25 March 2008

Sen. Obama and the people around him

As Pamela, over at Atlas Shrugs, takes a look at the connections be between Prof. Rhashid Khalidi, University of Chicago, and Sen. Obama, I will take a look at some of his past views on things and see if there is any coherent view to his outlook on the Middle East.

One of the earliest references that pops up is that from Charles Krauthammer writing for the WaPo on 07 APR 1989 (via Globalsecurity document cache), on the possibility of a Palestinian State. In it we get this from the central part of the article:

A PLO state, an idea now as fashionable as the checkered kafiyeh, is a trap. What is the alternative? The alternative, outlined by Israeli Prime Minister Shamir on his visit this week in Washington, is a peace process that rests on two principles: a transitional period and elections.

Whatever arrangements Israel and the Palestinians make, no ultimate solution is attainable now. There has to be a transition period during which each side can demonstrate to the other its bona fides. An Israeli poll taken last week shows that two-thirds of Israelis believe that the Palestinians will not be satisfied with a West bank state. They have reason so to believe. Only two weeks ago, Arafat said that `the Declaration of Palestinian Independence constitutes a beginning of the real confrontation of the Zionist project on the land of Palestine itself.' Leila Khalid puts it more bluntly: `We will return to Nablus and then move on to Tel Aviv.' Only time will permit a demonstration that the Palestinians do not truly intend what they now say they intend for Israel.

The second idea is elections on the West Bank to produce an indigenous Palestinian negotiating authority. The ferocity with which this idea has been attacked by non-West Bank Palestinians makes one wonder what they are so afraid of. Prof. Rashid Khalidi, writing from Chicago, says there could be no real election under the harsh conditions of Israeli occupation.

The idea that a secret ballot cannot be conducted honestly by the Israelis is simply false. No one disputes the honesty of the West Bank municipal elections conducted in 1976. (In fact, they were so honest in expressing Palestinian discontent that the Israeli government eventually fired the elected mayors.)

Moreover, Palestinian propagandists never hesitate to use polling data from the West Bank to prove the fealty of the West Bankers to the PLO. An opinion poll is an open ballot. Polls require conditions of far more political freedom than do secret ballots. Khalidi and other PLO propagandists freely invoke West Bank polls, yet now pretend that a secret ballot is not to be trusted. The argument is bogus. It reflects a deep fear by Palestinian exiles--most of whom come from (and thus want to take over) not the West Bank but Israel--that with elections they are going to lose the initiative to West Bankers, who might ultimately be more prepared for compromise.

Apparently Prof. Khalidi is something of an apologist for Palestinian violence. I mean, if he truthfully meant what he said, then when Israel fully *left* the West Bank, all should be sweetness and light there, no?

On 07 NOV 2000 Prof. Khalidi was asked about recent sentiment on 'the arab street' about recent events that caused a rise in violence due to a clash between Israel and Palestinians, with the parts between acts being the VOA announcer in the report, Ed Warner (via Globalsecurity document cache):

Director of the Center for International Studies at the University of Chicago, Mr. Khalidi has recently returned from an overseas trip where he witnessed an outpouring of sympathy for the Palestinians that he believes is not reflected in the U-S media.

// Khalidi act //

There is a lot not reported about the campuses in Egypt, in the streets in Morocco, in cafes in Jordan, Lebanon and Syria. It is below the radar screen because there is not large-scale unrest, but there is incredible dissatisfaction. So I think we will see very unexpected things happening, some of them apparently minor. Syria and Iraq are having a rapprochement, for example. But if the killing of Palestinians continues at this rate, you will see even more visible effects.

// end act //

The violence has helped weaken the already faltering economic sanctions on Iraq and even give a boost to Saddam Hussein. Government officials and businessmen from Arab and European countries are ignoring sanctions to fly to Baghdad.


Mr. Khalidi says reaction to the Israeli-Palestinian struggle will vary by country:

// Khalidi act //

What happens in each country will very much depend on the internal dynamics of that country. I am not sure that it will necessarily strengthen Islamists. It will strengthen anybody who argues for that country's independence of the United States, given the fact that the United States seems to be acting in a way contrary to the interests of Arabs and Muslims. So in different countries, it will work itself out in different ways.

// end act //

Yes, apparently the US support for Israel is enough to justify hard feelings, while helping Muslims in Kosovo and Bosnia really just don't get you any credit. But then those are Muslims from a different ethnic region, and can't be expected to sympathize with Arab and Muslim feelings about Palestine.

Now most of Prof. Kahlidi's views on public display are rather bland, like his look at the Geneva Accords, which he saw as problematical in 2003, and that the US invasion of Iraq would be judged on post-war happenings more than those of the actual conflict, also seen in 2003.

What makes this sort of thing interesting is that when free elections, or as free as they can get under repressive terrorist organizations can be, were held for Palestinians, violence erupted and Prof. Kahlidi would be quoted in this CFR report of 04 OCT 2006:

Though Abbas has declared the unity talks dead, he has accepted a Qatari plan (Haaretz) to end the fighting, form a unity government, and ensure the release of an Israeli soldier held captive since June. Forming a unity government is particularly important, as it is seen as the key to unlocking Western aid that the stricken Palestinian economy (Palestine Chronicle) desperately needs. In September, Abbas and Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh raised hopes when they announced they were negotiating the details of a ruling coalition between Hamas and Fatah. As analyst Rashid Khalidi told CFR.org’s Bernard Gwertzman, such an arrangement would have helped relieve the PA’s economic crisis and could have set the stage for substantive negotiations with Israel. But negotiations floundered so quickly that, even before the outbreak of violence, prospects for a unity government were “fading fast” ( Al-Ahram).

Well, so much for the ease and sweetness of open elections on restoring peace. Mr. Khalidi has had a problem with his views on the Palestinians seemingly toeing the line of the PLO in such a way as to offer terrorists legitimacy. When he was offered a Chair at Columbia University in NY in 2002, Jacob Gersham wrote an article about that in the NY Sun on 05 NOV 2002 (via Campus Watch, h/t Solomonia and Winds of Change.NET):

Columbia's effort to snatch Mr. Khalidi away from Chicago may also signal where its political sympathies lie at a time when debate over the Middle East conflict is polarizing the campus. Supporters of a petition calling for Columbia to divest from companies that sell military equipment and hardware to Israel and of a counter-petition in support of Israel have been battling for faculty signatures for the past week. Mr. Said has signed the divestment petition and has been a leading advocate for that movement.

While Mr. Khalidi is respected among his fellow Middle East scholars, many of whom share his hostility toward Israel, he has also come under attack from other Middle East experts who say he is soft on militant Islam and excuses terrorism.

In an article published in June by the American Committee on Jerusalem, an Arab-American group, Mr. Khalidi compared Israeli treatment of Palestinian Arabs to the Holocaust. He wrote, "We all feel intensely a sense of urgency about what is happening to our communities in the Middle East and to our communities here, on par with what Jews in America felt in the 1940s…"

In the same article, he suggests that Arab-Americans build a memorial to the "Palestinian Nakba [catastrophe] of 1948" modeled after the Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C. In his writings, Mr. Khalidi has also likened the creation of the Israeli state to Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, which killed more than 2,000 Americans.

In his 1985 book, "Under Siege: P.L.O. Decisionmaking During the 1982 War," Mr. Khalidi thanked Yasser Arafat, chairman of the Palestinian Liberation Organization, for giving him access to PLO archives. Writing in the acknowledgments, he said, "To him [Mr. Arafat] and to the dedicated individuals working in the office of the Chairman, the P.L.O. archive and the Palestine News Agency (WAFA), who extended every possible assistance to me on three trips to Tunis, I owe deep thanks." In 1985 Mr. Arafat had not yet accepted Israel's right to exist and was considered a terrorist by the American government.

This was also covered by Alyssa A. Lappan and Jonathan Calt Harris at Frontpagemag on 18 MAR 2003. Another thing that has come up during Prof. Khalidi's career is the charge of plagiarism, which is looked at, extensively, at the Solomonia site on 08 JUN 2005.

Also mentioned in passing at Solomonia is the attempt by the NY City public school system to have Prof. Khalidi come in and lecture teachers on 'how to teach Mideast politics to schoolchildren' which is further covered in a post at Democracy Project on 25 FEB 2005 by Winfield Myers.

Be that as it may, there is an interesting intersection between Columbia and another of the persons in the Sen. Obama circle of friends and associates with a shady past, and that is seen here, at the Alliance Program site for Columbia University Scholarships from 2007:


The Alliance Program-BNP Paribas scholarships ($ 4 375) are dedicated to support students from Columbia University, Sciences Po and the Ecole Polytechnique pursuing the following master degree programs in finance:

- Sciences Po-SIPA Master in International Affairs
- The Ecole Polytechnique-Columbia University Master in Mathematics of Finance.

I am sure this is just one of those 'happy coincidences' that happen when you have such high flying folks around you tossing academia and cash around in a way that just happens to come together at random. Also note, a bit further up on the page, the Laurence Louër book announcement being hosted by Mr. Khalidi.

Another interesting look at how Prof. Khalidi sees the PLO and Palestine turns up in the case of Boim vs. Quaranic Lieracy et. al. filing at the US District Court, Northern District of Illinois on 10 NOV 2004 (Source: The Investigative Project on Terrorism files). This is a case looking at the death of David Boim by a HAMAS suicide bomber:

The record also contains a declaration from Rashid Khalidi, a professor of Middle Eastern History and the Director of the Center for International Studies at the University of Chicago; Professor Khalidi served as an advisor to the Palestinian delegation to the Palestinian-Israeli peace negotiations of 1991- 1993 in Madrid and Washington, D.C. See Declaration of Rashid Khalidi (attached as Exhibit 6 to IAP and AMS' Rule 56.1 Statement). Professor Khalidirs aim is to make clear that opposition to the Israeli occupation is not the same as support for Hamas; the Court did not for one moment equate the two. But expressing that opposition via suicide bombings and terrorist attacks such as the one that killed David Boim would seem, to this Court, to be precisely what Hamas is about. And the Seventh Circuit has instructed that those who provide material support to terrorists, who help to fund - directly or indirectly - Hamas' terrorist activities are liable, under 18 U.S.C. 92333 to the same extent as those who actually commit the terrorist acts.

Which is how aiding and abetting terrorist groups seeking to get funds for them can wind you up in jail. And part of that aiding and abetting is meeting with radical 'activists' for the Palestinian 'cause'. As seen in a WorldNetDaily report by Aaron Klein of 25 FEB 2008, one figure ties together both Rashid Khalidi and Barack Obama: Ali Abunimah. Here is part of the work done by Obama on behalf of Palestinians:

Abunimah previously described meeting with Obama at a fundraiser at the home of Columbia University professor Rashid Khalidi, reportedly a former PLO activist.

"[Obama]came with his wife. That's where I had a chance to really talk to him," Abunimah recalled. "It was an intimate setting. He convinced me he was very aware of the issues [and] critical of U.S. bias toward Israel and lack of sensitivity to Arabs. ... He was very supportive of U.S. pressure on Israel.

According to quotes obtained by Gulf News, Abunimah recalled a 2004 meeting in a Chicago neighborhood while Obama was running for his Senate seat. Abunimah quoted Obama telling him "warmly" he was sorry that "I haven't said more about Palestine right now, but we are in a tough primary race."

"I'm hoping when things calm down, I can be more up front," Abunimah reportedly quoted the senator as saying.

Abunimah said Obama urged him to "keep up the good work" at the Chicago Tribune, where Abunimah contributed guest columns that were highly critical of Israel.

Obama's campaign headquarters did not reply to an e-mail request seeking comment on his fundraising activities for Palestinians.

Abunimah serves on the board of the Arab American Action Network, or AAAN, a controversial Arab group that mourns the establishment of Israel as a "catastrophe" and supports intense immigration reform, including providing driver's licenses and education to illegal aliens.

WND reported yesterday the Woods Fund, a Chicago-based nonprofit on which Obama served as a paid director alongside a confessed domestic terrorist, provided $75,000 in grants to the AAAN.


Obama's advocacy on behalf of Palestinians comes after WND reported yesterday the presidential candidate served on the board of the Woods Fund alongside William C. Ayers, a member of the Weathermen terrorist group which sought to overthrow of the U.S. government and took responsibility for bombings against government buildings.

Ayers, who still serves on the Woods Fund board, contributed $200 to Obama's senatorial campaign fund and has served on panels with Obama at numerous public speaking engagements. Ayers admitted to involvement in the bombings of U.S. governmental buildings in the 1970s. He is a professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Ayers has boasted of his involvement with the Weathermen terror group's bombings of the New York City Police headquarters in 1970, the Capitol in 1971 and the Pentagon in 1972.

"I don't regret setting bombs. I feel we didn't do enough," Ayers told the New York Times in an interview released Sept. 11, 2001

"Everything was absolutely ideal on the day I bombed the Pentagon," Ayers wrote in his memoirs, titled "Fugitive Days." He continued with a disclaimer that he didn't personally set the bombs, but his group set the explosives and planned the attack.

A $200 campaign contribution is listed April 2, 2001, by the "Friends of Barack Obama" campaign fund. The two appeared as speakers together at several public events, including a 1997 University of Chicago panel entitled, "Should a child ever be called a 'super predator?'" and another panel for the University of Illinois in April 2002, entitled, "Intellectuals: Who Needs Them?"

The charges against Ayers were dropped in 1974 because of prosecutorial misconduct, including illegal surveillance.

Ayers is married to another notorious Weathermen terrorist, Bernadine Dohrn, who also has served on panels with Obama. Dohrn was once on the FBI's Top 10 Most Wanted List and was described by J. Edgar Hoover as the "most dangerous woman in America." Ayers and Dohrn raised the son of Weathermen terrorist Kathy Boudin, who was serving a sentence for participating in a 1981 murder and robbery that left four people dead.

Amazing where a bit of looking at Rashid Khalidi will get you, isn't it?

Taking a quick look at some of the folks who utilize Ali Abunimah's 'news' from Electronic Intifada, we come to an article by Alyssa A. Lappen on the International Solidarity Movement, at FrontPage Magazine on 02 SEP 2003:

Nominally, at least, ISM was co-founded in December 2000 by former Brooklyn radical Adam Shapiro, his Arab Palestinian-American wife Huwaida Arraf; [1] and Ghassan Andoni and George Rishmawi, the Palestinian Center for Rapprochement’s respective executive director and coordinator. Andoni, a Bir Zeit University physics instructor, also heads Beit Sahur-based Alternative Tourism, which made arrangements for two British perpetrators of an April 30 suicide bombing, the 89th in the Oslo War’s 33 months. Arafat’s Al Aksa Martyr’s Brigades and Hamas jointly claimed responsibility for the blast that killed two musicians and a waitress and gravely wounded 16 at Tel Aviv’s packed Mike’s Place music bar.


Like ISM, the Islamic Association for Palestine—which ISM’s parent group lists as a “religious organization”—parades as a social action group, a "not-for-profit, public awareness, educational, political, social, and civic, national grassroots organization dedicated to advancing a just, comprehensive, and eternal solution to the cause of Palestine and suffrages of the Palestinians." But the IAP in 1994 spun off the Council on American Islamic Relations, which joined with the Muslim Public Affairs Council, American Muslim Alliance, Islamic Circle of North America, Islamic Society of North America and the Muslim American Society, among others, in sending representatives to the Jerusalem Conference. [12] Not surprisingly, ISM’s Rapprochement parent also links to CAIR, which it likewise deceptively describes as “religious.”

Concurrent to its “peace” activities, ISM runs campaigns to release Marwan Barghouti—accused of masterminding several dozen terrorist attacks that ended the lives of equally many Israeli civilians and raise funds for questionable charities such as Palestine Children’s Welfare Fund and Palestine Children’s Relief Fund. (PCRF founder Stephen Sosebee, according to Joe Kaufman, espouses the lunatic theories of the Zayed International Centre for Coordination and Follow-up, Holocaust deniers David Irving and Roger Garaudy and Saudi professor Umayma Jalahma, who last year claimed Jews use non-Jewish blood to prepare their Purim pastries.)

ISM’s parent, Andoni’s Rapprochement Center, lists among “political parties” the Hamas and Hizb-ut-Tahrir terrorist groups. The latter, founded in Jordan, now sponsors much of the terrorism in Central Asia.

Rapprochement likewise considers Ali AbunimahAmerican-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee acolyte, Electronic Intifada founder and Al Awda devoteea legitimate source of news. It links to a rabid conspiracy site purporting to prove that Israel purposefully bombed the USS Liberty during the Six Day War, despite recent disclosures—and U.S. documents—proving the attack a grievous accident of war. Rapprochement links to several many other groups coyly claiming to support peace and justice that in fact seek only to delegitimize Israel.

The ISM, itself, has been responsible for shifting 'peace activists' to Palestinian 'protests' and doing a bit of recruiting for attacks and bombings, too. One of the other news organizations that sees Ali Abunimah as a source of material is the local radio station WVON, or Radio Islam. Joe Kaufman, reporting for FrontPageMagazine on 03 FEB 2006 would look at CAIR and its Chicago director Ahmed Rehab. Mr. Rehab hosted a radio program on WVON as the IAP, noted above, was starting to falter:

On January 8, 2005, Rehab’s WVON Radio Islam show featured three guests: Ali Abunimah (co-founder of Electronic Intifada), Fadi Farhan (Government Affairs Director for CAIR-Chicago), and Rafiq Jaber. The topic was the upcoming Palestinian elections.

During the show, Jaber’s extremist opinions came through loud and clear. He called Mahmood Abbas “a failure,” and in a foreboding move that has only been realized today, he stated, “The only opposition that could give [Abbas] a run for his money… the only ones that could do that are the Islamist movement there, which is Hamas and Jihad.”

When asked about whether he was for a one state solution or two states (Israel and Palestine), Jaber made his true intentions known to all. He said, “Well, I think the two state solution… is really just a farce…” [CAIR’s Fadhi Farhan also chimed in, “One state solution is actually, in the long term, the only way it’s going to work, whether it be through war, whether it be through some sort of peaceful resolution of this particular conflict.”]

And Jaber raised anti-Semitic canards of old – ‘Jewish control over the media and government.’ He stated, “…the Zionists and the Jewish people, here in this country, they are [sic] big businesses and the advertisers, and so that’s one factor of it… The second part of it, of course, there is distortion of all the facts, that about Palestine, from not just the media, also from the government. The government here, which is the political leaders of our country here, [sic] that they lean also toward who is giving them the money and who is voting for them. Again, we see the Jewish people and the Jewish money and the Jewish lobby here.”

Rehab agreed: “It’s been made politically incorrect to make such statements, but I think, if you’re putting it in the context of the question (‘Why is it that you think that this media is very skewed to the Israeli side of the conflict?’), which I think is a very valid question, I think it definitely has to be made.”

That is where some of the Woods Fund money went: to Ali Abunimah and his 'news' and views. Even more interesting is the other folks who got money via Obama's association with Woods Fund to help shift money to a backer and his former boss, Allison S. Davis, seen at Chicago Sun-Times report by Tim Novak on 20 NOV 2007:

Seven years ago, Sen. Barack Obama was on the board of a Chicago charity when his former boss, Allison S. Davis, came looking for money.

At the time, Davis was a developer represented by the law firm where Obama worked, as well as a small contributor to Obama's political campaign funds. He wanted the charity to help fund his plans to build housing for low-income Chicagoans.

Obama agreed. He voted with other directors of the Woods Fund of Chicago to invest $1 million with Neighborhood Rejuvenation Partners L.P., a $17 million partnership that Davis still operates.

It's not clear whether Obama told other board members of his ties to Davis, whose family would go on to donate more than $25,000 to Obama's political campaigns, including his bid to be president of the United States.

"Let me get back to you on that," Obama presidential campaign spokesman Bill Burton said when asked about that two weeks ago. He never did.


As a developer, Davis' partners have included Tony Rezko, the now-indicted political fund-raiser who has been among Obama's biggest political supporters.

A few months after Davis left the law firm, Obama won his first political office -- a seat in the Illinois Senate. His campaign contributors included Rezko and Davis.

Two years later, Obama wrote to city and state officials, urging them to give money to New Kenwood LLC, a company that Davis and Rezko formed to build an apartment building for low-income seniors at 48th and Cottage Grove.

Davis and Rezko were building that project in 2000 when Davis approached the Woods Fund, seeking its investment in future projects. Besides Obama, Davis also had ties to another of the not-for-profit organization's seven board members -- Howard Stanback, a former city aviation commissioner who worked for Davis at New Kenwood.

You, too, with just a few good political and mob connections can be in the world of high finance development in downtown Chicago! So the Woods Fund not only has the distinction of having ties to Ali Abunimah (via AAAN), but to 'Tony' Rezko and Allison Davis via Barack Obama. Plus Mr. Ayers sitting on the board of the Woods Fund at the same time as Obama, thus both having a say on where the funds went to.

Just so many ways to go with this, still that basic inner circle still needs just a bit more fleshing out. I'm leaving Rev. Jeremiah Wright to others, who seem a bit hotter on that, while I go after the rest of the groupings... what does that bring us to so far? A quick rundown:

  1. Raila Odinga - Working with Dick Morris to bring the 'politics of change' to Kenya which has looked like ethnic cleansing and intimidation to get his dream of fulfilling his father's destiny of leading Kenya. Lots of connections there to the al-Bakri group, and the sudden appearance of Red Mafia types after the discovery of oil reserves under the Lamu Peninsula.
  2. Antoin 'Tony' Rezko - Syrian-American mobster with ties to quite a few people in local business, real estate and politics. The local 'fixer' sort of deal maker associated with the mob in Chicago.
  3. Rev. Jeremiah Wright - Practicing 'Black Liberation Theology' which has whites as some sort of harbinger of the Anti-Christ. Plus a view that government could get millions addicted to illegal drugs and develop AIDS to target black folks... which doesn't explain why it hit gays first... really if the government had this sort of power, Rev. Wright wouldn't be around now, would he? And why is he supporting someone going into that ultimate corrupter and hater of blacks, the US Government? If it is so evil, its a death sentence, now, isn't it?
  4. Nadhmi Auchi - Cousin of Saddam Hussein, international financier that has worked with al Qaeda and HAMAS, has deep ties to the Red Mafia, major funneler of kickbacks via the OFF scandal, utilized the corrupted Clearstream organization for money laundering, and one of the richest men in the UK. Seemingly has one-degree separation from anyone who is anyone in diplomacy, government, and the underworld... and often not even at one-degree.
  5. Rashid Khalidi - Ex-spokesman for the PLO, Palestinian apologist par excellence, and tried to give HAMAS cover for its execution of a US citizen.
  6. Ali Abunimah - Understudy of Khalidi, continued Palestinian apologist, and wonderful source for radicals to point to when they need reliable news that fits their views... if not the facts involved.
  7. William C. Ayers - Weatherman, let off because of tainted evidence and unrepentant about his bombings. Radical to say the least and associated with Obama, Abunimah and Khalidi. Also sat on the Woods Fund with Obama.
  8. Allison S. Davis - Former boss of Obama at the Woods Fund, recipient of funds for it to do some 'development' in Chicago, and involved with 'Tony' Rezko and Robert Vanecko, nephew of Mayor Daley. Together they have been involved not only in development scandals, but also a sewer development scandal that depleted the city's pension funds.

What 'politics of change'! All sorts of names involved with crime and corruption I hadn't read about until Barack Obama hit the scene.

Who else is there? Hmmmm....

How about Michael Pfleger? Heard of him? I certainly hadn't before I ran across his name looking at this web of ties. When I went to look up his history, well, its not as major as, say, Jeremiah Wright, but still the man has some 'issues' about things. Take this earliest article I could come up with from the NYT on 27 JUL 1989 about a white priest embracing black 'spiritual roots':

Michael Pfleger, blond and blue-eyed, wraps himself in the multicolored vestments of an African prince and celebrates Mass with the fire and fury of a down-home Baptist minister.

Over and over, his parishioners, almost all of whom are black, break into his sermon to say ''Amen'' and ''Tell it, Father Mike!'' as he shouts and preaches and jumps about an altar shaped like an African drum. Soon all the members of the congregation at St. Sabina Catholic Church are on their feet, clapping and swaying to the beat of the gospel band.

Father Pfleger is among a small but growing group of Roman Catholic pastors, several of them white, who are trying to stretch the image of Catholicism, to superimpose black and African traditions onto the basic Catholic rite. In Los Angeles, for example, people come from as far as 100 miles away for the gospel music and African dancing at Mass at St. Brigid's. The priest there, the Rev. Paul Banet, said he would now like to develop a salsa Mass with mariachi music for Hispanic parishes.


Father Pfleger said he noticed that many black Catholics would attend Mass, then go to black Protestant churches or listen on the radio for ''real church.'' He figured, ''Why can't we have church at church?''

He insists that the black and African elements he added to the liturgy transcend denominational lines. ''It's not Baptist to clap one's hands or have gospel music or speak in tongues and get filled with the holy spirit,'' he said. ''It's human and spiritual. No church owns that.''

The Rev. Ronald Krisman, executive director of the Bishops' Committee on the Liturgy in Washington, said many of the new practices were within acceptable bounds, as liturgical styles have been liberalized by the church in the past two decades.

''What a normal American black parish does on Sunday is perfectly within the norm of Catholic liturgy,'' Father Krisman said. ''It's not a far-reaching adaptation. There has been more indigenization of the liturgy. It reflects the development and renewal or our liturgical life.''

But St. Sabina on Chicago's South Side is not the typical black Catholic church. Ebony wood carvings, Ashanti foot stools and kinte cloths make the altar area look more like an African art gallery. Banners of red, black and green, the colors of African liberation, hang from the rafters, along with excerpts from the Black National Anthem. A 20-foot mural of a black Jesus looms over the altar.

Apparently one does not need to be black to preach 'black liberation theology'. And just why is it that this stuff is alien to white folks, like we've been fed the past few weeks? Yes, I've certainly heard about such things in my life, going to the 'hotbed of apathy' at SUNY Buffalo with a nearly arthritic band of radical social oriented professors... which is one reason I went into the sciences. Still, I can see where Barack Obama, would have found a kindred soul. From a NYT article on 09 SEP 2007 which recounts his problems breaking into politics where Bobby L. Rush, a Black Panther, held the local seat and he was challenging in the primary and note who would stick by him:

In his book “The Audacity of Hope,” Mr. Obama wrote: “Less than halfway into the campaign, I knew in my bones that I was going to lose. Each morning from that point forward I awoke with a vague sense of dread, realizing that I would have to spend the day smiling and shaking hands and pretending that everything was going according to plan.”

Billboards in the district read: “I’m sticking with Bobby.” A few black elected officials endorsed Mr. Obama but most fell in line behind the incumbent. Ministers closed ranks. The Rev. Michael Pfleger, pastor of the St. Sabina Catholic Church, said other ministers and congregation members called to complain when he endorsed Mr. Obama.

There you have it the 'politics of change' in action: moving from a Black Panther radical to a more mainstream radical! So when Barack Obama would come out against the war in Iraq he would have a reliable ally who was always against the war in Iraq:

A Catholic priest, Michael Pfleger, whose parish is located in one of Chicago's poorest neighborhoods, declared, "If George Bush wants to set deadlines, he could set deadlines on unemployment, apartheid, homelessness. He has been hell-bound for months on war. I have never heard a President talk so much war talk in my lifetime." During Vietnam, American labor unions and blue-collar workers tended to support the war. This time, the presidents of * nine major unions argued for a peaceful solution.

Ah, yes, that was from Time article Anxiety Before the Storm... AP story 06 MAY 1998 at ardmoreite:

CHICAGO (AP) -- One calls himself an ''errand boy for Jesus,'' the other appears as the devil on the current cover of ''Rolling Stone.''

The battle of personalities between the Rev. Michael Pfleger and talk-show host Jerry Springer may have been inevitable, but the outcome seems to have surprised Springer himself.

Calling Springer's fists-flying show immoral, Pfleger urged an end to the fights and organized an advertising boycott that prompted several companies to drop their ads on the highly rated program.

Yes! Change! Those all-powerful talk show hosts just need to be stood up to. Beyond that he did get a minor scandal when he was re-appointed to another term in his position outside of that traditionally expected, and some were wondering if it wasn't time for him to 'move on' in 2002. Andwhen Frrakhan fell sick back in 2006 (via Biafra Nigeria World News archives), well:

According to Farrakhan, he is at present under treatment, guided by Howard University doctors. He disclosed this in a letter dated September 11, posted on the website of the group's newspaper, The Final Call.

"I am forced to do what is necessary to restore myself nutritionally. Otherwise, my present condition could be life-threatening", he wrote.

Michael Pfleger , Pastor of St. Sabina who visited Farrakhan at his Michigan home a few weeks ago, said that the recuperating Farrakhan is "in great spirit"

Pfleger said: "He is not a man on his death bed. He wants to step back from decision-making and let others step up.

From that and a minor dust-up against Wal-Mart, Father Pfleger would come out to support Sen. Obama for President, as seen by Matt C. Abbot at Renewamerica, 17 JAN 2007. Apparently Mr. Abbot went a bit too easy on Father Pfleger as Cassidy Bugos at Lifesitenews would light into him on 18 JAN 2008:

CHICAGO, January 18, 2007 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Catholic priest Father Michael Pfleger of the Archdiocese of Chicago wants people to know that pro-abortion, pro-homosexual marriage Senator Barack Obama “is the best thing to come across the political scene since Bobby Kennedy.”

Father Pfleger says he has known Obama for 20 years. “I think Barack Obama is in a class of his own,” he said.

As an Illinois Senator Obama had the unstinting approval of the Illinois Planned Parenthood Council for his dependable support of pro-abortion legislation. Now, after a short two years in the U.S. Senate, Obama has earned 100% ratings from pro-abortion groups across the board, including NARAL Pro-Choice America and the National Organization for Women.

In 2002 he voted against a bill to protect or offer medical care to babies that survive botched abortions. Prior to that he opposed an Illinois State ban on partial-birth abortion, and refused his vote to a bill mandating internet pornography filters in schools.

There, that should be a good round-up of the Catholic feeling about Father Pfleger.

Now some folks have been wondering what sort of folks back Sen. Obama in the way of gun control, and for that we will drop by The Volokh Conspiracy with Eugene Volokh looking at how things went with Father Pfleger on 29 MAY 2007:

Jesse Jackson Ally Calls for "Snuffing Out" Gun Store Owner:

The Second Amendment Foundation is complaining about this incident:

Chuck's Gun Shop, 14310 S. Indiana Ave., was the target of the protest [march led by Jesse Jackson]. The protesters blamed Chuck's, which is just across the border from Chicago, for many of the guns on the city's streets....

Jackson and Revs. James Meeks and Michael Pfleger encouraged the crowd to push for stricter gun laws. They vowed that the rally was just the beginning and that civil disobedience was possible....

The SAF reports,

In a stunning audio recording of Pfleger’s remarks, the pastor of St. Sabina’s Church can clearly be heard stating, “John Riggio ... we’re going to find you and snuff you out.” Moments later, Pfleger added, “We’re going to snuff out John Riggio, we’re going to snuff out legislators that are voting ... against our gun laws and we’re coming for you because we are not going to sit idly.”

The SAF argues that this is a death threat, and demands that the Justice Department investigate Pfleger for this.

Yes, 'snuffing out' gun store owners heard from a Catholic Priest. One wonders how this advances the cause of the 'Prince of Peace'. Still I am sure the good Father Pfleger does good work, like that with senior centers, as seen in this Chicago Tribune story of 31 DEC 2006:

Senior Suites is the brand name of the affordable buildings developed by Chicago-based Senior Lifestyle Corp. The company, in a joint-venture with the Beloved Community, a neighborhood group affiliated with St. Sabina Church and community activist Rev. Michael Pfleger, is developing the Auburn Gresham building.

Bob Gawronski, vice president of development at Senior Lifestyle, expects the Auburn Gresham building to open around Thanksgiving. (Names are being taken for a waiting list. Call 312-673-4333.) Residents must have an annual income of less than $31,680 for a single person and $36,180 for a couple. Also, five apartments are available for those with higher incomes. Rents for those range from $640 to $750.

One of the men tied up in the recent Rezko deals is Alderman Edward M. Burke, who had voted to approve Rezko's plans for the South Loop deal, as seen in this Chicago Sun-Times article of 04 OCT 2007. And on the list of folks doing business with him that are also of interest is this little company tucked away far down the list:

29. Senior Lifestyle Corp.

Apparently the folks running Senior Lifestyle Corp. will have to give at least a few answers as to the business relationship they had with Ald. Burke and Rezmar. Newsalert blog of FEB 2008 has a bit more on Ald. Burke, but this is really a bit too precious to leave out:

Alderman Burke has been accused of fixing a murder trial for the Chicago Mob and strangely hasn't sued the publishers of the book(go to pages 160,161,and 162).

Perhaps he just forgot? Still, its interesting to see just the sort of respectable politico that Ald. Burke is or is not, and that is an awfully long client list to go through.

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