I cannot reconcile the Two Americas

Carla Axtman

But at the end of the day, these were people that sat in the bleachers together at high school football games. They saw one another in the grocery store and met one another at the popcorn counter at the drive-in movies. We were all part of a community and even with our differences, figured out a way to be together.

Despite being a rather small community, the town where I was raised had a rather wide variety of religions and houses of worship from which to choose. At it's population apex during my youth, there were no more than 2000 people living there, and it was the most populous town in the geographically large county where it is situated.

I went to school for the first 12 years of matriculation with the offspring of those worshipers, who as far as I know, were all from varying sects of Christianity. Off the top of my head I can recall that we had Mormon, Catholic, Seventh Day Adventist, Jehovah's Witness, Methodist, Lutheran, at least 2 Baptist, Pentecostal and a number of non-denominational Christian churches. There were, at times, whispers and snippy remarks and perhaps even disdainful comments about the religious beliefs and practices of others. But at the end of the day, these were people that sat in the bleachers together at high school football games. They saw one another in the grocery store and met one another at the popcorn counter at the drive-in movies. We were all part of a community and even with our differences, figured out a way to be together.

Perhaps it is because of this backdrop to my life that I am so fundamentally disturbed by the reaction to the Cordoba community center and mosque, to be built a few blocks away from the 9/11 Ground Zero site in New York City. The visceral and ugly reaction from so many on the right to the notion that an Islamic center will go there, simply because its Islamic, is deeply offensive. Not only does it smack of religious persecution, it infers that our country and its ideals are so weak--so shaky--that fundamentalist extremists can tear it down--and we're too afraid, cowering in a corner in fear.

Yesterday, Ross Douthat's column in the New York Times recycled the Two Americas frame once articulated by John Edwards. He elegantly articulates the nature of the two camps when it comes to their basic natures: one believes in the Constitution and the equality of all, the other believes in an American "culture" where we all speak English and longs for a Judeo-Christian heritage--denying others the free exercise of the culture and beliefs that don't properly assimilate into the box that this "culture" demands.

Douthat then goes on to preach that "both sides have real wisdom to offer". That if it wasn't for those who put up roadblocks and social rules for those who emigrated, the "assimilation" would not have been so swift and they'd have had a lot more difficult time swimming in the American mainstream.

What utter revisionist bullshit. If one's only markers of US history include those who came through Plymouth Rock, Ellis Island or the boat from England or France during the Colonial era, then that point has the potential to hold some water. But there are Native tribes who have never assimilated completely, despite giving up almost everything in vain attempts to try. Not to mention Douthat's complete disregard for those who came here as slaves. How many decades and beat downs did it take for that assimilation to stick?

Not all ideas or beliefs are created equal. The right to live your life and express your beliefs ends the moment it infringes on mine. To refer to the notions of roadblocks to free expression and free practice of religion as "wisdom" is an affront to what our nation was founded on.

9/11 was an attempt by Muslim extremists to undermine who we are and what we're about as a country. To scare us into giving up those things. Conservatives in this country who are attempting to leverage this issue (and the immigration issue, for that matter) as a cynical way to regain power are doing so at the expense of giving those terrorists exactly what they sought when they flew those jetliners into the World Trade Center buildings. Shame on them.

They can keep that other America. I don't want it. Its not what those who founded this nation wanted--and it's not the community where I want to live.

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      Bill is only partially correct. Genocide exists today in other countries around the world, xenophbia and other atrocities occur simply because "they" don't (look, pray, dress, eat, play) like "us". the human psyche is basically all about tribalism, a gathering together of like forces for common protection from "others". This basic condition nows no political idealogy.

      To the basoc tenants of religious freedom I would agree the outspoken criticism of a mosque anywhere, but especially in downtown NYC is anethma to our constitution. Tose speaking out are not just conservai\tives, but also many others who vote across all party lines. that does not make their outspoken hatred correct.

      Too bad our president did not make a clearer point. Like the Roman Catholic nuns in Aushwitz, they have the right to build a mosque. Hopefully they will have the wisdom to choose another place like the pope did with the nuns.

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          I'll defend the right for the Cordoba Center to be sited where they currently ask. However seeking a wise solution to the issue does not speak to capitulation, cronyism or bigotry. It speaks to historical perspective much like not turning Gettysburg into Civil War Land or Aushwitz into Catholic reprentance land.

          Ron White has a funny line about having the constitutional right to act in a certain way; yet he is unable to do so even though he knows it is the best course of action. The same applies here.

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            What crap.

            Muslim Americans died in the WTC, so it not at all analogous to the Gettysburg or Auschwitz examples you cite.

            It is no different than any Christian church being built within a few miles of the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City. The two have nothing to do with each other.

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              Well Mitchell I guess Leonard Pitts is full of crap also because that's who first voiced this argument. he basically states they have aright to put the mosque on the site, i agree. He goes on to say sometimes just having the right to do something is not the only reason to move forward. this case is one such example and I again agree. Your reference to the Murrah Building is so out there I have no response.

              Hmmm agree with Pitts and have Mitchell think I'm full of crap? Yeah I'm comfortable with that consequence.

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                No, it isn't "so out there" at all. It is a well founded analog to the crap that you and (apparently Pitts).

                That a community center being built by people who have nothing at all in common with to connection with the criminal extremists who committed the crime of 9/11other than the wrapped themselves in their demented take on a major religion, is substantively no different than saying that YMCAs should be stopped form being built anywhere near the site of a criminal scumbag who had a twisted perverse take on, and connection to the Christian faith.

                Al Qaeda is to Islam what the KKK or Timothy McVeigh is to Christianity.

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                  The al Qaeda KKK comparison makes sense, the McVeigh comparison has never made sense. McVeigh never based his attack on a Christian belief - it's something he said he, "sort of lost touch with" and that he "never really picked it up, however I do maintain core beliefs."

                  While the al Qaeda operatives prayed, "Allauah Akbar," and like the KKK, tried to cloak their miserable beliefs in an established religion, the McVeigh claim was never a reasonable nor logical fit.


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                    Sure it makes "sense" in so far as it goes. McVeigh attacked the Murrah Building over the Waco stand-off which was a looney "Christian" cult offshoot, and he was tied with elements of the Christian Militia movement as well. In fact he picked that day because it was the 2nd anniversary of Waco.

                    Far more of a substantive connection than the Burlington Coat Factory Islamic Center connections to those who committed 9/11.

                    That said, it is kind of the point. There is no linkage in substance or symbolism in making Christians looking to open a YMCA be made to be "respectful" because of the crimes of in the name of crazy violent extremist fringe cultists, be they Christian Militia types, Branch Davidians or Al Qaeda.

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            But if you insist on using Gettysburg as an example, ok, let's follow you down that rabbit-hole. As Bob Cesca pointed out over on the Huffington Post pointed out after showing that a shopping mall was planned for the actual ground zero "freedom tower" (puke)... that at Gettysberg, there are suburban sprawl parked directly on top of parts of the actual Gettysburg battle site but here is the real clincher:

            To review: the Cordoba House will be two blocks away from the actual WTC site. It's being installed by American citizens, the chief of whom, Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, is an American citizen who has worked with the Bush administration on Muslim outreach. These are peaceful Muslims who had absolutely nothing to do with the terrorist attacks nearby. The opponents of the inaccurately dubbed "Ground Zero Mosque" suggest it's the work of an enemy religion and offensive to the memory of those who died.

            But at Gettysburg, just south of the town and west of the Emmitsburg Road near the tree-line from which 12-15,000 Confederate soldiers emerged on the third day of battle to attack the United States army on Cemetery Ridge, stands a tall marble and bronze statue of General Robert E. Lee, commanding general of the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia. It's not the only Confederate monument on the actual battlefield, but it's certainly the most striking and the most famous. At the peak of the obelisk is Lee mounted atop his horse, Traveler, staring out at the battlefield. Just below him are heroic bronze representations of random Virginia Confederates.

            This general committed treason against the United States. By definition, he was a traitor who commanded a rebel army against the America and inflicted unprecedented casualties. Specifically, General Lee's invasion of the north and advance into Gettysburg was responsible for the aforementioned 23,040 United States military casualties, and, of those 23,040 casualties, 3,155 were killed on that Pennsylvania -- that American -- ground.

            Yet there's a statue at Gettysburg honoring the fiercest enemy of the United States at that time. Had Lee been victorious, the United States as we know it today would not exist. But he gets a statue on Pennsylvania soil -- a statue which, by the way, stands at the exact same height as the statue to U.S. General George Gordon Meade, the commander of the Army of the Potomac (and a Pennsylvanian).


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              Mitchell, really you need to tone down the invective or you're going to blow a blood vessel. Since you are a PNW progressive I don't expect you to know much about General Robert E. Lee, his personal issues about resigning from the US Army and whether to defend the United States or his home state of Virginia.

              He neither sought nor opined about succession, but once his state left the union he felt honor bound to defend that state. Once defeated he worked closely with the victors, Grant and President Johnson to help repair the rift and turmoil the War Between the States and the 20 years leading up to it caused.

              The very fact that both he and Meade have equal sized statues on that infamous battlefield (that occured totally by accident) was by design. But then I wouldn't expect a PNW progressive to know or understand that visual imagery.

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                Your faux concern about my blood pressure (which is quite fine thank you) not withstanding, I do know Civil War history, and the points I culled from the Huffington Post article are spot on.

                Given that you know nothing about my family background, and that to my family's shame we fought for the Confederacy, please try and ignorantly presume I lack understanding. And please continue to defend the immorality of what the Confederacy was which Lee took up arms to defend by literally becoming a traitor to the United States.

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            I can't even imagine the September 11th equivalent of such a memorial to an enemy of the United States. Now, just to be clear, I'm not advocating one way or another about the Confederate battlefield monuments at Gettysburg (the retail shops, on the other hand, are a blight). I'm merely drawing a parallel here. If Newt and Sarah and Glenn were truly so driven to maintain the sacred purity of American "hallowed ground," they definitely have lots of work to do. And they can start by campaigning for the removal of the Lee statue of Gettysburg. You know, for the sake of consistency. Let's see how popular that'll be, especially with their southern fanbase.

            So what were you saying about Gettysberg as a comparison?

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              There are two Shinto shrines on the outskirts of Pearl Harbor. Multiple churches in both Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Etc.

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              Mitchell I said it above. But suffice it to say that Gettysburg remains to this day the single event where the most US blood was spilled and casualties in battle. The monuments are intended to honor the Americans on both sides of that bloody 3 day battle.

              If you can actually recall Lincoln's Gettysburg address the battlefield became a monument to the follies and issues of both sides that were intended to keep our country from ever engaging in open warfare against each other again. A sentiment many diverse groups would bear well in mind today.

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                Yeah, please let's "honor" traitorous hicks (which included my family BTW, much to our shame) who took up arms to defend the institution of slavery.

                Let's honor those who LITERALLY took up arms and attacked the United States and spilled more blood of US troops than anyone else in history, then lets build a moment to the military leader who betrayed his country, took up arms against it in defense of the institution of slavery because THAT wouldn't be offensive at all.

                But build an Islamic "YMCA" on private property in the United States, making manifest the lies pushed by criminals like Usama ibn Ladin that the west is at war with Islam... that is legal but bad in your view.


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    I subscribe that the two Americas are are the WITTs (We're In This Together) and the YOYOs (You're On Your Own) as set out by Jared Bernstein in All Together Now: Common Sense for a Fair Economy.

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    Carla, I agree with you.

    Bigotry is not wisdom, but it can be politically potent. It's scary.

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    Well said, Carla. Thank you.

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    Carla, I think we can wax poetic about our home town, but I also grew up in small town Oregon. It was rife with bigotry. I remember well our popular sheriff laughing about the fact he kept an Indian in jail for a month without seeing a judge or a lawyer without any consequence. I remember the prevalence of the "N" word in locker rooms and playgrounds. I remember that my cousin, the local sports hero, beat up a black friend of mine, in a clearly racially motivated goading and attack. I remember that any public manifestation of gay behavior was a target of violence. We have changed some, but not that much. Let us not forget that our beloved state was founded as a white homeland, and people of color were not even allowed to own property. The deed of the house I used to own in a suburb of Portland had a provision that no people of color were allowed to own property there, nor live there unless they were servants. Our heritage of honoring human rights or the constitution is not a proud one.

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      Can't completely agree with your characterization of early Oregon. Yes, people of black color couldn't own property. But the property rights of people of lighter color - specifically, First Peoples - was explicitly guaranteed in the Organic Laws, as was an overt ban on slavery.

      Compared to our modern culture today it was repressive. But compared to the cultures from which the vast majority of them had come, it was quite progressive.

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        Early Oregon... ever met any survivors of the Tekelma/Rogue Indians in Southern Oregon? Probably not. Why? Because they were all murdered by the pioneer settlers of now Jackson County. I would say my characterization of early Oregon is pretty mild.

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          My family was among the later pioneers of Jackson County, Curry County and Del Norte in the northwestern corner of California. Three brothers, one went to each County. But they all arrived in Jackson County and spread from there.

          I didn't say that the early pioneers were pure as the driven snow. Just that, compared to their peers, they were progressive.

          Attrocities were committed during The Enlightenment in Europe. Even in the name of "enlightenment", as the uppercrust of France discovered. That doesn't change the fact that it was a progressive age. Ditto for early Oregon. They eventually produced the ground-breaking progressivity of Governor McCall et al.

          It is a mistake, IMHO, to judge a previous culture exclusively by our present standards.

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      Bill: I "wax poetic" for a good reason. The small town where I grew up wasn't perfect and yes, sometimes people were exceptionally horrible to one another just like anywhere else. But by and large, we found ways to live and work together in relative peace.

      I can choose to single out moments of abhorrent or ugly behavior--and I could find that kind of stuff anywhere. But there is a lot of good in people that can and often does outshine the bad.

      And frankly, if all you're looking for is the bad stuff, that's what you'll find.

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        Granted, John Day is not Klamath Falls. I grew up a few miles away from the remnants of Japanese concentration camp, with a younger sister who was part Klamath Indian, so that the reality of bigotry and hate were firmly imprinted in my mind.

        Nevertheless I congratulate you and support the gist of your post.

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          Klamath Falls has been notorious for its bigotry for years. My family was originally from that part of Southern Oregon, and I always say there was a reason they moved north.

          That said, my mother was very vocal about how she felt that the Modocs were the victims of bigotry. There's a family tradition that some of my great-grandparents were friends with Captain Jack, and his band camped on or near where they lived (we're connected by marriage to the Applegates).

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            Yes, the story of the Modocs is particularly sad. A band of about 120 Modocs left the reservation where they were forced from their traditional lands at Tulelake, and returned to live and hunt along the shores of Tulelake. An army of 2,000 soldiers were held at bay by this small band of Modocs fought successfully from lava caves for nearly six months.(1870s?) Eventually they were forced to surrender. Captain Jack was hung along with other leaders at Fort Klamath. The rest of the band of men, women, and children were shipped in box cars to Oklahoma. Capt. Jack's head was severed and put on display in circuses around the country. That is our rich Oregon history of honoring diversity and human rights.

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      Bill, small towns can change. I was surprised this weekend when I attended a reggae festival near the small town where I grew up. All weekend I kept shaking my head and muttering that if someone had told me that such a thing would be happening there 35 years ago, I wouldn't have believed them.

      Especially since both the local Boy Scouts and the local Grange participated (the Grange sold lemonade, the Boy Scouts took care of recycling).

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        Yes, small towns can change. But when it comes to accepting the stranger, the one who is different in appearance, in religion, in dress, in sexual orientation, they are the most tribal and resistant to change. Fortunately with the internet and electronic communications the world has become smaller and the cross fertilization of ideas, perceptions, and values holds hope for me.

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      And why isn't Mayor Bloomberg's position holding more sway? I realize he's a New Yorker (as Hedrick Hertzberg says, a sure-sign of elitism), but he's a Republican.

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      It is notable in polling that Manhattan the majority favor the Cordoba Center. While the larger city and state oppose. Which would tend to confirm your perspective.

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    Elaine Rector as a part of CFEE (Coaching for Educational Equality) and LFEE (Leading for Educational Equity) has analyzed Oregon's untold history related to race, immigration and education from 8,000 BCE (before the common era) to the present.

    Since 1954 Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka made history when the Supreme Court unanimously agreed that segregated schools were "inherently unequal" and must be abolished even though segregation continues to this day (look at Portland Public Schools that are still fairly segregated).

    In 1954 Operation Wetback rounded up and deported 1 million Latino Farm Workers many of whom were U.S. citizens mistaken for illegal immigrants.

    In 1959 Oregon finally ratified the 15th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution which provided that no government may prevent a citizen from voting based on that citizen's race, color, or previous condition of servitude (slavery).

    In 1965 Portland Public Schools began busing African American students as a major means to desegregate schools.

    In 1970 James Lowens book: Sundown Towns: A Hidden Dimension of American Racisim, documents towns in Oregon that warned People of Color to be out of town by sundown.

    I grew up in one of those Oregon towns. In the late 60"s my mother received death threats for selling a Japanese family a home when she ran her own real estate business.

    This outcry of concern in NYC is a continuation of of this nations history that is pockmarked with racial injustices.

    Whole BlueOregon columns could be written here discussing white privilege.

    Bill Ryan said it best in the first post when he stated the radical right are using the NYC Cordoba Community Center to gin up more fear. Nancy Pelosi is getting it right when she asks who is funding the opposition to the Cordoba Community Center.

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      My first exposure to "sundown towns" was when I worked near Gold Beach one summer in college, and was told that Gold Beach had that tradition. I was shocked, but then, I came from a rural area near a college town, and as such was considered a "city girl."

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        My wife remembers well a black family, the father a meterologist with the Nat. Weather Service, effectively being run out of town, back in the 1950s. Medford, Grants Pass have in their "proud" Oregon history the distinction of being sun-down towns.

        Klamath Falls was a center of Klu Klux Klan activity, which at one time controlled state politics. It's anti-immigrant and anti-Catholic activity led to the passage of legislation banning private schools. (later determined to be unconstitutional). Our own family doctor, a German immigrant, was shot at by a Klu Klux Klansman. So indeed those "salt of the earth" good small town Oregon people have a documented history of being bigots and haters, and the worst kind of xenophobes in large part.

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    Whether it is illegal immigration or the Community Center -- if people would stop using their "lizard" brains only and started using their God-given or Darwinianly-evolved higher brain, they would understand that embracing the Muslim moderates by welcoming the Sufi-influenced Center that would exist there would undermine and weaken our common enemies -- the Quaeda extremists -- far more than dozens of drone hits.

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    This explains why we should embrace the Center far better than I could:


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    Let's call it what it is, a bigoted attempt by the right to gin up this election cycles Willie Horton ad.

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    Let me take this argument down the crazy slippery slope....should Catholic church's be prohibited from being located next to schools or day care centers? Should Christian churches be banned from being near a doctor's office/medical clinic/hospital?

    If the right want's to open this can of worms, then lets take this ALL the way to Crazyland!

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      Except that the residents of crazyland don't care about hypocrisy. Ted Haggard can use heroin with a male prostitute, and his followers would continue to pretend that drug use and non-hetero sex are gross deviations. It's not about consistency, but about their narcissism.

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        Now now, don't maliciously smear the man of using heroin with a male prostitute. Ted purchased and used crystal methamphetamine with a male prostitute. (wry grin)

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    I don't think 9/11 was an attempt by Muslim extremists to "undermine who we are and what we are about as a country", as Carla Axtman posted. That is to restate the "they hate us for our freedoms" meme, which I think is in error.

    Rather, I think a revenge motivation would be more accurate, considering Western incursions into the Muslim world that are historical and are ongoing. Not to say that that is any justification for hijacking planes, etc., but I would say I think that was the motivation of the perpetrators.

    Anyway, I still don't see how two steel-framed skyscrapers collapse at nearly free-fall speed due to local impact and fire. It's physically impossible.

    That and the unknown level of bin Laden's or Zawahiri's actual involvement in this deal are among unanswered questions.

    And, don't you, by now, wish the U.S. had taken up the Taliban's offer to have bin Laden given over to a neutral third-party country, back in 2001? Maybe we could have really gotten some answers (and saved many lives).

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      Oh geez, a 9/11 truther who doesn't know the first thing about physics pushing throughly de-bunked nonsense about how the collapse of the WTC was impossible.

      What next, the Illuminati in cohorts with the trilateral commission faked the moon landings?

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    You forgot the Rockefellers, the council on foreign relations, the world bank, the fed and the jewish bankers....


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    There's no apostrophe in the possessive "its."Everything else has been said.

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    Mitchell Gore, kindly check this website:


    It has support of over 1000 professional architects and engineers who question the idea of a steel-framed skyscraper collapsing at near free-fall due to local impact and fire.

    I didn't say anything about Trilateral, Bildeberger, or anything else like that- I'm merely bringing up a concern about an alleged circumstance that has never previously occurred (and still hasn't).

    But, as this is not in the top-down-mandated concern of the GOP-lite Party, I guess you're not inquisitive enough to research it.

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    "thoroughly debunked"- by whom?

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    I get it Mitchell. You're an ideologue and therefor incapable of considering alternate views as having any potential worth. It's too bad and I'll keep further interchanges to a minimum if only to point out where you are clearly wrong. TTFN.

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      Does anyone know the story behind the Greek Orthodox Church, and the trouble it has had getting approvals?


      I personally have no issue with the Mosque, I just don't think it is a very wise decision.

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        I think its a very wise decision indeed.

        We were attacked by radical, extremists who use the faith of Islam as an excuse to murder people. By putting the Cordoba community center in this place and embracing it, its a testament to not only our nation's religious tolerance, but our desire as a people to create understanding. It sends a message to those who sought to undermine who we are and what we're about that not only were they unsuccessful, they in fact gave showed us a way to reinforce what we are as a nation.

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      Yeah, I really hate being an "ideologue" over the first amendment. I can live with it.

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    I read a story yesterday about the imam who is being demonized by the GOP as a radical "Islamist." He was a speaker at the funeral of Daniel Pearl, and made the pronouncement, "I am a Jew." and went on to say that the Jewish "Sh'ma" which is the central prayer and spiritual foundation of Judaism and of Christianity, is also the essence of the teachings of the Quran. The prayer is "Sh'ma Y'Israel.." "Hear O Israel, the Lord our God is One. Love the Lord your God with your whole mind, heart, spirit, and strength. When the GOP attacks the peacemaker and reconciler, they become the ally of the radical, the hater, the Bin Ladens of the world.

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    The GOP crazyland march continues. Yesterday from one of its spiritual fathers, Franklin Graham, son of Billy Graham. According to him it doesn't matter that Obama worships with Christians because his faith was passed to him genetically by his father."I think the president's problem is that he was born a Muslim, his father was a Muslim. The seed of Islam is passed through the father like the seed of Judaism is passed through the mother."

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      Oh it gets even better. In Gainsville Florida, there is an ongoing fight because the unintentional absurdly ironically named "Dove World Outreach" church wants to hold a public book burning of the Koran, and the local mayor and fire chief are telling them they can't.

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    The GOP may be the band leaders, but plenty of lefties are playing this tune as well

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    President Obama's defense of the right of Muslims to build a mosque and Islamic center in New York City turned the issue into one of religious freedom. That was wrong, and so are you.

    He could have said, and so could of you: American law and values do not support discrimination, certainly not against Muslims; our history proves that.

    There are about 2, 000 mosques in the United States, serving about 8 million Muslims; NYC alone has a dozen mosques.

    President Obama could have noted that mosques are often political and social centers, some which are problematic, and so could of you. FBI estimates , 10 % of the mosques in the United States are associated with radical Jihadist ideology. Others estimate that 80% of mosques are dominated by the extremist Wahhabi ideology promoted by Saudi Arabia. And they are allowed to practice, under American principles of freedom of religion.

    Unlike houses of worship in America which are built and supported by the local population, most mosques receive funding from foreign countries, especially Saudi Arabia.

    President Obama might have noted that the Moslem Brotherhood, a Nazi organization that is banned in Egypt, is associated with some American mosques.

    A study by Freedom House concluded that "American mosques are filled with Saudi publications that promote hate ideology. All of the books and publications were found to have some connection to Saudi Arabia. According to the study, these publications advanced a "dualistic worldview in which there exist two antagonistic realms or abodes that can never be reconciled, Dar Al-Islam and Dar Al-Har, or Abode of War and that when Muslims are in the latter, they must behave as if on a mission behind enemy lines."
    The study also concluded that these publications "pose a grave threat to non-Muslims and to the Muslim community itself." The study further found that the "spread of Islamic extremism, such as Wahabbism, is the most serious ideological challenge of our times" and that "[t]he Saudis' totalitarian doctrine of religious hatred now planted in many America mosques is inimical to our tolerant culture, and undermines the war on terrorism by providing the intellectual foundation for a new generation of Islamic extremists."

    President Obama could have explained that this is obviously not an issue of religious freedom. He could have defended America, its reputation, institutions and values. Instead, he incorrectly reinforced the view that America is bigoted, and so are you.

    For that, President Obama owes every American an apology,and so do you.

    Building a Victory Mosque on the graves of our innocent dead, is not a issue of religious freedom no matter how you want to frame it. It is an affront to our nation and our sensibilities, and if you don't like that you are free to leave.

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      What if it is a political and social center? Is the right to free assembly nonexistent anymore?

      Your comment is an affront to the ideals that this country was founded on. It spits on the Constitution and promotes fear and cowardice. Our founders would be ashamed of you if they read this rhetoric.

      Some of those 'innocent dead' that you so casually toss into your rhetorical shamefulness happen to be Muslim--and members of the congregation of the Imam who will head the Cordoba Community Center.

      The person who owes the apology here is the one who stares back at you in the mirror--if you can stand to look at him.

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    Your personal insults aside. I knew people that were there that day. You come across as a very insulting foolish woman.

    You are offending the sensibilities of ALL Americans by suggesting you hold some moral high ground over the rest of us, that this is an issue of religious freedom, or that I or anyone else are not being sensitive toward the Muslims murdered that day by Islamic extremists. I do not put human beings innocently slaughtered into categories I must be sensitive to. I mourn for all of them.

    I stand with the vast majority of the American people in affirming that you do not build a Victory monument, an enemy fort if you will, on the graves and the site of the greatest massacre on American soil in our lifetimes, as you wouldn't allow the KKK to build a White learning center on the spot were MLK died. It's an affront. Do you get it!? Where's your decency? Where's your sensitivity for all Americans?

    No one is arguing against religious freedom, as this isn't the issue, only you and a few misguided lemmings are trying to frame it as such. Strange you want so desperately to use the American Constitution against America.

    Lenin would call you a useful idiot.

    If you really were concerned with religious freedom, you would be demanding proof of the source of foreign money used to build this potential abomination and asking for strong public statements of rebuke from the Imam of all terrorism, terrorist acts, terrorist groups and oppressive sharia law, in order to insure that religious freedom is what is being applied....not attempting to use religious freedom as a political cover for the enemies of the free world and those freedoms you say you hold so dear.

    Again Carl, Lenin would call you a useful idiot.

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      Lots of people who support the Cordoba Center "knew people there that day". Please stop insulting me by pretending that everyone, or even the majority who "knew people" are against this Community Center. It's a straw man.

      "Offending the sensibilities" is no excuse to deny the Constitutional rights of citizens. Using it as an excuse to spit on our sacred founding laws is disgusting and shameful.

      I don't care who you think you stand with, what you're advocating for is wrong. Just like it was when the "majority" supported slavery and denying women the right to vote. High minded rhetoric won't bail you out of this nasty position--using the graves of murdered citizens to push your anti-American/pro-terrorist agenda.

      Shame, shame on you.

      You don't care about freedom, the Constitution or anything resembling what this country was founded on. That's clear from your comments here. And please, use your Lenin/Communism scare tactics with someone to whom it matters. Its just another example of your insulting, demeaning tactics.

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        OK, crazy lady! LOL

        Pro-terrorist? Anti-American?

        Those are your stances.

        My father fled a communist country, served as a United States Marine, and taught me a deep respect for all this country stands for. Again, religious freedom is not what's at stake here.

        Just so you understand, the majority who stood for slavery were Democrats. Those who tried to stop the suffrage movement were democrats.

        Most of your comments so far are dis-jointed and/or personal attacks.

        These aren't tactics, but my reasoned opinion and the opinion of of the vast majority of Americans of which EVERY poll agrees with me.

        You sound crazy.

        Are you a Marxist, oops, I mean progressive liberal Democrat?

        Do you think America is bad?

        Why are you so angry? :)

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          Wow. A genuine jack-ass. Well done. (golf clap)

          Pssst, the pro-segregation wing of the Democratic Party left in the 1940s through 1960s (look up Dixiecrats) and are now the GOP base (from Strom Thurmond on down). Of course that is merely the tip of the iceberg in your spectacularly full of crap post of ignorance, fact-less bloviating, and tired "conservative" blathering.

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          Your articulated positions demonstrate an either complete ignorance of the US Constitution and the beliefs of those who founded this nation, or a complete disregard for them.

          It doesn't matter who "stood for slavery" or against suffrage, they were wrong to do it. Just as you're wrong to stand against the basic rights and freedoms afforded to us in the US Constitution.

          Again, just because a bunch of people may agree with you doesn't make it right or true. And its certainly no excuse to continue to buy into it.

          I'm sure I do sound crazy to you. Those of us who believe in what our founders envisioned and the Constitution often do sound crazy to those who don't.

          I'm always angry when people rhetorically spit on the Constitution. Your pro-terrorist, anti-American positions are shameful and they would make any reasonable citizen angry.

          I suspect you wouldn't know a Marxist if one reached up and bit you--because you don't really care about Marxism. You care about ending freedom for thousands of my fellow citizens.

          I do thank you for commenting here, however. You've been trying to run for Congress from my own district. It's a wonderful archive to take around to the entire district to show them not only your positions, but how you conduct yourself. Neither are especially flattering for someone attempting to run for Congress.

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    I know I'm feeding the trolls, but something about John Kuzmanich's tone leads me to believe he may actually believe what he's writing, and that's scary. Sir, you can't believe you're holding a "deep respect for all this country stands for" and earnestly tell folks who disagree with you that they are "free to leave". You must understand that they are also "free to stay right where they are and disagree with you." I would also respectfully ask you to stop using the term "all Americans" as it is extremely clear that there are a great many Americans that totally disagree with you. I for one, feel that your fear of Muslims and complete inability to discern between American-Muslims and radical terrorists is profoundly anti-American, at best. "Victory Mosque" is in itself an offensive term as it lumps all Muslims into a single group and assumes them terrorists. Enough of your fear. Enough of your demagoguery. America is now and will continue to be the home of the brave as long as there are enough Americans that have the courage to hold their convictions higher than their cheap fears and prejudices. A far as being angry, isn't anger appropriate when it is the very fabric of inclusion, tolerance and courage that has for two hundred years bound our country together in the face of all adversity that you so rabidly seek to tear away? No Sir, you are entitled to your views, and to stay in America as you hold them without being asked to leave, but don't for a second equate them with patriotism when it is the very sacred core of our union that you would dismantle.

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    First off, you are correct that my tone is sincere. Why wouldn't it be? I agree with you, and you are right that Carla and people like her are free to leave or free to stay, and your point is well taken....that people are free to disagree with her, me, or anyone. I would never want it otherwise. Their is no one size fits all in America. That would be group think unamerican Marxism. I was merely suggesting to Carla an option that might suit her since she seems so at odds with the majority of people of this Country, so intent on believing anyone that dares to disagree with her prior to debate must be bigoted. Some of her assertions are down right silly.

    She sounds very much like a child that can not defend her positions like an adult, and resorts to weak and unprofessional attempts to hide it, deflect, or project.

    Carla started her article by entitling it, "I can not reconcile the two Americas". Her sense of self importance, and her blatant contempt without debate for the vast majority of Americans who disagree vehemently with her opinion for reasons other than what she's incorrectly stated on their behalf, is insulting, and shows a lack of decency, poor debating skills, and an inability to put together a decent argument.

    I will again repeat that there is no issue of Religious freedom of which anyone is disagreeing with. I believe on religious grounds they have the right to build that mosque. Again, that is not the issue, but Carla appears to like it to be. That said, for reasons I've repeatedly mentioned they potentially should NOT. For her to claim that Americans that disagree with her are insensitive to muslims is laughable. I do not classify Americans into one group or the other and assess blame, special sensitivities, needs, or treatment. I treat Americans equally giving special privilege to none. Is it sensitivity she's worried about when an issue like this polarizes the nation? Does the building of this Mosque promote social unity or divide it? How about an individual like Carla stating she can not reconcile....by that definition there is no room for discussion or anything but division.

    Those who want to build this Mosque, the people who pay for it, are not American, and in fact it is no stretch to ask or question their intentions when building a 15 story edifice on the ground of our innocent dead, breaking ground on 9/11 the very day of this atrocity, in spite of calls of our people otherwise. In fact it is grossly negligent to do otherwise.

    Carla, you can have your opinion, but from what I can tell it is based on gross misrepresentations of what you would like things to be, not what you know it is through dogged pursuit of the facts, and your lack of concern for the truth to back up your beliefs is grossly negligent, as is your disdain for anyone who rightly might disagree with you.

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      And for what its worth you sound like an ignorant jackass. Your point?

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        Hi mitchell,

        Jackass is the mascot of the Democratic Party.

        Did you want to talk about something substantive, besides mascots?

        Do you think I can't name call?

        If you want to have a discussion on an issue, state your case, and let's have at it.

        You aren't scared of real debate are you?

        are you a progressive, mitchell?

        Can you defend or state your ideology clearly?

        Do you know what you believe in?

        I bet you can't.

        I bet, I can run circles around you and any foundational ideology you support.

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          COmical. I am an unapologetic Democratic member and progressive. And you couldn't argue your way out of a wet paper bag. Beginning with basic concepts like the 1st amendment and the defense thereof vis-à-vis the issue at hand (i.e. the building of a community center on private property with facilities for worship as a component

          That you argue against freedom of religion shows you need to take civics 101 again.

          It is ironic that you mentioned your father serving in the Marines given that all members of the U.S. Military swear an oath to defend the Constitution, yet here you are agitating for the subversion of one of the most basic comments of our Constitution.

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    CNN/Opinion Research poll last week that found that 70% Americans were opposed to the planned project, while 29% support it.

    Carla, you can not reconcile with 70% of America? Where did all your sensitivity go?

    According to a new Time magazine poll published Thursday, 61 percent of Americans are opposed to the construction of an Islamic community center and mosque near Ground Zero in lower Manhattan. Only 26% of respondents came out in support of the building project, with more than 70% agreeing that proceeding with the plan would be an insult to the memories of 9/11 victims and their families.

    70% think your stance insults the victims and their families.

    A Sienna College poll cited by the Associated Press on Thursday found that 63% of registered New York voters were opposed to the Cordoba House project, with only 27% supporting it.

    This is not as you have incorrectly stated, an issue of religious freedom. Our rights as Americans to freedom of religion is not in question, nor is it the argument against this Mosque, so attacking or defending the building of the mosque on those grounds is just you shadow boxing with yourself.

    Do you have an argument in support of the Mosque if it is found to be being built by enemies of the United States, supporters of oppressive intolerant sharia law, & haters of the freedoms the Constitution itself provides?

    Would you distort and use the Constitution against your own Country still?

    That again is what Lenin deemed a useful idiot.

    A thoughtful and intelligent answer COULD do well to prove you otherwise.

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      Wrong is wrong, no matter how many people say they support it.

      Incidentally, the polling data on this issue is mixed. The latest Pew poll says that 51% disagree with the Cordoba Center. But 62% say Muslims should have the same rights as other groups.

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    Carla, lets not play the poll game. You're setting up a false argument again. No one is disagreeing with you that Muslims should have the same rights.

    Why are you avoiding the question?

    Do you have an argument in support of the Mosque if it is found to be being built by enemies of the United States, supporters of oppressive intolerant sharia law, & haters of the freedoms the Constitution itself provides?

    Would you distort and use the Constitution against your own Country still?

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      Stop cherrypicking, John. It's dishonest.

      I've made my arguments for the Cordoba Center, you've made yours against. Yours are anti-Constitutional and pro-terrorist. You try to buffet them with polling data--as if more people being wrong should actually matter in terms of deciding to do the wrong thing.

      You're either for the free practice of religion and assembly or you aren't--even if you don't like or agree with the ideas they espouse. That is what the Constitution provides for.

      Our country is stronger because of opposing ideas. You seek to weaken us and undermine everything we stand for.

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        Exactly. But the sick irony of John Kuzmanich trying to wrap himself in faux patriotism (even hiding behind his father's service in the Marines) while ignorantly attacking the basic precepts of our Conceptional rights (as you note) is truly stunning.

        If anything, seems that Mr. Kuzmanich may be an unwitting example for the failure of public education since he doesn't even seem to grasp the most basic concepts of our Constitution.

        But then that seems to be a failure of many of these "conservative" teahadists who are grossly ignorant of basic concepts and facts while they blithely spew clearly un-American views like shredding the 1st and 14th amendment, while convincing themselves they are some sort of second coming of Patrick Henry.

        It would be funny if their ignorance wasn't so poisonous to the body politic.

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    Underlying all the issues of our day is the ideological debate.....

    How do YOU justify your beliefs?

    You don't seem to be a very attractive man, as so far you seem intellectually small.

    Your anger and vitriol I would guess is a compensating factor for your lack of ability to argue on facts.

    Let's start from the beginning, shall we?

    I hear lots of Marxism coming out of the blogs on blueoregon.......... class warfare rhetoric, social division, social justice, redistribution of wealth, etc, and a fear to call it what it is.

    This issue underlies all your petty comments, and in fact is obvious in the apparent disgust Carla and obviously you have for the vast majority of Americans who are disagreeing with you on nearly every issue of the day.

    My opinion and I believe all the polls agree with me, is that you are losing the ideological debate, you're losing the trust of the people and main street America, and insulting them will not win them over, whether you want to have it, acknowledge it, or not.

    That said, if you believe so fervently in you progressive ideology, as I believe in mine, defend it, define it, explain it.

    If you can't you can spin and squirm as much as you want, but reality trumps fiction and failed policy based on failed ideology.

    When you try to attack me, spin, or project, I take it as a win, as it appears transparent that you are unable to defend your own positions, and instead prefer to shadow box with yourself.

    I'm not afraid of the actual debate.

    So here we go. I believe the ideology behind your beliefs and Carla's as well, is failing you, and our Country. It's why you increasing are finding yourselves at odds with the majority of the population, economic realities, and historical data, and why on so many issues you are turning to discredit your perceived opponents, which in reality are your fellow countrymen, with calls of racism, bigotry, etc., and it's not working, because it's disingenuous. It's comes across to most as antithetical to all that we are as a country, and in opposition to what we can see with our own two eyes. It comes across as blaming Americans for not seeing how really smart your ideas are. It comes across as elitist and condescending. That obviously is not your intent, as you sound frustrated. You obviously believe you are right, and everybody else and the data are wrong, but you are failing to prove that to anyone by attacking those who don't agree with you instead of actually showing support for your beliefs.

    So, if you really believe your ideological views are superior to anyone else's, what are you basing that on?

    That is where you are failing miserably.

    So What are your ideological views based on?

    A failure to defend or define them, by default discredits everything else you say.

    It makes you appear ugly, bitter, and without merit.

    Can you defend yourself, and the ideology behind your beliefs?

    What are you hiding from?

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    Is Sharia compliant Islam Compatible With Constitutional Government?

    At least since JFK (who had to assure Americans that the first Catholic president would not be controlled by the Pope) one of the most popular and sacrosanct liberal shibboleths states that our constitution calls for the "separation of church and state." Of course, no such phrase exists in the constitution, and the establishment clause was written to assure that no state-sponsored church could be founded in the United States.

    But if we adhere to the liberal view that there is an implicit constitutional guarantee of separation of church and state, then perhaps liberals should consider Sharia compliant Islam to be at least as dangerous and threatening as conservatives consider communism to be.

    Sharia compliant Islam is not merely the practice of a faith, but a complete integration of religious and social spheres, one that doesn't eschew, but explicitly demands, the union of church and state. Mosque and Sharia are one.

    Why then haven't liberals had the courage to propose a legal ban on the practice of Sharia compliant Islam, since in its current form it clearly violates their sacred constitutional principle requiring the separation of church and state?

    Do you support Sharia law, and do you believe it is compatible with freedom and our Constitution?

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