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I just searched: Timmons Liddy Keating (IN Google news)
Geese and Ganders, Pots and Kettles
October 15, 2008 - 2:14am.
The Republican propaganda machine would ask us to believe that Barack Obama is suspect as a potential President of the United States because of past associations. Let us grant that premise. Let us then look at the actual facts of those associations, both in absolute terms AND in relative terms. By absolute, I mean compared to a neutral standard of reasonable behavior. By relative, I mean compared to the associations of his only serious competition for the office, John McCain. I will take them in chronological order using the dates of the offense that the “associate” is charged with having committed.
William Ayers was a self-proclaimed radical in the 1970s. Barack Obama was 8-12 years old during this period, lived thousands of miles away, and did not meet or in any other way associate with Mr. Ayers during this period. Mr. Ayers was never convicted of any crime and serve no time in prison, on probation, or otherwise restricted by any governmental entity. It is unclear precisely which acts of violence Mr. Ayers committed, which he may have known about but in which he did not participate, and which were committed by people affiliated with the same organizations as Mr. Ayers but carried out there actions without Mr. Ayers knowledge or assistance. Approximately 20 years later, Mr. Ayers was a member of the faculty of one of Illinois’ state universities, was active in educational reform circles in the Chicago area, and he and Mr. Obama met through non-profit organization, funded by a foundation endowed by a close personal friend of Ronald Reagan and Richard Nixon, and served on the board of the non-profit with a number of very mainstream liberal and conservative members of the Chicago social and political elite. Mr. Ayers subsequently hosted a political event in his home, during which Mr. Obama was introduced as a potential candidate for the Illinois legislature. There is no indication that Mr. Obama and Mr. Ayers ever discussed the events of the 1970s, but when asked about those activites by others, Mr. Obama condemned them.
Mr. McCain has selected in 2008 one William Timmons as his transition director. Mr. Timmons and others in his firm lobbied for one Saddam Hussein, dictator of Iraq, murderer of his own people, invader of Kuwait, and topplee of the Bush/Cheyney/Rumsfield/McCain invasion of Iraq in 2003. Mr. Timmons and his colleagues worked to lift sanctions on Mr. Hussein’s regime between the first gulf war and the invasion by Mr. Bush’s expeditionary force, apparently to ensure a resurgence of revenue into Mr. Hussein’s treasury through increased legal oil sales; a portion of that proposed windfall to head in Mr. Timmons’ direction in the form of fees and other consideration for his and his firm’s assistance.
Mr. McCain also has appeared at fund raisers and on broadcast talk shows with one G. Gordon Liddy, a convicted felon involved in the Watergate breakin and other illegal activities and covert operations for Richard Nixon and other operatives of the same Republican Party which Mr. McCain now represents in the election. Mr. Liddy also broadcast advice to David Koresh and his followers on how to ensure their ability to kill ATF officials if and when they stormed Mr. Koresh’s Waco compound. In fact, four ATF agents were killed when federal agents moved to free children from the compound.
Neutral comparison: Mr. Obama had no contact with any person involved in terrorist activities until two decades after the fact and has condemned that person’s actions retrospectively. Mr. Obama has no current relationship with Mr. Ayers.
Relative comparison: Mr. McCain has current and ongoing contact with both Mr. Timmons, who sought to aid and abet a foreign terrorist and Mr. Liddy, who sought to advice domestic terrorists. Mr. Obama’s actions and associations are relatively mild by comparison.
continued in part 2
Jeremiah Wright is a decorated former Marine who rose from very humble origins in the segregated south to become an American hero. He subsequently entered the ministry and guided a congregation of a mainstream protestant denomination in a marginal Chicago neighborhood through a period of active and very effective stewardship. He built the church from one with an active membership of about 90 people to the largest church in the United Church of Christ (a denomination largely comprised of white congregants) organization. Mr. Wright has preached on a number of topics from his pulpit, but is best known for sermons that were highly critical of the United States and its record on race relations during its 230+ year history. Mr. Wright inspired Mr. Obama to adopt a Chrisitan faith and lifestyle, performed the wedding ceremony of Mr. and Mrs. Obama, and baptized both of their children. He was to have had a role in a religious leadership advisory group within Mr. Obama’s campaign organization but that involvement was ended when Mr. Wright’s sermons became controversial. Mr. Obama has, after considerable pressure, ended his association with Mr. Wright and has left the church in which he was married.
John Hagee is the founder and minister of the Cornerstone Church in San Antonio, Texas, a 19,000 member evangelical ministry. Mr. Hagee has preached that Hurricane Katrina was god’s vengeance on New Orleans for a gay pride parade. Mr. Hagee has not explained what drove the father of Jesus to commit such an act of vengeance. Mr. Hagee has preached that anti-semitism is a self-inflicted penalty on Jews to punish them for their rebellion against Jehovah; that Adolf Hitler was the monster he was because he was raised in Catholic schools; and that the Pope is the Anti-Christ. John McCain has announced that he is proud to have been endorsed by Mr. Hagee, a position he modified only after considerable pressure.
Neutral comparison: Mr. Obama was deeply and long loyal to the man who led him to his faith and served his family. He disavowed Mr. Wrights more extreme pronouncements early in the controversy, but remained a member of the church, noting that Mr. Wright had retired as its pastor. When that did not satisfy critics, he ended his relationship with his church. By some standards, he can be criticized for extreme loyalty.
Relative comparison: Mr. Wright’s more extreme views are no more objectionable than Mr. Hagee’s more extreme views. Both men can be criticized for their choice in spiritual association; both have terminated these specific relationships.
Tony Rezko was a real estate developer in the Chicago area and an active contributor to variouls political organizations and candidates. Mr. Obama and he became friends and when Mr. Obama was shopping for a home for his family, Mr. Rezko assisted him in evaluating the property he had chosen. The sellers of this home also had an adjoining parcel of land for sale and wished to have it sell along with the house. Mr. Obama and his wife did not wish to buy the land and did not do so. Mr. Rezko, upon learning about the vacant land, made a separate deal with the sellers and purchased the land through his wife. The Obamas later approached the Rezkos about buying a 10 foot strip of their vacant lot to expand the Obama’s lot. The Rezkos sold it to them for more than $100,000; by all accounts a fair market value for what was a very small amount of land. It likely is true that the Rezkos would not have sold the land to a different buyer. It also is likely true that but for the Obamas the Rezkos would not have known about nor purchased the vacant lot. Mr. Rezko has been tried and convicted of criminal acts unrelated to this real estate transactions. No testimony or evidence was introduced in this trial suggesting Mr. Obama had any relationship to the transactions for which Mr. Rezko was convicted.
Mr. McCain was found to have exercised bad judgment in his dealings with one Charles Keating, whom Mr. McCain and other senators had attempted to assist in Mr. Keating’s efforts to extricate himself from legal problems stemming from his leadership of Lincoln Savings and Loan. The previously mentioned Mr. Timmons was a lobbyist for Fannie Mae, an organization accused by Mr. McCain and his supporters as having played a significant role in the abuses that lead to the current U.S. and global fiscal crisis. Mr. McCain’s campaign director, Richard Davis, received income through his firm as a result of its lobbying efforts for Fannie Mae up through August of 2008.
continued in Part 3
Neutral comparison: Mr. Obama may have chosen as a friend a man of questionable ethical standards who has committed criminal acts unrelated to their relationship. He may be criticized fairly for poor judgment in selection of this friend.
Relative comparison: Mr. McCain was criticized by the Senate ethics panel for questionable judgment in his involvement with Mr. Keating, and involvement directly related to the charges against Mr. Keating. Despite that lesson, Mr. McCain has continued to associate with and indeed has hired people with associations that he has condemned in his opponent. Mr. McCain appears to want to apply a double standard to conduct in this area: one for Mr. Obama and a different one for himself.
ACORN: Mr. Obama once represented ACORN in litigation in which he appeared jointly with the U.S. Department of Justice. He has employed a third party company that also has been employed by ACORN.
Mr. McCain has appeared at a conference sponsored in part by ACORN and praised that organization for its work at that conference.
Summary: Both Mr. Obama and Mr. McCain can be criticized fairly for certain associations over the course of their political careers. Mr. Obama has never associated with a person who was contemporaneously with that association aiding and abetting foreign or domestic terrorists. It appears Mr. McCain has. Mr. Obama has never been involved in a transaction with any associate that was related to activity for which said associate was found to have committed wrongdoing. Mr. McCain has. Mr. Obama and Mr. McCain both have chosen to associate with clergymen who have espoused fringe views about domestic and foreign events. Mr. Obama and Mr. McCain both have been involved with ACORN.
Mr. McCain may wish to exercise some care in ascribing a color to the kettle, lest the pot be similarly described.