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WaPo Defends Spreading Lies About Obama

Peter Baker of the Washington Post blogs in defense of WaPo’s spreading lies about Obama:

Two furors stoked by the blogosphere over the last 24 hours neatly illustrate the changing political climate in the United States these days and underscore the depths of suspicion, anger and hostility out there as the country tries to pick a new leader. . . . [L]iberal bloggers ripped The Washington Post for publishing a story on untrue rumors that Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) is secretly a Muslim.

. . . [A]ny legitimate criticism and sober-minded discussion of the issues raised get drowned out by the loudest, most vituperative voices. The net result is not dialogue, but a contest of outrage.

That, my friends, is a textbook red herring. And, last I looked, CJR was not a vituperative liberal blogger and the CJR writer stated that “In The Washington Post this morning, reporter Perry Bacon Jr. wrote what may be the single worst campaign ’08 piece to appear in any American newspaper so far this election cycle.” And indeed, Baker has little substantively to say in defense of the WaPo story. This seems his best shot:

The reporter wrote the story because a voter in Iowa told him that Obama is a Muslim and he was struck that people remain so ill informed. . . . But somehow a story intended to debunk the false claims, trace their origin and explore the challenge they present the campaign in trying to quash them spawned a furious eruption among liberal bloggers accusing the Post of spreading the rumors.

This is disingenuous to say the least. I feel confident that the Obama campaign wasnot pleased with the story. Does Mr.  Baker wonder why? Perhaps Lyndon Johnson can explain it:

[O]ne of Johnson’s favorite jokes is about a popular Texas sheriff running for reelection whose opponents decide to spread a rumor that he f[***]ks pigs: “We know he doesn’t, but let’s make the son of a bitch deny it.”

A Problem of Race And Ethnicity

In response to this, an essayist wrote this:

Then the student called me a racist. He claimed I was picking on him because he was Latino, and that I wouldn’t be pulling him out of the class if he were White. . . . Was the student race baiting? You bet he was. He was making specious and unsupported claims of racial victimization in order to distract from his own obnoxious behavior.

. . . Just to be clear about the program.  These kids all come in for a one off session and there is rarely if ever any repeats.  I had never met the student in question before that day, nor had I had ever spoken to or about him before the incident.  This is a voluntary program for the students and I do not take attendence, so there was no reason to even say his name.   To my knowledge and belief, there was absolutely no reason for the student to make the claim he did other than for the reasons I’ve already stated.  End of story.

End of story indeed. For Night Owl, this Latino student’s experience PRIOR to attending his class DID NOT EXIST. The racism and bigotry that permeates our culture and our country DID NOT EXIST. The feelings this Latino student had about his own experience outside of that classroom prior to meeting NIght Owl DID NOT EXIST.

GET OVER IT is Night Owl’s advice. ‘Why do we need to consider the racism and bigotry of our culture and nation? I am not a racist. I am not a bigot. Sure I am white. But I am not a racist. I am not a bigot.’

This sounds like nothing more than someone sayng “I did not own slaves.” Why should I pay for it? Most of us are familiar with this line of thinking. It is what is used to oppose affiramtive action, civil rights laws, indeed most every program designed to address the race issue.

A lot of people believe that the problems of race are attended one by one, individually. On one level, this is true. But the notion that the institutional, cultural and national racism and bigotry of our country can be washed away without addressing what racism and bigtory have done to our current situation, that we can walk into a situation with a clean slate, is ludicrous to me. It is equivalent to saying you do not want to do anything about it.

It is not possible imo to remedy and address racism, sexism and bigotry even we do not face up to the hard truths about oursleves, our cultures, our society, our Nation. We can not pretend what has happened did not happen. We can not pretend we do not live in a racist, sexist, bigoted country.

Just as Night Owl should not have pretended that the Latino studet’s life started when he walked into that class, no one can pretend that we as a People in this country can pretend that slavery did not occur, that peoples were NOT subjugated, that Jim Crow, redlining, segregation, etc did NOT happen. That people are not out there argung TODAY that non-whites are less intelligent than whites.

It is true that Republicans, racialists and some idealists want to pretend the past did not happen. But it did. And it causes a lot of things to happen today.

It is my opinion that attitudes like the one expressed by Night Owl are extremely harmful to fighting against racism and bigotry. And while I am sure Night Owl is no racist, his attitudes lead to aid and comfort to racists and RACISM.

It is why I will continue to fight against those attitudes. I think it is important to have that fight.

A Problem With Race and Ethnicity

On Iraq: Create Contrast By Standing Up To Bush

Matt Yglesias writes:

Dana Goldstein remarks after watching the Republicans debate that they “are terrified of the words ‘George W. Bush.’ A smart Democrat would force her or his Republican opponent to face up, as often as possible, to the legacy of his party’s leader.” . . .  I think Democrats need to worry about a possible Republican blurring strategy on Iraq especially if the Democratic nominee voted for the war. . .

Just so. What always is missing from Yglesias’ analysis on this is what the current Congress can do – stand up to Bush on funding the Iraq Debacle:

President Bush sternly pressed Democrats to approve money to fund the Iraq war “without strings and without delay” before leaving town for the Christmas holidays, something congressional leaders have already indicated they will not do.

I liked Harry Reid’s response:

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., responded that Democrats will get troops the money they need as part of a “war strategy worthy of their sacrifices.” “Bush Republicans have indefinitely committed our military to a civil war that has taken a tremendous toll on our troops and our ability to respond to other very real threats around the world,” Reid said.

Now the hard part, just saying no. That is what Democrats need to do. It is good policy. It is good politics.

Why “Civility” Is a Joke

Because those who whine most loudly about it write comments like this:

He is not in control of his speech or his actions when he attacks people (0.00 / 1) [delete comment]

And that makes him a victim of them, as well as a perpetrator of violence.

I am not going to continue this.  You can investigate what I’ve advocated, accept it or reject it.  

I am not advocating silencing anyone – but I am advocating placing limits on actions – in this case, hate speech and ad hominem attacks.

I also see in Armando’s attacks and escalation, acute signs of mental illness, and it’s that which is manifesting in the extreme speech which I believe is also a manifestation of Armando’s distress.  Limiting his ability to hurl invectives while he isn’t in control of himself is similar to providing privacy for patients who are not in control.  The intent is to preserve their dignity and worth, and to provide that in an environment with the least restraint possible to effect the goal.

You as site administrator/owner can schoose to have a PFF-like site, but that should be made clear so that visitors can make an informed decisions about participating.  

I came based on Turkana’s recommendation and your “be excellent to each other” motto.  I see that isn’t the case.

I choose to withdraw.  

Now, did you really want this to be on the site?

If not, then please zero it out.

Okaaay then. Accusation of acute mental illness seem a tad bit uncivil. “Verbal violence” in fact, no? What would Gandhi say?

I know what I say, “civility” seems to depend on whose ox is being gored.

Response To Point Of Personal Privilege

So now comes the phony Kumbaya Brigade to ignore facts and realities.

Let’s assume you do not agree with me that accusations of race baiting are racist rhetoric. I think you have no understanding of the use of the phrase if you think that and I think even if you do, you should understand that people of color do not agree with you. Perhaps, with that in mind, you might refrain from such scurrilous charges. A true progressive would, imo.

But let’s get to what really exercises them – “people” being “mean.” And by “people” I mean me. Faheyman wrote an off topic comment in a Buhdy post attacking ME:

“Bad Karma” Alert! (2.00 / 2) [delete comment]

“So we need as loud of a voice as possible…and we need new ways to present our positions clearly and simply. …and to move the candidates AND to promote some form of unity…”

We must yell louder, but yell with good will, if unity (solidarity and united action) is the goal.  To wit…

I came across this comment on the front page earlier today:

[hidden comment] Fuck you (0.00 / 2)

Fuck you you racist bastard!

Hey Buhdy. Fuck this guy.’

Fuck this piece of shit racist.

by: Armando @ Tue Nov 27, 2007 at 05:48:50 PST

This particlar diarist routinely spreads extremely bad karma on your site.  And, since he’s a frequent front-pager, this happens all too often.

He resorts to name-calling (not to mention basic rudeness).

I don’t get it.  It’s more appropriate for the Planet Orange crowd, IMHO.  I thought I had found a refuge from that kind of shit over here.

(Also, thanks for uprating my diary.  You’re too kind.)


So I am attacked personally in an off topic manner. The KUMBAYA! Crowd says Hurrah! But that’s not my problem. My problem is with the dishonesty this person displays. He ignores the comments I am repsonding to. For example, this one from a person who then writes this shameless diary. The comment stated:

The only racist statement is yours (1.00 / 2) [delete comment]

“I am sure access had nothing to do with white man Solomont’s decision to bundle for Obama. Riiiiight.” Perhaps your goal is to drive this website into irrelevance?

by: notlightnessofbeing @ Mon Nov 26, 2007 at 09:17:09 PST

Faheyman was not concerned in the least about that person calling me a racist. What of the Karma of that Faheyman? But Faheyman is simply dishonest. In his diary he wrote:

Having been “called out”–not once, but twice–by an essayist here this (yesterday) evening (Eastern Standard Time), I would like to respond.

Why does Faheyman act the victim here? He ORIGINALLY called me out. He has not responded to why he ignored the charges of racism against me by NotLightnessofBeing. He is a dishonest hypocrite. He had nothing to say about Night Owl accusing me of race baiting. What of the Karma Faheyman. But Faheyman is a dishonest phony.

Let’s make this clear. All of the accusations against me are false. I initiated NO HOSTILE exchanges. It was the KUMBAYA crowd who has attacked me personally. It is the KUMBAYA crowd who called ma a raicst FIRST. It is the Kumbaya crowd who called me a race baiter.

It is the height of dishonesty, hypocrisy and phonyism from the Kumbaya crowd to attack me for being mean while they spare no opportunty to attack me personally and call me names.

I have said from day 1 that I do not give a shit about civility and Kumbaya. This is no secret. I do not complain about being attacked. I do complain about dishonest phony Kumbayers here who play the innocent when they are the instigators.

I know that many of you do not have the desire to call out this dishonesty. That’s fine. But rest assured, I will. ESPECIALLY when it comes to race issues.

I will not be silenced by the dishonest Kumbaya crowd here. Only Buhdy can do that.

Racist Rhetoric: Alleging Race Baiting

There is plenty of sanctimony in the Left blogs and this one is not immune, myself included.

I was accused of “race baiting” because of this post. You progressives may not be aware of this (oftentimes, self-styled progressives are clueless about race issues), but it is a common tactic of racists and Republicans to accuse someone who believes there is bigotry and racism revealed in particular circumstances of “race baiting.”

I became angry at the person who hurled that charge and accused him of being a racist. I think that, at the least, the person is racially insesnistive. I think, at the least, that those who took umbrage at my phrase while not remarking AT ALL at the charge of race baiting, are also racially insensitive.

Does that offend you “self styled” progressives? Tough shit. I have never been shy to call them as I see them on race issues. I won’t be shy here.

Consider your own attitudes and views. Do not be so sure that because you think of yourself as a “progressive” that you do not carry racial insensitivity with you.

And for the record, next person who accuses me of race baiting will be called a racist by me again. Why? To make you aware of what the main use of that smear is – to shut up anyone who thinks racism is an issue.

And yes, it is a BIG issue among self styled progessives too. What better proof than your total oblivious disregard for the charge of race baiting being hurled.

You don’t like my callout on this I am sure. I do not much like being called a race baiter. Even by progressives.

How Dare Brown People Participate In Politics?

If the point is that money corrupts politics, well duh. But the choice of example by the Washington Post bothers me a great deal:

Clinton's success in this unlikely setting is based almost entirely on her friendship with one man, McAllen developer Alonzo Cantu. A self-made millionaire who once picked grapes on the migratory farm labor circuit, Cantu persuaded more than 300 people in Hidalgo County, where the median household income in 2006 was $28,660, to write checks ranging from $500 to $2,300 to the senator from New York.

Cantu offers a simple explanation for what he's doing for Clinton. “To me, there's two things that will keep us from being ignored,” he said. “Money and votes. I think we've shown we can raise money. That will get us attention, or at least get us a seat at the table, get us in the room.”

Gawd forbid a self made Latino, an American citizen, involve himself in the political process by raising money. Does the Washington Post think this is a unique or even an unflattering story? In a way it is, to them.

Look, I am for complete public financing of political campaigns myself. But until that is even remotely a reality, Latinos, just like everyone else, will and MUST participate in the political system as it exists. To single Cantu out, as the WaPo does, is patronizing at best, racist at worst.

For comparison, consider how the same WaPo reporter covered white people bundling money for Obama:

They had a second dinner a few weeks later. This time Obama, Smoot and a small group of New Yorkers joined them to talk about how they would tap Manhattan for campaign funds. Wolf was on board and was on his way to becoming one of the senator's most prolific fundraisers.

As Obama's announcement neared, his outreach intensified.

. . .  By early February, Obama had recruited billionaire hotel heiress Penny Pritzker to head his national finance team. The two had met when Michelle Obama's brother was coaching her children's basketball team, and they became friendly before Obama launched his political career.

. . . Obama also landed several Kerry bundlers, including Silicon Valley venture capitalist Mark Gorenberg, and lured two former fundraisers of Bill Clinton's, Boston financier Alan Solomont and New York investment manager Orin Kramer. Solomont said he was surprised by the notice his decision received. “I wasn't looking to make a statement about the Clintons,” he said. “My decision wasn't in any way based on less affection or respect for her. [Obama] just had this energy. I could tell this was going to be something different.”

I am sure access had nothing to do with white man Solomont's decision to bundle for Obama. Riiiiight.

Let's be clear, Cantu operates entirely within the law. Does not even come close to skirting it. But yet, this is supposed to be an unflattering piece. Shame on the Washington Post.

Globalization, Trade And NAFTA: A Defense of Trade Agreements

Free trade is good. Does anyone disagree? Even “fair traders” agree today. We do not hear about nakedly protectionist domestic content legislation anymore. The “fair traders” argue instead for the need for a “fair playing field” on issues like environmental and labor standards.

But is this new emphasis on equal labor and environmental standards really about anything but protectionism? Is there really an expectation of that countries like Peru, Mexico and the Central American countries (not to mention China and India) will meet US labor and environmental standards? the irony is of course that this would be a form of erstwhile globalization – an attempt to impost US standards on the Thrid World – if it were sincere. It is not. It is just a new way of defending an old idea – protectionism.

I think the evidence of this is obvious – in no other context do we see a drive for higher labor and environmental standards in the Third World. Consider the issue of climate change:

. . . George Bush pulled the US out of the Kyoto treaty, which requires 36 industrial nations to cut greenhouse emissions by at least 5 per cent from 1990 levels by 2012. The US president says Kyoto unfairly burdens rich countries while exempting developing ones such as China and India.

Developing nations say rich states built up their economies without emissions restraints and argue that less-developed countries should have the same opportunity to establish their economies now.

But as emissions from places such as China and India grow, environmentalists say action by the developed world alone will not be enough to stop the warming trend.

Does anyone think George Bush shares the concern of environmentalists on this? Or is it an excuse? And does anyone really think Mexico, Peru and the Central American countries are comparable to China and India on this? Of course not. This is pretext for protextionism.


What An Iranian Conservative Hawk Might Say

Matt Yglesias deliver some great snark with a point, taking on the voice of an Iranian Richard Perle:

[I]t's not clear that a policy of appeasement would be wise. True, we've seen rational leadership even from vicious dictators like Josef Stalin and Mao Zedong, but the contemporary United States is led by religious fanatics, which introduces a new element into the equation. What's more, the USA is the only country on earth to have ever actually deployed nuclear weapons. Indeed, current political elites are so war-crazed and bloodthirsty that they not only engineered the 2003 attack on Iraq — a country that tried to appease the Americans by eliminating its nuclear program and allowing IAEA inspectors to certify that it had done so — but they continue to deny regretting it to this day. And that includes not only radicals like George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, but so-called “moderates” like Hillary Clinton as well.

Well played by Matt.

Would It Be Worthwhile For Bill Clinton To Discuss Hillary’s Role in His Administration?

For better or worse, Hillary Clinton's political image is largely dominated by her tenure as First Lady. It seems fairly clear that Hillary was a key, if not the key, advisor to President Clinton on many many issues. And while Tim Russert's questions on documents from the period is not really an attempt to shed light on this, it is rather more of the same gotcha nonsense, it does inadvertently get to a lot of questions about Hillary.

In today's WaPo, Michael Kinsley writes:

[First ladies] must have a better understanding of how the presidency works than all but half a dozen people in the world. One of those half a dozen is Hillary Clinton, who saw it all — well, she apparently missed one key moment — and shared in all the big decisions. Every first lady is promoted as her husband's key adviser, closest confidant, blah, blah, blah, but in the case of the Clintons, it seems to be true.

That seems true to me. But here's the thing – my recollection of the Clinton years had Hillary supposedly playing the liberal in the lion's den of Centrists role in the Clinton Administration. I'll never forget the reaction of Peter and Marian Wright Edelman to welfare reform. Peter resigned his post and Marian Wright Edelman made sure everyone understood how she felt personally betrayed by HILLARY, not Bill. Hillary was to be the liberal conscience of the Clinton Administration. How time changes images. Now Hillary's supposed liberal past is long forgotten. For those who favor DLCism, this is a sign of Hillary's good sense. For those who disfavor it, it proves hillary is a corporatist sellout DLCer. This is a central question about Hillary Clinton. Who could best answer this question? I believe Bill Clinton would be that person. I think it would help us all, and probably mostly Hillary Clinton, if he and Hillary were to discuss her role and views on the Clinton Administration and the issues faced at the time. Release of documents to add to this telling would be even better. I think it is time to tell the story – not of the personal lives of the clintons – but the public policy lives of the the Clintons. Tell us what Hillary did, said, advised and thought. To me it is the most interesting and relevant question of the entire campaign.

Hillary Hate Makes People Idiots


The non-stop shilling for Clinton continues at Talk Left where Armando is at it full-time.

Have whatever opinion of the actual Bill Clinton Presidency, but you have to deal with the fact that Bill Clinton remains extremely popular and his Presidency remembered fondly.

It's funny, but I don't remember Bill Clinton's presidency all that fondly. The first two years could only be described as a total disaster.

Funny, I do not recall writing that BOOMAN remembered the Clinton Presidency fondly. I cited an article which stated:

Bill Clinton enjoys a 66 percent approval rating in a Washington Post/ABC News Poll released last month.

Booman's hatred of Hillary is so blinding that he denies the obvious – Bill Clinton is popular, whether Booman likes Bill or not. He sounds like a Republican now. Denying obvious facts. That is quintessential Hillary Hate. Makes people idiots.

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