Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Taking the Contribution Float:
Like Reneging on Public Financing, and ACORN Abuse,
another case of "fair is foul, and foul is fair?"

He has been caught in a few instances of redistribution chatter recently, beginning with his conversation with Joe the Plumber - "I think when you spread the wealth around, it's good for everybody!"

And past audio tapes are now surfacing, including the Obama radio interview from 2001, bemoaning the failure of the court system to engage in "redistribution of wealth, and sort of more basic issues of political and economic justice in this society," and, further, suggesting the need for refocusing on "the political and community organizing activities on the ground that are able to put together the actual coalitions of power through which you bring about redistributive change." We embeded that audio clip here (transcript here).

In reaction to the relevations, Senator Obama has tried to reemphasize what he has been saying throughout the campaign, that his taxation plan, to the extent that it incorporates additional requirements for the redistribution of wealth, is really just about "fairness." That, he insists, is the overriding factor, even if it would be harmful to the economy in the short run, or reduce revenues. He has also called his notion of fairness "neighborliness."

Three major Obama campaign-related incidents, however bespeak an utter disregard for any notion of fairness. One was his outright violation of the commitment he made to participate in the public financing of his campaign -- of which Cambell Brown of CNN has now starkly reminded viewers. This has given him a huge cash advantage in the campaign.

In recent weeks a second scandal has erupted over revelations about attempts at massive voter fraud, and the involvement of ACORN, an organization with which he has had very close ties since his days as a "community organizer.

Finally, when it came to putting together his system of collecting campaign donations, an apparent disregard of fairness was at stake. As reported in the lede of the Washington Post story on the subject, "Obama Accepting Untraceable Donations Contributions Reviewed After Deposits," printed in today's edition:

Sen. Barack Obama's presidential campaign is allowing donors to use largely untraceable prepaid credit cards that could potentially be used to evade limits on how much an individual is legally allowed to give or to mask a contributor's identity, campaign officials confirmed.

Faced with a huge influx of donations over the Internet, the campaign has also chosen not to use basic security measures to prevent potentially illegal or anonymous contributions from flowing into its accounts, aides acknowledged. Instead, the campaign is scrutinizing its books for improper donations after the money has been deposited.
Well, fairness has always tended to be a relative term. The question always is, fair to whom?

As reported in today's WaPo story by Matthew Mosk, Senator Obama's campaign now concedes considerable campaign contribution irregularities. He was first caught at it by bloggers, as the paper noted. His campaign deliberately set up an open-ended contribution system, one that, because it did "not require front end screening," gave them the opportunity to accept millions of dollars in illegal campaign contributions, including untraceable "cash" contributions from people using temporary credit cards, and for virtually anyone to "contribute" using the pre-paid cards, or the credit card numbers of others.

In recent weeks, questionable contributions have created headaches for Obama's accounting team as it has tried to explain why campaign finance filings have included itemized donations from individuals using fake names, such as Es Esh or Doodad Pro. Those revelations prompted conservative bloggers to further test Obama's finance vetting by giving money using the kind of prepaid cards that can be bought at a drugstore and cannot be traced to a donor.

The problem with such cards, campaign finance lawyers said, is that they make it impossible to tell whether foreign nationals, donors who have exceeded the limits, government contractors or others who are barred from giving to a federal campaign are making contributions.

In the aggregate, that deliberate choice has enabled the Obama campaign to take corrupt advantage of what financial folks call "the float" -- i.e., having all of that cash on hand for their use during the campaign, knowing that because much of it is illegal, they would eventually have to either return, donate or otherwise deal with much of that money.

But they only will have to do so after having helped themselves to the additional advantage of using the money, in order to win the election. Some bogus campaign contributions have worked their way into all major campaigns, including John McCain's campaign, requiring the campaign to address them. But the McCain camp had an up-front "screening process" in place that has prevented anything like the massively fraudulent influx of questionable donations in the Obama campaign.

Was that fair? To whom? Surely not his opponent, who played it straight by employing front end screening. Surely not the election process. Surely not the spirit of a system of regulating federal campaign contributions established in order to protect the American people from corrupt practices. And, by obvious extension, surely not the American people.

The Obama folks could have easily set up their system -- as did the campaign of Senator John McCain -- so that they would minimize such unlawful contributions. The Obama campaign intentionally chose not to.

When challenged about his lack of any real executive experience, Senator Obama's supporters have, from time to time, pointed to his running of his remarkably successful Presidential campaign as proof. Regardless of whether this is a "bootstrapping" argument, if one presumed the validity of it, then it is entirely legitimate to point to his decision to preside over a questionable, even sleazy fundraising operation as evidence of very bad judgment on his part.

He cannot, as they say, have it both ways! Corruption always strolls along shortcut paths, and it is obvious that the Obama campaign did little to keep it's own folks on track when it 1.) came to breaking his commitment on public financing, 2.) registering new voters, and 3.) in the entire process by which he raised money for his campaign. But at the same time, he would like us to somehow believe that the overriding concern for how he will handle the treasury of the United States and help guide the nation's economy, will be "fairness!"

Why should we not conclude that what he really wants, is for us to finally buy that Bridge to Nowhere?

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Tuesday, October 28, 2008

"The Redistributing One"
(Updated: 10/29 AM)
While he was a state legislator a few years back (2001), Barack Obama was quite candid in describing what he saw as the failure of the federal Court process to effectively redistribute wealth, as a way to redress the grievances addressed during the Civil Rights era.
" . . . [O]ne of the, I think, the tragedies of the Civil Rights movement was, because the Civil Rights movement became so court focused, I think that there was a tendency to lose track of the political and community organizing activities on the ground that are able to put together the actual coalitions of power through which you bring about redistributive change.

"And in some ways we still suffer from that."

and, he further said:

" . . . I'm not optimistic about bringing about major redistribute change through the courts. You know, the institution just isn't structured that way."
So now, Senator Obama is running for President. As you'll recall, just two weeks ago, out slipped a very telling comment in a brief moment of candor. He had stopped to speak with a man named Joe Wurzelbacher as he was canvassing for support in Joe's neighborhood in Toledo, Ohio. Among other things, Senator Obama said to the man who quickly became known as Joe the Plumber:
"I think when you spread the wealth around, it's good for everybody!"
Seriously . . . is this really what we've been waiting for? Throughout the campaign, voters have indicated that they strongly oppose "redistribution" plans to deal with the economy. And they do not like what amounts to a "welfare plan" disguised as a "tax cut." This latest tape had to be a blow to the Obama campaign. And as noted in the Wall Street Journal, he also wants to further alter an "already progressive" Social Security system, turning that into a welfare system as well. And the ever-vertiginous Joe Biden now seems to have further muddied the waters about exactly where the waterline begins between "redistributees" and "redistributors."

Our take.

It's a bit of a take off on a John McCain line from a speech to a crowd in Kettering, Ohio (near Dayton) as was quoted in an article by Jack Torry and Mark Niquette published in the Dispatch Politics, a division of the Columbus Dispatch:
"That's what change means for the Obama administration, the 'redistributor': It means taking your money and giving it to someone else," McCain told a crowd of about 2,000 at the James S. Trent Arena.
Thomas Jefferson, who those in the Democratic party so frequently see as their favorite founding father, was very distrustful of big government because he thought it always led to tyranny.

Likewise, he was distrustful of "too active" government as well. In a letter written in 1787, he told his friend, James Madison,
"I own I am not a friend to a very energetic government. It is always oppressive."
And he even had an interesting argument against wasteful or undue government spending:
"The same prudence which in private life would forbid our paying our own money for unexplained projects, forbids it in the dispensation of the public moneys."
In his first Inaugural Address, in 1801, our third President framed his approach to how he would govern:
"With all [our] blessings, what more is necessary to make us a happy and a prosperous people? Still one thing more, fellow citizens--a wise and frugal Government, which shall restrain men from injuring one another, shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government, and this is necessary to close the circle of our felicities."
All of which makes Joe Biden's latest odd argument -- that criticisms of the policies and approach of Barack Obama are somehow comparable to those aimed at, among others, Thomas Jefferson -- seem strangely hollow indeed! And with all the "age" barbs being fired at John McCain, one can only guess that with his sense of humor, McCain might be tempted to paraphrase Lloyd Benston and say, "Joe the Senator, I knew Thomas Jefferson. Thomas Jefferson was a friend of mine . . .

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Monday, October 27, 2008

Transcription of the Radio Interview Portion of Clip
Barack Obama, Chicago Public Radio Interview, 2001

Here is a transcription of a portion of a morning interview, found here on YouTube, and which we embeded here, that was held with then-State Senator Barack Obama on the radio show, "Odyssey" at public radio station, WBEZ Chicago, 91.5 FM, back in 2001. We have eliminated only the fequent interjections of "uh" and "um" in order to facilitate the ease of reading. Dots . . . indicates a break in the tape. Paragraph breaks are ours, as are any transcription errors.

. . .

Announcer:"Good morning and welcome to 'Odyssey' on WBEZ, Chicago, 91.5 FM. And we're joined by Barack Obama who is Illinois State Senator from the 13th District, and Senior Lecturer in the Law School at the University of Chicago."

Senator Obama: "You know, if you look at the victories and the failures of the Civil Rights movement, and it's litigation strategy in the Court, I think where it succeeded was to vest formal rights in previously dispossessed peoples. So that I would now have the right to vote, I would now be able to sit at a lunch counter and order, and, as long as I could pay for it, I'd be okay.

"But the Supreme Court never ventured into the issues of redistribution of wealth, and sort of more basic issues of political and economic justice in this society.

"And, to that extent, as radical as, I think, people try to characterize the Warren Court, it wasn't that radical. It didn't break free from the essential constraints that were placed by the founding fathers in the Constitution, at least as it's been interpreted, and more important, interpreted in the same way, that generally the Constitution is a charter of negative liberties, says what the states can't do to you, says what the federal government can't do to you. But it doesn't say what the federal government or the state government must do on your behalf.

"And that hasn't shifted and one of the, I think, the tragedies of the Civil Rights movement was, because the Civil Rights movement became so court focused, I think that there was a tendency to lose track of the political and community organizing activities on the ground that are able to put together the actual coalitions of power through which you bring about redistributive change.

"And in some ways we still suffer from that."

. . .

Announcer: "Let's talk with Kiran. Good morning, Kiran. You're on Chicago Public Radio."

Questioner: (Kiran) "Hi. The gentleman made the point that the Warren Court wasn't terribly radical. My question is -- with economic changes – my question, is it too late for that kind of repairative work economically, and is that the appropriate place for repairative economic work to take place?" (Announcer interjection:) "You mean the court?" (Kiran:) "The court, or would it be legislation at this point?"

Senator Obama: "You know, maybe I'm showing my bias here as a legislator, as well as a law professor, but, you know, I'm not optimistic about bringing about major redistribute change through the courts. You know, the institution just isn't structured that way."

. . .

"You know, you just, say, look at very rare examples during the desegregation era, the Court was willing to, for example, order, you know, changes that cost money to local school districts, and the Court was very uncomfortable with it. It was hard to manage, it was hard to figure out. You start getting into all sorts of separation of powers issues, you know, in terms of the court monitoring, or, or engaging in a process that essentially is administrative and takes a lot of time."

. . .

"You know, the Court is just not very good at it, and politically it's just that it's just very hard to legitimize opinions from the Court in that regard. So, I mean, I think that, although you can craft theoretical justifications for it legally, you know, I think you can, any three of us sitting here could come up with a rational for bringing about economic change through the courts."

. . . .
End of radio interview portion of clip.)

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Obama On Redistribution Of Wealth, Circa 2001:
Using The Courts and Legislature

Apparently, Barack Obama has done quite a lot of thinking about the redistribution of wealth, and how best to go about it! The Warren Court was apparently not "radical" enough, what with their exclusive focus on all those "negative rights," just focused on what the government could not do to you!

Just check out this audio clip at YouTube (ht Tigerhawk, here) from a radio interview back in 2001, which, as noted by Tigerhawk, was prior to the impact of the Bush tax cuts.

Maybe Joe Biden needs to eat a little humble pie and go back and update his answers to TV anchor Barbara West's questions.

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Thursday, October 23, 2008

"I think when you spread the wealth around, it's good for everybody!"

--Barack Obama, Democrat Candidate for President, speaking to Joe Wurzelbacher while canvassing for support in Joe's neighborhood in Toledo, Ohio, October 12, 2008.

Cartoon by William Warren, who graduated from Wake Forest last year. He has been awarded the "Charles M. Schulz Award" by the Scripps Howard Foundation. Courtesy of Americans for Limited Government, ALG Features Syndicate, of Fairfax, VA. For more about ALG, or additional William Warren cartoons, go here.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

What Is This? Take our Poll!

A statement, centered below, was made about the Chicago Annenberg Challenge (CAC), the Chicago-based education project, which spent $150 - $160 MILLION DOLLARS between 1995 and 2001 on a "school reform" project in Chicago.

An article printed in the New York Post today details criticism of the CAC, by Chicago's school chief, Paul Vallas, the man who was in office during the years Barack Obama was running the "Challenge."

According to the article, Mr. Vallas said that the CAC "failed to monitor projects and funded school 'reform' groups that campaigned against boosting academic standards." Mr . Vallas also added the following:
"There was a total lack of accountability. If you went back and asked, you'd be hard-pressed to find out how the money was spent," said Paul Vallas, the city's school superintendent when Obama chaired the Chicago Annenberg Foundation from 1995 to 1999.
But Paul Vallas was not the only critic of the work of the CAC.

You may recall that the CAC was created by unrepentant domestic terrorist, turned education "scholar," Bill Ayers. It was initially funded by a $49.2 MILLION DOLLAR grant from the Annenberg Foundation, and further funded through additional matching grants received from a variety of sources.

Barack Obama was appointed the Chairman of the Board and President of the CAC organization, positions that he held for approximately five years, and which he initially undertook when he was about 34 years old. He had graduated a few years before that from the Harvard Law School. After he stepped down as President and Chairman in 1999, he still remained a member of the Board of the CAC until 2001.

Below is an actual written statement that was also made about the work of the Chicago Annenberg Challenge. After reading it, please scroll down and take our poll.

See if you can guess the origin of this statement:
"The Challenge's "bottom line" was improving student achievement and other social and psychological outcomes. Our research indicates that student outcomes in Annenberg schools were much like those in demographically similar non-Annenberg schools and across the Chicago School system as a whole, indicating that among the schools it supported, the Challenge had little impact on student outcomes."

What is the above statement about the Chicago Annenberg Challenge - "CAC"?
Part of a critique statement issued by a "task-force" within the Bush Administration.
Criticism leveled by a national conservative "think tank" specializing in education policy.
A concession made by the CAC evaluators, noting their failure to achieve their own main goal.
Part of a statement by a "rival" education foundation, made while competing for "new" funds.
None of the above.
Free polls from

Please scroll down for the correct answer:

ANSWER: The correct answer is the third choice -- "A concession made by the CAC evaluators, noting their failure to achieve their own main goal."

The conclusion by CAC's own evaluators, was that the CAC had produced nothing of significant value for students. There were no measurable improvements in student skills or performance that were attributable to the Chicago Annenberg Challenge project.

The actual statement printed above can be found on page "1" in the Executive Summary of the Final Report (pdf), issued in 2003, the technical Report of the Consortium of Chicago School Research (CCSR). The CCSR was the evaluation arm of the CAC, whose purpose was to research and evaluate the success of the CAC funding over the years. The language and tone of the Report are both charitable, even "understanding" of the possible whys and wherefors of the CAC's lack of success, but the bottom line for the students was disturbingly clear, in measuring both student achievement and student engagement.

On the very next page, you can read that these were their specific conclusions regarding student academic achievement, and student engagement:

(Re: Student Academic Achievement) . . . "There were no statistically significant differences between Annenberg schools and non-Annenberg schools in rates of achievement gain."
. . .
(Re: Student Academic Engagement) . . . "Like student academic achievement, there were no statistically significant differences in these outcomes between Annenberg schools and non-Annenberg schools."

In other words, the Annenberg evaluators themselves conceded in their own final study that any educational improvements for Chicago school children occurred across the board and, therefore, had nothing to do with the CAC -- the Annenberg project.

That is why you never hear Barack Obama, or anyone from his campaign boasting about his executive experience there for 5 or 6 years.

And that is why you never hear Obama, or his campaign talking about his successful tenure there as an "education leader."

The fact is that he and unrepentant terrorist, turned "Professor" Bill Ayers failed the school children of Chicago. The organization they ran even said so when they evaluated the work of the organization. Bill Ayers was running another "arm" of the CAC, called the "Collaborative." That was the policy implementation arm of the CAC.

So, while Barack Obama was indeed "palling around with" terrorist Bill Ayers, and they were experimenting with fighting over the control of the schools, between them they managed to fritter away about $150 - $160 million dollars. If properly used, it could have made a world of difference in the lives of untold numbers of Chicago school children.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

"The Heart of the American Dream is Aspiration"

Others have said it, but few so persuasively as Mark Steyn, as he had also elaborated in an interview with Hugh Hewitt last Thursday. So, I'll say this. By damn, Mark Steyn is a great American, even if he is a Canadian! It was there where he and Macleans Magazine were recently officially accused by the Canadian authorities of . . . well, telling the truth! Now Mark points out that Joe the Plumber has managed, where all else had failed, to penetrate through the fog and, at least momentarily, induce Senator Obama to blurt out a little truth.

To Mark, the brief conversation between the two men revealed the contrast between Joe's world and the
hermetically-sealed environment that Obama lives in, in which his contact with the real world involves getting $50 million dollars from William Ayers through the Annenberg Challenge to spread, radicalizing Chicago schoolchildren. That’s not how real people spread the wealth around. And I would go back, you know, to Joe the Plumber’s point, that actually, if you just let people spread their own wealth around, they’ll make more sensible decisions than, for example, Congress interfering in the mortgage and credit market by making certain requirements of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and all the rest of it. Joe the Plumber, the three hundred million Joe the Plumbers across the land, will make better decisions on that than the federal government will.
Mark elaborates further in National Review Online:
The heart of the American Dream is aspiration. That’s why people came here from all over the world. Back in eastern Europe, the Joe Bidens and Diane Sawyers of the day were telling Joe the Peasant: "Hey, look, man. You’re a peasant in the 19th century, just like your forebears were peasants in the 12th century and your descendants will be peasants in the 26th century. So you’re never gonna be earning 250 groats a year. Don’t worry about it. Leave it to us. We know better." And Joe the Peasant eventually figured that one day he’d like to be able to afford the Premium Gruel with just a hint of arugula and got on the boat to Ellis Island. Because America is the land where a guy who doesn’t have a 250-grand business today might just have one in five or ten years' time.

I'm with Joe the Plumber, not Joe the Hair-Plugger. He's articulated the animating principles of America better than anyone on either side in this campaign. Which is why the O-Bots need to destroy him.
Months and months of examination by the campaign by John McCain, and by the campaign of Hillary Clinton before him, had fundamentally failed to penetrate to the core of what makes Barack Obama tick. And the mainstream press has largely provided him ample cover. As a result, in spite of all that probing, the candidate had essentially remained a mystery about what really motivates him, even regarding his plans for economic recovery.

But in one small, and actually very friendly conversation along a rope line in Ohio the other day, Joe the Plumber asked the candidate for a justification of his proposed tax plan. Mind you, he did not go seeking Obama. Obama's campaign came to Joe's neighborhood. At one point in the conversation, Joe even asked him why not a flat tax. Make no mistake, by what he asked, Joe was challenging the very core of Obama's economic "vision" for America. And Barack Obama uncharacteristically let his guard down just a little bit when he responded candidly and told Joe the Plumber at one point,
"I think when you spread the wealth around, it's good for everybody!"

Of course, what he meant by that is when the government spreads the wealth around, not when the economy grows because government gets out of the way.

I was curious to find out if any other well-known personality had slipped like that. You know, whether someone blurted out something similar.

So, I linked to Brainy Quote and searched for anyone who had made a similar comment, any quote containing the phrase, "spread the wealth around," or even "spread the wealth."

No dice.

Then I tried the "Quote Garden." Nothing there either.

Nor at "Quoteland." As for any matches, "none found" they said, to both searches.

Back in very early 2002, the leftwing site, The Democratic Underground, posted an opinion piece under this title: "Enron Spread the Wealth Around Washington" which obviously put any such activity in a very bad light indeed. Spreading the wealth to those in government -- nothing good about that!

About the closest I could come to a parallel quotation, was from famous utopian thinker ("New Atlantis"), Sir Francis Bacon, 1561-1626, who did contribute rather significantly to the development of the scientific method. On the general subject at hand -- spreading money -- he once reputedly said (ht. Oxford Dictionary of Quotations, 2 Ed.):

"Money is like muck, not good except to be spread."
But that too does not really seem to be the exact point Barack Obama was making. Bacon , who was appointed the Lord Chancellor in 1621, certainly did not specify that the spreader-in-chief should be the Chancellor of the Exchequer, who in his day was one Fulke Grenville.

And, for all of his contributions to the development of scientific thinking, that negative sounding comment is entirely understandable, as Bacon was notoriously bad with money throughout his entire life. As pointed out at Wikipedia,
"In spite of a generous income, old debts and spendthrift ways kept him indebted."
Bacon's public career ended in disgrace when he was accused of bribery (there's that "spreading the wealth" to those in government again), for which he paid significant fines, and narrowly avoided being stripped of all his titles.

So, it would seem that we can conclude this particular formula of Obama's -- that governmental "spreading the wealth" that is "good for everybody," is an original characterization by our newly coined, "Senator Government."

He owns it.

Looks like Barack Obama did not inadvertently pull a Joe Biden plagiarism when he let that one rip!

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Friday, October 17, 2008

"The Funniest Fifteen Minutes
of Your Life, or Any Other!"

Below are the intentionally comedic routines of both Senators John McCain and Barack Obama delivered at the annual Al Smith Dinner, held at the Waldorf Astoria in New York last night.

Each man delivered a good routine, and both were punctuated by self-deprecating humor, as well as friendly jibes aimed at the other fellow.

We thought John's performance was stellar. Great delivery, and a boffo finish.

Obama was good, but perhaps just a little too much giggling at his own punch lines. One of the great ephemisms of humor is that when a comic is succeeding, he's killing the audience, while the comic himself remains deadpan. But if he has to chuckle in order to telegraph the punch lines, the humor has obviously fallen flat.

Our title, above, is taken from the closer of the routine delivered by Senator John McCain, who went first. At the point where he delivered that line, John was pretending to have gotten a peek at a copy of the upcoming Obama routine. And he was warming up the crowd for what they should expect from the impending comedy debut of Senator Obama.

Of course by doing so, he was mockingly setting up the Illinois Senator, with wildly over-stated expectations, right after saying that to do so would be completely unfair.

Great stuff!

P.S. In each case, you should watch the first embed all the way to the end, and then click on the second embed. There is no need to click on the ghost white "switch" internally embeded right near the end of the first McCain video clip.

The first half of John McCain's routine begins here, with the second half posted embedded just below it.

The second half of John's routine begins here:

John was followed by Barack Obama, with the first half posted here:

The second half of Senator Obama's routine is posted here:

In addition to the McCain closer, there was one other telling moment during the evening which you may have noticed as well. After paying his obligatory personal respects to Al Smith, Senator McCain began talking about the wonderful work of the foundation named after the man.

It comes at about 4:04 of the second McCain clip. McCain ticked off all the foundation's work for the poor and needy, including their abiding respect for the dignity of life, and "especially your gallant defense of the unborn" all work which John said he can be counted on to support as "an ally."

His comment was followed by very warm general applause from the audience, and the camera panned over (at about 4:27) to record the reaction of Senator Obama. Note that he was indeed applauding, but very inconspicuously so, with his hands, for the first time, under the table.


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Thursday, October 16, 2008

"Just Another Guy Pedaling His Viewpoint"
A Socialist One At That, He Adds

Given the fact that the Presidential Debate, earlier this evening, is already being dubbed the "Joe the Plumber Debate," here he is, Joe Wurzelbacher, a plumber from Ohio, who confronted Barack Obama on a rope line the other day about his tax plan, and elicited the comment from the Presidential candidate about his idea to "spread the wealth around."

Obama also said to Joe:
"It's not that I want to punish your success. I just want to make sure that everybody that is behind you, that they have a chance for success too."
Joe didn't much care for the idea, which he called "a socialist viewpoint." Well, that's fair. In addition to running as a Democrat, Obama did run on a socialist (New Party) line in his first race for public office.

Here, we see Joe being interviewed by Neal Cavuto of Fox News Network, on the Obama tax plan.

An earlier Fox tape shows more of the direct exchange between Joe and Barack Obama.

More on Joe here. And the fact that it was indeed the Joe the Plumber debate.

Gateway Pundit (ht, Instapundit, here) has more face time with Joe the Plumber post debate, including video of an interview with Joe by the Toledo Blade. Here's the embed of that video:

Glenn Reynolds at Instapundit asks, "Can we vote for him?"

Nice to hear someone, a small businessman, who really will be negatively affected by Obama's redistribution plan, talk about the impact rather than constantly hearing Senator Obama prattle on about how his friend Warren Buffet, "can afford" to pay more taxes. A lot of people have been hurt by the uncertainty in the credit markets, and small businesses across the nation will be crucial to the nation's financial recovery.

Larry Elder clearly explains why, when Obama says he will give "tax cuts" to 95% of American workers, he is being disingenuous.

Why? More than 30 percent pay nothing in federal income taxes. Obama comes up with this number by calling tax credits "tax cuts." One can debate whether these things are good or bad, but they are not tax cuts. McCain offers refundable tax credits for health care, as well as other credits, but he doesn't insult the intelligence of the American people by calling them "tax cuts." When Obama's credits go to people who pay no federal income taxes or who pay less than the value of the credit, they are not "tax cuts." They are transfers of money from one pocket to another, or redistributions of wealth, but they are not tax cuts.
Obviously, their campaign stung by the Joe the Plumber references during the debate, a blinking Joe Biden was given free rein by David Gregory at MSNBC on "Closing Arguments" to peddle his viewpoint about the credibility of Joe the Plumber. Notice how uncomfortable Gregory looks letting Biden go on and on. But he doesn't interrupt.

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Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Press : Campaign Creeps Into Issue of Racism
That, Regardless of the Topic

It is apparently not enough for some press folks just to boost the Obama campaign prospects. You get the real feeling that many journalists are just champing at the bit to accuse the McCain campaign of raising the issue of race in the Presidential campaign. They want a blow-out, not a squeaker.

The Obama apologists know that any plausible charge of racism, could easily turn the up-and-down race into a rout. So, a few of our helpful media elites have simply redefined almost any criticism of Obama, as somehow being racially charged.

Voila! You criticize Obama? You're a damned racist! It neatly dovetails with Obama having telegraphed, prior to the heating up of the general election, that his opponents would engage in racism, because, as Obama put it, he would only be tagged as risky, having a funny name, "and he doesn't look like all the Presidents on the dollar bills and the five dollar bills."

In a recent speech in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Ray Suarez, the senior correspondent for PBS, preposterously claimed that virtually any criticism of Obama, or even any discussion of certain topics with regard to Obama, -- e.g., religion -- is really just about race. He included on the list of suspect topics -- get this one -- any "opinions about Obama's inexperience." Well, that conclusion brands Hillary Clinton, Bill Clinton, Bill Richardson, and Joe Biden -- among a host of others -- as racists. What bumptious nonsense, especially coming from a man like Suarez who has an ethical obligation to be neutral. PBS is dependent on taxpayer funds, after all!

Much of the material for Suarez' speech seemed to curiously and quite closely mirror a mid-September Nicholas Kristof column in the NYT, suggesting in strong terms, that virtually any criticism of Barack Obama is now officially conferring "otherness" on Obama. Kristoff said in his column that he felt obliged to write it in order to "make up" for having written a May 2007 column in which he noted that, having grown up as a Jakarta, Indonesia "street kid," that

Mr. Obama recalled the opening lines of the Arabic call to prayer, reciting them with a first-rate accent. In a remark that seemed delightfully uncalculated (it’ll give Alabama voters heart attacks), Mr. Obama described the call to prayer as "one of the prettiest sounds on Earth at sunset."
Kristof was apparently put off by others who had used that column to raise questions about Obama. The result was a claim that virtually any criticism, of Obama is racially charged because it is an appeal to his "otherness." Again, is overall theme is complete nonsense.

Anyway, several fellow travelers in the print media, have been marching along with the two of them, at least in general cadence, if not in lock-step. Dana Milbank and Anne Kornblut, both of the Washington Post, come to mind.

Last week was "hate" story week, launched by Dana Milbank of the Washington Post, focusing on a pitifully thin number of supposedly "hateful" comments by attendees at McCain rallies. Never mind that a few such comments tend to punctuate any political rally in which thousands are gathered. Moreover, as Michelle Malkin points out, a steady stream of hateful actions (not just comments) have virtually characterized the politics from the left for a long time now!

Then too, they were unidentified individuals in the Milbanks story. Who knows? They may have been Obama campaign, or DNC plants, for all we know. Probably not, but who's to say? Certainly not Dana Milbank.

Milbank specifically reported that at a campaign event in Clearwater, FL, while Sara Palin was talking about Bill Ayers (the unrepentant domestic terrorist leader of the Weather Underground, later turned radicalizing "educator," and pal of Obama), some guy in the audience yelled, "Kill him."

(UPDATE: As reported, the Secret Service investigated and confirmed that no such statement was made about Senator Obama at Clearwater. Milbank told Politico that.

Nor, was any such statement at all made, as was falsely reported in a story by a reporter for the Scranton Times-Tribune at another Palin rally in Scranton, Pennsylvania. That story was picked up and re-reported by multiple major-media outlets. That "incident" looks suspiciously like a case of "fabulism." After a Secret Service investigation, the (Scranton) Times-Leader reports that the Times-Tribule reporter was the only person there who heard the alleged comment! Therefore, Senator Obama was likely lying about that claim when he brought it up in the last debate -- as he receives all such Secret Service investigative information.)

Now, during the 1990s, Bill Ayers was a close collaborator, for several years, with Barack Obama, presiding over a singularly unsuccessful "education project" in the troubled school system in Chicago, called the Chicago Annenberg Challenge (CAC). Obama was the President and Chairman of the Board, while Bill Ayers was the overall policy implementer. Together, the two of them oversaw the frittering away of as much as $160 million dollars on an attempt to "radicalize" the Chicago school system, even though Ayers had promised the foundations who gave them the money, that they would create "a renaissance in the classroom." That high-sounding promise was penned by Ayers, who wrote that in the original grant to the Annenberg Foundation. Other grantors, in reliance on the Annenberg gift of $50 million, ponied up as well. That is the way "challenge" grants work.

Well, there never was any "renaissance," of course. The real victims of that enterprise were the school children of Chicago, who derived no academic "achievement" or "engagement" value from the Ayers/Obama project. That was the exact conclusion of the CAC's own evaluators, when they analyzed the CAC results back in 2003.

But back to Clearwater, Florida and the so-called "hate" comments. The Milbank story reported that, as Sarah Palin was specifically talking about Obama's pal, domestic terrorist Bill Ayers. He indeed was the leader of a terror organization, the Weather Underground. They bombed the United States Pentagon, bombed the United States Capitol, bombed a few police stations, including one in New York City, bombed the home of Judge John Murtagh, a New York state trial judge overseeing a trial of radicals, and also plotted to bomb the Officers Club at Fort Dix, but were only prevented from doing so because the bomb they were assembling went off prematurely in an apartment in Greenwich Village in New York, killing three fellow terrorists. Hearing Sarah Palin talk about terrorist Bill Ayers, some guy in that Clearwater, FL crowd reacted thusly:

"'Kill him!' proposed one man in the audience."
That was it. No identification of the man, no age, no description or identification by race. Milbank did not say whether the man was 18 or 88, or anywhere in between. He did not say whether the was White, Black, Hispanic . . . whatever. Milbank obviously made no effort to in any way identify the person, or say whether the guy may have had an ironic smile on his face when he said it -- you know, like someone shouting, "Kill the Ump!" at a ballgame.

Nothing of the sort.

Thereafter, the Milbank meme got some limited traction, with copycat follow-up stories, but by week's end it seemed to backfire a bit with Congressman John Lewis' embarrassingly obnoxious over-reach statement, in which he charged in writing that John McCain and Sarah Palin "are sowing the seeds of hatred and division" and that it recalled the bad old George Wallace days, and, further, that it could result in the murder of another "four little girls" as occurred in Birmingham decades ago. Even the Obama campaign had to respectfully disagree with him on that one, and John Lewis himself backed away the next day as well.

But notably, the Obama campaign did not disagree with one thing. They said Lewis was correct to condemn what they called
"the baseless and profoundly irresponsible charges from his own running mate that the Democratic nominee for President of the United States 'pals around with terrorists.' "
Now comes Joe Biden advancing the theme further, saying that John McCain will "regret for the rest of his life" mixing terrorism with race. Well, that's curious. When exactly did John McCain do that? He didn't. That's Joe trying to "mix" terrorism and race. That is their theme -- every criticism of Obama is really about race. It is not John McCain's theme, or Sarah Palin's.

Sarah Palin indeed did publicly say that Barack Obama was "palling around with terrorists" during his community organizer days back in Chicago. That's because he was. Bill Ayers and his wife, Bernadine Dohrn, are both unrepentant domestic terrorists. They hosted a political gathering in their living room for him to launch Obama's political career back in the day. And Obama served on at least three different Boards with Ayers -- the Woods Fund, the CAC and the Joyce Foundation. They "palled around" together.

Back in the late 1960s and into the 1970s, the Ayers/Dohrn pair ran the terrorist organization called the Weather Underground, which openly declared war on the United States. Dohrn was the person who publicly made that announcement. Both were indicted and became fugitives, going underground for several years and living with fake identities, to avoid capture and prosecution for their terrorist crimes. During that period, according to F.B.I. Director Hoover, Dohrn was "the most dangerous woman in America."

Fugitives from justice for several years during the 70s, Ayers and Dohrn eventually surrendered to federal authorities.

Bernadine Dohrn, by the way, was the person who personally took credit for the bombing at the Murtagh home, where a nine year old child was sleeping. That child, young John Murtagh fortunately escaped harm. Dohrn eventually went to jail for some of her activities, but Bill Ayers was acquitted because of the improper way the evidence was gathered against him. He got off on a technicality for his violent terrorist crimes. But to remove all doubt, he then mockingly shoved it in everyone's face by publicly proclaiming that he was, "Guilty as sin; free as a bird!"

Then comes Washington Post reporter, Anne Kornblut, also has offered her contribution. She wrote that, in spite of a reluctance on the part of both Presidential candidates to raise race as an issue, their surrogates and supporters seem to have other ideas, and that race has now suddenly become an issue in the Presidential campaign. She then falsely accused Sarah Palin of raising race when she said Obama was "palling around with terrorists" during his "community organizer days in Chicago.

Entitled "Issue of Race Creeps Into Campaign," her angle seems to be that suddenly the campaign for the White House has taken a racial turn.

One wonders . . . where has Anne been? Perhaps on some remote desert island, "discovering the internet" with Bill Curtis? What a load of hogwash!

Just a reminder, Anne . . . You must recall back at the end of January when you wrote the blog post entitled, "So much for moving beyond race," about Bill Clinton making the Presidential campaign racial when he tried to minimize, Senator Obama's victory in the South Carolina primary this year, noting that Jesse Jackson had won the Presidential primaries there in both 1988 and 1992! And, for Bill Clinton, the issue would not go away.

Ed Rendell, Democrat Governor of Pennsylvania, and a strong supporter of Hillary Clinton back in the primaries, did his part to make the campaign about race when he matter-of-factly signaled that white, small town and rural Democrats, those living in large numbers in smaller towns in central Pennsylvania, would not likely pull the lever for a black candidate, that is, once they got in the voting booth. At the time, his incredible implication seemed to be that voters should go for Hillary, at least in part because Obama was "unelectable."

Geraldine Ferraro and law professor Susan Estrich, both Hillary Clinton supporters, each made the Presidential primary campaign about race, with Ferraro bluntly saying Obama would not be in the position he was in if he was not black, and accusing Barack Obama of illegitimately raising the race card against her. At the same time she strongly waived the "sexist" card at Obama. She finally felt compelled to step down officially from Clinton's campaign, where she was on the finance committee. At one point, she even snapped to one newspaper,

"Racism works in two different directions. I really think they're attacking
me because I'm white. How's that?"
"For her part, Estrich has repeatedly talked about the "Bradley effect," asserting that a black candidate may poll well going into election day, but lose as much as five points, simply because a statistically significant number of nominally supportive voters, will not end up pulling the lever for the black candidate. Hailing from California, Estrich was referring Tom Bradley, a black politician, and the former Mayor of Los Angeles, who later proved unsuccessful in pursuing the statewide office of Governor, even though every poll going in showed him winning.

Joe Biden also made this campaign about race when he maladroitly suggested that, among other qualities, Barack Obama was a "clean" black candidate. And then there was his strange 7-11and Dunkin' Donuts comment.

And finally, even Hillary Clinton made the campaign about race when she made her comment about the ultimate role of President Lyndon Johnson, and not Martin Luther King, Jr., in the Civil Rights Act fight back in 1964.

At a minimum, racialism among Democrats, in other words, was an abiding and unmistakably common theme throughout the primary season. Notice I am not saying "racism." Racialism.

But Anne Kornblut seems to be pretending that all of that somehow never really happened, even though she wrote about Bill Clinton's comments the time! And she also appears to be eager to accuse the McCain campaign of raising race in a racist way. How? All evidence to the contrary notwithstanding, Kornblut asserted in her article that that Sarah Palin's stump statement -- that Barack Obama has been "palling around with terrorists," is really a race-based comment.

Here is exactly what Kornblut said about that:
Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, the Republican vice presidential nominee, said Obama was "palling around with terrorists," a reference to his association with the 1960s radical William Ayers, and a turn of phrase that critics said was racially loaded.

(my emphasis)
Notice . . . it is not even "some critics!" Just "critics." None are named by Anne, but they are gleefully given the final, unchallenged Kornblut word. Yet, it is an assertion that simply has no basis whatsoever to support it.

"How so, Anne?" should have been the obvious question of the editorial fact-checker at the Washington Post, the one who presumably examined that story before giving his or her "okay" for publication. Hey, maybe the "fact checker" had read the account of the speech by Suarez, and the September, 2008 Kristof column.

There is plenty of recent and well-researched material, from a variety of sources, including the different angles of conservative Stanley Kurtz and the Naderite analyst, Steve Diamond, that nevertheless clearly demonstrate that unrepentant domestic terrorist Bill Ayers and Barack Obama, grabbed control of, and pursued a radical agenda at the Chicago Annenberg Challenge (CAC), which in the end, failed to produce any meaningful results for the school children of Chicago.

William Ayers was a white 1960s radical communist, a child of privilege who is married to another white 1960s radical communist, Bernadine Dohrn, also a rampaging former child of privilege. Dohrn had graduated from college, and then the prestigious University of Chicago Law School in 1967. By 1969, she and Ayers, and the other Weathermen, later Weather Underground really went on their terrorist toot, called the "Days of Rage." They were both fierce opponents of the War in Viet-Nam, as well as the American system of government.

Both freely chose to actively employ violent and terrorist means back in those days, by participating in the bombings of several public and private facilities. Those facilities included police stations, the United States Capitol building, and the Pentagon, as well as a personal attempt on the life (and family) of Judge John Murtagh, who oversaw the criminal trial of the radical Panther 21 group in New York. The Weather Underground, and specifically Beradine Dohrn, took credit for that bombing at the Murtagh home.

At one point, the Weather Underground, openly declared war on the United States. Dohrn was the person who publicly made that announcement. Both were indicted and became fugitives, going underground for several years and living with fake identies, to avoid capture and prosecution for their terrorist crimes. During that period, according to F.B.I. Director Hoover, Dohrn was "the most dangerous woman in America."

Dohrn And Ayers eventually surrendered, and she was later convicted and went to jail for her crimes. But to this day, she remains defiant and unapologetic about those crimes, and still openly advocates the overthrow of the "capitalist" system.

Dohrn once even disgustingly declared her admiration for the Charles Manson "family" and the Tate-LaBianca Murders, saying,

"Dig it. First they killed those pigs, then they ate dinner in the same room
with them. They even shoved a fork into a victim's stomach! Wild!

The "pigs" as Dohrn referred to them, were seven people who were all stabbed to death by Manson's followers, called his "family." They suddenly crashed a party where five of the murdered people were gathered in a home. And the other two were a couple who were murdered in their own home. Those in the first home included Hollywood actress Sharon Tate, who was over 8 months pregnant at the time she was murdered. She was found dead, with a rope around her neck, and a sign written in blood next to her, saying "Death to Pigs."

After Bill Ayers got off on the technicality, he eventually decided to pursued a higher education goal, and he obtained a PhD in education from Columbia University, which he secured back in the late 1980s. But his open contempt for the United States has simply never abated, even posing in 2001 for a photograph of himself stepping on the flag in a Chicago Alley.

Though she had graduated back in 1967 from the University of Chicago Law School, Dohrn was never admitted to the bar as a result of her criminal past. But she was enabled by being hired to work for a very large law firm based in Chicago, Sidley Austin. That was also where Barack Obama, coincidentally, once worked for a few months as a summer intern, and where he met his wife, Michelle, a then associate at the firm who was assigned to "mentor" him. There is no indication whether or not Dohrn ever met either one of them at Sidley.

On September 11, 2001, the very day of the bombing of World Trade Center, the New York Times carried a story about Bill Ayers and his fugitive life. He had just published a "memoir called "Fugitive Days." That 9/11 NYT article about him actually began with this exact quote:

"'I don't regret setting bombs,' Bill Ayers said. 'I feel we didn't do enough.'"
And in the same article, when asked if he would do it all over again, Ayers replied,
"I don't want to discount the possibility."
Back in the 1990s, Barack Obama chose to actually launch his political career in the living room of Bill Ayers and Bernadine Dohrn, at their invitation. And, he also accepted a modest political donation from the unrepentant domestic terrorist couple sometime later.

But before launching his political career, by running on the Democrat, and as well as the socialist (New Party) lines, in the 1996 primary, Barack Obama had been workin as a "community organizer" in the South Side of Chicago.

Somehow -- he will not personally address exactly how -- this very recent Harvard Law School graduate was given the position of President and Chairman of the Board of the Chicago Annenberg Challenge (CAC) in 1995. About one year before that (1994) Obama was appointed as well to the Board of the Woods Fund, where Bill Ayers also started serving about three years later. Both were serving together on the Woods Fund in 2001, when 9/11 occurred, a sharp point Hillary Clinton made in one of their debates.

The original CAC grant, for $49.2 million dollars, was obtained from the Annenberg Foundation, and was reportedly written by none other than Bill Ayers. As noted, it expressly promised "a renaissance in the classroom." It was a "challenge" grant, which meant that the initial grant was used to attract additional "matching" funds, and several foundations and others ponied up the additional dough.

Barack Obama oversaw the expenditure of those funds over an approximately five year period, from 1995 until 1999, during which approximately $150 - $160 million dollars were spent by the CAC. One of the grants given in 1998, for example, was:
$150,000 for leadership development to the Grassroots School Improvement Campaign, a partnership between Chicago Acorn, the Small Schools Workshop, the Cross City Campaign for Urban School Reform and eight Chicago schools, for parent and community participation in school improvement. The schools are Acorn Charter, Gage Park High, Robeson High, Collins High, O’Toole, Little Village Academy, Charles E. Hughes and Mason.
The Small Schools Workshop was the Mike Klonsky group, coordinating with ACORN, which was Madeline Talbott's group of street "activists," the very ones Obama was also training as street activists to, among other things, force banks into placing high numbers of subprime mortgages. He denies it, but recently re-discovered evidence very strongly suggests otherwise. Check the photo of Barack Obama mugging with the ACORN activists back in 1994!

Mike Klonsky is an avowed Maoist hardliner communist pal of Ayers, Dohrn, Talbott and Obama who, until early this past summer, was even happily blogging away on Barack Obama's website, until, as was reported on Gateway Pundit and as well on Global Labor Klonsky was "outed" and suddenly "disappeared" from Obama's website -- without a trace.

So, the Barack Obama and the Chicago Annenberg Challenge (CAC) gave Klonsky and ACORN at least one joint gift.

And even though the CAC had expressly promised the "renaissance in the classroom" in Chicago, they accomplished no such thing.

But the promises in the proposal had been used to weasel the money out of Annenberg, and thence to leverage matching donations from others. The CAC, which really was Barack Obama's only "professional" executive experience, frittered away the $150 - $160 million, much of it on leftist political "infighting" -- trying to take control of the Chicago Schools through Local School Councils (LSCs), and other questionable ventures, such as training for teachers in "social justice" seminars.

Suffice it to say that after operating for several years, it's own evaluation, contained in the Final Report that was issued in 2003, and that was conducted by the CAC's own Consortium of Chicago School Research, they had to admit that there were no academic achievement, or academic engagement benefits enuring to the Chicago school children in the Annenberg Schools.

The words in italics are copied directly from that Report:

(Re: Student Academic Achievement) -- "There were no statistically significant differences between Annenberg schools and non-Annenberg schools in rates of achievement gain."
. . .
(Re: Student Academic Engagement) -- "Like student academic achievement, there were no statistically significant differences in these outcomes between Annenberg schools and non-Annenberg schools."
Oh, if you read the report, the CAC evaluators tried to "pretty it up" a little, and they even offered a few excuses why the CAC had failed. But the bottom line was clear -- they palled around, playing petty, lefty politics, and they utterly failed to accomplish anything of value for the children of Chicago.

Shame on them all!

And now comes the person who presided over that tragic mess, who wants us to elect him President of the United States! And one of his key issues is a massive education initiative.

So it would seem that far from being "racially loaded," Sarah Palin's comment that Barack Obama was "palling around with terrorists," is absolutely spot on. Obama has offered the laughably bogus excuse, through his spokesman, that he thought Ayers was rehabilitated. But as was pointed out at Little Green Footballs, the two of them -- Obama and Ayers -- were still serving on the Board of the Woods Fund on 9/11, the day Ayers was quoted in the Times saying they hadn't done enough bombing.

And, it is equally obvious that there was certainly nothing racial about Palin's comment, unless, you choose to flip it around to a classic liberal position, i.e., that the failure of Barack Obama as the head of the CAC, together with his terrorist pal William Ayers, to achieve anything of value for the children of Chicago, was racist.

You be the judge of that one. One thing, however, is for sure. It reinforces the conclusion that the man has a very strong left wing agenda, and that he, as the RNC has correctly pointed out, maintained associations with some very dangerous and ruthless people. The bottom line is that it also shows he simply lacks any experience whatsever, that qualifies him for executive office, especially for the Presidency, regardless of what nonsense Ray Suarez of PBS spouts!

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Thursday, October 02, 2008

Sorry Joe, you lose.