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Power User
Posts: 15536

« Reply #300 on: September 16, 2008, 11:10:08 PM »

Obama is a US citizen. He was born in Hawaii and this lawsuit is silly and going nowhere. God help us if he's elected, but he is eligible to be president.
Power User
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« Reply #301 on: September 17, 2008, 01:34:28 PM »

Michelle's Princeton thesis:
Power User
Posts: 9484

« Reply #302 on: September 18, 2008, 09:32:11 AM »

Thanks for posting links to Michelle's thesis.  They did a nice job of getting this out without fanfare; this has been available since March? I read it along with the commentary. Overall, it is a very boring read.  It is mostly a math study trying to find relationships among a number of variables she created.  The main impression I get is that the student had to make up a study about something so a lot of tedious writing is just the course requirement.  If all this was out of genuine curiosity I would scared about how race obsessed it is.  I don't know anything about race at Princeton at that time but it strikes me as odd that everything is black or white, not Asian, Arab or Hispanic for example.  Of course that would have made the study more complex but it seems everyone non-black is called white.

When blacks assimilate and join whites in society, she would still call it white culture, not mixed.

One main curiosity in the study is how a variety of variables affect the motivation of Princeton educated blacks to go back and help lower class blacks in black neighborhoods.  Not much is concluded. The political question would be how you would help lower class blacks but that is not part of the study.

In getting to know the Obamas, the next thing I would like to study is Barack's teachings of constitutional law.  I know Crafty studied law under a supreme court justice and I studied economics under the chief economic adviser to Presidents Kennedy and Johnson, it is fascinating to hear people of history or of the future first hand.  I would like to learn about the content of the lectures of Prof. Obama.  I have heard they were not controversial but still I would like to look for clues in his teachings about how he would find Chief Justice Roberts unsuitable for example.
Power User
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« Reply #303 on: September 23, 2008, 12:38:27 AM »


Obama and Ayers
Pushed Radicalism
On Schools
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Despite having authored two autobiographies, Barack Obama has never written about his most important executive experience. From 1995 to 1999, he led an education foundation called the Chicago Annenberg Challenge (CAC), and remained on the board until 2001. The group poured more than $100 million into the hands of community organizers and radical education activists.

Bill Ayers.
The CAC was the brainchild of Bill Ayers, a founder of the Weather Underground in the 1960s. Among other feats, Mr. Ayers and his cohorts bombed the Pentagon, and he has never expressed regret for his actions. Barack Obama's first run for the Illinois State Senate was launched at a 1995 gathering at Mr. Ayers's home.

The Obama campaign has struggled to downplay that association. Last April, Sen. Obama dismissed Mr. Ayers as just "a guy who lives in my neighborhood," and "not somebody who I exchange ideas with on a regular basis." Yet documents in the CAC archives make clear that Mr. Ayers and Mr. Obama were partners in the CAC. Those archives are housed in the Richard J. Daley Library at the University of Illinois at Chicago and I've recently spent days looking through them.

The Chicago Annenberg Challenge was created ostensibly to improve Chicago's public schools. The funding came from a national education initiative by Ambassador Walter Annenberg. In early 1995, Mr. Obama was appointed the first chairman of the board, which handled fiscal matters. Mr. Ayers co-chaired the foundation's other key body, the "Collaborative," which shaped education policy.

The CAC's basic functioning has long been known, because its annual reports, evaluations and some board minutes were public. But the Daley archive contains additional board minutes, the Collaborative minutes, and documentation on the groups that CAC funded and rejected. The Daley archives show that Mr. Obama and Mr. Ayers worked as a team to advance the CAC agenda.

One unsettled question is how Mr. Obama, a former community organizer fresh out of law school, could vault to the top of a new foundation? In response to my questions, the Obama campaign issued a statement saying that Mr. Ayers had nothing to do with Obama's "recruitment" to the board. The statement says Deborah Leff and Patricia Albjerg Graham (presidents of other foundations) recruited him. Yet the archives show that, along with Ms. Leff and Ms. Graham, Mr. Ayers was one of a working group of five who assembled the initial board in 1994. Mr. Ayers founded CAC and was its guiding spirit. No one would have been appointed the CAC chairman without his approval.

The CAC's agenda flowed from Mr. Ayers's educational philosophy, which called for infusing students and their parents with a radical political commitment, and which downplayed achievement tests in favor of activism. In the mid-1960s, Mr. Ayers taught at a radical alternative school, and served as a community organizer in Cleveland's ghetto.

In works like "City Kids, City Teachers" and "Teaching the Personal and the Political," Mr. Ayers wrote that teachers should be community organizers dedicated to provoking resistance to American racism and oppression. His preferred alternative? "I'm a radical, Leftist, small 'c' communist," Mr. Ayers said in an interview in Ron Chepesiuk's, "Sixties Radicals," at about the same time Mr. Ayers was forming CAC.

CAC translated Mr. Ayers's radicalism into practice. Instead of funding schools directly, it required schools to affiliate with "external partners," which actually got the money. Proposals from groups focused on math/science achievement were turned down. Instead CAC disbursed money through various far-left community organizers, such as the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (or Acorn).

Mr. Obama once conducted "leadership training" seminars with Acorn, and Acorn members also served as volunteers in Mr. Obama's early campaigns. External partners like the South Shore African Village Collaborative and the Dual Language Exchange focused more on political consciousness, Afrocentricity and bilingualism than traditional education. CAC's in-house evaluators comprehensively studied the effects of its grants on the test scores of Chicago public-school students. They found no evidence of educational improvement.

CAC also funded programs designed to promote "leadership" among parents. Ostensibly this was to enable parents to advocate on behalf of their children's education. In practice, it meant funding Mr. Obama's alma mater, the Developing Communities Project, to recruit parents to its overall political agenda. CAC records show that board member Arnold Weber was concerned that parents "organized" by community groups might be viewed by school principals "as a political threat." Mr. Obama arranged meetings with the Collaborative to smooth out Mr. Weber's objections.

The Daley documents show that Mr. Ayers sat as an ex-officio member of the board Mr. Obama chaired through CAC's first year. He also served on the board's governance committee with Mr. Obama, and worked with him to craft CAC bylaws. Mr. Ayers made presentations to board meetings chaired by Mr. Obama. Mr. Ayers spoke for the Collaborative before the board. Likewise, Mr. Obama periodically spoke for the board at meetings of the Collaborative.

The Obama campaign notes that Mr. Ayers attended only six board meetings, and stresses that the Collaborative lost its "operational role" at CAC after the first year. Yet the Collaborative was demoted to a strictly advisory role largely because of ethical concerns, since the projects of Collaborative members were receiving grants. CAC's own evaluators noted that project accountability was hampered by the board's reluctance to break away from grant decisions made in 1995. So even after Mr. Ayers's formal sway declined, the board largely adhered to the grant program he had put in place.

Mr. Ayers's defenders claim that he has redeemed himself with public-spirited education work. That claim is hard to swallow if you understand that he views his education work as an effort to stoke resistance to an oppressive American system. He likes to stress that he learned of his first teaching job while in jail for a draft-board sit-in. For Mr. Ayers, teaching and his 1960s radicalism are two sides of the same coin.

Mr. Ayers is the founder of the "small schools" movement (heavily funded by CAC), in which individual schools built around specific political themes push students to "confront issues of inequity, war, and violence." He believes teacher education programs should serve as "sites of resistance" to an oppressive system. (His teacher-training programs were also CAC funded.) The point, says Mr. Ayers in his "Teaching Toward Freedom," is to "teach against oppression," against America's history of evil and racism, thereby forcing social transformation.

The Obama campaign has cried foul when Bill Ayers comes up, claiming "guilt by association." Yet the issue here isn't guilt by association; it's guilt by participation. As CAC chairman, Mr. Obama was lending moral and financial support to Mr. Ayers and his radical circle. That is a story even if Mr. Ayers had never planted a single bomb 40 years ago.

Mr. Kurtz is a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center.
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« Reply #304 on: September 26, 2008, 07:56:53 PM »

Obama's Foreign Policy Stance (Open Access)
Stratfor Today » September 24, 2008 | 1013 GMT

Editor’s Note: This is part two of a four-part report by Stratfor founder and Chief Intelligence Officer George Friedman on the U.S. presidential debate on foreign policy, to be held Sept. 26. Stratfor is a private, nonpartisan intelligence service with no preference for one candidate over the other. We are interested in analyzing and forecasting the geopolitical impact of the election and, with this series, seek to answer two questions: What is the geopolitical landscape that will confront the next president, and what foreign policy proposals would a President McCain or a President Obama bring to bear? For media interviews, e-mail or call 512-744-4309.

By George Friedman

Barack Obama is the Democratic candidate for president. His advisers in foreign policy are generally Democrats. Together they carry with them an institutional memory of the Democratic Party’s approach to foreign policy, and are an expression of the complexity and divisions of that approach. Like their Republican counterparts, in many ways they are going to be severely constrained as to what they can do both by the nature of the global landscape and American resources. But to some extent, they will also be constrained and defined by the tradition they come from. Understanding that tradition and Obama’s place is useful in understanding what an Obama presidency would look like in foreign affairs.

Print Version
For a PDF version of this piece, click here.
U.S. Foreign Policy — The Presidential Debate
Part One: The New President and the Foreign Policy Landscape
Part Three: McCain’s Foreign Policy Stance
Related Special Topic Pages
U.S. Foreign Policy: The Presidential Debate
The 2008 U.S. Presidential Race
The most striking thing about the Democratic tradition is that it presided over the beginnings of the three great conflicts that defined the 20th century: Woodrow Wilson and World War I, Franklin Delano Roosevelt and World War II, and Harry S. Truman and the Cold War. (At this level of analysis, we will treat the episodes of the Cold War such as Korea, Vietnam or Grenada as simply subsets of one conflict.) This is most emphatically not to say that had Republicans won the presidency in 1916, 1940 or 1948, U.S. involvement in those wars could have been avoided.

Patterns in Democratic Foreign Policy
But it does give us a framework for considering persistent patterns of Democratic foreign policy. When we look at the conflicts, four things become apparent.

First, in all three conflicts, Democrats postponed the initiation of direct combat as long as possible. In only one, World War I, did Wilson decide to join the war without prior direct attack. Roosevelt maneuvered near war but did not enter the war until after Pearl Harbor. Truman also maneuvered near war but did not get into direct combat until after the North Korean invasion of South Korea. Indeed, even Wilson chose to go to war to protect free passage on the Atlantic. More important, he sought to prevent Germany from defeating the Russians and the Anglo-French alliance and to stop the subsequent German domination of Europe, which appeared possible. In other words, the Democratic approach to war was reactive. All three presidents reacted to events on the surface, while trying to shape them underneath the surface.

Second, all three wars were built around coalitions. The foundation of the three wars was that other nations were at risk and that the United States used a predisposition to resist (Germany in the first two wars, the Soviet Union in the last) as a framework for involvement. The United States under Democrats did not involve itself in war unilaterally. At the same time, the United States under Democrats made certain that the major burdens were shared by allies. Millions died in World War I, but the United States suffered 100,000 dead. In World War II, the United States suffered 500,000 dead in a war where perhaps 50 million soldiers and civilians died. In the Cold War, U.S. losses in direct combat were less than 100,000 while the losses to Chinese, Vietnamese, Koreans and others towered over that toll. The allies had a complex appreciation of the United States. On the one hand, they were grateful for the U.S. presence. On the other hand, they resented the disproportionate amounts of blood and effort shed. Some of the roots of anti-Americanism are to be found in this strategy.

Third, each of these wars ended with a Democratic president attempting to create a system of international institutions designed to limit the recurrence of war without directly transferring sovereignty to those institutions. Wilson championed the League of Nations. Roosevelt the United Nations. Bill Clinton, who presided over most of the post-Cold War world, constantly sought international institutions to validate U.S. actions. Thus, when the United Nations refused to sanction the Kosovo War, he designated NATO as an alternative international organization with the right to approve conflict. Indeed, Clinton championed a range of multilateral organizations during the 1990s, including everything from the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, and later the World Trade Organization. All these presidents were deeply committed to multinational organizations to define permissible and impermissible actions.

And fourth, there is a focus on Europe in the Democratic view of the world. Roosevelt regarded Germany as the primary threat instead of the Pacific theater in World War II. And in spite of two land wars in Asia during the Cold War, the centerpiece of strategy remained NATO and Europe. The specific details have evolved over the last century, but the Democratic Party — and particularly the Democratic foreign policy establishment — historically has viewed Europe as a permanent interest and partner for the United States.

Thus, the main thrust of the Democratic tradition is deeply steeped in fighting wars, but approaches this task with four things in mind:

Wars should not begin until the last possible moment and ideally should be initiated by the enemy.
Wars must be fought in a coalition with much of the burden borne by partners.
The outcome of wars should be an institutional legal framework to manage the peace, with the United States being the most influential force within this multilateral framework.
Any such framework must be built on a trans-Atlantic relationship.
Democratic Party Fractures
That is one strand of Democratic foreign policy. A second strand emerged in the context of the Vietnam War. That war began under the Kennedy administration and was intensified by Lyndon Baines Johnson, particularly after 1964. The war did not go as expected. As the war progressed, the Democratic Party began to fragment. There were three factions involved in this.

The first faction consisted of foreign policy professionals and politicians who were involved in the early stages of war planning but turned against the war after 1967 when it clearly diverged from plans. The leading political figure of this faction was Robert F. Kennedy, who initially supported the war but eventually turned against it.

The second faction was more definitive. It consisted of people on the left wing of the Democratic Party — and many who went far to the left of the Democrats. This latter group not only turned against the war, it developed a theory of the U.S. role in the war that as a mass movement was unprecedented in the century. The view (it can only be sketched here) maintained that the United States was an inherently imperialist power. Rather than the benign image that Wilson, Roosevelt and Truman had of their actions, this faction reinterpreted American history going back into the 19th century as violent, racist and imperialist (in the most extreme faction’s view). Just as the United States annihilated the Native Americans, the United States was now annihilating the Vietnamese.

A third, more nuanced, faction argued that rather than an attempt to contain Soviet aggression, the Cold War was actually initiated by the United States out of irrational fear of the Soviets and out of imperialist ambitions. They saw the bombing of Hiroshima as a bid to intimidate the Soviet Union rather than an effort to end World War II, and the creation of NATO as having triggered the Cold War.

These three factions thus broke down into Democratic politicians such as RFK and George McGovern (who won the presidential nomination in 1972), radicals in the street who were not really Democrats, and revisionist scholars who for the most part were on the party’s left wing.

Ultimately, the Democratic Party split into two camps. Hubert Humphrey led the first along with Henry Jackson, who rejected the left’s interpretation of the U.S. role in Vietnam and claimed to speak for the Wilson-FDR-Truman strand in Democratic politics. McGovern led the second. His camp largely comprised the party’s left wing, which did not necessarily go as far as the most extreme critics of that tradition but was extremely suspicious of anti-communist ideology, the military and intelligence communities, and increased defense spending. The two camps conducted extended political warfare throughout the 1970s.

The presidency of Jimmy Carter symbolized the tensions. He came to power wanting to move beyond Vietnam, slashing and changing the CIA, controlling defense spending and warning the country of “an excessive fear of Communism.” But following the fall of the Shah of Iran and the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, he allowed Zbigniew Brzezinski, his national security adviser and now an adviser to Obama, to launch a guerrilla war against the Soviets using Islamist insurgents from across the Muslim world in Afghanistan. Carter moved from concern with anti-Communism to coalition warfare against the Soviets by working with Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Afghan resistance fighters.

Carter was dealing with the realities of U.S. geopolitics, but the tensions within the Democratic tradition shaped his responses. During the Clinton administration, these internal tensions subsided to a great degree. In large part this was because there was no major war, and the military action that did occur — as in Haiti and Kosovo — was framed as humanitarian actions rather than as the pursuit of national power. That soothed the anti-war Democrats to a great deal, since their perspective was less pacifistic than suspicious of using war to enhance national power.

The Democrats Since 9/11
Since the Democrats have not held the presidency during the last eight years, judging how they might have responded to events is speculative. Statements made while in opposition are not necessarily predictive of what an administration might do. Nevertheless, Obama’s foreign policy outlook was shaped by the last eight years of Democrats struggling with the U.S.-jihadist war.

The Democrats responded to events of the last eight years as they traditionally do when the United States is attacked directly: The party’s anti-war faction contracted and the old Democratic tradition reasserted itself. This was particularly true of the decision to go to war in Afghanistan. Obviously, the war was a response to an attack and, given the mood of the country after 9/11, was an unassailable decision. But it had another set of characteristics that made it attractive to the Democrats. The military action in Afghanistan was taking place in the context of broad international support and within a coalition forming at all levels, from on the ground in Afghanistan to NATO and the United Nations. Second, U.S. motives did not appear to involve national self-interest, like increasing power or getting oil. It was not a war for national advantage, but a war of national self-defense.

The Democrats were much less comfortable with the Iraq war than they were with Afghanistan. The old splits reappeared, with many Democrats voting for the invasion and others against. There were complex and mixed reasons why each Democrat voted the way they did — some strategic, some purely political, some moral. Under the pressure of voting on the war, the historically fragile Democratic consensus broke apart, not so much in conflict as in disarray. One of the most important reasons for this was the sense of isolation from major European powers — particularly the French and Germans, whom the Democrats regarded as fundamental elements of any coalition. Without those countries, the Democrats regarded the United States as diplomatically isolated.

The intraparty conflict came later. As the war went badly, the anti-war movement in the party re-energized itself. They were joined later by many who had formerly voted for the war but were upset by the human and material cost and by the apparent isolation of the United States and so on. Both factions of the Democratic Party had reasons to oppose the Iraq war even while they supported the Afghan war.

Power User
Posts: 42558

« Reply #305 on: September 26, 2008, 07:57:40 PM »

Understanding Obama’s Foreign Policy
It is in light of this distinction that we can begin to understand Obama’s foreign policy. On Aug. 1, Obama said the following: “It is time to turn the page. When I am President, we will wage the war that has to be won, with a comprehensive strategy with five elements: getting out of Iraq and on to the right battlefield in Afghanistan and Pakistan; developing the capabilities and partnerships we need to take out the terrorists and the world’s most deadly weapons; engaging the world to dry up support for terror and extremism; restoring our values; and securing a more resilient homeland.”

Obama’s view of the Iraq war is that it should not have been fought in the first place, and that the current success in the war does not justify it or its cost. In this part, he speaks to the anti-war tradition in the party. He adds that Afghanistan and Pakistan are the correct battlefields, since this is where the attack emanated from. It should be noted that on several occasions Obama has pointed to Pakistan as part of the Afghan problem, and has indicated a willingness to intervene there if needed while demanding Pakistani cooperation. Moreover, Obama emphasizes the need for partnerships — for example, coalition partners — rather than unilateral action in Afghanistan and globally.

Responding to attack rather than pre-emptive attack, coalition warfare and multinational postwar solutions are central to Obama’s policy in the Islamic world. He therefore straddles the divide within the Democratic Party. He opposes the war in Iraq as pre-emptive, unilateral and outside the bounds of international organizations while endorsing the Afghan war and promising to expand it.

Obama’s problem would be applying these principles to the emerging landscape. He shaped his foreign policy preferences when the essential choices remained within the Islamic world — between dealing with Iraq and Afghanistan simultaneously versus focusing on Afghanistan primarily. After the Russian invasion of Georgia, Obama would face a more complex set of choices between the Islamic world and dealing with the Russian challenge.

Obama’s position on Georgia tracked with traditional Democratic approaches:

“Georgia’s economic recovery is an urgent strategic priority that demands the focused attention of the United States and our allies. That is why Senator Biden and I have called for $1 billion in reconstruction assistance to help the people of Georgia in this time of great trial. I also welcome NATO’s decision to establish a NATO-Georgia Commission and applaud the new French and German initiatives to continue work on these issues within the EU. The Bush administration should call for a U.S.-EU-Georgia summit in September that focuses on strategies for preserving Georgia’s territorial integrity and advancing its economic recovery.”

Obama avoided militaristic rhetoric and focused on multinational approaches to dealing with the problem, particularly via NATO and the European Union. In this and in Afghanistan, he has returned to a Democratic fundamental: the centrality of the U.S.-European relationship. In this sense, it is not accidental that he took a preconvention trip to Europe. It was both natural and a signal to the Democratic foreign policy establishment that he understands the pivotal position of Europe.

This view on multilateralism and NATO is summed up in a critical statement by Obama in a position paper:

“Today it’s become fashionable to disparage the United Nations, the World Bank, and other international organizations. In fact, reform of these bodies is urgently needed if they are to keep pace with the fast-moving threats we face. Such real reform will not come, however, by dismissing the value of these institutions, or by bullying other countries to ratify changes we have drafted in isolation. Real reform will come because we convince others that they too have a stake in change — that such reforms will make their world, and not just ours, more secure.

“Our alliances also require constant management and revision if they are to remain effective and relevant. For example, over the last 15 years, NATO has made tremendous strides in transforming from a Cold War security structure to a dynamic partnership for peace.

“Today, NATO’s challenge in Afghanistan has become a test case, in the words of Dick Lugar, of whether the alliance can ‘overcome the growing discrepancy between NATO’s expanding missions and its lagging capabilities.’”

Obama’s European Problem
The last paragraph represents the key challenge to Obama’s foreign policy, and where his first challenge would come from. Obama wants a coalition with Europe and wants Europe to strengthen itself. But Europe is deeply divided, and averse to increasing its defense spending or substantially increasing its military participation in coalition warfare. Obama’s multilateralism and Europeanism will quickly encounter the realities of Europe.

This would immediately affect his jihadist policy. At this point, Obama’s plan for a 16-month drawdown from Iraq is quite moderate, and the idea of focusing on Afghanistan and Pakistan is a continuation of Bush administration policy. But his challenge would be to increase NATO involvement. There is neither the will nor the capability to substantially increase Europe’s NATO participation in Afghanistan.

This problem would be even more difficult in dealing with Russia. Europe has no objection in principle to the Afghan war; it merely lacks the resources to substantially increase its presence there. But in the case of Russia, there is no European consensus. The Germans are dependent on the Russians for energy and do not want to risk that relationship; the French are more vocal but lack military capability, though they have made efforts to increase their commitment to Afghanistan. Obama says he wants to rely on multilateral agencies to address the Russian situation. That is possible diplomatically, but if the Russians press the issue further, as we expect, a stronger response will be needed. NATO will be unlikely to provide that response.

Obama would therefore face the problem of shifting the focus to Afghanistan and the added problem of balancing between an Islamic focus and a Russian focus. This will be a general problem of U.S. diplomacy. But Obama as a Democrat would have a more complex problem. Averse to unilateral actions and focused on Europe, Obama would face his first crisis in dealing with the limited support Europe can provide.

That will pose serious problems in both Afghanistan and Russia, which Obama would have to deal with. There is a hint in his thoughts on this when he says, “And as we strengthen NATO, we should also seek to build new alliances and relationships in other regions important to our interests in the 21st century.” The test would be whether these new coalitions will differ from, and be more effective than, the coalition of the willing.

Obama would face similar issues in dealing with the Iranians. His approach is to create a coalition to confront the Iranians and force them to abandon their nuclear program. He has been clear that he opposes that program, although less clear on other aspects of Iranian foreign policy. But again, his solution is to use a coalition to control Iran. That coalition disintegrated to a large extent after Russia and China both indicated that they had no interest in sanctions.

But the coalition Obama plans to rely on will have to be dramatically revived by unknown means, or an alternative coalition must be created, or the United States will have to deal with Afghanistan and Pakistan unilaterally. This reality places a tremendous strain on the core principles of Democratic foreign policy. To reconcile the tensions, he would have to rapidly come to an understanding with the Europeans in NATO on expanding their military forces. Since reaching out to the Europeans would be among his first steps, his first test would come early.

The Europeans would probably balk, and, if not, they would demand that the United States expand its defense spending as well. Obama has shown no inclination toward doing this. In October 2007, he said the following on defense: “I will cut tens of billions of dollars in wasteful spending. I will cut investments in unproven missile defense systems. I will not weaponize space. I will slow our development of future combat systems, and I will institute an independent defense priorities board to ensure that the quadrennial defense review is not used to justify unnecessary spending.”

Russia, Afghanistan and Defense Spending
In this, Obama is reaching toward the anti-war faction in his party, which regards military expenditures with distrust. He focused on advanced war-fighting systems, but did not propose cutting spending on counterinsurgency. But the dilemma is that in dealing with both insurgency and the Russians, Obama would come under pressure to do what he doesn’t want to do — namely, increase U.S. defense spending on advanced systems.

Obama has been portrayed as radical. That is far from the case. He is well within a century-long tradition of the Democratic Party, with an element of loyalty to the anti-war faction. But that element is an undertone to his policy, not its core. The core of his policy would be coalition building and a focus on European allies, as well as the use of multilateral institutions and the avoidance of pre-emptive war. There is nothing radical or even new in these principles. His discomfort with military spending is the only thing that might link him to the party’s left wing.

The problem he would face is the shifting international landscape, which would make it difficult to implement some of his policies. First, the tremendous diversity of international challenges would make holding the defense budget in check difficult. Second, and more important, is the difficulty of coalition building and multilateral action with the Europeans. Obama thus lacks both the force and the coalition to carry out his missions. He therefore would have no choice but to deal with the Russians while confronting the Afghan/Pakistani question even if he withdrew more quickly than he says he would from Iraq.

The make-or-break moment for Obama will come early, when he confronts the Europeans. If he can persuade them to take concerted action, including increased defense spending, then much of his foreign policy rapidly falls into place, even if it is at the price of increasing U.S. defense spending. If the Europeans cannot come together (or be brought together) decisively, however, then he will have to improvise.

Obama would be the first Democrat in this century to take office inheriting a major war. Inheriting an ongoing war is perhaps the most difficult thing for a president to deal with. Its realities are already fixed and the penalties for defeat or compromise already defined. The war in Afghanistan has already been defined by U.S. President George W. Bush’s approach. Rewriting it will be enormously difficult, particularly when rewriting it depends on ending unilateralism and moving toward full coalition warfare when coalition partners are wary.

Obama’s problems are compounded by the fact that he does not only have to deal with an inherited war, but also a resurgent Russia. And he wants to depend on the same coalition for both. That will be enormously challenging for him, testing his diplomatic skills as well as geopolitical realities. As with all presidents, what he plans to do and what he would do are two different things. But it seems to us that his presidency would be defined by whether he can change the course of U.S.-European relations not by accepting European terms but by persuading them to accommodate U.S. interests.

An Obama presidency would not turn on this. There is no evidence that he lacks the ability to shift with reality — that he lacks Machiavellian virtue. But it still will be the first and critical test, one handed to him by the complex tensions of Democratic traditions and by a war he did not start.

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Posts: 15536

« Reply #306 on: October 01, 2008, 03:49:16 PM »

October 01, 2008, 7:00 a.m.

Obama’s Assault on the First Amendment
Stifling political debate with threats of prosecution is not the “rule of law” — it’s tyranny.

By Andrew C. McCarthy

In London last week, a frightful warning was sounded about encroaching tyranny. At an important conference, speaker after impassioned speaker warned of the peril to Western values posed by freedom-devouring sharia — the Islamic legal code. Like all tyrannies, sharia’s first target is speech: Suppress all examination of Muslim radicalism by threats of prosecution and libel actions, and smugly call it “the rule of law.”

But we may already be further gone than the London conferees feared. And without resort to the Islamicization that so startled them. For that, we can thank the campaign of Barack Obama.

I’ll be blunt: Sen. Obama and his supporters despise free expression, the bedrock of American self-determinism and hence American democracy. What’s more, like garden-variety despots, they see law not as a means of ensuring liberty but as a tool to intimidate and quell dissent.

We London conferees were fretting over speech codes, “hate speech” restrictions, “Islamophobia” provisions, and “libel tourism” — the use of less journalist-friendly defamation laws in foreign jurisdictions to eviscerate our First Amendment freedom to report, for example, on the nexus between ostensible Islamic charity and the funding of terrorist operations.

All the while, in St. Louis, local law-enforcement authorities, dominated by Democrat-party activists, were threatening libel prosecutions against Obama’s political opposition. County Circuit Attorney Bob McCulloch and City Circuit Attorney Jennifer Joyce, abetted by a local sheriff and encouraged by the Obama campaign, warned that members of the public who dared speak out against Obama during the campaign’s crucial final weeks would face criminal libel charges — if, in the judgment of these conflicted officials, such criticism of their champion was “false.”

The chill wind was bracing. The Taliban could not better rig matters. The Prophet of Change is only to be admired, not questioned. In the stretch run of an American election, there is to be no examination of a candidate for the world’s most powerful office — whether about his radical record, the fringe Leftism that lies beneath his thin, centrist veneer, his enabling of infanticide, his history of race-conscious politics, his proposals for unprecedented confiscation and distribution of private property (including a massive transfer of American wealth to third-world dictators through international bureaucrats), his ruinous economic policies that have helped leave Illinois a financial wreck, his place at the vortex of the credit market implosion that has put the U.S. economy on the brink of meltdown, his aggressive push for American withdrawal and defeat in Iraq, his easy gravitation to America-hating activists, be they preachers like Jeremiah Wright, terrorists like Bill Ayers, or Communists like Frank Marshall Davis. Comment on any of this and risk indictment or, at the very least, government harassment and exorbitant legal fees.

Nor was this an isolated incident.

Item: When the American Issues Project ran political ads calling attention to Obama’s extensive ties to Ayers, the Weatherman terrorist who brags about having bombed the Pentagon and the U.S. Capitol, the Obama campaign pressured the Justice Department to launch an absurd criminal prosecution.

Item: When commentator Stanley Kurtz of the Ethics and Public Policy Center was invited on a Chicago radio program to discuss his investigation of the Chicago Annenberg Challenge, an “education reform” project in which Obama and Ayers (just “a guy who lives in my neighborhood”) collaborated to dole out over $100 million, the Obama campaign issued an Internet action alert. Supporters, armed with the campaign’s non-responsive talking points, dutifully flooded the program with calls and emails, protesting Kurtz’s appearance and attempting to shout him down.

Item: Both Obama and his running mate, Sen. Joe Biden, have indicated that an Obama administration would use its control of the Justice Department to prosecute its political opponents, including Bush administration officials responsible for the national security policies put in effect after nearly 3000 Americans were killed in the 9/11 attacks.

Item: There is a troubling report that the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Section, top officials of which are Obama contributors, has suggested criminal prosecutions against those they anticipate will engage in voter “intimidation” or “oppression” in an election involving a black candidate. (Memo to my former DOJ colleagues: In a system that presumes innocence even after crimes have undeniably been committed, responsible prosecutors don’t assume non-suspects will commit future law violations — especially when doing so necessarily undermines the First Amendment freedoms those prosecutors solemnly swear to uphold.)

Obama may very well win the November election but he, like Sen. McCain, should be forced to win it fair and square: by persuading Americans that he is the superior candidate after our free society has had its customary free and open debate.

One understandably feels little sympathy for McCain here. His years-long assault on the First Amendment under the guise of campaign-finance “reform” has led inexorably to the brazenness of Obama’s Chicago-style strong-arming. But the victim here is not McCain. The victim is democratic self-determination. The victim is our right to informed participation in a political community’s most important decisions. The victim is freedom.

The Justice Department’s job is to prosecute those actively undermining our freedom, not to intimidate citizens in the exercise of that freedom. Consequently, instead of threatening criminal investigations of phantom future civil-rights violations, it should be conducting criminal investigations into whether public officials in St. Louis are abusing their offices to affect a national election.

The federal Hatch Act (codified in Title 5 of the U.S. Code) prohibits executive officials (such as prosecutors and police) from using their offices to interfere with federal elections. The statute may be of limited utility in St. Louis since it principally targets federal officials. Still, state and local government may come within its ambit if their activities are funded in part by the national Leviathan — as many arms of municipal government are these days.

The same bright-line demarcation does not limit application of the federal extortion and fraud laws. The extortion provision (also known as the Hobbs Act and codified at Section 1951 of the federal penal code) makes it a felony for anyone, including public officials, to deprive people of their property by inducing fear of harm. Property interests have been held to include, for example, the right of union members to participate in a democratic process; the harm apprehended can be either physical or economic. Inducing voters to fear prosecution and imprisonment unless they refrain from exercising their fundamental right to engage democratic debate may well qualify.

An easier fit may be fraud, which under federal law (Section 1346 of the penal code) prohibits schemes to deprive citizens of their “intangible right of honest services” from their public officials. Prosecutors and police who abuse their enormous powers in order to promote the election of their preferred candidates violate their public trust.

Regardless of the legal landscape, however, it is the political consequences that matter. Day after day, Obama demonstrates that the “change” he represents is a severing of our body politic from the moorings that make us America. If we idly stand by while he and his thugs kill free political debate, we die too.

National Review Online -
« Reply #307 on: October 02, 2008, 12:17:18 PM »

Obama’s Friends at Fannie Mae
by Lynn Woolley (more by this author)
Posted 10/01/2008 ET

To be sure, the nation’s current financial mess is a bipartisan disaster -- but how curious it was to hear Barack Obama at the first debate claim that he sounded warnings two years ago.  Perhaps he did, but some us of would like to hear more about the warnings and the letter he says he wrote to the Secretary of the Treasury urging a meeting of all “stakeholders.” 

After all, many of Sen. Obama’s friends, advisors and fellow Democrats have direct connections to the quasi-governmental agency at the center all this -- the Federal National Mortgage Association, better known as Fannie Mae. 

Back in 2004, Fannie was embroiled in an accounting scandal and in October of that year, the House conducted hearings.  According to the Wall Street Journal, the staunchest defenders of Fannie were members of the Congressional Black Caucus.  By a strange coincidence, the Fannie Mae Foundation was making annual contributions to the Caucus.  And get this – Maxine Waters (D-CA) “cooed all over Mr. Raines” and Clay Lacy (D-MO) “played the race card by calling the hearings a ‘political lynching’ of Mr. Raines.”

That would be Franklin Raines, an African American who stepped down as chairman and CEO of Fannie Mae on December 21, 2004.  This followed an investigation by the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight (OFHEO) and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) that accused Fannie of cooking the books so that its officers could “earn” big bonuses.   Two years ago, the OFHEO filed suit against Raines to try to recover the $50 million in payments that were made to him based on the faulty accounting.  He settled for a small fine that was paid by Fannie’s insurance company. 

Connection to Sen. Obama:  Both Raines and Obama insist there is no connection, but he is likely a behind-the-scenes advisor.  The Washington Post has reported that Raines had “taken calls from Barack Obama’s presidential campaign seeking his advice on mortgage and housing policy matters” and that Raines is a member of Obama’s “political circle.” Obama did not request a correction until after a McCain ad quoted the paper.

Next is J. Timothy Howard, who resigned along with Raines and who was Fannie’s Chief Financial Officer.   In that position, he was a key figure in shaping the company’s books to make it seem that Fannie had reached goals that would lead to executive bonuses.  Howard was part of the Raines settlement.  His connection to Barack Obama:  Murky at best but likely since Howard is tied to Raines. 

It’s interesting to note that by 2006, both Raines and Howard were being investigated by both the OFHEO and the SEC, by then headed by Christopher Cox, whom Sen. McCain now wants to see fired.

Then there is Jamie Gorelick, a Harvard lawyer who always seems to turn up in interesting places.  You’ll remember her as a member of the 9/11 Commission and the criticism of her related to a “wall” that may have limited the ability of agencies to cooperate against terrorism.  Turns out that she was Vice Chairman of Fannie Mae from 1997 until 2003 -- smack in the middle of the accounting scandal.  On March 25, 2002, Business Week quoted her as saying about the agency, “We believe we are managed safely.”  Gorelick was among those who received large bonuses. 

Her connection to Obama:  None that we know of other than her association with the Democratic Party.

Next is Jim Johnson, a Democratic figure dating back to the Carter years.  He was CEO of Fannie Mae from 1991 until 1998 (preceding Raines) and was a subject of the OFHEO investigation.  The investigation showed that Fannie had substantially underreported Johnson’s compensation, listing it as $6 million when it was really some $21 million. 

Johnson is a strong Obama supporter who was tapped to head up the vice-presidential selection committee.  He had to drop out when it was disclosed that he received a sweetheart loan from Countrywide Financial, as had Mr. Raines.

We should also mention former Clinton Commerce Secretary William Daley who served as a Fannie Mae board member collecting stock options and director’s fees and whose son Bill Jr. was a Fannie Mae lobbyist from 2002 until 2005.  His connection to Obama:  The Politico reports that he is serving as an advisor for the senator and he has been mentioned as a potential Treasury Secretary in an Obama administration.

Of course, Sen. Obama himself is second on the list of campaign contributions from Fannie Mae since 1989.  Regardless of what he may have stated at the debate, the Washington Post editorialized on September 19, 2008, “In 2006, [McCain] pushed for stronger regulation of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac while Mr. Obama was strangely silent.”  Perhaps his $126,000 in contributions kept him that way.

Obama now claims to champion “Main Street” by fighting against so-called golden parachutes for CEO’s.  That’s something he should know about since so many of his friends and advisors have hands-on experience with creating them.

Mr. Woolley is a Texas-based talk show host heard on KVCE AM 1160 weeknights at 8 p.m. Visit him at

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« Reply #308 on: October 03, 2008, 02:54:46 PM »

Obama Was Willing to Lose in Iraq
A president cannot treat a war as if it's a game.By ROBERT MCFARLANEArticle
A profoundly important point is being missed in the campaign debate over which candidate was right on Iraq. In 2006, when conditions on the ground were trending downward and a decision was required either to continue the struggle or to cut our losses, Barack Obama stated that the proposed deployment of more forces, the "surge," was doomed to failure and instead called for a phased withdrawal of all forces within a defined period.

In short, Sen. Obama was willing to lose. It was an astonishing display of ignorance to be so cavalier about defeat, almost as if losing a war was tantamount to losing a set of tennis -- something without lasting consequence.

I recall very vividly April 30, 1975, the day we acknowledged defeat in the Vietnam War -- the day Ambassador Graham Martin and others were evacuated ignominiously from the roof of our embassy in Saigon. Only later did it become clear how damaging that defeat was.

There were consequences for all nations, especially small states who are vulnerable to great-power pressures. In the late 1970s it contributed to a greater Russian willingness to take risks and a more aggressive Soviet foreign policy. Indeed, in the years immediately following our defeat in Vietnam, an emboldened Soviet Union established a dominant influence in Angola, Ethiopia, South Yemen, Mozambique, Nicaragua and ultimately invaded Afghanistan with 100,000 troops.

Our loss also lessened our willingness to criticize the Soviet Union and thereby undermined the struggles of oppressed minorities inside that totalitarian state.

Losing a war also affects the behavior of allies who begin to wonder whether the United States can still muster the means and will to uphold its obligations, and to ask themselves whether they need at least to hedge their bets by being more conciliatory to adversaries. I recall very well the sudden rush of European foreign ministers to Moscow in the late '70s without so much as a preliminary discussion with their counterpart in Washington.

Further, losing a war also has a profound effect on the thinking within our military concerning how it was led, restricted, or abused in wartime. Painful reflection on a loss penetrates every level of the military and conditions its future relationship with civilian leaders -- as it surely did in the wake of the Vietnam War. Specifically, it led to the adoption, at military urging, of the Weinberger Doctrine, which asserted stringent criteria to be met in the future before any resort to the use of military force. These criteria included not committing forces to combat unless it was vital to our national interest, we had clearly defined political and military objectives, and unless the engagement had the support of the American people and Congress -- and then only as a last resort.

Allies and adversaries could see that these criteria were virtually impossible to fulfill, thus worrying the former and encouraging the latter. Yet such was the effect on senior military leaders of losing a war they knew they could have won. We are seeing some of the same disdain within the military toward our political leadership today as a consequence of how civilian leaders mismanaged the war in its first three-plus years.

Losing a war also affects our body politic. Americans have a low tolerance for foreign wars; losing one only reinforces their inclination to avoid foreign involvement and focus on matters here at home. Now is such a time. Yet can you imagine how much worse our political stability would be today -- faced with the financial and housing crises -- if we were also coming home from losing a war?

Consideration of these costs raises the question of whether we are forever bound to continue suffering losses if it becomes clear that we aren't winning. Considering the family of threats we face today, the question is specious. Notwithstanding the hubris and intelligence failure regarding Saddam Hussein's nuclear weapons program, which motivated our launching the Iraq war in the first place, and our failure to plan for the likely contingency of an insurgency arising, it is difficult to imagine circumstances anywhere in the world today where the U.S. military cannot prevail if properly employed.

This is not at all to say that we should be frivolous toward using military force -- quite the contrary. We are entering a time requiring consummate judgment and careful deliberation toward how to resolve the panoply of challenges before us. Indeed these challenges put a very high premium on coordinating the use of our political and economic resources with allies and avoiding war wherever possible.

The next president will enter office with the war in Iraq winding down but with the conflict in Afghanistan requiring urgent, focused attention. The stakes engaged there go well beyond restoring order in that country alone. How we emerge from Afghanistan will go far toward determining our ability to prevail in the global war against radical Islam, our ability to limit nuclear proliferation, and to bring order and the hope for a brighter future to the almost two billion people in South and Central Asia. These are issues of profound importance to the future security of our nation and our citizens. Losing is not an option, and no sensible leader should entertain the thought that it is.

Mr. McFarlane served as President Reagan's National Security Adviser from 1983-85.

Please add your comments to the Opinion Journal forum.
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« Reply #309 on: October 04, 2008, 09:12:44 PM »

More on the ring of scum that surrounds Obama.
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« Reply #310 on: October 04, 2008, 09:37:29 PM »

Don't question the left's patriotism.
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« Reply #311 on: October 05, 2008, 09:24:28 AM »

Obama on guns.
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« Reply #312 on: October 05, 2008, 08:25:51 PM »

Obama’s ‘Good Will’ Hunting
Michael Isikoff
From the magazine issue dated Oct 13, 2008

The Obama campaign has shattered all fund-raising records, raking in $458 million so far, with about half the bounty coming from donors who contribute $200 or less. Aides say that's an illustration of a truly democratic campaign. To critics, though, it can be an invitation for fraud and illegal foreign cash because donors giving individual sums of $200 or less don't have to be publicly reported. Consider the cases of Obama donors "Doodad Pro" of Nunda, N.Y., who gave $17,130, and "Good Will" of Austin, Texas, who gave more than $11,000—both in excess of the $2,300-per-person federal limit. In two recent letters to the Obama campaign, Federal Election Commission auditors flagged those (and other) donors and informed the campaign that the sums had to be returned. Neither name had ever been publicly reported because both individuals made online donations in $10 and $25 increments. "Good Will" listed his employer as "Loving" and his occupation as "You," while supplying as his address 1015 Norwood Park Boulevard, which is shared by the Austin nonprofit Goodwill Industries. Suzanha Burmeister, marketing director for Goodwill, said the group had "no clue" who the donor was. She added, however, that the group had received five puzzling thank-you letters from the Obama campaign this year, prompting it to send the campaign an e-mail in September pointing out the apparent fraudulent use of its name.

"Doodad Pro" listed no occupation or employer; the contributor's listed address is shared by Lloyd and Lynn's Liquor Store in Nunda. "I have never heard of such an individual," says Diane Beardsley, who works at the store and is the mother of one of the owners. "Nobody at this store has that much money to contribute." (She added that a Doodad's Boutique, located next door, had closed a year ago, before the donations were made.)

Obama spokesman Ben LaBolt said the campaign has no idea who the individuals are and has returned all the donations, using the credit-card numbers they gave to the campaign. (In a similar case earlier this year, the campaign returned $33,000 to two Palestinian brothers in the Gaza Strip who had bought T shirts in bulk from the campaign's online store. They had listed their address as "Ga.," which the campaign took to mean Georgia rather than Gaza.) "While no organization is completely protected from Internet fraud, we will continue to review our fund-raising procedures," LaBolt said. Some critics say the campaign hasn't done enough. This summer, watchdog groups asked both campaigns to share more information about its small donors. The McCain campaign agreed; the Obama campaign did not. "They could've done themselves a service" by heeding the suggestions, said Massie Ritsch of the Center for Responsive Politics.

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« Reply #313 on: October 06, 2008, 12:40:05 PM »

Fire in the Night
The Weathermen tried to kill my family.
30 April 2008

During the April 16 debate between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, moderator George Stephanopoulos brought up “a gentleman named William Ayers,” who “was part of the Weather Underground in the 1970s. They bombed the Pentagon, the Capitol, and other buildings. He’s never apologized for that.” Stephanopoulos then asked Obama to explain his relationship with Ayers. Obama’s answer: “The notion that somehow as a consequence of me knowing somebody who engaged in detestable acts 40 years ago, when I was eight years old, somehow reflects on me and my values, doesn’t make much sense, George.” Obama was indeed only eight in early 1970. I was only nine then, the year Ayers’s Weathermen tried to murder me.

In February 1970, my father, a New York State Supreme Court justice, was presiding over the trial of the so-called “Panther 21,” members of the Black Panther Party indicted in a plot to bomb New York landmarks and department stores. Early on the morning of February 21, as my family slept, three gasoline-filled firebombs exploded at our home on the northern tip of Manhattan, two at the front door and the third tucked neatly under the gas tank of the family car. (Today, of course, we’d call that a car bomb.) A neighbor heard the first two blasts and, with the remains of a snowman I had built a few days earlier, managed to douse the flames beneath the car. That was an act whose courage I fully appreciated only as an adult, an act that doubtless saved multiple lives that night.

I still recall, as though it were a dream, thinking that someone was lifting and dropping my bed as the explosions jolted me awake, and I remember my mother’s pulling me from the tangle of sheets and running to the kitchen where my father stood. Through the large windows overlooking the yard, all we could see was the bright glow of flames below. We didn’t leave our burning house for fear of who might be waiting outside. The same night, bombs were thrown at a police car in Manhattan and two military recruiting stations in Brooklyn. Sunlight, the next morning, revealed three sentences of blood-red graffiti on our sidewalk: FREE THE PANTHER 21; THE VIET CONG HAVE WON; KILL THE PIGS.

For the next 18 months, I went to school in an unmarked police car. My mother, a schoolteacher, had plainclothes detectives waiting in the faculty lounge all day. My brother saved a few bucks because he didn’t have to rent a limo for the senior prom: the NYPD did the driving. We all made the best of the odd new life that had been thrust upon us, but for years, the sound of a fire truck’s siren made my stomach knot and my heart race. In many ways, the enormity of the attempt to kill my entire family didn’t fully hit me until years later, when, a father myself, I was tucking my own nine-year-old John Murtagh into bed.

Though no one was ever caught or tried for the attempt on my family’s life, there was never any doubt who was behind it. Only a few weeks after the attack, the New York contingent of the Weathermen blew themselves up making more bombs in a Greenwich Village townhouse. The same cell had bombed my house, writes Ron Jacobs in The Way the Wind Blew: A History of the Weather Underground. And in late November that year, a letter to the Associated Press signed by Bernardine Dohrn, Ayers’s wife, promised more bombings.

As the association between Obama and Ayers came to light, it would have helped the senator a little if his friend had at least shown some remorse. But listen to Ayers interviewed in the New York Times on September 11, 2001, of all days: “I don’t regret setting bombs. I feel we didn’t do enough.” Translation: “We meant to kill that judge and his family, not just damage the porch.” When asked by the Times if he would do it all again, Ayers responded: “I don’t want to discount the possibility.”

Though never a supporter of Obama, I admired him for a time for his ability to engage our imaginations, and especially for his ability to inspire the young once again to embrace the political system. Yet his myopia in the last few months has cast a new light on his “politics of change.” Nobody should hold the junior senator from Illinois responsible for his friends’ and supporters’ violent terrorist acts. But it is fair to hold him responsible for a startling lack of judgment in his choice of mentors, associates, and friends, and for showing a callous disregard for the lives they damaged and the hatred they have demonstrated for this country. It is fair, too, to ask what those choices say about Obama’s own beliefs, his philosophy, and the direction he would take our nation.

At the conclusion of his 2001 Times interview, Ayers said of his upbringing and subsequent radicalization: “I was a child of privilege and I woke up to a world on fire.”

Funny thing, Bill: one night, so did I.

John M. Murtagh is a practicing attorney, an adjunct professor of public policy at the Fordham University College of Liberal Studies, and a member of the city council in Yonkers, New York, where he resides with his wife and two sons.
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« Reply #314 on: October 06, 2008, 01:46:50 PM »

More on Obama's terror connection and the attempts to hide it.
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« Reply #315 on: October 06, 2008, 01:49:46 PM »

Well let's hope BO is the next coming of Abe Lincoln.  I think we need old Abe right about now.  (I'd rather not have FDR).

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« Reply #316 on: October 06, 2008, 01:53:42 PM »

Obama's character is pretty evident, and it ain't Lincolnesque.
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« Reply #317 on: October 06, 2008, 04:48:09 PM »

I agree with you.  It's just that it isn't looking too good for McCain.
So what else can I do if we are getting BO than hope he won't be the angry leftist minority guy once he gets into office?
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« Reply #318 on: October 06, 2008, 05:02:23 PM »

Worst case, we look at it as a time to rebuild the republican brand, as the dems will really fcuk things up with both houses of congress and the white house. Don't give up yet though, once the public gets to look at Ocommie's ring of scum, he may well lose.
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« Reply #319 on: October 08, 2008, 10:50:41 AM »


Obama's Real Problem With Ayers
By INVESTOR'S BUSINESS DAILY | Posted Tuesday, October 07, 2008 4:20 PM PT

Election '08: At an education forum in Venezuela, Bill Ayers showed the real issue is not his terrorist past. It's the socialist revolutionary agenda that he and Barack Obama want to impose on the nation's schools.


Read More: Election 2008


Still more evidence of how the media are in the tank for Obama was evident in Tom Brokaw's description of Ayers on Sunday's "Meet The Press."

"School reformer" is how Brokaw identified the co-founder of the Weather Underground, the radical organization that, among other activities, bombed government buildings, banks, police departments and military bases in the early 1970s.

Yeah, right: Ayers is a school reformer in the same sense, as City Journal's Sol Stern put it, as Joe Stalin was an agricultural reformer.

An idea of what Ayers has in mind for America's schools was provided in his own words not 40 years ago when Obama was eight years old, but less than two years ago in November 2006 at the World Education Forum in Caracas hosted by dictator Hugo Chavez.

With Chavez at his side, Ayers voiced his support for "the political educational reforms under way here in Venezuela under the leadership of President Chavez. We share the belief that education is the motor-force of revolution. . . . I look forward to seeing how . . . all of you continue to overcome the failures of capitalist education as you seek to create something truly new and deeply humane."

Ayers told the great humanitarian Chavez: "Teaching invites transformations, it urges revolutions large and small. La educacion es revolucion." It is that form of socialist revolution that Ayers, and Obama, have worked to bring to America.

Ayers, now a tenured Distinguished Professor of Education at the University of Illinois, Chicago, works to educate teachers in socialist revolutionary ideology, urging that it be passed on to impressionable students.

As Stern points out, "Ayers and his education school comrades are explicit about the need to indoctrinate public school children in the belief that America is a racist, militarist country and that the capitalist system is inherently unfair and oppressive."

If Ayers was just another nutty professor, we'd be lucky. But he wields great influence in academic circles and has had Obama's ear. He's the author or editor of 15 books. Chicago's current mayor, Richard M. Daley, has employed Ayers as a teacher trainer for Chicago's public schools and consulted him on the city's education-reform plans.

Just last month, Ayers was elected vice-president for curriculum for the 25,000-member American Educational Research Association. AERA is the nation's largest organization of education-school professors and researchers.

In a recent interview on Fox News' "The O'Reilly Factor," Obama upgraded Ayers' status from "a guy who lives in my neighborhood" to "somebody who worked on education issues in Chicago that I know."

Actually, Obama knew him quite well, having worked together on a school "reform" project called the Chicago Annenberg Challenge.

In the 1990s, Ayers was instrumental in starting the Annenberg Challenge, securing a $50 million grant to reform the Chicago Public Schools, part of a national initiative funded by the late Ambassador Walter Annenberg.

Obama was given the Annenberg board chairmanship only months before his first run for office. He ran the fiscal arm that distributed grants to schools and raised matching funds.

Ayers participated in a second entity known as the Chicago School Reform Collaborative, the operational arm that worked with grant recipients.

During Obama's tenure as Annenberg board chairman, Ayers' own education projects received substantial funding.

One of Ayers' descriptions for a course called "Improving Learning Environments" says a prospective K-12 teacher needs to "be aware of the social and moral universe we inhabit and . . . be a teacher capable of hope and struggle, outrage and action, teaching for social justice and liberation."

John McCain needs to repeatedly point out the stealth socialism of Ayers' education agenda and Obama's complicity in it. Otherwise, we may one day see Ayers as Obama's secretary of education.

« Reply #320 on: October 08, 2008, 11:35:22 AM »

In the 1990s, Ayers was instrumental in starting the Annenberg Challenge, securing a $50 million grant to reform the Chicago Public Schools, part of a national initiative funded by the late Ambassador Walter Annenberg.

Keep hearing about the Annenberg Challenge and William Ayers, so I did some research:

Along with being one of the world's greatest philanthropists, Walter Annenberg was also an avowed conservative. He's credited with introducing Ronald Reagan to Margaret Thatcher, spent regular New Year's with the Reagans, and was even appointed ambassador to the Court of St. James by Richard Nixon.

Given his background, I would hardly consider Annenberg an individual who was not concerned with the background of individuals to whom he endowed large sums of money. He was the one that gave the money what the article derisively calls a "school 'reform' project". In reality that "project" was as fully funded $49 million dollar initiative. Hardly small potatoes, and hardly the type of program you would put under the supervision of a socialist, unless you really didn't care. Annenberg doesn't seem to have been the type of person not to care, so what gives?

Ayers wrote the proposal for Chicago's A.C. (one of 18 such programs across the country), with two advisors to the national Annenberg Challenge.

Anyone care to shed some light on the apparent disinterest of the Annenberg Foundation on Ayers' background? Or was it that they just didn't care?

« Reply #321 on: October 08, 2008, 01:12:08 PM »

Not sure what the man has to do with the way his foundation is handled. I note "" lists the following:

Funding To Activist Groups   Total Donated   Time Frame
World Wildlife Fund   $78,333.00   1993 – 2000
Sierra Club   $77,500.00   1999 – 2001
Environmental Defense   $66,666.00   1993 – 1994
Natural Resources Defense Council   $15,000.00   2002 – 2002
American Oceans Campaign   $5,050.00   1999 – 2000

I've noted a lot of left-leaning PBS programming was funded by Annenberg, I believe it donates to the Brady campaign and understands it funds Fact Check, which looks to me like it has a left leaning take on things, particularly where the 2nd amendment is involved.

As for what Ayers and Obama did with the Annenberg money, near as I can tell the answer is not much, beyond handing money to their cronies. I've not been able to find any sources that argue the money did anything to improve Chicago's abysmal school system, though there is evidence the money funded means of incorporating social activism into curriculums.

Seeing as Walter Annenberg died in 2002 at the age of 94, I suspect he hasn't been deeply involved in things of late.
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« Reply #322 on: October 08, 2008, 01:18:09 PM »

Barone: Of course Ayers is relevant

Greta van Susteren asked Michael Barone whether the topic of William Ayers has any relevance to Barack Obama’s candidacy last night after the debate. He replies that it’s at least as legitimate as Sarah Palin’s per diem, and gives three reasons for why it should get more attention:

Barone’s three reasons:

Obama stresses his commonality with the American people.  Do most people feel comfortable working closely with unrepentant domestic terrorists who still want to overthrow the capitalist system in America?
Obama presses educational issues as part of his campaign.  He spent years working with Ayers on the Chicago Annenberg Challenge, which pushed efforts to create primary educational organizations that would create political activists for the Left - and which largely failed in any of its intended purposes.
Obama has lied and obfuscated about his relationship with Ayers.  Clearly, Ayers was not just “some guy in the neighborhood”, but a political adviser at least on educational issues who provided a key launch for Obama’s political career.
I think the latter two are more compelling than the first.  Perhaps a better way of structuring the first point would be to relate it to Obama’s insistence that he has better judgment than John McCain to lead the nation.  Can anyone believe that a man who worked with an unrepentant domestic terrorist for years and considered him “mainstream” has the judgment necessary for the Presidency?

Expect Sarah Palin to continue to lead the charge on this topic.  She has effectively used the media scrutiny surrounding her to get national media coverage on Ayers, with surprising results.  So far, the Obama campaign simply has not effectively rebutted it, and in fact has made the damage worse.
« Reply #323 on: October 08, 2008, 01:19:51 PM »

An exhaustive analysis of Obama and Ayers' work with Annenberg funds, abstract provided below, can be downloaded here:

The Authoritarian Radicals: Barack Obama, Bill Ayers and the Chicago Annenberg Challenge

Stephen F. Diamond
Santa Clara University - School of Law

September 1, 2008

The Chicago Annenberg Challenge was a $160 million dollar reform effort in the Chicago public school system led by, among others, Barack Obama and Bill Ayers. An analysis of the Challenge suggests that an authoritarian form of politics shared by Ayers and Obama was a critical part of the reform effort. This form of authoritarian radicalism has its roots in the American New Left and Black Power movements. The paper contrasts the authoritarian and anti-union approach of the Challenge with a democratic alternative.

Keywords: Law, poliitics, education, Obama, Ayers, Annenberg Challenge

JEL Classifications: None

Working Paper Series
« Reply #324 on: October 08, 2008, 03:15:41 PM »


Thanks BBG
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« Reply #325 on: October 08, 2008, 05:22:59 PM »

Wait! There's more!

By Jon Christian Dryer
October 3, 2008

On September 29, 2008 US District Court Judge R. Barclay Surrick, the
federal magistrate for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania ruled in the
matter of Philip J. Berg vs Barack Hussein Obama, et al as the world was
distracted by the $700 billion subprime mortgage crisis. Obama signed a
breathe of relief as the mainstream media chose to ignore the question:
"Can Senator Barack Hussein Obama legally seek the office of President of the
United States?"

The flap began in June when National Review's Jim Geraghty raised the
question and asked the Obama Campaign to release a copy of his birth
certificate in order to prove that he actually was born in the United
States. (Reports had previously surfaced claiming that Obama's Kenyan
grandmother, Sarah Hussein Obama, told reporters that Obama was not born
in Hawaii, but in Kenya. She reportedly told reporters that when her son,
Barack Hussein Obama, Sr. returned to Kenya he was accompanied by a
pregnant white wife who was close to term.)

 Obama's family did not take to Stanley Ann Dunham Obama well according to
Sarah Obama because she was white. Shortly after she arrived in Kenya
Stanley Ann decided to return to Hawaii because she did not like how
Muslim men treated their wives in Kenya. However, because she was near term the
airline would not let her fly until after the birth of her baby. Obama's
grandmother said the baby was born in Kenya and that shortly after Barack
Hussein Obama, Jr. was born, Stanley Ann returned to Hawaii.

 Purportedly, when she arrived back in Hawaii, Stanley Anne registered her
son's live birth as an event which had just happened-in Hawaii. This
supposition is based on the appearance, shortly after Nov. 6, 2007, of a
Hawaiian birth certificate that was issued, as a duplicate birth
certificate, by the State of Hawaii to a US Senator who requested it.

 While the Internet screamed that the birth certificate, which appeared on
the Obama Campaign's "Fight The Smears" website and was also downloaded
and used by far left blogger Markos Zuniga on his website, Daily Kos, it was
not an electronic image concocted by Daily KOs as was hypothesized by a
self-described cyvbersleuth who uses the cyber pseudonym Techdude. It was
the real McCoy-even if it was issued as a political favor to a prospective
Democratic presidential candidate by a Democrat official in Hawaii. The
county clerk who issued the document, which purports to be a copy of an
original document, was date stamped "Nov. 6, 2007" on the reverse side of
the birth certificate in blue ink which bled through and is visible on the
front of the electronic image.> 

 Attorney Philip J. Berg, the former head of the Montgomery County.
Pennsylvania Democratic Party and a former member of the Democratic State
Convention and, reportedly a Hillary Clinton supporter, wanted to learn
the truth from the myriad of rumors that also suggested that Sen. Obama may
also have been a citizen of Indonesia. The only consistent part of the story
was Stanley Ann returning to Hawaii to claim he had been in the United States
and was a US citizen. In his ruling, Judge Surrick noted that the
"...cause came before the United States District Court Judge, Honorable R. Barclay
Surrick on defendant Barack Hussein Obama and the Democratic National
Committee's motion to dismiss." The order continued, "Having reviewed the
motion and plaintiff's opposition to said motion and for good cause shown,
it is hereby ordered that the motion to dismiss pursuant to F.R.C.P.
12(b)(1) and 12(b)(6) is denied. It is further order of this court that
the following discovery is to be turned over to plaintiff within three (3)

1. Obama's "vault" version (certified copy of his "original" long version)
birth certificate; and

2. a certified copy of Obama's Certificate of Citizenship;

3. a certified copy of Obama's oath of allegiance."

In his original filing, Berg specifically asked for those three items.
Berg told the court that " the time Plaintiff's complaint was filed,
Plaintiff was requesting protections from the court in order to stop Obama
from being nominated by the DNC as the Democratic Presidential Nominee as
Obama is not eligible to serve as President of the United States. However,
Obama was nominated by the DNC...For that reason, Plaintiff must amend his
complaint and will be amending this complaint to file a First Amendment

 Berg argued that he felt it was the role of the Federal Election
Commission to ensure that presidential and congressional candidates are eligible to
hold the positions for which they were seeking, and that those candidates
run a fair and legitimate campaign. "In vetting the presidential
candidate," Berg argued, "the DNC and the FEC are required to ensure the eligibility
requirements pursuant to our Constitution are met and the Presidential
nominee, if elected, is qualified and eligible to serve pursuant to our
United States Constitution. In order to be eligible to run for the Office
of President of the United States, you must be a "natural born" citizen.

 "There appears to be no question that Defendant Obama's mother, Stanley
Ann Dunham, was a US citizen. It is also undisputed, however, that his father,
Barack Obama, Sr., was a citizen of Kenya. Obama's parents, according to
divorce recorded, were married on or about February 2, 1961.

 "Defendant Obama claims he was born in Honolulu, Hawaii. on August 4, 1961
and it is uncertain in which hospital he claims to have been born. Obama's
grandmother on his father's side, his half-brother and half-sister all
claim Obama was born not in Hawaii but in Kenya. reports reflect that Obama's
mother traveled to Kenya during her pregnancy; however, she was prevented
from boarding a flight from Kenya to Hawaii. at her late stage of
pregnancy (which apparently are normal restrictions, to avoid births during
flights). By these reports, Stanley Ann Dunham Obama gave birth to Obama in Kenya,
after which she flew home and registered Obama's birth. There are records
of a "registry of birth" for Obama, on or about August 8, 1961 in the public
records office in Hawaii."
 Berg's investigators revealed that Obama's own half-sister Maya
Soetoro-with whom he was raised-seemed not to know where her own brother was born. In
the Nov., 2004 interview by the Rainbow Newsletter Maya Soetoro said Obama was
born on Aug. 4, 1961 at Queens Medical Center in Honolulu, Hawaii. In
February, 2008 Maya was interviewed by the Star Bulletin. This time she
told reporters that Obama was born on August 4, 1961 at the Kaliolani Medical
Center for Women and Children. On June 9, 2008 Wayne Madsen, a journalist
with Online Journal published an article in which he said a research team
went to Mombassa, Kenya and located a Certificate registering the live
birth of Barack Hussein Obama, Jr. to his father, a Kenyan citizen and his
mother, a US citizen.

Berg's argument to the court was that under the US Nationality Act of
1940, Section 317 (b), a minor child follows the naturalization and citizenship
status of his or her custodial parent. In Obama's case, Berg argued, a
minor child follows the naturalization and citizenship status of his or her
custodial father. Obama's Indonesian stepfather, Lolo Soetora signed a
statement acknowledging Obama as his son, giving Obama natural Indonesian
citizenship, which explains the name "Barry Soetoro" and his citizenship
listed as Indonesian. Loss of US citizenship, under US law in effect in
1967 required that foreign citizenship be achieved through "application."
Which,  according to Berg, is precisely what happened to Obama when his mother
married Soetoro and the family moved to Indonesia.>

When Obama and his mother moved to Indonesia, Obama had already been
enrolled in school-something that could not have happened under Indonesian
law if Soetoro had not signed an acknowledgment (the application)
affirming that Obama was his son, it deemed his son to an Indonesian State citizen.
(Citizenship of Republic of Indonesia, Law No. 9 of 1992 dated 31 mar.
1992, Indonesia Civil Code):"...State children of Indonesia include: (viii)
children who are born outside of legal marriage from foreign State citizen
mother who are acknowledged by father who is Indonesian State citizen as
his children and that acknowledgment is made prior to children reaching 18
years of age or prior to marriage; Republic of Indonesia Constitution, 1945."
Furthermore, under Indonesian law, if a resident Indonesian citizen
married a foreigner-in this case, Lolo Soetoro marrying Stanley Ann Obama-she was
required to renounce her US citizenship.>

 In his lawsuit, Berg demanded a copy of Obama's Certificate of
Citizenship, a document Obama must have applied for to regain his citizenship-which was
lost in Indonesia. He will have that document only if the proper paperwork
was filed with the US State Department when Obama returned to Hawaii in
1971 since that is the only way Obama could regain his US "natural born"

Berg is convinced that Obama was never naturalized in the United States
after his return. Obama returned to his maternal grandparents in Hawaii
without his mother. Since she is the only one who could have filed for the
reinstatement of his citizenship, it is unlikely it ever happened. If it
did, his Certificate of Citizenship would affirm his right to seek the
office of President. Without it, Barack Obama is just another resident
alien who can't legally hold his seat in the US Senate.

 C 2008 Jon C. Ryter - All Rights Reserved
Power User
Posts: 15536

« Reply #326 on: October 08, 2008, 07:36:55 PM »

How did Obama's mother enter the US with a newborn without legal documentation? I very much doubt you could have just flown to Hawaii from Kenya without US Customs/ INS having documentation for the infant flying with you. If this did happen, there would be a federal paper trail documenting this.
« Reply #327 on: October 08, 2008, 09:41:59 PM »

Jesus, I mean, really? Come on people. Now it's just starting to reek of desperation...
« Reply #328 on: October 08, 2008, 09:51:02 PM »

My final post of the election season. I'm just plain burned out

Fortunately the highlights are, well, highlighted
Power User
Posts: 2004

« Reply #329 on: October 08, 2008, 10:29:49 PM »

It does REEK of desperation.
It's almost amusing except certain people are trying to be serious (desperate).
Power User
Posts: 42558

« Reply #330 on: October 09, 2008, 12:10:45 AM »

Good find SB Mig.   cry cheesy

Power User
Posts: 42558

« Reply #331 on: October 10, 2008, 08:23:01 AM »

And now, America, we introduce the Great Obama! The world's most gifted political magician! A thing of wonder. A thing of awe. Just watch him defy politics, economics, even gravity! (And hold your applause until the end, please.)

To kick off our show tonight, Mr. Obama will give 95% of American working families a tax cut, even though 40% of Americans today don't pay income taxes! How can our star enact such mathemagic? How can he "cut" zero? Abracadabra! It's called a "refundable tax credit." It involves the federal government taking money from those who do pay taxes, and writing checks to those who don't. Yes, yes, in the real world this is known as "welfare," but please try not to ruin the show.

Ken FallinFor his next trick, the Great Obama will jumpstart the economy, and he'll do it by raising taxes on the very businesses that are today adrift in a financial tsunami! That will include all those among the top 1% of taxpayers who are in fact small-business owners, and the nation's biggest employers who currently pay some of the highest corporate tax rates in the developed world. Mr. Obama will, with a flick of his fingers, show them how to create more jobs with less money. It's simple, really. He has a wand.

Next up, Mr. Obama will re-regulate the economy, with no ill effects whatsoever! You may have heard that for the past 40 years most politicians believed deregulation was good for the U.S. economy. You might have even heard that much of today's financial mess tracks to loose money policy, or Fannie and Freddie excesses. Our magician will show the fault was instead with our failure to clamp down on innovation and risk-taking, and will fix this with new, all-encompassing rules. Presto!

Did someone in the audience just shout "Sarbanes Oxley?" Usher, can you remove that man? Thank you. Mr. Obama will now demonstrate how he gives Americans the "choice" of a "voluntary" government health plan, designed in such a way as to crowd out the private market and eliminate all other choice! Don't worry people: You won't have to join, until you do. Mr. Obama will follow this with a demonstration of how his plan will differ from our failing Medicare program. Oops, sorry, folks. The Great Obama just reminded me it is time for an intermission. Maybe we'll get to that marvel later.

We're back now. And just watch the Great Obama perform a feat never yet managed in all history. He will create that enormous new government health program, spend billions to transform our energy economy, provide financial assistance to former Soviet satellites, invest in infrastructure, increase education spending, provide job training assistance, and give 95% of Americans a tax (ahem) cut -- all without raising the deficit a single penny! And he'll do it in the middle of a financial crisis. And with falling tax revenues! Voila!

Moving along to a little ventriloquism. Study his mouth carefully, folks: It looks like he's saying "I'll stop the special interests," when in fact the words coming out are "Welcome to Washington, friends!" Wind and solar companies, ethanol makers, tort lawyers, unions, community organizers -- all are welcome to feed at the public trough and to request special favors. From now on "special interests" will only refer to universally despised, if utterly crucial, economic players. Say, oil companies. Hocus Pocus!

And for tonight's finale, the Great Obama will uphold America's "moral" obligation to "stop genocide" by abandoning Iraq! While teleported to the region, he will simultaneously convince Iranian leaders to peacefully abandon their nuclear pursuits (even as he does not sit down with them), fix Afghanistan with a strategy that does not resemble the Iraqi surge, and (drumroll!) pull Osama bin Laden out of his hat!


You can clap now. (Applause. Cheers.) We'd like to thank a few people in the audience. Namely, Republican presidential nominee John McCain, who has so admirably restrained himself from running up on stage to debunk any of these illusions and spoil everyone's fun.

We know he's in a bit of a box, having initially blamed today's financial crisis on corporate "greed," and thus made it that much harder to call for a corporate tax cut, or warn against excessive regulation. Still, there were some pretty big openings up here this evening, and he let them alone! We'd also like to thank Mr. McCain for keeping all the focus on himself these past weeks. It has helped the Great Obama to just get on with the show.

As for that show, we'd love to invite you all back for next week's performance, when the Great Obama will thrill with new, amazing exploits. He will respect your Second Amendment rights even as he regulates firearms! He will renegotiate Nafta, even as he supports free trade! He will . . .

Write to

Power User
Posts: 7843

« Reply #332 on: October 10, 2008, 09:51:55 AM »

The problem is the WSJ and the others who point these things out are probably preaching to the choir who already know and believe this.

The MSM either ignores this or puts it on page 35.

To me the trio of Pelosi, Reid, BO seems like the US as we have known it for 200 years is over.
I do agree that it is a problem when the top 1% own something like 90% of the wealth.
And it is similary a problem when 40% of the population does not pay taxes.

Yet we never hear this.

Until this is somehow addressed this country will continue to be divided IMHO.

Black Grass
Posts: 18

« Reply #333 on: October 10, 2008, 08:04:27 PM »

The problem is the WSJ and the others who point these things out are probably preaching to the choir who already know and believe this.

The MSM either ignores this or puts it on page 35.

I disagree when watching CNN they discussed the above before and after the debate. Mind you it wasn;t as colorful as the WSJ article.
Power User
Posts: 143

« Reply #334 on: October 12, 2008, 12:46:05 PM »

And now, America, we introduce the Great Obama! The world's most gifted political magician! A thing of wonder. A thing of awe. Just watch him defy politics, economics, even gravity! (And hold your applause until the end, please.)


As for that show, we'd love to invite you all back for next week's performance, when the Great Obama will thrill with new, amazing exploits. He will respect your Second Amendment rights even as he regulates firearms! He will renegotiate Nafta, even as he supports free trade! He will . . .

Write to

Damn? He can do all that stuff Crafty? Well, I am voting for him then!   tongue

When life gives you lemons make lemonade
When life gives you hemlock, do NOT make hemlockade!
« Reply #335 on: October 14, 2008, 10:33:17 AM »

Though some will find the following too inside baseball to be relevant, turn it around and imagine a white politician chairing a foundation that funds white supremacist educational efforts. . . .

Wright 101
Obama funded extremist Afrocentrists who shared Rev. Wright’s anti-Americanism

By Stanley Kurtz

It looks like Jeremiah Wright was just the tip of the iceberg. Not only did Barack Obama savor Wright’s sermons, Obama gave legitimacy — and a whole lot of money — to education programs built around the same extremist anti-American ideology preached by Reverend Wright. And guess what? Bill Ayers is still palling around with the same bitterly anti-American Afrocentric ideologues that he and Obama were promoting a decade ago. All this is revealed by a bit of digging, combined with a careful study of documents from the Chicago Annenberg Challenge, the education foundation Obama and Ayers jointly led in the late 1990s.

John McCain, take note. Obama’s tie to Wright is no longer a purely personal question (if it ever was one) about one man’s choice of his pastor. The fact that Obama funded extremist Afrocentrists who shared Wright’s anti-Americanism means that this is now a matter of public policy, and therefore an entirely legitimate issue in this campaign.

African Village
In the winter of 1996, the Coalition for Improved Education in [Chicago’s] South Shore (CIESS) announced that it had received a $200,000 grant from the Chicago Annenberg Challenge. That made CIESS an “external partner,” i.e. a community organization linked to a network of schools within the Chicago public system. This network, named the “South Shore African Village Collaborative” was thoroughly “Afrocentric” in orientation. CIESS’s job was to use a combination of teacher-training, curriculum advice, and community involvement to improve academic performance in the schools it worked with. CIESS would continue to receive large Annenberg grants throughout the 1990s.

The South Shore African Village Collaborative (SSAVC) was very much a part of the Afrocentric “rites of passage movement,” a fringe education crusade of the 1990s. SSAVC schools featured “African-Centered” curricula built around “rites of passage” ceremonies inspired by the puberty rites found in many African societies. In and of themselves, these ceremonies were harmless. Yet the philosophy that accompanied them was not. On the contrary, it was a carbon-copy of Jeremiah Wright’s worldview.

Rites of Passage
To learn what the rites of passage movement was all about, we can turn to a sympathetic 1992 study published in the Journal of Negro Education by Nsenga Warfield-Coppock. In that article, Warfield-Coppock bemoans the fact that public education in the United States is shaped by “capitalism, competitiveness, racism, sexism and oppression.” According to Warfield-Coppock, these American values “have confused African American people and oriented them toward American definitions of achievement and success and away from traditional African values.” American socialization has “proven to be dysfuntional and genocidal to the African American community,” Warfield-Coppock tells us. The answer is the adolescent rites of passage movement, designed “to provide African American youth with the cultural information and values they would need to counter the potentially detrimental effects of a Eurocentrically oriented society.”

The adolescent rites of passage movement that flowered in the 1990s grew out of the “cultural nationalist” or “Pan-African” thinking popular in radical black circles of the 1960s and 1970s. The attempt to create a virtually separate and intensely anti-American black social world began to take hold in the mid-1980s in small private schools, which carefully guarded the contents of their controversial curricula. Gradually, through external partners like CIESS, the movement spread to a few public schools. Supporters view these programs as “a social and cultural ‘inoculation’ process that facilitates healthy, African-centered development among African American youth and protects them against the ravages of a racist, sexist, capitalist, and oppressive society.”

We know that SSAVC was part of this movement, not only because their Annenberg proposals were filled with Afrocentric themes and references to “rites of passage,” but also because SSAVC’s faculty set up its African-centered curriculum in consultation with some of the most prominent leaders of the “rites of passage movement.” For example, a CIESS teacher conference sponsored a presentation on African-centered curricula by Jacob Carruthers, a particularly controversial Afrocentrist.

Jacob Carruthers
Like other leaders of the rites of passage movement, Carruthers teaches that the true birthplace of world civilization was ancient “Kemet” (Egypt), from which Kemetic philosophy supposedly spread to Africa as a whole. Carruthers and his colleagues believe that the values of Kemetic civilization are far superior to the isolating and oppressive, ancient Greek-based values of European and American civilization. Although academic Egyptologists and anthropologists strongly reject these historical claims, Carruthers dismisses critics as part of a white supremacist conspiracy to hide the truth of African superiority.

Carruthers’s key writings are collected in his book, Intellectual Warfare. Reading it is a wild, anti-American ride. In his book, we learn that Carruthers and his like-minded colleagues have formed an organization called the Association for the Study of Classical African Civilizations (ASCAC), which takes as its mission the need to “dismantle the European intellectual campaign to commit historicide against African peoples.” Carruthers includes “African-Americans” within a group he would define as simply “African.” When forced to describe a black person as “American,” Carruthers uses quotation marks, thus indicating that no black person can be American in any authentic sense. According to Carruthers, “The submission to Western civilization and its most outstanding offspring, American civilization, is, in reality, surrender to white supremacy.”

Carruthers’s goal is to use African-centered education to recreate a separatist universe within America, a kind of state-within-a-state. The rites of passage movement is central to the plan. Carruthers sees enemies on every part of the political spectrum, from conservatives, to liberals, to academic leftists, all of whom reject advocates of Kemetic civilization, like himself, as dangerous and academically irresponsible extremists. Carruthers sees all these groups as deluded captives of white supremacist Eurocentric culture. Therefore the only safe place for Africans living in the United States (i.e. American blacks) is outside the mental boundaries of our ineradicably racist Eurocentric civilization. As Carruthers puts it: “...some of us have chosen to reject the culture of our oppressors and recover our disrupted ancestral culture.” The rites of passage movement is a way to teach young Africans in the United States how to reject America and recover their authentic African heritage.

America as Rape
Carruthers admits that Africans living in America have already been shaped by Western culture, yet compares this Americanization process to rape: “We may not be able to get our virginity back after the rape, but we do not have to marry the rapist....” In other words, American blacks (i.e. Africans) may have been forcibly exposed to American culture, but that doesn’t mean they need to accept it. The better option, says Carruthers, is to separate out and relearn the wisdom of Africa’s original Kemetic culture, embodied in the teachings of the ancient wise man, Ptahhotep (an historical figure traditionally identified as the author of a Fifth Dynasty wisdom book). Anything less than re-Africanization threatens the mental, and even physical, genocide of Africans living in an ineradicably white supremacist United States.

Carruthers is a defender of Leonard Jeffries, professor in the department of black studies at City College in Harlem, infamous for his black supremacist and anti-Semitic views. Jeffries sees whites as oppressive and violent “ice people,” in contrast to peaceful and mutually supportive black “sun people.” The divergence says Jeffries, is attributable to differing levels of melanin in the skin. Jeffries also blames Jews for financing the slave trade. Carruthers defends Jeffries and excoriates the prestigious black academics Carruthers views as traitorous for denouncing their African brother, Jeffries. Carruthers’s vision of the superior and peaceful Kemetic philosophy of Ptahhotep triumphing over Greco-Euro-American-white culture obviously parallels Jeffries’ opposition between ice people and sun people.

More of Carruthers’s education philosophy can be found in his newsletter, The Kemetic Voice. In 1997, for example, at the same time Carruthers was advising SSAVC on how to set up an African-centered curriculum, he praised the decision of New Orleans’ School Board to remove the name of George Washington from an elementary school. Apparently, some officials in New Orleans had decided that nobody who held slaves should have a school named after him. Carruthers touted the name-change as proof that his African-centered perspective was finally having an effect on public policy. At the demise of George Washington School, Carruthers crowed: “These events remind us of how vast the gulf is that separates the Defenders of Western Civilization from the Champions of African Civilization.”

According to Chicago Annenberg Challenge records, Carruthers’s training session on African-centered curricula for SSAVC teachers was a huge hit: “As a consciousness raising session, it received rave reviews, and has prepared the way for the curriculum readiness survey....” These teacher-training workshops were directly funded by the Chicago Annenberg Challenge. Another sure sign of the ideological cast of SSAVC’s curriculum can be found in Annenberg documents noting that SSAVC students are taught the wisdom of Ptahhotep. Carruthers’s concerns about “menticide” and “genocide” at the hand of America’s white supremacist system seem to be echoed in an SSAVC document that says: “Our children need to understand the historical context of our struggles for liberation from those forces that seek to destroy us.”

When Jeremiah Wright turned toward African-centered thinking in the late 1980s and early 1990s (the period when, attracted by Wright’s African themes, Barack Obama first became a church member), many prominent thinkers from Carruthers’s Association for the Study of Classical African Civilizations were invited to speak at Trinity United Church of Christ, Carruthers himself included. We hear echoes of Carruthers’s work in Wright’s distinction between “right brained” Africans and “left brained” Europeans, in Wright’s fears of U.S. government-sponsored genocide against American blacks, and in Wright’s embittered attacks on America’s indelibly white-supremacist history. In Wright’s Trumpet Newsmagazine, as in Carruthers’s own writings, blacks are often referred to as “Africans living in the diaspora” rather than as Americans.

Asa Hilliard
Chicago Annenberg Challenge records also indicate that SSAVC educators invited Asa Hilliard, a pioneer of African-centered curricula and a close colleague of Carruthers, to offer a keynote address at yet another Annenberg-funded teacher training session. Hilliard’s ties to Wright run still deeper than Carruthers’s. A close Wright mentor and friend, Hilliard died in 2007 while on a trip to Kemet (Egypt) with Wright and members of Wright’s congregation. Hillard was scheduled to deliver several lectures to the congregants, and to speak at a meeting of the Association for the Study of Classical African Civilization, which he co-founded with Carruthers and other “African-centered” scholars. On that last trip, Hilliard accepted an appointment to the board of Wright’s new elementary school, Kwame Nkrumah Academy. Speaking of the need for such a school, Wright had earlier said, “We need to educate our children to the reality of white supremacy.” (For more on Wright’s Afrocentric school, see “Jeremiah Wright’s ‘Trumpet.’”)

Wright delivered the eulogy at Hilliard’s memorial service, with prominent members of ASCAC in the audience. To commemorate Hilliard, a special, two-cover double issue of Wright’s Trumpet Newsmagazine was published, with a picture of Hilliard on one side, and a picture of Louis Farrakhan on the other (in celebration of a 2007 award Farrakhan received from Wright). In short, the ties between Wright and Hilliard could hardly have been closer. Clearly, then, Wright’s own educational philosophy was mirrored at the Annenberg-funded SSAVC, which sought out Hilliard’s and Carruthers’s counsel to construct its curriculum.

Perhaps inadvertently, Wright’s eulogy for Hilliard actually established the fringe nature of his favorite African-centered scholars. In his tribute, Wright stressed how intensely “white Egyptologists recoiled at the very notion of everything Asa taught.” As Wright himself made plain, it seems virtually impossible to find respectable scholars of any political stripe who approve of the extremist anti-American version of Afrocentrism promoted by Hilliard and Carruthers.

Ayers’s Pals
An important exception to the rule is Bill Ayers himself, who not only worked with Obama to fund groups like this at the Chicago Annenberg Challenge, but who is still “palling around” with the same folks. Discretely waiting until after the election, Bill Ayers and his wife, and fellow former terrorist, Bernardine Dohrn plan to release a book in 2009 entitled Race Course Against White Supremacy. The book will be published by Third World Press, a press set up by Carruthers and other members of the ASCAC. Representatives of that press were prominently present for Wright’s eulogy at Asa Hilliard’s memorial service. Less than a decade ago, therefore, when it came to education issues, Barack Obama, Bill Ayers, and Jeremiah Wright were pretty much on the same page.

Obama’s Knowledge
Given the precedent of his earlier responses on Ayers and Wright, Obama might be inclined to deny personal knowledge of the educational philosophy he was so generously funding. Such a denial would not be convincing. For one thing, we have evidence that in 1995, the same year Obama assumed control of the Chicago Annenberg Challenge, he publicly rejected “the unrealistic politics of integrationist assimilation,” a stance that clearly resonates with both Wright and Carruthers. (See “No Liberation.”)

And as noted, Wright had invited Carruthers, Hilliard, and like-minded thinkers to address his Trinity congregants. Wright likes to tick off his connections to these prominent Afrocentrists in sermons, and Obama would surely have heard of them. Reading over SSAVC’s Annenberg proposals, Obama could hardly be ignorant of what they were about. And if by some chance Obama overlooked Hilliard’s or Carruthers’s names, SSAVC’s proposals are filled with references to “rites of passage” and “Ptahhotep,” dead giveaways for the anti-American and separatist ideological concoction favored by SSAVC.

We know that Obama did read the proposals. Annenberg documents show him commenting on proposal quality. And especially after 1995, when concerns over self-dealing and conflicts of interest forced the Ayers-headed “Collaborative” to distance itself from monetary issues, all funding decisions fell to Obama and the board. Significantly, there was dissent within the board. One business leader and experienced grant-smith characterized the quality of most Annenberg proposals as “awful.” (See “The Chicago Annenberg Challenge: The First Three Years,” p. 19.) Yet Obama and his very small and divided board kept the money flowing to ideologically extremist groups like the South Shore African Village Collaborative, instead of organizations focused on traditional educational achievement.

As if the content of SSAVC documents wasn’t warning enough, their proposals consistently misspelled “rites of passage” as “rights of passage,” hardly an encouraging sign from a group meant to improve children’s reading skills. The Chicago Annenberg Challenge’s own evaluators acknowledged that Annenberg-aided schools showed no improvement in achievement scores. Evaluators attributed that failure, in part, to the fact that many of Annenberg’s “external partners” had little educational expertise. A group that puts its efforts into Kwanzaa celebrations and half-baked history certainly fits that bill, and goes a long way toward explaining how Ayers and Obama managed to waste upwards of $150 million without improving student achievement.

However he may seek to deny it, all evidence points to the fact that, from his position as board chair of the Chicago Annenberg Challenge, Barack Obama knowingly and persistently funded an educational project that shared the extremist and anti-American philosophy of Jeremiah Wright. The Wright affair was no fluke. It’s time for McCain to say so.

 — Stanley Kurtz is a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center.
Power User
Posts: 7843

« Reply #336 on: October 15, 2008, 10:42:14 AM »

My thanks to Mark Levin talk radio host on 77AM dial 6 to 8 nightly for pointing this out.
1960's radical (unfortunately a socialist Jew aka Marx - since I am Jewish and disgusted whth these people) who started "COMMUNITY ORGAINZING" and whose philosophy is redistributing wealth influenced greatly the BO guy.
Some of BO's phrases are verbatum right out of this guys writings.  "They cling to their guns and their religion" is undeniably taken right out of Alinsky's writings.  To change those people you have to become one of them.  In other words to change conservative America you have to pretend you are one of us.  Thus BOs pretending to love and care for America and his hiding his past.

BO is a flaming liberal who will expand big government and change the freedoms that made and would keep this country great.  This HAS to be what McCain emphasize all Americans listen to Mark Levin - not just right leaning citizens like me.  And don't get me wrong.  Levin is not pleased with McCain or W for that matter but the alternative is in his opinion a potential disaster for the future and direction of this country.  I couldn't agree with him more.
« Reply #337 on: October 15, 2008, 11:56:58 AM »

re: the Saul Alinsky entry on Wikipedia

"This article or section has been nominated to be checked for its neutrality."

I know nothing about Alinsky, but in reading the talkback page, it seems the wikipedia posting is poorly sourced and severely contested.
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« Reply #338 on: October 15, 2008, 12:44:42 PM »

Then use something other than Wikipedia.  There's plenty out there on him and his influence on BO bodes quite ill for America.
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« Reply #339 on: October 16, 2008, 10:13:30 AM »

Obama's 95% Illusion
It depends on what the meaning of 'tax cut' is.Article
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One of Barack Obama's most potent campaign claims is that he'll cut taxes for no less than 95% of "working families." He's even promising to cut taxes enough that the government's tax share of GDP will be no more than 18.2% -- which is lower than it is today.

APIt's a clever pitch, because it lets him pose as a middle-class tax cutter while disguising that he's also proposing one of the largest tax increases ever on the other 5%. But how does he conjure this miracle, especially since more than a third of all Americans already pay no income taxes at all? There are several sleights of hand, but the most creative is to redefine the meaning of "tax cut."

For the Obama Democrats, a tax cut is no longer letting you keep more of what you earn. In their lexicon, a tax cut includes tens of billions of dollars in government handouts that are disguised by the phrase "tax credit." Mr. Obama is proposing to create or expand no fewer than seven such credits for individuals:

 - A $500 tax credit ($1,000 a couple) to "make work pay" that phases out at income of $75,000 for individuals and $150,000 per couple.

- A $4,000 tax credit for college tuition.

- A 10% mortgage interest tax credit (on top of the existing mortgage interest deduction and other housing subsidies).

- A "savings" tax credit of 50% up to $1,000.

- An expansion of the earned-income tax credit that would allow single workers to receive as much as $555 a year, up from $175 now, and give these workers up to $1,110 if they are paying child support.

- A child care credit of 50% up to $6,000 of expenses a year.

- A "clean car" tax credit of up to $7,000 on the purchase of certain vehicles.

Here's the political catch. All but the clean car credit would be "refundable," which is Washington-speak for the fact that you can receive these checks even if you have no income-tax liability. In other words, they are an income transfer -- a federal check -- from taxpayers to nontaxpayers. Once upon a time we called this "welfare," or in George McGovern's 1972 campaign a "Demogrant." Mr. Obama's genius is to call it a tax cut.

The Tax Foundation estimates that under the Obama plan 63 million Americans, or 44% of all tax filers, would have no income tax liability and most of those would get a check from the IRS each year. The Heritage Foundation's Center for Data Analysis estimates that by 2011, under the Obama plan, an additional 10 million filers would pay zero taxes while cashing checks from the IRS.

The total annual expenditures on refundable "tax credits" would rise over the next 10 years by $647 billion to $1.054 trillion, according to the Tax Policy Center. This means that the tax-credit welfare state would soon cost four times actual cash welfare. By redefining such income payments as "tax credits," the Obama campaign also redefines them away as a tax share of GDP. Presto, the federal tax burden looks much smaller than it really is.

The political left defends "refundability" on grounds that these payments help to offset the payroll tax. And that was at least plausible when the only major refundable credit was the earned-income tax credit. Taken together, however, these tax credit payments would exceed payroll levies for most low-income workers.

It is also true that John McCain proposes a refundable tax credit -- his $5,000 to help individuals buy health insurance. We've written before that we prefer a tax deduction for individual health care, rather than a credit. But the big difference with Mr. Obama is that Mr. McCain's proposal replaces the tax subsidy for employer-sponsored health insurance that individuals don't now receive if they buy on their own. It merely changes the nature of the tax subsidy; it doesn't create a new one.

There's another catch: Because Mr. Obama's tax credits are phased out as incomes rise, they impose a huge "marginal" tax rate increase on low-income workers. The marginal tax rate refers to the rate on the next dollar of income earned. As the nearby chart illustrates, the marginal rate for millions of low- and middle-income workers would spike as they earn more income.

Some families with an income of $40,000 could lose up to 40 cents in vanishing credits for every additional dollar earned from working overtime or taking a new job. As public policy, this is contradictory. The tax credits are sold in the name of "making work pay," but in practice they can be a disincentive to working harder, especially if you're a lower-income couple getting raises of $1,000 or $2,000 a year. One mystery -- among many -- of the McCain campaign is why it has allowed Mr. Obama's 95% illusion to go unanswered.

Please add your comments to the Opinion Journal forum.
« Reply #340 on: October 16, 2008, 10:55:20 AM »

re: the Saul Alinsky entry on Wikipedia

"This article or section has been nominated to be checked for its neutrality."

I know nothing about Alinsky, but in reading the talkback page, it seems the wikipedia posting is poorly sourced and severely contested.

Read Alinsky's book Rules for Radicals, which is about his most succinct expression of his philosophy.

I came up in the Chicago area under a bunch of Alinsky trained street workers; much of BHO's community organizer days has a familiar ring. Big difference from back in the day and current manifestations of Alinsky's tactics is that back in the day we knew it was political theater and that we were lying through our teeth. These days it seems like everybody has drunk the kool-aid and treats the theater like revealed truth.

Alinsky was a cynical SOB who knew full well that media manipulations and focus on singular, helpful aspects of a narrative were required to inspire direct action. I much prefer crusty old socialist goats who know what strings they are pulling to the current crop of True Believers. My politics have since taken a serious libertarian veer, but when I need to make something happen some of my tactics are still informed by Alinsky's cynical and pragmatic advice.
« Reply #341 on: October 17, 2008, 10:49:14 AM »

October 17, 2008, 2:00 a.m.

Obama the Healer?
Casting McCain as a race-baiter is an extraordinary — and dishonorable — rhetorical feat.

By Charles Krauthammer

Let me get this straight: A couple of agitated yahoos in a rally of thousands yell something offensive and incendiary, and John McCain and Sarah Palin are not just guilty by association — with total strangers, mind you — but worse: guilty according to the New York Times of “race-baiting and xenophobia.”

But should you bring up Barack Obama’s real associations — 20 years with Jeremiah Wright, working on two foundations and distributing money with William Ayers, citing the raving Michael Pfleger as one who helps him keep his moral compass (Chicago Sun-Times, April 2004) and the long-standing relationship with the left-wing vote-fraud specialist ACORN — you have crossed the line into illegitimate guilt by association. Moreover, it is tinged with racism.

The fact that, when John McCain actually heard one of those nasty things said about Obama, he incurred the boos of his own crowd by insisting that Obama is “a decent person that you do not have to be scared (of) as president” makes no difference. It surely did not stop John Lewis from comparing McCain to George Wallace.

The search for McCain’s racial offenses is untiring and often unhinged. Remember McCain’s Berlin/celebrity ad that showed a shot of Paris Hilton? An appalling attempt to exploit white hostility at the idea of black men “becoming sexually involved with white women,” fulminated New York Times columnist Bob Herbert. He took to TV to denounce McCain’s exhumation of that most vile prejudice, pointing out McCain’s gratuitous insertion in the ad of “two phallic symbols,” the Washington Monument and the Leaning Tower of Pisa.

Except that Herbert was entirely delusional. There was no Washington Monument. There was no Leaning Tower. Just photographs seen in every newspaper in the world of Barack Obama’s Berlin rally in the setting he himself had chosen, Berlin’s Victory Column.

Herbert is not the only fevered one. On Tuesday night, Rachel Maddow of MSNBC and Jonathan Alter of Newsweek fell over themselves agreeing that the “political salience” of the Republican attack on ACORN is, yes, its unstated appeal to racial prejudice.

This about an organization that is being accused of voter registration fraud in about a dozen states. In Nevada, the investigating secretary of state is a Democrat. Is he playing the race card too?

What makes the charges against McCain especially revolting is that he has been scrupulous in eschewing the race card. He has gone far beyond what is right and necessary, refusing even to make an issue of Obama’s deep, self-declared connection with the race-baiting Jeremiah Wright.

In the name of racial rectitude, McCain has denied himself the use of that perfectly legitimate issue. It is simply Orwellian for him to be now so widely vilified as a stoker of racism. What makes it doubly Orwellian is that these charges are being made on behalf of the one presidential candidate who has repeatedly, and indeed quite brilliantly, deployed the race card.

How brilliantly? The reason Bill Clinton is sulking in his tent is because he feels that Obama surrogates succeeded in painting him as a racist. Clinton has many sins, but from his student days to his post-presidency, his commitment and sincerity in advancing the cause of African-Americans have been undeniable. If the man Toni Morrison called the first black president can be turned into a closet racist, then anyone can.

And Obama has shown no hesitation in doing so to McCain. Just weeks ago, in Springfield, Missouri — and elsewhere — he warned darkly that George W. Bush and John McCain were going to try to frighten you by saying that, among other scary things, Obama has “a funny name” and “doesn’t look like all those other presidents on those dollar bills.”

McCain has never said that, nor anything like that. When asked at the time to produce one instance of McCain deploying race, the Obama campaign could not. Yet here was Obama firing a pre-emptive charge of racism against a man who had not indulged in it. An extraordinary rhetorical feat, and a dishonorable one.

What makes this all the more dismaying is that it comes from Barack Obama, who has consistently presented himself as a healer, a man of a new generation above and beyond race, the man who would turn the page on the guilt-tripping grievance politics of Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton.

I once believed him.

— Charles Krauthammer is a nationally syndicated columnist.

National Review Online -
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« Reply #342 on: October 18, 2008, 09:53:35 PM »

I guess the MSM is too busy trying to destroy Joe the Plumber, so they missed this linkage between Obama and his terrorist soulmate.
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Posts: 7843

« Reply #343 on: October 19, 2008, 11:12:38 AM »

Yes, it is really sickening for those of us left of center to see the MSM blatant and unrepentant bias.

I get really angry when the leftist lawyers pour over Joe plumbers tax records and dig up some probably bogus BS that he has been neglegent paying $1000 in backk taxes like that is some sort of scandal or he is a criminal because he probably couldn't wade through the sickening morass of tax laws and may not have been able to afford an accountant's fees to audit his taxes.

Mind you that 40 or 45% of people in the US don not pay taxes.  Now that is a Goddam outrage!

How much was it determined that Charlala Rangel Owed?  The same guy who will have an army of liberal lawyers getting him off the hook (led by the honorable Mr. Lanni Davis).

Of course once the Dems solidify control of our government (not theirs) the Charles Rangel scandel thing will disappear from the face of the Earth (to of course the more important "issues" that face our nation) and he will be appointed chairman of several committess get honors for his service and possibly a Noble Prize (aka Pau Krugman, Algore, et al).

The Republican party is wasted.  Forget Reagan, Roosevelt.  They are in the past, dead and buried, and most people today know nothing of Rossevelt and are already too young to remember Reagan.

We need more people like Newt who can look to the future and start thinking a whole new strategy that will save our country that is not big government.  I just hope it is not too late by the time the libs have promised and given everything away to the lazy what is government going to do for me crowd.  All people must pay taxes - if even $100/year.

Yet I do also agree with the left that it is a gigantic unsustainable problem that 1% of the population controls 90% of the wealth.  Even if that number is exaggerated it is probably something of that order and that is fu2345ck up. 

But endless and increasing give aways to those who take and do't create wealth is certainly not the answer.

6 to 18 months from now the giveaways will all be spent byt the 40% at the bottom and we will be right back to where we started.

I don't have the time to try to come up with the answer.  We need new blood and thinkers in th Republican side who can.

And fro God's sake we need candidates who can articulate and speak on their feet.  Not Bob Dole's, not George Bushes, and McCians.

IMO - The articulation skills of Clinton and BO were without a doubt the saviors of the Democratic party of the last 18 years. ( to the demise and chagrin of the speechless and hapless Republicans.

This must not happen again.

As for Sarah Palin - I feel she could have a great future if she gets the right handlers who sharpen her skills, base of knowledge and broaden her appeal to other women - althgough her stance on abortion remains an obstacle with many women.
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Posts: 513

« Reply #344 on: October 19, 2008, 12:52:17 PM »

Quote:  “ Yet I do also agree with the left that it is a gigantic unsustainable problem that 1% of the population controls 90% of the wealth. Even if that number is exaggerated it is probably something of that order and that is fu2345ck up.”

I have never been able to understand how a group of people can look at someone who has a lot and think to themselves they don’t deserve what they have lets take it away and give it to some one else.  Maybe the argument would be they inherited it and never worked a day in their lives and therefore don’t deserve it.  This is still very thin as an argument goes.  Lets assume 1% controls 90% in this country.  I have never felt that 1% has tried to keep me from achieving my dreams.  How is the 1% holding anyone back in this country?  I have however felt the taxes this government charges has prevented me from moving up the economic ladder.   I don’t have a lot and would place myself in the low middle class or upper poor class.  I work hard but every time I start to get some where the government comes out and takes what I need to move up.  I am not opposed to taxes to help run our government.  Some government is necessary to get us out of the state of nature, but it IS NOT THE BUSINESS OF GOVERNMENT TO REDISTRIBUTE WEALTH!!.  I do strongly favor a fair tax on consumption instead of the present income tax we have now.  I highly recommend the Fair Tax book by Neal Boortz.  Anyway I digress.  There is a saying wealth last 3 generations, the first makes it the second maintains it the third squanders it.  Like so many problems we face the government has no business involved.  If people are in a charitable mood then they can raise money for the people they deem need help but leave government out of it.

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« Reply #345 on: October 19, 2008, 01:53:47 PM »

I am not against acheivement but poeple of great wealth do without any question have the deck stacked in their favor.
They can pay for the best research, accountants, lawyers, PACS, political connections, hire people to research their competition, set up accounts over sea, use their wealth to attract people with all the clout, best connections to politicians, get inside information and generally bribe people to get whatever they want them to do.

People from this board and previous boards I have posted know how my wife and I have been the victim of people in the music industry.  My wife is a genius at writing music lyrics and she has for the last 10 years or more had them stolen in dozens of ways.
Policeman, lawyers, postal service, Fedex, UPs employees, lock smiths, bank personel, neighbors, air conditioning people, oplumbers, gardeners and on and on and on have been bribed to participate, look the other way or I guess be silent while they keep taking songs from our house via hacking into computers, bribing people with access or generally picking licks to get in our house.  Thes well financed and connected professional crooks from the top of the music business to the bottom have certainly done everything in their power from even letting my wife Katherine from even getting credit or maoney from even one song.

Almost every singer in the business has sung her lyrics and most of them claim they wrote it.  Bon Jovi, and you name them. 

You apparantly  have no idea what people with a lot of money can get away with the rest of us can't.

Neither did I till I saw the power of money first had as a relentless victim of it.  If you have something someone with this kind of power has, or you step on the "wrong toes" they will likely be able to walk right over you.

The rich who keep getting richer *is a huge problem*.  And yes they *certainly do* hold all the cards.
At the same time an increasingly growing class of people who seem quite content to sit back and let the rest of us who work hard every day and take care of their needs is *just as huge a problem*.

There must be some kind of way to balance both these extremes out but I don't know how.  BO is full of shit imo and will simply expand the probelm by growing the class of "what are you going to do for me group".
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« Reply #346 on: October 19, 2008, 04:18:15 PM »

"The rich who keep getting richer *is a huge problem*.  And yes they *certainly do* hold all the cards."

My understanding is that the data clearly show that IN AMERICA the children of the rich tend to p*ss it away and that the grandchildren of the rich or great grandchildren have to start all over. 
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Posts: 513

« Reply #347 on: October 19, 2008, 10:05:49 PM »

You apparantly have no idea what people with a lot of money can get away with the rest of us can't.

Neither did I till I saw the power of money first had as a relentless victim of it. If you have something someone with this kind of power has, or you step on the "wrong toes" they will likely be able to walk right over you.

My interpretation of your above quote is:  you are afraid of the power of the wealthy so you want to take away their money.  I feel government has no business redistributing wealth.  The way to have a just society in through law.  Our founding fathers mention the belief all men are created equal.  I feel this means all men are bound by the one is above the law.  In other words we need government to raise us out of a state of nature.  While I sometimes feel I would be happy in such a state I bet it would get old after about a week. evil  If you feel you have been wronged there are lots of ways to go about seeking justice.  How you do that is up to you, but you do not have a right to lash out at a class of society, to redistribute wealth.  It is unconstitutional.  I wish you and your wife all the best of luck. smiley
Power User
Posts: 7843

« Reply #348 on: October 20, 2008, 09:45:47 AM »

I understand your views.
Truth is neither of you get it.

Truth is the power wealthy people have at their disposal is unjust and there is nothing ordinary people can do about it.  That is the point. That is what you apparently don't get.

No I am not against a class of people.

And yes it is a problem when 1% of people control 90% of wealth.  You think that is good?

And yes it is a problem when 40% pay no taxes.

The answer isn't necessarily wealth redistribution which is not what I am advocating.
« Reply #349 on: October 20, 2008, 10:02:53 AM »

Gingrich Impressed With Powell Nod
Former House Speaker Says General's Endorsement 'Eliminated Experience Argument'

Oct. 19, 2008

Former Republican Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich reacted this morning to Colin Powell's endorsement of Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., arguing, "What that just did in one sound bite... is it eliminated the experience argument."

Powell, the former secretary of state, announced his long-awaited endorsement Sunday morning, explaining that he is backing Obama "because of his ability to inspire, because of the inclusive nature of this campaign, because he is reaching out all across America, because of who he is and his rhetorical abilities  we have to take that into account  as well as his substance  he has both style and substance  he has met the standard of being a successful president, being an exceptional president."

In all-star roundtable edition of "This Week with George Stephanopoulos," former presidential adviser David Gergen categorized Powell's announcement as "the most important endorsement of the campaign so far."

Tom Friedman of The New York Times agreed, explaining, "Gen. Powell helps a lot, I think, especially at this moment, you know. That's a real affirmation that the country can trust Barack Obama as commander in chief, and Colin Powell still has a lot of cred[ibility] with Republicans and Democrats."

Gingrich, Gergen and Friedman were joined in the powerhouse roundtable by Democratic strategist Donna Brazile and Republican columnist George Will.

Brazile added, "this is an endorsement that has enormous dividend for Sen. Obama, not only in helping to erase any remaining doubts about his national security agenda, his experience, but also it says that he wants to govern in a different way, different than, say, past administrations where you relied on just his base or his party.

"It says that he's going to reach across the aisle, and perhaps this is a good way for Sen. Obama to put that message out in the closing weeks of the campaign."

The panelists also discussed the possibility of Obama falling prey to the "Bradley Effect," named for Tom Bradley, the African-American politician running for governor who ended up losing after having a huge lead in the polls.

"Twenty-six years has passed since the Bradley effect," Brazile explained. "I think we're looking at an Obama effect. He has increased, enlarged the electorate. He's bringing new people into the process. There is an enthusiasm gap that we've never seen before on the Democratic side, 20 percent more likely Democratic voters than Republican voters at this moment, so I think we -- I think the issue of race may be a factor, but it will not be as large a factor as it would have been, say, 12 years ago."

Gingrich agreed that "there is a racial effect on both sides, that African-Americans will disproportionately turn out and they will disproportionately vote for Obama, and they have disproportionately registered for a good reason. The Obama effect is real and legitimate. It's authentic."

And Will argued that Obama will gain more votes than he will lose on account of race. "It seems to me if we had these tools to measure, we'd find that Barack Obama gets two votes because he's black for every one he loses because he's black," he said.

Friedman added that the number of white voters who may ultimately support Obama may be underestimated.

"I think there are a lot of white voters telling pollsters, you know, we're going to vote for Obama, and they won't when the moment comes, but I think there is also a whole group of white Republicans who are telling their friends at the country club that I'm voting for McCain, and they're going to for Obama, because their kids are," he said.
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