Archive for October 5th, 2009

ACORN Paycheck Aside, Patrick Gaspard is a Radical

Posted on October 5, 2009. Filed under: Acorn | Tags: , , , , , , |

by Kyle Olson

Several days ago, Capital Research Center’s Matthew Vadum published research here indicating an ACORN alumni in the White House (other than the president): Political Director Patrick Gaspard.  As I did three weeks prior at ACORNcracked.com, Matthew used a Wade Rathke blog as the source, which Rathke, the founder of ACORN,  immediately changed after Vadum’s report, citing “memory tricks.”  Politico led the way in poo-pooing the connection once Rathke played cover-up.

Rathke said it not only on his blog, but also at a book signing in New Orleans, which was recently covered in the Fox News Special: The Truth About ACORN.”  While we attended that book signing and were not able to get that portion on tape, the Fox documentary crew did.  Sadly, the remarks apparently ended up on the cutting room floor.

The fact is, Patrick Gaspard, Obama’s “Glue Man,” is more important than Van Jones ever hoped of being.  The fact is, one of the most critical and influential jobs in a White House, the Director of Political Affairs, is occupied by a former SEIU health care lobbyist and ACORN organizer.  To be exact, he was Executive Vice President–the #2–at SEIU 1199 in New York City.

After Gaspard was appointed to the White House, Carribbean Voice quoted him as saying, “I grew up in 1199…and I will always be an 1199er wherever I am.”  SEIU’s luxury is that now taxpayers are paying for it.

 

Wade Rathke, current organizer with SEIU Local 100 (in New Orleans) and ACORN International (now “Community Organizations International”), called Gaspard a “great friend” on his ChiefOrganizer.org blog. Additionally, Rathke theorized how Gaspard was likely instrumental in working with SEIU to bring “big health care operators” to the table.  [Figuring once scrutiny came to someone high-level in the White House, the evidence would be changed, we turned Rathke’s blog posting into a PDF.]

That is curious, given the Obama Transition team’s pledge that Gaspard would refrain from issues he had lobbied previously.  According to the Washington Post, a transition spokesman said, “Patrick and Mark [Gitenstein] have jobs on the campaign that are general in nature, but per the unprecedented ethics policy laid out earlier this week they will recuse themselves from the fields of policy or agencies they lobbied in the previous 12 months.”

So we are to believe the Political Director of the White House—one of the most important players in the administration—is sitting on his hands while Obama attempts to salvage his biggest “reform” yet, and likely ever?  Ethics schmethics.

When Sean Bell was shot by New York City police in 2007, Al Sharpton reached out to Patrick Gaspard (while he was at SEIU 1199) to formulate a response.  According to Politicker NY, “In December 2006, Mr. Sharpton asked Patrick Gaspard to help him assemble an emergency meeting of about 300 activists, black nationalists, union and political leaders to decide on an appropriate response to the police shooting…”

Sharpton used the SEIU 1199 office to hold a protest organizational meeting.  According to The Observer, the union was represented by Gaspard at the meeting.

The People’s Organization for Progress, along with the New Black Panther Party, organized protests against the New York City police department, carrying signs saying such things as “KILL THE PIGS THAT KILL OUR KIDS.”

Read the rest at Big Government.com

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Is Conservatism Brain-Dead?

Posted on October 5, 2009. Filed under: Conservative | Tags: , , , , |

By Steven F. Hayward

Over his decades as a columnist, lecturer, TV host and debater, William F. Buckley Jr. lost his cool in public only once — when he threatened to sock Gore Vidal “in your goddamn face” on the third night of their joint appearances on ABC during the ill-fated 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago. Three nights on a television set with Vidal might drive anyone mad, yet Buckley also tangled with the roughest players on the left, from Jesse Jackson to William Kunstler, with unfailing composure.

But suppose that instead of his formal addresses and his weekly “Firing Line” show on PBS, Buckley had hosted a talk radio show 15 hours a week for 20 years, or hosted a nightly hour-long cable news show, sliced into six-minute segments. One can imagine him archly sniffing: “You can’t possibly immanentize the eschaton in six minutes!” But one can also imagine him overexposed, spread thin chasing the issue of the moment and perhaps losing his temper now and then — in short, less the man of style and ideas who inspired two generations of conservative thinkers and more just a populist shock jock with a funny prep-school accent.

During the glory days of the conservative movement, from its ascent in the 1960s and ’70s to its success in Ronald Reagan’s era, there was a balance between the intellectuals, such as Buckley and Milton Friedman, and the activists, such as Phyllis Schlafly and Paul Weyrich, the leader of the New Right. The conservative political movement, for all its infighting, has always drawn deeply from the conservative intellectual movement, and this mix of populism and elitism troubled neither side.

Today, however, the conservative movement has been thrown off balance, with the populists dominating and the intellectuals retreating and struggling to come up with new ideas. The leading conservative figures of our time are now drawn from mass media, from talk radio and cable news. We’ve traded in Buckley for Beck, Kristol for Coulter, and conservatism has been reduced to sound bites.

Continue reading in the Washington Post

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ACORN Plans Massive Layoffs!

Posted on October 5, 2009. Filed under: Acorn | Tags: , , , , |

by Matthew Vadum

A credible source claims the embattled left-wing advocacy group ACORN is poised to announce massive staff layoffs but an ACORN spokesman denies this is the case.

A credible source close to the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now revealed that the activist network intends to lay off all staff members operating out of its New Orleans headquarters. All information provided by the source to this reporter in the past has turned out to be correct.

However, ACORN spokesman Scott Levenson of the public relations firm The Advance Group in New York City said the source was incorrect.

In an interview Friday afternoon with Levenson said (referring to BigGovernment.com), “You guys just can’t get it right. You’re wrong again.”

When pressed to elaborate, Levenson declined to do so.

Levenson received media attention earlier this year when Fox News host Glenn Beck ejected the combative publicist from his studio during a commercial break. Beck said at the time that Levenson accused him of being a racist.

My source said that one of the employees to be cashiered in the Crescent City is the daughter of disgraced ACORN founder Wade Rathke. Rathke’s wife, Beth Butler, also works for ACORN but it is unclear at this point if she too will be laid off. Rathke’s son also reportedly is employed by ACORN.

ACORN also plans to lay off two-thirds of its Washington, D.C., staffers as soon as Wednesday of next week, according to the source. Layoffs will also extend to ACORN’s affiliate the ACORN Institute.

The source also revealed that all or most of ACORN’s development staff in the group’s New York City office will soon be laid off if they haven’ been laid off already.

Read more at BigGovernment.com

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Obama Jobs Deficit a New Record, Again

Posted on October 5, 2009. Filed under: Labor |

by J.D. Foster, Ph.D

Another month under President Obama, another 263,000 jobs lost. It was not supposed to be this way. Barack Obama promised America that, if elected President and given control over the nation’s economic policies, he would create 3.5 million jobs, beginning with the enactment of a massive economic stimulus package. Today’s release of dismal employment figures by the Department of Labor show that the nation is still waiting.

So far in his term in office, employment has dropped by about 3.4 million jobs, while the unemployment rate has hit 9.8 percent, the highest in 26 years.[1] The President repeatedly pledged to create 3.5 million new jobs by the end of 2010. He has also repeatedly emphasized accountability and measuring his presidency by results. The President’s jobs promise means total employment should be at least 138.6 million by 2010, leaving him with a total deficit to close that now stands at 7.6 million jobs.[2] By his own standard, these results attest that Obama’s policies have so far failed to deliver.

Fortunately, the economy’s natural recuperative powers spurred by powerful, effective stimulus from the Federal Reserve mean the recession may be ending in the sense that overall output and incomes are stabilizing and the recovery may be on the horizon. Even so, job losses are likely to continue until the recovery accelerates markedly, perhaps sometime in 2010 or even 2011. Meanwhile, the President’s policies—such as unprecedented spending-driven deficits and threatened massive tax and regulatory increases—will continue to put downward pressure on employment rather than help to reach his jobs target.

Promises, Promises, and the 

Read more at Heritage.Org

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A war of necessity turns out not so necessary

Posted on October 5, 2009. Filed under: military | Tags: , , , , |

by Michael Barone

“This is not a war of choice,” Barack Obama told the Veterans of Foreign Wars on Aug. 17. “This is a war of necessity. Those who attacked America on 9/11 are plotting to do so again. If left unchecked, the Taliban insurgency will mean an even larger safe haven from which al Qaeda would plot to kill more Americans. So this is not only a war worth fighting. This is fundamental to the defense of our people.”

But that was nearly seven weeks ago. Now it appears that Obama is about to ignore the advice of Army Gen. Stanley McChrystal, whom he installed as commander in Afghanistan in May, after relieving his predecessor ahead of schedule. McChrystal, who came up as a Special Forces officer, is an expert in counterinsurgency. Not surprisingly, in his Aug. 30 report to Defense Secretary Robert Gates, he recommended a course that seems certain to require a substantial number of additional troops.

During the first three weeks of September, Obama held one meeting on the “war of necessity.” Then on Sept. 20, Obama appeared on five talk shows to push his health plan. The next day, Bob Woodward published a story in The Washington Post based on a copy of McChrystal’s report, which the newspaper later posted in redacted form. Woodward made it clear that McChrystal would request more troops. When questioners pressed him about the war, he said he was rethinking his Afghanistan strategy.

Snow Report

via A war of necessity turns out not so necessary | Washington Examiner .

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The Noble ‘Sacrifice’ Of Michelle Obama

Posted on October 5, 2009. Filed under: America | Tags: , , , , |

By Michelle Malkin

It’s hard out there for a first lady of the United States. Take it from travel-weary Michelle Obama. On Tuesday night, she boarded a luxury 757 for Copenhagen. Think of the stairs she had to climb. Oh, the agony of the feet!

Upon arrival, Mrs. O, her “chit-chat buddy,” Chicago-based talk-show queen Oprah Winfrey, and Chicago powerbroker/interest-conflicted real estate mogul/senior White House adviser Valerie Jarrett immediately embarked on a grueling, grip-and-grin campaign to secure the Olympics for their hometown. Our smile muscles ache in sympathy.

You will be comforted to know that the gracious FLOTUS feels your pain for her pain. “As much of a sacrifice as people say this is for me or Oprah or the president to come for these few days,” the first lady told a group of fellow Chicago 2016 boosters, “so many of you in this room have been working for years to bring this bid home.” Translation: Thank me, thank you, for all we do.

Never has self-congratulatory gratitude been raised to such an art form, but there was no time for loyal subjects to dwell. The selflessly indefatigable Michelle Obama had to rush off for an 800-meter wine-and-cheese dash with International Olympic Committee members, followed by a rigorous aerobic Heads of State luncheon hosted by Queen Margrethe II of Denmark and another high-heeled trek to the IOC Opening Ceremony at the Copenhagen Opera House.

Of course, it’s not entirely clear which “people” out there are saying that the Obamas’ jaunt to Denmark is a “sacrifice.”

Certainly not the families of the 43 American soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines who have died in Afghanistan since Gen. Stanley McChrystal called for more reinforcements.

Certainly not the families of the nearly 40 children and teens in Chicago who lost their lives on the out-of-control streets of the Windy City so far this year.

The first lady’s slip of self-absorption reminds me of a useful passage in Washington Post writer Liza Mundy’s biography of Mrs. Obama. After graduating from Princeton University and Harvard Law School, the bitterly oppressed Michelle Obama headed back to her native Chicago to join the high-powered law firm of Sidley Austin — the ninth largest in the world. There, Mundy’s book reported, the future first lady griped about having to do the duties of a second-year associate while she was a second-year associate — demonstrating the trademark attitude of entitlement and inflated ego that led the law partner who recruited her to later describe her as “perennially dissatisfied.”

Doing her first job was a burden then. Enjoying the perks of her current job is a “sacrifice” now.

Read the rest of Michelle Malkin on GOPUSA

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Big ‘D’ Democrats thwart small ‘d’ democracy

Posted on October 5, 2009. Filed under: American people | Tags: , , , , , , |

By David Limbaugh

The signature of Obama’s (uppercase “D”) Democrats is their systematic betrayal of (small “d”) democratic principles. Just look at today’s news for a flavor of their pattern of flagrantly ignoring the popular will to cram down our throats policies we clearly reject.

As much as Obama pretends to be a man of the people, he is a man for himself — a man who will get his way, the will of the people be damned. The same is true of many of his congressional lieutenants, including Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York, who recently said that Congress will pass Obamacare despite the public’s objections, because it is so important. Important to whom? To Democrats — that’s who.

Obama’s Democrats add insult to injury in their steamrolling style of governance by using appealing language to mask their true intentions and pretending to govern in a manner that’s precisely the opposite of their actual practice. They use free market language to sell their socialistic schemes and promise transparency while concealing their legislative misdeeds.

Need proof? Glad to oblige.

–Sen. Jim Bunning’s proposal to require the Senate Finance Committee to post the final language of the nearly trillion-dollar health care bill, along with the Congressional Budget Office analysis of the bill, on the committee’s Web site for at least 72 hours prior to a vote on the bill was voted down 12-11, with only one Democrat voting for it. Now, why would that bill be objectionable to Democrats when their president promised long ago to follow just such a policy? Simple: The less advance notice we have the less chance we have to block their scheme.

–Human Events reports that Democratic senators are so determined to pass Obamacare over the public’s dissent that they’re considering utilizing a rare parliamentary trick to bypass conventional Senate rules. The sham involves first merging an unwritten health care bill with an already passed measure from another committee — the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee — and then attaching that bastardized piece of legislation to an unrelated House bill — a bill to tax bonuses on certain TARP recipients.

Read the rest @ GOPUSA

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The case against Charlie Rangel

Posted on October 5, 2009. Filed under: Charlie Rangel |

Forty years of tax evasion, misdeeds and contempt

By ISABEL VINCENT and MELISSA KLEIN

On April 9, 1965, a 34-year-old lawyer named Charles Rangel took out a low-interest mortgage to renovate his childhood home — a row house on West 132nd Street that he had just inherited from his grandfather.

The $39,350 loan came from a New York City program to develop low-income housing. Rangel and his sister Frances were to use the money to turn the family home in Central Harlem, which Rangel affectionately called Buckingham Palace, into six apartments.

While Rangel may have thought he scored a sweetheart deal, the loan came back to haunt him during his first run for Congress in 1970. An opponent in the Democratic primary accused him of violating the conditions of the mortgage because he was living in one of the apartments that were supposed to be rented only to poor people,

“If Charlie Rangel is low income, then we have a new crisis in this country,” Jesse Gray, a longtime housing activist, charged.

Rangel brushed aside the accusations, and went on to defeat both Gray and Adam Clayton Powell, who had held the Harlem congressional seat since 1944.

But even as he celebrated his victory, the loan dogged the young, ambitious politician. City and federal investigators launched a probe into the dealings of the $135 million Municipal Loan Program, which was set up to give loans to building owners who couldn’t otherwise get funding to rehabilitate their properties. The Post, in a front-page story in July 1971, fingered the newly minted Congressman and another elected official in the scandal.

Rangel denounced the accusations by attacking the “yellow journalism” of The Post and said that he didn’t see anything wrong with living in a Harlem apartment renovated with money reserved for poor people. He also said he was not a public official when he received the 1965 loan.

“The New York Post has the power to destroy,” said Rangel at a 1971 press conference in his Harlem office. “I received a loan to rehabilitate a building I lived in all my life, to rebuild my homestead where five low-income families now live.”

But even people who should have been his political allies were upset.

“I am shocked that Congressman Rangel, who has a Congressional budget of more than $200,000 a year, has used thousands of dollars of New York City money to feather his own nest when welfare recipients are being thrown out into the streets or being forced to live in squalid hotels,” said Leonard de Champs, chairman of Harlem’s Congress of Racial Equality, a civil rights group.

See the rest @ The New York Post

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ACORN Hired People ‘Still In Prison’ Convicted of Identity Theft For Canvassing Voters

Posted on October 5, 2009. Filed under: Acorn | Tags: , , , |

by Jim Hoft

Nevada Secretary of State Ross Miller, a democrat, told Eric Shawn on FOX News that ACORN was hiring convicts still in prison -CONVICTED OF IDENTITY THEFT- for canvassing voters.

Ross said that by executing a search warrant at ACORN headquarters in Nevada the authorities were able to substantiate charges and have a very solid case against ACORN. They believe they can prove that it’s not just a few bad apples it went much higher up in the organization. Ross believes that ACORN and the regional director should be held accountable for the criminal activity that took place in the state.

Ross told FOX News that they found prisoners on the ACORN payroll:

Ross Miller: Obviously we believed that it went much higher on the food chain. That ACORN had a quota system in place and they were paying individuals this black jack. That encourages voter registration fraud and that is why it is important that we go after them and charge them criminally and try to obtain a conviction. They constantly say we have a bad apple. We have a bad a bad employee like most people do. Clearly that’s not the case. This is an organization that came to Nevada and hired people that were still in prison convicted of identity theft that were on work release programs for canvassing voters.

Eric Shawn: Wait a minute… Hired people that were still in prison?

Ross Miller: Correct. There’s a transitional housing facility, Casa Grande, down there. ACORN approached them. They hired individuals that were still in prison. Some of them were convicted of serious offenses, identity theft. A violation of state law that these inmates should not have had contact with people’s personal information. Those were the individuals that were our canvassing people.

See the Video at Big Government.com

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Afghan battle probe a reminder of war’s challenges

Posted on October 5, 2009. Filed under: America | Tags: , , , , , |

As President Barack Obama grapples with the way ahead in Afghanistan, a decision to launch a new investigation into a deadly firefight is a painful reminder of the challenges the U.S. faces in a country known as the graveyard of empires.

Fought in the small village of Wanat near the Pakistan border, the battle claimed the lives of nine American soldiers and wounded 27 others after their platoon-sized unit was attacked by as many as 200 insurgents during the early hours of July 13, 2008. Accounts of the battle indicate senior commanders may have made serious mistakes, leaving the soldiers short-handed and without critical support needed to blunt such an intense raid.

On Saturday, just days after Army Gen. David Petraeus ordered the inquiry, U.S. forces in Afghanistan endured a stark echo of that tragedy: eight U.S. soldiers were killed when several hundred militant fighters struck two American outposts in the same rugged region in northeastern Afghanistan where the earlier assault occurred.

The emerging story of the 2008 battle along with Saturday’s attack adds new weight to calls by Army Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the top officer in Afghanistan, for thousands more American forces to deal with the dicey political, cultural and geographical conditions there.

McChrystal has warned that the Taliban-led insurgency is becoming more potent and that the U.S. is in danger of losing the war unless more troops are sent to turn the tide against a formidable opponent.

But the president’s top national security adviser is downplaying those concerns. Gen. James Jones, a retired Marine Corps general, said Sunday in television interviews that Afghanistan is not in imminent danger of falling to the Taliban and that al-Qaida’s presence in the country is “very diminished.”

Read more By RICHARD LARDNER on Townhall.com

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Obama’s Adviser: Afghanistan Not In Imminent Danger of Falling to Taliban

Posted on October 5, 2009. Filed under: America | Tags: , , , , , , |

Retired Gen. James Jones made the comments on the same day eight U.S. soldiers were killed near the Pakistan border and as many as seven Afghan forces in one of the fiercest battles of the eight-year war.

Afghanistan is not in imminent danger of falling to the Taliban, President Obama’s national security adviser said Sunday as he downplayed worries that the insurgency could set up a renewed sanctuary for Al Qaeda.

Retired Gen. James Jones made the comments after eight U.S. soldiers were killed near the Pakistan border and as many as seven Afghan forces in one of the fiercest battles of the eight-year war. On Saturday morning, several hundred militant fighters streamed from an Afghan village and a mosque and attacked a pair of remote outposts. 

Jones said the government of Afghan President Hamid Karzai must improve and give hope to the people of Afghanistan. He added that he believes the government has a chance to succeed, with the aid of a strong effort by the U.S. to train the Afghan army and police.

“I don’t foresee the return of the Taliban. Afghanistan is not in imminent danger of falling,” Jones said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

“The Al Qaeda presence is very diminished,” he said. “The maximum estimate is less than 100 operating in the country, no bases, no ability to launch attacks on either us or our allies.”

Jones’ view differs from that of the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan. Army Gen. Stanley McChrystal has called for an infusion of thousands more U.S. troops, saying that insurgents are gaining strength in Afghanistan and that the U.S. is in danger of failing if more forces are not sent to the fight.

Senators appearing on “FOX News Sunday” were divided on whether to send more troops.

Sen. Evan Bayh, D-Ind., said he would support a troop increase if it leads to a strong central government and competence Afghan police force.

“But there’s a real question, given the lack of history in that country of a strong central government — it’s riddled by corruption and incompetence today — about whether that ultimate goal is achievable or not,” he said.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C. said no troop increase would guarantee more violence and instability.

“The one thing I can tell you, if we don’t add more troops, you’re going to see more of what happened yesterday,” he said, referring to the battle that left eight U.S. soldiers dead. “The security situation’s going to get worse. And any hope of better governance is lost, and the Taliban will re-emerge.”

From Fox New.com

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Al Qaeda’s Diminished Role Stirs Afghan Troop Debate

Posted on October 5, 2009. Filed under: military | Tags: , , , , |

By MATTHEW ROSENBERG in Islamabad and SIOBHAN GORMAN in Washington

Since first invading Afghanistan nearly a decade ago, America set one primary goal: Eliminate al Qaeda’s safe haven.

Today, intelligence and military officials say they’ve severely constrained al Qaeda’s ability to operate there and in Pakistan — and that’s reshaping the debate over U.S. strategy in the region.

Hunted by U.S. drones, beset by money problems and finding it tougher to lure young Arabs to the bleak mountains of Pakistan, al Qaeda is seeing its role shrink there and in Afghanistan, according to intelligence reports and Pakistani and U.S. officials. Conversations intercepted by the U.S. show al Qaeda fighters complaining of shortages of weapons, clothing and, in some cases, food. The number of foreign fighters in Afghanistan appears to be declining, U.S. military officials say.

For Arab youths who are al Qaeda’s primary recruits, “it’s not romantic to be cold and hungry and hiding,” said a senior U.S. official in South Asia.

In Washington, the question of Al Qaeda’s strength is at the heart of the debate over whether to send thousands more troops to Afghanistan. On Saturday, eight American troops and two Afghan soldiers were killed fighting Taliban forces — one of the worst single-day battlefield losses for U.S. forces since the war began.

Opponents of sending more troops prefer a narrower campaign consisting of missile strikes and covert action inside Pakistan, rather than a broader war against the Taliban, the radical Islamist movement that ruled Afghanistan for years and provided a haven to al Qaeda’s Osama bin Laden. Their reasoning: The larger threat to America remains al Qaeda, not the Taliban; so, best not to get embroiled in a local war that history suggests may be unwinnable.

Military commanders pressing for extra troops counter that sending more forces could help translate the gains against al Qaeda into a political settlement with less ideologically committed elements of the Taliban. And, they argue, that would improve the odds of stabilizing Afghanistan for the long run.

A key point of contention in President Barack Obama’s review of war strategy is the ability of al Qaeda to reconstitute in Afghanistan. Some officials, including aides to Richard Holbrooke, the U.S.’s special representative to the region, have argued that the Taliban wouldn’t allow al Qaeda to regain its footing inside Afghanistan, since it was the alliance between the two that cost the Taliban their control of the country after Sept. 11.

More in The Wall Street JOurnal

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