#Ground Zero Mosque

Martin Peretz: “Muslim life is cheap, and I mean it.”

Martin Peretz, Editor-in-Chief of the New Republic, has offered an apology for one of two statements singled out yesterday by Nicolas Kristof in his New York Times column.  Both statements appeared in the concluding paragraph of a post at Peretz’s

Posted in Politics Tagged with: , , , , , , ,

Bonfire of the Islamophobic Vanities – Updated after Breaking News

To mark 9/11 this Saturday, I plan to gather together printouts of certain blog posts, articles, and interviews, and burn them on my outdoor barbecue grill – specifically within a charcoal chimney – before fixing some dinner and getting back

Posted in International Relations Tagged with: , , ,

Got your shalom right here, Portnoy

A Shillum

Our old friend Howard is back to his usual… stuff today: Did you know that the word islam is a cognate of the Hebrew word shalom, meaning “peace”? Don’t berate yourself if you didn’t, because it isn’t true. This is

Posted in Miscellany Tagged with: , , ,

Flamesem & Japesem (Actually Very Shaggy)

Echoing a theme already sounded, and sounded, and sounded again by Victor Davis Hanson, Jennifer Rubin, Charles Krauthammer, James Taranto, Jonah Goldberg, and every other uncultured non-elite intellectual who likes the polls and needs something to talk about other than

Posted in International Relations, Politics, Religion Tagged with: , ,

Stupid? Or Evil? (Fox Proves The Only Way to Fight Terrorism Is To Switch Off Fox)

John Stewart at his best – the debate at the end is a classic. The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c The Parent Company Trap www.thedailyshow.com Daily Show Full Episodes Political Humor Tea Party h/t: 

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Americans planning American building project in America

Life’s too short to address everything that’s comically irrelevant and confused in Andrew C. McCarthy’s “Ground Zero Thought Experiment,” a what-if? exercise that opens with the destruction by “Christian extremists” of the holiest site in Islam, and that therefore, considering

Posted in Politics, Religion Tagged with: , ,

Imam Feisal’s great service

Imam Feisal’s main mistake was to think we might be as good as we like to pretend we are, as good as the people who thought they could build and deserve a 1,776′ tall “Freedom Tower.” (What kitsch! The only

Posted in Politics, Religion Tagged with: ,

Reasoning facsimile

Anyone who’s never tsarred a blog may be unaware of the endless flow of “comment spam” that is intercepted before it can ever appear in the threads.  At this moment, for instance, there are 14 comments caught in the Spam

Posted in Uncategorized Tagged with: , , , ,

The Dual Covenant Reaction (Ground Zero for Intolerance)

Observing my exasperation with some founding Zombie Contenders, and declining to accept my excuses for rudeness, a certain amphibious e-mailer asked me what, after all, I expected, considering that this blog was originally founded for refugees from “ground zero for intolerance.”

Posted in Politics, Religion Tagged with: , ,

A voice in the rightwing wilderness

I still await news of a single statement at National Review or The Weekly Standard, or a single comment from a major Republican politician or conservative pundit, acknowledging that anyone on the right may have gone a bit too far

Posted in Politics, Religion Tagged with: , , , ,

From the Featured Archives

Noted & Quoted

TV pundits and op-ed writers of every major newspaper epitomize how the Democratic establishment has already reached a consensus: the 2020 nominee must be a centrist, a Joe Biden, Cory Booker or Kamala Harris–type, preferably. They say that Joe Biden should "run because [his] populist image fits the Democrats’ most successful political strategy of the past generation" (David Leonhardt, New York Times), and though Biden "would be far from an ideal president," he "looks most like the person who could beat Trump" (David Ignatius, Washington Post). Likewise, the same elite pundit class is working overtime to torpedo left-Democratic candidates like Sanders.

For someone who was not acquainted with Piketty's paper, the argument for a centrist Democrat might sound compelling. If the country has tilted to the right, should we elect a candidate closer to the middle than the fringe? If the electorate resembles a left-to-right line, and each voter has a bracketed range of acceptability in which they vote, this would make perfect sense. The only problem is that it doesn't work like that, as Piketty shows.

The reason is that nominating centrist Democrats who don't speak to class issues will result in a great swathe of voters simply not voting. Conversely, right-wing candidates who speak to class issues, but who do so by harnessing a false consciousness — i.e. blaming immigrants and minorities for capitalism's ills, rather than capitalists — will win those same voters who would have voted for a more class-conscious left candidate. Piketty calls this a "bifurcated" voting situation, meaning many voters will connect either with far-right xenophobic nationalists or left-egalitarian internationalists, but perhaps nothing in-between.

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Understanding Trump’s charisma offers important clues to understanding the problems that the Democrats need to address. Most important, the Democratic candidate must convey a sense that he or she will fulfil the promise of 2008: not piecemeal reform but a genuine, full-scale change in America’s way of thinking. It’s also crucial to recognise that, like Britain, America is at a turning point and must go in one direction or another. Finally, the candidate must speak to Americans’ sense of self-respect linked to social justice and inclusion. While Weber’s analysis of charisma arose from the German situation, it has special relevance to the United States of America, the first mass democracy, whose Constitution invented the institution of the presidency as a recognition of the indispensable role that unique individuals play in history.

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[E]ven Fox didn’t tout Bartiromo’s big scoops on Trump’s legislative agenda, because 10 months into the Trump presidency, nobody is so foolish as to believe that him saying, “We’re doing a big infrastructure bill,” means that the Trump administration is, in fact, doing a big infrastructure bill. The president just mouths off at turns ignorantly and dishonestly, and nobody pays much attention to it unless he says something unusually inflammatory.On some level, it’s a little bit funny. On another level, Puerto Rico is still languishing in the dark without power (and in many cases without safe drinking water) with no end in sight. Trump is less popular at this point in his administration than any previous president despite a generally benign economic climate, and shows no sign of changing course. Perhaps it will all work out for the best, and someday we’ll look back and chuckle about the time when we had a president who didn’t know anything about anything that was happening and could never be counted on to make coherent, factual statements on any subject. But traditionally, we haven’t elected presidents like that — for what have always seemed like pretty good reasons — and the risks of compounding disaster are still very much out there.

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