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This page is organized in "loose" chronological order.  Blue titles are "hot links."
Political Jiu Jitsu
When Obama got the chance to run for the state senate in a district that included Hyde Park, the home of the university and some of the poorest ghettos on the South Side, he jumped at it.

In 1995, Alice Palmer represented the state's 13th District, and decided to run for the United States Congress.  She hand-picked Obama to run to replace her.

Palmer introduced her chosen successor, Barack Obama, to a few of the district's influential liberals at the home of two well-known figures on the local left: William Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn, former members of the terrorist Weather Underground.

"I remember being one of a small group of people who came to Bill Ayers' house to learn that Alice Palmer was stepping down from the Senate and running for Congress," says Quentin Young, a prominent Chicago physician and advocate for single-payer health care. "(Palmer) identified (Obama) as her successor."

Ten years earlier, Palmer was an executive board member of the U.S. Peace Council, which the FBI identified as a communist front group, an affiliate of the World Peace Council, a Soviet front group.

Palmer participated in the World Peace Council's 1983 Prague Assembly, part of the Soviet launch of the nuclear-freeze movement.  The only thing it would have frozen was the Soviet Union's military superiority.

In June 1986, while editor of the Black Press Review, she wrote an article for the Communist Party USA's newspaper, the People's Daily World, now the People's Weekly World.  It detailed her experience attending the 27th Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union and how impressed she was by the Soviet system.

Palmer gushed at the "Soviet plan to provide people with higher wages and better education" and spoke of the efficiency of the Soviets' most recent five-year plan, attributing its success to "central planning."  She praised their "comprehensive affirmative action program, which they have stuck to religiously -- if I can use the word -- since 1917."

Palmer also marveled that all Russian citizens were guaranteed a job matching their training and skills, free education, affordable housing and free medical care.  Because Soviet school curricula were established at the national level, she said, "there is no second-class 'track' system in the minority-nationality schools as there is in the inferior inner city schools in my hometown, Chicago, and elsewhere in the United States."

Well, Alice lost the congressional race to Jesse Jackson, Jr., and decided that she wanted to hang onto that hard-won state senate seat.  Most of the community leaders tried to persuade Obama to withdraw and wait his turn.  He was a newcomer after all.

Obama said no. He had every right to do so, but he decided to fight her for the nomination instead of stepping aside in deference to her. 

Instead Obama performed his first real act of political jujitsu.  He sent his aides to the courthouse to carefully examine all of Alice Palmer's signatures to see if enough could be disallowed to knock her off the ballot altogether.  And indeed, some of Alice's signatures were fake.  The aides also found enough other fake signatures on opponents' ballot initiatives to knock them off the ballot as well.

"They began the tedious process of challenging hundreds of signatures on the nominating petitions of state Sen. Alice Palmer, the longtime progressive activist from the city's South Side. And they kept challenging petitions until every one of Obama's four Democratic primary rivals was forced off the ballot."

Obama ran unopposed in the primary.

By the time Barack Obama walked handily into his state senate seat, everyone there knew him as "the man who knocked off Alice Palmer."  Quite a feat indeed for the newcomer, the young whippersnapper with the odd name.

A close examination of Obama's first campaign clouds the image he has cultivated throughout his political career.  The man now running for president on a message of giving a voice to the voiceless first entered public office not by leveling the playing field, but by clearing it.
Political Jiu Jitsu - The Video

Obama's Political Baseline
Obama's "General Candidate Questionnaire" (.pdf), was completed during his first run for the Illinois State Senate makes for some interesting reading.

Among his responses are the following:

"I have been a financial support of...Alice Palmer" -- Alice Palmer was a board member of the US Peace Council, identified by the FBI as a front organization of the Communist Party USA.  She attended the 27th Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union and came away favorably impressed by the Soviet system.

...state why you feel you should be endorsed... -- "...long-standing commitment to social justice issues." -- Social Justice: Code word for Socialism-Communism.

Please outline...criteria for hiring and promoting public employees. -- "I am a strong supporter of affirmative action programs that ensure qualified minorities, women and gays and lesbians are actively recruited and supported at all levels of government.

Biographical sketch -- ...five years working as community organizer, first in Harlem, then in Chicago. -- When did Obama organize in Harlem? Was this what he was doing when he claimed to be at Columbia University?  Why is it that no one remembers ever seeing him at Columbia?  Why  is there no picture of him in the yearbook?

...recipient of the 1995 Legal Eagle Award...for his work in bringing Illinois into compliance with the National Voter Registration Act (Motor Voter).

...serves on the boards of...Chicago Annenberg Challenge (Chairman), the Joyce Foundation (anti-gun), the Woods Fund of Chicago, Center for Neighborhood Technology, the Chicago Committee for Civil Rights Under the Law and Public Allies. married to Michelle Obama and is a member of Trinity United Church of Christ.  (pastor: Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright)

Do you support Merit Selection of judges? -- Yes, although it would be important to construct a system that ensures adequate minority representation on the bench... -- Obama supports quotas.

Do you support increasing income taxes to relieve or replace property taxes?  Yes.

Will you vote to increase state funding (taxes) to at least 50% of public education costs?  Yes.

Do you support vouchers or other means of public funding for private or parochial schools?  No.

Do you support public financing of election campaigns?  Yes. -- He just won't use those monies -- It limits his foreign contributions.

Do you favor adding sexual orientation to Human Rights Act?  Yes.

Do you favor domestic partnership legislation?  Yes.

Do you favor amending professional Regulation legislation to prohibit discrimination against board-certified graduates of foreign schoolsYes.

Do you support mandatory AIDS testing for insurance or employment?  No.

Do you favor comparable worth for state employees?  Yes -- a truly bad notion.

Do you support the right of public employees to strike Yes. -- he doesn't exempt cops and firemen.

Do you support family leave legislation for private employmentYes.

What is You Position on raising the minimum wage?  I support it.

What is You Position on establishing a lower minimum wage for minorsOpposed.

What is You Position on including farm workers and household employees under existing labor laws?  Support.

W ill you support a single-payer health plan for Illinois?  Yes. -- Socialized medicine.

Do you support Medicaid funding for abortionsYes.

Do you support insurance coverage of abortions for state employeesYes.

Do you support parental consent/notification for minors seeking abortions?  Depends on how
young -- possibly for extremely young teens, i.e. 12 or 13 year olds.

Do you support any other restrictions on abortions.  No. -- and that includes partial birth abortions.

Do you support cost of living adjustment for public aid recipientsYes.

Do you support workfareYes.

Do you support restrictions on welfare benefits for teen mothers?  No.

Do you support restrictions on benefits for women who have children while on welfareNo. -- Go for it girls -- see if you can set a new record -- the more the merrier!

Do you support repeal of the six month limit for receiving general assistance?  Yes. -- Welfare for life!

Do you support restoration of the Aid to the Medical Indigent program. Yes. -- Welfare for bums!

Do you support capital punishmentNo.

Do you support criminal prosecution of juveniles as adultsNo. -- Not even if they commit multiple murders?

Do you support mandatory sentencingNo.

Do you support work release, home monitoring, other alternative sentencingYes.  -- Rezko will be thrilled.

Do you support state legislation to ban the manufacture, sale and possession of handguns? Yes.

Do you support state legislation to ban assault weapons? Yes.

Do you support state legislation to mandatory waiting periods and background checksYes.
The Book
As part of Obama's first run for office, he releases his memoir/fable, "Dreams of My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance," in which he acknowledges that he used marijuana and cocaine as a high school and college student but rejected heroin.  "Pot had helped, and booze; maybe a little blow when you could afford it. Not smack, though," he wrote.

On "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" (12/5/2006) Obama was asked by Leno about taking drugs.  Said Leno, "Remember, Senator, you are under oath.  Did you inhale?"  Replied Obama, "That was the point."  In his book, Obama excuses his drug use as "reflective of the struggles and confusion of a teenage boy; teenage boys are frequently confused."

Even more incriminating than the fact that Obama inhaled and admits to "maybe a little blow," Obama is a cigarette smoker, actually, a chain smoker.
Obama's Introduction To Politics
As part of her transition out of power, the communist, Alice Palmer, introduced her successor, Barack Obama, to a few of the district's influential "liberals" at the home of left-wing terrorists,  William Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn -- long-time friends of the Obamas.
In 1995, Obama represented ACORN on voting-rights legislation, when former Republican Gov. Jim Edgar refused to implement the federal "Motor Voter" law, which Republicans argued could invite fraud and which some Republicans feared could swell the ranks of Democratic voters.

Toni Foulkes, a Chicago ACORN leader and a member of ACORN’s National Association Board claims that ACORN specifically sought out Obama’s representation in the "Motor Voter" case, remembering Obama from the days when he worked with Talbot.  And while many reports speak of Obama’s post-law school role organizing "Project VOTE" in 1992, Foulkes makes it clear that this project was undertaken in direct partnership with ACORN.  Foulkes then stresses Obama’s yearly service as a key figure in ACORN’s leadership-training seminars.

At least a few news reports have briefly mentioned Obama’s role in training ACORN’s leaders, but none that I know of have said what Foulkes reports next: that Obama’s long service with ACORN led many members to serve as the volunteer shock troops of Obama’s early political campaigns -- his initial 1996 State Senate campaign, and his failed bid for Congress in 2000 (Foulkes confuses the dates of these two campaigns.)  With Obama having personally helped train a new cadre of Chicago ACORN leaders, by the time of Obama’s 2004 U.S. Senate campaign, Obama and ACORN, arguably the most politically radical large-scale activist group in the country were "old friends," says Foulkes.

The ACORN File
Joyce Foundation
During this period, Obama served as a director of the Joyce Foundation.  While on the Joyce Foundation board, Obama funneled tens of millions of dollars to radical gun control organizations such as the Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence and the Violence Policy Center.

Obama claims that Illinois sportsmen know him as an advocate for their rights.  On the contrary, Obama's voting record while a state senator clearly indicates that he has nothing but contempt for the law-abiding firearm owner.

"Any sportsman who counts Barack Obama as one of his friends is seriously confused," said ISRA Executive Director Richard Pearson.  "Throughout his tenure in the Illinois Senate, Obama served as one of the most loyal foot soldiers in Mayor Daley's campaign to abolish civilian firearm ownership."

"While a state senator, Obama voted for legislation that would ban and forcibly confiscate nearly every shotgun, target rifle and hunting rifle in the state.  Obama also voted for bills that would ration the number of firearms a law-abiding citizen could own, yet give a pass to the violent thugs who roam our streets.  And, inexplicably, Obama voted four times against legislation that would allow citizens to use firearms to defend their homes and families."
Gun Grabber
During his first run for elected office, Barack Obama played a greater role than his aides now acknowledge in crafting liberal stands on gun control, the death penalty and abortion -- positions that appear at odds with the more moderate image he has projected during his presidential campaign.

The evidence comes from an amended version of an Illinois voter group's detailed questionnaire, filed under his name during his 1996 bid for a state Senate seat.

Late last year, in response to a Politico story about Obama's answers to the original questionnaire, his aides said he "never saw or approved" the questionnaire.

They asserted the responses were filled out by a campaign aide who "unintentionally mischaracterized his position."

But a Politico examination determined that Obama was actually interviewed about the issues on the questionnaire by the liberal Chicago nonprofit group that issued it.  And it found that Obama -- the day after sitting for the interview -- filed an amended version of the questionnaire, which appears to contain Obama's own handwritten notes added to one answer.
Follow The Money
The pattern of funneling money to political allies and their allies is evident throughout Obama’s tenure at the Woods Fund.  Tens and tens of thousands of dollars were granted to organizations including the Brighton Park Neighborhood Council, Business and Professional People for the Public Interest (BPPPI), the Center for Neighborhood Technology, Centers for New Horizons, the Chicago Jobs Council, the Chicago Education Fund, the Chicago Institute on Urban Poverty, the Chicago Urban League, The Gamaliel Foundation. Dozens of the board members and officials from these organizations in turn would donate money, in many instances up to the legal limit, for Obama’s Senate and Presidential races between 2004 and 2008.

For example the Woods Fund between 1999 and 2002 granted $60,000 to BPPPI.  Board member and executives donated at least $16,950 to Obama’s political campaigns.  The Woods Fund granted the Center of Neighborhood Technology $150,000 between 1999 and 2002.  Obama received over $24,000 in campaign donations from its officials.  And in turn Obama made sure to seek earmarks on their behalf once he reached the U.S. Senate.

In 1999, the Woods Fund even granted $50,000 to the Annenberg Challenge.  Another recipient of the Woods Fund largesse was the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN), an organization infamous for its left wing agenda.

A similar pattern of mutual financial help existed with regard to many of these organizations.  While there is no evidence of an explicit quid pro quo, what is apparent is that the seeds of long term relationships and a network of financial support were sewn while Obama was a Woods board member.
Who Wrote The Book
Ayers and Obama both grew up in comfortable white households and have struggled to find an identity as righteous black men ever since.

Just as Obama resisted "the pure and heady breeze of privilege" to which he was exposed as a child, Ayers too resisted "white skin privilege" or at least tried to.

"I also thought I was black," says Ayers only half-jokingly.  He read all the books Obama did -- James Baldwin, Leroi Jones, Richard Wright, The Autobiography of Malcolm X.

As proof of his righteousness, Ayers named his first son "Malik" after the newly Islamic Malcolm X and the second son "Zayd" after Zayd Shakur, a Black Panther killed in a shootout that claimed the life of a New Jersey State Trooper.

Tellingly, Ayers, like Obama, began his careers as a self-described "community organizer," Ayers in inner-city Cleveland, Obama in inner-city Chicago.

In short, Ayers was fully capable of crawling inside Obama's head and relating in superior prose what the Dreams' author calls a "rage at the white world [that] needed no object."

Jack Cashill's perspective . . .
2° of Separation
"President Hugo Chavez, Vice-President Vicente Rangel, Ministers Moncada and Isturiz, invited guests,comrades.  I'm honored and humbled to be here with you this morning.  I bring greetings and support from your brothers and sisters throughout Northamerica.  Welcome to the World Education Forum!  Amamos la revolucion Bolivariana!"

These are the opening remarks from Obama sponsor, Bill Ayers, to the Marxists, communists and socialists at the World Education Forum, November, 2006.  Read the rest at the link.

From Bill Ayers blog -- the red star is a nice touch.
Mike Klonsky
"The Small Schools Workshop was founded in 1991 at the University of Illinois at Chicago to provide support for teachers who were trying to create new smaller learning environments.  Its director was Michael Klonsky, a former professor of education at the University of Illinois, Chicago."

"One of Bill Ayers' and Bernardine Dohrn's comrades in the late 60s Students for a Democratic Society was Mike Klonsky.  When Dohrn and Ayers moved in one direction toward the violent tactics of the Weather Underground, Klonsky, in the wake of the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia, dropped the pro-Russian communist politics of his parents and became a committed Maoist.  As leader of the Communist Party Marxist-Leninist (CPML) in 1977  he travelled to Beijing and was toasted by the senior Beijing leadership.

When the crazy left of the 70s died in the 80s, Klonsky resigned as party chairman, and the CPML disbanded that same year.  Klonsky went to graduate school in education in Florida and then moved to Chicago.

While driving a cab there he was recruited by his old friend Bill Ayers to head up a new project called the Small Schools Workshop in 1991.  It's offices were in the Department of Education building at the University of Illinois Chicago Circle Campus where Ayers taught.

In 1995 the newly formed Chicago Annenberg Challenge headed by Ayers and Obama gave the Workshop a grant of $175,000.

The Annenberg Challenge also had its office space in the same building as Ayers Department and the Workshop, rent free courtesy of the University.

In 2008 Klonsky ran a blog on the official Obama campaign website on education policy and "social justice" teaching.  When discussion of the Klonsky blog emerged in the blogosphere, it was promptly shut down by the campaign and all of the posts made by Klonsky were removed from the site."

This communist has been super-close to Obama for 20 years.
Obama Defends Ayers
On Sunday, April 21st, Obama took the low road in defending his relationship with the terrorist, Bill Ayers.  Obama invoked some bizarre kind of moral equivalence between Ayers' explosive past and that of a Senate colleague, Tom Coburn of Oklahoma.

During the debate, Obama had said, "I'm also friendly with Tom Coburn, one of the most conservative Republicans in the United States Senate, who during his campaign once said that it might be appropriate to apply the death penalty to those who carried out abortions.  Do I need to apologize for Coburn's statements?"

No, Sen. Obama, just your own, including this latest round.  Coburn may be pro-life, but -- unlike Ayers -- he never acted violently on his beliefs.  Coburn, a doctor who has delivered more than 4,000 babies, never bombed an abortion clinic.  The Oklahoman made his remark in the context of abortion being made illegal, which it isn't.  As someone once said of another famous senator: Sen. Obama, have you no shame?

John McCain found Obama's remarks offensive, saying "Coburn was a great humanitarian," and "to compare him (Ayers) with Dr. Coburn, who spends so much of his life bringing babies into this world, that in my view is really -- borders on the outrageous.  He became friends with him and spent time with him while the guy was unrepentant over his activities as a member of a terrorist organization, the Weatherman.   Does he condemn them?  Would he condemn someone who says they're unrepentant and wished they had bombed more?"

Obama is elected to the Illinois State Senate as a Democrat.

During his run, Obama receives the endorsement of the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) for the Illinois state senate seat.

Later, the Chicago DSA newsletter reported that Obama, as a state senator, showed up to eulogize Saul Mendelson, one of the "champions" of "Chicago's democratic left" and a long-time socialist activist. 

Obama is/was an associate of the Chicago branch of the DSA.

A close examination of Obama's first campaign clouds the image he has cultivated throughout his political career.  The man now running for president on a message of giving a voice to the voiceless first entered public office not by leveling the playing field, but by clearing it.

Illinois State Senate
Obama's Illinois State Senate website documents Obama's relationship with Bill Ayers:

"Obama serves on the boards of several organizations including: the Chicago Annenberg Challenge (Chairman), the Joyce Foundation, the Woods Fund of Chicago, the Center for Neighborhood Technology..."

And his long relationship with the folks who play games with the electoral system:

"In 1992, Obama served as Illinois Executive Director of PROJECT VOTE!, an effort that added over 100,000 newly registered voters in Illinois."


[He received an] "Award from IVI-IPO for his work in bringing Illinois into compliance with the National Voter Registration Act (Motor-Voter)."

Million Man March
Barack Obama, the uniter across party lines, across religions, across racial divides, wasn't always Mr. Sunshine.  He had a different view 12 years ago, when his campaign was more localized.

He was 34 years old: a graduate of Columbia University and Harvard Law School -- bastions of power and wealth.  He was the beneficiary of the best education America had to offer.  What were his feelings at age 34?  Resentment, hyper-partisan, and accusatory towards whites, Republicans and the so-called Christian right.

As Barack Obama prepared to run for the state Senate he spoke up shortly after the Million Man March lead by Louis Farrakhan -- or as Barack Obama honorifically recently titled him, Minister Farrakhan, he said:

"These are mean, cruel times, exemplified by a 'lock ‘em up, take no prisoners' mentality that dominates the Republican-led Congress.  Historically, African-Americans have turned inward and towards black nationalism whenever they have a sense, as we do now, that the mainstream has rebuffed us, and that white Americans couldn't care less about the profound problems African-Americans are facing."

"The right wing, the Christian right, has done a good job of building these organizations of accountability, much better than the left or progressive forces have.  But it's always easier to organize around intolerance, narrow-mindedness, and false nostalgia.  And they also have hijacked the higher moral ground with this language of family values and moral responsibility."

Barack Obama has commented on the value of words to inspire, to bring about change.  What kind of change was he talking about in his mid 30's when most of us had already given up the rebellion we flirted with, and the resentments that beset us, in college?
Obama stopped working full-time for Davis, Miner, Barnhill & Gallard once he took office in 1997.  He remained associated with the firm until he was elected to the U.S. Senate nearly eight years later.
In some instances, Illinois state Sen. Obama took action that could have benefited some of his firm's clients.  In 1998, for instance, he used state Senate stationery to urge that state and city officials provide tax subsidies to help a partnership consisting of Davis and Rezko develop low-income housing, the Chicago Sun-Times reported last year.

In 2001, Obama was coauthor of a law that created a tax credit for people who donate land, buildings or construction material to help develop low-income housing.

Illinois state Rep. Jack D. Franks, a Democrat, lauded the bill, which garnered near-unanimous support.  But Franks said that while the measure helped Obama's low-income constituents, it raises questions because his law firm's clients could have benefited from it.

"Someone else should have carried this legislation," said Franks, who has endorsed Obama's Democratic rival, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton.

"I can't fault him for the idea.  But he is wearing two hats.  He is a legislator, and he is serving as a private attorney whose client interests benefited here.  This goes to the judgment issue."

Obama strategist Axelrod scoffed at the notion that Obama should have avoided such legislation.

He said that the beneficiaries were nonprofit corporations and people in need of low-cost housing.

"The shortage of affordable housing is a major public-policy concern of his and of the state," Axelrod said.

"His view of public policy is that you should use the tools of government to deal with some of the crying social needs that we have."
Obama introduces "Islamic Community Day" bill -- Synopsis of Bill as introduced: Declares November 1, 1997 to be South Shore Islamic Community Center Day.
Obama Loses

Three years later, in September 1999, Obama was already preparing his first national campaign.  He ran for U.S. Congress against veteran incumbent Bobby Rush, a former co-founder of the Illinois chapter of the Black Panther Party.

Rush painted the largely unknown freshman lawmaker as an out-of-touch elitist, and won the 2000 primary by more than 30 percentage points.

Arab American Action Network
The directors of the Woods Fund, including Obama and Ayers,  provided a $40,000 grant to the Arab American Action Network, or AAAN. 

The co-founder of the AAAN, Columbia University professor Rashid Khalidi, was a director of the official PLO press agency WAFA in Beirut from 1976 to 1982, while it was involved in anti-Western terrorism and was labeled by the State Department as a terror group.  He also has held a fundraiser for Obama.

Khalidi's wife, Mona, serves as president.  The Fund provided a second grant to the AAAN for $35,000 in 2002.

The $40,000 grant from Obama's Woods Fund to the AAAN constituted about a fifth of the Arab group's reported grants for 2001, according to tax filings obtained by WND.  The $35,000 Woods Fund grant in 2002 also constituted about one-fifth of AAAN's reported grants for that year.

Oh, and Obama accepted a $200 contribution from his friend William Ayers.
Halal Food Act
In 2001, Obama sponsors Illinois Senate Bill 750 creating the "Halal Food Act," providing for inspections by the Department of Agriculture to ensure that all food labeled Halal is prepared according to Islamic law.

This act plays into Islamization.  Here's how it works and how Halal food plays a role.
On Abortion
As an Illinois state senator, Obama opposed a bill to define as a "person" a fully born baby who survived an abortion.

In 2001, three bills were proposed to help babies who survived induced labor abortions.  One, like the federal Born Alive Infants bill, simply said a living "homo sapiens" wholly emerged from his mother should be treated as a "'person,' 'human being,' 'child' and 'individual.'"

On all three bills, Obama voted "present," effectively the same as a "no."   Defining "a pre-viable fetus" that survived an abortion as a "person" or "child," he argued, "would essentially bar abortions, because the Equal Protection Clause does not allow somebody to kill a child, and if this is a child, then this would be an anti-abortion statute."

In 2002, Obama voted "no" on the bill.
After his unsuccessful campaign for Congress in 2000, Obama faced serious financial pressure: numerous debts, limited cash and a law practice he had neglected for a year.  Help arrived in early 2001 from a significant new legal client -- a longtime political supporter.

Chicago entrepreneur Robert Blackwell Jr. paid Obama an $8,000-a-month retainer to give legal advice to his growing technology firm, Electronic Knowledge Interchange.  It allowed Obama to supplement his $58,000 part-time state Senate salary for over a year with regular payments from Blackwell's firm that eventually totaled $112,000.

A few months after receiving his final payment from EKI, Obama sent a request on state Senate letterhead urging Illinois officials to provide a $50,000 tourism promotion grant to another Blackwell company, Killerspin.

Killerspin specializes in table tennis, running tournaments nationwide and selling its own line of equipment and apparel and DVD recordings of the competitions.  With support from Obama, other state officials and an Obama aide who went to work part time for Killerspin, the company eventually obtained $320,000 in state grants between 2002 and 2004 to subsidize its tournaments.
Opposes Liberation Of Iraq
On October, 2nd, 2002, Obama gives a speech at an antiwar rally in Chicago  opposing the invasion of Iraq, saying, "I am not opposed to all wars.  I am opposed to dumb wars."
Grove Parc
As a state senator, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee coauthored an Illinois law creating a new pool of tax credits for developers.  As a US senator, he pressed for increased federal subsidies.  And as a presidential candidate, he has campaigned on a promise to create an Affordable Housing Trust Fund that could give developers an estimated $500 million a year.

But a Globe review found that thousands of apartments across Chicago that had been built with local, state, and federal subsidies -- including several hundred in Obama's former district -- deteriorated so completely that they were no longer habitable.

Grove Parc and several other prominent failures were developed and managed by Obama's close friends and political supporters.  Those people profited from the subsidies even as many of Obama's constituents suffered.  Tenants lost their homes; surrounding neighborhoods were blighted.

The squat brick buildings of Grove Parc Plaza, in a dense neighborhood that Barack Obama represented for eight years as a state senator, hold 504 apartments subsidized by the federal government for people who can't afford to live anywhere else.

But it's not safe to live here. (video)

About 99 of the units are vacant, many rendered uninhabitable by unfixed problems, such as collapsed roofs and fire damage.  Mice scamper through the halls.  Battered mailboxes hang open.  Sewage backs up into kitchen sinks. In 2006, federal inspectors graded the condition of the complex an 11 on a 100-point scale -- a score so bad the buildings now face demolition.

Obama -- judgment and experience -- you betcha!
A Perfect Progressive
Obama, who has no military service record, has shown via his political history in Illinois, that he is a nearly perfect Progressive-Democrat.

While in the Illinois State Senate, Obama is named Chairman of the Health and Human Services Committee. His distinguished works include passing bill to assist children and adults who cannot afford health insurance; increasing funding for AIDS prevention and care; a law requiring police to videotape interrogations for crimes punishable by the death penalty; a law requiring insurance companies to cover routine mammograms; legislation to curb racial profiling.

Obama supports homosexual marriage, racial preferences, banning all guns, flag-burning, socialized medicine and the absolute right to abortion, including partial-birth abortions.  He voted against requiring medical care for aborted fetuses who survive.

Obama is anti-war, voted against the reauthorization of the USA Patriot Act, against privatizing Social Security and opposes the death penalty, three strikes laws and school vouchers.  He has no military service record.  He strongly supports the decriminalization of marijuana.

Obama opposed the Defense of Marriage Act; would work to repeal it in the U.S. Senate; would not vote for any legislation that would restrict the ability of gays and lesbians to marry.
Obama opposed the Born Alive Infant Protection Act four times in Illinois.  A similar bill passed the U.S. Senate 98-0.  The Born Alive bill would have prohibited a baby from being born alive but left to die according to the mother's wishes.

Obama opposed this bill not once, twice, or three times, but four times.
Obama took almost $90,000 in bundled contributions from the Council for a Livable World.  The council is a well-known anti-defense organization.
Obama puts rigid ideology before what's best for the people of Illinois, and presumably he would do that as President as well.  He has on several occasions made public his opposition to the NAFTA trade agreement and his belief that it must be negotiated.  All the while thanks to NAFTA, Illinois exports $1.3 billion in agricultural goods to Canada.
Obama refused to vote for a bill in the Illinois State Senate that would have increased penalties for drug traffickers.

Obama voted against a bill that would have delivered the death penalty to gang members who murder first responders.
Obama was the only member of the Illinois State Senate to vote against a bill that prohibited early release for sexual predators.
Controversial votes when Obama was a state senator were avoided by voting "present" 107 times or claiming later that he erred by pressing the wrong button and didn't really mean to take that position.

Seen in the context of the "Great Game" the left plays with the American people in trying to mask their liberalism for fear of rejection by the voter, Obama, it turns out, is a master of "post partisan problem solving" -– hiding his liberalism under an avalanche of platitudes and feel-good bromides that have his supporters swooning and the media eating out of his hand.
Law License
Obama opted to voluntarily assume inactive status as an attorney in 2008.

Some suggest that he did not renew his law license so as to avoid being subject to possible discipline by the Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission (ARDC) of the Supreme Court of Illinois.  The ARDC has investigatory powers in addition to registration recordkeeping responsibilities.
Vote Rigging
Obama should be indicted under 18 USC 1346 (the same code section under which Rezko was convicted) for his actions on the boards legislation in 2003.  Here, in detail is a chronology of Obama's illegal activity.

The following comes from Evelyn Pringle's "Curtain Time" series.

"That part of the scheme will likely be detailed in future indictments, probably starting with Blagojevich.  Blagojevich signed the Illinois Health Facilities Planning Act with an effective date of June 27, 2003.  However, before he could sign the act, a bill had to be passed by the Illinois House and Senate.  As discussed fully in Curtain Time Part II, Obama was the inside guy in the senate who pushed through the legislation that resulted in the Act.

Obama was appointed chairman of the Senate Health and Human Services Committee.  The minute the bill was introduced, it was referred to his committee for review.  The sponsors of the bill also served on this committee with Obama.  Within a month, Chairman Obama sent word to the full senate that the legislation should be passed.

On May 31, 2003, Senate Bill 1332 passed and specified that the "Board shall be appointed by the Governor, with the advice and consent of the Senate."  The legislation reduced the number of members from 15 to 9, paving the way for the appointment of a five-bloc majority to rig the votes.

The corrupt members appointed included three doctors who contributed to Obama.  Michel Malek gave Obama $10,000 on June 30, 2003 and donated $25,000 to Blagojevich on July 25, 2003.  Malek also gave Obama another $500 in September 2003.

Fortunee Massuda donated $25,000 to Blagojevich on July 25, 2003, and gave a total of $2,000 to Obama on different dates.  After he was appointed, Dr. Imad Almanaseer contributed a total of $3,000 to Obama.  Almanaseer did not give money to Blagojevich.

When the first pay-to-play scheme was put in play, and the application for approval of a new hospital was submitted, the Department of Human Services, along with four other Illinois agencies, sent recommendations that the project should be approved even though experts said the hospital was not needed.

During the trial, Rezko's attorney presented an email exchange to the jury that hinted at Obama's role in setting up the scheme.  The exchange showed that Obama and seven other top Illinois politicians consulted on the legislation passed in 2003 and were involved in recommending the members for the board.

Matthew Pickering wrote the memo to Blagojevich's general counsel, Susan Lichtenstein, on behalf of David Wilhelm, a former chairman of the Democratic National Committee, who headed Blagojevich's 2002 campaign for governor.

Pickering said he and Wilhelm had "worked closely" over six months with state legislators.  The memo recommended the appointees listed above and stated, "our attached recommendations reflect that involvement" with the political leaders.

The persons appointed to rig the votes, including those who contributed to Blagojevich and Obama, are cooperating in exchange for immunity or lighter prison sentences.
Emil Jones, Jr.
In late 2002, Emil Jones Jr., a gravel-voiced, dark-skinned African-American known for chain-smoking cigarettes on the Senate floor, became Illinois Senate Majority Leader, Emil Jones.

When Obama was considering a run for the US Senate in 2003, he paid an intriguing visit to Jones, the former Chicago sewers inspector, who had risen to become one of the most influential African-American politicians in Illinois.

"You have the power to elect a US senator," Obama told Emil Jones.

Jones looked at the ambitious young man smiling before him and asked, teasingly: "Do you know anybody I could make a US senator?"

According to Jones, Obama replied: "Me."  It was his first, audacious step in a spectacular rise from the murky political backwaters of Springfield, the Illinois capital.

The exchange also sealed an intimate personal and political relationship that is likely to attract intense scrutiny amid the furor over Obama's links to some of Chicago's most controversial political and religious power brokers.  Obama has often described Jones as a key political mentor whose patronage was crucial to his early success in a state long dominated by near-feudal party political machines.  Jones, 71, describes himself as Obama's "godfather" and once said: "He feels like a son to me."

At one point during Obama's 2003 Senate campaign, Jones set out to woo two African-American politicians miffed by Obama's presumption and ambition.  One of them, Rickey "Hollywood" Hendon, a state senator, had scoffed that Obama was so ambitious he would run for "king of the world" if the position were vacant.  When Jones secured the two men's support, Obama asked his mentor how he had pulled it off.  "I made them an offer," Jones said in mock-mafioso style.  "And you don't want to know."

Jones had served in the Illinois Legislature for three decades.  He represented a district on the Chicago South Side not far from Obama's.  He became Obama's kingmaker.

Several months before Obama announced his U.S. Senate bid, Jones called his old friend Cliff Kelley, a former Chicago alderman who now hosts the city's most popular black call-in radio program.

I called Kelley last week and he recollected the private conversation as follows:

"He said, 'Cliff, I'm gonna make me a U.S. Senator.'"

"Oh, you are?  Who might that be?"

"Barack Obama."

Jones appointed Obama sponsor of virtually every high-profile piece of legislation, angering many rank-and-file state legislators who had more seniority than Obama and had spent years championing the bills.

"I took all the beatings and insults and endured all the racist comments over the years from nasty Republican committee chairmen," State Senator Rickey Hendon, the original sponsor of landmark racial profiling and videotaped confession legislation, yanked away by Jones and given to Obama, complained to me at the time.  "Barack didn't have to endure any of it, yet, in the end, he got all the credit.

"I don't consider it bill jacking," Hendon told me.  "But no one wants to carry the ball 99 yards all the way to the one-yard line, and then give it to the halfback who gets all the credit and the stats in the record book."

During his seventh and final year in the state Senate, Obama's stats soared.  He sponsored a whopping 26 bills passed into law -- including many he now cites in his presidential campaign when attacked as inexperienced.

It was a stunning achievement that started him on the path of national politics -- and he couldn't have done it without Jones.

Before Obama ran for U.S. Senate in 2004, he was virtually unknown even in his own state. Polls showed fewer than 20 percent of Illinois voters had ever heard of Barack Obama.

Jones further helped raise Obama's profile by having him craft legislation addressing the day-to-day tragedies that dominated local news headlines.

For instance. Obama sponsored a bill banning the use of the diet supplement Ephedra, which killed a Northwestern University football player, and another one preventing the use of pepper spray or pyrotechnics in nightclubs in the wake of the deaths of 21 people during a stampede at a Chicago nightclub.  Both stories had received national attention and extensive local coverage.

Jones gave Obama the legislation because he believed in Obama's ability to negotiate with Democrats and Republicans on divisive issues.

So how has Obama repaid Jones?

Last June, to prove his commitment to government transparency, Obama released a comprehensive list of his earmark requests for fiscal year 2008.  It comprised more than $300 million in pet projects for Illinois, including tens of millions for Jones's Senate district.

Shortly after Jones became Senate president, he was asked his view on pork-barrel spending.  He said: "Some call it pork; I call it steak."
US Senate Run
Obama announced his bid for the U.S. Senate, where he cruised to victory thanks to the self-destruction of his top opponents in both the primary and general elections.

Obama joined a crowded field of seven candidates vying to fill an open Senate seat being vacated by retiring two-term incumbent Peter Fitzgerald. For months, he polled in the middle-of-the-pack behind frontrunner and former securities trader Blair Hull, who spent $30 million of his own fortune on the primary.

But Hull's campaign imploded just weeks before the election when his divorce files were unsealed, revealing an ex-wife's charges of verbal and physical abuse.

Obama unleashed a barrage of television ads just before the election, when the other candidates had largely depleted their war chests.  He won the nomination with 53 percent of the vote.

In the general election for the U. S. Senate, Obama squared off against another multimillionaire: Jack Ryan, who later dropped out of the race after a judge ordered his divorce files unsealed.  The documents revealed that Ryan's ex-wife, actress Jeri Ryan, a former Miss Illinois best known for her role as "Seven of Nine" on Star Trek: Voyager, accused him of trying to coerce her to perform sex acts in public.

Obama spent several weeks facing no opponent as the Illinois Republican Party exhausted a laundry list of replacement candidates that included former Chicago Bears coach Mike Ditka.  The GOP ended up recruiting two-time failed presidential hopeful Alan Keyes from Maryland to fill the slot.

Keyes's strategy to use bombastic rhetoric to attract headlines turned off most voters.  Most memorably, he said Jesus would not vote for Obama and that homosexuals, including Vice President Dick Cheney's daughter, participated in "selfish hedonism."

In the end, Obama won more than 70 percent of the vote in the most lopsided Senate election in Illinois history and became the fifth African-American to win a seat in the U.S. Senate.
Fast Track
Obama has spent his entire political career trying to win the next step up.  Every three years, he has aspired to a more powerful political position.

"He's been given a pass," says Harold Lucas, a community organizer in Chicago.  "His career has been such a meteoric rise that he has not had the time to set a record."

Three years later, he'd be trying to win the most powerful political position in the world.
The Speech
Obama delivers his now-famous speech before the Democratic National Convention. (transcript)
A Star Is Born
On the day after his speech at the Democratic convention catapulted him into the national spotlight, Barack Obama told a group of reporters in Boston that the United States had an "absolute obligation" to remain in Iraq long enough to make it a success.

"The failure of the Iraqi state would be a disaster," he said at a lunch sponsored by the Christian Science Monitor, according to an audiotape of the session.  "It would dishonor the 900-plus men and women who have already died. . . .  It would be a betrayal of the promise that we made to the Iraqi people, and it would be hugely destabilizing from a national security perspective."

Did he believe what he said that day?  It's sure different than what he now says in Spring 2008.
Bill Jacking
He sure has an ability to "get things done."

If you consider that every bill he passed as a State Senator was passed his last year in office by a Democrat-controlled legislature.  Also, some of the more high profile accomplishments he cites now like the racial profiling/videotape confession legislation were bills where a lot of the legwork had been done by other Democrats in the legislature years prior when it was controlled by Republicans, but were given to Obama by his kingmaker, Senate president Emil Jones, Jr. in order for him to make the "close" (where he often did).

When asked about this by the Houston Press' Todd Spivak, State Senator Rickey Hendon replied, "I don't consider it bill jacking.  But no one wants to carry the ball 99 yards all the way to the one-yard line, and then give it to the halfback who gets all the credit and the stats in the record book."

This isn't to suggest that Obama's achievements in the state senate are totally without merit, but instead to point out they weren't all done by his leaping tall buildings in a single bound.  He had a lot of help from Democrats.  Consider this, too: if he wins, he will have a solid Democrat Congress to work with, so the only "reaching out" he'd have to do would be to the few moderate Republicans who have already proven themselves all too eager to vote with liberal Democrats.
Stacking The Board
An e-mail message made public in the fraud trial of Antoin Rezko, a businessman and political contributor, brought attention to Obama's role in discussions involving a state health planning board that Mr. Rezko is accused of improperly influencing.

The message indicated that Obama, and other top Illinois politicians, consulted in 2003 on legislation to keep the board, which approved the construction of health facilities, from expiring under sunset provisions in state law.

The vaguely worded message also seemed to raise the possibility that Mr. Obama, who at the time was chairman of the Illinois Senate's health committee, had been involved in recommending candidates for the board.

Mr. Rezko is accused of using his influence in state government to stack the board with associates, including some who made political contributions to Mr. Obama and other top Illinois politicians, and of seeking a bribe on a hospital project.

Mr. Rezko is accused of using his influence in state government to stack the board with associates, including some who made political contributions to Mr. Obama and other top Illinois politicians, and of seeking a bribe on a hospital project.

Mr. Pickering said he and Mr. Wilhelm had "worked closely" over six months with several state legislators to extend the life of the health facilities board. He then listed Democratic and Republican leaders in the state House and Senate, including Mr. Obama.

Mr. Pickering's message went on to suggest four candidates to serve on the board, stating that "our attached recommendations reflect that involvement" with the political leaders.
No Records
There's no paper trail on Obama.

The president of a prominent watchdog group said Wednesday that he believes Democratic presidential frontrunner Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) "intended to leave no paper trail" during his time in the Illinois Senate.

In a statement, Tom Fitton noted that his group, Judicial Watch, has sought access to Obama's records as a state senator and questioned whether the presidential candidate has been forthcoming with regard to what happened to those documents.

The Illinois State Archives told Judicial Watch that they never received any request from Senator Obama to archive any records in his possession.  Similarly, in 2007, Obama said to Tim Russert that his records were "not kept."

MR. RUSSERT: You talked about Senator Clinton having records released from the Clinton Library regarding her experience as first lady, and yet when you were asked about, "What about eight years in the state senate of Illinois," you said, "I don't know."  Where, where are the -- where are your records?

SEN. OBAMA: Tim, we did not keep those records. I...

MR. RUSSERT: Are they gone?

SEN. OBAMA: Well, let's be clear.  In the state senate, every single piece of information, every document related to state government was kept by the state of Illinois and has been disclosed and is available and has been gone through with a fine-toothed comb by news outlets in Illinois.*  The, the stuff that I did not keep has to do with, for example, my schedule.  I didn't have a schedule.  I was a state senator.  I wasn't intending to have the Barack Obama State Senate Library.  I didn't have 50 or 500 people to, to help me archive these issues.  So...

MR. RUSSERT: But your meetings with lobbyists and so forth, there's no record of that?

SEN. OBAMA: I did not have a scheduler, but, as I said, every document related to my interactions with government is available right now.  And, as I said, news outlets have already looked at them.

MR. RUSSERT: Is your schedule available anywhere? Are -- the records exist?

SEN. OBAMA: I -- Tim, I kept my own schedule.  I didn't have a scheduler.

I have no idea how Obama's statement that "every document related to state government was kept by the state of Illinois and has been disclosed and available" can be in line with the statement from the Illinois State Archives.  Is there some separate archive for state legislators?

However, he said that "nobody knows where they are, if they exist at all" and claimed that "Obama's story keeps changing."

It could mean that Obama tried to hide his work, hoping to keep political opponents from unearthing ammunition in future elections.  It could also mean that he didn't do that much actual work, which would match his wafer-thin record of accomplishments in three years as U. S. Senator.

It's the cost of running as a cipher, and of running on ambiguous concepts of hope and change.  Having what little records that should exist come up missing doesn't help build confidence in a candidate's credibility, either.
The Kingmaker
The President of the Illinois Senate is sitting in his statehouse office, talking in gravelly tones about political strategies and counter-strategies.  Out of nowhere, the theme from "The Godfather" begins playing.

It turns out to be the ringtone on his cell phone -- an appropriate song for the man who amounts to Barack Obama's political godfather.

Emil Jones Jr. helped Obama master the intricacies of the Legislature.  When Democrats took control of the state Senate, Jones, though he risked offending colleagues who had toiled futilely on key issues under Republican rule, tapped Obama to take the lead on high-profile legislative initiatives that he now boasts about in his presidential campaign.

Jones appointed Obama sponsor of virtually every high-profile piece of legislation, angering many rank-and-file state legislators who had more seniority than Obama and had spent years championing the bills.

During his seventh and final year in the state Senate, Obama's stats soared. He sponsored a whopping 26 bills passed into law -- including many he now cites in his presidential campaign when attacked as inexperienced.

It was a stunning achievement that started him on the path of national politics -- and he couldn't have done it without Jones.  Before Obama ran for U.S. Senate in 2004, he was virtually unknown even in his own state.  Polls showed fewer than 20 percent of Illinois voters had ever heard of Barack Obama.

And when Obama wanted a promotion to the U.S. Senate, Jones provided critical support that gave the little-known legislator legitimacy, keeping him from being instantly trampled by the front-runners.

"He's been indispensable to Barack's career.  He wants to see a black president before he gets called home," said fellow state Sen. Rickey Hendon, a Democrat.

So how has Obama repaid Jones?  Last June (2007), to prove his commitment to government transparency, Obama released a comprehensive list of his earmark requests for fiscal year 2008.  It comprised more than $300 million in pet projects for Illinois, including tens of millions for Jones's Senate district.

Shortly after Jones became Senate president, I remember asking his view on pork-barrel spending.  I'll never forget what he said: "Some call it pork; I call it steak."

The Conservative Edge contends Obama would not survive a Vice Presidential vetting process.  They argue that if Barak Obama wasn't heading the Democratic ticket, he wouldn't make the ticket.  That's because the Vice Presidential nominee goes through an exhaustive 'vetting' process that examines the person's life in depth.  But, an exhaustive examination of Obama's life would have eliminated him from consideration.
Part-Time Senator
Bill Dupray calculates that Obama worked less than 2 days per week in the Illinois Senate.

Good thing he has that Community Organizer thing on his resume, otherwise people might start wondering if he ever had a real job before coming to the U.S. Senate.  Obama’s Illinois Senate job was a pretty good part-time gig.  One would have plenty of extra time to nurture nascent Hope and Change.  A Hillary supporter did some digging at the height of the primary battle and found out how often the Illinois Senate convened during Obama’s tenure.

90th General Assembly - 1997-1998

Senate days - 118 days (59 days per year; 1.13 days per week)

91st General Assembly - 1999-2000

Senate days - 112 days (56 days per year; 1.08 days per week)

92nd General Assembly - 2001-2002

Senate days - 118 days (59 days per year; 1.13 days per week)

93rd General Assembly - 2003-2004

Senate days - 161 days (80 days per year; 1.52 days per week)

Another cool thing about the job is they let you vote "present" to avoid tough decisions. A local Chicago reporter also has reported that, though Obama spent 7 years in the state senate, he built his entire legislative record in one year, and none of it was his.

So, if my math is right, Obama’s experience in the Illinois Senate amounts to 161 days (his final year: the year of all his "accomplishments"), in which he often voted "present," and during which he bill-jacked the legislation (see the link) of others, taking credit for their work.

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