Friday, October 10, 2008

Hate speech

Politics gets nasty.

When I was a graduate student at Tulane University, I remember reading newspapers dating from the 1830s. The political rhetoric that filled those publications during national elections was incredibly vitriolic and hateful. The political cartoons were sometimes even more scathing! The attacks often turned downright personal. The material rivaled any hotly contested race today.

Politics just gets that way.

But today, it seems to me that we're crossing sacred boundaries to our own peril. Some of what is being said in this campaign cuts into the health of the nation's soul.

Earlier this week, we heard reports of racial epitaphs being shouted from campaign audiences against Senator Barack Obama. The use of the senator's middle name in a blatantly discriminatory and fearful manner, the veiled language of racism that identifies Obama as "not like us," charges that he was a terrorist and even voices shouting for his death were heard in more than one campaign speech and from more than one rally crowd. This all reminds me of the rhetoric surrounding the 1960 presidential campaign and the hate-filled language directed toward President Kennedy leading up to his assassination here in Dallas. It is all despicable.

For the leaders of such audiences, and by that I mean those who are at the podium speaking and those who organize the events, to refuse to stop immediately and challenge or correct such behavior is a serious moral problem. Such tactics destroy community, foster hatred and diminish the quality of life for every American.

This is not a partisan issue. It is not a political issue. This is a spiritual concern that points up just how far off course we have gone.



Anonymous said...

About a year ago, I would have voted for Obama. I have changed my mind three times since then. I watch all the news channels, jumping from one to another. I must say this drives my husband crazy. But, I feel if you view MSNBC, CNN, and FOX News, you might get some middle ground to work with.

About six months ago, I started thinking, 'Where did the money come from for Obama?' I have four daughters who went to college, and we were middle class, and money was tight.

We (including my girls) worked hard and there were lots of student loans. I started looking into Obama's life. Around 1979, Obama started college at Occidental in California. He is very open about his two years at Occidental, he tried all kinds of drugs and was wasting his time, but even though he had a brilliant mind, did not apply himself to his studies. 'Barry' (that was the name he used all his life) during this time had two roommates, Muhammad Hasan Chandoo, and Wahid Hamid, both from Pakistan .

During the summer of 1981, after his second year in college, he made a 'round the world' trip. Stopping to see his mother in Indonesia, next Hyderabad in India, three weeks in Karachi, Pakistan where he stayed with his roommate's family. My question - Where did he get the money for this trip? Neither I, nor any one of my children would have had money for a trip like this when they were in college.

To verify these acquaintances, click here.

When he came back he started school at Columbia University in New York. It is at this time he wants everyone to call him Barak - not Barry. Do you know what the tuition is at Columbia? It's not cheap to say the least. Where did he get money for tuition? Student loans maybe? After Columbia , he went to Chicago to work as a Community Organizer for $12,000 a year.

Why Chicago? Why not New York? He was already living in New York. By 'chance' he met Antoin 'Tony' Rezko, born in Aleppo Syria, and a real estate developer in Chicago. Rezko has been convicted of fraud and bribery this year.

To verify Obama’s ties to Rezko, click the two links below.

Rezko was named 'Entrepreneur of the Decade' by the Arab-American Business and Professional Association.

About two hears later, Obama entered Harvard Law School. Do you have any idea what tuition is for Harvard Law School? Where did he get the money for Law School? More student loans?

After law school, he went back to Chicago. Rezko offered him a job, which he turned down. But, he did take a job with Davis, Miner, Barnhill & Galland. Guess what? They represented 'Rezar' which was Rezko's firm.

Rezko was one of Obama's first major financial contributors when he ran for office in Chicago. In 2003, Rezko threw an early fundraiser for Obama which Chicago Tribune reporter David Mendelland claims was instrumental in providing Obama with 'seed money' for his U.S. Senate race. In 2005, Obama purchased a new home in Kenwood District of Chicago for $1.65 million (less than the asking price. With ALL those Student Loans, where did he get the money for the property? On the same day, Rezko's wife, Rita, purchased the adjoining empty lot for full price.
Click here to learn about the ties with Rezko and Obama’s house. Obama says everything is on the up and up and it may or may not be.

The London Times reported that Nadhmi Auchi, an Iraqi-born billionaire, loaned Rezko $3.5 million three weeks before Obama's new home was purchased. Obama met Nadhmi Auchi many times with Rezko. Now that we have Obama running for President.

Valerie Jarrett was Michele Obama's boss. She is now Obama's chief advisor and he does not make any major decisions without talking to her first. Where was Jarre tt born? Ready for this? Shiraz, Iran! Do we see a pattern here? Or am I going crazy?

To verify this acquaintance, click here.

On May 10, 2008, the Times reported, Robert Malley, advisor to Obama was 'sacked after the press found out he was having regular contacts with 'Hamas,' which controls Gaza and is connected with Iran.

To verify this acquaintance, click here.

This past week, buried in the back part of the papers, Iraqi newspapers reported that during Obama's visit to Iraq, he asked their leaders to do nothing about the war until after he is elected, and he will 'take care of things.'

Oh, and by the way, remember the college roommates that were born in Pakistan? They are in charge of all these 'small' Internet campaign contributions for Obama. Where is that money coming from? The poor and middle class in this country? Or could it be from the Middle East?

Check out this link about Middle East contributions to his campaign.

And the final bit of news. On September 7, 2008, the Washington Times posted a verbal slip that was made on "This Week' with George Stephanapoulos. Obama on talking about his religion said, 'My Muslim faith...' When questioned, 'he made a mistake.' Some mistake!

This comment by Obama about his Muslim faith may have been a mistake, but can be seen at this link.

All of the above information I got on line. If you would like to check it - Wikipedia, encyclopedia, Barak Obama; Tony Rezko; Valerie Jarrett; Daily Times - Obama visited Pakistan in 1981; The Washington Times - September 7, 2008; The Times, May 10, 2008. Or Google it!

Now the BIG question - If I found out all this information on my own, why haven't all of our 'intelligent' members of the press been reporting this? A phrase that keeps ringing in my ear - 'Beware of the enemy from within.'!"

Open your arms to change but don't let go of your values!

Anonymous said...

anon 7:10, your conspiracy theory sketch here makes me doubt that you ever considered Obama at all. I went to the YouTube link on Obama's supposed slip about "my Muslim" faith. Clearly, he was talking about McCain smearing him with the charge of being Muslim or he just misspoke in the context of that lie. Larry posts about hate speech. You share this ridiculous tale of intrique. Can we stay on topic here, ever??? Or, are you saying the hate we hear at these rallies is justified because Obama is going to win and turn the nation into a Muslim state? Surely you don't mean that, do you?

And, if you are so sure of all of this, sign you name.

Phil Wilson

Chris said...

I doubt this speech is accidental. Have you considered it might be Democrat "plants" to make the McCain campaign look bad?

Anonymous said...

To Anonymous 7:10

PLEASE don't vote for Obama! Ithink he'll pick up a few votes to make up for losing yours.

To Chris - That's one of the silliest things I've ever heard. What makes McCain/Palin looked bad, is that now that they KNOW this is happening at their rallies, their not saying 'This is NOT the America we are trying to lead. We don't support this type of stuff and we don't want your support. The tepid post rally distancing they're doing sounds insincere. They want to this hatred to spread because they are so desperate they'll take any 'edge' they can get.

Larry James said...

Chris, all the more reason for the Republican speakers and event organizers to call these people out and insist that they stop the hate speech. Of course, what you suggest is absurd.

I can assure you that this is not a political matter for me or in reality. It is a moral matter, a national heart matter.

Anonymous said...

I agree we have crossed a line. However, that line seemed to be crossed way before now with a book or two advocating asasinating Bush. Where was the outrage about that? Not partisan, just noticing that the rhetoric on this level just hasn't started with this campaign year.

Anonymous said...

Of course blatant racism is wrong. Fortunately there's been very little of it in this campaign.

But what bothers me is that ANY criticism of Obama is viewed as "veiled" racism.

As one columnist wrote: "Republicans don't need to dress up for Halloween this year. They're scaring the pants off Barack Obama's followers by their mere presence. Anything they say, wear or do provokes instant cries of "RAAAAACISM!" Wink, blink or think critical thoughts about Obama? You're a bigot!"

Sarah Palin was accused of being a racist because she wore white! She was also accused of racism (by the AP, no less) because she pointed out the truth of Obama's longtime relationship with unrepentant terrorist William Ayers.

Yes, rebuke genuine racism when it rears it's ugly head. But let's stop the phony charges and recognize that it's OK to criticize Obama (or any black leader) without being a racist.

Anonymous said...


I hope you will blog about the out right voter fraud going on through ACORN, and I too don't remember you ever saying a thing about the hate speech directed towards Bush.


Anonymous said...

so to summarize for everyone: If you criticize Obama or do not support Obama, you are a racist. Has there ever been a more hands - off,protected candidate for President of our country? Is is not fair to have questoons and concerns about his past? God help us.

Larry James said...

Of course, one can be against Sen Obama and not have any racist feelings. Of course, his policy positions and record can be debated, exposed, evaluated and rejected without being racist. I think we all know that is not what I had in mind.

And, if I read or heard someone shout out "kill him: or "off with his head" about President Bush, I would call that down. I haven't heard that here in Dallas, nor have I read anything like that.

As for ACORN, here in Dallas, the organization is made up of olders citizens and is not very active. I don't know the details of the case in Nevada, but would support a full investigation and if there is fraud or wrongdoing, then that should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

Anonymous said...

My question for you Larry, is does CDM have any affiliation with the local ACORN?
Are any members of your board or management ACORN members?

Anonymous said...


Thanks for allowing this forum to be open, and I do believe that the vast majority of people who disagree with you still do so with great respect for you. You are a good man doing a good work. I think everyone is a little on edge right now. My 401k lost 40% of its value is basically a week. I am just 50 so I have time to recover. I have heard horror stories about people who are retiring this year or the next. I think we are all in for some rough economic times and I fear that the recovery will no come for a long time. I hope I am wrong.


Anonymous said...

You know the illegal ballot box stuffing by acorn might explain the big swing to the left in the last Dallas City elections. I hope that the feds look into Dallas as well!

Anonymous said...

That's funny Richard, because I find the majority of comments and questions asked of Larry here are out of sheer disrespect. I see a bunch of conservatives on this blog who will say anything to tear down the work of CDM.

Anonymous said...

Maybe I should have just said that I speak for myself. I am a conservative who has great respect for Larry and the work at CDM. I am also totally unfamiliar with the political landscape of Dallas.


Larry James said...

To answer the question, CDM has no formal or informal association with ACORN and no staff or board members involved with them. The idea that the shift in Dallas County voting could be tied to ACORN here is actually a bit laughable. That is not what happened. By the way, when the ACORN investigation takes place, I predict the verdict will be very surprising in the opposite direction of what many here might think. Time will tell. Certainly, if there has been fraud, that should not be tolerated.

Anonymous said...

Regarding hate speech: Counseling school youth earlier this week, we talked about throwing boomerangs at folks--they come back and hit us and if we have "puked on the boomerangs" they hit us with a lot of stink! Amazing that "pro-family" and "moral values" folks accept/encourage name calling. I use to believe name-calling was corrected by washing out mouth with soap
and then I came across words of scripture that said what we say reveals what's really in our hearts.

Anonymous said...

Larry - Thank you so much for serving the people Dallas, and for your ability to speak the "truth in love".

I've heard Bill Clinton called the antichrist in a prayer led by a Christian. I've heard a student at a Christian university associate George W with the "sign of the beast." Really? Both occasions made my skin crawl. There is no room for talk like that in a believer's speech.

AMEN to this post.

Thank you for this post!

Chris said...

ACORN is not only behind voter fraud, it is also behind the economic mess. It's subsidiary, Acorn Housing promoted subprime loans which is the cause of the stock market fall.

Bill Ayers is like Timothy McVeigh only Bill got a pass. They both bombed public buildings. He is now teaching your children at a university, except he is now quiet until Obama gets elected. Imagine a president with close ties with Timothy McVeigh. Get the picture?

Anonymous said...

It will be real interesting to hear the comments after the election if McCain wins. I expect a full - court press of the racism card. Frankly, I am so tired of hearing the direct and "around the edges" attack on anyone who has concerns or takes issue with anything about Obama's positions, record, and background. This board is a perfect example of such a response, where if any one dares to say anything negative about the Messiah, that person is immediatly labeled a racist or his comments are belittled. God help us if Obama loses because every white republican will be labled a racist and the Donna Brazil's of the world will be spewing some serious hate. Does it bother any one on this board that there just might be racism coming out of the mouths and action of the Obama supporters. This election has revealed alot about a number of people on this board, including the intolerance to other opinions and the absolute disgust for anyone who could question the views of those who don't agree with Obama's disciples. It would not surprise me a bit if CDM loses some of their most loyal supporters and donors because of the complete lack of tolerance for any view that does not fall in line with 99.9% of those who post here, including Larry. If you go back and look at Larry's responses to any counter - view to his on Obama, you will see comments that basically say, " your comment is nonsense and you don't have a clue what you are talking about". I guess that is what happens when politics is placed at the top of the list over bringing together people of different faiths and views to help others... together. I am done with this organization. My money and my time will go some other cause. Why would I continue to support CDM when apparently my concerns and opnions are looked down upon. Thanks for opening my eyes to a very ugly side of a group of people who i thought were all in the poverty fight together. Obviously we are not and I will find a more tolerant group. Peace be with all of you.

Anonymous said...

Larry and CDM have made me feel uncomfortable for years. (I still remember "flesh" colored crayons, etc.) While I have not supported CDM financially on a regular basis, I have from time to time not because they look up or down on my ideas and opinions but because they seek to pick up and lift up those whom by default/omission I neglected. I sometimes feel I'm accused of "beating and robbing" when I've not but those confrontations prompt reflection and oftentimes, conviction of how I've "passed by on the other side" in a hurry to be a good church-goer.

Larry James said...

Anon 2:17, I am sorry that you feel as you do. My only intention with this post was to call attention to the hate speech that is being heard at rallies, speech that in my view crosses a line that ought not be crossed. I am not disputing honest, principled differences of opinion or conviction about politics or process. Nor am I saying that you are a racist for backing Sen McCain. Not for a moment was I suggesting that. However, if you stand in a crowd and shout out racial slurs and insults or threats against a person's life, what conclusion might one reach? And if I stand before a crowd and allow such to continue, what does that say about me?

Everyone is welcome in our battle against poverty, everyone. If you feel as if that is not the case here at CDM, I ask for your forgivness if I have made you feel that way. My purpose here--and everything here is my opinon, not that of CDM--is to simply engage thought around the issues that concern all who visit this site.

Anonymous said...

It would just be nice if all of these uber-conservative anonymous's would actually post their name, rather than use all of these under-handed attacks like "I would support CDM, but..."

Anonymous said...

The Republican party is grasping on to the ACORN story as a way to delegitimize what now looks like the probable outcome of the November election. It is also a way to stoke the paranoia of their base, lay the groundwork for legal challenges of close outcomes in various states and promote new legal restrictions on legitimate voting by lower income voters and minorities. The big picture is that these claims of 'voter fraud' are themselves a fraud, a tool to aid in suppressing Democratic voter turnout. But I want give readers a bit more detail to understand what is going because the right-wing freak out about ACORN happens pretty much on schedule every two years. The whole scam is premised on having enough people who don't remember when they tried it before who they can then confuse and lie to. And this is clearly important because I'm hearing from a lot of people whose heart is in the right place thinking some real voter fraud conspiracy has been uncovered and that Obama has to distance himself from it post-haste.

ACORN registers lots of lower income and/or minority voters. They operate all across the country and do a lot of things beside voter registration. What's key to understand is their method. By and large they do not rely on volunteers to register voters. They hire people -- often people with low incomes or even the unemployed. This has the dual effect of not only registering people but also providing some work and income for people who are out of work. But because a lot of these people are doing it for the money, inevitably, a few of them cut corners or even cheat. So someone will end up filling out cards for nonexistent names and some of those slip through ACORN's own efforts to catch errors. (It's important to note that in many of the recent ACORN cases that have gotten the most attention it's ACORN itself that has turned the people in who did the fake registrations.) These reports start buzzing through the right-wing media every two years and every time the anecdotal reports of 'thousands' of fraudulent registrations turns out, on closer inspection, to be either totally bogus themselves or wildly exaggerated. So thousands of phony registrations ends up being, like, twelve.

I've always had questions about whether this is a good way to do voter registration. And Democratic campaigns usually keep their distance. But here's the key. This is fraud against ACORN. They end up paying people for registering more people then they actually signed up. If you register me three times to vote, the registrar will see two new registrations of an already registered person and the ones won't count. If I successfully register Mickey Mouse to vote, on election day, Mickey Mouse will still be a cartoon character who cannot go to the local voting station and vote. Logically speaking there's very little way a few phony names on the voting rolls could be used to commit actual vote fraud. And much more importantly, numerous studies and investigations have shown no evidence of anything more than a handful of isolated cases of actual instances of vote fraud.

To expand on this point let me quote from Richard Hasen, one of the most experienced and concise commentators on this question, from a June 2007 column in the Dallas Morning News ...

At least in hindsight, the center's line of argument is easily deconstructed. First, arguing by anecdote is dangerous business. A new report by Lorraine Minnite of Barnard College looks at these anecdotes and shows them to be, for the most part, wholly spurious. Sure, one can find a rare case of someone voting in two jurisdictions, but nothing extensive or systematic has been unearthed or documented.

But perhaps most importantly, the idea of massive polling-place fraud (through the use of inflated voter rolls) is inherently incredible. Suppose I want to swing the Missouri election for my preferred presidential candidate. I would have to figure out who the fake, dead or missing people on the registration rolls are, then pay a lot of other individuals to go to the polling place and claim to be that person, without any return guarantee - thanks to the secret ballot - that any of them will cast a vote for my preferred candidate.

Those who do show up at the polls run the risk of being detected and charged with a felony. And for what - $10? Polling-place fraud, in short, makes no sense.

The Justice Department devoted unprecedented resources to ferreting out fraud over five years and appears to have found not a single prosecutable case across the country. Of the many experts consulted, the only dissenter from that position was a representative of the now-evaporated American Center for Voting Rights.

Again, there have been numerous investigations of this. Often by people with at least a mild political interest in finding wrongdoing. But they never find it. It always ends up being right-wing hype and lies. Remember, most of those now-famous fired US Attorneys from 2007 were Republican appointees who were canned after they got tasked with investigating allegations of widespread vote fraud, did everything they could to find it, but came up with nothing. That was the wrong answer so Karl Rove and his crew at the Justice Department fired them.

Vote registration fraud is a limited and relatively minor problem in the US today. But it is principally an administrative and efficiency issue. It is has little or nothing to do with people casting illegitimate votes to affect an actual election. That's the key. What you're hearing right now from Fox News, the New York Post, John Fund and the rest of the right-wing bamboozlement chorus is a just another effort to exploit, confuse and lie in an effort to put more severe restrictions on legitimate voting and lay the groundwork to steal elections.

Anonymous said...

Anon 3:27, thanks for the sane analysis. I've heard this as well.

Here's one culprit in this whole deal: our media, often accussed of being left wing, is actually the entertainment wing! Better, indepth reporting would settle this foolish issue as a waste of time.

Unknown said...

Anonymous 9:47, given McCain's health, I think Palin has to be the most hands-off candidate for President (or any other office) in the history of democracy. Can't talk to her unless you show "deference", can't talk to her handlers, can't talk to the crowds at her rallies, can't call the Alaska state government without the campaign answering. I don't think the McCain campaign's sexist, just very very afraid of the poor choice it made.

If we want to talk Ayres, why is no one mentioning the Palins' association with Alaskan separatists? Or if Reverend Wright is speaking Obama's words, isn't her pre-political-life church equally demonstrative of her anti-Semitism? I don't think she's a separatist or anti-Semite - she just passes a higher bar of evidence for either label than Obama does for terrorist.

I'm sure a lot of people will want to respond - if so, please cite a fact based on something other than talk radio, FOX News, and those it pays, and I'll avoid the NYTimes and MSNBC.

Larry, as always, thanks for bringing news to our attention. I'm sorry if your desire for truth or compassion or simple human decency affects the great work you do.

Anonymous said...

An honest comment from someone who chooses to remain anonymous for this reason: The attacks that go on in a Christian forum are far more venomous than those in a secular situation. This blog is a case in point. You post a comment and then with a couple of clicks, someone then has access to harass and stalk your blog and the blogs that you have links for. I haven't checked in at this blog for sometime now for the very reason that it gets so hate filled and ridiculous. But I did get curious about Larry's response over the ACORN situation and so I decided to have a look.

ACORN and other similar groups drive down the reputation for all those who strive to help the needy by their illegal activities and the parties they are affiliated with. Which is exactly why government should not be attached to such works. Too much potential for corruption as folks seek power.

The reports of the hate speech at McCain events are magnified. There may have been a few of those kinds of things being said, but according to "boots on the ground" it was not wide spread by any stretch of the imagination, except of course by the media and their imagination. The idiots who said such things are no different from the idiots who say that it's racists to disagree with Obama. And don't kid yourself the hate speech and threats during this administration have been many. Even coming from Christians.

It's time for people to take a political chill pill and stop the madness, especially those who claim to be followers of Christ.

Something to remember: sometimes even if we can't be accused of saying hurtful things, we can be accused of stoking the flames of unrest just by what we choose to post.

Anonymous said...

ANON 3:10 - I did not say " I would support CDM but...". What I said was I have been a supporter (note the active tense - I have actually made many contributions of money to CDM). there is a difference. read the post before you start your " ANON " diatribe.

I find it humurous that you are critical of me for posting "ANON" when you did the very same thing. Hypocrite?

Anonymous said...

Yeah, but 3:10 is not the one spouting off BS about people/organizations and launching into character attacks.

Anonymous said...


I couldn't agree more with your original post.

And the way you have responded to the vitriol it engendered shows that you are a very patient man indeed.

Also, Charles, a sane and true comment.

There are certain people who post here regularly and, when I see their name, I don't even bother to read it any more, because it is always the same. Always. Which make me think the script is not their own, but somebody else's.

Chris said...

I don't remember Larry, but did you call attention to the hate speech of Jeremiah Wright?

Anonymous said...

Karen, I could not agree more. Some of those posting are like a broken record and just can't stay on the topic Larry intends to discuss.

I would enjoy reading the blog more if we could actually have more intelligent discussion on the subject posted rather the someone's personal agenda that has absolutely nothing to do with the intended discussion.

What about the questions friends, no matter where or how the event takes place (no finger pointing) is it a moral or spiritual problem when people exhibit this kind of behavior during an election?

It is not something I am proud of and I am sick of hearing it from all sides.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...


I don't know if Larry has discussed Jeremiah Wright's "hate speech" but you read the viewpoint of Gerald Britt (CDM's Vice President of Public Policy and Community Program Development) at the following link.

Funny how they don't condemn it across the board -- just when it opposes their viewpoint.

Anonymous said...

Why is that funny? You do the same thing in reverse.

I really don't see how anyone can conclude that Larry is intolerant. He could pull any comment on here at whim, and virtually never does. People disagree with him stridently and their posts stand only as a testament to his ability to tolerate different viewpoints.

Anonymous said...

Jeremiah Wright was not running for President. Nor did he call for any one's death in his controversial sermon. Disagree with his theology and his interpretation of American History, but don't try to compare his sermon in his church to what has been going on at rallies across the nation. BTW--yesterday Sen McCain pulled back on allowing lies to be told at his rallies. You can see the video at any news outlet where he referred to Sen Obama as a "family man" and as some one he respects and admires. He also rebutted the lie that Obama is a Muslim, though a questioner called him an Arab. Good for Sen McCain! Decency is what we are looking for. Way to go, Sen McCain!

Scott L.

Anonymous said...

Peggy Noonan, former speech writer for President Ronald Reagan and current political commentary columnist for the Wall Street journal wrote in her new book "Patriotic Grace" that everyone needs to take a dose of Political Ritalin.

Anonymous said...

Before we make a choice we may regret for the next four years, the accusations against Barack Obama should be carefully considered, as they are here.

Anonymous said...

Scott L. had it right. Rev. Wright (at least as I recall), wasn't running for president. And he wasn't inciting people to violence.

Readers of the post like Chris, probably won't bother, but why not go to the website of the church and see what kind of 'un-American', racist, hateful work they are doing. It's still the church that is built upon his leadership and he hasn't been retired long enough for it to change drastically. Why he even had nerve enough to include that wild radical subversive group 'the Girl Scouts' among its many ministries. FOR SHAME!

How dare Wright and his band of revolutionaries corrupt their church like this!

Anonymous said...

more on hate speech:

Amanda said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Polilla said...

Another point of view: Who's Valerie Jarrett?