Gaius over at Blue Crab Boulevard has made me an offer I couldn't refuse. In addition to my irregularly scheduled blogging activities, I will be making semi-regular contributions over at the Crabitat in my new "official" capacity as an adjunct blogger.
I know, I know...most of you are saying,
"Wait. Will this affect the price of beer?"
No, it won't.
"Oh, then what do we care?"
You can read my latest, The Pending Prospect Of A Positively Putrid P.C. Presidency, over at the Blue Crab.
Saturday, March 29, 2008
Gaius over at Blue Crab Boulevard has made me an offer I couldn't refuse. In addition to my irregularly scheduled blogging activities, I will be making semi-regular contributions over at the Crabitat in my new "official" capacity as an adjunct blogger.
Thursday, March 27, 2008
A political junkies dream come true: Via Powerline
Last night, Greta van Susteren interviewed Hillary Clinton on Fox News. This was the most interesting exchange:VAN SUSTEREN: And if he says, no, I won't do it, that leaves Michigan and Florida out. And does that leave you out?
CLINTON: No. Not at all, because we are going to make sure those votes get counted, one way or another.
VAN SUSTEREN: How?
CLINTON: Well, you know, you can always go to the convention. That is what credential fights are for. You know, let's have the Democratic Party go on record against seating the Michigan and Florida delegations three months before the general election? I don't think that will happen. I think they will be seated. So that is where we are headed if we don't get this worked out.
This will be the much needed remedy for those of our fellow citizens who believe politics should be like an episode of Mr. Roger's Neighborhood, instead of the sausage making factory it is and NEEDS to be.
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
Want to see intellectual vacuity in action? Take a gander at this written by Paul Waldman: Conservatives' Hate-Based Campaign Against Obama
"GOP sees Rev. Wright as path to victory," the Republican strategists know exactly what must be done, starting with famed ad man Alex Castellanos:"All the sudden you've got two dots, and two dots make a line," said Castellanos. "You start getting some sense of who he is, and it's not the Obama you thought. He's not the Tiger Woods of politics."
As Castellanos knows well, these kinds of attacks have their greatest power when they tap into pre-existing archetypes voters already carry with them, and the deeper they reside in our lizard brains the better. So they will make sure white Americans know that Obama is not Tiger Woods. He's not the unthreatening black man, he's the scary black man. He's Al Sharpton, he's Malcom X, he's Huey Newton. He'll throw grievance in your face, make you feel guilty, and who knows, maybe kill you and rape your wife.
Get it? If you don't care for Rev. Wright's hate speech, well, that just means you are a racist who believes every black man you see will rape and kill your wife.
I'm not sure what wins out here, it's viciousness or its stupidity.
Oh, and since blithering ignorance is never self reflective there is a more:
Another Politico story after Obama's speech talked to one of those voters in Pennsylvania:"It was a great speech," one man said. "But what concerns me is that on the website for his church, they say they are unabashedly Afro-centric. ... The underlying message is they are perpetual victims and they enjoy the victim status and by proxy, me as a white person is their victimizer. And as long as we perpetuate these divisions, we will never heal."
Look at the distance this man traveled to circle back to his own racial resentment and find a way to blame it on Obama: The web site of Obama's church discusses black identity, which he interprets as an "underlying message" saying they are "perpetual victims," which he believes means they are accusing him personally of being a victimizer, which becomes the justification for rejecting Obama.
Well, Paul that is exactly what Wright/Cone mean, as you would know if you had ever read a damn thing about it.
"All white men are responsible for white oppression. It is much too easy to say, "Racism is not my fault," or "I am not responsible for the country's inhumanity to the black man...But insofar as white do-gooders tolerate and sponsor racism in their educational institutions, their political, economic and social structures, their churches, and in every other aspect of American life, they are directly responsible for racism...Racism is possible because whites are indifferent to suffering and patient with cruelty. Karl Jaspers' description of metaphysical guilt is pertinent here. 'There exists among men, because they are men, a solidarity through which each shares responsibility for every injustice and every wrong committed in the world, and especially for crimes that are committed in his presence or of which he cannot be ignorant.' "
So, it isn't the voter in Pennsylvania that is the idiot here. The idiot is Paul Waldman, and anyone else who buys his disgusting hate filled garbage.
Sen. Hillary Clinton said she "misspoke" last week when she gave a dramatic description of her arrival in Bosnia 12 years ago, recounting a landing under sniper fire.
Clinton was responding to a question Monday from the Philadelphia Daily News' editorial board about video footage of the event that contradicted her assertion that her group "ran with our heads down" from the plane to avoid sniper fire at the Tuzla Air Base.
Tommy Vietor, a spokesman for rival Sen. Barack Obama's campaign, said the Bosnia claim was part of "a growing list of instances in which Sen. Clinton has exaggerated her role in foreign and domestic policymaking."
Clinton told the paper's editorial board it was a "minor blip."
You know, I could believe a World War II vet not remembering each incident where they came under enemy fire, but speaking as someone who once had a crazy neighbor shoot a shotgun a few feet over my head for playing Frisbee in the street, if you don't do that sort of thing for a living you are gonna remember it....and pretty damn distinctly.
There is only one candidate who really knows what its like in combat, and he's not a Democrat.
Monday, March 24, 2008
Sunday, March 23, 2008
It has been a little strange to see the attempts to "normalize" the ideas behind folks like Rev. Wright and Trinity Church. The left of center meme has been to act as if views of Wright and Co. are just another Christian denomination, the intellectual and moral equivalent of Methodists or Lutherans. In fact, they have no problem comparing Wright, favorably, to Martin Luther King.
In a sense, it could be argued that this is simply an expression of the liberal adherence to the principle of religious freedom embodied by the First Amendment. In such a view, we are a country populated by a plethora of religious creeds, and as a nation our strength is measured more by our diversity than our uniformity. Thus, if some version of faith strikes you as outlandish, well that is simply the price of admission. Such a view makes some sense until you note the left of center penchant for trashing various forms of evangelicalism at the drop of a hat. So, I don't really think the pass Rev. Wright is getting could be explained away as simple reticence to criticize anyone's religion.
So, what exactly is going on? I would argue that there seems to be modicum of religious ignorance and a lack of theological sophistication on the part of many on the left. Many of the commentariat seem to hold some variation of Christopher Hitchens' belief that all religions are basically a legitimized form of organized crime. They are all frauds, so says this belief system, so how can you make any meaningful distinction between them? After all, there is no such thing as a more sincere con job.
The big problem with this view is the overwhelming majority of Americans believe there is a big difference between being a Catholic or a Lutheran, and being a Branch Davidian or a Ralien. Once you go down the road of saying there are indeed distinctions and judgements that can be legitimately made about different religious groups, it demands a greater basis of knowledge and a certain level of theological sophistication in order to make such judgements.
Now, obviously, Wright's Trinity Church or the Raliens or the Episcopalians, all enjoy equivalent legal protections under the Constitution, but that is not the same as saying they are all morally equivalent. Additionally, one's commitment to the legal protections of the Constitution does not preclude our being able to make moral distinctions between belief systems. As a result, blanket assertions that it is "un-American" to examine or take into account a person's religious thinking are simple nonsense. To undertake such judgements in no way alters the legal protections religious faiths enjoy, which is all that is demanded of us under our system of law. It is un-American to force someone to espouse Lutheran theology. It is in no way un-American to determine the Raliens are a bunch of nutjobs.
So, what kind of judgements can we draw about Rev. Wright and his church built upon the "black liberation theology" of James Cone? For starters, it doesn't seem to be a particularly Christian church. By that, I mean its motivating principles seem to derive less from the life and teaching of Jesus Christ than they do from the writings of Vladimir Lenin and Mao Tse-tung. The language of Wright's church is not that of grace and the love of God for his children on Earth. Instead, a vision of a politicized church built upon a rather clumsy and simplistic transposition of Lenin's essay on "Imperialism" (itself not a model of intellectual brilliance) is put forward in place of the Christian gospel. Where Lenin railed against the exploitation of the un-industrialized nations by the industrialized nations in a statist version of the Marxist idea of class struggle, Wright/Cone offer a vision of racial exploitation that can only be overcome by the "destruction" of the criminal race (i.e. whites.)
If this is what this perspective is politically, what can we say about it as a religion? From a religious perspective the question becomes what sort of claim such a view could have to being called "Christian" at all. (This is assuming that something being "Christian" is not merely a question of self-identification. For example, whatever variation there might be in the definition of "Vegan," you cannot legitimately claim to be a Vegan if you wear leather and eat veal four times a week.)
In my opinion, it seems unlikely that the political goals advocated by the Wright/Cone ideology can be squared with the bare minimum requirements of religious Christianity. In fact, the Wright/Cone vision requires the direct repudiation of the teachings of Christ. For example, whatever Christianity is it must allow for "Christians" of any race or ethnicity. For Wright/Cone only blacks can be "true" Christians. Christianity has always been built around the idea that Jesus Christ came not as a political revolutionary promising liberation for a specific people only, as many messianic Jews had been expecting for generations, but was instead sent for all mankind. But for Wright/Cone the only legitimate work of God is for the benefit of blacks and blacks alone. Such a view represents not just an "unusual interpretation" of Christianity, but a direct repudiation of it.
There are a lot of differences between Christian denominations concerning the idea of the sacraments, the nature and role of clergy, the importance of church authority, the nature of grace, the nature of sin, the status of Mary, the teaching role of the Bible, and hundreds of others subjects. However, such differences do not touch upon the most basic and fundamental roots of what it means to be a Christian. Christ asked us to recognize that whenever two are more are gathered in his name he is there as well. He did not say he would only be present when two or more of the "correct" ethnicity were gathered. Any church that implies this is so will have a hard time upholding any claim to Christian-ness.
For the non-Christian all of this must seem like much ado about nothing. But even an ardent agnostic can legitimately look at the dodgy political ideology masquerading as religious belief in Barrack Obama's church and ask probing questions about it. If we are not allowed to ask the difficult questions including those touching upon the intersection of faith and politics, in a mistaken belief that it is "bad form," how can we ever know what Obama believes about anything?
Cross posted at Blue Crab Boulevard.
A U.S.-based web service, which Islam critic and Dutch right-wing lawmaker Geert Wilders planned to use to show his film critical of the Koran, said on Saturday that it had inactivated the site due to complaints.
"This site has been suspended while Network Solutions is investigating whether the site's content is in violation of the Network Solutions Acceptable Use Policy," the company said on the site www.fitnathemovie.com.
Wilders, who has given few details about his 15-minute film, has said he plans to release 'Fitna' on the Internet before the end of the month after Dutch broadcasters declined to show it. Fitna is a Koranic term sometimes translated as "strife".
Wilders still plans to show his film despite the setback, Dutch agency ANP reported.
So the new definition of "free speech" is that speech which Muslims allow us to have.
After all, of what value is the Constitution, the philosophy of John Stuart Mill, or the last three centuries of Western thought, compared to the hurt feelings of a bunch of cranks?
Saturday, March 22, 2008
Or does anyone else think the Barrack Obama campaign (directly and indirectly) has done more to poison political discourse in this country than anything since the Clinton impeachment or, just maybe, the Watergate scandal? We've got charges of racism against a former President and a former candidate for Vice-President; charges of anti-Semitism, religious bigotry, lying, cheating, sexism, class warfare, liberal guilt, dandyism, and good old fashioned stupidity; claims of opportunism, resume padding, plagiarism, character assassination, incompetence, favoritism, cronyism, fraud, and demagoguery. Hell, there is even the claim that a candidate trashed an elderly relative for political gain.
And that's just among the Democrats.
This "new" tone stinks.
Lawyers for the Beatles sued Friday to prevent the distribution of unreleased recordings purportedly made during Ringo Starr's first performance with the group in 1962.
The dispute between Apple Corps Ltd., the London company formed by the Beatles that helps guard their legacy, and Fuego Entertainment Inc. of Miami Lakes stems from recordings the Fab Four apparently made during a performance at the Star Club in Hamburg, Germany.
Eight unreleased tracks are said to be among the recordings, including Paul McCartney singing Hank Williams' "Lovesick Blues" and McCartney and John Lennon singing "Ask Me Why."
Fuego Entertainment says the recordings were legally made. "Don't claim that these were just bootlegged," said Fuego president Hugo Cancio. "It's not like today, that you just go in with a phone or a blackberry and you record."
The lawsuit contends that the recordings are of poor quality and that circulating them "dilutes and tarnishes the extraordinarily valuable image associated with the Beatles."
Uh, really?? What a stupid argument. So, I'm supposed to believe that someone is going to hear these tapes and say "Oh, my God! Revolver and Abbey Road must actually suck!"
And I don't see how The Beatles could make this argument when they themselves released tracks on the first Anthology disc which could only charitably be called low-fi. ("In Spite Of All The Danger" anyone?)
Give the fans a break. Most of them won't want to buy the thing in the first place.
Powerline said it:
By the way, it's amusing to hear Obama attack McCain based on the Arizona Senator's "straight talk" about his lack of economic expertise. It would be interesting to learn Obama's basis for claiming superior expertise in this area. Obama has been a law professor (sort of), a "community organizer," an Illinois legislator, and a less-than-one-term U.S. Senator with no distinct track record on economic matters. Indeed, Obama's economic experience appears limited to home economics -- specifically his family's struggle, as his wife tells it, to get by on half a million dollars of annual income (the one million dollars or more the Obama's make, minus the book revenue Michelle says keeps the family's head above water).
In other words, the only advantage Obama has over McCain when it comes to economic expertise is his immodesty.
I joked around the other day about how the revelations that Clinton and McCain passport records were also improperly looked into ruined a perfectly good anti-Obama conspiracy.
Of course, I hadn't considered the idea that it was really the unravelling of a pro-Obama conspiracy!
(For all of the "humor challenged" out there, I'm still joking around.)
Friday, March 21, 2008
[ed. This is getting bumped up for an update.]
Here is the "theology" underlying the church Barrack Obama has been attending for 20+ years:
Black theology refuses to accept a God who is not identified totally with the goals of the black community. If God is not for us and against white people, then he is a murderer, and we had better kill him. The task of black theology is to kill Gods who do not belong to the black community... Black theology will accept only the love of God which participates in the destruction of the white enemy. What we need is the divine love as expressed in Black Power, which is the power of black people to destroy their oppressors here and now by any means at their disposal. Unless God is participating in this holy activity, we must reject his love.
If there is any contemporary meaning of the Antichrist, the white church seems to be a manifestation of it.
Now, I am supposed to, A) Not be deeply offended by this, and B) Believe someone who selected this belief system as an adult can still be viewed as someone who could represent the entire nation.
If these beliefs are not WAY out of the mainstream than what the hell could be?
QandO has a great post conecting some dots about Trinity's Gospel of Hate.
The campaign of Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., delivered one of its harshest, most negative attacks yet today, asserting that Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., is lacking in character and regularly misleads voters.
So I guess America wasn't really looking for "change" after all.
I think we have to seriously wonder about the viability of "hope" now.
All indications are that the Obama race speech on Tuesday was a big hit with Obama's supporters, and a big flop for everyone else: Obama’s speech meets unsympathetic ears with Americans
Barack Obama’s speech about race on Tuesday impressed many who witnessed it or read it. But most of America did neither, and many of them -- white and black -- were less persuaded of the speech’s capacity to heal racial wounds, or to put the issue of race behind Obama as he continues his quest for the White House.
That’s according to a new poll by InsiderAdvantage/Majority Opinion.
First, we screened poll respondents to find those who were aware that Obama’s pastor was in the news. A startling 82% knew about Obama’s speech, and about the controversy surrounding the Rev. Jeremiah Wright.
Of those who knew about the controversy and the speech, we asked, “Taking all this into account, are you more or less likely to support Obama for president?”
Less likely (52%)
More likely (19%)
About the same (27%)
No opinion (2%)
The poll was conducted March 19 among 1,051 Americans. After filtering out those not aware of Rev. Wright and Obama’s speech about him, the sample is 807, for a margin of error of plus or minus 3.2%. The data have been weighted for age, race, gender and partisan affiliation.
It’s easy to read too much into this poll. In the long-term, Obama’s speech about the racially insensitive political and social views of Rev. Wright may come to its final resting place in history books for being a signal moment in America’s tortured story of race relations. But in the short-attention-span theatre of a heated presidential race, it may amount to little more than a loud blip in an ever-fluxing news cycle.
Even so, the poll displays no numbers flattering to Obama. Most startling is that blacks by 56% to 31% said the speech made them less likely to vote for him. That may be because Obama had some gutsy perspectives on blacks as well as on whites, and black observers of the speech may have been annoyed. But it’s hard to imagine that there’s going to be an appreciable retreat by blacks from the Obama column.
Democrats disapproved 48% to 28%, which looks sobering for Obama on first glance, but might portend otherwise. If blacks irritated by Obama’s remarks will return to the fold, than impressing whites is probably a more vital read on the numbers. And Democratic whites were more sympathetic with the speech’s message than black ones.
The disturbing numbers for Obama are the independent voters. By 56% to 13%, they said they’re less likely to vote for him because of the speech.
It is a good point to remember that it is difficult to know what kind of political legs something like this will have, but it is clear that in the short term this has been nothing short of a disaster for the Obama campaign. Obama's own attempts to minimize the situation and be evasive about what he had heard will only extend the shelf life of the controversy. This poll cannot even take into account the way in which the religious right could use this material to motivate its members to go to the polls. They were never going to be particularly motivated to support McCain, but this promises to be the fodder needed to get them to vote against Obama.
Doesn't Clinton start to look better for the Democrats all the time?
Another presidential candidate comes clean:
A Message From Presidential Candidate Dave Burge
As a candidate for the presidency of this great nation of ours, it has been my privilege to meet and hear the concerns of voters from across the political spectrum. If there's anything I've learned along the way it's this: whether they agree with you or not, the American people want candor and straight talk about the issues of the day. That's why I would like to take this opportunity to have an open conversation about the Gimp I have chained in my basement.
By now, many of you may have heard or read the sensationalized reports about my Gimp, and the alleged muffled screams my neighbors recorded coming from my basement window wells. I frankly have to tell you, in all candor, I was as surprised as you when I heard about these audiotapes because I do not recall being in the house on the various nights when these supposed screams occurred. In all honesty, I'm guessing it probably happened during my league bowling night, and my campaign staff will be happy to check through my score sheets to verify. Also, did I mention I am a very heavy sleeper?
There is much more healing of a nation going on over at Iowahawk.
Nothing is going Obama's way this week: 3 Candidates' Passport Files Breached
The State Department says the passport files of the three presidential candidates -- Barack Obama, Hillary Rodham Clinton and John McCain -- have been breached.
State Department spokesman Sean McCormack says the individual who accessed Obama's files also reviewed McCain's file. This contract employee has been reprimanded, but not fired.
McCormack says the department is still reviewing options for dealing with that person.
The folks over at the DK must be crushed.
Thursday, March 20, 2008
You know, I really tried to have a bit of a mini-vacation. This week is spring break at the university so I thought I'd try to follow the sun, and spend at least a few days not thinking about politics.
No such luck.
I knew there would be continued fallout over the Obama/Wright fiasco, as Obama's attempt to playout the news cycle by releasing a Friday night blog posting on The Huffington Post was so obviously inadequate as to be laughable. (Whoever it was on Obama's staff that suggested that "tactic" should really be looking for another job today. That Obama himself said "Hey! That sounds like a plan!" doesn't speak too well of him either.) Still, I thought I could avoid it until I returned. However, absolutely lousy weather in St. Louis kept me indoors and, unfortunately, in front of a TV set when Obama's speech began on Tuesday morning. Like the idiot I am I watched the whole damn thing.
I don't have the stomach for an out and out fisking of it, and if you want that sort of thing there are plenty of places to find it, but here are some thoughts:
1) There was nothing "brave" about this speech. "Brave" would be putting yourself out there on a tough issue when you do not need to. This was a speech of political necessity, driven by panic, as evidenced by his attempt to avoid dealing with it via The Huffington Post.
2) Way too much time and energy was spent giving excuses for Wright's hate. There is no context which could make it understandable or excusable. In this Obama is hardly alone, as it a common weakness inherent in the liberal Democratic penchant for victimhood. The truth is hate is hate regardless of context. Imagine a Republican candidate who had an active member of the KKK as a "spiritual advisor". Now, do you think anyone would listen for a second to attempts to "contextualize" that person's views? Of course not, and nor should they.
3) The reactions on the web are about what you'd expect. The "true believers" have seen the promised land so they refuse to see anything else. Accordingly, apostates are treated to splutterings of rage and are to be smeared in any way possible. On the other hand, those of us who have remained apart from the "mania" were less impressed. Indeed, the only thing that could be called fundamental to the issue involved was left unspoken:
What they haven’t heard or seen is what they want to hear and see - an explanation as to why, given that level of hate was being preached in his church, Obama stayed there. They’ve heard his attempt at an explanation, but as should be obvious, it was rejected. And secondly, if the focus of the church was that of black anger and grievance, why did Obama choose it in the first place? He claims to reject that philosophy, but 23 years of attendance doesn’t support his claim.
4) There seems to be a newly developed cottage industry debating whether or not Obama threw his grandma under the bus for his own political benefit. That, to me at least, is uninteresting compared with the knowledge that Obama had to lie about his grandmother's "sins" in order to make it fit the narrative he was selling:
according to Obama’s 1995 book…she once confessed her fear of one aggressive black beggar who didn’t pass by her but instead confronted her, demanded money, and then gave her — an intelligent, level-headed woman who had worked her way up to a mid-level corporate management position — good reason to believe he would have violently mugged her if her bus hadn’t pulled up.(H/T The Anchoress)
If this was some doofus politician like Bush or Biden who retold the story in a misleading fashion, you might view it as just their usual struggle with using the English language to get across what they really kind of, sort of mean. But Obama is so superb with words that it’s perfectly reasonable to hold him accountable for choosing to slander his own living grandmother for his political advantage.
5) The days of "Obama the morally superior choice" are now over. (Read this for further proof of that.) Granted, this will not affect the greatest mass of Obama supporters who are enjoying their role as the "Obama Inquisition" where support for any other candidate, Democratic or Republican, requires "justification." It is a decidedly ugly trait to see in a democracy, and I for one do not plan on getting used to it.
Here is an absolute must read from Caroline Glick:
I was in 9th grade in the lead-up to the 1984 presidential elections. Most of the kids in the school were fired up about Jesse Jackson’s candidacy. I was personally offended by their support for a man who referred to New York as a “hymietown,” and I let my feelings be known. I don’t think that anyone thought worse of me for saying I didn’t support a man who was anti-Jewish. But then, it never occurred to me to care. If they had thought worse of me for standing up for my rights as a Jew, then that was their problem, not mine.
At any rate, I remembered my exchanges with my classmates about Jackson today as I read Obama’s speech about race and his pastor Jeremiah White. It was an excellent speech as far as it goes. But it left me feeling very uneasy about the quality of Obama’s character.
I was 13 years old when I stood up alone to all my classmates and told them that I thought they should be ashamed of themselves for supporting an anti-Semite for president. I was a child. But Obama came to Wright as an adult. And as an adult, he sat through 20 years of Wright’s anti-white, anti-Jewish, and anti-American vitriol and said nothing. Indeed, until just a few months ago, he was honoring him as his spiritual mentor. What does that say about him?
Don't stay here. Go over there and read the whole thing.
UPDATE X2: A welcome to all Donklephant readers dropping by. My post is what it is. I'm sorry if it doesn't solve any of the problems with race relations in America. In my defense, I never claimed I was attempting to. It is a look at the speech as a political animal only, with all the weaknesses and limitations such an approach implies. In a democratic society politics is nothing more than an endless argument about power. Its a necessary argument, but if we make it the primary focus of our social thinking than nothing will ever really change.
The truth is Obama's speech is inherently a political thing, and as such, not a very good vehicle to promote a different vision for the future. You can try to expect more from it, but I'm afraid down that path lies failure and disillusionment.
Friday, March 14, 2008
In this case I don't mind saying "I told you so":
Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama on Friday denounced inflammatory remarks from his pastor, who has railed against the United States and accused the country of bringing on the Sept. 11 attacks by spreading terrorism.
Oh, so this is the first time he's heard any of this crap? Bullshit. Complete...utter...bullshit.
As video of the Rev. Jeremiah Wright has widely aired on television and the Internet, Obama responded by posting a blog about his relationship with Wright and his church, Chicago's Trinity United Church of Christ, on the Huffington Post. Wright brought Obama to Christianity, officiated at his wedding, baptized his daughters and inspired the title of his book, "The Audacity of Hope."
So are you gonna buy Obama's "I hardly knew the guy!"?????? If so then you are a chump....or an anti-Semite.
In a sermon on the Sunday after the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, Wright suggested the United States brought on the attacks.
"We bombed Hiroshima, we bombed Nagasaki, and we nuked far more than the thousands in New York and the Pentagon, and we never batted an eye," Wright said. "We have supported state terrorism against the Palestinians and black South Africans, and now we are indignant because the stuff we have done overseas is now brought right back to our own front yards. America's chickens are coming home to roost."
Why didn't Obama just put Ward Churchill on his campaign staff and have done with it?
In a 2003 sermon, he said blacks should condemn the United States.
"The government gives them the drugs, builds bigger prisons, passes a three-strike law and then wants us to sing 'God Bless America.' No, no, no, God damn America, that's in the Bible for killing innocent people. God damn America for treating our citizens as less than human. God damn America for as long as she acts like she is God and she is supreme."
2003?????????!!!!?? And ALL of this is news to Obama???
He also gave a sermon in December comparing Obama to Jesus [ed. Gee, you don't say?], promoting his candidacy and criticizing his rival Hillary Rodham Clinton.
"Barack knows what it means to be a black man to be living in a country and a culture that is controlled by rich white people," Wright told a cheering congregation. "Hillary can never know that. Hillary ain't never been called a nigger."
And, remember, it was the Clintons who were the race baiters.
And, even after all of this garbage is out there Obama has the audacity to say he won't "repudiate the man."
Obama told MSNBC that he would not repudiate Wright as a man, describing him as "like an uncle" who says something that he disagrees with and must speak out against. He also said he expects his political opponents will use video of the sermons to attack him as the campaign goes on.
You have listened to this man "preach" for TWENTY YEARS and you never noticed anything wrong????? In fact you made him a member of your campaign, which is disturbingly well stocked with Israel haters already, don't ya think?? And if any opponent mentions the anti-American hate the not-so-good Reverend is teaching as God's word it is an "attack"????
Well, you know what Senator Obama?? Reverend Wright is a hateful son-of-a-bitch and if you can't recognize that fact then you are unqualified to be President of the United States, or even a Senator from the great state of Illinois. The fact you are representing the "Land of Lincoln" now is quickly becoming a national disgrace.
You know, I've met plenty of people in my life who hold dodgy opinions and who wouldn't hold up well to public scrutiny. Funny thing is, I wouldn't make any of them my spiritual advisor.
I'm sorry, but anyone who still tries to claim that Obama is the "moderate" choice is an idiot.
Here is an example of a completely wrongheaded apologia for Obama.
I tried to responded over there, but Donklephant is always buggy when I try to comment from home. Here is what I tried to post:
We are all being asked to believe that Barrack Obama listened to this man for 20 years, made him his spiritual advisor, gave him a role in his campaign, and had no idea he has been saying this type of stuff for at least 7 years??
Who is that stupid?
Does this mean that Obama supports every position Wright espouses? Of course not. But it does raise serious questions about Obama's judgement, and just what kind of garbage Obama is comfortable associating himself with. Wright's overt anti-Israel (and I feel anti-Semitic) feelings will certainly give Jewish voters pause coming as it does so hard on the heels of the Powers debacle.
And since we are going on about what the "Christian" response should be, it is also expected that those who have done wrong admit their wrongdoing in the presence of those whom they have wronged. It strains credulity that Obama knew nothing of Rev. Wright's "teachings". Sen. Obama has thus wronged us all by listening to it and staying silent. He has also wronged us all by claiming he never heard a thing.
I've found the following assesments to be more sensible:
The Audacity of Hate
Obama is still defending Wright, and very lamely (Wright's "on the brink of retirement;" he's made "some controversial statements" in the past; his statements are being "cherry picked"). Wright wasn't near retirement in 2001 when he blamed 9/11 on the U.S; nor was he near retirement in 2003 when he said God should "damn America." And the statements at issue aren't merely "controversial" or "just wrong"; they are deplorable.
Worst of all is Obama's suggestion that Wright is the victim of "cherry picking." Wright's statment span a full range of issues including (just to mention some that have come to light so far) America's treatment of its citizens (some are treated as less than human); America's overall approach to the world (horrible enough to deserve 9/11); Israel and Palestine (Israel commits war crimes with U.S. assistance); World War II (it was criminal for the U.S. to bring the war with Japan to a successful conclusion the way it did); and HIV (he suspects the U.S. government of helping to spread the virus). As ABC News said, its "review of dozens of Rev. Wright's sermons, offered for sale by the church, found repeated denunciations of the U.S." And let's not forget Wright's decision to honor Louis Farrakhan.
So there's no cherry-picking occurring here. Furthermore, the cherry-picking defense, even when plausible, has never been accepted when it comes to racism. Don Imus, for example, has received widespread condemnation for very occasional statements that showed racial insensitivity. Trent Lott was condemned for one statement praising Strom Thurmond's 1948 presidential campaign.
Plus, QandO discovers that Obama is indeed lying, or he is the victim of the worst coincidence in human history, when he claims he never heard any of Wright's "questionable" opinions before.
Monday, March 10, 2008
I thought there was no way one could spin everything, but I'm willing to admit I was wrong. Step one, take the news of the day: N.Y. Times: New York governor linked to prostitution
Gov. Eliot Spitzer has apologized to his family and the public, but did not elaborate on a bombshell report that he was involved in a prostitution ring.
Spitzer says he "acted in a way that violates my obligations to my family" and says he has to spend time with his family.
Spitzer's wife stood at his side, her hands behind her back and her eyes cast downward, as he made the statement. The New York Times reported earlier in the day that Spitzer told his senior aides he was involved in a prostitution ring.
Spitzer and his wife have three daughters.
The Times reported that a person with knowledge of the governor's role believes the governor is identified as a client in court papers. Four people allegedly connected to a high-end prostitution ring called Emperors Club VIP were arrested last week.
Spitzer, 48, built his political legacy on rooting out corruption, including several headline-making battles with Wall Street while serving as attorney general. He stormed into the governor's office in 2006 with a historic share of the vote, vowing to continue his no-nonsense approach to fixing one of the nation's worst governments.
Time magazine had named him "Crusader of the Year" when he was attorney general and the tabloids proclaimed him "Eliot Ness."
But his stint as governor has been marred by several problems, including an unpopular plan to grant driver's licenses to illegal immigrants and a plot by his aides to smear Spitzer's main Republican nemesis.
Step two, find a way to put some English into it. Now, the simple man I am, I wouldn't have even attempted to spin this into a positive. That just proves I do not have the "vision" of the folks at the Daily Kos, who truly put Pangloss to shame today:
At $5500/hour, the Emperor's Club prostitutes cost Spitzer approximately the same as Rudy's security detail cost the taxpayers of NYC every time that Rudy went to the Hamptons on a tryst with Judy. --Trapper John
That's right. Spitzer's whoring is to be preferred because it is more taxpayer friendly.
Friday, March 07, 2008
From the BBC: Pet hamsters banned in Vietnam
Vietnam has banned the sale and possession of hamsters, whose popularity has been soaring.
The Ministry of Agriculture says anyone caught with a hamster will be fined up to 30m dong ($1,900) - almost double the average annual wage in Vietnam.
The authorities say the creatures are a potential source of disease.
Well, then the "authorities" are retarded.
The only known hamster disease that can be passed onto humans is a kind of hamster meningitis that, while fatal to young hamsters, causes only mild flu like symptoms in humans. I know. I've had it.
A couple of years ago we got a little hamster we named Harrison. He was bright and active for the first two days we had him, but then he just grew listless and very quickly died. Given his age, he was only a few weeks old, it seemed likely he had meningitis which strikes only younger hamsters. A few days later I noticed I was a little under the weather, and I ran a low grade fever for maybe 24 hours. That was it. I'm not even sure I took a Tylenol for it.
But the government of Vietnam is encouraging a hamster massacre and using "health" fears as a cover, and let's make no mistake: the prohibitive fine will cause folks to "release" or outright kill the animals they already have. I'm sure the government policy is the result of complete and utter ignorance more than anything, but it is exactly the sort of ignorance you would expect in a country that doesn't allow for the free exchange of ideas and information.
Thursday, March 06, 2008
It might be harder to claim that Clinton did not pick up some much needed momentum after her three wins on Tuesday. Take a look at the last two Gallup tracking polls:
Feb. 21-24: Obama 51 Clinton 39
Mar. 3-5: Clinton 48 Obama 44
So that represents a 16 point swing in Clinton's favor in little over a week.
The other tracking poll, Rasmussen, has Clinton up as well (by 5 points).
Clinton has also gotten a bounce in Pennsylvania as well. She has also narrowed Obama's lead in North Carolina from double digits to only four:
“This isn’t actually particularly good news for Obama,” said Dean Debnam, President of Public Policy Polling. “He’s been leading in most North Carolina polls over the last three weeks by double digits. But as the national polls and last night’s results have shown Clinton inching closer, the same trend has occurred in North Carolina.”
For the moment, Obamania is stalling. It remains to be seen if Clinton can maintain her good run. Obama can try to hype Wyoming (which won't work), but if places like North Carolina continue to tighten up he will have a big problem on his hands.
And for all of us political junkies, the prospect of a brokered convention begins to loom large, since no one really believes either candidate will bow out now.
Wednesday, March 05, 2008
On one level it is just another example of the "If you don't support Obama you are a racist" meme, but on another level it is the prime example of "If you are reading the Daily Kos website you must have an IQ so low you will believe any damn fool thing we tell you to believe."
I'm talking about this post where the "evil Clinton campaign" is supposedly out to make Obama blacker than he really is. Hmm...I thought the Obama camp wanted to do that as well....I digress:
First Kos notes the differences between these two images:
Ohmigod!!! Hillary must be a member of the KKK!! And to prove Hillary's connection to the ad they show us this screen capture from the Clinton website:
Ohmigodagain!! Confirmati.....wait a second. Notice anything unusual about the screen shot compared to the emblackened Obama above?
Hmm..seems that version on the Daily Kos is a hell of a lot "blacker" than the one on the Clinton website. (Does this mean the Daily Kos are bigger racists than the Clintons!? They probably are...but that is a different post.)
I've no idea if this represents deliberate fauxtography or not on the DK's part, but I'm not sure it really matters in this case. They are nothing but scumbags for presenting such material as being "true" in the first place. Considering the intent is to smear the Clinton campaign as being inherently racist, I'm not putting anything past them.
The headline says all you need to know about the media covering the Democratic candidates: Obama Regains Ground in Texas Caucuses
Barack Obama regained lost ground in the fierce competition for Democratic convention delegates on Wednesday based on results from the Texas caucuses, partially negating the impact of Hillary Rodham Clinton's string of comeback primary victories.
Uh...one little problem with this scenario: We don't have freaking results from the Texas caucuses!!! As of just about 1:00PM central time, according to CNN, a whopping 37% of precincts are reporting and Obama has a lead of 1405 votes...TOTAL.
Gee, think any sweeping pronouncement on the matter is premature?
You know, there are times when merely labelling someone a moron isn't nearly strong enough: Read a Book, Harass a Co-Worker at IUPUI
In a stunning series of events at Indiana University - Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI), Keith Sampson, a university employee and student, has been charged with racial harassment for reading a book during his work breaks.
Sampson is in his early fifties, does janitorial work for the campus facility services at IUPUI, and is ten credits shy of a degree in communication studies. He is also an avid reader who usually brings books with him to work so that he can read in the break room when he is not on the clock. Last year, he began reading a book entitled Notre Dame vs. the Klan: How the Fighting Irish Defeated the Ku Klux Klan. The book, which has garnered great reviews in such places as The Indiana Magazine of History and Notre Dame Magazine, discusses the events surrounding two days in May 1924, when a group of Notre Dame students got into a street fight in South Bend with members of the Ku Klux Klan. As an historical account of the students' response in the face of anti-Catholic prejudice, the book would seem to be a relevant and worthwhile read, both for residents of the state of Indiana and for anyone interested in this chapter of American history.
But others at IUPUI clearly did not see it that way. First, a shop steward told Sampson that reading a book about the KKK was like bringing pornography to work (apparently this holds true in his eyes regardless of the context in which a book discusses the KKK, the position it takes, and so on). Likewise, a co-worker who happened to be sitting across the table from Sampson in the break room remarked that she found the KKK offensive. On both occasions, Sampson tried to explain what the book was really about. Both times, the other individual refused to listen.
A few weeks later, Sampson was notified by Marguerite Watkins of the school's Affirmative Action Office (AAO) that a co-worker had filed a racial harassment complaint against him for reading the book in the break room. Once again, he attempted to explain the book's content, but Watkins too had no interest in hearing it. Despite his not being given a chance to defend himself, he subsequently received a letter from Lillian Charleston of the AAO, dated November 25, 2007, informing him that AAO had completed its investigation of the matter. The letter stated,You demonstrated disdain and insensitivity to your coworkers who repeatedly requested that you refrain from reading the book which has such an inflammatory and offensive topic in their presence...you used extremely poor judgment by insisting on openly reading the book related to a historically and racially abhorrent subject in the presence of your Black coworkers.
It went on to say that according to "the legal ‘reasonable person standard,' a majority of adults are aware of and understand how repugnant the KKK is to African-Americans..." As a result of AAO's findings, Sampson was ordered to refrain from reading the book in the immediate presence of his co-workers and to sit apart from them whenever reading it.
It beggars belief.
Anyone who can see any sense in either the response of the co-workers or the actions of the University is beyond help.
Please go over and read the whole post over at F.I.R.E.
Tuesday, March 04, 2008
In the dustup over the Obama camp's NAFTA duplicities something had been overlooked:
Need one add the monumental stupidity of promising to, in effect, first cripple the Mexican economy, and then throw open the border? Maybe someone in the press can find time to ask Mr. Obama about that...
Unfortunately, it seems to be a stupidity that Clinton is committed to as well.
Monday, March 03, 2008
Need more evidence that Barrack Obama is unprepared for the job of President of the United States? Look at this pitiful display:
Ed Morrissey, as he often can, gets it just right:
Hmmm. It appears that the local [Chicago] press has managed to do what the national media could not — treat Obama as a politician and not a secular messiah. They asked tough questions about Obama’s political connections to a fixer and his campaign’s outright false answers on an Obama adviser’s contacts with Canadian diplomats regarding Obama’s rhetoric on NAFTA. Instead of handling the questions calmly and patiently, Obama accused the media of having an agenda against him, and then angrily stalked off.
Compare this to the press conference John McCain held after the New York Times smeared him by accusing him of having a sexual affair with a lobbyist. Not only did McCain — whose temper has its own zip code, according to some Capitol Hill staffers — give a lengthy and reserved statement, but then stood at the podium until the reporters ran out of questions. In fact, at the end, McCain had to ask twice whether anyone had anything else to ask him before leaving the podium.
By my count, McCain answered 36 questions in this press conference. How many did Obama take before walking off in a huff?
In many ways the media, by not treating him like every other candidate running for the Presidency, has not done Obama any favors. If they had spent more time asking him tough political questions instead of fawning all over him, Obama may have been better prepared to deal with these big moments. Instead, he has had a horrible 48 hours than can only be wiped away with convincing victories tomorrow.
The truth is there is nothing in this video clip that seems even vaguely Presidential.
Anything that begins, "CNN and Washington Post "media critic" Howard Kurtz -- who is a right-wing blogger disguised as a journalist," was never going to be taken seriously by anyone who possesses more than a functioning brain stem, but Glenn Greenwald's descent into Democratic self-pity is truly pathetic:
When vapid media figures like Kurtz complain that Barack Obama hasn't received the necessary "scrutiny," what they mean is that the real fun hasn't started yet -- they haven't been spewing all of the standard, entertaining, petty, personality-based smears from the right-wing sewers.
Mike Dukakis is an effete loser; Al Gore is a pompous, lying bore; John Kerry is an awkward, flip-flopping weakling; and Barack Obama is an America-hating, Terrorist-loving, angry radical racist coke-head. When Kurtz says he wants more "media scrutiny" of Obama, what he's really saying -- as today's column proves conclusively -- is: when are we going to start propagating the right-wing personality smears in earnest? What are we waiting for?
As Paul Krugman said today, quoting Bob Somerby: "Mr. Obama will be 'Dukakised': 'treated as an alien, unsettling presence." The same thing would happen to Hillary or any other Democratic candidate. It does in every national election.
The words "boo hoo" come to mind.
And, hey, none of you bullies better take Glenn's milk money this afternoon. He's had a hard day, what with being picked on and everything.
Me thinks the Obama campaign is losing the magic touch:
Okay, scratch what I said about Goolsbee and Canada. I still don't think it's substantively a big deal, but between hearing CNN's reports from Ohio this morning, and listening in on a Clinton conference call just now (and hearing reporters' questions on the subject), I think they're getting some significant traction with this story today.
Two things make it problematic for the Obama campaign: 1.) The sudden appearance of this lurid-sounding memo written by a Canadian consular official. I don't think it's particularly revealing--as I said this morning, it reflects what the Canadians thought they heard from Goolsbee; there are, significantly, no direct quotes. But the term "memo" just sounds bad--as though there were some cover-up that's now falling apart. 2.) Certain Obama officials denied last week that there was any contact between the Obama campaign and the Canadian government about NAFTA. That's clearly no longer "operative," as Howard Wolfson pointed out on the call.
No longer "operative", eh? Now, there is a handy little euphemism. ("A lie?? Of course not!! It's merely a statement that is no longer operative. Call a repairman.")
I was in and out of the subsequent Obama campaign call, but campaign manager David Plouffe took 2-3 questions about this that I heard. The campaign's position is that Goolsbee was having a conversation with the Canadians in his capacity as an economics professor at the University of Chicago, not as a campaign adviser.
So, we have went from, "I wasn't even there!!" to "I was there, but they misquoted me!!" to "I was there, I wasn't misquoted, but I wasn't there for any particular reason. Why just the other day I wandered into the Belgian embassy to see if they needed anybody to muse about the Euro."
Stop digging already.
No, they haven't stopped digging yet. They have called for a backhoe.
Canada on Monday denied it had tried to sway the U.S. presidential election by misrepresenting Democratic candidate Barack Obama with the suggestion that he didn't really believe his criticisms of the North American Free Trade Agreement.
The report was leaked to the U.S. media, prompting some Democrats to accuse Canada's right-leaning Conservative government of trying to interfere in the election -- a charge dismissed by Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
"I certainly deny any allegation that this government has attempted to interfere in the American election," he told Parliament.
Yeah, right. So now this is Canada's fault.
And some complain that Bush has problems admitting to mistakes. Yikes.
I am starting to wonder if Obama's closest advisers are having more trouble saying what they mean, or meaning what they say?
That these same people are on the top of the list for Obama administration jobs bodes ill for any possible coherency in the future. Joy.
"Alas, poor Hillary! I knew her Horatio..."
So the political stories of the day pronounce. It is certainly true that even if Clinton holds to win Texas, Ohio and Pennsylvania tomorrow, because of the rules of the Democratic Party nomination process she has an uphill fight on her hands. It is also true, that even if she sweeps tomorrow the spin will be against her. "Oh, she barely held on to big leads! Obama's the real winner in spirit if not in fact. Obama won 10, 11 in a row, how can three measly wins for Clinton be considered a real set back? Besides, they really mostly split the delegates at stake evenly." etc.
Let's play a game of make believe. Let's say the world contained nothing but Democrats, and instead of a convoluted mish-mash of proportional representation and caucuses, we ran by Electoral College rules. Let us further say that in this fantasy disputed Michigan, egged on by "patriot" Michael Moore, has left the Union and joined Canada so the Electoral College had only 521 votes with 261 needed for victory. In such a land how would Clinton and Obama be doing?
Obama would have 154 EV's after winning 18 contests.
Clinton would have 193 EV's after winning 12 contests.
Were Clinton to sweep Ohio, Pennsylvania and Texas she would have 268 EV's and the win. Were Obama to take Texas and Clinton the other two, Clinton would still lead 234 to 188. In such a scenario she would need 27 EV's out of the remaining 99 (or 27.27%) in order to sew things up.
In other words, if the Democratic nomination system looked anything like our actual presidential election procedure, Obama's campaign would be on life support.
If one is a Democrat the question arises, is it good to have a system that results in the less electable candidate winning?
Sunday, March 02, 2008
It must be a bitch that the foreign press isn't as, shall we say, "compliant" as the domestic variety:
After reporting on Barack Obama's dance with the Canadians on NAFTA yesterday, Canadian broadcaster CTV got accused of perpetrating a smear against the Democratic front-runner. They insisted that Obama meant every word he said about overturning the free-trade treaty, and that no one had contacted the Canadian diplomatic corps to reassure them that it was mere demagoguery. CTV responded today by naming names -- and suddenly the Obama campaign has grown quiet:The Obama campaign told CTV late Thursday night that no message was passed to the Canadian government that suggests that Obama does not mean what he says about opting out of NAFTA if it is not renegotiated.
However, the Obama camp did not respond to repeated questions from CTV on reports that a conversation on this matter was held between Obama's senior economic adviser -- Austan Goolsbee -- and the Canadian Consulate General in Chicago.
Earlier Thursday, the Obama campaign insisted that no conversations have taken place with any of its senior ranks and representatives of the Canadian government on the NAFTA issue. On Thursday night, CTV spoke with Goolsbee, but he refused to say whether he had such a conversation with the Canadian government office in Chicago. He also said he has been told to direct any questions to the campaign headquarters.
Of course, the Obamaniacs won't care a whit, since they are buying "hope" and not anything more tangible.
For me, it is telling that Obama and Co. tried to evade their lies with further lies, like that helps or something.