Friday, October 31, 2008

Obama campaign tries to bribe African Press International

API apparently have a tape of Michelle Obama making racist comments

Six hours after the release of information by API on the planned broadcast by Fox News Network of the Michelle Obama tape, in accordance with an agreement that has been reached between API and Fox News Network, API was contacted by Obama’s Campaign Manager.

Those who are close to the democratic presidential candidate must be desperate to win the elections no matter what, otherwise they would not have taken such bold step to contact API with an offer of a bribe in order to stop the airing of the tape. Obama’s campaign manager contacted API by telephone and email offering 3 million US dollars followed with a request to API to cancel the deal with Fox News Network.

Ten days ago API received the first request to accept 2 million US dollars by Mr Ed Hale, President of Plains Radio, Texas - USA, in an effort to suppress the information from reaching the public before the coming US Presidential elections.

API has now taken a decision to contact the American Embassy in Oslo, Norway as soon as possible in order to report the matter and hand over the evidence for investigative purposes. API’s Canadian lawyer is expected to fly to Oslo shortly in order to assist in the legal matters that arise from the bribery attempt.

API’s Chief editor is expected to travel to New York, together with the Canadian lawyer, where he will appear live in one of the shows that will air the Michelle Obama tape.


Obama's birth certificate sealed by Hawaii governor

The fix is in. His visit to Hawaii to "see his grandmother" was obviously a great success

Although the legitimacy of Sen. Barack Obama's birth certificate has become a focus of intense speculation - and even several lawsuits - WND has learned that Hawaii's Gov. Linda Lingle has placed the candidate's birth certificate under seal and instructed the state's Department of Health to make sure no one in the press obtains access to the original document under any circumstances. The governor's office officially declined a request made in writing by WND in Hawaii to obtain a copy of the hospital-generated original birth certificate of Barack Obama.

"It does not appear that Dr. Corsi is within any of these categories of persons with a direct and tangible interest in the birth certificate he seeks," wrote Roz Makuala, manager of constituent services in the governor's office, in an e-mailed response to a WND request seeking the information.

Those listed as entitled to obtain a copy of an original birth certificate include the person born, or "registrant" according to the legal description from the governor's office, the spouse or parent of the registrant, a descendant of the registrant, a person having a common ancestor with the registrant, a legal guardian of the registrant, or a person or agency acting on behalf of the registrant.

WND was told the official reason for denial of access to Obama's birth certificate would be authority granted pursuant to Section 338-18 of the Hawaii Revised Statutes, a provision the anonymous source claimed was designed to prevent identity theft.

Still, the source told WND confidentially the motivation for withholding the original birth certificate was political, although the source refused to disclose whether there was any information on the original birth certificate that would prove politically embarrassing to Obama. The source also refused to answer WND's question whether the original document on file with the Department of Health was a hospital-generated birth certificate or a registration of birth that may have been filed subsequent to the birth.

The anonymous source made clear the Hawaii Department of Health would immediately release Obama's original birth certificate, provided Obama requested the document be released, but the Department of Heath has received no such request from the senator or from anyone acting officially on his behalf.

WND also found on microfilm in the Honolulu downtown public library a notice published under the "Births, Marriages, Deaths" section of the Honolulu Sunday Advertiser for August 13, 1961, on page B-6, noting: "Mr. and Mrs. Barack II Obama. 6085 Kalanianaole-Hwy, son, Aug. 4."

In searching through the birth notices of the Honolulu Advertiser for 1961, WND found many birth notices were published between one and two weeks after the date of birth listed. The notice in the Honolulu Advertiser does not list the hospital where the Obama son was born or the doctor who delivered the baby.

In a startling development, Obama's Kenyan grandmother has reportedly alleged she witnessed Obama's birth at the Coast Provincial Hospital in Mombasa, Kenya.

Friday, U.S. Federal judge Richard Barclay Surrick, a Clinton appointee, dismissed a lawsuit brought by Pennsylvania attorney Phillip J. Berg who alleged Obama was not a U.S. "natural born" citizen and therefore ineligible for the presidency under the specifications of the U.S. Constitution, under Article II, Section 1.

Berg told WND last week he does not have a copy of a Kenyan birth certificate for Obama that he alleges exists. In Kenya, WND was told by government authorities that all documents concerning Obama were under seal until after the U.S. presidential election on November 4.

The Obama campaign website entitled "Fight the Smears" posts a state of Hawaii "Certificate of Live Birth" which is obviously not the original birth certificate generated by the hospital where Obama reportedly was born. "Fight the Smears" declares, "The truth is, Barack Obama was born in the state of Hawaii in 1961, a native citizen of the United States of America."

Although the Obama campaign could immediately put an end to all the challenges by simply producing the candidate's original birth certificate, it has not done so. And the "Fight the Smears" website offers no explanation as to why Obama has refused to request, and make public, an original hospital-generated birth certificate which the Hawaii Department of Health may possess.


Obama and the Politics of Crowds

The masses greeting the candidate on the trail are a sign of great unease

There is something odd -- and dare I say novel -- in American politics about the crowds that have been greeting Barack Obama on his campaign trail. Hitherto, crowds have not been a prominent feature of American politics. We associate them with the temper of Third World societies. We think of places like Argentina and Egypt and Iran, of multitudes brought together by their zeal for a Peron or a Nasser or a Khomeini. In these kinds of societies, the crowd comes forth to affirm its faith in a redeemer: a man who would set the world right.

As the late Nobel laureate Elias Canetti observes in his great book, "Crowds and Power" (first published in 1960), the crowd is based on an illusion of equality: Its quest is for that moment when "distinctions are thrown off and all become equal. It is for the sake of this blessed moment, when no one is greater or better than another, that people become a crowd." These crowds, in the tens of thousands, who have been turning out for the Democratic standard-bearer in St. Louis and Denver and Portland, are a measure of American distress.

On the face of it, there is nothing overwhelmingly stirring about Sen. Obama. There is a cerebral quality to him, and an air of detachment. He has eloquence, but within bounds. After nearly two years on the trail, the audience can pretty much anticipate and recite his lines. The political genius of the man is that he is a blank slate. The devotees can project onto him what they wish. The coalition that has propelled his quest -- African-Americans and affluent white liberals -- has no economic coherence. But for the moment, there is the illusion of a common undertaking -- Canetti's feeling of equality within the crowd. The day after, the crowd will of course discover its own fissures. The affluent will have to pay for the programs promised the poor. The redistribution agenda that runs through Mr. Obama's vision is anathema to the Silicon Valley entrepreneurs and the hedge-fund managers now smitten with him. Their ethos is one of competition and the justice of the rewards that come with risk and effort. All this is shelved, as the devotees sustain the candidacy of a man whose public career has been a steady advocacy of reining in the market and organizing those who believe in entitlement and redistribution.

A creature of universities and churches and nonprofit institutions, the Illinois senator, with the blessing and acquiescence of his upscale supporters, has glided past these hard distinctions. On the face of it, it must be surmised that his affluent devotees are ready to foot the bill for the new order, or are convinced that after victory the old ways will endure, and that Mr. Obama will govern from the center. Ambiguity has been a powerful weapon of this gifted candidate: He has been different things to different people, and he was under no obligation to tell this coalition of a thousand discontents, and a thousand visions, the details of his political programs: redistribution for the poor, postracial absolution and "modernity" for the upper end of the scale.

It was no accident that the white working class was the last segment of the population to sign up for the Obama journey. Their hesitancy was not about race. They were men and women of practicality; they distrusted oratory, they could see through the falseness of the solidarity offered by this campaign. They did not have much, but believed in the legitimacy of what little they had acquired. They valued work and its rewards. They knew and heard of staggering wealth made by the Masters of the Universe, but held onto their faith in the outcomes that economic life decreed. The economic hurricane that struck America some weeks ago shook them to the core. They now seek protection, the shelter of the state, and the promise of social repair. The bonuses of the wizards who ran the great corporate entities had not bothered them. It was the spectacle of the work of the wizards melting before our eyes that unsettled them.

Daniel Patrick Moynihan, the late Democratic senator from New York, once set the difference between American capitalism and the older European version by observing that America was the party of liberty, whereas Europe was the party of equality. Just in the nick of time for the Obama candidacy, the American faith in liberty began to crack. The preachers of America's decline in the global pecking order had added to the panic. Our best days were behind us, the declinists prophesied. The sun was setting on our imperium, and rising in other lands.

A younger man, "cool" and collected, carrying within his own biography the strands of the world beyond America's shores, was put forth as a herald of the change upon us. The crowd would risk the experiment. There was grudge and a desire for retribution in the crowd to begin with. Akin to the passions that have shaped and driven highly polarized societies, this election has at its core a desire to settle the unfinished account of the presidential election eight years ago. George W. Bush's presidency remained, for his countless critics and detractors, a tale of usurpation. He had gotten what was not his due; more galling still, he had been bold and unabashed, and taken his time at the helm as an opportunity to assert an ambitious doctrine of American power abroad. He had waged a war of choice in Iraq.

This election is the rematch that John Kerry had not delivered on. In the fashion of the crowd that seeks and sees the justice of retribution, Mr. Obama's supporters have been willing to overlook his means. So a candidate pledged to good government and to ending the role of money in our political life opts out of public financing of presidential campaigns. What of it? The end justifies the means.

Save in times of national peril, Americans have been sober, really minimalist, in what they expected out of national elections, out of politics itself. The outcomes that mattered were decided in the push and pull of daily life, by the inventors and the entrepreneurs, and the captains of industry and finance. To be sure, there was a measure of willfulness in this national vision, for politics and wars guided the destiny of this republic. But that American sobriety and skepticism about politics -- and leaders -- set this republic apart from political cultures that saw redemption lurking around every corner.

My boyhood, and the Arab political culture I have been chronicling for well over three decades, are anchored in the Arab world. And the tragedy of Arab political culture has been the unending expectation of the crowd -- the street, we call it -- in the redeemer who will put an end to the decline, who will restore faded splendor and greatness. When I came into my own, in the late 1950s and '60s, those hopes were invested in the Egyptian Gamal Abdul Nasser. He faltered, and broke the hearts of generations of Arabs. But the faith in the Awaited One lives on, and it would forever circle the Arab world looking for the next redeemer.

America is a different land, for me exceptional in all the ways that matter. In recent days, those vast Obama crowds, though, have recalled for me the politics of charisma that wrecked Arab and Muslim societies. A leader does not have to say much, or be much. The crowd is left to its most powerful possession -- its imagination.

From Elias Canetti again: "But the crowd, as such, disintegrates. It has a presentiment of this and fears it. . . . Only the growth of the crowd prevents those who belong to it from creeping back under their private burdens."

The morning after the election, the disappointment will begin to settle upon the Obama crowd. Defeat -- by now unthinkable to the devotees -- will bring heartbreak. Victory will steadily deliver the sobering verdict that our troubles won't be solved by a leader's magic.


A President Who Won't Uphold the Constitution? Never

Well, now we know why Barack Obama's been so reluctant to have symbols of this country associated with his campaign. No flags on his airplane. Nix to pins on his lapel. Not inclined to put his hand over his heart during the national anthem. After all, it turns out he has a problem with that other slightly more significant representation of our nation, the United States Constitution.

Just as he tried to prove to everyone that his patriotism was demonstrated by the lack of symbols of the United States, so he is now arguing that his passion for the Constitution is demonstrated by his commitment to shredding it.

The Drudge Report and other legitimate investigative sources like the National Review, have exposed the most damning evidence yet of Barack Obama's utter disregard for the core principles of the United States government. In a radio interview given in 2001, Obama reveals yet again about what he means by `equality,' when he says, ".the Supreme Court never entered into the issues of redistribution of wealth, and sort of more basic issues of political and economic justice in this society."

Bad? Sure. Because now it's not just "spread the wealth" a little bit (antithetical as that already is to American notions of hard work and prosperity). It's that "redistribution of wealth" is part and parcel of Obama's vision of what is "political and economic justice" in this society.

But it is much worse. Because this Harvard-educated lawyer then announces that the United States Supreme Court when headed by Chief Justice Earl Warren, was "not radical enough," in its pursuit of civil liberties, because "[i]t didn't break free from the essential constraints that were placed by the Founding Fathers in the Constitution."

If this has not stopped you dead in your tracks, either you don't understand, or you're already dead. What Obama is doing here is expressing his opinion that the Court would have better effectuated his definition of "political and economic justice" if it had been willing to ignore the limits placed upon it by the Constitution.

I have written elsewhere of Obama's potential designs on the country, and his inclinations should he obtain the power he seeks. Many of the hypotheticals I posited then were pooh-poohed by readers, who said, in essence, "He'd never do that; the Constitution prevents it."

At this point, any belief in Obama's respect for constitutional limits is delusional. If he is so cavalier about the Constitution's limits upon the power of the judiciary, why on earth would he respect the limits on the power of the Presidency? Or on Congress? Clamor for the reinstatement of the insidiously named "Fairness Doctrine" has already put the First Amendment in Obama's sights. What would be sacrosanct about the Second? Or the Fourth? Or Fifth? Or Eighth? Why would Obama let any constitutional limit stand in the way of what he views as "political and economic justice"?

These views are why Obama's acquaintances, associates and allies matter. Why his Alinskyite "by any means necessary" philosophy matters. Why we should care that he funds and takes money from people who say they hate or wish to undermine America. Why we should be concerned when he took spiritual sustenance from a man who spends much of his time condemning white people. This is what drives Barack Obama. And this is why he wants the Presidency.

The rest of Obama's observations during this interview are just as asinine, and just as threatening. He says, "generally the Constitution is a charter of negative liberties: [It] says what the states can't do to you, says what the federal government can't do to you, but it doesn't say what the federal government or the state government must do on your behalf."

This is deception. As an initial matter, few listening to him would understand the gobbledygook, "negative liberties." But more importantly, he never explains that the United States Constitution is the oldest constitution in effect in the world. And that is no accident. It is the oldest, because it is the only constitution I am aware of that is drafted the way it is. Specifically, other constitutions list certain rights that the government conveys upon the people. Or, to put it as Obama did, the things "government must do on your behalf."

Our Constitution, by contrast, has precisely the opposite construction. We, the people, are presumed to have all the rights, not just those written down in the Constitution. (And the Declaration of Independence states that these rights are "endowed by our Creator;" not by any government.) Lest this be unclear, the drafters of the Constitution put it in writing. The Ninth Amendment says, "The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people." And the Tenth Amendment goes further, stating explicitly that "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States, respectively, or to the people."

Obama is engaging in dangerous demagoguery when he suggests that we the people of the United States need him - or the government he wants in place - to give us rights we don't already have.

This deceitful view was echoed when he was introduced by Democratic Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur in Ohio earlier this week, who said that Americans "needed a Second Bill of Rights guaranteeing all Americans a job, health care, homes, an education, and a fair playing field for business and farmers." This is no "bill of rights," it is a bill of attainder (look it up). Those found "guilty" would be anyone wealthier, more successful, or more prosperous than any other. And the punishment? The very things Obama and the Democrats are already pushing for: high taxes, and even seizure and redistribution of all American's private property.

I am stunned beyond belief that these blunt admissions do not give otherwise patriotic Obama supporters (and this describes the vast majority of them) serious pause. But those voting for him seem to fall into two groups. The first group says, "Oh well, Bush has trashed the Constitution, too." Even assuming that this were true, it is hardly a ringing endorsement for your candidate. Worse, it displays a surprising ignorance that the procedural protections Obama is determined to dismantle won't be there to protect you against the next right-wing fascist you guys are always running in terror from. What - you think Obama will give those rights back right before (if) he leaves office?

The second group consists of disgruntled so-called "conservatives" like Kathleen Parker, Colin Powell, Peggy Noonan, and Christopher Buckley, who hear what Obama is saying, but choose not to believe him. I'm not sure what to say to these people, except that their refusal to learn from history suggests that there may be something to those claims that there's no such thing as evolution.

Those who drafted the Constitution knew that persuasive orators who promised beneficence in exchange for liberty would come along. This is why George Washington admonished that "Government is not reason, it is not eloquence, it is force; like fire, a troublesome servant and a fearful master." And it is why Thomas Jefferson said, "In questions of power then, let no more be heard of confidence in man, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution."

Every President, upon taking office, takes an oath to "preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States." A President should be willing to die to defend our Constitution. Obama is dying to destroy it


An Acorn Whistleblower Testifies in Court

The group's ties to Obama are extensive

Acorn, the liberal "community organizing" group that claims it will deploy 15,000 get-out-the-vote workers on Election Day, can't stay out of the news.

The FBI is investigating its voter registration efforts in several states, amid allegations that almost a third of the 1.3 million cards it turned in are invalid. And yesterday, a former employee of Acorn testified in a Pennsylvania state court that the group's quality-control efforts were "minimal or nonexistent" and largely window dressing. Anita MonCrief also says that Acorn was given lists of potential donors by several Democratic presidential campaigns, including that of Barack Obama, to troll for contributions.

The Obama campaign denies it "has any ties" to Acorn, but Mr. Obama's ties are extensive. In 1992 he headed a registration effort for Project Vote, an Acorn partner at the time. He did so well that he was made a top trainer for Acorn's Chicago conferences. In 1995, he represented Acorn in a key case upholding the constitutionality of the new Motor Voter Act -- the first law passed by the Clinton administration -- which created the mandated, nationwide postcard voter registration system that Acorn workers are using to flood election offices with bogus registrations.

Ms. MonCrief testified that in November 2007 Project Vote development director Karyn Gillette told her she had direct contact with the Obama campaign and had obtained their donor lists. Ms. MonCrief also testified she was given a spreadsheet to use in cultivating Obama donors who had maxed out on donations to the candidate, but who could contribute to voter registration efforts. Project Vote calls the allegation "absolutely false."

She says that when she had trouble with what appeared to be duplicate names on the list, Ms. Gillette told her she would talk with the Obama campaign and get a better version. Ms. MonCrief has given me copies of the donor lists she says were obtained from other Democratic campaigns, as well as the 2004 DNC donor lists.

In her testimony, Ms. MonCrief says she was upset by Acorn's "Muscle for Money" program, which she said intimidated businesses Acorn opposed into paying "protection" money in the form of grants. Acorn's Brian Kettering says the group only wants to change corporate behavior: "Acorn is proud of its corporate campaigns to stop abuses of working families."

Ms. MonCrief, 29, never expected to testify in a case brought by the state's Republican Party seeking the local Acorn affiliate's voter registration lists. An idealistic graduate of the University of Alabama, she joined Project Vote in 2005 because she thought it was empowering poor people. A strategic consultant for Acorn and a development associate with its Project Vote voter registration affiliate, Ms. MonCrief sat in on policy-making meetings with the national staff. She was fired early this year over personal expenses she had put on the group's credit card.

She says she became disillusioned because she saw that Acorn was run as the personal fiefdom of Wade Rathke, who founded the group in 1970 and ran it until he stepped down to take over its international operations this summer. Mr. Rathke's departure as head of Acorn came after revelations he'd employed his brother Dale for a decade while keeping from almost all of Acorn's board members the fact that Dale had embezzled over $1 million from the group a decade ago. (The embezzlement was confirmed to me by an Acorn official.) "Anyone who questioned what was going on was viewed as the enemy," Ms. MonCrief told me. "Just like the mob, no one leaves Acorn happily." She believes the organization does some good but hopes its current leadership is replaced. She may not be alone.

Last August two of Acorn's eight dissident board members, Marcel Reed and Karen Inman, filed suit demanding access to financial records of Citizens Consulting Inc., the umbrella group through which most of Acorn's money flows. Ms. Inman told a news conference this month Mr. Rathke still exercises power over CCI and Acorn against the board's wishes. Bertha Lewis, the interim head of Acorn, told me Mr. Rathke has no ties to Acorn and that the dissident board members were "obsessed" and "confused."

According to public records, the IRS filed three tax liens totaling almost $1 million against Acorn this spring. Also this spring, CCI was paid $832,000 by the Obama campaign for get-out-the-vote efforts in key primary states. In filings with the Federal Election Commission, the Obama campaign listed the payments as "staging, sound, lighting," only correcting the filings after the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review revealed their true nature.

"Acorn needs a full forensic audit," Ms. MonCrief says, though she doesn't think that's likely. "Everyone wants to paper things over until later," she says. "But it may be too late to reform Acorn then." She strongly supports Barack Obama and hopes his allies can be helpful in cleaning up the group "after the heat of the election is gone."

Acorn's Mr. Kettering says the GOP lawsuit "is designed to suppress legitimate voters," and he says Ms. MonCrief isn't credible, given that she was fired for cause. Ms. MonCrief admits that she left after she began paying back some $3,000 in personal expenses she charged on an Acorn credit card. "I was very sorry, and I was paying it back," she says, but "suddenly Acorn decided that . . . I had to go. Since then I have gotten warnings to 'back off' from people at Acorn."

Acorn insists it operates with strict quality controls, turning in, as required by law, all registration forms "even if the name on them was Donald Duck," as Wade Rathke told me two years ago. Acorn whistleblowers tell a different story.

"There's no quality control on purpose, no checks and balances," says Nate Toler, who worked until 2006 as the head organizer of an Acorn campaign against Wal-Mart in California. And Ms. MonCrief says it is longstanding practice to blame bogus registrations on lower-level employees who then often face criminal charges, a practice she says Acorn internally calls "throwing folks under the bus."

Gregory Hall, a former Acorn employee, says he was told on his very first day in 2006 to engage in deceptive fund-raising tactics. Mr. Hall has founded a group called Speaking Truth to Power to push for a full airing of Acorn's problems "so the group can heal itself from within."

To date, Mr. Obama has declined to criticize Acorn, telling reporters this month he is happy with his own get-out-the-vote efforts and that "we don't need Acorn's help." That may be true. But there is no denying his ties with Acorn helped turbocharge his political career.


Education: Obama says schools need more money, McCain wants more accountability

Though education has not figured prominently in the campaign, John McCain and Barack Obama have their proposals. Each falls squarely within their respective party's established political framework: Boiled down, Mr. Obama believes that schools require more resources and federal support, while Mr. McCain wants to introduce to the education system more choice and accountability.

School choice. Mr. McCain would pursue education reforms that institute equality of choice in the K-12 system. He would allow parents whose kids are locked into failing public schools to opt out, whether in favor of another public school, a charter school or through voucher or scholarship programs for private options. Parents, he believes, ought to have more control over their education dollars. Teachers' unions and school administrators find none of this amenable. Mr. McCain supports merit pay for teachers and would establish a bonus program for high-performing educators, as well as devote more funds toward attracting successful college graduates into the field. He would also give principals more control over their schools, including spending decisions, instead of district school boards.

Teachers. Mr. Obama prefers that students stay within the current system, though he acknowledges its many problems. A mainstay of his campaign is his promise to completely underwrite training costs in teacher preparation. He also supports continuing education and mentoring programs for current teachers. So that there is a "guarantee of quality," he backs mandatory professional accrediting for educators and proposes a "career ladder initiative" to reform teacher compensation and tenure to recognize expertise. During a recent speech to the American Federation of Teachers, Mr. Obama disparaged "tired rhetoric about vouchers and school choice."

No Child Left Behind. The 2001 legislation that introduced national performance standards and accountability to the schools remains a political live wire, particularly in regard to weak enforcement by the Department of Education. Mr. McCain has offered few specific reforms but generally supports the law's broad contours as a good start. Many of Mr. Obama's reform ideas would result in essentially suspending the law's accountability provisions, though not the Washington funding, which he says he would increase.

Early childhood education. Mr. Obama supports a universal preschool policy and says that his "zero-to-five" early education agenda "begins at birth." He would increase federal outlays for universal preschool education by $10 billion annually, handing the states block grants devoted to infants and toddlers. Mr. Obama also wants to expand eligibility for Head Start, the four-decade-old federal preschool program for low-income kids. Mr. McCain believes there is already a profusion of federal programs devoted to early child care and preschool, including Head Start and its many offshoots. He would try to better coordinate the programs and focus them on outcomes to reduce waste. To reward success, Mr. McCain wants to establish "centers of excellence," which would receive more Head Start funding and serve as models for underperforming institutions.

Public service. Though both candidates call on listeners to devote themselves to "causes greater than self-interest," Mr. Obama would see to it that they do, with a plan for "universal voluntary citizen service." In addition to doubling the size of the Peace Corps, he would create a Classroom Corps, a Health Corps, a Homeland Security Corps and a Clean Energy Corps, plus a Green Jobs Corps. Mr. Obama proposes a fully refundable tax credit of $4,000 for college students who complete 100 hours of community service a year ($40 an hour). He would make federal education aid conditional on high schools requiring students to perform 50 hours of service a year.

Higher education. Mr. Obama suggests expanding federal student aid programs, including Pell Grants, and says he will streamline college tax benefits, which are so complicated many students and families don't end up claiming them. Mr. McCain likes the tax simplification part. He also believes that earmarks have compromised the integrity of government-financed research at the nation's universities and promises to eliminate them (the earmarks, not the universities).


The scriptures speak

You cannot be a Christian and vote for Obama

To all those who name the name of Christ who plan to willfully disobey Him by voting for Obama, take warning. Not only is our nation in grave danger, according to the Word of God, so are you. First, the facts on life: On July 17, 2007, Barack Obama spoke to Planned Parenthood and said:
On this fundamental issue of [abortion rights], I will not yield and Planned Parenthood will not yield. ... The first thing I'll do as president is sign the Freedom of Choice Act. That's the first thing that I'd do. ...

And what is the "Freedom of Choice Act"? It would completely federalize the abortion issue and strike down all state laws from parental notification to the Woman's Right to Know Laws to bans on partial-birth abortion, declaring them null and void with the stroke of an Obama pen.

In one week, America will make a choice. And to those who call themselves "Christian" who are planning on voting for Barack Obama, put down the Obama talking points and read God's voter guide before you go to the polls:
I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live (Deuteronomy 30:19).

But you think this issue doesn't matter? God felt so strongly about it that he carved it in stone:
You shall not murder (Exodus 20:13).

Think you can love God and still vote against life? In John 14:15, Jesus said:
If you love Me, keep My commandments.

Yes, and "Thou shall not murder" made the top 10.

Barack Obama and many of his followers claim to be Christian. But Isaiah 29:13 says:
Therefore the Lord said: "Inasmuch as these people draw near with their mouths and honor Me with their lips, But have removed their hearts far from Me, And their fear toward Me is taught by the commandment of men" (Isaiah 29:13).

And Matthew 7:20:
Yes, just as you can identify a tree by its fruit, so you can identify people by their actions (Matthew 7:20).

Knowing that, here's another command from Proverbs 31:8:
Open your mouth for the speechless, in the cause of all who are appointed to die.

To you who are pretending that you don't know this, Proverbs 24:11 speaks directly to you:
Rescue those who are unjustly sentenced to die;
Save them as they stagger to their death.
Don't excuse yourself by saying, "Look, we didn't know."
For God understands all hearts, and he sees you.
He who guards your soul knows you knew.
He will repay all people as their actions deserve.

It's not just about "hope" and "change." Proverbs 6:16-22 states there are some things God hates.
These six things the LORD hates,
Yes, seven are an abomination to Him:
A proud look,
A lying tongue,
Hands that shed innocent blood,
A heart that devises wicked plans,
Feet that are swift in running to evil,
A false witness who speaks lies,
And one who sows discord among brethren.

Obama-Biden are pro-death. McCain-Palin are pro-life.

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 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.)

Thursday, October 30, 2008

The useful vagueness of Obama

Nineteen eighty-two was a lucky time (as your columnist can attest) to be leaving college. Whatever faults various authorities find in the "decade of greed," which was followed by another decade of greed, it marked the start of 25 years of exceptional prosperity and opportunity. Freer trade and the epochal joining of a couple billion Chinese and others into the global division of labor played a role. The ideas of Reagan and Thatcher, bringing the private sector back to a place of honor, played a role.

Is the age of Obama the beginning of a less golden age? We cast no aspersion on the man or his program. Mr. Obama, in his short career, has not strongly associated himself with any policy idea. His relation to his own proposals during the campaign has been pleasantly noncommittal, if generally liberal (as voters and the media are only now getting around to noticing).

His rise offers little insight either. His Senate primary and general election races were smoothed by the serendipitous bowing out of formidable opponents in each case, in divorce-related "scandals." His presidential hopes have been turned overnight into landslide hopes by a financial crisis that has left the public angry and confused, though not one that plays to any expertise of Mr. Obama's.

Yet if he wins next week, it could be with a sweeping mandate to decide, er, what his mandate will be. He's a presidential vehicle perfectly designed, or self-designed, to be driven by history, rather than driving it. And he comes just at the moment when, overnight, crashing down is just about every normal restraint against intrusive, redistributing, regulating government. This is the door the remarkable Mr. Obama is about to waltz through.

In a two-party system, both parties need to be capable of governing, of having some long view of the central challenge -- which, arguably, in our case remains the financing challenge of the American welfare state. John McCain may not be much of an economist and hasn't adopted the "ownership society" as his slogan, but his health-care plan falls right in with tradition on the center right -- a spectrum that once included Bill Clinton -- of invoking a new role for individual responsibility and individual choice in making the welfare state work.

Democrats, in contrast, never really tell us where they want us to go. That hasn't been the Democratic way and Mr. Obama, in this, is a perfect Democrat -- as opaque on the big question as his party has been. Al Gore let on that he favored a single payer health-care system only two years after he lost the White House. Politics -- simple politics -- instead has been Democrats' governing philosophy, and Mr. Obama is, again, the perfect heir.

In an interesting piece of work, economist Henning Bohn has forecast the future voting propensities of an aging electorate based on two things: how much in taxes a median voter would expect to pay until retirement, and the present value of his or her expected Social Security and Medicare benefits. His conclusion: It will make financial sense for the median voter to vote for higher taxes on his remaining working years and on younger people in order to secure his benefits.

If he's right, Democrats need to say only one thing when running for office -- and that's nothing intelligible about the funding dilemma of the welfare state or the need to address it. Mr. Obama has evidently learned his politics well. This week, he told Time Magazine's Joe Klein that, after the current financial crisis, "a new energy economy . . . That's going to be my No. 1 priority when I get into office."

This is a cipher, an air sandwich. Mr. Obama here affords himself a placeholder for a priority to be named later. He knows that such impractical, centrally planned "energy revolutions" have been preached by candidates and op-ed writers for decades, only to be forgotten after inauguration day in favor of less rhetorical agendas.

Mr. Obama's knack for eliciting pleasing feelings of self-regard in his followers is certainly a political virtue. (That so many of John McCain's supporters must hold their noses is, in its way, the equal and opposite virtue.) More than that, the vagueness of Mr. Obama's governing philosophy is a natural fit for a party that has long been wedded to the strategy that you get where you're going (a bigger welfare state) by not saying where you're going.


Barack Wrote a Letter . . .

At the October 7 Presidential debate, John McCain said that Barack Obama had encouraged Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to make risky loans, and that Mr. Obama was the second largest recipient of campaign cash from the government mortgage giants. Mr. Obama replied that he "never promoted Fannie Mae" and that "two years ago I said that we've got a subprime lending crisis that has to be dealt with." And that's not all. "I wrote to Secretary Paulson, I wrote to Federal Reserve Chairman Bernanke, and told them this is something we have to deal with, and nobody did anything about it," said the Illinois Senator.

There's more. Mr. Obama's March 2007 letter included a stirring call to "assess options" and boldly suggested that the two men "facilitate a serious conversation" about housing. He was even brave enough to suggest that "the relevant private sector entities and regulators" might be able to provide "targeted responses." Then in paragraph four, the Harvard-trained lawyer dropped his bombshell: a suggestion that various interest groups get together to "consider" best practices in mortgage lending.

Some may find it hard to believe that Mr. Obama had nothing to show for this herculean effort to shake up Washington. They may be shocked as well that such passionate language didn't move the Fed and Treasury to action. For our part, we note that nowhere in his letter did Mr. Obama suggest that the government should stop subsidizing loans to people who can't repay them.

This is the latest fad among Beltway liberals who spent years encouraging noneconomic mortgage loans. They now proudly announce that at critical moments they issued a press release, or wrote someone, suggesting that somebody do something. Since soured mortgage loans are a root cause of this panic, and since Democrats did so much to encourage mortgage lending, the most politically useful of these archived warnings are the ones blaming something other than housing.

For example, recent media reports have lauded the prescience of Edward Markey, the Massachusetts Democrat who has long called for increased regulation of financial derivatives. Not that this says much about derivatives. Mr. Markey has also called for increased regulation of the Internet, cable TV, telephones, prescription drugs, nuclear plants, natural gas facilities, oil drilling, air cargo containers, chlorine, carbon dioxide, accounting, advertising and amusement parks, among other things.

But derivatives are the irresistible story now, because they offer the opportunity to shift the blame from bad housing policy, and they suggest that a lack of financial regulation was the problem. While lauding Mr. Markey, the media also cast Brooksley Born, Bill Clinton's Chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, as the ultimate heroine in this drama. Like Horatio at the bridge, she tried to regulate the derivatives market over the objections of such dummies as Clinton Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin, SEC chief Arthur Levitt, and Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan.

The left's hope is that derivatives are so poorly understood that people can be convinced that turmoil in the market for credit default swaps -- an effect of soured mortgage loans -- is actually a cause of this crisis. Credit default swaps (CDS) are insurance policies against companies or investment vehicles going bankrupt and being unable to pay their creditors. This insurance is cheap when things are going well, and very expensive when investors expect the relevant entities to fail. Turns out that the markets for CDS and other derivatives not tied to the housing crisis are functioning normally.

Meanwhile, in an amazing coincidence, it is the failure -- or the expected failure -- of entities with heavy exposure to toxic mortgages that is putting extreme financial strain on those who sold insurance. But the problem can't possibly be the toxic mortgages encouraged by Washington, according to the politicians. It must be the system of insuring against the collapse of those who bought the mortgages.

Did many sellers of credit default swaps make horrendous judgments in assessing the likelihood of defaults? Yes, and they were encouraged to make these poor judgments by government-approved credit-rating agencies stamping approval on mortgage-backed securities. If an investment or commercial bank was holding assets branded rock-solid by government's anointed judges of creditworthiness, who wouldn't feel comfortable insuring against their failure?

Much of the subprime disaster could have been avoided if only the credit raters had never agreed to slap the AAA tag on collateralized debt obligations (CDOs). Almost no one understood these instruments, which contained portions from other pools of mortgage-backed securities, but with even less transparency. Most investors around the world had never heard of a CDO before the housing boom. But they knew what AAA meant. They had been told for years by the government's chosen credit raters that this label meant sound, conservative investing. Highly unlikely to default.

If Barack Obama wants to write any more letters, he should urge his colleagues in Washington to focus on the causes of this crisis, not the effects. Unlike Senators, Presidents are expected to solve problems, not merely write about them.


Obama's Not "New"

There's an old saying: The oldest word in American politics is "new." Only in that sense is there anything new to Barack Obama. Obama prefers the word "progressive" to "liberal" because it makes it sound like he's shedding old liberal ideas. But if he is, it's only to embrace older ones.

America first encountered the vision Obama espouses under Woodrow Wilson, the first progressive president and the first to openly disparage the U.S. Constitution as a hindrance to enlightened government. His new idea was to replace it with a "living constitution" that empowered government to evolve beyond that document's constraints. The Bill of Rights, lamented the progressives, inhibited what the government can do to people, but it failed to delineate what it must do for people.

The old conception of individualism needed to be replaced by a new system in which the citizen would "marry his interests to the state," in Wilson's words. This would allow the state to fulfill the progressive pledge to "spread the prosperity around." Obama shares Wilson's faith in a living constitution and has argued that Supreme Court judges should be confirmed based on their empathy for the downtrodden.

In a vital essay in the current Claremont Review of Books, Charles Kesler notes that Obama mentions Franklin Roosevelt in his book, "The Audacity of Hope," more times than any living Democratic politician. That's not surprising, given that FDR -- a veteran of the Wilson administration -- carried the progressive vision of government much further than Wilson himself.

In 1944, FDR proposed updating the Bill of Rights with a new "economic bill of rights" that would define freedom not as liberty from government intrusion but as the possession of goodies provided by government. "Necessitous men are not free men," FDR proclaimed. It's a statement Obama surely agrees with; his advisor, Cass Sunstein, wrote a book saying FDR's "second bill of rights" should become the defining principle of American politics.

Wilson, Roosevelt and now Obama -- all their ideas sprung forth from the work of John Dewey, the most important liberal philosopher of the 20th century. Dewey held that "natural rights and natural liberties exist only in the kingdom of mythological social zoology," and that "organized social control" via a "socialized economy" was the only means to create "free" individuals. Dewey proposed that statism be taught as a kind of civic religion in our schools so that Americans could be raised to see the government as the solution to all of our problems.

Dewey lives on in the education reform ideas espoused by former Weatherman Bill Ayers. Ayers, now an education professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago, often invokes Dewey when justifying his own dream of indoctrinating public school students in "social justice." Obama doesn't condone Ayers' '70s-era bombings, but he certainly subscribes to Ayers' educational vision. In fact, Ayers' educational work is the primary defense for the candidate's association with an unrepentant terrorist.

Much has been made of Obama's comment to "Joe the Plumber" that things are better when we "spread the wealth around." The Obama campaign has rebuffed charges of "socialism" or "radicalism" with the usual eye-rolling.

But Obama's words that day in Ohio were consistent with his past statements. A just-unearthed 2001 interview with Obama on Chicago public radio reveals as much. Then a law school instructor and state legislator, Obama offered an eloquent indictment of the Warren Court for not being radical enough. While the court rightly gave blacks traditional rights, argued Obama, "the Supreme Court never ventured into the issues of redistribution of wealth." Unfortunately, according to Obama, "it didn't break free from the essential constraints that were placed by the Founding Fathers in the Constitution."

Officially, Obama says he is not advocating single-payer health care. That would seem too un-moderate. But in 2003, Obama told the AFL-CIO, "I happen to be a proponent of a single-payer universal health care program. ... But as all of you know, we may not get there immediately. Because first we have to take back the White House, we have to back the Senate, and we have to take back the House."

Note: If Obama wins next week, all three of his preconditions will have been met, and his colleagues in the House and Senate are itching like junkies for a new New Deal. Only in a country of amnesiacs could one claim that socialized medicine is a "new idea."

Blowing away the dust and cobwebs from ancient wares doesn't make them new. Save for his skin color, Obama doesn't represent anything novel. Rather, he symbolizes a return to an older vision of the United States that was seen as the "wave of the future" eight decades ago. I for one have no desire to go back to that future.


Obama and the Law

One of the biggest and most long-lasting "change" to expect if Barack Obama becomes President of the United States is in the kinds of federal judges he appoints. These include Supreme Court justices, as well as other federal justices all across the country, all of whom will have lifetime tenure. Senator Obama has stated very clearly what kinds of Supreme Court justices he wants-- those with "the empathy to understand what it's like to be poor, or African-American, or gay, or disabled, or old."

Like so many things that Obama says, it may sound nice if you don't stop and think-- and chilling if you do stop and think. Do we really want judges who decide cases based on who you are, rather than on the facts and the law? If the case involves a white man versus a black woman, should the judge decide that case differently than if both litigants are of the same race or sex? The kind of criteria that Barack Obama promotes could have gotten three young men at Duke University sent to prison for a crime that neither they nor anybody else committed.

Didn't we spend decades in America, and centuries in Western civilization, trying to get away from the idea that who you are determines what your legal rights are?

What kind of judges are we talking about? A classic example is federal Judge H. Lee Sarokin, who could have bankrupted a small New Jersey town because they decided to stop putting up with belligerent homeless men who kept disrupting their local public library. Judge Sarokin's rulings threatened the town with heavy damage awards, and the town settled the case by paying $150,000 to the leading disrupter of its public library.

After Bill Clinton became president, he elevated Judge Sarokin from the district court to the Circuit Court of Appeals. Would President Barack Obama elevate him-- or others like him-- to the Supreme Court? Judge Sarokin certainly fits Obama's job description for a Supreme Court justice.

A court case should not depend on who you are and who the judge is. We are supposed to be a country with "the rule of law and not of men." Like all human beings, Americans haven't always lived up to our ideals. But Obama is proposing the explicit repudiation of that ideal itself. That is certainly "change," but is it one that most Americans believe in? Or is it something that we may end up with anyway, just because too many voters cannot be bothered to look beyond rhetoric and style?

We can vote a president out of office at the next election if we don't like him. But we can never vote out the federal judges he appoints in courts across the country, including justices of the Supreme Court. The kind of judges that Barack Obama wants to appoint can still be siding with criminals or terrorists during the lifetime of your children and grandchildren.

The Constitution of the United States will not mean much if judges carry out Obama's vision of the Constitution as "a living document"-- that is, something that judges should feel free to change by "interpretation" to favor particular individuals, groups or causes.

We have already seen where that leads with the 2005 Kelo Supreme Court decision that allows local politicians to take people's homes or businesses and transfer that property to others. Almost invariably, these are the homes of working class people and small neighborhood businesses that are confiscated under the government's power of eminent domain. And almost invariably they are transferred to developers who will build shopping malls, hotels or other businesses that will bring in more tax revenue.

The Constitution protected private property, precisely in order to prevent such abuses of political power, leaving a small exception when property is taken for "public use," such as the government's building a reservoir or a highway. But just by expanding "public use" to mean "public purpose"-- which can be anything-- the Supreme Court opened the floodgates. That's not "a living Constitution." That's a dying Constitution-- and an Obama presidency can kill it off.


Will the Return of Values Voters Bring Another Election Day Surprise?

The most startling factor in the Presidential election of 2004 could deliver an even bigger shock in the battle for the White House in 2008, if the nation witnesses the possible repeat of the decisive impact of "values voters".

Four years ago, the media largely ignored the significance of moral and family issues until Election Day exit polls revealed their crucial role in the GOP victory. In the same way, seasoned political observers - especially those who consider an Obama victory a foregone conclusion - have ignored the very real chance that social conservatives may bring about a stunning upset on November 4th.

Four years ago, when asked "what mattered most in deciding how you voted for president," more voters cited "moral values" than any other factor. According to the authoritative Edison-Mitofsky exit poll, 22% named "moral values" compared to 20% indicating "the economy and jobs," 19% choosing "terrorism," 15% "Iraq" and a mere 8% citing "health care."

Among those who chose "moral values" as their chief concern, a stunning 80% voted for George W. Bush, while his opponent, John Kerry, got a similar 80% show of support from those who primarily worried about "the economy and jobs." Nearly one quarter of the electorate in 2004 identified as "white evangelical and born-again Christians" and they backed President Bush by a four-to-one margin. Without this overwhelming support from Christian conservatives, Bush could never have won his 51 to 48% victory over Senator Kerry.

Considering the hugely significant role of values voters in the last presidential race, it makes no sense for leading electoral experts to assume that they've become suddenly irrelevant in 2008. Did the social conservatives who tipped the scales to Bush and Cheney in a tough race four years ago somehow vanish or give up?

Conventional wisdom suggests that values voters don't matter this year for several important reasons. First, it's assumed that social conservatives remain lukewarm on John McCain and won't give him the huge turnout and overwhelming support that propelled George W. Bush to victory. Second, according to many leading pundits, Barack Obama has neutralized moral issues with his inclusive rhetoric about unity and respect and his comfort in talking about his Christian faith (though not about his long-time pastor, Jeremiah Wright, who has all-but-vanished from media coverage of the campaign). Finally, and most significantly, all major analysts seem to agree that the financial crisis and looming recession have crowded out all other public concerns, leaving little chance that worried voters will once again find themselves "distracted" by social issues like abortion, marriage, or gun rights.

For several reasons, these assumptions may look shaky on Election Day. Yes, it's true that John McCain has never been a favorite of Christian conservatives (especially after his self-destructive denunciation of Falwell and Robertson in the 2000 primary campaign). But his selection of Sarah Palin as his running mate, and renewed attention to his strong pro-life record over the course of 30 years (he gets a perfect "Zero" lifetime rating from Planned Parenthood), have helped to rally the troops. The huge, enthusiastic turnouts at recent GOP rallies (particularly those featuring Governor Palin) and the determined, ongoing efforts by prominent organizations on the religious right suggest that "values voters" may return in force and startle the pundits once again.

Most obviously, Obama efforts at "Christian outreach" have largely failed, recognized as a phony, manipulative and, ultimately, insulting strategy. Obama may claim he understands and sympathizes with the concerns of religious traditionalists, but he's running on the most pro-abortion platform in major party history (calling for a return to federal funding for abortions for poor women) and he famously suggested that the question of when life begins was "above my pay grade."Of course, leaders of left-leaning Christian and Jewish denominations enthusiastically back Obama (just as they backed Kerry) but traditionalists remain deeply suspicious. Those concerns go far beyond the silly charges that Obama is some sort of "secret Muslim" and involve his slimy, equivocal treatment of all religious questions, whether involving his boyhood study of the Koran in Indonesia, or his twenty years of loyal discipleship with the America-hating Reverend Wright.

Finally, there's no reason to assume that universal concern about the state of the economy means that religious conservatives no longer care about the future of marriage or the protection of the unborn. In fact, a dramatic turnaround in voter sentiment in California (of all places) indicates precisely the sort of mobilization of values voters that could derail the Obama Express on November 4th.

The citizens of the Golden State face a fateful choice in the wake of the State Supreme Court's controversial 4 to 3 decision to mandate gay marriage. Proposition 8 on the California ballot adds to the State Constitution a provision declaring that "only marriage between a man and a woman is valid and recognized in California." In one of the most liberal and lopsidedly Democratic states in the union, gay activists felt confident they would defeat this measure by a decisive margin, but recent surveys show an unexpected surge of support for traditional marriage. A Survey USA poll shows a swing of 8 points in the three weeks between September 25th and October 17th, from a 5% margin against the proposition to a 3% margin for it. "Equality for All," the group leading the fight for homosexual marriage, acknowledged to the Wall Street Journal on October 22nd that their internal polling also showed a shift in voter sentiment toward traditional marriage - with a 4% current lead for the proposition over-ruling the Supreme Court.

In the last days before the election, even voters in deep-blue California (a state the McCain campaign has all-but-abandoned) seem to be rallying against gay marriage - despite Obama and Biden strongly and outspokenly opposing Proposition 8. This should encourage values conservatives to recognize that many (and perhaps most) Americans still care deeply about moral issues.

It's now crucial for Senator McCain, Governor Palin and their supporters to emphasize those issues --- not even at a time of economic crisis, but especially at a time of economic crisis.

Controversies regarding the future of the family aren't a distraction from financial challenges; for most Americans, there's an inescapable connection between economic and values issues. Nothing brings long-term security and prosperity more reliably than a stable, traditional family life and nothing predisposes people for a life of poverty more than out-of-wedlock birth and marital chaos. The educational success of our children, which directly determines their future financial future, depends more on the values they learn at home than the quality of their schools. Learning to work hard, to save money and to live within your means remains a dependable path to economic advancement and the failure to learn those lessons (especially by political and business leaders) helped to create the current crisis.

Moreover, the big-government "spread the wealth" programs favored by Barack Obama represent an assault on the family as well as a threat to the free-market economy. Today's radical Democratic platform calls for a vast expansion of federal power that would make families and parenthood less important and less necessary.

Consider Obama's promise of "universal pre-school" for all children age three and above. He insists that attendance at such federally mandated schools will remain voluntary, but paying for them will not. All citizens - including those mothers who choose to stay home with their little ones - will share in financing governmental day care, in effect punishing women who take care of their kids while rewarding those who want to leave them with someone else.

At the other end of life, there's also legitimate concern over Obama's support for re-imposition of a crushing death tax, with a confiscatory rate of 45%. Nothing represents a more fundamental right for many families than the ability to pass on to their own children the wealth that they've accumulated through honest hard work -and on which they've already paid taxes as the parents earned the money.

No wonder that married voters already tilt decisively toward McCain, according to all polls. (The most recent IBD-TIPP survey gives him a margin of 50% to 43%). Obama leads among the public in general only because of his huge lead among single voters (about a third of the electorate).

According to exit polls in 2004, Bush won married voters 57% to 42%. If McCain comes close to that margin he too will win the election. The chances for a come-from-behind victory for Republicans depend almost entirely upon the return of values voters --- most of them married people who care deeply about religious faith, traditional virtues and family issues. Those voters abandoned the Republicans in the disastrous off-year election of 2006 --- repulsed by the Mark Foley scandal and numerous other indications of ethical lapses among flawed and compromised conservatives in Congress. If the values voters return to the polls (and to the GOP fold) victory remains possible.

The 2004 prominence of social conservatives was more than a fluke or a temporary phenomenon. The Los Angeles Times has conducted its own exit polling since 1992, asking voters "which two issues they considered most important in deciding how they would vote." In 2004, 40% listed "moral/ethical values" as one of those top two - a strikingly similar percentage to the 35% who named moral values in 2000 and the 40% who did so in 1996. On a related note, the percentage of religious people who participate in recent elections has remained stable and reliable: 41% of voters in both 2004 and 2000 said they attended church at least once a week and they voted decisively, both times, for George W. Bush.

Leading commentators largely ignored these citizens in 2004 until the results of the election and the exit polls forced them to reconsider. If Republicans concentrate on mobilizing social conservatives between now and Election Day, and speak clearly and persuasively about the powerful connection between economic and moral issues, then values voters may provide the defenders of conventional wisdom with an even bigger surprise than they did four years ago.


Free trade

Obama has distanced himself from the post-Hoover consensus

The U.S. hasn't elected a genuinely protectionist president since Herbert Hoover, and for most of the last 80 years a rough bipartisan consensus has held that free trade is in the American national interest. The erosion of that consensus is reflected in the gulf between John McCain and Barack Obama on trade, which is probably the widest division at the presidential level since the 1920s.

Free trade agreements. Mr. McCain supports the bilateral pacts with Colombia, Panama and South Korea that have already been signed by the two governments. Colombia already enjoys preferential access to the U.S. market, and Mr. McCain stresses that opening Colombia to U.S. exports would be good for U.S. jobs and especially small and medium-sized businesses. He says it would help "a crucial democratic ally" in a region fraught with instability.

He has a similar view toward South Korea, which buys $50 billion of U.S. exports annually and has been a key ally in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Republican also favors renewing trade negotiating authority, which expired in 2007 and without which no new trade pact is likely to succeed on Capitol Hill.

Mr. Obama opposes the Colombia and South Korea agreements, for the same reasons cited by other Congressional Democrats. In the last presidential debate, Mr. Obama pointed to violence in Colombia against labor unions. The politically independent Colombian attorney general says violence against union members has come down sharply under President Alvaro Uribe, but Mr. Obama says that's insufficient.

He also opposes the South Korea pact, which would remove auto tariffs in both directions and end South Korea's use of nontariff barriers to protect its domestic markets. Mr. Obama says the U.S. buys "hundreds of thousands of cars" from South Korea and "we can get only 4,000-5,000 into South Korea." The Democrat wants assurances that the imbalance in auto sales will end. The Obama campaign declined to tell us whether he supports the Panama FTA or trade negotiating authority.

More generally, Mr. Obama says he would change the way the U.S. negotiates trade agreements. Instead of focusing mainly on removing barriers to the movement of goods and services, he would use the agreements "to spread good labor and environmental standards" to the rest of the world. He voted against the Central American Free Trade Agreement (Cafta) in 2006 and says he will oppose others that do not have strong-enough labor and environmental provisions.

The North American Free Trade Agreement. Trade within Nafta topped $930 billion in 2007, more than three times what it was in 1993, the year before Nafta was implemented. Mr. Obama nonetheless believes Nafta has hurt Americans because it does not contain provisions to force our trading partners to adopt U.S. labor and environmental standards. He says Bill Clinton's Nafta accord was "oversold" to Americans and that he would seek to amend it so that it "works for American workers" -- and that he'd do so unilaterally if Canada and Mexico refuse to cooperate.

This position became a source of controversy during the primaries, when a Canadian diplomat quoted Obama economic adviser Austan Goolsbee as saying privately his candidate's words were for U.S. domestic political consumption and wouldn't be implemented if Mr. Obama won. The Obama campaign said Mr. Goolsbee's comments were taken out of context and reiterated Mr. Obama's intention to renegotiate Nafta. Neither Canada nor Mexico has shown an interest in such a negotiation, which might mean higher costs for their producers.

Mr. McCain supports Nafta and opposes any renegotiation. He acknowledges that there are border issues that need attention, which he would negotiate separately from Nafta. He voted for Cafta.

U.S. agriculture policy and the Doha Round. Mr. McCain links U.S. agriculture subsidies and tariffs -- including the recent $300 billion farm bill -- to U.S. difficulties in opening new markets overseas. He says a strong multilateral trading system would be the goal of his trade policy, and that the Doha Round in the World Trade Organization is the best way of getting there. In 2005 Mr. Obama was one of 58 senators who signed a letter asking President Bush not to agree to cut farm subsidies as part of Doha. He also says that he'd preserve the 54-cents per gallon import tariff on Brazilian ethanol. Mr. McCain says he'd ask Congress to lift it.

Help for displaced workers. Both candidates believe government should assist workers who lose their jobs as a result of overseas competition. Both also want workers who anticipate the elimination of jobs to be eligible for training before layoffs actually hit.

Mr. McCain stresses choice in education to improve U.S. competitiveness. He says trade is only one type of "shock" that reshapes the U.S. job market. Others are productivity gains and domestic competition. He favors wage subsidies -- sometimes called "wage insurance" -- for older workers that would temporarily complement their income if they have to shift to a lower-paying job.

Mr. Obama also points to education -- though not choice -- but unlike Mr. McCain, stresses the employer role in job losses from outsourcing. He'd raise taxes on U.S. companies that earn income abroad as a way to punish what he sees as unpatriotic behavior. He would also create a federal "advanced manufacturing fund" of unspecified amount and funding that would subsidize companies that keep jobs in the U.S. To help displaced workers, he would add service jobs to those eligible for the existing system of Trade Adjustment Assistance, and he'd create education accounts, for retraining, though the campaign has not said how these would work.


(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.)

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Why the Left Wants to Change America

Because, in their hate, they have constructed a delusory view of it

If you ask most supporters of Sen. Barack Obama why they so fervently want him to be elected president, they will tell you about their deep yearning for "change." And that, of course, has been the theme of the Obama campaign from its inception -- "change." It is the word found on nearly all the placards at Obama rallies. It is the word most often cited by the candidate himself. But for all its ubiquity and for all the passion of its advocates, what this change is about is not entirely clear.

Of course, Obama himself often has spoken about the overriding need for change from eight years of President George W. Bush's policies. But this is not what he or most of his supporters really mean when they talk about change. In fact, it cannot be. This is easy to show: All candidates for president run on a platform of change from the party in power. If they don't stand for change, why vote for them?

George W. Bush wanted a change from Bill Clinton. Bill Clinton wanted a change from the first George Bush. And so on back to the first candidate for president to run from a party other than that of the prior president. If change in policies from those of George W. Bush were all Barack Obama meant by change, "change" would not elicit anywhere near the passion it does. Nor would it be the basis of the depth of his appeal to his left-wing supporters. Surely John Kerry wanted as much of a change from George W. Bush in 2004. Yet he did not run on a platform of "change."

What Barack Obama is tapping into with the word "change" is nearly eight years of the left's constructing a description of an America that has been made so awful that "change" means changing America, not just changing policies. The truth is that aside from the Iraq war, which is turning out to be quite successful, George W. Bush's policies have not been particularly controversial or even particularly right-wing. But the left has constructed for itself a view of America that, if you subscribe to it, makes radical change imperative. The left, from The New York Times to, has led itself and others to believe that:

--George W. Bush lied America into war.

--Tens of thousands of Iraqis and more than 4,000 Americans have been killed in a war waged in order to line the pockets of Vice President Dick Cheney's friends.

--The Constitution has been trampled on.

--America has become a torturing country.

--America's poor have become far more numerous and far more downtrodden.

--American troops in Iraq repeatedly have engaged in atrocities against innocent civilians.

--The opportunity for economic self-improvement has ceased for most Americans.

--Racism is endemic to American society.

--Republican rallies are hate-fests.

--John McCain has run a racist campaign against Barack Obama.

--Sarah Palin, the governor of Alaska, is a religious zealot and an idiot.

--Christian fundamentalists are on the verge of taking over America and turning it into a theocracy.

--The world is getting closer and closer to catastrophic and irreversible damage caused by human beings; and George W. Bush and energy interests are standing in the way of preventing universal destruction.

--America is on the road to fascism.

Now, as it happens, none of those things is true. But the left believes them all. That is why radical "change" becomes mandatory -- or America will collapse (and the world, too, which is why Barack Obama often mentions changing the world, as well as America).

Of course, many Americans who do not consider themselves leftist also will vote for Barack Obama and left-wing Democratic congressional candidates. They do so because they are lifelong Democrats who do not realize how far left their party has strayed and think they still are voting for the party of Truman and JFK; or because they personally benefit from Democratic largesse (e.g., government workers); or because they are active in their unions; or because they have come to believe the media and the Democrats, who have been telling them for almost a decade about how George W. Bush and the Republicans have ruined their country.

But as for the left, it lives in a bubble of its making. That is why most leftists live in places where nearly everyone shares their fantasies -- bubbles such as Manhattan, San Francisco, Boston, the west side of Los Angeles, and the most hermetically sealed of the bubbles: universities. They interact almost only with other people who share their fantasy world of America Made Bad.

From Karl Marx to today's Democratic Party, the left everywhere has manufactured villains to slay -- starting with the bourgeoisie and land owners to today's "special interests" (though not, of course, left-wing special interests, such as labor unions, teachers unions and the trial bar), "the rich," drug companies, oil companies, neocons, evangelical Christians and, of course, the myriad racists, sexists, Islamophobes, homophobes and xenophobes.

That's why the left is so passionate about "change." In fact, if I believed America had become what the left believe it has become, I would be, too. But what they believe about America is not true; America remains the greatest country in the world. It needs to be fixed where broken, but not changed. Those who want to change it will make it worse. Perhaps much worse.


Big Media Pull Out All Stops to Elect Obama

We hear more about Palin's wardrobe than we do about Obama's Communist associations

Big Media have pulled out all their stops in trying to elect Barack Obama by withholding from the American people the truth about his radical record and associates. Big media, their polls and the presidential debates practically ignored front-burner issues important to millions of Americans.

By excluding abortion and same-sex marriage from national debate, Big Media kept the voters from knowing that Obama, as chairman of the Illinois Senate Judiciary Committee, killed the "Born Alive" bill, thereby depriving babies born alive from botched abortions of medical care and nutrition. Big Media obviously didn't want a repetition of Obama's embarrassing handling of these issues in the Saddleback dialogue.

The issue of illegal aliens was censored out of the presidential debates and other coverage. The voters were kept oblivious to the fact that Obama favors giving driver's licenses to illegal aliens and John McCain does not. This issue is so powerful with the voters that it played a major role in the dumping of New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer and the unprecedented recall of California Gov. Gray Davis. It could have done likewise to Obama.

How many times have you heard that Obama will cut taxes on 95 percent of Americans? Have you even once heard Big Media tell us that's a big lie because 40 percent of Americans don't pay any federal income taxes at all?

Talking about "95 percent" means Obama intends to increase government handouts, such as the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), to non-taxpaying Americans. That would surely be compatible with his promise to "spread the wealth around."

Big Media have threatened to hang a scarlet letter on anyone who dares to mention Obama's middle name. Funny thing, in all the years that I spent criticizing the disarmament-appeasement policies of JFK's and LBJ's Secretary of Defense Robert Strange McNamara, nobody ever said I was unfair to use his strange middle name.

But Obama is different. Big Media have cloaked him with a security blanket that not only protects him from criticism, but viciously attacks anybody who tells the truth about Obama's life story in Indonesia, Hawaii, Kenya or Chicago.

On Oct. 15, The New York Times ran a front-page above-the-fold pretend-news article threatening McCain that Big Media will not tolerate any negative attacks on Obama, such as talking about Obama's relationship with the 1960s terrorist Bill Ayers. The Times warned McCain and his supporters that it is unacceptable to make "strong political attacks" on Obama or be "sharply personal" or even use an "angry tone."

But the voters have a right to know who are and were Obama's associates. Old adages are still valid: "Birds of a feather flock together," and, "A man is known by the company he keeps." Why don't Big Media tell us that Obama launched his political campaign in the Chicago living room of former Weather Underground terrorist Bill Ayers, who was famous for bombing the U.S. Capitol and the Pentagon? Why don't Big Media tell us about the relationship of Obama on school issues with Ayers, who as a professor of education is now working to replace the three R's with a fourth -- Rebellion against the U.S. social and economic structure?

When Sean Hannity aired a program about "Obama and Friends," The New York Times rushed forth to defend Obama's ties with Ayers and to attack Hannity's program as "partisan" and "provocative." We are apparently not permitted to be partisan or provocative about Obama.

How could Obama sit in a church for 20 years where the Rev. Jeremiah Wright spoke hatefully about whites and cursed America as a racist country? Yet, Big Media now claim it is racist for anyone to criticize Obama's long and personal association with Jeremiah "damn America" Wright.

Why don't Big Media dissect the revelations and biases in Obama's autobiography, "Dreams From My Father," with the same journalistic curiosity they use about Sarah Palin's wardrobe? Big Media present Obama as some sort of intellectual, but why don't we hear about his failure to write anything meaningful for the Harvard Law Review when he was its affirmative-action president?

Why don't we hear more about Obama's friendship with the communist Frank Marshall Davis, who was part of a Soviet-sponsored network in Hawaii? Why aren't we given details about Obama's financial relationship with Tony Rezko, the Chicago fixer now in prison?

The source of money has always been fair game for anybody to talk about in political campaigns. Why haven't Big Media assigned their investigative reporters to trace the hundreds of millions of dollars that may be illegally flowing to the Obama campaign from foreign sources?

Pew Research confirms that 70 percent of Obama's media coverage has been positive and 60 percent of McCain's has been negative. Memo to the American people: Will we let Big Media decide this election by censoring the news we have a right to know?


Scion Of The Times: Elect Obama, Get Two Two-Fers ... Or Maybe An Asian "Compromise"

According to this article in Sunday's The Hill newspaper, the leading candidates to replace Barack Obama and Joe Biden in the Senate, should they be elected president and vice president, are Jessie Jackson's son, Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr., and Joe Biden's son, Beau Biden. Both fathers are said to be eager to have their sons inherit their seats.
Jackson's case is strengthened by the fact that Obama is the only African-American member of the Senate. Presumably, Obama would like to see at least one African-American representative in the chamber.

Really? Don't Senators represent states, not races? And doesn't future president Obama present himself as post-racial? Isn't he on record (quoted here) saying "There is not a black America and a white America and Latino America and Asian America - there's the United States of America"?

Never mind, since he's also on record defending the practice of providing preferential treatment to some Americans based on their race. Or maybe Illinois (or at least the Democratic Party in Illinois), unlike the United States of America whose unity Obama praises when it suits him, maintains a vestigial political culture still made up of clearly defined racial and ethnic tribes. That certainly seems to be the case, for The Hill reports that
it's not a slam-dunk for Jackson. [Governor] Blagojevich must pick a candidate who can hold the seat in 2010, when the temporary two-year appointment would expire. Some Democratic strategists question whether Jackson can win statewide.

Rep. Jan Schakowsky, who's white and is very close to organized labor, has made it clear that she also would like to move into Obama's Senate seat.
Democrats in Schakowsky's camp argue that she would run more successfully in Southern Illinois and tout her strong ties to the labor community. They also tout her energy and record of accomplishment in Congress. She is one of Speaker Nancy Pelosi's (D-Calif.) closer friends.

But Gov. Blagojevich's choice is not, as it were, black and white, since there is a third choice (a candidate that, in other contexts, might be described as a dark horse).
Blagojevich may go outside the Illinois House delegation. One possible candidate would be Tammy Duckworth, director of the Illinois Department of Veterans' Affairs. Duckworth, who is Asian-American, could serve as a compromise candidate on the race question.

Racialism has really run amuck when a reporter can write, with an apparently straight face, that an Asian-American is "a compromise candidate on the race question." If racialism remains that pervasive, we are all compromised beyond redemption.


Hillary Backers Decry Massive Obama Vote Fraud

With accusations of voter registration fraud swirling as early voting begins in many states, some Hillary Clinton supporters are saying: "I told you so." Already in Iowa, the Obama campaign was breaking the rules, busing in supporters from neighboring states to vote illegally in the first contest in the primaries and physically intimidating Hillary supporters, they say.

Obama's surprisingly strong win in Iowa, which defied all the polls, propelled his upstart candidacy to front-runner status. But Lynette Long, a Hillary supporter from Bethesda, Md., who has a long and respected academic career, believes Obama's victory in Iowa and in 12 other caucus states was no miracle. "It was fraud," she told Newsmax.

Long has spent several months studying the caucus and primary results. "After studying the procedures and results from all 14 caucus states, interviewing dozens of witnesses, and reviewing hundreds of personal stories, my conclusion is that the Obama campaign willfully and intentionally defrauded the American public by systematically undermining the caucus process," she said. In Hawaii, for example, the caucus organizers ran out of ballots, so Obama operatives created more from Post-its and scraps of paper and dumped them into ice cream buckets. "The caucuses ended up with more ballots than participants, a sure sign of voter fraud," Long said.

In Nevada, Obama supporters upturned a wheelchair-bound woman who wanted to caucus for Hillary, flushed Clinton ballots down the toilets, and told union members they could vote only if their names were on the list of Obama supporters.

In Texas, more than 2,000 Clinton and Edwards supporters filed complaints with the state Democratic Party because of the massive fraud. The party acknowledged that the Obama campaign's actions "amount to criminal violations" and ordered them to be reported to state and federal law enforcement, but nothing happened.

In caucus after caucus, Obama bused in supporters from out of state, intimidated elderly voters and women, and stole election packets so Hillary supporters couldn't vote. Thanks to these and other strong-arm tactics, Obama won victories in all but one of the caucuses, even in states such as Maine where Hillary had been leading by double digits in the polls.

Obama's win in the caucuses, which were smaller events than the primaries and were run by the party, not the states, gave him the margin of victory he needed to win a razor-thin majority in the delegate count going into the Democratic National Convention. Without these caucus wins, which Long and others claim were based on fraud, Clinton would be the Democrats' nominee running against John McCain.

Citing a detailed report on the voting results and delegate accounts by accountant Piniel Cronin, "there were only four pledged delegates between Hillary and Obama once you discount caucus fraud," Long said. Long has compiled many of these eyewitness reports from the 14 caucus states in a 98-page, single-spaced report and in an interactive Web site:

ACORN involvement

The Obama campaign recently admitted that it paid an affiliate of ACORN, the controversial community organizer that Obama represented in Chicago, more than $832,000 for "voter turnout" work during the primaries. The campaign initially claimed the money had been spent on "staging, sound and light" and "advance work."

State and federal law enforcement in 11 states are investigating allegations of voter registration fraud against the Obama campaign. ACORN workers repeatedly registered voters in the name of "Mickey Mouse," and registered the entire starting lineup of the Dallas Cowboys twice: once in Nevada, and again in Minnesota.

A group that has worked with ACORN in the past registered a dead goldfish under the name "Princess Nudelman" in Illinois. When reporters informed Beth Nudelman, a Democrat, that her former pet was a registered voter, she said, "This person is a dead fish."

ACORN was known for its "intimidation tactics," said independent scholar Stanley Kurtz, a senior fellow with the Ethics and Public Policy Center in Washington, D.C., who has researched Obama's long-standing ties to the group. Fully 30 percent of 1.3 million new voters ACORN claims to have registered this year are believed to be illegitimate........

"Mr. Obama's elections are pregnant with the implications that he has so far gamed every office he has sought by underhanded and sordid means," Blankley wrote, while "the American media has let these extraordinary events simply pass without significant comment." Hillary Clinton supporters, belatedly, now agree.

More here

Obama's First 100 Days

Undeniably, a powerful tide is running for the Democratic Party, with one week left to Election Day. Bush's approval rating is 27 percent, just above Richard Nixon's Watergate nadir and almost down to Carter-Truman lows. After each of those presidents reached their floors -- in 1952, 1974, 1980 -- the opposition party captured the White House. Moreover, 80 percent to 90 percent of Americans think the nation is on the wrong course, and since mid-September, when McCain was still slightly ahead, the Dow has lost 4,000 points -- $5 trillion to $6 trillion in value.

Leading now by eight points in an average of national polls, Barack Obama has other advantages. Not a single blue state is regarded as imperiled or even a toss-up, while Obama leads in six crucial red states: Florida, North Carolina, Virginia, Ohio, Missouri and Colorado. Should McCain lose one of the six, he would have to win Pennsylvania to compensate for the lost electoral votes. But the latest Pennsylvania polls show Barack with a double-digit lead. Lately moving into the toss-up category are Nevada, North Dakota, Montana and Indiana. All voted twice for George W. Bush.

Not only is Obama ahead in the state and national polls, he has more money, is running far more ads, has a superior organization on the ground, attracts larger crowds, and has greater enthusiasm and more media in camp. And new voter registrations heavily favor the Democrats.

Though Congress is regarded by Americans with a disdain bordering on disgust -- five of six Americans think it has done a poor job -- Democratic majorities are certain to grow. Indeed, with Democrats favored by 10 points over Republicans, Nancy Pelosi's majority could grow by 25 seats and Harry Reid could find himself with a filibuster-proof majority of 60 senators.

Democrats already have 49, plus two independents: Socialist Bernie Sanders and Independent Joe Lieberman. Their challengers are now ahead in New Hampshire, Virginia, North Carolina, New Mexico, Minnesota, Oregon and Colorado, with a chance of picking up Georgia, Alaska, Kentucky and Mississippi. We may be looking at a reverse of 1980, when Reagan won a 10-point victory over Jimmy Carter, and Republicans took the Senate and, working with Boll Weevil Democrats, effective control of the House.

With his tax cuts, defense buildup and rollback policy against the "Evil Empire," Reagan gave us some of the best years of our lives, culminating in America's epochal victory in the Cold War. What does the triumvirate of Obama-Pelosi-Reid offer?

Rep. Barney Frank is calling for new tax hikes on the most successful and a 25 percent across-the-board slash in national defense. Sen. John Kerry is talking up new and massive federal spending, a la FDR's New Deal. Specifically, we can almost surely expect:

-- Swift amnesty for 12 million to 20 million illegal aliens and a drive to make them citizens and register them, as in the Bill Clinton years. This will mean that Nevada, Colorado, New Mexico and Arizona will soon move out of reach for GOP presidential candidates, as has California.

-- Border security will go on the backburner, and America will have a virtual open border with a Mexico of 110 million.

-- Taxes will be raised on the top 5 percent of wage-earners, who now carry 60 percent of the U.S. income tax burden, and tens of millions of checks will be sent out to the 40 percent of wage-earners who pay no federal income tax. Like the man said, redistribute the wealth, spread it around.

-- Social Security taxes will be raised on the most successful among us, and capital gains taxes will be raised from 15 percent to 20 percent. The Bush tax cuts will be repealed, and death taxes reimposed.

-- Two or three more liberal activists of the Ruth Bader Ginsberg-John Paul Stevens stripe will be named to the Supreme Court. U.S. district and appellate courts will be stacked with "progressives."

-- Special protections for homosexuals will be written into all civil rights laws, and gays and lesbians in the military will be invited to come out of the closet. "Don't ask, don't tell" will be dead.

-- The homosexual marriages that state judges have forced California, Massachusetts and Connecticut to recognize, an Obama Congress or Obama court will require all 50 states to recognize.

-- A "Freedom of Choice Act" nullifying all state restrictions on abortions will be enacted. America will become the most pro-abortion nation on earth.

-- Affirmative action -- hiring and promotions based on race, sex and sexual orientation until specified quotas are reached -- will be rigorously enforced throughout the U.S. government and private sector.

-- Universal health insurance will be enacted, covering legal and illegal immigrants, providing another powerful magnet for the world to come to America, if necessary by breaching her borders.

-- A federal bailout of states and municipalities to keep state and local governments spending up could come in December or early next year.

-- The first trillion-dollar deficit will be run in the first year of an Obama presidency. It will be the first of many.

Welcome to Obamaland!


Biden Tosses Second TV Station 'Under the Bus'

Today, a new video surfaced, showing the Democratic Party vice presidential nominee facing an on-air grilling at the hands of Chris May and Angela Russell, co-anchors of the 4 p.m. newscast at KYW-TV "CBS 3? in Philadelphia. And, for the second time in a week, the Democratic Party vice presidential nominee has tossed a local television station "under the bus."

Several days ago, I published a post showing Biden being grilled by Orlando television news anchor Barbara West. Soon after, word surfaced that the Obama-Biden campaign had banned the station from future interviews.

While it's been difficult to pin down the exact day on which the newscast aired, the questions asked of Biden ? ranging from spreading the wealth to funneling campaign cash to relatives ? made today a day filled with nearly two and one-half minutes of shear entertainment pleasure.

With so many television stations now "under the bus," perhaps we can get some undercover reports from under the bus during the next eight days?


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