Jeremiah Wright, The Marine Corps and Patriotism … and Barack Today

I wrote the following yesterday after watching the spectacle that Jeremiah Wright put on at the National Press Club. I had a shoulder replacement (Arthroplasty) last Friday so I decided I would sit on my comments overnight and see what today brought.

Senator Obama has now finally responded to Reverend Wright’s road show … frankly much quicker than many thought he would … if different people thought he would respond at all.

It appears that some of my sentiments about Reverend Wright’s performance were shared by more than a few people … apparently enough to stimulate Senator Obama to react … if he isn’t reacting to Wright’s antics alone. I think Wright’s antics were enough in and of themselves not to have to wait on anyone else’s opinions to figure out what to do and even though Obama, in his typical style, took his time, I’m going to give him credit for reacting to the message and not public opinion about the message.

After listening to Obama today … and after his interview with Chris Wallace Sunday … I understand why so many people support and want to believe Obama. If he isn’t sincere, he’s very good at appearing sincere and genuine … and I’m not saying right now that he isn’t. Let’s assume that he is.

Anyone that doesn’t feel at least a little sympathy for him is totally heartless … period. This guy is being crucified by his “friends” … and I do use the term “friend” loosely. Let’s assume that Senator’s Obama’s reference to “bitter” and “clinging to guns and religion” were “mistatements” not intended to be elitist. Let’s make all of the assumptions we can to cut Barack all of the breaks we can give him.

Then, what do we have?

Well, we have a relatively young Harvard trained lawyer who has worked and spent most of his adult life sequestered in the south side of Chicago who knows very little about the rest of his country, much less the world and how it works. He reminds me more of a naive twenty something young adult with a lot of idealistic goals and little practical experience to see those goals to reality without getting beaten up a lot in the process of learning and quite frankly, as I see the seasoned Democratic heavyweights lining up behind him, I’m not too sure that they don’t see him in exactly this light … someone to be used, manipulated and bullied if necessary.

If we can trust anything that Jeremiah Wright says, his indication that it’s his intention to try to bully Obama was very evident yesterday and any thought that Wright has any respect for Obama should have been dispelled.

This just doesn’t bode well for Obama. If he can’t command the respect of long time associates what are we to assume about him as president? Maybe we shouldn’t use Wright as an example, but … then … why not? Wright was Obama’s own choice.

And here’s another thought … just thrown in …

Wright says he hates the American government, not the American people. Well, the government is “we, the people …” and Wright knows this.

So, yesterday I wrote:

Did anyone miss the Jeremiah Wright Show that was held at the National Press Club on 28 April 2008? After watching the love fest between Bill Moyers and Wright last Friday night, I was hoping for a little better. I got the sense that Bill and Jeremiah really needed to get a room since they gave “tongue in cheek” journalism a new meaning. Yesterday, it was apparent that Reverend Wright wasn’t completely sure that he would ge the same strokes from the National Press Club as he did from Moyer so he appeared to have brought his own cheering section to massage his altered ego.

For some reason Jeremiah Wright seems to think that military service is a bona fide for patriotism and has obviously primed his supporters to mimic that chant … military service, patriotism, military service patriotism …

Giving the respect due to the millions of Americans who have honorably served their country in a patriotic spirit, military service is one of the most honorable, as well as self sacrificing, ways to serve one’s country patriotically. I have also served my country in the military and have a deep respect for many of the people I served with. It was a time in my life and experience that I would not trade for anything. I also realise that the military isn’t for everyone and there can be other ways that people can serve their country. So, it’s not a sine qua non for patriotism … a point that wright and his pundits seem to be consciously or unconsciously ignoring. My suspicion is that his and their bend is conscious and self serving.

It should also be noted that military service isn’t necessarily synonymous with patriotism. Benedict Arnold is a classic example. Even the Marine Corps has had its disappointments, ergo Lee Harvey Oswald. I’m not citing either of these people to suggest any correlation with Reverend Wright, but simply to point out that, so far, Reverend Wright’s main, if not only , example of his patriotic fervor can be shot down fairly quickly and simply, something any high school junior with a “C” average should be able to do. I should think we would expect better from such a learned person with so many self proclaimed degrees.

Conversely, not serving in the military isn’t necessarily a sign that a person isn’t patriotic. Reverend Wright seems to take particular pleasure in pointing out Vice President Dick Cheney’s lack of military service as a reason to question or lessen his patriotism or to minimize any service Cheney might have performed for the country. That might be considered a good talking point as far as he is concerned but it does nothing for Barack Obama who also “suffers”, if you want to look at it that way, from a lack of military service. Does that make Obama’s patriotism less?

Does Reverend Wright consider himself more patriotic than, say, someone like Franklin Roosevelt who also didn’t serve in the military. Roosevelt dis serve as a state senator, New York governor,and assistant Secretary of the Navy before serving as a war time president. So … there may be other ways to express one’s patriotism in a positive way other than serving in the military despite Wright’s apparent monolithic view which, once the surface is scratched also seems to be self serving.

Since so many of Jeremiah Wright’s talking points seem to be so superficial and flawed, it seems that, if he ever had any great mental dexterity and acumen, he apparently lost it or let it get extrememly rusty by immersing himself in a pandering and unquestioning congregation or circle of friends who were either unwilling or unable to offer him any intellectual challenges.

So, rather than beat his old dead horses to a pulp repeatedly, maybe Wright can think up some new outrageous comments to make rather than reiterating the old. He might even try something novel and refreshing like occasionally saying something that’s factual and/ or undistorted.

All of this makes it even more amazing that the National Press Club allowed itself to be so blatantly used by Wright’s dog and pony show. Aren’t it’s members supposed to be respected journalists? Well, if they haven’t figured it out or someone hasn’t already told them, Wright’s spectacle at the National Press Club was a classic example of the tail wagging the dog. I’ve heard that there were actually some journalists there and that really surprised me. Joseph Goebbels couldn’t have arranged a better propaganda stunt for his master. As a matter of fact, it just came to me whose antics Jeremiah Wright should have immediately reminded me of. Exactly. Speaking of arrogance, megalomania, duplicity, demagoguery …

Even the staunchest Obama supporters have to be, in the deepest crevices of their minds, wondering how Barack Obama could have sat in Wright’s church for twenty years and been unaware of … or tolerant of … a person who so frequently expresses his hate filled and divisive message regarding this country and not, in the most part, agree with him or be so politically calculating as to tolerate Wright’s positions for personal gain … or be at a total loss as to what was going on.

Now, we’re getting more than “snippets” of Jeremiah Wright. Is the picture getting any clearer? I, for one, don’t think Wright has “finally gone off the deep end”. I think he’s been living off the deep end for most of his life and the general public is finally getting a view of what’s been going on in the “sanctity” of his church and inner circle. This is the man that set Obama’s “comfort zone” regarding religion … regarded “more like an uncle”.

So, has everyone had their fill of Jeremiah Wright yet? I’m sure there are those who totally agree with him and could never get enough. And there’s a choice … the soft spoken, cooing Wright being petted and stroked by Bill Moyer or the flamboyant, acidic and megalomaniacal Wright at the National Press Club complete with cheering and jeering brown shirts … figuratively speaking of course.

And which flavor of Barack Obama are we supposed to swallow today … the “I didn’t know”, could this guy really be a Harvard graduate? version of Barack … or the “Sure I knew” but here’s why it shouldn’t matter Barack … or the”Of course I don’t agree with everything he says ’cause he doesn’t say it all the time Barack … or the “just trust me” Barack?

Or, could this whole spectacle simply be a massive double twist back deception or some sort? I mean … wright is looking so … bizarre … even Bill O’Reilly is feeling sympathy for Obama.

Jeremiah Wright: “Barack said what he had to say.”

Previews of Jeremiah Wright’s interview with Bill Moyer are now hitting the media.

A quote attributed to Reverend Wright is, “Barack Obama said what he had to say as a politician.”

Exactly.

How many people can remember that TV show, “What’s My Line”? Will the real Barack Obama please stand up?

When are we going to stop getting a politician’s lip service from Barack? The answer might well be “never” or “not before the general election” since he may know that the vast majority of Americans may not like what they hear.

Barack Obama wants campaigning to be about the issues. Well, the American public would like for the campaign to be about the issues also. But, they also want the person presenting the issues to be someone that that can trust regardless of his or her stand on the issues. If the candidate isn’t well known to the public then the character of the candidate becomes an issue … like it or not.

What the American public … or that part of the American public that hasn’t bought Barack Obama hook, line and sinker … wants to know is, “Can they trust Barack Obama to be a man of his word?” It’s the old “in your ear” analogy. It may sound good, but can you believe it?

Well, according to Jeremiah Wright, Barack Obama says what he needs to say to get elected President. So. Don’t all candidates? Sure. But, it’s a fact that you can trust some more than others … and … if you can’t completely trust them, or what they say … usually the candidate has enough of a track record that you can predict where they’re coming from. Basically, Hillary Clinton is an known quantity. You may not believe everything she says, but you have a good idea of where she’s coming from. The same applies to John McCain.

Barack Obama is a different matter. Several months ago, I actually preferred him over Hillary Clinton. Then I realized I knew next to nothing about him. I decided to start looking beyond the hype and what he’s written about himself and what he says he wants to do for the country. And, quite frankly, the more I learned , the less I liked and the more questions I had.

One comment he made a while back kept coming back to haunt me. Speaking on religion, he said that he had finally found a form of Christianity that he was comfortable with and that was in Reverend Wright’s church.

That form of Christianity is Black Liberation Theology. One of its fundamental concepts is that God is black and supports the oppressed black people against their oppressor, the white race and, if God isn’t black and doesn’t support the black people in overthrowing their oppressor, then God doesn’t exist.

According to the individuals who developed the concept of Black Liberation Theology like James Hal Cone, by their own admission, it is strongly based in Marxism.

James Hal Cone – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

One thing I’ve noticed about people with marxist tendencies, people like Fidel Castro and Hugo Chavez, is that they have no qualms about distorting the truth or frankly lying to achieve their goals. I forgot. That short list also includes Jeremiah Wright and may, in fact, include Barack Obama. It can explain his fudging on questions, contradictions, mis-statements, phraseology,associations and evasiveness in general.

If you read some of Karl Marx’s writings from the time that he was a journalist in London, his choice of words are no different from those of Black Liberation theologists including Jeremiah Wright himself and James Hal cone who Wright frequently alludes to. By Barack’s own admission, this form of Christianity is his “comfort zone” and occasionally slips out … “typical white people”, oppression, etc.

It’s an interesting thought. Barack Obama might actually become the first Marxist president of the United States.

Is the Iraq War the Cause of Recession?

Sure, it’s an election year and the spin is getting faster as the manure we’re all standing in is getting deeper, but the latest stretch is really phenomenal.

Recently, we’ve all heard Democratic party leaders attribute the recession … or “economic slowdown”, depending on your orientation … to the war in Iraq.

Okay. So they say.

Now, why was I under the impression that the current financial crisis was just that … a financial crisis … created, not by the war in Iraq, but by the sub-prime mess and the collapse of the housing industry.

I’ve been watching financial news and financial channels for, literally, years … and hearing Nancy Pelosi just matter of factly say that the war in Iraq was the cause of the current recession (yes, I’ll call it that) just plain caught me off guard.

It’s been a while since she said it but as I remember listening to the Senate and House interrogations of General Petraus and Ambassador Crocker, the presumed correlation between the war in Iraq and our economic woes seemed to be a prominent and recurring theme among Democratic inquisitors.

I wondered if I was having a brain cramp or something. Was I and all of those economic experts I was listening to on CNBC and Bloomberg that much out of touch with economic realities? I’m the first to admit that I’m not an economic expert but, at least, some of those people ought to know what they’re talking about … people like Robert Reich, Warren Buffett, Boone Pickens, Ben Stein. I never heard any of them say that the pending or current economic crisis was caused by the war in Iraq.

I understand that San Francisco marches to its own drum. But, I didn’t realize that they are in an alternate world. Well … actually … it isn’t just San Francisco politicians. It’s Democratic politicians in general. Theirs does seem to be an alternate world or universe continually restructured to fit the talking point of the moment.

Maybe they’re spreading their coping ability too thin. They must feel that being opposed to the war in Iraq simply because it is isn’t sufficient reason to oppose it. They must feel that they have to steal the economic crisis from the cause that most learned peolple seem to attribute it to … the subprime mess and the housing market collapse. Go figure. Maybe they’re just getting confused. Now isn’t that a scary thought?

These people are supposed to be in Washington to solve the country’s problems and they can’t even get cause and effect correct.

Maybe they all “mispoke”.

Barack’s No Athlete

Sure, he played basketball in high school in Hawaii. And, he practiced for hours on his own after school … so his coach says. No, he didn’t make the first team, but that’s really irrelevant.

Being an athlete is more that physical prowess and athletic ability. It is a state of mind.

The state of mind consists of an attitude which can accept defeat and continue to perform to the best of your ability on any defined field of competition.

That attitude is even more critical as the leader or captain of the team … or as the quarterback. That person has to lead and inspire his team mates in each arena of competition. He can’t stick his thumb in his mouth and go sulk in the locker room.

Playing “one on one” may be fun as far as a street sport goes but it has nothing to do with a team effort or leadership.

By not accepting the debate challenge in North Carolina, Barack Obama has shown the lack of a fundamental ability to lead and inspire. Leadership is about vigorously accepting challenges and not simply playing it safe. People who play it safe really aren’t winners and as leaders they lack the essential character to lead and inspire.

Barack Obama, as a graduate of Harvard Law School and Editor of the Harvard Law Review, is supposed to be the cream of the cream of the crop. His unwillingness to debate Hillary Clinton seems to be an admission that he knows he can’t beat Hillary in a debate.

Maybe Harvard Law School isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be.

Maybe Barack’s days as a bench warmer in Hawaii were prophetic. Maybe his reluctance to compete in debates is a simple admission of the truth … that he can’t.

Maybe he needs to go practice some more for right now and leave the game and the leadership to the first string. The country has a need right now for a leader who won’t go hide in then locker room when the going gets tough.

Obama Admits to PA. Underdog Status Because …

… , as he says, the Clinton political structure in Pennsylvania is just too strong.

Well, Barack, it certainly wasn’t from a lack of you outspending the Clintons there.

But … just suppose … hypothetically of course, maybe you, Barack, had something to do with it yourself.

For instance, “typical white people” … not exactly endearing.

And … “bitter”, “clinging to guns and religion …”. Sound familiar.

And … the debate last week. Ooouuuuuu …

Hypothetically, of course, Barack, you might have just shot yourself in the foot. Ouch!!!

Again, hypothetically, it’s probably a good thing that people actually started vetting you as late as they did … or you might not be having the bragging rights you’re desparately “clinging” to right now. Speaking of “clinging” …

Otherwise, the states that you’re so proud of winning might not have turned out the way they did. Lucky you!

However you spread it or spin it, people know an insult when they hear one … even, and especially, when they weren’t meant to hear it. People don’t like to feel like they’re being talked about behind their back or more specifically stabbed in the back.

If the Clinton political structure in Pennsylvania is too powerful for you to overcome, you really should be expect, … no … demand a “Thank you” note from Hillary after her win, because you sure did your share to help her.

The Crude Oil Crisis

I just turned to CNBC to see what the market is doing today. Why was I not astounded to see the price of crude oil up $2.21 to over $119 a barrel?

Over the past several years, I have closely followed numerous oil stocks and traded in them on occasion. One thing that I have noticed is that crude oil prices fluctuate wildly based on “news” … whether it be Nigerian rebels in Africa or the threat of hurricanes in the gulf. Weekly U.S. stockpile reports of crude oil and distillates add a predictable weekly gamble to investing in these stocks and any stocks which have been indexed by the investing public to the price of crude oil such as Fluor.

Appreciating the intricacies of how the investing public perceives the effects of how each news item will impact a particular stock in a subsector of the energy sector is essential to successful investing.

The simple fact that emerging and developing nations such as China and India are demanding more oil and competing with our economy for these resources will ensure that crude oil prices will never return to previous lows but it doesn’t mean that oil prices don’t have the potential for being much lower in the short term.

As I said previously, crude oil prices react to news. It’s apparent that recently there has been no news to drive the price of oil down to more realistic levels.

The U.S. Congress could provide the news and incentive to drive the price of oil down dramatically and drastically … if it had the political will. Unfortunately, we are in the midst of an election year and the possibility or probability of Congress doing anything productive and beneficial for the American economy and the American public other than self serving political posturing is simply nil.

First of all, Congress could pass legislation to provide incentives and tax credits for people to use alternative energy sources such as wind and solar power. In addition they need to force the individual states to do likewise. Many states including the one that I live in simply don’t have any incentives for people to invest in these alternate sources. The federal government is good at threatening to withhold funds from states to achieve expressed agendas such as lowering speed limits and legal alcohol levels. It could do the same regarding alternate energy sources which are now available.

Congress could also provide incentives for power companies to build nuclear power plants. It’s ridiculous that think that France can have an accident free nuclear power program for more than 50 years and we can’t.

Congress should also override the roadblocks presented by special interest groups or individuals such as Senator Ted Kennedy to expedite the development of wind and solar farms wherever they may be the most efficient. The needs of the many should outweigh the selfishness of the few. Senator Kennedy should be able to look out from his Cape Cod home at a wind farm in Nantucket Sound and feel proud that he is doing something for his state and nation … but it simply isn’t in his nature.

I saw an episode on television recently where a person was developing and installing wind turbines at airports, using the backwash of jet airplanes taking off to generate electricity. What a simple idea. Embracing innovation is critical.

Drilling for oil in all offshore locations where practical and where oil is available should be approved. Simply approving the drilling of oil would probably have a dramatic and long term effect on crude oil prices. This was temporarily exemplified by the discovery of oil in deep areas of the Gulf last year.

Roadblocks to increasing our oil refining capacity need to be removed. There is no rational reason for this country to import refined products such as gasoline.

Environmentalists and other special interest groups need to make short term concessions to achieve long term goals of energy independence and moving our country away from such a great dependency on fossil fuels.

Using grains as biofuels is not the answer. The pending world food crisis is in part a result of the increased price of grains both as a primary source of human nutrition and as the feedstock for livestock. Using carbon based substrates from the forestry industry makes more sense since our cars will be competing with pine beetles and termites and not other humans or ourselves. I, for one, vote for eating over driving down the road.

This country has, for at least the past 50 years, been dismantling its mass transportation infrastructure while spending billions of dollars to accommodate the luxury of individual transportation. For nearly 100 years, roads, bridges, urban, suburban and commercial development has been geared toward the wasteful and inefficient use of automobiles and costly domestic air travel while rail and more efficient means of urban transportation have, for the most part, been neglected.

Urban and suburban planning needs to be regeared to be more friendly to pedestrian travel and access as well as mass transportation. The “old time concept” of neighborhood access to shopping and services needs to seriously be reconsidered. Mass transportation to jobs needs to go further than “carpools”. Walking or cycling to the nearby grocery store or pharmacy without the fear of being run over needs to be a realistic expectation.

Global warming is a long term reality … a historical fact. I’m not convinced that a human produced greenhouse gas crisis is a reality, though. There’s too much conflicting data and a fat ex-politician demagogue ridiculing people who question him doesn’t make it so. Buying “carbon credits” is a cop out for business as usual.

The crisis being created by the price of oil and food grains is real and palpable. It’s immediate and calls for immediate action.

Creating “news” and eliminating subsidies for producing biofuels could go a long way toward alleviating the immediate crises. Then some immediate steps toward serious and productive long term planning are essential.

If our government wants to decrease or eliminate our dependency on foreign oil and markedly reduce our dependency on fossil fuels specifically, it isn’t a unrealistic goal and doesn’t necessarily have to diminish our quality of life. In fact, it would most likely greatly increase our quality of life as well as our health.

It won’t happen overnight, but positive steps can be taken immediately if the will and courage exists. Unfortunately, we’re in an election year. And, nothing productive is going to happen other than politicians fulfilling self serving agendas with a lot of rhetoric and no action.

Barack Obama Afraid to Debate

It seems to be official now that there won’t be a debate in North Carolina and possibly not in Indiana. It seems that Obama’s organization, after his poor showing in Philadelphia last week don’t want the candidate to have to think on his feet any more.

The reasoning is stated to be that the candidate does better talking one on one with voters. Right. If you stick your big foot in your mouth then not so many people are aware of it. Also, it’s presumed to be easier to stick to well rehearsed talking points and hopefully with one on one it might be easier to waffle on difficult questions … if they’re asked.

So, how is Barack going to do as president when he has to meet with foreign leaders to discuss and negotiate delicate and important matters regarding foreign policy? Is he going to be able to stick to his prepared talking points? What if his speech writer forgets to put down, “Hi, my name is Barack.” Oops!

Does anyone get the feeling that Harvard Law School needs to ramp up its curriculum in the area of “Debate”? We’ve already get the impression that they may do okay in the area of “Declamation”. Barack can deliver a prepared speech. but, “Debate” … not so good.

Apparently, Barack doesn’t like to … or can’t … answer questions that aren’t on his talking points list. He calls it “sticking to the issues”. For some reason, he feels that the public wanting to know more about his life and associations isn’t an issue. Well, it is.

When a person says, “Believe what I say. Trust me.”, then the reasonable next question should be, “why?” The person should not only be prepared to answer the question, why, but also willing to answer the question. The answers should be able to withstand close scrutiny.

For many people, more often than not, Barack’s answers just don’t stand up to scrutiny.

Barack’s battle cry is “change”. Well, change to what? He talks about getting rid of the special interests in Washington. Well, whose special interests? Apparently, everyone’s except his. And, Barack definitely has his own special interests. Every endorsement he has received from every senator and representative in Washington is connected to special interests. To think that they aren’t going to cash in their chips if he gets elected is … being extremely naive and simple … to put it nicely.

Barack says, “I’m a constitutional lawyer. I know the constitution.” Well, “constitutional” lawyers are going to be arguing both sides of the second amendment case now before the Supreme Court. Barack’s wife seems to base her impression of who should have constitutional second amendment rights based more on Wyatt Earp movies than the Constitution. Apparently she feels that application of the law has more to do with the distance between houses and law enforcement based on miles rather than minutes. Apparently, her experiences have been so restricted to Chicago that she can’t comprehend that a 20 mile response trip in the country can be quicker than a 2 mile trip in the city. Somehow, according to her, and presumably him, people in areas with a less dense population should have more constitutional rights than people in cities. I always thought the Constitution applied equally to all Americans.

Why reference Michelle Obama rather than Barack? It’s simple. I’ve actually heard more of her impressions of the second amendment than I have of Barack’s. Frankly, he’s been elusive … other than, “Trust me. I know the Constitution.”

There’s a lot about Barack Obama that the American people simply don’t know.

Barack doesn’t like the exposure that debating creates. Barack fears the exposure potential of debating. What is he going to do when he has to debate John McCain? Is he going to continue to argue that a John McCain presidency is just a third George Bush term after saying that John McCain would make a better president that George Bush? I think he shot that argument in the foot himself.

He may be able to put off Hillary Clinton during the rest of the Democratic primary process. Whether or not this decision will hurt him is yet to be seen. Apparently his political machine has decided that the risk of debating is greater than not debating. They may be right … or not.

Shouldn’t a great orator also have the mental agility to be a great debater? Just as fundamental, if not more so, shouldn’t the president of the United States have that mental agility?