BARACK HUSSEIN OBAMA
April 5, 2011
Democrat Barack Hussein Obama, Jr. was elected President of the United States on November 4, 2008. Prior to that, he had served four years as a U.S. senator from Illinois (2005-2008) and eight years as an Illinois state senator (1996-2004).
Obama was born in Hawaii on August 4, 1961, to a white mother from Kansas (Anna Dunham) and a black Muslim father from Kenya (Barack Hussein Obama, Sr.). The couple had met when they were students at the University of Hawaii. When they married, Anna was unaware that her new husband was still legally married to a woman in Kenya, whom he had wed in 1954, and with whom he had fathered four children.
In his 1995 memoir Dreams from My Father, Barack Obama, Jr. describes his mother as “a lonely witness for secular humanism, a soldier for New Deal, Peace Corps, position-paper liberalism.” His father was a communist who had left his rural Luo-speaking village and his own Muslim father to become an “agnostic” and study economics abroad.
When Barack Obama, Jr. was two years old, his father left the family and moved to Cambridge, Massachusetts, where he pursued graduate studies at Harvard University. In January 1964 Anna Dunham filed for divorce. In 1965 Mr. Obama migrated to Kenya, where he became a globe-traveling economist for that nation's government. He would see his son only one more time, during a month-long visit in 1971.
When Barack Obama, Jr. was six, his mother married an Indonesian oil manager, a “non-practicing Muslim” named Lolo Soetoro, and the family moved to Jakarta, Indonesia, where the boy's half-sister Maya was born. The family would reside there for four years. Obama attended school in Indonesia under the name Barry Soetoro; at that time, only Indonesian citizens were permitted to attend school in that country.
Muslim Upbringing as a Child:
Vis à vis Barack Obama’s religious upbringing, Islam scholar Daniel Pipes reports the following:
“In Islam, religion passes from the father to the child. Barack Hussein Obama, Sr. [his Kenyan birth father] was a Muslim who named his boy Barack Hussein Obama, Jr. Only Muslim children are named ‘Hussein’.… [Barack Obama’s] stepfather, Lolo oetoro, was also a Muslim. In fact, as Obama's half-sister, Maya Soetoro-Ng explained to Jodi Kantor of the New York Times: ‘My whole family was Muslim, and most of the people I knew were Muslim.’ An Indonesian publication, the Banjarmasin Post reports a former classmate, Rony Amir, recalling that ‘All the relatives of Barry's [Barack’s] father were very devout Muslims.’”
Obama’s good friend, the attorney and novelist Scott Turow, writes that Obama as a child spent “two years in a Muslim school, then two more in a Catholic school.” School records show that when Obama attended Catholic school, he was enrolled as a Muslim.
Journalist Paul Watson of the Los Angeles Times learned from Obama’s childhood friends that “Obama sometimes went to Friday prayers at the local mosque.”
Kim Barker of the Chicago Tribune found that “Obama occasionally followed his stepfather to the mosque for Friday prayers.”
An Indonesian friend of Obama, Zulfin Adi, states that “[Obama] was Muslim. He went to the mosque. I remember him wearing a sarong [a garment associated with Muslims].”
Obama's former classmate in Indonesia, the aforementioned Rony Amir, recalls Obama as having been “previously quite religious in Islam.”
In December 2007 Obama would say, “I've always been a Christian. The only connection I've had to Islam is that my grandfather on my father's side came from that country [Kenya]. But I've never practiced Islam.”
In February 2008 he elaborated, “I have never been a Muslim.… [O]ther than my name and the fact that I lived in a populous Muslim country for four years when I was a child [Indonesia, 1967-71], I have very little connection to the Islamic religion.”
The 1970s and CPUSA Member Frank Marshall Davis:
In 1971, Obama was sent back to Hawaii to be raised largely by his white, middle-class, maternal grandparents, and to attend the prestigious Punahou Academy. For only one month of his life, also when he was ten, Obama was visited by his biological father.
During his years in Hawaii, Obama attended Sunday school at the First Unitarian Church of Honolulu, which, according to a 2009 statement by its pastor, "has always been, and to this day still is, involved in political activism." In the 1970s, First Unitarian served as a sanctuary for draft dodgers and had close ties to the radical Students for a Democratic Society(SDS), where Weatherman leader (and future Obama political ally) Bill Ayers was a prominent figure.
Also in the Seventies, the Obama family became friendly with Frank Marshall Davis (1905-1987), a black writer and fellow Hawaiian resident. Davis wrote for the Honolulu Record (a Communist newspaper) and was a known member of the Soviet-controlled Communist Party USA (CPUSA). He soon became the young Barack Obama’s mentor and advisor.
In Dreams From My Father, Obama writes about Davis but does not reveal the latter’s full name, identifying him only as “a poet named Frank” -- a man with much “hard-earned knowledge” who had known “some modest notoriety once” but was now “pushing eighty.” (Several sources -- including Professor Gerald Horne, Dr. Kathryn Takara, and libertarian writer Trevor Loudon -- have confirmed that Obama’s “Frank” was indeed Frank Marshall Davis.)
Obama in his book recounts how, just prior to heading off to Occidental College (in California) in 1979, he spent some time with “Frank and his old Black Power dashiki self.” Obama writes that “Frank” not only had told him that college was merely “an advanced degree in compromise,” but also had cautioned him not to “start believing what they tell you about equal opportunity and the American way and all that sh--.”
As of December 1980, Obama was a doctrinaire Marxist who had been active in the anti-apartheid movement and had attended meetings of the Democratic Socialists of America. He believed that a Communist revolution in the U.S. was imminent, and that the recent election of Ronald Reagan to the presidency was nothing more than a minor set-back to that revolution.
Seeking out Radicals at Occidental College:
In his 1995 memoir Dreams from My Father, Obama recalls the following about his days at Occidental:
"To avoid being mistaken for a sellout,I chose my friends carefully. The more politically active black students. The foreign students. The Chicanos.The Marxist Professors and the structural feminists and punk-rock performance poets.We smoked cigarettes and wore leather jackets. At night,in the dorms,we discussed neocolonialism, [the socialist, anti-colonialist revolutionary] Franz Fanon,Eurocentrism,and patriarchy. When we ground out our cigarettes in the hallway carpet or set our stereos so loud that the walls began to shake, we were resisting bourgeois society's stifling constraints. We weren't indifferent or careless or insecure. We were alienated."
From Occidental, Obama transferred to Columbia University in New York City, where he graduated in 1983 with a degree in political science.
Socialist Scholars Conferences:
In Dreams From My Father, Obama reveals that during his
student years at Columbia he “went to socialist conferences at
Cooper Union and African cultural fairs in Brooklyn.” Specifically,
these were Socialist Scholars Conferences (SSC), which featured the elite
of socialist academia as well as union activists, political
revolutionaries, reformers, and opponents of “corporate greed.” According
to the libertarian writer Trevor Loudon, guest speakers at these
conferences included “members of the Communist Party USA and its
offshoot, the Committees of Correspondence, as well as
Maoists, Trotskyists, black radicals, gay activists and radical
Matthew Vadum and Jeremy Lott provide an excellent explanation of what a community organizer does. They writea>: :
“What does a “community organizer” do? Good question. Ever since former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani mocked Senator Barack Obama at the Republican convention in September 2008, for the senator’s community organizing past, and Alaska Governor Sarah Palin said that her previous experience as mayor was “sort of like a ‘community organizer,’ except that you have actual responsibilities,” [Obama’s] supporters have been furiously spinning this one. They’ve suggested a fanciful interpretation of “community organizer” that includes organizing church picnics and bake sales. Some have even had the cheek to suggest that Jesus Christ was a community organizer.
“In that spirit, we suggest a better historical precedent: Lenin. Community organizing is leftist, anti-capitalist agitation. It’s about making people angry so they push for change, and the kind of change they seek is rarely good. Community organizers are essentially professional political activists who believe that something is terribly wrong with America and that they are the ones we’ve been waiting for to fix it.”
Dr. Thomas Sowell, the eminent Stanford University sociologist, offers href="http://jewishworldreview.com/cols/sowell072809.php3">this assessment of what community organizers do:
&q"For 'community organizers' ... racial resentments are a stock in trade.... What does a community organizer do? What he does not do is organize a community. What he organizes are the resentments and paranoia within a community, directing those feelings against other communities, from whom either benefits or revenge are to be gotten, using whatever rhetoric or tactics will accomplish that purpose."
Obama applied for work as a community organizer with groups across the United States while working as a writer and financial analyst for Business International Corporation.
One small group of 20-odd churches in Chicago offered Obama a job helping residents of poor, predominantly black, Far South Side neighborhoods. Accepting that opportunity, Obama moved to Chicago and in June 1985 became Director of the Developing Communities Project, where he worked for the next three years on initiatives that ranged from job training to school reform to hazardous waste cleanup. David Freddoso, author of the 2008 book The Case Against Barack Obama, summarizes Obama's community-organizing efforts as follows:
"He pursued manifestly worthy goals; protecting people from asbestos in government housing projects is obviously a good thing and a responsibility of the government that built them. But [in every case except one] the proposed solution to every problem on the South Side was a distribution of government funds ..."
Trained in the Saul Alinsky Method:
Three of Obama's mentors in Chicago were trained at the Saul Alinsky-founded Industrial Areas Foundation (IAF) in the Windy City. (The Developing Communities Project itself was an affiliate of the Gamaliel Foundation, whose modus operandi for the creation of “a more just and democratic society” is rooted firmly in the Alinsky method.) Alinsky was known for having helped to establish the aggressive political tactics that characterized the 1960s, and which have remained central to all subsequent revolutionary movements in the United States.
In the Alinsky model, “organizing” is a euphemism for “revolution” -- a wholesale revolution whose ultimate objective is the systematic acquisition of power by a purportedly oppressed segment of the population, and the radical transformation of America's social and economic structure. The goal is to foment enough public discontent, moral confusion, and outright chaos to spark the social upheaval that Marx, Engels, and Lenin predicted -- a revolution whose foot soldiers view the status quo as fatally flawed and wholly unworthy of salvation. Thus, the theory goes, the people will settle for nothing less than that status quo’s complete collapse -- to be followed by the erection of an entirely new system upon its ruins. Toward that end, they will be apt to follow the lead of charismatic radical organizers who project an aura of confidence and vision, and who profess to clearly understand what types of societal “change” is needed.
But Alinsky's brand of revolution was not characterized by dramatic, sweeping, overnight transformations of social institutions. As Richard Poe puts it, “Alinsky viewed revolution as a slow, patient process. The trick was to penetrate existing institutions such as churches, unions and political parties.” Alinsky advised organizers and their disciples to quietly, subtly gain influence within the decision-making ranks of these institutions, and to introduce changes from that platform.
One of Obama's early mentors in the Alinsky method, Mike Kruglik, would later say the following about Obama:
"He was a natural, the undisputed master of agitation, who could engage a room full of recruiting targets in a rapid-fire Socratic dialogue, nudging them to admit that they were not living up to their own standards. As with the panhandler, he could be aggressive and confrontational. With probing, sometimes personal questions, he would pinpoint the source of pain in their lives, tearing down their egos just enough before dangling a carrot of hope that they could make things better."
For several years, Obama himself taught workshops on the Alinsky method.
Introduction to ACORN and Project Vote:
Beginning in the mid-1980s, Obama worked with ACORN, a grassroots political organization that grew out of George Wiley's National Welfare Rights Organization (NWRO). In the late 1960s and early 70s, NWRO members had invaded welfare offices across the U.S. -- often violently -- bullying social workers and loudly demanding every penny to which the law “entitled” them.
Obama also worked for Project Vote, ACORN's voter-mobilization arm. Project Vote’s professed purpose was, and remains, to carry out “non-partisan” voter-registration drives; to counsel voters on their rights; and to litigate on behalf of the voting rights of the poor and the “disenfranchised.” Obama was the attorney for ACORN's lead election-law cases, and he worked as a trainer at ACORN's annual conferences, where he taught members of the organization the art of radical community organizing.
Harvard Law School and Khalid al-Mansour:
In 1988 Obama applied for admission to Harvard Law School. At the time, a Muslim attorney and black nationalist named Khalid Abdullah Tariq al-Mansour asked civil rights activist Percy Sutton to send a letter of recommendation to his (Sutton's) friends at Harvard on Obama's behalf.
Al-Mansour formerly had been a close personal adviser to Huey Newton and Bobby Seale, having helped them establish the Black Panther Party in the 1960s. He thereafter became an advisor to a number of Saudi billionaires known for funding the spread of Wahhabi extremism in America. Al-Mansour also showed himself to be a passionate hater of the United States, Israel, and white people generally.
With al-Mansour's help, Obama in 1988 was accepted by Harvard Law School, where he became president of the Harvard Law Review. He graduated magna cum laude in 1991.
From April to November of 1992, Obama served as the Director of “Illinois Project Vote,” which registered approximately 150,000 mostly poor, mostly Democratic voters in Chicago’s Cook County before that year’s presidential election.
Also in 1992, Obama married Michelle Robinson (now Michelle Obama).
Litigator for Davis, Miner, Barnhill & Galland, P.C.:
In 1993 Barack Obama took a job as a litigator of voting rights and employment cases with the law firm Davis, Miner, Barnhill & Galland, P.C. (a.k.a. Davis Miner). That same year, he also became a lecturer at the University of Chicago Law School.
In 1994 Obama worked for Davis Miner on a case titled Barnett v. Daley, where he was part of a legal team that challenged the racial makeup of Chicago’s voting districts. The Obama team sought to raise the number of black super-majority districts from 19 to 24. According to the judge in the case, Richard Posner, Obama and his fellow litigators held that “no black aldermanic candidate in Chicago has ever beaten a white in a ward that had a black majority of less than 62.6 percent, and it is emphatic that the ward in which the population is 55 percent black is not a black ward -- is indeed a white ward, even though only 42 percent of its population is white.”
In a 1995 class action lawsuit known as Buycks-Roberson v. Citibank, Obama and his fellow Davis Miner attorneys represented the plaintiffs in charging that Citibank was making too few loans to black applicants. The suit demanded that the bank grant mortgages to an equal percentage of minority and non-minority mortgage applicants. Under pressure, Citibank settled the case three years later after agreeing to increase its lending to unqualified applicants. (These so-called "subprime" loans set the stage for the cataclysmic housing, banking, and economic crisis of 2008 -- a crisis which the American public blamed largely on Republicans, and which therefore essentially sealed Obama's presidential victory that year.)
More ACORN Connections:
Also in 1995, Obama sued, on behalf of ACORN, for the implementation of the Motor Voter law in Illinois. Jim Edgar, the state's Republican governor, opposed the law because he believed that allowing voters to register using only a postcard would breed widespread fraud.
ACORN would later invite Obama to help train its staff. Moreover, Obama eventually would sit on the Board of the Woods Fund of Chicago, which gave a number of sizable grants to ACORN -- including $45,000 in 2000, $75,000 in 2001, and $70,000 in 2002.
Million Man March (1995):
Obama -- along with such notables as Al Sharpton and Jeremiah Wright -- helped organize the October 1995 Million Man March in Washington, DC, which featured Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan. Said Obama in the immediate aftermath of the March:
“What I saw was a powerful demonstration of an impulse and need for African-American men to come together to recognize each other and affirm our rightful place in the society…. Historically, African-Americans have turned inward and towards black nationalism whenever they have a sense, as we do now, that the mainstream has rebuffed us, and that white Americans couldn’t care less about the profound problems African-Americans are facing.”
Obama Smears "White Executives" in "the Suburbs":
In a 1995 interview, Obama made reference to a hypothetical "white executive living out in the suburbs, who doesn't want to pay taxes to inner city children for them to go to school."
Obama Endorses "Collective Salvation":
In the same 1995 interview, Obama said:
"I worked as a community organizer in Chicago. I was very active in low-income neighborhoods, working on issues of crime and education and employment, and seeing that in some ways, certain portions of the African American community are doing as bad if not worse, and recognizing that my fate remained tied up with their fates, that my individual salvation is not going to come about without a collective salvation for the country. Unfortunately I think that recognition requires that we make sacrifices, and this country has not always been willing to make the sacrifices necessary to bring about a new day and a new age.
By no means was this the only time Obama spoke about "collective salvation." In a 1998 radio interview he said: "... my individual salvation is not going to come about without a collective salvation for the country. Um, unfortunately I think that recognition requires that we make sacrifices and this country has not always been willing to make the sacrifices necessary to bring about a new day and a new age."
In 2004, while promoting his book Dreams from My Father, Obama said: "My individual salvation depends on our collective salvation."
In a Northwestern University commencement speech in June 2006, Obama said: "[W]hat I've found in my life is that my individual salvation depends on our collective salvation. Because it's only when you hitch your wagon to something larger than yourself that you'll realize your true potential, that you'll become full grown."
Obama Identifies White "Suppression" of Blacks As a Problem in the United States, As Elsewhere:
In the same 1995 interview, Obama said:
"... [T]he truth of the matter is that many of the problems that Africa faces, whether it's poverty or political suppression or ethnic conflict is just as prominent there and can't all be blamed on the effects of colonialism. What it can be blamed on is some of the common factors that affect Bosnia or Los Angeles or all kinds of places on this earth, and that is the tendency for one group to try to suppress another group in the interest of power or greed or resources or what have you.
Bill Ayers, Bernardine Dohrn, and Obama's Entry into Politics:
In the mid-1990s, Obama developed a friendship with fellow Chicagoans Bill Ayers and his wife Bernardine Dohrn, university professors who hosted meetings at their home to introduce Obama to their neighbors during his first run for the Illinois state senate in 1996. Ayers (who contributed money to Obama’s 1996 campaign) and Dohrn had been leaders of the 1960s domestic terrorist group Weatherman, a Communist-driven splinter faction of Students for a Democratic Society. The pair had participated personally in the bombings of New York City Police Headquarters in 1970, the Capitol building in 1971, and the Pentagon in 1972. To this day, both have remained unrepentant about their former terrorist activities and their hatred of the United States.
There is compelling evidence suggesting that Ayers contributed heavily, if not entirely, to the writing of Obama's 1995 memoir, Dreams From My Father.
When questioned about his relationship with Ayers during an April 2008 Democratic primary debate, Obama responded:
“This is a guy who lives in my neighborhood, who is a professor of English in Chicago, who I know, and who I have not received some official endorsement from. He is not somebody who I exchange ideas from [with] on a regular basis. And the notion that somehow, as a consequence of me knowing somebody who engaged in detestable acts forty years ago when I was eight years old, somehow reflects on me and my values doesn't make much sense … [T]his kind of game, in which anybody who I know, regardless of how flimsy the relationship is, [that] somehow their ideas could be attributed to me, I think the American people are smarter than that. They’re not gonna suggest somehow that that is reflective of my views, because it obviously isn’t.”
Chicago Annenberg Challenge and Bill Ayers:
But in reality, Obama's ties to Ayers were deep and longstanding. In 1995, for instance, Obama was appointed as the first Chairman of the Chicago Annenberg Challenge (CAC), a “school reform organization” founded by Ayers, who would later write, in his book Teaching Toward Freedom, that his educational objective was to “teach against oppression” as embodied in “America’s history of evil and racism, thereby forcing social transformation.”
When National Review Online writer Stanley Kurtz in 2008 asked the Obama presidential campaign about the nature of its candidate's connection to Ayers and the CAC, the campaign issued a statement claiming that Ayers had not been involved in the “recruitment” of Obama to the CAC board in 1995. But when Kurtz reviewed the CAC archives at the Richard J. Daley Library at the University of Illinois, he found that Ayers in fact had been one of five members of a working group that assembled the initial CAC board which hired Obama.
“Ayers founded CAC and was its guiding spirit,” Kurtz wrote in September 2008. “No one would have been appointed the CAC chairman without his approval.” According to Kurtz, the CAC archives show that Obama and Ayers worked as a team to advance the foundation's agenda -- with Obama responsible for fiscal matters while Ayers focused on shaping educational policy. The archived documents further reveal that Ayers served as an ex-officio member of the board that Obama chaired through CAC's first year; that Ayers served with Obama on the CAC governance committee; and that Ayers worked with Obama to write CAC’s bylaws.
A September 2008 WorldNetDaily report offers still more details:
“Ayers made presentations to board meetings chaired by Obama. Ayers also spoke for the Chicago School Reform Collaborative before Obama's board, while Obama periodically spoke for the board at meetings of the collaborative … According to the documents, the CAC granted money to far-leftist causes, such as the radical Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, or ACORN, which …has done work on behalf of Obama's presidential campaign.”
WorldNetDaily reported further that “while Obama chaired the board of the CAC, more than $600,000 was granted to an organization founded by Ayers and run by Mike Klonsky, a former top communist activist. Klonsky was leader of the Marxist-Leninist Communist Party, which was effectively recognized by China as the all-but-official U.S. Maoist party.” Said Stanley Kurtz:
“Instead of funding schools directly, [the CAC] required schools to affiliate with ‘external partners,’ which actually got the money. Proposals from groups focused on math/science achievement were turned down. Instead CAC disbursed money through various far-left community organizers, such as ACORN.”
Kurtz has provided the following synopsis of of the CAC/Ayers agendas:
"The CAC's agenda flowed from Mr. Ayers's educational philosophy, which called for infusing students and their parents with a radical political commitment, and which downplayed achievement tests in favor of activism. In the mid-1960s, Mr. Ayers taught at a radical alternative school, and served as a community organizer in Cleveland's ghetto.
"In works like 'City Kids, City Teachers' and 'Teaching the Personal and the Political,' Mr. Ayers wrote that teachers should be community organizers dedicated to provoking resistance to American racism and oppression. His preferred alternative? 'I'm a radical, Leftist, small-c-communist,' Mr. Ayers said in an interview in Ron Chepesiuk's, 'Sixties Radicals,' at about the same time Mr. Ayers was forming CAC."
Between 1995 and 1999, Obama and CAC distributed $110 million to a variety of leftist education enterprises for "experiments" in Chicago's public schools.
Obama Endorses Ayers' Book:
In December 1997 Obama wrote a blurb praising Ayers' recently published book, A Kind and Just Parent: The Children of Juvenile Court, calling it "a searing and timely account of the juvenile court system, and the courageous individuals who rescue hope from despair."
The Pro-Soviet Alice Palmer Paves Obama's Path to Elected Office:
A notable attendee at the aforementioned political gatherings which
Ayers and Dohrn hosted on behalf of Obama (in the mid-1990s)
was Democratic state senator
Alice J. Palmer (of Illinois’ 13th District), who quickly
developed a friendly relationship with Obama. Prior to her stint in
politics, Palmer had worked for the Black Press Institute and was
editor of the Black Press Review. During the Cold War, she
supported the Soviet Union and spoke out against the United States.
In the 1980s she served as an
board member of the U.S. Peace Council, which the FBI identified
as a Communist front group (and which was an affiliate of the World
Peace Council, an international Soviet front). Palmer participated
in the World Peace Council’s Prague assembly in 1983 -- just as the
USSR was launching its “nuclear freeze” movement, a scheme that
would have frozen Soviet nuclear and military superiority in place.
State senator Palmer was instrumental in Obama's entry into politics. In 1995 Palmer decided to pursue an opportunity to run for a higher office when Mel Reynolds, the congressman from Illinois’ 2nd District, resigned from the House of Representatives amid a sexual scandal involving him and an underage campaign volunteer. As Palmer prepared to leave the state senate, she hand-picked Obama as the person she most wanted to fill her newly vacated senate seat. Toward that end, she introduced Obama to party elders and donors as her preferred successor, and helped him gather the signatures required for getting his name placed on the ballot.
Obama Betrays Palmer:
But in November 1995, Jesse Jackson, Jr. defeated Palmer in a special election for Reynolds’ empty congressional seat. At that point, Palmer filed to retain the Democratic nomination for the state senate seat she had encouraged Obama to pursue; that seat would be up for grabs in the November 1996 elections. She asked Obama to politely withdraw from the race and offered to help him find an alternative position elsewhere.
But Obama refused to withdraw, so Palmer resolved to run against him (and two other opponents who also had declared their candidacy) in the 1996 Democratic primary. To get her name placed on the ballot, Palmer hastily gathered more than the minimum number of signatures required. Obama promptly challenged the legitimacy of those signatures and charged Palmer with fraud. A subsequent investigation found that a number of the names on Palmer’s petition were invalid, thus she was knocked off the ballot. (Names could be eliminated from a candidate's petition for a variety of reasons. For example, if a name was printed rather than written in cursive script, it was considered invalid. Or if the person collecting the signatures was not registered to perform that task, any signatures that he or she had collected likewise were nullified.)
Obama also successfully challenged the signatures gathered by his other two opponents, and both of them were disqualified as well. Consequently, Obama ran unopposed in the Democratic primary and won by default.
“I liked Alice Palmer a lot,” Obama would later reflect. “I thought she was a good public servant. It [the process by which Obama had gotten Palmer's name removed from the ballot] was very awkward. That part of it I wish had played out entirely differently.”
Endorsement by the New Party:
In 1995 Barack Obama sought the endorsement of the so-called New Party for his 1996 state senate run. He was successful in obtaining that endorsement, and he used a number of New Party volunteers as campaign workers. By 1996, Obama himself had become a member of the New Party.
Co-founded in 1992 by Daniel Cantor (a former staffer for Jesse Jackson's 1988 presidential campaign) and Joel Rogers (a sociology and law professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison), the New Party was a socialist political coalition whose objective was to endorse and elect leftist public officials -- most often Democrats. The New Party’s short-term objective was to move the Democratic Party leftward, thereby setting the stage for the eventual rise of new socialist third party.
Most New Party members hailed from the Democratic Socialists of America and ACORN. The party’s Chicago chapter also included a large contingent from the Committees of Correspondence, a Marxist coalition of former Maoists, Trotskyists, and Communist Party USA members.
On April 7, 2010, Trevor Loudon of NewZealblogsopt reported:
Obama was involved as early as 1993, with a New Party "sister" organization - ref="http://keywiki.org/index.php/Progressive_Chicago">Progressive Chicago. This organization was formed by members of the New Party as a support group for "progressive" candidates. It's main instigators included New Party members Madeline Talbott of Chicago ACORN and Dan Swinney, a Chicago labor unionist....Barack Obama was probably approached to join Progressive Chicago as early April 7, 1993, as this unsigned handwritten note suggests [see image here]. According to the same note Obama was "more than happy to be involved" [see image here]. By September 1993 Obama was one of 17 people listed as a signatory on all Progressive Chicago letters - as shown by the second page of this September 22 Progressive Chicago letter to Joe Gardner [see image here]...].... It appears beyond doubt that Barack Obama was involved, more than two years before his Illinois State Senate run, with a New Party founded, "sister organization" - Progressive Chicago."
Obama Calls for "Collective Action"; Says the "Christian Right" is Characterized by "Intolerance" and "Narrow-mindedness"; Blames "Society" for "Failing to Educate" Teens Who Get in Trouble:
In a 1995 story in the Chicago Reader, Obama was quoted saying: "In America, we have this strong bias toward individual action. You know, we idolize the John Wayne hero who comes in to correct things with both guns blazing. But individual actions, individual dreams, are not sufficient. We must unite in collective action, build collective institutions and organizations."
"The right wing talks about this but they keep appealing to that old individualistic bootstrap myth: get a job, get rich, and get out. Instead of investing in our neighborhoods, that's what has always happened. Our goal must be to help people get a sense of building something larger.... People are hungry for community; they miss it. They are hungry for change....
"The right wing, the Christian right, has done a good job of building ... organizations of accountability, much better than the left or progressive forces have. But it's always easier to organize around intolerance, narrow-mindedness, and false nostalgia. And they also have hijacked the higher moral ground with this language of family values and moral responsibility.
"Now we have to take this same language—these same values that are encouraged within our families—of looking out for one another, of sharing, of sacrificing for each other—and apply them to a larger society. Let's talk about creating a society, not just individual families, based on these values. Right now we have a society that talks about the irresponsibility of teens getting pregnant, not the irresponsibility of a society that fails to educate them to aspire for more."
The Marxist Carl Davidson and the 1996 State Senate Race:
Another key supporter of Obama’s 1996 state senate campaign was Carl Davidson, a Marxist who in the 1960s had been a national secretary of Students of a Democratic Society and a national leader of the anti-Vietnam War movement. In 1969 Davidson (along with Tom Hayden) helped launch the “Venceremos Brigades,” which covertly transported hundreds of young Americans to Cuba to help harvest sugar cane and interact with Havana’s communist revolutionary leadership. (The Brigades were organized by Fidel Castro's Cuban intelligence agency, which trained "brigadistas" in guerrilla warfare techniques, including the use of arms and explosives.)
In 1988 Davidson founded Networking for Democracy (NFD), a program encouraging high-school students to engage in “mass action” aimed at “tearing down the old structures of race and class privilege” in the United States “and around the world.” In 1992 he became a leader of the newly formed Committees of Correspondence, a Marxist coalition of former Maoists, Trotskyists, and members of the Communist Party USA. In the mid-1990s Davidson was a major player in the Chicago branch of the aforementioned New Party.
Democratic Socialists of America Endorse Obama:
Obama’s 1996 senate campaign also secured the endorsement of the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA), the largest socialist organization in the United States and the principal U.S. affiliate of the Socialist International. Obama’s affiliation with DSA was longstanding, as evidenced by his reference, in Dreams From My Father, to the fact that during his student years at Columbia University he “went to socialist conferences at Cooper Union,” a privately funded college for the advancement of science and art. From the early 1980s until 2004, Cooper Union had served as the usual venue of the annual Socialist Scholars Conference. According to Trevor Loudon, guest speakers at these conferences included “members of the Communist Party USA and its offshoot, the Committees of Correspondence, as well as Maoists, Trotsyists, black radicals, gay activists and radical feminists.” London observes that “Obama speaks of ‘conferences’ plural, indicating [that] his attendance was not the result of accident or youthful curiosity.”
Obama won his 1996 race for the Illinois state senate in the 13th District, which mostly represented poor South Side blacks but also a few wealthy neighborhoods.
A Notable Obama Tie To Alinsky:
In 1998, Obama participated in a panel discussion devoted to the openiing-night performance of a play titled "The Love Song of Saul Alinsky," which was being performed at the Terrapin Theater in Chicago. Another panel member was Heather Booth, who (along with her husband Paul Booth, a founder and former National Secretary of Students for a Democratic Society) had established the Midwest Academy in 1973. The Midwest Academy trains activists in the radical organizing techniques of Saul Alinsky.
In 1994 Obama joined the 12-member board of the Chicago-based Joyce Foundation, which targets its philanthropy in large measure toward organizations dedicated to the agendas of radical environmentalism, “social justice,” prison reform, and increased government funding for social services, particularly for minorities. Obama would remain a board member for eight years, during which time the Joyce Foundation made grants to such groups as the Chicago Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, the Children's Defense Fund of Ohio, the Jane Addams Resource Corporation, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, the World Wildlife Fund, the National Wildlife Federation, the Sierra Club Foundation, the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Izaak Walton League of America, the Union of Concerned Scientists, SUSTAIN, the Tides Center, the Environmental Working Group, the World Resources Institute, the League of Women Voters Education Fund, the Democracy 21 Education Fund, the Brennan Center for Justice, the Brookings Institution, Alliance For Justice, the Council on Foundations, the Center for Community Change, the National Network of Grantmakers, Physicians for Social Responsibility, the U.S. Public Interest Research Group Education Fund, the Nine to Five Working Women Education Fund, the Rockefeller Family Fund, Environmental Defense and the Urban Institute.
Woods Fund of Chicago and Bill Ayers:
Obama also had been a board member of the Woods Fund of Chicago since 1993. In 1999 he was joined on this board by Bill Ayers, who would serve alongside Obama until the latter left the Fund in December 2002. (In 2002 -- while Obama was still on the board -- the Woods Fund made a grant to Northwestern University Law School's Children and Family Justice Center, where Ayers' wife, Bernardine Dohrn, was employed.)
Failed Congressional Campaign (2000):
In 2000, Obama ran against former Black Panther and incumbent congressman Bobby Rush in the Democratic Primary for the U.S. House of Representatives. Rush denounced Obama as an “elitist” who “wasn’t black enough,” and crushed him by nearly a two-to-one vote margin. Obama returned to the Illinois state senate for another four-year term.
Rashid Khalidi, Ali Abunimah, and the the Arab American Action Network:
As noted earlier, during his state senate years Obama was a lecturer at the University of Chicago law school, where he became friendly with Rashid Khalidi, a professor in Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations. Obama and his wife were regular dinner guests at Khalidi’s Hyde Park home. Khalidi and his wife Mona had founded in 1995 the Arab American Action Network (AAAN), noted for its contention that Arab Americans face widespread discrimination in the United States, and for its view that Israel’s creation in 1948 was a "catastrophe" for Arab people. In 2001 and again in 2002, the Woods Fund of Chicago, while Obama served on its board, made grants totaling $75,000 to AAAN.
In 2003 Obama would attend a farewell party in Khalidi’s honor when the latter was leaving Chicago to embark on a new position at Columbia University. At this event (which was also attended by William Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn), Obama paid public tribute to Khalidi as someone whose insights had been “consistent reminders to me of my own blind spots and my own biases … It's for that reason that I'm hoping that, for many years to come, we continue that conversation -- a conversation that is necessary not just around Mona and Rashid's dinner table,” but around “this entire world.” Khalidi then returned the favor, telling the largely pro-Palestinian attendees that Obama deserved their help in winning a U.S. Senate seat, stating, “You will not have a better senator under any circumstances.”
According to journalist John Batchelor, "AAAN vice-president Ali Abunimah of Electronic Intifada [a website that, like AAAN, refers to Israel’s creation as a "catastrophe"] has remembered Mr. Obama's speaking in 1999 against ‘Israeli occupation’ at a charity event for a West Bank refugee camp; and Mr. Abunimah … has also recalled Mr. and Mrs. Obama at a fundraiser held for the then-Congressional candidate Obama in 2000 at Rashid and Mona Khalidi's home, where Mr. Obama made convincing statements in support of the Palestinian cause.”
Obama Likens Aspects of America to Nazi Germany:
In a January 18, 2001 radio interview, Obama said: "There’s a lot of change going on outside of the Court that judges have to essentially take judicial notice of. I mean you’ve got World War II, you’ve got the doctrines of Nazism that we are fighting against, that start looking uncomfortably similar to what's going on, back here at home."
Robert Blackwell and the Quid Pro Quo:
Shortly after Obama’s unsuccessful run for Congress in 2000, he was deeply in debt, with little cash at his disposal (his annual part-time salary as a state senator was $58,000) and a stagnant law practice that he had largely neglected during a year of political campaigning.
In early 2001 a longtime political supporter, Chicago entrepreneur Robert Blackwell, Jr., hired Obama to provide legal advice for his (Blackwell’s) growing technology firm, Electronic Knowledge Interchange (EKI). In exchange for his services, Blackwell paid Obama an $8,000 retainer each month for roughly a 14-month period -- a total of $118,000.
In return for these payments, Obama pressured the Illinois state tourism board to send a $50,000 grant to EKI. He also issued a formal written request for Illinois officials to furnish a $50,000 tourism promotion grant to another Blackwell company, Killerspin, which sells equipment and apparel related to the sport of table tennis. The day after Obama wrote this letter, his U.S. Senate campaign received a $1,000 donation from Blackwell.
Killerspin would not receive the full $50,000 it was seeking that year, but only $20,000. With Obama’s help, however, the company eventually secured $320,000 in state grants between 2002 and 2004 to subsidize the table tennis tournaments it sponsored. As blogger Ed Morrissey observes: “This looks like a rather obvious quid pro quo…. In exchange for $118,000 in salary, Blackwell received $320,000 in state taxpayer money and influence at the highest level of state politics.”
Obama’s presidential campaign website reported that Blackwell in 2008 committed to raise between $100,000 and $200,000 for Obama’s White House run that year.
Obama's Response to 9/11:
Eight days after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, Barack Obama issued the following statement, in which he: (a) asserted that the attacks had grown out of "a climate of poverty and ignorance, helplessness and despair"; (b) exhorted Americans to be "unwavering in opposing bigotry or discrimination directed against neighbors and friends of Middle Eastern descent"; and (c) urged the U.S. "to devote far more attention to the monumental task of raising the hopes and prospects of embittered children across the globe."
“Even as I hope for some measure of peace and comfort to the bereaved families, I must also hope that we as a nation draw some measure of wisdom from this tragedy. Certain immediate lessons are clear, and we must act upon those lessons decisively. We need to step up security at our airports. We must reexamine the effectiveness of our intelligence networks. And we must be resolute in identifying the perpetrators of these heinous acts and dismantling their organizations of destruction.
“We must also engage, however, in the more difficult task of understanding the sources of such madness. The essence of this tragedy, it seems to me, derives from a fundamental absence of empathy on the part of the attackers: an inability to imagine, or connect with, the humanity and suffering of others. Such a failure of empathy, such numbness to the pain of a child or the desperation of a parent, is not innate; nor, history tells us, is it unique to a particular culture, religion, or ethnicity. It may find expression in a particular brand of violence, and may be channeled by particular demagogues or fanatics. Most often, though, it grows out of a climate of poverty and ignorance, helplessness and despair.
“We will have to make sure, despite our rage, that any U.S. military action takes into account the lives of innocent civilians abroad. We will have to be unwavering in opposing bigotry or discrimination directed against neighbors and friends of Middle Eastern descent. Finally, we will have to devote far more attention to the monumental task of raising the hopes and prospects of embittered children across the globe-children not just in the Middle East, but also in Africa, Asia, Latin America, Eastern Europe and within our own shores.”
Obama was an outspoken opponent of the Iraq War ever since it was first discussed as a possible means of unseating Saddam Hussein from power. On October 2, 2002, Obama gave an antiwar speech alongside Jesse Jackson on the very day that President Bush and Congress agreed on a joint resolution authorizing the use of force against Iraq. It was with this speech that Obama first caught the attention of the American public.
Suggesting that the prospect of war was largely a Republican ploy to distract voters from domestic issues that were impacting minorities negatively, Obama said:
"Now, let me be clear – I suffer no illusions about Saddam Hussein. He is a brutal man. A ruthless man. A man who butchers his own people to secure his own power. He has repeatedly defied U.N. resolutions, thwarted U.N. inspection teams, developed chemical and biological weapons, and coveted nuclear capacity. He's a bad guy. The world, and the Iraqi people, would be better off without him....
"After September 11th, after witnessing the carnage and destruction, the dust and the tears, I supported this administration's pledge to hunt down and root out those who would slaughter innocents in the name of intolerance, and I would willingly take up arms myself to prevent such tragedy from happening again. I don't oppose all wars.... What I am opposed to is a dumb war. What I am opposed to is a rash war. What I am opposed to is the cynical attempt by Richard and Paul Wolfowitz and other armchair, weekend warriors in this administration to shove their own ideological agendas down our throats, irrespective of the costs in lives lost and in hardships borne....
"But I also know that Saddam poses no imminent and direct threat to the United States, or to his neighbors, that the Iraqi economy is in shambles, that the Iraqi military is a fraction of its former strength, and that in concert with the international community he can be contained until, in the way of all petty dictators, he falls away into the dustbin of history."
Also in his 2002 speech, Obama said that instead of using force to depose Saddam, America should “fight” for democratic reforms in the Middle East, for stronger international nuclear safeguards, and for energy independence: “Those are the battles that we need to fight. Those are the battles that we willingly join – the battles against ignorance and intolerance, corruption and greed. Poverty and despair.”
The Chicago rally was
staged by a by a group called Chicagoans Against the War. Some of the
key organizers were Carl Davidson (the aforementioned Marxist
antiwar activist and Obama supporter), BettyLu Saltzman (an officer
New Israel Fund), and Marilyn Katz (a former Students for a
Democratic Society radical in the Sixties).
In July 2004, Obama delivered the keynote address at the Democratic National Convention in Boston. He used the speech to introduce himself to a national audience while impugning the Bush administration and the War in Iraq.
In the next article we will look at Barack Obama's Senate campaign, the many radicals with whom he affiliated in order to make his run a success, the allied groups which united behind him and his brief tenure as a United States Senator from Illinois.
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