Lynch: Moslems should move proposed Manhattan center out of respect for 'us'

Ninth District Rep. Steve Lynch and Democratic challenger Mac D'Alessandro discussed everything from the proposed Islamic cultural center in lower Manhattan to, of course, health care, in a 20-minute discussion on WGBH's "Greater Boston" tonight (Watch).

D'Alessandro said he supported the rights of a Moslem group to build a cultural center two blocks from Ground Zero: "We have a constitutionally protected right to practice our faith as we see fit, and you know, those rights, those core values mean the most when it's uncomfortable for us to adhere to them," he said.

Lynch disagreed: "Respect and tolerance lives on a two-way street. I know a lot of those families who lost loved ones that day, I know a lot of firefighters who, their families, who perished that day and I just think it would be a huge win for the Imam to move that mosque and I would hope they would do that as a symbol for us and our fallen."

"They say they are us," host Emily Rooney said; the Imam, for example, is an American citizen.

The two also disagreed on health care. D'Alessandro said the president's health-care plan will reduce the deficit dramatically over the coming decade and is the right thing to do.

Lynch called such talk "hogwash" because insurance companies still have anti-trust exemptions and said he voted against the final health-care bill because it did not have provisions to let states set up their own health plans to compete - and help bring down prices. Without cost savings, there's simply no way to provide care to the uninsured, he said.

But try telling that to the 36 million people who will gain coverage under the new law, D'Alessandro said. "When it mattered most, Congressman Lynch sided with the insurance industry," he said.

The two also differed on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

D'Alessandro said he would have voted with the state's other congressmen for measures to strike funding for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. He said we have no clear objectives in either war and that, at the very least, we owe that to members of the military and their families. As a congressman, there is no clearer way to force the administration to come up with a good plan than by voting against appropriations, he said.

But Lynch said the president has been very clear in his war agenda - to wind down US involvement in Iraq and sets similar guidelines for Afghanistan. On funding, "there is no way in heck I am going to leave (troops) stranded and strike funding," he said.

After Lynch mentioned how many times he had been overseas meeting with troops, D'Alessandro quipped, "If he had spent as much time (in his district) as he had overseas, he'd know about those vacant storefronts on Great Plan Avenue in Needham ... those library closings in Boston."

Lynch retorted that he meets with officials in each of his towns every year and works to get them what they need. "I didn't know Brockton wanted the zero-emission busses that I got them, they told me," he said. "I am here every week. My wife and I are raising two girls here. I am the most hands-on member of Congress."

The two did agree on one issue: The president is doing the right thing in trying to rescind tax cuts for individuals making more than $200,000.



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Thanks for the graphics, anon!

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I was really expecting a huge thread filled with misspelled lunatic ravings from teabaggers and got a laugh instead.

I'll have to comer back later; maybe the bigots haven't woken up yet.


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Moselms? Come on Adam, your getting as bad as Any word on the South Boston Reps race tonight? Can you put somrthing up? I need my fix, thanks Sal from da north end

Was there a debate tonight?

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If so, my apologies for not covering. The limits of a one-person mobile news unit are quite on display this week before the primaries: There are a number of contested races in Boston, from Charlestown to West Roxbury and I've done a terrible job covering them, I admit.

In terms of what Lynch said, well, he said what he said - you can check the video. The "us" thing struck me because we're not talking about a bunch of Saudis swooping in and trying to put up a mosque, but a group headed by a guy who is, in fact, an American citizen. In other words, he's as much "us" as I am or maybe even you (being an anon, of course I have no idea who you really are).

Southie Debate yes. One

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Southie Debate yes. One candidate stood out: Bombard.

us vs. them?

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Good post, Adam. Lynch reveals a common and harmful "us" vs. "them" mentality, a lapse that fails to acknowledge the existence of Muslim-Americans, not to mention the many Muslims that perished alongside Catholics, Jews, etc. in the 9/11 attacks. Muslims are our neighbors, working hard and raising families and trying to be good Americans.

US and Them

Crescents among the crosses at Arlington Cemetery
Many Muslim who have served in the US armed forces.
By Shahed Amanullah

If you ever visit Arlington National Cemetery ... you may notice that every now and then, a crescent pops up among the field of crosses. Few Americans are aware that many American Muslims have fought and died in the US Armed Forces, including in Iraq. When you wander the cemetery grounds that overlook Washington, DC, you'll notice the grave of Army Captain Humayun Khan, who lured a suicide car bomb away from the men in his charge, saving their lives but giving up his own.


Lynch now uses power to tilt the field against Muslim Americans

As recently as 1959 Protestant and Catholic was 'us' and 'them' in Massachusetts, even on faculties of prestigious colleges and universities.

In Boston in the mid 1800s, Catholic Irish immigrants faced a lot of discrimination because they represented all of the undesirable traits 'us' (we) are willing to attribute to 'them'.

Irish immigrants used the democratic process to get political power to level the playing field. Odd that Lynch now uses it to tilt the field against Muslim Americans.


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One expects this sort of thing from national politicians- this idiotic blaming of all Muslims for 9/11- which is exactly what D'lessandro did here whether he thinks he did or not. We don't need this sort of rhetoric in our state and not in Boston- where many of us know, work with, and are friends and neighbors to Muslims from many different countries and traditions. This sort of talk in not New England. It may be American- but it isn't New England. No- not here.

Unacceptable and indecent.

excuse me

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Don't watch TV and post on the internet at the same time. I meant to refer to Lynch's view- not D'lessandro's.

no problem

Lynch is frequently mistaken for a Congressman as is D'Alessandro.

You reply to the questions you're asked

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And Rooney asked them about this and the publicity-seeking Koran burner (both agreed it would be wrong to burn Korans). Given Lynch's frequent trips to visit troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, though, it wasn't really all that irrelevant to the race.

She actually started the debate by trying to get them to argue against some point Charlie Baker made when he talked to Rooney (about why rich people shouldn't have their taxes increased).

Thank you, Jonas. Zoning is a LOCAL issue.

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Thank you very much for calling this exactly what this is - a local zoning issue. The notion that anyone (especially some guy who heads some church in Florida) who lives outside the jurisdiction of New York City has any right to influence what is built in a particular neighborhood there is without any foundation whatsoever.

I think they should build it in Southie

I'm sure Lynch would welcome that - I mean, he's trying to say that the rest of the country gets to decide matters of local zoning and long settled constitutional rights, right? Tell the Imam to build right in the heart of South Boston, because we who don't live there think it is swell.

Hey, Lynch

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Leave me out of your "us". You don't speak for me.

Keep your bigoted bullshit to yourself.

another failure of leadership by Lynch

He is appealing to the conservative vote in MA9 by taking the side of those who think the Park51 project should be moved because Muslim-American religious freedom is just too insensitive when its two blocks from ground zero. Anyone who makes this argument AND uses the word "tolerance" to make it should have it shoved up their ass because tolerance is a two-way street.

It's telling that Lynch is using this issue to get re-elected because this issue is a wedge issue nurtured by Fox News for Republicans. If you look back to the beginning of the year, you'll see that both O'Reilly and Ingrahm has no objections when they talked on camera with the Imam about the Park51 project. Now they whip it like a dead horse. Fear and smear.

Last August, Lynch said he read the entire Health Care bill and yet refused to refute the there were "death panels," once again willing to sacrifice the truth in the service of not alienating conservative constituents. He was asked point blank about death panels at his Curry College Town Hall and he WOULD NOT state that they DID NOT EXIST IN THE BILL. Failure of leadership.

People of MA9, can we ease Lynch out of office by voting for Mac D'Alessandro next Tuesday 9/14?


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The way no one talks about this, I was beginning to think that I was the only one who remembers this.

Last August, Lynch said he read the entire Health Care bill and yet refused to refute the there were "death panels," once again willing to sacrifice the truth in the service of not alienating conservative constituents.

Dame Rooney is well-read

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When Mac made the point that the objectives in Iraq and Afghanistan have not been clearly stated by the members of Congress to the members of our armed forces, Emily asks him whether he thinks our troops have a good feeling of what our objectives over there are. As he's saying basically that the troops are just following orders, implying that they may or may not know the objectives (I guess) she asks (as he keeps talking) "Have you read, for example, 'War' by Sebastian Junger. They seem to know."

Now I haven't read 'War' but have seen a few interviews with Junger and my understanding is that his take (and the documentary about these troops in Afghanistan) is that what these troops know is that they stick together fiercely to survive a ludicrously dangerous place. I don't think the troops are debating culture clash issues, global geopolitics, natural resource market cornering, terrorist network disruption or any other of the reasons we go to war beyond stop the terrorists over there before they get here. Does anyone think we're doing something good for Afghanistan?

Mac's point was a good one and Emily's muttering of contradictions under him sounds more like something a snotty 13 year old says as they're sent to their room. It's that sort of interview style that makes Emily annoying (to my ears). Some of her bluntness and 'cut the crap' attitude is appreciated at times when it's warranted. But in this case she comes off sounding snotty. Like reading Sebastian Junger's book is enough of a proof for knowing what the troops perceive as our reasons for going to war? And I think the point might be more that the Congress has to grow a pair and be more engaged in our extracurricular affairs considering that they are the ones who are supposed to declare a war and frequently do not, allowing Presidential interventions to metastasize into shitfests.

And did Lynch refer to Afghans as Aghanis? He's been over there a dozen times or whatever and no one ever corrected him? We need to get more anal retentive U-Hubbers over there (and decrease the surplus population).

That's our Emily

Mac's point was a good one and Emily's muttering of contradictions under him sounds more like something a snotty 13 year old says as they're sent to their room. It's that sort of interview style that makes Emily annoying (to my ears).

I know exactly what you're talking about and yes, she detracts from the debate by contradicting but not by making a clear or distinct point just by muttering some amorphous dissent.

She was even worse during a Brown Coakley radio debate. She got half of her questions from Fox News talking points.


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The mosque in Lower Manhattan is not pertinent to the Congression Race. But knowing Our Miss Emily, if it was important enough for Donald Trump to take a stand on, she just had to ask!

National shame

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Nothing in my lifetime has made me more disgusted than the panic over the Coat Factory Community Center. It is so obvious that this is the sort of thing history will shame us for and that so many people are selling out American principles is deeply disturbing. There have been episodes like this in the past and history always passes the same judgment. That we can be so blind to this is shameful. I'm glad Lynch isn't my Congressman. He's embarrassing the entire nation by his participation in this shameful episode.

What I want to know is how the Rove and the Republicans

turned Park51 unto a nationwide wedge issue for the midterms. It doesn't surprise me that people like Newt Gingrich, Sarah Palin, Bill O'Reilly and Glenn Beck are haters and are willing to victimize Islam and Muslims for short term political gain no matter what cost to US troops in Afghanistan but Stephen Lynch?? He really surprised me by taking this stand.

More about Newt Gingrich on my Uhub blog.

Lynch has a long history of

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Lynch has a long history of using, or arguing around GOP talking points and/or debate framing.

It's one of the reasons I've drifted away from supporting him.

Democrats simply can't win when you let the other side frame the debate on their own terms. Lynch is part of that problem.

He see's it as middle ground, when in reality all it's doing is hurting the party and the nation as a whole. You get the whole death camps, Muslim crusaders in NYC, ect that stops any meaningful debate and progress on issues cold in it's tracks.

You don't have to be a communist from VT; but don't think you're going to play their game and come off as the good guy moderate. Stand up and argue your positions with valor and treat the clowns as such.