Early this week, disgraced former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich warned that “a commitment to religious freedom and God-given rights is being replaced by a secular oppression…” Just hours after those words appeared on Human Events, Gingrich issued a statement forcefully opposing the construction of a community center and mosque in downtown Manhattan, two blocks from Ground Zero.
Gingrich’s affinity for religious freedom and his belief in God-given rights it would seem, doesn’t extend to Americans who are Muslim. Such outright bigotry and blatant hypocrisy from Gingrich, an avid historian and former college professor, is even more repulsive when you consider his reasoning.
“There should be no mosque near Ground Zero in New York,” he writes, “so long as there are no churches or synagogues in Saudi Arabia.” Gingrich, who has been railing against the so-called secular socialist machine for trying to take religion out of the public square, and who, like most conservatives, decries the influence of foreign law, wants the U.S. to apply the same standards on Muslims that Saudi Arabia applies to those who are not Muslim.
As the Washington Monthly‘s Steve Benen, after noting that conservatives continually justify despicable acts of torture on the premise that other nations and non-state actors employ such tactics, points out, “We’re not supposed to lower ourselves to the levels of those we find offensive.”
Gingrich’s clarion call continues: “Those Islamists and their apologists who argue for ‘religious toleration’ are arrogantly dishonest.” What makes them Islamists, apologists or even dishonest? Gingrich doesn’t say but if you ask him, he’ll likely tell you about the Katusha rockets that Hamas has fired into Sderot or how Iran is hell-bent on acquiring nuclear weapons. Anything and everything to take the subject away from the “religious freedom and God-given rights” to which American Muslims are entitled.
To understand Gingrich’s paranoia that “America is experiencing an Islamist cultural-political offensive designed to undermine and destroy our civilization,” one must delve deeply into the polarizing, overzealous and paranoid minds of professional Muslim-baiters and the politicians who depend on their support and cater to their illiberal demands.
Many of them are monomaniacs who have made it their life’s mission to defeat Islam and “expose” all Muslims as radical Islamofascists. If one asks them for evidence to support their claim that no Muslim can be trusted, they will likely mention a purported plot by Muslim Brotherhood operatives to destroy America from within. The Council on American Islamic Relations and their intern/spies are routinely placed at the epicenter of the evil conspiracy.
Among these folks, any and all Muslims who “refudiate” such insane theories — who denounce violence and terror, profess their loyalty to the American system, take part in the democratic process and who have assimilated into the American landscape — are cleverly employing taqiyya, which, as any Muslim-baiter would tell you, is religiously sanctioned deception. The same was said about Jews decades ago and anti-Semites once evoked the specter of “Judeo-Bolshevism” the way that Muslim-baiters and politicians like Gingrich today warn of “Islamofascism.” But none of those awful facts really matter, even to a historian such as Gingrich, because facts have long been accused of being part of the secular-socialist machine.
Gingrich’s stand against the mosque project and his attempt to smear its backers as “Islamists” and apologists earns him his anti-Jihad bona fides, and with that, the support of an increasingly mistrustful and hateful electorate which lives off of tying American Muslims to every heinous act that occurs anywhere that remotely sounds Islamic. In this world, if the media fails to make the connection, they are clearly part of the soft-jihad.
Here is the key: The connection rarely has to be solid. In fact, the more specious the connection, the more the Muslim-baiter will be seen by others as a patriot and an enterprising investigative reporter. For instance, the New York Times‘ Robert Wright highlights one smear that has been contrived to defame the man leading the effort to bring the project to fruition. The imam behind the project is not to be trusted because conservatives say that “[his] wife has an uncle who used to be ‘a leader’ of a mosque that now has a Web site that links to the Web site of an allegedly radical organization.” If you can’t keep up with all of that nonsense, then you’re complacent about the Jihad.
Any and all statements against violence made by Muslims must always be placed in the right conservative context: scare quotes. Gingrich does this masterfully. That simple act in effect says that Muslims who preach peace are actually jihadists.
As Gingrich and his buddies believe, either you are with them or you are, through your dhimmitude, a proto-Jihadist. No, you’re worse since you probably support a second genocide against Jews. (Prominent Muslim-baiters have argued that Muslims instigated the Nazi holocaust!) Now that you’ve learned all of these made up facts, you simply do not have an excuse to not fight! Wake up and oppose the “Ground Zero Mosque” the “Islamization of America” and prove to those who hate the freedom in America that those freedoms, as Newt argues, don’t actually apply to all Americans.
Filed under: Economics, Poverty | Tags: Community Reinvestment Act, Jim DeMint, Mortgages, Steve King
crossposted at Political Correction
For much of the past two years, Congressional Republicans have wasted few opportunities to blame poor and working class Americans for the financial meltdown and the subsequent recession. They’ve argued that through well-intentioned government initiatives, including the Community Reinvestment Act, the government and those in traditionally underserved communities created much of the foreclosure crisis.
As Rep. Steve King (R-IA) often puts it, by promoting “bad loans in bad neighborhoods,” the government laid the groundwork for a catastrophic meltdown in the financial services sector. Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) has also blamed CRA for decreasing underwriting standards and increasing the number of loans to people who “could not afford to pay them back.” Often, the sentiment, such as King’s reference to so-called bad neighborhoods, comes tinged with a kind of subtle racism.
It’s all ridiculous. As Aaron Pressman pointed out back in 2008, “Just the idea that a lending crisis created from 2004 to 2007 was caused by a 1977 law is silly. But it’s even more ridiculous when you consider that most subprime loans were made by firms that aren’t subject to the CRA.” Additionally, as Paul Krugman notes, “Commercial real estate lending, which was mainly lending to rich white developers, not you-know-who, is in much worse shape than subprime home lending.”
Undeterred by such facts, conservatives — who have made their war on workers and the poor central to their platform — continue to blame rising delinquencies on the poor. In their efforts, they’ve even managed to drag immigrants in the conversation in an effort to tie the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression to their hateful nativist agenda.
But there is more to the story. The wealthy, the Republican Party’s core constituency, have played a much larger role in the foreclosure crisis then most had assumed. The New York Times reports today:
Whether it is their residence, a second home or a house bought as an investment, the rich have stopped paying the mortgage at a rate that greatly exceeds the rest of the population.
More than one in seven homeowners with loans in excess of a million dollars are seriously delinquent, according to data compiled for The New York Times by the real estate analytics firm CoreLogic.
By contrast, homeowners with less lavish housing are much more likely to keep writing checks to their lender. About one in 12 mortgages below the million-dollar mark is delinquent.