August 17, 2008

BizzyBlog Post Reprise: Over 18 Months Later, I Have Seen No Substantive Response to This

The original fact v. fiction story about Barack Obama’s father came from Sharon Churcher’s the January 27, 2007 UK Telegraph, a paper doing work US media outlets have refused to do.

The link still works. My original mid-February 2007 post relating to Churcher’s story is here.

I haven’t seen anything that would lead me to believe that there is something wrong with Churcher’s story. Beyond that, Greg Ransom has found additional related info and raised additional related questions that, again, still stand.

Because of all of this, I have seen no reason to change the opinions expressed in my original post, and won’t change them until there is some kind of successful challenge to Churcher’s, and now Ransom’s, work.

So I’m reprising that 2007 post, while bolding a couple of extra items. The point made near the end about Mitt Romney remains valid, even though I have since concluded that he is Objectively Unfit to hold public office.

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I Really Wouldn’t Care About This, But for Two Things

“This” is a report by Sharon Churcher at the UK Daily Mail (HT Ace) about Barack Obama’s father. Churcher reports that:

A drunk and a bigot – what the US Presidential hopeful HASN’T said about his father…

We have discovered that his father was not just a deeply flawed individual but an abusive bigamist and an egomaniac, whose life was ruined not by racism or corruption but his own weaknesses.

And, devastatingly, the testimony has come from Mr Obama’s own relatives and family friends.

Do read the whole thing.

As the title of my post indicates, I ordinarily would not care. For example, Bill Clinton’s dad had his problems; that was, properly, largely irrelevant. His father’s name wasn’t on the ballot.

Unfortunately, there are two reasons why I won’t let go of this.

First, Barack Obama has made the life story of his father an issue, because he wrote a book that is strongly at odds with what Churcher reports:

(Mr. Obama’s book, Dreams From My Father) is a classic story of the American dream made real: an impoverished Kenyan goatherd rising to become a brilliant Harvard-educated economist.

On the way he fights racial prejudice at home and corruption at work, survives the heartbreak of a broken relationship and, despite it all, leads the fight to rid Africa of its colonial legacy.

This extraordinary story is told by US Presidential hopeful Barack Obama as he recalls the life of the man who inspired him to political success – his father.

Mr Obama’s book ….. is flying off the shelves of US book stores, exciting and astonishing readers in equal measure.

The junior senator from Illinois appears to have created a set of convenient fictions about the life of his father. Even that’s okay; we all have to make peace with the past, and thinking about our loved ones idealistically is one way of doing that. But by publishing a book that pushes those convenient fictions on the rest of us, and using that book to burnish HIS political (and now presidential) credentials, Barack Obama is asking us to demanding that we accept and buy into his alternative reality. If Churcher is correct, and there’s little reason to believe she isn’t, that’s an imposition on the American public that Obama has no right to make — and voters should seriously question the judgment of someone who would attempt to make such an imposition.

Second, for those in the “how dare you?” camp — If it’s fair game for the press to smear a presidential candidate by going after his great-grandfather (!) — someone whom the candidate has not even referred to, and would not be expected to refer to — for polygamy, how can it NOT be fair game to criticize another candidate who appears to have fudged his father’s life story beyond all recognition and incorporated it into his persona, thereby incorporating it into his campaign?

There is no reason why Mitt Romney should have to answer for his great-grandfather’s actions back in the 19th century — but he’s getting grilled by a press determined to take him out.

But Barack Obama owes voters answers as to why he chose to write what appears to be a highly fictional account of his father’s life, and to use it, at least implicitly, as part of the foundation for his political career and presidential candidacy.

As of yet no one besides Sharon Churcher has raised the issue. Will anyone else?

Positivity: Hawaii Teacher’s Cure Clears Way for a New Saint

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 7:01 am

From Aiea, Hawaii:

Saturday, August 09, 2008

When cancer spread into her lungs, doctors told Audrey Toguchi she had six months to live, at best, and suggested chemotherapy as the only option.

Toguchi, however, turned to another source—a Catholic missionary who died more than a century ago.

“I’m going to Molokai to pray to Father Damien,” Toguchi calmly told Dr. Walter Y.M. Chang after hearing her death sentence.

“Mrs. Toguchi, prayers are nice and it’s probably very helpful, but you still need chemotherapy,” replied Chang, who earlier had removed a fist-size tumor from Toguchi’s left buttock that was the source of the cancer in her lungs.

Defying Chang and the pleas of her husband and two sons, Toguchi caught a flight from Honolulu to the remote peninsula of Kalaupapa on the island of Molokai to pray at the grave of the priest who had ministered to people with leprosy until he, too, caught it and died in 1889.

“Dear Lord, you’re the one who created my body, so I know you can fix it,” Toguchi prayed. “I put my whole faith in you. … Father Damien, please pray for me, too, because I need your help.”

On a doctor’s visit on Oct. 2, 1998, a month after cancer was first detected in her lungs, doctors expected the tumors to have grown. Instead, they had shrunk, and by May 1999 tests confirmed that they had disappeared without treatment.

Chang and a half-dozen other doctors, including a cardiologist, oncologist, pathologist and radiologist, couldn’t explain it. Chang, who does not belong to any religion, urged Toguchi to report it to the Catholic church.

The Vatican conducted an extensive review and concluded Toguchi’s recovery defied medical explanation.

On July 3, Pope Benedict XVI agreed and approved the case as Damien’s second miracle, opening the way for the Belgian priest to be declared a saint.

The Vatican requires confirmation of two miracles attributed to a candidate’s intercession before canonization, or sainthood.

Church authorities approved Damien’s first miracle in 1992. In that case, Sister Simplicia Hue of France, who was dying of a gastrointestinal illness, recovered overnight in 1895 after she began a novena, or nine days of prayer, to Damien.

Toguchi’s story, and identity, were kept secret for years while the church investigated her case. Today, the 80-year-old retired schoolteacher talks openly of her experience. …..

Go here for the rest of the story.