Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Obama Wants NRA Ads Banned

The Obama camp has been threatening television and radio stations to keep them from airing anti-Obama ads. The latest target is the NRA and stations in Pennsylvania.

Earlier this week, the National Rifle Association's Political Victory Fund released a series of radio and television spots to educate gun owners and sportsmen about Barack Obama's longstanding anti-gun record. In response to the NRA-PVF ads, a clearly panicked Obama campaign and the Democratic National Committee (DNC) are doing everything they can to hide Obama's real record by mounting a coordinated assault on the First Amendment.

They have gone to desperate and outrageous lengths to try to silence your NRA by bullying media outlets with threats of lawsuits if they run NRA-PVF's ads. The Obama camp is particularly angry with an NRA ad entitled "Hunter" which lays out Obama's record on gun control. See below what Obama does not want you to see:

Other NRA ads include "Way of Life" and another focusing on Joe Biden's record, "Defend Freedom, Defeat Obama."

This week, Obama's campaign general counsel Bob Bauer wrote seeking to censor the ads at stations in Pennsylvania. "Unlike federal candidates, independent political organizations do not have a 'right to command the use of broadcast facilities,'" Bauer writes. "Moreover, you have a duty 'to protect the public from false, misleading or deceptive advertising.'" "This advertising is false, misleading, and deceptive," Bauer continued. "We request that you immediately cease airing this advertising."

The NRA says Obama's camp are sending out these "intimidating cease and desist letters" to cable operators and television stations, threatening their FCC licenses if they run the ads. The NRA charged that "Obama and the DNC have been using strong-arm tactics reminiscent of Chicago machine politics to try and cover up the truth and silence NRA by forcing the stations to assist them in hiding Obama's radical anti-gun record."

And now, Obama and the DNC have opened a new front in their assault on your First Amendment rights by calling on their followers to contact these station managers to demand that the stations not run NRA-PVF's ads.

NRA stands behind the accuracy of these ads, and NRA attorneys have responded to the Obama campaign's despicable and abusive attempt to trample on the First Amendment by sending a thorough rebuttal to station managers. This rebuttal clearly and conclusively refutes the Obama campaign's fallacious claims that the ads are inaccurate. The NRA has set up a web site detailing its position on Obama at www.gunbanobama.com. A copy of the NRA's letter to station, written by its counsel Cleta Mitchell, follows below:



TO: Station Managers

FROM: Cleta Mitchell, Esq., Counsel to National Rifle Association

DATE: September 25, 2008

RE: Documentation for Advertising by National Rifle Association Political Victory Fund ("NRA-PVF")

This firm serves as counsel to the National Rifle Association ("NRA") and the National Rifle Association Political Victory Fund ("NRA-PVF"), which is the federal political action committee of the NRA and the sponsor of certain advertising purchased and soon-to-be purchased on your station. It has come to my clients' attention that the Obama for President campaign is engaging in an effort to prevent or stop the airing of certain ads by NRA-PVF, falsely alleging that the ads are `inaccurate'. The Obama presidential campaign apparently relies on an article appearing in the Washington Post on September 23, 2008 to support its contention hat the NRA-PVF ads should not be aired.

The Washington Post is hardly an objective news source on any subject related to the issues to which the NRA is dedicated, having spent decades attacking not only the NRA but also fighting against the legislation and policies NRA supports to protect the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution, as well as supporting every conceivable government proposal or policy any officeholder or candidate suggests to weaken and disrupt the guarantees of the Second Amendment. It is therefore no surprise that the Washington Post would now attack the NRA for advertisements which truthfully disclose the anti-gun, anti-Second Amendment record of Barack Obama, the candidate supported by the Washington Post.

Attached please find the point-by-point refutation of the Washington Post's article about the NRA-PVF ads regarding Obama's record on the Second Amendment, as well as an article disclosing the bias of the decidedly not neutral "FactChecker" on which the Washington Post article is ostensibly based.

The NRA devotes 100% of its time and resources to protecting the Second Amendment and fighting for government policies and legislation furtherance of the rights of the American people to keep and bear arms.

The legislative and policy record of candidates and officeholders such as Barack Obama are well known and documented by the NRA on an ongoing basis. NRA-PVF's advertising during the 2008 election cycle is based on that extensive research and documentation, which is being furnished to you with this Memorandum.

Accordingly, we respectfully request that your station disregard the shamefully false assertions from the Obama campaign and its attorneys regarding the NRA-PVF ads and that the ads run in accordance with the purchase(s) made by NRA-PVF in the media buy.


Much more on the gun record that Obama wants to hide

Guns have become an important issue for Barack Obama's campaign. Starting around the Pennsylvania primary, Obama and his campaign surrogates began strenuously assuring gun owners that he supports gun ownership, and it appears to be paying off. A poll in August showed that John McCain led Obama among hunters by only 14 percentage points, just about half the 27-point lead that President Bush held over John Kerry in 2004. If McCain had a similar lead, he would be ahead in most polls, particularly in many battleground states.

This past weekend, Joe Biden, campaigning in southwest Virginia, called any notion that Obama wanted to take away people's guns "malarkey." Montana's Democratic governor, Brian Schweitzer, previously told reporters that Obama "Ain't ever going to take your gun away." Obama regularly makes similar statements -- at least about rifles and shotguns.

Yet, the NRA, which has given the voting records of both Obama and Biden an "F" rating, has a quite different view, and has started a $15 million ad campaign to warn people about what it regards as Obama's and Biden's records. One mailer from the NRA says, "Obama would be the most anti-gun president in American history."

Critical news stories have been run on the NRA's ads in the Washington Post, FactCheck.org, CNN, and many other places. ABC's Jake Tapper and CBS's Brian Montopoli posted stories that merely stated what the NRA ads said.

The Washington Post describes its own Fact Checker report as giving the NRA "spot three out of four Pinocchios for its claims that Obama would take away guns and ammunition used by hunters."

The Dallas Morning News describes FactCheck.org as saying that "NRA ads and mailers that say Obama wants to ban handguns, hunting ammo and use of a gun for home defense are false."

CNN labeled the ads as "Misleading" and claimed that "While Obama has supported some measures to limit gun rights, he has backed nothing on the scale suggested in the ad."

Brooks Jackson, who authored the FactCheck.org piece with D'Angelo Gore, was extremely upset about the NRA ads. Jackson told FOX News: "They are lying. This is what they do. This is how they make their money. Do these people have no shame? They are just making this up. I just wish that they would tell the truth." He said that their ads were "one of the worst examples of lying" that he had "ever seen."

But what are the facts? Were the NRA ads this bad? How accurate are the fact checkers? FactCheck.org, which is regularly relied on by FOX News, had the longest critical discussion of the ads. Here is a review of their most critical comments.

"Ban the Manufacture, Sale and Possession of Handguns" -- FactCheck.org writes that this is "false," because of a 2003 statement from Obama that "a complete ban on handguns is not politically practicable." They discount an earlier 1996 candidate survey where Obama says that he supports such a ban primarily because it was older than the 2003 statement. While they don't mention another statement from 1998 where Obama supported a ban on the sale of all semi-automatic guns (a ban that would encompass the vast majority of guns sold in the U.S.), they presumably also discounted that for the same reason.

But Obama has come out for handgun bans as recently as this past February. ABC News' local Washington, D.C., anchor, Leon Harris, asked Obama: "One other issue that's of great importance here in the district as well is gun control ... but you support the D.C. handgun ban." Obama's simple response: "Right." When Harris said "And you've said that it's constitutional," Obama again says "right" and is clearly seen on tape nodding his head "yes."

A statement to the Chicago Tribune by Obama's campaign the previous November stated that, "Obama believes the D.C. handgun law is constitutional." It doesn't help that the Democratic Party National Platform this year supports the Chicago gun ban.

Obama also served on the board of the Joyce Foundation, probably the largest private funder of anti-gun and pro-ban groups and research in the country. In total, the foundation gave $18.6 million to approximately 80 anti-gun efforts while he was on the board. For example, $1.5 million went to the Violence Policy Center, which puts out such claims as "Why America Needs to Ban Handguns." During Obama's time with the foundation, not a single donation was made to any group that supported individuals' rights to own guns.

But there is much more evidence that Obama supported handgun bans. As will be discussed below, there is legislation he supported in the Illinois state senate that would have banned over 90 percent of gun stores in the country and eliminated gun stores in most states.

Brooks Jackson told FOX News that "I believe that [Obama] supported striking down the D.C. gun ban. That is what he said that he believed." In addition, he said that the ad was "clearly discussing a national ban, not local bans. The two have absolutely nothing to do with each other. It is just an amazing lie."

Regarding Obama's work with the Joyce Foundation, Jackson said, "You are an academic? You are asking about the Joyce Foundation? What does that have to do with anything? You would have failed the freshman college logic test."

"Barack Obama opposes my right to own a handgun for self-defense" -- FactCheck.org rewrites this slightly to read: "Ban use of Firearms for Home Self-Defense" and labels this statement as "false." Their evaluation of this claim focuses solely on a 2004 vote Obama made in the Illinois state senate. An Associated Press article described the vote this way: "He also opposed letting people use a self-defense argument if charged with violating local handgun bans by using weapons in their homes. The bill was a reaction to a Chicago-area man who, after shooting an intruder, was charged with a handgun violation."

FactCheck.org claims that the vote was merely over creating a "loophole" for letting people violate local gun ban ordinances. Yet, it is hard to look at this vote and the facts in the previous section and not see a pattern that Obama favors rules that ban handguns. He voted against any rules that would weaken the Chicago handgun ban, and if you support a handgun ban, it would seem obvious that you oppose those same people using handguns for self-defense.

"Ban Rifle Ammunition Commonly Used for Hunting and Sport Shooting" -- FactCheck.org acknowledges that Obama voted for a bill that would "expand the definition of armor piercing ammunition," but labels this statement as "false." Their evidence is a statement by the bill's sponsor, Sen. Ted Kennedy, that the bill "is not about hunting."

But here is the problem with Kennedy's claim. The bill banned ammunition that "may be used in a handgun" and can penetrate the "minimum," type 1, level of body armor, which only protects against the lowest-powered handgun cartridges. Any center-fire rifle, including those used for hunting or target practice, can penetrate this "minimum" armor. There are handguns that can fire these rifle rounds, so the bill's language of banning ammunition that "may be used in a handgun" would be met.

In addition, FactCheck.org ignores other information. Obama said in a 2003 questionnaire that he "support[ed] banning the sale of ammunition for assault weapons." The rifles banned under the so-called assault weapons ban used such standard ammunition as .223 and .308 caliber bullets, the same ammunition used commonly in hunting rifles.

When asked about these arguments, Jackson told FOX News, "Have you looked at the legislation? You have to look at the legislative history. This is just an amazing lie put out by them."

"Appoint Judges to the U.S. Supreme Court and Federal Judiciary Who Share His Views on the Second Amendment" -- FactCheck.org claims that this statement is "unsupported" because Obama hasn't explicitly stated that he would appoint judges using such a litmus test. Indeed, I can find no record of Obama ever being asked if he would use the Second Amendment as a litmus test, but Obama has been very clear about what types of Justices he would and would not appoint to the Supreme Court.

Obama has said that he "profoundly disagree[s] with [Clarence Thomas'] interpretation of a lot of the Constitution." He has also been critical of Antonin Scalia, John Roberts and Samuel Alito. Together these four justices provided four of the five votes to strike down the D.C. gun ban, with Scalia writing the majority opinion.

On the other side, Obama has pointed to Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, David Souter, and Stephen Breyer as models for the type of people he would appoint to the court. Those justices provided three of the four votes that argued that there was no individual right to own a gun, and Breyer wrote one of the dissenting opinions.

When asked about whether Obama's statements about what judges he would appoint could explain the NRA's concerns, Jackson said that it "doesn't inform [Jackson's] view. . . . He hasn't said that he would appoint people who didn't believe in the Second Amendment."

"Mandate a Government-Issued License to Purchase a Firearm" -- FactCheck.org takes Obama's statement when asked about licensing and registration of gun owners that, "I just don't think we can get that done," as evidence that the NRA's claim is "misleading." FactCheck.org concedes that Obama has clearly supported licensing handguns, but argues that there is no evidence that Obama supported licensing for rifles and shotguns. Yet, it fails to mention the Illinois Firearms Owners Identification (FOID) Card that serves as a license that Illinois residents must have to buy any type of firearm.

While a state senator, Obama clearly supported the licensing system. He voted to make it illegal for anyone to possess a firearm without a FOID card even when they were in direct supervision of someone with the card, and he voted against lowering the age for people to be eligible for a FOID card from 21 to 18. To Obama, these votes clearly indicate that the FOID card was a license to use the gun just as much as one needs a driver's license to drive on public roads.

"Increase Federal Taxes on Guns and Ammunition by 500 Percent" and "Close Down 90 Percent of Gun Shops in America" are classified as "uncertain" because even though Obama has indeed supported these policies in the past, FactCheck.org was unable to get the Obama campaign to state what his current position was on these issues. Yet, it is hard to see how FactCheck.org could even raise questions about the NRA ads on these points since Obama clearly held these positions in the past and has never said that he has changed his mind on them. The very fact that the Obama campaign would not issue any statement disowning these previous positions would seem to imply that Obama still supported them.

"Obama would be the most anti-gun president in American history." -- FactCheck.org ends its analysis by questioning whether this "pretty tall statement" is justified and ends with a quote that Obama says that he has "always believed that the Second Amendment protects the right of individuals to bear arms." Yet, this is the same candidate who months earlier supported a ban on guns as constitutional and who refused join the other 55 Senators who signed the friend of the court brief asking the Supreme Court to strike down the D.C. gun ban. While previous candidates, such as Al Gore, have supported licensing and registration, no presidential nominee for a major party has ever supported such widespread bans on guns and ammunition.

Jackson said that "Obama agrees with the NRA on this issue (that the Second Amendment is an individual right). They should just accept it rather than lying about it." He noted that "Obama had to accept all sorts of abuse for coming out and saying this. It was the brave thing for him to do. He had to endure all sorts of abuse - claims of going back and forth on the issue, that he was vague on the issue."

Obama campaign representative Bill Burton told FOX News that "These ads are just complete crap." When Megyn Kelly asked "Has [Obama] ever supported a ban on handguns? . . . And he never has?" Burton said flatly "no." He added that "All the points in these ads are just flatly false."

The Washington Post analysis only discusses two issues: the Kennedy ammunition ban and the 500 percent ammunition tax. On the Kennedy bill, the Post makes the same mistake as FactCheck.org. Regarding the tax, the Post doesn't deny that Obama held that position, but points out that the legislation Obama supported was in 1999 and that it is not clear what guns would have their ammunition taxed. CNN's discussion appears unwilling to admit that Obama has supported large-scale bans on gun ownership.


Family Told Obama NOT To Wear Soldier Son's Bracelet... Where is Media?

What an insensitive prick!

Barack Obama played the "me too" game during the Friday debates on September 26 after Senator John McCain mentioned that he was wearing a bracelet with the name of Cpl. Matthew Stanley, a resident of New Hampshire and a soldier that lost his life in Iraq in 2006. Obama said that he too had a bracelet. After fumbling and straining to remember the name, he revealed that his had the name of Sergeant Ryan David Jopek of Merrill, Wisconsin.

Shockingly, however, Madison resident Brian Jopek, the father of Ryan Jopek, the young soldier who tragically lost his life to a roadside bomb in 2006, recently said on a Wisconsin Public Radio show that his family had asked Barack Obama to stop wearing the bracelet with his son's name on it. Yet Obama continues to do so despite the wishes of the family.

Radio host Glenn Moberg of the show "Route 51" asked Mr. Jopek, a man who believes in the efforts in Iraq and is not in favor of Obama's positions on the war, what he and his ex-wife think of Obama continually using their son's name on the campaign trail. (h/t D. Keith Howington of www.dehavelle.com)

Jopek began by saying that his ex-wife was taken aback, even upset, that Obama has made the death of her son a campaign issue. Jopek says his wife gave Obama the bracelet because "she just wanted Mr. Obama to know Ryan's name." Jopek went on to say that "she wasn't looking to turn it into a big media event" and "just wanted it to be something between Barack Obama and herself." Apparently, they were all shocked it became such a big deal.

But, he also said that his ex-wife has refused further interviews on the matter and that she wanted Obama to stop wearing the reminder of her son's sacrifice that he keeps turning into a campaign soundbyte.

More here

A lesson for Obama from Sweden

With the economy struggling, at least some people are urging a pro-growth tax cut. Too bad they live in Stockholm. As a recent headline in Agence France-Presse put it: "Sweden Announces Income Tax Cuts to Boost Jobs." The government is planning to cut business taxes and the personal income and payroll tax.

"The corporate tax is one of the taxes which large companies really study when they plan to set up business somewhere," says Jan Bj”rklund, leader of the country's Liberal Party, in promoting the tax cut plan. The corporate tax reduction will bring the Swedish rate down to 26.3% from 28%, continuing its fall from a high of 57% in 1987. This means that Swedes will soon have a corporate tax rate one-third lower than the U.S. average of 39.5% (the 35% federal rate plus the state average).

Sweden remains a high-tax country overall, with individual rates well above 50% plus pension and payroll obligations. Maria Rannka, president of the Swedish think tank Timbro, has reported that entrepreneurship had become such an alien concept that more than half of Sweden's 50 largest companies were founded before World War I and only two after 1970 -- the period when taxes and social welfare programs proliferated.

Now, however, Sweden is discovering that it must cut taxes to compete with Ireland, Eastern Europe and fast-growing Asia. Three years ago Sweden eliminated its inheritance tax. The U.S. death tax rate is still 45%. John McCain cited Ireland's low rate in his Friday debate with Barack Obama, who continues to insist that U.S. business is undertaxed.

If Mr. Obama wins in November, maybe his first foreign trip should be to Stockholm. He could use the tax tutorial.


A Study in Comparative Corruption

Good Grief. So this is the result of an AP "investigation":
Though Sarah Palin depicts herself as a pit bull fighting good-old-boy politics, in her years as mayor she and her friends received special benefits more typical of small-town politis as usual, an Associated Press investigation shows.

When Palin needed to sell her house during her last year as Wasilla mayor, she got the city to sign off on a special zoning exception - and did so without keeping a promise to remove a potential fire hazard.

She gladly accepted gifts from merchants: A free "awesome facial" she raved about in a thank-you note to a spa. The "absolutely gorgeous flowers" she received from a welding supply store. Even fresh salmon to take home.

Not that these things are to be excused out of hand, but Palin bends zoning rules - which I'm sure are stringent and a high stakes matter in Wasilla, Alaska - and gets a free facial. Obama gets a freakin' house with help from a someone indicted for money laundering, wire fraud, extortion and corrupt solicitation; has someone raising money for his campaign with well-publicized ties to organized crime; and the Illinois attorney general is currently looking into how Obama earmarked $100,000 for a former campaign volunteer who never spent the money for its intended purpose - and yet, I don't see too many "investigations" decrying Obama's transparently false claims he practices a "new" kind of politics.

And if that doesn't make you angry enough, you can take a look at this L.A. Times story about Palin's religious views, a heaping pile of factual carnage which might be one of the most obviously biased pieces about her yet - and that's really saying something.


(For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena . For readers in China or for when blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here.)

Monday, September 29, 2008

Barack Obama and the Strategy of Manufactured Crisis

Destruction is the prime aim of Leftists. If they cannot achieve it through revolution, any white-anting from within will do

America waits with bated breath while Washington struggles to bring the U.S. economy back from the brink of disaster. But many of those same politicians caused the crisis, and if left to their own devices will do so again.

Despite the mass media news blackout, a series of books, talk radio and the blogosphere have managed to expose Barack Obama's connections to his radical mentors -- Weather Underground bombers William Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn, Communist Party member Frank Marshall Davis and others. David Horowitz and his Discover the Networks.org have also contributed a wealth of information and have noted Obama's radical connections since the beginning.

Yet, no one to my knowledge has yet connected all the dots between Barack Obama and the Radical Left. When seen together, the influences on Obama's life comprise a who's who of the radical leftist movement, and it becomes painfully apparent that not only is Obama a willing participant in that movement, he has spent most of his adult life deeply immersed in it.

But even this doesn't fully describe the extreme nature of this candidate. He can be tied directly to a malevolent overarching strategy that has motivated many, if not all, of the most destructive radical leftist organizations in the United States since the 1960s.

The Cloward-Piven Strategy of Orchestrated Crisis

In an earlier post, I noted the liberal record of unmitigated legislative disasters, the latest of which is now being played out in the financial markets before our eyes. Before the 1994 Republican takeover, Democrats had sixty years of virtually unbroken power in Congress - with substantial majorities most of the time. Can a group of smart people, studying issue after issue for years on end, with virtually unlimited resources at their command, not come up with a single policy that works? Why are they chronically incapable? Why?

One of two things must be true. Either the Democrats are unfathomable idiots, who ignorantly pursue ever more destructive policies despite decades of contrary evidence, or they understand the consequences of their actions and relentlessly carry on anyway because they somehow benefit.

I submit to you they understand the consequences. For many it is simply a practical matter of eliciting votes from a targeted constituency at taxpayer expense; we lose a little, they gain a lot, and the politician keeps his job. But for others, the goal is more malevolent - the failure is deliberate. Don't laugh. This method not only has its proponents, it has a name: the Cloward-Piven Strategy. It describes their agenda, tactics, and long-term strategy.

The Strategy was first elucidated in the May 2, 1966 issue of The Nation magazine by a pair of radical socialist Columbia University professors, Richard Andrew Cloward and Frances Fox Piven. David Horowitz summarizes it as:
The strategy of forcing political change through orchestrated crisis. The "Cloward-Piven Strategy" seeks to hasten the fall of capitalism by overloading the government bureaucracy with a flood of impossible demands, thus pushing society into crisis and economic collapse.

Cloward and Piven were inspired by radical organizer [and Hillary Clinton mentor] Saul Alinsky:
"Make the enemy live up to their (sic) own book of rules," Alinsky wrote in his 1989 book Rules for Radicals. When pressed to honor every word of every law and statute, every Judeo-Christian moral tenet, and every implicit promise of the liberal social contract, human agencies inevitably fall short. The system's failure to "live up" to its rule book can then be used to discredit it altogether, and to replace the capitalist "rule book" with a socialist one. (Courtesy Discover the Networks.org)

Newsmax rounds out the picture:
Their strategy to create political, financial, and social chaos that would result in revolution blended Alinsky concepts with their more aggressive efforts at bringing about a change in U.S. government. To achieve their revolutionary change, Cloward and Piven sought to use a cadre of aggressive organizers assisted by friendly news media to force a re-distribution of the nation's wealth.

In their Nation article, Cloward and Piven were specific about the kind of "crisis" they were trying to create:
By crisis, we mean a publicly visible disruption in some institutional sphere. Crisis can occur spontaneously (e.g., riots) or as the intended result of tactics of demonstration and protest which either generate institutional disruption or bring unrecognized disruption to public attention.

No matter where the strategy is implemented, it shares the following features:
The offensive organizes previously unorganized groups eligible for government benefits but not currently receiving all they can.

The offensive seeks to identify new beneficiaries and/or create new benefits.

The overarching aim is always to impose new stresses on target systems, with the ultimate goal of forcing their collapse.

Capitalizing on the racial unrest of the 1960s, Cloward and Piven saw the welfare system as their first target. They enlisted radical black activist George Wiley, who created the National Welfare Reform Organization (NWRO) to implement the strategy. Wiley hired militant foot soldiers to storm welfare offices around the country, violently demanding their "rights." According to a City Journal article by Sol Stern, welfare rolls increased from 4.3 million to 10.8 million by the mid-1970s as a result, and in New York City, where the strategy had been particularly successful, "one person was on the welfare rolls... for every two working in the city's private economy."

According to another City Journal article titled "Compassion Gone Mad":
The movement's impact on New York City was jolting: welfare caseloads, already climbing 12 percent a year in the early sixties, rose by 50 percent during Lindsay's first two years; spending doubled... The city had 150,000 welfare cases in 1960; a decade later it had 1.5 million.

The vast expansion of welfare in New York City that came of the NWRO's Cloward-Piven tactics sent the city into bankruptcy in 1975. Rudy Giuliani cited Cloward and Piven by name as being responsible for "an effort at economic sabotage." He also credited Cloward-Piven with changing the cultural attitude toward welfare from that of a temporary expedient to a lifetime entitlement, an attitude which in-and-of-itself has caused perhaps the greatest damage of all.

Cloward and Piven looked at this strategy as a gold mine of opportunity. Within the newly organized groups, each offensive would find an ample pool of foot soldier recruits willing to advance its radical agenda at little or no pay, and expand its base of reliable voters, legal or otherwise. The radicals' threatening tactics also would accrue an intimidating reputation, providing a wealth of opportunities for extorting monetary and other concessions from the target organizations. In the meantime, successful offensives would create an ever increasing drag on society. As they gleefully observed:
Moreover, this kind of mass influence is cumulative because benefits are continuous. Once eligibility for basic food and rent grants is established, the drain on local resources persists indefinitely.

The next time you drive through one of the many blighted neighborhoods in our cities, or read of the astronomical crime, drug addiction, and out-of-wedlock birth rates, or consider the failed schools, strapped police and fire resources of every major city, remember Cloward and Piven's thrill that "...the drain on local resources persists indefinitely."

ACORN, the new tip of the Cloward-Piven spear

In 1970, one of George Wiley's proteges, Wade Rathke -- like Bill Ayers, a member of the radical Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) -- was sent to found the Arkansas Community Organizations for Reform Now. While NWRO had made a good start, it alone couldn't accomplish the Cloward-Piven goals. Rathke's group broadened the offensive to include a wide array of low income "rights." Shortly thereafter they changed "Arkansas" to "Association of" and ACORN went nationwide.

Today ACORN is involved in a wide array of activities, including housing, voting rights, illegal immigration and other issues. According to ACORN's website: "ACORN is the nation's largest grassroots community organization of low- and moderate-income people with over 400,000 member families organized into more than 1,200 neighborhood chapters in 110 cities across the country," It is perhaps the largest radical group in the U.S. and has been cited for widespread criminal activity on many fronts.


On voting rights, ACORN and its voter mobilization subsidiary, Project Vote, have been involved nationwide in efforts to grant felons the vote and lobbied heavily for the Motor Voter Act of 1993, a law allowing people to register at motor vehicle departments, schools, libraries and other public places. That law had been sought by Cloward and Piven since the early1980s and they were present, standing behind President Clinton at the signing ceremony. ACORN's voter rights tactics follow the Cloward-Piven Strategy:

1. Register as many Democrat voters as possible, legal or otherwise and help them vote, multiple times if possible.

2. Overwhelm the system with fraudulent registrations using multiple entries of the same name, names of deceased, random names from the phone book, even contrived names.

3. Make the system difficult to police by lobbying for minimal identification standards.

In this effort, ACORN sets up registration sites all over the country and has been frequently cited for turning in fraudulent registrations, as well as destroying republican applications. In the 2004-2006 election cycles alone, ACORN was accused of widespread voter fraud in 12 states. It may have swung the election for one state governor.

ACORN's website brags: "Since 2004, ACORN has helped more than 1.7 million low- and moderate-income and minority citizens apply to register to vote." Project vote boasts 4 million. I wonder how many of them are dead? For the 2008 cycle, ACORN and Project Vote have pulled out all the stops. Given their furious nationwide effort, it is not inconceivable that this presidential race could be decided by fraudulent votes alone.

Barack Obama ran ACORN's Project Vote in Chicago and his highly successful voter registration drive was credited with getting the disgraced former Senator Carol Moseley-Braun elected. Newsmax reiterates Cloward and Piven's aspirations for ACORN's voter registration efforts:
By advocating massive, no-holds-barred voter registration campaigns, they [Cloward & Piven] sought a Democratic administration in Washington, D.C. that would re-distribute the nation's wealth and lead to a totalitarian socialist state.

Mortgage Crisis

And now we have the mortgage crisis, which has sent a shock wave through Wall Street and panicked world financial markets like no other since the stock market crash of 1929. But this is a problem created in Washington long ago. It originated with the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA), signed into law in 1977 by President Jimmy Carter. The CRA was Carter's answer to a grassroots activist movement started in Chicago, and forced banks to make loans to low income, high risk customers. PhD economist and former Texas Senator Phil Gramm has called it: "a vast extortion scheme against the nation's banks."

Much more here

Who just told Democrat Barack Obama to grow up?

Answer: Answer: Republican Gov. Matt Blunt of Missouri. His press release:

"St. Louis County Circuit Attorney Bob McCulloch, St. Louis City Circuit Attorney Jennifer Joyce, Jefferson County Sheriff Glenn Boyer, and Obama and the leader of his Missouri campaign Senator Claire McCaskill have attached the stench of police state tactics to the Obama-Biden campaign.

"What Senator Obama and his helpers are doing is scandalous beyond words, the party that claims to be the party of Thomas Jefferson is abusing the justice system and offices of public trust to silence political criticism with threats of prosecution and criminal punishment.

"This abuse of the law for intimidation insults the most sacred principles and ideals of Jefferson. I can think of nothing more offensive to Jefferson's thinking than using the power of the state to deprive Americans of their civil rights. The only conceivable purpose of Messrs. McCulloch, Obama and the others is to frighten people away from expressing themselves, to chill free and open debate, to suppress support and donations to conservative organizations targeted by this anti-civil rights, to strangle criticism of Mr. Obama, to suppress ads about his support of higher taxes, and to choke out criticism on television, radio, the Internet, blogs, e-mail and daily conversation about the election.

"Barack Obama needs to grow up. Leftist blogs and others in the press constantly say false things about me and my family. Usually, we ignore false and scurrilous accusations because the purveyors have no credibility. When necessary, we refute them. Enlisting Missouri law enforcement to intimidate people and kill free debate is reminiscent of the Sedition Acts - not a free society."


Obama, Oprah, and the Guru: Malignant Narcissism

Grandiosity, more than anything else, is what characterizes Obama's character and campaign. Grandiosity is also, more than anything else, what characterizes narcissism, and Obama's narcissism has become obvious to many. Tony Blankley refers to Obama's posturing as the "height of hubris." Jeffrey Kuhner writes that Obama "is a self-absorbed narcissist who portrays himself as a political messiah -- the anointed one." David Limbaugh writes of the "unspeakably presumptuous extravaganzas as those [that] feted Mr. Obama at Berlin and Invesco Field."

In reference to Obama's narcissism, Charles Krauthammer asks, "[H]as there ever been a presidential nominee with a wider gap between his estimation of himself and the sum total of his lifetime achievements?" Sam Vaknin, Ph.D., author of Malignant Self Love: Narcissism Revisited, writes that "Barack Obama appears to be a narcissist," and offers a detailed explanation.

Obama's entire campaign is nothing more than a demand to be recognized as superior without commensurate accomplishments. For individual instances of the undistinguished senator's grandiosity, please see Barack Obama Audacity Watch.

Two other very reliable witnesses to Obama's narcissism are Oprah Winfrey and her guru, Eckhart Tolle, both themselves pathological narcissists. Delusions of grandeur interpersonally connect Obama, Oprah, and her guru. All three believe they can, even that that they must, change the world for the better, and that means garnering for themselves more and more adulation, what the psychologists call "narcissistic supply."

The public record shows this: First, within the minds of Barack and Michelle Obama resides the grandiose, even megalomaniacal notion that they have the power to make the world as-it-is into the world-as-it-should be. Second, the Obamas look to talk-show host, Oprah Winfrey, as their "global role model" to effect this change. Third, as the Obamas' model for change, Oprah relentlessly promotes the grandiose New Age religion of her guru, Eckhart Tolle.

A closer look at these three narcissists and their widely-ignored interconnections is in order

The Malignant Narcissism of Oprah's Guru

Oprah's guru Eckhart Tolle is a troubled and troubling individual. He claims to have experienced "a reincarnation as a spiritual teacher" through a self-admitted psychotic episode. He is a case study in the development of the mental illness of malignant narcissism. Like the original Narcissus, Tolle is obsessed with the two-dimensional reflection of himself. In his The Power of Now, Tolle writes about what he learns from viewing his own image in a mirror:
"If you accept the image, no matter what it is, if you become friendly toward it, it cannot not become friendly toward you. This is how you change the world."

Here, in a nutshell, Tolle expresses the fundamental delusion and extreme grandiosity of his own malignant narcissism. Tolle actually believes that he has become the greatest living spiritual teacher by overcoming "egoic delusion." But a mirror image is not true, but backwards. Tolle is not the greatest spiritual teacher in the world as he imagines, but one of the least competent. Such an enormous gap between presumption and reality is characteristic of malignant narcissism.

After Tolle made friends with his backwards image, his New Age doctrine began to jell, and as we might expect, it stands in stark contrast to the Judeo-Christian tradition. The God of the Old Testament is a mere projection of the human mind. Jesus is not the Son of God, but rather a "rare" human being. "The unconscious majority of the population" must "awaken" (to Tolle's teaching and greatness) and either "evolve or die." The Scriptures are only valid when interpreted by Tolle himself. That belief of his approaches the very ultimate in grandiose imaginings.

Beyond his backwards reflected image, Oprah's guru relies on something even more disturbing to change the world. It is a spirit or a force Tolle calls the "Source" which he claims resides within himself and Oprah, and within all those others who have learned through his teachings to "dissolve" their egos. That "Source" has told Tolle that the word of the God of the Bible is not reliable, that there is no death, and that he and Oprah both are as God, able to say of themselves "I Am That I Am." These things that the "Source" has told Oprah and Tolle are the exact same things the serpent told Eve in the ancient garden (Genesis 3:1-4, New International Version).

"I Am that I Am" is the Self-authenticating affirmation from God to Moses out of the burning bush (Exodus 3:13-15). In Hebrew, this is YHVH, or Yahweh, the sacred name of God that is "to be remembered throughout all generations" (Exodus 3:15). Tolle's appropriation of this Name to himself is the very ultimate in grandiose imaginings.

Oprah's Malignant Narcissism

Oprah welcomes Tolle's preposterous claims with uncritical glee because they justify the adoration of her own backwards and exalted mirror image on her altar of self-worship. That Oprah is self-obsessed should be obvious. Her image has appeared on every cover of her monthly magazine since it was founded eight years ago. She prays to herself, asking how she can be used "to serve the greater calling that is my life?" She gives thanks for "the life that I have created now." Her giving is always a public production, ultimately about herself and the "good" she is doing. Even when she says she doesn't want to make it about her, it's about her.

Like her guru, Oprah mocks the Judeo-Christian tradition, insisting that "God is a feeling experience, not a believing experience. If God for you is still about a belief, then it's not truly God." Spirituality to Oprah is not God-centered, but self-centered. She says that spirituality "is about paying attention to your life -- always asking, in every moment, `What can I learn from this?'" Oprah is as delusional as her guru, believing that by spreading Tolle's doctrine and creating a global "new kind of tribe" which looks to her and her guru as saviors, she is "putting [her] ego in check." In reality, Oprah is doing nothing more than promoting a how-to book for latent narcissists.

In March of this year, Oprah intensified her efforts to make the world as it is the world as it should be by kicking off her ten-week global Internet online class touting Tolle's book, A New Earth, and its importance in raising everyone's "awareness." The interactive Web cast reached 500,000 people in more than 139 countries. Since that time, according to Oprah's Web site, millions more have downloaded Oprah's and Tolle's teachings, helping "human beings, all over the world, bring about a shift in consciousness."

Barack Obama's Malignant Narcissism

On May 20, two months after Oprah's global Internet kickoff, Time magazine published Michelle Obama's tribute to Oprah as part of its 100 most influential people of 2008. It read in part: "Oprah is a wonderful friend and an incredible force. Her friendship and support have meant so much to Barack and me . . . Using her platform to serve as a global role model, she challenges us [Barack and me] to make the world as it is the world as it should be. And she is always the first to show us how it can be done." What else could Michelle be referring to here but Oprah's most focused project, her global Internet campaign promoting the anti-Christian teachings of her pathologically narcissistic guru?

Three months later, in August, the overlooked imperious theme of Michelle Obama's convention speech looped right back to her Oprah tribute. That theme, entwined with much family fluff, was "the world as it should be." Mrs. Obama used that phrase four times, emphasizing that she and Barack are "committed" to "building the world as it should be." Michelle Obama's own carefully considered words, written in Time magazine, tell us that she and her husband imagine that they are going to effect this change by using Oprah Winfrey as their guide, inspiration, and "global role model."

When Barack speaks of himself as "a fellow citizen of the world," is he visualizing world peace becoming a reality through Oprah's expanding tribe? Don't doubt it. Michelle introduced Oprah in Iowa prior to Oprah's introducing Obama, gushing that the talk-show queen "touches the souls of so many of us" and "empowers us all." Michelle's "us" included Barack. In his Berlin speech, pretentiously entitled, "A World that Stands as One," the Oprah-empowered Barack said that the "walls between races and tribes; natives and immigrants; Christian and Muslim and Jew cannot stand. These now are the walls we must tear down." That is exactly what Oprah is all about: promoting the lunacy that Tolle's teaching transcends and unites all religions. Once the Christians, Muslims, and Jews join Oprah's tribe and accept Oprah's guru as their chief prophet, then Presto: world peace!

Like Oprah and her guru, Barack Obama also mocks the Judeo-Christian tradition, claiming to be a "committed Christian" all the while welcoming Oprah's global anti-Christian crusade as a model to follow. (For more on Obama's fake Christianity, see "Obama's Faith, Family and Variable Values Tour" by Jan LaRue").

Let's review the connection between the narcissists: Barack Obama looks to Oprah Winfrey as his "global role model" for change. To effect this worldwide change, Oprah, in turn, relies on the "infallible" teachings of her guru, Eckhart Tolle. Tolle, in turn, looks in the mirror and makes friends with the backwards image of himself, thus enabling him, and others who see themselves in the same backwards way (Obama and Oprah), to "change the world." All three mock the Judeo-Christian tradition. All three are determined to remake the world "as it should be."

This is downright insanity, a malignantly narcissistic folie a trois. Counting Michelle Obama, it is a folie a quatre.

Best-selling author Dr. M. Scott Peck referred to malignant narcissists in his book title as The People of the Lie. Lying is what makes Tolle's, Oprah's, and Obama's narcissism malignant, or evil. True and false, right and wrong, do not have the same meaning to malignant narcissists as they do to sane people. What is true and right to the narcissist is whatever brings adoration and respect to his or her backwards, glorious, and depthless image. What is false and wrong is whatever harms that image.

Narcissus was an actor, as are all who succumb to his malady of self-obsession. Obama, Oprah, and even Tolle, are now star players on the world stage. The more grandiose the narcissist's image, the bigger the lies required to protect it. Oprah, her guru, and Obama all tell the same huge, egregiously reprehensible lie in different words. In a Christian nation, they cannot allow themselves to be seen as anti-Christian. That is why Oprah's website introduces her guru's virulently anti-Christian doctrine by asserting that it "is not for or against any religion." Not against Christianity? If the Scriptures appeared in front of Oprah and Tolle on baked clay tablets, they'd be taking sledgehammers to them. Obama would join right in. Referring to himself as a "committed Christian" is essentially the same huge lie Oprah and Tolle tell.

It is significant that Obama, Oprah, and Tolle all mock the Judeo-Christian tradition, because that tradition carries with it a standard of truth and conduct. According to the Ten Commandments, for example, idol worship and lying are wrong. Tolle, Oprah, and Obama, violate those commandments by worshiping their own images and lying to protect the imagined integrity of those images. Malignant narcissists cannot tolerate a spiritual or religious system of absolute standards. All morality must be self-referential. Thus, it wasn't the truth that led Oprah to endorse Obama but rather what she called "my own truth." Eckhart Tolle is Oprah's guru only because his mentally deranged worldview validates Oprah's "own truth."

In their efforts to remake our planet, Obama, Oprah, and Tolle are not looking toward a world that glorifies God or Christ. They look to be part of the reign of a different savior. According to Oprah, not only does Obama always tell the truth, he also knows how "to be the truth," a straightforward messianic reference. Obama's, Oprah's, and Tolle's "world as it should be" will be one that glorifies the two-dimensional, backwards, grandiose, greedy idol-images of themselves.

Within that morally upside-down world, the walls protecting our republican government and our Judeo-Christian values will crumble -- just as Obama said in Berlin that they must -- and our people will be sacrificed to the false god of malignant narcissism. May the True God, our Creator, forbid such a dreadful future!


Chicago Sun Times Continues to Examine Obama

Investigative reporters from Chicago's Sun Times continue to examine the record of former Illinois State Senator Barack Obama. A new story emerged there yesterday. In a September 25 article entitled "Obama grant being probed," Sun Times' reporters Chris Fusco and Dave McKinney wrote:
A $100,000 state grant for a botanic garden in Englewood that then-state Sen. Barack Obama awarded in 2001 to a group headed by a onetime campaign volunteer is now under investigation by the Illinois attorney general amid new questions, prompted by Chicago Sun-Times reports, about whether the money might have been misspent.

The garden was never built. And now state records obtained by the Sun-Times show $65,000 of the grant money went to the wife of Kenny B. Smith, the Obama 2000 congressional campaign volunteer who heads the Chicago Better Housing Association, which was in charge of the project for the blighted South Side neighborhood.

Smith wrote another $20,000 in grant-related checks to K.D. Contractors, a construction company that his wife, Karen D. Smith, created five months after work on the garden was supposed to have begun, records show. K.D. is no longer in business.

The Sun Times uncovered the story when, on August 12, the office of the state's Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity responded to a Freedom of Information Act (FIA) request for information. At that time, a recently "discovered" 52 pages of information was added to a May FIA request from the Sun Times. The article also notes that:
The relationship between Smith and Obama dates to at least 1997, when Obama wrote a letter that Smith used to help the housing association win city funding for an affordable-housing development near the garden site. Plans called for more than 50 homes; a dozen ultimately were built. Smith also has donated $550 to Obama campaign funds.

This story has not so far appeared in the New York Times.


Obama's Trade Trickery

An Obama ad implies that a Pennsylvania plant sent jobs overseas and says that McCain is to blame. That's wrong.

An Obama-Biden ad ties McCain to the closing of a plant in Pennsylvania. Its assertions are misleading and false:

The ad says McCain "sold ... out" workers whose factory closed. But there was nothing McCain, or anyone could have done. The factory was making parts for televisions that are becoming obsolete. The company in question has called the ad "misleading."

It implies jobs were sent to China by saying that workers were paid to "disassemble the plant and ship the equipment to China" and that McCain "supported tax breaks for companies that ship jobs overseas." But the only things shipped to China were the parts.

It's misleading to imply that McCain's support for the tax code in question is to blame for companies sending jobs overseas, as we've said before. The Obama-Biden campaign refers to a dynamic of U.S. tax code that allows companies to defer paying corporate income taxes on money they earn overseas and leave overseas. But the relationship to lost jobs is tenuous.

The ad says a Corning manufacturing plant in Pennsylvania closed and "hundreds los(t) their jobs. Then the workers are rehired to disassemble the plant and ship the equipment to China." That's all correct. But then the ad goes astray by saying that "Washington sold them out with the help of people like John McCain."

When the plant closed in 2004, it wasn't politicians or trade practices that "sold them out." Rather, the culprit is that unforgiving foe: new technology. The plant was closed because it made cathode ray tubes, which are used in conventional televisions. But the cathode ray tube is a dying technology, and Corning no longer makes it. Conventional TVs are being displaced by new plasma and LCD televisions as the prices of these products decrease.

More here

(For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena . For readers in China or for when blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here.)

Sunday, September 28, 2008

The debate

Comment from a Right-of-center British observer below. Most media comments seem similar

After the extraordinary political and financial drama of the last week it was always unlikely that Friday night's first presidential debate could possibly produce anything to compete. And so it was. The two candidates, both highly experienced debaters, steeled in an unending series of similar verbal contests in their primary campaigns, battled each other to an inconclusive scoreless draw.

There were no obvious gaffes, no clinching moments, nothing memorable that will play on the TV news for the next few days, nothing in fact that would make the average undecided voter suddenly convinced that one or the other was the obvious winner.

But if an inconclusive result can be said to favour anyone then it was, maybe, just Barack Obama's night. The Democrat was playing on away turf in content terms and that alone probably gave him a small advantage. The planned subject of the debate was foreign policy. This was John McCain's home field advantage - a big opportunity to wrest the campaign back in his direction after a couple of weeks of economic mayhem that seemed to push things decisively in Senator Obama's favour.

But the events of this week dictated a change in plans and almost half the debate was taken up instead by timely discussion of the economic crisis. On that, if only by going through the motions of talking about an issue that polls suggest clearly favours the Democrats, Senator Obama had a distinct advantage.

Senator McCain made no effort to explain his controversial decision this week to suspend his campaign briefly and return to Washington to help out in the Great Bailout Negotiation. That gambit - coupled with the suggestion that he might not attend Friday night's debate, an uncertainty not resolved until about eight hours before the scheduled time - was an attempt to show leadership in the economic crisis. But by not talking about the bailout, and not even endorsing it during the debate (neither, by the way, did Senator Obama) Senator McCain will have left voters a little puzzled.

When the subject turned to foreign policy, Senator McCain had a clear edge. He repeatedly emphasised his experience - at times reeling off a long list of foreign leaders he had met and international crises he had helped resolve (although at one point he did mis-state the name of the president of Pakistan).

Senator McCain's strongest moment in fact was probably his final answer, a stirring defence of his decision to support the surge in Iraq and a cutting denunciation of Senator Obama's opposition to it. In general, Senator McCain surely succeeded in sowing further doubts in the public's mind about the Democratic candidate's readiness for the presidency.

Senator Obama's advisers were quick to point out that the two candidates left contrasting impressions that might have helped the Democrat. Senator McCain's constant emphasis on his experience may have reminded voters of just how long he has been around in Washington. Senator Obama, in contrast, talked up his campaign mantra of change. In an election in which voters have said the desire for change dominates their concerns, that was probably better for Senator Obama.

Against that, Senator McCain's staff were clearly pleased that the Democrat didn't have much success in tying the Republican candidate to the unpopular incumbent President Bush - one of Senator McCain's main sources of weakness they had expected Senator Obama to exploit.

But overall, it was not a debate that was likely to have moved many voters one way or another. We may have to wait until the remaining debates - beginning next week with the vice-presidential contest between Joe Biden and Sarah Palin, and continuing with two more presidential debates - to know whether these set-pieces are likely to have much effect on the outcome.

It certainly seems safe to say that nothing that happened on Friday night could really compete with events in Wall Street and Washington in the contest for American voters' attention. And with the crisis over the bank bailout likely to take centre stage again almost immediately, the lasting effect of this debate will be small


Barack Obama Is Lying - Lying - About "Equal Pay" For Women

Senator Obama Sinks to New Low in Desperate Attempt to Deceive Swing Voting Block

Through the years, the Center for Individual Freedom's policy disagreements with Senator John McCain have been legion. From McCain/Feingold, to foreign drug importation, to the decisively successful 2001 and 2003 tax cuts, to amnesty for illegal aliens, we have forcefully challenged Senator McCain on many fronts.

Despite these disagreements, however, it is also important that Americans remain fair and objective during this Presidential campaign. More specifically, we cannot stand idle when Senator McCain or any other public figure is subjected to tasteless and meritless attack. And this is one such occasion. On the flashpoint issue of equal pay for women, Senator Obama is simply lying about Senator McCain's record. Not fudging, not slanting, not merely misinterpreting. Lying.

In a recent television advertisement expressly approved by Obama, he contends that John McCain "opposed a law to guarantee women equal pay for equal work." And at a recent campaign appearance in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Senator Obama said, "I'll continue to stand up for equal pay as President. Senator McCain won't, and that's a real difference in this election."

There's only one problem. Equal pay is already well-established law. Indeed, discrimination in pay or any other term or condition of employment on the basis of sex has been illegal under federal law since Senator Obama was a toddler. And as a graduate of Harvard Law School and a former professor of Constitutional law, Senator Obama is well aware of this fact.

For instance, the 1963 Equal Pay Act (EPA) unambiguously prohibits employers from discriminating on the basis of sex. This prohibition applies not only to equal pay for the same job, it bars discrimination in pay even for "substantially equal work." Similarly, Title VII of the historic 1964 Civil Rights Act prohibits employment discrimination on the basis of sex, as well as race, color, religion or national origin. As stated on the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission's (EEOC's) official website, this protection extends beyond pay, and includes discrimination: "against any employee or applicant in hiring, termination, promotion, compensation, job training, or any other term, condition, or privilege of employment. Title VII also prohibits employment decisions based on stereotypes and assumptions about abilities, traits, or the performance of individuals on the basis of sex. Title VII prohibits both intentional discrimination and neutral job policies that disproportionately exclude individuals on the basis of sex and that are not job-related."

As noted by the EEOC official statement, Title VII's prohibitions against sex discrimination also extend to sexual harassment and pregnancy discrimination. This broad swath of protection puts to rest any assertion that unequal pay is remotely permitted under existing law. As yet another example of already-existing federal law prohibiting sex discrimination, Executive Order 11246 prohibits all federal contractors and subcontractors, as well as federally-assisted construction contractors and subcontractors, from discriminating on the basis of sex. Thus, discrimination in pay on the basis of sex is flatly illegal under a myriad of overlapping federal and state laws. And Obama knows it. But he's apparently unwilling to let that stand in the way of a naked attempt to deceive female voters.

Notably, this comes at a particularly embarrassing time for Senator Obama on this very subject. It has been revealed by LegiStorm.com that his own female staffers earn less than his male staffers. Specifically, according to LegiSorm, Senator Obama's female staffers earn only 83 cents for every dollar that his male staffers earn.

Talk about walking the walk. In contrast, according to LegiStorm, Senator McCain's female staffers earn $1.04 for every dollar that his male staffers make. But Senator Obama has the audacity to accuse the McCain campaign of shameless tactics?

This election is shaping up as a tight, emotionally-charged and bitter one, and female voters constitute a critical electoral block. But that doesn't justify outright dishonesty by any candidate. Hopefully, this campaign will not descend to these depths again.


Racism, Obama and the polls

Post below recycled from Discriminations. See the original for links

Since I've waited a few days to discuss it, by now most of you are probably already familiar with the new AP/Yahoo poll on the role race is likely to play in the election. The gist of it, and the nature of most of the coverage it has received, is nicely captured by the Chicago Sun Times headline on this widely read Associated Press article by Ron Fournier and Trevor Thompson, "Bigoted white Dems could doom Obama's effort." That article's lede:
WASHINGTON -- Deep-seated racial misgivings could cost Barack Obama the White House if the election is close, according to an AP-Yahoo News poll that found one-third of white Democrats harbor negative views toward blacks - many calling them ``lazy,'' ``violent'' or responsible for their own troubles. The poll, conducted with Stanford University, suggests that the percentage of voters who may turn away from Obama because of his race could easily be larger than the final difference between the candidates in 2004 -- about 2.5 percentage points.

The survey itself can be found here, and a longer version of the Fournier/Thompson AP article containing a sidebar with a graphical representation of some of the survey's highlights appears here. On this sidebar responses to questions about "words that describe blacks" are broken down to reflect the views of all whites, white Democrats, white Republicans, and white independents, although curiously that data is not in what was described as the complete results. Obviously the AP writers had access to data that, for some reaon, was not released. Those responses are fascinating, but they reveal, I believe, a number of flaws, or at least questionable assumptions, that characterize the easy "white bigot" conclusions that many commentators have drawn.

Some examples from the sidebar:

First, interestingly, on all the positive adjectives, white Democrats have a more favorable attitude toward blacks than white Republicans or Independents. For example, about 40% of white Dems regard blacks as "Friendly," compared to about 31% of Republicans and only 25% of Independents. Similarly, about 25% of white Dems regard blacks as "Smart at School," compared to about 20% of white Republicans and Independents. (Unreported is whether this means that 75% of white Dems do not regard blacks as "Smart at School," etc., which I think is the logical implication.)

The negative attitudes, however, or rather attitudes about negative characteristics - Violent, Boastful, Complaining, Lazy - are more interesting, especially since they provide the media paydirt here ("white bigots" may rob election, etc.). About 12% of white Dems, for example, regard blacks as both lazy and irresponsible, compared with about 15% of white Republicans and Independents.

By far the most interesting negative attitude, at least to me, is "Complaining," which all categories of whites regarded as the most negative of all their negative attitudes about blacks. About 22% of white Dems thought this term applied to blacks, compared to about 35% of white Republicans and Independents. This was the largest spread on all of the negatives. I think this "Complaining" button was what Rev. Wright pushed, and Michelle Obama re-enforced with her comments about America being a mean country that had made her proud only recently. I also believe that when whites regard blacks as "complaining," what they are primarily responding to is the demand for special treatment, i.e., for racial preferences.

What makes this poll such a hot commodity right now is not simply the numbers of whites who have some negative attitudes about blacks (the positive attitudes aren't newsworthy), but the pollsters' claim that
[s]tatistical models derived from the poll suggest that Obama's support would be as much as 6 percentage points higher if there were no white racial prejudice.

I don't know what these "statistical models" are, and I wouldn't know if they were persuasive even if did know what they are. But I do know that some of the poll's underlying assumptions can be questioned. For example, the AP article notes that
[t]he pollsters set out to determine why Obama is locked in a close race with McCain even as the political landscape seems to favor Democrats. President Bush's unpopularity, the Iraq war and a national sense of economic hard times cut against GOP candidates, as does the fact that Democratic voters outnumber Republicans.

As John Hinderaker notes on PowerLine, however,
[o]thers would say that the question requiring investigation is why John McCain is locked in a close race with Barack Obama, when Obama has no discernible qualifications for the office and (as the survey shows) holds views well to the left of the electorate. Occam's razor would suggest that the fact that 47 percent of respondents describe Obama as "inexperienced" accounts more readily for the tight race than the divinations of "racism" derived from the poll.

Some of the attitude questions in the poll, moreover, do not necessarily support the conclusions that the pollsters and most commentators have drawn from them. As Roger Clegg has observed (in an email to me, which I quote with permission):
what are we to make of this kind of sentence: "One finding: More than a quarter of white Democrats agree that `if blacks would only try harder, they could be just as well off as whites.'"

I don't think that agreeing with that statement makes one a bigot, and I don't see how agreeing with it makes it harder to vote for the particular black guy who's running for president. Is the sentiment in that sentence - that too many African Americans are not availing themselves of the opportunities they now have - very far removed from what Bill Cosby has said? Similarly, associating black with "violent" makes Jesse Jackson a bigot, too, I suppose (recall his famous admission that he was relieved when he found that the teenagers walking behind him are white instead of black).

Recognizing that, in 2008 America, African Americans are, statisically speaking, more likely to be underachievers and violent isn't the same thing as saying that they are hardwired to be so. Sheesh.

If 22% of blacks said whites would be better off if they worked harder, would that make them racist? In any event, Roger's reference to "hardwired" raises the question of just what we (and here, for a change, I include pollsters and commentators) mean by "racist," and ultimately by race itself. Is it necessarily racist, that is, to associate blacks with violence if blacks commit a disproportionate amount of violent crime? It certainly may be, if the violent behavior is thought to be genetic, or if it be thought that all blacks are violent. But is the association itself, in answer to a pollster, necessarily evidence of racism? I don't think so, and, as Roger says, even if it is such an attitude would not necessarily mean the respondent would not vote for Obama.

I should add here that not everything in the poll or in the current reports of it are objectionable. It was conducted with the assistance of Stanford political scientist Paul Sniderman, who has written widely and well about race and polling about race. (I do not say that simply because I'm a Stanford grad, nor do I know Sniderman. But see here for some of the works to which I refer.) And the AP article does contain some important cautions and qualifiers, such as the following:
Lots of Republicans harbor prejudices, too, but the survey found they weren't voting against Obama because of his race. Most Republicans wouldn't vote for any Democrat for president - white, black or brown.

Not all whites are prejudiced. Indeed, more whites say good things about blacks than say bad things, the poll shows. And many whites who see blacks in a negative light are still willing or even eager to vote for Obama....

Race is not the biggest factor driving Democrats and independents away from Obama. Doubts about his competency loom even larger, the poll indicates. More than a quarter of all Democrats expressed doubt that Obama can bring about the change they want, and they are likely to vote against him because of that.

In my view, however, it remains odd that the poll would find race a powerful explanation for why so many Democrats, but not Republicans, would vote against Obama.

Finally, returning to the "hardwired" issue and assumptions about the meaning of racism, we are constantly told that race is "socially constructed." I think this is largely true (whatever it means exactly), but I also think this truth has some implications that are rarely recognized. Consider, again, the fact that by far the most negative characteristic attributed to blacks is "Complaining," which is also the negative characteristic that most clearly flows from a position on public policy (demanding racial preferences). As I've pointed out several times, no one thinks of Colin Powell as "complaining" about things. As I pointed out here, first quoting the New Republic's Peter Beinart and then criticizing him:
Despite the pervasive racism of the electorate Beinart remains an optimist, "because even racists can be wooed."
Think about it this way [Beinart writes]: Many of the voters who right now won't vote for Obama because he's black would probably vote for Colin Powell even though he's black. That's because they don't see Powell as a racial redistributionist, a guy who would favor his community at their expense.

What Beinart is really saying here is that Powell is not really black, because he's not a "racial redistributionist." It never seems to occur to Beinart that if voters will vote for black candidate P, who does not support racial redistribution, but will not vote for black candidate O, who does (or who they think does) support racial redistribution, the reason they don't support O in greater numbers is not at all because they're racist and he's black but because they disagree with his position on an issue (actually, probably many issues) that are important to them.

When liberal academics, liberal commentators, liberal journalists, et. al. assert knowingly that race is "socially constructed," what they mean is that race is not a biological fact but an arbitrary invention of, in our case, American society, something imposed on blacks by and for the benefit of whites. But by favoring racial preferences, i.e. "complaining" that the demand for official colorblindness is the new racism, perhaps blacks and white liberals like Beinart contribute more than they realize to the "social construction" of what we mean by race.

Why Obama will lose

It is also my prediction that Obama will lose but I think that the writer below overlooks the fact that a huge proportion of the voters these days have no family or other connection to the traditional America he describes. From memory, about 30% of the voters are black or Hispanic so what do Pilgrim tradtions mean to them? And there are many others who are not of early-American ancestry

- When Benjamin Franklin was dispatched to France as ambassador of the United States in 1776, he won the hearts of the French through his authenticity. Rather than take on an affected and phony continental style, Franklin eschewed the powdered wig of the European gentleman and donned the fur cap of an American frontiersman. Original genius and polymath, Franklin understood that the French would see through any false pretension but respect an authenticity that sprang from an unpretentious and naive love of country.

What a contrast there is between Franklin and Barack Obama. Obama is a Harvard lawyer who is a mile wide and an inch deep. He is only the latest in a long line of shallow elites that consider it stylish and intellectual to despise their own culture and heritage.

Nothing exemplifies Obama's antipathy for American culture better than his statement that Americans "cling to" religion and guns out of frustration or bitterness. We only can suppose that Obama regards religion or firearms as aberrations that need to be eradicated.

Of course, both guns and religion are essential aspects of American culture. The United States was founded by people seeking religious freedom. Does the word "Pilgrim" ring a bell with anyone? Our freedom and the right to self-government were won by farmers with guns.

The American Revolution started when the British marched to Concord with the intention of confiscating colonial arms. Both the right to "keep and bear arms," and the right to "free exercise" of religion are enshrined in the Bill of Rights. We have come a long way when the presidential nominee of a major political party regards the exercise of fundamental rights as a mental aberration.

When Obama refers to "my Muslim faith," the verbal gaffe resonates as a Freudian slip because of Obama's thinly veiled hatred for this country's unique culture and institutions. Obama sat for 20 years in a church where the Rev. Jeremiah Wright Jr preached "goddamn America." He only resigned from the congregation when it became politically expedient to do so. When earlier this year, Michelle Obama said "for the first time in my adult life, I am proud of my country," can we conclude that her husband disagrees? Is it not remarkable that Michelle Obama can be so small-minded as to find nothing in the history of the United States that merits her admiration but the personal success of her husband?

What is Barack Obama for? His campaign motto is "change." But even a 6-year-old child understands that "change" can be either good or bad. Lacking specifics, the invocation of "change" as policy is completely empty. As we witness Obama's minions mindlessly endorse the meaningless maxim of "change," it only can call to mind the barnyard animals in George Orwell's "Animal Farm" chanting "four legs good, two legs bad!"

The choice of Sarah Palin as John McCain's running mate has been devastating for the Obama campaign precisely because she is everything Obama is not. Palin is not ashamed of her culture or country. She is not embarrassed by being an American, but naively embraces her birthright. Unassisted by affirmative action, Palin has risen to national prominence on the basis of her character, intelligence and natural gifts. In a word, she has guts. This is a woman who is proud of her country, not because it has granted her personal success, but because she respects what America stands for: freedom, opportunity, and individualism.

Obama is a vapid demagogue, a hollow man that despises American culture. He is ill-suited to be president of the United States. As the weeks pass, more Americans will come to this realization and elect McCain/Palin in a landslide.


Obama's alarming "one-world" aims

I've written of Obama's heinous Global Poverty Tax before. Barack Obama is a Marxist, a one-world whore, a poverty pimp on steroids, and he is ready to serve up America for the third world to slice and dice. You know, we often speak of the left's fanaticism with redistributing wealth, but that is so misleading. They simply wish to redistribute poverty. They want America's back broken and Obama and his pathetic "disenfranchised hoards" to feast on our corpse.

Obama and his ilk are vile beyond expressing. May the mortal wounds he wishes to deal this country rebound to him and his entire family one hundred fold. He has to be stopped, and I really don't care how that is accomplished, but this little bastard has to be stopped. Aurora at Midnight Sun offers the details. Details that the freaking legacy media won't discuss and details that Obama will never be forced to explain in interviews.

"Those U.N. protocols would make U.S. law on issues ranging from the 2nd Amendment to energy usage and parental rights all subservient to United Nations whims."

"[T]he legislation, if approved, dedicates 0.7 percent of the U.S. gross national product to foreign aid, which over 13 years. would amount to $845 billion `over and above what the U.S. already spends.'" "The plan passed the House in 2007 `because most members didn't realize what was in it.' Congressional sponsors have been careful not to calculate the amount of foreign aid spending that it would require."

And, how would the United States pay for this $845 BILLION commitment? According to Kincaid, who published a report on the legislation; "A global tax will clearly be necessary to force American taxpayers to provide the money." And that $845 BILLION global tax is in addition to our nation's current Foreign Aid programs, which, in 2006, cost American taxpayers about $300 BILLION!

It Gets Worse! Here are some of the additional provisions of the Millennium Development Goal:

--a "currency transfer tax," that is, a tax imposed on companies and individuals who must exchange dollars for foreign currency;

--a "tax on the rental value of land and natural resources";

--a "royalty on worldwide fossil energy projection - oil, natural gas, coal";

--"fees for the commercial use of the oceans, fees for airplane use of the skies, fees for use of the electromagnetic spectrum, fees on foreign exchange transactions, and a tax on the carbon content of fuels."

--a "standing peace force," meaning a standing United Nations army that might, in time, be large enough to force us to bend to its will;

--a "UN arms register of all small arms and light weapons," the beginning of the end of the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution;

--the "eradication of poverty" by the "redistribution [of] wealth and land"

How do you suppose the United Nations expects to "redistribute" the land and the wealth? And what country do you think the third-world majority will go after first?

--cancellation of "the debts of developing countries,"

--"a fair distribution of the earth's resources."

--and "political control of the global economy."

In other words, it's a blueprint for a world government, owned and operated by the United Nations. One thing is clear: the Millennium Development Goal is a dagger aimed at the heart of America.

While the Global Poverty Act, as presently championed by its Senate supporters, embraces certain aspects of the Millennium Development Goal, one should wonder if some of our legislators also support land and wealth "redistribution."

The Millennium Development Goal is a dagger aimed at the heart of America. May that dagger find it's way back to Obama and every traitorous politician who has sanctioned this nightmare.


(For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena . For readers in China or for when blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here.)

Saturday, September 27, 2008

The Obama Times

Shortly before John McCain suspended his campaign to help with the Wall Street bailout, his generals declared war on The New York Times. In a conference call this week, McCain senior aide Steven Schmidt bellowed: "Whatever The New York Times once was, it is today not by any standard a journalistic organization. It is a pro-Obama advocacy organization that every day impugns the McCain campaign, attacks Sen. McCain, attacks Gov. (Sarah) Palin. ... Everything that is read in The New York Times that attacks this campaign should be evaluated by the American people from that perspective." ...

One good test of how the Times has been covering the race is to see who is defending it. Liberal pro-Obama columnist E.J. Dionne protested the McCain attack as an attempt to "intimidate reporters and discredit those who try to give an honest account of the campaign."

New York University journalism professor Jay Rosen lamented on a left-leaning media site that if the McCain campaign thinks the Times is a "political action committee working for Obama ... then why does the Times have to treat the McCain crew as a Onormal' campaign organization, rather than a bunch of rogue operators willing to say absolutely anything to gain power and lie to the nation once in office?"

The answer should be obvious: The New York Times doesn't owe fairness to McCain, it owes accuracy to its readers. Fairness to McCain would simply be a happy byproduct of that accuracy.

But the most telling defender of the Times was the Obama campaign itself, which leapt to vouch for the Gray Lady's probing investigative integrity. (Note: this is the same campaign that implored the Justice Department to shut down anti-Obama ads it didn't like and encouraged supporters to harass and shout down journalists - including my National Review colleagues David Fredosso and Stanley Kurtz - who've tried to investigate Obama's record with a gusto not to be found at America's "paper of record.")

According to Politico, Obama spokesman Bill Burton called Schmidt's attack on the Times "laughable." Burton released a list of 42 "probing stories" from the Times. Among these allegedly hard-hitting expos‚s were the following headlines: "In Law School, Obama Found Political Voice," "Charisma and a Search for Self in Obama's Hawaii Childhood" and "In Illinois, Obama Proved Pragmatic and Shrewd." It's amazing the Obama campaign survived such an onslaught.

Meanwhile, the Times ran a scurrilous, unsubstantiated story suggesting McCain had an inappropriate sexual relationship with a lobbyist. Its coverage of Palin has been so heinous, Times readers could be forgiven for thinking the Alaska governor is a transvestite in a Klan robe who speaks in tongues.

The New York Times is clearly rooting for Barack Obama (just as it was rooting for McCain against Bush in 2000). As Kurtz has demonstrated, the Times has soft-pedaled Obama's ties to William Ayers, an unrepentant domestic terrorist whose former outfit, The Weathermen, bombed the Pentagon and other American targets.

Times editorials read like Obama press releases. On McCain's controversial ad criticizing Obama's vote for a sex-ed bill in the Illinois legislature, the Times proclaimed that McCain "flat-out lies" and argued that "at most, kindergarteners were to be taught the dangers of sexual predators." A plain reading of the actual bill shows that the Times is flat-out lying.

Attacking the press serves several purposes, not least of which is that it just feels good. It also galvanizes the base and informs swing voters to be more skeptical of what the press tells them. Of course, such griping can backfire, causing the press to become even more hostile, though it's hard to imagine what that would look like. But a good hard smack on the nose can offer some rewards.

For instance, during the Jeremiah Wright controversy, the Times refused to report that Obama's mentor and pastor had ever said "God damn America," even though that exclamation was central to the firestorm. But the day after the McCain campaign declared war on the Times, the quote appeared on the front page, six months late and in a story about McCain's negative campaigning. Such are the meager spoils of war.


Why Obama hides what he is

Why does Barack Obama play hide the ball with his personal resume, concealing his extreme leftist ideology and denying his damning associations? Question kind of answers itself, wouldn't you say? Be concerned, very concerned.

Obama hides his liberalism for the same reason every other liberal presidential candidate has: The electorate tilts center-right. This isn't just my gut speaking or some self-serving theory I'm propounding. The Battleground poll -- a well-respected bipartisan affair conducted by the Terrance Group, a Republican polling organization -- and Lake Research Partners, a Democratic organization, tells us 60 percent of Americans identify themselves as conservatives.

But the specifics are even more telling. Twenty percent consider themselves very conservative, 40 percent somewhat conservative, 2 percent moderate, 27 percent liberal, 9 percent very liberal, and 3 percent don't know or didn't answer. So John Kerry in 2004 and Barack Obama in 2008 didn't deny they were the most liberal senators because liberalism has become a dirty word through a clever conservative propaganda campaign. They denied it because liberalism is a minority position in reality, albeit an extraordinarily effective vocal minority.

Obama will only come clean about his liberalism when he thinks he is in safe territory, as he did at the San Francisco fundraiser where he trashed small-town Americans, thinking his words wouldn't reach those he was belittling. Nor is Obama upfront about the liberal nature of his policy proposals, choosing instead to mask their liberalism and even disguise them as conservative.

How else do you explain his whopper that he is recommending a tax cut for 95 percent of Americans when we know that the bottom 50 percent of income earners pay very little income tax at all? His plan calls for giving many of these people tax credits, even though they are paying no tax or are paying a small enough amount that the credit would result in them netting money from the government. As others have pointed out, this is welfare, not a tax cut. "Tax cut" resonates well among center-right voters; "welfare" does not.

On foreign policy, suffice it to say that Obama would never want the center-right electorate to know the extent of his appeasement and retreat-and-defeat orientation, his support for the bankrupting and sovereignty-forfeiting Global Poverty Act or his goal of eliminating U.S. nuclear weapons, as reported by The New York Times.

But where Obama is really playing hide the ball is in his past and present associations. His campaign operatives and the mainstream media have done their best to divert any attention from these relationships by saying it's dirty campaigning to smear him through the acts of others. Well, folks, that's not how ordinary people think. In sizing up someone's character, we often consider with whom they associate. Sue us if you wish -- even start a class action -- but it won't change human nature, which leads us, rationally, to consider this factor.

Endless reports and many books have been written documenting Barack Obama's discipleship in the thug tactics of Saul Alinsky's "Rules for Radicals." For Obama, community organizing was not an innocuous vehicle for assisting the needy. It was and is a cynically dangerous vehicle for the politics of extortion and intimidation and the usurpation of power by socialists, whose ideology and methods more closely resemble those of Josef Stalin than those of Mother Teresa.

These sources also prove beyond any reasonable doubt Obama's close -- not remote, not casual -- relationship with the nihilistic, America-hating, Pentagon-bombing radical William Ayers. Obama glibly dismisses the very idea that he should be blamed for a passing acquaintanceship with a guy who was bombing the Pentagon "when (Obama) was 8 years old."

Enough with the insults to our intelligence, Mr. Obama. You were not 8 when you launched your state Senate campaign in Ayers' home. You were not 8 when you served in the Chicago Annenberg Challenge, which Ayers was instrumental in establishing. You are not 8 today, though you are still Ayers' close friend, while he remains an America-hating radical, wholly unrepentant about his terrorist activities, other than to say he didn't do enough.

The fact that Obama would be seen in the same room with this guy should disqualify him from presidential aspirations. But he's not just in the same room. In many ways, he's on the same page, as evidenced by his default instinct to apologize for America and to blame America first. But Obama will continue striving to hide the ball on this association and many others, including those with the Rev. Jeremiah Wright and Tony Rezko.

But beware; if anyone dares to expose those relationships and their sordid details, he will open himself up to malicious and fraudulent charges of racism and other Saul Alinsky thug tactics that make Bill Clinton's politics of personal destruction look like child's play.


Missouri Sheriffs & Top Prosecutors Form Obama "Truth Squads" & Threaten Libel Charges Against Obama Critics

More Hope and Change for Missouri... Note that this is in response to an explicit request from the Obama campaign

St. Louis and Missouri Democrat sheriffs and top prosecutors are planning to go after anyone who makes false statements against Obama during his campaign. This is so one sided I can't even begin to describe how wrong this agenda is. It's one thing if they want to keep the campaign fair for both sides, but they clearly only want to enforce the issue for the Obama Camp. KMOV has a video report on the Obama "Truth Squads".
KMOV aired a story last night, that stated that St. Louis County Circuit Attorney Bob McCulloch and St. Louis City Circuit Attorney Jennifer Joyce, both Obama supporters, are threatening to bring criminal libel charges against anyone who levels what turns out to be false criticisms of their chosen candidate for President.

St. Louis C of CC Blog has more on the Obama Truth Squads.

More here

Seeds of Corruption: Hey, Obama, Where'd That $100,000 in Garden Money Go?

Hmm. Might it be that The Messiah is corrupt? We report, you decide.
A $100,000 state grant for a botanic garden in Englewood that then-state Sen. Barack Obama awarded in 2001 to a group headed by a onetime campaign volunteer is now under investigation by the Illinois attorney general amid new questions, prompted by Chicago Sun-Times reports, about whether the money might have been misspent.

The garden was never built. And now state records obtained by the Sun-Times show $65,000 of the grant money went to the wife of Kenny B. Smith, the Obama 2000 congressional campaign volunteer who heads the Chicago Better Housing Association, which was in charge of the project for the blighted South Side neighborhood.

Smith wrote another $20,000 in grant-related checks to K.D. Contractors, a construction company that his wife, Karen D. Smith, created five months after work on the garden was supposed to have begun, records show. K.D. is no longer in business.

Attorney General Lisa Madigan -- a Democrat who is supporting Obama's presidential bid -- is investigating "whether this charitable organization properly used its charitable assets, including the state funds it received," Cara Smith, Madigan's deputy chief of staff, said Wednesday.

In addition to the 2001 grant that Obama directed to the housing association as a "member initiative," the not-for-profit group got a separate $20,000 state grant in 2006.

Oh, so an Obama Democrat is "investigating" this case. Never mind.


Busted!... Obama-Rezko Buddy Blagojevich Caught In Scandal!

More Hope and Change... Federal agents announced today they have the goods on Illinois Governor Blagojevich.

Federal Agents announced today that they have enough evidence to indict longtime Obama friend and close associate Illinois Governor Blagojevich.
WJBC reported:
Sources tell CBS 2 News Chicago that Federal agents claim to have enough evidence to indict Blagojevich on fraud and conspiracy charges. However, the report says the investigators aren't the ones who make the decision to prosecute. That would be up to U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald and the Justice Department in Washington.

WBBM reported on a possible Rezko connection:
Prosecutors also mentioned Blagojevich in an indictment as the intended beneficiary of at least one extortion attempt by Blagojevich fundraiser and businessmen Antoin "Tony" Rezko.

Rezko was convicted June 4 on 16 of the 24 counts against him. He awaits sentencing in October on mail and wire fraud, aiding and abetting bribery and money laundering convictions. He still faces two more trials.

The Chicago Sun-Times has reported Rezko could cut his prison time significantly by cooperating in investigations of other public figures.

For some reason the mainstream media is not paying much attention to this story?


Biden the astute financial manager

If a candidate for high office does a spectacularly poor job in managing his own family's finances, why on earth should we trust him in a national leadership position at a time of acute economic crisis? Senator Joe Biden's recently disclosed tax returns display a consistent pattern of poor judgment and shabby values that ought to disqualify him for the vice presidency or any other post of significant responsibility.

Over the course of ten years (1998 through 2007) the Bidens averaged an adjusted gross income of $245,000 - placing them uncomfortably close to that threshold of $250,000 a year that Senator Obama considers "wealthy" and deserving of sharply increased taxes. In several years during the last decade Biden and his educator wife Jill definitely entered into that privileged territory, reporting income of $319,853 last year (and even more in 2005).

Despite this impressive revenue stream (including a recent six-figure advance for his unreadable-and unread - memoir "Promises to Keep"), Senator Biden has managed to save almost nothing for his own retirement or to benefit his children and grandchildren. In 2007, when announcing his second presidential bid, he reported a total net worth of $100,000 to $150,000, making him the least prosperous member of the U.S. Senate. As the Washington Post sympathetically observed: "Biden has spent virtually his whole life in public service and does not have much else aside from a small array of mutual funds and cash accounts." In June of 2008, he even listed significant liabilities including a loan up to $50,000 against his life insurance policy and line of credit indebtedness of more than $100,000 to the Wilmington Savings Fund Society.

At the time of his selection as Senator Obama's running mate, some of his Biden's die-hard fans took perverse pride in his shaky financial situation. But why should any American feel proud of reaching retirement age (Biden will turn 66 this November) without accumulating notable savings, assets or property? A normal, hard-working middle class wage-earner who put away a few thousand dollars a year in a tax-sheltered IRA or 401K would have achieved several times Biden's net worth through the magic of regular investment and compound interest.

What sort of irresponsible flake averages $245,000 in annual income (plus lavish expense allotments from the U.S. Senate) while spending nearly all his compensation and diverting next to nothing to the family's long-term security? What, exactly, did the Senator do with the literally millions of dollars he earned in recent years? The one possible explanation that's easiest to rule out is the notion that he gave away his wealth to charity. Between 1998 and 2007, his adjusted gross income never dipped below $210,797, but his charitable giving never exceeded $995 (while actually dipping as low as $120 - a paltry $10 per month). In other words, the Bidens' charitable contributions always remained well below three-tenths of one percent of their adjusted gross income - or one-thirtieth of the familiar standard of tithing upheld by many people of faith. Arthur Brooks of Syracuse University, author of "Who Really Cares?", astutely observed: "On average, Biden is not giving more than one tenth as much as the average American household, and that is evidence that he doesn't share charitable values with the average American.

In place of individual initiative or communal responsibility for assisting the less fortunate, Biden strongly prefers to rely on governmental compulsion. The Senator recently told Kate Snow of ABC news that he considered raising taxes a form of patriotism. "It's time to be patriotic," he solemnly intoned. "Time to jump in, time to be part of the deal, time to help get America out of the rut." Apparently it wasn't "time to be part of the deal" in previous years, or else he considers givings home, willingly to charity inherently less patriotic than involuntary seizure of income by government

In any event, Biden's refusal to help his neighbors without a federal directive to do so puts him at odds with the instinctive generosity of ordinary Americans, as does his ongoing reliance on Washington bureaucracy to provide for his every need. For thirty six years - since his initial election to the Senate at age 29- Biden's been one of 100 members of the "Most Exclusive Club in the World" with all the privileges and prerogatives associated with that status. Senators receive generous travel allowances, the support of lavish, well-paid staffs to cater to your every need both in the Capitol and on visits home, gold-plated family medical benefits and a stunningly lucrative pension program that most corporate executives would envy. Many United States Senators (and other top officials) look with favor on the ideal of a protective "nanny state" because they cherish its indulgent benefits in their own lives.

For Joe Biden, there's been little impetus to build a personal nest-egg or to plan for his retirement because Uncle Sam has always been there to take care of him. He feels no need to devote resources to private charities because he lives in a Beltway bubble where bureaucrats on the federal payroll can salve all guilty consciences by busying themselves with officious projects of cradle-to-grave "compassion."

Still, Biden's inept handling of his personal finances, and his even more pathetic failure to contribute his resources to communal organizations, demonstrate an appalling lack of judgment and maturity. The records shows his emphatic rejection of the American dream of steady, slow economic advancement by restrained spending and regular saving. Americans who've achieved personal wealth seldom reach their goals through winning the lottery, or making sudden millions with a big, dramatic score. Far more commonly, the "millionaires next door" (to borrow a phrase from an influential bestseller) advance the interests of their families and their country through patience, hard-work, and long term planning.

Joe Biden may see his failure to provide for his own future as a point of connection with the vulnerability of many stressed and over-extended Americans but do we really need a Vice President of the United States to serve as a negative role model or warning example? A legislator (and loser) who fails to consider the long-term horizon in his own affairs represents a conspicuously terrible choice to safe-guard the future for 300 million of his fellow citizens.


(For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena . For readers in China or for when blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here.)