Sunday, October 19, 2008

Colin Powell After His Endorsement

Powell's endorsement of Obama was not a big surprise, but I was impressed with how sharply he spoke against McCain's campaign tactics:



The attempt to paint Obama as Other, as less American, as a "socialist," as someone "who thinks America is so imperfect that he pals around with terrorists" is lower than I thought McCain would ever sink. And that's not even getting to the attempts by others to paint him as an Arab or a Muslim, as if those would be good reasons to vote against a candidate even if they were true. I hope that Obama's (landslide?) victory will put an end to that kind of politics for at least a generation.

56 comments:

Tigerboy said...

I whole-heartedly agree with everything Gen. Powell is saying.

Forgive me if I am still angry with him for squandering his very sizable credibility in order to help George Bush sell the Iraq War.

Gen. Powell had a duty to the American people to tell them the truth, not just to support his boss. He failed in his duty. His willingness to close ranks and support his boss, against his own better judgment, and then quit his job rather than to tell the truth and take the heat, all that was invaluable to the Bush Administration.

Had Gen. Powell had more courage, yes, I said courage, the Iraq War might have never happened, or gone very differently. I will forever be disappointed in him.

What he is saying in this clip, about McCain's negativity, and Obama's tax plan, is absolutely correct.

Jewish Atheist said...

Gen. Powell had a duty to the American people to tell them the truth, not just to support his boss. He failed in his duty.

I agree completely.

JDHURF said...

You are right that for those closely following the campaign, Powell's endorsement of Obama was no surprise. However, I was very pleasantly surprised at how eloquent, genuine and informed Powell's endorsement was.
Finally a high-level member of the political establishment with a wide range of bipartisan support and influence has pointed out that the anti-Muslim bigotry and anti-Arab racism so endemic to McCain's campaign is ethically indefensible.

asher said...

Amazing how you haven't heard from Powell in years and suddenly he's astute. Wasn't he the guy who gave that false report the UN that got us into Iraq in the first place?
And what has he been doing since he left public office? Anyone know? He's a motivational speaker who can be aquired for about $100,00 per speaking engagement...talk about CEO overpayments!

However, this little video was more telling that not. Powell never once said Obama had better ideas or could do anything to change our situations. He focused on the negative campaigning (well his boss Bush never did that!)and the mischaracterizing the personality of the candidate (kind of like the crticism Sarah Palin went through since she was nominated). And, saying McCain voted with Pres. Bush 90% of the time isn't negative campaigning..that's taking the high road.
What could he possibly speak about to get that kind of money? I bet even our former impeached president Clinton doesn't get that kind of money...close though

JDHURF said...

Ashner said:
”Amazing how you haven't heard from Powell in years and suddenly he's astute. Wasn't he the guy who gave that false report the UN that got us into Iraq in the first place?”

Colin Powell was directly lied to as we have long known:

http://www.cnn.com/2005/WORLD/meast/08/19/powell.un/

”However, this little video was more telling that not. Powell never once said Obama had better ideas or could do anything to change our situations.”

Absolutely false. Colin Powell, after criticizing McCain’s ever narrowing campaign, very eloquently discussed Obama’s inclusivity and consistency as well as his pragmatic, open, informed style of conducting business. Powell also discussed Obama’s plan to reintroduce of limited form of progressive taxation through exposing the McCarthyite charge that Obama is a socialist – if only he were – and I quote:

Now I guess the message this week is we're going to call him a socialist. Mr. Obama is now a socialist, because he dares to suggest that maybe we ought to look at the tax structure that we have. Taxes are always a redistribution of money. Most of the taxes that are redistributed go back to those who pay them, in roads and airports and hospitals and schools. And taxes are necessary for the common good. And there's nothing wrong with examining what our tax structure is or who should be paying more or who should be paying les, and for us to say that makes you a socialist is an unfortunate characterization that I don't think is accurate.

He also observed Obama’s more inclusive campaigning – not only throughout the U.S., but also throughout the world, recall Obama’s Germany speech – would benefit both the United States of America as well as the world:

“Mr. Obama…has given us a more inclusive, broader reach into the needs and aspirations of our people. He’s crossing lines: ethnic lines, racial lines, generational lines. He’s thinking about all villages have values, all towns have values, not just small towns have values.”

He helped illustrate the point by recalling a photograph in a photo-essay:

“…and one picture, at the tail-end of this photo-essay, was of a mother in Arlington cemetery. And she had her head on the headstone of her son’s grave. And as the picture focused in you could see the writing on the headstone. And it gave his awards: purple hear, bronze star, showed that he died in Iraq, gave his date of birth, his date of death, he was twenty years old and then at the very top of the headstone it didn’t have a Christian cross, it didn’t have a star of David, it had a crescent and a star of the Islamic faith. And his name was Kareem Rashad Sultan Khan and he was an American. He was born in New Jersey. He was fourteen years old at the time of 9-11 and he waited until he could go serve his country and he gave his life. Now we have got to stop polarizing ourselves in this way.”


Colin Powell is right, an overwhelming majority of Americans agree with him and this will be demonstrated come Novemember.

JDHURF said...
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JDHURF said...
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Random said...

Not seen the video (browser problems), but yes this is disappointing but not surprising. But on a couple of other points you've made -

"The attempt to paint Obama as Other, as less American, as a "socialist,""

I have to say that as a Brit, and therefore a citizen of a country where socialists are not an endangered species, Obama looks pretty much like a standard issue socialist of the post-Thatcherite variety. "New Labour" they're called over here. Indeed, one of the reasons why I really, really, don't want to see Obama win is that he reminds me very much of Tony Blair circa 1996, and we all know how well that turned out. Still, it is refreshing to see that the USA is (still) a country where "socialists" is apparently a rude word.

"someone "who thinks America is so imperfect that he pals around with terrorists""

The only problem with portraying this as a smear is that Bill Ayers and Bernadine Dorhn *are* terrorists by any reasonable definition of the word and Obama has consistently lied about both the length and depth of his association with them, and has never shown any understanding of why associating with such people is deeply offensive to so many ordinary Americans.

"And that's not even getting to the attempts by others to paint him as an Arab or a Muslim"

Oh, classy. The McCain campaign has not only refused to get involved with such smears but has repeatedly and vigorously denounced them. McCain has also personally vetoed any attempt to make capital over the whole reverend Wright mess (which I think is a mistake, personally), so concerned is he to avoid the campaign becoming a referendum on Obama's race, but this apparently doesn't stop the liberal commentariat from engaging in guilt by association smears. And then claiming the moral high ground.

"I hope that Obama's (landslide?) victory will put an end to that kind of politics for at least a generation."

Probably. Because we'll spend the next 4-8 years being told we're racists if we dare to criticise The One, and if we persist we'll get our livelihoods attacked, if not destroyed (look at the monstering Joe the plumber has received for daring to be sceptical about Obama's tax plan, and even worse there was the outrageous threat to shut down TV stations that run anti-Obama ads).

JDHURF said...

random said:
”I have to say that as a Brit, and therefore a citizen of a country where socialists are not an endangered species, Obama looks pretty much like a standard issue socialist of the post-Thatcherite variety. "New Labour" they're called over here. Indeed, one of the reasons why I really, really, don't want to see Obama win is that he reminds me very much of Tony Blair circa 1996, and we all know how well that turned out.”

That you would hold Tony Blair up as a billboard for socialism discredits you from the outset. It’s like some ill-informed rightist from France arguing that they know Obama is a socialist because Obama reminds them of Dominique Strauss-Kahn.
Unless or until you can demonstrate that you have even the slightest knowledge of socialist theory and practice your red-baiting will be dismissed out of hand.

”The only problem with portraying this as a smear is that Bill Ayers and Bernadine Dorhn *are* terrorists by any reasonable definition of the word and Obama has consistently lied about both the length and depth of his association with them, and has never shown any understanding of why associating with such people is deeply offensive to so many ordinary Americans.”

You post a string of assertions here, yet you conveniently fail to cite any evidence or support. That which can be presented without evidence can be dismissed without evidence. However, the Bill Ayers shenanigans is old-stale propaganda from the frantic Clinton primary campaign: it didn’t work then, it’s not working now.
Here is the by-no-means socialist newspaper The Washington Post calling bullshit on the Obama is a socialist-Muslism-terrorist because his name is Barack Hussein Obama and because he had some tenuous connection, along with a number of Republicans (including Republicans associated with McCain) to Bill Ayers:

Washington Post article


Chicago Sun Times article

Random said...

"That you would hold Tony Blair up as a billboard for socialism discredits you from the outset."

Charmed, I'm sure. Can I return the favour? The fact that you can say something as ignorant and judgmental as this shows you up as an American who knows nothing about Tony Blair other than his support for George Bush's foreign policy. His domestic policy was a combination of a fairly far left social policy combined with a soft left economic policy moderated by backhanders from millionaires. Obama very definitely does remind me of this sort of Blairite socialism (in fact in quite a few areas Obama seems to be, if anything, somewhat to the left of Blair).

"Unless or until you can demonstrate that you have even the slightest knowledge of socialist theory and practice your red-baiting will be dismissed out of hand."

Again, charmed. Granted I may not have as much knowledge of socialist theory as somebody who reads Marx and Bakunin for fun (yes, I looked up your blogger profile - you should try "Wealth of Nations" by Adam Smith next, it will make much more sense) - but then I probably don't know as much as I should about creationism theory or flat earth theory, either. However I would venture to say that, as somebody who has been governed by socialists for almost half of his life, I have rather more experience than you of what socialism and socialists look like in the real world. And as I said before, Obama would be right at home in almost any mainstream European socialist party.

"You post a string of assertions here, yet you conveniently fail to cite any evidence or support. "

You want evidence? Here's a guest post I did at "Outside the Box" back in May. Pretty much everything said there still stands, the only things that have changed is that, if anything, more evidence has emerged showing the depth of Obama's relationship to Ayers (despite the fact that the Obama campaign has devoted a great deal of effort over the summer to such activities as denying journalists access to the files of the Chicago Annenberg Challenge, a coverup which of itself should be of interest).

I don't know what your definition of "tenuous" covers, but if it covers a relationship where one party swings the other a cushy job that involves spending hundreds of millions of dollars in grants and effectively provides a platform for the launch of the other's political career, then I would suggest you would need to invest in a better dictionary.

BTW, on the subject of terrorism, if you go over to Stephen's place please do read the comments, and especially the account of the curious affair of Hatem el-Hady, the Hamas fundraiser who spent the early part of this year moonlighting as a fundraiser for the Obama campaign, complete with his own page on the Obama campaign website with warm endorsements from no less a figure than Michelle Obama. (el-Hady's page has now been flushed down the memory hole sadly, but you can still find cached copies of it on the net if your google-fu is strong enough.)

Jewish Atheist said...

Random:

I have to say that as a Brit, and therefore a citizen of a country where socialists are not an endangered species, Obama looks pretty much like a standard issue socialist of the post-Thatcherite variety.

I don't follow British politics too closely, but in America, the word "socialist" describes someone who believes that the community should own and control the means of production. It's a matter of fact that Obama does NOT believe that but is rather a politician who believes in capitalism tempered by progressive taxation and regulations where necessary. That is true of ALL American politicians at national level -- the only disagreements are in what kinds of regulations and how progressive the taxes should be. Calling Obama a socialist is just a lie meant to call up images of violent extremists in other countries.


The only problem with portraying this as a smear is that Bill Ayers and Bernadine Dorhn *are* terrorists by any reasonable definition of the word

But be honest. Do you believe that Obama "palled around" with Ayers because he used to be a terrorist? Or because he wanted to get some stuff done in Chicago, and Ayers was a big player there? As he pointed out in the debate, Republicans as well as Democrats served on that board, and nobody said boo at the time.

McCain/Palin have made this line of attack their main focus the last few weeks. It's completely disingenuous to act like they're not trying to portray Obama as a terrorist sympathizer with that attack.

Oh, classy. The McCain campaign has not only refused to get involved with such smears but has repeatedly and vigorously denounced them.

What's the problem? I specifically said "attacks made by others.

Probably. Because we'll spend the next 4-8 years being told we're racists if we dare to criticise The One, and if we persist we'll get our livelihoods attacked, if not destroyed

Bullshit. It's the right who calls everyone who disagrees with them terrorist sympathizers/traitors who hate America. I don't think I've heard a single person call McCain a racist, but I've heard a lot call Obama a socialist/traitor/terrorist/terrorist sympathizer.

(look at the monstering Joe the plumber has received for daring to be sceptical about Obama's tax plan, and even worse there was the outrageous threat to shut down TV stations that run anti-Obama ads).

Jewish Atheist said...

Sorry, didn't mean to include that last para, although now that I have, I'll point out that your claim of a threat to shut down TV stations is a lie.

Holy Hyrax said...

Rightest are often compared to fascists. In fact, when you go to the extreme right, you do get over nationalistic fascits. So it goes without saying that going too far to the left does lead to socialism. I don't think Obama is a socialist, but I think his policies of so called, spreading the wealth is something indicitive of socialism. So lefties, if you are able to dish it out, you should be able to take some of your own medicine

Jewish Atheist said...

HH:

You can't compare some random guys calling Republicans fascists to the Republican nominee for president calling his opponent a socialist. Imagine if Obama called McCain a fascist. Would that be okay?

Holy Hyrax said...

Nope. I wouldn't be, that is, if he calls him a socialist. I have no problem if you bring up that policies are boarding on the socialist just like I would have no problem if people brought up policies being possibility being facist.

But its not random guys. You are minimizing how much that sentiment is out there toward republicans.

Jewish Atheist said...

But its not random guys. You are minimizing how much that sentiment is out there toward republicans.

I'm just differentiating between citizens and politicians. I demand more of our politicians. Plenty of rightists call Democrats socialists and plenty of leftists call Republicans fascists, but McCain is calling Obama's tax plan "socialist" and Obama is not calling anything of McCain's "fascist."

It's worth noting that Obama's tax plan is WELL within the normal range of taxation in American history. There's nothing socialist about them.

Holy Hyrax said...

There is no reason to call McCains plan fascist because they aren't. McCain is coming from a POV of what many Americans feel, that, perhaps, yes, TECHNICALLY speaking, it can fall under some sort of taxation range in our history, but that the purpose behind it is to as Obama said it "spread the wealth." This scares Americans as it should. I'm not saying scared to death, but more like a feeling that all Obama is, is anti-rich. That Americans cannot work hard without having their money taken from them in order to artificially level the playing field and give it to others.

Jewish Atheist said...

So what's the point of bringing in the s-word? Why can't we just be adults and debate the merits of making the tax code more progressive vs. left? Why the constant use of scare words?

Jewish Atheist said...

McCain is coming from a POV of what many Americans feel, that, perhaps, yes, TECHNICALLY speaking, it can fall under some sort of taxation range in our history...

It's not a minor technicality and it's not exactly ancient history. Obama's just talking about rolling back part of Bush's tax cuts. We're talking going back to something akin to Clinton's rates. It's not like we have to go back fifty or a hundred years to find a correspondence.

Would anybody in his right mind call Clinton's tax rates "socialist?" Why then Obama's?

Holy Hyrax said...

I believe Obama's proposals are bit more than rolling back Bush's tax cuts. If that were so, he would roll them back and leave them, but he wants to tax more. Also, didn't Clinton lower the capital gans tax (like others before him?) And from what I am reading, even though he raised the rates, he also cut on government spending.

>So what's the point of bringing in the s-word?

Because Obama is bringing in the "spread the wealth word I guess

JDHURF said...

Random said:
”The fact that you can say something as ignorant and judgmental as this shows you up as an American who knows nothing about Tony Blair other than his support for George Bush's foreign policy. His domestic policy was a combination of a fairly far left social policy combined with a soft left economic policy moderated by backhanders from millionaires. Obama very definitely does remind me of this sort of Blairite socialism (in fact in quite a few areas Obama seems to be, if anything, somewhat to the left of Blair).”

You can wage baseless attacks about how I’m from America or call me ignorant and judgmental if it makes you feel better, but the facts beg to differ. Tony Blair represented what people who know what they’re talking about “Third Way” centrism.

http://www.ndol.org/ndol_ci.cfm?kaid=128&subid=187&contentid=895

You can say anything you like about domestic policy, but what you can’t say is that it was socialist. Socialism requires specific policies, such as, principally, worker controlled workplaces, worker ownership and management of the means and modes of production. Barack Obama’s economic advisors are all comfortably on the right and the only basis for the shrill McCarthyite charge that he is a socialist being offered here is that he plans to reintroduce a very timid form of progressive taxation.

”Granted I may not have as much knowledge of socialist theory as somebody who reads Marx and Bakunin for fun (yes, I looked up your blogger profile - you should try "Wealth of Nations" by Adam Smith next, it will make much more sense) - but then I probably don't know as much as I should about creationism theory or flat earth theory, either.”

It serves you ill to assume what I have and have not read. Just so happens that I have read Adam Smith and, well, obviously you haven’t. I suggest that you review his Wealth of Nations and pay particular attention to his describing of the "the vile maxim of the masters of mankind": "All for ourselves, and nothing for other People." The masters of society during Smith’s time were the “merchants and manufacturers,” who were the “principle architects” of policy which brought “dreadful misfortunes” to those they lorded it over and the general population of England also, although their own interests were “most particularly attended to.” You need to read some Adam Smith rather than just swallowing at face value what those on the right tell you about his work.

”However I would venture to say that, as somebody who has been governed by socialists for almost half of his life, I have rather more experience than you of what socialism and socialists look like in the real world. And as I said before, Obama would be right at home in almost any mainstream European socialist party.”

To call Blair and “Third Way” centrism, only possible within the coordinates of a capitalist system, socialism is to make an uttery mockery of yourself. Again, at the very, very least for a society to be considered socialist it must have at least this characteristic: worker controlled workplaces, worker ownership and management of the means and modes of production.

I’m not going to legitimize your last charges of terrorism against Barack Obama with serious acknowledgement, especially considering that you dismissed out of hand two respectable sources on the matter, both of which are right leaning. You are an extremist.

JDHURF said...

holy hyrax said:
"I believe Obama's proposals are bit more than rolling back Bush's tax cuts...So what's the point of bringing in the s-word?

Because Obama is bringing in the spread the wealth word I guess."


This is only wealth redistribution in the sense that Obama is putting an end to the regressive taxation that has s*cked capital from the lower classes and concentrated it into the upper 1% of society. Do recall that the wealthiest 1% owns roughly 40% of the nation's net worth, the top 10% owns over 71%.
So, as is obvious, there has already been sustained class warfare against the middle and working class, who have very nearly been devastated, wages have stagnated for years, homes are being foreclosed, health care is not affordable and on and on.

Obama's progressive taxation is only "wealth redistribution" in the sense that it is correcting the wealth redistribution that has been occurring for years, being s*cked away from the ordinary people and concentrated by a very few.

Obama's plan, by the way, is very timid, it includes tax credits for corporations and so on.

I will again quote Colin Powell (who is by even no lack of standard a socialist):

“Now I guess the message this week is we're going to call him a socialist. Mr. Obama is now a socialist, because he dares to suggest that maybe we ought to look at the tax structure that we have. Taxes are always a redistribution of money. Most of the taxes that are redistributed go back to those who pay them, in roads and airports and hospitals and schools. And taxes are necessary for the common good. And there's nothing wrong with examining what our tax structure is or who should be paying more or who should be paying les, and for us to say that makes you a socialist is an unfortunate characterization that I don't think is accurate.”

If progressive taxation – a program only possible within the coordinates of a capitalist society – is socialism, then surely anything can then be called socialism and words no longer mean anything.
Socialism, if it is to mean anything, refers to worker controlled work places, where workers own and manage the means and modes of production, period.

Anonymous said...

You think that someone being a believing Muslim isn't a powerful reason not to vote for that candidate? Is the fact that Palin is a creationist fundamentalist Christian not a reason not to vote for her? The average American Muslim is to the right of the average conservative evangelical on gay marriage, abortion, women's rights, killing apostates, etc.

Admittedly, there are culturally liberal Muslims, just as there are liberal Christians (although fewer of the former than the latter), and nominally Muslim atheists or agnostics who don't want to formally break with Islam, but it's still a bad sign.

JDHURF said...

anonymous said:
”You think that someone being a believing Muslim isn't a powerful reason not to vote for that candidate?”

That is correct. I do not believe that simply being a believing Muslism is enough to disqualify an individual from public office. The fact that the member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Minnesota’s 5th district, Keith Ellison, is a Muslism and also a very good member of the House, demonstrates at the same time that not only are Muslism just as capable of being legitimate reps but Minnesota voters see nothing wrong with a Muslim serving his/her country and constituents.
Your desire to ban any/all Muslims from political office is Nazism, pure and simple.

”Is the fact that Palin is a creationist fundamentalist Christian not a reason not to vote for her?”

That’s a good reason not to voter for her because it considers the type of Christian she is. I wouldn’t argue that just because she’s a Christian she shouldn’t be considered for office. I don’t mind Barack Obama’s Christianity, I’m bothered by John Hagee’s Christianity as well as Palin’s.

”The average American Muslim is to the right of the average conservative evangelical on gay marriage, abortion, women's rights, killing apostates, etc.”

Evidence please.

”Admittedly, there are culturally liberal Muslims, just as there are liberal Christians (although fewer of the former than the latter), and nominally Muslim atheists or agnostics who don't want to formally break with Islam, but it's still a bad sign.”

It is not a bad sign to anyone other than anti-Muslim bigots and racists.

Islam in America

Random said...

"but in America, the word "socialist" describes someone who believes that the community should own and control the means of production."

At the risk of sounding like a teenager, but that is *so* 20th century. Socialists in Europe at least have moved on, and now realise that if you have access to the regulatory powers of the state, then you don't need to own the means of production in order to control them. All politicians do this to some extent of course, but whereas a conservative might (or should) regard it as a necessary evil to be minimised as much as possible, a socialist would regard it as a positive good as it gives them the power to coerce others in order to enact the rest of their agenda.

"Calling Obama a socialist is just a lie meant to call up images of violent extremists in other countries."

But socialists in other countries are not violent extremists! They're people like Tony Blair, Gerhard Schroeder or Segoline Royal - mainstream, essentially democratic sorts who simply have a more expansive view of the role of the state and how it can be used to mould society. This is well to the left of the American mainstream granted, but it's still well short of bomb thrower territory (okay Schroeder once punched a policeman, but that was in 1968 and everybody was doing that then). I honestly find it baffling why it should be so controversial to assert that this is Obama's natural home, it simply seems obvious from here.

"Do you believe that Obama "palled around" with Ayers because he used to be a terrorist? Or because he wanted to get some stuff done in Chicago, and Ayers was a big player there?"

No, I believe Obama simply didn't care that Ayers used to be a terrorist. He simply saw no moral problem with teaming up with someone who once declared war on the United States and tried very hard indeed to murder hundreds of American soldiers and police officers. And somebody who does not understand why this is simply wrong does not deserve to be president of the United States.(And no, I don't believe the latest Obama defence, that he wasn't aware of this part of Ayers' past - say what you like about Ayers, but at least he's an honest terrorist. He has never tried to hide what he is, in fact he has frequently boasted about it and proclaimed his willingness to do more. The only way that Obama could have avoided hearing any of this would be by employing the same selective deafness that allowed him to sit in TUC for 20 years and not once hear rev. Wright go off on one of his more colourful tangents.)

Oh, and Ayers wasn't a particularly big player in Chicago. But the extent that he was any sort of a player at all is a condemnation of Chicago Democratic politics, not a defence of Obama.

"It's completely disingenuous to act like they're not trying to portray Obama as a terrorist sympathizer with that attack."

They're portraying Obama as somebody who has no moral problems with terrorists who attack the United States (leftist ones, at least. I doubt Obama would have joined a foundation with timothy McVeigh on the board). The problem with portraying this as a smear is that it is supported by Obama's own behaviour. Even today, he still doesn't get it and has consistently refused to apologise for associating with Ayers, preferring instead to cover up, obfuscate and just plain lie about the details.

"Bullshit."

Oh, come on. It's already started - do you really want me to link to coverage "explaining" that the only reason Obama could lose would be because Americans are racist, and that the only way americans can prove they are not racist is by voting for Obama?

"I don't think I've heard a single person call McCain a racist,"

Bullshit. Obama himself has done it. What was the point of that "warning" that the McCain camp is going to frighten Americans by by pointing out that Obama doesn't look like the other (sic) presidents on the dollar bills if it wasn't to smear McCain as a racist? It's also been done to Sarah Palin - apparently the only possible reason for mentioning Bill Ayers is because for the ignorant masses in flyover country terrorist=Muslim=black=Obama. The fact that Bill Ayers is as white as George Bush (or Timothy McVeigh) and Palin always referred to domestic (and never Muslim) terrorists is apparently irrelevant.

"I'll point out that your claim of a threat to shut down TV stations is a lie."

Well, at least you're not attempting to defend the treatment of Joe the plumber. But to the main point - no, it isn't. Did you read the link I provided, and specifically the letter from Obama's lawyers? This bit, to be precise -

"This advertisement knowingly misleads your viewing audience about Senator Obama's position on the Second Amendment...For the sake of both FCC licensing requirements and the public interest, your station should refuse to continue to air this advertisement."

The FCC is the body that has the power to shut down a TV station by removing it's broadcasting licence. Why even mention the FCC if no threat was meant to be inferred? This isn't hope and change, this is Chicago politics pure and simple - "they put one of yours in the hospital, you put one of theirs in the morgue." You can take Obama out of Chicago, but you can't take Chicago out of Obama.

Even Karl Rove never threatened to get the FCC to yank the licence of a station that ran anti-Bush ads.

Random said...

"You can wage baseless attacks about how I’m from America or call me ignorant and judgmental if it makes you feel better,"

Hey, you started the personal stuff - if you can't take it, don't dish it out. As for that DLC article - oh, please. It's written by people - like you - who are trying to avoid the word "socialism" because they know it's not popular with the intended audience. "Third way" was only ever a euphemism. It is not an accident that most of the foreign politicians mentioned in that article are perfectly happy to be described as socialists at home and see no conflict between being a socialist and the "third way".

As for your definition of what it takes to be a socialist - as mentioned before, that is at least a couple of generations out of date. Socialists who live in the real world and who actually have to worry about running things are more interested in control than ownership these days. The seizing the commanding heights of the economy stuff has been relegated to third world rabble rousers like Mugabe, socialists who have to actually run for office tend to be somewhat more sophisticated.

"It serves you ill to assume what I have and have not read."

i'm not assuming anything! I was quoting directly from your blogger profile. If I was in any way inaccurate, it's your fault not mine. As for Adam Smith - erm, no. He was writing in the mid-18th century, and the "vile masters of mankind" in his day were the same as they'd always been - the landed aristocracy who saw in trade mainly a means of more efficiently expropriating the wealth of the lower orders. Smith clearly understood that free trade would reduce the power of such people and increase freedom and prosperity for all.

"I’m not going to legitimize your last charges of terrorism against Barack Obama with serious acknowledgement, especially considering that you dismissed out of hand two respectable sources on the matter"

Yes,it's easier to just stick your fingers in your ears and go "la, la, la, I'm not listening" when you hear something you dislike, isn't it?"As for your "respectable sources" - they deserve ignoring. Neither article gives more than the vaguest hint that Ayers was something rather more sinister than just another sixties radical, and neither even so much as mentions the Chicago Annenberg Challenge, which is probably the most significant evidence of a serious relationship between the two (short form - Ayers sets up the challenge, applies for and gets $50M in funding, and picks Obama to run it. Once he's in place Obama returns the favour by making sure hundreds of thousands in grants goes to organisations run by Ayers. Good old fashioned Chicago politics, in other words). Yes, if you ignore all the serious stuff it's easy to portray what's left as trivial. That doesn't mean it is, however.

"You are an extremist."

Translation - "Random disagrees with me, and I don't like it." But ookay - if you really believe this, then you really do need to get out and live in the real world for a while. come back and talk to me again when you've grown up a bit.

Random said...

Oh, one final comment to educate JA and any others who think the nasty stuff is a monopoly of Republicans:

Sarah Palin is a C*nt

She is not a woman, she is a Republican

Jon Stewart to Sarah Palin: '[Expletive] You.'

Obama Supporter Assaults Female McCain Volunteer

McCain supporters firebombed

And that's just the last couple of weeks...

Jewish Atheist said...

Random:

The nasty stuff on the right is being deliberately played to by the McCain/Palin campaign. Neither Obama nor Biden did anything at all to encourage any of the things you link to.

For the record, I've got no problem with what Jon Stewart said. He was responding to Palin's blithe dismissal of (e.g.) New York and Washington as anti-American.

Jewish Atheist said...

And again, I don't follow British politics too closely, but in America "socialist" doesn't mean "Tony Blair." It means the former USSR.

Random said...

"The nasty stuff on the right is being deliberately played to by the McCain/Palin campaign."

No, it isn't, in fact McCain has gone out of his way to denounce stuff like the attempts to smear Obama as a scary arab sort of figure. By contrast, there's been not a hint of condemnation from the Obama campaign of the nasty stuff coming from the left (I would welcome a correction if you can produce a denunciation from Obama himself of people turning uo to his rallies in "Sarah Palin..." t-shirts).

"Neither Obama nor Biden did anything at all to encourage any of the things you link to."

Not true. As mentioned before, it was Obama himself who attempted to smear McCain as a racist with the dollar bills remark (and that's ignoring the arrogance and presumption of the "other presidents" bit), and as we've discussed on previous posts he's been happy to smear McCain with implications of senility and use sexist insults against Hillary Clinton.

The difference between the McCain and Obama campaigns is that McCain fights against the nasty stuff when he comes up against it, but in the Obama campaign the nasty stuff comes from the top.

Jewish Atheist said...

Random:

The difference between the McCain and Obama campaigns is that McCain fights against the nasty stuff when he comes up against it, but in the Obama campaign the nasty stuff comes from the top.

In general I respect your fair-mindedness, but I think we're just living in two different universes on this one. In my universe, McCain/Palin have made "Who is the real Barack Obama?" combined with the harping on Ayers "issue" the centerpiece of their campaign of late. If that's not an attempt to at least pander to the "Obama as a scary arab sort of figure" I don't know what is.

avian30 said...

random wrote:

"The only problem with portraying this as a smear is that Bill Ayers and Bernadine Dorhn *are* terrorists by any reasonable definition of the word and Obama has consistently lied about both the length and depth of his association with them, and has never shown any understanding of why associating with such people is deeply offensive to so many ordinary Americans."

On Obama's association with Bill Ayers, FactCheck.org concludes that "nothing Obama said previously has been shown to be false."

If you disagree, then please cite specific statements that Obama made on his association with Ayers or Dohrn that are lies.

avian30 said...

random wrote:

" ... and even worse there was the outrageous threat to shut down TV stations that run anti-Obama ads)."

The Obama campaign sent a letter to radio stations requesting they take discontinue an ad that made false claims. FactCheck.org concludes that while the status of the tax claim is uncertain, the deer hunting claim is false.

Had the McCain campaign asked radio stations to discontinue an ad that made false claims about McCain (i.e. the false Obama ads on McCain's opposition to stem cell research), I would have no objections.

avian30 said...

random wrote:

" ... (despite the fact that the Obama campaign has devoted a great deal of effort over the summer to such activities as denying journalists access to the files of the Chicago Annenberg Challenge, a coverup which of itself should be of interest)."

Please provide evidence that the Obama campaign attempted to coverup records related to the Chicago Annenberg Challenge.

avian30 said...

random wrote:

"I don't know what your definition of 'tenuous' covers, but if it covers a relationship where one party swings the other a cushy job that involves spending hundreds of millions of dollars in grants and effectively provides a platform for the launch of the other's political career, then I would suggest you would need to invest in a better dictionary."

The claim that Ayers selected Obama for the position appears to be false. Deborah Leff says she recommended Obama to Patricia Graham, who asked Obama to become chairman. Obama was elected by a board of directors that did not include Ayers. There is no evidence that Ayers had any involvement in selecting Obama.

avian30 said...

random wrote:

"BTW, on the subject of terrorism, if you go over to Stephen's place please do read the comments, and especially the account of the curious affair of Hatem el-Hady, the Hamas fundraiser who spent the early part of this year moonlighting as a fundraiser for the Obama campaign, complete with his own page on the Obama campaign website with warm endorsements from no less a figure than Michelle Obama. (el-Hady's page has now been flushed down the memory hole sadly, but you can still find cached copies of it on the net if your google-fu is strong enough.)"

Anyone can create a profile on my.barackobama.com and raise funds for Obama.

Michelle Obama has 424 friends. I checked the profiles of a handful of Michelle Obama's 424 friends. None of the ones I checked claimed in their profile to know Michelle Obama personally. Most likely, Michelle Obama accepts friend invitations from anyone who sends an invitation.

avian30 said...

random wrote:

"No, I believe Obama simply didn't care that Ayers used to be a terrorist. He simply saw no moral problem with teaming up with someone who once declared war on the United States and tried very hard indeed to murder hundreds of American soldiers and police officers. And somebody who does not understand why this is simply wrong does not deserve to be president of the United States."

Please provide evidence for the claim that Ayers "tried very hard indeed to murder hundreds of American soldiers and police officers."

If Obama's associations with Ayers disqualifies him from becoming president, then McCain's associations with G. Gordon Liddy and Sarah Palin's associations with the Alaskan Indepence Party disqualify both McCain and Palin as well.

avian30 said...

random,

Can you please explain specifically what Obama policies make him a socialist?

You have been repeatedly claiming that Obama is a socialist, and have yet to cite any specific policies Obama has proposed to substantiate that claim.

Random said...

"On Obama's association with Bill Ayers, FactCheck.org concludes that "nothing Obama said previously has been shown to be false."

If you disagree, then please cite specific statements that Obama made on his association with Ayers or Dohrn that are lies."

That's the Annenberg FactCheck of course, as in the Chicago Annenberg Challenge, which employed Obama and Ayers to dispense $50M in grant money. I suspect somebody like you would cry foul immediately if an organisation with ties like that to a Republican claimed to clear him of attacks made by a Democrat, but there you go. But assuming good faith on your part, let's attempt to answer your question by looking at Obama's first public statement on Ayers -

"This is a guy who lives in my neighborhood, who's a professor of English in Chicago, who I know, and who I have not received some official endorsement from. He's not somebody who I exchange ideas from on a regular basis. The notion that somehow, as a consequence of me knowing somebody who engaged in detestable acts 40 years ago when I was 8 years old somehow reflects on me and my values, doesn't make much sense."

There are at least two incontestably untrue statements in this. Firstly, Ayers is a professor of Education, not English - a fact which Obama certainly knew, as he worked on education reform at the CAC with Obama. And secondly "somebody who engaged in detestable acts 40 years ago when I was 8 years old" is also untrue. The last Weather Underground operation where somebody was killed was a joint bank robbery with the Black Panthers in 1981, when Obama was 20 years old, and presumably old enough to know better. Although Ayers does not appear to have been involved in this raid his wife Bernadine Dohrn, who Obama also knew, (and is arguably the more extreme and dangerous of the pair, and who for some reason has been mostly overlooked in the furore) certainly was and served nine months in prison for her part.

Lies? Only somebody who can read Obama's mind can answer that for certain. But they surely look like that from here.

Random said...

"Please provide evidence that the Obama campaign attempted to coverup records related to the Chicago Annenberg Challenge."

Read this by Stanley Kurtz, who seems to be the only figure investigating this in detail. The key figure in the cover up is a guy called Ken Rolling, who has been an associate of Obama since at least CAC days and is certainly in touch with the campaign - at least to the extent of fielding questions from friendly reporters on their behalf - although whether he has any official involvement isn't clear.

Random said...

"The claim that Ayers selected Obama for the position appears to be false. Deborah Leff says she recommended Obama to Patricia Graham, who asked Obama to become chairman. Obama was elected by a board of directors that did not include Ayers. There is no evidence that Ayers had any involvement in selecting Obama."

This something else that is untrue. Kurtz again -

"One unsettled question is how Mr. Obama, a former community organizer fresh out of law school, could vault to the top of a new foundation? In response to my questions, the Obama campaign issued a statement saying that Mr. Ayers had nothing to do with Obama's "recruitment" to the board. The statement says Deborah Leff and Patricia Albjerg Graham (presidents of other foundations) recruited him. Yet the archives show that, along with Ms. Leff and Ms. Graham, Mr. Ayers was one of a working group of five who assembled the initial board in 1994. Mr. Ayers founded CAC and was its guiding spirit. No one would have been appointed the CAC chairman without his approval."

JDHURF said...

random:
”At the risk of sounding like a teenager, but that is *so* 20th century. Socialists in Europe at least have moved on, and now realise that if you have access to the regulatory powers of the state, then you don't need to own the means of production in order to control them.”

You are right that many Europeans have in a sense “moved on,” but you are wrong to pretend that they remain socialists; they have moved on precisely in the sense that they are no longer socialists – as Tony Blair’s Third Way centrism is an example of.

”As for that DLC article - oh, please. It's written by people - like you - who are trying to avoid the word "socialism" because they know it's not popular with the intended audience. "Third way" was only ever a euphemism. It is not an accident that most of the foreign politicians mentioned in that article are perfectly happy to be described as socialists at home and see no conflict between being a socialist and the "third way".

“Third Way” is not a euphemism. Unless or until you can prove to me how retaining capital, wage slavery, high concentrations of wealth and power in multinational corporations, neoliberal economic policy is “socialist” – which will prove impossible considering that all of this would need to be done away with in order to even approach socialism – then I will not even bother trying to teach you an introductory socialism course.

”As for your definition of what it takes to be a socialist - as mentioned before, that is at least a couple of generations out of date. Socialists who live in the real world and who actually have to worry about running things are more interested in control than ownership these days.”

A bold-faced lie. You can find any ISO organization and read for yourself that what you are saying is simply a bold-faced lie. Socialists who remain committed to actual socialism call for worker ownership and management of the work place, among many other things that you most likely are completely unaware of.
That you would conflate parliamentary representatives from the center-left, people like Tony fucking Blair, with socialists is almost too ridiculous to even discuss.

”i'm not assuming anything! I was quoting directly from your blogger profile. If I was in any way inaccurate, it's your fault not mine.”

You must be a court jester. Of course I’m not going to list every single book I have ever read on my favorite book list, don’t be an idiot.

”As for Adam Smith - erm, no. He was writing in the mid-18th century, and the "vile masters of mankind" in his day were the same as they'd always been - the landed aristocracy who saw in trade mainly a means of more efficiently expropriating the wealth of the lower orders. Smith clearly understood that free trade would reduce the power of such people and increase freedom and prosperity for all.”
If you want to disagree with Adam Smith, that’s fine, but don’t pretend to have actually read his material when you are going to post this sort of ideological claptrap. I quoted Smith directly, if you want to take issue with what was posted, you are going to have to take issue with Adam Smith.
Nothing in essence has changed from Smith’s time to now, the merchants who were during his time lording it over everyone else are now the multinational corporations doing the same.
As for the mythology that the free-market knows best, early Britain, child labor, anti-union violence and murder, the beating and murdering of workers and strikers, the deadly conditions of the workplaces and so on are all condemning of the free-market, as is the devastation it wrecks on any country that actually fully implements a free-market system: Chile, Haiti, Indonesia and so on, whereas the nations which developed, America, Japan and so on, all implemented protectionist measures.

Random said...

"Michelle Obama has 424 friends. I checked the profiles of a handful of Michelle Obama's 424 friends. None of the ones I checked claimed in their profile to know Michelle Obama personally. Most likely, Michelle Obama accepts friend invitations from anyone who sends an invitation."

A very friendly gal, obviously. One would hope she'd draw the line at Hamas fundraisers, but apparently not.

avian30 said...

random wrote:

"That's the Annenberg FactCheck of course, as in the Chicago Annenberg Challenge, which employed Obama and Ayers to dispense $50M in grant money. I suspect somebody like you would cry foul immediately if an organisation with ties like that to a Republican claimed to clear him of attacks made by a Democrat, but there you go."

The only relationship between FactCheck.org and the Chicago Annenberg Challege is that both received funding from the Annenberg Foundation. Walter Annenberg, who founded the foundation, was friends with Reagan and Nixon, and served as an ambassador under the Nixon administration.

The current president and chairman of the Annenberg Foundation is Leonore Annenberg, Walter Annenberg's widow. Leonore Annenberg has endorsed McCain for president and donated $2,300 to McCain's campaign.

That being said, FactCheck.org is an nonpartisan organization and practices good scholarship. Even when it is critical of Obama and defends McCain.

Random said...

"Please provide evidence for the claim that Ayers "tried very hard indeed to murder hundreds of American soldiers and police officers.""

According to an FBI mole in the Weathermen, Bill Ayers built (and Bernardine Dohrn planted) the bomb which killed officer Brian McDonnell and permanently injured officer Robert Fogarty in the San Francisco police bombing of February 1970. According to the same mole, Ayers built the bomb which was discovered and successfully defused in the Detroit Police Association in March 1970. Ayers intended it to go off when the building was fully occupied, which would have killed an unknown but very large number of police officers. At the same time, three Weather Underground terrorists (including Diana Oughton, Ayers' then girlfriend) were killed while attempting to assemble a bomb of Ayers' design which was intended for an NCO dance at the Fort Dix army base, which if successful would also have killed a great many people.

"If Obama's associations with Ayers disqualifies him from becoming president, then McCain's associations with G. Gordon Liddy and Sarah Palin's associations with the Alaskan Indepence Party disqualify both McCain and Palin as well."

To use a favorite expression of JA's - bullshit. I've no intention of rehashing the Liddy stuff, but if you are genuinely interested in the issue and not just attempting some dubious moral equivalence, I'd refer you to the comment thread of my blog post linked to in my comment of 9:03 AM, October 20, 2008. It's a baseless smear that attempts to draw sinister conclusions from a single appearance by McCain on Liddy's popular radio show and what appears to be a genuine political relationship with Liddy's son Tom, who nobody has ever accused of any wrongdoing.

As for the AIP - bullshit again. for all the incendiary rhetoric of their founder, they are a perfectly legitimate political party who have concentrated exclusively on democratic politics in pursuit of their goals, and have managed to elect people at almost all levels of Alaskan government. They are not terrorists.

avian30 said...

random wrote (quoting Stanley Kurtz):

"Yet the archives show that, along with Ms. Leff and Ms. Graham, Mr. Ayers was one of a working group of five who assembled the initial board in 1994. Mr. Ayers founded CAC and was its guiding spirit. No one would have been appointed the CAC chairman without his approval."

The fact is that multiple members of the board report that Ayers was not involved in selecting Obama. This has been independently confirmed by FactCheck.org and by Education Week.

avian30 said...

random wrote:

"It's a baseless smear that attempts to draw sinister conclusions from a single appearance by McCain on Liddy's popular radio show and what appears to be a genuine political relationship with Liddy's son Tom, who nobody has ever accused of any wrongdoing."

Let's consider again what I wrote:

"If Obama's associations with Ayers disqualifies him from becoming president, then McCain's associations with G. Gordon Liddy and Sarah Palin's associations with the Alaskan Indepence Party disqualify both McCain and Palin as well."

The fact is I don't think Obama's associations with Ayers disqualifies him from becoming president. And I also don't think McCain's associations with Liddy or Palin's associations with the AIP disqualify them either (although Palin should be disqualified because she seems to be incompetent on critical issues).

I read your comments on McCain's association with Liddy. Your arguments are mostly untenable, for the following reasons:

* You argue that the fundraiser was hosted by Tom Liddy, but provide no evidence for this claim. On the contrary, in 1998 the Washington Post reported an invitation to the event stating: "G. Gordon Liddy and family cordially invite you to a fundraiser reception [...] in support of Sen. John McCain's 1998 re-election campaign."

* Liddy was scheduled to speak at a fundraiser for McCain in 2000.

* You write that Liddy "advocates a legal right of self-defence against people who come bursting through your front door guns blazing, regardless of who they claim to be representing at the time." Let us compare this with one of Liddy's actual statements: "Well, if the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms comes to disarm you and they are bearing arms, resist them with arms. Go for a head shot; they're going to be wearing bulletproof vests."

* Liddy has claimed that he planned to kill journalist Jack Anderson and government witness E. Howard Hunt.

* Liddy has claimed that he planned to kidnap anti-war activists.

* Liddy has claimed that he planned to firebomb the Brookings Institution.

avian30 said...

random wrote:

"As for the AIP - bullshit again. for all the incendiary rhetoric of their founder, they are a perfectly legitimate political party who have concentrated exclusively on democratic politics in pursuit of their goals, and have managed to elect people at almost all levels of Alaskan government. They are not terrorists."

The AIP states that its goal is to secede from the United States. I think most Americans would not regard such a party as a "perfectly legitimate political party."

And Sarah Palin's ties to the AIP are much closer than Obama's ties to Ayers (the ties supported by evidence -- not the imaginary ties).

Random said...

"The fact is that multiple members of the board report that Ayers was not involved in selecting Obama. This has been independently confirmed by FactCheck.org and by Education Week."

I'm sure Factcheck and Education Week have confirmed they said that. The question is whether they are telling the whole truth when they say that. Strong evidence that they are not is available from that Education Week article you link to. Compare this -

"“I can speak to the fact that Bill Ayers had nothing to do with the appointment of Obama to the Annenberg Challenge, and he was not significantly involved with the challenge after Obama was appointed,” Ms. Graham said."

With this (from the Wall Street Journal article previous linked, which unlike the Education Week article is based on the CAC's own archives) -

"The Chicago Annenberg Challenge was created ostensibly to improve Chicago's public schools. The funding came from a national education initiative by Ambassador Walter Annenberg. In early 1995, Mr. Obama was appointed the first chairman of the board, which handled fiscal matters. Mr. Ayers co-chaired the foundation's other key body, the "Collaborative," which shaped education policy.
...
The Daley documents show that Mr. Ayers sat as an ex-officio member of the board Mr. Obama chaired through CAC's first year. He also served on the board's governance committee with Mr. Obama, and worked with him to craft CAC bylaws. Mr. Ayers made presentations to board meetings chaired by Mr. Obama. Mr. Ayers spoke for the Collaborative before the board. Likewise, Mr. Obama periodically spoke for the board at meetings of the Collaborative."

This is not "no significant involvement." Somebody is lying here, and as Kurtz is citing documentary evidence from the CAC's own archives and Education Week and the numerous worthies you've mentioned are not, then I think it's unlikely to be him.

random said...

Oh, and

" On the contrary, in 1998 the Washington Post reported an invitation to the event stating: "G. Gordon Liddy and family cordially invite you to a fundraiser reception [...] in support of Sen. John McCain's 1998 re-election campaign.""

Well, no. A website that's so biased that they think the media is biased *in favour* of McCain is claiming that the WaPo reports this. A search of the WaPo's website itself draws a blank however. For the sake of argument though let's assume that the WaPo's website is not comprehensive for stuff that far back (although 1998 is hardly the dark ages) and it appeared in the dead tree version. So what? The key fact remains - Liddy served his time for his crimes, came out and by all accounts has lived a fairly blameless life since, even if his has been cashing in on his notoriety to reinvent himself as a pundit and talk show host. McCain was unwise to get close to him, but no favours were done or cushy jobs arranged in either direction. I thought liberals were supposed to be in favour of allowing ex-cons a chance at rehabilitation, or does that only apply if they can't be used as human shields to protect The One? There is no comparison between Liddy and "guilty as sin, free as a bird" Ayers.

"The AIP states that its goal is to secede from the United States. I think most Americans would not regard such a party as a "perfectly legitimate political party.""

Seeing as you've been so fond of demanding evidence, can you please provide some for this assertion? Because it's my understanding that the vast majority of Americans in the lower 48 have never even heard of the AIP (at least until it was used as a vehicle for McCarthyite attacks on Palin's patriotism - "Are you now, or have you ever been a member of..." - funny how the left is cool with this sort of thing these days), never mind formed a negative opinion of it.

But on the basic issue - can you please provide any objective (as distinct from McCarthyite) reasons why the AIP and it's goal of peaceful, democratic secession should be any more intrinsically illegitimate that the the likes of the Bloc Quebecois in Canada or the Scottish National Party in Britain? As far as I can see they're not proposing to storm Fort Sumter.

avian30 said...

random wrote:

"Well, no. A website that's so biased that they think the media is biased *in favour* of McCain is claiming that the WaPo reports this. A search of the WaPo's website itself draws a blank however. For the sake of argument though let's assume that the WaPo's website is not comprehensive for stuff that far back (although 1998 is hardly the dark ages) and it appeared in the dead tree version."

Media Matters cites Lexis-Nexis as the method they used to obtain the article, and not the Washington Post website.

I have no access to Lexis-Nexis, but I do have access to ProQuest and the article is also available on ProQuest. If you send your e-mail address to avian30@yahoo.com I will send you the full text of the article.

"So what? The key fact remains - Liddy served his time for his crimes, came out and by all accounts has lived a fairly blameless life since, even if his has been cashing in on his notoriety to reinvent himself as a pundit and talk show host."

Given Liddy's offensive and dangerous comments encouraging his listeners to kill federal agents who come to disarm them, I do not consider him blameless. (You might think Liddy's whitewashing of these remarks are good enough. I disagree. And I think you would hold the same position if these remarks were made by a person on the far left.)

"McCain was unwise to get close to him, but no favours were done or cushy jobs arranged in either direction."

It is not correct that no favors were done. Liddy hosted a fundraiser for McCain and donated $5,000 to his campaigns.

"I thought liberals were supposed to be in favour of allowing ex-cons a chance at rehabilitation, or does that only apply if they can't be used as human shields to protect The One? There is no comparison between Liddy and 'guilty as sin, free as a bird' Ayers."

So, a despicable person who spends time in prison should be automatically considered rehabilitated, while a despicable person who does not (due to burglary and illegal surveillance by the government) should not?

avian30 said...

random wrote:

"According to an FBI mole in the Weathermen, Bill Ayers built (and Bernardine Dohrn planted) the bomb which killed officer Brian McDonnell and permanently injured officer Robert Fogarty in the San Francisco police bombing of February 1970."

I believe you are referring to this testimony by FBI informant Larry Grathwohl. In the testimony, Grathwohl says Ayers described Dohrn's involvement in the bombing, and that Ayers included details about the bomb itself. So, if Larry Grathwohl's testimony is accurate it does imply that a Dohrn was responsible for the bombing but not necessarily that Ayers built the bomb.

random wrote:

"According to the same mole, Ayers built the bomb which was discovered and successfully defused in the Detroit Police Association in March 1970. Ayers intended it to go off when the building was fully occupied, which would have killed an unknown but very large number of police officers."

Grathwohl did say Ayers instructed him to bomb Detroit Police Officers’ Association building when it had the most people, though not that Ayers built this bomb (at least not in the testimony reproduced in this article).

The question is whether the information provided by Grathwohl is accurate. This is difficult to determine, but I think one reasonable conclusion is that it is.

random wrote:

"At the same time, three Weather Underground terrorists (including Diana Oughton, Ayers' then girlfriend) were killed while attempting to assemble a bomb of Ayers' design which was intended for an NCO dance at the Fort Dix army base, which if successful would also have killed a great many people."

It seems clear that the bomb was intended to kill large numbers of people (given that the bomb included nails to function as shrapnel). It is not clear that Ayers was involved in this. In the documentary "The Weather Underground" (beginning at 00:39:31) Mark Rudd says the bomb was being assembled by a small autonomous group led by Terry Robbins, and Ayers seems to imply he had was not involved in it

Ayers and David Gilbert also say (beginning at 47:20) that after the explosion, the WU decided to be careful not to hurt people in their attacks. I believe most of their attacks after this point indicate this was their general policy.

So, in regard to your original statement that Ayers "tried very hard indeed to murder hundreds of American soldiers and police officers":

* I agree that a group within the Weather Underground intended to kill a large number of soldiers at Fort Dix, but not that Ayers was necessarily involved in this plot.

* I agree that it is reasonable to conclude that Ayers intended to kill a large number of police officers at Detroit Police Officers’ Association, though this assumes Grathwohl's statements on the issue are accurate.

avian30 said...

random wrote:

"There are at least two incontestably untrue statements in this. Firstly, Ayers is a professor of Education, not English - a fact which Obama certainly knew, as he worked on education reform at the CAC with Obama."

It's difficult to imagine why Obama would intentionally lie about this. It seems clear this was an error (one that had little relevance to the issue) rather than a lie.

"And secondly 'somebody who engaged in detestable acts 40 years ago when I was 8 years old' is also untrue. The last Weather Underground operation where somebody was killed was a joint bank robbery with the Black Panthers in 1981, when Obama was 20 years old, and presumably old enough to know better. Although Ayers does not appear to have been involved in this raid his wife Bernadine Dohrn, who Obama also knew, (and is arguably the more extreme and dangerous of the pair, and who for some reason has been mostly overlooked in the furore) certainly was and served nine months in prison for her part."

I don't believe Dohrn was involved in the Brinks robbery in 1981. She turned herself in in 1980.

Random said...

"You might think Liddy's whitewashing of these remarks are good enough. I disagree. And I think you would hold the same position if these remarks were made by a person on the far left."

If Liddy had encouraged people to go out and hunt down and kill cops, I would agree with you. But I don't for a moment beleive this is the case. And yes, I do agree with him that citizens should have a right of self-defence against unidentified and heavily armed men who burst into their property, guns blazing. Even if they subsequently turn out to be police officers acting illegally. And yes, I would support a leftist who makes this case, and can even give you an example - google on the Case of Cory Mayes, a young black man who was put on death row as a result of pretty much exactly this scenario. He has mostly been defended by the left side of the blogosphere (Radley Balko at The Agitator has been particularly good), whilst far to many right-siders have gone all law'n'order and pro police on this. IMHO Mayes is an innocent man who deserves to be freed, and regardless of what you think I do not feel constrained by any sort of spurious right-wing solidarity to prevent me from saying so.

"So, a despicable person who spends time in prison should be automatically considered rehabilitated,"

I believe he is entitled to the benefit of the doubt until he reoffends, yes. That's part of the point of trial and punishment.

"while a despicable person who does not (due to burglary and illegal surveillance by the government) should not?"

It's not the fact that prosecutors fouled up that means Ayers isn't entitled to start over. It's the fact that he has not only failed to apologise for what he did then but continues to glorify in it and continues to express the wish that he had done more.

Random said...

"I agree that it is reasonable to conclude that Ayers intended to kill a large number of police officers at Detroit Police Officers’ Association"

Thank you for that. Yes, I was referring to Grathwohl (I didn't mention his name because I'm unsure of the ethics of naming police informers, but I've since discovered that he wrote a book about this, so presumably there is no longer a confidentiality issue). Just one thought though - why did you ask me to produce evidence if you already knew this stuff? Where you hoping I couldn't and would back down or something? I hope you were not being that cynical.

"It's difficult to imagine why Obama would intentionally lie about this. It seems clear this was an error (one that had little relevance to the issue) rather than a lie."

It baffles me too, to be honest. The only plausible explanations I can think of are that he either panicked when put under pressure and his mind temporarily went blank(I leave it to the audience to decide if that's a desirable quality in a POTUS), or he was attempting to imply that he knew less about Ayers than he actually did.

"I don't believe Dohrn was involved in the Brinks robbery in 1981. She turned herself in in 1980."

"Ms. Dohrn has struggled to carve out a new role and purpose as she and society move on. When she surfaced in 1980, along with William C. Ayers, a fellow Weathermen leader, and their two children, she pleaded guilty to aggravated battery and jumping bail, and was fined $1,500 and placed on three years' probation. Charges against Mr. Ayers were dropped.

In 1982, the year she married Mr. Ayers, she served seven months in jail for refusing to cooperate with a grand jury investigating the Brink's robbery in Nanuet, N.Y. Those months, she said, were the hardest on her children, who were too young to remember the years in hiding."

From the New York Times. From other reading, Dohrn's involvement appears to have been in helping to plan the raid and in providing fake documentation to the actual robbers, at least one of whom is still in prison. The dead are still remembered in Nyack, by the way.

avian30 said...

random wrote:

"Just one thought though - why did you ask me to produce evidence if you already knew this stuff?"

I didn't know it. I thought you were wrong and requested evidence. Then I did some research and discovered you were partially right.

random wrote:

"From other reading, Dohrn's involvement appears to have been in helping to plan the raid and in providing fake documentation to the actual robbers, at least one of whom is still in prison. The dead are still remembered in Nyack, by the way."

This is possible, but it's difficult to draw conclusions about her role from the information available. The following is from an LA Times article, December 21, 1985:

"[Dohrn] was graduated from the University of Chicago Law School in 1967. But members of the character committee were reluctant to allow her to practice. Sources said lawyers on the committee were particularly concerned that Dohrn had refused to cooperate in 1982 with a federal grand jury investigating the robbery of a Brink's armored truck that left two policemen and a Brink's guard dead. She served seven months in prison before U.S. Judge Gerard L. Goettel ruled in January, 1983, that she 'might have been an unwilling facilitator' of the criminal activity in the robbery."

In any case, we're arguing about issues that don't really matter much. This has little relevance to the question of whether Obama lied about "the length and depth of his association" with Ayers and Dohrn.