Archive for the ‘2008 Election’ Category

How the Democrats Created the Financial Crisis: Kevin Hassett

Monday, September 22nd, 2008

How the Democrats Created the Financial Crisis: Kevin Hassett

Commentary by Kevin Hassett

Sept. 22 (Bloomberg) — The financial crisis of the past year has provided a number of surprising twists and turns, and from Bear Stearns Cos. to American International Group Inc., ambiguity has been a big part of the story.

Why did Bear Stearns fail, and how does that relate to AIG? It all seems so complex.

But really, it isn’t. Enough cards on this table have been turned over that the story is now clear. The economic history books will describe this episode in simple and understandable terms: Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac exploded, and many bystanders were injured in the blast, some fatally.

Fannie and Freddie did this by becoming a key enabler of the mortgage crisis. They fueled Wall Street’s efforts to securitize subprime loans by becoming the primary customer of all AAA-rated subprime-mortgage pools. In addition, they held an enormous portfolio of mortgages themselves.

In the times that Fannie and Freddie couldn’t make the market, they became the market. Over the years, it added up to an enormous obligation. As of last June, Fannie alone owned or guaranteed more than $388 billion in high-risk mortgage investments. Their large presence created an environment within which even mortgage-backed securities assembled by others could find a ready home.

The problem was that the trillions of dollars in play were only low-risk investments if real estate prices continued to rise. Once they began to fall, the entire house of cards came down with them.

Turning Point

Take away Fannie and Freddie, or regulate them more wisely, and it’s hard to imagine how these highly liquid markets would ever have emerged. This whole mess would never have happened.

It is easy to identify the historical turning point that marked the beginning of the end.

Back in 2005, Fannie and Freddie were, after years of dominating Washington, on the ropes. They were enmeshed in accounting scandals that led to turnover at the top. At one telling moment in late 2004, captured in an article by my American Enterprise Institute colleague Peter Wallison, the Securities and Exchange Comiission’s chief accountant told disgraced Fannie Mae chief Franklin Raines that Fannie’s position on the relevant accounting issue was not even “on the page” of allowable interpretations.

Then legislative momentum emerged for an attempt to create a “world-class regulator” that would oversee the pair more like banks, imposing strict requirements on their ability to take excessive risks. Politicians who previously had associated themselves proudly with the two accounting miscreants were less eager to be associated with them. The time was ripe.

Greenspan’s Warning

The clear gravity of the situation pushed the legislation forward. Some might say the current mess couldn’t be foreseen, yet in 2005 Alan Greenspan told Congress how urgent it was for it to act in the clearest possible terms: If Fannie and Freddie “continue to grow, continue to have the low capital that they have, continue to engage in the dynamic hedging of their portfolios, which they need to do for interest rate risk aversion, they potentially create ever-growing potential systemic risk down the road,” he said. “We are placing the total financial system of the future at a substantial risk.”

What happened next was extraordinary. For the first time in history, a serious Fannie and Freddie reform bill was passed by the Senate Banking Committee. The bill gave a regulator power to crack down, and would have required the companies to eliminate their investments in risky assets.

Different World

If that bill had become law, then the world today would be different. In 2005, 2006 and 2007, a blizzard of terrible mortgage paper fluttered out of the Fannie and Freddie clouds, burying many of our oldest and most venerable institutions. Without their checkbooks keeping the market liquid and buying up excess supply, the market would likely have not existed.

But the bill didn’t become law, for a simple reason: Democrats opposed it on a party-line vote in the committee, signaling that this would be a partisan issue. Republicans, tied in knots by the tight Democratic opposition, couldn’t even get the Senate to vote on the matter.

That such a reckless political stand could have been taken by the Democrats was obscene even then. Wallison wrote at the time: “It is a classic case of socializing the risk while privatizing the profit. The Democrats and the few Republicans who oppose portfolio limitations could not possibly do so if their constituents understood what they were doing.”

Mounds of Materials

Now that the collapse has occurred, the roadblock built by Senate Democrats in 2005 is unforgivable. Many who opposed the bill doubtlessly did so for honorable reasons. Fannie and Freddie provided mounds of materials defending their practices. Perhaps some found their propaganda convincing.

But we now know that many of the senators who protected Fannie and Freddie, including Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and Christopher Dodd, have received mind-boggling levels of financial support from them over the years.

Throughout his political career, Obama has gotten more than $125,000 in campaign contributions from employees and political action committees of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, second only to Dodd, the Senate Banking Committee chairman, who received more than $165,000.

Clinton, the 12th-ranked recipient of Fannie and Freddie PAC and employee contributions, has received more than $75,000 from the two enterprises and their employees. The private profit found its way back to the senators who killed the fix.

There has been a lot of talk about who is to blame for this crisis. A look back at the story of 2005 makes the answer pretty clear.

Oh, and there is one little footnote to the story that’s worth keeping in mind while Democrats point fingers between now and Nov. 4: Senator John McCain was one of the three cosponsors of S.190, the bill that would have averted this mess.

(Kevin Hassett, director of economic-policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute, is a Bloomberg News columnist. He is an adviser to Republican Senator John McCain of Arizona in the 2008 presidential election. The opinions expressed are his own.)

To contact the writer of this column: Kevin Hassett at khassett@aei.org

Last Updated: September 22, 2008 00:04 EDT

Barack Obama’s Stealth Socialism

Tuesday, September 9th, 2008

Barack Obama’s Stealth Socialism

By INVESTOR’S BUSINESS DAILY | Posted Monday, July 28, 2008 4:20 PM PT

Election ’08: Before friendly audiences, Barack Obama speaks passionately about something called “economic justice.” He uses the term obliquely, though, speaking in code — socialist code.

During his NAACP speech earlier this month, Sen. Obama repeated the term at least four times. “I’ve been working my entire adult life to help build an America where economic justice is being served,” he said at the group’s 99th annual convention in Cincinnati.

And as president, “we’ll ensure that economic justice is served,” he asserted. “That’s what this election is about.” Obama never spelled out the meaning of the term, but he didn’t have to. His audience knew what he meant, judging from its thumping approval.

It’s the rest of the public that remains in the dark, which is why we’re launching this special educational series.

“Economic justice” simply means punishing the successful and redistributing their wealth by government fiat. It’s a euphemism for socialism.

In the past, such rhetoric was just that — rhetoric. But Obama’s positioning himself with alarming stealth to put that rhetoric into action on a scale not seen since the birth of the welfare state.

In his latest memoir he shares that he’d like to “recast” the welfare net that FDR and LBJ cast while rolling back what he derisively calls the “winner-take-all” market economy that Ronald Reagan reignited (with record gains in living standards for all).

Obama also talks about “restoring fairness to the economy,” code for soaking the “rich” — a segment of society he fails to understand that includes mom-and-pop businesses filing individual tax returns.

It’s clear from a close reading of his two books that he’s a firm believer in class envy. He assumes the economy is a fixed pie, whereby the successful only get rich at the expense of the poor.

Following this discredited Marxist model, he believes government must step in and redistribute pieces of the pie. That requires massive transfers of wealth through government taxing and spending, a return to the entitlement days of old.

Of course, Obama is too smart to try to smuggle such hoary collectivist garbage through the front door. He’s disguising the wealth transfers as “investments” — “to make America more competitive,” he says, or “that give us a fighting chance,” whatever that means.

Among his proposed “investments”:

• “Universal,” “guaranteed” health care.

• “Free” college tuition.

• “Universal national service” (a la Havana).

• “Universal 401(k)s” (in which the government would match contributions made by “low- and moderate-income families”).

• “Free” job training (even for criminals).

• “Wage insurance” (to supplement dislocated union workers’ old income levels).

• “Free” child care and “universal” preschool.

• More subsidized public housing.

• A fatter earned income tax credit for “working poor.”

• And even a Global Poverty Act that amounts to a Marshall Plan for the Third World, first and foremost Africa.

His new New Deal also guarantees a “living wage,” with a $10 minimum wage indexed to inflation; and “fair trade” and “fair labor practices,” with breaks for “patriot employers” who cow-tow to unions, and sticks for “nonpatriot” companies that don’t.

That’s just for starters — first-term stuff.

Obama doesn’t stop with socialized health care. He wants to socialize your entire human resources department — from payrolls to pensions. His social-microengineering even extends to mandating all employers provide seven paid sick days per year to salary and hourly workers alike.

You can see why Obama was ranked, hands-down, the most liberal member of the Senate by the National Journal. Some, including colleague and presidential challenger John McCain, think he’s the most liberal member in Congress.

But could he really be “more left,” as McCain recently remarked, than self-described socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders (for whom Obama has openly campaigned, even making a special trip to Vermont to rally voters)?

Obama’s voting record, going back to his days in the Illinois statehouse, says yes. His career path — and those who guided it — leads to the same unsettling conclusion.

The seeds of his far-left ideology were planted in his formative years as a teenager in Hawaii — and they were far more radical than any biography or profile in the media has portrayed.

A careful reading of Obama’s first memoir, “Dreams From My Father,” reveals that his childhood mentor up to age 18 — a man he cryptically refers to as “Frank” — was none other than the late communist Frank Marshall Davis, who fled Chicago after the FBI and Congress opened investigations into his “subversive,” “un-American activities.”

As Obama was preparing to head off to college, he sat at Davis’ feet in his Waikiki bungalow for nightly bull sessions. Davis plied his impressionable guest with liberal doses of whiskey and advice, including: Never trust the white establishment.

“They’ll train you so good,” he said, “you’ll start believing what they tell you about equal opportunity and the American way and all that sh**.”

After college, where he palled around with Marxist professors and took in socialist conferences “for inspiration,” Obama followed in Davis’ footsteps, becoming a “community organizer” in Chicago.

His boss there was Gerald Kellman, whose identity Obama also tries to hide in his book. Turns out Kellman’s a disciple of the late Saul “The Red” Alinsky, a hard-boiled Chicago socialist who wrote the “Rules for Radicals” and agitated for social revolution in America.

The Chicago-based Woods Fund provided Kellman with his original $25,000 to hire Obama. In turn, Obama would later serve on the Woods board with terrorist Bill Ayers of the Weather Underground. Ayers was one of Obama’s early political supporters.

After three years agitating with marginal success for more welfare programs in South Side Chicago, Obama decided he would need to study law to “bring about real change” — on a large scale.

While at Harvard Law School, he still found time to hone his organizing skills. For example, he spent eight days in Los Angeles taking a national training course taught by Alinsky’s Industrial Areas Foundation. With his newly minted law degree, he returned to Chicago to reapply — as well as teach — Alinsky’s “agitation” tactics.

(A video-streamed bio on Obama’s Web site includes a photo of him teaching in a University of Chicago classroom. If you freeze the frame and look closely at the blackboard Obama is writing on, you can make out the words “Power Analysis” and “Relationships Built on Self Interest” — terms right out of Alinsky’s rule book.)

Amid all this, Obama reunited with his late father’s communist tribe in Kenya, the Luo, during trips to Africa.

As a Nairobi bureaucrat, Barack Hussein Obama Sr., a Harvard-educated economist, grew to challenge the ruling pro-Western government for not being socialist enough. In an eight-page scholarly paper published in 1965, he argued for eliminating private farming and nationalizing businesses “owned by Asians and Europeans.”

His ideas for communist-style expropriation didn’t stop there. He also proposed massive taxes on the rich to “redistribute our economic gains to the benefit of all.”

“Theoretically, there is nothing that can stop the government from taxing 100% of income so long as the people get benefits from the government commensurate with their income which is taxed,” Obama Sr. wrote. “I do not see why the government cannot tax those who have more and syphon some of these revenues into savings which can be utilized in investment for future development.”

Taxes and “investment” . . . the fruit truly does not fall far from the vine.

(Voters might also be interested to know that Obama, the supposed straight shooter, does not once mention his father’s communist leanings in an entire book dedicated to his memory.)

In Kenya’s recent civil unrest, Obama privately phoned the leader of the opposition Luo tribe, Raila Odinga, to voice his support. Odinga is so committed to communism he named his oldest son after Fidel Castro.

With his African identity sewn up, Obama returned to Chicago and fell under the spell of an Afrocentric pastor. It was a natural attraction. The Rev. Jeremiah Wright preaches a Marxist version of Christianity called “black liberation theology” and has supported the communists in Cuba, Nicaragua and elsewhere.

Obama joined Wright’s militant church, pledging allegiance to a system of “black values” that demonizes white “middle classness” and other mainstream pursuits.

(Obama in his first book, published in 1995, calls such values “sensible.” There’s no mention of them in his new book.)

With the large church behind him, Obama decided to run for political office, where he could organize for “change” more effectively. “As an elected official,” he said, “I could bring church and community leaders together easier than I could as a community organizer or lawyer.”

He could also exercise real, top-down power, the kind that grass-roots activists lack. Alinsky would be proud.

Throughout his career, Obama has worked closely with a network of stone-cold socialists and full-blown communists striving for “economic justice.”

He’s been traveling in an orbit of collectivism that runs from Nairobi to Honolulu, and on through Chicago to Washington.

Yet a recent AP poll found that only 6% of Americans would describe Obama as “liberal,” let alone socialist.

Public opinion polls usually reflect media opinion, and the media by and large have portrayed Obama as a moderate “outsider” (the No. 1 term survey respondents associate him with) who will bring a “breath of fresh air” to Washington.

The few who have drilled down on his radical roots have tended to downplay or pooh-pooh them. Even skeptics have failed to connect the dots for fear of being called the dreaded “r” word.

But too much is at stake in this election to continue mincing words.

Both a historic banking crisis and 1970s-style stagflation loom over the economy. Democrats, who already control Congress, now threaten to filibuster-proof the Senate in what could be a watershed election for them — at both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue.

A perfect storm of statism is forming, and our economic freedoms are at serious risk.

Those who care less about looking politically correct than preserving the free-market individualism that’s made this country great have to start calling things by their proper name to avert long-term disaster.

A List of Obama’s Friends and Associates

Friday, September 5th, 2008

Obama who?

Concerned Citizens of the United States

compiled by an Obama Who? writer;

Obama’s friends and associates: And people wonder why we do not want him for President of the United States. These are just some of them we have found so far but we are still looking.

Tony Rezko:

Ties to Barack Obama

In 1990, after Obama was elected president of the Harvard Law Review, Rezmar Corp. offered him a job, which Obama turned down. Obama did end up taking a job with law firm Davis, Miner, Barnhill & Galland,[25] which primarily worked civil rights cases, but also represented Rezmar and helped the company get more than $43 million in government funding and whose former senior partner, Allison S. Davis, later went into business with Rezko and, in 2003, was appointed to Illinois State Board of Investment by Governor Blagojevich at Rezko’s request.[7][26] On July 31, 1995 the first ever political contributions to Obama were $300 from a lawyer, a $5,000 loan from a car dealer, and $2,000 from two food companies owned by Rezko.[27] Starting in 2003, Rezko was one of the people on Obama’s U.S. Senate campaign finance committee, which raised more than $14 million.[7] Rezko threw an early fundraiser for Obama, and that fundraiser was instrumental in providing Obama with seed money for his U.S. Senate race.[1] Obama has since identified over $250,000 in campaign contributions to various Obama campaigns as coming from Rezko or close associates, and has in consequence donated almost two thirds of that amount to charity.[28][29]

Also, in 2005 Obama purchased a new home in the Kenwood District of Chicago for $1.65 million ($300,000 below the original price) on the same day that Rezko’s wife, Rita Rezko, purchased the adjoining empty lot from the same sellers for the full asking price.[30] Obama acknowledged bringing his interest in the property to Rezko’s attention,[31] but denied any coordination of offers. According to Obama, while the properties had originally been a single property, the previous owners decided to sell the land as two separate lots, but made it a condition of the sales that they be closed on the same date. Obama also said that the properties had been on the market for months, that his offer was the best of two bids, and that Ms. Rezko’s bid was matched by another offer, also of $625,000, so that she could not have purchased the property for less.[32] Obama’s description of the purchase was later confirmed by the previous owner of the house.[33]

After it had been reported in 2006 that Rezko was under federal investigation for influence-peddling, Obama purchased a 10 foot (3.0 m) wide strip of Ms. Rezko’s property for $104,500, $60,000 above the assessed value.[30][7] According to Chicago Sun-Times columnist, Mark Brown, “Rezko definitely did Obama a favor by selling him the 10-foot strip of land, making his own parcel less attractive for development.”[34] Obama acknowledges that the exchange may have created the appearance of impropriety, and stated “I consider this a mistake on my part and I regret it.”[32]

On December 28, 2006, Ms. Rezko sold the property to a company owned by her husband’s former business attorney. That sale of $575,000, combined with the earlier $104,500 sale to the Obamas, amounted to a net profit of $54,500 over her original purchase, less $14,000 for a fence along the property line and other expenses.[35][36] In October 2007, the new owners put the still vacant land up for sale again, this time for $1.5 million.[37]

In June 2007, the Sun-Times published a story about letters Obama had written in 1997 to city and state officials in support of a low-income senior citizen development project headed by Rezko and partner Allison Davis. The project received more than $14 million in taxpayer funds, including $885,000 in development fees for Rezko and Davis. Of Obama’s letters in support of the Cottage View Terrace apartments development, Obama spokesman Bill Burton said, “This wasn’t done as a favor for anyone, it was done in the interests of the people in the community who have benefited from the project. I don’t know that anyone specifically asked him to write this letter nine years ago. There was a consensus in the community about the positive impact the project would make and Obama supported it because it was going to help people in his district.” Rezko’s attorney responded that “Mr. Rezko never spoke with, nor sought a letter from, Senator Obama in connection with that project.[38]

In the South Carolina Democratic Party presidential debate on January 21, 2008, Senator Hillary Clinton said that Obama had represented Rezko, who she referred to as a slum landlord.[39] Obama responded that he had never represented Rezko and had done only about five hours work, indirectly, for Rezko’s firm.[32] Within days of the debate, a photo of Rezko posing with Bill and Hillary Clinton surfaced. When asked about the photo Hillary Clinton commented “I probably have taken hundreds of thousands of pictures. I wouldn’t know him if he walked in the door.”[40]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tony_Rezko

Reverend Wright

Relationship with Barack Obama

Barack Obama, a candidate for the Democratic nomination for President, first met Wright and joined his church in the 1980s, while he was working as a community organizer in Chicago before attending Harvard Law School.[24] Wright officiated at the wedding ceremony of Barack and Michelle Obama, as well as their children’s baptism.[5] The title of Obama’s memoir, The Audacity of Hope, was inspired by one of Wright’s sermons.[24][5]

Wright was scheduled to give the public invocation before Obama’s presidential announcement, but Obama withdrew the invitation the night before the event.[25] Wright wrote a rebuttal letter to the editor disputing the characterization of the account as reported in an article in The New York Times.[26]

In 2007 Wright was appointed to Barack Obama’s African American Religious Leadership Committee, a group of over 170 national black religious leaders who supported Obama’s bid for the Democratic nomination;[27] however, it was announced in March 2008 that Wright was no longer serving as a member of this group.[28]

Political controversy

Main article: Jeremiah Wright controversy

In March 2008, a controversy broke out concerning Obama’s long-term relationship with Wright, his former pastor.[29][30] ABC News found several racially and politically charged sermons by Wright.[31][32] Some of Wright’s statements, such as when he said, “God Damn America”, were widely interpreted as being unpatriotic and deeply offensive.[33][34] Some have noted that Wright’s quotes had been taken out of context, including in one case, where Wright was allegedly quoting Ambassador Edward Peck.[35] Some have also noted that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. made similar comments about U.S. foreign policy and claimed that America was the “greatest purveyor of violence in the world today”,[36] and at another point King stated: “America was founded on genocide, and a nation that is founded on genocide is destructive.”[37]

Following negative media coverage and during a temporary drop in the polls,[38] Obama responded by condemning Wright’s remarks[39] and delivering a speech entitled “A More Perfect Union” at the Constitution Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.[40] In the speech, Obama rejected Wright’s comments, but refused to disown the man himself.[41] Although the speech, which attempted to explain and contextualize the comments, was generally well-received,[41][42] some continued to press the question of Obama’s long-standing relationship with Wright.[43][44] When asked his opinion of the controversy, Wright said, “I felt it was unfair. I felt it was unjust. I felt it was untrue. I felt for those who were doing that, were doing it for some very devious reasons.”[45] “I think they wanted to… put an element of fear and hatred and to stir up the anxiety of Americans who still don’t know the African-American tradition, know nothing about the prophetic theology of the African-American experience, who know nothing about the black church, who don’t even know how we got a black church.”[46]

On April 26, 2008, Wright appeared on PBS in an interview with Bill Moyers, in which Wright responded to the criticisms of his sermons.[47]

On April 27, Wright gave a keynote address at the 53rd Annual Fight for Freedom Fund Dinner for the Detroit chapter of the NAACP. In front of nearly 10,000, Wright gave a speech in which he referred to the controversy, saying, “I am not running for the Oval Office. I been running for Jesus a long, long time, and I’m not tired yet!” Wright argued that Americans were beginning to change their attitudes and perceptions about differences among societal groups. Citing linguistic, pedagogical, hermeneutic, and other differences, and contrasting varied musicologies, he sought to show how black culture is “different” but not “deficient”, while saying that European-American culture has historically held it to be deficient, and punctuating his speech at numerous times with the dinner’s annual theme “A Change Is Going to Come”.[48] Earlier that day, he delivered a sermon to 4000 congregants at the Friendship-West Baptist Church in Dallas.[49]

On April 28, 2008, Wright made additional remarks, and also answered questions from reporters, at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.[50] He argued that his attention in the media was not only an attack on him, but also an attack on the black church in general.[50]

At a news conference the following April 29, Barack Obama decried Wright’s latest remarks as “a bunch of rants that aren’t grounded in the truth”.[51] He accused his former pastor of exploiting racism and “giving comfort to those who prey on hate.” He characterized Wright’s National Press Club appearance as a “spectacle” and described its content as “outrageous” and “destructive.”

“After seeing Reverend Wright’s performance, I felt there was a complete disregard for what the American people are going through and the need for them to rally together to solve these problems,” he said. “What mattered to him was him commanding center stage.” Obama said he was “particularly angered” by Wright’s allegation that the candidate was engaging in political posturing when he denounced the minister’s earlier remarks. “If Reverend Wright considers that political posturing, then he doesn’t know me very well,” Obama said. “Based on his comments yesterday, well, I may not know him as well as I thought, either.”[52]

On May 31, 2008, Obama announced that he had resigned from his membership in the Trinity United Church of Christ, of which Wright had previously served as pastor. [53]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeremiah_Wright

Louis Farrakhan

This man received the lifetime achievement award from Obama’s church.

Praise for Barack Obama

Farrakhan said the war in Iraq, the nation’s faltering economy and the increased number of natural disasters were signs of “a nation in peril.” He said those problems provide the broader context for Obama’s rise. [7]

In response to Farrakhan’s remarks, the Obama campaign promptly released a response distancing himself from the Muslim minister:

“Senator Obama has been clear in his objections to Minister Farrakhan’s past pronouncements and has not solicited the minister’s support,” said Obama spokesman Bill Burton.[8] Obama himself rejected Farrakhan’s support in an NBC debate.

Farrakhan subsequently denied his comments constituted an endorsement saying, he would not tell any one of his followers how to cast their vote, but that they should vote “their own self-interest.” [9]

Other controversial quotes by Farrakhan

“The same year they set up the IRS, they set up the FBI. And the same year they set up the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith… It could be a coincidence… [I want] to see black intellectuals free… I want to see them not controlled by members of the Jewish community.”[41]

Dewey, Kant and Hegel, and the rabbis that wrote the Talmud, make blacks inferior.”[42]

Farrakhan has referred to Jews, Palestinian Arabs, Koreans, and Vietnamese collectively as “bloodsuckers” and maintains that “Murder and lying comes easy for white people.”[43]

“Cokely spoke the truth” and [Jews protested] “because the truth hurts. I know this man Cokely. I know if he said it, he got the stuff to back it up.” — Chicago Sun Times, May 10, 1988, concerning statements by Chicago Black activist and former municipal official Steve Cokely asserting that Jews engaged in an international conspiracy to take over the world, and that Jewish doctors deliberately injected black children with the AIDS virus..” [44]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Louis_Farrakhan

William Ayers:

Ayers was tapped by Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley to shape that city’s now nationally-renowned school reform program.[24] Since 1999 he has served on the board of directors of the Woods Fund of Chicago, an anti-poverty, philanthropic foundation established in 1941. This became controversial in the 2008 United States presidential election, as Barack Obama had served on the board until 2002, with overlapping times of service with Ayers.[25]

Radical history

Ayers became involved in the New Left and the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS).[5] He rose to national prominence as an SDS leader in 1968 and 1969. As head of an SDS regional group, the “Jesse James Gang”, Ayers made decisive contributions to the Weatherman orientation toward militancy.[4]

The groups Ayers headed in Detroit and Michigan became one of the earliest gatherings of what became the Weatherman. Between the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago and the June 1969 SDS convention, Ayers became a prominent leader of the group, which arose as a result of a schism in SDS.[4]

“During that time his infatuation with street fighting grew and he developed a language of confrontational militancy that became more and more extreme over the year [1969]“, former Weatherman member Cathy Wilkerson wrote in 2001. Before this time, Ayers had become a roomate of and strong influence on Terry Robbins, who was two years younger and “came to idolize him”, Wilkerson wrote. From the summer of 1968 to summer 1969, the pair worked closely together, “appearing inseparable at most SDS conventions and meetings”, she wrote. The two competed over things small and large, “including the ability to come up with quick one-liners, quirky names, sexual conquests, street fighting ability, and eventually the ability to talk tough”, she wrote. As Ayers started glorifying violence more and more, Robbins was affected by it. “But while Ayers, according to what he writes, knew that his language, which increasingly glorified violence, was just show, Robbins was one of those who really believed all of it.” Robbins would later be killed in a famous Weatherman explosion.[6]

In June 1969, the Weatherman took control of the SDS at its national convention, where Ayers was elected “Education Secretary”.[4]

Later in 1969, Ayers participated in planting a bomb at a statue dedicated to police casualties in the 1886 Haymarket Riot.[7] The blast broke almost 100 windows and blew pieces of the statue onto the nearby Kennedy Expressway.[8] The statue was rebuilt and unveiled on May 4, 1970, and blown up again by Weatherman on October 6, 1970.[9][8] Built yet again, the city posted a 24-hour police guard to prevent another blast.[8] He participated in the Days of Rage riot in Chicago that October, and in December was at the “War Council” meeting in Flint, Michigan.

The following year he “went underground” with several associates after the Greenwich Village townhouse explosion, in which caused the death of Weatherman member Ted Gold as well as Ayers’ close friend, Terry Robbins, and Ayers girlfriend, Oughton, were killed while a nail bomb was under construction. Kathy Boudin and Cathy Wilkerson survived the blast. Ayers was not facing criminal charges at the time, but the federal government later filed charges against him.[1]

While underground, he and fellow member Bernardine Dohrn married, and the two remained fugitives together, changing identities, jobs and locations. By 1976 or 1977, with federal charges against both fugitives dropped due to prosecutorial misconduct, Ayers was ready to turn himself in to authorities, but Dohrn remained reluctant until after she gave birth to two sons, one born in 1977, the other in 1980. “He was sweet and patient, as he always is, to let me come to my senses on my own”, she later said.[1]

Ayers and Dohrn later became legal guardians to the son of former Weathermen David Gilbert and Kathy Boudin after the boy’s parents were arrested for their part in the Brinks Robbery of 1981.[10]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bill_Ayers

Bernardine Rae Dohrn

Bernardine Rae Dohrn (born January 12, 1942) is a former leader of the 19691980 radical leftist organization Weather Underground. Dohrn became one of the leaders of the Revolutionary Youth Movement (RYM), a radical wing of Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), in the late 1960s. The ninth annual national SDS conference was held in Chicago in June 18-22, 1969, and the SDS collapsed in an RYM-led upheaval. In July 1969, Dohrn, Eleanor Raskin, Dianne Donghi, Peter Clapp, David Millstone and Diana Oughton, all representing “Weatherman“, as Dohrn’s faction was now called, traveled to Cuba and met with representatives of the North Vietnamese and Cuban governments.

Dohrn has been criticized for a comment she made about the recent Charles Manson led Tate-LaBianca murders in a speech during the December 1969 “War Council” meeting organized by the Weathermen and attended by about 400 people in Flint, Michigan: “Dig it! First they killed those pigs and then they put a fork in their bellies. Wild!” Dohrn also charged that her fellow left-wingers showed themselves to be scared “honkies” for not burning down Chicago when Black Panther leader Fred Hampton was killed, and urged her audience to arm themselves and be “a fighting force alongside the blacks.” At this point, two months after the Days of Rage, the new Weatherman organization had not used guns or bombs.[6] Dohrn’s husband, Bill Ayers has written that Dohrn was being ironic when she made the statement:[7]

I didn’t hear that exactly, but words that were close enough I guess. Her speech was focused on the murder just days earlier of our friend Fred Hampton, the Black Panther leader […] She linked Fred’s murder to the murders of other Panthers around the country, to the assassinations of Malcolm X and Patrice Lumumba, the CIA attempts on Fidel’s life, and then to the ongoing terror in Viet Nam. “This is the state of the world,” she cried. “This is what screams out for our attention and our response. And what do we find in our newspapers? A sick fascination with a story that has it all: a racist psycho, a killer cult, and a chorus line of Hollywood bodies. Dig it! …”

Later radical history

The Weathermen, as they were known colloquially, conducted a series of bombings against the US government throughout the early 1970s, bombing several federal buildings. Dohrn is a principal signatory on the group’s “Declaration of a State of War” (1970) that formally declared war on the U.S. Government, and completed the group’s transformation from political advocacy to violent action. Dohrn also co-wrote and published the subversive manifesto Prairie Fire (1974), and participated in the covertly-filmed Underground (1976).

After the Greenwich Village townhouse explosion, the accidental detonation of a bomb being made that killed three of the members, all members of Weatherman went underground and the group took on its last and most famous title, the Weather Underground. The Weathermen and Weather Underground were suspected in various bombings — police cars, the National Guard Association building, the U.S. Capitol and the Pentagon. Dohrn allegedly participated in many of the group’s revolutionary activities.[9]

In late 1975, the Weather Underground put out an issue of a magazine, Osawatamie, which carried an article by Dohrn, “Our Class Struggle”, described as a speech given to the organization’s cadres on September 2 of that year. In the article, Dohrn clearly stated support for Communist ideology:[10]

We are building a communist organization to be part of the forces which build a revolutionary communist party to lead the working class to seize power and build socialism. […] We must further the study of Marxism-Leninism within the WUO [Weather Underground Organization]. The struggle for Marxism-Leninism is the most significant development in our recent history. […] We discovered thru [sic] our own experiences what revolutionaries all over the world have found — that Marxism-Leninism is the science of revolution, the revolutionary ideology of the working class, our guide to the struggle.

According to a 1974 FBI study of the group, Dohrn’s article signaled a developing commitment to Marxism-Leninism that had not been clear in the groups previous statements, despite trips to Cuba by some members of the group before and after Weather Underground was formed, and contact with Vietnamese communists there.[10]

While on the run from police, Dohrn married another Weatherman leader Bill Ayers, with whom she has two children. During the last years of their underground life, Dohrn and Ayers resided in the Logan Square neighborhood of Chicago, where they used the aliases Christine Louise Douglas and Anthony J. Lee. [9]

In the late 1970s, the Weatherman group split into two factions — the “May 19 Coalition” and the “Prairie Fire Collective” — with Dohrn and Ayers in the latter. The Prairie Fire Collective favored coming out of hiding, with members facing the criminal charges against them, while the May 19 Coalition continued in hiding. A decisive factor in Dohrn’s coming out of hiding were her concerns about her children.[6]

The couple turned themselves in to authorities in 1980. While some charges relating to their activities with the Weathermen were dropped due to governmental misconduct,[11] Dohrn pled guilty to charges of aggravated battery and bail jumping, receiving probation.[12] She later served less than a year of jail time, after refusing to testify against ex-Weatherman Susan Rosenberg in an armed robbery case.[13] Shortly after turning themselves in, Dohrn and Ayers became legal guardians of the son of former members of the Weather Underground, Kathy Boudin and David Gilbert, after they were convicted of murder for their roles in a 1981 armored car robbery.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bernardine_Dohrn

Note: During the armored car robbery the First black police officer on the force was killed.

Waverly L. Brown(19351981) was an Nyack, New York police officer who was killed in the line of duty during an infamous 1981 armed robbery of a Brinks Armored Car, along with fellow Nyack officer Edward O’Grady and Brinks security guard Peter Paige. The event garnered national headlines and led the arrest and imprisonment of several people involved, many of whom were members of the Weather Underground and Black Liberation Army.

Prior to his law enforcement career, Brown served in the United States Air Force and participated in the Korean War. In 1966, he became the first African American member of Nyack’s police department[1]. By 1981, he had served with the department for 15 years. Nicknamed “Chipper”, he was well liked by his fellow officers, and often cooked meals for them during his shift[2]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Waverly_Brown

Frank Marshall Davis

Frank Marshall Davis (December 31, 1905, Arkansas City, Kansas; July 26, 1987, Honolulu, Hawaii) was an American journalist, poet and political and labor movement activist. He was investigated for his links with the Communist party in the United States. In 1950, the congressional House Un-American Activities Committee accused Davis of involvement in several communist-front organizations. The committee concluded that the Honolulu Record “is a front for the Communist Party, despite the fact that the paper does not make this admission.” (Report at p. 12) [10] The committee’s report on the Honolulu Record states the following about Davis:

Mr. Davis’ column defends Communists and attacks capitalism with the same vigor as columns appearing regularly in the Daily Worker and other frankly Communist publications. Typical of Mr. Davis’ remarks are the following: “Democracy today lies weak and slowly dying from the poison administered by the divident doctors in Washington and Wall Street who have fooled a trusting public into believing that they are the specialists who would save us from the dread diseases of socialism and communism. . . . They hope to hand us fascism disguised as the healed democracy.” (Honolulu Record, July 28, 1949, p. 8). Mr. Davis constantly defended the 11 top United States Communist officials recently convicted in New York on charges of conspiracy to advocate the overthrow of the Government by force and violence. One of Mr. Davis’ comments on the case was as follows : “I feel strong sympathy for the Communist minority who are being oppressed for their political beliefs.” (Honolulu Record, October 20, 1949, p. 6). When Mr. Davis’ column first appeared in the Record in May 1949, the Record boasted that the author was a member of the national executive board of the Civil Rights Congress. The organization is cited as Communist by Attorney General Tom Clark as well as by the Committee on Un-American Activities. Mr. Davis has signed a number of statements in behalf of Communists under the sponsorship of the Civil Rights Congress; one of these defended was Gerhart Eisler, notorious Communist international agent who escaped jailing for passport fraud by fleeing to the Soviet sector of Germany. Other front organizations of the Communist Party with which Mr. Davis has associated include : American Youth for Democracy, Abraham Lincoln School, National Federation for Constitutional Liberties, League of American Writers, the National Negro Congress, and the Hawaii Civil Liberties Committee.[10]

Purported link between Davis and Barack Obama

In his autobiographical Dreams from My Father, U.S. Senator and Democratic Party presidential candidate Barack Obama wrote about “Frank”, a friend of his grandfather’s. “Frank” told Obama that they both grew up only 50 miles apart, near Wichita, although they did not meet until Hawaii, and told him about the days of Jim Crow in Kansas. As Obama remembered, “It made me smile, thinking back on Frank and his old Black Power, dashiki self. In some ways he was as incurable as my mother, as certain in his faith, living in the same sixties time warp that Hawaii had created.”[12].

Gerald Horne, a professor, writer, Communist Party historian and contributing editor of Political Affairs, stated that “Frank” was Davis, and further claimed he was a “decisive influence” on Obama.[13

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frank_Marshall_Davis

Rashid Khalidi

Allegations of PLO connections

Khalidi has been accused of having ties to the Palestinian Liberation Organization, based on his work for Wafa in the late 1980s. Khalidi has been accused of being “a director of the Palestinian press agency,” publishing an “adulatory book” on the PLO in which he personally thanked Yasser Arafat,[15] and acting as an advisor to the Palestinian delegation during peace negotiations.[16] Khalidi denied the allegation that he served as a PLO spokesman.[17] Khalidi explained that he often spoke to journalists in Beirut, and was usually cited, without attribution, as a well-informed Palestinian source. He also said that he was unaware of any misidentification as a PLO spokesman.[15]

The claim received renewed attention in 2008 when it was raised due to a reported friendship between Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama and Khalidi’s family when Khalidi taught at the University of Chicago. Articles by Aaron Klein and John Bachelor, writers respectively for conservative outlets World Net Daily and Human Events, were referenced by rival political campaigns and reprinted in wider-circulation media.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rashid_Khalidi

Father Michael Pfleger

Michael Louis Pfleger (born May 22, 1949[1]) is a Roman Catholic priest and social activist in Chicago, Illinois.

Pfleger’s social activism has brought him attention throughout Chicago and beyond. He has often collaborated and associated with African American religious, political and social activists such as Jeremiah Wright, Joseph Lowery, Jesse Jackson, Cornel West, and Louis Farrakhan.[5]

On March 28, 2008, Pfleger invited Jeremiah Wright, former pastor of presidential candidate Barack Obama, to deliver a blessing at Saint Sabina during a visit by poet Maya Angelou. Wright had been criticized by political pundits for making what they considered anti-American statements in a sermon, but Pfleger came to Wright’s defense. “I wanted him to come here so he could see that people really stand with him and support him while he’s under all this attack. America, unfortunately, has been really cheated of knowing the real Dr. Wright,” said Pfleger.[15] In a statement on Saint Sabina’s website, Pfleger wrote, “Dr. Wright is one of the great biblical scholars of our country and the best of preachers in the prophetic tradition. Dr. Wright has been shamefully demonized by 30 second sound bites that have tried to re-define him into someone other than who he is.”

Controversy during 2008 presidential election

On May 25, 2008, Pfleger gave a sermon at Trinity United Church of Christ, then the church of Presidential candidate Barack Obama, where he mocked Hillary Clinton, Obama’s opponent for the Democratic Party nomination. Pfleger imitated Clinton by saying, “I really believe that she just always thought, ‘This is mine. I’m Bill’s wife. I’m white, and this is mine. I just gotta get up and step into the plate.’ Then out of nowhere came, ‘Hey, I’m Barack Obama,’ and she said, ‘Oh, damn! Where did you come from? I’m white. I’m entitled. There’s a black man stealing my show!’”

After hearing about Pfleger’s remarks, Obama said he was “deeply disappointed in Father Pfleger’s divisive, backward-looking rhetoric”. Pfleger later released a statement through St. Sabina that read, “I regret the words I chose Sunday. These words are inconsistent with Sen. Obama’s life and message, and I am deeply sorry if they offended Sen. Clinton or anyone else who saw them.”[21] On May 31, 2008, Obama resigned his membership in Trinity Church, saying that his campaign had caused the church to receive excessive media attention.[22] On June 1, 2008, Pfleger released a longer apology to the St. Sabina parish regarding the incident and its aftermath.[23]

On June 3, 2008, Cardinal George asked Pfleger to take a temporary leave of absence from St. Sabina. George said in a statement, “I have asked Father Michael Pfleger, Pastor of St. Sabina’s Parish, to step back from his obligations there and take leave for a couple of weeks from his pastoral duties, effective today. Fr. Pfleger does not believe this to be the right step at this time. While respecting his disagreement, I have nevertheless asked him to use this opportunity to reflect on his recent statements and actions in the light of the Church’s regulations for all Catholic priests. I hope that this period will also be a time away from the public spotlight and for rest and attention to family concerns.”[24] Pfleger resumed his parish duties on June 16, 2008.

George Soros: Obama and Move on Supporter

George Soros (pronounced /ˈsɔroʊs/ or /ˈsɔrəs/,[2] Hungarian IPA: [ˈʃoroʃ]) (born August 12, 1930, in Budapest, Hungary, as György Schwartz) is a Hungarian-born American financial speculator, stock investor, philanthropist, and political activist.[3]

Currently, he is the chairman of Soros Fund Management and the Open Society Institute and is also a former member of the Board of Directors of the Council on Foreign Relations. According to his own website, Soros claims his support for the Solidarity labour movement in Poland, as well as the Czechoslovak human rights organization Charter 77, contributed to ending Soviet Union political dominance in those countries.[4] His funding and organization of Georgia’s Rose Revolution was considered by Russian and Western observers to have been crucial to its success, although Soros said his role has been “greatly exaggerated.” In the United States, he is known for having donated large sums of money in a failed effort to defeat President George W. Bush’s bid for re-election in 2004. On BookTV, November 12, 2007, he said that he supports Barack Obama for the Democratic candidate in the 2008 election, but says that John Edwards, Hillary Clinton, or Joe Biden are all fine candidates, as well. Soros is famously known for “breaking the Bank of England” on Black Wednesday in 1992. With an estimated current net worth of around $8.5 billion, he is ranked by Forbes as the 80th-richest person in the world.[1]

In April 2008, Soros hosted an event in his apartment that had guests such as David Brock of the self-described progressive watchdog group Media Matters and liberal commentator Paul Begala. Brock described that the plan intends to raise $40 million to run political attack advertisements against the presumptive Republican nominee, Senator John McCain, through a group called The Fund for America and Progressive Media, whose key backer, according to politico.com, is Soros. [36] Commentator Bill O’Reilly, who on numerous occasions has accused Soros of secretly backing what O’Reilly feels are “far-left” political causes, repeated Soros “wants to buy America” after learning about the event.

Acorn Community Org

Obama did legal worked for them and he also was one of their community organizers in Chicago.

ACORN, the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, a community organization of low- and moderate-income families that addresses housing, schools, neighborhood safety, health care, job conditions, and other social issues that affect its members. With a membership of over 350,000, ACORN is organized into more than 850 neighborhood chapters in over 100 cities across the United States, as well as in Argentina, Canada, Mexico, and Peru. The organization was born out of the American Civil Rights Movement. ACORN was founded in 1970 by Wade Rathke, George Wiley, and Gary Delgado.[1] Maude Hurd has been National President of ACORN since 1990.

Allegations of election fraud

On September 7, 2004, a Columbus, Ohio grand jury indicted ACORN employee and felony parolee Kevin Eugene Dooley for election fraud. The indictment charges Dooley forged a signature to a voter registration form.[15]

During the 2004 election, an ACORN member named Mac Stuart was working for ACORN’s voter registration effort in Miami-Dade County. Stuart reported seeing ACORN workers copying voter registration forms, which is illegal under Florida law, and segregating voter registration forms for Republicans that were not subsequently turned into the County. After Stuart reported these irregularities to the election officials, ACORN fired him. Stuart filed suit against ACORN in May, 2005 for wrongful termination. ACORN countersued for defamation. Stuart’s lawsuit was dismissed on the grounds that he couldn’t prove he was terminated for reporting the allegations of fraud to the authorities and his allegations of fraud were ruled by the judge as baseless (this was the last of three fraud cases related to the 2004 elections brought against Florida ACORN all of which were dismissed).[16]

In August 2004 a lawsuit was filed in Albuquerque alleging that New Mexico Secretary of State Rebecca Vigil-Giron improperly exempted individuals who registered to vote through canvassers from requirements that some new registrants submit ID at polling places.[17] In a court case, ACORN director Matt Henderson invoked his Fifth Amendment rights when asked if his group made illegal copies of voter registration cards before submitting them. The Albuquerque Tribune claims he told them this was done.[17]

In January 2005 two ex-ACORN workers were convicted in Denver of perjury for submitting false voter registrations.[18] Some other investigations responding to fraud allegations ended in Colorado, Wisconsin,[16] and Ohio after finding no evidence of pervasive voter fraud.[citation needed]

On November 1, 2006, four part time ACORN employees were indicted in Kansas City, Missouri for voter registration fraud, after being caught, fired, and turned in by ACORN. Federal indictments allege two counts each of voter registration fraud. Prosecutors said the indictments are part of a national investigation.[19] ACORN said in a press release that it is in large part responsible in these individuals being caught, and has cooperated and publicly supported efforts to look into the validity of the allegations.[20]

ACORN was investigated in 2006 for submitting false voter registrations in St. Louis, Missouri. 1,492 fraudulent voter registrations were identified, some from the dead and others for underage voters who were not aware they had been registered by ACORN.[21]

ACORN was investigated in 2007 by King County, Washington for filing false registrations. An elections department employee called 400 phone numbers that were provided on the cards from a sample of those turned in by ACORN. Of the 400 phone numbers, only two were good, and both people denied filling out voter registration cards. The registrations were turned in after the deadline to register and the registrations were not processed for the 2006 election.[22] On July 26, 2007, felony charges were filed against seven ACORN employees including supervisors for filing 1762 false registrations.[

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Association_of_Community_Organizations_for_Reform_Now

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5 Responses to “A List of Obama’s Friends and Associates”

  1. tehbloggaar Says:
    I think Obama would be a very poor choice and will send America into chaos. Check out these two blogs on both of them. It’s a collection of blog posts and videos from around the web about the elections and the crooks running for office.

    NObama.tumblr.com

  2. Jennifer Says:
    I felt bad for Hillary. Now I feel bad for John McCain and, in fact, anyone who will run against Obama. Besides Obama’s questionable associates, there are alot of other “dirty politics” he continues to play. Now he does not honor his pledge to take public financing and so he will be able to raise as much as $500 million in the last two months of his campaign, a definite and increasing money war chest and a definite advantage over his opponent who sticks to the pledge he made on accepting public funding. t. With Obama, so far it seems “dirty politics” of lying, evasion, etc. combined with an aggressive campaign of “change” and criticizing and blaming his opponent and the present administration for all the problems today helps pave his way to the White House, especially as there is so little the public really knows about him in the relatively short time he has been in the national spotlight. Now he can also get the opportunity to BUY his way into the White House. I hope that facts will start getting out and that he will have to answer for the things he is evading AND that the mainstream media stops contributing to the illusionary image of this man that the public and the voters are being asked to buy into.
  3. goodtimepolitics Says:
    Not only all those things, but how about this, would not all pastors and churches be guilty not just the ones that back John McCain! How much more will the American people take before they stop and smell the roses! Obama is trouble!
    I don’t know who made the list of Obama friends above but thanks you did one heck of a job!
    http://goodtimepolitics.com/2008/06/20/freedom-of-expression-vs-separation-of-church-and-state/
  4. Ryan Says:
    Finding out he worked for Acorn it made perfect sense why there was so many problems with the caucuses. This guy is the worlds best liar and now he puts himself out there going I am not taking the money and keep my word! Oh hell NO! I like to spend like mad and so why limit myself? He is so not cool!
  5. soulwarriorone Says:
    amazing list…awesome job!!
    Shouldn’t Soros be right at the top, tho? lol
    thanks for posting this!

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