This is the InsideSTL.com article from 4/27/09. Please visit www.insidestl.com and participate in the debate raging in the comments section each week. As always, thank you to InsideSTL.com for publishing my articles every Monday.
Since hinting that Attorney General Eric Holder would be unleashed on the previous administration over allegations of torture, it’s been confirmed that the CIA briefed members of both parties in Congress over 30 times about their “enhanced interrogation” programs. House Speaker, Nancy Pelosi has denied these reports as she calls for investigations while claiming, “We were not – I repeat – were not told that waterboarding or any of these other enhanced interrogation methods were used.” Despite her insistence to the contrary, the Washington Post ran an article in 2007 which placed Pelosi, who was the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee at the time, in a 2002 secret CIA briefing where four members of Congress were briefed in explicit detail about interrogation methods to be used on terrorist suspects and given a virtual tour of detention centers. The article stated that no one in attendance voiced opposition to the program and “at least two lawmakers in the room asked the CIA to push harder.” Either Pelosi or the Post is lying, both can’t be correct. While current pressing issues are placed aside so Democrats can pursue political vengeance, one question is rarely asked; did the United States torture detainees in the “Overseas Contingency Operation,” formerly known as the “War on Terror?” Hardly anyone seems concerned with the details of the programs that could cost several former government officials their freedom.
Make no mistake, the enhanced interrogation methods employed by our intelligence community were not pleasant by any means. Waterboarding is a particularly horrifying experience which is why it was so effective. While being placed on their back, detainees would have their backs placed in water with their feet at a higher elevation than their head. The interrogators placed a cloth over the subject’s face and then would pour water onto the cloth over their airways, making it very difficult or impossible to breathe. This causes an increase in carbon dioxide in the blood and an immediate physiological reflex causing a panicked feeling of certain death by drowning. Water would be poured from a height of one to two feet for no longer than 40 seconds at a time. Afterwards, the cloth was removed and the detainee would breathe unimpeded for three to four minutes. No detainee could be under the wet cloth for more than 12 minutes a day for a total of five days in the 30-day period for which it was approved. This method was used on three high-value detainees and was always subject to these restrictions which Congress was briefed about. Since the detainee’s lungs were elevated above their head, there was no danger of breathing water into their lungs and there was no risk of death or long-term physical harm. It would definitely be a horrifying experience to endure. However, is it actually torture?
In an internal memo, Dennis Blair, Obama’s Director of National Intelligence, wrote that it was easy to condemn the decisions made by the Bush administration “on a bright, sunny, safe day in April 2009.” His memo also stated, “High value information came from interrogations in which those methods were used and provided a deeper understanding of the al Qa’ida organization that was attacking the country.” Blair’s comment was also echoed by Clinton-appointed CIA director, George Tenet who stated that he knew that the harsh interrogations saved lives. He was quoted as saying, “I know this program alone is worth more than the FBI, the Central Intelligence Agency, and the National Security Agency put together have been able to tell us.” Four previous CIA directors along with Obama’s own appointee, Leon Panetta, advised against the release of the interrogation memos. The actions of the administration are purely based on political bloodlust and the nation will be left more vulnerable while Democrats seek to placate their far-left base.
In an interview with Fox News, Vice President Dick Cheney said that the Obama administration needs to release the internal intelligence memos which show the program’s success in order for the American people to be fully informed. When asked about Cheney’s request during a House subcommittee hearing, in true “truth-seeking” spirit, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton responded, “It won’t surprise you that I don’t consider him a particularly reliable source.” (To be fair, many independent investigators have said the same thing about her.) Later, in a press conference, B. Hussein Obama explained that he had already reviewed the memos Cheney requested and determined that there was nothing of public interest in them. Something seems a tad unjust when the accuser is also the gatekeeper of any evidence released to support or negate their own claims. Perhaps it slightly warps the basic foundation of American criminal law that places the burden of proof on the state? Not to mention a slight thumbing-of-the-nose at the assumption of innocence?
While attention and resources have been diverted to this witch hunt, jobless claims continue to increase beyond expectations, Pakistan is being threatened by the Taliban, and the Secretary of Home Land Security publically stated that illegal immigration “is not a crime per se.” There are much more pressing issues than continuing the quest for the “Liberal Holy Grail” of seeing Bush and Cheney paraded before the nation in show trials. When the current Speaker of the House can’t seem to reconcile her version of events with the public record, it might be advisable to at least let her figure out her story before issuing the subpoenas. It would be very embarrassing to collect a prominent Democrat leader in the investigations.
Along with the name of the conflict, the Obama administration has changed the methods the nation will use to keep a vigil for terrorist activities, or as they are now called by DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano “man-caused” disasters. This is their prerogative. However, no one possesses the ability to see into the future. If the nation does end up falling victim to another attack (God forbid) the Obama administration could face their own precedent of “truth commissions” from the next administration about the decision to declassify very top secret information on an effective intelligence-gathering program. This is the danger of even entertaining this vendetta. It could set in motion a perpetual routine of post-election criminalization of hard decisions which are ultimately made in times when decisive leadership is needed most.
After taking power in 2006, Congress initiated over 600 investigations into alleged crimes committed by the Bush administration. In fact, during this timeframe, the only body of government with approval ratings that were lower than George W. Bush’s was the Democrat-controlled Congress which saw its ratings fall into the single-digits. As many prominent Democrats talk about ending the “failed policies of the Bush administration,” it appears that they are continuing their own failed policies while neglecting present serious issues which still need to be adequately addressed. Could Obama have been on to something when he originally said it was time to move on?Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
This article was originally published on www.InsideSTL.com on April 20th. My new articles are published every Monday on InsideSTL. I place them here after they are no longer featured on the site each Wednesday. Please take the time to visit the site, read the articles, and participate in the debate which takes place in the comments section. As always, I want to thank InsideSTL for giving me the weekly forum.
The common storyline concerning political discourse says that racism, hatred, and greed fuel the actions and beliefs exclusively of those on the right. Liberal Democrats often take credit for the civil rights movement despite the fact that Martin Luther King, Jr. was actually a Republican and Democrat John F. Kennedy ordered phone taps of the civil rights icon. Most of the votes in Congress against the Civil Rights Act of 1964 were cast by Democrats. Southern segregation was a Democrat platform during this period. In fact, Abraham Lincoln was the first Republican president. Today’s liberals, or progressives, claim that racist Democrats became fed up with their own party for supporting the Civil Rights Act and jumped ship to join the Republican Party. Basically by their logic, racists were furious with the party who offered the most opposition to the Civil Rights Act, causing them to become members of the party that offered the most consistent support. Don’t try too hard to understand the logic because it’ll cause heads to explode. Now, the racist accusations are flying again and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has actually turned this progressive myth into policy through their recently released report, “Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment.” Elsewhere, progressives are also using the tired storyline to explain last week’s nationwide tea parties. All of this is a concerted effort to marginalize Obama’s critics through painting any criticism as the product of bigotry and ignorance.
Last week, the DHS under the supervision of DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano, released a report claiming that the current economic downturn along with the election of the first black president poses a threat of fueling violence from “rightwing extremists” who are defined as not only hate groups but also “those that are mainly antigovernment, rejecting federal authority in favor of state or local authority, or rejecting government authority entirely.” Anyone who considers the 10th Amendment still applicable to American politics is apparently a threat according to Obama’s DHS. DHS admits at the beginning of the report that they have “no specific information that domestic rightwing terrorists are currently planning acts of violence.” The hypothetical threats referred include “groups and individuals that are dedicated to a single issue, such as opposition to abortion or immigration.” The report also singles out veterans returning from Iraq or Afghanistan and anyone who is pro-Second Amendment, people supporting third party candidates, and/or opposes expansion of federal government programs. Essentially, anyone who disagrees with the Obama agenda is being painted as the next Timothy McVeigh. It is interesting though, that William Ayers and Bernadine Dohrn aren’t worried about increased monitoring.
This report differs greatly from the January DHS report focusing on the threat of cyber-attacks from leftwing extremists. In this report, leftwing extremism is defined as, “groups or individuals who embrace radical elements of the anarchist, animal rights, or environmental movements…” The report specifically mentioned such leftwing terrorist organizations as the Animal Liberation Front (ALF) and the Earth Liberation Front (ELF) and had concrete evidence requiring elevated threat levels from previous actions of the groups. Nowhere in the leftwing report did it caution that certain people should be watched because their political beliefs make them more susceptible to being recruited by leftwing extremist groups. To equal the broad warning of the rightwing extremist report, the DHS would essentially have to say pet owners should be watched because they are more susceptible of being recruited by the ALF to blow up laboratories. Democrat Representative, and chair of the House committee overseeing DHS, Bernie Thompson confirmed this when writing to Napolitano, “This report appears to have blurred the line between violent belief, which is constitutionally protected, and violent action, which is not.”
When discussing the reasons behind the recent nationwide tea parties, actress Janeane Garofalo read straight from the progressive script when she told MSNBC’s Keith Olberman, “It’s about hating a black man in the White House. This is racism straight up and is nothing but a bunch of teabagging rednecks.” She then went on to claim that Fox News, the only network to give real coverage of the protests, focuses on the “Klan demographic.” What is unsettling is that the intellectually vacant and perpetually single Garofalo wasn’t alone in her assessment. During the weeks leading up to the tea parties, MSNBC anchors Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow couldn’t stop laughing at their “cleverness” as they referred to “teabaggers.” Illinois Representative, Democrat Jan Schakowsky told TheHill.com, “It’s despicable that rightwing Republicans would attempt to cheapen a significant, honorable moment of American history with such a shameful political stunt.” Between asking combative questions and interrupting their answers in order to insert official Obama talking points, CNN “reporter” Susan Roesgen lamented from the Chicago tea party that she had not seen one African American in the entire crowd. It’s easy to avoid an honest debate if you successfully paint your opponent as a bigot, undeserving and incapable of productive conversation.
B. Hussein Obama was probably more sincere than he had ever been when he explained, “It’s not that I want to punish your success. I just want to make sure that everybody who is behind you, that they’ve got a chance at success, too. I think when you spread the wealth around, it’s good for everybody.” The tax day tea party protests represented the alienation felt by many in this nation. If Obama gets his way, a majority of the population will consume most of the government entitlement spending but pay no taxes. This will create a voting majority able to extract whatever they want from the taxpaying minority. This is tyranny, plain and simple. While many may support this idea out of self interest in light of their present socioeconomic class, no one with any higher aspirations should ever condone this type of confiscatory despotism.
Abraham Lincoln, who many of Obama’s supporters constantly compare him to, once said, “If by the mere force of numbers a majority should deprive a minority of any clearly written constitutional right, it might, in a moral point of view, justify revolution.” The revolution Lincoln is referring to is brewing and it will manifest as the regular, nonviolent coup provided for in the Constitution. It will take place in November of 2010 when voters head back to the polls. This is when every protester who has seen their concerns written off as acts of ignorance and racism will be able to enact change that, not only they can believe in but also believes in and respects them as well. All without any actions requiring DHS monitoring.
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In case any low-income kids in Washington DC were starting to take the “hope” message too seriously, the Obama administration is working to lower their expectations. The White House just hosted its annual Easter Egg Roll and, thanks to Obama, this year, low-income families had the lowest chances of participating in the event’s 195-year history. During the election, candidate Obama acknowledged that poor families don’t have equal online access. He said, “Every child should have the chance to get online, and they’ll get that chance when I’m President.” Too bad he didn’t make good on this promise before Easter. Since the event started in 1814, Easter Egg Roll participants had to wait in line to secure their free tickets. No amount of political clout would allow anyone to circumvent standing in line. There were absolutely no exceptions. B. Hussein Obama decided to do away with the line this year and, instead, chose to distribute the tickets online. That’s right. He decided to use the internet, even though he campaigned on the issue of disproportionate online access for low-income families. As if this didn’t restrict certain socioeconomic classes’ access enough, as expected, scalpers got in on the action and pushed tickets even further out of reach for low-income children. The Washington Post reported that tickets were on Craigslist for as much as $50 apiece and The Politico said that “six tickets to the Easter Egg Roll went for $979.99 on eBay.” (With all of the shady campaign financing exposed during the election, it might be advisable to check out exactly who is collecting the money from the online sales.) However, the Easter Egg Roll snub is minor compared to the role Obama’s Department of Education (DOE) played in helping to kill the program that gives low-income Washington DC schoolchildren the chance to attend the same private schools that the President and many other Washington officials choose for their own children.
Since 2004, DC has run the Opportunity Scholarship Program which annually gives 1,714 students from low-income families earning less than $23,000 per year up to $7,500 for private school tuition. Ninety-nine percent of students receiving vouchers are minorities (90% black and 9% Hispanic.) The vouchers are distributed through a lottery system and the city receives an average of four applications for each available voucher.
Without the vouchers, these students’ only option is the dismal DC Public School System where about 69% of 4th graders read below basic skill levels, students consistently rank last nationally in both ACT and SAT scores, and approximately 42% of students end up dropping out. All of this poor performance comes despite the fact that DC spends approximately $15,000 for each student’s education which is 50% more than the national average and double the cost of a single voucher. The problems plaguing these public schools aren’t from a lack of funding. Instead, there is something fundamentally wrong which will require more than just tax dollars to resolve. Until a solution is found, no one can ethically deny any children an adequate education merely because their parents cannot afford to move to a better school district or pay private school tuition.
Teachers’ unions oppose voucher programs which assist parents in finding alternatives to failing public schools. One of their main arguments claims that voucher programs only siphon precious tax dollars away from public schools. However, as discussed, DC’s public schools’ problems run much deeper than mere finances.
Unfortunately for low-income students, teachers’ unions donated $55,794,440 to politicians from 1990 to 2008, 96% of which went to Democrat politicians. This makes it more than a coincidence that Democrats usually line up on the same side of issues as the nation’s largest teachers’ unions. Senate Democrats followed this pattern when voting down the Republican proposal last March which would have guaranteed funding for the voucher program past the 2009 – 2010 school year.
During the election, Obama told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel that even though he was skeptical of vouchers, he wouldn’t allow his preconceived opinions to prevent him from supporting them if he saw proof that they were successful. Democrat Senator, Dick Durbin echoed Obama’s sentiment claiming that he wouldn’t support continued funding of the program without proof of effectiveness. This sounds reasonable, however, on April 3, Obama’s DOE released a Congress-mandated, peer-reviewed report on the voucher program. The evaluation compared test scores of students who received vouchers to those who entered the lottery but didn’t receive a voucher. It found that voucher recipients were reading 3.7 months ahead of non-voucher students and student subgroups showed 1/3 to 2 years of additional learning growth. Yet, even though Obama and Democrats claimed such information would be relevant to their decision, the report wasn’t released by the Administration until after the Senate Democrats had sealed the voucher program’s doomed fate. The Wall Street Journal reported that despite the fact that the DOE review was actually completed last fall, several months before the Senate’s mid-March vote, the report wasn’t released until April. The article also said, “We do know the Administration prohibited anyone involved with the evaluation from discussing it publically.” The DOE deliberately sat on this information until after the Senate finished debating and voting on the program.
If anyone can understand the value of a good education, it would be both B. Hussein and Michelle Obama. The President received a scholarship at age 10 which, combined with the hard work and sacrifice of his grandparents, allowed him to attend one of the most prestigious private schools in Hawaii. He has explained, “There was something about this school that embraced me, gave me support, and encouragement, and allowed me to grow and prosper.” Michelle attended a very elite magnet high school with rigorous, highly competitive admission testing requirements in Chicago. Both he and Michelle received Ivy-League educations which led to degrees from Harvard Law School for them both. Being good parents, upon moving to DC, the Obama’s decided to enroll their own daughters in private schools instead of the troubled public schools. How can Obama allow his administration to play any part in denying low-income DC children access to the same types of institutions which he credits for his success?
Deroy Murdock of Human Events mentioned the famous quote from Albert Shanker, former American Federation of Teachers president which said, “When school children start paying union dues, that’s when I’ll start representing the interests of school children.” In his autobiography, The Audacity of Hope, B. Hussein Obama wrote simply, “I owe those unions.” It seems that 1,714 disadvantaged DC school children just got a real world lesson about collective bargaining and political clout. Too bad they didn’t have anyone representing their interests sitting at the table.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
I know, it’s been a long time without hearing from me. Well, I’ve really only been writing weekly columns on www.insidestl.com. In case anyone’s interested, my articles come out each Monday, if you get the time please check out www.insidestl.com, they’re good people for letting me spout off each week. I’m going to put some of my more favorite weekly pieces on the blog in an attempt to catch everyone up with some newer content and will return to posting more regularly. Sorry for being gone for so long and thanks to anyone who has stumbled upon this blog and taken the time to read a little. I’m still working on getting a new site up-and-running and I’ll have it ready in the next two weeks. Thanks again for support…
“I can make a firm pledge, under my plan, no family making under $250,000 a year will see any form of tax increase. Not your income tax, not your payroll tax, not your capital gains tax, not any of your taxes.” These were Obama’s words from a campaign speech last September. Throughout the election, Obama’s supporters constantly pressed for voters to elect their man if for no other reason than self interest because Obama’s tax plan was guaranteed to put more money into everyone’s pockets. However, last Wednesday, the largest tobacco tax increase in history went into effect raising the federal tax on a pack of cigarettes by almost $0.62 a pack. The tax increase is to fund massive expansion of the SCHIP program which will add over 4 million “children,” many well over the age of 20, to government healthcare. A look at the SCHIP details shows how misleading the debate truly was on this legislation and only reinforces the need for harsher scrutiny before Obama implements his cap-and-trade program which would represent a new significant tax on all American families, regardless of income levels. It’s already been shown that Obama’s campaign promise didn’t apply to anyone who smokes, which is a habit that very disproportionately affects those in lower income levels. The cap-and-trade program, as admitted by Obama himself, will represent new sweeping taxes on every item purchased by all Americans along with any energy they use either in their homes or at the gas pumps for their cars. Even if you don’t smoke, you may want to take a quick look at the recent tax increase because the current budget in front of Congress will include a much higher tax increase targeted at any American family that consumes any form of energy. These definitely don’t align with Obama’s constant promises of not raising “any of your taxes.”
The main problem with the increased tobacco tax in order to fund the SCHIP expansion is the idea that a tax which is meant to discourage people from smoking cannot reasonably be counted on for consistent revenues to fund entitlement programs. What if the tobacco taxes meet their stated goals of lowering the number of smokers? What then becomes the default revenue source for the expanded government healthcare coverage? Punitive tobacco taxes have become socially acceptable sources for government revenue because they are painted as accomplishing two impressive stated goals. The first is to provide incentives for more people to quit smoking. Second, the money raised is going to the noble cause of providing insurance for children not currently covered by government programs nor private policies. Both of these goals have noble intentions. However, the success of the SCHIP funding depends on the failure of the tobacco taxes to accomplish their objectives. Perhaps, even worse is that smoking is a habit which very disproportionately effects those earning lower incomes. An Associated Press article stated that a Gallup survey of 75,000 people last year found that 34% of respondents earning $6,000 to $12,000 were smokers and the rate consistently declined as incomes rose. At the $90,000 a year income level, only about 13% of respondents were smokers. Therefore, the brunt of these tax increases will be borne by those making far less than the $250,000 the level of income which Obama promised last September wouldn’t see tax increases of any kind. Apparently, he was speaking exclusively to nonsmokers.
This brings about the very important question about future funding for the expanded SCHIP program. If the tobacco tax accomplishes its goal of drastically reducing smoking, who will end up paying for expansion of entitlements? The program is based on conflicting goals. Are smokers really expected to quit smoking? Perhaps, they are just expected to continue smoking and heed Joe Biden’s advice during the election that it’s patriotic to pay higher taxes. The answer is obvious that future funding for the SCHIP program will become embedded into every taxpayer’s April 15th bill just as all other government entitlement programs. For now, the idea that the social outcast smokers will bear all of the increased costs seems to be enough to keep most voter concerns limited. Once tobacco revenues are insufficient, what are the next products or groups of citizens who will be targeted with higher taxes to pick up the slack brought on by smokers uncommitted to the cause of funding children’s insurance?
A similar tax proposal that will disproportionately affect those earning below the magic $250,000 level is also getting closer and closer to being reality as Congress reviews Obama’s $3.6 trillion budget. One of Obama’s main revenue streams in his budget comes from the establishment of a market-based cap-and-trade program which essentially taxes carbon emissions. Very few people seemed interested that Obama once sat on the board of the Chicago-based firm which would provide the national trading platform which would trade the lucrative tax credits. Needless to say, this firm stands to redefine obscene profits from running the government-mandated trading markets for carbon credits. Americans should be very concerned about the ramifications of this policy. As noted in a previous article, an interview which was conveniently covered-up by The San Francisco Chronicle before the election quoted Obama explaining that under his cap-and-trade plan, “electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket.” Analysts of the president’s proposal claim that the average families’ energy bills could easily rise by more than $1,000 a year. Unfortunately, these increases don’t adhere to the cut-off for families below the top 5% of wage earners. These rate increases would affect everyone who uses any energy to run their home or drive their car. This means everyone will see their costs rise. On top of the increased energy bills, the cap-and-trade program would raise the prices of anything produced and sold in US markets because companies would have to pass along the cost for increased carbon taxes to consumers through higher prices.
So it seems that Obama’s campaign promise about no tax increases was speaking to a much smaller audience than originally reported. No one making under $250,000 a year will see any of their taxes increase as long as they don’t smoke, use energy, or purchase anything.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
As I do every week, I want to thank Tim McKernan, Justin Boyd, and everyone else at InsideSTL.com for giving me a weekly forum on their site. This article appeared on InsideSTL.com on November 4. For the time being, InsideSTL.com plans on continuing their STL Politics section. Therefore, if you enjoy reading my articles on the site, please let them know. Also, please take time to read the other great articles you can find there and support their advertisers. (www.insidestl.com) While this article may seem out-of-date, it is actually more important than ever. Now that Obama is in office, we need to do everything we can to force him to keep his bipartisan promises. His selection of Rahm Emanuel and Harry Reid’s press conference stating that they are looking to strip Joe Leiberman of his committee chair position for supporting John McCain is not giving encouragement to those of us who are waiting to see how the Obama administration will govern.
The Democrat Party has come a long way since John F. Kennedy’s timeless quote of, “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.” Barack Obama has mesmerized a whole section of the voting public with tales of creating a utopia if they give him their vote. Last Friday at an Obama rally, Peggy Joseph told reporters, “I never thought this day would happen. I won’t have to work on puttin’ gas in my car. I won’t have to work at payin’ my mortgage. You know. If I help [Obama], he’s gonna help me.” This line of thinking seems to explain most Obama supporters. Plenty have claimed that it would be stupid for voters not to support Obama out of pure self-interest. The problem is that Obama’s proposals won’t bring about this utopia. In fact, just his tax and energy proposals alone will only pose an increased burden on American households who are already stressed due to the impending recession.
Obama’s tax cuts, mainly benefiting those currently not paying taxes, are projected to cost the US federal government $900 billion in the first year and increase the deficit by $3.3 trillion over ten years, according to the Tax Policy Center. His current tax increase proposals will not even cover a fraction of what his new spending will cost. This is probably why no one can pin down the exact income level which will be the cutoff for tax increases. Last week, the figure started at $250,000, then Joe Biden moved it to $150,000, Obama put it at $200,000 during his infomercial, and the day after, Obama-surrogate, New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson moved the number to families making over $120,000. It moves so much because Obama’s promised tax cuts are as likely to happen as Bill Clinton’s promises were during his first campaign. While campaigning in 1992, Bill Clinton said, “The only people who will pay more income taxes are the wealthiest 2%, those living in households making over $200,000 a year.” (Sound familiar?) Despite the campaign rhetoric, Bill Clinton implemented some of the largest tax increases in history, for all income brackets, after taking office in 1993. Despite claims that the economy roared during both of Clinton’s terms, the majority of growth didn’t occur until after the 1997 tax cuts which were forced through by the Republican-led Congress. The main cut that attributed to the explosive boom in technology companies was the reduction in the capital gains tax. This made investments in small startup companies much more attractive for venture capital firms and other investors. Further proof of the effectiveness of cutting capital gains tax rates is that revenues from capital gains taxes doubled after 2003 when President Bush substantially cut them. When Bush took office in 2001, the country had already entered a recession which was only deepened by the attacks on 9/11. He got the economy growing again through the tax cuts Obama now decries.
On the energy front, Obama’s plans also fall short. The main feature of Obama’s energy proposal is his promise to invest $15 billion a year for the next 10 years for the development of alternative fuels. In the interim, he refuses to allow oil companies to drill in the most oil-rich parts of the country to offer relief for Americans at the gas pumps. Drilling would provide results well before the development of viable alternative energy solutions. Also, just the announcement of increased drilling would have an immediate negative effect on prices in the futures markets which would be realized at the gas pumps.
In a recently released January 17, 2008 interview with the San Francisco Chronicle, Obama stated, “What I’ve said is that we would put a cap and trade system in place that is as aggressive, if not more aggressive, than anybody else’s out there…So if somebody wants to build a coal-powered plant, they can; it’s just that it will bankrupt them because they’re going to be charged a huge sum for all that greenhouse gas that’s being emitted.” He even goes further by saying, “…under my plan of a cap and trade system, electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket.” At a time when Americans are experiencing increased energy prices and the economy is grinding to a halt, Obama plans to bankrupt the coal industry, which employs hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of American workers. He also plainly states he will cause home energy prices to “skyrocket.” Currently, coal plants generate 49% of the nation’s power. The impact on the coal industry will bring drastic increases in unemployment and the “skyrocketing” energy prices would severely cut into every American household’s budget. John McCain’s cap and trade system is much less aggressive by giving companies time to cut their emissions before charging them. Obama also opposes developing nuclear power plants which could create over a million new jobs and provide clean energy with existing technology which doesn’t depend on foreign oil.
Obama’s supporters urge others to vote for Obama out of self-interest. They claim he is going to give massive tax cuts, mortgage relief, and create new jobs. Democrats have based two presidential elections around distrust of a president they claim has infringed on the peoples’ rights. Now they are fully behind a man who has promised to grow government larger than the country has ever seen. Obama hasn’t earned the trust of those following him. He has refused to explain his constantly changing policies, he refuses to explain his questionable history, he has cut off members of the media who have asked him tough questions, and he has even run a smear campaign on a common citizen who asked a tax policy question after Obama approached him in his own driveway. Before voting, take pause and realize that a government large enough to give people everything can also take it away. Growing government is easy, reigning it back in is damn near impossible. Please remember this when voting.
This is the article which appeared on InsideSTL.com on 10/28/08. As I do every week, I want to thank Tim McKernan and everyone else at InsideSTL.com for giving me another forum each week. Currently, they are unsure whether they will keep the STL Politics section which hosts these articles. If you enjoy reading these each month, please visit their site at www.insidestl.com, read the other great content they have and support their advertisers and drop them an email on the Contact section and tell them you would like to continue to read more in the STL Politics section. Thanks for reading.
In 2003, Congress passed a bill that was supported by a vast majority of American voters. Obama has already vowed to sign already-proposed legislation into law which would negate the 2003 bill immediately upon entering the Oval Office. The bill Obama opposes is the Partial Birth Abortion Ban which was passed by Congress and upheld by the Supreme Court. On July 17, 2007, Obama told members of Planned Parenthood, “The first thing I’d do as president is sign the Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA). That’s the first thing that I’d do.” The content of the two opposing bills offer voters a rare chance to voice their stance on abortion rights through the candidate they support for president. A look at the content of these two bills shows the true extremity of Obama’s support of abortion.
The Partial Birth Abortion Ban which was passed in 2003 was passed with the sole purpose of outlawing one of the most gruesome methods of abortion. This barbaric process is known as “dilation and extraction” and this was the only method of abortion which was limited by the bill which Obama has vowed to overturn by signing FOCA into law. The bill also strictly defined the procedure so there is no chance that other methods would end up fitting the partial birth abortion definition and also be banned. Opponents claimed that this type of procedure was very rare, however, Ron Fitzsimmons, executive director of the National Coalition of Abortion Providers, estimated that the method was used 3,000 to 5,000 times annually.
(Warning: The following testimony is not for the faint of heart, it is a graphic description of an extremely brutal and inhumane procedure.) Nurse Brenda Pratt Shafer gave the most realistic description of this disgusting procedure when she testified to the House Judiciary Committee in 1995 when work first began on the Partial Birth Abortion Ban. Nurse Shafer testified that the nursing firm she worked for place her at an abortion clinic. The position did not bother her because she claimed she was very pro-choice before the assignment. What she saw at the clinic would change her views forever. She told the Judiciary Committee about the first partial birth abortion for which she assisted. Here’s her official testimony, “The mother was six months pregnant… Dr. Haskell brought the ultrasound in and hooked it up so that he could see the baby… As Dr. Haskell watched the baby on the ultrasound screen, the baby’s heartbeat was clearly visible on the ultrasound screen. Dr. Haskell went in with forceps and grabbed the baby’s legs and pulled them down into the birth canal. Then he delivered the baby’s body and the arms, everything but the head. The doctor kept the baby’s head just inside the uterus. The baby’s little fingers were clasping and unclasping, and his feet were kicking. Then the doctor stuck the scissors through the back of his head, and the baby’s arms jerked out in a flinch, a startle reaction, like a baby does when he thinks that he might fall. The doctor opened up the scissors, stuck a high-powered suction tube into the opening and sucked the baby’s brains out. Now the baby was completely limp. I was really completely unprepared for what I was seeing. I almost threw up as I watched the doctor do these things.”
The Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA) was drawn up in 2007 by pro abortion Democrat legislators such as Barbara Boxer, Chuck Schumer, Diane Feinstein, and Hillary Clinton after the Supreme Court upheld the Partial Birth Abortion Ban. Under the findings section of the bill which explains why the bill was written, the 9th finding states, “Further threatening Roe, the Supreme Court recently upheld the first-ever Federal ban on an abortion procedure, which has no exception to protect a woman’s health.” However, this is a flat-out lie because the exact wording of the Partial Birth Abortion Ban has always included this exact exception under Sec. 1531, “This subsection does not apply to a partial-birth abortion that is necessary to save the life of a mother whose life is endangered by a physical disorder, physical illness, or physical injury, including a life-endangering physical condition caused by or arising from the pregnancy itself.”
FOCA does much more than just reverse the Partial Birth Abortion Ban. According to Planned Parenthood, an adamant supporter of FOCA, the legislation will overturn any state laws mandating that parents be notified of a minor seeking an abortion. Planned Parenthood’s FAQ sheet on FOCA states, “Minors have long been included within the protections of Roe. Parental consent or notification statutes have been used as a tool to deny access to abortion services for minors. When such laws deny or interfere with the ability of minors to access abortion services, they would violate FOCA.” However, according to a Zogby International Poll from July 2008, 76% of Americans and 74% of women feel a physician should be legally required to notify parents that their underage daughter is seeking an abortion.
Obama told Planned Parenthood in the same speech where he vowed to sign FOCA into law, “Some people argue that the federal ban on abortion was just an isolated effort aimed at one medical procedure…That presumption is also wrong,” The ban was not the “federal ban on abortion” as Obama labeled it, it was a federal ban on a barbaric procedure with no proven medical benefits. According to an ABC News poll, it was supported by 69% of Americans. His statements show how extreme his pro-abortion views really are. Obama has no intention of working to unite both sides on the abortion debate. He’ll vigorously defend all forms of abortion, no matter how gruesome and heartless they are. This is what the nation will be facing with an Obama presidency and a Democrat super-majority in both houses of Congress.
Partial Birth Abortion Ban of 2003: http://www.govtrack.us/congress/billtext.xpd?bill=s108-3
Freedom of Choice Act: http://www.opencongress.org/bill/110-s1173/text\
Below are some additional comments on the subject which I wrote in response to the claims that the Partial Birth Abortion Ban was only opposed by Obama because it did not have an exception for the mother’s health. It also attempts to address those who claim the content of the original article is meant to force religious views on others.
Anyone who actually read the article will know what I’m about to say so you may just want to skip over this. The Partial Birth Abortion Ban always included an exception for the mother’s health. It is quoted word-for-word in the article itself. Therefore, taking that the exception has always been in the bill and the bill also very strictly defines the exact partial-birth abortion procedure that would be banned, why else would Obama oppose it? The bill does not reach any further than the exact procedure described in detail in the article. No other procedure is even alluded to in the text. Therefore, taking that the bill is very specific and not a sweeping ban on abortion and the exception for the mother’s health is in the bill, by opposing the Partial Birth Abortion Ban, Obama is, in fact, supporting the partial birth abortion procedure. Of course Obama is not out saying, “Gee, I love that partial birth abortion!” no one could ever come out and say they supported the gruesome procedure. However, to not be able to see that Obama’s other reasons for opposing it are not true, clearly leads voters to the only logical conclusion that the true purpose of the Freedom of Choice Act which Obama supports so strongly, is to ensure the Partial Birth Abortion Ban cannot prohibit the barbaric form of killing unwanted children.
Let’s also get honest about the abortion debate. Everyone states that abortion of all types is justified for what are referred to as “hard cases.” These are the cases that involve rape, incest, or cases where the pregnancy threatens the mother’s life. Out of the over 48.5 million abortions committed since 1973 when Roe v Wade was decided, less than 7% were “hard cases.” The other 45 million abortions were done for “social reasons” such as, it wasn’t the right time for the mother, relationship problems at the time of the pregnancy, fear that the pregnancy would interfere with educational or career goals. Therefore, if abortion was permitted in only the “hard case” situations that everyone uses to justify the legality of abortion (which 54% of Americans support making abortion only legal for “hard cases” according to a July 2008 Zogby poll) there would have been a 93% decrease in the number of abortions performed. Also, to claim that because a child would grow up poor, or in foster care is the most arrogant and elitist argument in support of abortion. Who do people think they are to be able to determine just which lives are worth living and which are not? Ask someone living in foster care or on a low income if they feel they would have been better off aborted and never living, I’m sure most will be thankful they were brought into the world.
This is not a religious issue. I would hate to think that being an atheist means that you don’t care about human atrocities that are performed. This is purely a humanitarian issue. If you took the time to actually read the text of the bills, you would also see that partial birth abortions actually have more health risks to the mother than benefits. In fact, there has been no health benefits found to the procedure. One of the main doctors who testified in support of the procedure admitted to the New York Times that he lied about the supposed legitimate medical reasons to perform the action. It’s funny how Obama and his supporters consider any gun ban as “sensible” and label any opposition as gun-nuts, but as soon as one of the most horrific actions committed by our society is outlawed, they consider it a sweeping assault on abortion rights. Let’s at least be honest about what we support and quit hiding behind reasons to oppose the bill that don’t exist.
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This is the weekly Tuesday article written for the InsideSTL.com. I would like to take another chance to thank InsideSTL.com for giving me another forum. Please be sure to visit the sight at www.insidestl.com, read the other great articles, and support their advertisers. The articles are under the STL Politics section. Be sure to leave some comments. My columns will continue to appear every Tuesday at least through the election. If the site gets enough visitors to the STL Politics section, they may keep the section past the elections.
On Good Morning America, Joe Biden explained Obama’s tax policies by saying, “We want to take money and put it back in the pocket of middle-class people. It’s time to be patriotic.” Paying higher taxes is patriotic? Someone should have mentioned that to Samuel Adams in 1773 before the tea wound up in Boston Harbor. In response to a tax policy question from, the now famous, Joe the Plumber, Obama said, “I think when you spread the wealth around, it’s good for everybody.” American’s shouldn’t have any questions about Obama’s tax policy goals. Anyone who considers the economy the most important issue cannot cast a vote for Obama. All of Obama’s economic plans promote class warfare rather than sound economic theory and will crush the American economy.
Obama is proposing to increase taxes on the companies and individuals who will play the largest part in turning this economy around. Currently, the top 60% of wage earners in America pay the entire federal income tax burden. The top 10% pay nearly 65% of the total income taxes. About 40% of the people which Obama is proposing tax cuts for don’t pay any income taxes. Instead of a tax cut, Obama’s plan is a government give-away. A January 2007 study from the Heritage Foundation discovered that the Bush tax cuts resulted in the rich shouldering even more of the tax burden. In 2000, the highest 20% of wage earners paid 81.2% of the income taxes, by 2004, that figure had grown to 85.3%. During this same period, the taxes paid by the bottom 40% dropped from 0% to -4%, meaning that the average family in this group actually received a subsidy from the government. It’s hard to drop taxes any lower for this group.
America entered a 25-year period of record-setting economic growth in the 1980’s. The biggest gainers from the period were the very poorest. The recently published book, The End of Prosperity, shows the effects of tax cuts on the increase of overall wealth in America. Many Democrats would be surprised that the nation’s poorest benefited most during this period of growth. In the period of 1987 to 1996, the lowest income levels in America increased 81%. During 1996 – 2005, they increased 109%. The wealthiest income levels actually declined during this period. The top 1% saw their income levels drop 24% in 1987 through 1996 and 23% in 1996 through 2005. Therefore, Obama’s idea that tax cuts only benefit the wealthiest deserves serious reconsidering.
Most of Obama’s proposals were tried with failure under Jimmy Carter. By 1980, mortgage rates had swollen to 21.5%, inflation was over 14.5%, and the top marginal tax rate was 70%. One of Carter’s biggest mistakes was to follow the path Obama is suggesting of raising the taxes on businesses and the wealthy to increase tax revenue. Even John F. Kennedy understood this when he said in 1963, “…the soundest way to raise [tax] revenues in the long run is to cut the tax rates.” Kennedy’s tax cuts allowed the economy to roar back to life in 1964. In 1977, the Wall Street Journal addressed Carter’s policies by stating, “…you can’t get rich people to pay more in tax revenues by raising their tax rates.” Instead of raising taxes on the people who already pay the majority of taxes, the government should foster an environment that encourages investment and economic activity through lower taxes on business profits and investment. No Democrat will admit this but during the period after the Bush tax cuts, tax revenues have raised at a rate above the 2003 pre-tax cut levels.
An over-simplified example of how tax policy affects business and investment is to consider two casinos. One casino charges no cover charge and offers free drinks. The other casino charges a $20 cover charge and requires gamblers to pay $2 for every drink. Where would most people gamble? Obviously, gamblers would frequent the casino with no cover charge and free drinks. Businesses are no different in deciding where to invest their money in the most profitable places to expand and operate. Charging higher corporate tax rates only creates another business cost, which is often passed along to customers that must be recovered to generate a profit.
The same idea extends to investments. Higher capital gains and dividend taxes as Obama has proposed, only work to discourage investing through increasing the gains an investor must receive on a market investment to be profitable. Considering over half of American household’s retirements depend on investments such as pension funds, IRA’s, and 401(k)’s, the government would be best advised to promote growing markets. In fact, after Bush’s capital gains tax cut, capital gains tax revenues have more than doubled.
The final myth that Obama uses to justify raising taxes is that the Bush tax cuts destroyed the budget surpluses from 1990 – 2001. The problem with this argument is that spending during this period rose to an historic, unexpected level of 20.2% of GDP by 2006. Obama mentioned during the final debate that the $500 billion surplus was destroyed by the Bush tax cuts. However, he completely dismisses that spending levels increased by an unexpected $514 billion by 2006, enough to cancel any surplus regardless of tax rates.
Every solution from Obama involves a new tax and higher spending. The path out of this economic downturn is through government restraint on both taxes and spending. Obama has never worked to reduce spending in his entire political career. He received a 10% 2007 rating from Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) and an 18% lifetime rating. Since 2005, Obama has requested nearly $1 billion in special earmarks, only stopping his requests after starting his bid for the White House. McCain on the other hand, received a 100% rating for 2007 from CAGW, with an 88% lifetime rating. The choice is clear for the path out of the current economic situation. Unfortunately, Obama has no intention of trying to follow it.
Update: Karl Rove wrote a very interesting article explaining how Obama’s tax cuts are not tax cuts at all. Rather they are government welfare payments that will drastically baloon the budget of the current welfare services.
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This is the column that appeared on InsideSTL.com on Tuesday, October 14. Once again, I would like to thank Inside.STL.com for giving me a new weekly forum. Please visit their site, www.insidestl.com, read their other great articles and support their advertisers. Please give them the support to help keep their STL Politics section alive after the election.
Many believe that the current economic turmoil equates to an automatic Obama victory. Obama often states that market deregulation that McCain supported is responsible for the dismal state of the financial markets. It is supposed to be inherently understood that market deregulation is attributed to the Republicans, especially George Bush and John McCain. However, the roots of the economic problems are not how Obama describes them. Rather, the economic problems were delivered to the American taxpayers through the subprime mortgage industry and one party’s resistance of any effort to limit taxpayer exposure to the high-risk, subprime mortgage market through the government sponsored entities (GSE’s,) Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. This was an issue the Bush Administration and other Republicans had attempted to reform. Even though the writing was on the wall, all efforts to reduce the subprime exposure were met with full resistance by members of Congress who have now showed that they never should have been placed in any authoritative role over the GSE’s. As the world scrambles to recover from the current credit crisis, those who played the largest roles in creating the problems are allowed to remain in their elected offices and even demand a leading role in fixing their own mess.
John McCain’s chief of his Senate staff is a former lobbyist from Freddie Mac. Mark Buse had a record of working well with McCain. In 2003, Freddie worried about McCain’s efforts to address executive pay of the GSE’s and they hired Buse to lobby McCain, which he did during 2003 and 2004. Since his lobbyist experience, Buse has headed McCain’s Washington office and has earned the nickname “the ferret” for his ability to help McCain sniff out all pork spending in bills brought before the senator. It is obvious that Buse is not considered a friend of special interests. Also, McCain’s campaign manager, Rick Davis, was president of a firm that did advocacy work for Fannie and Freddie. It is estimated that the firm received around $2 million for the work. Davis disassociated from the firm 18 months before beginning work for McCain and has not been involved with the GSE’s for at least 3 years. Over the past 20 years, McCain has averaged about $1,000 a year in campaign contributions from GSE’s for a total of around $20,000 over two decades. These relationships are the reason why Obama supporters claim that McCain is corrupted by GSE money.
However, in 2005, John McCain took to the Senate Floor and made these comments, “I join as a cosponsor of the Federal Housing Enterprise Regulatory Reform Act of 2005, S. 190, to underscore my support for quick passage of GSE regulatory reform legislation. If Congress does not act, American taxpayers will continue to be exposed to the enormous risk that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac pose to the housing market, the overall financial system, and the economy as a whole.” The text of a letter written in 2006 has also surfaced where McCain, along with 18 other Republican senators reiterated McCain’s 2005 statements. No Democrat supported the 2005 effort of reform nor did they sign onto the 2006 letter. What happened to the bill McCain spoke about on the Senate Floor? It never made it out of the Senate Banking Committee because it was buried by the committee chair, and never brought to a vote.
Obama is pointing fingers at Bush and McCain for allowing subprime lenders to continue their predatory lending practices on unsuspecting, low-income borrowers. However, as pointed out by Gerald McEntee on the Huffington Post last March, Obama received more money from the subprime lending industry than any other presidential campaign. As of March, Obama had taken $1.8 million from the subprime lenders, such as Countrywide Financial. He now claims that these lenders pushed unfair loans on unwitting families out of pure corporate greed. While campaigning last March, Obama gave a campaign speech about reforming the subprime lending industry only to leave and immediately proceed to a fundraiser at Credit Suisse, one of the largest subprime lenders. These actions perfectly represent the Democrat’s past actions toward the GSE’s.
The largest recipient of GSE campaign contributions from 1989 to the present is the chair of the Senate Banking Committee, Democrat Chris Dodd. Dodd’s committee is where the 2005 GSE reform effort was effectively killed before coming to a vote. Last June, it was also discovered that Dodd had received favorable mortgage terms from Countrywide Financial through a little-known VIP lending program for “prominent individuals,” saving Dodd over $58,000. Dodd has been on the Banking Committee for 26 years and received GSE contributions for decades. Obama entered the Senate in 2005 and since then has become the second-largest benefactor of GSE money. In less than three years, Obama received over $105,000. Obama also had two ex Fannie Mae CEO’s as advisors. Jim Johnson, headed up Obama’s VP Selection Committee, the other CEO, Franklin Raines, has advised the Obama campaign on mortgage and housing policy. Johnson and Raines contributed greatly to Fannie’s failure and they’re also significant bundlers of Obama campaign contributions.
While McCain has a former Freddie Mac lobbyist heading up his Washington office and a campaign manager that was once affiliated with the GSE’s, McCain actually worked to stand up for the taxpayers. McCain’s 2005 speech also shows that he had the foresight to recognize the problems the US would face if the subprime market wasn’t addressed. Across the aisle, Obama strictly toed the Democrat party line instead of advancing the interests of the US taxpayers. While Obama was collecting record contributions from Fannie, Freddie, and subprime lenders, he was also receiving advice from two of the CEO’s that drove Fannie to the ground. Obama proves he has horrible judgment towards the subprime lending market and no matter how many times he states otherwise, he only spoke up about the issue when he thought he could blame the Republicans.
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I need to take a moment to thank Tim McKernan and everyone at InsideSTL.com for giving me a new forum every Tuesday in their new STL Politics section. My weekly, Tuesday articles will be on www.InsideSTL.com, at least, through the election. Be sure to check the articles out, read the other content on their site and support their advertisers. Hopefully, if enough of you come back each Tuesday to either agree with me, or to curse me, maybe they will find a reason to keep me around after the election. Below is the first article published 10/7. If you are an InsideSTL.com reader checking out the Anti-Obamassiah Refuge for the first time, welcome. Look around and leave some comments if you like, and tell others to check it out, too – whether they agree or not. Thanks again to InsideSTL.com and thank all of you for taking the time to read my articles.
(One note: Unlike comments left on InsideSTL.com, I will censor the more colorful four-letter words out of comments. Please feel free to say whatever you want but just be aware that I censor out the profanity. Thanks.)
Sarah Palin recently gave some good motivation to dig through those Alaskan dumpsters a little faster. Citing a New York Times story, she called into question Obama’s long-time association with self-admitted, non-repentant domestic terrorist William Ayers. Palin stated that Obama, “…is someone who sees America, it seems, as being so imperfect, imperfect enough, that he’s palling around with terrorists who would target their own country.” Obama’s campaign responded that McCain took his, “…discredited, dishonorable campaign one step further…launching more personal attacks on Senator Obama.” Douglas Daniel of the Associated Press was quick to report, “…portraying Obama as ‘not like us’ is another potential appeal to racism.” If it isn’t obvious enough, Palin has definitely struck a nerve. Obama is back to questioning John McCain’s honor and his surrogates in the press are working harder to paint any Obama criticism as racist. Obama made it perfectly clear earlier in the campaign that his patriotism was not to be questioned. However, he should probably answer some questions if he wishes to maintain his status of unquestionable patriotism.
Obama’s rolodex had to be of concern to his campaign manager before ever hitting the campaign trail. The challenge was to find a way to silence any questions into the extremists who had mentored Obama, been his spiritual leaders, and those he had so casually associated with before hitting the national political scene. Throughout his campaign, Obama has deflected questions such as those Palin raises by insinuating the questions are racially motivated. Most members of the press have graciously followed Obama’s lead in their coverage of the election. In fact, the quote from Douglas Daniel’s AP article mentioned earlier is almost a restatement of a July speech Obama gave in Springfield, Mo. when he said, “What they’re going to try to do is make you scared of me. You know, he doesn’t look like all those other presidents on the dollar bills.” Eventually Obama and his supporters will have to drop the claim of ‘racial immunity’ to questions about his past. Because the voters must ask what drew Obama to keep company with people like William Ayers without being afraid of being called charged with racism for demanding the answers.
On my blog, www.antiobamassiah.wordpress.com, there are multiple pieces detailing several of Obama’s long-time associations that would concern most voters, regardless of race. These include William Ayers who bombed police stations, the US Capital Building, and the Pentagon in the 1970’s. Obama claims that Ayers’ past in no way concerns him since the bombings were committed when he was eight-years-old. Yet, Ayers told the New York Times in 2001 that he did not regret the bombings and he wished they did more. Seems Ayers hasn’t fully given up his terrorist belief system. Obama claims no real friendship with Ayers even though Ayers personally chose him to head up the Chicago Annenberg Challenge, a $50 million organization. Obama accepted the position and stayed for eight years. A $50 million dollar grant would be quite difficult for Ayers to trust t a mere passing acquaintance. It’s clear that Obama is not being completely forthcoming.
Obama’s involvement with Trinity United Church of Christ should also raise questions with voters. This is the church he attended for 20 years where the Reverend Jeremiah Wright gave sermons based primarily on messages of racial hatred and divide. Wright would make outrageous, racially-charged claims like the US Government created the HIV virus to wipe out minorities. He also told his congregation after the 9/11 attacks that, “America’s chickens have come home to roost.” Wright made no secret of his affinity for Louis Farrakhan. In 1984 Wright traveled with Farrakhan to Libya to visit Muammar Qaddafi. In 2007, Farrakhan was given the Empowerment Award from Trinity. Just in case anyone isn’t familiar with Farrakhan, he is the Nation of Islam leader who is notorious for his extreme views such as, referring to whites as, “white devils,” and promoting anti-Semitism with quotes such as, “The Jews don’t like Farrakhan, so they call me Hitler. Well, that’s a good name. Hitler was a very great man.”
Obama does not support bombing government buildings, anti-Semitism, or the idea that HIV was created by the US government. Nor is Obama a member of the Nation of Islam with the same views as Farrakhan. However, what has allowed him to be tolerant of views like these? What has caused him to seek out the company of extremists with these views? Taking that he claims to have attended Trinity an average of twice a month for 20 years, what part of Wright’s sermons kept him as a member for so long? These are very important questions absolutely not connected to race. Whether or not Obama has merely wound up in the company of extremists through innocent lack of character judgment, voters must ask, who is he going to turn to for advice in the Oval Office? At the very least, voters should be asking if Obama really is the centrist he claims to be. Why is it so easy for extremists to command Obama’s attention? This isn’t merely “guilt by association” from the presence of a few lobbyists on his campaign; this is an indication of a disturbing trend of a severe lack of character judgment skills.
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