Sunday, October 26, 2008

Barack Obama for President

This NYTimes editorial just about says it all.

Frank

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October 24, 2008

EDITORIAL

Barack Obama for President

Hyperbole is the currency of presidential campaigns, but this year the nation’s future truly hangs in the balance.

The United States is battered and drifting after eight years of President Bush’s failed leadership. He is saddling his successor with two wars, a scarred global image and a government systematically stripped of its ability to protect and help its citizens — whether they are fleeing a hurricane’s floodwaters, searching for affordable health care or struggling to hold on to their homes, jobs, savings and pensions in the midst of a financial crisis that was foretold and preventable.

As tough as the times are, the selection of a new president is easy. After nearly two years of a grueling and ugly campaign, Senator Barack Obama of Illinois has proved that he is the right choice to be the 44th president of the United States.

Mr. Obama has met challenge after challenge, growing as a leader and putting real flesh on his early promises of hope and change. He has shown a cool head and sound judgment. We believe he has the will and the ability to forge the broad political consensus that is essential to finding solutions to this nation’s problems.

In the same time, Senator John McCain of Arizona has retreated farther and farther to the fringe of American politics, running a campaign on partisan division, class warfare and even hints of racism. His policies and worldview are mired in the past. His choice of a running mate so evidently unfit for the office was a final act of opportunism and bad judgment that eclipsed the accomplishments of 26 years in Congress.

Given the particularly ugly nature of Mr. McCain’s campaign, the urge to choose on the basis of raw emotion is strong. But there is a greater value in looking closely at the facts of life in America today and at the prescriptions the candidates offer. The differences are profound.

Mr. McCain offers more of the Republican every-man-for-himself ideology, now lying in shards on Wall Street and in Americans’ bank accounts. Mr. Obama has another vision of government’s role and responsibilities.

In his convention speech in Denver, Mr. Obama said, “Government cannot solve all our problems, but what it should do is that which we cannot do for ourselves: protect us from harm and provide every child a decent education; keep our water clean and our toys safe; invest in new schools and new roads and new science and technology.”

Since the financial crisis, he has correctly identified the abject failure of government regulation that has brought the markets to the brink of collapse.

The Economy

The American financial system is the victim of decades of Republican deregulatory and anti-tax policies. Those ideas have been proved wrong at an unfathomable price, but Mr. McCain — a self-proclaimed “foot soldier in the Reagan revolution” — is still a believer.

Mr. Obama sees that far-reaching reforms will be needed to protect Americans and American business.

Mr. McCain talks about reform a lot, but his vision is pinched. His answer to any economic question is to eliminate pork-barrel spending — about $18 billion in a $3 trillion budget — cut taxes and wait for unfettered markets to solve the problem.

Mr. Obama is clear that the nation’s tax structure must be changed to make it fairer. That means the well-off Americans who have benefited disproportionately from Mr. Bush’s tax cuts will have to pay some more. Working Americans, who have seen their standard of living fall and their children’s options narrow, will benefit. Mr. Obama wants to raise the minimum wage and tie it to inflation, restore a climate in which workers are able to organize unions if they wish and expand educational opportunities.

Mr. McCain, who once opposed President Bush’s tax cuts for the wealthy as fiscally irresponsible, now wants to make them permanent. And while he talks about keeping taxes low for everyone, his proposed cuts would overwhelmingly benefit the top 1 percent of Americans while digging the country into a deeper fiscal hole.

National Security

The American military — its people and equipment — is dangerously overstretched. Mr. Bush has neglected the necessary war in Afghanistan, which now threatens to spiral into defeat. The unnecessary and staggeringly costly war in Iraq must be ended as quickly and responsibly as possible.

While Iraq’s leaders insist on a swift drawdown of American troops and a deadline for the end of the occupation, Mr. McCain is still talking about some ill-defined “victory.” As a result, he has offered no real plan for extracting American troops and limiting any further damage to Iraq and its neighbors.

Mr. Obama was an early and thoughtful opponent of the war in Iraq, and he has presented a military and diplomatic plan for withdrawing American forces. Mr. Obama also has correctly warned that until the Pentagon starts pulling troops out of Iraq, there will not be enough troops to defeat the Taliban and Al Qaeda in Afghanistan.

Mr. McCain, like Mr. Bush, has only belatedly focused on Afghanistan’s dangerous unraveling and the threat that neighboring Pakistan may quickly follow.

Mr. Obama would have a learning curve on foreign affairs, but he has already showed sounder judgment than his opponent on these critical issues. His choice of Senator Joseph Biden — who has deep foreign-policy expertise — as his running mate is another sign of that sound judgment. Mr. McCain’s long interest in foreign policy and the many dangers this country now faces make his choice of Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska more irresponsible.

Both presidential candidates talk about strengthening alliances in Europe and Asia, including NATO, and strongly support Israel. Both candidates talk about repairing America’s image in the world. But it seems clear to us that Mr. Obama is far more likely to do that — and not just because the first black president would present a new American face to the world.

Mr. Obama wants to reform the United Nations, while Mr. McCain wants to create a new entity, the League of Democracies — a move that would incite even fiercer anti-American furies around the world.

Unfortunately, Mr. McCain, like Mr. Bush, sees the world as divided into friends (like Georgia) and adversaries (like Russia). He proposed kicking Russia out of the Group of 8 industrialized nations even before the invasion of Georgia. We have no sympathy for Moscow’s bullying, but we also have no desire to replay the cold war. The United States must find a way to constrain the Russians’ worst impulses, while preserving the ability to work with them on arms control and other vital initiatives.

Both candidates talk tough on terrorism, and neither has ruled out military action to end Iran’s nuclear weapons program. But Mr. Obama has called for a serious effort to try to wean Tehran from its nuclear ambitions with more credible diplomatic overtures and tougher sanctions. Mr. McCain’s willingness to joke about bombing Iran was frightening.

The Constitution and the Rule of Law

Under Mr. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney, the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, the justice system and the separation of powers have come under relentless attack. Mr. Bush chose to exploit the tragedy of Sept. 11, 2001, the moment in which he looked like the president of a unified nation, to try to place himself above the law.

Mr. Bush has arrogated the power to imprison men without charges and browbeat Congress into granting an unfettered authority to spy on Americans. He has created untold numbers of “black” programs, including secret prisons and outsourced torture. The president has issued hundreds, if not thousands, of secret orders. We fear it will take years of forensic research to discover how many basic rights have been violated.

Both candidates have renounced torture and are committed to closing the prison camp in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.

But Mr. Obama has gone beyond that, promising to identify and correct Mr. Bush’s attacks on the democratic system. Mr. McCain has been silent on the subject.

Mr. McCain improved protections for detainees. But then he helped the White House push through the appalling Military Commissions Act of 2006, which denied detainees the right to a hearing in a real court and put Washington in conflict with the Geneva Conventions, greatly increasing the risk to American troops.

The next president will have the chance to appoint one or more justices to a Supreme Court that is on the brink of being dominated by a radical right wing. Mr. Obama may appoint less liberal judges than some of his followers might like, but Mr. McCain is certain to pick rigid ideologues. He has said he would never appoint a judge who believes in women’s reproductive rights.

The Candidates

It will be an enormous challenge just to get the nation back to where it was before Mr. Bush, to begin to mend its image in the world and to restore its self-confidence and its self-respect. Doing all of that, and leading America forward, will require strength of will, character and intellect, sober judgment and a cool, steady hand.

Mr. Obama has those qualities in abundance. Watching him being tested in the campaign has long since erased the reservations that led us to endorse Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton in the Democratic primaries. He has drawn in legions of new voters with powerful messages of hope and possibility and calls for shared sacrifice and social responsibility.

Mr. McCain, whom we chose as the best Republican nominee in the primaries, has spent the last coins of his reputation for principle and sound judgment to placate the limitless demands and narrow vision of the far-right wing. His righteous fury at being driven out of the 2000 primaries on a racist tide aimed at his adopted daughter has been replaced by a zealous embrace of those same win-at-all-costs tactics and tacticians.

He surrendered his standing as an independent thinker in his rush to embrace Mr. Bush’s misbegotten tax policies and to abandon his leadership position on climate change and immigration reform.

Mr. McCain could have seized the high ground on energy and the environment. Earlier in his career, he offered the first plausible bill to control America’s emissions of greenhouse gases. Now his positions are a caricature of that record: think Ms. Palin leading chants of “drill, baby, drill.”

Mr. Obama has endorsed some offshore drilling, but as part of a comprehensive strategy including big investments in new, clean technologies.

Mr. Obama has withstood some of the toughest campaign attacks ever mounted against a candidate. He’s been called un-American and accused of hiding a secret Islamic faith. The Republicans have linked him to domestic terrorists and questioned his wife’s love of her country. Ms. Palin has also questioned millions of Americans’ patriotism, calling Republican-leaning states “pro-America.”

This politics of fear, division and character assassination helped Mr. Bush drive Mr. McCain from the 2000 Republican primaries and defeat Senator John Kerry in 2004. It has been the dominant theme of his failed presidency.

The nation’s problems are simply too grave to be reduced to slashing “robo-calls” and negative ads. This country needs sensible leadership, compassionate leadership, honest leadership and strong leadership. Barack Obama has shown that he has all of those qualities.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Voter Fraud...The Real Acorn Story

Here's a transcript of the Bill Moyers interview with Mark Crispin Miller, He's a leading media studies scholar at New York University, where he's teaching a course this semester on "How to steal an election."
We've heard so much about Acorn, and the dire predictions from John McCain that freedom and democracy is at stake due to what ACORN is doing. This interview puts that piece of nonsense in perspective and underscores the real source of the attack against freedom and democracy in the form of the Republican efforts to suppress the vote. In the past two elections the Republicans have had a field day with their voter suppression techniques. McCain should hang his head in shame to make such a ridiculous statement about ACORN when his own party has been in the forefront of dis-enfranchisement, and outright election theft!

Here's the link for the video where you can follow along with the transcript: http://www.pbs.org/moyers/journal/10172008/watch3.html

Frank
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October 17, 2008
BILL MOYERS: Many years ago one of my mentors, Arkansas Congressman Brooks Hays, used to tell of a constituent who was asked how she intended to vote on Election Day. "Oh," she replied, "I never vote. It only encourages them."
That skepticism may be justified but it's certainly not fashionable this year. Voter turn out all across the country is expected to be at record highs.
But another kind of skepticism is in order... when you vote, will your vote be counted? Since the fiasco in Florida in 2000 and the questions about Ohio in 2004, fears abound about the security of our election system.
Just this week, Common Cause and two other public interest groups issued a 50-state report card titled, "Is America Ready to Vote?" It says that vast improvements have been made in voting technologies and procedures but warns that many states still are not ready.
To help us navigate this electoral minefield, I'm joined by Mark Crispin Miller, He's a leading media studies scholar at New York University, where he's teaching a course this semester on "How to steal an election."
His new book, LOSER TAKE ALL: ELECTION FRAUD AND THE SUBVERSION OF DEMOCRACY 2000-2008, offers a twelve-step program to save democracy.
Mark Crispin Miller, welcome.
BILL MOYERS: You grew up in Chicago where, it is famously said, four out of every two votes are cast Democratic, right? And whereas we learned in 1960 you never count the votes of the deceased until you know how many need, right? So you have some experience with what can go wrong in elections. What can go wrong this election?
MARK CRISPIN MILLER: Well, it's certainly true that election fraud has a long history in this country. And it's happened on both sides. But I'm afraid that what we've seen in this decade, in this century is unprecedented. What I worry about for this upcoming election specifically is two sets of activities. One is vote suppression. Vote suppression is a fairly traditional kind of activity.
BILL MOYERS: Meaning?
MARK CRISPIN MILLER: Well, it means various dirty tricks and tactics and legal devices used to shrink the size of the electorate before Election Day. So here we're talking about, for example, interfering with registration drives or making them vulnerable to partisan challenges or passing laws requiring certain kinds of documentation at polling places. You know, stuff that harks back to Reconstruction and the Jim Crow laws. Caging voters, which is sending them registered letters with forms that if they don't fill them out, their names will be stricken from the voter rolls. Voter purges. There's a whole huge menu of extremely ingenious devices now being used I think with unprecedented brazenness to try to make the electorate as small as possible in advance of Election Day.
BILL MOYERS: Why would anybody want to make the turnout small?
MARK CRISPIN MILLER: Well, if the large turnout might go against your own particular interests, it makes a certain sense to try to see to it that those voters can't vote. That's one set of activities that I worry about.
BILL MOYERS: The other?
MARK CRISPIN MILLER: Well, the other is what we call election fraud. This means using the computerized voting systems which we now have in place in at least 80% of the country. Precisely because it is so technical and it's so opaque and it's all run by private companies, private companies that have close ties to the Republican Party, the use of this kind of voting apparatus is extremely worrisome and something that we should be watching very carefully.
BILL MOYERS: I talked the other day to the former lieutenant governor of Iowa who said that she thinks they have an ideal system out there because they have a two-step system where you fill out a paper ballot. And then you have it scanned so that you have an electronic check on a paper record and vice versa. It - does that help?
MARK CRISPIN MILLER: Well, I'm afraid it doesn't. I wish I could say yes. There is a big liberal consensus around the idea that optical scanners are the way to go. Basically, there's two kinds of computerized voting systems. One is the paperless type, the DRE so-called, which trades only in electronic signals. There's literally no paper ballot there. Those are the worst. You know, touch screen machines and that kind of thing. We're going to be using those on Election Day in a third of the country. That's a worry. The other kind of machine is the optical scanner, you know, which people are familiar with from having their SATs graded and so on. The problem with optical scanners is that, although they do use paper - I mean, there is paper there, but the fact is that they are just as insecure, just as easily hack-able as the paperless machines.
BILL MOYERS: This is the sort of thing that would lead to fraud, which carries very serious penalties.
MARK CRISPIN MILLER: Well, you would think so. But the fact is that the oversight on this whole system is lax to non-existent. I mean, there are essays about this in "Loser Take All". What we have in this country, for voting purposes, is a system that is nothing short of scandalous. I mean, we don't want a voting system that is so profoundly insecure, you know, when our whole democracy depends on it.
But let me make another point that I think is more important. Any kind of a system that entails secret vote counting has absolutely no place in any country that calls itself a democracy. Whether you're using a paperless machine or whether you're using computerized optical scanners to count paper ballots, in neither case is it possible for citizens from different sides to sit around a table and watch the votes be counted. You know, that may sound old fashioned for some people-
BILL MOYERS: It is old fashioned and time consuming, right?
MARK CRISPIN MILLER: Well, certainly time consuming. I think we could take a couple of days for the sake of democracy to count the votes.
BILL MOYERS: Do you think the capacity for fraud today is greater than it was, for example, in 1948 when one of my mentors, Lyndon B. Johnson, became "Landslide Lyndon" because he was elected to the Senate on the basis of 87 disputed votes in a single county in Texas? Went on to become President of the United States? I mean, is the capacity for stealing an election greater today than it was then?
MARK CRISPIN MILLER: Oh, the capacity for stealing an election is infinitely greater today than it was then. But it does not involve individual voters stuffing ballot boxes. That's what you might call retail fraud, you know? That's old-fashioned voter fraud of the kind that we are now being told - thunderously - is reached epidemic proportions and that ACORN is the main culprit.
BILL MOYERS: What do you make of the ACORN case? I mean, even as we are talking there's an investigation, the Department of Justice, the FBI, they started investigating ACORN. Fox News has been beating the ACORN issue over and again for the last week or so. John McCain brought it up Wednesday night in his debate with Obama, tried to tie Obama to ACORN. What do you make of the ACORN controversy?
MARK CRISPIN MILLER: Well, I make of it what it is a first-class propaganda drive. The entities you've mentioned are all participating in it - Fox News, Rush Limbaugh, John McCain, the McCain campaign, despite the inconvenient fact that John McCain gave the keynote speech at ACORN's annual conference in 2006. We won't talk about that. The fact is that what we're hearing about ACORN is, without exception, false. It is false. ACORN itself flagged the suspicious voter registration forms that caused this whole thing to begin in Las Vegas about ten days ago. It brought those forms to the attention of the secretary of state who then turned around and said, "Ah-ha, evidence that you're conspiring to commit voter fraud."
Well, filling out voter registration forms dishonestly to pick up a couple of bucks, which is what the ACORN volunteers had done, is not voter fraud. What ACORN does is it pays people to register others. So naturally there are people who will turn in funny forms because that's the incentive system, that's a way to make a couple of bucks. And that's why ACORN has been quite scrupulous over the years in going through these forms and then turning in the ones that strike them as suspicious.
BILL MOYERS: And it's done that. I mean, ACORN admits that some of these registration cards are problematic, such as the name "Mickey Mouse." "Mickey Mouse" is registered, and ACORN has pointed that out. The entire Dallas Cowboy football team was registered in Las Vegas, Nevada. So, so that part of the argument is true, right? Some people do fill out bogus registration cards.
MARK CRISPIN MILLER: Yeah. And ACORN turned them in. That's the point I'm making. These are infractions by grass-roots volunteers who do the wrong thing. That's not voter fraud, however. Voter fraud would be if somebody showed up to vote and said, "Hi, I'm Mickey Mouse. May I vote now?" That's not going on.
BILL MOYERS: And does that happen very often?
MARK CRISPIN MILLER: It never happens. Let's just talk statistically about this, okay? As of 2007 the Department of Justice had prosecuted - are you ready for this? This number? 120 cases of voter fraud.
BILL MOYERS: Over what period?
MARK CRISPIN MILLER: Over, well, this is, like four years. Okay? 120 cases. And there were 82 convictions. Now, I think the republic will probably withstand that attack, right? We're talking about voter fraud that's being perpetrated in the tens. And I can tell you, moreover, that not one of those cases of fraud actually involved a person showing up to vote improperly. They were other kinds of fraud. You know, election judges breaking the law and so on.
The point I'm making to you here, Bill - and this is the most important thing I'm going to say to you tonight - is that this is a pretext being used by a party, okay, that is itself committing election fraud and vote suppression on an enormous scale. In other words, we have a party that is itself engaged in disenfranchising, actively disenfranchising millions of Americans. It is itself complaining about a group that is supposedly planning to do the same thing but that isn't doing that at all.
BILL MOYERS: What's the evidence that say the Republican Party is disenfranchising millions of people?
MARK CRISPIN MILLER: Well, first of all, all of these voter purges, the caging of voters, as I described before.
BILL MOYERS: Well, I mean, the Brennan Center report two weeks ago said perhaps hundreds of thousands of people have been improperly purged from the rolls without even knowing about it. But they didn't talk about millions.
MARK CRISPIN MILLER: Well, I, in the aggregate, it does and could easily add up to millions of voters because we're talking about a very, very broad range of devices, you know, both legal and illegal that will have a dramatic effect and that will add up. If hundreds of thousands of people are disenfranchised nationwide simply through voter purges alone, you see? That is significant. If the caging of voters results in the disenfranchisement of another 200,000, 300,000, we're talking here about numbers that definitely do add up, you see, and that make a difference, are meant to make a difference come Election Day.
BILL MOYERS: This term "caging," what's a simple understanding of that?
MARK CRISPIN MILLER: It's really very simple. The Republican Party, in a particular state, will get a list of the names and addresses of Democrats and send them letters that look sort of like junk mail, you know? Often they'll have windows in the envelope, the kind of thing that people are going to be inclined to throw away. And if people don't open those envelopes and take out forms that are in them and fill them out and send them in, their names will be stricken from the voter rolls on that basis. They've also been known to send these kinds of forms to people who are overseas serving in the military. Well, they're not home to check their mail, so if they don't fill out the forms, their names are stricken from the voter roll.
BILL MOYERS: Have we made improvements since the fiasco of 2000 and the shenanigans that allegedly took place in Ohio in 2004? Are things better today, our ability to scrutinize and check this desire to influence the outcome of elections fraudulently?
MARK CRISPIN MILLER: Well, certainly more people are more aroused to try to keep an eye on what's happening. And that's a very good thing. And in this upcoming election we will have an unprecedented voter protection effort being carried out by all kinds of great organizations. That's a good thing. However, I cannot say that the situation has been improved or reformed. It's really only gotten worse because since the theft of the election in 2000, no one has been willing to talk about this issue, and what we're seeing now, I'm afraid, is the upshot of those many years of most of us turning away from this problem.
BILL MOYERS: So what's a voter to do? Here you are talking about voter suppression, intimidation, voter challenges, machines we can't trust. I mean, what do you want voters who are watching to do two weeks from next Tuesday?
MARK CRISPIN MILLER: I think that voters, first of all, should ensure that there be as large a turnout as possible. The larger the turnout, the harder the theft, okay? And what I mean by this is that people themselves should not only turn out to vote, but those who have decided to vote early, should still go out on Election Day itself and go to the polls not to vote, just to be there.
BILL MOYERS: Poll watchers become poll watchers?
MARK CRISPIN MILLER: Well, they can become poll watchers if they so desire. But the point I'm making is we need to see one another out there on that day. It has to be a very large gathering of people, first of all. Second of all, I think that this should be the most vigilantly monitored election we've ever seen. Now, the 2006 election was very heavily monitored. This one promises to be off the charts in terms of vigilance of people-
BILL MOYERS: How? What can a voter do to be a monitor?
MARK CRISPIN MILLER: Well, there's an organization called "Video the Vote", VideoTheVote.org, which is providing people with free cameras. The idea is to interview people who come from the polls and say, "They wouldn't let me vote although I'm registered." Or they'll say, "I pressed the button to vote for Obama, and the light for McCain lit up." You know, this kind of thing happened in over 11 states in 2004. Thousands of people saying this kind of thing happened. We need to gather the evidence that this has happened.
BILL MOYERS: I mean, it's easy to get depressed about this, right? You're suggesting, as I have read your book, that that anger and depression be channeled into something positive as a citizen. Sounds naïve, but that's what-
MARK CRISPIN MILLER: Well, I'm as naïve as you are, Bill, in this regard. Listen, for people who haven't heard the facts about what's been going on, on the election front, to suddenly encounter all the evidence of what's really been happening at every level can be staggering. Okay? So people can feel a little bit despairing about it. That's the last thing in the world I want. Indeed, you know, depression is only anger turned inward, as Freud told us. The fact is that we're talking here about a fundamental right, no, about the fundamental right. This is the right on which all our other rights depend, as Tom Paine said. Nothing is more important than this right. This is the right for which millions of our forebears have shed their blood, have died. This is what keeps us free. Only this. If we lose the right to pick our representatives and to get rid of the government when we don't like it anymore, if we don't have that right, if we don't have that power, we're as good as slaves.
BILL MOYERS: The book is LOSER TAKE ALL, 12 steps to saving U.S. democracy. Mark Crispin Miller, thanks for being with me.
MARK CRISPIN MILLER: Thanks, Bill.
BILL MOYERS: Both PBS and YouTube are part of the "Video the Vote" initiative that Mark talked about. You can learn more about it at our Web site, pbs.org.
On Election Day, take your camera with you when you go to vote, then submit your video, especially if you see any problems. But be careful to respect state laws about filming in or near polling places. That's it for the JOURNAL, I'm Bill Moyers. See you next week.

Crushed by the Elephant

This is probably the best explaination for the totally confused campaign that McCain is so unfortunately emersed in.....he truely seems to "rather not be there" when he appears with Palin on television news interviews. The idea that he had something going in the 2000 election, but got defeated by not being down and dirty enough......and then wanting another chance at the top job.....and then caving into the divisive politics of the right wingnuts.....is very plausible, and very convincing. He may really have had a better chance if he came back to his 2000 version of "The Maverick"! The selection of Sarah Palin was his biggest mistake!
Frank

Crushed by the Elephant
Picking Palin was a confession that McCain did not have control of the Republican Party.

Jonathan Alter
NEWSWEEK
From the magazine issue dated Oct 20, 2008

In a season of ironies, the greatest of all might be that John McCain lacks the toughness to get elected president. During the summer, when he had his best chance, he wasn't tough enough to remake the Republican Party in his own image; instead, he surrendered to a cynical assortment of lobbyists and right-wingers who insisted on a strategic blunder that McCain would recognize from his reading of military history—fighting the last war. In 2004 President Bush won by rallying the base and destroying the Democrat as unpatriotic. They would try to do it again.
But the free-market party of Reagan is dead (thanks to the financial crisis) and the resentment party of Nixon (in the form of the ugly attacks unleashed by McCain and Sarah Palin) may find that its best days are behind it. Where is the party of McCain? The man who survived five and a half years as a Vietnam POW and a thousand political battles is being crushed by a dying elephant.
Sure, the market would likely be melting down McCain's campaign no matter what he did. But he'd have a better chance if he canned the character attacks on Barack Obama. Aside from being offensive and desperate, they don't work with undecided voters. And they're confusing to McCain's own stoked-up partisans, as he found in Minnesota last week, when he told a woman who said she was scared by Obama, because he was "Arab," that she was wrong and his opponent was actually a "decent family man." McCain's own crowd then booed him.
But most voters this year aren't much interested in William Ayers or other distractions. Times are bad and the greedheads are to blame. "They know only the rules of a generation of self seekers," Franklin D. Roosevelt said in his 1933 Inaugural Address, referring to the GOP thinking of the 1920s. "They have no vision, and when there is no vision the people perish."
Roosevelt's biblical references, as he rallied the country against "fear itself" during the last banking crisis, underscored the break he was making from the Grand Old Party of Coolidge and Hoover. Obama would likely do the same. "The money changers have fled from their high seats in the temple of our civilization," FDR said. "We may now restore that temple to the ancient truths. The measure of the restoration lies in the extent to which we apply social values more noble than mere monetary profit."
Restoration. It's a powerful vision, and one that McCain understood in 2002 when he tried to force the money contributors from their high seats in the Capitol as part of McCain-Feingold campaign-finance reform. In those days, McCain built a powerful independent brand in American politics. He recognized that the conservative movement was going off the rails. He voted against Bush's tax cuts for the wealthy because they offended his "conscience," and talked with Tom Daschle about sitting with the Democrats in the Senate and with John Kerry about going on the 2004 Democratic ticket.
But McCain wanted one more shot at the top job. To get it, he tacked right during the GOP primaries this year. He felt he hadn't been tough enough when he lost to Bush in South Carolina in 2000, and he wasn't going to make that mistake again. The hypocrisy of McCain's adopting the Rovean tactics he once decried has been endlessly noted, but it misses the full point. If McCain were truly the independent hard-ass he claims to be, he would have courted the GOP conservative base right up to the moment he clinched the nomination, then galloped to the middle, which is where most American voters live. A true tough guy would have said, in effect, "Hey, this is my party now, with my platform and priorities."
This was McCain's instinct, and it's why he wanted Joe Lieberman, who has a moderate to liberal voting record on everything except Iraq, to be his running mate. (The fact that everything is personal with McCain, and the two are close friends, was also a factor.) Picking Lieberman, who is pro-choice, would have led some delegates to walk out of the GOP convention. But Harry Truman survived a walkout of Southern Democrats who loathed his civil-rights platform in 1948, and McCain would have, too.
I'm not suggesting that choosing Lieberman or Mitt Romney (who at least seems like a financial grown-up) or anyone else would have won the election for McCain. His weird obsession with earmarks to the exclusion of the bigger economic picture would still have fallen flat. But succumbing to the choice of his advisers and going with Palin was not only cynical and irresponsible, it was weak. It was a confession that McCain could not, by himself, wrest control of the Republican Party built by Tom DeLay and Grover Norquist, who once loathed McCain but looked plenty happy in St. Paul, Minn.
Those gents and the House Republicans who almost drove the economy off the cliff last month got into politics because of their hatred of regulation and taxation, the twin bogeymen of the GOP for three decades. But guess what? In the span of three weeks, those words have taken on a positive connotation (at least as applied to Wall Street). When the tectonic plates of American politics shifted, only one candidate was ready.
McCain always says that he's a "maverick," not a conventional Republican. But the idea of a Maverick Party is a contradiction in terms. A party has to stand for a set of branded ideas or it's not a party. And mavericks by definition aren't leaders; they're headstrong politicians (or, originally, cattle) who derive their self-worth from wandering away from the herd. They're about as reliable as a crappy '70s car of that name.So if McCain wants any chance of getting back into this thing, beyond praying for a foreign-policy crisis or a mother lode of racism just beneath the surface, he needs to break not just from Bush, but from the rotting corpse of his party. Voters don't want to refight the Vietnam War or play stupid guilt-by-association games. They can't be happy that the ads of the Republican nominee are now 100 percent negative. But they might be willing to weigh the vision of a man they once respected, if only he had something left to say.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

A Tale of Two Fine Roosevelts....The Age of Reagan is over.

Here's a Newsweek article that deserves a post to my blog!
Frank
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A Tale of Two Fine Roosevelts
The Age of Reagan is over. Obama and McCain should recall the cousins who took on Wall Street panics and won.
Sean Wilentz
NEWSWEEK
From the magazine issue dated Oct 27, 2008
The traumatic financial crisis has emphatically ended the political age of Ronald Reagan. For more than 30 years, conservative ideas about small government and the unfettered free markets set the tone of American politics and government. Government, Reagan said, had become the problem and not the solution. His conservative Republican successors took the dogma of deregulation and regressive tax cuts to its logical conclusion, in line with former House majority leader Dick Armey's axiom: "The market is rational and the government is dumb." But today, amid what Republicans and Democrats agree is the worst financial catastrophe since the Great Depression, government has become the solution again—the only conceivable one—and it seems that it will remain so for a long time to come. In the short term, the turnabout has boosted the Democrats and their presidential candidate, Barack Obama. Even Obama's self-described Reaganite Republican opponent, John McCain, has proposed massive government action to prop up ordinary homeowners. Instead of Ronald Reagan, the times seem to call for a new Roosevelt. And although most commentators apparently mean Franklin D. Roosevelt, we should remember Theodore Roosevelt as well—John McCain's other hero, who successfully faced his own showdown with financial mayhem late in his presidency.
In 1907, when a group of New York tycoons failed to corner the copper market, Wall Street securities markets faltered and, by the end of October, reached the brink of collapse. The trustbusting TR had long antagonized the chief captains of American business and finance. Yet to stave off a complete collapse, Roosevelt was willing to cooperate with New York bankers, led by the redoubtable J. P. Morgan, and supply their failing institutions with infusions of federal aid. By year's end, the government had deposited more than $70 million (roughly $28 billion in 2008 dollars) in customs receipts in New York banks and sold to the banks, on credit, more than $150 million (about $61 billion today) in Treasury certificates and low-interest bonds, which they used as collateral to keep themselves afloat. By January 1908, the downward spiral had been reversed, and the panic was over.
The panic's political repercussions, however, had barely begun. Even as Roosevelt came to the bankers' rescue, pro-business reactionaries blamed the entire crisis on his hostility to the trusts. Critics accused him of trying to destroy enterprise and prosperity, and charged that he had disastrously undermined national confidence. Roosevelt, for his part, never doubted that profit-hungry speculators had caused the emergency. He proclaimed that the panic proved how "speculation, corruption and fraud," camouflaged by pieties about economic freedom, individualism and justice, were enriching Wall Street crooks at the expense of the commonwealth.
Roosevelt was as good as his word. In his annual message to Congress delivered in December 1907, he called for the adoption of inheritance and personal income taxes, the national regulation of railroad securities and the fixing of railroad rates, among a long list of other reforms. Congress balked, and TR sent another message, resubmitting his original proposals, adding a new one for federal regulation of stock-market speculation. Equating gambling on the stock market with gambling with cards, Roosevelt declared that the time had come "to make the class of great property holders realize that property has its duties no less than its rights."
The chief reform to arise from the panic, the creation of the Federal Reserve System, was not enacted until 1913 under President Woodrow Wilson. But after Wilson's political and physical collapse in 1920 came 12 years of Republican rule, during which some of Roosevelt's proposals, notably on regulation of the stock market, continued to languish.
TR's cousin Franklin won the Democratic nomination amid economic conditions far more fearsome than any previously known. The slump that had begun with the stock-market crash in 1929 had metastasized into full-scale collapse. The banking system was virtually moribund. Yet FDR did not inspire universal confidence as a new TR. The influential columnist Walter Lippmann dismissed the candidate, before his nomination, as "a pleasant man who, without any important qualifications for the office, would very much like to be President," but who was "no crusader … no tribune of the people."
Yet Roosevelt had more executive and political experience than Lippmann allowed, having served as Wilson's assistant secretary of the Navy for eight years, and as governor of New York since 1929. And FDR the future New Dealer was very much in evidence on the stump. While still aspiring to the nomination, he made his appeal for "bold, persistent experimentation" in combating the Depression. He also denounced, as squarely as his cousin had, "that small group of men" whose ideas about national well-being were "tinctured by the fact that they can make huge profits from the lending of money and the marketing of securities." Roosevelt became something more important than a crusader—he emerged as a national leader.
Roosevelt's experimentalism in the White House irked those on the left who thought it affirmed his allegiance to the capitalist status quo, as well as those on the right who thought it made him the avatar of anti-American collectivism. His political shrewdness confounded even some of his supporters. The establishment in 1934 of the Securities and Exchange Commission fulfilled Theodore Roosevelt's idea of protecting investors from monied predators, while also reducing the chances of another Wall Street upheaval. Yet surprise and dismay greeted FDR's appointment of the wealthy arriviste Joseph P. Kennedy as the SEC's first chairman. "Why did you pick that crook?" someone asked. "Takes one to catch one," Roosevelt replied. (Kennedy did an excellent job, winning praise for his reforms.)
In his classic study "The Coming of the New Deal," the historian Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr. succinctly described FDR's mission: "To save capitalism from the capitalists." That mission had been Theodore Roosevelt's as well. And until the Age of Reagan dawned in the 1970s, the underlying principle of the Rooseveltian mission—that left unchecked, the system could self-destruct—came as second nature to American policymakers. Then, after years of regressive tax cuts and deregulation, followed by the advent of the Newt Gingrich congressional Republicans, those principles began to fade—despite the stupendous costs of the savings and loan crisis of the 1980s, the Enron meltdown of 2001 and other depredations by capitalist buccaneers.
The sudden intrusion of reality in 2008 has been politically costly for John McCain. Supposedly chastened by his links to the S&L debacle, McCain had fashioned a reputation for independence and toughness, and proclaimed his admiration for TR. Yet to secure the nomination of a badly fractured Republican Party, McCain embraced Ronald Reagan's political legacy of tax cuts and small government—exactly as the Age of Reagan was coming to an end. Although he has tried to switch gears since the financial crisis hit by denouncing Wall Street greed and proposing government intervention, McCain's outrage is less than Rooseveltian, and his continued recital of Reaganite dogma makes him sound archaic, like a golden-oldies act. His running mate, although youthful and spirited, seems caught in the same time warp.
Last week in Toledo, Ohio, Barack Obama, after more than a year of campaigning, offered a specific plan of action for economic recovery and rescuing the middle class. He has even been willing to embrace proposals, such as Hillary Clinton's moratorium on house foreclosures, which he disdained during the Democratic primaries. It was an encouraging first step.
Yet Obama must adjust swiftly on other fronts as well if he is fully to update the Rooseveltian legacy.
The symbol of change has shown himself to be changeable, and there is plenty he can alter. Franklin Roosevelt, for example, was an unashamed politician from the anti-Tammany wing of the New York Democratic Party, one who made no bones about his love of party as well as politics, and who eventually redefined the very meaning of partisanship with his New Deal policies. Obama, on the contrary, has touted a fuzzy postpartisanship and promised to end "politics as usual" in Washington. If he is to be more Rooseveltian, he will need to master the arts of transactional politics (and not "transformational" posturing) at both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue, take his inevitable place as Democratic Party leader (especially if the Democrats win large congressional majorities) and assume responsibility as such.
There are also lessons that Obama can learn from the example of Theodore Roosevelt. Obama has thus far enjoyed what looks like an extremely lucky career in politics. The only truly difficult battle he has fought until now was with Hillary Clinton for the nomination, a contest he won only barely. When his campaign against John McCain ran into trouble, the financial collapse completely altered the electoral calculus. Through it all, Obama has been able to be very much the detached, cool customer, the same man who, in his brief time in the Senate, showed no zeal for risky political conflict.
Theodore Roosevelt sometimes had a weakness for tough-guy bombast and braggadocio. But he also knew, from experience as well as temperament, that a successful president cannot always be cool, detached and Olympian, let alone bipartisan, and that events will force him to take risks. To transcend what he called "the twister pride of cynicism," Roosevelt proclaimed in 1910 it is not enough to be thoughtful or even popular; it requires becoming what he called the man "in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood," who fights with the certainty that, even if he fails, "his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat." Should Barack Obama become president next January, as now looks almost certain, he will be the man in the cruel arena whether he likes it or not.


Wilentz, a Princeton historian and the author, most recently, of “The Age of Reagan: A History, 19742008,” is a NEWSWEEK contributing editor.
URL: http://www.newsweek.com/id/164490

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Powell Backs Obama

So refreshing to hear from an intelligent patriotic American words that express my exact feelings on the issues that are so important in this election....thanks Colan Powell!

Powell Backs Obama and Criticizes McCain Tactics

WASHINGTON — Former Secretary of State Colin L. Powell endorsed Senator Barack Obama for president on Sunday morning, calling him a “transformational figure” who has reached out to all Americans with an inclusive campaign and displayed “a steadiness, an intellectual curiosity” and “a depth of knowledge” in his approach to the nation’s problems.

The endorsement, on the NBC public-affairs program “Meet the Press,” was a major blow to Senator John McCain, who has been a good friend of Mr. Powell’s for decades. Mr. Powell, a Republican, has advised Mr. McCain in the past on foreign policy.

“Mr. McCain says that he’s a washed-out terrorist,” Mr. Powell said. “Well, then, why do we keep talking about him?”

After the program’s taping, Mr. Powell told reporters that the thought of attacking Mr. Obama for Mr. Ayers was “over the top.”

blog it

Here is the entire article:

October 20, 2008
Powell Backs Obama and Criticizes McCain Tactics
By ELISABETH BUMILLER and JEFF ZELENY
WASHINGTON — Former Secretary of State Colin L. Powell endorsed Senator Barack Obama for president on Sunday morning, calling him a “transformational figure” who has reached out to all Americans with an inclusive campaign and displayed “a steadiness, an intellectual curiosity” and “a depth of knowledge” in his approach to the nation’s problems.
The endorsement, on the NBC public-affairs program “Meet the Press,” was a major blow to Senator John McCain, who has been a good friend of Mr. Powell’s for decades. Mr. Powell, a Republican, has advised Mr. McCain in the past on foreign policy.
Mr. Powell told Tom Brokaw, the host of “Meet the Press,” that he had been disturbed in recent weeks by the negative tone of Mr. McCain’s campaign, particularly its focus on Mr. Obama’s passing relationship with William Ayers, a 1960s radical and founder of the Weather Underground. The McCain campaign has sought to promote the idea that Mr. Obama is “palling around with terrorists,” in the words of Mr. McCain’s running mate, Governor Sarah Palin, because of Mr. Obama’s weak links to Mr. Ayers.
“Mr. McCain says that he’s a washed-out terrorist,” Mr. Powell said. “Well, then, why do we keep talking about him?”
After the program’s taping, Mr. Powell told reporters that the thought of attacking Mr. Obama for Mr. Ayers was “over the top.”
Mr. Powell, who was secretary of state in the first term of President Bush, also said that he was concerned about Mr. McCain’s selection of Ms. Palin as his running mate and had come to the conclusion that she was the wrong choice.
“She’s a very distinguished woman, and she’s to be admired, but at the same time, now that we have had a chance to watch her for some seven weeks, I don’t believe she’s ready to be president of the United States, which is the job of the vice president,” Mr. Powell said during the taping.
Mr. Powell offered Mr. McCain a small dose of solace by calling him a different kind of Republican and said that he believed Mr. McCain would make a good president. The problem, he said, was that the Republican Party had moved further to the right “than I would like to see it,” and that over the last several weeks the approach of the party and Mr. McCain “has become narrower and narrower.”
Mr. Powell told later reporters that he believed that Mr. McCain would continue to carry forth standard Republican policies. “As gifted as he is, he is essentially going to execute the Republican agenda, the orthodoxy of the Republican agenda, with a new face and a maverick approach to it, and he’d be quite good at it,” Mr. Powell said. “But I think we need a generational change.”
On “Fox News Sunday,” Mr. McCain shrugged off the endorsement by Mr. Powell.“Well, I’ve always admired and respected General Powell,” he said. “We’re longtime friends. This doesn’t come as a surprise. But I’m also very pleased to have the endorsement of four former secretaries of state” — Henry A. Kissinger, James A. Baker III, Lawrence Eagleburger and Alexander M. Haig — “and I’m proud to have the endorsement of well over 200 retired army generals and admirals. I respect and continue to respect and admire Secretary Powell.”
In offering his endorsement, Mr. Powell became the highest-profile Republican to add his support to the Democratic ticket. Although he told Mr. Brokaw that he would not campaign for Mr. Obama in the final two weeks of the race, he did not rule out accepting an appointment in an Obama administration, whether it were a formal position or a more advisory role.
When Mr. Brokaw asked if Mr. Powell would be interested in perhaps serving as an ambassador at large in Africa or taking on the task of resolving the conflict between Israelis and Palestinianas, Mr. Powell replied: “I served 40 years in government and I’m not looking forward to a position or an assignment. Of course, I have always said if a president asks you to do something, you have to consider it.”
Mr. Powell’s endorsement exposed a fundamental policy rift in the Republican party’s foreign-policy establishment between the so-called pragmatists, a number of whom have come to view the Iraq war or its execution as a mistake, and the neoconservatives , a competing camp whose thinking dominated President Bush’s first term and played a pivotal role in building the case for war.
Mr. Powell, who is of the pragmatist camp and has been critical of the Bush administration’s conduct of the war, was said by friends in recent months to be disturbed by some of the neoconservatives who have surrounded Mr. McCain as foreign-policy advisers in his presidential campaign. The McCain campaign’s top foreign-policy aide is Randy Scheunemann, who was a foreign-policy adviser to former Senators Trent Lott and Bob Dole and who has longtime ties to neoconservatives. In 2002, Mr. Scheunemann was a founder of the hawkish Committee for the Liberation of Iraq and was an enthusiastic supporter of Ahmad Chalabi, the Iraqi exile and Pentagon favorite who was viewed with suspicion and distaste at the State Department when Mr. Powell was its secretary.
Mr. Powell met with both Mr. McCain and Mr. Obama in June in preparation to make a possible endorsement. He has said repeatedly in recent months that he wanted to wait until after the political conventions and the presidential debates before making a decision.
Mr. Powell’s support of Mr. Obama was not a surprise to people who know him well and within Washington’s foreign policy establishment, but the Obama campaign welcomed it as a powerful reassurance to voters about Mr. Obama’s national-security credentials. Other voters, however, could discount it as an action of a disgruntled member of the Bush administration or as simply the support of one African-American for another. Mr. Powell also told reporters on Sunday that he was troubled that a number of Americans believe that Mr. Obama is a Muslim, although he did not directly link that supposition to the McCain campaign. At a recent town-hall style meeting during whih an audience member said she thought that Mr. Obama was an “Arab,” Mr. McCain replied, ” “No, ma’am, he’s a decent family man.”
“These are the kinds of images going out on Al Jazeera that are killing us around the world,” Mr. Powell said. “And we have got to say to the world it doesn’t make any difference who you are and what you are. If you’re an American, you’re an American.” Mr. Obama called Mr. Powell at 10 a.m. to thank him for the endorsement and told him “how honored he was to have it,” said Robert Gibbs, a senior adviser to Mr. Obama. The two spoke about 10 minutes.“He said he looked forward to taking advantage of his advice in the next two weeks and hopefully over the next four years,” Mr. Gibbs said.
Michael Cooper contributed reporting.

Monday, October 13, 2008

The Man Behind the Whispers About Obama

Andy Martin is the source for all the talk about Obama that we see on the web. For those who have read and taken to heart that great best selling book by the leading author of other best sellers including the scathing lies about John Kerry, it is interesting that this crazy person's blather has turned up in "Obama Nation".  I just can't see how anyone can take this stuff seriously! Here's a clip from the article!
"Its general outlines have turned up in a host of works that have expounded falsely on Mr. Obama’s heritage or supposed attempts to conceal it, including “Obama Nation,” the widely discredited best seller about Mr. Obama by Jerome R. Corsi. Mr. Corsi opens the book with a quote from Mr. Martin."
So much nonsense!
Read on!
Frank
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October 13, 2008

The Man Behind the Whispers About Obama

The most persistent falsehood about Senator Barack Obama’s background first hit in 2004 just two weeks after the Democratic convention speech that helped set him on the path to his presidential candidacy: “Obama is a Muslim who has concealed his religion.”

That statement, contained in a press release, spun a complex tale about the ancestry of Mr. Obama, who is Christian.

The press release was picked up by a conservative Web site, FreeRepublic.com, and spread steadily as others elaborated on its claims over the years in e-mail messages, Web sites and books. It continues to drive other false rumors about Mr. Obama’s background.

Just last Friday, a woman told Senator John McCain at a town-hall-style meeting, “I have read about him,” and “he’s an Arab.” Mr. McCain corrected her.

Until this month, the man who is widely credited with starting the cyberwhisper campaign that still dogs Mr. Obama was a secondary character in news reports, with deep explorations of his background largely confined to liberal blogs.

But an appearance in a documentary-style program on the Fox News Channel watched by three million people last week thrust the man, Andy Martin, and his past into the foreground. The program allowed Mr. Martin to assert falsely and without challenge that Mr. Obama had once trained to overthrow the government.

An examination of legal documents and election filings, along with interviews with his acquaintances, revealed Mr. Martin, 62, to be a man with a history of scintillating if not always factual claims. He has left a trail of animosity — some of it provoked by anti-Jewish comments — among political leaders, lawyers and judges in three states over more than 30 years.

He is a law school graduate, but his admission to the Illinois bar was blocked in the 1970s after a psychiatric finding of “moderately severe character defect manifested by well-documented ideation with a paranoid flavor and a grandiose character.”

Though he is not a lawyer, Mr. Martin went on to become a prodigious filer of lawsuits, and he made unsuccessful attempts to win public office for both parties in three states, as well as for president at least twice, in 1988 and 2000. Based in Chicago, he now identifies himself as a writer who focuses on his anti-Obama Web site and press releases.

Mr. Martin, in a series of interviews, did not dispute his influence in Obama rumors.

“Everybody uses my research as a takeoff point,” Mr. Martin said, adding, however, that some take his writings “and exaggerate them to suit their own fantasies.”

As for his background, he said: “I’m a colorful person. There’s always somebody who has a legitimate cause in their mind to be angry with me.”

When questions were raised last week about Mr. Martin’s appearance and claims on “Hannity’s America” on Fox News, the program’s producer said Mr. Martin was clearly expressing his opinion and not necessarily fact.

It was not Mr. Martin’s first turn on national television. The CBS News program “48 Hours” in 1993 devoted an hourlong program to what it called his prolific filing of frivolous lawsuits. He has filed so many lawsuits that a judge barred him from doing so in any federal court without preliminary approval.

He prepared to run as a Democrat for Congress in Connecticut, where paperwork for one of his campaign committees listed as one purpose “to exterminate Jew power.” He ran as a Republican for the Florida State Senate and the United States Senate in Illinois. When running for president in 1999, he aired a television advertisement in New Hampshire that accused George W. Bush of using cocaine.

In the 1990s, Mr. Martin was jailed in a case in Florida involving a physical altercation.

His newfound prominence, and the persistence of his line of political attack — updated regularly on his Web site and through press releases — amazes those from his past.

“Well, that’s just a bookend for me,” said Tom Slade, a former chairman of the Florida Republican Party, whom Mr. Martin sued for refusing to support him. Mr. Slade said Mr. Martin was driven like “a run-over dog, but he’s fearless.”

Given Mr. Obama’s unusual background, which was the focus of his first book, it was perhaps bound to become fodder for some opposed to his candidacy.

Mr. Obama was raised mostly by his white mother, an atheist, and his grandparents, who were Protestant, in Hawaii. He hardly knew his father, a Kenyan from a Muslim family who variously considered himself atheist or agnostic, Mr. Obama wrote. For a few childhood years, Mr. Obama lived in Indonesia with a stepfather he described as loosely following a liberal Islam.

Theories about Mr. Obama’s background have taken on a life of their own. But independent analysts seeking the origins of the cyberspace attacks wind up at Mr. Martin’s first press release, posted on the Free Republic Web site in August 2004.

Its general outlines have turned up in a host of works that have expounded falsely on Mr. Obama’s heritage or supposed attempts to conceal it, including “Obama Nation,” the widely discredited best seller about Mr. Obama by Jerome R. Corsi. Mr. Corsi opens the book with a quote from Mr. Martin.

“What he’s generating gets picked up in other places,” said Danielle Allen, a professor at the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton University who has investigated the e-mail campaign’s circulation and origins, “and it’s an example of how the Internet has given power to sources we would have never taken seriously at another point in time.”

Ms. Allen said Mr. Martin’s original work found amplification in 2006, when a man named Ted Sampley wrote an article painting Mr. Obama as a secret practitioner of Islam. Quoting liberally from Mr. Martin, the article circulated on the Internet, and its contents eventually found their way into various e-mail messages, particularly an added claim that Mr. Obama had attended “Jakarta’s Muslim Wahhabi schools. Wahhabism is the radical teaching that created the Muslim terrorists who are now waging jihad on the rest of the world.”

Mr. Obama for two years attended a Catholic school in Indonesia, where he was taught about the Bible, he wrote in “Dreams From My Father,” and for two years went to an Indonesian public school open to all religions, where he was taught about the Koran.

Mr. Sampley, coincidentally, is a Vietnam veteran and longtime opponent of Mr. McCain and Senator John Kerry, both of whom he accused of ignoring his claims that American prisoners were left behind in Vietnam. He previously portrayed Mr. McCain as a “Manchurian candidate.” Speaking of Mr. Martin’s influence on his Obama writings, Mr. Sampley said, “I keyed off of his work.”

Mr. Martin’s depictions of Mr. Obama as a secret Muslim have found resonance among some Jewish voters who have received e-mail messages containing various versions of his initial theory, often by new authors and with new twists.

In his original press release, Mr. Martin wrote that he was personally “a strong supporter of the Muslim community.” But, he wrote of Mr. Obama, “it may well be that his concealment is meant to endanger Israel.” He added, “His Muslim religion would obviously raise serious questions in many Jewish circles.”

Yet in various court papers, Mr. Martin had impugned Jews.

A motion he filed in a 1983 bankruptcy case called the judge “a crooked, slimy Jew who has a history of lying and thieving common to members of his race.”

In another motion, filed in 1983, Mr. Martin wrote, “I am able to understand how the Holocaust took place, and with every passing day feel less and less sorry that it did.”

In an interview, Mr. Martin denied some statements against Jews attributed to him in court papers, blaming malicious judges for inserting them.

But in his “48 Hours” interview in 1993, he affirmed a different anti-Semitic part of the affidavit that included the line about the Holocaust, saying, “The record speaks for itself.”

When asked Friday about an assertion in his court papers that “Jews, historically and in daily living, act through clans and in wolf pack syndrome,” he said, “That one sort of rings a bell.”

He said he was not anti-Semitic. “I was trying to show that everybody in the bankruptcy court was Jewish and I was not Jewish,” he said, “and I was being victimized by religious bias.”

In discussing the denial of his admission to the Illinois bar, Mr. Martin said the psychiatric exam listing him as having a “moderately severe personality defect” was spitefully written by an evaluator he had clashed with.

Mr. Martin, who says he is from a well-off banking and farming family, is clearly pleased with his newfound attention. But, he said, others have added to his work in “scary” ways.

“They Google ‘Islam’ and ‘Obama’ and my stuff comes up and they take that and kind of use that — like a Christmas tree, and they decorate it,” he said. For instance, he said, he did not necessarily ascribe to a widely circulated e-mail message from the Israeli right-wing activist Ruth Matar, which includes the false assertion, “If Obama were elected, he would be the first Arab-American president.”

He said he had at least come to “accept” Mr. Obama’s word that he had found Jesus Christ. His intent, he said, was only to educate.

Kitty Bennett contributed reporting.

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Native of the Philadelphia "Kensington and Alleganey" northeast area. I spent 4 years in the Air Force (Titan-II missles in Tuscon Arizona). I Am currently retired, and among other adventures I spent 28 years working for AT&T in Telecommunications. I've lived in Florida for 33 years....20 years in Hollywood Fla., and 13 years North Florida. I've been married 42 years, and am a proud father of three adult offspring. All of them contributing to society in a very useful and creative manner.