Monday, September 1, 2008

The Rise of Obama : A Buried Story

Obama's Choice of Friends

Obama's Chicago Tricks

A recurring note in Obama speeches is "The audacity of hope" and an end to "politics as usual." Even before his time in the Senate, Barack Obama had a long record in Chicago local politics. Obama proved himself adept at using the system to eliminate political opponents. In Chicago, the laws and ordinances governing the collection and validation of signatures on nominating petitions are of byzantine complexity.

Obama used lawyers and volunteers to comb through the election petitions of his opponents, seeking successfully to eliminate them from the ballot. In his own defense, he argued that he was only enforcing the existing laws. He further argued cynically that anyone who couldn't make an election petition stick was probably not competent enough to hold public office. His opponents were often grass roots community activists such as Gha Is Askia and Alice Palmer with credibility that dwarfed his own.

America has a history of laws that are actually a gauntlet of disenfranchisement. The notorious literacy tests in many southern states were selectively administered to African American voters to disenfranchise them. The poll tax, before it was banned was another obstacle to fair and universal suffrage. Yes indeed, like the Democratic machine in the Jim Crow South,Obama was following the law, but he was following it selectively to protect an existing power structure. There are other forces than racism in American society that can leave citizens without a voice. Chicago politics provides a case in point.

There are many articles and documentaries about Obama's less than idealistic political ascent. I am including two such video presentations at the top of this post. The facts are not in dispute. Yet they must be repeated again and again as a counterpoint to the wave of Obama adulation in the mainstream media.

As these relevant facts about Obama's political past are brought to light, they raise disturbing questions. It is a given that Obama was ambitious. But who was ambitious for him? Who assisted him in assembling the legal and organisational talent to eliminate his opponents? And most important is the question of what Obama's sponsors demanded and received for their service to Obama.

It is an uphill struggle getting news outlets with a large audience to ask these questions. Talk radio and blogs are picking up some of the slack. As the mainstream media racks its brains trying to explain its plummeting popularity, they would be well advised to examine this story of Obama's rise to prominence. Who is asking the questions? Who is answering them? That is where your viewers have gone.

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