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 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.)

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