Transforming America: The Bush-Obama Stimulus Programs

Transforming America: The Bush-Obama Stimulus Programs

My discussion will focus on four distinct components of the 2008–09 stimulus: Federal Reserve policy, the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), the Obama stimulus spending package, and the bailouts of automobile and financial firms. Because there is a temptation to stereotype political parties, labeling the Democrats the party of big government and the Republicans the party of limited government and fiscal conservatism, it is worth emphasizing that these policies were bipartisan. The Federal Reserve policies came during the Bush administration and under Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke, a Bush appointee. TARP was implemented by Bush and his Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, and the bailouts of automobile and financial firms were initiated in the Bush administration.

My message is one of hope and change. The change is the four stimulus programs. The hope is this: I hope I am wrong about the permanent negative effects these programs will have on America.

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Federal Reserve Policy

Two fundamental elements of Federal Reserve policy changed in 2008: The Fed began making loans to nonbank financial institutions and buying financial assets other than securities issued by the U.S. Treasury.

The Fed was established in 1913 primarily to lend money to member banks based on their assets that could be used to pay off the loans. Until 2008 the only firms the Fed would lend to were member commercial banks. Then the Fed began making loans to nonbank financial institutions. It did so to provide those firms with liquidity, but in doing so it broke with precedent in two ways. First, it made loans to firms that were not members of the Federal Reserve System, and second, it made loans based on questionable assets, running the risk that the borrowers might not be able to repay the loans.

The second major change was that the Fed bought financial assets not issued by the Treasury–so-called toxic assets held by private banks and other firms. The true value of the assets was questionable, so the Fed risked losses. The Fed can afford to take those losses, however. The biggest problem with this change in policy is that by buying some assets rather than others, the Fed was supporting some firms over others.

For example, it bought assets from AIG, an insurance company, to keep it from failing and ultimately has taken over ownership of AIG with an 80 percent equity interest. The Fed also purchased assets of questionable value from investment bank Bear Sterns to facilitate its acquisition by JPMorgan Chase. Meanwhile, investment bank Lehman Brothers went into bankruptcy and failed. Why save Bear Sterns but not Lehman Brothers? The Fed also initiated the Term Asset-Backed Securities Loan Facility (TALF) to make loans to holders of various types of securities. TALF borrowers do not have to be banks.

These two new policies are problematic because they constitute an “industrial policy.” I am not questioning the effects of these policies. Hindsight will provide a better answer. Rather, I am questioning the precedent that the policies create for future Fed involvement in the economy.

The Fed has now established the precedent of making loans to firms that, at its discretion, it deems worth supporting, based on assets of questionable value. That puts the Fed in the position of picking winners and losers in the economy. Similarly, by choosing to buy “toxic assets” only from some sellers it is supporting some investors while letting others fend for themselves. Again, the Fed is picking winners and losers.

Its conduct is much like what the Japanese government has done for decades. In the 1980s that government, coupled with Japanese banks, directed assets to the firms they viewed as most important to the economy. This industrial policy was hailed by many observers as giving the Japanese economy a growth advantage. In the early 1990s the booming Japanese real-estate market collapsed, much as the U.S. market did in 2006–08, and many Japanese banks were left holding assets of questionable value, collateralized with mortgages with higher face values than the mortgaged property. Rather than allow insolvent banks to fail, the Japanese propped them up, maintaining their precarious positions, and the Japanese economy has stagnated ever since.

Japanese industrial policy is no longer held in such high regard, but the Federal Reserve’s recent actions have it engaging in the same type of industrial policy. Having set that precedent, the long-run effects are likely to be pernicious. Unless the Fed firmly repudiates its industrial policy, clearly saying it made a mistake that won’t be repeated, financial firms will take the same risks, believing the Fed will step in to help if the market turns against them.

Many think that to avoid a repeat of the 2008 meltdown, the government should more tightly regulate the financial markets. President Obama has proposed a major overhaul of the regulatory apparatus.Yet financial firms are already among the most highly regulated firms in the nation, and it is implausible to think that the problems were the result of too little regulation. If anything, they were the effect of too much government involvement in those markets.

Market discipline is far superior to government regulation because firms that choose losing strategies will and should be allowed to fail. This would give every firm an incentive to choose profitable strategies and would weed out those that do not. The Fed’s industrial policy moves in the opposite direction, so more regulation would change nothing.

TARP

In September 2008 Bush Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson announced that the financial markets had frozen. Lending had ground to a halt, he said, and banks would not even lend to each other because their “toxic assets” called into question their solvency. Paulson asked Congress to pass emergency legislation providing him $700 billion to buy up those assets, creating liquidity in the financial sector so that normal lending activities could resume. TARP, approved on October 3, 2008, provided the money and gave the secretary the discretion to spend it as he saw fit.

Paulson claimed the money was needed immediately to prevent a collapse of the financial system. However, none of the TARP money went toward buying toxic assets. Instead the Treasury used the money to purchase equity interest in banks–that is, to partially nationalize many banks.

Paulson also pressured the nine largest banks to take the TARP money whether they needed it or not because if only some took the money, they would be stigmatized as weak, which could further undermine their financial positions. So now the federal government is the owner of a substantial share of the American banking industry.

Some of the strings attached to that money did not appear until after the government already bought into those banks. Obama and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner wanted to regulate the pay of bank executives, claiming that the federal government, as part-owner of those banks, should limit excessive pay. As a result, many recipients of TARP money are anxious to repay it and to buy back the stock the federal government now owns. But the federal government has put roadblocks in the way of banks that want to get out from under the burdens that come with TARP. The government likes that control. One fear that Geithner expressed is that if some banks escape the strings attached to TARP, they might raise executive pay, leading the better bank execs to leave the TARP-encumbered institutions for the higher pay at those banks that are free of TARP. (Some banks have started to pay the money back.)

 

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The Obama Stimulus Package

 

Immediately after his election, Obama pushed hard to get Congress to pass a nearly $800 billion spending bill to stimulate the economy, which some claimed was mired in the worst recession since the Great Depression. While history will judge whether the recession was that severe, the rhetoric served to pass the bill. However, it is difficult to identify the features that make it a stimulus bill rather than just a big spending bill. In fact, the spending is largely for items Obama campaigned on. Much of it will occur after 2009 and so does not qualify as a stimulus for a depressed economy.

 

A lot of the alleged stimulus money was directed toward sectors that were holding up relatively well during the recession, such as healthcare and state and local governments. Government employment was steadier than private-sector employment when the bill was passed and can be expected to do even better with the money. Directing money toward relatively strong sectors is hardly the best way to stimulate the economy, even though it does further the goals that Obama campaigned on when he was running for president.

 

Even the economic analysis underlying the stimulus program can be called into question. The Keynesian idea is that by running budget deficits and increasing government spending, aggregate demand will be increased, pushing the economy toward prosperity. Of course, to spend that money, the government must first borrow it from elsewhere in the economy. There’s no free lunch. Moreover, if increasing government spending and running large budget deficits really led to prosperity, the economy would have been in nirvana by 2008. When Bush was elected in 2000 the federal budget was in surplus, and for Bush’s eight years government spending and the budget deficit continually increased, which by Keynesian logic should have produced a robust and maybe overheated economy, not an economy mired in recession. The Obama stimulus package was simply a continuation, on a much grander scale, of the eight years of Bush fiscal policy, a policy of continually increasing government spending and continually increasing budget deficits.

 

The Obama stimulus package was really just a big spending bill that did not offer much stimulus, but that will saddle the economy with bigger government from now on, hindering economic growth, slowing the recovery, and reducing prosperity

BailoutsImage

In addition to bailing out many failing banks and other financial firms, Bush and Obama also used taxpayer money to bail out Chrysler and General Motors. Bear in mind that when Obama campaigned for office and gasoline prices spiked above $4 a gallon, he advocated a windfall profits tax on oil companies. That idea fell by the wayside as prices fell in 2009, but these two policies provide a chilling example of how to undermine the very foundation of the market: When companies are successful and profitable–like oil companies in 2008–single them out for extra taxes, and when companies are unsuccessful and unprofitable–like auto companies in 2009–single them out for government subsidies.

One need understand only the most basic of economic principles to see how pernicious these policies are. If firms in an economy can take resources and combine them into products that are more valuable than the resources they started with, they are adding value to the economy and should be rewarded. In a market economy they are–through profits. If firms take resources and combine them into products that are less valuable than the resources they started with, they are harming the economy and they should be penalized. In a market economy they are–through losses. Profit and loss are essential to the operation of a market economy and provide the signals and incentives that have led to the remarkable economic progress that has characterized America (hampered as the economy is by government).

The bailouts began as loans to Chrysler and General Motors, which the firms had no chance of being able to pay back. The administration’s way of addressing this has been to negotiate to convert those loans into an equity interest in the firms, thus nationalizing the automobile companies in a manner similar to how TARP has nationalized banks. The federal government carries a big stick and is in a position to use that stick to its advantage. Under Obama’s bankruptcy plan for General Motors, the government will control 60.8 percent of the company, with 17.5 percent for a United Auto Workers trust fund. Bondholders could wind up with a 10 percent equity interest in the company.

On the surface this appears quite unfair to bond holders, whose bonds had a face value of $27 billion. Some bondholders objected, rightly saying that the claims of holders of secured debt should come before the claims of the firm’s employees in any bankruptcy proceeding. But while some bondholders objected, many did not–because they were recipients of TARP money and therefore effectively under government control. TARP recipients JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, Morgan Stanley, and Goldman Sachs owned about 70 percent of Chrysler’s debt. The government supported them with bailout money and then bullied them to give up their assets to the UAW.

The pernicious consequences go well beyond these transactions. How will this affect other union-heavy companies when they try to raise money in the bond market? The precedent is set for employees to move ahead of secured-debt holders in bankruptcy proceedings. Debt finance will become much more difficult for firms with unionized labor forces. One critic argued that the favoring of the UAW over bondholders amounted to shaking down lenders for the benefit of Obama’s political supporters, which is corruption and abuse of power. We would have done better to let the market and the bankruptcy court determine the fate of Chrysler and GM.

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Fundamental Transformation

 

When we step back and look at the bipartisan efforts to rescue the economy from recession, those changes represent a fundamental transformation in the nature of the American economy. In the longer run Obama wants to substantially increase government’s role in health care, which is already largely in government’s hands with Medicare, Medicaid, SCHIP (health insurance for children), and the regulations that govern healthcare providers and pharmaceutical companies. Obama has also stated his intention to further regulate the energy industry to limit emissions and to shift production toward renewable energy sources. His cap-and-trade initiative would impose billions in costs on the economy and would effectively dictate the technologies by which energy isproduced.

Few commentators are looking at the long-run implications of these changes, focusing instead on how much the proposed Obama deficits will increase the national debt or on how the Federal Reserve’s increases in the monetary base will impact inflation in coming years.

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Déjà Vu All Over Again

I have described the changes. My hope is that I am overestimating their long-run impact. Indeed, the nation has found itself in similar situations before. In the 1970s we faced economic stagnation, rising unemployment, and rising inflation, which soared into the double digits. There were government-mandated price controls and frequent lines at the gas pumps as a result of shortages caused by those price controls. There was every reason to be pessimistic, but in the 1980s the Reagan administration turned many of those things around. Tax rates were slashed; the price controls were abandoned; and a more deregulated  economy led to two decades of growth and prosperity. At least some of the credit for this, as well as much of what happened in Margaret Thatcher’s England, must be attributed to the power of ideas emanating from Milton Friedman and other free-market thinkers.

Similarly, in the 1940s socialism seemed such an attractive alternative to American capitalism that F. A. Hayek wrote The Road to Serfdom, arguing that socialism was that road, and Joseph Schumpeter, in Capitalism, Socialism, and Democracy, lamented that in democracies people could vote away their freedoms and that the people who benefited the most from a free economy were unwilling to defend it. Yet America prospered. When the Berlin Wall collapsed in 1989, followed by the demise of the Soviet Union in 1991, there was every indication that everyone would recognize that market allocation of resources is better for everyone than government planning.

Now we stand, two decades later, on the brink of the most significant erosion of the market economy since the New Deal, with relatively few dissenters. In a few short centuries markets have taken much of the world’s population from subsistence to remarkable prosperity and continuing economic progress. Are we really ready to abandon that system and replace it with something similar to what resulted in the collapse of the Soviet Union?

 

 

There Are 13 Responses So Far. »

 

  1. Comment by Bill Skinner on 28 August 2009:

    I am proud to be a dissenter on all of these changes. Until we stop this foolishness in Washington, D.C., the small business
    people will be reluctant to invest and grow. These changes can
    destroy America.

     
  2. Pingback by TARP Could Be Extended | Foundation for Economic Education on 24 September 2009:

    […] (Instant) Classic: “Transforming America: The Bush-Obama Stimulus Programs” by Randall G. […]

     
  3. Pingback by With U.S. Help, Former Exec Jeopardizes AIG Rescue | The Freeman | Ideas On Liberty on 27 October 2009:

    […] Timely Classic “Transforming America: The Bush-Obama Stimulus Programs” by Randall G. […]

     
  4. Pingback by Wind Down “Stimulus” Spending, Rich Countries Told | The Freeman | Ideas On Liberty on 7 April 2010:

    […] Timely Classic “Transforming America: The Bush-Obama Stimulus Programs” by Randall G. […]

     
  5. Comment by Scott G on 6 July 2010:

    Why call it the Bush/Obama stimulus? They are at the mercy of their advisers. And their advisers are the Fed and their satraps. Since they are ALL Keynesians, what would you expect??

     
  6. Pingback by Recovery Loses Momentum | The Freeman | Ideas On Liberty on 30 July 2010:

    […] Timely Classic “Transforming America: The Bush-Obama Stimulus Programs” by Randall G. […]

     
  7. Comment by Deefburger on 30 July 2010:

    We have only to estimate via the rules and normal accounting what the secret balance sheet at the Fed really says, and know how much THEY owe US.

    A fractional reserve bank is always in the red to the economy. It is the nature of not having real assets as the product of the bank. Instead, it issues unbacked notes into the economy and through this one act generates a debt that the bank has relative to the economy it traded those notes with. No amount of fiscal yoga will make that debt disappear. Only obfuscation in the legal code and secret books immune from public audit.

    Take the fight to them yourselves. Google: “Code Redemption 411″

    http://www.campaignforliberty.com/blog.php?view=37276

     
  8. Pingback by Recovery Slowing, Fed Says | The Freeman | Ideas On Liberty on 9 September 2010:

    […] Timely Classic “Transforming America: The Bush-Obama Stimulus Programs” by Randall G. […]

     
  9. Comment by voteright on 6 October 2010:

    Great article. Everyone read two other books: “The Obama Nation” by Jerome Corsi and “Bought and Paid For” by Charles Gasparino.

     
  10. Comment by charles on 12 October 2010:

    More sound economic analysis, and less unbacked claims, and less opinions quite frankly, and certainly less opinions-passed-off-as-facts, and FEE’s credibility will rise and rise and rise. Cause-and-effect discussions = the only real form of discussion that fosters understanding.

    For the most part, this article follows the above theme — I forgive Randall Holcombe for inserting a few of his opinions in between the solid analysis. Keep this up, FEE!

    Personal note: I learned so much in Dr. Holcombe’s public choice econ class at FSU; I relished talking with him when I was his student. I now teach econ and discuss some of the very same material above in my classes — the “unseen” cause&effect portions on profit/loss mechanism and incentives. FEE can be a rich source of applications of course material, if one has the patience to sift through the sea of opinions, unbacked claims, and opinions-passed-off-as-fact to find solid cause-effect analysis. I have that patience on most days :)

     
  11. Comment by Drik on 9 December 2010:

    NET ZERO

    A new study from the San Francisco Fed uses the variation in state-level stimulus funding to determine what impact ARRA funding had on employment — including both the direct impact of workers hired to complete planned projects, as well as any broader spillover effects resulting from greater government spending. Administration economists have repeatedly emphasized the importance of this indirect employment growth in driving economic recovery.
    The results suggest that though Presbo’s $787 billion “stimulus” spending did result in 2 million jobs “created or saved” by March 2010, net job creation was statistically indistinguishable from zero by August of this year. Taken at face value, this would suggest that the stimulus program (with an overall cost of $814 billion) worked only to generate temporary jobs at a cost of over $400,000 per worker.

    Nice work, if you can get it.

     
  12. Comment by Gman on 24 August 2011:

    Excellent article that gets to the heart of the matter.

     
  13. Pingback by SALEM FARM SUPPLY, INC. (commentary) ; Transforming America: The Bush-Obama Stimulus Programs | The Freeman | Ideas On Liberty « salemfarmsupply on 24 August 2011:

    […] Transforming America: The Bush-Obama Stimulus Programs | The Freeman | Ideas On Liberty. 

 

 

 

 

Barack Obama, the Socialist

 

Obama a socialist? Many observers, from points all along the ideological spectrum, have been exceedingly reticent to describe him as such, as though there were insufficient evidence to make the case for a charge so impolite. In February, for instance, a Business Week headline stated bluntly that “it’s dumb to call Obama a socialist.” Four months later, the Associated Press published an article depicting the president merely as “a pragmatist within the Democratic Party mainstream,” and suggesting that “the persistent claim that Obama is a socialist lacks credence.” In July, a New York Times op-ed piece by film director Milos Forman said that Obama is “not even close” to being a socialist. Ezra Klein of the Washington Post casts Obama as no more radical than “a moderate Republican of the early 1990s.” Republican strategist Karl Rove cautions, “If you say he’s a socialist, [his supporters] go to defend him.” Leftist commentator Alan Colmes impugns those who “mischaracterize what Obama is doing as socialism, when there’s no government takeover” of the private sector. And Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly—noting that he has seen “no evidence that the president wants to seize private property, which is what communists do”—concludes that Obama “is not a socialist, he’s not a communist, he’s a social-justice anti-capitalist.”

But a careful look at Barack Obama’s life story, his actions, his closest alliances, his long-term objectives, and his words, shows that he has long been, quite demonstrably, a genuine socialist. The early groundwork for Obama’s socialist worldview was laid during his teen years, when he was mentored by the writer/poet Frank Marshall Davis, a longtime member of the Communist Party and the subject of a 601-page FBI file. The co-founder of a Communist-controlled newspaper that consistently echoed the Soviet party line, Davis had previously been involved with the American Peace Mobilization, described by Congress as not only “one of the most notorious and blatantly communist fronts ever organized in this country,” but also “one of the most seditious organizations which ever operated in the United States.” When Obama in 1979 headed off to Occidental College in California, Davis cautioned him not to “start believing what they tell you about equal opportunity and the American way and all that sh–.”

In his memoir, Dreams from My Father, Obama recounts that he chose his friends “carefully” at Occidental, so as “to avoid being mistaken for a sellout.” Among those friends were all manner of radicals, including “the more politically active black students,” “the Chicanos,” “the Marxist Professors and the structural feminists.” Further, Obama writes that he and his similarly “alienated” college friends regularly discussed such topics as “neocolonialism, Franz Fanon [the socialist revolutionary], Eurocentrism, and patriarchy.” David Remnick’s highly sympathetic biography of Obama—The Bridge: The Life and Rise of Barack Obamaconfirms that the future president and many of his closest friends at Occidental were unquestionably socialists.

John C. Drew, an Occidental College graduate who knew Obama personally in the early 1980s, reports that the young Obama of that period was “already an ardent socialist Marxist revolutionary”; was highly “passionate” about “Marxist theory”; embraced an “uncompromising, Marxist socialist ideology”; harbored a “sincere commitment to Marxist revolutionary thought”; and was, in the final analysis, a “pure Marxist socialist” who “sincerely believed a Marxist socialist revolution was coming to turn everything around and to create a new, fairer and more just world.”

It was at that point, in the early Eighties, that something profoundly important happened to Barack Obama. He was drawn into the powerful orbit of a strand of socialism that had resolved, as the revolutionary communist Van Jones would later put it, “to forgo the cheap satisfaction of the radical pose for the deep satisfaction of radical ends.” American socialists of that period, pained by the recent ascendancy of a conservative and popular presidential administration (Reagan), understood that no anti-capitalist revolution was going to take place in the United States anytime soon, and that, for the foreseeable future, no one was going to impose socialism on the populace “from above.” Consequently, many socialists in the U.S. put on a new face and pursued a new approach. As Stanley Kurtz, author of Radical-in-Chief, explains, the aim now was “to get a kind of de facto public control over the economy from below”—through the work of community organizers dedicated to gradually infiltrating every conceivable American institution: schools and universities, churches, labor unions, the banking industry, the media, and a major political party. Toward that end, the renowned socialist Michael Harrington established the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) to serve as a force that would work within the existing American political system—specifically, within the Democratic Party. Figuring that a move too far or too quick to the left would alienate moderate Democrats, the DSA sought to push the party leftward in a slow and gradual manner, on the theory that, over time, ever-increasing numbers of Democrats would become comfortable with socialism and would espouse it as their preferred ideology.

In Radical-in-Chief, Kurtz points out that this incrementalism became the modus operandi of the “democratic socialists” who embraced the ideals of Karl Marx but were convinced that a “peaceful” and gradual path represented “the only route to socialism that makes sense in America’s thoroughly democratic context.” They believed that “government ownership of the means of production”—the standard definition of socialism—could best be achieved by way of protracted evolution, not sudden revolution. Kurtz explains that socialists, far from agreeing unanimously on tactics and strategies, have always engaged in “never-ending factional disputes” about whether they ought to “eschew capitalist-tainted politics and foment revolution,” or instead “dive into America’s electoral system and try to turn its political currents” toward “a piecemeal transition to a socialist world.” At this point in his life, the twenty-something Obama made a calculated decision to embrace the DSA’s gradualist approach—under the deceptive banners of “liberalism,” “progressivism,” and “social justice.” By no means, however, did this approach represent a rejection of Marx and his socialist doctrines. Kurtz notes that Marx himself, who “expected to see capitalism overthrown by a violent socialist revolution,” was nonetheless “willing to compromise his long-term goals in pursuit of short-term gains, particularly when he thought this democratic maneuvering would position the communist movement for more radical breakthroughs in the future”; that Marx himself “recognized that not only his enemies, but even potential followers could be put off by his most radical plans”; and that, “depending on context, Marx [himself] withheld the full truth of who he was and what he hoped to achieve.”

This strategy of settling for incrementalism rather than sudden, sweeping revolution was displayed with vivid clarity during the healthcare debates of 2009-10. Obama was already on record as having stated emphatically, in a 2003 speech at an AFL-CIO event: “I happen to be a proponent of a single-payer, universal health care plan”—i.e., a government-run system. But by 2007, with the White House clearly within his reach, Obama began to make allowances for the increasingly evident fact that a single-payer plan was not politically palatable to a large enough number of American voters. “I don’t think we’re going to be able to eliminate employer coverage immediately,” he said in May 2007. “There’s going to be potentially some transition process. I can envision a decade out, or 15 years out, or 20 years out.” He made similar references to a “transition step” and “a transitional system” on other occasions during the campaign. In the summer of 2008, Obama declared that “if I were designing a system from scratch, I would probably go ahead with a single-payer system,” but acknowledged that from a practical standpoint, such a result could only come about “over time.” Obamacare, then, was deliberately designed to be a stepping stone toward total government control of healthcare—a mere way station along the road toward the “radical ends” that the president ultimately sought to achieve.

In the early Eighties, Obama transferred from Occidental College to Columbia University in New York. During his time in the Big Apple, he attended at least two Socialist Scholars Conferences, DSA-sponsored events that quickly grew into the largest annual gatherings of socialists in all of North America. It is particularly noteworthy that Obama attended the 1983 Socialist Scholars Conference, which was promoted as a celebration to “honor” the 100th anniversary of Karl Marx’s death.

In June 1985, a 24-year-old Obama moved to Chicago and took a community-organizing job with the Developing Communities Project, funded by the Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD). Viewing capitalism as a system steeped in injustice, CCHD states that “the causes of poverty are understood to be an aspect of ‘social sin’ rooted in our social and economic structures and institutions.” To address the problems allegedly spawned by capitalism, CCHD promotes transformative institutional change in the form of “alternative economic structures” that will “broaden the sharing of economic power.” The Catholic magazine Crisis observes that “the way the CCHD educates others about transformative change and empowerment” is very much “in line with the socialist and Marxist ideals so prevalent in community organizing.”

And what, exactly, is “community organizing”? Dr. Thomas Sowell, the eminent Hoover Institution Fellow, offers this concise explanation:

“For ‘community organizers’ … racial resentments are a stock in trade…. What does a community organizer do? What he does not do is organize a community. What he organizes are the resentments and paranoia within a community, directing those feelings against other communities, from whom either benefits or revenge are to be gotten, using whatever rhetoric or tactics will accomplish that purpose.”

To be sure, the 2012 Obama campaign’s incessant emphasis on identity politics—seeking to divide the American people along lines of race, ethnicity, class, and gender—bears all the corrosive hallmarks of precisely the mindset that Dr. Sowell describes. Stanley Kurtz provides additional vital insights into the striking parallels that exist between the world of community organizing and the DSA’s gradualist approach toward socialism:

“Community organizing is a largely socialist profession. Particularly at the highest levels, America’s community organizers have adopted a deliberately stealthy posture—hiding their socialism behind a ‘populist’ front. These organizers strive to push America toward socialism in unobtrusive, incremental steps, calling themselves ‘pragmatic problem-solvers’ all the while.”

It is highly significant that three of Obama’s mentors in Chicago were trained at the Industrial Areas Foundation, founded by the famed godfather of community organizing, Saul Alinsky, who advocated mankind’s “advance from the jungle of laissez-faire capitalism to a world worthy of the name of human civilization … [to] a future where the means of production will be owned by all of the people instead of just a comparative handful.” In the Alinsky model, “organizing” is a euphemism for “revolution”—where the ultimate objective is the systematic acquisition of power by a purportedly oppressed segment of the population, and the radical transformation of America’s social and economic structure. The goal is to foment enough public discontent and moral confusion to spark the social upheaval that Marx and Engels predicted.
But Alinsky’s brand of revolution was not characterized by dramatic, sweeping, overnight transformations of social institutions. As author Richard Poe explains, “Alinsky viewed revolution as a slow, patient process. The trick was to penetrate existing institutions such as churches, unions and political parties.” Promoting a strategy that was wholly consistent with the DSA approach discussed above, Alinsky advised radical organizers and their disciples to quietly, unobtrusively gain influence within the decision-making ranks of these institutions, and to then introduce changes from those platforms.

Obama himself went on to teach workshops on the Alinsky method for several years. In 1990, eighteen years after Alinsky’s death, an essay penned by Obama was reprinted as a chapter in a book titled After Alinsky: Community Organizing in Illinois. And in 1998, Obama attended a performance of the play The Love Song of Saul Alinsky at the Terrapin Theater in Chicago. Following that performance, Obama took the stage and participated in a panel discussion about the show, along with several other socialists and communists such as Quentin Young and Heather Booth.

As a young community organizer, Obama had close connections to the Midwest Academy, a radical training ground for activists of his political ilk. Probably the most influential community-organizing-related entity in America at that time, the Midwest Academy worked closely with the DSA and synthesized Saul Alinsky’s organizing techniques with the practical considerations of electoral politics. Emphasizing “class consciousness” and “movement history,” the Academy’s training programs exposed students to the efforts and achievements of veteran activists from earlier decades. Recurring “socialism sessions,” taught by Heather Booth, encompassed everything from Marx and Engels through Michael Harrington’s democratic socialism and the factional struggles of the Students for a Democratic Society, a radical organization that aspired to remake America’s government in a Marxist image. Knowing that many Americans would be unreceptive to straightforward, hard-left advocacy, the Midwest Academy in its formative years was careful not to explicitly articulate its socialist ideals in its organizing and training activities. The group’s inner circle was wholly committed to building a socialist mass movement, but stealthily rather than overtly. As Midwest Academy trainer Steve Max and the prominent socialist Harry Boyte agreed in a private correspondence: “Every social proposal that we make must be [deceptively] couched in terms of how it will strengthen capitalism.” This strategy of hiding its own socialist agendas below the proverbial radar, earned the Academy the designation “crypto-socialist organization” from Stanley Kurtz.

“Nearly every thread of Obama’s career runs directly or indirectly through the Midwest Academy,” says Kurtz, and, as such, it represents “the hidden key to Barack Obama’s political career.” The author elaborates:

“Obama’s organizing mentors had ties to [the Midwest Academy]; Obama’s early funding was indirectly controlled by it; evidence strongly suggests that Obama himself received training there; both Barack and Michelle Obama ran a project called ‘Public Allies’ that was effectively an extension of the Midwest Academy; Obama’s first run for public office was sponsored by Academy veteran Alice Palmer; and Obama worked closely at two foundations for years with yet another veteran organizer from the Midwest Academy, Ken Rolling. Perhaps more important, Barack Obama’s approach to politics is clearly inspired by that of the Midwest Academy.”

Obama’s next major encounter with socialism took place within the sanctuary of Chicago’s Trinity United Church of Christ, pastored by the Rev. Jeremiah Wright. Best known for his undiluted contempt for the United States and its traditions, Wright has long been a proud prophet of black liberation theology, a movement that seeks to foment Marxist revolutionary fervor founded on racial solidarity, as opposed to the traditional Marxist emphasis on class solidarity.

According to black liberation theology, the New Testament gospels can be properly understood only as calls for racial activism and revolution aimed at overturning the existing, white-dominated, capitalist order, and installing, in its stead, a socialist utopia wherein blacks will unseat their white “oppressors” and become liberated from their deprivations—material and spiritual alike.

Beginning in the late 1980s, Obama spent fully 20 years attending Wright’s church, which openly promoted a “10-point vision” calling for “economic parity” and warning that “God … is not pleased with America’s economic mal-distribution!” Impugning capitalism as a system whose inequities force “Third World people” to “live in grinding poverty,” Wright derides the United States as the “land of the greed and home of the slave.” For good measure, he has praised the socialist magazine Monthly Review for its “no-nonsense Marxism,” congratulating that publication for “dispel[ling] all the negative images we have been programmed to conjure up with just the mention of that word ‘socialism’ or ‘Marxism.’”

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Is there a person dead, alive, or to be born The New York Times and the Washington Post agree upon that this person is a socialist? (Maybe Time Magazine should list the worlds 100 most important socialists.)

0 replies · active 3 days ago

Is Barack Obama a socialist? … Hmm.. Does a bear Crap in the Woods?..

1 reply · active 2 days ago

John Donohue's avatar

John Donohue · 3 days ago

This piece is substantive, credible and “on point with its chosen point.” I suggest everyone currently calling Mr. Obama a socialist add “in the European sense of the term” for a while. It is actually redundant, but forcefully nullifies the “he does not want the gov’t to take ownership” thing. Kudos also for not totalizing on certain statements of Mr. Obama when you “reasonabally could have.” I think you know the phrase to which I am referring in particular.

The fundamental argument is made here, factually, soberly and objectively: Mr. Obama is a Socialist (in the European sense of the term.)

0 replies · active 3 days ago

Mr. Perazzo says “a careful look at Barack Obama’s life story, his actions, his closest alliances, his long-term objectives, and his words, shows that he has long been, quite demonstrably, a genuine soc.ialist.”Alas, this is also true of most of the neoconservatives and half of the people at Frontpage, including all of their A-list.

17 replies · active 1 day ago

what the hell is a social justice, anti-capitalist. sounds like socialist to me.

0 replies · active 3 days ago

Ar'nun's avatar

Ar’nun · 3 days ago

I love the new Democrat party Slogan… FORWARD! LOL!This sounded familiar so I racked my brain and rememebred, one of the National Socialist Party slogans in 1930’s Germany was “Vorwarts! Vorwarts!” They even had a song that the Hitler Youth sang while marching called “Vorwarts! Vorwarts!”. And Vorwarts translated means, FORWARD!Funny coincidence. Especially after all the delegates booed the idea of Jeruselum being the Israeli Capital, and then booed God.

2 replies · active 1 day ago

Attila The Hun's avatar

Attila The Hun · 3 days ago

Calling B.Hussein Obama a socialist is an insult to true believers. For many destitute and the poor Socialism may seem to be their last hope, but for Hussein Obama and his ilks Socialism is a way to gain power and enrich themselves by exploiting the very poor they claim to help. Just watch Michell Obama wardrobe, for a women who claim to who care for the poor wearing clothing design for the upper class. Or B.Hussein Obama playing golf with the most powerful capitalist and enjoying the life of the rich and famous. B.Hussein Obama is nothing more dictator wannabe street thug. Plan and simple

1 reply · active 2 days ago

Populism can lead to either fascism or communism. I made the case for the Democrats proto-fascism here: http://clarespark.com/2012/09/05/proto-fascism-an…. “Proto-fascism and the Democrat People’s Community. Years ago, C. Vann Woodward wrote a very good book on middle class radicalism: Tom Watson: Agrarian Rebel (1938). The implications for today are very upsetting.

0 replies · active 3 days ago

Why did it take so long and so many words to say what everybody already knows? All you have had to do was listen to him.

1 reply · active 2 days ago

superb well researched article. And scary. Seditious marxist/socialist conspirators have taken over the democratic party and the US Presidency. The Republicans had better expose Obama’s background as a key part of their presidential campaign. The American people need to understand all the marxist and islamic subversion behind Obama and vote him out decisively.

1 reply · active 2 days ago

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      Comments (58)

      1. Stephan says:

        Is there a person dead, alive, or to be born The New York Times and the Washington Post agree upon that this person is a socialist? (Maybe Time Magazine should list the worlds 100 most important socialists.)

      2. captdax says:

        Is Barack Obama a socialist? … Hmm.. Does a bear Crap in the Woods?..

      3. John Donohue says:

        This piece is substantive, credible and “on point with its chosen point.” I suggest everyone currently calling Mr. Obama a socialist add “in the European sense of the term” for a while. It is actually redundant, but forcefully nullifies the “he does not want the gov’t to take ownership” thing. Kudos also for not totalizing on certain statements of Mr. Obama when you “reasonabally could have.” I think you know the phrase to which I am referring in particular.

        The fundamental argument is made here, factually, soberly and objectively: Mr. Obama is a Socialist (in the European sense of the term.)

      4. Schlomotion says:

        Mr. Perazzo says “a careful look at Barack Obama’s life story, his actions, his closest alliances, his long-term objectives, and his words, shows that he has long been, quite demonstrably, a genuine soc.ialist.”

        Alas, this is also true of most of the neoconservatives and half of the people at Frontpage, including all of their A-list.

        • thatsitivehadenough says:

          Obama is a dangerous Marxist who’s first and foremost goal is to destroy the American economy, weaken it’s military, remove religion and God from as many places as he can, abandon our traditions, and our traditional allies, and destroy the traditional family.

          That more Americans (Liberals & Democrats in particular) still don’t understand this is proof that the media is corrupt, the education system a complete failure who’s purpose has become indoctrination, and that the infiltration into ALL American systems from k-12 right up to the Dept of State, the Democratic Party (and surely part of the R party as well), the Dept of Justice, and the White House itself are so full of infiltrators who’s purpose in life is to bring down the USA and merge all the socialist and communist nations of the world into one big, unhappy, miserable gulag.

          If more people had the guts to just come out and speak the truth, like this author, this website, and others like it, we wouldn’t be in the mess we are in right now. Political correctness, beginning with screeches of ‘McCarthyism’ has been covering up a disease in America that has grown nearly large enough to destroy the host.

          This dismantling of the foundations of this great nation has been happening in America since the dawn of the 20th Century, and the pace has increased dramatically since WWII. Begin by asking if the West actually won, or did it somehow lose the Cold War by design.

          • Spider says:

            Good post hatsitivehadenough – you are absolutely right here but the regular folks don’t seem to be paying attention, just a few informed people here and there like us.

            • BS61 says:

              Actually, many years ago when I finally woke up, every message board was pro Obama, so we’ve made great progress! Much less today than I’ve ever seen. Of course they come out via pay from Soros for the elections, but it’s normally pretty good!

        • adamjw2 says:

          You wanna provide some evidence for this statement…

        • ABOABOABO1 says:

          TYPICAL SOCIALIST DISINFORMATION !

          THE ARTICLE WAS VERY THOROUGH AND WELL RESEARCHED !

          VERY THOROUGH !

        • Steeloak says:

          The difference schlectmotion is that they have all come to their senses and abandoned the socialism of their youth to become conservatives while Obama continues to fervently believe in his Marxist utopia to this day.

          A quote, often attributed to Churchill, says it all: “Any man who is under 30, and is not a liberal, has no heart; and any man who is over 30, and is not a conservative, has no brains.”

          • Schlomotion says:

            I disagree. They abandoned the soci.alism of their youth, but they merely switched to Likudism which is not only just as bad, it’s foreign, runs contrary to American interests, and on top of that, they still use Stalinism to push it.

        • Ted G says:

          What a true fool you are schlo!

      5. rusyn says:

        what the hell is a social justice, anti-capitalist. sounds like socialist to me.

      6. Ar’nun says:

        I love the new Democrat party Slogan… FORWARD! LOL!

        This sounded familiar so I racked my brain and rememebred, one of the National Socialist Party slogans in 1930’s Germany was “Vorwarts! Vorwarts!” They even had a song that the Hitler Youth sang while marching called “Vorwarts! Vorwarts!”. And Vorwarts translated means, FORWARD!

        Funny coincidence. Especially after all the delegates booed the idea of Jeruselum being the Israeli Capital, and then booed God.

      7. Attila The Hun says:

        Calling B.Hussein Obama a socialist is an insult to true believers. For many destitute and the poor Socialism may seem to be their last hope, but for Hussein Obama and his ilks Socialism is a way to gain power and enrich themselves by exploiting the very poor they claim to help. Just watch Michell Obama wardrobe, for a women who claim to who care for the poor wearing clothing design for the upper class. Or B.Hussein Obama playing golf with the most powerful capitalist and enjoying the life of the rich and famous. B.Hussein Obama is nothing more dictator wannabe street thug. Plan and simple

        • Will says:

          Yes, Barack Obama, the President of the United states, is a “wannabe street thug.”

          In real life, he’s the President of the United States, but he really wishes he was a street thug? Why would he have taken all the time to become president if his real dream was street thuggery? Couldn’t he have accomplished that already if that was his goal? Or did he try and fail then decide to just become the president instead?

      8. clarespark says:

        Populism can lead to either fascism or communism. I made the case for the Democrats proto-fascism here: http://clarespark.com/2012/09/05/proto-fascism-an…. “Proto-fascism and the Democrat People’s Community. Years ago, C. Vann Woodward wrote a very good book on middle class radicalism: Tom Watson: Agrarian Rebel (1938). The implications for today are very upsetting.

      9. SFLBIB says:

        Why did it take so long and so many words to say what everybody already knows? All you have had to do was listen to him.

      10. dave says:

        superb well researched article. And scary. Seditious marxist/socialist conspirators have taken over the democratic party and the US Presidency. The Republicans had better expose Obama’s background as a key part of their presidential campaign. The American people need to understand all the marxist and islamic subversion behind Obama and vote him out decisively.

        • SCREW SOCIALISM says:

          The Democrat party has been Hijacked, by Socialists.

          That’s why I’m voting on a case by case basis. If both the Democrat and Republican candidate are equal, I’m voting for the Republican.

          It’s Time For A Change.

      11. Chanameel says:

        Will Obamacare cover Orthodontic Insurance for Michelle?

      12. Jim_C says:

        I happen to think there is a definition of soc.ialism that Obama does not meet, since he governs somewhere between Bill Clinton and Richard Nixon ideologically.

        But hey, if he is in fact a soc.ialist–BRING ON THE SOC>IAL.ISM!

      13. cynthia curran says:

        Well, I agree that Obama is a Fabian, personality I think that even Hilary would not have such as high spending for Green jobs in China or Finland or wherever. Obama cons middle and upper middle class whites belieiving that he is someone different than he is and playing some lower income whites on the envy of their more wealthier counterparts. Obama does the same with minorities since they still have less than whites on the average.

        • Will says:

          Of their “more wealthier” counterparts huh? He’s trying to make people envy their “more wealthier” counterparts?

          I can see it now. Two rich guys talking, “I’m more wealthier than you.” “No, I’m more wealthier”.

          You can say wealthier, or more wealthy, more wealthier is something you learn is wrong in third grade.

      14. cynthia curran says:

        What is interesting is some paleo-cons that like Ron Paul also like Obama better than Mitt Romney. The only thing that really disagree with Obama is on immigration. Whit nationalists types are divided between those that like the welfare state for whites and those that are more mainstream with republicans on economics. They like Obama since he was supposed to deport more illegal immirgants than Bush but Obama is using that to try to legalized millions of people.

        • Will says:

          Obama has deported more illegal immigrants than Bush. He wasn’t “supposed to” he has, its fact.

          • JoJoJams says:

            Will, it’s not “fact”! The Truth is that most have SELF-deported due to the crappy economy!! This administration has been hell-bent on keeping the border partrol from doin their jobs, and even issuing orders to NOT ask for papers, etc. Why the h3ck do you think they’ve gone after Sheriff Joe and Arizona? Again, the only reason there has been an exodus of illegal immigrants is entirely due to the crappy economy — only in that sens has “Obama deported more illegal immigrants than Bush”. And by the way, it was Bush’s attempt at amnesty that got resoundly defeated that was one of the “pushes” that helped to begat the Tea Party – the bailouts he started and the lightbulb b.s. were some others.

          • Steeloak says:

            Only because they started counting illegals caught at the border by the Border Patrol and immediately returned to Mexico as “Deported”. http://dailycaller.com/2012/08/24/new-documents-r…

            True deportations, those done by ICE, are way down under Obama.

      15. cynthia curran says:

        Well, there are some Conservative Hispanics but being poorer than whites on the average means that their are a lot of radical Hispanic politicians out there that want to make California a Hispanic state and whites go away. Castro shows that they are working on Texas which takes a lot longer since white Texans vote heavily for the Republicans. But many Republicans for too long think that social conservative always equals economic conservative which isn’t true, blacks have been always to the right of whites on social issues but not economic issues. Changing a state’s demographics in the long run is bad for Republicans under the Bush years it was assume that Hispanics will vote more Republican and therefore letting Hispanic immigrants take jobs in the US will prevent the takeover of communists in Mexico. The Communist Party almost got Mexico with millions of its citizens have moved to the states.

      16. cynthia curran says:

        For example Orange County Ca in the 1960’s was known for white Conservatives like James Utt and John Schmitz a little far to the right but now because white Republicans its known for Loretta Sanchez.

      17. Will says:

        Does the fact that the rest of the country thinks you guys are all insane bother you in the least bit?

        • JoJoJams says:

          lmao! You and your three buds and the local hookers are not “the rest of the country”. One thing I noticed about liberals – they only hang with like-minded people, so they think that “everyone thinks this way!”. Since they are too close minded to have friends from all perspectives (like most conservatives do) they just can’t comprehend that “the rest of the country” actually thinks different from them. Self-professed “liberals” are only 20% of the population. The majority of this nation is center-right. Those are statistical facts, or, “An Inconvenient Truth”, that should burst your ideological bubble – but probably won’t….

        • Drakken says:

          The fact that you liberal/progressive/commis are all about I feel therefore I am as policy positions than logic, facts and common sense tells us more about you and your ilk than is says about us conservatives.

      18. cynthia curran says:

        I mean besides white Republicans its known for Loretta Sanchez and the Korean Democratic Mayor of Irvine because of Demographic changes brought about with the IRCA of Reagan and the general changed of immigration legal immigration under Kennedy in 1965.

      19. geopeyton says:

        Those who focus on whether or not he’s a socialist lose the forest for the trees. All of the various ‘isms – socialism, communism, progressivism, fascism, modern liberalism, whatever – they are all the same: they place all substantive decisions in the hands of some ruling body. The only other alternative is true liberty, which places the decisions in the hands of the individuals involved.

        Moreover, none of the true believers are willing to turn over the decisions to someone other than themselves, so they don’t even really believe in their own professed ideals. They are totalitarians who desire power over others, plain and simple.

      20. I think too much word play can obscure the essence of ideas. Who could logically deny that Obama’s ideology is closer to Karl Marx than it is to Adam Smith? And who would deny that many Dems believe that’s a good thing?

      21. Buddy Winston says:

        I wish the author would do an article called ‘OVERWHELMING EVIDENCE THAT OBAMA IS A MUSLIM.” And the lede should be, “And Islam is satanic garbage.”

        THe aforementioned is true. Yesterday, when the crowd applauded Jerusalem NOT being the capital of Israel is the umpteenth example.

        Everything Obama has done so far has been to benefit the Muzzie Brother-hoods. And damage Israel’s security.

        OBAMA IS THE ANTICHRIST.

      22. Buddy Winston says:

        I wish the author would do an article called ‘OVERWHELMING EVIDENCE THAT OBAMA IS A MUSLIM.” And the lede should be, “And Islam is satanic garbage.”

        THe aforementioned is true. Yesterday, when the crowd applauded Jerusalem NOT being the capital of Israel is the umpteenth example.

        Everything Obama has done so far has been to benefit the Muslim Brother-hoods. And damage Israel’s security.

        OBAMA IS THE ANTICHRIST.

      23. Lan Astaslem says:

        Socialism – an economic system designed to make the unambitious, the lazy and the unsuccessful feel better about themselves

      24. The news is finally getting out in an abundance. I hope it gets to enough places and people to end the lie that Obama is not a Marxist. Obama is a revolutionary using our Republic’s Presidency as a platform for his revolution.
        A vote against any Democrat is a vote against every Marxist/Progressive/Socialist/etc.
        Marvin E. Fox

      25. stevefraser says:

        Great summary of the Emperor’s background…too bad the GOP is so weak most people will never know about the Beast they have elected.

      26. cynthia curran says:

        Well, Obama has whipped up the left to blame on the problems on rich people. No one ever thinks that a lot of upper middle class votes brought houses taht they knew that couldn’t afford on credit along with cars but Bankers are the only ones to be blamed for the messed. Even when George W Bush was President there was not vocally the hatred of the so=called rich by the left, it was more anti-war since Obama has been president people forgot that Obama use money from the rich to get into office and now wants to regulated them to death which means that Obama is a demogogue.

      27. cynthia curran says:

        We are not nutsObama is similar to social Democratic in western Europe and sometimes they even lower taxes. Obama had to make a compromise with the Republicans on the Bush tax which will expire, so we are not crazy,

      28. The Infidel Alliance says:

        Barack Hussein Obama: “I’m not an ideologue….I’m not.” – January 2010

        Congressman Joe Wilson: “You lie!”

        I think we’ve straightened this out.

        ~ The Infidel Alliance

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      Obama’s true allegence & belief

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      4 more years we will awaken to a government taken over by a one party conspiracy, and the majority of our political leaders imprison by a communist government, lead by Barrak Hassan Obama & the DEMOCRATS, and probably be imprisoned for anti – government speech;

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      Obama is waging a bloodless take over of America,

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      2.  APPOINT AN ADVISER THAT IS UNKNOWN TO THE AMERICAN PUBLIC (VALERIE JARRETT ).
      3. DIVIDE THE PARTIES IN THE MINDS OF THE PEOPLE ; DEMOCRATS (GOOD) – REPUBLICANS  (EVIL).
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      HAS REVELATION’S BEAST RISEN & HIS NAME IS OBAMA

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      Actor Chuck Norris joined Fox & Friends this morning to react to the DNC and explain how he’s feeling about the direction of the country. He’s giving full support to Mitt Romney “because we do need an experienced man in the White House to lead us in the proper direction we need to go.”

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      Communist Party: Obama‘s Reelection is ’Absolutely Essential’

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      For the actual communists, that seems to be the main sticking point. Consider these quotes from Case’s article:

      But the right-wing aim to divide and conquer was pervasive. They aimed to exploit any possible difference between private sector workers and public workers, people with and people without pensions, people in the cities and people in rural areas, people in unions and people not in unions and even between firefighters and police on the one hand and the rest of the public workers on the other. These divisions and a Democratic Party in Wisconsin not fully agreeing to focus on what triggered the recall in the first place – the attack on collective bargaining rights – resulted in a situation where Walker was able to define the main issue not as his attempt to kill unions but as whether it was fair or unfair to overturn his election before he had a chance to complete his first term. While the right-wing spendfest sharpened the message of the Republicans it made some Democrats wary of taking the kind of strong stands needed to move working people suffering during the current economic crisis.[…]

       

      Labor and progressive forces must double-down on unity to prevent a national Walker-like regime from seizing power. The basis of that unity is partially revealed in the Krugman and Stiglitz books: understand the “paradox of thrift” – if an individual is in debt, they must cut expenses, but if a government – meaning ALL of us – is in debt, in a depression, cutting expenses, which means cutting more jobs, only get you deeper in debt, and deeper in depression.[…]

      Every Republican governor is trying to do to the African-American and Latino vote what Walker has done to labor rights in Wisconsin: repress and suppress it by any means necessary. Defense is more divided this time, but energy and ag-biz and real estate are all Romney, and are pledging a billion dollar fund to defeat Obama.[…]

      Re-electing Obama is not sufficient to bring economic recovery or even relief to our people. Only a different class configuration in political power can do necessary minimum reforms to give us a chance. But re-electing Obama is absolutely essentialNow is not the time for hand washing the complexities and tactics away – or failing to triage the most critical questions from those that are less critical. We cannot win everything at once!

      [Emphasis added]

      We hasten to note that this last sentence — “we cannot win everything at once” — apparently suggests that the Communist Party USA has finally transitioned away from its old “revolution” model to one based on “evolution,” meaning that, to again channel Glenn Beck, they now have become progressives.

      Which, come to think of it, puts them in the same camp as President Obama, after all.

      (H/T: Weaselzippers)

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      Military Chiefs Mullen and Petraeus Disagree with Obama Afghan Pullout Timetable

      Mark Whittington

      Mark Whittington, Yahoo! Contributor Network
      Jun 23, 2011 “Share your voice on Yahoo! websites. Start Here.”

      COMMENTARY | Two of America’s top military leaders have hinted that they disagree with the pace of President Obama’s troop withdraw from Afghanistan. By so doing, Admiral Michael Mullen and General David Petraeus have increased the president’s political risks.

      According to the Weekly Standard, Mullen, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, was testifying before the House Armed Services Committee Thursday morning when he stated that while he supported the president’s plan, he also said, “What I can tell you is, the President’s decisions are more aggressive and incur more risk than I was originally prepared to accept.”

      General Petraeus, the outgoing theater commander in Afghanistan and the incoming Director of Central Intelligence, was a little more oblique in his criticism, but just as to the point, according to National Review.

      Sen. Carl Levin, who was conducting the hearing, wanted to get Petraeus on record as supporting the withdraw timetable by asking him a hypothetical question. Levin did not get the answer he was looking for.

      “So he asked Petraeus, paraphrasing, ‘Wouldn’t you resign if you felt uncomfortable executing the president’s order?’

      “Petraeus’s response was impassioned. ‘I’m not a quitter,’ he said, adding that he has ‘thought a lot’ about the question and ‘felt strongly about’ it. ‘I don’t think that is the place for a commander to consider that kind of step unless you are in a very, very dire situation,’ Petraeus said.

      “Levin quickly realized he was losing control of the rhetorical point and tried (gently) to cut Petraeus off, but the general insisted on elaborating. Petraeus said that since our troops don’t have the option of quitting, he doesn’t think he does either. It isn’t acceptable, he added, for a commander to resign ‘in protest’ of an order he disagrees with.”

      Petraeus went on to say that the departure date of September, 2012, which is in the middle of the campaigning season in Afghanistan, had not military significance. But that it “risks having to do with other considerations.” General Petraeus did not elaborate, but his meaning is clear.

      Petraeus artfully managed to embarrass the president and his supporters, while positioning himself as a good soldier who obeyed orders and held as his utmost priority the wellbeing of his troops. He had then managed to suggest that the president was putting at risk not only success of the mission in Afghanistan, but the lives of servicemen and women for “other considerations.”

      Petraeus is a general without peer in our time, having managed to salvage the situation in Iraq and having made great strides toward doing the same in Afghanistan. But now he has also proven himself to be a master of intrigue. With that skill he should do well at the CIA and any other office of trust he finds himself in as his career of public service progresses.

      President Obama, for his part, must be fuming about what his military commanders are saying. Mullen and Petraeus are not approaching anywhere near doing a MacArthur, who openly criticized Truman administration policy in Korea. They are not overtly doing anything of the sort.

      Sources: Mullen Throws Obama Under the Bus …, Bill Kistrol, The Weekly Standard, June 23, 2012

      A Telling Response from Petraeus, Daniel Foster, National Review, June 23, 2011