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Obama's Other Spiritual Mentor: Rev. Michael Pfleger

Christopher Hitchens' latest column in Slate states: "In April 2004, Barack Obama told a reporter from the Chicago Sun-Times that he had three spiritual mentors or counselors: Jeremiah Wright, James Meeks, and Father Michael Pfleger--for a change of pace, a white Catholic preacher who has a close personal feeling for the man he calls (as does Obama) Minister Farrakhan."

Pfleger is the Pastor at St. Sabina's Catholic Church, on the South Side of Chicago. So I searched Westlaw's ALLNEWS database for "Obama and Pfleger."

According to the April 5, 2004 Chicago Sun-Times article cited by Hitchens:

Friends and advisers, such as the Rev. Michael Pfleger, pastor of St. Sabina Roman Catholic Church in the Auburn--Gresham community on the South Side, who has known Obama for the better part of 20 years, help him keep that compass set, he says.

"I always have felt in him this consciousness that, at the end of the day, with all of us, you've got to face God," Pfleger says of Obama. "Faith is key to his life, no question about it. [It is] central to who he is, and not just in his work in the political field, but as a man, as a black man, as a husband, as a father.... I don't think he could easily divorce his faith from who he is."
As Hitchens wrote, Rev. Pfleger is indeed an admirer of "Minister Farrakhan." Ambushed by a Bill O'Reilly camera crew, Pfleger stated: "He has--first of all, he has not called Judaism a gutter religion of blood suckers. That is not what he has said because I have heard that talk. I stick up for Louis Farrakhan because he is another person that the media has chosen to define how they want to do it. And they demonize how they want to demonize somebody. I know the man, Louis Farrakhan. He is a great man. I have great respect for him, ho has done an awful lot for people and this country, black, white, and brown. He's a friend of mine." (The O'Reilly Factor, Apr. 3, 2008.) Farrakhan spoke at St. Sabina's on May 25, 2007. (Chicago Sun Times, May 10, 2007.)

Like Rev. Jeremiah Wright, who was recently an invited speaker at Rev. Pfleger's church, Rev. Pfleger believes that "racism is still America's greatest addiction." (Chicago Sun Times, Jan. 17, 2004.)

In September 2007 in Iowa, Plfeger participated in forums on the role of spirituality in politics, which the Obama campaign had organized. (US Federal News, Oct. 1 & 14, 2007; Chicago Sun Times, Sept. 12, 2007). The Obama campaign touted Pfleger's endorsement, listing him as one of about a dozen prominent ministers who supported Obama. (Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL), May 8, 2007.)

As a state legislator, Obama obtained $225,000 in grants for St. Sabina. (Chicago Tribune, May 2, 2007.)

Rev. Pfleger was a prominent early endorser of Obama's successful 2004 Senate campaign, as well as his unsuccessful 2000 challenge to U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush.

Rev. Pfleger's church has taken some admirable stands against the degradation of American culture, such as speaking out against abusive rap music, and hosting a speaker who exposed the anti-Catholic compilation of lies in "The DaVinci Code." (Chicago Defender, May 15, 2006.) St. Sabina also organized a rally against the genocide in Darfur. (Chicago Sun Times, May 19, 2005.) Rev. Pfleger appeared at a press conference to support state legislator Obama's bill requiring the police to keep statistics on the race of motorists who were stopped by the police, so as to deter racial profiling. (Chicago Defender, Feb. 20, 2001.)

Rev. Pfleger also appeared at a press conference announcing State Senator Obama's proposal to outlaw the sale of bidi cigarettes--a type of high-nicotine hand-rolled cigarette which is made in India. (Chicago Defender, Feb. 5, 2000.)

Rev. Pfleger does not respect the property rights of persons who sell products he does not like. He "is known for climbing ladders to deface liquor billboards." (Crain's Chicago Business, Dec. 20, 2004.)

The Westlaw database does not indicate that Sen. Obama has participated in the project which has gained Rev. Pfleger notoriety among Bill of Rights advocates: his persecution of Chuck's Gun Shop. Since all firearms stores have been driven out of Chicago, the closest firearms store to Chicago is Chuck's Gun Shop, in Riverdale, a short distance south of Chicago. Pursuant to Illinois law, Chuck's only sells guns to customers who have already obtained a Firearms Owner's Identification Card (FOID) issued by the Illinois State Police after a background check. The employees of Chuck's Gun Shop have also voluntarily undertaken the "Don't lie for the other guy" training program sponsored by the National Shooting Sports Foundation and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, to help gun store employees detect straw purchases (purchases by legal buyers conducted on behalf of prohibited persons).

Yet the Reverends Michael Pfleger and Jesse Jackson have been organized large crowds to repeatedly picket Chuck's Gun Shop. On June 23, 2007, Revs. Jackson and Pfleger were arrested for criminally obstructing the entrance to the store. The charges were eventually dropped, just as Governor George Wallace never was criminally punished for standing in a doorway to obstruct the exercise of constitutional rights. (The comparison is a little unfair, since Wallace eventually stood aside, whereas Jackson and Pfleger had to be physically removed by the police.)

In another demonstration at Chuck's Gun Shop, owned by John Riggio, Rev. Pfleger told the crowd: "We're going to find you and snuff you out....Like a rat you're going to hide. But like a rat, we're going to catch you and pull you out....We're going to snuff out John Riggio." Rev. Pfleger also promised: "We're going to snuff out legislators that are voting against our gun laws. We're coming for you because we're not going to sit idly."

Rev. Pfleger later denied that his words had been meant to invoke violence, or that he had known that "snuff out" means to "kill." Rather, the determination to "snuff out" Riggio was a determination to find out his home address, which was not publically available.

According to Roget's Thesaurus, "snuff out" means "kill" and is similar to the following words: "blow away, bump off, chill, dispatch, dispose of, do away with, do in, dust, grease, hit, ice, knock off, murder, off, rub out, stretch out, waste, wax, whack, zap." In response to Rev. Pfleger's words, Cardinal Francis George, of the Archdiocese of Chicago, stated: "Publicly delivering a threat against anyone's life betrays the civil order and is morally outrageous, especially if this threat came from a priest." (Chicago Sun Times, June 8, 2007.)

Rev. Pfleger proclaimed that the protests would continue (and that he would refuse to pay a fee imposed by a city ordinance to pay for the police services necessitated by the picketing) until the Riverdale city council decides to eliminate all gun stores, and "vote Riverdale gun-free." Or as Rev. Pfleger's picketers chanted, "Vote Riverdale gun dry." (Chicago Defender, Oct. 29, 2007).

Every American voter will have to decide how much importance, if any, to give to Sen. Obama's association with Rev. Pfleger. In my own view, I give greater attention to a religious figure who is a long-standing personal advisor to a candidate than to a religious figure who is merely one of thousands of political allies whom the candidate seeks out during a campaign. In deciding how to vote, I ignore purely theological issues (e.g., whether the Mitt Romney's LDS view of the afterlife is more plausible or less plausible than John Kerry's Roman Catholic view), but I consider the extent to which the candidate's religious philosophy may (like any other part of the candidate's worldview) influence his or her public policy decisions. In my view, it is relevant that a candidate has chosen spiritual mentors who are bigots or who are hostile to constitutional rights. Senator Obama's close relationship with Rev. Pfleger makes me less confident that a President Obama would be a strong defender of the entire Bill of Rights and of civic tolerance.

Cornellian (mail):
I remain fully confident that Obama does not regard the Bill of Rights as a dangerous impediment on the President's authority as Commander in Chief to protect the American people by, among other means, torturing foreigners.
4.8.2008 5:18am
John McCall (mail):
I have no objections to most of this, but seriously, a thesaurus is not a dictionary.
4.8.2008 7:15am
Gary McGath (www):
"Rev. Pfleger's church has taken some admirable stands against the degradation of American culture, such as speaking out against abusive rap music, and hosting a speaker who exposed the anti-Catholic compilation of lies in 'The DaVinci Code.'"

Haven't we been through this a million times already? The Da Vinci code is a work of FICTION. Storytelling to entertain. Fiction is "lies," but the reader KNOWS they're lies.
4.8.2008 7:16am
Gaius Marius:
This is just further evidence that Barack Hussein Obama is a wolf in sheep's clothing.
4.8.2008 8:08am
SocratesAbroad (mail):

John McCall:
I have no objections to most of this, but seriously, a thesaurus is not a dictionary.


OK. Per the OED 2nd ed., "snuff" in reference to animate objects and specifically people means:

c. To eclipse, efface, wipe out; to terminate (life).
d. slang. To kill, to murder.

And to head off any possible arguments of English English vs. American...American Heritage Dict. 4th ed.:

2. To put a sudden end to: lives that were snuffed out by car accidents.
3. Slang. To kill; murder.

Faced with his statements, Rev. Pfleger is now trying to claim he meant something like 'ferret out.' At the start of the tirade (at least in the audio I've heard), that seems plausible, but Pfleger talks about "snuff[ing] out" opponents in a manner beyond 'ferret[ing] out' or 'locating/exposing', so that dog just won't hunt:

"We're going to keep coming back, and like Reverend Jackson says, it takes civil disobedience, if it takes whatever it takes … we're going to snuff out John Riggio, we're going to snuff out legislators that are voting … and we are coming for you because we are not going to sit idly. Keep on fighting, people. Keep on fighting, keep on fighting."

Since words do have meanings, Pfleger should be held responsible for what he clearly said.
4.8.2008 8:24am
Hoosier:
Fr. Pfleger. Ugh.

I'm originally from Chicago, and we Chicago Catholics are pretty familiar with Fr. Pfelger. The "snof out" comment about John Riggio was just disgusting, and made me wonder were Cardinal George was at the time. If someone had taken his words literally and tried to kill Riggio, the Archdiocese could not have escaped moral resonsibility. Pfelger should have been "discplined," as they say, and sent to a monastery to "pray and reflect" for a time. We simply cannot have clergy suggesting that people need to be murdered.

His relationship with Farrakhan is likewise shameful. The the Church has not always had the--ahem-- best relatioship with Jews throughout history. And Farrakhan *has* said what Fr. Pfleger imagines he has not. When Pfleger blames these stories on a "media' campaign, he means, perhaps, the "Jew-owned media"? I wonder why he forgot the adjective.

He's a darling of some on the left in Chicago: he alternative weekly, "The Reader," has fawned over him, for instance. But taking up good causes for the very poorest people does not compensate morally for inciting hatreds and denying rights to others. Which is not my opinion, but rather the teaching of the Church that ordained Pfleger.

I don't think that this says much about Obama. (Full disclosure statement: I'm voting for McCain.) Cook County politics is: (a)Democratic; (b)racialized; and (c)a total mess. You have to deal with all sorts of folks to get anything done. Obama may have gone overboard in praising Pfleger. But it probably doesn't go beyond that.

What I find odd, however, is that Wright is hardly a novelty in Chicago's Black churches. And I would bet dollars to doughnuts that Wright has made some horribly bigoted statements about Catholics and the Vatican as part of his ministry. (And anti-gay comments as well.) It's a sad thing, but these Black self-help-inspired Churches tend always to go down that road, at least on the South Side of Chicago.

If this is the case for Wright, that would present more of a problem for Obama. But Pfleger? I'm certainly willing to give Obama a pass on that one.
4.8.2008 8:24am
login12356:
It's amazing how American Zionists like Dave Koppel forget who Minister Farrakhan is. Do you remember the million man march?

I have no doubt that he is far more popular in our country than traitorous neocons like Joseph Lieberman (Senator - Israel). Unlike Zionists, Farrakhan actually wants what is best for AMERICA.
4.8.2008 8:25am
von (mail) (www):
You have got to be kidding me. Did you really write the following, Professor Kopel?

Yet the Reverends Michael Pfleger and Jesse Jackson have been organized large crowds to repeatedly picket Chuck's Gun Shop. On June 23, 2007, Revs. Jackson and Pfleger were arrested for criminally obstructing the entrance to the store. The charges were eventually dropped, just as Governor George Wallace never was criminally punished for standing in a doorway to obstruct the exercise of constitutional rights. (The comparison is a little unfair, since Wallace eventually stood aside, whereas Jackson and Pfleger had to be physically removed by the police.)

You really think that this is a fair charge? George Wallace's defense of segregation really is equivalent to a wrongheaded attempt to picket a gun store? Really really?

Ya think most Americans are gonna agree with you? Ya think that this supporter of the Second Amendment agrees with you? Ya think that this supporter of McCain agrees with you? Do you have any idea how you're coming across? (I'm hoping "no.") And for what? Your aside regarding Wallace is completely irrelevant to your point. Why include it?

Please treat comparisons involving segregation and slavery the same as comparisons involving the Nazis: deploy them only when directly on point. This isn't.
4.8.2008 8:36am
PersonFromPorlock:
It does sound like Sen. Obama has a penchant for the company of the self-righteous, doesn't it?
4.8.2008 8:39am
login12356:
Keep in mind that this gun shop's guns are traced to at least 2,000 violent crimes between 1996 and 2004. Also keep in mind that Pfleger responded that he did not intend to use the word "snuff" as a slang term for "kill", but rather as a substitute for "pull", as he used later in his statement.

Of course the obfuscating Zionist Koppel didn't want to mention those facts.
4.8.2008 8:40am
Hoosier:
>>>but rather as a substitute for "pull", as he used later in his statement.

Huh. But when evil Zionists like Larry Silverstein say "pull," it makes them complicit in the WTC "conspiracy."

Wow! Those Jews sure are a tricky bunch!
4.8.2008 8:48am
Displaced Midwesterner (mail):
I don't really have an opinion as to whether Pfegler was making a threat when he used "snuff", but honestly, some people take textualism way too far. Ok, we can assume that a law was written with enough mindful deliberation that a dictionary (or thesaurus) is useful. But in all honesty, people use words in bizarre ways when they are just talking. Nor is quoting a thesaurus a particularly useful resolution of whether or not Pfleger thought the word meant.

For the curious, here is what the first thesaurus I randomly pulled up online says about snuff (Yahoo Thesaurus):

To perceive with the olfactory sense: nose, scent, smell, sniff, whiff. Idiom: catch (or get) a whiff of. See smells.
4.8.2008 8:49am
Falafalafocus (mail):
Yeo, login, Mr. Kopel's "zionism" (which I can't find anywhere within the post. Please enlighten me) is clearly a reason to ignore the fact that Obama is close to a person who is personally crusading against (at least currently) lawful enterprises, such as liquor and not just guns, through "extra-legal" means.

In any event, after reading login's rants, I reread Mr. Kopel's post. I fail to see where David Kopel pushes any "Zionist" agenda. The closest I could find (and I presume that this is login's evidence as indicated by login's two posts) is Kopel's discussion of Pfleger's relationship with Minister Farrakan. Unless I am missing somthing, (and please inform me otherwise, login), Farrakan is a lightning rod because of his anti-SEMETITIC comments, not his anti-Zionist comments. Unless, of course, you are equivocating the two.

I would love some enlightenment on these points.
4.8.2008 9:15am
SocratesAbroad (mail):

login12356:
frequent use of the term Zionist, traitorous neocons, blah, blah, blah


What, did a Nation of Islam meeting let out early?


login12356:
Keep in mind that this gun shop's guns are traced to at least 2,000 violent crimes between 1996 and 2004.

Statistics are only useful when their source is readily apparent. The stat cited came from the Americans for Gun Safety Foundation, a defunct gun control group that's since been incorporated into Third Way, "a non-profit, non-partisan strategy center for progressives" dedicated to "advancing a 21st century progressive agenda."

The question of potential bias here is left to the individual reader...

login12356:
Also keep in mind that Pfleger responded that he did not intend to use the word "snuff" as a slang term for "kill", but rather as a substitute for "pull", as he used later in his statement.

Pfleger can quibble over what the meaning of the word 'is' is (or 'snuff out' in his case) in hindsight, but the audio I cited paints quite a different picture. One could argue Pfleger should have said 'ferret out' (my guess) or 'pull out,' but the reality is that he did not. Trying to suggest otherwise is disingenuous.
4.8.2008 9:20am
Justin (mail):
The six degrees of character assassination.
4.8.2008 10:02am
markm (mail):
"In April 2004, Barack Obama told a reporter from the Chicago Sun-Times that he had three spiritual mentors or counselors: Jeremiah Wright, James Meeks, and Father Michael Pfleger"

I've heard a lot about Wright, now I know about Pfleger, but what about Meeks? In Wikipedia, I find a number of men named James Meeks, one of whom is a Baptist minister in the Chicago area and a state Senator who served alongside Obama. Assuming that's the one:

1) In 1998, Meeks led a movement to "dry up" Roseland Community by collecting votes to close 26 liquor stores.

2) According to a 2006 Chicago Sun Times article, his church sponsored a "Halloween fright night" which "consigned to the flames of hell two mincing young men wearing body glitter who were supposed to be homosexuals." He reportedly blames "Hollywood Jews for bringing us Brokeback Mountain". That makes him anti-gay and anti-semitic.

3)Obama can hardly claim to be unaware of Meek's anti-gay leanings, since he was in the legislature when Meeks worked to defeat a LGBT anti-discrimination bill. (To be fair, I don't know the details of Illinois SB3186, and I oppose many proposed anti-discrimination measures on freedom of association grounds, but given #1 and #2, I think it's obvious that respect for other people's rights didn't motivate Meek's opposition.)

At least he's not a racist that I've found, and he's also into things that I strongly support: a (apparently private church-based) mentoring program for young mothers, trying to improve the schools by paying bonuses to experienced teachers for working in inner-city schools (but apparently not a supporter of school choice), and cameras in every police car. But overall aside from the anti-gay thing he's just what I'd expect from a very liberal Democrat: looking for government intervention into every problem, and with no respect for individual rights, only for the rights of the disadvantaged groups he favors.

And in these ways, he's the least bad of Obama's spiritual advisors.
4.8.2008 10:16am
common sense (www):
Another indication that Obama believes in upholding certain rights and ignoring others, regardless of what is explicit in the Constitution. I'm not imputing all of the father's views on Obama, but its another in a series of statements and actions that clearly indicate that Obama thinks the 2nd Amend shouldn't count. As far as the character assassination thing goes, if you choose to associate with someone to get the benefits, you have to bear the costs. Is it completely intellectually honest? Of course not, we should evaluate him fully as an individual. But, how much in a presidential campaign is honest?
4.8.2008 10:19am
ejo:
all of these reverends feel the need to pat their black parishioners on the head and tell them it's not their fault, it's the white man. Wright and Pfleger, with their patronizing sermons absolving the community of its moral responsibility to not do simple things like kill people, have a body count the Klan would envy. Pfleger will curse guns but none of the reverends gets up and calls out the parents or the gangs for their conduct. that would, of course, be racist and might send the wrong message that black america needs to get its own house in order.
4.8.2008 10:31am
Prof. S. (mail):
Justin - there is a difference between guilt by association and guilt because of association.

Obama can choose who he uses as a spiritual mentor. That choice says something about his views/politics. Using that choice to judge his character is completely fair in my opinion.
4.8.2008 10:31am
markm (mail):
Possibly Pfleger meant "sniff out", not "snuff out", but in every other way he seems quite repellent.
4.8.2008 10:33am
ejo:
can the frank discussion on race include the embracing of jew hatred in the black community?
4.8.2008 10:39am
emsl (mail):
One of the downsides to open posting -- which in general I support -- is that many posters are unable to focus on the issue at hand and feel compelled to clutter up the space riding their own personal hobby horse. For example, I gather that Cornellian is not a Bush support and prefers Obama. Nonetheless, his particular comment has nothing to do with the topic. It might be useful if regular or semi-regular posters can keep some focus.

Turning to the issue, I think it is very troubling that Obama not only accepts this rhetoric but affirmatively has said that Wright and Pfleger and essential influences in his life. When he goes public and says that, it is entirely fair to look at those who have such influence whether they are religious figures or not. Further, none of the issues set forth above nor from Wright relate to religious matters or theology -- they are comments on social or political matters. That seems an eminently fair subject of commentary.
4.8.2008 10:41am
Cenrand:
login12356:
It's amazing how American Zionists like Dave Koppel forget who Minister Farrakhan is. Do you remember the million man march?

I have no doubt that he is far more popular in our country than traitorous neocons like Joseph Lieberman (Senator - Israel). Unlike Zionists, Farrakhan actually wants what is best for AMERICA.


Remember people, if you say Zionist instead of jew, you can't possibly be an anti-semite or a bigot, no matter how much bile you spew.
4.8.2008 10:43am
JosephSlater (mail):
What Von said. More broadly, this is really weak.
4.8.2008 10:44am
Justin (mail):
Prof S. I'm sorry that this is so funny, but you are using by and because in the EXACT same way ("on account of") in that sentence, so there really is no difference.
4.8.2008 10:47am
Houston Lawyer:
Obama has long had a "no enemies to his left" stance. He has deliberately sought out the radicals among us to associate with. He is free to associate with whom he pleases, but we are free to note those associations as well and draw our own conclusions.
4.8.2008 10:49am
Justin (mail):
It seems like the topic of the day is that since we can't actually attack Barack Obama for the things he says or believes in, let's attack Barack Obama for the things people he associates himself with says or believes.

This is WONDERFUL news. I did not know that people who did not like George Bush could simply give him the bin Laden family or Putin's viewpoints. I had up until now thought that we had to attack George Bush by the things George Bush actually believes in, or has done. Shucks, all this wasted time.
4.8.2008 10:50am
Thorley Winston (mail) (www):

This is WONDERFUL news. I did not know that people who did not like George Bush could simply give him the bin Laden family or Putin's viewpoints.


If you can show us where President Bush has ever publicly declared that Vladamir Putin or any member of the bin Laden family was a "spirtual advisor" or "mentor," then have at it.
4.8.2008 10:59am
J. F. Thomas (mail):
So apparently, in Dave's world the 2nd amendment is more important than the 1st.
4.8.2008 11:01am
yankev (mail):
Hey login, if you are trying to reassure people that Obama does not surround himself with wackos, you are not doing a very good job. As Falfalafocus pointed out, nothing on this thread has anything to do with Israel or Zionism. But Dr. King told us exactly what you meant by Zionist.
4.8.2008 11:01am
Justin (mail):
"Spiritual advisor" is such a random requirement. George Bush saw Putin's soul. And the bin Laden family has been business partners with George Bush and his family for decades. These relationships seem equally important, unless you're just a partisan hack (what, you are? Okay).
4.8.2008 11:03am
Tired:
Who is calling the Davinci Code an anti-Catholic compilation of lies? The cited article, Plfeger , or Kopel?
4.8.2008 11:05am
Justin (mail):
Tired, it's Barack Obama, of course!! Everything is Barack Obama by association!!!
4.8.2008 11:07am
glangston (mail):
Person from Porlock gets to the heart of the matter, his self-righteousness.
4.8.2008 11:11am
AntonK (mail):
Rev. Pfleger is, quite obviously, insane.

End of discussion.
4.8.2008 11:17am
George Tenet Fangirl:
Pretty soon we'll be seeing attacks on Obama because of his associations with John McCain.
4.8.2008 11:24am
byomtov (mail):
I gather that Cornellian is not a Bush support and prefers Obama. Nonetheless, his particular comment has nothing to do with the topic. It might be useful if regular or semi-regular posters can keep some focus.

Actually, I think Cornellian's comment has quite a bit to do with the topic.
4.8.2008 11:25am
Guest101:
And John McCain called his wife a "trollop" and a "cunt" in front of reporters at a campaign stop, yet oddly we don't see anyone here expressing "concern" about McCain's stance on gender relations.
4.8.2008 11:25am
Cornellian (mail):

Obama can choose who he uses as a spiritual mentor. That choice says something about his views/politics.


It also says something about those who keeping flogging this issue, namely that they haven't got anything on Obama himself, so they resort to guilt by association attacks. Nice to see they also preemptively explain why they're giving McCain a free pass for sucking up to Hagee.
4.8.2008 11:29am
Cold Warrior:
Gary McGrath said:

Haven't we been through this a million times already? The Da Vinci code is a work of FICTION. Storytelling to entertain. Fiction is "lies," but the reader KNOWS they're lies.


Yup. And this is where Kopel lost me. Anyone who says something as silly as this (the "compilation of lies in the DaVinci Code") has put himself on par with the Very Reverend Mr. Farrakhan.
4.8.2008 11:31am
glangston (mail):
It's not just a little ironic that this effort to make Black neighborhoods gun free was practiced by bigots and racists circa Dred Scott.

Dave Kopel writes on how disarming was not part of Dr. King's message nor Gandhi's.
4.8.2008 11:33am
Houston Lawyer:
Obama has adopted a strategy of speaking in vague generalities to hide his radicalism. Even when he makes a proposal to so something, the points he proposes are so vague as to be meaningless. The media will not discuss his voting record, which is to the left of every other member of the Senate. In short, his public record is so thin we must discuss the things we can find out.

A man who promises to be a healer who actively supports radical racial conspiracy theorists should be exposed as the liar he is.
4.8.2008 11:41am
Dave N (mail):
Let's see what we have so far. Dave Kopel comments on one of three people whom Barack Obama identifies as spiritual mentors. To this we get deflections that--

Accuse David Kopel of being an "American Zionist" (perhaps the poster was confusing him with David Bernstein but I have it on good authority that they are, indeed, two different people).

Provide dubious statistics about the gunshop picketed by Father Pfleger and the Rev. Jesse Jackson.

Compare Senator Obama's comments about Father Pfleger (and Rev. Wright) being "spiritual mentors" with President Bush's statements about "seeing Vladmir Putin's soul."

And smear Senator McCain by linking to a left-wing website and a book by an obscure author, but no other source.

Now mind you, some of these people were gleefully attacking John McCain for accepting John Hagee's endorsement but are now crying foul at any criticism of Barack Obama--making the preemmptive argument that to say anything negative about Obama's associations is somehow a variation of "Swiftboating."
4.8.2008 11:42am
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Just for the fun of it, if you have time, ask readers of DaVinci if they believed the stuff they read.
Traditional fiction uses the real world with fictional characters doing fictional things and saying fictional things and coming to fictional bad or good endings.
Stories like DaVinci remake the real world and add the fictional characters.
So where a reader would be inclined to believe that, say, Travis McGee's Florida is full of shady developers (which is true), but that McGee did not exist, a reader of DaVinci would be inclined to believe that the history involved is true.
Authors have an implicit contract to get the real world right, and so readers are inclined to believe them when reading about some aspect of the real world unfamiliar to them.
DaVinci and such break the contract.
As such, discussing the reality is justified, as discussing the realities of Florida in opposition to McGee's renderings is not.
4.8.2008 11:51am
PLR:
"Senator Obama's close relationship with Rev. Pfleger makes me less confident that a President Obama would be a strong defender of the entire Bill of Rights and of civic tolerance."

Amazing. It's so easy to keep a straight face at the keyboard.

Dave N. has pretty much said it all. I await the next attack on Obama for associating with the wrong kind of clergy. God forbid he ever runs into Sister Helen Prejean.
4.8.2008 12:01pm
ejo:
is Sister Helen a jew/white hater like Wright or a patronizing race hustler like Pfleger? It is a tragedy that a candidate gets called out for associating with haters.
4.8.2008 12:12pm
David M. Nieporent (www):
It also says something about those who keeping flogging this issue, namely that they haven't got anything on Obama himself,
The identity of the people Obama chooses to associate with politically is "something on Obama himself." Just as it was legitimate to criticize Ron Paul because he let bigots such as Lew Rockwell write his newsletter and say bigoted things.
4.8.2008 12:13pm
2Hard4U2C:
OH - MY - GOD. WHO CAAAAARRRRREEEEESSSSS. That's why Obama shouldn't have given the race speech. He should have ignored all of this stupid stuff. Wow, he has a black pastor who thinks that black Americans continue to be in a disadvantaged position with respect to white citizens. WOOOOOOOW. This is newsworthy. Stop the presses. There is still racism in America.
4.8.2008 12:17pm
Zathras (mail):
Regarding the DaVinci Code, for those who don't understand the controversy about something they think as a work of fiction, there are many out there who think the "history" it uses as background is real. And Dan Brown himself has said numerous times that he considers the work only semi-fictional, i.e., the characters are made up, but the "history" in the book is absolutely true.
4.8.2008 12:22pm
David M. Nieporent (www):
so they resort to guilt by association attacks.
What you and Justin are missing is that "guilt by association" is entirely different than "guilty of association."

In other words, accusing someone of a crime merely because his associates are bad people is not necessarily legitimate. But criticizing someone because he chooses to associate with those bad people is entirely legitimate.
4.8.2008 12:26pm
Anderson (mail):
Another indication that Obama believes in upholding certain rights and ignoring others, regardless of what is explicit in the Constitution.

Unlike anyone else running for President, or currently holding that office.

And as Zathras says, Brown's book is based on pseudo-history -- he pretty much cribbed the whole thing from Holy Blood, Holy Grail, except he made 100 times more money than those losers.

(Note to self: write ready-for-screenplay "novel" based on premise that Chariots of the Gods? is historical fact; send to Dan Brown's agent.)
4.8.2008 12:27pm
ejo:
2Hard-he has a minister who seems to hate jews, whites and America. He has a minister who prints letters in the church bulletin indicating jews are building an "ethnic bomb" that kills blacks and arabs. if "Reverend" Wright said what you say in your post, no one would care-he didn't. or, in your twisted world, when you hear someone spewing the hatred he spews, that's how it translates to you?
4.8.2008 12:29pm
therut:
This is all hilarious to me. For years and decades the lefties have attacked ANYTHING that even smelled of The Religious Right as they call it. Now the kooks from the weird mostly unknown religious left, are being exposed they are falling all over themselves to defend the nuts. Hilarious and so predictable I am having a great time watching thier piety on parade. Well, the Democrats had meetings of how to engage the religious and they have opened pandoras box and they do not like what spewed out and is dancing around them. HAHAHHAHA.
4.8.2008 12:33pm
Grover Gardner (mail):
Hoosier--

"And I would bet dollars to doughnuts that Wright has made some horribly bigoted statements about Catholics and the Vatican as part of his ministry. (And anti-gay comments as well.)"

Care to back that up? I'll bet you a box of gold-plated Krispy Kremes you can't.
4.8.2008 12:35pm
stevelaudig (mail):
For McCain, Little Talk of a Controversial Endorsement
By NEELA BANERJEE
Published: April 8, 2008

When Senator John McCain won the endorsement of the Rev. John C. Hagee in February, his campaign hoped it would shore up his conservative credentials among evangelicals and build enthusiasm among a voting bloc that would be critical for him in November.

But since then, Mr. Hagee has been on the defensive over some of his views about Catholics and Jews, and he and Mr. McCain's campaign have been silent about his endorsement.

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/08/us/politics/08hagee.html


"In my view, it is relevant that a candidate has silently accepted the endorsement of those [has chosen spiritual mentors] who are bigots or who are hostile to constitutional rights. Senator McCain's [Obama's close relationship with Rev. Pfleger] action of accepting this endorsement makes me less confident that a President McCain [Obama] would be a strong defender of the entire Bill of Rights and of civic tolerance."
4.8.2008 12:43pm
therut:
I guess the next shoe to fall for the left will be their separation of church and state mantra. I mean these lefty religious zealots are not doing anything wrong are they???? I do not see any mixing of their religon and politics do I??? These are just great teachers of progressive, socialist, religious and their new word "prophetic" great intellectual thought. They bring the love of god to the masses and the downtrodden. Yeah sure whatever. Just do not tell whitey or the Jews. They have replaced Satan as the evil one. Wonder when the space ship is going to show up???
4.8.2008 12:44pm
SeaDrive:

Obama has adopted a strategy of speaking in vague generalities to hide his radicalism.


Or has he adopted a left wing strategy to reflect his constituency? His political style, detailed here and elsewhere, is to seek consensus which will draw him to the center on the national platform. To the extent that his platform differs from Hillary's, it's to the right, e.g the greater role of the private sector in his healthcare proposal.

All this argument for guilt by association disappoints me. It's cheap-shotting. Further, it's not realistic. People don't drop their friends for off-the-wall political views. They just don't.
4.8.2008 12:47pm
p. rich (mail) (www):
Obama (and politicians in general), Wright, Pfleger, Farrakhan et al are articulate, professional word merchants. Crafting verbiage for public consumption is what they do every day, so we should be less inclined to presume that they didn't mean exactly what they said. Making the "they didn't really mean it" argument is as disingenuous as arguing that Obama could sit in front of Wright on a regular basis for 20 years and not fully understand or condone what he "preached".
4.8.2008 12:48pm
Anderson (mail):
For the curious, here's a transcription of the "God damn America" sermon by Wright (h/t Kleiman).

The amusing thing to me about Wright, and now Pfleger, is how comical it is for white people to find out what black people do in church on Sunday morning.

Apparently, some thought it was all just "hallelujah!" and gospel choirs and people flyin' up through the air like in The Blues Brothers. Remember James Brown preaching that sermon? THAT's how black people are supposed to act.

Not all this scary talking about politics and white people.
4.8.2008 12:53pm
AntonK (mail):

...Rev. Pfleger, like Rev. Wright, is a hard core supporter of Louis Farrakhan. Just how hard core became apparent two years ago. At that time the Illinois Hate commission was found to have an acolyte of Farrakhan on board, Sister Claudette Marie Muahmmed. When the Sister refused to denounce Farrakhan's racist and anti-Semitic remarks, three Jewish members resigned from the Commission. Pfleger not only supported the Sister's refusal to condemn Farrakhan's racism, he also said of the resigning Jewish members: "good riddance".
From here.
4.8.2008 1:02pm
The American Dream:
If this is the best you can do, then Obama has this in the bag.
4.8.2008 1:04pm
grackle (mail):
You really had me going -- half way through the piece before you mention how Rev. Pfleger hates, just hates ponies. I'm with you, David. This has got to be the most important issue on which one could base a choice of candidates for president. Thank you so much.
4.8.2008 1:04pm
ejo:
I guess I don't think it is that comical to preach hatred of jews and whites from the pulpit. if it is a black thing, perhaps the black community needs to do the soul searching, not the rest of us. as to how black people are supposed to act, they can act however they want and hate whomever they want-is it racist to mention it?
4.8.2008 1:10pm
Anderson (mail):
half way through the piece before you mention how Rev. Pfleger hates, just hates ponies

And lolcats! "If God wanted cats to speak, he would have given them tongues to speak with," Pfleger is rumored to have been overheard allegedly saying. "And not in that debased 'ebonics' text-message gibberish, either."

Has Obama denounced this anti-lolcat hate speech? Does Obama himself secretly hate lolcats? WILL OUR FIRST AMENDMENT RIGHT TO LOLCATS BE TRASHED UNDER BARACK HUSSEIN OBAMA?

OH NOES!!!!
4.8.2008 1:11pm
josh:
pretty shameful smear. the only thing that ever saddens me about this entire blog site (it's really one of my favorites) is the failure to apply the same principals equally across partisan lines.

Yes. politicians associate at times with people we might disagree with. A 1,000 word post on one side's associations is nothing more than hackery on its face because such similar concerns are never expressed against the other side.

It's intellectually dishonest and, really, beneath law prof norm.
4.8.2008 1:16pm
Tired:
I am waiting for someone to denounce the compilation of lies that is Harry Potter, the Great Gatsby, and of course, the Hills. These are critical, critical issues.
4.8.2008 1:17pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Tired.
There's a term for your tactic. Deliberately obtuse.

Point is, in DaVinci, Brown seeks to misinform his readers about the real world to make his fiction more compelling, with the result that his readers may believe that which is not true about the real world.

Potter does not.

As you know.
4.8.2008 1:26pm
ejo:
apparently, many of the apologists above have no problem with a presidential candidate having spiritual mentors who hate jews, hate whites and hate america. those who do apparently don't appreciate the actual subtle message of the haters. why not address one simple point-why would you print, in a church bulletin, a letter about the evil jews plans to build an ethnic bomb? as to pfleger, he just said "good riddance" to the jews who objected to sitting on a commission with the jew haters of the nation of islam-that didn't have anything to do with ebonics, did it? pfleger apparently is just reflecting the views, which you apparently have no problem with, of his flock.
4.8.2008 1:26pm
PLR:
<blockquote>The identity of the people Obama chooses to associate with politically is "something on Obama himself." Just as it was legitimate to criticize Ron Paul because he let bigots such as Lew Rockwell write his newsletter and say bigoted things.</blockquote>
No question it's fair game, but it's an indirect attack rather than a direct one. Plenty of people have taken Ron Paul to task directly for things he said or wrote himself, but in the case of Obama the detractors use guilt by association.

It's almost unfathomable that after over a year on the campaign trail Obama seems not to have said anything to embarrass himself. Compare that to the record of Clinton or the inept McCain.
4.8.2008 1:26pm
Terrivus:
Yeah, this is a weak post. And I'm not voting for Obama.

As a previous commenter said: if this is the best the anti-Obama crowd can come up with, the guy is gold in the general election.
4.8.2008 1:30pm
Falafalafocus (mail):
I have to echo ejo. Even ignoring login (who has yet to enlighten us), I am a tad troubled by this defense:

See SeaDrive:


Or has he adopted a left wing strategy to reflect his constituency? His political style, detailed here and elsewhere, is to seek consensus which will draw him to the center on the national platform.


See also Anderson:


The amusing thing to me about Wright, and now Pfleger, is how comical it is for white people to find out what black people do in church on Sunday morning.

Apparently, some thought it was all just "hallelujah!" and gospel choirs and people flyin' up through the air like in The Blues Brothers. Remember James Brown preaching that sermon? THAT's how black people are supposed to act.


Please note, the post indicates that Mr. Pfleger is white and the post does not indicate the ethnic or racial make up of Mr. Pfleger's flock, but I give you points for insinuating that those of us who are disturbed are just closet racists.

In any event, assuming that this was not the case, I am simply thrilled to hear that black churches are (in the least) as nonchalant about antisemites as Rev. White and have no problem with "snuffing people out" as Mr. Pfleger apparently is. It makes a guy feel all warm and fuzzy inside to see that this is not problematic to at least some voters.
4.8.2008 1:35pm
Duncan Frissell (mail):
What's the big deal? A casual reading of any profile of Barak Obama makes it obvious that he would be the most left-wing candidate nominated for President by a major party.

Personally, I would never have voted for him after I found out that he went to Punahou. I attended the (small) Catholic School across the street. Punahou (the large, expensive, private school) was founded by Congregational (Puritan) Missionaries from New England who didn't want their children educated with "natives". We didn't like 'punks from Punahou'.
4.8.2008 1:37pm
ejo:
falaf...-it is your problem, likely based on your racism, for not realizing that black people don't worship like they do in the Blues Brothers. If you were as ethnically aware as those folks you pointed out, you would know that, instead, they spew hatred of jews and whites. further, it is your fault, again likely based on racism, that you find this "problematic".
4.8.2008 1:45pm
Thoughtful (mail):
BREAKING NEWS: Senator Obama announces that he is an atheist and has no spiritual advisors. According to his campaign spokesman, Obama feels there would be "less trouble this way."
4.8.2008 1:53pm
Cold Warrior:
I must confess: I find this whole DaVinci Code thing weirdly fascinating.

The excoriation of Mr. Dan Brown seems to be based on this:

-- He wrote a work of fiction, using as his take-off point some crappy pseudo history.

-- He made a lot of money off his work of fiction.

-- Some stupid readers may believe that the DaVinci Code is, itself, based on historical fact.

-- Dan Brown is to blame because he did not insist that his publisher put a big sticker on the cover of his book stating, "This is a work of fiction. Nothing in this book should be construed as historical fact."

In case you don't believe me, this is Richard Aubrey's criticism of Brown


Point is, in DaVinci, Brown seeks to misinform his readers about the real world to make his fiction more compelling, with the result that his readers may believe that which is not true about the real world.


I'm curious: is this Kopel's problem with The DaVinci Code? Because it strikes me as a ridiculous argument.

How dare Shakespeare call his plays Henry IV! A real, historical figure! I always thought the dialogue in those plays was taken directly from hidden sureveillance microphones placed throughout Henry's palaces! Where's old Will Shakespeare's disclaimer? And he marketed this claptrap, in part, to the completely uneducated masses filling the lawns of the Old Globe! They might've thought it was historical fact. What an evil man!!
4.8.2008 1:58pm
Tony Tutins (mail):
Fr. Pfleger is not alone; suburban gun shops are a favorite whipping boy of Mayor Daley as well, who conducted sting operations with fake strawman purchasers. Many have been put out of business by the cost of litigation. Googling shows that Daley sent both the CPD and the Chicago Board of Ed to stage "youth protests" outside of Chuck's Gun Shop. So at worst you'd have to say Pfleger's no worse than Richard M. Daley.

To me, the interesting thing about Pfleger is that, considering where and when he was born, he didn't grow up racist. All through the sixties, South side blacks moved westward, creating a ripple of integration followed by rapid resegregation. On the South side, racism against blacks was a given -- it wasn't even questioned. After the first blacks moved into a white neighborhood, real estate agents would encourage whites to sell before "property values dropped further." This was called "block-busting." Auburn-Gresham, home of Saint Sabina's, once all Irish Catholic, became almost entirely African-American. (A few whites remained, and I even know some whites who later moved in, professors at the nearby Chicago State University.) The almost all-white, largely ethnically Irish diocesan priesthood, was not notable for their racial tolerance. A very very few priests, such as Milwaukee's Fr. Groppi, publicly opposed racism. He later left the priesthood to become a Milwaukee bus driver.

Through the 60s, however, Holy Angels' parish school was notable for enrolling black children fleeing the wretched public schools of that era. As a condition of attendance, the pastor required school children to attend Sunday Mass with their parents, irrespective of their faith. As a result, many black Chicagoans converted to Catholicism. Fr. Pfleger serves many of these people.

Is anti-black racism gone from Chicago's South side? Consider that the elementary school athletics conference, the Southside Catholic conference, chooses not to admit Fr. Pfleger's school.
4.8.2008 2:09pm
Falafalafocus (mail):
ejo,

I'm not sure if you misread my comment or are agreeing with me with sarcasm (which I am not catching that easily). I would point to my earlier post at 8:15 a.m. and ask for clarification, but I "think" I understand your statement and agree with the sentiment.
4.8.2008 2:11pm
ejo:
agreeing with sarcasm-you (and I would have to add myself as well) simply don't understand if the behavior isn't consistent with the Blues Brothers and, I would suppose, "Good Times", "The Cosby Show" and "Sanford and Son".
4.8.2008 2:19pm
wfjag:

Guest101:
And John McCain called his wife a "trollop" and a "cunt" in front of reporters at a campaign stop, yet oddly we don't see anyone here expressing "concern" about McCain's stance on gender relations.


Maybe that's because, at least so far no credible source has been cited. The article linked to is titled "Book: McCain temper boiled over in '92 tirade, called wife a 'cunt'". Even if the event happened, it's a bit dated -- unless there's a history of similar conduct, remarks or associations over the past 16 years.

Next, the article is reviewing allegations in "The Real McCain" by Cliff Schecter. I had no idea who Cliff Schecter was, so I did an internet search. His website, http://cliffschecter.blogspot.com, proclaims:


Top 100 Liberal Bloggers
American Street says....
#65- Cliff Schecter


and, elsewhere on his site I found "Cliff Schecter is a veteran campaign strategist and political commentator. Schecter is a regular contributor to the Huffington Post . . ."

The publicist for the book is a "Beau Friedlander". On a site providing information about him, under "Beau Friedlander's Summary" I found the statement " Over a career in adult trade publishing that spans 12 years, he has worked in different capacities with a wide range of authors including Daniel Quinn, Joan Didion, David Means, Scott Ritter, Edward Said, Nicholas Montemarano, Greg Bottoms, Zinovy Zinik, Speed Levitch, and Markos Moulitsas, the founder of Daily Kos."

In other words, Mr. Schecter has an evident agenda. The site you linked to reminds me of the recent NYT Page 1 article about SEN McCain citing as its sources 2 un-named, low-level, apparently disgruntled 2000 Campaign staffers who repeated gossip about McCain possibly having a relationship that could be construed as looking questionable, with a female lobbyist. Schecter appears to have about that level of credibility.

That's far different from looking at a person SEN Obama has identified as one of his 3 primary spiritual mentors. It is equally fair to look at people chosen by SENs Obama, Clinton and McCain as advisors in other areas, like foreign policy. Who the candidate chooses to seek advise and guidance from, that those advisors views, tells you quite a lot about who that person, as President, will seek advise and guidance from, and what views the President will receive.
4.8.2008 2:52pm
Tired:
Richard Aubrey, please chill. We're talking about a third rate paperback.
4.8.2008 2:52pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
"associate" is not a passive activity.

One chooses, chooses, to spend time, mental energy, attention, and possibly money with some people and chooses not to do so with other people. Some of those with whom one does not associate are disliked, some not interesting, some just don't make the associate cut.

So those with whom one associates are a good reflection of what one likes, values, aspires to, is comfortable with. It tells us what a person chooses and is a good reflection of what he would choose in the future.

And that is a good thing to know about a presidential candidate.

It isn't as if one got cooties accidentally, brushing against someone on the subway.

Obama sat in the church for twenty years, apparently too zoned out to hear the sermons. That's a useful datum.

He bought the tapes and didn't listen to them....

He took his children there.

Can't mean nothing.

You could imagine if McCain had been snake-handling or something. Would that count? Dumb question.
4.8.2008 3:04pm
whit:
let's see.

in bizarro world, the city of chicago bans all abortion facilities from its city limits.

a clinic opens up outside the city limits, manned by Mr. Reggioo.

Jackson, Pfleger gather on the steps of Reggioo's clinic and block access. they are arrested, but not charged. Pflger repeatedly claims that Reggioo needs to be "snuffed out".

etc.

i also agree with the poster who said that pfleger (and especially jackson) are PROFESSIONAL orators.

it's a little difficult to believe that he didn't know darn well what "snuff out" means.

not saying i find it impossible, just unlikely.

i am trying to imagine an analogy in domestic violence cases.

an estranged boyfriend stands in front of a woman's shelter and says "i'm gonna snuff out sallie jane" (his ex). "we need to snuff her out" etc.

would the average leftist believe that he meant he just wanted to find out where she lives so he could send her flowers?
4.8.2008 3:04pm
Anderson (mail):
and now Pfleger

Ah, Pfleger is white? Fine. Wright is still black though, yes? As my parenthetical indicated, however, my opinion was formed re: Wright --

I've never heard of this Pfleger character till Prof. Kopel's weird post, which resembles the kind of thing I find in my inbox when the spam filter is down.
4.8.2008 3:05pm
Tony Tutins (mail):
Snuff out or sniff out? As a priest, Pfleger probably has to snuff out candles all the time, most likely with one of those long shiny candle snuffers. It could be just a slip of the tongue. Or... could the Snuffleupagus be the Sesame Street Hitman?
4.8.2008 3:11pm
Freedom from Speech:
I hope Richard Aubrey is as up in arms about Salman Rushdie.
4.8.2008 3:25pm
c.gray (mail):

-- Dan Brown is to blame because he did not insist that his publisher put a big sticker on the cover of his book stating, "This is a work of fiction. Nothing in this book should be construed as historical fact."


That's a deliberate mischaracterization of the situation.

Dan Brown has repeatedly claimed his trashy novel is based on genuine research and accurately reflects historical fact. He _encourages_ people to believe that the nutty, laughable theories in his book are not only plausible, but true.

Yes, as a general rule an author should not be held to believe the kooky ideas expressed by characters in his fiction. OTOH, when the author himself goes around claiming those ideas are true, that he has proof of their truth, and that people should believe in the ideas, that general rule ceases to apply.

Obvious fiction, like every other art form, is used as a vehicle for propaganda all the time, often with great effect. Brown is part of that tradition. People at the receiving end of vicious propaganda (such as a Roman Catholic priest responding to "The DaVinci Code") are entitled to respond. Its a bit rich to criticize their response by claiming they are overreacting to "fiction". I'm guessing most of those who dismiss Catholic concerns of "The DaVinci code" as absurd would be much less quick to dismiss Jewish concern over "The Turner Diaries" or black concern over "The Birth of a Nation".
4.8.2008 3:28pm
c.gray (mail):

Rev. Pfleger also appeared at a press conference announcing State Senator Obama's proposal to outlaw the sale of bidi cigarettes--a type of high-nicotine hand-rolled cigarette which is made in India.


This is actually my favorite part of the whole blog entry. Obama seeks to ban a type of cigarette....that happen to be different from the type HE prefers to smoke.

This little factoid reveals more to us about Obama's approach to government than would an entire book of facts about Pfleger's activism.
4.8.2008 3:36pm
Caliban Darklock (www):
What if he said "sniff out"? It's easy to confuse the words "sniff" and "snuff", both when speaking and when listening. The I and the U are right next to each other on the keyboard, even if it's been said and heard properly. The phrase "sniff out" means exactly what was claimed, and none of what people find objectionable.

See, I tend to like giving people the benefit of the doubt. If I can find a good reason - any good reason - why something might not be horrible and unforgivable, I tend to accept it... because people who really are horrible and unforgivable tend to pile up a big long series of horrible and unforgivable things, and only a tiny fraction of them have a good excuse. So even if Pfleger is a nasty old evil person, giving the benefit of the doubt here will make little difference in the ability to draw a rational overall conclusion.
4.8.2008 3:39pm
ratel (mail):
Somehow I would be very surprised if a Harvard educated lawyer, who taught Constitutional Law asked for his preacher's input on Constitutional matters. I mean come on a little reality check please.
4.8.2008 3:42pm
PLR:
At 2:36:
Rev. Pfleger also appeared at a press conference announcing State Senator Obama's proposal to outlaw the sale of bidi cigarettes—a type of high-nicotine hand-rolled cigarette which is made in India.

This is actually my favorite part of the whole blog entry. Obama seeks to ban a type of cigarette....that happen to be different from the type HE prefers to smoke.

This little factoid reveals more to us about Obama's approach to government than would an entire book of facts about Pfleger's activism.

Is that so? Did you know that 49 Attorneys General wanted to ban bidi cigarettes also?

link
4.8.2008 3:54pm
Anderson (mail):
Sorry, but I don't quite get how the Brown book is anything like as hostile to the RCC as Birth of a Nation is to black Americans.

Weren't the baddies in DVC acting as rogue elements? I don't recall the story's saying that the Pope personally sent them on a mission to kill Tom Hanks or whomever.
4.8.2008 3:55pm
Brett Bellmore:
Why in the world would you have to "sniff out" somebody with a public place of business, whose name is in the phone book? That's the most insultingly stupid excuse for why somebody uttered a (Perhaps insincere, but one never knows...) death threat I've heard in ages.
4.8.2008 3:58pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Tired.
Problem with the third-rate paperback is that it has convinced a number of people that certain things which are not true today are true today. Those institutions so misrepresented are likely to respond. I imagine some later Tudors have written on how their various kings were misrepresented. Their privilege.
So, I say, chill on the subject of those attempting to straighten out the public's views vis a vis da Vinci.
Although I suspect there are some who view the misapprehension as a positive.

Propaganda is not usually effective as a one-time ten-inch headline with exclamation points. It works better built into and leading from the generally believed.
For two fictional examples, see Wolfen and The Exorcist. They would be far less terrifying (the books) if the author were not canny enough to lead from the generally believed as true, to the believable, through to the unbelievable.

Anyway, the other point is that Obama chose to listen to Wright for two decades and it is hard to imagine anybody doing that without either approving or seeing nothing wrong with the messages. That's a useful thing to know about a presidential candidate.
4.8.2008 4:22pm
c.gray (mail):

Is that so? Did you know that 49 Attorneys General wanted to ban bidi cigarettes also?


Almost as impressive as Eliot Spitzer's courageous prosecution of call girl rings.
4.8.2008 4:26pm
Cold Warrior:

Propaganda is not usually effective as a one-time ten-inch headline with exclamation points. It works better built into and leading from the generally believed.
For two fictional examples, see Wolfen and The Exorcist. They would be far less terrifying (the books) if the author were not canny enough to lead from the generally believed as true, to the believable, through to the unbelievable.


Ban Wolfen! Ban The Exorcist! The authors of both (as well as the author of the DaVinci Code) bear the satanic stain of "canniness."
4.8.2008 4:33pm
Freedom from Speech:
We should probably just ban Dan Brown's book to prevent further misapprehension.
4.8.2008 4:34pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Cold and Freedom.

Usual trope. Object to something, become a foe of the First Amendment. Don't you think everybody's on to that already?
Jeez. Get a new schtick.
4.8.2008 4:39pm
Caliban Darklock (www):
@Brett Bellmore:
"Why in the world would you have to "sniff out" somebody with a public place of business, whose name is in the phone book?"

Why in the world would you want to kill someone who didn't vote the way you wanted?

I mean, both scenarios are somewhat stupid, but one of them accuses a speaker of making death threats AND being stupid... while the other just accuses him of being stupid. If you apply a basic probabilistic analysis, clearly the former is either less likely than the latter.
4.8.2008 4:41pm
Muskrat (mail):
Mr. Kopel writes: "I consider the extent to which the candidate's religious philosophy may (like any other part of the candidate's worldview) influence his or her public policy decisions."

Obama has over a decade of public service -- legislative votes, speeches, position papers, interviews. Not to mention two books of memoirs. If you can cite serious examples of how the suppossedly unconscionable views of Wright and Pfleger influenced Obama's speeches or actions, you feel free to do so. If all you can come up with is "they were his advisors, so he must think as they do," you appear to have confused the words "advisor" and "Puppeteer."

Both the Wright and Pfleger charges boil down to the argument that "Sure, over a decade in public life Obama hasn't said or acted on any of the rotten things those guys said, but he will just as soon as he's sworn in." That's a Manchurian Candidate argument, and it stinks.
4.8.2008 4:41pm
ejo:
it's easier to use that schtick than come up with a reason for accepting the jew hatred spewed by Obama's reverends. if you can't explain the inclusion of ethnic bombs in the church bulletin or adoration of a jew hater like Farrakhan, stick out your tongue and go "nah nah".
4.8.2008 4:42pm
D Palmer (mail):
Pfegler is well known in Chicago. I have mixed feelings about him.

On one hand he is a visible and vocal advocate for some of Chicago's poorest neighborhoods.

On the other he can be a self righteous camera whore.

On the whole I do respect him, but I think he dilutes his effectiveness by being so ubiquitous.
4.8.2008 4:53pm
illspirit (www):
It's laughable to believe he meant "sniff" instead of "snuff." Pfleger was standing right outside the gun shop while shouting to an angry mob that they should drag Riggio outside and "snuff him out." Why on earth would they need to "sniff" to find him after dragging him out of the shop? Or do any of the apologists here really think the plan was for a mob to politely ask Riggio for his home address after taking him by force?
4.8.2008 5:06pm
Brett Bellmore:

Why in the world would you want to kill someone who didn't vote the way you wanted?


I wouldn't. On the other hand, I don't go around whipping up angry mobs, or organizing attacks on law abiding businesses in order to undermine the exercise of basic civil liberties. People who ARE in that particular line of work, (Sharpton comes to mind...) stupid as it may be, DO frequently publicly utter death threats, and then expect others to blow it off as meaningless rhetoric.

It seems to be an occupational hazzard among rabble rousers.
4.8.2008 5:13pm
Rich Rostrom (mail):
Fr. Pfleger is widely despised among Chicago police officers. He is known for routinely and reflexively denouncing the police in shooting incidents.

As for "snuff out", I think it is fairly obvious that Pfleger et al want to suppress Mr. Riggio's business - as one might snuff out a candle. I've never heard "snuff out" used in the specific sense of "kill" - not like, say "whack".
4.8.2008 5:19pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Rich.

To be charitable to the good priest, you may be right.
The slang for "kill" would be "snuff", not "snuff out". One "snuffs" a person, or "snuffs out" a person's life.
4.8.2008 5:21pm
David M. Nieporent (www):
As for "snuff out", I think it is fairly obvious that Pfleger et al want to suppress Mr. Riggio's business - as one might snuff out a candle. I've never heard "snuff out" used in the specific sense of "kill" - not like, say "whack".
You've never heard of a snuff film?
4.8.2008 5:37pm
Brett Bellmore:
I'm all for charitable interpretation, and making allowances, and all, but context please! When you're in the middle of whipping up an angry mob, and you utter what could reasonably be interpreted as a death threat, you should expect to be taken at your word.
4.8.2008 5:47pm
wooga:
I think the "sniff out" interpretation is quite hilariously far fetched. However, I'm not convinced he was actually calling for murder. Rather, every time I look at this, I keep seeing "snuff out" as synonymous with "crush" or "destroy." It is not a call to end Riggio's life, but rather to render Riggio inconsequential. Obviously, murder would accomplish this, but the more reasonable interpretation would be as a call to destroy Riggio economically through boycotts and "community awareness" nonsense.

In other words, if Pfleger said "the police need to be neutered" - I would assume he meant metaphorically and not literally.
4.8.2008 5:48pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Now, what he meant and what his meathead followers heard....
4.8.2008 5:56pm
Brett Bellmore:

I'm not convinced he was actually calling for murder.


I suspect he was, but only meant it as a rhetorical flourish. The problem is that angry mob management is inherently tricky, and even if 99% of your listeners understand you don't really want the man hauled out and beaten to death, or his establishment burned to the ground, that remaining 1% might be in a mood to oblige you.
4.8.2008 6:04pm
Carl in Chicago (mail):
My apologies if this has already been posted.

Some readers might be interested in seeing the video of Michael Pfleger's speech at an anti-violence rally at the Thompson Center in downtown Chicago.

Sun Times Article here.

Pfleger video here. If you let it play, it will be followed by Mayor Daley's video, which is definately worth a listen.

One of Daley's main gaffs was his statement: "Why is it when you sell guns that you don't need a license to sell guns?" Note Governor Blagojevich nodding in agreement to the statement. That statement seems totally out-of-place, given the many lawsuits Daley has filed over the years in attempts to have revoked the licenses of local Federal Firearms dealers...

Incidentally, these rallies were held on April Fool's Day.
4.8.2008 6:06pm
wooga:
Point taken Brett. So Pfleger was at least recklessly inciting violence, even if not doing so intentionally.
4.8.2008 6:12pm
Pyrrhus (mail) (www):
He probably meant that God would snuff them out. Can you restrict speech likely to incite the divinity to imminent, violent, and unlawful action?

Also I find the Da Vinci code stuff from half-way through the comments hilarious. God forbid Dan Brown "trick" people into thinking that things happened differently than the Bible says they did. That would really lead to a lot of people believing irrationally nonsensical stuff.
4.8.2008 6:24pm
Anderson (mail):
Incidentally, these rallies were held on April Fool's Day.

So, like, opposite of everything they said. Cool!

Now, if only Prof. Kopel's post had appeared a week ago.
4.8.2008 6:26pm
M. Simon (mail) (www):
Jamal Says clowns like Wright are peddling fake wisdom to keep the brothers and sisters down.
4.8.2008 6:30pm
Anderson (mail):
He probably meant that God would snuff them out.

Which of course is just fine, very traditional, etc.
4.8.2008 6:40pm
Elliot Reed (mail):
Senator Obama's close relationship with Rev. Pfleger makes me less confident that a President Obama would be a strong defender of the entire Bill of Rights
Were you expecting any politician to be a "strong defender of the entire Bill of Rights"? In reality pretty much everyone picks and chooses the bits they like, or "interprets" the bits they don't like into triviality. The Republicans sure aren't very fond of Four, Five (except the last bit), or Six these days; the Democrats don't like Two (or the end of Five). Nobody supports Nine or Ten.
4.8.2008 6:47pm
M. Simon (mail) (www):
If this is the best you can do, then Obama has this in the bag.

Who is the bagman? He is a Chicago politician after all.

I think a good candidate for the bagman job is Tony Rezko. A Nation of Islam member.

Any news from the trial? Last I heard Obama had some kind of honorable mention.
4.8.2008 6:52pm
Grover Gardner (mail):
"When you're in the middle of whipping up an angry mob..."

Oh, did they break the windows or tear the store apart? Was there a riot following Pfleger's speech, or something?
4.8.2008 7:05pm
c.gray (mail):

Fr. Pfleger is widely despised among Chicago police officers. He is known for routinely and reflexively denouncing the police in shooting incidents.


We are talking about Chicago. Reflexive denunciation of the police after a shooting is almost justified.

Chicago is where I once practiced law. I remember when Joseph Gould was shot in '95. I remember the police "investigation" of the Ryan Harris murder. I've been following the Peterson case, lately, too. This stuff is just the tip of the iceberg.

There is an established pattern on the part of authorities in the Chicago PD, and both the Chicago city and Cooke County government of shrugging off credible allegations of misconduct by police officers. There is not much reason to trust any official explanation provided by the police about any particular controversy involving the police, including suspect shootings, whatever the circumstances.

And all of this is layered on top of a recent past of heavily racialized policing and a present of heavily racialized urban politics. Until local authorities and the department itself are willing to stop treating the bad apples in the Chicago PD with kid gloves, Pfleger's bleating is the least of their public image problems.
4.8.2008 7:10pm
talleyrand (mail):
Mr. Kopel,

You have given cogent reasons not to vote for Phlegar, Meeks or Wright based on what they have done and said and you have convinced me not to vote for any one of them in the next Presidential election. I will also decline to vote for John Hagee, Rod Parsley, Pat Robertson, Pope Benedict XVI or the Bishop Don Magic Juan.

talleyrand
4.8.2008 7:30pm
federal farmer (www):

Keep in mind that this gun shop's guns are traced to at least 2,000 violent crimes between 1996 and 2004. Also keep in mind that Pfleger responded that he did not intend to use the word "snuff" as a slang term for "kill", but rather as a substitute for "pull", as he used later in his statement.


Wrong. Even BATFE says you can't use their trace data that way. A lost gun report results in a trace.
4.8.2008 7:44pm
Tony Tutins (mail):

a jew hater like Farrakhan

Sometimes I wonder about people who live in Binary World. (Philosemite: Green. Antisemite: Red) Although I despise Farrakhan, he nonetheless has led many black people to make something of themselves -- to clean up, drop the drugs, and work hard for a living. This has to be taken into account alongside his anti-Semitism. By comparison, I don't see, say, feminists making constant reference to "an abusive husband like Einstein."
4.8.2008 7:59pm
wooga:
Except, Tony Tutins, Einstein didn't make "wife beating" an element in the theory relativity. Farrakhan preaches jew hatred, and turns many black men into productive jew haters. Farrakhan and Einstein both had/have negative attributes, but only one of them makes that bad attribute a central part of his life philosophy and reason for being.
4.8.2008 8:48pm
William D. Tanksley, Jr:
Dan Brown is to blame because he did not insist that his publisher put a big sticker on the cover of his book stating, "This is a work of fiction. Nothing in this book should be construed as historical fact."


But Dan Brown did put a preface in his book that claims "All descriptions of artwork, architecture, documents, and secret rituals in this novel are accurate," religion, and secret societies. So it seems that he did make a positive claim of historical fact.

Considering that he named real names, of institutions which exist to this day... It seems that he has some obligation to tell the truth, change the names, or tolerate being debunked.
4.8.2008 9:04pm
MXE (mail):
To those who have said that opponents of Obama have nothing to say against his actual positions: you are wrong.

I strongly disagree with Obama's desire to repeal the Bush tax cuts.

I strongly disagree with Obama's perspective that semiautomatic handguns should be banned.

I strongly disagree with Obama's anti-free trade positions (cf. his statements on NAFTA).

I am strongly suspicious of the implications of his statement that his criteria for nominating Supreme Court justices with "heart" and "empathy." (Take a cheap shot at me if you like, for suggesting I want justices to be heartless, but we all know roughly what he had in mind, and originalism wasn't it.)

I vote on the issues. But Obama's candidacy is based in great part on "character" elements -- his image as a uniter and his message of hope and change. The fact that he has associated *very closely* with radicals who espouse fringe positions, including racial conspiracy theories, casts doubt on this aspect of his candidacy.
4.8.2008 9:09pm
Smokey:
J. F. Thomas:
So apparently, in Dave's world the 2nd amendment is more important than the 1st.
They are of equal importance in my world. And I think Dave Kopel would probably agree.

But Obama's world is much less tolerant.
4.8.2008 10:07pm
Smokey:
"Senator John McCain could never convince me to vote for him. Only Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama can cause me to vote for McCain." [source]
4.8.2008 10:18pm
Thorley Winston (mail) (www):
I agree with everything MXE wrote and I'd like to add a few of my own.

I strongly disagree with Obama's plan to destroy private health insurance by creating a new federal system of mandated benefits that will make actual health insurance (as opposed to "prepaid health care) even less affordable for individuals and smaller employers.

I strongly disagree with Obama's plan to increase FICA taxes and make Social Security an even worse deal for my, my children's, and my grandchildren's generations.

I strongly disagree with Obama's plan to target his tax increases on investment and job creation particularly during an economic recession.

I strongly disagree with Obama's support for destructive corporate welfare programs like ethanol subsidies that hurt taxpayers, dairy farmers, and consumers by raising the cost of food, feed, and fuel.
4.8.2008 10:23pm
Gaius Marius:
Barack Hussein Obama is going to betray America to the Jihadists if elected President.
4.8.2008 10:51pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Gaius.
Probably not on purpose, but possibly as an inadvertent result of something more important.
Question is, if it happens, at what point will the dems admit there may be a leeetle problem?
4.8.2008 11:03pm
therut:
And Stalin and Hilter made the trains run on time. Sounds alot like Al Queda,Hamas etc. They do social work for the people who keep them in power. All the "good works" done for a evil purpose will never justify people like the above mentioned. We have seen this before in history. Shame.
4.8.2008 11:21pm
Christopher Cooke (mail):
another anti-Obama bash by association. I agree with people who state their policy differences with him. That is the criteria by which any politician should be judged. The rest of this is just rhetorical nonsense from people who aren't going to vote for him anyway, to "scare" everyone else away from Obama.
4.9.2008 1:57am
neurodoc:
Brett Bellmore: People who ARE in that particular line of work, (Sharpton comes to mind...) stupid as it may be, DO frequently publicly utter death threats, and then expect others to blow it off as meaningless rhetoric. (italics added)
You might have noted that people HAVE in fact died as a result of racial hatred fanned by Reverend Sharpton's rhetoric on two separate occasions (Crown Heights and Freddie's), and might have on two other occasions (the Twana Brawley and Korean green grocer cases), but the kindling didn't ignite in those. So, clearly not meaningless.
4.9.2008 2:47am
neurodoc:
ejo: He has a minister who prints letters in the church bulletin indicating jews are building an "ethnic bomb" that kills blacks and arabs.
Huh? What was that all about? Something more outrageous than Wright's claim that our government concocted HIV in order to kill off blacks?
4.9.2008 3:10am
yankev (mail):

Huh? What was that all about? Something more outrageous than Wright's claim that our government concocted HIV in order to kill off blacks?
Neurodoc, the Pastor's Page in the June 10, 2007 issue of the chuch bulletin uncritically reprints an "Open Letter to Oprah" written by Ali Baghdadi, full of screeds about the Zionist Jews, and including the following bit of foul science fiction nonsense:

I must tell you that Israel was the closest ally
to the White Supremacists of South Africa. In
fact, South Africa allowed Israel to test its nuclear
weapons in the ocean off South Africa. The
Israelis were given a blank check: they could test
whenever they desired and did not even have to
ask permission. Both worked on an ethnic bomb
that kills Blacks and Arabs.

I have trouble posting links, but if you google

"ethnic bomb" Israel trinity
you will get a link to Yuval Levin's 3/26/2008 entry for The Corner at National Review, which links to the newsletter itself.
4.9.2008 10:22am
Matt Pickut (mail):
I think what bothers me the most is the cavalier attitude Obama has towards faith in general. He either picked well known clergy because they were well known and not because he has any real connection to organized religion or he picked them because he believes the same things they do. Its not as if there aren't thousands of clergy of all faiths in the Chicago area who could provide guidance without vitriol.

The big issue here is that Obama's spiritual, honest, new-tone veneer has been pierced either way. Either his own affinity for hateful theology is real or his callous and calculating use of organized religion to make himself look like something he isn't is real.

I really have no idea which it is, but either way it doesn't speak well of him. As a person of faith, I would have preferred that Obama list no one as a spiritual adviser and simply state his own views only if they played into his decision making process.
4.9.2008 10:35am
talleyrand (mail):
Mr. Kopel,

You probably know people who worked with Obama at U. Chicago. Why don't you ask them what they think of Obama and his views on the Constitution, on race, on Israel and Palestine, and on Farakhan? Better yet, why don't you include quotes from Obama himself? Signifucantly, your entire post contains not word spoken by Baracak Obama himself.

Obama has no control over what religious leaders in Chicago say. They are not his policy advisors and there is no evidence than any of them has ever discussed policy or Constitutional rights with Obama. (And I think most people would agree that no one believes absolutely everything his pastor says--if you do, then you are a member of a cult, not a congregation.) I am sorry to say it, b/c I enjoy most of your writing, but your post is nothing but shallow McCarthyism and rank propaganda. And I think you are probably smart enough to know that.

Incidentally, if you posted the rumor that McCain called his wife a "trollop" and some other foul word, I would say the same. You could also conclude such a story with the sentence "Personally, I don't know whether McCain's statements indicate that he profoundly disrespects women, but every American voter will have to decide for himself the importance he places on the statements and the likelihood that they reveal McCain's stance on women's rights." That conclusion would be as ridiculous as the one you have made--actually, less ridiculous, because these are (reportedly) McCain's actual words--and the purpose of it would be equally transparent.
4.9.2008 11:46am
Chris-guest (mail):
Quite honestly, even within the small amount of context you provided it's quite obvious that the Pfleger meant "sniff out" in that speech - "We're going to snuff out legislators that are voting against our gun laws"? I simply don't believe that you seriosly think he was advocating killing legislators!

I'm all for disagreeing with this guy on political positions (he's clearly pretty unequivocal about gun control), but to pretend that he's out there advocating violence is intellectual dishonesty, and not worthy of this site (IMVHO).
4.9.2008 12:04pm
Mike Gallo (mail):
A few quick notes-

First, to John McCall: A Roget Thesaurus organizes words by idea, not by definition. This makes it perfect for this comparison. If the idea behind "snuff out" is the same as "kill," then this man has, in essence, conveyed the meaning "kill." I use a Roget Thesaurus for songwriting often, as it gives you different ways to convey the same meaning, so you may better fit it into your work, or perhaps just try to say it in a way that is not cliche or overdone.

Secondly, I would like to say that Obama does not run a campaign of policies. If he did, then all his faults listed by MXE and Thorley Winston (which are the tip of the iceberg) would surely discount him. Instead, he runs a campaign of appearances, and as such, showing that he admires people like Wright or Pfleger, for whatever reasons, give him a poor appearance. I would say this is the logical counter-argument to his campaigning.
4.9.2008 12:08pm
Haberdash:
"The six degrees of character assassination."

You mean one degree?
4.9.2008 12:31pm
talleyrand (mail):
Matt Pickut said: "I think what bothers me the most is the cavalier attitude Obama has towards faith in general. He either picked well known clergy because they were well known and not because he has any real connection to organized religion or he picked them because he believes the same things they do. ... Either his own affinity for hateful theology is real or his callous and calculating use of organized religion to make himself look like something he isn't is real."

That's a false dichotomy. It's likely that he believes some of the things they believe, but not everything. I could be wrong, but it seems to me this is how most religious people approach their religion (and how members of political parties people approach politics and the party platform).
4.9.2008 1:17pm
federal farmer (www):

Quite honestly, even within the small amount of context you provided it's quite obvious that the Pfleger meant "sniff out" in that speech - "We're going to snuff out legislators that are voting against our gun laws"? I simply don't believe that you seriosly think he was advocating killing legislators!


It is much more important to determine what his listeners understood "snuff out" to mean as one of them could have decided to act on that. Words have power. Our 1st Amendment could be more dangerous than the 2nd. People in his position need to be cognizant of the unintended consequences of their rhetoric.

I was there when he said it. His tone and the overall demeanor of his speech lent it the air of incitement to violence. I was taken aback.
4.9.2008 2:04pm
Elliot123 (mail):
Had David Duke used the tern "snuff out" would it have meant he was proposing a legislative research project to determine voting records on various issues?
4.9.2008 2:17pm
Matt P (mail):
Tally,

there is a difference between saying you know someone and choosing them as a religious adviser. If Obama is choosing individuals that share a trait it is logical to assume that that trait is part of why they are being chosen or that he is unaware with that trait.

You are correct that people will indeed have some areas of variance with their clergy. We are not, however, dealing with merely a minor part of their theologies. The issues brought up are not about intra vs. super lapsarianist controversies The statements of his advisers are significantly drastic enough to be 'deal breakers' for most people.

I suppose you are right that there may be a third option: he disagrees with the outrageous statements and lacks the personal integrity to stand against his clergy without his feet being held to the fire by the national press. I was giving him the benefit of the doubt on that one though. If thats the case I just feel sorry for him. I've been in the situation where people say racist things in front of me and I know that its hard to stand up against it (God knows I failed to do the right thing a time or two myself).
4.9.2008 2:29pm
talleyrand (mail):
Matt P Said: "If Obama is choosing individuals that share a trait it is logical to assume that that trait is part of why they are being chosen or that he is unaware with that trait."

No, that is not logical. All three of them also have brown eyes. Did Obama pick them for that reason? No! Obviously, I'm having a little fun with you here, but you set yourself up. (I would also bet that you probably don't like Obama's policies and that influences your viewpoint on this issue.) First, I don't know what "trait" each of these guys has in common that you think is so appalling. If they share any trait, it is that that each one ministers to a largely black, urban and poor audience.

As to any political viewpoints that Barack Obama holds, why don't you look at his record? Or his statements? Or the statements about him by his colleagues in the US Senate or the Ill. House of Reps or the Harvard Law Journal or U. of Chicago faculty?
4.9.2008 3:40pm
ejo:
talleyrand-looking at his record, you have the farthest left wing senator. looking to his associates, you have former terrorists like ayers and america haters/white haters/jew haters like Wright and Pfleger, along with his wife, of course, and her newly found pride in the country. shall we ignore these associations or is it simply unsporting to point them out? what, for you, would be beyond the pale in terms of associations, remembering that you get to pick who you hang out with and you get to pick what church you get to attend? if those who he chooses to sit in the pews in front of and those who he names as his mentors are of a certain type/mindset, is it your position that it says nothing about him?
4.9.2008 4:21pm
LarryA (mail) (www):
It also says something about those who keeping flogging this issue, namely that they haven't got anything on Obama himself, so they resort to guilt by association attacks.
Obama's anti-Second Amendment views and votes are often cited both by detractors and admirers. This just isn't that article.
4.9.2008 5:31pm
neurodoc:
tallyrand: ...your post is nothing but shallow McCarthyism and rank propaganda...if you posted the rumor that McCain called his wife a "trollop" and some other foul word, I would say the same. You could also conclude such a story with the sentence "Personally, I don't know whether McCain's statements indicate (blank)..." That conclusion would be as ridiculous as the one you have made--actually, less ridiculous, because these are (reportedly) McCain's actual words...
That's quite a rant. First, you accuse Dave Kopel of "shallow McCarthyism" and "rank propaganda," whatever that is supposed to mean. Then you allude to a story posted to a dubious blogsite by an obvious partisan who alleges that three unnamed individuals told him McCain flashed anger and said something quite vulgar to his wife in their presence 16 years ago, "the rumor." talleyrand, there is a huge difference between relying on rumor, as you would, or as you imagine Kopel would, and arguing on the basis of indisputable facts, that is solid documention of what Reverend Wright and Father Pfleger have said.

When arguing on the basis of indisputable facts, as Kopel has done here, there is no need for "reportedly," which serves as a transparently obvious attempt at bootstrapping from that which was so evidently deserving of little credence to start with. You have no choice but to use "reportedly," though when you imagine Kopel saying those things, things which you know neither you, nor anyone you know can prove up in the end. It is people who start with "rumors," and then facilely continue with to build on them using devices like "reportedly," in an effort to smear others who may be seen as engaging in "McCarthyism."

The original Talleyrand was quite a smart fellow. You should try harder to honor his memory by making intelligent rather than silly cases, like the one you have tried to make above.
4.9.2008 6:46pm
Matt Pickut (mail):
Tally,

I don't mind you having fun at my expense (although it seems like , but one cannot compare the trait of extreme left wing views (the value of them aside, they are legitimate views) with the color of someones eyes. I assumed that it would be obvious that I am not saying that any similar things are the same in such a way.

So let me be clear, I am saying that patterns exist and that when they do it is logical to ask why they do. The obvious answer is that eyes are common to homo sapiens, and therefore eye color is a poor indicator for study, but the views expressed by these clergy are not common in the same way --the views in question are not universal even among black urban pastors, and so they exist as plausible indicators of something else.

What is more eye color is, contacts aside, not something that is chosen, whereas public spiritual advisers are chosen out of an almost limitless sea of diversity. If there is some other larger constant thread between these clergy that is more honorable and prominent I'd be happy to hear it and believe that it is Obama's motivation.

As for what I views find unappealing: classism (in any form, i.e. against the rich or the poor), conspiracy theories, and the use of the pulpit to spread hatred or praise those who do. Really though if you need to have me list these things people find offensive in these clergy you haven't been paying attention to the news.

Lastly, accusing me of bias is a poor excuse for an argument. It is just as possible that my view of this situation is coloring my view of Obama or that your view of Obama is coloring your view of me. In either case I hope arguments and facts can some effect on our views or else this entire thread is just rhetorical self-abuse.

The fact is I would have more respect for Obama if he did agree with these clergy on these issues -- I can handle disagreements (If you're ever in NW Indiana drop me a line -- the first round is on me), but I have a hard time swallowing someone turning religion into a ploy to get votes, which if I had to choose a side is what it looks like Obama is doing. Mind you this no different from many politicians, but its still irritating.
4.9.2008 6:48pm
neurodoc:
ejo and yankev, thanks for putting me on to the "ethnic bomb" story. I missed that one before, perhaps because I was so dumbstruck to learn that Obama's minister, Reverend Wright, who Obama says has had such a profound effect on him, was maintaining that our government (or any government) created and loosed HIV on the world. HIV + "ethnic bomb," the latter coupled with the virulent, lunatic antisemitism it represents (that ain't no political "anti-Zionism), and channeling through someone who has expressed admiration for Farrakhan, leaves me nonplussed.
4.9.2008 7:00pm
talleyrand (mail):
Ejo,

This is your syllogism: Premise 1: Obama is the most left-wing Senator; Premise 2: those he has associated with hate America, Whites and Jews. Conclusion: Obama hates America, Whites and Jews. Even if I accepted your premises (which I don't), your conclusion just doesn't make any sense. So is it "left-wing" to hate America, Whites and Jews? Is that what you are trying to say?
4.9.2008 7:21pm
talleyrand (mail):
neurodoc,

You miss the point. Sorry if I wasn't more clear. The point is, who cares if McCain said something nasty to his wife? Whatever he said (whether he really said it or not) means nothing about what he believes or what kinds of policies he would enact as President. I picked that story not b/c I belive it, but b/c it is so inconsequential. In the same vein, what Obama's friends might say is irrelevant to Obama's policies and serves no constructive purpose. It's just an attempt to smear Obama by associating him with comments or positions articulated by other people. Both of these things involve the politics of personal destruction and have nothing to do with any real issue. Both stories belong on partisan left or right wing trash blogs, not Volokh (I couldn't imagine anything similar being posted on balkinization, for example). If you want to criticize Obama's policies on gun control, that's fine, and his positions on that issue are clear enough without resorting to a disguised ad hominem attack designed to paint Obama as Nat X.
4.9.2008 7:53pm
talleyrand (mail):
Matt,

I take your point. Sorry if I was having fun at your expense--I knew what you meant.

It very well may be true that Obama cynically picked his religion for political purposes, and if true, I could see why that would be offensive to religious people. But judging by his first book, it seems that he is sincere in his faith. Despite the snippets that are played endlessly on youtube and other media, it doesn't seem to me that anti-Semitism or anti-Americanism is a central tenet of this faith. I have a very hard time believing this is a church dedicated to the destruction of America or white people or Jews. I also have a hard time believing that anyone who has listened to Obama speak could believe that he hates white people (remember that his mother is white) or America or is looking to start class warfare. If you want to know what these three guys have in common, it is that they preach a message tailored to a poor black audience. I'm no theology student, but it seems that all three guys focus on Jesus' commitment to the poor. From what I've read, they also all preach a message of personal responsibility.

All of these guys have given many sermons over the years. Yes, they have said some crazy things (in my opinion, these have been overblown), but if you find your faith beautiful and hopeful, you don't abandon it just because you find some things about it objectionable. And just because you stick with your church doesn't mean that you espouse everything it's pastor says or believes. It would have been far easier and more cynical for Obama to have left his church behind when he contemplated running for Senate.
4.9.2008 8:38pm
neurodoc:
talleyrand: This is your syllogism: Premise 1: Obama is the most left-wing Senator; Premise 2: those he has associated with hate America, Whites and Jews. Conclusion: Obama hates America, Whites and Jews. Even if I accepted your premises (which I don't), your conclusion just doesn't make any sense. So is it "left-wing" to hate America, Whites and Jews? Is that what you are trying to say?
Ridiculous. Nothing here turns on whether Obama is the most left-wing Senator as judged by ADA ratings, or he is the second most left-wing, or the third, or the 99th, with only Tom Coburn to his right. ejo did observe that Obama is more to the left than any serious candidate (Kucinich, Jackson, Sharpton, and their ilk were never true contenders for their party's nomination), but it amounted to little more than a passing observation about "clustering" of like-minded individuals, and was not a strut to his case.

Indisputable that Obama has voluntarily associated himself with those who it can be reasonably argued "hate America, Whites and Jews." (I wouldn't argue such a bald, flat-footed, unnuanced claim as that, but it is anything but preposterous given what Wright and Pfleger have said at different times.

No one, except you talleyrand with your attempts to put silly positions in the mouths of those who haven't taken them, has "Conclu(ded): Obama hates America, Whites and Jews." That is only you hearing the echo within your own head. What can't be denied is that Obama has linked himself very closely to someone (Reverend Wright) who might be said to "hate() America, Whites and Jews." (I don't think that is the best way to characterize his rants against all of them at one time or another, but again it will do for these purposes.)

Now you ask, "So is it 'left-wing' to hate America, Whites and Jews? Is that what you are trying to say?" Well, we have Wright who few would not see as "left-wing" or "progressive" in a Radio Pacifica way. Can you come up with the names of any over on the Right who would score that "America/Whites/Jews" trifecta? You might come up with some who satisfied the "hate America...and Jews," at least the America they hold to be under the control of Jews (ZOG), "mongrelized," etc., but they exalt "whiteness," being White Supremacists. If you can bring to our attention individuals or groups on the Right who preach hatred of "America, Whites, and Jews," as Reverend Wright arguably has done, then we will have to reconsider. Can you, or are you just aimlessly, and recklessly ranting again?

Unless, you can come up with a real argument as a would-be apologist for Obama's association with the likes of Wright and Pfleger, I'll leave it at this.
4.9.2008 8:41pm
talleyrand (mail):
neurodoc,

The premise of Kopel's post is this: "I consider the extent to which the candidate's religious philosophy may (like any other part of the candidate's worldview) influence his or her public policy decisions." Kopel also points out that "Rev. Pfleger is indeed an admirer of 'Minister Farrakhan.' Ambushed by a Bill O'Reilly camera crew, Pfleger stated: 'He has--first of all, he has not called Judaism a gutter religion of blood suckers. That is not what he has said because I have heard that talk. I stick up for Louis Farrakhan because he is another person that the media has chosen to define how they want to do it. And they demonize how they want to demonize somebody. I know the man, Louis Farrakhan. He is a great man. I have great respect for him, ho has done an awful lot for people and this country, black, white, and brown. He's a friend of mine."

Then you have people posting comments about Farakkhan and anti-semitic positions taken by Wright. The implication is clear, and if you don't see it, you are being willfully blind.

"Nothing here turns on whether Obama is the most left-wing Senator as judged by ADA ratings."

True, but Ejo does seem to think that is relevant that Obama is "left wing." I don't believe it is relevant, even if it were true.

You said this: "If you can bring to our attention individuals or groups on the Right who preach hatred of "America, Whites, and Jews," as Reverend Wright arguably has done, then we will have to reconsider."

Now that's a silly and irrelevant argument. But let's come to the crux of my argument. It's that the best way to judge Obama's views and policies (which Kopel's post is supoosed to be about) is to examine his own record, statements, policy positions, and team of advisors. What his pastor said is just a sideshow.
4.9.2008 9:07pm
neurodoc:
<blockquote>I picked that story not b/c I belive it, but b/c it is so inconsequential.</blockquote>If you don't believe that McCain crap, and I expect you don't, then why use it in an attempt to answer <b>Dave Kopel</b>? Instead of starting with something bogus (which the Pfleger and Wright stories certainly are not), why not start with something non-bogus and making a logically compelling argument with it.<blockquote>Both of these things involve the politics of personal destruction and have nothing to do with any real issue.</blockquote>Nonsense. You can say that over and over, repeating this "talking point" if you wish, but it is totally unpersuasive. The guy is running for the highest office in the land and it is entirely legitimate to scrutinize him closely, including whom he identifies as "spiritual advisors" and whom he identifies as policy advisors. All the candidates try to sell themselves rhetorically, saying that which will appeal to the most people, which means not being too long on specifics, and lots and lots of "sound bites." As voters, we want to try to get behind those fronts, so to the extent we can, we might project what they would be if elected. Looking at whom they surround themselves with can be informative. Indeed, when I spotted a well-known retired 4-star general in an airport a few weeks ago and asked him what he thought of the field, that is exactly what he went to, whom the candidates had around them. Of Obama's foreign policy team, the general said it looked like Bill Clinton's second string of advisers, e.g., Susan Rice.

A smart Obama-ite would try to minimize what is here about his "associations," not try to deny that there was anything problematic about it. Flat out denial, as some are trying, is counter-productive, just serving to call more attention to it. Crying "politics of personal destruction" is a stupid try too, since it will only convince the already convinced.
4.9.2008 9:46pm
neurodoc:
Then you have people posting comments about Farakkhan and anti-semitic positions taken by Wright. The implication is clear, and if you don't see it, you are being willfully blind.
I view Farrakhan absolutely loathsome, and do not know how any decent person familiar with Farrakhan's conduct (did he play a role in the assassination of Malcolm X) and utterances over the years, especially those directed at Jews, can think otherwise. So if a candidate choses as a spiritual advisor someone who does, while also putting out their own hateful and absurd crap, that makes a very negative impression on me. Now, what exactly am I being "willfully blind" to in saying this? Do explain.
"If you can bring to our attention individuals or groups on the Right who preach hatred of "America, Whites, and Jews," as Reverend Wright arguably has done, then we will have to reconsider." Now that's a silly and irrelevant argument.
You asked, "So is it 'left-wing' to hate America, Whites and Jews?," and answered you by saying that combination of hates might not define what it was to be on the Left, but it was a combination we could find on the Left but not on the Right. It seems you cannot point to it on the Right, so you are left to bluster, "Now that's a silly and irrelevant argument."
...the best way to judge Obama's views and policies (which Kopel's post is supoosed to be about)
Where did Kopel say that his focus was the one "best way to judge Obama's views and policies"? I don't see it. I believe his point, and certainly mine, is that it is entirely reasonable to look at Obama's associations as an indication of what we might expect from him were he to be elected. And you are free to turn a blind eye to it is you chose to be "willfully blind," but we don't chose to do so.

BTW, care to tell us what you think of Farrakhan, or of Wright or Pfleger as admirers of his? Do you, like login12356 think, "Unlike Zionists, Farrakhan actually wants what is best for AMERICA."? Do you, like Reverend Wright and Father Pfleger, "have great respect for (Farrakhan" and deny that Farrakhan is an out and out antisemite, among other things? What do you think of that "ethnic bomb" claim that ejo and yankev say Reverend Wright had printed in the church newsletter? HIV as a creation of the government? Or, will you waive all this off as inconsequential stuff as we scrutinize the candidates?
4.9.2008 10:23pm
Jmaie (mail):
It very well may be true that Obama cynically picked his religion for political purposes, and if true, I could see why that would be offensive to religious people. But judging by his first book, it seems that he is sincere in his faith

I'm not even slightly religious and I find it offensive.

Is it possible to be sincere in one's faith yet cynically pick one's religion? That would seem a non sequitur.
4.9.2008 11:58pm
Tony Tutins (mail):
neurodoc, although it's ancient history now, back when Israel was developing military weapons with apartheid South Africa, people suspected that Israel was helping South Africa develop nuclear weapons. The natural groups for these weapons to be used against were blacks (in the case of the RSA) and Arabs (in the case of Israel). So the Rev. Mr. Wright would seem to have a point, although nuclear annihilation would not stop at blacks and Arabs.

According to the study produced by the Library of Congress for the Department of the Army, Israel's arms trade with South Africa was estimated at between US$400 million and US$800 million annually (see Arms Trade and the Defense Industry, ch. 5). In 1986 Israel also imported approximately US$181 million in goods, mainly coal, from South Africa, and exported to South Africa nonmilitary products worth about US$58.8 million.

From the Federation of American Scientists, South Africa also acquired the technology to build nuclear weapons. South Africa developed at least six nuclear warheads, which it later acknowledged, along with a variety of missiles and other conventional weapons. These projects were undertaken with some cooperation from Israel -- another technologically advanced, militarily powerful, nuclear-capable nation surrounded by hostile neighbors.

Beginning in 1975 two test shafts over 250 meters deep for conducting nuclear tests were drilled at the Vastrap military base in the Kalahari Desert. A Soviet surveillance satellite detected these test preparationss in August 1977, and the Soviets notified the US of their discovery. South Africa was forced to cancel the tests in the face of diplomatic pressure from America, the Soviet Union, and France.

A flash over the Indian Ocean detected by an American satellite in September 1979 was suspected of being a nuclear test, possibly conducted by either Israel or South Africa, alone or in combination.
4.10.2008 12:11am
deenk:
I think that we can agree that the best candidate has no true spiritual advisors or beliefs and presents a veneer of christianity only. In this way, s/he can feel free to embrace political support from any religious leader without fear that they will be associated with any wacky or offensive ideas that are espoused in the pulpit.
4.10.2008 2:04am
Chris-guest (mail):
federal-farmer:

I'm not arguing that Pfleger was right to have used the term "snuff out" - obviously it is open to misinterpretation, and he should have been aware of this. But Pfleger is not running for office - I'll happily join you in chastising him for reckless speech, and that would certainly be grounds for not electing Pfleger to any political office, but I don't think it should have a significant effect on how people view Obama.
4.10.2008 5:11am
BobbieG (mail):

Keep in mind that this gun shop's guns are traced to at least 2,000 violent crimes between 1996 and 2004.

No I am sorry Federal Farmer but it does not work that way. Unless the gun shop had been indicted and all it records audited you would would not have such a number. When a gun used in a crime is traced back to the gunshop the records are checked. With Illinois' licenceing and the Federal background back you just do not get to 2000.

Yes I have read that number too. Somebody it lying. And that still does not justify the threats. When "we are going to snuff you our" is used there is no confusion. The man is a thug.
4.10.2008 7:00am
neurodoc:
Tony Tutins: neurodoc, although it's ancient history now, back when Israel was developing military weapons with apartheid South Africa, people suspected that Israel was helping South Africa develop nuclear weapons.
Did you and talleyrand (the one who posts here, not the smart Frenchman a couple of hundred years back) study together. He starts with a "rumor" for which he can bring forward no credible proof, and goes from there, continuing with "reportedly" and making up silly hypotheticals. Your foundation is "people suspected..."

Are you aware that South Africa is under very different rule these days, and what were closely guarded state secrets before are not secret any more? Thus, bioweapons development programs and assassination operations have been brought to light, but no collaborations with Israel to develope nuclear weapons. Mandela is pro-PLO, not pro-Israel, so highly implausible that anything is being covered up to spare Israel embarassment.

I'm surprised you didn't suggest that both Israel and South Africa be viewed as reprises of the American story of cowboys and indians, that being your basis for understanding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
4.10.2008 9:31am
markm (mail):
Talleyrand:

But let's come to the crux of my argument. It's that the best way to judge Obama's views and policies (which Kopel's post is supoosed to be about) is to examine his own record, statements, policy positions, and team of advisors. What his pastor said is just a sideshow.

His voting record (very leftist) contradicts his current (relatively moderate) public statements. As for his team of advisors, isn't Wright his "spiritual advisor"?

I'm not claiming that any of the other candidates are any better. I long ago concluded that the Clinton marriage was an alliance of ambitious sociopaths. As for McCain, eight years ago I thought the Republicans couldn't have found a worse candidate than GW Bush. McCain has proved me wrong. That old joke that anyone who wants the Presidency has thereby proven himself unqualified for it is coming true...
4.10.2008 9:57am
talleyrand (mail):
neurodoc,

Kopel's post is purportedly about Obama's substantive policies on "civil rights" (he specifically mentions gun ownership). There are several ways you can go about evaluating a candidate's position on civil rights. You could look at his voting record, for example. You could look at his political platform. You could look at his recent speeches. If you wanted to, you could compare these to his rival candidates' voting record on that issue. You could then make an argument about which candidate is likelier to support a position you prefer. We could do this for just about any issue, and there are many important issues in this election.

Another way you could evaluate a candidate's positions is to leave out any statements made by any candidate in this election. You could include only statements or stories about people who have associated with the candidate. You can pick and choose the nuttiest or most controversial statements made by those people, even those statements that have nothing to do with the issue you are purporting to discuss. Then you could suggest that these comments will reflect the candidate's policy positions.

No, that does not sound reasonable to me. It sounds intellectually lazy or dishonest. Instead of looking into the actual candidate's positions, you can just listen to statements that his associates have made? Far easier than doing the actual research, but far less likely to yield anything of substance.

Is it somewhat relevant that Obama has been friends with these guys? Only marginally so. It says nothing about what his policies are likely to be. The views of his poilicy advisors are far more relevant. That is why I say it is a sideshow ginned up as a distraction from more important issues. Like personal stories about McCain (and I am assuming for the sake of argument only that they are true), they are not important.

And no, I do not defend anything any of these guys has said, and neither has Obama.

you also said: "It seems you cannot point to it on the Right, so you are left to bluster, 'Now that's a silly and irrelevant argument.'"

Are you pretending not to understand? Unless you really think that the left wing is defined by hatred of Whites, America and Jews, then Obama's supposed left-wing orientation is a non-sequitur, although it seemed to be important to Ejo's argument. That is the point I was making, I don't see how you missed it. If you really are a neuro surgeon and you ever came near me with a scalpel, I would grab my powdered wig and limp away as quickly as my withered leg would let me.

markm says: "His voting record (very leftist) contradicts his current (relatively moderate) public statements."

Finally, we are getting somewhere! markm, you may be right.
4.10.2008 10:32am
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Would the voting record reflect, in some way, the positions of Wright and other non-advisor advisors?
4.10.2008 11:39am
Tony Tutins (mail):

no collaborations with Israel to develope nuclear weapons. Mandela is pro-PLO, not pro-Israel, so highly implausible that anything is being covered up to spare Israel embarassment.

So I gather neurodoc's position is that in the absence of South African corroboration, Israel's nuclear weapons are intended to be used solely against Arabs.
4.10.2008 12:05pm
neurodoc:
Tony Tutin, you first said, "...people suspected that Israel was helping South Africa develop nuclear weapons." And then for support you cited the Federation of Atomic Scientists' website, where it was said:
A flash over the Indian Ocean detected by an American satellite in September 1979 was suspected of being a nuclear test, possibly conducted by either Israel or South Africa, alone or in combination. (italics added)
But because it didn't serve your purpose to give a more complete report of what the FAS website says, and because candor clearly is not your long suite, you chose to ignore the couple of sentences that followed immediately:
The Carter administration assembled a panel of scientists from academia to review the data. After their review, the panel concluded that, lacking independent collaborative data to support a nuclear origin of the signals, the original interpretation of the satellite data could not be justified.
Now, if you were a lawyer and tried to deceive a court by such artful means, you would have your head handed to you, and you might be formally sanctioned for a serious ethical breach. While I have no power to sanction you for such, nor for bigotry or stupidity, I am at least not obliged to listen patiently and respectfully to it.
4.10.2008 5:17pm
neurodoc:
talleyrand: If you really are a neuro surgeon and you ever came near me with a scalpel, I would grab my powdered wig and limp away as quickly as my withered leg would let me.
How tempting it is to imitate Winston Churchill here. When an agitated woman stood up and told him that if he were her husband, she would poison him, Churchill, with perfect equanimity, replied, "Madam, if I were your husband, I would gladly take that poison." But I can't reply in similar fashion for two reasons: i) a physician is ethically bound to treat someone no matter what they think of that individual, unless there is another physician to undertake the responsibility, and I see no other physician here to do it; and, ii) what I offer as a physician is the benefit of my educated, trained, and experienced brain, not what a hand holding a scalpel might do, since I am a neurologist, not a neurosurgeon as you have incorrectly speculated. Analagous to cardiologist vs cardiovascular surgeon. (BTW, Thoughtful, a not so thoughtful radiologist, previously made the same incorrect assumption when unable to prevail on the merits and left to resort to that sort of silly ad hominem, not even on target.)
talleyrand: Kopel's post is purportedly about Obama's substantive policies on "civil rights" (he specifically mentions gun ownership). (italics added)
The Second Amendment is one of Kopel's personal causes, and he did discuss guns in this post. But he also gave a good amount of attention to Pfleger as another of Obama's chosen "spiritual advisers" who is a great admirer of Farrakhan. And while you may prefer to ignore or discount concerns about Obama's choices om advisers, spiritual, economic, foreign policy, and other, many of us think those choices deserve scrutiny.

I see absolutely no justification for calling that scrutiny in any way "intellectually lazy or dishonest," as you do. Indeed, given the candidates' determined efforts to mislead the electorate, I think it a wise thing to do. (Obama and Clinton pander to Democratic primary voters, telling them that they are fundamentally opposed to trade agreements like NAFTA. While Obama is saying that on the stump, a top adviser of his is offering assurances to the Canadians that he doesn't mean it, he's just trying to get votes; and while Clinton is saying, notwithstanding that her husband was the force behind NAFTA, her top strategist is working with the Colombians to get them a NAFTA-like trade agreement.)

On the subject of advisers, I read today one of those "whose in, whose out" lists of politicos in this month's Washingtonian magazine. They listed as "out" Samantha Power, who Obama threw overboard when she called Clinton a "monster," saying that but for that lapse, she might have been Secretary of State in an Obama administration. Now the Obama campaign had already tried to distance themselves from people like Power, Robert Malley, and Brzezinski, because they are a turn off for many Jews, and Power may not have been too serious a candidate for a cabinet position, but given the disingenuity of all the candidates and their campaigns, I think we have to sift the evidence as best we can, and we can gain valuable insights by looking at their advisers.
4.10.2008 5:57pm
alistair mackinnon (mail):
Ah... the great american continuance of character assassination,
Ive been a member of Pflegers church, and with pfleger Ive listened to Farakan, Ive read the final call, Ive had lunch in the restaurant, Ive walked on those streets calling out gangsters to change, I worked in Engelwood, and you guys get a snippet... whoops the worlds gone red. If your going to keep this in context or use appropriate information why doesnt one of you go visit pfleger at st. sabinas and report.
for me, I found him active in every area of the community, focussed on justice and life, supportive and dedicated
Id stand with him
.. and we do know of course why this was aired... dont we
alistair
white male AND european
4.12.2008 2:34pm