and moved it to a completely appropriate civil war monument on the lawn, the NAACP still wasn’t satisfied and has been holding some sort of silly sports “boycott” of the entire state ever since. And it started almost a decade ago.

  72. #72 |  Elemenope | 

    Private property. Dude, it’s an important element of the thing.

  73. #73 |  TomMil | 

    #60 Somehow I think that putting a mosque on top of the Freedom Tower would have a substantial chance of being attacked by a terrorist. Oh, I see – when you said “terrorist” you meant “muslim”.

    Those damn muslims should be more considerate of the feelings of folks who think they are all a bunch of terrorists.

  74. #74 |  Elroy | 

    I do not understand this. Maybe I don’t understand the average muslim very well.

    The average muslim is not a terrorist but does the average Muslim subscribe to sharia law?

    I think the debate should be about what effect islamic culture is having and will have on American culture and freedoms in the future.

    I am not an expert and I hope I am open minded enough to admit if I am wrong. From what I have seen of Islam so far, I do not believe it is compatible with our culture and the freedoms we enjoy. I do not believe increasing the muslim population in this country as a greater percentage of the whole population would result in a country with more respect and concern for liberty that currently exists. I don’t think being tolerant of Islam is going to make Islam more tolerant of me.

    I know this sounds hypocritical, that I am opposed to someones freedom because I am interested in protecting all freedoms. I don’t know the answer.

  75. #75 |  Belle Waring | 

    The conservatives’ high-larious plan to put a gay bar next to the center is somewhat undercut by the fact that there are already 2 gays bars in the area, and that doesn’t appear to have dissuaded the Cordoba house people.

  76. #76 |  BSK | 

    http://www.paladinoforthepeople.com/

    And we officially have a politician running for office campaigning that he will use eminent domain to stop Park51. This ignores the fact that he is legally barred from doing so, but, hey, whatever gets ya elected, right? Scary.

  77. #77 |  matt | 

    You’re right Elroy.. SO after we get done stripping Muslims of their civil rights that you should be the next target. After all I believe that you might someday be popular enough to strip me of my civil rights so it’s better I get yours before you get mine!!!

  78. #78 |  Joe | 

    Miss USA’s first Muslim thinks what makes America great is the Cordoba House can be built there but that the Cordoba House should move away from ground zero to respect the tragedy of the events there.

    Okay, I admit, I am just posting this because she is smokin hot.

  79. #79 |  Joe | 

    #41 | Guido | August 20th, 2010 at 2:13 pm
    “And oh by the way, about 64% of New Yorkers are against it too. As are a majority of Democrats. Even Howard Dean and Harry Reid said an alternative location should be found”
    Mob rule is awesome! Why bother with that silly dated constitution.

    This is the false arguments many of you raise. This is how leftists argue–not presumably libertarians. No one is saying mob rule dictates civil liberties. No serious pundits or candidates who are opposed to the mosque are saying that the first amendment and fifth amendment should be curtailed. And if you find one that is, let me know and I will denounce them too, because that would be wrong.

    But the fact that a majority of New Yorkers are against this project’s location should wake you up a bit. They (and I) find it offensive that a project like this one is being tied to the site of a major Muslim attack (granted Mohammed Atta does not speak for all Muslims, but he sure as hell did what he did in the name of Islam).

    That is not mob rule to say that. That is called free speech. And if Iman Feisel was serious about building bridges, he would move the center to a different location. Or how about this, put a small synogogue and church in his center as a show of unity? The chances of that happening? Zil. Too bad because that is the tradition of Mohammed.

    BTW if you go to Mt. Sinai, at the base of the mountain is St. Catherine’s Monestary. They have a small mosque in it, as well as worshiping locations for Jews who visit. They have a long tradition of working with Islam peacefully:

    This is a message from Muhammad ibn Abdullah, as a covenant to those who adopt Christianity, near and far, we are with them.
    Verily I, the servants, the helpers, and my followers defend them, because Christians are my citizens; and by Allah! I hold out against anything that displeases them.
    No compulsion is to be on them.
    Neither are their judges to be removed from their jobs nor their monks from their monasteries.
    No one is to destroy a house of their religion, to damage it, or to carry anything from it to the Muslims’ houses.
    Should anyone take any of these, he would spoil God’s covenant and disobey His Prophet. Verily, they are my allies and have my secure charter against all that they hate.
    No one is to force them to travel or to oblige them to fight.
    The Muslims are to fight for them.
    If a female Christian is married to a Muslim, it is not to take place without her approval. She is not to be prevented from visiting her church to pray.
    Their churches are to be respected. They are neither to be prevented from repairing them nor the sacredness of their covenants.
    No one of the nation (Muslims) is to disobey the covenant till the Last Day (end of the world).

  80. #80 |  Joe | 

    And when I say Iman Feisal should move the center or put in a small Jewish temple and Christian church, I do not mean he sould be compelled to do so. I mean he should voluntarily do so. Not to appease critics of the center (although it would probably appease many of them) but because that would be a brave act and message to those Wahabbists and radical terrorists who want no appeasement or reconciliation with Jews, Israel, or the United States. Or it could be a small memorial condemning, unconditionally, the acts of Mohammed Atta and the terrorists as being against Islam and absolutely against the teachings of the Prophet Mohammed and Allah.

    If the center did that, it would be a bridge builder for better understanding and I would not oppose it. But using the ground zero site proximity as a fund raiser for this center alone? I have a problem with that.

  81. #81 |  Sean | 

    Man, this whole debate sums up how I hate everything about US politics. I’m not in the US so don’t get saturated with the complaints, but the “rebuttals” from the left seem lame and aiming for racist strawmen. The actual complaints I see clips of aren’t too far away from the strawman, though.

    It’s in bad taste. You can explain it away all you want, but you’re going to have to explain it all every time you mention it. It will forever be known as ther 9-11 Mosque. A good rule of thumb would be to not build any closer than the previous mosques in the area, and you avoid it. Yes, the idealists would see it as an America beacon of hope. But most others would roll eyes. Just build the damn thing and do it quick and keep your heads down for a while.

    Of course, I am also someone who would be glad to see McDonald’s golden arches above, say, the Forbidden Palace in Beijing. Despite the Summer Palace being burned to the ground by, and the empire eventually falling due to, capitalist imperialists. And in fact there used to be a Starbucks in the Palace before a similar campaign was launched by some douchebag on TV.

  82. #82 |  BSK | 

    Sean, FWIW, the closest mosque to the World Trade Center site (according to salatomatic.com) is about 4 1/2 blocks away, or 2 blocks further than the proposed Park51. It is the Masjid Manhattan, established in 1970. It’s not entirely clear from its website if it has always been located at its current location.

    Now, obviously there are many differences between this mosque and the proposed Park51. But I struggle to see how 2 1/2 blocks is that big a difference. And, if we went with your proposal, my guess is there would still be a strong backlash, saying 4 1/2 blocks is too close. Thus far, you are the only person I’ve read on this blog who’s put forth a logical response to the question, “How close is too close?” My guess is that many who feel the current location is too close would still find 4 1/2 blocks too close. Some seem to feel that no matter WHERE it is, it is too close.

  83. #83 |  PW | 

    The oft-repeated “2 1/2 blocks” claim is highly misleading because the street blocks in Manhattan are NOT the standard square-shaped design that most people think of for other cities. The standard size for a typical city block in the United States is a 100×100 yards, forming the familiar square pattern. Manhattan was laid out in the early 1800’s using a block grid of 80 x 270 yard rectangles. As a result blocks are less than half as wide as they are long, though the length portion gives rise to New York’s reputation for “huge” city blocks.

    Well, it just so happens that the block arrangement between the proposed mosque and the WTC site is along the substantially shorter width side of the block arrangement. Nor is the proposed mosque even “2 1/2 blocks” away unless you (a) double-count the block that it is on in the distance measurement and (b) exclude the destroyed WTC 7 building from the WTC complex.

    Actual distance, of course, is a much more accurate and comparable indicator of how close the thing is. According to google maps, that puts the the proposed mosque’s front door at 121 yards from the destroyed WTC 7, or the equivalent of just over one standard-sized square city block.

    The Masjid Manhattan, by contrast, is almost three times the distance at 354 yards from its front door to WTC 7, the closest point.

  84. #84 |  Elemenope | 

    Some seem to feel that no matter WHERE it is, it is too close.

    Protesters have already taught me that Connecticut, Tennessee, and California are too close. I imagine that Ankara would be a good distance for these folks.

    I think the debate should be about what effect islamic culture is having and will have on American culture and freedoms in the future.

    I am not an expert and I hope I am open minded enough to admit if I am wrong. From what I have seen of Islam so far, I do not believe it is compatible with our culture and the freedoms we enjoy.

    If I were a hundred years old, I’d have some serious deja vu on this; just replace Islam with Catholicism and we’re off to the races. The fact of the matter is that then, like now, those fears were unsubstantiated. The US, perhaps more than any other Western nation, has powerful institutional as well as cultural bulwarks against a shift towards something like Sharia. This coupled with the fact that the US aggressively assimilates immigrants (usually within two-and-a-half generations) and there really is no basis for fear left to grab ahold of.

    But the fact that a majority of New Yorkers are against this project’s location should wake you up a bit.

    The evolution of that opinion was fascinating. At first, everyone was supportive (even conservatives!). Then came the tweet, and things took a turn. Constant hammering on it, rebranding it as the Ground Zero Mosque, and accompanied fear-mongering were successful in pushing people against it. Let’s not pretend that the current opinion ecology is naturally formed.

  85. #85 |  Joe | 

    How far from Ground Zero? Here is a spot on comment from an Althouse reader:

    Lincolntf said…
    How far from Ground Zero? Well, for starters how about a building that wasn’t hit by a chunk of the freakin’ jet? This mosque is being planned for WITHIN “Ground Zero”, not outside it.

    8/21/10 10:29 AM

  86. #86 |  Elemenope | 

    re: Within “Ground Zero”

    I have a question for folks. It has been going on nine years now since the attacks, nearly ten. When will Ground Zero shed its apparent metaphysical weight and become just another place? Is it Ground Zero forever? Or is there a period beyond which we stop caring? Does Ground Zero extend just to the WTC sites or is anywhere that was remotely affected by the attack included? There’s a mosque inside the Pentagon, and isn’t that Ground Zero too?

  87. #87 |  Joe | 

    Elemenope,

    Have you ever been to any places like Gettysberg, a Nazi concentration camp, the Hiroshima Peace Park, Pearl Harbor, the killing fields of Cambodia, or other site of a profoundly historic event where persons lost their lives? They maintain that “ground zero” effect for a long time. Most people get that certain activities are inappropriate at such places.

    As for the Pentagon, the mosque there is not tied to the events of 9/11. It is a chappel for Muslim soldiers working in a very big building (and there are chappels for Christians, Jews, etc.). Now I suppose you could make an argument, ACLU or Hitchens style, that there should be no places of worship in a secular government building. But putting that issue aside, having a worship place in that building does not tie it in to the events of 9/11 anymore than having a preexisting mosque four or five blocks away have any tie to the 9/11 events. And if the issue was a preexisting mosque damaged by the 9/11 attack (say like St. Nick’s church), I would support rebuilding it.

    The issue, which you cannot seem to grasp or intentionally are trying to avoid, is that this Cordoba House is being located where it is to be tied to the events of September 11, 2001. Iman Feisal stated that he intended the project to be a bridge between faiths. And because of the ambiguity of the mission (if he was asking Jews and Christians to have a small presence in the center–which would drive al Qaeda crazy– and unconditionally denouncing the terrorists who did the attack), we have groups like Hamas joining you in celebrating the project. Well, unfortunately, as a bridge of understanding the Cordoba House does not seem to be working out so well.

  88. #88 |  Joe | 

    My bad. I left a phrase unfinished above.

    If Iman Fesial was asking Jews and Christians to have a small presence in the center–which would drive al Qaeda crazy– and unconditionally denouncing the terrorists who did the attack…then I suspect most of the criticism of this center (at least in the United States) would have been avoided. I know I would not oppose an Islamic Center in such a sensitive location that did that.

    Now I am not going to request that of any Islamic center. Only one located at the site of a horrific attack done in the name of Islam. And even then, I am asking, not compelling anyone with the power of the state.

    I do thank Iman Fesial Rauf for what he said at Danny Pearl’s funeral. Could you imagine the impact if Iman Fesial gave a press conference now and said the same thing again and suggested a place of prayer for Jews and Christians and others would be included in the center and absolutely condemning the attacks without qualification? It would be an awesome symbol of bridge building.

    Iman Faisal is not doing that. Iman Fesial will not even say that Israel has a right to exist when asked.

    So yeah, I am suspect about the project. And I am against it.

  89. #89 |  Elemenope | 

    Joe,

    Yes, I’ve been to a few battle sites, and there is the site of a historically significant massacre practically in my backyard. While at the site itself, yes there is some normalization of decorum and the like, if the site is maintained. Such decorous rules generally do not include excluding people, and in point of fact those sites are often maintained and invite people who either participated in or share some bond with those who participated in the events there, such as the death camps in Poland and Germany following WWII were. This is to fight the tendencies for people who have not seen something first hand to abstract away the horror and rationalize what occurred.

    But my point was more this, risking the ire of probably quite a few of you: the World Trade Center attacks were not in the same league as a concentration camp or a modern battlefield. Not even close. It was traumatic for us Americans because we had not been personally visited with terrorism on a serious scale before that event, but it was honestly about par for the course for many other nations. Israel does not make every terror site into a shrine, neither does Ireland. I understand its historical significance, and its capacity to have inflicted psychological wounds out of proportion to the actual magnitude of the event, but in the end those pains will fade and we are left with what is just a building site. It is certainly not sufficient excuse to scapegoat those who had no involvement or connection to those who committed the act, or punish them for the actions of others.

    Maybe I’m just not as sentimental as everyone else, but I see no reason to let the weight of this horrible thing from ten years ago distort what we aspire to be today. Nobody is going to forget 9/11 any time soon, and beyond that I think that the ongoing fixation with sanitizing and hallowing the ground borders on an unhealthy national obsession, preventing any sort of closure or ability to move past.

  90. #90 |  PW | 

    #89 –

    As much as I’m annoyed by the over-veneration of ground zero, often for disingenuous political reasons, you are really overreaching when you contend that the events there were not on par with major battlefields and such.

    The 9/11 death count was just shy of 3,000 with 2,605 occurring in New York. That is 200 more than died at Pearl Harbor, and more than died on a single day at any battle of the Civil War save for Antietam, which is also incidentally the only man-caused event in American history to top 9/11 in its body count.

    While I am sure you could dig up a battle somewhere from history with casualties in the tens of thousands, or point to millions slaughtered over several years in the Gulag or the concentration camps. But casually brushing something like 9/11 aside because it doesn’t quite meet the absolute worst events on record in all of human history is a pretty grotesque way of looking at the world. As far as single day tragedies go 9/11 is indeed on par with the Pearl Harbors, Gettysburgs, Normandy beaches and other similar events that our society and culture have designated as “hallowed grounds.”

  91. #91 |  Elemenope | 

    The 9/11 death count was just shy of 3,000 with 2,605 occurring in New York. That is 200 more than died at Pearl Harbor, and more than died on a single day at any battle of the Civil War save for Antietam, which is also incidentally the only man-caused event in American history to top 9/11 in its body count.

    This is a fair point. I stand corrected.

    But casually brushing something like 9/11 aside because it doesn’t quite meet the absolute worst events on record in all of human history is a pretty grotesque way of looking at the world.

    This isn’t. I’m not brushing anything aside, nor comparing on some scale of the numbers of dead bodies. My point is merely that a one-off attack is not in any sense as serious as an ongoing war or a genocide. Period. And to be crystal clear, by serious I do not mean its significance to those who personally bear the wounds of the place, either through lost family members and friends or direct exposure. I mean serious in the big picture sense.

    If one were to quibble, in the big picture the event signified the birth of a very dark period in our domestic policy agenda and foreign relations, but that has more to do with how we as a country chose to react to the event, rather than the event itself (which obligated none of the responses that followed except perhaps the justified destruction of al-Qaeda camps in the Afghani mountains).

  92. #92 |  PW | 

    91 – I’m not so sure 9/11 can simply be taken as a one time attack though. It’s by far the worst, but one in a succession of dozens of similar attacks by al qaeda, including the second such attempt to hit the WTC. They also bombed the African embassies in 1998, the Cole in 2000, likely the Madrid train bombs in 2004, and several attempted attacks such as the underwear bomb guy last year. It’s not a genocide, but it is a related succession of attacks from the same group that’s been ongoing for about 2 decades now.

  93. #93 |  Elemenope | 

    I’d grant that terrorists have been (incompetently) trying to harm American targets for a while, but their activities for the most part never rose past a somewhat pathetic criminal gang until 9/11, and haven’t since. And none of the successful attacks were on American soil until 9/11 (putting aside the technicality of embassies being native soil), which I think is an important demarcation line for the way people perceive and react to the attacks. Notably, none of the prior incidents you mention garnered much of a response, definitely not a response that one would take against an adversary one considered a serious threat.

  94. #94 |  PW | 

    The 1998 embassy bombings killed over 220 people.

    The USS Cole bombing killed 19.

    The Madrid Train bombs killed 191.

    That’s a bit much for just a “pathetic criminal gang.” And I don’t mean to overstate the al qaeda threat by any means. Just saying it’s a tad misleading to dismiss them as one would a minor nuisance.

  95. #95 |  BSK | 

    A caller on a radio show (who was opposed to Park51) brought up a great point: why is it wrong to build an Islamic center a few blocks away but okay to build a new office building on the same spot? I realize that the two situations are very different in many ways, but I think it factors into the discussion going on now with the veneration of the site. Clearly, the site is not SO venerated that we can’t put another office park there. Yea, I get that it’s called the “Freedom Tower” and is supposed to be 1776 feet tall for the symbolism. But at the end of the day, memorials aside (I’m not sure if they are in the tower, on the site elsewhere, or both), it’s still going to be a massive office building dedicated to commerce. So, life is going on in many ways. And, seriously speaking, how far of a halo does the veneration extend to?

    One point that has been touched on is the emotional impact this has had and that is concentrated in people, not buildings or plots of land. The living victims, including both those who lost loved ones and those who were in the attack but survived, are scattered throughout the city. Suppose a mosque was to be built next door to a building that a survivor lived in or in a neighborhood with a high concentration of survivors… what would be the response then?

    I don’t ask these questions to be snarky. If we are serious about what is and is not appropriate to do surrounding this tragedy, we must think of potential extensions of the current logic being advocated for. Where does the veneration stop? Where does the line between appropriate and inappropriate fall?

    Also, to the debate as to how long a hallowed event remains hallowed, I think we can see that even with Pearl Harbor. It was declared a date that will live in infamy, but I know few of my friends (we are in our 20s/30s) could recite the exact date off the top of our heads. We all know roughly the significance of it, but things do change over time. That is not necessarily a bad thing, as it is generally an indication that things are returning to normal. Pearl Harbor is still remembered, but the date is no longer “infamous”. Will the same thing happen with 9/11? As my fiance and I made our recent wedding plans scheduled for fall of next year, we debated whether it was appropriate to have it on 9/11 and couldn’t really come up with an answer. That might have been an answer to itself, but if we ward off every area where something tragic happened forever and every date that something tragic happened on, eventually we are too boxed in to breathe.

  96. #96 |  Elemenope | 

    Just saying it’s a tad misleading to dismiss them as one would a minor nuisance.

    In the context of international conflict, that is a minor nuisance. They are incapable of posing an existential threat, certainly, and mostly impotent at jeopardizing international strategic assets or sustainably denying access to those assets. They have no diplomatic power, or territory, and have a record of spectacularly failing most major operations.

    Aside from 9/11, their body count really isn’t much more impressive than the average Mexican drug lord. It just comes in big, sporadic chunks rather than being spread out over time.

    A friend of mine once compared al-Qaeda (in the context of 9/11) with a rambunctious six-year-old that managed to kick their adult opponent in the groin. Sure, it hurts, but it never turns out well for the six-year-old.

  97. #97 |  PW | 

    “Aside from 9/11, their body count really isn’t much more impressive than the average Mexican drug lord.”

    That’s a pretty big aside, don’tcha think?

    Kinda like “aside from all the ones he ate, Jeffrey Dahmer really wasn’t any more of a murderer than your average gangbanger on the streets of Milwaukee.”

  98. #98 |  BSK | 

    I think the point is that 9/11 is the exception rather than the rule, and if we base our policy on preventing more 9/11’s from happening, not only are we likely tilting at windmills, but we’re also probably missing the mark on the more likely attacks (likely being a relative term here; no attack is particularly likely to happen).

    Al Qaeda specifically and terrorism in general are no doubt real threats. But our government has imagined them to be far larger threats than they really are, which A) lends them credibility and a certain level of status with potential recruits, B) leads “ends justify the means” type folks to pursue far more egregious “means” because the “ends” have been exaggerated, and C) distracts from far bigger threats.

    A lot of sociologists and psychologists will tell us that humans, in general, are piss poor as risk assessment. Our response to 9/11 seems to demonstrate that. Add that to other factors that MIGHT impact policy development (scoring political points, exploiting tragedy, personal vendettas if you believe Bush really felt one, avenging the victims, any bias that might exist against the perpetrators, economic interests, etc, etc, etc) and it seems like the way that the “war on terrorism” has been waged has very little to with actually preventing future terrorist attacks.

    The loss of life on 9/11 and in other attacks against American interests (and other victims) is no doubt horrific. I just don’t know that the loss of 3,000 justifies the major changes in both foreign and domestic policy that we’ve seen since then.

  99. #99 |  PW | 

    An event of 9/11 magnitude is difficult to top by definition. But even al qaeda’s “lesser” attacks – the Atocha train station and the 1998 embassy bombs – left behind a body count in the hundreds.

    FTR, I think US policy changes in the wake of 9/11 are completely overblown and sensationalized. But unlike some around here, I simply don’t feel a need to downplay 9/11 or sugar coat over its severity to make that completely distinct point.

  100. #100 |  BSK | 

    Well, perspective seems increasingly difficult to find, especially with politicians and the general media acting as they do now. Everything is talked about as “THE WORST THING EVER TO HAPPEN IN THE HISTORY OF EVERYTHING.” This naturally leads people to a certain amount of nausea over it and when they attempt to counter it, they often swing the pendulum too far the other way. We also generally feel, for whatever reason, the need to compare things, when comparisons are often A) impossible and B) useless even when they are possible. I don’t need to know how 9/11 compares to other terrorist attacks in terms of body count, damage, etc, etc, etc, to form an opinion on whether the response is appropriate. I need to know what happened, how, why (if it’s possible to know why), what the intended response is, and what the likely and unlikely but potential outcomes are. I don’t care if 9/11 was the bloodiest day in the history of the world or a minor blip on the radar screen; no matter where it falls on the spectrum, I would not find that it justifies the increased power that the government has exploited from it. I’m far more afraid of our own government at this point than I am of any terrorist. And, if we are indulging in comparisons, I’m pretty sure the body count from our government is just as high, if not higher, even if we limit ourselves to the treatment of its own citizens right here in the States.

  101. #101 |  BSK | 

    And in case it wasn’t clear, PW, I’m actually agreeing with you hear. Huzzah!

  102. #102 |  Elemenope | 

    I doubt any of us are very far apart on this, to be honest. 9/11 was objectively horrific, nobody sane disputes. But it is tricky trying to situate the event in any rational context. Though I tend to dislike pomo, I can’t think of a better case for Baudrillard’s idea of hyperreality–coming to *totally consume and obliterate* all the meaning, emotion, context, and experienced reality of the actual event and its aftermath–than what happened in our culture after 9/11.

    This naturally leads people to a certain amount of nausea over it and when they attempt to counter it, they often swing the pendulum too far the other way.

    I may well be guilty of this. I think, however, even sober analysis of an event like 9/11 tends to oversell the practical effects due to the powerful cultural effects; it’s nearly unavoidable. I’d rather in any case slightly undersell a catastrophe than oversell it when the default mode is to dramatically oversell. It might offend some people’s sense of propriety, but I don’t like assuming that everyone is too sensitive to have a discussion about important topics that happen to involve personal emotional investment.

  103. #103 |  Valerie | 

    Jon Stewart has never been so hypocritical as he was when he compared the “Mosque at Ground Zero” issue to the Columbine NRA issue. First, the NRA cannot be compared with Islam, and second, and more importantly, the massacre at Columbine was not caused by radicals of a religion. Radical Islamists that threaten the viability of our country are not two mentally disturbed teenagers. And, Stewart admitting he was wrong about the NRA Columbine issue was self-serving. Building a Mosque at Ground Zero is not about religious freedom. Muslims have the freedom to worship as they please. (As do we call, but we don’t allow neo-Nazis to build a shrine to Hitler next to a church. Call it a zoning issue if you like, as it does not hamper the Muslims ability to worship as they please, just where.) It is, however, about a religion that intentionally chose a site adjacent to Ground Zero to place their place of worship. One has to question the wisdom and reason for Muslims wanting to put a Mosque that close to Ground Zero, and question their lack of respect for the American loss of life caused by Islam. If there were no Islam, there would not have been a 9/11. Americans do not understand the tenants of the Islamic religion, one that has zero tolerance for other religions. If you still think the mosque should be built at Ground Zero, I ask that you read “Infidel” by a Somali woman who was raised in Islam but rejected it. She is now on their hit list. And please don’t give me the argument that these Muslims are not like those Muslims. I’m not that naive. As for Stewart, the man who bowed to the Muslim religion when he would not show Mohammed on the back of Oliver’s T-Shirt (but Wyatt’s had Jesus on it), I can only say that he is a sell-out and takes great joy in manipulating his liberal viewers. He can be a very funny man, but his politics are dangerous and mis-guided.

  104. #104 |  Elemenope | 

    Valerie, it was an analogous situation, not an identical one. In every analogy there are discrepancies, but to focus on them is to miss the point.

    we don’t allow neo-Nazis to build a shrine to Hitler next to a church.

    Really? When was that prevented from happening? Where? I’m pretty sure if a neo-Nazi group met the zoning and ordinance requirements, they could. If they were prevented, they would have a solid case in court. And since you’re so fond of picking apart the minutiae of analogies, Nazism isn’t a religion either.

  105. #105 |  Elroy | 

    “#77 | matt | August 21st, 2010 at 11:06 am

    You’re right Elroy.. SO after we get done stripping Muslims of their civil rights that you should be the next target. After all I believe that you might someday be popular enough to strip me of my civil rights so it’s better I get yours before you get mine!!!”

    Okay then, I was wrong, I think we should encourage as many muslims to settle in the US as possible since it is quite obvious that this is the key to a libertarian utopia. Once we start welcoming them and encouraging mosques the ranks of libertarians will no doubt begin to swell with like minded libertarian muslims bent on protecting the rights of free speech, freedom of and from religion, and gender equality. If we lead by example I am sure everything will work out fine.

  106. #106 |  Elemenope | 

    Actually, Elroy, historically minority groups are much more willing to take civil rights and liberties seriously than the majority group, because they on balance are more likely to be in desperate need of their utility to protect their lives/livelihood. Their presence and the inevitable upheavals it creates as friction increases between them and the dominant paradigm, more contours of civil law are fleshed out through the courts, and more awareness of the necessity of those rights and liberties is generated over the long term (despite occasional short-term setbacks).

    So what you say with sarcasm I say with conviction, more minority religionists means in all probability strengthening our civil rights and liberties, unless of course terrified, whiny, (mostly) white, (mostly) Christian folk manage to destroy them first.

  107. #107 |  PW | 

    There are several complicating issues with treating muslims as a protected “minority” group, not the least among them being the fact that religion is an affiliation of choice.

    But more importantly, unlike most other groups that American society has designated as protected minorities, there isn’t really a comparable history of wrongs or grievances against muslims in America for the simple reason that American never really even had a sizable muslim community until the second half of the 20th century. To my knowledge, there have never been any laws that segregated muslims at restaurants or buses or water fountains, no law that impeded their right to worship, no “muslims need not apply” signs, no covenants against selling houses to muslims, no “separate but equal” school districts for muslims…practically none of the institutional discrimination that was historically applied to blacks and, to a lesser degree, hispanics in this country. Nor is there even a parallel to historical examples of wartime-related discrimination, such as the Japanese-Americans during WWII and German-Americans during WWI.

    If anything, I’ll go so far as to say that the United States has been extraordinarily welcoming to muslim immigrants in the short and recent period that we’ve become a popular immigration point. Even since 9/11 actual overt acts of discrimination against muslims are typically limited to an isolated group of idiots who did something stupid and rude in their own capacity and have been roundly condemned for it.

    Viewed in this light, to classify islam as if it is some sort of protected and perpetually victimized “minority” group despite the general absence of evidence that it has ever been explicitly targeted for discrimination in the United States is the height of absurd politically correct multiculturalist drivel run amok.

  108. #108 |  Valerie | 

    Elenemope — the analogy didn’t work. In my opinion it wasn’t even close, and it was unfair of Stewart to use it. I never said Nazism was a religion, I used a church as an example, in a role-reversed analogy to the mosque fiasco, and a church is a religious building, just like a mosque. Nazism is not analagous to ground zero, except for the fact that there would no doubt be problems similar to what is going on with the Mosque if neo-Nazis wanted to build a shrine to Hitler next to a church or synagogue. I don’t consider it focusing on minutiae, but, rather, it was my way of trying to explain why Stewart’s piece was an abomination of the facts, and said abomination was intended to manipulate his audience. I can’t respect him for doing that.

    I also find it interesting that you chose to pick apart my analogy rather than comment on the Muslim’s choice of a location. Why do people not want to criticize or address the Muslims for intentionally choosing a location so close to Ground Zero? Surely they could have built somewhere else, but they chose that site — a site that is not in a residential community. Is it just me that sees the disrespect they are showing by choosing that site?

  109. #109 |  Elemenope | 

    Why do people not want to criticize or address the Muslims for intentionally choosing a location so close to Ground Zero?

    Because IT’S IDIOTIC. There, I said it. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks…, etc. etc.. The mystery isn’t why I don’t care. The mystery is why you do. What, it’s hallowed ground, except Muslims can’t hallow it with their prayers? I’m getting quite disgusted with people concern trolling the hell out of Ground Zero.

    Here’s what really gets my goat. The analogy that people are trying to set up is this:

    Muslims:Ground Zero::Nazis:Synagogue

    -whereas the more accurate analogy to match their argument is-

    Muslims:Ground Zero::GERMANS:Synagogue…as they are intentionally eliding terrorists with all Muslims, which is directly correspondent with identifying all Germans as Nazis.

    -and the analogy closest to reality would be-

    TERRORISTS:Ground Zero::Nazis:Synagogue…since terrorists are actually the ones responsible for the attacks, not some nebulous collective Muslim guilt they’d like to assign.

    When Hamas or Hezbollah wants to set up an office next to Freedom tower, call me. That’s the moment your argument will begin to make sense.

  110. #110 |  BSK | 

    PW-

    Again, no one has stated that Muslims deserve “protected minority” status. We have simply acknowledged that they ARE a minority in this country, at least mathematically speaking and by most other definitions as well. As such, there is nothing inaccurate about describing them as a minority group. Elemnope argued that, historically, minority groups are more likely to favor the protection of basic rights because their groups are often the first ones to have them restricted and/or their group has a history of having them restricted. Whether this characterization does or will apply to minorities is to be seen. But I haven’t seen anyone here argue that minorities deserve protected status, outside of ensuring that they have the same basic rights as anyone else. To argue with a premise no one has stated here is a strawman.

  111. #111 |  BSK | 

    Elemnthorpe-

    What I find interesting is that the Park51 site has actually been holding prayer services in the existing building since late 2009, which means for at least 6 months Muslims were praying very close to Ground Zero without anyone being offended or the “hallowedness” of the area being tainted. It’s only when folks decided to make an issue of the site that these “sensitivities” came to the surface. I agree with you that I struggle to see why so many care about a group of people praying quietly in a nearby building. And if it is the proposed building itself, I will say that it looks nothing like any Mosque that I’ve seen and if there wasn’t so much attention being thrown at it, most folks would probably walk by and not notice it, except (perhaps) for it’s garishness.

  112. #112 |  BSK | 

    In #110, that should be “will apply to *MUSLIMS* is to be seen” and “anyone here argue that *MUSLIMS* deserve protected status”.

  113. #113 |  Luke | 

    [FOX pundit]“All I’m saying, is that these muslims who’ve never harmed anyone need to be more respectful towards the feelings of Real Americans who think all muslims are terrorists.”[/FOX pundit]

  114. #114 |  PW | 

    Strange. When this subject first came up several days ago you were blathering on, BSK, about how muslims had been “marginalized” and subjected to “past wrongs” – both your wording – by American society. Now all of a sudden they are only “minorities” in the most general numerical sense, and to suggest that your use of the term meant anything more is a “strawman”?

    You’re being duplicitous again, BSK. But that is nothing new.

  115. #115 |  BSK | 

    PW-

    Again, you struggle to follow conversations. And here I thought we had broken new ground. Not only did you not follow the previous conversation, but you’ve failed to follow THIS conversation. Elementhorpe began talking about minorities, never invoking the term or idea of “protected” minorities and you jumped to argue with the idea of “protected minorities”. When called on this, you referred to earlier comments I made on a completely different thread, in a different context, with a different intent. I am not Elementhorpe. When he spoke of minorities, there was no reason for you to rebut with a contest of the status of “protected minorities” being conferred upon American Muslims, since Elementhorpe made no argument in favor of that.

    PLEASE try to follow what is going on.

  116. #116 |  Elemenope | 

    I appreciate you getting my proverbial back, but-and you aren’t by any means the only person on the net that does this-why do people insert and rearrange letters in my nick, like, a lot?

    Elemenope, as in the onomatopoetic transliteration of LMNOP. :)

    Carry on.

  117. #117 |  BSK | 

    Ha! I think I just glanced at it and though it said something. Now that I know what it is, I will be sure to get it right. Well played, sir (or ma’am).

  118. #118 |  PW | 

    People don’t just start randomly designating groups as “minorities” without it being implicit that they are using this term in the political sense. In fact, you have used it in the political sense many times before hence your past descriptions of “marginalized” muslims who have been “wronged” by America, despite your apparent inability to specify precisely how so without going into the dubious territory of embracing anti-semitic conspiracy theories. That you deny this now in refusing the term “protected” is only evidence of your own duplicity, as you are already on record demonstrating that you believe something other than what you now claim.

  119. #119 |  BSK | 

    PW-

    I’m not sure the record says what you think it says.

    Let’s stay on facts here. Elemenope used the term “minority”. He did not use the term “protected minority”. You rebutted with an argument about the use of the term “protected minority”. With evidence now demonstrating that that term was not used, you are insisting that Elemenope IMPLICITLY used the term “protected minority”. Good to know you can get in his head.

    I will not wage into the continued confusion you find over my previous comments. You can’t even understand the word “and”. Why would I try to explain anything more complex to you? I’m 99% sure a quick search will demonstrate that I never used the term “protected minority”, in this or any other conversation, except in response to your or someone else’s use of the term.

  120. #120 |  Elemenope | 

    Minority status is, in a democracy, literally having less people than the dominant group(s). When you are a minority, you may be oppressed at the moment, or you may not be. Balko had an article not too long ago about how Muslims by-and-large have integrated very effectively into the US society and culture and did not bear much burden of oppression.

    However, being a minority means that the wind can shift against you very quickly, and if it does, you need a bulwark of rights and laws to protect you, so that when people in the majority go around, say, questioning the very legitimacy of you having buildings to practice your religion (as assholes are doing across this country right now, in locations that have jack to do with Ground Zero), it is important to have something like freedom of religion taken seriously. It is so that when something controversial is happening regarding Muslims in New York, the majority backlash doesn’t harm their religious expression in Connecticut, Wisconsin, California, and Tennessee, and also gives them a fighting chance in New York.

    So you’re both right in a sense, though BSK was closer to the functional sense of it. Minorities are simply minorities until something happens and then they are protected minorities who certainly care about their freedoms perhaps even more jealously than the majority, since they have tasted what it is like to nearly lose them.

  121. #121 |  BSK | 

    I think it’s also important to realize that not all marginalization or oppression that might exist is always at the hand of the government. However, the government is charged with protecting the rights of all its citizens and if it willfully fails in this duty, it is reasonable to hold it culpable in the matter. Whether or not this necessarily holds true for Muslims in this country is another matter. There definitely is evidence of a rise in anti-Muslim oppression within the population after 9/11, though even the best of polls would make it difficult to calculate the various levels of these feelings at any given time. How the government has responded has been all over the map, including everything from increased suspicion and surveillance of Muslims to claims of preferential treatment in the applications for Park51.

    What can’t be disputed is that Muslims are a numerical minority in this country and, like most (if not all) minority groups, that status carries a risk that is largely absent from majority groups, as Elemenope has outlined.

  122. #122 |  BSK | 

    And if we are REALLY going to talk about marginalization and oppression, we must also talk about the ying to its hang, namely privilege. However, I can guess how that conversation would go…

  123. #123 |  Elemenope | 

    Talking social dynamics with conservatives is approximately as painful as talking economics with liberals.

  124. #124 |  PW | 

    #120 –

    “Minority status is, in a democracy, literally having less people than the dominant group(s).”

    In other words, it could be literally anything depending on how you classify it. And that is why the term is a problem in itself, and almost always refers to minorities of the “protected” kind when it is enlisted in a political context (and this one presently is). The definition of “minority” is so vague and nebulous and overused that it takes away any real meaning and supplants it with a shallow buzz word that gets thrown into conversation so as to signal that a subject is taboo or beyond any legitimate scrutiny. Thus when BSK, who has a long history here of designating islam a “marginalized” and perpetually “wronged” group despite his failure to provide any evidence of either, uses the term “minority” there can be no mistaking that it is the politically protected kind to which he refers, and that his purpose in doing so is to throw the poison pill of identity politics into the discussion.

    Treat people as individuals and leave it at that. By dwelling on membership in some group, be it race, religion, or any social contrivance designated for “protection,” we only obscure that individuality.

  125. #125 |  PW | 

    “And if we are REALLY going to talk about marginalization and oppression, we must also talk about the ying to its hang, namely privilege.”

    And so BSK’s true colors slip into the discussion. Unsurprisingly, they have a distinct reddish hue.

  126. #126 |  PW | 

    “There definitely is evidence of a rise in anti-Muslim oppression within the population after 9/11″

    Specific examples please?

  127. #127 |  PW | 

    “What can’t be disputed is that Muslims Plumbers are a numerical minority in this country and, like most (if not all) minority groups, that status carries a risk that is largely absent from majority groups”

    It’s equally true, is it not?

  128. #128 |  BSK | 

    PW-

    Please stop with the bullshit.

    1.) I have given evidence of American wrongs committed against Muslims, specifically citing the Iraq and Afghan wars.
    2.) Elemenope introduced the use of the term ‘minority’ to this thread, not I. Again, you either struggle to tell the difference between me and not me, think I am part of a vast conspiracy, or are so obsessed with me that when someone else uses a word you immediately think about when I use the word.
    3.) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aftermath_of_9/11#Backlash_and_hate_crimes Do you REALLY want to argue that there wasn’t a rise in Anti-Muslim and Anti-Middle Eastern sentiment in the country following 9/11? Willful ignorance will get you no where.
    4.) You want to treat people as individuals and ignore membership in a group, ignoring the fact that that isn’t reality. Many folks enjoy privilege and endure oppression (sometimes simultaneously) as a result of their affiliation with a group. Just because you don’t want it to be true doesn’t wish it away. There are different issues that face people in different groups and there is nothing wrong with discussion that reality.
    5.) Yes, the term minority can become watered down, namely by folks like yourself who want to include plumbers for no other reason than to be difficult. And while you were attempting to be smarmy with that comment, I’m sure there are real issues that plumbers face (largely as a function of being a part of the labor/services industry). However, one’s affiliation in a group, for purposes of identifying that group’s status in society, is only relevant with regards to how that group is interacted with. If plumbers are treated the exact same way as non-plumbers, than there is no reason to make a distinction. If they are not, than the distinction should be made and examined.
    6.) Are you implying that I am somehow communist because I recognize that privilege works? Does that make it okay for me to call you a mind-fuckingly-stupid imbecile because you don’t? There is nothing communist about recognizing how race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, country of origin, class, ethnicity, etc, etc, etc, can confer unearned privilege upon some folks.

    Seriously, you are like talking to a wall sometimes. A wall that is borderline braindead.

  129. #129 |  BSK | 

    But Elemenope, don’t you realize that social dynamics are no longer an issue? I mean, we ended slavery! And 150 years later we have a black president! What more can we do??? We’re post-racial man and, if anyone is the victim, it’s the white man. Let’s talk about that! That is a social dynamic I’m sure conservatives have no issue talking about.

  130. #130 |  PW | 

    “1.) I have given evidence of American wrongs committed against Muslims, specifically citing the Iraq and Afghan wars.”

    That is evidence of US foreign policy stupidity, which is not much different from US foreign policy stupidity in non-muslim regions of the globe. But there is no evidence that the Iraq/Afghanistan wars are being intentionally perpetrated against muslims because of their religion. So I’ll ask again – what has the U.S. done that has specifically wronged muslims for being muslims, or the religion of Islam on account of it being Islam?

    “2.) Elemenope introduced the use of the term ‘minority’ to this thread, not I.”

    I don’t really care who introduced what. But I do know that you have embraced its use, and that in doing so you very much employ it through the framework of a “protected” minority as evidenced by repeated characterizations of muslims as such in deeming them “marginalized” and “wronged.”

    3) A list of unsourced and unspecific claims of an “anti-muslim backlash” from wikipedia falls far short of demonstrating your outlandish claim that there is a mass wave of “anti-muslim oppression” occurring in the wake of 9/11. And yes, I do want to go down this route seeing as you are unwilling to source your outlandish claims with anything credible, because it will likely reveal that you have nothing more than a handful of isolated incidents of individuals doing something idiotic but nothing more, and a couple dozen idiots simply does not equal the campaign of “oppression” that you claim exists.

    4) The fact that you view the world as a place of haves and have-nots and, evidently, perceive this allocation to occur heavily along racial and religious lines attests to the fact that you severely discount the individuality of human beings, leading me to conclude that…

    6) yes, you do indeed share a basic fundamental premise with communism in your way of thinking, namely that the majority of human dynamics are inherently group dynamics as defined by membership in a certain class, race, or other social construct.

    As to 5), the dilution of the meaning of the term “minority” has far more to do with its overuse by persons who are prone to crying wolf and injecting it into every conversation you enter whether it is relevant or not than anything I could ever do by simply pointing out and criticizing that overuse. And yes, you are culpable in its dilution yourself by way of your casual tendency to fling race into EVERYTHING and view the entire world through its lends, right up to and including your bizarre and completely unprovoked insinuation that it is “racist” to have anti-shoplifting at the fucking entrance to Costco after a white guy got gunned down there by a bunch of stupid trigger-happy cops.

  131. #131 |  PW | 

    129 –

    Your strawman caricatures aside, nobody has ever suggested that America is a post-racial society (though I will suggest that race-obsessed persons such as yourself, regardless of their color, are the biggest obstacle we have to ever attaining that goal). It’s silly to say “race doesn’t matter” in a society where race is so plainly politicized on a daily basis.

    But at the same time, it’s absurd to pretend that we are perpetually mired TODAY in the society of decades or even centuries past because of the racial wrongs committed then. And yes, slavery did end 150 years ago. Nobody American living today has ever been a legally owned slave. Nor have their parents. Nor even, but in the rarest exceptions of successively abnormal longevity, their grandparents.

    Put another way, it’s stupid to obsess about the specter of slavery in America today because it’s dead. It’s been dead for 150 years and therefore could not have possibly applied to you or anyone you know in any way. And it isn’t coming back from the dead. So get the fuck over it.

  132. #132 |  Elemenope | 

    For a person who frequents a site that reports sharply on the myriad ways law enforcement screws people, you have to be willfully blind to miss the racial subtext (and sometimes text) of how cops preferentially fuck black people over.

    Conservative, meet social dynamics. It really is fucking painful to discuss with a person who can only see trees and vehemently denies the existence of forests.

  133. #133 |  PW | 

    I’ve said it many times and I’ve yet to see any evidence from this site or any other that supports a trend contradicting it. More often, it is thoroughly affirmed and validated:

    Cops only care about one color – blue.

  134. #134 |  PW | 

    I should also add that it’s pretty difficult to discuss cop abuse with a person who always and predictably claims to see an imaginary tree in the middle of an empty field.

    BSK’s episode with the “racist” Costco cameras comes to mind.

  135. #135 |  BSK | 

    PW-

    You’re cheating again. You asked for evidence of Muslims wronged by America and, when I give you that, you change the question and say you meant Muslims specifically and explicitly wronged by America, then hold up my failure to answer that question (because it wasn’t asked) as a failure in my argument. Don’t you see how unfair that is? Oh, no, wait. You don’t. You can’t. Because you are the one suffering from myopia. That is all I need to know that this conversation can’t go forward with you, because you are so preoccupied with “winning” it (whatever that means), that you’ve long since abandoned any attempts at actual dialogue.

    You refuse to deal in reality, instead creating a little world where you are the victim. As you stated before, almost all of REAL racism that exists today is either perpetrated by fringe groups OR is committed in favor of “protected minorities”. That alone is enough to disregard you as either A) a complete and utter moron, B) one of those fringe, extreme racists or, the most likely answer, C) both of the above.

    If I talk about privilege, I’m a commie.
    If I answer the question you ask, I’m wrong because I didn’t answer the question you didn’t ask.
    If someone else uses a term, you infer what they meant by inferring what my opinion of the word is.
    If I provide the evidence of claims you ask for, it doesn’t count. And if it DID count, it’s not REALLY evidence because anything that counters your perspective is just a series of isolated incidents that have nothing to do with the topic at hand (funny how this situation reverses itself when you bring up the actions of Saudis in a discussion about how we should treat American Muslims, but I digress).
    That last point points directly the you falling (really, walking or, more likely, sprinting) into the trap of allowing members of dominant groups to succeed as groups and fail as individuals and members of subordinate groups to succeed as individuals and fail as groups WHICH puts you right on the bath to BIGOTRY!

    So, congratulations. You’re a fucking Isalmophobic, racist bigot. Which is fine. To each his own. But coupled with your intellectual dishonesty, there is little redeeming value in discoursing with you. For what I hope to be the last time, if I am able to muster the willpower to laugh at your empty-yet-hate-filled rhetoric and wait for others to rightly put you in your place, I am done with you.

    Since you apparently are primarily interested in police abuse and accuse me of being race obsessed AND you see no way in which police abuse is impacted by race, I’m sure we’ll NEVER cross paths again, right? Oh wait… you are conspicuously absent from conversations on cop abuse and jump right into the fray when an opportunity to bash minorities arises. Guess I’m stuck with you. Oh well. At least I have a happy life to return to off the interwebs. It’s pretty evident you don’t. I pity you, really, living so sad a life that you feel the need to target others to regain the sense of superiority you likely derive from your race and gender, which has been threatened by the evil that is the pursuit of equity.

    TTFN

  136. #136 |  PW | 

    You’ve offered evidence of people arguably wronged by American foreign policy who happen to be muslim. You’ve offered no evidence though that the wrong against them has anything to do with the fact they are muslim.

    See the difference, BSK? Probably not, because in your race-obsessed world muslim = minority = oppressed = brown people = wronged by whitey throughout history, and anything that happens that so much as harms a single muslim in any way simply must be an intentional and racist offense against all of islam.

    If I had asked for evidence of America wronging black people, a reasonable person would understand that request as something done to black people specifically because they were black and probably cite Jim Crow or something of the sort from the past. You, on the other hand, take it to an absurd level and would cite ANY wrong that simply occurred to a person who happened to be black regardless of whether it had anything to do with them being black. Or using your exact same absurd logic, a white murderer on death row becomes evidence that the United States is wronging “white people.”

    I suppose I should have been more explicit with you, knowing the pure inanity of the very same person who thought the security cameras at Costco were “racist” institutions designed to unfairly target black shoplifters. But such is the nature of dealing with you and your tendency to engage in duplicity.

    So in the interest of clarity, let me say that in order for an act to be “oppressive” toward a group – an inherently conscious act by definition – would it not be requisite that it intentionally identify and target that group as a group to be wronged? Holding that to be the case, what evidence do you have of the United States ever wronging muslims on account of them being muslims?

  137. #137 |  BSK | 

    Cheating alert! Cheating alert!

    PW says: “Thus when BSK, who has a long history here of designating islam a “marginalized” and perpetually “wronged” group despite his failure to provide any evidence of either…”

    You asked for evidence of either Muslims being “marginalized” or “wronged”. I provided evidence of them being wronged (maybe YOU don’t consider hundreds of thousands dead “wrong”, but I sure do). You respond with, “You gave no evidence of oppression.”

    See why I think you are 1000000% disingenuous? Or are you confused again?

  138. #138 |  PW | 

    No, BSK. You’ve only shown U.S. foreign policy stupidity (in addition to your own proclivity towards duplicity). What you have NOT shown, however, is that it was directed specifically at Islam or that any of its victims were specifically targeted for being muslims.

    Afghanistan is no more a war against Islam than Vietnam was a war against Buddhism.

    So I’ll ask again: show me what the United States has ever done to “wrong” or “oppress” Islam itself. Simply repeated that we went to war against a country that happened to be predominantly muslim is not sufficient unless you can demonstrate that Islam was the reason for doing so.

  139. #139 |  BSK | 

    PW-

    You fail to realize the intellectual dishonesty of your argument. I never claimed that America has oppressed Muslims, so to ask me for evidence of that is just ridiculous. I did say that Muslims have been wronged by America. You now want to use a different definition of “wronged” than I did and claim that I am failing to meet the criteria. That doesn’t fly. It’s bullshit and if you argue otherwise, you’re just lying to yourself.

    My claim was that there is evidence of Muslim people being wronged by actions taken by the US government, which includes the hundreds of thousands dead in the Iraq and Afghan wars. Unless you can dispute that happened, then I have met the burden of proof for my claim. If that claim doesn’t move you, so be it. But you can’t just twist words into different meanings.

    As to the issue of what drove the war, it is really hard to say with certainty what the true motivation was. Yea, we all know what the politicians said, but that is not always true. If you accept that, then the Civil War was fought over states rights and head nothing to do with slavery. I find it ironic that someone so skeptical of the government suddenly takes their explanations at face value. I can also play the same game you played earlier, holding up two situations (Park 51 and Orthodox Church), speaking of only ONE variable the differentiates the two, and insinuating that this variable and this variable alone is the reason for the difference in treatment. I can do the same! In the past ten years, we’ve engaged in wars against Muslim-majority countries and Muslim-majority countries only. Seeing as how we didn’t engage in a war against any NON-Muslim-majority countries, it is fair to say that the only reason we did so was because of anti-Muslim bias. See! I can play your little game, too!

  140. #140 |  BSK | 

    It’s also getting tiresome that you always divert the conversation into minutiae, attempting to create “gotcha!” moments where you attempt to catch your opponent contradicting himself, offering an unfavorable opinion, or otherwise go after the messenger instead of the message. The issue here is not statements I made days back. The issue here is… actually, I don’t even know what the issue here is, because you have so muddled the conversation with inanity as to make it unrecognizable. Congrats! You won! Happy now? You have so successfully evaded the issue and avoided the facts because there was no basis for your position as to render the conversation useless. I bet you feel big and smart now! Good for you! A+ for effort! Style wins over substance yet again! And, to think, it was the stylings of a legitimately mentally challenged person that achieved it. You should feel so proud.

  141. #141 |  PW | 

    “I never claimed that America has oppressed Muslims”

    Unless you were referring to the population of some other random unnamed country, your own record reveals this to be yet another lie.

    “There definitely is evidence of a rise in anti-Muslim oppression within the population after 9/11″ – BSK

    Source: http://www.theagitator.com/2010/08/20/jon-stewart-on-rights-our-rights-after-a-tragedy/#comment-413100

    And you wonder why I consider practically every word you say to be uttered in duplicity? And that’s no matter of “gotcha” either. It’s a matter of you stating one thing and then completely denying that you stated it just a few posts later. You either have severe troubles with your memory, BSK, or you are willfully lying and hoping that nobody notices even though past experience attests that they generally do.

  142. #142 |  Ground Zero mosque analogy - Page 2 - INGunOwners | 

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