Friday, 16 May 2008

Message to DNC from a very frustrated (previously faithful) Democratic party voter

Why am I frustrated with the DNC? Partly due to the DNC's unwillingness to count the Michigan and Florida votes. The reason they have given: the primaries in these states were held before the 'official' February 5th start date. Having looked at the calendars, I notice that there are two other states - New Hampshire and South Carolina - who also held their primaries before that date. The delegates from those states are to be seated at the convention. Why, then, the unwillingness to include the tallies from Florida and Michigan? If the votes from these two states were to be included in the tally, Hillary would be ahead in the popular vote over Obama.

But - and this is where my real frustration lay - I have gotten the distinct impression that Howard Dean (and the DNC under his headship and influence) would not be willing to acknowledge this fact, nor willing to acknowledge the polls that show Hillary to be the stronger candidate against McCain. So I am left with these questions. One: Why is the DNC, under Dean's headship, so intent on getting Obama's name on the ballot when that certainly does not seem to be best for the party? and two: Why has Howard Dean been so seemingly determined to lead the DNC in ways that can only be damaging to the party as a whole - denying Michigan and Florida, pushing for Obama at every turn? or, rather: Who is pulling his strings? or pushing his buttons? or, perhaps, putting money into his bank account?

As I see it, the actions of Dean and the DNC are making it easier for even McCain to conquer after Dem party leaders do the dividing.

So, DNC, I hope you will think long and hard about the issues mentioned above. Your decisions have the potential to keep the party together; they also have the potential to cause a division that would take longer to heal than the six months that lie ahead before the November election.

Which party's candidate do you want to see on that inaugural stand come January?

Sunday, 4 May 2008

Breaking Up Is Hard To Do - But Why Did It Take You Twenty Years?

Sometimes I think I may be the only one in America who has a memory that goes back more than four or five days. I’ve just read that most people think that Obama has handled the Wright affair well – that is, he handled his break-up with the Rev. well. What the blazes does that mean? Am I the only one who remembers that Obama sat under Wright’s teaching for 20 years – twenty years! In a land where some people change church affiliation every two to three years, twenty years would seem to demonstrate a high level of commitment and dedication.

Am I the only one who remembers that, just a few months ago, Obama told us what a close confidante/mentor/advisor Wright had been for twenty years – that Rev. Wright the man to whom Barry referred all important decisions – for twenty years. Am I the only one who remembers that, as soon as the video clips of Wright’s teaching were circulated, this close confidante, etc. was quickly demoted to bumbling uncle whose words were not worth listening to?

If people are now thinking that Barry handled the break-up well, then I must be the only one who remembers these things. Because if people remembered, they wouldn’t be complimenting him; they would be focusing their attention on some pretty pertinent questions. Questions like: ‘Why’. Why did you stay in that relationship for so long? And ‘What’ What did you learn at church, Barry? What in Rev. Wright’s teaching kept you at his church for two whole decades? and ‘When’ When did you decide that the TUCC Afro-centric, anti-white,anti-American, pro-Islamic teaching suited you well enough to stay there so long? Are there not any other churches in Chicago – black ones, at that, if you insist on that exclusive criteria – that teach a message far less provocative and probably far closer to the Bible.

So, for me- and for any others who might remember what Obama has been saying about this relationship long ago – that is, before this last weekend - Obama’s handling the break-up well just doesn’t answer any of my questions. Especially when I consider that the close relationship with Rev. Wright was the 'shield' Obama used as his ‘defense’ when questioned about his Islamic roots and upbringing.

Oh, now – I hear you say – surely you’re not going to bring that up ‘I’ word again? Yes, I am – because now that we know that the answers Obama gave to the ‘I’ questions do not stand up to scrutiny, wouldn't it show some common sense to go back to the last point at which we knew anything for certain and start investigating from there?

There’s a lot at stake in this nomination – shouldn’t we know who the candidate really is?

Tuesday, 29 April 2008

Obama disconnects from Wright - too late, Barry

Today I read some mind-boggling articles.

First, an article that stated that Hilary Clinton's whole post-Iowa campaign has focused on bringing Obama down. I hadn't noticed that, but it wouldn't have been a bad idea, if that were the focus. Well, this last weekend we saw Jeremiah Wright pretty much do the job for her. Now, if that article's writer did assess Hilary's campaign goals correctly, I'd say that Clinton lady is very clever, indeed. Her aims achieved - and someone in Obama's own camp did the dirty for her. Good work done.

Actually, I guess that Wright is no longer a member of Obama's camp, as Barack disassociated himself from his old pastor today, at last. A good step - but only 20 years too late. So what about this whole matter is mind-boggling? After all, Barack couldn't really ride this tide if he were still connected to the retired pastor, so he did the political thing. Well, what boggles the imagination is the thought that a person with such ambitious political aspirations as Obama would consider that sitting under the teaching of such a contentious, divisive preacher for 20 years would be acceptable preparation for emerging onto the national political scene. Mind boggling to think that, when he started on this campaign for the Democratic nomination, Obama did not seem to be aware that Pastor Wright's teachings would be uncovered; he seemed quite surprised by the uproar. Mind boggling to think that Obama could regularly listen to incendiary separatist teaching for 20 years and then present himself as the country's best hope for unity. Even more mind boggling to see how many people have been buying that line. Hopefully those Dems who have yet to vote in their state primaries will walk into the voting booths with their eyes open and their minds clear.

Friday, 25 April 2008

Oprah, please change your mind

An Open Letter To Oprah Winfrey

Subject: Please reconsider your endorsement of Barack Obama

Dear Oprah:

I note that you have publicly endorsed Senator Obama for the Democratic party’s presidential nominee. I am writing this letter to present some facts to you – facts that you may or may not already know, regarding a substantial number of ‘undesirable’ associations the senator has in his background. If you are already aware of them, perhaps you have not ‘connected the dots’ to see how, all together, they point to a person who falls well short of the profile of wisdom, integrity, unifier that we all want to see in our US President.

Where does one start? I suppose starting with Pastor Wright makes sense, since that is the association we have recently heard the most of. Just two short months ago, when questioned about his ties to Islam, Obama told us all that he was a committed Christian, that he attended church regularly, and that his pastor, Jeremiah Wright, was his close confidant and mentor, the man to whom he referred all major decisions. Then, about a month ago the nation learned about Pastor Wright’separatist preaching, his 'damning' of this country (a country that gives him the freedom of speech to even speak those treacherous words), his honouring of Louis Farrakhan, head of Nation of Islam, and his reproduction of the Hamas Manifesto in the church magazine. In swift manner this trusted friend/mentor was de-escalated to doddering old uncle whose mumblings were just that – mumblings.
Well, both these scenarios can’t be true, can they? One is a lie; and whichever one is the lie, the fact remains that Mr. Obama has played ‘fast and loose’ with his faith – whatever that is. And he has dishonoured the man who is supposed to be his spiritual mentor. We Americans cherish our freedom to follow the faith of our choice – be it Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism, Islam, Baha’i, etc. To many, seeing a man treat pastor/priest/rabbi/spiritual leader with such disrespect must surely raise questions about that man’s sincerity – or the value of his words.

I won’t go into as much detail regarding the others in Obama’s ‘undesirable’ list, but will mention briefly some other of his associations: for instance, his direct association with Louis Farrakhan when he helped him organize the first Million Man March. That March was strongly criticized for emphasis on religious aspects, which is not surprising, with Farrakhan being head of the Nation Of Islam - a group that is distinctly Muslim, separatist, divisive. But that doesn’t especially clarify Obama’s stated position as desiring to be a unifier of the country.

Then there is Tony Rezko - a strong Obama supporter who hosted a fund-raiser for Obama in a previous campaign. At roughly the same time as the fund-raiser, Rezko was under investigation for money laundering, extortion, bribery and wire fraud – charges for which he has since been indicted. He (Rezko) also has links with Nadhmi Auchi, who was closely linked to Saddam Hussein, and a financial transaction between Rezko and Auchi took place just a few days before Rezko and the Obama’s bought adjoining property. That, perhaps, may just have been a matter of ‘unfortunate timing’. But I would really think that an individual with political aspirations (that is, Barack Obama) would be more circumspect in deciding with whom to associate and with whom to do business.

Then there's Rashid Khalidi, another fundraiser for the Senator, who had previously been a director of the official PLO press agency WAFA in Beirut - an organization labelled as a territorist group - from 1976 to 1982. More recently, Khalidi has headed up a Palestinian organization in Chicago that refers to the founding of Israel – a US ally - as "Nakba" or "catastrophe".

And on to Edward Said - adviser to Arafat. A photo at the Electronic Intifada website shows Mr. and Mrs. Obama at Said’s table during a fund-raiser for Arafat. The accompanying article at the EI site is interesting for its criticism of Obama – accusing him of a shift of allegiances. It seems that, prior to entering politics at a national level, BHO was strongly committed to the Palestinian cause. Once he entered national politics, though, he has dropped them because, according to EI, it is more ‘political’ in the US to be seen as supporting Israel. Well, here’s another turn-around, isn’t it? Does it make you wonder how trust-worthy the man’s word is?

I’ll finish now by discussing a connection that has emerged only recently. On his trip to Kenya in 2004, Barack Obama developed quite a close relation with the then opposition politician Raila Odinga – a member of the same Luo tribe as Barack’s father. The relation was so tight that it caused the then incumbent Kenyan Prime Minister to dub Barack as ‘Odinga’s stooge.’ During the period leading up to the recent election there, Obama kept in close touch with his fellow-tribesman, encouraging his campaign. What followed the election was disastrous. I’m sure you are aware of the civil unrest and killings that occurred because of disputed election results – civil unrest and killings (including the murder of 200 Christians who had sheltered in a church) that was carried out by followers of Obama's buddy, Odinga. Throughout that whole period of unrest and massacre, we do not hear that Odinga said or did anything to try to restore the peace or stop the killings. Nor do we hear Obama – himself an influential person - say anything that might diffuse the situation. So, I ask you, Oprah – what can you tell me about the senator’s priorities? His integrity? His allegiances?

Oh, I almost forgot to include William C. Ayers, a member of the Weathermen terrorist group which sought to overthrow the U.S. government in the ‘60’s and early ‘70’s, and who took responsibility for bombing the U.S. Capitol in 1971. Obama and Ayers served together on the Wood's Fund board of which Obama was a (paid) director from 1999 until the end of 2002. Yet another example of keeping questionable company.

These are the connections that I know about and have researched. There may be others, or this may be the complete list. But, let’s take a tally of the list as is. It comprises people who have acted in ways that are: un-American (Wright), and/or divisive (Farrakhan), and/or illegal (Rezko), and/or specifically anti-American (Ayers) and/or specifically inhumane (Odinga) and/or supportive of terrorism in the Middle East (Khalidi, Said). That makes for quite a list of 'friends' that most Americans would consider to be on the wrong side of the fence.

So did Obama know what these people were up to? Or didn’t he? If he didn’t know, then this list speaks of naivete; and if that is the case, then we must ask ourselves if, as a nation, we can afford to have such a naïf person in the Oval Office? I think the vast majority of Americans would give a ‘No’ answer to that.

Or was the senator well aware of the involvements of these several associates? We know that the Obama camp’s typical response when presented with any of these connections is to decry ‘guilt by association’. However, if we are to take off the rose-colored glasses through which so many have been viewing the man, and speak realistically, our common sense should warn us against putting our trust in any man with so many ‘undesirable’ connections – no matter how glowing his rhetoric may be. (It is in fact possible that glowing rhetoric is really the work of a gifted – and paid - speech writer rather than the words of the one who delivers the speech.) And, if Obama had been aware of their involvements, what does that say about the man’s integrity? What does it say about his true interests? About his true vision of ‘change’ for America?

Oprah, I encourage you to please consider these facts. After consideration I’m sure you will agree there is a lack of character, openness and integrity in the man that makes him an undesirable candidate for President. And then, based on that agreement, I hope you will retract your endorsement of the junior senator from Illinois.

Your opinion on any subject is very influential in America, Oprah – but you already know that. Please do not use that influence to assist a man of such questionable judgment to attain the position of presidential nominee, and certainly not the position of President.

Sincerely yours,
the reality checker - because someone has to do it