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Pastor Contradicts Jesus: Burns Qur’an, Fuels Afghani Extremist Rhetoric

2 Apr

Pastor Jones: If you have hate in your heart, let it out

It’s not about the right to burn a Qur’an. Of course he has that right. But as someone who claims to be a man of faith, I don’t see how this is productive at all.  He is clearly trying to bring attention to himself. He is not representative of Americans and he does not have a following. He has been in the media spotlight only because of the absurdity of his logic and the controversy surrounding his actions.  
We’re supposed to be educated and civilized Americans that believe in respect. This ‘pastor’ certainly isn’t responsible for the deaths in Afghanistan as a result of the book burning. However, his actions (in combination with the irresponsible media and the gullible people that keep on eating the tripe the spew), are empowering a radical group of people that believe in a very radical brand of Islam. These actions are fueling thugs and extremists and playing into their hands. They know that they only way they can continue to recruit and grow stronger is if they perpetuate the myth that America is waging a new Crusade against Islam. These thugs will do whatever they can to stifle debate, kill anyone that gets in their way, and make sure that no compromises are never made. Purity in the name of extremism is an awfully dangerous thing.  
We must fight extremism with our intellect and we must understand that we are completely desensitized to shock value. Yes, it is clearly silly to us that burning a bound book is just a way for us to excercise our freedom to do so. However, to uneducated Afghanis that will believe anything that is told to them, they probably think there are thousands of Americans who are burning Qur’ans all over the streets plotting how they can completely destroy Islam and kill all the followers. Believe me… if people can be convinced that real estate is always a great investment in America, the uneducated, iliterate, and jobless in Afghanistan can be convinced that there is an American plot to Crusade against Islam.

We all certainly have the right to burn a Koran. If the day comes where someone tries to take that right away, I will be the first one to light one up. However, in the meantime, I’m not going to excercise my right to be grossly disrespectful to anyone or any group just because I can.  
Believe me when I say it… Moderate Muslims, secularists, and women are depending on us to show some restraint.   
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Bush, Obama, and Presidential War Powers

1 Apr

Glenn Greenwald of wrote an excellent article about the expanding war powers of the President. I highly recommend this piece to anyone that is interested in the interplay of federalism, the national executive, and the political process. For my Tea Party compatriots that have a tendency to see Constitutional issues in black and white, I think this will give you a better idea of how complicated things really are.  

Just a quick summation of points:

  • Greenwald begins by discussing President W. Bush’s disregard for FISA (Nixon-inspired federal law that makes certain kinds of domestic eavesdropping a felony). In essence, the Bush’s DOJ team made the argument that Article II’s necessary and proper clause allows the President to ignore Congressional power at his discretion i.e. Statutes apply unless the President, upon his unchecked discretion, deems that it doesn’t
  • In wake of US military action in Libya, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton reiterated the same message to the House of Representatives
  • Greenwald discusses a 1987 report by then Congressman Cheney’s justifying President Reagan’s involvement in Iran Contra. In particular, he gives us an excerpt of the report… “it was unconstitutional for Congress to pass laws intruding” on the “commander in chief”… Needless to say, Cheney does a good job an exception job of making people dislike him with everything he does
  • How Senator Obama and Senator Clinton were adamantly opposed to President Bush’s exercise of power
  • The unlikely pairing of Justice Scalia and Justice Stevens in the dissent of Hamdi v. Rumsfeld
  • How President Obama is doing what all Presidents before him have done: preserve and expand the power of the President
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