Sunday, May 4, 2008

Uh-oh, here we go again: Meet Obama's new pastor

Otis Moss compares Wright to Jesus, backs up predecessor on AIDS, drugs

More pastor problems for Sen. Barack Obama? The man slated to become chief pastor at the Trinity United Church of Christ has called blacks "lepers" with a "skin disease," claimed U.S. entertainment corporations operate with "disdain" for black people, and in a fiery sermon claimed retired pastor Rev. Jeremiah Wright was "lynched" by the media and compared the embattled pastor to Jesus. Otis Moss III, lauded this week by Obama as a "wonderful young pastor," also recently refused to deny claims by Wright that the U.S. government was involved in distributing illegal drugs to minorities or spreading the AIDS virus to blacks. The 37-year-old Moss, nicknamed the "hip-hop pastor" by congregants, will become the head of Trinity Christ in June, taking over for Wright, whose controversial remarks landed Obama in hot water.

Following a series of national media interviews given by Wright last week, Obama strongly denounced some of Wright's statements as "divisive and destructive." Wright had defended his views that the U.S. was to blame for the 9-11 attacks and referred to Nation of Islam head Louis Farrakhan as "one of the most important voices in the 20th and 21st century." Wright also quoted controversial Farrakhan remarks, such as his calling "Zionism" a "gutter religion."

While slamming Wright this week, Obama told the New York Times he will continue his membership in Trinity. He referred to Moss as "wonderful." "Well, you know, the new pastor - the young pastor, Rev. Otis Moss, is a wonderful young pastor. And as I said, I still very much value the Trinity community."

In what was labeled his first national broadcast interview, Moss spoke last month to National Public Radio amid national media controversy surrounding some of Wright's views. NPR interviewer Michelle Noris asked about Wright's statements regarding the spread of drugs and AIDS: "As part of a member of this new generation is that a concept that you embrace? That the government was involved in the distribution of drugs or in the spread of HIV and AIDS?" asked Noris.

Moss replied: "Well, I think in terms of that particular narrative, I think we need to be very, very honest in terms of that our government has the ability to place a Hubble Telescope in the sky but yet we haven't had the political will to shut down drugs coming into our community. And from that perspective I think that's something we can look at in terms of policy. That we just have lacked the political will."

Like Wright, Moss has a trail of fiery sermons posted on YouTube. In one, an animated Moss compares blacks to biblical "lepers" who have a "skin disease." "You see they still are lepers. They still have a skin disease. They had a skin disease. They had a skin disease. Based on their skin condition, they were considered to be second-class citizens. They had a skin issue. They had a skin disease. "And the lepers lived in a leper project. The lepers had bad health care. The lepers were disrespected. They had funny names for lepers. The lepers were considered inferior. They had an inferior school system. The lepers lived in a ghetto leper colony. The lepers were segregated from everybody else," he continued.

Moss went on to imply those who segregated blacks are the "enemy." "But they (blacks) refused to give up. They decided to leave the city. They said that's not going to stop me from my destiny. Once they left the particular area, they then find out God has cooked things up. The camp of the enemy...nobody is there. So they go into the enemy's camp. They find food. They find shelter. They find gold. They find silver. They even find some drink. In the enemy's camp. They find gin and juice. In the enemy's camp." "The one who wanted to destroy them ends up being the one who blesses them. Every once in a while God will use your enemies to end up blessing you," said Moss.

In his Easter sermon last month, Moss said Wright was "lynched" by the international media. "No one should start a ministry with lynching, no one should end their ministry with lynching," Moss said. "The lynching was national news. The RNN, the Roman News Network, was reporting it and NPR, National Publican Radio had it on the radio. The Jerusalem Post and the Palestine Times all wanted exclusives, they searched out the young ministers, showed up unannounced at their houses, tried to talk with their families, called up their friends, wanted to get a quote on how do you feel about the lynching?" he stated.

He went on to compare Wright to Jesus: "The people gathered around Jesus, they knew better. But they kept repeating sound bytes from his ministry. They kept saying, you know, things like the last shall be first and didn't say the first shall be last." "They just kept quoting things. Did not talk about his parables. Did not talk about his work. Just there he is on the cross being lynched. No rabbis came to the aid of Jesus during his lynching."

Moss served under Wright as an assistant pastor for two years. He graduated from Yale Divinity School and is the son of a preacher and former adviser to Martin Luther King Jr. Under Wright, Moss wrote in the Trinity church newsletter that American entertainment companies operate with contempt for the black community. "Currently, there are about eight companies controlling 90% of everything we hear, read, watch on television or view in the movie theater. These companies operate with contempt and disdain for the Black community," Moss wrote. He was introducing an article featured in the newsletter about the music industry and blacks.

That same church newsletter was widely featured in the media after it was reported the bulletin reprinted an opinion piece by a top Hamas official that defended terrorism as legitimate resistance, refused to recognize the right of Israel to exist and compared the terror group's official charter - which calls for the murder of Jews - to America's Declaration of Independence. The Hamas piece was published on Wright's "Pastor's Page," which later printed an open letter by a pro-Palestinian activist that labeled Israel an "apartheid" regime and claimed the Jewish state worked on an "ethnic bomb" that kills "blacks and Arabs."


Obama rejected his biracial origins -- until recently

By Judith A. Klinghoffer

Obama must be extremely contemptuous of the media. For he openly lied to them in the Wright distancing press conference. He said:
"I have spent my entire adult life trying to bridge the gap between different kinds of people. That’s in my DNA. Trying to promote mutual understanding, to insist that we all share common hopes, and common dreams, as Americans and as human beings. That’s who I am, that’s what I believe, that’s what this campaign has been about. . . ."

I have spoken and written about the need for us to all recognize each other as Americans, regardless of race or religion or region of the country, . . . And anybody who has worked with me, who knows my life, who has read my books, . . . I think, will understand that it (Wright’s view) is completely opposed to what I stand for and where I want to take this country.”

Obama must have trusted the media NOT to read Dreams from my Father p.99-100. In it he specifically contrasts his views from those of a biracial woman named Joyce who refused to be categorized: (the italicization in the text is Obama’s)
One day I asked her if she was going to the Black Students’ Association meeting. She looked at me funny, then started shaking her head like a baby who doesn’t want what it sees on the spoon. "I’m not black," Joyce said, “I’m multiracial.” Then she started telling me about her father, who happened to be Italian and was the sweetest man in the world; and her mother, who happened to be part African and part Native American and part something else. “Why should I have to choose between them?” she asked me. Her voice cracked, and I thought she was going to cry. “It’s not white people who are making me choose. Maybe it used to be that way, but now they’re willing to treat me like a person. No- it’s black people who always have to make everything racial. They’re the ones making me choose. They’re the ones who are telling me that I can’t be who I am . . . . “

In other words Joyce is the person Obama tries to convince us that he is. But she is the person he rejected as a “sellout” in favor of an all out Blackness, the kind which will naturally lead him to Rev. Wright and to Michelle. For this is how he goes on -
The truth was that I understood her, her and all the other black kids who felt the way she did. In their mannerism, their speech, their mixed-up hearts, I kept recognizing pieces of myself. And that’s exactly what scared me. . . . I needed to put distance between them and myself, to convince myself that I wasn’t compromised - that I was indeed still awake. To avoid being mistaken for a sellout, I chose my friends carefully. The more politically active black students. The foreign students. The Chicanos. The Marxist professors and structural feminists and punk rock performance poets. . . . At night, in the dorms, we discussed neocolonialism, Franz Fanon, Eurocentrism, and patriarchy.”

He goes on to explain that changing his name from Barry to Barack was part of the choice. In other words, Obama’s relationship with Wright and friendship with Ayers are not exceptions. They are the real thing. For when all is said and done, Wright is telling the truth and Obama is lying in plain sight.


The 'Race' Speech Revisited

By Charles Krauthammer

"I can no more disown him [Jeremiah Wright] than I can disown my white grandmother." -- Barack Obama, Philadelphia, March 18

Guess it's time to disown Granny, if Obama's famous Philadelphia "race" speech is to be believed. Of course, the speech was not just believed. It was hailed, celebrated, canonized as the greatest pronouncement on race in America since Lincoln at Cooper Union. A New York Times columnist said it "should be required reading in classrooms across the country." College seniors and first-graders, suggested the excitable Chris Matthews.

Apparently there's been a curriculum change. On Tuesday, the good senator begged to extend and revise his previous remarks on race. Moral equivalence between Grandma and Wright is now, as the Nixon administration used to say, inoperative. Poor Geraldine Ferraro, thrice lashed by Obama in Philadelphia as the white equivalent of Wright's raving racism, is off the hook. These equivalences having been revealed as the cheap rhetorical tricks they always were, Obama has now decided that the man he simply could not banish because he had become part of Obama himself is, mirabile dictu, surgically excised. At a news conference in North Carolina, Obama explained why he finally decided to do the deed. Apparently, Wright's latest comments -- Obama cited three in particular -- were so shockingly "divisive and destructive" that he had to renounce the man, not just the words.

What were Obama's three citations? Wright's claim that AIDS was invented by the U.S. government to commit genocide. His praise of Louis Farrakhan as a great man. And his blaming Sept. 11 on American "terrorism." But these comments are not new. These were precisely the outrages that prompted the initial furor when the Wright tapes emerged seven weeks ago. Obama decided to cut off Wright not because Wright's words or character or views had suddenly changed. The only thing that changed was the venue in which Wright chose to display them -- live on national TV at the National Press Club. That unfortunate choice destroyed Obama's Philadelphia pretense that this "endless loop" of sermon excerpts being shown on "television sets and YouTube" had been taken out of context.

Obama's Philadelphia oration was an exercise in contextualization. In one particularly egregious play on white guilt, Obama had the audacity to suggest that whites should be ashamed that they were ever surprised by Wright's remarks: "The fact that so many people are surprised to hear that anger in some of Reverend Wright's sermons simply reminds us of the old truism that the most segregated hour of American life occurs on Sunday morning."

That was then. On Tuesday, Obama declared that he himself was surprised at Wright's outrages. But hadn't Obama told us that surprise about Wright is a result of white ignorance of black churches brought on by America's history of segregated services? How then to explain Obama's own presumed ignorance? Surely he too was not sitting in those segregated white churches on those fateful Sundays when he conveniently missed all of Wright's racist rants.

Obama's turning surprise about Wright into something to be counted against whites-- one of the more clever devices in that shameful, brilliantly executed, 5,000-word intellectual fraud in Philadelphia -- now stands discredited by Obama's own admission of surprise. But Obama's liberal acolytes are not daunted. They were taken in by the first great statement on race: the Annunciation, the Chosen One comes to heal us in Philly. They now are taken in by the second: the Renunciation.

Obama's newest attempt to save himself after Wright's latest poisonous performance is now declared the new final word on the subject. Therefore, any future ads linking Obama and Wright are preemptively declared out of bounds, illegitimate, indeed "race-baiting" (a New York Times editorial, April 30).

On what grounds? This 20-year association with Wright calls into question everything about Obama: his truthfulness in his serially adjusted stories of what he knew and when he knew it; his judgment in choosing as his mentor, pastor and great friend a man he just now realizes is a purveyor of racial hatred; and the central premise of his campaign, that he is the bringer of a "new politics," rising above the old Washington ways of expediency. It's hard to think of an act more blatantly expedient than renouncing Wright when his show, once done from the press club instead of the pulpit, could no longer be "contextualized" as something whites could not understand and only Obama could explain in all its complexity.

Turns out the Wright show was not that complex after all. Everyone understands it now. Even Obama.


Obama nuclear adviser: Israel must give up its nukes

Calls 'nonsense' U.S. claims Jewish state struck Syrian nuclear reactor

Israel should give up its nuclear weapons to ensure Iran halts its illicit nuclear program, argues an adviser on nuclear issues to Sen. Barack Obama. Joseph Cirincione, director of nuclear policy at the Center for American Progress, also previously dismissed reports Israel's Sept. 6 airstrike targeted a Syrian nuclear reactor as "nonsense" and called Damascus' nuclear program "miniscule."

Immediately following Israel's air raid, Cirincione listed "Israelis [who] want to thwart any dialogue between the U.S. and Syria" as among those spreading rumors Syria was constructing a nuclear facility. Cirincione was commenting on a Sept. 13 Washington Post story about possible links between Syria and North Korea.

His statements have been circulating around the blogosphere the past few days after the U.S. government last week released what it said was photographic evidence Syria was constructing a nuclear reactor with the help of North Korea. "Once again, this appears to be the work of a small group of officials leaking cherry-picked, unvetted 'intelligence to key reporters in order to promote a pre-existing political agenda," Cirincione wrote in September on the blog of Foreign Policy magazine. "If this sounds like the run-up to the war in Iraq, it should. This time it appears aimed at derailing the U.S.-North Korean agreement that administration hardliners think is appeasement," Cirincione wrote.

In a September interview with National Public Radio, Cirincione stated "certain hard-line Israelis who are aimed at preventing a U.S.-Syrian or an Israeli-Syrian dialogue" were using the Syrian nuclear story to affect talks with Damascus. He called reports Israel struck a Syrian nuclear site "the most overblown story I've seen since before the buildup to the war in Iraq." "There's precious little information available, but it hasn't stop people with political agendas from spinning it at such an absurd level as if these claims are facts," Cirincione said.

The Obama adviser characterized Syria's nuclear program as "not amount[ing] to much. Begun almost 40 years ago, the Syrian program is a rudimentary research program built around a tiny 30-kilowatt research reactor that produces isotopes and neutrons." "Syria does not have the financial, technical or industrial base to develop a serious nuclear program anytime in the foreseeable future."

Cirincione's assessment and his claims about false leaks to the media directly contradict a U.S. government briefing to select congressional committees last week on some details of the Sept. 6 Israeli airstrike. The U.S. released video of the targeted Syrian building showing what the CIA said was a soon-to-be completed nuclear reactor similar to one in Yongbyon, 55 miles north of the North Korean capital, Pyongyang. Also, the U.S. released photographs that show what appears to be the inside of the nuclear reactor and a picture of a Syrian official standing with a well-known nuclear engineer for the North Korean government.

White House press secretary Dana Perino issued a statement last week explaining the "Syrian regime was building a covert nuclear reactor in its eastern desert capable of producing plutonium. "We are convinced, based on a variety of information, that North Korea assisted Syria's covert nuclear activities. We have good reason to believe that reactor, which was damaged beyond repair on Sept. 6 of last year, was not intended for peaceful purposes." The U.S. statement accused Syria of hiding the reactor from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and said after the Israeli airstrike, Damascus moved quickly to bury evidence of the reactor's existence.

Even after the U.S. briefings last week, Cirincione held strong to his conspiracy theories. "We should learn first from the past and be very cautious about any intelligence from the U.S. about other country's weapons," he told the Guardian newspaper last Friday.

Cirincione has been described in media reports as a top nuclear advisor to Obama. But he characterizes his role as writing occasional memos to Obama's campaign. Cirincione did not return phone call requests for an interview with WND.

Ed Lasky of American Thinker notes Cirincione outlines in his book, "Bomb Scare: The History and Future of Nuclear Weapons," that he favors Israel giving up its nuclear weapons to ensure Iran doesn't obtain nukes. "Cirincione is optimistic that Israel with its vast and superior conventional forces could be encouraged to incrementally reduce or even eliminate its nuclear capability, perhaps starting by shutting down its production reactor at Dimona," one reviewer of Cirincione's book notes.

Circincione has argued in papers the U.S. should have an "evenhanded approach" toward a nuclear-free Middle East and that Israel should make public its nuclear weapons program as part of nuclear negotiations. The Obama adviser was also quoted in 2006 calling Israel's 1981 raid on Iraq's nuclear reactor a "failure." The raid was widely credited with completely halting deposed Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein's nuclear programs.

Of Cirincione's views toward Syria, Gabriel Schoenfeld writes on the Commentary Magazine blog, "Cirincione sounds remarkably similar to Syria's ambassador to the United Nations. 'There was no Syria-North Korea cooperation whatsoever in Syria. We deny these rumors,' Bashar Ja'afari said."


A "Please explain" to Obama from Leftist Susan Estrich

The issue was never whether Obama took his message from Wright or shared the reverend's rants. It's always been about judgment. Judgment and character. Why did he join that church, stay in that church, remain loyal to Wright, refuse to condemn him when his sermons became public, compare him to an uncle and even his white grandmother? Why didn't he follow Oprah's lead and quit a church that was known among African-Americans in Chicago not only for its charitable work for the needy of the South Side but also for the extremist rhetoric of its charismatic pastor?

It's not as if Obama wasn't familiar with the age-old political ritual of throwing people overboard when they cause you a problem. Loyalty, as anyone who has ever worked on a political campaign should know, is a one-way street in this business. Samantha Power found that out when she called Hillary Clinton a "monster" in a supposedly off-the-record interview with a foreign newspaper. I'm told that Obama has been quite solicitous of Power after the incidence in question, remaining in touch with her to make sure that the fall off the boat didn't hit too hard.

But off the boat she went, and the incident, and its potential for costing Obama, ended. Wright was bound to be a bigger problem for Obama than Power, a pastor of 20 years standing versus a newly minted foreign policy adviser, not to mention that one was exploiting racial divisions while the other was simply criticizing his opponent. But that is all the more reason why it was critical for Obama to move even more swiftly and decisively in the case of Wright than he did with Power.

And so the question lingers: What took so long? Why did it take the Bill Moyers interview and the NAACP speech and the National Press Club appearance for Obama to reach the conclusion that Oprah reached without any of them? Why did he defend a man who clearly, by these recent appearances, has shown himself to have absolutely no loyalty to his former parishioner, who couldn't be doing more to help elect John McCain president if he tried? Was he really fooled by Wright?

Did he really believe him to be a better, more decent, more honorable man than he was? Or was he afraid that black voters would be offended by his denunciation of someone who, at least initially, was advertised as a respected figure in the black church?

Barack Obama doesn't have to convince anyone that he disagrees with what Wright has to say and what he stands for. That's easy. You can't have heard a single speech that Obama has given in the last year and make that mistake. What he has to do, if he is to effectively put this bad chapter to rest, is provide some explanation for why it took him so long and why he seemed to find it so difficult to do to this guy what most of us wanted to do to him the first time we saw a single clip of his hateful rants.


President Obama: The Preview?

"Sen. Obama and I are long-time friends and allies. We often share ideas about politics, policy and language." -- Deval Patrick

There may not be two politicians on the national stage more alike than Barack Obama and Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick. Both went to Harvard Law, are African-American politicians with mass appeal, and use soaring rhetoric to promise a bold new postpartisan politics. But the two men differ in one critical area: Mr. Patrick has an executive record. And, unfortunately for the senator from Illinois, it reveals that the Patrick-Obama brand of politics isn't really new. It is, in fact, something akin to the failed liberalism of old, in a new vessel.

Mr. Patrick, 52, was swept into office in a landslide in 2006. He won because Democrats were energized to capture the governor's mansion and because he presented himself as an historic candidate. Having never held elective office before - though he was assistant attorney general for the civil rights division in the Clinton administration - it was easy for him to claim that he wouldn't be beholden to special interests or outmoded orthodoxies. Baby boomers, eager to make a permanent mark on the political landscape, also found the idea of electing the state's first black governor appealing. What the Bay State got, however, is a pedestrian liberal governor who is remarkably quick to retreat in the face of pressure from the status quo.

Mr. Patrick's first cave-in came just weeks after he was elected, and before he was even sworn into office. On the campaign trail he promised to cut $735 million in wasteful spending from the state budget. But when the Democratic Senate president rebuked him for it, the governor-elect backpedalled. The Boston Globe summed it up this way: "Patrick backed off and said he didn't really mean it."

Another retreat came on a common sense issue that likely might have marked him as a true reformer had he made even a losing fight of it. Massachusetts is the only state that mandates that cops, not flagmen, direct traffic at road-construction sites. Earlier this spring, Mr. Patrick proposed loosening the requirement as a way to save taxpayers millions, but quickly recanted when the police union flooded the capitol with lobbyists. Within days, Mr. Patrick told listeners of his monthly radio show "the more I think about this, the less certain I am that we can fix this top down."

Education may be the one area where Mr. Patrick could have done the most to demonstrate that he is indeed a new man of the left. Fifteen years ago, the state enacted strict testing requirements for both teachers and students and passed reforms that encourage the creation of charter schools. The result: Massachusetts consistently places among the top performers on the National Assessment of Educational Progress. Sticking by these bipartisan reforms - or even expanding them to help minority children in poor areas - would seem to be an easy call.

But to the delight of education unions, Mr. Patrick instead appears to be laying the groundwork to dismantle these reforms. He appointed antitesting zealot Ruth Kaplan to the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, where she repaid his confidence recently by disparaging the college preparation emphasis of some charter schools. She said these schools set "some kids up for failure . . . Their families don't always know what's best for their children."

S. Paul Reville, chairman of the education board, has also drawn attention for his willingness to water down certification testing requirements for aspiring teachers. Under the guise of trying to overcome a teacher shortage, the administration wants to allow applicants who have failed the test three times to teach anyway. When pressed on the issue, Mr. Reville said publicly that the certification test "isn't necessarily the best venue for everybody to demonstrate their competency."

One characteristic of the Obama-Patrick brand of politics is the assertion that they can personally persuade disparate political leaders to reach a consensus. Mr. Patrick's biggest test of this claim came this year when he proposed bringing jobs to the state by allowing casino gambling in Massachusetts. The proposal angered an odd alliance of liberals and social conservatives because gambling is a highly regressive (if voluntary) tax. And it ended in defeat for the governor.

Rather than use the bully pulpit to create public pressure in favor of his proposal - Mr. Patrick told me in late March "I don't think that the way to advance most of our agenda is to do it through the media" - he lobbied lawmakers behind closed doors, using data that proved flimsy and skewed. In the end, his bill went down to a crushing defeat and, on the day of the legislature's vote, he skipped town to ink a $1.35 million book deal at a Manhattan publishing house.

What should trouble Mr. Obama the most is that the stirring rhetoric of Mr. Patrick's 2006 campaign, now being recycled by the Illinois senator (at times, word for word), is no longer connecting with Massachusetts voters. A mid-April poll found that 56% of the state's voters disapprove of the governor's performance. Even among left-leaning Democrats, more than four in 10 disapprove of Mr. Patrick.

Voters in Massachusetts had hoped Mr. Patrick's reformist promises and appealing style would mean a makeover for a tired political culture that has long since stopped producing satisfactory results. Instead, they, along with voters in southern New Hampshire and northern Rhode Island (which receive Boston news), now seem wary of the Obama-Patrick connection. These areas turned out heavily for Hillary Clinton in the presidential primaries and helped her carry all three states.

Mr. Obama has self-servingly said of himself and Mr. Patrick, "We are the change we've been waiting for." But what Mr. Patrick has demonstrated in office is that once the initial rush of making history has waned, these fresh faces seem to offer little change beyond the rhetoric.



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