Monday, June 30, 2008

Wesley Clark Goes Under The Bus

And he so deserves it.

Obama has frequently spoken of McCain's military record, but the campaign is making a point of it today in light of Clark's comments on Face the Nation (and similar remarks in recent weeks on Morning Joe) that "I don't think riding in a fighter plane and getting shot down is a qualification to be president".

Earlier today, on Morning Joe, Obama spokesman Robert Gibbs distanced the campaign from Gen. Clark's remarks.

*** UPDATE *** Here's a statement from Obama spokesman Bill Burton on Wes Clark's controversial comments about McCain's military service. "As he's said many times before, Senator Obama honors and respects Senator McCain's service, and of course he rejects yesterday's statement by General Clark."


Is this the Granny under the bus???

No wonder she's dreaming, she's unconscious from being run over!

Dreams From His Grandmother

Ten general-election strategies Obama can use to disguise his hard-left views.

By Victor Davis Hanson

I think we are beginning to see the full measure of the Obama general campaign strategy, framed along ten or so key directives that can allow the election of the most leftward candidate in American political history.

So far the candidate himself needs no coaching, inasmuch he has proved to be one of the most pragmatic, flexible, and ambitious figures in recent memory, with superb handlers who understand the challenge of getting such a hard leftist past the suspicious American electorate.

1. “Maturing” Views. Move to the center on as many problematic issues as possible — whether FISA, NAFTA, talking to dictators, the death penalty, etc. Disguise blatant flip-flops by talking about McCain’s changes of heart — such as his opposition to tax cuts eight years ago. And just as dreams of Obama’s father were once essential in cementing his questionable racial bona fides in Chicago, now the thing to do is drop most mention of the African connection, and instead resurrect his grandparents as proof of his more influential midwestern, working-class Americana credentials. Think “Dreams from My Grandmother.”

2. Resort to “Sorta.” Avoid details on any current hot-button issues (so sort of be open to discussion of nuclear and clean coal, and sort of not, sort of getting out pronto from Iraq and sort of not, sort of against gun control and sort of not, etc.). It is always better to “hope and change” an issue, than to get bogged down in details of a topic — such as evoking the banalities “wind, solar and green” than counting barrels of oil saved or produced when talking of the current energy meltdown.

3. “Hope and Change.” Keep to teleprompted set speeches in front of enthusiastic crowds, avoiding as much as possible press conferences, off-the-cuff venting with donors, interviews with neutral correspondents, town halls, and one-on-ones with McCain. These forums only showcase Obama’s inexperience and hubris, and consistently lead to deer-in-the-headlights-pauses, embarrassing “48-states” bloopers, and the voicing of left-wing nostrums — as well as sudden loss of the mellifluous “hope and change” sound patterns, with their Reverend Wright-lite cadences and studied pauses.

4. Outsourcing. Let the sympathetic media defend the more blatant flips like public campaign financing or boasts of meeting McCain “anytime, anywhere.” Outsourced pundits can do a far better job of explaining inconsistencies and placating the netroots than Obama himself. Trust that, for all the left-wing shrillness on the blogs and cable shows, the hungry zealots will prove far more pragmatic than expected — on the unspoken assumption (cf. the inoperative rust-belt populist speeches, the now ancient Rev. Wright contortions, and the long forgotten Gettysburg Race Address) that, once elected, Obama will veer back to the hard left.

5. No Lecturing. Ensure at all costs that Michelle avoids Phil Donahue–like, walk-into-the-crowd, unscripted lectures in front of sympathetic audiences. These are unguarded moments in which her long accustomed and familiar ideological and educational referents, in Pavlovian-syle, spontaneously begin to surface. The public is only one “raise the bar” and “no pride” moment away from a complete turn-off.

6. Lock the Closet Door. Make sure that surrogate watchdogs keep a tight lid on Wright, Pfleger, Rezco, Ayers, and all the other embarrassing Chicago intimates of the last two decades. They are now to be as expendable and irrelevant as they once were central and involved. In case of unforeseen outbursts, adopt the vocabulary of hurt — like “disappointed in” or “disrespected me.”

7.Politics as Usual.” Raise tons of private money at record levels, whether bundled or not, while talking of the evils of politics, lobbyists, and same old, same old big money in Washington.

8. Corral the Mustangs. Weed out or temporarily muzzle hard-left advisers, former generals, professors, and future appointees, occasionally with the qualifier that an aide erred, or the person who sounded off is not the same sober voice Obama once knew.

9. Play the Victim. From time to time, hint about or make explicit mention of race, the exotic middle name, etc., as a way of reminding audiences of the illiberal and racialist mentality of all those who would will surely stoop to such tactics in future attacks.

10. Cue the Swift-Boats. Egg on the 527 third-party hit-men on the Left, like, while preemptively decrying the “swift-boat” tactics to come from non-liberal enemies.

In defense of Obama, his campaign has little choice, and can hardly debate the issues in any depth. While the electorate is tired of two decades of Bush/Clinton and the sleaze of the past Republican spendthrift Congress, it is even more wary of the recent hard-left, do-nothing Democratic congressional majorities and their Carteresque liberal agendas.

In other words, to defend a 60-percent tax bite on top incomes, trillion-dollar new government subsidies and programs, open borders, rejection of the successful anti-terror, post-9/11 protocols, trade protectionism, U.N./EU deference in foreign policy, and stasis on coal, nuclear, and oil drilling, is not necessarily to win a U.S. presidential election — even with a candidate as gifted in set-speeches and as malleable as Barack Obama.

— Victor Davis Hanson is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and a recipient of the 2007 National Humanities Medal and the 2008 Bradley Prize.

National Review Online

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Bill Bennett's Legit Concerns about Barry

10 Concerns about Barack Obama
It's policy.

By William J. Bennett & Seth Leibsohn

1. Barack Obama’s foreign policy is dangerous, naïve, and betrays a profound misreading of history. For at least the past five years, Democrats and liberals have said our standing in the international community has suffered from a “cowboy” or “go-it-alone” foreign policy. While politicians with favorable views of our president have been elected in Germany, Italy, France, and elsewhere, Barack Obama is giving cause to make our allies even more nervous. This past Sunday’s Washington Post reported, “European officials are increasingly concerned that Sen. Barack Obama’s campaign pledge to begin direct talks with Iran on its nuclear program without preconditions could potentially rupture U.S. relations with key European allies early in a potential Obama administration.”

Barack Obama’s stance toward Iran is as troubling as it is dangerous. By stating and maintaining that he would negotiate with Iran, “without preconditions,” and within his first year of office, he will give credibility to, and reward for his intransigence, the head of state of the world’s chief sponsor of terrorism. Such a meeting will also undermine and send the exact wrong signal to Iranian dissidents. And, he will lower the prestige of the office of the president: In his own words he stated, “If we think that meeting with the president is a privilege that has to be earned, I think that reinforces the sense that we stand above the rest of the world at this point in time.” Not only has his stance toward Iran caused concern among our allies in Europe, U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton called it, “Irresponsible and frankly naïve.”

Barack Obama’s position on negotiating with U.S. enemies betrays a profound misreading of history. In justifying his position that he would meet with Iran without precondition and in his first year of office, Barack Obama has said, “That is what Kennedy did with Khrushchev; that’s what Nixon did with Mao; what Reagan did with Gorbachev.”

In reverse order, Ronald Reagan met with no Soviet leader during the entirety of his first term in office, not (ever) with Brezhnev, not (ever) with Andropov, not (ever) with Chernenko. He met only with Gorbachev, and after he was assured Gorbachev was a different kind of Soviet leader — and after Perestroika, not before.

If Barack Obama wants to affiliate with Richard Nixon, that’s certainly his call. But one question: Was Taiwan’s expulsion from the U.N. worth “Nixon to China”? That was the price of that meeting.

As for the Kennedy-Khrushchev summit of 1961, Kennedy himself said “He beat the hell out of me.” As two experts recently wrote in the New York Times: “Paul Nitze, the assistant secretary of defense, said the meeting was ‘just a disaster.’ Khrushchev’s aide, after the first day, said the American president seemed ‘very inexperienced, even immature.’ Khrushchev agreed, noting that the youthful Kennedy was ‘too intelligent and too weak.’ The Soviet leader left Vienna elated — and with a very low opinion of the leader of the free world.”

So successful was the summit that the Berlin Wall was erected later that year and the Cuban Missile Crisis, with Soviets deploying nuclear missiles in Cuba, commenced the following year.

2. Barack Obama’s Iraq policy will hand al-Qaeda a victory and undercut our entire position in the Middle East, while at the same time put a huge source of oil in the hands of terrorists. Barack Obama brags on his website that “In January 2007, he introduced legislation in the Senate to remove all of our combat troops from Iraq by March 2008.” His website further states that “Obama will immediately begin to remove our troops from Iraq. He will remove one to two combat brigades each month, and have all of our combat brigades out of Iraq within 16 months.” This, at the very time our greatest successes in Iraq have taken place. And yet, as Gen. David Petraeus has stated (along with other military experts from Michael O’Hanlon at the Brookings Institution to members of the U.S. military), our progress in Iraq is “fragile and reversible.”

Obama’s post-invasion analysis of Iraq is anything but credible or consistent, leading one to even greater doubt about his strategy as commander-in-chief. When President Bush announced the surge strategy in January 2007, Barack Obama opposed it, saying it “would not prove to be one that changes the dynamics significantly,” and that “the President’s strategy will not work.” Of course, the surge is one of the greatest achievements in Iraq since the initial months of the invasion, and is has reversed much of the loss suffered since the invasion.

Beyond these miscalculations and poor judgment on Iraq strategy, Obama has been anything but consistent on Iraq. For example, the same year (2007) he stated it would be a good idea to bring home the U.S. troops from Iraq within March of 2008, three months later he stated, we should bring them home “immediately…. Not in six months or one year — now.”

3. Barack Obama has sent mixed, confusing, and inconsistent messages on his policy toward Israel. Earlier this month, Barack Obama told an audience at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, “Jerusalem will remain the capital of Israel, and it must remain undivided.” The next day, Obama backtracked, stating: “Obviously, it’s [Jerusalem] going to be up to the parties to negotiate a range of these issues…And Jerusalem will be part of the negotiations.” Later, Obama’s Middle East adviser tried to explain the flipping of positions on Jerusalem by stating Obama did not understand what he was saying to AIPAC: “[h]e used a word to represent what he did not want to see again, and then realized afterwards that that word is a code word in the Middle East.”

Such quick switches of policy may stem from mere inexperience or they may stem from a general tone-deafness on the meaning of words and policy when it comes to the Middle East. After all, earlier this year, a leading Hamas official endorsed Barack Obama stating, “I do believe [Obama] is like John Kennedy, a great man with a great principle. And he has a vision to change America to make it in a position to lead the world community, but not with humiliation and arrogance.” Rather than immediately renouncing such an endorsement, Obama’s chief political strategist, David Axelrod, embraced the endorsement, saying “We all agree that John Kennedy was a great president, and it’s flattering when anybody says that Barack Obama would follow in his footsteps.” Given Barack Obama’s long-standing ties to Palestinian activists in the U.S., one has good cause to wonder.

4. While his Mideast policy may have been the quickest turnaround or flip-flop on a major issue, it is not the only one. In the primary campaign, Barack Obama consistently campaigned against NAFTA, but has now changed his tune, as he has with other issues. During the primary, Obama sent out a campaign flier that said “Only Barack Obama consistently opposed NAFTA,” and called it a “bad trade deal.” He also said NAFTA was “devastating,” “a big mistake,” and in what the Washington Post labeled as a unilateral threat to withdraw from NAFTA, Obama said “I think we should use the hammer of a potential opt-out as leverage.”

No longer. Recently, Barack Obama backtracked on NAFTA and said, “I’m not a big believer in doing things unilaterally.” “I’m a big believer in opening up a dialogue and figuring out how we can make this work for all people.” He explained his primary campaign opposition this way: “Sometimes during campaigns the rhetoric gets overheated and amplified.”

This is of a piece with his further change of position on public campaign financing. As a primary candidate, he touted his support for the public financing of presidential campaigns, but then witnessing his own fundraising prowess, as a general election candidate he has gone the unique route of forswearing the system. As David Brooks put it in the New York Times:

Barack Obama has worked on political reform more than any other issue. He aspires to be to political reform what Bono is to fighting disease in Africa. He’s spent much of his career talking about how much he believes in public financing. In January 2007, he told Larry King that the public-financing system works. In February 2007, he challenged Republicans to limit their spending and vowed to do so along with them if he were the nominee. In February 2008, he said he would aggressively pursue spending limits. He answered a Midwest Democracy Network questionnaire by reminding everyone that he has been a longtime advocate of the public-financing system. But Thursday, at the first breath of political inconvenience, Fast Eddie Obama threw public financing under the truck.

5. Barack Obama’s judgment about personal and professional affiliations is more than troubling. On March 18, after several clips of sermons by his longtime friend and pastor Jeremiah Wright surfaced (showing Wright condemning the United States with vitriolic comparisons and denunciations), Obama defended his friend stating: “I can no more disown him than I can disown the black community. I can no more disown him than I can my white grandmother.” After Rev. Wright delivered two more talks along the same lines as the clips that led to the March 18 speech, Sen. Obama finally denounced Wright the following month, stating: “His comments were not only divisive and destructive, but I believe that they end up giving comfort to those who prey on hate, and I believe that they do not portray accurately the perspective of the black church.” “They certainly don’t portray accurately my values and beliefs,” he said.

It strained credulity to believe Obama was unaware of Wright’s previous rants — especially after a 20-year membership in Wright’s church, especially when in February of last year Obama asked Wright not to attend his campaign announcement because he “could get kind of rough in sermons,” and especially when his church’s magazine honored on its front cover such a man as Louis Farrakhan. Nonetheless, once he ceased being a political asset and turned into a political liability, Obama dumped him.

Jeremiah Wright is, of course, not the only person close to Barack Obama who holds vitriolic anti-American views. Bill Ayers was a founding member of the Weather Underground. According to his own memoir, Ayers participated in the bombings of New York City Police Headquarters in 1970, of the Capitol building in 1971, the Pentagon in 1972. As recently as 2001, Ayers said “I don’t regret setting bombs….I feel we didn’t do enough.’’ When asked if he would engage in such terrorism again, Ayers responded: “I don’t want to discount the possibility.” When confronted with his friendship with Bill Ayers, Barack Obama dismissed the negative connections saying he is also friendly with abortion opponent U.S. Senator Tom Coburn. While Obama has never, himself, discussed his relationship with Ayers, what we do know is that Ayers hosted a fundraiser for Obama in his home and, according to the Los Angeles Times:

Obama and Ayers moved in some of the same political and social circles in the leafy liberal enclave of Hyde Park, where they lived several blocks apart. In the mid-1990s, when Obama was running for the Illinois Senate, Ayers introduced Obama during a political event at his home, according to Obama’s aides….

Obama and Ayers met a dozen times as members of the board of the Woods Fund of Chicago, a local grant-making foundation, according to the group’s president. They appeared together to discuss juvenile justice on a 1997 panel sponsored by the University of Chicago, records show. They appeared again in 2002 at an academic panel co-sponsored by the Chicago Public Library.

6. Obama is simply out of step with how terrorists should be handled; he would turn back the clock on how we fight terrorism, using the failed strategy of the 1990s as opposed to the post-9/11 strategy that has kept us safe. The most recent example is his support for the Supreme Court decision granting habeas-corpus rights to terrorists, including — theoretically — Osama bin Laden. When the 5-4 Supreme Court decision was delivered, Obama said, “I think the Supreme Court was right.” His campaign advisers held a conference call where they claimed the Supreme Court decision was “no big deal” according to ABC News, even if applied to Osama bin Laden, because a judge would find that the U.S. has “ample grounds to hold him.”

In a recent interview, Obama stated: “What we know is that, in previous terrorist attacks — for example, the first attack against the World Trade Center, we were able to arrest those responsible, put them on trial. They are currently in U.S. prisons, incapacitated. And the fact that the administration has not tried to do that has created a situation where not only have we never actually put many of these folks on trial, but we have destroyed our credibility when it comes to rule of law all around the world, and given a huge boost to terrorist recruitment in countries that say, ‘Look, this is how the United States treats Muslims.’”

Ask the legal officials during the 1990s just how cowed terrorists were by our continued indictments against them. Or, witness the bombings at the African embassies, the attack on the USS Cole, or the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. Now, ask yourself why we have not been attacked since 9/11, and, even more specifically, why there have been no successful attacks against American civilian interests abroad since 2004.

7. Barack Obama’s economic policies would hurt the economy. As Kimberly Strassel recently put it in the Wall Street Journal: “Mr. Obama is hawking a tax policy that would take the nation back to the effective marginal tax rates of the Carter days. He wants to further tax income, payroll, capital gains, dividends and death. His philosophy is pure redistribution.”

When Barack Obama speaks of taxing only the wealthy, keep in mind this could have a devastating effect on new small businesses. As Irwin Stelzer has written: “Taxes change behavior. By raising rates on upper income payers, Obama is reducing their incentive to work and take risks. The income tax increase is not all that he has in mind for them. He plans to increase their payroll taxes, the taxes they pay on dividends received and capital gains earned, and on any transfers they might have in mind to their kith and kin when they shuffle off this mortal coil. If the aggregate of these additional taxes substantially diminishes incentives to set up a small business of the sort that has created most of the new jobs in recent decades, the $1,000 tax rebate will be more than offset by the consequences of reduced growth and new business formation.”

8. Barack Obama opposes drilling on and offshore to reduce gas and oil prices. While Barack Obama has opposed off-shore drilling and a gas-tax holiday (as supported by John McCain or Hillary Clinton), his solution to our energy crisis does include additional tax burdens on oil company profits, taxes we can only imagine will be passed on to the consumer, thus causing an even more expensive trip to the gas station. As the New York Times recently detailed, ethanol subsidies are a major plank in Barack Obama’s view of energy independence and national security; the “Obama Camp is Closely Linked with Ethanol,” and “Mr. Obama…favors [ethanol] subsidies, some of which end up in the hands of the same oil companies he says should be subjected to a windfall profits tax.”

9. Barack Obama is to the left of Hillary Clinton and NARAL on the issue of life. As a state senator in Illinois, Barack Obama voted against the Induced Infant Liability Act, a law that would have protected babies if they survived an attempted abortion and were delivered alive. When a similar bill was proposed in the United States Senate, it passed unanimously and even the National Abortion Rights Action League issued a statement saying they did not oppose the law.

10. Barack Obama is actually to the left of every member of the U.S. Senate. According to the National Journal, “Sen. Barack Obama…was the most liberal senator in 2007.” As the magazine reported: “The ratings system — devised in 1981 under the direction of William Schneider, a political analyst and commentator, and a contributing editor to National Journal — also assigns composite scores, an average of the members’ issue-based scores. In 2007, Obama’s composite liberal score of 95.5 was the highest in the Senate. Rounding out the top five most liberal senators last year were Sens. Sheldon Whitehouse (D., R.I.), with a composite liberal score of 94.3; Joseph Biden (D., Del.), with a 94.2; Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.), with a 93.7; and Robert Menendez (D., N.J.), with a 92.8.”

Whom will a man this far left appoint to the Supreme Court?

— William J. Bennett is the host of the nationally syndicated radio show Bill Bennett’s Morning in America. Seth Leibsohn is the show’s producer.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Gimme a C Gimme an H Gimme an E

From the great Cuban-American Babalublog (I've bolded the really good part but maybe you suspect since this is all about Barry)

June 21, 2008

The convoluted logic of Maria Isabel, the Guevara loving Obama precinct captain

You'll remember that Maria Isabel is a Houston area volunteer for the Barack Obama campaign who was interviewed by a local TV station back in February about her volunteer office where she happened to have a Cuban flag hanging on the wall with an image of Che Guevara on it.


It caused quite a scandal and Obama ultimately released a tersely worded statement pointing out the fact that Maria Isabel is not a paid employee of the campaign and that the flag was inappropriate. Obama has never addressed the issue of Guevara himself.

This is important because Maria Isabel isn't an isolated incident. Many liberals and Obama supporters have a favorable opinion of Guevara and that was demonstrated by the 15 user-generated web pages at with quotes from and pictures of Che Guevara. At the time of the incident Maria Isabel didn't want to talk about Guevara or the flag. In fact she walked off an interview with the same station that had previously covered her campaign office.

Well, here we are several months later and Maria Isabel has resurfaced. Morning radio show hosts Enrique and Joe (who once crank called fidel castro) interviewed Maria Isabel. You can listen to the interview here.

What's interesting is how she tries to justify the flag by saying that her father gave it to her to remind her about the suffering of Cuba. She says "tearfully" that the "flag doesn't support fidel castro or Che Guevara. This is some rather convoluted logic. It's like hanging a Nazi flag at a synagogue to remember the holocaust. Note in the picture above that she has the flag right next to an American flag and a peace flag. For her to claim now that she is not an admirer of Che Guevara is incredible in the literal sense of the word.

But when asked why she didn't explain that to the Fox TV reporter she turns the fake waterworks off and explains how the campaign decided to handle the incident. They advised her that she could continue to speak on behalf of the campaign but was "prohibited" from talking about the flag because "what happens, what happens is that is that there are a lot of groups that, well, some people like Che Guevara and other people don't like Che Guevara and that if I appear on television talking about the flag it would cause a lot of distractions." When asked who told her that, she answers flatly, "Barack Obama."

There you have it folks. Barack Obama will NEVER condemn the actions of Che Guevara. It doesn't make sense for him to alienate a large segment of his supporters who believe the fairy tales concocted by Hollywood about the dreamy revolutionary.

Any anti-castro Cuban-American who votes for this guy, who is afraid to tell his supporters what's what, has to be an idiot in my opinion. And that's giving him the benefit of the doubt that he doesn't believe the Guevara myth himself.

H/T: Mikey Machete

Posted by Henry Louis Gomez at June 21, 2008 12:27 PM

Trackback Pings

TrackBack URL for this entry:

The Great Seal of the Obamessiah

Credo Quia Absurdum

I believe because it is absurd.

Barry's White Words

Questions the MSM won't ask Barry

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Obie's Flickering Halo

Hopemonger? Is that like fishmonger?

Obama’s Halo Seriously Flickering

Reformer, hopemonger — and politician. Barack Obama had a choice between keeping his word on public financing or reaping a windfall of hundreds of millions of dollars from unrestrained fund-raising, and in true American fashion, he chose the money. The decision is widely viewed as pragmatic — after all, he's trying to win an election here, not run an exhibition on consistency. But for those dazzled by promises of reform, Obama's reversal has the scales falling from their eyes — a recognition that he is, beneath all the hype, a politician who acts in his best interests.

• The Washington Post editorial board writes that Obama “had an opportunity here to demonstrate that he really is a different kind of politician, willing to put principles and the promises he has made above political calculation,” though they can understand why he didn’t (the money). At the same time, he could have spared us “the self-congratulatory back-patting while … doing it.” [WP ]

• The Boston Globe editorial board contends that Obama’s decision “deals a body blow both to the system of campaign finance and to his own reputation as a reform candidate.” [Boston Globe]

• The USA Today editorial board says that while it’s not a surprise, Obama’s decision “is disappointing nevertheless, particularly for a candidate who claims to be running as a reformer and a different kind of politician.” Obama “is being disingenuous about his reasons for opting out of public financing,” as they were less about the “broken” system (which isn’t really broken) than the huge financial advantage he has over John McCain. [USAT ]

The Wall Street Journal editorial board wonders if this is “the tone of the new postpartisan Obama era,” begun with a “large and telling … flip-flop.” Obama “entered the campaign as a ‘reformer’” and “will no doubt end a half-billion dollars later proclaiming himself to be even more of a reformer.” [WSJ]

• The New York Times editorial board says that Obama has come up short in his vow to “depart from self-interested politics,” and his “description of public financing as ‘broken’ is only half true,” as the system works fine for the general election. [NYT]

• David Brooks argues that “Obama is the most split-personality politician in the country today.” Sure, he’s the high-minded liberal, but he’s also the politician who, “at the first breath of political inconvenience … threw public financing under the truck.” He sold out “the primary cause of his life … with a video so risibly insincere that somewhere down in the shadow world, Lee Atwater is gaping and applauding.” [NYT]

• David Corn claims that Obama “has indeed demonstrated the potential of a new model,” and it’s possible that “his embrace and mastery of small-donor fundraising [is] an indication he is truly a vehicle for change.” [Mojo/Mother Jones]

• Michael Scherer says “there is nothing inherently sinful about Obama's opting out of public financing because he wants to keep his significant fund-raising advantage.” But it’s a problem is he does that while “maintain[ing] at the same time that he is a money-in-politics reformer who is going to do politics differently.” [Swampland/Time ]

• Lynn Sweet writes that “however liberating from special interests it is having millions of donors, it is not the same as taking public financing.” While he justifies his decision based on the “broken” system, “Obama knew the system was broken … all along.” [Chicago Sun-Times] —Dan Amira

Related: Obama Broke His Promise!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Hijab Wearing Muslimahs Go Under The Bus

I call bullshit on this one. Barry knows what he's doing. He knows if we see him with a bunch of smiling muslimahs it will reinforce our concerns that he's of the Umma and not an American at all.

Two Muslim women at Barack Obama's rally in Detroit Monday were barred from sitting behind the podium by campaign volunteers seeking to prevent the women's headscarves from appearing in photographs or on television with the candidate.

The campaign has apologized to the women, all Obama supporters who said they felt betrayed by their treatment at the rally.

"This is of course not the policy of the campaign. It is offensive and counter to Obama's commitment to bring Americans together and simply not the kind of campaign we run," said Obama spokesman Bill Burton. "We sincerely apologize for the behavior of these volunteers."


Monday, June 16, 2008

Hugh Fitzgerald on Barry

There are few thinkers I admire as much as I do Hugh so when he weighs in on our Barry problem, I pay attention.

Fitzgerald: Obama's strategy

Obama's strategy has been to play all of his cards very close to his chest -- not letting his advisers in on quite everything -- and in playing for time. He must have known that eventually the business about Rev. Wright would come out. And come out it did, but only after most of the Democratic primaries were over -- that is, after they could do real damage. And he did not do as well after those revelations as he had before, so his gamble paid off.

It is the same with the mysterious presentation of, or failure to come clean about, Islam in the life of Barack Obama.

He might have said: “Look, I was the son of a man who had himself converted to Islam. That man left my mother when I was two, and had no part in raising me. My mother married (or remarried) another man, this one an Indonesian Muslim, and as a child I lived in Indonesia, and was regarded by the outside world as a Muslim child. I hardly knew what that meant, and it is silly to attribute to me a knowledge of what that might mean, or indeed, a knowledge of the texts and tenets of Islam.

“Yes, I was registered on the books of a Christian-run school, open to all, as a Muslim. Yes, I did attend a Koran class, where I remember only that I made faces to keep alert. And that's about it. As an adult, I have always been a Christian. I regard the Christian message as the right one, or the right one for me. I find it extraordinary that anyone would attempt to attribute to me views I do not have, and views that I doubt I could be said to have had at the age of six, or eight, or ten."

Yes, he could long ago have come clean, just as he could long ago have come clean about Rev. Wright and the theology of Black Liberation, and attempted to distance himself long before he was forced to because others had a tape of Wright and his political opponents were making hay while the sun shines -- and continue, quite rightly, to do so.

Barack Obama and his advisers seem not to realize how potentially troublesome that Muslim background may be. It can mislead Muslims as to where he stands, so that there is overconfidence and miscalculation on their part, based on the notion of their having a "secret friend" and perhaps even co-religionist in the White House. It can also mislead non-Muslim leaders who may be wary of sharing with Obama their apprehensions about, for example, the growing Muslim threat in Europe, and the desirability of a coordinated trans-Atlantic alliance directed at limiting that Muslim threat and depriving Muslims of the weapons they now use to further Jihad: the Money Weapon, and campaigns of Da'wa, and demographic conquest. They might be wary, that is, of sharing those worries and making plans in cooperation with a supposed Leader of the Western World whose true sympathies are not at all clear.

Obama is opposed to the war in Iraq, but his opposition does not appear to be of the right kind. After all, Noam Chomsky and Ward Churchill were also early opponents of the war, and their worldview is a dangerous one. It is clear that Obama has some kind of notion -- he's a sentimentalist like McCain -- that his very being the son of a Kenyan father, and his childhood years spent outside the United States, somehow make him particularly sensitive to, and particularly attractive to, others who would otherwise be unsympathetic to America. It's the kind of thing that puts one in mind of the teacher who choose books for students to read not on the basis of literary merit, but solely on the basis of the racial, ethnic, religious, or other background of the writers.

Barack Obama may be fascinated by his own heritage, and may have all sorts of racial or postracial or transracial considerations that may begin to fascinate others, but at this point, the most important foreign policy question is how to rescue Western Europe, the historic West, from growing and seemingly inexorable islamization. Can someone who looks to Kenya for a genetic memory that he has made much of, and to a few years as a child in Indonesia for what is essentially merely a variant on the sinclair-lewis babbittish "travel-is-so-broadening" idea, be expected to feel keenly what is happening to France, Italy, Great Britain, and all the other countries under assault, and where a new kind of transatlantic alliance is necessary, is indispensable? Will Barack Obama, with his declared interests, background, and affinities, feel this need as keenly as he should, as he must?

Barack Obama's "apostasy" is not the problem. His campaign has stated that he never considered himself to be a Muslim. Those who keep harping on the notion that he was once a Muslim at or around the age of ten, and that he must admit to this, are setting themselves up for ridicule. What is worrisome is not that he was once a Muslim, or still more absurdly, considered to be a "secret Muslim," but that he is ignorant of Islam. He has not made any effort to investigate it, and may be sentimental about it, based on personal history: his desire to identify with his absentee Kenyan father, the fact that his mother's second husband was also a Muslim; his childhood experience in Indonesia, which may make him think he knows something about Islam but was as idiosyncratic and unrepresentative an experience of Islam -- as was that "experience of Islam" that a much older, but not wiser, Ambassador Paul Wolfowitz had when he was the American ambassador in Indonesia. Like Obama, Wolfowitz did not understand what Islam was about, and took his experience there -- with everyone trying to woo and win him ("yes, we really hope to establish diplomatic relations with Israel") -- as normative. This naiveté about Islam was not undone, but was reinforced, by Wolfowitz’s Arab girlfriend. No doubt she is a lady with all the right intentions, but as she was herself a would-be reformer or tamer of Islam, in that very role she offered false hopes, and misrepresented the meaning, and menace, of Islam.

The problem with Barack Obama's supposed Muslim connection is that he has not shown any inclination to ponder the nature of Islam at its essence, and not in the modified unrepresentative form in which he may have, fleetingly and personally, encountered it. And a greater problem is a lack of historical knowledge, and a naiveté (without the viciousness) about the world that rivals that of Jimmy Carter, and a trust in such obviously disturbing "advisers" as the vicious, and naively realpolitiking, Zbigniew Brzezinski.

There's plenty to worry about with Barack Obama and his more-than-sufficient display, so far, of all the wrong foreign-policy instincts, including his dreamy belief that meeting and talking with representatives of Iran would do some good. Some say, what could be the harm in merely meeting and talking? The harm could be great. It would justify, it would dignify, it would give a boost in the minds of its own disaffected subjects, to the Islamic Republic of Iran. It would encoil us in useless, protracted discussions with those who are past masters at deception and deliberate delay, and who treat such meetings not as occasions for the exchange of views that we are expected to believe have not already, and repeatedly, been exchanged, but rather as instruments of war: the propaganda war that Muslims engage in, and we, alas, do not.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Losing My Religion

First appeared in print in The Rhinoceros Times, Greensboro, NC
By Orson Scott Card May 25, 2008

Obama's Real Religion

In all the flap about Obama's reckless comments about Iran, Cuba, and Venezuela not posing a threat to the U.S. because they're small and spend less on their military than we do, one statement he made has gone virtually unnoticed.

Yes, it's important to realize that we have a presidential candidate who actually believes that the Soviet Union once told the U.S. "We're going to wipe you off the planet" (they never did).

Is it as important as Gerald Ford's gaffe when he declared that Poland was a free country -- back when it was under Russian domination? Let's not forget that Gerald Ford lost that election.

And it's disturbing that he seems not to understand that it's Iran's declared willingness to unilaterally initiate nuclear war against a civilian population, for religious reasons, and without regard for retaliation, that makes them a far greater threat than the Soviet Union's vast nuclear power ever was.

But if Obama gets the whole ignorant-of-history-and-world-affairs vote, he'll win by a landslide.

No, what troubles me most is what he said right after that, while campaigning in Oregon: "We can't drive our SUVs and eat as much as we want and keep our homes on 72 degrees at all times ... and then just expect that other countries are going to say OK."

"That's not leadership," Obama declared. "That's not going to happen."

What's not going to happen? Us continuing to drive our SUVs and eat as much as we want and keep our homes at 72 degrees? Or other nations saying OK?

We already know, from Obama's comments at a private meeting with big-pocket donors in San Francisco, that he's an elitist who sneers at the common people who cling to religion and guns because they're bitter about job losses twenty years ago.

But what this statement reveals is that Obama's real religion has nothing to do with Reverend Wright.

Obama is a true believer in the religion of Environmentalism.

Not the science of the environment. Where that science survives, it provides us with a vital service; and it doesn't take any faith to believe in the findings of genuine scientists doing science properly.

No, I'm speaking of the religion. It's not an organized religion (though the U.N. did organize the great testament of faith in the utterly unproven doctrine of human-caused global warming), but neither was the English Puritanism that it so strongly resembles.

But don't take it from me. Take it from Freeman Dyson.

For those who don't know his work, Dyson is a scientist and a great imaginer of possibilities. Half the science fiction of the past thirty years has been based on ideas that Dyson sprays out casually; but the man doesn't believe his own speculations, he remembers clearly the difference between solid science and "cool idea" conversations.

That's what puritan environmentalists have forgotten.

I've actually met Freeman Dyson, at a conference on science, religion, and science fiction held by the Templeton Foundation in London a few years ago.

There were some extremely bright scientists there. I'm not saying that Freeman Dyson was the smartest person in the room. I'm just saying that as long as he was there, I was definitely not the smartest one.

Yet I found him to be a softspoken, genial man who never pontificated, never even spoke critically of other people's ideas.

So it makes it all the more impressive -- to me at least -- that in a recent review in the New York Review of Books, he wrote the following paragraphs that refer specifically to the Religion of Environmentalism:

"All the books that I have seen about the science and economics of global warming ... miss the main point. The main point is religious rather than scientific.

"There is a worldwide secular religion which we may call environmentalism, holding that we are stewards of the earth, that despoiling the planet with waste products of our luxurious living is a sin, and that the path of righteousness is to live as frugally as possible.

"The ethics of environmentalism are being taught to children in kindergartens, schools, and colleges all over the world.

"Environmentalism has replaced socialism as the leading secular religion. And the ethics of environmentalism are fundamentally sound. Scientists and economists can agree with Buddhist monks and Christian activists that ruthless destruction of natural habitats is evil and careful preservation of birds and butterflies is good.

"The worldwide community of environmentalists -- most of whom are not scientists -- holds the moral high ground, and is guiding human societies toward a hopeful future. Environmentalism, as a religion of hope and respect for nature, is here to stay. This is a religion that we can all share, whether or not we believe that global warming is harmful.

"Unfortunately, some members of the environmental movement have also adopted as an article of faith the belief that global warming is the greatest threat to the ecology of our planet. That is one reason why the arguments about global warming have become bitter and passionate.

"Much of the public has come to believe that anyone who is skeptical about the dangers of global warming is an enemy of the environment. The skeptics now have the difficult task of convincing the public that the opposite is true.

"Many of the skeptics are passionate environmentalists. They are horrified to see the obsession with global warming distracting public attention from what they see as more serious and more immediate dangers to the planet, including problems of nuclear weaponry, environmental degradation, and social injustice.

"Whether they turn out to be right or wrong, their arguments on these issues deserve to be heard." (See

These paragraphs were sent to me by a friend who is seen how much heat I've taken for calling Environmentalism a religion and for pointing out that the claims of human-caused global warming are faith-based rather than science-based. He thought -- correctly -- that I would find it vastly reassuring to know that Freeman Dyson agrees with me.

Right down to the point that I am, in fact, a passionate environmentalist -- but one who thinks that it's the science, not the religion, that will lead us to solutions of real problems.

Barack Obama's comments, however, reveal him to be in the religious-faith category. The Environmental Puritans believe that any opposition to their dogmas is heresy, and that anything that doesn't match their vision of how humans should live is a sin.

Since their vision of how humans should live is "without making any difference in how the world would be without humans," we are all, alas, sinners. However, some are more sinful than others, and the United States is the most sinful of all.

No, not China, because the Environmental Puritans, like the rest of the world, expect America to live by a higher standard than other nations. Fair enough -- we claim to be a special nation, and so we should meet a higher standard.

Still, the Environmental Puritans agree with the ayatollahs on this one point: America is the Great Satan. And Obama echoes that view when he refers to our gasoline consumption, our eating, and our air-conditioning and heating as if they were sins for which we are accountable to the rest of the world.

The conservative ex-Republican in me immediately wants to reply sharply that what we drive, eat, and air-condition is the business of no other nation, and I don't want a president who thinks it is.

In fact, though, it is everybody's business how much petroleum we use up, because we're sucking up a huge portion of the world's supply and when it's all gone, we will have used far more than our share.

It's the tone of his remark that I find repulsive. Because the "eating" part is what gives him away.

We have fed the world, through direct sales of our crops, through American-born technologies, and through the Green Revolution in which American scientists have played a disproportionately strong part.

If we overeat (an arguable concept, by the way; America did not invent obesity, even if we're unusually good at it) it's because we respond to plenty according to the biological imperative of the beast. Those who have a genetic disposition to overeat or to pack on pounds are, in fact, behaving exactly according to our evolutionary nature. So much for their love of nature -- apparently human beings are the only animals forbidden to act according to their evolutionary history.

When Obama says we eat too much -- we, whose surpluses feed so many nations that when we cut back a little on food production in order to make ethanol it causes near famine elsewhere -- what is he suggesting?

Is he saying that, as president, he would put us all on a diet?

Is he going to wave his hand and make people whose genes predispose them to gain weight suddenly have the metabolism of naturally skinny people? Can't wait for that change!

Or is he simply going to ration food, so we don't eat so much? What, exactly, is his solution to the problem of environmentally sinful America?

The problem of our vast overuse of and overdependence on oil is a real one -- and a dangerous one. We fund our worst enemies because we need so much oil; we pollute our environment; and our use of cars kills us at the rate of 835 a week; and we face a devastating economic crisis if we don't have non-petroleum energy sources already in place when the oil ends.

The correct solution to the oil problem, according to the Puritans, is to have fewer humans. Now, I haven't noticed them volunteering to lessen the population starting with themselves; nor have I seen their heroes bicycling everywhere (environmental ayatollah Al Gore's plane being a legendary instance).

But they do systematically resist every solution that doesn't involve wrecking the American economy and destroying the American way of life.

No insecticides! But also no genetically altered crops with enhanced resistance to insects and disease!

No coal-fired power plants! But also no clean nuclear plants! (Even though France has proven that standardized nuclear power is safe and relatively cheap.)

Yes, you can build windmill farms -- but you can't put them anywhere.

Solar collectors? Excellent -- but don't put them anywhere, either, because they interfere with the natural ecology -- even in the barest desert. (God forbid that lizards should have more shade.)

Collect solar power in space and beam it to Earth? Fine -- except that you are forbidden to actually receive the power anywhere because it's too dangerous.

Hydroelectric power? Great idea -- except that you can't build a dam anywhere because it transforms a surface environment to an underwater one, which, naturally, annoys the squirrels. Squirrels, being natural nonsinners, take precedence over evil, sinful humans, the only animal that is forbidden to act according to its nature.

Electric cars and public transportation? Great idea -- but not until after we've converted all power plants to non-carbon-emitting fuels. (Never mind that it can only ever happen the other way, converting to electric cars immediately, so they're already in place when the oil runs out or, as I hope, we stop buying it because we've met the need in other ways.)

It's so Calvinist, so Jonathan Edwards. To the environmentalists, the only reason we aren't a spider suspended by God's will over the fires of hell is that spiders are natural and don't deserve to be punished.

We have to do something -- the Environmentalists are right about that. But they are so puritan that there isn't actually anything that you are allowed to do because all the solutions are also sinful.

And if you challenge them on precisely this point, they get a smug, pious expression on their faces and chant their mantras: "sustainable," "renewable." It's just that anything you try to do that is sustainable and renewable, they'll hold up in the courts for years.

Until you finally begin to suspect that the goal of the purest of the puritans is gotterdammerung, apocalypse, the environmental armageddon: The collapse of the world economic order, the abandonment of advanced technology, and the death of nine-tenths of the human race.

Only when we are reduced to half a billion people, or less, will we finally have a chance of being saved -- in the view of the Puritan Environmentalists.

That is the religion whose doctrine Obama is quoting when he says, "We can't drive our SUVs and eat as much as we want and keep our homes on 72 degrees at all times ... and then just expect that other countries are going to say OK."

In point of fact, I don't think Obama really understands the implications of his statement -- any more than he understood what he was saying when he said he'd sit down and talk with Iran, Cuba, and other enemies like Hamas and Hezbollah, or than he knew how clueless he was when he declared that Iran was less of a threat than the Soviet Union because it was smaller.

Nor are Hillary Clinton and John McCain noticeably smarter in the area of environmentalism. They have all swallowed the dogmas of this puritan religion without realizing how little of it is based on science -- and how much of it is openly contradicted by scientific findings, if they would permit themselves to examine it.

But only Obama is reciting the mantras. He seems to have internalized these ideas without ever consulting sources critical of the dogmas. It's hardly a surprise when your research brings you to certain conclusions -- if you only study the writings of the true believers.

Isn't that why fanatical Islamists insist that the only good education is to study the Quran -- and nothing else.

Isn't that why Al Gore invited only true believers in anthropogenic global warming to testify when he held Senate hearings on the subject?

Obama is not a leader of the Environmental Puritans. He's one of the sheep.

But isn't that even scarier?

Here's the odd thing: George W. Bush, in his personal life, in the home he lives in when he's not at the White House, is easily the most environmentally conscious president we've ever had.

But he is excoriated as the personification of environmental evil, because he thinks that maintaining the economy is also important. Puritans don't have to think of real-world consequences. They simply demand perfection.

The frightening thing is that Obama might follow their agenda. The result would be strangulation of the economy without any serious plan for the only alternatives that are known to work -- nuclear power, hydroelectric power, windmill farms -- because they are also "sinful."

If I thought he would translate his beliefs into a program to get our petroleum use down to zero -- a program as intelligently managed and intensive as the ones that created the interstate freeway system and got us to the moon -- then I wouldn't be alarmed.

But the true believers don't want technological solutions. They really don't. They will talk Obama out of any such ideas -- and Obama has shown us that he listens to them -- uncritically, without understanding the real-world implications of their dogmas.

The Environmental Puritan movement is anti-American to the core. You can't follow their advice while being president of the United States -- we don't need an anti-American president.

Mr. Obama, it's a good thing to have plenty to eat, to have vehicles that do the work we need them to do, to have homes and workplaces that are cool in summer and warm in winter. Through all of human history these have been the goals that all have aspired to, and we have achieved them.

The rest of the world imitates or envies us, because we live, technologically, the way they would like to live.

Now we're finding out that the means we've used are finite, exhaustible, and environmentally harmful. It doesn't mean that our achievements are evil. It only means we have to keep searching for alternative methods of continuing to achieve them, and making those same benefits available to everyone.

But you don't get to that goal by declaring that other nations have a right to judge us, and that our achievements are in themselves wrong. If eating, driving, and heating and cooling our buildings are sins to you, you have damned the whole human race.

Let me guess, though, where Obama's thermostat is set. You can't run for president and have people see you sweat.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Barry At AIPAC

Revisiting Obama's Speech to AIPAC

By Rick Richman
Barack Obama's June 4 speech to AIPAC received a favorable initial response, but the more one scrutinizes it, the more troubling it becomes. Here are some of the portions that raised questions, ranging from minor to major:

1. Obama began his speech (the video is here) with something not in his prepared text -- a reference to the need to remember and bring home "the three soldiers still held by Hezbollah." Perhaps it was simply a momentary slip, but it seems strange he did not realize that Gilad Shalit is held by Hamas in Gaza, not by Hezbollah in Lebanon, particularly since Shalit's status has been a key issue in the on-going negotiations over a Gaza truce.

2. More serious was his statement regarding Jerusalem -- and his reversal of it 24 hours later. In a paragraph beginning "Let me be clear," Obama told AIPAC that "Jerusalem must remain undivided." The statement produced a standing ovation. The next day, his campaign decided his statement had to be "clarified." It turned out that, by "undivided," Obama meant that, after the city was divided, there would be no checkpoints between the two sides.

3. Obama's statement to AIPAC that he supported "boycotting firms associated with the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, which has rightly been labeled a terrorist organization" was at best disingenuous. He did not acknowledge he had strenuously opposed the Kyl-Lieberman amendment last September, which called for precisely that policy.

His support at AIPAC for boycotting the Iranian Revolutionary Guard was thus a little late. The month after Kyl-Lieberman passed the Senate (by 76-22, including 29 Democratic votes), the Bush administration designated the Guard as a terrorist organization and subjected it to sanctions under U.S. law and relevant U.N. resolutions, just as the Senate had urged.

At AIPAC, Obama was thus supporting something that (a) had already been done (b) many months before (c) over his objections.

4. The nature of Obama's opposition to Kyl-Lieberman turns out to be instructive. On October 11, 2007, he published a lengthy op-ed in a New Hampshire newspaper about it. In the op-ed, he acknowledged that "[w]e do need to tighten sanctions on the Iranian regime, particularly on Iran's Revolutionary Guard." But he argued "this must be done separately" from Kyl-Lieberman, which he asserted went "out of its way to draw connections between distinct threats" -- the Iraq war and Iran -- and constituted "saber-rattling." He proposed instead "tough and direct diplomacy" with Iran.

It is hard to conceive of a more misleading description of what the Kyl-Lieberman amendment involved.

Kyl-Lieberman set forth seven pages of direct quotations from official sources, including: (a) the September 2007 testimony of Gen. Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker, (b) the August 2007 National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq, (c) the September 2007 Report of the Independent Commission on the Security Forces of Iraq, (d) the September 2007 Defense Department report on Stability and Security in Iraq, and other sources.

Based on those sources, the Senate found that Iran was seeking to use the Guard "to turn the Shi'a militia extremists into a Hezbollah-like force" to "fight a proxy war" against the Iraqi government and the American-led forces in Iraq, and that it was a critical U.S. interest to prevent Iran from turning those extremists in Iraq into such a force. The Senate also concluded that the manner in which the U.S. "transitions and structures" its military presence in Iraq would have critical long-term consequences for the ability of Iran to threaten the security of the region and the prospects for democracy in the region.

In other words, Kyl-Lieberman did not go "out of its way to draw connections between distinct threats." Its findings established instead that Iran was fighting a proxy war against the United States and its interests in Iraq itself.

The Senate also made findings with respect to the efficacy of diplomacy as a solution to the proxy war. Kyl-Lieberman noted that Ambassador Crocker had held three rounds of talks with Iran on Iraq security since May 2007 and had "found no readiness on the Iranians' side at all to engage seriously on these issues." Crocker testified the Iranians "were interested simply in the appearance of discussions, of being seen to be at the table with the U.S. as an arbiter of Iraq's present and future."

In order to get Democratic votes for Kyl-Lieberman, the amendment was stripped of the provisions stating that: (1) U.S. policy should be "to combat, contain, and roll back the violent activities and destabilizing influence inside Iraq of the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran," and (2) such a policy should be backed by the "prudent and calibrated use of all instruments of United States national power in Iraq." In addition, two new findings were added, noting that both Ambassador Crocker and Defense Secretary Gates had endorsed diplomatic and economic means as the preferable approach to dealing with the Iranian challenge.

In other words, not only was Kyl-Lieberman not "saber-rattling," but the faint sound of sabers that had once been in it had been explicitly removed. The only action item left in the amendment when it passed, by an overwhelming margin, was economic sanctions on the Iranian entity seeking to destabilize Iraq.

5. Obama also promised at AIPAC that "I will do everything in my power to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon -- everything." The statement produced another standing ovation, but the repetition of "everything" masked the fact that he was simply pledging a maximum personal effort, not making a presidential commitment to actually achieve that result.

His statement recalled the colloquy during the October 30, 2007 presidential debate, when Tim Russert asked each candidate the same question -- "would you pledge to the American people that Iran will not develop a nuclear bomb while you are president?" -- and Hillary Clinton repeated her talking point three times (emphasis added):

CLINTON: I intend to do everything I can to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear bomb.

RUSSERT: But you won't pledge?

CLINTON: I am pledging I will do everything I can to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear bomb.

RUSSERT: But, they may.

CLINTON: Well, you know, Tim, you asked me if I would pledge, and I have pledged that I will do everything I can to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear bomb.


Compare Obama's promise to do "everything in my power" (echoing Hillary Clinton's pledge to do "everything I can") with John McCain's statement of a national commitment in his February 7, 2008 speech to the Conservative Political Action Committee:

I intend to make unmistakably clear to Iran we will not permit a government that espouses the destruction of the State of Israel as its fondest wish and pledges undying enmity to the United States to possess the weapons to advance their malevolent ambitions.

6. As Obama gave his AIPAC speech, his positions over the past year had been effectively refuted: he had opposed the surge (which has succeeded), opposed imposing economic sanctions under Kyl-Lieberman (but now favored them seven months after they were implemented), and had drawn no adverse conclusions from the fact that Ambassador Crocker's three rounds of negotiations with Iran had been fruitless and counterproductive. Instead, Obama proposed future "tough and principled" negotiations with Iran that would be conducted while the centrifuges continued to whirl, together with a "redeployment" of troops from Iraq.

7. It was that part of Obama's AIPAC speech that was the most troublesome of all. Here is the process of diplomacy with Iran that Obama outlined at AIPAC:

We will open up lines of communication, build an agenda, coordinate closely with our allies, especially Israel, and evaluate the potential for progress. . . .

[W]e will present a clear choice [to Iran]. If you abandon your dangerous nuclear program, support for terror, and threats to Israel, there will be meaningful incentives -- including the lifting of sanctions, and political and economic integration with the international community. If you refuse, we will ratchet up the pressure.

In other words, in 2009 or later, after the lines have been opened, the agenda is built, the allies coordinated, the potential evaluated, the choice presented, the talks held, and the talks eventually fail, Obama will then start to "ratchet up the pressure" -- at just about the time Iran will have completed (or used) its nuclear weapon. But Obama will be able to say don't blame him, he did everything he could.

It is easy to understand why Obama's speech at AIPAC received an enthusiastic response. It reflected his trademark rhetoric: soaring language, an inspiring delivery, sounding great for as long as it lasts (or until one thinks more about it). But like his final primary speech ("this was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow") and his speech on race ("I could no more disown . . ."), the rhetoric can be overblown, and its shelf life limited.

Rick Richman edits Jewish Current Issues. His articles on the "peace process" have appeared in American Thinker, The New York Sun and The Jewish Press, among other publications.

Page Printed from:

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Is He Or Isn't He, Only His Imam Knows fer sure

From Melanie Phillips

Obama and the giant blogosphere conspiracy

Wednesday, 11th June 2008

Today’s Guardian reports that Barack Obama is setting up an entire unit to combat ‘virulent rumours’ about him on the internet. Doubtless one of the blogs in the sights of team Obama is Little Green Footballs, which in the last few days has been excavating examples of wildly anti-Jewish and anti-American prejudice and conspiracy theories posted up by fans on Obama’s own website. LGF is making hay with the fact that the Obamanables are belatedly taking (some of) this stuff down from the site while simultaneously insisting that its presence is nothing to do with them because the website has no moderators. Yeah, right.

The Guardian quotes the director of some monitoring outfit as saying that the blogosphere’s smears about Obama are particularly vicious.

He added that one of the most persistent is that Obama, a Christian, is ‘some kind of Muslim Manchurian candidate, planted by Islamic fundamentalists to betray the country and it is very widespread’.

Well now. Crazed Jew-hating American-loathing moonbats posting comments on Obama’s website are one thing. But the fact is that there are serious and troubling questions about Obama’s ancestry and associations and what he himself has said about them, which have surfaced in the blogosphere but have been almost wholly ignored by the mainstream media in its collective Obamanic swoon.

First is his childhood background. Last November, his campaign website carried a statement with the headline:

Barack Obama Is Not and Has Never Been a Muslim

followed by

Obama never prayed in a mosque. He has never been a Muslim, was not raised a Muslim, and is a committed Christian.

Obama has also said:

I've always been a Christian


I've never practised Islam.

But none of this is true. As is explored in detail on Daniel Pipes’s website, Obama was enrolled at his primary schools in Indonesia as a Muslim; he attended the mosque during that period; his friends from that time testify that he was a devout Muslim boy. A former teacher at one of these schools, Tine Hahiyary, remembers a young Obama who was quite religious and actively took part in ‘mengaji’ classes which teach how to read the Koran in Arabic. The blogger from Indonesia who reported this commented:

‘Mengagi’ is a word and a term that is accorded the highest value and status in the mindset of fundamentalist societies here in Southeast Asia. To put it quite simply, "mengaji classes" are not something that a non practicing or so-called moderate Muslim family would ever send their child to... The fact that Obama had attended mengaji classes is well known in Indonesia and has left many there wondering just when Obama is going to come out of the closet.

His father was a Muslim, as was his stepfather. His grandfather was a Muslim convert. His wider family appear to have been largely devout Muslims. Yes, we only know about Obama’s early years as a Muslim; and yes, twenty years ago he became a Christian. The issue, however, is why he has been less than candid about his early background and his family. Indeed, he appears to have actively deceived the public about it. That is why the blogosphere is so exercised about it.

Now here’s another curious thing. Much has been made of his membership of the Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago whose former pastor and his long-standing mentor, Jeremiah Wright, Obama was forced finally to renounce on account of his obnoxious views (although he has signally failed unequivocally to denounce those views themselves and the no less obnoxious philosophy of the Trinity United black power church). But according to a passing reference in a profile in The New Republic last year, Pastor Wright was himself a Muslim convert to Christianity. He seems to have moved from being a Muslim black power fanatic to a Christian black power fanatic – which might go some way to explaining his close affinity to the Muslim black power ideologue Louis Farrakhan.

Then there is also Obama’s troubling support for the Kenyan opposition leader -- and his cousin -- Raila Odinga, the leader of the violent uprising a few months ago against the newly elected Kenyan government and who signed a memorandum of understanding with Kenyan Muslims to turn Kenya into an Islamic state governed by sharia law. At the time, the Evangelical Alliance of Kenya released a statement in which church leaders said Odinga

comes across as a presumptive Muslim president bent on forcing Islamic law, religion and culture down the throats of the Kenyan people in total disregard of the Constitutionally guaranteed rights of freedom of worship and equal protection of the law for all Kenyans.

As the Atlas Shrugs site reported, Obama actually went to Kenya in 2006 and spoke at rallies in support of Odinga, causing the Kenyan government to denounce him as ‘Raila’s stooge’. Why was Obama supporting such a person? Why has no-one bothered to find out??

Daniel Pipes makes another highly significant point about Obama’s Muslim background. He points out that, in the eyes of the Muslim world, Obama remains a Muslim regardless of what religion he now professes because he was born to a Muslim father. By his own admission (of Christianity) therefore, he is a Muslim apostate – a status regarded by the Muslim world as a sin to be punished by death. Pipes thinks this would put his life in danger and undermine his initiatives towards the Muslim world. But surely the more significant point is that much of that Muslim world has actually embraced him. Indeed the Muslim Brothers of Hamas – who most certainly would regard any Muslim apostate as someone to be eliminated – actually came out publicly in support of him (until Obama blotted his copybook by professing undying support for Israel).

We are entitled therefore to ask whether the Muslim world supports him because it believes he is still a Muslim. We are entitled to ask precisely when he stopped being a Muslim, and why. Another of Obama’s former classmates, Emirsyah Satar, now CEO of Garuda Indonesia, has been quoted as saying:

At that time, he was quite religious in Islam but after marrying Michelle, he changed his religion.

Did Obama embrace Christianity as a tactical manoeuvre to get himself elected? Why indeed has he dissembled about his family background if not for that end?

These multiple known deceptions by someone who may become President of the United States are deeply alarming. The concealment is the issue. To dismiss such concerns and the related questions they provoke as a smear campaign is to attempt to browbeat into silence those who legitimately raise them and require urgent answers as a matter of the most acute public interest.

This Isn't the James Johnson I Knew

Wait. I didn't even know him. He doesn't even work for me. Why are you people picking on me?

Friends of Barack
June 11, 2008;

Barack Obama may have come up with a creative way to solve the housing recession: Let everyone buy property at a discount the way he did from Tony Rezko, and give everyone in America a discount mortgage the way Angelo Mozilo of Countrywide did for Fannie Mae's Jim Johnson. Team Obama's real estate and mortgage transactions are certainly a change from business as usual. They suggest old-fashioned back-scratching below even current Beltway standards.

A former CEO of mortgage financing giant Fannie Mae, Mr. Johnson is now vetting Vice Presidential candidates for Mr. Obama. But he is also a textbook case for poor disclosure as regulators sifted through the wreckage of Fannie's $10 billion accounting scandal. Despite an exhaustive federal inquiry, Mr. Johnson managed to avoid disclosing one very special perk: below-market interest-rate mortgages from Countrywide Financial, arranged by Countrywide CEO Angelo Mozilo. Journal reporters Glenn Simpson and James Hagerty broke the story this weekend.

Fannie Mae tells us that Mr. Johnson did not inform the company's board of these sweetheart mortgage deals, nor did his CEO successor Franklin Raines, who also received such loans. We can understand why. Fannie bought mortgages from loan originator Countrywide, and then packaged them into securities for sale or kept the loans and profited from the interest. Mr. Mozilo told Dow Jones in 1995 that he was "working very closely . . . with Jim Johnson of Fannie Mae to come up with a rational method of making the process more efficient by the use of credit scoring."

Since Fannie was buying Countrywide's loans, under terms set by Mr. Johnson and later Mr. Raines – or by people in their employ – the fact that Fannie's CEO had a separate personal financial relationship with Countrywide was an obvious conflict of interest. The company's code of conduct required prior approval of such arrangements. Neither Mr. Johnson nor Mr. Raines sought such approval, according to Fannie.

Even if they had received waivers from the board to enjoy these perks, conscientious board members would then have wanted to disclose the waivers to investors. Post-Enron, the Sarbanes-Oxley law requires such disclosures. But even in the late-1990s, when the Friends of Angelo loans began, board members would likely have raised red flags.

Former SEC Chairman Harvey Pitt tells us that "the best way to deal with issues like this is not to have these kinds of relationships. From both the Countrywide and the Fannie perspective, it is simply bad policy to permit loans to 'friends' on more favorable terms than others similarly situated would be able to get."

[Friends of Barack]

One question is whether Messrs. Johnson and Raines were using their position to pad their own incomes that were already fabulous thanks to an implicit taxpayer subsidy. (See the table nearby.) But the bigger issue is whether they steered Fannie policy into giving Mr. Mozilo and Countrywide favorable pricing, which means they helped to facilitate the mortgage boom and bust that Countrywide did so much to promote. A further federal probe would seem to be warranted, and we assume Barney Frank and his fellow mortgage moralists will want to dig into this palm-greasing from Capitol Hill.

The irony here is that Mr. Obama has denounced Mr. Mozilo as part of his populist case against corporate excess, calling Mr. Mozilo and a colleague in March "the folks who are responsible for infecting the economy and helping to create a home foreclosure crisis." Obama campaign manager David Plouffe also said in March that "If we're really going to crack down on the practices that caused the credit and housing crises, we're going to need a leader who doesn't owe these industries any favors." But now this protector of the working class has entrusted his first big task as Presidential nominee to the very man who received "favors" in return for enriching Mr. Mozilo.

Yesterday, ABC News asked Mr. Obama whether he should have more carefully vetted Mr. Johnson and Eric Holder, who is working with Mr. Johnson on veep vetting. Correspondent Sunlen Miller noted Mr. Johnson's loans from Countrywide and Mr. Holder's involvement as Deputy Attorney General in the Clinton Administration in the pardon of fugitive Marc Rich. Said Mr. Obama: "Everybody, you know, who is tangentially related to our campaign, I think, is going to have a whole host of relationships – I would have to hire the vetter to vet the vetters."

Vetting Mr. Johnson's finances would have been time well spent, judging by a May 2006 report from Fannie Mae's regulator, the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight (Ofheo). Even if Mr. Obama considers the advisers helping him select a running mate "tangentially related" to his campaign, he might have thought twice about any relationship with Mr. Johnson.

Addressing the company's too smooth (and fraudulent) reported earnings growth in the late 1990s and early 2000s, Ofheo reported: "Those achievements were illusions deliberately and systematically created by the Enterprise's senior management with the aid of inappropriate accounting and improper earnings management . . . By deliberately and intentionally manipulating accounting to hit earnings targets, senior management maximized the bonuses and other executive compensation they received, at the expense of shareholders."

* * *

The regulator described how, despite an internal Fannie analysis that valued Mr. Johnson's 1998 compensation at almost $21 million, the summary compensation table in the firm's 1999 proxy suggested his pay was no more than $7 million. Ofheo found that Fannie had actually drafted talking points to deflect such media questions as: "He's trying to hide how much he's made, isn't he?" and "Gimme a break. He's hiding his compensation."

To this list we would add one more, directed at Mr. Obama: Is this what you mean by bringing change to Washington?

Saturday, June 7, 2008

All that was missing was Seig Heil

If you took in the entire experience of Barry's ocean calming speech, it was Hitlerian. Sorry. It's true. Watch this film clip and see how the crowd reacted to Adolf.

Robert Godwin on it--

Culturally and politically speaking, the "downward movement" of the counter-culture became the new establishment of the subsequent generation, now casting conservatives in the role of outsiders and rebels. As Flynn writes in A Conservative History of the American Left, when all of the dust from the 1960s settled, the insurrectionists became the guardians of a new dreary establishment and life-denying conformity, expertly marketing it from childhood on up, from MTV to Rolling Stone, from CNN to the New York Times, from preschool to postgrad, in movies, music, literature, and every other medium.

This is what is so ironic about the Obama campaign, since it has nothing whatsoever to do with real change (as opposed to agitation) or revolution (as opposed to rebellion), certainly not from "above." Rather, it is simply the embodiment of the "acquired truths" and "stale pieties" (Flynn) of the past, now enforced by the mechanism of political correctness and the heavy-handed propaganda arm of the MSM. It is utterly conformist to the core, which is what makes it so simultaneously flimsy and frightening.

I heard Obama's much-praised speech on Tuesday, and -- please, I'm not invoking Godwin's law -- the first thing I thought of was Hitler, not Martin Luther King. When masses of people get swept up in this kind of irrational and hysterical vacuity, it should give pause to any sufficiently sober and detached person. This is not good. Until now, the left was a contemptuous vanguard that had to lead the reluctant masses by the nose. But now, it seems that the boobs are leading the vanguard, which is precisely what knocked Hillary for a loop. "How can these ungrateful little people be thinking for themselves? Even the negroes! How dare they!"

(Obama "sees the necessity of reeling in those of faith, and making them part of the class struggle, while avoiding the harsher approach of demanding that the people give up their faith as a consequence of their commitment to revolutionary change. Americans have proven much more stubborn in the religious realm than the Europeans, who fell hook, line and sinker for Marx, Lenin and Stalin. America might seem more amenable to the kind of Third Way socialism that Hitler brought to Germany, while cunningly using Christian jargon to wile his way into Aryan minds and hearts.")

read it all go to

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Brainwizard Hits A Barry Out Of The Park

Deepest apologies to Mr. Churchill...I have the advance copy on President Obama's State of the Union for 2010:

Even though large tracts of Europe and many old and famous States have fallen or may fall into the grip of the non-Buddhists and all the odious apparatus of non-Jewish rule, we shall not flag or fail, much.

We shall go on to the end, we shall fight in the Middle East, until it becomes unpopular.

We shall fight on the seas and oceans, until MoveOn says enough.

We shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, until our industry crumbles under a carbon cap and trade system and Kyoto II: Return of the Killer Treaty.

We shall defend our Nation, whatever the cost may be, especially if only people from red states care enough to fight.

We shall fight on the beaches, as long as the sea-turtles aren't in the way.

We shall fight on the landing grounds, but not our southern border

We shall fight in the fields (not near the redwoods) and in the streets (but with non-lethal weapons),

We shall fight in the hills, were the last bitter, gun toting, God-fearing racist rednecks live;

We shall never surrender...unless not surrendering means we are Islamophobes and George Soros thinks he can make a buck!

Monday, June 2, 2008

Buzzsawmonkey Shines Again

Under the Bus Wheels
--with apologies to the Drifters, and "Under the Boardwalk"

Oh when the campaign heats up and reveals unpleasant truths
And even the papers can't avoid reporting inconvenient proofs.
Under the bus wheels, away from me
Giving me deniability is where you'll be.

(Under the bus wheels)
Safely hidden from view.
(Under the bus wheels)
I will sacrifice you.
(Under the bus wheels)
I will take the high road.
(Under the bus wheels)
You'll be bearing the load under the bus wheels,
Bus wheels.

From the crowds you hear the happy sounds of the hopes I sell,
If you try to interfere with my pitch you won't get a chance to tell.
Under the bus wheels, away from me
Giving me deniability is where you'll be.

(Under the bus wheels)
Safely hidden from view.
(Under the bus wheels)
I will sacrifice you.
(Under the bus wheels)
I will take the high road.
(Under the bus wheels)
You'll be bearing the load under the bus wheels,
Bus wheels.

Under the bus wheels, away from me
Giving me deniability is where you'll be.

Under the bus wheels, away from me
Giving me deniability is where you'll be.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Another Log On Barry's Fire

Obama's Encounters in the 2002 Congressional Black Caucus Conference

One of the oddest stories I have come across about Obama, found on page 160 of David Mendell's Obama: From Promise to Power:

But what truly struck [Jeremiah] Wright from that [September 2002] meeting was Obama's astonishment over the [Congressional] black caucus event in Washington. It opened Wright's eyes once again to just how innocent and idealistic Obama could be about the world of politics. The conference was nothing like what Obama had envisoned, but it was exactly the way Wright, a former adviser to Chicago's only black mayor, Harold Washington, recalled it.

"He had gone down there to get support and find out who would support him and found it was just a meat market," the pastor said in an interview, breaking into a laugh. "He had people say, 'if you want to count on me, come on to my room. I don't care if you're married. I'm not asking you to leave your wife - just come on.' All the women hitting on him. He was, like, in shock. He's there on a serious agenda, talking about running for the United States Senate. They're talking about giving [him] some [a p-word I'm pretty sure I can't print on NRO, but you get the idea that it is a synonym for cat]. And I was like, 'Barack, c'mon, man. Come on! Name me one significant thing that has come out of black congressional caucus weekend. It's homecoming. It's just a nonstop party, all the booze you want, all the booty you want. That's all it is.' And here he is with this altruistic agenda, trying to get some support. He comes back shattered. I thought to myself, 'Does he have a rude awakening coming his way.'"

Now, let's consider the source... Jeremiah Wright. So perhaps Wright is exaggerating or making up details about Obama's trip. Or perhaps Obama stretched the truth, or made up parts of his account of the trip that he told Wright.

On the other hand, this book probably had to go through lawyers employed by the publisher HarperCollins, and they probably wouldn't want to expose themselves to a libel suit if any Congressional Black Caucus members felt the description offered in the book constituted actual malice, or if printing Wright's version of the tale without any denials could be characterized as "reckless disregard" for the facts.. (There are only so many women who attended that conference whose endorsement Obama would seek.)

Jim Geraghty