Showing posts sorted by relevance for query obama. Sort by date Show all posts
Showing posts sorted by relevance for query obama. Sort by date Show all posts

Saturday, September 20, 2008

McCain/Palin; Media Leading McCain to a Landslide Over Obama

MSNBC, CNN, New York Times, Washington Post and every paper in Chicago wants Obama to President so badly that they making every effort to enusre that John McCain wins by a landslide. You see - most news readers and keypunchers in the Media have absolutely no idea about Americans - you and me. Most keypunchers with bylines are fed their stories by political stooges - let's say a dwarfish Cook County Commissioner wants Abner Nimblefinger to write an edgy expose on systemic corruption. Abner is treated to university think-tankers and professors who printout pages of gobble-dee-gook which Abner pees his britches to print. That is the state of news papers.

The TV readers skwak out whatever is put in front of them and then participate in political round-tables redacting exactly what they had read.

Obama has it made. Example, Steve Hayes writes,

According to the press, in recent weeks, the McCain campaign has so distorted Obama's record and campaign proposals that the young senator has had no choice but to fight back with old-school tactics. "McCain's tactics are drawing the scorn of many in the media and organizations tasked with fact-checking the truthfulness of campaigns," wrote Politico's Jonathan Martin. "In recent weeks, Team McCain has been described as dishonorable, disingenuous and downright cynical."

And so while McCain's every utterance is factchecked and factchecked again in an attempt to shame him from challenging Obama too aggressively, Obama gets a pass.

Consider two examples.

On August 16, Pastor Rick Warren asked John McCain how much money someone would have to make to be considered rich. McCain didn't answer directly. "I think that rich should be defined by a home, a good job, an education and the ability to hand to our children a more prosperous and safer world than the one that we inherited," he said.

Then he made a joke: "So, I think if you are just talking about income, how about $5 million?"

The audience laughed, immediately understanding that McCain was being facetious. Just in case there were any doubts McCain started his next comment by saying "seriously," to underscore the joke. Then he made a prediction.

"I'm sure that comment will be distorted," he said with a shrug of his shoulders.
And it has been. "It should come as no surprise that John McCain believes the cutoff for the rich begins at $5 million," Barack Obama's campaign said in a statement. "It may explain why his tax plan gives a $600,000 tax cut to the richest 0.1 percent of earners." At a campaign appearance two days after McCain made the comments, Obama himself mocked McCain. "I guess if you're making $3 million a year, you're middle class," Obama said.

Some news accounts noted that McCain was joking and others even reported that McCain predicted his words would be twisted and used against him. In an August 18 article in the Los Angeles Times, Greg Miller actually did both and noted that McCain aides had made clear their boss was joking. "Even so," Miller wrote, "the remark highlighted the candidates' disparate outlooks. Analysts who study income distribution said the answers appeared to reflect shifting political calculations more than economic reality."

So Miller, writing under the headline, "Who's Rich? McCain and Obama have very different definitions," used McCain's facetious answer as if he had meant it. (Miller also speculated that Cindy McCain's family money may have shaped McCain's views of what constitutes rich.) Not only was Obama not called on his misuse of McCain's comment, reporters piled on. Is it any wonder that the line has made regular appearances in Obama speeches over the past month?

"Now, I don't believe that Senator McCain doesn't care what's going on in the lives of Americans," Obama said in his acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention. "I just think he doesn't know. Why else would he define middle-class as someone making under $5 million a year?"

Then there are the absurd lengths to which some reporters are willing to go to protect Obama and attack McCain. Last week, the McCain campaign released an ad accusing Obama of being too close to Fannie Mae executives. In particular, it claims Obama took advice on housing and finance issues from former Fannie Mae chairman Franklin Raines. The Obama campaign protested, saying that Raines was not an adviser and had not given Obama counsel in any capacity. The McCain campaign defended the claim by citing an article that ran in the Washington Post on July 16, 2008. That article noted that Raines had "taken calls from Barack Obama's presidential campaign seeking his advice on mortgage and housing policy matters."

Last Friday, the Washington Post "factchecked" the McCain ad and concluded that the campaign had been "clearly exaggerating wildly" in order to link Obama to Raines and that the "latest McCain attack is particularly dubious."

Factchecker Michael Dobbs wrote that McCain's evidence that Raines had advised Obama was "pretty flimsy"--not a description that probably endeared him to Anita Huslin, the reporter who wrote the story this summer. But Dobbs did talk to Huslin. Here is his account of their conversation:

Since this has now become a campaign issue, I asked Huslin to provide the exact circumstances of the quote. She explained that she was chatting with Raines during the photo shoot, and asked "if he was engaged at all with the Democrats' quest for the White House. He said that he had gotten a couple of calls from the Obama campaign. I asked him about what, and he said 'oh, general housing, economy issues.' ('Not mortgage/foreclosure meltdown or Fannie-specific,' I asked, and he said 'no.')"

By Raines's own account, he took a couple of calls from someone on the Obama campaign, and they had some general discussions about economic issues.

Got that? Huslin stands by her reporting--that Raines had given advice to the Obama campaign about mortgage and housing policy matters--and yet the McCain campaign is faulted by the Washington Post for relying on information that comes from the Washington Post.

More amusing, though, is that in the rush to accuse the McCain campaign of lying, Dobbs glosses over a major discrepancy between the story that appeared in his paper and that of the Obama campaign. Obama spokesman Bill Burton claims that the campaign "neither sought nor received" advice from Raines "on any matter." It is possible, of course, that Raines simply made up the conversations he described to the Post reporter. But it seems more likely, given the toxicity of Raines, that the Obama campaign would simply prefer that those conversations had never taken place.

Dobbs concludes: "I have asked both Raines and the Obama people for more details on these calls and will let you know if I receive a reply."

That's reassuring, since Dobbs has already decided that the McCain campaign has been dishonest. Two things are clear with six weeks left in the presidential race. Barack Obama will practice the old-style politics that he lamented throughout the Democratic primary. And the media will give him a pass.

Now, Americans read, remember and react. We remember that Obama was our State Senator and was a nice unaffected empty suit. Now he bills himself as the Rail-Splitter? Nope. That Don't Sell. Hoss.

Then along comes a genuine person - not a War Hero or Maverick, but a Hockey Mom with five kids and genuine talent. The Media recoils at authenticity.


The media, though, has done more than simply subject Palin to questions not given to the other candidates. More importantly, it has been running interference for the Obama campaign, questioning McCain’s attacks on Obama while frequently reinforcing Obama’s on McCain.

Take a couple of examples from last week. McCain ran an ad criticizing Obama’s support for sex education for kindergartners. Seventy percent of the 2,774 news stories on McCain’s ad mentioned that the ad was a “lie” or “inaccurate.” The stories’ headlines indicate that if other ways of disparaging the McCain ad were included, this percentage would probably be much higher.

Obama’s supporter defend the legislation, saying that its purpose was to protect children from sexual abuse. True, the bill proposed teaching children not to talk to strangers, but one wonders if reporters actually read the entire bill. For example, the legislation also included this: “Each class or course in comprehensive sex education offered in any of grades K through 12 shall include instruction on the prevention of sexually transmitted infections, including the prevention, transmission and spread of HIV.” How can you teach how to prevent these different sexually transmitted diseases without getting into some details about sex?

By the way, a grand total of 22 out of 2,774 stories that mention the bill include this discussion of HIV transmission, and many of those stories were still negative about McCain.

For a more direct comparison regarding Palin, look at how the media discussed the whole lipstick-on-a-pig story. The majority of media coverage again questioned the accuracy of the ad that the McCain campaign used to strike back at Obama (using words such as “inaccurate,” “false,” “misleading,” “untrue,” and “lie”). Obama says that he was surprised that anyone could think he was referring to Palin when he said: “you can put lipstick on a pig; it’s still a pig," that the direct reference was to Bush’s policies.

But there are a few problems with Obama’s response. First, his audience thought he was referring to Palin. They started laughing and shouting after he said, "You can put lipstick on a pig," before he even got to the punch line. The AP wrote: Obama's "audience, clearly drawing a connection to Palin's joke." ABC’s Jake Tapper wrote that audience members told “reporters that they thought Obama had been alluding to Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin’s” lipstick line. Politico noted: "Though on a day when Obama's surrogates were joking that Palin's record can't be concealed with lipstick, it was hard for those following the campaign not to hear the echo." The crowd also started chanting “No more pit bull,” indicating that the crowd got the reference to Palin’s quip at the Republican convention.

A Google news search found only 20 stories out of 6,074 mentioned the crowding laughing or shouting, and only two of those mentioned that they laughed or shouted before the punch line was given. Another search found only one single news story by US News & World Report that even mentioned both Obama’s lipstick joke and the crowd chanting “no more pit bull!”

Whatever Obama’s original intent, it would have been hard for him to claim that he was surprised that the McCain campaign would also draw the connection between his joke and Palin. Nor is it clear why he didn’t make a statement given the crowd’s reaction.

In Palin’s case, far from trying to protect her, the press frequently doesn’t even acknowledge that there might be arguments to be made in her favor.

-- The Bridge to Nowhere. The Alaska Democratic Party posted a Web page in which it declared that “State of Alaska killed bridge” -- that is the “Bridge to Nowhere.” However, after Palin’s vice presidential nomination the party took down the Web page. Yet, out of 7,556 news stories on the Bridge to Nowhere this month, a Google news search produces no hits on the phrase “State of Alaska killed bridge.”

Similarly, Sen. Ted Stevens, who was the king of the earmarks for Alaska and who had a “frosty” relationship with Palin because of her opposition to those earmarks, noted that “I don’t remember her ever campaigning for it. She was very critical of it at the time.” With all the news stories on this question, one would think that Stevens’ comment would be newsworthy, since it was his pork-barrel project. But there were only three news stories that mention his statements.

-- Cutting Earmarks. The media on this question has definitely been a bunch of “the glass is half empty” types. Instead of noting what Palin had accomplished, the game was identifying any earmarks that Alaska still received. Palin “cut nearly 10% of Alaska’s budget this year” and reduced the number of federal grants from 54 in 2007 to 31 in 2008 -- a $350 million, 64 percent cut in requests. Among the cuts in Alaska budget were a $30,000 van for Campfire USA and $200,000 for a tennis court irrigation system. Further cuts in future years were also promised.

But those changes weren’t the standard by which the media wanted to judge Palin. For example, Charles Gibson thought that he had gotten Palin in his interview when he noted that Alaska still got “$3.2 million for researching the genetics of harbor seals, money to study the mating habits of crabs” from the federal government.

Again, a simple Google news search shows how incredibly lopsided this coverage has gotten. From September 1 to September 15 there were 9,222 news stories that discuss Palin and earmarks. By contrast, a search that looked at Palin and her attempts to cut earmarks (using the terms "cut earmarks," "reduce earmarks," "trim earmarks," "slash earmarks" or "eliminate earmarks") produced incredibly only 50 news stories -- about 0.5 percent of the total stories. Even many of those 50 stories were critical and claimed that McCain had overstated Palin’s opposition to earmarks.

I spent some time looking at questions of whether Palin was properly vetted or the taxes that she imposed on oil companies, but the results were similar. Palin just doesn’t seem to get an even break, let alone the extremely protective news coverage offered Obama.

Groups such as have helped put down many false rumors on everything from Palin supposedly cutting funds for special needs children to banning books, but the coverage that corrects these false claims never seems to be as heavy as the coverage making the claims to begin with.

Possibly there is a good explanation for why the media so selectively covers the two campaigns so differently. But whatever the reasons, Sarah Palin continues to receive significantly less positive coverage than the Democrats.

The Media is making sure that McCain/Palin wins the largest landslide victory in American Presdential History. With rehab and has-been Hollywood persons and the media against you, how can you fail?

E.G. Steve Hayes writes,

Stephen F. Hayes, a senior writer at THE WEEKLY STANDARD, is the author of Cheney: The Untold Story of America's Most Powerful and Controversial Vice President (HarperCollins).,2933,423443,00.html

Thursday, July 23, 2009

President Obama will be Sub 50% by Labor Day - President goes Small on Cops and Race and Invisible on Leadership- Too Bad

President Obama smeared a Cambridge Policeman and the Cambridge Police Force and then went even smaller. He seemed to imply that here in Chicago, police would have shot him. Not much of a joke, Mr. President - pretty small.

President Obama won a remarkable victory last November. High Hopes and Nowhere to go but up.

Since January 19th, President Obama has been honeymooned and swooned over.

Now, having junketed around the globe to Apologize for America - no one asked him to do that by the way - here or abroad - and fudged Guantanamo Prison, the Stimulus #1, and the Health Care Reform dodge. His numbers dropped significantly.
It'll happen.

However, last night President Obama showed America how small a man he happens to be and still sleep in the White House.

Read this transcript of his Meet the Press with Lynn Sweet over the Skip Gates nonsense.

WASHINGTON -- President Barack Obama said Wednesday that police acted "stupidly" in the arrest of prominent black scholar Henry Louis Gates Jr. and that despite racial progress blacks and Hispanics are still singled out unfairly for arrest.

"This still haunts us," Obama said.

Obama called Gates a friend, and said he doesn't know all the facts of the case. Nonetheless, Obama said, anyone would have been angry if treated the way Gates claims police in Cambridge, Mass., treated him. Gates, a Harvard University professor, claims he was arrested in his home after showing ID to police who responded to a report of a possible burglary.

"Cambridge police acted stupidly in arresting somebody when there was already proof he was in own home," Obama said during a prime-time news conference that otherwise focused on the health care debate.

Gates' arrest followed a report of a possible burglary. A woman apparently saw Gates force the front door and called police. Police came and demanded that Gates show identification. Gates was arrested shortly afterward for alleged disorderly conduct, a charge that was dropped Tuesday.

"What I think we know separate and apart from this incident is that there's a long history in this country of African-Americans and Latinos being stopped by law enforcement disproportionately," Obama said. "That's just a fact."

That disparity is a reminder that "race remains a factor in the society," Obama said.

The nation's first black president held himself up as testament to what he called the "incredible progress" minorities have achieved.

The police sergeant accused of racism after he arrested Gates insisted Wednesday that he won't apologize.

Police say Gates at first refused to display ID and then accused the officer of racism.

Sgt. James Crowley said he followed proper procedures in arresting Gates.

Standing in the stately East Room of the White House where he now lives, Obama allowed some humor into the discussion.

Obama ticked off the reported facts of the Gates case -- starting with Gates apparently forgetting his keys and jimmying the door. Police responded appropriately at first, Obama said.

"I mean, if I was trying to jigger into ...," Obama began, and then trailed off as reporters laughed. Obama laughed, too. "Well, I guess this is my house, now so it probably wouldn't happen."

Obama said he could understand police responding in good faith if he was forcing his way into his old house in Chicago.

"Here I'd get shot," he joked.

Sgt Crowley seems like a professional Law Enforcement officer who gave mouth-to-mouth resuscitation to Boston Celtic Reggie Lewis in 1993. President Obama went small and will see his poll number shrink to sub-50% by Labor Day.
Infact. Sgt Crowley proved himself to be a Bigger Man than his President.

Cambridge police Sergeant James Crowley declined today to criticize President Obama for saying Wednesday night that police "acted stupidly" in the arrest last week of Harvard scholar Henry Louis Gates Jr., but he did say it was "regrettable" that anyone would speak without knowing the "whole story" of the confrontation a week ago at Gates's home near Harvard Square

I believed that President Obama was not ready to live in White House, much less lead America. Going small on an issue that will play out badly not only for Professor Skip Gates, but his pal the President of the United States. It is too small for a President. This was not small enough for Barack Obama. Too bad.

I am about the only Hickey in Chicago who did not vote for President Obama. John McCain, it seemed to me did not want to win, in the worst way. Ironically, I am sorry I did not vote Obama as well. I would still be disappointed. We all will be.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

McCain/Palin: Barack Obama Is the Man Who Never Was

Way back when Barack Obama decided to become a national icon of post-racial politics and the agent of change, he no longer was seen publicly with the people from the Chicago Wards who helped get him elected to the Illinois Senate and the U.S. Senate. I commented on this fact in a blog that I was once a contributor - Illinoize. I stopped writing for that local blog during the goofy and failed BIG BOX Ordinance idiocy orchestrated by SEIU ( one of Obama's crucial political organizations). I criticized SEIU for masquerading as a labor union and noted the willingness of the already co-opted Media in playing dress up for that redistribution of wealth agenda.

Obama became a figure. I vote for a person and I hitched my vote to John McCain who happened to be a Republican. All of Obama's wardrobe has been designed and cut by Progressives and that is why Obama is never seen with Ward level Democratic volunteers or leaders. He is post-political -doncha know? The very people who Obama sneered at in San Francisco ( working class people Catholics, Jews, and Protestants) helped bring him to elected office. Obama needed the Chicago Democratic Ward level help -in that case the Machine helped Obama more than he helped the Chicago Machine. The goofs who did McCain's Chicago Ad should have spent a little time with a Chicagoan. Not that he'd say anything - 'I don' know nuttin' see! Dis Canary don' sing, see?' So, the Mad Men did what most Chicago films do - background shots - and missed the true nature of the truth.

But, Obama became a Progressive clotheshorse and wore raiment of their cookie-cutter pose of a leader.

Today, Tony Blankley got to heart of Obama's problem - the Man is Not Genuine. He is like the Man Who Never Was from WWII.

The image of Barack Obama that the press has presented is not a fair approximation of the real man. They have consciously ignored whole years in his life, and showed a lack of curiosity about such gaps that bespeaks a lack of journalistic instinct. Thus, the public image of Mr. Obama is of a "Man who never was." I take that phrase from a 1956 movie about a real life WWII British intelligence operation to trick the Germans into thinking the Allies were going to invade Greece, rather than Italy, in 1943. Operation "Mincemeat" involved the acquisition of a human corpse dressed as a Maj. William Martin, R.M. and put into the sea near Spain. Attached to the corpse was a brief-case containing fake letters suggesting that the Allied attack would be against Sardinia and Greece.

To make the operation credible, British intelligence created a fictional life for the corpse — a letter from a lover, tickets to a London theater, all the details of a life — but not the actual life of the dead young man whose corpse was being used. So, too, the man the media has presented to the nation as Mr. Obama is not the real man.

Absolutely, Sir! Obama makes Hollywood look Genuine. Obama makes what passes for journalism these days look like the real deal. Obama's past and associations are guarded like weapons grade plutonium - unless of course in the former Soviet Union. The very people howling for Obama are not what one might consider Genuine -Bill Maher,The View, MSNBC, Pamela Sue Anderson, P-Diddy, Tony Rezko, Jeremiah Wright, William Ayers, Keith Olbermann and Tom Hayden. Genuine clowns to be sure, but persons?

There is a genuine problem with Barcak Obama's will to be anything but Genuine and Tony Blankley says it better than anyone else.

The public image of Mr. Obama as an idealistic, post-race, post-partisan, well-spoken and honest young man with the wisdom and courage befitting a great national leader is a confection spun by a willing conspiracy of Mr. Obama, his publicist David Axelrod and most of the senior editors, producers and reporters of the national media.

Perhaps that is why the National Journal's respected correspondent Stuart Taylor has written that "the media can no longer be trusted to provide accurate and fair campaign reporting and analysis." That conspiracy has not only photo-shopped out all of Mr. Obama's imperfections (and dirtied up his opponent Mr. McCain's image), but it has put most of his questionable history down the memory hole.

The public will be voting based on the idealized image of the man who never was. If he wins, however, we will be governed by the sunken, cynical man Mr. Obama really is. One can only hope that the senior journalists will be judged as harshly for their professional misconduct as Wall Street's leaders currently are for their failings.

Tony Blankley is a syndicated columnist.
Click my post title for the full article!

Monday, May 23, 2011

President Obama in Dear Old Moneygall - Offaly Nice, I Suppose.

Obama in Moneygall, Today. As real as he gets.

You might call Monday the fun day of President Obama’s Europe tour.

The president will spend an hour in the Irish town of Moneygall, where it is believed his great-great-great grandfather grew up. The town has excitedly anticipated his arrival, with people waiting hours in line for tickets to Obama’s speech there. The local newspaper, the Ofally Independent, put out a special edition Friday in which the paper dubbed itself “The Obama Independent.” (Moneygall is in a county called Ofally.)

“This is a homecoming of sorts for President Obama. He’s very excited to see this small town in Ireland from which he has roots, and we’re very much looking forward to seeing some of the people of Moneygall and making a stop there,” said Ben Rhodes, one of Obama’s top national security aides.

Obama, who arrived in Ireland Monday at 9:29 a.m. local time (4:29 a.m. in Washington) will also give a public speech in Dublin, highlighting relations between Ireland and the United States.

Offaly Nice -

President Barack Obama's Irish eighth cousin toured either side of the tiny village of Moneygall, picking out pavements to be repaired and houses to be repainted in preparation for the visit of the most powerful man on Earth.

With a population of just 300, the residents will be heavily outnumbered by the US president's own entourage when Obama returns to his Irish roots in May.

The village is bisected by the old Dublin to Limerick road, where part of the old homestead of Obama's Irish ancestors still stands. Moneygall has become a tourist trap two months before Air Force One touches down in the Republic.

Henry Healy, accompanied by officials from Offaly county council, was helping to spruce up the village for Obama's arrival. Since the president announced on St Patrick's Day that he would visit Ireland in two months' time Obamamania has been building in this quiet corner of the Irish midlands. On Friday night the locals held their first public meeting to discuss the trip.

Healy, who traces his family links back to the president's Irish ancestors, the Kearneys, was a guest of Obama when he was sworn into office in Washington DC. The president's great-great-great grandfather (on his mother's side) is said to have been born in Ireland. "Our family connection is very distant but … we do share the same lineage," said Healy. "Our ancestry is shared by the Healy and the Kearney families way back to 1761. Sarah Healy would be five-eighths grandmother of Barack Obama. I still think it's sort of surreal to say you have some connection to the president of the United States. "

Healy said the Obama connection had brightened up the lives of Moneygall's people at a time of national economic hardship. "When the primaries started in 2008 our village wasn't like the rest of Ireland. We were not talking about recession or doom and gloom. We were talking about the American presidential campaign all the way from Iowa to the White House. It was a massive boost to our morale in these dark times."

No US presidential visit to Ireland would be complete without a photo of him supping a pint at the bar. JFK, Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton have all been snapped by the world's cameras knocking back beer amid cheering Irish locals. Inside Olli Hayes's bar on Main Street Obama memorabilia dominates the walls, with framed pictures from his presidential campaign, paintings of the first black US president and the latest addition, a cast-iron bust of him at the end of the bar.

"I hope nobody lifts that up one day and hits me on the head with it like they did with the bust of Queen Victoria in that murder on EastEnders," jokes Hayes.

Another stop on Obama's Moneygall tour will be Templeharry Anglican church, just over a mile outside the village. It was here that Church of Ireland minister Stephen Neill unearthed Obama's roots in 2007. Inside the church, built around 1800, Neill produces the dust-laden parish record books which he used to trace Obama's lineage to the village.

"We have the baptismal records which include the Kearney relatives and back in April 2007 it transpired that this lineage related to Barack Obama through Falmouth Kearney, who emigrated to America. So on these pews, inside this very church, the president's antecedents on his Irish side worshipped here on a regular basis."

Obama's links to the Church of Ireland also stretch further south to Kilkenny city, where another branch of the family claims a connection to him. Jane de Montmorency Wright said she had traced Obama to the former Anglican bishop of Kilkenny, John Kearney. "The president's ancestor was a bishop here in Kilkenny city where he is buried in St Canice's cathedral, so there will be plenty for him to see," she said.

Hayes and Moneygall's other 299 residents are expecting droves of other Americans to follow in the president's footsteps. A few hours earlier two couples from Chicago, the base from which Obama launched his presidential bid, turned up to have their pictures taken outside the bar.

• This article was amended on 29 March 2011. The original referred to President Barack Obama's Irish cousin (eight times removed). This has been corrected.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Lynn Sweet Flaks for Flake - Defense of Desiree Rogers?

Let's be clear - I learned what a self-absorbed dim-witted Diva Desiree Rogers happens to be years ago. When Desiree Rogers was ushered away from her post as Illinois Lotto Ball watcher and seated in position at People Gas that oversaw corporate citizenship by the utility the Diva turned that citizenship ( Corporate Charity) on herself.

Desiree Rogers ended Peoples Energy Corp.'s long standing annual grants to the Black kids at Leo High School.

Leo High School received $ 3,000 annually following a formal written request ( all that 501(c)3 stuff) to help families in need of financial assistance. Desiree Rogers ended that and told me that she going to do "more systemic good."

That year Peoples Gas funded a Fashion Show that featured Desiree Rogers. It was in ALL the columns, Magazines, Janet Davis & Features and Mary Cameron Frye stuff! Desiree was said to be Gorgeous! The Fash Bash did more "systemic" good for the kids from Englewood, Gresham and Brainerd who wanted an education in a high school where they could avoid getting Lit Up. That is Desiree Rogers, Boys & Girls! Leo Alumni many of them Peoples Gas workers themselves made up the grant - thank God.

Oh, so that's what clouds my opinion of Ms. Rogers? Yep.

Lynn Sweet* has a reputation for being a serious reporter. Today she writes, "The Rogers I know is down-to-earth. She grew up in New Orleans, graduated from Wellesley College, picked up a MBA from Harvard, and then built a successful, lucrative business career in Chicago, starting at AT&T. I met her around 1991, when she was the director of the Illinois State Lottery." Pravda?

Today Lynn Sweet offers a flak-catching puff piece on Desiree Rogers - the Diva with a Government Job.

President Obama was put in harm's way, not because of the Secret Service, but because Desiree Rogers' ego can be powered by her limited mental capacities and moral compass.

Two goofballs crashed America's 1st State Dinner in Honor of the Indian Prime Minister at the Obama White House.

Rogers' Social Secretary Policy placed President Obama in danger of harm and the Secret Service has been ordered to wear the jacket.

Chicagoans know Desiree Rogers. Chicagoans continue to be asked to 'really admire' Desiree, even though the pretty, wealthy and protected dimwitted woman can not handle a simple task - Rogers left a simple job at Illinois Lottery under cloud, at Peoples Gas, Rogers oversaw gas-shut offs to the elderly, explosions in Mount Greenwood and insulted skilled tradesmen. Rogers holds appointed positions on charities, business and civic boards and tax-funded sinecures, due to the authority of her ex-husband John Rogers.

Lynn Sweet is giving Desiree Rogers cover that she neither deserves nor appreciates.
It appears in Politics Daily and not in The Chicago Sun Times.

Maybe the Sun Times should hire April Ryan, who seems to ask real questions concerning the very limited capacities of Desiree Rogers and her responsibilities to our President.

What is sad is that Lynn Sweet's flack-jacket woven for the Dimwitted Diva appears only out of town. Chicagoans should read this. Click my post title.

* No Defense of Desiree by Lynn Sweet here in Chicago! Blackout?


Obama taps Victoria Kennedy, Ted's widow, for Kennedy Center board (12/04/2009 5:45:01 PM)
Obama approval at 48 percent: CNN poll (12/04/2009 1:22:39 PM)
New jobless rate: 10 percent, a tick down (12/04/2009 8:04:10 AM)
President Obama official schedule and guidance, Dec. 4, 2009. Going to Allentown (12/04/2009 4:00:12 AM)
Obama family light national Christmas tree. Transcript. (12/04/2009 0:21:38 AM)
Chicagoans at Obama White House Christmas party; tighter security checkpoints (12/03/2009 11:33:12 PM)
Giannoulias first 2010 Illinois Senate race commercial (12/03/2009 12:00:52 PM)
Obama Afghanistan speech cable ratings (12/03/2009 11:01:01 AM)
Obama's war (12/03/2009 10:45:47 AM)
Secret Service agents who allowed Obama party crashers placed on leave (12/03/2009 10:33:38 AM)
Friday, December 4, 2009
Party crashers Salahis face subpoenas Desiree Rogers does not
WASHINGTON -- Reality TV show wannabees Michaele and Tareq Salahi face a subpoena from the House Homeland Security Committee after skipping Thursday's hearing on how they passed through Secret Service checkpoints to crash President Obama's Nov. 24 state dinner and ended up shaking hands with him.
Thursday, December 3, 2009
State delegation divided on Thomson
Members of the Illinois congressional delegation -- after an unusually long meeting Wednesday -- were divided over the possibility of the Obama White House transferring inmates at the Guantanamo Bay military prison to a nearly vacant prison in northwestern Illinois.
This D.C. invite turned down
The Obama White House on Wednesday blocked social secretary Desiree Rogers from testifying today before the House Homeland Security Committee hearing on how wannabe reality TV stars Tareq and Michaele Salahi whizzed by Secret Service agents and crashed the Nov. 24 state dinner.
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
Obama's friends on left wrestling with policy
Lynn Sweet: President Obama's decision to escalate the war in Afghanistan by adding 30,000 U.S. troops -- at the same time announcing an exit strategy to start in July 2011 with no firm end date -- was clearly difficult for many of his most ardent supporters. This is not a popular policy with an important segment of Obama's base.
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
Rogers asked to testify about party crashers
WASHINGTON --White House social secretary Desiree Rogers has been asked to testify at a Thursday hearing of the House Homeland Security Committee about how wannabe reality TV stars Tareq and Michaele Salahi crashed the Obama's first state dinner last week.
Saturday, November 28, 2009
State dinner gate-crashers met Obama
WASHINGTON -- The White House confirmed Friday that President Obama met the couple who crashed Tuesday's state dinner --wannabe reality-show stars Michaele and Tareq Salahi -- releasing a picture of Michaele Salahi shaking hands with the president in a receiving line that included first lady Michelle Obama, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his wife, Gursharan Kaur.
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
State dinner, Obama style
WASHINGTON--President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama hosted their first state Tuesday night, including their closest friends from Chicago among the guests honoring India Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his wife Gursharon Kaur, with Chicago songsters Jennifer Hudson and Kurt Elling performing.
Monday, November 23, 2009
Burris heads for Iraq in wake of panel's rebuke
WASHINGTON -- A day after the Senate ethics committee handed him a stinging rebuke, Sen. Roland Burris on Saturday voted to advance the Democratic health-care bill to the Senate floor and then departed for an official visit to Iraq.
Sunday, November 22, 2009
Illinois' Gitmo could bring 3,000 jobs: White House
Lynn Sweet: A White House analysis of a federal purchase of the nearly vacant northwestern Illinois prison to house Guantanamo detainees and other federal prisoners, obtained by the Sun-Times on Saturday, concludes that in the first year 2,290 to 2,960 jobs would be created, and local residents would be "excellent candidates" for 1,240 to 1,410 of those jobs.
Friday, November 20, 2009
Senate ethics panel admonishes Burris, but no charges coming
Sen. Roland Burris (D-Ill.) was admonished today by the U.S. Senate ethics committee over his testimony in Springfield concerning how he got appointed to Barack Obama’s vacant Senate seat. But his actions following his appointment by then Gov.-Rod Blagojevich did not rise to level of pursuing ethics charges against Burris, the committee ruled.
Thursday, November 19, 2009
Trials: 'Failure is not an option'
WASHINGTON -- Trying terrorist suspects now detained at Guantanamo Bay military prison in Cuba in U.S. federal courtrooms -- rather than military tribunals, which operate under different rules -- met with skeptical questioning by some senators at a Wednesday Senate Judiciary Committee hearing.
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
If you like Sarah Palin, you’ll like 'Going Rogue'
Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin's Going Rogue is really two books: about half an interesting telling of growing up in Alaska, an outdoor and sport-filled life -- and a good chunk of the second half whacking her McCain campaign crew of handlers.
Sunday, November 15, 2009
Dems at risk of losing Obama's old Senate seat
WASHINGTON -- About a year ago, thousands jammed Grant Park in Chicago to celebrate Barack Obama's election to the White House, a communal civic defining moment. But those giddy days are long gone as Democrats in Illinois face the potential of losing the Senate seat President Obama once held next November.
Durbin, Quinn see economic boon
WASHINGTON -- Detainees at the Guantanamo Bay military prison in Cuba may be transferred to a nearly vacant maximum-security state prison in northwest Illinois, the Obama White House said Saturday.
Sunday, November 8, 2009
Exclusive interview with Sam Kass White House chef
WASHINGTON -- A lot of lives have changed since Barack Obama won the presidential election one year ago last Wednesday, none so much as the life of Chicago's Sam Kass, the engaging, shaved-head assistant White House chef and food initiative coordinator, a crusader for healthy eating who has shot to fame in the almost 10 months the Obamas have been in the White House.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Obama's Clout Trail Weaves Ayers/Dohrn & Sidley & Austin

Professor Steve Diamond has made the case for Obama's disembling concerning his biggest distraction Ayers/Dorhn/ACORN Progressive Chicago Clout.

The Chicago newspapers and the Daley Administration are busy trying to find dirt on garbage truck crews, but could care less about the millions of dangerous dollars tossed into the hands of domestic terrorist Bill Ayers and buttoned out to ACORN and other real estate scam artists from Chicago Foundations. It's all good.

Read this in Full:

Tuesday, April 22, 2008
Who "sent" Obama?
See June 19, 2008 post: That "guy who lives in my neighborhood" for more detail on Ayers-Obama relationship.Updated May 24, 2008: former Sidley managing partner tells Chicago Tribune he hired Bernardine Dohrn as favor to Bill Ayers' father Thomas Ayers.Updated May 18, 2008 with information from Nell Minow, daughter of Obama mentor Newton Minow and sister of Obama's Harvard professor, Martha Minow.Updated May 3, 2008: Ken Rolling, first Executive Director of the Annenberg Challenge, had been a program officer of the Woods Fund; Republican activist claims Ayers is "advisor" to Barack Obama. In Chicago politics a key question has always been, who "sent" you? The classic phrase is "We don't want nobody that nobody sent" - from an anecdote of Abner Mikva's, the former White House Counsel (Pres. Clinton) and now retired federal judge. (And someone I campaigned for while in high school when he ran, unsuccessfully, for Congress in the early 70s.) As a young student, Mikva wanted to help out the his local Democratic Party machine on the south side of Chicago. In 1948, he walked into the local committeeman's office to volunteer for Adlai Stevenson and Paul Douglas and was immediately asked: "Who sent you?" Mikva replied, "nobody sent me." And the retort came back from the cigar chomping pol: "Well, we don't want nobody that nobody sent."

So it is reasonable to ask, who "sent" Barack Obama? In other words, how can his meteoric rise to political prominence be explained? And, of course, in an answer to that question might lie a better understanding of his essential world view. When I started looking at this question a few weeks ago I quickly grew more concerned about the kinds of people that seem to have been very important in Obama's ascendancy in Chicago area politics. It is the connection of some of these people to authoritarian politics that has me particularly concerned. And a key concern of this blog has been the rise of authoritarian tendencies in the global labor movement.

The people linked to Senator Obama grew to political maturity in the extreme wings of the late 60s student and antiwar movements. They adopted some of the worst forms of sectarian and authoritarian politics. They helped undermine the emergence of a healthy relationship between students and others in American society who were becoming interested in alternative views of social, political and economic organization. In fact, at the time, some far more constructive activists had a hard time comprehending groups like the Weather Underground. Their tactics were so damaging that some on the left thought that government or right wing elements helped create them. There is some evidence, in fact, that that was true (for example, the Cointelpro effort of the federal government.)

Today, however, many of these individuals continue to hold political views that hardened in that period. Many of them have joined up with other wings of the late 60s and 70s movements, in particular the pro-China maoists elements of that era and are now playing a role in the labor movement and elsewhere. And yet this question of Obama's links to people from this milieu has not been thoroughly explored by any of the many thousands of journalists, bloggers and political operatives looking so closely at Obama.

The most recent effort was by Jonathan Kaufman in the Wall Street Journal who argued that a critical connection for Obama was his links to some in the wealthy and prominent Jewish community in Chicago. This article contains some important insights and is well worth reading. But, I think Kaufman gets it wrong.

So, who did “send” Obama? The key I think is his ties not to well connected uber lawyer Newton Minow, as Kaufman suggests, but more likely to the family of (in)famous former Weather Underground leader Bill Ayers – not just Bill Ayers, but also Bill’s father Tom Ayers and his brother John as well. Obama was a community organizer from about 1985 to 1988, when he left Chicago for Harvard Law School. During that time a critical issue in Chicago politics was the ongoing crisis in the public schools. A movement was underway from two angles: below in black, latino and other communities for more local control of schools and from above by business interests who wanted to cut costs. (For a fascinating account and analysis see Dorothy Shipps, The Invisible Hand: Big Business and Chicago School Reform, Teachers College Record, Vol. 99, #1, Fall 1997, pp. 73-116 or her later excellent book on the subject: School Reform, Corporate Style: Chicago, 1880-2000 (Kansas 2006.))

A 1987 teachers’ strike brought those two sides together to push for a reform act passed by the Illinois legislature in 1988 that created "Local School Councils" (LSC) to be elected by residents in a particular school area. According to Shipps, the strike "enrag[ed] parents and provid[ed] the catalyst for a coalition between community groups and Chicago United [the business lobby] that was forged in the ensuing year." (The full story of this complicated process is provided by Shipps in her book.)

The LSC’s were to be made up by a majority of parents and have the power to hire and fire principals thus creating a new power center in the school system against what both reform groups viewed as the bureaucratic and expensive school board, on the one hand, and, on the other, the teachers union. In my view these types of councils are reminiscent of the manipulative "community" bodies set up in regimes like those of Hugo Chavez and the Sandinistas - used to control genuine democratic movements such as trade unions. Dorothy Shipps argues, as I will suggest below, that there is an alternative approach that is genuinely democratic and possibly more effective in improving outcomes for students.

Active in the local control from below, on the "community" side of this effort, was Bill Ayers who had returned to Chicago in 1987 as an assistant professor of education at the University of Illinois' Chicago Circle campus, after surfacing from the underground and earning his Ph.D. at Columbia. Another ally in this battle at the same time was Barack Obama’s Developing Communities Project (DCP), as Obama notes briefly in his Dreams From My Father. (See also, "Meeting on School Reform Halted," Chicago Tribune, Feb. 19, 1988 at 3; and "Black Parents" A letter to the Chi. Trib. on Aug. 23, 1988 from a DCP member defending the 1988 local control reform bill) The DCP had its origins in the "radical" movement started by Saul Alinsky. (It should be remembered Alinsky's world view was one that is and was often in tension with many in the trade union movement - for example, Alinksy was an almost uncritical admirer and biographer of trade union bureaucrat par excellence John L. Lewis. For one independent approach that urges re-examination of the Alinsky view of unions today in light of rise to power of SEIU's Andy Stern, see Staughton Lynd, Commentary: Another World is Possible, Working America, March 2008).

Ayers, of course, had long held what the left once knew, broadly, as “maoist” politics – a view of the world that was opposed to Russian style bureaucratic communism from above, instead advocates of this approach supported sending revolutionary cadre to “swim among the masses like fish in the sea” or attempting to establish guerilla foco as romantically theorized by Regis Debray and carried out with disastrous results by Che Guevara.

Today one of the approaches used by these types is the "long march" through the (presumably "bourgeois") institutions. (See this discussion of it by "Progressives for Obama" supporter, Fidelista and former SDS leader Carl Davidson.) Of course, the "long march" referred to is that taken by Mao and the Red Army in 1934. Now, Davidson et. al apply the concept to the tactics of the "left" inside various "reform movements" such as the anti-war movement. Davidson was one of the organizers of the 2002 anti war rally at which Obama first spoke out against the war.

Here is how Ayers in 2006 described his approach to "electoral politics" in an interview with the left wing Chicago magazine, In These Times:

"ITT: [A]ren’t progressives putting high hopes in November? Even leading Republicans admit that the Dems are likely to recapture at least one house of Congress.

"So what? That’s not the point, Ayers says. Electoral politics is a tool to connect causes, like gay rights, disability rights, voting rights, human rights. 'That’s how you use electoral politics. Not as an end in itself, but as an organizing mechanism. Our deepest belief, I think, is that we need to connect all these good projects and build the movement. …we should always be positioning ourselves, thinking, okay, if I’m involved in this next election, how am I positioned to help contribute to building a movement, raising consciousness, making the connections, and that’s a real tricky business.'"

Bill Ayers appears to be attempting to lead a similar "long march" in the education world. Ayers is a vigorous advocate of local control along with a related concept called “small schools,” most likely because he believes it gives him the potential to build a political base from which to operate. He has discussed these ideas in speeches and writings on his blog. As he said in a speech he gave in front of Hugo Chavez in Venezuela in late 2006: "Teaching invites transformations, it urges revolutions small and large. La educacion es revolucion!"

Bill raised money to start the Small Schools Workshop in the early 90s and eventually hired another former maoist from the 60s (and actually someone who was a bitter opponent of Ayers as SDS disintegrated) named Mike Klonsky to head it up. [Bill's brother John later got in on the small schools approach also, raising money in part from the Annenberg Challenge program started by Bill and chaired by Obama (see School Leadership in Times of Urban Reform edited by Bizar and Barr).]

A leading figure in the Chicago business groups that were lobbying for cost cutting and "efficiency" in the Chicago schools in the 1980's was Bill Ayers' father, Thomas Ayers. Tom Ayers, of course, was a very prominent Chicago business man, a retired head of Commonwealth Edison, a lifelong liberal, and a supporter of open housing campaigns (in which my parents participated when I grew up in Chicago in the 60s) as well as Martin Luther King. According to Dorothy Shipps, Tom Ayers co-authored a report of a joint public-private task force on school reform and was later nominated to head up Chicago United, a business backed school reform group that Ayers helped found, by Chicago Mayor Jane Byrne, but was opposed successfully by black community activists.

When the 1988 Reform Act was passed a group called Leadership for Quality Education (LQE) was formed, according to Shipps, by the elite business lobby that was in part behind the new reforms, to train the newly elected local school council members. Some 6000 LSC members were elected. And they became a huge thorn in the side of school administration in Chicago.

Interestingly, one LSC member was John Ayers, son of Tom and brother of Bill. In 1993, John was made head of the LQE - which, by then, according to Shipps, was caught in the middle of the battle emerging to re-centralize control of the schools in the hands of the mayor.

In the fall of 1988, however, Obama left the city to go off to law school. My best guess, though, is that it was in that 86-88 time frame that Obama likely met up with the Ayers family. I will explain why I believe that in a minute. Interestingly, after his first year in law school Obama returned in the summer of 1989 to work as a summer associate at the prestigious Chicago law firm of Sidley & Austin. This in and of itself is a bit unusual. Very few top tier law students work for big law firms during their first summer. The big law firms discourage it because if you work for them in the first summer you are likely to work for a second firm the following year and then the firms have to compete to get you.

So, why or how did Obama - at that point not yet the prominent first black president of the Harvard Law Review (that would happen the following year) - end up at Sidley?

Sidley had been long time outside counsel to Commonwealth Edison. The senior Sidley partner who was Comm Ed's key outside counsel, Howard Trienens, was a member of the board of trustees of Northwestern alongside Tom Ayers (and Sidley partner Newton Minow, too). It turns out, Bernardine Dohrn worked at Sidley also. She was hired there in the late 80s, because of the intervention of her father-in-law Tom Ayers, even though she was (and is) not a member of any state bar.

Dohrn was not admitted in either NY or Illinois because of her past jail time for refusing to testify about the murderous 1981 Brinks robbery in which her former Weather Underground (now recast as the "Revolutionary Armed Task Force") "comrades," including Kathy Boudin (biological mother of Chesa Boudin, who was raised by Ayers and Dohrn) participated. She was finally paroled after serving 22 years of a plea bargained single 20-to-life sentence for her role in the robbery where a guard was shot and killed and two police officers were killed. The father of Chesa Boudin, David Gilbert, was sentenced to 75-to-life, with no chance of parole, after a trial in which he refused to participate. Chesa is the co-author of a recent apologia for the regime of Venezuelan "left" strong man, Hugo Chavez.

Trienens recently explained his unusual decision to hire Dohrn, who had never practice law and had graduated from law school (before going on her bombing spree) 17 years before in 1967) to The Chicago Tribune saying, "[W]e sometimes hire friends."

I can only speculate, but it is possible that Tom Ayers introduced Obama to Sidley. That might have happened if Obama had met up with Bill and Tom and John Ayers prior to attending law school when Obama's DCP group was supporting the reform act passed in 1988. Or it might have been Dohrn who introduced Obama to the law firm. Dohrn's CV indicates that she left Sidley sometime in 1988 for public interest work prior to starting a position at Northwestern (again, hired there by some accounts because of the influence of Tom Ayers and his Sidley counsel Howard Trienens). Obama and Dohrn would likely not have been at the firm at the same time, although if Obama and Dohrn met before Obama left to attend Harvard Law School, she might have discussed the firm with him and introduced him to lawyers there.

My best guess, though, is that it would have been Tom Ayers who introduced Obama to Sidley and that would have helped him get the attention of someone like Newton Minow. And that would have come in very handy later in Obama's career as Kaufman suggests.

(Recently I heard from Nell Minow, daughter of Newton Minow, who tells me her sister Martha, a Harvard law professor, had Obama as a student at HLS and that she called her father to tell him about Obama. While Nell contends on the basis of this anecdote that her family met and supported Obama before he met Bill Ayers, she was unable to provide me any evidence of when in fact Obama met Ayers, either Bill or Tom.)

In any case the summer of 1989 was eventful for Obama as he did meet his future wife, Michelle, there, already a lawyer and working as a Sidley associate. Michelle was Obama's first supervisor or mentor there. Obama went back to Harvard in the fall of 1989 where, of course, he became president of the law review in the spring of 1990. After graduation in 1991 he went back to Chicago to run a voter registration campaign (which would turn out to be an important step in his career).

Then Obama joined a tiny, little known (outside Chicago, at least) public interest law firm called Davis Miner Barnhill. The partner who hired him was Judson Miner. Miner was a well known left wing lawyer in Chicago who had been counsel to the progressive black mayor in the 80s, Harold Washington. But Miner possibly also had ties to the Ayers family. He was law school classmates with Bernardine Dohrn at the University of Chicago (both Class of 1967). He formed a lawyers group against the war after graduation and organized a left wing alternative to the local Chicago bar association.

Then, in late 1994 or early 1995, Obama made what I think was probably the key move in his early career. He was named Chairman of the Board of the Chicago Annenberg Challenge, a $50 million grant program to funnel money into reform efforts at Chicago schools. It turns out that the architect of the Annenberg Challenge was Bill Ayers, who designed the grant proposal and sheparded it to success. The purpose of the program was to defend the controversial and troubled local schools council effort that had been put in place back in 1988. The first Executive Director of the Challenge was Ken Rolling, who came there from the much discussed Woods Fund (where he had been a program officer). The Woods Fund had provided grants to Obama's DCP in the late 80's and Rolling was a part of the school reform effort in which both Bill Ayers and Obama participated. Obama joined the board of the Woods Fund in 1993 in 1999 he would be joined on the board by Bill Ayers.

A report authored by Dorothy Shipps on the first three years of the Annenberg Challenge program, when Obama was its Board chair, concluded: "The Challenge sought to build on the momentum of the 1988 Chicago School Reform Act which had radically decentralized governance of the Chicago Public Schools."

While apparently several hundred school principals had been fired by the LSC’s, kids were still doing poorly in schools and there was chaos of a sorts in the system. (See Shipps, Invisible Hand, for a summary of the problems.) Interestingly, Shipps concludes that the local control movement in Chicago, though backed by radicals like Ayers, gave "business the clearest voice in systemwide reform." She argues that a district level democracy effort such as an "Education Assembly" is required rather than the parochial local control approach:

"A large districtwide elected group intended to serve as a legislative body, such an assembly would have both the staff and structure of one. This alternative vision of democracy rests on citizenship and stewardship even as it builds on the private interests and knowledge of concerned parents and neighbors. As an example of a different form of democratic governance, it serves to remind ordinary Chicagoans that they now have no systemwide forum through which to debate broad issues of equity, standards, and accountability."

This represents a very different vision than that of Ayers & co. (not to mention of the charter school business group approach now in vogue). In fact, in retrospect the Ayers/Ayers (business from above, local activism from below) joint campaign against both the Chicago School District bureaucracy and the Teachers Union is reminiscent of the kinds of alliances one finds in neo-stalinist regimes like that of Cuba, China or Sandinista-run Nicaragua. In the Chinese Cultural Revolution, for example, Mao appealed to local activists to attack the party bureaucracy. These authoritarian movements often try to build their power against democratic institutions like unions. Well-intentioned liberals even from the business community are often willing to support such efforts because they view the traditional labor movement as even more of a threat than the neo-stalinist authoritarians like Castro, Chavez or Ortega. While many on the left try to portray such movements as a new form of democracy, they are anything but.

One educational policy analyst called the early 90s Chicago school system "dysfunctional." The former business allies of Bill Ayers and the local control advocates broke away from their support of the LSC's in favor of recentralization of power in the hands of Chicago's new Mayor Daley. According to Shipps,

"for six years, LQE [led by John Ayers until he later joined up with the charter school movement] remained a strong advocate of the 1988 reform. But in 1993 Club [ Commercial Club of Chicago ] members decided the LQE's support for community organizing and voter turnout campaigns was not producing better schools, resurfacing their initial skepticism about political decentralization as a reform strategy. Moreover, they determined that the role of outside agitator might suit community groups, but was ill suited to corporate leadership. It was creating a rift between Club leaders and the central administrators whom they hoped to influence. Club leaders were increasingly convinced that central office accountability was a necessary component of results. As the fundamental divisions between the business view of administrative decentralization and the political version held by community activists reemerged, activists felt betrayed. They protested the 'pull-back' loudly, but succeeded only in becoming less central actors in future reform efforts."

Now the business groups backed re-centralization through a 1995 bill that gutted the power of the LSC’s.

But the Annenberg Challenge money came through anyway due to the efforts of Bill Ayers, among others. It had to be matched 2 to 1 by corporate and foundation money (in fact, they raised an additional $60 mn by 1999), so the Board Chairmanship would have allowed Obama to be in touch with the powerful money interests in Chicago, including possibly the Pritzker Family and others that Kaufman mentions in his story. Penny Pritzker would join the board of the Chicago Public Education Fund which received its startup funding from the Annenberg Challenge as the Challenge wound down in 2001 - the Challenge, in effect, handed the baton of support for school reform to the CPEF. Penny Pritzker is now a key Obama campaign insider in charge of fund raising.

Thus, we have one possible answer to the question: Who "sent" Obama? It was the Ayers family, including Tom, John, Bill and Bernardine Dohrn.

It is highly unlikely that a 30-something second year lawyer would have been plucked from relative obscurity out of a left wing law firm to head up something as visible and important in Chicago as the Annenberg Challenge by Bill Ayers if Ayers had not already known Obama very well. One possibility is that Obama proved himself to the Ayers's in the battle for local school control when he was at the DCP in the 80s.

One guess as to why Obama does not play up his educational experience more thoroughly now – it certainly could be of use to him one would think in beefing up his “I have the experience to be President” argument – is that it would lead to a renewed discussion of the Ayers connection, which is clearly toxic for Obama. And it turns out the impact of the Annenberg Challenge on actual students in Chicago schools is considered mixed at best, although Bill Ayers deemed it a success on political grounds. Indeed the 1995 and 1999 legislative attempts to recentralize power over the schools in the hands of the mayor did not quite succeed in wresting control completely away from the LSC's, instead it helped, in the words of Alexander Russo, "keep the flame alive for decentralized, community-based school reform - even as the system was moving in a very different direction."

This likely explains why Obama tried a kind of head fake when asked about Ayers by George Stephanopoulos in the TV debate with Clinton prior to the Pennsylvania primary. Obama said Ayers was a "professor of english." Yet, Obama chaired the Annenberg Challenge for three years and served on its board for another three years, working closely with Ayers on grants to Chicago schools. And he did not know that Ayers was a professor of education? That strains credulity.

Perhaps this would be of just historical interest if it could be firmly established that Bill Ayers no longer has any role in the Obama campaign. But that is not something we know for sure yet. In a recent television interview with Greta Van Susteren (granted, it was on Fox), John Murtagh, a Republican town council member from Yonkers, New York, said that Ayers is currently an "advisor" to Obama. Murtagh has a particular and understandable sensitivity to the Ayers-Obama connection besides his Republican politics: his father was a New York Supreme Court (in NY the Supreme Court is a trial court) judge who presided over a trial of the "Black Panther 21" in 1970-71.

Murtagh was 9 years old at the time. During the trial Murtagh's home was fire bombed and Murtagh claims the Weather Underground was responsible for that bombing along with several others in "solidarity" with the Panthers. He charges, specifically, that Bill Ayers' wife Bernardine Dohrn later took credit (apparently on behalf of the entire WU group) for the bombing. Accounts sympathetic to the Panthers confirm the role of the Weather Underground. (See David Barber, "Leading the Vanguard: White New Leftists School the Panthers on Black Revolution" in In Search of the Black Panther Party: New Perspectives on a Revolutionary Movement, edited by Jama Lazerow and Yohuru Williams (Duke 2006).) The Panther 21 were acquitted of the bombing-related charges made against them, after a lengthy trial.

Certainly Ayers' politics remain unapologetically authoritarian. He recently traveled to Venezuela - only the most recent of several such trips - and delivered a speech in front of Hugo Chavez in which he spoke of education as the "motor force of revolution" and his interest in "overcom[ing] the failings of capitalist education" and said he thought Chavez was creating "something truly new and deeply humane." He closed his speech by mouthing typical slogans of the authoritarian left: "Viva Mission Sucre! Viva Presidente Chavez! Viva La Revolucion Bolivariana! Hasta La Victoria Siempre!"

As it turns out, there are other ex-SDS types around the Obama campaign as well, including Marilyn Katz, a public relations professional, who was head of security for the SDS during the disaster in the streets of Chicago in 1968. She is close (politically) to Carl Davidson, a former vice president of SDS and longtime Fidelista, who is webmaster for a group called Progressives for Obama, that is headlined by other former 60s radicals like Tom Hayden and the maoist Bill Fletcher. Davidson and Katz were key organizers of the 2002 anti-war demonstration where Obama made public his opposition to the Iraq war that has been so critical to his successful presidential campaign. Davidson apparently moved into the maoist movements of the 70s after the disintegration of SDS.

Now that we have some idea of who "sent" Obama, the left and labor movement deserve to know more about how the exhausted ideas of the authoritarian side of 60's politics may still be influencing the thinking of a potential U.S. president. Maybe Andy Stern's endorsement of Obama makes more sense, now.

In any case, imho, if either Hillary or Obama wins they will keep our troops in Iraq for at least three years and possibly longer....makes you want to run into the arms of Ralph!
Posted by Steve Diamond at 8:59 PM

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

President Barack Obama -Congratulations, Mr. President Elect!

In reading the lives of great men, I found that the first victory they won was over themselves... self-discipline with all of them came first. Harry S. Truman

President Elect Barack Obama won the greatest political victory of modern American History.

Barack Obama
349John McCain
163 Senate
56* (+5)Republicans
40 (-5)
251 (+20)Republicans
172 (-20)
Barack Obama Elected President
· President ·Obama/Biden 52% (349) McCain/Palin 47% (163)
7:00 ET Obama McCain Obama McCain
Georgia (15) 46% 53% (99%) South Carolina (8) 45% 54% (94%)
Indiana (11) 50% 49% (99%) Vermont (3) 67% 31% (89%)
Kentucky (8) 41% 58% (100%) Virginia (13) 52% 47% (99%)
7:30 ET Obama McCain Obama McCain
North Carolina (15) 50% 49% (100%) Ohio (20) 51% 47% (94%)
West Virginia (5) 43% 56% (99%)
8:00 ET Obama McCain Obama McCain
Alabama (9) 39% 61% (99%) Massachusetts (12) 62% 36% (96%)
Connecticut (7) 60% 39% (96%) Mississippi (6) 43% 57% (99%)
Delaware (3) 62% 37% (100%) Missouri (11) 49% 50% (100%)
DC (3) 93% 7% (100%) New Hampshire (4) 55% 44% (84%)
Florida (27) 51% 49% (99%) New Jersey (15) 57% 42% (98%)
Illinois (21) 61% 38% (95%) Oklahoma (7) 34% 66% (99%)
Maine (4) 58% 40% (78%) Pennsylvania (21) 55% 44% (99%)
Maryland (10) 61% 38% (97%) Tennessee (11) 42% 57% (98%)
8:30 ET Obama McCain Obama McCain
Arkansas (6) 39% 59% (94%)
9:00 ET Obama McCain Obama McCain
Arizona (10) 45% 54% (97%) New York (31) 62% 37% (99%)
Colorado (9) 53% 46% (80%) North Dakota (3) 45% 53% (97%)
Kansas (6) 42% 57% (97%) Rhode Island (4) 63% 35% (98%)
Louisiana (9) 38% 60% (96%) South Dakota (3) 44% 54% (98%)
Michigan (17) 57% 41% (97%) Texas (34) 44% 55% (96%)
Minnesota (10) 54% 44% (98%) Wisconsin (10) 56% 43% (96%)
Nebraska (5) 41% 57% (99%) Wyoming (3) 33% 65% (100%)
New Mexico (5) 57% 42% (98%)
10:00 ET Obama McCain Obama McCain
Iowa (7) 54% 45% (99%) Nevada (5) 56% 42% (73%)
Montana (3) 46% 51% (88%) Utah (5) 34% 63% (99%)
11:00 ET Obama McCain Obama McCain
California (55) 61% 37% (73%) Oregon (7) 56% 43% (58%)
Hawaii (4) 72% 27% (99%) Washington (11) 57% 41% (52%)
Idaho (4) 35% 62% (85%)
1:00 ET Obama McCain Obama McCain
Alaska (3) 36% 62% (81%)

Friday, March 26, 2010

Progressive Fear Mongering DNC and Their Corporate Media Cheerleaders!

The anger is genuine and needs no mongering. Democrats and Republicans detest the Obama Care Bill. I am a Democrat and my neighbors are Democrats. We do not like this force fed boondoggle any more than a poor goose likes having corn forced down its throat.

Ironically, the very same band of nitwits in public life who hate smoking, fat kids, fois gras and American History crafted the Obama Care Legislation and stand poised to make America go the way of Greece, Ireland and Portugal once the Obama Care Federal Deficit Reduction Commission driven by SEIU’s Andy Stern force feed a Value Added Tax (VAT) down our throats in order to rake in the dough to pay for Obama Care.

In Order to smooth the strokes and grease the tube, America’s corporate media ( ABC, CBS, NBC, MSNBC, CNN & etc.) have been going flat out since last weekend to pattern the landscape of debate with fear – race and cultural wars. Abortion and Civil Rights are the hot buttons pushed. Over the weekend, when the opposition to Obama Care continued its slumber begun with Scott Brown’s victory, the Progressive genius for guerilla theatre laid the trap and Tea Party, Pro-Life Democrats and the always daffy national GOP napped while the trap was sprung.

Racial and homophobic epithets were heard, by the people who made the claims but by no one else, it seems. The media is there to One Note Samba the theme, like wee Ezra Klein of the Washington Post ,” I don't want to exaggerate the importance of the death threats being made against congressmen who voted for health-care reform. Nuts are nuts. But there is a danger to the sort of rhetoric the GOP has used over the past few months.” But “I will and gladly!”

We hear Joe Biden gaffe away 24-7; we see G.W. Bush lay a hand on Bill Clinton’s sleeve in Haiti; cell phones in Chicago pick up a Chicago cop’s N-word and yet no one can replay the wild shouts of race-hate, homophobia, abortion anger, the heart break of psoriasis and Vulcan Mind Melding by Chris Matthews.

Since Obama Care was pushed through, I have heard no real celebration by the media cheerleaders. Odd. I hear only endless reactions to Jim Clyburn’s chilling account of what he heard that John Lewis said he heard and Rep. Cleaver’s dignity spat upon by some phantom spitter.

No arrests, no sound bytes, You Tube replays, and no cell phone journalism has yet to appear; only Ann Curry, Chris Matthews, Keith Olbermann, and Rachel Maddow blaring parsed warnings about impending violence and warm rhetoric.

Obama Care forces played the slumbering opposition like a Stradivarius.

Nancy Pelosi linked arms with Congressman Lewis and evoked Selma! Obama Care is a Civil Right!

Here’s the deal. Obama Care is bad. President Obama, Nancy Pelosi, Steny Hoyer, Harry Reid, Jan Schakowsky and all of the Obama Care Selma Signifiers exempted themselves in the legislation from taking Obama Care for themselves. President Obama made sure that none of the toxic taxes squirt all over the taxpayers until after the 2012 Election. Democrats and Republicans and Tea Party People and even some former Obama supporters are angry about Obama Care. Catholics are disgusted by Judas Goat Bart Stupak, who was staked out to help the daffy GOP Sominex “Obama Care is Dead” leadership and Pro-Life Democratic voters ( Catholics, Jews, Evangelicals & etc.), and got himself an airport
The only Illinois Democrat with any integrity is my congressman Dan Lipinski (IL 3rd) who is taking heat from every quarter but the voters of his District.

Meanwhile, our oafish Congresswoman and media hog Jan Schakowsky is moving to stab vulnerable U.S. Senate candidate Alexi Giannoulias in the back, force him out of the race that she will lose with aplomb to Republican sneak Mark Kirk. It’s all about Obama Care, right Jan? Sure we are angry. We are not tossing bricks or hurling hockers. We are waiting to vote.

The corporate media stands to make millions with Obama Care and the idiotic Cap and Trade Bill. The only anger being ginned up is being done on TV and in the pages of the usual suspects ( New York Times, Chicago Sun Times, Washington Post and their little sisters), because no President, since JFK, has enjoyed greater sympathy or synergy with the corporate media than President Obama.

President Obama is handled by media savvy Dave Axelrod – the Intolerable Ax! Ax is journalist muy simpatico to the old timey 60’s radicals of the American Progressive Movement which owns the DNC and is pals with PR Maven Marilyn Katz* who is a past master of political guerrilla theatre. It seems to me that the DNC through Dave Axelrod availed itself of these fine practitioners of wildly exaggerated narratives (‘Tea Partiers are wearing guns to town halls!!!! Think! People, our President is in Danger of these white hillbillies!’ and ‘N$%%^er and Fa$%tt were heard!!!!! Link Arms! We Shall Overcome! Get Pete Seeger! Make Patches Kennedy cry about dear old Dad!”). Hey, this was slick and well managed public relations. The GOP dopes walk right into the moral high ground buzz-saw and get torn up. John McCain got bitch-slapped by Ann Curry only this morning. Ann Curry repeatedly hammered the smiling Straight Talker with idiotic self-answering questions about GOP hate rhetoric. Good lord.

If you are serious about fighting Obama Care and what is going to follow, the opposition (Democrat Pro-Life, GOP, Tea Party or Bull Moose) must not only shout Repeal, but also Embargo. Harry Truman had no problem telling an unctuous phony reporter what to pack for a trip to Hell. McCain wants to make nice with the clowns who micturated all over his wingtips since 2007.

If an idiot like NBC’s Ann Curry can ask stupid questions like “ Sarah Palin uses Battleground and Fight Rhetoric –is that not Fear Mongering? - you must say that! Must you Not?” call her question Idiotic! Stupid! Dumb as Hammered Horse Manure! Treat them with the contempt that they show you . . .in a nice and civilized and nuanced manner, of course.

Talk only to serious journalists and have nothing to do with the Gotcha Goofballs. Why any intelligent elected official would spend a nano second talking to any one MSNBC is beyond me. The best of them are half-wits.

I suspect that we (F.B.I. included) will never find the brick hurlers ( Rep. Slaughter- D. NY) or the hocker hurlers (Rep. Cleaver -D. MO) or the epithet hurlers (Lewis and Frank). We will never actually hear a sound byte of Pro-Life Hate or homophobia or race-baiting. Though we can pick up Joe Biden’s Gaffes-a-Plenty and make a case for G.W. Bush passing cooties on Clinton, we will understand GOP Ownership of Hate via Chris Matthews – who could not tell you the color of the tie he is wearing.

Public Relations won the Obama Care battle and are fighting this Pyrrhic Victory’s rear-guard actions with the complicity of corporate media. Dave Axelrod and the City of Chicago has long used Marilyn Katz, who began her career filling bags of poop and pee behind the Conrad Hilton in 1968 – as well as crafting nail bombs to hurl at Chicago Police. She is good. I would bet that Dave Axelrod tapped Marilyn Katz and MK Communications to control the Obama Care Narrative – it is what they do. Below are links to MK – Food for thought and fuel for the dialogue.
The anger is not mongered. It is all too real.

• Marilyn Katz

An aide to then-Chicago mayor Harold Washington from 1983-87, Marilyn Katz is currently a public relations professional who serves on Barack Obama’s national finance committee. In 2005, Katz and the longtime Marxist and Obama supporter Carl Davidson co-authored the book Stopping War, Seeking Justice. In conjunction with Davidson, Katz was one of the two chief organizers of the October 2002 anti-war demonstration in Chicago where Obama first went public with his opposition to the Iraq War. In 1968, Katz was head of security for the radical Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) during the Chicago street riots that took place while the Democratic Party held its national convention in that city.

Katz, who now heads MK Communications and is a registered lobbyist with the City of Chicago, has personally contributed $1,000 to Obama for America, the eponymous candidate’s presidential campaign fund. She is also part of a fundraising team that has committed to raising a minimum of $200,000 for Obama’s campaign.

Katz has long been acquainted with Obama supporter and former Weatherman terrorist Bill Ayers. In April 2008 Katz told the Chicago Sun-Times that she had first met Ayers when he was a 17-year-old fellow member of Students for a Democratic Society, "a peaceful group from which the Weather Underground splintered." (emphasis added)
MK Communications – give them a good hard look. Ask about retainers!
Here’s Katz’s prospectus:
• Engage in strategic planning, including crisis management;
• Do media, policy and statistical research;
• Create and implement community, government, investor and other targeted constituency strategies;
• Create and implement media and marketing strategies;
• Create and manage complex databases (we maintain a database of 6,000 press contacts, augmented by a variety of computer based directories);
• Create and manage media events;
• Write and produce media, marketing, educational print materials;
• Write and produce print, television and radio advertising;
• Write and produce newsletters, annual reports and informational materials;
• Create and manage Web sites;
• Write and produce videos;
• Develop and implement legislative strategies and education programs.
While we have in-house capacity for Internet, radio/television and print design, we have developed long-term relationships with outside experts for top-quality, yet cost efficient, final design and production of such materials.

Monday, October 06, 2008

OBAMA R.A.W. ( Rezko, Ayers, Wright) * Things to Remember about Rezko/Obama

Tim Novak where have you been? Where is the best investigative journalist at Chicago Sun Times being held? STNG ( Sun Times News Group) Free Tim Novak! Get him back on Rezko, Ayers and Wright - at least pretend the paper is not totally part of Team Obama. Here's one of his Greatest Hits! from January 2008!

1. They met in 1990. Obama was a student at Harvard Law School and got an unsolicited job offer from Rezko, then a low-income housing developer in Chicago. Obama turned it down.

2. Obama took a job in 1993 with a small Chicago law firm, Davis Miner Barnhill, that represents developers -- primarily not-for-profit groups -- building low-income housing with government funds.

3. One of the firm's not-for-profit clients -- the Woodlawn Preservation and Investment Corp., co-founded by Obama's then-boss Allison Davis -- was partners with Rezko's company in a 1995 deal to convert an abandoned nursing home at 61st and Drexel into low-income apartments. Altogether, Obama spent 32 hours on the project, according to the firm. Only five hours of that came after Rezko and WPIC became partners, the firm says. The rest of the future senator's time was helping WPIC strike the deal with Rezko. Rezko's company, Rezmar Corp., also partnered with the firm's clients in four later deals -- none of which involved Obama, according to the firm. In each deal, Rezmar "made the decisions for the joint venture," says William Miceli, an attorney with the firm.

4. In 1995, Obama began campaigning for a seat in the Illinois Senate. Among his earliest supporters: Rezko. Two Rezko companies donated a total of $2,000. Obama was elected in 1996 -- representing a district that included 11 of Rezko's 30 low-income housing projects.

5. Rezko's low-income housing empire began crumbling in 2001, when his company stopped making mortgage payments on the old nursing home that had been converted into apartments. The state foreclosed on the building -- which was in Obama's Illinois Senate district.

6. In 2003, Obama announced he was running for the U.S. Senate, and Rezko -- a member of his campaign finance committee -- held a lavish fund-raiser June 27, 2003, at his Wilmette mansion.

7. A few months after Obama became a U.S. senator, he and Rezko's wife, Rita, bought adjacent pieces of property from a doctor in Chicago's Kenwood neighborhood -- a deal that has dogged Obama the last two years. The doctor sold the mansion to Obama for $1.65 million -- $300,000 below the asking price. Rezko's wife paid full price -- $625,000 -- for the adjacent vacant lot. The deals closed in June 2005. Six months later, Obama paid Rezko's wife $104,500 for a strip of her land, so he could have a bigger yard. At the time, it had been widely reported that Tony Rezko was under federal investigation. Questioned later about the timing of the Rezko deal, Obama called it "boneheaded" because people might think the Rezkos had done him a favor.

8. Eight months later -- in October 2006 -- Rezko was indicted on charges he solicited kickbacks from companies seeking state pension business under his friend Gov. Blagojevich. Federal prosecutors maintain that $10,000 from the alleged kickback scheme was donated to Obama's run for the U.S. Senate. Obama has given the money to charity

We just might go on the Acronym Paradigm-it's edgy and so MSM!

Friday, February 03, 2012

Obama Paloozza II, or Grant Park Reducks

The Obama Campaign 2008 resembled a Leni Riefenstahl (or was that Reni Liefenstahl?) production and McCain/Palin Campaign was like Wagon Train without Ward Bond.

Obama had doric columns in his Denver Parthenon and John McCain showed up somewhere.

Obama was on a half-shell high above Olympus and Strobe-lighted and John McCain had a Polaroid Land-camera album of his carrier days.

Obama had Campaign Stuffed with gold and McCain had old gum, lint, popcorn kernels, toe-nails, and some coins found in the couch in the rumpus room.

Barack Obama wanted to win big like a kid on Star Search; McCain thought it might be nice.

Thus, we have The Making of a President 2008 for Dummies.

Now, we are hip deep in an the orchestrated Orwellian howl-hootenanny 2012. President Obama will face Someone. It could be a new Thomas Jefferson, a new Roland Burris - Someone 2012's got my vote.

I am backing and voting with all of my heart and soul, time, treasure and talent, for Someone 2012!. Someone was, is and shall be better choice than President Obama. If John McCain had tried even a little he would have been President, but he allowed Governor Palin to do all of the heavy lifting.

I like Barack Obama in same way, that I like many Illinois politicians. Barack Obama comes from the Protected Panjandrum species - Ald. Brendan O'Reilly, Sheila Simon, and Chris Kennedy. They are the " Where the Hell Did He/She Come From?" only a hen-scratch better than the Ain't They Greaters. They come fully funded by someone, or some group and get appointed or slotted into an easy to win race. Obama v. Keyes e.g.

I dislike a very few - Mike Quigley, Forrest Claypool, Tony Preckwinkle and of course Jan Schakowsky. They are Ain't They Greaters -moved from post to post and office to office, more to get them out of town, or out of the way than anything else.

Then there are "What Can You Do?" goofballs - seemingly harmless dopes who have the backing of far more competent persons. These officials, like Blago, Sen. Roland Burris, Sen. Dick Durbin and former Gov. Pat Quinn, never fail to disappoint.

President Obama, in my opinion, will go down in history as the worst President since James Buchanan and just slightly worse than Jimmy Carter. However, given the GOP's tendency to do political seppuku at any moment, he has a slim chance of holding onto the White House in November. President Obama helped only the Abortion Industry - Planned Parenthood in his term of office. Oh, and he allowed a Navy Seal Team to rub-out Osama. Hell, I could have done that, bit no one asked me.

Oh, really?, say thee.

Sure. Without citing the Corporate Sponsorship of Obama Bundler and Hyde Park Mogul John Rogers ( ex. of Desiree Rogers), explain Arne Duncan.

Take your time and use all of your notes; this is open book.

Dave Axelrod is planing another Grant Park Obama-palooza Obama Palooza II. Like Lalapalooza, perhaps the Obama Campaign will asked to pay for the park, finally.

I wonder if the bill from 2008 was paid. Probably written off by Daley, in exchange ofr the Distinguihsed Harris Professorship at U of C.

Presidential advisor David Axelrod said Thursday that the location hasn't been discussed.

"But, you know, our [campaign] headquarters is here. The president's heart is here. So, you know, I think that will help guide our decision-making," Axelrod said.

Axelrod said he would like the festivities to be in Chicago.

Remember these?

* "Press File Seat - $935 (includes 1 Press File Credential, seat in heated Press File Tent, Power, Cable Television, High Speed Wired Internet Service, Catering)"

* "Radio Position - $715 (includes table space and chair behind the riser, power and an ISDN BRI line for radio -- comes with two credentials)"

* Obama's top donors--not the masses who donated the $5, $10 and $25 the campaign brag about--will have VIP access throughout election night and received an early heads up a week ago to plan to spend Election Night in Chicago.

Now, did the Obama 2008 Campaign up on all of the Grant Park Obamapalooza I?

Before, what just might be . . .
check the ledgers.


Wednesday, September 17, 2008

McCain/Palin: William Ayers Sings 'Gimme Shelter!'

William Ayers - Billy Ayers - Billy 'The Bomber' Ayers - the whack-a-mole of Barack Obama's shady past pops up all the time. Camp Obama is using its cadre of really concerned Obama partisans to shout down critics of the Agent of Change.

WGN Radio's distinguished and thoughtful Dr. Milt Rosenberg's Extension 720 has twice been assaulted by nuisance callers attempting to drown out inquiry of Senator Obama's 'White-Out' relationship with domestic terrorist Billy Ayers.

People want to know exactly what that relationship says about Obama's judgment and agenda for America - especially with regard to public education. Ayers is no friend of America - read his blog.

Chicago newspapers with exception of Sun Times investigative journalist Tim Novak and Chicago Tribune's John Kass seem perfectly willing to dismiss any and all inquiry where Obama, Ayers, Wright, Rezko, Davis, Dohrn, or any number of radical leftists are concerned. WGN is part of the Tribune Empire - therefore:

Obama's campaign says supporters have placed thousands of phone calls to TV and radio stations and sent even more letters to newspapers.

A page on the campaign's Web site, headlined "Hit 'em where it hurts," told supporters how to complain to advertisers at stations that ran a recent anti-Obama ad.

"We'll provide you with talking points on this maliciously false hit ad to help guide you through the process," the page said, citing a spot run by a conservative group called the American Issues Project.

The campaign says supporters sent roughly 100,000 e-mails in August to stations that aired the ad, which criticized Obama for his ties to former 1960s radical William Ayers.

WGN also was flooded with calls and e-mails shortly before and during an Aug. 27 interview with Stanley Kurtz, a conservative writer who has examined Obama's ties to Ayers.

"WGN radio is giving right-wing hatchet man Stanley Kurtz a forum to air his baseless, fear-mongering terrorist smears," read the first message confronting the station, an e-mail that also provided detailed background information on Kurtz, Obama and Ayers.

The WGN alerts were sent primarily to Obama supporters in the Chicago area but were quickly posted to electronic message boards and Web sites, spreading them worldwide. Many of those who called to complain were from outside Illinois, and they flooded the station's switchboard in a way a WGN producer called "unprecedented."

On Monday night, Zack Christenson, executive producer of "Extension 720 with Milt Rosenberg," said the response was about the same. "It's just constant, constant phone calls, and the e-mails are pouring in," he said, adding that the extra volume of calls made it more difficult to run the show.

Obama's campaign describes the system as a grass-roots truth squad that arms supporters with information. But others see an attempt to stifle free speech.

"If Barack Obama demonstrates this little regard for free speech from his opponents during the campaign, what could the American people expect from him as a president?" Ed Martin, president of American Issues Project, said in a statement.

Christian Pinkston, the group's spokesman, said Martin was referring to legal threats by Obama's campaign about the ad. He said the counterattack has only heightened the profile of the group, which "soon" plans to run more ads.

"It's worth noting that for all the shouting from the campaign, not one single television station pulled the ad," Pinkston said. "It may have been good for their fundraisings efforts, but it had no impact whatsoever on our efforts."

The sole financier of the group's ads, Texas billionaire Harold Simmons, was also a major contributor to the Swift Boat group that attacked Kerry.

Fox News and CNN declined to run the ad. Still, the group says it ran more than 7,300 times in markets that covered Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia, at a cost of $2.8 million.

Another use of Obama's Action Wire came earlier in August, when a controversial book called "The Obama Nation" was released.

The book by Jerome Corsi, who wrote one in 2004 that launched an attack on Kerry, paints Obama as a stealth radical liberal who has tried to cover up his "extensive connections to Islam." The alert about the Corsi book asked supporters to share an e-mail critical of the text with friends and family.

Bruce Gronbeck, a University of Iowa professor who studies political communications, said protests against television and radio stations are fair game in a presidential campaign.

"The media are players in the process," he said. "If they are a player, the parties are certainly going to try to hold them accountable."

Careful inquiry to the nature, depth, substance, and length of Senator Obama's relationship to domestic terrorist Billy Ayers is no distraction - it is a public service obligation and Chicago's media is running away from its duty.