Look closer. Think harder. Choose the sound argument over the clever one.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

And speaking of Rezko...

I'd missed this:
While [Obama] has released 94 pages of documents relating to the Rezko sale, they don't include the single most important one -- the settlement statement that shows the complete flow of funds that were part of the house sale. When asked why that last key document isn't being released, the Obama campaign issued a boilerplate statement saying, "we have released documents that reflect every one of the final terms of the senator's purchase of the home." But key data are still being withheld.
Much more. Read the whole thing.

Palin: the Anti-Obama

Obama conformed to the dysfunction of his political culture. He considers attempted mass-murderers Bill Ayers and Bernadine Dohrn "mainstream." He considered Rev. Wright his spiritual mentor, apparently not even noticing his racism or anti-American views. He considered favors from Tony Rezko a normal thing.

Martin Luther King, Jr., refused to share a stage with those advocating violence. That's courage. Obama seemed to lack it.

Palin rose up against the dysfunction of her political culture. That's good judgment.

Does Palin's lack of experience undercut McCain's argument about Obama's? To some extent, yes. But McCain's still on the ticket. And, experience-wise, how does her being one heartbeat away from the Presidency justify voting Obama zero heartbeats away?

Thursday, August 28, 2008

More on Ayers/Obama

On guilt by association.

Jim Lindgren:

Thus, guilt by association seems a particularly unfair tack to take in criticizing Obama for someone else’s violent acts. To the extent Obama’s contacts with Ayers are relevant at all, then it shouldn’t be as shared responsibility, but merely as a question of judgment and of candor if Obama were to be misleading in his statements.

Judgment and candor are the issues.

Another important issue is the extent to which that sub-culture, while being sincerely non-violent, also self-contradictorily romanticizes the Viet Cong, the Weathermen, the Black Panthers, the PLO, FARC, Che, Mao, etc. To what extent does Obama go with that flow?

On what basis does one treat some ideologically-motivated, attempted mass murderers differently than others?

If Obama or his campaign had ever denounced Ayers with the fervor that his campaign has now used in denouncing Kurtz, Obama wouldn’t be having trouble on his connection to Ayers. And I’m not suggesting that Obama should have denounced Ayers. I am just noting the grossly disproportionate responses of the Obama campaign to their differing offenses and the Obama campaign’s direct attack on Kurtz’s character, not just what he's done or said – including very explicitly using arguments of guilt by association against Kurtz (which of course are being used against Obama, despite the protestations to the contrary of his critics).

Steve Diamond: "Obama Campaign Harasses WGN Radio Host."

Caller after caller to WGN read off talking points provided them by the Obama campaign alleging that Dr. Kurtz, and by implication and sometimes directly, Milt Rosenberg, was "smearing" Barack Obama and finding Obama "guilty by association." They also accused Kurtz of lying.

Yet, when pressed for specifics, these callers had none.


But it suggests to me a whiff of panic inside the campaign. Sure, John Kerry should have gone after the swift boaters in the last election. But this is not swift boating. We are talking about a decade or more of close political activity involving Ayers and Obama.

Far from being a smear, the accusation made that Dr. Kurtz and Global Labor is engaged in "guilt by association" is really a form of McCarthyism.

LA Times:

Christenson also stressed that the Obama campaign was invited to send a representative to appear on the show to balance the discussion of the newly-opened documents. But the campaign headquarters just down Michigan Avenue from the station refused the request.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Did the NY Times Distort Ayers' Words?

Background on Ayers here.

From Wikipedia's entry on Bill Ayers:

The [New York Times] reporter quoted him as saying "I don't regret setting bombs" and "I feel we didn't do enough", and, when asked if he would "do it all again" as saying "I don't want to discount the possibility."[10] Ayers has not denied the quotes, but he protested the interviewer's characterizations in a Letter to the Editor published September 15, 2001: "This is not a question of being misunderstood or 'taken out of context', but of deliberate distortion."[18]

I could find no such letter published in the New York Times.

The Times did publish this Ayers letter on September 14, 2001:

Re a Sept. 16 New York Times Magazine interview with me and your Sept. 11 Arts pages profile:

The barbarism unleashed against innocent human beings on Sept. 11 has in an instant transformed the complex landscape of American consciousness. I'm filled with horror and grief for those murdered and harmed, for their families and for all affected forever.

''Fugitive Days,'' the memoir I've written about my participation in the Weather Underground and the antiwar movement and the events of 30 years ago, is now receiving attention in a radically changed context.

My book is a condemnation of terrorism in all its forms. We are witnessing crimes against humanity. The intent of my book was and is to understand, to tell the truth and to heal.

Chicago, Sept. 14, 2001

So on September 14th, 2001, three days after the article, he makes no protest about deliberate distortion.

Just where was this 9/15 letter published? On Ayers' blog, on April 21, 2008. The post is titled "Clarifying the Facts— a letter to the New York Times, 9-15-2001". The text is taken verbatim from another post he made on 9/26/2006, titled "A Letter to the Times Found Five Years Later…".

Found it, eh?

Monday, August 25, 2008

The Obama/Ayers Connection

Former leftist terrorist Bill Ayers in 2001:

"I don't regret setting bombs," Bill Ayers said. "I feel we didn't do enough."

In 2001, Obama was over 40 years old, had known Ayers for over ten years, and seems to have worked much more closely with him than he'd led the public to believe. More here and here.

Seems like radically poor judgment to me.

What if McCain had ties like this with, say, an unrepentant abortion-clinic bomber? Wouldn't you want every voter to be fully informed?

Update, 8/27: Well put:

the real troubling aspect of the Obama-Ayers relationship is that Obama comes from a political subculture in which Ayers is an accepted and unremarkable individual. Looking at Ayers, one is forced to ask exactly what kind of leftist extremism would be considered unacceptable by Obama and his cohorts.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

RE: Georgia

Victor Davis Hanson:
Russia knows the great truth about the West: it will pour a half-million people into the street to protest the United States removing a homicidal dictator to foster democracy, but not a half-dozen to object to Russia attempting to remove a democratic government to foster dictatorship.

Well put.

[8/21/2008] Corollary: If the only anti-war rallies you organize are for wars the U.S. is involved in, you're reinforcing the perception that "anti-war" is a code-word for "anti-American."

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Alexander Solzhenitsyn R.I.P

Alexander Solzhenitsyn died.

A Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich is an important read. I'm grateful for his unflinching accounts of oppression in the USSR.

His address to Harvard University is another important one. The whole thing is worth a read, but here's some of what stood out for me. Eerily prescient.

Harvard's motto is "Veritas." Many of you have already found out and others will find out in the course of their lives that truth eludes us if we do not concentrate with total attention on its pursuit. And even while it eludes us, the illusion still lingers of knowing it and leads to many misunderstandings. Also, truth is seldom pleasant; it is almost invariably bitter. There is some bitterness in my speech today, too. But I want to stress that it comes not from an adversary but from a friend.

On courage...

A Decline in Courage may be the most striking feature which an outside observer notices in the West in our days. The Western world has lost its civil courage, both as a whole and separately, in each country, each government, each political party and of course in the United Nations. Such a decline in courage is particularly noticeable among the ruling groups and the intellectual elite, causing an impression of loss of courage by the entire society. Of course there are many courageous individuals but they have no determining influence on public life. Political and intellectual bureaucrats show depression, passivity and perplexity in their actions and in their statements and even more so in theoretical reflections to explain how realistic, reasonable as well as intellectually and even morally warranted it is to base state policies on weakness and cowardice.

This sounds familiar:

A statesman who wants to achieve something important and highly constructive for his country has to move cautiously and even timidly; there are thousands of hasty and irresponsible critics around him, parliament and the press keep rebuffing him. As he moves ahead, he has to prove that every single step of his is well-founded and absolutely flawless. Actually an outstanding and particularly gifted person who has unusual and unexpected initiatives in mind hardly gets a chance to assert himself; from the very beginning, dozens of traps will be set out for him. Thus mediocrity triumphs with the excuse of restrictions imposed by democracy.
It is time, in the West, to defend not so much human rights as human obligations.

On terrorism(recall this was 1978):

When a government starts an earnest fight against terrorism, public opinion immediately accuses it of violating the terrorists' civil rights. There are many such cases.

Such a tilt of freedom in the direction of evil has come about gradually but it was evidently born primarily out of a humanistic and benevolent concept according to which there is no evil inherent to human nature; the world belongs to mankind and all the defects of life are caused by wrong social systems which must be corrected. Strangely enough, though the best social conditions have been achieved in the West, there still is criminality and there even is considerably more of it than in the pauper and lawless Soviet society.

On the press:

The press too, of course, enjoys the widest freedom. (I shall be using the word press to include all media). But what sort of use does it make of this freedom?

... There is no moral responsibility for deformation or disproportion. What sort of responsibility does a journalist have to his readers, or to history? If they have misled public opinion or the government by inaccurate information or wrong conclusions, do we know of any cases of public recognition and rectification of such mistakes by the same journalist or the same newspaper? No, it does not happen, because it would damage sales. A nation may be the victim of such a mistake, but the journalist always gets away with it. ...

How many hasty, immature, superficial and misleading judgments are expressed every day, confusing readers, without any verification. The press can both simulate public opinion and miseducate it. Thus we may see terrorists heroized, or secret matters, pertaining to one's nation's defense, publicly revealed, ...

Hastiness and superficiality are the psychic disease of the 20th century and more than anywhere else this disease is reflected in the press. ...

Such as it is, however, the press has become the greatest power within the Western countries, more powerful than the legislature, the executive and the judiciary. One would then like to ask: by what law has it been elected and to whom is it responsible? In the communist East a journalist is frankly appointed as a state official. But who has granted Western journalists their power, for how long a time and with what prerogatives?

There is yet another surprise for someone coming from the East where the press is rigorously unified: one gradually discovers a common trend of preferences within the Western press as a whole. It is a fashion; there are generally accepted patterns of judgment and there may be common corporate interests, the sum effect being not competition but unification. Enormous freedom exists for the press, but not for the readership because newspapers mostly give enough stress and emphasis to those opinions which do not too openly contradict their own and the general trend.

He identifies political correctness long before it was named:

Without any censorship, in the West fashionable trends of thought and ideas are carefully separated from those which are not fashionable; nothing is forbidden, but what is not fashionable will hardly ever find its way into periodicals or books or be heard in colleges. Legally your researchers are free, but they are conditioned by the fashion of the day. ... This gives birth to strong mass prejudices, blindness, which is most dangerous in our dynamic era. There is, for instance, a self-deluding interpretation of the contemporary world situation. It works as a sort of petrified armor around people's minds. ... It will only be broken by the pitiless crowbar of events.

Read the whole thing.

via Instapundit

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