Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Obama, the man of principle

On Cuba-- In 2004, Mr. Obama told an audience at Southern Illinois University that trade with Communist Cuba was a good thing:

"I think it's time for us to end the embargo with Cuba... It's time for us to acknowledge that that particular policy has failed."

On Colombia-- On April 3, 2008, Barack Obama said that trade with capitalist pro-American Colombia was bad:

"I will oppose the Colombia Free Trade Agreement if President Bush insists on sending it to Congress because the violence against unions in Colombia would make a mockery of the very labor protections that we have insisted be included in these kinds of agreements."

The latest Democratic objection to the trade agreement with US ally Colombia is that Bogota  isn't doing enough to protect labor activists. But the murders of trade unionists have fallen by almost 80% since 2002.

More here

Karl Marx (1818-1883) and Barack Obama

Post below recycled from KBJ. See the original for links

Religious suffering is the expression of real suffering and at the same time the protest against real suffering. Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, as it is the spirit of spiritless conditions. It is the opium of the people. (Karl Marx, "Toward the Critique of Hegel's Philosophy of Law: Introduction," in Writings of the Young Marx on Philosophy and Society, trans. and ed. Loyd D. Easton and Kurt H. Guddat [Garden City, NY: Anchor Books, 1967], 249-64, at 250 [italics in original] [essay written in 1843])

Kai Nielsen:
For Marx all pre-communist societies are class societies, driven by class struggles, where the class structures are epoch-specific and are rooted in the material conditions of production. Religions, in his conception, and also Engels's conception of things, function principally to aid the dominant class or classes in mystifying and, through such mystification, controlling the dominated classes in the interests of the dominant class or classes. Members of the dominating classes may or may not be aware that religion functions that way. But, whether they are aware of it or not, it so functions. Religion, as ideology, serves to reconcile the dominated to their condition and to give them an illusory hope of a better purely spiritual world to come, after they depart this veil [sic] of tears[.] This works, in the interests of the dominant class or classes, as a device to pacify what otherwise might be a rebellious dominated class, while at the same time "legitimating" the wealth and other privileges of the dominating class or classes. In this peculiar way-definitely an ideological way-religion works to "unify" class society, while at the same time giving expression to distinctive class interests. It serves, that is, both to "unify" class society and to sanction class domination, while giving the dominated class an illusory hope, though, of course, not one seen by them to be illusory, of a better life to come after the grave. . . . (Kai Nielsen, "Naturalistic Explanations of Theistic Belief," chap. 51 in A Companion to Philosophy of Religion, ed. Philip L. Quinn and Charles Taliaferro [Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishers, 1997], 402-9, at 406)

You go into these small towns in Pennsylvania and, like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing's replaced them. And they fell through the Clinton administration, and the Bush administration, and each successive administration has said that somehow these communities are gonna regenerate and they have not. And it's not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy toward people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or antitrade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.

Interesting, no?

Obama's memory problem

Post below recycled from Prairie Pundit. See the original for links

When the Rev Wright CD's first started circulating Barack Obama said he did not recall hearing the hateful messages before. From my hearing of them they were pretty memorable. I have forgotten many a sermon in my time, but I am pretty sure I would remember one where the minister asked God to damn America.

With the testimony today in the Rezko trial indicating that Obama attending a dinner with Iraqi billionaire Auchi, who was also a friend of Saddam, Obama in his March 14 interview with the Chicago Sun Times says he has no recollection of the meeting. Considering Auchi's indirect funding of his subprime loan that let Obama buy his house, I find that lack of memory not credible.

Democrats had hoped to capitalize on John McCain's age and inflate any memory lapse into an election issue, but at this point it looks like Obama is the one with the most convenient lapses into senility. We will know people are noticing when the late night comedians start their I don't recall jokes about Obama. Rush Limbaugh may have to revise his Hillary ClintonClinton-and-Obama-Economic-Plans Mar-08 parody tune about "I don't recall." Obama may need one of his own.

Would Obama Get "Crushed?"

Post below recycled from Riehl World. See the original for links

Via The Politico, allegedly Hillary told someone she thinks Obama will get "crushed" in the Fall against McCain:
Here is why: She and Bill Clinton both devoutly believe that Obama's likely victory is a disaster-in-waiting. Naive Democrats just don't see it. And a timid, pro-Obama press corps, in their view, won't tell the story. But Hillary Clinton won't tell it, either.

It is beginning to look that way, what with him supposedly dropping big in PA before the pending primary, though I would take the ARG Poll with a big grain of salt.

Putting aside the race issue, Obama has several problems. He's young, inexperienced, and far better working with a teleprompter, than working on his feet. McCain is somewhat the opposite of that. Also, while some do, personally, I don't think whites will vote for Obama out of some sense of guilt, or desire to show their lack of bias.

In the end, he's never held an executive position, is starting to look rather brash - more ego, than substance - and for now I'm thinking he'll lose on the merits, even if the media will make the race all about race. In the end, it may not be so.

Becoming the nation's first black president is enough of a challenge for someone to overcome. Doing it when you lack the qualifications and experience is probably too much to ask. I don't believe that many Americans really believe in Affirmative Action, anyhow. And it's starting to look like that's precisely what an Obama nomination by the Dems would be.

Obama hitting back

Barack Obama sought to turn the tables on Hillary Clinton yesterday over his controversial remarks that small town Americans "cling" to guns and religion. In separate appearances before an audience of steelworkers in Pittsburgh, a week before Pennsylvania's primary, the Democratic rivals attacked each other aggressively, with one new poll showing Mrs Clinton opening up a formidable 20-point lead in the State.

The American Research Group survey comes after polls last week showed him pulling to within five points of Mrs Clinton in Pennsylvania. Yesterday's poll, taken since the "guns and religion" controversy erupted, puts Mrs Clinton ahead 57 per cent to 37, and leading among white voters 64 points to 29. The ARG polls can be unreliable and another survey, by Temple University in Philadelphia, gave Mrs Clinton a nine-point lead.

Last week Mr Obama, at a fundraiser in San Francisco, tried to explain why he has trouble attracting white, working-class voters, a large voting bloc in Pennsylvania. He said that, frustrated with their economic plight, "it's not surprising they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them . . . as a way to explain their frustrations".

Mrs Clinton has spent the past three days calling Mr Obama "elitist" and "out of touch", and told the steelworkers audience that his remarks were "offensive". John McCain, in Washington, echoed that criticism. Later, in a speech in Washington, a defiant Mr Obama said he was a person of "deep faith", went after Mr McCain, and said: "Contrary to what my poor word choices may have implied or my opponents have suggested, I've never believed that these traditions or people's faith has anything to do with how much money they have."

Speaking to the steelworkers earlier, Mr Obama accused Mrs Clinton of being a dishonest panderer. He conceded that the words he used in his "bitter" remarks were badly chosen, then rounded on his rival. "Around election time, the candidates [will] promise you anything . . . and even come around, with TV crews in tow, to throw back a shot and a beer," Mr Obama said to loud laughter. Mrs Clinton did just that in an Indiana bar on Saturday.

Turning to the North American Free Trade Agreement, which Mrs Clinton backed in 1993 but now opposes, Mr Obama said: "You can't spend the better part of two decades campaigning for Nafta . . . and then come here to Pennsylvania, and tell the steelworkers you've been with them all along." At a union hall on Sunday night, Mr Obama said that Mrs Clinton seemed more interested in guns and hunting. "She is running around talking about how this is an insult to sportsmen . . . she is talking like she is Annie Oakley," Mr Obama said, mockingly comparing her to the legendary American sharpshooter.

Most steelworkers questioned by The Times said that the furore was an irrelevant distraction. Indeed, in a part of Pennsylvania that should favour Mrs Clinton, Mr Obama's speech was far more warmly received.


Pastor Wrong still pouring out abuse

It's basic to him. It's what he does. There can no doubt that it was a gospel of hate -- a Satanic gospel -- that sustained Obama for 20 years

Rev. Jeremiah Wright told a congregation in Norfolk, Va., on Sunday that reporters sneaked into a private funeral service a day before, in which he blasted America's founding fathers for slavery and white supremacy and received standing ovations for attacking FOX News for covering his anti-American sermons. Barack Obama's retiring pastor delivered a sermon at Bank Street Memorial Baptist Church, where his late uncle had been the pastor, about overcoming trouble. The public appearance was his first since news broke that the Democratic presidential candidate's pastor frequently rails on the United States. "Some troubles that come up in your life come up out of nowhere," Wright said. At the end of the two-hour-plus service, about two dozen ministers gathered around Wright and his daughter to pray for them. One of the ministers asked God to give Wright courage as "the world tries to demonize him."

Though Wright said nothing about Obama or the uproar itself, he alluded to the controversy while briefly back in the pulpit Saturday to deliver a eulogy for a late congregant of Trinity United Church of Christ - former appellate judge R. Eugene Pincham. Wright, who is on sabbatical before retiring from Trinity United, said America's mistreatment of blacks is the result of the founding fathers, who "planted slavery and white supremacy in the DNA of this republic."

First reported by The Chicago Sun Times, Wright told mourners at the funeral that Thomas Jefferson, who partook in "pedophilia," would also be considered unpatriotic these days because he wrote, "God would punish America for the sin of slavery." He also quoted Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who said that the U.S. has a "congenital birth defect."

Speaking of the seven lessons Pincham taught him, Wright said the judge's faith "was not the jingoistic, chauvinistic `you're either with us or against us' demonizing kind of faith." "FOX News can't understand that," Wright said to rousing cheers and applause. "[Bill] O'Reilly will never get that. Sean Hannity's stupid fantasy will keep him forever stuck on stupid when it comes to comprehending how you can love a brother who does not believe what you believe. [Pincham's] faith was a faith in a God who loved the whole world not just one country or one creed."



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