ACORN documents uncovered

ACORN documents uncovered

Clarice Feldman
Today’s ACORN story via Big Government involves Oklahoma:

A Republican state legislator released documents Tuesday which he says show the community-organizing group ACORN focused on helping Democrats in three legislative races in the November 2008 election and had developed a game plan to “take power” in Oklahoma within five years.


Photoview all photos

The documents, which include legislative district maps and various forms, were recovered from computers abandoned by ACORN workers in Oklahoma City, said Rep. Mike Reynolds, R-Oklahoma City. Also found was a script apparently used in Houston to go door-to-door to encourage voters to vote for Barack Obama in November 2008.
“They say they’re not political, but one of the subdirectories was called political action plans,” Reynolds said. “It was their political plans to take over key targeted races in Oklahoma City to show how powerful they are.”

Page Printed from: at September 30, 2009 – 09:37:47 PM EDT

L.A. Times still conceals Obama terror video–JERUSALEM – The Los Angeles Times has no plan to ever release a video it stated it obtained of President Obama attending an anti-Israel event in which he delivered a glowing testimonial for Rashid Khalidi, a pro-Palestinian professor who excuses terrorism.

L.A. Times still conceals Obama terror video

Reportedly includes glowing testimonial for prof who excuses violence


By Aaron Klein
© 2009 WorldNetDaily


Rashid Khalidi

JERUSALEM – The Los Angeles Times has no plan to ever release a video it stated it obtained of President Obama attending an anti-Israel event in which he delivered a glowing testimonial for Rashid Khalidi, a pro-Palestinian professor who excuses terrorism.

At the 2003 event, poetry reportedly was read comparing Israelis to Osama bin Laden and accusing the Jewish state of terrorism.

“The story ran in 2008 and we pretty much said everything we are going to say about that event,” Peter Wallsten, the Times reporter who claimed to have obtained the video, told WND yesterday.

Asked for details of the footage captured in the video, Wallsten replied, “I wrote an extensive article that described the event.”

Wallsten referred to a previous statement from the newspaper’s editor, Russ Stanton, explaining, “The Los Angeles Times did not publish the videotape because it was provided to us by a confidential source who did so on the condition that we not release it.”

“The Times keeps its promises to sources,” Stanton said.

Comlete article

Indoctrination Watch: How your tax dollars are training students to be union organizers

Indoctrination Watch: How your tax dollars are training students to be union organizers

By Michelle Malkin  •  September 29, 2009 01:01 PM

How are President Obama’s national service grants being used?

To train the next generation of union organizers, of course.

From the “Learn and Serve Clearinghouse” of lesson plans and curricular materials funded with taxpayer-subsidized service grants, here’s a course study in collective bargaining taught at the L.A. Unified School District (hat tip: @natlanthem):

A Collective Bargaining Simulation

Brief Description:
In a classroom simulation of collective bargaining, students learn about unions, employers, the labor movement, and workplace issues. Students will interact in small labor and management teams to bargain a union contract at a fictional workplace on issues that include wages, medical insurance, childcare, affirmative action, etc. Students are coached by labor relations professionals who volunteer from the fields of labor and management. Following the simulation, students analyze the outcomes of their collective bargaining experiences and determine issues they want to learn more about and take action on. Some examples include: creating a public awareness campaign on the cost of healthcare insurance and legislative action for a single-payer system, identifying union vs. non-union employers in our local economy, creating an oral history project about the causes and impact of a strike in their community, creating a peer education program about workers rights.

Grade Level:

Subject Area / Discipline:
Social Studies/History

Area of Service:
Civic Education/Civic Responsibility, Oral Histories, Public Safety & Disaster Preparedness/Relief

Los Angeles Unified School District
A Collective Bargaining Simulation
333 S. Beaudry Ave., 24th Floor
Los Angeles, CA 90017 USA
Phone: 213-241-1000
Fax: 213-241-8442

And here’s another one in which students participate in a union representation election, also funded with a grant to the LAUSD:

Union Representation Election

Brief Description:
In a classroom simulation of an actual union organizing campaign, students learn about unions, employers and management, and the labor movement. Students will interact in small groups representing management, union organizers, workers, and the NLRB at a fictional workplace. This case study features a town hall meeting to debate and discuss the issues followed by a union representation election. After the simulation, students analyze the outcome of their experience (who won the union election and why) and determine issues they want to learn more about and take action on. Some examples: identify union vs. non-union employers in our local economy, create a peer education program about workers’ rights today.

Grade Level:

Subject Area / Discipline:
Social Studies/History

Area of Service:
Civic Education/Civic Responsibility

Los Angeles Unified School District
Union Representation Election
333 S. Beaudry Ave., 24th Floor
Los Angeles, CA 90017 USA
Phone: 213-241-1000
Fax: 213-241-8442

And another from the LAUSD role-playing a strike:

Homestead Strike Role Play

Brief Description:
In a classroom simulation of the 1892 Homestead Strike, students learn about industrialization and the conflicts and common interests between native-born unionized craft workers and immigrant nonunion laborers. Students caucus in five worker groups and present various viewpoints on craft unionism, the strike, Carnegie’s plans to reorganize his steel mill, and the future of their jobs. The simulation culminates in a mass meeting of all the workers in which students debate and vote on whether to join the strike and the union. Following the simulation, students analyze the outcome of their experience (who won the strike vote and why) and determine issues they want to learn more about and take action on to meet their needs. Some examples: identify union vs. non-union employers in our local economy, interview union members about the causes and impact of the strike in their community, research and disseminate information about workers’ rights today.

Grade Level:

Area of Service:
Civic Education/Civic Responsibility

Los Angeles Unified School District
Homestead Strike Role Play
333 S. Beaudry Ave., 24th Floor
Los Angeles, CA 90017 USA
Phone: 213-241-1000
Fax: 213-241-8442

Where are the lessons on SEIU corruption, Big Labor-Far Left shakedowns, home invasions, thuggery, and hypocrisy?

I hereby volunteer to donate free copies of Culture of Corruption to any L.A. public high school teacher seeking balance in the classroom. Contact me via email.


On a related note, Brian Faughnan reports on another example of federal meddling in curricular matters.

Obama’s Olympic Hallucination

Obama’s Olympic Hallucination

By Jeannie DeAngelis

Those shocked by Barack Obama going to Copenhagen to campaign for Chicago hosting the Summer Olympics haven’t been paying close enough attention. Obama’s recent statements could be an indication that our peace-loving President believes beating swords into javelins and spears into tennis rackets could potentially usher in world peace.

Obama seems unfazed by world restlessness.  Rather than meet with international leaders, he addresses apocalyptic omens by jetting off to Copenhagen to advocate for candidate city Chicago to host the 2016 Olympics. Why not?  World citizen, Barack Obama brought hope and change to America. A Denmark trip could ensure an Olympic event where Chicago values can finally be introduced to the whole planet.


Whether in the Middle East or before the UN General Assembly Barack Obama is becoming the political personification of Olympic principles every time he speaks. Obama serves up a smörgåsbord of peaceful ideals, from fair play to mutual respect to the promise of accord between the body and mind — values he intends to on extend to all Americans under the age of 65.


Chicago star, Barack Obama, plans to descend on Copenhagen as a living, breathing ambassador of the Olympic movement’s ideals of hope, respect, harmony, friendship, excellence, and celebration. The President will venture to the vote with a like-minded entourage including billionaire Oprah, organic gardener Michelle Obama, and Chicago politics … each one unique in their ability to influence.


And who loves a celebration more than Obama?  He understands the power of a feel-good gathering. The National Mall was where Obama spoke words that could easily be adapted to accommodate the 2016 opening Olympic ceremony,


We are shaped by every language and culture, drawn from every end of this Earth; and because we have tasted the bitter swill of civil war and segregation, and emerged from that dark chapter stronger and more united, we cannot help but believe that the old hatreds shall someday pass…that as the world grows smaller, our common humanity shall reveal itself; and that America must play its role in ushering in a new era of peace.


With lifted vision the micro experience of Obama’s inauguration could become Olympic sized by offering Chicago’s most famous living citizen the opportunity stretch out a hand of harmony to the world.


Antiquity tells us the Olympics forced a truce where countries that spilled blood on the battlefield came together, stopped fighting for thirty days and worked out their skirmishes through sport. If presented with the opportunity in Copenhagen, maybe Obama can propose a regional truce where Iran and Israel settle their issues through synchronized swimming.


Obama can inspire peace by sharing stirring accounts of North and South Korea marching under one flag at the 2000 Sydney and 2004 Athens Olympic Games and India and Pakistan playing cricket for peace.  He can remind the world that it was the Communist Red Chinese who adopted a serious peace posture by assigning the theme, “One world, One dream, to the Beijing OlympicsIn fact, an environmentally sensitive China hosted a “Green Olympicsas a way to connect “peace” to man and nature.


Olympic ideals could help Obama get the Tea Party movement to disband and support his tax and spend initiatives based on  success stories like how after “… agonizing years of ethnic strife, Burundi came together as one when Venuste Niyongabo won the country’s first Olympic gold medal at the 1996 Atlanta Game.”


Yet, troglodyte Americans remain a barrier — those wary of rouge dictators keeping their word, like a perplexed Byron York who lacks the insight to understand why when, “Iran smolders and Afghanistan burns Obama heads to Denmark?” Or, President Sarkozy of France, whose critical comments serve as barriers en route to global unity,


I support the extended hand of the Americans, but what good has proposals for dialogue brought the international community? More uranium enrichment and declarations by the leaders of Iran to wipe a UN member state off the map.


Despite opposition from skeptics, Obama continues decrying the lowly war mongering history of the United States and remains resistant to the archaic peace through strength mindset.  He goes to Copenhagen to extend hope and change on a global level and in support of a diplomatic Olympic spirit that acknowledges human kind’s intrinsic decency.


Obama closely identifies with the worldview articulated by the UN.  His heartfelt beliefs could not have been more genuinely expressed then when Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit, the first female President of the General Assembly said, “The more we sweat in peace the less we bleed in war.” Or when Kofi A. Annan shared that “…promoting the Olympic Ideal, draws the world’s attention to what humanity can achieve in the name of international understanding.”


However, International Olympic Committee president, Dr. Jacques Rogge admits that sport cannot impose peace but said: “It might inspire it. Through the Olympic spirit, we can instill brotherhood, respect, fair play and gender equality.”  Obviously, the esteemed Dr. Rogge never met Barack Obama, who resolutely refuses to take “No” for an answer — viewing imposition the highest form of benevolence.


The President realizes that the Olympics present a unique opportunity to express his vision for a planet where, through track and field, nuclear arms can be “… banished from the face of the earth.”  Obama’s Olympic hope of the first world peace Gold Medal being realized on clay courts remains to be seen. Yet, it is with that vision and in that spirit Barack Obama, “citizen of the world, member of the human community,” heads off to Copenhagen promoting Chicago and on behalf of the integrity of mankind.


Obama embarks on his Danish mission carrying with him a banner bearing an image of himself as forbearer and symbol of global camaraderie. Nevertheless, as he revels in his Olympic hallucination and readjusts the olive leaf wreath on his head, someone should suggest he take heed of the looming mushroom cloud lurking off in the distance.


Author’s content:

Page Printed from: at September 30, 2009 – 09:30:27 AM EDT

Obama’s Work Ethic

Obama’s Work Ethic

By Ed Lasky

Barack Obama has displayed a disturbing pattern of work ethics: shirking work; claiming success when he was not entitled to do so; hiding his failures; and claiming the work of others as his own — when it was successful. These are not character traits that we should associate with Presidents.

Barack Obama won praise for Dreams From My Father, a 1995 memoir of his life that was published when he reached the grand old age of thirty-four. The provenance of the book has come into question, led by a series of American Thinker columns by Jack Cashill, who used textual analysis to ascribe its writing –or at least a good portion of it — to Bill Ayers, Obama’s neighbor, former Weatherman, Obama campaign supporter and partner in various activist groups in Chicago. This claim has been echoed in a new book by best-selling author Christian Andersen, Barack and Michelle: Portrait of an American Marriage who wrote that sources close to the Obamas told him that Barack Obama turned over his notes and tapes to Bill Ayers to compose the book.

Subsequently, under questioning by Cashill on a nationally-syndicated radio program, Andersen averred that two separate sources in Hyde Park confirmed to him the story of sending the notes and tapes to Ayers.


Whoever wrote Dreams clearly embellished Obama’s work history following graduation from Columbia. Obama claimed to have worked at a high powered consulting firm as a research assistant. A former colleague who sat down the hall from him debunked Obama’s puffery in 2005:


First, it wasn’t a consulting house; it was a small company that published newsletters on international business. Like most newsletter publishers, it was a bit of a sweatshop. I’m sure we all wished that we were high-priced consultants to multinational corporations. But we also enjoyed coming in at ten, wearing jeans to work, flirting with our co-workers, partying when we stayed late, and bonding over the low salaries and heavy workload.
Barack worked on one of the company’s reference publications. Each month customers got a new set of pages on business conditions in a particular country, punched to fit into a three-ring binder. Barack’s job was to get copy from the country correspondents and edit it so that it fit into a standard outline. There was probably some research involved as well, since correspondents usually don’t send exactly what you ask for, and you can’t always decipher their copy. But essentially the job was copyediting.


Obama may have felt the need to polish a resume that would fit on the back of a postage stamp, as my colleague Kyle Shiver has characterized his curriculum vitae. But the problem goes deeper than Cashill may have uncovered.


As a young attorney did he engage in the grind that is the fate of all young associates in law firms? Was he buried in books at the law firm library, barely able to keep his eyes open? Was he paying his dues? Not quite. Instead, he can be pictured with his feet up on his desk, scribbling ideas on a legal pad for Dreams of My Father — the book that helped make him a star.


Allison Davis, a founding name partner of the firm that hired the young Barack Obama out of law school had this bit of history to share:
“Some of my partners weren’t happy with that, Barack sitting there with his keyboard on his lap and his feet up on the desk writing the book.”
I am sure Barack Obama’s fellow associates were none-too-pleased, either. They were doing the work that paid for his salary. To whom did he bill his time? Tony Rezko? We will never know, since Barack Obama refused to release his billing records.


Incidentally, he did not finish the book when he was contractually required to do so. He jetted off to Bali, purportedly to work full-time on the book. Now, I ask you dear reader, is there any place in the world less conducive to work — especially the arduous, thankless task of writing — than a lush tropical paradise like Bali? Even the novelist James Michener had to wait until returning to the states to write a book about his time in the South Pacific. Nevertheless, somehow, miraculously, the manuscript was later completed — but by whom?


Not content with the practice of law — or whatever he was doing at the office, Obama left the law firm for greener pastures. While he was on the verge of running for the state Senate, he was tapped (by Bill Ayers, no less) to head the Chicago Annenberg Challenge, a donor-funded effort to improve Chicago schools. This was the only time that Obama had experience running anything.


How did he do?


He wasted over 100 million dollars and the program was declared a failure in an independent audit. Did we hear much about this failure?


No. A cover-up shielded Barack Obama from being blamed for the program’s failure. Access to records was denied to researchers. Stanley Kurtz appeared on the Milt Rosenberg radio show on WGN in Chicago to report his findings. The show was bombarded by the talk radio equivalent of computer denial of service attacks: a blizzard of phone calls, intimidating and harsh, that tried to shut down the show and silence Kurtz. The attack was coordinated by the Obama campaign.


So much for transparency, and welcome to 1984, delayed two decades or so.


When he became a state senator were their instances that revealed work practices that might rub people the wrong way? Yes there were.


His state senate colleagues took umbrage at his modus operandi. He was what came to be known as a bill-jacker: someone who takes credit for legislation that others had written and worked the aisles to get passed.


He had a powerful patron, state Senate leader Emil Jones, who blessed this practice as a way to promote the career of a friend:


Back in his days as a state legislator, one of Obama’s early claims was that he passed a “major” ethics bill in Springfield, Illinois the State Capitol. But, author David Freddoso’s research for the book The Case Against Barack Obama finds that Obama didn’t actually write the legislation but that Illinois State Senator Emil Jones merely allowed him to take the lead of an already crafted bill. Freddoso calls Obama’s role “bill-jacking” as opposed to crafting.
…Abner Mikva, a former congressman and federal judge, had recommended to Jones that he give Obama a popular piece of legislation barring political fundraising on state property and barring lobbyists and contractors from giving gifts to legislators. The bill had enough loopholes to be relatively harmless, but it was a step in the direction of reform. Jones gave it to Obama. Obama proposed it. It passed, 52-4.18 The “Friends and Family” man, the old ward-heeler, was even capable of making Obama look like a reformer.
Instead of taking the lead in writing and proposing legislation, it has been Obama’s practice to join bills crafted by other people and attempt to take a partial or full measure of credit not due him.


Old habits die hard-he carried on the noisome practice when he became a U.S. Senator.


After weeks of arduous negotiations, on April 6, 2006, a bipartisan group of senators burst out of the “President’s Room,” just off the Senate chamber, with a deal on new immigration policy.

As the half-dozen senators — including John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Edward M. KennedySen.. Barack Obama (D-Ill.), who made a request common when Capitol Hill news conferences are in the offing: “Hey, guys, can I come along?” And when Obama went before the microphones, he was generous with his list of senators to congratulate — a list that included himself.

“I want to cite Lindsey Graham, Sam Brownback, Mel Martinez, Ken Salazar, myself, Dick Durbin, Joe Lieberman . . . who’ve actually had to wake up early to try to hammer this stuff out,” he said.

To Senate staff members, who had been arriving for 7 a.m. negotiating sessions for weeks, it was a galling moment. Those morning sessions had attracted just three to four senators a side, Sen.. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) recalled, each deeply involved in the issue. Obama was not one of them. But in a presidential contest involving three sitting senators, embellishment of legislative records may be an inevitability, Specter said with a shrug.

He “embellished” his role-as the Washington Post politely put it.


Any more examples of his modus operandi? Why yes, there are!


Barack Obama had the audacity to claim to have worked across the aisle with John McCain on ethics legislation (a two-fer: he claimed bipartisanship and having worked on a bill) when in fact, that was a “misrepresentation” or “blooper” as FactCheck.Org (a highly regarded, non-partisan monitoring group) so delicately put it:


“I worked with John McCain” on ethics legislation. In fact, the two worked together for barely a week, after which McCain accused Obama of “partisan posturing” and added, “I won’t make the same mistake again.”
Obama offered a twisted account of his working with a Republican and “against party loyalty.” He said he “worked with John McCain” on ethics legislation, when in fact their short-lived collaboration collapsed into bitter public wrangling long before any bill resulted.


How about claiming to be on a committee that had just successfully passed out some high-profile bit of legislation?


Barack Obama today boasted about a bill in “my committee,” a committee on which he has no seat.

While speaking to the press in the Israeli town of Sderot, Obama mistakenly put the U.S. Senate banking committee on his resume, although the Illinois senator does not serve on the committee and Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) is the chairman.

The Republican National Committee distributed an e-mail pointing out Obama’s mistake with a subject line of “Obama’s Gaffe Machine Rolls Into Israel.”

During the press conference, Obama said, “Just this past — this past week, we passed out of the U.S. Senate Banking Committee, which is my committee, a bill to call for divestment from Iran as a way of ratcheting up the pressure to ensure that they don’t obtain a nuclear weapon.”

There he goes again.


How about his finely crafted speeches? Did he actually write all those on his own — as did, say, Abraham Lincoln? No, though the mainstream media obscured (hid) this fact until after the election.


During the campaign, it was clear that he had plagiarized the speeches of his friend, Deval Patrick, Governor of Massachusetts.   That revelation became widely-known. They shared a campaign strategist in David Axelrod.  What worked for Patrick, worked for Obama. The same type of ringing phrases, the same cadences, the same ideas. They had passed the test and helped to elect Patrick. Market-proven and battle-tested.


But what is not as well-known is the provenance of his famous “race-speech” made in Philadelphia after revelations of the bigotry of his Pastor-Jeremiah Wright-became public. Obama’s campaign for the Presidency was at risk. What to do? Well-give a speech, of course-because the media loved praising his speeches. In this notable case, they went into overdrive with over the top praise for the brilliance of Obama who -the story was-had written the speech himself. Except, of course, that he hadn’t. He didn’t write it: it was manufactured for him by his ghostwriter-speechwriter Jon Favreau (Kennedy had his Ted Sorensen; Obama has his Jon Favreau). We had to wait for this revelation until after Barack Obama assumed office.


James Taranto of the Wall Street Journal:


Remember Barack Obama’s big race speech back in March, the one that invited comparisons to Lincoln? Neither does anyone else, but it seemed like a big deal at the time. On March 18 The Atlantic’s Marc Ambinder did a short item called “Speechwriter of One” (quoting verbatim):
This wasn’t a speech by committee… Obama wrote the speech himself, working on it for two days and nights…. and showed it to only a few of his top advisers.
This now appears to have been puffery, at least if the Washington Post has the story right:
One Saturday night in March, Obama called [Jon] Favreau and said he wanted to immediately deliver a speech about race. He dictated his unscripted thoughts to Favreau over the phone for 30 minutes–“It would have been a great speech right then,” Favreau said–and then asked him to clean it up and write a draft. Favreau put it together, and Obama spent two nights retooling before delivering the address in Philadelphia the following Tuesday.
“So,” Obama told Favreau afterward. “I think that worked.”
Favreau is now the most highly paid of President Obama’s staffers.  A matter of fact, he earns as much as he can legally earn at the West Wing-hundreds of thousands of dollars every year .  I suppose he is worth every one of our hard-earned dollars — at least he is to Barack Obama.


So are we to treat his claim regarding his two books (The Audacity of Hope being the other) that he “actually wrote them myself” with some skepticism and the claim of Cashill with some credence?


A side effect of his sorry work habits is what he does when he cannot avoid having mistakes pinned on him. What does he do then? Jake Tapper of ABC News noted a very discreditable practice of Obama’s: he scapegoats staffers as the ones to be blamed.


Is this the type of person anyone of us have ever enjoyed working with-let alone enjoy watching ascend the corporate ladder. Is this the type of person we want as President?


Has he continued this type of behavior as President?


Yes he has.


When his policies have come up a cropper he makes Cabinet and other leading officials fall on their swords so he can be shielded from owning up to his responsibility. . Lately, Greg Craig has taken the dive for Obama’s Gitmo policy disaster. He was the latest fall guy.


The buck does not stop at Obama’s desk. But we should have known that from his budget-busting deficits.


Is this why he dithers in the face of major geopolitical challenges? Is he afraid of making a mistake? Can he just vote present as President? Is this why he outsources so much domestic policy to Congress and foreign policy to the United Nations? Does he carry on his practice of voting present — as he did as a state Senator — while being President?


Does it seem he just doesn’t like to do hard work?


Are all these habits just manifestations of a horrible ethic when it comes to work?


A friend of mine once criticized Barack Obama for not having an honest bone in his body. I responded that may be true — but he sure does have plenty of lazy ones.

Ed Lasky is news editor of American Thinker.

Page Printed from: at September 30, 2009 – 09:27:52 AM EDT

Gore Vidal: ‘We’ll have a dictatorship soon in the US’

Gore Vidal: ‘We’ll have a dictatorship soon in the US’

The grand old man of letters Gore Vidal claims America is ‘rotting away’ — and don’t expect Barack Obama to save it

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Tim Teeman

A conversation with Gore Vidal unfolds at his pace. He answers questions imperiously, occasionally playfully, with a piercing, lethal dryness. He is 83 and in a wheelchair (a result of hypothermia suffered in the war, his left knee is made of titanium). But he can walk (“Of course I can”) and after a recent performance of Mother Courage at London’s National Theatre he stood to deliver an anti-war speech to the audience.

How was his friend Fiona Shaw in the title role? “Very good.” Where did they meet? Silence. The US? “Well, it wasn’t Russia.” What’s he writing at the moment? “It’s a little boring to talk about. Most writers seem to do little else but talk about themselves and their work, in majestic terms.” He means self-glorifying? “You’ve stumbled on the phrase,” he says, regally enough. “Continue to use it.”

Vidal is sitting in the Connaught Hotel in Mayfair, where he has been coming to stay for 60 years. He is wearing a brown suit jacket, brown jumper, tracksuit bottoms; his white hair twirled into a Tintin-esque quiff and with his hooded eyes, delicate yet craggy features and arch expression, he looks like Quentin Crisp, but accessorised with a low, lugubrious growl rather than camp lisp.

He points to an apartment opposite the hotel where Churchill stayed during the Second World War, as Downing Street was “getting hammered by the Nazis. The crowds would cheer him from the street, he knew great PR.” In a flash, this memory reminds you of the swathe of history Vidal has experienced with great intimacy: he was friends with JFK, fought in the war, his father Gene, an Olympic decathlete and aeronautics teacher, founded TWA among other airlines and had a relationship with Amelia Earhart. (Vidal first flew and landed a plane when he was 10.) He was a screenwriter for MGM in the dying days of the studio system, toyed with being a politician, he has written 24 novels and is hailed as one of the world’s greatest essayists.

He has crossed every boundary, I say. “Crashed many barriers,” he corrects me.

Last year he famously switched allegiance from Hillary Clinton to Barack Obama during the Democratic nomination process for president. Now, he reveals, he regrets his change of heart. How’s Obama doing? “Dreadfully. I was hopeful. He was the most intelligent person we’ve had in that position for a long time. But he’s inexperienced. He has a total inability to understand military matters. He’s acting as if Afghanistan is the magic talisman: solve that and you solve terrorism.” America should leave Afghanistan, he says. “We’ve failed in every other aspect of our effort of conquering the Middle East or whatever you want to call it.” The “War on Terror” was “made up”, Vidal says. “The whole thing was PR, just like ‘weapons of mass destruction’. It has wrecked the airline business, which my father founded in the 1930s. He’d be cutting his wrists. Now when you fly you’re both scared to death and bored to death, a most disagreeable combination.”

His voice strengthens. “One thing I have hated all my life are LIARS [he says that with bristling anger] and I live in a nation of them. It was not always the case. I don’t demand honour, that can be lies too. I don’t say there was a golden age, but there was an age of general intelligence. We had a watchdog, the media.” The media is too supine? “Would that it was. They’re busy preparing us for an Iranian war.” He retains some optimism about Obama “because he doesn’t lie. We know the fool from Arizona [as he calls John McCain] is a liar. We never got the real story of how McCain crashed his plane [in 1967 near Hanoi, North Vietnam] and was held captive.”

Vidal originally became pro-Obama because he grew up in “a black city” (meaning Washington), as well as being impressed by Obama’s intelligence. “But he believes the generals. Even Bush knew the way to win a general was to give him another star. Obama believes the Republican Party is a party when in fact it’s a mindset, like Hitler Youth, based on hatred — religious hatred, racial hatred. When you foreigners hear the word ‘conservative’ you think of kindly old men hunting foxes. They’re not, they’re fascists.”

Another notable Obama mis-step has been on healthcare reform. “He f***ed it up. I don’t know how because the country wanted it. We’ll never see it happen.” As for his wider vision: “Maybe he doesn’t have one, not to imply he is a fraud. He loves quoting Lincoln and there’s a great Lincoln quote from a letter he wrote to one of his generals in the South after the Civil War. ‘I am President of the United States. I have full overall power and never forget it, because I will exercise it’. That’s what Obama needs — a bit of Lincoln’s chill.” Has he met Obama? “No,” he says quietly, “I’ve had my time with presidents.” Vidal raises his fingers to signify a gun and mutters: “Bang bang.” He is referring to the possibility of Obama being assassinated. “Just a mysterious lone gunman lurking in the shadows of the capital,” he says in a wry, dreamy way.

Vidal now believes, as he did originally, Clinton would be the better president. “Hillary knows more about the world and what to do with the generals. History has proven when the girls get involved, they’re good at it. Elizabeth I knew Raleigh would be a good man to give a ship to.”The Republicans will win the next election, Vidal believes; though for him there is little difference between the parties. “Remember the coup d’etat of 2000 when the Supreme Court fixed the selection, not election, of the stupidest man in the country, Mr Bush.”

Vidal says forcefully that he wished he’d never moved back to the US to live in Hollywood, from his clifftop home in Ravello, Italy, in 2000. His partner of 53 years, Howard Austen, who died in 2003, collated a lifetime’s-span of pictures of Vidal, for a new book out this autumn, Gore Vidal: Snapshots in History’s Glare (an oddly clunky title). The cover shows what a beautiful young man Vidal was, although his stare is as hawkish as it is today.

He observes presidential office-holders balefully. “The only one I knew well was Kennedy, but he didn’t impress me as a good president. It’s like asking, ‘What do I think of my brother?’ It’s complicated. I’d known him all my life and I liked him to the end, but he wrecked his chances with the Bay of Pigs and Suez crises, and because everyone was so keen to elect Bobby once Jack had gone, lies started to be told about him — that he was the greatest and the King of Camelot.”

Today religious mania has infected the political bloodstream and America has become corrosively isolationist, he says. “Ask an American what they know about Sweden and they’d say ‘They live well but they’re all alcoholics’. In fact a Scandinavian system could have benefited us many times over.” Instead, America has “no intellectual class” and is “rotting away at a funereal pace. We’ll have a military dictatorship fairly soon, on the basis that nobody else can hold everything together. Obama would have been better off focusing on educating the American people. His problem is being over-educated. He doesn’t realise how dim-witted and ignorant his audience is. Benjamin Franklin said that the system would fail because of the corruption of the people and that happened under Bush.”

Vidal adds menacingly: “Don’t ever make the mistake with people like me thinking we are looking for heroes. There aren’t any and if there were, they would be killed immediately. I’m never surprised by bad behaviour. I expect it.”

While materially comfortable, Vidal’s was not a happy childhood. Of his actress and socialite mother Nina, he says: “Give her a glass of vodka and she was as tame as could be. Growing up is going to be difficult if the one person you hate is your mother. I felt trapped. I was close to my grandparents and my father was a saint.” His parents’ many remarriages means that even today he hasn’t met all his step-siblings.

He wrote his first novel, Williwaw, at 19. In 1948, he was blacklisted by the media after writing The City and the Pillar, one of the earliest novels to deal graphically with homosexual desire. “You’ll be amazed to know it is still going strong,” he says. The “JT” it is dedicated to is James “Jimmy” Trimble, Vidal’s first love and, he once said, the love of his life. “That was a slight exaggeration. I said it because there wasn’t any other. In the new book there are wonderful pictures of him from our schooldays. He was a great athlete.” Here his voice softens, and he looks emotional, briefly. “We were both abandoned in our dormitory at St Alban’s [boarding school]. He was killed at the Battle of Iwo Jima [in 1945] because of bad G2 [intelligence].”

Vidal says Trimble’s death didn’t affect him. “No, I was in danger of dying too. A dead man can’t grieve a dead man.” Has love been important to him? “Don’t make the error that schoolteacher idiots make by thinking that gay men’s relationships are like heterosexual ones. They’re not.” He “wouldn’t begin to comment” on how they are different.

In 1956 he was hired by MGM, collaborated on the screenplay for Ben Hur and continued to write novels, most notoriously Myra Breckenridge about a transsexual. It is his satires, essays and memoirs — Live From Golgotha, Palimpsest and most recently, Point to Point Navigation — which have fully rounded our vision of this thorny contrarian, whose originality springs simply, and naturally, from having deliberately unfixed allegiances and an enduring belief in an American republic and railing sadness at how that ideal has been corrupted.

Vidal became a supportive correspondent of Timothy McVeigh, who blew up the Alfred P. Murrah Building in Oklahoma City in 1995 killing 168 people. The huge loss of life, indeed McVeigh’s act of mass murder, goes unmentioned by Vidal. “He was a true patriot, a Constitution man,” Vidal claims. “And I was torn, my grandfather [the Democrat Senator Thomas Gore] had bought Oklahoma into the Union.” McVeigh claimed he had done it as a protest against tyrannical government. The writer Edmund White took the correspondence as the basis for a play, Terre Haute (the jail McVeigh was incarcerated in before he was executed in 2001), imagining an encounter between the bomber and Vidal charged with desire.

“He’s a filthy, low writer,” Vidal says of White. “He likes to attack his betters, which means he has a big field to go after.” Had he wanted to meet McVeigh? “I am not in the business of meeting people,” Vidal says. “That play implies I am madly in love with McVeigh. I looked at his [White’s] writing and all he writes about is being a fag and how it’s the greatest thing on Earth. He thinks I’m another queen and I’m not. I’m more interested in the Constitution and McVeigh than the loving tryst he saw. It was vulgar fag-ism.”

Vidal says that he hates labels and has said he believes in homosexual acts rather than homosexual people. He claims his relationship with Austen was platonic (though they reputedly met at a legendary New York bath-house). He was once quoted as saying that he’d had sex with a 1,000 men by the time he was 25. It must have been a little strange for Austen, Vidal’s life companion, to source those pictures of Trimble, his first, perhaps only, love.

Vidal puts on a scornful, campy voice. “People ask [of he and Austen], ‘How did you live together so long?’ The only rule was no sex. They can’t believe that. That was when I realised I was dealing with a public too stupid by half. They can’t tell the difference between ‘The Sun rose in the East’ and ‘The Sun is made of yeast’.” Was sex important to Vidal? “It must have been yes.”

He is single now. “I’m not into partnerships,” he says dismissively. I don’t even know what it means.” He “couldn’t care less” about gay marriage. “Does anyone care what Americans think? They’re the worst-educated people in the First World. They don’t have any thoughts, they have emotional responses, which good advertisers know how to provoke.” You could have been the first gay president, I say. “No, I would have married and had nine children,” he replies quickly and seriously. “I don’t believe in these exclusive terms.”

Impaired mobility doesn’t bother him — he “rose like a miracle” on stage at the National — and he doesn’t dwell on mortality either. “Either you accept there is such a thing or you’re so dumb that you can’t grasp it.” Is he in good health? “No, of course not. I’m diabetic. It’s odd, I’ve never been fat and I don’t like candy, which most Americans are hooked on.”

There is a trace of thwarted ambition about him. “I would have liked to have been president, but I never had the money. I was a friend of the throne. The only time I envied Jack was when Joe [Kennedy, JFK’s father] was buying him his Senate seat, then the presidency. He didn’t know how lucky he was. Here’s a story I’ve never told. In 1960, after he had spent so much on the presidential campaign, Joe took all nine children to Palm Beach to lecture them. He was really angry. He said, ‘All you read about the Kennedy fortune is untrue. It’s non-existent. We’ve spent so much getting Jack elected and not one of you is living within your income’. They all sat there, shame-faced. Jack was whistling. He used to tap his teeth: they were big teeth, like a xylophone. Joe turned to Jack and he says, ‘Mr President, what’s the solution?’ Jack said, ‘The solution is simple. You all gotta work harder’.” Vidal guffaws heartily.

Hollywood living proved less fun. “If there was a social whirl, you can be sure I would not be part of it.” He does a fabulous impression of Katharine Hepburn complaining about playing the matriarch in Suddenly Last Summer, which he wrote. “I hate this script,” he recalls Hepburn saying . “I’m far too healthy a person to know people like this.” Vidal snorts. “She had Parkinson’s. She shook like a leper in the wind.”

I ask what he wants to do next. “My usual answer to ‘What am I proudest of?’ is my novels, but really I am most proud that, despite enormous temptation, I have never killed anybody and you don’t know how tempted I have been.”

That wasn’t my question, I say. “Well, given that I’m proudest that I haven’t killed anybody, I might be saving something up for someone.” A perfect line: we both laugh.

Is he happy? “What a question,” he sighs and then smiles mischievously. “I’ll respond with a quote from Aeschylus: ‘Call no man happy till he is dead’.”

Obama’s Olympic pitch draws GOP complaint

Obama’s Olympic pitch draws GOP complaint

By BETH FOUHY, Associated Press Writer Beth Fouhy, Associated Press Writer Tue Sep 29, 6:04 pm ET

NEW YORK – President Obama’s decision to travel to Copenhagen to boost Chicago’s chances of winning the 2016 Olympics has drawn criticism from some Republicans, who call it a boondoggle for Obama’s hometown allies and evidence the president has blurred his priorities.

Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele denounced the visit on a conference call with reporters Tuesday. Calling it “noble for the president to pitch his home city, Chi-town,” before the International Olympic Committee Friday, Steele said it nonetheless was a distraction from more pressing issues such as health care, job creation and other urgent demands on Obama’s time.

However, Mitt Romney, the former Massachusetts governor and 2008 Republican presidential contender, said Obama was right to make an appearance.

“In the current environment, the presence of a head of state is important to get the Games,” Romney, who headed the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City, Utah, said, noting that former British Prime Minister Tony Blair had set a new standard by personally lobbying for his country’s succesful 2012 Olympic bid.

Steele said it raised questions about Obama’s priorities.

“Where is the focus?” Steele asked. “At a time of war, at a time of recession … I think this trip is nice but not necessary for the president. The goal should be creating job opportunities not seven years from now, but job opportunities today.”

White House spokesman Robert Gibbs laughed when told of Steele’s criticism of Obama’s trip.

“Who’s he rooting for?” Robert Gibbs said. “Is he hoping to hop a plane to Brazil and catch the Olympics in Rio? I don’t know. Maybe it’s Madrid.”

Steele’s comments echoed those of Rep. Peter Hoekstra of Michigan, the ranking GOP member of the House Intelligence Committee, who told reporters Obama should focus on the escalating conflict in Afghanistan.

“Mr. President, identify what is important and focus on what’s important. Not everything rises to the level of needing presidential involvement,” Hoekstra said.

Just last week Obama said he wouldn’t make the trip to Copenhagen, citing his need to press for health care reform legislation instead. White House officials mentioned the economic benefits the U.S. would receive from a winning Olympics bid in explaining the president’s sudden change of heart.

First Lady Michelle Obama was originally slated to represent Chicago before the IOC but will now share the duties with her husband.

The city’s bid is competing with bids from Rio de Janeiro, Madrid, Spain and Tokyo, and the heads of state from Brazil, Spain and Japan are appearing in person to make their countries’ pitch.

Indeed, Curt Hamakawa, director of the Center for International Sport Business at Western New England College in Massachusetts, said Chicago would likely lose the bid if Obama had chosen not to go.

“For the president not to attend would send a signal, and it would not be helpful to Chicago’s bid. Almost certainly it would result in Chicago not having a chance,” Hamakawa said, adding that if Obama had stayed home and Chicago wasn’t selected, “Republicans would have been crabbing that he didn’t do enough.”

GOP strategist John Feehery said it was important for Republicans to pick their battles in deciding how and when to criticize Obama.

But Feehery, a Chicago native who said he is rooting for the city to win the Games, said GOP complaints about Obama’s trip were well-founded.

“He’s taking a bunch of Chicago cronies on an all expense paid trip to Copenhagen for just one reason, to get the Olympics,” Feehery said. “For me it makes him seem unserious and look slightly desperate.”

Grumbling about Obama’s trip began to bubble up on conservative blogs and Web sites soon after the White House announced Obama’s trip Monday.

“It’s not like the president doesn’t have anything to do, nothing important on his plate at the moment, right?” the blog Rightwing asked, while the conservative Drudge Report posted a television news story about a Chicago teen beaten and murdered in gang warfare there last week.

“Olympic Spirit,” the Drudge Report declared in a headline.

Sunstein: Governments must fund abortion–CZAR WARS


Sunstein: Governments must fund abortion

complete article

Declares ‘no problem’ forcing taxpayers with religious, moral conflict


By Aaron Klein
© 2009 WorldNetDaily


Cass Sunstein

TEL AVIV – The government should be required to fund abortion in cases such as rape or incest, argues President Obama’s newly confirmed regulatory czar, Cass Sunstein.

“I have argued that the Constitution … forbids government from refusing to pay the expenses of abortion in cases of rape or incest, at least if government pays for childbirth in such cases,” Sunstein wrote in his 1993 book “The Partial Constitution.”

In the book, obtained and reviewed by WND, Sunstein sets forth a radical new interpretation of the Constitution. The book contains a chapter entitled “It’s the government’s money” in which Sunstein strongly argues the government should be compelled to fund abortions for women victimized by rape or incest.

The Obama czar posits that funding only childbirth but not abortion “has the precise consequence of turning women into involuntary incubators

In Bad Times for Capitalism, Socialists in Europe Suffer

In Bad Times for Capitalism, Socialists in Europe Suffer


PARIS — A specter is haunting Europe — the specter of Socialism’s slow collapse.

Even in the midst of one of the greatest challenges to capitalism in 75 years, involving a breakdown of the financial system due to “irrational exuberance,” greed and the weakness of regulatory systems, European Socialist parties and their left-wing cousins have not found a compelling response, let alone taken advantage of the right’s failures.

German voters clobbered the Social Democratic Party on Sunday, giving it only 23 percent of the vote, its worst performance since World War II.

Voters also punished left-leaning candidates in the summer’s European Parliament elections and trounced French Socialists in 2007. Where the left holds power, as in Spain and Britain, it is under attack. Where it is out, as in France, Italy and now Germany, it is divided and listless.

Some American conservatives demonize President Obama’s fiscal stimulus and health care overhaul as a dangerous turn toward European-style Socialism — but it is Europe’s right, not left, that is setting its political agenda.

Europe’s center-right parties have embraced many ideas of the left: generous welfare benefits, nationalized health care, sharp restrictions on carbon emissions, the ceding of some sovereignty to the European Union. But they have won votes by promising to deliver more efficiently than the left, while working to lower taxes, improve financial regulation, and grapple with aging populations.

Europe’s conservatives, says Michel Winock, a historian at the Paris Institut d’Études Politiques, “have adapted themselves to modernity.” When Nicolas Sarkozy of France and Germany’s Angela Merkel condemn the excesses of the “Anglo-Saxon model” of capitalism while praising the protective power of the state, they are using Socialist ideas that have become mainstream, he said.

It is not that the left is irrelevant — it often represents the only viable opposition to established governments, and so benefits, as in the United States, from the normal cycle of electoral politics.

In Portugal, the governing Socialists won re-election on Sunday, but lost an absolute parliamentary majority. In Spain, the Socialists still get credit for opposing both Franco and the Iraq war. In Germany, the broad left, including the Greens, has a structural majority in Parliament, but the Social Democrats, in postelection crisis, must contemplate allying with the hard left, Die Linke, which has roots in the old East German Communist Party.

Part of the problem is the “wall in the head” between East and West Germans. While the Christian Democrats moved smoothly eastward, the Social Democrats of the West never joined with the Communists. “The two Germanys, one Socialist, one Communist — two souls — never really merged,” said Giovanni Sartori, a professor emeritus at Columbia University. “It explains why the S.P.D., which was always the major Socialist party in Europe, cannot really coalesce.”

The situation in France is even worse for the left. Asked this summer if the party was dying, Bernard-Henri Lévy, an emblematic Socialist, answered: “No — it is already dead. No one, or nearly no one, dares to say it. But everyone, or nearly everyone, knows it.” While he was accused of exaggerating, given that the party is the largest in opposition and remains popular in local government, his words struck home.

The Socialist Party, with a long revolutionary tradition and weakening ties to a diminishing working class, is riven by personal rivalries. The party last won the presidency in 1988, and in 2007, Ségolène Royal lost the presidency to Mr. Sarkozy by 6.1 percent, a large margin.

With a reputation for flakiness, Ms. Royal narrowly lost the party leadership election last year to a more doctrinaire Socialist, Martine Aubry, by 102 votes out of 135,000. The ensuing allegations of fraud further chilled their relations.

While Ms. Royal would like to move the Socialists to the center and explore a more formal coalition with the Greens and the Democratic Movement of François Bayrou, Ms. Aubry fears diluting the party. She is both famous and infamous for achieving the 35-hour workweek in the last Socialist government.

The French Socialist Party “is trapped in a hopeless contradiction,” said Tony Judt, director of the Remarque Institute at New York University. It espouses a radical platform it cannot deliver; the result leaves space for parties to its left that can take as much as 15 percent of the vote.

The party, at its summer retreat last month at La Rochelle, a coastal resort, still talked of “comrades” and “party militants.” Its seminars included “Internationalism at Globalized Capitalism’s Hour of Crisis.”

But its infighting has drawn ridicule. Mr. Sarkozy told his party this month that he sent “a big thank-you” to Ms. Royal, “who is helping me a lot,” and Daniel Cohn-Bendit, a prominent European Green politician, said “everyone has cheated” in the Socialist Party and accused Ms. Royal of acting like “an outraged young girl.”

The internecine squabbling in France and elsewhere has done little to position Socialist parties to answer the question of the moment: how to preserve the welfare state amid slower growth and rising deficits. The Socialists have, in this contest, become conservatives, fighting to preserve systems that voters think need to be improved, though not abandoned.

“The Socialists can’t adapt to the loss of their basic electorate, and with globalism, the welfare state can no longer exist in the same way,” Professor Sartori said.

Enrico Letta, 43, is one of the hopes of Italy’s left, currently in disarray in the face of Silvio Berlusconi’s nationalist populism. “We have to understand that Socialism is an answer of the last century,” Mr. Letta said. “We need to build a center-left that is pragmatic, that provides an attractive alternative, and not just an opposition.”

Mr. Letta argues that Socialist policies will have to be transmuted into a more fluid form to allow an alliance with center, liberal and green parties that won’t be called “Socialist.”

Mr. Winock, the historian, said, “I think the left and Socialism in Europe still have work to do; they have a raison d’être, and they will have to rely more on environment issues.” Combined with continuing efforts to reduce income disparity, he said, “going green” may give the left more life.

Mr. Judt argues that European Socialists need a new message — how to reform capitalism, “recognizing the centrality of economic interest while displacing it from its throne as the only way of talking about politics.”

European Socialists need “to think a lot harder about what the state can and can’t do in the 21st century,” he said.

Not an easy syllabus. But without that kind of reform, Mr. Judt said, “I don’t think Socialism in Europe has a future; and given that it is a core constitutive part of the European democratic consensus, that’s bad news.”

ACORN’s Man in the White House

ACORN’s Man in the White House

Rick Moran
Another day, another revelation about ACORN’s influence in the Democratic party and the Obama administration.

This time, as Matthew Vadum informs us via the American Spectator , it’s a high level White House aide with ties to ACORN that go back more than a decade:

This power behind the throne is longtime ACORN operative Patrick Gaspard. He holds the title of White House political affairs director, the same title Karl Rove held in President Bush’s White House.

Evidence shows that years before he joined the Obama administration, Gaspard was ACORN boss Bertha Lewis’s political director in New York.

Lewis, the current “chief organizer” or CEO of ACORN, was head of New York ACORN from at least 1994 through 2008, when she took over as national leader of ACORN. With Gaspard at work in the White House, Lewis might as well be speaking to President Obama through an earpiece as he goes about his daily business ruining the country.

Erick Erickson of the website RedState recently did an excellent job explaining the relationship of Gaspard to Lewis and President Obama so I won’t take up space here recalling all his valuable insights. Suffice it to say Erickson reported that Gaspard figures prominently in Lewis’s rolodex, which Erickson has in his possession.

Skeptics among you may ask, How do we actually know the low-profile Gaspard, who prefers to work outside the public spotlight and who can hardly be found in Nexis searches at all, was Lewis’s right hand man?

Because Gaspard’s employment with the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now is acknowledged by no less an authority than ACORN founder Wade Rathke himself.

A guy with direct access to the president who spent years working shoulder to shoulder with the head of ACORN? Incredible.

Read the rest of Matthew’s story.

Hat Tip: Ed Lasky

Page Printed from: at September 29, 2009 – 09:37:15 AM EDT