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Setback for dissent

Obama speech statesmanlike, but one response warns of blow to AIDS dissenters

Washington Post columnist highlights Wright’s AIDS paranoia

Bitter irony is that it is metaphorically valid, if correct science is established

obamaspeaks.jpgSupporters of Barack Obama’s inclusive politics are proud of his superb speech yesterday (the video at this link is well worth playing) dealing with the latest embarrassment laid to his door by the Clinton campaign, the sermons of his pastor and family friend Jeremiah Wright which included references to the “US of KKK” and similar.

The speech was compared by commentators tonight to Martin Luther King’s transcendent speeches on the same vexed topic of race in America, and Obama was praised for his leadership stance in maintaining that the anger of blacks and poor whites must be addressed if America is to go forward on this issue and heal the divide which still festers in the body politic.

As a Washington Post columnist, Michael Gerson, points out, however, some will continue to want Obama to condemn what Wright has said in more decisive terms.

Paranoia over HIV/AIDS

Those who follow the scientific debate over the real cause of AIDS will be dismayed by the particular point that Gerson fastens on, namely, what to him appears to be the unreasonable paranoia of the pastor in regard to AIDS, which according to remarks three years ago he believes to be a plot by the US government to commit genocide against black Americans.

In a 2003 sermon, Wright claimed, “The government lied about inventing the HIV virus as a means of genocide against people of color.”

This accusation does not make Wright, as Obama would have it, an “occasionally fierce critic of American domestic and foreign policy.” It makes Wright a dangerous man. He has casually accused America of one of the most monstrous crimes in history, perpetrated by a conspiracy of medical Mengeles. If Wright believes what he said, he should urge the overthrow of the U.S. government, which he views as guilty of unspeakable evil. If I believed Wright were correct, I would join him in that cause.

But Wright’s accusation is batty, reflecting a sputtering, incoherent hatred for America. And his pastoral teaching may put lives at risk because the virus that causes AIDS spreads more readily in an atmosphere of denial, quack science and conspiracy theories.

Obama’s speech implied that these toxic views are somehow parallel to the stereotyping of black men by Obama’s grandmother, which Obama said made him “cringe” — both are the foibles of family. But while Grandma may have had some issues to work through, Wright is accusing the American government of trying to kill every member of a race. There is a difference.

The bitter irony of course is that to a large extent Wright’s uninformed hysteria is close to the actual truth, though along somewhat different lines than he imagines.

Truth in fantasy

jeremiahwright.jpgHIV may not have been invented to perpetrate black genocide, but the history of the science and politics of the epidemic, and the clear indication in the literature of the field that Robert Gallo’s original claim that HIV was the cause of AIDS was bogus science to begin with and has not added a jot of justification since, has brought us to a point where the firebrand reverend’s delusion in a bitter irony may be a fairly good description of what is now going on.

This fact, however, is not something that the scientific critics of HIV/AIDS can hope to bring to public attention with any hope of being believed. For now the idea that HIV/AIDS is an unjust iatrogenic attack on blacks everywhere is going to be confused with the most primitive conspiracy theory of Jeremiah Wright, which has become fairly widespread in the black community, we have found.

Thus the true outrage will be conveniently concealed in the confusion of false claims from two directions at once – one from NIAID that HIV/AIDS is an infectious agent epidemic which is more prevalent in the black community than in the white neighborhoods, and should be dealt with by universal testing of blacks, accompanied by dangerous medication wherever indicated, and second, that it is all a plot by the government to kill blacks with HIV – and the promoters of false science such as Anthony Fauci of NIAID and John P. Moore of Weill-Cornell can be more certain than ever that the critics of HIV/AIDS ideology will be even more unlikely than before to gain any kind of hearing from the media or the public.

Critics struck dumb

Once again, the resolution of a paradigm dispute which according to reason and evidence should have been over in a year or less has been extended by the cloud of political confusion, prejudice and ignorance which has obscured the obvious truth for 23 years now, and prevented thousands of often professionally qualified, cogent critics from debunking it even with numerous extensive and conclusive journal articles, media reports and over thirty well argued and increasingly well informed and persuasive books.

Instead, anyone mentioning these plain facts in polite company is liable to be counted the village fool.

Here is the full item in the Washington Post today (Wednesday March 19):

A Speech That Fell Short:

By Michael Gerson
Wednesday, March 19, 2008; A15

Barack Obama has run a campaign based on a simple premise: that words of unity and hope matter to America. Now he has been forced by his charismatic, angry pastor to argue that words of hatred and division don’t really matter as much as we thought.

Obama’s speech in Philadelphia yesterday made this argument as well as it could be made. He condemned the Rev. Jeremiah Wright’s views in strong language — and embraced Wright as a wayward member of the family. He made Wright and his congregation a symbol of both the nobility and “shocking ignorance” of the African American experience — and presented himself as a leader who transcends that conflicted legacy. The speech recognized the historical reasons for black anger — and argued that the best response to those grievances is the adoption of Obama’s own social and economic agenda.

It was one of the finest political performances under pressure since John F. Kennedy at the Greater Houston Ministerial Association in 1960. It also fell short in significant ways.

The problem with Obama’s argument is that Wright is not a symbol of the strengths and weaknesses of African Americans. He is a political extremist, holding views that are shocking to many Americans who wonder how any presidential candidate could be so closely associated with an adviser who refers to the “U.S. of KKK-A” and urges God to “damn” our country.

Obama’s excellent and important speech on race in America did little to address his strange tolerance for the anti-Americanism of his spiritual mentor.

Take an issue that Obama did not specifically confront yesterday. In a 2003 sermon, Wright claimed, “The government lied about inventing the HIV virus as a means of genocide against people of color.”

This accusation does not make Wright, as Obama would have it, an “occasionally fierce critic of American domestic and foreign policy.” It makes Wright a dangerous man. He has casually accused America of one of the most monstrous crimes in history, perpetrated by a conspiracy of medical Mengeles. If Wright believes what he said, he should urge the overthrow of the U.S. government, which he views as guilty of unspeakable evil. If I believed Wright were correct, I would join him in that cause.

But Wright’s accusation is batty, reflecting a sputtering, incoherent hatred for America. And his pastoral teaching may put lives at risk because the virus that causes AIDS spreads more readily in an atmosphere of denial, quack science and conspiracy theories.

Obama’s speech implied that these toxic views are somehow parallel to the stereotyping of black men by Obama’s grandmother, which Obama said made him “cringe” — both are the foibles of family. But while Grandma may have had some issues to work through, Wright is accusing the American government of trying to kill every member of a race. There is a difference.

Yet didn’t George Bush and other Republican politicians accept the support of Jerry Falwell, who spouted hate of his own? Yes, but they didn’t financially support his ministry and sit directly under his teaching for decades.

The better analogy is this: What if a Republican presidential candidate spent years in the pew of a theonomist church — a fanatical fragment of Protestantism that teaches the modern political validity of ancient Hebrew law? What if the church’s pastor attacked the U.S. government as illegitimate and accepted the stoning of homosexuals and recalcitrant children as appropriate legal penalties (which some theonomists see as biblical requirements)? Surely we would conclude, at the very least, that the candidate attending this church lacked judgment and that his donations were subsidizing hatred. And we would be right.

In Philadelphia, Obama attempted to explain Wright’s anger as typical of the civil rights generation, with its “memories of humiliation and doubt and fear.” But Wright has the opposite problem: He ignored the message of Martin Luther King Jr. and introduced a new generation to the politics of hatred.

King drew a different lesson from the oppression he experienced: “I’ve seen too much hate to want to hate myself; hate is too great a burden to bear. I’ve seen it on the faces of too many sheriffs of the South. . . . Hate distorts the personality. . . . The man who hates can’t think straight; the man who hates can’t reason right; the man who hates can’t see right; the man who hates can’t walk right.”

Barack Obama is not a man who hates — but he chose to walk with a man who does.

michaelgerson@cfr.org

© 2008 The Washington Post Company

15 Responses to “Setback for dissent”

  1. Douglas Says:

    TS,

    Thanks for bringing this story to the forefront.

    It may be more of a opportunity rather then a setback.

    I was watching Chris Mathews of “Hardball” today when he and Pat Buchanan were sharing the outrage and horror of the accusation that our government giving AIDS to the blacks. Joe Madison, an XM talk show host countered saying, “There has been a debate going on”. Not given the time to elaborate, he did give the impression that the word is getting out.

  2. MacDonald Says:

    If one reads and follows the links given here, it will become obvious how close Rev. Wright is to the informed dissident position. In fact, those who believe HIV exists as an exogenous virus cannot dismiss outright the very real possibility that it is man-made.

    http://winstonsmith.net/AIDS_25th_anniversary.htm

  3. Truthseeker Says:

    MacDonald, kindly do not be ridiculous. The virus is not man made, period. The meme is man made. Such ideas are yet another way in which dissenting critics in HIV/AIDS lose credibility. It is beginning to emerge that almost every dissenter is a professional debunker by inclination and extreme skeptic, except Peter Duesberg, Harvey Bialy and a few others, including this humble blogger. This is very unfortunate. Extremism in the cause of enlightenment results only in lack of credibility. Is there no limit to your credulity for unlikely stories, such as the existence of God, for example? We will be very happy to deal with that dangling bait on the other thread when we emerge from learning about all free cloud computing and social media, the future of the Web, where one individual (the founder of PlentyofFish) is raking $5 to $10 million a year from a site he constructed all by himself and runs all by himself, or at most now a couple of people.

    Douglas, you have a good point, I believe – always another side to a story, and you may have it right. But all that has happened to date argues that there is no sudden tipping point in HIV/AIDS unless some American VIP comes around, which we think cannot happen until someone’s son tests positive and prompts a little research by a very rich or powerful father.

  4. Rezaf Says:

    “unless some American VIP comes around, which we think cannot happen until someone’s son tests positive and prompts a little research by a very rich or powerful father.”

    TS, that appears to be true. I guess nowadays things only deserve a closer look when someone big gets hurt. But since most VIPs are in the “low-risk” group (or “no-risk” group if they’re Ultra-Mega-VIP) , the chance of one getting a positive diagnosis is rather slim, I think. And if such happens, it would have to be someone that usually spits fire and is known for not going with the flow. And if it becomes public, that someone better be powerful enough to keep the Meme demons at bay.

  5. MacDonald Says:

    Pray, why is it such a ridiculous thought that HIV could be man made?

  6. Douglas Says:

    MD,

    You, no doubt, know the answer. I believe it’s called “occam’s razor”. Why take an extreme position when the most immediate or logical answer more then fullfills the question?

  7. MacDonald Says:

    Once more, what’s extreme about a man made virus – supposing you believe in viruses?

    How often have two devastating immune-deficiency viruses (unaided) crossed the species barrier at he exact same time and defied all attempts at developing a vaccine or any other cure? Where does Occam’s razor come down? At the Unique Evolutionary Chance Happening scenario, or the lab/vaccine tinkering. Do you want to deny that SV40 made it into vaccines by referring to Occam?

    I hope our host knows the difference between this question and the release of HIV with selective genocidal intent, although funnily enough it worked out that way.

  8. Michael Says:

    “In a 2003 sermon, Wright claimed, “The government lied about inventing the HIV virus as a means of genocide against people of color.”

    Wrights information comes from Boyd E. Graves discovery of the NCI’s “Special Cancer Virus Program” flowcharts which ends by needing a vector for testing transmission.

    I had met Graves several years ago, and have seen the flowchart and the reports from the program, so I can certainly understand how the belief that the answers to the supposed riddle of HIV/AIDS and its seemingly mysterious appearance in the early 80’s is to be found there. If one were looking for a smoking gun, the flowchart most assuredly is seemingly it.
    ————————————————————————————————————
    However, such a smoking gun is not necessary at all when one looks at the blatantly obvious factors in the affected groups that had been lumped together:

    gays with their ever increasing party of drug abuse/poppers/societal rejection/stress/antibiotics overuse/etc.

    Blood transfusion recipients with factor viii

    The exploding population of poor in Africa with its poverty/malnutrition/poisoned water supplies/post colonialism tribal warfares/etc, etc.
    ———————————————————————————————————–
    It is no wonder that the NCI’s special virus program is seen as the answer to a seeming mystery to blacks, who just the same as the population at large, do not look at such obvious and blatant facts and are already justifiably suspicious of the intentions of whites. As such, Graves, as a black man himself, has a fairly easy time of convincing fellow blacks that the flowchart and virus program are the foundation of HIV/AIDS to the black community. The belief has spread like any other meme quite quickly through the black community, as a simple googling of “special cancer virus program” will show you.

    It is perhaps another unfortunate block for further recognition of the rethinkers common sense viewpoints of the effects of stress/malnutrition/poverty/toxic water/drug abuse/toxic pharmaceuticals/antibiotics overuse/etc on the immune system, as those who are prone to conspiracy beliefs and paranoias are overtaken by the seeming smoking gun that Graves has presented.

    It is all likely just another of the seemingly ever deepening entrenchments of the belief in the meme that HIV is what causes immune system problems.

  9. MartinDKessler Says:

    I believe “HIV” was “invented” in the way Peter Duesberg meant in the title of his book. Virus hunters like Montangier or Gallo et al were like someone with a hammer looking for nails and a lot of things looked like what they were looking for. Wright’s firey sermons rang true to me similarly to some of the rantings of the Nation of Islam’s Louis Farrahkan whom I disagree with. Assuming that Wright believed that “HIV” was a (retro)virus that was actually isolated and a lot of people belive that as well, it isn’t too much of a stretch to believe that “HIV” was just another weapon “white people” are using in the war on blacks like the so called “drug war”.

  10. Douglas Says:

    It is all coming together. I heard Tommy Smith’s name mentioned on MSNBC today in connection to the government giving aids to blacks. Someone, correct me if I’m wrong, but he was one of the trio including Lee Evan and one other U.S. athlete who made their mark in the 1968 Summer Olympics when they won first, second and third of the 220 Meter race. To make even a more lasting impression they raised one fist in the air in the winners circle, a sign of black power. I remember it vividly. I’m sure it will not be lost by many as the AIDS conference convenes this coming August in Mexico City. Particularly that it is widely known that Lee has become an outspoken Aids dissident having made a video on YouTube.

  11. MacDonald Says:

    Michael, it is correct we need no smoking gun to explain AIDS. However, there is still a need to explain the appearance of HIV. I think my view on this, what I was trying to say, is formulated admirably by Martin Kessler. The way the HIV/AIDS scare has fed into the prejudices and the genocidal “impulse” against blacks and gays, makes the question whether HIV was deliberately engineered and released by the government largely immaterial to the essential argument of Rev. Wright.

    9/11 is a perfect parallel. The fact that elements within the government has used the event
    to wage war against muslims and the rights of ordinary Americans persists whether or not it was an “inside job”. That, I believe, is Chomsky’s point, and from this point of view he is correct in shunning the whodunit debate : The moral repulsiveness of the bogus War on Terror (“terrorism” apparently being too long a word for our favourite preznit) is not dependent on who really planed and carried out the 9/11 attacks, and it is the bogus War on Terror(ism) we should focus our analyses and criticisms of..

    I would think somebody like Rev. Wrigth and hundreds of other black leaders out there are easily intelligent enough to grasp this argument, which is why I think it would be fairly easy to introduce them to our views.

  12. Douglas Says:

    To correct my post above, Tommy Smith and his team mate, John Carlos, won 1st and third, respectively, in the 200 Meter Dash. Lee Evans won a gold in the 400. See

    http://www.tommiesmith.com/

    http://ibm.mtsac.edu/relays/HallFame/Evans.html

  13. Truthseeker Says:

    Charlie Rose’s black eye is still going strong, though the plaster has disappeared. Quite a sacrifice to save your new Airbook, though not quite as flattering as some people seem to think. If the Airbook sacrifices storage for style, you would expect Steve Jobs to make sure the darn thing is tough enough to survive a fall.

    TechCrunch:Charlie Rose Face Plants To Save His MacBook Air

    Not that it is entirely credible that a flat sidewalk could produce a shiner on such a specific region of the face, though possible. Presumably the Post would be onto it if there was any other explanation.

    CHARLIE LOSES TO A CURB

  14. Douglas Says:

    TS,

    What happened? Did you drop your laptop too? I don’t see how your post has anything to do with this thread? But if you want to inject an off topic comment, that’s your prerogative. I’ve just never seen you do this before.

  15. Truthseeker Says:

    Sorry, couldn’t find the Rose mention earlier. My interest is simply to discover if anyone else is skeptical… seems to me it was probably a quarrel over a taxi and not any sidewalk slip, but I haven’t checked the grapevine yet…

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