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Rethinking the mosque

   As Frank Rich points out, it is not a mosque, and it is not at Ground Zero. But lots of people have things to say about the Ground Zero mosque.

- Rethink the mosque - Buffalo News Editorial
... President Obama seems to be on the same side as the people. He picked the celebration of Ramadan Adamislamophobia to say it is the right of Muslims to build there, but later added fuel to an already blazing debate by refusing to say whether or not he thinks it is the right thing to do. That at least mirrors public sentiment; a Siena Poll released Wednesday indicated more and more people are following the issue, and that while most oppose the project (63 percent to 27 percent) most also think the developers have a constitutional right to build it (64 percent to 28 percent).
   We believe, too, that Muslims have the right to build the mosque -- but that it is not the right thing to do.

- Rush to condemn mosque leads nowhere - Douglas Turner/The Buffalo News
   Thanks to Obama, this is now a controversy that has no happy ending. If it is built at 51 Park Place, soft words about First Amendment religious freedom will be like ashes in the mouths of many who lost loved ones on 9/11.
   If it is moved or not built, America’s Muslim friends here and overseas will forever wonder if the controversy wasn’t another example of America’s storied history of righteous racial and religious bigotry.

 - Taking Bin Laden’s Side - Nicholas Kristof/The New York Times 
   ... the proposed community center is not just an issue on which Sarah Palin and Osama bin Laden agree. It is also one in which opponents of the center are playing into the hands of Al Qaeda.

- How Fox Betrayed Petraeus - Frank Rich/The New York Times
   Here’s what’s been lost in all the screaming. The prime movers in the campaign against the “ground zero mosque” just happen to be among the last cheerleaders for America’s nine-year war in Afghanistan. The wrecking ball they’re wielding is not merely pounding Park51, as the project is known, but is demolishing America’s already frail support for that war, which is dedicated to nation-building in a nation whose most conspicuous asset besides opium is actual mosques.

- Protests, Rhetoric Feed Jihadists' Fire - Jonathan Weisman/The Wall Street Journal
   Islamic radicals are seizing on protests against a planned Islamic community center near Manhattan's Ground Zero and anti-Muslim rhetoric elsewhere as a propaganda opportunity and are stepping up anti-U.S. chatter and threats on their websites.

- For Imam in Muslim Center Furor, a Hard Balancing Act - Anne Barnard/The New York Times
   “To stereotype him as an extremist is just nuts,” said the Very Rev. James P. Morton, the longtime dean of the Church of St. John the Divine, in Manhattan, who has known the family for decades.

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

- Sensitivities Don't Override the Constitution - Michael Kinsley/The Atlantic Wire
   It is like telling blacks or Jews that they have every right to move into the neighborhood, but wouldn't they really be happier in some other neighborhood, not too far away, where the neighbors' sensistivities won't be offended?

- Mosque Demagoguery Is Bipartisan - Rep. Ron Paul/
   In my opinion, it has come from the neoconservatives who demand continual war in the Middle East and Central Asia and are compelled to constantly justify it.
   They never miss a chance to use hatred toward Muslims to rally support for ill-conceived preventative wars. A select quote from soldiers in Afghanistan and Iraq expressing concern over the mosque is pure propaganda and an affront to their bravery and sacrifice.

-- George Pyle/The Buffalo News

More on the general situation

   More about the shake-up in the upper reaches of the American government:

- It’s time for Obama to replace Gates, too - Douglas Turner/The Buffalo News
   WASHINGTON — The day Gen. Stanley McChrystal was finally pulled off his soapbox by President Turner_doug Obama, Fox commentator Bill O’Reilly called McChrystal “a hero and a patriot.” Liar and mutineer are closer to the truth. ...
   Obama’s handling of that motor-mouth raises doubts about the president’s judgment, nerve and executive ability. It also raises questions about the conduct of Defense Secretary Robert Gates — before and after McChrystal’s removal — and about the growing arrogance of our uniformed establishment.

- Obama walks the fine line - David Broder/The Washington Post/The Buffalo News
   The firing of Gen. Stanley McChrystal and the resignation of budget director Peter Orszag represent the most significant fraying in the top levels of the government since President Obama took office.

- Fire the lot of them, Mr. President - Cleveland Plain Dealer Editorial

Continue reading "More on the general situation" »

A riot is an ugly thing

   The lead editorial from today's Buffalo News Opinion page:
- Anger taken too far
    One argument against the newly signed health care reform law was that it is an example of the Washington elites ignoring the will of the people.
   But if "the people" are now engaging in acts of vandalism and threats of personal violence directed at Brokenglass members of Congress, then their will ought not only to be ignored, but condemned and, in some cases, prosecuted.
- Tactics signal a return to ugly Republicanism - Douglas Turner/The Buffalo News
   So now the Republican theme is “repeal,” meaning trash the massive, confusing health insurance reform law just passed by paper-thin majorities in Congress.
   There is no chance whatever the GOP can win repeal before 2013. The repeal theme will be sounded anyway to raise money, keep right-wing skinheads smashing windows and help entertainers like Rush Limbaugh rake it in.
- How to keep hate alive - Clarence Page/The Chicago Tribune/The Buffalo News
   Racism doesn’t always come dressed in white sheets. Besides racial hate, there’s also the racism of irrational anger, fears, suspicions and resentments. Radio star Rush Limbaugh offers ample examples

- House of Anger - Timothy Egan/The New York Times
   Unfairly or not, the defining images of opposition to health care reform may end up being those rage-filled partisans with spittle on their lips. Whether the outbursts came from inside Congress — the “baby killer” shout of Rep. Randy Neugebauer, and his colleagues who cheered on hecklers — or outside, where protesters hurled vile names against elected representatives, they are powerful and lasting scenes of a democracy gasping for dignity.
   Now, ask yourself a question: can you imagine Ronald Reagan anywhere in those pictures? Or anywhere in those politics? Reagan was all about sunny optimism, and at times bipartisan bonhomie. In him, the American people saw their better half.
The Rage Is Not About Health Care  - Frank Rich/The New York Times
   How curious that a mob fond of likening President Obama to Hitler knows so little about history that it doesn’t recognize its own small-scale mimicry of Kristallnacht. The weapon of choice for vigilante violence at Congressional offices has been a brick hurled through a window. So far.
- Government-hating tea-partiers love their government checks - Cynthia Tucker/The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
   This is a great country, isn’t it? It’s a nation where libertarian, government-hating, militiamen can collect government checks that allow them the time to denounce the government! So it is with Michael Vanderboegh, an Alabama militiamen whose blog has urged health care reform critics to throw bricks through the windows of Democratic elected officials.
- Before threats become deeds - The Corpus Christi Caller Times
   Once again, the militia movement is emerging from the woodwork, as it did in the 1990s. The country at large ignored these adherents’ paranoid ravings as they skulked about the woods muttering about the Posse Comitatus Act, the New World Order and an imminent U.N. invasion.
   Then 15 years ago this April 19, one of the more unhinged of their number detonated a truck bomb outside an Oklahoma City federal building. He killed 168 people. We shouldn’t think it can’t happen — because we know it can
   For example:
- 9 militia members charged in police-killing plot - AP/The Buffalo News
   Nine suspects tied to a Midwest Christian militia that was preparing for the Antichrist were charged with conspiring to kill police officers, then attack a funeral using homemade bombs in the hopes of killing more law enforcement personnel, federal prosecutors said Monday.

Quick, before something happens and this isn't funny any more:

-- George Pyle/The Buffalo News