Saturday, March 22, 2008

Obama’s speech: some interesting poll results.

Most MSMers went “Wow” following Sen. Barack Obama's speech in Philadelphia Tuesday in which he outed his white grandmother as a racist and condemned former Demicratic vice presidential candidate Geraldine Ferraro for pointing out in some situations race and gender can advantage a person. But poll results suggest the public’s reaction was more “Ugh” than “Wow.”

Among the most interesting poll results are those gathered by InsiderAdvantage/Majority Opinion. Here’s the start of its report on them:

Barack Obama’s speech about race on Tuesday impressed many who witnessed it or read it. But most of America did neither, and many of them -- white and black -- were less persuaded of the speech’s capacity to heal racial wounds, or to put the issue of race behind Obama as he continues his quest for the White House.

That’s according to a new poll by InsiderAdvantage/Majority Opinion.

First, we screened poll respondents to find those who were aware that Obama’s pastor was in the news. A startling 82% knew about Obama’s speech, and about the controversy surrounding the Rev. Jeremiah Wright.

Of those who knew about the controversy and the speech, we asked, “Taking all this into account, are you more or less likely to support Obama for president?”

Less likely (52%)
More likely (19%)
About the same (27%)
No opinion (2%)

The poll was conducted March 19 among 1,051 Americans. After filtering out those not aware of Rev. Wright and Obama’s speech about him, the sample is 807, for a margin of error of plus or minus 3.2%. The data have been weighted for age, race, gender and partisan affiliation.

It’s easy to read too much into this poll. In the long-term, Obama’s speech about the racially insensitive political and social views of Rev. Wright may come to its final resting place in history books for being a signal moment in America’s tortured story of race relations. But in the short-attention-span theatre of a heated presidential race, it may amount to little more than a loud blip in an ever-fluxing news cycle.

Even so, the poll displays no numbers flattering to Obama. Most startling is that blacks by 56% to 31% said the speech made them less likely to vote for him.

That may be because Obama had some gutsy perspectives on blacks as well as on whites, and black observers of the speech may have been annoyed. But it’s hard to imagine that there’s going to be an appreciable retreat by blacks from the Obama column. …
The rest of the report is here at Southern Political Report.

Did the poll findings concerning blacks' reactions to the speech surprise you?

Whatever the case, I urge you to read the entire report. It provides methodological explanations and a critical discussion of results of a high quality we don’t often find in poll result reporting.

I’ll comment further on the report later today. Right now I need to get other posts up and then spend some time with my family.

Friday, March 21, 2008

The Churchill Series - Mar. 21, 2008

(One of a series of weekday posts about the life of Winston S. Churchill.)

Some people have a sense of destiny. They’re certain they were put on earth for a particular purpose.

His letters and the recollections of friends and family confirm that as a youth George S. Patton believed he was destined to command great Armies.

De Gaulle reveals in his war memoirs that the lodestar of his life was his belief in a mystical union between France and himself. He said he knew a time would come when she would be, as he put it, “dishonored,” and he would be called to rescue and restore her.

Churchill also had a sense of destiny. His biographer Martin Gilbert tells us in Continue to Pester, Nag and Bite: Churchill’s War Leadership:

At the centre of Churchill’s mental energies as war leader was his belief in himself – in his abilities and in his destiny. While at school, he had gathered a group of boys around him and explained his confidence that one day, far in the future, when London was under attack from an invader, he would be in command of the capital’s defenses. (p. 36)
And we have Churchill's own words describing what he felt the night of May 10, 1940 after the King asked him to form a government and serve as his Prime Minister:
I felt I was walking with destiny, and that all my past life had been but a preparation for this hour and for this trial.
Those words are so familiar, they need no citation. Many of us never read them without being moved.

I wish you all a blessed weekend.


Juan Williams on Fox re: Obama, Richardson et al

I want to comment on a few things NPR senior correspondent Juan Williams said tonight on Special Report with Brit Hume.

Asked whether the questions concerning Democratic presidential front-runner Sen. Barack Obama’s relationship with Rev. Jeremiah Wright would “go away,” Williams said: “No, largely because he hasn’t answered them.”

Williams nailed it.

Remarking on today’s endorsement of Obama by NM’s former Gov. Bill Richardson, Williams added that he thought former NC Sen. John Edwards would have said something about an endorsement by now, but “so far he hasn’t said a peep.”

I think that’s because while Edwards has already privately committed to Obama, the Obama people are holding off on a public announcement in order to “keep some ammo in reserve.”

Everyone who has been in combat knows you don’t want to fire all your rounds before the battle's over.

Obama and Sen. Hillary Clinton are in “close combat” right now, hence, IMO, Edwards’ silence.

Caution to Obama’s people: North Carolinians know Edwards can go back on his word. He’s like Sen. John (“whichever way the wind blows”) Kerry. I bet you know that, but I thought I'd mention it just in case.

About Juan Williams: I often disagree with him, but I find him far more civil, open to facts and reasonable than most liberal MSMers.

You can read more about him here.

Kerry’s “Because he’s a black man” video

Yesterday I posted New trouble for Obama. During an interview with the New Bedford Standard Times Sen. John Kerry said Sen. Barack Obama has the potential to “bridge the divide in religious extremism” because he is black.

Such a claim from a prominent supporter is not what Obama needs right now. That no doubt explains why Kerry's remarks have received so little MSM attention.

But the blogosphere is starting to pick up on them.

Obama said he cringed when he heard his white grandmother make racist remarks. Wait until he hears some of what Kerry said.

You can watch the video here or find it at the Huffington Post here.

Krauthammer Calls Obama on Wright

Of all the punditry I’ve read about the anti-American racist Rev. Jeremiah Wright and his close friend Sen. Barack Obama’s speech in Philadelphia Tuesday, Charles Krauthammer’s column is the best. Here’s its full text, after which I make a few comments below the star line.

Krauthammer begins - - -

The beauty of a speech is that you don't just give the answers, you provide your own questions. "Did I ever hear him make remarks that could be considered controversial while I sat in church? Yes." So said Barack Obama, in his Philadelphia speech about his pastor, friend, mentor and spiritual adviser of 20 years, Jeremiah Wright.

An interesting, if belated, admission. But the more important question is: which "controversial" remarks?

Wright's assertion from the pulpit that the U.S. government invented HIV "as a means of genocide against people of color"?

Wright's claim that America was morally responsible for Sept. 11 -- "chickens coming home to roost" -- because of, among other crimes, Hiroshima and Nagasaki? (Obama says he missed church that day. Had he never heard about it?)

What about the charge that the U.S. government (of Franklin Roosevelt, mind you) knew about Pearl Harbor, but lied about it? Or that the government gives drugs to black people, presumably to enslave and imprison them?

Obama condemns such statements as wrong and divisive, then frames the next question: "There will no doubt be those for whom my statements of condemnation are not enough. Why associate myself with Reverend Wright in the first place, they may ask? Why not join another church?"

But that is not the question.

The question is why didn't he leave that church? Why didn't he leave -- why doesn't he leave even today -- a pastor who thundered not once but three times from the pulpit (on a DVD the church proudly sells) "God damn America"?

Obama's 5,000-word speech, fawned over as a great meditation on race, is little more than an elegantly crafted, brilliantly sophistic justification of that scandalous dereliction.

His defense rests on two central propositions: (a) moral equivalence and (b) white guilt.

(a) Moral equivalence. Sure, says Obama, there's Wright, but at the other "end of the spectrum" there's Geraldine Ferraro, opponents of affirmative action and his own white grandmother, "who once confessed her fear of black men who passed by her on the street, and who on more than one occasion has uttered racial or ethnic stereotypes that made me cringe." But did she shout them in a crowded theater to incite, enrage and poison others?

"I can no more disown [Wright] than I can my white grandmother." What exactly was Grandma's offense? Jesse Jackson himself once admitted to the fear he feels from the footsteps of black men on the street. And Harry Truman was known to use epithets for blacks and Jews in private, yet is revered for desegregating the armed forces and recognizing the first Jewish state since Jesus's time. He never spread racial hatred. Nor did Grandma.

Yet Obama compares her to Wright. Does he not see the moral difference between the occasional private expression of the prejudices of one's time and the use of a public stage to spread racial lies and race hatred?

(b) White guilt. Obama's purpose in the speech was to put Wright's outrages in context. By context, Obama means history. And by history, he means the history of white racism. Obama says, "We do not need to recite here the history of racial injustice in this country," and then he proceeds to do precisely that. What lies at the end of his recital of the long train of white racial assaults from slavery to employment discrimination? Jeremiah Wright, of course.

This contextual analysis of Wright's venom, this extenuation of black hate speech as a product of white racism, is not new. It's the Jesse Jackson politics of racial grievance, expressed in Ivy League diction and Harvard Law nuance. That's why the speech made so many liberal commentators swoon: It bathed them in racial guilt while flattering their intellectual pretensions. An unbeatable combination.

But Obama was supposed to be new. He flatters himself as a man of the future transcending the anger of the past as represented by his beloved pastor. Obama then waxes rhapsodic about the hope brought by the new consciousness of the young people in his campaign. Then answer this, Senator: If Wright is a man of the past, why would you expose your children to his vitriolic divisiveness?

This is a man who curses America and who proclaimed moral satisfaction in the deaths of 3,000 innocents at a time when their bodies were still being sought at Ground Zero. It is not just the older congregants who stand and cheer and roar in wild approval of Wright's rants, but young people as well. Why did you give $22,500 just two years ago to a church run by a man of the past who infects the younger generation with precisely the racial attitudes and animus you say you have come unto us to transcend?



Krauthammer’s always informed. He can organize facts and identify the critical questions better than any pundit I know.

This column is just what America needs right now. It challenges Sen. Obama to do exactly what he must do if he wants the support of people other than MSM shills, the kind of Democrats who worry we may succeed in Iraq, and the academics and clergy who excuse, or worse, share Wright’s anti-Americanism and racism.

Hat tips to a number of you who had the care to call the column to my attention.

Nifong bankruptcy claim: the latest

The Raleigh N&O reports today on a bankruptcy administrator’s finding that the now disbarred Mike Nifong’s bankruptcy petition should not be “presumed to be an abuse.”

Let’s look at what I think are the most important parts of the story (in italics). I’ll comment in plain and you can follow-up on the thread. I’ll especially appreciate corrections if I get some things wrong. I’m not an attorney.

The N&O begins - - -

Mike Nifong, the former Durham district attorney who lost his job and law license for misconduct in the Duke lacrosse case, should not be kicked out of federal bankruptcy court for making too much money, a federal court administrator has concluded.

Michael D. West, a bankruptcy administrator, filed a statement in the case last week.

Nifong's case, West said in his statement, should not be "presumed to be an abuse" even though his annual income is $146,151, or $12,179 a month.

After West issued a statement in February that could have led to dismissal of Nifong's bankruptcy case, the former prosecutor and his attorney, Jim Craven, amended court documents to reclassify the potential debt as nonconsumer, thereby raising the allowable income level.

A statement is a recommendation, not a court ruling. …

Yes, it is a recommendation, not a court ruling. As attorneys have explained the matter to me, West’s finding will be taken into account by a bankruptcy judge who is not bound by it.

Also, while Nifong can’t be named as a defendant in a federal civil suit while he’s seeking bacnruptcy protection or subsequently if he’s granted it, he can be called as a witness in discovery proceedings related to civil suits in federal court both during the time he’s seeking protection and after such time as he may be granted bankruptcy protection.

The N&O article makes that clear.

IMO the most important sentence in the article is: Bankruptcy rules would not protect Nifong from financial claims if a judge finds that he acted willfully and maliciously in his prosecution of the players.

Attorneys for the plaintiffs have left no doubt that, if Nifong is denied bankruptcy protection, they’ll move swiftly to reinstate him in the suits. The court has said it's open to such reinstatement.

The entire N&O article is here.

Obama staff releases Clinton-Wright pic

At The Caucus, the NY Times’ political blog, there’s the following this morning. [excerpts]:

During one of the most difficult periods in the presidency of Bill Clinton, he addressed a group of clerics at an annual prayer breakfast in September 1998 just as the Starr report outlining his dalliance with Monica Lewinsky was about to be published.

Among those in attendance, was the Rev. Jeremiah Wright Jr., who is seen shaking hands with Mr. Clinton in a photograph provided today by the Obama campaign. ( You can view it here and return to this post when you’re ready and if your willing. JinC )

In providing the photograph to The New York Times, the Obama campaign appeared to be trying to divert some attention to the Clintons after a week in which Mr. Obama’s relationship with Mr. Wright has left him facing one of the biggest challenges of his campaign.

There is nothing in the picture or the note that addresses whether Mr. Clinton had met Mr. Wright prior to the White House meeting or whether he or Mrs. Clinton knew anything about Mr. Wright’s views. …
The Times goes on to quote a Clinton spokesperson who says President Clinton met each year with tens of thousands of people at thousands of events.

I don’t see much significance to Clinton’s White House prayer breakfast invite to Rev. Wright.

I only call the Times story to your attention because it reproduces part of the Times' story of the 1998 prayer breakfast. That's worth reading, especially by those of you who have dimming memories of just how masterfully Bill Clinton in his prime could play an audience. From the 1998 story by former Times reporter James Bennet:
With tears in his eyes, President Clinton told a roomful of clerics this morning that he had sinned, speaking just hours before the world was presented a painstaking account by prosecutors of when, where and how.

Addressing an annual prayer breakfast at the White House, Mr. Clinton drew on the New Testament, the Yom Kippur liturgy and Ernest Hemingway as he made his most abject confession yet of personal failure, while declaring that he would defend and redeem his Presidency.

‘’I don’t think there is a fancy way to say that I have sinned,'’ he admitted softly, saying that after resisting expressions of contrition he had reached ‘’the rock-bottom truth of where I am.'’

For the first time, Mr. Clinton also asked for forgiveness from Monica S. Lewinsky, on the day that the details of their intimate relationship — details that he had denied and struggled to suppress — poured out through the Internet, whose wonders as a tool of communication he has so often extolled. …
I wonder why he thought Monica needed forgiveness.

Did she forget to order extra cheese on the pizza she delivered to the Oval Office?

Here’s the Times’ article in full.

New trouble for Obama

The last thing Sen. Barack Obama needs right now is a prominent supporter claiming his skin color makes him uniquely qualified to be President.

But that apparently is just what 2004 Democratic presidential nominee Sen. John Forbes Kerry has done.

From MSNBC’s FirstTalk [excerpt]:

Speaking of the race speech from Tuesday, Obama supporter John Kerry gave an interview with a local N.H. paper, reports NBC/NJ's Mike Memoli.

In it, Kerry said the color of Obama's skin makes him uniquely qualified for president and even reach out to the moderate Islam world.

During an interview with the New Bedford Standard Times, portions of which were posted on YouTube, John Kerry says bluntly that Barack Obama has the potential to “bridge the divide in religious extremism” because he is black.

“It would be such an affirmation of who we say we are as a people if we can elect an African American president, a young leader who is obviously a visionary and got an ability to inspire people,” Kerry said. “It will give us an ability to talk to those countries, to in some cases go around their dictator leaders to the people and inspire the people in ways that we can’t otherwise.”
But wait, folks, it gets much worse.
The Massachusetts senator said Obama has an ability to perhaps even empower moderate Islam “to be able to stand up against the racial misinterpretation of a legitimate religion.”

Asked by a reporter what gave Obama the credibility to do so, Kerry said, “Because he’s African American. Because he’s a black man, who has come from a place of oppression and repression through the years in our own country. We only broke the back of civil rights, Jim Crow, in the 1960s here. Everybody in the world knows this is a recent journey for America too. And everybody still knows that issues of skin and discrimination still exist.”
Let’s see how this story plays out.

If you spot something about it, please comment and let me know.

Meanwhile, can we agree Kerry should check himself into Massachusetts General for treatment of his latest outbreak of chronic cluelessness?

If he does, should Geraldine Ferraro come visit him or just send flowers?

MSNBC FirstTalk’s entire post is here.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

The Churchill Series - Mar. 20, 2008

(One of a series of weekday posts about the life of Winston S. Churchill.)

It was on June 26, 1897, a beautiful English summer day in Bath, that Winston Churchill, then a twenty-one year old Army subaltern, delivered his first public speech.

It took place in a tent set up amidst a holiday fair that was sponsored by a Conservative Partygroup, The Primrose League, which Churchill’s father, Lord Randolph, had helped found.

We’re told the speech was well received; and perhaps some day we can talk about what Churchill said.

But right now, let’s give Churchill a chance to tell us something about the setting and introduction he received.

Churchill was in his fifties when he recalled the events with gently mocking humor and a wink to us, who he knew understood that by age twenty-one, he was already familiar with the fluff and foam of politics and eager to swim in its waters:

(When) a bell began to ring, we repaired to our tent and mounted the platform (and) as soon as about a hundred persons had rather reluctantly (gathered) the Chairman rose and in a brief speech introduced me to the audience.

At Sandhurst and in the Army compliments are few and far between, and flattery of subalterns does not exist.

If you won the Victoria Cross or the Grand National Steeplechase or the Army Heavyweight Boxing Championship, you would only expect to receive from your friends warnings against having your head turned by your good luck

In politics it was apparently quite different. Here the butter was laid on with a trowel. …

As (regards) my adventures in Cuba, on the Indian frontier and up the Nile, I could only pray the regiment would never hear of what the Chairman said. When he descanted upon my “bravery with the sword and brilliancy with the pen” I feared that the audience would cry out “Oh, rats!” or something similar.

I was astonished and relieved to find that they lapped it all up as if it were gospel.
I bet we’re all smiling.

BTW - Descanted is new to me. My online dictionary says: 1) An ornamental melody or counterpoint sung or played above a theme. 2) A discussion or discourse on a theme.
Background from Martin Gilbert, Churchill: A Life. (pgs. 71-2,77)

Churchill's "recollection" is found on pg. 203 of My Early Life.

Will Obama answer these two questions?

At Huffington Post Lanny Davis, former Special Counsel to President Bill Clinton, says Sen. Barack Obama’s speech was, at times, “great, even brilliant.”

Davis also thinks Obama’s close friend and long-time pastor Rev. Jeremiah Wright’s “sermons [are] filled with hate words and bigoted generalizations based on race (in this case, all Whites). One could even call them racist. His remarks post-9/11 were nothing short of reckless and unforgiveable.”

Davis believes that Obama doesn’t share what Davis correctly calls Wright’s “hateful” and “bigoted feelings.”

Still, after a careful study of Obama’s speech, Davis has two questions for Obama:

1. If a white minister preached sermons to his congregation and had used the "N" word and used rhetoric and words similar to members of the KKK, would you support a Democratic presidential candidate who decided to continue to be a member of that congregation?

2. Would you support that candidate if, after knowing of or hearing those sermons, he or she still appointed that minister to serve on his or her "Religious Advisory Committee" of his or her presidential campaign?
Those are excellent questions.

Are there any reports Obama plans to answer them?

Davis’ entire post is here.

Obama just another pol?

Last October an AP story included this:

"The truth is that right after 9/11 I had a pin," Obama said. "Shortly after 9/11, particularly because as we're talking about the Iraq war, that became a substitute for I think true patriotism, which is speaking out on issues that are of importance to our national security.

"I decided I won't wear that pin on my chest," he said in the interview. "Instead, I'm going to try to tell the American people what I believe will make this country great, and hopefully that will be a testament to my patriotism."
Ok, I had no problem with that.

But did you notice all those flags surrounding him Tuesday when he gave his speech in Philadelphia in which he didn’t answer the questions he needed to answer about his relationship with the anti-American and racist Rev. Jeremiah Wright?

I count eight of them; four on each side of the podium and in “camera view.”

WSJ’s James Taranto at Best of the Web noticed them and commented:
We didn't write about this back in October, because the whole kerfuffle was, at its root, silly. There are many ways of expressing patriotism, and if wearing a flag pin is not Obama's idiom, who cares? …

But in light of his October comment, what are we to make of his extravagant use of the Stars and Stripes on Tuesday?

If a flag pin on a lapel is "a substitute for true patriotism," is that not also true of eight flags on a stage as a backdrop to a political speech? Obama proclaimed himself too good for cheap symbolism, but resorted to it the first time he faced a real crisis. Is he really any different from the run-of-the-mill politician?
When a national leader delivers a speech, I like to see an American flag displayed in the backdrop.

That said, I think flag display can be overdone by pols and others, as when at a national convention we see dozens in the backdrop as the nominee strides to the rostrum.

As for Obama’s use of eight flags Tuesday in Philadelphia, I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt on the question of whether he was engaging in cheap symbolism.

Now what about Taranto’s question: “Is he really any different from the run-of-the-mill politician?”

I’m not ready to give my answer to it.

But I know that as a result of the Wright's sermon tapes breaking through the MSM "filter," millions of Americans are now asking that question.

Obama and his staff knew if he emerged as the Democratic presidential nominee, it was inevitable people would take a closer look at him and ask whether he was just another pol.

But in their worst scenarios did they ever envision people asking that question in the context of the Wright tapes?

They must know tonight that for all the MSM spinning ( Did you hear Chris Matthews effuse about “the greatest” speech “ever given” on race? ), Obama’s speech didn’t get them into a “post-Wright” world.

Here are the AP story and Taranto’s post.

The N&O's Saunders: “an embarrassment.”

A few weeks ago, Raleigh News & Observer columnist Barry Saunders reacted to the filing of a civil rights violation suit by members of the Duke 2006 Men's lacrosse team.

Among other injustices, the players were targets of a Durham Police produced CrimesStoppers Wanted poster which told the public “horrific” crimes of rape and sodomy were committed at a party the players hosted. New Black Panther Party members came to Durham and threatened the players while Saunders said nothing.

Saunders, ignoring his support during the Duke/Durham frame-up attempt of the obviously wrong, even criminal, acts of disbarred Mike Nifong and others, "found his voice" when the suit complaint was filed [excerpts from his Feb. 26 column]:

… Oh, their wittle feelings have been hurt.

As a Durham resident, I should file suit against the lacrosse team because of the emotional distress various members of it have inflicted upon the city of Durham and, by extension, me.

A News & Observer story from 2006 reported that nearly one-third of the players on that year's team had been charged with various offenses such as underage drinking, public urination, and open container violations. ...

Y'all guys ought to be ashamed, because unless you wear your lacrosse jerseys to job interviews or on first dates, no one but family members and friends know who the heck you are. …
Today, Saunders writes about Rev. Jeremiah Wright, close friend of Sen. Barack Obama.

What does Nifong-enabler Saunders think of a pastor who shouts “God damn America,” justified the terrorists 9/11 attacks which killed thousands of Americans and citizens, and who’s repeatedly delivered racist screeds from the pulpit?

Saunders approves of Wright and what he said.[xcerpts from today's column]:
Man, y'all need to leave that man's preacher alone.

Judging by the backlash against Barack Obama for things his former pastor said, you'd think the Rev. Jeremiah Wright was the first person to rail against our government.
Saunders then says, correctly, that white preaches have said things as awful as what Wright's said.

But instead of condemning the preachers of both races for such statements, Saunders praises Wright's hateful and outrageous statements. Worse, he tells readers they should seek out pastors just like Wright.
Since Wright has tilled no new soil with his preachments, the question becomes, "Does a black preacher have the right to say the same things as a white preacher?"

No, he doesn't have that right. He has an obligation to say those things. And more.

Much of what Wright was quoted as saying was strident and, at the least, undiplomatic.

Who, though, wants a diplomatic preacher, one content to mouth pious irrelevancies and sanctimonious trivialities from the pulpit? …

Balanced news sources have reported that Wright was just as scathing toward the shortcomings of blacks as he was toward those of whites or the government. He was well known for saying things that made both the government and his parishioners uncomfortable, so uncomfortable that Obama acknowledged confronting him after some sermons. ( Obama repeatedly denied until his Tuesday speech that he’d even heard Wright making the anti-American and racist remarks that are now at issue. I posted on that here. JinC)

That's good. Here's a tip:

If your pastor never says anything to make you feel uncomfortable, you probably need to find a new one.
Over the years, I’ve heard many blacks here in the Raleigh/Durham area describe Saunders as “an embarrassment.”

Who can’t understand their feeling that way?

Saunders' Feb. 26 column is here; today's is here.

N&O, H-S Duke Hoax & Obama editorials

In Mar. 2006 Durham Police sought a “fishing expedition” court order directing 46 white males to submit to police DNA testing in connection with a black woman’s charge she was gang-raped by three white man at a party the police knew some of the 46 men had not even attended.

Attorneys not connected with the case immediately questioned the order's constitutionality. Thoughtful citizens asked why police were seeking DNA from citizens they knew weren’t at the party and why, 10 days after the alleged crime, the only description of the alleged attackers the police could provide was “white male lacrosse team members.”

Notwithstanding any of that, the Raleigh News & Observer and the Durham Herald Sun reversed and tossed aside their traditional opposition to “fishing expedition” DNA orders and “racial profiling.” They applauded what the police were doing.

N&O editorial page editor Steve Ford and H-S editor Bob Ashley, who heads both the news and editorial sides of the paper, were then and remained for many months cheerleaders of what fair-minded people quickly recognized was an elaborate frame-up attempt led by a white DA seeking black votes in tight primary and election campaigns.

Today both papers abandon another position they frequently tout to readers: “keep race out of politics.”

The H-S, which just four days ago castigated Geraldine Ferraro for what is said wanting “to inject race into the campaign,” today tells readers [excerpt]:

In the most important speech of his historic presidential campaign, Sen. Barack Obama stared into television cameras on Tuesday and spoke from the heart about race. …

The son of an African man and white American woman, Obama talked candidly about this nation's past and present racial sins. There has never been a presidential candidate better equipped to discuss the complex racial dynamics of America.

Still, it was strange to hear such talk about race from a candidate whom veterans of the civil rights movement have criticized for dodging the issue.

Obama has tried to keep the focus off race and on issues he believes are of concern to all people. This week, he learned that just wasn't realistic.
Like the H-S, the N&O’s editorial gushes approval of Obama’s speech as the leads make obvious:
The race dialogue

Barack Obama’s response to inflammatory comments by his minister could open an unprecedented discussion on race
Folks, I’m all for having as open and as honest a discussion of race during this campaign and afterwards.

That’s one of the reason’s I’ve spoken up for Ferraro in a number of posts including Ferraro's truth & the H-S's race pandering.

But I sure don’t like the hypocrisy and race pandering of newspaper editors like the N&O’s Steve Ford and the H-S’s Bob Ashley who condemn those who, as Ashley put it, were injecting “race into the campaign,” but now praise Obama when he does it. And does it, by the way, in a speech in which he avoided the questions he needed to answer about himself.

The N&O editorial's here and the H-S editorial's here.

Your turn.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

The Churchill Series - Mar. 19, 2008

(One of a series of weekday posts about the life of Winston S. Churchill.)

In 1899, the twenty-four year old Winston Churchill, a war veteran, published author, and since boyhood a keen student of politics, visited Conservative Party headquarters in London.

If you’re telling yourself, “I’ll bet the meeting had something to do with Churchill wanting party support for a seat in Parliament,” you’re right.

At Churchill’s request, Fitz Roy Stewart, a distant relative and minor party functionary, had arranged for him to meet with party leaders.

Party Manager Middleton, nicknamed “The Skipper,” assured Churchill the party would find a suitable opportunity for him.

We know all this because in 1930 Churchill, then age fifty-five, tells us about it in My Early Life, his autobiography of his first twenty-seven years.

And we know something else about the visit because Churchill, with tongue-in-check and a wink to readers, tells us what happened as he was leaving party headquarters:

On the way out I had another talk with Fitz Roy Stewart. My eye lighted upon a large book on his table on the cover of which was a label bearing the inscription “SPEAKERS WANTED.”

I gazed upon this with wonder. Fancy that! Speakers were wanted and there was a bulky book of applications.

Now I had always wanted to make a speech; but I had never on any occasion great or small been invited or indeed allowed to do so. …

So I said to Fitz Roy Stewart, “Tell me about this. Do you mean to say there are a lot of meetings which want speakers?”

“Yes,” he replied; “the Skipper told me I was not to let you go without getting something out of you. Can’t I book you for one?”

I was deeply agitated. On the one hand I felt immense eagerness; on the other the keenest apprehension. However, in life’s steeplechase one must always jump the fences when they come.

Regaining such composure as I could and assuming an indifference contrary to my feelings, I replied that perhaps if all conditions were suitable and there was a real desire to hear me, I might be willing to accede to his request.

He opened the book.
One of the delights of reading My Early Life is coming upon passages in which Churchill poked fun at himself knowing his readers would smile along with him.
Winston S. Churchill, My Early Years. Eland, 2002 (pgs. 199-201)

A “step forward for women?”

Agence France-Presse reports the following, after which I comment below the star line:

The Middle East's first women-only hotel was officially opened in the capital of the ultra-conservative kingdom of Saudi Arabia on Tuesday.

Prince Sultan bin Salman bin Abdul Aziz, secretary general of the Supreme Commission for Tourism, attended the inauguration of the Luthan Hotel and Spa in Riyadh.

Saudi Arabia, which applies a rigorous doctrine of Islam known as Wahhabism, strictly enforces the separation of the sexes in public, and the 25-room hotel said it can offer its female-only guests 150 types of spa treatments as well as fine dining and conference facilities.

Princess Madawi Bint Mohammad Bin Abdullah, who chairs the board of partners that set up the hotel, said the project was an important step forward for women in the kingdom.

"One of the aims of the Luthan ... is to support the achievements of women in general and particularly those in Saudi Arabia," the statement quoted her as saying at a news conference during the hotel's official opening.

Women in Saudi Arabia face a host of constraints. They are banned from driving, forced to cover from head to toe in public, prohibited from mixing with men other than relatives and prevented from travelling without written permission from their male guardian.


Agence France_Presse is one of Europe’s most leftist news organizations.

It often reports on such steps “forward for woman” in Saudi Arabia.

But I can’t recall a single instance when AGF reported the reaction of one or a few feminist leaders in France or America to its stories reporting steps “forward for women” in Saudi Arabia.

However, I can recall many times when I’ve been in France and read or heard AGF reports in which feminists on both sides of the pond expressed their “outrage” at the Catholic Chruch’s refusal to ordain women as priests.

ABC: Obama “told a different story”

Most liberal/leftist news organizations, including the Raleigh News & Observer, are ignoring the fact that yesterday Sen. Barack Obama contradicted his previous denials concerning what he knew about his Rev. Jeremiah Wright’s virulent anti-Americanism and racism. But ABC News is reporting it. What follows is some of its latest story with my comments below the star line.

From ABC News [excerpt]:

Until yesterday,[Sen.] Obama said the only thing controversial he knew about Rev. Wright was his stand on issues relating to Africa, abortion and gay marriage.

"I don't think my church is actually particularly controversial," Obama said at a community meeting in Nelsonville, Ohio, earlier this month.

"He has said some things that are considered controversial because he's considered that part of his social gospel; so he was one of the leaders in calling for divestment from South Africa and some other issues like that," Obama said on March 2.

His initial reaction to the initial ABC News broadcast of Rev. Wright's sermons denouncing the U.S. was that he had never heard his pastor of 20 years make any comments that were anti-U.S. until the tape was played on air.

But yesterday, he told a different story.

"Did I ever hear him make remarks that could be considered controversial while I sat in church? Yes," he said in his speech yesterday in Philadelphia.

Obama did not say what he heard that he considered "controversial," and the campaign has yet to answer repeated requests for dates on which the senator attended Rev. Wright's sermons over the last 20 years. …

The entire ABC report is here.

It tells us something about the growing power of the Internet that MSM news organizations are being forced to report, albeit with much downplaying and withholding, on Wright’s anti-Americanism and racism; and on what Obama knew about Wright, when he knew it, and why he’s only now distancing himself from Wright.

Twenty years ago, most Americans wouldn’t be hearing about this most important story in any form.

Even with a few journalists and talk radio hosts such as Sean Hannity reporting the story for almost a year, it didn’t break through the MSM “filter” until Wright’s sermon video tapes started appearing at You Tube, after which Fox News and ABC News began reporting on them.

I would have expected Fox to report the story because of its commitment to fair and balanced news reporting.

I’m surprised and delighted ABC News is also out front on the story.
It’s reporter, Brian Ross, deserves a lot of praise for having the courage and tenacity to dig on this story when most of his MSM peers wanted to cover it up and are doing all they can now to minimize it.

Hat tip to Anon commenter who alerted me to this latest in a string of excellent stories by Ross who was assisted on this one by Avni Petal

AP: “Obama Grabs Race Issue”

Almost all major news organizations are resonating the Obama campaign’s meme he delivered yesterday “a major speech about race.”

I don’t entirely agree with that.

Obama was forced to make yesterday’s speech because of the outcry in response to circulation of sermon tapes of his friend and pastor of almost 20 years, Rev. Jeremiah Wright. The tapes revealed Wright frequently delivered virulently anti-American and racist screeds for the pulpit.

The following excerpts from an AP report suggest how tough MSM is finding it to report what’s really at issue:

[In the past] seven weeks since, race has mattered more and more in[Sen. Barack Obama's] presidential struggle against Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, threatening to dent his lead.

On Tuesday, Obama addressed it head-on in a speech that bluntly described a history of injustice to blacks, acknowledged the resentments of whites, and ended with the hope that his campaign can help heal racial divisions.
You wouldn’t know from that paragraph that Obama and his campaign wanted that speech to do two things: 1) distance the candidate from Wright; and 2) quiet public unrest about his association with the pastor. Surely a man as smart as Obama who plans to campaign in the fall in support of affirmative action and other forms of racial favoritism doesn’t really believe he can put race behind him except in the sense that most MSM will pretend its not there.

The AP continues.
Like any full-blown discussion of the sensitive topic, Obama's speech carries risks. Some whites may feel he did not do enough to distance himself from a fiery Chicago preacher who has depicted the United States as a racist society. The speech also could unleash wider discussions of race in the campaign rather than reduce its role as a "distraction" from more important issues, a term Obama used several times.
Wright’s anti-Americanism and racism are downplayed here as he’s described as “fiery.” Other news accounts use “controversial.”

I’ve yet to see one MSM news story that came right out and called them anti-American and racist.

Can you miss the contradiction between Obama saying he needed to deliver a major speech on race and not wanting it to become a “distraction” from more important issues?

In his speech he tried, I think at times very effectively, to point out how important and enduring are issues surrounding race. But to repeat somewhat: He will again and again in the fall support the continuation and expansion of racial preference programs.

Obama, his campaign people and his MSM flacks are talking out of both sides of their mouths.

There’s nothing unusual about that. Pols and their pals do it often. So do most of us.

I just don’t want to let myself be fooled.

How about you?

The AP’s story’s here.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

The Churchill Series - Mar. 18, 2008

(One of a series of weekday posts on the life of Winston S. Churchill.)

In historian John Keegan’s biography, Winston Churchill, Keegan quotes a passage from Churchill’s autobiography of his first 27 years, My Early Life.

Churchill tells us what happened when he got to the Latin portion of the Harrow entrance exam :

I wrote my name at the top of the page. I wrote down the number of the question, “1.” After much reflection I put a bracket around it, thus, “(1).”

But thereafter I could not think of anything connected with it that was either relevant or true.

Incidentally there arrived from nowhere in particular a blot and several smudges. I gazed for two whole hours at this sad spectacle; and then merciful ushers collected up my piece of foolscap and carried it up to the Headmaster’s table. (pgs. 25-26 in Keegan)
Churchill never learned much Latin at Harrow, into to which he was admitted most likely because he was Lord Randolph Churchill’s son.

But he said long afterwards that he'd learn there the structure and uses of the English sentence “which is a good thing indeed.” And as later used by Churchill, it became a powerful weapon in the cause of world freedom.

Why Obama outed his white grandmother

James Taranto at WSJ’s Best of the Web Today begins by giving the real reason for Obama’s “major speech on race.”

It was, of course, an attempt to rescue his campaign from the revelation that his so-called spiritual mentor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, espouses a virulently anti-American and anti-white worldview called "black liberation theology."
Amen to that.

I wish Obama and his MSM supporters would admit it.

Taranto goes on to quote the part of Obama’s speech that bothered him the most:
I can no more disown [Wright] than I can my white grandmother--a woman who helped raise me, a woman who sacrificed again and again for me, a woman who loves me as much as she loves anything in this world, but a woman who once confessed her fear of black men who passed by her on the street, and who on more than one occasion has uttered racial or ethnic stereotypes that made me cringe.
Taranto explains why that bothered him:
Our first thought was that it was pretty low of Obama to exploit his (still living) grandmother in this way. Is it really necessary for the whole world to know about her private expressions of prejudice? Doesn't simple decency dictate that a public figure treat embarrassing facts about loved ones with discretion?

Obama was trying to accomplish something very specific by dragging his "white grandmother" into this political mess. He was trying to diminish Wright's hateful theology by implying that it too is a private matter. Said Obama:
For the men and women of Rev. Wright's generation, the memories of humiliation and doubt and fear have not gone away; nor has the anger and the bitterness of those years. …
And occasionally it finds voice in the church on Sunday morning, in the pulpit and in the pews.
Note how Obama elides the difference between a comment at the "kitchen table" and a sermon delivered to a congregation of thousands and recorded on DVD. ...
Taranto’s entire post is here.


I agree with Taranto. Only he said it better than I could.

If Obama meant to tell us some whites, like some blacks, and some people of every other skin coloration are racists, fine. That’s true.

But why’d Obama have to bring up his grandma? There were plenty of other ways to make his point.

Why not mention one or more white hate groups or David Duke?

Most of you know the answer to that question.

Doing that would make it obvious Obama’s close friend and pastor was not “a beloved religious leader” who now and then put a few controversial “snippets" in his sermons.

Obama’s speech was no Houston

I though Senator Obama was sincere. As you’d expect, the speech was well delivered. It had moments of grace, candor and poignancy.

But the speech didn’t do what it needed to do: it wasn’t Obama’s Houston.

John Kennedy knew what he had to do in Houston was answer tough questions.

So he went before a not very friendly audience of mostly Protestant ministers, made a brief speech and then answered their questions about his Catholicism.

Obama had to answer tough and important questions today and he ducked them.

He arranged to deliverer a lengthy speech to a very friendly, invited audience and talked around the tough questions.

Nothing Obama said today really explains why he remained in a church whose pastor is so virulently anti-American. There are black churches that offer everything Trinity UCC offers, but without the anti-Americanism.

Obama never explained why he didn’t denounce until just recently his pastor’s Lifetime Achievement Award to the anti-Semite and anti-white Minister Louis Farrakhan.

His speech will no doubt draw praise from his supporters, but Americans whose votes he needs to win the presidency will continue to ask questions and wonder about his judgment, especially now as we learn today from ABC News of more outrageous and hateful statements by Rev. Wright.

That's my first take. I'll say more tonight.

What are your thoughts?

The full text of the speech is here.

Durham's Mayor can act now

Today’s Raleigh News & Observer reports:

Mayor Bill Bell on Monday night called for a formal investigation into whether a teenager accused of killing two college students should have been in jail when the crimes occurred.

He hopes the answers can help target the reform efforts being made in the wake of the shooting deaths of Eve Carson, president of the UNC-Chapel Hill student body, and Abhijit Mahato, a Duke University graduate student. …
I urge Mayor Bell to read Chronicle columnist Kristin Butler's column today.

Butler lays out in detail the judicial and criminal justice system ineptitude or worse which enabled the two young men accused in the Carson and Mahato murders to roam free when they should have been in jail.

The Mayor can do three other things today without waiting for a “formal investigation.”

One, ask to repost and do a follow-up to its July 6, 2006 story: “Gang-related shooting kills 1, wounds 3”

The story included this:
Local authorities tried early this year to broker a truce between rival gangs. But a rape investigation involving the Duke University lacrosse team has been the focus of the police department in recent months, and the truce fell apart.
The public needs to know more about all the time the DA’s office and DPD have spent on the frame-up attempt and its cover-up. Durham will be a less safe city for years because of what prosecutors and investigators did in response to Crystal Mangum’s lies.

Two, read a post, Duke lacrosse: Johnsville’s Questions , I published in Sept, 2006. It began:
Johnsville News has Nifong questions. JN starts off:
Durham has real problems - gang problems. How are Mike Nifong and the Durham Police Department able to justify in their minds expending the time and effort on prosecuting a hoax against three innocent lacrosse players, when gang violence is erupting in the Durham courthouse? ….

Nifong is spending his time filing ridiculous legal motions in the Duke case about telephone surveys that involve his wife. Last Friday he spends basically the entire day at courthouse on his hoax. This doesn't count Nifong's countless hours of case related preparation, time obsessing about the case, and time spent dealing with at least seven outstanding defense attorneys.
Three, Mayor Bell needs to tell us now: a) how much time he’s spent in activities related to the frame-up attempt and its cover-up; b) what those activities were and are; and c) whether he agrees Durham would be a safer city today if there’d never been a frame-up attempt.

The entire N&O story is here, Butler’s column’s here, there’s no link available for the story, and here’s Duke lacrosse: Johnsville’s Questions.

Hat tips: Walter Abbott and Baldo

Obama's challenge

By now even people who get their news through liberal/leftist news organizations' “filters” know Sen. Obama’s close friend and pastor Rev. Jeremiah Wright said:

"We have supported state terrorism against the Palestinians and black South Africans, and now we are indignant because the stuff we have done overseas is now brought right back to our own front yards. America's chickens are coming home to roost.”
Wright delivered that pulpit pronouncement just six days after the terrorists’ Sept. 11 attacks on New York and Washington.

Obama insists he didn’t know anything about Wright’s awful justification for the terrorists’ slaughter of Americans and citizens from many other nations.

Obama says he wasn’t in church that Sunday.

He also wants us to believe his absence from church that Sunday explains why he didn’t know Wright shouted in the same sermon:
“We bombed Hiroshima, we bombed Nagasaki, and we nuked far more than the thousands in New York and the Pentagon, and we never batted an eye."
Obama’s MSM supporters have done their best to ignore or radically downplay the many virulently anti-American and racist statements Wright’s made over the years.

Newsweek , for example, refers to them as “snippets.” And don’t call the NY Times unless you have dirt on Sen. McCain or a national security secret to disclose.

But the story hasn’t gone away, thanks to some fact-based reporting by, among others, ABC News, Fox News and many bloggers. And "snippets” are easily accessed at You Tube where everyone can see and hear for themselves Rev. Wright in all his froth and fury.

So today Obama will give a speech he never wanted to give.

I don’t doubt Obama’s speech will “satisfy” his MSM supporters, the Democratic base, and people who nodded approvingly when Wright gave a Lifetime Achievement Award to Nation of Islam Minister Louis Farrakhan.

But can he satisfy the rest of us?

Can he convince us he never knew?

Or, if he did know, can he convince us to trust him “to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States?”

I hope some way he can, but I doubt it.

What about you?

Monday, March 17, 2008

The Churchill Sereis - Mar. 17, 2008

(One of a series of weekday posts about the life of Winston S. Churchill.)

Churchill loved his baths. It was a rare day when he didn't take at least one.

Then came the day in post-war Britain when Churchill, leading the opposition in the Commons, heard the government's Minister of Fuel and Power, Hugh Gaitskell, suggest to the House that the government encourage people to take fewer baths as an energy saving measure.

Gaitskell told the House:

"Personally, I have never had a great many baths myself, and I can assure those who are in the habit of having a great many that it does not make a great difference to their health if they have less."
Well, you can guess how Churchill responded to that:
"When Ministers of the Crown speak like this on behalf of HM's Government, the Prime Minister and his friends have no need to wonder why they are getting increasingly into bad odour.

"I have even asked myself, when meditating upon these points, whether you, Mr. Speaker, would admit the word 'lousy' as a Parliamentary expression in referring to the Administration, provided, of course, it was not intended in a contemptuous sense but purely as one of factual narration."
If you'll forgive a pun, the House showered Gaitskell with laughter.
The quotes and background are found at The Churchill Centre's Speeches and Quotes

Ferraro's truth & Durham H-S's race pandering

Folks, I’m sending the following email to Durham Herald Sun editor Bob Ashley. He edits both the H-S’s news and editorial sides. I invite his response, but don’t really expect one since he’s never responded on the record.


Dear Editor Ashley:

Re: H-S editorial “Playing with 'What if?'” (3/16/08)

You distorted former Democratic vice-presidential candidate Geraldine Ferraro's recent remarks that race and gender can sometimes convey an advantage.

You also inadvertently helped prove the truth of what Ferraro said when you asked: “If she were a man, would Fritz Mondale have chosen her as his running mate?”

Of course not!

From the beginning Ferraro’s said the reason Mondale chose her was she’s a woman.

That proves her point.

You say: “People are who they are, and their identities are all wrapped up in many components, including age, experience, family history, genetic predisposition and, yes, race and gender. We can't take one of those threads, unravel it and try to predict what the person would be like.”

But you know Ferraro didn’t predict what Obama would be like.

She offered her opinion that Obama’s emerged as the front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination because of the response of Democratic primary voters to, in part, his ethnicity.

You say: “The truth is that a lot of people want to inject race into the campaign, and Ferraro is apparently one.”

That’s disingenuous.

You know race is a huge factor in the Dems’ presidential primaries; and that Obama so far is the beneficiary of that.

Throughout her public life Sen. Clinton has received overwhelming and often passionate support from blacks and upper-income whites. They’ve supported her despite her involvement in a series of scandals.

But their support largely evaporated this year.

In Democratic primaries, Obama’s winning on average about 90% of the black vote and a majority of the upper-income white vote. As a result, he’s now the front-runner for the nomination.

Would that be the case if everything about Sens. Clinton and Obama and their platforms were the same except that Obama’s father was a white Kenyan instead of a black Kenyan?

You’re sliming Ferraro because she gave the honest and obvious answer to that question.

Your editorial reminded me of the way the Herald Sun so often slimed and race-baited following the lies of Crystal Mangum and Mike Nifong.

Talk about injecting race into something!

Would the H-S have played the Duke Hoax story the way you did if Mangum was white and the Duke lacrosse players black?

Wouldn’t you have asked questions about why all 46 black students were being ordered to submit to police DNA testing and face and torso photographing, when the police knew some weren’t even at the party?

And wouldn’t you have objected to the CASTRATE rally, the vigilante poster and the loud and virulent racism of many Duke professors if they’d been targeting blacks instead of whites?

Would you have been so fulsome in your praise for Nifong if it had been black students he was lying about and attempting to frame?

C’mon, Editor Ashley, be honest.

Inject race into a campaign? Ferraro’s not doing that.

But Mike Nifong, the Herald Sun and most of the liberal/leftist media all injected race into the Duke frame-up campaign.

Ferraro is truth-telling.

Your editorial attacking her is just the latest instance of H-S race pandering.

If you care to respond, I'll publish it.


John in Carolina

Newsweek’s Obama-Wright story

You Tube and blogs have made it much harder for liberal/leftist news organizations to ignore stories that don’t help their candidates. So they find themselves relying more often now on those old journalism standbys: underreporting and “softening” what they’re forced to report.

We see those standbys at work in Newsweek’s Trying Times for Trinity , its story concerning Obama and his close friend and pastor of almost 20 years, Trinity’s UCC’s Rev. Jeremiah Wright [extract]:

Last Thursday, snippets of a few of Wright's more incendiary sermons circulated online, including one in which the pastor calls out Hillary Clinton for being part of the white establishment—"Hillary ain't never been called a n–––––"—and another in which the pastor says, "God damn America … for killing innocent people." He also calls the 9/11 attacks "America's chickens coming home to roost."

The next day Obama released a statement about Wright on the Huffington Post. "I vehemently disagree and strongly condemn the statements that have been the subject of this controversy," he wrote. He said further that he hadn't been in the room when the offending comments were made and that he and his family looked forward to continuing their relationship to the church through its new pastor.

Later, a spokesman announced that Wright would no longer serve the campaign in any advisory capacity.
The quotes you’ve just read are all Newsweek provides from Wright’s “more incendiary sermons.” Talk about “snippets!”

Nowhere in the article does Newsweek say Wright has over the years laced his sermons with extended anti-American and racists remarks.

Newsweek doesn’t mention the question millions of Americans are asking themselves: How could Obama not know of the kind of statements Wright made not just “ a few” times, but often, and not in just in “a room” but from the pulpit?

But Newsweek does serve up a lot about what a really great guy Rev. Wright is. As Newsweek describes him, Wright sounds like the sort of clergyman the Dems should get to deliver one of the invocations at their national convention this August.

Now, what about Wright’s friendship with Nation of Islam Minister Louis Farrakhan, you may be asking?

Well, that all has to do with Rev. Wright’s “unconditional love.” At least it does the way Newsweek spins it.

Read the whole story here. It’s a masterpiece of underreporting and “softening.”

People who rely for news on Newsweek and lib/Dem media outfits won’t know much about Wright’s anti-Americanism and racism.

So they won’t know enough to ask themselves what it means that Obama chose such a person as his spiritual counselor and close friend.

And that’s the point of Newsweek’s Trying Times for Trinity.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Obama & “the forces of division”

A JinC Regular comments with fair questions for Sen. Obama concerning his close friend and Pastor Rev. Jeremiah Wright’s anti-Americanism and racist screeds.

The comment:

If Obama didn't quite catch Jeremiah Wright's meaning when he was a member of his church for 20 years, ya think he's gonna be able to deal with people who want to turn America into a flaming pyre?

So what if Obama meets our enemies and talks with them, like Chavez?

He sat in the pews listening to a man who wants God to damn America!

Does anyone think he'll disagree with Chavez? With Ghadaffi? With the leadership of Hamas? With Ahmadinejad?

If Obama was asleep when Pastor Wright made his infamous commentaries, who thinks he'll stay engaged in staff meetings, in NSC meetings, in meetings with foreign friends and enemies?

Still, anyone who has seen Obama in action on the campaign trail could not possibly believe that Obama was sleeping in the pews, nor misunderstand the character of the commentary!

He bought it, he swallowed it and he believed it: now the chickens have come home to roost - on his own head!
So what are Obama, his campaign staff and MSM shills doing to respond to those questions and others on the minds of millions of Americans?

According to the AP , Obama's complaining about the “forces of division.”

The “forces of division” meme will play well with the kind of people who always bash America.

But what’s Obama offering the rest of us besides accusations about “the forces of division?”

Advice to Sen. Obama: IMO Eliot Spitzer has better damage control specialists than you do. Why not give him a call and see if he’ll rent them out for a day or two?

And please stop referring to people like the JinC Regular mentioned here as “the forces of division.”

Such people are standing up for America and truth in the public square.

When Obama first met his pastor

An Anon commenter alerted me to a Mar. 14 post by National Review editor Rich Lowry at NRO. The post follows, after which I offer a few comments below the star line.

Lowry posts ----

Wright in "Dreams of My Father"

Before he ever thought he would have to deploy Clintonesque spin to try to get himself out of a campaign controversy, Barack Obama wrote (an achingly good) memoir. In the book, Obama makes it clear that Wright when he first got to know him was pretty much the same Wright we're getting to know now (the one that Obama is at pains to say is on the verge of retirement).

Wright was striking some of the same notes, saying racially venomous things and attacking the bombing of Hiroshima. Note this passage about the first sermon Obama heard from Wright, the source ultimately of the title of Obama's second book and one of the central themes of his presidential campaign:

The title of Reverend Wright’s sermon that morning was “The Audacity of Hope.” He began with a passage from the Book of Samuel—the story of Hannah, who, barren and taunted by her rivals, had wept and shaken in prayer before her God.

The story reminded him, he said, of a sermon a fellow pastor had preached at a conference some years before, in which the pastor described going to a museum and being confronted by a painting title Hope.

“The painting depicts a harpist,” Reverend Wright explained, “a woman who at first glance appears to be sitting atop a great mountain. Until you take a closer look and see that the woman is bruised and bloodied, dressed in tattered rags, the harp reduced to a single frayed string. Your eye is then drawn down to the scene below, down to the valley below, where everywhere are the ravages of famine, the drumbeat of war, a world groaning under strife and deprivation.

“It is this world, a world where cruise ships throw away more food in a day than most residents of Port-au-Prince see in a year, where white folks’ greed runs a world in need, apartheid in one hemisphere, apathy in another hemisphere…That’s the world! On which hope sits!” (Bold Lowry's)

And so it went, a meditation on a fallen world. While the boys next to me doodled on their church bulletin, Reverend Wright spoke of Sharpsville and Hiroshima, the callousness of policy makers in the White House and in the State House. As the sermon unfolded, though, the stories of strife became more prosaic, the pain more immediate. The reverend spoke of the hardship that the congregation would face tomorrow, the pain of those far from the mountaintop, worrying about paying the light bill…


First, thanks to the Anon commenter who called Lowry’s post to my attention.

Next, shouldn’t what Lowry told us have gotten more MSM attention before now?

Why haven’t MSM news organizations pressed Obama to speak in greater detail about what he knew, and when, concerning his friend and pastor of almost 20 years?

We’re still being told by Obama's people in his campaign and in MSM that he “didn’t know.”

But how could he not know?

That, and so many other questions, need to be answered.

Wright’s church cries character assassination

This an hour ago from Politico:

The Chicago church attended by Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) issued a statement Sunday contending that coverage of his pastor’s inflammatory remarks amounted to character assassination and “an attack on … the history of the African American church.”

Obama distanced himself from inflammatory comments by the Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr., retiring pastor at Trinity United Church of Christ, after they circulated on YouTube last week and were played repeatedly by cable news channels.

Wright, condemning society as racist, said, “God [expletive] America” and referred to the “U.S. of KKK-A.”

The statement begins: “Nearly three weeks before the 40th commemorative anniversary of the murder of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., the Reverend Dr. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr.’s character is being assassinated in the public sphere because he has preached a social gospel on behalf of oppressed women, children and men in America and around the globe.”

The statement adds: “Trinity United Church of Christ’s ministry is inclusive and global.”

Neither Wright nor Obama was present at the church on Sunday.
Politico reporter Mike Allen says Trinity’s minister of communications, the Rev. Joan R. Harrell, provided Politico a copy of the statement. Politico’s story and the full text of the statement are here.


Politico tries to soften Rev. Wright's message by saying he condemned “society” as racist? But it was America Wright condemned.

Trinity’s statement begins:
Nearly three weeks before the 40th commemorative anniversary of the murder of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., the Reverend Dr. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr.’s character is being assassinated in the public sphere because he has preached a social gospel on behalf of oppressed women, children and men in America and around the globe.
Trinity’s linking the criticisms of Wright to Dr. King’s assassination is shameless exploitation. So is it’s claim near the end of the statement that criticisms of Wright are “an attack on the legacy of the African American Church.”

I think most Americans, including many blacks, will see that.

And I doubt most people will be taken in by Trinity’s claim Wright’s being criticized because he’s “preached a social gospel on behalf of oppressed women, children and men in America and around the globe.”

We all know people who preach – and more important live – a social gospel on behalf of the oppressed without erupting into the anti-American and racists screeds Wright has.

Nowhere in the statement does Trinity try to explain how Sen. Obama could be a member of its congregation for almost 20 years and not know about pulpit pronouncements Wright’s made that most people recognize are anti-American and racist.

But that’s what millions of Americans want to know.

So far Obama hasn't answered that question. His silence is hurting him.

And so will Trinity's statement today, no matter how Dems and most of MSM try to spin it.

Ferraro, the Duke Hoax & truth-telling

San Diego Union Tribune Reuben Navarrette’s latest column targets Geraldine Ferraro.

According to Navarrette, when Ferraro said,

"If Obama was a white man, he would not be in this position. And if he was a woman, he would not be in this position. He happens to be very lucky to be who he is. And the country is caught up in the concept."
she “sounded a bit like” Archie Bunker.

Further along, Navarrette directly addresses Ferraro.
“Let me help you with this, Ms. Ferraro. Remember all those years when you were fighting for women's rights, and men would sometimes charge they were being victimized by "reverse discrimination" because of Title IX, affirmative action, or other programs seeking to expand opportunities for women? Remember how silly those big crybabies sounded to you and other feminists?”

“That's how silly you sound when you claim you're being attacked because you're white. You aren't. You're being attacked because you said something that came across as bitter, envious and foolish.”
“Not to mention hypocritical.”
Navarrette has a lot more to say before he closes with:
“The sad part is that a lot of people agree with Ferraro's comments about Obama." ...

“These people live in a fantasy world. They tell themselves that they or their kids could have gotten into Harvard Law School and become editor of the Harvard Law Review if some skinny black kid with a funny name hadn't taken their spot. Our political leaders are supposed to know better. They're supposed to douse those fires with perspective and common sense.”

“Geraldine Ferraro opted for gasoline.”
Navarrette’s entire column is here.

I’ve just sent him the following email.

Dear Mr. Navarrette:

I blog as John in Carolina and have posted here concerning your column attacking Geraldine Ferraro. The post includes this email.

I wish you’d done less name-calling and instead engaged Ferraro on her principal point: that there are certain times and situations when being a person of color or a woman can be an advantage.

Throughout their careers the Clintons have received overwhelming and often passionate support from blacks.

That changed this year when a young, attractive, articulate U. S. senator in his first term sought the Democratic presidential nomination. In Democratic primaries, he’s winning on average about 90% of the black vote. Largely because of that, he’s emerged as the front-runner for the nomination.

Would that be the case if everything about Sens. Clinton and Obama and their platforms were the same except that Obama’s father was a white Kenyan instead of a black Kenyan?

You didn’t speak to that. Why not?

You ridicule Ferraro and suggest she’s a hypocrite because she’s benefited in certain situations because of gender.

But Ferraro’s admitted that from the first. Surely you know that.

Why is it hypocritical for a nationally prominent political leader to say she benefited at times because of her gender?

What is wrong with pointing out Obama is benefiting in the nomination race by virtue of his ethnicity?

Why do you want Ferraro to keep quiet about things we all know are true?

I live in Durham, NC. The last two years a terrible tragedy has played out here.

It began with a woman's wildly improbable and self-evidently false accusations of gang-rape.

But the media embraced them anyway. News organizations attacked the accused and cheered on a frame-up attempt by our then DA, certain Durham police officers, their supervisors and others.

Duke University’s trustees, its president and his “senior team,” many faculty and rights groups stepped forward to support the DA and his fellow conspirators.

They did so even as the DA’s actions were so obviously unethical from the start that the NC State Bar opened a complaint file on him within a few days of his first public statements concerning the case.

When hate-filled people rallied under a large CASTRATE banner outside a house where some of the accused lived, do you know how news organizations, Duke and rights groups here in Durham, including the state NAACP, reacted?

They spoke approvingly of “outpourings of community support for the woman.” Most of them made similar approving statements when Vigilante posters with face-photos of the accused were circulated on Duke’s campus and in Durham.

The DA won a Democratic primary and his general election race.

And it wasn’t just in Durham, at Duke and in our local media that he received support for what it was soon obvious was a frame-up attempt. Almost all the national media went along with DA Mike Nifong’s scheme for many months.

I don’t need to tell you or anyone with at least a room temperature IQ the race of the accuser and the race of the accused.

That tells us all something very important: Ferraro’s right. There are times and situations when a person’s race or gender can advantage them.

And there are times and situations when a white person’s race and a male's gender can severely disadvantage them.

If you don’t believe that, please read about the Duke Hoax frame-up attempt and its ongoing cover-up.

Or interview members of Duke's 2006 Men's and Women's lacrosse teams. The men can tell you about the frame-up attempt; the women can tell you about the vicious trashing they received from many in the MSM because they spoke the truth about the Duke lacrosse case: "Innocent!"

Please stop attacking Ferraro for doing no more than speaking the truth.

You’d better serve your readers and our country if you’d encourage reasoned discussion of the advantages and disadvantages race and gender convey in contemporary America.

If you care to respond, I’ll post it in full at my blog.


John in Carolina

Hat tip: RealClearPolitics

NYT's John Burns’ Iraq War Assessment

People who should know tell me The New York Times’ John Burns is a great military reporter.

Today, with the 5th anniversary of the Iraq War at hand, Burns offers a detailed, poignant, informed and reflective description and assessment of the Iraq War. He concludes:

… For close to two years, the Shiite religious parties that won the December 2005 election have clung tenaciously to their new-found power, and the Sunni parties, mostly unreconciled to an Iraq ruled by Shiites, have maneuvered in ways intended to keep open the possibility, ultimately, of a Sunni restoration. Nothing, in short, has been settled.

Americans officials bridle at the failure to tackle decisively any of the issues they identified as crucial to “reconciliation,” including the critical issue of the future share of oil revenues. Meanwhile, the rival Iraqi blocs, taking the long view, look beyond the American occupation to a time when these central issues of power will be settled among themselves.

American hopes are that Iraqis, with enough American troops still present to stiffen the new Iraqi forces and prevent a slide backward toward all-out civil war, will ultimately tire of the violence in the way of other peoples who have been plunged into communal violence, as many Lebanese did during their 15-year civil war.

Those hopes have been buoyed by a reduction in violence in the last year that can been traced to the American troop increase and to the cooperation or quiescence of some previously militant groups, both Sunni and Shiite.

They are hopes shared by many ordinary Iraqis. Opinion polls, including those commissioned by the American command, have long suggested that a majority of Iraqis would like American troops withdrawn, but another lesson to be drawn from Saddam Hussein’s years is that any attempt to measure opinion in Iraq is fatally skewed by intimidation. More often than not, people tell pollsters and reporters what they think is safe, not necessarily what they believe.

My own experience, invariably, was that Iraqis I met who felt secure enough to speak with candor had an overwhelming desire to see American troops remain long enough to restore stability.

That sentiment is not one that many critics of the war in the United States seem willing to accept, but neither does it offer the glimmer of cheer that it might seem to offer to many supporters of the war. For it would be passing strange, after the years of unrelenting bloodshed, if Iraqis demanded anything else. It is small credit to the invasion, after all it has cost, that Iraqis should arrive at a point when all they want from America is a return to something, stability, that they had under Saddam.

For America, too, it is a deeply dispiriting prospect, promising no early end to the bleeding in Iraq.

Burns' entire article is here.

His accounts of the war’s human tragedies and policy mistakes are painful to read. But we need to know about them in order to assess what we’ve done in Iraq and what our future course there should be.

Burns’ article is an outstanding example of a journalist doing his duty to inform, often at great risk to himself.

He has my admiration and thanks. Be sure to read the article and let me know what you think.