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These are the days that I truly hate the internet and how it has affected our politics.

Don’t get me wrong. The “Jesse Jackson ate Obama’s testicles” story is a lot of fun to write about – as you can tell already. And I make no claim to being above it all when it comes to latching on to an internet feeding frenzy and participating in these Bloggasm memes.

But really now, just what is this story about? Does anyone seriously believe The Good Reverend is going to withdraw his support from Obama or work one whit less energetically to get him elected? Can anyone possibly claim this has any relevance whatsoever to the campaign, any issue of the campaign, or is even tangentially related to presidential politics?

Of course not. This is basically a story about a racialist who sees an ascendant Obama as a threat to his little white guilt extortion racket and expressed his frustration at the fact that if Obama is elected, it will be harder to maintain his position in the African American community and hence,  the lifestyle to which he has become accustomed.

Electing Obama will not prove there is no racism in America. But if Obama continues to push themes of personal responsibility for African Americans and if he continues his efforts to alter the cultural bias against obeying the law, staying in school, and getting a good education, the days of Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, and the rest of the Victimhood Society being able to afford $2000 suits and live high off the hog will be numbered.

Taking responsibility for one’s own life be it accepting the obligations that come with fathering a child or staying away from drugs and the poisonous culture of gangs is a liberating experience – the last thing that the Jacksons and Sharptons of the world want. Absolute dependency on government for African Americans is their ally and any efforts to throw off that oppressive yoke threatens their raison d’être.

But back to Jackson’s mock threat to make a eunuch out of Obama. Or, more accurately, make Obama more of a squish than he already is. Here is Jackson’s colorful sotto voce threat while being filmed by Fox News and, unbeknownst to Jackson, a live mic:

The Rev. Jesse Jackson apologized Wednesday for saying Barack Obama is “talking down to black people” during what Jackson thought was a private conversation before a FOX News interview Sunday.

Jackson was speaking to a guest at the time about Obama’s speeches in black churches and his support for faith-based charities. Jackson added before going live, “I want to cut his nuts off.”

His microphone picked up the remarks.

Here’s a link to the video.

To emphasize “cutting off” the remnants of Obama’s manhood, Jackson actually gave a slight “stick it to ‘em” fist pump as if he relished the idea of taking a rusty blade to said body part. One wonders in more private venues what body parts he would look forward to removing from someone like President Bush or one of the group of writers and reporters who have delved into his personal and professional life to reveal the Good Reverend as nothing more than a philandering bunko artist.

And no one has chronicled the outrageous activities of this charlatan better than Kenneth Timmerman whose unauthorized biography of Jackson revealed shocking facts not only about The Good Reverend, but also his enablers in business and government who were terrified of Jackson’s threats of being branded “racist” for not giving in to his extortion schemes.

Shakedown” chronicles in excruciating detail what Jackson is all about:

As Timmerman’s chronicle makes explicit, there were few if any things that Jackson failed to exploit for monetary value. The book’s title, Shakedown, refers to the process by which Jackson would “shake down” or extort corporations for money, threatening to call for a boycott of their products by black Americans unless they provided a certain number of jobs to minorities and made hefty donations to Jackson’s various non-profit organizations. Fearful of being labeled racists and becoming embroiled in public relations scandals, many corporate CEO’s gladly acquiesced to Jackson’s demands, doling out funds and rewarding Jackson’s business “partners,” usually wealthy black businessmen, with lucrative jobs. Left out of this process were ordinary black men and women, the ones whose collective power to boycott lay behind Jackson’s threats.

One particularly obvious “shakedown” occurred in 1999 when Jackson’s organization Rainbow/PUSH opposed the proposed merger of telecommunications giants AT&T and TCI, claiming that the companies had a “questionable employment record.” AT&T CEO Michael Armstrong instructed his company to donate $425,000 to the Jackson-controlled non-profit group, Citizenship Education Fund [CEF]. Jackson’s opposition to the merger was immediately halted. Then, when the bond deal between the companies was announced, Armstrong personally requested that the small black-owned investment bank, Blaylock & Partners be named co-manager of the record-breaking deal. Blaylock personally benefited to the tune of $1.4 million from the deal, “its biggest deal ever.” Blaylock’s CEO, Ron Blaylock then gave Jackson a $30,000 donation.

While the shakedown of AT&T benefited Jackson and Blaylock, it did nothing for the ordinary men and women on whose behalf Jackson was supposedly acting when he inquired about the “questionable employment record” of AT&T and TCI. “Jesse was brokering deals for a closely knit black elite, and it rankled many black businessmen who never made it into his inner circle-either because they refused to contribute to Jesse Inc. or because they simply weren’t big enough to count,” writes Timmerman.

One can see how an Obama presidency might cut into Jesse’s racketeering by empowering those “little people” beyond anything Jackson has ever delivered. So while Jackson feels a certain obligation to campaign for Obama and place his candidacy in a political/historical context, he doesn’t have to like it. Those “faith based initiatives” would really put a crimp in Jackson’s, Sharpton’s, and others ability to soak corporate American and hold up Congress for funds.

That’s the backstory but where’s the connection to Campaign ‘08? It isn’t there and you won’t find any. The story got legs simply because Jackson used a street metaphor to express his feelings about Obama moving in on his bailiwick by offering an alternative to the African American community on how they can find a seat at the American table.

Jackson and his friends feel the heat. And yet they don’t dare submarine Obama’s candidacy lest they be revealed as the charlatans they truly are. So they hang around the fringes of the Obama campaign until they say something outrageous like Jackson did the other day. Then we get the non-apology for causing a non-distraction at a non-event.

Remind me again why I’m writing about this…?

By: Rick Moran at 8:00 am | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (11)


I am so pleased that our freedom loving president has decided to attend the opening ceremonies of the Olympic Games in Beijing, China. I’m sure he is relieved that he doesn’t have to pretend to care about those wild ass Tibetan monks and nuns who just a short while ago were being slaughtered in the streets of Lhasa. After all, if CNN isn’t paying attention, why should he?

We are, after all, into our “Let’s not be beastly to the Chinese” mode this month – despite Beijing’s utter refusal to seriously assist the world in stopping the slaughter in Darfur where they hold sway with the government and continue to supply them arms. The same could be said for most hot spots in the world today where China has chosen – shall we say – a more “pragmatic” approach to international diplomacy. In other words, if the solution would harm Chinese economic interests, better to be a Sabot than pragmatist.

From Iran, to the Congo, to Burma – where western countries tried unsuccessfully to enter and alleviate the horrific suffering caused by the typhoon that hit Burma on May 2 – China has seen fit to block, impede, ignore, and otherwise discombobulate efforts to resolve these problems and protect the peace or save lives.

This is the reality of living with a China that is beginning to flex its muscles on the world stage. Quiescent for 600 years, China is back with a vengeance and while cooperating in a very limited sphere of priorities, the Dragon prefers to go its own way. It is procuring oil deals in the Middle East, trade deals in South America, and beginning to dominate its neighbors in East Asia economically.

And part of this muscle flexing – a very large psychological part – is hosting the Summer Olympics. As much a confidence booster for its own people as it is a showcase for foreigners (who they still see as barbarians), the Games are an announcement that China is back and that she is about to start kicking butt and take names in the international arena. The powers that be on the International Olympic Committee who handed the Chinese this propaganda coup – fabulously wealthy, old monied European dilettantes and obscure royalty – are playing with forces they neither know nor care little about. The Chinese government dangled billions in front of their eyes and that was enough. To hell with human rights said the IOC lickspittles.

True to form, the Chinese recently cracked down on Tibetans who have a slightly different idea about who should be running their country and it does not include the Chinese army and paramilitary units who routinely whack people they consider troublemakers. The death toll from the riots during last March’s uprising was around 55 we are told. What was never announced were the number of people – monks included – dragged out of their houses in the middle of the night and simply “disappeared” in the old fashioned Stalinist tradition. Word trickled out that entire monasteries were emptied and the monks beaten and shot. Some of the more prominent human rights activists are under house arrest or in some Tibetan dungeon somewhere.

But since the New York Times, the Washington Post, and even Keith Olbermann seems to have mislaid their outrage over this blatant violation of common decency and the UN Charter on Human Rights, our brave Sir President feels it now safe to kow-tow to the Chinese and pretend as if “Tibet” is just a place name on a map:

US President George W Bush will attend the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics, the White House says.

Human rights groups and opposition politicians including presidential hopeful Barack Obama had urged Mr Bush to consider boycotting the ceremony.

Beijing’s rights record has come under intense scrutiny since Tibetan protests were suppressed in March.

Troops used force to quell the biggest anti-China demonstrations in Tibetan communities for two decades.

Beijing says rioters killed about 20 people in the unrest, but exiled Tibetan groups accuse security forces of killing scores of protesters.

Even Obama supports a boycott of the opening ceremonies – today. Where he might come down tomorrow on the subject is a different kettle of fish. But for the moment, the messiah is four square in favor of making this small, yet telling statement about what America thinks of the Chinese bully boys cracking down on Tibetans.

But not our George. His compassionate conservative answer to critics?

“He believes he’s going to China to support first and foremost our athletes. He sees this as a sporting competition,” she said.

How touching. Does this make world leaders who intend to boycott the ceremonies hard hearted monsters who don’t support their nation’s athletes?
Some world leaders are missing the 8 August opening ceremony.

Germany’s Angela Merkel is not attending the Olympics. British Prime Minister Gordon Brown will be in Beijing for the closing ceremony only.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy says his attendance depends on progress in dialogue between Beijing and the Tibetan government-in-exile.

Those talks are going about as well as can be expected – which is to say not well at all. This probably means that Sarkozy will join Brown and Merkel in insulting their athletes by missing the opening of the games.

There are those, such as James Joyner, who don’t care much one way or the other:

I don’t feel strongly either way about this issue. My preference would have been not to award China the Olympics, given not only their abysmal human rights record but also the ridiculous level of pollution in Beijing which puts the health of the athletes in danger. Boycotting the opening ceremonies would embarrass the Chinese government and send a message, I suppose, although it would likely just increase their intransigence and make them less cooperative.

What strikes me as interesting in all this is that Bush has rather clearly, in his second term, become much more cognizant that symbolic gestures and rhetoric have an impact beyond the domestic audience. A boycott would likely play well at home, since both the Left and the Right are united in their distaste for the PRC government, albeit for different reasons. But China is the key player in Asia and their cooperation is essential in addressing many issues of strategic concern to the United States in that region. Thinking through the consequences of thumbing our noses at them, therefore, is important.

Joyner’s assessment of the problem of “thumbing our noses” at the Chinese is dubious in my mind. We are, after all, talking about a small gesture that if the Chinese do indeed get their nose all bent out of shape because of it, only prove themselves to be unworthy of any approbation for having “come so far” as a nation. His analysis also fails to assess the damage caused by our not standing up for human rights and Tibet.

If the Chinese are so paranoid and sensitive about anything marring their precious games (they murdered hundreds of thousands of cats and dogs to “clean up” Beijing), perhaps they should address the reality of Tibet rather than trying to sweep it under the rug – something Joyner inadvertently is encouraging them to do. Bush or no Bush, the news nets are not going to ignore Tibet or the boycott by the Big Three in Europe. Ergo, Bush will be seen as the weak sister in the face of Chinese pressure to conform, to get with the program, and celebrate China’s coming out party.

A small thing? I think not. The symbolism of Bush attending the opening ceremonies will not help us in the slightest despite Jim’s hopeful outlook and as the only major western leader in attendance will give unwanted legitimacy to a government whose own people are suffering under a Communist tyranny. I wonder what the Chinese dissidents – those few not in jail at the moment – are thinking about Bush’s decision?

The fact is, because Tibet and Chinese domestic politics is largely ignored at the moment by the press, Bush feels safe in making his announcement. Out of sight and out of mind.

And for the Tibetans, out of luck as well.

By: Rick Moran at 9:54 am | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (12)


This piece on McCain by Aravosis may be the most inelegant political attack I’ve ever seen. Not only is it a vile, worthless, mindlessly idiotic recounting of this Peeping Tom’s idea of McCain’s military service but the obliviousness of Aravosis to the upchucking irony in his calling anyone out for making propaganda is outrageously, hysterically inappropriate.

Yes, we all know that John McCain was captured and tortured in Vietnam (McCain won’t let you forget). A lot of people don’t know, however, that McCain made a propaganda video for the enemy while he was in captivity. Putting that bit of disloyalty aside, what exactly is McCain’s military experience that prepares him for being commander in chief? It’s not like McCain rose to the level of general or something. He’s a vet. We get it. But simply being a vet, as laudable as it is, doesn’t really tell you much about someone’s qualifications for being commander in chief. If McCain is going to play the “I was tortured” card every five minutes as a justification for electing him president, then he shouldn’t throw a hissy fit any time any one asks to know more about his military experience. Getting shot down, tortured, and then doing propaganda for the enemy is not command experience. Again, it’s not nice to say say, but we’re not running for class president here. We deserve real answers, not emotional outbursts designed to quell the questions.

First, let’s “quell a question” shall we?

QUESTION: Why did John McCain make a propaganda film for the enemy?

ANSWER: Because if you didn’t, the enemy would torture you until you died.

Those “agrarian reformers” and “peace loving socialists” that Aravosis’ ideological brethren were calling the the North Vietnamese back then were not very nice people. Every single prisoner who fell into their hands endured unspeakable degradation and torture until they cooperated. Aravosis makes it sound as if giving in to pain is a character defect. He cannot imagine in his safe little world – a world that allows him to peep into Republican bedroom windows to catch his political foes in a homosexual act and then out them against their will – the kind of mind numbing, excruciating, pain that causes grown men to cry like children and call out for their mother.

Aravosis also fails to mention that the Army revised their policy after Viet Nam from one that required an American prisoner only to give their name, rank, and serial number to one that required our men to “resist to the best of their ability” enemy attempts to use them as propaganda.

This from a 1991 NY Times article on Americans who were captured by Iraqis during the Gulf War:

In light of a major shift in what is expected of Americans who become prisoners of war, the appearance on Iraqi television of captured American pilots can be seen as part of a ploy to survive rather than a break in discipline, military psychiatrists say.

In a major change, the military code of conduct that once required those captured give only name, rank and serial number now simply requires them to resist cooperating with the enemy “to the best of their ability.”

“The operative principle is that you do what you’ve got to do in order to survive,” said Dr. Michael Wise, who was an Air Force psychiatrist for 21 years.

The new attitude toward prisoners of war who cooperate with their captors results from findings by military researchers that virtually all American servicemen captured by the North Vietnamese broke under pressure from their captors, military psychiatrists say.

The few who tried to resist totally, from what we know, did not survive captivity,” said Dr. Robert Rahe, now a psychiatrist at the University of Nevada at Reno and former head of the Navy’s Center for P.O.W. Studies in San Diego. “Nobody can be John Wayne. They can always find a torture so grave you’ll confess to something.”

(emphasis mine and fu*k you John Aravosis).

The idea that McCain, who by all accounts, resisted the attempts of his captors to use him as a propaganda weapon despite a list of physical injuries that would have killed Aravosis and most normal men, somehow betrayed the country by finally reaching his physical and psychological limit of deliberately induced pain and succumbing is so despicable only someone fully versed in the politics of metaphorically sneaking into the bedrooms of opponents to spy on them could write it.

Over the years, Aravosis has frequently partnered with another homosexual slime merchant named Michael Rodgers who sees it as his mission in life to dig into the private lives of not only Republican lawmakers, but also members of their staffs and the staffs of committees. And then, against their will for the most part, this dynamic duo of sleaze “outs” the unfortunates.

Why? Because they don’t agree with his political agenda for homosexuals! Or if they do, they continue to work for a Member of Congress who doesn’t.

This kind of thing used to be done in dark alleys stinking of urine with the delivery by some ex-con of a manila envelope containing some grainy photographs of naked men cavorting in bed, snapped by a peeping tom through the window of some no-tell motel.

Now its done by men of similar low character – people like Rodgers and Aravosis – who lack the animating spirit of human decency and prey upon vulnerable men by threatening them with exposure if they don’t change their political views or leave their job and career.

And this toad Aravosis is actually criticizing McCain for making a propaganda film? Even the meager and irrelevant point he tries to make – that McCain makes a big deal of the fact he was tortured “every five minutes” – is an out and out lie. McCain makes rare and elliptical references to that time in his life, properly allowing the listener to recall the well known details on their own.

And, of course, McCain is not touting his time in a prison camp or even his military service as proof of his experience to be Commander in Chief. Nearly a quarter of a century at the center of every major domestic debate over defense and foreign policy more than qualifies John McCain to serve as CIC. Contrast that with Obama’s laughable attempt to equate living in Indonesia as a 7 year old with McCain’s wealth and depth of experience in foreign and defense policies and you have the reason this walking chunk of undigested gristle is sliming the Arizona Senator’s service as a POW. It’s the only way to deflect attention from his candidate’s less than amateur credentials for being CIC.

Recall that McCain refused the ultimate in special treatment; an offer by his captors for early release due to the fact his father was an admiral. Would Aravosis have had the courage to do what McCain did and refuse to go home without every prisoner captured before him also went home? Doubtful. All the more reason to point the finger at Aravosis and expose him for the low life scum he truly is.

By: Rick Moran at 8:39 am | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (33)


For a candidate who touts a mantra of "Change" until people turn a little green around the gills whenever they hear it, Obama better be careful. Even a cursory examination of his record in Chicago as a state senator bringing "change" to public housing would cause voters to ask some serious questions about his competence.

This devastating piece in the Boston Globe on just what Obama’s leadership on developing government-private housing projects did to public housing in Chicago should open a few eyes:

The squat brick buildings of Grove Parc Plaza, in a dense neighborhood that Barack Obama represented for eight years as a state senator, hold 504 apartments subsidized by the federal government for people who can’t afford to live anywhere else.

But it’s not safe to live here.

About 99 of the units are vacant, many rendered uninhabitable by unfixed problems, such as collapsed roofs and fire damage. Mice scamper through the halls. Battered mailboxes hang open. Sewage backs up into kitchen sinks. In 2006, federal inspectors graded the condition of the complex an 11 on a 100-point scale – a score so bad the buildings now face demolition.

Grove Parc has become a symbol for some in Chicago of the broader failures of giving public subsidies to private companies to build and manage affordable housing – an approach strongly backed by Obama as the best replacement for public housing.

As a state senator (and as a member of Davis, Miner, Barnhill & Galland - a law firm that handled much of the legal work for developers seeking to partner with the city and state in building or rehabbing public housing units), Obama pushed hard to finance these projects back in the 1990’s. The results are seen above.

But is there more to Obama’s support of these projects? Did they have a political reason for being touted by the candidate?

The campaign did not respond to questions about whether Obama was aware of the problems with buildings in his district during his time as a state senator, nor did it comment on the roles played by people connected to the senator.

Among those tied to Obama politically, personally, or professionally are:

Valerie Jarrett, a senior adviser to Obama’s presidential campaign and a member of his finance committee. Jarrett is the chief executive of Habitat Co., which managed Grove Parc Plaza from 2001 until this winter and co-managed an even larger subsidized complex in Chicago that was seized by the federal government in 2006, after city inspectors found widespread problems.

Allison Davis, a major fund-raiser for Obama’s US Senate campaign and a former lead partner at Obama’s former law firm. Davis, a developer, was involved in the creation of Grove Parc and has used government subsidies to rehabilitate more than 1,500 units in Chicago, including a North Side building cited by city inspectors last year after chronic plumbing failures resulted in raw sewage spilling into several apartments.

Antoin "Tony" Rezko, perhaps the most important fund-raiser for Obama’s early political campaigns and a friend who helped the Obamas buy a home in 2005. Rezko’s company used subsidies to rehabilitate more than 1,000 apartments, mostly in and around Obama’s district, then refused to manage the units, leaving the buildings to decay to the point where many no longer were habitable.

Campaign finance records show that six prominent developers – including Jarrett, Davis, and Rezko – collectively contributed more than $175,000 to Obama’s campaigns over the last decade and raised hundreds of thousands more from other donors. Rezko alone raised at least $200,000, by Obama’s own accounting.

The partnerships were an entree for Obama into the high powered world of fat cat political donors. And as far as whether Obama knew of the problems with the units, the file cabinets at Obama’s law firm are stuffed with pleas from ordinary citizens asking the firm – which handled many landlord-tenant disputes in the past – to intervene with the developers and get them to fix things like running water and problems with heaters.

Those pleas fell largely on deaf ears as the law firm took hundreds of thousands of dollars in fees from these developers to represent their interests and help them through the maze of paperwork required to receive the grants from the city and state to rehab or develop the housing projects.

The key player was, of course, Tony Rezko. The now convicted developer/political operator brought Obama along and introduced him to several of the city’s major players in the development community – players who later would figure prominently in his fundraising activities for the senate and early presidential efforts. At the time – the early and mid 1990’s – Chicago was in the midst of an enormous redevelopment craze and the developers were looking to get in on the action.

Obama and his law firm were more than happy to oblige.

But today, thousands of those units are in the process of being condemned or are nearly unlivable. While not directly responsible, the fact is that Obama aggressively pushed the idea of city/private partnerships in public housing and that it became a spectacular failure.
All the more reason to look at Obama’s mantra of "change" with a more jaundiced eye.

This post originally appears in The American Thinker

By: Rick Moran at 9:09 am | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (8)

Maggie's Farm linked with A few Saturday links... Political News and Blog Aggregator linked with Obama on Clinton at unity rally: 'She rocks'...

The hysterically exaggerated, intellectually dishonest portrayal of the workings of the NSA surveillance program by many on the left is something I have catalogued on this site since its existence was revealed by the New York Times way back in December of 2005.

To be honest, the netroots have made themselves ridiculously easy targets for ridicule.

My own reservations about the program remain. Reasonable, honest people can debate how this program skirts the law and may – depending exactly how it works which is something that to this day remains hidden – cross the line of legality. The fact that debate raged in the Justice Department over the legality of the program with many career prosecutors opposed while others supported it should demonstrate to any reasonable person that at worst, the Terrorist Surveillance Program was an extremely close call.

Not so scream the netnuts. To the hysterical three year olds who make up the “reality based community,” facts don’t matter nor does it cross their infantile minds that such a surveillance program is even necessary. The program is illegal – no debate is allowed.

To such an incurious crowd we are now about to hand the reigns of government.

What is most worrisome is that they have so much invested in denying the reality of the terrorist threat – that the whole thing was dreamed up by Bush to seize power and become dictator – that one can legitimately question just how serious these mountebanks will be about national security. No doubt they will be relentless in their pursuit of terrorists – after we’ve been hit again. Cold comfort for those Americans who die as a result of their “terrorists are innocent until they commit an overt act” mindset.

Holy Christ! Even Barack Obama thinks the NSA surveillance program is indispensable to our national security. Of course, Obama has no better idea that the program is or was illegal despite his claims to the contrary. He is simply “playing the rubes” in the netroots community as Ian Welsh tells it at Firedoglake:

The FISA Cloture vote just passed. The Senate will now consider the motion to proceed with the bill, then they’ll head to the bill itself (corrected procedural details, h/t and thanks to CBolt). Various motions will be put forward to strip immunity, odds are they will fail. Then a number of the 80 who voted to restrict debate will vote against FISA so they can say they were against the bill. However this was the real vote, and the rest is almost certainly nothing but kabuki for the rubes.

Obama and McCain were both absent, as was Clinton. Unimpressive, but unsurprising, though I suppose I’m disappointed by Clinton (Obama has made it clear he didn’t intend to try and stop the bill.) Clinton and Obama will claim there was no point since it wasn’t close. But, with their leadership, it might well have gone the other way.

The folks who actually voted for the Bill of Rights are listed below. Remember, after the debate there’ll be a larger number of people who vote against this bill, but this was the real vote, and those Senators are just playing the rubes.

In less stressful, less partisan times, it may have been possible to debate the necessity for this surveillance program and even whether or not it actually steps over the line of legality, although how any definitive answers could have been arrived at with key parts of the program still classified and unknown to all but a very select few in government would have been problematic indeed.

So instead, we get ignorant rantings about the Constitution being torn up while brave liberals manned the battlements trying heroically to save American democracy:

A few weasel words from there, but Obama is totally cool with the precedent of the government giving a slip of paper to a corporation allowing them to break the law. He’s cool with the premise of “we were just following orders” that was shot down at Nuremberg being revived. He’s cool with if the President does it, then it isn’t illegal. He’s cool with a bunch of the other really dangerous aspects of the bill, including the vacuuming up of every communication that leaves or enters the United States without even the caveat that they be related to terrorism. He’s cool with a national surveillance state.

Just plain cool with it.

Gee. If all that is true, I am going to turn in my Captain America outfit and move to Brazil. Maybe Lambchop has a spare room he can let me stay in.

Of course, the above is wildly exaggerated – childishly so. Nice touch raising the spectre of Nazis, don’t you think? Battling fascism has always been the counterpoint to righties bravely battling Sharia law here in the US. Neither exists in the real world but boy is it goddamned heroic to see yourself doing it.

The only germ of truth in dday’s idiotic rant above is the “vacuuming up” of communications – a data mining program evidently carried out by the NSA with the assistance of the Telecoms. It is unclear whether this is a separate program or part of the NSA surveillance made public by the Times. But the USA Today reported back in May of 2006 that this data mining project includes a massive number of purely domestic calls as well. The program may have been confirmed by internal AT&T documents.

Question: Did the Telecoms violate the privacy rights of Americans by handing over records to the government of purely domestic calls? Once again, the nuance of the issue escapes the potato heads on the left who are licking their chops at the prospect of massive class action lawsuits against some major corporations that could easily bankrupt them as the legal fees alone could run into the hundreds of millions of dollars.

The Supreme Court decided a case that many experts believe bears directly on the privacy issue:

The U.S. Supreme Court has drawn a legal line between collecting phone numbers and routing information, and obtaining the content of phone calls. In a ruling in 1979, the court said in Smith v. Maryland that a phone company’s installation, at police request, of a device to record numbers dialed at a home did not violate the Fourth Amendment.

“We doubt that people in general entertain any actual expectation of privacy in the numbers they dial,” Justice Harry Blackmun wrote. He noted the court had said “a person has no legitimate expectation of privacy in information he voluntarily turns over to third parties.”

As I said, another gray area where technology and perceived necessity have outstripped – temporarily – the law’s ability to be absolutely clear about the line that must be drawn.

So instead of reasoned debate, we’re stuck with these wild charges that bear little resemblance to what the actual situation is much less the important questions raised by the actions of the Administration in developing and carrying out these programs.

The left just isn’t satisfied with opposing problematic programs. They have to ratchet up the rhetoric to unbearable levels of sophistry and stupidity in order to be seen as saviors of American civilization, standing alone in thwarting the evil machinations of Bush who, after all, is planning another 9/11 attack before the election so that he can cancel it and seize power indefinitely.

Their self image just couldn’t bear the thought of being reasonable and discussing the issues rationally. Too boring. Too vanilla. Only by playing the drama queen will their psyches be assuaged and their egos be satisfied.

Eventually, thankfully, Bush will be gone and chances are they will have Obama to kick around. But somehow, I just don’t see them getting so all-fired upset at a President Obama if he were to continue these surveillance programs or even expand them. At that point, all the nuance involved disappears and a new light of reason and rationality will shine on this debate. The “reality based community” will accept the reality that one of their own is in charge – which is what this whole thing has been about to begin with.

By: Rick Moran at 8:12 am | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (12)


The 2008 Presidential race finally got underway yesterday as Barack Obama used his race to try and innoculate himself against criticism:

Democratic presidential contender Barack Obama said on Friday he expects Republicans to highlight the fact that he is black as part of an effort to make voters afraid of him.

“It is going to be very difficult for Republicans to run on their stewardship of the economy or their outstanding foreign policy,” Obama told a fundraiser in Jacksonville, Florida. “We know what kind of campaign they’re going to run. They’re going to try to make you afraid.

“They’re going to try to make you afraid of me. He’s young and inexperienced and he’s got a funny name. And did I mention he’s black?”

He said he was also set for Republicans to say “he’s got a feisty wife,” in trying to attack his wife Michelle.

We expected it, of course. It is his greatest political weapon and he will use it again and again, shamelessly accusing the GOP of bringing up his race (even, as this proves, when they don’t) in order to deflect criticism away from he and his wife for anything they say or any associations in their past.

The press will let him get away with it because they are terrified of being accused of racism themselves.

What makes Obama’s race card such an effective weapon is that it is virtually impossible to accuse him of using it. He is the oppressed minority. You don’t question oppressed minorities in this country. Anything they define as racism is accepted almost without question. To do so is to prove your racism. Ergo, the perfect “Catch 22:” If the GOP denies Obama’s charges of “racism” and accuses him of using the race card, the blowback on the GOP will be “Who are you to question a black man when he says he’s been slimed by a racist smear?” – the subtext being that you are racist for questioning him.

The flip side of that is if the GOP says nothing, the charge goes unanswered and they are convicted in the court of public opinion as racist pigs.


Let me just say to those doubters who may believe otherwise, take a walk through the comments section of this blog and others. See how many Obama advocates simply dismiss any opposition to their candidate as “racism.” It is this simple minded sophistry that the candidate will use in order to quiet opposition to his programs once he is elected as well.

It has been asked “Is America ready for a black president?” Maybe a more relevant question would be “Can America see through a racial charlatan who will shamlessly use the color of his skin to avoid debating the tough issues and call his opponents “racists” for disagreeing with him?”

This piece appeared in slightly different form at The American Thinker


Karl at Protein Wisdom and I are on the same page today:

Make no mistake: the man who admits he looks like Urkel is sounding about as post-racial as the Rev. Al Sharpton. Or about as post-racial as someone who spent the last 20 years under the spiritual tutelage of the race-baiting Rev. Jeremiah Wright and Fr. Michael Pfleger. Someone with that background ought to have some humility when it comes to dealing the race card, but he has chosen it as his opening gambit. If John McCain and the GOP allows someone who increasingly sounds like someone struggling to suppress his own prejudice to frame the general election in this manner, they will deserve to lose the election even more than they already do.


Getting more comments than normal on this one (Thanks, Glenn!) so I have removed comment moderation for the time being.

Everyone behave themselves. No jumping on the furntiture and please don’t put your little hands in the garbage disposal unless you’re sure it’s off. Daddy will be back in the morning.

UPDATE: 6/23

Comment moderation back on.

By: Rick Moran at 10:24 am | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (59)

Web Design Blog by Wil Waldon linked with American Politics. Obama. Donate....
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CATEGORY: Decision '08, Ethics

One can hardly blame Barack Obama for opting out of publicly financing his campaign for President of the United States. After all, Jesus was only tempted with all the kingdoms of the earth if he would worship Satan. Obama ’s temptation was winning the presidency at the expense of his image as a truthtelling agent of change and new political messiah.

I think Obama is getting much the better of the deal.

Look at it this way. The Obamabots could care less what their candidate says or does. He could be caught tomorrow in a bathtub, naked, with Larry Sinclair, puffing away on a crack pipe while getting serviced by 3 Boy Scouts and 2 altar boys and they’d still think he was the bee’s knees. And while his political foes have gone ballistic over the flip flop on public financing, most of us would hit the ceiling if he walked on a crack on a sidewalk, hysterically accusing him of wanting to break his mother’s back.

It is the 30% or so of voters in the middle that matter as far as this imbroglio is concerned. And the American people, being eminently practical (and recognizing a good thing when they see it) will probably not think much of Obama breaking his promise to accept public financing. First and foremost, the voter today is a pretty cynical creature and they don’t believe too many promises from any politician – even if he claims to be the human manifestation of goodness and truthfulness. But beyond that, I don’t think that 30% would trust anyone who turned down what Obama is getting by eschewing federal financing; somewhere around $250 million. They would look strangely indeed at anyone stupid enough to keep a promise made months ago at the expense of winning the presidency.

This, after all, is the real reason Obama is going for his own little Fort Knox rather than sticking to his principles and taking his money from government. It would be the biggest mistake in the history of American politics if Obama had stuck by his guns and taken the federal funding route. Imagine if he had taken the public financing and then lost. The Democrats would be beside themselves and Obama’s name would be mud.

Going the private funding route is the safe play, the easy play, and dare I say it, the winning play. John McCain is going to hardly know what hit him. He will be outspent 3-1 at every level. Already Obama is flexing his muscles by running ads in Alaska, Montana, and Georgia – three states, not coincidentally, that Libertarian candidate Bob Barr expects to make his best showings. The thinking is that Barr can siphon enough votes away from McCain to make Obama more than competitive in a three way race. Personally, I think they’re wasting their time with Alaska and Montana – probably even Barr’s home state of Georgia as well. But the point isn’t so much to win those states as to force McCain to defend them – with the limited resources he will have available to him because McCain will indeed find it necessary to accept public financing of his campaign.

Every red state they force McCain to defend means less money the Republican candidate can spend in Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Ohio. Eventually, the McCain camp will be faced with the horrible strategy of writing off states like New Mexico and Nevada while pouring his limited resources into just a few battleground states, hoping against hope that the rest of his base can remain relatively solid.

There is already talk in the McCain camp of an election day scenario in which their candidate wins enough electoral votes but loses badly in the popular vote – perhaps by as much as 3 million votes. By September, that may be the official strategy.

Despite the obvious advantages for Obama in taking private money for the campaign – advantages that any half wit can see – the candidate decided to give the most bizarre and certainly the most dishonest explanation for turning down federal funds:

“We’ve made the decision not to participate in the public financing system for the general election,” Obama says in the video, blaming it on the need to combat Republicans, saying “we face opponents who’ve become masters at gaming this broken system. John McCain’s campaign and the Republican National Committee are fueled by contributions from Washington lobbyists and special interest PACs. And we’ve already seen that he’s not going to stop the smears and attacks from his allies running so-called 527 groups, who will spend millions and millions of dollars in unlimited donations.”

Amazing. Obama is really getting the hang of this lying thing. Of course, he’s had a lot of practice lately so perhaps it shouldn’t surprise us.

It is disingenuous in the extreme for Obama to complain about the RNC getting PAC and “special interest” money when his own campaign will raise $50 million from big donors:

Michael Coles, a former Clinton fund-raiser from Atlanta, said in an interview that he was one of 20 to 30 Clinton supporters who joined Mr. Obama’s national finance committee at a meeting on Thursday in Chicago. Members of the committee have each pledged to raise $250,000 for Mr. Obama.

People from both camps said they expected most of Mrs. Clinton’s top fund-raisers to align behind Mr. Obama, and that they could raise at least $50 million for him.

That $50 million will be about 25% of his total haul. Who does Obama think these fat cats and heavy hitters who will be raising this cash are? They are hardly Joe Blow Democrat who worship at the altar of Obama. These gimlet eyed men and women are giving money not out the goodness of their hearts but because they expect something in return. If there is another definition of “special interest” I haven’t heard it.

But the real whopper in Obama’s statement – the real nose grower is that he must refuse to take federal financing because Republican 527 groups will raise “millions and millions” of dollars to smear him.

I know Obama has been busy lately and perhaps has not had time to catch up with the news, but it’s been known for months that the GOP 527 effort is a shadow of what the Democrats are going to throw at McCain:

Obama’s alarmist prophecy — a bit of typical campaign rhetoric meant to scare his own donors into reaching for their credit cards — is wildly at odds with the flatlined state of conservative third-party efforts.

The truth is that, less than five months before Election Day, there are no serious anti-Obama 527s in existence nor are there any immediate plans to create such a group.

Conversations with more than a dozen Republican strategists find near unanimity in the belief that, at some point, there will be a real third-party effort aimed at Obama.

But not one knows who will run it, who will pay for it, what shape it will eventually take or when such a group may form.

More worrisome for Republicans who believe such an outside attack apparatus is essential to defeating Obama, some key individuals and groups who were being looked to for help say they won’t be involved.

Obama’s 527 worries are a mirage – or more likely – an out and out lie that he had no reason to tell. Why not just say “Look folks, I want to win. It would be stupid to forgo the opportunity my brilliant fundraising has given me. And you don’t want a stupid president, do you?”

I daresay Obama would have impressed a helluva lot of people if he had said something like that rather than raise the canard of evil Republicans plotting to smear him.

One amusing sidelight to this story is the way the New York Times reported it. It’s almost as if the left hand didn’t know what the far-left hand was doing.

Here’s a snippet from the Times editorial on the matter:

Public financing, which Mr. McCain has indicated he would accept, limits spending to $84.1 million in the general election. Mr. Obama expects he can raise three or four times that. He insists he needs the larger flow to hold off unscrupulous Republican “masters at gaming this broken system” via separate party funds and Swift Boat-style smear campaigns.

Mr. Obama’s power to excite average donations of less than $100 also is admirable, and his concerns about his opponent are understandable. The Republican Party is raising a great deal of money, and shadow groups known as 527s have tens of millions to spend. Mr. McCain knows the power of these groups since they slimed him out of the 2000 Republican primaries. Now that he’s the presumptive nominee, however, he is inviting them into the fray on his behalf.

Meanwhile, the news story covering Obama’s decision contains this little goody:

Mr. McCain has been highly critical in the past of 527s and other independent groups, but he seems to have softened his rhetoric lately, saying his campaign could not be expected to “referee” such groups.

Nevertheless, Republican strategists said many affluent donors who might be in a position to finance 527 groups were wary this time because of the legal headaches that bedeviled many of these groups after the 2004 election, as well as the possibility they might incur the wrath of Mr. McCain.

And I always thought there was no difference between the Times editorial page and its news reports. Guess I was wrong.

When all is said and done, this issue – like all issues that reflect badly on Obama – will quietly die, Obama’s falsehoods and hypocrisy just a distant memory. And the press can go back to its non-stop, full court Obamamania that is turning this election into a farce.

Meanwhile, Obama will have more money than God and will win this election in a walk.

By: Rick Moran at 9:36 am | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (22) Political News and Blog Aggregator linked with Obama's Father's Day Speech Stirs Reaction...

I don’t think Barack Obama would be a good president and am not voting for him. But his speech on the responsibilities of parenthood before the 20,000 member Apostolic Church of God – an almost all-black church near the loop in Chicago – revealed something about the man that I didn’t know was there; a basically conservative outlook on personal responsibility and the importance of family.

Too often, the left dismisses the family as the anchor on which our civilization rests. They are much too busy trying to stretch, twist, or otherwise mutilate the definition of “family” to pay much attention to the impact it has on society and its members.

Far be for me to deny that there may be many definitions of “family” and that some of those definitions includes people of the same sex raising children. The only requirement I’ve ever heard of for a family is that there are loving, caring relationships irrespective of the gender or sexual orientation of the parents or children.

But in seeking to expand the definition of family, the left has chosen to denigrate the traditional nuclear family and traditional family values as somehow poisonous to society rather than embracing them as the central fact of life in any culture. By promoting a culture of permissiveness – which is at odds with the traditional role of the family as a bulwark against chaos and the major force for discipline and prudence in society – the left sacrifices the meaning of family for the abstract and superficial changes in definition that would include gays and gay couples.

Obama didn’t mention gays in his talk on the family yesterday. He didn’t mention alternative lifestyles or that “it takes a village” to raise a child. He eschewed every liberal talking point on the family to ram home the notion that families need fathers to be whole and that those who refuse to take responsibility for fatherhood aren’t real men:

Of all the rocks upon which we build our lives, we are reminded today that family is the most important. And we are called to recognize and honor how critical every father is to that foundation. They are teachers and coaches. They are mentors and role models. They are examples of success and the men who constantly push us toward it.

But if we are honest with ourselves, we’ll admit that what too many fathers also are is missing – missing from too many lives and too many homes. They have abandoned their responsibilities, acting like boys instead of men. And the foundations of our families are weaker because of it.

You and I know how true this is in the African-American community. We know that more than half of all black children live in single-parent households, a number that has doubled – doubled – since we were children. We know the statistics – that children who grow up without a father are five times more likely to live in poverty and commit crime; nine times more likely to drop out of schools and twenty times more likely to end up in prison. They are more likely to have behavioral problems, or run away from home, or become teenage parents themselves. And the foundations of our community are weaker because of it.

One commenter at Balloon Juice had an interesting take:
I do think that this is an interesting piece of dog whistle politics. The tough truth is that ninety percent of all male humans can knock a girl up, and that doing your part to raise the kids is what makes you a real man. That’s a message which applies no matter what color your skin is. It’s a dog-whistle to intimate that African Americans or Latinos or other beige folks need to hear it more than the rest of us do.

Do I think that Barack Obama is acutely aware of this? Oh, yes, indeed. Do I think the reporters who are dealing in stereotypes in reporting his sermon are? Not so much.

The question of whether African Americans and Hispanics “need” to hear the message of responsible fatherhood is moot. A few figures courtesy of Presto-Pundit:
The nation’s out-of-wedlock birth rate is 38%. Among white children, 28% are now born to a single mother; among Hispanic children it is 50% and reaches a chilling, disorienting peak of 71% for black children. According to the National Center for Health Statistics, nearly a quarter of America’s white children (22%) do not have any male in their homes; nearly a third (31%) of Hispanic children and over half of black children (56%) are fatherless.

This represents a dramatic shift in American life. In the early 1960s, only 2.3% of white children and 24% of black children were born to a single mom. Having a dad, in short, is now a privilege, a ticket to middle-class status on par with getting into a good college.


A study of black families 10 years ago, when the out-of-wedlock birthrate was not as high as today, found that single moms reported only 20% of the “baby’s daddy” spent time with the child or took a “lot” of interest in the baby ..

Clearly all races have a percentage of deadbeat dads. But it is equally clear that Obama was targeting African American men in his speech if only because when confronted with a choice of treating a couple of cases of the flu or an epidemic, the good physician triages the situation and treats those most in need. In this case, Obama’s own background with an absent father resonated deeply with his audience:
I know what it means to have an absent father, although my circumstances weren’t as tough as they are for many young people today. Even though my father left us when I was two years old, and I only knew him from the letters he wrote and the stories that my family told, I was luckier than most. I grew up in Hawaii, and had two wonderful grandparents from Kansas who poured everything they had into helping my mother raise my sister and me – who worked with her to teach us about love and respect and the obligations we have to one another. I screwed up more often than I should’ve, but I got plenty of second chances. And even though we didn’t have a lot of money, scholarships gave me the opportunity to go to some of the best schools in the country. A lot of kids don’t get these chances today. There is no margin for error in their lives. So my own story is different in that way.

Still, I know the toll that being a single parent took on my mother – how she struggled at times to the pay bills; to give us the things that other kids had; to play all the roles that both parents are supposed to play. And I know the toll it took on me. So I resolved many years ago that it was my obligation to break the cycle – that if I could be anything in life, I would be a good father to my girls; that if I could give them anything, I would give them that rock – that foundation – on which to build their lives. And that would be the greatest gift I could offer.

So what do we make of this clear break with liberal orthodoxy on the family? It appears to me to be heartfelt and something that has come to the surface as a result of his own personal experience. The fact that much of what he says reflects conservative orthodoxy regarding the family, African American culture, and personal responsibility will probably raise some grumblings on the left and within the African American leadership which is terrified that any talk of responsibility that does not include white racism as a cause will diminish their roles in the black community.

In fact, this thoughtful rumination on the left and personal responsibility raises many interesting questions:

The big myth lurking around out there in our highly charged partisan war of ideas is that liberals don’t believe in personal responsibility. That we want government to take care of everything while everyone gets to do whatever the hell we want.

Of course this is more caricature than characterization.

One of the things that I was impressed with in regards to Senator Obama early on is his approach to the status of the American family, and we’re not just talking about deadbeat dads either, but the whole deal, from making sure your kids sit down and do their homework, to knowing when to turn the television off, to providing a healthy diet. In his book The Audacity of Hope, Obama wrote passionately and honestly about the responsibilities of parenthood, and how too many parents aren’t meeting those responsibilities.

And it was these themes that took center stage in Obama’s father’s day address yesterday. I’m sure there’s a way to twist this, but here’s the thing, and perhaps it’s a key difference. Republicans, I believe, too often hide behind a cloak of personal responsibility; a shadow of the small government theme they claim to be so steadfastly for.

But sometimes, and this necessity is apolitical, it takes a leader to stand up and demand from the people that they actually adhere to those precepts of personal responsibility. That Obama is black will likely dominate the coverage from many corners much along the vein of; he’s black, so he can tell this to black people when non-black people can’t.

But the familial problems that face this country are not strictly held within the confines of the African American community, and I don’t think it is the color of Obama’s skin that makes him the best equipped to speak on these issues.

For all the discussion of who is the elitist, and who isn’t, what gives Obama the authority to speak on these topics is not the color of his skin, but instead the nature of his youth. He was not born into a rich family, and his father wasn’t an Admiral. He grew up, like many of us, in a broken home, and worked his way up from humble beginnings. As a boy whose own father in many ways abandoned him, Obama knows exactly the kind of world many children are coming in today, and yet he stands as an example of not only what can be accomplished, but also, well, how to be a father and a man of a strong family.

I would say amen to most of that except the author ducks and dodges the question of where personal responsibility fits in with liberal ideology. He seems to be making the case that Obama has the cred to talk about responsibility because of his life story. Okay, I’ll buy that. But aside from accusing conservatives of “hiding behind” personal responsibility, he is silent on whether Obama’s call for taking responsibility for one’s actions is ultimately a liberal or conservative notion. An ideology that promotes permissiveness almost to the exclusion of everything else can hardly make claim to be promoting personal responsibility when telling males (of all races) “if it feels good, do it” and don’t worry about the consequences.

Nor can an ideology responsible for creating a welfare state that is directly responsible for many of these same ills Obama spoke about yesterday suddenly turn around and embrace Obama’s message unless adherents are willing to alter fundamental precepts regarding personal responsibility and ultimately, the family. What Obama was saying is that poverty and hopelessness are only part of the problem and government solutions, while important, are only part of the answer. Obama has correctly identified the family – with both parents intimately involved in their children’s lives – as the fundamental life preserver for the African American and other disadvantaged communities.

Will the left listen? Or will they simply see this speech by Obama as a political “dog whistle?” If they wish to make the 2008 election a “hinge” election where the political realities are altered and a new, liberal era is ushered in for the next quarter century or so, they best heed Obama’s words and make them their own.

By: Rick Moran at 8:25 am | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (21) Political News and Blog Aggregator linked with Obama considers post-surge trip to Iraq...
CATEGORY: Ethics, Sports

Did Michael really fly? Or did he have some help from the zebras?

Back in the 1990’s when we were innocent enough to believe that the government didn’t keep aliens on ice at Area 51 or that the military did not create the AIDS virus to kill black people, there were whispers of dark conspiracies surrounding the most popular professional game on the planet – the National Basketball Association. There were intimations from crazed fans and journalists hungry for controversy that referees, in cahoots with the league office, were fixing the outcomes of games in the playoffs so that the NBA could realize the best matchups that would guarantee the most revenue.

There were also charges that the zebras would routinely work to extend playoff series so that the most revenue could be wrung from the match-ups.

It was also alleged back then that star players got special treatment from the refs regarding a lack of technical fouls ( allowing them to get away with thuggery) and, in order to keep them in the games, not calling personal fouls on them.

This was the decade that saw the end of the Magic Johnson-Larry Bird era and the beginning of the Chicago Bulls dynastic run of 6 NBA championships in 8 years. Led by arguably the greatest basketball player in history, Michael Jordan, the Bulls slugged it out early in the decade with first the Detroit Pistons and then, their arch nemesis the New York Knicks.

Those Bulls-Knicks series’ were bloody, take no prisoners affairs that have now retreated into legend. But at the time, it seemed that each game witnessed some of the strangest foul calls in the history of the NBA.

Rebounding was the key for both teams and the battle under the boards was incredible; pushing, shoving, elbows to the face, holding uniforms – anything to gain an advantage in positioning in order to grab the rebound. This, in and of itself was not unusual. In playoff refereeing, it was generally recognized that the players would be allowed a little more leeway than was vouchsafed during the regular season.

But the scrum under the boards wasn’t the problem. It was the phantom fouls being called by referees on defenders guarding shooters that raised eyebrows. Little or no contact with the shooter would draw a whistle and send the player to the free throw line. I can recall several games in this series where players and coaches were beside themselves as a result of a foul called for some ticky tacky contact or worse, no contact at all.

Sports talk radio (just coming into its own back then) was hot with callers claiming conspiracy. The league wanted the series to go on, was the charge. The refs were in the bag, whispered the paranoid.

Or were they?

NBA referees, influenced by cozy relationships with league officials, rigged a 2002 playoff series to force it to a revenue-boosting seven games, a former referee at the center of a gambling scandal alleged Tuesday.

Without identifying anyone or naming teams, Tim Donaghy also claimed the NBA routinely encouraged refs to ring up bogus fouls to manipulate results but discouraged them from calling technical fouls on star players to keep them in games and protect ticket sales and television ratings.

Donaghy is a former ref convicted of manipulating games on which he bet. He also took money from gamblers to try and fix the point spread on games, receiving $5,000 for every game in which he was successful. At the time the scandal broke, I wondered if he was the only ref involved:
The NBA is in deep trouble. Donaghy, who will turn himself in this week, is said to have agreed to cooperate with the FBI in their investigation. If it is revealed that there are indeed other officials involved in this scandal, it could very well destroy the league. As it is now, fans will be watching NBA games with extra care next year and wondering.

Always wondering.

And now, in the midst of the most watched NBA Finals in years, Donaghy apparently confirms all the nasty rumors and conspiracies that have been swirling around the league for more than a decade.

Or is his story just too perfect, too pat?

In one of several allegations of corrupt refereeing, Donaghy said he learned in May 2002 that two referees known as “company men” were working a best-of-seven series in which “Team 5” was leading 3-2. In the sixth game, he alleged the referees purposely ignored personal fouls and called “made-up fouls on Team 5 in order to give additional free throw opportunities for Team 6.”

“Team 6” won the game and came back to win the series, the letter said.

Only the Los Angeles Lakers-Sacramento Kings series went to seven games during the 2002 playoffs. And the Lakers went on to win the championship.

At the time, consumer advocate Ralph Nader and the League of Fans, a sports industry watchdog group, sent a letter to Stern complaining about the officiating in Game 6 of the Western Conference finals.

The Lakers, who beat Sacramento 106-102 in that game in Los Angeles, shot 27 free throws in the final quarter and scored 16 of their last 18 points at the line.

The letter also alleged manipulation during a 2005 playoff series.

“Team 3 lost the first two games in the series and Team 3’s owner complained to NBA officials,” the letter said. “Team 3’s owner alleged that referees were letting a Team 4 player get away with illegal screens. NBA Executive Y told Referee Supervisor Z that the referees for that game were to enforce the screening rules strictly against that Team 4 player. ... The referees followed the league’s instructions and Team 3 came back from behind to win the series. The NBA benefited from this because it prolonged the series, resulting in more tickets sold and more televised games.”

In that same series, the letter says “Team 3” lost the first two games of the series and that team owner complained to NBA officials. The letter also alleges that the opposing team’s coach later was fined $100,000 after revealing an NBA official informed him of the behind-the-scenes instructions.

That would correspond with the 2005 first-round playoff series between the Houston Rockets and the Dallas Mavericks, in which Mark Cuban complained to officials and Jeff Van Gundy was fined.

This “evidence” is not as compelling as one might think. It could very well be that Donaghy was simply “confirming” what was believed by some observers in two very high profile incidents where such referee malfeasance was suspected. He has no physical proof that the league ordered the refs to rig the games. Only the word, as the league points out, of a man desperate to have his sentence reduced:
He’s a singing, cooperating witness who is trying to get as light a sentence as he can,” Stern said. “He turned on basically all of his colleagues in an attempt to demonstrate that he is not the only one who engaged in criminal activity. The U.S. attorney’s office, the FBI, have fully investigated it, and Mr. Donaghy is the only one who is guilty of a crime. And he will be sentenced for that crime regardless of the desperate attempts to implicate as many people as he can.”

All true, except…

Except the US attorney and the FBI may not have been informed of this additional information about NBA refs in a conspiracy with the league office to rig games because the letter containing the damning charges wasn’t filed until last Monday. The feds have investigated Donaghy and determined that no other refs or league officials were involved in his gambling schemes. But have they investigated these other charges?

Stern’s statement is unclear on this matter. However, nothing changes the fact that Donaghy’s letter was self-serving and totally void of proof. All we have is the word of a convicted gambler that conspiracy theories that have been the staple of sports talk radio for more than a decade may actually be true – not a lot to hang your hat on for most observers although I’m sure the lines will be hot with “I told you so’s” from the conspiracy promoters at the big sports talk radio stations today.

If the charges have not been investigated, it is paramount that the prosecutor and FBI do so. If the specific allegations have been looked at and found to be baseless, the league should make that plain to the public. As it stands now, David Stern’s statement is ambiguous about these additional charges.

Donaghy put the pro game under a cloud with his gambling. His shocking allegations could bring the NBA crashing down – if they were true. But even if they haven’t been investigated, Donaghy’s lack of proof in making these spectacular charges only reinforces the idea that he is just another con looking for a break from prosecutors.

By: Rick Moran at 8:20 am | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (17)


He’s not going to score any points with the media for doing it – not after so many months of mealy mouthed statements about the candidate not agreeing with many of Pastor John Hagee’s positions but welcoming his endorsement anyway. And McCain probably shouldn’t receive much in the way of plaudits for finally disavowing the support of this clownish hater.

But McCain is the first Republican candidate for President in a long time who has stood up to this weird strain of evangelical hatred directed against non-Christians and unequivocally said he doesn’t want to have anything to do with it. And to reinforce his action, he disavowed the endorsement of another, less well know Christian hate monger Rod Parlsey.

Throwing Parsley under the bus may prove to be more problematic than lancing the Hagee boil. The Ohio preacher’s anti-Islam spiel appeals to not only evangelicals, but to a segment of conservatives who fancy themselves Islamic scholars – perhaps because they’ve read some half baked analysis of a few lines from the Koran purporting to show that Muslims worship the moon – and are attracted by Parsley’s hellfire and damnation talk about Muslims and where they can stick it.

But it is the very act of disassociating himself from those two religious nut jobs that may herald something new in Republican politics; a distancing of the rational, secular, center-right from the nauseating moral certitude and hate based rantings of a small, but influential segment of the evangelical community.

I would say that this is something that absolutely must be done if the Republican party is ever going to achieve majority status again. If it were up to me, I would drive them out of the party as Jesus drove the money changers from the temple – with a whip and some good old fashioned righteous wrath. There is no place in modern American politics for this kind of hate to be spewed and considered “mainstream” by anyone in the Republican party.

Hagee and Parsley preach a Christian exclusivity that has no place in America. By the numbers, we may be a “Christian” nation. But by law, by tradition, and by common sense, we are universalists when it comes to worshiping God. Hagee and Parsley sought to set Christianity apart from this notion of ecumenicism and use faith as a litmus test in measuring the worth of an individual soul. That means that if you happen to be gay, or Muslim, or some other group not part of their narrow, prejudiced biblical worldview, you’re a sinner or worse. It never penetrates the thick skulls of these dimwits that calling someone a “sinner” and saying you love them anyway is the most humiliating thing you can say to a gay person or anyone else who fails the Christian test.

McCain’s statement of disavowal was strongly worded and left no doubt where he stood:

“Obviously, I find these remarks and others deeply offensive and indefensible, and I repudiate them. I did not know of them before Reverend Hagee’s endorsement, and I feel I must reject his endorsement as well,” he said.

Later, in Stockton, he told reporters: “I just think that the statement is crazy and unacceptable.”

Then in an interview with The Associated Press, McCain said he rejected Parsley’s support, too.

“I believe there is no place for that kind of dialogue in America, and I believe that even though he endorsed me, and I didn’t endorse him, the fact is that I repudiate such talk, and I reject his endorsement,” McCain told the AP.

Hagee had sparked controversy since the San Antonio pastor endorsed McCain on Feb. 27 shortly before the Texas presidential primary. Parsley’s views were aired Thursday in an ABC News report.

McCain actively courted Hagee, who leads a megachurch with a congregation in the tens of thousands and has an even wider television audience. Former GOP presidential rivals also sought Hagee’s backing.

Hagee has referred to the Roman Catholic Church as “the great whore” and called it a “false cult system.” He also has linked Hitler to the Catholic church, suggesting it helped shape his anti-Semitism. And Hagee said Hurricane Katrina was God’s retribution for homosexual sin.

When McCain first received the endorsement of this bigot, I thought he should have disavowed it immediately:

Doesn’t McCain realize that Hagee’s “spiritual leadership” includes filling the heads of the faithful with hate filled rants against Muslims, gays, Catholics, and others? How can a presidential candidate who says he wants to change the quality of dialogue in this country accept the endorsement of this bigot?

McCain is no stranger to controversies like this. In the 2000 campaign, he spoke at the notorious Bob Jones University where interracial dating was against school policy.

(As an aside, why aren’t these people read out of the conservative movement the same way the Birchers and other extremists were kicked out by Buckley and others in the 1950’s?)

Simply saying you don’t agree with everything Hagee says isn’t good enough. There are some endorsements that should be rejected out of hand. Saying “I reject John Hagee’s endorsement and all the bigoted statements he has made…” would be political suicide with a segment of evangelicals but might be the start of sweeping these extremists out of the party.

I realize that last statement may be a bit optimistic. But how about reducing their influence? How about going out of your way to condemn their outrageous bigotry? How about banning them from party events like the convention?

At the very least, such actions would prove that McCain is on the side of tolerance, respect, and dignity for all. You don’t have to agree with the gay rights agenda in order to grant dignity and worth to those espousing it. Nor does one have to support jihad or Sharia law to give Muslims the same constitutional benefit of freedom to worship God anyway they choose.

These things are so self evident it is amazing to me that there would even be an argument forthcoming from some evangelicals. That’s the problem, of course. And during the last decade (and especially the last two presidential elections) as Karl Rove shamelessly – and successfully – used wedge issues like gay marriage to maximize the turnout among the evangelical community, hideous figures like Hagee and Parsley gained influence because of the size of their following.

Now McCain is gambling that he wins more than he loses by disavowing the endorsements of these two extremists. Does he pick up support among independents and “Reagan Democrats” as a result of this move? Or does he so anger the evangelical community that millions will stay home or worse, support Obama?

It’s impossible to say at this point. One would like to believe that principled actions (or at least actions that can be construed as principled) would be rewarded and McCain’s disavowal of the haters ends up being a big plus.

But there’s another axiom in politics that might equally apply in this case; no good deed goes unpunished.

By: Rick Moran at 7:36 am | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (24)