Saturday, May 31, 2008

Astonishing Obama Video: “I Will Slow Development of Future Combat Systems”

In Video Statement, Senator Obama Inexplicably Pledges to Unilaterally Jeopardize American Military Superiority

When you find yourself in a hole, just keep digging. That appears to be the logic of Senator Barack Obama, who already finds himself in the proverbial hole on defense and national security issues. At this pace, he’ll reach China by November. In a strange video address intended to somehow reassure American voters regarding his military bona fides, Senator Obama ends up doing just the opposite.

Among other things, he promises to cut “tens of billions of dollars” from the military budget, at a time when our armed forces are already stretched and in need of new weapon technologies and armor; to “cut investments in unproven missile defense systems,” which in reality have already proven remarkably effective; that he “will not weaponize space” even though other nations such as China do exactly that; to terminate the Iraq war just as the surge proves itself remarkably successful; and he rails against what he calls “unnecessary” military spending. He concludes by promising to remove our inter-continental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) from what he calls a “hair-trigger alert,” embarrassing himself via his ignorance regarding our deliberate targeting and launch protocol.

Most alarmingly, however, Senator Obama literally promises to “slow development of future combat systems.” Think about the frightening implications of this pledge for a moment. Future combat systems are the cornerstone of American military modernization and superiority. As America fights the war on terror and deters potential military aggression by rogue nations cross the world, advanced combat systems provide us with better equipment, unmatched situational awareness and communication systems that result in American battlefield domination. Other ascendant nations such as China and Russia seek to match our prowess, but we continue to outpace them.

Current examples include constantly-evolving satellite technology that allows us to pinpoint and eliminate the enemy, unmanned drones that promise amazing advances in battlefield safety and effectiveness, bunker-buster weapons that penetrate deep into the caves in which remote terrorists hide and communications systems that allow lightning-quick troop deployment and rescue missions. Not only do these cutting-edge combat systems allow us to prevail against our enemies, they ultimately protect the lives and health of our troops, just as they protect us. Despite this, Senator Obama bizarrely pledges to jeopardize our battlefield superiority.

Imagine previous Presidents pledging, as Senator Obama foolishly does, to “slow development of future combat systems.” No more stealth aircraft, which allowed our pilots to penetrate Saddam Hussein’s complex air defense systems with near-impunity. No more precision-guided weaponry, which provide extreme precision and greatly reduce harm to non-combatants. No more Strategic Defense Initiative, which forced Mikhail Gorbachev’s negotiating hand and helped end the Cold War. None of the advanced naval systems that have allowed America’s navy to rule the seas for decades. No P-51 Mustangs or B-29 Superfortresses, which resulted in American air superiority that crippled Germany and Japan during World War II. The examples are endless.

In what realm does Senator Obama’s ideology dwell, that he would expect his promises to somehow endear him to American swing voters? What makes Senator Obama’s statement most perplexing is the fact that he already faces an uphill battle to convince American voters that he won’t be the second coming of Jimmy Carter in undermining our military forces. It also follows a series of embarrassing gaffes, which undermine Americans’ faith in his ability and commitment to protect the country and our military superiority.

For instance, he promises to meet the leader of Iran, which provides weapons that kill American troops, without preconditions. He extends that same promise of unconditional meetings to North Korea, Cuba, Syria and Venezuela as well, yet rebuffs Colombia, which is a critical ally fighting narco-terrorists.

Senator Obama’s statement also follows such eyebrow-raising fiascos as his twenty-year relationship with America-damning Reverend Jeremiah Wright, his association with anti-American domestic terrorist William Ayers and his offensive flag pin comments. Readers will recall that Senator Obama refused in October 2007 to wear an American flag lapel pin because he considered it “a substitute for, I think, true patriotism, which is speaking out on issues.” Asked to explain, his staff replied that “Senator Obama believes that being a patriot is about more than a symbol.” Just like that, he thus dismissed reverence to the American flag, to which children pledge allegiance in school, and which draws tears from veterans and everyday citizens during memorial events and sporting events.

Once again, Senator Obama has raised questions about his commitment to defend America and maintain military superiority. Stay tuned to see how he might top this.

It's the mullahs who won't talk

In a report released this week, the International Atomic Energy Agency expressed "serious concern" that the Islamic Republic of Iran continues to conceal details of its nuclear weapons program, even as it defies UN demands to suspend its uranium enrichment program. Meanwhile, presumptive Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama, in lieu of a policy for dealing with the growing threat posed by the Islamic Republic, repeats what has become a familiar refrain within his party: Let's talk to Iran.

There is, of course, nothing wrong with wanting to talk to an adversary. But Obama and his supporters should not pretend this is change in any real sense. Every US administration in the past 30 years, from Jimmy Carter's to George W. Bush's, has tried to engage in dialogue with Iran's leaders. They've all failed.

Just two years ago, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice proffered an invitation to the Islamic Republic for talks, backed by promises of what one of her advisers described as juicy carrots with not a shadow of a stick. At the time, I happened to be in Washington. Early one morning, one of Rice's assistants read the text of her statement (which was to be issued a few hours later) to me over the phone, asking my opinion. I said the move won't work, but insisted that the statement should mention US concern for human-rights violations in Iran.

"We don't wish to set preconditions," was the answer. "We could raise all issues once they have agreed to talk." I suppose Rice is still waiting for Iran's mullahs to accept her invitation, even while Obama castigates her for not wanting to talk.

The Europeans invented the phrase "critical dialogue" to describe their approach to Iran. They negotiated with Tehran for more than two decades, achieving nothing.

The Arabs, especially Egypt and Saudi Arabia, have been negotiating with the mullahs for years - the Egyptians over restoring diplomatic ties cut off by Tehran, and the Saudis on measures to stop Shi'ite-Sunni killings in the Muslim world - with nothing to show for it. Since 1993, the Russians have tried to achieve agreement on the status of the Caspian Sea through talks with Tehran, again without results.

The reason is that Iran is gripped by a typical crisis of identity that afflicts most nations that pass through a revolutionary experience. The Islamic Republic does not know how to behave: as a nation state, or as the embodiment of a revolution with universal messianic pretensions. Is it a country or a cause? A nation state wants concrete things such as demarcated borders, markets, access to natural resources, security, influence, and, of course, stability: all things that could be negotiated with other nation states. A revolution, on the other hand, doesn't want anything in particular because it wants everything.

In 1802, when Napoleon Bonaparte embarked on his campaign of world conquest, the threat did not come from France as a nation state but from the French Revolution in its Napoleonic reincarnation. In 1933, it was Germany as a cause, the Nazi cause, that threatened the world. Under communism, the Soviet Union was a cause and thus a threat. Having ceased to be a cause and re-emerged a nation state, Russia no longer poses an existential threat to others.

The problem that the world, including the US, has today is not with Iran as a nation state but with the Islamic Republic as a revolutionary cause bent on world conquest under the guidance of the "Hidden Imam". The following statement by the Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the "supreme leader" of the Islamic Republic - who Obama admits has ultimate power in Iran - exposes the futility of the very talks Obama proposes: "You have nothing to say to us. We object. We do not agree to a relationship with you. We are not prepared to establish relations with powerful world devourers like you. The Iranian nation has no need of the US, nor is the Iranian nation afraid of the US. We ... do not accept your behaviour, your oppression and intervention in various parts of the world."

So, how should one deal with a regime of this nature? The challenge for the US and the world is finding a way to help Iran absorb its revolutionary experience, stop being a cause, and re-emerge as a nation state. Whenever Iran has appeared as a nation state, others have been able to negotiate with it, occasionally with good results. In Iraq, for example, Iran has successfully negotiated a range of issues with both the Iraqi government and the US. Agreement has been reached on conditions under which millions of Iranians visit Iraq each year for pilgrimage. An accord has been worked out to dredge the Shatt al-Arab waterway of three decades of war debris, thus enabling both neighbours to reopen their biggest ports. Again acting as a nation state, Iran has secured permission for its citizens to invest in Iraq.

When it comes to Iran behaving as the embodiment of a revolutionary cause, however, no agreement is possible. There will be no compromise on Iranian smuggling of weapons into Iraq. Nor will the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps agree to stop training Hezbollah-style terrorists in Shi'ite parts of Iraq. Iraq and its allies should not allow the mullahs of Tehran to export their sick ideology to the newly liberated country through violence and terror. As a nation-state, Iran is not concerned with the Palestinian issue and has no reason to be Israel's enemy. As a revolutionary cause, however, Iran must pose as Israel's arch-foe to sell the Khomeinist regime's claim of leadership to the Arabs.

As a nation, Iranians are among the few in the world that still like the US. As a revolution, however, Iran is the principal bastion of anti-Americanism. Last month, Tehran hosted an international conference titled "A World Without America". Indeed, since the election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in 2005, Iran has returned to a more acute state of revolutionary hysteria. Ahmadinejad seems to truly believe the Hidden Imam is coming to conquer the world for his brand of Islam. He does not appear to be interested in the kind of "carrots" that Rice was offering two years ago and Obama is hinting at today.

Ahmadinejad is talking about changing the destiny of the human race, while Obama and his foreign policy experts offer spare parts for Boeings or membership in the World Trade Organisation. Perhaps Obama is unaware that one of Ahmadinejad's first acts was to freeze Tehran's efforts for securing WTO membership because he regards the outfit as "a nest of conspiracies by Zionists and Americans".

Obama wavers back and forth over whether he will talk directly to Ahmadinejad or some other representative of the Islamic Republic, including Khamenei. Moreover, he does not make it clear which of the two Irans - the nation state or the revolutionary cause - he wishes to engage. A misstep could legitimise the Khomeinist system and help it crush Iranians' hope of return as a nation state.

The Islamic Republic might welcome unconditional talks, but only if the US signals readiness for unconditional surrender. Talk about talking to Iran and engaging Ahmadinejad cannot hide the fact that, three decades after Khomeinist thugs raided the US embassy in Tehran, America does not understand what is really happening in Iran.


Obama's Revisionist History


This week's minor controversy about Barack Obama's claim that an uncle liberated Auschwitz was quickly put to rest by his campaign. They conceded that it was a great uncle whose unit liberated Buchenwald, 500 miles away. But other, much more troubling, episodes have provided a revealing glimpse into a candidate who instinctively resorts to parsing, evasions and misdirection. The saga over Rev. Jeremiah Wright is Exhibit A. In just 62 days, Americans were treated to eight different explanations.

First, on Feb. 25, Mr. Obama downplayed Rev. Wright's divisiveness, saying he was "like an old uncle who sometimes will say things that I don't agree with." A week later, Mr. Obama insisted, "I don't think my church is actually particularly controversial," suggesting that Rev. Wright was criticized because "he was one of the leaders in calling for divestment from South Africa and some other issues like that."

The issue exploded on March 13, when ABC showed excerpts from Rev. Wright's sermons. Mr. Obama's spokesman said the senator "deeply disagrees" with Rev. Wright's statements, but "now that he is retired, that doesn't detract from Sen. Obama's affection for Rev. Wright or his appreciation for the good works he has done."

The next day, Mr. Obama offered a fourth defense: "The statements that Rev. Wright made that are the cause of this controversy were not statements I personally heard him preach while I sat in the pews of Trinity or heard him utter in private conversation." Mr. Obama also told the Chicago Tribune, "In fairness to him, this was sort of a greatest hits. They basically culled five or six sermons out of 30 years of preaching." Then, four days later, in Philadelphia, Mr. Obama finally repudiated Rev. Wright's comments, saying they "denigrate both the greatness and the goodness of our nation." But Mr. Obama went on to say, "I can no more disown him than I can my white grandmother. . . ."

Ten days later, Mr. Obama said if Rev. Wright had not retired as Trinity's pastor, and "had he not acknowledged that what he had said had deeply offended . . . then I wouldn't have felt comfortable staying there at the church." (Never mind that Rev. Wright had made no such acknowledgment.)

On April 28, at the National Press Club, Rev. Wright re-emerged - not to apologize but to repeat some of his most offensive lines. This provoked an eighth defense: "[W]hatever relationship I had with Rev. Wright has changed, as a consequence of this. I don't think that he showed much concern for me. More importantly, I don't think he showed much concern for what we are trying to do in this campaign . . . ." Self-interest is a powerful, but not noble, sentiment in politics.

The Rev. Wright affair is just one instance where the Illinois senator has said something wrong or offensive, and then offered shifting explanations for his views. Consider flag pins. Mr. Obama told an Iowa radio station last October he didn't wear an American flag lapel pin because, after 9/11, it had "became a substitute for I think true patriotism, which is speaking out on issues . . . ." His campaign issued a statement that "Senator Obama believes that being a patriot is about more than a symbol." To highlight his own moral superiority, he denigrated the patriotism of those who wore a flag.

Yet by April, campaigning in culturally conservative Pennsylvania, Mr. Obama was blaming others for the controversy he'd created, claiming, "I have never said that I don't wear flag pins or refuse to wear flag pins. This is the kind of manufactured issue that our politics has become obsessed with and, once again, distracts us . . . ." A month later Mr. Obama was once again wearing a pin, saying "Sometimes I wear it, sometimes I don't."

The Obama revision tour has been seen elsewhere. Last July, Mr. Obama pledged to meet personally and without precondition, during his first year, the leaders of Iran, Syria, Venezuela, Cuba and North Korea. Criticized afterwards, he made his pledge more explicitly, naming Iranian President Ahmadinejad and Venezuela strongman Hugo Ch vez as leaders he would grace with first-year visits. By October, Mr. Obama was backpedaling, talking about needing "some progress or some indication of good faith," and by April, "sufficient preparation." It got so bad his foreign policy advisers were (falsely) denying he'd ever said he'd meet with Mr. Ahmadinejad - even as he still defended his original pledge to have meetings without precondition.

The list goes on. Mr. Obama's problem is a campaign that's personality-driven rather than idea-driven. Thus incidents calling into question his persona and character can have especially devastating consequences. Stripped of his mystique as a different kind of office seeker, he could become just another liberal politician - only one who parses, evades, dissembles and condescends. That narrative is beginning to take hold. If those impressions harden into firm judgments, Mr. Obama will have a very difficult time in November.


The Obama Gaffe Machine


For months, Barack Obama has had the image of an incandescent, golden-tongued Wundercandidate. That image may be fraying now. As smart and credentialed as he is, Sen. Obama is often an indifferent speaker without a teleprompter. He has large gaps in his knowledge base, and is just as likely to dig in and embrace a policy misstatement as abandon it. ABC reporter Jake Tapper calls him "a one-man gaffe machine."

Take the Auschwitz flub, where Mr. Obama erroneously claimed last weekend in New Mexico that his uncle helped liberate the Nazi concentration camp. Reporters noted Mr. Obama's revised claim, that it was his great uncle who helped liberate Buchenwald. They largely downplayed the error. Yet in another, earlier gaffe back in 2002, Mr. Obama claimed his grandfather knew U.S. troops who liberated Auschwitz and Treblinka - even though only Russian troops entered those concentration camps.

That hardly disqualifies Mr. Obama from being president. But you can bet that if Hillary Clinton had done the same thing it would have been the focus of much more attention, especially after her Bosnia sniper-fire fib. That's because gaffes are often blown up or downplayed based on whether or not they further a story line the media has attached to a politician.

When John McCain claimed, while on a trip to Iraq in March, that Sunni (as opposed to Shiite) militants in Iraq are being supported by Iran, coverage of the alleged blunder tracked Democratic attacks on his age and stamina. (In fact, Iran may well be supplying both Sunni and Shiite militants.) Dan Quayle, tagged with a reputation as a dumb blond male, never lived down his misspelling of "potatoe."

Mr. Obama, a former editor of the Harvard Law Review, has largely been given a pass for his gaffes. Many are trivial, such as his suggestion this month that America has 57 states, and his bizarre statement in a Memorial Day speech in New Mexico that America's "fallen heroes" were present and listening to him in the audience.

Some gaffes involve mangling his family history. Last year in Selma, Ala., for example, he said that his birth was inspired by events there which took place four years after he was born. While this gaffe can be chalked up to fatigue or cloudy memory, others are more substantive - such as his denial last April that it was his handwriting on a questionnaire in which, as a state senate candidate, he favored a ban on handguns. His campaign now contends that, even if it was his handwriting, this doesn't prove he read the full questionnaire.

Mr. Obama told a Portland, Ore., crowd this month that Iran doesn't "pose a serious threat to us," saying that "tiny countries" with small defense budgets aren't much to worry about. But Iran has almost one-fourth the population of the U.S. and is well on its way to developing nuclear weapons. The next day Mr. Obama had to reverse himself and declare he had "made it clear for years that the threat from Iran is grave."

Last week in Orlando, Fla., he said he would meet with Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez to discuss, among other issues, Ch vez's support of the Marxist FARC guerrillas in Colombia. The next day, in Miami, he insisted any country supporting the FARC should suffer "regional isolation." Obama advisers were left explaining how this circle could be squared.

In a debate last July, Mr. Obama pledged to meet, without precondition, the leaders of Iran, North Korea, Syria and Cuba. He called President Bush's refusal to meet with them "ridiculous" and a "disgrace." Heavily criticized, Mr. Obama dug in rather than backtrack. He's claimed, in defense of his position, that John F. Kennedy's 1961 summit with Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev in Vienna was a crucial meeting that led to the end of the Cold War.

Not quite. Kennedy himself admitted he was unprepared for Khrushchev's bullying. "He beat the hell out of me," Kennedy confided to advisers. The Soviet leader reported to his Politburo that the American president was weak. Two months later, the Berlin Wall was erected and stood for 28 years.

Reporters may now give Mr. Obama's many gaffes more notice. But don't count on them correcting an implicit bias in writing about such faux pas. Over the years, reporters have tagged a long list of conservative public figures, from Barry Goldwater to Ronald Reagan to George W. Bush, as dim and uninformed. The reputation of some of these men has improved over time. But can anyone name a leading liberal figure who has developed a similar media reputation, even though the likes of Al Gore, Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi have committed substantial gaffes at times? No reporter I've talked to has come up with a solid example.

It's clear some gaffes are considered more newsworthy than others. But it would behoove the media to check their premises when deciding just how much attention to pay to them. The best guideline might be: Show some restraint and judgment, but report them all.


Obama abandons the workers

With her overwhelming victory in Kentucky on May 20, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton has completed her sweep of the crucial primary states adjoining the Ohio River -- and the fight for the Democratic nomination has entered its final phases. Having picked up a net gain of nearly 140,000 votes between Kentucky and Oregon, Clinton is now well poised to win the Puerto Rico primary on June 1 - and clinch a majority in this year's popular vote, even if the disputed returns from Michigan are discounted. Under those pressures, the Barack Obama campaign and its sympathizers have begun to articulate much more clearly what they mean by their vague slogan of "change" - nothing less than usurping the historic Democratic Party, dating back to the age of Andrew Jackson, by rejecting its historic electoral core: white workers and rural dwellers in the Middle Atlantic and border states.

Without a majority of those voters, the Democrats have, since the party's inception in the 1820s, been incapable of winning the presidency. The Obama advocates declare, though, that we have entered an entirely new political era. It is not only possible but also desirable, they say, for Democrats to win by turning away from those whom "progressive" pundits and bloggers disdain variously as "Nascar man," "uneducated," "low information" whites, "rubes, fools, and hate-mongers" who live in the nation's "shitholes."

Having attempted, with the aid of a complicit news media, to brand Hillary Clinton as a racist -- by flinging charges that, as the historian Michael Lind has shown, belong "in black helicopter/grassy knoll territory," Obama's supporters now fiercely claim that Clinton's white working class following is also essentially racist. Favoring the buzzword language of the academic left, tinged by persistent, discredited New Left and black nationalist theories about working-class "white skin privilege," a vote against Obama has become, according to his fervent followers, "a vote for whiteness."

Talk about transformative post-racial politics.

In fact, all of the evidence demonstrates that white racism has not been a principal or even secondary motivation in any of this year's Democratic primaries. Every poll shows that economics, health care, and national security are the leading issues for white working class voters - and for Latino working class voters as well. These constituencies have cast positive ballots for Hillary Clinton not because she is white, but because they regard her as better on these issues. Obama's campaign and its passionate supporters refuse to acknowledge that these voters consider him weaker -- and that Clinton's positions, different from his, as well as her experience actually attract support. Instead they impute racism to working class Democrats who, the polls also show, happen to be liberal on every leading issue. The effort to taint anyone who does not support Obama as motivated by racism has now become a major factor in alienating core Democrats from Obama's campaign. Out with the Democratic Party of Jefferson, Jackson, F.D.R., Truman, Kennedy and Johnson, and in with the bright, shiny party of Obama - or what the formally "undeclared" Donna Brazile, a member of the Democratic National Committee and of the party's rules committee, has hailed as a "new Democratic coalition" swelled by affluent white leftists and liberals, college students, and African-Americans.

The Democratic Party, as a modern political party, dates back to 1828, when Andrew Jackson crushed John Quincy Adams to win the presidency. Yet without the votes of workers and small farmers in Pennsylvania and Ohio, as well as a strong Democratic turnout in New York City, Jackson would have lost the Electoral College in a landslide. Over the 180 years since then, only one Democrat has gained the presidency without winning either Ohio or Pennsylvania, with their large white working-class vote. (The exception, Grover Cleveland, managed the feat in 1892, and only barely lost Ohio - but he was dependent on the post-Reconstruction solid South.) Beginning in 1964, when the Democratic solid South dissolved, every successful Democratic presidential candidate has had to carry both Ohio and Pennsylvania, even when Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton picked up southern states.

Northern white working-class defections to the Republicans grew steadily in the late 1960s and early 1970s. The Republican's Watergate debacle temporarily halted the trend, but the disasters of the Carter presidency, especially its mishandling of economic woes and foreign policy, accelerated the defections in 1980. In his two successful races, Ronald Reagan won the support, on average, of 61 percent of white working class voters, compared to 35 percent for his opponents, Carter and Walter Mondale. (Both times, Reagan carried Ohio and Pennsylvania handily.) As the caricature of "Reagan Democrats" as racist militarists hardened among "new politics" advocates, they strove to make up the difference by creating an expanded base among African-Americans, college-age, and college educated voters. The result was yet another humiliating defeat for the Democrats in 1988.

Bill Clinton's shift to a centrist liberalism stressing lunch-pail issues--"Putting People First"--won back a large number of Reagan Democrats in 1992, enough so that, by the time Clinton won his second term in 1996, Democrats could claim parity with Republicans by winning a slim plurality among non-college educated working class white voters. But the perceived elitists Al Gore and John Kerry lost what Clinton had gained, as George W. Bush carried the white working-class vote by a margin of 17 percent in 2000 and a whopping 23 percent in 2004.

This year's primary results show no sign that Obama will reverse this trend should he win the nomination. In West Virginia and Kentucky, as well as Ohio and Pennsylvania, blue collar white voters sent him down to defeat by overwhelming margins. A recent Gallup poll report has argued that claims about Obama's weaknesses among white voters and blue collar voters have been exaggerated - yet its indisputable figures showed Obama running four percentage points below Kerry's anemic support among whites four years ago.

Given that Obama's vote in the primaries, apart from African-Americans, has generally come from affluent white suburbs and university towns, the Gallup figures presage a Democratic disaster among working-class white voters in November should Obama be the nominee. Yet Obama's handlers profess indifference - and, at times, even pride -- about these trends. Asked about the white working-class vote following Obama's ten-point loss in Pennsylvania, chief campaign strategist David Axelrod confidently told an National Public Radio interviewer that, after all, "the white working class has gone to the Republican nominee for many elections going back even to the Clinton years" and that Obama's winning strength lay in his ability to offset that trend and "attract independent voters... younger voters" and "expand the Democratic base."

Apart from its basic inaccuracy about Clinton's blue-collar support in 1992 and 1996, Axelrod's statement was a virtual reprise of the Democratic doomed strategy from the 1972 McGovern campaign that the party revamped in 1988. The main difference between now and then is the openness of the condescension with which many of Obama's supporters - and, apparently, the candidate himself - hold the crude "low information" types whom they believe dominate the white working class. The sympathetic media coverage of Obama's efforts to explain away his remarks in San Francisco about "bitter," economically-strapped voters who, clinging to their guns, religion, and racism, misdirect their rage and do not see the light, only reinforced his campaign's dismissive attitude. Obama's efforts at rectification were reluctant and half-hearted at best - and he undercut them completely a few days later when he referred derisively, on the stump in Indiana, to a sudden "political flare-up because I said something that everybody knows is true."

Culturally as well as politically, Obama's dismissal of white working people represents a sea-change in the Democrats' basic identity as the workingman's party - one that has been coming since the late 1960s, when large portions of the Left began regarding white workers as hopeless and hateful reactionaries. Faced with the revolt of the "Reagan Democrats" - whose politics they interpreted in the narrowest of racial terms - "new politics" Democrats dreamed of a coalition built around an alliance of right-thinking affluent liberals and downtrodden minorities, especially African-Americans. It all came to nothing. But after Bill Clinton failed to consolidate a new version of the old Democratic coalition in the 1990s, the dreaming began again - first, with disastrous results, in the schismatic Ralph Nader campaign of 2000 and now (with the support of vehement ex-Naderites including Barbara Ehrenreich and Cornel West) in the Obama campaign.

Obama must assume that the demographics of American politics have changed dramatically in recent years so that the electorate as a whole is little more than a larger version of the combined Democratic primary constituencies of Oregon and South Carolina. While recent studies purport to show that the white working class has, indeed, shrunk over the past fifty years, as a political matter its significance remains salient, especially in the battleground and swing states--states like Ohio and West Virginia where Obama currently trails Senator John McCain in the polls. One of the studies that affirms the diminishing proportion of blue collar whites in the electorate, written for the Brookings Institution by Ruy Teixeira and Alan Abamowitz, concludes [pdf], nevertheless, that "the voting proclivities of the white working class will make a huge difference and could well determine who the next president will be."

Teixeira and Abramowitz estimate that the Democratic candidate will need to cut Kerry's deficit of 23 percent in 2004 to around 10 percent if he or she is "to achieve a solid popular vote victory." By those lights, Obama, if nominated, is almost certainly destined to lose unless he can suddenly reverse the trend that his own dismissive language and his supporters' contemptuous tone has accelerated during the primaries.

In every presidential election they have won, the Democrats have solidified their historic link to white workers, not dismissed them. Obama and the champions of a new party coalition appear to think that everything has suddenly changed, simply because of the force of their own desires. In any event, Obama had shown no ability thus far to attract the one constituency that has always spelled the difference between victory and defeat for the Democratic Party. The party must now decide whether to go along with Obama and renounce its own heritage -- and tempt the political fates.



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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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

When presidential candidate Barack Obama spoke last month with -- 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, 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, "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 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.



Thursday, May 29, 2008

Obama caught in another lie

Another gaffe from the ignoramus. Does he know ANYTHING?

Barack Obama has admitted he was wrong to say his uncle helped liberate the Nazis' Auschwitz concentration camp, after Republicans said Soviet troops freed the camp. Senator Obama's campaign said the candidate meant to say that his great-uncle, Charlie Payne, had helped liberate a part of the Buchenwald camp, not Auschwitz.

"Yesterday he mistakenly referred to Auschwitz instead of Buchenwald in telling of his personal experience of a soldier in his family who served heroically," said Obama campaign spokesman Bill Burton. Mr Burton said Senator Obama's great-uncle served in the 89th Infantry Division that entered Germany in 1945 and on April 4 overran Ohrdruf, a subcamp of the Buchenwald concentration camp. Senator Obama had made the Auschwitz reference in a Memorial Day speech on Monday.

More than 1 million people, mostly Jews, were killed at Auschwitz, an extermination camp in Poland. Buchenwald in Germany was mainly a forced labour camp, where some 56,000 people are believed to have died.

"I had an uncle who was ... part of the first American troops to go into Auschwitz and liberate the concentration camps," Senator Obama said. "And the story in our family was is that when he came home, he just went up into the attic and he didn't leave the house for six months."

The Republican National Committee quickly pointed out that the Red Army had liberated Auschwitz in 1945, not American forces.


Change You'll Have to Pay For

Here's one "change" presidential candidate Barack Obama apparently believes in: higher prices. Witness his letter last week urging President George W. Bush not to submit the U.S.-South Korea free-trade agreement to Congress for ratification. Mr. Obama's objection, as stated in his letter, is that the deal "would give Korean exports essentially unfettered access to the U.S. market and would eliminate our best opportunity for obtaining genuinely reciprocal market access in one of the world's largest economies." In other words, ordinary American consumers would get too good a deal.

For an idea of how good, look at automobiles, about which Mr. Obama professes particular concern. The free-trade agreement would eliminate America's 2.5% tariff on most Korean car imports. Even better, it would phase out the 25% tariff on pick-ups and light trucks. Overall, the Korean trade deal would boost the U.S. economy by $10 billion to $12 billion.

Mr. Obama thinks this benefit to U.S. consumers isn't worth the risk that South Korea might not live up to its promise to eliminate its own 8% tariff on U.S. autos and cut its bewildering array of nontariff barriers, such as arcane safety standards. This despite the fact that the deal includes enforcement provisions if Korea backtracks.

On the record so far, Mr. Obama is the most protectionist U.S. presidential candidate in decades. In February he inserted a statement opposing the Korean trade deal into the Congressional record only days before securing the endorsement of the powerful Teamsters union. He also opposes the U.S.-Colombia pact, and he has called for rewriting Nafta - unilaterally if Canada and Mexico don't play along. Mr. Obama's economic adviser, Austan Goolsbee, told Canadian officials this was all for primary show, but the candidate is backing himself into a political corner should he win the White House.

Mr. Obama is promising change you can believe in. But on trade, it is closer to the status quo Americans will be paying for.


Obama Too Scared to Visit Troops in Baghdad

McCain challenged Obama to accompany him on a visit to Baghdad in a joint visit for true evaluation on the progress we are making there, but Obama is too scared he will see something outside the lines of his pre-conceived notions of failure. He obviously doesn't want to find a reason not to surrender.
John McCain's proposal is nothing more than a political stunt, and we don't need any more `Mission Accomplished' banners or walks through Baghdad markets to know that Iraq's leaders have not made the political progress that was the stated purpose of the surge. The American people don't want any more false promises of progress, they deserve a real debate about a war that has overstretched our military, and cost us thousands of lives and hundreds of billions of dollars without making us safer.

Curt at Flopping Aces calls Obama out on his B.S. rhetoric of uniting both parties when he can't even arrange to meet the troops with his Republican contender. No doubt the Maverick painted Obama into a corner on this one, and Obama decided the least damage would be done by appeasing to his anti-war base and remaining in his ignorant bliss of surrender. The left are trying to spin it as some kind of genius move, but its a predictable, typically pathetic weasel move we have come to expect from the coward.

Allah Pundit:
If they're worried about the military giving them a dog-and-pony show, the answer isn't to decline the trip but to counterpropose a more comprehensive trip than even McCain's suggesting and turn it into a real fact-finding mission. Don't spend two hours looking at charts with Petraeus. Take four or five days; go to Basra and Mosul. If they simply can't suspend campaigning for that long, send a joint team of advisors from both sides. He won't do it because he's afraid of what he might hear, which goes back to a point I've been making ever since the Jamil Hussein saga: The left would have you believe Iraq hawks can't admit that any aspect of the war might be going badly, but the opposite has always been more nearly true.


McCain crushes Obama's foreign policy direction like an eggshell

Today John McCain employed everything but brass knuckles and a two-by-four on Barack Obama's egregious attempts at "foreign policy"
"Senator Obama said the war was lost. Senator Obama said we had to have a specific withdrawal as soon as possible which would have been chaos, genocide, increased Iranian influence; Al-Qaeda restoring much of their strategy; Shiite-Sunni conflicts and we would have to come back." "We are succeeding. Every indicator showed that the surge strategy has succeeded. Senator Obama was wrong in wanting to surrender. And, I will never surrender."

You gonna put some ice on that?
"Senator Obama has consistently offered his judgment on Iraq, and he has been consistently wrong. He said that General Petraeus' new strategy would not reduce sectarian violence, but would worsen it. He was wrong. He said the dynamics in Iraq would not change as a result of the 'surge.' He was wrong. One year ago, he voted to cut off all funds for our forces fighting extremists in Iraq. He was wrong. Sectarian violence has been dramatically reduced, Sunnis in Anbar province and throughout Iraq are cooperating in fighting al Qaeda in Iraq, and Shi'ite extremist militias no longer control Basra -- the Maliki government and its forces do."

Now that's gonna leave a bruise.
On Sunday, Sen. Lindsey Graham, one of McCain's closest friends, suggested on CBS' "Face the Nation" that the two travel to Iraq together. Asked about the idea today, McCain said sure. "Sure it would be fine. I go back every few months because things are changing in Iraq," he told the Associated Press in an interview. "I would also seize that opportunity to educate Sen. Obama along the way."

McCain also used the opportunity to criticize Obama for not visiting Iraq since 2006. "If there was any other issue before the American people and you hadn't had anything to do with it in a couple of years, I think the American people would judge that very harshly," McCain said. "He really has no experience or knowledge or judgment about the issue of Iraq."

Medic! We've got a bleeder! Add these mistakes to the lengthy list of Obama boners and you could have a McCain TKO before the race has even begun.


Another Jew-hating advisor

Zbig is of course Polish and antisemitism has long been rampant in Poland

A story on Zbigniew Brzezinski from the Telegraph:
Mr Brzezinski said "it's not unique to the Jewish community - but there is a McCarthyite tendency among some people in the Jewish community", referring to the Republican senator who led the anti-Communist witch hunt in the 1950s. "They operate not by arguing but by slandering, vilifying, demonising. They very promptly wheel out anti-Semitism. There is an element of paranoia in this inclination to view any serious attempt at a compromised peace as somehow directed against Israel." Although Mr Brzezinski is not a formal day-to-day adviser and stressed he doesn't speak for the campaign, he said that he "talks to" Mr Obama. He endorsed the Illinois senator, lauding him as "head and shoulders" above his opponents. He said that he was the only candidate who understood "what is new and distinctive about our age". In turn, Mr Obama has praised Mr Brzezinski as "someone I have learned an immense amount from" and "one of our most outstanding scholars and thinkers".

I have no doubt that Obama's staff will rush forward to declare, as they have before, that Brzezinski is only a informal adviser. But the question remains why Obama has had a retinue of advisors (both formal and not) like Brzezinski, McPeak, and Malley who hold views so antithetical to Obama's supposedly unassailable record and views on Israel. You can understand how rational voters, Jewish or not, would conclude that something is amiss and wonder why Obama does not disassociate himself entirely from these people. But no, those Jews are just hung up on Obama's name and the phony emails about Obama's Muslim upbringing. That must be it.



Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Memorial Day: A Contrast

Barack Obama must be the most gaffe-prone politician in memory. Today, he delivered a Memorial Day speech in New Mexico. After greeting the local Democratic Party dignitaries, he began:
On this Memorial Day, as our nation honors its unbroken line of fallen heroes -- and I see many of them in the audience here today -- our sense of patriotism is particularly strong.

Memorial Day honors those who have died in our nation's military service. Is it possible that Obama does not know this? Sometimes the things that come out of his mouth defy understanding.

What was really offensive about Obama's New Mexico appearance, however, was what followed his very brief, but generally appropriate, tribute to America's war dead. He continued with a town hall-style question and answer period that cast veterans in the only role with which the Democrats are comfortable--victims--and sought to politicize the holiday. ....

All in all, a shameful performance. President Bush, meanwhile, gave a moving Memorial Day speech--not a partisan stemwinder--at Arlington National Cemetery. You can read his speech, and watch a video of it, here. The contrast is not, to put it politely, favorable to Obama.

More here

Barack Obama Continues to Blame America First

The more you get to know Barack Obama, the more you get to know that he is just another typical Leftist who blames America first for all of the world's problems.

It's not the fault of Hamas terrorists, or the Iranian regime, or Marxist Hugo Chavez. It's is the fault of George Bush and America that these extremists have kept their word and continued their extremist agendas.

Barack Obama on the dangerous Islamic regime in control of Iran:
"[Bush and Republican nominee John McCain have] got to answer for the fact that Iran is the greatest strategic beneficiary of our invasion of Iraq. It made Iran stronger, George Bush's policies," he said.

Barack Obama on the dangerous Islamic terrorists in control of Gaza:
"He blamed Bush's policies for enhancing the strength of terrorist groups such as Hamas..."

Barack Obama on the radical Marxist in control of Venezuela:
Since the Bush Administration launched a misguided war in Iraq, its policy in the Americas has been negligent toward our friends, ineffective with our adversaries, disinterested in the challenges that matter in peoples' lives, and incapable of advancing our interests in the region. No wonder, then, that demagogues like Hugo Chavez have stepped into this vacuum.

(Barack Obama says this as he continues to attack America's staunch ally in South America, Colombia.) Barack Obama is sounding more and more like the last America and Israel hater who sat in the White House.


Gloom and Doom?

By Victor Davis Hanson

When Barack Obama talks about avoiding the "money culture" and the lifestyle of suits and big houses, there is nothing per se wrong with such a call to public service.

By the same token, he makes many fine points in his frequent recitals of U.S. history in which the Underground Railroad, the freedom riders, women suffragists, and icons of the civil-rights movement figure prominently.

The problem is different and twofold: First, in almost every allusion to our collective past there is mention of reform and protest, all of it needed of course. But after a while, whether inadvertently or not, our only heroes become those who found the system wanting and took it on. Yet there were many other elements of the system that are responsible for our current freedom and prosperity, and plenty of wonderful Americans outside of social activism.

At some point as he continues to offer us primers on our past, Obama should also include men and women of genius who were not social activists, whether an Edison and Bell, people of action and courage like Lewis and Clark or Lindbergh, political figures such as Teddy Roosevelt, and military heroism at places like Gettysburg, the Meuse-Argonne, Okinawa, Chosun, or Hue.

Otherwise the aggregate effect is Carteresque - more lectures about the old gloom and doom, and more reminders that the unique Americans of the past were only those who followed paths of activism - not surprisingly like those claimed as well by Obama himself.

Second, this is especially important for Obama who now emerges out of Chicago and Illinois politics onto a national stage, and must shed dubious figures like a Wright or Ayers, who clearly are on record as seeing their country as largely pathological.

When one combines Michelle's "pride" speeches and asides about a "mean" country, and Obama's own call for more "oppression studies" in our schools, then the need to remind Americans of concrete examples of our exceptionalism, of good works, and of men and women of singular accomplishment becomes even greater.

Otherwise by summer, each time he evokes American history, millions of Americans are going to wince, tired of either a sermon from a very materially successful person on the evils of, well, being very materially successful - coupled with the same old, same old race/class/gender take on American history that leaves out much of what was good and noble and led to our own fortunate circumstances.

And it doesn't help that the once forgotten Carter of the past is no longer building houses for the poor, but once again quite prominent on the political scene, de facto shilling for Obama, meeting Hamas and Syria, and in his 1970s-mode once more lecturing the world on the misdemeanors past and present of his own wonderful country, while quiet about the felonies of repugnant others.


McCain invites Obama to Iraq

Republican presidential nominee-in-waiting John McCain has offered to take his likely Democractic counterpart Barack Obama to Iraq to "educate him" on the real situation there. Senator McCain has said Senator Obama has not been to Iraq in more than two years, since before the so-called troops surge announced by President George W. Bush at the start of 2007. He has said the country has been transformed since then and Senator Obama cannot have a credible policy on Iraq unless he returns there to see the improvements in security.

"Look at what happened in the last two years since Senator Obama visited and declared the war lost," Senator McCain has told the Associated Press. "He really has no experience or knowledge or judgment about the issue of Iraq and he has wanted to surrender for a long time." "If there was any other issue before the American people, and you hadn't had anything to do with it in a couple of years, I think the American people would judge that very harshly."

Senator McCain supports a long-term US military commitment in Iraq, but Senator Obama wants to start withdrawing troops. The Republican candidate once spoke of a "100-year" deployment, but later claimed he was just using the figure to make the point that he was thinking many years ahead. A supporter of Senator McCain floated the idea of a joint visit over the weekend. On cue, Senator McCain said he was supportive of the idea. "I would also seize that opportunity to educate Senator Obama along the way," he said.

Iraq policy is shaping up as one of the key battlegrounds between the two sides in the November general election. Polls show most Americans oppose the war and its handling by Mr Bush. Senator McCain, a former PoW, will seek to run as the national security candidate and paint Senator Obama as too inexperienced for the top job.

But before he deals with that, Senator Obama must fight his way past Hillary Clinton to formally claim the Democractic nomination. She too is painting him as too inexperienced to be trusted with the presidency. A spokesman for Senator Obama did not directly accept or decline Senator McCain's offer.


The Candidates' Communist Connections

Senator McCain's communist connections consist of bombing the communists during the Vietnam War and then being shot down, badly injured, captured, and tortured by them. On the other hand, Senator Barack Obama was mentored by an identified Communist Party member in Hawaii who had functioned as a Stalinist agent. That was before Obama developed cordial relationships with communist terrorists who openly supported the communist regime that tortured McCain and killed 58,000 of our fellow Americans.

Can we have some coverage of the contrast between the two candidates on Memorial Day? It's not just a matter of McCain serving in the military and Obama not doing so. It's a matter of which side they were on.

McCain was on the American side during the Vietnam War. He personally risked his life and carried out the U.S. policy of resisting the communist military conquest of South Vietnam. Obama had friendly associations with those who had been on the other side and they helped launch his political career in Chicago. Obama can't solve this problem by occasionally wearing an American flag lapel pin.

Keep in mind that we are not talking about associating with those who simply opposed U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War. Obama's friends, such as Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn, cheered for a communist victory and visited Havana, Cuba and Hanoi, North Vietnam to bring that about. Like his comrades in the communist Students for a Democratic Society, Tom Hayden of "Progressives for Obama" wrote a letter urging a communist military victory over the U.S. These were people who actually supported the enemy.

In the case of Frank Marshall Davis, Obama's childhood mentor, we are dealing with someone who was on the communist side long before the Vietnam War. Davis supported Stalinist Russia even after the Hitler-Stalin pact. This relationship may help explain why Obama would leave Hawaii, associate with Marxist professors and attend socialist conferences in college (as he admits in his book, Dreams From My Father), and then associate with terrorists, communists, and socialists in Chicago, where he would launch his political career. Davis was a key influence over the young Obama, filling his head with anti-American thoughts.

Thanks to Joseph Farah's WorldNetDaily and his excellent reporter, Jerome R. Corsi, many people are learning the basic facts about these relationships. Corsi covered the release of two reports on the subject through my America's Survival, Inc. organization.

At our event, an audience member wondered what the media reaction would be if it were discovered that a Republican presidential candidate had been mentored by a Nazi or fascist during his growing-up years. You and I know that it would be enough of a story that the candidate would be forced from the race. The candidate would be peppered with questions about this relationship at every turn. Reporters would be scrambling to dig up more details about this relationship.

But rather than focus on Davis, some in the liberal media are making fun of McCain's war injuries. Brent Baker reveals that, during a report on the release of McCain's medical records, Dr. Jon LaPook asserted on CBS News that "people" notice that McCain is "not able to raise his arm" and think "doesn't that look funny?" Baker asked, "Who thinks McCain's limitation, caused by an attack on him after his plane crashed in North Vietnam and he was denied medical care, looks funny? In what circles does CBS's doctor travel?" The answer, of course, is the circle of Obama's friends, where veteran correspondent Linda Douglass has now ended up. She has taken a job as a press secretary and adviser to Obama and previously worked for CBS News, ABC News, and National Journal.

Significantly, the basic facts of the Obama-Davis relationship were originally disclosed by Professor Gerald Horne, a contributing editor of the Communist Party journal Political Affairs, who talked about Obama coming under the influence of Davis during a speech at the reception of the Communist Party USA (CPUSA) archives at the Tamiment Library at New York University.

Horne, a history professor at the University of Houston, noted that Davis, who had moved to Honolulu from Kansas in 1948 "at the suggestion of his good friend [and secret CPUSA member] Paul Robeson," came into contact with Obama and his family. As Horne describes it, Davis "befriended" a "Euro-American family" that had "migrated to Honolulu from Kansas and a young woman from this family eventually had a child with a young student from Kenya East Africa who goes by the name of Barack Obama, who retracing the steps of Davis eventually decamped to Chicago."

However, in Obama's 1995 book, Dreams from My Father, Frank Marshall Davis was identified only as "Frank." Among other things, according to Obama's own account, "Frank" told him that blacks had a reason to hate and that he should not believe all of that (expletive deleted) about the American way of life.

When one of Senator Hillary Clinton's supporters brought up the issue of Davis's influence over Obama, by circulating an article I had written for AIM about Davis playing the role of Obama's mentor, he was pilloried by the left-wing blogs. The reaction suggests awareness that the role of Davis in the formation of Obama's political views could sink the candidate. They are desperate to keep this information suppressed.

Horne is not the only significant figure to talk about the influence of "Frank" on Obama. Dr. Kathryn Takara of the University of Hawaii, who knew and interviewed Davis and wrote a dissertation on his life and career, confirmed to me that the "Frank" is, in fact, Frank Marshall Davis.

Takara, an Obama supporter, confirmed that Davis was a significant influence over Obama during the three or four years that he attended the Punahou prep school. These would have been the years 1975-1979. She said Obama had been introduced to Davis by his grandfather, Stanley Dunham, who considered Davis a "strong black male figure" and thought he exerted a "positive" influence over the young man in his high-school years.

Asked why she thought Obama didn't identify Davis in his book by his full name, she replied, "Maybe he didn't want people delving into it." She said that this could have had something to do with Davis's lifestyle, rather than his politics. "Frank's was a place where you could have drinks," she said.

Yet, Obama has been open about some things-such as his past drug use. It is difficult to understand why he would not name "Frank" as Frank Marshall Davis simply because "Frank" drank or hosted people who did. It is apparent that Obama covered up his full name because of the notoriety surrounding Davis's political views. Remember this was a black communist who stayed with the CPUSA even while others, such as Richard Wright and Langston Hughes, broke with it.

So how long will Obama's cover-up persist?

There are many in the liberal and conservative media who want desperately to avoid this subject. The liberals want to protect Obama. The "conservatives" avoiding the subject don't want to be accused of "McCarthyism" if they mention it. But thanks to Farah's WorldNetDaily and other new media outlets, the story is coming out and won't be ignored.



Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Obama As Millennialist Aspiration

We live in an age of Millennial aspirations. Everywhere you look you can see signs of widely disparate groups of people who believe they are living in an age where established norms will be destroyed by this or that newly arisen force. This can take the usual religious overtone, as witnessed by the Left Behind devotees, but we are increasingly seeing non-religious forms of Millennialism play out even in the main stream press. In my local paper today I was treated to a dead serious take by the AP on survivalists up in the mountains:
On the Web site, where upward of 800 people gathered on recent evenings, believers engage in a debate about what kind of world awaits. Some members argue there will be no financial crash, but a slow slide into harder times. Some believe the federal government will respond to the loss of energy security with a clampdown on personal freedoms. Others simply don't trust that the government can maintain basic services in the face of an energy crisis.

The powers that be, they've determined, will be largely powerless to stop what is to come. Determined to guard themselves from potentially harsh times ahead, Lynn-Marie and her husband have already planted an orchard of about 40 trees and built a greenhouse on their 7 1/2 acres. They have built their own irrigation system. They've begun to raise chickens and pigs, and they've learned to slaughter them.

The couple have gotten rid of their TV and instead have been reading dusty old books published in their grandparents' era, books that explain the simpler lifestyle they are trying to revive. Lynn-Marie has been teaching herself how to make soap. Her husband, concerned about one day being unable to get medications, has been training to become an herbalist.

By 2012, they expect to power their property with solar panels, and produce their own meat, milk and vegetables. When things start to fall apart, they expect their children and grandchildren will come back home and help them work the land. She envisions a day when the family may have to decide whether to turn needy people away from their door. "People will be unprepared," she said. "And we can imagine marauding hordes."

So can Peter Laskowski. Living in a woodsy area outside of Montpelier, Vt., the 57-year-old retiree has become the local constable and a deputy sheriff for his county, as well as an emergency medical technician. "I decided there was nothing like getting the training myself to deal with insurrections, if that's a possibility," said the former executive recruiter.

While you are contemplating who would win the iron cage death-match between "marauding hordes" and "executive recruiters," notice how this type of thing has come a long way from the "raving loon" territory it would have been consigned to just a few years ago. As a society we seem to be more willing to entertain such Millennial fantasies, whether it be the belief in "peak oil" or in some "anthropogenic global warming tipping point," that will in effect destroy the Western world as we know it.

Now, part of this might be baby boomer nostalgia for the days when the nuclear holocaust was always due "any day now, so you'd better learn to Duck & Cover," and while it is certainly a horrible prospect it did assign a level of importance to the generation(s) destined to live through it. Sure, they actually lived lives of suburban contentment, but Jimmy's dad down the street was building a bomb shelter in the basement which was something the boring schmucks growing up in the 1910's or 1920's never got to witness. So, the baby boomers considered themselves to be the first (and only) generation living in a state of near perpetual existential angst. As such they created a mythology of their own "specialness" that seems destined to govern the broadcasting decisions of PBS for decades to come.

So, it shouldn't come as a great surprise that such folk view damn near everything that effects them as being "unprecedented" in some important way. For that reason, history has no lessons to teach them. "Those are the old rules!" they protest, "Everything is different now." And how exactly do they know that? Well, it seems to be taken as axiomatic. It also seems to be a belief the boomers have successfully transfered to the present college age generation who seem similarly convinced of their own "specialness." Take the efforts of E. J. Dionne:
Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne Jr. predicted in his commencement address to Wake Forest University's 2008 graduating class that they are part of a group that will become the next "greatest generation." Dionne's comments garnered an enthusiastic response from the crowd of about 15,000 people

They were willing to applaud praise of themselves for their soon to be revealed greatness? How noble and selfless of them! Dionne is at least up front about his Millennialism, and he enlists that great prophet, uh.I mean president, FDR for support:
Dionne explained that he drew the title of his address, "The Reform Generation and History's Mysterious Cycle," from a speech Franklin D. Roosevelt gave at the 1936 Democratic National Convention, at which Roosevelt said "There is a mysterious cycle in human events. To some generations much is given. Of other generations much is expected. This generation of Americans has a rendezvous with destiny."

"I believe those words apply more truly to your generation than to any other since FDR addressed them to what came to be known as the greatest generation," Dionne said.

Yes, the generation that was forced to live through the horrors of the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl is the perfect analogy for this generation which was forced to live through the horrors of Paris Hilton and Brittany Spears.

One is left with the impression that much of the baby boomer "specialness" is little more than a defensive reflex to hearing their parents drone on about how rough they had it during the depression or WWII. The historical truth is moments like the Great Depression or World War II are unique in their import and their impact. Not every generation is going to see the like. (I wonder if the generation that came immediately after the 30 Years War in Europe reacted the same way.)

So you are left with a group of people whose very self worth is bound up with an overwhelming need for a heroic quality. Thus, their wants and desires are not just the expression of their ego, it is the spirit of the age! And, it isn't just any chronological age. It marks, so the good little Hegelians tell us, the beginning of a new epoch in humanity, for good or ill. Its a psychology tailor made for Millennial thought.

Such thinking dominates not only in the desire for catastrophism of various kinds, but also in more mundane political considerations. Historian Sean Wilentz picks up a good deal of this in the current beliefs infusing Obama supporters:
With her overwhelming victory in Kentucky on May 20, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton has completed her sweep of the crucial primary states adjoining the Ohio River - and the fight for the Democratic nomination has entered its final phases. Having picked up a net gain of nearly 140,000 votes between Kentucky and Oregon, Clinton is now well poised to win the Puerto Rico primary on June 1 - and clinch a majority in this year's popular vote, even if the disputed returns from Michigan are discounted. Under those pressures, the Barack Obama campaign and its sympathizers have begun to articulate much more clearly what they mean by their vague slogan of "change" - nothing less than usurping the historic Democratic Party, dating back to the age of Andrew Jackson, by rejecting its historic electoral core: white workers and rural dwellers in the Middle Atlantic and border states.

Without a majority of those voters, the Democrats have, since the party's inception in the 1820s, been incapable of winning the presidency. The Obama advocates declare, though, that we have entered an entirely new political era. It is not only possible but also desirable, they say, for Democrats to win by turning away from those whom "progressive" pundits and bloggers disdain variously as "Nascar man," "uneducated," "low information" whites, "rubes, fools, and hate-mongers" who live in the nation's "shitholes."

It is this fervent belief that the rules of the political game will change for them merely because of the force of their generational personality that is driving the Obama moment. It is essentially the same idea that enabled the boomers to walk blindly into the Democratic electoral disasters of 1968 and 1972. It is also the same force which precludes Obama supporters from learning from that history in the first place. Wilentz sums it up nicely:
In every presidential election they have won, the Democrats have solidified their historic link to white workers, not dismissed them. Obama and the champions of a new party coalition appear to think that everything has suddenly changed, simply because of the force of their own desires. In any event, Obama had shown no ability thus far to attract the one constituency that has always spelled the difference between victory and defeat for the Democratic Party. The party must now decide whether to go along with Obama and renounce its own heritage - and tempt the political fates.

The fact is Millennialism is about embracing opposites. Just like their Chistian analogues, they not only accept a positive view of their destiny (the "Reformist Future" as "Second Coming"), but they also embrace a negative one akin to Armageddon. For many of these zealots, they would rather walk with righteous fervor into an electoral buzz-saw than bow to the practical necessities of political reality. Ordinary people would take such repudiation as a signal that their beliefs were misplaced, but we are not dealing with ordinary people. They will tell you so themselves.


Obama fills a need for religion

By Kathleen Parker

Much has been made of the religious tenor of Barack Obama's presidential campaign. Reports of women weeping and swooning - even of an audience applauding when The One cleared his proboscis (blew his nose for you mortals) - have become frequent events in the heavenly realm of Obi-Wan Obama. His rhetoric, meanwhile, drips with hints of resurrection, redemption and second comings. "We are the ones we've been waiting for," he said on Super Tuesday night. And his people were glad.

Actually, they were hysterical, the word that best describes what surrounds this young savior, and that may be more apt than we imagine. The word is derived from the Greek hystera, or womb. The ancient Greeks considered hysteria a psychoneurosis peculiar to women caused by disturbances of the uterus. Well, you don't see any men fainting in Obi's presence.

Barack Obama has many appealing qualities, not least his own reluctance to be swaddled in purple. Nothing quite says "I'm only human" like whipping out a hankie and blowing one's nose in front of 17,000 admirers. The audience's applause was reportedly awkward, as if the crowd was both approving of anything their savior did, but a little disappointed at this rather ungodly behavior.

So what is the source of this infatuation with Obama? How to explain the hysteria? The religious fervor? The devotion? The weeping and fainting and utter euphoria surrounding a candidate who had the audacity to run for leader of the free world on a platform of mere hope?

If anthropologists made predictions the way meteorologists do, they might have anticipated Obama's astronomical rise to supernova status in 2008 of the Common Era. Consider the cultural coordinates, and Obama's intersection with history becomes almost inevitable.

To play weatherman for a moment, he is a perfect storm of the culture of narcissism, the cult of celebrity, and a secular society in which fathers (both the holy and the secular) have been increasingly marginalized from the lives of a generation of young Americans. All of these trends have been gaining momentum the past few decades. Social critic Christopher Lasch named the culture of narcissism a generation ago and cited addiction to celebrity as one of the disease's symptoms - all tied to the decline of the family. That culture has merely become more exaggerated as spiritual alienation and fatherlessness have collided with technology (YouTube, Facebook, MySpace, etc.) that enables the self-absorption of the narcissistic personality.

Grown-ups with decades under their double chins may have a variety of reasons for supporting Obama, but the youth who pack convention halls and stadiums as if for a rock concert constitute a tipping point of another order. One of Obama's TV ads, set to rock 'n' roll, has a Woodstock feel to it. Text alternating with crowd scenes reads: "We Can Change The World" and "We Can Save The Planet." Those are some kind of campaign promises. The kind no mortal could possibly keep, but never mind. Obi-Wan Obama is about hope - and hope, he'll tell you, knows no limits.

It is thus no surprise that the young are enamored of Obama. He's a rock star. A telegenic, ultra-bright redeemer fluent in the planetary language of a cosmic generation. The force is with him.

But underpinning that popularity is something that transcends mere policy or politics. It is hunger, and that hunger is clearly spiritual. Human beings seem to have a yearning for the transcendent - hence thousands of years of religion - but we have lately shied away from traditional approaches and old gods. Thus, in post-Judeo-Christian America, the sports club is the new church. Global warming is the new religion. Vegetarianism is the new sacrament. Hooking up, the new prayer. Talk therapy, the new witnessing. Tattooing and piercing, the new sacred symbols and rituals. And apparently, Barack Obama is the new messiah.

Here's how a 20-year-old woman in Seattle described that Obama feeling, "When he was talking about hope, it actually almost made me cry. Like it really made sense, like, for the first, like, whoa . . ." This New Age glossolalia may be more sonorous than the guttural emanations from the revival tent, but the emotion is the same. It's all religion by any other name. Whatever the Church of Obama promises, we should not mistake this movement for a renaissance of reason. It is more like, well, like whoa.


Obama's DOCUMENTED LIES: 50 and still growing

Post below recycled from Atlas. See the original for links

50 Obama claimed he had never prayed in a Mosque; his campaign had to retract that statement
49 Obama dishonestly used third party comments in his ads to pump up his healthcare plan
48 Claims he never discussed politics with Pastor; rebutted by photo of Obama with team of lobbyists led by Wright
47 Obama, an expert at parsing words, claimed he wasn't familiar with the word "Clintonian"; then changed his story
46 Despite reeking of cigarettes, Obama denied smoking to ABC; now admits smoking on MSNBC
45 Obama said he'd meet unconditionally with Leader of Iran: now claims he "didn't have Ahmadinejad in mind"
44 Obama claims he is using public financing to avoid special interests: WSJ nails his switcheroo
43 Obama's rhetoric claims more young black men in jail than college: BoJ Stats disprove
42 Claims he never said he was a proponent of single-payer universal healthcare; Video proves he did
41 Obama claims remarks to industrialists were greeted with silence, shows he can deliver tough message: video of ovation
40 Obamas claim you dont rip opponents & leave on roadside:he did to Alice Palmer
39 Obama denies saying Indiana could be tie-breaker: he did
38 Obama omits that Pastor Wright led divestiture campaign from Israel
37 Obama claims Church not controversial; he lied since 86
36 Lied about intention of taking US out of NAFTA
35 Obamas claim poverty growing up: both distort reality
34 Obama denies meeting Saddam's Auchi; sworn Fed. witness places Obama at undisclosed party for Auchi at Rezkos
33 Obama lies about not attacking Clinton over her Bosnia lies
32 Obama claims he passed ethics reform; ABC News shows he lied
31 Obama says he's consistently opposed NAFTA; in October 2007 he supported expansion to Peru
30 Obama claims he's above dirty political tricks; Clinton proves he lies
29 Obama claims his "bitter" remarks were mangled; then repeats attacks on guns religion and angry people
28 Obama stated he'd stopped wearing flag pin on chest; now denies saying it, but video proves he is lying
27 Obama says he did no favors for Rezko;untrue; he lobbied for him
26 Changes story repeatedly re Rezko's help in buying mansion
25 Obama claims he never supported a ban on handguns; he has twice
24 Obama claims stays at UCC as Pastor acknowledged comments were inappropriate; Wright never made this statement
23 Campaign is beholden to "only the people" as unlike McCain/Clinton he does not take lobbyist /PAC money; LIES!
22 Claims campaign never called Canada to say Obama not truthful re wanting leave NAFTA; smoking gun memo proves lied
21 Mrs Obama admits she's never been proud of America; Video disproves Sen. Obama's later claim she was misquoted
20 Claimed would not run for President
19 Claims famous in Il. for not letting lobbyists even buy him lunch; took from teachers, trial lawyers, hospital admins
18 Claims his parents met at Selma civil rights march; Washington Post noted it occurred 4 yrs after Obama's birth
17 BO claims courageously opposed war in 2002 during US Senate campaign; He did not announce his senate bid until 2003
16 Claims he passes tough Nuclear Law; NYT uncovers he took Nuclear Industry pay-off and watered down the bill
15 Claimed he didn't know Rezko was corrupt when did a real estate deal with him; Chicago papers prove he lied
14 Claims does not accept money from Big Oil: Real Clear Politics proves he lied
13 Denies using his Hopefund PAC to influence endorsers; but the Washington Post reviewed the record and disagreed
12 Claims his State Chair is not a drug company lobbyist; Time magazine cries Bullshit
11 Lies about how much he received in campaign funds from Rezko; forced to significantly increase the amount twice
10 Claims he did not fill out the 1996 candidate questionaire; Politico proves he lied
9 Took credit for achievement of others in Chicago; resume puffing exposed by LA Times
8 Claims he kept no State Senate records; now he changes his story
7 Denies doubling wife's salary was due to becoming US Senator; omits within months he earmarked $1 million for hospital
6 Denied meeting Saddam bagman Auchi; now admits he was at his dinner but does not remember talking to him
5 Denies using his church for politics: IRS disagree
4 Claims he was unaware of Pastor Wrights 911 comments: NYT proves he lied
3 Claims his father was a goat-herd; actually he was a man of privilige
2 Claims not an active muslim as child; Indonesian paper proves he lied
1 Claims father linked to Kennedys; Washington Post proves he lied

Obama misrepresented tie with Palestinian activist?

Claims only 'conversations,' but association includes fundraisers, testimonials

Did Sen. Barack Obama misrepresent his relationship with a pro-Palestinian activist and harsh critic of Israel who has been described as a friend of the senator? During a campaign stop yesterday at a Boca Raton, Fla., synagogue, Obama was asked about his association with Columbia University professor Rashid Khalidi, who has made repeated statements supportive of Palestinian terrorism.

Obama replied: "You mentioned Rashid Khalidi, who's a professor at Columbia. I do know him, because I taught at the University of Chicago. And he is Palestinian. And I do know him, and I have had conversations. He is not one of my advisers; he's not one of my foreign policy people. His kids went to the Lab school where my kids go as well. He is a respected scholar, although he vehemently disagrees with a lot of Israel's policy."

Continued Obama: "To pluck out one person who I know and who I've had a conversation with who has very different views than 900 of my friends and then to suggest that somehow that shows that maybe I'm not sufficiently pro-Israel, I think, is a very problematic stand to take," he said. "So we gotta be careful about guilt by association."

But Obama's relationship with Khalidi goes beyond conversation. Khalidi's ties to Obama were first exposed by WND in February in a widely cited article. According to a professor at the University of Chicago who said he has known Obama for 12 years, the Democratic presidential hopeful befriended Khalidi when the two worked together at the university. The professor spoke on condition of anonymity. Khalidi lectured at the University of Chicago until 2003 while Obama taught law there from 1993 until his election to the Senate in 2004.

Sources at the university told WND that Khalidi and Obama lived in nearby faculty residential zones and that the two families dined together a number of times. The sources said the Obamas even babysat the Khalidi children.

Khalidi in 2000 held what was described as a successful fundraiser for Obama's failed bid for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives, a fact not denied by Khalidi, who spoke to WND in February. As WND reported, an anti-Israel Arab group run by Khalidi's wife, Mona, received crucial funding from a Chicago nonprofit, the Woods Fund, for which Obama served as a board member. In 2001, the Woods Fund, which describes itself as a group helping the disadvantaged, provided a $40,000 grant to Khalidi's Arab American Action Network, or AAAN. The fund provided a second grant to the AAAN for $35,000 in 2002.

Speakers at AAAN dinners and events routinely have taken an anti-Israel line. The group co-sponsored a Palestinian art exhibit, titled, "The Subject of Palestine," that featured works related to what some Palestinians call the "Nakba" or "catastrophe" of Israel's founding in 1948. When Khalidi departed the University of Chicago in 2003, Obama delivered an in-person testimonial at a farewell ceremony reminiscing about conversations over meals prepared by Mona Khalidi.

According to a Los Angeles Times account, Obama said his talks with the Khalidis served as "consistent reminders to me of my own blind spots and my own biases. . It's for that reason that I'm hoping that, for many years to come, we continue that conversation - a conversation that is necessary not just around Mona and Rashid's dinner table," but around "this entire world." Khalidi's farewell dinner was replete with anti-Israel speakers.

More here

David Axelrod, Lobbyist

Obama's been hitting McCain over and over about his ties to lobbyists, so obviously we're all shocked to learn that Obama's chief strategist, David Axelrod, has some seedy lobbying of his own to account for:
When Illinois utility Commonwealth Edison wanted state lawmakers to back a hefty rate hike two years ago, it took a creative lobbying approach, concocting a new outfit that seemed devoted to the public interest: Consumers Organized for Reliable Electricity, or CORE. CORE ran TV ads warning of a "California-style energy crisis" if the rate increase wasn't approved-but without disclosing the commercials were funded by Commonwealth Edison. The ad campaign provoked a brief uproar when its ties to the utility, which is owned by Exelon Corp., became known. "It's corporate money trying to hoodwink the public," the state's Democratic Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn said. What got scant notice then-but may soon get more scrutiny-is that CORE was the brainchild of ASK Public Strategies, a consulting firm whose senior partner is David Axelrod, now chief strategist for Barack Obama.

Trying to "hoodwink the public" on behalf of an energy company? It gets better:
ASK last year proposed a similar "political campaign style approach" to help Illinois hospitals block a state proposal that would have forced them to provide more medical care to the indigent. One part of its plan: create a "grassroots" group of medical experts "capable of contacting policymakers to advocate for our position," according to a copy of the proposal.

Creating front groups to "advocate" (another word for lobbying, I think) against providing health care to the poor, nothing unseemly about that. Axelrod's defense: "I'm not going to public officials with bundles of money on behalf of a corporate client." Yes, it's a whole new kind of politics.



By Jeff Jacoby

On the website of the Tennessee Republican Party is a short video in which residents of Nashville talk about the pride they feel for their country. One man, for example, mentions his esteem for the First and Second Amendments. A Vanderbilt graduate student says he was proud when Ronald Reagan told Mikhail Gorbachev to tear down the Berlin Wall -- "and I was prouder when it came down." A young professional woman extols the "academic and job opportunities that women have in this country." A police officer named Juan says he is proud of having immigrated to the United States, learned English, and become a citizen of this "land of opportunity and the best country in the world."

The video has a point to make, and it does so by alternating these upbeat comments with clips of Michelle Obama telling two different audiences in February: "For the first time in my adult life, I am proud of my country." In an understated press release announcing the video, the state GOP welcomed Mrs. Obama to Nashville and remarked: "The Tennessee Republican Party has always been proud of America."

One would have to have skin of microscopic thinness to take offense at so gentle and indirect a critique. No surprise, then, that Barack Obama took offense, reacting as if his bride had been slimed by slurs akin to those that enraged Andrew Jackson when *he* ran for president. (During the campaign of 1828, supporters of John Quincy Adams maligned Jackson's mother as a "common prostitute" and mocked his adored wife, Rachel, as a "convicted adulteress" and a "strumpet.") In an interview on ABC, Obama growled that Republicans "should lay off my wife," and described the inoffensive Tennessee video as "detestable," "low class," and reflecting "a lack of decency." If Republicans "think that they're going to try to make Michelle an issue in this campaign," he added ominously, "they should be careful."
Ooh, very fierce. But unless Obama is prepared to emulate Jackson -- Old Hickory defended his wife's honor by fighting duels, in one of which he killed a man -- he stands no chance of putting his wife's remarks off-limits to criticism. As long as he keeps sending her around the country to campaign on his behalf, everything she says is -- and should be -- fair game. And unfortunately for Obama and his allegedly sunny politics of hope, what Mrs. Obama seems to say with grim regularity is that America is a scary, bleak, and hopeless place. Here she is, for instance, in Wisconsin:

"Life for regular folks has gotten worse over the course of my lifetime, through Republican and Democratic administrations. It hasn't gotten much better."

And in South Carolina:
America is "just downright mean" and "guided by fear . . . We have become a nation of struggling folks who are barely making it every day."

And in North Carolina:
"Folks are struggling like never before . . . When you're that busy struggling all the time, which most people that you know and I know are, you don't have time to get to know your neighbor . . . In fact, you feel very alone in your struggle, because you feel that somehow it must be your fault that you're struggling so hard . . . People are afraid, because when your world's not right, no matter how hard you work, then you become afraid of everyone and everything, because you don't know whose fault it is, why you can't get a handle on life, why you can't secure a better future for your kids . . . Fear is the worst enemy. It . . . creates this veil of impossibility, and it is hanging over all of our heads."

There is also her creepily authoritarian vision of life under an Obama administration. From a speech in California:
"Barack Obama will require you to work. He is going to demand that you shed your cynicism. That you put down your divisions. That you come out of your isolation, that you move out of your comfort zone . . . Barack will never allow you to go back to your lives as usual -- uninvolved, uninformed."

Michelle Obama is undeniably smart, driven, outspoken, and charismatic. She is also relentlessly negative about life in these United States. True, she is not the one running for president. But she is Barack Obama's closest confidante and adviser; if he is elected, her influence will be considerable. That is why her words matter. And why, whether her husband likes it or not, Michelle Obama is a legitimate issue in this campaign.