Posted during October, 2012

By: Michael A. Haberman, M.D.

Israeli Psychologist, Dr. Sam Vaknin, has a fascinating view of President Obama. Dr. Vaknin has written extensively about narcissism.

http://israel-commentary.org/?p=4974

Dr. Vaknin states: “I must confess I was impressed by Obama from the first time I saw him. At first I was excited to see a black candidate. He looked youthful, spoke well, appeared to be confident — a wholesome presidential package. I was put off soon, not just because of his shallowness but also because there was an air of haughtiness in his demeanor that was unsettling.. His posture and his body language were louder than his empty words. Obama’s speeches are unlike any political speech we have heard in American history. Never a politician in this land had such quasi “religious” impact on so many people.

The fact that Obama is a total incognito with Zero accomplishment, makes this inexplicable infatuation alarming. Obama is not an ordinary man. He is not a genius. In fact he is quite ignorant on most important subjects.”

Dr. Sam Vaknin, the author of the Malignant Self Love believes “Barack Obama appears to be a narcissist.” Vaknin is a world authority on narcissism. He understands narcissism and describes the inner mind of a narcissist like no other person. When he talks about narcissism everyone listens. Vaknin says that Obama’s language, posture and demeanor, and the testimonies of his closest, dearest friends suggest that the man is either a narcissist or he may have narcissistic personality disorder (NPD).

Narcissists project a grandiose but false image of themselves. Jim Jones, the charismatic leader of People’s Temple, the man who led over 900 of his followers to cheerfully commit mass suicide and even murder their own children was also a narcissist.

David Koresh, Charles Manson, Fidel Castro, Joseph Koni, Shoko Asahara, Stalin, Saddam, Mao, Kim Jong Ill and Adolph Hitler are a few examples of narcissists of our time. All these men had a tremendous influence over their fanciers. They created a personality cult around themselves and with their blazing speeches elevated their admirers, filled their hearts with enthusiasm and instilled in their minds a new zest for life. They gave them hope! They promised them the moon, but alas, invariably they brought them to their doom.

(In retrospect, The late Rabbi Sherwin Wine, who founded Humanistic Judaism comes to mind, except he never came to any doom. It remains to be seen what eventually happens to the secular, no belief in G-d religion, he invented.) Jsk

When you are a victim of a cult of personality, you don’t know it until it is too late. One determining factor in the development of NPD is childhood abuse “Obama’s early life was decidedly chaotic and replete with traumatic and mentally bruising dislocations,”says Vaknin. “Mixed-race marriages were even less common then. His parents went through a divorce when he was an infant two years old.

Obama saw his father only once again, before he died in a car accident. Then his mother re-married and Obama had to relocate to Indonesia , a foreign land with a radically foreign culture, to be raised by a step-father. At the age of ten, he was whisked off to live with his maternal (white) grandparents. He saw his mother only intermittently in the following few years and then she vanished from his life in 1979. “She died of cancer in 1995.”

One must never underestimate the manipulative genius of pathological narcissists. They project such an imposing personality that it overwhelms those around them. Charmed by the charisma of the narcissist, people become like clay in his hands. They cheerfully do his bidding and delight to be at his service. The narcissist shapes the world around himself and reduces others in his own inverted image. He creates a cult of personality. His admirers become his co-dependents. Narcissists have no interest in things that do not help them to reach their personal objective. They are focused on one thing alone and that is power. All other issues are meaningless to them and they do not want to waste their precious time on trivialities. Anything that does not help them is beneath them and does not deserve their attention.

If an issue raised in the Senate does not help Obama in one way or another, he has no interest in it. The “present” vote is a safe vote. No one can criticize him if things go wrong. Those issues are unworthy by their very nature because they are not about him. (Obama’s political career at all levels is replete with votes of “present.”

Obama’s election as the first black president of the Harvard Law Review led to a contract and advance to write a book about race relations. The University of Chicago Law School provided for him a lot longer than expected and at the end it evolved into, guess what? His own autobiography! Instead of writing a scholarly paper focusing on race relations, for which he had been paid, Obama could not resist writing about his most sublime self. He entitled the book Dreams from My Father.

Not surprisingly, Adolph Hitler also wrote his own autobiography when he was still a nobody. So did Stalin. For a narcissist no subject is as important as his own self. Why would he waste his precious time and genius writing about insignificant things when he can write about such an august being as himself?

Narcissists are often callous and even ruthless. As the norm, they lack conscience. This is evident from Obama’s lack of interest in his own brother who lives on only one dollar per month.. A man who lives in luxury, who takes a private jet to vacation in Hawaii, and who raised nearly half a billion dollars for his campaign (something unprecedented in history) has no interest in the plight of his own brother. Why? Because, his brother cannot be used for his ascent to power. A narcissist cares for no one but himself.

This election is like no other in the history of America . The issues are insignificant compared to what is at stake. What can be more dangerous than having a man bereft of conscience, a serial liar, and one who cannot distinguish his fantasies from reality as the leader of the free world?

I hate to sound alarmist, but one is a fool if one is not alarmed. Many politicians are narcissists. They pose no threat to others. They are simply self serving and selfish. Obama evidences symptoms of pathological narcissism, which is different from the run-of-the-mill narcissism of a Richard Nixon or a Bill Clinton for example. To him reality and fantasy are intertwined.

This is a mental health issue, not just a character flaw. Pathological narcissists are dangerous because they look normal and even appear intelligent. It is this disguise that makes them treacherous. Today the Democrats have placed all their hopes in Obama. But this man could put an end to their party. The great majority of blacks voted for Obama. Only a fool does not know that their support for him is racially driven. This is racism, pure and simple.

The downside of this is that if Obama turns out to be the disaster I predict, he will cause widespread resentment among the whites. The blacks are unlikely to give up their support of their man. Cultic mentality is pernicious and unrelenting. They will dig their heads deeper in the sand and blame Obama’s detractors of racism. This will cause a backlash among the whites. The white supremacists will take advantage of the discontent and they will receive widespread support. I predict that in less than four years, racial tensions will increase to levels never seen since the turbulent 1960′s.

Obama will set the clock back decades. America is the bastion of freedom. The peace of the world depends on the strength of America , and its weakness translates into the triumph of terrorism and victory of rogue nations.. It is no wonder that Ahmadinejad, Hugo Chavez, the Castrists, the Hezbollah, the Hamas, the lawyers of the Guantanamo terrorists, and virtually all sworn enemies of America are so thrilled by the prospect of their man in the White House.

America is on the verge of destruction. There is no insanity greater than electing a pathological narcissist as president.

Michael A. Haberman, M.D.

Poll: Israeli Jews favor Romney by wide margin

By HERB KEINON
The Jerusalem Post
October 28, 2012

http://israel-commentary.org/?p=4965

‘Peace Index’ shows preference over US President Barack Obama by nearly 3:1 margin; numbers reversed among Israeli Arabs. Israeli Jews prefer Republican candidate Mitt Romney over US President Barack Obama by an almost 3:1 margin, according to a “Peace Index” poll conducted by the Israel Democracy Institute and Tel Aviv University that was released Sunday.

The polling figures stand in stark contrast to polls taken of American Jews, which show they prefer Obama by a similarly wide margin. An American Jewish Committee poll at the end of September showed US Jews favoring Obama over Romney 63%-27%.

The “Peace Index” poll also puts Israel at odds with most of the rest of the world, which – according to a BBC poll published last week of nearly 22,000 people in 21 countries — found Obama favored by an average of 50% with only 9% for Romney. The Democrat was the preferred candidate in every country polled, except for Pakistan.

Asked “in terms of Israeli interests, who would be preferable to win the elections next month in the US,” 57.2% of Israeli Jews said Romney, while only 21.5% said Obama. Among Israeli Arabs, the numbers were reversed, with 45% opting for Obama, and 15% for Romney.

A similar Peace Index poll in July found that Israelis felt that Romney “assigned more importance to defending Israel’s national interest” than Obama by a 2:1 ratio: 40% for Romney to 19% for Obama.

The latest poll was carried out among 601 respondents making up a representative sample of Israel’s adult population. It was carried out October 22-24, and had a margin of error of 4.5%.

In another question related to the US elections, more than two-thirds of Israeli Jews (69%) do not believe that the results of the US’s November 6th elections will affect the outcome of the Israeli elections some 10 weeks later, while 51% of Israeli Arabs believe they will have an impact.

There has been some speculation that an Obama victory could be bad for Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, since the Israeli electorate might then want to vote in a prime minister likely to have better ties with the president; and that a Romney victory might help Netanyahu, because the public will want a prime minister known to have a good rapport with Romney.

On other matters, the poll found that more than half the country’s Jews (53%) do not believe there were opportunities during Netanyahu’s current term to restart the negotiations with the Palestinians that he did not take advantage of, while some 32% believed that he did miss opportunities. The data for Arab Israelis was reversed, with 56% saying he passed up opportunities, and 36% saying he did not.

Some 60% of the respondents either fully agree or agree to some extent with the premise that Israel’s security and diplomatic policy toward the Palestinians will not change significantly regardless of what government is formed following the next elections. That percentage rises to 65% among Israeli Arabs.

When presented with the same remark regarding whether the country’s socioeconomic polices will stay he same regardless of what government is formed, 46% of the Jews and 63% of the Arab population agreed with that statement.

Some 64% of the Jewish population, and 35% of the Arabs, said it was either very undesirable or undesirable to some extent for Arab political parties to be part of the next governing coalition.

(Believe it or not, despite constant Palestinian Arab claims that they live as a persecuted minority in Israel, there are currently 10 Arab members of the total of 120 member Knesset (MKs) and 7 Druze.

Excuse me, how many Jews are representatives of the government in Arab countries? The answer is, of course, none. The few Jews that remain there are treated as dhimmi (second class citizens) and are not even safe walking the streets.

Before the re-birth of the State of Israel there were approximately 800,000 Jews, in these Arab lands, that had been there for centuries. They were driven out immediately after the rebirth of the State of Israel in 1948, their centuries of accumulated property confiscated, penniless and lucky to have stayed alive.) jsk

Detroit News Editor, Nolan Finley warns citizens re: Prop. 2 Collective Bargaining Agreement

And … a similar warning applies to your State, too

http://israel-commentary.org/?p=4839

October 14, 2012

In the little time remaining Gov. Rick Snyder should wipe everything else from his schedule and spend every minute campaigning to defeat Proposal 2. The success of his administration and the future of the state depend on it.

Snyder should view Prop 2 as a referendum on his performance, the equivalent of a recall election. If it passes, the so-called collective bargaining amendment would wipe away nearly all of the reforms he’s managed to put in place the past two years to make government less costly and the business climate more friendly. The governor’s “relentless positive action” will be stopped in its tracks.

Snyder is a keep-on-the-sunny-side guy. He’s not given to frightening voters with doomsday pronouncements. But he needs to scare the beejabbers out of Michigan voters on Prop 2. There’s nothing more terrifying than to think of the state again under the dominance of labor vampires intent on draining taxpayers dry.

Prop 2 would do that. Nearly 150 laws dealing with public service employees — everything from what merits a dismissal to how much they pay for health care — will be undone and tossed on the bargaining table. The lost reforms will cost Michigan $1.6 billion that will be transferred from taxpayers to the pockets of public employees.

That money has to come from somewhere. The choices will be either higher taxes or fewer services. Schools will have to increase class size and cut academic programs.

Prop 2 will return Michigan to the previous Governor Jennifer Granholm era (irrational, bent out of shape Liberal that helped put MI in the awful economic position it is now – jsk) when a governor, who danced to the unions’ tune let the state become an economic backwater.

Snyder has started to fix Michigan. The Tax Foundation reported that the state has moved up sharply on the list of states with the most friendly business tax climate. A more attractive business climate means more jobs. That goes away if Prop 2 passes. There would be almost nothing Snyder can do to make things better in Michigan.

He needs to say that loudly, with a tinge of anger, and over and over. He needs to recruit national heavyweights — Chris Christie comes to mind — to come support him on the campaign trail. He needs to be on the stump and on the TV every day until Nov. 6, speaking wherever he can get an audience, doing interviews and delivering the message that Michigan can either have a governor who pursues future prosperity for the state, or, Prop 2 and its stagnant past.

Polls show this contest to be neck-and-neck. They also show that a large number of the undecided voters are Republicans and Independents. That’s who Snyder can best speak to. He has been campaigning against Prop 2, and helping to raise money to defeat it. He needs to do much more. He needs to become the face of the anti-Prop 2 effort, and make this about his agenda.

This is no less a gubernatorial recall election than the one in Wisconsin this summer. Snyder must campaign as if he were fighting for his political life. In reality, he is.

Follow Editorial page editor, Nolan Finley at detroitnews.com/finley, on Twitter at nolanfinleydn, on Facebook at nolanfinleydetnews

Palestinian Statehood, Terror, And The U.S. Presidential Election (First of Two Parts)

http://israel-commentary.org/?p=4937

Opening paragraphs of article
By: Louis Rene Beres

The Jewish Press, October 24, 2012

President Obama and Governor Romney strongly disagree on many issues but the daylight between them is especially great in the imminent matter of Palestinian statehood. For his part, the president still believes in a two-state solution, and in a corollary willingness of the Palestinian side to negotiate fairly. His opponent is unambiguous in a fully contrary insistence that the Palestinians are not interested in peace.

One thing is certain. Jurisprudentially and strategically, Romney’s position here is substantially more compelling. After all, both the Palestinian Authority and Hamas are clear in their continuing commitment to use force for “self-determination” and “national liberation.” For these two contending factions, this belligerent commitment would make sense even after a formal granting of Palestinian sovereignty. This is because, in their view, and on their maps, all of Israel proper would still remain “Occupied Palestine.”

What would be the legal status of any such post-independence expressions of Palestinian violence against Israeli citizens (noncombatants)? In broad terms, these expressions would be determinably criminal. More narrowly, they would constitute terrorism …

The Hypocrisy and Fraud of the American Association of Retired Professionals (AARP)

PS (And, … if you check their Medicare Supplement rates and other supposedly insider AARP rates on other types of their insurance, you will find you can definitely do better with other companies) jsk

http://israel-commentary.org/?p=4941

AMAC vs. AARP – Battling for the Hearts and Minds of Seniors

During the first debate, President Obama touted the support of AARP for ObamaCare several times, clearly tying them together. Further proof that they were working in concert can be found in recently released emails between the White House and AARP operatives. As the emails show, AARP threw their tremendous power behind the legislation despite the fact they were getting calls overwhelmingly against it.

In fact, on September 20, 2012, Kimberly A. Strassel of the Wall Street Journal wrote:

“Thanks to just-released emails from the House Energy and Commerce Committee, we now know that AARP worked through 2009-2010 as an extension of a Democratic White House, toiling daily to pass a health bill that slashes $716 billion from Medicare, strips seniors of choice, and sets the stage for rationing. We know that despite AARP’s awareness that its seniors overwhelmingly opposed the bill, the ‘nonpartisan organization’ chose to serve the president’s agenda.

The 71 pages of emails show an AARP management taking orders from the White House, scripting the president’s talking points, working to keep its board ‘in line’ and pledging a fealty to ‘the cause.’ Seniors deserve to know all this, as AARP seeks to present itself as neutral in this presidential election.”

The Association of Mature American Citizens (AMAC) is against the harsh provisions in ObamaCare that gives the Federal government complete control of our healthcare. It destroys the best healthcare system in the world, takes 716 billion dollars out of Medicare, and has the power to restrict and ration our medical treatment.

AMAC is fighting to keep our right to receive treatment from our doctors without the interference of Federal bureaucrats.

Big government experiments like the “stimulus” and ObamaCare have only increased the uncertainty and instability, and are core reasons for the persistently high unemployment rate and why the household incomes of Mature Americans have declined so much.

AMAC, The Association of Mature American Citizens, believes we can do much better. As a steadily growing alternative to groups like AARP, and with an expanding influence in the nation’s capital, we aim to champion the interests of Mature Americans, seniors, and prospective retirees. We believe in religious freedom, free enterprise, and support common sense solutions to our Nation’s largest challenges.

Our livelihoods, our families’ future prosperity and our standards of living should not be threatened by bad policies emanating from Washington, DC.

AMAC can do something AARP will not do – we’ll help replace the horror of ObamaCare with common sense solutions that will preserve our rights while improving the level of healthcare for all Americans! To do it, we need your help!

For a limited time, a 5-year membership is available for less than $1 a month, and you’ll have access to exclusive AMAC benefits – such as the members-only auto and home insurance program, the AMAC Roadside Assistance Program, travel, and much more!

Need more info? Call Us: 1-888-262-2006

http://israel-commentary.org/?p=4925

Dear Friend,

If you watched the debate last night like I did, you’ve got to be shaking your head in disgust at President Obama’s vision for America’s future.

It wasn’t just the debate. The truth is that the last four years have been a foreign policy disaster:

Obama’s lies surrounding Libya have put America is a position of extraordinary weakness. The New York Times reports that the administration has agreed to negotiations with Iran, a dangerous nation whose stated purpose is to rid the world of Israel.

Just months ago, Obama was overheard telling Russia’s president that he would have more “flexibility” on nuclear weapons if he were re-elected.

As you and I both heard last night and have seen for the past four years, a second term for President Obama and his liberal colleagues means a fundamentally weaker America. Keeping the Senate, particularly, it means the destruction of American sovereignty as a hyper-liberal Senate paired with a lame-duck President pursue dangerous policies like the Law of the Sea and UN Arms Trade treaties that make America subservient to international law and violate our constitutional liberties. We will not stand for this.

The Tea Party Leadership Fund is fighting this possibility by financially supporting candidates for the U.S. Senate like George Allen, Richard Mourdock, John Raese and Josh Mandel who will ensure that America is subservient to nothing but the Constitution. Will you join us by making a contribution of $50 or more that will go directly to electing these Tea Party champions?

As you know that nothing is more important to our survival as a nation than adhering to our Constitution above all. Make a contribution today to support these candidates and ensure that it never plays second fiddle to the collectivist ideology of the left.

Last night’s debate only lasted an hour and a half — let’s make sure our national nightmare doesn’t last another four years.

Thank you for your continued support

Please go to our web page for further information and to make your contribution.
www.TheTeaPartyLeadershipFund.com

Todd Cefaratti
Citizen Patriot

By Jerome S. Kaufman
Editor, Israel Commentary

http://israel-commentary.org/?p=4857

Damn the perverted political correctness and misguided racial guilt! We are about to vote in the most important election in our history where an ongoing and devastating sea change threatens our very existence

Why can’t anyone call Obama for what he truly is. Only one author/columnist, David Limbaugh, has had the guts to use honest terminology. He has written a book titled, The Great Destroyer, which of course refers to Barack Obama.

Below is a redaction from its book review by Loren Heal
June 4, 2012

“David Limbaugh’s new book, The Great Destroyer, (Regnery Publishing), is out and it doesn’t disappoint. Limbaugh carefully and thoughtfully delivers a devastating critique of the Obama Administration. Conservative and libertarian readers will appreciate Limbaugh’s recollection of Mr. Obama’s transgressions, though some may find daunting the sheer volume of the administration’s failures, arrogance, and deceit.

Limbaugh organized The Great Destroyer into a dozen chapters analyzing the various ways Barack Obama and his administration have embarked on an all-out assault against American ideals, his political foes, sound economic principles, domestic energy production, American business, and national security.

Mr. Obama campaigned in 2008 as a uniter, a centrist who could heal the country of its racial, religious, and political divisions. But, from the beginning he has been one of the most partisan and divisive presidents in our history. Because his extremist liberal agenda has been unpopular with the electorate, he has demonized his opponents as a means of diverting attention from the substance of the legislation or policy in question and making it a contest about personalities.

One particularly egregious Obama policy has been driven by his ideological desire to end the use of fossil fuels. He frequently uses his appointed Secretary of Energy Stephen Chu and the Environment Protection Agency as his offensive tackles in this campaign. Mr. Obama has been unwilling to go through normal Congressional channels or wait while free people, in a free market economy, adapt to energy alternatives to oil, coal, and natural gas as they become economically preferable. Mr. Obama has been rather committed to instead raising fuel prices to exorbitant European levels, artificially.

Then there is Obama’s slow and uneven response to the British Petroleum oil spill, followed by a moratorium which can be understood only as using Rahm Emmanuel’s “Never letting a crisis go to waste” ploy, in the pursuit of punitive prices for fossil fuels.

There is a never ending litany of Obama policies and actions against our National interests:

Impeding oil and gas industry progress toward use of oil shale

Blocking the Canadian Keystone XL pipeline

Giving lip service only, to nuclear power production

Manifesting open hostility to coal mining — diminishing its availability and raising its price — actions obviously understood within the context of his own desire to force alternative “clean” energy to become artificially, more economically viable.

Author Limbaugh exposes the weakness of the increase in Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards from 30.2 to 55.4 miles per gallon by 2025. In the rush to implement what Limbaugh correctly labels “the draconian proposal” the administration paid little attention to such concerns as cost, engineering difficulty, and safety in attempting to achieve these levels of fuel consumption.

As a result, vehicle prices are likely to increase by as much as $10,000. In addition, to get that many miles per gallon, cars will necessarily be made lighter, and lighter cars are less safe as a matter of simple physics.

Just from the brief outline of the actions above, if there was ever a time in our history where conservatism should be a winning message, it is now, especially after what the nation has suffered from four years of unbridled liberalism.

If the reader is genuinely concerned over Mr. Obama’s cheerleading for America’s foes, unfounded apologies for our past, demonization of those he sees as his foes, the thuggish use of his office to silence dissent, his lies about energy production, his various nation destroying scandals – Solyndra, Fast and Furious, Boeing, the Arab Spring and just now the Benghazi-gate cover-up, plus dealing with his obvious narcissism and self-adoration – The Great Destroyer is a marvelous choice for an immediate read.” (End of redacted book review)

Then, there are the just plain numbers and facts that have resulted from Obama’s deliberately destructive policies:

When Obama took office:

Median income was $54,983, now $50,694

Gas – From $1.85 to now $4.15

Food Stamp recipients: 28.2 million when Obama took office to 44.7 million now

National debt: 9 Trillion to nearly $16 Trillion!

$716 billion robbed from Medicare to diminish and camouflage the real cost of Obamacare.

Four years without a National Budget because of Obama’s failure to even submit one and Senate leader Harry Reid’s obstructionism against every attempted budget proposal submitted by the House. This maneuver thus preventing any limits on the gargantuan expenditures of Obama’s Stimulus Packages, social welfare programs, etc.

22 million people now on the government payrolls and, of course, their salaries paid for by you, the taxpayer

4.4 Million on welfare programs. This does not include Medicare and Social Security which are not, of course, welfare.

50 million to Medicaid

70 million wage earners paying no taxes whatever

47% of the entire population paying no taxes and yet Obama still wages class warfare against those fortunate enough to make a living and support the 47% who don’t pay taxes.

What do you think this will all accomplish – other than take away the incentive for anyone who does want to work? Greece, Spain, Portugal, Ireland and the rest of the European Union, here we come.

There are so many other deliberately destructive actions Obama has taken:

The killing of our space program, leaving us under the domination of the Russians and the Chinese

The tragic weakening of our armed forces, our sea power, our air power — again putting us at the mercy of our enemies around the world.

For the first time, the loss of our once stellar AAA National credit rating

The demolishment of our immigration program with virtually no or little monitoring of illegal immigration

Direct attacks on the tenets of the Catholic Church with the rest of us not far behind

The virtual abandonment of our key allies Britain, Israel, the North Atlantic Treaty

Our endangered military allegiances and the ability to protect our crucial allies, Taiwan, Japan, Turkey, South Korea, Georgia, the Balkans, Poland, the entire Western Pacific.

But, all of the above, in fact, begs the most important question. What is The Truth about Barack and why should Americans be terrified? The blog, Israel Commentary, has addressed this question several times. Please click on the two separate previously published articles below.

Jerome S. Kaufman

Who is Barack Obama? – A Terrifying Analysis | Israel Commentary
Please see the movie, 2016 Obama’s America. It is a wake-up call …

 

Redacted from an article by Pat Buchanan

(Who, I despise as a mindless anti-Semite. But, he is absolutely on target with this piece) jsk

http://israel-commentary.org/?p=4845

Townhall.com
September 21, 2012

Mitt Romney has conceded that his thoughts, expressed at that Boca Raton, Fla., fundraiser, were “not elegantly” stated. Those mocking him might concede he has tabled one of the mega-issues of our time.

Can America continue down the path President Obama is taking us on, to a time soon and certain when a majority of wage-earners pay no income taxes but a majority of citizens receive federal benefits?

“There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what,” said Mitt, “the 47 percent who … are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it. … These are people who pay no income tax … .”

What was wrong with this?

One slice of that 47 percent who receive benefits are students who will pay taxes later. A larger slice are retirees on Social Security and Medicare who paid into both programs all their working lives. But what was right about what Romney said was discerned two centuries ago by that governmental genius John C. Calhoun.

“The necessary result … of the unequal fiscal action of the government is to divide the community into two great classes; one consisting of those who … pay the taxes … and bear exclusively the burden of supporting the government; and the other, of those who are the recipients of their proceeds, through disbursements, and who are, in fact, supported by the government; or, in fewer words, to divide it into taxpayers and tax consumers.”
A nation sundered between taxpayers and tax consumers, said Calhoun, “must give rise to two parties and to violent conflicts and struggles between them, to obtain the control of the government.”

Is that not a fair description of where we are today?

Sen. Gene McCarthy used to say every citizen has three duties: to bear arms in defense of his country, to vote and to pay taxes. Is it a good thing that this ideal is laughed at, that the draft is abolished, that scores of millions pay nothing in income taxes?

Retired Americans living on Social Security, exempt from taxes because their income is modest, are not the problem.

Obama’s “thriving” economy:

In 2010, some 4.4 million Americans were on welfare rolls
22 million on government payrolls
23 million were receiving Earned Income Tax Credit checks
44 million were on food stamps
50 million were on Medicaid, and
70 million wage-earners were paying no income taxes.

For most of these folks, Obama’s Party, which would expand benefits, tax the rich even more and redistribute the wealth, is their party. And, understandably so.

By every standard, America is a far more prosperous country than in the 1950s. Yet, then, there were no food stamps. Today, 47 million Americans are on food stamps at an annual cost of $72 billion. Does it not say something alarming when one in seven Americans cannot rely upon themselves or their families for their daily bread?

During the Chicago school strike, we learned that 86 percent of the 350,000 pupils were getting free or subsidized meals twice a day. What kind of society have we become when children in a great city cannot rely on mothers or fathers for a bowl of cereal in the morning and a brown bag with a sandwich and apple in it for lunch?

Federal, state and local government together now consume 37 percent of the economy. Can we not see where this is leading us, by looking at Spain or Italy — or California?

In the Golden Land, the state tax burden has been shifted heavily on to the most successful, while state benefits have exploded. Result: For the first time since California entered the Union, the young and middle class are moving out, not in, heading for Colorado, Arizona, Idaho and Nevada. And California has become the destination of choice for the immigrant poor, legal and illegal. Yet, the November ballot has a proposal to raise the state income tax on the rich to the highest in the nation, 13.3 percent.

Romney indicated that folks deeply dependent on government are almost impossible for an advocate of smaller government to win over. Is he entirely off base when Washington, D.C., the most government-dependent city in America, went 93-7 for Obama in 2008?

In his 1935 State of the Union, Franklin Roosevelt himself warned about exactly what Mitt Romney is talking about. “Continued dependence upon relief induces a spiritual and moral disintegration fundamentally destructive to the national fiber. To dole out relief in this way is to administer a narcotic, a subtle destroyer of the human spirit. … The Federal Government must and shall quit this business of relief.”

That greatest generation got off the narcotic of dependency. Unfortunately, for tens of millions today, that narcotic has become indispensable. And “spiritual and moral disintegration” describes exactly the condition of all too many who have come to rely upon it.

No apologies needed, Mitt

By Edward Klein

What she knew, When she knew it and How far she’ll go to become President

http://israel-commentary.org/?p=4809

Published 2005 by the Penguin Group. NYC, NY 10014

Happened to run into this great former NY Times best seller and it is more pertinent than ever — with Hillary, Obama’s Secretary of State, about to shoulder the blame for Obama’s blunders in the Benghazigate, Libya tragedy and the on-going presidential cover-up)

Quotes below all from the jacket of the book, which is a great read.

The truth about Hillary is more frightening than you can imagine. For more than a decade, countless journalists and biographers have struggled to pin down the character of Hillary Rodham Clinton. Yet despite all the scrutiny, no one — until now — has explained her many contradictions and deceptions.

She’s a wife, but she shows no wifely instincts.
She’s a mother, but she isn’t maternal.
She’s a feminist, but she rode to power on her husband’s coattails.
She’s strong and assertive, but she has abetted decades of chronic infidelity.
She inspires fierce loyalty among her followers, but she frequently stabs them in the back.

In this controversial and eagerly anticipated book, distinguished journalist Edward Klein produces secret documents and stunning evidence from sources close to Hillary Clinton to show just how much she has been willing to lie, bully, cheat, and manipulate people in her quest for power.

Klein reveals a pattern of chronic bad behavior during a decades long effort to become America’s first woman president, no matter what the cost. The Truth About Hillary contains shocking new accounts of key moments in Hillary’s private and political life, giving readers a rare opportunity to assess the true character behind her public mask.

Among the many eye-opening revelations:

• How the culture of lesbianism at Wellesley College shaped Hillary’s politics.
• How she acted as a secret partisan agent of Ted Kennedy’s during the Nixon impeachment.
• How she set up an elaborate system to monitor her husband’s girlfriends.
• What she really knew early on about Monica Lewinsky and hid from the country.
• How her image makeover as a moderate senator is a sham.

Americans know that when it comes to political leadership, character counts far more than any policy position or speech. And as they begin to size up Hillary Clinton’s fitness for the highest office in the land, they will turn to Edward Klein for the truth that Hillary Clinton doesn’t want the public to know.

One former Hillary campaign worker had the following to relate:

“She is the most unbelievable actress I have ever met, said a woman who worked on Hillary’s Senate campaign. “I remember one time at a women’s leadership forum event in New York, 30 of us sat around Hillary talking about politics. And she said, “You know, I love this organization, not just because we sit around and talk about politics, but, because of the bonds of friendship forming around us. The way she said it, people were riveted by her performance. But, I had gotten to know her and I could tell she didn’t mean it. She has this unbelievable ability to be a liar. She is soulless.”

EDWARD KLEIN is the author of The Kennedy Curse; Farewell, Jackie; and several other New York Times bestsellers. He is also the former foreign editor of News-week and former editor in chief of The New York Times Magazine. He is a frequent contributor to Parade magazine and Vanity Fair. He lives in New York City.

His latest biography, The Amateur, is certainly a must read, especially with the election upon us. The book was just reviewed here in Israel Commentary, http://Israel-commentary.org/?p=4570.

http://israel-commentary.org/?p=4774

Redacted from an article BY JAMES KIRCHICK

COMMENTARY, October, 2012

…PRESIDENT OBAMA is not the wildly popular international leader that so many Americans (and foreigners) assumed he would be. On the contrary, far from improving global attitudes toward America across the board, his seeming similarity to President Bush has made a world already resentful and suspicious of American power even more cynical. After all, if the man who proclaimed himself a “citizen of the world” will carry out drone strikes against suspected terrorists and fail to close Guantanamo Bay, who could do otherwise?

The more important question for Americans remains: Does any of this matter? Bruce Stokes of the Pew Global Attitudes project thinks it does. In a commentary for CNN.com, he flatly declared: “Experience shows that the success or failure of [a president's] foreign policy may depend, in part, on how it is perceived abroad but he provides no evidence to suggest that foreign perceptions of American foreign policy have anything to do with its success or failure.

Citing Obama’s enormous popularity with Europeans as a potential stumbling point for a President Romney, Stokes writes: “In the long run, if Romney wins, none of this may matter, as Europeans get to know him. But, in the short run, it could matter. A 2005 Pew Research Center survey found that in Britain, France, Germany; Spain and the Netherlands, strong majorities said the 2004 reelection of George W. Bush led them to have a less favorable opinion of the United States.” All right – but so what? Did the British, French Germans, Spaniards, and Dutch stop buying America products because they were so angry with George W Bush? Did they cancel vacations to the United State or, more gravely, take up arms against it?

Four years after he was first elected president, Obama’s global popularity (at least in contrast to his Republican opponent’s), has once again been marshaled as a decisive argument in his favor. Former New Mexico governor and United Nations ambassador Bill Richardson, citing his frequent overseas travels, told CBS’s Face the Nation at the beginning of September that, “The international community wants to see this president re-elected.”

(Why not, as he continues to deliberately and maliciously weaken our military and economic power throughout the world and empowers our enemies?) jsk

Appeals to the inherent wisdom of the “international community” are always problematic, since no such constituency exists – but here it was factually in error, considering that a plurality of people in the world’s most populous country, China, opposes Obama’s reelection. But such nitpicking belies the real point, which is that it is Americans who choose their President, not “the international community.”

To people who obsess about being popular, the persistence of negative attitudes about the United States must be dispiriting. But as in high school, there are things more important than popularity. A foreign policy predicated upon the opinion of “global publics whose views are often informed by false or insufficient information and whose values are often entirely different from those of many, if not most, Americans – risks jeopardizing the central role America has played in stabilizing the international order since the end of Worid War II.

The “humility” that foreigners often insist America (and only America) display is really just a call for a far greater redistribution of American-generated and earned wealth, a lessening of American economic power, thus ensuring the comparative rise of authoritarian challengers such as Russia and China, not to mention Iran and Venezuela.

A closer look at the polling data, however, reveals some important findings that are often overlooked by those who like to use such surveys for domestic partisan political attacks. In 16 countries polled by Pew in both 2007 and 2012, a median of 65 percent embrace American music, movies, and television today — up six percentage points from five years ago.

While much of American popular culture is loathed by many Arabs and Muslims, our way of doing business is not: In the four Arab Muslim – majority countries surveyed by Pew, most people said they think American entrepreneurship is something to emulate. (Not surprisingly, Europeans, with their dying welfare-state model, found little to like in American business practices.) And among the cohort of 18-to-29-year-olds, “American ideas about democracy” are admired by 72 percent of Tunisians, 59 percent of Chinese, 52 percent of Poles, and 51 percent of Lebanese.

Economic opportunity, cultural liveliness, and a vibrant democracy: These are the American qualities the president of the United States, whoever he will become November 7, should commit himself to preserving and strengthening. It is only icing on the cake that they happen to be the American qualities the rest of the world admires the most.

JAMES KIRCHICK, based in Berlin, is a fellow with the Foundation/or Defense of Democracies and a contributing editor to the New Republic.

(Communicated by  the Prime Minister’s Media Adviser)

http://israel-commentary.org/?p=4761

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, this evening (Tuesday, 9 October 2012), issued the following statement:
“First, on behalf of all Israelis, I would like to express support for the residents of areas adjacent to the Gaza Strip. I promise that we will continue to take strong action against terrorism.

In a few months, we will finish the fourth year in office of the most stable government in recent decades. This stability has helped us to achieve the two main goals that we promised the citizens of Israel. First, we strengthened security, and this during a period in which a difficult and dangerous upheaval has raged around us in the Middle East. And second, we strengthened the economy during another upheaval, a continuing global economic crisis that has led to the collapse of key economies in Europe and to mass unemployment there.

In order to deal with these challenges, we have invested very great resources in strengthening the IDF, such as in Iron Dome and in building the security fence along the Egyptian border. We have also conducted a responsible economic policy. Other countries have economic policies that have led to mass unemployment whereas we have created a record number of 330,000 jobs. In other countries, they have enacted giant cuts whereas we have increased investments in education, health, infrastructures, transportation, etc.

Now, there is only one way to maintain these achievements. In the face of the regional upheaval and the global economic crisis, we must continue to uphold responsible economic and security policies because many challenges still lay before us: To ensure that Iran will not have a nuclear bomb, to defend our borders against terrorism and infiltration, to maintain the peace agreements with our neighbors, to uphold our vital national interests in any future peace negotiations and to ensure a dynamic and growing economy that will preserve jobs for Israeli citizens.

All of this requires a responsible budget with long-range vision. Today, I finished a round of consultations with the heads of the coalition parties and I came to the conclusion that it is not possible at this time to pass a responsible budget. We are on the threshold of an election year, and to my regret, in an election year it is difficult for parties to place the national interest ahead of the party interest. The result of this is liable to be a budgetary breach and a massive increase in the deficit, which would very quickly put us in the situation of the crumbling economies of Europe. I will not allow this to happen here.

At this time, in light of the two great upheavals around us, the security and the economic, my obligation as Prime Minister is to put the national interest above everything and therefore, I have decided that the good of the State of Israel requires going to elections now, as soon as possible. The State of Israel would prefer a short election campaign of three months over what, in effect, would be a long election campaign that would continue for an entire year and would severely damage the Israeli economy. And therefore, after four years, we will go to elections.

I thank the citizens of Israel for the great privilege that has been given to me to serve you as Prime Minister and I seek a renewed mandate from the people to continue to lead the State of Israel.”


http://israel-commentary.org/?p=4763

Affirmative Action and the Mockery of Jewish Tradition

Redacted from an article By JEREMY ROZANSKY, Assistant editor of National Affairs

COMMENTARY, October 2012

JEWISH institutions can and should defend Jewish interests. But, Jewish institutions can also seek out universal justice for Jews. Parochialism on the one hand and love for the stranger on the other are equally essential to a good and holy life. Unfortunately, it is sometimes the case that these aims come into conflict.

The constitutional challenge to affirmative action that wiU soon be argued before the Supreme Court is not one of these cases. For when it comes to the use of explicit racial discrimination in admissions to favor one set of applicants over another, the interests of Jews and the cause of equal justice happen to fall on the same side — against affirmative action.

Not only is affirmative action bad for Jews when it comes to their interests as a population group; not only was such logic used for decades as an explicit means of keeping Jews in their place; it is also unjust and a violation of the 14th amendment’s equal-protection clause. It is, therefore, sobering and disappointing to see several mainstream Jewish institutions positioning themselves on the wrong side of the issue especially since the American Jewish Committee the Union for Reform Judaism, and the Anti-Defamation League once stood steadfast against such injustice

…The American Jewish Committee, The Union for Reform Judaism and the Anti-Defamation League neglect the serious social-science work over three decades demonstrating the significant downsides of race-based admissions. Simple contact between the races does not promote fellow feeling, but very often the opposite. Numerous studies have demonstrated a strong tendency toward self-segregation by racial groups.

Surveys have also shown that affirmative action is a source of racial resentment that often stigmatizes minority students as products of preferences. By the end of college, students, especially minority students, have been shown to be especially disillusioned with the goal of “helping racial understanding.” Racial preferences are even linked to an enervation of student effort and the value students place on academic success. All in all, racial diversity for racial diversity’s sake does more harm than good.

Even more striking is this: Never do these organizations seem aware that their overarching argument about racial harmony was the same justification Harvard’s Lowell used to support the quotas and other systems against Jews. Not only do they endorse a version of his solution in the “Top Ten Percent Plan” and supplementary racial preferences, they endorse Lowell’s perverted argument.

The American Jewish Committee is (supposedly) the nation’s most prominent umbrella Jewish group. The Anti-Defamation League is (supposedly) the flagship of the fight against anti-Semitism. The Union for Reform Judaism is (supposedly) the anchor of the largest Jewish religious denomination. And they have now all spoken out for a practice contrary to Jewish interests, and in doing so have cherry-picked from the Jewish canon in a manner that is incompetent at best and knowingly sophistic at worst.

Racial preferences now exist as part and parcel of a higher-education system that too often promotes a fascination with identity politics over a true inquiry into what is just. The regression to the left-wing on display in these amicus briefs is another piece of evidence that our universities and their racial preferences can induce a moral blindness among our elites and the institutions they head.

For the Jews, doing so leads to a denial of Jewish history and Jewish interest, a blatant rewriting of a difficult and strange text to affirm the fashionable dogma, and an undermining of the true equality for which the Jews of the 20th century were forced to fight so hard and for so long.

The scene as portrayed by Elaine F. Miller, Poet

http://israel-commentary.org/?p=4754

On Sunday, October 7, I drove to Port St. Lucie, FL, forty-seven miles north of my home in West Palm Beach to attend a Mitt Romney rally.

The weather was threatening.
 
Rumbling, darkening clouds followed me along I-95.

I had my doubts.

I don’t like crowds, rain or getting lost.

I got lost (turned east at the exit instead of west).

It rained.

The crowds were enormous.

Sitting aimlessly in traffic, I looked at the cars, mostly late models Japanese cars. There were few bumper stickers. “WHAT JOBS PROGRAM?” was painted on the window of a truck.

The county sheriffs, local police and volunteers directed the vehicles.

Once we entered the shopping center complex, where the rally was to be held, I realized that all the parking lots were full. I drove and drove. Soon cars were mounting the curbs and parking in empty fields.

I finally found a parking spot in the lot in front of BED, BATH AND BEYOND.

I then started walking.

In the rain.

I joined a middle aged couple and asked them if they knew where the Romney rally was located.

They thought it was” over there” so we walked together.

They had once been Democrats.

They were now Republicans.

She was from Queens, NY. He was from Pittsburgh, PA.

We found a large crowd and joined the line.

A few people carrying Obama signs stood to the side.

Someone in a Big Bird costume waved at us.

“That’s a pretty short Big Bird,” I thought.

A bearded man, looking like a ZZ Top band member, sat on a barrel and hawked Romney buttons. People lined up to buy his wares.

We walked through scanners.

We were wanded.

When I entered the rally area, people were standing shoulder to shoulder.

I spoke to a couple beside me.

They were of Iranian descent.

They had come to the United States in 1979.

They had made their lives in Florida, raised their children here.

“Will the people overthrow the Iranian government?” I asked the woman.

“Yes, it will come. People are protesting all the time, For now, what can they do? The government has the guns.”

It started to rain again.

The ground began to turn soft beneath our feet.

I observed those around me.

There were Hispanic, Indian, African American, Jamaican, Irish, English, and Italian.

They stood patiently, waiting.

Suddenly, we heard a fanfare, electronic music and looked up.

Romney had arrived.

He was as handsome as a matinee idol, beautifully groomed. He wore a checked navy blue and white shirt. He was energetic, smiling from ear to ear.

Ann Romney in a summery dress, radiated as well.

Florida Congressman Allen West and Florida Attorney General Pam Biondi accompanied them.

Congressman West opened the rally with a rousing address of support and then Ann Romney spoke, followed by Pam Bondi.

Then, it was Romney’s turn.

Romney stirred the crowd with his vision of a better future, job creation, health care, the re-establishment of American values on a global stage.

And, he said it all, in a reasoned yet inspired manner,

He sounded like a cross between Andy Griffith and General George Patton.

It struck me that Romney, despite his record ability in the business and political world, was at his core, a compassionate pastor.

For all his success, as a son, student, husband, father, businessman and elected official, he was a modest man.

His faith and values were the center of his being.

In speaking to members of the crowd and overhearing their comments, it became clear they were uniformly expressing the same thought. They longed to return to the confidence and pride of being an American and they desired a leader who believed the same thing.

After Romney finished speaking, people refused to leave, so he remained. He stood in the rain and shook hands.

Shortly, surrounded by security, he started to make his way towards his bus.

It began to rain more heavily.

I looked down.

Our feet were sinking in the mud.

I looked up.

Sharpshooters stood on the roofs of the neighboring buildings.

Soon, the crowd began to thin and I turned to leave.

I heard a roar.

Romney had come back.

He shook hands again, patted people on their backs.

I trudged back to my car.

I passed the couple from Queens and Pittsburgh.

We smiled at each other.


Chapter I

A childhood of privilege, not hardship
By Richard Pollock, Examiner staff writer

http://israel-commentary.org/?p=4722

September 20, 2012

Photobucket

Obama and his bride Michelle Robinson, a fellow Harvard Law School graduate, on their wedding day, Oct. 3, 1992, in Chicago. (Associated Press). (Beautiful couple but “Underprivileged” wedding scene? Well, not exactly) jsk

First lady Michelle Obama told the Democratic National Convention that “Barack and I were both raised by families who didn’t have much in the way of money or material possessions.”

 It is a claim the president has repeated in his books, on the speech-making circuit and in countless media interviews. By his account, he grew up in a broken home with a single mom, struggled for years as a child in an impoverished Third World country and then was raised by his grandparents in difficult circumstances.



The facts aren’t nearly so clear-cut. Ann Dunham was just 18 years old when she gave birth to Obama. She was a freshman at the University of Hawaii. His Kenyan father, Barack Hussein Obama, Sr., was a few years older than Ann. They were married against family wishes.

 Obama Sr., did not appear to have been welcoming or compassionate toward his new wife or son. It later turned out that he was secretly married to a Kenyan woman back home at the same time he fathered the young Obama.

He abandoned Obama Jr.’s mother when the boy was 1.

In 1964, Dunham filed for a divorce that was not contested. Her parents helped to raise the young Obama. 

Obama’s mother met her second husband, an Indonesian named Lolo Soetoro, while working at the East-West Center in Hawaii. They married, and in 1967, the young Obama, then known as Barry Soetoro, traveled to Indonesia with his mother when the Indonesian government recalled his stepfather.



In Indonesia, the family’s circumstances improved dramatically. According to Obama in his autobiography “Dreams from My Father,” Lolo’s brother-in-law was “making millions as a high official in the national oil company.” It was through this brother-in-law that Obama’s stepfather got a coveted job as a government relations officer with the Union Oil Co.

 The family then moved to Menteng, then and now the most exclusive neighborhood of Jakarta, where bureaucrats, diplomats and economic elites reside. 

A popular Indonesia travel site describes Menteng: “Designed by the Dutch Colonial Government in 1920s, Menteng still retains its graceful existence with its beautiful parks, cozy street cafes and luxurious housing complexes.”



In 1971, his mother sent young Obama back to Hawaii, where his grandmother, Madelyn, known as Toots, would become one of the first female vice presidents of a Honolulu bank. His grandfather was in sales. 

Obama’s grandparents moved the same year into Punahou Circle Apartments, a sleek new 10-story apartment building just five blocks from the private Punahou School, which Obama would attend from 1971 to 1979.



Obama explains in “Dreams from My Father” that his admission to Punahou began “the start of something grand, an elevation in the family status that they took great pains to let everyone know.”

To his credit, Obama did not downplay Punahou’s upscale status, noting in his autobiography that it “had grown into a prestigious prep school, an incubator for island elites. Its reputation had helped sway my mother in her decision to send me back to the States.”



Obama also admitted in the book that his grandfather pulled strings to get him into the school. “There was a long waiting list, and I was considered only because of the intervention of Gramps’s boss, who was an alumnus.”

The school still features a lush hillside campus overlooking the Waikiki skyline and the Pacific Ocean. It was one of the most expensive schools on the island, and both Obama and his half sister Maya Soetoro-Ng received scholarships.



While the Dunhams were not among the wealthiest families on the island, he nevertheless studied and socialized with the children of the social and financial elite. Obama has said he didn’t fit in at the school. But that’s not how other Hawaiians remember it. 

Associated Press writer Sudhin Thanawala reported from Honolulu in 2008, “Classmates and teachers say Obama blended in well. He served on the editorial board of the school’s literary magazine, played varsity basketball and sang in the choir. He went on the occasional date.”



In his recent book “Barack Obama: The Story,” Washington Post reporter David Maraniss said the future chief executive often smoked marijuana with prep school friends, rolling up the car windows to seek “total absorption,” or “TA.” They called themselves the “Choom Gang.” 

Edward Shanahan, a retired newspaper journalist who now edits downstreet.net and makes no effort to conceal his admiration for Obama, retraced his Hawaii years shortly after the president was elected.



Shanahan wrote that Obama lived in a well-off neighborhood near the University of Hawaii where Barry, as he was known, resided in a comfortable home with his mother and her parents before she took him to Indonesia. Shanahan said, “Our tour ended up on the lush, exquisitely maintained and altogether inviting campus of Punahou School, which we can imagine was a place of great comfort for Obama.”

 Tellingly, Obama has never lived in a black neighborhood.

Maraniss reported in his book that when leftist activist Jerry Kellman interviewed Obama for a community organizing job in Chicago, he asked Obama how he felt about living and working in the black community for the first time in his life.

 Obama accepted the job but chose not to live among those he would be organizing. Instead, he commuted 90 minutes each way daily from his apartment in Chicago’s famous Hyde Park to the Altgeld Gardens housing project where he worked.

 It was an early instance of Obama presenting himself one way while acting in quite a different way.

Next: Chapter II: The myth of the rock-star professor


http://israel-commentary.org/?p=4712

The Washington Examiner has just put together a fascinating special report, on line, concerning the life and times of Barack Obama. It comes in several different segments. With the election immediately upon us, I will be posting their summary of each chapter. So, please stay tuned. I am sure the reading will be worth your time and help you make the vital decision as to how you vote in the coming election.

Introduction

The Obama you don’t know

By Mark Tapscott,
Washington Times, Executive Editor
September 20, 2012

President Barack Obama

Few if any of his predecessors took the oath of office with higher public hopes for his success than President Obama on Jan. 20, 2009. Millions of Americans hailed his election as an end to partisanship, a renewal of the spirit of compromise and a reinvigoration of the nation’s highest ideals at home and abroad. Above all, as America’s first black chief executive, Obama symbolized the healing of long-festering wounds that were the terrible national legacy of slavery, the Reconstruction Era and Jim Crow. We would be, finally, one nation.

But after nearly four years in office, Obama has become a sharply polarizing figure. His admirers believe he deserves a special place alongside Wilson, the Roosevelts and LBJ as one of the architects of benevolent government. His critics believe he is trying to remake America in the image of Europe’s social democracies, replacing America’s ethos of independence and individual enterprise with a welfare state inflamed by class divisions.

In an effort to get a clearer picture of Obama — his shaping influences, his core beliefs, his political ambitions and his accomplishments — The Washington Examiner conducted a four-month inquiry, interviewing dozens of his supporters and detractors in Chicago and elsewhere, and studying countless court transcripts, government reports and other official documents.

Over the years and in two autobiographies, Obama has presented himself to the world as many things, including radical community organizer, idealistic civil rights lawyer, dynamic reformer in the Illinois and U.S. senates, and, finally, the cool presidential voice of post-partisan hope and change.

With his air of reasonableness and moderation, he has projected a remarkably likable persona. Even in the midst of a historically dirty campaign for re-election, his likability numbers remain impressive, as seen in a recent AP-GFK Poll that found 53 percent of adults have a favorable view of him.

But beyond the spin and the polls, a starkly different picture emerges. It is a portrait of a man quite unlike his image, not a visionary reformer but rather a classic Chicago machine pol who thrives on rewarding himself and his friends with the spoils of public office, and who uses his position to punish his enemies.

Peter Schweizer captures this other Obama with a bracing statistic in his book “Throw Them All Out,” published last year. In the Obama economic stimulus program’s Department of Energy loans, companies owned and run by Obama contributors and friends, like Solyndra’s George Kaiser, received $16.4 billion. Those not linked to the president got only $4.1 billion. The Energy Department is far from the only federal program in which favoritism has heavily influenced federal grants.

To paraphrase Tammany Hall’s George Washington Plunkitt, Obama has seen his opportunities and taken them, over and over.

Next Posting: Chapter I: A childhood of privilege, not hardship. Please stay tuned in.