Merkley: Don't blame friends for acts of enemies

Carla Axtman

Jeff Merkley, Sunday Oregonian:

But, many mosque opponents argue, just because it can be built does not mean it should be. They say it would be disrespectful to the memories of those who died on 9/11 to build a Muslim facility near the World Trade Center site. I appreciate the depth of emotions at play, but respectfully suggest that the presence of a mosque is only inappropriate near ground zero if we unfairly associate Muslim Americans with the atrocities of the foreign al-Qaidaterrorists who attacked our nation.

Such an association is a profound error. Muslim Americans are our fellow citizens, not our enemies. Muslim Americans were among the victims who died at the World Trade Center in the 9/11 attacks. Muslim American first responders risked their lives to save their fellow citizens that day. Many of our Muslim neighbors, including thousands of Oregon citizens, serve our country in war zones abroad and our communities at home with dedication and distinction.

Some have also argued that the construction of the mosque would hand a propaganda victory to Osama bin Laden. I think the opposite is true. Al-Qaida justifies its murder by painting America as a nation at war with Islam. Celebrating our freedom of religion and Muslim Americans' place in our communities is a blow to al-Qaida's ideology of hate and division. We strengthen America by distinguishing, clearly and unequivocally, between our al-Qaida enemy and our Muslim neighbors.

This is what real leadership looks like.

[Update, by Kari: There's more at the Washington Post, Salon, Digby's Hullabaloo, and the Portland Mercury.]

Comments

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    I know many on the left have been pretty spineless on this issue as well, but when did the GOP become such crybaby bi**hes on this.

    America used to be a place where a terrorist group could fly a plane into a building and we would dust ourselves off, rebuild, kick their butts and show the world that NOTHING OR NO ONE can get us down. Hell, let the terrorists open a recruiting center smack dab on ground zero so we could show the world what we were made of. NOTHING CAN MAKE US GO AGAINST OUR CONSTITUTION.

    Now, not so much.

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    Michael Pingree,

    I submit that in times of crisis the U.S.A. has usually ditched the Constitution, and done so quickly and blatantly.

    Check the history of the post-WW1 Red Scare, a component of which were raids carried out under the guidance of Atty. Gen. A. Mitchell Palmer. These raids were carried out without warrant, and facilities of all left-leaning or leftist organizations were smashed.

    Some anarchists had been carrying on a mail-bomb campaign and other bombings, against capitalist and government targets. Most famous was Mario Buda "planting the poof" at the House of Morgan at Wall St. in 1920.

    Things got to be so completely unconstitutional that the U.S. Congress refused to seat a duly-elected Socialist from the State of Wisconsin, a man named Victor Berger.

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    I say the U.S.A. has a much more consistent history of trashing the Constitution, as regards how it deals with those it considers to be "enemies" (even pacifists), than it does of upholding it.

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    Spot on, Sen. Merkley!

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      It should be noted that the leadership and community behind the sponsorship of the Cordoba Center are Sufi Muslims, a peaceful mystical sect of Islam.

      In other words, this would be like punishing a bunch of Scandinavian Lutherans for the troubles between Irish Catholics and Irish Protestants (largely Presbyterians and Church of Ireland.)

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    Proud Senator Merkley represents our state in DC!

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    I am delighted that Jeff wrote this and very proud to call him a friend and my senator.

    What I do not understand is why he is such a rare example of basic decency and support for what we are all taught in grade school about what makes America great? Where are our congressmen in Oregon? Both Earl and David have strong Muslim communities in their districts. Why are they not supporting them?

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    Super level-headed piece Senator Merkley. A great response.

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    I've been emailing it around today and quoting those last two paragraphs. The only regret I have is that it wasn't in the NYT.

    Makes you proud to be an Oregonian.

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    What I find very disturbing in Oregon and in the much of the USA, is that we are extremely passive when it comes to all religions, except Christianity. IF the situation were reversed and IF this were a Christian Church being built near a bomb site where the destruction had been done by "Christians", the amount of protesting and persecution would be astounding. IF it is truly PRIVATE land, then we, as citizens of this country need to respect that...IF it is on PUBLIC land, or funded in any way by PUBLIC money, it would be an atrocity! The ACLU spends the majority of their time fighting Christian memorials on public land...many that depict history. Being the Liberal Catholic that I am, I do so get tired of the "special attention" all the religious interests get, except when it comes to Christianity. We need to be FAIR ACROSS THE BOARD TO ALL.

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    CNN/Opinion Research poll last week that found that 70% Americans were opposed to the planned project.

    The implication that Americans who disagree with you for very legitimate concerns that have nothing to do with freedom of religion, are in some way bigots or incorrect, is becoming quite tiresome for the majority of Americans.

    The mosque issue is not bigoted islamophobia, but legitimate concern with extremist radical Islam.

    The illegal immigration issue and the Arizona law is not racism, but a legitimate concern for the rule of law and the security of our borders and our legal citizens.

    Criticism of the President and his policies are not racially motivated, but legitimate criticism of his policies.

    The Tea Party Movement is not racist or homophobic, but a legitimate people's movement, motivated by a disgust with politics as usual from both Parties, an ever growing Federal Government and the debt we are heaping on our children and our future, and a sincere desire for limited Constitutional government, fiscal responsibility, and free-market principles that provide opportunity, growth, and real sustainable jobs for our people, and a firm belief in individual rights, liberty, and freedom for all.

    The politically motivated race-baiting divisive politics coming out of the left is not constructive, nor does it do anything to properly frame or address or attempt to solve our problems.

    No one is denying racism, sexism, stupidity or any ism doesn't exist in all quarters. You can't get rid of stupidity, but attempts to smear political opponents or large segments of the American people in order to discredit their opinion prior to debate and make it a forgone conclusion that they are wrong is dishonest, and does a disrespect to those who legitimately would like to see us solve some of our persistent problems. To paint opposition to things you believe in with the wide brush of name calling in lieu of real and honest national discourse, helps no one further the cause of understanding....in fact it inflames and shuts the ears of those who would otherwise listen to the substantive parts of your positions.

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    CNN/Opinion Research poll last week that found that 70% Americans were opposed to the planned project.

    And 97% of the country was opposed to mixed-race marriages at one point. I have an idea, lets put YOUR rights up for a popularity vote shall we?

    The Tea Party Movement is not racist or homophobic, but a legitimate people's movement

    Pull the other one, it has bells on it.

    The teahadists were started by Dick Army (head of "Freedomworks") as an astroturf group, which Fox prompted vi 9/12 events for months. This brought out the fringe whackos, from former Perot supporters to John Birch Society freaks. That it drew dupes like you into it as well (I am making the generous assumption that you are not a bigot though given your tirades in other threads I may be too generous here) does nothing to absolve the racist, homophobic, batsh*t crazy crap the teahadists push.

    The politically motivated race-baiting divisive politics coming out of the left is not constructive

    Really? So why is the "conservative" GOP Teahadists stoking ignorance, fear and racism and opposing the very basic principles of our nation like the 1st and 14th amendment?

    To paint opposition to things you believe in with the wide brush of name calling in lieu of real and honest national discourse, helps no one further the cause of understanding

    Are you crapping me?

    The entire bigoted ginning up of this fake controversial "mosque" which isn't a mosque, isn't at the WTC site, whose Sufi leader was hired by the Bush administration for outreach to muslim world to promote the religious tolerance of the US is nothing but dishonest from top to bottom by the anti-American protesters crapping on the 1st amendment in protest over this "mosque".

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    From its inception in February 2009, the Tea Party movement has focused on three core values: (1) constitutionally limited government, (2) free markets, and (3) fiscal responsibility. These core values emerged quickly during the dramatic two-month period in early 2009 when the movement first exploded on the scene. As if from nowhere, Rick Santelli's rant on February 19, 2009 started an unlikely chain of events that brought one million Americans -- many first-time activists -- to nine hundred "Tax Day Tea Parties" around the country on April 15, 2009.

    The Tea Party movement has rejected the discussion of social issues as an unwanted distraction that will hurt the movement's ability to accomplish its constitutional and fiscal objectives.

    Tea party activists, whether they govern their private lives by faith in God or by a purely secular morality, are united in their concern about the loss of individual rights stemming from our corrupted Constitution and our corrupt system of representation. They are dedicated to restoring the purity of our original constitutional system in order to pass on the republic intact to the next generation of Americans.

    The social issues that motivated the Moral Majority in the 1970s and 1980s, and the Christian Coalition in the 1990s, are considered secondary to the preservation of the republic. The common attitude among tea party activists is that we should save the republic first, and then let traditionalists and non-traditionalists duke it out over the social issues as they see fit within the confines of the saved republic.

    There are two competing ideologies of 21st-century America. The first ideology is held by the majority of mainstream Americans, who support the free-market individualism of the Tea Party movement. The second ideology is the collectivist-statist-redistributive approach supported by a minority of Americans and championed by the Democratic Party, the mainstream media, and almost all of academia.

    Intellectually dishonest academics and left-wing propagandists in the news media continually paint a false picture of our movement, solely for the purpose of advancing their own failed ideology.

    What's your ideology, mitchell? xxx000 :)

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      What dishonest crap. Where were you when the Bush administration exploded the deficit with the failed tax-cuts for the rich which did nothing but explode the deficit while median wages declined?

      Where were you when the Bush administration pushed the massive assault on limited government in the form of the grossly misnamed Patriot Act? Your claim of limited government and fiscal responsibility are pure bunk. It is the toothless and intellectually bankrupt failed ideologies of Reagan and Bush trying to resurrect itself as a talking point to oppose the Obama administration, Nothing more.

      Of course, your trying desperately to change the subject form the issue of this story, which is the assault on the 1st amendment by un-American bigots such as yourself in trying agitate against the free exercise of religion as a proposed community center because it is being built by muslims (ooh be afraid!).

      What ignorance and cowardice.

      BTW, the folks who actually balanced the budget and left a surplus was the CLinton administration, which you and your ilk promptly screwed up when your team came into power through judicial fiat. Fiscal responsibility… bwahahaha.

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      BTW, here is the latest result in your advocacy of hate-fueled, anti-American, anti-Muslim teahadist rhetoric... NYPD Charges Man With Hate Crime After He Allegedly Stabbed Muslim Cab Driver.

      Keep assaulting the 1st amendment and keep pushing the anti-Muslim, anti-American hate from you and your tea party ilk, and this is where it leads.

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      How has our Constitution been corrupted?

      For all of your ranting, taxes are about as low as they have been for anytime during the past 65 years.

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    LoL...so ugly aren't you mitchell.

    There are two competing ideologies of 21st-century America. The first ideology is held by the majority of mainstream Americans, who support the free-market individualism of the Tea Party movement. The second ideology is the collectivist-statist-redistributive approach supported by a minority of Americans and championed by the Democratic Party, the mainstream media, and almost all of academia.

    Intellectually dishonest academics and left-wing propagandists in the news media continually paint a false picture of our movement, solely for the purpose of advancing their own failed ideology.

    What's your ideology, mitchell?

    Why don't we meet somewhere, and you can embarrass yourself in person?

    Maybe we can record it.

    You seem afraid of me.

    Cowards tend to hide behind insults when they can't defend their beliefs.

    Insults do not substitute for positions.

    Are you a coward?

    How about we meet and talk in person?

    Or are you only capable of blathering to the choir?

    So far you seem like an intellectual lightweight, and an ugly bitter man.

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      so ugly aren't you mitchell.
      ...
      Insults do not substitute for positions.
      Hypocrisy and lack of self-awareness, thy name is John Kuzmanich
      There are two competing ideologies of 21st-century America.

      Your insistence on continuing to try and distract from the subject under discussion not withstanding, and in reply to your fraudulent attempts to frame it as some great ideological struggle (which is a sure sign of an ideologue not living in reality)... no there isn't.

      There is the failed ideology of lazee-fare, deregulated, unbridled capitalism which is what has driven the U.S. economy straight into the mountain.

      From the repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act of 1933 in late 1999, and continuing right up until the threat of full economic collapse under the previous administration, the failed church of deregulation and trickle-down economic snake-oil has failed. Yet here you and other members of the modern equivalent of the Know-Nothing Party, trying to resurrect it like some perverted zombie Reagan.

      What's your ideology, mitchell?
      I am not an ideologue. I am a pragmatic progressive. So your question is moot, though as I noted previously, a rather telling indicator of your world-view. The rest of your childish attempts chest puffery would be comical if not so sad.

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    Carla,

    I think your last comment:

    "Thank you for posting, John. Your comments are a good reminder of the vigilance against tyranny that our founders reminded us about."

    regardless of your intent, is a good starting place, for a real conversation aimed at reconciliation. Your claim that you can't, is the original reason I commented.

    My guess is, you are passionate about your beliefs, as am I. My guess is you believe your beliefs are the best way to accomplish a more equitable better world, as do I.

    So it really all comes down to which set of beliefs empirically accomplish the stated goals.

    Our "visions" of the future we would like are irrelevant. Blame for an unrealized vision is irrelevant. Projection by either of us in not constructive, nor is a claim of irreconcilability.

    I would bet there are many things we agree on. Calling huge swaths of Americans bigots or this or that doesn't get us there, in fact it exacerbates our disagreements.

    We all have to admit, politics and the socio-economic fabric of America is fraying, and becoming hyper-partisan. That historically tends to lend itself to conflict, not peace or resolve.

    I really truly would like to have an ideological debate with you, so maybe in some small way we could search for common ground, understanding, and a better world. Don't get me wrong, I still think I would come out right on most of it, but I'm willing to listen, not to your opinion of what I think, but to your own ideas. I know what I think, and so far you haven't really guessed it right. You don't have to guess or incorrectly project, as I will tell you, and probably surprise you on occasion.

    I have built businesses and successfully managed large groups of people. I have a world of experience and so do all the people on this issue or that, that might disagree with you, as I'm sure do you. Discrediting them all with one big swipe, does a discredit to all of them and to your argument with might have some very valid merit otherwise. 70% of America are not bigots, unamerican, or against the Constitution, 70% of Americans are not all fools or anti-muslim, or anything you can paint with so wide a brush. The % we can argue about, but the point is the same.

    you or I can state our own views and argue them with certainty, but to misrepresent the other side in leiu of an argument promotes division and disharmony.

    If you truly believe it is hopeless, and everyone that disagrees with you is obviously a fool, a racist, or some other such thing, that doesn't lend itself much room for hope or the concept of self-government, and it just might be a self-fulfilling prophecy.

    At some point, you are either going to have to trust the people, hash out our differences, or be resigned to the fact that our problems can and will get a whole lot worse.

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    I actually believe in this country, and our people's amazing ability to solve our problems, but it is our national identity and our conflicting ideology that need to be addressed as always to arrive at solutions.

    If we refuse to address it or reconcile our differences to the best of our ability, or we will continue to waste our effort fighting, and we all will suffer.

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    You can't yell fire in a theater in spite of your 1st Amendment rights.

    Move the Mosque. Religious freedom is not the issue.

    My guess is, you supported the Gaza blockade running as well.

    These are intentionally contrived public spectacles, hidden behind a fake righteousness.

    If you were legitimately searching for who was funding the Mosque and therefore their intentions, your intentions might seem sincere. You haven't.

    The intentions of the those who want to build the Mosque are what the vast majority of Americans are rightly questioning.

    We are at war with Radical Islam. My friends and fellow patriots shoot and are shot at by extremist Muslims every day.

    If you do not question the intentions of this Mosque's builders and reason for it's construction, you are fools.

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      You can't yell fire in a theater in spite of your 1st Amendment rights.

      Agreed. However that is a strawman argument and has no bearing on the issue at hand.

      Move the Mosque.

      First, as has already been pointed out to you, this is not a mosque any more than a YMCA is a Cathedral.

      Second, there is zero reason this proposed community center should be moved at all. In fact, if pressure (particularly governmental pressure) is brought to bear to force the relocation of the proposed community center, it will do nothing but confirm the very rhetoric of the Islamic extremists who claim the west is at war with Islam. Your reaction and those of the "mosque" protesters are exactly what Islamic extremist hope for in order to justify their call for jihad.

      Religious freedom is not the issue.

      It most certainly is. That you can't see that, speaks volumes about your inability to grasp what basic constitutional protections guaranteed within the first amendment are.

      My guess is, you supported the Gaza blockade running as well.

      More irrelevant subterfuge. The issue of the actions taken by the Turkish relief flotilla and the Israeli military's attempts to enforce a blockade of Gaza are 100% irrelevant to the issue of pressure being brought to bear to force the relocation of a proposed community center in New York City due to hostility towards the religious affiliation of said community center by ignorant fools.

      These are intentionally contrived public spectacles, hidden behind a fake righteousness.

      On this we agree, though it is the anti-"mosque" who are contriving this "spectacle" and thereby reenforcing the narrative that the United States is indeed at war against, and bigoted towards, Islam and that the pluralistic freedoms of religious tolerance is a sham. To say nothing of it betraying the core principles of our national founding.

      If you were legitimately searching for who was funding the Mosque and therefore their intentions, your intentions might seem sincere. You haven't.

      Again, irrelevant. Even if they were an armed, militant, extremist apocalyptic cult, be it Christian (Branch Davidians anyone?) Islamic, Jewish, secular, or whatever, as long as they conform to local, state, and Federal laws, they have every right to build a community center on private property.

      Furthermore, as others have already pointed out, one of the major financial backers of the person spearheading the community center project is the largest owners of Fox News' parent corporation.

      (cont.)

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      (cont.)

      The intentions of the those who want to build the Mosque are what the vast majority of Americans are rightly questioning.

      McCarthyism 2.0 seems to have resurrected itself just in time to whip up fear-based hysteria. Guess fear of "the gay" is no longer a political winner for the right.

      We are at war with Radical Islam.

      No. We are at war with radical extremists who use Islam as the excuse and cover to justify their violence and extremism. No different than the KKK using Christianity to justify their violence and bigotry, or white supremacist Christian Identity using religion to justify their violence, paranoid and bigoted world-view.

      So should we be forcing the relocation of Catholic churches from being to close to where violent crimes were committed by extremists?

      Or insisting that baptist churches must not be near daycare centers because of pedophile priests?

      My friends and fellow patriots shoot and are shot at by extremist Muslims every day.

      First, don't be a coward and try and hide behind the dangerous jobs our military personal are carrying out overseas, and don't arrogate that you are at all a "patriot", because your advocacy for religious discrimination betray any semblance of having claim to such a moniker. A moniker the right-wing have sullied to the point it is a cliched joke.

      Second, if you are indeed referring to our military deployed in Afghanistan and/or Iraq, most of the shooting they are involved in is brought about because of our being foreign occupiers. The quicker we can get out of Iraq completely, and stabilize Afghanistan to the point where we can withdraw, the sooner our troops will not be shot at.

      Third, the most effective way to "win hearts and minds" as that over-used phrase goes, is by showing through action, that the west is not at war with the 2nd largest religion on the planet, and that Islam can and does have a place within pluralistic free societies. Which is, ironically, exactly what this proposed cultural center and specifically the person spearheading this project have been doing. In fact, this was specifically what Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf was engaged by the Bush administration to do. That being outreach to the muslim world to show that the west in general, and the United States specifically, is not at war with Islam and that our pluralistic and Constitutional rights and protections embody the principles peaceful coexistence and religious freedom.

      Too bad those protesting against this "mosque" are doing real damage to not only our own basic principles of religious freedom, but undermining our security and the mission of our military's efforts to combat violent extremism overseas.

      If you do not question the intentions of this Mosque's builders and reason for it's construction, you are fools.

      Spoken like a true fool on a witch-hunt.

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          Utter tripe.

          We are at war with extremists who use islam as the excuse and rationale for their violent actions.

          The vast majority of people in Afghanistan, are we not only NOT at war with, but are in fact trying to provide security for until such time as they can provide security for themselves to the level that the Taliban, al Qaeda and similarly violent extremist groups can be resisted. At which point we can and will draw down our presence.

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    Is 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 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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      Of course Islam is compatible with constitutional government. There are millions of Muslims living in the United States, in perfect accord with the constitution.

      You're living in an evil fantasy world.

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    "who was funding the Mosque"

    [I won't waste time pointing out that you insist on calling it a mosque when you know it's not.]

    As Kari noted above, the funder singled out for vilification by Fox News is in fact one of News Corp's largest shareholders.

    Put that in your pipe and smoke it, along with whatever else you seen to have been smoking.

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    Do you support Sharia law, Dan?

    Is that the education you would like to see from the "learning" center?

    Do you believe sharia law is compatible with the U.S. Constitution?

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      I believe that if people want to teach Sharia law in the US, our country and people are strong enough to handle it.

      You're a man who spends a lot of time living in fear and hand-wringing about it. You're absolutely terrified.

      Which is why "terrorism" works so well with people like you, incidentally.

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        That you assert that sharia is a "Shi'a thing" and "Sunni's hate it" is proof positive you haven't a clue as to what you are talking about.

        Saudi Arabia for example, uses classical sharia (typical of Salafi views of which Wahhabism is part of) as the basis for is system of law.

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      Our courts will do a fine job of ensuring that the practice of any religion, or any political movement, does not violate the constitution.

      So far, it's the Tea Party that seems intent upon ringing up constitutional violations. God forbid if you actually got your way. The courts would be jammed for decades trying to clean up your mess.

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    Kuzmanich must have time on his hands. I wonder why that is?

    He never answered where he was on deficit-financing when Bush was in charge either.

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    Hi michael, sweetheart,

    What's Bush got to do with a potentially Constitutionally incompatible sharia compliant Victory Mosque being built on the graves of innocent Americans at ground zero being presented by the left as an issue of religious freedom?

    Do you have a defensible position on the issue or are you just a duffus? A useful idiot if you will.

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      Why then did you bring up debt and the economic disaster (which BTW occurred under Bush's watch and due to the de-regulatory snake oil you embrace) up-thread you cut-and-paste spam trying to spin what the tea party is about?

      Also, it's quite odd that you refer to other men as sweetheart and care enough about my visage to comment. Perhaps that is why you want to try and shift the focus from "social issues" like gay rights to economic ones as being the main ones the Teahadists are focused on. Not that there is anything wrong with that. (wry grin)

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        Here's what I believe in:

        A "right" is a moral principle defining & sanctioning a man's equality of freedom of action in a social context. There is only one fundamental right (all others are it's consequences or corollaries).....a man's right to his own life. We are all equal in this right to our own lives. No one else has a claim to anything of mine due to their perceived suffering or inequities of others. Life is a process of self-sustaining & self-generated action. Which means: the equal freedom to take all the actions required by the nature of a rational being for the support, the furtherance, the fulfillment and enjoyment of one's own life. So equal in the rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. The concept of "right" pertains only to action, specifically freedom of action. The equal right to life is the source of all rights---and the right to property is their only implementation. Without property rights, no other rights are possible. Since man has to sustain himself by his own effort, the man who has no or reduced rights to the product of his effort Has no means to sustain his life. The man who produces, while others dispose of his product, is a slave. To violate man's equal rights means to compel him to act against his own judgment or his values. There is only one way to do this, by the use of force. Their are two violators of man's rights; criminals & the Government. The great achievement of The United States was to draw a distinction between the two.......by forbidding to the second the legalized version of the activities of the first. The Declaration of Independence laid down the principle that to secure these rights governments are instituted among men. This provided the only valid justification of government and it's only proper purpose: to protect man's rights by protecting him from physical violence. Thus the role of government was changed from role of ruler to the role of servant. The government was set to protect man from criminals-and our Constitution was written to protect man from government. The Bills of Rights was not directed against private citizens, but against the government, as an explicit declaration that individual rights supersede any public or social power. If one wishes to uphold equal individual rights, one must realize that capitalism is the only system which can uphold & protect them, as capitalism's indefensible foundation IS the principle of individual rights.

        And if one wishes to gauge the relationship of freedom to the goals of the political classes of either Party or the left wing media one may gauge it on the fact that the concept of individual rights is evaded, distorted, perverted and seldom discussed........ This is often done by so called "conservatives" as well. Progressive taxes, social good, public virtue and all redistributive government policies even in the name of "equality"refute these most basic of moral, ethical, philosophical, & ideological principles.

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          Great. That word confetti was not only 100% irrelevant to the topic at hand, the building of a community center which contains a room for islamic prayer on private property in New York City, but was also quite the display of bizarro-world interpretations of rights. Locke, Smith, and the Constitution be damned.

          BTW, you do realize that Adam Smith, considered the father of capitalism, in Wealth of Nations was explicit about the need for progressive taxation, yes?

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          Generally, John, when you quote people in print it's standard to use quotation marks and credit your sources - so: did you actually know you were quoting Ayn Rand verbatim, or were you lifting stuff from other web sites without realizing that's where the stuff originally came from?

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            Should have know that he was pilfering hack pseudo philosopher Rand.

            As conservative author Whittaker Chambers of the National Review noted in his review of what is considered her mangnus opus, "From almost any page of Atlas Shrugged, a voice can be heard, from painful necessity, commanding: 'To a gas chamber—go!'"

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              Wow, Mitchell - the last thing in the world I ever thought I'd find myself reading was a review of Ayn Rand by Whittaker Chambers - but, dang, you're right: it's quite a piece. Thanks for the reference.

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            Oh - and for those who want see the source John was lifting from, I'm sure he'll be thrilled to have me give you a link to Ayn Rand's essay on "Man's Rights" - which is also the source for John's hatred of the idea of altruism.

            I realize there's a fine line here re. where "feeding the trolls" comes into play - but in this case I think it's actually very instructive for those who want to see just where this moral toxic waste comes from.

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              Yep. John's buy-in to the hack pseudo philosopher Ayn Rand's world-view of "I got my screw everyone else" seems about par for the course for the teahadist crowd.

              Libertarianism is, like John's favorite boogeyman, Marxism, a great theory in the abstract, but when put into practice in the real world leads to a litany of horrors.

              A totalitarian states in the case of Marxism, and sweatshop robber-baron depravations in the latter.

              Of course the irony here is that Former Fed. Chair Alan Greenspan, a friend and disciple of Ayn Rand herself, who has been proven flat out wrong about the self-correcting market forces of the invisible hand which the bunk religion of laissez-faire economic theory. Greenspan even admitted his ideology of the self-correcting aspect of the market was wrong in hearings on the recent economic crisis.

              But John, like his fever-dream nemesis, the dreaded Marxist, is no doubt from the school of thought that the model isn't wrong, just never properly implemented. Just like the failed affair theories of supply-side economics, when put into real world practice simply doesn't work. But like a marxist true believer screaming "marxism didn't fail, we can only fail marxism", John and his fellow travelers are busy screaming the invisible hand never fails, we can only fail the invisible hand.

              Meanwhile reality leaves their visions of self-serving interest leading to utopia in ruins as we have witnessed in the near total collapse of our finical systems stemming from de-regulation and adherence to a Gordon Gecko, gee is good, philosophy put into practice.

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    Your a "pragmatic" Progressive?

    LOL

    What are you pragmatically "progressing" toward?

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    God I wish he had been the GOP nominee.

    Anyone getting PDFs here? They'll be gold in two yrs when he runs again.

    My position is that this is a land-use issue. Just like if the catholic church were to build a church near a home for boys.

    Sweetheart.

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      Given he spent almost $100 a vote, imagine the burn rate the NRCC would have had in throwing good money after bad while peddling off a cliff and lose to Wu in a landslide had he gotten the nod.

      Ahhh, what could have been. (wry grin)

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    It's interesting listening to all of you. I've heard nothing but vitriol, personal attacks, and charges of racism and bigotry, in lieu of ANY argument in defense of of your positions. You know when liberals scream racism it's a position of last resort, and it seems to be the avenue taken on just about every issue now-a-days.It doesn't look good or attract or turn many people your way. In fact, just the opposite. You're demonizing America and they don't like it.

    More than one of you has threatened to save my comments. LoL

    Do you really think at this point I don't stand by all I say? Do you really think that would mean anything to me. Just more empty threats in lieu of an argument. You would think that you would be able to beat me on the field of ideas, although I now see why your afraid of me, as you can not debate.

    Michael, your visage? Do you think I was commenting on your visage? Very insecure aren't you? Your comments, your attitude, your personality are ugly. I judge people by their character, and sadly that's all you have given me to go on. Somebody must of been hard on you. I'm sorry for you.

    You all sound very fearful of opposition to anything you believe, and opposition you have.

    On immigration, the mosque, the economy, health care, the elections......all polls, all of them show you are at odds with the vast majority of America on everything. The chains coming off the bicycle.

    Your claim to religious freedom is a crack up, as no one is arguing with you. You're arguing with yourself, and attempting to demonize your opposition which is nearly everyone. It's sounds silly.

    Put the Mosque somewhere else, in the name of good taste and national harmony, not because of religious freedom, or because anyone has forbid it, on those grounds it would be unconstitutional, but because it is the right thing to do, and it's the thing anyone saying they are in favor of religious or social harmony would want to do.

    Inquire into the financing of the Mosque, because it's the right thing to do.

    Do you all really think that the discussion and the attitude that you all have displayed on this blog is good.....it's divisive, it hateful, it demonizes everyone and anything that disagrees with you.

    You all understand that in the near future, cuts are coming to many of the jobs, government, and programs you hold so dear, even at a state level. There is no more money and a Republican Congress and the Federal Government will not be bailing out irresponsible states like Oregon, California, etc. Your not going to win anyone over, especially the people by screaming at them and demonizing them all and calling the majority of Americans racist or bigots.

    And it's sad that's all you got left.

    Pragmatic progressive... LoL

    Angry ugly bitter Marxist is how that reads.

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    Michael, your visage?

    Ummm did I say anything re something I thought you said about my visage?

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    "There is no more money "

    Because of two wars, NCLB,tax cuts w/o accompanying spending cuts, Medicare RX drug giveaway.

    A GOP senator, Orrin Hatch admitted when your lot was in charge it was standard practice not to pay for things. GOOGLE IT

    YOUR LOT RAN UP THIS DEBT.

    And we aren't afraid of a has been/never was/never will be like you.

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    This wonderful sounding rhetoric from our Senator would sound a lot better if it didn't happen to be exactly what the DCCC would like you to think about Obama and Bush. "Don't blame friends for the acts of enemies". I guess it sounds more statesmanlike like than throwing up your hands and saying, "we didn't do it!". In both discussions, that is the nub. If you have continued to do nothing about it, you are complicit. Muslims that haven't taken a stand against terror actions should be lumped in with the worst element. That is why the Cordova Center is not an insult. Those people have worked tirelessly to fight that culture. When you turn to Obama, though, the right's arguments do fit. He's done far more to ensure continuation of the US' Bush league policies than he has to do what he promised on the campaign trail. "Change". He actually ran on that. Oy veys mir!!!

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