Saturday, August 2, 2008
My concerns for America
by Jon Voigt
We, as parents, are well aware of the importance of our teachers who teach and program our children. We also know how important it is for our children to play with good-thinking children growing up. Sen. Barack Obama has grown up with the teaching of very angry, militant white and black people: the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Louis Farrakhan, William Ayers and Rev. Michael Pfleger. We cannot say we are not affected by teachers who are militant and angry. We know too well that we become like them, and Mr. Obama will run this country in their mindset.
The Democratic Party, in its quest for power, has managed a propaganda campaign with subliminal messages, creating a God-like figure in a man who falls short in every way. It seems to me that if Mr. Obama wins the presidential election, then Messrs. Farrakhan, Wright, Ayers and Pfleger will gain power for their need to demoralize this country and help create a socialist America.
The Democrats have targeted young people, knowing how easy it is to bring forth whatever is needed to program their minds. I know this process well. I was caught up in the hysteria during the Vietnam era, which was brought about through Marxist propaganda underlying the so-called peace movement. The radicals of that era were successful in giving the communists power to bring forth the killing fields and slaughter 2.5 million people in Cambodia and South Vietnam. Did they stop the war, or did they bring the war to those innocent people? In the end, they turned their backs on all the horror and suffering they helped create and walked away.
Those same leaders who were in the streets in the '60s are very powerful today in their work to bring down the Iraq war and to attack our president, and they have found their way into our schools. William Ayers is a good example of that.
Thank God, today, we have a strong generation of young soldiers who know exactly who they are and what they must do to protect our freedom and our democracy. And we have the leadership of Gen. David Petraeus, who has brought hope and stability to Iraq and prevented the terrorists from establishing a base in that country. Our soldiers are lifting us to an example of patriotism at a time when we've almost forgotten who we are and what is at stake.
If Mr. Obama had his way, he would have pulled our troops from Iraq years ago and initiated an unprecedented bloodbath, turning over that country to the barbarianism of our enemies. With what he has openly stated about his plans for our military, and his lack of understanding about the true nature of our enemies, there's not a cell in my body that can accept the idea that Mr. Obama can keep us safe from the terrorists around the world, and from Iran, which is making great strides toward getting the atomic bomb. And while a misleading portrait of Mr. Obama is being perpetrated by a media controlled by the Democrats, the Obama camp has sent out people to attack the greatness of Sen. John McCain, whose suffering and courage in a Hanoi prison camp is an American legend.
Gen. Wesley Clark, who himself has shame upon him, having been relieved of his command, has done their bidding and become a lying fool in his need to demean a fellow soldier and a true hero.
This is a perilous time, and more than ever, the world needs a united and strong America. If, God forbid, we live to see Mr. Obama president, we will live through a socialist era that America has not seen before, and our country will be weakened in every way.
Jon Voight is an Academy Award-winning actor who is well-known for his humanitarian work
A Few Questions for Barack Obama
- In February, you said you might support vouchers and charter schools if empirical data showed that they improve education (some studies show that they do). Admirably, your position was, "I will not allow my predispositions to stand in the way of making sure that our kids can learn." After pressure from the teachers unions, you quickly backed off from that position, stating that your campaign doesn't support vouchers "in any shape or form." What prompted that change? And if it's important that we not "throw up our hands" and "walk away from the public schools," why do you send your own kids to private schools?
- Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton intends to terminate D.C.'s federal school voucher program, even though those vouchers are paid through a separate fund that takes no money at all from D.C.'s public schools (which already spend $10,000 more per pupil per year than the city's private schools). Del. Holmes Norton says the program undermines the public schools. You've signed on to the plan to eliminate the program. But given that the program takes no money from the city's already bloated public schools, isn't it only "undermining" the public school system by exposing how unhappy D.C. parents really are with the schools' performance? Isn't that a good thing?
- You've expressed support for the idea of a "no fly" zone over Darfur because of human rights abuses. What's happening in Sudan is certainly tragic and abhorrent. But what is our national security interest there? Should we send the U.S. military every time there are wide-scale human rights abuses happening anywhere on the globe? Should we send troops to Myanmar? Uzbekistan? Turkmenistan? Iran? Saudi Arabia?
- You not only supported the latest federal farm bill, you commended it, stating that it "will provide America's hard-working farmers and ranchers with more support and more predictability." Critics have called that $307 billion monstrosity an orgy of earmarks, corporate welfare, and protectionism. It actually increases subsidies to huge agribusinesses in an era of record grain prices - subsidies that are already crushing farmers in the developing world. The New York Times called it "disgraceful." The Wall Street Journal called it a "scam." How does the "change" candidate justify supporting a bill larded with sweetheart deals for big agribusiness when just about everyone not getting a check from the bill opposed it?
- You continue to support ethanol subsidies despite the fact that corn-based ethanol is inefficient, environmentally unfriendly, and part of the cause of rising food prices. Even liberal New York Times columnist Paul Krugman calls ethanol "[b]ad for the economy, bad for consumers, bad for the planet." Perhaps your support stems from you representing a corn producing state. But is supporting a wasteful policy to win votes "change we can believe in," or is it a good sign that you're just another politician?
- In your autobiography, you admit to using marijuana and cocaine in high school and college. Yet you largely support the federal drug war - a change from several years ago when you said you'd be open to decriminalizing marijuana. Would Barack Obama be where he is today if he had been arrested in college for using drugs? Doesn't the fact that you and our current president (who has all but admitted to prior drug use) have risen to such high stature suggest that the worst thing about illicit drugs is not the drugs themselves, but what the government will do to you if you're caught?
- In a speech to Cuban-Americans in Miami, you called the Cuban trade embargo "an important inducement for change," a 180-degree shift from your prior position. The trade embargo has been in place for 46 years. Did denying an entire generation of Cubans access to American goods, culture, and ideas induce any actual change? Wasn't the real effect just to keep Cubans poor and isolated? In communist countries like Vietnam and China, trade with the U.S. has ushered in economic reform, and vastly improved the standard of living. Why wouldn't it be the same if we were to start trading with Cuba?
- In addition to the drugs, Cuba, and school voucher issues, you have also changed or revised your position in recent months on the war in Iraq, government eavesdropping and immunity for the telecom companies, and holding employers accountable for hiring illegal immigrants. Under some circumstances, changing or revising one's position can show admirable introspection - the ability to revise prior conceptions with new information. Some of your new positions are more conservative. Some are more liberal. But they do seem to have one thing in common: Should we be concerned that your shifts have been to those positions that give more power and influence to government? Are there any areas where you'd actually roll back the federal government?
- In October you asked a congregation in South Carolina to help you become "an instrument of God," and to join you in building a "Kingdom, right here on Earth." Is such lofty, sanctimonious rhetoric really appropriate from a would-be president? Why shouldn't we be suspicious of a man who believes politics - indeed, his politics - are God's politics? Isn't using the political process to build a "Kingdom on earth" the sort of thing we're used to hearing from the religious right? Should we be cautious of political leaders who believe they're agents of the Divinity?
- You have called for a "civilian national security force," essentially a non-military public service corps that in your words is "just as powerful, just as strong," and "just as well-funded" as the military. Northwestern University law professor James Lindgren has estimated that your proposal would cost somewhere between $100 and $500 billion-or between 10 and 50 percent of all federal income tax revenues. How do you plan to pay for this program?
- Your wife said that as president, "Barack Obama will . . . demand that you shed your cynicism . . . That you come out of your isolation, that you move out of your comfort zones. That you push yourselves to be better. And that you engage. Barack will never allow you to go back to your lives as usual . . ." How is any of this remotely the responsibility of the president? Where in the Constitution does it say that the president should be our personal motivator and spiritual leader? Will you help us lose weight and eat our vegetables, too?
McCain ad likens Obama to Britney
With a new ad comparing Barack Obama to celebrities Britney Spears and Paris Hilton, John McCain is launching a campaign aimed at portraying his rival as an international star without the heft necessary to become the US commander-in-chief. A 30-second advertisement that hit television and the internet overnight calls Senator Obama "the biggest celebrity in the world," then asks ominously, "Is he ready to lead?"
Senator McCain's strategy is to leverage the adoring crowds and personal charisma that have created excitement around Senator Obama's campaign and use this celebrity to raise questions about the Democrat's depth. Over the past week, Senator McCain has begun toughening and sharpening his message against Senator Obama. He suggested that Senator Obama would be willing to lose the Iraq war in order to win the election, and he ran a television ad blaming him for high petrol prices and criticised him for skipping a meeting with injured US troops in Germany because he couldn't bring television cameras along.
All of these charges were heatedly disputed by the Obama campaign, and all have been criticised by independent fact-checking organisations. "Senator McCain is an honorable man who is increasingly running a dishonorable campaign," said Obama spokesman Tommy Vietor. "He said he wanted a civil campaign about the issues. I think a lot of people are wondering what happened to him."
The harsher attacks create some risk for Senator McCain, analysts said, since he may come off as overly negative. But the Republican appears to be gambling that the public's image of him is firmly set and that its doubts mostly relate to Senator Obama, who has been on the national stage a much shorter time.
But even some Republicans question the tenor of the critiques. "The point of this campaign is not about personalities, it's about the contrast on the issues," said David Winston, a Republican pollster. "Where's McCain on taxes, where's Obama on taxes? That's a good contrast for McCain. If he focuses on the personality side, he's not arguing from his strong suit."
Ed Rollins, a longtime Republican strategist, said McCain sometimes appears frustrated and angry when he talks about Obama, especially when complaining that the press does not treat him fairly. "John needs to be the deliberate, experienced veteran and not the grumpy old man," Mr Rollins said. "If he's the grumpy old man, angry that the media is not in love with him anymore because they're in love with Barack Obama, that's not going to play well with the public." McCain officials say they are levying legitimate criticism as well as making up for the media's failure to do so.
Senator Obama has attained such a high celebrity status that the press has abstained from scrutinising his own words and actions, they say, even as he has done such things as speak behind a symbol resembling a presidential seal. McCain aides dismissed the accusation that McCain had become overly negative, saying he was only responding to Senator Obama's attacks.
Obama's Bad Turn
Is there a way that Barack Obama and John McCain could reboot the Presidential campaign? Both men this week have locked up in modes that surely have little interest to voters. Senator McCain's latest "inexperience" TV ad about his opponent opened with fleeting images of celeb babes Britney Spears and Paris Hilton, who likely don't know who he is. The celebrity link was a leap that fell flat.
If that was silly, Senator Obama's verbal crackback at his opponent's criticism was more troubling. Campaigning in Missouri, he said: "So what they're going to try to do is make you scared of me. You know, 'He's not patriotic enough, he's got a funny name,' you know, 'He doesn't look like all those other Presidents on the dollar bills.'"
The Obama camp says the reference to dollar-bill portraits wasn't meant to suggest that all of them are white and he is black. We might give him the benefit of the doubt on this were it not that it's the second time Mr. Obama has used this device. In late June in Florida he said: "They're going to try to make you afraid. They're going to try to make you afraid of me. 'He's young and inexperienced and he's got a funny name. And did I mention he's black?'"
For starters, this sounds Clintonesque, almost literally so. Recall how the Obama camp went ballistic at the former President's racial insinuations after the South Carolina primary this year. For the record, Senator McCain at no time has said anything remotely touching on his opponent's race.
It would be not only good for this campaign but also in Senator Obama's political self-interest if he dropped this unattractive implication about his opposition. The more he tries to use race as a shield from criticism, the less he'll look like a potential leader of the entire country and more like a traditional liberal playing racial politics.
More Women Choosing McCain Over Obama
If soccer moms determined the outcome of the 1996 presidential race and security moms tipped the balance in 2004, it is beginning to look as if older moms are the key to the 2008 contest. Obama has a problem among women over 40 and a big problem among women over 50. These groups, normally the staunchest of Democratic supporters, are showing a propensity to back McCain.
According to the latest Fox News survey, Obama is winning among women under 40 by 13 points, but McCain is winning among women aged 41-45 by four points. Among women 50 and over, McCain is three points ahead. Obama's 48-35 lead among women under 40 is normal for a Democrat, but to trail among women in their 40s by 45-41 and by women over 50 by 38-35 is extraordinary. The problem is that older women don't like Obama as much as younger women do. While 70 percent of women under 40 have a favorable opinion of the Democratic candidate, only 58 percent of women in their 40s feel the same way, and only 52 percent of those over 50 view him favorably.
For a Democrat to be losing among women over 40 is without precedent in the past 20 years. In fact, the gap between male and female voting preference in this election is far lower than it normally is. Among people under 40, men back Obama by eight points and women support him by 13. Among those in their 40s, men back McCain by 11 points and women support him by four. And for those over 50, men vote for the Republican by a nine-point margin while women prefer him by three points.
Usually, the gender gap runs at least 10 points in each age group and, more usually, averages a 15-point differential. The lower gap in this race does not indicate any special popularity for McCain or negatives on Obama among men. Men are voting the way they usually do. It's women who are making the big difference and keeping this race tied.
Part of the problem may stem from Obama's defeat of Hillary Clinton during the primaries. Hillary drew her strongest support from older women who still remembered the sexism of their youth and their struggles to pierce the glass ceiling. For younger women, sexism has much less personal relevance and they were less drawn to her candidacy.
But a bigger problem may be a cultural alienation older white women feel toward Obama. The Rev. Jeremiah Wright may linger as a worry in their increasingly gray heads as they contemplate an Obama presidency. This fear of the unknown and the gap they seem to feel with Obama is so strong that it is overcoming their normal proclivity to back Democrats.
Of course, McCain is a uniquely attractive candidate to the Democratic and independent base. Long regarded as a maverick Republican, he attracts these swing voters and is ideally positioned to exploit the estrangement between older women and Barack Obama.
Would choosing Hillary as a running mate assuage the concerns of older white women? It might. They could get enthusiastic, one would think, about seeing a woman sitting a few feet away from the president in the Oval Office (again!). But Hillary would bring with her a different set of problems. Her candidacy would invite scrutiny of Bill's financial dealings, most recently exposed in The Wall Street Journal's coverage of the incredible corruption of his buddy, the president of Kazakhstan.
The problem is Obama. And it can only be solved by Obama, not by his running mate. For his part, McCain should take dead aim at this demographic, perhaps by selecting a female running mate who would appeal to them. The current favorite, Mitt Romney, does him no earthly good with these folks, and his Mormonism is likely to be a big turnoff. But McCain could choose Condi Rice or any number of other Republican women (like Kay Bailey Hutchison, the Texas senator) and attract these dissident women.
Obama Opposes California Marriage Amendment While McCain Supports It
As the California Marriage Amendment debate heats up Barack Obama and John McCain have made clear their respective positions on the issue. Two weeks after the California Supreme Court announced its decision to allow same-sex couples to "marry", opponents of same-sex marriage succeeded in placing on the November ballot a proposed constitutional amendment which states: "Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California." If passed, the measure would reverse the recent court decision.
Mr. Obama recently made his position public in a letter sent to a San Francisco homosexual activist group. "I oppose the divisive and discriminatory efforts to amend the California Constitution, and similar efforts to amend the U.S. Constitution or those of other states," wrote Mr. Obama, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee.
At the same time John McCain has announced his support for the California Protection of Marriage initiative in an email received by the ProtectMarriage.com campaign. "I support the efforts of the people of California to recognize marriage as a unique institution between a man and a woman, just as we did in my home state of Arizona. I do not believe judges should be making these decisions," Mr. McCain stated.
In a press release commenting on the endorsement of Senator McCain, ProtectMarriage.com Chairman Ron Prentice said, "We are honored to have the support of Senator McCain. As a leader in the United States Senate and the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, Senator McCain's position will be an important factor to millions of Californians." "Senator McCain has articulated a key feature of the initiative campaign, which is that voters and not judges should be determining this issue."
"Over 61% of the electorate has already voted to reaffirm marriage as between a man and a woman. Four activist judges on the California Supreme Court in San Francisco wrongly substituted their own narrow views for the opinion of over 4 million California voters. Fortunately, voters will be able to correct that mistake in November and restore the definition of marriage to our constitution." "We look forward to working with Senator McCain and many other elected leaders to accomplish this. We hope that U.S Senator Barack Obama will join Senator McCain in endorsing the initiative, and would welcome his support as well."
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