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Posts Tagged ‘Obama’

Can You Name an Accomplishment of Barack Obama?

Posted by Tony Listi on March 4, 2008

Posted in Elections and Campaigns, Government and Politics | Tagged: , , , , , | 13 Comments »

Obama’s Ties to Terrorism

Posted by Tony Listi on March 4, 2008

Barack Obama has been running his campaign in the style of a revolutionary. Just how radical and liberal Obama is has been well hidden by the campaign. If you haven’t heard about his friendship with the leaders of the radical group, the Weather Underground, you can thank the media. Just how radically left this man is can be seen in what company he keeps. Obama is friends with William Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn, the Weather Underground terrorists of the 1960’s.

Bill Ayres is unapologetic for his violence:

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Obama: Most Liberal Senator In 2007

Posted by Tony Listi on March 4, 2008

By Brian Friel, Richard E. Cohen and Kirk Victor, National Journal
© National Journal Group Inc.
Thursday, Jan. 31, 2008
Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., was the most liberal senator in 2007, according to National Journal‘s 27th annual vote ratings. The insurgent presidential candidate shifted further to the left last year in the run-up to the primaries, after ranking as the 16th- and 10th-most-liberal during his first two years in the Senate.

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., the other front-runner in the Democratic presidential race, also shifted to the left last year. She ranked as the 16th-most-liberal senator in the 2007 ratings, a computer-assisted analysis that used 99 key Senate votes, selected by NJ reporters and editors, to place every senator on a liberal-to-conservative scale in each of three issue categories. In 2006, Clinton was the 32nd-most-liberal senator.

In their yearlong race for the Democratic presidential nomination, Obama and Clinton have had strikingly similar voting records. Of the 267 measures on which both senators cast votes in 2007, the two differed on only 10. “The policy differences between Clinton and Obama are so slight they are almost nonexistent to the average voter,” said Richard Lau, a Rutgers University political scientist.

But differences define campaigns. The yeas and nays matter. And in a Senate in which party-line votes are the rule, the rare exceptions help to show how two senators who seemed like ideological twins in 2007 were not actually identical. Obama and Clinton were more like fraternal policy twins, NJ‘s vote ratings show.

As the battles for the 2008 Democratic and Republican presidential nominations have raged, the candidates have blasted each other for taking positions that are out of line with party dogma. Obama has repeatedly challenged Clinton’s 2002 vote authorizing the Iraq war, labeling her foreign policy “Bush/Cheney-lite”; Clinton has pointed to Obama’s “present” votes on the abortion issue in the Illinois Legislature to raise questions about his support for abortion rights. Meanwhile, Republicans have battled over the strength of their conservative credentials on taxes, immigration, and national security.

When the campaign shifts into the general election, however, the two nominees may each seek to cast their opponent as a party extremist. During the 2004 presidential campaign, for instance, Republicans attacked Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., as an extreme liberal, including by pointing to his ranking as the most liberal senator in NJ‘s 2003 vote ratings.

Such lines of attack are already apparent in this year’s race. At a January 16 Republican National Committee meeting, Karl Rove, President Bush‘s former campaign architect, called Obama “a straight-down-the-line United States Senate national Democrat.” Rove pointedly added: “Nonpartisan ratings say that he has a more liberal and a more straight-party voting record than Senator Clinton does. Pretty hard to do.” How the eventual nominee handles criticisms of his or her voting record could help determine the next president of the United States.

Contacted on January 30 to respond to Obama’s scores in NJ‘s vote ratings, his campaign said that the liberal ranking belies the public support he has been receiving. “As Senator Obama travels across the country, and as we’ve seen in the early contests, he’s the one candidate who’s shown the ability to appeal to Republicans and the ability to appeal to independents,” said campaign spokeswoman Jen Psaki.

But she also said that it’s important to note the differences between Obama and Clinton on key issues. “The Democratic Party needs to nominate someone who shows a clear contrast with where Republicans are, on issues like the war in Iraq and the economy and the influence of lobbyists on Washington,” Psaki said. “One of the reasons he’s received such strong support is because he’s drawn the starkest contrast on those issues.”

Asked whether the liberal ranking could be used against Obama in the campaign, Psaki said that voters appreciate that he is up front about his positions on issues, even if those positions don’t line up with their own. “Part of the reason he’s appealing to some Republicans and independents is, he has that authenticity,” she said. “He’s very clear from the beginning that we can’t do this alone and we need to work across party lines and focus more on uniting than on dividing.”

Asked about Clinton’s relatively moderate placement in NJ‘s rankings, one of her campaign advisers responded, “Her voting record as a whole shows she takes a comprehensive, balanced approach toward policy. Senator Clinton looks at the broader picture. She tries to see the challenges from not only the blue-collar worker’s face, but also the white-collar worker’s, not only Wall Street but also Main Street, and from that tries to put together a policy that’s best for America as a whole.”

The Clinton adviser said that the Democratic candidates’ shift to the left reflects the two parties’ stark splits over Bush’s policies. Asked how the differences between Obama’s and Clinton’s voting records have played on the campaign trail, the adviser emphasized that the two have not differed over the past year on the critical issue of the Iraq war. “The most interesting thing of this exercise is… it simply looks at the votes,” the adviser said. “Did they vote yes? Did they vote no? What did they vote? For the most part, Senator Clinton and Senator Obama have identical voting records on Iraq.”

The Yeas And Nays
Indeed, the similarities in Obama’s and Clinton’s voting records last year were extensive. Both supported most measures aimed at withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq. Both supported comprehensive immigration legislation including a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants. Both voted to support most Democratic positions on health care, education, energy, and the budget, and both voted against most Republican positions on those topics.

But NJ‘s vote ratings are designed to draw distinctions that illuminate the differences among lawmakers. The calculations ranked senators relative to each other based on the 99 key votes and assigned scores in three areas: economic issues, social issues, and foreign policy. (House members were scored in a separate set of rankings. The full results for both chambers will be published in our March 8 issue.)

On foreign policy, for example, Obama’s liberal score of 92 and conservative score of 7 indicate that he was more liberal in that issue area than 92 percent of the senators and more conservative than 7 percent. Clinton was more liberal than 83 percent of the senators on foreign policy and more conservative than 16 percent. The ratings do not mean that she voted with liberals 83 percent of the time, or that she was 83 percent “correct” from a liberal perspective.

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.

Clinton, meanwhile, tied as the 16th-most-liberal senator in 2007 with Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich.; both had a composite liberal score of 82.8. Clinton’s home-state colleague, Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., was the 15th-most-liberal, with a composite score of 83.

Members who missed more than half of the votes in any of the three issue categories did not receive a composite score in NJ‘s ratings. (This rule was imposed after Kerry was ranked the most liberal senator in our 2003 ratings despite having missed more than half of the votes in two categories.) Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., the only other senator whose presidential candidacy survived the initial round of primaries and caucuses this year, did not vote frequently enough in 2007 to draw a composite score. He missed more than half of the votes in both the economic and foreign-policy categories. On social issues, which include immigration, McCain received a conservative score of 59. (McCain’s composite scores from his prior years in the Senate, published in our March 2007 vote ratings issue, are available as a PDF.)

Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, the lone House member still in the presidential race, had a composite conservative score of 60.2, making him the 178th-most-conservative lawmaker in that chamber in 2007. His libertarian views placed him close to the center of the House in both the social issues and foreign-policy categories. He registered more conservative on economic issues.

Overall in NJ‘s 2007 ratings, Obama voted the liberal position on 65 of the 66 key votes on which he voted; Clinton voted the liberal position 77 of 82 times. Obama garnered perfect liberal scores in both the economic and social categories. His score in the foreign-policy category was nearly perfect, pulled down a notch by the only conservative vote that he cast in the ratings, on a Republican-sponsored resolution expressing the sense of Congress that funding should not be cut off for U.S. troops in harm’s way. The Senate passed the resolution 82-16 with the support of both Obama and Clinton. The 16 opponents included mostly liberals, such as Sens. Russell Feingold, D-Wis., and Sanders.

Clinton took the conservative position four other times in NJ‘s 2007 ratings. (See how Obama and Clinton voted in the three issue categories in this PDF.) The one that registered the loudest on the campaign trail was a vote that she cast in favor of an amendment sponsored by Sens. Joe Lieberman, ID-Conn., and Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., that called on the Bush administration to reduce Iranian influence on Iraq and to designate the Iranian revolutionary guard as a terrorist organization. The “sense of the Senate” amendment was approved 76-22.

Obama missed that vote, but said he would have voted no. In fact, on the campaign trail, he criticized Clinton for her position, arguing that the Bush administration could use the Senate vote to justify waging war on Iran. “I strongly differ with Senator Hillary Clinton, who was the only Democratic presidential candidate to support this reckless amendment,” Obama wrote in an opinion article in The Union Leader, published in Manchester, N.H. To combat that criticism, Clinton signed a letter to Bush urging him not to attack Iran and co-sponsored legislation requiring the president to seek congressional approval before an attack.

The Liberal Label
As Obama and Clinton have wooed Democratic primary voters, both have emphasized their liberal policy positions. But neither has embraced the liberal label the way that the Republican presidential candidates have proudly stamped themselves as conservatives.

In Obama’s first splash on the national stage, as keynote speaker at the 2004 Democratic National Convention, he disparaged ideological labels as weapons used by partisans who have little else to offer. “Even as we speak, there are those who are preparing to divide us, the spinmasters and negative-ad peddlers who embrace the politics of anything-goes,” he said. “Well, I say to them tonight: There’s not a liberal America and a conservative America — there is the United States of America.”

Talk like that is what makes Obama popular across the ideological spectrum, said Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif. “It’s not the ’90s all over again,” she said. “Instead of focusing in on what divides us, it’s focusing in on what can unite us. People are sick of the divisions. Republicans I know — and I know quite a few — are very enthused by this guy.”

For her part, Clinton at times has emphasized her nuts-and-bolts pragmatism. She cites her work with GOP colleagues such as Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, with whom she collaborated for three years to secure medical benefits for National Guard troops. Clinton hit that theme in a December ad aimed at independent voters in New Hampshire. “I’ve learned if you want to get things done, you have to know when to stand your ground and when to find common ground,” she said as she looked into the camera.

In recent interviews, both candidates’ supporters contended that they can handle any charges that they are too liberal for the country. Whitehouse, a Clinton supporter, said that she weathered that storm throughout her years as first lady. “What people remember as polarizing was the rabid Republican smear attack that lasted for years against the Clintons,” he said. “When you actually look at her on the record and working, she’s solidly bipartisan and very productive.”

Rep. Robert Andrews, D-N.J., who has endorsed Clinton, said that she has been wise to defend her 2002 vote for the Iraq war. “I admire that,” he added. “I think I give her credit for being resolute in her conviction that the vote was right at the time. Senator Clinton has this in her character. I’m hopeful that when she’s elected, that will manifest itself from the White House.”

Obama’s supporters likewise said that his record points to bipartisanship. “He has strong positions, but he doesn’t demonize the opposition,” Virginia Democratic Gov. Tim Kaine said in an interview. “He talks about the strength of his particular views, but he wants to hear from the other side and try to find common ground. He has a track record of always reaching out and trying to find someone on the other side of the aisle that he can partner with.”

Kerry, who has endorsed Obama, told NJ on January 29 that attacks on his own liberalism had no impact on the outcome of the 2004 presidential election. That line of attack wouldn’t work against Obama either, he said. “The whole point, folks, is — and the Republicans love to be simplistic and they also love to be wrong — is that he represents somebody who’s bringing together a broad coalition of people,” Kerry said. “It’s not going to stick. People are tired of the stupidity of these labels. They’re tired of that game.”

Asked about the question of ideology in this year’s campaign, Democrats generally said that most voters do not focus on labels such as “liberal” and “conservative.” “By and large, your average person out there, particularly young voters, are less interested in labels and more interested in seeing that somebody is going to put up or shut up,” said Sen. Blanche Lincoln, D-Ark.

Republicans, however, insist that they can make hay by showing how liberal the Democratic nominee is. “Senator Obama’s voting record, from what I have seen of it, tends to be very left-leaning,” said Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas. “I saw Senator Kennedy’s endorsement of him as both an acknowledgement of that similar ideological view, but also — perhaps just as significant — that he represents the future and [Clinton] represented the past.”

In the general election, Cornyn said, the ideological differences between the Republican and Democratic nominee “would be certainly a stark contrast.” Drawing that distinction “would be important to present to people,” he said, adding that notwithstanding Obama’s appeal “really across party lines,” his ideology “would be certainly what the election would focus on.”

Graham, a McCain supporter, was equally adamant that ideology would be very important. Whether Clinton or Obama is the nominee, Graham said, the differences between the two parties’ candidates on taxes, judicial nominees, and war policy would be significant. “I mean, there would be big, huge thematic differences,” he said.

When asked about the Clinton ad featuring her work with him to show how she reaches across party lines, Graham noted he was proud that they extended military health care to the Guard and Reserves. “I don’t want her to be president not because I don’t like her,” he added. “I know the judges that she will appoint will be the opposite of what I would like. I know what she would do with the tax problems we have — she will not make the tax cuts permanent. And I know what she would do in Iraq. She would withdraw. She said she would begin withdrawing in 60 days of becoming president. That would be a disaster.”

Posted in Elections and Campaigns, Government and Politics | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »

Obama Serves with Terrorist on Anti-Israel Board

Posted by Tony Listi on February 29, 2008

Obama Served On Board That Funded Pro-Palestinian Group
By:  Aaron Klein
Date Posted: February 27, 2008

JERUSALEM – Democratic presidential frontrunner Sen. Barack Obama served as a paid director on the board of a nonprofit organization that granted funding to a controversial Arab group that mourns the establishment of Israel as a “catastrophe.” (Obama has also reportedly spoken at fundraisers for Palestinians living in what the United Nations terms refugee camps.)

The co-founder of the Arab group, Columbia University professor Rashid Khalidi, is a harsh critic of Israel who reportedly worked on behalf of the Palestine Liberation Organization when it was labeled a terror group by the State Department.

Khalidi held a fundraiser in 2000 for Obama’s failed bid for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.

In 2001, the Woods Fund, a Chicago-based nonprofit that describes itself as a group helping the disadvantaged, provided a $40,000 grant to the Arab American Action Network, or AAAN, at which Khalidi’s wife, Mona, serves as president. The Fund provided a second grant to AAAN for $35,000 in 2002.

Obama was a director of the Woods Fund board from 1999 to Dec. 11, 2002, according to the Fund’s website. According to tax filings, Obama received compensation of $6,000 per year for his service in 1999 and 2000.

The $40,000 grant from the Woods Fund to AAAN constituted about a fifth of the group’s reported grants for 2001, also according to tax filings. The $35,000 Woods Fund grant in 2002 made up about one-fifth of AAAN’s reported grants for that year as well.

Headquartered in the heart of Chicago’s Palestinian immigrant community, AAAN describes itself as working to “empower Chicago-area Arab immigrants and Arab Americans through the combined strategies of community organizing, advocacy, education and social services, leadership development, and forging productive relationships with other communities.”

Speakers at AAAN dinners and events routinely have taken an anti-Israel line. The group co-sponsored a Palestinian art exhibit, titled “The Subject of Palestine,” that featured works related to what Palestinians call the “nakba” or “catastrophe” of Israel’s founding in 1948.

The theme of AAAN’s Nakba art exhibit, held at DePaul University in 2005, was “the compelling and continuing tragedy of Palestinian life … under [Israeli] occupation … home demolition … statelessness … bereavement … martyrdom, and … the heroic struggle for life, for safety, and for freedom.”

Another AAAN initiative, “Al Nakba 1948 As Experienced by Chicago Palestinians,” seeks documents related to the “catastrophe” of Israel’s founding.

Although AAAN co-founder Rashid Khalidi has at times denied working directly for the PLO, he reportedly served as director of the official PLO press agency WAFA in Beirut from 1976 to 1982, a period during which the PLO committed scores of anti-Western attacks and was labeled by the U.S. as a terror group. Khalidi’s wife, Mona Khalidi, reportedly was WAFA’s English translator during that period.

Khalidi also advised the Palestinian delegation to the Madrid Conference in 1991. During documented speeches and public events, Khalidi has called Israel an “apartheid system in creation” and a “racist” state. Critics have accused him of excusing Palestinian terrorism, a charge he denies.

He dedicated his 1986 book, Under Siege, to “those who gave their lives … in defense of the cause of Palestine and independence of Lebanon.”

While the Woods Fund’s contribution to Khalidi’s AAAN might be perceived as a one-time contact with Obama, there is evidence of a deeper relationship between the presidential hopeful and Khalidi.

According to a professor at the University of Chicago who said he has known Obama for 12 years, the senator first befriended Khalidi when the two worked together at the university. The professor spoke on condition of anonymity. Khalidi lectured at the University of Chicago until 2003; Obama taught law there from 1993 until his election to the Senate in 2004.

Asked during a radio interview with this reporter on WABC’s John Batchelor program about his 2000 fundraiser for Obama, Khalidi said he “was just doing my duties as a Chicago resident to help my local politician.”

Khalidi said he supports Obama for president “because he is the only candidate who has expressed sympathy for the Palestinian cause.”

Khalidi also lauded Obama for “saying he supports talks with Iran. If the U.S. can talk with the Soviet Union during the Cold War, there is no reason it can’t talk with the Iranians.”

Concerning Obama’s role in funding AAAN, Khalidi claimed he “never heard of the Woods Fund until it popped up on a bunch of blogs a few months ago.” He terminated the interview when pressed further about his links with Obama.

Contacted by phone, Mona Khalidi refused to answer questions about AAAN’s involvement with Obama.

The Obama campaign did not reply to a list of questions sent by e-mail to the senator’s press office.

In addition to questions about his relationship with Khalidi, Obama may face increased scrutiny over his ties to William C. Ayers, a member of the Weather Underground terrorist group that sought to overthrow the U.S. government and took responsibility for a string of bombings in the early 1970’s.

Obama served on the Woods Fund board alongside Ayers (who is still on the board). Ayers, a professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago, has written about his involvement with the Weather Underground’s bombing of U.S. governmental buildings including the Capitol in 1971 and the Pentagon in 1972.

Although charges against him were dropped in 1974 due to prosecutorial misconduct, Ayers told a newspaper reporter several years ago that he had no second thoughts about his violent past. “I don’t regret setting bombs. I feel we didn’t do enough,” Ayers told The New York Times in an interview published, ironically, on Sept. 11, 2001.

In his memoir, Fugitive Days, Ayers wrote: “Everything was absolutely ideal on the day I bombed the Pentagon” – though he continued with a disclaimer that he didn’t personally set the bombs but his group placed the explosives and planned the attack.

Besides serving with Obama on the board of the Woods Fund, Ayers contributed $200 to Obama’s senatorial campaign fund and has served on panels with Obama at several public speaking engagements.

Posted in Elections and Campaigns, Government and Politics | Tagged: , , , , , , | 35 Comments »

Obama Weak on National Security

Posted by Tony Listi on February 28, 2008

You don’t ensure the security of the US by disarming and cutting defense spending!! Is military spending “wasteful spending,” Barack?? The nuclear freeze movement was wrong during the Cold War; it is still wrong now. You think gutting the missile defense shield budget will make America any safer?

“Shame on you, Barack Obama.”

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Barack Obama, Israel, and Anti-Semitism

Posted by Tony Listi on February 28, 2008

January 16, 2008

Barack Obama and Israel

The ascent of Barack Obama from state senator in Illinois to a leading contender for the Presidential nomination in the span of just a few years is remarkable. Especially in light of a noticeably unremarkable record — a near-blank slate of few accomplishments and numerous missed votes.

However, in one area of foreign policy that concerns millions of Americans, he does have a record and it is a particularly troubling one. For all supporters of the America-Israel relationship there is enough information beyond the glare of the klieg lights to give one pause.  In contrast to his canned speeches filled with “poetry” and uplifting aphorisms and delivered in a commanding way, behind the campaign façade lies a disquieting pattern of behavior.

One seemingly consistent theme running throughout Barack Obama’s career is his comfort with aligning himself with people who are anti-Israel advocates. This ease around Israel animus has taken various forms. As Obama has continued his political ascent, he has moved up the prestige scale in terms of his associates. Early on in his career he chose a church headed by a former Black Muslim who is a harsh anti-Israel advocate and who may be seen as tinged with anti-Semitism. This church is a member of a denomination whose governing body has taken a series of anti-Israel actions. 

As his political fortunes and ambition climbed, he found support from George Soros, multibillionaire promoter of groups that have been consistently harsh and biased critics of the American-Israel relationship.
Obama’s soothing and inspiring oratory sometimes vanishes when he talks of the Middle East. Indeed, his off-the-cuff remarks have been uniformly taken by supporters of Israel as signs that the inner Obama does not truly support Israel despite what his canned speeches and essays may contain.
Now that Obama has become a leading Presidential candidate, he has assembled a body of foreign policy advisers who signal that a President Obama would likely have an approach towards Israel radically at odds with those of previous Presidents (both Republican and Democrat). A group of experts collected by the Israeli liberal newspaper Haaretz deemed him to be the candidate likely to be least supportive of Israel. He is the candidate most favored by the Arab-American community.
Joining Trinity United Community Church

When Obama moved to Chicago and became a community organizer, he found it expedient to choose a Christian church to join.  Even though his father and stepfather were both Muslims and he attended a Muslim school while living in Indonesia, suspicions based on his days as a child are overheated and unfair. Still, his full name alone conveys the biographical fact that he has some elements of a Muslim background.

Saul Alinsky, whose philosophy infused community organizing in Chicago, emphasized the importance of churches as a basis for organizing. There are literally hundreds of churches on the South Side of Chicago that Obama could have chosen from. He selected one that was headed by Reverend Jeremiah Wright, Junior. The anti-Israel rants of this minister have been well chronicled. Among the gems:
The Israelis have illegally occupied Palestinian territories for almost 40 years now. It took a divestment campaign to wake the business community up concerning the South Africa issue. Divestment has now hit the table again as a strategy to wake the business community up and to wake Americans up concerning the injustice and the racism under which the Palestinians have lived because of Zionism.
Jeremiah Wright, Jr.
Pastor Wright is a supporter of Louis Farrakhan (who called Judaism a “gutter religion” and depicted Jews as “bloodsuckers”) and traveled with him to visit Col. Muammar al-Gaddafi, archenemy of Israel’s and a terror supporter. Most recently, as head of the UN Security CouncilGaddafi prevented condemnation of attacks against Israel. As Kyle-Anne Shriver noted,
The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan received the “Rev. Dr. Jeremiah A. Wright, Jr. Lifetime Achievement Trumpeteer” Award at the 2007 Trumpet Gala at the United Church of Christ. 
Wright routinely compares Israel to apartheid South Africa and considers blacks “The Chosen People”. Wright sees his role not just as a religious counselor but also as an educator and political activist. As part of his schooling, he has posted the following tutorial:
Q: How many UN resolutions did Israel violate by 1992?
A: Over 65
42. Q: How many UN resolutions on Israel did America veto between 1972 and 1990?
A: 30+
43. Q: How much does the U.S. fund Israel a year?
A:$5 billion
 48. Q: How many nuclear warheads does Israel have?
A: Over 400
49. Q: Has Israel every allowed UN weapon inspections?
A: No
50. Q: What percentage of the Palestinian territories are controlled by Israeli settlements?
A: 42%
51. Q: Is Israel illegally occupying Palestinian land?
A. Yes.
Tucker Carlson of MSNBC has called Pastor Wright a total hater and wondered why the ties that bind Obama to Wright have not been given greater scrutiny. Mickey Kaus of Slate has also wondered when the ties between Obama and Wright will receive more criticism, given Wright’s seeming bigotry, which is in contrast to the soothing melody of unity that Obama has trumpeted on the campaign trail.
Some in the media have taken notice. The New York Times did have one front-page article on Wright by Jodi Kantor in which Wright was quoted as saying that should more information come to light about himself, “a lot of his Jewish support will dry up quicker than a snowball in hell”. After the article came out Wright attacked Jodi Kantor, referring to her Jewish heritage in a way that might create discomfort.
This fear is why Pastor Wright was disinvited at the last minute from appearing with Obama when Obama announced his run for the Presidency. Wright admitted in a PBS interview that he understands this distancing from the Obama campaign since “he can’t afford the Jewish support to wane or start questioning his allegiance to the Israel”
Wright has been disappeared by the campaign; Obama has replaced him with high profile white ministers who do not preach the racial exclusiveness and racial superiority that is a hallmark of Jeremiah Wright; however, they seem to share an anti-Israel bias.
Fortunately, bloggers and others have started to note the views of Pastor Wright (which also include an unhealthy does of racial exclusiveness, in Tucker Carlson’s words)  and     . Finally these views may be crossing over to major media outlets. Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen published a recent column that criticized the award to Louis Farrakhan of the Reverend Jeremiah A. Wright Jr. Trumpeter Award — an award that supposedly was granted to a man who “truly epitomized greatness”. As Cohen noted, Farrakhan is not only a race-baiter but also an anti-Semite and a promoter of anti-Semitism. He falsely accused Jews of cooperating with Hitler and helping him create the Third Reich, has slandered Jews by his insistence that Jews have played an inordinate role in victimizing African-Americans (he has also called Jews “bloodsuckers”). Cohen questions why Obama has stayed steadfast in his allegiance to Pastor Wright over the years.
Obama has called Wright his spiritual mentor, his moral compass and his sounding board. He was the man who gave Obama the term, “The Audacity of Hope” after all. He was also the man who told Obama that there are more black men in prison then in colleges — a statement that Obama parroted until he was told that it was false. What other “facts” has Wright taught Obama? Has he taught Obama to blame 9/11 on America because of our foreign policy? 
Nevertheless, an Obama spokesman told the New York Times he is proud of his pastor and his church.The church also is the largest recipient of Obama’s charitable donations. The pastor married Obama and his wife Michelle and baptized his two daughters. Obama has shown continued allegiance to a man who preaches racial exclusiveness, the superiority of black values over white middle-class values, and whose teaching contains anti-Israel diatribes. All these are sharply at variance with what Obama himself preaches on the campaign trail.
One should also note that the governing body of the United Church of Christ has taken a series of anti-Israel actions over the years. A broad coalition of Jewish groups have rebuked the Church for these actions.
Has Obama, the most famous and prestigious member of the Church and an inspiring orator who can move millions, taken steps to work with his church to moderate its anti-Israel invective? No.
He has been honored repeatedly by the church and has been its keynote speaker at various national assemblies. Has he called for change in the anti-Israel approach of the church? No.
For those who claim that Obama is the next JFK (an absurd claim and an insult to a revered President that was skewered recently) he is certainly not a Profile in Courage.
David Axelrod is Obama’s chief political adviser, he is also the man who always comes out to explain that Obama (the master orator) did not really mean some of the offensive off-the-cuff statements he has made about Israel on the campaign trail (see below). Axelrod has also come out with the typical bland statements that Obama does not agree with all the things that Wright says and does. This is a lame defense.
Recall, this is a church and a pastor who Obama has relied upon to shape his views, to be his sounding board; the church is the largest recipient of his charity dollars; he proudly states that he admires the church and Jeremiah Wright, Junior. He prayed with Wright before he announced his candidacy for President. He is a beacon for Obama.
If a white candidate belonged to a church where the minister promoted an anti-black, anti-Semitic theology he would be roundly subject to criticism (assuming his candidacy would even be viable in the face of this background). Why should Obama get a pass?
George Soros
As Obama took steps toward the United States Senate he found a very powerful sugar daddy who would help fund his rise: George Soros. The billionaire hedge fund titan began supporting Obama very early — as befits a legendary speculative investor always looking for opportunities.   Obama coveted support from George Soros  and Soros responded  — along with many family members and probably the Soros ring of wealthy donors. Soros even found a loophole that allowed him and assorted family members to exceed regular limits on campaign contributions.
Soros is also a fierce foe of Israel, for years funding groups that have worked against Israel. He is also a man who has flexed his political muscle as a major funder of Democrat candidates and a slew of so-called 527 groups that are active in pushing their agendas (a reliance on international institutions, defeat of Republicans, Bush-bashing, Israel-bashing). He has also openly proclaimed his desire to break the bonds between America and Israel and has written of his desire to erode political support for Israel. 
Soros also called for concessions to Hamas — a terror group that has killed many innocent people and that has called for the destruction of Israel. When this came to light, some leading Democrats personally denounced Soros; Obama had a spokesman issue this rather bland statement:
“Mr. Soros is entitled to his opinions,” a campaign spokeswoman, Jen Psaki, said. “But on this issue he and Senator Obama disagree. Sound familiar? It is similar to the response the Soros campaign has given regarding Obama’s close relationship with Pastor Wright.
This mild reproach did not prevent Obama from appearing a few weeks later with George Soros at a fundraiser.
Soros invests when he sees a large return as likely; he proverbially “broke the Bank of England” a few years ago speculating on the pound. Does he intend to break the American-Israel alliance?
“Blood on their hands”
Nor did anti-Semitism of another fundraiser seem to ruffle Obama or his campaign. A fundraiser was held at the home of Allan Houston, formerly of the Knicks, and a man who had previously very publicly proclaiming that Jews had Jesus’ “blood on their hands” and were “stubborn”. The American Jewish Congress protested and noted that Obama would not take any money from someone who had expressed the same sort of remarks about African-Americans. The very same spokesman who addressed the Soros controversy blithely dismissed the concerns of the Jews and said the campaign would not return the money or reject any of the contributions made by Houston.
Senator Obama’s stands
Obama has been a Senator for only a couple of years. His supporters will point to a string of votes that are supportive of the American-Israel alliance (foreign aid, for example). These generally are not controversial and routinely pass by large margins, precisely because they support an ally and serve American interests.
However, Obama did introduce the Iran Divestment Bill along with two Democratic Congressmen (Congressmen Barney Frank and Tom Lantos). Given that Barney Frank is one of the most knowledgeable members of Congress and chairs the House Financial Services Committee and knows the financial industry well, would know how to craft such a bill.  I suspect that Obama signed on as a co-sponsor for protective coloration, while Frank and fellow veteran Tom Lantos felt it could not hurt to have a rising star as a co-sponsor.
This bill would:
Require the U.S. government to publish a list every six months of those companies that have an investment of more than $20 million in Iran’s energy sector.  This comprehensive list will provide investors with the knowledge to make informed investment decisions as well as a powerful disincentive for foreign companies to engage with Iran.
Authorize state and local governments to divest the assets of their pension funds and other funds under their control from any company on the list. 
Protect fund managers who divest from companies on this list from lawsuits directed at them by investors who are unhappy with the results.
Obama supporters and Obama himself trumpet this bill as Obama’s efforts to somehow “sanction” Iran. This bill does not sanction Iran; it merely requires the government to publicize companies that invest in Iran’s energy sector. Such companies are already listed various think tanks. 
States and local governments are already divesting from these companies, so the second provision is superfluous. Protecting fund managers from lawsuits might be of help since we do live in a litigious society. 
But there are grounds to doubt Obama’s seriousness on the issue. He has openly advocated outreach towards Iran, a state that makes clear its genocidal intentions towards Israel, funds Hezbollah and terrorism against America, Israel, and Jewish targets around the world. Obama has seemed to excuse attacks against Americans by Iranian-supported terror groups because we have provoked Iran by trying to liberate Iraq (we are in their neighborhood or as Barack has put it, Iraq is under occupation by America  (which makes one wonder how he feels about Israeli settlements).
The bill languishes, not promoted or pushed; but does serve as a nice campaign prop every now and then.
Furthermore, there already are targeted sanctions in place now. They can be employed against Iranians and Iranian groups identified as being terrorists or terror groups. Yet when Congress voted to identify the Iranian Revolutionary Guards as a terror group-thus making it susceptible to sanction-Barack Obama was not just AWOL (as has been widely noted, Obama has a history of missing votes and avoiding unpleasant decisions) but harshly attacked his political opponents for voting to so designate the Guards as a terror group.  This is absurd: the Guard has been implicated in terror attacks against Americans in Iran, Argentinean Jews in bombing attacks in Buenos Aires, and has bolstered Hezbollah in Lebanon.  Designating this group as terrorists is crucial in weakening its power. Yet, Obama objected to characterizing them as terrorists. That does not bode well for how seriously a President Obama would deal with Iran or how supportive he would be of our ally.
Obama has called for withdraw from Iraq, which would destabilize the region and lead to a further expansion of Iranian power. He also introduced a Senate Resolution on Iran that strips President Bush of the authority to take military action against it. .
Unilateral nuclear disarmament for Israel
Obama has also called for the abolition of all nuclear weapons in the world and said that America, by not openly leading a campaign to end nuclear weapons is “giving countries like Iran and North Korea an excuse.”
This is naïve beyond belief and is identical to arguments made in the Arab world that justify their pursuit of nuclear weapons because Israel has nuclear weapons. We all know how such a program would operate in the real world: Western, open nations such as Israel would be stripped of the capability of nuclear weapons; dictatorships, such as Iran, would continue to operate their secret programs.
Israel’s nuclear arsenal has helped offset the strategic peril that comes from being surrounded by much larger nations openly declaring their goal of its destruction. Obama’s call would unilaterally work to disarm Israel.
Pressuring Israel
Obama has also blamed that “our neglect of the Middle East Peace Process has spurred despair and fueled terrorism”  implicitly blaming Israel for terrorism and a sign that a President Obama would pressure Israel. Obama seems to ignore the roles that schools play in the Middle East in the teaching of hatred; the roles of mosques and Imams in stoking terrorism; the glorification of violence and martyrdom in the media; the role of jihad in the Koran.
He also was the only Democratic Presidential aspirant to sign a Senate Resolution that would ban the use of cluster bombs. These are the types of weapons used by Israel to counter massed attacks by Hezbollah, and are vitally important to her security; Hezbollah also used the same type of weapons. Does anyone think Hezbollah will refrain from using these weapons? How about suicide bombers who rely on similar types of “ordinance’ to inflict mass casualties among civilians?  Once again, high-minded rhetoric conceals an agenda of unilateral disarmament of the Jewish state.
Every Presidential candidate assembles a foreign policy team of advisers. A glimpse into the makeup of Obama’s team has leaked to the media.
Martin Peretz of The New Republic — a supporter of Obama and of Israel — had this to say about Obama’s Foreign Policy team:
“I have my qualms, as you may know, about Barack Obama, and most especially about what his foreign policy might be.  If elected (and actually before he were to be elected), the first decision he would have to make would be who would represent him in the transition to power from early November to January 20.  And, frankly, I get the shudders since he has indicated that, among others, they would be Zbigniew Bzrezinski (I don’t know much about his son, listed as Mark, but I can guess), Anthony Lake, Susan Rice and Robert O. Malley.”
Lake and Brzezenski both earned their spurs in the Carter Administration.  The Carter era led to the fall of the Shah of Iran (a stalwart ally of both America and Israel), which gave birth to the Iranian revolution. We all know how well that has turned out. Jimmy Carter, of course, has led a very public campaign of vilification against Israel-defaming it as an apartheid state (a view that Obama’s Pastor would concur with).
Anthony Lake has been all but retired for the last dozen years-living on a farm in the Berkshires. This makes one wonder what he is bringing to the table, other than his Carter-era pedigree and beliefs. He has been reactivated though-one of his roles seems to be as ambassador to the Arab-American community
The appointment of Brzezenski elicited much dismay among supporters of Israel since Brzezinski is well known for his aggressive dislike of Israel. . He has been an ardent foe of Israel for over three decades and newspaper files are littered with his screeds against Israel. Brzezinski has publicly defended the Walt-Mearsheimer thesis that the relationship between America and Israel is based not on shared values and common threats but is the product of Jewish pressure. Brzezinski also signed a letter demanding dialogue with Hamas-a group whose charter calls for the destruction of Israel and is filled with threats to Jews around the world.
After Hezbollah launched attacks against Israel in the summer of 2006, murdered Israelis and took hostages, Israel tried to get its citizens back by moving into Lebanon. Warfare resulted. Brzezinski wrote that Israel’s actions amounted to the “killing of hostages” (the hostages being Lebanese caught in the battles).
Brzezinski’s son, Mark, is also on Obama’s foreign policy team. Evidently the apple does not fall far from the tree. Mark recently co-wrote an op-ed advocating that America forge ties with Iran.
Susan Rice was John Kerry’s chief foreign policy adviser when he ran for President. One of the major steps Kerry suggested for dealing with the Middle East was to appoint James Baker and Jimmy Carter as negotiators. When furor erupted at the prospect of two of the most ardent foes of Israel being suggested to basically ride “roughshod” over Israel, Kerry backtracked and blamed his staff for the idea. His staff was Susan Rice.
Drilling down further we have Robert Malley. He was part of the American negotiating team that dealt with Yasser Arafat at Camp David. He has presented a revisionist history of those negotiations since then: presenting a view that blames Israel for the failures of the negotiations. His version has been radically at odds with the views of Americans and Israelis (including the views of American Middle East negotiator Dennis Ross-also an adviser to Obama- and President Clinton).
He has spent years representing the Palestinian point of view, co-writing a series of anti-Israel articles with Hussein Agha-a former Arafat adviser. Palestinian advocate. These have appeared in the New York Review of Books a publication that has served as a platform for a slew of anti-Israel advocates from Tony Judt to the aforementioned George Soros to the authors of the Israeli Lobby book Stephen Walt and John Mearsheimer. Malley has also called settlements “colonies” — implicitly condemning Israel as a “colonial” state. His writings have been so critical of Israel that the media-monitoring group CAMERA has a “dossier” on him. (CAMERA also has a listing for Brzezinski).
Then there is this disconcerting article in the Financial Times about Democratic Presidential candidates and Israel. One of the key advisers to one of the Presidential candidates admitted to some tactical moves to garner pro-Israel support in America:
“The plain fact is there is no upside for candidates to challenge the prevailing assumptions about Israel,” said one of their advisers, who asked not to be named. “The best strategy is to win the White House and then change the debate.”
One well-regarded blogger, Rutgers Professor Judith Apter Klinghoffer believes this adviser was Ivo Daalder, who was quoted throughout the article and who is one of the foreign policy advisers to Barack Obama. Professor Klinghoffer is skeptical about Daalder and his feelings towards the American-Israel relationship. .
A snapshot of Daalder’s views:  He has, like Obama, singled out Richard Perle and Paul Wolfowitz as being responsible for manipulating the levers of power to serve the interests of other countries  (it bears reiterating, Perle had no official position in the Administration; Bush, Powell ,Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice-those were the decision-makers). Daalder has seemingly advocated talks with Hezbollah, Syria, Iran. Daalder stated that Israel’s bombing of Qana (an attack targeting Hezbollah missile placements that resulted in civilian death) in the war against Hezbollah imperiled Israel’s claim to the moral high ground. These and assorted other positions lend credence to Professor Klinghoffer’s view.
Scott Lasensky has also been appointed a foreign policy adviser to Obama. This step should also be viewed with a gimlet eye. In a book to be published this month, he and co-author Daniel Kurtzer write glowingly of the George H.W. Bush and James Baker’s approach towards dealing with Israel, but faulted Bush and Baker for inadequately derailing the pro-Israel lobby which was more skeptical of the push against Israel into Yasser Arafat’s arms.
He has called for Islamists and Hamas to be brought into the “peace process,” before this Mideast moment slips away.
He has called residents of Israeli settlements “obstructionists” He has been given the stamp of approval by the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, a notoriously harsh anti-Israel group .
He was also used by CNN’s Christiane Amanpour to castigate Israel in her widely criticized CNN’s Jewish Warriors “documentary” — a documentary that has been heavily criticized for its bias and factual errors)
Lasensky has been hosted by the activist group Brit Tzedek v’Shalom   and will be hosted by Americans for Peace Now , both of which groups have been highly critical of Israel over the years.
He has recently called for aggressive American involvement in pushing for a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians — calling for the end of the incremental approach (which is  “trust but verify” approach meant to test each side’s honesty and ability to bring about peace). Abolishing it would be a foolish and potentially disastrous leap of faith into the unknown. 
He has called for engagement with Iran.
The group for which he works, the Unites States Institute of Peace, was the key organizer of the Iraq Study Group that produced a report that has very troubling recommendations concerning Israel (James Baker, whose approach towards Israel Lasensky admires, was one of the two people who headed the Iraq Study Group). 
Obama supporters might counter that Obama has a wide range of foreign advisers and seeks input from people with a variety of views. Most likely, Dennis Ross-with deep ties to the American Jewish community-will be headlined in this argument. However, it is unclear what role Ross has on the team. He is clearly angling to join what may be the next Administration in the White House. How likely is it that Ross, who served the Clintons (now Obama’s opponents), will hold sway against the triumvirate of key Obama heavyweights: Lake, Brzezinski, and Susan Rice?
Obama and John Bolton
Conversely, Obama actively opposed the nomination of John Bolton as our Ambassador to the United Nations. Bolton’s track record in support of Israel is impressive.
As Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security, Bolton took started a new project, the Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI), that has played a very important role in preventing hostile nations (including those in the Arab world) from developing weapons of mass destruction. Boats were interdicted on the high seas, for example, when suspicions arose that they carried suspect cargoes. The PSI was also responsible for helping to put an end to Libya’s nuclear program, which led to the unraveling of the A.Q. Khan nuclear weapons black market that has imperiled our friends in the region (and ourselves). 
While at the United Nations, Bolton was a stalwart defender of American interests and those of our allies. He was also a firm supporter of Israel (next to Patrick Moynihan, probably one of the best) — a thankless task given the pervasive anti-Israel bias at the UN.
Bolton has continued to support the American-Israel relationship after leaving government service — for example, writing a series of op-eds, the latest of which support Israel’s decision to bomb the likely nuclear plant in Syria. 
Regardless of Bolton’s evident talents and drive, Obama worked to derail his career. Was it his views that Obama objected to?
Congressional support
Similarly, Obama supporters might rely on the support Obama has drawn from various Democratic Jewish Congressman (Wexler, Rothman, Schiff among them) over the last year. These stamps of approval might be met with some skepticism (Wexler went so far as to talk of Obama’s “love for Israel” based on a single tip Obama took to Israel when he began considering a Presidential run).
These Congressmen are well aware that Obama might be the next President-certainly it never hurts to have a friend in the White House. They are also Democrats who would want to bolster a fellow Democrat-particularly if it helps them with their own African-American constituents. Obama is a very compelling speaker — he has campaigned for fellow Democrats across the nation. Having a chit with Obama might be very useful in during the endless campaigning these Congressmen will be facing in the years ahead
The team seems to reflect an approach that should come as no surprise.
Obama would place a great deal of reliance on international institutions — the same international organizations that have opposed America and Israel for many years.  Obama’s approach towards the Islamic world indicates an approach form weakness, as if, to invert Osama bin Laden’s dictum, people were attracted to the nicest horse.  He would organize a meeting between Muslim leaders from all over the world and Americans so we can move forward with them as partners with “dignity and respect.”
Partners? To be sure this may be flowery diplo-speak. But most of these are leaders who are responsible for spreading hatred throughout their societies: a hatred that manifests itself in violence.
We have shown respect and dignity in our actions in Bosnia, Afghanistan, and yes, Iraq, We have liberated millions of people from genocide and dictatorship-we have given much in the blood of our soldiers and the billions in aid showered on the Muslim world (as the oil kleptocrats spend their billions buying up our corporations). Where is the dignity and respect shown towards America from these Muslim leaders?  His approach towards terrorism was eloquently expressed by Wall Street Journal writer Dorothy Rabinowitz who wrote that a President Obama’s stance against terrorism would “consist largely of antipoverty programs, reassuring the world of our peaceful intentions, and attending Islamic Conferences.” 
Speeches and public remarks
There are those willing to give Obama the benefit of the doubt and rely on his speeches to give comfort. Most recently, the New York Sun took excerpts from a speech he gave to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee in Chicago last march. I was there, just a few yards in front of Barack Obama. His speech was desultory and lacking the spirit and energy that are a trademark of the gifted oratory of Barack Obama. He clearly seemed to be going through the motions. The content of his speech gave many listeners qualms, including me. Others have their suspicions about whether Obama truly believes what he is saying in his speeches before groups supportive of the American-Israel relationship. .
Beyond that, how valuable are a candidate’s speeches for determining what his (or hers) true beliefs are? There are media reports that indicate he has “recalibrated his words about Israel and the Middle East” as part of his efforts to court the Jewish vote.  So there are grounds for skepticism about relying on canned speeches as a guide towards divining Obama’s true views.  Obama is a skilled orator; he has shown an adroit ability to hide friendships that might harm him on the campaign trail. Why not also hide his views behind a smokescreen of aphorism and bromides?
I think a more accurate reflection of these feelings and ideas are found in unscripted, off-the cuff remarks. As Michael Kinsley wrote, a “gaffe is a mistaken utterance or action which actually reveals what a politician truly believes”. Obama has a record of off the cuff remarks that are disconcerting. There is, of course, his well-known remark in Des Moines that “Nobody has suffered more than the Palestinian people” (which sounds like Pastor Wright is being channeled) that created controversy. He later tried to revise history by insisting he had said “Nobody has suffered more than the Palestinian people from the failure of the Palestinian leadership”. However, the well-respected and the Des Moines Register newspaper (which has an audio record) dispute Obama’s “redo”.
He also has objected to Israel’s security fence that has all but ended the suicide bombing campaigns that killed so many innocent people. In an interview in 2004 he stated:
“…the creation of a wall dividing the two nations is yet another example of the neglect of this Administration in brokering peace.”
There are not two nations (at least yet) and the security fence is not a wall, it is a fence (only a small percent, less than 5% can be considered a “wall” and that is only because of space constraints and the desire to prevent sniper fire from the Palestinians).
His use of the term Cycle of violence” has caused ripples of concern for its intimations of moral equality between the Palestinians and Israelis; as has his elevation of “cynicism” as a core problem in the Middle East, rather than say, terrorism.
At an anti-war rally he stated that he was
“Opposed to the cynical attempt by Richard Perle and Paul Wolfowitz and other armchair, weekend warriors in the administration to shove their own ideological agendas down our throat” .
This is disturbing. Obama ignored the role of Colin Powell, George Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Condi Rice and other movers and shakers in the Administration. But Perle (who never even served in the Administration) and Wolfowitz (who was a Deputy Secretary) have been lumped together by many anti-Semitic conspiracy theorists as Jews who led us into the Iraq War to serve the interests of Israel. Who has Obama been listening to? His moral compass, Reverend Jeremiah Wright, Junior?
There are other remarks of Obama’s that have struck others as being less than supportive of Israel. . Among them are words that put the onus on Israel to change the status quo in its relations with the Palestinians. He was the only candidate at the National Jewish Democratic Council conference that burdens Israel with that role.
There are grounds to be concerned that he would discard the “Road Map” that provides guidelines for negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians. He has stated that the “Israel government must make difficult concessions for the peace process to restart.”  The Road Map places obligations on both sides to take steps simultaneously on the road to peace. Israel is explicitly not obligated to take the first steps. This confirms the views he expressed to the NJDC that he would place the onus on Israel in future peace negotiations. .
Shmuel Rosner, the Washington correspondent of the liberal Israeli newspaper Haaretz, noted that that the prediction that Obama would be least favorable of any of the candidates toward Israel may partly be due to the fact that his “supporters come mainly from the left-wing of the Democratic Party and from the African-American community — from constituencies which are traditionally not that supportive of Israel”.
But Obama has on his own volition assembled his networks of friends, mentors, financial supporters and foreign policy advisers. In his judgment — a judgment that he regularly trumpets as being superior to others – these people are worthy of advising him. There are among those friends and advisers key people who seem to display a great deal of antipathy towards the American-Israel relationship.
These are the constituencies and associates that should warrant concern among all those who care about a strong American-Israel relationship. His electoral success will send a message to all future politicians that they can willingly ignore the views of those Americans who value a close relationship with the sole democracy and our only true ally in the Middle East. We may see the ramifications of Obama’s ascent in the years yet to come.

Ed Lasky is news editor of American Thinker 

See also:

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Obama ‘repudiates’ Farrakhan??

Posted by Tony Listi on February 28, 2008

Can we believe Obama’s latest rejection of Farrakhan’s endorsement? 

January 16, 2008

Obama ‘repudiates’ Farrakhan?

Ed Lasky
The New York Sun is reporting that Barack Obama repudiated the views of Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan that were discussed in Richard Cohen’s Washington Post column. Cohen’s criticism regarding Obama’s ties to the Church and the Pastor that gave an award to Farrakhan were reaching a large audience that included potential Democrat voters who might be swayed to withdraw support from Obama.

This statement by Obama is a political maneuver that should be given little credence. Obama is very actively involved in his church; he knew of this award long before Richard Cohen publicized its grant to Farrakhan. Furthermore, Pastor Wright has had a long relationship and alliance with Louis Farrakhan.
Obama did not object to these ties between Pastor Wright and Farrakhan before; nor has Obama rejected the anti-Israel diatribes of Wright. Regardless, Obama adheres to a church and a minister that have long espoused positions inimical to the American-Israel relationship, let alone the trumpeting of black values and racial exclusiveness.
This follows a pattern for Obama: he shows extreme loyalty to a church and pastor whose controversial views eventually become publicized. Then Obama “disappears” the Minister and Obama’s campaign (not Obama himself) issues a statement that Obama does not agree with everything that Wright espouses.
He solicits and gains support from the controversial George Soros, a man whose anti-Israel passions and allegations regarding America’s Jewish community and Congress are well-known. When these ties become publicized, Obama’s campaign (not Obama himself) issues a statement that Obama does not agree with Soros on this topic.
When Obama articulates anti-Israel positions in off-the cuff remarks, his campaign (not Obama himself-stop me if you have heard this before) issues clarifications that attempt to explain away the plain English import of Obama’s (the supreme orator) expressed views.
In other words, Obama only disavows when it is politically opportune to do so. He seems to have never objected to these views before they become publicized and create a political firestorm because they belie his image of peace, compassion, unity.
Obama is not a profile in courage and his disavowals are political pabulum.
For a review of Obama’s troubling stance toward Israel, see my article today, “Barack Obama and Israel.”

Posted in Elections and Campaigns, Government and Politics, Race, Racism, and Affirmative Action | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Obama’s Communist Mentor

Posted by Tony Listi on February 27, 2008

 By Cliff Kincaid  |  February 18, 2008

In his biography of Barack Obama, David Mendell writes about Obama’s life as a “secret smoker” and how he “went to great lengths to conceal the habit.” But what about Obama’s secret political life? It turns out that Obama’s childhood mentor, Frank Marshall Davis, was a communist.

In his books, Obama admits attending “socialist conferences” and coming into contact with Marxist literature. But he ridicules the charge of being a “hard-core academic Marxist,” which was made by his colorful and outspoken 2004 U.S. Senate opponent, Republican Alan Keyes.

However, through Frank Marshall Davis, Obama had an admitted relationship with someone who was publicly identified as a member of the Communist Party USA (CPUSA). The record shows that Obama was in Hawaii from 1971-1979, where, at some point in time, he developed a close relationship, almost like a son, with Davis, listening to his “poetry” and getting advice on his career path. But Obama, in his book, Dreams From My Father, refers to him repeatedly as just “Frank.”

The reason is apparent: Davis was a known communist who belonged to a party subservient to the Soviet Union. In fact, the 1951 report of the Commission on Subversive Activities to the Legislature of the Territory of Hawaii identified him as a CPUSA member. What’s more, anti-communist congressional committees, including the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC), accused Davis of involvement in several communist-front organizations.

Trevor Loudon, a New Zealand-based libertarian activist, researcher and blogger, noted evidence that “Frank” was Frank Marshall Davis in a posting in March of 2007.

Obama’s communist connection adds to mounting public concern about a candidate who has come out of virtually nowhere, with a brief U.S. Senate legislative record, to become the Democratic Party frontrunner for the U.S. presidency. In the latest Real Clear Politics poll average, Obama beats Republican John McCain by almost four percentage points.

AIM recently disclosed that Obama has well-documented socialist connections, which help explain why he sponsored a “Global Poverty Act” designed to send hundreds of billions of dollars of U.S. foreign aid to the rest of the world, in order to meet U.N. demands. The bill has passed the House and a Senate committee, and awaits full Senate action.

But the Communist Party connection through Davis is even more ominous. Decades ago, the CPUSA had tens of thousands of members, some of them covert agents who had penetrated the U.S. Government. It received secret subsidies from the old Soviet Union.

You won’t find any of this discussed in the David Mendell book, Obama: From Promise to Power. It is typical of the superficial biographies of Obama now on the market. Secret smoking seems to be Obama’s most controversial activity. At best, Mendell and the liberal media describe Obama as “left-leaning.”

But you will find it briefly discussed, sort of, in Obama’s own book, Dreams From My Father. He writes about “a poet named Frank,” who visited them in Hawaii, read poetry, and was full of “hard-earned knowledge” and advice. Who was Frank? Obama only says that he had “some modest notoriety once,” was “a contemporary of Richard Wright and Langston Hughes during his years in Chicago…” but was now “pushing eighty.” He writes about “Frank and his old Black Power dashiki self” giving him advice before he left for Occidental College in 1979 at the age of 18.

This “Frank” is none other than Frank Marshall Davis, the black communist writer now considered by some to be in the same category of prominence as Maya Angelou and Alice Walker. In the summer/fall 2003 issue of African American Review, James A. Miller of George Washington University reviews a book by John Edgar Tidwell, a professor at the University of Kansas, about Davis’s career, and notes, “In Davis’s case, his political commitments led him to join the American Communist Party during the middle of World War II-even though he never publicly admitted his Party membership.” Tidwell is an expert on the life and writings of Davis.

Is it possible that Obama did not know who Davis was when he wrote his book, Dreams From My Father, first published in 1995? That’s not plausible since Obama refers to him as a contemporary of Richard Wright and Langston Hughes and says he saw a book of his black poetry.

The communists knew who “Frank” was, and they know who Obama is. In fact, one academic who travels in communist circles understands the significance of the Davis-Obama relationship.

Professor Gerald Horne, a contributing editor of the Communist Party journal Political Affairs, talked about it during a speech last March at the reception of the Communist Party USA archives at the Tamiment Library at New York University. The remarks are posted online under the headline, “Rethinking the History and Future of the Communist Party.”

Horne, a history professor at the University of Houston, noted that Davis, who moved to Honolulu from Kansas in 1948 “at the suggestion of his good friend Paul Robeson,” came into contact with Barack Obama and his family and became the young man’s mentor, influencing Obama’s sense of identity and career moves. Robeson, of course, was the well-known black actor and singer who served as a member of the CPUSA and apologist for the old Soviet Union. Davis had known Robeson from his time in Chicago.

As Horne describes it, Davis “befriended” a “Euro-American family” that had “migrated to Honolulu from Kansas and a young woman from this family eventually had a child with a young student from Kenya East Africa who goes by the name of Barack Obama, who retracing the steps of Davis eventually decamped to Chicago.”

It was in Chicago that Obama became a “community organizer” and came into contact with more far-left political forces, including the Democratic Socialists of America, which maintains close ties to European socialist groups and parties through the Socialist International (SI), and two former members of the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), William Ayers and Carl Davidson.

The SDS laid siege to college campuses across America in the 1960s, mostly in order to protest the Vietnam War, and spawned the terrorist Weather Underground organization. Ayers was a member of the terrorist group and turned himself in to authorities in 1981. He is now a college professor and served with Obama on the board of the Woods Fund of Chicago. Davidson is now a figure in the Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism, an offshoot of the old Moscow-controlled CPUSA, and helped organize the 2002 rally where Obama came out against the Iraq War.

Both communism and socialism trace their roots to Karl Marx, co-author of the Communist Manifesto, who endorsed the first meeting of the Socialist International, then called the “First International.” According to Pierre Mauroy, president of the SI from 1992-1996, “It was he [Marx] who formally launched it, gave the inaugural address and devised its structure…”

Apparently unaware that Davis had been publicly named as a CPUSA member, Horne said only that Davis “was certainly in the orbit of the CP [Communist Party]-if not a member…”

In addition to Tidwell’s book, Black Moods: Collected Poems of Frank Marshall Davis, confirming Davis’s Communist Party membership, another book, The New Red Negro: The Literary Left and African American Poetry, 1930-1946, names Davis as one of several black poets who continued to publish in CPUSA-supported publications after the 1939 Hitler-Stalin non-aggression pact. The author, James Edward Smethurst, associate professor of Afro-American studies at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, says that Davis, however, would later claim that he was “deeply troubled” by the pact.

While blacks such as Richard Wright left the CPUSA, it is not clear if or when Davis ever left the party.

However, Obama writes in Dreams From My Father that he saw “Frank” only a few days before he left Hawaii for college, and that Davis seemed just as radical as ever. Davis called college “An advanced degree in compromise” and warned Obama not to forget his “people” and not to “start believing what they tell you about equal opportunity and the American way and all that shit.” Davis also complained about foot problems, the result of “trying to force African feet into European shoes,” Obama wrote.

For his part, Horne says that Obama’s giving of credit to Davis will be important in history. “At some point in the future, a teacher will add to her syllabus Barack’s memoir and instruct her students to read it alongside Frank Marshall Davis’ equally affecting memoir, Living the Blues and when that day comes, I’m sure a future student will not only examine critically the Frankenstein monsters that US imperialism created in order to subdue Communist parties but will also be moved to come to this historic and wonderful archive in order to gain insight on what has befallen this complex and intriguing planet on which we reside,” he said.

Dr. Kathryn Takara, a professor of Interdisciplinary Studies at the University of Hawaii at Manoa who also confirms that Davis is the “Frank” in Obama’s book, did her dissertation on Davis and spent much time with him between 1972 until he passed away in 1987.

In an analysis posted online, she notes that Davis, who was a columnist for the Honolulu Record, brought “an acute sense of race relations and class struggle throughout America and the world” and that he openly discussed subjects such as American imperialism, colonialism and exploitation. She described him as a “socialist realist” who attacked the work of the House Un-American Activities Committee.

Davis, in his own writings, had said that Robeson and Harry Bridges, the head of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) and a secret member of the CPUSA, had suggested that he take a job as a columnist with the Honolulu Record “and see if I could do something for them.” The ILWU was organizing workers there and Robeson’s contacts were “passed on” to Davis, Takara writes.

Takara says that Davis “espoused freedom, radicalism, solidarity, labor unions, due process, peace, affirmative action, civil rights, Negro History week, and true Democracy to fight imperialism, colonialism, and white supremacy. He urged coalition politics.”

Is “coalition politics” at work in Obama’s rise to power?

Trevor Loudon, the New Zealand-based blogger who has been analyzing the political forces behind Obama and specializes in studying the impact of Marxist and leftist political organizations, notes that Frank Chapman, a CPUSA supporter, has written a letter to the party newspaper hailing the Illinois senator’s victory in the Iowa caucuses.

“Obama’s victory was more than a progressive move; it was a dialectical leap ushering in a qualitatively new era of struggle,” Chapman wrote. “Marx once compared revolutionary struggle with the work of the mole, who sometimes burrows so far beneath the ground that he leaves no trace of his movement on the surface. This is the old revolutionary ‘mole,’ not only showing his traces on the surface but also breaking through.”

Let’s challenge the liberal media to report on this. Will they have the honesty and integrity to do so?

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Obama’s Race-based Theology?

Posted by Tony Listi on February 8, 2008 

Obama’s church: More about Africa than God?
Chicago congregation has ‘non-negotiable commitment’ to ‘mother continent’

January 09, 2008

By Ron Strom
© 2008

While some election commentators are looking carefully at the level of devotion Sen. Barack Obama has to Islam, it is the strong African-centered and race-based philosophy of the senator’s United Church of Christ that has some bloggers crying foul.

Obama and Wright

Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago is where Obama was baptized as a Christian two decades ago, even borrowing the title for one of his books, “The Audacity of Hope,” from a sermon by his senior pastor, the Rev. Dr. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr.

The first paragraph of the “About Us” section of the church’s website mentions the word “black” or “Africa” five times:

We are a congregation which is Unashamedly Black and Unapologetically Christian. … Our roots in the Black religious experience and tradition are deep, lasting and permanent. We are an African people, and remain “true to our native land,” the mother continent, the cradle of civilization. God has superintended our pilgrimage through the days of slavery, the days of segregation, and the long night of racism. It is God who gives us the strength and courage to continuously address injustice as a people, and as a congregation. We constantly affirm our trust in God through cultural expression of a Black worship service and ministries which address the Black Community.
Focus on the African continent continues in two of the 10-point vision of the church:
A congregation committed to ADORATION.
A congregation preaching SALVATION.
A congregation actively seeking RECONCILIATION.
A congregation with a non-negotiable COMMITMENT TO AFRICA.
A congregation committed to BIBLICAL EDUCATION.
A congregation committed to CULTURAL EDUCATION.
A congregation committed to LIBERATION.
A congregation committed to RESTORATION.
A congregation working towards ECONOMIC PARITY.
Commented Florida blogger “Ric” in discussing vision No. 4: “Commitment to Africa? I thought Christians were to have a commitment to God alone?”

The blogger continued: “First off just by this 10-point layout describing Barack Obama’s church, we see that on some issues they are not clear. Even though it sounds good to the reader, it still leaves one guessing and not knowing where they truly stand as a congregation.

“Second, the church seems to place Africa and African people before God, and says nothing about other races in their community or a commitment to help the people in their community.

“Third, the church seems to promote communism by the term they use called ‘economic parity.’ Is this what Barack Obama truly believes?”

On another page on the website, Pastor Wright explains his theology, saying it is “based upon the systematized liberation theology that started in 1969 with the publication of Dr. James Cone’s book, ‘Black Power and Black Theology.’

“Black theology is one of the many theologies in the Americas that became popular during the liberation theology movement. They include Hispanic theology, Native American theology, Asian theology and Womanist theology.”

Wright rebuts those who might call his philosophy racist, saying, “To have a church whose theological perspective starts from the vantage point of black liberation theology being its center is not to say that African or African-American people are superior to any one else.

“African-centered thought, unlike Eurocentrism, does not assume superiority and look at everyone else as being inferior.”

The church’s official mission statement says it has been “called by God to be a congregation that is not ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ and that does not apologize for its African roots!”

The Jan. 6 Sunday bulletin had an announcement about how to register for the winter Bible study held by the “Center for African Biblical Studies.”

Another page in the 36-page bulletin announced the “Black and Christian New Member Class.” All those wanting to become full-fledged members of Trinity “MUST complete your new member class!” warned the announcement, which included a schedule of class times. There was no mention of what class a prospective member might take if he or she were not black.

Demonstrating the church’s quest toward “economic parity,” one of the associate pastors, the Rev. Reginald Williams Jr., wrote a blurb in the bulletin decrying the powers that be for not making “fresh food stores” available in the black neighborhoods of Chicago.

Wrote Williams in a discussion of infant mortality in the black community: “In West Englewood, one of the five worst areas in the city, McDonald’s restaurants abound, while fresh food stores are lacking. The same resources should be made available in each and every neighborhood in this city.

“This is an issue which we must all attack. We must push our policymakers for programs for health education, good stores for proper nutrition and access to health care.”

The thought for the day on the same page was a quote from former Rep. Shirley Chisholm: “Health is a human right, not a privilege to be purchased.”

Obama recently talked about his faith with the Concord, N.H., Monitor.

“I’ve always said that my faith informs my values, and in that sense it helps shape my worldview, and I don’t think anyone should be required to leave their religious sensibilities at the door,” Obama told the paper last week. “But we have to translate those concerns into a universal language that can be subject to argument and doesn’t turn into a contest of any one of us thinking that God is somehow on our side.”

The candidate told the Monitor he doesn’t buy everything his pastor proclaims, saying: “There are some things I agree with my pastor about, some things I disagree with him about. I come from a complex racial background with a lot of different strains in me: white, black, I grew up in Hawaii. I tend to have a strong streak of universalism, not just in my religious beliefs, but in my ethical and moral beliefs.”

Obama’s popularity has soared in the last several days, with journalists from NBC even admitting to getting caught up in the “feel good” aura of the campaign.

As WND reported, the network’s Brian Williams noted on MSNBC yesterday: “”[Reporter] Lee [Cowan] says it’s hard to stay objective covering this guy. Courageous for Lee to say, to be honest. … I think it is a very interesting dynamic.”

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The Futility of the “Change” Zeitgeist

Posted by Tony Listi on February 8, 2008

By Jonathan Smith, my good Facebook friend

In American politics, almost any politician that promises “change” or “progress” will inevitably, and quite quickly, garner scores of supporters (especially from naive idealistic young people) and will most likely win the office for which they are running. However, there is often more rhetoric than substance in these promises. Americans seem to have made an idol out of progress. Change is no longer a means to an end, but an end in itself. Indeed, an unending end. Nothing is ever good enough. People are not satisfied with a little bit of change. It only satiates their appetite for “progress” temporarily. Soon thereafter they’re asking for more. What they’re asking for, don’t ask them; they don’t know. All they know is they don’t want what they’ve got now. And no matter what you give them, they’ll ask for something else before too long.
Current chief-priest in the cult of progress.
Many of the proponents of this restless mindset of changeless change are constantly preaching the gospel of “thinking for yourselves.” Whatever this means, I do not know; for these individuals seem to let others think for them more than any other breed of humans I’ve ever come across. They promote independence from the past with all of it’s supposedly out-dated and archaic ideas. They see themselves as valiantly struggling against the oppressive traditionalist patriarchy that has a deathgrip on the world. They act as if progressivism is the hip-new-thing. But who are they kidding? Although it is the current zeitgeist, the cult of progress is several hundred years old, coming to a head at the Protestant “Reformation” with its promotion of radical individualism via sola scriptura and “private interpretation.” In reality, progressive rationalists do not think for themselves any more than anyone else. They demand that we “question authority,” but this begs the question: who gave them the authority to tell us to question authority? They tell us not to listen to our parents and priests while insisting that we listen to them instead! And in their circles, the infallible authority of “saints” such as Darwin, Marx, and Freud cannot be questioned.

So, I’ve decided to compile some quotes by the best anti-dote to perpetual “progressivism” to ever live: G.K. Chesterton. Here they are…

“Progress is a comparative of which we have not settled the superlative.”

“Progress should mean that we are always changing the world to fit the vision, instead we are always changing the vision.”

“Nine out of ten of what we call new ideas are simply old mistakes.”

“My attitude toward progress has passed from antagonism to boredom. I have long ceased to argue with people who prefer Thursday to Wednesday because it is Thursday.”

“Men invent new ideals because they dare not attempt old ideals. They look forward with enthusiasm, because they are afraid to look back.”

“Tradition means giving votes to the most obscure of all classes, our ancestors. It is the democracy of the dead. Tradition refuses to submit to that arrogant oligarchy who merely happen to be walking around.”

“None of the modern machines, none of the modern paraphernalia. . . have any power except over the people who choose to use them.”

“The whole curse of the last century has been what is called the Swing of the Pendulum; that is, the idea that Man must go alternately from one extreme to the other. It is a shameful and even shocking fancy; it is the denial of the whole dignity of the mankind. When Man is alive he stands still. It is only when he is dead that he swings.”

“A dead thing can go with the stream, but only a living thing can go against it.”

“The act of defending any of the cardinal virtues has today all the exhilaration of a vice.”

“Fallacies do not cease to be fallacies because they become fashions.”

“He is a very shallow critic who cannot see an eternal rebel in the heart of a conservative.”

As Chesterton again rightly points out, a return to Christianity is the only solid cure to this restlessness:

“The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and left untried.”

“The Catholic Church is the only thing which saves a man from the degrading slavery of being a child of his age.”

Sadly, these people often equate Catholicism with the specter of the “dark ages.” Most people don’t know a lick about this period in history, but for any honest seeker, the truth is clear: The Church wasn’t the center of darkness during these times. Rather, She was rather the only source of light.

“There is something odd in the fact that when we reproduce the Middle Ages it is always some such rough and half-grotesque part of them that we reproduce . . . Why is it that we mainly remember the Middle Ages by absurd things? . . . Few modern people know what a mass of illuminating philosophy, delicate metaphysics, clear and dignified social morality exists in the serious scholastic writers of mediaeval times. But we seem to have grasped somehow that the ruder and more clownish elements in the Middle Ages have a human and poetical interest. We are delighted to know about the ignorance of mediaevalism; we are contented to be ignorant about its knowledge. When we talk of something mediaeval, we mean something quaint. We remember that alchemy was mediaeval, or that heraldry was mediaeval. We forget that Parliaments are mediaeval, that all our Universities are mediaeval, that city corporations are mediaeval, that gunpowder and printing are mediaeval, that half the things by which we now live, and to which we look for progress, are mediaeval.”

“In history I found that Christianity, so far from belonging to the Dark Ages, was the one path across the Dark Ages that was not dark. It was a shining bridge connecting two shining civilizations. If any one says that the faith arose in ignorance and savagery the answer is simple: it didn’t. It arose in the Mediterranean civilization in the full summer of the Roman Empire. The world was swarming with sceptics, and pantheism was as plain as the sun, when Constantine nailed the cross to the mast. It is perfectly true that afterwards the ship sank; but it is far more extraordinary that the ship came up again: repainted and glittering, with the cross still at the top. This is the amazing thing the religion did: it turned a sunken ship into a submarine. The ark lived under the load of waters; after being buried under the debris of dynasties and clans, we arose and remembered Rome. If our faith had been a mere fad of the fading empire, fad would have followed fad in the twilight, and if the civilization ever re-emerged (and many such have never re-emerged) it would have been under some new barbaric flag. But the Christian Church was the last life of the old society and was also the first life of the new. She took the people who were forgetting how to make an arch and she taught them to invent the Gothic arch. In a word, the most absurd thing that could be said of the Church is the thing we have all heard said of it. How can we say that the Church wishes to bring us back into the Dark Ages? The Church was the only thing that ever brought us out of them.”

And lastly, here are two more nuggets, this time on TRUE progress, one from C.S. Lewis and one from Blessed Pope Pius IX…

“We all want progress, but if you’re on the wrong road, progress means doing an about-turn and walking back to the right road; in that case, the man who turns back soonest is the most progressive.” -C.S. Lewis

“We should not conclude that religion does not progress in the Church of Christ. There is great progress! But it is truly the progress of faith, which is not change. The intelligence, wisdom, and knowledge of everybody should grow and progress, like that of the whole Church of the ages. In this way we might understand more clearly what we used to believe obscurely; in this way posterity might have joy of understanding what used to be revered without understanding. In this way the precious stones of divine dogma might be worked, adapted exactly and wisely decorated, so that they increase in grace, splendor, and beauty—but always in the same fashion and doctrine, in the same meaning and judgment, so that we can speak of a new manner rather than new substance.” -Bl. Pope Pius IX

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