Sunday, October 26, 2008

The spreader

Wnat we see below is apparently a receipt signed by Michelle Obama at the Waldorf Astoria on Oct 15, 2008 at 4pm. $447 for an afternoon snack. It's only the "little people" who will have to give up pie, apparently.

Barack Obama: One Man, One Vote, One Time

This May Be Your Only Chance To Stop Obama's Agenda

Barack Obama is the most left-wing major-party presidential candidate in modern history. The evidence of this is all over his record and his campaign. Yet for a variety of reasons, ranging from terminal frustration with the Bush Administration to swooning over Obama's pop culture cache to buying Obama's and the media's spin that he's really a mainstream figure to the right, not the left, of John Kerry, Walter Mondale, Michael Dukakis and Howard Dean, we keep encountering moderates, independents, liberal Republicans and even self-identified conservatives who are willing to give Obama a chance in the White House. Even though America remains a center-right country, Obama leads in the major polls, and the odds currently favor his chances of winning the election, and of the unpopular Democratic Congress expanding its majorities to approach a filibuster-proof majority in the U.S. Senate, something the nation has not seen since the Great Society.

Our friends who take seriously the future of America as a non-left-wing country with a viable party of the Right should reconsider lending any support to this venture. Under the normal rules of politics, we would accept the idea that Obama, after winning, would inevitably overreach to the Left, leading to a backlash from which Republicans could rebuild a new and better GOP in 2010 and 2012, as we did in 1980 and 1994 after the last two Democratic presidents overreached and underperformed. But this assumes that Obama's agenda will be mostly about policy, and will seek by traditional means to persuade a center-right voting public to support a European-style left-wing social-democrat government.

In fact, it is highly likely that Obama and the Congressional Democrats will instead concentrate major efforts on a number of longstanding policy priorities are aimed at stacking the deck to change the electorate and the political process themselves, and thus entrenching themselves in long-term power without ever needing again to persuade a center-right electorate to support their policies. Let's look at a number of examples of things the Democrats are likely to do with their new majority to bring this about:

(1) Card Check: The vanguard of this movement to redistribute political power to the Left - the sign you will see early on to know that an Obama Administration is prioritizing political entrenchment - is legislation with the Orwellian title of the Employee Free Choice Act, which was stopped in this Congress only by GOP filibuster. The "card check" bill puts its thumb on the scales of union organizing in a number of ways, most notoriously by eliminating the secret ballot in union elections, allowing workers to be coerced to form unions which will then route coerced union dues to the Democratic party.

(2) Same-Day Voter Registration: Another longstanding priority of left-wing groups like ACORN - and near and dear to Obama's heart as a man who came up through the PIRGs and has made voter-registration and recruitment the central theme of his career - is mandate that every state allow people to register and vote on the same day. The downside, of course, is that this precludes efforts to follow up before Election Day to make sure that a voter has registered at a bona fide address, among other things. It's an invitation to voter fraud. Yet liberal writers are insistent, in the face of all evidence, common sense and understanding of human nature and political history, that voter fraud does not exist and that all precautions against it are misguided at best and racist at worst.

(3) Abolish Voter Identification Requirements: Relatedly, the Left was frustrated when the Supreme Court upheld Indiana's law requiring voters to present a valid form of identification. Expect federal moves against such state laws as well, whether through legislation or by action of the Justice Department (we've already seen career DOJ prosecutors move against wholly truthful political speech designed to warn non-citizens against voting). Like same-day registration, this is a maneuver primarily to empower corrupt urban political machines.

(4) Quash Investigations of Voter Fraud: Of course, it would be embarrassing to these efforts if investigations turned up voter fraud by ACORN during the 2008 election. So naturally, an Obama Justice Department will view voter fraud investigations as something to be investigated themselves, as evidenced by its call for a special prosecutor to investigate voter fraud investigators. This is a sure-fire way to send the message that any prosecutor who looks for evidence of voter fraud can kiss a career in an Obama Administration - and maybe even his or her liberty - goodbye.

(5) The Fairness Doctrine: With the mainstream media thoroughly in the tank for Obama, conservatives have had to rely on the alternative outlets - talk radio, blogs, conservative magazines, and the one network - Fox News - that at least gives conservatives a fair shake. This option, though, wasn't always available: before 1987, the FCC's so-called "Fairness Doctrine" required that "equal time" be given to opinion programming (but not opinion masquerading as "news"), which as a practical matter made conservative talk radio - long more popular than liberal alternatives, given among other things the greater conservative need for alternative media - uneconomical (it's no accident that Rush Limbaugh went national in 1988). Bringing back the Fairness Doctrine has been a long-cherished goal on the Left. Obama, of course, would particularly love to remake Fox News; he blamed the network for his loss in the Kentucky primary and now argues that it's unfairly hampering his presidential campaign:
"I am convinced that if there were no Fox News, I might be two or three points higher in the polls," Obama told liberal journalist Matt Bai. "[T]he way I'm portrayed 24/7 is as a freak! I am the latte-sipping, New York Times-reading, Volvo-driving, no-gun-owning, effete, politically correct, arrogant liberal. Who wants somebody like that?" ..."I guess the point I'm making," he went on, "is that there is an entire industry now, an entire apparatus, designed to perpetuate this cultural schism, and it's powerful.

This might be regarded as a typical example of a politician complaining about press coverage, were it not for the history - here's the Heritage Foundation in 1993 explaining the operation of the Fairness Doctrine and discussing efforts to revive it by legislation the last time Democrats controlled the White House and Congress, a 2005 article making some of the Left's arguments for restoring it, and a 2008 talk with a current FCC Commissioner on how the Fairness Doctrine could make a comeback and be applied to the internet. More here and here.

(6) Campaign Finance Reform on Steroids: Democrats are still bitter about the independent ads run by groups like the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth in 2004, engaging in free and open debate on subjects - like the Democratic nominee's own life history and past political activities - that Republican campaigns were too timid to touch. Obama talks frequently about "swift boating" and has complained incessantly about how it's beyond the pale to run ads about his own career. (Obama has also been known to send threatening letters like this one about an NRA ad). Even recognizing that Senator McCain is also no friend of independent advocacy groups, it's the Democrats who are likely to have a major axe to grind in 2009 to shut down such groups and exclude them from political debate in the future.

(7) A House seat for DC: The District of Columbia has a unique political status - it enjoys subsidies from the federal government and 3 electoral votes for President far out of proportion to its population. In return, DC operates under federal supervision and has no votes in Congress. But there have been moves by the Democrats in recent Congresses, which nearly succeeded, to take a House seat away from the states and give it to DC, the most reliably Democratic locale in the entire nation. (A more extreme step would be DC statehood or adding two Senators without formal statehood. Either, like the House seat, would be unconstitutional, which brings us to our next point).

(8) Liberal Judges: The best and surest way to reduce the scope in which a center-right electorate can operate is to have the federal judiciary take more and more issues entirely and permanently out of the hands of voters, and take the meaning of the constitution and of legislation out of the hands of the people's representatives. Obama is certain to appoint life-tenured federal judges, including probably at least two Supreme Court Justices, who will impose their own preferences (or worse yet, unelected international law) on American democracy.

(9) Census Sampling: A major demographic trend is working against the Democrats, as population shifts from blue states in the Northeast and industrial Midwest to redder states in the South and Southwest. Certainly the Democrats have tried to win over voters in those states, but another way to battle demographics is to change how you count. In 1999, the Supreme Court held that current federal law required that the 2000 Census use an actual count of people, rather than applying a "sampling" formula backed by the Democrats to "estimate" population, a method subject to manipulation and which was argued to be helpful to Democratic-leaning urban areas. The Bush Administration then blocked efforts to impose "sampling" on the 2000 Census. Expect renewed efforts to use it on the 2010 Census, so as to skew redistricting in Democrats' favor.

(10) Voting Rights Act Bigfooting of the Redistricting Process: Another way for the federal government to interfere in redistricting is to use the Justice Department's powers under the Voting Rights Act to manipulate district lines and block "preclearance" of new districts, often under the guise of preserving racial minority-held seats (long a pet cause of Senator Obama dating back to his State Senate days). Expect moves by the Democrats to use DOJ to draw legislative lines in their favor after 2010, regardless of how elections go at the state level.

(11) Immigration: If you don't like the voters, get new ones. You don't have to be anti-immigrant to notice that massive waves of non-English-speaking entrants to the voting process, combined with elimination of ballot security and the new entrants' lack of grounding in American values, could swamp the current electorate. Obama's attitude towards immigration is best shown in two ways: his sponsorship of a bill in Illinois to give drivers' licenses to illegal aliens and his support of biligual education, which is an educational failure best suited to keeping Latinos locked in a linguistic ghetto cut off from the American mainstream. Here again, John McCain has been a supporter as well of "comprehensive immigration reform," but McCain has pledged his own supporters that he will tackle border security first, he doesn't have Obama's history of offering governmental benefits and identification specifically to illegal aliens, and he'll be constrained in other ways by his party.

(12) Voting Rights For Felons: Another Democratic constituency is convicted felons. Prepare for a major push to restore felon voting rights.

These are not the only ways in which we may see efforts to entrench the Left. Obama's tax plan will create a newly enlarged group of citizens dependent on government handouts. The Left may also press to abolish the hated Electoral College, thus nationalizing the effects of ballot-box stuffing anywhere in the country, although it's less clear that this will actually be on the agenda.

Now, if you were the Left, and you wanted to prioritize political entrenchment over persuasion, who would you choose as your candidate? A man with no real experience governing but years of experience organizing, a man who has structured his campaign as a movement centered on new voters that sends its recruits to Camp Obama.

And what would be the keystone of any public relations effort to prepare the ground for changing the political structure of the nation to marginalize the current center-right electorate and create a 'post-partisan' (i.e., one-party) political future? You would seek to delegitimize the Right by portraying it as a violent and dangerous mob in need of governmental supervision. You'd tell everyone that unfettered debate is too scary because Republicans are unstable and easily inflamed to violence. And that's exactly what the Left and the media have been doing in this campaign.

The most obvious example of this, recounted here and here and here by Walter Olson, is calls by liberal bloggers to prosecute McCain and Palin for criminal incitement for their criticisms of Barack Obama. But there are many examples of emphasis in the media or by the Democrats and their prominent supporters on stories - the bulk of them false or severely distorted - suggesting that Republican crowds are dangerously angry due to supposedly false rhetoric or simply tough arguments about Senator Obama's past - see here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here. Indeed, Senator Obama himself made this argument, citing false news stories, in the third debate. Meanwhile, actually dangerous and violent behavior or extremist, hate-filled rhetoric from the Left is downplayed or wholly ignored - see here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here.

We can't allow Barack Obama the opportunity to remake America in the image of foreign countries. We can't allow the center-right electorate that has sustained our nation as the last, best hope of mankind to be silenced, marginalized or extinguished. This is a battle that will be fought on many fronts over the next several years, but the most important front will be on Election Day. Today's GOP isn't perfect - win or lose this election, there's more work to be done to clean our own house. But those who don't join the fight against Obama on November 4 may end up finding there's nowhere left to go to fight him later.

Source (See the original for links)

Yes, he is a socialist!

"Senator Obama said he wants to quote `spread the wealth.' What that means is he wants government to take your money and dole it out however a politician sees fit. Barack Obama calls it spreading the wealth. But Joe the Plumber and Ed the Dairy Man, I believe that they think that it sounds more like socialism. Friends, now is no time to experiment with socialism. To me our opponent's plan sounds more like big government, which is the problem. Bigger government is not the solution. Whatever you call his tax plan and that redistribution of wealth it will destroy jobs. It will hurt our economy."
-Governor Sarah Palin (R-AK), October 19th, 2008.

Governor Palin won't say it outright. And Senator John McCain (R-AZ) won't utter the word specifically. Florida's Governor Charlie Crist shies away from it. And Mitt Romney won't say it either. That's fine. We'll say it. Directly. Barack Obama is a socialist.

And let's be specific: the direction that Senator Obama's proposed policies will take the United States is one where the government increasingly subsidizes, regulates and then nationalizes one industry after another, consolidates government-control over the industries that have already been nationalized, and simultaneously disincentivize private investment in those same sectors of the economy.

In other words, the goal will be for the government to control the means of production. Sound familiar? It should. It's a central tenant of socialism. After all, there's more to socialism than simply redistributing the wealth of society-or "spreading the wealth," as the Senator would say, or welfare, as we would say-although that is critical. The other end of the spectrum is the nationalization of entire sectors of the economy.

To wit, let's review where we already stand. Education has been state-run for decades, and the university (and its valuable research) system is almost entirely financed via federally-backed student loans. Agriculture is heavily subsidized. Energy is overregulated, overtaxed, and restricted from increasing production necessary for the health of our economy. Banking has now been nationalized, and the mortgage industry has been for decades in reality (the GSE's Fannie and Freddie account for more than half of all U.S. mortgages). Increasingly health insurance, via Medicare, Medicaid, and other state-run programs are being controlled by government.

And Barack Obama will not roll back any of it. Instead, he will consolidate control over each and every one of those sectors, and add to it. Let's look at some of the Obama proposals:

1) Forced unionization via card check-Barack Obama wants to return strength to Big Labor, and one of the critical ground components to that is allowing unions to use the intimidating card check system to bully enough workers-a majority-into forming a union without there ever being a vote via secret ballot.

2) National Health Insurance-As if health costs had not skyrocketed enough since the advent of Medicare and other government-subsidized programs, Senator Obama wants to double down and create a National Health Insurance program that would dwarf all other entitlements currently offered by the federal government. He puts a $65 billion/year price tag on it, but that is almost certainly a (very) lowball estimate. In short, he wants to socialize 14 percent of the economy in one fell swoop.

3) Energy-Mr. Obama wants to fund the "green" energy and phase out American dependence on oil and coal. He does not support increased hydrocarbon fuel production-things like gasoline, home heating oil, coal power plants, etc. He thus wants to bury the smokestack industries and phase in a new, nationalized "clean" energy sector. He wants to make carbon dioxide a heavily regulated pollutant under law. He supports cap-and-trade, and would create a "Global Energy Forum" between the G8 plus Brazil, China, India, Mexico and South Africa. He even wants those who turn the heat up (past 72 degrees) or the air down. When he's through, energy production and distribution will be run by the government.

4) Automobiles-While making new cars more expensive by mandating greater fuel efficiency, Senator Obama would subsidize this process to the tune of $3 billion. And assuming that American auto giants crash next year, would anyone be surprised if a President Obama decided not to heavily subsidize, if not nationalize, the entire industry?

5) Communications-Mr. Obama wants to, according to his own website, bring about "diversity in the ownership of broadcast media, promote the development of new media outlets for expression of diverse viewpoints, and clarify the public interest obligations of broadcasters who occupy the nation's spectrum." Can you say (Un)fairness Doctrine? This is government control over broadcast media, and yes that is a form of socialization. It's called censorship.

That may seem like a short list-and these are but a few examples-but then again, there's not that much else for government to get its claws into anyway. So while everyone else may be loathe to call a duck a duck, here at Americans for Limited Government we will cling to every last bit of liberty that is left for private individuals. If the free market system is soon to become a "fleeting wisp of glory," let's at least be intellectually honest enough to say so. Hence, at ALG, we will call Barack Obama what he is, because of his own proposed policies: a socialist.

Source (See the original for links)

How's Obama Going to Raise $4.3 Trillion?

The Democrat's tax and spending plans deserve closer examination

The most troublesome tax increases in Barack Obama's plan are not those we can already see but those sure to be announced later, after the election is over and budget realities rear their ugly head.

The new president, whoever he is, will start out facing a budget deficit of at least $1 trillion, possibly much more. Sen. Obama has nonetheless promised to devote another $1.32 trillion over the next 10 years to several new or expanded refundable tax credits and a special exemption for seniors, according to the Urban Institute and Brookings Institution's Tax Policy Center (TPC). He calls this a "middle-class tax cut," while suggesting the middle class includes 95% of those who work.

Mr. Obama's proposed income-based health-insurance subsidies, tax credits for tiny businesses, and expanded Medicaid eligibility would cost another $1.63 trillion, according to the TPC. Thus his tax rebates and health insurance subsidies alone would lift the undisclosed bill to future taxpayers by $2.95 trillion -- roughly $295 billion a year by 2012.

But that's not all. Mr. Obama has also promised to spend more on 176 other programs, according to an 85-page list of campaign promises (actual quotations) compiled by the National Taxpayers Union Foundation. The NTUF was able to produce cost estimates for only 77 of the 176, so its estimate is low. Excluding the Obama health plan, the NTUF estimates that Mr. Obama would raise spending by $611.5 billion over the next five years; the 10-year total (aside from health) would surely exceed $1.4 trillion, because spending typically grows at least as quickly as nominal GDP.

A trillion here, a trillion there, and pretty soon you're talking about real money. Altogether, Mr. Obama is promising at least $4.3 trillion of increased spending and reduced tax revenue from 2009 to 2018 -- roughly an extra $430 billion a year by 2012-2013. How is he going to pay for it?

Raising the tax rates on the salaries, dividends and capital gains of those making more than $200,000-$250,000, and phasing out their exemptions and deductions, can raise only a small fraction of the amount. Even if we have a strong economy, Mr. Obama's proposed tax hikes on the dwindling ranks of high earners would be unlikely to raise much more than $30 billion-$35 billion a year by 2012.

Besides, Mr. Obama does not claim he can finance his ambitious plans for tax credits, health insurance, etc. by taxing the rich. On the contrary, he has an even less likely revenue source in mind.

In his acceptance speech at the Democratic convention on Aug. 28, Mr. Obama said, "I've laid out how I'll pay for every dime -- by closing corporate loopholes and tax havens." That comment refers to $924.1 billion over 10 years from what the TPC wisely labels "unverifiable revenue raisers." To put that huge figure in perspective, the Congressional Budget Office optimistically expects a total of $3.7 trillion from corporate taxes over that period. In other words, Mr. Obama is counting on increasing corporate tax collections by more than 25% simply by closing "loopholes" and complaining about foreign "tax havens."

Nobody, including the Tax Policy Center, believes that is remotely feasible. And Mr. Obama's dream of squeezing more revenue out of corporate profits, dividends and capital gains looks increasingly unbelievable now that profits are falling, banks have cut or eliminated dividends, and only a few short-sellers have any capital gains left to tax.

When it comes to direct spending -- as opposed to handing out "refund" checks through the tax code -- Mr. Obama claims he won't need more revenue because there will be no more spending. He even claims to be proposing to cut more spending ending up with a "net spending cut." That was Mr. Obama's most direct answer to Bob Schieffer, the moderator of the last debate, right after Mr. Schieffer said "The nonpartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget (CFARB) ran the numbers" and found otherwise.

When CFARB "ran the numbers," they relied almost entirely on unverifiable numbers eagerly provided to them by the Obama campaign. That explains why their list of Mr. Obama's new spending plans is so much shorter than the National Taxpayers Union fully documented list.

But nothing quite explains why even the vaguest promises to save money are recorded by CFARB as if they had substance. Mr. Obama is thus credited with saving $50 billion in a single year (2013) by reducing "wasteful spending" and unnamed "obsolete programs." He is said to save Medicare $43 billion a year by importing foreign drugs and negotiating bargains from drug companies. Yet even proponents of that approach such as the Lewin Group find that cannot save more than $6 billion a year. So the remaining $37 billion turns out to depend on what the Obama campaign refers to as undertaking "additional measures as necessary" (more taxes?).

The number of U.S. troops in Iraq will decline, regardless of who the next president is. Yet the CFARB credits John McCain's budget with only a $5 billion savings from troop reduction in Iraq, while Mr. Obama gets an extra $55 billion.

Straining to add credibility to Mr. Obama's fantasy about discovering $75 billion in 2013 from "closing corporate loopholes and tax havens," CFARB assures us that "the campaign has said that an Obama administration would look for other sources of revenue." Indeed they would.

In one respect, CFARB is more candid than the Obama campaign. Mr. Obama favors a relatively draconian cap-and-trade scheme in which the government would sell rights to emit carbon dioxide. The effect on U.S. families and firms would be like a steep tax on electricity, gasoline and energy-intensive products such as paper, plastic and aluminum. Whenever Mr. Obama claims he has not (yet) proposed any tax increase on couples earning less than $250,000, he forgets to mention his de facto $100 billion annual tax on energy. (The McCain-Lieberman cap-and-trade plan is more gradual and much less costly.)

CFARB assumes Mr. Obama's cap-and-trade tax would raise $100 billion in 2013 alone, but the actual revenue raised would be much lower. Like every other steep surge in energy costs, the Obama cap-and-trade tax would crush the economy, reducing tax receipts from profits and personal income.

The Joint Tax Committee reports that the bottom 60% of taxpayers with incomes below $50,000 paid less than 1% of the federal income tax in 2006, while the 3.3% with incomes above $200,000 paid more than 58%. Most of Mr. Obama's tax rebates go to the bottom 60%. They can't possibly be financed by shifting an even larger share of the tax burden to the top 3.3%.

Mr. Obama has offered no clue as to how he intends to pay for his health-insurance plans, or doubling foreign aid, or any of the other 175 programs he's promised to expand. Although he may hope to collect an even larger share of loot from the top of the heap, the harsh reality is that this Democrat's quest for hundreds of billions more revenue each year would have to reach deep into the pockets of the people much lower on the economic ladder. Even then he'd come up short.


Study: Coverage of McCain Much More Negative Than That of Obama

Media coverage of John McCain has been heavily unfavorable since the political conventions, more than three times as negative as the portrayal of Barack Obama, a new study says. Fifty-seven percent of the print and broadcast stories about the Republican nominee were decidedly negative, the Project for Excellence in Journalism says in a report out today, while 14 percent were positive. The McCain campaign has repeatedly complained that the mainstream media are biased toward the senator from Illinois.

Obama's coverage was more balanced during the six-week period from Sept. 8 through last Thursday, with 36 percent of the stories clearly positive, 35 percent neutral or mixed and 29 percent negative.

McCain has struggled during this period and slipped in the polls, which is one of the reasons for the more negative assessments by the 48 news outlets studied by the Washington-based group. But the imbalance is striking nonetheless.

Sarah Palin's coverage ricocheted from quite positive to very negative to more mixed, the study says. Overall, 39 percent of the Palin stories were negative, 28 percent were positive and 33 percent neutral. Only 5 percent of the coverage was about her personal life. But McCain's running mate remains a media magnet, drawing three times as much coverage as the Democrats' VP nominee, Joe Biden. He was "nearly the invisible man," the group says, and his coverage was far more negative than Palin's. That may be because Biden tends to make news primarily when he commits gaffes.

The project says McCain's coverage started out positive after the GOP convention but nosedived with his frequently changing reaction to the financial crisis. McCain's character attacks against Obama hurt the Democrat but yielded even more negative coverage for the senator from Arizona.

Obama's coverage since the conventions represents a fall to earth from the early primaries of 2008, when the project found that, horse-race stories aside, positive narratives about Obama were twice as frequent as negative ones, 69 percent to 31 percent.

The Wall Street meltdown appears to have been a turning point for both candidates. Thirty-four percent of the stories about Obama's reaction to the crisis were positive, while 18 percent were negative. McCain's coverage, though, went into a free fall after he initially declared that "the fundamentals of our economy are strong." By the following week, more than half the stories about McCain were negative and only 11 percent positive, just as Obama's coverage was turning positive by a margin of more than 5 to 1.

The most negative element of the Palin coverage involved scrutiny of her record as Alaska governor, with 64 percent of the stories carrying a negative tone and just 7 percent positive. The coverage of her interview with ABC's Charlie Gibson was a wash, but stories about her subsequent sitdown with CBS's Katie Couric were 57 percent negative and 14 percent positive.

While some will seize on these findings as evidence that the media are pro-Obama, the study says they actually contain "a strong suggestion that winning in politics begets winning coverage, thanks in part to the relentless tendency of the press to frame its coverage of national elections as running narratives about the relative position of the candidates in the polls ... Obama's numbers are similar to what we saw for John Kerry four years ago, and McCain's numbers are almost identical to what we saw eight years ago for Democrat Al Gore."


Ayers' role in Obama's 'Dreams' poised to break out

In July 2008, I stumbled on a story that won't let me go. Someone had sent me excerpts from Barack Obama's memoir, "Dreams From My Father," and asked me whether they were as radical as they sounded. After a little research, I concluded that these excerpts were not particularly troubling in context. What I also noticed, however, was that they were much too well-written.

After a speculative article in late July, I let the story drop. A month or so later - for unrelated reasons - I picked up a copy of Bill Ayers' memoir, "Fugitive Days." It has been a roller coaster ever since.

Until late last week, I despaired of breaking this story beyond the Internet and talk radio. Then a seriously can-do congressman intervened. As I speak, we are running sophisticated data-driven tests at two separate sites. Early results are positive. If they are strong enough, and if we can somehow penetrate the battlements the mainstream media have built around Obama, we just might break this story out.

Thanks to WorldNetDaily and Rusty Humphries, among others, for getting it this far. A status report follows:

* The evidence strongly suggests that Barack Obama had significant help with the writing of "Dreams From My Father."

* The preponderance of that evidence argues that the struggling Obama brought his unfinished manuscript to Bill Ayers in the 1993-1994 time window and asked for help. Ayers seems to have edited the entire book, in some parts with a light polish and in others with fully created situations and original analyses.

* This evidence includes university-based authorship analysis, the suspicious history of Dreams' genesis, an examination of Obama's skills, as well as assessments of incredibly parallel themes, metaphors, word choices, and even anecdotes in Ayers' and Obama's works.

* As shall be seen, it is no more likely that Obama could have transformed himself from an uninspired hack into a literary superstar than he could have transformed himself from a high 90s golfer into a touring pro - with no known practice rounds.

* Although inconclusive, and difficult to track because of the fluctuations in style, preliminary university-based authorship analysis supports this assessment.

* Writes one professor: "The fact that the Q values for Dreams-Dreams matched those of Dreams-Fugitive in 45 separate experiments is important. There was a significant upward shift in the Dreams-Ayers comparisons in 105 experiments. The repeatability of the result in experiment after experiment on the subtexts starts to build support for the argument that Ayers either wrote or strongly influenced the writing of 'Dreams.'"

* Ayers' involvement is problematic on several levels, not the least of which is that it puts a lie to Obama's claim that the semi-retired terrorist was just another "guy in the neighborhood." Indeed, the relentless American-hating Ayers may have influenced Obama's philosophy as much as he did his style.

* In 1990, Obama contributed an essay entitled "Why Organize" to a book called "After Alinsky." This workmanlike and wonkish piece showed no hint of the promise of "Dreams," a book Time magazine has called "the best-written memoir ever produced by an American politician."

* That same year, Obama contributed an unsigned case note to the Harvard Law Review, his only contribution to any law review ever. Politico reporters Ben Smith and Jeffrey Resner observe that "the temperate legal language doesn't display the rhetorical heights that run through his memoir, published a few years later."

* Other than some regrettable undergraduate poetry, this is the extent of what Politico calls a "scant paper trail." The Obama camp has refused all efforts to secure grades, SAT scores, LSAT scores, student theses, or any other documents that would strengthen Obama's case.

* Sometime between 1992 and 1994 Simon & Schuster canceled the advance it had offered Obama to write "Dreams."

* Ayers provided an informal editing service for like-minded friends in the neighborhood. Rashid Khalidi attests to this in the very first sentence of the acknowledgements in his 2004 book, "Resurrecting Empire." "There are many people without whose support and assistance I could not have written this book, or written it in the way that it was written," he writes. "First, chronologically, and in other ways, comes Bill Ayers."

* There was a good deal of literary back-scratching going on in Chicago's Hyde Park. Obama, for instance, wrote a short and glowing review of Ayers' 1997 book, "A Kind and Just Parent," for the Chicago Tribune. In that same book, perhaps with a self-congratulatory wink, Ayers cites the "writer" Barack Obama as one among the celebrities in his neighborhood.

* Obama's memoir was published in June 1995. Earlier that year, Ayers helped Obama get appointed chairman of the Chicago Annenberg Challenge. In the fall of that same year, 1995, he helped blaze Obama's path to political power with a fundraiser in his Chicago home. In short, Ayers had the means, the motive and the ability to jump start Obama's literary career.

* Ayers also had the time. He published his book "To Teach" in 1993. Between 1993 and 1996, he had no other formal authorial assignment than to co-edit a collection of essays. This was an unusual hole in his very busy publishing career.

* Some stunningly parallel themes, metaphors and even stories appear in "Dreams" and in Ayers' various books.

* Bill Ayers' 2001 memoir "Fugitive Days" and Obama's "Dreams From My Father" follow oddly similar rules. Both are suffused with repeated reference to lies, lying and what Ayers calls "our constructed reality." The evidence strongly suggests that Ayers transformed the stumbling literalist of "Why Organize" into the sophisticated postmodernist of "Dreams."

* Obama's frequent and sophisticated use of nautical metaphors makes a powerful case for Ayers' involvement in the writing of "Dreams." Ayers knew a great deal about the sea. After dropping out of college, he took up the life of a merchant seaman.

* Certain stories are told with only slight variance in Ayers' work and in "Dreams." In "To Teach," Ayers tells the story of a teacher in NYC whose students are struck by the fact that the Hudson River seems to flow north and south simultaneously. In "Dreams," Obama shares an amazingly comparable anecdote about tidal rivers from his own brief New York sojourn. "Excuse me, mister," a boy asks him, "You know why sometimes the river runs that way and then sometimes it goes this way?" This is one of many such incidents.

* Ayers imposes his '60s consciousness on an Obama too young to know or remember. In "Dreams," Obama relates an experience at Columbia in which "two Marxists" scream insults at each other over minor sectarian differences. "It was like a bad dream," thinks Obama. "The movement had died years ago, shattered into a thousand fragments." These sentiments seem much too knowing and weighty for a 20 year-old just in from Hawaii. They make perfect sense, however, for a radical of nearly 40 emerging from a futile decade in hiding.

* In an interview for the book "Sixties Radicals," Ayers makes this clear. "When the war ended, our differences surfaced," he regrets. "We ended up in typical left-wing fashion: We ate each other . cannibalism." Similarly, when the young Obama pontificates about "angry young men in Soweto or Detroit or the Mekong Delta," one hears the voice of someone much edgier and more aware than Obama.

* Classics professor Bruce Heiden of Ohio State has analyzed the Obama/Ayers introduction and preface and found it a marvel of evasive postmodernism: "As Obama tells it, his authorship of 'Dreams' was miraculous, because although he lacked the writing skill to be the author of anything, and he didn't want to be the author of a memoir. . nevertheless 'Dreams from My Father' somehow 'found its way' onto the page with Barack Obama's name under the title as the author."


Obama: Most Secretive Democratic Candidate Ever

Sen. Barack Obama's campaign says his campaign will bring a new level of honesty and transparency to the White House. Obama proudly touts that he and Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla, passed a law requiring more transparency via a public database of all federal spending. But when it comes to offering the public documents about his own public and private activities, Obama's record for openness gets an "F" grade.

During the heated Democratic primary, Obama complained of the Bush White House being "one of the most secretive administrations in our history" and chided Sen. Hillary Clinton for not releasing her White House schedules. Ironically, Obama, just days away from possibly being elected president, continues to stonewall a growing chorus of information requests for documents about his legislative, personal health, education, financing, and background -- leaving many voters to cast ballots based on incomplete information.

And serious questions about his past continue to swirl as Election Day looms, fueled in part by his own campaign's refusal to make relevant documents available. And the press, usually banging at the door for candidates to make "full disclosure" is strangely quiet about Obama's stonewalling. A Newsmax survey of key Obama aspects of Obama's public and private life continued to be shielded from the public. Among the examples:

* Obama has released just one brief document detailing his personal health. McCain, on the other hands, released what he said was his complete medical file totaling more than 1500 pages. After criticism on the matter, last week the Obama campaign also released some routine lab-test results and electrocardiograms for Obama. All test results appeared normal, but many details about his health remain a mystery.

* Obama has refused to offer his official papers as a state legislator in Illinois, and has been unable to produce correspondence, such as letters from lobbyists and other correspondence from his days in the Illinois state senate. There are also no appointment calendars available of his official activities. "It could have been thrown out," Obama said while on the campaign trail during the Democratic primary. "I haven't been in the state Senate now for quite some time."

* Obama has not released his client list as an attorney or his billing records. Obama has maintained that he only performed a few hours of legal work for a nonprofit organization with ties to Tony Rezko, the Chicago businessman convicted of fraud in June. But he has not released billing records that would prove this assertion.

* Obama won't release his college records from Occidental College where he studied for two years before transferring to Columbia.

* Obama's campaign refuses to give Columbia University, where he earned an undergraduate degree in political science, permission to release his transcripts. Such transcripts would list the courses Obama took, and his grades. President George W. Bush, and presidential contenders Al Gore and John Kerry, all released their college transcripts. (McCain has refused to release his Naval Academy transcript.)

* Obama's college dissertation has simply disappeared from Columbia Universities archives. In July, in response to a flurry of requests to review Obama's senior thesis at the Ivy League school, reportedly titled "Soviet Nuclear Disarmament," Obama spokesman Ben LaBolt told NBC News "We do not have a copy of the course paper you requested and neither does Columbia University."

* The senator has not agreed to the release of his application to the Illinois state bar, which would clear up intermittent allegations that his application to the bar may have been inaccurate.

* Jim Geraghty of the National Review has written extensively about Obama's unwillingness to release records related to clients he represented while he was an attorney with the Chicago law firm of Davis, Miner, Barnhill, and Gallard. Obama was required to list his clients during his years in the Illinois senate. "Obama listed every client of the firm," Geraghty reported, making it impossible to discern which clients he represented.

* Obama has never released records from his time at Harvard Law School.

* Obama also has not disclosed the names of small donors giving $200 or less to his campaign. An exception to the finance-reporting laws exempts the campaign from reporting those who donate less than $200, but that law never envisioned the more than $300 million that has been raised by Obama in small amounts. The Republican National Committee has released its small donors, as well as McCain's, on a public database.

On several occasions, the Obama campaign has offered to provide additional information to reporters if they have specific questions or issues. And in some cases, it has done so.

When Internet rumors began to fly that perhaps Obama was born outside the United States, for example, the campaign released images of a birth certificate that verified his birthplace as Honolulu, Hawaii. When that led to suggestions the birth certificate had been altered, the campaign again responded, allowing reporters to examine the actual birth certificate, complete with raised seal. (In late July, according to, a researcher uncovered an announcement of Obama's birth in the August 13, 1961 edition of the Honolulu Advertiser).

Such instances of cooperation pale, however, compared to the many unanswered questions surrounding Obama, such as the financing of his education, and requests for the complete release of all donors to his campaign.

Of course, candidates are often reticent to disclose any information that opposition researchers could use against them. But notes that the Obama's failure to share documents is "part of his campaign's broader pattern of rarely volunteering information or documents about the candidate, even when relatively innocuous."

The hue and cry from the media for disclosure usually forces candidates to release sought after documents. But the press has largely acquiesced to Obama's stonewalling.


(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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