Sunday, July 13, 2008

How Little Income You Need For Obama To Think You're Undertaxed says McCain and his allies are being unfair when they say Obama supports raising taxes on those who make as little as $32,000. They're referring to Obama's vote for a budget resolution that would have raised taxes on those in the 25 percent tax bracket. (It was part of repealing the Bush tax cuts.)

The FactCheck statement contends that the standard deduction and personal exemptions would leave an individual who made $32,000 in a year with significantly less than that in taxable income, taking them out of the the 25 percent bracket. "So to have a taxable income high enough to reach the 25 percent bracket, an individual would need to earn at least $41,500 in total income," probably isn't as helpful as Team Obama would like; $41,500 doesn't really fit many people's definitions of rich. And Doug Holtz-Eakin, senior policy advisor to the McCain campaign, has a point when he responds: concluded, Barack Obama's vote on the FY 2009 resolution "bears no relation to [his] proposed economic plan." That point goes to the heart of the problem with Barack Obama. His words on the campaign trail do not match the actions he has taken. He tells the American people one thing but has a record that is quite different.

The Obama campaign has also sought to downplay the importance of the vote. His chief economic adviser said that this was just "some Senate vote." If the vote truly had no meaning, why didn't he vote against it? It would have been a principled vote that rejected the notion that we should tax individuals earning as little as $32,000 a year.

Really, the 25 percent tax bracket starts this year at $32,550 and goes up to $78,850 (before the standard deductions). A married couple filing jointly, it starts at $65,100 - i.e., a couple where each spouse makes $32,550. Is the problem in this country really that those at this income level are undertaxed?

Obama has never laid out what the tax rates would be for each bracket under his tax plan, instead pledging he would never raise taxes on those making less than $250,000.

Fact check offers an adamant statement from Obama from June 12: "If you are a family making less than $250,000 a year, my plan will not raise your taxes. Period. Not income tax, not payroll tax, not capital gains tax, not any of your taxes. And chances are you will get a tax cut."

He sounds pretty certain. About as certain as his spokesman Bill Burton sounded on October 24, 2007, when he said, "To be clear: Barack will support a filibuster of any bill that includes retroactive immunity for telecommunications companies."


Barack Obama Isn't Making Sense

Maybe Barack Obama's feints to the right will benefit him politically, maybe they'll offend liberals who believed he really was a different kind of politician. Maybe the swing voters Obama is wooing with his less-liberal rhetoric are no longer paying attention by the time he lurches back to the left.

But one thing is clear: Obama isn't as deep a policy thinker as his admirers pretend. Many of his issue positions, evolving and otherwise, scarcely make sense. Take for example his recent pronouncements on official English initiatives. Plenty of voters, including sensible moderate swing voters and culturally conservative Democrats, think bilingual education is an ineffectual boondoggle and that the government should conduct its business in English. Many La Raza-style interest groups and multicultural liberals feel differently. Rather than alienate either constituency, Obama spewed incoherent mush:
You know, I don't understand when people are going around worrying about, "We need to have English- only." They want to pass a law, "We want English-only."

Now, I agree that immigrants should learn English. I agree with that. But understand this. Instead of worrying about whether immigrants can learn English -- they'll learn English -- you need to make sure your child can speak Spanish. You should be thinking about, how can your child become bilingual? We should have every child speaking more than one language.

You know, it's embarrassing when Europeans come over here, they all speak English, they speak French, they speak German. And then we go over to Europe, and all we can say [is], "Merci beaucoup."

Sounds reasonable enough to a soccer mom who wants her child to be competitive in the global economy, right? Except that the "English-only" policies Obama is condemning have nothing to do eliminating foreign-language instruction in public schools. There are no Minutemen patrolling high school hallways and reporting Mrs. Smith's French class. The actual debate has much more to do with whether immigrants and their children will learn English, as Obama purports to favor.

Many bilingual education programs are premised on the idea that a child must become proficient in his native tongue to learn a new language. Critics argue that such programs deny children an opportunity to develop English skills at a young age when doing so is easiest. As John J. Miller put it, "One of the sad results of bilingual education is that it often leaves kids semi-literate in two languages and fluent in none."

Yet at least this exercise in sloppy centrism was superficially plausible. Less so was Obama's attempt to reconcile contradictory statements on abortion policy. He told Relevant, a Christian magazine, that he did not believe "mental distress" was a valid exception to state late-term abortion bans:
I have repeatedly said that I think it's entirely appropriate for states to restrict or even prohibit late-term abortions as long as there is a strict, well-defined exception for the health of the mother. Now, I don't think that "mental distress" qualifies as the health of the mother. I think it has to be a serious physical issue that arises in pregnancy, where there are real, significant problems to the mother carrying that child to term. Otherwise, as long as there is such a medical exception in place, I think we can prohibit late-term abortions.

Except that Doe v. Bolton, the companion case to Roe v. Wade, defines a woman's health as "all factors -- physical, emotional, psychological, familial, and the woman's age -- relevant to the well-being of the patient." The Freedom of Choice Act, which Obama co-sponsors and has promised to sign into law as president, upholds this standard and requires mental-health exceptions to late-term abortion bans. So then Obama backtracked:
My only point is this -- historically I have been a strong believer in a women's right to choose with her doctor, her pastor and her family. And it is...I have consistently been saying that you have to have a health exception on many significant restrictions or bans on abortions including late-term abortions.

In the past there has been some fear on the part of people who, not only people who are anti-abortion, but people who may be in the middle, that that means that if a woman just doesn't feel good then that is an exception. That's never been the case.

I don't think that is how it has been interpreted. My only point is that in an area like partial-birth abortion having a mental, having a health exception can be defined rigorously. It can be defined through physical health, it can be defined by serious clinical mental-health diseases. It is not just a matter of feeling blue. I don't think that's how pro-choice folks have interpreted it. I don't think that's how the courts have interpreted it and I think that is important to emphasize and understand.

Except there is no known "feeling blue" provision in American abortion jurisprudence. Martin Haskell, the inventor of partial-birth abortion, told the American Medical News in 1993 that 80 percent of the later-term abortions he performed were "purely elective."

Obama, a former constitutional law instructor, had similar difficulty expressing a coherent position on the Second Amendment. In response to the Supreme Court's decision to overturn the District of Columbia's handgun ban, Obama said: "I have always believed that the Second Amendment protects the right of individuals to bear arms, but I also identify with the need for crime-ravaged communities to save their children from the violence that plagues our streets through common-sense, effective safety measures. The Supreme Court has now endorsed that view..."

Except that Obama had previously endorsed the constitutionality of the D.C. handgun ban, the very same policy the Supreme Court was finding unconstitutional. This suggests that there is at least some distance between Obama's interpretation of the Second Amendment and the Court's.

In one of his few non-rhetorical differences with the netroots, Obama voted to reauthorize the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act with many provisions civil libertarians oppose. He tried to reassure his supporters by promising to "work with Chris Dodd, Jeff Bingaman and others in an effort to remove" immunity for telecom companies that cooperated with the Bush administration's surveillance program. And he did vote for an amendment that would strip such immunity.

Except that he did so once it became clear the legislation would pass without the amendment. Obama had once vowed to filibuster any FISA legislation that gave immunity to the telecom companies. Instead he voted for such legislation.

Obama may be a political genius, but logically consistent policymaking doesn't seem to be his strong suit. Either that or he just doesn't think the voters are very bright.


Obama Praises Foul-Mouthed Rapper

Fans of Lil' Wayne probably thought it was great when Barack Obama praised the rapper at a campaign event, but just check out some of his lyrics. From the Swampland.

Take the lyrics of Lollipop, the aforementioned song which, if you have not yet heard on the radio, then your children certainly have. As is the habit of most modern Hip Hop, it is a song of sexual conquest, with Lil' Wayne boasting of his ability to attract women and enjoy their company. Not so interesting, you think? Check out this set of lyrical couplets:

I get her on top / She drop it like it's hot

And when I'm at the bottom / She Hillary Rodham

In the song, these lines are meant as a compliment both to the girl in his bed and the former presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton, whose take-charge, ready-from-day-one attitude the artist apparently admires. Of course, the precise context of the compliment is insulting to millions of Americans, but then the Lil' Wayne oeuvre is not exactly sensitive to such considerations. It makes you wonder if Obama has actually ever listened to the rapper or was just trying to portray himself as hip.


Obama's $100,000 garden grant wasted

He vowed to 'work tirelessly' to build an oasis for Englewood. It never happened

As a state senator, Barack Obama gave $100,000 in state money to a campaign volunteer who failed to deliver on a plan to create a botanic garden in one of Chicago's most blighted neighborhoods. Obama -- who was running for Congress when he announced the project in 2000 -- said the green space in Englewood would build ''a sense of neighborhood pride." Instead, what was supposed to be a six-block stretch of trees and paths is now a field of unfulfilled dreams, strewn with weeds, garbage and broken pavement.

Kenny B. Smith, whose nonprofit group got the money, said it was spent legitimately, mostly on underground site preparation. But he admitted Thursday that the garden is a lost cause because other government money never came through. "We gave up," said Smith, who heads the Chicago Better Housing Association. "It was a losing battle."

Smith -- an early Obama supporter who gave $550 to his state and congressional campaigns -- said he gave his paperwork documenting the work to a state agency and no longer has it. A Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity spokeswoman said officials would look into the matter.

Smith blamed the site's current poor condition on construction material dumped there during the state's recent reconstruction of the Dan Ryan Expy. But a reporter walked the site last week with a landscape architect from the Illinois Green Industry Association who found no evidence of the work Smith cited. The only major changes since 2000: A gazebo was added, and some trees were cut down.

Obama, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, said through a spokesman he wasn't responsible for monitoring the work; the staffs of Gov. Blagojevich and former Gov. George Ryan were. "It is clear that Englewood residents have not been able to benefit from a completed community garden," Obama spokesman Ben LaBolt said. "Sen. Obama will . . . do everything he can to ensure that the Englewood community gets the resources it needs to provide its residents with a livable neighborhood."

On Jan. 14, 2000, Obama and Smith announced the Englewood Beautification Plan at Englewood High School. Obama promised to help raise $1.1 million. He was running then to unseat U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush, but lost in the Democratic primary. The beautification project, planned near and under L tracks between 59th Place and 62nd Place, was outside Obama's state Senate district but within the congressional district. "I will work tirelessly in Springfield and in Chicago to raise public and private dollars to fund this worthy endeavor," Obama said then.

In 2001, at Obama's direction, a $100,000 Illinois FIRST grant went to Smith's group. The garden site was part of Rosewood Estates, an affordable-housing development being built by the group, whose unpaid board chairman was Brian Washington, a Sun-Times security guard.

Plans called for more than 50 homes, but only a dozen were built, Smith said. The remaining $1 million for the botanic garden was never raised. Now, Smith said he's trying to get city leaders to let him use the land and other vacant lots to build about 30 new homes in Englewood.


Judicial Watch Files Senate, FEC Complaints against Barack Obama Over Questionable Mortgage Loan

Judicial Watch, the public interest group that investigates and prosecutes government corruption, announced today that it has filed separate complaints with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) and the U.S. Senate Ethics Committee against Senator Barack Obama for allegedly accepting a below-market rate mortgage loan in 2005 not available to the general consumer.

According to the Judicial Watch complaints, the Illinois Senator reportedly received a home loan of $1.32 million at a rate of 5.625 percent, although the average going rate on that day according to two different surveys was between 5.93 and 6 percent. Unlike what was reportedly available for the general consumer, this special below-market "super super jumbo" loan was secured without an origination fee or discount points. (Questions about the mortgage were first raised by The Washington Post.)

"It appears that due to his position as a United States Senator, Barack Obama received improper special treatment from Northern Trust resulting in an illicit 'gift' which has a value of almost $125,000 in interest savings," Judicial Watch wrote in its U.S. Senate ethics complaint. "Judicial Watch therefore respectfully requests a full investigation into whether the special Northern Trust mortgage received by Senator Barack Obama constitutes a gift that is prohibited by Senate ethics rules." In its FEC complaint, Judicial Watch also calls for a full FEC investigation into whether the special mortgage is a disguised and illegal corporate campaign contribution to Senator Obama.

As Judicial Watch notes in both complaints, Northern Trust has supported Barack Obama's political campaigns for elected office since 1990. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, cited by The Washington Post, Northern Trust employees have donated $71,000. The Northern Trust political action committee gave $1,250 to Senator Obama's 2004 campaign for the United States Senate.

Northern Trust Vice President John O'Connell essentially admitted the company provided Obama preferential loan terms because of his position in the U.S. Senate. "A person's occupation and salary are two factors; I would expect those are two things we would take into consideration," O'Connell told The Washington Post [emphasis added]. "This was a business proposition for us."

"Americans ought to be suspicious when a United States Senator such as Barack Obama, obtains a sweetheart mortgage deal," said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. "We have serious concerns that Senator Obama's mortgage may have violated the law and Senate ethics rules."


Larry Sinclair, Obama's bad penny

You might recall Larry Sinclair was the person who claimed to have smoked crack and had gay sex with Obama back in 1999. The allegation surfaced back in January 2008 via an infamous YouTube video. At the time it was blown off as a crank who was just out to smear "The Lightworker", probably put up to it by the Clintons, who are not exactly squeamish about playing dirty. Remember Vince Foster's little walk in the park? Well, that bad penny just won't go away. The story refuses to die, and in fact keeps growing and expanding. According to a sworn affidavit signed by Larry Sinclair, Sinclair contacted Obama's campaign back in September 2007 concerning Obama's statement concerning when he had last used crack cocaine. Sinclair claimed that he felt that it was important that the voters know about Obama's more recent cocaine use. Sinclair wanted Obama to publically admit that he had used cocaine as recently as 1999.

Sinclair claimed that he had made a number of calls that were not returned, then in October 2007, A man identifying himself as Mr. Young called him back and interrogated Sinclair as to who he had told about the encounter and why he had not mentioned the sex angle. Since Sinclair claims to have not mentioned the sex and that Mr Young was the first to broach the subject, this would tend to indicate that Mr Young was well aware of what had happened in that Limo. a couple weeks later, Sinclair claims that Mr Young called back, and through his tone and content of the conversation, he claims it became clear to him that Mr. Young was not in fact a campaign staffer, but was in fact an intimate of Obama.

Further, by this time, Sinclair had moved to Delaware and had not told the Obama Campaign where he had moved to, or how he could be reached, but yet they found him anyway, which indicates that he was the subject of some form of surveillance or investigation, which would seem reasonable given the circumstances. A week or so later he claims to have received a text message from Mr. Young stating that he was intimate with Obama and that he, Obama and Obama's pastor (that would be the infamous Jeremiah Wright) were discussing how to disclose the drug use and that he wanted to ensure that no mention of the incident had been made or would be made to anyone. Again in November another text message to yet a different undisclosed cell number in yet another state (Minnesota this time) that Obama was going to disclose his drug use and that there was no reason for Sinclair to disclose anything to anyone. By December, it was clear that Obama was not going to disclose anything to anyone and that Mr Young was merely stringing him along to milk him for information, so Sinclair decided to go public. Hence the Youtube video.

Mr Young turns out to be one Donald Young, an openly gay Choir director at Trinity United Church, and fourth grade math teacher. On December 23, Mr. Young was murdered in his home, and his killer has not been found. Mr. Young was not the only gay black victim of murder in Chicago, There were two other gay men that were murdered within days of each other. All three died within a 40 day period.

Now, this is starting to sound really fishy. It sounds to me like someone is going around and cleaning up behind Obama. It would appear that Larry Sinclair may have thrown a wrench into the works by making his video and publishing it online. Doing so, at the time seemed amateurish and cheezy, but Sinclair may very well have saved his life by doing so.

Now things really start to get strange. In June, Sinclair was scheduled to appear in the National Press Club and give a press conference concerning the Chicago PD questioning him back in April about his contacts with Donald Young as part of his murder investigation. Apparently Joseph Biden III, Attorney General of Delaware, and son of Joe Biden, Senator from Delaware, had sworn out an arrest warrant for an alleged case of a motel room paid for with counterfeit money orders. Sinclair claims to never having paid for a single day, much less two weeks worth of room rental at a Rodeway Inn with money orders counterfeit or not. Whether he did or not, I have no way of knowing, but the Wilmington De Police had investigated it back in October and determined he had committed no crime.

My takeaway from all this is that Obama is bisexual (which means that he is actually in a transition phase and has not personally accepted being gay, so he convinces himself he is still straight, despite engaging in gay sex.) and has had sexual relations with at least two, and possibly more, men. Someone has been killing these men to eliminate any possibility that Obama could be compromised or blackmailed.

Now, were the deaths ordered by Obama? That is an open question. Obama has been mixed up in Chicago mob politics for some time and is buddies with Rezko. It is entirely possible that the mob has decided that they have too much money and effort tied up in getting the first Chicago mob boss elected president to let allegations of gay sex and drugs derail things, so they have decided to eliminate the accusers, and Obama may merely be a figurehead, powerless to control the mob machine running his campaign, or maybe not. Maybe he really wants the power and will do anything to get it. At this point it's hard to tell who is really driving that bus that everybody has been thrown under, but it is getting mighty crowded under there.

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