Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Obama Would Fail Security Clearance

by Daniel Pipes

With Colin Powell now repeating the lie that Barack Obama has "always been a Christian," despite new information further confirming Obama's Muslim childhood (such as the Indonesian school registration listing him as Muslim), one watches with dismay as the Democratic candidate manages to hide the truth on this issue.

Instead, then, let us review a related subject - Obama's connections and even indebtedness, throughout his career, to extremist Islam. Specifically, he has longstanding, if indirect ties to two institutions, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), listed by the U.S. government in 2007 as an unindicted co-conspirator in a Hamas-funding trial; and the Nation of Islam (NoI), condemned by the Anti-Defamation League for its "consistent record of racism and anti-Semitism." First, Obama's ties to Islamists:
* The Khalid al-Mansour connection: According to former Manhattan Borough president Percy Sutton, Al-Mansour "was raising money for" Obama's expenses at Harvard Law School. Al-Mansour, a black American (n‚ Don Warden), became advisor to Saudi prince Al-Walid bin Talal, CAIR's largest individual donor. Al-Mansour holds standard Islamist views: he absolves the Islamist government in Sudan of sponsoring slavery, he denies a Jewish tie to Jerusalem, and he wrote a booklet titled "Americans Beware! The Zionist Plot Against S. Arabia." (Both Obama and al-Mansour deny Sutton's account.)

* The Kenny Gamble (also known as Luqman Abdul-Haqq) connection: Gamble, a once-prominent pop music producer, cut the ribbon to the Obama campaign headquarters housed in a south Philadelphia building he owns. Gamble is an Islamist who buys large swaths of real estate in Philadelphia to create a Muslim-only residential area. Also, as the self-styled "amir" of the United Muslim Movement, he has many links to Islamist organizations, including CAIR and the Muslim Alliance in North America. (MANA's "amir" is Siraj Wahhaj, an unindicted co-conspirator in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.)

* The Mazen Asbahi connection: The Obama campaign's first Muslim outreach coordinator resigned after it came to light that he had served on the board of a subsidiary of the Saudi-sponsored North American Islamic Trust, with Jamal Said, another unindicted co-conspirator in the 2007 Hamas funding trial. Asbahi has ties to CAIR's Chicago and Detroit offices, to the Islamic Society of North America, yet another unindicted co-conspirator in the Hamas funding trial, and to other Islamist organizations.

* The Minha Husaini connection: The campaign's second Muslim outreach coordinator has an Islamist background, having served as an intern in the Muslim Public Service Network. Immediately upon her appointment by Obama, she met with a group of about thirty Muslims including such notorious figures as CAIR's Nihad Awad; the Muslim American Society's Mahdi Bray, who has publicly supported the Hamas and Hezbollah terrorist groups; and Johari Abdul Malik of the Dar Al-Hijrah Mosque in Falls Church, Va., who has advised American Muslims: "You can blow up bridges, but you cannot kill people who are innocent on their way to work."

Second, Obama's ties to the Nation of Islam:

Obama's long-time donor and ally Antoin "Tony" Rezko partnered for nearly three decades with Jabir Herbert Muhammad, a son of NoI leader Elijah Muhammad, and says he gave Jabir and his family "millions of dollars over the years." Rezko also served as executive director of the Muhammad Ali Foundation, a rogue organization that, without Ali's permission, exploited the name of this CAIR awardee.

Jeremiah Wright, Obama's esteemed pastor for twenty years, came out of a Nation background, recently he accepted protection from an NoI security detail, and has praised Louis Farrakhan, the NoI's leader, as one of the "giants of the African American religious experience." Wright's church celebrated Farrakhan for his having "truly epitomized greatness." Farrakhan himself endorsed Obama, calling him "the hope of the entire world," "one who can lift America from her fall," and even "the Messiah."

That Obama's biography touches so frequently on such unsavory organizations as CAIR and the Nation of Islam should give pause. How many of politicians have a single tie to either group, much less seven of them? John McCain charitably calls Obama "a person you do not have to be scared [of] as president of the United States," but Obama's multiple links to anti-Americans and subversives mean he would fail the standard security clearance process for Federal employees.

Islamic aggression represents America's strategic enemy; Obama's many insalubrious connections raise grave doubts about his fitness to serve as America's commander-in-chief.

Source (See the original for links)

Will The Real Obama Please Stand Up? (Is There A Real Obama?)

Mickey Kaus recently wrote:
If (like me) you want to feel better about Barack Obama, try reading conservative Bradford Berenson's Frontline comments on Obama's performance at the Harvard Law Review.

Berenson was a conservative member of the Review, and his comments portrayed Obama as "an honest broker," as someone who did "not let ideology or politics blind him to the enduring institutional interests of the Review."

If (like me) you fear that this view of Obama is pollyanna-ish wishful thinking, try reading (or better yet, re-reading) Stanley Kurtz's masterful portrayal of Obama's years in the Illinois legislature, a tenure that, like the content of his service on the Woods Foundation and Chicago Annenberg Challenge, has been virtually ignored by the mainstream press. What a study of that tenure reveals, Kurtz writes, "is a Barack Obama sharply at variance with the image of the post-racial, post-ideological, bipartisan, culture-war-shunning politician familiar from current media coverage and purveyed by the Obama campaign." In addition to his well-publicized 130 "present" votes, Obama:
supported racial set asides and actual racial quotas;

led an effort to restore racial quotas in construction after they had been outlawed by a 2004 federal court decision;

"expressed[d] anger that black state senators have failed to unite for the purpose of placing a newly approved riverboat casino in a minority neighborhood." One of those who failed to fall in line behind Obama was black state senator Mary Flowers, who objected to Obama's position by stating:
the Black Caucus is from different tribes, different walks of life. I don't expect all of the whites to vote alike. Why is it that all of us should walk alike, talk alike and vote alike? I was chosen by my constituents to represent them, and that is what I try to do.

As Kurtz observed, with considerable restraint:
Given Obama's supposedly post-racial politics, it is notable that he should be the one demanding enforcement of a black political agenda against "lone agents," while another black legislator appeals to Obama to leave her free to represent her constituents, black or white, as she sees fit.

led the effort to preserve as many black seats as possible after the 2000 census revealed an increase in Hispanic and Asian population and a decrease in the black population, opposing any effort to expand Hispanic representatin "by taking African American seats";

consciously constructed his election strategies "on a foundation of leftist ideology and racial bloc voting" (as Obama put it, "an energized African-American voter base and effective coalition-building with other progressive sectors of the population");

wrote what the New York Times called a "rave review" of a book by William Ayers that, among other things, said "he'd like to see the prison system itself essentially demolished," comparing the American prison system to South Africa's mass detention of young blacks";

campaigned himself against "the industrial prison complex";

in 1998 "was one of only three Illinois state senators to vote against a proposal making it a criminal offense for convicts on probation or on bail to have contact with a street gang";

in support of a bill against racial profiling, argued that statistical disparities in arrests were proof of racism and discrimination by the police.

Note that Kurtz's summary here of Obama's legislative record in Springfield omits his now-documented blocking of legislation that would have required doctors to provide medical treatment to babies who survived unsuccessful abortions, even though identical legislation had passed the U.S. Senate without opposition. Kurtz's conclusion:
The real Obama? You see him in those charts. Fundamentally, he is a big-government redistributionist who wants above all to aid the poor, particularly the African-American poor. Obama is eager to do so both through race-specific programs and through broad-based social-welfare legislation. "Living wage" legislation may be economically counterproductive, and Obama-backed housing experiments may have ended disastrously, yet Obama is committed to large-scale government solutions to the problem of poverty. Obama's early campaigns are filled with declarations of his sense of mission-a mission rooted in his community organizing days and manifest in his early legislative battles. Recent political back flips notwithstanding, Barack Obama does have an ideological core, and it's no mystery at all to any faithful reader of the Chicago Defender or the Hyde Park Herald.

On second thought, if (like Mickey Kaus) "you want to feel better about Barack Obama," then by all means don't read Kurtz's article, or his article that appeared this morning listing a whole host of new ties between ACORN and the leftist New Party (essentially ACORN's political arm for a while).


Believers in Obama

by Thomas Sowell

Telling a friend that the love of his life is a phony and dangerous is not likely to get him to change his mind. But it may cost you a friend. It is much the same story with true believers in Barack Obama. They have made up their minds and not only don't want to be confused by the facts, they resent being told the facts. An e-mail from a reader mentioned trying to tell his sister why he was voting against Obama but, when he tried to argue some facts, she cut him short: "You don't like him and I do!" she said. End of discussion.

When one thinks of all the men who have put their lives on the line in battle to defend and preserve this country, it is especially painful to think that there are people living in the safety and comfort of civilian life who cannot be bothered to find out the facts about candidates before voting to put the fate of this nation, and of generations yet to come, in the hands of someone chosen because they like his words or style.

Of the four people running for President and Vice President on the Republican and Democratic tickets, the one we know the least about is the one leading in the polls-- Barack Obama.

Some of Senator Obama's most fervent supporters could not tell you what he has actually done on such issues as crime, education, or financial institutions like Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, much less what he plans to do to stop Iran from becoming a nuclear nation supplying nuclear weapons to the international terrorist networks that it has supplied with other weapons.

The magic word "change" makes specifics unnecessary. If things are going bad, some think that what is needed is blank-check "change." But history shows any number of countries in crises worse than ours, where "change" turned problems into catastrophes. In czarist Russia, for example, the economy was worse than ours is today and the First World War was going far worse for the Russians than anything we have faced in Iraq. Moreover, Russians had nothing like the rights of Americans today. So they went for "change."

That "change" brought on a totalitarian regime that made the czars' despotism look like child's play. The Communists killed more people in one year than the czars killed in more than 90 years, not counting the millions who died in a government-created famine in the 1930s. Other despotic regimes in China, Cuba, and Iran were similarly replaced by people who promised "change" that turned out to be even worse than what went before.

Yet many today seem to assume that if things are bad, "change" will make them better. Specifics don't interest them nearly as much as inspiring rhetoric and a confident style. But many 20th century leaders with inspiring rhetoric and great self-confidence led their followers or their countries into utter disasters. These ranged from Jim Jones who led hundreds to their deaths in Jonestown to Hitler and Mao who led millions to their deaths.

What specifics do we know about Barack Obama's track record that might give us some clue as to what kinds of "changes" to expect if he is elected? We know that he opposed the practice of putting violent young felons on trial as adults. We know that he was against a law forbidding physicians to kill a baby that was born alive despite an attempt to abort it.

We know that Obama opposed attempts to put stricter regulations on Fannie Mae-- and that he was the second largest recipient of campaign contributions from Fannie Mae. We know that this very year his campaign sought the advice of disgraced former Fannie Mae CEO Franklin Raines. Fannie Mae and Raines were at the heart of "the mess in Washington" that Barack Obama claims he is going to clean up under the banner of "change."

The public has been told very little about what this man with the wonderful rhetoric has actually done. What we know is enough to make us wonder about what we don't know. Or it ought to. For the true believers-- which includes many in the media-- it is just a question of whether you like him or not.


Socking It to Small Business

The Obama plan is an incentive to hire fewer workers

Barack Obama declared last week that his economic plan begins with "one word that's on everyone's mind and it's spelled J-O-B-S." This raises the stubborn question that Senator Obama has never satisfactorily answered: How do you create more jobs when you want to levy higher tax rates on the small business owners who are the nation's primary employers?

Loyal Democrats have howled over the claim that small businesses will get soaked by the Obama tax plan, so we thought we would seek an authority they might trust on the issue: Democratic Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus of Montana. Here is what Mr. Baucus wrote in a joint press release with Iowa Republican Charles Grassley on August 20, 2001, when they supported the income tax rate cuts that Mr. Obama wants to repeal:

". . . when the new tax relief law is fully phased in, entrepreneurs and small businesses -- owners of sole proprietorships, partnerships, S corporations, and farms -- will receive 80 percent of the tax relief associated with reducing the top income tax rates of 36 percent to 33 percent and 39.6 percent to 35 percent."

Then they continued with a useful economics tutorial:

"Experts agree that lower taxes increase a business' cash flow, which helps with liquidity constraints during an economic slowdown and could increase the demand for investment and labor."

Twelve Senate Democrats voted for those same tax cuts. And just to be clear on one point: An increase in "the demand for investment and labor" translates into an increase in J-O-B-S. So if lowering these tax rates creates jobs, then it stands to reason that raising these taxes will mean fewer jobs. From 2003 to 2007 with the lower tax rates in place, the U.S. economy added eight million jobs, or about 125,000 per month. The Small Business Administration says small business wrote the paychecks for up to 80% of new jobs in 2005, for example.

Mr. Obama's tax increase would hit the bottom line of small businesses in three direct ways. First, because 85% of small business owners are taxed at the personal income tax rate, any moderately successful business with an income above as little as $165,000 a year could face a higher tax liability. That's the income level at which the 33% income tax bracket now phases in for individuals, and Mr. Obama would raise that tax rate for those businesses to 36%.

Second, the Obama plan phases out tax deductions (the so-called PEP and Pease provisions), thus raising tax rates imposed on this group by another 1.5 percentage points. Finally, Mr. Obama would require many small business owners to pay as much as a four-percentage-point payroll tax surcharge on net income above $250,000. All of this would bring the federal marginal small business tax rate up to nearly 45%, while big business would continue to pay the 35% corporate tax rate.

Mr. Obama responds that more than nine of 10 small businesses would not pay these higher taxes. Last Thursday he scoffed in response to the debate over Joe the Plumber, saying that not too many plumbers "make more than $250,000 a year." He's right that most of the 35 million small businesses in America have a net income of less than $250,000, hire only a few workers, and stay in business for less than four years.

However, the point is that it is the most successful small- and medium-sized businesses that create most of the new jobs in our dynamic society. And they are precisely the businesses that will be slammed by Mr. Obama's tax increase. Joe the Plumber would get hit if he expanded his business and hired 10 to 15 other plumbers. An analysis by the Senate Finance Committee found that of the filers in the highest two tax brackets, three out of four are small business owners. A typical firm with a net income of $500,000 would see its tax burden rise to $166,000 a year under the Obama plan from $146,000 today.

According to a Gallup survey conducted for the National Federation of Independent Business last December and January, only 10% of all businesses that hire between one and nine employees would pay the Obama tax. But 19.5% of employers with 10 to 19 employees would be socked by the tax. And 50% of businesses with 20 to 249 workers would pay the tax. The Obama plan is an incentive to hire fewer workers.

For many months Mr. Obama and his band of economists have claimed that taxes don't matter much to growth or job creation. But only last week Mr. Obama effectively admitted that even he doesn't believe this. His latest "stimulus" proposal includes a $3,000 refundable tax credit for businesses that hire new workers in 2009 or 2010.

So what sense does it make to offer targeted and temporary tax relief for some small businesses, while raising taxes by far more and permanently on others? Raising marginal tax rates on farmers, ranchers, sole proprietors and small business owners is no way to stimulate the economy -- and it's certainly no way to create J-O-B-S.


Polls and Pols

It may seem hardly worthwhile going to the polls to vote this election year, since ACORN and the media have already decided that Barack Obama is to be the next President of the United States. Still, it may take more than voter fraud and media spin to put Senator Obama in the White House. Most public opinion polls show Obama ahead, but not usually by decisive margins, and sometimes by a difference within the margin of error.

There has been a history of various polls over the years projecting bigger votes for the Democrats' presidential candidate in October than that candidate actually gets in November. Some of these polls seem like they are not trying to report facts but to create an impression. One poll has been reported as using a sample consisting of 280 Republicans and 420 Democrats. No wonder Obama leads in a poll like that.

Pollsters have to protect their reputations but they can do that by playing it straight on their last poll before election day, after having created an impression earlier that a landslide for the Democratic candidate was all but a done deal.

The general media bias is more blatant than usual this year. There was more media outcry about Sarah Palin's response to "gotcha" questions than to Joe Biden's talking about President Franklin D. Roosevelt going on television in 1929 after the stock market crash-- at a time when FDR was not yet president and there was no television to go on.

An editor at Time magazine has admitted that there has been bias but expressed a desire in the future to be more fair to both sides. Just the fact that he expresses the issue this way shows that he still doesn't understand the real problem. The point is not to be "fair" to "both sides." The point is to be straight with the readers, who are buying the magazine to learn something about the facts of the real world, not to learn about its reporters' ideology and spin.

There is another factor at work in this year's election that makes polls and predictions more unreliable than usual. That factor is race. Barack Obama's string of victories in early Democratic primaries against far better known white candidates shows that large segments of the American population have moved beyond race. It is Barack Obama and his supporters who have hyped race, after his large lead in the polls began to shrink or evaporate, as more of the facts about his checkered career came out. Almost any criticism of Obama has been equated with racism, even if there is no connection that can be seen under a microscope. Barack Obama himself started this trend when he warned that his opponents were going to try to scare the public with various charges, including a statement, "And did I say he was black?"

McCain said no such thing. Palin said no such thing. But those who support Obama-- and this includes much of the media-- are acting as if they just know that this is the underlying message.

Congressman John Lewis has likened Senator McCain to George Wallace. Congressman John Murtha has condemned a whole section of the state of Pennsylvania as "racists" because they seem reluctant to jump on the Obama bandwagon. Senator Harry Reid has claimed that linking Obama to deposed and disgraced Fannie Mae CEO Franklin Raines is racist, since they are both black-- as if the financial and political connection between the two does not exist.

Much is being made of the fact that, in past elections, some white voters who told pollsters that they are going to vote for a black candidate did not in fact do so, so that a black candidate with a lead in the polls ended up losing on election day. This is supposed to show how much covert racism there is. It might instead show that people don't want to be considered racists by pollsters because they are leaning toward someone other than the black candidate.

In other words, the media themselves helped create the charged atmosphere in which some people give misleading answers to pollsters to avoid being stigmatized.

All in all, going into the voting booth this year is not an exercise in futility for those who don't want to be bum's rushed into voting for Obama by the media's picture of a done deal. If nothing else, genuine voters can offset some of the thousands of fictitious voters registered by ACORN.


Obama's False Medicare Claim

He accuses McCain of proposing to cut benefits. Not true.

Summary: In a TV ad and in speeches, Obama is making bogus claims that McCain plans to cut $880 billion from Medicare spending and to reduce benefits.

* A TV spot says McCain's plan requires "cuts in benefits, eligibility or both."

* Obama said in a speech that McCain plans "cuts" that would force seniors to "pay more for your drugs, receive fewer services, and get lower quality care."

These claims are false, and based on a single newspaper report that says no such thing. McCain's policy director states unequivocally that no benefit cuts are envisioned. McCain does propose substantial "savings" through such means as cutting fraud, increased use of information technology in medicine and better handling of expensive chronic diseases. Obama himself proposes some of the same cost-saving measures. We're skeptical that either candidate can deliver the savings they promise, but that's no basis for Obama to accuse McCain of planning huge benefit cuts.

Analysis: The Obama campaign began the Medicare assault with a 30-second TV ad released Oct. 17, which it said would run "across the country in key states." The ad quotes the Wall Street Journal as saying McCain would pay for his health care plan with "major reductions to Medicare and Medicaid," which the ad says would total $882 billion from Medicare alone, "requiring cuts in benefits, eligibility, or both." Obama elaborated on the theme Oct. 18 in a stump speech in St. Louis, Mo., claiming flatly that seniors would face major medical hardships under McCain:

Obama, Oct. 18: But it turns out, Senator McCain would pay for part of his plan by making drastic cuts in Medicare -$882 billion worth. Under his plan, if you count on Medicare, you would have fewer places to get care, and less freedom to choose your doctors. You'll pay more for your drugs, receive fewer services, and get lower quality care.

But in fact, McCain has never proposed to cut Medicare benefits, or Medicaid benefits either. Obama's claim is based on a false reading of a single Wall Street Journal story, amplified by a one-sided, partisan analysis that piles speculation atop misinterpretation. The Journal story in turn was based on an interview with McCain economic adviser Douglas Holtz-Eakin. He said flatly in a conference call with reporters after the ad was released, "No service is being reduced. Every beneficiary will in the future receive exactly the benefits that they have been promised from the beginning."

Twisting Facts to Scare Seniors

Here's how Democrats cooked up their bogus $882 billion claim: On Oct. 6, the Journal ran a story saying that McCain planned to pay for his health care plan "in part" through reduced Medicare and Medicaid spending, quoting Holtz-Eakin as its authority. The Journal characterizes these reductions as both "cuts" and "savings." Importantly, Holtz-Eakin did not say that any benefits would be cut, and the one direct quote from him in the article makes clear that he's talking about economies:
Wall Street Journal, Oct. 6: Mr. Holtz-Eakin said the Medicare and Medicaid changes would improve the programs and eliminate fraud, but he didn't detail where the cuts would come from. "It's about giving them the benefit package that has been promised to them by law at lower cost," he said.

Holtz-Eakin complains that the Journal story was "a terrible characterization" of McCain's intentions, but even so it clearly quoted him as saying McCain planned on "giving [Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries] the benefit package that has been promised."

Nevertheless, a Democratic-leaning group quickly twisted his quotes into a report with a headline stating that the McCain plan "requires deep benefit and eligibility cuts in Medicare and Medicaid" - the opposite of what the Journal quoted Holtz-Eakin as saying. The report was issued by the Center for American Progress Action Fund, headed by John D. Podesta, former chief of staff to Democratic President Bill Clinton. The report's authors are a former Clinton administration official, a former aid to Democratic Sen. Bob Kerrey and a former aid to Democratic Sen. Barbara Mikulski.

The first sentence said - quite incorrectly - that McCain "disclosed this week that he would cut $1.3 trillion from Medicare and Medicaid to pay for his health care plan." McCain said no such thing, and neither did Holtz-Eakin. The Journal reporter cited a $1.3 trillion estimate of the amount McCain would need to produce, over 10 years, to make his health care plan "budget neutral," as he promises to do. The estimate comes not from McCain, but from the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center. McCain and Holtz-Eakin haven't disputed that figure, but they haven't endorsed it either.

Nevertheless, the report assumes McCain would divide $1.3 trillion in "cuts" proportionately between the two programs, and comes up with this: "The McCain plan will cut $882 billion from the Medicare program, roughly 13 percent of Medicare's projected spending over a 10-year period." And with such a cut, the report concludes, Medicare spending "will not keep pace with inflation and enrollment growth-thereby requiring cuts in benefits, eligibility, or both."

"Savings" vs. "Cuts"

For the record, Holtz-Eakin said in a telephone conference call with reporters Oct. 17, after the ad was released, that any shortfall in McCain's health care plan could be covered, without cutting benefits, by such measures as reducing "Medicare fraud and abuse," employing "a new generation of treatment models" for expensive chronic diseases, speeding adoption of low-cost generic drugs, and expanding the use of information technology in medicine.

Interestingly, Obama proposes to pay for his own health care plan in part through some of the same measures, particularly expanded use of I.T. and better handling of chronic disease. Whether either candidate can achieve the huge savings they are promising is dubious at best. As regular readers of are aware, we're skeptical of Obama's claim that he can achieve his promised $2,500 reduction in average health insurance premiums, for example.

But achievable or not, "savings" are what McCain is proposing. It's a rank distortion for Obama's ad to twist that into a plan for "cuts in benefits, eligibility or both," and for Obama to claim in a speech that seniors will "receive fewer services, and get lower quality care."


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

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