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Setting the Bar Low, Setting the Bar High

How they control the horizontal, how they control the vertical.

In the Consistency thread one of our frequent commenters made a revealing remark which deserves to be highlighted separately, as it unintentionally confirmed the point of the post:

Unsurprisingly, moderate muslims appear to agree with you almost completely. That's a shocker. (My definition is that they don't try to kill us, or fund people who try to kill us.)
It isn't the snarky first part of this statement that is interesting; that's banal, and while revealing in its own way, it's de rigur for he sort of people we're talking about to on the one hand demand no one reach conclusions on the basis of necessarily limited information when it comes to them and their mascots, but who feel free themselves to rush to entirely unsupported conclusions regarding their opponents and targets, and express them in the snarkiest way possible, all the while holding the self-conception that they're stalwarts defending civil discourse. Of course, one commenter doesn't control anything, any more than I "create the narrative" (If only!). But this comment will be a useful example for how those who do set the terms of debate do so, and a facet of the mindset behind it.

Be that as it may, the truly interesting part is the expressed definition of what qualifies as a "moderate Muslim." Alchemist expressed what I suspect a lot of people on that side of things believe, without fully articulating it even in their own minds: For them a "moderate Muslim" is simply anyone who isn't trying, either directly or indirectly, to kill them.

This truly does reflect having two standards, however. In normal discourse, this isn't generally the standard for moderation: David Duke isn't considered moderate just because he himself never engaged in a lynching and had learned how to express himself in such a way that it's virtually impossible to find a statement where he openly and clearly encourages violence or terror. Yet people can get in trouble with the widely-respected SPLC for example,simply sharing a stage with him in a debate. We understand he's not "moderate" in spite of the suit and tie, and the carefully couched statements.

The fringe of the Mormon faith that still embraces polygamy is not considered "moderate," despite the fact that they keep to themselves and aren't trying to kill anyone. The Westboro "Baptist Church" mobs are not considered moderate, again despite the fact that all they do is use their right to freedom of speech and do not try to kill anyone, directly or indirectly.

I have the same standards when it comes to what I consider moderate, and no, it isn't "appear to agree with [me] almost completely," shocking though that might seem. But it is a bit higher than the sort of people who believe that people on "their side" who are unrepentant terrorists should be considered "mainstream -- educator[s] with distinguished professor status," without altering their views in the slightest, and that any attempt to notice that is invidious. Or that someone can attend a Church for twenty years, quote extremist passages uttered by its pastor in his own book, and we're still supposed to not only believe that he was completely unaware of said Pastor's extreme views, but that the pastor himself was unfairly attacked and mischaracterized. I don't have to agree with someone almost completely to consider them a moderate - I disagree with Nat Hentoff, for example, on quite a lot of things, but respect him greatly (though apparently he is also a bigot now).

I don't know about you all, but it takes me a week or two at most of attending a Church before I have a clear idea what the Pastor or Priest's perspective is (when I was on mid-tour leave from Iraq, my mother was living in the DC area - the Maryland Suburbs - so I spent it with her there. She was going to a small local Episcopal Church at the time, and I went with her to service and "Sunday School." After the first Sunday, I had a fairly good idea where the Priest was coming from, after the 2nd, I knew for sure). If I found myself in, for example, a Westboroesque Church (extremist "conservative"), my skin would crawl and I doubt I'd make it through a single service. I certainly wouldn't sit their docilely for twenty years.

Imam Rauf is of the same sort, but quite a high standard of "evidence" is expected before the Enlightened will allow us to know this. Until then, enforced ignorance is the word of the day. The Atlantic can run a hyperventilating piece on how the Koch Brothers are funding groups, implying it's a Bad Thing - because the Koch Brothers have views that The Atlantic wants its readers to oppose. But inquire into the sorts of things Imam Rauf has supported, and it's off-limits, despicable even. I don't know about you, but I haven't ever accidentally stumbled uncontrollably into financing a flotilla that included unrepentant members of terrorist groups. The Imam has. Alchemist pooh-poohed this (yes, Alchemist - those members weren't in Turkey anymore when they were aboard the ships. You got me there. Good on you). (Btw, Turkey used to have close relations with Israel. Now it. . .does not. Should we draw any conclusions from that regarding why their attitude towards unrepentant domestic terror groups might have changed? Apparently not).

You know, if there's one thing I've learnt from being in the Army, it's never ignore a pooh-pooh. I knew a Major, who got pooh-poohed, made the mistake of ignoring the pooh-pooh. He pooh-poohed it! Fatal error! 'Cos it turned out all along that the soldier who pooh-poohed him had been pooh-poohing a lot of other officers who pooh-poohed their pooh-poohs. In the end, we had to disband the regiment. Morale totally destroyed... by pooh-pooh! (End Blackadder quote)

Enforced ignorance is the order of the day from our governing class/Progressives, even while they decry the ignorance of a majority of the American people. They will not allow proper conclusions to be drawn from, for example, the Fort Hood Shooting. Instead the official report, released this week, speaks of generic "workplace violence," and without a hint of irony the need to hire "additional health care providers, particularly in the mental health field." The "solutions" being imposed should be ones to make Armed Liberal(s) cringe: Fort Riley has prohibited soldiers who have firearm-carrying permits from carrying firearms for protection off-base and authorized unit commanders to set arbitrary limits on the caliber of firearms and ammunition their troops may privately own. The DoD is working on a regulation that would extend much of this Army-wide: all in response to Maj. Hasan bringing firearms onto the base in violation of base regulations, in a situation where if any of the other soldiers there had been armed, many lives might have been saved.

No, the above has nothing to do with the Cordoba Initiative or Imam Rauf. Or American Muslims. But it has everything to do with the enforced ignorance that is part-and-parcel of Progressive Consistency, of much wider significance than the building of any one Mosque. Alchemist says that when this or that happens, he'll oppose it. But do the Progressives really? In the same Christopher Hitchens article, Hitchens mentions Cab Drivers in America refusing to pick up passengers, and people being accosted on the streets and told not to come any closer to a Mosque. In other circumstances, such as, for example, cab drivers refusing Muslim passengers or airlines treating Muslim Imams differently, it's not only widely discussed national news but a Civil Rights Case. Again: Consistency.

Lets look at another underlying attitude here, which is also almost always applied with the same consistency: Associationism. Many improperly apply it in these contexts, but only these contexts. But note it is routine on the Progressive side of things to draw conclusions based not only on the sort of groups and affiliations someone chooses, but even if they happen to appear together in the same venue briefly it can be insinuated they support everything someone else has ever said and done.

Guilt-by-association would be to assert that, for example, because Miss USA Rima Fakih has relatives in the Middle East who are members of extremist organizations, she is tied to extremism. Asserting this about her would be invidious and improper, and of course I did no such thing. She might not count as an example, however, because it turns out she is one of those Muslims who "agree with me almost completely." Perhaps the fine people who stand up for civil discourse will call her Islamophobic.

But it is not improper to point out groups one voluntarily joins in and affiliates with and draw conclusions that it is because of a commonality of views. People do not affiliate randomly, like seeks like. I'm reminded here of a remark made by one of my favorite extremists, made in a completely different context but with wider validity:

(I love this argument that the candidate's past and present colleagues, mentors and employers are a deeply private matter, like whether the One wipes his ass with his left hand or his right, which must not contaminate our consideration of the soaring rhetorical exhalations his producers write for him.)
He has made another observation, also useful here:
Last week I was at a party, at a warehouse space in one of the crackhead districts of SF, at which the subject of crackheads came up. The woman across the table, a member of my social class, expressed great sympathy for this class. I asked her if she had ever been victimized by such. She said: "two days ago, someone smashed a window in my car and stole my iPhone."

And she perceived this crime through a pure Jean Valjean lens, with no sense at all that she had been *personally* victimized - much less, victimized by the government. Or a judge. Or an ideology. Or whatever. Rather, she considered it entirely normal and even laudable for a sophisticated, modern person to live in a city in which an iPhone cannot be left visible on a car seat, and she considered herself an idiot who had, for her $500 or whatever, purchased a valuable lesson about modern urban living. (She literally expressed the idea that an impoverished person had sold her iPhone to buy food. To be fair, she was in her early '20s.)

Who would think this way? Well, perhaps if you were a Frenchman in 1944, and your property was looted and vandalized, by American soldiers on their way to kick hell out of the Nazis, you might think this way. The State Department thought this way about the killing of Cleo Noel. This is the way you think about your own clients and the excesses and abuses they commit. Certainly, if this woman's car had been vandalized by cops, tea partiers, etc, she would have been enraged for life. We hate our enemies and not our allies - it is only natural.

Note that by "clients" he meant, in essence, "clientela," an analogy that is a bit strained perhaps but is akin to my assertions regarding Consistency, as reflected in the last sentence of that quote: consistently having two standards, one for themselves and their mascots, and another for their opponents and targets.

I think the reference to Tea Partiers is apt here. The same people who are sanguine about the Cordoba Initiative and caution against intemperance, rushing to conclusions without a forensic-level of CSI-type evidence, and cautioning against painting with a broad brush and guilt-by-association routinely and casually do all these things in their characterizations and portrayals of Tea Party members. Indeed, they don't have to "try to kill us or fund people trying to kill us" in order to be portrayed as extremist kooks, and of course they aren't seen by the governing class/Progressives as "moderate."

So we end where we started: the first, banal part of the Alchemist quote from which I built this post, using it as an example of the type, illustrates how the same people who are so full of concern that Imam Rauf's views or the like might be mischaracterized feel free, themselves, to completely mischaracterize the views of those they disagree with. As I said: also revealing, also an example of Consistency at work, but a commonplace one.


Oooo!!! I got a whole post about me! So exciting.

Seriously though, here's my beef. You quoted one muslim guy, and that's your proof that "moderate muslims disagree with mosque". You should have said "moderate muslim (singular) agrees with me" or "two moderate muslims agree with me" and you would have had a stronger case.

Still, because one (or 10) muslims agrees with you, it doesn't mean that all moderate muslims agree with you, which is what you implied. Unfortunately, all we have is he said/she said stuff. It's very likely to break down the middle without being definitive at all. Still, it was jerkish of me, I say that again below.

2) Ok, my moderate definition was weak (& jerkish). Let's try something better: "Someone who is not actively engaged in terrorism, who supports the rights of women, and can respect the rights of christians, Jews etc etc".

There are many standards to suggest Rauf is one of these people. He was hired by the Bush administration, and again by state department to speak in the Arabic world. He was asked to speak at the funeral of David Pearl. His wife has an advanced degree (and from what I have seen) does not wear a habib. She holds her own press conferences. All these things seem relatively moderate to me. If their followers support their daughters getting advanced degrees then this is a great, great thing, and will naturally lead to moderation. Win!

3) The DoD is working on a regulation that would extend much of this Army-wide: all in response to Maj. Hasan bringing firearms onto the base in violation of base regulations

this is a tangent (one of many) but violence suicide and abuse have dramatically increased in the military the last few years. This isn't a great article but it's what I could find on short notice. While Hassan is certainly part of the influence (even a large part), it clearly is taking PTSD problems into account.

routinely and casually do all these things in their characterizations and portrayals of Tea Party members.

Yes you're right, they're are definitely people who do this. I don't think I have, and I have pushed back against it (though I don't think I have here). You can correct me if I've made statements denigrating the Tea Party in the past. Usually, I have noted that it will be swallowed by forces inside the RNC or Fox news, and would not achieve true reform. While it's still too early to tell, that seems likely to me.

I also didn't intend to call anyone a bigot. I have implied that the burden of proof is always on the accuser, not the accused. There is certainly some evidence to link him [Rauf] to non-moderate groups. However, if someone is deeply concerned about reforming the muslim world, they will have to connect to the non-moderate world on some level.

I guess the real question is who infleunces whom? That's a fair question (in my mind) As long as you ask it without a pre-conceived answer in mind. Still, even if you do, it doesn't mean that you're wrong, just that I remain skeptical until the evidence is stronger.

Again, if the FBI finds enough information to shut them down, then more power to you. But I'm all about innocent until proven guilty in the court of law. This isn't any different for me.

"I got a whole post about me! So exciting"

It's not about you, your definition was just an appropriate hook.

"You quoted one muslim guy, and that's your proof that "moderate muslims disagree with mosque"."

Here's part of my beef with the attitude you help exemplify by way of illustration: When one or several people are quoted by way of illustration, either positively ("moderate Moslims who recognize this Mosque as unhelpful"), it's "just one or two or six guys," but when I make a general point, that's too "vague." So a rationale is created where anything can be dismissed.

"this is a tangent (one of many) but violence suicide and abuse have dramatically increased in the military the last few years"

That may be true, but the non-sequiter is all these things in the report and response to the Fort Hood Shooting incident.

There are several, distinct, DoD responses to the other issues, and, trust me, I've experienced them direct.

"While Hassan is certainly part of the influence (even a large part), it clearly is taking PTSD problems into account."

Major Hasan didn't have PTSD. He never deployed. Indeed instead he was given the responsibility of helping soldiers who did have PTSD. Fail.

The illustrative point of mentioning the Fort Hood shooting and Major Hasan within the context of my post is that unil he entered the SRP center that day, by all appearances he fit the definition of "moderate Muslim" you described, and that is how he was treated. No one looked into the numerous clues he left regarding his true attitudes (I mean, the guy gives a power-point and we're not allowed to draw any conclusions whatsoever from it, on penalty of career suicide. So no one did).

Noting that the problem really isn't "them," it's us, and this kind of thing kills.

Now, Imam Rauf isn't this kind of person, but as I said, in this post, he isn' the issue. The attitude you helpfully illustrated is.

"Ok, my moderate definition was weak (& jerkish)."

Ok, sure. Still it was what it was, and again since my post, like almost all my posts with very few exceptions, are not about specific individuals, in a way it doesn't matter. Even though it was your initial inclination, and immediate expressins often reveal underlaying attitudes. Often, not always: you may have just wanted to get a dig in at me, since my own writing style is unfortunately sometimes abrasive.

But, again, I think the way you phrased it is illustrative of a much broader but seldom articulated attitude many have on this. This is why we get "moderate" Imams recommended to serve Islamic communities in prison, who later turn out to have been Salafist extemists preaching unspeakable things. Why, as I mentioned in the other comment thread, half or more of the "moderate" Imams fetted by the Bush Administration (invited to dinners and praised as such, or selected as envoys, otherwise held up) likewise turned out to. . .not be. It's how we can have Majors who end up shooting the very soldiers they were sworn to serve.

Meanwhile, actual moderat Muslims - ones who, yeah, prolly disagree with me on a range of issues (such as, say, the wisdom of the Iraq War, or Israel's security fence. Or maybe they voted for people I didn't vote for, &tc), tend to be shunted aside. Part of this is the cult of "authenticity" - a problem that is our problem, and also explains why over the years so many Westernized Muslims (and converts) have gone on sojurns overseas, not to join the Nortern Alliance, for instance, but to hook up with the Taliban.

The problem isn't "them," and as I've also mentioned before, it's only technically true that the 9/11 Hijackers were from Egypt and Saudi: they were, after all, "The Hamburg Cell."

Things are worse in this respect in Europe, but the trend lines are not so great here. The trend lines are towards more, not less, honour killings. More, not less, veils. More, not less, arranged cousin marriages. Here. We're just 10-15 years behind Europe on this, as we are on a whole range of issuses: A point I've made before, and not in connection with Muslims, because it's a broad point. Perhaps one of the ones you dismiss as one made "vaguely." But it is an accurate point.

"Let's try something better: "Someone who is not actively engaged in terrorism, who supports the rights of women, and can respect the rights of christians, Jews etc etc"."

While here, do they support democracy? (I know people who don't and who are not Muslims, but I don't characterise them as "moderate"). Do they support our legal traditions, or want to transform them?

Note that any Muslim, moderate or not, will tell you that Islam respects the rights of Christians and Jews. But in the details they might not mean the same thing by that as you think: the distinction then becomes those details, and when here, a respect for our traditions, how we would define respecting the rights of Christians, Jews, etc etc, rather than a number of the possible Koranic interpretations of what constitutes Islamic respect for "people of the book."

Note that in saying that, I do understand that there is an interpretation of the Koran (probably several) on this point that I would consider moderate and mutually appropriately respectful as we understand it. But there are also many such that we would not, those that fall (broadly) under the category of treating People of the Book as Dhimminis means being appropriately respectful of them.

Now, I haven't said Imam Rauf is akin to that. What I have said is that he seems to be one of the standard-issue Left-style rationalizers of terror who just happens to be a Muslim in this case. But that doesn't mean I'm anymore happy with him opening up and running a center aimed at spreading his world-view than I am with any of that ilk. Which in no way implies a desire to surpress, say, Michael Moore films. I just think people should shun them, and him. People should shun and abhore the likes of William Ayers, not put him in charge of curriculum & instruction nd mainstream him.

There's no reason to treat figures such as Imam Rauf as a moderate, and many good reasons not to. For one, it sidelines actual moderate Muslims. For another, it sends the wrong message to everyone, Muslim and not, of what constitutes moderation. In effect, it is part of the ongoing process of redefining what constitutes the mainstream, inverting it, normalizing radicalism at the expense of the former mainstream.

Now, as for whether a Mosque Ought to be built there, despite every right to build it there, reasonable people should be allowed to disagree. An actual moderate movement might do what your typical mainline people would probably do in this instance: build a true "interfaith community center" there with not only a Mosque in it but a Synogogue and a generic non-denominational chapel. Or they might move it up the road. They might recognize that rather than helping improve relations between Muslims and the broader society, this is inflaming it, and moving it would be a gesture of consiliation, a true attempt at understanding and building dialogue. Note I've read some conspiratorial sites that muse that the Cordoba Initiative will do just that on Sept 10th, but they speculate this has been the plan all along and won't represent any change in views.

Which, on the last point, I agree with the conspiratorialists some. Note that in the above paragraph I said "some might" a lot, a usual rhetorical trick by which people can express something while avoiding responsibility for what they are saying. But when I said all that, it was not because I believed the "some" I just invented were necessarily correct. Perhaps building the Center there as planned and then demonstrating their good aims through good deeds would be the best. Regardless, it sn't up to me: It will be built, and they have every right to build it.

And if they move it, but Imam Rauf and the others associated with it continue to hold views I find abhorent, I don't see why it matters if they build their Center where they now plan to, or if they do it elsewhere. It's all too easy to "lose by winning," which is what 60+% of Americans do much of the time: "See, you got what you wanted, they moved it, it also proves you were wrong all the time about this group," and then none can ever argue substantvely against any attitudes or views expessed by anyone affiliated with the center without immediately being discredited: "See, this is what guys like you said about them when they were first building it, but they proved you wrong then, why should we take you seriously now when you're saying they're working on spreading old-school Sharia and providing rhetorical and other support for people whose views and behavior you say we should deplore?"

Concentrating on the building and the site itself, well it may or may not be valid - based upon things we're not allowed to know. But in the end it will all be fail - again a observation I've made in a range of contexts.

A final note, my objections, such as they've been, have not been to the site itself, but to the underlaying attitudes the insistance upon it helps illustrate, when combined with other statements made by those behind the project. And with our entire fail leadership, who have demonstrated their willful incompetence (practically deliberate incompetence) by leaving that part of Manhattan as they've left it for almost a decade now.

Tell me for true: How many of us thought, in the wake of 9/11, that it would have taken this long for something to be rebuilt there? ANd how many of us thought, in the wake of 9/11, that rather than building something inspiring which would demonstrate our resilience and confidence, it would get bogged down into something deeply uninspiring, with mainly trivial and seedy detours?

I suppose some were already that cynical at the time. I note that many, many have become so and reply to any remark to this effect that they didn't expect any better. But that says quite a lot about the state of things here, in "us," just as I have always said in my "vauge" way. And what we've allowed ourselves to consider "normal" and even practically a force of nature rather than something we could do something about.

Bill Whittle, for better or worse, has this theory that it's very easy for us to change all this. It's so simple, he has said & written a couple times: All we have to do is go vote. Vote out irresponsible doofi and vote in people who will clean the Augean Stables.

In theory, yes. But as I said elsewhere, I don't expect anything to change anyime soon, because we've all become too complacent with accepting the reality that has been imposed upon us.

One way you'll be able to see that things have REALLY changed is when we, yes even in The Big Apple, with all our superior technology, can build something at least as fast as our forefathers built the Empire State Building. And have it be something we'll all be proud and inspired by. Instead of living with the shame of being the people who not only can't, but take it as a point of pride that we're happy to have people insult us and tell us in so many words that we deserved it.

There's nothing I hope for so much as change.

After all that blather, one more thing, ince I haven't clearly stated it:

I'm not emotionally invested in "The Ground Zero Mosque" thing; it doesn't really bother me on an emotional level if some decent people want to build a Mosque two blocks from Ground Zero. A lot of people are, and I have some respect for their attitudes.

But I'm not even sure it would be somehow wrong if, for example, a Islamic Prayer Room was built into a tower that is designed to have, what, 100K people working in it? In other words, in the very building we're glacially constructing on the site itself.

As part of a whole, which, if the building included the above-mentioned Non-Denominational Chapel, I don't, personally, feel that it would somehow be an insult to the dead if it also had a Islamic Prayer Room. Or if said Non-Denominational Chapel served Muslims in prayer.

It would bother me if people started showing up to pray on the site as a way of celebrating 9/11, a sort of "victory" prayer. In other words, it matters to me what the views of the people involved are. But he fact of average Muslims conducting prayers in the course of the normal conduct of their faith, perhaps (probably?) even praying for those who were killed there, I don't find that objectionable in the least.

Indeed, I would probably find it inspiring if a congregation of Muslims every day had some of their members pray for the victims on that site, praying never again would anything of that sort be done there in the name of their faith, praying on behalf of the victims. Nothing could be more inspiring, nothing would be more demonstrative of the commonality of Americans of all faiths.

" I got a whole post about me!"

I almost forgot one of my favorite quotes from one of my favorite CNAS commenters, Elf!

"Don't take it personally. It's not about you. It's about all of you"


Alc, @1:

2) Ok, my moderate definition was weak (& jerkish). Let's try something better: "Someone who is not actively engaged in terrorism, who supports the rights of women, and can respect the rights of christians, Jews etc etc".

I'd try something like, "Someone who can does tolerate the existence of other religions and philosophies around him. This means more than just 'not trying to kill people,' this also means 'not trying to legislate a preferred status for his religion or religious preferences.'"

(That's in a political context. One can do all that, and still natter my ear off trying to convert me every time we meet, which hardly seems moderate to me.)

That has the advantage of playing well across multiple religions. It should take no more than a fraction of a second to come up with prominent examples of immoderate Christians here in the States and elsewhere in the West, even if they're not trying to kill you.

It also lends itself to a spectrum, something along the lines of violent extremist, extremist, moderate, progressive (where in this context a progressive wouldn't simply tolerate but would be actively trying to reach out, build bridges, etc.)

Hell, you could put atheists and agnostics on that spectrum, too.

There are many standards to suggest Rauf is one of these people.

Standards? What kind of standards? Only a full psych eval battery of tests might be a good way to start evaluating whether a Muslim of interest is an extremist, moderate or predisposed to be likely to kill or support killing or not. Maybe a lie detector. Maybe. In fact, sociopaths and psychopaths beat lie detectors. I'll stick with a thorough psych eval as a good as possible scientific measure of someone's ability to become a menace to society or not.

To say a Muslim of interest that is not well known to you does or doesn't fit the profile of a terrorist or terrorist sympathizer without an extensive psych eval... meh, i don't know about that. Some Muslims who turn out to be mass murderers look quite conventional on the outside. In fact, sociopaths and psychopaths often can mimic empathy and other socially appropriate behaviors and styles of dress to blend right in.

"He was hired by the Bush administration, and again by state department to speak in the Arabic world."

So being hired somewhere pretigious makes one moderate? Maj. Malik Nadal Hassan was hired by influential people, too.

He was asked to speak at the funeral of David Pearl.
Thats part of knowing people who know people.

His wife has an advanced degree...

Hmmm, a degree is not a measure of someone's ability to act as an extremist or not only their ability to be a scholar.

A full psych eval is the only way to tell whether a Muslim is a moderate, or possible extremist or terrorist. Appearance plays no part. Degrees play no part. Speaking engagements play no part. Jobs play no part. Scrutinizing Behavior and psychology are the best predictors, probably assessed by a Psychiatrist or skilled behavioralist. And even then, those aren't totally accurate predictors.

Responding to myself:

Hell, you could put atheists and agnostics on that spectrum, too.

On reflection, I'm going to step back from that part only; it sounds elegantly balanced, but non-belief is sufficiently different from belief in a particular religion that I don't think it really works.

This is what President Bush used to refer to as the "soft bigotry of low expectations"-- although he used it to refer to the left-of-center tendency to excuse away substandard educational accomplishments by minority and low income children based on "They face so many issues, this is the best they can do." Adopting the battlecry of Jaime Escalante and Joe Clark-- no short cuts, no excuses-- were some of President Bush's most (and few) effective emotional appeals, in my opinion.

Unfortunately, when it came to confronting some of the ugly practices of Islamic culture, his Administration often did not practice what it preached. Most notably, we can remember the fallout from the April 30th (2005) Newsweek story about Guantanamo Bay acts of Koran desecration that led to massive riots all over the world, including Afghanistan where at least 17 people were killed. Then-White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan blamed Newsweek for the damage it had done to our reputation. However, true that might have been, he missed a vital opportunity to point out that Christians didn't riot and kill people when Piss Christ was unveiled or when Palestinian gunmen used Bibles from the Church of Nativity in Bethleham as toilet paper; or that Buddhists didn't riot and kill people when the Taliban blew up the ancient Bamiyan Buddhas; or when (insert similar examples for Jews, Hindus, Baha'i, Sikhs-- well, I can think of at least one counter-example there, albeit under a completely different set of causal events-- etc.)

Instead of taking the opportunity to hold international Muslims to a well-respected standard of peaceful protest, the Bush Administration failed to take their own advice and lowered the bar.

The dynamic, sadly, is not confined to just "Left" or "Right."

[Progressives] will not allow proper conclusions to be drawn from, for example, the Fort Hood Shooting. Instead the official report, released this week, speaks of generic "workplace violence," and without a hint of irony the need to hire "additional health care providers, particularly in the mental health field."

The irony (for those without a program) being, of course, that the shooter was a "mental health care professional."

The writers of the report need to consult a mental healthcare professional of their own. Hopefully, their health insurance covers treatment for f***g idiocy.

if some decent people want to build a Mosque two blocks from Ground Zero....

Long wrap sheets reported on local news tonight, besides the headlining tax evasion charges add on gems include...

Developer Sharif El Gamal
1990 disorderly conduct
1992 DWI
1993 Attempted Petty Larceny
1994 Patronizing Prostitute
1994 Disorderly in Manhattan
1998 Disorderly in Manhattan
2005 Assault paid $15,000 settlement
2008 Slow to pay fine from assault charges settled later mediated out of court

Imam Faisal Mosque leader
Owns Apartments in NJ that receive taxpayer funded slum lord. Conditions: roaches, bed bugs and leaks.

From Amazon, in my inbox this morning:

Constantine Porphyrogenitus: De Administrando Imperio (Dumbarton Oaks Texts) Constantine Porphyrogenitus (Author), Gyula Moravcsik (Editor), Romilly J. H. Jenkins (Translator)

This has been a heartening discussion. For years, as a libertarian (you know, one of those weirdoes who believe their lives belong to themselves and not the State), I've been told by State-fellators that I am "extreme." Now I know I'm not, because I haven't engaged in acts of terrorism or supported those who do. Group hug!

Lock the SOBS up. 4 years in the slammer was good enough for Leona Helmsley, but then El Gamal and Imam Man have Bloomberg in their pocket

P. says pretty much everything I would have wanted to say, and doesn't say anything I can disagree with here.

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