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Author Topic: The Obama Phenomena  (Read 89581 times)
Crafty_Dog
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« on: February 16, 2008, 11:12:43 PM »

Its looking like BO is going to beat the Hillbillary Clintons.  The man's track record  rolleyes is rather vague, so lets see what we can do to get a sense of the man, the people around him, and the phenomena.

=====================
http://www.mynorthwest.com/?nid=91
Obama Campaign Theatrics
--Producer Phil writes

A Wall Street Journal writer, James Taranto , has uncovered a hilarious and puzzling coincidence at 5 different Sen. Obama campaign speeches over the last few months, including the recent speech in Seattle.

Dori and listeners have found one other Sen. Obama incident posted on YouTube where a person near the stage faints. Sen. Obama responds to each incident with the same routine and phrases.

Is it phoney, orchestrated, manufactured campaign theatrics or is it merely physiological coincidence? You be the judge.

VIDEO circa Feb. 24th, 2007-Sen. Obama in Los Angeles, CA
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rpMf1070uW0

VIDEO Sept. 8th, 2007--Sen. Obama in Santa Barbara, CA scroll to 6:29
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4_oXsljcKaA

VIDEO Dec. 8th, 2007--Sen. Obama in Des Moines, IA scroll to 1:45
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hO1whLUKZhE

VIDEOJan. 8th, 2008--Sen. Obama in Hanover, NH
http://wcco.com/video/?id=35214@wcco.dayport.com


VIDEOFeb. 4th, 2008--Sen. Obama in Hartford, CN scroll to 6:05



AUDIOFeb 8th, 2008 Sen. Obama encountered another fainter at his Key Arena speech in Seattle

« Last Edit: March 18, 2008, 01:44:17 PM by Crafty_Dog » Logged
G M
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« Reply #1 on: February 17, 2008, 12:06:43 PM »

He's for hope, and change! What more do you need to know?  rolleyes
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #2 on: February 17, 2008, 01:44:59 PM »

Ummm, , , things like this , , ,

AIM Says Media Cover-Up Obama’s Socialist-Oriented Global Tax Bill
 
Press Release  |  By admin  |  February 13, 2008
 
WASHINGTON, February 13, 2008 -- Accuracy in Media editor Cliff Kincaid disclosed today that a hugely expensive bill called the "Global Poverty Act," sponsored by Democratic Senator Barack Obama, was quickly passed by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Wednesday and could result in the imposition of a global tax on the United States. Kincaid said that the major media's cover-up of the bill, which makes levels of U.S. foreign aid spending subservient to the dictates of the United Nations, demonstrates the media's desire to see Senator Obama elected to the presidency.

In a column posted on the AIM web site, Kincaid noted that Senator Joe Biden, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, was trying to rush Obama's "Global Poverty Act" (S. 2433) through his committee without hearings.
 
The legislation would commit the U.S. to spending 0.7 percent of gross national product on foreign aid, which amounts to a phenomenal 13-year total of $845 billion over and above what the U.S. already spends.  It was scheduled for a Thursday vote but was moved up a day, to Wednesday, and rushed through by voice vote. Kincaid learned, however, that conservative Senators have now put a "hold" on the legislation, in order to prevent it from being rushed to the floor for a full Senate vote.

The House version (H.R. 1302) was suddenly brought up on the House floor last September 25 and was passed by voice vote. House Republicans were caught off-guard, unaware that the pro-U.N. measure committed the U.S. to spending hundreds of billions of dollars. Kincaid's column notes that the official in charge of making nations comply with the U.N. Millennium Goals, which are prominently highlighted in the Obama bill, says a global tax will be necessary to force American taxpayers to provide the money.
 
Legislation would aim to cut extreme global poverty in half by 2015
February 13, 2008 -- WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Senators Barack Obama (D-IL), Chuck Hagel (R-NE), and Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Congressman Adam Smith (D-WA) today hailed the Senate Foreign Relations Committee's passage of the Global Poverty Act (S.2433), which requires the President to develop and implement a comprehensive policy to cut extreme global poverty in half by 2015 through aid, trade, debt relief, and coordination with the international community, businesses and NGOs.
This legislation was introduced in December. Smith and Congressman Spencer Bachus (R-AL) sponsored the House version of the bill (H.R. 1302), which passed the House last September.
"With billions of people living on just dollars a day around the world, global poverty remains one of the greatest challenges and tragedies the international community faces," said Senator Obama. "It must be a priority of American foreign policy to commit to eliminating extreme poverty and ensuring every child has food, shelter, and clean drinking water. As we strive to rebuild America's standing in the world, this important bill will demonstrate our promise and commitment to those in the developing world. Our commitment to the global economy must extend beyond trade agreements that are more about increasing corporate profits than about helping workers and small farmers everywhere. I commend Chairman Biden and Ranking Member Lugar for supporting this bill and moving it forward quickly."
"Poverty, hunger, and disease will be among the most serious challenges confronting the world in the 21st century," Senator Hagel said. "This legislation provides the President of the United States the framework and resources to help implement a comprehensive policy to reduce global poverty. It is the human condition that has always driven the great events of history. This is a responsibility of all citizens of the world."
"Global poverty directly impacts our national security. We must rally private sector and government resources to eliminate extreme global poverty and to fight global disease." said Senator Cantwell. "With more than 1.1 billion men, women and children throughout the world living on less than $1 a day, it is of the utmost importance to make sure these people get the help they need and push for sustainable economic growth. We need to do more to save lives in the poorest countries and extend our hand to people in need."
"Global poverty is one of the greatest moral and security challenges facing the world today. Nearly 2.7 billion people live on less than $2 a day and close to a billion live on less than $1 a day. This bill represents a major advance in our effort to address global poverty. After introducing this measure in the House for the past several years, I am pleased to see the Senate Foreign Relations Committee take significant steps toward its final passage," Congressman Smith said.
For years, America has committed to improving the lives of the world's poorest people. In 2000, the U.S. joined more than 180 countries at the United Nations Millennium Summit and vowed to reduce global poverty by 2015. We are halfway towards this deadline, and it is time the United States makes it a priority of our foreign policy to meet this goal and help those who are struggling day to day.
The Global Poverty Act:
* Declares it official U.S. policy to promote the reduction of global poverty, the elimination of extreme global poverty, and the achievement of the Millennium Development Goal of cutting extreme global poverty in half by 2015.
* Requires the President to develop and implement a comprehensive strategy to carry out that policy.
* Includes guidelines for what the strategy should include - from aid, trade, and debt relief, to working with the international community, businesses and NGOs, to ensuring environmental sustainability.
* Requires that the President's strategy include specific and measurable goals, efforts to be undertaken, benchmarks, and timetables.
* Requires the President to report back to Congress on progress made in the implementation of the global poverty strategy.
The legislation is supported by a broad range of groups, including Bread for the World, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, CARE, Oxfam America, Habitat for Humanity International, National Wildlife Federation, Sierra Club, United Church of Christ, Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), the Borgen Project, United Methodist General Board of Church and Society, RESULTS, Micah Challenge USA, and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.
Source: Senator Barack Obama
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #3 on: February 18, 2008, 10:25:49 AM »

“In 1963, John F. Kennedy was murdered in Texas by a fervent admirer of Cuban dictator Fidel Castro. In 2008, a large Cuban flag emblazoned with the image of Che Guevara, Castro’s brutal henchman, is prominently displayed in a Barack Obama campaign volunteer office in Houston. Obama has been widely compared to JFK, most notably by the late president’s brother and daughter. President Kennedy, a stalwart anticommunist, despised Castro and his gang of totalitarian thugs. But when word broke last week that Obama’s supporters in Houston work under a banner glorifying Che, the campaign’s reaction was to brush it off as an issue involving volunteers, not the official campaign. After two days of controversy, the campaign issued a statement calling the flag ‘inappropriate’ and saying its display ‘does not reflect Senator Obama’s views.’ Would JFK have reacted so mildly?... That this sadistic thug’s face also adorns the office of a U.S. presidential candidate’s supporters is appalling and disgraceful. That the candidate couldn’t bring himself to say so is even worse.” —Jeff Jacoby
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G M
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« Reply #4 on: February 18, 2008, 04:30:45 PM »

Crafty,

No one wants reality to intrude on feel good sloganeering....
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G M
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« Reply #5 on: February 18, 2008, 10:25:23 PM »

http://hotair.com/archives/2008/02/18/michelle-obama-hasnt-been-proud-of-america-in-at-least-26-years/

I guess this explains BHO's refusal to wear a flag pin.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #6 on: February 19, 2008, 02:26:33 AM »

BO meets with Bloomberg?!?

http://wcbstv.com/topstories/barack.obama.michael.2.599317.html

NEW YORK (CBS) ― Just when the speculation seemed to simmer to silence, Mayor Michael Bloomberg has once again turned up the heat on the presidential hot stove.

The Independent mayor had a mystery breakfast meeting in Manhattan Friday morning with Democratic candidate Barack Obama, a move that could irk the Hillary Clinton campaign seeing as, after all, New York is her turf.

Bloomberg has repeatedly asserted he plans to complete his entire mayoral term and keep out of the presidential race, but he sure knows how to tease the masses.

Obama and Bloomberg met on a coffee date, scheduled because of their "mutual interest." The billionaire mayor and the Illinois senator chatted over eggs and potatoes early Friday at the New York Luncheonette on East 50th Street.

"We are trying to push our agenda because it helps New Yorkers, and because what's worked in New York will work elsewhere," said Bloomberg spokesman Stu Loeser. "There are a lot of people we'd like to speak to and we're going to continue to press our case."

Security closed the diner to regular customers while the politicians were there.

Members of the media gathered outside the glass window next to the booth where the pair appeared to partake in quite the serious conversation, with Obama keeping his index and middle fingers glued to his temple as he listened intently to an animated Bloomberg.

After the 45 minute meal, Obama picked up the $17.34 check, and he left a generous $10 tip, according to their waitress, Judith Perez.

"When I took the order, I was very nervous," she admitted.

Obama and Bloomberg then said their goodbyes, leaving in separate cars without addressing the media throng.

Loeser said among the topics discussed were global warming, homeland security, education, and the economy. He added that Bloomberg wasn't there for any other agenda such as joining forces as Obama's wingman against Clinton.

Thursday night, Obama made his first trip to Harlem as a presidential candidate, and the Apollo Theater was a packed with a sold out crowd charged just $50 each to see him. Before his visit to the Apollo, Obama paid his respects to one of Harlem's top powerbrokers in Rev. Al Sharpton, who says he hasn't decided who he is supporting.

Still the meeting sent a warning to Clinton that Harlem could be up for grabs.

"I trust him," said Harlem resident Angela Dews. "Hillary is slick. Democrats are taking us for granted."

By having breakfast with Obama, Bloomberg is doing what he said he would do while not running for president and dropping his Republican party affiliation: he is injecting himself into the national dialogue to try to influence the debate.

"I am going to speak out on those issues," Bloomberg said in June. "By not being affiliated with a party I think I'm going to have a better opportunity to do that."

Obama "is a person who is not only setting policy in the senate, he's also one of the handful of people who are shaping the national debate," Loeser said.

A spokesman for Obama, Robert Gibbs, said the men share a similar view: that Washington has been consumed by partisan politics.

Earlier this week, Bloomberg dined with Republican Sen. Chuck Hagel of Nebraska, so today's mysterious photo-op with the Democrat Obama may be his way of showing how non-partisan he is in the presidential race.

Bloomberg speaks well of her publicly, but there is speculation he wanted to annoy Clinton, because she did not endorse him when he ran for mayor as a Republican. The two last met at the Sept. 11 anniversary ceremony, and their last private meeting was in March, Loeser said.
CBS 2's Magee Hickey, Marcia Kramer, and Steve Fink contributed to this article.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #7 on: February 19, 2008, 02:32:01 AM »

Obama Speaks! 
Friday, 15 February 2008 
From Obama Says US Must End Gun Violence:

Feb 15, 12:14 PM (ET)
By NEDRA PICKLER
MILWAUKEE (AP) - Barack Obama says the country must do "whatever it takes" to eradicate gun violence but believes in the right to bear arms.
Obama says he's offered his Senate office to help Northern Illinois University with the investigation into a campus shooting rampage. The shooting happened in his home state. Obama was campaigning in neighboring Wisconsin.
The senator, a former constitutional law instructor, says he believes the Second Amendment to the Constitution grants individual gun rights.
But he says it's subject to commonsense regulations like background checks.
I just have to ask: After everything he has said and done, does he actually think we believe or trust him?
 
 
More on the Constitutional Right to Sporting Goods 
Monday, 04 February 2008 
From the AP:

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Democratic Sen. Barack Obama assured Western voters Saturday he believes in Jesus as well as the rights of gun owners.
The presidential candidate warned people about hoax e-mails they may get saying he’s secretly a Muslim who might want to destroy the United States.
“I’ve been going to the same church for 20 years, praising Jesus,” the Illinois senator told more than 10,000 people packed into Boise State’s basketball arena. He is a member of Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago…
…”And then there are people who say, ‘well he doesn’t believe in the Second Amendment,’ even though I come from a state — we’ve got a lot of hunters in downstate Illinois. And I have no intention of taking away folks’ guns.”
Obama didn’t mention that he does support gun control and has a record of voting for it in the Illinois Senate. He backed limiting handgun purchases to one a month, but he made no attempts to ban them. Today, he stands by his support for controls while trying to reassure hunters that he has no interest in interfering with their access to firearms.
Well I have a few questions:

Barack, do you support my right to carry bowling balls? How about those extra-heavy, 15 pound, assault balls?

Do you support my right to shoot someone in my apartment who has invaded, unannounced and uninvited pointing a knife or gun at me?

How about if I live in the Chicago slums?

How about if I live downstate a mile from my nearest neighbor, 20 miles from the nearest cop?

These questions may seem completely unrelated, but according to Barack, they are not.

According to Barack, the Second Amendment is about hunting traditions from rural areas and has nothing to do with individual's rights.

And according to Barack, hunters should have access go guns while those in the inner city should be restricted because of the danger.

I am not sure where is he going with this or how he might attempt to accomplish it, but it sounds like we are heading back towards the racist roots of gun control.
 
 
Obama Calls for Permanent Assault Weapons Ban to Combat Inner-City Violence 
Saturday, 19 January 2008 
Hat tip to Traction Control from Fox News :

Sunday, July 15, 2007

He also said government should support and fund more after-school programs to keep kids off the streets. But some of the burden must also be shouldered by residents who need to do more to raise and protect at-risk children, he added."We have an entire generation of young men in our society who have become products of violence, and we are going to have to break the cycle," Obama said. "There are too many young men out there who have gone down the wrong path."He later added, "There's a reason they go out and shoot each other, because they don't love themselves. And the reason they don't love themselves is because we are not loving them enough."
CHICAGO —  Standing before a church congregation that has witnessed inner-city violence firsthand, Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama said Sunday that more must be done to end a social ill that is "sickening the soul of this nation."

Obama told churchgoers at the Vernon Park Church of God on Chicago's South Side that too many young lives are being claimed by violence and more must be done to combat the problem.

"From South Central L.A. to Newark, New Jersey, there's an epidemic of violence that's sickening the soul of this nation," the Illinois senator told the crowd. "The violence is unacceptable and it's got to stop."

Nearly three dozen Chicago students have been killed this year, according to Chicago Public Schools. Obama said that figure is higher than the number of Illinois serviceman who've died in Iraq in 2007.

"We need to express our collective anger through collective action," Obama said.

He said the government needs to permanently reinstate an assault weapons ban and close regulatory loopholes that protect unscrupulous gun dealers.

He also said government should support and fund more after-school programs to keep kids off the streets. But some of the burden must also be shouldered by residents who need to do more to raise and protect at-risk children, he added.

"We have an entire generation of young men in our society who have become products of violence, and we are going to have to break the cycle," Obama said. "There are too many young men out there who have gone down the wrong path."

He later added, "There's a reason they go out and shoot each other, because they don't love themselves. And the reason they don't love themselves is because we are not loving them enough."
 
 
From the New York Post 
Wednesday, 26 December 2007 
GOING BARACK & FORTH
FLIPS AFTER '96 ON EXECUTIONS, GUNS
December 23, 2007 -- Barack Obama has been flip-flopping like a carp on a boat deck, changing his position over the years on everything from the death penalty to the Patriot Act to Cuba, a review of his record shows.

The Illinois senator's views became markedly more conservative as he drew close to running for president.

On the death penalty, for instance, the Oprah heartthrob was a strong foe back in 1996 when he ran for the Illinois state Senate, according to a questionnaire from a political activist group that he filled out at the time. The answers were reviewed by The Associated Press.

But this year, he's been throwing some red meat to pro-execution voters around the country by saying he supports pulling the switch on those who commit particularly heinous crimes.

On gun control, Obama changed direction since 1996, when he called for a ban on all handgun possession and sales in Illinois.

In 2004, on another questionnaire, he backed off, saying a ban is "not politically practicable." 

And so on....Going Barack and Forth
 
 
D.C. Gun Ban Constitutional! 
Friday, 23 November 2007 
But the campaign of Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama said that he "...believes that we can recognize and respect the rights of law-abiding gun owners and the right of local communities to enact common sense laws to combat violence and save lives. Obama believes the D.C. handgun law is constitutional."
From the Chicago Tribune.

 
   
The Joyce Foundation 
Tuesday, 11 September 2007 
The Joyce Foundation is a liberal, charitable foundation that, among other things, funds gun control groups. According to Wikipedia :

Since 2003, the Joyce Foundation has paid grants totaling over $12 million to gun control organizations and for research into gun violence prevention. The largest single grantee has been the Violence Policy Center, which received $4,154,970 between 1996 and 2006, and calls for an outright ban on handguns, semi-automatic and other firearms, and substantial restrictions on gun owners.

Conveniently, the Joyce Foundation has a list of the gun control funding grants here .

The Joyce Foundation's Annual Reports list Barack Obama as one of the 12 members of the Board of Directors from 1998 until 2001 .
 
   
From a Very Unexpected Source: The Daily Kos 
Monday, 06 August 2007 
Obama gunning to lose in 2008.
Nobody said that winning the Congress with a BlueDog approach would make for an easy honeymoon -- just witness the party's rage over this week's vote (myself included) -- but no-one can challenge that our win in 2006 has begun the change that this nation sorely needed.  But as if right on time to scuttle our success, news comes out that Obama has finally begun to talk about firearms and gun control and frankly, the position he is taking will only mean the loss of BlueDog, rural, libertarian leaning, and gun owning Democrats...

So many of us have been waiting for more clarity on many of Obama's positions and one of those has been his position on American gun ownership.  This month he is making himself clearly heard:

Obama delivers message tough on guns

Just days prior to announcing his urban agenda aimed at combating urban poverty, Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama entered Vernon Park Church of God on July 15 to a thunderous applause from a supportive crowd with a message challenging the gun lobby, criticizing the Bush administration and issuing a call to action for Black men.
“Our playgrounds have become battlegrounds. Our streets have become cemeteries. Our schools have become places to mourn the ones we’ve lost,” said the Illinois senator. “I’m sick and tired of seeing our young people gunned down.”

Sen. Obama decried the inaction on the part of the Bush administration to ban assault rifles, mentioning that the nearly three dozen children killed in Chicago this year is higher than the number of Illinois servicemen who have died in Iraq.

The clear implication of this statement is that Obama belives that Chicago's violent crimes are to be solved at a national level -- since Chicago & IL already have VERY tough gun control laws that have not stopped their crime problems--, and to be solved by gun control legislation specifically mentioning the 1994 "Assault Weapons Ban" and blaming Bush for that ban's lack of renewal.

Read more at http://www.dailykos.com/story/2007/8/6/104556/3837 .
 
   
The Right to Bear Sporting Goods 
Friday, 15 June 2007 
The Blue Steel Democrats blog Senator Obama's Position on Gun Ownership Rights. 
   
Obama says U.S. needs to review gun policies 
Sunday, 22 April 2007 
 April 20, 2007

NASHUA, N.H. --Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama said this week's shooting at Virginia Tech highlights serious shortcomings with gun control.
"We're still selling handguns to crazy people," Obama said during a campaign stop at a Nashua senior center on Friday. "We're supposed to have a system that these people are screened out. What's clear is the background check system in this case failed entirely."
Actually, the perp was never involuntarily committed to a mental hospital, so was not a prohibited person on those grounds.

Read more at http://www.boston.com/news/local/new_hampshire/articles/2007/04/20/obama_says_us_needs_to_review_gun_policies/.
 
   
 
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #8 on: February 20, 2008, 05:43:55 AM »

Obama has a history of hiding his behaviors from others.

This is a deal-breaker of a red flag in anyone, not just a political officeholder.

Furthemore, BHO's association with a known CPUSA member would prohibit him as a civilian or .mil from getting a security clearance.

http://www.aim.org/aim-column/obamas-communist-mentor/


In his biography of Barack Obama, David Mendell writes about Obama's life as a "secret smoker" and how he "went to great lengths to conceal the habit."

But what about Obama's secret political life? It turns out that Obama's childhood mentor, Frank Marshall Davis, was a communist.

In his books, Obama admits attending "socialist conferences" and coming into contact with Marxist literature. But he ridicules the charge of being a "hard-core academic Marxist," which was made by his colorful and outspoken 2004 U.S. Senate opponent, Republican Alan Keyes.

However, through Frank Marshall Davis, Obama had an admitted relationship with someone who was publicly identified as a member of the Communist Party USA (CPUSA). The record shows that Obama was in Hawaii from 1971-1979, where, at some point in time, he developed a close relationship, almost like a son, with Davis, listening to his "poetry" and getting advice on his career path. But Obama, in his book, Dreams From My Father, refers to him repeatedly as just "Frank."
The reason is apparent: Davis was a known communist who belonged to a party subservient to the Soviet Union. In fact, the 1951 report of the Commission on Subversive Activities to the Legislature of the Territory of Hawaii identified him as a CPUSA member. What's more, anti-communist congressional committees, including the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC), accused Davis of involvement in several communist-front organizations.

Trevor Loudon, a New Zealand-based libertarian activist, researcher and blogger, noted evidence that "Frank" was Frank Marshall Davis in a posting in March of 2007.

Obama's communist connection adds to mounting public concern about a candidate who has come out of virtually nowhere, with a brief U.S. Senate legislative record, to become the Democratic Party frontrunner for the U.S. presidency. In the latest Real Clear Politics poll average, Obama beats Republican John McCain by almost four percentage points.

AIM recently disclosed that Obama has well-documented socialist connections, which help explain why he sponsored a "Global Poverty Act" designed to send hundreds of billions of dollars of U.S. foreign aid to the rest of the world, in order to meet U.N. demands. The bill has passed the House and a Senate committee, and awaits full Senate action.

But the Communist Party connection through Davis is even more ominous. Decades ago, the CPUSA had tens of thousands of members, some of them covert agents who had penetrated the U.S. Government. It received secret subsidies from the old Soviet Union.
You won't find any of this discussed in the David Mendell book, Obama: From Promise to Power. It is typical of the superficial biographies of Obama now on the market. Secret smoking seems to be Obama's most controversial activity. At best, Mendell and the liberal media describe Obama as "left-leaning."

But you will find it briefly discussed, sort of, in Obama's own book, Dreams From My Father. He writes about "a poet named Frank," who visited them in Hawaii, read poetry, and was full of "hard-earned knowledge" and advice. Who was Frank? Obama only says that he had "some modest notoriety once," was "a contemporary of Richard Wright and Langston Hughes during his years in Chicago..." but was now "pushing eighty." He writes about "Frank and his old Black Power dashiki self" giving him advice before he left for Occidental College in 1979 at the age of 18.

This "Frank" is none other than Frank Marshall Davis, the black communist writer now considered by some to be in the same category of prominence as Maya Angelou and Alice Walker. In the summer/fall 2003 issue of African American Review, James A. Miller of George Washington University reviews a book by John Edgar Tidwell, a professor at the University of Kansas, about Davis's career, and notes, "In Davis's case, his political commitments led him to join the American Communist Party during the middle of World War II-even though he never publicly admitted his Party membership." Tidwell is an expert on the life and writings of Davis.

Is it possible that Obama did not know who Davis was when he wrote his book, Dreams From My Father, first publishedin 1995?That's not plausible since Obama refers to him as acontemporary of Richard Wright and Langston Hughes and says he saw a book of his black poetry.

The communists knew who "Frank" was, and they know who Obama is. In fact, one academic who travels in communist circles understands the significance of the Davis-Obama relationship.
Professor Gerald Horne, a contributing editor of the Communist Party journal Political Affairs, talked about it during a speech last March at the reception of the Communist Party USA archives at the Tamiment Library at New York University. The remarks are posted online under the headline, "Rethinking the History and Future of the Communist Party."

Horne, a history professor at the University of Houston, noted that Davis, who moved to Honolulu from Kansas in 1948 "at the suggestion of his good friend Paul Robeson," came into contact with Barack Obama and his family and became the young man's mentor, influencing Obama's sense of identity and career moves. Robeson, of course, was the well-known black actor and singer who served as a member of the CPUSA and apologist for the old Soviet Union. Davis had known Robeson from his time in Chicago.

As Horne describes it, Davis "befriended" a "Euro-American family" that had "migrated to Honolulu from Kansas and a young woman from this family eventually had a child with a young student from Kenya East Africa who goes by the name of Barack Obama, who retracing the steps of Davis eventually decamped to Chicago."

It was in Chicago that Obama became a "community organizer" and came into contact with more far-left political forces, including the Democratic Socialists of America, which maintains close ties to European socialist groups and parties through the Socialist International (SI), and two former members of the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), William Ayers and Carl Davidson.
The SDS laid siege to college campuses across America in the 1960s, mostly in order to protest the Vietnam War, and spawned the terrorist Weather Underground organization. Ayers was a member of the terrorist group and turned himself in to authorities in 1981. He is now a college professor and served with Obama on the board of the Woods Fund of Chicago. Davidson is now a figure in the Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism, an offshoot of the old Moscow-controlled CPUSA, and helped organize the 2002 rally where Obama came out against the Iraq War.

=====

Both communism and socialism trace their roots to Karl Marx, co-author of the Communist Manifesto, who endorsed the first meeting of the Socialist International, then called the "First International." According to Pierre Mauroy, president of the SI from 1992-1996, "It was he [Marx] who formally launched it, gave the inaugural address and devised its structure..."

Apparently unaware that Davis had been publicly named as a CPUSA member, Horne said only that Davis "was certainly in the orbit of the CP [Communist Party]-if not a member..."
In addition to Tidwell's book,Black Moods: Collected Poems of Frank Marshall Davis,confirming Davis's Communist Party membership, another book, The New Red Negro: The Literary Left and African American Poetry, 1930-1946, names Davis as one of several black poets who continued to publish in CPUSA-supported publications after the 1939 Hitler-Stalin non-aggression pact. The author, James Edward Smethurst, associate professor of Afro-American studies at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, says that Davis, however, would later claim that he was "deeply troubled" by the pact.
While blacks such as Richard Wright left the CPUSA, it is not clear if or when Davis ever left the party.


However, Obama writes in Dreams From My Father that he saw "Frank" only a few days before he left Hawaii for college, and that Davis seemed just as radical as ever. Davis called college "An advanced degree in compromise" and warned Obama not to forget his "people" and not to "start believing what they tell you about equal opportunity and the American way and all that shit." Davis also complained about foot problems, the result of "trying to force African feet into European shoes," Obama wrote.


For his part, Horne says that Obama's giving of credit to Davis will be important in history. "At some point in the future, a teacher will add to her syllabus Barack's memoir and instruct her students to read it alongside Frank Marshall Davis' equally affecting memoir, Living the Blues and when that day comes, I'm sure a future student will not only examine critically the Frankenstein monsters that US imperialism created in order to subdue Communist parties but will also be moved to come to this historic and wonderful archive in order to gain insight on what has befallen this complex and intriguing planet on which we reside," he said.

Dr. Kathryn Takara, a professor of Interdisciplinary Studies at the University of Hawaii at Manoa who also confirms that Davis is the "Frank" in Obama's book, did her dissertation on Davis and spent much time with him between 1972 until he passed away in 1987.
In an analysis posted online, she notes that Davis, who was a columnist for the Honolulu Record, brought "an acute sense of race relations and class struggle throughout America and the world" and that he openly discussed subjects such as American imperialism, colonialism and exploitation. She described him as a "socialist realist" who attacked the work of the House Un-American Activities Committee.

Davis, in his own writings, had said that Robeson and Harry Bridges, the head of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) and a secret member of the CPUSA, had suggested that he take a job as a columnist with the Honolulu Record "and see if I could do something for them." The ILWU was organizing workers there and Robeson's contacts were "passed on" to Davis, Takara writes.
Takara says that Davis "espoused freedom, radicalism, solidarity, labor unions, due process, peace, affirmative action, civil rights, Negro History week, and true Democracy to fight imperialism, colonialism, and white supremacy. He urged coalition politics."

Is "coalition politics" at work in Obama's rise to power?

Trevor Loudon, the New Zealand-based blogger who has been analyzing the political forces behind Obama and specializes in studying the impact of Marxist and leftist political organizations, notes that Frank Chapman, a CPUSA supporter, has written a letter to the party newspaper hailing the Illinois senator's victory in the Iowa caucuses.
"Obama's victory was more than a progressive move; it was a dialectical leap ushering in a qualitatively new era of struggle," Chapman wrote. "Marx once compared revolutionary struggle with the work of the mole, who sometimes burrows so far beneath the ground that he leaves no trace of his movement on the surface. This is the old revolutionary ‘mole,' not only showing his traces on the surface but also breaking through."

Let's challenge the liberal media to report on this. Will they have the honesty and integrity to do so?
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« Reply #9 on: February 20, 2008, 06:03:47 AM »

Second post of the AM:

I've read that BO wants a federal law to override the CCW laws of 30 states.  Here's more on his proposals about guns-- not every single idea is bad, but a few of them really are:

------

http://volokh.com/posts/1203389334.shtml


His record isn't likely to win back the rural "pro-gun" voters who've fled to the Republicans in recent years, likely costing Gore the election in 2000. From the Chicago Defender, Dec. 13, 1999:
Sweeping federal gun control legislation proposed by Sen. Barack Obama (D-13th) would increase the penalties on gun runners who are flooding Chicago's streets with illegal weapons.


At an anti-gun rally held at the Park Manor Christian Church, 600 E. 73rd St., headed by the Rev. James Demus, Obama also said he's backing a resolution being introduced into the City Council by Alds. Toni Preckwinkle (4th), Ted Thomas (15th), Leslie Hairston (5th) to call for a "shot-free" millennium celebration.

Obama outlined his anti-gun plan that includes increased penalties for the interstate transportation of firearms. The maximum penalty now for bringing a gun across the border is 10 years in prison. Obama is proposing to make it a felony for a gun owner whose firearm was stolen from his residence which causes harm to another person if that weapon was not securely stored in that home. [!!!]

He's proposing restricting gun purchases to one weapon a month and banning the sale of firearms at gun shows except for "antique" weapons. Obama is also proposing increasing the licensing fee to obtain a federal firearms license.
He's also seeking a ban on police agencies from reselling their used weapons even if those funds are used to buy more state-of-the-art weapons for their agencies. Obama wants only those over 21 who've passed a basic course to be able to buy or own a firearm.

He's proposing that all federally licensed gun dealers sell firearms in a storefront and not from their homes while banning their business from being within five miles of a school or a park. He's also banning the sale of 'junk" handguns like the popular Saturday Night Specials.

Obama is requiring that all people working at a gun dealer undergo a criminal background check. He's also asking that gun manufacturers be required to develop safety measures that permit only the original owner of the firearm to operate the weapon purchased.

Additionally, he wants an increase of the funds for schools to teach anger management skills for youth between the ages of 5-13. Obama is also seeking to increase the federal taxes by 500 percent on the sale of firearm, ammunition [sic] -- weapons he says are most commonly used in firearm deaths.
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« Reply #10 on: February 20, 2008, 05:34:14 PM »

Obama's church: More about Africa than God?
Chicago congregation has 'non-negotiable commitment' to 'mother continent'
Posted: January 09, 2008
1:00 am Eastern



By Ron Strom
WorldNetDaily.com


While some election commentators are looking carefully at the level of devotion Sen. Barack Obama has to Islam, it is the strong African-centered and race-based philosophy of the senator's United Church of Christ that has some bloggers crying foul.


Obama and Wright
Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago is where Obama was baptized as a Christian two decades ago, even borrowing the title for one of his books, "The Audacity of Hope," from a sermon by his senior pastor, the Rev. Dr. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr.

The first paragraph of the "About Us" section of the church's website mentions the word "black" or "Africa" five times:
We are a congregation which is Unashamedly Black and Unapologetically Christian. ... Our roots in the Black religious experience and tradition are deep, lasting and permanent. We are an African people, and remain "true to our native land," the mother continent, the cradle of civilization. God has superintended our pilgrimage through the days of slavery, the days of segregation, and the long night of racism. It is God who gives us the strength and courage to continuously address injustice as a people, and as a congregation. We constantly affirm our trust in God through cultural expression of a Black worship service and ministries which address the Black Community.
Focus on the African continent continues in two of the 10-point vision of the church:
A congregation committed to ADORATION.
A congregation preaching SALVATION.
A congregation actively seeking RECONCILIATION.
A congregation with a non-negotiable COMMITMENT TO AFRICA.
A congregation committed to BIBLICAL EDUCATION.
A congregation committed to CULTURAL EDUCATION.
A congregation committed to the HISTORICAL EDUCATION OF AFRICAN PEOPLE IN DIASPORA.
A congregation committed to LIBERATION.
A congregation committed to RESTORATION.
A congregation working towards ECONOMIC PARITY.
Commented Florida blogger "Ric" in discussing vision No. 4: "Commitment to Africa? I thought Christians were to have a commitment to God alone?"
The blogger continued: "First off just by this 10-point layout describing Barack Obama's church, we see that on some issues they are not clear. Even though it sounds good to the reader, it still leaves one guessing and not knowing where they truly stand as a congregation.

"Second, the church seems to place Africa and African people before God, and says nothing about other races in their community or a commitment to help the people in their community.

adsonar_placementId=1270202;adsonar_pid=663759;ads onar_ps=1451068;adsonar_zw=300;adsonar_zh=250;adso nar_jv="ads.adsonar.com";"Third, the church seems to promote communism by the term they use called 'economic parity.' Is this what Barack Obama truly believes?"
On another page on the website, Pastor Wright explains his theology, saying it is "based upon the systematized liberation theology that started in 1969 with the publication of Dr. James Cone's book, 'Black Power and Black Theology.'

"Black theology is one of the many theologies in the Americas that became popular during the liberation theology movement. They include Hispanic theology, Native American theology, Asian theology and Womanist theology."

Wright rebuts those who might call his philosophy racist, saying, "To have a church whose theological perspective starts from the vantage point of black liberation theology being its center is not to say that African or African-American people are superior to any one else.

"African-centered thought, unlike Eurocentrism, does not assume superiority and look at everyone else as being inferior."

The church's official mission statement says it has been "called by God to be a congregation that is not ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ and that does not apologize for its African roots!"

The Jan. 6 Sunday bulletin had an announcement about how to register for the winter Bible study held by the "Center for African Biblical Studies."
Another page in the 36-page bulletin announced the "Black and Christian New Member Class." All those wanting to become full-fledged members of Trinity "MUST complete your new member class!" warned the announcement, which included a schedule of class times. There was no mention of what class a prospective member might take if he or she were not black.

Demonstrating the church's quest toward "economic parity," one of the associate pastors, the Rev. Reginald Williams Jr., wrote a blurb in the bulletin decrying the powers that be for not making "fresh food stores" available in the black neighborhoods of Chicago.

Wrote Williams in a discussion of infant mortality in the black community: "In West Englewood, one of the five worst areas in the city, McDonald's restaurants abound, while fresh food stores are lacking. The same resources should be made available in each and every neighborhood in this city.

"This is an issue which we must all attack. We must push our policymakers for programs for health education, good stores for proper nutrition and access to health care."

The thought for the day on the same page was a quote from former Rep. Shirley Chisholm: "Health is a human right, not a privilege to be purchased."

Obama recently talked about his faith with the Concord, N.H., Monitor.
"I've always said that my faith informs my values, and in that sense it helps shape my worldview, and I don't think anyone should be required to leave their religious sensibilities at the door," Obama told the paper last week. "But we have to translate those concerns into a universal language that can be subject to argument and doesn't turn into a contest of any one of us thinking that God is somehow on our side."

The candidate told the Monitor he doesn't buy everything his pastor proclaims, saying: "There are some things I agree with my pastor about, some things I disagree with him about. I come from a complex racial background with a lot of different strains in me: white, black, I grew up in Hawaii. I tend to have a strong streak of universalism, not just in my religious beliefs, but in my ethical and moral beliefs."

Obama's popularity has soared in the last several days, with journalists from NBC even admitting to getting caught up in the "feel good" aura of the campaign.

As WND reported, the network's Brian Williams noted on MSNBC yesterday: ""[Reporter] Lee [Cowan] says it's hard to stay objective covering this guy. Courageous for Lee to say, to be honest. ... I think it is a very interesting dynamic."

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michael
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« Reply #11 on: February 20, 2008, 06:41:48 PM »

I've yet to see Obama say what he stands for or what he believes in . I am stilll waiting. rolleyes
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« Reply #12 on: February 21, 2008, 06:48:37 AM »

Obama's Teamster 'Diplomacy'
February 21, 2008; Page A16
Barack Obama has pledged to "renew American diplomacy." Except, apparently, when it might interfere with an endorsement from the Teamsters.

President James Hoffa bestowed the powerful union's blessing on Mr. Obama yesterday, not so coincidentally only days after the Senator declared his opposition to the pending U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement. In a statement inserted in the Congressional Record last week, Mr. Obama said he believes the pact doesn't pay "proper attention" to America's "key industries and agricultural sectors" like cars, rice and beef. Opposition to free-trade deals is now a union litmus test, especially for the Teamsters and Service Employees International Union, which endorsed the Senator last Friday.

 
Try squaring Mr. Obama's views on the FTA with his criticism of the Bush Administration for not negotiating with unfriendly regimes, taken straight from an online position paper: It "makes us look arrogant, it denies us opportunities to make progress, and it makes it harder for America to rally international support for our leadership." Or consider this promise from his Asia policy paper: Mr. Obama "will maintain strong ties with allies like Japan, South Korea and Australia" and "work to build an infrastructure with countries in East Asia that can promote stability and prosperity."

Consider also that Seoul is willing to open up some of its own politically sensitive industries, such as banking and cars, for the FTA. Mr. Obama might take a look at a report last fall from the International Trade Commission, which says the FTA is expected to boost U.S. GDP by $10 billion to $12 billion annually and that the impact on American employment would be "negligible." In exchange, consumers in both countries would enjoy lower prices and a wider range of goods.

Korean President Roh Moo-hyun has put a lot of political capital behind the trade pact and President-elect Lee Myung-bak is also a strong supporter. The men, who represent opposing parties, don't agree on much but they have agreed to push the FTA through the National Assembly as early as this week. A U.S. "no" would be a huge embarrassment for them -- and for American "diplomacy."

WSJ
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« Reply #13 on: February 22, 2008, 10:45:34 AM »

Foraging for Taliban AKs?!?  WTF?!?

http://fallbackbelmont.blogspot.com/2008/02/democratic-debate.html
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« Reply #14 on: February 22, 2008, 05:37:25 PM »


http://hotair.com/archives/2008/02/22/abc-interviews-obamas-army-source-for-last-nights-ammo-shortage-claim/
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« Reply #15 on: February 22, 2008, 06:36:38 PM »

Obama's Cash Games
February 22, 2008; Page A14
Too soft to withstand a Republican assault. Too vague to know how he'd govern. Those two big raps on Barack Obama can now be shelved. The Illinois senator this week provided his first, highly illuminating, example of how he'd operate in the Oval Office. It's clear he's as crafty as Hillary Clinton.

This case study has to do with that great love of good-government types, campaign finance. Last year, Mr. Obama sparked his campaign by pressuring Republicans to join him in a pledge to use only public money in a general election. Last week, when rival and fellow pledge-taker John McCain reminded him of that promise, Mr. Obama refused to go "locking" himself into an agreement.

 
This "No, We Can't" moment is supposedly a function of the Obama campaign's belief that it can massively out-raise Mr. McCain, and wants no public financing limits. The more cynical (and likelier) case is that Mr. Obama is using this in hopes of handicapping Mr. McCain in the upcoming months -- well before the general election begins.

Whatever the motive, this is a telling first example of the actual cash value of Mr. Obama's soaring words. From the start, Mr. Obama's promises to reform government, to make campaign finance more transparent, to weed out "moneyed special interests" have been integral to Obamamania.

This is no mere side issue, but the stuff on which the senator lifts crowds. "Now I know some will say we can't make this change," he thundered in one "transparency" talk on lobbyists. "That the culture of corrosive influence in politics is too sprawling to spotlight . . . That's not how I see it . . . Making government accountable to the people isn't just a cause of this campaign -- it's been a cause of my life for two decades."

Consider, too, that this is one of the few instances in which Mr. Obama did more than talk. His campaign won rave reviews when it last year forwarded a proposal to the Federal Election Commission (FEC) to allow candidates to defensively raise money for a general election, but give it back if both sides agreed to public money. Mr. Obama then committed to taking public funds if his competitor did. This was a key moment in the Obama rise, a supposed example of his "fresh thinking."

Where is that "fresh thinking" now? Mr. Obama made his pledge when his campaign and fund-raising prospects were unknown. Today, the charismatic candidate is inching closer to the nomination. He is said to be collecting money at a clip of a million dollars a day. Liberal bloggers are pressuring him to keep this advantage. And Mr. Obama, with nary a whiff of remorse for the "cause of his life," has changed gears.

"This should be a warning for anyone caught up in Obama rhetoric," says Todd Harris, a Republican strategist. "When that rhetoric meets political expediency, it's not the rhetoric that wins." What makes this even wilier gamesmanship is that it is far from clear that it's in Mr. Obama's interest to forgo public financing. He instead appears to be using the threat that he is a money powerhouse to contain Mr. McCain now.

Bradley Smith, former head of the FEC and current chairman of the Center for Competitive Politics, notes that one reason nominees take public financing in the general election (President Bush and John Kerry did) is that it is a fab financial deal. Mr. McCain and Mr. Obama would each receive about $85 million to spend in the two months between conventions and Nov. 4. That's a whopping $1.4 million a day, and about as much as Mr. Obama spent last year.

Mr. Smith points out that even a red-hot Obama would struggle to best Mr. McCain's $85 million. It takes money to raise money, so he'd need closer to $100 million to realize $85 million. Even under public financing, Mr. McCain can raise about $20 million in private funds, which Mr. Obama would also have to match. And the Democrat would need to do all this while simultaneously staying competitive in a primary fight that could conceivably last through the summer. Do the math and he'd probably need to gin up $200 million over eight months, a near-impossible feat. "What he's probably doing is using this as leverage," says Mr. Smith.

 
How so? The answer may be found in the op-ed Mr. Obama penned this week in USA Today in response to criticism. In it, Mr. Obama said he still wants to "aggressively pursue such an agreement," but dramatically raises the stakes. Any "solidly constructed" agreement, in his mind, would now have to go beyond public dollars, and also "limit fundraising help" from "outside groups" and "address the amounts that Senator McCain . . . will spend for the general election while the Democratic primary contest continues." Hmmm.

Mr. Obama knows Republican 527 groups are scooping up cash and will soon unleash it to Mr. McCain's advantage. He knows Mr. McCain's greatest asset is the next few months, when he'll be able to define himself and his opponents while Democrats slap away at each other. So Mr. Obama is proposing a new ethical challenge to Mr. McCain, one that conveniently hobbles his rival. You can call this savvy, and it might reassure voters who've wondered if Mr. Obama has the fists to tangle with the big boys. But you can't call it high-minded or visionary.

Mr. McCain is pounding Mr. Obama on his pledge, and that's to be expected. But he'll have to tread carefully. Too much focus on the public money question will only remind Republicans he is the goody-two-shoes coauthor of McCain-Feingold. A bigger risk is that Mr. McCain -- who is now being hit on his ethical record -- will fall for this and unilaterally disarm in an effort to burnish his credentials. Doing so won't help him win his base, or an election. (His bigger concern should be sorting out the FEC mess he's created with his November campaign loan.)

The real shame is that voters must suffer through all this. As two believers in complex campaign-finance laws, Mr. McCain and Mr. Obama helped create a system that now requires both to engage in games over 527 spending and tax subsidies. If they really believed in better government, they'd call for a system in which donors can give what they want, so long as it is transparent. That's called having faith in your citizens, and it would be change we could believe in.
WSJ
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« Reply #16 on: February 22, 2008, 07:02:16 PM »

4th post of the day

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Try a Little Tenderness
February 22, 2008
Barack Obama's biggest draw is not his eloquence. When you watch an Obama speech, you lean forward and listen and think, That's good. He's compelling, I like the way he speaks. And afterward all the commentators call him "impossibly eloquent" and say "he gave me thrills and chills." But, in fact, when you go on the Internet and get a transcript of the speech and print it out and read it--that is, when you remove Mr. Obama from the words and take them on their own--you see the speech wasn't all that interesting, and was in fact high-class boilerplate. (This was not true of John F. Kennedy's speeches, for instance, which could be read seriously as part of the literature of modern American politics, or Martin Luther King's work, which was powerful absent his voice.)

Mr. Obama is magnetic, interacts with the audience, leads a refrain: "Yes, we can." It's good, and compared with Hillary Clinton and John McCain, neither of whom seems really to enjoy giving speeches, it comes across as better than it is. But is it eloquence? No. Eloquence is deep thought expressed in clear words. With Mr. Obama the deep thought part is missing. What is present are sentiments.

Our country can be greater, it holds unachieved promise, our leaders have not led us well. "We struggle with our doubts, our fears, our cynicism." Fair enough and true enough, but he doesn't dig down to explain how to become a greater nation, what specific path to take--more power to the state, for instance, or more power to the individual. He doesn't unpack his thoughts, as they say. He asserts and keeps on walking.

So his draw is not literal eloquence but a reputation for eloquence that may, in time, become the real thing.

But his big draw is this. In a country that has throughout most of our lifetimes been tormented by, buffeted by, the question of race, a country that has endured real pain and paid in blood and treasure to work its way through and out of the mess, that for all that struggle we yielded this: a brilliant and accomplished young black man with a consensus temperament, a thoughtful and peaceful person who wishes to lead. That is his draw: "We made that." "It ended well."

People would love to be able to support that guy.

His job, in a way, is to let them, in part by not being just another operative, plaything or grievance-monger of the left-liberal establishment and left-liberal thinking. By standing, in fact, for real change.

Right now Mr. Obama is in an awkward moment. Each day he tries to nail down his party's leftist base, and take it from Mrs. Clinton. At the same time his victories have led the country as a whole to start seeing him as the probable Democratic nominee. They're looking at him in a new way, and wondering: Is he standard, old time and party line, or is he something new? Is he just a turning of the page, or is he the beginning of a new and helpful chapter?

Mr. Obama did not really have a good week, in spite of winning a primary and a caucus, and both resoundingly. I don't refer to charges that he'd plagiarized words from a Deval Patrick speech. He borrowed an argument that was in itself obvious--words matter--and used words in the public sphere. In any case Mrs. Clinton has lifted so many phrases and approaches from Mr. Obama, and other candidates, that her accusation was like the neighborhood kleptomaniac running through the street crying, "Thief! Thief!"

His problem was, is, his wife's words, not his, the speech in which she said that for the first time in her adult life she is proud of her country, because Obama is winning. She later repeated it, then tried to explain it, saying of course she loves her country. But damage was done. Why? Because her statement focused attention on what I suspect are some basic and elementary questions that were starting to bubble out there anyway.

* * *

Here are a few of them.

Are the Obamas, at bottom, snobs? Do they understand America? Are they of it? Did anyone at their Ivy League universities school them in why one should love America? Do they confuse patriotism with nationalism, or nativism? Are they more inspired by abstractions like "international justice" than by old visions of America as the city on a hill, which is how John Winthrop saw it, and Ronald Reagan and JFK spoke of it?

Have they been, throughout their adulthood, so pampered and praised--so raised in the liberal cocoon--that they are essentially unaware of what and how normal Americans think? And are they, in this, like those cosseted yuppies, the Clintons?

Why is all this actually not a distraction but a real issue? Because Americans have common sense and are bottom line. They think like this. If the president and his first lady are not loyal first to America and its interests, who will be? The president of France? But it's his job to love France, and protect its interests. If America's leaders don't love America tenderly, who will?

 
And there is a context. So many Americans right now fear they are losing their country, that the old America is slipping away and being replaced by something worse, something formless and hollowed out. They can see we are giving up our sovereignty, that our leaders will not control our borders, that we don't teach the young the old-fashioned love of America, that the government has taken to itself such power, and made things so complex, and at the end of the day when they count up sales tax, property tax, state tax, federal tax they are paying a lot of money to lose the place they loved.

And if you feel you're losing America, you really don't want a couple in the White House whose rope of affection to the country seems lightly held, casual, provisional. America is backing Barack at the moment, so America is good. When it becomes angry with President Barack, will that mean America is bad?

* * *

Michelle Obama seems keenly aware of her struggles, of what it took to rise so high as a black woman in a white country. Fair enough. But I have wondered if it is hard for young African-Americans of her generation, having been drilled in America's sad racial history, having been told about it every day of their lives, to fully apprehend the struggles of others. I wonder if she knows that some people look at her and think "Man, she got it all." Intelligent, strong, tall, beautiful, Princeton, Harvard, black at a time when America was trying to make up for its sins and be helpful, and from a working-class family with two functioning parents who made sure she got to school.

That's the great divide in modern America, whether or not you had a functioning family, and she apparently came from the privileged part of that divide. A lot of white working-class Americans didn't come up with those things. Some of them were raised by a TV and a microwave and love our country anyway, every day.

Does Mrs. Obama know this? I don't know. If she does, love and gratitude for the place that tries to give everyone an equal shot would seem to be in order.

See all of today's editorials and op-eds, plus video commentary
 
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« Reply #17 on: February 22, 2008, 10:21:22 PM »



http://dyn.politico.com/printstory.cfm?uuid=42FC5818-3048-5C12-005E33B3C0F4E64B

Michelle Obama thesis was on racial divide
By: Jeffrey Ressner
February 22, 2008 08:07 PM EST

Michelle Obama's senior year thesis at Princeton University, obtained from the campaign by Politico, shows a document written by a young woman grappling with a society in which a black Princeton alumnus might only be allowed to remain "on the periphery." Read the full thesis here: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4.

"My experiences at Princeton have made me far more aware of my 'blackness' than ever before," the future Mrs. Obama wrote in her thesis introduction. "I have found that at Princeton, no matter how liberal and open-minded some of my white professors and classmates try to be toward me, I sometimes feel like a visitor on campus; as if I really don't belong. Regardless of the circumstances underwhich I interact with whites at Princeton, it often seems as if, to them, I will always be black first and a student second."

The thesis, titled "Princeton-Educated Blacks and the Black Community" and written under her maiden name, Michelle LaVaughn Robinson, in 1985, has been the subject of much conjecture on the blogosphere and elsewhere in recent weeks, as it has been "temporarily withdrawn" from Princeton's library until after this year's presidential election in November. Some of the material has been written about previously, however, including a story last year in the Newark Star Ledger.

Obama writes that the path she chose by attending Princeton would likely lead to her "further integration and/or assimilation into a white cultural and social structure that will only allow me to remain on the periphery of society; never becoming a full participant."

During a presidential contest in which the term "transparency" has been frequently bandied about, candidates have buried a number of potentially revealing documents and papers. In Hillary Rodham Clinton's case, there's been a clamoring for tax records, White House memos and other material the candidate's team has chosen to keep from release. The 96-page Princeton thesis, restricted from release by the school's Mudd Library, has also been the subject of recent scrutiny.

Earlier this week, commentator Jonah Goldberg remarked on National Review Online, "A reader in the know informs me that Michelle Obama's thesis ... is unavailable until Nov. 5, 2008, at the Princeton library. I wonder why."

"Why a restricted thesis?" asked blogger-pastor Louis Lapides on his site Thinking Outside the Blog. "Is the concern based on what's in the thesis? Will Michelle Obama appear to be too black for white America or not black enough for black America?"

Attempts to retrieve the document through Princeton proved unsuccessful, with school librarians having been pestered so much for access to the thesis that they have resorted to reading from a script when callers inquire about it. Media officers at the prestigious university were similarly unhelpful, claiming it is "not unusual" for a thesis to be restricted and refusing to discuss "the academic work of alumni."

The Obama campaign, however, quickly responded to a request for the thesis by Politico. The thesis offers several fascinating insights into the mind of Michelle Obama, who has been a passionate advocate of her husband's presidential aspirations and who has made several controvesial statements, including this week's remark, "For the first time in my adult lifetime, I am really proud of my country." That comment has fueled debate on countless blogs, radio talk shows and cable news for days on end, causing her to explain the statement in greater detail.

The 1985 thesis provides a trove of Michelle Obama's thoughts as a young woman, with many of the paper's statements describing the student's world as seen through a race-based prism.

"In defining the concept of identification or the ability to identify with the black community," the Princeton student wrote, "I based my definition on the premise that there is a distinctive black culture very different from white culture." Other thesis statements specifically pointed to what was seen by the future Mrs. Obama as racially insensitive practices in a university system populated with mostly Caucasian educators and students: "Predominately white universities like Princeton are socially and academically designed to cater to the needs of the white students comprising the bulk of their enrollments."

To illustrate the latter statement, she pointed out that Princeton (at the time) had only five black tenured professors on its faculty, and its "Afro-American studies" program "is one of the smallest and most understaffed departments in the university." In addition, she said only one major university-recognized group on campus was "designed specifically for the intellectual and social interests of blacks and other third world students." (Her findings also stressed that Princeton was "infamous for being racially the most conservative of the Ivy League universities.")

Perhaps one of the most germane subjects approached in the thesis is a section in which she conveyed views about political relations between black and white communities. She quotes the work of sociologists James Conyers and Walter Wallace, who discussed "integration of black official(s) into various aspects of politics" and notes "problems which face these black officials who must persuade the white community that they are above issues of race and that they are representing all people and not just black people," as opposed to creating "two separate social structures."

To research her thesis, the future Mrs. Obama sent an 18-question survey to a sampling of 400 black Princeton graduates, requesting the respondents define the amount of time and "comfort" level spent interacting with blacks and whites before they attended the school, as well as during and after their University years. Other questions dealt with their individual religious beliefs, living arrangements, careers, role models, economic status, and thoughts about lower class blacks. In addition, those surveyed were asked to choose whether they were more in line with a "separationist and/or pluralist" viewpoint or an "integrationist and/or assimilationist" ideology.

Just under 90 alums responded to the questionnaires (for a response rate of approximately 22 percent) and the conclusions were not what she expected. "I hoped that these findings would help me conclude that despite the high degree of identification with whites as a result of the educational and occupational path that black Princeton alumni follow, the alumni would still maintain a certain level of identification with the black community. However, these findings do not support this possibility."
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« Reply #18 on: February 23, 2008, 09:26:27 AM »

http://michellemalkin.com/2008/02/20/michelle-obamas-america-and-mine/?print=1

Michelle Obama’s America–and mine
By Michelle Malkin  •  February 20, 2008 08:04 AM

Barack Obama–the guy who effectively mocked the Clintons for not saying what they mean–is now trying to spin his wife’s comments by explaining that she, uh, didn’t really mean what she said.
I give you your morning snort-starter:
Democratic Sen. Barack Obama sought Tuesday to clarify his wife’s statement that she is proud of the U.S. “for the first time in my adult life.” He said her newfound pride is about the political system and was not meant to disparage her country…”Statements like this are made and people try to take it out of context and make a great big deal out of it, and that isn’t at all what she meant,” Obama said. “What she meant was, this is the first time that she’s been proud of the politics of America,” he said. “Because she’s pretty cynical about the political process, and with good reason, and she’s not alone. But she has seen large numbers of people get involved in the process, and she’s encouraged.”
Jim Hoft has the vid of Michelle Obama repeating the line twice. She meant what she said.
***
My column this week gives you two Michelles, two Americas. John Edwards was right after all!
Michelle Obama’s America—and mine
Michelle Malkin
Copyright Creators Syndicate 2008
Like Michelle Obama, I am a “woman of color.” Like Michelle Obama, I am a working mother of two young children. Like Michelle Obama, I am a member of the 13th Generation of Americans born since the founding of our great nation.
Unlike Michelle Obama, I can’t keep track of the number of times I’ve been proud—really proud—of my country since I was born and privileged to live in it.
At a speech in Milwaukee this week on behalf of her husband’s Democrat presidential campaign, Mrs. Obama remarked that “For the first time in my adult lifetime, I am really proud of my country, and not just because Barack has done well, but because I think people are hungry for change.”
Mrs. Obama’s statement was met with warm applause from other Barack supporters who have apparently also been devoid of pride in their country for their adult lifetimes. Or maybe it was just a Pavlovian response to the word “change.” What a sad, empty, narcissistic, ungrateful, unthinking lot.
I’m just seven years younger than Mrs. Obama. We’ve grown up and lived in the same era. And yet, her self-absorbed attitude is completely foreign to me. What planet is she living on? Since when was now the only time the American people have ever been “hungry for change?” Michelle, ma belle, Barack is not the center of the universe. Newsflash: The Obamas did not invent “change” any more than Hillary invented “leadership” or John McCain invented “straight talk.”
We were both adults when the Berlin Wall fell, Michelle. That was earth-shattering change.
We’ve lived through two decades’ worth of peaceful, if contentious election cycles under the rule of law that have brought about “change” and upheaval both good and bad.
We were adults through several launches of the Space Shuttle, in case you were snoozing. [Ed. note: Speaking of which, welcome back, Atlantis!] And as adults, we’ve witnessed and benefited from dizzyingly rapid advances in technology, communications, science, and medicine pioneered by American entrepreneurs who yearned and succeeded to change the world. You want “change?” Go ask the patients whose lives have been improved and extended by American pharmaceutical companies who have flourished under the best economic system in the world.
If the fall of communism, American ingenuity, and a robust constitutional republic don’t do it for you, hon, then how about American heroism and sacrifice?
How about every Memorial Day? Every Veteran’s Day? Every Independence Day? Every Medal of Honor ceremony? Has she never attended a welcome home ceremony for the troops?
For me, there’s the thrill of the Blue Angels roaring over cloudless skies. And the somber awe felt amid the hallowed waters that surround the sunken U.S.S. Arizona at the Pearl Harbor memorial.
Every naturalization ceremony I’ve attended, where hundreds of new Americans have raised their hands to swear an oath of allegiance to this land of liberty, has been a moment of pride for me. So have the awesome displays of American compassion at home and around the world. When millions of Americans rallied to help the victims of the 2005 tsunami in southern Asia—including members of the U.S.S. Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group that sped from Hong Kong to assist survivors—my heart filled with pride. It did again when the citizens of Houston opened their arms to Hurricane Katrina victims and folks across the country rushed to their churches, Salvation Army, and Red Cross offices to volunteer.
How about American resilience? Does that not make you proud? Only a heart of stone could be unmoved by the strength, valor and determination displayed in New York and Washington and Shanksville, Pa., on September 11, 2001.
I believe it was Michael Kinsley who quipped that a gaffe is when a politician tells the truth. In this case, it’s what happens when an elite Democrat politician’s wife says what a significant portion of the party’s base really believes to be the truth: That America is more a source of shame than pride.
Michelle Obama has achieved enormous professional success, political influence, and personal acclaim in America. Ivy League-educated, she’s been lauded by Essence magazine as one of the 25 World’s Most Inspiring Women; by Vanity Fair as one of the “10 World’s Best Dressed People; and named one of “The Harvard 100″ top influencers. She has had an amazingly blessed life. But you wouldn’t know it from her campaign rhetoric and her griping over her and her husband’s student loans.
For years, we’ve heard liberals get offended at any challenge to their patriotism. And so they are again aggrieved and rising to explain away Mrs. Obama’s remarks.
Like Lady MacBeth*, Lady Michelle and her defenders protest too much.
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Update: Yes, my English teachers are going to kill me. The Shakespeare reference is to Hamlet, not MacBeth!
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« Reply #19 on: February 23, 2008, 06:52:08 PM »

I recently criticized a post of Newt's theory that another contract with America will be what McCain needs to beat Obama.  I agree with the need for real ideas and roadmaps on how to get there.  However, I don't think that alone will defeat BO.  I think this Peggy Noonan's piece is the other half of the puzzle.  I feel she hits on something big here that can and should be used full court press to focus Bo's whole thesis of hope as totally misplaced, misaligned and definitely not in the interests of Americans.

http://online.wsj.com/article/declarations.html
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« Reply #20 on: February 23, 2008, 09:31:40 PM »

And here is Peggy's piece:

Try a Little Tenderness
February 22, 2008; Page W14
Barack Obama's biggest draw is not his eloquence. When you watch an Obama speech, you lean forward and listen and think, That's good. He's compelling, I like the way he speaks. And afterward all the commentators call him "impossibly eloquent" and say "he gave me thrills and chills." But, in fact, when you go on the Internet and get a transcript of the speech and print it out and read it--that is, when you remove Mr. Obama from the words and take them on their own--you see the speech wasn't all that interesting, and was in fact high-class boilerplate. (This was not true of John F. Kennedy's speeches, for instance, which could be read seriously as part of the literature of modern American politics, or Martin Luther King's work, which was powerful absent his voice.)

Mr. Obama is magnetic, interacts with the audience, leads a refrain: "Yes, we can." It's good, and compared with Hillary Clinton and John McCain, neither of whom seems really to enjoy giving speeches, it comes across as better than it is. But is it eloquence? No. Eloquence is deep thought expressed in clear words. With Mr. Obama the deep thought part is missing. What is present are sentiments.

Our country can be greater, it holds unachieved promise, our leaders have not led us well. "We struggle with our doubts, our fears, our cynicism." Fair enough and true enough, but he doesn't dig down to explain how to become a greater nation, what specific path to take--more power to the state, for instance, or more power to the individual. He doesn't unpack his thoughts, as they say. He asserts and keeps on walking.

So his draw is not literal eloquence but a reputation for eloquence that may, in time, become the real thing.

But his big draw is this. In a country that has throughout most of our lifetimes been tormented by, buffeted by, the question of race, a country that has endured real pain and paid in blood and treasure to work its way through and out of the mess, that for all that struggle we yielded this: a brilliant and accomplished young black man with a consensus temperament, a thoughtful and peaceful person who wishes to lead. That is his draw: "We made that." "It ended well."

People would love to be able to support that guy.

His job, in a way, is to let them, in part by not being just another operative, plaything or grievance-monger of the left-liberal establishment and left-liberal thinking. By standing, in fact, for real change.

Right now Mr. Obama is in an awkward moment. Each day he tries to nail down his party's leftist base, and take it from Mrs. Clinton. At the same time his victories have led the country as a whole to start seeing him as the probable Democratic nominee. They're looking at him in a new way, and wondering: Is he standard, old time and party line, or is he something new? Is he just a turning of the page, or is he the beginning of a new and helpful chapter?

Mr. Obama did not really have a good week, in spite of winning a primary and a caucus, and both resoundingly. I don't refer to charges that he'd plagiarized words from a Deval Patrick speech. He borrowed an argument that was in itself obvious--words matter--and used words in the public sphere. In any case Mrs. Clinton has lifted so many phrases and approaches from Mr. Obama, and other candidates, that her accusation was like the neighborhood kleptomaniac running through the street crying, "Thief! Thief!"

His problem was, is, his wife's words, not his, the speech in which she said that for the first time in her adult life she is proud of her country, because Obama is winning. She later repeated it, then tried to explain it, saying of course she loves her country. But damage was done. Why? Because her statement focused attention on what I suspect are some basic and elementary questions that were starting to bubble out there anyway.

* * *

Here are a few of them.

Are the Obamas, at bottom, snobs? Do they understand America? Are they of it? Did anyone at their Ivy League universities school them in why one should love America? Do they confuse patriotism with nationalism, or nativism? Are they more inspired by abstractions like "international justice" than by old visions of America as the city on a hill, which is how John Winthrop saw it, and Ronald Reagan and JFK spoke of it?

Have they been, throughout their adulthood, so pampered and praised--so raised in the liberal cocoon--that they are essentially unaware of what and how normal Americans think? And are they, in this, like those cosseted yuppies, the Clintons?

Why is all this actually not a distraction but a real issue? Because Americans have common sense and are bottom line. They think like this. If the president and his first lady are not loyal first to America and its interests, who will be? The president of France? But it's his job to love France, and protect its interests. If America's leaders don't love America tenderly, who will?

 
And there is a context. So many Americans right now fear they are losing their country, that the old America is slipping away and being replaced by something worse, something formless and hollowed out. They can see we are giving up our sovereignty, that our leaders will not control our borders, that we don't teach the young the old-fashioned love of America, that the government has taken to itself such power, and made things so complex, and at the end of the day when they count up sales tax, property tax, state tax, federal tax they are paying a lot of money to lose the place they loved.

And if you feel you're losing America, you really don't want a couple in the White House whose rope of affection to the country seems lightly held, casual, provisional. America is backing Barack at the moment, so America is good. When it becomes angry with President Barack, will that mean America is bad?

* * *

Michelle Obama seems keenly aware of her struggles, of what it took to rise so high as a black woman in a white country. Fair enough. But I have wondered if it is hard for young African-Americans of her generation, having been drilled in America's sad racial history, having been told about it every day of their lives, to fully apprehend the struggles of others. I wonder if she knows that some people look at her and think "Man, she got it all." Intelligent, strong, tall, beautiful, Princeton, Harvard, black at a time when America was trying to make up for its sins and be helpful, and from a working-class family with two functioning parents who made sure she got to school.

That's the great divide in modern America, whether or not you had a functioning family, and she apparently came from the privileged part of that divide. A lot of white working-class Americans didn't come up with those things. Some of them were raised by a TV and a microwave and love our country anyway, every day.

Does Mrs. Obama know this? I don't know. If she does, love and gratitude for the place that tries to give everyone an equal shot would seem to be in order.
WSJ
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« Reply #21 on: February 25, 2008, 10:48:26 AM »

Obama's Finance Ploy
February 25, 2008; Page A14
Barack Obama is promising to end partisanship in Washington, and here's a place to start: He could stop playing politics with the Federal Election Commission in a way that could hamper John McCain's campaign against, well, Mr. Obama.

The Illinois Senator is blocking confirmation of one of President Bush's appointees to the FEC, which administers election laws. This has left the agency two commissioners short of the quorum it needs to make decisions -- with the potential for direct harm to Mr. McCain's campaign. As we've been writing, the Arizona Senator took out a controversial $1 million loan that FEC Chairman David Mason has said might lock him into the public finance system for the primary season. Mr. McCain doesn't want to do that because he'd have to abide by spending limits that would reduce his campaigning this spring and summer. Mr. Mason says the FEC needs to rule on the matter, but without a quorum Mr. McCain is left hanging.

 
The FEC must also vote to certify that Mr. McCain can receive an estimated $85 million in public funds for the November election. The Republican has already pledged to accept those funds, and the spending limits that go with them, and he is counting on the money to make him competitive against a Democratic nominee. However, no FEC quorum, no public McCain funds in the fall -- and a potentially big advantage for Mr. Obama, who is raising far more in private donations.

The FEC dispute centers on Hans von Spakovsky, a Bush appointee whose two-year recess term ended in December and who has been renominated. Before coming to the FEC, Mr. von Spakovsky was a lawyer in the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division, where he supported voter-ID laws that Democrats claim will harm black voters but have been vindicated in court. Mr. von Spakovsky's nomination was approved by the Rules Committee in September, but then Mr. Obama intervened with a "hold." Other Democrats have since joined him.

Mr. von Spakovsky was supposed to be voted on in a package of four FEC nominees. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid instead demanded that all four get individual votes, hoping to tank only Mr. von Spakovsky. The six FEC commissioners have staggered terms, and one Republican and one Democrat are supposed to end their terms simultaneously so there is no partisan advantage. Mr. von Spakovsky is paired with Steven Walther, a Nevada lawyer with close ties to Mr. Reid. The Majority Leader can hardly expect to get his hand-picked choice, while throwing Mr. Bush's overboard.

All of this is the rankest sort of partisan Beltway gamesmanship, all the worse because it is rooted in racial politics. It is precisely what Mr. Obama says he wants to rise above, but apparently that will happen only after he wins the Presidency. Mr. Obama also boasts about his role in crafting last year's lobbying and ethics law, which includes a provision requiring candidates to report "bundled" campaign contributions. The FEC was unable to devise the rules for that provision before it lost its quorum in December. Meanwhile, Mr. Obama is bundling away.

We dislike these campaign laws, in part because they allow the likes of Mr. Obama to claim to be reformers while working the rules to their own advantage. But if Senators who want to be President are going to pass these rules, the least they can do is give the FEC the ability to enforce them.

WSJ
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« Reply #22 on: February 26, 2008, 12:17:21 PM »

Obama and the Power of Words
By STEPHEN F. HAYES
February 26, 2008; Page A19

These are words that move and uplift, that give hope to the hopeless. These words inspired millions of voters nationwide to join the grand experiment called democracy, casting votes for their candidate, their country, their destiny:

"More than anything else, I want my candidacy to unify our country, to renew the American spirit and sense of purpose. I want to carry our message to every American, regardless of party affiliation, who is a member of this community of shared values . . . For those who have abandoned hope, we'll restore hope and we'll welcome them into a great national crusade to make America great again!"

So Ronald Reagan proclaimed on July 17, 1980, as he accepted his party's nomination for president at the Republican National Convention in Detroit, Mich.

 
Earlier that day, the New York Times ran a long profile of Reagan on its front page. The author, Howell Raines, lamented that the news media had been unsuccessful in getting Reagan to speak in anything other than "sweeping generalities about economic and military policy." Mr. Raines further noted: "political critics who characterize him as banal and shallow, a mouther of right-wing platitudes, delight in recalling that he co-starred with a chimpanzee in 'Bedtime for Bonzo.'"

Throughout his campaign, Reagan fought off charges that his candidacy was built more on optimism than policies. The charges came from reporters and opponents. John Anderson, a rival in the Republican primary who ran as an independent in the general election, complained that Reagan offered little more than "old platitudes and old generalities."

Conservatives understood that this Reagan-as-a-simpleton view was a caricature (something made even clearer in several recent books, particularly Reagan's own diaries). That his opponents never got this is what led to their undoing. Those critics who giggled about his turn alongside a chimp were considerably less delighted when Reagan won 44 states and 489 electoral votes in November.

One Reagan adviser had predicted such a win shortly after Reagan had become the de facto nominee the previous spring. In a memo about the coming general election contest with Jimmy Carter, Richard Whalen wrote Reagan's "secret weapon" was that "Democrats fail to take him very seriously."

Are Republicans making the same mistake with Barack Obama?

 
For months now, Hillary Clinton has suggested that Mr. Obama is all rhetoric, no substance. This claim, or some version of it, has been at the center of her campaign since November. One day after losing to him in Wisconsin and Hawaii -- her ninth and tenth consecutive defeats -- she rather incredibly went back to it again. "It's time we moved from good words to good works, from sound bites to sound solutions," she said -- a formulation that could be mistaken for a sound bite.

As she complained about his lack of substance, tens of thousands of people lined up in city after city, sometimes in subfreezing temperatures, for a chance to get a shot of some Mr. Obama hopemongering. Plainly, her critique is not working.

And yet, Republicans are picking it up. In just the past week, conservative commentators have accused Mr. Obama of speaking in "Sesame Street platitudes," of giving speeches that are "almost content free," of "saying nothing." He has been likened to Chance the Gardner, the clueless mope in Jerzy Koscinski's "Being There," whose banal utterances are taken as brilliant by a gullible political class. Others complain that his campaign is "messianic," too self-aggrandizing and too self-referential.

John McCain has joined the fray. In a speech after he won primaries in Washington, D.C., Virginia and Maryland, Mr. McCain said: "To encourage a country with only rhetoric rather than sound and proven ideas that trust in the strength and courage of free people is not a promise of hope. It is a platitude." After Wisconsin, he sharpened the attack, warning that he would expose Mr. Obama's "eloquent but empty call for change."

The assumption behind much of this criticism is that because Mr. Obama gives a good speech he cannot do substance. This is wrong. Mr. Obama has done well in most of the Democratic debates because he has consistently shown himself able to think on his feet. Even on health care, a complicated national issue that should be Mrs. Clinton's strength, Mr. Obama has regularly fought her to a draw by displaying a grasp of the details that rivals hers, and talking about it in ways Americans can understand.

 
In Iowa, long before the race became the national campaign it is today, Mr. Obama spent much of his time at town halls in which he took questions from the audience. His answers in such settings were often as good or better than the rhetoric in his stump speech, and usually more substantive. He spoke about issues like immigration and national service in a thoughtful manner -- not wonky, not pedantic, but in a way that suggested he'd spent some time thinking about them before.

More important for the race ahead, Mr. Obama has the unique ability to offer doctrinaire liberal positions in a way that avoids the stridency of many recent Democratic candidates. That he managed to do this in the days before the Iowa caucuses -- at a time when he might have been expected to be at his most liberal -- was quite striking.

His rhetorical gimmick is simple. When he addresses a contentious issue, Mr. Obama almost always begins his answer with a respectful nod in the direction of the view he is rejecting -- a line or two that suggests he understands or perhaps even sympathizes with the concerns of a conservative.

At Cornell College on Dec. 5, for example, a student asked Mr. Obama how his administration would view the Second Amendment. He replied: "There's a Supreme Court case that's going to be decided fairly soon about what the Second Amendment means. I taught Constitutional Law for 10 years, so I've got my opinion. And my opinion is that the Second Amendment is probably -- it is an individual right and not just a right of the militia. That's what I expect the Supreme Court to rule. I think that's a fair reading of the text of the Constitution. And so I respect the right of lawful gun owners to hunt, fish, protect their families."

Then came the pivot:

"Like all rights, though, they are constrained and bound by the needs of the community . . . So when I look at Chicago and 34 Chicago public school students gunned down in a single school year, then I don't think the Second Amendment prohibits us from taking action and making sure that, for example, ATF can share tracing information about illegal handguns that are used on the streets and track them to the gun dealers to find out -- what are you doing?"

In conclusion:

"There is a tradition of gun ownership in this country that can be respected that is not mutually exclusive with making sure that we are shutting down gun traffic that is killing kids on our streets. The argument I have with the NRA is not whether people have the right to bear arms. The problem is they believe any constraint or regulation whatsoever is something that they have to beat back. And I don't think that's how most lawful firearms owners think."

In the end, Mr. Obama is simply campaigning for office in the same way he says he would operate if he were elected. "We're not looking for a chief operating officer when we select a president," he said during a question and answer session at Google headquarters back in December.

"What we're looking for is somebody who will chart a course and say: Here is where America needs to go -- here is how to solve our energy crisis, here's how we need to revamp our education system -- and then gather the talent together and then mobilize that talent to achieve that goal. And to inspire a sense of hope and possibility."

Like Ronald Reagan did.

Mr. Hayes, a senior writer for The Weekly Standard, is the author of "Cheney: The Untold Story of America's Most Powerful and Controversial Vice President," (HarperCollins, 2007).
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« Reply #23 on: February 27, 2008, 09:02:32 AM »

Obama's 'Patriot' Act
February 27, 2008; Page A16
WSJ
No, we're not talking about Barack Obama's opposition to the post-9/11 antiterror law. We're referring to the Senator's support for something called the Patriot Employer Act, which deserves more attention as an indicator of his economic agenda.

Along with Democratic co-sponsors Sherrod Brown and Dick Durbin, Mr. Obama introduced the bill in the Senate in August 2007. Recently in Janesville, Wis., he repeated his intention to make it a priority as President: "We will end the tax breaks for companies who ship our jobs overseas, and we will give those breaks to companies who create good jobs with decent wages right here in America."

 
Mr. Obama's proposal would designate certain companies as "patriot employers" and favor them over other, presumably not so patriotic, businesses.

The legislation takes four pages to define "patriotic" companies as those that: "pay at least 60 percent of each employee's health care premiums"; have a position of "neutrality in employee [union] organizing drives"; "maintain or increase the number of full-time workers in the United States relative to the number of full-time workers outside of the United States"; pay a salary to each employee "not less than an amount equal to the federal poverty level"; and provide a pension plan.

In other words, a patriotic employer is one which fulfills the fondest Big Labor agenda, regardless of the competitive implications. The proposal ignores the marketplace reality that businesses hire a work force they can afford to pay and still make money. Coercing companies into raising wages and benefits above market rates may only lead to fewer workers getting hired in the first place.

Under Mr. Obama's plan, "patriot employers" qualify for a 1% tax credit on their profits. To finance this tax break, American companies with subsidiaries abroad would have to pay the U.S. corporate tax on profits earned abroad, rather than the corporate tax of the host country where they are earned. Since the U.S. corporate tax rate is 35%, while most of the world has a lower rate, this amounts to a big tax increase on earnings owned abroad.

Put another way, U.S. companies would suddenly have to pay a higher tax rate than their Chinese, Japanese and European competitors. According to research by Peter Merrill, an international tax expert at PriceWaterhouseCoopers, this change would "raise the cost of capital of U.S. multinationals and cause them to lose market share to foreign rivals." Apparently Mr. Obama believes that by making U.S. companies less profitable and less competitive world-wide, they will somehow be able to create more jobs in America.

He has it backwards: The offshore activities of U.S. companies tend to increase rather than reduce domestic business. A 2005 National Bureau of Economic Research study by economists from Harvard and the University of Michigan found that more foreign investment by U.S. companies leads to greater domestic investment, and that U.S. firms' hiring of more offshore workers is positively, not negatively, associated with the number of American workers they hire. That's in part because often what is produced overseas by subsidiaries are component parts to final, higher-value-added products manufactured here.

Mr. Obama is also proposing to raise tax rates on affluent individuals, as well as on capital gains and dividends. This would also lead to more capital and jobs leaving the U.S. The after-tax return on U.S. investment would fall appreciably if these tax hikes were adopted, and no amount of tax-credit subsidy will keep capital from fleeing to lower tax jurisdictions.

If the U.S. didn't impose the second highest corporate income tax rate in the world, companies would have less incentive to move jobs overseas. Rather than giving politically correct companies a 1% tax credit, it makes more sense to reduce the U.S. corporate tax rate for everyone -- by at least 10 percentage points to the global average.

Economists have long understood that companies don't really pay taxes; they merely collect them. A study by the American Enterprise Institute has shown that U.S. workers bear the cost of the corporate income tax in lower wages and salaries. To borrow Mr. Obama's language, what's really unpatriotic is the 35% U.S. corporate tax rate.
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« Reply #24 on: March 01, 2008, 05:40:30 PM »

http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/story/13390609/campaign_08_the_radical_roots_of_barack_obama/2

Interesting reading.
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« Reply #25 on: March 01, 2008, 08:37:08 PM »

The range of your reading material is impressive smiley
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« Reply #26 on: March 03, 2008, 11:04:56 AM »

Obama and Chicago Mores
By JOHN FUND
March 3, 2008; Page A17

On Tuesday, Barack Obama may well wrap up the Democratic nomination. Yet how he rose so quickly in Chicago's famously suspect politics -- and who his associates were there -- has received little scrutiny.

That may change today as the trial of Antoin "Tony" Rezko, Mr. Obama's friend of two decades and his campaign fund-raiser, gets under way in federal court in Chicago. Mr. Rezko, a master fixer in Illinois politics, is charged with money laundering, attempted extortion, fraud and aiding bribery in an alleged multimillion dollar scheme shaking down companies seeking state contracts.

John McCain's dealings with lobbyists have properly come under a microscope; why not Mr. Obama's? Partly, says Chicago Tribune columnist John Kass, because the national media establishment has decided that Chicago's grubby politics interferes with the story line of hope they've set out for Mr. Obama. Former Washington Post reporter Tom Edsall, who now teaches journalism at Columbia University, told Canada's Globe & Mail that "reporters have sometimes allowed themselves to get too much caught up in [Obama] excitement." Then there are Chicago Republicans, loath to encourage the national party to pounce because some of their own leaders are caught in the Rezko mess.

For its part, the Democratic Party may once again nominate a first-time candidate they haven't fully vetted politically. Democrats flocked to Michael Dukakis in 1988, ignoring Al Gore's warnings about Willie Horton; later they were blindsided by revelations about Bill Clinton after he was elected president.

This year, Hillary Clinton made a clumsy attack on Mr. Rezko as a "slum landlord" during one debate. But her campaign has otherwise steered clear -- at least until last Friday, when Howard Wolfson, a top Clinton aide, suggested to reporters on a conference call that "the number of questions that we don't know the answers to about the relationship between Mr. Rezko and Mr. Obama is staggering." Mr. Obama's campaign told me they have answered all questions about Mr. Rezko and have no plans to release any further records.

 
Mr. Obama has admitted that the 2005 land deal that he and Mr. Rezko were involved in was a "boneheaded" mistake, in part because his friend was already rumored to be under federal investigation. The newly elected Mr. Obama bought his $1.65 million home on the same day, June 15, that Mr. Rezko's wife bought the plot of land next to it from the same seller for $625,000. Seven months later she sold a slice of the land to the trust that Mr. Obama had put the house into, so the senator could expand his garden.

Mr. Obama has strenuously denied suggestions that the same-day sale enabled him to pay $300,000 under the house's asking price because Mrs. Rezko paid full price for the adjoining lot, or that he asked the Rezkos for help in the matter. Both actions would be clear violations of Senate ethics rules barring the granting or asking of favors.

Still, there are anomalies. Mr. Obama admits that he and Mr. Rezko took a tour of the house before it and the adjoining plot were sold. Financial records given to federal prosecutors a year later show Mrs. Rezko had a salary of only $37,000 and assets of $35,000. In court proceedings at that time, to explain how much his bail should be, Mr. Rezko declared that he had "no income, negative cash flow, no liquid assets."

So where did the money for Mrs. Rezko's $125,000 down payment -- and the collateral for her $500,000 loan from a local bank controlled by Amrish Mahajan, like Mr. Rezko a Chicago political fixer -- come from?

The London Times reports that, three weeks before the land transactions, Nadhmi Auchi, an Iraqi billionaire living in London, loaned $3.5 million to Mr. Rezko, who was his Chicago business partner. Mr. Auchi's office says he had "no involvement in or knowledge of" the property purchase. Mr. Auchi is a press-shy property developer (estimated worth: $4 billion) who was convicted of corruption in France in 2003 for his involvement in the Elf affair, the biggest political and corporate fraud inquiry in Europe since World War II. He was fined $3 million and given a 15-month prison term that was suspended provided he committed no further crimes.

Mr. Auchi was also a top official in the Iraqi oil ministry in the 1970s. He has for years vigorously denied charges he had dealings with Saddam Hussein after the first Gulf War. However, an official report to the Pentagon inspector general in 2004 obtained by the Washington Times cited "significant and credible evidence" of involvement by Mr. Auchi's companies in the Oil for Food scandal and illicit smuggling of weapons to the Hussein regime.

In 2003, Mr. Auchi began investing in Chicago real estate with Mr. Rezko. In April 2007, after his indictment, Mr. Auchi loaned another $3.5 million to Mr. Rezko, a loan that Mr. Rezko hid from U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald's office. When Mr. Fitzgerald learned that the money was being parceled out to Mr. Rezko's lawyers, family and friends, he got Mr. Rezko's bond revoked in January and had him put in jail as a potential flight risk.

In court papers, the prosecutor noted that Mr. Rezko had traveled 26 times to the Middle East between 2002 and 2006, mostly to his native Syria and other countries that lack extradition treaties with the U.S. Curiously, Mr. Auchi has also lent an unknown sum of money to Chris Kelly, who, like Mr. Rezko, was a significant fund-raiser for Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich (himself under investigation by a federal grand jury as an alleged beneficiary of the Rezko shakedowns). Mr. Kelly is himself under indictment for obstructing an IRS probe into his activities.

Mr. Obama says he has "no recollection" of meeting Mr. Auchi during a 2004 trip the billionaire made to Chicago, and no one believes he knew of his background. While his name will come up in the trial as a beneficiary of Rezko donations (since donated to charity), Mr. Obama will not be called to testify.

There may be nothing more in Mr. Obama's dealings with Mr. Rezko beyond an "appearance of impropriety." Still, Mr. Obama does have an obligation to explain how he fits into Chicago politics. David Axelrod, Mr. Obama's Karl Rove, is a longtime spoke in the Daley machine that's dominated Chicago for a half century. Gov. Blagojevich, also part of the machine, shared key fund raisers with Mr. Obama.

"We have a sick political culture, and that's the environment Barack Obama came from," Jay Stewart, the executive director of the Chicago Better Government Association, told ABC News. He notes that, while Mr. Obama supported ethics reforms as a state senator, he has "been noticeably silent on the issue of corruption here in his home state, including at this point, mostly Democratic politicians."

Mr. Obama will eventually have to talk about Illinois, if only to clear the air. After John McCain last month was attacked for cozy ties to lobbyists, he held a news conference and answered every question. Hillary Clinton held a White House news conference on Whitewater and her cattle futures. Mr. Obama must do the same for questions about Mr. Rezko and "the Chicago way" of politics. If he doesn't, they may increasingly haunt his candidacy.

Mr. Fund is a columnist for WSJ.com.
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« Reply #27 on: March 04, 2008, 05:09:50 PM »

http://jammiewearingfool.blogspot.com/2008/03/michelle-obama-america-just-downright.html

More patriotic words from the would-be first lady.....   rolleyes
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« Reply #28 on: March 06, 2008, 11:29:22 AM »

http://www.gertzfile.com/gertzfile/InsidetheRing.html
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« Reply #29 on: March 09, 2008, 09:18:48 AM »

The NY Times really digs deep ono this one  rolleyes
===========

Senator Barack Obama stood before Washington’s elite at the spring dinner of the storied Gridiron Club. In self-parody, he ticked off his accomplishments, little more than a year after arriving in town.

Skip to next paragraph
The Long Run
A Measured Start
This is part of a series of articles about the life and careers of contenders for the 2008 Republican and Democratic presidential nominations.


 
Robert A. Reeder/Washington Post
Mr. Obama poked fun at himself at the Gridiron Club in 2006 with, left, his current chief strategist, David Axelrod, and his communications director, Robert Gibbs.
“I’ve been very blessed,” Mr. Obama told the crowd assembled in March 2006. “Keynote speaker at the Democratic convention. The cover of Newsweek. My book made the best-seller list. I just won a Grammy for reading it on tape.

“Really, what else is there to do?” he said, his smile now broad. “Well, I guess I could pass a law or something.”

They were the two competing elements in Mr. Obama’s time in the Senate: his megawatt celebrity and the realities of the job he was elected to do.

He went to the Senate intent on learning the ways of the institution, telling reporters he would be “looking for the washroom and trying to figure out how the phones work.” But frustrated by his lack of influence and what he called the “glacial pace,” he soon opted to exploit his star power. He was running for president even as he was still getting lost in the Capitol’s corridors.

Outside Washington, Mr. Obama was a multimedia sensation — people offered free tickets to his book readings for $125 on eBay and contributed thousands of dollars each to his political action committee to watch him on stage questioning policy experts.

But inside the Senate, Mr. Obama, the junior senator from Illinois, was 99th in seniority and in the minority party his first two years. In committee hearings, he had to wait his turn until every other senator had asked questions. He once telephoned reporters himself to draw attention to his amendments. And some senior colleagues were cool to the newcomer, whom they considered naïve.

Determined to be viewed as substantive, Mr. Obama kept his head down, declining Sunday talk show invitations for his first year, and consulted Senate elders for advice. He was cautious — even on the Iraq war, which he had opposed as a Senate candidate. He voted against the withdrawal of troops and proposed legislation calling for a drawdown only after he was running for president and polls showed voters favoring it.

And while he rightly takes credit for steering through an ethics overhaul that reformers called a “gold standard,” like most freshmen he did not play a significant role in passing much other legislation and disappointed some Democrats for not becoming a more prominent voice in other important debates.

Yet Mr. Obama was planning for the future. He spent much of his time raising money for other Democrats, which helped him build chits and lists of potential voters. He tended to his image, even upbraiding a reporter for writing that he had smoked a cigarette (a habit he later said he gave up for his presidential bid).

Early on in his tenure in Washington, he concluded that it would be hard to have much of an impact inside the Senate, where partisan conflict increasingly provoked filibuster threats, nomination fights and near gridlock even on routine spending bills.

“I think it’s very possible to have a Senate career here that is not particularly useful,” he said in an interview, reflecting on his first year. And it would be better for his political prospects not to become a Senate insider, which could saddle him with the kind of voting record that has tripped up so many senators who would be president.

“It’s sort of logic turned on its head, but it really is true,” said Tom Daschle of South Dakota, the former senator and Democratic leader who has been a close adviser to Mr. Obama.

“Two things develop the more time you spend here,” Mr. Daschle said. “One is a mind-set that we did it this way before, we should do it this way again, and I think that’s a real burden. More importantly — and Hillary and McCain are the perfect examples of this — the longer you are here, you take on enemies. And these enemies don’t forget.”

Rising to Stardom

If freshman senators arrive as celebrities, it is usually because they are “dragon slayers,” having ousted big-name incumbents. Mr. Obama was not one of those; two serious opponents in Illinois self-destructed, smoothing his path to election in November 2004.

He had been anointed his party’s rising star after delivering a soaring speech at the Democratic National Convention the previous July. His fresh face that fall cheered Democrats demoralized by their failure to win the White House and the defeat of Mr. Daschle, the party’s Senate leader.

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Page 2 of 3)



But Mr. Obama knew the Senate scorns a showboat. He had waited to crack open “Master of the Senate,” Robert A. Caro’s book about the legendary legislative career of Lyndon B. Johnson, until after he was elected, wary that he would be photographed — and seen as presumptuous — reading it during his campaign. After he was on the cover of Newsweek the same week President Bush appeared as Time’s Man of the Year, his fellow Democratic senators gently ribbed him at their first weekly luncheon of the new Congress.



He met with nearly one-third of the Senate, from both sides of the aisle, including his future rival, Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York, to learn about the institution and solicit advice on how to succeed. That shaped a strategy: work hard, tend to your constituents, and, above all, get along with others. He spent many weekends traveling across Illinois for town-hall-style meetings.

Mr. Obama’s advisers referred to it as “the Hillary model,” patterned after Mrs. Clinton’s approach when she joined the Senate in 2001. But while Mr. Obama expressed admiration for her at the time, he dissuaded reporters from making too close a comparison.

“I wasn’t the first lady, and I didn’t have some of the political baggage of eight years of hand-to-hand combat between the White House and the Republican Congress,” he said soon after he first arrived. “In that sense, she had a harder task.”

Knowing he needed insider help, Mr. Obama cajoled Mr. Daschle’s former chief of staff, Pete Rouse, to lead his office. Mr. Rouse advised Mr. Obama about managing relationships on the Hill and helped engineer hefty assignments, including a Foreign Relations Committee seat. He sought out senior colleagues, traveling to Russia with Senator Richard G. Lugar, Republican of Indiana, an advocate of nuclear disarmament. (Later, they passed legislation to reduce stockpiles of conventional weapons.) Mr. Obama also sought tutorials from Senator Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts, considered the Democrats’ master legislator.

Some colleagues found Mr. Obama remarkably well prepared, even more so than longtime staff members, in discussions. And his role as the good student earned him the affection of some fellow lawmakers. “I don’t think you can be around him and not come to the conclusion that this is a person of rare quality,” said Senator Kent Conrad, Democrat of North Dakota.

Mr. Obama had visited Washington only a handful of times before taking office, and he was fresh enough to its ways that he bubbled over about his first trip on Air Force One in June 2005. He fretted about getting lost on his first trip to the White House, for a reception the day he was sworn in, and later marveled that there were flat-screen televisions in the Lincoln Bedroom.

But he remained ambivalent about the city and its institutions. Unlike many senators with young children, he did not move his family to the capital. He rarely spent more than three nights in Washington — aides would reserve tickets on several flights to make sure he got home to Chicago after the final Senate vote of the week.

Mr. Obama found the Hill a difficult place to fit in, and it was not always clear that he wanted to. He was 43 when he arrived, younger than most of his colleagues — whose average age was 60 — and even many senior staff members. Unlike senators who come up through the House, he did not have an existing network of friends, and while some members of Congress bunk with others, he lived by himself in one of the nondescript new boxes along Massachusetts Avenue. On the nights he was in town, he typically went alone to a Chinatown athletic club — not the Senate gym — or attended events on the Hill.

And for all his efforts to play down his celebrity, Mr. Obama was exceptional, and it was hard for him or anyone to ignore the aura and sense of history around him. He was only the third black senator elected since Reconstruction. His memoir was on The New York Times’s best-seller list for 54 weeks. And Washington society was eager to embrace him — a Capitol Hill newspaper ranked him as No. 2 on its list of most beautiful people.

Etching a Path

Mr. Obama was also pulling in big money. He created a political action committee, the Hopefund, to increase his visibility and help other Democrats. It raised $1.8 million the first year.

In the Senate, meanwhile, he was discovering the realities of being a senator — that not every bill is perfect (or perfectly unacceptable) and that most votes required balancing the good and bad. Mr. Obama wanted to vote to confirm John G. Roberts Jr. for the Supreme Court, for example — he thought the president deserved latitude when it came to appointments — but Mr. Rouse advised against it, pointing out that Mr. Obama would be reminded of the vote every time the court made a conservative ruling that he found objectionable.

Mr. Obama took few bold stands and diverted little from the liberal orthodoxy he had embraced in the Illinois Senate. His voting record in his first year in Washington, according to the annual rankings by National Journal, was more liberal than 82.5 percent of the Senate (compared with, for example, Mrs. Clinton’s 79.8 percent that year).

He worked with Senator Tom Coburn, Republican of Oklahoma and one of the most conservative in the chamber, to establish a public database to examine government spending after Hurricane Katrina.

But for the most part, he stuck to party lines; there were few examples of the kind of bipartisan work he advocates in his current campaign.

He disappointed some Democrats by not taking a more prominent role opposing the war — he voted against a troop withdrawal proposal by Senators John Kerry of Massachusetts and Russ Feingold of Wisconsin in June 2006, arguing that a firm date for withdrawal would hamstring diplomats and military commanders in the field.
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Page 3 of 3)



His most important accomplishment was his push for ethics reform. Party leaders named him their point person in 2006, and when the Democrats assumed the majority in Congress in January 2007, Mr. Obama and Mr. Feingold, a longtime Democratic proponent of ethics reform, proposed curtailing meals and gifts from lobbyists, restricting the use of corporate planes and requiring lobbyists who bundle donations to disclose individual donors.

Mr. Obama’s determination not to back down, Mr. Feingold said, “struck me as an example of someone showing real guts.”

Of course, he added, “He was not any freshman. He was Barack Obama.”

To others, though, the mismatch between Mr. Obama’s outside profile and his inside accomplishments wore thin. While some senators spent hours in closed-door meetings over immigration reform in early 2007, he dropped in only occasionally, prompting complaints that he was something of a dilettante.

He joined a bipartisan group, which included Senator John McCain of Arizona, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, and Mr. Kennedy, that agreed to stick to a final compromise bill even though it was sure to face challenges from interest groups on both sides. Yet when the measure reached the floor, Mr. Obama distanced himself from the compromise, advocating changes sought by labor groups. The bill collapsed.

To some in the bipartisan coalition, Mr. Obama’s move showed an unwillingness to take a tough stand.

“He folded like a cheap suit,” said Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina, a close ally of Mr. McCain. “What it showed me is you are not an agent of change. Because to really change things in this place you have to get beat up now and then.”

Laying the Groundwork

Early on in his tenure in Washington, Mr. Obama began meeting every few months over late-night pizza with a handful of classmates from Harvard Law School and a couple of senior advisers to discuss his future. Being a 2008 presidential candidate, participants said, never came up. The only race mentioned was for Illinois governor in 2010 — the year Mr. Obama’s Senate term ended — but the group decided to put off considering the idea until at least his fourth year in the Senate.

Mr. Obama chose Hurricane Katrina in September 2005 to step into a more prominent role, speaking to his party’s caucus about the importance of using the disaster to focus the party’s efforts toward ending poverty.

The next February, he appeared on several Sunday shows in a row. “People are getting tired of me already,” he said in an interview.

In fact, outside Washington, people were clamoring for more. He was received like a returning hero in Africa in August 2006. On a book tour two months later, crowds mobbed him, and people urged him to run for president.

During the midterm elections that year, Mr. Obama was his party’s most sought-after campaigner — he helped raised nearly $1 million online in a matter of days that spring for Senator Robert C. Byrd of West Virginia, the institution’s senior member.

His appearances on the trail helped lay the groundwork for a possible presidential campaign. He earned the good will of some Democrats who have now endorsed him. And most campaign events required tickets, so his staff members collected names and addresses of potential supporters.

Finally, Mr. Obama did what he had done when he first arrived in the Senate, quietly consulting those who knew the institution well — Mr. Kennedy, Mr. Daschle — for advice on whether to run.

They told him that these chances come along rarely. His celebrity was undeniable. And yes, he was green, but that also meant he did not have the burden of a long record.

“For somebody to come in with none of that history is a real advantage,” Mr. Daschle said. “I told him that he has a window to do this. He should never count on that window staying open.”
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« Reply #30 on: March 09, 2008, 09:57:00 AM »

OK, lets pair that NY Times fluff piece with this:

If you boil Obama's appeal down to its essential core, most of his supporters seem to like him because he's a relatively young, charismatic, black man who talks a lot about "change," "unity," and the "audacity of hope."
But, what does that tell you about how Obama would behave if he gets into office? Very, very little. After all, pretty much anybody, from Napoleon, to Fidel Castro, to Mickey Mouse could run on a platform of "hope," "change," and "unity" because it's so broad and meaningless.
Of course, that doesn't mean that Barack doesn't have an agenda. He most certainly does have one, but it's just an agenda that he tries to avoid talking about because the better Americans get to know him, the less appealing he's going to be.
So, with that in mind, let me take you through a short tour of some of Barack Obama's radical beliefs. In all fairness, I should note that he has flip-flopped on some of these issues after his Barney the Dinosaur style "I Love You, You Love Me" campaign for the presidency got into full swing. But, experience has taught us that you can put a lot more stock into what a politician says before he starts trying to desperately convince middle America to vote him into the White House, than after.
#1) Weakening America's Military: Barack Obama has pledged, among other things, to make defense cuts during war time, to cut spending on national missile defense, that he won't weaponize space, to slow development of future combat systems, and to seek a "world without nuclear weapons." Is this a man who can be trusted as Commander-In-Chief?
#2) Losing the War in Iraq: Obama is promising to throw away the hard earned gains our troops have made in Iraq by immediately removing combat brigades each month, regardless of the situation on the ground, and by having all of our "combat brigades out of Iraq within 16 months."
The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff publicly warned Barack and, for that matter, Hillary that they could create a "chaotic situation" with their policy that could take the "gains we have achieved and struggled to achieve and turn them around overnight." Come on, Admiral, don't you know that Obama isn't going to listen to what the military has to say about a war when there's an election to be won?
#3) Gay Marriage: Although Barack Obama claims to oppose gay marriage, in 2004 he said that he opposed the Defense of Marriage Act, which is the only thing keeping the courts from imposing gay marriage on the whole country. If you want to see gay marriage become the law of the land in your state, no matter what the voters think, vote for Obama.
#4) Pro-Partial Birth Abortion: It's never a surprise to find a Democrat who's a big fan of abortion, but Obama goes above and beyond the call of duty. He had a perfect rating of 100% from NARAL in 2005, 2006, and 2007, opposes "notifying parents of minors who get out-of-state abortions," and he even opposed banning partial birth abortions. If you want to see as many women as humanly possible in this country putting their own children to death via abortion, vote Obama.
#5) Legalizing Marijuana: Obama, a former (we hope) druggie, who has admitted to using marijuana and cocaine, has said that he favors "decriminalizing marijuana." Perhaps you can't blame him for wanting to make it easier for people to get drugs since, after all, he used them and look how he turned out. If Barack gets into the White House, one day mothers all over America can tell their children that they'll never be anything in life if they use hard drugs and those children can reply, "Well, at least I can be President!"
#6) Handing 845 billion dollars of your money to other nations: Obama's Global Poverty Act would commit the United States to spending, over the next 13 years, 845 billion dollars more than what we already do on global poverty. Obama followed that up with a release that said in part, "It must be a priority of American foreign policy to commit to eliminating extreme poverty..." If Obama actually believes that not only is the United States capable of "eliminating extreme poverty," but that we should actually make that utopian dream a "priority," then he's far too naive to be in the White House.
#7) If you think George Bush is a big spender, you haven't met Obama: Even though the United States is already running a deficit, Obama is planning to push a whole host of new big government programs including a "10-year, $150 billion program to establish a green energy sector," a "$60 billion National Infrastructure Reinvestment Bank," and a "nearly universal health care plan (whose annual price tag he low-balls at $50 to $65 billion)." If you're all for tax and spend liberalism and watching the deficit spiral even further out of control, there's no one you should want in the White House more than Obama.
#8) Amnesty and your tax dollars for illegal aliens: Believe it or not, John McCain, the Republican who is most closely associated with catering to illegal aliens, is actually well to Barack Obama's right on the issue.
Obama favors drivers licenses for illegals, wants to give illegals welfare and Medicaid, wants to let them participate in Social Security, opposes making English our national language, and he favors a comprehensive approach to illegal immigration, AKA amnesty, that even John McCain now claims to oppose.
#9) Gun Control: Obama is a perfect example of the stereotypical, liberal gun grabber. Obama has pledged to "Ban the sale or transfer of all forms of semi-automatic weapons," has "opined unequivocally that D.C.'s ban was 'constitutional'," and in 1996, Obama, in a survey, "supported banning the manufacture, sale and possession of handguns." If you're an opponent of the 2nd Amendment, who believes law abiding citizens shouldn't be allowed to defend themselves, Obama is your man.

John Hawkins is a professional blogger who runs Conservative Grapevine and Right Wing News.
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« Reply #31 on: March 09, 2008, 05:35:45 PM »

www.chicagotribune.com/news/politics/chi-070325obama-youth-story,1,4006113.story

chicagotribune.com

The not-so-simple story of Barack Obama's youth

Shaped by different worlds, an outsider found ways to fit in

By Kirsten Scharnberg and Kim Barker

Tribune correspondents

March 25, 2007

HONOLULU


The life stories, when the presidential candidate tells them, have a common theme: the quest to belong.

A boy wants to find his place in a family where he is visibly different: chubby where others are thin, dark where others are light.

A youth living in a distant land searches and finds new friends, a new language and a heartbreaking lesson about his identity in the pages of an American magazine.

A young black man struggles for acceptance at an institution of privilege, where he finds himself growing so angry and disillusioned at the world around him that he turns to alcohol and drugs.

These have been the stories told about the first two character-shaping decades of U.S. Sen. Barack Obama's life, a story line largely shaped by his own best-selling memoir, political speeches and interviews.

But the reality of Obama's narrative is not that simple.

More than 40 interviews with former classmates, teachers, friends and neighbors in his childhood homes of Hawaii and Indonesia, as well as a review of public records, show the arc of Obama's personal journey took him to places and situations far removed from the experience of most Americans.

At the same time, several of his oft-recited stories may not have happened in the way he has recounted them. Some seem to make Obama look better in the retelling, others appear to exaggerate his outward struggles over issues of race, or simply skim over some of the most painful, private moments of his life.

The handful of black students who attended Punahou School in Hawaii, for instance, say they struggled mightily with issues of race and racism there. But absent from those discussions, they say, was another student then known as Barry Obama.

In his best-selling autobiography, "Dreams from My Father," Obama describes having heated conversations about racism with another black student, "Ray." The real Ray, Keith Kakugawa, is half black and half Japanese. In an interview with the Tribune on Saturday, Kakugawa said he always considered himself mixed race, like so many of his friends in Hawaii, and was not an angry young black man.

He said he does recall long, soulful talks with the young Obama and that his friend confided his longing and loneliness. But those talks, Kakugawa said, were not about race. "Not even close," he said, adding that Obama was dealing with "some inner turmoil" in those days.

"But it wasn't a race thing," he said. "Barry's biggest struggles then were missing his parents. His biggest struggles were his feelings of abandonment. The idea that his biggest struggle was race is [bull]."

Then there's the copy of Life magazine that Obama presents as his racial awakening at age 9. In it, he wrote, was an article and two accompanying photographs of an African-American man physically and mentally scarred by his efforts to lighten his skin. In fact, the Life article and the photographs don't exist, say the magazine's own historians.

Some of these discrepancies are typical of childhood memories -- fuzzy in specifics, warped by age, shaped by writerly license. Others almost certainly illustrate how carefully the young man guarded the secret of his loneliness from even those who knew him best. And the accounts bear out much of Obama's self-portrait as someone deeply affected by his father's abandonment yet able to thrive in greatly disparate worlds.

Still, the story of his early years highlights how politics and autobiography are similar creatures: Each is shaped to serve a purpose.

In its reissue after he gave the keynote address at the Democratic convention in 2004, "Dreams from My Father" joined a long tradition of political memoirs that candidates have used to introduce themselves to the American people.

From his earliest moments on the national political stage, Obama has presented himself as having two unique qualifications: a fresh political face and an ability to bridge the gap between Americans of different races, faiths and circumstances. Among his supporters, his likability and credibility have only been boosted by his stories of being an outsider trying to fight his way in.

As much as he may have felt like an outsider at times, Obama rarely seemed to show it. Throughout his youth, as depicted in his first book, he always found ways to meld into even the most uninviting of communities. He learned to adapt to unfamiliar territory. And he frequently made peace--even allies--with the very people who angered him most.

Yet even Obama has acknowledged the limits of memoir. In a new introduction to the reissued edition of "Dreams," he noted that the dangers of writing an autobiography included "the temptation to color events in ways favorable to the writer ... [and] selective lapses of memory."

He added: "I can't say that I've avoided all, or any, of these hazards successfully."

Life without a father

It was a complicated time.

Hawaii had become a state only two years before Obama's birth, and there were plenty of native Hawaiians still deeply unhappy about it. The U.S. military was expanding on the island of Oahu, home to the new capital of Honolulu. And a young, iconoclastic white woman who had defied the social mores of the day by marrying a dashing black man from Kenya was coping with the fact that her new husband essentially had abandoned her and their young child in 1963 to study at Harvard.

Oblivious to all of this was a perpetually smiling toddler the entire family called Barry. In snapshots, the boy is a portrait of childhood bliss. He played on the beach. He posed in lifeguard stands. He rode a bright blue tricycle with red, white and blue streamers dangling from the handlebars.

In the six weeks since Obama announced his intention to run for the White House, he routinely has suggested that his diverse background--raised for a time in the Third World, schooled at elite institutions and active in urban politics--makes him the best-suited candidate to speak to rich and poor, black and white, mainstream voters and those utterly disenchanted with the political system.

Not as well known is the fact that the many people who raised him were nearly as diverse as the places where he grew up. There was his mother, Ann, a brilliant but impulsive woman; his grandmother Madelyn, a deeply private and stoically pragmatic Midwesterner; his grandfather Stanley, a loving soul inclined toward tall tales and unrealistic dreams.

"Looking back now, I'd say he really is kind of the perfect combination of all of them," said his half sister, Maya Soetoro-Ng. "All of them were imperfect but all of them loved him fiercely, and I believe he took the best qualities from each of them."

During her son's earliest years, Obama's mother, whose full name was Stanley Ann Dunham because her father desperately had wished for a boy, attended college at the University of Hawaii. Known as Ann throughout her adult life, she kept to herself. She became estranged from her husband, Barack Obama Sr., after his departure for Harvard and rarely saw the group of friends that they had made at the University of Hawaii.

One of those friends, Neil Abercrombie, then a graduate student in the sociology department, frequently would see young Obama around town with his grandfather Stanley, whom Obama called "Gramps."

"Stanley loved that little boy," said Abercrombie, now a Democratic congressman from Hawaii. "In the absence of his father, there was not a kinder, more understanding man than Stanley Dunham. He was loving and generous."

A close friend of Obama's from their teenage years, Greg Orme, spent so much time with Dunham that he, too, called him "Gramps." Orme recalled that years later, at Obama's wedding reception in Chicago, Obama brought the crowd to tears when he spoke of his recently deceased maternal grandfather and how he made a little boy with an absent father feel as though he was never alone.

Madelyn Dunham, a rising executive at the Bank of Hawaii during Obama's Punahou days, was more reserved but seemed to love having her grandson's friends over to play and hang out.

"Those were robust years full of energy and cacophony, and she loved all of it," Soetoro-Ng said of her grandmother, who has lived alone since her husband died in 1992.

Ann and the boy lived with the Dunhams in Honolulu until Obama was 6. Then his young mother, now divorced, met and married an Indonesian student studying at the University of Hawaii.

In one family photo before the mother and son moved to Indonesia, Obama walks barefoot on Waikiki Beach, arms outstretched as though embracing the entire beautiful life around him. The sailboat the Manu Kai (bird of the sea, in English) is about to set sail behind him.

Obama, too, was about to journey far from these familiar shores.

Memories of a racial awakening?

Obama has told the story--one of the watershed moments of his racial awareness--time and again, in remarkable detail.

He is 9 years old, living in Indonesia, where he and his mother moved with her new husband, Lolo Soetoro, a few years earlier. One day while visiting his mother, who was working at the U.S. Embassy in Jakarta, Obama passed time by looking through several issues of Life magazine. He came across an article that he later would describe as feeling like an "ambush attack."

The article included photos of a black man who had destroyed his skin with powerful chemical lighteners that promised to make him white. Instead, the chemicals had peeled off much of his skin, leaving him sad and scarred, Obama recalled.

"I imagine other black children, then and now, undergoing similar moments of revelation," Obama wrote of the magazine photos in "Dreams."

Yet no such Life issue exists, according to historians at the magazine. No such photos, no such article. When asked about the discrepancy, Obama said in a recent interview, "It might have been an Ebony or it might have been ... who knows what it was?" (At the request of the Tribune, archivists at Ebony searched their catalogue of past articles, none of which matched what Obama recalled.)

In fact, it is surprising, based on interviews with more than two dozen people who knew Obama during his nearly four years in Indonesia, that it would take a photograph in a magazine to make him conscious of the fact that some people might treat him differently in part because of the color of his skin.

Obama, who has talked and written so much about struggling to find a sense of belonging due to his mixed race, brushes over this time of his life in "Dreams." He describes making friends easily, becoming fluent in Indonesian in just six months and melding quite easily into the very foreign fabric of Jakarta.

The reality was less tidy.

Obama and his mother joined her new husband, a kind man who later would become a detached heavy drinker and womanizer, family members in Indonesia say. Their Jakarta neighborhood resembled a village more than the bustling metropolis the city is today. Electricity had arrived only a couple of years earlier. Half the homes were old bamboo huts; half, including the Soetoro house, were nicer, with brick or concrete and red-tiled roofs.

Former playmates remember Obama as "Barry Soetoro," or simply "Barry," a chubby little boy very different from the gangly Obama people know today. All say he was teased more than any other kid in the neighborhood--primarily because he was bigger and had black features.

He was the only foreign child in the neighborhood. He also was one of the only neighborhood children whose parents enrolled him in a new Catholic school in an area populated almost entirely by Betawis, the old tribal landowning Jakarta natives who were very traditional Muslims. Some of the Betawi children threw rocks at the open Catholic classrooms, remembered Cecilia Sugini Hananto, who taught Obama in 2nd grade.

Teachers, former playmates and friends recall a boy who never fully grasped their language and who was very quiet as a result. But one word Obama learned quickly in his new home was curang, which means "cheater."

When kids teased him, Obama yelled back, "Curang, curang!" When a friend gave him shrimp paste instead of chocolate, he yelled, "Curang, curang!"

Zulfan Adi was one of the neighborhood kids who teased Obama most mercilessly. He remembers one day when young Obama, a hopelessly upbeat boy who seemed oblivious to the fact that the older kids didn't want him tagging along, followed a group of Adi's friends to a nearby swamp.

"They held his hands and feet and said, `One, two, three,' and threw him in the swamp," recalled Adi, who still lives in the same house where he grew up. "Luckily he could swim. They only did it to Barry."

The other kids would scrap with him sometimes, but because Obama was bigger and better-fed than many of them, he was hard to defeat.

"He was built like a bull. So we'd get three kids together to fight him," recalled Yunaldi Askiar, 45, a former neighborhood friend. "But it was only playing."

Obama has claimed on numerous occasions to have become fluent in Indonesian in six months. Yet those who knew him disputed that during recent interviews.

Israella Pareira Darmawan, Obama's 1st-grade teacher, said she attempted to help him learn the Indonesian language by going over pronunciation and vowel sounds. He struggled greatly with the foreign language, she said, and with his studies as a result.

The teacher, who still lives in Obama's old neighborhood, remembers that he always sat in the back corner of her classroom. "His friends called him `Negro,'

" Darmawan said. The term wasn't considered a slur at the time in Indonesia.

Still, all of his teachers at the Catholic school recognized leadership qualities in him. "He would be very helpful with friends. He'd pick them up if they fell down,'' Darmawan recalled. "He would protect the smaller ones."

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« Reply #32 on: March 09, 2008, 05:36:52 PM »

Third-grade teacher Fermina Katarina Sinaga, now 67, has perhaps the most telling story. In an essay about what he wanted to be when he grew up, Obama "wrote he wanted to be president," Sinaga recalled. "He didn't say what country he wanted to be president of. But he wanted to make everybody happy."

When Obama was in 4th grade, the Soetoro family moved. Their new neighborhood was only 3 miles to the west, but a world away. Elite Dutch colonists once lived there; the Japanese moved in during their occupation of Indonesia in World War II. In the early 1970s, diplomats and Indonesian businessmen lived there in fancy gated houses with wide paved roads and sculpted bushes.

Obama never became terribly close with the children of the new school--this time a predominantly Muslim one--where he was enrolled. As he had at the old school, Obama sat in a back corner. He sketched decidedly American cartoon characters during class.

"He liked drawing Spider-Man and Batman," said another friend, Widiyanto Hendro Cahyono, 46. "Barry liked to draw heroes."

Then, one day about a year after he had arrived, Obama was gone.

"Suddenly we asked, `Where's Barry?'

" remembered Ati Kisjanto, 45. "And we were told he had already moved away."

Not one of `the brothers'

As much as young Obama stood out physically in the classrooms of Indonesia, so, too, did he at Punahou School, the elite private prep academy his mother moved him back to Hawaii to attend.

Obama, his mother and new baby sister, Maya, moved into a small apartment near the school's sprawling, lush campus. And from the first day of 5th grade right up until his graduation in 1979, the young man was one of only a small number of black students at a school heavily populated by the children of Hawaii's wealthy, most of them white and Asian.

Then and now, Punahou and Hawaii liked to see themselves as more diverse and colorblind than the rest of the nation. But the reality felt far different for the handful of African-Americans attending classes there.

Rik Smith, a black Punahou student two years older than Obama, remembers a Halloween when white students would dress as slaves, coming to school in tattered clothes with their faces painted black with shoe polish. "Like being black was a funny costume in and of itself," recalled Smith, now a doctor who specializes in geriatrics in California.

"Punahou was an amazing school," Smith said. "But it could be a lonely place. ... Those of us who were black did feel isolated--there's no question about that."

As a result, the handful of black students at Punahou informally banded together. "The brothers," as Lewis Anthony Jr., an African-American in the class of 1977 put it, hung out together, often talking about issues involving race and civil rights. They sought out parties, especially at the military bases on the island, where African-Americans would be in attendance.

Obama, however, was not a part of that group, according to Anthony and Smith. Both of them seemed surprised to hear that in "Dreams"--which neither of them had read--Obama writes about routinely going to parties at Schofield Barracks and other military bases in order to hang out with "Ray," who like Anthony and Smith was two years ahead of him in school.

"We'd all do things together, but Obama was never there," Smith said, adding that they often brought along the few other black underclassmen. "I went to those parties up at Schofield but never saw him at any of them."

Obama devotes many words in his book to exploring his outsider status at Punahou. But any struggles he was experiencing were obscured by the fact that he had a racially diverse group of friends--many of whom often would crowd into his grandparents' apartment, near Punahou, after school let out.

One of those kids was Orme, a smart, respectful teenager from a white, middle-class family. Though Orme spent most afternoons with Obama and considered him one of his closest friends, he said Obama never brought up issues of race, never talked about feeling out of place at Punahou.

"He never verbalized any of that," Orme said during a telephone interview from his home in Oregon. "He was a very provocative thinker. He would bring up worldly topics far beyond his years. But we never talked race."

Whatever misgivings Obama had about Punahou, attending the school was largely his decision.

When his mother, a woman said to have been born with a keen sense of wanderlust, announced she was returning to Indonesia, Obama, then a teenager, asked to stay in Hawaii, according to Soetoro-Ng, 36, who still lives in Honolulu. Once again, Stanley and Madelyn Dunham, who had been as much parents as grandparents throughout the young man's life, said he could live with them.

"I don't imagine the decision to let him stay behind was an easy one for anyone," Soetoro-Ng said. "But he wanted to remain at Punahou. He had friends there, he was comfortable there, and to a kid his age, that's all that mattered."

One place Obama has said he found a sense of community was on the basketball court. A member of the varsity squad, though not a starter, Obama and his teammates brought Punahou the state championship in 1979, his senior year.

Adept at nailing long jump shots, Obama was called "Barry O'Bomber" by teammates. Alan Lum, who later would coach the basketball team at Punahou as well as teach elementary school there, recalled Obama as always being the first to confront coaches when he felt they were not fairly allotting playing time.

Obama wasn't shy about advocating for himself and his fellow backup players, Lum said. "He'd go right up to the coach during a game and say, `Coach, we're killing this team. Our second string should be playing more.'

"

But it was on the court in the off-season that Obama seemed to be even happier. Back then, Punahou was a completely open campus, with several basketball courts where 20-something men from Honolulu would come in the late afternoon for what often turned into flashy, highly competitive pickup sessions. Many of the men were black.

Orme would stay for the games.

"At the time, it was about basketball," said Orme, who has remained friends with Obama over the years and who plays basketball with him almost every Christmas when the two return to Hawaii to visit family. "But looking back now I can see he was seeking more from those guys than that. He was probably studying them and learning from them. He was a younger black man looking for guidance."

Old friend disputes memoir

Every senior graduating from Punahou gets to design a quarter-page in the yearbook. They compose notes to friends and family and include photos or quotes that best represent them.

On page 271 of the 1979 Oahuan, Obama's entry reflects the crossroads he found himself at as he prepared for life beyond Hawaii. He thanked "Tut and Gramps," his nicknames for Madelyn and Stanley Dunham, but didn't mention his faraway mother.

He also thanked the "Choom Gang," a reference to "chooming," Hawaiian slang for smoking marijuana. Obama admits in "Dreams" that during high school he frequently smoked marijuana, drank alcohol, even used cocaine occasionally.

"Junkie. Pothead. That's where I'd been headed: the final, fatal role of the young would-be black man," Obama wrote in "Dreams."

In the book, Obama discusses race and racism at his high school with one other Punahou student, "Ray,'' the young black man described in detail in "Dreams" as perpetually angry at the white world around him. "It's their world, all right," Ray supposedly shouts at Obama. "They own it and we in it. So just get the f--- outta my face."

But Kakugawa, in the interview Saturday, said Obama's recollection of that conversation was mistaken. "I did say we were playing in their world," he explained, "but that had nothing to do with race. He knew that."

Kakugawa explained that he had meant they were playing in the world of the elite people who populated and ran Punahou--famous Hawaiian families like the Doles, owners of the pineapple fortune, or the original developers of Waikiki, the tourist mecca. "It just wasn't a race thing," he reiterated again and again.

Obama confirmed in an interview earlier this month that the Ray character in "Dreams" actually is Kakugawa.

In another passage from the book, Ray complains that white Punahou girls don't want to date black guys and that he and Obama don't get enough playing time as athletes, speculating that they'd be "treated different if we was white. Or Japanese. Or Hawaiian. Or f------ Eskimo."

But Kakugawa, a convicted drug felon, said Saturday that he had never been the "prototypical angry black guy" that Obama portrays. Because of his biracial heritage, he said, he was "like everyone in Hawaii, a mix of a lot of things."

A close friend and track teammate of Kakugawa, John Hagar, also said he was surprised by Obama's description of the character representing Kakugawa as an angry young black man. "I never picked up on that," Hagar said. "He was just one of those perfect [ethnic] mixes of everything you see in Hawaii."

Asked Saturday about Kakugawa's recollections, the Obama campaign declined to make the senator available. But spokesman Bill Burton said Obama "stands by his recollections of these events as related in his book."

"There's no doubt that Keith's story is tragic and sad," Burton added.

While Obama rocketed to political prominence, his friend headed down the troubled road Obama had feared he was following. Since 1995, Kakugawa has spent more than 7 years in California prisons and months in Los Angeles County Jail on cocaine and auto theft charges.

Another story put forth in "Dreams" as one of Obama's pivotal moments of racial awakening checks out essentially as he wrote it. Obama recounts taking two white friends, including Orme, to a party attended almost entirely by African-Americans.

According to the book, the characters representing Orme and the other friend asked to leave the party after just an hour, saying they felt out of place. The night, Obama later wrote, made him furious as he realized that whites held a "fundamental power" over blacks.

"One of us said that being the different guys in the room had awakened a little bit of empathy to what he must feel all the time at school. And he clearly didn't appreciate that," Orme said. "I never knew, until reading the book later, how much that night had upset him."

As Obama's senior year drew to a close, his mother sent him letters from afar, about life in Indonesia and her work there with non-profit groups doing economic development. She also sent advice about his future. College would be his next stop. She mixed encouragement to keep up his grades with laments about American politics.

"It is a shame we have to worry so much about [grade point], but you know what the college entrance competition is these days," she wrote. "Did you know that in Thomas Jefferson's day, and right up through the 1930s, anybody who had the price of tuition could go to Harvard? ... I don't see that we are producing many Thomas Jeffersons nowadays. Instead we are producing Richard Nixons."

In the spring of 1979, Obama's mother and Maya, Barack's younger half sister by almost nine years, flew to Hawaii for his high school graduation. If young Obama had struggled to find a place at Punahou, it was well hidden on this day as well. He laughed and posed for photos with friends.

With a trimmed Afro, Hawaiian flower leis around his neck, Obama was surrounded by the disparate people who shaped him. In one photo he hugs his beaming sister.

In a striking snapshot with his grandparents, Stanley smiles proudly while Madelyn hugs him fiercely, as though she doesn't want to let him go forth into a world far from the remote island that for so long had been his home.

----------

Kirsten Scharnberg reported from Honolulu and Kim Barker from Jakarta, Indonesia; Tribune staff reporter Ray Gibson contributed to this report.
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« Reply #33 on: March 11, 2008, 10:19:39 PM »

I don't have a URL for this, but it sure does capture something:

"My friends, we live in the greatest nation in the history of the world.  I hope you'll join with me as we try to change it." -- Barack Obama
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« Reply #34 on: March 13, 2008, 08:43:55 AM »

http://hotair.com/archives/2008/03/13/video-obamas-pastor-takes-highly-nuanced-approach-to-racial-divisiveness/

No race-baiting here.....  rolleyes
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« Reply #35 on: March 13, 2008, 11:45:40 AM »

Obama on Offense
By DOROTHY RABINOWITZ
March 13, 2008

It came as a relief to hear, in the last few days, that both Democratic candidates were now about to go on the attack, though pundits agreed such low tactics had been forced on Barack Obama. There's something reassuring about the usual election season blather over negative campaigning. That relief is a response, mostly, to any whiff of normality promising to emerge in the current Democratic race.

Still, the prospects are thin, given the rapturous response Mr. Obama has enjoyed at the hands of a good part of the press -- attitudes so obvious that the usual stern media denials that their coverage was other than objective have been hard to find. Anyone who doubts this bias has only to look at the past week's charges that Hillary Clinton and company have been playing the race card -- the latest in a series of such accusations made by Obama surrogates, carried forward by the media.

 
Of those offenses, the most memorable, perhaps, concerned Bill Clinton's challenge to the record Sen. Obama claimed regarding his long opposition to the Iraq war, which Mr. Clinton called "a fairy tale." In short order, word was put out that the former president had insulted black Americans and their high hopes for this election, by use of this disparaging term, "fairy tale." Mr. Clinton, some charged, had denigrated Mr. Obama's entire candidacy as a fantasy.

There was, too, the Martin Luther King/Lyndon Johnson saga. Here Hillary Clinton's incontestably accurate comment -- that it had taken the action of a president, Lyndon Johnson, to pass the Civil Rights Act, and thus bring to fruition the goal to which Dr. King had devoted his life -- ignited storms of outrage, furious commentaries on how Sen. Clinton had played a sly race card, diminishing Dr. King's importance in comparison to that of the white president.

In all, the pattern of these charges may well suggest a race card in play, only it wasn't the Clintons who were playing it.

The latest charge arose from a "60 Minutes" interview a week ago, in which Mrs. Clinton was supposedly contriving a way to suggest that Mr. Obama is in fact a secret Muslim. In the stories carried elsewhere in the media, the case against her rests on five words.

The entire "60 Minutes" exchange -- showing her effort to answer interrogator Steve Kroft's persistent questions -- would have been more instructive. Because, as in so many interrogations, an emphatic no -- when the investigator is looking for another answer -- is never enough.

Mr. Kroft: "You don't believe that Sen. Obama is a Muslim?"

Mrs. Clinton: "Of course not. I mean, you know, there is no basis for that. I take him on the basis of what he says. You know, there isn't any reason to doubt that."

Kroft: "You said you take Sen. Obama at his word that he's not. . . . You don't believe that he's. . . ."

Clinton: "No, no. There's nothing to base that on, as far as I know."

Kroft: "It's just scurrilous . . .?"

Clinton: "Look, I have been the target of so many ridiculous rumors that I have a great deal of sympathy for anybody who gets, you know, smeared with the kind of rumors that go on all the time."

The now famous five words, "as far as I know" come trailing a sentence showing an interviewee clearly trying to fill space -- babbling, as we all do, when there's nothing more to say and the persistent interrogator requires, nevertheless, more talk. Clearly, that "as far as I know" is chatter, without import, in the midst of emphatic declarations rejecting the notion that Mr. Obama is Muslim.

Without import except, of course, to the cadres prepared to find in those words material for the manufacture of another story of a Clinton outrage. To do so requires reporting only the sentence in which the phrase appears, while leaving out all that came before and after. New York Times columnist Bob Herbert did precisely that in a column on Saturday, charging that those five words represented "one of the sleaziest moments of the campaign to date."

Mr. Herbert is far from alone in this stunning assessment -- a measure of the fevers that have swept so many journalists away in the course of this campaign.

Mr. Obama, in the meantime, has now found occasion to try going on the attack against Mrs. Clinton as he has been urged -- though not without trepidation from supporters worried about the effect on his image as an inspirational leader and voice of a new politics. Could he even do such things? Yes he could.

As he showed in an angry speech this week, in which he lashed out at Mrs. Clinton for raising the possibility that he could serve as vice president, the worriers were right. The candidate will have to find, at the very least, an attack mode other than the preening and petulance on display Monday.

For all of Mr. Obama's celebrated speeches, his capacity to attract and arouse crowds, we know mostly his public persona -- a presence confident, forward-looking, thoughtful. Of his actual attitudes, social and political, his views about the nation he plans to lead, those lengthy speeches have revealed remarkably little, other than a belief that American hearts are filled to bursting with their yearning for change. We shall see.

His closest adviser, Michelle Obama, has left little doubt about her views of American society, and its people. These views have received relatively scant coverage, other than in the brief period that followed her observation on the campaign trail in Wisconsin a few weeks back, when the wife of the candidate told crowds that she was, for the first time in her life, "proud" of her country. It was an attention-getting pronouncement quickly amended and recast, once the uproar of amazement began to be heard.

Everyone can have an untoward moment under the pressures of campaigning. It was obvious, nonetheless, that this was no blip, no failure to express her real thought. She said exactly what she'd wanted to say. And for doing so Mrs. Obama expected no amazed response. The comment reflected her deeply held, grim view of American society, one she was accustomed to sharing with others who thought likewise. Why should it not have come tripping from the tongue?

It was, furthermore, just one of numerous such revelatory statements she has regularly made. In speeches on the campaign trail she has held forth on her view of America, which is, as she describes it, a country that is "downright mean" and "driven by fear." She recently waxed irate over the American attention to security interests, arguing that we should be "changing the conversation" and building diplomatic relations "instead of protecting ourselves against terrorists." A minor note, to be sure, though it's to be hoped that a President Obama will not turn to this closest adviser for her views on the national defense.

A New Yorker profile published last week quotes numerous stump speech pronouncements, among them Mrs. Obama's assertion that most Americans' lives have gotten worse since she was a girl. "So if you want to pretend like there was some point in the last couple of decades when your life was easy, I want to meet you."

In short, not only is existence in America a desperate proposition for most citizens -- anyone claiming to have led a satisfactory one not sunk in the hell that is American life is, quite simply, lying. America is, she has elsewhere informed audiences, a nation whose "souls are broken."

It is a vision striking for its consistent hostility to any notion that Americans have cause for optimism and pride in their country: striking, too, for the stark and obvious absence, in this graduate of Princeton and Harvard Law School, of any sense of the reasons Americans might revere their nation and consider themselves fortunate to be its citizens.

Doubtless we shall hear more about Mrs. Obama's views as the campaign goes on. In the meantime, we can only imagine how this will all play out in the event of an Obama presidency. First Lady Michelle Obama would certainly encounter foreign reporters who have attentively covered the campaign and who have questions to ask. One of them may well be, "Madame First Lady, would you care to tell us more about your oft-stated view of America as a nation whose soul is broken? And a word, if you would about the desperate lives lived by most Americans?"

The response would be interesting to hear.

Ms. Rabinowitz is a member of The Wall Street Journal's editorial board.
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« Reply #36 on: March 13, 2008, 07:58:22 PM »

Question:  What was Barack's father's family name?  Hussein or Obama?
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« Reply #37 on: March 14, 2008, 12:12:36 AM »

It appears that Obama's father was Barack Hussein Obama, making him the Sr. and Obama the Jr.
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« Reply #38 on: March 14, 2008, 01:21:05 PM »

What is confusing to me here is that in Euro America, the second name is the middle name and the third name is the family name, whereas in Latino names, the second name is the family name and the third name is the maternal family name.

Thus my name is Marc Frederick Denny in Euro, but in Latino it is Marc Denny S____. (left bland for security reasons)

What is the case in Barack's case?
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« Reply #39 on: March 14, 2008, 05:51:44 PM »

http://hotair.com/archives/2008/03/14/oprahs-boards-burning-with-wright-responses-wright-accuses-america-of-creating-the-hiv-virus/

Oprah’s boards burning with Wright responses; Wright accuses America of creating the HIV virus
POSTED AT 11:47 AM ON MARCH 14, 2008 BY ED MORRISSEY   


As I noted earlier, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright has more than one high-profile member in his congregation. Besides presidential hopeful Barack Obama, Wright also preaches his message to Oprah Winfrey, one of the most successful and beloved media personalities in America. She has an active on-line community at Oprah.com, and her forums have had almost 300 posts from members in the past 24 hours after the revelations of race-baiting and hatred at Trinity United Church. Most talk about their concern over the content of Wright’s sermons:

I have to agree with Dick Morris [who appeared on Fox’s O’Reilly Factor last night]. We both intensely dislike Hillary and Bill. But, it needs to be said that Rev. Wright strikes me as a very dangerous, divisive, and anti-American racist. …

This is extremely troubling. Rev. Wright is one of the worst I’ve seen anywhere in America. He is truly dangerous. .. .. .. Obama’s failure to distance himself from this very dangerous anti-American will become more damaging in the next few days. …

I was upset as well. It’s beyond inflammatory and much worse than anything Geraldine Ferrarro said, yet I don’t hear a peep out of Obama. What is pastor said is beyond disgusting. To blame the US for what happened on 9/11. And I am NO fan of the Clintons, but those things he said about Hillary and Bill…and did you “see” the tapes or just hear them? This would certainly explain Michelle Obama’s anger.

Let’s wait and see if the mainstream media steps up to the plate. They took great glee in attacking Mitt Romney and his LDS faith, let’s see if they go after Obama. …

Obama should not be held responsible for what Rev. Wright says from the pulpit. However, being a member of a church that is racist is not much different than being a white person who belongs to a country club that doesn’t admit Blacks. …

The threads also pointed to an allegation made by Wright that the US created the HIV virus, presumably for deliberate infection of certain populations. In a speech made at Howard University in January 2006, he offered the following conspiracy theories:

Mr. Wright thundered on: “America is still the No. 1 killer in the world. . . . We are deeply involved in the importing of drugs, the exporting of guns, and the training of professional killers . . . We bombed Cambodia, Iraq and Nicaragua, killing women and children while trying to get public opinion turned against Castro and Ghadhafi . . . We put [Nelson] Mandela in prison and supported apartheid the whole 27 years he was there. We believe in white supremacy and black inferiority and believe it more than we believe in God.”

His voice rising, Mr. Wright said, “We supported Zionism shamelessly while ignoring the Palestinians and branding anybody who spoke out against it as being anti-Semitic. . . . We care nothing about human life if the end justifies the means. . . .”

Concluding, Mr. Wright said: “We started the AIDS virus . . . We are only able to maintain our level of living by making sure that Third World people live in grinding poverty. . . .”

It isn’t so much the anger that Wright manifests that will be off-putting to mainstream Americans of all creeds and colors, but the conspiracy-theory lunacy that he spews. Almost all Americans gave up on supremacy theories decades ago; most of those who espoused them are dead. No one has argued in the mainstream in any way, shape, or form for that kind of nonsense since the Dixiecrat movement died out in the 1960s. An ill-worded valediction for Strom Thurmond six years ago drew so much condemnation that it forced Trent Lott out of his leadership position in the Senate, although to be fair, former Klan member Robert Byrd remains in the Senate — as a Democrat.

Most Americans would find the notion that we are crypto-supremacists insulting and offensive. And yet two of the most popular people in the US choose to attend the church of a minister who apparently makes that a recurring theme of his ministry. In Obama’s case, he has given over $22,000 to support Wright and his message in 2006 alone.

Given the intense media interest in Mormon underwear and LDS doctrine in the fall of 2007, one might expect a little more scrutiny of the much more political and racially-charged message coming from the pulpit of the Trinity United Church. It looks like that may have already begun, and the reputations of both Barack Obama and Oprah Winfrey rest on how quickly and adeptly they can distance themselves from the debacle.

Update: Barack Obama tried pushing back, but this seems rather weak:

Q: I don’t know if you’ve seen it, but it’s all over the wire today (from an ABC News story), a statement that your pastor (the Rev. Jeremiah Wright of Trinity United Church of Christ on Chicago’s South Side) made in a sermon in 2003 that instead of singing “God Bless America,” black people should sing a song essentially saying “God Damn America.”

A: I haven’t seen the line. This is a pastor who is on the brink of retirement who in the past has made some controversial statements. I profoundly disagree with some of these statements.

Q: What about this particular statement?

A: Obviously, I disagree with that. Here is what happens when you just cherry-pick statements from a guy who had a 40-year career as a pastor. There are times when people say things that are just wrong. But I think it’s important to judge me on what I’ve said in the past and what I believe.

Cherry-pick? Perhaps Senator Obama can explain the context that would justify “God damn America” and the accusation that America created HIV. That dog won’t hunt.

Howard Dean left his church over a bike path. We laughed at the superficiality of that choice, but Obama has a much better reason to repudiate Trinity — and Wright’s supposed retirement won’t come nearly in time to rescue him from this problem.
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« Reply #40 on: March 15, 2008, 05:35:56 PM »





March 15, 2008, 0:15 a.m.

Uncle Jeremiah
Barack Obama and his cookie-cutter race huckster.

By Mark Steyn

The Reverend Jeremiah Wright thinks that, given their treatment by white America, black Americans have no reason to sing “God Bless America.” “The government gives them the drugs, builds bigger prisons, passes a three-strike law and then wants us to sing ‘God Bless America.’ No, no, no, God damn America,” he told his congregation. “God damn America for treating our citizens as less than human.”

I’m not a believer in guilt by association, or the campaign vaudeville of rival politicians insisting this or that candidate disassociate himself from remarks by some fellow he had a 30-second grip’n’greet with a decade ago. But Jeremiah Wright is not exactly peripheral to Barack Obama’s life. He married the Obamas and baptized their children. Those of us who made the mistake of buying the senator’s last book, The Audacity of Hope, and assumed the title was an ingeniously parodic distillation of the great sonorous banality of an entire genre of blandly uplifting political writing discovered circa page 127 that in fact the phrase comes from one of the Reverend Wright’s sermons. Jeremiah Wright has been Barack Obama’s pastor for 20 years — in other words, pretty much the senator’s entire adult life. Did Obama consider God Damn America as a title for his book but it didn’t focus-group so well?

Ah, well, no, the senator told ABC News. The Reverend Wright is like “an old uncle who says things I don’t always agree with.” So did he agree with goofy old Uncle Jeremiah on September 16th 2001? That Sunday morning, Uncle told his congregation that the United States brought the death and destruction of 9/11 on itself. “We nuked far more than the thousands in New York and the Pentagon, and we never batted an eye,” said the Reverend Wright. “We have supported state terrorism against the Palestinians and black South Africans, and now we are indignant because the stuff we have done overseas is now brought right back to our own front yards.”

Is that one of those “things I don’t always agree with”? Well, Senator Obama isn’t saying, responding merely that he wasn’t in church that morning. Okay, fair enough, but what would he have done had he happened to have shown up on September 16th? Cried “Shame on you!” and stormed out? Or, if that’s a little dramatic, whispered to Michelle that he didn’t want their daughters hearing this kind of drivel while rescue workers were still sifting through the rubble and risen from his pew in a dignified manner and led his family to the exit? Or would he have just sat there with an inscrutable look on his face as those around him nodded?

All Senator Obama will say is that “I don’t think my church is actually particularly controversial.” And in that he may be correct. There are many preachers who would be happy to tell their congregations “God damn America.” But Barack Obama is not supposed to be the candidate of the America-damners: He’s not the Reverend Al Sharpton or the Reverend Jesse Jackson or the rest of the racial-grievance mongers. Obama is meant to be the man who transcends the divisions of race, the candidate who doesn’t damn America but “heals” it — if you believe, as many Democrats do, that America needs healing.

Yet since his early twenties he’s sat week after week listening to the ravings of just another cookie-cutter race huckster.

What is Barack Obama for? It’s not his “policies,” such as they are. Rather, Senator Obama embodies an idea: He’s a symbol of redemption and renewal, and a lot of other airy-fairy abstractions that don’t boil down to much except making upscale white liberals feel good about themselves and get even more of a frisson out of white liberal guilt than they usually do. I assume that’s what Geraldine Ferraro was getting at when she said Obama wouldn’t be where he was today (i.e., leading the race for the Democratic nomination) if he was white. For her infelicity, the first woman on a presidential ticket got bounced from the Clinton campaign and denounced by MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann for her “insidious racism” indistinguishable from “the vocabulary of David Duke.”

Oh, for cryin’ out loud. Enjoyable as it is to watch previously expert wielders of identity-politics hand-grenades blow their own fingers off, if Geraldine Ferraro’s an “insidious racist,” who isn’t?



The song the Reverend Wright won’t sing is by Irving Berlin, a contemporary of Cole Porter, Ira Gershwin and Lorenz Hart, all the sophisticated rhymesters. But only Berlin could have written without embarrassment “God Bless America.” He said it directly, unaffectedly, unashamedly — in seven words:

God Bless America
Land that I love.
Berlin was a Jew and he suffered slights: He grew up in the poverty of New York’s Lower East Side. When he made his name and fortune, his marriage to a Park Avenue heiress resulted in her expulsion from the Social Register. In the Thirties, her sister moved in with a Nazi diplomat and proudly flaunted her diamond swastika to Irving. But Berlin spent his infancy in Temun, Siberia (until the Cossacks rode in and razed his village) and he understood the great gift he’d been given:

God Bless America
Land that I love.
The Reverend Wright can’t say those words. His shtick is:

God damn America
Land that I loathe.
I understand the Ellis Island experience of Russian Jews was denied to blacks. But not to Obama. His experience surely isn’t so different to Berlin’s — except that Barack got to go to Harvard. Obama’s father was a Kenyan, he spent his childhood in Indonesia, and he ought to thank his lucky stars that he’s running for office in Washington rather than Nairobi or Jakarta. Instead, his whiney wife Michelle says that her husband’s election as president would be the first reason to have “pride” in America, and complains that this country is “downright mean” and that she’s having difficulty finding money for their daughters’ piano lessons and summer camp. Between them, Mr. and Mrs. Obama earn $480,000 a year (not including book royalties from The Audacity of Hype), but they’re whining about how tough they have it to couples who earn 48 grand — or less. Yes, we can. But not on a lousy half-million bucks a year.

God has blessed America, and blessed the Obamas in America, and even blessed the Reverend Jeremiah Wright, whose bashing of his own country would be far less lucrative anywhere else on the planet. The “racist” here is not Geraldine Ferraro but the Reverend Wright, whose appeals to racial bitterness are supposed to be everything President Obama will transcend. Right now, it sounds more like the same-old same-old.

God Bless America
Land that I love.
Take it away, Michelle.

© 2008 Mark Steyn

National Review Online - http://article.nationalreview.com/?q=ZjE3NDc3YTU0ZGM5NGEzZTdkNjcyZjBiNDVjMjU5MGQ=
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« Reply #41 on: March 15, 2008, 08:44:30 PM »

Somewhere, HRC is rubbing her icy talons together and cackling with malevolent glee.  evil
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« Reply #42 on: March 15, 2008, 09:49:23 PM »

http://online.wsj.com/article_print/...093135111.html

 March 14, 2008
OPINION

Obama and the Minister

By RONALD KESSLER
March 14, 2008; Page A19

In a sermon delivered at Howard University, Barack Obama's longtime minister, friend and adviser blamed America for starting the AIDS virus, training professional killers, importing drugs and creating a racist society that would never elect a black candidate president.

The Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr., pastor of Mr. Obama's Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago, gave the sermon at the school's Andrew Rankin Memorial Chapel in Washington on Jan. 15, 2006.

Trinity United Church of Christ/Religion News Service
Sen. Barack Obama and the Rev. Jeremiah Wright


"We've got more black men in prison than there are in college," he began. "Racism is alive and well. Racism is how this country was founded and how this country is still run. No black man will ever be considered for president, no matter how hard you run Jesse [Jackson] and no black woman can ever be considered for anything outside what she can give with her body."



Mr. Wright thundered on: "America is still the No. 1 killer in the world. . . . We are deeply involved in the importing of drugs, the exporting of guns, and the training of professional killers . . . We bombed Cambodia, Iraq and Nicaragua, killing women and children while trying to get public opinion turned against Castro and Ghadhafi . . . We put [Nelson] Mandela in prison and supported apartheid the whole 27 years he was there. We believe in white supremacy and black inferiority and believe it more than we believe in God."
His voice rising, Mr. Wright said, "We supported Zionism shamelessly while ignoring the Palestinians and branding anybody who spoke out against it as being anti-Semitic. . . . We care nothing about human life if the end justifies the means. . . ."

Concluding, Mr. Wright said: "We started the AIDS virus . . . We are only able to maintain our level of living by making sure that Third World people live in grinding poverty. . . ."
Considering this view of America, it's not surprising that in December Mr. Wright's church gave an award to Louis Farrakhan for lifetime achievement. In the church magazine, Trumpet, Mr. Wright spoke glowingly of the Nation of Islam leader. "His depth on analysis [sic] when it comes to the racial ills of this nation is astounding and eye-opening," Mr. Wright said of Mr. Farrakhan. "He brings a perspective that is helpful and honest."
After Newsmax broke the story of the award to Farrakhan on Jan. 14, Mr. Obama issued a statement. However, Mr. Obama ignored the main point: that his minister and friend had spoken adoringly of Mr. Farrakhan, and that Mr. Wright's church was behind the award to the Nation of Islam leader.

Instead, Mr. Obama said, "I decry racism and anti-Semitism in every form and strongly condemn the anti-Semitic statements made by Minister Farrakhan. I assume that Trumpet magazine made its own decision to honor Farrakhan based on his efforts to rehabilitate ex-offenders, but it is not a decision with which I agree." Trumpet is owned and produced by Mr. Wright's church out of the church's offices, and Mr. Wright's daughters serve as publisher and executive editor.

Meeting with Jewish leaders in Cleveland on Feb. 24, Mr. Obama described Mr. Wright as being like "an old uncle who sometimes will say things that I don't agree with." He rarely mentions the points of disagreement.

Mr. Obama went on to explain Mr. Wright's anti-Zionist statements as being rooted in his anger over the Jewish state's support for South Africa under its previous policy of apartheid. As with his previous claim that his church gave the award to Mr. Farrakhan because of his work with ex-offenders, Mr. Obama appears to have made that up.

Neither the presentation of the award nor the Trumpet article about the award mentions ex-offenders, and Mr. Wright's statements denouncing Israel have not been qualified in any way. Mr. Obama nonetheless told the Jewish leaders that the award to Mr. Farrakhan "showed a lack of sensitivity to the Jewish community." That is an understatement.

As for Mr. Wright's repeated comments blaming America for the 9/11 attacks because of what Mr. Wright calls its racist and violent policies, Mr. Obama has said it sounds as if the minister was trying to be "provocative."

Hearing Mr. Wright's venomous and paranoid denunciations of this country, the vast majority of Americans would walk out. Instead, Mr. Obama and his wife Michelle have presumably sat through numerous similar sermons by Mr. Wright.

Indeed, Mr. Obama has described Mr. Wright as his "sounding board" during the two decades he has known him. Mr. Obama has said he found religion through the minister in the 1980s. He joined the church in 1991 and walked down the aisle in a formal commitment of faith.

The title of Mr. Obama's bestseller "The Audacity of Hope" comes from one of Wright's sermons. Mr. Wright is one of the first people Mr. Obama thanked after his election to the Senate in 2004. Mr. Obama consulted Mr. Wright before deciding to run for president. He prayed privately with Mr. Wright before announcing his candidacy last year.

Mr. Obama obviously would not choose to belong to Mr. Wright's church and seek his advice unless he agreed with at least some of his views. In light of Mr. Wright's perspective, Michelle Obama's comment that she feels proud of America for the first time in her adult life makes perfect sense.

Much as most of us would appreciate the symbolism of a black man ascending to the presidency, what we have in Barack Obama is a politician whose closeness to Mr. Wright underscores his radical record.

The media have largely ignored Mr. Obama's close association with Mr. Wright. This raises legitimate questions about Mr. Obama's fundamental beliefs about his country. Those questions deserve a clearer answer than Mr. Obama has provided so far.

Mr. Kessler, a former Wall Street Journal and Washington Post reporter, is chief Washington correspondent of Newsmax.com and the author of "The Terrorist Watch: Inside the Desperate Race to Stop the Next Attack" (Crown Forum, 2007).
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« Reply #43 on: March 15, 2008, 11:01:45 PM »

http://antiprotester.blogspot.com/2008/03/barack-obama-agrees-with-reverend.html

He was for the rev., before he was against him...
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« Reply #44 on: March 16, 2008, 10:37:23 AM »

The NY Times does its part for the BO candidacy

In the capsule version of the Barack Obama story, his mother is simply the white woman from Kansas. The phrase comes coupled alliteratively to its counterpart, the black father from Kenya. On the campaign trail, he has called her his “single mom.” But neither description begins to capture the unconventional life of Stanley Ann Dunham Soetoro, the parent who most shaped Mr. Obama.

Kansas was merely a way station in her childhood, wheeling westward in the slipstream of her furniture-salesman father. In Hawaii, she married an African student at age 18. Then she married an Indonesian, moved to Jakarta, became an anthropologist, wrote an 800-page dissertation on peasant blacksmithing in Java, worked for the Ford Foundation, championed women’s work and helped bring microcredit to the world’s poor.

She had high expectations for her children. In Indonesia, she would wake her son at 4 a.m. for correspondence courses in English before school; she brought home recordings of Mahalia Jackson, speeches by the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. And when Mr. Obama asked to stay in Hawaii for high school rather than return to Asia, she accepted living apart — a decision her daughter says was one of the hardest in Ms. Soetoro’s life.

“She felt that somehow, wandering through uncharted territory, we might stumble upon something that will, in an instant, seem to represent who we are at the core,” said Maya Soetoro-Ng, Mr. Obama’s half-sister. “That was very much her philosophy of life — to not be limited by fear or narrow definitions, to not build walls around ourselves and to do our best to find kinship and beauty in unexpected places.”

Ms. Soetoro, who died of ovarian cancer in 1995, was the parent who raised Mr. Obama, the Illinois senator running for the Democratic presidential nomination. He barely saw his father after the age of 2. Though it is impossible to pinpoint the imprint of a parent on the life of a grown child, people who knew Ms. Soetoro well say they see her influence unmistakably in Mr. Obama.

They were close, her friends and his half-sister say, though they spent much of their lives with oceans or continents between them. He would not be where he is today, he has said, had it not been for her. Yet he has also made some different choices — marrying into a tightly knit African-American family rooted in the South Side of Chicago, becoming a churchgoing Christian, publicly recounting his search for his identity as a black man.

Some of what he has said about his mother seems tinged with a mix of love and regret. He has said his biggest mistake was not being at her bedside when she died. And when The Associated Press asked the candidates about “prized keepsakes” — others mentioned signed baseballs, a pocket watch, a “trophy wife” — Mr. Obama said his was a photograph of the cliffs of the South Shore of Oahu in Hawaii where his mother’s ashes were scattered.

“I think sometimes that had I known she would not survive her illness, I might have written a different book — less a meditation on the absent parent, more a celebration of the one who was the single constant in my life,” he wrote in the preface to his memoir, “Dreams From My Father.” He added, “I know that she was the kindest, most generous spirit I have ever known, and that what is best in me I owe to her.”

In a campaign in which Senator John McCain, the presumptive Republican nominee, has made liberal use of his globe-trotting 96-year-old mother to answer suspicions that he might be an antique at 71, Mr. Obama, who declined to be interviewed for this article, invokes his mother’s memory sparingly. In one television advertisement, she appears fleetingly — porcelain-skinned, raven-haired and holding her toddler son. “My mother died of cancer at 53,” he says in the ad, which focuses on health care. “In those last painful months, she was more worried about paying her medical bills than getting well.”

‘A Very, Very Big Thinker’

He has described her as a teenage mother, a single mother, a mother who worked, went to school and raised children at the same time. He has credited her with giving him a great education and confidence in his ability to do the right thing. But, in interviews, friends and colleagues of Ms. Soetoro shed light on a side of her that is less well known.

“She was a very, very big thinker,” said Nancy Barry, a former president of Women’s World Banking, an international network of microfinance providers, where Ms. Soetoro worked in New York City in the early 1990s. “I think she was not at all personally ambitious, I think she cared about the core issues, and I think she was not afraid to speak truth to power.”
=======

Her parents were from Kansas — her mother from Augusta, her father from El Dorado, a place Mr. Obama first visited in a campaign stop in January. Stanley Ann (her father wanted a boy so he gave her his name) was born on an Army base during World War II. The family moved to California, Kansas, Texas and Washington in restless pursuit of opportunity before landing in Honolulu in 1960.

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Courtesy of the Obama Family
Ms. Soetoro, right, during her trip to Indonesia from 1988 to 1992. She married an Indonesian, moved to Jakarta and became an anthropologist.

The Long Run
A Mother’s Influence
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Courtesy of the Obama Family
Ms. Soetoro during her field trip from 1988 to 1992. She died in 1995 of cancer.
In a Russian class at the University of Hawaii, she met the college’s first African student, Barack Obama. They married and had a son in August 1961, in an era when interracial marriage was rare in the United States. Her parents were upset, Senator Obama learned years later from his mother, but they adapted. “I am a little dubious of the things that people from foreign countries tell me,” the senator’s grandmother told an interviewer several years ago.

The marriage was brief. In 1963, Mr. Obama left for Harvard, leaving his wife and child. She then married Lolo Soetoro, an Indonesian student. When he was summoned home in 1966 after the turmoil surrounding the rise of Suharto, Ms. Soetoro and Barack followed.

Those choices were not entirely surprising, said several high school friends of Ms. Soetoro, whom they remembered as unusually intelligent, curious and open. She never dated “the crew-cut white boys,” said one friend, Susan Blake: “She had a world view, even as a young girl. It was embracing the different, rather than that ethnocentric thing of shunning the different. That was where her mind took her.”

Her second marriage faded, too, in the 1970s. Ms. Soetoro wanted to work, one friend said, and Mr. Soetoro wanted more children. He became more American, she once said, as she became more Javanese. “There’s a Javanese belief that if you’re married to someone and it doesn’t work, it will make you sick,” said Alice G. Dewey, an anthropologist and friend. “It’s just stupid to stay married.”

That both unions ended is beside the point, some friends suggested. Ms. Soetoro remained loyal to both husbands and encouraged her children to feel connected to their fathers. (In reading drafts of her son’s memoir, Mr. Obama has said, she did not comment upon his depiction of her but was “quick to explain or defend the less flattering aspects of my father’s character.”)

“She always felt that marriage as an institution was not particularly essential or important,” said Nina Nayar, who later became a close friend of Ms. Soetoro. What mattered to her, Ms. Nayar said, was to have loved deeply.

By 1974, Ms. Soetoro was back in Honolulu, a graduate student and raising Barack and Maya, nine years younger. Barack was on scholarship at a prestigious prep school, Punahou. When Ms. Soetoro decided to return to Indonesia three years later for her field work, Barack chose not to go.

“I doubted what Indonesia now had to offer and wearied of being new all over again,” he wrote in his memoir. “More than that, I’d arrived at an unspoken pact with my grandparents: I could live with them and they’d leave me alone so long as I kept my trouble out of sight.” During those years, he was “engaged in a fitful interior struggle. I was trying to raise myself to be a black man in America.” Ms. Soetoro-Ng recalled her mother’s quandary. “She wanted him to be with her,” Ms. Soetoro-Ng said. But she added: “Although it was painful to be separated from him for his last four years of high school, she recognized that it was perhaps the best thing for him. And she had to go to Indonesia at that time.”

That time apart was hard for both mother and son.
============



“She longed for him,” said Georgia McCauley, who became a friend of Ms. Soetoro in Jakarta. Barack spent summers and Christmas vacations with his mother; they communicated by letters, his illustrated with cartoons. Her first topic of conversation was always her son, her female friends said. As for him, he was grappling with questions of racial identity, alienation and belonging.

“There were certainly times in his life in those four years when he could have used her presence on a more daily basis,” Ms. Soetoro-Ng said. “But I think he did all right for himself.”

===========


Fluent in Indonesian, Ms. Soetoro moved with Maya first to Yogyakarta, the center of Javanese handicrafts. A weaver in college, she was fascinated with what Ms. Soetoro-Ng calls “life’s gorgeous minutiae.” That interest inspired her study of village industries, which became the basis of her 1992 doctoral dissertation.

"She loved living in Java,” said Dr. Dewey, who recalled accompanying Ms. Soetoro to a metalworking village. “People said: ‘Hi! How are you?’ She said: ‘How’s your wife? Did your daughter have the baby?’ They were friends. Then she’d whip out her notebook and she’d say: ‘How many of you have electricity? Are you having trouble getting iron?’ ”

She became a consultant for the United States Agency for International Development on setting up a village credit program, then a Ford Foundation program officer in Jakarta specializing in women’s work. Later, she was a consultant in Pakistan, then joined Indonesia’s oldest bank to work on what is described as the world’s largest sustainable microfinance program, creating services like credit and savings for the poor.

Visitors flowed constantly through her Ford Foundation office in downtown Jakarta and through her house in a neighborhood to the south, where papaya and banana trees grew in the front yard and Javanese dishes like opor ayam were served for dinner. Her guests were leaders in the Indonesian human rights movement, people from women’s organizations, representatives of community groups doing grass-roots development.

“I didn’t know a lot of them and would often ask after, ‘Who was that?’ ” said David S. McCauley, now an environmental economist at the Asian Development Bank in Manila, who had the office next door. “You’d find out it was the head of some big organization in with thousands of members from central Java or someplace, somebody that she had met some time ago, and they would make a point of coming to see her when they came to Jakarta.”

An Exacting Idealist

As a mother, Ms. Soetoro was both idealistic and exacting. Friends describe her as variously informal and intense, humorous and hardheaded. She preached to her young son the importance of honesty, straight talk, independent judgment. When he balked at her early-morning home schooling, she retorted, “This is no picnic for me either, buster.”

When Barack was in high school, she confronted him about his seeming lack of ambition, Mr. Obama wrote. He could get into any college in the country, she told him, with just a little effort. (“Remember what that’s like? Effort?”) He says he looked at her, so earnest and sure of his destiny: “I suddenly felt like puncturing that certainty of hers, letting her know that her experiment with me had failed.”

Ms. Soetoro-Ng, who herself became an anthropologist, remembers conversations with her mother about philosophy or politics, books, esoteric Indonesian woodworking motifs. One Christmas in Indonesia, Ms. Soetoro found a scrawny tree and decorated it with red and green chili peppers and popcorn balls.

“She gave us a very broad understanding of the world,” her daughter said. “She hated bigotry. She was very determined to be remembered for a life of service and thought that service was really the true measure of a life.” Many of her friends see her legacy in Mr. Obama — in his self-assurance and drive, his boundary bridging, even his apparent comfort with strong women. Some say she changed them, too.

“I feel she taught me how to live,” said Ms. Nayar, who was in her 20s when she met Ms. Soetoro at Women’s World Banking. “She was not particularly concerned about what society would say about working women, single women, women marrying outside their culture, women who were fearless and who dreamed big.”

The Final Months

After her diagnosis, Ms. Soetoro spent the last months of her life in Hawaii, near her mother. (Her father had died.) Mr. Obama has recalled talking with her in her hospital bed about her fears of ending up broke. She was not ready to die, he has said. Even so, she helped him and Maya “push on with our lives, despite our dread, our denials, our sudden constrictions of the heart.”

She died in November 1995, as Mr. Obama was starting his first campaign for public office. After a memorial service at the University of Hawaii, one friend said, a small group of friends drove to the South Shore in Oahu. With the wind whipping the waves onto the rocks, Mr. Obama and Ms. Soetoro-Ng placed their mother’s ashes in the Pacific, sending them off in the direction of Indonesia


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« Reply #45 on: March 16, 2008, 09:28:59 PM »

http://littlegreenfootballs.com/weblog/?entry=29302_Video-_Obama_Lavishes_Praise_on_Rev._Jeremiah_Wright&only

What did Obama know, and when did he know it?
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« Reply #46 on: March 17, 2008, 05:05:04 AM »

Notable & Quotable
March 17, 2008
WSJ
Gerald Posner writing at HuffingtonPost.com:

I'm still in the Barack camp. But, as a vocal supporter, I'd like just a couple of answers about the flap over Reverend Dr. Jeremiah A. Wright, Jr, the former pastor of Trinity United Church of Christ, the Chicago megachurch where the Obamas have been members for 20 years.

Guilt by association is totally unwarranted. Barack is not responsible for Wright's views. However, how he responds to those views -- and whether he is being straight with us, the voters -- is critical as to whether he should lead our country.

The key issue for me, as both a supporter and as a reporter, revolves around what I view as Wright's most incendiary comments, those implying that America -- because of its own actions -- deserved the 9/11 terror attacks.

Wright made his comments on September 16, only 5 days after the deadly strikes in New York and Washington. He said, in part, "We bombed Hiroshima, we bombed Nagasaki, and we nuked far more than the thousands in New York and the Pentagon, and we never batted an eye. . . ."

. . . .If the parishioners of Trinity United Church were not buzzing about Reverend Wright's post 9/11 comments, then it could only seem to be because those comments were not out of character with what he preached from the pulpit many times before. In that case, I have to wonder if it is really possible for the Obamas to have been parishioners there -- by 9/11 they were there more than a decade -- and not to have known very clearly how radical Wright's views were. If, on the other hand, parishioners were shocked by Wright's vitriol only days after more than 3,000 Americans had been killed by terrorists, they would have talked about it incessantly. Barack -- a sitting Illinois State Senator -- would have been one of the first to hear about it.

Can't you imagine the call or conversation? "Barack, you aren't going to believe what Revered Wright said yesterday at the church. You should be ready with a comment if someone from the press calls you up."

But Barack now claims he never heard about any of this until after he began his run for the presidency, in February, 2007.
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« Reply #47 on: March 17, 2008, 09:07:24 AM »

http://michellemalkin.com/2008/03/17/jeremiah-wrights-greatest-hits/

A chicken comes home to roost.
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« Reply #48 on: March 17, 2008, 01:14:17 PM »

http://www.gopusa.com/commentary/dpatton/2008/dp_03171.shtml
 
 
 
The Barack Obama Double Standard
By Doug Patton
March 17, 2008

Imagine in 1999, that a videotape had come to light showing the pastor of Texas Gov. George W. Bush's church making vicious, hateful comments about America and cruel, racist statements about Americans of color.

Suppose this preacher had given a lifetime achievement award to former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke, and had traveled to Europe with Duke to meet with neo-Nazi terrorists.

Now try to envision that the candidate's family had attended this church for more than twenty years, that George and Laura Bush had been married there, by this pastor, and that the Bush daughters had been baptized by him.

Picture George Bush titling his autobiography after a phrase in one of this minister's sermons, writing that the man was his mentor, and then putting him on the presidential campaign staff as a trusted advisor and confidant.

Say it came to light that for several years George W. Bush had been friends with Eric Rudolph, the notorious Olympic Park bomber and anti-abortion terrorist. Furthermore, let's suppose that Bush had remained friends with Rudolph over the years and still considered him a colleague today.

Now imagine Laura Bush, on the campaign trail for her husband, telling supporters and the national media that America is "mean" and that for the first time in her adult life she was proud of her country.

Is there a doubt that Republican officeholders would have run from the Bush campaign like rats from a burning barn, that he would have become the political leper of the 2000 campaign? And what about the media? They virtually crucified candidate Bush that year for daring to give a speech at Bob Jones University, which had once banned interracial dating. I cannot imagine the field day they would have had with something like this.

And yet excuses are made for Barack Obama, who now finds himself in exactly this situation. Obama's pastor of more than two decades - the man who married Barack and Michelle Obama, who christened their daughters, who inspired the title of the candidate's book, "The Audacity of Hope," - is now at the center of a storm that would have destroyed the candidacy of any Republican the day the story broke.

Rev. Jeremiah Wright, pastor of Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago for the last 36 years, has been caught on tape denouncing the United States and the white race in terms that should shock and disgust every thinking American. Wright and the church swear allegiance to the "mother country" - Africa. (Presumably this includes the Obama family.)

Rather than trying to infuse his congregation with hope and encouragement, Wright poisons them with vitriol about how the U.S. government has tried to commit genocide against the black community using drugs and the AIDS virus as weapons of choice.

"Don't say God bless America," Wright screams in one sermon. "God damn America!"

Wright, representing the church, bestowed a lifetime achievement award on Louis Farrakhan, the racist leader of the Nation of Islam. In the 1980s, Wright traveled to Libya with Farrakhan to meet with Muammar Gaddafi.

If Barack Obama has not been paying attention in church, it is apparent that his wife, Michelle, has. Campaigning for her husband recently, she said that for the first time in her adult life, she is finally proud of her country. In a separate speech, she said America is "a mean country."

Obama is friends with William Ayers, an admitted domestic terrorist with the Weather Underground, which declared war on the United States and claimed responsibility for bombing several government buildings, including the Pentagon and the State Department building, in the 1970s. In an interview with The New York Times, ironically published on the morning of September 11, 2001, Ayers was quoted as saying, "I don't regret setting bombs; I feel we didn't do enough."

Now a tenured professor at the University of Chicago (only in America!), Ayers met Barack Obama in the 1990s. They have remained friends ever since.

We are judged not just by our words, but by the company we keep. The litmus test should not be whether or not everyone a candidate knows is ideal. That is an impossible standard. The true measure of a man is in his ability to choose friends with which he can be proud to stand shoulder to shoulder, not those about whom he must equivocate and for whom he must apologize.

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Doug Patton is a freelance columnist who has served as a political speechwriter and public policy advisor. His weekly columns are published in newspapers across the country and on selected Internet web sites, including Human Events Online, TheConservativeVoice.com and GOPUSA.com, where he is a senior writer and state editor. Readers may e-mail him at dougpatton@cox.net.
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« Reply #49 on: March 17, 2008, 06:18:02 PM »

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