Criminal union bigs subdue Fed watchdog

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DOL unit winds down union fraud, embezzlement cases; faces abolition by Obama Administration

Selected Enforcement Actions in September 2008
U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Labor-Management Standards
Recent Criminal Enforcement Actions

On September 30, 2008 in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio, Kenneth Saltz, Jr., former President of Steelworkers Local 1124 (located in Massillon, Ohio), pled guilty to one count of embezzling union funds in the amount of $15,809. On August 19, 2008, Saltz was charged with embezzling union funds in the same amount and making false entries in union records. The plea follows an investigation by the OLMS Cleveland District Office.

On September 23, 2008, in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, Scott Gehringer and Alex Margaritis, former President and Secretary Treasurer, respectively, of IronWorkers Local 594 (located in Hellertown, Pa.) pled guilty to one count of embezzling union funds and one count of aiding and abetting in the embezzlement of union funds. Gehringer embezzled union funds in the amount of $3,050.00 and Margaritis embezzled union funds in the amount of $13,320.79. The pleas follow an investigation by the OLMS Philadelphia District Office.

On September 23, 2008, in the Circuit Court of Rock County, Wisconsin, Jeffrey Granberg, former President of Bricklayer and Allied Craftworkers Local 7 (located in Janesville, Wis.), was charged with one count of felony forgery and one count of theft of less than $2,500. The charges follow an investigation by the OLMS Milwaukee District Office.

On September 18, 2008, in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Indiana, Jeanette McFarland, former President of Glass Molders and Plastics Union Local 285 (located in Fort Wayne, Ind.) pled guilty to embezzling union funds in the amount of $7,604. On March 26, 2008, McFarland was charged with embezzling union funds in the same amount. The plea follows an investigation by the OLMS Chicago District Office.

On September 16, 2008, in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, an information was filed charging Charles Bohanon, former Secretary-Treasurer of Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers (BLE) Division 1 (located in Petersburg, Mich.), with one count of embezzling union funds in the amount of $18,074.23. The charge follows an investigation by the OLMS Detroit District Office.

On September 15, 2008, in the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts, Frank Rago, President of International Longshoremen’s Association (ILA) Local 1604 (located in Boston, Mass.) was indicted with failure to maintain records and making false entries in union and Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) records. The indictment follows an investigation by the OLMS Boston District Office.

On September 15, 2008, in the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts, Louis Desisto, Secretary-Treasurer of Local 1604 (located in Boston, Mass.), was charged with falsification of a record in a federal investigation. The charge follows an investigation by the OLMS Boston District Office.

On September 15, 2008, in the Seventh District Court of Carbon County, Utah, Kathleene L. Bigham, the spouse of former Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employees Local 779 (located in Grand Junction, Col.) Secretary-Treasurer Alfred Bigham, pled guilty to theft of union funds in the amount of $14,280, and three counts of forgery. Subsequently, Bigham was ordered to pay $800 in fines and make additional restitution in the amount of $2,022.68. Bigham previously paid restitution in the amount of $12,258. Additional sentencing will be held in abeyance for a period of two years. On June 3, 2008, an information was filed charging Bigham with theft of union funds in the same amount, and three counts of forgery. The sentencing follows an investigation by the OLMS Denver District Office.

On September 15, 2008, in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Keith H. Cook, former Secretary Treasurer of United Transportation Union (UTU) Local 620 (located in Chicago, Ill.), was convicted of embezzling union funds in the amount of $48,287 and willfully making false entries on union checks. On March 8, 2007, Cook was charged with one count embezzling union funds in the same amount and one count of willfully making a false entry in union records. The conviction follows a joint investigation by the OLMS Chicago District Office and the Department of Labor’s Office of the Inspector General.

On September 12, 2008, in the Trial Court of Berrien County, Michigan, Michael LaPorte, former Secretary-Treasurer of Steelworkers Local 430 (located in Niles, Mich.), was charged with embezzlement of $1,000 or more but less than $20,000. The charge follows an investigation by the OLMS Detroit District Office

On September 12, 2008, in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida, Sheila Wright Rushing, former part-time office secretary of the Bakery, Confectionary, Tobacco Workers, and Grain Millers International (BCTGMI) Local 482 (located in Jacksonville, Fla.), was sentenced to five years supervised release and ordered to make restitution in the amount of $19,365.09. On May 28, 2008, Rushing pled guilty to one count of embezzling union funds in the amount of $17,133.01. The sentencing follows a joint investigation by the OLMS Tampa Resident Investigator Office and the Department of Labor’s Office of the Inspector General

On September 11, 2008, in the United States District Court for the District of Delaware, Michael A. Pingitore, former Secretary-Treasurer of the Delaware Rural Letter Carriers Association (Dover, Del.), was sentenced to three years probation, ordered to make restitution and pay a $600 special assessment. Pingitore had previously made restitution in the amount $58,908.38. On July 23, 2007, Pingitore pled guilty to six counts of embezzling union funds in the same amount. The sentencing follows a joint investigation by the OLMS Philadelphia District Office and the USPS Office of the Inspector General.

On September 10, 2008, in the United States District Court for the District of South Carolina, Joseph Michael Johnson, former Secretary-Treasurer of Boilermakers Union Lodge 687 (located in Charleston Heights, S.C.), was indicted on one count of embezzling union funds in the amount of $102,519. The indictment follows an investigation by the OLMS Atlanta District Office.

On September 8, 2008, in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio, Roberta Dauch, former office secretary of the North Central Ohio Building and Construction Trades Council (located in Sandusky, Ohio), pled guilty to one count of embezzling union funds in the amount of $27,537.28. On August 1, 2008, an information was filed charging Dauch with embezzling union funds in the same amount. The plea follows an investigation by the OLMS Cleveland District Office.


* An indictment is the method by which a person is charged with criminal activity. As in all criminal cases, each defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Criminal charges and indictments noted in these materials are accusations only.

OLMS is the federal law enforcement agency responsible for administering most provisions of the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act of 1959 (LMRDA). The agency's criminal enforcement program includes investigations of embezzlement from labor organizations, extortionate picketing, deprivation of union members' rights by force or violence, and fraud in union officer elections. The agency's civil program receives and publicly discloses unions' annual financial reports, conducts compliance audits of labor unions and seeks civil remedies for violations of officer election procedures. In certain cases, OLMS also conducts joint investigations with other Labor Department agencies, including the Employee Benefits Security Administration and the Office of Inspector General, as well as other law enforcement agencies including the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

OLMS' public disclosure Web site at http://www.unionreports.gov contains union annual financial reports and additional reports required to be filed under the LMRDA as well as copies of collective bargaining agreements. Other information, including synopses of OLMS enforcement actions, is available at http://www.olms.dol.gov.

U.S. Department of Labor releases are accessible on the Internet at http://www.dol.gov. The information in this news release will be made available in alternate format (large print, Braille, audio tape or disc) from the COAST office upon request. Please specify which news release when placing your request at 202-693-7828 or TTY 202-693-7755. The Labor Department is committed to providing America's employers and employees with easy access to understandable information on how to comply with its laws and regulations. For more information, please visit http://www.dol.gov/compliance.


New ACORN stain: 'Social justice' fraud

More ACORN stories: hereVoter-fraud stories: here

The Obama Doctrine: Community Organizing

More ACORN stories: hereMore collectivism stories: here

Tax-funded ACORN missionaries to span the globe

The centerpiece of Barack Obama’s campaign is “change.” His primary qualification for the office he seeks is his experience as a “community organizer,” a state Senator for eight years, and a U.S. Senator since 2004. To see just what changes Obama wants to bring to the country it is reasonable to look at the values he has demonstrated and the causes he has pursued during his professional career.

Obama’s community organizing experience began in 1985 in Chicago. He chose to work for ACORN (Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now). A review of ACORN’s Peoples Platform reveals much about Obama’s ideology. The ACORN platform is remarkably similar to the Socialist Party USA platform.

Obama’s work as a community organizer has won him endorsements from ACORN, from socialists, and from communists.

ACORN is an outgrowth of the civil rights unrest of the 1960s. While Bill Ayers was organizing the Weathermen Underground, George Wiley was organizing the National Welfare Rights Organization. The Ayers group defined its direct action with bombs; the NWRO defined direct action with sit-ins, flooding welfare offices and city council meetings with unemployed people to demand the removal of restrictions on welfare eligibility. One of these protest projects was called Arkansas Organizations for Reform Now. As the groups and projects grew, the acronym was changed from “Arkansas,” to “Association” of Organizations for Reform Now.

To understand Obama’s values and see the kind of change he brings, we need to examine the organization whose leaders he trained as a community organizer. ACORN deliberately avoids the national spotlight when possible, opting instead, to work at the local and state levels. Their strategy is to infiltrate government, rather than to overthrow it. ACORN and Democratic Socialists of America formed an alliance to create the New Party to pursue this goal.

Obama’s entrance into politics in 1996 was simply the next logical step after his years as a community organizer.

ACORN’s 400,000 member families in more than 110 cities, with 1200 neighborhood chapters, advance their socialist “Peoples Platform” through a variety of programs. More than 80 cities have adopted some form of their “Living Wage” ordinance. This scheme requires businesses that sell to the city to pay their workers at a rate higher than the national minimum wage. Cities oblige, because they win friends (and votes) among the workers, and avoid nasty sit-ins and protest demonstrations staged by ACORN.

ACORN’s “Exit Visa” program is an extension of the same principle, exercised against companies that seek to relocate out of the city. As a condition of permits, the city requires large companies to obtain an exit visa from the city council, which signifies that the company has paid adequate wages, and whatever costs the community may suffer from the company’s relocation.

What ACORN called its “Predatory Lending” program was really a campaign to remove credit restrictions from loans to low income people. Revisions of the Community Reinvestment Act in the 1990s unleashed a dramatic expansion of pressure on local banks to make loans to people who were previously unqualified borrowers. The CRA allowed community organizations to comment on proposed bank mergers or expansions. ACORN flooded regulators with claims of discrimination against local banks. Rather than fight, many banks “hired” ACORN to be advisors, or simply made generous grants to local chapters.

This is the route taken by J.P. Morgan and Chase Manhattan banks, who gave ACORN $200,000. A comprehensive analysis of ACORN’s operation was published in 2003 by Sol Stern in City Journal. It should be must reading for every voter.

ACORN’s voter registration program is reported quite thoroughly here.

Obama’s Chicago community organizing efforts took him from the housing projects to the churches. He obviously liked the Reverend Jeremiah Wright’s brand of “Liberation Theology,” which casts minorities as victims that must be liberated. This ideology squared perfectly with ACORN’s vision of the poor. For more than 20 years, Obama worshiped at the feet of the preacher whose most famous sermons called on God to “damn” America.

Obama’s path to government also led him through various foundations, such as the Woods Fund, where he served along with Bill Ayers. Together, they were able to funnel significant funding to ACORN, to Jeremiah Wright’s church, and other similar groups. Between 1992 and 1995, ACORN received $1,493,000 from the Campaign for Human Development, a Catholic charities organization, according to a report for Catholic Bishops prepared by the Wanderer Forum Foundation.

A review of Obama’s voting record in Illinois and in the U.S. Senate – where he is identified as the most liberal Senator - is evidence of his continuing support of the socialist goals he trained his ACORN followers to pursue. The “change” he so desperately seeks is to change America from a nation that thrives on capitalism, free-markets, private property, and individual freedom, to a socialist nation in which government sets wages, provides housing, manages markets, and dictates to every individual what may, and may not, be done.

This is the change that Obama brings.


Obama in ACORN trouble

More ACORN stories: hereVoter-fraud stories: here

Barack Obama reveals Education agenda

More NEA stories: hereMore AFT stories: here

With Barack Obama, Bill Ayers proved-out Teacher Unions' agenda in Chicago

Barack Obama blasted John McCain last week for focusing on the Democratic nominee's links to shady characters instead of the economy. Actually, McCain's said plenty about the economy. But Obama clearly would rather talk about anything but his past.

Obama first became defensive when McCain running mate Sarah Palin accused him of "palling around with terrorists" - a reference to his ties to Bill Ayers, who co-founded the radical Weather Underground and bombed the Pentagon, the Capitol and NYPD headquarters.

Obama's main answer? All of that happened when he was eight years old.

That's lame, for sure.

But Ayers' distant past isn't the only reason to distrust him. He has a present, as well - and Obama is a part of it.

The two of them have worked hard to radicalize Chicago's public schools.

Ayers' work funding radical "education" groups in Chicago came just in the last 12 years. And he teamed up directly with Obama on that.

As The Wall Street Journal has reported, Ayers and Obama worked for the Chicago Annenberg Challenge. "CAC translated Mr. Ayers' radicalism into practice," notes the Journal. "It required schools to affiliate with 'external partners' " for their funding.

"Proposals from groups focused on math/science achievement were turned down. Instead, CAC disbursed money through various far-left community organizers," such as ACORN.

Ayers seemed to envision schools as "sites of resistance" and for teaching kids to oppose "oppression," with a focus on America's evil and racist past - and an eye toward "social transformation."

This is the swamp in which Obama operated: The Journal notes that Obama was chairman of the CAC board, which handled fiscal matters.

All told, Ayers and Obama won more than $150 million to ladle out.

McCain, to be sure, has never accused Obama of sharing Ayers' terrorist views.

He's merely questioned the Democrat's judgment in having worked with Ayers - and having launched his political career from the ex-terrorist's living room.

It's a fair point.

Incredibly, an Obama aide suggested that the senator didn't know about Ayers' terror past - which is a little disquieting, if true.

But he had to know what Ayers was up to with his school efforts - because Obama himself was helping him.

Bad judgment?

What an understatement.


Barack Obama praises community organizers

More ACORN stories: hereVoter-fraud stories: here

Watch out for voter fraud, Wisconsin

More ACORN stories: hereVoter-fraud stories: here

Editoial cites Barack Obama's union-backed groups

Wisconsin, a swing state in a tight presidential election, should be poised to make a mark this year. It shouldn't, however, have its role in the 2008 election, which also includes U.S. House races and state Legislature contests, marred by allegations of voter registration fraud.

Unfortunately, several charges of election fraud have come up in recent weeks. They need to be dealt with swiftly and firmly. In one of the more recent cases, 21-year-old Milwaukee resident Endalyn Adams was accused of submitting dozens of fake names and addresses as a registration worker. Adams was working for the Community Voters Project, one of two primary groups facing scrutiny. The Association of Community Organizers for Reform Now is also under scrutiny.

In the Adams case, it appears more like a young woman trying to keep her job than one party trying to influence votes. The complaint claims Adams "was required to obtain 15 (completed) voter registration forms a day" or she would lose her job, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

While the state Legislature passed a series of reforms that barred per-signature payments because it's an incentive to submit false names, it's clear more need to be done.

There is a bipartisan effort worth noting. Atty. Gen J.B. Van Hollen, a Republican, and Milwaukee County Dist. Atty. John Chisholm, a Democrat, recently created a fraud task force to review any complaints filed between now and Nov. 4.

Between five and seven prosecutors with the district attorney's office will be assigned to investigators. About 15 Milwaukee police officers also will deal with any problems that may emerge on Election Day.

No other county is involved in the task force yet, but Van Hollen has said that his office will be ready to deal with reports of fraud elsewhere in Wisconsin.

Let's hope people stay vigilant and registration workers do the job they were hired to do throughout our fair state. There is too much at stake this election for even the hint of dishonesty.

- The Editors


CNN: Obama organizers put democracy at risk

More ACORN stories: hereVoter-fraud stories: here

DEMOS: Count every ACORN voter

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CNN: ACORN's partisan fraud

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Obama's mighty ACORN

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Barack Obama runs away from ACORN

More ACORN stories: hereVoter-fraud stories: here

What happens when union-backed ACORN really breaks?

The ACORN voter registration scandal has been getting at least some mainstream media attention, but I think there’s actually much more to this story. The Obama campaign’s ties to this group and its leaders needs to be fully explored and understood.

Of course Democrats and Obama staffers are rushing to pour water all over this. There’s no connection, no ties, nothing at all. Heck, if you listened to them you’d swear Obama had never even heard of the group. See Brad Woodhouse of the DNC on Fox News as a prime example…
SULLIVAN: Yes, but you’re hitting on the mortgage angle. What about Senator Obama’s relationship with the Woods Foundation and ACORN?

WOODHOUSE: Well, let me just say this — I mean, Senator Obama has never been an employee of ACORN, never done any training for ACORN. At one point in his career, he and a bunch of lawyers represented a bunch of groups including ACORN who had a lawsuit against Governor Edgar in Illinois and they wanted to enforce the Motor-Voter Law.

So, I mean — look, this is — there’s no relationship here.
Oh really? Is that so?

This is, of course, all very amusing. It’s getting hard to keep track of all the lowly characters whom Barack Obama claims to have “no relationship” with.

If an when this story really unfolds itself, I suspect we could see a major backlash against Obama. This kind of dirty, underhanded Chicago politics doesn’t sit well with most Americans. Now if only the McCain campaign would turn up the heat on this issue.


Education, Obama, Ayers and ACORN

More Barack Obama stories: herecollectivism stories: here

Celebrity expert rips Obama education policies

Elected officials in Chicago made international news last week by proposing to create a public high school for gay, lesbian and transgender students.

The Pride Campus of the School for Social Justice is set to open with 600 students in 2010, and its curriculum promises to "teach the history of all people who have been oppressed and the civil rights movements that have led to social justice and queer studies."

Yet no American journalist covering the presidential race has queried the Chicago-based Sen. Barack Obama about this radical development in education reform: a key issue to which the young senator has committed much of his public life and all of his executive experience.

From 1995 to 1999, Mr. Obama oversaw the Annenberg Challenge, a nearly $100 million Chicago-based education-reform group co-founded by unrepentant domestic terrorist Bill Ayers.

Nor has any intrepid mainstream-media reporter looked into a greater trend across the United States in segregating public school students by politically correct "victim" class for the explicit purpose of indoctrinating children in "social justice." This loaded political term has been preached by such Obama allies and mentors as the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, the Rev. Michael Pfleger and Mr. Ayers: committed left-wing agitators all, and all off-limits to the working press.

So what exactly is "social justice"? This past Martin Luther King Day, a group of social-welfare students at the University of California at Berkeley got together and took a stab at defining it:

"Social justice is a process, not an outcome, which (1) seeks fair (re)distribution of resources, opportunities and responsibilities; (2) challenges the roots of oppression and injustice; (3) empowers all people to exercise self-determination and realize their full potential; (4) and builds social solidarity and community capacity for collaborative action."

Fitting the narrative, the Social Justice High School in Chicago was created in an act of political protest. The first words on its main campus' Web site at the "About Us" tab make it clear that public funds are intended to develop future Moveon.org and ACORN-style activists: "On May 13th, 2001, fourteen community residents of Little Village neighborhood staged a nineteen-day hunger strike demanding the construction of a new high school."

The protesters back then chanted: "Construyan la escuela ahora!" ("Build the school now!"), and victory was theirs. It was "Si, Se Puede" in action, the Spanish-language Obama chant, and also, not at all coincidentally, the slogan of self-described "social justice" activist Cesar Chavez and the United Farm Workers Union.

It's not a conspiracy because conspiracies are actually hidden.

Mr. Obama, who proudly refuses to take money from lobbyists representing parents, has publicly stated the "single most important factor in determining a child's achievement is not the color of their skin or where they come from; it's not who their parents are or how much money they have. It's who their teacher is."

The Nation magazine uses the words of Rico Gutstein, a founding member of Teachers for Social Justice and a colleague of Mr. Ayers at the University of Illinois at Chicago's College of Education, to describe the group's pedagogy.

The magazine gave the example of running "probability simulations using real data to understand the dynamics behind income inequality or racial profiling." Mr. Gutstein called such exercises "examples of lessons where you can really learn the math basics." Then he adds, "but the purpose of learning the math actually becomes an entree into, and a deeper understanding of, the political ramifications of the issue."

For students of history, this teaching theory adds up to many of the reasons why the 20th century was so filled with misery and bloodshed in the pursuit of a utopian political promise. If it weren't so deeply appalling, it would be funny.

According to their press material, among the gay "heroes" to be weaved into the curriculum at the Pride Campus are expatriate American writer Gertrude Stein, as well as author James Baldwin, who advocated a "Yankee-Doodle type Socialism" and spent many years abroad attacking America.

Yet the Pride Campus refuses to acknowledge my personal gay hero, Paul Lynde, whose historic one-liners were delivered with precision during the heyday of "Hollywood Squares."

Mr. Lynde's crime? He was no victim of a dominant heterosexual paradigm - as evidenced by his prime real estate in the center square. And he didn't need social Marxist educrats to coddle his psyche in order for him to reach the heights of American greatness.

Will the Pledge of Allegiance be scrapped at the Pride Campus for a "pledge of tolerance?" Such is the trend where publicly funded "social justice" curricula are promoted.

The Illinois School Code explicitly states: "No county, city, town, township, school district or other public corporation shall make any appropriation, or pay from any school fund anything in aid of any church or sectarian purpose."

If the "social justice" coincidentally promoted by Mr. Wright and Father Pfleger, is not sectarian, than what is? If sequestering gay people to protect them from straight bullies is the stated goal, then why will the school be majority-straight? How will the heterosexual bullies have been weeded out? And why is the answer to bullying a return to separate but equal?

Why hasn't Mr. Obama in his years in Illinois politics stepped in to stop this blatant political sectarianism on the public's dime? Or is it more likely that the School for Social Justice represents the sort of fruit he sought to produce in his work with Mr. Ayers and others?

In 1990, the Boston Globe described Mr. Obama's "single-minded concern for social justice." It seems that the likely president of the United States is supportive of ghettoizing children based on identity politics in order to make them politically active collectivists. In addition, according to Stanley Kurtz at National Review, the tens of millions of dollars doled out by Mr. Obama and Mr. Ayers for education reform "failed to improve student achievement in the 210 Chicago schools where it operated, according to the Annenberg Challenge's final report."

Is a return to "separate but equal" and blatant political brainwashing the "hope" and "change" American parents can look forward to starting in the fall semester, 2009? One thing is for certain, under President Obama home schooling will become a huge growth industry.

- Andrew Breitbart is the founder of the news Web site breitbart.com and is co-author of "Hollywood Interrupted: Insanity Chic in Babylon - the Case Against Celebrity."


ACORN: From the Inside

More ACORN stories: hereVoter-fraud stories: here

Union-backed voter fraud group puts Obama in position for victory

Since there have been questions raised about just how involved Barack Obama and ACORN have been in the past, the degree of his affiliation with ACORN, whether or not Obama was called upon to train ACORN personnel, as well as questions of just how much importance ACORN placed on the direction and management oversight ACORN’s field volunteers and paid canvassers, the following excerpts are taken from an article written by Chicago ACORN leader and national Board member Toni Foulkes published in the Winter 2003/Spring 2004 edition of Social Policy quarterly review, found here (free subscription required) and titled ”Case Study: Chicago – The Barack Obama Campaign”
ACORN’s history of nonpartisan electoral work (voter registration and voter turnout) and leadership development combined during the March, 2004 primary season to make a big difference in the level of participation of our communities in that important election.

ACORN is active in experimenting with methods of increasing voter participation in our low and moderate income communities in virtually every election. But in some elections we get to have our cake and eat it too: work on nonpartisan voter registration and GOTV, which also turns out to benefit the candidate that we hold dear…

Obama started building the base years before. For instance, ACORN noticed him when he was organizing on the far south side of the city with the Developing Communities Project. He was a very good organizer. When he returned from law school, we asked him to help us with a lawsuit to challenge the state of Illinois’ refusal to abide by the National Voting Rights Act, also known as motor voter. Allied only with the state of Mississippi, Illinois had been refusing to allow mass-based voter registration according to the new law. Obama took the case, known as ACORN vs. Edgar (the name of the Republican governor at the time) and we won…

Since then, we have invited Obama to our leadership training sessions to run the session on power every year, and, as a result, many of our newly developing leaders got to know him before he ever ran for office. Thus, it was natural for many of us to be active volunteers in his first campaign for State Senate and then his failed bid for U.S. Congress in 1996. By the time he ran for U.S. Senate, we were old friends…

ACORN members were involved in three activities around the primary:

1) Block captains were identified, as early as the summer before the March primary, and provided with lists of registered and unregistered voters and voter registration materials. We attended trainings and accountability meetings to receive our materials and make plans to get the people registered. Then we came back to report on our progress. We also hired voter registrars in the final three weeks to work the supermarkets in our communities. By the February 17 voter registration deadline for the primary, ACORN had registered 12,984 new voters. This was an organizational best for us. (As of this writing, we have added over 27,000 new voters).

2) Block captains then went to work to turn out the vote. They were all volunteers until the last few days, when we received funding to pay some of our block captains in some precincts of the 24th ward (North Lawndale) and the 15th ward (West Englewood) to get out the vote on the last Saturday before the election and on election day.

3) In some precincts in the 15th ward, we were able to hire canvassers to work on voter turnout for a full two weeks before the election. Each canvasser worked two to three precincts during that time.
It sure would be interesting to find out where the above referenced “funding” came from
… As it turned out, Obama won the primary handily, pulling white wards as well as African American. But no one knew that that would be the case. In each election we must act as if our work is critical for our communities. That is what we did in the primary, and we learned something in the process.
There is little doubt that Barack Obama has had an intimate relationship with ACORN since well before that 2004 election, that Barack Obama was highly regarded by ACORN, enough so that they had him train their personnel, yearly. It is also obvious that Obama has been ACORN’s candidate of choice for years, no matter what office he was running for. That makes his campaign’s $832,000 payments to ACORN all the more questionable. So too the Democrats’ attempts to fund ACORN with taxpayer money in the “Bailout” bill

Ms. Foulkes’ article also makes clear that voter registration efforts by ACORN are not the unsupervised forays into strange territories with little or no supervision of the paid canvassers, as ACORN and Obama would have us believe

And the fraud that has been discovered, in a dozen states thus far, is not some haphazard happenstance. As Foulkes points out ACORN’s efforts are carefully monitored and its personnel obviously well-trained

A federal Special Prosecutor with RICO experience is the only way to get to the bottom of this deliberate, on-going attempt to subvert the American electoral process


Exposed: Obama-way community organizing

More ACORN stories: hereSaul Alinsky: here collectivism: here

Understanding Barack Obama, ACORN and the iconic socialist Saul Alinsky

With all the discussion about Barak Obama, Chicago community organizer, it would be helpful to understand more about what he was doing.

First, here’s his work history: for two years, fresh out of college, Obama directed the Developing Communities Project, which operated under the Gamaliel Foundation network. His mentor was the ex-Jesuit, Greg Galuzzo, lead organizer for Gamaliel, who received his training under a fellow named Saul Alinsky. Remember that name – Alinsky.

Another of Obama’s mentors was organizer Jerry Kellman, whose Calumet Community Religious Conference founded the Developing Communities Project. Alinsky, who built the original Alinskyian network of community organizations – the Industrial Areas Foundation (IAF) – also trained Kellman. Not too surprisingly, the Chicago IAF affiliate worked with Obama on legislative issues and supported him in his bid for Senator. Are you following all this?

After Obama went to Harvard Law School, he returned to Chicago and taught Alinskyian organizing to yet another network - ACORN. Although ACORN has a unique structure among the Alinskyian networks, its tactical philosophy and worldview fit the profile, and for a good reason. ACORN’s founder, Wade Rathke, trained under George Wiley, who trained under Alinsky – a sort of second generation Alinskyite, if you will. Obama ran ACORN’s 1992 voter-registration drive, Project Vote, and in turn received ACORN’s endorsement for Illinois senator.

Here are three community-organizing networks, each marked with the philosophy of Saul Alinsky. Who the hell was this guy?

The Premier “Community Organizer”, Saul Alinsky

No, I’m not just being profane. Alinsky begins one of his books on organizing, Rules for Radicals, with a sort of dedication:

Lest we forget at least an over-the-shoulder acknowledgment to the very first radical; from all our legends, mythology, and history (and who is to know where mythology leaves off and history begins - or which is which), the first radical known to man who rebelled against the establishment and did it so effectively that he at least won his own kingdom - Lucifer. Saul Alinsky, dedication of Rules for Radicals

Tongue in check though this may have been, there’s an ironic truth to what Alinsky was saying. Organizing, as he conceived it, is a rebellious, self-serving business. If you wanted a little crash-course in the most egregious ideas Alinsky teaches, they would be:

- Class warfare: The world, as Alinsky sees it, is looked in a perpetual struggle between the “Haves” and “Have-nots.” Alinsky sees his work as giving tools to the “Have-nots” so they can take from the “Haves.”

- The ends justify the means: This is a war, baby.

- “An organizer working for change...does not have a fixed truth - truth to him is relative and changing.” Rules for Radicals (pg. 10-11): Morality isn’t a set of fixed principles but changes as popular consensus changes. (If you’re worried that this gives someone like Hitler moral credibility, you’d be right…that is, if Hitler wins the war. But since he didn’t, he’s the devil.)

- The organizer (unencumbered by “truth) must gain the trust of people by looking and sounding just like them. “All effective actions,” Alinsky writes in his Rules, “require the passport of morality.” If the “people” are church-goers, the organizer had better go to church, too.

- Popular education: The people – that is, the poor – need to be awakened to their own self-interest and trained to take political action, under the direction of their organizers.

There’s a good deal more, but the above five, foundational concepts of Alinsky’s work are enough to give the reader pause. These are ideas straight from hell.

What Alinsky Founded

Many activists hear the term “community organizing” and understand it to mean grassroots people, working together, exercising their civic rights to improve neighborhoods and schools. It can work that way and when it does, it can be a good thing.

The Alinskyian organizers, however, use this optimistic energy to their own advantage. While “leading” with the people’s immediate concerns, they have pursued their own agenda. In other words, while organizing around neighborhood concerns, the action taken to address local concerns belongs to the Alinskyites:

[The organizer's] issue gets dealt with last. If you want your issue to be dealt with first, you'll never build anything. So you lead with other people’s issues, and you teach them how to act on their issues. Then you model what is to be reciprocal, you model what it is to have a long-term vision. [Ernesto Cortes, Southwestern Regional Director of the Industrial Areas Foundation, “Organizing the Community: The Industrial Areas Foundation Organizer speaks to farmers and farm activists,” The Texas Observer, 7/11/86.]

OK, so what’s the agenda?

The People’s Platform

Alinsky founded something called the Industrial Areas Foundation, which, over the years, has become a network of affiliate groups around the country. Each affiliate operates under a different name but pays dues to the national Industrial Areas Foundation (IAF), is run by IAF organizers, and sends its hand-picked leadership to national IAF centers for training.

Several IAF-trained organizers went on to found their own Alinskyian networks, all having similar worldviews, similar structures, and similar agendas.
Most of the time, one has to follow a network for a decade or so to ferret out the agenda because it isn’t something they talk about – not when they’re trying to walk and talk like the typical Americans.

ACORN, on the other hand, has always been a little different. It began in Little Rock, Arkansas, rising from the financial and managerial ashes of George Wiley’s National Welfare Rights Organization. That was 1970. By 1978, ACORN had local chapters around the US and wrote a People’s Platform, which was ratified the following year at its national convention. The document was revised and re-approved in 1990 and remains in effect. In its own way, the People’s Platform is rather refreshing, because it forthrightly demands what the other networks merely labor to achieve, without naming. Among other things, it demands that the United States:

• “create a national health-care system” in which “all medical costs are covered” and in which doctors are provided a medical “education subsidized by the federal government.” [section on Health Care, # I & II]
• “create more housing” by setting a “goal of a million new units of federally subsidized housing per year.” [section on Housing, #I]
• “charge government and big business with the final responsibility for full employment.” [section on Work and Workers’ Rights, #II]
• “guarantee a minimum annual family income…” [section on Work and Workers’ Rights, #III]
• develop schools that are “available for community needs, like adult education” and “job training that is linked to specific employment,” and which “can provide all support and services that a child cannot receive at home.” [section on Education, #II & IV]

Plans that expansively place a country’s housing, healthcare, employment, income, childcare, job training, business, and education under the control of government are essentially socialist.

In fact, ACORN’s socialist political activities went so far as to create a political party, called the New Party, with several of the other Alinskyian networks and the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) during the 90s. The New Party is defunct, but it and corrupt “Get Out the Vote” drives, riddled with indictments, lawsuits and complaints around the country (for details, check rottenacorn.com), paint a clear picture of what ACORN seeks.

Community Reinvestment Act

“Social restructuring” – it sounds so…benign. A tweak here, a bit of regulation there and we’ll sculpt Utopia.

For instance, there’s been a tremendous amount of discussion about the country’s financial crisis recently, with some people tracing its roots as far back as to the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) of 1977, which required banks to provide sub-prime loans – that is, loans to people who lacked the economic resources to adequately support them – to anyone living three to five miles from a branch office.

CRA was passed, in no small part, thanks to the efforts of one of the most powerful Alinskyian locals, the Chicago-based Northwest Community Organization. Its lead organizer went on to cofound yet another network – National People’s Action (NPA) – which made banking “reform” its core cause, both in supporting passage of the CRA and afterwards, as its watchdog. Insufficient federal enforcement of the Act “forced” community groups, the NPA believed, to be its enforcers and regulators…and ACORN came along to assist.

So long as the CRA applied only to lending and was adequately supported by the federal government, the arrangement “worked.” Poor people were able to buy homes, banks lost very little, and the government “invested” in low-income neighborhoods, on the premise that home ownership would make them more livable. ACORN got in the housing business through its ACORN Housing Corporation, charging fees to hook lenders up with low-income borrowers. The goose might be a little thin, but she was laying gold.

The 1990s brought new CRA regulations that expanded both the number and poor quality of sub-prime loans. Financial analysts will argue, for some time to come, how this has contributed to the collapse of several major banking institutions, but the central position of Alinskyian organizations in the fiasco is disturbing. It’s not by accident that the first bailout package proposed (and rejected) to remedy the present crisis contained millions of dollars “reserved to the Housing Trust Fund” – ostensibly to help defaulting homeowners. The reality, however, was that its housing grants could, and no doubt would, be targeted by ACORN and other liberal housing activists.

Educating for the Future

Much has been made of Obama’s association with the notorious radical of the 60s, William (Bill) Ayers. Ayers is today a professor of education at the University of Illinois at Chicago, specializing in education theory.

In 1995, philanthropist Walter H. Annenberg pledged the largest private donation to Chicago public schools in their history - nearly $50 million dollars. The money was a challenge grant, designed to match equal funding from public and private sources.. Other cities received similar grants.

The Annenberg Foundation’s intention was to affect substantive “change” in education, as defined by William Ayers, who had begun the work for the Annenberg grant proposal together with other local educators, foundation officials and community activists two years earlier. In fact, Ayers helped found the Chicago Annenberg Challenge Fund and Obama was its first Chairman of the Board.

What were Annenberg and Ayers, dubbed the “architect” of the progressive Chicago school “reform”, creating?

One can find an excellent example in the NY-ACORN alternative “New Visions Schools” – part of the public school system and also supported by Annenberg money. New Visions Schools hire “progressively-minded” teachers and principals and each have an on-site, full-time, paid ACORN organizer. Standardized testing is eliminated. Rather, “…students analyze public health issues, the organization of community groups, the development of public policy and the international labor movement. Students are involved in hands-on activities in order to relate classroom learning to community service. These activities range from participation in labor and community organization movements to service as interns at local health care facilities.”

This isn’t education – it’s ideological propaganda.

In Conclusion

It’s impossible to know with certainty how deeply Obama’s Alinskyian training runs in his soul. There are organizers who never look beneath the surface of their activity to understand that the Platform’s goals have consequences – that the best thing you can say for government controlled housing and education (never mind health care and job training and anything else you can regulate to death) is that it’s inferior.

The trouble is, whatever else he may be, Barak Obama isn’t a stupid man.

- Stephanie Block is editor of Los Pequenos Pepper, a newspaper based in New Mexico.


Getting to know Barack: Meet these FOBs

More ACORN stories: hereMore collectivism stories: here

Union bigs inexplicably left off list

The Obama defenders are complaining that William Ayers’ radical bombings in the late 1960s and early 1970s are dismissible as "old news." They declare Obama's associations to be "irrelevant." (Somehow I'm prompted to wonder what they'd say if McCain were a friend of a 1940s Nazi prison camp guard.) Yet Obama's associations are relevant, as they are in fact current news, and they speak to his judgment, character and to his political proclivities and inclinations. And we can never forget that a man is known by the company he keeps.

Here is a brief accounting of over a dozen of Obama’s long-time colleagues, associates and friends.

Khalid al-Mansour: the anti-Semite Black Nationalist racist who changed his name from Don Marshall and converted to Islam, was a patron of Obama’s and helped advance Obama’s candidacy to law school. He was instrumental in starting the violent Black Panthers group, reportedly became Kind Saud’s attorney and represents OPEC. No wonder Obama doesn't want to drill anywhere, although he changed that tune in last Tuesday's debate in an apparent attempt to drill for votes.

As an article in FrontPageMag.com reported, “And why is it that black racists such as al-Mansour constitute a significant proportion of these hate mongers? In large part, it is because blacks have been specifically and aggressively targeted for recruitment by leaders of the worldwide jihad, just as they were targeted for recruitment by the Communist Party USA in the 1920s. Black grievance, combined with the evangelism of the Nation of Islam over the last seventy years, has established an audience for the ideology of hate.”

It is notable that Khalid al-Mansour is an advisor and friend to Prince al-Walid bin Talal, the Saudi sheik to whom Mayor Rudy Giuliani returned a $10 million check right after 9/11 because bin Talal stated that America brought the bloodthirsty attack on itself due to our foreign policy.

Rashid Khalidi: an enthusiastic supporter of the Palestinians, fervent critic of Israel (which he calls a destructive “racist” state), an admirer of suicide bombers and a driving force behind the Arab American Action Network (AAAN). This so-called pro-Palestinian “community organization” in Chicago is another beneficiary of the Obama-Ayers team at the Woods Fund. It promotes an agenda that would horrify Obama’s Jewish supporters and any normal person. In fact, both Sen. Obama and Mr. Ayers actually spoke at a testimonial dinner for Rashid Khalidi.

According to Jack Kelly in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, “ ‘Khalidi and Obama lived in nearby faculty residential zones and the two families dined together a number of times,’ a source on the University of Chicago faculty told WorldNet Daily. ‘The Obamas even babysat the Khalidi children.’ ”

Ingrid Mattson: President of the troubling Islamic Society of North America, a group named as an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation terrorist trial, and a woman whom Obama invited to lead prayer at the Democrat Convention, which she did.

Frank Marshall Davis: another of Obama's mentors mentioned in his book, a well-known Stalinist Communist whose devotion to the Soviet Union and hatred for an America which he described as racist and imperialistic put him under FBI surveillance for at least 19 years. It is quite possible that Davis did more to shape Obama’s world view than many in his entourage.

Tony Rezko: convicted felon of fraud and shady dealings, he and Obama were very close. Rezko helped get Obama a sweetheart mortgage, and he bundled tons of money for Obama’s campaign. Rezko bought property (under another sweetheart deal) to be Obama's neighbor. As of today, it appears Rezko is willing to talk to reduce his sentence.

William Ayers: Ayers is still today (this is not an “old news” story) an unrepentant terrorist. He was quoted (coincidentally on September 11, 2001, in the New York Times) as being proud and unapologetic for the bombings of the Pentagon, the Capitol and the New York City Police where several police officers were murdered as a result. In fact, he stated that his only regret was that they hadn't done more. For a smug thug like this, Sen. Obama – unbelievably – did the favor of writing a dust-jacket blurb forMr. Ayers' 2001 book, "Fugitive Days".

Ayers and Obama served on the board of the Annenberg Foundation together, overseeing the expenditure of tens of millions of dollars. Currently, or rather, inexplicably, all the related records remain "unavailable."

Interestingly, the Annenberg Foundationruns the "Factcheck.org" site that Obama uses as his only source of "facts" on his "fight the smears" website. Why or how factcheck.org is given any mainstream media credibility as a fact source is laughable. The mainstream press should be ashamed of itself for using them.

Saved from jail, unfortunately, by legal technicalities, Ayers is married to Bernardine Dohrn, another Weathermen terrorist once on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted List, who did serve time for refusing to testify about the death of other Weathermen when a bomb they were building blew up prematurely. J. Edgar Hoover called her ''the most dangerous woman in America'' and ''la Pasionara of the Lunatic Left.''

Bernardine Dohrn, who in the 80’s worked at the same time with Michelle Obama for the Chicago law firm Sidley Austin,was also a fan of Charles Manson:
At a 1969 "War Council" in Flint, Michigan, Dohrn gave her most memorable and notorious speech to her followers. Holding her fingers in what became the Weatherman "fork salute," she said of the bloody murders recently committed by the Manson Family in which the pregnant actress Sharon Tate and a Folgers Coffee heiress and several other inhabitants of a Benedict Canyon mansion were brutally stabbed to death: "Dig it! First they killed those pigs, then they ate dinner in the same room with them. They even shoved a fork into the victim's stomach! Wild!" The "War Council" ended with a formal declaration of war against "AmeriKKKa," always spelled with three K's to signify the United States' allegedly ineradicable white racism.
ACORN: An organization so fraught with voter fraud they should be closed down and indicted under RICO. Where you're never too dead to vote twice. Ever wonder what a "community organizer" is? Think ACORN. For whom was Obama a "constitutional lawyer"? ACORN. Currently, numerous ACORN offices are being raided by the FBI and investigated for ongoing and major voter fraud.

Fannie/Freddie: Obama was the number two campaign contribution recipient from Freddie and Fannie execs, behind Banking Committee Chairman Chris Dodd. And bear in mind, those are numbers compiled over nine years. Obama has been a senator only for four of those years and raked in almost as much dough as Dodd did in all nine years.

Franklin Raines/Jim Johnson: Former heads of Fannie Mae, both men were removed for impropriety. Both made tens of millions of dollars from their time at the helm, helping to pilot the economy onto the rocks. Are there two people more responsible for the current economic mess? Besides Barney Frank and Chris Dodd, they may have had more to do with creating the problem than anyone else... and they're in Obama's inner circle giving economic advice; Jim Johnson was actually chosen to vet Obama's VP Pick.

Rev. Wright and Father Pfleger: radical, fervently anti-American, and anti-Semitic. The Rev. Louis Farrakhan, also an anti-Semite and black racist, was recently honored by Rev. Wright for “Lifetime Achievement”. And Obama called them mentors, friends and/or spiritual advisors. What did he learn from them over the decades of their association? And why did he not reject their views until it was politically expedient for him to do so?

Michelle Obama: Mrs. Obama seems to hold radical separatist views consistent with a 20-year attendance and tutelage under Rev. Wright. Her college thesis was on assimilation vs. "the black culture,” and she was openly dismayed that so many blacks were choosing to assimilate into the American melting-pot culture. She also stated on the campaign trail that for the first time in her adult life she was proud of her country. This, from a possible First Lady of the land.

From anti-American at best, to virulently anti-American and criminal anti-American at worst, this is the rag-tag crowd with whom Obama has chosen to build his career and personal relationships for the past few decades. That such a person – and crowd - could end up holding the fate and deepest secrets of our most precious jewel, America, in their hands – as well as all our futures - is deeply troubling, to say the least, and it would be an unspeakable tragedy if it were to transpire.

- Doug Edelman


New York Times abets Obama-ACORN cover-up

More ACORN stories: hereVoter-fraud stories: here

Pro-Barack tactic: Deal with it on Saturday, move on

Senator John McCain’s presidential campaign on Friday stepped up its efforts to tie Senator Barack Obama to a community organizing group that has been accused of involvement in problematic voter registrations in several hotly contested states, including Colorado, Indiana, Nevada and North Carolina.

The group, the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, or ACORN, has long been a favorite target of conservatives. It made news this year when it was revealed that a brother of ACORN’s founder had embezzled almost $1 million from the organization but that ACORN had failed to disclose the theft for eight years.

“Barack Obama has made very inconsistent remarks about what his relationship with this organization is,” Rick Davis, Mr. McCain’s campaign manager, said in a conference call.

Mr. Davis said Mr. Obama had worked as ACORN’s lawyer and conducted training events for its leaders. He also noted a payment the Obama campaign made in February to an Acorn affiliate, Citizens Services Inc.

While Mr. Obama did represent Acorn in a lawsuit in 1995, ACORN was on the same side as the Justice Department. The training events involved two hours of work. And the payment to the Acorn affiliate was reported in campaign filings, although they had to be revised because of an error.

The Obama campaign described the accusations as a spurious effort to tie Mr. Obama to potentially fraudulent voter registrations.

“Barack Obama strongly condemns voter registration fraud or any other breach of election law by any party or group,” Ben LaBolt, a campaign spokesman, said in a statement.

Acorn, whose political action committee has endorsed Mr. Obama, has said that the investigations into its voter registration work are politically motivated.

“Rumors of ACORN’s voter fraud have been greatly exaggerated and to a large extent manufactured,” Bertha Lewis, the organization’s interim chief organizer, or chief executive, said Monday in a conference call to announce that the organization had registered 1.3 million people to vote.

Ms. Lewis said it was ACORN itself that informed state officials about some questionable registrations collected by its employees that are now under investigation. ACORN said it had terminated the workers involved.

In 1995, Mr. Obama was on a team of lawyers that represented ACORN in a lawsuit to compel Illinois to comply with federal laws intended to enhance access to the polls. The team also represented Equip for Equality, a group that promotes the rights of the disabled, and four individuals.

Mr. Davis said that as their lawyer, Mr. Obama had “an intimate relationship” with ACORN “against the State of Illinois and the federal government.”

In fact, the Justice Department was on the same side as ACORN in the lawsuit, as were other organizations, including the League of Women Voters. Those plaintiffs won the case.

Mr. Davis urged reporters to question Mr. Obama about training sessions he had done for ACORN. “What were you teaching them?” Mr. Davis asked. “Were you teaching them how to evade the law?”

Lewis Goldberg, a spokesman for ACORN, said Mr. Obama conducted two leadership training sessions of roughly an hour each for ACORN’s Chicago affiliate over a three-year period in the late 1990s. He was not paid for that work, Mr. Goldberg said.

Even before Friday’s conference call, Republicans had made much of an $832,598 payment made in February by the Obama campaign to Citizens Services Inc., a consulting firm affiliated with ACORN.

“This organization is not just related to but deeply ingrained in the ACORN organization, a front group for ACORN,” Mr. Davis said.

The Obama campaign initially reported that the payment was for “staging, sound, lighting” and other advance work when it reported its expenditures with the Federal Election Commission. It filed amended reports in August and September to reflect that those payments were for get-out-the-vote efforts.

Mr. Davis contended that the original filing was an effort to “hide the fact” that money was paid to ACORN. But F.E.C. officials have said such amended filings are common.

Citizens Services typically contracts with ACORN and its affiliates for work like that done for the Obama campaign. Mr. Goldberg, the ACORN spokesman, said that less than $80,000 of the Obama campaign’s payment to Citizens Services went to ACORN. Jeff Robinson, executive vice president of Citizens Services, did not return a call inquiring how the rest of the money was spent.

In 1992, Mr. Obama was personally involved in voter registration efforts when he served as director of Project Vote in Chicago, helping to register 150,000 voters on the South Side. His success was widely written about at the time and credited with helping to elect Senator Carol Moseley Braun, the first African-American woman in the Senate.

Mr. LaBolt emphasized that Project Vote and ACORN were not as intertwined at that time as they are today, when a significant part of Project Vote’s revenues flow to ACORN and various of its affiliates as payment for services.

But according to Sam Graham-Felsen, who blogs on the Obama campaign’s Web site, Mr. Obama himself linked his 1992 work to v in a meeting with v’s leaders in November.

“Even before I was an elected official, when I ran Project Vote voter registration drives in Illinois, ACORN was smack dab in the middle of it, and we appreciate your work,” Mr. Obama said, according to a post Mr. Graham-Felsen made in February.


2008: A watershed year for collectivists

More collectivism stories: hereMore EFCA stories: here

U.S. edges toward national socialism policies under Barack Obama

For conservatives opposed to an Obama presidency, the last few days have brought the wonder of the smoking gun: Obama really was a socialist. Combine that hidden paper trail with his Ayers affiliation, and it's reasonable to believe that Obama still holds these socialist political views.

Conservatives' excitement at finally having found the real socialist hiding inside that empty suit is tempered by one thing -- outside of conservative circles, nobody really seems to care. The media, of course, is very aggressive about not caring, but the malaise seems to affect ordinary Americans as well.

The only way to explain this disinterest in Obama's past and its relationship to his present is that Americans no longer consider the label "socialist" to be a pejorative. To them, it's just another content-neutral political ideology. In our non-judgmental age, it falls into the same category as Liberal vs. Conservative, or Left vs. Right. To most people, it just means Obama is a more liberal Liberal, or a leftier Lefty, and they already knew that.

In order to stir ordinary Americans to the sense of outrage those of us in the blogosphere feel, we need to remind them that socialism is not simply a more liberal version of ordinary American politics. It is, instead, its own animal, and a very feral, dangerous animal indeed.

It helps to begin by understanding what socialism is not. It isn't Liberalism and it isn't mere Leftism. Frankly, those terms (and their opposites) should be jettisoned entirely, because they have become too antiquated to describe 21st Century politics. The political designations of Left and Right date back to the French Revolution, when Revolutionaries sat on the Left side of the French Parliament, and the anti-Revolutionaries sat on the Right. Terms from the internal geography of the French parliament as the ancient regime crumbled are striking inapposite today.

Likewise, the terms Liberal and Conservative date back to Victorian England, when Liberals were pushing vast social reforms, such as the end of child labor, while Conservatives were all for maintaining a deeply hierarchical status quo. Considering that modern "liberals" are seeking a return to 20th Century socialism, those phrases too scarcely seem like apt descriptors.

If it were up to me to attach labels to modern political ideologies, I would choose the terms "Individualism" and "Statism." "Individualism" would reflect the Founder's ideology, which sought to repose as much power as possible in individual citizens, with as little power as possible in the State, especially the federal state. The Founder's had emerged from a long traditional of monarchal and parliamentary statism, and they concluded that, whenever power is concentrated in the government, the individual suffers.

And what of Statism? Well, there's already a name for that ideology, and it's a name that should now be firmly attached to Sen. Obama: Socialism.

Although one can trace socialist ideas back to the French Revolution (and even before), socialism's true naissance is the 19th Century, when various utopian dreamers envisioned a class-free society in which everyone shared equally in what the socialist utopians firmly believed was a finite economic pie. That is, they did not conceive of the possibility of economic growth. Instead, they believed that, forever and ever, there would only be so many riches and resources to go around.

The original utopians did not yet look to the state for help establishing a world of perfect equality. Instead, they relied on each enlightened individual's moral sense, and they set up myriad high-minded communes to achieve this end. All of them failed. (For many of us, the most famous would be the Transcendentalist experiment in Concord, Massachusetts, which almost saw poor Louisa May Alcott starve to death as a child.)

It took Marx and Engels to carry socialism to the next level, in which they envisioned the complete overthrow of all governments, with the workers of the world uniting so that all contributed to a single socialist government, which in turn would give back to them on an as needed basis. Assuming that you're not big on individualism and exceptionalism, this might be an attractive doctrine as a way to destroy want and exploitation, except for one thing: It does not take into account the fact that the state has no conscience.

Once you vest all power in the state, history demonstrates that the state, although technically composed of individuals, in fact takes on a life of its own, with the operating bureaucracy driving it to ever greater extremes of control. Additionally, history demonstrates that, if the wrong person becomes all-powerful in the state, the absence of individualism means that the state becomes a juggernaut, completely in thrall to a psychopath's ideas. Herewith some examples:

My favorite example is always Nazi Germany because so many people forget that it was a socialist dictatorship. Or perhaps they're ignorant of the fact that the Nazi's official and frequently forgotten name was the National Socialist German Worker's Party. In other words, while most people consider the Nazi party to be a totalitarian ideology arising from the right, it was, in fact, a totalitarian party arising from the left.

Practically within minutes of the Nazi takeover of the German government, individuals were subordinated to the state. Even industries that remained privately owned (and there were many, as opponents of the Nazis = socialist theory like to point out), were allowed to do so only if their owners bent their efforts to the benefit of the state. Show a hint of individualism, and an unwillingness to cooperate, and you'd swiftly find yourself in Dachau, with a government operative sitting in that executive chair you once owned.

We all know what life was like in this Nazi socialist state. Citizens immediately lost the right to bear arms; thought crimes were punished with imprisonment and death; children were indoctrinated into giving their allegiance to the state, not the family; the government dictated the way in which people could live their day-to-day lives; and people who appeared to be outliers to the harmony of the conscienceless government entity (gays, mentally ill-people, physically handicapped people, Jews, gypsies) were dehumanized and eventually slaughtered.

And here's something important for you to realize as you think about what happened in that socialist state. While a core group of people, Hitler included, undoubtedly envisioned these extremes as their initial goals, most didn't. They just thought that, after the utter chaos of the 1920s (especially the economic chaos), the socialists would calm the economy (which they did), and simply remove from people the painful obligation of having to make their way in the world. It was only incrementally that the average German bought into the ever-more-extreme demands of the state - and those who didn't buy in were coerced because of the state's unfettered willingness to use its vast, brute power to subordinate individuals to its demand.

Here's another example: the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. In my liberal days in the 1970s and 1980s, it was very popular to downplay what was going on in the USSR and, instead, chalk up fear of the Soviets to the foul remnants of McCarthyism. This was extreme intellectual dishonesty on our part. The fact is that life in the USSR was always horrible.

From its inception, the Soviet state brutalized people, whether it was the upper echelon party purges or the mass slaughter of the kulaks -- all in the name of collectivism and the protection of the state envisioned by Lenin and Stalin. Most estimates are that, in the years leading up to WWII, the Soviet socialist state killed between 30 and 60 million of its own citizens. Not all of the victims died, or at least they didn't die instantly. Those who didn't receive a swift bullet to the head might starve to death on collective farms or join the millions who ended up as slave laborers in the gulags, with most of the latter incarcerated for thought crimes against the state.

I've got another example for you: the People's Republic of China, another socialist state. One sees the same pattern as in Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia: individuals were instantly subordinated to the needs of the state and, as the state's needs became ever more grandiose, more and more people had to die. Current estimates are that Mao's "visionary" Great Leap Forward resulted in the deaths of up to 100 million people. The people died from starvation, or were tortured to death, or just outright murdered because of thought crimes. The same pattern, of course, daily plays out on a smaller scale in socialist North Korea.

Those are examples of hard socialism. Soft socialism is better, but it certainly isn't the American ideal. Britain springs to mind as the perfect example of soft socialism. Britain's socialist medicine is a disaster, with practically daily stories about people being denied treatment or receiving minimal treatment. Invariably, the denials arise because the State's needs trump the individual's: Either the treatment is generally deemed too costly (and there are no market forces at work) or the patients are deemed unworthy of care, especially if they're old.

British socialism has other problems, aside from the dead left behind in her hospital wards. As did Germany, Russia, and China (and as would Obama), socialist Britain took guns away (at least in London), with the evitable result that violent crime against innocent people skyrocketed.

The British socialist bureaucracy also controls people's lives at a level currently incomprehensible to Americans, who can't appreciate a state that is constantly looking out for its own good. In Britain, government protects thieves right's against property owner's, has it's public utilities urge children to report their parents for "green" crimes; tries to criminalize people taking pictures of their own children in public places; destroys perfectly good food that does not meet obsessive compulsive bureaucratic standards; and increasingly stifles free speech. (Impressively, all of the preceding examples are from just the last six months in England.)

Both history and current events demonstrate that the socialist reality is always bad for the individual, and this is true whether one is looking at the painfully brutal socialism of the Nazis or the Soviets or the Chinese, with its wholesale slaughters, or at the soft socialism of England, in which people's lives are ever more tightly circumscribed, and the state incrementally destroys individual freedom. And that is why Obama's socialism matters.

Regardless of Obama’s presumed good intentions, socialism always brings a society to a bad ending. I don’t want to believe that Americans who live in a free society that allows people to think what they will, do what they want, and succeed if they can, will willingly hand themselves over to the socialist ideology. They must therefore be reminded, again and again and again, that socialism isn’t just another political party; it’s the death knell to freedom. So remember, while McCain wants to change DC, Obama wants to change America.

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