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Thursday, February 14, 2008       Free Headline Alerts

Change Obama can believe in: Socialism?

By Cliff Kincaid, Accuracy in Media

Campaign workers for Senator and presidential candidate Barack Obama are under fire for displaying a flag featuring communist hero Che Guevara.

But Obama has his own controversial connections. He is, in fact, an associate of a Chicago-based socialist group with ties to the Socialist International, access to millions of labor union dollars and connections to expert political consultants, including a convicted swindler.

Obama’s socialist backing goes back at least to 1996, when he received the endorsement of the Chicago branch of the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) for an Illinois state senate seat. Later, the Chicago DSA newsletter reported that Obama, as a state senator, showed up to eulogize Saul Mendelson, one of the “champions” of “Chicago’s democratic left” and a long-time socialist activist. Obama’s stint as a “community organizer” in Chicago has gotten some attention, but his relationship with the DSA socialists, who groomed and backed him, has been generally ignored.

Blogger Steve Bartin, who has been following Obama’s career and involvement with the Chicago socialists, has uncovered a fascinating video showing Obama campaigning for openly socialist Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont. Interestingly, Sanders, who won his seat in 2006, called Obama “one of the great leaders of the United States Senate,” even though Obama had only been in the body for about two years. In 2007, the National Journal said that Obama had established himself as “the most liberal Senator.” More liberal than Sanders? That is quite a feat. Does this make Obama a socialist, too?

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DSA describes itself as the largest socialist organization in the United States and the principal U.S. affiliate of the Socialist International. The Socialist International (SI) has what is called “consultative status” with the United Nations. In other words, it works hand-in-glove with the world body.

The international connection is important and significant because an Obama bill, “The Global Poverty Act,” has just been rushed through the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, with the assistance of Democratic Senator Joe Biden, the chairman, and Republican Senator Richard Lugar. The legislation (S.2433) commits the U.S. to spending hundreds of billions of dollars more in foreign aid on the rest of the world, in order to comply with the “Millennium Goals” established by the United Nations. Conservative members of the committee were largely caught off-guard by the move to pass the Obama bill but are putting a “hold” on it, in order to try to prevent the legislation, which also quickly passed the House, from being quickly brought up for a full Senate vote. But observers think that Senate Democrats may try to pass it quickly anyway, in order to give Obama a precious legislative “victory” that he could run on.

Another group associated with the SI is the Party of European Socialists (PES), which heard from Howard Dean, the chairman of the Democratic National Committee, back in 2006. Dean’s speech is posted on the official Democratic Party website, although the European socialist parties are referred to as “progressive.” Democrats, Dean said, want to be “good citizens of the world community.” He spoke at a session on “Global Challenges for Progressive Politics.”

Following up, in April 2007, PES President Poul Nyrup Rasmussen reported that European socialists held a meeting “in the Democrats HQ in Washington,” met with officials of the party and Democratic members of Congress, and agreed that “PES activist groups” in various U.S. cities would start working together. The photos of the trip show Rasmussen meeting with such figures as Senator Ben Cardin, Senator Bernie Sanders, officials of the Brookings Institution, Howard Dean, and AFL-CIO President John W. Sweeney, a member of the DSA. The Brookings Institution is headed by former Clinton State Department official Strobe Talbott, a proponent of world government who was recently identified in the book Comrade J as having been a pawn of the Russian intelligence service.

The socialist connections of Obama and the Democratic Party have certainly not been featured in the Washington Post columns of Harold Meyerson, who happens not only to be a member but a vice-chair of the DSA. Meyerson, the subject of our 2005 column, “A Socialist at the Washington Post,” has praised convicted inside-trader George Soros for manipulating campaign finance laws to benefit the far-left elements of the Democratic Party. Obama’s success in the Democratic presidential primaries and caucuses is further evidence of Soros’s success. Indeed, Soros has financially contributed to the Obama campaign.

It is not surprising that the Chicago Democrat, Rep. Jan Schakowsky, has endorsed Obama. Schakowsky, who endorsed Howard Dean for president in 2004, was honored in 2000 at a dinner sponsored by the Chicago chapter of the DSA. Her husband, Robert Creamer, emerged from federal prison in November 2006 after serving five months for financial crimes. He pleaded guilty to ripping off financial institutions while running a non-profit group. Before he was convicted but under indictment, Creamer was hired by the Soros-funded Open Society Policy Center to sabotage John Bolton’s nomination as Ambassador to the U.N.

After his release from prison, Creamer released a book, Listen to Your Mother: Stand up Straight: How Progressives Can Win, described by one blogger as the book that was “penned in the pen.” A blurb for the book declares, “Some people think that in order to win, Democrats need to move to the political center by adopting conservative values and splitting the difference between progressive and conservative positions. History shows they are wrong. To win the next election and to win in the long term, we need to redefine the political center.”

In addition to writing the book, Creamer is back in business, running his firm, Strategic Consulting Group, and advertising himself as “a consultant to the campaigns to end the war in Iraq, pass universal health care, change America’s budget priorities and enact comprehensive immigration reform.” His clients have included the AFL-CIO and MoveOn.org. In fact, his client list is a virtual who’s who of the Democratic Party, organized labor, and Democratic Party constituency groups.

Creamer’s list of testimonials comes from such figures as Democratic Senators Dick Durbin (Ill.) and Sherrod Brown (Ohio), Harold Meyerson, MoveOn.org founder Wes Boyd, and David Axelrod, a “Democratic political consultant.” Axelrod, of course, is much more than just a “Democratic political consultant.” He helped State Senator Barack Obama win his U.S. Senate seat in 2004 and currently serves as strategist and media advisor to Obama’s presidential campaign.

Cliff Kincaid is Editor of Accuracy in Media, and can be contacted at cliff.kincaid@aim.org.


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