Wednesday, October 29, 2008
The Washington Post story, "Obama Accepting Untraceable Donations," is found at:
Pass this on to your friends, email lists, and blogs. The address for this article is:
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Here is the email:
In your story today, it was stated by the Obama campaign that there is no way to verify a person's name using a credit card. The quote from the story is:
"When asked whether the campaign takes steps to verify whether a donor's name matches the name on the credit card used to make a payment, Obama's campaign replied in an e-mail: "Name-matching is not a standard check conducted or made available in the credit card processing industry. We believe Visa and MasterCard do not even have the ability to do this."
That is not true.
To verify a credit card holders name, the merchant (in this case the campaign) uses a collections web site page to punch in the credit card number, and then a code that the merchant does not have the card in-hand. The credit card terminal then asks for:
1) The digits of the person's address (I live at 3625 De Loach St., so the merchant punches in "3625"). The web page collects that as part of the donation process.
2) The digits of the person's zip code. Again, the web page collects this.
3) The 3-digit CCI code (4 for AmEx) on the back of the card. Broken record: The web page collects this to correlate the credit card account number with the CCI code, thus validating it is the correct account number.
4) The invoice number; in this case a contribution tracking number. The web page generates this when the donor hits the submit button.
5) The amount of the purchase; in this case, the amount of the contribution. The donor fills in the amount on the web page.
If everything does not match up, the credit card is rejected.
In the case you cited of Ms. Biskup, had the Obama campaign set-up their credit card processing to honestly confirm the giver is who he or she says he or she is, they would have set up their donation page to collect all that information - just as hundreds of thousands of other web merchants do every day.
The credit card processing computer would have thrown out all the donations placed in Ms. Biskup's name because the fraudulent credit card holder would lack, at the least, the CCI code, and unless there was a sophisticated identity theft, the fraudulent donor would also lack the home address digits and the zip code.
Even if the fraudulent donor had the address information, and the zip code, and the CCI, the Obama processors would have stopped taking donations when the legal limit was reached because it has to be attributed to a specific name and address, and in the example you gave in the story, the name would have come up in the Obama database as over the limit.
In the case of pre-paid credit cards, the name prohibition remains in place. It is nothing for today's financial databases to cross-reference a name and a donation. When the legal limit was reached, the database would reject any further donations from that name.
The truth is that there are safeguards in place to avoid credit card fraud, and these are meant to protect consumers from fraudulent merchants who attribute false sales to them, as much as protect merchants from fraudulent consumers. What the Obama campaign told you is not true.
I own a computer manufacturing company, and have database experts who can comment on the story. I also can put you in touch with Merchant Services for Visa and MasterCard who can discuss the security arrangements in place to handle these issues. I am available to talk with you about this.
Kenneth E. Lamb
Another thought I had while re-reading the post is this:
Each of the credit card transactions that had a fraudulent name, or address, or whatever else that was fraudulent, has to go back to the bank in the form of "charge-backs." If it's not an honest representation of who made the donation, it is by definition fraudulent.
A charge-back is when the bank goes into your account, and "charges back" to itself the amount of money that would not have been placed into the account if the bank knew about the fraudulent representations at the time the campaign made a "claim" for the credit card deposit.
What complicates this for the Obama campaign is this: a deposit from the credit cards by the bank to your account is really a form of a loan - you get the money, but it's yours to use so long as nothing comes up later to cause the charge-back to kick into effect. It's in the service agreement with the credit card processing agent.
In this case, we have massive - and I feel doubtless - criminal credit card fraud. The Obama campaign took money it had the ability to know it had no legal right to accept. Now watch how this turns into a form of bank fraud called wire fraud. (In this case "wire" fraud because it is fraud using communications lines to commit the fraud.)
Take the $275,000 that the Post story said is attributed to Ms. Biskup on Obama's campaign donations report. Leaving aside the obvious question of how that number got by the campaign's finance operation, it is reasonable for the banks to now charge-back against the campaign the money it "lent" to the campaign in the form of credit card deposits. The name attributed to the transaction is fraudulent, making the transaction itself fraudulent.
Put another way, if the campaign could not identify the card owner - which I've shown is not true - then the campaign should have declined the transaction. It is the merchant's obligation to verify who is making the charge. That is the reason for capturing all the information I outlined earlier. Instead, it processed the transactions with a reckless disregard for the truth.
The inability of the campaign to repay those charge-backs constitutes a form of borrowing - fraudulently - by the campaign. It took a loan from the bank it has no way to repay. It defrauded the bank out of its money.
On top of that, the potential charge-backs represent an interest-free loan. The Obama campaign couldn't help but know that if caught, it would have to repay the charge-backs, but in the time between the deposits into the campaign account, and the repayment to the bank, the campaign is getting an interest-free loan. Is that legal?
I doubt it.
But more important than anything else is what it says about the integrity of the Obama campaign and Obama himself. These people are criminals, plain and simple.
Add a few thousand charges of wire fraud to the list of Obama's "changes" for America.
Monday, October 27, 2008
What to do? The Obama campaign told the station it will not get another interview with the Obama campaign again.
And these guys are telling America we can trust them our freedoms?
And hey - all you journalists who sold out by giving Obama a pass every time you had a story that would show the world what Obama is really all about: What'cha going to do when they come for you?
Tell all your friends, email lists, and blogs to see this interview at:
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Fox and Friends discuss the Obama campaign temper tantrum.
Listen, and decide for yourself what he will do if elected.
This is another nail in the coffin of his integrity.
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Obama Bombshell Redistribution of Wealth Audio Uncovered
Sunday, October 26, 2008
Well, here we are. But there is no joy in being right about a Depression that will destroy the lives of millions around the globe.
The past decade will go down as the most financially gullible ever. I can still hear the DotCom Bubblers (or should that be babblers?) who proclaimed the concept of profit and loss was gone forever - Internet companies would run on invested money no matter their inability to show a profit.
That didn't work.
Then we had the real estate bubble. You would think that it was written in Holy Scripture that real estate prices only go up; I can still see those angry landowners at zoning meetings screaming about their right to do whatever they wanted with their land, and that none investing in real estate need concern themselves with the idea they might lose money - in short, that real estate might be like any other investment; you might see a profit or not, there is risk involved in all investments.
Adding to that bubble were the out-of-control financial wizards of Wall Street. They made a pact with the Affirmative Action Crowd - these people who now seek the White House. Simply, it is that anyone with enough energy to sign a mortgage was entitled to be a home owner.
Of course, they lied to themselves about the fact that mortgage holders must be able to pay the mortgage. That was a small detail that came after the wizards and their affirmative action allies pocketed their pound of flesh at the closing. Now the citizens of countries around the world are making those payments en masse as bailouts to the banks and mortgage companies.
The last desperate bubble for these thieves was energy. Hugo Chavez screamed "$300 a barrel!" joined by the Iranian madman Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Russia's de facto "President for Life" Vladimir Putin singing backup.
A chorus of Arab potentates joined in the fun taking their blood money extorted from the West as leverage against supporting Israel - the real target of the price gouge. Put enough pressure on the West and watch them desert the only nation on Earth that successfully brought democracy and human rights to the Middle East.
Now oil sinks below $65 a barrel, down about 53% from highs reached only weeks ago. OPEC meets in frantic session to stem the bear market, but it is too late to put the Depression Genie back into the bottle. They will watch their sovereign wealth funds implode like the rest of the world, and their latest scheme straight from the deepest pits in Hell to destroy the Israelis is thwarted again - Allahu Akbar, indeed.
Below is the story of another man who saw the coming tragedy and cried out in warning. But like so many of us, he was ignored.
He is ignored no longer.
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Nouriel Roubini: I fear the worst is yet to come
When this man predicted a global financial crisis more than a year ago, people laughed. Not any more . . .
By Dominic Rushe
Copyright 2008 The London Times - Used with Permission
As stock markets headed off a cliff again last week, closely followed by currencies, and as meltdown threatened entire countries such as Hungary and Iceland, one voice was in demand above all others to steer us through the gloom: that of Dr. Doom.
For years Dr. Doom toiled in relative obscurity as a New York University economics professor under his alias, Nouriel Roubini. But after making a series of uncannily accurate predictions about the global meltdown, Roubini has become the prophet of his age, jetting around the world dispensing his advice and latest prognostications to politicians and businessmen desperate to know what happens next – and for any answer to the crisis.
While the economic sun was shining, most other economists scoffed at Roubini and his predictions of imminent disaster. They dismissed his warnings that the sub-prime mortgage disaster would trigger a financial meltdown. They could not quite believe his view that the US mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac would collapse, and that the investment banks would be crushed as the world headed for a long recession.
Yet all these predictions and more came true. Few are laughing now.
What does Roubini think is going to happen next?
Rather worryingly, in London last Thursday he predicted that hundreds of hedge funds will go bust and stock markets may soon have to shut – perhaps for as long as a week – in order to stem the panic selling now sweeping the world.
What happened? The next day trading was briefly stopped in New York and Moscow.
Dubbed Dr. Doom for his gloomy views, this lugubrious disciple of the “dismal science” is now the world’s most in-demand economist. He reckons he is getting about four hours’ sleep a night. Last week he was in Budapest, London, Madrid and New York. Next week he will address Congress in Washington. Do not expect any good news.
Contacted in Madrid on Friday, Roubini said the world economy was “at a breaking point”. He believes the stock markets are now “essentially in free fall” and “we are reaching the point of sheer panic”.
For all his recent predictive success, his critics still urge calm. They charge he is a professional doom-monger who was banging on about recession for years as the economy boomed. Roubini is stung by such charges, dismissing them as “pathetic”.
He takes no pleasure in bad news, he says, but he makes his standpoint clear: “Frankly I was right.” A combative, complex man, he is fond of the word “frankly”, which may be appropriate for someone so used to delivering bad news.
Born in Istanbul 49 years ago, he comes from a family of Iranian Jews. They moved to Tehran, then to Tel Aviv and finally to Italy, where he grew up and attended college, graduating summa cum laude in economics from Bocconi University before taking a PhD in international economics at Harvard.
Fluent in English, Italian, Hebrew, and Persian, Roubini has one of those “international man of mystery” accents: think Henry Kissinger without the bonhomie. Single, he lives in a loft in Manhattan’s trendy Tribeca, an area popularised by Robert De Niro, and collects contemporary art.
Despite his slightly mad-professor look, he is at pains to make clear he is normal. “I’m not a geek,” said Roubini, who sounds rather concerned that people might think he is. “I mean it frankly. I’m not a geek.”
He is, however, ferociously bright. When he left Harvard, he moved quickly, holding various positions at the Treasury department, rising to become an economic adviser to Bill Clinton in the late 1990s.
Then his profile seemed to plateau.
His doubts about the economic outlook seemed out of tune with the times, especially when a few years ago he began predicting a meltdown in the financial markets through his blog, hosted on RGEmonitor. com, the website of his advisory company.
But it was a meeting of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in September 2006 that earned him his nickname Dr. Doom.
Roubini told an audience of fellow economists that a generational crisis was coming. A once-in-a-lifetime housing bust would lay waste to the US economy as oil prices soared, consumers stopped shopping and the country went into a deep recession.
The collapse of the mortgage market would trigger a global meltdown, as trillions of dollars of mortgage-backed securities unravelled. The shockwaves would destroy banks and other big financial institutions such as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, America’s largest home loan lenders.
“I think perhaps we will need a stiff drink after that,” the moderator said. Members of the audience laughed.
Economics is not called the dismal science for nothing. While the public might be impressed by Nostradamus-like predictions, economists want figures and equations. Anirvan Banerji, economist with the New York-based Economic Cycle Research Institute, summed up the feeling of many of those at the IMF meeting when he delivered his response to Roubini’s talk.
Banerji questioned Roubini’s assumptions, said they were not based on mathematical models and dismissed his hunches as those of a Cassandra. At first, indeed, it seemed Roubini was wrong. Meltdown did not happen. Even by the end of 2007, the financial and economic outlook was grim but not disastrous.
Then, in February 2008, Roubini posted an entry on his blog headlined: “The rising risk of a systemic financial meltdown: the twelve steps to financial disaster” (This links to a PDF version of the article. For an HTML version, click here.)
It detailed how the housing market collapse would lead to huge losses for the financial system, particularly in the vehicles used to securitise loans. It warned that “ a national bank” might go bust, and that, as trouble deepened, investment banks and hedge funds might collapse.
Even Roubini was taken aback at how quickly this scenario unfolded.
The following month the US investment bank Bear Stearns went under. Since then, the pace and scale of the disaster has accelerated and, as Roubini predicted, the banking sector has been destroyed, Freddie and Fannie have collapsed, stock markets have gone mad and the economy has entered a frightening recession.
Roubini says he was able to predict the catastrophe so accurately because of his “holistic” approach to the crisis and his ability to work outside traditional economic disciplines. A long-time student of financial crises, he looked at the history and politics of past crises as well as the economic models.
“These crises don’t come out of nowhere,” he said. “Usually they arrive because of a systematic increase in a variety of asset and credit bubbles, macro-economic policies and other vulnerabilities. If you combine them, you may not get the timing right but you get an indication that you are closer to a tipping point.”
Others who claimed the economy would escape a recession had been swept up in “a critical euphoria and mania, an irrational exuberance”, he said.
And many financial pundits, he believes, were just talking up their own vested interests. “I might be right or wrong, but I have never traded, bought or sold a single security in my life. I am trying to be as objective as I can.”
What does his objectivity tell him now? No end is yet in sight to the crisis.
“Every time there has been a severe crisis in the last six months, people have said this is the catastrophic event that signals the bottom. They said it after Bear Stearns, after Fannie and Freddie, after AIG [the giant US insurer that had to be rescued], and after [the $700 billion bailout plan]. Each time they have called the bottom, and the bottom has not been reached.”
Across the world, governments have taken more and more aggressive actions to stop the panic.
However, Roubini believes investors appear to have lost confidence in governments’ ability to sort out the mess.
The announcement of the US government’s $700 billion bailout, Gordon Brown’s grand bank rescue plan and the coordinated response of governments around the world has done little to calm the situation.
“It’s been a slaughter, day after day after day,” said Roubini. “Markets are dysfunctional; they are totally unhinged.” Economic fundamentals no longer apply, he believes.
“Even using the nuclear option of guaranteeing everything, providing unlimited liquidity, nationalising the banks, making clear that nobody of importance is going to be allowed to fail, even that has not helped. We are reaching a breaking point, frankly.”
He believes governments will have to come up with an even bigger international rescue, and that the US is facing “multi-year economic stagnation”.
Given such cataclysmic talk, some experts fear his new-found influence may be a bad thing in such troubled times. One senior Wall Street figure said: “He is clearly very bright and thoughtful when he is not shooting from the hip.”
He said he found some of Roubini’s comments “slapdash and silly”.
“Sometimes the rigour of his analysis seems to be missing,” he said.
Banerji still has problems with Roubini’s prescient IMF speech.
“He has been very accurate in terms of what would happen,” he said. But Roubini was predicting an “imminent” recession by the start of 2007 and he was wrong. “He hurt his credibility by being so pessimistic long before it was appropriate.”
Banerji said on average the US economy had grown for five years before hitting a bad patch.
“Roubini started predicting a recession four years ago and saying it was imminent. He kept changing his justification: first the trade deficit, the current account deficit, then the oil price spike, then the housing downturn and so on. But the recession actually did not arrive,” he said.
“If you are an investor or a businessman and you took him seriously four years ago, what on earth would happen to you? You would be in a foetal position for years. This is why the timing is critical. It’s not enough to know what will happen in some point in the distant future.”
Roubini says the argument about content and timing is irrelevant. “People who have been totally blinded and wrong accusing me of getting the timing wrong, it’s just a joke,” he said. “It’s a bit pathetic, frankly. I was not making generic statements. I have made very specific predictions and I have been right all along.”
Maybe so, but he does not sound too happy about it, frankly.
Saturday, October 25, 2008
Government computers used to find information on Joe the Plumber
Investigators trying to determine whether access was illegal
By Randy Ludlow
Copyright 2008 The Columbus Dispatch - Used with Permission
"State and local officials are investigating if state and law-enforcement computer systems were illegally accessed when they were tapped for personal information about "Joe the Plumber."
Samuel Joseph Wurzelbacher became part of the national political lexicon Oct. 15 when Republican presidential candidate John McCain mentioned him frequently during his final debate with Democrat Barack Obama.
The 34-year-old from the Toledo suburb of Holland is held out by McCain as an example of an American who would be harmed by Obama's tax proposals.
Public records requested by The Dispatch disclose that information on Wurzelbacher's driver's license or his sport-utility vehicle was pulled from the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles database three times shortly after the debate.
Information on Wurzelbacher was accessed by accounts assigned to the office of Ohio Attorney General Nancy H. Rogers, the Cuyahoga County Child Support Enforcement Agency and the Toledo Police Department.
It has not been determined who checked on Wurzelbacher, or why. Direct access to driver's license and vehicle registration information from BMV computers is restricted to legitimate law enforcement and government business.
Paul Lindsay, Ohio spokesman for the McCain campaign, attempted to portray the inquiries as politically motivated. "It's outrageous to see how quickly Barack Obama's allies would abuse government power in an attempt to smear a private citizen who dared to ask a legitimate question," he said.
Isaac Baker, Obama's Ohio spokesman, denounced Lindsay's statement as charges of desperation from a campaign running out of time. "Invasions of privacy should not be tolerated. If these records were accessed inappropriately, it had nothing to do with our campaign and should be investigated fully," he said.
The attorney general's office is investigating if the access of Wuzelbacher's BMV information through the office's Ohio Law Enforcement Gateway computer system was unauthorized, said spokeswoman Jennifer Brindisi.
"We're trying to pinpoint where it came from," she said. The investigation could become "criminal in nature," she said. Brindisi would not identify the account that pulled the information on Oct. 16.
Records show it was a "test account" assigned to the information technology section of the attorney general's office, said Department of Public Safety spokesman Thomas Hunter.
Brindisi later said investigators have confirmed that Wurzelbacher's information was not accessed within the attorney general's office. She declined to provide details. The office's test accounts are shared with and used by other law enforcement-related agencies, she said.
On Oct. 17, BMV information on Wurzelbacher was obtained through an account used by the Cuyahoga County Child Support Enforcement Agency in Cleveland, records show.
Mary Denihan, spokeswoman for the county agency, said the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services contacted the agency today and requested an investigation of the access to Wurzelbacher's information. Cuyahoga County court records do not show any child-support cases involving Wurzelbacher.
The State Highway Patrol, which administers the Law Enforcement Automated Data System in Ohio, asked Toledo police to explain why it pulled BMV information on Wurzelbacher within 48 hours of the debate, Hunter said.
The LEADS system also can be used to check for warrants and criminal histories, but such checks would not be reflected on the records obtained by The Dispatch.
Sgt. Tim Campbell, a Toledo police spokesman, said he could not provide any information because the department only had learned of the State Highway Patrol inquiry today.
Posted: 4:28 amOctober 25, 2008
Thursday, October 23, 2008
Barack Obama has failed to answer a lawsuit filed in federal court, and so now its claim that Obama is not a natural US citizen is a "fact," and that means he can't legally be President.
Is this the legal detail Obama missed, and will it cost him the White House?
Pass this story on to all your friends, email lists, and blogs. The specific address is:
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Obama 'admits' Kenyan birth?
Campaign doesn't respond to claims in lawsuit over birth certificate
Posted: October 21, 20089:22 pm Eastern
By Drew Zahn
© 2008 WorldNetDaily - Used with Permission
Pennsylvania Democrat Philip J. Berg, who filed a lawsuit demanding Sen. Barack Obama present proof of his American citizenship, now says that by failing to respond Obama has legally "admitted" to the lawsuit's accusations, including the charge that the Democratic candidate was born in Mombosa, Kenya.
As WND reported, Berg filed suit in U.S. District Court in August, alleging Obama is not a natural-born citizen and is thus ineligible to serve as president of the United States. Though Obama has posted an image of a Hawaii birth certificate online, Berg demands that the court verify the original document, which the Obama campaign has not provided.
Now Berg cites Rule 36 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, which states that unless the accused party provides written answer or objection to charges within 30 days, the accused legally admits the matter.
Since Obama has only filed motions to dismiss and has not actually answered the charges in the lawsuit, Berg claims, according to Rule 36, Obama has legally admitted he is not a natural-born citizen.
Now Berg is asking the court for a formal declaration of Obama's admission and asking the Democratic National Committee for another presidential candidate.
In a statement released today, Berg argues that he filed Requests for Admissions on Sept. 15, meaning Obama had until Oct. 15 to answer or face the consequences of Rule 36.
"Obama and the DNC 'admitted,' by way of failure to timely respond to Requests for Admissions, all of the numerous specific requests in the Federal lawsuit," Berg's statement reads. "Obama is 'not qualified' to be president and therefore Obama must immediately withdraw his candidacy
for president and the DNC shall substitute a qualified candidate."
Berg's original lawsuit leveled several charges at both Obama and the DNC – accusing the former of lying about his place of birth, faking his birth certificate and fraudulently running for office; and accusing the latter of not properly vetting its candidate.
Though it hasn't given Berg the evidence he seeks, the Obama campaign has publicly answered allegations that the candidate was born in Kenya and faked his Hawaii birth certificate.
"Smears claiming Barack Obama doesn't have a birth certificate aren't actually about that piece of paper," says the "Fight the Smears" section of Obama's website, "they're about manipulating people into thinking Barack is not an American citizen.
"The truth is, Barack Obama was born in the state of Hawaii in 1961, a native citizen of the United States of America," the campaign website states. It also includes images of a Hawaii birth certificate bearing the name Barack Hussein Obama II.
Berg has also taken the controversy public through his website and through repeated public offers to revoke the lawsuit if Obama will produce legal documents that establish his citizenship.
Without those documents, Berg has chosen to file two additional motions in district court in Philadelphia. The first asks the court to notify Obama and the DNC of what Berg understands they have now legally "admitted," and the second asks for an expedited ruling, given the quickly upcoming Nov. 4 election.
"It all comes down to the fact that there's nothing from the other side," Berg told Jeff Schreiber for his blog, America's Right. "The admissions are there. By not filing the answers or objections, the defense has admitted everything. He admits he was born in Kenya. He admits he was adopted in Indonesia. He admits that the documentation posted online is a phony. And he admits that he is constitutionally ineligible to serve as president of the United States."
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
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Police prepare for unrest
By Alexander Bolton
Posted: 10/21/08 07:58 PM [ET]
Copyright 2008 by The Hill.com - Used with Permission
Police departments in cities across the country are beefing up their ranks for Election Day, preparing for possible civil unrest and riots after the historic presidential contest.
Public safety officials said in interviews with The Hill that the election, which will end with either the nation’s first black president or its first female vice president, demanded a stronger police presence.
Some worry that if Barack Obama loses and there is suspicion of foul play in the election, violence could ensue in cities with large black populations. Others based the need for enhanced patrols on past riots in urban areas (following professional sports events) and also on Internet rumors.
Democratic strategists and advocates for black voters say they understand officers wanting to keep the peace, but caution that excessive police presence could intimidate voters.
Sen. Obama (Ill.), the Democratic nominee for president, has seen his lead over rival Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) grow in recent weeks, prompting speculation that there could be a violent backlash if he loses unexpectedly.
Cities that have suffered unrest before, such as Detroit, Chicago, Oakland and Philadelphia, will have extra police deployed.
In Oakland, the police will deploy extra units trained in riot control, as well as extra traffic police, and even put SWAT teams on standby.
“Are we anticipating it will be a riot situation? No. But will we be prepared if it goes awry? Yes,” said Jeff Thomason, spokesman for the Oakland Police Department.
“I think it is a big deal — you got an African-American running and [a] woman running,” he added, in reference to Obama and GOP vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin. “Whoever wins it, it will be a national event. We will have more officers on the street in anticipation that things may go south.”
The Oakland police last faced big riots in 2003 when the Raiders lost to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the Super Bowl. Officials are bracing themselves in case residents of Oakland take Obama’s loss badly.
Political observers such as Hilary Shelton and James Carville fear that record voter turnout could overload polling places on Election Day and could raise tension levels.
Shelton, the director of the NAACP’s Washington bureau, said inadequate voting facilities is a bigger problem in poor communities with large numbers of minorities.
“What are local election officials doing to prepare for what people think will be record turnout at the polls?” said Shelton, who added that during the 2004 election in Ohio voters in predominantly black communities had to wait in line six to eight hours to vote.
“On Election Day, if this continues, you may have some tempers flare; we should be prepared to deal with that but do it without intimidation,” said Shelton, who added that police have to be able to maintain order at polling stations without scaring voters, especially immigrants from “police states.”
Carville, who served as a senior political adviser to former President Bill Clinton, said that many Democrats would be very angry if Obama loses. He noted that many Democrats were upset by Sen. John Kerry’s (D-Mass.) loss to President Bush in the 2004 election, when some Democrats made allegations of vote manipulation in Ohio, the state that ultimately decided the race.
Experts estimated that thousands of voters did not vote in Ohio because of poor preparation and long lines.
Carville said Democratic anger in 2004 “would be very small to what would happen in 2008” if the same problems arose.
Carville said earlier this month that “it would be very, very, very dramatic out there” if Obama lost, a statement some commentators interpreted as predicting riots. In an interview Tuesday, however, Carville said he did not explicitly predict rioting.
“A lot of Democrats would have a great deal of angst and anger,” said Carville, who predicted that on Election Day “the voting system all around the country is going to be very stressed because there’s going to be enormous turnout.”
Other commentators have made such bold predictions.
“If [Obama] is elected, like with sports championships, people may go out and riot,” said Bob Parks, an online columnist and black Republican candidate for state representative in Massachusetts. “If Barack Obama loses there will be another large group of people who will assume the election was stolen from him….. This will be an opportunity for people who want to commit mischief.”
Speculation about Election-Day violence has spread on the Internet, especially on right-wing websites.
This has caught the attention of police departments in cities such as Cincinnati, which saw race riots in 2001 after police shot a young black man.
“We’ve seen it on the Internet and we’ve heard that there could be civil unrest depending on the outcome of [the election,]” said Lt. Mark Briede of the Cincinnati Police Department. “We are prepared to respond in the case of some sort of unrest or some sort of incident.”
Briede, like other police officials interviewed, declined to elaborate on plans for Election Day. Many police departments have policies prohibiting public discussion of security plans.
James Tate, second deputy chief of Detroit’s police department, said extra manpower would be assigned to duty on Election Night. He said problems could flare whichever candidate wins.
Either party will make history and we want to prepare for celebrations that will be on a larger scale than for our sports teams,” Tate said.
He noted that police had to control rioters who overturned cars after the Tigers won the 1984 World Series.
“We’re prepared for the best-case scenario, we’re prepared for the worst-case scenario,” he said. “The worst-case scenario could be a situation that requires law enforcement.”
But Tate declined to describe what the worst-case scenario might look like, speaking gingerly like other police officials who are wary of implying that black voters are more likely than other voting groups to cause trouble.
Shelton, of the NAACP, said he understands the need for police to maintain order. But he is also concerned that some political partisans may point their finger at black voters as potential troublemakers because the Democratic nominee is black.
Shelton said any racial or ethnic group would get angry if they felt disenfranchised because of voting irregularities.
Police officials in Chicago, where Obama will hold a Nov. 4 rally, and Philadelphia are also preparing for Election Day.
“The Chicago Police Department has been meeting regularly to coordinate our safety and security plans and will deploy our resources accordingly,” said Monique Bond, of the Chicago Police Department.
Frank Vanore, of the Philadelphia Police Department, said officials were planning to mobilize to control exuberant or perhaps angry demonstrations after the World Series, which pits the Phillies against the Tampa Bay Rays.
He said the boosted police activity would “spill right over to the election.”
Friday, October 17, 2008
Obama Supporter Assaults Female McCain Volunteer in New York
"As the media fumes over nonexistent hate at Palin speeches, it ignores leftists who go berserk on city streets."
From Pajamas Media "Sending the MSM Down the River"
Copyright 2008 - Used with Permission
While the Democrat-leaning media continues to scare undecided voters with bedtime stories about some mythical angry McCain supporter whom nobody has seen, here is a real district attorney’s complaint documenting an unprovoked assault by an enraged Democrat against a McCain volunteer in midtown Manhattan: “Defendant grabbed the sign [informant] was holding, broke the wood stick that was attached to it, and then struck informant in informant’s face thereby causing informant to sustain redness, swelling, and bruising to informant’s face and further causing informant to sustain substantial pain.”
The overly formal document doesn’t mention this important detail: the victim was a small, quiet, middle-aged woman wearing glasses, and the attacker was a loud, angry man who went into orbit at the mere sight of McCain campaign signs.
On a Monday afternoon, September 15, 2008, three McCain volunteers were holding campaign signs and distributing leaflets on a busy corner of 51st Street and Lexington Avenue.
As they were peacefully talking to each other, they were approached by a man who, in the words of the victim, provided the impression of “a rather benign, doughy-looking guy — not a person I would have expected to assault me.”
He rushed towards them, grabbed a McCain sign off a volunteer’s hands, and tore it apart. That didn’t seem enough.
This is how the victim describes it:
I said, “What are you doing? You can’t do that!” And he was red in the face screaming, “You people are ridiculous!” And I said, “Yeah, whatever, but you can’t do that.”
So I reached for the sign that he ripped up, and he grabbed another sign, broke it, and ripped it to shreds. And when I said, “You can’t do that,” he took the stick from the sign and started beating me on the head with it. He broke the skin on my head, he scratched my wrist, and almost broke my glasses, and then he left.
I followed him down the stairs to the subway until I could get the police and I said, “You’re not going to get away with it.” And as soon as he saw the police he immediately went calm. He still had the stick in his hand, and you could see the injury on my face, and he admitted it. He was arrested. He actually said, “I don’t know why I did this. It’s just those signs, and this election, it has me so upset.”
Some people are losing control, and it’s not the people on the right. Never have I seen that behavior with any of the people on my side of the fence. … It’s just not our way. Look at us, most of us have never been protesters. … Do I feel that the left is aggressive and potentially violent? Yes, because we’ve all seen it. I certainly have … firsthand!
What came over him? Probably a hangover after that MSNBC election coverage. He might as well have continued living a benign life if the one-sided media election coverage and the Democratic Party’s scorched-earth propaganda strategy hadn’t turned this New Yorker into an enraged, quixotic attack machine slaying Republican “dragons” in the middle of a liberal city.
I suspect that if the roles were reversed and some angry Republican man had launched an unprovoked attack on a frail, bespectacled, Obama-supporting female the media would have had a field day, never letting this story off the front pages up until the election.
Will the media run with a story of an Obama supporter who went berserk at the sight of McCain signs and repeatedly struck a woman volunteer on the head with a stick?
Another asked how an attorney could support Obama, given his record of lying, and his solicitation of a sheriff and two prosecutors in MO to threaten Obama opponents with the state's criminal laws if the opponents "lied" - in the sole opinion of the prosecutors and sheriff.
Talk about "a chilling effect" on free speech.
Now comes Joe Scarborough with his column today in the Pensacola News Journal entitled "Criticizing Obama has been made off limits." I urge you to pass it along to all your friends, email lists, and blogs. The hyperlink to this specific article is:
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Criticizing Obama has been made off limits
By Joe Scarborough
Copyright 2008 Gannett Newspapers - Used with Permission
Before the vice presidential debate, we learned that the moderator was writing a fawning book about the transform- ative effects of the "age of Obama."
The media gave Gwen Ifill a free pass for her ethical breach, despite the fact she misled the debate commission about her book.
While I was concerned about Ifill's lapse of judgment, I was a bit curious about what the PBS star thought the "age of Obama" might look like.
I don't have to wonder anymore.
Let me give you a few helpful survival tips for the next four years.
The most important rule in this coming age is to remember that one must take great caution when criticizing Barack Obama.
Remember, even Democratic hero Bill Clinton was accused of being a bigot for calling Obama's political biography a "fairy tale."
Former Democratic vice presidential nominee Geraldine Ferraro was compared to David Duke for suggesting that Barack Obama gained some advantages from being black.
Sarah Palin and John McCain joined the "Bigot's Club" this week when they dared to criticize The One Who Shall Not Be Criticized.
Palin was slandered for pointing out that Barack Obama launched his political career at the home of an unrepentant domestic terrorist.
The Associated Press grimly warned that any criticism of that former terrorist, William Ayers, was tinged with bigotry — despite the fact that the last time anyone checked, Ayers was white.
The New York Times' Frank Rich did what most hyperventilating leftists do when on defense, by comparing McCain and Palin's campaign to the rise of Nazi Germany.
The major networks all jumped into the fray and breathlessly read Democratic talking points, charging that McCain was encouraging angry mobs and racist rallies.
Interestingly enough, NBC's Kelly O'Donnell told me McCain's crowds were no more intense than those found at Democratic rallies. But let's not get bogged down with the facts. After all, this is a bright new age.
To understand just how much political correctness will chill free speech in this sunny era, look no further than John Lewis' statements this past weekend.
The Obama supporter and civil rights hero compared McCain and Palin to George Wallace and the bombers who killed four little girls in a Birmingham church in the early '60s.
How ironic that Obama's allies are trying to link Sarah Palin to domestic terrorists who were jailed before she was even born, while Obama's connections with William Ayers are off limits.
The double standard is as frightening as it is unfair.
But fairness and open-minded debate may not be welcomed in this new age we are about to enter.
Last month, St. Louis circuit attorneys warned citizens that they would be subject to criminal prosecution if they made statements that these Obama-supporting attorneys considered "false."
How interesting that the same merchants of hate who spent the last eight years spitting out the most vile charges against George W. Bush are suddenly champions of polite political discourse.
The left is in hysterics, free speech is on ice, and somewhere Gwen Ifill is smiling.
The Age of Obama is already here.
Joe Scarborough is the host of Morning Joe on MSNBC. E-mail him at email@example.com.
Sunday, October 12, 2008
And how do the refined, dignified, intelligentsia of New York treat this informal group of flag-waving McCain-Palin supporters?
You won't want to miss this 5-minute video!
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Thursday, October 9, 2008
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Obama and Ayers are kindred spirits
Why Won’t Obama Talk About Columbia?
Commentary by Ted Belman of Israpundit expanding on the article by Andrew C. McCarthy of National Review Online. - Portions of the following are copyright 2008 National Review Online - Used with Permission
The years he won’t discuss may explain the Ayers tie he keeps lying about.
Barack Obama does not want to talk about Columbia. Not even to his good friends at the New York Times, who’ve so reliably helped him bleach away his past — a past neck-deep in the hard Left radicalism he has gussied up but never abandoned.
I suspect it is because Columbia would shred his thin post-partisan camouflage.
[McCain/Palin ticket keep saying its a matter of judgement or honesty. Wrong. The big story is that they were kindred spirits and shared the same values and visions and goals.]
You might think the (New York) Times would be more curious. After all, the Democrats’ presidential nominee has already lied to the Gray Lady about the origins of his relationship with Weather Underground terrorists Bill Ayers and Bernadine Dohrn. Back in May, in a cheery profile of Obama’s early Chicago days, the Times claimed (emphasis is mine):
Mr. Obama also fit in at Hyde Park’s fringes, among university faculty members like Bill Ayers and Bernadine Dohrn, unrepentant members of the radical Weather Underground that bombed the United States Capitol and the Pentagon to protest the Vietnam War. Mr. Obama was introduced to the couple in 1995 at a meet-and-greet they held for him at their home, aides said.
Now look, anyone who gave five seconds of thought to that passage smelled a rat. Ayers and Dohrn are passionate radical activists who lived as fugitives for a decade. There’s no way they held a political coming-out party for someone who was unknown to them.
Obviously, they already knew him well enough by then to feel very comfortable. They might have been sympathetic to a relative stranger, but sponsoring such a gathering in one’s living room is a strong endorsement.
And now, even the Times now knows it’s been had. In this past weekend’s transparent whitewashing of the Obama/Ayers tie, the paper claimed that the pair first met earlier in 1995, “at a lunchtime meeting about school reform in a Chicago skyscraper” That storyline is preposterous too, but it is also a marked revision of the paper’s prior account (which, naturally, reporter Scott Shane fails to mention).
Why the change?
The tacit concession was forced by Stanley Kurtz and Steve Diamond — whom the Times chooses not to acknowledge but who hover over Shane’s sunny narrative like a dark cloud.
Despite all manner of stonewalling by Obama, Ayers and their allies, these commentators have doggedly pursued information about the Chicago Annenberg Challenge. That’s the $150+ million “education reform” piggy bank substantially controlled in the nineties by Ayers and Obama, who doled out tens of millions of dollars to Leftist radicals — radicals who, like their patrons, understood that control over our institutions, and especially our schools, was a surer and less risky way to spread their revolution than blowing up buildings and mass-murdering American soldiers.
As Diamond observes, in a 2006 speech in Venezuela, with Leftist strongman Hugo Chavez looking on, Ayers exhorted: “Teaching invites transformations, it urges revolutions small and large. La education es revolucion!”
Be clear on that much: Whether clothed as a terrorist or an academic, Ayers has made abundantly clear in his public statements, both before and after he established a working relationship and mutual admiration society with Obama, that he remains a revolutionary fueled by hatred of the United States.
And while Obama now ludicrously pleads ignorance about Ayers’s terrorism — the terrorism that made the unabashed Ayers an icon of the Left — understand that this rabid anti-Americanism is the common denominator running through Obama’s orbit of influences.
Yes, Ayers is blunter than Obama. As he so delicately told the Times, America makes him “want to puke.” The smoother Obama is content to say our society needs fundamental “change.” But what they’re talking about is not materially different.
Such sentiments should make Obama unelectable. So, when it comes to his own radical moorings, Obama is engaged in classic liar behavior. He changes his story as the facts change — and the burden is always on you to dig up the facts, not on him to come clean.
Yesterday, asked to comment on the Ayers relationship, David Axelrod, Obama’s top political adviser, hilariously chirped, “There’s no evidence that they’re close.” Translation: Get back to us when you can prove more damaging information — until then, we don’t need to further refine our perjury.
And then Axelrod gave us still more lies: “There’s no evidence that Obama in any way subscribed to any of Ayers’ views.”
Oh yeah? Well, Mr. Axelrod, how do you explain Obama’s breathless endorsement of Ayers’s 1997 Leftist polemic on the criminal-justice system, A Kind and Just Parent? As Stanley Kurtz has recounted, Ayers’s book is a radical indictment of American society:
We, not the criminals, are responsible for the violent crime that plagues our cities; even the most vicious juvenile offenders should not be tried as adults; prisons should eventually be replaced by home detention; American justice is comparable to South Africa under Apartheid.
He described the book as “a searing and timely account” — a take even the Times concedes was a “rave review.”
Obama and Ayers shared all kinds of views. That is why they worked so well together at the Chicago Annenberg Challenge (CAC), funding the likes of Mike Klonsky, a fellow SDS and Maoist associate of Ayers who, as Steve Diamond relates, used to host a “social justice” blog on Obama’s campaign website.
With Obama heading the board of directors that approved expenditures and Ayers, the mastermind running its operational arm, hundreds of thousands of CAC dollars poured into the “Small Schools Workshop” — a project begun by Ayers and run by Klonsky to spur the revolution from the ground up.
Precisely because they shared the same views, Obama and Ayers also worked comfortably together on the board of the Woods Fund. There, they doled out thousands of dollars to Jeremiah Wright’s Trinity Church to promote its Marxist “black liberation theology.”
Moreover, they underwrote the Arab American Action Network (AAAN) founded by Rashid Khalidi, a top apologist for Yasser Arafat. As National Review’s David Pryce-Jones notes, Khalidi once directed WAFA, the terrorist PLO’s news agency.
Then, like Ayers, he repackaged himself as an academic who rails at American policy. The AAAN, which supports driver’s licenses and public welfare benefits for illegal aliens, holds that the establishment of Israel was an illegitimate “catastrophe.”
Khalidi, who regards Israel as a “racist” “apartheid” state, supports Palestinian terror strikes against Israeli military targets. It’s little surprise that he should be such a favorite of Ayers, the terrorist for whom “racism” and “apartheid” trip off the tongue as easily as “pass the salt.”
And it’s no surprise that the like-minded Obama would be a fan. Khalidi, after all, has mastered the Arafat art of posing as a moderate before credulous Westerners while (as Martin Kramer documents) scalding America’s “Zionist lobby” when addressing Arabic audiences.
The Obama who decries “bitter” Americans “cling to guns or religion” when he’s in San Francisco but morphs into a God-fearing Second Amendment enthusiast when he’s in Pennsylvania — like the Obama who pummels NAFTA before labor union supporters but has advisers quietly assure the Canadians not to worry about such campaign cant — surely appreciates the craft.
Obama and Ayers not only demonstrated their shared view of Khalidi by funding him. They also gave glowing testimonials at a farewell dinner when Khalidi left the University of Chicago for Columbia’s greener pastures. That would be the same Columbia from which Obama graduated in 1983.
Khalidi was leaving to become director of Columbia’s Middle East Institute, assuming a professorship endowed in honor of another Arafat devotee, the late Edward Said. A hero of the Left who consulted with terrorist leaders (including Hezbollah’s Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah) and was once photographed hurling rocks at Israelis from the Lebanese border, Said was exposed by researcher Justus Reid Weiner as a fraud who had created a fictional account of his childhood, the rock on which he built his Palestinian grievance mythology.
We know precious little about Obama’s Columbia years, but the Los Angeles Times has reported that he studied under Said. In and of itself, that is meaningless: Said was a hotshot prof and hundreds of students took his comparative-lit courses.
But Obama plainly maintained some sort of tie with Said — a photo making the Internet rounds shows Obama conversing with the great man himself at a 1998 Arab American community dinner in Chicago, where the Obamas and Saids were seated together.
Said had a wide circle of radical acquaintances. That circle clearly included Bill Ayers and Bernadine Dohrn. When they came out of hiding in the early 1980s (while Obama was attending Columbia), Ayers took education courses at Bank Street College, adjacent to Columbia in Morningside Heights — before earning his doctorate at Columbia’s Teachers College in 1987.
Said was so enamored of Ayers that he commended the unrepentant terrorist’s 2001 memoir, Fugitive Days — the book in which the haughty Ayers brags about his Weatherman past — with this glowing dust-jacket blurb:
What makes Fugitive Days unique is its unsparing detail and its marvelous human coherence and integrity. Bill Ayers’s America and his family background, his education, his political awakening, his anger and involvement, his anguished re-emergence from the shadows: all these are rendered in their truth without a trace of nostalgia or “second thinking.”
For anyone who cares about the sorry mess we are in, this book is essential, indeed necessary, reading.
Sorry mess, indeed.
For his part, Ayers is at least equally enthralled by Said, of whom, even in death, Ayers says “here is no one better positioned … to offer advice on the conduct of intellectual life[,]” than the man who was “over the last thirty-five years, the most passionate, eloquent, and clear-eyed advocate for the rights of the Palestinian people.”
After they left Columbia, both Obama and Ayers went to Chicago: Obama to become a “community organizer” (the director of the Developing Communities Project, an offshoot of the Gamaliel Foundation dedicated to Saul Alinsky’s principles for radicalizing society); Ayers, two years later, to teach at the University of Illinois. Diamond details how they both became embroiled in a major education controversy that resulted in 1988 reform legislation.
Ayers’s father, Tom Ayers, a prominent Chicago businessman, was also deeply involved in the reform effort. Interestingly, in 1988, while Obama and Ayers toiled on the same education agenda, Bernadine Dohrn worked as an intern at the prestigious Chicago law firm of Sidley Austin — even though she could not be admitted to the bar due to her contempt conviction for refusing to cooperate in a terrorist investigation.
How could that happen? It turns out that Sidley was the longtime outside counsel for Tom Ayers’s company, Commonwealth Edison. That is, Ayers’ father had pull at the firm and successfully pressed for the hiring of his daughter-in-law.
The next summer, though he had gone off to Harvard Law School (another impressive accomplishment he prefers not to discuss), Obama returned to the Windy City to work as an intern at Sidley. Dohrn was gone by then to teach at Northwestern.
Maybe (Diamond doesn’t think so), but that’s an awful lot of coincidences — and a long trail of common people, places and experiences — for people who purportedly didn’t know each other yet managed to end up as partners in significant financial and political ventures.
In short, Bill Ayers and Barack Obama moved in the same circles, were driven by the same cause, and admired the same radicals all the way from Morningside Heights to Hyde Park. They ended up publicly admiring each other, promoting each other’s work, sitting on the same boards, and funding the same Leftist agitators.
You could conclude, as I do, that it all goes back to a formative time in his life that Obama refuses to discuss.
Or you could buy the fairy tale that Bill Ayers first encountered an unknown, inexperienced, third-year associate from a small Chicago law-firm over coffee in 1995 and suddenly decided Barack Obama was the perfect fit to oversee the $150 million pot of gold Ayers hoped would underwrite his revolution.
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A commentary by Ben Stein, aired on CBS News Sunday Morning
I am a Jew, and every single one of my ancestors was Jewish. And it does not bother me even a little bit when people call those beautiful lit up, bejeweled trees, Christmas trees.. I don't feel threatened. I don't feel discriminated against.
That's what they are: Christmas trees.
It doesn't bother me a bit when people say, 'Merry Christmas' to me. I don't think they are slighting me or getting ready to put me in a ghetto. In fact, I kind of like it It shows that we are all brothers and sisters celebrating this happy time of year. It doesn't bother me at all that there is a manger scene on display at a key intersection near my beach house in Malibu . If people want a creche, it's just as fine with me as is the Menorah a few hundred yards away.
I don't like getting pushed around for being a Jew, and I don't think Christians like getting pushed around for being Christians. I think people who believe in God are sick and tired of getting pushed around, period. I have no idea where the concept came from that America is an explicitly atheist country. I can't find it in the Constitution and I don't like it being shoved down my throat.
Or maybe I can put it another way: where did the idea come from that we should worship celebrities and we aren't allowed to worship God as we understand Him? I guess that's a sign that I'm getting old, too. But there are a lot of us who are wondering where these celebrities came from and where the America we knew went to.
In light of the many jokes we send to one another for a laugh, this is a little different: This is not intended to be a joke; it's not funny, it's intended to get you thinking.
Billy Graham's daughter was interviewed on the Early Show and Jane Clayson asked her 'How could God let something like this happen?' (regarding Katrina).
Anne Graham gave an extremely profound and insightful response. She said, 'I believe God is deeply saddened by this, just as we are, but for years we've been telling God to get out of our schools, to get out of our government and to get out of our lives. And being the gentleman He is, I believe He has calmly backed out. How can we expect God to give us His blessing and His protection if we demand He leave us alone?'
In light of recent events... Terrorists attack, school shootings, etc. I think it started when Madeleine Murray O'Hare (she was murdered, her body found a few years ago) complained she didn't want prayer in our schools, and we said OK.
Then someone said you better not read the Bible in school . The Bible says thou shalt not kill, thou shalt not steal, and love your neighbor as yourself. And we said OK.
Then Dr. Benjamin Spock said we shouldn't spank our children when they misbehave because their little personalities would be warped and we might damage their self-esteem (Dr Spock's son committed suicide). We said an expert should know what he's talking about. And we said OK.
Now we're asking ourselves why our children have no conscience, why they don't know right from wrong, and why it doesn't bother them to kill strangers, their classmates, and themselves.
Probably, if we think about it long and hard enough, we can figure it out. I think it has a great deal to do with 'WE REAP WHAT WE SOW.'
Funny how simple it is for people to trash God and then wonder why the world's going to hell. Funny how we believe what the newspapers say, but question what the Bible says. Funny how you can send 'jokes' through e-mail and they spread like wildfire but when you start sending messages regarding the Lord, people think twice about sharing. Funny how lewd, crude, vulgar and obscene articles pass freely through cyberspace, but public discussion of God is suppressed in the school and workplace.
Are you laughing yet?
Funny how when you forward this message, you will not send it to many on
your address list because you're not sure what they believe, or what they Will think of you for sending it.
Funny how we can be more worried about what other people think of us than what God thinks of us.
Pass it on if you think it has merit. If not then just discard it... No one will know you did. But, if you discard this thought process, don't sit back and complain about what bad shape the world is in.
My Best Regards, Honestly and respectfully,
Wednesday, October 8, 2008
This article by Camille Paglia (that we just didn't have space to run in its entirety, although the portion below is unedited - please go to Ms. Paglia's hyperlink to enjoy all she writes on this topic!) of Salon.com speaks an incredibly important message: feminism is being held hostage by a school of Loony Tunes Leftist thought that claims a self-anointed appointment as "definers" of what is, and what is not, feminism.
Or to put it another way, the Loony Tunes Left is as totalitarian as any band of tyrants, anytime in history. They allow no dissent; they attack with murderous intensity; they contrive a false reality; they use loaded terms such as "homophobe" to make the sanity of their opponents the issue rather than the quality of their thinking.
These so-called feminists are haters, through and through. And they are uncompromisingly vicious in spewing out their hate. Dare to suggest they are wrong on an issue, and they will smack you with a relentless barrage of personal slander, taunts, ridicule, and in-your-face insults.
While you may be a thinker, they are nothing but parroting screamers.
The style of the article is to first publish a letter received by Ms. Paglia, and then offer her response.
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Liberals underestimate Sarah Palin’s vitality and — yes — smarts at their own peril.
By Camille Paglia
Copyright 2008 Salon.com - Used with Permission
Dear Ms. Paglia:
As I see it, the Palin Effect is a double-headed hydra. On one side you have Todd Palin, who is clearly a vibrant, macho force in his family’s life. Just as clearly, he has effectively embraced the role as a primary caregiver. What does it say that he and Sarah have a mutually aggrandizing partnership/marriage? A successful professional woman who embraces a masculine male rather than castrate him? Heaven forfend! Personally I see it as the benign (and noble) conclusion of the feminist movement. I guess fish don’t need bicycles, but some of them want one. And they’d rather it come with some cojones.
Discussing the Sarah Palin effect is quickly becoming a national psychosis, to which I doubt I could add much. The only thing I haven’t seen discussed is a comparison between her popularity and what Rush Limbaugh hilariously and intuitively called Bill Clinton’s “Arousal Gap.” I think we’re seeing that Todd Palin isn’t the only man’s man out there who has a healthy appreciation for a strong member of the opposite sex. Here is another benign and admirable consequence of the feminist movement.
Ms. Paglia replies:
Yes, both Todd and Sarah Palin, whom most people in the U.S. and abroad had never even heard of until six weeks ago, have emerged as powerful new symbols of a revived contemporary feminism. That the macho Todd, with his champion athleticism and working-class cred, can so amiably cradle babies and care for children is a huge step forward in American sexual symbolism.
Although nothing will sway my vote for Obama, I continue to enjoy Sarah Palin’s performance on the national stage. During her vice-presidential debate last week with Joe Biden (whose conspiratorial smiles with moderator Gwen Ifill were outrageous and condescending toward his opponent), I laughed heartily at Palin’s digs and slams and marveled at the way she slowly took over the entire event. I was sorry when it ended! But Biden wasn’t — judging by his Gore-like sighs and his slow sinking like a punctured blimp. Of course Biden won on points, but TV (a visual medium) never cares about that.
The mountain of rubbish poured out about Palin over the past month would rival Everest. What a disgrace for our jabbering army of liberal journalists and commentators, too many of whom behaved like snippy jackasses. The bourgeois conventionalism and rank snobbery of these alleged humanitarians stank up the place. As for Palin’s brutally edited interviews with Charlie Gibson and that viper, Katie Couric, don’t we all know that the best bits ended up on the cutting-room floor? Something has gone seriously wrong with Democratic ideology, which seems to have become a candied set of holier-than-thou bromides attached like tutti-frutti to a quivering green Jell-O mold of adolescent sentimentality.
And where is all that lurid sexual fantasy coming from? When I watch Sarah Palin, I don’t think sex — I think Amazon warrior! I admire her competitive spirit and her exuberant vitality, which borders on the supernormal. The question that keeps popping up for me is whether Palin, who was born in Idaho, could possibly be part Native American (as we know her husband is), which sometimes seems suggested by her strong facial contours. I have felt that same extraordinary energy and hyper-alertness billowing out from other women with Native American ancestry — including two overpowering celebrity icons with whom I have worked.
One of the most idiotic allegations batting around out there among urban media insiders is that Palin is “dumb.” Are they kidding? What level of stupidity is now par for the course in those musty circles? (The value of Ivy League degrees, like sub-prime mortgages, has certainly been plummeting. As a Yale Ph.D., I have a perfect right to my scorn.) People who can’t see how smart Palin is are trapped in their own narrow parochialism — the tedious, hackneyed forms of their upper-middle-class syntax and vocabulary.
As someone whose first seven years were spent among Italian-American immigrants (I never met an elderly person who spoke English until we moved from Endicott to rural Oxford, New York, when I was in first grade), I am very used to understanding meaning through what might seem to others to be outlandish or fractured variations on standard English. Furthermore, I have spent virtually my entire teaching career (nearly four decades) in arts colleges, where the expressiveness of highly talented students in dance, music and the visual arts takes a hundred different forms. Finally, as a lover of poetry (my last book was about that), I savor every kind of experimentation with standard English — beginning with Shakespeare, who was the greatest improviser of them all at a time when there were no grammar rules.
Many others listening to Sarah Palin at her debate went into conniptions about what they assailed as her incoherence or incompetence. But I was never in doubt about what she intended at any given moment. On the contrary, I was admiring not only her always shapely and syncopated syllables but the innate structures of her discourse — which did seem to fly by in fragments at times but are plainly ready to be filled with deeper policy knowledge, as she gains it (hopefully over the next eight years of the Obama presidencies). This is a tremendously talented politician whose moment has not yet come. That she holds views completely opposed to mine is irrelevant.
Even if she disappears from the scene forever after a McCain defeat, Palin will still have made an enormous and lasting contribution to feminism. As I said in my last column, Palin has made the biggest step forward in reshaping the persona of female authority since Madonna danced her dominatrix way through the shattered puritan barricades of the feminist establishment. In 1990, in a highly controversial New York Times op-ed that attacked old-guard feminist ideology, I declared that “Madonna is the future of feminism” — a prophecy that was ridiculed at the time but that turned out to be quite true. Madonna put pro-sex feminism on the international map.
But it is now 18 years later — the span of an entire generation. The instabilities and diminishments for young women raised in an increasingly shallow media environment have become all too obvious. I had grown up in a vibrant pop culture with glorious women stars of voluptuous sensuality — above all Elizabeth Taylor, sewn into that silky white slip as the vixen Manhattan call girl of “Butterfield 8.” In college, I feasted on foreign films starring sexual sophisticates like Jeanne Moreau, Anouk Aimée and Catherine Deneuve. Sex today, however, has become brittle and superficial. Except for the occasional diverting flash of Lindsay Lohan’s borrowed bosom, I see nothing whatever that is worth a second glance. Pro-sex feminism has worked itself out and, like all movements, has degenerated into clichés. And even Madonna, with her skeletal megalomania, looks like a refugee from a horror movie.
The next phase of feminism must circle back and reappropriate the ancient persona of the mother — without losing career ambition or power of assertion. Betty Friedan, who had first attacked the cult of postwar domesticity, had long warned second-wave feminists such as Gloria Steinem about the damaging exclusion of homemakers from their value system. The animus of liberal feminists toward religion must also end (I am speaking as an atheist). Feminism must reexamine all of its assumptions, including its death grip on abortion, if it wishes to survive.
The hysterical emotionalism and eruptions of amoral malice at the arrival of Sarah Palin exposed the weaknesses and limitations of current feminism. But I am convinced that Palin’s bracing mix of male and female voices, as well as her grounding in frontier grit and audacity, will prove to be a galvanizing influence on aspiring Democratic women politicians too, from the municipal level on up. Palin has shown a brand-new way of defining female ambition — without losing femininity, spontaneity or humor. She’s no pre-programmed wonk of the backstage Hillary Clinton school; she’s pugnacious and self-created, the product of no educational or political elite — which is why her outsider style has been so hard for media lemmings to comprehend.
And by the way, I think Tina Fey’s witty impersonations of Palin have been fabulous. But while Fey has nailed Palin’s cadences and charm, she can’t capture the energy, which is a force of nature.
Now a thought that the national press corps should already be thinking: Obama has no respect for you. You're easy; no, to be more accurate, you're cheap. You are a floozie who went down on sight. You demanded nothing for your love, you prostituted yourself for ego satisfaction and the need to "prove" your racial un-bias.
You think you are going to get rich because your book giving "the insider's story" of the first black elected president of the United States will be so much better than the hundreds of others that will all release along with yours the day after the election. Boys and girls, you are deluded.
If he is elected, the contempt shown to you now will be nothing compared to what will be shown after the election.
You already know Obama will sign-up prosecutors and sheriffs to enforce "the party line" because that's what he did in Missouri.
You already know Obama will pull the plug on your Internet operations because that is what he did to anti-Obama bloggers at BlogSpot.com.
You already know Obama will lie to you at the drop of a hat, because that is what he did in his autobiography, and what he has done throughout his campaign.
And if you dare say a word about it, he will call out his most vicious supporters in Congress - Barney Frank comes to mind - and accuse you of being racist, because you have already put yourself into the position of doing Obama's every bidding. No longer doing his bidding will be positioned as allowing your "repressed racism" come bubbling to the top.
If you think I'm wrong on that one, look at how the Gay Revisionists scream "homophobe" at anyone who dares oppose the Gay Agenda. So in Barney Frank you have both the Gay Revisionist mindset, and the black racist mindset.
Oppose Obama, and you're cooked.
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Reporter's Notebook: Seeing How The Other Half Lives
By Dean Reynolds
Copyright 2008 - Used with Permission
(NASHVILLE, TENN.) - After most of the previous 12 months covering Barack Obama's campaign for the presidency, it was interesting, instructive and, well, relaxing to follow John McCain for the last few days. The differences between the two are striking.
Obama is the big time orator, McCain is the guy who struggles with a teleprompter or even note cards strategically placed nearby. Obama's crowds are larger, more enthusiastic. McCain's events are smaller, but to my eye, better choreographed. And now with the addition of Sarah Palin to some of his events, McCain can boast of crowds that match Obama's in energy.
There is an urgency to the McCain campaign now that I don't think was there before. Due to the fact that he is running second, no doubt, but it may also be because McCain has a finishing kick. Whatever the case, he is sharper on the stump than he was before. (Though I would suspect a candidate running behind would want to schedule two or three appearances per day, instead of the one McCain usually does.)
It is true that McCain enjoys taking questions from the audience in town hall-style settings. That doesn't mean he is the master of that kind of forum, it just means he's good at it. He likes to converse with voters. Obama does it well too, but seldom achieves that intangible bond with the people that all politicians crave -- or fake.
Behind the scenes, where the public is not allowed, there are other differences.
Obama's campaign schedule is fuller, more hectic and seemingly improvisational. The Obama aides who deal with the national reporters on the campaign plane are often overwhelmed, overworked and un-informed about where, when, why or how the candidate is moving about. Baggage calls are preposterously early with the explanation that it's all for security reasons.
If so, I would love to have someone from Obama's campaign explain why the entire press corps, the Secret Service, and the local police idled for two hours in a Miami hotel parking lot recently because there was nothing to do and nowhere to go. It was not an isolated case.
The national headquarters in Chicago airily dismisses complaints from journalists wondering why a schedule cannot be printed up or at least e-mailed in time to make coverage plans. Nor is there much sympathy for those of us who report for a newscast that airs in the early evening hours.
Our shows place a premium on live reporting from the scene of campaign events. But this campaign can often be found in the air and flying around at the time the CBS Evening News with Katie Couric is broadcast.
I suspect there is a feeling within the Obama campaign that the broadcast networks are less influential in the age of the internet and thus needn't be accomodated as in the days of yore. Even if it's true, they are only hurting themselves by dissing audiences that run in the tens of millions every night.
The McCain folks are more helpful and generally friendly. The schedules are printed on actual books you can hold in your hand, read, and then plan accordingly. The press aides are more knowledgeable and useful to us in the news media. The events are designed with a better eye, and for the simple needs of the press corps.
When he is available, John McCain is friendly and loquacious. Obama holds news conferences, but seldom banters with the reporters who've been following him for thousands of miles around the country.
The McCain campaign plane is better than Obama's, which is cramped, uncomfortable and smells terrible most of the time. Somehow the McCain folks manage to keep their charter clean, even where the press is seated.
The other day in Albuquerque, N.M., the reporters were given almost no time to file their reports after McCain spoke. It was an important, aggressive speech, lambasting Obama's past associations. When we asked for more time to write up his remarks and prepare our reports, the campaign readily agreed to it. They understood.
Similar requests are often denied or ignored by the Obama campaign aides, apparently terrified that the candidate may have to wait 20 minutes to allow reporters to chronicle what he's just said. It's made all the more maddening when we are rushed to our buses only to sit and wait for 30 minutes or more because nobody seems to know when Obama is actually on the move.
Maybe none of this means much. Maybe a front-running campaign like Obama's that is focused solely on victory doesn't have the time to do the mundane things like print up schedules or attend to the needs of reporters.
But in politics, everything that goes around comes around.