We've reached 84 percent of our goal in our second subscription drive. Your subscriptions and donations are deeply appreciated. But our pace has turned very sluggish. We must achieve the other 16 percent to help secure a bright future for Urgent Agenda.
It is imperative, especially if we go into political opposition, to have a strong subscriber base. Otherwise, we cannot maintain the service in the way that you wish it.
In two weeks we will probably have a President-elect Obama and heavy Democratic majorities in Congress.
So please subscribe today in the right-hand column. We want Urgent Agenda to be your online home as we fight for our principles. Please read the following notice and do subscribe.
TO OUR READERS
Our second subscription drive is on. Subscriptions are absolutely critical to the survival of Urgent Agenda. If you like what you see, and our readership growth shows that you do, please subscribe in the column on the right.
Consider: A week of Urgent Agenda costs less than a candy bar. That's right - a week for less than a Milky Way. We think that's an awfully good deal.
Our main page will always be free. Subscribers support it because they want to guarantee that it exists at all, and maintains its standards. But now, new and current subscribers (and donators) will receive special benefits. We will be offering what amounts to an extra day of Urgent Agenda, additional audio reports, and a special e-mail address for subscribers to write to us and make their feelings known. The "extra day" will be drawn from the research done for Urgent Agenda, and will include subjects we don't cover on the main site. Special subscriber services will be launched soon after the election.
If for any reason you wish to cancel your subscription, the unused portion will be returned to you, upon request.
On election day, if current trends continue, we will become part of the loyal opposition. If trends reverse, we will be an honest gadfly to a McCain presidency.
A voice like Urgent Agenda is needed now, more than ever. Only you can guarantee that this voice will continue to be heard as we enter very uncertain times.
We must be a subscription-based service. Please become a subscriber, and join a very special, self-selected group.
SNIPPETS, our daily collection of short items and comments, is here.
Answers to last week's "Current Question" are here. The new "Current Question" is here, in the right-hand column.
TO LISTEN TO OUR AUDIO COMMENTARIES, GO HERE. AUDIO CLIPS ARE POSTED SEVERAL TIMES A WEEK.
(Here is my audio commentary: "Will there be a second Cuban Missile Crisis?")
We are working on podcasts.
We invite you to visit the new website for Hudson New York, the New York branch of Hudson Institute. You'll find it here. I have a short piece on Obama published at the site.
AS WE BEGIN OUR ELECTION COUNTDOWN, WE'LL BE PUTTING MORE ON URGENT AGENDA EACH DAY. DO CHECK BACK OFTEN.
TUESDAY, OCTOBER 28, 2008
Posted at 11:58 p.m. ET
I just returned from a talk at Hudson New York given by John Fund of The Wall Street Journal. He is also the author of "Stealing Elections - How Voter Fraud Threatens our Democracy." It's late, so let me just give you the bullet points, which I think you'll find extremely interesting:
1. David Axelrod, Obama's chief strategist, is also the chief strategist for the Daley machine in Chicago. Fund wonders what kind of real political change can come out of that relationship.
2. ACORN, which is under investigation in a number of states, is in serious legal trouble and desperately needs an Obama victory for its own survival. Fund suggested that an Obama attorney general would make investigations into ACORN disappear.
3. Obama was one of the main lawyers defending the so-called Motor Voter law, allowing easy, some say sloppy voter registration. Today, Obama is a chief beneficiary of the law he defended in court.
4. ACORN and Obama, in Fund's words, are "marinated" in each other. It is not a distant or vague relationship.
Now the fascinating part:
5. Fund does not believe the Democrats will have a veto-proof majority in the Senate.
6. Obama, in his primary campaigns, never got a percentage of the vote that exceeded his final poll number. Now, caution, the polls will differ. But Fund put it this way: If Obama's final polls show him getting 51 or 52 percent of the vote, he'll probably win; if they show him at 50, it's iffy. If Obama polls 49 percent or below in the final polls, as Fund put it, "game on."
Fund said he thinks it will be a very close race, and that we may not know the winner for days. He also believes, as per his book, that voter fraud can play a very significant role in a close election.
Stimulating talk. The book is very good. The point about Obama's final poll numbers is remarkable. Let us pray.
October 28, 2008. Permalink
UPDATE AT 4:55 P.M. ET: Final market count: The Dow actually was up about 890, a spectacular day. What political effects? Have no idea. Let's see.
UPDATE AT 4:05 P.M. ET: The Dow had a spectacular day, and is up about 725 at the close.
UPDATE AT 3:37 P.M. ET: The IBD/TIPP tracker has Obama up four, a gain of a point since yesterday. The overall Real Clear Politics average of polls has Obama up seven.
COMMENT: McCain is running out of time. We vote in a week. But remember that Obama regularly overpolled by about seven points in the primaries. That is not a guarantee of general-election results, but we can hope.
UPDATE AT 3:33 P.M. ET: The Dow is up 560 points. Not bad. Might even help John and Sarah.
UPDATE AT 1:55 P.M. ET: The Gallup tracker is out, and it's surprising. Using the traditional Gallup model, Obama is up only two, 49-47, among likely voters. That is a loss of three for Obama. Using Gallup's "expanded" model, taking into account possible new voters, Obama is up seven, also a loss of three since yesterday. A trend toward tightening? Maybe, maybe not. Gallup notes that figures like the ones reported today have appeared periodically during the campaign. We'll watch over the next few days to see if any trend is evident.
A new Pew poll has Obama up 15. That is clearly an outlier.
UPDATE AT 10:56 A.M. ET: The Dow is now up only 53.
UPDATE AT 10:52 A.M. ET: The Hotline poll has Obama up eight, no change from yesterday. Battleground has him up three, no change from yesterday. The race seems remarkably stable, with no sign of the closing that McCain would need.
UPDATE AT 10:15 A.M. ET: The Dow is up 226.
UPDATE AT 9:39 A.M. ET: The Dow is up 191 at the opening.
UPDATE AT 9:37 A.M. ET: Rasmussen has Obama up five, no change from yesterday.
A DANGEROUS GAME
Posted at 9:07 a.m. ET
We've regularly discussed press bias here. In this election cycle it's the worst we've ever seen. Some journalists are beginning to speak out against it, although their numbers are small, and they tend to be independent of the pack. Here, tech columnist Michael Malone, who comes from a newspaper family, tears apart the major media and its work this year. ABC News, surprisingly, printed this piece on its website. However, notice the disclaimer at the end. Most disclaimers say something like, "The opinions expressed here are the author's, and do not necessarily reflect those of ABC News." But ABC is more direct, saying: "This is the opinion of the columnist and in no way reflects the opinion of ABC News." So harsh, guys. So harsh. Must protect the bosses.
So here is Malone:
The traditional media are playing a very, very dangerous game -- with their readers, with the Constitution and with their own fates.
The sheer bias in the print and television coverage of this election campaign is not just bewildering, but appalling. And over the last few months I've found myself slowly moving from shaking my head at the obvious one-sided reporting, to actually shouting at the screen of my television and my laptop computer.
But worst of all, for the last couple weeks, I've begun -- for the first time in my adult life -- to be embarrassed to admit what I do for a living. A few days ago, when asked by a new acquaintance what I did for a living, I replied that I was "a writer," because I couldn't bring myself to admit to a stranger that I'm a journalist.
We understand. We understand.
You need to understand how painful this is for me. I am one of those people who truly bleeds ink when I'm cut. I am a fourth-generation newspaperman. As family history tells it, my great-grandfather was a newspaper editor in Abilene, Kan., during the last of the cowboy days, then moved to Oregon to help start the Oregon Journal (now the Oregonian)...
...I've spent 30 years in every part of journalism, from beat reporter to magazine editor. And my oldest son, following in the family business, so to speak, earned his first national byline before he earned his drivers license.
So, when I say I'm deeply ashamed right now to be called a "journalist," you can imagine just how deep that cuts into my soul.
But we wish more like you would speak out.
There has always been bias, Malone points out, but journalists traditionally were taught to fight against it:
But even more important, we are also supposed to be taught that even though there is no such thing as pure, Platonic objectivity in reporting, we are to spend our careers struggling to approach that ideal as closely as possible.
That means constantly challenging our own prejudices, systematically presenting opposing views and never, ever burying stories that contradict our own world views or challenge people or institutions we admire.
Wonderfully stated. But try saying that to the "I'm here to make a difference" crowd.
What is wrong? Malone explains:
But my complacent faith in my peers first began to be shaken when some of the most admired journalists in the country were exposed as plagiarists, or worse, accused of making up stories from whole cloth...
...And yet, few of those worthies ever seemed to get fired for their crimes -- and if they did they were soon rehired into even more prestigious jobs. It seemed as if there were two sets of rules: one for us workaday journalists toiling out in the sticks, and another for folks who'd managed, through talent or deceit, to make it to the national level.
Hmm. We've noticed that ourselves. National organizations have big investments in their "talent." Not to be trifled with.
Meanwhile, I watched with disbelief as the nation's leading newspapers, many of whom I'd written for in the past, slowly let opinion pieces creep into the news section, and from there onto the front page. Personal opinions and comments that, had they appeared in my stories in 1979, would have gotten my butt kicked by the nearest copy editor, were now standard operating procedure at the New York Times, the Washington Post, and soon after in almost every small town paper in the U.S.
I once got my butt kicked for leaving out a phrase in a New York Time story I was editing. Today that would just be considered "an alternative narrative."
But nothing, nothing I've seen has matched the media bias on display in the current presidential campaign.
Republicans are justifiably foaming at the mouth over the sheer one-sidedness of the press coverage of the two candidates and their running mates. But in the last few days, even Democrats, who have been gloating over the pass -- no, make that shameless support -- they've gotten from the press, are starting to get uncomfortable as they realize that no one wins in the long run when we don't have a free and fair press.
He must be referring to Democrats like Kirsten Powers, who have spoken out.
Malone isn't complaining about tough treatment of McCain and Palin.
No, what I object to (and I think most other Americans do as well) is the lack of equivalent hardball coverage of the other side -- or worse, actively serving as attack dogs for the presidential ticket of Sens. Barack Obama, D-Ill., and Joe Biden, D-Del.
If the current polls are correct, we are about to elect as president of the United States a man who is essentially a cipher, who has left almost no paper trail, seems to have few friends (that at least will talk) and has entire years missing out of his biography.
That isn't Sen. Obama's fault: His job is to put his best face forward. No, it is the traditional media's fault, for it alone (unlike the alternative media) has had the resources to cover this story properly, and has systematically refused to do so.
The low point:
The absolute nadir (though I hate to commit to that, as we still have two weeks before the election) came with Joe the Plumber.
Middle America, even when they didn't agree with Joe, looked on in horror as the press took apart the private life of an average person who had the temerity to ask a tough question of a presidential candidate. So much for the standing up for the little man. So much for speaking truth to power. So much for comforting the afflicted and afflicting the comfortable, and all of those other catchphrases we journalists used to believe we lived by.
Who are the real villains?
Who are the real villains in this story of mainstream media betrayal?
The editors. The men and women you don't see; the people who not only decide what goes in the paper, but what doesn't; the managers who give the reporters their assignments and lay out the editorial pages. They are the real culprits.
He is correct. And many of them take with them the biases and cultural rot of the sixties generation.
And a final warning:
With luck, this monolithic, single-party government will crush the alternative media via a revived fairness doctrine, re-invigorate unions by getting rid of secret votes, and just maybe be beholden to people like you in the traditional media for getting it there.
And besides, you tell yourself, it's all for the good of the country …
Excellent piece. Remember it. The role of the press will be one of the major factors in the coming four years. The people who helped put Obama in power will be the same ones covering his administration. Will they cover for him? Twist things for him? Go on bended knee?
The answers will profoundly affect the future of this country.
October 28, 2008. Permalink
UPDATE AT 7:45 A.M. ET: The international markets are up this morning, pointing to the possibility of a good day on Wall Street. McCain could conceivably benefit, although slightly, from some positive economic news right now.
Posted at 7:14 a.m. ET
We try to be careful here at Urgent Agenda to adhere to traditional journalistic standards, not the ones prevailing today. That means looking at each story we read with a cold eye, and applying a healthy dose of skepticism. Occasionally, though, a story comes along that is thoroughly intriguing, cannot be completely sourced, yet seems to correspond to other things we've read.
The leftist Israeli newspaper Haaretz publishes a piece this morning that fits that description. It seems to be exclusive to them, and provides insight into French President Sarkozy's view of Barack Obama's Iran policy. I stress that the story has not been confirmed elsewhere, but appears well reported. It also confirms other rumblings we hear about discontent in foreign ministries of a number of countries with Obama's seat-of-the-pants foreign policy views. With those caveats in mind, here is what is reported:
French President Nicolas Sarkozy is very critical of U.S. presidential candidate Barack Obama's positions on Iran, according to reports that have reached Israel's government.
Sarkozy has made his criticisms only in closed forums in France. But according to a senior Israeli government source, the reports reaching Israel indicate that Sarkozy views the Democratic candidate's stance on Iran as "utterly immature" and comprised of "formulations empty of all content."
Stunning. Is it possible that France will be to the right of a new American administration? The key phrase in that quote is "utterly immature." It describes the Obama approach to foreign policy, but - I say this with hesitation - may also describe the American condition in this election year.
Until now, the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany have tried to maintain a united front on Iran. But according to the senior Israeli source, Sarkozy fears that Obama might "arrogantly" ignore the other members of this front and open a direct dialogue with Iran without preconditions.
The One is arrogant? No, say it ain't so.
Following their July meeting, Sarkozy repeatedly expressed disappointment with Obama's positions on Iran, concluding that they were "not crystallized, and therefore many issues remain open," the Israeli source said. Advisors to the French president who held separate meetings with Obama's advisors came away with similar impressions and expressed similar disappointment.
Yes, we've heard about those wise "advisors."
The French intelligence community believes that Iran has already obtained about 40 percent of the enriched uranium it would need for its first bomb, and that at its current rate, it will obtain the rest of the uranium it needs in the spring or summer of 2009.
However, French agencies are divided over what Iran is likely to do once it has this uranium. One view is that the Iranians will immediately make a nuclear bomb, in order to demonstrate their capability. The other is that Iran will continue enriching uranium without making a bomb - at least until it has enough enriched uranium for several bombs.
A dangerous picture either way. And a remarkable story.
What are we going to do next Tuesday? Do the American people understand? How can they possibly understand, when they're not being told.
October 28, 2008. Permalink
UPDATE AT 6:42 A.M. ET: Zogby has Obama up four this morning, a loss of one since yesterday. Zogby reports, though, that McCain cannot seem to get above 49 percent. He also cautions that Obama had a good polling day yesterday.
COMMENT: I have no idea whether this is accurate. Zogby is problematical. We'll wait for Rasmussen, out later this morning, and the others to follow. So far I see no convincing evidence that the race is tightening, which normally happens in the last week of a campaign. It has to tighten for McCain to have any chance at all.
MONDAY, OCTOBER 27, 2008
NOTE AT 10:29 P.M. ET: From a courageous woman named Simone Dinah Hartmann, of Vienna, Austria, who's with STOP THE BOMB, a coalition opposed to an Iranian nuclear weapon. She reports on protests against the appearance of former Iranian President Mohammad Khatami at Vienna University, and the ugly response to those protests:
Protests against Former Iranian President Khatami at Vienna University
Opposition by exiled Iranians and STOP THE BOMB met with violent response by University Board
About 60 protesters gathered in front of and inside Vienna University to oppose a speech to be held by former Iranian President Mohammad Khatami on 27 October 2008. The protest was staged by the coalition STOP THE BOMB, that is actively campaigning against deals with the Iranian Mullahs, the Democratic Party of Kurdistan Iran, and other groups.
Even before the speech was set to begin, some seeking admission to the audience were denied entry to the lecture hall without explanation.
The protest was subsequently dealt with by an excessive use of force.
Security personnel strangled protesters, and knocked eyeglasses off faces. The security personnel insulted protesters and refused to give their names upon request. Those students, who wanted to express their opposition to Khatami inside the lecture hall were thrown out of the hall without warning and by a disproportionate use of force.
STOP THE BOMB spokeswoman Simone Dinah Hartmann is deeply shocked by the violence used to prevent the protests.
"We would never have thought that the University Board, whose members had not reacted at all to our previously published open letter to the Rectorate, was ready to meet peaceful protests with such violence," she stated.
Hiwa Bahrami of the Democratic Party of Kurdistan Iran said the incident reminded the group of the oppression in Iran during Khatami's presidency: "It was under Khatami when the students' movement was violently put down. And today at Vienna University we see Khatami's speech violently defended against the protests of those terrorised by the Islamic Republic of Iran for many decades."
The former president of one of the most detested regimes on Earth is invited, and the protesters are thrown out by force. Hmm. Sounds like the Austria of another time.
And Americans are about to elect a man who just wants to have chats with the Iranian leaders. I'm sure they'll make great progress.
THE 70s SHOW
Posted at 9:55 p.m. ET
One of the sadder aspects of the 1970s was the way Democrats zealously cut our national defense, wrecked our intelligence services and otherwise cleansed themselves of the sin, as defined in Manhattan and Beverly Hills, of protecting their country.
And now, direct from Democratic National headquarters, together again, Democrats and defense slashing. The supreme guide this time is Barney Frank, that profound Massachusetts philosopher. Investors Business Daily reports:
In a revealing meeting with the editorial board of the Southcoast (Mass.) Standard-Times last week, Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., called for a 25% cut in military spending, saying: "We don't need all these fancy new weapons."
Yeah. Real fancy stuff. Chrome, leather seats, DVD player...
The irony here is that this call to disarm is coming from the party of Franklin Roosevelt, who called the United States the "arsenal of democracy." Obama is a far cry from Harry Truman or the Jack Kennedy who said that only when our arms are sufficient beyond doubt will we be certain beyond doubt they will never be employed.
Dems haven't thought that way in 40 years.
In a video presentation to the far-left group Caucus for Priorities, Obama revealed just where Frank's 25% cut might come from. "I will cut investments in unproven missile defense systems," he said. "I will not weaponize space. I will slow our development of future combat systems. I will institute an independent defense priorities board to ensure that the Quadrennial Review is not used to justify unnecessary defense spending."
So forget about national missile defense or responding to a realistic assessment of our enemies' intentions and capabilities.
The problem is, the Obama crowd thinks the enemies are at home.
John McCain said Iran's tests showed that we need effective missile defense "now and in the future," including the planned missile defense sites in the Czech Republic and Poland. Rather than unilateral disarmament, McCain has also said: "We must continue to deploy a safe and reliable nuclear deterrent, robust missile defenses and superior conventional forces that are capable of defending ourselves and our allies."
And McCain is right. But, like Churchill in the thirties, he's being ignored.
Frank, Obama and the Caucus for Priorities would eliminate two Air Force fighter wings. Our already depleted Navy would eliminate an aircraft carrier group as both China and Russia are building them. Gone too would be the Virginia-class attack submarine and the DDG 1000 Zumwalt Class destroyer.
Unfortunately, people in Beijing, Moscow and Tehran will be defining our needs for us. And as our enemies turn out everything from ballistic missile submarines to anti-satellite weapons, we'd do well to remember that providing for national defense is in the U.S. Constitution and that job training is not.
But we know what the far left thinks of the Constitution.
We've been down this road before. It always ends in disaster. Even if we lose next Tuesday, we must continue to fight for what we believe, and prepare for the midterms, only 24 months away.
October 27, 2008. Permalink
Posted at 7:14 p.m. ET
No one has been smeared more in recent presidential history than Sarah Palin. And it isn't only conservatives who are outraged by her treatment. Elaine Lafferty is the former editor-in-chief of Ms. magazine, and a Democrat. She has the appropriate street cred, and she has a decidedly different view of Sarah Palin than some of the movement's march-in-step sisters:
Sarah Palin is very smart.
I'm a Democrat, but I've worked as a consultant with the McCain campaign since shortly after Palin's nomination. Last week, there was the thought that as a former editor-in-chief of Ms. magazine as well as a feminist activist in my pre-journalism days, I might be helpful in contributing to a speech that Palin had long wanted to give on women's rights.
The whole turn of events is remarkable, I think.
Now by “smart,” I don't refer to a person who is wily or calculating or nimble in the way of certain talented athletes who we admire but suspect don't really have serious brains in their skulls. I mean, instead, a mind that is thoughtful, curious, with a discernible pattern of associative thinking and insight. Palin asks questions, and probes linkages and logic that bring to mind a quirky law professor I once had. Palin is more than a “quick study”; I'd heard rumors around the campaign of her photographic memory and, frankly, I watched it in action. She sees. She processes. She questions, and only then, she acts. What is often called her “confidence” is actually a rarity in national politics: I saw a woman who knows exactly who she is.
Others didn't see this because they didn't want to see it. They weren't allowed to see it. Among the private soldiers in the journalistic establishment, only certain things apparently are permitted.
Look, I am obviously personally pro-choice, and I disagree with McCain and Palin on that and a few other issues. But like many other Democrats, including Lynn Rothschild, I'm tired of the Democratic Party taking women for granted. I also happen to believe Sarah Palin supports women's rights, deeply and passionately.
Elaine Lafferty is heroic for writing this. I suspect some party invitations won't be in the mail.
Last month a prominent feminist blogger...declared that the media was wrongly buying into the false idea that Palin was a feminist. Why? Well, just because she said she was a feminist, because she supported women's rights and opportunities, equal pay, Title IV—that was just “empty rhetoric,” they said. At least the blogger didn't go as far as NOW's Kim Gandy and declare that Palin was not a woman. Bottom line: you are not a feminist until we say you are. And there you have the formula for diminishing what was once a great and important mass social change movement to an exclusionary club that rejects women who sincerely want to join and, God forbid, grow to lead.
Right on the button.
But there's good news as well:
But here is the good news: women, citizens of America's high and low culture, the Economist and People magazine readers, will get it. They got it with Hillary even when feminist leaders were not supporting her or doing so half-heartedly. Yes, Palin is a harder sell, she looks and sounds different, and one can rightfully oppose her based on abortion policies. If you only vote on how a person personally feels about abortion, you will never want her to darken your door. If you care about anything else, she will continue to intrigue you. As Time's Nancy Gibbs noted a few weeks ago, quoting bioethicist Tom Murray, “Sympathy and subtlety are seasonings rarely applied to political red meat.” Will Palin's time come next week? I don't know. But her time will come.
Yes! And thank you, Elaine Lafferty.
October 27, 2008. Permalink
UPDATE AT 5:32 P.M. ET: The Dow disappointed us at the end, and closed off 203. Not good for the economy or for McCain.
BULLETIN AT 3:34 P.M. ET: Actual numbers in the IBD/TIPP poll have Obama with a lead of less than three percent:
After seesawing between 3.2 and 3.9 points over the weekend, Obama's lead slipped to 2.8 Monday. Battleground also has Obama up 3, and other polls have tightened, including Rasmussen, Zogby and Gallup to 5. Some polls show swings in independents, but IBD/TIPP has them in a stable, 5-point range.
UPDATE AT 3:27 P.M. ET: From ABC News: ABC News’ Matthew Jaffe Reports: Sen. Joe Biden, D-Del., Monday blasted an Orlando anchor for the “ugly” questions she asked him in an interview last Thursday. “I was on a television station the other day doing a satellite feed to a major network in Florida, and the anchor quotes Karl Marx, and says in a sense, ‘Isn't Barack Obama Karl Marx?’” the Democratic vice-presidential nominee told the crowd of 1500 at East Carolina University in Greenville, NC. “You know, I mean, folks, this stuff you're hearing, this stuff you're hearing in this campaign, some of it's pretty ugly,” the Delaware lawmaker continued. "And some of the innuendo is pretty ugly.”
COMMENT: Lesson: One must not question The One, or even The Little One, about any of this "ugly" ideological stuff. Who really cares what The One believes? It's none of our business anyway.
Biden's remarks are really a variation on the left's old "McCarthyism" dance. Ask a leftist about his or her ideas and it's "McCarthyism."
UPDATE AT 3:11 P.M. ET: Two new trackers are out. Hotline has Obama up eight, same as yesterday. Gallup's "traditional" model has him up five, same as yesterday. Gallup has him up ten in the "expanded" model, a gain of one for Obama since yesterday.
UPDATE AT 3:01 P.M. ET: The Dow is actually up five.
THE GUN SMOKES
Posted at 12:09 p.m. ET
This is making its way around the internet, and could be the smoking gun that "convicts" Obama in the court of public opinion...if used correctly and quickly by the McCain campaign.
And this shows why you should never give up before the votes are counted. We can win this!
A few days after Joe Biden huffed and puffed and blew down whatever Joe's puffing can bring down - his huffiness brought on by a reporter's asking whether Obama is a socialist - a tape has surfaced showing Obama to be...a socialist. Bill Whittle, at NRO, tears into The One, and The One deserves it:
The Drudge Report this morning led off with a link to audio of Barack Obama on WBEZ, a Chicago public radio station. And this time, Barack Obama was not eight years old when the bomb went off.
Speaking on a call-in radio show in 2001, you can hear Senator Obama say things that should profoundly shock any American — or at least those who have not taken the time to dig deeply enough into this man’s beliefs and affiliations.
Abandon all hope, ye who enter here.
Barack Obama, in 2001:
You know, if you look at the victories and failures of the civil-rights movement, and its litigation strategy in the court, I think where it succeeded was to vest formal rights in previously dispossessed peoples. So that I would now have the right to vote, I would now be able to sit at a lunch counter and order and as long as I could pay for it, I’d be okay, but the Supreme Court never entered into the issues of redistribution of wealth, and sort of more basic issues of political and economic justice in this society.
And uh, to that extent, as radical as I think people tried to characterize the Warren Court, it wasn’t that radical. It didn’t break free from the essential constraints that were placed by the Founding Fathers in the Constitution — at least as it’s been interpreted, and Warren Court interpreted it in the same way, that generally the Constitution is a charter of negative liberties: [It] says what the states can’t do to you, says what the federal government can’t do to you, but it doesn’t say what the federal government or the state government must do on your behalf.
Yup. We're talkin' the "s" word.
There is nothing vague or ambiguous about this. Nothing.
From the top: “…The Supreme Court never entered into the issues of redistribution of wealth, and sort of more basic issues of political and economic justice in this society. And uh, to that extent, as radical as I think people tried to characterize the Warren Court, it wasn’t that radical."
...Now that’s just garden-variety socialism, which apparently is not a big deal to may voters. So I would appeal to any American who claims to love the Constitution and to revere the Founding Fathers… I will not only appeal to you, I will beg you, as one American citizen to another, to consider this next statement with as much care as you can possibly bring to bear: “And uh, to that extent, as radical as I think people tried to characterize the Warren Court, it wasn’t that radical. It didn’t break free from the essential constraints that were placed by the Founding Fathers in the Constitution — at least as it’s been interpreted, and [the] Warren Court interpreted it in the same way, that generally the Constitution is a charter of negative liberties: [it] says what the states can’t do to you, says what the federal government can’t do to you, but it doesn’t say what the federal government or the state government must do on your behalf.
Are there any doubts remaining? This man is so far to the left that he can't even find the center.
The entire purpose of the Constitution was to limit government. That limitation of powers is what has unlocked in America the vast human potential available in any population...
...There is no room for wiggle or misunderstanding here. This is not edited copy. There is nothing out of context; for the entire thing is context — the context of what Barack Obama believes. You and I do not have to guess at what he believes or try to interpret what he believes. He says what he believes.
Well, occasionally he does.
That a man so clear in his understanding of the Constitution, and so opposed to the basic tenets it provides against tyranny and the abuse of power, can run for president of the United States is shameful enough.
But there's shame aplenty. The devastating tape was unearthed by a citizen, not a "journalist."
I do not blame Barack Obama for believing in wealth distribution. That’s his right as an American. I do blame him for lying about what he believes. But his entire life has been applying for the next job at the expense of the current one. He’s at the end of the line now.
I do, however, blame the press for allowing an individual citizen to do the work that they employ standing armies of so-called professionals for. I know they are capable of this kind of investigative journalism: It only took them a day or two to damage Sarah Palin with wild accusations about her baby’s paternity and less time than that to destroy a man who happened to be playing ball when the Messiah decided to roll up looking for a few more votes on the way to the inevitable coronation.
Maybe not so inevitable, especially if this material gets out and is used to effect.
Remember this, America: The press did not break this story. A single citizen, on the Internet did.
There is a special hell for you “journalists” out there, a hell made specifically for you narcissists and elitists who think you have the right to determine which information is passed on to the electorate and which is not.
That hell — your own personal hell — is a fiery lake of irrelevance, blinding clouds of obscurity, and burning, everlasting scorn.
You’ve earned it.
And, knowing journalists, they'll probably give each other awards for it.
This is remarkable stuff. Let's see if the mainstream media even goes near it. Are we taking wagers?
October 27, 2008. Permalink
UPDATE AT 11:14 A.M. ET: The Dow has rebounded and is now down only nine points.
UPDATE AT 10:36 A.M. ET: The Dow is down 338.
UPDATE AT 10:07 A.M. ET: Battleground poll, which doesn't publish on weekends, just came out with its Monday report showing Obama up three, the same as its Friday result.
COMMENT: We've had three polls report this morning. Two, Zogby and Rasmussen, have Obama up five, Battleground has him up three. There are three more trackers that will report later: Gallup, Hotline, and IBD/TIPP. We'll be looking to see if they show tightening.
UPDATE AT 9:51 A.M. ET: The Dow is down 54.
BULLETIN AT 9:46 A.M. ET: Rasmussen reports this morning that Obama is up five, down from eight yesterday.
COMMENT: The Rasmussen poll swings less wildly than any other, from what I've seen. Is this three-point drop for Obama significant? We'll see in coming days. Much may depend, as Dick Morris points out, on whether we have a bad week in the stock market. Bad economic news always hurts McCain.
NOTE AT 9:01 A.M. ET: Take a look at this, from reader Andrew Berman. I guess this is what passes for commercial advertising in New York these days.
ANOTHER PRECINCT HEARD FROM
Posted at 8:46 a.m. ET
Terrorism expert Con Coughlin, writing in London's Telegraph, informs us of another exciting vote for Obama. The man just seems to have this...this magnetism. I don't understand it:
Where will it end, this procession of the great, the good and the not-so-good showing their support for Barack Obama's bid to become President? Colin Powell, the former Secretary of State, half the Tory front bench and Boris Johnson, the London Mayor, have all declared in favour of the Democrats' nominee. But perhaps the most revealing was yesterday's confirmation that Mr Obama is the preferred candidate of the Islamic Republic of Iran.
You know, we should give them electoral votes. For the Dems, they could replace Texas.
An insight into Tehran's thinking was provided by Ali Larijani, the speaker of the Majlis, the Iranian parliament which is dominated by conservative hardline followers of Ayatollah Khomeini. The Iranians, say Mr Larijani, favour Mr Obama because he is "more flexible and rational" than John McCain, whose attitude towards a country that still tops the State Department's list of terrorism-sponsoring regimes was given away by his "Bomb Iran" version of the Beach Boys' classic Barbara Ann.
By "more flexible and rational" Mr Larijani means, of course, that an Obama White House is less likely to bomb Iran for its failure to halt its nuclear enrichment programme.
Less likely? Probably an understatement.
Iran has been enriching uranium at its facility at Natanz for 18 months, and even the most dovish observers concede that, at the present rate of progress, Iran should be able to produce enough fissile material for a nuclear warhead by next year.
Whether Iran is still pursuing its attempts to develop nuclear weapons is hotly debated among the West's intelligence agencies, with the body of available intelligence now contradicting last year's CIA National Intelligence Estimate, suggesting Iran had halted its military programme in 2003.
Remember the rejoicing on the left when that estimate came out? That's the attitude we'll have with Obama in office.
Mr Obama may have made some rousing comments when he addressed a pro-Israel lobby in Washington in June, telling his audience that he would do "everything in my power to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon", but he has also made it clear that he wants to negotiate with the Iranians rather than confront them. Mr McCain, on the other hand, favours robust action, starting with a tough sanctions regime and, if that fails, military action.
Small wonder, then, that Iran favours Mr Obama for the White House, especially as the Democrats have a disastrous record of negotiating with Iran and getting nothing in return, dating from Jimmy Carter's ineffectual attempts to free the Americans held hostage after the storming of their embassy in Tehran in 1979.
The magic name has been invoked: Jimmy Carter. If that doesn't scare you, go immediately to the nearest emergency room. Have them try to detect a pulse.
Iran now poses a far greater threat than it did in 2003, when its nuclear programme was nowhere near as advanced.
Which is why, irrespective of who wins next month's presidential contest, the Iran file will be at the top of the list of national security issues facing the new president. Mr Obama's preference might be for more talking, which is precisely why Tehran is backing his candidacy. But he will not have that luxury. So far as Iran is concerned, the time for talking has passed. It's time now for some action.
I think Coughlin, who is a fine analyst, underestimates Obama's capacity for inaction. He may just vote "present" on Iran the way he did so many times in the Illinois legislature. When the going gets tough, the Obamans get out. I fear he may out-Carter Carter, and be proud of it.
Do we know what we're about to do next Tuesday?
October 27, 2008. Permalink
TOMORROW THE WORLD
Posted at 7:34 a.m. ET
We must not engage in guilt by association. We must not raise any question about the people with whom Senator Obama associates, has associated, or is likely to associate. We must not ask who supports him. So I caution you that everything said here is completely irrelevant and possibly sinful. Ignore it. Move on. How can we possibly judge Mr. Obama by things like this? I apologize for even bringing it up:
There are no "Obama 2008" buttons, banners or T-shirts visible here at U.N. headquarters, but it might be difficult to find a sliver of territory in the United States more enthusiastic over the prospect of the Illinois senator winning the White House.
An informal survey of more than two dozen U.N. staff members and foreign delegates showed that the overwhelming majority would prefer that Sen. Barack Obama win the presidency, saying they think that the Democrat would usher in a new agenda of multilateralism after an era marked by Republican disdain for the world body.
Obama supporters hail from Russia, Canada, France, Britain, Germany, the Netherlands, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Indonesia and elsewhere. One American employee here seemed puzzled that he was being asked whether Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) was even a consideration. "Obama was and is unstoppable," the official said. "Please, God, let him win," he added.
There are two news items there: First, please note that they support Obama not because his policies would be good for the world, but that they think they'd be good for the UN. Second, at least one person at the UN believes in God. The second point may create a scandal at the organization, and may lead to an internal investigation.
Conservatives who are skeptical of the United Nations said they are not surprised by the political tilt. "The fact is that most conservatives, most Republicans don't worship at the altar in New York, and I think that aggravates them more than anything else," said John R. Bolton, a former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. "What they want is the bending of the knee, and they'll get it from an Obama administration."
I wish this man would stop telling the truth. It's so out of style.
"We do not consider him an African American," said Congo's U.N. ambassador, Atoki Ileka. "We consider him an African."
There's a man with a misunderstanding of the United States. But who will correct him?
"I have not heard a single person who will support McCain; if they do, they are in hiding," said another U.N. Obama booster from an African country. "The majority of people here believe in multilateralism," he said. "The Republicans were constantly questioning the relevance of the United Nations."
Whoops, there's that "UN forever" mantra. Nothing like a little careerism to start the week.
For the small minority of U.N. officials who have stuck with McCain -- only two of 28 U.N. officials and diplomats questioned said they favored the Arizona senator -- life in Turtle Bay can seem lonely. "I keep my mouth shut," said one American official here who plans to vote for McCain. "Everyone is knocking on wood, counting the days to the elections. Some Americans here are planning to move to Washington," in search of jobs in an Obama administration.
"It will be devastating if Obama loses," the official said. "There has been such an amount of faith placed on the outcome."
Of course, many at the UN come from countries where the outcome of "elections" is assured in advance. We understand how they feel. We share their anxiety.
But remember, I caution again: We can't blame Obama for his supporters. But we can blame Sarah Palin for hers.
"And so, my fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you, ask what it can do for the UN bureaucracy."
Good line for Obama's inaugural address.
October 27, 2008. Permalink
UPDATE AT 7:01 A.M. ET: Oct. 27 (Bloomberg) -- Stocks tumbled around the world and U.S. index futures declined on concern government efforts to stabilize financial markets won't avert a recession.
COMMENT: We await our market opening today with some concern. If the Dow has still one more bad day, it will have not only an immediate economic impact, obviously, but will further wound the McCain campaign.
UPDATE AT 6:53 A.M. ET: Zogby has Obama up five this morning, same as yesterday.