February 26, 2013

Spot. On. And while I don’t think the administration is Socialist (though I’m convinced Obama himself is), their nanny-state progressivism is different only by degree. And the same can be said for New York and California.

International Liberty

If you want some inspiration from Ronald Reagan, these brief remarks reveal his understanding of both economics of history (especially with regards to the other great president of the 20th century).

And this short video excerpt also gets me fired up to fight big government.

But maybe it’s also time to share a warning from the Gipper. Here’s a quote (which I’ve verified since not everything that lands in my inbox is necessarily accurate) about the perils of government dependency.

Reagan Slave Quote

This actually overstates the competence of government.

Communist nations, after all, didn’t do a very good job at providing food, shelter, and healthcare. Though, to be fair, there were quite proficient at turning people into slaves and prisoners.

We have a reverse problem in today’s welfare states. The people who produce the most are being coerced into turning over 50 percent of their earnings, which is sort of…

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Sunday Book Review: “The Communist,” a biography of Barack Obama’s mentor

December 23, 2012

book cover kengor communist

Mentors matter. For better or worse, there are people who, in our formative years, influence the way we see the world and how we act to shape it in our adult life. And if the mentored individual becomes a powerful person –President of the United States, for example– then the mentor’s influence affects our lives, too, making it worth our while to know something about this person.

This is the thesis behind Paul Kengor’s “The Communist,” a political biography of Frank Marshall Davis, who Kengor contends was a hugely influential mentor to President Barack Obama. That Davis was also, as Kengor shows, a card-carrying member of the Communist Party – USA (CPUSA), a doctrinaire Stalinist and defender of all things Soviet, and a hater of the Western world, should make us curious about what influence, if any, he had on young Barack Obama.

Kengor traces Davis’ life from his birth in Arkansas City, Kansas, in 1905 to his death in Hawaii in 1987. Along the way, we see the incidents that lead Frank to reject “the American Way.” Living under Jim Crow and in fear of White racist violence (at age five he was nearly lynched by White school children), it’s not hard to see what lead Frank to reject what he saw as fake democracy and exploitative capitalism in favor of an ideology that promised, however falsely, fairness, justice, and and racial equality. Indeed, Kengor admits that he, a conservative Catholic historian, can’t help but feel sympathy for his subject, even while rejecting and condemning Davis’ devotion to a murderous ideology.

The lion’s share is devoted to Frank’s work as an columnist for various newspapers in Atlanta, Chicago, and Honolulu. With extensive quotes from Frank’s own writings, many of which had lain forgotten in archives until recent years, he demonstrates Frank’s devotion to the Soviet Union, his adoration of Stalin, and his propaganda spinning in service of Moscow’s ends.

He also chronicles Davis’ hatred for the colonial powers, Britain and Churchill especially, and for the Democratic Party in the United States. This makes sense when one recalls Frank’s devotion to Soviet communism and the firm stance taken against that menace by Truman and other leading Democrats of the day. Kengor shows that charges of “McCarthyism,” made when Frank came under investigation by the Democrat-controlled Congress and repeated by his liberal and progressive defenders until his death, were ludicrous: not only had he spent his professional career defending and praising the Soviet Union (and Mao’s China and communist Viet Nam), but his CPUSA membership number was part of his FBI file, and the Senator who lead his questioning before Congress was the same man who ended Joe McCarthy’s red-baiting. “McCarthyism” was a smoke-screen, a distraction thrown in the faces of critics for one purpose: to deflect from the fact that Davis (and others) really were Communists.

Davis moved to Hawaii from Chicago, where he had known and worked with relatives of both Valerie Jarrett and David Axelrod, close advisers to Obama. (These relatives were also either Communists or highly sympathetic to Stalin’s USSR.) In Hawaii, he edited and wrote for the Honolulu Record, a paper funded by the Soviet-aligned International Longshore and Warehouse Union. It was after this, in retirement, that Frank was introduced to young Barack Obama, who had been brought to Frank by Obama’s White grandfather, who wanted a Black mentor or father figure for the future president, whose own father had run out on him.

It is here that Kengor reaches the question that most interests the reader: How much influence did CPUSA-member Frank Marshall Davis have over Barack Obama, the teen who would grow up to be President of the United States?

The answer Kengor gives is “quite a bit,” but the exact influence of Davis’ mentorship on President Obama’s career and policies is left for the reader to decide. Through an examination of Obama’s writings –his memoir “Dreams from my Father” and some poetry he wrote in college– Kengor concludes that Davis was very important influence on Obama’s youth, perhaps the most significant. As for his policies as president, Kengor shows parallels between policies Frank demanded, such as universal health care, first proposed by Senator Claude Pepper in the 1940s (Pepper’s top aide was, it turned out, a paid Soviet agent), and those programs Obama has pursued. Even in targets for disdain, Obama shows Frank’s influence. For example, Frank despised Winston Churchill, and one of Obama’s first acts in office was to remove a bust of the Prime Minister, a gift from Britain, from the Oval Office. While Kengor never says outright that Obama is pursuing Frank’s goals, the parallels, at least in domestic affairs, are striking. And given that Obama, as Kengor points out, has never shown a moment of “conversion,” of rejecting the Far Left and moving toward the Center, it’s fair to assume that whatever Frank taught Obama, he still at least finds much of it agreeable.

Stylistically, “The Communist” is written in a casual, almost chatty manner that does not detract from the seriousness of its subject. The book is well-documented (it has to be, given the rabid reaction one could expect from the Left), and Kengor is fair to his subject. There is nothing sensationalistic or scandal-mongering about the book, and it avoids the lurid rumors about Frank’s sex-life to concentrate on his politics.

Paul Kengor’s “The Communist” fills an important gap in our knowledge of the education of Barack Obama, of the early, important influences on his life and thought. Taken in combination with Kurtz’s “Radical in Chief” (reviewed here) which covers Obama’s career and involvement with Socialism and Socialists from college to the presidency, we have a good, two-volume political biography of the man who would come to lead (and take over much of) the largest economy in human history.

Highly recommended.

AFTERTHOUGHT: Reading this book has reminded me yet again of what a miserable job the mainstream media did vetting Obama prior to the 2008 election. None of the material Kengor cites would have been all that difficult to find for a dedicated researcher. Sadly, they chose to devote their time to shielding him from scrutiny, instead, while covering the things that mattered to them the most, such as Sarah Palin’s tanning bed and wardrobe. Their dereliction is inexcusable.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


(Video) I think this guy knows what he’s talking about when it comes to Socialism

October 13, 2012

Born in Budapest in 1944 under the Nazis, he lived under he Soviet boot until he left for America at age 21. Having achieved the American Dream, he’s worried:

He’s not running for office. He’s not part of a super PAC. He’s not lobbying for or against any ballot measures.

But billionaire Thomas Peterffy is spending millions on television ads this election season with one cautionary message: Avoid socialism.

(…)

Peterffy was born in Budapest in 1944 during the deadly Soviet offensive that ended in the capture of Hungary’s capital the following year. From then, the republic remained under communist control until it gained independence in 1989.

The new ad features images of Peterffy as a child in Hungary and the impoverished conditions in his native country.

“As a young boy, I was fantasizing about one day going to America, making a success of myself. The American Dream,” he says.

Peterffy left his country and moved to New York in 1965, where-without knowing English–he got a computer programming job on Wall Street. He later purchased his own seat on the American Stock Exchange in 1977 and, fast forward a few years, found himself the creator of Interactive Brokers, one of the first electronic trading firms.

Forbes Magazine now estimates Peterffy, 68, has a net worth of $4.6 billion.

And then there’s this:

“I’ve paid $1.9 billion in taxes in my lifetime, now I am being told that I am not contributing my fair share?” he said in an interview.

Here’s the ad:

Here’s a difference between the Left and the Right. The Left will look at Mr. Petterfy and see him through the lens of class warfare, the evil profiteer whose money had to come from hurting and exploiting others. How dare he want to keep more of what he earned? The Right, on the other hand, sees someone who came to America and added value to the nation, creating a successful business with the attendant jobs. Creating wealth for himself and, directly or indirectly, others. By engaging in his own pursuit of happiness, he helped others achieve theirs.

Put it another way: A Righty and a Lefty see Mr. Petterfy’s ad on TV. How do they react?

Right: “I want to be that guy!”

Left: “I”m going to get that guy!”

Mr. Petterfy’s ad is running on national cable networks and test markets in some battleground states. I’d say he’s putting his money to good use — and his adopted nation’s service.

via Fausta and Ace, who highlights a facepalm-worthy comment from a reader

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


October 8, 2012

Statist, Alinskyite Obama; statist, Alinskyite Hillary. There really isn’t much of a difference.

International Liberty

Every so often, I come across some statement by President Obama that is either jaw-droppingly misguided or unintentionally revealing, and I place it in my is-this-the-worst-thing-he-ever-said file.

His “spread the wealth” comment to Joe the Plumber is the most famous example, but that was before I started this blog. Previous entries on my list include.

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(Video) #DNC2012 convention goers: Banning profits is a Good Thing!

September 6, 2012

Man, between the blatant display of anti-Israel and borderline antisemitic sentiment yesterday and their satisfaction at finding their American identity through government, the nation’s Democratic activists are really showing America what their party stands for.

But wait, there’s more!

Posing as an anti-business crusader, Peter Schiff found a number of DNC delegates and attendees who support explicitly outlawing profitability. We deliberately avoided speaking with the occupy protestors camping outside in tents to get a more “mainstream” Democratic perspective!

Watch and learn:

Bear in mind that Schiff may well have interviewed more people than we see in this video, and that at least some of those may have disagreed with him, but, still… Pretty eye-opening, isn’t it?

These people represent the leadership of the state and national Democratic parties; they’re not your average Joe and Jane Six-Pack Democrat who’s votes that way just because his family has always voted Democrat. It makes you wonder just how many would be comfortable hearing calls to cap profits, eliminate profits, or even force losses on companies.

Or, as one woman put it:

“I will support anything my President wants to do. Anything!”

The difference between the two major parties couldn’t be any more stark. But the Republicans, I’ll argue, represent far more closely the opinions of average Americans than the grade-school Marxism we hear in this video.

via Gay Patriot

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


June 22, 2012

A spicy stew of economic stupidity.

International Liberty

Every day brings more and more evidence that Obamanomics is failing in Europe.  I wrote some “Observations on the European Farce” last week, but the news this morning is even more surreal.

Let’s start with France, where I endorsed the explicit socialist over the implicit socialist precisely because of a morbid desire to see a nation commit faster economic suicide. Well, Monsieur Hollande isn’t disappointing me. Let’s look at some of his new initiatives, as reported by Tax-News.com.

The French Minister responsible for Parliamentary Relations Alain Vidalies has recently conceded that EUR10bn (USD12.7bn) is needed to balance the country’s budget this year, to be achieved notably by means of implementing a number of emergency tax measures. …The government plans to abolish the exemption from social contributions applicable to overtime hours, expected to yield a gain for the state of around EUR3.2bn, and to subject overtime hours to…

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Barack Obama: Can we call him a Socialist now?

May 25, 2012

Oh, my. Take a look at this:

It’s a reminder that the President presented himself as much more progressive during his time in Chicago. In this little-seen advertisement that ran in the Hyde Park Herald in 1996, Obama was listed on a panel sponsored by the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA), University of Chicago Democrats, and University of Chicago DSA. He also supported gay marriage back then.

Click through to see the image of the flyer.

Of course, long-time readers know that I’ve been certain Obama is a Socialist of one form or another for quite a while. Stanley Kurtz did the CSI: Politics work, and I found the argument convincing. Moreover, there’s never been a whit of evidence that Obama has abandoned or renounced his Socialist politics. At most, he’s given up the revolutionary radicalism he favored in his college years and migrated to an incrementalist, gradualist Socialism that seeks to change the system from within.

But, regardless, he’s still a Socialist.

PS: For those wondering if this really matters, it does. Understanding Obama’s political core gives us an idea of where he would like to take the nation in a second term, and forms a handy point of contrast to Mitt Romney. Also, Socialism has never worked wherever it’s been tried, something to keep in mind to tell people who say they don’t care about ideology, they just care about “what works.”

via Jim Hoft

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


How the one-percent live

May 2, 2012

That is, the elite, cocktail-swirling Democratic Socialist one-percent:

Last Friday night, the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) held their 54th Annual Eugene V. Debs–Norman Thomas–Michael Harrington Award Dinner at the Holiday Inn Mart Plaza in Chicago. You of course might not expect anything too fancy from a group so devoted to the needy and the working class–but not to worry, these wine-sipping socialists proved they know just how to spend an evening discussing how to spend other people’s money.

On the surface, it seems well within the realm of possibility that the Holiday Inn was a modest choice for this group–and appropriate, as it is recommended on Unite Here Local 1’s website as a union hotel. However, modest may not be the most accurate way to describe this not-so-little shindig.

For starters, it wasn’t your typical stuffy lower level ballroom function, crammed between a business association meeting and a wedding. This was a fine gala, in a much more exclusive atmosphere: the Wolf Point Ballroom on the 15th floor at the internationally renowned Merchandise Mart. It featured stunning views of a breath-taking sunset–a perfect place to unwind with a top shelf cocktail before settling in to condemn the greedy “rich.”

After the delightful libations, everyone entered the exquisite dinning room, which featured 180-degree panoramic southwest skyline views, overlooking the cityscape and the Chicago River. The tables were lined with fine cloth, and individual sets of utensils for each of the 3 courses. Decadent slices of cheesecake awaited each guest, occupying their plates atop swirls of sweet-tangy raspberry sauce to whet their appetites for the abundant meal that was in store.

Following a fresh chilled house salad with a choice of multiple creamy dressings, the wait staff hauled out one giant tray full of food after another to feed the primarily white-dominated crowd. These weren’t your typical bland hotel meals of three asparagus sprigs and a three ounce portion of salmon with lumpy hollandaise, either. The plates were overloaded with heaping mounds of mashed potatoes, a pile of assorted squashes and vegetables, and not one, but two succulent and juicy chicken leg quarters, smothered in savory-rich gravy.

There was, in fact, so much food, that as I looked around at the tables nearby–I noticed not one person (comrade?) was able to finish the food on his (or her) plate. And despite knowing about all the hungry people out there in Chicago–and even perhaps the very servers in the room–with mouths to feed at home, shockingly, these DSA members let all those leftovers go to waste. Weren’t these socialists heartbroken to think of how many mouths could have been fed with all that extra food?

Somehow, I think you can guess the answer.

Remember, this is the same crowd that community organizer Barack “Wagyu Beef and Arugula” Obama ran with in his salad days back in Chicago — organizing the working classes, fighting for fairness, and scarfing down raspberry cheesecake.

Oh, the travails of the fighter for economic justice!

Odd though. It looks like no Occupiers were invited. Must’ve been an oversight.

Be sure to read the whole thing.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


“Meeting Young Obama”

March 11, 2012

One of the great mysteries surrounding President Obama is his college career: not so much his grades as what he studied, under whom, and what his major activities were. His transcripts from his undergraduate and law school years are sealed, leaving a major gap in our knowledge of formative times and events of a man who would become President of the United States.

Before the election, the mainstream media failed utterly in their duty to examine the life of a serious candidate for president, choosing instead to beclown themselves with obsessions over Sarah Palin’s tanning bed and generally acting as Obama’s “Information Guards.”

Serious examinations of Obama’s background only finally began to come out years after the election, such as Stanley Kurtz’s meticulously researched “Radical-in-Chief: Barack Obama and the Untold Story of American Socialism,” and the current expose of Obama’s radical law school mentors underway at Breitbart.com.

There are other pieces to the puzzle coming out now, too. At American Thinker, former radical Marxist John Drew relates the story of the first time he met then-Occidental College undergrad Barack Obama. After first establishing his own credentials as a Marxist, Drew recounts his discussion with the young Obama:

[Obama’s friend Chandoo] Boss and Obama, however, had a starkly different view. They believed that the economic stresses of the Carter years meant revolution was still imminent. The election of Reagan was simply a minor set-back in terms of the coming revolution.  As I recall, Obama repeatedly used the phrase “When the revolution comes….”  In my mind, I remember thinking that Obama was blindly sticking to the simple Marxist theory that had characterized my own views while I was an undergraduate at Occidental College.  “There’s going to be a revolution,” Obama said, “we need to be organized and grow the movement.”  In Obama’s view, our role must be to educate others so that we might usher in more quickly this inevitable revolution.

(…)

Drawing on the history of Western Europe, I responded it was unrealistic to think the working class would ever overthrow the capitalist system.  As I recall, Obama reacted negatively to my critique, saying: “That’s crazy!”

(…)

Since I was a Marxist myself at the time, and had studied variations in Marxist theory, I can state that everything I heard Obama argue that evening was consistent with Marxist philosophy, including the ideas that class struggle was leading to an inevitable revolution and that an elite group of revolutionaries was needed to lead the effort.  If he had not been a true Marxist-Leninist, I would have noticed and remembered.  I can still, with some degree of ideological precision, identify which students at Occidental College were radicals and which ones were not.  I can do the same thing for the Occidental College professors at that time.

(Emphasis added)

Drew then recounts his satisfaction at thinking he had begun the process of steering Obama away from revolutionary Marxism toward bringing about Socialism through the electoral process.

I think he’s right. As revealed by Kurtz in his investigations, Obama over the next few years and as he learned while working as a community organizer and with people affiliated with the Midwest Academy, evolved into an “incremental” Socialist, seeking to bring about Socialism through gradual but irreversible change — such as ObamaCare.

But his commitment to that Socialist future has shown no sign of ever wavering.

PS: Some may argue that this is of little importance to the forthcoming election, that what matters is Obama’s miserable record in office. I disagree. While Obama’s record is crucial, without understanding his background, beliefs, and goals as best as we can, we have no context in which to truly understand that record. Thus books such as Kurtz’s and articles such as John Drew’s are still of singular relevance.

via Jayne Cobb Adam Baldwin

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)