The vision of Barack Obama

After nearly four years, we should know by now. But big media either don’t care to know, or don’t want us to know what they know. Good thing they’re no longer the gatekeepers for information access.

Dinesh D’Souza did a fair and decent job of presenting the man Barack Obama came to be and what formed him along his path to political participation in the film ‘2016’, still playing in a number of theaters. One of the sources in that film is a source of mine, Dr. Paul Kengor, who had just done an hour long interview on my show before I saw the film, though he never mentioned it. The interview was on his book The Communist, sub-titled Frank Marhsall Davis: The Untold Story of Barack Obama’s Mentor. Kengor’s book is well-researched, meticulously documented, and fair. But it’s getting no attention in big media. None. Why is that? Why should we not be well informed about both presidential candidates, who influenced and informed them through life, and shaped their worldviews?

Seriously, why? It’s a fair and honest question. But the media have buried this information on Obama. Why?

It is scandalous that so little attention has been paid to Frank Marshall Davis and his influence on our president. The general public knows little to nothing about this man. Liberal journalists, historians, scholars, and pundits would never tolerate such self-imposed ignorance if facing a conservative president influenced by a figure this extreme to the right.

Nevertheless, Barack Obama’s left-leaning biographers have either willfully ignored Frank Marshall Davis or seriously downplayed his influence and communist leanings. Of everything written on Obama over the years, no book has focused specifically on Frank. And now, after considerable time researching and writing on the subject, I understand why: No president has been influenced by a figure as politically troubling as this one…

Frank Marshall Davis’s political antics were so radical that the FBI placed him on the federal government’s Security Index, which meant that he could be immediately detained or arrested in the event of a national emergency, such as a war breaking out between the United States and the USSR.

However…

Obama’s memoirs feature twenty-two direct references to “Frank” by name, and far more via pronouns and other forms of reference. Frank is a consistent theme throughout the book, appearing repeatedly and meaningfully in all three parts, which are titled “Origins,” “Chicago,” and “Kenya.” He is part of Obama’s life and mind, by Obama’s own extended recounting, from Hawaii–the site of visits and late evenings together–to Los Angeles to Chicago to Germany to Africa, from adolescence to college to community organizing. Frank is always one of the few (and first) names mentioned by Obama in each mile marker upon his historic path from Hawaii to Washington.

So have you ever heard of him? Probably not. Why not? Americans traditionally want to know who and what informs our would-be leaders, especially American journalists. It’s a fair and reasonable question. Why didn’t media ask it? Or report on it once they learned, which surely some of them did? 

Kengor did, and he gathered so much information, he analyzed the influence Obama’s mentor would continue to play over the recent DNC.

Frank Marshall Davis’s politics were so radical, and so pro-Soviet, that the Democrats who ran the Senate in 1956 summoned him to Washington to testify on his pro-Soviet activities.  Even more remarkable, the FBI placed him on the federal government’s Security Index, meaning that if a war broke out between the United States and the Soviet Union, Obama’s mentor could have been placed under immediate arrest.

I’ve noted this here before.  I’ve also noted Davis’s unceasing class-based rhetoric and class warfare.

This is just one condensed article drawn out more at length in the book. But it’s very revealing.

After all those years trashing the Democratic Party, Davis, like many American communists, decided to join the Democrats.  There were two primary factors that drove this decision: 1) American communists realized that they could never get elected to national office openly campaigning as communists, and 2) when Henry Wallace’s Progressive Party collapsed in 1948, the communists who had pervaded it had nowhere else to go.  So, many American communists opted to hitch their wagon to a different star — namely, to the most viable left-leaning party in America: the Democratic Party.  Sure, this would be a challenge when they encountered old anti-communist Democrats like John F. Kennedy, Pat McCarran, Thomas Dodd, and Scoop Jackson, but overall, in the long run, they would be patient, and they would seek alliances with Democrats much closer to their collectivist thinking.

Frank Marshall Davis was among these.  This tactical move by Davis is evident in his declassified 600-page FBI file, and specifically an April 1950 report that states that “members of the subversive element in Honolulu were concentrating their efforts on infiltration of the Democratic Party through control of Precinct Clubs and organizations.”  These communist subversives, said the report, were pushing “their candidates in these Precinct Club elections.”…

This began a long march to transform the Democratic Party from the party of Truman and JFK to the party of Nancy Pelosi and Barack Obama.  And in a quite fascinating twist of history, Frank Marshall Davis, as a “Democrat,” would go on to influence today’s Democratic Party standard-bearer: Barack Obama.

The consequences of that shift were seen in the DNC last week, which opened with an Orwellian narration of the government as the only thing we really belong to, and culminated in a platform fight over omitting a reference to God.

The two candidates for president have starkly different views of what should be the proper size and role of government, and religiously informed voices within it and in the public arena. This is the time to vet them.

God and Israel and the Democrats

That floor fiasco over the party platform was reported as the Democrats ‘booing God.’ Which is only partially true.

Some of the booing was over the platform amendment changing the reference to Israel, though the amendment covered both and caused a floor fight. Which, as everyone paying attention to this stuff at this point knows well by now, went weirdly through multiple stages of negative statements, followed by denial and charges of misreporting, followed by evidence that the reporting was accurate which led to spin of the original point all along. Followed by the floor vote on the amended wording in the platform.

Here’s just one snip from CNN:

Anderson Cooper openly mocked the Democrats’ attempts to brush past the controversy surrounding changes to its platform on Wednesday night.

Democratic National Committee chair Debbie Wasserman-Schultz appeared on the network to discuss the rancorous opposition to the insertion of new language about God and Jerusalem into the platform. Wasserman-Schultz told her interviewer Brianna Keilar that there had been “no discord” when the platform was amended. It was an audacious statement to anyone who had seen the footage of the boos and shouts that came when the amendments were proposed — as well as the fact that convention chair Antonio Villaraigosa had to try three times before he got a result he was satisfied with.

After Wasserman-Schultz’s interview, Cooper did a verbal double-take. “That’s an alternate reality,” he said. “From a reality standpoint … to say flat-out, there was no discord, is just not true.”

Right. The party doesn’t entirely know what it stands for, but in its official statement it claims to stand for more radical ideology than Democrats in recent history ever did.

Connect the dots. The week opened with that welcoming video saying that “government is the only thing we all belong to.”  It was Orwellian.

Fast forward through all the celebration of abortion, with all the shouting and yelling about reproductive rights, and the sanctimonious spin about gay marriage and the complete lack of reference to the battle for religious freedom, and you get to the platform fight over adding the mention of God. That’s directly connected to the rest.

First thought I had was of the EU hammering out a constitution and two popes imploring Europeans and their leaders not to rewrite history and deny their Christian heritage and reject their very identity. Fortunately, Dr. Paul Kengor had the same thought and expressed it with keen insight.

The God opponents were the predictable Western European progressives: leftist Eurocrats in Brussels, Labor Party atheists in Britain, German socialists, Scandinavian secularists, and, naturally, the French leadership. The God supporters included new EU member states that survived godless communism—with Poland in the forefront—and the continent’s preeminent religious figure: Pope John Paul II.

The pope, suffering from advanced Parkinson’s, took up the fight with vigor. In the summer of 2003, he devoted a series of Sunday Angelus addresses to this political issue that transcended politics. He made arguments akin to those made by the American Founding Fathers: It is crucial for citizens living under a constitution to understand the ultimate source from which their rights derive. Their rights come not from government but from God. What government gives, government can take away. What God gives, government cannot take away.

So to the point of contention at the DNC in Charlotte:

That the Democrats, in 2012, would find themselves in a similar battle is no surprise.

Now this is interesting…

I’ll never forget the night Barack Obama won the 2008 election, when I turned on CNN and glimpsed an unknown Republican congressman from Wisconsin named Paul Ryan. When asked about Obama’s victory, Ryan said he was most concerned about “the Europeanization of America.”

“That’s it!” I said to myself. “That’s exactly it. Who is this guy? He nailed it.”

A further “Europeanization” of America is the best description of what has transpired under the Obama administration, especially its first two years under a fully supportive Democratic Congress. In 2009-10, we witnessed incredibly wasteful Keynesian-style prime-the-pump “stimulus,” partial nationalizations, “Obama-care,” explosive public-sector growth and unionization, demonization of the banking and investment and oil industries, stagnant unemployment, class-warfare rhetoric unlike anything I’ve ever heard in this country, and debt-to-GDP ratios approaching Greece standards. We’ve experienced a record-long non-recovering recovery reminiscent not of the American experience but of Western Europe…

Here in America, the staunchest liberal-Democrat areas, such as California, Massachusetts, and New England, all have European-level birthrates, divorce rates, abortion rates, and even church attendance. New England, in many ways, is a microcosm of Western Europe.

By the time of the 2012 Democratic convention, party delegates had already (following Barack Obama’s lead) embraced everything from unlimited taxpayer-funding of abortion to gay marriage. How does one get to these positions? Answer: by removing God. Fittingly, then, the delegates merely need to take the next evolutionary step: exclude God.

The heads of that party have been making strident moves to do that in a number of ways, but nothing as brazen and sweeping as the HHS mandate that by federal fiat relegates religiously informed consciences to powerlessness, and religiously run businesses, insititutions and social ministries to the morally bankrupt position of being neither able to practice or preach what they believe.

The fact that the practially non-existent ‘accommodation’ is so narrow it wouldn’t even apply to Jesus is not an unintended consquence.

The Dems agenda

Throughout the Republicans’ primary debates and into the GOP convention, that party was accused of being too focused on social issues and not the fiscal ones that matter to the country. Now, the Democrats opened their convention with a heavy emphasis on…social issues.

Which the New York Times pointed out.

On Monday night, Michelle Obama told the nation that her husband wants everyone to succeed no matter “who we love.”

If that was not clear enough, she returned to the point later in her address. “If proud Americans can be who they are and boldly stand at the altar with who they love,” she said, “then surely, surely we can give everyone in this country a fair chance at that great American dream.”

She was not the only one. At times it seemed as if almost every speaker on the first night of the Democratic National Convention was touting same-sex marriage.

“When it comes to letting people marry whomever they love, Mitt Romney says no,” Mayor Julián Castro of San Antonio said of the Republican nominee.

“Today in Massachusetts, you can also marry whomever you love,” said that state’s governor, Deval Patrick.

Kal Penn, the actor and former White House aide, praised Mr. Obama for being “cool with all of us getting gay-married.”

And then there was ‘abortion-palooza’.

Until the Democratic convention got into prime time, speaker after speaker went to the podium to hail the Democratic Party sacrament, to the point that one would have thought that the source of most woes in America was an epidemic of conception, rather than say, oh, jobs.  The focus shifted a little when primetime coverage began…

New York Times columnist David Brooks told PBS that his one “cavil” was that voters want to hear about jobs and the economy, not taxpayer-subsidized abortion on demand:

“You know, you’re electing someone — we’re going to spend four more years with these people — and after this speech, I think a lot of people will say, ‘Yeah, I think I kind of do,’” Brooks said.

“The one cavil I will have … is this speech has — [it] reinforces something we’ve heard all night, which was how much the crowd goes crazy and how passionate they are about abortion and gay marriage and the social issues. And tonight has been about that.

“And to me it should have been a lot more about economics, growth, and debt. And that better be the job of day two and day three because they did not do it here.”

That’s not a “cavil,” it’s a legitimate — and inescapable — observation. Brooks seemed mighty pleased to have stumped the PBS panel with that word, but he chose it poorly. The point of an incumbent’s convention is to demonstrate the progress made on issues that matter to voters and assume the high ground over one’s opponent. It’s difficult to see how Democrats could have made Barack Obama more irrelevant and small last night.

Until they made him and his administration very large.

As the convention opened, this video was played in which the narrator stated: “Government is the only thing we all belong to.”

WHAT?! Seriously? Did they really say that?

On it’s face the statement “government is the only thing we all belong to” reeks with collectivism. I halfway expected the delegates to bow down and praise Obama on the spot, the current incarnation of the all-powerful progressive conception of big-government. Instead of wasting my time watching the big government love-fest play out on screen, I took a second to look at the platform for the DNC in 2012. Then everything made sense. In this years’ version of the Democratic platform, Democrats left out two important words. Those two words make all the difference. In more ways than one.
“God Given.” Those are the two words expunged from the 2012 DNC Platform.

But wait…that changed…the next day. After a lot of pressure, never mind the outside criticism but also inside the Democratic party. They brought back God, and Israel.

Democrats voted to update their party’s platform Wednesday evening at their convention to include a reference to Jerusalem being the capital of Israel, as well as the insertion of the word “God,” neither of which was included in their platform this year but was in previous platforms.

But of all the things they played up in the party convention, they’ve certainly played down the big feature that hung over the Republican convention…the debt. Which just broke over the $16 trillion mark.

Though that didn’t get a mention in the DNC.

It was classic major-party Manicheasm: Eastasians do bad things for the simple reason that their hearts are bad; Eurasians’ hearts are good, so they don’t do bad things.

In this idyllic landscape of Democratic magical thinking, there is no state and local budget crises, no unaffordable and underfunded defined-benefit public pension obligations, nothing at all standing in the way of “investing” in our public safety, except (in ex-Republican Stern’s words) “right-wing extremists.”

The thinking behind the presentation was certainly creative.

Last night’s speeches were notable less for what they contained and more for what they did not: any engagement with the issue of having a debt load (of $16 trillion) that is now larger than GDP, of having a long-forecasted entitlement time bomb marching northward toward 100 percent of federal spending, of having underfunded obligations in the trillions of dollars promised by politicians addicted to handing out “free” benefits.

The bottom line of the first day:

One of the great ironies of this convention already is that speaker after speaker denounces Republicans for being unable to tell the truth or get their facts straight. Meanwhile, one of the most important truths of modern governance—we are well and truly out of money—sits neglected in the corner.

Ahead of Wednesday’s speech by former president Bill Clinton, predictions were easy to make about his role as reshaper of the brand and image. The Wall Street Journal’s was as accurate as anyone’s.

Clinton’s speech was certainly rousing, he was in his element and enjoying every moment, and he delivered exactly what was expected on every count. Except for time. He went way over, clocking in at just about an hour.

Here’s the key to reading the transcript or listening to the streaming audio or video. This was anticipated:

Arguably the most memorable phrase (not related to a scandal) that Bill Clinton uttered during his Presidency came in his 1996 State of the Union address: “The era of big government is over.” And for a few years, it was over. By contrast, Mr. Obama’s four years have been spent expanding the government willy-nilly—with more spending, the promise of higher taxes, and intervention across the economy. His only economic plan now is still-more spending.

So as Mr. Clinton tries to lay hands on Mr. Obama and rewrite the history of the 1990s, the real story isn’t how much policy the two Democrats have in common. What matters is what they did differently. Bill Clinton learned from the mistakes of his first two years. Mr. Obama has doubled down on his—and, on all available evidence, he will double down again if he’s re-elected.

Question for President Obama

As The Economist expressed it for everyone else who wants to know: “One question, Mr. President…just what would you do with another four years?”

They asked on the newspaper’s cover.

From the Leader story:

In Denver four years ago, an inspiring presidential candidate announced that he would change America. Barack Obama promised to put aside partisan differences, restore hope to those without jobs, begin the process of saving the planet from global warming, and make America proud again.

[This] week Mr Obama will address his fellow Democrats at their convention in Charlotte, North Carolina, with little of this hopeful agenda completed. Three million more Americans are out of work than four years ago, and the national debt is $5 trillion bigger. Partisan gridlock is worse than ever: health-care reform, a genuinely impressive achievement, has become a prime source of rancour. Businessfolk are split over whether he dislikes capitalism or is merely indifferent to it. His global-warming efforts have evaporated. America’s standing in the Muslim world is no higher than it was under George W. Bush, Iran remains dangerous, Russia and China are still prickly despite the promised resets, and the prison in Guantánamo remains open.

So far, so underwhelming

The defence of Mr Obama’s record comes down to one phrase: it could all have been a lot worse.

The Economist raises some good points and questions in the piece, poised as everyone is to hear the president and his party draw distinctions between their vision and the Republicans as the Democratic National Convention begins.

[H]e needs to distinguish between a creditable desire to help the weak and a dangerous preference for the public over the private sector. The jobs that poor Americans need will be created by companies. Smothering firms in red tape is not the way to help them; Mr Obama should vow to stop adding to it, and to start cutting some of it away. The party faithful in Charlotte might not like centrist ideas much. But they would appeal to the voters Mr Obama needs to win over and, should he be re-elected, they will strengthen him in his dealings with the Republicans in Congress.

We’re watching and listening.

Conventional wisdom on women’s issues

Who proclaims to speak for women’s concerns in America? Both political parties are trying to answer that. The Democrats are staking everything on it.

Last week, experts were telling me the Democratic National Convention will be a celebration of abortion. This week, it’s starting to look more like they were right.

Take this ABC News report, for instance, with Sandra Fluke calling Republican policies “dangerous for women.” She allegedly “speaks for a new generation of young women.” At least according to that report.

But wait.

I’ve had a bunch of young women on my radio show who speak for themselves, and other young and multi-generational women for whom Fluke, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, former Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Planned Parenthood head Cecile Richards and other pro-abortion women do not speak.

In fact, a movement of them sprang up to do just that, speak for themselves. They have quite a formidable presence on Facebook.

While Fluke and other Democrats try to make political hay with the frankly bizarre remarks of one lone Republican about abortion after rape, an interesting development has received virtually no coverage in big media from a group of women most qualified to speak to this subject. 

Every year, legislators, judges, and other policy makers discuss the problems of women who have become pregnant as a result of sexual assault. These discussions take place without ever first soliciting our input. In most cases, it is only in the context of highly divisive debates over abortion that we are discussed. In virtually every case, those people who claim to be defending our interests have never taken the time to actually listen to us to learn about our true circumstances, needs, and concerns.

We are deeply offended and dismayed each time our difficult circumstances are exploited for public consumption to promote the political agenda of others. This is a grave injustice. In pursuing their political agendas, these exploiters have reduced our concerns, needs, and circumstances to a crude caricature.

Those who claim to represent our interests have never sought our authorization to represent us. They do not know us, understand us, or truly care about us. Just as we were once used, without our consent, to gratify the sexual desires of others, so we continue to be used, without our consent, to gratify the political goals of others.

Only we who have actually experienced a sexual assault pregnancy truly understand the trauma, fears, concerns, and needs of our sisters who are, or will someday become, pregnant as a result of rape or incest.

Each year, thousands of women will face this experience. Unless society at large begins to listen to us today, these other women will, like us, face great difficulty in finding authentic understanding and help…

We are the only ones who can bear witness to our real experiences and our real needs. How long will you refuse to listen to us?

They should be heard. Dignity and respect requires no less, and honesty demands that those who deign to speak for them first listen to them.

That’s just one problem for the Democrat’s convention so targeted to a liberal women’s agenda, which doesn’t speak for other women’s concerns, as the Democrats for Life found out when they tried to have a voice in the party platform drafting process.

A Democratic committee has rejected efforts to broaden the party’s platform in order to acknowledge and welcome “differing positions” on the issue of abortion.

Kristen Day, executive director of Democrats For Life of America, told CNA on Aug. 15 that there is a lack of understanding about the extent of pro-life support within the Democratic Party.

They will not be well represented at the party convention, as even some feminists concede in their own way when the edict against babies went out.

Feminists are denouncing a rule at the upcoming Democratic National Convention that will bar children, including breastfeeding babies, from entering the event without being credentialed.

Critics say that officials for the event slated to begin Sept. 4 in Charlotte make it difficult for moms to credential their children, leaving delegate moms at a loss as to how to provide for their tots.

Top feminist icon Gloria Steinem said that by not even offering child care at the event the Democratic Party will alienate female voters, and that the party should acknowledge that, where there are women, there are occasionally babies too.

Credit Steinem is honest here.

“Women are the key to a Democratic victory, and sometimes, children are the key to women,” said Steinem in a statement noted by the Charlotte Observer. “It’s both right and smart for the Democratic Convention to behave as if children exist.”

Others spoke out too.

“The DNC requires children and babies to have a credential to enter the convention, and then denies these credential requests from moms,” said Hollywood NOW President Lindsey Horvath. “The DNC credentialing process is being used as a tool to prevent mothers from participating at the convention and is nothing short of discriminatory.”

Breathtaking, really, given the pitch for the women vote.

California Democrat Susie Shannon, 45, who planned to come to the convention with her 4-year-old daughter Gracie, called [convention spokeswoman Joanne] Peters’ response “not enough.”

“When the Democratic Party refuses to provide child care at the convention and denies automatic access for young children to join their moms who serve as delegates on the convention floor, an entire group of women are disenfranchised,” said Shannon. “Moms with young children 6 years of age and under who cannot be left at home, some of whom are breast-feeding, are relegated to second-class status within the Democratic convention.”

These next two weeks will be illuminating on many issues. This is a big one.