Monday, March 31, 2008

Obama marched with Farrakhan

Can this get any worse? Post below lifted from Weekly Standard. See the original for links

Hugh Hewitt links a 1995 profile of Obama in the Chicago Reader. It's worth reading in full. He shares his views on black churches and the Christian Right, and he makes clear his preference for "collective action" over individualism. And at the end, after discussing his participation in Minister Farrakhan's Million Man March:
"But cursing out white folks is not going to get the job done. Anti-Semitic and anti-Asian statements are not going to lift us up. We've got some hard nuts-and-bolts organizing and planning to do. We've got communities to build."

It doesn't seem like Barack had any real problem with cursing out white folks or making anti-Semitic and anti-Asian statements, it's just not as productive as he'd like. It's the same when he discusses the "wonderful preachers" in Chicago. "As soon as church lets out," he says, "the energy dissipates." You see it's not enough to just say "God Damn America" on Sunday, you have to organize your community and get on with the damning come Monday.

Update: Since Hugh's linked back response to his question ("Did many mainstream Dems join that march?"), the short answer is no. Only two members of Congress attended, as did a couple of mayors (including Marion Barry), Rev. Jesse Jackson, and Al Sharpton. President Clinton gave a speech endorsing the goals of the march, but condemning its organizer.

At the time Clinton said "One million men are right to be standing up for personal responsibility, but one million men do not make right one man's message of malice and division." He did not refer to Farrakhan by name, but in retrospect this looks like pretty strong stuff compared to Obama's "Anti-Semitic and anti-Asian statements are not going to lift us up." And of course Clinton didn't actually attend the march.

Obama: Babies are Punishment

Post below lifted from STACLU. See the original for links

After I exposed four gaping holes in Obama's platform yesterday, he platooned himself again today in Pennsylvania by calling babies a punishment. Of course, the Politico writer thinks Obama's answer was intuitive:
"Look, I got two daughters - 9 years old and 6 years old," he said. "I am going to teach them first about values and morals, but if they make a mistake, I don't want them punished with a baby."

The answer appeared to be in response to his opposition to abstinence-only education, but rather a preference of comprehensive sexual education that includes some abstinence sprinkled in.

Regardless of your feelings on sexual education, this statement oozes with animosity. It also reveals the true heart of Barack Obama. Despite his so-called "understanding" of both sides of the abortion issue, any person that could utter such cold, abhorrence when discussing a fellow human being has no intention of displaying any goodwill to pro-lifers.

The man with no ideas of his own

No wonder his policy proposals are just Leftist boilerplate

Evidence is accumulating that Barack Obama is an equal opportunity plagiarist, readily borrowing some of the catchiest lines in his campaign speeches and ads from a variety of literary, movie, political and popular sources, all without giving credit or attribution to the original source. The charges began when the Washington Post reported on Feb. 18 a Clinton campaign charge that Obama delivered a speech in Wisconsin including a near-identical passage to a speech delivered two years earlier by then-Democratic Party candidate for governor of Massachusetts, Deval Patrick.

"In many respects, he [Obama] is asking the public to judge him on the strength of his rhetoric," said Howard Wolfson, a top Clinton advisor, according to the Washington Post article. "When we learn he has taken an important section of his speech from another elected official, it raises very fundamental questions about his campaign." A video plays side-by-side the similarity between Patrick's and Obama's speeches.

An ABC analysis later showed Patrick's 2006 speech quoted many famous phrases, "'We have nothing to fear but fear itself,' . just words. 'Ask not what you can do for your country,' just words . 'I have a dream,' just words," he said, quoting Franklin D. Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King.

Obama's Wisconsin speech was nearly identical, with Obama saying, "Don't tell me words don't matter . 'I have a dream.' Just words. 'We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.' Just words. 'We have nothing to fear but fear itself.' Just words. Just speeches."

Appearing on ABC on Feb. 19, Patrick defused the controversy by claiming the charge of plagiarism was "unfair." "It's an elaborate charge and an extravagant one," Patrick said on air.

On Feb. 18, at a press conference in Youngstown, Ohio, Obama admitted he should have given credit to his friend, Gov. Patrick, saying, "I was on the stump, and, you know he [Deval Patrick] had suggested that we use these lines. I thought they were good lines. I'm sure I would have [given him credit], didn't this time." "Deval and I do trade ideas all the time," Obama continued, "and, you know, he's occasionally used lines of [mine]. I, at a [fundraising] dinner in Wisconsin, used some words of his."

A second video clip on shows Obama using another Patrick speech segment nearly word-for-word, again without attribution to Patrick for the original use of the language. Patrick is heard to say, "I am not asking anybody to take a chance on me. I am asking you to take a chance on your own aspirations." Obama's speech contains nearly identical language: "I'm not just asking you to take a chance on me. I'm also asking you to take a chance on your own aspirations."

Analysis by Internet bloggers has shown that Obama's heist of language was not limited to Patrick's speeches. "Bamboozled" is the title of a Internet piece in which blogger Seymour Glass tracks Barack Obama's many instances of plagiarism, in which Obama readily borrows from a wide range of sources, including film producer Spike Lee's script for his 1992 feature film, Malcolm X.

Glass pointed out that in many primary states, including South Carolina, Maryland, Delaware, and Texas, Obama has used over and over the words "bamboozled" and "hoodwinked," arguing how the truth has been hidden from voters. He traced the word back to dialogue Spike Lee wrote for Denzel Washington to speak, playing the character of Malcolm X in Spike Lee's movie of the same name about the radical African American activist of the 1960s. Grace also pointed out that Malcolm X never uttered "bamboozled" or "hoodwinked" regarding political maneuvering in the African American community. Again, a clip on shows exactly how the words "bamboozled" and "hoodwinked" appear in both Obama's speech and in Denzel Washington's speeches in the movie, playing the character of Malcolm X.

Jay Freeman, writing in the Boston Globe, traced the words "bamboozled" or "hoodwinked" back to Lord Greville's memoir in 1885, "Palmerston never intended anything but to hoodwink his colleagues, bamboozle the French, and gain time." And also in H.L Menken, writing in 1928, "He does not merely tell how politicians hoodwink, bamboozle and prey upon the boobs; he shows precisely how." Freeman was writing to show the two words were not uncommonly connected, such that Spike Lee using the words in "Malcolm X" was not a unique use from which Obama necessarily copied.

Yet the showing the comparison with the Spike Lee movie also shows clips where the Obama phrase, "We are the ones we have been waiting for," echoes back to a music album by the Visionaires by the same title, a book by Alice Walker also using the title, a Dec. 12, 2007 column by New York Times writer Thomas Friedman and a Dennis Kucinich campaign speech in April 2004 also using the same phrase.

The same video traces a phrase Oprah Winfrey used at a Dec. 9, 2007 rally in Columbia, S.C., to identify Obama. "He is the One," traces back to the Warner Brothers 1999 movie, "The Matrix."

Even the phrase "Si, se puede," that Obama has used as the English, "Yes, we can," traces back to Caesar Chavez and his organizing of Hispanic workers in the United Farm Workers in the 1960s. More recently, according to the Moscow Times, the slogan has been heavily used by a former Soviet official who has ruled his republic of Russia since 1991. That the phrase "Yes we can," became firmly identified as a signature phrase with the Obama campaign is witnessed by the "Yes We Can" Barack Obama music video produced by, now viewed on over six million times.

The video clip ends making the point that many similarities in Obama's speeches, including phrases such as, "I choose hope over fear . ," or "I'm not just asking you to take a chance on me, I'm asking you to take a chance on your own aspirations .," may trace back to Obama's campaign manager David Alexrod, who has introduced similar themes and phrases into the campaigns of many of his clients, including John Edwards (2004) and Deval Patrick (2006).

New York magazine has found yet another instance where Obama has lifted lines from a movie. In the 2006 movie "Man of the Year," Robin Williams plays a comedian who gets elected president. In the movie, Williams gives a speech in which he says, "Red States, Blue States. There [are] no Red States and Blue States. There's only the United States of America." Obama, in his 2008 Iowa caucus victory speech said, "Because we not a collection of Red States and Blue States. We are the United States of America."


A Decades Deep Treasure Trove

Barack Obama's supporters are quick to level the cherry-picking charge in any discussion of Reverend Jeremiah Wright's video vitriol, claiming that Obama's critics are selectively condemning the pastor with but a few exceptional sermons out of twenty-plus years of weekly sermons.

The problem with that argument is that the church's gift shop packaged and sold in DVD format the very sermons that are being used now with such devastating political effect, characterizing them as a "best of" series. One can only speculate as to whose characterization that is, but after seeing the Rev's rather formidable ego demonstrated in the videos and in television interviews, I do not think he is one who would delegate the task of selecting his best sermons for resale purposes to any subordinate; which leaves us to conclude that Reverend Wright himself holds those cherry-picked videos in very high esteem.

Now, do any of us skeptics out here really believe that if those videos are the Rev's choice for his "best of" series, that they are the only exceptional examples of thirty-six years of preaching from that pulpit? Are we to accept that after three and a half decades, the Rev can point only to that skimpy handful of videos and say, "There is the sum total of the very best of the fruits of my labors in service to the Lord?"

So what becomes most intriguing here is the question as to just how long the church has been recording and selling the Rev's weekly exhortations to his flock and just how many of those tapes may be out there in circulation. Obviously, from what we've already seen, the church has been taping at least since the week after 9/11, which means there could be hundreds of tapes in just that time, perhaps multiple thousands if one considers that most likely every performance (three services every Sunday) is taped to provide the collection from which a "best of" series can be selected.

Obama's supporters try to reassure themselves that this will blow over; but I wonder how many of them lay awake wondering just how many more of these tapes are out there and just when one of the Clintons' opposition research operatives is going to pay some disgruntled, or just greedy, former parishioner a very hefty sum for his extensive collection of the "best of" series? That cannot be a sleep-inducing thought within the Obama campaign, especially if one of those videos should contain audience shots that include an enthusiastic, wildly cheering Barack and Michelle.

And just think there's only twenty years of possibilities in this potential treasure trove. Once the Clintons get through digging, there may even be a jewel or two left for Republican oppo investigators should Obama win the nomination.



Sunday, March 30, 2008

Barack Obama: Lying Again

Break out your shovels, kids. It's getting deep:
"Had the reverend not retired, and had he not acknowledged that what he had said had deeply offended people and were inappropriate and mischaracterized what I believe is the greatness of this country, for all its flaws, then I wouldn't have felt comfortable staying at the church," Obama said Thursday during a taping of the ABC talk show, "The View." The interview will be broadcast Friday.

Jeremiah Wright has never publicly apologized for any of his rhetoric, from his racial bigotry to his conspiracy theorizing, or his anti-Americanism.

Even with Wright gone, Trinity United Church of Christ still practices Black Liberation theology, a bastardization of Marxist socialism, racial victimhood, and Christianity-and pretty much in that order of importance-as Karl meticulously detailed in a post at Protein Wisdom. Wright's replacement, the Rev. Otis Moss, will not deviate from those teachings in any significant way, and Moss shows little signs of even toning down the rhetoric, as he compared criticism of Wright's comments to a lynching and compared Wright to Jesus in his Easter sermon. Note well:
The criticism surrounding Wright has not softened the services at Trinity United Church of Christ, where Obama has been a congregant for 20 years. Instead, Moss defiantly defended their method of worship, referencing rap lyrics to make his point. "If I was Ice Cube I'd say it a little differently - 'You picked the wrong folk to mess with,'" Moss said to an enthusiastic congregation, standing up during much of the sermon, titled "How to Handle a Public Lynching."

Barack Obama is lying when he says that Wright apologized, and lies by implication when he tries to convince America that Trinity has somehow changed with Wright's retirement.

The quarterback may have changed, but Trinity is still playing the same game, using the same playbook based upon radical victimhood, and Barack Obama is still apparently the head cheerleader. If Obama was truly offended by Wright's vitriol, he would have walked out on Moss as well, a pastor mentored at Wright's knee and apparently cut from the same cloth, preaching the same shop-worn victimhood at the same church. Barack Obama was not offended at the radical messages of hate being preached at Trinity, he was just offended that they was exposed.


Obama, the Messiah of extreme Leftism

By Stanley Kurtz

(Graphic from Doug Ross)

Thanks to the verbal stylings of Hugh Hewitt, Mark Steyn, and Barack Obama, I got to bed way too late last night. Here's what I was listening to, and here's the transcript. (Focus on the first third.)

After listening to these autobiographical excerpts from Barack Obama's Dreams From My Father, read out loud by Obama himself, I'm left with the conviction that, in the 2008 election we are facing the mother of all cultural battles. E.J. Dionne thinks the political culture wars are over. Well, I've been rebutting "end of the culture wars" declarations for eight years. They always prove out wrong. If Hillary Clinton is the Democratic nominee, we're certain to see a huge cultural battle in 2008. But it's now evident that even a Hillary campaign would be tame by comparison to the cultural confrontation flowing from an Obama nomination. The transformation of the 2008 campaign into a full-fledged cultural battle is what is really emerging from the Jeremiah Wright flap.

A president who identifies with Malcolm X? A man who grew up alienated from ordinary American life and determined to avoid becoming a "sellout" by hanging with Marxist professors and radical feminists? In his commentary, Mark Steyn highlights Obama's alienation - the fact that even his many radical gestures never felt quite satisfying. Yet it's important to emphasize that Obama's inability to feel fully satisfied by radicalism wasn't overcome by rejecting radicalism. On the contrary, when Jeremiah Wright came along and offered himself as a substitute father figure, Obama overcame his alienation and embraced leftist organizing and Wright's radical sermons in earnest. Obama finally grew up when he threw away his alienated radical pose and embraced the real radical thing instead.

I was only half joking when I "defended" Jeremiah Wright by substituting his name for Franz Fanon in some post-modern claptrap. Fanon - the international version of Malcolm X - is famous for his paens to the healing psychic powers of anti-colonial violence. Now it turns out that Obama himself really did sit around reading Fanon, and the sort of gibberish Marxist professors write in praise of him. What's more, while I merely substituted Jeremiah Wright for Fanon in some postcolonial prose, Obama made this move in real life. Wright was Obama's Fanon-like father figure, turning Obama's fake radicalism real.

Even the Clintons can't compare with this sort of rearing in sixties-leftism and academic radicalism. This background guarantees a huge cultural dimension to the campaign. Pre-Wright, it looked like an Obama nomination would avoid the refighting of the sixties Hillary would inevitably bring. Post-Wright, post-Dreams, etc. it looks as though Hillary and Bill were only the warm-up act for the great culture clash of 2008.

Conservatives may think the revelations of Obama's formative radicalism and his relationship with Wright are sure to sink him. While they may ultimately have that effect, the outcome is by no means certain. Contrary to liberal denials, Obama has been damaged by the Wright affair. Yet it's also true that association with leftist and academic radicalism is no longer disturbing to large segments of the country.

The Democratic left now believes that the United States is ready for a genuinely "progressive," paradigm-changing president. They are not abandoning Obama, and are not even fully capable of seeing how damaging Obama's background and underlying worldview seem to many (although they are worried enough to try to cover for him). But the country is changing and we can no longer be certain of the impact all these revelations will have. What I do think is obvious at this point is that cultural issues will not be a sideshow in 2008, but very much at the center of things. And if Obama should win, the culture clash of the Clinton and Bush years is sure to go on at full blast.

Right now the media, and the Obama campaign itself (same thing, I know), are desperately trying to avoid having Obama characterized as the ultra-liberal he is. But the cultural dimension of the campaign is going to kill all that. There is just too much consistency between Obama's lifelong radical sensibility and his ultra-liberalism on policy issues to fool the public about who he is and what he wants.


Mark Steyn analyzes the postmodern mess that is Barack Obama's autobiography, "Dreams From My Father"

An interview with Hugh Hewitt

HH: Now I know you've read Dreams From My Father. I don't know if you've listened to it yet. Do you think looking back, it was a wise idea for Barack Obama to record this book?

MS: Well, let me say first of all, about the book, I'm not a big audio book man, so when I read the book, I read it in old fashioned print form. And the reason I think it's better than so many political autobiographies is because it feels like a novel. In a sense, you get the feeling that he created a character for this book. It's not the usual political memoir in which the guy retells a dull story of how he got the airport parking lot extension bill passed. It's actually, it actually feels as if Barack Obama is an invented character. And that's one reason why the book works, but it also gets to the heart of some of the problems he's had in the last few weeks.

HH: As a way of talking about that, I'm going to play some of the clips, some my audience has heard before, some new ones today. And let's just walk through it. Cut number one, Barack talking about Malcolm X and what it meant to him. It's audio number three:
BO: Only Malcolm X's autobiography seemed to offer something different. His repeated acts of self-creation spoke to me. The blunt poetry of his words, his unadorned insistence on respect, promised a new and uncompromising order, martial in its discipline, forged through sheer force of will. All the other stuff, the talk of blue-eyed devils and apocalypse, was incidental to that program, I decided. Religious baggage that Malcolm himself seemed to have safely abandoned toward the end of his life. And yet, even as I imagine myself following Malcolm's call, one line in the book stayed with me. He spoke of a wish he'd once had, the wish that the white blood that ran through him, there by an act of violence, might somehow be expunged. I knew that for Malcolm, that wish would never be incidental. I knew as well that traveling down the road to self-respect, my own white blood would never recede into mere abstraction. I was left to wonder what else I would be severing, if and when I left my mother and my grandparents at some uncharted border.

HH: Mark Steyn, clearly a first for presidential memoirs, if he becomes president.

MS: Yes, I think so, and I think as we were saying earlier, the key word there, what he identifies with in Malcolm X, is self-creation. And I think it's, in a sense, there's a tragedy about Barack Obama, because he didn't have to be a guy who mired himself in all the grim pathologies of the racial grievance industry. I thought when he first appeared on the national stage, that he was a character more like Colin Powell. Colin Powell and Barack Obama are both the children of British subjects. In Colin Powell's case from the West Indies, in Obama's case, from Kenya. And the advantage of that is that they're not part, they're not part of what we call now the African-American experience. They're not part of the Jesse Jackson-Al Sharpton narrative. So there's something very bizarre about Obama in effect artificially trying to find ways of identifying with that particular, I would regard, that particular self-defeating narrative.

HH: That's almost the perfect analytical tool, as will become obvious in the next two clips. Cut number four:
BO: I spent the last two years of high school in a daze, blocking away the questions that life seemed insistent on posing. I kept playing basketball, attended classes sparingly, drank beer heavily, and tried drugs enthusiastically. I discovered that it didn't make any difference whether you smoked reefer in the white classmate's sparkling new van, or in the dorm room with some brother you'd met down at the gym, or on the beach with a couple of Hawaiian kids who had dropped out of school, and now spent most of their time looking for an excuse to brawl. Nobody asked you whether your father was a fat cat executive who cheated on his wife, or some laid-off Joe who slapped you around whenever he bothered to come home. You might just be bored or alone. Everybody was welcome into the club of disaffection. And if the high didn't solve whatever it was that was getting you down, it could at least help you laugh at the world's ongoing folly, and see through all the hypocrisy and bullshit and cheap moralism.

HH: Cut number five. He's in college at Occidental:
BO: To avoid being mistaken for such a sellout, I chose my friends carefully: the more politically active black students, the foreign students, the Chicanos, the Marxist professors and structural feminists, and punk rock performance poets. We smoked cigarettes and wore leather jackets. At night in the dorms, we discussed neocolonialism, Frantz Fanon, Euro-centrism, and patriarchy. When we ground out our cigarettes in the hallway carpet, or set our stereos so loud that the walls began to shake, we were resisting Bourgeois society's stifling constraints. We weren't indifferent or careless or insecure. We were alienated.

HH: Alienated, but not so atypical. Cut number eight:
BO: Freshman year, when I was still living in the dorms, there'd be the same sort of bull sessions that I'd had with Ray and other blacks back in Hawaii - the same grumblings, the same list of complaints. Otherwise, our worries seemed indistinguishable from those of the white kids around us: surviving classes, finding a well-paying gig after graduation, trying to get laid.

HH: Mark Steyn, it's all sort of, piece by piece, he's putting himself together.

MS: Yes, and the interesting thing about it is, which strikes you when you see Obama live, there's a reserve about him, and a remoteness about him when you see him on stage at one of these rallies, as if he is, in some sense, unknowable. And I think that's true when you listen to this book, too, that he's talking about neocolonialism and patriarchy and Euro-centrism. And there's a kind of air of amused detachment about it. He's using the terms ironically. But it's never clear, and never swims into focus what it is he really believes. And it's an interesting contrast with his wife. If you listen to Michelle Obama, and she was using words like Euro-centrism and patriarch and neocolonialism, you would feel for sure that she meant that for real, and meant it seriously. With Obama, again, there seems to be something empty deep down inside him. What is it that he really believes? Who is he really?

HH: A deep ambiguity continues. Cut number 13:
BO: In 1983, I decided to become a community organizer. There wasn't much detail to the idea. I didn't know anyone making a living that way. When classmates in college asked me just what it was that a community organizer did, I couldn't answer them directly. Instead, I'd pronounce on the need for change. Change won't come from the top, I would say. Change will come from a mobilized grass roots. That's what I'll do. I'll organize black folks. At the grass roots. For change. And my friends, black and white, would heartily commend me for my ideals before heading toward the post office to mail in their graduate school applications.

HH: But before he became a community organizer, he had to go to work for a little bit. Cut number 14:
BO: Eventually, a consulting house to a multinational corporation agreed to hire me as a research assistant. Like a spy behind enemy lines, I arrived every day at my mid-Manhattan office, and sat at my computer terminal, checking the Reuters machine that blinked bright emerald messages from across the globe. As far as I could tell, I was the only black man in the company, a source of shame for me, but a source of considerable pride for the company's secretarial pool.

HH: Mark Steyn, throughout the memoir, there is a hostility, sometimes not concealed at all, to basic capitalism, and a sort of profound economic ignorance. And we heard that today in a speech he made on the economy. But he doesn't disguise it, at least.

MS: No, and when he says he's a spy behind enemy lines at this company he was working for in midtown Manhattan, this is ridiculous. This is a fellow who's had a privileged upbringing, been to some of the best educational institutions on the planet. What is fake is not the job in mid-town Manhattan. What smells phony is his decision to become a "community organizer". As he says, he can't explain to any of his college pals what it actually is. In fact, I still don't know what it is. What is a community organizer? I mean, it has a sort of Marxist air, as if you're in a sense corralling the proletariat into, and honing them into a tool to overthrow capitalist oppression. But other than that, nobody can tell me what it is that a community organizer is. It's a ridiculous thing.

HH: Let's skip to the end before the break. This is Barack at his father's gravesite, weeping and reflecting on his life. Cut number 24:
BO: For a long time, I sat between the two graves and wept. When my tears were finally spent, I felt a calmness wash over me. I felt the circle finally close. I realized that who I was, what I cared about, was no longer just a matter of intellect or obligation, no longer a construct of words. I saw that my life in America, the black life, the white life, the sense of abandonment I'd felt as a boy, the frustration and hope I had witnessed in Chicago, all of it was connected with this small plot of Earth an ocean away, connected by more than the accident of a name, or the color of my skin. The pain I felt was my father's pain. My questions were my brothers' questions. Their struggle, my birthright.

HH: Mark Steyn, thirty seconds to the break, do you think he set out to write a classic of African-American literature?

MS: I think in a sense, he decided to invent a novelistic character called Barack Obama. I think it reads like, instead of an autobiography, it reads like a sort of Gatsbyesque tale of self-invention.

- - - -

HH: We're listening to some audio, trying to figure out what Barack Obama's memoir of his early life means. Let's go to Africa. Barack's in a conservation with his half-sister, Aoma, about family in-fighting over the house that they have inherited from their father and his mixed up estate. And here, she's complaining about being responsible for upkeep on the house, and fixing things. Just take a listen. Cut number 16:
BO: It would belong to them. We can do all that, Aoma, I said. She shook her head. Let me tell you what I start thinking then. I think of who will take care of the house if I'm not here. I think who can I count on to make sure that a leak gets fixed, or that the fence gets mended. It's terrible, selfish, I know. All I can do when I think this way is to get mad at the Old Man, because he didn't build this house for us. We are the children, Barack. Why do we have to take care of everyone? Everything is upside down, crazy. I had to take care of myself, just like Bernard. Now I'm used to living my own life, just like a German. Everything is organized. If something is broken, I fix it. If something goes wrong, it's my own fault. If I have it, I send money to the family. And they can do with it what they want, and I won't depend on them, and they won't depend on me. It sounds lonely, I said. Oh, I know, Barack. That is why I keep coming home. That is why I'm still dreaming.

HH: It doesn't sound lonely to me, Mark Steyn. It sounds like home ownership, but this is sort of the self-pity that pervades this whole Kenyan side of the family.

MS: Yes, it's interesting to me. I mentioned Colin Powell earlier. Again, they come from similar backgrounds, you might think, except that Colin Powell, whatever one feels about him, and I certainly have differences with him as a so-called moderate Republican, but he's very secure in his sense of himself. And clearly, Barack Obama isn't. There's a big hole. That hole, in part, was left by, I think, that hole inside him is in many ways the fault of his father. And he has been trying to fill that hole his whole life. And one way he's been trying to fill that is by trying on various identities in hopes that he can find something that fits. That, I think, explains largely his twenty years at Trinity Church with the Reverend Jeremiah Wright. But there is something missing. The story of his life and his book is this great sense of something missing. And that is what differentiates him from, say, Colin Powell when you read Colin Powell's autobiography.

HH: One last cut, it's fairly long. It's two minutes, but we're back with Barack at his father's gravesite in Kenya, and he's reflecting on the stern, old man that was his grandfather, and his great-grandfather. And it goes right to what you've been saying. Cut number 23:
BO: I dropped to the ground and swept my hand across the smooth, yellow tile. Oh, father, I cried, there was no shame in your confusion, just as there had been no shame in your father's before you. No shame in the fear or the fear of his father before him. There was only shame in the silence fear had produced. It was the silence that betrayed us. If it weren't for that silence, your grandfather might have told your father that he could never escape himself, or recreate himself alone. Your father might have taught those same lessons to you. And you, the son, might have taught your father that this new world that was beckoning all of you involved more than just railroads and indoor toilets, and irrigations ditches, and gramophones, lifeless instruments that could be absorbed into the old ways. You might have told him that these instruments carried with them a dangerous power, that they demanded a different way of seeing the world, that this power could be absorbed only alongside a faith born out of hardship, a faith that wasn't new, that wasn't black or white or Christian or Muslim, but that pulsed in the heart of the first African village, and the first Kansas homestead, a faith in other people. The silence killed your faith. And for lack of faith, you clung to both too much and too little of your past, too much of its rigidness, its suspicions, its male cruelties, too little of the laughter in Granny's voice, the pleasures of company while herding the goats, the murmur of the market, the stories around the fire, the loyalty that could make up for a lack of airplanes or rifles, words of encouragement, an embrace, a strong true love. For all your gifts, the quick mind, the powers of concentration, the charm, you could never forge yourself into a whole man by leaving those things behind.

HH: Mark Steyn, I'm not a cynic. I just don't think this is the sort of language Americans expect out of political leaders.

MS: No, I was just listening to it, and it does sound very much someone spent way too much money on a really bad creative writing course. That, when he talks about the conversations that were never had, those are the conversations that you have if you've got nothing else to do. They're the conversations that people have sometimes when they're at college at 3:00 in the morning, and they're just sitting around, and as he was saying earlier, you know, they're pleasantly high on whatever substance they've been toking, and they've got nothing better to do. But real people, particularly hard working grandfathers and great-grandfathers in Kenyan villages, do have things to do. And you don't even have to make the Kenyan comparison. If you say imagine Calvin Coolidge sitting down and writing a memoir with that kind of narcissistic introspection riddled all the way through it, in other words, not an interesting narrative, but almost like a postmodern commentary on the narrative, I mean, Calvin Coolidge, it's an alien language to most American presidents.

HH: One more cut. This is the dream sequence. Cut number 21:
BO: Aoma shook her head. Can you imagine, Barack, she said looking at me. I swear, sometimes I think that the problems in this family all started with him. He is the only person who's opinion I think the Old Man really worried about, the only person he feared. We all decided to turn in. The bunks were narrow, but the sheets were cool and inviting, and I stayed up late listening to the trembling rhythm of the train, and the even breaths of my brothers, and thinking about the stories of our grandfather. It had all started with him, Aoma had said. That sounded right somehow. If I could just piece together his story, I thought, then perhaps everything else might fall into place. I finally fell asleep, and dreamed I was walking along a village road. Children dressed only in strings of beads played in front of the round huts, and several old men waived to me as I passed. But as I went farther along, I began to notice that people were looking behind me fearfully, rushing into their huts as I passed. I heard the growl of a leopard, and started to run into the forest, tripping over roots and stumps and vines, until at last I couldn't run any longer, and I fell to my knees in the middle of a bright clearing. Panting for breath, I turned around to see the day turned to night, and a giant figure, looming as tall as the trees, wearing only a loincloth and a ghostly mask. The lifeless eyes bored into me, and I heard a thunderous voice saying only that it was time. And my entire body began to shake violently with the sound, as if I were breaking apart.

HH: Mark Steyn, do we need to know all this?

MS: Well, I think that's actually useful if you're doing your first draft for the film version, and hoping that Miramax will pick up the option. That's what it sounds like. As I said earlier, this is a very unusual memoir. It reads a lot.if you imagine, say, Joe Biden writing a political autobiography, it would be yawnsville from the word go. In a sense, he's written a beautiful, self-absorbed book in which Barack Obama is an invented character in a bizarre postmodern narrative.


Man Of Steele

Post below lifted from Discriminations. See the original for links

Judged by the power of his analysis in several books that are almost breathtaking in their perception, Shelby Steele really is an intellectual Superman. I have mentioned his most recent, and most timely, book, Bound Man: Why We Are Excited About Obama and Why He Can't Win, several times (here, here, here). He was interviewed by ABC News yesterday (or at least the published report appeared yesterday). You should definitely read the whole thing, but I was particularly struck by two things in it.

First, he discussed an Obama statement from a post-Speech interview that may go a long way towards explaining why Obama appears incapable of separating himself from Rev. Wright, no matter what the reverend said or says in the future.
After the March 18 speech in which he addressed incendiary remarks by Wright, Obama told ABC News' Terry Moran that blacks do not have "the luxury" of "being selective." "During the course of this campaign," said Obama, "there have been moments where people say, `Well, I like Barack Obama, but not Al Sharpton. I like Colin Powell, but not Jesse. I like Oprah, but.' You know, those of us who are African-American don't have the luxury."

Asked by Moran what he meant by saying blacks "don't have the luxury," Obama said, "I don't have the luxury of separating myself out and being selective, in terms of what it means to be an African-American in this society. It's a big complex thing. It's not monolithic."

Steele told that he considered Obama's comments to be revealing. "It's a very interesting statement. It's profound," said Steele. "What would be keeping him from having the right to be selective about all of those people? Of course he has the right to be selective."

"What he is really saying is that he's afraid," Steele continued. "What Obama is saying is, `I'm afraid if I am less than receptive to Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton, they're going to call me an Uncle Tom, they're going to call me a sellout.' The terror of Barack Obama's life has been that blacks would reject him. That's why I call him a bound man."

If Steele is reading Obama correctly here, Obama is saying that there are many ways to be black in America, and he's not willing "to be selective" or "separate himself" from any of them. Wright's way is to be filled with anti-American, anti-white paranoid rage. Being a society-blaming victim who refuses to take responsibility for one's own life is another. If Obama wants to do something to address these dysfunctional ways of being black in America, he will have to do considerably more than "contextualize" them.

That point was made eloquently in an open letter to Obama from Lionel Chetwynd, who was disappointed Obama missed "the teaching opportunity I hoped you would evoke: not explaining Wright's outrage to me, but explaining his outrageousness to him." Be sure to read this whole letter, and then save it to re-read later. It's that good.

Finally, the most dramatic observation in this interview, or in any interview I've read, is Steele's dramatic assertion that "[Affirmative action] did more damage to black America than segregation did." I hope, and bet, we'll be hearing more about that.


Saturday, March 29, 2008

The economic moron

Reagan combined tax cuts with deregulation to create the longest sustained period of economic growth in American history. That said, what is Barack Hussein Obama's cure for our recent economic downturn? Regulation combined with tax increases. A successful President of the United States took one road and it led to an economic boom but a potential President would choose a path in an opposite direction. What do you think that outcome would be? What is the opposite of an economic boom?
The government must revive the economy by tightening regulations and reforming its own agencies to adjust to the realities of modern finance, Barack Obama said Thursday.

In a speech billed as a major address, the Democratic presidential candidate said most experts agree the U.S. economy is in a recession. "To renew our economy - and to ensure that we are not doomed to repeat a cycle of bubble and bust again and again - we need to address not only the immediate crisis in the housing market; we also need to create a 21st century regulatory framework, and pursue a bold opportunity agenda for the American people," Obama said. "We do American business - and the American people - no favors when we turn a blind eye to excessive leverage and dangerous risks," he added.

Obama has gone on record several times as being in favor of allowing the Bush tax cuts to expire in 2010 when they are due to sunset. This is the equivalent of a tax increase. But to a leftist like Barack Hussein Obama, it is "targeted" because in their minds the tax cuts only benefited the "rich". Tell that to the family whose income has them in the 10% tax bracket - the working poor - who will see a 50% increase in their tax burden with the sunsetting of the Bush tax cuts. It was those cuts which created the 10% bracket. Tell that to the working lower and middle classes when they get slapped with massive layoffs because their employers cannot afford to pay the larger tax burden created when these tax cuts expire. Remember people - it is those who have economic mobility who create jobs for the rest of us. By slapping them with a tax increase the money available to these people to expand business and make investments dries up. This will, and I'm not speculating I know for certain, this WILL create a higher unemployment rate.

One road would lead to prosperity the other to economic ruin. Reagan proved which road is which. Why would anyone vote for someone who advocates a road in the opposite direction? The current problem is a credit problem. Banks extended loans and credit to people who were incapable of paying their bills. The last thing the government needs to do is involve itself. Mr. Obama's "solution" will only compound the problem.


Obama is no Jackie Robinson

Some pundits ask whether America is ready for Obama. The much more important question is whether Obama is ready for America, and even more important is whether black people can afford Obama. Let's look at it in the context of a historical tidbit.

In 1947, Jackie Robinson, signing a contract with the Brooklyn Dodgers, broke the color barrier in Major League Baseball. He encountered open racist taunts and slurs from fans, opposing team players and even some players on his own team. Despite that, his first year batting average was .297. He led the National League in stolen bases and won the first-ever Rookie of the Year Award. Without question, Jackie Robinson was an exceptional player. There's no sense of justice that should require that a player be as good as Jackie Robinson to be a rookie in the major leagues, but the hard fact of the matter, as a first black player, he had to be.

In 1947, black people could not afford a stubble bum baseball player. By contrast, today black people can afford stubble bum black baseball players. The simple reason is that as a result of the excellence of Jackie Robinson, as well those who immediately followed him such as Satchel Paige, Don Newcombe, Larry Doby and Roy Campanella, there's no one in his right mind, who might watch the incompetence of a particular black player, who can say, "Those blacks can't play baseball." Whether we like it or not, whether for good reason or bad reason, people make stereotypes and stereotypes can have effects.

For the nation and for black people, the first black president should be the caliber of a Jackie Robinson, and Barack Obama is not. Barack Obama has charisma and charm, but in terms of character, values and understanding, he is no Jackie Robinson. By now, many Americans have heard the racist and anti-American tirades of Obama's minister and spiritual counselor. There's no way that Obama could have been a 20-year member of the Rev. Jeremiah Wright's church and not been aware of his statements.

Wright's racist and anti-American ideas are by no means unique. They are the ideas of many leftist professors and taught to our young people. The basic difference between Sen. Obama, Wright and leftist professors is simply a matter of style and language. His Philadelphia speech demonstrated his clever style where he merely changed the subject. The controversy was not about race. It was about his longtime association with such a hatemonger and whether he shared the reverend's vision.

Obama's success is truly a remarkable commentary on the goodness of Americans and how far we've come in resolving matters of race. I'm 72 years old. For almost all of my life, a black having a real chance at becoming the president of the United States was at best a pipe dream. Obama has convincingly won primaries in states with insignificant black populations. As such, it further confirms what I've often said: The civil rights struggle in America is over and it's won. At one time black Americans did not have the constitutional guarantees enjoyed by white Americans; now we do. The fact that the civil rights struggle is over and won does not mean that there are not major problems confronting many members of the black community, but they are not civil rights problems and have little or nothing to do with racial discrimination.

While not every single vestige of racial discrimination has disappeared, Obama and the Rev. Wright are absolutely wrong in suggesting that racial discrimination is anywhere near the major problem confronting a large segment of the black community. The major problems are: family breakdown, illegitimacy, fraudulent education and a high rate of criminality. To confront these problems, that are not the fault of the larger society, requires political courage, and that's an attribute Obama and most other politicians lack.


What part of bipartisan does this guy not understand?

Today's Washington Post features a front page political ad for article about Sen. Obama, In Obama's New Message, Some Foes See Old Liberalism. It starts:
Sen. Barack Obama offers himself as a post-partisan uniter who will solve the country's problems by reaching across the aisle and beyond the framework of liberal and conservative labels he rejects as useless and outdated. But as Obama heads into the final presidential primaries, Sen. John McCain and other Republicans have already started to brand him a standard-order left-winger, "a down-the-line liberal," as McCain strategist Charles R. Black Jr. put it, in a long line of Democratic White House hopefuls.

So in the first two paragraphs the article establishes its baseline: how Sen. Obama portrays himself. It's as if questioning if he really represesnts any sort of "post-partisan" reality is somehow dirty pool. Later on there are two really remarkable paragraphs.
In most major areas, Obama has taken positions that would seem to conform to the Republican stereotype of a liberal. Like Clinton, he favors expanding the government's role in delivering health care, and would pay for that by ending President Bush's tax cuts for the rich. He would go a step further than Clinton by lifting the limit on income taxed for Social Security, now $100,000, to set that program on firm footing.

He strongly supports abortion rights and spoke out against a Supreme Court ruling last year that upheld a ban on the procedure that some call "partial-birth" abortion. He favors allowing illegal immigrants to get driver's licenses (after some hesitation, Clinton came out against that). He is outspoken on civil rights, and he has opposed Bush's judicial picks, staying out of a bipartisan effort to approve some nominees. While he supports the death penalty for the most "heinous" crimes, as a Senate candidate in 2004 he expressed support for strict gun control, decriminalizing marijuana and ending federal mandatory minimum prison sentences, issues he now rarely raises on the trail.

A "Republican stereotype of a liberal"? He stakes out liberal positions and holds to them. It's not a stereotype, it's his reality. And his National Journal rating is no fluke. But how can the reporter wax eloquent about Sen. Obama's "post-partisan" appeal and then write that he stayed "...out of a bipartisan effort to approve some nominees." If he really is the "post-partisan" candidate of the first two paragraphs it would have been the gang of 15.

The problem isn't how Sen. Obama's foes portray him, it's his record. Why would he fail to mention positions he espouses on the trail, except to avoid the fact that these are unpopular and he sees a disadvantage in promoting them. That's fine, but that doesn't make him not liberal. In fact it makes him extremely political.

If the reporter wanted to focus on a candidate with "post-partisan" appeal perhaps he could have looked at Sen. McCain. A recent Gallup poll shows:
A sizable proportion of Democrats would vote for John McCain next November if he is matched against the candidate they do not support for the Democratic nomination. This is particularly true for Hillary Clinton supporters, more than a quarter of whom currently say they would vote for McCain if Barack Obama is the Democratic nominee.

So a significant portion of Democratic primary voters - though still a minority - would support Sen. McCain in the general election. That would seem to be a much better indication of "post-partisanship" than Sen. Obama's attempts to hide his record. Unfortunately the Post's reporter seemed more interested in presenting a brief for Sen. Obama than in analyzing the dynamics of the presidential race.


Obama and the Tree of the Knowledge of Evil

by Macranger

According to Obama's supporters, his words, which seem to float on air, mean something, except of course when one figures out what kind of BS he shoveling and calls him on it - then WE don't get it. Take for instance this tripe from Martin Peretz at the New Republic in a article he titles, "Standing By His Man", Why Obama was right in not repudiating his paster. Here is the key quote:
"The fact is that many of us were astonished by the rhythm of the English language as it is practiced in Wright's church. Forget for the moment the content. Take a look at a service in what is now Otis Moss's church. This is a Christianity that seems to outsiders to have as much to do with break dancing as it does with the New Testament, and the culture of this one church is very much like the culture of thousands all over America.

You may puzzle as to how Barack Obama, of the quiet demeanor and the Holmesian logic, can relate to this pattern of religiosity. But, if I may jog your oversensitized memory, there was more of Chicago's Trinity United Church in Martin Luther King's perorations than there was Reinhold Niebuhr. The typical black church service is not a Unitarian prayer meeting or Catholic devotions. It is something "other" that many of us have not experienced and do not know. It is not ours but theirs. And what's wrong with that?"

What absolute nonsense. So "black", so-called "Christian Churches" get a pass on racism because it's more "culturally" acceptable, so we should just cool our "over-sensitized" memories?

As a evangelical Christian who has worshipped in black, white, hispanic and even with converted Jews, I can tell you that this is bathwater. In Christ there is no black or white, slave or free, Jew or Gentile, but all are one in Him. The way we know one another in the faith is by the fruit they produce. Our Savior said, "You shall know them by their fruit". (Mat. 7:20)

No matter how it's spun Jeremiah Wright's fruit is rancid and it is fit for nothing but the dunghill and to be repudiated and condemned outright. The fact is that Barak Obama - who spent 20 years under Wright's teachings - by not competely disassociating himself from the evil of Wright's fruit consequently makes him a partner in his doctrine.

Jesus also said, "A bad tree cannot produce good fruit, nor a good tree produce good fruit". (Mat. 7:17-18) Wright is a by the measure and quality of his fruit a bad tree, and Obama tasted quite often of this fruit and from all intents - until it was exposed - was content with it's flavor. Here's a little theology for Mr. Peretz. The delusion of evil is that it rationalizes itself as good.



Friday, March 28, 2008

Obama squirming

(Chickens coming home to roost above -- via Doug Ross)

Regardless of the confident assurances from the supporters of Barack Obama that the controversy over Reverend Jeremiah Wright is nothing to worry about, the candidate himself today signaled that he is very worried, indeed. He has thrown Wright under the wheels of his campaign bus, hoping to gain a bit of traction. Obama today called Wright's remarks "stupid."
Obama gave a sweeping speech on race last week in which he condemned incendiary remarks by the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, but the words of the former pastor at Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago continue to dog the candidate. Reflecting the campaign's concern about the fallout, Obama used a question about religion at a town hall forum as an opportunity to address the issue.

"This is somebody that was preaching three sermons at least a week for 30 years and it got boiled down . into a half-minute sound clip and just played it over and over and over again, partly because it spoke to some of the racial divisions we have in this country," Obama told an audience in this central North Carolina city.

"There are misunderstandings on both sides," the Illinois senator said. "We cannot solve the problems of America if every time somebody somewhere does something stupid, that everybody gets up in arms and forgets about the war in Iraq and we forget about the economy."

Short translation: "If I can't get the media off this and onto my chosen campaign themes, I have a lot of trouble." Wright now joins Obama's grandmother under the bus as the candidate lurches through the crisis. The bad news? The report also restates Wright's anti-America rhetoric. Obama has a real problem.


Obama plans huge Federal intervention in education

When commentators accuse Obama of trafficking only in vapid bromides it means they've not read his campaign materials. The ethereal vagaries of his pep-rally speeches given on past election nights do not convey the full scope of his plans for federal social activism. Those are only spelled out in his written campaign materials. And reading them can be like wading through a room waist-deep in peanut butter. But they do reveal his domestic agenda.

Both Democrat candidates openly advocate a form of socialized medicine. Obama packages his proposal as a new national health plan. On its face, it represents a politically "liberal" proposal. But during the primary campaign in Texas, Obama resisted being called a "liberal." He charged that those applying the label to him were engaging in the tactics of politics-as-usual saying, "Don't let them run that 'okey doke' on you." If he won't accept "liberal," he's unlikely to align with "socialist." And one socialist-like program -- National Health Care -- is not enough evidence to make the charge stick.

That's where his Blueprint "Plan To Give Every American Child A World Class Education" (pp. 20-23), and its linked, 15-page single-spaced document entitled "Barack Obama's Plan For Lifetime Success Through Education" points to another, broad, federal intervention.

Nearly all of the various programs summarized below will involve additional federal dollars poured into the vast and dynamic education industry, the Democratic Party's most powerful interest group. When you see the word "encourage" in the same phrase as "federal" or "policy", grab your pocketbook, because they want to spend your tax money.

Not just school boards, but consultants, testing companies, publishers, schools of education and a vast universe of other service-providers stand ready to reap more billions. Every time you "address" a problem you have to have studies, conferences, boards, consultants, facilitators, meeting planners, and on and on. That's just to get started, before anything is actually decided, much les created. Education is big business. Plenty of well-paying jobs, in and outside the schools. It will surprise no one that Obama is looking for "new and innovative ways to increase teacher pay" You might want to scan through the litany of proposals that comprise much of his education plan, just to gauge the scope of his intentions:
Zero-Five Plan

Early Learning Challenge: Early care and educational programs for pregnant women and children from birth to age five to address gaps in services and enhance quality programs that serve all young children.

Early Head Start: Quadruple funding and improve quality; $250 million dedicated funds to create or expand regional training centers.

Voluntary, Universal Pre-School: Provide funding to accelerate the trend toward voluntary, universal pre-school for all.

Child Care Development Block Grant Program: Increase funding that remained unchanged under the Bush administration.

Child Care Quality: Double resources within the Child Care Development Block Grant (CCDBG) program to develop quality-rating systems for child care that reflect higher standards and supports for teacher training and professional development, improving student/teacher ratios, providing family support in child care settings, and increasing professional development and teacher training.

Evidence-Based Home Visiting Programs: Expand programs to all low-income, first-time mothers, assisting approximately 570,000 first time mothers each year.

Presidential Early Learning Council: Encourage dialogue among programs at federal and state levels, and within the private and nonprofit sectors, to collect and disseminate the most valid and up-to-date research on early learning.

Transform the Teaching Profession

Teacher Service Scholarships: Pays for four years of undergraduate teacher education or two years of post-graduate in return for four years of teaching service.

All Schools Accredited: [What will be the impact on home schoolers and charter schools?]

Teacher Residency Program: Obama will supply 30,000 exceptionally well-prepared recruits to what eduspeak calls high-need schools.

Career Ladder Initiatives: Expanded teacher mentoring programs will pair experienced teachers with new recruits and provide incentives to give teachers paid common planning time so they can collaborate to share best practices. These initiatives will provide federal resources to states and districts to help create mentoring programs. Obama will provide $1 billion in funding to create mentoring programs and reward veteran teachers for becoming mentors.

Reward Teachers: Obama will promote new and innovative ways to increase teacher pay. To be developed with teachers, not imposed on them.

Middle School Intervention Strategies: Provide funding to school districts to invest in interventional strategies in middle schools such as personal academic plans, teaching teams, parent involvement, mentoring, intensive reading and math instruction, and extended learning time.

STEP UP Plan: Addresses achievement gap by supporting summer learning opportunities for disadvantaged children.

Professional Development Schools: Obama will provide $100 million to stimulate teacher education reforms built on school university partnerships.

State Leadership Academies: Obama will provide funding for academies to enable principals to develop the sophisticated skills they need and provide ongoing financial support. Obama's plan will also support research about the effectiveness of various approaches to principal training.

Helping At-Risk Children Succeed in School

Additional Learning Time: Obama will create a $200 million grant program for states and district that want to provide additional learning time for students in need.

The Success in the Middle Act: This legislation, sponsored by Obama, would provide federal support to improve the education of middle grades students in low-performing schools. It requires states to develop a detailed plan to improve student improvement.

Redesigned Schools

Reorganization: Obama will support federal efforts to continue to encourage schools to organize themselves for greater success by developing stronger relationships among adults and students, a more engaging curriculum, more adaptive teaching, and more opportunities for teachers to plan and learn together.

Competitive Grants to Help Students Graduate: Offers grants to existing or proposed public/private partnerships entities that are partnerships or entitles pursuing evidence-based models that work.

Positive Behavior Support: Obama will promote a more effective and just method of addressing behavioral problems in school.

R&D Programs for Improving Science Education: Obama will double our investment in early education and educational R&D by the end of his first term. Part of this funding will go toward improving science education.

Expanding After-school Opportunities

Expanding 21st Century Learning Centers Program: Obama will double funding for this main federal support for after-school programs to serve one million more children each year.

[For more, read the Blueprint and linked documents.]

This is, obviously, not a full-blown plan to federalize the nation's public schools. But it does represent a bold and intrusive step in that direction. Senator Obama sees the state as an instrument to redeem us:
"It is that fundamental belief -- I am my brother's keep, I am my sister's keeper -- that makes this country work."

Those fine words express an ageless, altruistic principle behind countless good works, but they are not among the principles our Founders laid down. Barack Obama's broad social engineering design for America has many facets. But transforming education will play a key role when and if its time comes. And that should concern us.


Obama's Hollow Doctrine

Spencer Ackerman has a long piece in the American Prospect which purports to be a serious exposition of Barack Obama's foreign policy and of his choice of foreign policy advisers. Obama is said to have big, transformative ideas: He "is offering the most sweeping liberal foreign-policy critique we've heard from a serious presidential contender in decades."

I got excited reading this - the kind of expectant feeling one gets upon sitting down to read something that proposes to be new and interesting. Ackerman writes that he "spoke at length with Obama's foreign-policy brain trust" in order to take the measure of the "new global strategy" that President Obama will implement. So what does this new strategy entail? Well, it will be
a doctrine that first ends the politics of fear and then moves beyond a hollow, sloganeering "democracy promotion" agenda in favor of "dignity promotion," to fix the conditions of misery that breed anti-Americanism and prevent liberty, justice, and prosperity from taking root.

So our foreign policy will be guided by "dignity promotion." Ackerman quotes Samantha Power to flesh out the idea:
Dignity is a way to unite a lot of different strands [of foreign-policy thinking]," she says. "If you start with that, it explains why it's not enough to spend $3 billion on refugee camps in Darfur, because the way those people are living is not the way they want to live. It's not a human way to live. It's graceless - an affront to your sense of dignity.

Power continues, arguing that U.S. policy should be "about meeting people where they're at. Their fears of going hungry, or of the thug on the street. That's the swamp that needs draining. If we're to compete with extremism, we have to be able to provide these things that we're not [providing]."

This is ludicrous. Islamist ideology itself is in many ways a type of "dignity promotion," insofar as it is concerned with the recovery of Islam's world-historical grandeur and the obliteration of western power, which is viewed as a source of humiliation and tyranny. Unfortunately for Obama and his brain trust, Islamism inspires a form of political and cultural dignity that runs far deeper than any sentiments created through enlarged American budgets for food distribution.

How does Barack Obama propose to offer Muslims the sense of dignity that they clearly derive from their participation in resistance movements whose most basic ambition is the rejection of the West? Is this really the sweeping foreign policy that Obama offers - an attempt to smother ideological radicalism with western materialism? This isn't transformative policy; it is a banal example of defining a problem away. You can continue reading the piece in search of specifics, but you won't find any. It ends with a cliched flourish:
Why not demand the destruction of al-Qaeda? Why not pursue the enlightened global leadership promised by liberal internationalism? Why not abandon fear? What is it we have to fear, exactly?

"He goes back to Roosevelt," Power says. "Freedom from fear and freedom from want. What if we actually offered that? What if we delivered that in the developing world? That would be a transformative agenda for us."

What does "liberal internationalism" mean in Ackerman's imagination? What does "enlightened global leadership" entail? Does that mean we let Iran get the bomb, or not? Who knows. Now what was Ackerman saying at the beginning of his piece about hollow sloganeering?


Obama's Pastor Slurs Italians in Latest Magazine

Like Asians, Italians are another minority that has prospered in America .... so ...

"(Jesus') enemies had their opinion about Him," Wright wrote in a eulogy of the late scholar Asa Hilliard in the November/December 2007 issue. "The Italians for the most part looked down their garlic noses at the Galileans." Wright continued, "From the circumstances surrounding Jesus' birth (in a barn in a township that was under the Apartheid Roman government that said his daddy had to be in), up to and including the circumstances surrounding Jesus' death on a cross, a Roman cross, public lynching Italian style. ...

"He refused to be defined by others and Dr. Asa Hilliard also refused to be defined by others. The government runs everything from the White House to the schoolhouse, from the Capitol to the Klan, white supremacy is clearly in charge, but Asa, like Jesus, refused to be defined by an oppressive government because Asa got his identity from an Omnipotent God."

Every issue of the magazine published last year included Wright's column, "The Message," in which he covered a range of subjects, including his views on other African-American churches as expressed in his April 2007 commentary "Facing the Rising Sun."

"In a world that is controlled by white supremacy, in a country that is on its way to hell in a hand basket because of lying politicians, in a culture that still thinks 'white is right' and with young people who do not have a clue as to our story, our history, our legacy or our destiny, we still have African-American Christians who are more concerned about 'bling bling' than about freeing our minds," Wright wrote.

In a nationally broadcast speech on March 18, Obama distanced himself from Wright by saying he "condemned, in unequivocal terms, the statements of Reverend Wright that have caused such controversy." But Obama also said, "I could no more disown him than I could disown the black community." According to his federal income tax return for 2006, Obama gave the Trinity United church that year $22,500 in contributions.

The Clinton campaign has not commented on the controversy, but in an interview Tuesday with the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.) said actions speak louder than words. "He would not have been my pastor," Clinton said. "You don't choose your family, but you choose what church you want to attend. "You know, I spoke out against Don Imus (a radio talk show host who was fired for making racially insensitive remarks about black female basketball players at Rutgers University), saying that hate speech was unacceptable in any setting, and I believe that," Clinton said. "I just think you have to speak out against that. You certainly have to do that, if not explicitly, then implicitly by getting up and moving," she added.

Trumpet Newsmagazine started publication in the 1980s in Chicago and distribution expanded in March 2006 to several other cities, with broader circulation through subscriptions. On the magazine's masthead, Wright is named as the magazine's CEO and Wright's daughter, Jeri Wright, is the publisher. Requests for comments from Jeri Wright, the magazine's marketing staff, and the Obama campaign were not answered by press time.

The last Trumpet to be published was the November/December edition, a double issue that featured a remembrance of "Pan-Africanist" Hilliard and a profile of Louis Farrakhan, who was the recipient of the Lifetime Achievement "Dr. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr. Trumpeter" award at the magazine's 25th anniversary gala late last year. Farrakhan has called Judaism a "gutter religion" and said Jews are "bloodsuckers," as reported in The New York Times.

Trumpet Newsmagazine also included myriad articles and regular features geared toward the black community, ranging from health, parenting, music and the arts, to profiles of successful members of the community and tips on everything from dating to spiritual well-being.

Many political observers have said that Obama's speech last week limited the damage of the ongoing Wright controversy, but others say the issue is continuing to hamper his campaign. "I don't think it's going to go away," Ralph Reed, a long-time conservative activist and political strategist who now runs Century Strategies based in Duluth, Ga., told Cybercast News Service. "Because while Obama's speech was thoughtful and eloquent, it didn't address the central issue, and that's why he would have someone as such a close spiritual advisor with such extreme views," Reed added. "Let me be clear," Reed added. "I don't think any candidate should have to answer for the theological views of their pastor, church or denomination. But (Wright's) were not theological views, but political statements." "I think it's more likely to be a serious issue in the general election, more than in the primaries," Reed said.



Thursday, March 27, 2008

Obama the fantasist: What he says cannot be relied upon

The lies and exaggerations noted below are typical of what psychopaths do. Nice of the Clinton campaign to put together the documentation below

Once again, the Obama campaign is getting caught saying one thing while doing another. They are personally attacking Hillary even though Sen. Obama has been found mispeaking and embellishing facts about himself more than ten times in recent months. Senator Obama's campaign is based on words -not a record of deeds - and if those words aren't backed up by facts, there's not much else left.

"Senator Obama has called himself a constitutional professor, claimed credit for passing legislation that never left committee, and apparently inflated his role as a community organizer among other issues. When it comes to his record, just words won't do. Senator Obama will have to use facts as well," Clinton spokesman Phil Singer said.

Sen. Obama consistently and falsely claims that he was a law professor. The Sun-Times reported that, "Several direct-mail pieces issued for Obama's primary [Senate] campaign said he was a law professor at the University of Chicago. He is not. He is a senior lecturer (now on leave) at the school. In academia, there is a vast difference between the two titles. Details matter." In academia, there's a significant difference: professors have tenure while lecturers do not. [Hotline Blog, 4/9/07; Chicago Sun-Times, 8/8/04]

Obama claimed credit for nuclear leak legislation that never passed. "Obama scolded Exelon and federal regulators for inaction and introduced a bill to require all plant owners to notify state and local authorities immediately of even small leaks. He has boasted of it on the campaign trail, telling a crowd in Iowa in December that it was `the only nuclear legislation that I've passed.' `I just did that last year,' he said, to murmurs of approval. A close look at the path his legislation took tells a very different story. While he initially fought to advance his bill, even holding up a presidential nomination to try to force a hearing on it, Mr. Obama eventually rewrote it to reflect changes sought by Senate Republicans, Exelon and nuclear regulators. The new bill removed language mandating prompt reporting and simply offered guidance to regulators, whom it charged with addressing the issue of unreported leaks. Those revisions propelled the bill through a crucial committee. But, contrary to Mr. Obama's comments in Iowa, it ultimately died amid parliamentary wrangling in the full Senate." [New York Times, 2/2/08]

Obama misspoke about his being conceived because of Selma. "Mr. Obama relayed a story of how his Kenyan father and his Kansan mother fell in love because of the tumult of Selma, but he was born in 1961, four years before the confrontation at Selma took place. When asked later, Mr. Obama clarified himself, saying: `I meant the whole civil rights movement.'" [New York Times, 3/5/07]

LA Times: Fellow organizers say Sen. Obama took too much credit for his community organizing efforts. "As the 24-year-old mentor to public housing residents, Obama says he initiated and led efforts that thrust Altgeld's asbestos problem into the headlines, pushing city officials to call hearings and a reluctant housing authority to start a cleanup. But others tell the story much differently. They say Obama did not play the singular role in the asbestos episode that he portrays in the best-selling memoir `Dreams From My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance.' Credit for pushing officials to deal with the cancer-causing substance, according to interviews and news accounts from that period, also goes to a well-known preexisting group at Altgeld Gardens and to a local newspaper called the Chicago Reporter. Obama does not mention either one in his book." [Los Angeles Times, 2/19/07]

Chicago Tribune: Obama's assertion that nobody had indications Rezko was engaging in wrongdoing 'strains credulity.' ".Obama has been too self-exculpatory. His assertion in network TV interviews last week that nobody had indications Rezko was engaging in wrongdoing strains credulity: Tribune stories linked Rezko to questionable fundraising for Gov. Rod Blagojevich in 2004 - more than a year before the adjacent home and property purchases by the Obamas and the Rezkos." [Chicago Tribune editorial, 1/27/08]

Obama was forced to revise his assertion that lobbyists `won't work in my White House.' "White House hopeful Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) was forced to revise a critical stump line of his on Saturday - a flat declaration that lobbyists `won't work in my White House' after it turned out his own written plan says they could, with some restrictions. After being challenged on the accuracy of what he has been saying - in contrast to his written pledge - at a news conference Saturday in Waterloo, Obama immediately softened what had been his hard line in his next stump speech." [Chicago Sun-Times, 12/16/07] `Selective, embellished and out-of-context quotes from newspapers pump up Obama's health plan.' "Obama's ad touting his health care plan quotes phrases from newspaper articles and an editorial, but makes them sound more laudatory and authoritative than they actually are. It attributes to The Washington Post a line saying Obama's plan would save families about $2,500. But the Post was citing the estimate of the Obama campaign and didn't analyze the purported savings independently. It claims that "experts" say Obama's plan is "the best." "Experts" turn out to be editorial writers at the Iowa City Press-Citizen - who, for all their talents, aren't actual experts in the field. It quotes yet another newspaper saying Obama's plan "guarantees coverage for all Americans," neglecting to mention that, as the article makes clear, it's only Clinton's and Edwards' plans that would require coverage for everyone, while Obama's would allow individuals to buy in if they wanted to." [, 1/3/08]

Sen. Obama said `I passed a law that put Illinois on a path to universal coverage,' but Obama health care legislation merely set up a task force. "As a state senator, I brought Republicans and Democrats together to pass legislation insuring 20,000 more children. And 65,000 more adults received health care.And I passed a law that put Illinois on a path to universal coverage." The State Journal-Register reported in 2004 that "The [Illinois State] Senate squeaked out a controversial bill along party lines Wednesday to create a task force to study health-care reform in Illinois. [.] In its original form, the bill required the state to offer universal health care by 2007. That put a `cloud' over the legislation, said Sen. Dale Righter, R-Mattoon. Under the latest version, the 29-member task force would hold at least five public hearings next year." [Obama Health Care speech, 5/29/07; State Journal-Register, 5/20/04]

ABC News: `Obama.seemed to exaggerate the legislative progress he made' on ethics reform. "ABC News' Teddy Davis Reports: During Monday's Democratic presidential debate, Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., seemed to exaggerate the legislative progress he has made on disclosure of "bundlers," those individuals who aggregate their influence with the candidate they support by collecting $2,300 checks from a wide network of wealthy friends and associates. When former Alaska Sen. Mike Gravel alleged that Obama had 134 bundlers, Obama responded by telling Gravel that the reason he knows how many bundlers he has raising money for him is "because I helped push through a law this past session to disclose that." Earlier this year, Obama sponsored an amendment [sic] in the Senate requiring lobbyists to disclose the candidates for whom they bundle. Obama's amendment would not, however, require candidates to release the names of their bundlers. What's more, although Obama's amendment was agreed to in the Senate by unanimous consent, the measure never became law as Obama seemed to suggest. Gravel and the rest of the public know how many bundlers Obama has not because of a `law' that the Illinois Democrat has `pushed through' but because Obama voluntarily discloses that information." [ABC News, 7/23/07]

Obama drastically overstated Kansas tornado deaths during campaign appearance. "When Sen. Barack Obama exaggerated the death toll of the tornado in Greensburg, Kan, during his visit to Richmond yesterday, The Associated Press headline rapidly evolved from `Obama visits former Confederate capital for fundraiser' to `Obama rips Bush on Iraq war at Richmond fundraiser' to `Weary Obama criticizes Bush on Iraq, drastically overstates Kansas tornado death toll' to `Obama drastically overstates Kansas tornado deaths during campaign appearance.' Drudge made it a banner, ensuring no reporter would miss it. [, 5/9/07]


Obama the Messiah

He presents as a fairly nice-looking guy with a slightly dorky quality (I think it's the Bing Crosby ears); who is a smooth, albeit soporific, speaker; who boasts an Ivy League background sullied by the suspicion that he benefited as much from affirmative action as from his own virtues; and who demonstrates a sound grasp of shady Chicago style politics, including, during a remarkably short and generally undistinguished career, some pretty vicious and opportunistic conduct. I am talking, of course, about Barack Obama, a man who has shot from relative obscurity to the forefront of American politics.

To those who worship at his shrine, though, there is nothing ordinary about him. To them, he is the embodiment of all virtues. If you are doodling around with Google and type in the phrase "Obama articulate," you'll get about 277,000 results. It's even more fun to type in "Obama handsome." Then you get about 330,000 results.

That's just word play, though. The real fawning comes in the way people describe their emotional reactions to this former unknown from Illinois. Take the example of Chris Matthews, an MSNBC talking head whom one might naively credit with a little bit of professional objectivity. After hearing one of Obama's speeches, Matthews giddily said "My, I felt this thrill going up my leg. I mean, I don't have that too often." One is afraid to ask what other experiences have occasioned Matthews' exciting little leg vibration.

And then there's the fainting: At speech after speech, it seems, ladies swoon merely from being in his presence. There hasn't been this orgy of public fainting since Frank Sinatra or, perhaps, the Beatles. The fact that this whole thing may be the work of one or two determined fans, doesn't seem to affect some people's belief that it is right and appropriate that women are literally knocked flat on their butts by his aura.

One might dismiss all of this as the ravings of a celebrity culture, trained to become hysterical in the presence of fame, were it not for the vaguely religious note that keeps appearing when political commentators start writing about him. Andrew Sullivan, a devout Obama supporter, after admitting that Obama has little going for him in terms of such practical matters as experience or knowledge, nevertheless describes the meaning of his candidacy in shamanistic tones.

Sullivan notes that timing is everything, with Obama coming along at a time when people are sick and tired of the old Baby Boomer politics and weary of the culture wars. It is in this context, says Sullivan, that "Obama's candidacy in this sense is a potentially transformational one." In other words, despite his admittedly tired old Leftist politics, Obama, just by being himself, will miraculously bind us all together.

Sullivan is not alone. Last week, when Bill Richardson ditched his former pal Hillary to endorse Obama, he used almost precisely the same idea to describe Obama's candidacy. Richardson stepped to the podium and boldly announced that Obama is: "the kind of once-in-a-lifetime leader that can bring our nation together and restore America's moral leadership in the world."

Richardson's stated reason for believing Obama holds this power lies, not in what Obama has done (which is pretty much nothing), but in the fact, says Richardson, that he is a "new generation" who "touched" Richardson with his speech on race. (More on that speech later.) I assume that, for the average Obama groupie, those two concepts sound like good reasons to elect a political neophyte as President during a time of war and economic uncertainty. It's the "Wow!" factor.

This kind of soft, worshipful rhetoric is typical for those endorsing Obama. Deprived of a candidate who has actual done anything or even stood for anything, they fall back on emotion-laden platitudes that place Obama on a level above that of ordinary mortals. Already a year ago David Ehrenstein was assuring all of us that Obama can be seen as the "magic negro," capable of functioning as a benign black figure who will make whites feel good about themselves.

Given how rich white liberals have flocked to Obama's banner, it's clear that Ehrenstein was on to something there. It's too bad that Obama's benignity was shot to pieces with the revelation that his "spiritual mentor," long-term pastor and political advisor, Jeremiah Wright, was a racist crackpot, whom Obama revered, ignored or tolerated, depending on which version of the truth Obama feels like spreading around on any given day.

More here

The Audacity of Rhetoric

By Thomas Sowell

It is painful to watch defenders of Barack Obama tying themselves into knots trying to evade the obvious. Some are saying that Senator Obama cannot be held responsible for what his pastor, Jeremiah Wright, said. In their version of events, Barack Obama just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time -- and a bunch of mean-spirited people are trying to make something out of it. It makes a good story, but it won't stand up under scrutiny.

Barack Obama's own account of his life shows that he consciously sought out people on the far left fringe. In college, "I chose my friends carefully," he said in his first book, "Dreams From My Father." These friends included "Marxist professors and structural feminists and punk rock performance poets" -- in Obama's own words -- as well as the "more politically active black students." He later visited a former member of the terrorist Weatherman underground, who endorsed him when he ran for state senator. Obama didn't just happen to encounter Jeremiah Wright, who just happened to say some way out things. Jeremiah Wright is in the same mold as the kinds of people Barack Obama began seeking out in college -- members of the left, anti-American counter-culture.

In Shelby Steele's brilliantly insightful book about Barack Obama -- "A Bound Man" -- it is painfully clear that Obama was one of those people seeking a racial identity that he had never really experienced in growing up in a white world. He was trying to become a convert to blackness, as it were -- and, like many converts, he went overboard. Nor has Obama changed in recent years. His voting record in the U.S. Senate is the furthest left of any Senator. There is a remarkable consistency in what Barack Obama has done over the years, despite inconsistencies in what he says.

The irony is that Obama's sudden rise politically to the level of being the leading contender for his party's presidential nomination has required him to project an entirely different persona, that of a post-racial leader who can heal divisiveness and bring us all together. The ease with which he has accomplished this chameleon-like change, and entranced both white and black Democrats, is a tribute to the man's talent and a warning about his reliability.

There is no evidence that Obama ever sought to educate himself on the views of people on the other end of the political spectrum, much less reach out to them. He reached out from the left to the far left. That's bringing us all together? Is "divisiveness" defined as disagreeing with the agenda of the left? Who on the left was ever called divisive by Obama before that became politically necessary in order to respond to revelations about Jeremiah Wright?

One sign of Obama's verbal virtuosity was his equating a passing comment by his grandmother -- "a typical white person," he says -- with an organized campaign of public vilification of America in general and white America in particular, by Jeremiah Wright. Since all things are the same, except for the differences, and different except for the similarities, it is always possible to make things look similar verbally, however different they are in the real world.

Among the many desperate gambits by defenders of Senator Obama and Jeremiah Wright is to say that Wright's words have a "resonance" in the black community. There was a time when the Ku Klux Klan's words had a resonance among whites, not only in the South but in other states. Some people joined the KKK in order to advance their political careers. Did that make it OK? Is it all just a matter of whose ox is gored?

While many whites may be annoyed by Jeremiah Wright's words, a year from now most of them will probably have forgotten about him. But many blacks who absorb his toxic message can still be paying for it, big-time, for decades to come. Why should young blacks be expected to work to meet educational standards, or even behavioral standards, if they believe the message that all their problems are caused by whites, that the deck is stacked against them? That is ultimately a message of hopelessness, however much audacity it may have.


Hillary supporter rightly compares Pastor Wrong to David Duke

The Wright Stuff is coming fast and furious from Hillary and her supporters. First Hillary criticized Obama today for not sufficiently distancing himself from the controversial pastor.

I've now learned that a member of Hillary's finance committee and a longtime ally of the Clintons has made some very explicit statements about Barack Obama's ties to his controversial minister, Jeremiah Wright, saying that it's "legitimate" to raise questions about those ties, comparing Wright to David Duke, and claiming that Obama has "used race where it suited him."

The finance committee member, Niall O'Dowd, made the comments on Saturday in an unnoticed interview with RTE Radio in Ireland. The Wright issue has been raised by Hillary surrogates Lanny Davis and Joe Wilson, making O'Dowd the third Hillaryite (or fourth, if you include Hillary herself) to hit Obama over Wright.

The interview is worth a listen, because it's another example of supporters of the candidates (see Power, Samantha) getting themselves in potential trouble by saying things abroad in settings where more candor is possible, and indeed expected, than here in America...

The comments from O'Dowd -- who's long been close to both Clintons, having served as a key adviser on Irish affairs to Bill Clinton and hosting a big fundraiser for Hillary last year -- go farther on Wright than Hillary and her supporters have thus far.

O'Dowd said that the Wright comments raised "a legitimate question" and observed that "it's interesting that Barack Obama sat in the pews while all this was going on, and never once in any of his books or anything else" did he denounce Wright, adding: "He worshipped this man."

O'Dowd also compared Wright to Duke and inadvertently said that the Hillary campaign is actively making an issue of the Wright controversy, something the campaign (Hillary's comments today notwithstanding) has been careful to avoid doing. O'Dowd said:

"I think the issue that the Clinton campaign has seized on is that Barack Obama, you know, never once raised his voice to his pastor and said, `I think your language is quite extreme here, and I think you language is probably wrong.' Because let's turn this around. If this was David Duke and he was preaching on behalf of, and Hillary Clinton was in the pew, there would be outrage about this. And there can't be this double standard. Barack Obama has used race where it suited him, but when it doesn't suit him he backs away from it."


Obama's general criticizes the "New York money people" too

Where do Democrats get these antisemitic generals? I guess that if you have Leftist sympathies, antisemitism just comes with the territory these days. Gen. Wesley Clark is of the same ilk as the guy below. For any non-American readers: New York and Florida have substantial Jewish populations and General Clark's phrase "New York money people" means rich Jews

In the wake of comments by Obama adviser Gen. Tony McPeak the other day, Robert Goldberg pulled some quotes out of the McPeak memory hole in a piece for the American Spectator:
In a 2003 interview with the Oregonian, McPeak complained of that the "lack of playbook for getting Israelis and Palestinians together at...something other than a peace process....We need to get it fixed and only we have the authority with both sides to move them towards that. Everybody knows that." The interviewer asked McPeak: "So where's the problem? State? White House?" McPeak replied: "New York City. Miami. We have a large vote -- vote, here in favor of Israel. And no politician wants to run against it."

McPeak also questions whether some aren't more concerned with "the security of Israel as opposed to a purely American self-interest." It's been a while since a presidential adviser flat-out questioned the loyalty of American Jews, and yet Obama seems to surround himself with people who have crackpot views of "the Israel Lobby."

Obama's got a pastor who draws a straight line between Zionism and racism--and he would no more disown him than he would his own grandmother. His pastor preaches that Israel is a "dirty word" and Obama denies that he attends a "crackpot church." And now he's got a military adviser who thinks America's Middle East policies are controlled by New York City and Miami voters (read Jews) with divided loyalties.

A McCainiac writes us in response to the Goldberg piece: "I guess if it weren't for those pesky Jews in New York and Miami, those radical neo-cons and crazy Rapturist Christains, we could get on with a McPeak (Obama?) Middle East policy that promotes American interests by undermining Israel. Is this Obama's view or is this another adviser whose views are different from those of the candidate?" It's a fair question.