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BlackVelvet04 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-08-08 05:03 PM
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Bamboozling the American electorate again part 2
NOTE TO MODS AND ADMIN: I have received permission from the Editor to post this article in it's entirety.

Presidential Race or Next American Idol?

Now that McCain has locked up the Republican nomination, crossover voting may intensify in the remaining primary states. Republicans For Obama, for one, was not bashful about stating their goal in an email appeal sent to voters before the March 4th election. "Since Texas has an open primary," the text read, "Republicans and Independents should sign in at their polling place and request a Democratic ballot. They should then vote for Barack Obama... Just think, no more Clintons in the White House!" The Obama campaign launched its own "Be a Democrat For a Day" campaign last year, circulating a video in Florida, Nevada, Vermont and elsewhere.

As ominous a portent as that may be for the Clinton campaign, its candidate has also had to contend with a Madison Avenue-style branding campaign which, until recently, was helping her opponent gain traction by the hour. Once an unknown quantity, Obama is now viewed by millions of Americans under thirty as a cult icon, the Starbucks equivalent of Gandhi. Even a cursory review of his record in Illinois and Washington does not bear out such hype. During a recent MSNBC interview, Austin's State Senator Kirk Watson, an Obama endorser, was unable to list a single past accomplishment of the candidate when asked. A week later, a Q and A session with a focus group for the Fox program Hannity and Colmes revealed a similar knowlege gab. None of about 15 voters supporting Obama could identify any past achievement. It was Obama's present that facinated them, the historic nature of his quest to become the country's first African-American president, and a candidacy that NBC and other broadcast networks tout as a "movement".

The marketing ploy has worked like a charm. A generation of new voters hungry of something different have gobbled up Obama's anti-establishment brand like fish in a barrel. Free videos touting the candidate's rock star status began appearing on You-Tube in 2007, including the racy "Obama Girl" clip. This widely publicized, professionally produced video features a bikini-clad actress gyrating her behind as she lip-synchs lyrics of veneration to the candidate. And nobody would have predicted a few years ago that progressive pundits would join in an unholy alliance with Fox to promote the novice politician with the strange proximity group. Yet here we are. Ari Berman, editor of The Nation, has been popping up on Fox programs he and his staff once regarded as 24/7 campaign commercials for the Republican Party. The fact that Obama is known to have watered down legislation requiring nuclear giant Exelon to disclose its radiation leaks to the public doesn't seem to trouble them in the least. Exelon is Obama's fourth largest campaign contributor. (See the New York Times article for more on the leaks controversy.)

In a blog posted on her website the morning after the Iowa Caucus, popular liberal Adrianna Huffington lauded the Illinois senator as practically the Second Coming. Like others of her stripe, she didn't have much to offer in the way of specifics, and spent the bulk of her remarks railing at Bill Clinton, who she said had conducted himself in an interview as "arrogant and entitled, dismissive and fear-mongering". Huffington, it should be noted, was one of several politicos swindled by the California recall referendum in 2002.That was the year Enron's Ken Lay, on the hook for $3 billion pilfered trom the state in the rolling blackouts scandal, succeeded in installing Hollywood action hero Arnold Schwarzenegger through the back door. Candidate Huffington dropped out of the race a few days before the election, conceding the entire affair had been a set-up to divide the Democratic vote.

That she and her peers have allowed themselves to be bamboozled a second time is astonishing. With a few clicks of a mouse, they might have easily learned that former Speaker Dennis Hastert and the Illinois G.O.P. fielded a non-resident named Alan Keyes to run against Obama for a U.S. senate seat in 2004. Keyes, who had little public office experience, was hand-picked to replace Jack Ryan, the candidate who officially won the G.O.P. primary. Ryan was forced to resign in the wake of an alleged sex scandal involving his wife. (A bit of trivia - The ex-wife is actress Jeri Ryan, who played the character "Seven of Nine" in the television series Star Trek Voyager.) In the general election, Alan Keyes received 27 percent of the vote to Obama's 70 percent.

Rezko Affair

Here's a little more history you won't find at HuffPost or The Nation: At the time of his senate run, Obama was a relatively minor player, a two-term state legislator who lost a congressional race against African American incumbent Bobbie Rush in 2000. Obama's first significant campaign donor in the 1990's was Antoin "Tony" Rezko, a Chicago power broker and developer who he met while still in law school. After leaving Harvard, Obama hired on with a community nonprofit agency in Chicago called Project VOTE, where he helped organize voter registration efforts. He later joined the law firm Miner Barnhill & Galland, whose clients included Rezko, and taught constitutional law at the University of Chicago.

As an attorney, Obama worked on a low-income senior housing project in which Rezko and a partner firm run by Allison Davis made an initial profit of $855,000. According to the Chicago Sun-Times, "In addition to the development fees, a separate Davis-owned company stood to make another $900,000 through federal tax credits." While a state legislator, Obama wrote endorsement letters on behalf of his friend to the agencies allocating funds for other housing projects. Later, while Rezko was busy fundraising for Obama, tenants in some of these dwellings found their heat cut off and other maintenance issues unattended. The City of Chicago eventually sued Rezko, and an F.B.I. investigation into fraud allegations led to a felony indictment. His trial began on March 3rd, the day before the Texas and Ohio primaries.

According to Edward McClelland, writing for, "Rezko, after all, built part of his fortune by exploiting the black community that Obama had served in the state Senate, and by milking government programs meant to benefit black-owned businesses." While it may be unclear why Obama would continue his relationship with Rezko after this point, it's indisputable that he did. In 2005, Obama approached Rezko for help in purchasing a $2 million Georgian-revival home in in the historic Kenwood neighborhood of Chicago. The property deal involved two adjoining lots that the owner wanted to sell together, soRezko's wife Rita bought the first at full price, though never occupied it. Obama and his wife Michelle acquired the parcel with the mansion, receiving a $300,000 discount. The Chicago Tribune reported the details of the arrangement in a November 2006 article.

Although no laws were apparently broken in this transaction, Obama's entanglement with Rezko may represent a significant hurdle to achieving his presidential aspirations. The New York Times has reported that Rezko's participation in the Obama property deal may have been an attempt to shield assets from creditors and damage awards in several lawsuits filed against him. The developer also received a $3.5 million loan in April, 2007 from a longtime Iraqi business partner named Nadhmi Auchi. In January, a federal judge remand Rezko to the county jail, according to the Sun-Times, because he had not reported it and she feared he might be a flight risk. Rezko is originally from Syria.

In the wake of the revelations, Obama has sought to distance himself from the affair by donating to charity political contributions from Rezko and his circle. While the Chicago Sun-Times puts the figure of known tainted cash at $168,000, the senator initially agreed to surrender about half that amount, but only as an "abundance of caution", a senior staffer said. Later, after NBC Nightly News broadcast a story about the finances, the campaign announced it would donate $150,000.

(For more on the Rezko/Obama connection, read the March 2nd article in the New York Times, the investigative series in the Sun-Times, and the blog RezkoWatch.)

OutFoxing Fox News

Until the Saturday Night Live skit blew their cover, all the major networks appeared to be biasing their news coverage to promote the Obama candidacy. Among the journalistic devices commonly employed, negative revelations about him have been shifted onto Clinton. For instance, shortly after she raised the Rezko matter during the South Carolina debate, the Today Show's Matt Lauer confronted the New York senator with a photo taken in the1990s. The picture depicted her with President Clinton posing with Rezko at an event. There was no evidence that either husband or wife had any history with the indicted developer, and a sleepy-eyed candidate told Lauer that she's appeared in thousands of such photos during her years of public life. Regardless, Lauer's terse questioning suggested a sinister intent. The trick was employed in reporting Obama's apparent plagiarism of a speech in Wisconsin, when Nightly News dug up separate video clips showing Clinton and her husband both reciting the same two-line passage from the bible. This was offered as evidence that her opponent's uncredited use of Governor Deval Patrick's "Just Words" speech in 2006 was nothing out of the ordinary.

A few other examples of media bias are worth noting. On the night before the New Hampshire primary, NBC anchor Brian Williams followed Obama on the campaign trail, flashing a Newsweek cover of the senator while uttering superlatives about his meteoric rise to notoriety. Williams acted like someone undergoing a spiritual epiphany. During the same broadcast, Andrea Mitchell described the Clinton campaign as broke, desperate, and ablaze with in-fighting. She continued with this theme the following night, assuring viewers that Clinton's three-point lead in the vote tally would eventually evaporate. It didn't.

Shortly before Super Tuesday, both Mitchell and Meet the Press host Tim Russert claimed on Nightly News that the leadership of the Democratic Party was "mad as hell" at Bill Clinton and lining up to back the Illinois senator. No sources were offered to corroborate this bombshell allegation. Russert went on to explain that Ted and Caroline Kennedy's recent endorsement of Obama represented a sea change in the election, adding that because Ted's brother Bobby Kennedy had been friends with Cesar Chavez, founder of the United Farmworkers, the endorsement should pave the way for Obama capturing the Latino vote.

What NBC's crack team of reporters failed to mention was that three of Bobby Kennedy's own children, as well as the son of Cesar Chavez and the United Farmworkers union itself had already endorsed Clinton. In Nevada, Latinos in the 60,000-strong Culinary Workers Union had defied their white male leadership's endorsement of Obama and helped Clinton win the caucus there. Yet while the Florida primary was showing Clinton with a 15 point lead in the polls, over at CNN, fill-in anchor Bob Acosta was declaring the Obama campaign a "runaway train" after its big South Carolina victory.

On February 10th, two days before the Maryland-Virginia-D.C. primaries, CBS anchor Katy Couric joined the Clinton-bashing extravaganza with a 60 Minutes segment spiced with multiple questions about how the candidate would deal with losing the election. The contentious exchange followed a Steve Kroft piece on Obama that seemed like an instant replay of the Williams New Hampshire epiphany. At the time CBS ran the two segments, Obama was still trailing Clinton in delegates.

To wit, if there's a runaway train in this race, it isn't either of the candidates. For the past 20 years, media outlets have become increasingly consolidated into chains owned by multinational corporations, so that over time the news, entertainment and advertising divisions have become increasingly indistinguishable from one another. The Dan Rather flap at CBS in 2002 offered an early glimpse into this Orwellian transformation of the public airwaves. The NBC/MSNBC network, which has come under fire for the mysoginist undertones of its cable news programming, is owned by the energy company and defense contractor General Electric. Clinton critic Andrea Mitchell is married to former Federal Reserve chief Alan Greenspan.

Some journalists admit off-camera that Clinton has not been treated fairly in the course of the campaign. In December, Howard Kurtz published an article in the Washington Post that first exposed the widespread media bias favoring Obama. "The Illinois senator's fundraising receives far less press attention than Clinton's," Kurtz offered as an example of the phenomenon. "When the Washington Post reported last month that Obama used a political action committee to hand more than $180,000 to Democratic groups and candidates in the early-voting states of Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina, the suggestion that he might be buying support received no attention on the network newscasts." Fear of Flying novelist Erica Jong offers her take on the situation in Hillary vs. the Patriarchy, published in early February by the same publication.

Unlike the big Florida victory on January 29th, the news of Clinton's New Hampshire win was not blacked out from coast to coast the next day. Her detractors quickly rushed to fortify their positions, concerned that momentum from her dramatic comeback (after losing Iowa) would soon turn into an electoral tsunami. In the two weeks leading up to the South Carolina primary, Obama surrogates argued initially that New England's white voters had betrayed their publicly declared support of the black candidate in the secrecy of the ballot booth. Hence the reason why pre-election polls got the count so wrong. The tactic smacked of sour grapes, but when Clinton made a speech tying Martin Luther King's efforts to President Johnson's signing of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, highlighting the role of Johnson, the Obama camp pounced. An adviser immediately sent out a four-page memorandum urging surrogates to slam her for disrespecting Dr. King.

If you tracked the coverage of the ensuing feud, you would never know that it was this document that sparked the episode. Before the memo surfaced on the internet, Obama insisted to reporters that neither he nor anyone on his staff had accused Senator Clinton of any impropriety in her speech about Johnson. He said he was "baffled" by her suggestion that they were somehow involved. Meanwhile, South Carolina Congressman Jim Clyburn claimed Bill Clintons' incendiary reaction to the racism charge had compelled him to renege on an earlier promise not to endorse a candidate before his state's primary. A few days later, Clyburn retracted his endorsement of Obama, but the damage was done as black voters converged on election day to back the senator from Illinois. Now that the Clintons were being barbecued in the press for "playing the race card", Obama would no longer have to worry about the African American vote.
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sueragingroz Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-08-08 05:04 PM
Response to Original message
1. K&R
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Maddy McCall Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-08-08 05:04 PM
Response to Original message
2. REC.
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CyberPieHole Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-08-08 05:05 PM
Response to Original message
3. K&R for the BAMBOOZLED ObamaCULT...
They will fail to read any of this yet they will spew their filth and venom in the name of "Hope" and "Unity".
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HCE SuiGeneris Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-08-08 05:07 PM
Response to Reply #3
8. Hmm. What happened to no "animosity"?
Guess that stuff you wrote earlier was BS, huh?
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Dinger Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-08-08 06:40 PM
Response to Reply #3
18. Same Here, K & R
They won't even read the full title.
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NewHampster Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-08-08 05:05 PM
Response to Original message
4. Thank you
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TwilightGardener Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-08-08 05:06 PM
Response to Original message
5. Nobody bamboozles like the Clintons. They're the pros.
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rodeodance Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-08-08 06:26 PM
Response to Reply #5
14. Its the press that OP is referring to. So far people have duped themselves but things are changing.
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BooScout Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-08-08 05:07 PM
Response to Original message
6. K&R n/t
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kiva Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-08-08 05:07 PM
Response to Original message
7. K&R n/t
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ProSense Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-08-08 05:13 PM
Response to Original message
9. The MSM is gaming America about Hillary, just as they did with Bush
The MSM is gaming America about Hillary, just as they did with Bush

Hillary's buddy Vin Gupta does CNN's polling.

Hillary supporters have joined the MSM game of crying Hillary is a victim.

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BlackVelvet04 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-08-08 05:17 PM
Response to Reply #9
11. How silly....
the press has done everything but crown Obama with a crown of thorns.
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ProSense Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-08-08 05:25 PM
Response to Reply #11
12. No, your OP is silly. Vin Gupta is a mogul who owns the company that does CNN's polling
Hillary has most of the media pundits among her friends. The NYT is still playing Hillary shill.

Face facts Hillary is no more hated by the media than any Democrat. Kerry won the nomination. Does the media love John Kerry?

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ProgressiveEconomist Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-08-08 05:16 PM
Response to Original message
10. Nice title: Thought this was about HRC's likely Bush v Gore gambit at the Credentials Committee
meeting at Denver in August, gaining 121 net delegates by seating Florida and Michigan delegations with no re-do.

See Hillary's statement 2 days ago: 'I don't think that there should be any do-over...Florida should be seated', at ,

and see the current Michigan and Florida delegate advantages for Hillary, at .

Now THAT's what I'd call under-the-radar BAMBOOZLING of American voters, almost exactly the same way they were bamboozled in the General Election 8 years ago!
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zabet Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-08-08 06:21 PM
Response to Original message
13. Kicked,
recommended and bookmarked!

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rodeodance Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-08-08 06:31 PM
Response to Original message
15. K and R
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snappyturtle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-08-08 06:37 PM
Response to Original message
16. Same old, same old. But, I give you credit for trying. n/t
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NashVegas Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-08-08 06:39 PM
Response to Original message
17. I Should Be Too Old to Be Stunned
That so many alleged dems and DUers that ordinarily go postal over the MSM are happily dancing along with them.
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rodeodance Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-08-08 09:20 PM
Response to Reply #17
20. a lot of the OP reads like the threads/posts here on DU!!
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Iceburg Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-08-08 06:40 PM
Response to Original message
19. K&R
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