Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Hate gives their lives meaning

McMorris (TPM): #BigotryFail: Plan To Harass Muslims With Dogs At CA Rally Collapses

In the end, the people trying to stop the construction of a mosque in Temecula, California were vastly outnumbered by the crowd welcoming the growth of the Muslim community in Riverside County. Last week, we told you about the plan by some conservatives opposed to the construction of the new mosque to show up over the weekend outside the Temecula-area Muslim group's current digs to tell those inside they weren't welcome. To prove the point, the group planned to bring dogs -- which one protester characterized as pretty much the Muslims' mortal enemy, saying that Muslims "hate dogs."

Here's how it all turned out: the anti-mosque protesters were outnumbered by pro-mosque supporters, the local tea party disavowed the protest and called it hate speech, the protester we talked to dropped off the face of the earth and only one dog made it to the planned protest.

It was a fittingly unexpected end to an extraordinary tale.

First, the scene on the ground at Friday's protest. As the Los Angeles Times reported, "a small group of protesters took over a patch of grass across from the Islamic Center of Temecula Valley," but they were "greatly outnumbered by supporters from area churches who were there to support the Islamic Center." Overall, the paper reported, the opposition was "vocal but relatively tame."

The anti-mosque group numbered at "about 20," according to the Press-Enterprise. Other local press reported that the group carried signs with messages like "Muslims Danced with Joy on 9/11," and "No Allah's Law Here." The counter-protesters, on the other hand, "wore white shirts in solidarity" with the Muslims and carried signs reading "Leave These American Citizens Alone."

The two groups clashed verbally, though police on the ground kept things civil. Meanwhile, as the Southwest Riverside News Network reported, the Muslims actually there to worship "ignored the protesters but smiled to acknowledge the supporters."

What about the dogs, you ask? Here's what Southern California Public Radio reported on that front:

There was only one dog. He was on a leash. No bibles or firearms were on visible display.

The Los Angeles Times talked to the dog owner on scene, "Zorina Bennett, 50." She brought her dog Meadow along because, as she told the paper, "many Muslims believe that the saliva of dogs is impure."

Their plans to use dogs to scare the Muslims out of Temecula dashed, the protesters found themselves on the outside looking in. The Valley News reported that Diana Serafin, the self-described tea partier who spoke with me about the protest and helped to promote it online, wouldn't return email or phone messages as the controversy built. Any mention of the protest disappeared from her website as the event drew near. That might be because Serafin and her compatriots found themselves running out of friends.

The leader of the local Republican Party distanced himself from the protest in the Valley News. "In every group you get an element, we get an element, I mean in the Republican Party, that are really, super radicals and we say, 'Ok, well, you can't be a part of it because you're a racist,'" he told the paper. "So there's these groups and sometimes you can't control them, they're inside the church, club, mosque or the synagogue that are underground, you don't even know they're there."

The Temecula area Tea Party Patriots had a similar response, strongly condemning the protest in a statement published by the paper. "The organizers of the Menifee, Hemet, Murrieta and Temecula Tea Parties wish to emphatically state that they are not involved in organizing any planned Mosque protest, but that they would strongly condemn the use of dogs to harass anybody, anywhere," they wrote.

In the end, one Mosque supporter said, the power of unity overwhelmed the conservative attempts at division.

"We have people from different religious organizations and of different faiths showing their support today," mosque proponent and Christian Rev. Joe Zarro told the Southwest Riverside News Network on the day of the protest. "We are all here to stand up for our brethren."


When I see Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), I see a conservative Republican senator who talks a bit about constructive policymaking, but who invariably fails to follow through.

When his right-wing constituents see Graham, they see a senator willing to betray their extremist ideals.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, the South Carolina Republican who often finds himself out of step with the most conservative elements of his party, was censured by yet another GOP county party committee Monday night.

In recent months, Graham has been censured by GOP party committees in Lexington and Charleston counties. On Monday, the Greenville GOP Executive Committee passed a censure resolution by a vote of 61-2.

"THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, the Greenville County Republican Party hereby issues this formal rebuke of Senator Graham for his cooperation and support of President Obama and the Democratic Party's liberal agenda for the United States," the resolution reads.
The resolution says Graham will no longer be invited to participate in meetings or other events sponsored by the Greenville County Republican Party, and alleges Graham has "abandoned the Republican platform."

How odd. Graham's voting record is very conservative, and he's backed every Republican filibuster -- good lord, there's been a lot of them -- on every Democratic proposal.

Why on earth would they censure him? The resolution points to (1) Graham's vote on the financial industry bailout; (2) his stance on immigration reform; and (3) his confirmation vote on Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor.

But (1) Graham's position on TARP was the same position taken by the Republican White House, the Republican House leadership, the Republican Senate leadership, Mitt Romney, Glenn Beck, and Sarah Palin. Have they all "abandoned the Republican platform"?

On immigration, Graham was willing to talk about a compromise, but he abandoned the talks and killed the legislation. Shouldn't the GOP base be pleased?

And, sure, he voted for Sotomayor, but so did seven other Republicans. It was something of a no-brainer.

I feel ridiculous defending Graham from other Republicans, but the larger significance of this is important: the GOP base wants to create an environment in which Republican lawmakers should be afraid to even talk to Democrats. That was the lesson of Sen. Bob Bennett's (R) defeat in Utah, and the motivation for resolutions like this one in South Carolina. Rank-and-file Republicans want leaders who aren't interested in discussions, oppose compromise, and seek to do little more than destroy any hopes at solving problems.

It's really not healthy.

Sargent: Sharron Angle: Obama and Reid are making government our false "God"

Nevada journalist Jon Ralston unearths an interview that Sharron Angle did with Christian radio that is perhaps her most eyebrow-raising contribution to the conversation yet. In it, she says that government expansion under Obama and Dems is an effort to make government into our "God."

In case you're tempted to dismiss this as a figure of speech, Angle makes it clear that she's being literal, adding that our dependence on government is "idolatry" and that this is a "violation of the First Commandment." Here's the key bit:

"And these programs that you mentioned -- that Obama has going with Reid and Pelosi pushing them forward -- are all entitlement programs built to make government our God. And that's really what's happening in this country is a violation of the First Commandment. We have become a country entrenched in idolatry, and that idolatry is the dependency upon our government. We're supposed to depend upon God for our protection and our provision and for our daily bread, not for our government."

As Ralston puts it: "This mindset will further reinforce to some that religion infuses everything Angle believes but also might explain her hostility to government programs, believing essentially they are produced by a false God."

And, indeed, Angle also explains her zeal for politics as follows:

"And I knew that all along when I started praying over a year ago over it. And this just seemed to be the battle that I needed to go to war with. And I need warriors to stand beside me. You know, this is a war of ideology, a war of thoughts and of faith. And we need people to really stand for faith and trust, not hope and change."

Is it a stretch conclude that Angle genuinely views the Nevada Senate race as a Holy War?

No wonder she thinks voters may soon be resorting to "Second Amendment remedies." Big Government has put our national soul at risk.
  • Steve Benen adds:

    Greg Sargent added, "Is it a stretch conclude that Angle genuinely views the Nevada Senate race as a Holy War?"

    It's not a stretch at all. Angle's argument, such as it is, constitutes pure madness.

    Let's say we, the people of the United States, decide to form a more perfect union. We conclude that it's a good idea to establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity. In turn, we create laws and government institutions to establish a government, and craft a Constitution with governmental powers and limits (one of which, incidentally, guarantees religious liberty, allowing us all to worship as we please, or not to worship at all.)

    To hear Sharron Angle put it, this is all a terrible mistake. Why turn to our democratically elected government and our chosen political representatives to establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty when we should be turning to the deity Holy Warrior Angle believes in?

    The Las Vegas Sun recently reported that Angle, who said she's running because God told her to, embraces a radical church-state philosophy that "parallels that of a religious political movement -- Christian Reconstructionism -- seeking to return American civil society to biblical law."

    If you're unfamiliar with Christian Reconstructionism, it's quite literally analogous to the Taliban and radical proponents of Sharia law -- just as they want to replace secular law with laws based on their interpretation of the Quran, Reconstructionists want to replace secular law in the U.S. with their interpretation of the Christian Bible. In this vision, our Constitution would be replaced with a radical take of Scripture.

    Reconstructionists represent some of the most extreme elements of the American fringe -- and they seem to have an ally running for the United States Senate in 2010.

Fallows: This Is Not My Normal Beat (Bloomberg & Mosque Dept) ...
... but I have to say that all Americans are New Yorkers today, in the wake of Mayor Bloomberg's brave and eloquent defense of American tolerance, and the resilient strength of America's diverse society, in welcoming the vote that cleared the way for construction of a mosque near the site of Ground Zero. (Daily News pic.)
Thumbnail image for Bloomberg.png"We may not always agree with every one of our neighbors. That's life and it's part of living in such a diverse and dense city. But we also recognize that part of being a New Yorker is living with your neighbors in mutual respect and tolerance. It was exactly that spirit of openness and acceptance that was attacked on 9/11.... Of all our precious freedoms, the most important may be the freedom to worship as we wish....

"The World Trade Center Site will forever hold a special place in our City, in our hearts. But we would be untrue to the best part of ourselves - and who we are as New Yorkers and Americans - if we said 'no' to a mosque in Lower Manhattan.

"Let us not forget that Muslims were among those murdered on 9/11 and that our Muslim neighbors grieved with us as New Yorkers and as Americans. We would betray our values - and play into our enemies' hands - if we were to treat Muslims differently than anyone else. In fact, to cave to popular sentiment would be to hand a victory to the terrorists - and we should not stand for that."
Apart from the lofty sentiments, I love the plain "That's life" -- part of the thick-skinned, no-nonsense realism that Americans like to think exemplifies our culture, but doesn't always. Nothing is more admirable about this country in the rest of the world's eyes than the big-shouldered unflappable confidence demonstrated in that speech. Nothing is more contemptible than the touchy, nervous, intolerant defensiveness we sometimes show.

From Jeffrey Goldberg on this topic; and Andrew Sullivan; and Ayelet Waldman on TNC's site; and Andrew Sprung. Good for Bloomberg. Shame on Newt Gingrich, Joe Lieberman, and the ADL -- who, unlike Sarah Palin and the Tea Partyers, presumably know better. I will never be a New York guy, but New York is a very American city today.
Atrios: That's Exactly The Attitude They Want You To Have
I'm slightly less pro-bike than some - though I am pro-bike - but I may have to rethink.
Republican gubernatorial candidate Dan Maes is warning voters that Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper's policies, particularly his efforts to boost bike riding, are "converting Denver into a United Nations community."

"This is all very well-disguised, but it will be exposed," Maes told about 50 supporters who showed up at a campaign rally last week in Centennial.

Maes said in a later interview that he once thought the mayor's efforts to promote cycling and other environmental initiatives were harmless and well-meaning. Now he realizes "that's exactly the attitude they want you to have."

"This is bigger than it looks like on the surface, and it could threaten our personal freedoms," Maes said.

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