President Obama's Speech In Cairo

CNN provides video excerpts:

More . . .

[Added (TL): The AP has some choice quotes. Back to BTD below]

HuffPo has the text:

I am honored to be in the timeless city of Cairo, and to be hosted by two remarkable institutions. For over a thousand years, Al-Azhar has stood as a beacon of Islamic learning, and for over a century, Cairo University has been a source of Egypt's advancement. Together, you represent the harmony between tradition and progress. I am grateful for your hospitality, and the hospitality of the people of Egypt. I am also proud to carry with me the goodwill of the American people, and a greeting of peace from Muslim communities in my country: assalaamu alaykum.

We meet at a time of tension between the United States and Muslims around the world - tension rooted in historical forces that go beyond any current policy debate. The relationship between Islam and the West includes centuries of co-existence and cooperation, but also conflict and religious wars. More recently, tension has been fed by colonialism that denied rights and opportunities to many Muslims, and a Cold War in which Muslim-majority countries were too often treated as proxies without regard to their own aspirations. Moreover, the sweeping change brought by modernity and globalization led many Muslims to view the West as hostile to the traditions of Islam.

Violent extremists have exploited these tensions in a small but potent minority of Muslims. The attacks of September 11th, 2001 and the continued efforts of these extremists to engage in violence against civilians has led some in my country to view Islam as inevitably hostile not only to America and Western countries, but also to human rights. This has bred more fear and mistrust.

So long as our relationship is defined by our differences, we will empower those who sow hatred rather than peace, and who promote conflict rather than the cooperation that can help all of our people achieve justice and prosperity. This cycle of suspicion and discord must end.

I have come here to seek a new beginning between the United States and Muslims around the world; one based upon mutual interest and mutual respect; and one based upon the truth that America and Islam are not exclusive, and need not be in competition. Instead, they overlap, and share common principles - principles of justice and progress; tolerance and the dignity of all human beings.

I do so recognizing that change cannot happen overnight. No single speech can eradicate years of mistrust, nor can I answer in the time that I have all the complex questions that brought us to this point. But I am convinced that in order to move forward, we must say openly the things we hold in our hearts, and that too often are said only behind closed doors. There must be a sustained effort to listen to each other; to learn from each other; to respect one another; and to seek common ground. As the Holy Koran tells us, "Be conscious of God and speak always the truth." That is what I will try to do - to speak the truth as best I can, humbled by the task before us, and firm in my belief that the interests we share as human beings are far more powerful than the forces that drive us apart.

Part of this conviction is rooted in my own experience. I am a Christian, but my father came from a Kenyan family that includes generations of Muslims. As a boy, I spent several years in Indonesia and heard the call of the azaan at the break of dawn and the fall of dusk. As a young man, I worked in Chicago communities where many found dignity and peace in their Muslim faith.

As a student of history, I also know civilization's debt to Islam. It was Islam - at places like Al-Azhar University - that carried the light of learning through so many centuries, paving the way for Europe's Renaissance and Enlightenment. It was innovation in Muslim communities that developed the order of algebra; our magnetic compass and tools of navigation; our mastery of pens and printing; our understanding of how disease spreads and how it can be healed. Islamic culture has given us majestic arches and soaring spires; timeless poetry and cherished music; elegant calligraphy and places of peaceful contemplation. And throughout history, Islam has demonstrated through words and deeds the possibilities of religious tolerance and racial equality.

I know, too, that Islam has always been a part of America's story. The first nation to recognize my country was Morocco. In signing the Treaty of Tripoli in 1796, our second President John Adams wrote, "The United States has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion or tranquility of Muslims." And since our founding, American Muslims have enriched the United States. They have fought in our wars, served in government, stood for civil rights, started businesses, taught at our Universities, excelled in our sports arenas, won Nobel Prizes, built our tallest building, and lit the Olympic Torch. And when the first Muslim-American was recently elected to Congress, he took the oath to defend our Constitution using the same Holy Koran that one of our Founding Fathers - Thomas Jefferson - kept in his personal library.

So I have known Islam on three continents before coming to the region where it was first revealed. That experience guides my conviction that partnership between America and Islam must be based on what Islam is, not what it isn't. And I consider it part of my responsibility as President of the United States to fight against negative stereotypes of Islam wherever they appear.

But that same principle must apply to Muslim perceptions of America. Just as Muslims do not fit a crude stereotype, America is not the crude stereotype of a self-interested empire. The United States has been one of the greatest sources of progress that the world has ever known. We were born out of revolution against an empire. We were founded upon the ideal that all are created equal, and we have shed blood and struggled for centuries to give meaning to those words - within our borders, and around the world. We are shaped by every culture, drawn from every end of the Earth, and dedicated to a simple concept: E pluribus unum: "Out of many, one."

Much has been made of the fact that an African-American with the name Barack Hussein Obama could be elected President. But my personal story is not so unique. The dream of opportunity for all people has not come true for everyone in America, but its promise exists for all who come to our shores - that includes nearly seven million American Muslims in our country today who enjoy incomes and education that are higher than average.

Moreover, freedom in America is indivisible from the freedom to practice one's religion. That is why there is a mosque in every state of our union, and over 1,200 mosques within our borders. That is why the U.S. government has gone to court to protect the right of women and girls to wear the hijab, and to punish those who would deny it.

So let there be no doubt: Islam is a part of America. And I believe that America holds within her the truth that regardless of race, religion, or station in life, all of us share common aspirations - to live in peace and security; to get an education and to work with dignity; to love our families, our communities, and our God. These things we share. This is the hope of all humanity.

Of course, recognizing our common humanity is only the beginning of our task. Words alone cannot meet the needs of our people. These needs will be met only if we act boldly in the years ahead; and if we understand that the challenges we face are shared, and our failure to meet them will hurt us all.

For we have learned from recent experience that when a financial system weakens in one country, prosperity is hurt everywhere. When a new flu infects one human being, all are at risk. When one nation pursues a nuclear weapon, the risk of nuclear attack rises for all nations. When violent extremists operate in one stretch of mountains, people are endangered across an ocean. And when innocents in Bosnia and Darfur are slaughtered, that is a stain on our collective conscience. That is what it means to share this world in the 21st century. That is the responsibility we have to one another as human beings.

This is a difficult responsibility to embrace. For human history has often been a record of nations and tribes subjugating one another to serve their own interests. Yet in this new age, such attitudes are self-defeating. Given our interdependence, any world order that elevates one nation or group of people over another will inevitably fail. So whatever we think of the past, we must not be prisoners of it. Our problems must be dealt with through partnership; progress must be shared.

That does not mean we should ignore sources of tension. Indeed, it suggests the opposite: we must face these tensions squarely. And so in that spirit, let me speak as clearly and plainly as I can about some specific issues that I believe we must finally confront together.

The first issue that we have to confront is violent extremism in all of its forms.

In Ankara, I made clear that America is not - and never will be - at war with Islam. We will, however, relentlessly confront violent extremists who pose a grave threat to our security. Because we reject the same thing that people of all faiths reject: the killing of innocent men, women, and children. And it is my first duty as President to protect the American people.

The situation in Afghanistan demonstrates America's goals, and our need to work together. Over seven years ago, the United States pursued al Qaeda and the Taliban with broad international support. We did not go by choice, we went because of necessity. I am aware that some question or justify the events of 9/11. But let us be clear: al Qaeda killed nearly 3,000 people on that day. The victims were innocent men, women and children from America and many other nations who had done nothing to harm anybody. And yet Al Qaeda chose to ruthlessly murder these people, claimed credit for the attack, and even now states their determination to kill on a massive scale. They have affiliates in many countries and are trying to expand their reach. These are not opinions to be debated; these are facts to be dealt with.

Make no mistake: we do not want to keep our troops in Afghanistan. We seek no military bases there. It is agonizing for America to lose our young men and women. It is costly and politically difficult to continue this conflict. We would gladly bring every single one of our troops home if we could be confident that there were not violent extremists in Afghanistan and Pakistan determined to kill as many Americans as they possibly can. But that is not yet the case.

That's why we're partnering with a coalition of forty-six countries. And despite the costs involved, America's commitment will not weaken. Indeed, none of us should tolerate these extremists. They have killed in many countries. They have killed people of different faiths - more than any other, they have killed Muslims. Their actions are irreconcilable with the rights of human beings, the progress of nations, and with Islam. The Holy Koran teaches that whoever kills an innocent, it is as if he has killed all mankind; and whoever saves a person, it is as if he has saved all mankind. The enduring faith of over a billion people is so much bigger than the narrow hatred of a few. Islam is not part of the problem in combating violent extremism - it is an important part of promoting peace.

We also know that military power alone is not going to solve the problems in Afghanistan and Pakistan. That is why we plan to invest $1.5 billion each year over the next five years to partner with Pakistanis to build schools and hospitals, roads and businesses, and hundreds of millions to help those who have been displaced. And that is why we are providing more than $2.8 billion to help Afghans develop their economy and deliver services that people depend upon.

Let me also address the issue of Iraq. Unlike Afghanistan, Iraq was a war of choice that provoked strong differences in my country and around the world. Although I believe that the Iraqi people are ultimately better off without the tyranny of Saddam Hussein, I also believe that events in Iraq have reminded America of the need to use diplomacy and build international consensus to resolve our problems whenever possible. Indeed, we can recall the words of Thomas Jefferson, who said: "I hope that our wisdom will grow with our power, and teach us that the less we use our power the greater it will be."

Today, America has a dual responsibility: to help Iraq forge a better future - and to leave Iraq to Iraqis. I have made it clear to the Iraqi people that we pursue no bases, and no claim on their territory or resources. Iraq's sovereignty is its own. That is why I ordered the removal of our combat brigades by next August. That is why we will honor our agreement with Iraq's democratically-elected government to remove combat troops from Iraqi cities by July, and to remove all our troops from Iraq by 2012. We will help Iraq train its Security Forces and develop its economy. But we will support a secure and united Iraq as a partner, and never as a patron.

And finally, just as America can never tolerate violence by extremists, we must never alter our principles. 9/11 was an enormous trauma to our country. The fear and anger that it provoked was understandable, but in some cases, it led us to act contrary to our ideals. We are taking concrete actions to change course. I have unequivocally prohibited the use of torture by the United States, and I have ordered the prison at Guantanamo Bay closed by early next year.

So America will defend itself respectful of the sovereignty of nations and the rule of law. And we will do so in partnership with Muslim communities which are also threatened. The sooner the extremists are isolated and unwelcome in Muslim communities, the sooner we will all be safer.

The second major source of tension that we need to discuss is the situation between Israelis, Palestinians and the Arab world.

America's strong bonds with Israel are well known. This bond is unbreakable. It is based upon cultural and historical ties, and the recognition that the aspiration for a Jewish homeland is rooted in a tragic history that cannot be denied.

Around the world, the Jewish people were persecuted for centuries, and anti-Semitism in Europe culminated in an unprecedented Holocaust. Tomorrow, I will visit Buchenwald, which was part of a network of camps where Jews were enslaved, tortured, shot and gassed to death by the Third Reich. Six million Jews were killed - more than the entire Jewish population of Israel today. Denying that fact is baseless, ignorant, and hateful. Threatening Israel with destruction - or repeating vile stereotypes about Jews - is deeply wrong, and only serves to evoke in the minds of Israelis this most painful of memories while preventing the peace that the people of this region deserve.

On the other hand, it is also undeniable that the Palestinian people - Muslims and Christians - have suffered in pursuit of a homeland. For more than sixty years they have endured the pain of dislocation. Many wait in refugee camps in the West Bank, Gaza, and neighboring lands for a life of peace and security that they have never been able to lead. They endure the daily humiliations - large and small - that come with occupation. So let there be no doubt: the situation for the Palestinian people is intolerable. America will not turn our backs on the legitimate Palestinian aspiration for dignity, opportunity, and a state of their own.

For decades, there has been a stalemate: two peoples with legitimate aspirations, each with a painful history that makes compromise elusive. It is easy to point fingers - for Palestinians to point to the displacement brought by Israel's founding, and for Israelis to point to the constant hostility and attacks throughout its history from within its borders as well as beyond. But if we see this conflict only from one side or the other, then we will be blind to the truth: the only resolution is for the aspirations of both sides to be met through two states, where Israelis and Palestinians each live in peace and security.

That is in Israel's interest, Palestine's interest, America's interest, and the world's interest. That is why I intend to personally pursue this outcome with all the patience that the task requires. The obligations that the parties have agreed to under the Road Map are clear. For peace to come, it is time for them - and all of us - to live up to our responsibilities.

Palestinians must abandon violence. Resistance through violence and killing is wrong and does not succeed. For centuries, black people in America suffered the lash of the whip as slaves and the humiliation of segregation. But it was not violence that won full and equal rights. It was a peaceful and determined insistence upon the ideals at the center of America's founding. This same story can be told by people from South Africa to South Asia; from Eastern Europe to Indonesia. It's a story with a simple truth: that violence is a dead end. It is a sign of neither courage nor power to shoot rockets at sleeping children, or to blow up old women on a bus. That is not how moral authority is claimed; that is how it is surrendered.

Now is the time for Palestinians to focus on what they can build. The Palestinian Authority must develop its capacity to govern, with institutions that serve the needs of its people. Hamas does have support among some Palestinians, but they also have responsibilities. To play a role in fulfilling Palestinian aspirations, and to unify the Palestinian people, Hamas must put an end to violence, recognize past agreements, and recognize Israel's right to exist.

At the same time, Israelis must acknowledge that just as Israel's right to exist cannot be denied, neither can Palestine's. The United States does not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlements. This construction violates previous agreements and undermines efforts to achieve peace. It is time for these settlements to stop.

Israel must also live up to its obligations to ensure that Palestinians can live, and work, and develop their society. And just as it devastates Palestinian families, the continuing humanitarian crisis in Gaza does not serve Israel's security; neither does the continuing lack of opportunity in the West Bank. Progress in the daily lives of the Palestinian people must be part of a road to peace, and Israel must take concrete steps to enable such progress.

Finally, the Arab States must recognize that the Arab Peace Initiative was an important beginning, but not the end of their responsibilities. The Arab-Israeli conflict should no longer be used to distract the people of Arab nations from other problems. Instead, it must be a cause for action to help the Palestinian people develop the institutions that will sustain their state; to recognize Israel's legitimacy; and to choose progress over a self-defeating focus on the past.

America will align our policies with those who pursue peace, and say in public what we say in private to Israelis and Palestinians and Arabs. We cannot impose peace. But privately, many Muslims recognize that Israel will not go away. Likewise, many Israelis recognize the need for a Palestinian state. It is time for us to act on what everyone knows to be true.

Too many tears have flowed. Too much blood has been shed. All of us have a responsibility to work for the day when the mothers of Israelis and Palestinians can see their children grow up without fear; when the Holy Land of three great faiths is the place of peace that God intended it to be; when Jerusalem is a secure and lasting home for Jews and Christians and Muslims, and a place for all of the children of Abraham to mingle peacefully together as in the story of Isra, when Moses, Jesus, and Mohammed (peace be upon them) joined in prayer.

The third source of tension is our shared interest in the rights and responsibilities of nations on nuclear weapons.

This issue has been a source of tension between the United States and the Islamic Republic of Iran. For many years, Iran has defined itself in part by its opposition to my country, and there is indeed a tumultuous history between us. In the middle of the Cold War, the United States played a role in the overthrow of a democratically-elected Iranian government. Since the Islamic Revolution, Iran has played a role in acts of hostage-taking and violence against U.S. troops and civilians. This history is well known. Rather than remain trapped in the past, I have made it clear to Iran's leaders and people that my country is prepared to move forward. The question, now, is not what Iran is against, but rather what future it wants to build.

It will be hard to overcome decades of mistrust, but we will proceed with courage, rectitude and resolve. There will be many issues to discuss between our two countries, and we are willing to move forward without preconditions on the basis of mutual respect. But it is clear to all concerned that when it comes to nuclear weapons, we have reached a decisive point. This is not simply about America's interests. It is about preventing a nuclear arms race in the Middle East that could lead this region and the world down a hugely dangerous path.

I understand those who protest that some countries have weapons that others do not. No single nation should pick and choose which nations hold nuclear weapons. That is why I strongly reaffirmed America's commitment to seek a world in which no nations hold nuclear weapons. And any nation - including Iran - should have the right to access peaceful nuclear power if it complies with its responsibilities under the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. That commitment is at the core of the Treaty, and it must be kept for all who fully abide by it. And I am hopeful that all countries in the region can share in this goal.

The fourth issue that I will address is democracy.

I know there has been controversy about the promotion of democracy in recent years, and much of this controversy is connected to the war in Iraq. So let me be clear: no system of government can or should be imposed upon one nation by any other.

That does not lessen my commitment, however, to governments that reflect the will of the people. Each nation gives life to this principle in its own way, grounded in the traditions of its own people. America does not presume to know what is best for everyone, just as we would not presume to pick the outcome of a peaceful election. But I do have an unyielding belief that all people yearn for certain things: the ability to speak your mind and have a say in how you are governed; confidence in the rule of law and the equal administration of justice; government that is transparent and doesn't steal from the people; the freedom to live as you choose. Those are not just American ideas, they are human rights, and that is why we will support them everywhere.

There is no straight line to realize this promise. But this much is clear: governments that protect these rights are ultimately more stable, successful and secure. Suppressing ideas never succeeds in making them go away. America respects the right of all peaceful and law-abiding voices to be heard around the world, even if we disagree with them. And we will welcome all elected, peaceful governments - provided they govern with respect for all their people.

This last point is important because there are some who advocate for democracy only when they are out of power; once in power, they are ruthless in suppressing the rights of others. No matter where it takes hold, government of the people and by the people sets a single standard for all who hold power: you must maintain your power through consent, not coercion; you must respect the rights of minorities, and participate with a spirit of tolerance and compromise; you must place the interests of your people and the legitimate workings of the political process above your party. Without these ingredients, elections alone do not make true democracy.

The fifth issue that we must address together is religious freedom.

Islam has a proud tradition of tolerance. We see it in the history of Andalusia and Cordoba during the Inquisition. I saw it firsthand as a child in Indonesia, where devout Christians worshiped freely in an overwhelmingly Muslim country. That is the spirit we need today. People in every country should be free to choose and live their faith based upon the persuasion of the mind, heart, and soul. This tolerance is essential for religion to thrive, but it is being challenged in many different ways.

Among some Muslims, there is a disturbing tendency to measure one's own faith by the rejection of another's. The richness of religious diversity must be upheld - whether it is for Maronites in Lebanon or the Copts in Egypt. And fault lines must be closed among Muslims as well, as the divisions between Sunni and Shia have led to tragic violence, particularly in Iraq.

Freedom of religion is central to the ability of peoples to live together. We must always examine the ways in which we protect it. For instance, in the United States, rules on charitable giving have made it harder for Muslims to fulfill their religious obligation. That is why I am committed to working with American Muslims to ensure that they can fulfill zakat.

Likewise, it is important for Western countries to avoid impeding Muslim citizens from practicing religion as they see fit - for instance, by dictating what clothes a Muslim woman should wear. We cannot disguise hostility towards any religion behind the pretence of liberalism.

Indeed, faith should bring us together. That is why we are forging service projects in America that bring together Christians, Muslims, and Jews. That is why we welcome efforts like Saudi Arabian King Abdullah's Interfaith dialogue and Turkey's leadership in the Alliance of Civilizations. Around the world, we can turn dialogue into Interfaith service, so bridges between peoples lead to action - whether it is combating malaria in Africa, or providing relief after a natural disaster.

The sixth issue that I want to address is women's rights.

I know there is debate about this issue. I reject the view of some in the West that a woman who chooses to cover her hair is somehow less equal, but I do believe that a woman who is denied an education is denied equality. And it is no coincidence that countries where women are well-educated are far more likely to be prosperous.

Now let me be clear: issues of women's equality are by no means simply an issue for Islam. In Turkey, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Indonesia, we have seen Muslim-majority countries elect a woman to lead. Meanwhile, the struggle for women's equality continues in many aspects of American life, and in countries around the world.

Our daughters can contribute just as much to society as our sons, and our common prosperity will be advanced by allowing all humanity - men and women - to reach their full potential. I do not believe that women must make the same choices as men in order to be equal, and I respect those women who choose to live their lives in traditional roles. But it should be their choice. That is why the United States will partner with any Muslim-majority country to support expanded literacy for girls, and to help young women pursue employment through micro-financing that helps people live their dreams.

Finally, I want to discuss economic development and opportunity.

I know that for many, the face of globalization is contradictory. The Internet and television can bring knowledge and information, but also offensive sexuality and mindless violence. Trade can bring new wealth and opportunities, but also huge disruptions and changing communities. In all nations - including my own - this change can bring fear. Fear that because of modernity we will lose of control over our economic choices, our politics, and most importantly our identities - those things we most cherish about our communities, our families, our traditions, and our faith.

But I also know that human progress cannot be denied. There need not be contradiction between development and tradition. Countries like Japan and South Korea grew their economies while maintaining distinct cultures. The same is true for the astonishing progress within Muslim-majority countries from Kuala Lumpur to Dubai. In ancient times and in our times, Muslim communities have been at the forefront of innovation and education.

This is important because no development strategy can be based only upon what comes out of the ground, nor can it be sustained while young people are out of work. Many Gulf States have enjoyed great wealth as a consequence of oil, and some are beginning to focus it on broader development. But all of us must recognize that education and innovation will be the currency of the 21st century, and in too many Muslim communities there remains underinvestment in these areas. I am emphasizing such investments within my country. And while America in the past has focused on oil and gas in this part of the world, we now seek a broader engagement.

On education, we will expand exchange programs, and increase scholarships, like the one that brought my father to America, while encouraging more Americans to study in Muslim communities. And we will match promising Muslim students with internships in America; invest in on-line learning for teachers and children around the world; and create a new online network, so a teenager in Kansas can communicate instantly with a teenager in Cairo.

On economic development, we will create a new corps of business volunteers to partner with counterparts in Muslim-majority countries. And I will host a Summit on Entrepreneurship this year to identify how we can deepen ties between business leaders, foundations and social entrepreneurs in the United States and Muslim communities around the world.

On science and technology, we will launch a new fund to support technological development in Muslim-majority countries, and to help transfer ideas to the marketplace so they can create jobs. We will open centers of scientific excellence in Africa, the Middle East and Southeast Asia, and appoint new Science Envoys to collaborate on programs that develop new sources of energy, create green jobs, digitize records, clean water, and grow new crops. And today I am announcing a new global effort with the Organization of the Islamic Conference to eradicate polio. And we will also expand partnerships with Muslim communities to promote child and maternal health.

All these things must be done in partnership. Americans are ready to join with citizens and governments; community organizations, religious leaders, and businesses in Muslim communities around the world to help our people pursue a better life.

The issues that I have described will not be easy to address. But we have a responsibility to join together on behalf of the world we seek - a world where extremists no longer threaten our people, and American troops have come home; a world where Israelis and Palestinians are each secure in a state of their own, and nuclear energy is used for peaceful purposes; a world where governments serve their citizens, and the rights of all God's children are respected. Those are mutual interests. That is the world we seek. But we can only achieve it together.

I know there are many - Muslim and non-Muslim - who question whether we can forge this new beginning. Some are eager to stoke the flames of division, and to stand in the way of progress. Some suggest that it isn't worth the effort - that we are fated to disagree, and civilizations are doomed to clash. Many more are simply skeptical that real change can occur. There is so much fear, so much mistrust. But if we choose to be bound by the past, we will never move forward. And I want to particularly say this to young people of every faith, in every country - you, more than anyone, have the ability to remake this world.

All of us share this world for but a brief moment in time. The question is whether we spend that time focused on what pushes us apart, or whether we commit ourselves to an effort - a sustained effort - to find common ground, to focus on the future we seek for our children, and to respect the dignity of all human beings.

It is easier to start wars than to end them. It is easier to blame others than to look inward; to see what is different about someone than to find the things we share. But we should choose the right path, not just the easy path. There is also one rule that lies at the heart of every religion - that we do unto others as we would have them do unto us. This truth transcends nations and peoples - a belief that isn't new; that isn't black or white or brown; that isn't Christian, or Muslim or Jew. It's a belief that pulsed in the cradle of civilization, and that still beats in the heart of billions. It's a faith in other people, and it's what brought me here today.

We have the power to make the world we seek, but only if we have the courage to make a new beginning, keeping in mind what has been written.

The Holy Koran tells us, "O mankind! We have created you male and a female; and we have made you into nations and tribes so that you may know one another."

The Talmud tells us: "The whole of the Torah is for the purpose of promoting peace."

The Holy Bible tells us, "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God."

The people of the world can live together in peace. We know that is God's vision. Now, that must be our work here on Earth. Thank you. And may God's peace be upon you.

< Obama Releases Some Details of Health Care Plan | The Ignorant Media And "Advocacy" From The Bench >
  • The Online Magazine with Liberal coverage of crime-related political and injustice news

  • Contribute To TalkLeft

  • Display: Sort:
    His statement slavery and overcoming was amazing (5.00 / 0) (#1)
    by samtaylor2 on Thu Jun 04, 2009 at 08:03:26 AM EST
    What amazes me about the reaction to this speech and this trip was that there seemed to be more debate about the merits of Obama "apologizing" then if there was any evidence to go to war in iraq.  

    Well (none / 0) (#5)
    by Ga6thDem on Thu Jun 04, 2009 at 08:20:33 AM EST
    it does sort of have an apologetic tone to it.

    Well, Obama really hasn't led on the Iraq issue so why should they discuss it? It seems that whole Iraq issue is being washed away with the torture issue by his administration.


    I think (5.00 / 2) (#7)
    by eric on Thu Jun 04, 2009 at 09:23:20 AM EST
    the comment was about how now, the media is debating this speech more than it debated the Iraq war.  (Back in 2003).  The point is well taken.  Bush got a pass on something as important as war, and now, the media is scrutinizing this speech.  As usual, they wake up when a Democrat becomes president.

    Admitting were not perfect is not apologizing (5.00 / 3) (#16)
    by Socraticsilence on Thu Jun 04, 2009 at 10:29:21 AM EST
    this is the same mistake people made when the criticized his speech in the Czech Republic, I mean I'm sorry but saying "America is the perfect beacon of all that is good" may play well at home but abroad it just makes those who may have listened roll their eyes and do the "jerk off" motion.

    Dont you think (none / 0) (#77)
    by Ga6thDem on Thu Jun 04, 2009 at 12:52:07 PM EST
    that you can say something that doesnt sound like apologetic or boastful?

    I think that's (5.00 / 1) (#90)
    by Socraticsilence on Thu Jun 04, 2009 at 01:34:17 PM EST
    what he did in both of the speeches in question, I guess I don't get where you get the apologetic tone from.

    My first take (5.00 / 0) (#2)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Thu Jun 04, 2009 at 08:15:20 AM EST
    A fine speech. Rather pedestrian. Nothing surprising or soaring.

    It was workmanlike but effective.

    It did what it had to do.

    the only thing that bugged me (5.00 / 1) (#10)
    by Capt Howdy on Thu Jun 04, 2009 at 09:45:18 AM EST
    is his obsession with deism with the quote about the "worlds three great religions".

    I know,  its an atheists quibble.


    uhuh (5.00 / 0) (#14)
    by CST on Thu Jun 04, 2009 at 10:17:43 AM EST
    He has a hard time addressing the non-religious - which is kind of ironic considering his mother.

    He tried during his inauguratioin speech, but "non-believers" is just not quite right.  I believe in plenty of stuff, I just don't believe that religious texts are non-fiction.

    Other than that, it seems like a fine speech, although I've only read it not watched it.  It's important to remember that it wasn't exactly tailored to us (although as president he's gotta know he has two audiences).  I wonder how it played to his eastern audience.


    From what I watched (none / 0) (#22)
    by jbindc on Thu Jun 04, 2009 at 10:41:53 AM EST
    (and I saw most of it), he got good reactions when he was taking Israel to task, and no reaction when he took the Arab world to task.

    As expected.


    reaction (none / 0) (#86)
    by Capt Howdy on Thu Jun 04, 2009 at 01:23:34 PM EST
    "President Obama is a brave president. ... We hope he will open a new chapter with the Islamic world and Arab nations in particular." -- Mithwan Hussein, a Baghdad resident.


    "Bush and Clinton said the same about a Palestinian state, but they've done nothing, so why should we believe this guy?" -- Ali Tottah, 82, a Palestinian refugee at the Baqaa refugee camp in Jordan.


    "There is a change between the speech of President Obama and previous speeches made by George Bush. But today's remarks at Cairo University were based on soft diplomacy to brighten the image of the United States." -- Fawzi Barhoum, a Hamas spokesman in Gaza.

    more here


    Obama's mother was Unitarian. (none / 0) (#130)
    by oculus on Thu Jun 04, 2009 at 04:07:07 PM EST
    Not the most organized of "organized religions," but, nevertheless it is a religion.  How do I know this?  Four years as musician in a Unitarian church.

    The more you know... (none / 0) (#135)
    by CST on Thu Jun 04, 2009 at 04:24:06 PM EST
    I had no idea, for some reason I thought she was not religious.

    I guess I lose an Obamabio brownie point :)


    Yeah, a Bill Maher style (5.00 / 1) (#28)
    by ruffian on Thu Jun 04, 2009 at 10:49:36 AM EST
    'you all fantasizing - get over it' speech probably would not have gone over too well. I would have loved it though.

    well (none / 0) (#51)
    by Capt Howdy on Thu Jun 04, 2009 at 11:39:01 AM EST
    he would not have had to diss any religion to acknowledge there are more than 3.

    on the other hand for the "3" I suppose that would have been a diss.



    You know (5.00 / 3) (#79)
    by Ga6thDem on Thu Jun 04, 2009 at 12:54:27 PM EST
    what? I am religious and it bugs me too. It reminds me of Bush and the evangelical pandering. Frankly, i think a lot of things can be said and points made without constantly evoking religion. I'm sorry but I'm beyond tired of this stuff. We had 8 years of Bush doing it and now we are going to have 4 years of Obama doing it.

    I'm not an atheist (none / 0) (#13)
    by jbindc on Thu Jun 04, 2009 at 10:08:56 AM EST
    But I noticed that too.  Now I realize who his audience was, but I kept thinking, what about Hindus, which have more more people worldwide than Jews (900 million to 14 million)?

    not to mention (5.00 / 1) (#15)
    by Capt Howdy on Thu Jun 04, 2009 at 10:20:37 AM EST
    some 500 million buddists

    Buddhism is not a religion n/t (5.00 / 1) (#48)
    by Spamlet on Thu Jun 04, 2009 at 11:27:38 AM EST
    Hmmmm I wonder what the (none / 0) (#58)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Jun 04, 2009 at 12:16:07 PM EST
    Dalai lama is the head of then?

    Also, is it clear that (5.00 / 1) (#94)
    by Spamlet on Thu Jun 04, 2009 at 01:39:14 PM EST
    the Dalai Lama is the "head of" Buddhism?

    Honestly, the behaviors of so many (none / 0) (#78)
    by Inspector Gadget on Thu Jun 04, 2009 at 12:53:56 PM EST
    religious leaders should have Buddhists proud to not be thought of as an organized religion. It is one of the few, if not only, beliefs that is grounded in spiritualism that passes no judgments and focuses on the individual as the source for a healthy soul (so to speak).

    I thought it was more philosophy than religion, but that's because I don't see it as a way to control people.


    its a religion (none / 0) (#81)
    by Capt Howdy on Thu Jun 04, 2009 at 01:02:15 PM EST
    To the approximately 300 million practitioners worldwide, Buddhism is considered their religion. Like all major religions Buddhism contains an explantion of the origin of existence, a morality, and a specific set of rituals and behaviors. However, as generally Buddhists do not ascribe to the belief in a sentient, all-pervasive Creator, some claim that Buddhism fails to be a religion. However, this reflects both an extremely narrow definition of religion and fails to consider what Buddhists would regard as the "nature of god," which is extremely close to the description of God offered by many of the earlier "Fathers" of Christianity. Nevertheless, like the other major religions, Buddhism presents a transformational goal, a desire to improve one's situation, and a distinct moral code.

    Whatever it calls itself, it's heads above (5.00 / 1) (#83)
    by Inspector Gadget on Thu Jun 04, 2009 at 01:05:50 PM EST
    the other religions that have given the term a bad name.

    It also has a number of gods, I believe, (none / 0) (#161)
    by sallywally on Thu Jun 04, 2009 at 06:21:54 PM EST
    and there is definitely a devotional aspect that a lot of people in India, etc., follow.

    It is my understanding even Buddha (none / 0) (#162)
    by oculus on Thu Jun 04, 2009 at 06:46:53 PM EST
    was not considered to be a God.  Also, in India we were told that after Buddhism began, the Hindus claimed Buddha was actually a Hindu who branched off from Hinduism!

    The Dalai Lama says, (none / 0) (#89)
    by Spamlet on Thu Jun 04, 2009 at 01:33:09 PM EST
    "Kindness is my religion."

    Since Buddhists do not believe in revelations of a divine being, Buddhism does not claim the monopoly of truth and does not condemn any other religion. But Buddhism recognizes the infinite latent possibilities of man and teaches that man can gain deliverance from suffering by his own efforts independent of divine help or mediating priests. Buddhism cannot, therefore, strictly be called a religion because it is neither a system of faith and worship, nor the outward act or form by which men indicate their recognition of the existence of a God or gods having power over their own destiny to whom obedience, service, and honor are due.

    This point of view is elaborated here.


    for what its worth (5.00 / 1) (#95)
    by Capt Howdy on Thu Jun 04, 2009 at 01:39:25 PM EST
    it seems like a moot point to me.  and I guess I agree with the inspector, considering what "religion" has come to mean in the modern context perhaps it does not qualify.

    they dont hate anyone.  at least officially.


    Whipping out the Lama on me (5.00 / 0) (#115)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Jun 04, 2009 at 02:35:30 PM EST
    are ya?  Yea, he promotes kindness.  He doesn't run the kindness show :)  If he did he'd have excommunicated me by now :)

    apparently (none / 0) (#91)
    by Capt Howdy on Thu Jun 04, 2009 at 01:36:34 PM EST
    Dueling Buddhists! (5.00 / 1) (#93)
    by Spamlet on Thu Jun 04, 2009 at 01:37:37 PM EST
    About as dangerous as Dueling Banjos :) (none / 0) (#116)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Jun 04, 2009 at 02:41:41 PM EST
    Everybody stand back :)

    Unless you're in Sri Lanka (5.00 / 1) (#125)
    by jondee on Thu Jun 04, 2009 at 03:44:01 PM EST
    Except Buddhists are the majority. They (5.00 / 1) (#128)
    by oculus on Thu Jun 04, 2009 at 04:05:29 PM EST
    aren't fighting themselves are they?

    I thought (none / 0) (#133)
    by Capt Howdy on Thu Jun 04, 2009 at 04:19:35 PM EST
    it was Buddhists and Hindus

    Didnt he say something recently (none / 0) (#126)
    by jondee on Thu Jun 04, 2009 at 03:47:19 PM EST
    about Buddhism being more compatible with Marxism than it is with Capitalism?

    After all the CIA did form him; thats the thanks they get! lol


    Buddhists are never mentioned (none / 0) (#25)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Jun 04, 2009 at 10:43:47 AM EST
    Are you kidding?!  When Buddhists contribute to Al Gore's campaign it is exactly like getting a contribution from Satan worshippers.  I may be low priority being female but I'm no priorty being a Buddhist :)

    I guess that explains (none / 0) (#26)
    by Capt Howdy on Thu Jun 04, 2009 at 10:45:18 AM EST
    their fascination to me.
    I am officially a buddist.  tho I have not observed in many years.

    On the path (5.00 / 1) (#30)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Jun 04, 2009 at 10:50:26 AM EST
    what is officially observing :)?  I still can't believe all the crap that went down over the contribution to Gore.  I was shocked.  I never knew I was so loathsome and fetid.  We just wanted to give some monetary support to the man who runs around talking about living in balance with the planet.  I wonder why we would do such a thing.

    Besides (5.00 / 2) (#33)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Jun 04, 2009 at 11:00:28 AM EST
    Buddhists have no armies, we have no nukes, if we had the oil we'd share it pretty freely, we don't even have a suicide bomber.  There will be no acknowledgement today :)

    oh (5.00 / 1) (#38)
    by Capt Howdy on Thu Jun 04, 2009 at 11:07:08 AM EST
    and I said "officially" only because it is the only religion I have ever had anything at all to do with or have had what I suppose would be the equivalent of baptism . so if I ever am asked I am "officially" a buddist

    I was briefly involved in (none / 0) (#34)
    by Capt Howdy on Thu Jun 04, 2009 at 11:01:15 AM EST
    Nichiren Shoshu so it would mean chanting.  among other things.  
    I was never very serious but I went along as a guest to some services and was totally swept away by the power of a room full of people chanting in unison.  

    probably sounds silly unless you have experienced it.


    when I get all pissed (none / 0) (#42)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Jun 04, 2009 at 11:13:22 AM EST
    or something is really bumming me like a Joshua surgery, I have some chanting recordings.  All my best stuff is still on tapes but I do still have a tape player.  I don't have as much time to dedicate now to meditation, but this is the busiest time in my life journey.  A house nextdoor to my grandmother was purchased and used by a Buddhist sect too in Colorado Springs until they outgrew it.  She was so funny because at first she was scared of them, but then she was out in her yard all the time after that enjoying listening. Cracks my husband up.  He claims he doesn't get it.  But somehow I find my place in the universe again and feel very much alive from my nose to my toes and able to do all the things the universe needs of me.  And my husband can laugh all he wants because he starts floating around like a ballerina to a bit of Loreena McKennitt and he isn't even aware of it, Joshua's eyes glaze over if I play anything of hers on a car trip.

    I guess we are getting OT (5.00 / 1) (#47)
    by Capt Howdy on Thu Jun 04, 2009 at 11:26:40 AM EST
    but the chanting thing is amazing and powerful.  in a way you really have to experience to understand.  when I became involved it was in the heyday of gay nightlife in NYC in the 70s.  which was the heyday of nightlife, lets face it.  gay men take dancing seriously.  many of us referred to it as "church".  because it happened mostly on sunday morning and because that is honestly what it felt like.  the tribal energy of several hundred sweaty hot men on a dance floor is the only thing I have ever experienced that could touch the energy of a room full of people focused and chanting.  in an odd way it felt very familiar in that sense.

    I think whether we like it or not (none / 0) (#17)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Jun 04, 2009 at 10:36:42 AM EST
    the Middle Eastern cultures are deeply rooted in religion and in that light we are all sons and daughters of Abraham.  Boy did I get a scolding for telling my son that we were sons and daughters of Moses....look, I got the Bible dude's name wrong....but my husband has to survive in the Middle East sometimes and he didn't appreciate me handing out misinformation like that!  Something from my spouse as well that has really irked him when he has had to be in the Middle East is how easily much of the populace grieves many atrocities done to them including those even America has inflicted on them as being God's will. Very often existing options of changing behavior or leadership to encourage peace isn't even considered because this is all God's will, discussion over.

    I actually wonder how much (5.00 / 0) (#19)
    by Socraticsilence on Thu Jun 04, 2009 at 10:39:52 AM EST
    semantically and structurally you have to edit and tone down a speech who's target audience isn't fluent in the language that you give it in- I would think that most idiomatic and rhetorical flourishes, as well as the historical allusions  that are the hallmarks Obama's speeches would have to be toned down severely- I mean I can't think of a speaker whose style would translate well- maybe Reagan- though the with his reliance on simple platitudes- "America is the light and the way" thing would kill him (Bush did the same but the heavy Christian spin he put on them wouldn't work at all), Clinton and Gore would be hosed as well-- like Obama Clinton like to pepper his speech with ancedotes, and while Gore's technocratic style would translate fluently I have to think it would be even more dry than it is in English (though Gore probably has some adopted stuff from non-Governmental presentations on Global Warming), Biden has used attributed text before so that might work, Carter would have the Bush "christian spin" issue, Nixon would sound paranoid in any language- maybe Truman and Eisenhower- relatively plain-spoken but powerful thematically, FDR was possibly too complex, Wilson could have a shot (assuming he'd control the racism), Teddy would have the Reagan problem, Lincoln the Bush/Carter "christian speech" issue.  This isn't a defense of Obama- I agree the speech was workmanlike and not his best, I just wonder if its possible to deliver one's "A game" when said game is highly dependent on our own cultural context.  

    Point of the speech (5.00 / 0) (#84)
    by gyrfalcon on Thu Jun 04, 2009 at 01:12:20 PM EST
    was to get across about half a dozen substantive points to the Muslim world about America's new attitude towards them and the world as a whole.  Soaring hopey-changey rhetoric was absolutely not called for, and I'm pleased he and his advisers didn't try to go there.  As you so rightly say, that stuff is hard to translate, especially to a skeptical audience from the other side of the world.

    I thought he did very well.  His citing of the Quran to back up several of his points was received very enthusiastically by the Egyptian audience.  It was a very good introductory speech, IMHO.


    Good point (none / 0) (#23)
    by ruffian on Thu Jun 04, 2009 at 10:42:55 AM EST
    I hadn't thought of that aspect at all.

    This actually (5.00 / 3) (#3)
    by Ga6thDem on Thu Jun 04, 2009 at 08:15:50 AM EST
    sounds like a sermon. I really think Obama missed his calling. He should have been an evangelical minister.

    Born too late (none / 0) (#24)
    by Socraticsilence on Thu Jun 04, 2009 at 10:43:10 AM EST
    for that to be a career path, if he'd been civil rights era it would have worked- though I have to think that much like speakers such as Clinton(Bill), Edwards and even Reagan either conciously or subconciously were influenced by JFK (in terms of speaking style), it seems likely that MLK influenced Obama.

    He was (5.00 / 1) (#80)
    by Ga6thDem on Thu Jun 04, 2009 at 12:57:04 PM EST
    not born too late to be an evangelical preacher. And frankly, I'd have a lot more respect for him if this speech was coming from a preacher instead of a president. Maybe when he leaves office he can become a minister.

    One way to carry Georgia. (none / 0) (#134)
    by jondee on Thu Jun 04, 2009 at 04:20:10 PM EST
    Oh, (5.00 / 1) (#138)
    by Ga6thDem on Thu Jun 04, 2009 at 04:39:24 PM EST
    good it's my troll again!!

    Evangelize (none / 0) (#145)
    by jondee on Thu Jun 04, 2009 at 05:06:27 PM EST
    and then change color. That'd put him over in your neck of the woods for sure.

    Well (none / 0) (#163)
    by Ga6thDem on Thu Jun 04, 2009 at 07:12:17 PM EST
    Obama certainly doesn't seem to agree. He apparently thinks that the evangelicals rule since he constantly panders to them.

    Unlike your favorite (none / 0) (#189)
    by jondee on Fri Jun 05, 2009 at 03:24:21 PM EST
    cardboard facsimile who just panders to the insurence lobby and the Israeli Right.

    Keith Ellison (5.00 / 1) (#4)
    by eric on Thu Jun 04, 2009 at 08:19:03 AM EST
    I loved this part:
    And when the first Muslim-American was recently elected to Congress, he took the oath to defend our Constitution using the same Holy Koran that one of our Founding Fathers - Thomas Jefferson - kept in his personal library.

    Hate to be a voice of dissent but I (5.00 / 3) (#8)
    by iceblinkjm on Thu Jun 04, 2009 at 09:27:24 AM EST
    thought the speech was empty and full of platitudes. He barely glossed over the plight of women in Islam so much that I think he painted an inaccurate picture. One word sums it up: appeasement. If women though Obama would be a "fierce" advocate they were sadly mistaken... He is is father's son.

    When women still are ritually murdered (5.00 / 4) (#9)
    by Cream City on Thu Jun 04, 2009 at 09:41:33 AM EST
    it's about much more than "living their dreams."  I would have liked to hear a denunciation of cultural practices that prevent women from living at all.

    You are both totally correct (5.00 / 1) (#20)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Jun 04, 2009 at 10:40:51 AM EST
    But it's about priorities you know and as usual I'm a low priority.  Overcoming slavery does not get to be an experience for the girls!  And let's be honest, it doesn't get to be an experience for the slaves in the Middle East either because they do still have them there.

    Not to mention buying/selling (5.00 / 1) (#45)
    by oldpro on Thu Jun 04, 2009 at 11:24:47 AM EST
    children for labor...and by their parents, yet.

    And women and girls, of course.  For the pleasure of men...wholesale and retail.


    ?? What country are you talking about ?? (none / 0) (#53)
    by Inspector Gadget on Thu Jun 04, 2009 at 11:42:21 AM EST
    Is this universal Muslim practice you are stating, or is it pretty much narrowed down by the culture of the different Muslim dominated countries?

    No...not universal Muslim (none / 0) (#87)
    by oldpro on Thu Jun 04, 2009 at 01:24:28 PM EST
    practice.  It's cultural, I suppose, and seems to cross many boundaries...from many countries and to many countries.  The poorer and less educated the population, the more likely the sale for survival.

    a friend (5.00 / 1) (#88)
    by Capt Howdy on Thu Jun 04, 2009 at 01:29:20 PM EST
    who lived for several years in Afghanistan while married to an Afghan man told of this.  and many other things.  and surprisingly, at least to me, was it was not just girls.

    it seems it is very common for an Afghan man to have a young boy to satisfy his "needs".


    Having a young boy is (5.00 / 1) (#101)
    by vml68 on Thu Jun 04, 2009 at 02:03:45 PM EST
    actually considered a status symbol in some parts of Afghanistan. It is actually a very old custom. The boys (under 18) are kept like mistresses. Many of them are dressed up as girls and their job is to dance at parties and provide other "entertainment" for their men. In many instances these "bacha bareesh" as they are called are actually treated much better than the wives of the men (in terms of material goods, I can't speak for the child exploitation).

    what happens (none / 0) (#103)
    by Capt Howdy on Thu Jun 04, 2009 at 02:10:07 PM EST
    to them when they grow up?

    It depends on the "owner". (none / 0) (#109)
    by vml68 on Thu Jun 04, 2009 at 02:22:54 PM EST
    Some of them keep the boys and continue to have a relationship with them. Some "free" the boys when they get older. The strange thing is how open these "relationships" are. I am having trouble linking to articles but if you type "bacha bareesh", you will find quite a few interesting articles on the subject.

    my friend had photos (5.00 / 1) (#112)
    by Capt Howdy on Thu Jun 04, 2009 at 02:30:49 PM EST
    I was stunned at the openness of it all.
    and amazed that this is never openly discussed here.
    at least that I have ever heard.
    she also said that they often had terrible lives and some were even killed (out of mercy fer gods sake) once they were to old to be "cute" anymore.

    I too was surprised that it (none / 0) (#117)
    by vml68 on Thu Jun 04, 2009 at 02:46:47 PM EST
    was not mentioned here. From what I know about the subject, this has been a centuries old practice in Afghanistan and the northern tribal regions of Pakistan. The same behavior (what pretty much amounts to homosexuality and pedophelia) would get you killed in some other muslim nations.

    I forgot to mention this was actually a theme in the book "The Kite Runner".


    Your friend was right (none / 0) (#92)
    by Inspector Gadget on Thu Jun 04, 2009 at 01:37:31 PM EST
    When we lived in Saudi, I was very glad I had a daughter and not a blonde haired, blue eyed boy.

    There is much about the culture our society doesn't fully understand about the Middle East. While I don't condone some of what they find natural, I do understand the contributing factors. The way we go after them is not the route to accomplishing change.


    Who went after them today? (2.00 / 1) (#141)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Jun 04, 2009 at 04:58:06 PM EST
    We just told the truth here is all.

    What is with you today? (none / 0) (#155)
    by Inspector Gadget on Thu Jun 04, 2009 at 05:48:03 PM EST
    Good grief, Tracy. "we" the collective society. You really believe I think that what a few people say on a blog is going to solve the human injustices around the world?

    I've lived in the Middle East. I am well aware what the truth is.

    Am I the only lucky one to have you sniping at them today? Put it away. You have misread absolutely everything I've said.


    I don't care if you've lived there (1.00 / 1) (#168)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Jun 04, 2009 at 11:14:49 PM EST
    and come to find their custom to use children to satisfy themselves enchanting.  I never will.

    Just a couple of links to Middle Eastern (1.00 / 1) (#169)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Jun 04, 2009 at 11:59:32 PM EST
    reality for women and children.





    Speak you mind, MT. (none / 0) (#170)
    by oculus on Fri Jun 05, 2009 at 12:02:45 AM EST
    Not you too Oculus. (5.00 / 1) (#175)
    by vml68 on Fri Jun 05, 2009 at 09:39:13 AM EST
    I (and I think I speak for Inspector G, too) don't under any circumstances condone slavery or abuse against women and children. Both IG and I were trying to make a distinction between the common perception (here at least) that these practices are rampant in all middle-eastern countries as opposed to the reality on the ground that these are isolated incidents in most of these countries.

    That was never my point (none / 0) (#182)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Jun 05, 2009 at 11:29:58 AM EST
    My point was that they are condoned instances!  Let's not pretend that we get good consistent reporting on human rights violations either in the Middle East okay? And as far as Iran goes, did you bother to read the law handed down by the Ayatolla?  I don't care if you understand how oppressive it is for women to live in a land where that is the accepted law.  I'm a woman and I know how safe it feels when the law doesn't protect your rights if the guys around you don't feel like you should have them.  Did you read the story about the woman who lived in Afghanistan?  And just because people are willing or aren't willing to inject themselves in any way into our disagreement here, I wouldn't mistake that for them agreeing or disagreeing with either one of us.

    And by the way (none / 0) (#183)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Jun 05, 2009 at 11:34:35 AM EST
    I'm not for torturing anyone in the Middle East either.  Not even the really nasty men who think it is okay to treat women and children like chattel.  Because it is about human rights FOR ALL!

    Your VICIOUS PERSONAL ATTACKS (none / 0) (#185)
    by Inspector Gadget on Fri Jun 05, 2009 at 11:56:58 AM EST
    make it impossible for me to believe anything you have to say on the topic.

    Fine, then don't (none / 0) (#186)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Jun 05, 2009 at 12:05:09 PM EST
    Not a priority.

    I'll never get over being a feminist (3.00 / 2) (#172)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Jun 05, 2009 at 12:17:05 AM EST
    Being born a woman ruined me.  Then I went and became a mother and really topped it off.  I don't find any of the customs of countries that abuse women and children no matter how long they've been around enchanting.  And in forums open for discussion you know me, I'm going to say exactly what I mean because they can't cut my head off in this country yet for doing it.  I intend to exercise the rights my sisters fought so hard for me to have.  It seems like when we stop exercising them someone attempts to decide that we didn't need them that much and finds reasons why we can do without them.  I think I'm going to die with this meana$$ feminist voice and I'm okay with it.  In fact, I have flaws I have to learn to live with but this is one thing about myself that I really do like about me.  I feel it, believe it, act on it to the very core of my being.

    Please point out EXACTLY where I said (none / 0) (#173)
    by Inspector Gadget on Fri Jun 05, 2009 at 09:04:41 AM EST
    anything that even resembled

    come to find their custom to use children to satisfy themselves enchanting.

    You are no better than anyone else on this board, so get over yourself and your high and mighty attitude that you know so much more. I'm also a mother, a woman, and destest any and every crime against a child...that includes emotional abuse as well as physical.

    How about I start putting words in your mouth, or claiming I've drawn conclusions out of your thoughts without an ounce of substance to back it up?


    Well, for one (1.00 / 1) (#184)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Jun 05, 2009 at 11:48:02 AM EST
    because you perceive these instance as not common we are all supposed to pipe down.  Forget that they are condoned and when you live in a land where your rights are granted to you at the whim of who ever the authority is and not simply granted to you because you are a human being, that is oppression.  It may be subtle, but the threat is always there and it promotes the treating of women and children like chattel whenever one of those uncommon instances decides to happen.

    The more I hear about the (none / 0) (#192)
    by Inspector Gadget on Sat Jun 06, 2009 at 10:41:37 AM EST
    Military, the more I understand why you protest so much.

    Oldpro.... (none / 0) (#97)
    by vml68 on Thu Jun 04, 2009 at 01:49:19 PM EST
    Not denying  that these things are happeninng in the middle-east but it is more a function of poverty than religion.
    Do you think women/children are not being bought/sold into prostitution here?

    buying/selling children for labor...and by their parents, yet.
    And women and girls, of course.  For the pleasure of men...wholesale and retail.

    I don't know the background of any of the posters here but from what I have read only Inspector Gadget and I have lived in the middle-east. Most of the abuse of women/children by their own families happens in the poorer nations like Pakistan, Indonesia and India.
    You are going to see very little of it in places like the U.A.E, Kuwait, Bahrain, etc. The local arabs in these countries are very well off so you won't see buying/selling of women/children from their own families. The abuse of women here is mostly directed at the laborers brought in from the Philipines, Pakistan, India to provide domestic help. Many of these women tolerate the abuse because they desperately need the money and also because they have no recourse. They don't get much help from the local government and whats even worse is they don't get help from their own embassies.

    If you are poor, you are $crewed, no matter where you live and what religion you are.


    The extent of slavery, the comparisons (5.00 / 2) (#108)
    by Cream City on Thu Jun 04, 2009 at 02:19:22 PM EST
    are always difficult and diversionary -- and ultimately unfair to the victims, when discussions get into who was or is victimized more.

    The point, though, was the sanctioning of slavery and other cultural practices by religious leadership.  Thank heavens that religious leaders in this country stopped sanctioning slavery 150 years ago.  


    why do I read of (none / 0) (#100)
    by Capt Howdy on Thu Jun 04, 2009 at 01:58:50 PM EST
    10 year old slave boys being forced to race camels in places like Dubai?.

    Third world labor (none / 0) (#102)
    by Socraticsilence on Thu Jun 04, 2009 at 02:09:42 PM EST
    is exploited by the rich- why do I here of Child prostitutes smuggled in from the east on the streets of Europe, Asia and North America?

    You read about it because (none / 0) (#104)
    by vml68 on Thu Jun 04, 2009 at 02:12:37 PM EST
    it is happening. As per my comment above, these boys are brought in from the poorer countries. They are not the sons of the families racing the camels.
    Though in the past couple of years due to the attention/outrage this practice has gotten, they are now using robots instead of little boys.

    perhaps I misunderstood your comment (none / 0) (#107)
    by Capt Howdy on Thu Jun 04, 2009 at 02:17:27 PM EST
    it seemed to suggest the slavery and exploitation was only happening in poor countries.  from what I read that is not the case at all.  as the other commenter said, the rich have slaves.
    your link didnt work.   but somehow doubt robots will ever completely replace the toddlers.

    Maybe I did not explain it well..... (none / 0) (#114)
    by vml68 on Thu Jun 04, 2009 at 02:34:29 PM EST
    I was saying that the selling of the women/children is being done by families in the poor countries. The buying is obviously by the rich. These women and children are truly defenseless because they are exploited by their families, usually by their employers and 100% by their own governments.
    As much as I criticize some of the practices of the U.S. government, I will give them credit for caring about what happens to their own citizens in other countries. The same is not true for most third world countries and their citizens.

    I'm really confused this morning.... (none / 0) (#50)
    by Inspector Gadget on Thu Jun 04, 2009 at 11:37:54 AM EST
    The slavery you mention...could you expand on that? I know of some practices that were being done back in the early 80s when we lived in Saudi, but not sure that is what you are talking about.

    Inspector, most (5.00 / 1) (#118)
    by vml68 on Thu Jun 04, 2009 at 03:02:03 PM EST
    of the posters have not lived in the middle-east so most of their knowledge comes from the news where it is often the worst/most sensational aspects that are highlighted. Living in a country for a while gives you a more balanced view of what is the norm.
    Lord knows when I first came to the US, I thought the whole country would be like NYC.

    Okay, this is disgusting (1.00 / 1) (#148)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Jun 04, 2009 at 05:09:48 PM EST
    Wife beating used to be the norm in America too.  So was beating your children.  It took us centuries to understand how we were soul murdering people and calling it normal but whatever.  And I did live in Korea where they sold their daughters into prostitution and now they have become more culturally educated about murdering their daughters from the inside out and they have begun to quit doing it.  I personally know women who will spend the rest of their lives trying to deal with what was the "norm" after being rescued from the situation by an American service member.  Now they buy girls from Russia tricked into coming to South Korea instead, less guilt I suppose but I know one of those now too who was "sold" to a U.S. military officer who was a Captain at the time.  Of course she wanted to leave with him, he didn't "buy" her against her will. Slavery in America was considered the norm too once and people spoke about how wonderfully the slave masters treated their slaves too when they argued condoning it.  I find your post utterly disgraceful and disgusting....but that's just me.  And I've always been a sucky follower my whole life.  I will not be convinced to follow along with NICE KINDS of slavery and rape.

    What in G*d's name are you on (5.00 / 1) (#154)
    by vml68 on Thu Jun 04, 2009 at 05:34:15 PM EST

    I find your post utterly disgraceful and disgusting....but that's just me.  And I've always been a sucky follower my whole life.  I will not be convinced to follow along with NICE KINDS of slavery and rape.

    Jeebus, take a deep breath and try reading and comprehending my post again. I was making a point that you cannot take one example like you did of a Saudi princess abusing her "slave" and then extrapolate that like you did again to assume that all Saudi princesses are abusive and that slavery is rampant.
    Are there instances of abuse and rape?  Yes. But it is in no way shape or form as widespread as you make it out to be. Your kind of hysterical overreaction is typical of the person who has not lived in these countries but talks like they are experts on what is the "norm" there from watching sensational news on TV.

    The slavery you speak of is akin to the many illegal immigrants in this country who live in the shadows doing menial jobs for low wages, no health benefits, few rights and fearful of going to the law for help.


    When any of our nation's leaders (1.00 / 1) (#171)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Jun 05, 2009 at 12:04:41 AM EST
    get themselves some slaves and the rest of us look the other way and they aren't prosecuted and imprisoned for it.....then tell me I'm making unfair or inaccurate comparisons.  The Middle East is pathetic on human rights for women and children and I'm not going to pretend otherwise to make nice.

    And this idiotic statement of yours... (5.00 / 1) (#156)
    by vml68 on Thu Jun 04, 2009 at 05:49:43 PM EST
    takes the cake.

    Yeah, and if I were in the Middle East (5.00 / 1) (#61)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Jun 04, 2009 at 12:20:46 PM EST
    I would choose to cover my hair too because when they kill you for being a mangey ole hair showing slut they don't make martyr posters of you afterwards.....no point in giving them the joy of that death.

    My immediate family and extended family have lived and worked in various middle-eastern countries for many years (some still do) and the only country where you are required to cover your hair is Saudi Arabia.
    So spare me the theatrics and get yourself educated on a subject you seem to know very little about.


    Spare you the theatrics my behind (1.00 / 1) (#167)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Jun 04, 2009 at 11:08:13 PM EST
    I don't care what you or your family condones when they stay around people participating in various forms of human slavery or abuse.  Spare me YOUR theatrics!

    What my family condones? (5.00 / 1) (#177)
    by vml68 on Fri Jun 05, 2009 at 10:06:01 AM EST
    You know nothing about my family so please keep your ignorant judgements to yourself.

    I don't care what you or your family condones when they stay around people participating in various forms of human slavery or abuse.

    This would be like me saying to you that your family condones torture and abuse because your countries leaders are scantioning it. Is every american a torturer? You mention that your husband is in the armed forces. Does that mean he approves of what happened at Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo, etc.? Does he condone it? Is that why he is still "staying around those kinds of people"?

    Get your head out of your a$$ and learn to make a distinction between a few bad people doing bad things and a whole country.

    After reading your replies to IG and my posts, all I see is a person who is so convinced of her own moral superiority that she did not take the time to comprehend what we were trying to say but instead accused us of condoning slavery and women/child abuse.

    I have nothing further to say to you. Your judgemental attitude and accusations say more about you than they do me.


    Very, very true (none / 0) (#159)
    by Inspector Gadget on Thu Jun 04, 2009 at 06:16:37 PM EST
    Had I not lived there these discussions wouldn't be so difficult to deal with. I don't see the people there as a unit where they all walk in lock-step to the ones who make the news. People here would be shocked to find out how very much like us they are. Some are kind, some are cruel, some interpret the Quran lightly, some by the strictest definition.

    A lot of Middle Eastern royalty (none / 0) (#57)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Jun 04, 2009 at 12:13:30 PM EST
    have slaves.  One example is Princess Buniah al-Saud, niece of King Fahd bin Abdul Aziz al-Saud of Saudi Arabia.  She was surprised to be arrested in Florida after she beat one of her slaves and threw her down a flight of stairs while visiting America.  Slavery still exists in the Middle East.

    I knew of many servants who (none / 0) (#60)
    by Inspector Gadget on Thu Jun 04, 2009 at 12:18:29 PM EST
    were brought to Saudi from the Philipines, and that some said they were there against their will, but never did we hear of anything that compared to the slavery in the US. Doesn't mean it wasn't there, I just hadn't heard about it.

    Now we have degrees of slavery (3.00 / 2) (#69)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Jun 04, 2009 at 12:27:45 PM EST
    based on what?

    Raping a twelve year old girl (3.00 / 2) (#70)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Jun 04, 2009 at 12:28:40 PM EST
    in the Middle East because you own her isn't as bad as what America did?

    Okey, dokey (none / 0) (#96)
    by Inspector Gadget on Thu Jun 04, 2009 at 01:45:44 PM EST
    You are clearly attempting to say I've made judgments that I have not.

    Word contortions are difficult to defend against. Are you still beating your wife style arguments bring discussions to a halt.

    Logging out.


    Curious (none / 0) (#49)
    by Inspector Gadget on Thu Jun 04, 2009 at 11:35:04 AM EST
    I'm not sure what you are referring to when you say "ritually murdered". Would you expand on that for me?

    I was a bit confused, too, by Obama's saying that Muslim women are covering their hair by choice. I am unfamiliar with anything the Muslim women get to do by choice in the Middle East.


    The hijab and other ritual garments (5.00 / 1) (#52)
    by Socraticsilence on Thu Jun 04, 2009 at 11:40:01 AM EST
    are a sticky issue, I mean remember all of the debate when France tried to ban them entirely in public schools- the testimonials both in France and around the world about choosing to cover- while its not a choice I would personally make, denying any choice in it seems close to denying autonomy.

    Oh yes (5.00 / 1) (#54)
    by CST on Thu Jun 04, 2009 at 11:50:18 AM EST
    This has been a pretty big issue lately.  For example, in Turkey and France head scarves are banned in schools.

    It's a form of religious expression, and yes, many women do choose it for themselves.  For example, in Turkey, some girls will wear headscarves and wigs over them to school as a form of protest.

    For the record, my sister recently converted to Islam, and there is absolutely no one in my family forcing her to wear a headscarf, but she chooses to wear one as an expression of her faith.  This does not stop her from being a highly educated, working professional who makes plenty of her own choices.

    The middle east is a pretty big place, with diverse laws and diverse culture.  There are plenty of places in the middle east where women get to make choices.  And too many where they don't.  But it's not culturally or legally homogenous.


    For what it's worth (5.00 / 0) (#56)
    by CST on Thu Jun 04, 2009 at 12:05:37 PM EST
    My sister really liked this part of the speech.

    She has had to live with that reaction from many in recent months, and for her, it was nice to hear someone stand up for that way of life.  Let's just say, my very "non-religious" family has had a hard time cominig to terms with it all, but it's been quite the learning experience for all of us, and we've all had to lose some of our pre-conceived notions of what Islam means.  Also we are learning the being Muslim is like being Christian, in that there are vast differences within the religion between denominations.


    That's what I thought (none / 0) (#62)
    by Inspector Gadget on Thu Jun 04, 2009 at 12:20:50 PM EST
    He was really addressing only a small percentage of Muslim's in that section, then.

    I don't think (5.00 / 2) (#76)
    by CST on Thu Jun 04, 2009 at 12:46:28 PM EST
    It's as small as you think.

    For example, the countries with the most Muslims living in them are:
    Indonesia, Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, and Turkey.  In that order.

    With the exception of Pakistan, all of those countries are pretty moderate.

    Stuff like that doesn't make the news though, so it seems like less than it is.

    For the record, I do think he needed to make a statement about the persecution of women under many of the regimes in the middle east.  But I think people here also need to recognize that there are a lot more moderate Muslims out there, and he was, in fact, adressing them.


    Really? Where to start (5.00 / 1) (#59)
    by Cream City on Thu Jun 04, 2009 at 12:16:32 PM EST
    . . . with so much news coverage for years now of so much that you have missed.  I'm up against a deadline that prevents doing a detailed roundup, but try googling terms like honor killings, muslim, women, murder; see also cnn's amanpour and others who have devoted documentaries to this.

    Didn't miss that, Cream, (5.00 / 1) (#68)
    by Inspector Gadget on Thu Jun 04, 2009 at 12:25:52 PM EST
    you can see from Socrascience's response that the term "ritual murders" wasn't clear, as it was turned into garments.

    Just wanted to be sure I was grasping the full impact of what you were trying to say.

    I agree completely at how awful it is, and that the religion directs/condones/tolerates these things. When they happen here, they are more gently termed "domestic violence".


    Ah. (2.00 / 1) (#106)
    by Cream City on Thu Jun 04, 2009 at 02:16:17 PM EST
    Very confusing, as I can't anticipate comments to come after mine! Perhaps your query might be better as a reply to Socrascience, then, to get an answer?

    I was confused about that also (5.00 / 1) (#71)
    by nycstray on Thu Jun 04, 2009 at 12:34:42 PM EST
    perhaps it should have been the choice to wear on or not. I googled the word to see if it was a particular head scarf or something. My basic knowledge was that some women have no problem with the various degrees to which they cover up and others don't have a choice in the matter, but would like one. A woman's right to choose . . .

    ugh, corex: wear one (none / 0) (#72)
    by nycstray on Thu Jun 04, 2009 at 12:35:21 PM EST
    Yeah, and if I were in the Middle East (3.00 / 3) (#61)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Jun 04, 2009 at 12:20:46 PM EST
    I would choose to cover my hair too because when they kill you for being a mangey ole hair showing slut they don't make martyr posters of you afterwards.....no point in giving them the joy of that death.

    Look, you need to realize his audience (5.00 / 1) (#35)
    by Socraticsilence on Thu Jun 04, 2009 at 11:01:26 AM EST
    "thought the speech was empty and full of platitudes. He barely glossed over the plight of women in Islam so much that I think he painted an inaccurate picture. One word sums it up: appeasement. If women though Obama would be a "fierce" advocate they were sadly mistaken... He is is father's son."

    I'm sorry, what?! Look, he had a section on women in Islam- the whole bit on his daughters etc., a blanket criticism wouldn't fit because women in Islam is a massively varied thing- addressing certain issues more graphically- say FGM, would have been the equivalent of talking about LDS and singling out polygamy, or Judaism and the issues of Divorce- it would have been both unfair and a grotesque oversimplfication especially since most of the oppression of women is extra-textual and occurs due to cultural flaws(I may get some flack for this part, but I'm sorry if you're culture doesn't recognize equal rights for all- then its backward, our own culture is flawed here as well, though I would argue to a lesser degree- at least by %).

    Oh, and the bolded part is crap- Obama's father was a deadbeat polygamist, Obama is by all accounts a good father and a faithful husband.  


    Oh come on (none / 0) (#64)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Jun 04, 2009 at 12:22:24 PM EST
    We do, but before we get all worked about how delightful it is we just want to make a rundown of the FACTS.

    He is his father's son in one way (5.00 / 1) (#67)
    by Cream City on Thu Jun 04, 2009 at 12:25:42 PM EST
    that is fascinating now to see, with Jake Tapper's piece this week on the White House reversing (again) on campaign stands.  Now, the White House is promulgating Obama's Muslim heritage, his Muslim schooling, etc.!  The chameleon spin is something.

    However, I also -- with another commenter here -- think it unfair to use the "father's son" line to suggest aspersions on Obama's personal life, as he appears to be the husband and father that his wife and daughters want him to be.  Of course, from what he has written, that also appears to be owing to his father in reverse, as he determined to not be his father's son in terms of family responsibility.


    Yah, what a dastardly chameleon (5.00 / 0) (#85)
    by gyrfalcon on Thu Jun 04, 2009 at 01:18:16 PM EST
    He brings out his Muslim heritage when he's trying to open lines of communication with the Muslim world.  Shame on him.

    How you can not see the spin (5.00 / 4) (#105)
    by Cream City on Thu Jun 04, 2009 at 02:13:21 PM EST
    compared to his campaign's attacks on anyone who even mentioned that his Muslim background could be a plus for this country, his campaign's claims as to who disseminated a photo him that his own office had sent out and that was all over the Internet for years, etc. . . .  

    Well, your comments throughout here clearly indicate that you do not mind being manipulated, that you do not mind hypocrisy, especially when it was used to attack good people who deserved better.  My mileage varies.


    Come on, Cream - surely you must (5.00 / 6) (#113)
    by Anne on Thu Jun 04, 2009 at 02:30:57 PM EST
    know by now that Obama is all things to all people; he's whatever you need him to be, except when he's off being what someone else needs him to be, which is 180 degrees away from who he was with you.

    It's enough to make one's head spin.


    Meh (5.00 / 1) (#190)
    by gyrfalcon on Fri Jun 05, 2009 at 09:18:11 PM EST
    Yeah, I'm so easily manipulated, I didn't even vote for him.

    Some of you guys are so over the top in your going nuclear about everything large and also very, very small, that it sometimes pushes me the other way, I have to admit.  There's thoughtful criticism, and then there's kneejerk hysteria.

    Going nuts because he's making something of his Muslim family now is beyond silly.  As you very well know the right was doing its best to make that Muslim heritage something deeply scary to voters.  He'd have to have been either insane or a saint to handle it very much differently than he did.

    I don't like the extremes to which his campaign sometimes went on the issue in the primaries, but that doesn't in the least change the fact that using it now, when he's safely ensconced in the White House, is not only smart but helpful.

    I would dearly love some day to have a saint in the White House, but I'm not expecting it any time soon.  As BTD so famously says, pols are pols.  There are also greater and smaller sins.  This isn't even a venial sin in my book.


    Meh, backatcha. Blaming the right (5.00 / 1) (#193)
    by Cream City on Sat Jun 06, 2009 at 10:54:02 AM EST
    is willfully ignoring that Obama blamed another Dem.

    Pols may be pols to you, but pols who tear up their own party are foolish pols.  It will come back to bite him and the Dems.


    Good people who deserve better (none / 0) (#191)
    by jondee on Fri Jun 05, 2009 at 09:50:01 PM EST
    Everyone deserves better. Somehow I think if Hillary could weather "they had Vince murdered" and "Bill finger f*cked Chelsea" (in words of Lucianne Jr.'s mother) she could deal with, what was by many historical standards, a fairly run-of-the-mill primary campaign.

    All the sleazy lowball crap in American politics has been going on on all sides since Rachel Jackson said "they've dipped their arrows in wormwood and gall and sped them at me" back in the 1830s or whenever it was.


    Hardly a run-of-the-mill campaign (none / 0) (#194)
    by Cream City on Sat Jun 06, 2009 at 10:57:50 AM EST
    when the Dems traduced their own charter, practices, and principles, for the first time not even completing the primary count at a convention.  And hardly a run-of-the-mill campaign when all that and more was done to do anything to stop the first woman with a real chance at the nomination.

    The Dems are done.  The death throes simply will take a while.


    But if you say his middle name (5.00 / 4) (#120)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Thu Jun 04, 2009 at 03:12:27 PM EST
    when he doesn't want to remind people of his heritage, then you're a racist and you will be smeared ahd slimed as if you were a KKK member.

    I was talking values actually but whatever... (none / 0) (#75)
    by iceblinkjm on Thu Jun 04, 2009 at 12:46:12 PM EST
    He's wishy washy when it comes to gay issues and is starting to appear that way on women's rights outside of this country. Given his recent abortion rhetoric I am not even sure about that these days. I find myself constantly asking why I voted for him and why I remain in the caucus with the Democrats. FISA, TARP, DADT and other things that he's flat out flopped on has me questioning his values and morals frankly. He's definitely a politician and is starting to obviously be about "his" legacy versus what best for the nation. What a waste of a "movement" if you could ever call it that.

    He will (none / 0) (#140)
    by Ga6thDem on Thu Jun 04, 2009 at 04:45:43 PM EST
    have no legacy for those so concerned with such a thing, W for example, never have one or at least have a good one.

    Cream City, do you have a link for Tapper's piece (none / 0) (#143)
    by jawbone on Thu Jun 04, 2009 at 05:02:37 PM EST
    on Obama campaign promise reversals? Thanks.

    I hope this works (none / 0) (#158)
    by Cream City on Thu Jun 04, 2009 at 06:07:36 PM EST
    as my computer has not been working well with embeds, so I didn't link before.  And in case it doesn't work, I hope you get this before it's deleted. :-)

    It's his usual formulation (5.00 / 1) (#11)
    by andgarden on Thu Jun 04, 2009 at 09:49:14 AM EST
    "on the one hand, one the other hand. . ."


    It struck me as predictable (none / 0) (#21)
    by ruffian on Thu Jun 04, 2009 at 10:41:32 AM EST
    I think most of us could at least outline the typical Obama speech at this point.

    The passage about his personal experience living in a Muslim country as a child was good. In this setting especially, there is a lot of value in a president with such varied experiences. I more and more can see where he gets his 'come to common agreement' political philosophy. Not that I agree with it any more than I ever did.


    Its kind of his thing (5.00 / 1) (#27)
    by Socraticsilence on Thu Jun 04, 2009 at 10:47:48 AM EST
    you know uniting people through their shared humanity and all that- I mean he outlined his philosophy in that 2004 Convention speech pretty clearly, its probably why he'll basically alway remain above 50% barring a major external event, heck if he can co-opt enough people to pull of things like healthcare in the same way he pulled of the the fuel efficency thing that the Auto Industry opposed severely prior to a few weeks ago more power to him.

    Maybe I'll eventually come around (none / 0) (#37)
    by ruffian on Thu Jun 04, 2009 at 11:05:52 AM EST
    Maybe it really is impossible to force through something that is better for the good of all, and see if they like it eventually.  Maybe you do have to compromise to watered down plans that everyone will accept.

    Still a maybe in my mind, but we'll see what happens doing it his way.


    I'd prefer the jam it through thing (5.00 / 0) (#43)
    by Socraticsilence on Thu Jun 04, 2009 at 11:16:50 AM EST
    I just can't remember a Democrat since LBJ in the aftermath of the Kennedy assasination being able to do such a thing, I mean even Bush as a Republican was only able to force stuff through right after 9-11 (after say 2004- almost all of his whackadoo stuff was by executive order- see: being forced to make interim appointments, being destroyed despite having control on Social Security Privatization, etc.).

    Not enough votes (none / 0) (#74)
    by Lacey on Thu Jun 04, 2009 at 12:45:26 PM EST
    To jam it through. Too many Senate dems are "fiscally conservative." In other words, they'll do whatever they can to make sure money is spent on helping people, but instead on building bombs.

    Wonder why he threw in the part about (none / 0) (#36)
    by oculus on Thu Jun 04, 2009 at 11:02:45 AM EST
    some Muslims in the U.S. pulling in a good income?

    Impressive (5.00 / 0) (#18)
    by Steve M on Thu Jun 04, 2009 at 10:37:11 AM EST
    A speech equal to the moment IMO.

    I think you're right (none / 0) (#31)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Jun 04, 2009 at 10:56:11 AM EST
    I don't think Europe is going to give Obama rockstar status like they did Clinton.  But the Middle East might.  It can't hurt. I wish Obama would take of things at home though.

    I wouldn't be to (5.00 / 0) (#39)
    by Socraticsilence on Thu Jun 04, 2009 at 11:09:56 AM EST
    sure about the Europe thing, at least from his first trip they seemed pretty "rock star" like in their acceptance- I'm actually kind of curious how Obama would be recieved in Africa.

    That was before he began (none / 0) (#65)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Jun 04, 2009 at 12:25:20 PM EST
    employing his economic remedies.  The European public is much more vocal and ticked off when they screwed over by power.  I think you are wrong.

    Nice tone overall... (5.00 / 0) (#32)
    by kdog on Thu Jun 04, 2009 at 10:57:18 AM EST
    and oh my what an improvement over Bush speaking for us...but some major bullsh*t sticks out to me, like this for example...

    Make no mistake: we do not want to keep our troops in Afghanistan. We seek no military bases there.

    I don't think anybody buys that.

    Yeah (none / 0) (#40)
    by jbindc on Thu Jun 04, 2009 at 11:12:09 AM EST
    That is why we will honor our agreement with Iraq's democratically-elected government to remove combat troops from Iraqi cities by July, and to remove all our troops from Iraq by 2012

    This won't happen either - not with the world's largest embassy that can house 50,000 employees there to protect.

    I call BS.


    Honestly (none / 0) (#41)
    by Socraticsilence on Thu Jun 04, 2009 at 11:12:16 AM EST
    I'm not entirely sure keeping a permanent NATO (as opposed to solely American) base in Afghanistan would be a bad thing- ignoring the country post-Soviet withdrawl is what led to a lot what were dealing with today- including arguably 9-11 itself.

    The one comment that I have (5.00 / 3) (#44)
    by Anne on Thu Jun 04, 2009 at 11:19:38 AM EST
    heard from a variety of people of Middle Eastern origin - and not just from "man in the street" interviews - is, "nice words, but let's see the action behind them - that will tell the tale."

    Made me think that it isn't just Americans who have figured Obama out.

    Did Obama beat your dog? (4.00 / 3) (#98)
    by samtaylor2 on Thu Jun 04, 2009 at 01:55:35 PM EST
    Didn't you know, Sam? (5.00 / 1) (#110)
    by Anne on Thu Jun 04, 2009 at 02:25:22 PM EST
    Obama beat everybody - that's why he's the president.

    What a silly question.  :p


    You really don't help with comments like that (5.00 / 2) (#111)
    by nycstray on Thu Jun 04, 2009 at 02:25:48 PM EST
    It makes one think there is no counter argument/debate.

    For instance, they could be skeptical because of our past Presidents' actions, or perhaps just skeptical to see (since it is so early in this new admin) if there is any meat behind the words and how much there is. So many broken promises throughout history can do that for people.


    No (5.00 / 2) (#119)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Thu Jun 04, 2009 at 03:10:40 PM EST
    But if it would help him get re-elected, he'd most likely say he did.

    Now when I hear him say, (5.00 / 4) (#123)
    by Anne on Thu Jun 04, 2009 at 03:30:35 PM EST
    "as I have said from the beginning," I find myself thinking "from the beginning of when you decided this was a better position than the one you were being criticized for," and when he says "it has always been my position that..." I think "'always' probably means 'yesterday.'"

    He just rolled his eyes (5.00 / 1) (#129)
    by jondee on Thu Jun 04, 2009 at 04:05:52 PM EST
    at it condescendingly.

    I think Obama beats the dogs of the same 5 people (3.50 / 2) (#99)
    by steviez314 on Thu Jun 04, 2009 at 01:58:35 PM EST
    here every day.

    Historical accuracy??? (5.00 / 2) (#46)
    by Pragmatist on Thu Jun 04, 2009 at 11:26:01 AM EST
    Overall, I thought the Presidents speech stated what he needed to state.  That said, his speech writers did not do their research regarding the historical facts the President credits to Islam. Most of what the President credited to Islam came from Arab culture prior to Islam.  The truth is that post Islam, the Arab culture has provided very little in the way of scientific achievement and Noble recipients. (Of course, this may have been intentional for political reasons).

    Which of the things (none / 0) (#55)
    by eric on Thu Jun 04, 2009 at 11:59:43 AM EST
    referenced come from pre-Islamic Arab culture?  Algebra is definitely post-Islamic, if not the foundation of it, definitely the development of it in the Arab world.

    the Vedics of India invented it actually and the (none / 0) (#63)
    by iceblinkjm on Thu Jun 04, 2009 at 12:22:03 PM EST
    Islamic invaders stole it and exported it to Arabia.

    origins (none / 0) (#66)
    by Pragmatist on Thu Jun 04, 2009 at 12:25:28 PM EST
    The origins of algebra are Babylonian and Greek.  The compass was developed by the Chinese - some new evidence indicates a Central American origin.  Nobel recipients...The Global Islamic population is approximately 1,200,000,000, or 20% of the world population & they've received 6 Nobel prizes.  On the other hand, The Global Jewish population is approximately 14,000,000, or about 0.02% of the world population and they've received over 100 Nobel prizes.

    Note: I should have said what the President credited to Islam actually came from other cultures and pre-Islamic Arab culture.


    Sure (5.00 / 1) (#73)
    by eric on Thu Jun 04, 2009 at 12:36:30 PM EST
    algebra developed in many places, but there is absolutely no question that algebra, as we know know it, was first developed and described by Al-Jabr.  That is why we call it algebra.

    Ok... (none / 0) (#82)
    by Pragmatist on Thu Jun 04, 2009 at 01:03:14 PM EST
    but if iceblinkjm is correct, and there is evidence to support this, then post Islamic culture can not even claim algebra.  But, for the sake of argument, lets credit post Islamic culture with algebra.  Beside algebra, what else can we credit to post Islamic culture as claimed in the President's speech?  I don't think we can really credit post Islamic culture with too many contributions to global society.  I have to conclude the President was 'stroking' his audience for political expediency and, unfortunately, providing his critics with more ammunition regarding his "honest" portrayal of historical facts.

    What is your point exactly? (none / 0) (#132)
    by aeguy on Thu Jun 04, 2009 at 04:16:28 PM EST
    His point is (none / 0) (#147)
    by Slado on Thu Jun 04, 2009 at 05:09:05 PM EST
    if an American had invented algebra it would be equally lame to give credit to Christianity.

    Esepcially if Christianity wasn't the predominate religion at the time it was invented, which is his point about Islam.

    More to the point it is lame that the president has to go back thousands of years to find something to credit Islam for because what their known for now is being anti women, homesexual, and anything fun with an occasional car bombing.


    Your motive may have been as pure... (5.00 / 0) (#136)
    by MileHi Hawkeye on Thu Jun 04, 2009 at 04:27:17 PM EST
    ...as the driven snow, but it gave the impression of an attempt at suppression of opposing ideas.  That is why it struck me as very out-of-charactor for you.  

    And I beg to differ that it was "very similar" to ones that were deleted.  Without opposing opinions, it becomes an echo chamber around here at times.  

    And SJ, you can give me "2's" until the cows come home and I won't care one wit.    

    Good for you (seriously) (5.00 / 1) (#157)
    by sj on Thu Jun 04, 2009 at 05:53:28 PM EST
    you can give me "2's" until the cows come home and I won't care one wit.

    I don't care a whit when I get them, either.

    But by way of explanation, I'm frankly shocked to see you accusing nycstray (!) of attempting to suppress opposing ideas.  Lots of people get excited here, but seriously?  nycstray?  When you yourself consider it out-of-character, the accusation -- while not troll-like -- is, at best, unworthy of you.


    The reason it was posed as a question... (none / 0) (#166)
    by MileHi Hawkeye on Thu Jun 04, 2009 at 08:39:57 PM EST
    ...was because I was curious to hear an explanation.  Because it was quite out of character. If I didn't respect NYS, care about what she has to say and enjoy her posts, I wouldn't have cared to know the motive behind the action.  

    I was also puzzled because the poster in question wasn't a blog-hogger or whatever the cool kids call it, didn't post a spam link, wasn't spouting tired GOP talking points, and wasn't calling anyone names--following all the TL rules as near as I could tell.  In short, no matter how remote the possibility, could have been a real life, quasi-rational/reasonable member of the right who could have contributed to the conversation.  

    Now I know the quailty of the right wing posters around here of late has somewhat sub-par and trollish, but squashing all voices that put forth a position that may differs from the ones we hold doesn't seem right to me.  That leads to group think and I'm not a big fan.  


    Okay, I see (none / 0) (#174)
    by sj on Fri Jun 05, 2009 at 09:17:28 AM EST
    Thanks for the explanation.

    Yeah, that was cool (none / 0) (#6)
    by DancingOpossum on Thu Jun 04, 2009 at 09:17:33 AM EST
    Unfortunately he still feels it necessary to scold the Muslims for 9/11 and the Palestinians for refusing to curl up and die.

    The United States does not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlements. This construction violates previous agreements and undermines efforts to achieve peace. It is time for these settlements to stop.

     We just increased our "aid" to Israel so why should they give a damn? Israel clearly doesn't care about its legitimacy any longer so this is an empty threat (if threat it is). He didn't say "stop building settlements and inciting war with Iran or we stop all aid."

    Lots of tears for our dead soldiers but not a word about all the dead Iraqis.

    we reject the same thing that people of all faiths reject: the killing of innocent men, women, and children. A

    Tell it to the dead Pakistani and Afghani children who were slaughtered in your much-vaunted First 100 Days.

    America is not the crude stereotype of a self-interested empire.

    No, it just looks that way when we illegally invade other countries, steal their oil and other natural resources, depose their democratically elected leaders, prop up right-wing despots, and torture their enemy combatants. Honestly!

    The speech at Cairo University (none / 0) (#12)
    by KeysDan on Thu Jun 04, 2009 at 09:49:26 AM EST
    seemed, a little, like a commencement address. Obviously, each and every word was crafted and vetted from all points of view, but it did cover all bases effectively.  Given the care that was given, I found this statement to be curious..."some question or justify the events of 9/ll."

    Its one of those things (none / 0) (#29)
    by Socraticsilence on Thu Jun 04, 2009 at 10:50:09 AM EST
    that sounds bad if you clip both the beginning and end of the sentence as well as the surrounding paragraphs- no speech can be free of that sort of stuff unless its totally bland.

    Mr. Favreau did a nice job. (none / 0) (#124)
    by oculus on Thu Jun 04, 2009 at 03:35:02 PM EST

    Ha. Maybe he'll be allowed (none / 0) (#127)
    by Cream City on Thu Jun 04, 2009 at 04:03:05 PM EST
    to bring out the cutout of the SOS and fondle it again.

    Did you see the NYT review of (5.00 / 1) (#131)
    by oculus on Thu Jun 04, 2009 at 04:12:07 PM EST
    the new "Making of a President"?  Obama suggested to Mr. Wolfe he should write a Theodore White-type book about--tah tah--Obama!  Anyhow, the money quote was Obama saying he wasn't going to beg Hillary Clinton to join his cabinet.  

    I read the article... (5.00 / 1) (#137)
    by vml68 on Thu Jun 04, 2009 at 04:31:30 PM EST
    and it just left me wondering why he ran for POTUS.

    "I don't really need to do this," Senator Obama told David Axelrod in 2006, "because being Barack Obama turns out is a pretty good gig."

    Oh, gagging here. . . . (none / 0) (#139)
    by Cream City on Thu Jun 04, 2009 at 04:44:09 PM EST
    Life is a "gig"?  He actually thinks in rock-star terminology!

    The other quote that got me.... (none / 0) (#144)
    by vml68 on Thu Jun 04, 2009 at 05:04:09 PM EST
    In addition Mr. Wolffe writes that in the wake of Bill Clinton's attacks on him before the South Carolina primary, Mr. Obama privately characterized the former president as "engaging in bald-faced lies," but that he decided to offer Hillary Rodham Clinton the job of secretary of state well before the end of the primaries, when his staff and friends still felt hostile to her. "I felt that she was disciplined, that she was precise, that she was smart as a whip," he told Mr. Wolffe, "and that she would present a really strong image to the world."

    I am not sure what to say about his comment on Bill but the description of Hillary was why some of us wanted her to be POTUS.


    The rbook's eference to Bill Clinton: totally (5.00 / 3) (#151)
    by oculus on Thu Jun 04, 2009 at 05:13:57 PM EST
    unnecessary.  The primaries are over, donchaknow?  

    Is this the article? Richard Wolfe's hagiograpy? (none / 0) (#146)
    by jawbone on Thu Jun 04, 2009 at 05:08:16 PM EST
    "Renegade: The Making of a President"

    Where Wolfe says Obama is like Michael Jordan in that he lives for Game 7? Oh, fer cryin' out loud....


    Does Wolfe have a degree in psychology? (none / 0) (#152)
    by oculus on Thu Jun 04, 2009 at 05:14:54 PM EST
    Richard Wolfe is about the most sycophantic (none / 0) (#165)
    by ruffian on Thu Jun 04, 2009 at 07:51:37 PM EST
    journalist out there. Not a bit surprised Obama hand-picked him to write a book. Probably had a good laugh with Axe about it too. Wolfe is too dumb to know he got used.

    Wolfe was on WNYC's Brian Lerher Show this morning (none / 0) (#178)
    by jawbone on Fri Jun 05, 2009 at 10:14:16 AM EST
    and, at one point, the host, in asking about the effect of Obama's father's Kenyan ethnicity and being a Muslim, said, "When asked if Obama were a Muslim [on 60 Minutes], Hillary Clinton famously said, "No...[half beat pause, then heavy emphasis]...as far as I know." Wolfe agreed with him that this was part of a political attack on Obama. (No transcript, but audio should be up later today--if fundraising doesn't cut out the usual podcast posting.)

    They then went on to discuss Obama telling Wolfe that he had decided to make Hillary Secty of State well before the primaries ended.

    The power of the MCM* conventional wisdom created by the power of the magic ellipses. I was trying to find the comment I wrote about how it took the interviewer (Don ?) 6 or 7 questions in a row, essentially the same question over and over, to get her to say something which was controversial. What was focused on? The rather bewildered "as far as I know," which seemed in context to be almost a way of saying to the interviewer if you you something more, tell us. Aaarrrggghhhh.

    Just as with Gore, some negative attacks will stick in the minds of the MCMers until they die--and by that time they'll have passed them on to a younger generations of MCMers.

    *MCM--Mainstream Corporate Media; MCMers--Members of the MCM


    BTW, Wolffe is now a lobbyist! Left Newsweek (none / 0) (#179)
    by jawbone on Fri Jun 05, 2009 at 10:30:53 AM EST
    in April. From Wonkette via Political Carnival:

    Print journalism and punditry are officially dead, because Richard Wolffe killed them. He has quit his job at Newsweek and will go work for Public Strategies, the PR outfit helmed by Dan Bartlett that also employs our beloved sad cowboy Mark McKinnon. Basically, any journalist who is sufficiently competent to pen a press release is fleeing to PR now because there are no news/media jobs of any sort left anymore, except at Wonkette, the NAMBLA house blog. [Austin Business Journal]

    And Dan Barlett? Former counselor to George Bush.


    I also remember that well (none / 0) (#180)
    by Cream City on Fri Jun 05, 2009 at 11:21:31 AM EST
    and watched the actual interview, and there was no question that it needed to be put in the context of the interviewer's repeated, repeated, repeated question that Clinton finally, essentially was turning back on him, i.e., what do you know, what are you trying to say by repeatedly asking this?

    But context is a capability for nuance far beyond the simplistic mindset of the mainstream media.  They go out to get the stories they already have in their heads, the headlines they want to see ("U.S. Elects Black Guy, So We're All Good Guys, and Race Is No Longer An Issue," etc.) and the facts be d*mned.


    Does Obama ever talk about his stepfather? When he (none / 0) (#142)
    by jawbone on Thu Jun 04, 2009 at 04:58:45 PM EST
    discusses his background, religious exposures, etc., he talks about his biological father, sometimes his mother.... Does he ever talk about his stepfather?

    Was there some kind of problem in the relationship? I mean, today, in discussing his exposure to Islam, he talked about hearing the calls to prayer, but he had a stepfather who was raised Muslim and, iirc, sometimes took little Obama with him to the mosque. So, in truth, Obama had a much closer exposure to Islam than just hearing the calls to prayer. Right?

    Perhaps he toned down the actual exposure for domestic consumption? Didn't want to give the rightwads a reason to say he was raised as a Muslim?

    Anyone know more about the stepfather? Their relationship?

    I find it odd that he talks about his (none / 0) (#149)
    by vml68 on Thu Jun 04, 2009 at 05:10:02 PM EST
    father who he only met once when he was growing up but does not mention his stepfather who he lived with for four years.

    That's (none / 0) (#164)
    by Ga6thDem on Thu Jun 04, 2009 at 07:14:37 PM EST
    material for a psychologist I guess.

    Per Media Matters, step-father (none / 0) (#150)
    by oculus on Thu Jun 04, 2009 at 05:11:50 PM EST
    worked for U.S. oil company.  link

    Found this in the Media Matters link: (none / 0) (#176)
    by jawbone on Fri Jun 05, 2009 at 09:44:30 AM EST
    Obama has said in speeches that his father "was Muslim but as an adult became an atheist," and he has previously described his father as "agnostic" and his stepfather as a "non-practicing" Muslim.

    From an April 5, 2004, Chicago Sun-Times article:

    Obama describes his father, after whom he is named, as "agnostic." His paternal grandfather was a Muslim. His mother, he says, was a Christian.

    "My mother, who I think had as much influence on my values as anybody, was not someone who wore her religion on her sleeve," he says. "We'd go to church for Easter. She wasn't a 'church lady.' "

    In his 1993 memoir, Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance, Obama describes his mother as "a lonely witness for secular humanism."

    "My mother's confidence in needlepoint virtues depended on a faith I didn't possess, a faith that she would refuse to describe as religious; that, in fact, her experience told her was sacrilegious: a faith that rational, thoughtful people could shape their own destiny," he says in the book.

    When he was 6 years old, after his parents divorced, Obama moved with his mother and her new husband -- a non-practicing Muslim -- to Indonesia, where he lived until he was 10 and attended a Roman Catholic school.

    Perhaps he did not attend any mosque with his stepfather. Wonder where I got that memory from...perhaps some incorrect reporting. Alas. Hhhmmm.

    But, to agree with comment above, the lack of mention of his stepfather might indicate some kind of emotional problems with the situation or the person. Or even with his mother for marrying the guy.

    Perhaps he doesn't mention his mother all that much nowadays bcz of her secular humanism....

    Or, is he not mentioning the stepfather bcz it might lead to comparisons to Cheney and Bush's oil ties? Who can know....


    And as a needlepointer -- what, (none / 0) (#181)
    by Cream City on Fri Jun 05, 2009 at 11:24:36 AM EST
    may I ask, are "needlepoint virtues"?  

    I suspect this may be some sort of allusion to the colonial samplers with wise sayings?  Ahem, those were embroidery, not needlepoint.  But again, the facts be d*mned by (male) pols and media.


    Max Boots sums up the speech pretty well (none / 0) (#153)
    by Slado on Thu Jun 04, 2009 at 05:23:21 PM EST
    Thanks. The commenters (none / 0) (#160)
    by Cream City on Thu Jun 04, 2009 at 06:16:48 PM EST
    about the fudging of history by Favreau, et al., make it even more worth reading.  From now on, I shall claim many inventions for Christianity -- inventions that put algebra to shame.  

    After all, as we learned from that great Christian invention of film that made possible the movie "Peggy Sue Got Married," nobody needs algebra again after high school.  But we need our Christian light bulbs!


    I prefer (none / 0) (#187)
    by DancingOpossum on Fri Jun 05, 2009 at 03:11:59 PM EST
    ...the Angry Arab's summation of the speech. (He has a bad habit of not breaking long text into paragraphs but it's most definitely worth the effort to read):


    Or ... (none / 0) (#188)
    by DancingOpossum on Fri Jun 05, 2009 at 03:14:33 PM EST