Sunday, October 04, 2009
Literary Lion Obama Will Roar No More
By Jack Cashill
The major media will not likely tackle the emerging evidence of Obama's stunning literary fraud, but the days of Obama's boasting about his writing skills are just as likely over. The immediate cause of concern at the White House is Christopher Andersen's largely benign new book, Barack and Michelle: Portrait of an American Marriage.
Andersen contends that the ambitious Obama, unaware of JFK's own literary fraud, hoped to launch his own political career with a book as did John Kennedy with the discreetly ghost-written Profiles In Courage. Despite a large advance, Obama found himself "hopelessly blocked." After four futile years of trying to finish, Obama "sought advice from his friend and Hyde Park neighbor Bill Ayers." This he did "at Michelle's urging," she being the more pragmatic half of the couple.
What attracted the Obamas were "Ayers's proven abilities as a writer." Barack particularly liked the fluid novelistic style of To Teach, a 1993 book by Ayers. This he hoped to emulate for his own family history. In fact, he had already taped interviews with many of his relatives, both African and American. The key sentence in Andersen's account is the one that follows: "These oral histories, along with his partial manuscript and a trunkload of notes were given to Ayers." Adds Andersen, "Thanks to help from veteran writer Ayers, Barack would be able to submit a manuscript to his editors at Times Book." The manuscript in question would become Obama's 1995 memoir, Dreams From My Father, what Joe Klein of Time Magazine called "the best-written memoir ever produced by an American politician."
From textual sleuthing, I had come to a comparable conclusion more than a year ago, namely that Obama had "turned the framework of his life over to terrorist emeritus Bill Ayers who roughed it in with his own darker sentiments and experiences."
As one example of Ayers' involvement, I had argued that Dreams' tale of Obama's year-long relationship with a rich, green-eyed lovely seemed to have mined the details of Ayers' own relationship to the late Weatherwoman Diana Oughton. From a close reading, I doubted there was such a girl in Obama's life. So does Andersen. "No one," he writes, "including his roommate and closest friend at the time, Siddiqi, knew of this mysterious lover's existence."
It did not matter, however, how accurate was my analysis. From the perspective of Obama's literary defenders, I was a barbarian who could effectively be kept in check outside the gates.
Andersen writes from within the gates. He has no agenda. His book is dispassionate, softly liberal and largely sympathetic to the Obamas, particularly to Michelle and her family. A popular celebrity journalist, he interviewed some 200 people for the book, many of them close to the Obama family. The Obamas had likely given at least their tacit blessing to the project. Given that the natural audience for his book skews female and left, Andersen had no reason to invent facts that would alienate his base. He has no track record of doing the same.
Although Andersen cites me on textual comparisons, I was clearly not the source for the personal details of Obama's life. His retelling of the story was based on what he had been told by someone very close to the action. He had access to people who would never have talked to me, quite possibly Michelle herself or even Bill Ayers.
Clearly shaken, the Obama-centric media find themselves in a fix not unlike that of medieval astronomers upon discovery of a new planet. Every time this happened, these geocentrists had to figure out a convoluted new loop to describe the planet's rotation around the earth. So it is with challenges to the Obama myth, even unwitting ones like Andersen's. Obama's acolytes must find some convoluted new explanation to account for each unexpected deviance from the mythic overview.
Defenses mustered in the last few days include a lack of attribution by Andersen, his ignorance of an imagined "computerized analysis" by an Oxford professor, the citation of me as source and/or a reliance upon me as source. Each of these explanations implies that Andersen is a fraud and a liar and that he contrived the story he told. Andersen's highly successful career as a celebrity journalist argues strongly against such an interpretation.
What impresses the reader about these defenses is how easily their architects satisfy themselves and presumably the Obama faithful with their soundness. The Washington Independent's David Weigel, for instance, is among those who dismiss Andersen's claim because he credits me as a source. To trivialize my contribution, Weigel cites one point of comparison between Obama and Ayers -- their mutual use of the phrase "behind enemy lines" to establish their place in capitalist America -- as though I had not also listed hundreds of other such comparisons, many much more compelling.
Had he read Andersen's book, which he does not appear to have, Weigel would have seen that Andersen's retelling of the story was based not on what I had written but on what Andersen had been told by someone who was on the scene. A close reading of the book, however, might have shaken Weigel's faith in his Milli Vanilli of messiahs.
"I've written two books," Obama told a crowd of students and teachers in Virginia last year. "I actually wrote them myself." The media should be able to protect his reputation among the willfully blind but don't expect to hear Obama make comparable boasts in the near future.
ACORN's Prophetic Lawyer
ACORN's lawyer warned ACORN 15 months ago to begin fixing its massive internal problems or face certain catastrophe. ACORN didn't listen. It let the problems fester. The advice from Elizabeth Kingsley of Harmon, Curran, Spielberg Eisenberg LLP came in the form of an eerily prophetic legal memo to ACORN dated June 19, 2008, the day before ACORN's national board fired disgraced founder Wade Rathke.
The memo is a kind of Holy Grail for ACORN researchers. One source of mine keeps a copy in a safety deposit box. I've lost track of how many people have asked me over the last year if I knew how to get a hold of it. One source told me yesterday that there are many people who would "kill" to gain possession of it. This is a bit of an exaggeration perhaps, but not much.
In articles by investigative reporter Stephanie Strom, the New York Times has published excerpts of the document. Incidentally, aspects of the Old Gray Lady's coverage of ACORN were top-notch last year until management made a conscious decision to suppress Strom's reporting before Election Day, apparently for political reasons.
Bearing the subject line "Initial Report on Organizational Review," the Kingsley memo is addressed to ACORN and major affiliates ACORN Beneficial Association, ACORN Housing Corp., ACORN Institute, ACORN Votes, American Institute for Social Justice, Citizens Consulting Inc., Citizens Services Inc., Communities Voting Together, Pennsylvania Institute for Community Affairs Inc., and Project Vote (formal name: Voting for America Inc.).
The complete memo will be posted at Andrew Breitbart's BigGovernment.com later today. It consists of sequentially numbered pages, but one page -- page 14 -- is missing, so in my file page 13 abruptly jumps to page 15. My source, who insists on anonymity, says the document arrived in that form via a fax machine. I have not retouched or altered the document in any way except where I superimposed the logo of the think tank I work for, Capital Research Center.
Underscoring how important the document is to ACORN, all pages except the first page bear lawyerly caveats at the top: "Sensitive Report -- Do Not Distribute Beyond Initial Recipient List." Perhaps that's community organizer-speak for "TOP SECRET."
The Kingsley memo paints a picture of a once-proud activist conglomerate in utter meltdown and confirms some of the most serious allegations about ACORN now being heard on Capitol Hill. The problems within ACORN, she admits, are systemic. Kingsley explains that her concerns fall into four major categories: "respect for corporate integrity, the necessary separation between different types of political work, the niceties of 501(c)(3) tax compliance and accounting for those funds, and a big-picture question about organizational capacity." She goes to great pains explaining that she is not trying to single any person out, "but to point to systemic institutional concerns."
Americans who follow the news know that the activities of the ACORN network, a tangled mess of interlocking directorates and affiliated tax-exempt groups that routinely swap seven-figure checks, have long cried out for a probe under federal racketeering laws. The undercover prostitution sting videos that began popping up at BigGovernment.com in mid-September made America intensely interested in ACORN for the first time. While the mainstream media is now covering ACORN, kind of, sort of, no longer can ACORN be said to be the exclusive preserve of Fox News Channel and conservative talk show hosts.
In her reference manual for left-wing activists, The Practical Progressive, Erica Payne reports ACORN's total 2008 budget was $50 million. Surely that figure is too low.
The network has taken in at least $107 million in donations and $53 million in federal funds since 1993, yet it owes millions of dollars in back taxes and is eligible for up to $8.5 billion in federal funding this year.
Recent postings on ICJS
ABC Report on Palestinian TV show
Judge Goldstone - Peace criminal
US Pledges to quash Goldstone report
Demonisation from Down Under
The BEST statistics you ever saw
The Limits of Polite Discourse Exposing People to Evil Ideas
I have now caught up with my "best of" picture and cartoon galleries. Selections for the first half of this year are now up. The updated index file to the galleries is here or here.
The Olympic Defeat: "The International Olympic Committee can be a fickle bunch, so there's no humiliation in Chicago's failure yesterday to win its bid for the 2016 summer games. The Windy City gave a good effort, losing out in the first elimination round to Tokyo, Madrid and Rio de Janeiro, which eventually won the nod. If Mr. Obama and the White House made a mistake, it was in their apparently boundless faith that somehow Mr. Obama's personal popularity would carry the day. As if, merely by seeing the rock star in person, the delegate from, say, Egypt would abandon his simmering dislike for America, forget all the dinners and deals cut with the Rio Committee, and reward Chicago. In that sense, the Olympic defeat is a relatively painless reminder that interests trump charm or likability in world affairs. Better to relearn this lesson in a fight over a sporting event than over nuclear missiles. Oh, and one more silver lining: This is one decision Mr. Obama can't blame on George W. Bush, though no doubt at MSNBC they will try."
Unemployment Rate Highest in 26 Years: "The recession's toll on workers rose again in September, with the unemployment rate climbing to 9.8 percent, its highest level since 1983, as the count of the nation's jobless topped 15.1 million, according to a government report released Friday. The report underscores fears that, even as some sectors of the economy have stabilized and stock markets have rallied, the prospects for workers remain bleak.
The minimum wage hike has driven the wages of teen employees down to $0.00.: "Yesterday's September labor market report was lousy by any measure, with 263,000 lost jobs and the jobless rate climbing to 9.8%. But for one group of Americans it was especially awful: the least skilled, especially young workers. Washington will deny the reality, and the media won't make the connection, but one reason for these job losses is the rising minimum wage. Earlier this year, economist David Neumark of the University of California, Irvine, wrote on these pages that the 70-cent-an-hour increase in the minimum wage would cost some 300,000 jobs. Sure enough, the mandated increase to $7.25 took effect in July, and right on cue the August and September jobless numbers confirm the rapid disappearance of jobs for teenagers. The September teen unemployment rate hit 25.9%, the highest rate since World War II and up from 23.8% in July. Some 330,000 teen jobs have vanished in two months. Hardest hit of all: black male teens, whose unemployment rate shot up to a catastrophic 50.4%. It was merely a terrible 39.2% in July."
Don't Blame Voters for California's Budget Woes: "With the Golden State still struggling to balance its books, politicians from both sides of the aisle have come up with a nifty way to avoid responsibility for the mess: Blame the voters. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, a Republican, summed it up for his fellow pols recently by telling a reporter: "All of those propositions tell us how we must spend our money. . . . This is no way, of course, to run a state." State Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, a Democrat, has made similar comments in denouncing "ballot-box budgeting." Their indictment is false. Voters aren't tying lawmakers' hands too much, but too little... In looking for the causes of the state's budget mess, a good place to start is with the unionized public employees, who have filed their own lawsuit against the budget. Public union ranks have grown a whopping 37% since 1990 and consume about one-third of the $85 billion budget in wages and benefits. California also faces a total unfunded future liability of about $110 billion for pensions and health-care benefits."
CBS Television Spins David Letterman as Victim: "David Letterman admitted during taping of The Late Show with David Letterman yesterday that he had sex with female staffers and, later, became the target of a $2 million blackmail attempt. Immediately thereafter, it appears his handlers at CBS began to spin the talk show host as a victim, working overtime to limit the damage to their network and, possibly, save the show. In reviewing how The Early Show reported on Letterman’s infidelity this morning, I found it disgusting — but not surprising at all — how the network spin doctors cut and spliced the clips to minimize the damage. Instead of airing the entire admission, they cut the show clip after Letterman said, “…and I can prove that you do some terrible things.” Only running the entire admission segment would have revealed the full scope of his Ted Kennedy-like actions"
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The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)
Posted by JR at 1:37 AM