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Obama Lies About His Church's Honor to Farrakhan:

Jake Tapper:

In Levittown, Penn., today, Sen. Barack Obama, D-Illinois, was asked about his church's magazine giving an award to Rev. Louis Farrakhan. "This was done by a magazine that was connected to the church," Obama explained. "I would have never done it. It was primary focused on the rehabilitation work that they do for ex-offenders in Chicago. That doesn't excuse it, that just explains it."

The first time Obama said this, I could believe he was misinformed [update: indeed, the first time he said this, he only said he "assumed" this was the reason]. The second time, perhaps that he was caught offguard and didn't have his story straight. Now, I can only conclude that he is intentionally choosing to blatantly lie about this, hoping that no one will notice and call him on it.

Let's recall the facts: The magazine explicitly explained in the video it prepared for the banquet at which Farrakhan was honored that it was honoring Farrakhan for his purported dedication "truth, education, and leadership." [Surprise, surprise, the video seems to have been pulled from YouTube.] Obama spiritual mentor Rev. Wright, meanwhile praised Farrakhan in the magazine for his "astounding and eyeopening" analysis of the "racial ills of this nation," a "perspective" that is "helpful and honest." I even got ahold of the interview the magazine did with Farrakhan. No mention was made in any of these sources of "rehabilitation work for ex-offenders."

UPDATE: It's odd that Obama's initial "assumption" has morphed into a statement of fact. He made up that assumption, which was not an entirely unreasonable one, and then either (at best) failed to check it out but decided to repeat this assumption as truth with no supporting evidence, or decided to just go with a lie when he found out the truth. Given the significance of the Wright controversy, I find it hard to believe that none of his aides has investigated the Farrakhan award, which would take approximately five minutes to research, so I'm still inclined to go with the latter explanation, though the former one hardly casts him in a great light, either.

elim:
almost makes you think it's a lie and that he actually hates jews, just like his mentor and spiritual adviser.
4.10.2008 9:45pm
Frog Leg (mail):
These political hackery postings are really beneath the level of this blog.
4.10.2008 9:46pm
EH (mail):
A religious hysteria post from David Bernstein? Crazy.
4.10.2008 9:51pm
The Drill SGT:
Frog Leg,

When a candidate makes the premise of his campaign that "I'm a different kind of candidate" and "words matter", guess what?

People think that your words do matter and when you are caught lying or pandering, folks think your just the normal sort of lying, pandering Pol, except that you have less experience than most.
4.10.2008 9:51pm
wt (www):
I disagree with the idea that this post is "political hackery," since it's not, and think, in a broader sense, that political posts contribute to the diversity of the topics discussed on the site.

First, one can condemn Obama for lying --- and I think David makes a fair inference that Obama is, indeed, lying --- without being a Republican hack.

And second, I'm interested in the 2008 election cycle, and I hadn't heard about this story until this post. So it's at least educational for some swath of interested readers.
4.10.2008 9:52pm
josh bornstein (mail) (www):
I echo Frog Leg . . . I get that DB hates Obama, and all that he stands for (tolerance, civil dialogue, etc). I suspect that Obama simply did not give the whole Farrakhan issue a lot of thought at the time. Should he have? Well, maybe. But the level of venom in your postings seems out of proportion. Just my perspective. Since I do enjoy your less-extreme observations, I am hoping that you don't reach "Ann Coulter" territory, where you lose all credibility on all issues, due to wildly over-the-top views on a handful of topics. Just one guy's impression. Feel free to totally ignore. :-)
4.10.2008 9:56pm
Anderson (mail):
Good heavens, my plans to elect Obama and secure the destruction of Israel are in evident danger of being thwarted.

Curse you, internet!

-- Has Obama seen this video? Does DB know that he's seen it?

If he *is* embarrassed at his doofus pastor and choosing to lie about it, that's silly, but where does that leave us? McCain lies all the time. Hillary lies. Obama lies.

They are POLITICIANS, people.

Bottom line: Obama's church, which he apparently joined with no small degree of political opportunism, sponsors a MAGAZINE that gave Farrakhan some award. And Rev. Wright, who apparently thinks that the feds invented HIV to kill off the black race, also thinks Farrakhan is swell.

If you're like DB or Kopel, already disposed to dislike and vote against Obama, then I'm sure this is of great interest to you.

For that matter, I pay zero attention to what Farrakhan says, and he may indeed have said something useful about our racial issues at some point, mixed in I suppose with anti-semitism and general weirdness. Bottom line is, I don't care, and there is no reason to think that Obama cares what Farrakhan says either.

Martin Peretz, of all people, sensibly commented about Obama's church that he himself dislikes the liberal spouting-off of his rabbi, but stays in the synagogue for its other valuable qualities.

God help us when The Spine at TNR becomes more sensible on Judaism and Obama than the VC.
4.10.2008 10:00pm
huskerfan:
I don't know... I think this post clearly proves that Obama is a terrorist and hates America and is involved with Al-Queada and hopes to destroy America.... I mean that really is the only logical conclusion you can come to with this stuff right?
4.10.2008 10:08pm
wt (www):
I'm a huge fan of sarcasm comedy, but it's for that reason that I'm especially sensitive to sarcasm that isn't funny.

DB: Obama lied. Here's the evidence.
Sarcastic reader: Yep, you proved it. Obama's in al quaeda.

But no one said anything about al quaeda. So the sarcasm doesn't make any sense. And sarcasm that's just non-responsive just isn't humorous.

Oh, and also, it lacks insight.
4.10.2008 10:15pm
byomtov (mail):
David obviously thinks it's extremely important for politicians to be very accurate in their statements.

I encourage him to apply the same standard to those he admires.
4.10.2008 10:17pm
bikeguy (mail):
Liberals. They can't refute the facts reported, so offer up high school level sarcasm and attack the messenger.
4.10.2008 10:23pm
DavidBernstein (mail):
I can't think of any politician I admire.
4.10.2008 10:25pm
Falafalafocus (mail):

I don't know... I think this post clearly proves that Obama is a terrorist and hates America and is involved with Al-Queada and hopes to destroy America.... I mean that really is the only logical conclusion you can come to with this stuff right?


Huh?
4.10.2008 10:30pm
elim:
you know, I have now been converted in my thinking. I don't think one should point out jew hatred coming from the pulpit of our president to be's minister. we should just ignore it, just like we ignore obama's associations with former terrorists like bill ayers. after all, we have been told that such hatred flows every sunday from black pulpits, therefore making it of no significance.
4.10.2008 10:32pm
NI:
I think all politicians lie and I agree with David's last post about not admiring any of them. That being the case, I really think one has to look at the policies we're likely to get. Since I think the policies of the GOP for the last 7 years have been catastrophic, I will vote for whomever the Democrats nominate. That doesn't mean I would want either Obama or Clinton teaching ethics to children.
4.10.2008 10:32pm
Perseus (mail):
I agree with The Drill SGT about Obama claiming to be a different kind of candidate when in fact he's just another politician who is a talented demagogue.
4.10.2008 10:34pm
elim:
liberal spouting off=jews are inventing ethnic bombs that kill only arabs. throw in those golden oldies from Farrakhan about gutter religions, blood suckers and the like. all just normal stuff in black churches, move on, nothing to see here.
4.10.2008 10:34pm
Smokey:
The more the spotlight is on Obama, the more apparent his dishonesty becomes.
4.10.2008 10:35pm
huskerfan:
I like Jake Tapper's journalistic standards. Impeccable.

http://mediamatters.org/columns/200804080001
4.10.2008 10:39pm
myn0ck:
I'm looking for the part of his post where... Oh! There it is. "McCain is god and is perfect and anyone who says otherwise is a terrorist!"

Oh never mind. No it doesn't. So let us all stop putting words in DB's mouth and actually discuss the issue of a presidential candidate openly lying and the media not calling him on it.

No, I'm not going to vote for Obama, nor did I ever consider it because of his political views, but that matters not in determining that Obama has a history, a pattern even, of purposefully associating himself with religious nutballs who can generously be called racists and bigots.

That he refuses to denounce and disassociate from said individuals speaks volumes about him.

And before anyone says that it is not fair to judge Obama because of someone else's statements, don't. That isn't why he is judged. It is because he purposefully chose to associate with individuals that are racists and bigots. That is Obama's choice, and so he can rightly be judged and condemned for that choice and any related choices.
4.10.2008 10:39pm
kadet (mail):
Imagine that, David, shvartze will be a president !

Booo!
4.10.2008 10:43pm
byomtov (mail):
I can't think of any politician I admire.

OK then. I'll settle for the ones you support.
4.10.2008 10:45pm
LM (mail):
David,

You acknowledge he may have been misinformed the first time, so what makes you think he's been accurately informed since?
4.10.2008 10:45pm
elim:
shvartze? why not address the actual substance-can you explain why a church bulletin would print a letter indicating the jews are building an "ethnic bomb" which would kill only arabs? why the same church would honor a hater like Farrakhan? why the next president of the US was too happy to remain in this hate center? or, do you simply believe all blacks hate jews, whites and the United States but don't find this to be of any significance?
4.10.2008 10:50pm
DavidBernstein (mail):
LM, I assume he has people to check potentially controversial statements, and it wouldn't have been hard to check this one. OTOH, if you want to argue that either he's lying, or he repeated something three times in public that he just made up becaus it sounds good without having any idea if what he was saying is true, I accept that edit, and it doesn't make him look much better.
4.10.2008 10:50pm
Hoosier:
David: "I can't think of any politician I admire."

Sorry to hear that. I admire my senior senator, for one. He is thoughtful, intelligent, and decent.

More than I can say for a whole buch of the responses to your post tonight.

This was really disappointing: Obama can't be called to account for past flirtations with the leadership of the Nation of Islam? Although it is not *just* a hate group, it is still a hate group. If my parish gave an award to Farrakhan, you can bet my objections would have been on the record, at the time.

Re: David's post--Wasn't this the point?: Obama said that the award was given for X. The award was not given for X. After two more reiterations by the candiate that the award was given to the leader of a hate group for X, what are we supposed to conclude?

For what it's worth, my sense is not that this suggests Obama doesn't tell the truth. It is more evidence that he doesn't do his homework. And probably because he doesn't have *time* to do more than give speeches, answer questions, and give more speeches.

But he has *virtually no experience* relevant to the job that he is seeking. He and his supporters take the presidency to be an entry-level position. And thus his inability to take time to work on the substantive questions is a massive handicap, since he comes in with almost no aquired "capital". He does not have long experience dealing with the isses that are arising, and that he can fall-back upon when he hasn't had time to study his brief.

This was painfully evident when he appeared on Russert before Super Tuesday: He floundered badly when pushed by the bulldog-like Russert for detail beyond the talking-points and outlines of programs like medical insurance or a ten-year waiting period between lobbying and White House service.

I don't know why Democrats think this will not be a problem for them once he is the nominee.
4.10.2008 10:51pm
wm13:
I agree with several of the commentators who defend Obama by pointing out, quite correctly, that all politicians are lying scumbags and he isn't necessarily any worse than the others. From the premise that all politicians are untrustworthy liars, I draw the following conclusions:
1. Given a set of despicable people, I'm choosing the one who won't raise my taxes.
2. Whenever any politician calls for sacrifice or voluntary action for the benefit of the nation, or some purported public good, I'm going to assume that he's lying and refuse to participate. (Matter of fact, I don't recycle.)
3. Whenever any politician claims that some legislation is necessary to solve some great national problem, I'm going to assume that he's lying and oppose the measure, unless I see a direct personal benefit to myself. I'm no patsy.

Is there any other logical course of action, once we set up as a premise that all politicians are habitual liars?
4.10.2008 10:54pm
huskerfan:
Hoosier,

Who has ever had experience that has prepared them for the White house? Isn't the job of President unique enough that it isn't possible to really gain the proper experience?

Russert is a joke. He is a gotcha journalist.

Dick Cheney and Don Rumsfeld sure had a lot of experience. How much good did that do?
4.10.2008 10:57pm
BruceM (mail) (www):
Bashing Obama's church is by far the most racist thing I've seen in years. All churches (and synagogues and mosques and places of worship regardless of the religion) are dedicated to the erroneous and the insane. All religious leaders say crazy, insane, moronic things. All the people who attend religious services leave logic and reason at the door.

So, to bash one religious leader, particularly when the bashing is by people who will be at their own church this sunday, can only be chalked up to racism. And that's precisely what's going on. He's black and outspoken, so Obama must "distance" himself from Rev. Wright, and must "denouce" what Wright says. But white republicans are never called to "distance" themselves from the Pat Robertsons and Jerry Falwells of the world. Not even when they blame 9-11 on homosexuals.

Other than atheists (who routinely criticize religious leaders regardless of the color of their skin), everyone who has criticized Obama over his choice of a church is a pathetic, stinking, miserable, disgusting racist.
4.10.2008 10:58pm
Hoosier:
Would someone please remind me why Dick Lugar is a reprehensible lying scumbag?

"All polticians are (adjecive.)" I don't buy it.

To be bipartisan, I was represented in the House for 10 years by Tim Roemer. Why is he a lying scumbag?

(Aside from the fact that he served on the 9/11 Commission, and thus white-washed The Truth about the evil Zionist Joo Banker Texas Oil Fat Cat Conspiracy to Kill Americans, get us into the Warforoil, and shred the Constitution up into little bits of wadding for muzzle-loading muskets to hand out to Fundamentalist Christian home-school children, I mean.).
4.10.2008 11:01pm
Brian K (mail):
DB,

do you ever plan on addressing obama's speech on race? he talks at length about his views with regards to wright. your silence in this regards is very curious given your seeming obsession with obama and wright.

full text of speech
4.10.2008 11:06pm
Ken Arromdee:
Is there any other logical course of action, once we set up as a premise that all politicians are habitual liars?

Yes. All politicians are habitual liars, but that doesn't mean that every one lies about every subject all the time. Lots of other politicians wouldn't lie like Obama here. Not because they aren't liars. Of course they are. But they wouldn't need to tell these particular lies, either because they'd be more willing to distance themselves from the nuts, or because they never did things that appeal to nuts in the first place. What a politician chooses to lie about says a lot about him.
4.10.2008 11:07pm
Paul Barnes (mail):
BruceM,

How does it feel to be a Bright? I mean, the shininess is hurting my eyes.
4.10.2008 11:07pm
Hoosier:
>>>Who has ever had experience that has prepared them for the White house?
A: Dwight Eisenhower.

Isn't the job of President unique enough that it isn't possible to really gain the proper experience?
A: ALL the proper experience? Yes. ANY proper experience? No. (See above.)

>>>Russert is a joke. He is a gotcha journalist.
A: No he is not. But if you think Obama can't handle a "joke" journalist, that alone is enough to make me worry.

>>>Dick Cheney and Don Rumsfeld sure had a lot of experience. How much good did that do?
A: If my child is treated by an expereinced physician who turns out to be incompetent, I will most defintely *not* decide to take him to a first year medical student next time around, just to see ow it goes. I've heard this argument before, and it makes no sense.

Husker: I'm sorry to come off as difficult. (I'm really a sweet guy.) But Obama simply has no claim to the office other than his own ambition. Again, it is not an entry-level job.
4.10.2008 11:09pm
SeaLawyer:

Other than atheists (who routinely criticize religious leaders regardless of the color of their skin), everyone who has criticized Obama over his choice of a church is a pathetic, stinking, miserable, disgusting racist.


That's sarcasm? Right?
If is not, then you have some serious issues.
4.10.2008 11:09pm
kadet (mail):
elim, I simply believe that David is scared of blacks....
4.10.2008 11:09pm
LM (mail):
I don't know what transpired since the first time he said it. I'd agree with your assumption that he must have fact checkers. But that doesn't necessarily mean they actually checked this fact. Or maybe they did and they found other evidence for the accuracy of the statement, notwithstanding the video. If Obama's been asked about it, then it's fair to hold him responsible for correcting what may have been his initial misunderstanding. But I haven't seen that he's been confronted on it. Since we don't know whether the question was fact checked, or if it was what was found, this seems too open a question to say flatly that he lied.
4.10.2008 11:10pm
Hoosier:
Bruce M: You win this thread with your brilliant parody of James Carville on crystal meth!


BRAVO, MAESTRO! BRAVO!
4.10.2008 11:11pm
Ken Arromdee:
But white republicans are never called to "distance" themselves from the Pat Robertsons and Jerry Falwells of the world. Not even when they blame 9-11 on homosexuals.

Obama's association with Wright is far closer than most Republicans and Robertson or Falwell. If Jerry Falwell was some Republican's closest spiritual advisor for the past 20 years, baptized his children, and merited a chapter in his book whose title was also inspired by Fallwell, then you're darn right I'd call upon the Republican to distance himself from Falwell.
4.10.2008 11:15pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

All religious leaders say crazy, insane, moronic things. All the people who attend religious services leave logic and reason at the door.

So, to bash one religious leader, particularly when the bashing is by people who will be at their own church this sunday, can only be chalked up to racism.
I would say this discovers the arrogant, self-important bigot of the year award, but there are so many others that comment on Volokh Conspiracy that are such powerful contenders.
4.10.2008 11:15pm
huskerfan:
Hoosier,

Hey, no way I would think otherwise of you not being a sweet person...

What experience specifically did Esienhower have?

What is your metric for proper experience? Time in office? Time in a specific office? Military experience (see John Kerry)

I think if you fairly look at Tim Russert he is mostly reduced to "gotcha" moments. It certainly isn't partisan but that is what he does.

I'm not arguing that Don Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney are incompetent I arguing that out of all of their experience they have they have made some really really bad choices... The analogy between President of the United States and the choice between going or not going to an incompetent doctor seems to be a stretch as best.

I think most politicians don't have any claim to their office other than their own ambition? Pretty difficult to argue that being either the Gov. of Texas or the Gov. of Arkansas somehow makes you qualified to be President right? The only other thing you have is your own ambition?
4.10.2008 11:16pm
ChrisIowa (mail):

I can't think of any politician I admire.


I can, my grandfather, though he died 30 years ago.

He also told me that he never met a lawyer he could trust. I took that as a voice of authority, since he was Clerk of the District Court for 30 years, which was the elective office he held.
4.10.2008 11:19pm
amnyc (mail) (www):

DB: Obama lied. Here's the evidence.

Correct me if I'm wrong about DB's assertion, but here is the claim:

1.) Obama's Church's magazine gave an award to Farrakhan.

2.) When asked repeatedly about this award (which Obama has repeatedly criticized), Obama said, "[The award] was primary focused on the rehabilitation work that they do for ex-offenders in Chicago. That doesn't excuse it, that just explains it."

3.) However, according to the magazine, the award was given to Farrakhan for his "truth, education, and leadership."

4.) Obama's explanation only covers the latter two reasons the magazine cited for giving the award, as education and (instilling and providing) leadership are directly related to working with (rehabilitating) ex-offenders.

5.) Therefore, if the Church Magazine had only given the award to Farrakhan for education and leadership, then Obama's explanation would be the truth, but since the award was also for "truth", then Obama's explanation is a lie.

Is that the argument?

Or am I missing two steps here:

6.) ???
7.) Obama is a racist!
4.10.2008 11:20pm
Ken Arromdee:
do you ever plan on addressing obama's speech on race? he talks at length about his views with regards to wright.

That speech is odd. He seems like he's condemning Wright, but he's also making excuses. He seems to be saying he stuck with Wright because as well as being a raving lunatic, Wright also did some good things. Um, no.

It also seems bizarre that he's praising Wright for his work with HIV victims when Wright thinks HIV is a government conspiracy against blacks.

There's also the bizarre comment about his grandmother (which other bloggers have taken on), and an entire section of the speech dedicated to convincing poor whites he's on their side, which is very carefully worded to say "poor whites don't feel privileged" rather than "poor whites aren't privileged".
4.10.2008 11:24pm
WooDoo:
David, do you really need three strikes to find that a present day politician of any kind can lie?

If so, please do not cross the street in front of a bus.
4.10.2008 11:26pm
elim:
well, we've been informed that this kind of black racism is both normal and excusable by the apologists and obamaites. woodoo-can you offer an explanation for the kind of hatred emanating from that pulpit and the kind of moral cowardice it takes to ignore/enable it?
4.10.2008 11:30pm
Elliot Reed (mail):
I look forward to what will no doubt be Prof. Bernstein's many posts on John McCain's lies.
4.10.2008 11:36pm
A. Zarkov (mail):
BHO is either lying or careless on the Farrakhan matter. Either way this reflects poorly on his judgment. He must sell us on his judgment because he lacks any kind of executive experience. At this point the main reason for voting for him seems to be that he's not HRC or McCain.

Despite being backed by Soros and MoveOn, BHO remains a weak candidate as just money is not enough to carry the election. One must remember that Democrat primaries are not a representative sample of who will actually vote next November.
4.10.2008 11:44pm
not impressed:
David,

This really seems petty. I like this blog for it's thoughtful commentary, but this really seems beneath the dignity of this blog and its distinguished contributors. You sully your credibility as an academic with such menial postings.
4.10.2008 11:44pm
DavidBernstein (mail):
Elim, Kadet is being a troll. Just ignore it.
4.10.2008 11:46pm
SeaLawyer:

I look forward to what will no doubt be Prof. Bernstein's many posts on John McCain's lies.


Feel free to start your own blog.
4.10.2008 11:48pm
DavidBernstein (mail):
AMNYC, in what Bizarro world are the words "leadership and education" synonymous with "rehabilitation work with ex-offenders"?
4.10.2008 11:49pm
Joe Kowalski (mail):

It also seems bizarre that he's praising Wright for his work with HIV victims when Wright thinks HIV is a government conspiracy against blacks.


Just because Wright has a whack belief about the origins of HIV doesn't mean that he thinks that everyone afflicted with the virus is part of the conspiracy, and thus he and his church engages in an extensive ministry to such people. The amount of irrationality that the Wright episode has stirred up never ceases to amaze me.
4.10.2008 11:56pm
stopping by:
This is a pretty bizarre accusation. You say that if Obama had merely said this once, it might be possible that he is simply misinformed. Since he said it twice, it means that he is "blatantly lying".

The proof that Obama is "blatantly lying" is that Obama says the award was in recognition of Farrakhan's work in rehabilitation of ex-offenders, and a church video said it was for "truth, leadership, and education". Is it possible that Farrakhan's work with ex-offenders was the manifestation of leadership and education for which he was being honored? Is it possible that Obama at least believes that to be the case? No, clearly he is blatantly lying.

This campaign of outrage, today joined by the Vice President, to stigmatize Obama with other people's words, is really pretty repulsive. I would also associate myself with those who feel that this post is beneath the dignity of this normally engaging and intelligent blog.
4.11.2008 12:04am
neurodoc:
Hoosier, you pre-empted me with your responses to huskerfan. I do think, though, you might have asked huskerfan to explain what exactly is wrong with being a "gotcha journalist," especially one like Russert. I very much appreciate that Russert comes well prepared, as one expects a good trial lawyer to do, and questions his guests closely, following up when he gets evasions or less than entirely truthful responses. If "gotchas" come from that, good, it was worth listening, which can't be said very often about the candidate debates.

This "gotcha journalist" charge is akin to the lament about "politics of personal destruction" and decrial of "going negative." To be sure, we have had some notable practitioners of the "politics of personal destruction (PoPD)," like the late Lee Atwater, and "going negative" is only defensible if there is a bona fide negative to go after, but very often these complaints are merely attempts to avoid addressing substance. Hillary made PoPD her mantra when she had little else to say in response to the Clintons' critics.

[Hoosier, you didn't intend the implication, did you, that only your senior senator, Dick Lugar, was not a "reprehensible lying scumbag," and your junior senator, Evan Bayh, might not be so admirable?]

Now, your responses to nonsense voiced above were all excellent. But will you please leave some for the rest of us to dispose of, like josh bornstein's crap, "...DB hates Obama, and all that he stands for (tolerance, civil dialogue, etc)."
4.11.2008 12:07am
bwan:
obama: "i'm a different kind of politician"

but there appears to be ample evidence that you associated with an indicted, dirty money man in chicago. that you continually change your story when confronted with damaging facts. and that you will lie, dodge and spin your way out of any discussion you don't want to have.

obama: "judgement to lead"

but your vaunted judgement didn't stop you from working a shady deal to get your home in chicago. nor did it stop you from joining a hateful church and contributing thousands of dollars to said church for 20 years.

obama: "words matter"

but every time you're confronted with your own words we're told that it's "partisan" and "racist" and "pathetic."

i'm not sure that these issues disqualify you from being our next president. but i do know that the combined effect is to make you look like a typical political hack who's in way over his head.
4.11.2008 12:25am
Brian K (mail):
Wright also did some good things. Um, no.
so wright has never, ever in his entire lifetime done something good? i find that hard to believe about anyone.

joe said pretty much what i would have said in response to the rest.
4.11.2008 12:29am
neurodoc:
huskerfan: What experience specifically did Esienhower [sic] have?

What is your metric for proper experience? Time in office? Time in a specific office? Military experience (see John Kerry)
You didn't know that Eisenhower ran a small undertaking having to do with WWII and for that he was given the grandiose title of Supreme Allied Commander in Europe. And after retiring from the Army, he served in other senior executive positions, including the presidency of Columbia University. But you are quite right, there is no comparison between Eisenhower's military career and John Kerry's, nor between how well their respective military experiences prepared them for the White House.

As for Rumsfeld and Cheney, why say they have made "some really really bad choices" in office but avoid labeling them "incompetent," while using them to make the argument that experience doesn't matter, or it doesn't matter that much, because it may be seen that even those with so much experience can fail miserably. Experience is not guarantee, especially when one can find good reason to question the qualities demonstrated during the course of that experience, but it is absurd to make the case you are making that no one is ever prepared by virtue of experience to become president, and thus a candidate's experience is of no particular relevance as a consideration. Absurd.

Since you see Russert as a "gotcha journalist," someone who you think little of, would you tell us whether there are other prominent journalists on the scene today whom you similarly dismiss or discount, and what you thought of Ted Koppel back in his Nightline days.
4.11.2008 12:30am
Elliot123 (mail):
"well, we've been informed that this kind of black racism is both normal and excusable by the apologists and obamaites. woodoo-can you offer an explanation for the kind of hatred emanating from that pulpit and the kind of moral cowardice it takes to ignore/enable it?"

Perhaps it's just affirmative action being applied to black preachers? Lower standards for those we presume to be intellectually deficient and in need of special consideration?
4.11.2008 12:35am
Christopher Cooke (mail):
David is sounding a bit shrill in his denunciations. He assumes that Obama's campaign is breathlessly reading the right wing internet blog's every criticisms of him and therefore must know that his explanation of the Farrakhan award is "inaccurate" (in David's eyes) because the video used general banalities like "education" and "leadership" (which could cover a variety of things, including re-educating ex-offenders) and so, obviously, could not have meant "educating re-offenders." David, I can see why you never practiced litigation for any significant amount of time. You have to make persuasive arguments, based on evidence, not shrill ones based on biases, to convince an audience.
4.11.2008 12:36am
Elliot123 (mail):
"I look forward to what will no doubt be Prof. Bernstein's many posts on John McCain's lies."

Can you suggest a lie to kick things off?
4.11.2008 12:39am
DavidBernstein (mail):
This will be my last comment on this thread. I've watched an entire video honoring Farrakhan, and read both an intro to an interview with Farrakhan (quoting Rev. Wright) and the interview itself. There is nothing in any of this material to suggest that the award had to do with work with ex-offenders, and everything to suggest that the magazine (the publisher of which was Wright) just wanted to honor Farrakhan because they think he's a fantastic black leader. Unless you've actually looked over this material, please spare us conclusory statements that the award was about ex-offenders. Moreover, if you look at the links in the post, you'll see that Obama originally said that he "assumed" that the award was with regard to ex-offenders. Either without looking into it further, or looking into it further but deciding to lie, this assumption became fact. I think it's embarassing that anyone is sufficiently enamored with a politician (of all things) that they can't admit when he's been caught fibbing, and instead want to cast aspersions on bearer of bad tidings.
4.11.2008 12:43am
Hoosier:
neurodoc: [Hoosier, you didn't intend the implication, did you, that only your senior senator, Dick Lugar, was not a "reprehensible lying scumbag," and your junior senator, Evan Bayh, might not be so admirable?]

No. I just want to avoid sounding like a . . um . . . total Hoosier. ("Yay! We have the BEST senators!" And Bayh made me p.o.'d with his stance on Alito.) Having said that, I like our Senate delegation better than that of any other state. And I'd gladly add Lee Hamilton to the list of "Hoosier Statesmen," now that you've given me the opening.

It was cool to be at Notre Dame when Hamilton was still in Congress. On one occasion, we had a speakers series that included both Lugar and Hamilton on IR issues. What more could a young diplomacy wonk ask for?

Pogo once quipped that 'a "statesman" is a dead politician, and we need more statesmen.' Cruel. And funny. But there are some quite respectable people who hold, or have in recent times held, elective office.

Let's see: Mark Kirk (IL); Jack Danforth (MO); Ted Strickland (OH); Jim Edgar (IL); Tom Vilsack (IA) . . .

Wait! It just struck me! I think they have to be Midwesterners to be decent. How convenient . . . for me!

>>>But will you please leave some for the rest of us to dispose of . . .

Damn my OCD!
4.11.2008 12:43am
neurodoc:
Joe Kowalski is correct that while Reverend Wright is something of a Truther with his claims that the US government created HIV/AIDS as a bioweapon to direct at people of color, his looniness on the subject of HIV/AIDS has not been as pernicious as that of Thabo Mbeki. Mbeki's insistence that a retrovirus (HIV) is not the cause of this condition which has killed so many of his countryman has meant that many more black South Africans have died and will die than had to. And Reverend Wright's looniness on this subject is not as pernicious as that of his church's honoree, Louis Farrakhan, who leads the NOI, which has persuaded some to forego treatment with antivirals and take instead NOI endorsed nostrums. So yes, Reverend Wright, while decidedly wrong, is not as bad as he could be, at least not where HIV/AIDS is concerned.

Now, in the competition for most transparently silly straw man argument of the night, can anyone top this:
so wright has never, ever in his entire lifetime done something good? i find that hard to believe about anyone.
4.11.2008 12:45am
Hoosier:
"You have to make persuasive arguments, based on evidence, not shrill ones based on biases, to convince an audience."

This must be a new meaning of the word "shrill" to which I have never been exposed.
4.11.2008 12:46am
Applekeys:
[Editor: Nasty rant constituting a somewhat bizarre personal attack claiming,inter alia, that I hate practicing lawyers deleted.]


As so many others have pointed out, whether or not Obama is lying or not is not so much the issue, this is just inappropriate on an otherwise very thoughtful blog.

4.11.2008 12:47am
Brian K (mail):
Can you suggest a lie to kick things off?

here is mccain uttering a lie 3 times. it matches the 3 times obama has made the above statement.
4.11.2008 12:49am
Cornellian (mail):
You can pretty much tell without looking that a post with a title like this one is coming from Mr. Bernstein.
4.11.2008 12:52am
neurodoc:
Hoosier: I just want to avoid sounding like a . . um . . . total Hoosier.
Well, you can try to avoid it, but we know from Kurt Vonnegut that Hoosiers are irrepressible boosters of all things Hoosier. (At the same time, though, they are cynical enough to put all those casinos along the banks of the Ohio to take the money of Kentuckians.) We also know from the movie Hoosiers that they are capable of overcoming seemingly insurmontable odds, and from Breaking Away that Hoosiers...well, there are so many things that can be said about them. (Notre Dame is a national institution rather than a singularly Hoosier one, isn't it?) So what's going to happen there on May 6?
4.11.2008 1:01am
Recovering Law Grad:
When will Sean Hannity be asked to guest-blog?
4.11.2008 1:06am
neurodoc:
Cornellian: You can pretty much tell without looking that a post with a title like this one is coming from Mr. Bernstein.
And I can pretty much tell without looking by the titles which ones are coming from Eugene Volokh, Ilya Somin, David Kopel (some overlap with DB, except on 2nd Amendment), and other VCers. So?
4.11.2008 1:07am
neurodoc:
Cornellian: You can pretty much tell without looking that a post with a title like this one is coming from Mr. Bernstein.
And I can pretty much tell without looking by the titles which ones are coming from Eugene Volokh, Ilya Somin, David Kopel (some overlap with DB, except on 2nd Amendment), and other VCers. So?
4.11.2008 1:07am
LPC (mail):
"whether or not Obama is lying or not is not so much the issue"

Because everyone knows he's a liar?
4.11.2008 1:10am
Hoosier:
>>>I think it's embarassing that anyone is sufficiently enamored with a politician (of all things) that they can't admit when he's been caught fibbing, and instead want to cast aspersions on bearer of bad tidings.

I'm sorry to hear that you won't be responding to posts on this thread.

I have a similar reaction to yours above, but for a somewhat different reason.

What I find "embarassing" is the (unstated) claim on the part of some Obama supporters that there is something ignorant or sinister about asking him to make choices and accept consequences. This tendency to dismiss out of hand any discussion of his church and pastor is a fine example of this inclination.

Obama attended a church, the minister of which was wont to say thing along the line of "God DAMN America!" That's fine. But who *doesn't* understand that there are consequences for any politician who would choose to attend a church where such sentiments are shouted through the PA system?

Americans DON'T LIKE THAT KIND OF THING. No surprise.

It would not surprise me if many people will not vote for someone who chooses to attend that church. When he was a local, then statewide, politican, the consequences of attending that church were good for Obama-as-politican. But he CHOSE to run for president. Now we see (Again, no surprise) that the consequences of a choice that benefited him in Chicago are hurting him in Youngstown.

As the Germans say: "Ja, UND?" In other words, Why should this bother me?

I won't reply to anyone who calls me names for stating this about a Black candidate. That sort of thing is intellectual bullying. I won't give bullies my time, or my lunch money.

But I would be very happy to discuss this with an Obama supporter who can explain why past strategic decisions should not be factored into our judgment of the man. Or why I am wrong for thinking that this is their point.
4.11.2008 1:13am
Brian K (mail):
neurodoc,

since you seem to think you are such a genius, explain this quote: He seems to be saying he stuck with Wright because as well as being a raving lunatic, Wright also did some good things. Um, no.

is ken saying that his own interpretation of obama's speech is wrong as in "i think he is saying this but he is not"? i doubt it.

is ken saying that obama says this but doesn't believe it as in "he says this but i know he's lying because i can read minds"? again, i doubt it. he also doesn't provide any evidence of such an assertion.

is ken saying that obama shouldn't stick with a minister (or anyone else) who has flaws? i doubt it because implies that there is a mystical person out there it is good incarnate that obama should have sought out for spiritual advice. i think this is patently absurd.

is ken saying that obama shouldn't have stuck with wright because the bad outweighs the good? perhaps, but he provides no evidence nor a metric to gauge relative goodness by. the fact that he voluntarily supplied the HIV example seems to contradict this interpretation. obama praised wright for helping persons with HIV while condemning the divisive statements.

what phrase does the "um, no" apply? is he negating the fact that wright has made loony statements? i doubt it given other comments he made. this led me to conclude that he is saying that wright hasn't done anything good...which is a ridiculous statement.

now it is your turn to back up your statement.
4.11.2008 1:20am
neurodoc:
here is mccain uttering a lie 3 times. it matches the 3 times obama has made the above statement.
When a politician "lies," it is rarely hard to see how the purported lie serves them. If McCain is "lying" rather than being mistaken in saying that Iran has been training Al Qaeda in Iraq (not just giving some like Osama's son safe harbor at times), how does it serve his purposes? Greenwald says, in his obviously partisan commentary, this "lie" supports McCain's war advocate contention that all "Muslim factions are allies in the Endless War." But where does that lie, if indeed it is one rather than a "mistake," take the argument over what has been done and what should be done going forward that is different from where we go with the fact that Iran has encouraged a civil war through Shiite groups, including Sadr's militias, and supplied materials to make the IEDs directed against American forces more deadly?

And while this thread started with the claim that Obama has been "lying" with regard to Reverend Wright and the honor bestowed on Farrakhan, it should be open to claims that McCain and/or others have lied too, that is if credible evidence in support of that contention can be adduced.
4.11.2008 1:28am
Hoosier:
neuro--"At the same time, though, they are cynical enough to put all those casinos along the banks of the Ohio to take the money of Kentuckians."

I know it! But then you may want to give us some credit. Who else would be resourceful enough to discover that Kentuckians /have/ money?

>>> and from Breaking Away that Hoosiers...

What? OUT with it. That Hoosiers always fall in love with a French chick at the end of the film? Isn't that what you REALLY meant to say? (Stereotype: The language of hate.)

>>>(Notre Dame is a national institution rather than a singularly Hoosier one, isn't it?)

Precisely right. I'm an alumn, and I came there from Chicago. Lots and lots of kiddos from NY (More specifically, from Chaminade HS on LI). A huge number of NJ students who somehow got the idea that ND is better than Rutgers, and thus worth four times as much money. Lots of Bostonians, who somehow got the idea that 'BC' stands for 'Backup College.' Floridians, of curse, since who wants to go to college in FLA? Californians, but I have no idea why. Michiganders (see above re: Rutgers). Etc.

May 6? I think Obama will win. He picked up the endorsement of the mayor of South Bend yesterday. Steve Luecke is very popular with Democrats in SB. And St. Joe County is one of the most Democratic counties in the state.

Another highly Democratic country is Lake, which is the home of Gary (shudder).

Gary (85% Black) will go overwhelmingly for Obama. But the towns around Gary--East Chicago, Hammond, Merrilville--have ecent or massive Mexican-American populations, and they tend strongly toward Clinton. So Lake may be close.

Marion is the Big Kahuna--roughly, the county and Indianapolis are the same thing--and the black population is large in Indy (25%+, vs. only 4% Latino).

I am guessing Obama wins. But I've been known to get these things wrong. Always.
4.11.2008 1:36am
Cornellian (mail):
And I can pretty much tell without looking by the titles which ones are coming from Eugene Volokh, Ilya Somin, David Kopel (some overlap with DB, except on 2nd Amendment), and other VCers. So?

Yes, the other ones all post about the law. That's the difference.
4.11.2008 1:50am
stopping by:
Hoosier,

In answer to your question about why Obama supporters take offense at discussion of Wright, I can only speak for myself, but I think there are two distinct potential issues with Obama and Wright.

One issue is questioning the judgment of someone who would willingly associate with characters who have been known to make inflammatory remarks. While I think the hoopla is a bit silly, I can imagine that reasonable people may disagree. The second issue is that juxtaposing Obama and Wright's most controversial comments can have the effect of making Obama seem to some ill-informed people to be a scary black racist who hates America.

The problem is that many of Obama's political enemys claim to be talking about the first when they are really trying to score points off the second. And I think that is pretty disgusting.
4.11.2008 2:00am
Steve P. (mail):
After the first few comments, I know I'm going to have a great time reading the thread tomorrow. Thanks for the distraction from work, Prof. Bernstein.
4.11.2008 2:10am
Brooks Lyman (mail):
Neurodoc -

I know that this is veering wildly off topic, but:

It was my understanding, that the HIV/AIDS tests that are sufficiently inexpensive to be used in Africa - not a wealthy part of the globe - give false positives on many diseases which are common in Africa, many of which are unpleasantly fatal. By then attempting to cure some other disease as HIV/AIDS, with expensive antivirals, money that could be spent on (possibly less expensive) cures for the actual disease is wasted on the wrong (and expensive) medicine which fails to cure the actual disease, thus increasing the overall disease death rate in Africa, which is then blamed on HIV/AIDS.

As for claims that AIDS is not caused by HIV, it seems to me that 1) there is a lot of politics - professional, personal and economic - involved in that subject, and 2) that all the returns aren't in on it. In any event, that is only peripherally involved in the health - so-called AIDS - crisis in Africa, the cause of which may be massive mis-diagnosis of people's illnesses.
4.11.2008 2:14am
Brian K (mail):
When a politician "lies," it is rarely hard to see how the purported lie serves them. If McCain is "lying" rather than being mistaken in saying that Iran has been training Al Qaeda in Iraq (not just giving some like Osama's son safe harbor at times), how does it serve his purposes?
if he wants to attack iran it serves his purpose to link iran to 9/11 and the war on terror. given the generally pro-war stance mccain has, this is not a stretch. mccain is running on a platform that includes the continuation and possible expansion of the war on terror. by linking al qaeda to other enemies can make them seem like a bigger threat than they are and convince people that his position is the correct one. the fact that this eludes you doesn't bode well for your credibility.

Greenwald says, in his obviously partisan commentary,
as opposed to bernstein or many of the posters above? greenwald is obviously using over the top rhetoric, but if that was enough to exclude everything he says then you have to exclude bernstein and the majority of posters here.

i note, not surprisingly, how you easily accepted the fact that obama is deliberately lying but go to great pains to make it seem like mccain is only "mistaken". i smell a double standard here and it is rank.

i'll also note that bernstein's logic given above, which you have not refuted in any manner, requires us to believe that mccain is lying. the first two can be explained away, but once he made the mistake the third time he is "intentionally choosing to blatantly lie". in order for you to remain consistent i expect one of two things from you: 1) an admission that mccain is lying or 2) an admission that obama is not. i guess you can also do 3) explain why mccain is not lying but obama is but given your above attempt i won't be holding my breath.
4.11.2008 2:15am
Taltos:
since you seem to think you are such a genius, explain this quote: He seems to be saying he stuck with Wright because as well as being a raving lunatic, Wright also did some good things. Um, no.

I took it as saying his explanation isn't sufficient. Something along the lines of "He may have been a serial killer, but he sure did love kittens."
4.11.2008 2:28am
neurodoc:
Brooks Lyman: It was my understanding...
Most of your understanding is flat out wrong.

"As for claims that AIDS is not caused by HIV, it seems to me that...all the returns aren't in on it."??? What returns are you waiting for on this scientifically settled question? (Koch's postulates don't exactly fit viruses, but close enough that there is no room for doubt here.) HIV is as much the cause of AIDS as the tubercle bacillus is of TB, the parasite passed in the blood injected when a carrier mosquito is of malaria, the treponema pallidum organism is of syphilis, etc. (You could look it up.)

"In any event, that is only peripherally involved in the health - so-called AIDS - crisis in Africa, the cause of which may be massive mis-diagnosis of people's illnesses." So called? What would you label the disease others refer to as AIDS? "Massive mis-diagnosis," what evidence can you cite in support of that extraordinary assertion?
"
4.11.2008 3:09am
Brian K (mail):
neurodoc,

if you don't the link that i posted, here is michael dorf on the same topic.
4.11.2008 3:19am
Tony Tutins (mail):
The question of Obama's integrity in this matter seems to hinge on the "real" reason the magazine chose to honor Farrakhan. I don't know if the reasons stated in the video are the "real" reasons. They seem to be generalities, and may be actually referring to "work with ex-offenders". Or, perhaps someone he trusts told Obama it was for work with ex-offenders, and it just stuck in his head.

I found the ethnic bomb edition of the TUCC bulletin on the web. The offensive material is in an open letter from an Arab-American and professed Palestinian to Oprah Winfrey, on the eve of her visit to Israel. Of course such a man would have a number of axes to grind. The question becomes why did Rev. Mr. Wright give the Palestinian space in his bulletin, especially because he (Ali Baghdadi) had been an adviser to Farrakhan. One reason might be that Israel not only supplied arms to South Africa's apartheid regime, but actually co-developed weapons with them. As a commenter pointed out above, one can be rightly be judged and condemned for purposefully choosing to associate with racists and bigots.

It is because he purposefully chose to associate with individuals that are racists and bigots. That is Obama's choice, and so he can rightly be judged and condemned for that choice and any related choices.
4.11.2008 3:23am
Ken Arromdee:
One issue is questioning the judgment of someone who would willingly associate with characters who have been known to make inflammatory remarks. While I think the hoopla is a bit silly, I can imagine that reasonable people may disagree. The second issue is that juxtaposing Obama and Wright's most controversial comments can have the effect of making Obama seem to some ill-informed people to be a scary black racist who hates America.

Obviously Obama doesn't believe in every single scary thing Wright does. But Obama probably is far enough in Wright's direction that to Obama, Wright is only a few steps further out. Obama isn't all the way over where Wright is, but he's close enough that the remaining differences between the two are too small for Obama to consider him an extremist.
4.11.2008 4:12am
Alec:
OK, reality check:

Assuming that Obama is politically calculating, and as a politician there is no reason to believe he isn't, do these memes actually make sense? Does it make sense that he would alienate the white and Jewish voters in the GE? No? Then I suggest that he probably didn't.

It just doesn't make sense. Sorry. It doesn't make sense for Senator Obama to take radical positions and, at the same time, to assume that he is orienting himself to win the GE. And the fact that it doesn't make sense seems important to me, at least. It suggests that this is a smear campaign. And that is all.
4.11.2008 4:37am
Mike G in Corvallis (mail):
Pogo once quipped that 'a "statesman" is a dead politician, and we need more statesmen.' Cruel. And funny.

That was in Bloom County, actually, on one of the occasions (1984 or 1988) when Opus was running for president. It's possible that Pogo said it first, but I don't have any recollection of ever seeing it.
4.11.2008 5:30am
davod (mail):
David:

I just read your article and write this before reading the blog responses.

David. I am shocked that someone writing on the Volokoh Conspiracy would be so crass as to suggest that Obama may mislead people. There is also a level of racism involved in quoting the Reverend Wright saying what he said about Minister Farrakhan (Isn't Farrakhan a Muslim. Then why does he use Reverend).

You should that everything said in Mr. Wright's church must be interpretted through the eyes of Black people. Whites (anyone other than Black people) are incapable of understanding the loving inclusiveness involved in belonging to a Africa first, Blacks for Blacks church.

PS:

Silly me. I should has said interpreted through the eyes of Black people and Marxists.
4.11.2008 7:28am
Gaius Marius:
Barack Hussein Obama is a closet Jihadist sympathizer who is going to deliberately compromise this country's defenses if he is elected President.
4.11.2008 8:28am
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Good point about Obama being unable to recognize extremism in Wright, since Wright's not that much further out.
That would also address the question of why a calculating pol wouldn't have dropped Wright like a hot rock. He can't see the big deal. There comes a point when it's difficult to think any number of others would, either, since it's such a not big deal.
4.11.2008 8:37am
anon252 (mail):
People who mention the Israel-South African link never mention that Israel had very close ties to various African nations through 1967. After 1967, the African nations began to cut off ties with Israel under Arab pressure. In the aftermath of the Yom Kippur War (in which Israel was undeniably attacked), all black African nations cut off ties under Arab pressure, throwing out their Israeli advisers and aid workers. Israel was left isolated by Arab economic threats and Third Worldist ideology (see the "Zionism is Racism" U.N. resoultion), and one of the few nations still willing to have ties with Israel was South Africa. In context, Israel's ties with S.A. say more about the morality of the black African nations than about Israel.
4.11.2008 9:31am
Hoosier:
Mike G.--Maybe it's my mistake. I thought I remembered Breathed, in that strip, crediting Walt Kelly for the "observation." I tried a Google search, but the quote gets attributed to so many different people that I won't trust it until I see the actual strip.

I have all the Bloom County books. Somewhere. (Second only to Calvin and Hobbes, in my estimation.)

If I can find them, and then find the strip, I'll get back to you. But my basement office? I'm equally likely to run across Amelia Earhart. So I make no promises!
4.11.2008 9:47am
Hoosier:
Cornellian:

"Yes, the other ones all post about the law. That's the difference."

And the environment, sci-fi novels, NCAA basketball, stoopid faculty tricks, Jazz, economics, energy policy, evolution-ID debates, college rankign, presidential rankings, the media, and Kate Beckinsale.

I am making up only the last of these. But a guy can dream, can't he.

The Conspiracists post about what interests them. If you think David should not post on Obama, just ignore the posts. I don't like Jazz, and I don't get on Todd's posts and say: "Less Coletrane, more Earl Warren". I don't see the problem.
4.11.2008 9:56am
Just Dropping By (mail):
Bernstein's blood-levels of Obama Derangement seem to be reaching dangerous highs. He should consider checking into a detox facility for a few weeks.
4.11.2008 10:02am
davod (mail):
Don't forget Israel's ties with Turkey, which are lessening now the Turkish government has swung to the left/right (what are Islamists).
4.11.2008 10:04am
Careless:
This thread was basically over at the 4th post. The reason we keep seeing this kind of thing about Obama is that people are acting like he's Jesus reborn when evidence keeps surfacing showing that he's just another damned politician.

It's ok to vote for Obama. If you're going to do it, however, please, do it because you want to vote for the most left-wing of the candidates, not because you think he's the messiah.
4.11.2008 10:33am
yankev (mail):
Hoosier

Maybe it's my mistake. I thought I remembered Breathed, in that strip, crediting Walt Kelly for the "observation." I tried a Google search, but the quote gets attributed to so many different people that I won't trust it until I see the actual strip.


It seems out of character for Pogo. Walt Kelly was always insightful, usually funny and often hilarious and at times devastating, but I don't remember him ever being mean-spirited.
4.11.2008 11:05am
SeaDrive:

I can't think of any politician I admire.


I can think of a blogger I'm admiring less and less.
4.11.2008 11:26am
Thales (mail) (www):
Clayton Cramer: "arrogant, self-important bigot"

*blink*

This is just absurd. Obama made it abundantly clear that he doesn't share Farrakhan's (or Wright's) ridiculous views. Why is this purported misstatement (which one can only glean by carefully parsing an interview or watching an apparently unavailable video, neither of which use the word "ex-offender") or Obama's minister of any consequence? Honestly, why ought we to care--if there is any evidence at all that Obama believes any of that crap, it's a different story--but where's the evidence?

If we're going to condemn politicians for the wacky religious company they keep, of course . . . http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Hagee

(One of McCain's "spiritual advisors")
4.11.2008 12:02pm
Elliot123 (mail):
"here is mccain uttering a lie 3 times. it matches the 3 times obama has made the above statement."

Sorry. That just doesn't rise to Obama's level. If you are going to offer up a McCain lie, at least have the decency to serve up a good whopper. Here's what Patreus said the other day after the congressional hearings.


QUESTION: General, do you agree with recent statements that Iran is supporting Sunni extremists in Iraq? And if so, have you seen any evidence to this fact? And can you point to any specific Sunni extremist groups in this regard?

PETRAEUS: I am not aware of -- it doesn't mean it hasn't happened, and as you would imagine, it is something that we're looking for.

There are certainly cases of Sunni extremists ending up with weapons that we believe -- or items that originated in Iran, but it is a good bit more difficult to connect all the dots directly, is the way, I guess, that I would answer that.
4.11.2008 12:11pm
Careless:
When you try to link McCain to Hagee in the same way that Obama linked himself to Wright, you look incredibly dishonest. The fact that so many people try this tactic is very depressing.
4.11.2008 12:22pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Careless. It's the best they've got, which tells you something.

The question is not directly whether Obama shares the view of Wright et al. It's why he hung around with such nutcases for twenty years. The point is--and it ought to be obvious but let me state it for those who've been taking advantage of its not having been stated because it seemed so damned obvious it didn't need to be stated--it's difficult to think of another reason for said hanging around if he was particularly opposed. In fact, having to deal with the unfortunate fact that he can only be in one place at a time, he actively chose to hang around these guys and, by that choice, chose not to hang around other guys, many of whom would not be saying God Damn America.
Perfectly legit to ask why, and what it means.
Perfectly legit to come to a conclusion that it means something unpleasant.
4.11.2008 12:28pm
rarango (mail):
I think it has been established that at least three presidential candidates have been caught in misstatements. I guess my problem is that I take issue with those who apply the word "lie" to those misstatements. A lie, to me, is a deliberate misstatement made to gain some sort of personal advantage. It is entirely possible for people to utter misstatements; applying the word "lie" to those misstatements seems a bit harsh to me.

As this interminable campaign wears on, I predict the inconsistency in the impromptu spoken words of the candidates are going to come faster and more frequently.

and dont even get me started about descriptions of "flip flopping:" I,for one, am happy that a candidate will change a position from time to time.
4.11.2008 12:34pm
Grover Gardner (mail):
"Americans DON'T LIKE THAT KIND OF THING."

Because it's obvious that people who find a grain of truth in Reverend Wright's "rants," who are suspicious of government motives, who don't like the way the powerful and arrogant treat minorities, AREN'T REALLY AMERICANS. Just as it's also obvious that people who think SC justices should be poisoned, or who think the Iraq War is just a pork barrel for Halliburton, or who think that Democrats are practicing genocide on black babies through their support of abortion rights, or who think that Bush lied about WMD, or who think that global warming is just a grab for government funds, or who think that we are holding innocent people at Gitmo, or who think that every Arab is a terrorist and every immigrant is a racist, or who think that the Mexicans are out to reconquer America, or who believe in any number of other conspiracies and coverups, also AREN'T REAL AMERICANS.

The reason we know they AREN'T REAL AMERICANS is that no REAL AMERICAN would ever find a grain of truth in any of the above loony theories or in any way be disastified or suspicious or angry or frustrated about anything done by, for, or in America. And finally, only REAL AMERICANS VOTE.
4.11.2008 12:36pm
Thales (mail) (www):
"When you try to link McCain to Hagee in the same way that Obama linked himself to Wright, you look incredibly dishonest. The fact that so many people try this tactic is very depressing."

If this is in reference to me, I'm trying to point out the silliness of the whole prospect of guilt by religious association. Neither McCain nor Obama of course associated themselves with the silly *views* of their advisors. I was pointing out that there is virtually no coverage of Hagee, that the Wright coverage is really mostly about Fox News floating the meme that Obama is a weirdo unpatriotic black nationalist Christian (funny that the crypto-Muslim thing seems to have gone away) and that mudslinging turnabout is fair play, but why would we want to go there? Indeed, McCain's recent association with Hagee and conversion to Baptism seem to suggest that he's the one exploiting religion for political gain, but who cares? If Obama sees something redeeming about Wright outside of his ludicrous statements, while being able to say that the statements are not acceptable, why should we care?
4.11.2008 12:43pm
Grover Gardner (mail):
Oh, and let's not forget people who feel enraged and threatened and offended by AN ADVERTISEMENT FOR VODKA. Craziest of the crazy, no?
4.11.2008 12:45pm
Ken Arromdee:
Assuming that Obama is politically calculating, and as a politician there is no reason to believe he isn't, do these memes actually make sense? Does it make sense that he would alienate the white and Jewish voters in the GE? No? Then I suggest that he probably didn't.

If you're asking if he'd alienate white and Jewish voters by lying in a way that's so easy to catch, then yeah, sure, politicians do it all the time, and the refutation of the lie never spreads as far as the lie.

If you're asking if he'd alienate white and Jewish voters by being nice to Farrakhan at all, then yes, I think he would. Alienation comes in degrees, and the whole reason for the lie in the first place is to not alienate them too much.
4.11.2008 12:46pm
Grover Gardner (mail):
Oh, oh, oh...and people who BOYCOTT DISNEYWORLD AND FORD BECAUSE THEY CATER TO GAY PEOPLE! Boy, the list of NOT-REAL-AMERICANS grows longer and longer, when you think about it!
4.11.2008 12:50pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Thales.
The reason for the difference in coverage is that there is a difference in the facts.
That simple enough for you?
4.11.2008 1:05pm
Thales (mail) (www):
"The reason for the difference in coverage is that there is a difference in the facts.
That simple enough for you?"

Yes, your statement is simple. What *relevant* difference in the facts do you see? I ask again, what evidence is there that Obama is anti-American, anti-Semitic, afro-centric, believes in ridiculous conspiracy theories, or any of the other garbage associated with Farrakhan (and to some extent, Wright)? Similarly, what evidence is there that McCain believes in destroying Israel so that the apocalypse may be fulfilled and good Christians ascend into heaven, that Katrina was G_d's punishment for the sins of New Orleans, that Catholics are evil, that Jews "had it coming" for their disobedience, or any of the other ridiculous crap that Hagee (whose support he is "proud" to have) spews?
4.11.2008 1:18pm
davod (mail):
"If you're asking if he'd alienate white and Jewish voters by lying in a way that's so easy to catch, then yeah, sure, politicians do it all the time, and the refutation of the lie never spreads as far as the lie."

He didn't expect to get caught and he certainly didn't expect his apology to be questioned.
4.11.2008 1:20pm
Grover Gardner (mail):
The difference, Thales, is that if we apply the Wright-Obama Zero Tolerance Policy to the rest of America, there wouldn't be anyone left who wouldn't be regarded as a fringe loony out to undermine our core values and alienate the ten or so remaining right-minded voters.
4.11.2008 1:25pm
Gary McGath (www):
A few weeks ago, I caught myself almost liking Obama. I'm cured of that now (and not just by this item), though I still think he's the least bad of the three major candidates by a wide margin.
4.11.2008 1:36pm
EKGlen (mail):
Bernstein - let me know when Farrakhan starts firing rockets into white Chicago suburbs killing children.

That would be something to get upset about.
4.11.2008 1:37pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Thales

The point is--damn, this is getting tiresome--that Obama chose to spend a goodly portion of his adult life listening to this stuff, associating himself with those who preached it and not with those who didn't preach it.
It would be interesting if anybody could prove that meant absolutely, completely, and utterly nothing.

What would Obama do if in a position to do something? Well, we have no way of knowing what contingencies would occur, but the presumption is that his actions would tend in a direction informed by the aforesaid preaching which he apparently enjoyed.

It's been said for some time that Islam is an ideology wrapped in a religion. Islam is protected/restricted under the First Amendment as a religion. That is, it's protected but not restricted. See California's everybodybeMuslimforaweek public school curriculum. Nobody wants to be insensitive and suggest that if the religion in question were Christianity, the ACLU would be all over it.
One thought which occurs to me would be that Obama would appoint US attorneys who would be inclined/instructed to regard Islamic activities in the US as political and not restricted wrt public funding, political activity, because it's a political ideology or culture like any other. IOW, First Amendment objections to Islamic indoctrination in public school would no longer apply.

We know that some lefties have hoped, stated publicly, that it would be good for the US to be properly humbled, particularly wrt Iraq. Seems that somebody who thinks "God Damn America" is unexceptionable might think that, too.

It is dishonest to demand proof that something will not happen when...it has not yet happened. The question is whether Obama's associations indicate his leanings.

The difference between Obama and McCain on the nature of their religious acquaintances is that McCain did not cleave to Hagee's congregation for twenty years. Simple enough for you? It really is that simple.

Keep in mind, you can't force people to believe you. The best you can do is to shush the less forthright by threatening them with accusations of racism or something. But it doesn't change their minds.
4.11.2008 1:55pm
ejo:
GG-really? so you, and everyone in this country, has spent 20 years going to church, donating and accepting without complaint the teachings of an anti-semitic and anti-american preacher/priest/rabbi/minister/imam/etc? If you did, I guess I would find a reason to suspect you agreed with the beliefs of those you chose to ally yourself with. Why shouldn't I feel the same about Obama (other than the obligatory all blacks preach jew hating america hating bile that is somehow offered as an explanation).
4.11.2008 2:01pm
Tony Tutins (mail):

Obama chose to spend a goodly portion of his adult life listening to this stuff, associating himself with those who preached it and not with those who didn't preach it.

Some of the gun rights advocates I know believe and preach some stuff that scares me, but we are bound by a common interest, and I just tune out their scary beliefs. What should I be doing instead? The Turner Diaries that inspired McVeigh was for sale at every gun show; should I have boycotted the gun shows?
4.11.2008 2:15pm
ejo:
good that you brought up McVeigh, given that Obama also has spent time with his own unrepentant mad bomber, Bill Ayers. If he had a long association with Tim McVeigh or were a member, if he had the right color, with a church that preached the white supremacist doctrine of the Christian Identity Movement, would you find that a cause for concern or just ignore it? a gun show is normally a one time event with numerous merchants. not quite the same as a church, is it-did you make large donations to the author of the Turner Diaries?
4.11.2008 2:20pm
Jiminy (mail):
Can anyone provide an actual copy of the magazine? Not the endless links to commentary on it, not a copy of the awards video, but the magazine itself? I can't find it after a long google search and sifting through the Hot Air or Newsmax sites...
4.11.2008 2:35pm
Ryan Waxx (mail):

The difference, Thales, is that if we apply the Wright-Obama Zero Tolerance Policy to the rest of America, there wouldn't be anyone left who wouldn't be regarded as a fringe loony out to undermine our core values and alienate the ten or so remaining right-minded voters.


Ah, the We are all Trinity United Church churchgoers now. argument.
4.11.2008 2:37pm
Grover Gardner (mail):
"...so you, and everyone in this country, has spent 20 years going to church, donating and accepting without complaint the teachings of an anti-semitic and anti-american preacher/priest/rabbi/minister/imam/etc?"

Are you going to sit there on your brain and actually try to tell me that a goodly portion of America hasn't spent 20 years or more going attending a church or listening to a pastor or donating to a cause that another goodly portion of America wouldn't find objectionable?

"good that you brought up McVeigh, given that Obama also has spent time with his own unrepentant mad bomber, Bill Ayers."

How much time, ejo?

While we're on the topic of zero tolerance, ejo, maybe you can tell us why the black community hasn't risen up and denounced Jeremiah Wright. After all, we know that any truly peace-loving Muslim will be johnny-on-the-spot to denounce any and all preachings of Islamic extremists. Why hasn't the black community done the same thing to reassure the rest of America that they think Rev. Wright is a white-hating, Jew-hating,threat to America? Why the conspicuous silence? Doesn't this bother you?
4.11.2008 2:39pm
Grover Gardner (mail):
"Ah, the We are all Trinity United Church churchgoers now. argument."

Okay, Ryan, explain to me the outrage over a vodka ad.
4.11.2008 2:44pm
ejo:
nope, I don't think they would GG. I don't think most americans do donate time, money and their sundays to churches which preach the type of bile spewed by Wright. As to ayers, you tell me-how much time is appropriate to spend with an unrepentent america hating bomber all too happy to have targetted his fellow citizens for murder in the past? as to the rest, you are the one who doesn't seem to think the bile spewed is any big deal, not me. if it is the attitude of the vast majority of black america, it certainly is a problem, don't you think? I guess, if it does bother you, it should bother you that Obama partook of the hate, right?
4.11.2008 2:52pm
Careless:
Thales: some people don't have close relationships with their church's head. Some people don't spend a lot of time with them. Most people don't consider them their mentor. If they do, then that matters. Obama has called Wright his mentor and spiritual adviser. That's usually a very close relationship.

Obama hooked up with Wright's church for political advantage and cultivated a close relationship with him when he was trying to get into local office. Now that he's running for president, it's a liability. There are lots of churches he could have picked that weren't Wright's and wouldn't be giving him this problem now. Oh well.
4.11.2008 3:06pm
Jiminy (mail):
I liked Obama because he did not associate himself with the Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton moronities. I see him target his message not at Black America but at America. This association is definitely reducing my liking of Obama. Yet, I still prefer him to McCain or Clinton. All the politicians are talking out of both sides of their large mouths - no question about that; that's identity politics and has been the gold standard to get elected in the past 30 years at least. To put it in a more simple manner - I would feel more comfortable sitting down and having a beer w/ him than the other two. I can't trust any politician any further than that - they tell me about their positions, what they'd do if elected, promises, and nobody has kept true to those words; so how the hell can I rely on a platform or promise anymore? What do I have left? Identity; that's it.
4.11.2008 3:08pm
Jiminy (mail):
We can't even take their prior experience or accomplishments into account. Remember our MBA president? The same guy who cut taxes while fighting a war. What a joke.
4.11.2008 3:09pm
c.gray (mail):

Are you going to sit there on your brain and actually try to tell me that a goodly portion of America hasn't spent 20 years or more going attending a church or listening to a pastor or donating to a cause that another goodly portion of America wouldn't find objectionable?


Maybe. But so what? We aren't deciding whether Obama is American, we are deciding whether or not he will be president.

Fairly recently, I watched Obama's Democratic colleagues grilling a nominee for Supreme Court over his church attendance. We lowly voters are not allowed to consider the same issue when deciding whom to elect as President?
4.11.2008 3:20pm
Grover Gardner (mail):
"I don't think most americans do donate time, money and their sundays to churches which preach the type of bile spewed by Wright."

Hmm. Jeremiah Wright, pastor to 6000. John Hagee, pastor to 19,000, preacher to 99 million, one of the highest-paid televangelists in America, CEO of a global communications network. I wonder where all that money comes from.

"As to ayers, you tell me-how much time is appropriate to spend with an unrepentent america hating bomber all too happy to have targetted his fellow citizens for murder in the past?"

You seem to be dodging the question, ejo. How much time has Obama spent with Ayers?

"as to the rest, you are the one who doesn't seem to think the bile spewed is any big deal, not me."

Where did I say that?

"if it is the attitude of the vast majority of black america, it certainly is a problem, don't you think?"

It would certainly seem to be.
4.11.2008 3:24pm
Grover Gardner (mail):
"We aren't deciding whether Obama is American..."

I'm glad we got that cleared up.

"Fairly recently, I watched Obama's Democratic colleagues grilling a nominee for Supreme Court over his church attendance."

And what was your reaction to this grilling? Did you think it was fair or proportionate in the context?
4.11.2008 3:30pm
Grover Gardner (mail):
"This association is definitely reducing my liking of Obama."

Why?
4.11.2008 3:34pm
ejo:
hagee, preacher to 99 million people? are you for real? I would venture a small sum that, even with recent publicity, not even close to 99 million people could even place the name of John Hagee with the position of minister and, if 5 percent of America could pick him out of a lineup, I would similarly be shocked. We do know, in terms of Ayers, that Obama supped with him and sought out his support prior to running for office-to me, that is more than sufficient.
4.11.2008 3:35pm
rarango (mail):
After reading some of the comments on this thread from Obama suporters, if Senator Obama does not get the democratic nomination, quite a few heads are going to explode.
4.11.2008 3:42pm
Hoosier:
>>>We can't even take their prior experience or accomplishments into account.

So, we're left only with whom we'd want to "sit down nd have a beer with"?

John Ratzenberger for President?

Past experience is not a great guide to the future. But it is the *only* thing available to us. I have no idea whether I'd like Obama as a drinking buddy. But I am certain that he does not have the experience to be president.
4.11.2008 3:55pm
Ryan Waxx (mail):
Or a few cities might burn.
4.11.2008 3:55pm
Hoosier:
Thales: "I ask again, what evidence is there that Obama is anti-American, anti-Semitic, afro-centric, believes in ridiculous conspiracy theories, or any of the other garbage associated with Farrakhan (and to some extent, Wright)?"

I don't believe that he is any of those things. But these points remian:

1) We have no real idea who he is, since he has not been challenged to make decisions on the public stage for a number of years. Obama supporters tend to refer to the same set of adjectives--honest, different, intelligent, etc.--that may or may not be true. I have no real way of knowing. People are going to gleanwhat they can from what there is.

2) Related to(1): I've said this above, but here we go again. Obama is a grown up. He made choices about his associates, his organizations, his words and his silences. All of these helped him at one stage of his career. We are entitled to judge him on this basis--especially since there is NOTHING ELSE to use as evidence.

I'm not going to simplyASSUME that he's a great candidate, or even the "least bad" candidate, because he gives some speeches. What legislative record can I look to to tell me what he will do? Wants to do?

His supporters don't actually know this either, because they can't. And Obama himself is probably unsure.

Is he a "good man"? Proabably. So am I. Neither of us even remotely prepared to be president.

It wouldn't bother me as much if his supporters were simply saying: "Well, he's the Democrat, so he has my vote." That would cause me to worry quite seriously about the Party. But since Obama will most likely win their nomination, that's going to happen anyway. But this obsession with The Man(NOT the statesman) is profundly disturbing.

Let me put it this way:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RZ5SVDYBNrY
4.11.2008 4:10pm
c.gray (mail):

And what was your reaction to this grilling? Did you think it was fair or proportionate in the context?


Actually, pretty much. I thought those who complained were blowing the questions out of proportion. If a nominee is incapable of reconciling his religious beliefs to his prospective constitutional duties, he ought to be rejected.

Likewise, as a voter, I'm obligated to question the associations of a presidential candidate. Most importantly because I'm not just voting for him (or her), I'm voting for the thousands of individuals he is going to chose to staff his administration with, and the dozens of nominees he's going to make to the federal courts. The sort of people he seeks out as mentors, friends and political backers gives me some insight into what kind of people he will select for these spots, since the selection criteria are likely to be similar.
4.11.2008 4:15pm
rarango (mail):
Ryan--I would most sincerely hope this nation is beyond that, but to the extent the race card has been played in this campaign thus far you may be right. And I have no doubt it will not get any better through the general campaign and election.
4.11.2008 4:25pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
c. gray.
Well put. Too bad it had to be made so obvious. Some others continue to pretend to think there's no reason to be concerned.
IMO, nobody doesn't know the score. It's just that some people like it but know most won't if let in on it.
So it's scratch-the-head time over the dimness of the Great Unwashed, along with references to some clown (Hagee) hardly anybody's heard of as a false equivalence.
Eventually, wilful obtuseness can no longer be sustained as an act and it has to be considered flat dishonesty.
4.11.2008 4:29pm
NattyB:
This is relevant because?

Let's use his church's associations against him. That's classy.

Let's go over this again. This is a black south-side of Chicago Church. It'd be surprising if it didn't have some, random black militant or aging black panther type associations. That's it. That's all there is to it. He joined this church because he wanted to be part of the black experience AND because this church was a good networking opportunity for his political ambitions.

It's a stretch to hold him accountable for his church's activities. Even if they give an award to Farrakhan.

I know Farrakhan hasn't always said the nicest things about Jews, but, could it be possible, that Farrakhan did do something worthy of an award? Can we entertain the possibility? Or the fact that Farrakhan made anti-semetic remarks publicly (whereas most goyim say it privately I assume), means that everything he does is always BAD.

I wonder who David Duke is endorsing? I bet if Hitler alive he would endorse McCain. This exercise is stupid. We are on the verge of a recession, the housing market went off a cliff, we're fighting several wars, bees are dying, gas prices are rising, and yet people are actually going to take into account the 2nd degree Farrakhan-church-obama connection when deciding who to vote for?!?

Or if it's about Israel, then get over it. Mort Zuckerman is cool with Obama's Israel position, and nobody is more pro-Israel than that guy.
4.11.2008 5:27pm
Grover Gardner (mail):

hagee, preacher to 99 million people? are you for real?



From Wikipedia:

"Hagee is the President and CEO of John Hagee Ministries, which telecasts his national radio and television ministry carried in America on 160 TV stations, fifty radio stations and eight networks including The Inspiration Network (INSP) and Trinity Broadcasting Network. The ministries can be seen and heard weekly in 99 million homes. John Hagee Ministries is in Canada on the Miracle Channel and CTS and can be seen in Africa, Europe, Australia, New Zealand and is in most third world nations."


We do know, in terms of Ayers, that Obama supped with him and sought out his support prior to running for office-to me, that is more than sufficient.


In 1995? When he was reportedly brought to a meeting of liberal activists at Ayers' home? If that's sufficient for you then you must have a mighty small roster of office-seekers to choose from. Again, Zero Tolerance gone amok.


some clown (Hagee) hardly anybody's heard


That is patently false. The members of AIPAC who gave him a standing ovation last year certainly didn't consider him to be "some clown hardly anybody's heard of."


After reading some of the comments on this thread from Obama suporters, if Senator Obama does not get the democratic nomination, quite a few heads are going to explode.


My head is not going to explode if Obama doesn't get the nomination. I'm not even sure I want to vote for him. But I find the Obama-Wright-Ayers-Rezko-Farrkahan Zero Tolerance Double Standard Humbug song-and-dance a little much to take.
4.11.2008 5:30pm
ejo:
really-I think I would have a quite lengthy list of dems/repubs/libertarian/communist/green party/wiccan candidates who haven't sat down and broken bread with people like Ayers (america hating bombers but well respected in Hyde Park-let's you know where they are coming from). preacher to 99 million-do you realize how silly your apologetics are getting? I get QVC on my cable-does that make some unknown presenter on it the fashion designer to 150 million?

Give us a simple example of an association you wouldn't find a way to excuse or downplay? I suppose I could go over to David Duke's house for 20 years, make donations to any entity he controls in the tens of thousands of dollars, and not say a word when he launches into a racist diatribe but still be a great guy-I just don't think anyone would buy it (except you, apparently).
4.11.2008 5:41pm
yankev (mail):
That's the funniest thing I've read all day.

The ministries can be seen and heard weekly in 99 million homes.


Okay, so it CAN be seen and heard in 99 million homes. I'm sure that it can, maybe even in mine (I'm not sure whether my cable service carries this guy or not.) But how many homes IS it seen and heard in? All Wikipedia has told us is how many homes have access to Hagee's cable station, not how many actually tune him in, let alone how many people send him money, have a close personal relationship with him, and seek him out as their spiritual guide.

NattyB
4.11.2008 5:47pm
yankev (mail):
NattyB
I've always been a sucker for stirring oratory, regardless of substance. That's one of Obama's strong points, and that's why I enjoyed your observation that

We are on the verge of a recession, the housing market went off a cliff, we're fighting several wars, bees are dying, gas prices are rising,
But you forgot to add that

Russia is threatening us with her might, and the Republic is in danger. Yes - danger from within and without. Without Obama, our nation cannot survive.
4.11.2008 5:52pm
Elliot123 (mail):
"Because it's obvious that people who find a grain of truth in Reverend Wright's "rants," who are suspicious of government motives, who don't like the way the powerful and arrogant treat minorities, AREN'T REALLY AMERICANS."

The folks who contend the US government created AIDS to kill blacks are certainly Americans, they are just stupid Americans. I wonder why Obama never took the opportunity set them straight over the last twenty years?

"The ministries can be seen and heard weekly in 99 million homes."

I think PeeWee Herman reached that same audience.
4.11.2008 6:29pm
Hoosier:
Natty B: "I bet if Hitler [were] alive he would endorse McCain. This exercise is stupid. "

No it is not. Your comment is, however.

Hitler was not big into the whole "voting-thing." That was kinda his "schtick," to use a Yiddish phrase. (And, no, Hitler also would NOT have appreciated that irony.)
4.11.2008 6:35pm
Grover Gardner (mail):

do you realize how silly your apologetics are getting?



Do you realize how silly your denial sounds? If the guy's a clown nobody watches, why did McCain welcome his endorsement and appear with him? Why did AIPAC give him a standing ovation? Where does all his money come from? What use would any of these people have for him if he was a nobody? Do you really think Jeremiah Wright even approaches the kind of funding and exposure Hagee has? The Church Report lists him as one of the 50 most influential Christians in America. You're kidding yourself if you don't think this guy has exposure and influence far beyond anything Jeremiah Wright could lay claim to.
4.11.2008 6:36pm
Grover Gardner (mail):

I wonder why Obama never took the opportunity set them straight over the last twenty years?


HE HAS.
4.11.2008 6:42pm
ejo:
silly gg-you claimed the guy was preacher to 99 million people. I am sorry to have to point out your silliness and others have pointed out the silliness of your analogy of Hagee and Wright. by the way, why would they cheer this Hagee guy at AIPAC? If nothing else, he must not be an anti-semite.

are you going to get around to listing an association you would find beyond the pale?
4.11.2008 6:46pm
ejo:
so, he says one thing at Rick Warren's church but remains silent in his own church as his own spiritual mentor spreads the vicious evil about America creating AIDS to wipe out blacks? silly silly silly.
4.11.2008 6:48pm
Elliot123 (mail):
What a guy! He waited twenty years until a bunch of other people pointed out that Wright was a loon. Now, that's leadership.
4.11.2008 6:48pm
LM (mail):
ejo,

so, he says one thing at Rick Warren's church but remains silent in his own church as his own spiritual mentor spreads the vicious evil about America creating AIDS to wipe out blacks?

Where do you get the idea he remained silent?
4.11.2008 7:15pm
Grover Gardner (mail):
"I am sorry to have to point out your silliness and others have pointed out the silliness of your analogy of Hagee and Wright."

There is no silliness on my part. You simply ignore the evidence of Hagee's influence, wealth and popularity.

"He waited twenty years until a bunch of other people pointed out that Wright was a loon."

Wright's been a loon for twenty years? He made his AIDS remark in 2003. Obama's been pushing for AIDS funding and education since at least 2004. Funny how nobody's held him responsible for Wright's remark until now.
4.11.2008 7:49pm
neurodoc:
Last evening at 11:45PM, I asked:
Now, in the competition for most transparently silly straw man argument of the night, can anyone top this: so wright has never, ever in his entire lifetime done something good? i find that hard to believe about anyone.
Today at 4:27PM, it was topped:
I know Farrakhan hasn't always said the nicest things about Jews, but, could it be possible, that Farrakhan did do something worthy of an award? Can we entertain the possibility? Or the fact that Farrakhan made anti-semetic [sic] remarks publicly (whereas most goyim say it privately I assume), means that everything he does is always BAD.
"Hasn't always said the nicest things about Jews..."?! Farrakhan is an out and out antisemite who might be likened in venomousness to a Henry Ford or Father Coughlin. Anyone who would say otherwise is a fool or a knave in my book.

"...could it be possible, that Farrakhan did do something worthy of an award? Can we entertain the possibility." The possibility that Farrakhan merited the award bestowed on him by Reverend Wright's TUC in recognition of his purported dedication to "truth, education, and leadership" can be entertained, and quickly dismissed. Farrakhan has never been dedicated to the "truth," and what sort of "education" teaches outrageous falsehoods of the sort the NOI peddles? "Leadership," well Mussolini was a leader, wasn't he? (Note: Godwin's Law does not apply.)

"Or the fact that Farrakhan made anti-semetic remarks publicly (whereas most goyim say it privately I assume), means that everything he does is always BAD." Wow! NattyB really managed a lot in that relatively short sentence, the least of it being the most transparently silly straw man argument so far ("...the fact that Farrakhan made anti-semetic [sic] remarks publicly...means that everything he does is always BAD"?). We had "(h)asn't always said the nicest things about Jews," and now its, "the fact that Farrakhan made anti-semetic [sic]remarks publicly (whereas most goyim say it privately I assume)." NattyB, what sort of antisemitic remarks do you know Farrakhan has made "publicly" and imagine "most goyim" say in private. Please tell all of us, including the assembled whispering goyim .
4.11.2008 8:00pm
Grover Gardner (mail):
"are you going to get around to listing an association you would find beyond the pale?"

Why don't you tell me who you're voting for and I'll see what I can come up with?
4.11.2008 8:09pm
whit:
"You have to make persuasive arguments, based on evidence, not shrill ones based on biases, to convince an audience."

certainly, not true in the OJ case.
4.11.2008 8:21pm
neurodoc:
"are you going to get around to listing an association you would find beyond the pale?"

Why don't you tell me who you're voting for and I'll see what I can come up with?
I think that question was meant for ejo, but may I jump in here? Right now our choices seem to be down to Obama, Clinton, or McCain. (Nader and possibly Barr are too marginal to pay any heed, aren't they?) If we expanded it to all those who have seriously competed for their party's nomination this year (would "seriously" exclude Thompson?), who would you come up with then? Bernie Kerik as Guiliani's "beyond the pale association"? Extraterrestials as Dennis Kucinich's? Himself as Al Sharpton's? (Yeah, I know he was 2004 and this is 2008, but couldn't resist getting that in.)
4.11.2008 8:28pm
Anonymous Reader:
Most of these comments were interesting. My problem with Obama as a service member is how can I respect someone who refuses to place his hand over his heart during the Star Spangled Banner. It's not about making a statement folks. The President of the United States represents the entire country.

Anonymous Reader
4.11.2008 8:47pm
Elliot123 (mail):
"Wright's been a loon for twenty years? He made his AIDS remark in 2003. Obama's been pushing for AIDS funding and education since at least 2004. Funny how nobody's held him responsible for Wright's remark until now."

Well, for how long has Wright been a loon?

Obama only waited five years, and until after many others had pointed out that Wright is a loon, to say Wright was wrong? What a leader!

What does funding for AIDS have to do with repudiating a loon who says the US government invented AIDS to kill blacks?

Nobody has ever held Obama responsible for Wright's looniness. They have held Obama responsible for supporting a loon for twenty years, for having a loon as a trusted advisor for twenty years, for passively allowing a loon to infect his looniness on others, and for dissembling about what he knew about the loon and when he knew it. Obama is being held responsible for having extremely poor judgement, then trying to hide behind granny's skirts when he got caught.
4.11.2008 8:50pm
Smokey:
From Wikipedia:

"Hagee ... can be seen and heard weekly in 99 million homes."


Yankev and others have correctly pointed out that just because there happens to be one channel out of 150 that theoretically can be picked up by 99 million people, that certainly does not mean that one-third of the country tunes in.

That darned Wikipedia can sure be tricky for anyone who lacks critical thinking skills.
4.11.2008 10:18pm
Gaius Marius:
Barack Hussein Obama is the most dangerous presidential candidate to the national security of the United States since Aaron Burr.
4.11.2008 10:33pm
Careless:
Grover:
"Hagee is the President and CEO of John Hagee Ministries, which telecasts his national radio and television ministry carried in America on 160 TV stations, fifty radio stations and eight networks including The Inspiration Network (INSP) and Trinity Broadcasting Network. The ministries can be seen and heard weekly in 99 million homes. John Hagee Ministries is in Canada on the Miracle Channel and CTS and can be seen in Africa, Europe, Australia, New Zealand and is in most third world nations."


Hopefully the dumbest thing I'll ever read here. You manage to both confuse "households" with "people" and "can be viewed" with "viewers"
4.11.2008 10:36pm
Cornellian (mail):
All will be forgiven when the Kate double feature (Beckinsale and Bosworth) appears on VC.

"Yes, the other ones all post about the law. That's the difference."
And the environment, sci-fi novels, NCAA basketball, stoopid faculty tricks, Jazz, economics, energy policy, evolution-ID debates, college rankign, presidential rankings, the media, and Kate Beckinsale.
I am making up only the last of these. But a guy can dream, can't he.
The Conspiracists post about what interests them. If you think David should not post on Obama, just ignore the posts. I don't like Jazz, and I don't get on Todd's posts and say: "Less Coletrane, more Earl Warren". I don't see the problem.
4.11.2008 10:54pm
Chimaxx (mail):
Anonymous Reader:

I'm afraid I was taught the same thing in grade school in the 1960s that Obama said he was taught: You put your hand over your heart when you say the Pledge of Allegiance. For the "Star-Spangled Banner" you stand with your hands at your sides and you *sing.*

Of course, I wonder how the fact that he was once caught on camera flagrantly NOT putting his hand over his heart (while neither he nor the other candidates were facing the flag, as the code also requires) gets translated by you that he *refuses* to do so, when that's just not true.
4.12.2008 12:27am
Grover Gardner (mail):
"Hopefully the dumbest thing I'll ever read here. You manage to both confuse 'households' with 'people' and 'can be viewed' with 'viewers'"

I'm afraid that's wrong, actually. All I said was, "Pastor to 19,000 and preacher to 99 million," which according to Wikipedia, is the potential audience he claims. I was speaking rhetorically, but ejo chose to interpret me literally. In reply I simply quoted the Wikipedia article. I'm well aware that this is probably far from his actual viewership. My point was simply that Hagee has a larger church and a far wider audience than Wright, by anyone's measure. According to a 2006 article in the American Prospect, Hagee's show is broadcast twice a day in Trinity Broadcasting Network. Even a conservative estimate would put his viewership in the millions. His book, Jerusalem Countdown, sold nearly 500,000 copies (which anyone in the publishing industry will tell you is a significant number) and was in the Wal-Mart Top Ten for seven weeks. His current book, In Defense of Israel, enjoys an Amazon sales rank of 7,222 a year after publication, which again is pretty significant. This is not a "nobody."

TUCC, by contrast, broadcasts on local TV, radio and the web, and couldn't possibly claim anywhere near the sort of viewership that Hagee can.

Now if you'd care to dispute that, go right ahead.
4.12.2008 12:36am
Chimaxx (mail):
Careless carelessly comments:
When you try to link McCain to Hagee in the same way that Obama linked himself to Wright, you look incredibly dishonest. The fact that so many people try this tactic is very depressing.


It seems to me, it's just the opposite: When you try to link Obama to Wright in the same way that McCain has linked himself to Hagee, you look incredibly dishonest. The fact that so many people try this tactic is very depressing.

Obama's been in Wright's church for 20 years. Martin Marty has written about what a welcoming congreagation it is to people of all colors, and he and others have written about how important that church and its pastor has been to a troubled neighborhood, how, despite his kooky notions about the origins of HIV, it is one of the first black churches welcoming HIV-infected members and providing support services for them. And Obama himself has written about how, though his initial motivations for joining the church were wrapped up in his neighborhood organizing ambitions, he had a true spiritual awakening there. Seems to me that the sort of man who can open your eyes in a new way spiritual way is the sort of man you forgive a few kooky views and intemperate sermons over the years. This is a man who has been an integral part of Obama's life for years, strengths, warts and all. After 20 years, Obama's characterization of him as being like an uncle who you love but don't always disagree with strikes me as sincere.

I grew up calling a non-relative "Uncle George" who is a kind man, generous with his time and energy, tightfisted with his money, who buys into some of the most whacked-out political conspiracy theories around. I will publicly disagree with any of his crackpot theories, even when he's present, and I won't let him park any of his rusting out "classic" cars in my yard or driveway, but I won't disavow the man, because he has been good to me, and taught me many practical skills and given much good advice.

Meanwhile, McCain has glommed onto Hagee only recently, and as part of his presidential political ambitions--meaning that either he's someone whose views McCain deeply believes in, or he's someone McCain is cynically using to shore up his credibility with religious conservatives. Therefore--whether McCain buys Hagee's crazy ideas or he is using him to obtain political capital with a group that currently disfavors him, and who will want payback if they help elect him--the fact that McCain chose Hagee as a spiritual advisor for the sake of his campaign makes the particulars of Hagee's political views far more significant to decisions McCain will make in office than Wright's are to Obama.
4.12.2008 12:52am
Hoosier:
"Barack Hussein Obama is the most dangerous presidential candidate to the national security of the United States since Aaron Burr."

Nah. That was Henry Wallace.
4.12.2008 1:39am
Rich Rostrom (mail):
Chimaxx: If Uncle George was teaching his crackpot theories to children, would you ignore him? If he brought Lyndon LaRouche or Bob Avakian or David Duke around to spread enlightenment, would you ignore him?

McCain accepted Hagee's endorsement. He didn't sit in Hagee's church for 20 years, applauding everything he said. He didn't donate $20,000 to Hagee's funds. And AFAIK he doesn't attend Hagee's church now, nor is Hagee his "spiritual advisor".

Actually, Obama's problem is very simple. Black America is thoroughly poisoned with Wright-style paranoia. (Just because somebody may be out to get you doesn't mean you're not paranoid.) I saw a note recently: four black rappers and a black professor from Boston University were on a panel. They were asked if they thought AIDS Was A Plot. All the rappers said of course. The professor refused to answer, saying if he answered one way, he'd lose credibility with his colleagues, and if the other way, with "the brothers".

Obama, by associating himself with Wright, has associated himself with Wright's rantings. He can't repudiate Wright for saying these things because that would ruin his credibility with "the brothers". He has to make excuses.

Wright (an ex-Black Moslem) embraces and lavishly praises Farrakhan for his wonderful everything. Obama pretends that it was for one useful activity. What Obama absolutely cannot do is denounce Farrakhan, or denounce Wright for embracing Farrakhan. Because that would ruin his credibility with "the brothers". Farrakhan and Wright spend a lot of time talking in coded language or through fronts. Once in a while, they overstep and say something intolerable; their defenders "denounce the offensive statement", then go right back to business as usual.
4.12.2008 3:26am
Perry:
Rich,

So the dilemma that you create is that since 'black culture is poisoned with paranoia' so thoroughly, what exactly is it that a black candidate is supposed to do to NOT have any people in his personal life that feel that way - and therefore be smeared with second hand associations?

OH yeah, I forgot, probably not be black. I get it now.
4.12.2008 5:27am
Gaius Marius:
I will always remember how my deceased Aunt (born in Bavaria) described her personal memories to me when I was little of Adolf Hitler at rallies during his rise to power. She could still recall as if it was yesterday how Hitler would captivate the huge crowds, how women would swoon, and how those close to the speaker's platform would be virtually hypnotized by his piercing eyes while he spoke. If my Aunt was alive today, she would no doubt state that Barack Hussein Obama is Adolf Hitler reborn.
4.12.2008 7:01am
Hoosier:
" If my Aunt was alive today, she would no doubt state that Barack Hussein Obama is Adolf Hitler reborn."

Well, that would certainly be a candidate for "Greatest Irony of All Times.

(Rivaling the newly-discovered evidence that Ivan the Terrible was reincarnated as a petunia. Sorry, I forgot where I read that. But I bet you can Google it.)
4.12.2008 10:34am
Elliot123 (mail):
Did the US government create AIDS to kill blacks?
4.12.2008 1:18pm
neurodoc:
Wright (an ex-Black Moslem)...
An ex-Black Moslem? Is that established fact? And what does "ex-Black Moslem" mean, surely not someone who was formerly black, like Michael Jackson. (apologies, couldn't resist the opportunity) So, does it denote a former Nation of Islam person, if NOI can be counted as a Muslim sect, or something other than NOI?

And does anyone know if NOI, which certainly isn't traditional or orthodox Islam, is a syncretic faith? Are Farrakhan's fantasies about experiences of space ships and aliens his personal fantasies, or are the part of the groups religious beliefs. I know something of NOI in action, but know little of their religious beliefs as such.

If Wright is an "ex-Black Moslem," then would he be counted an apostate by the still faithful, and hence worthy of assassination by those among them who don't take apostasy lightly?
4.12.2008 1:24pm
Ken Arromdee:
So the dilemma that you create is that since 'black culture is poisoned with paranoia' so thoroughly, what exactly is it that a black candidate is supposed to do to NOT have any people in his personal life that feel that way - and therefore be smeared with second hand associations?

Widespread paranoia doesn't mean that literally every single person is paranoid. There are millions of black people; I'm sure Obama could have found plenty of them to associate with who aren't nuts.
4.12.2008 2:14pm
Perry:
Ken,

Whether you agree with him or not, questioning the government (and the government IS what he means by 'America') does not make one 'nuts'. I'd encourage you to read the transcripts of those Wright sermons, if you really care to learn the context behind those soundbite quotes.

I'm pretty sure that if I recorded thousands of hours of your life over 20 some odd years, I could make you or anyone else for that matter look pretty 'nuts'.
4.12.2008 3:01pm
Chimaxx (mail):
Rich Rostrum:
What Obama absolutely cannot do is denounce Farrakhan....


Except, of course, that Obama DID denounce Farrakhan, and when denouncing wasn't sufficient for hillary Clinton, he rejected him, as well. ("But if the word 'reject' Sen. Clinton feels is stronger than the word 'denounce,' then I'm happy to concede the point, and I would reject and denounce.")

So apparently he has done what you say he cannot do.
4.12.2008 4:04pm
Grover Gardner (mail):

McCain accepted Hagee's endorsement. He didn't sit in Hagee's church for 20 years, applauding everything he said. He didn't donate $20,000 to Hagee's funds. And AFAIK he doesn't attend Hagee's church now, nor is Hagee his "spiritual advisor".


And yet, what could have lent Hagee greater credibility than being sought out for his endorsement by the presumptive Republican nominee?
4.12.2008 6:22pm
Hoosier:
Perry:
"I'm pretty sure that if I recorded thousands of hours of your life over 20 some odd years, I could make you or anyone else for that matter look pretty 'nuts'."

It wouldn't take anywhere near that long to make me look "nuts." (Truly.) But you wouldn't be able to make me look bitter and spiteful, no matter how long you had. Which is the point.

Nor could you find me damning entire countries. I'm fairly certain that I have not condemned an entire coutry in the last 20 years.

And I'm not supposed to be *leading* or *guiding* anyone, aside from my children. Those who lead and unite with resentment and bitterness are not prophets. And no one comes from a personal background that would justify saying, from the pulpit(!), that God should "damn" a nation.

I'm part of America. Always have been. Wright has never suffered at my hands, nor have I jumped on him for his comments at Trinity. He might want to leave me out of his sermons from now on.
4.12.2008 6:35pm
Grover Gardner (mail):
"He might want to leave me out of his sermons from now on."

Oh, THAT'S who he was talking about!!
4.12.2008 6:57pm
Elliot123 (mail):
"I'm pretty sure that if I recorded thousands of hours of your life over 20 some odd years, I could make you or anyone else for that matter look pretty 'nuts'."

It's interesting that out of the thousands of hours of Wright's preaching, he chose to market DVDs of the nutty ones. He made that choice himself. He chose to emphasize them. He chose to put the spotlight on them.
4.12.2008 7:24pm
Brian G (mail) (www):
This is a conspiracy by the white man to bring Obama down. Just ask any of his advisors or his wife.
4.12.2008 7:37pm
Hoosier:
Grover: "Oh, THAT'S who he was talking about!!"

What? Do you think by "America" he meant the real estate? Perhaps I misunderstood: I just assumed he meant the contents.

If he was NOT condemning plain-old average-Joe American folk like me, he seems to have left that out of his sermon. Just an oversight, Grover?
4.12.2008 7:49pm
Grover Gardner (mail):
"If he was NOT condemning plain-old average-Joe American folk like me, he seems to have left that out of his sermon."

Which sermon are you talking about? The "god damn America" sermon? It's titled, "Confusing God and Government" and is based on Luke 19:37-44. The sermon is about how governments fail us, but God does not, and we should never treat the government as our "god". Having read most or all of the text, I fail to see where he condemns ordinary people like you or I. Can you point it out?
4.12.2008 9:31pm
Grover Gardner (mail):
Sorry, "you or me."
4.12.2008 9:35pm
Grover Gardner (mail):
"It's interesting that out of the thousands of hours of Wright's preaching, he chose to market DVDs of the nutty ones."

I'm sure he chose it on purpose. The only thing nutty about it that I can see is his repetition of the government AIDS conspiracy I don't know the history of that or why he believes it. Some of his other accusations are debatable, but nothing I haven't heard lots of people saying for years, people who aren't necessarily considered nuts, or who at least aren't pilloried for saying it. Many of the accusations are well-documented atrocities, like the Tuskegee experiments.

I'm sure if you're someone who believes that our government has acted mostly for good throughout our history, or at least responded in a rational way in spite of bringing harm to some through its actions, it's objectionable or unpleasant to hear. But there's little in there that I haven't heard white people from both sides of the political spectrum say.
4.12.2008 9:47pm
Grover Gardner (mail):
Well, here is the AIDS conspiracy thing, FWIW.
4.12.2008 10:28pm
Grover Gardner (mail):
"This is a conspiracy by the white man to bring Obama down. Just ask any of his advisors or his wife."

If you're serious, would you mind backing up that speculation with something concrete?
4.12.2008 10:30pm
Elliot123 (mail):
"The only thing nutty about it that I can see is his repetition of the government AIDS conspiracy I don't know the history of that or why he believes it."

A nut is a nut is a nut. Did the US government invent AIDS to kill blacks?
4.13.2008 12:38am
Grover Gardner (mail):

A nut is a nut is a nut.


Sorry, I just don't see it that way.


Did the US government invent AIDS to kill blacks?


I doubt it. Most, if not all, of the AIDS conspiracies have been debunked or denied by scientists. But then, who trusts scientists these days? They lie about global warming and repress alternatives to evolutionary theory. Everybody knows that, right?
4.13.2008 12:54am
Hoosier:
Grover: "The only thing nutty about it that I can see is his repetition of the government AIDS conspiracy I don't know the history of that or why he believes it."

I'm not sure why I am responding to someone who posts something like that. But here it goes:

I take as the text for my sermon Ex. 20:19

"Defending the indefensible" isn't noble if what is "indefensible" is malicious slander. But perhaps I'm being hasty: What might be the "history of that," or the reason "why he believes it," that would make it other than reprehensible demagoguery?

Because as I see it, either he's nuts, or he's stirring up hate against innocent people ("The gov't." is made up of actual human beings, who either did or did not invent the AIDS virus to kill off Blacks. Can we stipulate at least this much, you and I?)

Re: God damn America and "I fail to see where he condemns ordinary people like you or I. Can you point it out?"

I would hate to think that your request wasn't made in good faith. So let me say that I have seen parts of the sermon on the Tube, before it went missing; and have an unofficial text of the full thing.

That said: America provides drugs for the underclass? That's also rubbish, and again, either nuts or evil. (Yes, evil: 'Bearing false witness . . .')

Hisroshima and Nagasaki compared to 9/11? I'm in the odd position of condemning the atomic bombings on moral grounds, and yet finding most of Truman's vocal critics to be either historically blinkered or intellectually dishonest.

The historical context is rather important, that context being the tail end of a war that had killed 50-60 million people, and had seen all traditional laws of war and norms of military behavior violated. And had then GONE BEYOND even that. There was no workable way to be inhuman to one's fellow man that had not been tried by that point.

Doesn't justify it. But it hardly justifies God damning America either, when this was the depth to which the entire world-at-war had sunk. I temper my criticism of Truman, Stimson, et al., by reminding myself that the SHOCKING decision for an American CinC at this point would have been to NOT use a new weapon that could win the war quickly, with the least loss of American life. I wish they had so chosen. But I can't say that there was any reason why my arguments should have carried the day in that context.

In addition, the US was the only nation to use nuclear weapons. But WHY? Because we were WORSE that other nations? Nope. Because we were technologically more advanced. (With an assist from the Brits and Canadians.) The recond of the Japanese, Germans, and Russians--as well as others--is to me convincing evidence that the nation that made it would use it. Would Stalin have hesitated to incinerate Berlin had the means been at hand?

Taking historical reality into account--as Wright did not--the comparison to 9/11 is vulgar and revolting. And it sure seems to me that he is dismissive when it comes to the deaths of those victims. Many of whom were not Americans anyway. Does he mention that in his sermon? Not in the transcript that I have.

I could go on. But why? So much of this sermon is irresponsible garbage. Conspiracy theory devotees are always--ALWAYS--bearing false witness. If they claim that "the government" or "America" is selling drugs and spreading diseases, then they are accusing REAL HUMAN BEINGS of doing so. I'm a Nominalist. There IS NO "American government" that can act to carry out nefarious policies, aside from people who make up the government. Ordinary people. Like me. And you.

If Wright knows that REAL PEOPLE are giving Black babies AIDS, he's himself guilty of criminal misbehavior for not naming them. If he doesn't, or if he just thinks it sounds like a "possibility," then he has a lot to atone for. Thus, I won't be looking to him for "spiritual leadership." I'll just stick with Benedict for now.

And so enough about his preaching in the "Prophetic Tradition": Jeremiah wasn't looking to invent scapegoats. Encouraging his audience to join him in pointing fingers.

Come to think of it, he was doing exactly the opposite.
4.13.2008 1:04am
Grover Gardner (mail):
After all, Elliot, as you yourself sarcastically wrote here a while back...


Just trust the government in all things. And that includes Al Gore. After all, it's official.


...and were called a "crackpot" for saying so. A nut is a nut is a nut, right?
4.13.2008 1:07am
Elliot123 (mail):
Grover,

You doubt the US government created AIDS to kill blacks? Do you think there is some probability it did? What is the probability that the US government created AIDS to kill blacks? And why should we hesitate to label someone who preaches that as a nut?
4.13.2008 1:08am
Elliot123 (mail):
Grover,

Good point about Al Gore. So, do you now contend Wright was being sarcastic in saying the US government created AIDS to kill blacks? Did it?
4.13.2008 1:11am
Grover Gardner (mail):
Okay, Hoosier, I agree the AIDS thing is irresponsible. I'm also not sure I agree that it's fair to blame 9/11 on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, but that's from another sermon, so you pulled a bait and switch on me. I'd have to read that one and see the context in order to comment. But your question was whether Wright was damning the average Joe like yourself. The only thing that comes close in that sermon is when he says that those who support the invasion of Iraq are "confused."

I don't agree that blaming "the government" for AIDS is the same as accusing individuals. People blame "the government" for things all the time without pausing to consider the feelings of the individuals who make up that large, and largely anonymous, entity--except, of course, when they more specifically blame partisan bureaucratic lifers and their unions for resisting changes in policy. So I can't share your tears for the feelings of some NIH researchers who might feel slighted by Wright's accusation. I have a feeling they're pretty much used to being blamed for a lot things these days. Did Ronald Reagan pause to consider the feelings of government agency workers when he made his famous crack about the nine most frightening words he could imagine? Half of America cheered him on. Did you? if you did, then don't tell me you're a Nominalist.

As for the rest, I think I pretty well summed it up in my last post. You're not going to agree with Wright's POV about the uses and misuses of American power. But when you say that "so much of this sermon is irresponsible garbage," you're skating on thin ice. A great deal of what Wright says is true, whether you like it not. So for every remark about AIDS or drugs, we have to confront things like the internment of the nissei, the Tuskegee experiments (a truly horrendous abuse of government power), slavery, Jim Crow laws and other horrors.

What happened to Native Americans in the 19th century was horrendous. I happen to think it was inevitable. But Wright's point is that when you cloak such atrocities in the mantle of God's will ("Manifest Destiny") you are confusing God's will with man's will, and there's a price to be paid for that confusion.


There IS NO "American government" that can act to carry out nefarious policies, aside from people who make up the government. Ordinary people. Like me. And you.


I'm sorry, but there IS an entity, and it HAS acted to do some pretty egregious things to innocent people. I suppose you could argue that all bad policies are the results of individual decisions within the government, and the government as a whole should bear the blame for them, but I don't think most Americans think that way--for justifiable reasons, perhaps. I do not work for the government. I used to, but there's a good reason I no longer do. Part of it was the weariness of dealing with an inflexible, monolithic entity that valued certain things over others. Some of the problems I experienced were with individuals, but those individuals were bolstered by a bureaucracy that let their nonsense slide by. But I do write letters and emails when I disagree with government policies, and above all, I vote against the people I see sustaining policies I don't agree with. That's the responsibility I take as an individual.


Encouraging his audience to join him in pointing fingers.


Maybe. The message I hear is that governments sometimes fail us, but God never does. Look to God, not the government, for your salvation.
4.13.2008 2:06am
Grover Gardner (mail):
No, Elliot, I don't think the government created AIDS to kill black people. Do you think we should trust the government in all things?
4.13.2008 2:08am
Grover Gardner (mail):
I meant to say "the government as a whole should NOT bear the blame for them"
4.13.2008 2:11am
Grover Gardner (mail):
By the way, Hoosier, the entire sermon has not gone "missing from the internet." It can be heard here.
4.13.2008 2:19am
Grover Gardner (mail):

So, do you now contend Wright was being sarcastic in saying the US government created AIDS to kill blacks?


No, I'm contending that you share at least one thing in common with Reverend Wright.
4.13.2008 2:33am
Grover Gardner (mail):

And it sure seems to me that he is dismissive when it comes to the deaths of those victims.


Well, this is what he says toward the end:


I saw pictures of the incredible. People jumping from the 110th floor; people jumping from the roof because the stair wells and elevators above the 89th floor were gone-- no more. Black people, jumping to a certain death; people holding hands jumping; people on fire jumping. [plaintiff high voice] And I asked the Lord, "What should our response be?" I read what the people of faith felt in 551BC. But this is a different time, this is a different enemy, a different world, a different terror. This is a different reality. What should our response be, and the Lord showed me three things. Let me share them with you quickly and I'm gonna leave you alone to think about the faith footnote.

Number one: The Lord showed me that this is a time for self-examination. [cheers] As I sat 900 miles away from my family and my community of faith, two months after my own father's death, God showed me that this was a time for me to examine my relationship with God. MY own relationship with God-- personal relationship with God.

I submit to you that it is the same for you. Folk flocked to the church in New Jersey last week, you know that foxhole-religion syndrome kicked in, that emergency chord religion, you know that little red box you pull in emergency? It showed up in full force. Folk who aint thought about coming to church in years, were in church last week. I heard that mid-week prayer services all over this country which are poorly attended fifty-one week a year were jam packed all over the nation the week of the hijacking the 52nd week. [inaudible]

But the Lord said, this aint the time for you to be examining other folks relationship this is a time of self examination. But the Lord said, "How is "our" relationship doing Jeremiah? How often do you talked to me personally, how often do you let me talk to you privately? How much time do you spend trying to get right with me, or do you spend all your time trying to get other folk right?

This is a time for me to examine my own relationship with God. Is it real or is it fake? Is it forever or is it for show? Is is something that you do for the sake of the public or is it something that you do for the sake of eternity? [voice rising] This is a time for me to examine my own, and a time for you to examine your own relationship with God -- self examination
4.13.2008 3:23am
Grover Gardner (mail):
The entire sermon can be heard here.
4.13.2008 3:48am
Hoosier:
Grover:

Ugh. I knew I shouldn't have gotten into this.

1) No "bait and switch" pulled. I was reading the transcript of the sermon-in-question from ABC News. It's where "more Americans get their news that from any other source." If it is not correct, my apologies; but I can assure you I'm being forthright. Now, I have no intention of going to the Trinity site for the official version, for the obvious reason that it may be sanitized.

2) I did not say it was "missing from the internet." (Your quotes; but I assume you meant these as 'scare-quotes,' and did not mean to present them as a quote from me.) I said it went missing from "the Tube." This is what a we tend to call 'YouTube' these days. This sermon was suddenly not accessible soon after the story broke. It may have been re-posted since then, but I have not checked, and that was not the point.

3) "People blame "the government" for things all the time without pausing to consider the feelings of the individuals who make up that large, and largely anonymous, entity--except, of course, when they more specifically blame partisan bureaucratic lifers and their unions for resisting changes in policy. So I can't share your tears for the feelings of some NIH researchers who might feel slighted by Wright's accusation."

I didn't say "feelings." I never said it was about hurt feelings. I don't give a good rats ass about feelings. And I'm wondering if this is not a bit of a red herring. So I'll keep it short, since I've said all this before: Actual human beings either: (a) did; or (b) did not created the AIDS virus and then give it to Black people in the inner cities. If they DID, Wright has a moral obligation to present the evidence. If they DID NOT, he has the moral obligation to STFU.

Why is it OK to make accusations like this as long as one is vague about the perpetrators? The worse the crime--and as things go, this one is pretty damned horrendous--the more need to identify the criminals. A good idea would be to STOP them. Tu es d'accord, n'est-ce pas?

Pro'ly OK: "I hate all this graffiti! Damn teenagers!"
Pro'ly not: "I hate this war. Damn Jews!"

4) Reagan/9 Words/Occam/Me:
I was twelve, so I had no reaction, and probably would NOT have called myself a Nominalist in Junior High. But is you contention that Wright, like the Gipper, was joking? He seems to have an odd sense of humor.

5) "I suppose you could argue that all bad policies are the results of individual decisions within the government"--I can do beter than that. If they are indeed "policies," then I can DEMONSTRATE that. Political and diplomatic historians do that sort of thing for bread-and-butter money, and we find it rather rewarding work. (Well, not "financially" rewarding . . .)

To use an example that neither of us will get bent out of shape over, I hope: I have a borderline-brilliant undergrad who has just submitted her senior thesis. It concerns Stalin's wartime deportations of Turkic minorities from near the borders of the USSR. The culprits can be identified. No need to vaguely blame "the CP." ANd certainly no reason to blame "the Europeans."

6)"Part of it was the weariness of dealing with an inflexible, monolithic entity that valued certain things over others. Some of the problems I experienced were with individuals, but those individuals were bolstered by a bureaucracy that let their nonsense slide by."

I get frutrated with the way we use "Kafkaesque" as an adjective. I would apply that word, rather, to the sort of situation you mention above. But "Metamorphosis" is the work that gets remembered. In fact, so much of Kafka deals with institutions that COULD help the individual, but WON'T. K. puts a face on these institutions, right? (At least from what I've seen.) There's always some PERSON who is making a choice. Granted, the system of the institution has given him no incentive to "innovate" by helping someone with a legitimate claim for help. But this, too, has a history.

My 2 y o daughter just woke up. Gotta go.
4.13.2008 9:49am
Grover Gardner (mail):

Why is it OK to make accusations like this as long as one is vague about the perpetrators?


It's not necessarily okay, Hoosier. It just means that Reverend Wright has something in common with millions of other Americans. I'm not supposed to vote for Barack Obama because his preacher believes this or that. But that makes no sense. Who better to correct those misapprehensions than a black man who can speak directly to the fears and suspicions of Wright's constituents?


Pro'ly not: "I hate this war. Damn Jews!"


I'm sorry, but I really think you're reaching here. Saying, "The government should stay out of the land management business" is very different from saying "The Jews are ruing our country." There just nothing pejorative or objectionable, IMO, about referring to the "government" as an entity that performs certain functions in our lives.

Regarding the example of your student, certainly from the standpoint of a historian it's important to be accurate about the specific forces that drive human events. But let's look at Wright's point about the British Empire. What sustained it for a hundred years? A few individuals? Hardly. It was a culture and a mindset. Same with the New Deal--it became a culture and mindset within the government that there was a mandate for government management. Institutions can develop a self-perpetuating, self-reinforcing momentum of their own that cannot always be laid to the orders or direction of one individual.


But is you contention that Wright, like the Gipper, was joking?


There's a big difference between "joking" and "making a joke." Reagan was hardly joking when he expressed his contempt for intrusive government management and regulation, and his supporters took him at his word. AFAIC, there's nothing *wrong* with that. Reagan's point was well-taken in many regards, though I don't entirely agree with such a position.


K. puts a face on these institutions, right? (At least from what I've seen.)


Kafka's novels are also highly allegorical, at least according to certain critical POVs. His individuals can be seen as representing larger, more metaphysical ideas and forces.
4.13.2008 1:26pm
Grover Gardner (mail):

Now, I have no intention of going to the Trinity site for the official version, for the obvious reason that it may be sanitized.


None of the links I provided are from the TUCC website.
4.13.2008 1:42pm
Elliot123 (mail):
"No, Elliot, I don't think the government created AIDS to kill black people. Do you think we should trust the government in all things?"

Good. Glad you are not a nut.
No, I don't think we should trust the government in all things.

"No, I'm contending that you share at least one thing in common with Reverend Wright."

I have many things in common with Wright. However, my statement you quoted does not share its sarcasm with Wright's statements. Hence, you need some other reason to label me a nut. I'm not saying it can't be done, just that my comment about Al Gore doesn't do it.

"It just means that Reverend Wright has something in common with millions of other Americans. "

If millions think the US government created AIDS to kill blacks, then those million are nuts, and anyone who actively supports the dissemination of that idea doesn't deserve a position of responsiblity.

"I'm not supposed to vote for Barack Obama because his preacher believes this or that."

No, you are supposed to vote against him because of his support for a preacher who taught people who trusted him that the US government created AIDS to kill blacks.

"Who better to correct those misapprehensions than a black man who can speak directly to the fears and suspicions of Wright's constituents"

Just about anyone would be better, since Obama has demonstarted for years that he won't repudiate Wright or speak diretly to the nutty ideas of Wright and his constituency. Obama had his chance. He failed. He showed us what he was made of.

Maybe the best person to tell Wright's constituents that the US government did not create AIDS to kill blacks is Wright himself? He's black, too.
4.13.2008 2:21pm
Hoosier:
"Who better to correct those misapprehensions than a black man who can speak directly to the fears and suspicions of Wright's constituents"

Just about anyone would be better, since Obama has demonstarted for years that he won't repudiate Wright or speak diretly to the nutty ideas of Wright and his constituency. Obama had his chance. He failed. He showed us what he was made of.

Bingo!
4.13.2008 3:55pm
Hoosier:
My new bumper sticker: "OBAMA LIED--PEOPLE SIGHED!"
4.14.2008 12:09pm