Friday, October 31, 2008

Obama’s Unanswered Questions

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Obama’s Unanswered Questions

About the Author: I also write under the names Rudi Stettner and Magdeburger Joe. My home websites are and Through my writing I like to promote a "labour conservative " social outlook as well as my eclectic tastes and interests Read more from this author

One of the most basic needs of voters in evaluating a candidate is a clear picture of who pays their bills. At the last minute, the Obama campaign opted out of public campaign financing and privatised its funding. It was a calculated attempt to leave the Republicans with a handicap in financing their own candidate.

Even private campaign dollars must be documented. There are people who may not donate to a compaign, mainly foreign individuals and governments. It is important that a President not take the oath of office beholden to foreign powers.

According to hugh hewitt town , “ “Fully $100 million of the record-breaking $150 million that the Obama campaign collected in September alone came over the internet via credit card donations. The Obama campaign has deliberately turned off the anti-fraud mechanisms available for internet credit card transactions. They have no clue how many millions or tens of millions of dollars have been donated to them in violation of federal election law. And now it turns out that the Obama campaign cheerfully takes even contributions from untraceable pre-paid credit cards, a/k/a “the pseudo-credit cards you use when you want to conceal illegal activity.”

The Obama campaign claims that they refund illegal contributions and don’t need a flagging system. Why not? If you can automate work that would have to be done later by live humans,why would you not do so, unless you were not planning to do the work at all?

According to the Washington Post , hardly a bastion of Republican activism,

Sen. Barack Obama’s presidential campaign is allowing donors to use largely untraceable prepaid credit cards that could potentially be used to evade limits on how much an individual is legally allowed to give or to mask a contributor’s identity, campaign officials confirmed.

Faced with a huge influx of donations over the Internet, the campaign has also chosen not to use basic security measures to prevent potentially illegal or anonymous contributions from flowing into its accounts, aides acknowledged. Instead, the campaign is scrutinizing its books for improper donations after the money has been deposited.

The McCain campaign by contrast does not take the prepaid gift cards and credit cards. Although the McCain campaign has been stung with donations from obviously fraudulent donors such as A for You,’ ‘Adorable Manabat,’ ‘The Gun Shop,’ and ‘Jesus II, according to the Post article, it has left in place far more good faith safeguards to maintain financing transparency.

There is a saying that is emblematic of Obama’s campaign philosophy, it goes as follows. It’s not whether you win or lose, it’s whether I win or lose.

From cold callers working in the Gaza strip to Fidel Castro and Hamas endorsing Obama, there is so much that is rotten about Obama’s campaign. Jewish voters who believe that Obama is a friend of Israel overlook a multitude of warning signs. Jesse Jackson has stated that Obama will “end favoritism towards Israel.” Such Jewish voters remind me of children who desperately cling to a belief in Santa Claus. Even with his obstructionism, there are abundant clues of Obama’s real beliefs. He even named his book, “The Audacity of Hope.” after a sermon by Reverend Wright.

For Christians who are trying to put their consciences to sleep, there is the video below in which Obama sneeringly quotes translations of Jewish and Christian scriptures. Obama is most definately not Christian in any normally understood sense of the word. As painful as it is for me to recommend this, I strongly recommend reading Obama’s works and watching tapes of his speeches to determin if his repudiation of “Wrightism” is heartfelt or electorally motivated.

We have everything from academic records to video coverage of a dinner Obama attended being swept under the rug. Even Obama’s birth certificate is classified info, kept under lock and key by the governor of Hawaii . It’s not just what we don’t know but what Obama doesn’tt want us to know that gives me pause.

The Democratic “Big tent” has become not a place of inclusion but a garbage dump for all of Obama’s embarrassing garbage. The tent is getting very crowded. I think I will stay outside. Sphere: Related Content

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Norwegian Rock and Thoughts of Shortening Days

As the days get shorter, my thoughts wander to more northerly latitudes. I have never been in northern Norway when it is dark at noon, but the thought fills me with a chilly sort of awe.

The Scandinavian languages (aside from Finnish) are very close to each other, to the point that they can read each other's newspapers without undue difficulty. English is so far apart from its closest relative that it is not mutually intelligible in its spoken form with any other language. Individual words do however resonate with similarity. In Dutch, fijve, tijn and wereld sound like five ten and world in English. I visualise the languages of the world as raucous relatives crowding into a family photograph. An examination of most European languages makes this a resonant comparison. (Try counting to ten in Spanish and Italian)

Viking raiders are part of what gave England its linguistic makeup. English is a Germanic tongue with heavy French influences.

When I listen to the Norwegian rock group Folque , I am struck by its similarity to English folk rock such as Fairport Convention and Pentangle .
Sometimes the similarity to American country and bluegrass music is unmistakable. It is almost as though music and etymology are echoes of DNA and history.

I am presenting with this posting aywo songs from the Norwegian rock group Folque. I am grateful to them for showcasing the beauty of their language and musical traditions. They are a living reminder of my belief that the best gift to give the world is to be yourself, to keep your language and folkways alive. The members of Folque have done this well. Sphere: Related Content

My comments About Obama's Citizenship , Attitudes Towards Poverty

If Barack Obama was born in America, why is it such a problem to present a birth certificate? In most places, you can order a legally recognised birth certificate on line. Even if he had to show up in person to get a legal copy, at his income level, that is not an undue burden. His obstructionism and persistence in ignoring law suits calling for disclosure are at the very least a sign of disrespect to the American people. It seems very likely that he may have something to hide. I am presenting without comment these videos that explores the question. Obama alone could reduce the proponents of this theory to a laughingstock. But they will not. Why?

America has long had a policy of government assistance to the poor. There have been tactical differences in the design and implementation of these programs. All agree that a private sector role is important.

What are Barack Obama’s views on taking poverty personally? Let’s examine the facts. The Times of London reports as follows.

Zeituni Onyango, the aunt so affectionately described in Mr Obama’s best-selling memoir Dreams from My Father, lives in a disabled-access flat on a rundown public housing estate in South Boston.

A second relative believed to be the long-lost “Uncle Omar” described in the book was beaten by armed robbers with a “sawed-off rifle” while working in a corner shop in the Dorchester area of the city. He was later evicted from his one-bedroom flat for failing to pay $2,324.20 (£1,488) arrears, according to the Boston Housing Court.

A relative living on a dollar a day in a violent slum has already received widespread publicity.

During his grand tour of Kenya, Obama pledged six thousand dollars to build a school house in his ancestral village. Although his book describing his Kenya roots became a best seller, the royalties were of no use to his family in Kenya. The school remains unfinished.

Raila Odinga, who claims to be related to Obama was helped a great deal by Obama, who raised a million dollars for Odinga’s campaign for the Kenyan presidency. He also campaigned across Kenya at Odinga’s side.

When Odinga lost, a wave of pogroms erupted across Kenya in which resulted in 1500 deaths, 800 churches burned and a half a million homeless. No information is available how much money was raised for victims of pro Odinga violence.

Michelle Obama works for a hospital in Chicago. She steers poor people to other hospitals. When Barack Obama was elected, her salary almost tripled, from $122,000 to $316,000. She claims it is for community work. A good salary seems to interest the Obamas in community work. Out of the spotlight and unpaid, their interest flags considerably.

Obama’s aunt , who made a $260 contribution to the Obama campaign. According to the Times of London article, “A staff member at the Boston Housing Authority office, 50 yards from her house, said Ms Onynango had been a volunteer resident health advocate between December 2007 and August this year. She worked six hours a week for a small stipend. Records show she used the housing authority’s address to make her campaign contribution.”

It seems that Obama’s aunt does far more for the poor with her limited means than her nephew does with his. At last report, she is not running for office. The Times article makes her sound like a loving and giving person. According to the Times, “Ms Onyango is also listed on the internet as a volunteer with Experience Corps, a programme in which adults over 55 mentor children in their communities. The “former computer systems co-ordinator” tells the group’s online newsletter: “I felt that I should help the children in my community. I love people and enjoy interacting with them . . . Also, I was idle, and this was a chance to get involved.”

There are two prevalent approaches to almsgiving that are complementary. According to one approach, the government should step up to the plate. According to the other approach, it is a private and nongovernmental responsibility. In practice, it is a combination of public and private assistance that relieves the burden of the poor.

There is a third attitude and that is the Marxist attitude, that focus on individuals is a distraction from changing the institutions of society. They view helping the poor as relieving their stress without changing the “class structure.” In this context, charity is seen by Marxists as bad for the revolution and therefore bad for the working class. What does it look like when the “oppressed” get angry? Look at Kenya after the Odinga election campaign. 1500 dead. A half million homeless. 800 churches burned.

Who did Obama raise a million dollars for?e He raised it for Odinga’s Orange Democratic Movement.For the victims of the violence, he raised nothing.

The message is clear. Obama cares about movements. About people, he doesn’t give a damn. Sphere: Related Content

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

What Does a Supporter of Same Sex Marriage Have to Offer Hamas and Al Qaeda?

During presidential elections, the issue of gay rights and same sex marriage is usually viewed as separate from issues of foreign policy. I was listening on WOR Radio to Steve Malzberg mention a book , “King and King” , which he read during the broadcast. It is about two princes who fall in love and get married. It is targeted at kindergarten and first graders and their parents and is intended to explain and normalise same sex marriage. It was at the centre of a court case in Massachusetts in which a parent objected to it being read in class. (The court ruled against the parent.)

John Edwards and Barack Obama came out earlier in the campaign as being in favour of the inclusion of this book in a public elementary school library. Hillary Clinton said it should be up to individual parents if their children should be exposed to such reading material. Michelle Obama later said that she had already discussed same sex marriage with her six and her nine year old.

Although Malzberg mentioned Obama’s popularity with Hamas in the same broadcast as the same sex marriage story, they were not tied together. He pointed out that many Arabs who are quite impoverished are buying Obama T shirts and donating time and money to campaign from phone banks for Obama.

Religious Muslims constantly mention the decadence of the west with its homosexual and heterosexual promiscuity as something they consider abhorrent. Islamic women wear head and body covering as an emblem of Islamic piety.

How do foreign Muslims, who decry the decadence of the west come to support Barack Obama, who has been in the vanguard of those who campaign to normalise “alternative lifestyles”? Muslims are a visible and growing minority in America. The permissiveness of American society causes many Muslim parents anxiety, much as it does the parents of orthodox Jews and religious Christians. One would think that issues revolving around “traditional family values” would actually prove to be a common denominator for these disparate groups. To a considerable extent, conservative Christians and Orthodox Jews have made common cause around “quality of life” issues that revolve around making school and society more “religion friendly”.

Muslims have celebrated their arrival as a recognised minority mainly by raising their voices about the Middle East. Even though Orthodox Jews are turning out to be Israel’s most steadfast supporters, this is in the context of a broad array of concerns.

What appeal does a man who denies his Islamic heritage and publicly attends church have to Muslim voters? It can not be his support for gay rights. It can not be for his support for sex education. And it is certainly not for his extreme support for late term abortions and letting infant abortion survivors die in hospital broom closets. These positions are held in contempt all across the Islamic world.

The one thing that could redeem him in the eyes of Muslims would be his support of anti Israel causes and opposition to a strong America. From Havana to Pyongyang to Paris to Gaza City, the thought of an Obama victory causes his supporters to radiate joy. It is a bitter irony that an Obama nation would likely see an increase of Arab immigrants whose children would be caught in the snares of post-Christian permissiveness encouraged by Obama’s “alternative lifestyle” contingent. I have worked with Pakistani immigrants in a warehouse job. We often spoke about the fears shared by Jews and Muslims in a permissive society. Each of us subscribed to modesty codes that doubled as a badge of religious and ethnic allegiance. That job was over twelve years ago. I have yet to find a political alliance that reflects the common understanding we found in that dark Brooklyn warehouse.

It is sad to say, but the unity in the worldwide enthusiasm for Obama is not rooted in “family values” but in a fondness for cuts in defense and opposition to Israel. Jesse Jackson himself confirmed the suspicions of many when he said that an Obama administration would be bad for Israel. Obama’s long list of radical friends and allusion to their influence on his thinking is proof enough that Jackson speaks the truth. Only the disengenuous support of the mainstream media has rendered this a debatable assertion.

The support of religious Muslims in fighting abortion on demand and against promoting homosexuality in sex education classes would be a valuable addition to struggles on these issues. Victory in these areas would improve the climate in which America’s children of all faiths are raised. Instead, they are supporting a hater of Israel and an advocate of America’s weakness. His policies will endanger the transmission of their faith to their children. In Israel, suicide bombers are sacrificing their children’s lives to destroy Israel. In America they are sacrificing their children’s souls. How sad. Sphere: Related Content

Obama Thanks Reverend Wright in Video (The Chickens are Coming Home To Roost)

Obama was on the campaign trail a few days ago, criticising McCain for allegedly revising his health care plan. He sneered at McCain for only starting to understand the issue of health care well into the campaign. Changing the particulars of a proposed plan is far different than changing core principles. Obama willfully obfuscated that distinction.

Rather than being angry at Obama for his sanctimonious criticism, I am actually grateful. Because Barack Obama changed his mind not after a season in the campaign but after twenty years. For many years, Obama said he was not in church when Reverend Wright said hateful things about white people and most infamously cursed America after 9/11. Even when his church gave Louis Farrakhan a "Lifetime Achievement" award, Obama stood by them.

Obama quit Reverend Wright's church early in the presidential campaign. After getting married and christening two children in the church, some cynics were saying that he "threw Reverend Wright under the bus." I have been giving him the benefit of the doubt, thinking perhaps that the smorgasbord at the church was better than the sermons.

After Obama's harsh criticism of McCain, I felt it was time to likewise criticise Barry for being slow to learn from his mistakes. Now a video has surfaced that seems to debunk my smorgasbord hypothesis about Obama's loyalty to Reverend Wright.

The video with this posting is an excerpt from an interview in which Obama is addressed with the tone of reverence now customary in addressing the Great One. In the interview, Obama repeatedly stresses the formative influence Reverend Wright had on his world view. Far from a weary congregant who nods off on his wife's shoulder in church, Barack comes off like an eager disciple, restless to adapt Wrightist ideology to his corner in the world of politics.

I was lulled for a long time into thinking that Obama had "evolved" in distancing himself from Wright. After watching this video, I have come to the reluctant conclusion that Obama's relationship with the fiery preacher is much like that of a man who divorces his wife and makes her his mistress.

If we are to criticise McCain for revising the particulars of a program, we must seriously distrust a man whose core beliefs are allegedly in a state of flux.

Millions of Americans are prepared to elect a man who hides his birth certificate from official scrutiny. This video, like so many Obama explanations raises more questions than it answers. A truthful person can be taken at his word. A liar must be deciphered and interpreted. Despite all of his attempts to cover his tracks, Obama's past is catching up with him. In the words of Reverend Wright, "The chickens are coming home to roost". Sphere: Related Content

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Questions about Obama Willfully Ignored

A week before election day, there is a multitude of unanswered questions about Barack Obama. Questions about associations and alliances pile up unasked by the press. The stench from questions unasked by the press but of concern to the voters pile up, creating a cumulative stench like a summer long sanitation worker's strike.

In the real world, a job applicant can be asked for a resume and references. The neighbours of a prospective FBI agent are interviewed and questioned about job applicants.

Aside from the long list of Obama's questionable friends and checkered legislative career are the routine questions about his education. From his Hawaii birth certificate to his university records, Obama has maintained a veil of secrecy, refusing to release records that either confirm or lay to rest doubts about his qualifications. Rather than speaking to voters and selling us on the validity of his qualifications, we are asked to search our souls for hidden racism and to expiate it with a vote for Obama. Voters are not educated but insulted. Reporters that ask pressing questions are blacklisted, and anti Obama sites are hacked. Inadvertently, we have been given a sneak preview of life under Obama.

In the last week before election day, our list of questions has grown, and silence continues to be the response of the Obama campaign. The honour of serving as President is not an entitlement. With so many willfully unanswered questions, we have no obligation to extend the benefit of the doubt. The electorate has been insulted by the Obama campaign and his media surrogates. We have no obligation to honour him with our votes.


Check Out THIS Poll!

All of the speculation about who will be elected will be put to rest by the vote of the people. There is one poll which is highly significant, and that is the attitude of various groups towards free speech. According to an article in World Net Daily, a Zogby ATI poll has extensively studied the attitudes of various groups towards free speech and found that “Supporters of Barack Obama like the idea of a “Fairness Doctrine” that would crack down on talk shows like those of Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh, and their enthusiasm grows when the idea of taking the radio icons off the air is introduced.

According to ATI News President Brad O’Leary,“Barack Obama has shown a stunning lack of tolerance for free speech throughout the course of this campaign.” He additionally warned that a large Democratic majority and a Democratic President would make the passing of a fairness doctrine a strong likelihood.

According to the poll, Democrats, Obama supporters and independents all support the idea of a ‘fairness doctrine”. But when it is explained that Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity could be taken off the air, then the opinions of the groups polled diverges radically. Obama supporters actually increase their support for such a specific outcome from 49-36% in favour to 53-37% in favour. Other groups polled reduce their support radically for a fairness doctrine when the issue of Limbaugh and Hannity going off the air is raised.

According to the poll,when the issue of Hannity and Limbaugh being fired was raised,”independent voters opposed the doctrine 49 to 40 percent and undecided voters rejected it 50 to 17 percent“.

According to the WND article, “The doctrine was instituted in 1949 by the Federal Communications Commission and soon was recognized as a tool for silencing views authorities found objectionable. The FCC repealed the rule in 1987 after admitting the plan “had the net effect of reducing rather than enhancing the discussion of controversial issues of public importance.”

The article mentions several tactics employed by the Obama campaign to suppress dissent. Among them “Obama forces also tried to hush a national organization that ran TV and radio ads attacking the candidate’s position on an issue. In that instance, Obama’s general counsel fired off a letter threatening the licenses of stations that didn’t pull the ad “for the sake of FCC licensing and the public interest.”

When “Joe the Plumber” questioned Obama about his plan to raise taxes on small businesses, Obama supporters sought to destroy Joe and publicly embarrass him by digging through his tax files, work history and personal life.

Can you imagine what an Obama administration would do with the FBI and the IRS at its disposal?

The Obama campaign and its supporters have not supported the “fairness doctrine as an isolated position on their agenda. They have made it a part of a broad strategy to put down dissent. This is one promise upon which they have delivered before the election.

On November 4, you will be invited to radically curtail your free speech and access to varied opinions. If you favour this agenda, all you have to do is to vote for barack Obama. Is this what you want?

Sphere: Related Content

Monday, October 27, 2008

Obamunism and Its New Vocabulary For the New Order

The Obama campaign has banned yet another television station that has asked hardball questions of Joe Biden. In the past, before the Obama campaign inverted the rules of political discourse, a good reporter would dig up facts with which to confront a political figure. The drama of political journalism was once the discomfiture of the high and mighty. Orianna Fallaci, a brave Italian journalist who fought the Nazis when she was a teenager epitomised this style of confrontational journalism. As a darling of the left, she once conducted an interview of Henry Kissinger towards the end of the Vietnam was that he described as one of the worst experiences of his life. One of her famous moments was when she tore off her hair covering during an interview with Ayatollah Khomeini and threw it down like a gauntlet in front of him. One of Khomeinei’s aides told her that Khomeini admired her courage.

It is not unheard of for authors on a book tour to conduct interviews with powder puff questions. If a book is a work of fiction in accosting the author. If the book is about a controversial subject, such as the Da Vinci Codes, then the rules of engagement can change, especially if fiction is a vehicle for statements of fact and opinion.

There is a tradition of fawning political interviews in totalitarian countries. A photographer was booted from North Korea when he lay on his side in front of a gigantic statue of Kim Il Sung. It had been deemed that his lack of sufficient reverence rendered him unfit to remain in the country. When Nhan Dan, the Vietnamese Communist Party newspaper interviewed Ho Chi Minh, it was understood that it was unthinkable to cause “Uncle Ho” any discomfiture.

There is no tradition for such oppressive reverence in a democracy. The press is referred to as “the fourth estate. This term is a spinoff of the French monarchy, which convened , which in 1789 convened three hudred nobles, three hundred clergy and six hundred commoners in an assembly known as the’Estates General‘. Journalists were subsequently dubbed “the fourth estate” because of their access on behalf of commoners to public figures. There was an aura of reverence for the power wielded by these individuals and the awesome resposibility that came with constituting the nervous system of a society.

Each “estate’ has had in history its days of infamy. If you substitute business magnates for hereditary royalty, there have been times when both types of royalty have disgraced themselves with oppressive and self aggrandising behavior. Corrupt and perverse clergy have had their day in the spotlight of shame. And there have been many times when “commoners” demanded and got injustice in the form of segregation, discrimination and corrupt verdicts rendered by juries. The shameless partisanship of the mainstream media has defined this election as a “season of shame” for our blatantly biased media. The reverence attached to “the fourth estate” has been long forfeit, tarnished and soiled beyond recognition.

A new term has been coined to attach opprobrium to inquisitive and aggressive reporting. “Ambush journalism” is a term coined by the Obama campaign to describe questions that make a candidate uncomfortable. A television interview, according to the new rules of engagement, is a time for the candidate to preen and cast out unassailable sound bites. Any unscripted question that could embarrass the candidate is lese majeste and results in banishment of the offending media outlet.

According to Freedom’s Lighthouse,a Philadelphia television station, CBS TV Channel Three in Philadelphia has been banned for hitting Joe Biden with tough questions. During excerpts aired of a Fox News segment, his anger was clearly visible. This is the second TV station that has violated the rules of the New Order and been banished from the Obama campaign.

When a person sits down for an interview, they should expect to be questioned. Crowding into someone’s yard or barging into their place of business unannounced to spring questions could well be considered to be ambush journalism. This term should not be applied to a scheduled interview during a campaign.

In Missouri, a city district attorney swaggered in front of a microphone and purported to speak in the name of voters she said did not want “distractions”. The word “lie” has come to mean “uncomfortable truth” in Democratic Newspeak, our new dialect of public discourse.

I am far more troubled by a District Attorney entrusted with criminal prosecutions misappropriating his or her aura of authority for political advocacy. This does not evoke memories of anything within the traditions of representative democracy.

We are not only fighting an electoral battle. We are fighting to maintain the integrity of political discourse and the terms by which it is defined. The misshaping of language to stigmatise legitimate inquiry and dissent is a process we must highlight , stop and condemn. Our democracy and way of life depend upon it.

Joe Biden faces real interview

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The Obama Campaign: Long on Cash Short on Ideas

Although the Obama campaign has vastly outspent the GOP in this election contest, they are running empty in a critical area. In the matter of ideas, they are hitting a long stretch during which they seem to be at a loss for words. What do they fill it with?

“We are going to win. There is no escaping it. Get used to the idea of an Obama administration. Wake up and smell the coffee.” It sounds like an abusive spouse or a thief telling their cowed quarry. “Make it painless for both of us, and just throw your wallet on the table.

The ending for these stories is often sadly predictable. A spouse with a black eye, or a humiliated commuter sans cell phone going home with his wallet ripped out of his pants.

There is only one problem with this scenario. Sometimes the would be victim has an ace up his sleeve, in the form of a superior weapon, or a knowledge of martial arts.

The Obama campaign is now smugly and prematurely declaring victory. They have the mainstream media locked up. They are mostly employees of the Obama campaign.

People have faced much worse odds under dictatorships and military occupation. Leftists are fond of recounting the victory of a ragged band of Guerillas in the sierra Maestra mountains of Cuba who toppled the mighty Batista government. (Only to become worse tyrants)

Leftists are fond of recounting Ho Chi Minh and the Viet Minh, who drove the French out of Indochina.

America’s own revolutionaries were “irregulars’ without the sleek financing and snappy uniforms of the British. Despite all odds, history has been made by the underfinanced longshots with a cause and with motivation.

McCain is limited by law in any attempt he might make to match Obama in spending. But he has a surprise weapon. We are the “irregular forces’ Scorned, ignored and occasionally hacked, we have a sense of faceless intimacy with our ideological compatriots across the country. We are not getting paid. We are in fact losing money. It is the sense that the country needs us that motivates us to keep up the struggle.

You are able to deceive the country with sleight of mass delusion that is possible when you control the mass media outlets. As much as you would like to, you can not stop the grass roots exchange of fact and opinions that resembles nothing so much as a cross country dialogue.

We are the “irregulars” with a laptop in the kitchen and visions of a better country. You would like to silence us with a “fairness doctrine” and who knows what tricks. But we will not be silenced. You look at the plummeting circulation of your newspapers with alarm. But you know that they are deserting your world of illusion in droves and coming over to our side for information.

You have bent the language by labeling inconvenient truths as ‘lies”. You call an an examination of Obama’s record a “personal attack”. And most insulting of all is your labeling principled arguments against your badly flawed candidate “racist”.

Unfortunately for you, Americans have learned well the English language and the history of the civil rights movement. Rather than being cowed into silence, we are indignant of your usurpation of hallowed principles and cynical manipulation of language.

History is not made by those who go with the tide, but by those who will defend a principle against daunting odds. You have a spark of truth buried in an ash heap of lies . You know that we are driven by principle. Your talk of the inevitability of an Obama victory is founded in insecurity and masks an ideological bankruptcy. You can malign us, misquote us and attempt to ban and hack us but we will never be silenced. Sphere: Related Content

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Kim Jong Il ,Barack Obama and Fat Boy Slim Singing "I've Got To Praise You.

Following is my world cinema critic Carlo Pincotello with a revolutionary proposal for peace with North Korea. Please approach his ideas with an open mind

In keeping with the principles of free trade, and out of a desire to pay proper homage to the Great One, I am running a video tribute to Barack Hussein Obama. It is only fair that we, the voters and consumers of America have a wide array of video entertainment produced not only in America but overseas as well where the labour costs are lower.

In America, the money it would cost to make a thrirty second commercial and run it on prime time television could probably be used to make a full length feature film in North Korea. Since Kim Jong Il seems to be shortly on his way to assuming room temperature, perhaps the North Korean penchant for personality cults could be channelled into making movies about Barack Obama.

Today, North Korea is in the grip of famine. The only part of their industry that is working well is their military. There is a tremendous incentive for them to sell weapons to rogue states. If they could build an industry around reeducating the American people to appreciate the greatness of their leader, then perhaps they could stop trying to build nuclear weapons.

I am including in this posting two videos of The Great One and of the Dear Leader. The North Korean approach is so much more reverent than the style we have in the west. If everyone could see the wisdom of The Great One, then we wouldn't have any more need for separation of church and state. It would solve so many domestic problems. When you look at the North Korean video clip, just substitute Barack Obama's name for Kim Jong Il and visualise The Way.

What is "The Way"? In the words of Fatboy Slim. "I have to praise you like I should." If Obama is elected on November 4, then you might have to get used to that.

Sphere: Related Content

Saturday, October 25, 2008

A Chilling Message From the Democrat's "Brave New World"

Democrats support legislative tricks like the "Fairness Doctrine" to tilt the media playing field in their favour. Fighting against "offensive speech" and dampening political discourse with accusations of "racism" are their preferred mode of operation. Despite their ability to put across a campaign for Obama masquerading as news, they still want to squelch dissent wherever they may find it.

I do not oppose giving the opposition a voice. I am reprinting in its entirety an article on a blog supporting Obama. Although it shows coherent prose and correct grammar. It is truly chilling. It portrays a political landscape of Orwellian dimensions. I could not do a better caricature than the authour from this blog did him or her self. I am including the link to the article and to the blog. No one can accuse me of quoting out of context


Very soon Barack Obama will be your new President. This is a reality you cannot alter or escape from. It is fact. It is history. It is justice for the world.

Many of you have seen the light and have accepted the truth. And we thank you for your support and aid in electing Barack Obama.

To those who have rejected the truth you have no reason to fear Barack Obama. He is wise and just and he will follow the principals followed by his African forefathers. Barack Obama is the son of Kings and Queens who started human civilization thousands of years ago. Barack Obama remembers his heritage and his obligations to the Truth, Justice and the Future.

Barack Obama understands what is wrong and what needs to be done. Barack Obama has intelligence and vision that has lasted for over a millennium. Barack Obama was born with the appropriate ways of thinking, speaking, and acting and this will inspire you to be liberated for now there is no shackle which can keep you enslaved.

An African Proverb tell us: “Then command the servant, thusly: Make an Elder's staff causing my son to stand in my place I will instruct him through the speech of the listeners and the counsels of the first of the ancients who listened to the divinities. In so doing troubles will be removed from the people.”

Barck Obama is here now to listen, to instruct and will lead you to your new life.

America will have a new start. A change to right itself. A change to correct its wrongs and address its sins. If you support change that will bring forth social and economic justice, you will stand with Barack Obama. Those who have been denied justice in America will get justice. Those will have been denied opportunity will be given opportunity. Those will falsely imprisoned will be freed. Those who are guilty will be punished. America’s salvation is at hand.

Those who have profited in America will play a role helping others. Justice requires equality and fairness and those who have the means will now be fair and will contribute to equality.

Stand with Barack Obama and you will be honored you for your work, sacrifice, dedication and devotion on behalf of all oppressed peoples.

Stand with Barack Obama and you will be honored and celebrated and remembered in song and praise and by your children.


And if we do not "Stand with Barack Obama?" What will happen? I am voting as though democracy depended on it. Sphere: Related Content

Friday, October 24, 2008

Lessons From My Communist Days About Media Bias

I have the eerie feeling of living in a country where the media is in the back pocket of a political party. When I was living in Italy, the political parties each had their own national newspaper. The Communists had L'Unita, MSI (fascists) had Il Secolo, and the Socialists had Il Popolo. I don't remember any of the other party newspapers.

We seem to have a situation where those with impassioned political loyalties are colouring the news coverage without adequately disclosing their ideological bias.

One of the lessons I learned in the Young Socialist Alliance, (a Trotskyist youth group back in the seventies) was that there is no such thing as straight news coverage. Every newspaper and every media outlet has according to my Marxist teachers an element of "class bias." The solution for a dedicated Marxist was to read a paper with a "proletarian" bias. The solution for any critical reader of the news is to ascertain the underlying bias of the news reporter and his or her employer.

I did not learn to view news coverage as biased from political conservatives. I learned this valuable lesson from proud and avowed communists. It is one respect in which they view the political landscape far more clearly than do people closer to the political centre.

A news media that is striving to be dispassionate would have a list of questions and definitions that would be identical for both candidates. For both candidates, a rigourous review of their past experience would be an ongoing and a thorough process. The opinion held of them by colleagues and constituents would be examined and communicated to prospective voters. This line of inquiry has been sporadic at best in the current campaign. Finding out about Obama's record in Chicago requires digging and persistence. He clearly is defensive about it. A good reporter and a good cop will start searching more thoroughly when a subject or a suspect starts sweating. Instead of following this basic instinct, mass circulation news outlets tend to drop all questioning. Blogs and talk radio have tended to function as did the "samizdat" underground press in the former USSR, circulating news and opinion that is marginalised by the "official" press.

The other thing that needs to be defined is "personal" attacks and attacks on family. In some countries, little is known about the "first family". America has a tradition of iconising the family of the chief executive. It can be safely said that an official photo album and perfunctory biographies of presidential family members is an acceptable concession to public curiosity. There is a point on the continuum of media scrutiny that degenerates into tabloid muckraking. The pain this can cause a sensitive adolescent or harried spouse needs to be weighed when pursuing such a story. The family of Sarah Palin was subjected as never before to personal scrutiny. It is odd that the tone of gossip tabloids spilled into the pages of mainstream and "respectable" news outlets. The level of personal abuse perpetrated in the name of "satire" against Sarah Palin is beneath contempt.

The spouse or child of a political candidate who campaigns with political speech rather than "Daddy is a nice man." speeches should be left alone. If a family member makes political comments, their logic and accuracy are fair game. Their personal life is not. Cindy McCain has given political speeches that are fair game for analysis. The New York Times did a story about Cindy McCain's social difficulties with other Senate wives during McCain's tenure in Washington. The "gray lady" did not have any problem adopting the tone of the National Enquirer in pouncing on that story. Given the widespread reputation of legislators for side dishes on their carnal menu, the indignation towards John McCain seems selective.

The polls are far more encouraging to Obama than they are to McCain. It will be interesting to see how they compare to the one poll that legally counts. With the stock market doing so poorly and banks failing, the fawning media should simply be the coupe de grace for an Obama coronation. It is amazing that Obama has not been able to take off in a landslide. His friends, his philosphy and his program provide ample explanations for his failure to win over the electorate.

The media has repeatedly provided us with the helpful information that Obama is an African American. Racism is given as the explanation for his mediocre performance among white voters. Those who care about being racist are indignant at the insult. It is not likely to change anyone's mind. It is highly unlikely that many of the 90% of African American voters who support Obama will be shamed into voting for McCain by charges of racism.

Will bandwagon psychology and biased reporting carry the day for Obama? Talk radio and the internet provide a counterweight to the bias of the mainstream media. This is why so many newspapers are reeling with loss of readership and advertising revenue. What is the answer to their commercial woes? Have no fear, the Fairness Doctrine will save the day!! If your liberal talk radio can't stand up to Rush Limbaugh or Michael Savage, force them by law to include you in their time slot. What about the newspapers and television news coverage? That's news, not commentary. So it doesn't count according to the Fairness Doctrine.

I look back with nostalgia to the intellectual honesty employed by my Trotskyist comrades back in the seventies behind closed doors at strategy meetings. It is a refreshing contrast to the deceitful employed on the evening news and when we hit the streets to sell our newspapers.

Radical groups like the Communist Party and the Socialist Workers Party provide a good political education. They are carriers of childhood political diseases that confer upon adults an immunity to political folly. And they are a lot cheaper than college. Sphere: Related Content

Thursday, October 23, 2008

In The Chains of a Metaphor

Two interests my father and I shared were politics and short wave radio. My grandparents told me stories about finding out the truth in Nazi Germany from the BBC and from countries not yet under Nazi occupation.

Before the age of the internet, short wave was the magic way to cross borders and hear from the other side. When I was growing up, I listened to the BBC, Radio Havana and Radio Deutsche Welle. The intermittent static made me feel as though I were flying through clouds.

After my father had a serious stroke, he and my mother gave me his short wake radio. My happiness at owning something that had given my father so much enjoyment was tempered by sadness that he could not use the short wave himself any more.. Even using a telephone was beyond my father's stroke battered skills. Although he remained articulate in German and English, he had completely forgotten his Italian. French and Latin. In addition, he became severely depressed, emotional and weepy. It was like a complete personality change.

One day, my infant son yanked the cord on the short wave , bringing it crashing to the floor. The radio was silenced. Thankfully, it did not fall on my son. I was still saddened that the radio had been silenced. I tend to surround myself with mementos of my past and my family. The silent, broken receiver reminded me of my father sitting in sorrowful silence. The metaphor deepened my melancholy. I reminded myself of a watch belonging to my father that I had destroyed as a child. The memory lent my sense of loss a sort of symmetry. By absorbing my loss silently, I was repaying my father's kindness in forgiving me.

The harshness of comparison haunted me. A radio with its inner workings was silenced. A human being with uncharted but massive brain damage was not silenced, but seemed like many to be a different person. I could not escape the comparison.

A couple of years later, I was working in the kitchen. I moved a clock radio with a vent on the top of it on to the table where I was working. One of my children took a cup full of flour and poured it in top of the radio. The fine flour worked its way into the vents on top of the radio. I pulled the plug out and shook as much flour as I could out of the disabled appliance. A few fours later, I plugged the radio in. FM worked in an impaired state. Stations came in, but not as clearly as before. Only a few of the stations on the high end of the AM dial still came in. I fiddled disappointedly with the dial. I recognised one of the stations. I listened. I couldn't believe it. Instead of WABC and WMCA, I was picking up Radio Deutsche Welle. I tuned the radio some more and listened to the BBC. Somehow the flour had changed the calibration of the radio so it was now picking up short wave instead of regular AM stations. Although the sound quality was mediocre, the radio became a curiousity.

In creating a short wave out of a simple clock radio, my children had created a new metaphor for my father's illness. Just as the radio was picking up a new range of radio frequencies, so too was my father picking up a new range of an emotional and spiritual spectrum. In both cases the new range of frequencies was hard to tune and to listen to. The dial on the radio did not match what was being broadcast, and my father's expectations of himself did not match what he was feeling and experiencing.

When I contemplated the broken radio, I stopped seeing the soul as an invisible cloud residing in the body. I started seeing it as a frequency being tuned in by a physical receiver. The radio as a metaphor was "repaired" when it was broken the second time. As a result, I saw myself differently as well as my father. In breaking the first radio, my son had defined how I then saw the relationship between body and soul. In breaking the second radio, he created a new analogy that was far more satisfactory in explaining the nature of the spirit and our relation to it. Not only was I listening to sounds from far away. I was listening to an inner voice that had become distant. Sphere: Related Content

Monday, October 20, 2008

Best wishes For Shemini Atzeret and Simchat Torah

In observance of Shemini Atzeret and Simchat Torah, there will be no posting toMagdeburger Joe and Rudi Stettner. The next posts will be either Wednesday night or Thursday morning after the holiday.
I am working on a laptop, and the thought occurs to me that it is a metaphor for the Torah that is available to all. A computer functions on the basis of written programs. With a smoothly functioning program, they function as an extension of human intelligence. Without a program, the best computer hardware is at best a glorified night light.

The Torah is like an "operating system. Without it, human beings sink well below the level of animals. When we have problems with our computers, we study the operating manual. When we have problems with our world, we should do the same thing.

As great a creation a human being is, we are only as good as what we believe in and what we aspire to.

It is a blessing that the Talmud, which elucidates the Torah is a book of recorded arguments.
The world has never stopped arguing. One of the most valuable lessons in Judaism is that disagreements and the process of their resolution can drive us forward. Arguments can be a good thing. They can even be studied in future generations.

As impassioned as I am in my opinions, this is a lesson upon which I reflect at election time. I strongly believe that the dialogue taking place in America at this election time can propel us forward as a united country.

It is with gratitude to our great free country that I wish my readers the best in the approaching Jewish holidays. Sphere: Related Content

Saturday, October 18, 2008

My Comments on Election Fraud,Obama's Inexperience

The Obama campaign is encouraged by the recent Supreme Court decision barring the investigation of questionable voter registrations in Ohio. A new organisation has joined in their effort to enroll previously voiceless constituencies.

FAVOR, which stands for Fictitious American Voters Opposed to Republicans has now stepped up its campaign on multiple fronts. A few examples of their campaign are listed here.

1) FAVOR has started a get out the vote drive in the “dead community” . Obama volunteers have been seen knocking on tombstones in cemetaries around the country. Their campaign song is “Knockin on Heaven’s Door.”

2) The animal rights campaign has stepped up their campaign at animal shelters across the nation, filing suits so that pawprints can be recognised as marks on ballots. Militant fish activists have condemned this disenfranchisement of gilled creatures. Their campaign song is “You ain’t Nuthin But a Hound Dog.” (But You Can Still Vote.)

3) LAMP or Legal Action For Multiple Personalities has demanded voting rights for each multiple personality forced to share a single body. Even those with anger management problems have been registered twice.

“If you’re beside yourself, that means you must be two people. As such you should be able to vote twice.” a LAMP spokesperson explained.

Efforts to register one celled organisms have been stymied by the fact that their life span is well below the minimum voting age. That has not however stopped efforts to lower the voting age.

“Pediatric Americans, or “children” as they are so disparagingly called include millions of Obama supporters who are currently disenfranchised.” read a recent letter signed by a T. Antrum of an organisation called PACT or “Pediatric American Committee for Tots. Efforts to reach Mr. Antrum were unsuccessful due to a “time out ” session declared by his mommy.

“The whole world supports Obama. It’s mid autumn, and half the leaves have fallen from the trees.” noted Ariel Stoner, an Obama activist. So many of those leaves were raked up and discarded when they could have been registered to vote. What a waste.”

There is no telling how many new constituencies might be empowered by the Obama campaign. Pet rocks, for instance that were sold back in the eighties are now in their early thirties have never voted. Ariel Stoner considers this a tragedy.

“The only time people notice rocks is when they are tossed through plate glass windows. We are giving them a peaceful alternative. We are empowering rocks as never before.”

Fortunately , adoption certificates from the seventies for pet rocks have served as proof of age and residency for “rocky” voters. Efforts to involve the Rolling Stones in this effort have not yet borne fruit.

This of course brings us to the subject of registering fruits and vegetables to vote.

“They say that the apple never falls far from the tree.” chuckled Mr. Stoner at the end of our interview. “That may be true. But they can still vote.”

Obama says “Iran, Cuba, Venezuela, these countries are tiny compared to the Soviet Union. They Don’t pose a serious threat to us. “…

Iran has a population of 70,500,000. Venezuela has a population of 28,000,000. Cuba has a population of 11,000,000. Iran’s population is greater than that of Italy, France or Great Britain.

When “tiny” Iran had a war with “tiny” Iraq, back in the 1980’s, there were between 160,000 - 240,000 dead. That is at least three times the number of American dead in the Vietnam war. These are all countries that have directly or by proxy threatened American interests.

But don’t worry. As you can see from this video, Barack Obama is learning on the job. Maybe he’ll be ready by election day. Do you want to take a chance?

You may have questions about Obama’s politics. don’t worry, he’ll come to your house and talk it over with you personally. And if Barack Obama, the Great One does not get in the last word, then our fearless mainstream media will investigate Joe the Plumber, John Q Public or anyone who dares to question the omnipotence of the “maximum leader”.

The same networks that have failed to examine Obama’s record in Chicago politics have told us all about Joe the Plumber’s divorce, his tax lien and the fact that he is not a licenced plumber. (Which does not prevent him from doing some plumbing work.)

So if Obama comes down your block and you don’t agree with him, you might want to run for cover, because if you get on the six o’clock news without praise for the Great One, you might be in for an investigation. But don’t worry. This nightmare will only last another two and a half weeks. But if Obama gets elected, it will last another four years. Do you really want to live like that?

Lately, Obama has been talking tough about defense. But he didn’t always talk that way. He used to talk like an antiwar activist condemning American soldiers in Vietnam for “war crimes”. Is Obama “evolving”? Or is he flip flopping? Is he reading the situation? Or is he sizing up his audience? Do you really want to take a chance by electing him?

There is documentary evidence that Republicans were warning of a financial crisis brewing as far back as 2001. Democrats such as Barney Frank were dismissive of these warnings and blocked remedial action. Do you expect the party that blocked a solution to the financial crisis to come up with a solution after they lied about it to the American people?

Examine the evidence. Examine the facts. Can you take a chance with Barack Obama?

Sphere: Related Content

Friday, October 17, 2008

2008 Elections and School Choice

One issue that affects the Orthodox Jewish community very strongly is the issue of yeshiva tuition. Even those with upper middle class income make huge sacrifices for their children's Jewish education that reduce their income and living standard drastically. As a community, we make great sacrifices for Jewish continuity, paying taxes for public schools while maintaining our own educational institutions.

Although political conservatives are far less dogmatic in their interpretation of church-state separation, there are a lot of hurdles to overcome before we are likely to see tuition vouchers, tax credits or any other form of relief from the expense of maintaining Jewish schools .

One issue likely to face the Supreme Court is the issue of church state separation. It was only in 1875 that the Blaine Amendment was passed in a xenophobic attempt to stifle the formation of religious schools catering to Catholic immigrants. The amendment would have become an amendment to the US constitution except for the fact that it fell four votes short in the Senate of a two thirds majority. The amendment reads as follows.

"No State shall make any law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; and no money raised by taxation in any State for the support of public schools, or derived from any public fund therefor, nor any public lands devoted thereto, shall ever be under the control of any religious sect; nor shall any money so raised or lands so devoted be divided between religious sects or denominations."

Although the amendment failed in Congress, it did far better in state legislatures. All but eleven states passed their own versions of the Blaine amendment.

America was almost a century old before it banned private schools from receiving government funds. Contrary to popular belief it was not the Supreme Court who erected the wall of separation between church and state. It was elected legislators who were moved by the passions and prejudices of their times.

It is ironic that one of the central canons of liberal orthodoxy, church state separation, is the residue of bigotry towards Irish and Eastern European immigrants. In an odd twist, Protestants, Catholics and Jews who once lived behind walls of social separation are now finding common cause in defending their contested rights to equality before the law in the matter of tax disbursements.

However much longer our struggle might last for tuition vouchers, the struggle will last much longer if Obama is elected. The issue of Jewish education and religious education in general is a critical topic that is too seldom discussed. The party that is "pro choice" when it comes to abortion is anti choice when it comes to education. Our choice in November could not be clearer.
You are voting for the Supreme Court as well as for President. It is a choice you might live with for decades. Make it carefully. Sphere: Related Content

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Michelle Obama Invokes Racial Loyalty in the Closing Weeks of the Campaign

As the presidential race tightens in the final weeks leading up to election day, Michelle Obama has invoked Pan African racial solidarity in a bid to solidify and galvanise African American Obama voters.

In an interview with African Press International, an independent and widely respected blog, Ms. Obama said that API should support her husband because of issues of racial solidarity.

According to the respected pan African blog "Accusing API of colluding with American internet bloggers in an effort to bring down her husband, Mrs Obama said she decided to call API because of what she termed, API’s help to spread rumours created by American bloggers and other racist media outlets in their efforts to damage a black man’s name, saying she hopes African Media was mature enough to be in the front to give unwavering support to her husband, a man Africans should identify themselves with. "

The report undermines Obama's bid to Americans to 'put race aside " and weigh his candidacy on its ideological merits. It in effect employs different appeals to different ethnic constituencies , one line being an appeal to repudiate racism and the other an appeal to racial solidarity.

Ms. Obama was addressing questions about her husband's citizenship. In the direct quotation on the API site, Ms. Obama veers back and forth between a defense "on the merits" against reports questioning her husband's citizenship and calls for ethnic loyalty.

API quotes Michelle Obama in the following paragraph of hteir article on the subject. "“African Press International is supposed to support Africans and African-American view,” and she went to state that, “it is strange that API has chosen to support the racists against my husband. There is no shame in being adopted by a step father. All dirt has been thrown onto my husband’s face and yet he loves this country. My husband and I know that there is no law that will stop him from becoming the president, just because some American white racists are bringing up the issue of my husband’s adoption by His step father. The important thing here is where my husband’s heart is at the moment. I can tell the American people that My husband loves this country and his adoption never changed his love for this country. He was born in Hawaii, yes, and that gives him all the right to be an American citizen even though he was adopted by a foreigner; says Michelle Obama on telephone to API.”

s an international news agency headquartered in Norway with 19 correspondents in North, East, West and South Africa as well as in the United Kingdom. It is widely respected for its political independence and even handedness.

API in the same article asks probing questions about the arrest and deportation from Kenya of Jerome Corsi, an American journalist who traveled to that country to do research into Barack Obama's ties to Raila Odinga and the Orange Democratic Movement in Kenya. Violent protests led by Odinga supporters led to the deaths of over a thousand people in Kenya in the early part of this year.Obama campaigned for Odinga while a US Senator. Odinga claims that Obama, (whose father is of Odinga's Luo tribe) is his cousin.

Raila Odinga is now President of Kenya in a power sharing agreement worked out with UN support and the intervention of US Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice. It is an obvious question what role Raila Odinga played in the arrest and deportation of Jerome Corsi.

According to API, Mrs. Obama did not take kindly to questions about the Jerome Corsi's deportation. Her response to API was detailed as follows in their article on Michelle Obama and the controversies emanating from Kenya.

"When API asked Mrs Obama to comment on why Dr Corsi was arrested by the Kenyan government and whether she thought Kenya’s Prime Minister Mr Raila Odinga was involved in Dr Corsi’s arrest, she got irritated and and simply told API not to dig that which will support evil people who are out to stop her husband from getting the presidency.

When asked who she was referring to as the evil people, she stated that she was not going to elaborate much on that but that many conservative white people and even some African Americans were against her husband, but that this group of blacks were simply doing so because of envy."

The API article has made a number of things clear. First, Michelle Obama definitely is a player in the campaign. She seems to have settled on the role of bringing out the African American vote not on grounds of the issues but of racial solidarity. Her nervousness opens the legitimate questions about friends in the Kenyan government possibly helping to silence an American journalist.

API, a news agency that reports in areas where political violence is the norm was clearly not impressed with the scolding it got from Ms. Obama, or the promise of inauguration invitations that she tossed out like cheap trinkets.

According to API "Mrs Obama asked API to write a good story about her husband and that will earn API an invitation to the inauguration ceremony when, as she put it , her husband will be installed as the next President of the United States of America next year."

It should be noted that much of the world admires the robustness of political debate in America. Kenyans have weathered an election campaign in which over a thousand Kenyans were killed and eight hundred churches burned. To them, the bloodlessness and open dissent in America are an enviable treasure. The cornerstone of America's peace is a sense of common nationality and purpose that transcends ethnic subdivisions. In Kenya, by contrast, tribal loyalties to political parties has crippled the viability of multiparty democracy as votes are split among tribal lines.

The elements of discourse introduced into America's political debate by Michelle Obama are that of ethnic solidarity trumping rational discussion. Her insistence that some questions play into the hands of the enemy have more than a tinge of paranoia underlying her basic approach to electoral politics.

Ms Obama has invited scrutiny of her participation in the campaign. Although a deference to the spouses of candidates has been a political tradition in America. It is Ms Obama who has abrogated this traditional understanding in a manner that is injurious to our democracy. The task of highlighting her role in the campaign is a distasteful necessity. The arrest of Jerome Scorsi in Kenya, preceeded by Barack Obama's involvement in the Odinga campaign has blurred the boundaries of American politics. If Obama is elected, it will mean four more years of tangled international webs and paranoid calls for unconditional ethnic loyalty. America deserves better. Sphere: Related Content

Monday, October 13, 2008

The Musical Gifts of Demis Roussos

Demis Roussos was a singer who performed in English as well as continental European languages from the 1960's up to the present. Although he has an extensive repertoire in English, he is nowhere near as popular in America as he is overseas. In this respect, he resembles Julio Iglesias, who is a world music sensation who never hit it big in the U.S.

I has always assumed that Demis Roussos was from Greece, but he was born in 1946 in Egypt to ethnic Greek parents who had to flee in 1956 during the Suez crisis. Although his style transcends ethnic boundaries, he remains devoted to his Greek heritage and Orthodox Christian faith. The distinctive sound of bouzouki can be heard in more than a few of his songs. He got his start as the lead singer for the pop band "Aphrodite's child. His distinctive voice was a great part of the band's success. In the early seventies he split from the band and performed under his own name rather than that of Aphrodite's Child. The breakup of the band also yielded the solo career of Vangelis, who is most noted for the 1982 hit "Chariots of Fire"

Roussos has struggled with and written about a lifelong battle with obesity and also depression. It is a public service when so successful a performer inspires millions of fans who struggle with such issues out of the public spotlight.

In an odd footnote to history, Roussos was on the 1985 TWA flight 847, in which Shiite terrorists hijacked a plane to Beirut, Lebanon and murdered an American Navy diver, Robert Stethem, who was a passenger on the flight. The flight was also notable for the heroic actions of flight attendant Uli Derickson who both calmed the hijackers and hid the passports of Jews on board. The hijackers were delighted to have Demis Roussos on board, and celebrated his birthday with him during the ordeal.

The hijacking is almost an iconic representation of the twentieth century condition of enemy combatants tuned to the same radio stations , listening to the same songs and killing each other. It also shows the vast linguistic and ideological terrain in which the music of Demis Roussos can be found.

I have included three videos of Roussos. Two are in English and one is in French. The need for brevity has precluded my posting a cross section of Roussos' work in other languages. Sphere: Related Content

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Nights in White Satin Across Europe

One way to experience America's cultural impact on the world is to hear English language songs rendered into other languages. Back in the 1970's, a German singer named Juliane Werding recorded a song in German "Wildes Wasser", which translated as "Wild Water"

Though the music remains similar, Werding writes new lyrics to the original melody. This often occurs as music crosses the ocean. Werding's lyrics are as follows, along with my translation under each line

Wildes Wasser

Kind einer Party
Child of a Party

Alibi einer Nacht
Alibi for a night

erst zum Reden erzogen -
trained to speak

dann zum Schweigen gebracht.
and brought to silence

Aufgewachsen im Schatten
Grew up in the shadows

ewig hungrig nach Macht
always longing for strength

mit sich selbst nie zufrieden
never satisfied with herself

und fast berstend vor Kraft.
and almost bursting with energy

Hastige Liebe
impulsive love

weil du neugierig bist
because you are curious

erste Enttäuschung - sie prägt dein Gesicht
first disappointment it shows on your face

schlaflose Nächte - Briefe
sleepless nights and letters

die keiner liest
that no one reads

Flucht in die Träume - am Ende doch nichts.
Flight in dreams But in the end nothing

Angst vor der Zukunft
fear of the future


die keiner will
that no one wants (to hear)

das ewige Gestern
the eternal past

das dein Morgen zerstört
that ruins your tomorrow

so lebst du heute - verschwendest die Zeit
so you live today - and waste your time

ein Tiger in Ketten
a tiger in chains

zu allem bereit:
resigned to everything

Wildes Wasser
wild water

schwelendes Feuer
smoldering fire

schau in den Spiegel - das bist du.
look in the mirror- that is you

It is interesting to follow the path of a melody through the refractory qualities of different languages. Sometimes the words set to the same melody are a complete break in meaning and tone. The German lyrics above convey sadness and disillusionment. The Italian lyrics translated in the video below for English speaking listeners convey a blissful longing with a mysterious allusion to "a letter that will never be sent". The longing in the song seems to resonate in the heart without ever finding a voice or making eye contact. It is the sort of song that could however give voice to nascent love, lending with its force an eloquence to a faint hearted listener.

The Italian and the German version are both very different from the Moody Blues original. The German differs in literal meaning. It deals with the disillusionment and loneliness of looking at past mistakes. The Italian is close in literal meaning to the original, although it diverges in the stylistic sense. I am including videos in all three languages in this posting. I thank the makers of the Italian video for providing a translation that is very useful for writing this article. I apologise to Italian readers who may note my omission of I Nomadi and their song "Ho Difeso Il Mio Amore, set to the same melody.

Moody Blues nights in White Satin
Sphere: Related Content

Friday, October 10, 2008

Thoughts About Election 2008

By all normal rules of politics,the Republicans should be in much worse trouble than they are now. In general, economic turbulence is blamed on the incumbent President. This makes limited sense. The legislative branch of government has a lot of input in creating economic climate. Additionally, the seeds of crisis are usually sown years before they bear their bitter fruit. An intelligent analysis of the current crisis will create a complex apportionment of blame, with the Democrats getting a good fair share.

Unfortunately, partisan analysts have played three card monty games with public perception, creating the impression that the jackpot of blame lies under the red card instead of the blue. (to twist a metaphor)

That McCain has any chance at all shows that public perception may be far more nuanced than our liberal media would prefer. His decency, his patriotism and the independence of his thinking are providing a positive counterbalance to Obama's radical ties, his inexperience and his sleazy friends. The magnitude of the financial crisis has created a reluctance to change the party in the Oval office without weighing the relative merits of the two contenders.

Only a bumbler could be dealt the hand of circumstance dealt to the Democrats without being way ahead. Obama is far from way ahead right now. He should look to his own personal deficiencies to explain this rather than creating a fictitious politics of race. There is a lot of hope for the Republicans. They have a good man and good ideas.But it will be a tough battle Sphere: Related Content

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Correction and Additional Comments

Right before Yom Kippur I was rushing to post a Saturday Night live skit that has been repeatedly yanked from You Tube. In my haste, I posted a video that was very informative about the financial crisis. Unfortunately all of the comments alluded to the video I am now posting. I apoligise for the confusion this caused We are fortunate to live in a time in which private citizens can keep the flame of free speech flickering.

No more must we invest millions to have a voice. People are finding an alternative to a news media that is a thinly disguised mouthpiece for the Obama campaign. Fortunately, the truth is as close as your search engine.

What I like about this skit is the way it lampoons George Bush's failure to answer Nancy Pelosi's self serving accusations. There is so much that can be said about our current difficulties that is not being said by leading Republicans. The assumption that silence is assent is doing more damage than the accusations themselves. Fortunately, the national dialogue that takes place every four years is not just at dining room tables but over blogs and in chat rooms. The three major networks used to be able to create a national frame of reference and sense of reality. If it was not on the news, it did not exist. Today, they are living in the past. They maintain the illusion that their biased news pieces and skewed polls are the only reality.

Meanwhile, outside the palace gates, a revolution is well under way and it's showing in their ratings. people are switching channels, changing stations and making things happen themselves. And there is nothing they can do about it Sphere: Related Content

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Thoughts About Election 2008

Are Reporters Campaigning on the Job?

In a republic, representatives act on behalf of the people, hopefully acting on behalf of constituents instead of in their own private interests. The media should be an extension of a republican (with a small “r”!) system, acting on behalf of the public and posing probing questions to elected officials.

The mainstream media has in large part abdicated this basic function, often serving as a cheerleader for the Democrats and sounding more like a sports announcer at a horse race.

Interviews with candidates should be like job interviews conducted by reporters on behalf of the public. “Who did you work for?” “What was your job?” “What did you accomplish? ” These are all normal questions whether applying for a job as a manager in a 7-11 or a “manager” of the United States.

If I am interviewing a job applicant and he is defensive about his resume, I will either probe more thoroughly or dismiss him from consideration.

It is very seldom that news reporters conduct “job interviews” any more.

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Saturday Night Live pulled this video. It hit way too close for a lot of people who are regular viewers. I remember when the Nixon administration put pressure on the Smothers Brothers and CBS. Brittleness and paranoia were ultimately the undoing of the Nixon administration. Liberal paranoia bared its fangs in Missouri with the truth squads. Now they are muzzling political satire. Fortunately we have the 21st century version of samizdat, which constitutes blogs and You Tube.

This video is going viral because it was it was banned. Good satire has a way of getting in your face with taboo truths. This video definately qualifies Sphere: Related Content

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

A Comic New Years Greeting From Obama and McCain and Some Political Jokes From Totalitarian Regimes

The serious nature of the of the High Holidays does not preclude a little humour. During an election year, this humour is more than likely going to have a political tinge. I got this spoof video from You Tube, in which the candidates stumble in a comical way in their efforts to be conciliatory. It's almost like a caricature of our own private efforts every year.

Political jokes are priceless. Some of the best ones come from dictatorships. In a democracy, the more brittle a candidate is, the more fun it is to satirise him or her.

I am including with this posting political jokes from the former Soviet Union, Nazi Germany and Belarus

Russian Political Jokes

A judge walks out of his chambers laughing his head off. A colleague approaches him and asks why he is laughing. "I just heard the funniest joke in the world!" "Well, go ahead, tell me!" says the other judge. "I can't - I just gave a guy ten years for it!"

  • "Lenin died, but his cause lives on!" (an actual slogan)
Satirical Variant: Rabinovich notes: "I would prefer it the other way round."

  • A chastushka ridiculing the tendency to praise the Party left and right:
The winter's passed,
The summer's here.
For this we thank
Our party dear!


Прошла зима,
настало лето.
Спасибо партии
за это!

-How do you deal with mice in the Kremlin?
-Put up a sign saying "collective farm". Then half the mice will starve and the others will run away.
During the famine of the civil war, a delegation of starving peasants comes to the Smolny, wishing to file a petition. "We have even started eating the grass like horses," says one peasant. "Soon we will start neighing like horses!" "Come on! Don't worry!" says Lenin reassuringly. "We are drinking tea with honey here, and we are not buzzing like bees, are we?"

Anti Nazi Jokes

Hitler visits a lunatic asylum. The patients give the Hitler salute. As he passes down the line he comes across a man who isn’t saluting.
“Why aren’t you saluting like the others?” Hitler barks.
Mein Führer, I’m the nurse," comes the answer. "I’m not crazy!

A woman known only as as Else K. was executed for telling the following joke.

Hitler and Göring are standing on top of Berlin’s radio tower. Hitler says he wants to do something to cheer up the people of Berlin. “Why don’t you just jump?” suggests Göring.

The following joke was told about the Dachau concentration camp in 1933.

Two men meet. “Nice to see you’re free again. How was the concentration camp?”
“Great! Breakfast in bed, a choice of coffee or chocolate, and for lunch we got soup, meat and dessert. And we played games in the afternoon before getting coffee and cakes. Then a little snooze and we watched movies after dinner.”
The man was astonished: “That’s great! I recently spoke to Meyer, who was also locked up there. He told me a different story.”
The other man nods gravely and says: “Yes, well that’s why they’ve picked him up again.”,1518,434399,00.html

The last joke in this series is about Belarussian dictator Lukashenko who came to power after the fall of communism.

One day Bat'ka (Lukashenko) is driven through a village in his limo. They run over somebody's pig. Bat'ka, an honest person, stops, gives his driver $100 and tells him to find the killed pig's owner and apologize. The driver leaves and isn't back until two hours later, dead drunk. Bat'ka yells at him: “Are you crazy?” The driver replies: “I haven't done anything wrong: I took the money, put the pig into the sack, placed it on my back, walk down the village street and yell - Dear people! I'm Lukashenko's driver and I've just killed this pig! - and suddenly they're all running towards me, with tears of happiness in their eyes, and start pouring me drinks, one after another…”
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