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If Mr. Carter had stuck to Habitat for Humanity instead of Inaccurate Boloney, we could admire him and I did. He has lost all credibility due to his ignorance of the truth in the Middle East. What a sad legacy to leave! Some have said that he has consumed too many bad peanuts and it has affected his brain making him nuttier in his old age.
"Obama learned his lesson well. I am proud to see that my father's model for organizing is being applied successfully beyond local community organizing to affect the Democratic campaign in 2008. It is a fine tribute to Saul Alinsky as we approach his 100th birthday." --Letter from L. DAVID ALINSKY, son of Neo-Marxist Saul Alinsky
Hillary, Obama and the Cult of Alinsky: "True revolutionaries do not flaunt their radicalism, Alinsky taught. They cut their hair, put on suits and infiltrate the system from within. Alinsky viewed revolution as a slow, patient process. The trick was to penetrate existing institutions such as churches, unions and political parties....
"One Alinsky benefactor was Wall Street investment banker Eugene Meyer, who served as Chairman of the Federal Reserve from 1930 to 1933. Meyer and his wife Agnes co-owned The Washington Post. They used their newspaper to promote Alinsky....Her series, called 'The Orderly Revolution', made Alinsky famous....
"Alinsky’s crowning achievement was his recruitment of a young high school student named Hillary Rodham. She met Alinsky through a radical church group. Hillary wrote an analysis of Alinsky’s methods for her senior thesis at Wellesley College. ...
"Many leftists view Hillary as a sell-out because she claims to hold moderate views on some issues. However, Hillary is simply following Alinsky’s counsel to do and say whatever it takes to gain power.
"Barack Obama is also an Alinskyite.... Obama spent years teaching workshops on the Alinsky method. In 1985 he began a four-year stint as a community organizer in Chicago, working for an Alinskyite group called the Developing Communities Project.... Camouflage is key to Alinsky-style organizing. While trying to build coalitions of black churches in Chicago, Obama caught flak for not attending church himself. He became an instant churchgoer." [by Richard Poe, 11-27-07] See also Community Oriented Policing
Quote from Saul Alinsky's Book "Rules for Radicals"
In this book we are concerned with how to create mass organizations to seize power and give it to the people; to realize the democratic dream of equality, justice, peace.... "Better to die on your feet than to live on your knees.' This means revolution." p.3
"Radicals must be resilient, adaptable to shifting political circumstances, and sensitive enough to the process of action and reaction to avoid being trapped by their own tactics and forced to travel a road not of their choosing." p.6
"A Marxist begins with his prime truth that all evils are caused by the exploitation of the proletariat by the capitalists. From this he logically proceeds to the revolution to end capitalism, then into the third stage of reorganization into a new social order of the dictatorship of the proletariat, and finally the last stage -- the political paradise of communism." p.10
The one thing he did not learn is the passion of FREE people to be free! - Press4TRuth
Barack Obama rightly stresses that we first must understand how today’s problems emerged. It is “only by understanding how we arrived at this moment that we’ll be able to lift ourselves out of this predicament.”
Unfortunately, Obama (along with most of the Washington establishment) has created only misunderstanding. In calling for a massive increase in government control over the economy, he has evaded the mountain of evidence implicating the government. For example, Obama’s core explanation of all the destructive behaviour leading up to today’s crisis is that the market was too free. But the market that led to today’s crisis was systematically manipulated by government.
Fact This decade saw drastic attempts by the government to control the housing and financial markets — via a Federal Reserve that cut interest rates to all-time lows and via a gigantic increase in Fannie Mae’s and Freddie Mac’s size and influence.
Fact Through these entities, the government sought to “stimulate the economy” and promote home ownership (sound familiar?) by artificially extending cheap credit to home-buyers.
Fact Most of the (very few) economists who actually predicted the financial crisis blame Fed policy or housing policy for inflating a bubble that was bound to collapse.
How does all this evidence factor into Obama’s understanding of “how we arrived at this moment”? It doesn’t. Not once, during the solemn 52 minutes and 5,902 words of his speech to Congress did he mention the Fed, Fannie or Freddie. Not once did he suggest that government manipulation of markets could have any possible role in the present crisis. He just went full steam ahead and called for more spending, more intervention and more government housing programs as the solution.
A genuine explanation of the financial crisis must take into account all the facts. What role did the Fed play? What about Fannie and Freddie? To be sure, some companies and CEOs seem to have made irrational business decisions. Was the primary cause “greed,” as so many claim — and what does this even mean? Or was the primary cause government intervention — like artificially low interest rates, which distorted economic decision-making and encouraged less competent and more reckless companies and CEOs while marginalizing and paralyzing the more competent ones?
Entertaining such questions would also mean considering the idea that the fundamental solution to our problems is to disentangle the government from the markets to prevent future manipulation. It would mean considering pro-free-market remedies such as letting banks foreclose, letting prices reach market levels, letting bad banks fail, dismantling Fannie and Freddie, ending bailout promises and getting rid of the Fed’s power to manipulate interest rates.
But it is not genuine understanding the administration seeks. For it, the wisdom and necessity of previous government intervention is self-evident; no matter the contrary evidence, the crisis can only have been caused by insufficient government intervention. Besides, the administration is too busy following Obama’s chief of staff’s dictum, “Never let a serious crisis go to waste,” by proposing a virtual takeover of not only financial markets but also the problem-riddled energy and health-care markets — which, they conveniently ignore, are also already among the most government-controlled in the economy.
While Obama has not sought a real explanation of today’s economic problems, the public should. Otherwise, we will simply swallow “solutions” that dogmatically assume the free market got us here — namely, Obama’s plans to swamp this country in an ocean of government debt, government controls and government make-work projects.
Alternative, free-market explanations for the crisis do exist — ones that consider the inconvenient facts Washington ignores — and everyone should seek to understand them. Those who do will likely end up telling our leaders to stop saying “Yes, we can” to each new proposal for expanding government power, and start saying “Yes, you can” to those who seek to exercise their right to produce and trade on a free market.
Alex Epstein is an analyst at the Ayn Rand Center for Individual Rights.
Well now we have the proof. I said it before Mr. Obama was elected. The ONLY change that Obama expects to bring to Washington is him in the white house!
Now we have the proof. This "STIMULUS" bill is anything BUT stimulating! Apparently hundreds of phone calls against the bill are coming into government offices. But the government of the people, by the people and for the people has now become the government OVER the people, right by the people and FOR the democratic party in government!
Didn't Mr. Obama say that he wanted to CHANGE the way Washington worked? Ha, well now we know how.
So Mr. Obama has brought CHANGE TO AMERICA... yes CHANGE AS TO WHO GETS THE PORK. - His soundbytes about there being NO PORK in the bill are absolute blatant lies.
The letters and calls to the congress were 100:1 AGAINST this package but that did not thwart the courageous congress from paying back all their supporters AGAINST the will of the people!
However it was that unofficial third party in the U.S. called the left-wing socialist media combined with the fairy-tale elite in Hollywood. who actually elected Mr. Obama.
The so-called "stimulus" bill just passed in the U.S. will stimulate that famous employer, the National Association for the Endowment for the Arts, build Milwaukee schools when 15 are empty with declining enrolment and so on.
It is complete PORK. There may be a few million of the billions here and there which might actually do a little but the stock market tells all as they have been in freefall as the "package" made it's way through the congress.
Yes is it payback time as the hog trough package goes out to all the supporters which the Democrats did not have the power to reward previously.
What Mr. Obama came to the Whitehouse to change was ONE THING ... WHO GET'S THE PORK?
The bill is full of nothing but spending to reward those who elected Mr. Obama and his "Democratic" presidential guards and very little to help the average worker at all.
It is a sad time when telling blatant lies and rewarding those who support you are more important than actually helping people cope with this deep recession.
So much for the country of Abraham Lincoln and a country which was "of the people, by the people, for the people". Unless of course those people are Democratic suckies.
If even comedian Jackie Mason sees this, there perhaps is hope for the American people somewhere.
Terence Corcoran reports in the National Post on Friday, January 16, 2009 that the STIMULUS everyone is yelling for may only work over a short period and may actually MAKE THE ECONOMY WORSE over longer periods.
WHO SAYS A STIMULUS ACTUALLY STIMULATES?
or is it simply temporary VIAGRA for the ECONOMY?
POINTS from article above ...
-"Except for one problem: What if it's not true? What if, as a wide and growing school of economists now suspect, the government spending and stimulus theory is a crock that is shovel-ready to be heaved out into the barnyard of economic waste?
- "What if, as a wide and growing school of economists now suspect, the government spending and stimulus theory is a crock that is shovel-ready to be heaved out into the barnyard of economic waste?"
- Even disciples of Keynes, such as Harvard's Greg Mankiw, recently highlighted economic studies that show government spending binges -- shocks, they are sometimes called -- don't seem to help the economy grow. They might even make it worse.
-One of the studies cited by Mr. Mankiw was by two European economists (Andrew Mountford and Harald Uhlig), titled "What are the Effects of Fiscal Shocks?" It looked at big deficit-financed spending increases and found that they stimulate the economy for the first year, but "only weakly" compared with a deficit financed tax cut. The overriding problem is that the deficits crowd out private investment and, over the long run, may make the economy worse. "The resulting higher debt burdens may have long-term consequences which are far worse than the short-term increase in GDP."
-A paper by two economists, including the current chief economist at the International Monetary Fund, Olivier Blanchard, concluded that increased taxes and "increases in government spending have a strong negative effect on private investment spending."
-Roberto Perotti, an Italian economist with links to Columbia University, in "Estimating the Effects of Fiscal Policy in OECD Countries," found nothing but bad news for Keynesians. Economic growth is little changed after big increases in government spending, but there are signs of weakening private investment.
- What we all might logically intuit to be true -- spend government money, especially borrowed money, and you stimulate growth -- has long been thought to be a fallacy by some economists. That thought is now spreading. British economist William Buiter said the massive Obama fiscal stimulus proposals "are afflicted by the Keynesian fallacy on steroids."
Except for one problem: What if it's not true? What if, as a wide and growing school of economists now suspect, the government spending and stimulus theory is a crock that is shovel-ready to be heaved out into the barnyard of economic waste?
The Prime Minister, in his comments on Friday, seemed to be riding right into the barnyard. He said the government would be simply "borrowing money that is not being used" and "that business is afraid to invest." By borrowing that money, and turning it over to all the groups and interests looking for part of the stimulus spending, he would be jump-starting activity while the private sector got its legs back.
Even disciples of Keynes, such as Harvard's Greg Mankiw, recently highlighted economic studies that show government spending binges -- shocks, they are sometimes called -- don't seem to help the economy grow. They might even make it worse.
One of the studies cited by Mr. Mankiw was by two European economists (Andrew Mountford and Harald Uhlig), titled "What are the Effects of Fiscal Shocks?" It looked at big deficit-financed spending increases and found that they stimulate the economy for the first year, but "only weakly" compared with a deficit financed tax cut. The overriding problem is that the deficits crowd out private investment and, over the long run, may make the economy worse. "The resulting higher debt burdens may have long-term consequences which are far worse than the short-term increase in GDP."
Two other studies point in the same direction. A paper by two economists, including the current chief economist at the International Monetary Fund, Olivier Blanchard, concluded that increased taxes and "increases in government spending have a strong negative effect on private investment spending."
Roberto Perotti, an Italian economist with links to Columbia University, in "Estimating the Effects of Fiscal Policy in OECD Countries," found nothing but bad news for Keynesians. Economic growth is little changed after big increases in government spending, but there are signs of weakening private investment.
What we all might logically intuit to be true -- spend government money, especially borrowed money, and you stimulate growth -- has long been thought to be a fallacy by some economists. That thought is now spreading. British economist William Buiter said the massive Obama fiscal stimulus proposals "are afflicted by the Keynesian fallacy on steroids."
Over at Stimulus Canada, Mr. Harper's plan looks somewhat more modest and Canada is not in the same fiscal fix as the United States. But Ottawa and the provinces are clearly ready to borrow big wads of money from the future to stimulate the economy today. It's money that is supposedly sitting out there in the timid hands of investors who will be repaid with tax dollars later.
But if that stimulus spending does not generate much fresh economic growth, and the borrowing chews up money that private investors could invest in the future, the shovel-ready brigades who get the cash today will produce only short term gains at the expense of the long term health of the economy.
[Doesn't it make you wonder when nobody seems to know what to do but some of the advice of the best researchers suggests that a STIMULUS may actually HARM the economy? Some economic researchers point to FDR and the Great Depression and suggest that FDR actually INCREASED the length of the depression. He was obviously and encourager and inspired hope which is an important factor as we see when the markets fall like bricks. But did his fiscal policy actually make it longer?]
Two UCLA economists say they have figured out why the Great Depression dragged on for almost 15 years, and they blame a suspect previously thought to be beyond reproach: President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
After scrutinizing Roosevelt's record for four years, Harold L. Cole and Lee E. Ohanian conclude in a new study that New Deal policies signed into law 71 years ago thwarted economic recovery for seven long years.
"Why the Great Depression lasted so long has always been a great mystery, and because we never really knew the reason, we have always worried whether we would have another 10- to 15-year economic slump," said Ohanian, vice chair of UCLA's Department of Economics. "We found that a relapse isn't likely unless lawmakers gum up a recovery with ill-conceived stimulus policies."
In an article in the August issue of the Journal of Political Economy, Ohanian and Cole blame specific anti-competition and pro-labor measures that Roosevelt promoted and signed into law June 16, 1933.
"President Roosevelt believed that excessive competition was responsible for the Depression by reducing prices and wages, and by extension reducing employment and demand for goods and services," said Cole, also a UCLA professor of economics. "So he came up with a recovery package that would be unimaginable today, allowing businesses in every industry to collude without the threat of antitrust prosecution and workers to demand salaries about 25 percent above where they ought to have been, given market forces. The economy was poised for a beautiful recovery, but that recovery was stalled by these misguided policies."
Using data collected in 1929 by the Conference Board and the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Cole and Ohanian were able to establish average wages and prices across a range of industries just prior to the Depression. By adjusting for annual increases in productivity, they were able to use the 1929 benchmark to figure out what prices and wages would have been during every year of the Depression had Roosevelt's policies not gone into effect. They then compared those figures with actual prices and wages as reflected in the Conference Board data.
In the three years following the implementation of Roosevelt's policies, wages in 11 key industries averaged 25 percent higher than they otherwise would have done, the economists calculate. But unemployment was also 25 percent higher than it should have been, given gains in productivity.
Meanwhile, prices across 19 industries averaged 23 percent above where they should have been, given the state of the economy. With goods and services that much harder for consumers to afford, demand stalled and the gross national product floundered at 27 percent below where it otherwise might have been.
"High wages and high prices in an economic slump run contrary to everything we know about market forces in economic downturns," Ohanian said. "As we've seen in the past several years, salaries and prices fall when unemployment is high. By artificially inflating both, the New Deal policies short-circuited the market's self-correcting forces."
The policies were contained in the National Industrial Recovery Act (NIRA), which exempted industries from antitrust prosecution if they agreed to enter into collective bargaining agreements that significantly raised wages. Because protection from antitrust prosecution all but ensured higher prices for goods and services, a wide range of industries took the bait, Cole and Ohanian found. By 1934 more than 500 industries, which accounted for nearly 80 percent of private, non-agricultural employment, had entered into the collective bargaining agreements called for under NIRA.
Cole and Ohanian calculate that NIRA and its aftermath account for 60 percent of the weak recovery. Without the policies, they contend that the Depression would have ended in 1936 instead of the year when they believe the slump actually ended: 1943.
Roosevelt's role in lifting the nation out of the Great Depression has been so revered that Time magazine readers cited it in 1999 when naming him the 20th century's second-most influential figure.
"This is exciting and valuable research," said Robert E. Lucas Jr., the 1995 Nobel Laureate in economics, and the John Dewey Distinguished Service Professor of Economics at the University of Chicago. "The prevention and cure of depressions is a central mission of macroeconomics, and if we can't understand what happened in the 1930s, how can we be sure it won't happen again?"
NIRA's role in prolonging the Depression has not been more closely scrutinized because the Supreme Court declared the act unconstitutional within two years of its passage.
"Historians have assumed that the policies didn't have an impact because they were too short-lived, but the proof is in the pudding," Ohanian said. "We show that they really did artificially inflate wages and prices."
Even after being deemed unconstitutional, Roosevelt's anti-competition policies persisted — albeit under a different guise, the scholars found. Ohanian and Cole painstakingly documented the extent to which the Roosevelt administration looked the other way as industries once protected by NIRA continued to engage in price-fixing practices for four more years.
The number of antitrust cases brought by the Department of Justice fell from an average of 12.5 cases per year during the 1920s to an average of 6.5 cases per year from 1935 to 1938, the scholars found. Collusion had become so widespread that one Department of Interior official complained of receiving identical bids from a protected industry (steel) on 257 different occasions between mid-1935 and mid-1936. The bids were not only identical but also 50 percent higher than foreign steel prices. Without competition, wholesale prices remained inflated, averaging 14 percent higher than they would have been without the troublesome practices, the UCLA economists calculate.
NIRA's labor provisions, meanwhile, were strengthened in the National Relations Act, signed into law in 1935. As union membership doubled, so did labor's bargaining power, rising from 14 million strike days in 1936 to about 28 million in 1937. By 1939 wages in protected industries remained 24 percent to 33 percent above where they should have been, based on 1929 figures, Cole and Ohanian calculate. Unemployment persisted. By 1939 the U.S. unemployment rate was 17.2 percent, down somewhat from its 1933 peak of 24.9 percent but still remarkably high. By comparison, in May 2003, the unemployment rate of 6.1 percent was the highest in nine years.
Recovery came only after the Department of Justice dramatically stepped enforcement of antitrust cases nearly four-fold and organized labor suffered a string of setbacks, the economists found.
"The fact that the Depression dragged on for years convinced generations of economists and policy-makers that capitalism could not be trusted to recover from depressions and that significant government intervention was required to achieve good outcomes," Cole said. "Ironically, our work shows that the recovery would have been very rapid had the government not intervened."
Obamanomics a drag on growth
Jacqueline Thorpe, National Post Published: Thursday, November 06, 2008
As the fervour fades, the world will have to get used to a new word: Obamanomics.
It means tax hikes for the rich, tax cuts for the poor and middle class, a promise to renegotiate NAFTA, greater union power, windfall taxes on oil and gas profits, higher taxes on capital gains and corporate dividends and more comprehensive health care coverage.
Barack Obama's economic plan may deliver the greater income equality Americans have apparently been craving, but also slower growth. Despite the vast tax hikes, it will cost a vast sum and U. S. federal finances, already ravaged by bailouts and recession, will slide deeper into the red.
The plan is not market-friendly but that does not mean the markets will not like an Obama presidency. If he can give the U. S. back its confidence, restore its reputation and sense of optimism, markets will take the bait as they have done with Democratic presidents so often in the past.
If he can become a Clintonstyle pragmatist, resist caving to every whim of a deeply left Congress, and not meddle with the bailouts that seem to be gingerly gaining traction, markets might even run with his presidency. The year from hell for investors could then be nearing an end.
Obamanomics is essentially about taking more money from the rich and giving it to the poor, plain old-fashioned "neighbourliness" as Mr. Obama has described it.
Or, as others have remarked, taking money from those who earn it and giving it to those who don't.
Under his income tax plan, Mr. Obama says he will provide tax cuts for 95% of Americans. He will do this by repealing Bush tax cuts -- set to expire in 2010 -- and bumping the top rates back to 36% from 33% and to 39.6% from 35%. Individuals earning over US$200,000 and families over US$250,000 will see sizable tax increases. This includes sole proprietors of businesses such as lawyers, accountants or plumbers called Joe.
Since 38% of Americans currently do not pay federal income taxes, Mr. Obama will provide them with refundable tax credits. Under his plan, 48% of Americans will pay no income tax.
"For the people that don't pay taxes, he is simply going to write them a cheque," says Andy Busch, global foreign exchange strategist at BMO Capital Markets. "That is income redistribution at its worst and produces very little value."
Other plans include raising taxes on capital gains and dividends to 20% from 15% for families earning more than US$250,000. He plans to leave the corporate tax rate at 35%, which in a world of rapidly falling rates, looks positively anti-business. He will introduce windfall taxes on oil and gas companies but offer US$4-billion in credits to U. S. auto-makers to retool to greener cars.
Much has been made of Mr. Obama's plan to renegotiate NAFTA to make it more labour-friendly, though no one seems to believe he will actually make it more protectionist.
The bottom line is this: Obama's economic plan is likely to be a drag on growth and it will cost money. The nonpartisan Tax Policy Center estimates Obama's program would add US$3.5-trillion to U. S. debt over the next 10 years, including interest. His plans for health care-- which may be delayed by financial necessity -- would tack on another US$1.6-trillion.
WHY IT IS WRONG TO CALL IRAQ A MISTAKE
First the "hundred years" controversy, and now this. Is the man a liar, or are his speechwriters and advisors just that willing to leave him vulnerable to attack?
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Senator Barack Obama is not a Muslim, contrary to invidious rumors. But he belongs to a Christian church whose doctrine casts Jesus Christ as a “black messiah” and blacks as “the chosen people”. At best, this is a radically different kind of Christianity than most Americans acknowledge; at worst it is an ethnocentric heresy.
What played out last week on America’s television screens was a clash of two irreconcilable cultures, the posture of “black liberation theology” and the mainstream American understanding of Christianity. Obama, who presented himself as a unifying figure, now seems rather the living embodiment of the clash.
One of the strangest dialogues in American political history ensued on March 15 when Fox News interviewed Obama’s pastor, the Reverend Jeremiah Wright, of Chicago’s Trinity Church. Wright asserted the authority of the “black liberation” theologians James Cone and Dwight Hopkins:
Wright: How many of Cone’s books have you read? How many of Cone’s book have you read?
Sean Hannity: Reverend, Reverend?
Wright: How many books of Cone’s have you head?
Hannity: I’m going to ask you this question . . .
Wright: How many books of Dwight Hopkins have you read?
Hannity: You’re very angry and defensive. I’m just trying to ask a question here.
Wright: You haven’t answered—you haven’t answered my question.
Hopkins is a full professor at the University of Chicago’s Divinity School; Cone is now distinguished professor at New York’s Union Theological Seminary. They promote a “black power” reading of Christianity, to which liberal academic establishment condescends.
Obama referred to this when he asserted in a March 14 statement, “I knew Reverend Wright as someone who served this nation with honor as a United States Marine, as a respected biblical scholar, and as someone who taught or lectured at seminaries across the country, from Union Theological Seminary to the University of Chicago.” But the fact the liberal academy condescends to sponsor black liberation theology does not make it less peculiar to mainstream American Christians. Obama wants to talk about what Wright is, rather than what he says. But that way lies apolitical quicksand.
Since Christianity taught the concept of divine election to the Gentiles, every recalcitrant tribe in Christendom has rebelled against Christian universalism, insisting that it is the “Chosen People” of God—French, English, Russian, Germans and even (through the peculiar doctrine of Mormonism) certain Americans. America remains the only really Christian country in the industrial world, precisely because it transcends ethnicity. One finds ethnocentricity only in odd corners of its religious life; one of these is African-American.
During the black-power heyday of the late 1960s, after the murder of the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr, the mentors of Wright decided that blacks were the Chosen People. James Cone, the most prominent theologian in the “black liberation” school, teaches that Jesus Christ himself is black. As he explains:
Christ is black therefore not because of some cultural or psychological need of black people, but because and only because Christ really enters into our world where the poor were despised and the black are, disclosing that he is with them enduring humiliation and pain and transforming oppressed slaves into liberating servants.
Theologically, Cone’s argument is as silly as the “Aryan Christianity” popular in Nazi Germany, which claimed that Jesus was not a Jew at all but an Aryan Galilean, and that the Aryan race was the “chosen people”. Cone, Hopkins and Wright do not propose, of course, to put non-blacks in concentration camps or to conquer the world, but racially-based theology nonetheless is a greased chute to the nether regions.
Biblical theology teaches that even the most terrible events to befall Israel, such as the Babylonian destruction of Jerusalem in 586 BCE, embody the workings of divine justice, even if humankind cannot see God’s purpose. James Cone sees the matter very differently. Either God must do what we want him to do, or we must reject him, Cone maintains:
Black theology refuses to accept a God who is not identified totally with the goals of the black community. If God is not for us and against white people, then he is a murderer, and we had better kill him. The task of black theology is to kill Gods who do not belong to the black community. . . . Black theology will accept only the love of God which participates in the destruction of the white enemy. What we need is the divine love as expressed in Black Power, which is the power of black people to destroy their oppressors here and now by any means at their disposal. Unless God is participating in this holy activity, we must reject his love. 
In the black liberation theology taught by Wright, Cone and Hopkins, Jesus Christ is not for all men, but only for the oppressed:
In the New Testament, Jesus is not for all, but for the oppressed, the poor and unwanted of society, and against oppressors. . . . Either God is for black people in their fight for liberation and against the white oppressors, or he is not [Cone].
In this respect black liberation theology is identical in content to all the ethnocentric heresies that preceded it. Christianity has no use for the nations, a “drop of the bucket” and “dust on the scales”, in the words of Isaiah. It requires that individuals turn their back on their ethnicity to be reborn into Israel in the spirit. That is much easier for Americans than for the citizens of other nations, for Americans have no ethnicity. But the tribes of the world do not want to abandon their Gentile nature and as individuals join the New Israel. Instead they demand eternal life in their own Gentile flesh, that is, to be the “Chosen People”.
That is the “biblical scholarship” to which Obama referred in his March 14 defense of Wright and his academic prominence. In his response to Hannity, Wright genuinely seemed to believe that the authority of Cone and Hopkins, who now hold important posts at liberal theological seminaries, was sufficient to make the issue go away. His faith in the white establishment is touching; he honestly cannot understand why the white reporters at Fox News are bothering him when the University of Chicago and the Union Theological Seminary have put their stamp of approval on black liberation theology.
Many things that the liberal academy has adopted, though, will horrify most Americans, and not only “black liberation theology” (Queer Studies comes to mind, among other things). It cannot be in Obama’s best interests to appeal to the authority of Cone, whose unapologetic racism must be repugnant to the great majority of Americans, including the majority of black Americans, who for the most part belong to Christian churches that preach mainstream Christian doctrine. Christianity teaches unconditional love for a God whose love for humankind is absolute; it does not teach the repudiation of a God who does not destroy our enemies on the spot.
Whether Obama takes seriously the doctrines that Wright preaches is another matter. It is possible that Obama does not believe a word of what Wright, Cone and Hopkins teach. Perhaps he merely used the Trinity United Church of Christ as a political stepping-stone. African-American political life is centered around churches, and his election to the Illinois State Senate with the support of Chicago’s black political machine required church membership. Trinity United happens to be Chicago’s largest and most politically active black church.
Obama views Wright rather at arm’s length: as the New York Times reported on April 30, 2007:
Reverend Wright is a child of the 60s, and he often expresses himself in that language of concern with institutional racism and the struggles the African-American community has gone through,” Mr Obama said. “He analyzes public events in the context of race. I tend to look at them through the context of social justice and inequality.
Obama holds his own views close. But it seems unlikely that he would identify with the ideological fits of the black-power movement of the 1960s. Obama does not come to the matter with the perspective of an American black, but of the child of a left-wing anthropologist raised in the Third World, as I wrote elsewhere (Obama’s women reveal his secret , Asia Times Online, February 26, 2008). It is possible that because of the Wright affair Obama will suffer for what he pretended to be, rather than for what he really is.
1. See William R Jones, “Divine Racism: The Unacknowledged Threshold Issue for Black Theology”, in African-American Religious Thought: An Anthology, ed Cornel West and Eddie Glaube (Westminster John Knox Press).
(Posted on March 17, 2008)
I have mixed feelings about the whole Jeremiah Wright ordeal. On one hand, I understand his feelings. As a white man, I choose to stand with my race just as he chooses to stand with his. Thus, I can’t fault him for his views. On the other hand, I also recognize that Rev. Wright would never attempt to understand my feelings or concerns so why should I try to understand his? The fact is, people like Wright are not intellectually consistent with their beliefs; they preach ethno-centrism and border-line hatred of other races yet would accuse a white man of being “racist” for the slightest perceived insult.
Posted by Conrad R. at 6:03 PM on March 17
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* "Black theology refuses to accept a God who is not identified totally with the goals of the black community. If God is not for us and against white people, then he is a murderer, and we had better kill him."* "All white men are responsible for white oppression."* "While it is true that blacks do hate whites, black hatred is not racism."* "Theologically, Malcolm X was not far wrong when he called the white man "the devil.""* "The black theologian must reject any conception of God which stifles black self-determination by picturing God as a God of all peoples."* "We have had too much of white love, the love that tells blacks to turn the other cheek and go the second mile. What we need is the divine love as expressed in black power, which is the power of blacks to destroy their oppressors, here and now, by any means at their disposal."
Given the chain’s general leftward slant, it is all the more notable that McClatchy is perhaps the first establishment media outlet to report some of the specifics of the Black Liberation Theology that is the vision of Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago, Barack Obama’s church — and to note (as already noted here) that Obama dodged the larger issue:
Obama’s speech Tuesday on race in America was hailed as a masterful handling of the controversy over divisive sermons by the longtime pastor of Trinity United, the recently retired Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr.
But in repudiating and putting in context Wright’s inflammatory lines about whites and U.S. foreign policy, the Democratic presidential front-runner didn’t address other potentially controversial facts about his church and its ties.
McClatchy’s Margaret Talev went so far as to interview Dr. James H. Cone, who first presented Black Liberation Theology as a system of thought in the late 1960s. Dr. Cone reaffirmed his prior view that Trinity most embodies his message and opined that he thought the Rev. Wright’s successor, the Rev. Otis Moss III, would continue the tradition. (It does seem likely so far.)
Unfortunately, the piece quotes only Dr. Cone and Dwight Hopkins, a Trinity member and liberation theology professor at the University of Chicago’s divinity school. Apparently, McClatchy could not be bothered to contact neutral theologians or critics of Black Liberation Theology. As a result, Cone and Hopkins get away with softening the harder edges of their theology.
Nevertheless, McClatchy has now done more than most of the establishment media (and certainly more than TIME magazine’s new puff piece or the ignorant and inane ramblings of E.J. Dionne, Jr.) on the underlying issue, even as it hypothesizes Obama’s church membership is one of political convenience rather than reading Obama’s writings on the subject, which are consistent with the theology.
Most important, McClatchy sought answers from the Obama campaign on the issue:
It isn’t clear where Obama’s beliefs and the church’s diverge. Through aides, Obama declined requests for an interview or to respond to written questions about his thoughts on Jesus, Cone or liberation theology.
That is the standard response of the Obama campaign to any controversy, as anyone trying to report on Obama’s relationship with Tony Rezko will tell you. Obama will not answer press inquiries until the establishment media turns up the heat to the point where he feels compelled to do so. That pattern should trouble people far beyond those concerned about the degree to which Obama susbscribes to Black Liberation Theology.
(h/t Gateway Pundit.)
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