See No, Hear No

Tom Van Dyke

Tom Van Dyke, businessman, musician, bon vivant and game-show champ (The Joker's Wild, and Win Ben Stein's Money), knows lots of stuff, although not quite everything yet. A past inactive to The American Spectator Online, the late great Reform Club blog, and currently on religion and the American Founding at American Creation, TVD continues to write on matters of both great and small importance from his ranch type style tract house high on a hill above Los Angeles.

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96 Responses

  1. Murali says:

    Precisely. This is why I’m not really too bothered by the letters. Ron Paul can no more repudiate his racist friend (Lew Rockwell) than Obama can his racist grandmother. They’ve all distanced themselves from the views published there, and that is enough.

    That’s the thing, when weighing Obama against Paul, it is not like only one of them has a history of questionable associations in the distant past, both of them do.Report

    • Stillwater in reply to Murali says:

      One signed his name to a racist newsletter. The other knows a racist pastor, has a racist grandma (is that really true?).

      I think there’s a categorical difference between these two things. I mean, I have friends who I hold dear, and family members for God’s sake!, who are racist. But I haven’t signed my name as author of racist publications.Report

  2. Morzer says:

    “Ron Paul with his newsletter makes a good pair with Barack Obama and his pastor Jeremiah Wright’s rantings from the pulpit”

    And the Easter Bunny is living in sin with Elvis in downtown Toledo.Report

  3. Tod Kelly says:

    The obvious difference between the two being: one saw repeatedly went to see a man say hateful things; the other published them under his name and sold them to people as his thoughts.

    Both are very worthy of scrutiny, judgement, and condemnation – but they are not as equal as all that.Report

  4. Nob Akimoto says:

    Because you know, Barack Obama made a lot of money off of having Wright give sermons and Obama made sure Wright was the one running his church while he was off doing community organizing things…

    Also, the extent to which Wright’s sermons were “hateful” are substantially overstated.Report

    • Tom Van Dyke in reply to Nob Akimoto says:

      Nob, BHO and Paul each disavowed any knowledge of what was going on.  The rest is tangential.  Re-litigating it is fruitless; the statute of limitations is up and Obama got away with it.  Unfortunately for him, Paul will not.  Which is fine by me—I don’t believe his denials any more than I believed Barack’s.Report

      • Tod Kelly in reply to Tom Van Dyke says:

        Are you sure about this?  I remember Obama making a lot of different excuses about Wright and his church; I don’t remember him ever saying that he had never known.Report

        • Kim in reply to Tod Kelly says:

          he certainly wasn’t there for the post-9-11 speech, and one of those excuses was “If I had known he was saying THAT, I would have walked out.” [not sure what exactly he was referencing…]Report

      • Nob Akimoto in reply to Tom Van Dyke says:

        I wouldn’t say the difference is all that tangental.

        There’s a substantial and very large difference between having your pastor spew occasional bits of vitriol and having someone actively work for you spewing the same thing in a political newsletter that’s published under your name.

        One shows you’ve got bad taste in preachers.

        The other shows you have terrible management skills and questionable judgment in hiring people to run stuff for you.Report

        • Tom Van Dyke in reply to Nob Akimoto says:

          Nob, I’d have wanted BHO hounded into disavowing James Cone’s “black theology” that Rev. Wright favored and some of which appeared on the Trinity Chrurch website.  I can tell you’re unfamiliar with any of this, because the press buried it for their man.  It was more than some absurd and incindiary statements from Rev. Wright.  But the press never held BHO’s feet to the fire as CNN just did with Ron Paul, over and over, the same charge.  So we’re really not discussing the same thing.

          “A white man who is in power cannot be a Christian, unless he gives up that power and give it to the black man” – James Cone

          I’d have liked to see him squirm.  He should have been made to squirm.  This is some wack shit.

          Sure, I’ll stipulate that Ron Paul is worse.  I’ve been appalled anyone here has spoken of him as a legitimate candidate.  I knew about the newsletters months ago,  and I assume poor EDK wouldn’t have had to do his walkback if he’d had known.

          Did the press lay back on this info until Paul stirred up some chaos in the GOP?  Or just because he provided infotainment amusement? I don’t dismiss either possibility.

          Nobody’s talked about Ron Paul’s “scene” in

          Brüno could probably make a gay man homophobic, but still…


          • North in reply to Tom Van Dyke says:

            The argument could be made, Tom, that Obama got out in front of this thing before the press ever really got a chance to “hold his feet to the fire” as it were. If you recall as soon as the whole shebang came out Obama did one of his big sparkly speeches and everyone got dewy eyed and started talking about the speech instead of the issue that precipitated it. I was unenthused about it all myself (a Hillary supporter big time) but surely you gotta admit there’d a huge difference between scuttling out of an interview the moment the subject is brought up and committing a considerable amount of face time and speechifying to addressing the issue. I’ll note also that you’re leaving out that when Rev. Wright continued to misbehave Obama had him sent to the woodshed and ceased his association with the man.

            All of that strikes me as an enormous difference.Report

            • Tom Van Dyke in reply to North says:

              Mr. North, BHO wasn’t harangued as CNN did to Paul.  Second, as I point out about Trinity Church’s theology, it was never dug into by the press, but surely we’d agree that any candidate associated in the least with a “white” theology would never have got away with simply denying he was listening to the sermons.

              Hey, BHO got away with it.  Re-litigating it is pointless; i’m just examining the unequal treatment by the press.  I think Paul has it coming to him, however, I do think it’s improper to harangue the guy in a professional news setting.  Listen to or watch the actual interview.  Paul complains he already answered [“I didn’t know], and she just keeps beating on it.

              It should have happened with Obama, in the least that he’d been obliged to refudiate James Cone’s theology, of which Rev. Wright was and is a fan.Report

              • Nob Akimoto in reply to Tom Van Dyke says:

                Mormon politicians explicitly get away with a lot of racist bullshit peddled by their church. Southern Baptists essentially get away with all the gay-bashing their most prominent proponents do. As for Catholics? Do we want to go down that road at all?

                I don’t see how your choice of church really is an area where the press is able to hold people’s feet to the fire. Black theology is perhaps objectionable to some people because they’re unfamiliar with it. But compared to some of the whacked shit that passes for southern evangelical christianity…well…the less said about the latter, the better.Report

              • Tom Van Dyke in reply to Nob Akimoto says:

                Tu quoque is no defense around here, Mr. Nob, even if some other fellow’s worse.

                As for the Mormons, bringing up the race thing is grabbing whatever’s at hand as a weapon.  For the record, Mitt’s dad Gov. George Romney repulsed some Mormon opposition to civil rights in the 1960s.

                And I think “black theology” was definitely worth examining in 2008. I can tell you’re the sort of guy who wouldn’t have let “white” theology slide so easily.Report

              • Nob Akimoto in reply to Tom Van Dyke says:

                There’s legitimate grounds for exploring the totality of black theology. But given how white normative the present US discourse in general is, I don’t think an examination of it would prove particularly helpful, no more than a close examination of Romney’s theological views is in fact important to his views.

                As for what sort of guy I am, well you can assume whatever you wish.Report

              • Tom Van Dyke in reply to Nob Akimoto says:

                Nob, are you saying you’d let “white” theology slide, then?  Let’s keep this straight up.

                Religion is one of my areas of interest, and the Founders wisely carved off soteriology [the business of salvation] from the concerns of this world.  But as we see, “black” theology is very much concerned with this world, and “power” and thereby politics.  This is the concern about Islam and the role of sharia as well, and whatever those “Christian identity” cranks are on about.  [Fortunately none of the last bunch are running so we don’t have to penetrate that heap of muck.]

                Indeed, one’s religious attitudes affecting the legalization of SSM or abortion are completely germane.  Whether Jesus is God, no.  Whether Jesus was black, no.  World in need, white man’s greed?  Yah, that deserves an ask.


              • Nob Akimoto in reply to Nob Akimoto says:

                Given that I basically let every single white normative theology slide, and the general eurocentricity of almost every single denomination of Christianity slide in so far as it’s relevant to one’s worldview, yes, you could say I’d let “white” theology slide.

                Unless by “white theology” you are referring something more akin to the David Duke variety.Report

              • Tom Van Dyke in reply to Nob Akimoto says:

                Well, yeah, I am making that distinction, Nob.  See elsewhere in the thread.  This wasn’t about a few stray rantings by Rev. Wright, altho that’s the impression of most who only read the “approved” media that carried BHO’s water in 2008.


                I’m not the kinda guy who just shoots from the hip.  And when I do, I hit what I’m aiming at.


              • North in reply to Tom Van Dyke says:

                Tom surely you will acknowledge, at least, that Obama did and has disassociated from Wright very clearly yes? Is that not sufficient to also include disassociating from any linked theologies you would care to bring up?

                Also you seem to be overlooking the primary difference between Obama and Paul: Obama jumped on this thing the moment it popped up. If Paul had rolled out a fascinating direct speech on the issue of libertarianism and links it had to racism in the past etc then perhaps the media, the subject changed, wouldn’t be giving him such a hard time. I myself didn’t think all that much about Obama’s post Wright speech but a lot of others did. Paul has been skittering away from this every time it comes up. This strikes me as a very significant error. Reporters are like dogs; if you run from them they’ll come baying at your heels but if you confront them head on they have a tendency to roll over and beg for scritches.Report

              • Tom Van Dyke in reply to North says:

                Mr. Stillwater, I defend neither of them and don’t believe either of their denials.  As for Rev. Wright’s church, Michelle and Barack contributed tens of thousands of dollars to it.  The onion unpeels.  The cynic in me gives Paul a bigger pass for profiting from racism over contributing to it.  But we digress.Report

              • BSK in reply to Tom Van Dyke says:

                So the media failing to meet YOUR expectations demonstrates a bias on their behalf? Is it possible, even ever so slightly, that the bias is yours?Report

              • Stillwater in reply to Tom Van Dyke says:

                TVD, I just saw this, and after reading thru the thread I see the argument you’re making. And it does have some merit. Definitely more than I initially thought.


              • Tom Van Dyke in reply to Stillwater says:

                Thank you kindly for hearing me out, Mr. Stillwater.  It so beats getting shouted down.Report

              • Patrick Cahalan in reply to North says:

                This strikes me as a very significant error. Reporters are like dogs; if you run from them they’ll come baying at your heels but if you confront them head on they have a tendency to roll over and beg for scritches.

                Politically speaking, I think this is a pretty astute observation and explains the media reaction to Paul vs. Obama without resorting to media political bias as an explanation.  It certainly tells you something about handling a media crisis and gives you the nod that Obama is better at it than Paul.  Since handling a media crisis is part of the job (like it or not), this is a factor.

                I have to disagree with Doc, below: “Wright was not speaking in any capacity as a representative of Obama.  The stuff in the Paul newsletters was published by him, under his name, and the profits were his to enjoy.” <– association with someone with regrettable views is association with someone with regrettable views, which is the charge at the bar.  Not whether or not Obama is a black nationalist or Paul is a racist, but whether or not they associated with someone with regrettable views and what if anything that should tell the public about their judgment.

                Wright may not be speaking in any capacity as a representative of Obama, but if you’re going to a church where Pat Robertson is the preacher for 5 years instead of some other church where someone else is a preacher I don’t think it’s unfair for someone to rake you over the coals for it implying that you are at the very least sat not unsympathetic enough that you’ll stick around to listen to the stuff you want to hear.  Maybe after five years in office when you haven’t shown homophobic tendencies we can call it a dead issue but when you’re still running, that’s a legit place for a reporter to go.

                And I do think that if Obama went to Pat Robertson’s church he’d have gotten an awful lot more dogged persistence than him going to a black preacher’s church from your average white reporter, because it’s a lot easier on the privileged white psyche to champion gay people than it is to even appear to be giving the black guy a hard time about black nationalism or anything that might be regarded as such.

                So I think Tom has a point… in that it is definitely the case that the mainstream media will give passes to some and interrogate others out of proportion to the actual severity of the question at hand; it’s part of the nature of the game, but it’s still a bad characteristic of the game.

                And I thought the See No, Hear No was pretty pithy – Paul didn’t see the content and Obama didn’t hear the content (and it’s indeed a good line by Dole).  Certainly it’s a minipost, but we’ve had miniposts with far less substantive content.

                For the record, I know next to nothing about Wright and I’ve heard all of four minutes of limited rantings which sounded pretty bad but (as I’ve said on other threads) it’s easy to make somebody sound bad when you clip out a tiny bit of a large bunch of anything, so I have no idea how “regrettable” the guy’s views actually are, but since Obama publicly repudiated them I think it’s fair to say that *he* thinks that people have a good reason to find them regrettable.

                I’ll say this for Tom, quite often he is bobbing and weaving as accused, but that’s because in those cases he’s not trying to make a positive point about what he thinks, but instead he’s trying to make a negative point about what someone else thinks.  It can be annoying, but tweaking the beard of the liberals among the crowd is hardly out of bounds given that actual conservatives around here number all of two.

                Mr. Carr and I are in agreement that it’s good to have his perspective around.Report

              • BSK in reply to Patrick Cahalan says:

                Temporarily conceding the point that an infair discrepancy does exist…

                When we consider that much, if not most, of the criticism/questioning came from members of the right leaning media, does that indicate that the kost likely motivation for the discrepancy is:

                … Paul’s threat to the journalist’s preferred candidate?
                … Sensitivity around issues of race?
                … Left wing bias?
                … A unique protection of President Obama?

                I brought up elsewhere that I thougt the focus on the newsletters stood out. Wondering why is not certainly out of bounds. But solely focusing on one CNN interview and using that to put forth a conspiracy theory about the rigt wing media protecting or cowering at the alter of our black nationalist president stretches the bounds pf credibility.Report

              • Tom Van Dyke in reply to Patrick Cahalan says:

                “Bob & weave,” Cahalan?  Do you see the shitstorm for a single sentence in a mini-post? I deeply appreciate you & Mr. Carr standing up for my right to exist @ LoOG, but this has become more a study in mob psychology.

                Leave me and whatever righties remain out of it: even EDK isn’t safe on his own damn blog, and most of the rest of the sane and civilized contributors have headed for the hills.

                Now, I don’t mind.  The distinguished gentlemen who line up for their turn in the ring with me huddle afterward in a corner together telling each other how they were fouled, and how they really won.  And all agree with each other.  Yes.  “We” won.

                It’s the nature of these things, Pat.  The topic was Paul & Obama, but it ended up being little old me again, didn’t it—as it always does, ad hom.

                So, thx for the support, man, but better you remain neutral except on the actual topic.  I can defend my own existence but choose not to: better to stay in the ring and let them commiserate down there in Loser’s Corner afterward.

                And I don’t mean to be rude to all of you down there in Loser’s Corner by speaking of you in the third person.  Hi.  You know who you are, and so does everybody else.

                Cheers and better luck next time.





              • Patrick Cahalan in reply to Tom Van Dyke says:

                So, thx for the support, man, but better you remain neutral except on the actual topic.  I can defend my own existence but choose not to: better to stay in the ring and let them commiserate down there in Loser’s Corner afterward.

                Fair enough, Tommy me lad.Report

          • Kim in reply to Tom Van Dyke says:


            There’s an obvious counter to your fucking lame-ass argument. Rev. Wright belongs to a WHITE Denomination, which nominated his prison-ministering church as Church of the YEAR.

            If he was this racist, white-man-hating FOOL, he wouldn’t be in a white denomination, breaking bread with folks like pastordan.

            Now, Rev. Wright, it is abundantly clear, is a FOOL, but he ain’t a “white man hating” fool. Over the course of his sermons, he uses some racially tinged language (for instance, in describing the people attacking Jesus…). It seems more meant to be colorful than anything.Report

        • Murali in reply to Nob Akimoto says:

          One shows you’ve got bad taste in preachers.

          The other shows you have terrible management skills and questionable judgment in hiring people to run stuff for you.

          Yeah, but finding a different church to go to is no harder than firing someone who is a good friend of yours and has supported you over the years on a lot of things.

          Let’s leave aside the kind of excuses they are giving and just look at it this way.

          Obama associated himself for a long time with someone whose views are considered unacceptable. When found out, he was careful to distance himself from those views without actually dumping on said person.

          Ron Paul did pretty much the same thing.

          The only difference is that Ron Paul’s excuse still makes him look bad in a way that Obama’s doesnt.

          Why did Obama stay with his pastor? Because he wanted to show sympathy for a group of people whose views can sometime become kooky. Why did Ron Paul let people publish crap in his newsletters? because he wanted to show sympathy for a group of people whose views can sometimes become racist.

          But believing that AIDS is an anti-afircan american weapon engineered by the CIA is just about as ridiculous as believing that African Americans are little more than animals.

          INeither attempt at symppathy was particularly wise in the end, but I think it takes a considerable lack of self awareness to say that one is categorically worse than the other.*

          That’s not to  say that associating yourself with racist statements is not a boneheaded move.

          *The reason I can say this with a straight face is because I believe I am sufficiently far away from the situation to get a bit of perspective on both cases.Report

          • brodie in reply to Murali says:

            Maybe someone who lives thousands of miles away from the US should not sound so darn condescending as if he”s schooling Americans on what to think, huh? And not be so quick to confer to white Americans get-out-of-jail-no-racism card on account of also eing brown, even though he’s not brown or black in America.Report

            • Murali in reply to brodie says:

              The point is not a get out of jail free card. Its that my distance gives me perspective.

              Check out TVD’s claim. The Wright issue is the same kind of issue. Ron Paul’s thing is worse by a matter of degree not of kind.

              Maybe someone who lives thousands of miles away from the US should not sound so darn condescending as if he”s schooling Americans on what to think, huh?

              Because Americans in general (Gentlepeeps over here excepted) don’t think too deeply about things very often. To be fair, most people around the world dont. Guys, you voted Dubya in twice. I doubt you guys are going to live that down for a hell of a long time.



      • b-psycho in reply to Tom Van Dyke says:

        How much at church are you expected to agree with vs a newsletter with your name on it?

        Sure, it is far-fetched that one continues to go to a church where stuff you don’t co-sign is regularly preached, but at least you don’t have to put your name on it at the end of the day.  And I say that as someone whose politics are much closer to Paul’s than Obama’s.Report

      • Chris in reply to Tom Van Dyke says:

        Tom, what do you think of the letter, with Paul’s signature, that was used to promote the newsletter? It surfaced yesterday/today, and it’s not pretty, and more difficult to disavow.

        By the way, it seems strange to equate something written under Paul’s name/with Paul’s signature to something said by the preacher at Obama’s church. The two don’t seem particularly analogous.Report

    • This.  The false equivalence of this post is astounding to me.Report

      • Tom Van Dyke in reply to Russell Saunders says:

        I’m sure BHO supporters will attempt to make that case, Dr. Saunders.  The rest will attempt to wave away the clear similarities.Report

        • Mike in reply to Tom Van Dyke says:

          I’ve noticed how the right wing kooks operate. They can’t bring themselves to utter the words “President Obama.” No, it’s always the full name “Barack Hussein Obama”, with heavy emphasis on the middle name as a dog-whistle to the islamophobe and birther nutbags, or it’s “BHO” for similar reasons, or it’s some derogatory attack name like “NObama” or “OBummer.”

          Your racism is showing.Report

          • Nob Akimoto in reply to Mike says:

            You know, I have to admit, I’m genuinely cheesed off by the “Nobama” thing being taken as a derogatory nickname…because I was hoping I’d be able to use that as a nickname to associate myself with the guy back in 2008….Report

            • Kim in reply to Nob Akimoto says:

              Neh. We jews wrote his name in hebrew on our bumperstickers. Don’t see any reason you can’t do similar with Japanese (If I have your ethnicity wrong, my apologies.) — and for the two people who realize yours says “nobama”, you can give them a wink and say, “still voting for him, it’s just a joke”Report

          • Murali in reply to Mike says:

            Dude, it cannot be racism on Mr Van Dyke’s part if some brown guy (i.e. moi) from the other side of the world agrees with him on this.Report

            • brodie in reply to Murali says:

              Yes, because of course Murali speaks for all brown people everywhere, even those that don’t live in your country. Newsflash – it doesn’t work that way.Report

              • Murali in reply to brodie says:

                Yes, because of course Murali speaks for all brown people everywhere, even those that don’t live in your country. Newsflash – it doesn’t work that way.

                In this case it does. I dont agree with Mr Van Dyke all that often. Less so in the past, but he has mellowed recently. The thing is, he has got a point here.

                Let me put it this way. It takes a hell of a colonialist “white-man’s burden” mindset to unilaterally take responsibility for everyone else’s problems. White people’s incessant self blame for stuff that isnt really their fault is as irritating as their failure to take responsibility for the stuff that is.Report

          • Tom Van Dyke in reply to Mike says:

            I use BHO as shorthand, esp in my lede.  “B.O.” doesn’t work.  And you can shove your charges of racism, pal.Report

            • There is a huge difference between saying “Barack HUSSEIN Obama” and just using BHO as shorthand. I fail to see how the latter has any perforative implications whatsoever. One needn’t have been a critic of Bush 43 to refer to him as GWB as shorthand.

              That said, I do think there’s a bit of a false equivalence here, Tom. Interpreting all disputed facts in the favor of the politician at issue, this says things about Paul that the Wright thing does not say about Obama. I say that as one who would nonetheless probably prefer a President Paul (though I’m likely to vote for Gary Johnson no matter what).Report

              • Tom Van Dyke in reply to Mark Thompson says:

                MarkT, if we accept their pleas of ignorance, they’re certainly comparable.  If we reject them, well, check the rest of the thread where we peel back the onion a bit on the place of “black theology” in Rev. Wright’s church, and the place of Rev. Wright in BHO’s own book.

                Now, mileage varies, and I meself stipulate Paul is worse, but they’re still comparable. I chafe at “false equivalency,” then, as it implies a dishonesty and comparing apples to oranges.  I’m explaining why it’s apples to apples, and although an “equivalency” is implied by pairing them in the post [geez, I just wanted to slip in Bob Dole’s joke], they’re at least comparable in kind, albeit not in degree.

                And I think the point about the press treatment holds, the badgering of Paul vs. the incuriosity toward Trinity Church’s race-based theology.  Race-based theology is no non-issue, or at least it shouldn’t have been in 2008.

                If Mormonism still held its racial beliefs of 1950 in 2012, damn right it would be a relevant issue in this campaign.


              • Ugh. Perjorative, not perforative. Have I mentioned that I hate the iPad’s autocorrect?Report

              • North in reply to Mark Thompson says:

                Microsoft word just murders me with theirs.Report

          • Christopher Carr in reply to Mike says:

            Just like FDR and JFK, those Flemish and Irish bastards.Report

          • Scott in reply to Mike says:


            After all of the ugly names Bush was called by left wing kooks during his presidency your whine about what folks call Barry is quite pathetic. And even more so since you have to play the race card. You sound like Eric holder covering his a@@ by saying the opposition is to him is based on race and not his poor job performance.Report

            • Tom Van Dyke in reply to Scott says:

              Now, now, Scott.  Since this is my thread, I’m gonna ask that we park the grenades at the door.  You know how I like phony civility.

              All civility is phony, if you think about it.  When they say “the distinguished gentleman,” they mean “that fucking idiot.”  I love that.  The bigger the idiot, the funnier it is.Report

              • Murali in reply to Tom Van Dyke says:

                When they say “the distinguished gentleman,” they mean “that fucking idiot.”  I love that.  The bigger the idiot, the funnier it is.

                So next time you call me a gentleman I will know what you really mean? *grin*Report

        • Tom, I genuinely think you’re a swell guy.  But I also know a pointless endeavor when I see one, and trying to sway you on this would be the very definition of pointless.

          Nob has already made the salient point, so there’s really no need to repeat it at any length.  Wright was not speaking in any capacity as a representative of Obama.  The stuff in the Paul newsletters was published by him, under his name, and the profits were his to enjoy.  The similarities are so insubstantial as to drift away all on their own, no waving required.Report

          • Tom Van Dyke in reply to Russell Saunders says:

            Dr. Saunders, you don’t have all the facts on BHO and “black theology” because the press didn’t press it.  [My secondary point, not re-litgating the issue, the primary point being that I don’t believe Paul’s plea of ignorance any more than Obama’s.]

            “Audacity of Hope” is taken from a Rev. Wright sermon; “world in need, white man’s greed” a quoted passage from that sermon.  “Black theology” is certainly germane, and I cannot believe you’d let “white” theology slide.

            Hope you enjoyed the clip from “Bruno.”


            • Hmmmm.  Well, I’m not sure what you mean by “black theology.”  That seems a pretty non-specific term to me.

              What I do happen to know is a few black theologians.  Several, actually.  I don’t know if any of them count as “black” theologians, but one of them is one of my best friends and I’ll ask her when she visits for Christmas in a couple of days.  What would make her qualify as “black”?  Is being black enough?  Would that make her an expert on what Rev. Wright had to say?  Should I ask what it was the press didn’t cover?Report

              • Tom Van Dyke in reply to Russell Saunders says:

                Dr. Saunders, since it’s a dead issue in 2012, I leave it to the curious to google James Hal Cone and his place in Trinity Church’s theology. Ask your friend. He’s no crank, no Fred Phelps, but a respected member of “the club,” The anointed. The elite.  You know, all those guys Tom Sowell and I are always crabbing about.


              • Oh, black liberation theology.  Yes, I’m quite familiar.

                Sadly, I’m sure we’re well past any point where you and I are likely to come to any agreement.  Plus, I never debate theology in online forums.  So, best to draw this to a close now methinks.Report

              • This video was the only media appearance by James Hal Cone to come up. It would be interesting to read his books though. If anyone else would like to do that, I’d be willing to find out what he says in them and discuss it here. Actually, I’d love to read the Niebuhr book they discuss there too.Report

              • I could go for that.  I’m not particularly familiar with him, though I’m guessing I have stuff along similar lines on my bookshelf.  (Courtesy of the Better Half, who’s in the God biz.)Report

  5. Katherine says:

    I’m not seeing the equivalence here.

    First, there’s the point, made above, that for Ron Paul we’re talking about people he employed, and who published racist things under his byline.  In Obama’s case, we’re talking about a person who he listened sermons from, but did not employ or give any place on his campaign, and whose words he never took as his own.  There’s a large gap between knowing someone, and employing them in a political capacity to speak for you.  In the latter case, you are responsible for what they say under your name,

    We also have a clear record of President Obama’s actions in office which show him to be largely centrist and conservative, and indicate no connection to black nationalism.

    But equally or more important is that there is little or no equivalence between the statements themselves.  Anyone who equates anti-black racism and black nationalism is showing an absolute ignorance – whether inadvertent, feigned, or deliberate – of the prior 300-some years of history, and of the present.  Railing against a society and system and government that has persecuted your people for centuries, profited off their labour, deliberately stymied their success at every turn, and then turned to blame all hardships they face on their own laziness, is hardly unreasonable.  Jeremiah Wright doesn’t have to be correct to be understandable.Report

    • Tom Van Dyke in reply to Katherine says:

      Not an equivalence but a comparability, Katherine, apples-to-apples, pls read the rest of the discussion.

      “Anyone who equates anti-black racism and black nationalism is showing an absolute ignorance”

      Perhaps an ignorance, but not an absolute one, Ms. K, since anti-black racism requires a “normative” white nationalism.  Unless our Hispanics are anti-black, too. Which they sort of are…

      But run with it, Ms. K.  Just don’t junk up my thread, do some facts. Mostly, I thought Bob Dole’s joke was killer, and I think Obama and Paul’s excuses are lame and the press gave one a pass and came down hard on the other.


      • Katherine in reply to Tom Van Dyke says:

        Black nationalism is centred in a minority population asserting that they are people with the same rights as all other people, asserting their right to self-defence against individuals or governments who try to deny them those rights, and fostering pride in their culture and history.  It is the response to a long history of surrounding white society seeking to deny them their freedom, their lives, and any sense of pride or achievement.

        “White nationalism” has a long history of making its prime objective denying the humanity and rights of anyone who is not white.  Ref. the Confederacy, the KKK, the Nazis, and many others.  It is responsible for countless deaths throughout history.

        The. Two. Are. Not. Comparable.  And you aren’t worth another second of my time.Report

    • Murali in reply to Katherine says:

      Railing against a society and system and government that has persecuted your people for centuries, profited off their labour, deliberately stymied their success at every turn, and then turned to blame all hardships they face on their own laziness, is hardly unreasonable.

      Really depends on your standards of reasonability. I’m thinking of doing a post on this….Report

      • BSK in reply to Murali says:

        Sooooo… A post on privilige? Awesome!Report

      • Stillwater in reply to Murali says:

        That’s a really great topic. The ‘reasonable person’ standard is getting diluted to accommodate contemporary political views that often have no basis in fact or argument. So ‘reasonable people’ in today’s usage may in fact be unreasonable.Report

        • BSK in reply to Stillwater says:

          Who gets to decide what “reasonable” is, especially when discussing the reactions of a subset of folks that one is not a part of?Report

        • Nob Akimoto in reply to Stillwater says:

          Technically the “reasonableness” standard is actually really really flexible.

          In fact so far as British common law is concerned, for example, “reasonableness” means (at least based on the Wednesbury precedent) essentially that no other person could possibly have come to the same conclusion as the person who came to said conclusion.Report

  6. BSK says:

    I’m all for a variety of viewpoints representd here, but I am really questioningthe logic of including Tom among the front-page authors here.Report

    • Katherine in reply to BSK says:

      Seconded.  The reason I come here more rarely now is the vast diversity of right-wing nutbars and trolls.  Encouraging them does not help the tone of this site, or my opinion of it.Report

      • Tom Van Dyke in reply to Katherine says:

        Thirded.  I suck.Report

      • Christopher Carr in reply to Katherine says:

        Katherine, that makes me kind of sad to read. I think the League has generally moved to the left recently, especially with the Occupy commentary. Not that it matters.  I don’t think commentary here has lapsed at all.

        Tom can be grating at first, but I at least have learned to appreciate his perspective.Report

        • BSK in reply to Christopher Carr says:

          What can we appreciate in this post?

          Tom simultaneously attempting to make a comparison about Obama/Wright and Paul/newsletters AND insisting his primary point was a Dole joke?

          Tom’s media conspiracy theories which convenienty ignore that, as a blogger, he is a member of the “new media”?

          Tom waxing as an expert on topics as complex as black nationalism and “black theology” without demonstrating anything more than a facile understanding?

          Tom repeatedly telling others to look elsewhere in the thread for this responses, when the nature and structure of postings here makes that very difficult?

          For me, it is not just what I consider to be an absurd position… Reasonable people will always have room for disagreement. But the way in which he goes about arguing and defending hisposition isnunbecoming of the League.Report

      • Stillwater in reply to Katherine says:

        …the vast diversity of right-wing nutbars and trolls.

        I’m not sure I agree with this. There are actually only a few conservatives – TVD, Koz, Bob Cheeks (but he’s a master or satire, really), Tim K, maybe Burt – and they’re not really nutjobs (except for Satire Bob). Also, I’m sure that lots of readers here think I’m a nut-job liberal, maybe one of many here at the League. And of course, there are perhaps some nutjob libertarians that comment here as well. But the honest expression of views in a public forum like this doesn’t quite rise to nutjob status to me. I mean, we all just put our views and arguments out there and let the chips fall where they may.


        • BSK in reply to Stillwater says:

          Your last statement is where I take issue with Tom. Mit is notnhis ideology that bothers me but his methodology. Tim K has had posts that I couldn’t disagree more with… But he was genuine in the expression of his perspective, honestly engaged my disagreements, and we had an intense but thoughtful informative discourse. Can you really look at Tom’s postings here and say the same? I realize that many posters, myself included, don’t always rise to this ideal. But I do think it is fair to expect more of the authors, especially on their own posts.Report

        • Tom Van Dyke in reply to Stillwater says:

          Mr. Stillwater, don’t flatter yrself.  The nutjobs hereabouts make you look like a piker.  You have a long way to go.Report

      • brodie in reply to Katherine says:

        But The League actually skewed right from th the beginning, though. I remember the day when Freddie de Boer was the token liberal (gosh, was he awful, he made me ashamed to call myself a liberal). The tone see-sawed a bit with ED Kain’s conversions and reverse-conversions, but maybe now the blog is just trying to go back to its natural place.Report

    • trizzlor in reply to BSK says:

      I have to disagree with BSK; I’ve never read a comment or a post from Tom where he was lying or arguing disingenuously. Pushing buttons, sure, but for the sake of opening discussion rather than closing it. I think some people reacting strongly to this mini-post are seeing a race sophistry that TVD is not actually promoting (how come there’s no White Entertainment Television?, that sort of thing). In any case, I would be much more worried about too few voices here than too many, and it does seem lately that anything to the right of liberal-tarianism gets short shrift.Report

  7. BSK says:

    I won’t go as far as Katherine, as I find pretty much all other authors and commenters here to be engaging, honest, and genuine, even the ones I vehemently agree with. But TVD’s bullshit (and I’m struggling to find a better way to describe the evasiveness, the unsupported innuendos, the coded language denied after the fact, the disingenuous way in which he represents his opponents, the paranoia, and all the rest of it) is just starting to leave a sour taste and is unworthy of this site, its authors, and readers.Report

    • Morzer in reply to BSK says:

      It’s a sad excuse for a blog post, and not improved by the arrogant and dishonest refusal to discuss matters seriously with those who have refuted the more obvious logical and factual blunders contained therein.  I can understand and respect  a blogger who demonstrates some actual knowledge on a given topic, even if his viewpoint is different from my own – but this bizarre screed and the attempted justifications for it make Jerome Corsi look like a disinterested and competent historian of our age.Report

      • Tom Van Dyke in reply to Morzer says:

        I count 8 pejoratives in your paragraph here, Mr. Morzer. Unfortunately, one short of the LoOG record. Keep trying.  Thank you for yr response.  The value of yr contributions to the LoOG of late cannot be measured.Report

        • Morzer in reply to Tom Van Dyke says:

          So no evidence of your theological expertise, Tom?  Which divinity school did you attend?  Or is it going to be more tedious little attempts at wit and refusals to back up your trash-talk?  Put something on the table, rather than bloviating like a bad parody of Roderick Spode.


    • brodie in reply to BSK says:

      Why choose TVD? If what The League wants is a genuine right wing nut, why not go whole hog and frontpage Robert “Bob” Cheeks instead?Report

    • Tod Kelly in reply to BSK says:

      Sheesh. I don’t see the equivalence in this post that Tom does, but c’mon people.

      If Tom “I Will Porbably Vote Obama Again Because He’s the Least Insane” Van Dyke is your definition of a right wing nut, what does that expression even mean?


  8. Jesse Ewiak says:

    I know I’m late to this, but I got no problem with most of what Wright said. The truth is, as an agnostic/atheist, I’d probably be far more comfortable in Rev. Wright’s church than your random megachurch in the suburbs. I realize I’m far in the minority, but it’s going to take more than one theologian being a bit over-the-top to make me uncomfortable.Report