Hamilton, Madison, and Jay

This blog is devoted to a variety of topics including politics, current events, legal issues, and we even take the time to have some occasional fun. After all, blogging is about having a little fun, right?

Location: Mesa, Arizona, United States

Who are we? We're a married couple who has a passion for politics and current events. That's what this site is about. If you read us, you know what we stand for.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Jeremiah Wright goes on the offensive

Earlier today I wrote about the feud between Wright and Obama and the fact that Jeremiah Wright feels betrayed by Obama; that he was thrown overboard is a most deceitful way. The New York Post backs up my assessment with a piece on Jeremiah Wright today, and how he could care less if he throws Obama's train off the tracks:

The Rev. Jeremiah Wright would be happy to see Barack Obama's presidential campaign derailed because the pastor is fuming that his former congregant has "betrayed" their 20-year relationship, The Post has learned.

"After 20 years of loving Barack like he was a member of his own family, for Jeremiah to see Barack saying over and over that he didn't know about Jeremiah's views during those years, that he wasn't familiar with what Jeremiah had said, that he may have missed church on this day or that and didn't hear what Jeremiah said, this is seen by Jeremiah as nonsense and betrayal," said the source, who has deep roots in Wright's Chicago community and is familiar with his thinking on the matter.

"Jeremiah is trying to defend his congregation and the work of his ministry by saying what he is saying now," the source added.

"Jeremiah doesn't care if he derails Obama's candidacy or not . . . He knows what he's doing. Obviously, he's not a dumb man. He knows he's not helping."

The source spoke yesterday about Wright's motivation for thrusting himself back into the news, the day after the pastor appeared at the National Press Club on Monday and embarrassed Obama by accusing the United States of terrorism.

Wright has said the reason he has begun granting interviews and making public appearances now is that he wants to defend black churches.

But the source said the preacher's motivation is much more personal.

The source noted that the roots of Wright's disillusionment with Obama began last year after the Illinois senator unexpectedly yanked him from participating in the public announcement of his presidential campaign.

[Note -- I stated this in my earlier piece today. Wright wasn't happy with being told not to participate there. Remember that Obama told him "You can get kind of rough in the sermons, so what we’ve decided is that it’s best for you not to be out there in public.”]

"That's why Jeremiah revealed . . . that he had actually been at the [announcement] hotel and prayed privately with the Obama family before the official declaration," the source told The Post.

"Rev. Wright, as well as other senior members of his church, believe that Obama has betrayed over 20 years of their supposed friendship."

Obama further angered Wright by trying to distance himself from the pastor ever since videos were made public earlier this year of the preacher alleging that America brought 9/11 upon itself and that people should say "God damn America," not "God bless America."

The source added, "After 20 years of loving Barack like he is one of their own, after he was embraced by this congregation as a brother in Christ, after his pastor was a father figure to him and gave him credibility in a city he had not grown up in and in a black community that was suspect of someone from Hawaii and Harvard, he thanks him by not allowing him to speak publicly at his announcement last year?

"A lot of people in the church believe they were there for this man when no one else was, and a lot of people don't believe it any more when Obama claims he loves the man who did so much for him," the source added.

So, when is Obama's next "bitter" speech coming out, and will it be about Jeremiah Wright? We wouldn't be surprised if he did come out and claim Wright was "bitter" over the snub. It sure looks like it to the average outsider/political junkie. Wright's ticked, and he feels he has a good reason to be that way. And can we really blame him?

Recall the words from Obama's speech in March entitled "A More Perfect Union":

"But the truth is, that isn't all that I know of the man. The man I met more than twenty years ago is a man who helped introduce me to my Christian faith, a man who spoke to me about our obligations to love one another; to care for the sick and lift up the poor. He is a man who served his country as a U.S. Marine; who has studied and lectured at some of the finest universities and seminaries in the country, and who for over thirty years led a church that serves the community by doing God's work here on Earth - by housing the homeless, ministering to the needy, providing day care services and scholarships and prison ministries, and reaching out to those suffering from HIV/AIDS. ...

"And this helps explain, perhaps, my relationship with Reverend Wright. As imperfect as he may be, he has been like family to me. He strengthened my faith, officiated my wedding, and baptized my children. Not once in my conversations with him have I heard him talk about any ethnic group in derogatory terms, or treat whites with whom he interacted with anything but courtesy and respect. He contains within him the contradictions - the good and the bad - of the community that he has served diligently for so many years.

"I can no more disown him than I can disown the black community. I can no more disown him than I can my white grandmother ... These people are a part of me."

When we hear this and we see that Obama no longer has Wright amongst his list of testimonials on his campaign website it's plain to see that this rift is now complete. Wright has been kicked to the curb. Given that Obama spoke in glowing terms of Wright -- both on the stump and in his books -- we can understand why Wright is rightly miffed.

Obama made a serious mistake in doing this to Wright, but he had no choice given how badly his candidacy could have suffered if he didn't disown Wright. But if Wright is going on the stump to defend himself and his church, we can only wonder who will book him next. Any media people out there still in the tank for Hillary? If so, you might want to book him quickly before the media moonbats in the tank for Obama make Wright irrelevant.

Publius II

The bleeding begins, and it doesn't look good for the "messiah"

The man of "hope" and "change" has certainly had a rough couple of weeks. The "messiah" image perpetrated by his handlers and the media for so long is now gone. Barack Obama is now human. The new FOX News poll shows that the bleeding has begun. The "Edmund Obama" is taking water and his campaign can't bail the water fast enough: (HT to Michael Goldfarb at The Weekly Standard)

Nearly half of Democrats (48 percent) think Hillary Clinton has a better chance of beating John McCain in November — 10 percentage points higher than the 38 percent who think Barack Obama can win, according to a FOX News poll released Wednesday. This represents a significant shift from March, when Democrats said Obama was the candidate more likely to beat McCain.

Democrats continue to favor Clinton as their party’s leader, albeit narrowly: 44 percent want her to win the nomination and 41 percent want Obama. Last month Clinton was preferred by 2 percentage points.

Further, for the second month in a row Clinton does slightly better than Obama in head-to-head matchups against the Republican senator. Clinton tops McCain by just 1 point (45 percent to 44 percent), down from a 3-point advantage last month. McCain edges Obama by a narrow 3-point margin (46 percent to 43 percent), up from a 1-point lead.

The leader in these matchups has shifted back and forth. In the last year, the biggest spread between Clinton and McCain was September 2007 when Clinton led him by 7 points. Obama held a 10-point lead over McCain last July.

Nearly a third of Clinton supporters — 32 percent — say they would vote for McCain instead of Obama (47 percent) if the general election were held today. Fewer Obama supporters — 21 percent — would defect and vote for McCain over Clinton if she were the nominee. ...

The ongoing controversy over Obama’s former pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, appears to have damaged how Americans view Obama. His favorable rating is now 47 percent, down 7 percentage points since February when 54 percent had a positive view of him. As may be expected, his unfavorable rating went up from 33 percent to 42 percent today. ...

Earlier this month a Democratic congressman said McCain was too old to be commander in chief. McCain is 71 and, if elected, he would be the oldest person to become president. The poll finds 22 percent of voters say McCain’s age is enough to discourage them from voting for him, up from 18 percent in April 2007. Even so, most voters say his age would not discourage their vote (77 percent), including 91 percent of Republicans.

Overall, more voters think McCain (60 percent) is honest and trustworthy than think Obama is (54 percent) and than think Clinton is (46 percent).

While majorities of Democrats think Clinton and Obama are honest and trustworthy, slightly more think Clinton is (69 percent) than Obama (66 percent).

Many more Democrats describe Clinton as "tough" (plus-38 points over Obama). They also are more likely to think "in touch with the American people" describes her (plus-10 points) as well as "arrogant" (plus-17 points).

[A note here: This is especially telling for two reasons. First on the issue of trustworthiness, when it comes to the Wright/Obama flap, many people thought he was being dishonest in his assessment of the pastor. "Twenty years at the same church" sticks in many minds when he kept saying he never heard the controversial statements. Second, the ten point jump when it comes to being in touch with Americans reflects the aftermath of the bitter comments by Obama in San Francisco.]

Obama has a double-digit edge on being better-described by the word "humble" (plus-18 points over Clinton); although some Democrats (16 percent) say neither candidate can be described this way. ...

Democrats are more likely to describe the way Clinton has been running her campaign as "tough and hard-hitting" (43 percent) than as "positive and upbeat" (26 percent) or as "negative and nasty" (19 percent). As for Obama, nearly half of Democrats think he has been running a "positive" campaign (45 percent) rather than a "hard-hitting" (25 percent) or "negative" one (14 percent).

But when will the campaign be over? More than six of 10 Americans (including 67 percent of Democrats) think the Democratic Primary has gone on too long. Some 29 percent of voters think it has been about the right amount of time and 7 percent say not long enough.

Now, let's be fair here. These polls mean precisely squat right now. All they can do is show political prognosticators and pundits what damage is done on a daily basis regarding the candidates. Hillary has had her ups and downs over past statements and photo ops. She dropped like a rock when she was caught putting plants at her rallies earlier this year. The Tuzla Dash story didn't reflect well on her, nor did her statements about her supposed accomplishments during the Clinton years when she released her records as First Lady and voters saw she was seriously embellishing her record.

But Obama's problems started when Jeremiah Wright came to light. Tony Rezko had a negligible affect on him, but that's because the majority of the media isn't focusing on his trial. Only Chicago media outlets are paying attention to the Rezko trial. We can attribute the media's blindness to the trial to the fact that they smell no blood in the water right now. (In fact the only political blood in that trial is focused on Governor Blagojevich, not Obama.) When William Ayers popped up on the radar, some of the media tried to play damage control for Obama, and they didn't succeed in their attempt. Earlier today, I pointed out that many of our Democrat friends have a problem with a man who appears to be a terrorist apologist. That will be something in the back of the minds of voters come Election Day. In short, what is hurting Obama are his associations with controversial figures in his life.

These numbers show that the Wright fiasco did hurt him, and people are starting to look to Hillary. She's getting the gains not only because she seemingly has less controversy in her life right now, but thanks to wins in Ohio, Texas, and Pennsylvania, she appears to be the "comeback kid" for the Democrats. They had all but counted her out until she started racking up wins in key states. (I'd be remiss if I didn't note that he recent surge has come on the backs of GOP voters switching parties to vote for her specifically to keep her alive in the primaries.)

Publius II

The Boston Globe asks Obama "What took you so long?"

HT to Captain Ed who also notes that where the Globe actually got it right unlike the New York Times and the WaPo. Both the Times and the Post act as though Jeremiah Wright just popped up on the radar in the last couple of weeks, rather than being a fixture in Obama's life for twenty years. From The Boston Globe:

The Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr. had said it all before: how God damns America for its unfairness, how American policies brought on the 9/11 attacks, how Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan is a great American, and more.

But for weeks, Barack Obama portrayed such statements as isolated soundbites, deeply offensive to him, but nonetheless taken out of context by political enemies to create a negative impression of an otherwise caring pastor. It wasn't until Wright took to the airwaves over the past week to defend himself and take fresh ownership of the statements that Obama became fed up.

Now, after Obama's uncategorical repudiation yesterday of the man who presided at his wedding and the baptism of his daughters, voters and other political observers will inevitably wonder what took so long - and how Obama could have misjudged someone to whom he was very close.

After all, politicians are constantly confronted with these kinds of controversies. Obama initially chose to offer only a relatively mild condemnation of Wright, and to portray all the hubbub about his comments as an example of the kinds of distractions that mar political life.

Wright, with his defiance in three consecutive appearances over the weekend, made Obama look foolish. And not least because it took him so long to face Wright down.

"Every political strategist says if you have to take your medicine, better to take it sooner than later," said Linda Fowler, a Dartmouth College political scientist.

Obama, who has tried to separate himself from "politics as usual," didn't follow this nostrum. His first attempt to respond to Wright's comments - in his closely watched speech on race last month - aimed to place the offensive comments in the context of America's racial divide.

"It was an important speech for a black man who wants to be president, but it didn't directly address the difficult situation with Reverend Wright," Fowler said.

By maintaining his association with Wright while the controversy percolated, Obama gave his political enemies a chance to tie him to Wright's statements. While his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton, fanned the flames by declaring that she would have walked out of Wright's church, there is little doubt that this is a controversy that would have erupted whether or not Clinton was in the race.

Long ago, Obama had tacitly acknowledged that Wright was destined to become a potential flashpoint by disinviting him to his campaign kickoff in early 2007. But while Obama may have anticipated that the political spotlight would one day focus on some of Wright's fiery sermons - though Obama says he didn't know of the most controversial statements - he surely didn't envision the damage inflicted by Wright himself.

Obama's personal pastor did more than anyone else to take the glow off his campaign by dismissing the Illinois senator as just "a politician."

"He goes out as a politician and says what he has to say as a politician," Wright said in his interview Friday night with PBS journalist Bill Moyers. "I continue to be a pastor who speaks to the people of God about the things of God."

We believe this is really why Obama repudiated him yesterday. It had nothing to do with what Wright said. Obama knew what Wright had said in the past. For those that don't believe that, let me give you some reminders.

Exhibit A -- 6 March 2007:

According to the pastor, Mr. Obama then told him, “You can get kind of rough in the sermons, so what we’ve decided is that it’s best for you not to be out there in public.”

Exhibit B -- 14 March 2008 where Rich Lowry recalls from Obama's own book "Dreams From my Father" the sermon by Jeremiah Wright entitled "The Audacity of Hope" which shows that the Wright we see now is the same Wright that was there for twenty years.

Exhibit C -- 18 March 2008 -- Barack Obama in his own words:

"Did I know him to be an occasionally fierce critic of American domestic and foreign policy? Of course. Did I ever hear him make remarks that could be considered controversial while I sat in church? Yes."

For him to sit there and act as though he had no idea what Jeremiah Wright was saying from the pulpit is preposterous. Did Wright have the same sort of sermons weekly? Likely not. Did he have them more often that Obama admits? Likely yes. There is no doubt, based on his sermons, based on his NAACP speech, based on his address to the National Press Club that Jeremiah Wright does believe and espouse black liberation theology to his congregations.

Barack Obama acts as though he just heard these statements, when the proof I provided above shows that he knew full well what Wright had said in the past. Barack took to the presser yesterday thoroughly upset at Wright because Wright threw him under the bus in the Bill Moyers interview, and continued to be a thorn in his side. That's why Obama was angry and bitter yesterday. (On the bitter note, it's nice to see he can be just as bitter as he believes us to be.) It's OK for him to throw Wright under the bus, but God forbid Wright throw the messiah under the bus.

Of course it wasn't so much that Wright tossed him under the bus as he made him look human; a typical politician with an ambitious nature. He showed voters that Obama was willing to say and do whatever he needs to do to win the presidency. He is just like any other politico out there who wants a higher job.

Does this excuse Jeremiah Wright? Absolutely not. He may be entitled to say what he wants, but in the end he is wholly responsible for what he says. He blames the US for the terrorist attacks on 11 September ("America's chickens are coming home to roost). He blames the US government for AIDS ("The government lied about adventing the HIV virus as a means of genocide against people of color"). In fact, In fact, go read and listen to the sermons, provided in context by Hugh Hewitt. Jeremiah Wright is a racist demagogue. Can we say the same of Barack Obama? I think not.

I say that because he has not uttered the rhetoric that Wright has. Michelle Obama has skirted the line, but her husband hasn't. But it does beg the question the Globe asks -- What took you so long to disavow him? Obama isn't a dumb politician. He had to know that this would become a problem for him; an issue that wouldn't go away, just like Ayers and Rezko. So, why didn't he disavow him in March when he had the chance. He could have easily stated, prior to that worthless speech he gave, that he hadn't attended the church as often as he would have liked and that he just became aware of Wright's controversial sermons; he could have disowned him then, and this little incident wouldn't have come to light. Wright's statements to the NAACP and the NPC would've seemed like little rants that the media could have spun away. But he didn't.

He held onto him.

He stayed connected to him.

And that's what hurt him.

Jeremiah Wright had an axe to grind, and then he planted it firmly in Obama's back.

Publius II

Code Pinkos get a taste of their own medicine

HT to Gateway Pundit and Glenn Reynolds

It seems that the Code Pinkos weren't too pleased to see a counter-protest against them when they arrived in NJ this past Sunday. A number of people stood up to Medea Benjamin's little crowd of kooks, and they told her exactly what they thought of the moonbattery these fools engage in. From the NJ Star Ledger:

Some 18 people from groups that oppose anti-war protests as "anti-American" hoisted signs condemning CODEPINK as supporting terrorism.

"I'm here to support our soldiers," said Beverly Perlson, founder of the group Band of Mothers.

Perlson, whose son served four tours in Afghanistan and Iraq, flew in from Chicago to attend the rally in Morris County. She said CODEPINK protesters, who have agitated for the closure of a military recruitment center in Berkeley, Calif., are not just "anti-victory," they are "pro-defeat."

"They want to see us lose. I don't understand this," Perlson said, after a heated exchange with CODEPINK supporters. "I've been referred to as the mother of a terrorist. ... My son isn't a terrorist."

"They are a very virulent anti-American group," Carolyn Van Zorge, of North Bergen, state coordinator for the group Gathering of Eagles, said of CODEPINK, which has regional offices in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Washington and New York.

A driver entering the hotel told the protesters, "I feel sorry for you." A protester spat back, "Go to hell!" Another remarked, "Keep driving, communist!"

Seated at a table in the hotel, Medea Benjamin, a San Francisco resident dressed in pink, listened to the list of accusations from protesters outside.

An issue frequently raised by protesters was $650,000 raised by CODEPINK for humanitarian aid in Iraq. Protesters maintain the money made its way to Iraqi insurgents in Fallujah. Benjamin said the donations were used for medicine and goods given to Fallujah refugees, especially women and children.

Of course Benjamin is quoted in the piece stating that Code Pink gets letters from soldiers "all the time" claiming that they agree with them and they want to come home. For the record, I'm sure they do receive letters like that. I'm sure a lot of soldiers would like to come home. War ain't fun, folks, and they miss home just as much as their families miss them. But, they signed on the dotted line, and they knew what they were getting into when they made that decision.

And while there may be a few who believe in Code Pink's protests, the vast majority of soldiers we hear on the radio, read about in milbloggers dispatches, and they we have personally spoken with (when they return home, or in the case of Marcie's brother, while they're still in country) say that they believe in this mission and that they're staying until the job is finished. See, here's what moonbats like Medea Benjamin and the Code Pinkos forget: Soldiers don't like quitting halfway through the fight. They don't like tipping their way on out the door when the bad guys are still running around. In short, they don't like to lose a fight.

That's what Code Pink wants. They want us to lose. They're like the rest of the antiwar troll/moonbat hybrids. They want this nation humbled. They want us defeated, and they're just as invested in defeat as our enemies abroad are invested in trying to defeat our soldiers.

Publius II

Someone Barack Obam should talk to

John Mutagh writes for the NY Daily News, and he lived through the days of rage from the Weather Underground. Today he gives readers a taste of what he lived through during that time: (HT to Hugh Hewitt)

In February 1970, my father, a New York State Supreme Court justice, was presiding over the trial of the so-called "Panther 21," members of the Black Panther Party indicted in a plot to bomb New York landmarks and department stores. Early on the morning of Feb. 21, as my family slept, three gasoline-filled firebombs exploded at our home on the northern tip of Manhattan, two at the front door and the third tucked neatly under the gas tank of the family car.

I still recall, as though it were a dream, thinking that someone was lifting and dropping my bed as the explosions jolted me awake, and I remember my mother pulling me from the tangle of sheets and running to the kitchen where my father stood. Through the large windows overlooking the yard, all we could see was the bright glow of flames below. We didn't leave our burning house for fear of who might be waiting outside. The same night, bombs were thrown at a police car in Manhattan and two military recruiting stations in
Brooklyn. Sunlight, the next morning, revealed three sentences of blood-red graffiti on our sidewalk: Free the Panther 21; The Viet Cong have won; Kill the pigs.

For the next 18 months, I went to school in an unmarked police car. My mother, a schoolteacher, had plainclothes detectives waiting in the faculty lounge all day. My brother saved a few bucks because he didn't have to rent a limo for the senior prom: The
NYPD did the driving.

In many ways, the enormity of the attempt to kill my entire family didn't fully hit me until years later, when, a father myself, I was tucking my own 9-year-old
John Murtagh into bed.

Though no one was ever caught or tried for the attempt on my family's life, there was never any doubt who was behind it.Only a few weeks after the attack, the New York contingent of the Weathermen blew themselves up making more bombs in a
Greenwich Village townhouse. ...

Though never a supporter of Obama, I admired him for a time for his ability to engage our imaginations, and especially for his ability to inspire the young once again to embrace the political system. Yet his myopia in the last few months has cast a new light on his "politics of change."

Nobody should hold the junior senator from
Illinois responsible for his friends' and supporters' violent terrorist acts. But it is fair to hold him responsible for a startling lack of judgment in his choice of mentors, associates and friends, and for showing a callous disregard for the lives they damaged and the hatred they have demonstrated for this country.

It is fair, too, to ask what those choices say about Obama's own beliefs, his philosophy and the direction he would take our nation.

At the conclusion of his 2001 Times interview, Ayers said of his upbringing and subsequent radicalization: "I was a child of privilege and I woke up to a world on fire."

Funny thing, Bill: One night, so did I.

Senator Obama had better think long and hard about this because his ties to Jeremiah Wright, to Tony Rezko, and to William Ayers are what will kill his presidential chances. Nevermind the fact that the man espouses a liberal socialist mantra of ideas and programs that will significantly damage the nation's economy, and could very well do damage to the very fabric that created this nation in the Constitution. It is his ties that concern a great number of people, and not just Republicans.

We have spoken with a number of our friends that identify themselves as Democrats. While they are none too thrilled about Hillary, they admit that Barack Obama scares the Hell out of them. If he is willing to play the "forgive and forget" game with people like the ones he associated with, then what does that say about his judgment. Think about it for a second. Imagine that one of your closest friends or mentors was a racist or a terrorist sympathizer, and yet you still continued to meet and associate with them. What would that make you? An apologist? Yes, in the very least.

Now you see where we're coming from on the issue of Barack Obama. He is willing to shoo away the questions, and make excuses for those relations, but the questions remain. WHY did you, knowing that William Ayers was a member of the Weather Underground, associate with the man, including holding the launch of your first foray into politics in his home?

Barack has never answered that question. It's a good one that we think demands an answer. We don't want to hear the "I was eight-years old" crapola. We want an answer. Why did he associate with him. Forget about the two of them serving on a board together. We'd like to know why he allowed this man into his life, and why he called him a "friend."

With friends like Bill Ayers, no wonder why Obama has so many enemies, even within his own party.

Publius II

Sunday, April 27, 2008

USSC upholds voter ID law

The Supreme Court has handed down a decision upholding an Indiana law that states voters must provide ID when voting much to the chagrin of Democrats:

The Supreme Court ruled today that states may require voters to present photo identification before casting ballots, upholding a Republican-backed measure that proponents say combats voter fraud and opponents believe discourages voter participation.

The court ruled 6-3 that the requirements enacted by Indiana's legislature were not enough of a burden to invoke constitutional protections. Because the state's law is generally regarded as the nation's strictest, the ruling bodes well for other states that have required photo ID.

"The application of the statute to the vast majority of Indiana voters is amply justified by the valid interest in protecting the integrity and reliability of the electoral process," Justice John Paul Stevens wrote. He was joined by Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justice Anthony M. Kennedy.

Three conservative justices -- Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas and Samuel A. Alito Jr. -- agreed with the outcome but would have made it even more difficult for voters in states with photo-identification laws to challenge them.

Three liberal justices -- David H. Souter, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen G. Breyer -- dissented.

The case, Crawford v. Marion County Election Board, was the most sharply partisan case the court has considered since its ruling in Bush v. Gore decided the 2000 presidential election.

States with Republican-majority legislatures are pushing similar laws, saying they are a necessary and common-sense way to combat voter fraud and are widely supported by the public.

Democrats say the laws do not address the most prevalent forms of fraud, such as absentee ballots, but discourage or even disenfranchise people least likely to have driver's licenses or passports: the poor, elderly, disabled and urban dwellers -- who are most likely to vote Democratic.

For the record, it is the law that anyone over the age of eighteen must have a form of identification on them at all times. You have to be eighteen to vote, as well, so I fail to see where the Democrats have an argument. Those arguing before the court against the law -- claiming it equates to a poll-tax -- were shot down. Allah takes note of the fact that Justice Stevens shot down that argument succinctly.

Many states already demand that voters present a form of ID before voting. The Arizona Secretary of State's website has this page to tell voters what is acceptable as a form of identification, and it makes it very clear that to vote, you must present ID. This does help put an end to voter fraud despite the arguments from the Democrats. Granted, they do have a point when it comes to other avenues in voting, such as absentee ballots, but given the fact that places like Chicago are notorious for the dead rising on election day to participate (Zombies have rights, too, right?) this helps curb such fraud at the polls.

Kudos to the Supreme Court for standing up for what is right and proper, and not buying into the farcical argument that having to present ID equates to some sort of convoluted poll tax.

Publius II

Reason number 1,472,399 why the UN should be dissolved

Let me start by saying that there's no love loss between us and the UN. We believe it to be worthless in its efforts, and more of a problem than it is a help in practice. Today the BBC reveals that UN peacekeepers helped keep the misery alive in the Congo, which should come as no surprise to anyone:

The UN has covered up claims that its troops in Democratic Republic of Congo gave arms to militias and smuggled gold and ivory, the BBC has learned.

The allegations, based on confidential UN sources, involve Pakistani and Indian troops working as peacekeepers.

The UN investigated some of the claims in 2007, but said it could not substantiate claims of arms dealing.

UN insiders told the BBC's Panorama they had been prevented from pursuing their inquiries for political reasons.

The United Nations Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (Monuc) is the global body's largest, with 17,000 troops spread across the country.

The BBC's Martin Plaut, who returned to DR Congo to follow up his initial investigation into the allegations, says they have managed to bring a measure of stability since they were first established by the UN in February 2000.

They have also helped disarm the warring factions, run democratic elections and assisted with reconstruction.

But an 18-month BBC investigation for Panorama has found evidence that:

- Pakistani peacekeepers in the eastern town of Mongbwalu were involved in the illegal trade in gold with the FNI militia, providing them with weapons to guard the perimeter of the mines

- Indian peacekeepers operating around the town of Goma had direct dealings with the militia responsible for the Rwandan genocide, now living in eastern DR Congo

- The Indians traded gold, bought drugs from the militias and flew a UN helicopter into the Virunga National Park, where they exchanged ammunition for ivory

The UN looked into the allegations concerning the Pakistani troops in 2007.

It concluded that one officer had been responsible for dealing in gold - allowing traders to use UN aircraft to fly into the town, putting them up at the UN base and taking them around the town. ...

But returning to eastern DR Congo, the BBC spoke to several residents of the mining town of Mongbwalu, who said they had seen the FNI re-armed.

One former militant told our correspondent he had witnessed seven boxes of ammunition being brought from the UN camp to re-supply the FNI during a critical fire-fight.

Two FNI leaders known as "Kung-fu" and "Dragon", who have been jailed in the capital, Kinshasa, have stated publicly that they received help from the UN.

Kung Fu, whose real name is General Mateso Ninga, said: "Yes, it's true, they did give us arms. They said it was for the security of the country. So they said to us that we would help them take care of the zone."

The FNI has been described by Human Rights Watch as "some of the most murderous individuals that operate in eastern Congo".

And, of course the UN denies all of this. Their station chief in Congo, Alan Doss, gave his best "this would be of grave concern if true" line to the BBC. Seriously, is anyone surprised that the UN would do such things? If you are, welcome to planet Earth; you've been living under a Martian rock.

The UN is as worthless as can be, and serves no peaceful, humanitarian mission, save it's own for it's own selfish interests. The US needs to hand the UN an eviction notice, and turn Turtle Bay either into office space, or low-rent (for Manhattan, mind you) housing. And the sooner that comes around for us, the better off we'll be. The UN has no purpose in this world because it's nearly as corrupt as the regimes they claim to abhor. This is just another example of United Nations malfeasance.

Publius II

Obama's chickens coming home to roost

A lot can happen in 24 hours, and brother did it ever. Yesterday, Jeremiah Wright addressed the NAACP in his typical fashion. We looked at each other when we watched that and said "If a white guy said this ..."; you get the idea. He addressed the National Press Club today, and in that speech he claimed that everything coming down on him right now was "an attack on the black church":

During a question and answer session after his speech, Wright was asked why he waited so long to try to explain himself: "As I said to Bill Moyers -- and he also edited this one out -- because of my mother's advice to me. My mother's advice was being seen all over the -- all over the corporate media channels, and it's a paraphrase of the Book of Proverbs, where it is better to be quiet and be thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt. (The media was making a fool out of itself because it knew nothing about our tradition.

"And so I decided to let them make a fool as long as they wanted to and then take the advice of Paul Laurence Dunbar in "'Lias, 'lias, bless de Lawd. Don' you know de day's abroad?" Don't make me come cross this room. I had to come cross the room because they started -- understand, when you talking about my mama, once again, and talking about my faith tradition, once again -- how long do you let somebody talk about your faith tradition before you speak up and say something in defense of -- this was not an attack on Jeremiah Wright. Once again, let me say it again, this was an attack on the black church.

"And I cannot, as a minister of the gospel, allow the significant part of our history -- most African-Americans and most European- Americans, most Hispanic-Americans, half the names I called in my presentation have never heard it because they don't know anything at all about our tradition. And to lift up those -- they did not -- they would have died in vain had I just kept quiet longer and longer and longer and longer.

As I said, this was an attack on the black church. It was not about Obama, McCain, Hillary, Bill, Chelsea; this was about the black church. This was about Barbara Jordan. This was about Fannie Lou Hamer. This was about my grandmama.

Michelle Malkin live-blogged this train wreck, and yes, I emphasize "train wreck." The journalists who participated at the NPC were whooping and applauding right along with the audience there. After reading the live-blog, and after seeing this pap this morning, I'm convinced of two very obvious things:

First, Jeremiah Wright has a screw loose. This speech dealt with anything and everything about black liberation theology which is inherently racist. Now let me say that this sort of theology IS NOT indicative of black churches. Black liberation theology isn't the norm. 99% of black churches are no different from any other church, but Wright, and by extension the man he cited today -- James Cone -- believe that blacks have been kept down by the white man. That idea is preposterous as blacks have just as many chances as anyone else to succeed.

Second, it's quite clear that Jeremiah Wright is going to end up doing serious damage to the Obama campaign. He threw him under the bus in the Moyers interview. I'm not the only one who believes that Wright is setting himself up to hurt Obama. Joe Klein sees it and so does Byron York. Simply put, Obama should have paid for Jeremiah Wright to have a 22 month vacation around the world to keep him out of the limelight.

He is setting himself up to be the next Al Sharpton or Jesse Jackson. I doubt he'll make himself the butt of everyone's joke like those two do, but he is basically being racist, and he's being given a free pass by the media. CNN practically had an orgasm this morning over this speech before the NPC. They did the same thing yesterday when he addressed the NAACP. To them, he's forcing this nation to have a dialogue on race. The problem is we don't NEED a dialogue on race because it's already been had. It was conducted when we amended the Constitution to enunciate to Jim Crow morons that blacks have just as many rights as white people do.

Jeremiah Wright isn't content with that. He's happy to keep peddling his kooky conspiracy theories. He's more than happy to keep saying that whites are keeping black people down. And, as he stated today, he'll be more than happy to come after Obama if he's elected. He claimed today that in doing so, he'd be coming after the government, not the people of America. And yet, I can't believe that based on the sermons he has preached, and based on these two appearances over the weekend.

For Jeremiah Wright, it's all about race. Obama tried to distance himself from that, but that's not going fly in the minds of voters now. Wright has made it about race, and it will cost Obama a great deal. If I were Barack Obama I'd drop out of this race because Wright's presence is only going to make things worse for him.

Publius II

Saturday, April 26, 2008

McCain grows a brain; realizes that Wright is an issue

I know it sounds snide and snippy, but seriously folks, he acted like a spoiled brat demanding that the NC RNC pull the ad they put together that involved Jeremiah Wright. It's fine to take the high road, if one wants to, but this is politics; it's a bare knuckle game. But on the heels of Obama's interview with Chris Wallace this morning on FOX, Jonathan Martin at Politico has discovered that McCain has switched gears:

Pointing to Barack Obama's remark today on "Fox News Sunday" that his pastor was "a legitimate political issue," John McCain this afternoon brought up two new controversial statements by Jeremiah Wright that have recently surfaced.

"I saw yesterday some additional comments that have been revealed by Pastor Wright, one of them comparing the United States Marine Corps with Roman legionnaires who were responsible for the death of our Savior," said McCain, responding to a question only about the North Carolina GOP ad, at a press conference in Coral Gables, Florida, He also cited comments Wright made that seemed to compare the United States and al Qaeda.

But even while raising the Wright comments unprompted, McCain continued to say that he didn't think held Obama similar such views.

When it was pointed out that he had previously said Wright was not fair game, McCain again alluded to Obama's statement this morning.

"But Sen. Obama himself says it's a legitimate political issue, so I would imagine that many other people will share that view, and it will be in the arena," McCain said.

Pointing to past comments by McCain and his advisers that they would stay away from Wright, Obama's campaign quickly pounced.

"By sinking to a level that he specifically said he'd avoid, John McCain has broken his word to the American people and rendered hollow his promise of a respectful campaign," said spokesman Hari Sevugan. "With each passing day, John McCain acts more and more like someone who's spent twenty-six years learning the divisive, distracting tactics of Washington. That's not the change that the American people are looking for."

On Wright, McCain appears to be torn. He wants to avoid even the hint of exploiting the race issue, but he and his advisers (not to mention the North Carolina GOP) plainly recognize the politically opportunity Obama's pastor provides.

Further, McCain's camp is not deaf when it comes to the anger expressed by the likes of Rush Limbaugh and other conservatives who have grumbled about their nominee's criticism of the North Carolina GOP. To many on the right, Wright is a gift from above and for McCain to excoriate those who use it reminds them why they've always been wary of their new standard bearer.

Which may explain why, in addition to the cover of Obama's political permission slip, McCain eased off his criticism today and even brought up other Wright comments.

"I can understand why the American people are upset about this,"he said of Wright. "I can understand that Americans viewing these kinds of comments are angry and upset, just like they viewed Senator Obama's statements about why people turn to their faith and their values. He believes that it's out of economic concerns, when we all know that it's out of fundamental belief, fundamental faith in this country and its values and its principles. Again, Senator Obama is out of touch. I can't control and will not in the future control. I will voice my opinion and I will continue to think and to say that I think that ad should not be run. But I won't continue to try to be the referee here."

OK, fault the old guy for going on the attack, but dammit people, we knew that Obama and his minions in the press would turn around and use the race card. They're going to, no matter what is said or done, so let's just get this over with. McCain's not a racist, and he's not focusing on the race of the man he's running against. Like many pundits on the right, he is stating the obvious.

People are outraged over the sermons of Jeremiah Wright where he does sound very racist, and arguably anti-American. You know, you have a right to your opinion, but we'd expect a bit more out of a former Marine and Navy man. Obviously that's not the case. Plenty of people have argued that his rhetoric reflects the times he grew up in, but that's no excuse. We're not living back in the 50's and 60's. This is the 21st Century, and while we'll admit that there is some racism still in this nation by backwards individuals, this nation -- this society -- is far more color-blind today than it was back then, but I guess the reverend missed that memo.

McCain made a mistake, and it's one he'll have to make up for to the conservative base. We recognized that the Wright issue was a legitimate one, and we went right after Obama on it. He's his former pastor (Notice now that Obama emphasizes that every chance he can, as if telling people to drop the subject because Wright no longer ministers to him?) and he should have to answer for the rhetoric spewed from the pulpit.

I said it not too long ago that if such vitriolic and visceral rhetoric emanated from the pulpit in the Church we attend every Sunday, we'd disavow that Church, and I'd have a few words with the priest. A church is a place to worship God and give Him thanks for all you have in life. In other words, we give thanks for the good in our lives, and pray for things not so good to get better. It's not the site of political soapbox punditry. If Jeremiah Wright wants to do that, I suggest he apply for a job at a newspaper or a website. He said it himself in his interview with Bill "What-Media-Bias?" Moyers:

“I don’t talk to him about politics. And so he had a political event, he goes out as a politician and says what he has to say as a politician. I continue to be a pastor who speaks to the people of God about the things of God.”

But he didn't do that. He chose to "preach" his political ideas to a congregation to the attendees apparent delight amidst cheering, applause and a spattering of "amens." Maybe those churchgoers like to here the whole "truth to power" rhetoric, but it greatly offended a lot of Americans, and Obama should be asked the tough questions about what he did hear. Furthermore, he should be pressed on why he stayed at a church for 20 years when, as he claims, he disagreed with the controversial statements. And, of course, there should be one more question he's asked that no one has, as yet, and he hasn't explained either. "Why did you lie to the nation when you said you hadn't heard controversial statements from him when in your speech you admit you did?"

The electorate is awaiting your answer, senator.

Publius II

TV worth watching -- 60 Minutes tonight with Justice Scalia

We don't watch a whole helluva lot of TV. 99% of the shows on TV right now are garbage, and hardly worth our time. I can candidly say there are a few shows we watch for pure escapism. We watched "Jericho" until it's final, untimely demise at the hands of CBS execs. We watched "Heroes." We're still making our way through "Battlestar Galactica" and "Doctor Who"; both of which returned for their respective fourth seasons. And, of course, we never miss "Bones." Aside from that, the TV, if it's on, is either playing a DVD from our extensive collection, tuned to FOX News, or C-Span, and it's only on for background noise.

Tonight is a different story. 60 Minutes has opted to do an interview with our favorite Supreme Court justice, Antonin Scalia. Our guess? This should be a can't-miss interview, and one that should educate people on how he judges issues that come before the high court:

People who believe the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision giving the 2000 presidential election to George W. Bush was politically motivated should just get over it, says Justice Antonin Scalia.

Scalia denies that the controversial decision was political and discusses other aspects of his public and private life in a remarkably candid interview with 60 Minutes correspondent Lesley Stahl, this Sunday, April 27, at 7 p.m. ET/PT.

"I say nonsense," Scalia responds to Stahl’s observation that people say the Supreme Court’s decision in Gore v. Bush was based on politics and not justice. "Get over it. It’s so old by now. The principal issue in the case, whether the scheme that the Florida Supreme Court had put together violated the federal Constitution, that wasn’t even close. The vote was seven to two," he says, referring to the Supreme Court’s decision that the Supreme Court of Florida’s method for recounting ballots was unconstitutional.

Furthermore, says the outspoken conservative justice, it was Al Gore who ultimately put the issue into the courts. "It was Al Gore who made it a judicial question…. We didn’t go looking for trouble. It was he who said, 'I want this to be decided by the courts,'" says Scalia. "What are we supposed to say -- 'Not important enough?'" he jokes.

Call him conservative, just don’t call him biased on issues before the Supreme Court, including abortion, he says. "I am a law-and-order guy. I mean, I confess to being a social conservative, but it does not affect my views on cases," he tells Stahl. "On the abortion thing, for example, if indeed I were…trying to impose my own views, I would not only be opposed to Roe versus Wade, I would be in favor of the opposite view, which the anti-abortion people would like to see adopted, which is to interpret the Constitution to mean that a state must prohibit abortion." "And you’re against that?" asks Stahl. "Of course. There’s nothing [in the Constitution to support that view]."

Scalia also denies there is anything personal in his decisions or comments, which can often be biting. Stahl asks how he can be a close friend of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, his liberal bench mate, despite the fact that they oftentimes disagree. "I attack ideas, I don’t attack people, and some very good people have some very bad ideas," he tells Stahl. "And if you can’t separate the two, you got to get another day job. You don’t want to be a judge, at least not a judge on a multi-member panel."

For amateur court watchers, this should be an interesting interview he has. We have always respect Justice Scalia for his sharp legal mind, the fact he knows case law cold, and his biting, indomitable wit. Justice O'Connor used to bristle under his scrutiny and on more than one occasion she believed Scalia was deliberately belittling her. Not so. Justice Scalia has an ongoing, cordial friendship with Justice Ginsburg. There is a well-known photo of the two of them in India on the back of an elephant. And there is a tradition they have that goes back to the days when Ginsburg joined the court. They and their spouses get together on New Year's Eve to ring in the new year. And is the respect that Scalia has for Ginsburg reciprocated? Yes it is. She respects him greatly and loves him for the humor he brings to the Supreme Court.

This won't be a "humanizing" interview, as some may believe. Rather it is one that will focus on his ideas concerning jurisprudence with regard to a couple of cases, most likely. And I'm sure Ms. Stahl will be prodding him more on the relationships he's had on the high court with current and past jurists. One thing is assured. We will be watching this interview tonight.

Publius II

Captain Ed on Obama's FOX News Sunday appearance

This morning Captain Ed Morrissey over at Hot Air broke down Obama's appearance on FOX News Sunday (Transcript here care of RealClearPolitics). Needless to say, after reading the transcript, and reading Captain Ed's assessment, it seemed to be a fairly friendly exchange between Obama and Chris Wallace. (BTW, the Left is having a hissy fit over his appearance on FOX; a fact that Charles Johnson, and our fellow Lizardoids are having fun with at LGF. It seems they just can't handle their messiah going on ((GASP)) FOX News for a fair interview.)

From Captain Ed:

Give Barack Obama this: he performed a lot better on Fox News Sunday today than he did in the debate on April 16th. He stammered less when challenged, allowed his considerable personal warmth to surface, and kept his annoyance and anger in check. On the other hand, he offered about the same level of commitment to his answers as he did in Philadelphia, and gave at least a couple of whoppers.

One of the more interesting answers came in regards to Jeremiah Wright. He called Wright a “legitimate” campaign issue, which will seem rather shocking to the New York Times, the McCain campaign, and others who have demanded an end to the North Carolina GOP’s television ad. Obama complained that people took Wright out of context, but said Americans were honestly offended by Wright’s remarks, and that his relationship with Wright can inform voters of his values — but that voters should take into consideration the totality of Trinity United and Wright on those issues, and not just sound bites.

(Hugh Hewitt provides the context Jeremiah Wright claims he wasn't given.)

Obama sounded a lot less convincing when it came to responding to the William Ayers controversy. He called Ayers “tangential” to his life and suggested that Chris Wallace probably serves on boards with people whose politics he otherwise detests. Unfortunately for Obama, Wallace doesn’t devote a web page on his site defending those people as “mainstream”, as Obama does for Ayers and Dohrn. The pair still talk about overthrowing capitalism and parts of the government they find objectionable, and approvingly quote Mao lieutenant Chou En-lai while railing against the “unimaginable authoritarianism” of the American government. His answer, intending on freeing himself of the charge of equating Coburn and Ayers/Dohrn, instead made it clear that he sees both as political activists, morally equivalent at least in the present.

(For those unaware of what "tangential" means -- of, relating to, or of the nature of a tangent; incidental, periphery.)

His final gaffe — and one that may make a few Republican commercials — came when Wallace challenged Obama to come up with real examples of bipartisanship and compromise on tough issues. He claimed he would have supported the partial-birth abortion ban if Congress had included an exception to protect the mother’s health, which would have been used as a dodge around the ban in every instance. Other than a single vote on tort reform, he could come up with no example of a time when he bucked Democratic leadership.

The most hilarious point came when Obama tried to claim credit for bipartisanship on the John Roberts confirmation vote — not because he supported Roberts. He voted against Roberts. However, Obama wanted credit for defending the few Democrats who did support Roberts on Daily Kos, and taking the venom of Kos’ readership for his defense. That’s bipartisanship — standing up to the Kos Kiddies? If that amounts to an act of courage for Obama, it tells you how bipartisan he will be prepared to be as President.

It wasn’t a disaster, but it still reveals Obama to be out of touch and hard to the Left. Don’t expect this to help in Indiana.

I'd like to bring up a couple of quotes directly from the transcript that we have some problems with. The first one comes in regard to Jeremiah Wright:

And that is unfortunate, because as I’ve said before, I have strongly denounced those comments that were the subject of so much attention. I wasn’t in church when he made them. But I also know that I go to church not to worship the pastor, to worship God. And that ministry, the church family that’s been built there, does outstanding work, has been I think applauded for its outreach to the poor.

Now, let me cite something that I had a hand in creating. As readers know, Marcie and I have a regular column at Common Conservative. In our most recent piece dealing with the deceit and lies of the Democrats in this election, Marcie covered Obama's lies regarding Jeremiah Wright. From our piece:

"In March the sermons of Reverend Jeremiah Wright came to light. Reverend Wright was pastor of the church Senator Obama attended for twenty years. The sermons were played by press outlets and across talk radio, and were heavily laden with anti-American, racist rhetoric. It appalled voters, and those offended demanded to know if Senator Obama had heard any of the controversial sermons. On March 14th, Senator Obama released a statement that "The statements Reverend Wright made that are the cause of this controversy were not statements I personally heard him preach while I sat in the pews of Trinity [United Church of Christ]." Hugh Hewitt, noted talk show host, discovered that in his book Dreams From my Father he admits to hearing at least one of those sermons; it was titled "The Audacity of Hope." On March 18th, Senator Obama gave a speech to the nation called "A More Perfect Union." The speech was to be on race relations in the US, and it failed to resonate with voters. Additionally, in that speech he admitted he lied to the nation. "Did I ever hear him make remarks that could be considered controversial while I sat in church? Yes." So in just over fifty hours, or so, the story went from "I did not hear them" to "I did hear them." A direct lie, and all done to distance himself from a controversy that, to this day, still hangs over his head."

So why did he flip-flop on this? He admitted he had heard the sermons in his book, and in his speech. Now he's saying he never heard them. Adding more to this line of thought, we flashback to The New York Times on 6 March 2007 where a quote from a Rolling Stone interview is cited showing us that Barack Obama did, in fact, hear Wright's sermons:

Mr. Wright said that in the phone conversation in which Mr. Obama disinvited him from a role in the announcement, Mr. Obama cited an article in Rolling Stone, “The Radical Roots of Barack Obama.”

According to the pastor, Mr. Obama then told him, “You can get kind of rough in the sermons, so what we’ve decided is that it’s best for you not to be out there in public.”

So, when it comes to the spin on that subject, he's lying again. To be fair, Wallace did press the issue, and pointed out that he did admit in his speech that he had heard what some would construe as "controversial." Here is that exchange. Let's see if you can spot the spin:

WALLACE: By the way, in your speech on race, you said that while you haven’t heard these remarks that have been public, that you had heard controversial remarks from the pulpit.

OBAMA: Right.

WALLACE: But you’ve never said what those were.

OBAMA: Well, you know, I didn’t have any particular examples.

WALLACE: Can you tell us anything that you heard him say?

OBAMA: Well, you know, I think that he has oftentimes talked about some of the problems in the black community in very controversial ways. I mean, I think — or in sharp ways, in ways that are provocative.

You know, he will talk about the failure of fathers to look after their children in ways that sometimes people might be taken aback by. He can use street vernacular in his sermons in ways that people wouldn’t expect to hear–

WALLACE: But did he ever say anything about America or about white racism that troubled you?

OBAMA: Well, you know — well, I think that, you know, he has certainly preached in the past when I was there about the history of race in this country in very blunt terms, talking about slavery, talking about Jim Crow. The problem — and I pointed this out in my speech in Philadelphia — was where oftentimes he would err, I think, is in only cataloguing the bad of America and not doing enough to lift up the good. And that’s probably where he and I have the biggest difference, but –

No buts. He heard them. He heard the visceral rhetoric coming from Jeremiah Wright. He never went up to him after a sermon and said, "Hey, instead of ranting about the bad in this nation, why don't you ever cite the good?" He never did that, and when Wallace posed that question, he sidestepped it.

WALLACE: Let me ask you one other (INAUDIBLE) which some will call the distraction, some will call values. In the last debate, you were asked about your relationship with William Ayers, the former ‘60s radical and you said that you were no more responsible for what he did back in the 1960s than for your friendship with Tom Coburn, senator from Oklahoma, pediatrician, who has made comments about possibly taking the death penalty for cases of abortion. Do you really feel moral equivalency between what Ayres did and what Tom Coburn said?

OBAMA: No of course not. The point I was making and I actually called Tom Coburn afterwards, because I thought that people were suggesting that I had drawn a moral equivalent, so that’s what I was, what I was doing.

All I was saying was is that the fact that I know somebody, worked with them, had interactions with them, doesn’t mean that I’m endorsing what they think and Chris, I’m sure you’ve got people who you serve on a board with or have dinner with who you would never expect that somehow have that seen as an endorsement of their views.

Now, Mr. Ayres is a 60 plus year old individual who lives in my neighborhood, who did something that I deplore 40 years ago when I was six or seven years old. By the time I met him, he was a professor of education at the University of Illinois.

We served on a board together that had Republicans, bankers, lawyers, focused on education, who worked for Mayor Daley. Mayor Daley, the same Mayor Daley probably who when he was a state attorney prosecuted Mr. Ayres’s wife for those activities, I (INAUDIBLE) the point is that to somehow suggest that in any way I endorse his deplorable acts 40 years ago, because I serve on a board with him.

WALLACE: No, I’m just surprised that you brought Coburn in, because it seems to me it’s so apples and oranges.

OBAMA: No, no, no, no. The point I was making was that I’ve got a lot of - nobody is saying, you know what, Barack, he’s got a bunch of Republican friends or he’s got a bunch of people who are considered on the religious right who he gets along with, who he shares stories with, who he does work with. The focus is on this one individual whose relations with, whom I have a relationship is for more tangential than it is with somebody like a Tom Coburn who I’m working with all the time and who I consider a close friend. And yet that’s the relationship that gets the focus.

It gets the attention because he hosted the dinner for Obama's announcement that he was running for office the first time. He and his wife vetted him, contributed to his campaigns, and have chosen him to be their guy for president. That says a lot to a nation that still remembers it's in a war against terrorists, and Obama has a relationship with two domestic terrorists. And while he may think they're "tangential" that excuse doesn't wash as evidenced in his defense of both of them on his own campaign website. If they were minor people in his travels up the political ladder, why bother offering up a defense of them at all unless their relationship to him is more than he contends. It also doesn't help his campaign when videos are uncovered showing both William Ayers and Bernadine Dohrn in 2007 as unrepentant as ever.

While the interview gave him a chance to "tell his side" of the story on those two issues, his defense and excuses regarding them don't pass the smell test, and shouldn't with any common sense voter.

Publius II

Politics as usual -- Can you say "quid pro quo"?

It's been fifteen months since Barack Obama announced his bid for the presidency, and the media is just now starting to raise their eyebrows about his past political and business dealings. Tony Rezko came to light, and Obama has expressed disappointment in himself for doing the house deal with him. Then there was Jeremiah Wright, who recently opined about Obama that "he says what he has to say as a politician". (That was him throwing Obama under the bus, for those paying attention.) James Meeks got very little attention in the media, and Lord knows why because the guy is a rampant, outspoken homophobe. His connections to the "Chicago Way" of politics is well known.

Today, the LA Times has a story that exposes yet another facet of Obama's political dealings:

After an unsuccessful campaign for Congress in 2000, Illinois state Sen. Barack Obama faced serious financial pressure: numerous debts, limited cash and a law practice he had neglected for a year. Help arrived in early 2001 from a significant new legal client -- a longtime political supporter.

Chicago entrepreneur Robert Blackwell Jr. paid Obama an $8,000-a-month retainer to give legal advice to his growing technology firm, Electronic Knowledge Interchange. It allowed Obama to supplement his $58,000 part-time state Senate salary for over a year with regular payments from Blackwell's firm that eventually totaled $112,000.

A few months after receiving his final payment from EKI, Obama sent a request on state Senate letterhead urging Illinois officials to provide a $50,000 tourism promotion grant to another Blackwell company, Killerspin.

Killerspin specializes in table tennis, running tournaments nationwide and selling its own line of equipment and apparel and DVD recordings of the competitions. With support from Obama, other state officials and an Obama aide who went to work part time for Killerspin, the company eventually obtained $320,000 in state grants between 2002 and 2004 to subsidize its tournaments.

Obama's staff said the senator advocated only for the first year's grant -- which ended up being $20,000, not $50,000. The day after Obama wrote his letter urging the awarding of the state funds, Obama's U.S. Senate campaign received a $1,000 donation from Blackwell.

Obama's presidential campaign rejects any suggestion that there was a connection between the legal work, the campaign contribution and the help with the grant. "Any implication that Sen. Obama would risk an ethical breach in order to secure a small grant for a pingpong tournament is nuts," said David Axelrod, Obama's chief political advisor.

Axelrod can say whatever he wants to about this, spin it anyway he'd like to, but to the average person looking at this story, it's apparent that Obama worked to secure a political donor taxpayer money for his business. And we do see this as an ethical breach -- he was on retainer for a company he basically lobbied for. Call it what you want, but it sure looks like he lobbied for the funds.

Now during this time, Obama was virtually broke. His credit cards were maxed out so badly that his card was rejected when he tried to rent a car for the DNC in 2004. Bills were piling up. But Blackwell claims that Obama's financial problems were none of his concern, and that they weren't the reason why he hired Obama. However, as we dig a little deeper in the story, more is revealed:

The monthly retainer paid by EKI was sent to the law firm that Obama was affiliated with at the time, currently known as Miner, Barnhill & Galland, where he worked part time when he wasn't tending to legislative duties. The business arrived at an especially fortuitous time because, as the law firm's senior partner, Judson Miner, put it, "it was a very dry period here," meaning that the ebb and flow of cases left little work for Obama and cash was tight.

The entire EKI retainer went to Obama, who was considered "of counsel" to the firm, according to details provided to The Times by the Obama campaign and confirmed by Miner. ...

Obama's tax returns show that he made no money from his law practice in 2000, the year of his unsuccessful run for a congressional seat. But that changed in 2001, when Obama reported $98,158 income for providing legal services. Of that, $80,000 was from Blackwell's company.

In 2002, the state senator reported $34,491 from legal services and speeches. Of that, $32,000 came from the EKI legal assignment, which ended in April 2002 by mutual agreement, as Obama ceased the practice of law and looked ahead to the possibility of running for the U.S. Senate. ...

Illinois ethics disclosure forms are designed to reveal possible financial conflicts by lawmakers. On disclosure forms for 2001 and 2002, Obama did not specify that EKI provided him with the bulk of the private-sector compensation he received. As was his custom, he attached a multi-page list of all the law firm's clients, which included EKI among hundreds. Illinois law does not require more specific disclosure.

Stanley Brand, a Washington lawyer who counsels members of Congress and others on ethics rules, said he would have advised a lawmaker in Obama's circumstances to separately disclose such a singularly important client and not simply include it on a list of hundreds of firm clients, even if the law does not explicitly require it. "I would say you should disclose that to protect and insulate yourself against the charge that you are concealing it," Brand said.

Obama has been quite reclusive when it comes to details on his past. This is just one more episode for voters to take note of. This buddy/buddy system he's got going for his friends and associates ought to make voters really start asking questions about him, and how he would run things if he's elected. It's clear to us that he doesn't stand for change. He stands for the same you-scratch-my-back-and-I'll-scratch-yours style of politics. That's not change anyway you slice it. That's DC politics, and the sort that's done behind closed doors.

Publius II

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Iran provokes response in the Gulf

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had best watch his step. Another incident like this and he might missing a few boats when they're sent to the bottom of the Gulf:

A ship contracted by the US Navy has fired warning shots in the direction of two unidentified speedboats in the Gulf, US military officials say.

The incident took place in international waters dozens of miles from the Iranian coast, the US said.

In January, the US said speedboats from Iran had harassed US Navy ships in the Gulf - Iran denied issuing threats.

In the latest incident, Tehran said its vessels had had no confrontations with US ships.

The US vessel - the Westward Venture - was working for the US Military Sealift Command under a 65-day charter, an official told the BBC.

US officials say the Westward Venture used the correct measures prior to firing the shots - it sounded its horn, and gave the boats a verbal warning, before firing flares, 50-caliber machine guns and M-16s.

The speedboats withdrew soon after the warning shots were fired.

Shortly after the incident, a routine inquiry was made of the Westward Venture by Iranian authorities, according to US officials.

For those who look at this as no big deal, think again. The Iranians have done this before, and the last time no shots were fired. This time it was clear they came too close, hadn't identified themselves, and were moving in a provocative posture towards the ship. When things like this occur, crews are correct in taking these steps to prevent any possible attack.

We'll recall in 2000 the USS Cole was attacked by a boat laden with explosives when it was docked in Yemen. Al Qaeda had come up with a new sort of attack against our ships, and since then we have taken steps to ensure that such an attack won't happen again. The Democrats keep claiming that we're the ones rattling the sabers when it comes to Iran, and they downplay incidents like this.

Again, if Mahmoud would like to see some of his boats hit the bottom of the Gulf, then keep running operations like this. We will be more than happy to send them to a watery grave if this keeps up. We're not screwing around with Iran, and we're not going to let them continue to act provocatively in the Gulf.

Publius II

Read the real Jeremiah Wright

From ABC's The Blotter, Jeremiah Wright is claiming he was taken out of context when clips of his sermons were played on the radio and TV. ABC decided to play his game, and provided the context. And it doesn't make him look any better than before. In fact, he appears to be even worse:

Rev. Jeremiah Wright says his sermons were deliberately taken out of context by the news media "for a political purpose" and to "paint me as some sort of fanatic."

"When something is taken like a sound bite for a political purpose and constantly over and over again, looped in the face of the public, that's not a failure to communicate," he told Bill Moyers in his first interview since ABC News' "Good Morning America" first broadcast portions of his sermons. The Moyers interview will be broadcast tomorrow evening on PBS.

Wright says the use of his controversial statements -- saying the U.S. brought on the 9/11 attacks and that black Americans should sing "God Damn America" instead of "God Bless America" -- were "unfair" and "unjust" and were used "for some very devious reasons."

OK, reverend let's take a look at what you said:

I heard Ambassador Peck on an interview yesterday, did anybody else see him or hear him? He was on Fox News, this is a white man, and he was upsetting the Fox News commentators to no end. He pointed out, did you see him John, a white man, and he pointed out, an ambassador, that what Malcolm X said when he got silenced by Elijah Mohammed was in fact true, America's chickens…are coming home to roost. We took this country by terror, away from the Sioux, the Apache, the Arowak, the Comanche, the Arapahoe, the Navajo. Terrorism. We took Africans from their country to build our way of ease and kept them enslaved and living in fear. Terrorism. We bombed Granada and killed innocent civilians, babies, non-military personnel. We bombed the black civilian community of Panama with stealth bombers and killed unarmed teenagers and toddlers, pregnant mothers, and hardworking fathers. We bombed Qaddafi's home and killed his child. Blessed are they who bash your children's head against a rock. We bombed Iraq. We killed unarmed civilians trying to make a living. We bombed a plant in Sudan to payback for the attack on our embassy, killed hundreds of hardworking people, mothers and fathers who left home to go that day not knowing that they would never get back home. 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. Kids playing in the playground, mothers picking up children from school, civilians, not soldiers, people just trying to make it day by day.

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.

The bolded lines above come from the soundbites, and the rest of it wasn't ever played. Now we see just how bad it really was. He's telling his congregation that because, in his eyes, America has engaged in evil acts in the past that we deserved what we got on 11 September. Lovely. How very tolerant of him. Sounds very much like any sort of pastor at a church preaching love of you fellow man, right? Yeah, nothing to see here. Move along ...

The British government failed, the Russian government failed, the Japanese government failed, the German government failed, and the United States of America government, when it came to treating her citizens of Indian descent fairly, she failed. She put them on reservations. When it came to treating her citizens of Japanese decent fairly, she failed. She put them in internment prison camps. When it came to treating her citizens of African descent fairly, America failed. The government put them in chains. She put them on slave quarters, put them on auction blocks, put them in cotton fields, put them in inferior schools, put them in sub-standard housing, put them in scientific experiments, put them in the lowest paying jobs, put them outside the equal protection of the law, kept them out of their racist bastions of higher education, and locked them into positions of hopelessness and helplessness. The government gives them the drugs, builds bigger prisons, passes a three strike law, and then wants us to sing God Bless America…no, no, no

Not God bless America, God damn America. That's in the Bible, for killing innocent people. God damn America for treating her citizens as less than human. God damn America for as long as she acts like she is God and she is supreme. The United States government has failed the vast majority of her citizens of African descent. Think about this, think about this.

For every one Oprah, a billionaire, you've got 5 million blacks who out of work. For every one Colin Powell, a millionaire, you've got 10 million blacks who cannot read. For every one Condoskeeza Rice, you've got 1 million in prison. For every one Tiger Woods, who needs to get beat, at the Masters, with his cap, blazin' hips playing on a course that discriminates against women. God has his way of bringing you up short when you get to big for your cap, blazin britches. For every one Tiger Woods, we got 10,000 black kids who will never see a golf course. The United States government has failed the vast majority of her citizens of African descent.

So, we see the same old song and dance conspiracy theories pushed by nuts during the Reagan and Bush-41 administrations. We don't do enough for blacks, yet he doesn't recognize affirmative action. He doesn't acknowledge those that have achieved a great deal without the media hype. Condoleeza Rice, Clarence Thomas, Colin Powell, JC Watts; I suppose he can't tolerate them because their sell-outs or Uncle Tom's. They didn't buy into the victim mindset so prevalent in his beliefs. We've failed blacks, yet they don't take responsibility for their own actions? That's bunk. It's preposterous that all the failures of the black community should fall on our shoulders.

And where does he get the idea that the Brits failed? Great Britain is still alive. Same with the Germans and the Japanese. And why did Germany and Japan succeed? Because we helped rebuild them after World War II. We got them back on their feet, and that was no small task. That sort of goes hand-in-hand with being the lone beacon of freedom around the globe who will come to the aid of her allies if asked.

A lot of people will dismiss this as a non-issue. His fire-brand rhetoric was designed to rile people up and make them pay attention. We don't look at it that way. He is doing the blame-America-first two-step. This isn't a man that Barack Obama should be proud of. If he was our pastor/priest, we'd be embarrassed by his rhetoric, and we wouldn't have hung around for twenty years.

Publius II