- Daily Grind: Barack Obama is a Socialist

Yes, he is a socialist!
Others may be reluctant to say it outright, but Barack Obama's policies are decidedly socialist, and so is he.

Say Goodnight, Peggy
The only thing vulgar is what Peggy Noonan wrote about Governor Sarah Palin.

ACORN's Tradition
Every two years, ACORN comes up with the same canned excuses for why it repeatedly engages in voter registration fraud.

Call it a "rhetorical flourish."

How to Read the Constitution
How to do it from one of the nation's best: Justice Clarence Thomas.

Yes, he is a socialist!

By Robert Romano

"Senator Obama said he wants to quote ‘spread the wealth.' What that means is he wants government to take your money and dole it out however a politician sees fit. Barack Obama calls it spreading the wealth... But Joe the Plumber and Ed the Dairy Man, I believe that they think that it sounds more like socialism. Friends, now is no time to experiment with socialism. To me our opponent's plan sounds more like big government, which is the problem. Bigger government is not the solution. Whatever you call his tax plan and that redistribution of wealth it will destroy jobs. It will hurt our economy."-Governor Sarah Palin (R-AK), October 19th, 2008.


Governor Palin won't say it outright. And Senator John McCain (R-AZ) won't utter the word specifically. Florida's Governor Charlie Crist shies away from it. And Mitt Romney won't say it either. That's fine.

We'll say it. Directly. Barack Obama is a socialist.

And let's be specific: the direction that Senator Obama's proposed policies will take the United States is one where the government increasingly subsidizes, regulates and then nationalizes one industry after another, consolidates government-control over the industries that have already been nationalized, and simultaneously disincentivize private investment in those same sectors of the economy.

In other words, the goal will be for the government to control the means of production. Sound familiar? It should. It's a central tenant of socialism. After all, there's more to socialism than simply redistributing the wealth of society-or "spreading the wealth," as the Senator would say, or welfare, as we would say-although that is critical. The other end of the spectrum is the nationalization of entire sectors of the economy.

To wit, let's review where we already stand. Education has been state-run for decades, and the university (and its valuable research) system is almost entirely financed via federally-backed student loans. Agriculture is heavily subsidized. Energy is overregulated, overtaxed, and restricted from increasing production necessary for the health of our economy. Banking has now been nationalized, and the mortgage industry has been for decades in reality (the GSE's Fannie and Freddie account for more than half of all U.S. mortgages). Increasingly health insurance, via Medicare, Medicaid, and other state-run programs are being controlled by government.

And Barack Obama will not roll back any of it. Instead, he will consolidate control over each and every one of those sectors, and add to it. Let's look at some of the Obama proposals:

1) Forced unionization via card check-Barack Obama wants to return strength to Big Labor, and one of the critical ground components to that is allowing unions to use the intimidating card check system to bully enough workers-a majority-into forming a union without there ever being a vote via secret ballot.

2) National Health Insurance-As if health costs had not skyrocketed enough since the advent of Medicare and other government-subsidized programs, Senator Obama wants to double down and create a National Health Insurance program that would dwarf all other entitlements currently offered by the federal government. He puts a $65 billion/year price tag on it, but that is almost certainly a (very) lowball estimate. In short, he wants to socialize 14 percent of the economy in one fell swoop.

3) Energy-Mr. Obama wants to fund the "green" energy and phase out American dependence on oil and coal. He does not support increased hydrocarbon fuel production-things like gasoline, home heating oil, coal power plants, etc. He thus wants to bury the smokestack industries and phase in a new, nationalized "clean" energy sector. He wants to make carbon dioxide a heavily regulated pollutant under law. He supports cap-and-trade, and would create a "Global Energy Forum" between the G8 plus Brazil, China, India, Mexico and South Africa. He even wants those who turn the heat up (past 72 degrees) or the air down. When he's through, energy production and distribution will be run by the government.

4) Automobiles-While making new cars more expensive by mandating greater fuel efficiency, Senator Obama would subsidize this process to the tune of $3 billion. And assuming that American auto giants crash next year, would anyone be surprised if a President Obama decided not to heavily subsidize, if not nationalize, the entire industry?

5) Communications-Mr. Obama wants to, according to his own website, bring about "diversity in the ownership of broadcast media, promote the development of new media outlets for expression of diverse viewpoints, and clarify the public interest obligations of broadcasters who occupy the nation's spectrum." Can you say (Un)fairness Doctrine? This is government control over broadcast media, and yes that is a form of socialization. It's called censorship.

That may seem like a short list-and these are but a few examples-but then again, there's not that much else for government to get its claws into anyway.

So while everyone else may be loathe to call a duck a duck, here at Americans for Limited Government we will cling to every last bit of liberty that is left for private individuals. If the free market system is soon to become a "fleeting wisp of glory," let's at least be intellectually honest enough to say so.

Hence, at ALG, we will call Barack Obama what he is, because of his own proposed policies: a socialist.

Robert Romano is the Editor of ALG News Bureau.

Say Goodnight, Peggy

By Carter Clews

"In the end the Palin candidacy is a symptom and expression of a new vulgarization in American politics." - Peggy Noonan, former speechwriter for Dan Rather

Well, the Hard Left has once again trotted out that antiquated icon of pedestrian prose, Peggy Noonan, to stab yet another courageous conservative squarely in the back. This time Ms. Noonan shoved her shiv squarely between well-turned shoulders of Sarah Palin, apparently for being everything Peggy is not.

Peggy, as the Hard Left media is overly fond of reminding us, was a speechwriter for Ronald Reagan. Amongst her adoring elite, she is most clamorously lauded for having "written" the line, "they slipped the surly bonds of earth and touched the face of God." Ronald Reagan said it of the Challenger 7. Most Noonan apologists are unaware (or, perhaps, don't care) that this, her finest prose, was actually lifted from a beautiful valediction by one John Gillespie Magee, Jr., a fighter pilot for the Royal Canadian Air Force who penned it shortly before his combat death in December of 1941.

Ms. Noonan, meet Mr. Magee. On second thought, don't bother; he was one of those "vulgar" Sarah Palin types, born to hard-pressed missionary parents and committed to putting principle above position.

Much else that Peggy wrote during her White House years was mundane drivel, brought to life through the flawless delivery of the inimitable Ronald Reagan. It was once said of Jack Benny that he could make one laugh just by reading the phone book. Reagan achieved similar stature in bringing a nation to its feet while reading the lifeless prose of Peggy Noonan.

Not that Peggy ever gave Reagan the full recognition he deserved for such an achievement. Peggy, you see, thinks she invented Ronald Reagan, not the other way around. Sure, he had "character," she concedes in her self-absorbed tome on the same subject. But, what's character when you're a senile old geek who, she reported, "doesn't really hear very much, and his appearance of constant good humor is connected to his deafness. He misses much of what is not said directly to him, but he assumes it is good"? Her words, not mine. Thank goodness Ron had Peggy there to keep him from making too vulgar a fool of himself.

And so, she disdains Sarah Palin. One gets the idea, in fact, that it's actually because Sarah does hear too much, and doesn't buy all of what the liberal intelligentsia (peopled by Peggy's Manhattan cocktail crowd) have to say.

Peggy says that Sarah Palin's "political decisions seem untethered to a political philosophy." Unlike, let's say, Peggy's - a woman who, for example, was a speechwriter for Dan Rather (yes, that Dan Rather, friend of Fidel Castro and Daniel Ortega who got canned for falsifying documents in order to elect an arch liberal presidential candidate.) A woman who wrote for the trendy leftist "West Wing." A woman who had her own show on the taxpayer-financed Public Broadcasting System. A woman who began her career as a fiction writer for CBS News.

No, Peggy is definitely not untethered. In fact, the only time she slipped her leash (for fame and fortune) was when she feigned being conservative long enough to dash off highly edited speeches for George H.W. Bush and Ronald Reagan.

Oh, you didn't realize that she also wrote for George the First? Why yes, she smugly credits herself with penning such lines as "a thousand points of light" and "a kinder, gentler nation." There's nothing wrong, of course, with "a thousand points of light," though it's not really all that original. I heard my minister father say something very similar in the early Eighties at my grandfather's funeral, referencing the latter's youthful days as a lamplighter. As to "a kinder, gentler nation," let's keep it in context: it was meant as a criticism of what Peggy apparently considered the nasty - and, yes, vulgar - Reagan years.

Peggy says that Sarah Palin "does not speak seriously" ... and "it is unclear whether she is Bushian or Reaganite." Hmmm, let's see now ... Sarah Palin has spoken seriously enough to out-poll two former Alaska governors and get elected to that state's highest office. She has spoken seriously enough to take on a smarmy career politician with 30 years in the U.S. Senate and fight him to a standstill (at the very least). And she has spoken seriously enough to resonate with countless millions of Americans who know they are overtaxed and underrepresented in Washington, D.C. (In homage to the elite Ms. Noonan and her ilk, let's just call them the "vulgarians.)

Here's an example of not speaking seriously - it's from the glowing biography Ms. Noonan wrote for herself on her own website: "She holds honorary doctorates from Adelphi University, St. John Fisher College, Miami University, and her alma mater, Fairleigh Dickinson University." Well, let's see now, that puts her in the distinguished company of Iron Mike Tyson, who received his honorary doctorate from Central Ohio State University; Robert Mugabe, who received his honorary doctorates (yes, Peggy, more than one) from Edinburgh University, the University of Massachusetts, and Michigan State University; and Kermit the Frog, who received his from Southampton College at Long Island University.

Come on, Peggy, get serious, and stop vulgarizing legitimately earned doctoral degrees .
As to it being "unclear whether she [Sarah Palin] is Bushian or Reaganite," maybe the truth is that she is neither. (And, unlike the untethered Ms. Noonan, she certainly could not pretend to be both.) Maybe, just maybe, Sarah Palin is a "Palinist." Maybe as a strong, independent woman, she is cutting her own swath. And maybe, that, above all, is what Peggy Noonan objects to most.

You see, Sarah Palin never had to spend her early adult years grabbing men's coattails in order to be dragged along to the top. She got there on her own two, well-formed feet. And Sarah didn't have to bother making a living writing words for others to say. Sarah says what's on her own mind - and says it with a clarity, verve, and distinctive style that Peggy Noonan couldn't emulate no matter how many times she appropriated fallen heroes like John Magee, Jr.

Here's a thought for Peggy Noonan, one she should take to heart, so she'll finally stop foisting herself on all around her as what she quite clearly is not -- a conservative spokesperson: Years ago, the poet A.E. Housman wrote of boorish hangers-on: "He was a runner whom renown outran/ And the name died before the man." One would think that such a bold admonition would carry considerable weight with someone who clearly considers herself one of the leading literary lights of the modern era. But, then, perhaps such a celebrated poet to the masses as Mr. Housman is far too vulgar for Ms. Noonan's refined tastes.

The fact is, Ms. Noonan has had her 15 seconds of borrowed fame, and it is now time for her to exit - stage left, no doubt, where she clearly feels most comfortable. As she does, I would commend to her the likes of Judson Welliver, French Strother, Raymond Morely, Frank Kelly, Malcolm Moos, Peter Benchley, Ray Price, Don Penny, and Terry Edmonds - White House speechwriters one and all dating back to Warren Harding, who never wrote books to blow their own horns. Unlike Peggy, they had the grace to say goodbye, instead of hanging on to spew venom for printer's ink, face time, and, yes, filthy lucre.

Ms. Noonan, to borrow from the man you gained such fame for borrowing from yourself, "You have slipped the gentile bonds of decency/to touch the face of your leftwing paymasters." And now, in the name of God, will you at last give way to a better woman?

Carter Clews is the Executive Editor of ALG News Bureau.

ACORN's Tradition

By Isaac MacMillen

Let's say that you are a modest, but relatively successful business owner. Every 2 years the IRS comes and performs an audit to ensure you are in compliance with federal regulations. And each year, they enter your office with reports of discrepancies in your tax forms, indicating that you have been underreporting your profits. You respond, saying that the charges are bogus, and intended to bar you from making a profit. Furthermore, you state, an internal investigation has shown that your records are clean.

Once the audit is complete, however, the IRS is proven right. You then acknowledge the error, blame it on your accountants-while taking credit for helping the IRS pinpoint those accountants-and state that you will fix it. This happens every two years. Would you honestly think that the IRS would continue to let you make the same excuse year after year-while the problem persists? (Of course, the IRS is probably the only government organization that will strictly not tolerate fraud, but I digress....)

Unfortunately, this same scam is being perpetrated on the American public by the radical left-wing group ACORN and its affiliates. While ACORN has been in the news lately for allegations of voter fraud this election, as well as its association with Barack Obama (they also endorsed him), the general population may be unaware that this has become a bi-annual tradition here in America.

This tax-funded organization (up to 40 percent of its $40 million budget is from the feds), which has done everything from calling for "exit visas" to keep businesses in low-income areas to pressuring banks to offer high-risk loans to low-income families, routinely works to register those it wants deemed as voters. Each election cycle, officials come after them with allegations of fraud. And each time, ACORN denies it, and then blames it on its canvassers and promises to fix it.

Then two years later, it happens again. Rinse and repeat.

Some of the more notorious examples:

In 2006, Washington State convicted 3 ACORN employees on charges of voter fraud, as nearly 1800 fraudulent registrations were uncovered by election officials. King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg said in a statement that ACORN, while not charged, would be kept under watch by the state, and could face criminal charges if the group's "quality control" measures don't produce results.

In Kansas City, MO, ACORN ensured that "every" voter registration form was legitimate. But the election board in Kansas City, Missouri, discovered about 15,000 problematic registrations. After the Kansas City election board turned over 1300 voter registration applications to the feds, four ACORN workers were indicted (and later convicted) of voter fraud. ACORN then turned around and said it had "cooperated" and "turned in" those workers to the authorities.

St. Louis, MO, also turned in about 1500 ACORN forms to the government. 8 ACORN workers later plead guilty after submitting fraudulent applications. Following the pleas, ACORN announced that it would be "improving" its quality control measures.

In 2004, ACORN faced criminal investigation in the state of Florida for voter registration irregularities. Aside from questionable forms, ACORN was also coming under scrutiny for claims of a partisan memo distributed inside the officially non-partisan organization, and questions of fraud in getting signatures for a ballot proposal. Additionally, they have turned in late registrations in Florida. While the convictions were later dropped, similar accusations have resurfaced this year after a Mickey Mouse registration appeared-with ACORN's seal stamped on it.

Allegations continue to pile up this year, with 11 of the 21 states in which ACORN is operating questioning the organization. Pennsylvania, Ohio (with a civil RICO suit being filed), Indiana, Nevada (where the Dallas Cowboys' staring lineup was registered), Missouri, Wisconsin-all these and more have reported highly questionable activity, to the point that now the FBI is getting involved.

Yet ACORN's "control" measures don't seem to be working.

Presently, ACORN is disputing claims by Nevada's Clark County Registrar that "thousands and thousands and thousands" of bad registration forms submitted were not flagged by ACORN as being fraudulent. ACORN is denying the charge, stating that they flagged 3000-4000 forms, and that, whatever the number they missed, it is far below that stated by the Registrar.

And in Ohio, they admitted that they don't have the resources to check for fraud, with Ohio's ACORN director answering "not perfectly, no" when questioned if their internal controls were able to spot duplicate applications.

Thus the pattern continues. Allegations. Denials. Charges. "Cooperation." Conviction. Promises.

Like our dishonest businessman at the beginning of the article, ACORN has refused to come clean. It is time for the federal government to intervene and stop this taxpayer-funded organization from abusing the system any longer. Broken promises mean nothing. And fraudulent elections can cost us everything. The time has come to stop ACORN now.

Isaac MacMillen is a contributing editor of ALG News Bureau.


ALG Editor's Note: Yesterday, in "The $5 Trillion Question," ALG News reported that Barack Obama would increase spending by $1 trillion in his first year of office. This was not accurate. The $1 trillion would be spread over the four years of his tenure in office, as chronicled by James Pethokoukis in "Obama's Trillion-Dollar Spending Plan." But, to pay for it, he'd still have to raise taxes on the middle class, and not just the top 5 percent, or run deficits, in which case the middle class gets taxed anyway either through inflation or higher taxes.

ALG Editor's Note: Americans for Limited Government believes in strict originalist interpretation of the laws and the supreme law of the land, the Constitution, by our nation's jurists, and as noted by the following featured lecture, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas tells us how it's done:


How to Read the Constitution

The following is an excerpt from Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas's Wriston Lecture to the Manhattan Institute last Thursday:

When John F. Kennedy said in his inaugural address, "Ask not what your country can do for you -- ask what you can do for your country," we heard his words with ears that had been conditioned to receive this message and hearts that did not resist it. We heard it surrounded by fellow citizens who had known lives of sacrifice and hardships from war, the Great Depression and segregation. All around us seemed to ingest and echo his sentiment and his words. Our country and our principles were more important than our individual wants, and by discharging our responsibilities as citizens, neighbors, and students we would make our country better. It all made sense.

Today, we live in a far different environment. My generation, the self-indulgent "me" generation, has had a profound effect on much around us. Rarely do we hear a message of sacrifice -- unless it is a justification for more taxation and transfers of wealth to others. Nor do we hear from leaders or politicians the message that there is something larger and more important than the government providing for all of our needs and wants -- large and small. The message today seems more like: Ask not what you can do for yourselves or your country, but what your country must do for you.

This brings to mind the question that seems more explicit in informed discussions about political theory and implicit in shallow political speeches. What is the role of government? Or more to the point, what is the role of our government? Interestingly, this is the question that our framers answered more than 200 years ago when they declared our independence and adopted our written Constitution. They established the form of government that they trusted would be best to preserve liberty and allow a free people to prosper. And that it has done for over two centuries. Of course, there were major flaws such as the issue of slavery, which would eventually lead to a civil war and casualties of fellow citizens that dwarf those of any of the wars that our country has since been involved in.

Though we have amended the Constitution, we have not changed its structure or the core of the document itself. So what has changed? That is the question that I have asked myself and my law clerks countless times during my 17 years on the court.

As I have traveled across the country, I have been astounded just how many of our fellow citizens feel strongly about their constitutional rights but have no idea what they are, or for that matter, what the Constitution says. I am not suggesting that they become Constitutional scholars -- whatever that means. I am suggesting, however, that if one feels strongly about his or her rights, it does make sense to know generally what the Constitution says about them. It is at least as easy to understand as a cell phone contract -- and vastly more important.

The Declaration of Independence sets out the basic underlying principle of our Constitution. "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness. -- That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed . . . ."

The framers structured the Constitution to assure that our national government be by the consent of the people. To do this, they limited its powers. The national government was to be strong enough to protect us from each other and from foreign enemies, but not so strong as to tyrannize us. So, the framers structured the Constitution to limit the powers of the national government. Its powers were specifically enumerated; it was divided into three co-equal branches; and the powers not given to the national government remained with the states and the people. The relationship between the two political branches (the executive and the legislative) was to be somewhat contentious providing checks and balances, while frequent elections would assure some measure of accountability. And, the often divergent interests of the states and the national government provided further protection of liberty behind the shield of federalism. The third branch, and least dangerous branch, was not similarly constrained or hobbled.

Since Marbury v. Madison the federal judiciary has assumed the role of the interpreter and, now, final arbiter of our Constitution. But, what rules must judges follow in doing so? What informs, guides and limits our interpretation of the admittedly broad provisions of the Constitution? And, more directly, what restrains us from imposing our personal views and policy preferences on our fellow citizens under the guise of Constitutional interpretation?

To assure the independence of federal judges, the framers provided us with life tenure and an irreducible salary -- though inflation has found a way around the latter. This independence, in turn, was to assure our neutrality and impartiality, which are at the very core of judging -- and being a judge. Yet, this independence can also insulate a judge from accountability for venturing beyond the proper role of a judge. But, what exactly is the proper role of a judge? We must understand that before we can praise or criticize a judge. In every endeavor from economics to games there is some way to measure performance.

As important as our Constitution is, there is no one accepted way of interpreting it. Indeed, for some commentators, it seems that if they like or prefer a particular policy or conduct, then it must be constitutional; while the policies that they do not prefer or like are unconstitutional. Obviously, this approach cannot be right. But, it certainly is at the center of the process of selecting judges. It goes something like this. If a judge does not think that abortion is best as a matter of policy or personal opinion, then the thought is that he or she will find it unconstitutional; while the judge who thinks it is good policy will find it constitutional. Those who think this way often seem to believe that since this is the way they themselves think, everyone must be doing the same thing. In this sense, legal realism morphs into legal cynicism. Certainly this is no way to run a railroad, not to mention interpret the Constitution. . . .

Let me put it this way; there are really only two ways to interpret the Constitution -- try to discern as best we can what the framers intended or make it up. No matter how ingenious, imaginative or artfully put, unless interpretive methodologies are tied to the original intent of the framers, they have no more basis in the Constitution than the latest football scores. To be sure, even the most conscientious effort to adhere to the original intent of the framers of our Constitution is flawed, as all methodologies and human institutions are; but at least originalism has the advantage of being legitimate and, I might add, impartial.