Here is a roundup of several key state questions on yesterday's ballot. Numbers in parentheses after the name of the measure indicate number of precincts counted as of this morning:
Arizona Proposition 102 defining marriage as between a man and a woman (92%)
For: 1,009,693 - 57%
Against: 777,359 - 43%
Arizona Proposition 202 revoking business licenses for hiring undocumented workers (92%)
For: 702,839 – 41%
Against: 1,020,204 - 59%
Arkansas: Ban Gay Adoption (90%)
For: 549,074 – 57%
Against: 418,648 - 43%
California Proposition 4 for parental notification on abortions (84%)
For: 4,061,123 - 47.2%
Against: 4,535,947 - 52.8%
California Proposition 8 to ban gay marriage (84%):
For: 4,605,065 - 51.8%
Against: 4,293,068 - 48.2%
Colorado Proposition 46 to end affirmative action (77%)
For: 886,544 – 49%
Against: 911,218 – 51%
Colorado Proposition 47 to make Colorado a right-to-work state(80%)
For: 863,812 - 44%
Against: 1,079,591 - 55%
Colorado Proposition 48 to define a fertilized egg as a person
For: 494,058 – 27%
Against: 1,353,078 – 73%
Florida Amendment 2 more strongly banning gay marriage (99%)
For: 4,657,031 – 62%
Against: 2,848,490 - 38%
Massachusetts Question 1 to abolish the income tax (93%)
For: 842,799 – 30%
Against: 1,922,815 - 70%
Michigan Proposition 1 to approve medical marijuana (92%)
For: 2,704,166 (63%)
Against: 1,607,324 (37%)
Nebraska: Ban Affirmative Action (99%)
For: 384,729 – 58%
Against: 283,351 - 42%
South Dakota Initiated Measure 11 to ban abortion (99%)
For: 160,697 - 45%
Against: 196,847 - 55%
Washington Initiative 1000 on assisted suicide (48%)
For: 826,229 - 58%
Against: 588,321 - 42%
No big surprises here. Arizona can't very well support tough sanctions against businesses that hire illegal aliens, because such a measure would essentially put every company that hires laborers out of business.
Perhaps the voters in Washington state are concerned about the disproportionately high cost of health care for the terminally ill during their final months of life. Or perhaps they are anxious for a simple, guaranteed way to eliminate suffering when they become ill. If only life were that easy.
They'll be tokin' it up big time in Michigan. Dude!
America still hasn't warmed up to gay marriage and gay adoptions. I only support secular civil unions, and gay foster parenting/adoption as a last resort, if there is an emergency and no other suitable foster home is available.
Many Americans believe that affirmative action has run its course and needs to be retired. This is interesting, since a majority of Americans just voted for a President who essentially believes that affirmative action was not enough, and that we must redistribute wealth in addition to giving racial minorities preference.
Finally, Americans still seem to feel that abortion is a private issue, and that there should be as little government interference with abortion as possible. I think most Americans agree that abortion should be legally available (even if you don't agree with the procedure) and should be safe. The big question is, how "rare" should it be? Partisans on both sides of that question -- unrestricted access vs. a nearly complete ban -- will never see a majority agree with either extreme position.
I think that these results show that while Americans are dissatisfied with the status quo and are longing for new visionary leadership, their basic ideals and beliefs have not changed. In short, this probably means that a hard pull to the left will not be enthusiastically received. Just some food for thought, as the Left prepares to run wild with their new "mandate" to rule America.
I voted at 9:30 this morning at Crown Heights Baptist Church near NW 50th and Western here in Oklahoma City. I waited about 40 minutes to vote. There were two lines, A-Kr and Ku-Z. Voters were lined up out the door and part-way down the building. Voters and staff were polite, and there were no problems voting. In the interior photos, you'll notice a video camera on a tripod behind the desk. Channel 9 News was there, along with a still photographer. Channel 9/NewsOK has an open comment thread for Oklahoma voters to report what it was like to vote today.
I also checked out the polls earlier, around 7:30 AM. At that time, voters were lined up all the way around the parking lot:
As of this writing (11:00AM CST) it looks like Oklahoma will have a record voter turnout, significantly higher than the record we set in 2004. This is including both ballots cast today, and absentee voting.
Four years ago, I voted at 9:00 AM and was ballot #475 in the machine. Today I cast my vote at 9:30 and was voter #678. My wife voted around 1:00PM and reported that the tally was over 1200.
A caller on the Rush Limbaugh show told this story:
You were telling us that you were in Oklahoma City and you had a little
bumper sticker with McCain-Palin on the car, and I expect what you'll
say is that you encountered some intimidation.
CALLER: Yes. It was amazing the amount of intimidation we experienced. We had our windows down about an inch. People were screaming things at us that I wouldn't even repeat. I mean we had racial slurs coming at us. We had threats coming at us. They wouldn't let us turn in. The police that were there, there were three, they were doing zero to even let us turn in to go vote. In order to stand in line to vote that day, we had a three-hour wait. So if we were going to get out of the car and be yelled at for three to four hours? I mean, that's insane. We went ahead and left and both of us have gone and voted today at our normal precincts, but what concerns me are two things. Number one, if there are elderly people or other women that are intimidated to the point where they're not voting -- and then also if this were reversed. If these were McCain-Palin supporters that were preventing Obama supporters from voting, it would be all over the news.
I dunno. It doesn't smell right to me. Oklahoma is predicted to go for McCain with a 30% margin.
The Anchoress is making this prediction, which I believe is right on the money:
If McCain/Palin wins, the press and the Dems will stroke out and Obama will play The Ultimate Chutzpah Card and say that at least 14 states (the big ACORN states) must be challenged because “the rolls were suspect and the integrity of the election was compromised” - by his very own supporters. Then he’ll proceed to tear the nation apart, in an effort to wrest the White House from the GOP. If Obama wins, the Dems and the press will declare that this was the “cleanest” and most “widely observed” election in our nation’s history; they will declare the people have spoken, call it a mandate and tell John McCain that if he dares to challenge things, he’ll be a most dishonorable man willing to tear his nation apart to serve his own ambition. John McCain will ultimately not challenge such a loss, because - like Nixon in 1960 - he’ll put his country first, and decide America may not survive such a fight.
The chattering class -- the pundits, the analysts, the professional opinion-makers, the professors of history, political science, and law, the reporters, the editors, the entertainers -- they have invested so much in Barack Obama that a defeat simply will not be acceptable. And when the chattering class isn't happy, they will make sure that none of the rest of us are. Only a Reagan 1980-sized victory would be enough to shut them up; yet even that might not be enough. There were no accusations of "voter fraud" in 1980, and there was a third candidacy that year that both sides could credit either with victory or loss.
After the 2006 election, I stand firmly convinced that charges of "voter fraud" will be made only when there are Republican victories. And if there is a razor-thin McCain victory tonight, and "voter fraud" is moved front-and-center in the ensuing "what went wrong" debate, you can be sure that everyone in the mainstream media will concentrate of "voter suppression" (the supposed tool of eeeeeeevil Republicans) while little mention will be made of 2008's massive voter registration fraud, or potential problems with over-voting, since these two phenomena seem to be the bread and butter of the Democratic party's attempts at empowering "disadvantaged" voters. There are plenty of problems with our electoral system, but must solutions always involve such questionable tactics?
Okay, okay. I didn't want to go on and on about this stuff. (*deep breath*) Regardless of the outcome of today's election, please remember that God's will can be accomplished by the faithful, praying Christian regardless of who controls our government. No power on earth, no matter how malevolent, has been able to stop the Gospel and the transition of the world into God's Kingdom. Regardless of who wins, the demands of our Christian faith will not change.
This will be my last post dealing with election politics. I just wanted to make one last retrospective argument concerning wealth and class envy.
It seems that Barack Obama has been hit hard by the McCain camp's charges of socialism. His latest rebuttal (after unsuccessfully attempting to denigrate "Joe The Plumber" Werzelbacher as a loser who could never possibly earn $250,000 a year) is that anyone complaining about tax rate increases is selfish.
There is anger and frustration among ordinary Americans over tax increases, but it is not because of selfishness. It is because of reality -- only an idiot would believe that the minority of taxpayers taking home $250,000 (or is it $200,000 or $150,000 or $120,000?) or more will be the only group of people to bear the cost of Obama's colossal government expansion. And it is because of resentment. We don't resent those with wealth per se, but we certainly resent an erudite cadre of wealthy, elitist lawyers, tenured professors, political consultants, and politicians telling us what to do with our money. The Anchoress summed it up perfectly some years ago:
Every weekend I meander through the New York Times [...] And every weekend I finally close the paper and think, this is a publication which editorializes on the evils of capitalism while it praises European-style socialism, and foments class resentment between the rich and the poor…and it disdains middle-class Republicans like me…and yet it is chock-full of people so rich I have never heard of them, people who breathe such rarified air and move in such insulated little conclaves that I would only be likely to encounter them face to face if I rammed into them on the Long Island Expressway as they moved back and forth between Town and Country, between Sotheby’s Manhattan and Sotheby’s Southhampton, so to speak. The paper prostrates itself before the public-education devotees who send their children to private schools and the illegal immigrant sympathizers who have bought up the last private beachfronts in Montauk, inviting those brown-skinned Catholics onto their property only long-enough to erect the high walls of their fortresses or to stain their decks.
I, in my middle class world, with my callused-handed husband and my Eagle Scout son, and the friends with whom we volunteer at church and in the community, do not begrudge the hyper-rich their riches.
What we do begrudge them is their “superior” disdain for our values, and their hectoring that we are somehow less compassionate, less well-meaning, gosh darn it just LESSER people because we believe in giving a hand, rather than a hand-out.
I mind gazillionaires like Ted Kennedy and John Kerry, Jon Corzine and Hillary “we’re going to have to take some things away from you for the common good” Clinton pretending that our yearly income, our solidly middle-class income (and very modest emergency fund) is too, too much for us, unfair to others, undertaxed, greedy, ignoble and selfish. I mind people who are bouncing on fluffy pillows of honest-to-goodness wealth shaking a rhetorical finger at us for daring to try to get comfortable on our foam rubber mats of hard-earned wages. (emphasis added)
And do you know what really gets under our skin? I'll let Peggy Noonan handle that one:
I suspect that history, including great historical novelists of the future, will look back and see that many of our elites simply decided to enjoy their lives while they waited for the next chapter of trouble. And that they consciously, or unconsciously, took grim comfort in this thought: I got mine. Which is what the separate peace comes down to, "I got mine, you get yours."
I think that many of us know, deep down inside, that people like Michelle and Barack Obama, who earn a combined annual income comfortably in the 7-figure range, are more or less insulated from the financial affects of the public policies that they support. We know that any "solutions" proposed by Ted Kennedy to our current health care problems ultimately matter little to Kennedy himself, because his family connections, political connections, and personal wealth ensure that his personal medical care will always be the finest available, regardless of location or procedure or cost. We know that the opinions of billionaires like George Soros or Warren Buffett or Bill Gates on tax policies are essentially meaningless because they will still be billionaires, regardless of what the tax code says. Likewise with Hollywood celebrities.
We also know this because this select group of people, with rare exception and seemingly in inverse proportion to both their physical health and their publicly-expressed concern for the poor, are themselves embarrassingly weak benefactors of charity. They are also notorious for exploiting every possible tax loophole, all the while complaining that the rich don't "pay their fair share" in taxes. What did John Edwards, champion of the poor, do during the 1990s when his lawsuit windfalls began to roll in? He formed an S-corporation in order to avoid paying hundreds of thousands of dollars in taxes. Why did Ted Kennedy probate his mother's estate in Florida, even though she had been a lifelong resident of Massachusetts? Florida has no state inheritance tax. And neither John Kerry nor Ted Kennedy pay the optional higher 5.85% Massachusetts state income tax rate. And so on and so on.
We know that the super-rich will not really be affected by income and payroll tax increases, simply because such increases do not affect their principal wealth. Even if the very rich were income taxed at a rate of 100%, they would still be able to live very, very comfortably off the value of their enormous reserves of stocks, bonds, precious metals, cash, real estate, fine art, and other investments.
Perhaps they'll owe a little more under Obama's plans, but they've got theirs, and the enormity of their fortunes means that most of their money will be securely tucked away in tax shelters. And what happens to the rest of us really doesn't matter to them as long as they've paid just enough to assuage their slightly-guilty consciences.
The people who really get nailed under the high marginal taxes and estate taxes of "spread the wealth" schemes are the professionals and successful business owners who have just barely crossed over the $150,000 to $200,000 per year earnings threshold. These people will find themselves working harder to earn substantially less, permanently stuck with enough money to live comfortably, but never really earning enough to fund a retirement account that will allow them to continue to live that way after they retire, or able to accumulate enough to afford their children a comfortable inheritance. And they are the ones whose children will never have enough cash reserves to pay both extended/elderly care costs (such as nursing homes) for their parents, and estate taxes on real property or a business. This is the scenario that hits farmers and ranchers particularly hard. If a son or daughter inherits a farm valued at $2 million, where are they going to come up with the $500,000 or $750,000 in estate taxes for the government?
You may ask, what's so wrong with that? There are tens of millions of people in this country who spend their lives mired in poverty. Why should anyone support the idea that some people should be free to grow rich while others struggle from day to day?
I think the answer is two-fold. First, our nation has never enforced the principle of redistribution of wealth by the Federal government. Our Constitution was written in order to specifically define how our government would function, and to enumerate specific rights of citizens that could not be infringed by that government. The Constitution creates a Federal government that, for the most part, is limited in its ability to interfere in people's lives. It also implies that what is yours is yours, not the government's (or euphemistically, "the people's"). Under such a system, some will prosper and some will fail, but their failure cannot be attributed to persecution or limits on their individual freedoms imposed by the Federal government. In fact, under our system, state governments have more direct control over the rights of their citizens -- it was the state governments in the South that enacted "Jim Crow" laws; yet it took action at the Federal level to ultimately overrule state's rights on that issue.
Barack Obama was exactly right when he said that our Constitution "doesn’t say what the federal government or the state government must do on your behalf." He wants to see that changed, of course, but such a major Constitutional overhaul would give the Federal government an unprecedented and ultimately dangerous amount of power over our individual lives. I believe that the potential for the abuse of that power far outweighs any benefits to be gained from it.
Second, as a Christian I strongly object to other Christians attempting to use the government as a strong arm in order to enact their vision of social justice. Many Christians read about the equal partition of the Promised Land among the Israelites, and the communal nature of the early Jerusalem church as described in Acts, and conclude that God's plan for mankind is the equal distribution of wealth among all people. They then propose to task a benevolent centralized government with the administration of such a distribution plan. Unfortunately, the Bible contains no passages that support such a scheme. The New Testament teaches that Christians should peaceably co-exist within the framework of secular governments, and give generously to those in need, but it never teaches that Christians should co-opt those governments as a means of achieving their own ends. (Admittedly, the Church and much of Christendom has repeatedly failed in this regard.)
And in the Old Testament, God does indeed partition the land equally among the tribes of Israel, but He also clearly establishes that the land belongs to Him; the Israelites are merely tenants. They are forbidden from selling land in perpetuity, and whatever land is sold or mortgaged is to be returned to its original owners every 50 years. Therefore, whenever land is sold or mortgaged, its value is to be prorated according to the proximity of the 50 year Jubilee. The Israelites are also required to pay the Temple (i.e. God) an annual tithe of 10% of everything they own. (The Old Testament narratives indicate that the Israelites also failed to honor these commandments, just like the Christian church throughout the ages.) And God specifically requires His people to be generous with the poor and to refrain from profiting from their misfortune. Yet outside of these requirements, the children of Israel are allowed to honestly earn whatever they can, and -- with the previously noted exception of possessions that have been borrowed or purchased from others -- God never commands His people to redistribute their own personal wealth.
There is also one other thing. Redistribution of wealth schemes will do little to solve the primary affliction suffered by the poor in this country -- civic poverty -- which is the belief that they are irrelevant to the course of events in their communities. Civic poverty is most prominently displayed among African-Americans, who suffered persecution and loss of basic civil rights in this country for over a century after they had been freed from slavery. Even though civil rights laws have been amended, and even though academia and the professional workforce has striven to provide affirmative action and equal opportunities for Blacks during the last 40 years, there is still (particularly at the lowest economic levels) a basic distrust of America, its government and its financial systems among Blacks.
So far, all of our attempts to fight poverty have involved material solutions. And honestly, our poor enjoy a much better standard of living that average working-class citizens in many nations. But no one has been able to explain to me how a massive, materially-oriented redistribution of wealth scheme will somehow make the lives of the civically impoverished any better. Theirs is an emotional and spiritual deficit, and money will not make the hurt and distrust disappear, nor will it mend broken families or dysfunctional communities of any kind. In fact, I believe that such a scheme would make the lives of the civically impoverished even more miserable, because receiving free money with no required interaction could very well create an even greater temptation to stay disconnected from society at large.
So how do we fight civic poverty? The same way that Jesus taught us to spread his Gospel -- through relationships. By listening. By lending a hand whenever people are truly in need. By teaching others self-worth and self-respect. By helping people overcome addictions and hangups. In short, by getting our hands dirty, making ourselves vulnerable, and doing it all voluntarily, without coercion or intimidation from the government.
Such a solution is difficult, frustrating, painfully slow and seemingly hopeless. You can't accomplish it simply by writing a check or creating a government bureaucracy and then hoping everything works out OK. Is America capable of such a task, right now? Probably not. Certainly not without a spiritual awakening and revival, which is what I pray for daily for my own life and for our nation. Shouldn't we do something in the mean time, then? Yes, but only if our stop-gap measure is not worse than the problem at hand. I believe that socialism -- even non-violent, "democratic" socialism approved by voters -- is not the answer, because it only alters behavior by force of law; it does not fundamentally improve the character or spirit of its subjects. And it takes our allegiance away from God and lessens our responsibility for each other, since socialism recasts government as the ultimate owner of all wealth, and, subsequently, the sole source of our livelihood and well-being. When we turn the state into a God, we are not doing His will.
That's what I believe, and that's why I cannot support redistribution of wealth as a solution to America's current financial and spiritual problems. Please join me in praying for a better way.
The Columbus Dispatch reported yesterday that invasive state government searches into the private files of Joe "The Plumber" Wurzelbacher actually ran deeper than first reported, and included inquiries into whether he owed unemployment taxes or was receiving state welfare benefits.
The Dispatch quotes Helen Jones-Kelley, director of the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, who explains the reasoning behind the searches:
"Given our understanding that Mr. Wurzelbacher had publicly indicated that he had the means to purchase a substantial business enterprise, ODJFS, consistent with past departmental practice, checked confidential databases ," she wrote.
"Not surprisingly, when a person behind in child support payments or receiving public assistance is receiving significant media attention which suggests that the person appears to have available financial resources, the Department risks justifiable criticism if it fails to take note and respond," Jones-Kelley wrote.
Jones-Kelley is suggesting that Werzelbacher's question to Obama implied that he has "the means to purchase a substantial business enterprise." Bravo. Sierra. Here's what Werzelbacher actually told Barack Obama:
Obama: What's your name?
Joe: My name's Joe Wurzelbacher.
Obama: Good to see you, Joe.
Joe: I'm getting ready to buy a company that makes about $250,000 … $270-$280,000 a year.
Obama: All right.
Joe: Your new tax plan's gonna tax me more, isn't it?
Obama: Well, here's what's gonna happen. If you're a small business which you would qualify as, first of all, you'd get a 50 percent tax credit, so you get a cut on taxes for your health care costs. So you would actually get a tax cut on that front. If your revenue is above $250,000, then from $250,000 down, your taxes are gonna stay the same. It is true that for … say, from $250,000 up, from $250,000 to $300,000 or so …
Joe: Well, here's my question …
Obama: I just want to answer your question. So, for that additional amount, you'd go from 36 to 39 percent, which is what it was under Bill Clinton. And the reason we're doing that is because 95 percent of small businesses make less than $250,000 so what I want to do is give them a tax cut. I want to give all these folks who are bus drivers, teachers, auto workers who make less … I want to give them a tax cut and so what we're doing is, we are saying that folks who make more than $250,000 that that marginal amount above $250,000, they're gonna be taxed at a 39 instead of a 36 percent rate.
Joe: Well, the reason why I ask you about the American Dream I mean, I work hard. I'm a plumber, I work 10-12 hours a day …
Joe: … and I'm, you know, buying this company and I'm gonna continue to work that way. Now, if I buy another truck and adding something else to it and, you know, build the company, you know, I'm getting taxed more and more while fulfilling the American Dream.
Obama: Well, here's a way of thinking about it. How long have you been a plumber? How long have you been working?
Joe: Fifteen years.
Obama: Okay. So, over the last 15 years, when you weren't making $250,000, you would have been getting a tax cut from me. So you'd actually have more money, which means you would have saved more, which means that you would have gotten to the point where you could build your small business quicker than under the current tax code. So there are two ways of looking at it. I mean, one way of looking at it is, now that you've become more successful …
Joe: Through hard work.
Obama: … through hard work, you don't want to be taxed as much.
This short exchange was then followed by Obama's long-winded "spread the wealth around" explanation.
Joe simply says, "I'm getting ready to buy a company that makes about $250,000 … $270-$280,000 a year." He doesn't say what the company is worth. He doesn't say what he will be paying for the company. He doesn't say when he will purchase it. He doesn't imply that such a purchase is already in the works. Jones-Kelley wants us to think that any responsible citizen -- after hearing this exchange -- would assume that Joe The Plumber is rolling in money, and would want the state to make sure that he isn't on the welfare rolls and doesn't owe any taxes. She tries to make herself look like a heroine, looking after the best interests of John. Q. Ohio Public, but she is simply making stuff up in order to cover her own ass. Period.
By her standards, anyone who mentions, in public, a future goal of attaining wealth is immediately considered a fair target for a state investigation, on the assumption that you wouldn't be telling your dream to someone else unless you already had the "available finances" to make your dream into an immediate reality. What utter nonsense.
Over at WizBang, Steve Schippert notes,
ADDED: Another state employee, Vanessa Niekamp, is now contradicting Jones-Kelly's ridiculous explanation:
Director Helen Jones-Kelley said her agency checks people who are “thrust into the public spotlight,” amid suggestions they may have come into money, to see if they owe support or are receiving undeserved public assistance.
Niekamp told The Dispatch she is unfamiliar with the practice of checking on the newly famous. “I’ve never done that before, I don’t know of anybody in my office who does that and I don’t remember anyone ever doing that,” she said today. (emphasis added)
Conservative blogs are going wild over an excerpt from a 2001 interview with Barack Obama that was originally broadcast on Chicago Public Radio, WBEZ. Here is what Obama says that is so stunning:
My first reaction when I read this quote this morning was simply, "Okay, now we know what the Obama "litmus test" for Supreme Court justice nominees will be."
Sure, Obama says that the Court itself cannot specifically order the confiscation and redistribution of wealth. That would be unconstitutional. But the massive power grabs that Congress must necessarily impose in order to make socialism a reality here in the USA will certainly generate numerous individual lawsuits challenging their constitutionality.
Just as FDR packed the Supreme Court with sympathetic justices in order to legitimize the Constitutionality of the New Deal, so must Barack Obama pack his Supreme Court with socialist justices, in order to legitimize his redistribution plans. Someone has to keep discovering and defending those emanations and penumbras.
I also believe that any appellate court justice who embraces the notion of "social justice" through the government-enforced redistribution of wealth would, almost without exception, support government-sanctioned abortion on demand. Therefore the abortion "litmus test" is redundant and can probably be ignored. This will be to Obama's advantage, as it could make his appointees more palatable to the Religious Right.
What Obama actually seems to be advocating is a rebirth of the Poor People's Campaign, which was about to be undertaken by Martin Luther King, Jr. at the time of his assassination. The PPC was focused on the plight of all poor Americans, regardless of race or geographic location. King's plans included a demand for an "Economic Bill of Rights" that, among other things, guaranteed a living wage-based permanent income for the poor. You should also recall that Dr. King unapologetically supported government-sanctioned wealth redistribution and himself wrote, "good and just society is neither the thesis of capitalism nor the antithesis of communism, but a socially conscious democracy which reconciles the truths of individualism and collectivism."
MLK is considered a modern-day prophet. Could Obama's embrace of MLK's ultimate fight be the deed that elevates Obama to the level of modern-day Messiah?
In America, we have a Constitution that was written by a group of men whose lives had been deeply affected by persecution at the hands of various government and religious groups. The men who wrote the Constitution wanted to make sure that future generations did not suffer from persecution as they had. That's why they wrote the Constitution in a way that stressed the limits of the government. They wanted to ensure that the government of the United States never directly interfered with the ability of its individual citizens to fully enjoy life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
Has America been perfect in this regard? Of course not. Our economy has occasionally been overtaken by robber-barons. Our citizens once held slaves. Local and state governments used denial of the franchise as a powerful political weapon. Our Federal government stood by while its citizens faced discrimination and persecution. And in some cases, the government led that persecution. But even for all our failings, the principle of freedom for the individual has never been abolished.
But Barack Obama wants to change that. To Obama, the failure of the Supreme Court to eliminate the limiting character of the Constitution is a tragedy! Obama wants a Constitution that empowers the government, rather than limiting it. He wants a Constitution that gives the Federal Government a mandate to guarantee financial equity and equality of outcome for all Americans, presumably with an unlimited scope of power in order to be able to enforce that mandate. And he believes that such a Constitution is the only hope for the collective salvation of our nation.
This is, in short, the most radical vision for "reinventing government" ever articulated by a major (and currently leading) Presidential candidate. And it scares the living hell out of me.
But Mike, if you're really a Christian, don't you want to see hunger and hopelessness abolished? Don't you want to see an end to the suffering of the working poor? Don't you want to see everyone have a fair chance?
Absolutely. And I have been involved in Christian social justice efforts here in Oklahoma City for about two years now. I have even attended community organizing meetings. But I would like to see true change, brought about by spiritual revival and the work of the Holy Spirit, not government mandates. Because such mandates will give the Federal Government an incredibly dangerous amount of power over our bank accounts, our income, and our private lives. And trust me, it will be used to punish those who don't toe the party line -- regardless of what party is in control. That kind of a power grab by the Federal Government is not a manifestation of "holiness," nor is it "justice," nor will it increase freedom or security for anyone. We don't need it and I don't want it. Period.
ADDED: If you want to understand the dangers of giving government absolute power to enforce its own definition of "fairness," then you should watch this disturbing video, part of a 1982 documentary on the Weather Underground -- the group co-founded and led by Barack Obama's mentor Bill Ayers -- entitled No Place To Hide:
It features former FBI informant Larry Grathwohl, who infiltrated the Weather Underground and helped law enforcement put an end to their terrorist activities. Grathwohl's tips stopped several attempted bombing attacks by the group. In the video, Grathwohl describes a high-level group meeting held by the group to discuss the logistics of the American People's Revolution that they were attempting to lead:
I brought up the subject of what’s going to happen after we take over the government. You know, “we” become responsible then for administrating, you know, 250 million people. And there was no answer. No one had given any thought to economics, how you are going to clothe and feed these people.
The only thing that I could get was that they expected the Cubans and the North Vietnamese and the Chinese and the Russians would all want to occupy different portions of the United States. They also believed that their immediate responsibility would be to protect against what they called “the counter-revolution.”
… I asked, “well what is going to happen to those people we can’t reeducate, that are diehard capitalists?” and the reply was that they’d have to be eliminated.
And when I pursued this further, they estimated they would have to eliminate 25 million people in these reeducation centers.
And when I say “eliminate,” I mean “kill.”
Twenty-five million people.
I want you to imagine sitting in a room with 25 people, most of which have graduate degrees, from Columbia and other well-known educational centers, and hear them figuring out the logistics for the elimination of 25 million people.
And they were dead serious. (Emphasis added)
Liberals often accuse conservatives of being paranoid, suffering from delusions of Red Army bogeymen swooping down on America and locking everyone away in concentration camps. But we aren't making this stuff up. It has been discussed at the highest levels of academia and in all the major camps of the progressive movement. Does it not frighten you that a group of domestic terrorists, led by Ivy League-educated elites, sat around coldly planning the murder of 1 out of every 10 Americans for none other than purely political reasons? Does it not frighten you that the leader of that group mentored our current leading Presidential candidate? Does it not frighten you that government records were searched for evidence to discredit and destroy an ordinary citizen who dared to challenge that Presidential candidate? Does it not frighten you that the previous Democratic presidential candidate believes that the Communist reeducation camps set up in Vietnam were no big deal, because the former inmates of those camps are now "thriving?"
Maybe we'll end up like Sweden, with suffocating government control over education, career choices, employment opportunities, salaries, benefits, profit levels, and retirements, yet without the need for a secret police force, or armed troops in the streets, or "reeducation" camps. Maybe. But the truth is that the progressive intellectual and moral "brights" who walk the marble halls of our finest universities and political institutions seem to have no problem with "social justice" in America at any price, even the intimidation, imprisonment, and death of anyone who dares to oppose their vision of Utopia. If that's how we must achieve a "better America," then God help us all.
Among conservatives, the "story that won't die" about Barack Obama is the tale of his close ties to 60's radicals who still identify very strongly with Marxism. The biggie is William Ayres. Another radical who has now been linked to Obama is Michael Klonsky.
Anyone who has studied the Progressive movement in America, from its turn-of-the-twentieth-century origins up until today, should not be surprised that Marxism has always been the dominant philosophical influence of the contemporary American left. In other words, progressivism has always been synonymous with Marxist thought, particularly Marx's concern for the plight of the underpriviledged, under-educated, underpaid, and under-represented working class.
And just in case you haven't yet figured it out, progressivism and its core values of egalitarianism and benevolent distribution of wealth (as opposed to conservatism and its core values of peace through strength and the free market) is the dominant philosophy of America's "chattering class," those who craft and perpetuate our cultural mythos --philosophers, historians, social scientists, educators, journalists, artists, and entertainers. Thus our contemporary cultural narrative, as taught in universities, as expounded in editorial pages, as explored through songs and poems and films, is steeped in progressivism, and by extension, Marxist ideals.
But that wasn't always the case. The paradigm shift that brought about the wholesale conversion of the cultural chattering class to progressivism and Marxism was WWII, because the evils committed by Germany -- considered by many to be the cultural center of Western Europe -- caused the academic world to drastically re-think the theological, philosophical, and economic ideals that shaped Europe during its great period of colonial expansion during the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries.
Western intellectuals tackled not only what went wrong in Germany, but also what was happening in lands that had long been oppressed by European colonial governments and military forces, specifically Africa, India, and Southeast Asia. Support for "people's revolutions" around the world grew rapidly among intellectuals, who by this time (the early 1960's) had begun to teach their students that the treatment of natives by Western colonial powers was just as evil as the oppression inflicted by the Nazis on the European nations that they conquered.
Thus a new generation of students was indoctrinated in the philosophies of Marx, and taught to believe that capitalism and military power were de facto marks of evil, and that the third world revolutionaries who promised political and cultural equality and financial equity for their people were truly the last best hope for freedom and stability in the world. "Baby Boomers" like William Ayres and Michael Klonsky were part of this new generation. They willfully ignored, and in many cases supported, the unmitigated use of violence that coincided with "people's revolutions," and stood unwaveringly behind any Communist regime that was opposed by the United States government. And in the late 1960's, the Baby Boomers became the dominant force behind American popular culture, which remains dominated by leftist ideals to this very day.
Another branch of progressivism, one that has been heavily involved in issues of social justice for more than a century, is populated by many Christian activists who have dedicated their lives to organizing and enabling the poor and oppressed. They are almost exclusively pacifist: while they support non-violent civil disobedience, they universally condemn warfare and the sale of arms and munitions for profit. They argue that the resources spent on warfare would be much better spent educating and equipping the poor, and breaking down the barriers between the different classes within our society. Christian progressives also espouse thrift, stewardship, charitable giving, and communal living. Dorothy Day's Hospitality Houses and Clarence Jordan's Koinonia Farm are two of the best known examples of Christian-oriented communal fellowship.
Because of their absolute refusal to support the U.S. military -- even for "just" causes such as the liberation of Europe from the Nazis -- and because of their continuing efforts in support of labor unions, community organizing, and unrestricted government benefits for the poor, Christian progressives have often been accused of being Communists; this was especially true during the "red scare" decade of the 1950's. In truth, many early Christian progressives did form partnerships with socialist and Communist activists, beginning with the period of economic and racial unrest that blanketed America after the First World War. Ironically, these Christians considered the nascent Communist movement to be one of their strongest allies in the struggle to give a voice to the working poor. (Today's evangelical Christians should use this curious fact as food for thought and discussion.)
Finally, black intellectuals have wrestled with the themes of socialism and government intervention for over a century. Booker T. Washington and W. E. B. DuBois led both sides of this debate: Washington argued that the black man was capable of achieving surpassing greatness if the government simply kept others from impeding him; DuBois felt that the government had an obligation to directly give back both the financial and social status that it had robbed from the black man. DuBois' side eventually won out, and his line of thinking culminated in the democratic socialism espoused by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and in the Affirmative Action programs implemented by the Federal Government.
So what does all of this have to do with Barack Obama? Well, it's rather simple really -- Barack Obama is the first major Presidential nominee who is entirely a product of these three main streams of progressivism: Afrocentric democratic socialism, Christian social justice and pacifism, and the Marxist ideal of worker-led revolution, or "change" if you prefer. Obama's mother was a self-proclaimed Bohemian free spirit, politically progressive and disdainful of traditional Protestant Christianity. Obama went to Ivy League schools and was heavily involved in community organizing and social justice issues. He was mentored by William Ayres and became a trusted peer, aiding Ayres in his attempts to reform the public education system in Chicago. He struggled to identify with the black community (which originally shunned him because he is Ivy League educated and half white) so he joined Rev. Jeremiah Wright's Trinity United Church of Christ, perhaps the most Afrocentric church in Chicago and unabashed practitioners of social justice, community organizing, and Black Liberation Theology.
Naturally, Barack Obama is going to have many associations with people whom conservatives would immediately label "communist." (And a few associations with people such as William Ayres, who describe themselves as full-blown revolutionaries and Communists.)
So what does all of this mean? Well, first off let me say that I don't expect an immediate "people's revolution" and the establishment of the Democratic Socialist States of America if Obama wins. But what is troubling to me is that on the campaign trail, Obama himself has never been straightforward about where he stands within the continuum of hard-left, left, and moderate-left ideals. "Joe The Plumber" Wurzelbacher coaxed Obama into accidentally admitting that he believes government has an obligation to "spread the wealth around." But what else does Obama believe? It's probably safe to say that he doesn't directly endorse the kind of violent Communist revolution that Bill Ayers was hoping for thirty five years ago. But exactly what does he want? This?
House Democrats recently invited Teresa Ghilarducci, a professor at the New School of Social Research, to testify before a subcommittee on her idea to eliminate the preferential tax treatment of the popular retirement plans. In place of 401(k) plans, she would have workers transfer their dough into government-created "guaranteed retirement accounts" for every worker. The government would deposit $600 (inflation indexed) every year into the GRAs. Each worker would also have to save 5 percent of pay into the accounts, to which the government would pay a measly 3 percent return.
Such a plan would of course make it impossible for workers and employers to afford to continue contributing to private 401(k) retirement accounts. And on top of potentially massive corporate income and capital gains tax increases, the loss of market capital from such a plan would be devastating not only to the stock market, but to our economy as a whole.
Also, Obama has pledged to slash defense spending, to eliminate new weapons systems development, and to pursue unilateral disarmament. He has even pledged to meet with the leaders of dangerous nations without preconditions. Just exactly what are his views on defense and the necessity of military preparedness? We really don't know.
The true danger in an Obama victory lies in the seriousness with which his star-struck radical leftist and Marxist supporters will interpret such a win. Will it be considered a "mandate" for hard-left public policies and a final attempt to purge the last traces of traditional conservative political thought, free market economics, and Protestant Christianity from contemporary American culture?
A sobering truth about progressivism is that it is fundamentally incompatible with free thought. Progressivism celebrates the triumph of the human intellect, and such a philosophical underpinning necessitates the creation of intellectual classes, particularly the "enlightened" vs. the "helpless" or "ignorant." The "brights" know that eventually the inferior intellectual classes will tire of being controlled. I absolutely believe that given enough access to government power, contemporary progressive intellectuals will try to stifle any dissent or inquiry that deviates from the progressive party line, because deep down inside they know that such chilling policies are the only way to keep the "non-enlightened" from becoming discontent with their intellectual overlords.
My concern about all of this can be summed up in one of Ronald Reagan's famous quotes -- it's not that our liberal friends are ignorant, it's just that they know so much that simply isn't true. If Barack Obama wins, we will have a perfect opportunity to find out just how much Progressives really know -- or don't have a common-sense clue about.
ADDED: Here's yet another video about Barack Obama that is being circulated through conservative blogs:
The video contains audio excerpts from a 1995 interview with Obama about his book Dreams of My Father. During the interview, Obama uses a favorite stereotype of progressives -- the "white executive" who lives out in the suburbs because he "doesn't want to pay taxes to inner city children." (I wonder what Obama thinks today, about his own Rev. Jeremiah Wright moving to one of Chicago's choicest suburbs?)
Obama also articulates the belief that his own salvation is dependent upon "a collective salvation of the country," which in turn is directly related to the elimination of systems that allow certain groups to prosper, while other groups (specifically African-Americans) are doing "bad if not worse."
How do we save the country? We "make sacrifices."
Obama is not just espousing Marxism here. Obama's statements also represent one of the fundamental tenants of Liberation Theology, which is that God not only judges individuals, but nations (that is, communities bound by covenant in the Old Testament sense, not just modern nation-states). The "Black Liberation Theology" of James Cone that Rev. Jeremiah Wright so fervently taught to his flock at Trinity UCC is simply an Afrocentric variation of classic liberation theology.
Liberation theology expands the definition of "sin" beyond personal transgressions; it teaches that communities can collectively sin, based on how they treat the least among themselves. (Recall that God judged the entire nation of Egypt, not just Pharaoh.) Liberation theologians teach that even though God's plan for personal salvation has been fulfilled through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, God's nature is consistent, and He still judges righteousness collectively, just as He did in the Old Testament -- specifically among communities who claim to follow Him and whose leaders publicly pray for His guidance. Under such a standard, of course, the United States stands to be judged most harshly by God; this makes American liberation theologians particularly fearful, because there have always been drastic inequalities between the poorest and the richest in our nation.
I have blogged about economic injustice and God's judgment of nations elsewhere. And while I agree with much of what liberation theology teaches, I am strongly concerned about the Marxist plans that Obama and his minions have for America. There is a massive difference between a people led to justice through the work of the Holy Spirit voluntarily sacrificing in order to create equality and security among their bretheren, and a group of ruling elites forcing the masses to "sacrifice" in order to feed an enormous, inefficient, and corrupt bureaucracy. Such a system is guaranteed to make everyone poorer, and to do little else.
The past week has given us a nice selection of textbook examples of media bias. And not surprisingly, they all revolve around a common theme.
I'm going to warn you right off that right now, I'm mad as hell. So bear with me.
First, the State of Hawaii suspended its state-financed universal health care program for children. After only seven months -- SEVEN MONTHS -- cost overruns and abuse of the system forced the program to end. SEVEN MONTHS. This is huge. I mean REALLY BIG -- socialized medicine fails in a state that ranks 42nd in population, with only 1.2 million residents.
And why did it fail? Would you believe ... "People who were already able to afford health care began to stop paying for it so they could get it for free," said Dr. Kenny Fink, the administrator for Med-QUEST at the Department of Human Services. "I don't believe that was the intent of the program."
No shit, Sherlock. But can you blame them? Think about it. You and your wife both work, you make a decent living, and then get gouged by the government through taxes so you can have the privilege of paying for someone else's health care, while barely being able to afford your own. Who wouldn't want to get back just a little of what they were forced to pay into the system?
This story ended up on the AP wire and was covered by numerous news outlets, but the New York Times just couldn't seem find room for it among all the dirt they were dying to publish about Cindy McCain and Joe the Plumber. More about him later.
The reason for this, of course, is that the failure of socialized medicine in Hawaii doesn't fit "the narrative." It doesn't jibe with the image of the compassionate Big Rock Candy Government lending a helping hand to anyone in need, and the unteachable, pitifully-ignorant masses wiping the tears from their eyes and kissing the feet of their Dear Leaders, unspeakably grateful to them for "leveling the playing field" and "spreading the wealth around."
The next item is the endorsement of Barack Obama by Colin Powell. Powell is a Republican (Ooooooooo!) and served as Secretary of State during George W. Bush's first term, so the cable networks, mainstream media bloggers, and newspapers have been wild with anticipation about it all weekend -- there used to be a lot of buzz among Republicans about a Colin Powell presidential run, and if Powell is endorsing Obama, then that must mean that a lot of Republicans will give Obama a second look, and if that happens ... so you see why the mainstream media is so excited.
Now let's look at another interesting political endorsement -- the endorsement of John McCain by JOE LIEBERMAN. Remember him? The 2000 DEMOCRAT VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE? Bet you didn't even hear about that endorsement, unless you read a lot of conservative blogs. Where is the media hype? Where is the buzz? Where is the day-in/day-out news cycle coverage of his continued campaigning for McCain? Why isn't every Sunday talking-head show chattering endlessly about it?
I'll tell you why -- if Lieberman is endorsing McCain, then a lot of disgruntled/PUMA/conservative/redneck Democrats might give McCain a second look, and if that happens ... which doesn't fit the narrative of an Obama landslide of hope and change on Nov. 4. So it cannot be discussed, period.
Finally we come to "Joe the Plumber," Samuel Joseph Wurzelbacher, a plumber's apprentice from Ohio who was approached by Barack Obama last week during an afternoon of door-to-door campaigning by The One. Wurzelbacher committed the unpardonable sin -- he coaxed His Holiness into giving an off-the-cuff speech, sans teleprompter, and Obama made a little Marxist Freudian slip. John McCain seized upon Obama's slip and mercilessly beat him with it during last Wednesday's debate.
For this act of apostasy, Joe The Plumber was marked for destruction:
The dirt-diggers started Googling. And the next morning, six-term Sen. Biden launched the first salvo against the Ohio entrepreneur on NBC’s Today Show, challenging the veracity of his story: “I don’t have any ‘Joe the Plumbers’ in my neighborhood that make $250,000 a year.” (Does Biden have ANY plumbers in his neighborhood? -ed)
... Wurzelbacher never claimed to be making $250,000 a year. He told Obama that he might be “getting ready to buy a company that makes about $250,000, $270,000″ a year. His simple point was that Obama’s punitive tax proposals would make it more difficult to realize his dream.
Obama’s followers couldn’t handle the incontrovertible truth. Left-wing blogs immediately went to work, blaring headlines like “Not A Real $250k Plumber!” Next, they falsely accused Wurzelbacher of not being registered to vote (he’s registered in Lucas County, Ohio, and voted as a Republican in this year’s primary).
... Then, suddenly, the journalists who wouldn’t lift a finger to investigate Barack Obama’s longtime relationships with Weather Underground terrorist Bill Ayers and Jeremiah Wright sprang into action rifling through citizen Joe Wurzelbacher’s tax records. Politico.com reported breathlessly: “Samuel J. Wurzelbacher has a lien placed against him to the tune of $1,182.92. The lien is dated from January of ‘07.” Press outlets probed his divorce records. The local plumbers’ union, which has endorsed Obama, claimed he didn’t do their required apprenticeship work and didn’t have a license to work outside his local township. (DailyKos also published Wurzelbacher's home address. -ed)
... After Wurzelbacher told Katie Couric that Obama’s rhetorical tap dance was “almost as good as Sammy Davis, Jr.,” the inevitable cries of “bigotry” followed. (There are now tens of thousands of hits on the Internet for “Joe the Plumber racist.”)
And if that wasn't enough, The Messiah then took it upon himself to mock Joe Wurzelbacher:
A commenter noted, "Obama says the words "a plumber making $250,000 a year" with such disdainful contempt. Like a mere plumber couldn't possibly
work his way into the elite white-collar tax bracket that Obama and his
Ivy League pals inhabit, oh no, that's a laughable presumption for
peasants like Joe."
Jim Treacher observed, "Is it just me, or have we seen more vetting of an Ohio plumber in the last 2 days than we've seen of Obama's mentor William Ayers all year? (Not to mention Obama himself!) Both Bill and Joe are embarrassing to Obama because they've given us glimpses of his true nature, and yet only one of them is being put through the wringer. Only one of them has to fear for his job. Weird, huh?" He also notes, "The whole "He's not a licensed plumber!" non sequitur is really fantastic. So, if you happen to be standing in front of Obama when he publicly reveals his socialism, what does the media do? Demands to see your papers. That's just delicious, is what that is."
Well here's a funny thing, Mr. Messiah-to-Assholes. I happen to know an honest, hard-working young man who is an apprentice plumber. He is not "licensed." Currently he manages a plumbing supply store. Yet a friend and customer of his, a retiring plumber, really, really likes my friend and has offered to sell him his plumbing business when he retires. When that happens, of course, my friend will get his license and join the union. Incredibly, it happens all the time! So thank you, Barack Obama, for making it perfectly clear how you feel about people like my friend -- "Screw you, you'll never be successful, and I only give a shit about you when it makes me look good. And here's your puny tax cut, because you're too dumb to ever make enough money to afford my glorious tax increases."
I've written a lot during the past few months with regard to concerns that I have about an Obama presidency. But finally -- FINALLY -- I can tell you without reservation why Obama in the White House scares the living shit out of me. Well, actually I think I'll let IowaHawk tell you:
Make no mistake about this. This is pure Nazi-style propaganda. You want to Godwin me? Fine. But the media's obsession with Joe The Plumber is meant for one thing and one thing only, which is to distract you from what Barack Obama actually said in reply to Joe's question. That's a primary function of propaganda, and the media is serving it up in heaping spoonfuls right now.
When radicals went a little crazy and burned down the Reichstag in 1933 (the assembly hall for the Wiemar German Parliament) Adolf Hitler and his minions wasted no time demanding an "investigation" into the fire, while stirring up fear of an impending violent revolution if "something wasn't done" about the German Communist Party. The Nazis quickly fixed blame for the fire upon a group of Communist operatives, and Chancellor Hitler wasted no time petitioning President von Hindenburg to enact restrictions aimed at limiting the influence of the Communist Party in Wiemar Germany. With the Communist party outlawed, the Nazis and their sympathizers were able to easily win control of Parliament. And because they were caught up in the sensationalism of the Riechstag fire conspiracy, average Germans failed to notice that the real purpose of Hitler's decrees was to limit all civil liberties in Germany, and outlaw every publication critical of the Nazi cause. Hitler had successfully used the Reichstag fire to distract Germans just long enough to establish the mechanism that would enable him to gain absolute power over the German government. The man was a master of smokescreen propaganda.
Obama's message. Obama's message. Obama's message. Please stay focused. Ignore the smokescreen. Listen to the message.
With the exception of African-Americans (and I do wonder if they’re doing better since welfare changed in the 1990s), America is still a singularly fluid social and economic country. That’s part of why, despite our vast immigrant influxes, we don’t have the banlieus of France (riot central a few years ago, as you may recall), or the tremendous immigrant unrest one sees in other European countries such as Germany, Italy and England. Our immigrants start poor, work hard and, always, have the possibility of “moving on up” — and this is true even if not all of them are able to act upon that possibility. It’s the American dream.
Obama’s plan, however, announces the end of the American dream. In Obama’s USA, there’s no benefit to be had in moving on up. If you move to the head of the line, his government is just going to bat you right back down again.
There’s no doubt, of course, that those who are really, really rich will probably still stay fairly rich, because their vast wealth may take decades of government siphoning before it vanishes entirely. The problem is that those who wish to be rich — and who for America’s whole history could reasonably make that happen — will never get rich in Obama’s America. That’s what Obama told Joe the Plumber.
The Anchoress continues,
America just heard the President Presumptive tell them, essentially, “don’t dream too big. Don’t dare to dream too big, because if you do, we’re just going to chop you down to size, so that everyone is the same.”
That is not an American recipe. It is a recipe that’s been tried several times and all it ever does is sap people of ambition, creativity and freedom. What’s the point in excelling if your excellence will be the equal of mediocrity? What’s the point of dreaming, if your dreams are going to be subject to the whims of others?
America likes its dreams, its ambitions and its freedoms. Between Obama’s slip-of-the-tongue and the increasingly troubling stories of voter fraud - excuse me, voter registration fraud (which is mean to enable voter fraud) - rampant in one state after another, he’s making a lot of Americans wary.
America is the can-do nation; it does not like being told it can’t do something. Americans do not like being told not to dream glorious dreams. They do not like being told that excellence must subdue itself. And they really don’t like cheating the vote. And while Americans may tolerate little lies, the big, bold ones can get under their skin.
Things turn on a dime. This election may well turn not on who “Joe the Plumber” is - but who Barack Obama is revealing himself - finally - to be.
Team Messiah knows this. They really do. That's why they've resorted to harassment and intimidation in order to suppress any effort to connect Obama with William Ayers and Jeremiah Wright. That's why they want to shut down conservative talk radio and blogs with the "Fairness Doctrine." That's why they've targeted Sarah Palin. That's why they are destroying Joe The Plumber. And they will continue to take away your right to free speech and destroy average people as long as it allows them to keep their precious 'Obama Is Our Savior' narrative untarnished.
Hitler had his gangs of youth -- not really card-carrying Nazis, so their association could be disavowed whenever it was beneficial -- to do his dirty work. And today's liberal media has the loony fever-swamps of Daily Kos and Democratic Underground and MoveOn.org. They're not official paid members of the Obama Campaign or staff writers at The New York Times, but somehow they always end up being go-to sources every time the mainstream media needs pro-Obama dirt for its front pages.
It is now obvious beyond all counter-reasoning that the very things liberals accused Bush and Cheney of promoting -- fascism, statism, intimidation, persecution -- are the very same tactics that liberals can't wait to employ against enemies of the Messiah once they assume power. The difference is that you would have a damn hard time finding specific examples of exactly how Bush and Cheney intimidated, persecuted, and indoctrinated average Americans. Yet I've just given you a whole laundry list of examples of how Obama supporters on the Internet, in the mainstream press, and perhaps eventually in the Commerce Department, Justice Department, IRS, and Congress, will do whatever it takes to establish Obamaism as the lone ideology that is legal in the United States. Any dissenters will be castigated as liars, capitalist thieves, and racists. That's going to be the big one. RACIST.
Of course we still have the power to vote. And in 2010, if we no longer approve of our new socialist overlords, we can vote them out. Just like we did in 1994. Because unlike 20th century Europeans, we Americans still have the power to decide our own destiny.
I only hope we make the right choice.
PS - If you think that the government using force to "spread the wealth around" is what you'd like to see, then you should take a few minutes and read this story about a white Zimbabwean family caught on the wrong side of the wealth spread.
If you follow the conservative blogosphere, you are no doubt aware of some of these curious stories:
In Ohio, during the first week in October, residents could register to vote and cast a ballot at the same time in an effort dubbed "Golden Week." Needless to say, Democrats and their minions at ACORN pushed very hard to enfranchise thousands of homeless and severely low income Ohioans, mostly Blacks and Hispanics. Although the folks involved in this effort seemed sincere, some of the results, needless to say, were quite comical.
However, all was not well in Ohio at the conclusion of "Golden Week":
Cuyahoga County Election Board members grilled representatives of a community group Tuesday about their links to suspicious voter registration cards.
In one case, a Cleveland resident was registered to vote three times in a single day, listing two different addresses.
The man's registration was submitted to the Board of Elections by ACORN.
... Board Member Robert Frost said the group failed to follow guidelines in its own manual to turn over suspected voter fraud to law enforcement to investigate.
Election officials subpoenaed three voters to appear before the Board next week to explain their multiple registrations.
The list includes a Cuyahoga County resident whose name appears on 22 registration cards submitted in six months.
Here's some of what the Cuyahoga BOE is discovering:
Barkley estimated he'd registered to vote "10 to 15" times after canvassers for ACORN, whose political wing has endorsed Barack Obama, relentlessly pursued him and others.
Claims such as his have sparked election officials to probe ACORN.
"I kept getting approached by folks who asked me to register," Barkley said. "They'd ask me if I was registered. I'd say yes, and they'd ask me to do it [register] again.
"Some of them were getting paid to collect names. That was their sob story, and I bought it," he said.
Barkley is one of at least three people who have been subpoenaed by the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections as part of a wider inquiry into possible voter fraud by ACORN. The group seeks to register low-income voters, who skew overwhelmingly Democratic.
And not surprisingly, investigators are turning up similar occurrences in Las Vegas: State
authorities on Tuesday raided an organization that registers low-income
people to vote, alleging that its canvassers falsified forms with bogus
names, fake addresses or famous personalities. The secretary of state's office launched an investigation after
noticing that names did not match addresses and that most members of
the Dallas Cowboys appeared to be registering in Nevada to vote in
November's general election. "Some of these (forms) were
facially fraudulent; we basically had the starting lineup for the
Dallas Cowboys," Secretary of State Ross Miller said. "Tony Romo is not
registered to vote in Nevada. Anyone trying to pose as Terrell Owens
won't be able to cast a ballot." Agents with the secretary of state and state attorney general
offices served a search warrant on the headquarters of the Association
of Community Organizations for Reform Now, or ACORN, at 953 E. Sahara
Ave. shortly after 9 a.m. They seized voter registration forms and
computer databases to determine how many fake forms were submitted and
identify employees who were responsible. They also sought information regarding current and past employees and managers. "We don't know how many (falsified forms) are here; there may be
two, or there may be thousands," said Bob Walsh, spokesman for the
secretary of state's office. Registration fraud typically stems from workers striving to meet their daily quota of submitted voter forms, Miller said. Most organizations require their workers to sign up 20 voters a day.
Fraudulent forms start filtering in when workers struggle to meet their
quota and either fill in bogus names or accept documents with names
that are clearly falsified, Miller said.
Likewise in New Mexico and in Missouri:
State authorities on Tuesday raided an organization that registers low-income people to vote, alleging that its canvassers falsified forms with bogus names, fake addresses or famous personalities.
The secretary of state's office launched an investigation after noticing that names did not match addresses and that most members of the Dallas Cowboys appeared to be registering in Nevada to vote in November's general election.
"Some of these (forms) were facially fraudulent; we basically had the starting lineup for the Dallas Cowboys," Secretary of State Ross Miller said. "Tony Romo is not registered to vote in Nevada. Anyone trying to pose as Terrell Owens won't be able to cast a ballot."
Agents with the secretary of state and state attorney general offices served a search warrant on the headquarters of the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, or ACORN, at 953 E. Sahara Ave. shortly after 9 a.m. They seized voter registration forms and computer databases to determine how many fake forms were submitted and identify employees who were responsible.
They also sought information regarding current and past employees and managers.
"We don't know how many (falsified forms) are here; there may be two, or there may be thousands," said Bob Walsh, spokesman for the secretary of state's office.
Registration fraud typically stems from workers striving to meet their daily quota of submitted voter forms, Miller said.
Most organizations require their workers to sign up 20 voters a day. Fraudulent forms start filtering in when workers struggle to meet their quota and either fill in bogus names or accept documents with names that are clearly falsified, Miller said.
Officials in Missouri, a hard-fought jewel in the presidential race, are sifting through possibly hundreds of questionable or duplicate voter-registration forms submitted by an advocacy group that has been accused of election fraud in other states.
Charlene Davis, co-director of the election board in Jackson County, where Kansas City is, said the fraudulent registration forms came from the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, or ACORN. She said they were bogging down work Wednesday, the final day Missourians could register to vote.
"I don't even know the entire scope of it because registrations are coming in so heavy," Davis said. "We have identified about 100 duplicates, and probably 280 addresses that don't exist, people who have driver's license numbers that won't verify or Social Security numbers that won't verify. Some have no address at all."
And there's more in Wisconsin, Connecticut, and Indiana; apparently Indianapolis has 105% of its eligible population now registered to vote. Is ACORN being targeted unfairly? Not if you consider that ACORN was involved in virtually every major voter registration fraud investigation during the 2006 and 2004 elections, including investigations in Ohio, Missouri, and Washington State -- a case described by state officials as "the worst case of voter-registration fraud in state history."
How does ACORN respond to these allegations? By playing the "Republicans hate the poor" card, of course:
[Jess Ordower, Midwest director of ACORN] said Wednesday that ACORN registered about 53,500 people in Missouri this year. He believes his group is being targeted because some politicians don't want that many low-income people having a voice.
"It's par for the course," he said. "When you're doing more registrations than anyone else in the country, some don't want low-income people being empowered to vote. There are pretty targeted attacks on us, but we're proud to be out there doing the patriotic thing getting people registered to vote."
So, what do we make of all of this?
Although ACORN's goal is noble, their methods, quite frankly, stink. Paying workers based on how many signatures they have at the end of the day is irresponsible and an invitation to fraud. Can't ACORN find workers and volunteers (say, from local churches or high schools or colleges) who would be willing to sign up voters without being paid off? Is the value of the franchise, undoubtedly our most precious right, now worth nothing more than "What's in it for me?" And why are poor Americans so lacking in initiative that they cannot register to vote on their own?
This reminds me of the current row over requiring voters to present an ID at the polls in order to vote. "Poor people would be discriminated against," is the story we always hear. It's true that a surprisingly high number of poor people do not have driver's licenses (either they've never applied, or their driving privilege has been suspended, usually due to unpaid tickets -- don't get me started on that!) but it is relatively easy to get a state-issued ID card if you have a Social Security card and a birth certificate. Again, why are poor Americans so lacking in initiative that they cannot obtain proper documentation and get an ID card?
Am I understanding this right? -- the forebears of today's Black youth risked their lives to challenge Jim Crow and earn the right to vote for their people, yet poor Blacks today just can't be bothered to get an ID card or register to vote on their own? Is it because numerous stupid, pointless run-ins with the police and other authorities (those unpaid parking tickets again!) have created such overwhelming anxiety and contempt for the state among Blacks? Or do they simply think that the system is for suckers, because groups like ACORN will always be there to toss the system aside and guarantee them unfettered access to the polls?
A responsible organization would have reformed itself by now, and gotten rid of procedures that it knew to be an invitation to fraud. But ACORN-tinged voter registration fraud seems to be increasing, so I'm going to draw the logical conclusion and state that ACORN is not a responsible organization. When you add in the provisional ballots cast by by the same people who were fraudulently registered to vote, you have an organization that seems to encourage actual voter fraud. And the $800,000 funneled by the Obama campaign to ACORN through a front organization, Citizen Services, Inc., doesn't exactly give ACORN an air of impartiality.
Fortunately for us, county election boards take elections much more seriously than ACORN, and their efforts at identifying and discarding fraudulent ballots led the New York Times to famously report that nationwide, there was scant evidence of actual voter fraud from 2001 through 2006. That's reassuring, but things could be better.
I know that it is difficult to get poor and minority residents to vote. I don't have a good solution for this problem, but I am frustrated by how badly existing efforts have failed. Really frustrated. And I know that blaming the Republicans for everything is nothing more than a cop-out. Certainly some segment of the population does not want to see their own interests overturned in favor of the poor, and will work very hard to keep the voices of the poor from being heard. But does that justify voter fraud in the name of the poor? If every poor person in America voted Democrat, that would be fine with me. I really don't care how they vote. I just wish that their votes could be obtained in an honest fashion, free from race baiting, fear mongering, and fraud.
Okay -- enough ranting for now. Here in Oklahoma, the last day to register to vote is tomorrow, Oct. 10. If you are not registered to vote, DO IT TODAY. And do it legally, please.
ADDED: Michelle Malkin is reporting that an Ohio judge has ruled that Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner is in violation of Federal election laws:
A federal court ruled tonight that Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner violated federal election laws by not taking adequate steps to validate the identity of newly registered voters.
The ruling from U.S. District Court Judge George C. Smith called the identification breakdown “a serious problem” and ordered Brunner to immediately comply with federal requirements to match voter registration data with the information in the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles and Social Security Administration databases. The court accused Brunner of failing to provide county election administrators with “an effective way to access and review mismatches.” She immediately appealed the ruling.
I suppose I should ask the question that many others are asking -- if Democrats are so certain that they have already won this election, why are they working so hard to steal it?
WizBang's Lori Byrd is also on the same page with regard to this issue.