Tuesday, 12 August 2008

OBAMA AND THE PALESTINIAN CONTRIBUTIONS

Ken Berwitz

This is the kind of story that makes me glad there is a blogosphere.

Did you hear the one about the two Palestinian Arabs who illegally contributed about $30,000 to the Obama campaign? 

And the one about the Obama campaign changing the address it got the $30,000 from to make it look legal, so the money would not have to be returned?

And the one about the campaign promising to return the money but not providing any information that they actually did?

Mainstream media are about as likely to initiate an information stream about this story as Barbra Streisand is to have a sex change operation and enter the Mr. Universe contest. 

But Aaron Klein of World Net Daily is all over it.  And voters, like you, should know the facts he has come up with.  So here they are (the bold print is mine):

ELECTION 2008
Obama camp still can't verify return of Arab cash
More questions than answers in illegal Middle East donor affair

Posted: August 11, 2008
10:13 pm Eastern
By Aaron Klein
 2008 WorldNetDaily

JERUSALEM One week after WND reported Palestinian brothers inside the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip illegally contributed to Barack Obama's campaign, the Democratic presidential candidate's team has not responded to repeated WND requests for a clarification regarding how purported refunds were returned. The brothers told WND their money was not refunded.

Last week it was exposed Palestinian Gazans Monir, Hosam and Osama Edwan made a series of donations online at Obama's official campaign website totaling more than $30,000.

The donations violate election laws, including prohibitions against receiving contributions from foreigners and accepting more than $2,300 from one individual during a single election.

The Wall Street Journal reported it spoke to Obama officials who said the nearly $33,500 in donations were received between Sept. 20 and Dec. 6 of last year and that most of the money was returned by Dec. 6. The campaign claimed, however, the refunds were not reported to the Federal Election Commission due to a technical error.

The Obama camp insisted the remaining $2,500 was refunded Aug. 4 and that all the refunds will be reflected soon in an amended report. The campaign said new controls are in place to prevent any similar attempts in the future.

But WND spoke to the brothers, who denied the Obama campaign refunded their money.

"No, we did not receive any money back from the Obama campaign at any time," said Monir Edwan.

The Edwans continue to maintain their financial transactions made on Obama's campaign website were not actual donations but purchases of "Obama for President" T-shirts.

The transactions, however, were listed as donations in U.S. government election filings.

Obama's campaign also told the Wall Street Journal last week the funds from the Edwans were for the purchase of T-shirts.

The Obama team has not explained why T-shirt revenue was reported to the FEC as contributions.

The Atlas Shrugs blog, which first highlighted the unusual Edwan contributions, meanwhile, has posted copies of FEC letters from as early as last April requesting additional information for 36 contributors, including the Edwans. The FEC letters, which document the contributions in question, state the donations may be "excessive" exceeding the allotted amount for each individual.

The question arises: Why didn't the Obama campaign immediately report back to the FEC in April that the illegal Edwan money had been returned four months prior, as the campaign now claims. The FEC, in fact, had to send an additional letter just last month requesting an explanation.

In addition, the explanation both from the Obama camp and from the Edwans that the brothers purchased T-shirts from the Gaza Strip doesn't appear to stand up to close scrutiny. The Edwans claimed to WND the T-shirts were received in Gaza last December.

When the Edwans made their contributions online, they listed their street as "Tal Esaltan," which they wrote was located in "Rafah, GA." The same address was listed in all relevant FEC filings.

Rafah is not a city in Georgia.

A WND investigation last week tracked down the Edwans living in the Tal Esaltan neighborhood of Rafah, a large refugee camp in the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip.

The brothers could not explain how the purportedly purchased T-shirts arrived in Gaza if the campaign had a mistaken address in Georgia. The T-shirts would have been shipped to the purported "Rafah, GA" address.

That the Edwans were able to contribute any money to Obama's campaign from Gaza also raises questions into the methods used by the presidential candidate's website to accept online donations.

The website donation form asks each donor to affirm he or she is a U.S. citizen and is above the age of 16 but doesn't require donors to prove their citizenship status, such as providing a social security number. The form further requires the donor to affirm the contribution is not coming from a corporation, political action committee or lobby group.

This has scandal written all over it. 

But, fortuitously for the Obama campaign the scandal has a "D" instead of an "R" next to it.  So mainstream media are largely eliminated as a source of information.

Thank you Aaron Klein and World Net Daily for staying on top of the story.  We owe you a debt of gratitude.  And thanks a lump, mainstream media, for ignoring another Democratic scandal.

But listen to them squeal like stuck pigs if you call them biased.


OBAMA SNUBS US SOLDIERS. AGAIN.

Ken Berwitz

I read this at www.littlegreenfootballs.com.  It came from the Weekly Standard web site.  Please pay special attention to the paragraph in bold print:

Obama Snubs U.S. Soldiers Again

Calling their convention "America's Townhall" takes a lot of chutzpah given Barack Obama refused to do a series of townhalls with McCain. But not as much as declining to do a townhall with U.S. soldiers because of a "previously scheduled commitment" and then jetting off to Hawaii for a vacation.

Last month, Obama refused to do a military townhall for 6,000 veterans, service members, and military families at Fort Hood, Texas. That event would have taken place tonight, but Obama spokesman, Phillip Carter, said at the time Obama couldn't make it because we unfortunately had a previously scheduled commitment on the date proposed. But Obama doesn't have another event scheduled for this evening -- he's busy bodyboarding in Hawaii.

Let's get this straight: When Obama visits Europe, he'd rather address German hipsters than soldiers who were injured while fighting in Iraq. And now that he's back in America, he'd rather vacation in Hawaii than answer questions that our soldiers and their families have for him. Is there anything that would convince the self-proclaimed presumptive president that he'll have to address this country's military before he'll be ready to lead

As mentioned, I saw this at www.littlegreenfootballs.com which got it from the Weekly Standard.

Where else would you expect this to come from?  The NY Times?  Today?  The network News shows?  MSNBC??????????

But listen to them squeal like stuck pigs if you call them biased.


THE LATEST MCCAIN INTERNET AD

Ken Berwitz

Have you seen John McCain's latest internet ad?  If not, just click here:

.I don't know who is going to win the 2008 presidential campaign.  But I do know who is winning the battle of internet ads.

This one builds on the premise that Barack Obama is a celebrity and not a serious presidential contender.  Given the success of the initial ad, that makes all the sense in the world.

It also makes me eager to see the next one.  And I don't often say that about anyone's political ads.


~~~BATHE IT YOUR WAY, BATHE IT YOUR WAY...~~~

Ken Berwitz

Here's a good reason to, er, eschew the Burger King in Xenia, Ohio.

It comes to us via WDTN, the local NBC affiliate:

Video shows Burger King employee bathing in sink

Employee, ' Mr. Unstable', bathes in restaurant sink.
Employee, ' Mr. Unstable', bathes in restaurant sink.
The Burger King in Xenia, Ohio; Local managers had no comment
The Burger King in Xenia, Ohio; Local managers had no comment

XENIA, Ohio (WDTN) - Some workers at a Greene County restaurant are in hot water with the health department, after an employee took a bubble bath in a store sink.

It happened at the Burger King on Orange Street in Xenia.

A four-minute video posted on MySpace captured the employee, self-described as Mr. Unstable, bathing nude in a large stainless steel sink as several other employees and a store manager looked on.

The video began making its rounds on the Internet Monday morning. One of the recipients was Greene County Health Commissioner, Mark McDonnell.

"My first thought was oh my god," said McDonnell.

McDonnell immediately sent staff to restaurant to investigate the numerous health code violations.

He said the restaurant was aware of the incident and had already taken steps to clean up, including disposing of all the utensils and sanitizing the sink twice.

All of the employees involved were fired.

"You can't account for everyone's stupid actions but when things do happen if you respond to it and take the appropriate action that's reassuring," McDonnell said.

Some Burger King patrons don't agree.

"That's just, it's wrong it's a place where families come to eat and them taking a bath in the sink that's just not work ethic," said Crystal Dodge, who said she used to eat at Burger King all the time.

2News reporter Megan O'Rourke went to the Xenia Burger King Monday afternoon looking for comment, but was met at the door by an employee who asked her to leave and referred comment to Burger King's corporate office.

Burger King spokesperson Denise Wilson emailed the following statement to 2News Monday afternoon:

"Burger King Corp. was just notified of this incident and is cooperating fully with the health department. We have sanitized the sink and have disposed of all other kitchen tools and utensils that were used during the incident.

We have also taken appropriate corrective action on the employees that were involved in this video. Additionally, the remaining staff at this restaurant is being retrained in health and sanitation procedures."

But for diners like Crystal, it may be too little, too late.

"That's just disgusting. I wouldn't want to eat here after I heard something like that, that's just not appropriate for employment," Dodge said.

"This kind of stunt really is a black eye for the restaurant itself."

Health Department officials plan to talk with prosecutors to see if any criminal charges will be filed, but they don't have any plans to issue fines at this time.

Well, at least the EMPLOYEES are sanitary.

And you can peek under those suds to see if Burger King really is the "Home of the Whopper".

Ok, enough from me.  Now you have to supply your own bad humor.


DID BARACK OBAMA END RUSSIA'S WAR AGAINST GEORGIA?

Ken Berwitz

That title looks so idiotic that I'd be ashamed to have it up there.....were it not for the fact that Tim Kaine, Governor of Virginia and on Barack Obama's short list for VP, actually said it.

No I did not just take a drug cocktail of some kind and I am not hallucinating.  He really did.  Steve Gilbert of www.sweetness-light.com has the video on his site, and I'm posting it for you to see/hear.

Enjoy!

Obamas Request Ended Georgia Crisis

August 12th, 2008

From Fox News, via YouTube:


Tim Kaine: Barack Obama Solved The Crisis In Georgia

Kaine's exact words: 

"...it was a bad crisis for the world.  It required tough words but also a smart approach, to call on the international community to step in, and I'm very very happy that the senator's request for a cease fire has been complied with by President Medvedev"

How imbecilic would you have to be to buy into this?

Barack Obama makes a vapid, predictable statement, straight out of diplomacy-central-casting, and you are being told that it single-handedly ended the Russia-Georgia conflict (which, by the way, is not over according to Georgia...a little something Mr. Kaine, in his exuberance, neglected to take into account). 

How coincidental that Russia claims to have stopped fighting right after achieving its military objectives.  What lucky timing for the Russians that Barack Obama convinced them of the error of their ways just at the point where they got everything they wanted! 

All I can say is, if being a fart-catcher for Barack Obama is a qualification to be his VP, this has got to put Mr. Kaine way out in front. 


NANCY LIKES DRILLING NOW. HONEST!

Ken Berwitz

The polls are in and the focus groups have been conducted.  Now, suddenly, Nancy Pelosi is ok with offshore drilling - with about 5,692 different caveats, of course, that would address every splinter group in her hard-left coalition and, in reality, prevent it from ever happening.

But she had to say something, didn't she?  Oil, as of this moment and quite possibly through to November, is the wedge issue of this election campaign.  And Pelosi, along with her Democratic amen chorus, is on the wrong side of it.

Michelle Malkin has put together the particulars.  Here they are:

By Michelle Malkin    August 12, 2008 09:46 AM

Maybe Do-Nothing Nancy should enter the Olympic diving competition. She gets a 10 for her flip-flop-flop yesterday on drilling. It is now no longer the hoax she knew.

What a hoot. Did she think she could sell 2 more books trying to pander and straddle like this? Nan, youre slaying us. My sides hurt.

From CNNs Larry King show:

PELOSI: I would not. It depends how the drilling is put forth. But I dont that is not excluded, let me say it that way. It depends how that is proposed, if the safeguards are there. Now, mind you, 68 million acres 10 million more acres in Alaska where they can drill. But if theres if we can get some great things, in terms of renewable energy resources; a renewable electricity standard; wind, solar, biofuels and the rest in that context, because if you make a decision only to go with the offshore drilling, you are increasing our dependence on fossil fuels and you will never free yourself of that addiction unless you invest in the renewable energy resources that are good for the environment, cheaper for the consumer and will reverse global warming.

And the consumer is our first responsibility. The American taxpayer owns this oil offshore, by the way. Let me make this one final point. This oil is owned by the American taxpayers. The oil companies drill. We give them money to drill there. But we get very little in return.

So I think as we have this debate, which is a very healthy one to have and I welcome it, we have to review and realign the relationship between our oil, big oils profits and what it means to the consumer and the taxpayer.

Yeah. She means realigningwith Big Wind!

14 percent and plunging faster.

God almighty does she really think we are all this stupid? 

I guess she does.


THE OBAMALYMPICS AD

Ken Berwitz

Here, folks, is the best ad of them all.  Although I saw it on www.sweetness-light.com, it comes to us from the Tennessee Republican party.  It's funny, clever and devastatingly accurate.

See for yourself:

.

Wow.  Does that bring it home, or what?


PEOPLE'S WEEKLY WORLD: A GUEST EDITORIAL

Ken Berwitz

Here is an editorial analysis of the 2008 election from the People's Weekly World, published by the Communist Party, USA.  It is written by Sam Webb, who is chairman of this organization. The bold print is mine. 

Elections 08: embracing the moment

Author: Sam Webb
People's Weekly World Newspaper, 08/01/08 13:46

The expected presidential nomination of Barack Obama is a path breaking and historic achievement from many standpoints, not least the struggle for equality and against racism. Obamas nomination leaves an enduring mark on every aspect of our nations culture a culture steeped both in racism and anti-racism.

Eugene Robinson, a columnist for the Washington Post, had this to say:

A young, black, first-term senatora man whose father was from Kenya, whose mother was from Kansas and whose name sounds as if it might have come from the roster of Guantanamo detaineeshas won the marathon of primaries and caucuses to become the presumptive presidential nominee of the Democratic Party. To reach this point, he had to do more than outduel the partys most powerful and resourceful political machine. He also had to defy, and ultimately defeat, 389 years of history.

The breaking of this barrier says much about the candidate but it also speaks volumes about the American people. While it augurs well for our countrys future, it must be very disconcerting for the ruling class that class which has been the main architect and beneficiary of racism for nearly four centuries.

People crossed racial and gender barriers in numbers that many of us didnt think possible only a few months ago. Some said an Obama nomination was impossible, that it would never happen, and that white voters would never pull the lever for a Black presidential candidate. But the primaries proved that the doubters were wrong.

Breaking barriers

The Clinton campaign also broke barriers. Her concession speech was stirring as well as profound in many ways. While we had disagreements (and stated them) with the racist text/subtext in her campaign, it is also true that she captured the imagination of millions of women who in their own lives encounter gender barriers and oppression in the home, work and community. I am not sure if we have taken full measure

Her candidacy dissolved male supremacist notions disfiguring the thinking of men and plowed away barriers preventing women from playing a full and equal role in every aspect of social life. The struggle for full equality of women wont necessarily be easy going forward, but Clintons campaign did take the fight to higher ground.

Decent and democratic minded people are rightfully celebrating the breaking of these barriers. Imagine how enthused the depression-era communists those who gave their lives to Black/white unity and equality at a time of legalized segregation and lynching with impunity would be about these turn of events.

Soberness in politics is essential, but it should be combined with passion, hope, excitement and images of a just and peaceful future. If we are going to err with respect to the significance of the moment and the potential of the coming elections, it is better to err on the side of passion and hope.

Anti-racism at a new level

Most, I suspect, underestimated the growth of anti-racist feeling among white people to one degree or another. Consider this statement by Loree Suggs, executive secretary of the Cleveland building trades, in reference to Obama:

Go back to your locals. Now is the time to unite. We cannot let any bias or racial thoughts get in the way. If your members have any problem with racial bias, tell them to get over it for all time, but especially now for this election, get over it. We must put Barack Obama in the White House and, if we dont, we are in deep trouble.

This may not be typical of changing sentiments of white people in general and white unionists in particular, but it isnt atypical either. Mass thinking is changing. Again, to quote Robinson,

[T]he amazing thing isnt that there were instances of overt, old style racism during the campaign, its that there were so few. The amazing thing is that so many Americans have been willing to accept or, indeed, reject Obama based on his qualifications and his ideas, not on his race. Ill never forget visiting Iowa in December and witnessing all white-crowds file into high school gymnasiums to take the measure of a black man and, ultimately, decide that he was someone who expressed their hopes and dreams.

While I dont think that we have fully digested the political meaning of this turn of events, we can still say that the readiness of so many white voters to cast their ballot for an African American candidate in the presidential primaries gives confidence that the struggle against racism in its ideological and material forms can proceed on higher ground and in a bolder fashion.

Beware of rigid concepts

Tightly sealed political categories in this moment are not useful. It is said, for example, that Obama is a centrist or, worse still, a bourgeois politician. But arent categories of this kind, even if they capture some aspects of reality, too closed to be useful in a dynamic situation?

Political categories should allow for complexity, contradictions, transitions and new experience. If this is true in general then it is even truer at this moment when politics are fluid and social actors (individuals and social groups) are in motion?

Isnt it possible for a social group or an individual to occupy more than one political space? Isnt there something to be said for Italian Communist Antonio Gramscis concept of contradictory consciousness? Shouldnt we think twice before embracing cut and dried assessments of social actors that not only fail to capture complexity of their politics, but also impede our political imagination to creatively elaborate strategic and tactical positions?

Assessments of candidates should be informed by their political formation and sensibilities, the movement that has sprung up around a candidacy and the overall context of these elections, including the presence of a powerful right-wing attack machine. Rather than pigeonholing Obama, for example, as a centrist or bourgeois politician, it may be more useful to characterize him as a potentially transformative political figure, much like Abraham Lincoln, Franklin D. Roosevelt and Martin Luther King, Jr. were. None of them were revolutionaries, but they each had a keen appreciation of the moment in which they lived, they each interacted with the larger movement of their time and they each understood the necessity of expanding and giving new content to democracy and citizenship rights, albeit in the context of their times.

It isnt ordained that Obama will fit into this category, either, but it is also far too early to foreclose that possibility. Life and struggle will decide.

Appreciating political realities

There is a tendency especially among some on the progressive and left part of the political spectrum to nitpick every single position of this or that candidate, including Obama. Some people on the left were apoplectic over Obamas speeches to AIPAC and a Cuban American group in Miami. It is true that there is much in each speech that the left would disagree with, but at the same time we should look for positive openings that the speeches offer, if not now, then in the event of an Obama presidency. Unfortunately, looking for openings, by the way, isnt something that the left is skillful at doing, especially in the electoral arena.

There should be an appreciation of this broad popular movement that has arisen around Obamas candidacy. It has diverse currents and trends, including sections of the ruling class all of which have to be taken into account. This campaign is also up against a very powerful right-wing attack machine not to mention powerful and reactionary corporate interests.

What is more, to win, the campaign has to reach out to independents and disaffected Republicans. Without winning a section of them, a landslide victory is improbable.

The broader movement should give some wiggle room to this path-breaking candidacy. Obama is not running for city council in Berkeley or a safe congressional seat. Instead he is running for the highest national office in 50 states and in every region of the country.

Being right in the right way

Communists and others on the left can and should differ with Obama and other Democratic candidates. But the more important question is how we do it. Carl Winter, a former national leader of the Communist Party, said to me on more than one occasion: It is not enough to be right, but you have to be right in the right way. By which I understood Carl to mean that Communists, in advancing our views, have to be not only respectful of other peoples opinions and circumstances, but also to present them in a way that deepens peoples understanding, confidence and unity in the context of our strategic objective.

In order to advance one iota of a pro-peoples agenda, the peoples movement has to elect Obama and to enlarge the Democratic Party majorities in Congress. Without that everything else is wishful thinking.

However the focus in these elections should neither be solely on the candidate nor solely on the movement, but rather on the interactions and connections between the two. We should accent dynamics, fluidity and possibilities of the political process rather than dwelling on this or that shortcoming of either the candidate or the broader movement. If the latter consumes us, if it becomes the main thing, we will miss the forest for the trees.

There it is, every word.  Make of it what you will.


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