Monday, April 28, 2008


Quote of the day - Jeremiah Wright

"I said to Barack Obama last year, 'If you get elected, November the 5th I'm coming after you, because you'll be representing a government whose policies grind under people.'"

- Rev. Jeremiah Wright, today at the National Press Club
I didn't catch all of it, but last night CNN played a major speech that Wright gave yesterday as the keynote at the NAACP Convention. Judging by the portions I heard it was very interesting. I haven't had a chance myself, but if you want to watch and listen to the whole thing (and this is definitely a case where a transcript will not do justice to the speech), it's online here.

While we're on the subject of Obama, and with the verdict in the Sean Bell murder trial fresh in the news, I should take note of Obama's comments on the subject:

"I said at the time, without benefit of all the facts before me, that it looked like a possible case of excessive force. The judge has made his ruling, and we're a nation of laws, so we respect the verdict that came down."
A possible case of excessive force? Are you kidding me? The police didn't even have the nerve to say they "saw" a gun (and then conveniently couldn't find it, as so often happens), no, they just said it looked like he (not Bell, by the way) "made a sudden move as if he were reaching for a gun." If 50 bullets fired without even seeing a gun isn't a prima facie case of excessive force, I don't know what is, not to mention firing bullets at someone who wasn't even the person claimed to have "made a sudden move as if he were reaching for a gun." What excuse was given for applying any force to Sean Bell or Trent Benefield? None as far as I know.

And this statement from Obama is quite wrong: "The judge has made his ruling, and we're a nation of laws, so we respect the verdict that came down." Leaving aside the arguable nature of the "we're a nation of laws" statement, and assuming it to be true for sake of argument, that statement only applies to the legal system itself. These officers will not be convicted of manslaughter, thanks to the double jeopardy statutes. That's the law. But any individual is under no obligation to "respect the verdict" in the sense of accepting it or agreeing with it; any individual, and that would include Obama, is perfectly within the law to denounce the verdict as a travesty of justice, to call for a federal prosecution under civil rights laws, and to throw their support behind a civil suit brought by the families and the injured survivors against the city, even if they want to restrict their actions to "legal" means (as opposed to demonstrating or committing civil disobedience in the streets). Obama could have done any of those things, but of course he didn't.

And, for the sake of completeness, the same naturally applies to Hillary Clinton and John McCain as well. As far as I can tell, though, neither, presumably because only black people are interested in the issue according to the press, has even been asked about the verdict, and neither has volunteered their opinion.

Why stop here? There's more...

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