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By INVESTOR'S BUSINESS DAILY
August 18, 2008
Barack Obama's fierce attack on Jerome Corsi's best-selling book, "The Obama Nation," has backfired. He has been forced to confirm things he'd hoped would stay buried.
Obama, for example, for the first time has acknowledged that the mysterious "Frank" in his 1995 autobiography, "Dreams From My Father," is in fact Communist Party USA member Frank Marshall Davis, who during the height of the Cold War was investigated by both the FBI and Congress as a pawn of Moscow.
As we've noted, the late Davis was Obama's early mentor with whom he shared whiskey and rage while growing up in Hawaii. The militant black poet influenced the young Obama's decision to become a pro-labor community organizer and agitator in his hometown of Chicago.
Corsi writes about Davis in his critical new book, "The Obama Nation," which has hit No. 1 on the New York Times best-seller list. In an unusual 40-page rebuttal posted on his campaign Web site, Obama tries to smear the entire book as a "series of lies."
Only, Corsi's book is basically a critique of Obama's own first book, "Dreams From My Father," written in 1995. It finds hole after hole in the narrative. Dates don't add up. Stories don't square with reality. Identities of central characters like Davis are hidden from view.
In his angrily worded report, Obama attempts to play down the influence Corsi says Davis had on him. But he doesn't dispute anything the book documents about Davis' un-American activities with the Soviets.
Instead, Obama takes issue with Corsi claiming Davis' angry poems provided "a voice for Obama's black rage." He calls it a "lie."
In fact, Obama's own words appear to support the claim. On Page 171 of "Dreams," Obama flies into a fit over chronic black poverty in Chicago's South Side, blaming whites who took flight to the crime-free suburbs and took jobs with them. He's overcome by the same black rage Davis radiated in his Waikiki bungalow years earlier.
Obama took to heart Davis' advice to "keep your eyes open" to signs of institutional racism. He became race-conscious like never before. He admits he never "let it go," even when he could see that overt racism was a thing of the past.
But that wasn't even the point Corsi was making in his section on Davis, which he subtitled "Obama's Communist Mentor." The issue of black rage was a side point. The main point is Davis' communist influence, something voters have a right to know more about.
Obama in his rebuttal leaves that point completely unaddressed. He doesn't want to go there for obvious reasons.
Obama's rapid response to Corsi's alleged "swift-boating" backfires again in the same report when he defends his wife, Michelle, against the charge that she was influenced by another black Marxist revolutionist, Stokely Carmichael, in formulating her Princeton thesis on black separatism.
Again, Obama calls it a "lie." But turning to Page 139 of his memoir, "Dreams," we find that he himself was inspired by Carmichael, a civil rights leader turned militant black nationalist. Changing his name to Kwame Toure, Carmichael wrote a book on "Black Power" that propounds an explicitly socialist, Pan-African vision.
While living in New York, Obama says he was in "search of some inspiration" one day and "went to hear Kwame Toure, formerly Stokely Carmichael of SNCC and Black Power fame, speak at Columbia." He clearly knew the background of the source for his inspiration that day.
"At the entrance to the auditorium, two women, one black, one Asian, were selling Marxist literature and arguing with each other about Trotsky's place in history," he wrote, describing the scene. "Inside, Toure was proposing a program to establish economic ties between Africa and Harlem that would circumvent white capitalist imperialism."
Obama, who has family in Kenya, is proposing his own bailout of Africa.
Obama wants to run from this radical past, but his first memoir written long before he had serious White House aspirations is a peek into his soul. "Dreams" has become more of a nightmare, and he may just come to regret ever writing it.
By DAVID FREDDOSO
August 20, 2008
Democrats don't like it when you say that Barack Obama won his first election in 1996 by throwing all of his opponents off the ballot on technicalities.
By clearing out the incumbent and the others in his first Democratic primary for state Senate, Mr. Obama did something that was neither illegal nor even uncommon. But Mr. Obama claims to represent something different from old-style politics -- especially old-style Chicago politics. And the senator is embarrassed enough by what he did that he misrepresents it in the prologue of his political memoir, "The Audacity of Hope."
In that book, Mr. Obama paints a portrait of himself as a genuine reformer and change agent, just as he has in this presidential campaign. He attributes his 1996 victory to his message of hope, and his exhortations that Chicagoans drop their justifiable cynicism about politics.
When voters complained of all the broken promises politicians had made in the past, Mr. Obama writes that he "would usually smile and nod, and say that I understood the skepticism, but that there was -- and always had been -- another tradition to politics, a tradition based on the simple idea that we have a stake in one another, and that what binds us together is greater than what drives us apart, and that if enough people believe in the truth of that proposition and act on it, then we might not solve every problem, but we can get something meaningful done."
Mr. Obama writes that even if the voters were not impressed by this speech, "enough of them appreciated my earnestness and youthful swagger that I made it to the Illinois legislature."
In real life, it did not matter what Mr. Obama said on the stump or whether South Side voters were impressed. What mattered was that, beginning on Jan. 2, 1996, his campaigners began challenging thousands of petition signatures the other candidates in the race had submitted in order to appear on the ballot. Thus would Mr. Obama win his state Senate seat, months before a single vote was cast.
According to the Chicago Tribune, Mr. Obama's petition challengers reported to him nightly on their progress as they disqualified his opponents' signatures on various technical grounds -- all legitimate from the perspective of law. One local newspaper, Chicago Weekend, reported that "[s]ome of the problems include printing registered voters name [sic] instead of writing, a female voter got married after she registered to vote and signed her maiden name, registered voters signed the petitions but don't live in the 13th district."
One of the candidates would speculate that his signature-gatherers, working at a per-signature pay rate, may have cheated him by signing many of the petitions themselves, making them easy to disqualify.
In the end, Mr. Obama disqualified all four opponents -- including the incumbent state senator, Alice Palmer, and three minor candidates. Ms. Palmer, a former ally of Mr. Obama, had gathered 1,580 signatures, more than twice the 757 required to appear on the ballot. A minor, perennial candidate had gathered 1,899 signatures, suggesting the Obama team invested much time working even against him.
The act of throwing an incumbent off the ballot in such a fashion does not fit neatly into the narrative of a public-spirited reformer who seeks to make people less cynical about politics.
But Mr. Obama's offenses against the idea of a "new politics" are many, and go well beyond hardball election tactics. It is telling that, when asked at the Saddleback Forum last weekend to name an instance in which he had worked against his own party or his own political interests, he didn't have a good answer. He claimed to have worked with his current opponent, John McCain, on ethics reform. In fact, no such thing happened. The two men had agreed to work together, for all of one day, in February 2006, and then promptly had a well-documented falling-out. They even exchanged angry letters over this incident.
The most dramatic examples of Mr. Obama's commitment to old-style politics are his repeated endorsements of Chicago's machine politicians, which came in opposition to what people of all ideological stripes viewed as the common good.
In the 2006 election, reformers from both parties attempted to end the corruption in Chicago's Cook County government. They probably would have succeeded, too, had Mr. Obama taken their side. Liberals and conservatives came together and nearly ousted Cook County Board President John Stroger, the machine boss whom court papers credibly accuse of illegally using the county payroll to maintain his own standing army of political cronies, contributors and campaigners.
The since-deceased Stroger's self-serving mismanagement of county government is still the subject of federal investigations and arbitration claims. Stroger was known for trying repeatedly to raise taxes to fund his political machine, even as basic government services were neglected in favor of high-paying county jobs for his political soldiers.
When liberals and conservatives worked together to clean up Cook County's government, they were displaying precisely the postpartisan interest in the common good that Mr. Obama extols today. And Mr. Obama, by working against them, helped keep Chicago politics dirty. He refused to endorse the progressive reformer, Forrest Claypool, who came within seven points of defeating Stroger in the primary.
After the primary, when Stroger's son Todd replaced him on the ballot under controversial circumstances, a good-government Republican named Tony Peraica attracted the same kind of bipartisan support from reformers in the November election. But Mr. Obama endorsed the young heir to the machine, calling him -- to the absolute horror of Chicago liberals -- a "good, progressive Democrat."
Mayor Richard M. Daley -- who would receive Mr. Obama's endorsement in 2007 shortly after several of his top aides and appointees had received prison sentences for their corrupt operation of Chicago's city government -- was invested in the Stroger machine's survival. So was every alderman and county commissioner who uses the county payroll to support political hangers-on. So was Mr. Obama's friend and donor, Tony Rezko, who is now in federal prison awaiting sentencing after being convicted in June of 16 felony corruption charges. Rezko had served as John Stroger's finance chairman and raised $150,000 for him (Stroger put Rezko's wife on the county payroll).
Mr. Obama has never stood up against Chicago's corruption problem because his donors and allies are Chicago's corruption problem.
Mr. Obama is not the reformer he now claims to be. The real man is the one they know in Chicago -- the one who won his first election by depriving voters of a choice.
Mr. Freddoso is the author of the just-published "The Case Against Barack Obama" (Regnery).
By Peter Wehner
August 19, 2008
I'm beginning to think that the abortion issue may have the potential to be, for Barack Obama, the policy equivalent of his long-time association with Reverend Wright. I say this for two reasons. The first is that Obama's record on abortion is as extreme as one can possibly be. Senator Obama is unable to point to a single abortion he would oppose (his "health exception" for the mother is a well-known loophole whose effect would be to allow even late-term abortions), to the point that he was not even willing to extend basic protection to a child born during a failed abortion and living outside the womb. For a person who said, during his conversation on Saturday with Rick Warren, that the greatest failure of America is not to take seriously the injunction in the Gospel of Matthew that "Whatever you do for the least of my brothers, you do for me," this is an extraordinary position.
But this issue has now traversed into the matter of public character. Obama accused the National Right to Life Committee of lying because it said that he voted to kill legislation that included a "neutrality clause" he now claims was the sine qua non for his support for pro-life legislation. If the neutrality clause was in the legislation, Obama now says, he would have supported legislation protecting the life of newly born children who had survived an abortion. But National Right to Life has, in Rich's words, "unearthed documents showing that the Illinois bill was amended to include such a clause, and Obama voted to kill it anyway." So Obama was, at best, wrong in recalling his own past position. At worst, Obama himself is misrepresenting his position and, in accusing the National Right to Life Committee of lying, is doing so himself.
Senator Obama is becoming what the apostle Paul, in I Corinthians 13, calls a "resounding gong or a clashing cymbal." By that I mean Obama uses language that is meant to portray himself as thoughtful and reasonable, able to grasp the nuances of every argument, even those with which he disagrees. Obama is himself, according to this narrative, the antithesis of an extremist. He is our hope for a post-partisan future, the answer to divisive politics, the solution to the "culture wars." And yet on an issue of enormous moral gravity-Obama himself says that he's "absolutely convinced that there is a moral and ethical element to this issue"-he has embraced legislation that is extreme, inhumane, and outright brutal. There is no indication that he has the slightest sympathy for unborn children or any interest in ending the "culture wars." His past policies would, in fact, deepen the divisions.
It has become increasingly clear that we need to devalue Obama's rhetoric, since it is so much at odds with his record. Maybe no issue underscores this more than abortion. It isn't a pleasant issue to debate, but it is a terribly important one. And Obama is not only on the wrong side of it: he inhabits a small sliver of ground where few others have dared to venture. Many people, even those who consider themselves pro-choice, find killing a baby who has survived an abortion attempt to be deeply troubling and wrong. But not, apparently, Barack Obama-at least before he decided to run for President.
Senator McCain is often not comfortable talking about abortion, but as he showed in his conversation with Rick Warren, he can be effective in discussing it. This issue should now become central to the campaign, because of what it reveals about the moral sensibilities and radical views of Senator Obama.
By INVESTOR'S BUSINESS DAILY
August 20, 2008
Barack Obama's economic blueprint sounds like one his communist father tried to foist on Kenya 40 years ago, with massive taxes and succor shrouded as "investments."
As a Nairobi bureaucrat, Barack Hussein Obama Sr. advised the pro-Western Kenyan government there to "redistribute" income through higher taxes. He also demonized corporations and called for massive government "investment" in social programs.
Writing in a 1965 scholarly paper, Obama's late father slammed the administration of then-President Jomo Kenyatta for moving the Third World country away from socialism toward capitalism. He chafed at the idea of relying on private investors - who earn "dividends" on their venture capital - to develop the country's fledgling economy.
"What is more important is to find means by which we can redistribute our economic gains to the benefit of all," said the senior Obama, a Harvard-educated economist. "This is the government's obligation." The "means" he had in mind were confiscatory taxes on a scale that redefines the term "progressive taxation."
"Theoretically," he wrote, "there is nothing that can stop the government from taxing 100% of income so long as the people get benefits from the government commensurate with their income which is taxed."
Therefore, he added, "I do not see why the government cannot tax those who have more and syphon some of these revenues into savings which can be utilized in investment for future development."
As Obama's father saw it, taxes couldn't be high enough, so long as the collective benefited. "Certainly there is no limit to taxation if the benefits derived from public services by society measure up to the cost in taxation which they have to pay," he said. "It is a fallacy to say that there is this limit, and it is a fallacy to rely mainly on individual free enterprise to get the savings."
His son is also pushing massive taxes and "investments" in social programs - at the expense of free enterprise. Sen. Obama wants to raise the top marginal income-tax rate to at least 39%, while increasing Social Security taxes on those with higher incomes by completely removing the payroll cap. That means many entrepreneurs would be paying 12.4% (6.2% on employer and 6.2% on employee) on Social Security payroll taxes alone, plus the 2.9% on Medicare taxes, for a total federal tax rate of 54%.
In addition, Obama wants to jack up the capital-gains tax rate and reinstate the death tax.
Echoing his father, he argues that the government should impose "tax laws that restore some balance to the distribution of the nation's wealth."
And likewise, he asserts that the nation's wealth ought to be rechanneled by government into "investments" in the economy and welfare programs that create "a new American social compact."
"We can only compete if our government makes the investments that give us a fighting chance" in the global economy, the Democrat presidential hopeful said in his 2006 book, "The Audacity of Hope." "And if we know that our families have some net beneath which they cannot fall."
"Training must be expanded," his father proposed as one of his government "investments." Likewise, Sen. Obama wants to "invest" billions more in federal jobs retraining.
His father's critique of Kenya's economic policy was published in the East Africa Journal under the title "Problems Facing Our Socialism." One discovers - after reading just a few pages into his eight-page tract, where he waxes quixotic about "communal ownership of major means of production" - that he wasn't criticizing the government for being too socialistic, but not socialistic enough.
Obama Sr. described his own economic plan, his counterproposal, as it were, as "scientific socialism - inter alia - communism." Yes, Obama's father was a communist who wanted to put socialist theory into action - by "force."
He trusted the collective over the individual, a theme he successfully instilled in his son, also Harvard-educated, with whom he visited once for a full month in Hawaii, even speaking to his prep school class. He kept up correspondence with his son through his college years.
(Media accounts portray Obama's father as being completely out of his life after leaving his mother and him at age 2. But Obama's first book, "Dreams From My Father," reveals that he remained an influential force in his life. Obama's first autobiography was devoted to "my father.")
Listen to what "the Old Man," as Obama and his siblings called him, wrote in proposing government-run farms: "If left to the individual, consolidation will take a long time to come. We have to look at priorities in terms of what is good for society, and on this basis we may find it necessary to force people to do things they would not do otherwise."
He explained that "the government should restrict the size of farms that can be owned by one individual throughout the country."
More evil than individuals, Obama's father believed, are heads of corporations. More evil still are the bankers and investors, who conspire to control the world through their evil capitalist system.
"One who has read Marx cannot fail to see that corporations are not only what Marx referred to as the advanced stage of capitalism," he wrote. "But Marx even called it finance capitalism by which a few would control the finances of so many, and through this, have not only economic power but political power as well."
It's clear from Sen. Obama's own writings and speeches that he too is no fan of business or our system of "chaotic and unforgiving capitalism," as he wrote in "Audacity." He's fond of bashing Wall Street "greed" and the post-Reagan rise of individual investing over government investing. He wants to roll back the "Ownership Society." He resents the profit motive and individuals "on the make."
"Rather than vilify the rich," he laments, "we hold them up as role models, and our mythology is steeped in stories of men on the make."
This is no small point. The man who wants to be the nation's CEO actually believes we're living in a feudal society where the rich plunder the poor. And he thinks they should not only be vilified but punished.
"The problems of poverty and racism, the uninsured and the unemployed are rooted in the desire among those at the top of the social ladder to maintain their wealth and status whatever the cost," he wrote. "Solving these problems will require changes in government policy."
That is, massive taxation, among other things (or "inter alia," as his "brilliant" father would say).
Obama wrote in "Dreams From My Father" that he was trying to impress his father by taking a low-paying job organizing and agitating in the Chicago ghetto right out of college. "I did feel that there was something to prove to my father," he said.
Yet, suspiciously, he does not once mention his father's communist leanings in an entire book dedicated to his memory. No doubt he wanted to keep that hidden. All he tells readers is that his father was pushed out of the Kenyatta administration. He does not explain why.
"Word got back to Kenyatta that the Old Man was a troublemaker and he was called in to see the president," Obama wrote, quoting his half-sister, "because he could not keep his mouth shut." About what, we aren't told.
However, Obama writes sympathetically of a comrade of his father, Oginga Odinga, who stepped down as vice president and tried to start his own party. He too was angry that President Kenyatta was letting private investors buy up businesses and land "that should be redistributed to the people," Obama said.
By 1967, two years after Obama Sr. penned his paper, Odinga had been placed under house arrest for holding a rally that turned into a riot.
Like Obama's father, Odinga was a member of the Luo tribe of Kenya. His son, Raila Odinga, ran for president in 2006. That year, Obama traveled to Kenya and appeared with Odinga at rallies where he criticized the pro-U.S. government Odinga wanted to oust.
When he lost the election the next year, despite Obama's tacit endorsement, angry Odinga supporters crying fraud sparked riots that resulted in some 1,500 deaths. Amid his ancestral country's civil unrest, Obama took time out from the campaign trail to phone Odinga to voice his support.
After weeks of violence, Odinga was granted a power-sharing deal. He's now acting prime minister.
He's also a something of a communist like his father. An East German-trained engineer, he named his oldest son after Fidel Castro. Paralleling him, Sen. Obama wants to open dialogue with Cuba and once proposed lifting the trade embargo.
The two sons have much in common. However, the son who would lead the U.S. learned from his father's mistakes and keeps his "mouth shut." Obama learned that revealing his real beliefs can jeopardize his quest for the power needed to put his "redistribution" plans into action.