Friday Open Thread: Obama crosses the line on Wright

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“Had the reverend not retired, and had he not acknowledged that what he had said had deeply offended people and were inappropriate and mischaracterized what I believe is the greatness of this country, for all its flaws, then I wouldn’t have felt comfortable staying at the church,” –Barack Obama on The View, Friday morning.

What is he saying? I know he didn’t just do this after people like me, Hell, the whole of the African Diaspora, has come to the defense of his pastor. I need somebody to help me-Now. OMIGAWD. Please, Jesus. Tell me that I didn’t just read this on Huffington Post and TPM. Lord, tell me that this is just a surreal nightmare. What has this all been for if he cannot go the extra mile and continue to defend Dr. Wright while giving whitefolks the “disagreement” that they need to hear? Why did he cross the line, Lord? Why.

I don’t know if I can forgive this tacit acknowledgement that the round the clock, racist smear campaign against Dr. Wright and the Black Church had merit. I am so angry with Barack right now that I don’t know if I can continue my support. Talk to me.

Fired cop may challenge Kwame’s Mama

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Hat Tip: Robert Snell and Charlie LeDuff / The Detroit News

DETROIT — Fired Deputy Police Chief Gary Brown, fresh from beating Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick during the police whistle-blower trial, is mulling a campaign for mayor or against the mayor’s mother, U.S. Rep. Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick.

Brown and one of his consultants confirmed today that polling will begin soon to gauge his support for a run at mayor next year or a campaign this year for the 13th District, which spreads from the Grosse Pointes to Downriver.

Brown insists it’s not personal and would only discuss his interest in taking on Cheeks Kilpatrick, 62. But his candidacy could turn what has traditionally been a campaign cakewalk for the six-term congresswoman into a bitter race with a subplot of the decorated deputy police chief against the mother of the man who ended his law enforcement career.

“I certainly don’t blame her for anything he’s done,” Brown said. “It’s really her record I want to run against, not him.”

Brown said he plans to seed the campaign with money from the $3 million share settlement he received last year when a Wayne County jury found that Kilpatrick ousted him for investigating the mayor and his security team.

Don’t talk about it, bruh, be about it.  

Al Wynn resigns

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Hat Tip: Open Left

Matt Stoller of Open Left wrote, “Roll Call just reported that Al Wynn resigned his seat to join a DC law firm.” 

Now “Fat Albert” can ply his trade as the corporate whore that he is free from the contraints of progressive policy that the public expects from a member of the Congressional Black Caucus, but never receives.  Looks like Miss Donna will need to run in a special election and can claim the prize she won in February earlier than she thought.  

Looks like the “Fat Albert” was a gentleman after all. 

Extorting Nancy: White Hillarycrats threaten to lynch Speaker Pelosi

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Nancy Pelosi First Woman Speaker of The House 

 “If the votes of the superdelegates overturn what’s happened in the elections, it would be harmful to the Democratic party.”    -Speaker Nancy Pelosi

I agree with the Speaker that it indeed would be harmful to the Democratic Party and harmful to the goal of replacing the brain dead, wingnut cabal atop our federal government.   It is apparent, however, that a well-heeled group of white Hillarycrats, with a billionaire blackface minstrel and wealthy Indian couple thrown in to make it look kosher, think otherwise.  

According to TPM, the group sent a threat letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi which reads in part, “Several states and millions of Democratic voters have not yet had the chance to cast their votes.   We respect those voters and believe that they, like the voters in the states that have already participated, have a right to be heard.  None of us (meaning your ass) should make declarative statements that diminish the importance of their voices (votes for Hillary) and their votes.  We are writing to (threaten your ass if you don’t take it back) say that your remarks on ABC News This Week On March 16TH did just that. “

“…We have been strong supporters of the DCCC (the campaign arm of House Democrats). We therefore (are extorting you) urge you to clarify your position on super-delegates and reflect in your comments (exactly what we fu*#ing tell you) a more open view to the optional independent actions of each of the delegates at the national convention in August.   We (don’t give a sh*t who the hell you think you are because you wouldn’t be there if not for our money) appreciate your activities in support of the Democratic Party and your leadership role in the party and hope you will be (compliant with our demands) responsive to your major enthusiastic supporters.

The brazen extortion evident in this arrogant missive really ticked a sistah off, which is probably why TPM got a hold of this letter.   I love the Illusion of inclusion that asking the colored folks to sign implies so that the strong-arming of Nancy Pelosi would look less like the high tech lynching that it is.  These Mofo’s ain’t slick.  It’s just another example of the lengths the Clinton crime family will go to in order to win. I really don’t have more to add, I just thought y’all would benefit from a few edits to put it all in the proper context.  

Big Backers: The Democratic contributors who wrote Nancy Pelosi have been major donors to the party and its candidates.

Donor Name Total to Democrats Total to Clinton Total to Obama Total to DCCC
Haim & Cheryl Saban
$10,892,848
$31,600
$0
$1,142,000
Bernard L & Irene Schwartz
$4,245,750
$32,400
$0
$1,082,300
Robert L. Johnson
$1,535,800
$24,800
$4,500
$117,500
Mark & Susie Tompkins Buell
$1,066,625
$79,200
$13,500
$207,550
Steve & Maureen White Rattner
$1,062,144
$31,300
$1,000
$45,500
Jay T. & Tracy M. Snyder
$824,999
$28,200
$0
$27,666
Alan J. & Susan Patricof
$770,918
$39,200
$1,400
$62,841
Hassan & Sheila Nemazee
$523,000
$21,200
$0
$28,000
James R. & Mary K. Pritzker
$492,900
$18,400
$8,200
$12,900
Stanley S. & Sydney R. Shuman
$454,082
$51,300
$1,000
$21,666
Marc & Cathy Lasry
$422,000
$23,900
$0
$100,000
Pradeep R. & Amy J. Rao
$341,850
$46,200
$2,000
$66,000
Sim & Debra S. Farar
$252,450
$38,800
$2,500
$0
Clarence A. & Jacqueline A. Avant
$227,300
$19,200
$15,600
$26,000
Lynn Forester de Rothschild
$218,679
$39,700
$2,000
$39,000
Christopher G. & Irene Korge
$189,600
$18,300
$0
$0
Mark A. & Judith M. Aronchick
$80,300
$9,950
$500
$7,000
 
Grand Total
$23,601,245
$553,650
$52,200
$2,985,923

Joe Klein’s love affair with Obama is over

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It never ceases to amaze me what wild speculation, fantastic scenarios, and ridiculous fantasy Joe Klein is paid to produce on a regular basis.  His writing takes on the persona of an empty headed teenager looking to be swept off his feet by a handsome and virile presidential contender.  

This week’s love interest is Al Gore because Klein has clearly fallen out of love with Barack Obama.  It is a flabbergasting turn of events after his public falling out with Bill Clinton whose bathwater he happily drank for 16 years.  Writing of the man he calls the Natural, he said, Bill Clinton has redefined his wife’s campaign. He has made it a co-candidacy. He has cheapened it by using cheesy, misleading tactics against Obama.” 

Now, just one week after singing Obama’s praises after the Speech in Philadelphia, he’s spinning some bulls*it Al Gore-as-compromise-nominee-scenario when every other pundit in the land predicts Barack winning this thing.  Talk about kicking a brotha when he’s down.  I genuinely thought that Klein was truly in love this time and I don’t mean with the sound of his own voice, but truly smitten with Barack in the same way he was with Bill Clinton.   

In his 2006, 3,178 word piece, The Fresh Face, he made a great show of kicking Barack’s tires and probing his intellect, but it was subsequently clear that he was smitten and self-conscious of his growing puppy love and the betrayal of his soul mate, Bill Clinton.   Words are like sperm to Klein and spilling that much seed must really mean true love, or at least lust.  It is sad for it to end this way and a real tragedy for America.

All of us, myself included, wait with baited breath for Joe’s columns to come out so that we know how to think, act, and feel.  His flights of fancy become ours and his loves become ours as well.  The entire nation lives vicariously through him.  His importance, at least in his own mind, cannot be overstated.  If I were to run into his editor at Time I’d simply say, “After payin’ imperial narcissist Joe Klein’s exorbitant salary for umpteen years, I know y’all got room for a level headed Skeptical Brotha like me.”

 

Hillary Clinton, Warrior Princess

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Today, Hillary said that Jeremiah Wright wouldn’t have been her pastor.  No sh*t, really?  I’m stunned.  You coulda fooled me, I thought she loved the black church and “don’t feel no ways tired” of being racially condescending to black folks.   

Honestly though, I am stunned by her audacity and hypocrisy regarding the man who was called to the White House on September 11, 1998 to give “spiritual counseling” to a president engulfed by scandal and exposed as a liar and serial philanderer. Dr. Wright was apparently good enough to be a Black religious prop in a public relations fraud then and too damaged to be a Black minister of the gospel and Pastor to Barack Obama now.   

After remaining mute for over a damn week, why say anything at all?  Perhaps it was because she felt the need to deflect attention away from her bogus little Bosnia war story.  What story, Skeptical Brotha?   It’s the story you haven’t seen run in a continuous loop on every networks freakin’ programs for a week in a calculated effort to poison the electorate against her.  

Last week, Senator Clinton told a tall tale of her legendary heroism and foreign policy cachet, “I remember landing under sniper fire. There was supposed to be some kind of a greeting ceremony at the airport, but instead we just ran with our heads down to get into the vehicles to get to our base.”

 

Somebody attempted to assassinate the First Lady of the United States in a damn foreign country and this is the first we’re hearing of it?  Wow.  Move over Zena, there is a new warrior princess in town.   What a piece of work.  As Barack Obama is being mauled by a racist, duplicitous and rabid press corps over something somedbody else said, the warrior princess is allowed to escape accountability for a week for lying to their faces about her so-called “foreign policy experience.”  Now that’s a double standard worth discussing. Quick, somebody go find Geraldine Ferraro. 

Playa Mayor and his Ho plead not guilty

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Hat Tip: BY DAVID ASHENFELTER AND JOE SWICKARD • DETROIT FREE PRESS

Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick and his former chief of staff Christine Beatty stood mute at their arraignments on charges of perjury, conspiracy, obstruction of justice and misconduct today, and a magistrate entered not guilty pleas on their behalf.

They each were released on personal bonds of $75,000, and preliminary examinations for each were set for June 9.

Beatty’s attorneys asked Chief Magistrate Steve Lockhart whether she would be allowed to leave the state to visit her two children, who are in Chicago. Lockhart said yes, but she would have to receive advance permission for any other trips. Kilpatrick also will be allowed to leave the state without permission, but he must give advance notice of the time and his whereabouts.

During Beatty’s arraignment, Assistant Wayne County Prosecutor Robert Moran raised a question about whether her lawyer, Mayer Morganroth of Southfield, has a conflict of interest because he also represents Kilpatrick and the city in a lawsuit over the death of stripper Tamara Greene, who was rumored to have danced at a rumored wild party at Manoogian mansion. “There is no conflict at this time,” Morganroth replied, adding that he didn’t see any in the future.

Moran also raised the issue that the entire 36th District Court bench might need to be disqualified from conducting the June 9 preliminary examination because one or two judges may be called as witnesses.

Introducing Markel Hutchins

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Listening to Rev. Markel Hutchins preach is like listening to Martin Luther King, Jr for the first time-it gives you chills. The thirty year-old preacher has an extensive record of activism and community organizing on behalf of the voiceless and powerless.

Working with the progressive labor movement against Wal-Mart and for health care and living wages, Hutchins cuts a charismatic figure fighting for people in stark contrast to Congressman John Lewis who seems to have lost his nerve.

Lewis, a distinguished warrior during the civil rights movement, was beaten countless times by the racist stormtroopers of the confederacy. He faced down dogs and hoses only to punk out as a member of congress and to remain silent in the face of Bill Clinton’s unconscionable attempts to racially polarize the electorate for the benefit of his wife.

Only after Hutchins announcement of his candidacy did John Lewis find a pair and leave Hillary’s plantation.

What impresses the most is the level of his game, he brings it with a freshness and a skill that belies his age. His principled advocacy on behalf of the family of Kathryn Johnston, 92, who was shot to death by Atlanta Police in a botched drug raid proves to me that he is ready to lead because he is already doing it.

The Congressional Black Caucus has failed on so many levels that I cannot bear to go into an explanation. I am enthusiastic and wholeheartedly in favor of a challenge to the ossified and complacent membership of the Congressional Black Caucus. In my humble opinion, Lewis is toast. Don’t believe me, see for yourself.

As soon as I am able, I am going to send this cat a contribution. He inspires and provides the right dose of substance and charisma. While Lewis is a down the line progressive, his light does not shine brightly enough to shame his CBC colleagues into following his example or be replaced, I have every confidence that this brotha can provide the right example.

Secret Lovers Indicted

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Hat Tip: By DAVID ASHENFELTER and JOE SWICKARD • DETROIT FREE PRESS STAFF WRITERS

Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick and former chief of staff Christine Beatty were charged today in a 12-county indictment with perjury, obstruction of justice, misconduct in office and conspiracy because of their conduct in last year’s police whistle-blower trial, Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy announced.

Kilpatrick is charged with eight felonies and Beatty with seven. They are: perjury, conspiracy to obstruct justice, obstruction of justice and misconduct in office.

Worthy said the perjury charges accuse the two of lying during a whistle-blower lawsuit about the firing of Deputy Police Chief Gary Brown and about their romantic relationship.

Kilpatrick, 38, serving his seventh year in office, is the first Detroit mayor to face criminal charges while still in office. The perjury charge carries a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison.

“Lying cannot be tolerated, even if a judge and jury can see through it and doesn’t buy the line,” Worthy said at a packed news conference.

“Witnesses must give truthful testimony,” she added. “Oaths mean something.”

Right after Worthy’s announcement, the mayor’s office sent out a news release saying he and his attorney will hold a news conference at noon to respond. But at 12:45 p.m., they still had not appeared.

The mayor is expected to be arraigned at 5 p.m. today in 36th District Court in Detroit. It wasn’t clear when Beatty will turn herself in, but she must do so before 7 a.m. Tuesday.

Worthy declined to say whether she thinks the mayor should step down. Beatty resigned on Feb. 8.

During her news conference, Worthy said city lawyers had tried to erect barriers to her investigation, forcing prosecutors to go to court to try to obtain documents. She said investigators are still trying to obtain documents for the investigation, which will continue.

“At every bend and turn, there have been attempts by the city through one lawyer or another to block aspects of our investigation,” Worthy said. “Some documents have been turned over, but we have been told that others have been destroyed or lost. We don’t know when or by whom.”

She said the investigation wasn’t about sex, but about destroying the lives and careers of three good cops.

“Gary Brown’s, Harold Nelthrope’s and Walter Harris’ lives and careers were forever changed,” Worthy said. “They were ruined financially and their reputations were completely destroyed because they chose to be dutiful police officers.”

She added: “Our investigation has clearly shown that public dollars were used, people’s lives were ruined, the justice system severely mocked and the public trust trampled on.”

Worthy said she had discussed the investigation with U.S. Attorney Stephen Murphy, but declined to say what they discussed. Murphy declined today to comment on Worthy’s statement. The FBI is monitoring the investigation, according to people familiar with the case.

She said her staff had reviewed more than 40,000 pages of documents and interviewed many witnesses. She said her investigation had led to other possible defendants whom she didn’t identify. Worthy said her team of prosecutors on the case includes Lisa Lindsey, Robert Moran, Athina Siringas, Robert Spada and Timothy Baughman.

Worthy’s investigation began after the Free Press uncovered text messages that showed a romantic relationship between Kilpatrick and Beatty — a relationship both had denied under oath during a police whistle-blower lawsuit last summer. The pair also gave misleading testimony about the firing of Brown, the messages show.

Kilpatrick authorized a settlement in that case to pay the former officers $8.4 million.

Despite the false testimony, a Wayne County Circuit Court jury last September awarded Brown and Nelthrope $6.5 million in damages. Kilpatrick vowed to appeal, but on Oct. 17, abruptly decided to settle the case and a second police whistle-blower suit involving former mayoral bodyguard Walt Harris for $8.4 million – $9 million with legal costs.

Kilpatrick settled after the cops’ lawyer, Mike Stefani, informed the mayor’s lawyer that he had the incriminating text messages and would reveal them in court papers he planned to file to justify his request for legal fees in the whistle-blower case.

Although Kilpatrick apologized for his conduct in a televised appearance with his wife, Carlita, in late January, he has blamed the media for his troubles and rejected calls from the City Council, Attorney General Mike Cox and city union locals to resign.

Settlement documents the Free Press obtained last month through a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit against the city show that – contrary to Kilpatrick’s claim that he decided to settle based on advice from friends, advisers and ordinary citizens – he made peace with the cops after discovering that Stefani had the text messages.

Although Kilpatrick’s lawyers settled the suit with one agreement on Oct. 17, they decided to split it into public and private settlements after the Free Press requested a copy.

The public agreement showed how much the former cops would be paid. The secret agreement, signed by Kilpatrick and Beatty, swore Brown, Nelthrope and Stefani to secrecy about the text messages under threat of forfeiting their settlement proceeds and legal fees.

Wayne County Circuit Judge Robert Colombo Jr. released the secret agreement last month after the Kilpatrick administration repeatedly denied its existence. Colombo released the agreement and other secret settlement records after the administration appealed unsuccessfully to the Michigan Court of Appeals and state Supreme Court, which rejected Kilpatrick’s claim that the documents weren’t public documents.

The City Council, which was kept in the dark about Kilpatrick’s reasons for settling the lawsuit and never saw the confidential side agreement, voted 7-1 last week to pass an advisory resolution calling for the mayor to resign. It also ordered an investigation of the episode and directed its auditor general to look into spending by the mayor’s office and the city Law Department.

Kilpatrick went on television with his wife in late January and apologized for his conduct, he insists there was no cover-up and has blamed the news media for most of his problems. He accused the Free Press of illegally obtaining the text messages – which the newspaper denies– and accusing the media of conducting a public lynching. He said the text messages and the settlement agreement that concealed them should never have been made public.

He also said the text messages were private even though he signed a policy directive in June 2000 advising city employees that all electronic communications should be considered public.

So far, Kilpatrick has refused to step down, saying he is on a divinely-inspired mission to help rebuild the city. But conviction of a felony would force him to resign.

In honor of this momentous occasion, I give you Atlantic Starr singing that old 80’s jam, Secret Lovers.

Jeremiah Wright: the clips you will never see

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Deliberately misled by the corporate media, people have fallen for the “mash-up” of video clips of several sermons of Rev. Dr. Jeremiah Wright which attempt to defame, deceive and misinform people about the life, ministry, and character of Barack Obama’s pastor and by extension Obama himself.

This is nothing more than a propaganda trick and transparent hatchet job and one, which some ignorant Negroes and many Whites have fallen for. I resent the criticism engendered and the disavowal that political expedience required of Barack Obama. In an effort to inform, I offer you a fuller depiction of the sermons in question by Dr. Wright and leave it to you to judge for yourself.

If you are so inclined, share these sermons with some brain dead Negro content to sit like a child in front of the idiot box and perhaps the scales will fall from their eyes when they realize the truth.  If they don’t realize that these attacks are attacks against the prophetic black church and those who believe in God’s truth, then they are truly lost.

The Christmas Message

“God Damn America”

“America’s chickens are coming home to roost”

Fox News Obama propaganda backfires

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Brian Kilmeade became frustrated in his admirable and futile attempts to break through the propaganda talking points on Fox and Friends because he’s delusional enough to believe that he works for a real news organization. Bless his Heart.

After a week of round the clock racist programming against Barack Obama, surely he understands that he works for a fascist propaganda channel whose agenda and purpose for being is to be anything but “fair and balanced.”

Storming off the set in protest shattered the chipper façade of insidiously racist chatter and revealed Fox’s malevolent agenda for what it is. Steve Doocy and Gretchen Carlson tried to play the shit off but Brian left the malevolent clown and his Stepford wife sidekick looking defensive and crazy. For that, Brian Kilmeade is to be commended.

We don’t often see dissention in the ranks at Fixed News and so it came as a pleasant surprise. Chris Wallace’s comment, “I have been watching the show since 6 o’clock this morning when I got up, and it seems to me that two hours of Obama bashing on this “typical white person” remark is somewhat excessive, and frankly, I think you’re somewhat distorting what Obama had to say,” was just the icing on the cake.

The idea that Steve and Gretchen give a damn about Mrs. Dunham, Obama’s grandmother, is patently ridiculous. As they say later in the program, they really just work off of “talking points” probably issued from the bowels of Hell, the purpose of which is to poison as many minds as possible against anything and anybody progressive.

As they maliciously continue pushing the Barack disses his white grandma meme and quote Obama calling his grandmother “a typical white person,” out of context, hopefully they’ll also play a clip of Brian Kilmeade storming off the set. Juxtaposing the quote and the protest is the only way in my mind that these bastards can ever claim to be “fair and balanced.”

 

Demonizing Barack: The enduring racist double standard

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(Obama sets the record straight on Race, Religion, and his Pastor)

Having absorbed all of the calumny, reprobation, and histrionics I can stand regarding Barack Obama, Trinity United Church of Christ and its former Senior Pastor, Rev. Dr. Jeremiah Wright, I can be silent no more.

Having failed to make the manufactured Farrakhan smear stick, Obama’s tormentors have succeeded in distorting Jeremiah Wright into his horrifyingly racist doppelganger.

First, let me say that Barack Obama’s “denunciation” of some of Dr. Wright’s justifiable indignation about America’s hypocrisy regarding race, war, and Hillary Clinton, left a bad taste in my mouth, a very bad taste indeed.

Obama, the Junior Senator from Illinois, has labored mightily to run a campaign which focuses on that which unites rather than that which divides because it is a reflection of the way he has lived his life and made his career as an organizer, lawyer, state legislator, senator, and presidential candidate. He hasn’t always met that goal. His unequivocal support of Israel’s indiscriminate bombing of innocent Lebanese civilians in 2006 and his failure to adequately address the Clinton campaign’s deliberate and repeated attempts to racially polarize Democrats reflect his craven accommodations to America’s racial hypocrisy.

A sistah named Cassandra from Michigan emailed me saying, “For the first time I don’t care whether or not he wins if he must shed his spirituality and dilute his soul to neutralize the stench and sting of truth that so many White Americans refuse to acknowledge…The hypocrisy and denial of how racism is destroying the integrity of working class and poor American blacks, whites, Latinos, Arabs and Asians is the seam that is dividing and will eventually shred the Democratic Party.”

Americans talk a good game, but in the end, as Jesse Jackson before him, he is being held to a racist double standard that previous white Presidents and Presidential Candidates were not held too.

Barack Obama’s religious affiliation with Trinity United Church of Christ is an affirmation of his own bi-racial heritage as the son of a Kenyan and white Kansan. To say that his membership in the United Church of Christ, a predominantly white denomination created in 1957 from the Congregational Christian Church and the Evangelical Reform Church is somehow suspect or racist is both ludicrous and false.

Trinity United Church of Christ is both integrated and welcoming of all people-including gays and lesbians. When Hillary Clinton’s denomination, the United Methodist Church, sent conflicting signals over the issue of homosexuality and restricting the role of gay clergy and the ability of gay congregants to have their unions blessed in the Methodist Church, the United Church of Christ went in the opposite direction in affirming its covenant with gay clergy and parishioners. Years before then, Wright established an AIDS ministry and a singles ministry for gay and lesbian congregants.

Lisa Miller, writing in Newsweek said, “As a leader, Wright defied convention at every turn. In an interview with the Chicago Tribune last year, he recalled a time during the 1970s when the UCC decided to ordain gay and lesbian clergy. At its annual meeting, sensitive to the historic discomfort some blacks have with homosexuality, gay leaders reached out to black pastors.”

“At that session, Wright heard the testimony of a gay Christian and, he said, he had a conversion experience on gay rights. He started one of the first AIDS ministries on the South Side and a singles group for Trinity gays and lesbians—a subject that still rankles some of the more conservative Trinity members, says Dwight Hopkins, a theology professor at the University of Chicago and a church member.”

Given the hatred and venom spewed forth in too many black pulpits toward black gays and lesbians, Dr. Wright stands out as enlightened, inclusive, and welcoming. But he would have to be in order to grow the church from 80 to 8000 members in three decades. Dr. Wright is the opposite from the bitter, angry, and bigoted portrait the corporate media has fashioned.

Come on, people. Do you really believe that a “black racist” would choose a 90% white denomination in which to plant his flag or are you just some kind of a damn moron engaged in a typical form of racist projection. I defy anyone to name one integrated, gay-friendly, mainline, protestant, predominately African American congregation you’ve ever stepped foot in where you’ve experienced hatred. I know damn well that nobody can because there is no such thing. Are you seriously scared of a moderate, bi-racial politician who bends over backwards to be inclusive, mainstream and non-threatening? Please.

Don’t fall for the right-wing attack campaign launched by Fox News and its corporate mimics.

Obama’s rise to prominence has been swift but it is not unlike that of another little known state politician who rose to prominence over thirty years ago, Jimmy Carter. Carter, you’ll recall was a born-again Baptist layman who also made common cause with all people regardless of race, religion, or background in order to heal the nation after Watergate. During the first months of his presidency in 1977, his home congregation, the Plains Baptist Church, of Plains, GA, forced out Pastor Bruce Edwards, because he sought, with the support of the President, to integrate the church.

During the waning days of the Presidential campaign, a black minister and “publicity seeker,” Rev. Clennon King, challenged the official policy of the church forbidding “Negroes and other civil rights agitators,” from membership. I find no record of the firestorm of criticism we see regarding Barack Obama and Jeremiah Wright. Nobody called on him to resign his membership or denounce the racially prejudiced people with whom he had lived his entire life.

Plotting a middle ground, the church, following Carter’s lead, denied Rev. King membership. The final straw, however, came after Pastor Edwards and his wife adopted a half-Hawaiian child. According to the President’s brother Billy, it was bad enough that the pastor was a liberal integrationist, but adopting the “tan-skinned” child was “99 per cent of the preacher’s problem,” wrote Margaret Montagno in Newsweek.

The Plains Baptist Church subsequently changed its policy in word, but not in deed. Nicholas King, writing in the New Republic said, “The ‘opening’ of the Plains Baptist Church was achieved last fall under the leadership of the Carter family…But there was opposition to the opening from the church’s old guard, and the only black face in the congregation the Sunday Jimmy Carter first returned to Plains as President belonged to a Secret Service man.” After he left the presidency, Jimmy Carter left the church and joined with former Plains Baptist Church members at Maranatha Baptist Church. The small congregation of 135 opens its doors to 12,000 visitors a year to hear the President teach Sunday School. A few years ago, Carter also left the hopelessly right-wing Southern Baptist Convention.

According to the Los Angeles Times, during the 1980 presidential campaign, in the midst of a conservative tide taking over the Southern Baptist Convention, the President of the Southern Baptist Convention, Bailey Smith, proclaimed, “God almighty does not hear the prayer of a Jew.” Again, nothing was heard from the media calling on President Carter to renounce the convention of which he was a member or for then Governor Ronald Reagan, who had addressed the same gathering of evangelicals in Dallas that same day to renounce the divisive and anti-Semitic statement of a right-wing supporter. The Washington Post covered the story on page F10 on September 26, 1980. The New York Times covered the story on three occasions and A 18 was the closet it came.

Lastly, can anybody recount for me the media firestorm over Pat Robertson’s endorsement of Rudy Giuliani. Refresh my memory about how many times the clip of the Religious Broadcaster and Baptist Minister advocating the assassination of the president of Venezuela, a supplier of oil to the United States, was run on Fox News and the rest of the corporate media in denunciation of Giuliani. How many times did they run the clip of Robertson agreeing with Jerry Falwell about the proper blame for 9/11 on abortions and gays and lesbians in a manner meant to accuse Giuliani of intolerance?

Today, nothing is materially different for the Hawaiian bred Barack Obama than it was for the half-Hawaiian son of Jimmy Carter’s Pastor. America, like Plains Baptist Church, has the same problem and like Jeremiah Wright has pointed out eloquently for thirty-six years as Pastor of Trinity United Church of Christ, race is 99 per cent of it.

Pastor Wright leaves Obama campaign

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Hat Tip: by Alex Johnston, MSNBC

 

Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., condemned racially charged sermons by his former pastor Friday and urged Americans not to reject his presidential campaign because of “guilt by association.”

Obama’s campaign announced that the minister, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright Jr., had left its spiritual advisory committee after videotapes of his sermons again ignited fierce debate in news accounts and political blogs.

Obama did not clarify whether Wright volunteered to leave his African American Religious Leadership Committee, a loose group of supporters associated with the campaign, or whether the campaign asked him to leave.

“I think there was recognition that he’s obviously on the verge of retirement, [that] he’s taking a sabbatatical and that it was important for him to step out of the spotlight in this situation,” Obama said.

Wright was the latest in a series of advisers to Obama and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., who have stepped aside as supporters of both candidates trade racially charged accusations.

Obama rejects comments
Obama spoke warmly of Wright, who retired last month as pastor of Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago. Wright is a man “I’ve known for 17 years, [who] helped bring me to Jesus, helped bring me to church,” he said.

“I strongly condemn” Wright’s statements, but “I would not repudiate the man,” Obama said. “He’s been preaching for 30 years. He’s a man who was a former Marine, a biblical scholar, someone who’s spoken at theological schools all over the country.

“That’s the man I know,” Obama said. “That’s the man who was the pastor of this church.”

But Obama acknowledged that “there’s no doubt this is going to be used as political fodder, as it has been in the past.”

“What I hope is [that] what the American people will trust is what I believe,” he said, that “my values, my ideas, what I’ve spoke about in terms of bringing the country together will override a guilt by association.”

But the sermons, at least one of which was delivered long before Wright retired last month, revived uncomfortable questions about Obama’s ties to the minister, whom conservative critics have accused of advocating black separatism.

A videotape of one sermon captures Wright using a harsh racial epithet to argue that Clinton could not understand the struggles of African Americans.

“Barack knows what it means, living in a country and a culture that is controlled by rich white people,” Wright said on Christmas Day of last year. “Hillary can never know that. Hillary ain’t never been called a [N-word]!”

In another sermon, delivered five days after the 9/11 attacks, Wright seems to imply that the United States had brought the terrorist violence on itself.

“We bombed Hiroshima, we bombed Nagasaki, and we nuked far more than the thousands in New York, and we never batted an eye,” Wright says. “We have supported state terrorism against the Palestinians and black South Africans, and now we are indignant because the stuff we have done overseas is brought right back in our own front yards.”

In a later sermon, Wright revisits the theme, declaring: “No, no, no, not God bless America — God damn America!”

Obama: I didn’t hear inflammatory sermons
Obama took the title of his 2006 autobiography, “The Audacity of Hope,” from a sermon by Wright, who baptized him and officiated at his wedding. He has called Wright “a sounding board for me to make sure that I am speaking as truthfully about what I believe as possible.”

In his remarks on MSNBC, Obama expanded on a brief posting that was made under his name earlier Friday afternoon on the Huffington Post Web site.

“The statements that Rev. Wright made that are the cause of this controversy were not statements I personally heard him preach while I sat in the pews of Trinity or heard him utter in private conversation,” the posting said, adding that over the years, “Rev. Wright preached the gospel of Jesus, a gospel on which I base my life.

“In other words, he has never been my political advisor; he’s been my pastor. And the sermons I heard him preach always related to our obligation to love God and one another, to work on behalf of the poor, and to seek justice at every turn.”

Obama wrote that he had known of similar statements by Wright over the years, which he strongly condemned. He wrote that he chose to remain in the church because “Rev. Wright was on the verge of retirement, and because of my strong links to the Trinity faith community.”

Clinton adviser gives Obama a pass
There was no formal reaction from the Clinton campaign, but Lanny Davis, a senior adviser, said he took Obama at his word.

“I give Senator Obama completely — completely — the benefit of the doubt that he has nothing to do with this bigotry that’s being spewed forth by this man,” Davis said on MSNBC’s “Tucker.” “For me, that’s all he has to say.

“I think we should stop this guilt-by-association thing, because some of our supporters say stupid things,” Davis said.

But the videos created a firestorm among political observers and commentators.

“Mr. Obama obviously would not choose to belong to Mr. Wright’s church and seek his advice unless he agreed with at least some of his views,” Wall Street Journal columnist Ron Kessler, publisher of the conservative Web site NewsMax.com, wrote Friday.

Kathryn Jean Lopez, editor of the Web site of the conservative magazine National Review, wrote Friday that “now we know he’s contributed money to, voluntarily listened to, and publicly defended a cleric who peddles racial warfare.”

Others saw an attempt to “smear” Obama.

“How come righteous Republicans are rarely asked about the views of their spiritual advisers? Or why wasn’t George W. Bush (and the presidents preceding him) forced to distance himself from the anti-semitic comments of Billy Graham?” Ari Berman wrote Friday on the Web site of the liberal magazine The Nation, for which he is a contributing writer.

Thursday Open Thread

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I am a little spent today and not able to be coherent. But did y’all see Keith Olbermann last night? He gets it. He gets it. Somebody send him a certificate of Negro membership. He tore Senator Clinton, a woman he respects and admires, a new one last night over Geraldine Ferraro’s racial remark about Barack Obama. Ain’t seen nothin’ like that in a minute. I’ve watched it over and over and I can’t get over how thoroughly he sets the record straight. I am in awe.

On another note, folks are blowing me up looking for Barack Obama’s Pastor, Jeremiah Wright. The Senior Pastor of Obama’s church made some comments that are getting attacked. What do you think?

OBAMA SPEAKS FOR HIMSELF

Hat Tip: Huffington Post

The pastor of my church, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, who recently preached his last sermon and is in the process of retiring, has touched off a firestorm over the last few days. He’s drawn attention as the result of some inflammatory and appalling remarks he made about our country, our politics, and my political opponents.Let me say at the outset that I vehemently disagree and strongly condemn the statements that have been the subject of this controversy. I categorically denounce any statement that disparages our great country or serves to divide us from our allies. I also believe that words that degrade individuals have no place in our public dialogue, whether it’s on the campaign stump or in the pulpit. In sum, I reject outright the statements by Rev. Wright that are at issue.

Because these particular statements by Rev. Wright are so contrary to my own life and beliefs, a number of people have legitimately raised questions about the nature of my relationship with Rev. Wright and my membership in the church. Let me therefore provide some context.

As I have written about in my books, I first joined Trinity United Church of Christ nearly twenty years ago. I knew Rev. Wright as someone who served this nation with honor as a United States Marine, as a respected biblical scholar, and as someone who taught or lectured at seminaries across the country, from Union Theological Seminary to the University of Chicago. He also led a diverse congregation that was and still is a pillar of the South Side and the entire city of Chicago. It’s a congregation that does not merely preach social justice but acts it out each day, through ministries ranging from housing the homeless to reaching out to those with HIV/AIDS.

Most importantly, Rev. Wright preached the gospel of Jesus, a gospel on which I base my life. In other words, he has never been my political advisor; he’s been my pastor. And the sermons I heard him preach always related to our obligation to love God and one another, to work on behalf of the poor, and to seek justice at every turn.

The statements that Rev. Wright made that are the cause of this controversy were not statements I personally heard him preach while I sat in the pews of Trinity or heard him utter in private conversation. When these statements first came to my attention, it was at the beginning of my presidential campaign. I made it clear at the time that I strongly condemned his comments. But because Rev. Wright was on the verge of retirement, and because of my strong links to the Trinity faith community, where I married my wife and where my daughters were baptized, I did not think it appropriate to leave the church.

Let me repeat what I’ve said earlier. All of the statements that have been the subject of controversy are ones that I vehemently condemn. They in no way reflect my attitudes and directly contradict my profound love for this country.

With Rev. Wright’s retirement and the ascension of my new pastor, Rev. Otis Moss, III, Michelle and I look forward to continuing a relationship with a church that has done so much good. And while Rev. Wright’s statements have pained and angered me, I believe that Americans will judge me not on the basis of what someone else said, but on the basis of who I am and what I believe in; on my values, judgment and experience to be President of the United States.

Spitzer resigns

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Hat Tip: New York Times, By DANNY HAKIM and ANAHAD O’CONNOR

Gov. Eliot Spitzer, reeling from revelations that he had been a client of a prostitution ring, announced his resignation today, becoming the first governor of New York to be forced from office in nearly a century.

Mr. Spitzer, appearing somber and with his wife at his side, said his resignation is to be effective Monday, and that Lt. Gov. David A. Paterson would be sworn in to replace him.

David Paterson

“I am deeply sorry that I did not live up to what was expected of me,” he said. “To every New Yorker, and to all those who believed in what I tried to stand for, I sincerely apologize.”

“Over the course of my public life, I have insisted — I believe correctly — that people regardless of their position or power take responsibility for their conduct,” he added. “I can and will ask no less of myself. For this reason, I am resigning from the office of governor.”

Mr. Spitzer is the first governor of New York to resign from office since 1973, when Nelson A. Rockefeller stepped down to devote himself to a policy group, and the first to be forced from office since William Sulzer was impeached and removed from his post in 1913 in a scandal over campaign contribution fraud.

In his brief statement at his headquarters in Manhattan, Mr. Spitzer thanked his family for offering support and compassion, and said he had spent the last several days atoning for his personal failings.

Mr. Spitzer ended his speech by saying he would leave politics, and then departed quickly without taking questions.

“As I leave public life, I will first do what I need to do to help and heal myself and my family,” he said. “Then I will try once again, outside of politics, to serve the common good and to move toward the ideals and solutions which I believe can build a future of hope and opportunity for us and for our children.”

Since issuing an initial apology on Monday, Mr. Spitzer had been holed up at his apartment at Fifth Avenue and 79th Street in Manhattan, where his aides said he had been engaged in an intense legal and family debate about whether to resign or, as his wife was urging, to stay on.

Mr. Spitzer emerged finally at about 11:15 a.m. Wednesday with his wife by his side and got into a black S.U.V., which headed for his headquarters on Third Avenue as news helicopters followed above.

On Tuesday, as Mr. Spitzer, a first-term Democrat, contemplated his next move, the New York political world remained in a suspended state, with cries — even from fellow Democrats — growing louder for him to step down.

In one of the last and desperate rounds of the end game, a top Spitzer administration official reached out to Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver’s staff on Tuesday to see if the governor could avoid an impeachment vote. But the prospects were grim.

Republicans had pledged to try to have Mr. Spitzer impeached and only 34 of the more than 100 Democrats in the Assembly would be needed for the matter to be referred to the Senate for an impeachment trial. It was clear during the discussions that 34 or more Democrats were almost certain to vote against the governor.

That outcome would have been a dire for the governor, because his top political rival, Senate majority leader Joseph L. Bruno, leads the Senate, where a trial would have been held.

“An impeachment proceeding would force Democrats to either abandon him or defend him,” said one leading Democrat. “They would abandon him.”

Sheldon Silver, the Assembly speaker, said Tuesday that Mr. Spitzer should do “what’s best for his family,” but stopped short of calling on the governor to step down. “It is now up to the governor to make a determination that’s best for his family. I pray for his children.” When asked what Mr. Silver thought was best for the Spitzer family, he did not respond.

Mr. Silver offered a few details of his conversation with Mr. Spitzer on Tuesday afternoon before the governor briefly spoke to the public. “I said to him then and I say it now, he’s got to take care of his family first and be concerned about them. I told him that we will carry on in the legislative process that moves the budget forward. We intend to pass our budget tomorrow. I hope the Senate will do the same.”

Mr. Paterson said on Tuesday that he had not heard from Mr. Spitzer since about noon on Monday, and did not know whether he would soon be sworn in as the state’s 55th governor.

“The governor called me yesterday,” said Mr. Paterson, who was driven to the Capitol on Tuesday and pondered going inside before deciding to avoid the swarm of journalists. “He said he didn’t resign for a number of reasons, and he didn’t go into the reasons, and that’s the last I’ve heard from him.”

Asked whether preparations for a transition were under way, the lieutenant governor said: “No one has talked to me about his resignation, and no one has talked to me about a transition.”

At a televised news conference on Wednesday morning, Mr. Bruno, the Senate majority leader who would become the lieutenant governor if Mr. Paterson replaces Mr. Spitzer, told reporters that he had not spoken with Mr. Spitzer or any of his top aides about the impending resignation.

“No one has contacted me officially,” he said. “We are following the reports as you are. But in the meantime, I am staying with our plan to pass a budget, talk to the speaker, and we’re going to go public in a real way on Monday.”

Mr. Bruno, a Republican who clashed frequently with Mr. Spitzer, said he was praying for the governor and his family and urged all New Yorkers to do so as well.

On Tuesday, Mr. Spitzer cut himself off from all but the most senior members of his staff. His lawyer, Michele Hirschman, was reaching out to federal prosecutors to try to strike a deal in hopes of avoiding charges.

Close aides to the governor suggested on Tuesday that the mood in the Spitzer home was tense, with the governor’s wife, Silda Wall Spitzer, recommending that he not step down, but they cautioned that the situation could change at any time.

The revelation of Mr. Spitzer’s involvement with the high-end prostitution ring gripped the nation, and more than 70 reporters and photographers clustered outside the governor’s Upper East Side high-rise on Tuesday, separated from the building by a metal barricade erected by the police.

Three helicopters whirred overhead as tourists atop passing double-decker buses snapped pictures of the scene.

Mr. Spitzer’s patronage of the prostitution agency, Emperor’s Club V.I.P., came to light after prosecutors charged four people with operating the service. They said the governor was intercepted on a federal wiretap arranging payments and an encounter with a prostitute in a Washington hotel room last month. The affidavit referred to a Client 9 and did not identify Mr. Spitzer by name, but law enforcement officials said that Client 9 was the governor.

Investigators reviewing the scope of Mr. Spitzer’s involvement with prostitutes said on Tuesday that just in the past year he had had more than a half-dozen meetings with them and had paid tens of thousands of dollars to the ring, one law enforcement official said.

A person with knowledge of the service’s operations said that Mr. Spitzer had begun meeting with the prostitutes of the Emperor’s Club about eight months ago and had had encounters in Dallas as well as Washington.

A law enforcement official said Mr. Spitzer also had an encounter with a prostitute in Florida. On some trips of several days’ duration, Mr. Spitzer scheduled more than one visit with a prostitute, this person said.

Andre Carson elected to Congress

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Fulfilling his grandmother’s wish, the voters of Indiana’s seventh congressional district sent her “seed,” Indianapolis City County Councilman Andre Carson, to congress to fulfill her unexpired term.   With 100% of the precincts reporting, Carson was elected with 54% of the vote to Republican Jon Elrod’s 43%. The race begins anew to serve in the 111th Congress to be seated next January.  In Indiana’s May Democratic Primary, Carson faces determined opposition in the form of three contenders: State Rep. Carolene Mays, publisher of the black paper of record, the Indianapolis Recorder, former state health commissioner Woody Myers, and State Rep.  David Orentlicher.   

Mays and Myers as African Americans will provide Carson,33, with some stiff competition for African American votes in this majority white congressional district leaving Orentlicher free to persue white voters by himself.   The Indianapolis Star, the paper of record, refused to endorse Congressman Elect Carson and gave their nod to Jon Elrod.   I suspect that they will again refuse to endorse him a will give the nod to Orentlicher instead. 

With his election, he becomes the second Muslim American elected to the United States Congress, a fact that hasn’t gone unnoticed in the surreptitious character assassination and guilt by association that has characterized this race.  Carson has had to defend himself from charges of being associated with Minister Louis Farrakhan, a friend of his grandmother’s who attended her funeral and voiced support for his candidacy.  

The newest member of the Congressional Black Caucus has much to prove and little time in which to prove it.   I wish him Godspeed.