Saturday, August 28, 2010

Snoring Honor: Beck's Big Rally Just A Long-winded And Boring Sermon. And Boy, Was The Crowd White.

[Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.]

Glenn Beck promised there wouldn't "be a dry eye in the house" after his big speech today at the Lincoln Memorial for his "Restoring Honor" rally -- because, you know, it was going to be "so stirring."

Riiiiight. Well, Glenn Beck's eyes certainly weren't dry. He started weeping while telling the crowd that somewhere out there was "the next George Washington".

Dunno about you, but when I saw pan shots of the crowd -- which was one of the whitest crowds in D.C. in recent memory -- I mostly thought I saw "the next Timothy McVeigh." But your mileage may vary.

As for the speech itself: Lunesta in verbal form. I'm having to pick my head up from my desk just to write something about it.

It was essentially Beck's call for a return to the religious life in America -- which was why he assembled 240 representatives of various churches in the crowd and dubbed them his "new Black Robe Regiment". This part was particularly creepy, since it came with an admonition that religious leaders needed to focus on "fundamental values" -- as defined by Glenn Beck, of course.

This means, naturally, that the "social justice" for which Martin Luther King fought -- and which Glenn Beck has vigorously condemned -- would not be part of those fundamental values.

As predicted, the whole show was a hoax -- a civil rights rally for easily frightened white people.
Oh, and what about those predictions of 100-200,000 people? This looked to me more in the 50-70,000 range for D.C. (We'll update when we get an official crowd estimate.)

Meanwhile, have fun recalling all the amazing things Beck predicted would come of this rally. Yeah, that was some historic turning point, all right.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Fox Sends Out Ambush Squad To Talk To NYC Mosque Investors -- But Doesn't Mention Key Fox Investor

[Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.]

One of Fox News' affiliates, WNYW, sent out a reporter named Charles Leaf to conduct an "investigation" of the "money trail" in the patented Fox Ambush Squad style, and yesterday the results ran a couple of times on Fox itself: First Megyn Kelly carried it on her morning "news" show, then Laura Ingraham featured it on The O'Reilly Factor, including an interview with Leaf, who tried to pretend that what he was doing was real journalism.

What's peculiar about this report is that it zeroes in on a few minor functionaries in the financial chain behind the construction of the mosque -- loan guarantors and the like. Leaf invades their homes, follows them into foyers, and tries to run after them in parking lots. All this, ostensibly, to follow the "money trail" behind the mosque.

Of course, they somehow neglected to try talking to one of the imam's more generous backers -- Saudi Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal. Maybe that's because Talal is the No. 2 shareholder in Fox News.
Indeed, as none other than Rupert Murdoch's New York Post reported last May, the Kingdom Foundation, al-Waleed's personal charity, has donated a total of $305,000 to Muslim Leaders of Tomorrow, a leadership and networking project sponsored jointly by two of Rauf's organizations, the American Society for Muslim Advancement and the Cordoba Initiative. Al-Waleed owns a 7 percent, $2.3 billion stake in News Corporation.

Likewise, News Corporation owns a 9 percent, $70 million stake — purchased in February — in Rotana, Al-Waleed's Saudi media conglomerate. Put another way: Rupert Murdoch and Fox News are in business, to the tune of billions of dollars, with one of the "Terror Mosque Imam's" principal patrons.
It's bad enough that they sicced their camera crews on a bunch of unsuspecting bankers, accountants and real-estate developers who are, unsurprisingly, not willing to have their lives destroyed by a scandal-mongering bunch of fake journalists on a witch hunt. But the pernicious part of this kind of reportage is the way that it implies guilt -- for some unnamed misdeed -- simply in the refusal to go on-camera.

We have long said that this style of pseudo-journalism is a violation of a whole raft of basic ethic standards for real journalists. The Fox crews disgracefully badger people outside their homes, and choose targets not merely for some official misdeed but, in some cases, merely for writing or saying something the reporter didn't like.

And this kind of reportage is even more clearly unethical, because it victimizes a bunch of ordinary citizens whose only misdeed is being associated in business dealings with an unpopular project. That's deeply disturbing.

Just remember: Whenever a Fox crew gets near you, simply repeat the magical words, "Andrea Mackris". They'll go away, as do all plagues eventually.

Laura Ingraham Plays The Victim Card: Mosque Critics Are The Victims Of Mean Accusations Of Bigotry! Waaaaaah!

[Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.]

This seems to have been Laura Ingraham Tries Out for Her Own Fox Show Week at The O'Reilly Factor, and it's been quite a bust -- largely because Ingraham has tried to use O'Reilly-style bullying of her guests, and has not just been outplayed, she's really come off as a nasty, mean-spirited whiner.

That was particularly the case yesterday, when she tried playing the Right-Wing Victimology Card in the "Ground Zero Mosque" controversy: It's not Muslims who are being victimized by the hateful scapegoating of Islamophobes who want to associate them with all things 9/11 and blame them for all the world's terrorism -- rather, it's those very Islamophobes who are being victimized by the people calling them out for their bigotry.

It was particularly striking how she reacted when her guest -- a conservative Republican Muslim named Muhammad Ali Hassan -- tried to explain patiently that the very accusation that these Muslims and this mosque are somehow associated with terrorists is simply prima facie bigotry: "When you tell a group of people they're not allowed to build something because they're Muslim, that's bigotry." It really is that simple.

Ingraham acted as though someone had just spilled coffee on her lap. She began shouting Hassan down, talking over him, attacking his conservative bona fides because he dared to speak this simple truth.

And I just love it whenever right-wingers play the victim card. It's a classic case of the waving-the-bloody-shirt strategy, which magically transforms vicious and violent right-wing thugs into the woebegone victims of the meanness of the people they target.

It has really been quite the demonstration of the intellectual bankruptcy of conservatives this week at O'Reilly's place. Ingraham has tried to pose as someone smarter than her guests. Consistently, she's being outsmarted and made to look like the shallow and vicious harridan we all suspect she really is.

Glenn Beck Does Remind Us Of The Civil Rights Era -- That Is, The People Who Hated Martin Luther King

[Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.]

What no one has really pointed out about Glenn Beck's upcoming pep rally on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial is that, in claiming he's following the example of Martin Luther King, he's actually positioning this gig as a civil-rights event. But whose civil rights? Well, judging by what we've seen at the Tea Parties inspired by Beck, it's gonna be pretty damned white.

It is thus, in essence, a civil-rights march for white people. Or more particularly, for right-wing white people who feel threatened by the growing presence and power of the nonwhite population.

Of course, they don't put it that way. They know that race talk will just get them called out for what this is all really about. So they talk about "government oppression" and "taking away our freedoms" and "preserving the Constitution" and "what it means to be American". Strip these down to the bare bones -- especially when you peel away the layers of illogic required to support these claims -- and what's really at issue here is a black man leading nonwhite minorities to power, which is always perceived by authoritarians as a sign of their loss of power.

So that's what it's really about. If the rhetoric all seems terribly vague to you, that's why.

And what's really bizarre and Orwellian about this whole spectacle is that it's part of Beck's larger campaign to demonize progressives -- even though the civil-rights movement was always a progressive phenomenon, and indeed Martin Luther King Jr. often proclaimed some of the very themes, such as "social justice," that Beck loves to demonize as part of progressives' eeeeeevil plot to destroy America.

Moreover, as we've said previously and often, there's a reason conservatives like Beck should never, ever try to claim his mantle or his legacy: Because it was conservatives who attacked and demonized and opposed King at every turn in his career.

Indeed, having grown up in conservative Mormon Idaho in the 1960s, I recall the visceral hatred and fear with which King was widely regarded in those quarters. I remember seeing sheets like this:


This was a flier that was distributed nationally as part of a campaign to discredit King as a Communist. Among the foremost leaders in that campaign, especially among Mormons, was none other than the Church's future president, Ezra Taft Benson. And Benson, in fact, was close friends with Glenn Beck's guru, W. Cleon Skousen -- who was also known to smear King.

And when I watch Glenn Beck, I'm reminded of those days. Because just like the Bensons and Skousens, Beck is one of those guys who is always eager to point the finger and call someone a "communist" or a "marxist" or a "socialist".

Indeed, Media Matters put together a lovely compendium of the many ways Glenn Beck would have demonized King had they been contemporaries -- and were Beck not eager to try to claim some kind of cultural mantle from him.

Also, be sure and check out Glenn Beck Is Not Martin Luther King.

Meanwhile, Justin Elliott at Salon points out that Beck stands to make a pretty penny from this shindig.

Plus, this statement from People for the American Way:
“Forty-seven years later, Glenn Beck is trying to appropriate Dr. King’s legacy in order to push his agenda of intolerance, fear, and division. Beck says he’s ‘reclaiming civil rights.’ In fact, he’s insulting exactly what Dr. King and his movement stood for. Beck has made himself famous for his attacks on progressives, Muslim Americans, union members and even churches who preach the social justice values to which Dr. King dedicated his life. He claimed that President Obama has ‘a deep-seated hatred of white people.’ Beck is not ‘restoring honor’ to our country; he’s just fanning the flames of tired old prejudices amplified and enlarged for political gain.

“Beck’s histrionics and his deeply cynical appeals to bigotry are anathema to Dr. King’s legacy. In honoring the life work of Dr. King, Americans should stand for justice and equality for all people, and against hate and those who speak, teach and promote it.”
[H/t The Other 98% and Nicole.]

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Laura Ingraham Flips Out When Guest Brings Up NYC Cabbie's Stabbing

[Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.]

Wouldn't you know it: For the entire day yesterday, Fox News -- for all of its copious coverage of the NYC mosque controversy and Tiger Woods' divorce -- somehow couldn't see fit to run any kind of coverage at all about the stabbing of that Muslim New York cabbie.

Indeed, when Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer brought it up as an example of the kind of viciousness being stirred up by Fox News on The O'Reilly Factor, fill-in host Laura Ingraham completely flipped out and began shouting over him, declaring that "we haven't confirmed that yet."

Well, Laura, here's your confirmation:
A college student who did volunteer work in Afghanistan was charged Wednesday with slashing a taxi driver's neck and face after the driver said he's Muslim.

A criminal complaint alleges Michael Enright uttered an Arabic greeting and told the driver, "Consider this a checkpoint," before the brutal bias attack occurred Tuesday night inside the yellow cab on Manhattan's East Side. Police say Enright was drunk at the time.

A judge ordered Enright, 21, held without bail on charges of attempted murder and assault as hate crimes and possession of a weapon. The handcuffed defendant, wearing a polo shirt and cargo shorts, did not enter a plea during the brief court appearance.
How long before we find out he was an avid Fox watcher and Pam Geller devotee, I wonder.

Incidentally, you'll notice that this video is actually quite delightful, because Stringer won't let Ingraham intimidate him or shut him up. At one point, she tries to do an O'Reilly and orders him: "Pipe down!" But he goes on to pin her ears back by pointing out her hypocrisy on the mosque, as Alan Colmes did the night before.

Ingraham obviously believes she can outsmart and outbully these liberals she's been bringing on. Instead, she's been getting her ass handed to her. Fun to watch.

OK, Glenn, Exactly What Is Wrong With Saying 'We Are A Nation Of Christians And Muslims, Jews And Hindus, And Unbelievers'?

[Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.]

On two separate occasions this week -- first on Monday and again Wednesday -- Glenn Beck on his Fox News show has played up President Obama's line from his January 2009 inauguration address:
"We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus, and non-believers."
This in the middle of rants explaining why Americans suspect him of being a Muslim -- which is, of course, all Obama's fault. Fox News and Rush Limbaugh had nothing to do with it.

And it's a funny thing, watching Glenn Beck proclaim that the day of Obama's inauguration was a "great day" for America, because we all recall how he proclaimed back then that Obama was going to install Marxism.

Indeed, you may recall that at the time of the inauguration, Beck wasn't disturbed by this line in the least. What got his knickers in a bunch was a line from the Rev. Joseph Lowery suggesting that white people need "to do what's right." You may also recall that Rev. Lowery was one of the closest allies and friends of Martin Luther King -- whose legacy Beck now wants to claim for himself.

Funny, that.

But what's really funny is that Beck never explains what's wrong with Obama's observation, other than that "no president" had ever put it that way before. (Well, duh! If he had used someone else's formulation, Beck and Co. would have accused him of plagiarism.) It's really a pretty simple statement about how our nation is home to a broadly diverse set of religious beliefs. Does Beck disagree with that?

Apparently, Beck thinks Obama should only have recognized Jews and Christians. Muslims and Hindus have no business being on the list of Americans.

And what about Mormons like Glenn Beck? After all, they too practice a "Christianity that many Americans just don't recognize".

We wonder if maybe Glenn can explain just what is wrong with that remark a little better for us.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Memo To Fauxheads: Before You Get Worked Up Over Imam's Remarks, Check The Iraq Body Count. We Do Have Blood On Our Hands.

[Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.]

The Foxheads -- with Megyn Kelly leading the torchlight parade on her (ahem) morning "news" show -- were all worked up over another quote pulled out of the files of Imam Fiesal Abdul Rauf, the man behind the so-called "Ground Zero mosque":
"We tend to forget, in the West, that the United States has more Muslim blood on its hands than Al Qaeda has on its hands of innocent non-Muslims," said Imam Fiesal Abdul Rauf, speaking at the Bob Hawke Prime Ministerial Center during a question and answer session dedicated to what sponsors say was a dialogue to improve relations between America and the Muslim world.

"You may remember that the U.S.-led sanctions against Iraq led to the death of over half a million Iraqi children. This has been documented by the United Nations," said Rauf, who called himself a spokesman for Islam.
Now, one may or may not quibble with Rauf's example -- namely, the prewar sanctions against Iraq that Saddam indeed used as an excuse for letting his people starve.

But there's no doubt that we have innocent Iraqi blood on our hands. At last count, the toll stood between 97,000-106,000 civilians killed in Iraq because we visited war on their country. In 2009 alone -- a year in which the toll decreased -- there were 4,644 civilian deaths recorded. So much for comparisons to the 3,000 killed on 9/11.

I'm a little surprised there's any question about this at all. But then in Fox-land, America under Bush did nothing but good and kind things around the world.

Whose Fault Is It That So Many Republicans Think Obama Is A Muslim? According To Glenn Beck, It's Obama's

[Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.]

Glenn Beck yesterday on Fox News was puzzling over those Time magazine and Pew Research polls showing that more Americans than ever -- and particularly conservative Republicans -- believe President Obama is a Muslim. As he put it:
Beck: Now that doesn't make sense, because as you learn more and more about the President of the United States, those numbers should be going down. Why are they going up?
He posits only three possibilities:
Beck: Maybe it's because, as so many on the left think, Americans are just stupid, ignorant or racist. I don't believe that.

Is it because, as CBS' Bob Schieffer said on Sunday, he believes the Internet, the Internet is just a breeding ground for freaks.

... Could it be something else, Bob? Could it be? Is it because the American people have observed Barack Obama for 18 months now? And they don't know what to believe!

... Let me be clear: President Obama is not a Muslim. I'm taking his word that he is a Christian.

But here's where it falls apart for many Americans: It's a Christianity that many Americans just don't recognize!
To which we say: See Answer #1. Because Obama's brand of Christianity is obviously, simply the same kind many millions of us practice: ordinary progressive protestantism. Of course, we know all too well that evangelical Christians don't consider us real Christians -- which no doubt is where Beck gets this idea.

Beck then -- somewhat dishonestly -- runs through some of the numbers from the Pew poll about where people are getting this misinformation. Take a look, if you will at the actual question and response:
Q.58a And how did you learn about Barack Obama’s religion?
Jul 21-Aug 5 2010
60 Media (NET)
36 Media or news (non-specific)
16 Television
6 Newspapers
3 Magazines
1 Radio
1 Book (non-specific)
1 Obama’s book(s)
11 Obama’s behaviors or his own words
7 Things heard or read (non-specific)
7 Internet
6 Things heard or read during presidential campaign
4 Views of family or friends
4 Obama’s ancestry – family background, name, appearance
1 My own opinion
1 Obama’s policies towards Muslim countries or religion in the U.S.
Funny that Beck manages to omit the 36 percent who simply say "the media", or the fact that 60 percent of them total named various media, isn't it? Instead, he fixates on the 11 percent who answered that they got that perception from "Obama's behavior or his own words." Nevermind, of course, that a portion of the people who answered thus also happened to believe he's a Christian.

And FWIW, Beck is right that Schieffer's insistence that this mass ignorance/delusion is product of the Internet is bogus, considering that only 7 percent named that as their chief source of this information.

The point that eludes Beck is very clear from these numbers: This wave of ignorant bigotry is largely fueled by "the media" generally, and far and away the largest component of that is TV news.

Moreover, far and away the TV network far most likely to suggest that Obama is a Muslim -- or at best, a radical foreigner who does not share our values -- is Fox News.

So let me suggest a fourth possibility to Glenn Beck: There are millions of conservatives who believe Obama is a Muslim because conservatives watch Fox News almost exclusively, and that propaganda channel -- with the help of right-wing radio talkers, including those with Fox shows -- constantly reinforces the view that he is a dark-skinned foreigner with secret allegiances.

There, that wasn't so hard, was it? And it certainly makes more sense than blaming Obama himself, who has made his Christian faith clear constantly throughout his presidency.

Though of course, it's not surprising that this possibility doesn't cross Beck's radar.

Alan Colmes Calls Out Laura Ingraham For Her Hypocrisy On NYC Mosque's Backers

[Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.]

Filling in for Bill O'Reilly last night on Fox, Laura Ingraham led off with a "Talking Points Memo" segment castigating Daisy Khan and the backers of the "Ground Zero Mosque" for having the temerity to point out how the whole debate has served to stir up a real wave of anti-Islamic hatred.

Apparently, when minorities under siege in this country stand up for themselves, that's a real sign of "extremism" in Ingraham's book.

But then she brought on Alan Colmes, who promptly called her out for he naked hypocrisy -- having, after all, not so long hosted an interview with Daisy Khan in which Ingraham declared: "I like what you're doing."
COLMES: This is worth seeing who the intolerant people are in this country. It's interesting that the word "tolerance" was used with you and the love fest you had with Liz Cheney. But the real intolerance we're seeing are from those people who don't seem to believe in religious freedom in this country. And I'm interested that you were very much for this when you interviewed Daisy Khan or spoke with her.

INGRAHAM: Actually, you're not reading the transcript correctly, Alan.

COLMES: I did read the transcript.

INGRAHAM: I never said I was for building the mosque--

COLMES: You actually did.

INGRAHAM: --600 feet from Ground Zero.

COLMES: You actually said I don't have a problem--

INGRAHAM: I said I like what you're doing. No, I said--

COLMES: I like what you're doing, which is--

INGRAHAM: No, I said I can't find a lot of people who have a problem with it. I like what she said--


INGRAHAM: --about bringing Muslims into the American experience.

COLMES: Right and that--

INGRAHAM: And I repeated that last night. Absolutely.

COLMES: And that hasn't changed. That hasn't changed.

INGRAHAM: When she goes on television and calls people who question the positioning of the mosque, where it is, not the right to build it--

COLMES: Right.

INGRAHAM: --but the place of building as people who hate Muslims--

COLMES: You know--

INGRAHAM: --I reject that. That's intolerant.
Memo to Ingraham: There's an important -- and large -- difference between declaring that the opposition to the mosque is stirring up Islamohobia and claiming that everyone who's opposed to the mosque is a bigot. Khan says the former, not the latter.

In any event, Ingraham then immediately retreated to the day's favorite Fox talking point -- namely, the suggestion by the mosque's imam that America has Muslim "blood on its hands" in Iraq:
COLMES: What's happening here is a smear campaign against this imam and his wife. That's what's going on here.

INGRAHAM: Blood on their hands.

COLMES: See, you're extracting out of context something he said in 2005 without the full context of what he said. He has been very clear. In fact, in a book that he wrote published by the company that distributes this show by Harper San Francisco, he talked about how wrong it is to ever have terrorism or to kill anybody in the name of religion.

INGRAHAM: Well, he seems to say--

COLMES: That one doesn't do that.

INGRAHAM: Well, I think--

COLMES: One of his full comments said in full context, Laura--

INGRAHAM: I think, Alan -- I think what he says, and all of FOX News has been playing these comments, I think what he says to one audience oftentimes differs from what he says to another audience.

COLMES: Not true, not true because--

INGRAHAM: And it depends on what audience you're talking to.

COLMES: Not true.
Finally, Colmes lays the wood to Ingraham's filthy smear job:
INGRAHAM: The idea that a man who's supposed to be building bridges, whether you agree with him or not, makes statements about America having more blood on her hands than al Qaeda, that that is going to be an effective bridge builder?

COLMES: Laura, you are guilty of smearing a man by taking one sentence out of context and ignoring the number of things he has said that are indeed bridge building and that have -- the fact is if you look at the actual metrics, yes, we have to understand how our actions in other parts of the world affect our view of us. We have Americans dying right now in Afghanistan and Iraq--


COLMES: --in order to promote Islamic countries and work on behalf of Muslims. We have Muslims and the American military who have died.

INGRAHAM: Right, absolutely.

COLMES: And Muslims died on 9/11.

INGRAHAM: We applaud them, absolutely.

COLMES: It's about time we stop this divisive rhetoric and showed a little tolerance about religious freedom.
Ingraham responds by trying out the all-too-predictable Jonah Goldberg gambit: It's not mosque critics who are being bigoted and ugly, it's the mosque backers! (We say predictable because this is what Goldberg specializes in: Whatever ugliness right-winger indulge -- including bigotry and violence -- is always projected first onto "the Left", and thus excused or rendered moot.)
INGRAHAM: Oh, it's the tolerance only goes one way, Alan.

COLMES: And stop arguing over location.

INGRAHAM: The tolerance only goes one way.

COLMES: It goes all ways, Laura.

INGRAHAM: We're supposed to bend to the wishes of everybody else, but we can't even ask questions in our country anymore. Questions aren't allowed, I guess.
Call the waaaaahmbulance!

Sorry, Laura. Sorry, Jonah. That dog won't hunt. Just check today's news.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Cavuto Speculates That 'Ideological' Obama Might Not Run For Re-election

[Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.]

Aren't Republicans getting a wee bit ahead of themselves here? Already they're speculating, as Neil Cavuto and right-wing historian Jane Hampton Cook did yesterday, that President Obama -- because he's had a downturn in the polls, and seems intent on passing his legislative agenda regardless of poll numbers (wow, what a concept) -- is actually planning just a one-term presidency and might even step aside for 2012.

Right. That's good for a low mordant chuckle or two, anyway.

Tell you what, folks -- let's check back on that in about three months, OK? Meantime, you all should get a napkin to wipe up the drool. It's unseemly.

The Right Seems Determined To Hand Al Qaeda A Propaganda Victory With Its Mosque Fetish

[Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.]

Laura Ingraham is clearly miffed that Muslims are starting to fear that the Right's increasing obsession with the so-called "Ground Zero Mosque" is bringing to life a long-dormant hatred of all things Muslim in the USA. So last night, filling in for Bill O'Reilly on his Fox News show, she brought on Karl Rove to help dismiss the notion as ridiculous -- though you can judge for yourself how effective that was.

What irked Ingraham was this week's Time cover story, which stated a self-evident truth, namely, that "it is plain that many of Park51's opponents are motivated by deep-seated Islamophobia." (See, e.g., Pam Geller.)
Although the American strain of Islamophobia lacks some of the traditional elements of religious persecution — there's no sign that violence against Muslims is on the rise, for instance — there's plenty of anecdotal evidence that hate speech against Muslims and Islam is growing both more widespread and more heated. Meanwhile, a new TIME–Abt SRBI poll found that 46% of Americans believe Islam is more likely than other faiths to encourage violence against nonbelievers. Only 37% know a Muslim American. Overall, 61% oppose the Park51 project, while just 26% are in favor of it. Just 23% say it would be a symbol of religious tolerance, while 44% say it would be an insult to those who died on 9/11.
The problem isn't simply a concern for American Muslims, though -- it's a concern for all Americans. Because the controversy is giving America a black eye around the world:
But many Muslims tuning into the debate see a demonization of their religion by some Americans who have been painting the 1,400-year-old faith as a dangerous political ideology. They bristle at the ignorance of politicians who argue the structure should not be allowed because Muslims don't allow Christian churches in their countries. Saudi Arabia is the only country to specifically bar churches.

While some conservative American critics allege the building would serve as a "victory mosque" to the terrorists who destroyed the World Trade Center, Muslims contend the project could serve as a bridge not only to non-Muslims, but to those of their faith who may have lost their way.
And in the process, they're effectively handing Al Qaeda a propaganda victory:
Some counterterrorism experts say the anti-Muslim sentiment that has saturated the airwaves and blogs in the debate over plans for an Islamic center near ground zero in Lower Manhattan is playing into the hands of extremists by bolstering their claims that the United States is hostile to Islam.

Opposition to the center by prominent politicians and other public figures in the United States has been covered extensively by the news media in Muslim countries. At a time of concern about radicalization of young Muslims in the West, it risks adding new fuel to Al Qaeda’s claim that Islam is under attack by the West and must be defended with violence, some specialists on Islamic militancy say.

“I know people in this debate don’t intend it, but there are consequences for these kinds of remarks,” said Brian Fishman, who studies terrorism for the New America Foundation here.

He said that Anwar al-Awlaki, an American-born cleric hiding in Yemen who has been linked to several terrorist plots, has been arguing for months in Web speeches and in a new Qaeda magazine that American Muslims face a dark future of ever-worsening discrimination and vilification.

“When the rhetoric is so inflammatory that it serves the interests of a jihadi recruiter like Awlaki, politicians need to be called on it,” Mr. Fishman said.
So the question we need to be asking Laura Ingraham and her pals at Fox is: Why do you hate America? Are you an Al Qaeda operative?

Fox's Right-Wing Talkers Have A Favorite New Word For Obama: 'Incompetent'

[Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.]

You can always tell when the folks in the right-wing talking-point war rooms come up with a favorite new meme, because in short order it's on the lips of every pundit on their shows. The newest way to slam President Obama, it seems, is to declare him "incompetent."

That's the word Karl Rove used to describe Obama's handling of the so-called "Ground Zero Mosque" controversy. And it's the word Dick Armey used to describe his handling of the economy and the nation generally.

Look for more of this soon from the like of Dick Morris and Bill O'Reilly.

Ironic, ain't it? The very folks who foisted upon the nation the Most Incompetent President in History now have the chutzpah to project that onto his liberal successor.

But have you noticed something? Look at the memes that have been trotted out by Fox's talkers during Obama's tenure:

-- That he's a black radical.

-- That he's a closet Muslim.

-- That he's not a "real American".

-- That he's "arrogant." [read: "uppity"]

-- That he's a slick talker.

All of these smears happen to coincide with the usual laundry list of undesirable characteristics of the racist stereotype of black men. Now that they've gotten to "incompetent," the only things missing are that he's "lazy" and that he eats fried chicken and watermelon.

Somehow, I suspect they'll eventually get around to those too.

Though I'm sure it will all just be a coincidence.