Friday, May 30, 2008

Was the spin a lie too?

Obama's Russian uncle who liberated Auschwitz is now an American great uncle who liberated Ohrdruf. But that uncle seems not to have existed either

Okay, so we have supposedly learned that it was Obama's Great Uncle that liberated a sub-section of Buchenwald, not an uncle at Auschwitz. But if sources are correct and unless there's some arcane military history in his favor, Obama still has a problem. His only Great Uncle is Charles W. Payne. It at least appears that no one by that name from Kansas served in the Army during WWII. Charles W. Payne of Kansas, with a similar birth era, served in the Navy during WWII.

What Obama's campaign released via first link above states he served in the Infantry. I assume it's possible the records are wrong, or he changed branches. But I'm unaware of that as a standard practice. Perhaps it happened during WWII for manpower reasons? Otherwise, Obama's Great Uncle would seem to have done most of his marching and liberating while at sea.

Update:

As of now, there's been much speculation and linkage as regards Obama's Great Uncle. Nothing I have seen confirms his middle initial as "T," as opposed to "W." And a CT Payne someone sent info on is deceased. That would seem to disqualify him. Also, S&L has exchanged correspondence with a site claiming to support Obama's position. The emails make the site seem dubious, at best. If I see something substantive that changes the equation, like Obama giving up a full name, etc - I'll update. At least for now, Obama's claim is in doubt. But then this is a guy who claimed his Grandfather enlisted the day after Pearl Harbor, when he actually enlisted months later.

Evidently the Senator doesn't only speak well ... he speaks "fast," as they say. And I believe he also included those wrong facts in his book. Given the media passing on all of his gaffes, if not downright lies, he is increasingly looking like the Affirmative Action candidate. And I don't believe the majority of Americans favor that type of system for electing a president.

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How Smart is Obama?

IQ is no substitute for knowledge and simple Leftist talking points are all he seems to know.

Early last evening, I was speaking with a friend and he jokingly asked if Obama had made any gaffes during the day. "Well," I responded, "only if you consider his claim that his uncle was one of the first soldiers in to liberate Auschwitz a gaffe." My friend laughed, knowing that the Red Army had liberated Auschwitz and figuring that it was highly unlikely that Obama had an uncle who was a foot soldier for Stalin.

Some people think that Obama was caught red-handed in a lie with the statement about his uncle. That's ridiculous. He did have a great-uncle who served in Europe during WWII and was one of Patton's soldiers who liberated the Ohrdurf camp at Buchenwald. The mangling of facts here isn't a lie, just another misstatement and another surprising sign of Obama's historical ignorance.

The facts that Auschwitz was in Eastern Europe and that Eastern Europe was the Soviets' theatre aren't exactly obscure historical data-points. One would expect the typical "Jeopardy!" contestant to know as much, and one would certainly expect a presidential candidate who is basing his campaign in no small measure on his vaunted (and purportedly un-Bushian) intelligence to know it, too. And yet such things keep happening.

In relaying tales of Obama's stumblebum ways, I often concede something to the effect that "he's a bright guy." I've received a bunch of letters asking how I can say this, since really bright people can usually place Auschwitz in Poland and know which country defeated the Germans there. By saying Obama's a bright guy, I'm referring to the cognitive ability he demonstrated earlier in his life. You don't graduate Harvard Law School magna cum laude if you lack an ample supply of intellectual firepower.

But the time has come to be more precise with our terms. Yes, Obama undeniably has a high level of cognitive ability. But it's becoming increasingly apparent that he either has read few books or retained very little from the books he read. Either that or he's spent his time reading books that don't help him understand history and won't help him carry out his tasks as president.

Worse still, Obama seems to have a vague sort of arrogance that prohibits him from acknowledging what he doesn't know. If I were going to shoot my mouth off on WWII or the Cuban Missile Crisis with the world watching, I'd make sure I had my facts straight before I did so. For some strange reason, Obama seems allergic to having his staff perform even the most basic fact-checking.

And there's also what appears to be a lack of intellectual curiosity. Abe Greenwald of Commentary's blog calls our attention to this nugget from an enjoyable New York Times profile of Obama "body man" Reggie Love:
Along the way, some unofficial rules have emerged between the candidate and his aide. From Mr. Obama: "One cardinal rule of the road is, we don't watch CNN, the news or MSNBC. We don't watch any talking heads or any politics. We watch `SportsCenter' and argue about that."

So how, pray tell, is Obama staying informed about what's going on in the world? When he's pressing the flesh at crummy rural diners and speaking before 75,000 adoring acolytes, he's talking, not listening. Don't you think a guy who might be president would be obsessed with world events? Don't you think that obsession would have driven him into the race? And don't you think as a potential wartime leader he might be using his downtime to study, just in case he wins? For instance, Barack Obama obviously knows nothing of war, but he could help himself if he opted to read some Thucydides rather than watch SportsCenter.

Obama has made a habit of coming across like a man who doesn't know what he's talking about. That's bothersome enough, but what's more worrisome still is how comfortable he is with not knowing what he's talking about, and how convinced he seems that his rhetorical flourishes will obscure his ignorance. That strategy may work on the campaign trail, but it certainly won't help him govern.

You add it all up, and you got a guy who despite his high cognitive abilities doesn't know what one needs to know to be president. Jimmy Carter was also "a bright guy," but as a president and a free-lancing ex-president, his naivete and arrogance made him a functional dunce. If Obama really thinks the lesson to be gleaned from the Cuban Missile Crisis is that a president should always sit down with our enemies, then perhaps the same could be said of him.

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How bipartisan is Obama?

With Senator Barack Obama, D-IL, all but clinching the Democratic nomination, he begins the pivot to the center for the general election to better position himself to independents. While the senator's rhetoric certainly speaks of post-partisan unity, his record lacks the supporting substance. This is well demonstrated by a recent appearance on Fox News. When Chris Wallace challenged him to name an example of reaching across party lines, Obama could only name his February 2005 vote for the Class Action Fairness Act (CAFA), which passed the Senate 72-26. But if this is his example of bipartisan support, it leaves much to be desired.

CAFA came about because trial lawyers had been abusing the class action mechanism by filing dozens of class actions in different states seeking to certify a nationwide class. In a game of "heads I win, tails don't count," if the trial lawyers lost in one jurisdiction, they would merely proceed with an identical lawsuit in a more favorable jurisdiction until they found a judge receptive enough to sign on to the most meritless of lawsuits.

As a consequence, the notoriously plaintiff-friendly Madison County, Illinois, ended up with hundreds of lawsuits seeking to dictate consumer law nationwide, and defendants were forced into countless extortionate settlements. CAFA simply undid this upside-down federalism by establishing that lawsuits alleging a nationwide class belonged in a single federal court rather than the most favorable magnet jurisdiction in state court that trial lawyers could find.

This is entirely sensible good-government legislation, which is why the bill passed by such a large margin. But the bill passed in the form it did in spite of Obama's efforts, not because of them. While CAFA was under consideration, Senators Ted Kennedy, D-MA, Mark Pryor, D-AR and Dianne Feinstein, D-CA, proposed amendments that would have eviscerated CAFA; Senator Feinstein's proposed amendment likely ran afoul of constitutional due process requirements set forth by the Supreme Court in a 7-1 decision in 1985. Each amendment failed by large bipartisan majorities, supported only by Democrats; each time, Obama voted with the trial lawyer lobby.

These votes were not outliers. Obama also voted to filibuster medical malpractice reform and to kill an asbestos reform bill in 2006, each time providing a critical vote for a minority of senators that blocked tort reforms from achieving a three-fifths supermajority. That is hardly reaching across the aisle, much less showing a willingness to flout a Democratic special interest.

I do not mean to be unfair to Obama. The other Democratic presidential candidates in the Senate, Hillary Clinton, D-NY, and Joe Biden, D-DE, voted against CAFA. Her husband vetoed two bipartisan tort reforms when he was in the Oval Office, one of which the Congress overrode. And Obama did take some heat on the Internet from those who reflexively support the litigation lobby when he made himself the 72nd vote in favor of CAFA, as well as in December when he sneered at presidential candidate John Edwards's record as a multi-millionaire trial lawyer.

But if Obama wishes to demonstrate himself a bipartisan leader willing to cross the trial lawyer lobby for the good of the nation as a whole, he has plenty of opportunity to show that his 2005 vote wasn't just an empty gesture with nothing on the line. A 2007 report issued by Sen. Charles Schumer, D-NY, along with New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, noted that America's competitiveness in the financial markets is endangered by the litigation environment, and calls for securities litigation reform, but the Senate has taken no action on it.

As his party's likely standard-bearer, Obama could help break the partisan logjam that is blocking needed reform. Obama could also join the Republicans calling for investigation into the practices of securities class action lawyers in ripping off investors through kickbacks, investigations that are blocked by the Democratic leadership.

Mrs. Clinton accused Obama of being all words and no action. By affirmatively supporting tort reform, Obama could simultaneously demonstrate that Mrs. Clinton was wrong, prove his bipartisan bona fides-and best of all, do something that will actually help the American economy.

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You can't appease everybody

By Ann Coulter

After decades of comparing Nixon to Hitler, Reagan to Hitler and Bush to Hitler, liberals have finally decided it is wrong to make comparisons to Hitler. But the only leader to whom they have applied their newfound rule of thumb is: Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

While Ahmadinejad has not done anything as starkly evil as cut the capital gains tax, he does deny the Holocaust, call for the destruction of Israel, deny the existence of gays in Iran and refuses to abandon his nuclear program despite protests from the United Nations. That's the only world leader we're not allowed to compare to Hitler.

President Bush's speech at the Knesset two weeks ago was somewhat more nuanced than liberals' Hitler arguments. He did not simply jump up and down chanting: "Ahmadinejad is Hitler!" Instead, Bush condemned a policy of appeasement toward madmen, citing Neville Chamberlain's ill-fated talks with Adolf Hitler. Suspiciously, Bush's speech was interpreted as a direct hit on B. Hussein Obama's foreign policy - and that's according to Obama's supporters.

So to defend Obama, who - according to his supporters - favors appeasing madmen, liberals expanded the rule against ad Hitlerum arguments to cover any mention of the events leading to World War II. A ban on "You're like Hitler" arguments has become liberals' latest excuse to ignore history.

Unless, of course, it is liberals using historical examples to support Obama's admitted policy of appeasing dangerous lunatics. It's a strange one-sided argument when they can cite Nixon going to China and Reagan meeting with Gorbachev, but we can't cite Chamberlain meeting with Hitler.

There are reasons to meet with a tyrant, but none apply to Ahmadinejad. We're not looking for an imperfect ally against some other dictatorship, as Nixon was with China. And we aren't in a Mexican standoff with a nuclear power, as Reagan was with the USSR. At least not yet.

Mutually Assured Destruction was bad enough with the Evil Empire, but something you definitely want to avoid with lunatics who are willing to commit suicide in order to destroy the enemies of Islam. As with the H-word, our sole objective with Ahmadinejad is to prevent him from becoming a military power.

What possible reason is there to meet with Ahmadinejad? To win a $20 bar bet as to whether or not the man actually owns a necktie? We know his position and he knows ours. He wants nuclear arms, American troops out of the Middle East and the destruction of Israel. We don't want that. (This is assuming Mike Gravel doesn't pull off a major upset this November.) We don't need him as an ally against some other more dangerous dictator because ... well, there aren't any.

Does Obama imagine he will make demands of Ahmadinejad? Using what stick as leverage, pray tell? A U.S. boycott of the next Holocaust-denial conference in Tehran? The U.N. has already demanded that Iran give up its nuclear program. Ahmadinejad has ignored the U.N. and that's the end of it.

We always have the ability to "talk" to Ahmadinejad if we have something to say. Bush has a telephone. If Iranian crop dusters were headed toward one of our nuclear power plants, I am quite certain that Bush would be able to reach Ahmadinejad to tell him that Iran will be flattened unless the planes retreat. If his cell phone died, Bush could just post a quick warning on the Huffington Post.

Liberals view talk as an end in itself. They never think through how these talks will proceed, which is why Chamberlain ended up giving away Czechoslovakia. He didn't leave for Munich planning to do that. It is simply the inevitable result of talking with madmen without a clear and obtainable goal. Without a stick, there's only a carrot.

The only explanation for liberals' hysterical zealotry in favor of Obama's proposed open-ended talks with Ahmadinejad is that they seriously imagine crazy foreign dictators will be as charmed by Obama as cable TV hosts whose legs tingle when they listen to Obama (a condition that used to be known as "sciatica"). Because, really, who better to face down a Holocaust denier with a messianic complex than the guy who is afraid of a debate moderated by Brit Hume?

There is no possible result of such a meeting apart from appeasement and humiliation of the U.S. If we are prepared to talk, then we're looking for a deal. What kind of deal do you make with a madman until he is ready to surrender? Will President Obama listen respectfully as Ahmadinejad says he plans to build nuclear weapons? Will he say he'll get back to Ahmadinejad on removing all U.S. troops from the region? Will he nod his head as Ahmadinejad demands the removal of the Jewish population from the Middle East? Obama says he's prepared to have an open-ended chat with Ahmadinejad, so I guess everything is on the table.

Perhaps in the spirit of compromise, Obama could agree to let Iran push only half of Israel into the sea. That would certainly constitute "change"! Obama could give one of those upbeat speeches of his, saying: As a result of my recent talks with President Ahmadinejad, some see the state of Israel as being half empty. I prefer to see it as half full. And then Obama can return and tell Americans he could no more repudiate Ahmadinejad than he could repudiate his own white grandmother. It will make Chris Matthews' leg tingle.

There is a third reason to talk to dictators, in addition to seeking an ally or as part of a policy of Mutually Assured Destruction. Gen. Douglas MacArthur talked with Japanese imperial forces on Sept. 2, 1945. There was a long ceremony aboard the USS Missouri with full press coverage and a lot of talk. It was a regular international confab! It also took place after we had dropped two nukes on Japan and MacArthur was officially accepting Japan's surrender. If Obama plans to drop nukes on Ahmadinejad prior to their little chat-fest, I'm all for it. But I don't think that's what liberals have in mind.

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Barack Obama's Anti-Military Problem

Does disdain for the military matter anymore? If Barack Obama's candidacy is any indication, it does not. Sen. Obama gave a graduation speech at Wesleyan University on Sunday, May 25. In it, he praised students for their public service. He also asked them to forgo the business world in favor of careers in public service.

"I ask you to seek these opportunities when you leave here, because the future of this country -- your future -- depends on it. At a time when our security and moral standing depend on winning hearts and minds in the forgotten corners of this world, we need more of you to serve abroad. As president, I intend to grow the Foreign Service, double the Peace Corps over the next few years, and engage the young people of other nations in similar programs, so that we work side by side to take on the common challenges that confront all humanity."

Notice anything missing in that list of public service jobs Obama will push? How about the men and women who protect us abroad? Obama's brash omission of servicemen and women shouldn't be a surprise. After all, this is the man who stated in February 2007, "We ended up launching a war (in Iraq) that should have never been authorized and should have never been waged, and to which we have now spent $400 billion and has seen over 3,000 lives of the bravest young Americans wasted."

This is the man who employed Demond Mullins, a radical ex-Marine who has slandered the troops as adulterers and murderous occupiers. This is the man who, in August 2007, remarked, "We've got to get the job done [in Afghanistan] and that requires us to have enough troops so that we're not just air-raiding villages and killing civilians, which is causing enormous pressure over there."

Barack Obama is the man who explained terrorism as a function of poverty in his 1995 memoir, "Dreams from My Father" -- then excoriated "the powerful" for their "dull complacency and ... steady, unthinking application of force, of ... more sophisticated military hardware." He is the man who actually ran a campaign ad bragging, "I will cut tens of billions of dollars in wasteful spending. I will cut investments in unproven missile defense systems. I will not weaponize space. I will slow our development of future combat systems. I will institute an independent Defense Priorities Board to ensure that the Quadrennial Defense Review is not used to justify unnecessary defense spending ... I will set a goal for a world without nuclear weapons. To seek that goal: I will not develop nuclear weapons."

Barack Obama is running for commander in chief of our armed forces. Yet these are not the comments of a prospective commander in chief -- they are the comments of a man who believes that the American military is a force for darkness in the world. They are the comments of a man who believes that deterrence does not matter, that our enemies are kindhearted folks looking to compromise, that military spending is provocative and disarmament proactive. They are the comments of a pacifist.

Perhaps disdain for the military no longer matters. Military heroism no longer wins elections (see George H.W. Bush, Bob Dole), and anti-war radicalism no longer spells dramatic defeat (see John Kerry). Perhaps as the number of military men and women declines, more and more candidates will emerge who openly question the validity of the armed services as a legitimate arm in defense of American interests.

Nonetheless, Barack Obama should be ashamed of himself. The men and women he may one day command are the same men and women who protect him each and every day. And no matter how many flag pins he puts on his lapels, no matter how many stars and stripes he plasters behind himself at speeches, his disgust for the military is an open blemish on his patriotic pretenses.

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How Obama Got 'Ahead of the Curve' on Same-Sex Marriage

When presidential candidate Barack Obama spoke last month with Advocate.com -- which describes itself as an "LGBT" (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) news site -- he took a different approach to same-sex marriage than he took in 2004, when he was running for the U.S. Senate. "I'm a Christian," Obama said then, "and so although I try not to have my religious beliefs dominate or determine my political views on this issue, I do believe that tradition and my religious beliefs say that marriage is something sanctified between a man and a woman." This statement, reported at the time by The Associated Press, came in a Sept. 24, 2004, interview with WBBM-AM, a Chicago radio station.

In his interview with Advocate.com, published on April 10, Obama did not suggest Christian tradition was at the root of his own views on same-sex marriage, but he did suggest it was a root cause of "homophobia" -- as he criticized traditionalist African American Christian clergymen. "There's plenty of homophobia to go around," the interviewer said to Obama, "but you have a unique perspective into the African-American community. Is there a ... (ellipses in original)"

"I don't think it's worse than in the white community," Obama responded. "I think that the difference has to do with the fact that the African-American community is more churched, and most African-American churches are still fairly traditional in their interpretations of Scripture. And so from the pulpit or in sermons you still hear homophobic attitudes expressed. And since African-American ministers are often the most prominent figures in the African-American community, those attitudes get magnified or amplified a little bit more than in other communities."

When asked about his favoring "civil unions" but not same-sex "marriages," Obama was quick to point out that he understood why the "LGBT" community wanted not only same-sex unions that were equal in law to marriage, but also the word "marriage," too. "So, I strongly respect the right of same-sex couples to insist that even if we got complete equality in benefits, it still wouldn't be equal because there's a stigma associated with not having the same word, marriage, assigned to it," he said.

Despite his unwillingness to advocate the use of the word "marriage" to describe the legalized same-sex unions he says favors, Obama boasted that he is in the top 1 percent of American politicians in advancing the "LGBT" cause. "And I think that it is absolutely fair to ask me for leadership," he told Advocate.com, "and my argument would be that I'm ahead of the curve on these issues compared to 99 percent of most elected officials around the country on this issue." Just how far ahead of the curve is he?

In The Advocate, he noted that, "I for a very long time have been interested in repeal of DOMA," the Defense of Marriage Act. A position paper titled "On LGBT Rights" published by his campaign says Obama believes "we need to fully repeal the Defense of Marriage Act."

The practical effect of fully repealing DOMA would be to force all the other 48 states to recognize same-sex marriages contracted in Massachusetts and California, where the state supreme courts have now said same-sex marriage is a "right." That is because the main purpose of DOMA is to exempt states from having to recognize same-sex marriages contracted in other states as they would otherwise need to under the "Full Faith and Credit Clause" of the Constitution.

But there is good reason to believe Obama does not want the entire electorate to pay close attention to the predictable consequence of the policy he advocates. When the California Supreme Court issued its same-sex marriage ruling earlier this month, his campaign issued a statement suggesting that he respected the right of states to determine their own marriage laws.

"Barack Obama has always believed that same-sex couples should enjoy equal rights under the law, and he will continue to fight for civil unions as president," the statement said, according to The Associated Press. "He respects the decision of the California Supreme Court and continues to believe that states should make their own decisions when it comes to the issue of marriage."

If this statement is true, Obama needs to reverse his call for repealing DOMA, which he was touting to Advocate.com as recently as last month. If he does not reverse his call for repealing DOMA, his true position is that every state in the union should be forced to recognize same-sex marriages.

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1 comment:

Lex said...

I must admit, a PhD from Oz writing obsessively on Obama does rather intrigue me. I did comment on your recent post at RELIAPUNDIT'S site, but MR. ALL-CAPS does tend to delete me.

Why would you support DOMA? I believe I'm commenting on the wrong post, but still. We have far greater problems it would seem than this, though you do seem rather comprehensive in what you consider the "current problems" category to be! I'm not being antagonistic here, please don't misread that. I just find it interesting that you post so much and so far.

Oh, and if RELIAPUNDIT automatically deletes my comment at The A.B., the link I left on Christianity in Iraq is right here;)

Thanks.