Posts Tagged ‘tactics’

Company Takes On SEIU Anti-Business, Anti-Job Extortion

March 22, 2011

the Largest Food Service Company in the United States is suing SEIU for extortion under RICO (Racketerr Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act).

I have to admit, I prefer the Redstate article title to my own: “Sodexo Slaps SEIU Cockroaches With RICO Suit.”

Services Leader Seeks to End SEIU’s Campaign of Extortion

GAITHERSBURG, Md., March 17, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ – Sodexo USA today filed a civil lawsuit against the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and other defendants under the Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act, to stop the illegal campaign of extortion that the SEIU has been waging in the U.S. for over a year.

“This is about protecting the Company’s business and the rights of our employees to vote freely about union representation,” said Robert Stern, Senior Vice President and General Counsel for Sodexo USA.  “We work constructively with unions every day but the SEIU has crossed the line by breaking the law. We will not tolerate the SEIU’s tactics any longer. Their campaign jeopardizes our Company and our employees’ jobs, and ultimately would rob our employees of their right to vote.”

Sodexo USA has filed the lawsuit seeking to halt the SEIU’s extortionate threats and barrage of unlawful tactics. The complaint alleges acts of SEIU blackmail, vandalism, trespass, harassment, and lobbying law violations designed to steer business away from Sodexo USA and harm the company.

Sodexo USA recognizes the value of union activity and has built positive relationships with more than 30 different unions.  Over 15 percent of Sodexo USA’s workforce is unionized, which is more than twice the national average for the private sector, and the Company has more than 300 collective bargaining agreements.  Despite this positive record, the SEIU has engaged in a vicious campaign to force the Company into broadly recognizing the SEIU to the exclusion of other unions without allowing its employees in the U.S. to exercise their right to vote for or against the SEIU in a federally supervised secret ballot election.

The complaint alleges that the SEIU, in face to face meetings, threatened Sodexo USA’s executives that it would harm Sodexo USA’s business unless they gave in to the union, and then carried out its threats through egregious behavior, including:

  • throwing plastic roaches onto food being served by Sodexo USA at a high profile event;
  • scaring hospital patients by insinuating that Sodexo USA food contained bugs, rat droppings, mold and flies;
  • lying to interfere with Sodexo USA business and sneaking into elementary schools to avoid security;
  • violating lobbying laws to steer business away from Sodexo USA, even at the risk of costing Sodexo USA employees their jobs; and
  • harassing Sodexo USA employees by threatening to accuse them of wrongdoing.

The complaint, filed in federal court in the Eastern District of Virginia, seeks an injunction against the SEIU and its locals and executives, as well as monetary damages to be determined by the court.Sodexo, Inc. (www.sodexoUSA.com), leading Quality of Daily Life Solutions company in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico, delivers On Site Service Solutions in Corporate, Education, Health Care, Government, and Remote Site segments, as well as Motivation Solutions such as Esteem Pass. Sodexo, Inc., headquartered in Gaithersburg, Md., funds all administrative costs for the Sodexo Foundation (www.SodexoFoundation.org), an independent charitable organization that, since its founding in 1999, has made more than $15 million in grants to fight hunger in America. Visit the corporate blog at www.sodexoUSA.com/blog.

Unions invariably talk about standing up for the “little guy.”  But nobody tears down the little guy like unions today:

But workers at the Dana Corporation Auto Parts plant in Albion, Ind., say the card check process has nearly torn the 50-person plant apart after harassment and intimidation from the United Auto Workers union forced them to a secret-ballot vote.

A union organizer came to the plant two years ago to ask employees to join the UAW because the company had signed a neutrality agreement with the union.

The meeting, however, did not go well, according to plant employee Larry Guest.

“He was using real rough language — cursing. It didn’t go over well with the women at all. There were a couple that just got up and left,” Guest told FOX News.

Employees said union representatives approached them in the break room, at the plant doors and even followed them to their cars.

“He was just like an itch that you couldn’t scratch. He just wouldn’t go away,” said employee Rita Murphy.

“After a while we realized he was going to be here morning, noon and night until he got his numbers that he needed,” said Betty Pop.

Dana employee Jamie Oliver told FOX News that she was approached at her home.

“We’re here in a little town and we’re a plant of 50 some people — you know the last thing you need is to have the union coming to your door saying I want your name,” Oliver said.

The union’s relentless approach, she said, eventually wore her down.

“When they approach you every day — every day, every day,” she said, “after a while it’s like ‘Okay. Fine. I’ll sign the card.’”

Unions have become genuinely evil.  And in point of fact, they have been evil for a very long time.  And we have just witnessed this vile behavior in Wisconsin, as the same people who constantly demonized the Tea Parties are showing that THEY are the true demons – even as the Tea Parties try to clean up the massive damage the union rioters left behind.

Right now, public school teachers (i.e., government unionized schools) are threatening an illegal strike in Michigan.  Their claim is that what the state is doing to avoid financial catastrophe will hurt children, so these union thugs want to REALLY hurt children and families by violating the law to shut down the schools so they can force their agenda.

Detroit – where much of this battle is going on – is in ruins.  Some of it looks like a war-zone; other parts have been abandoned for decades.  And these labor unions that destroyed a thriving industrial city and the life that depended on the jobs created by those industries will not stop until they have sucked the life out of every city in America.  That is the legacy of unions today.

All I can say is that if you think the SEIU’s tactics of destroying a business so they can force their union in is good for jobs, you are a serious, serious fool.

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Crisis In Egypt Underscores The Problem Of Islam – AND LIBERALISM

February 2, 2011

It has rightly been said that Islam is a murderous totalitarian political ideology masquerading as a religion.

That fact makes an “Islamic democracy” a contradiction in terms.  You simply cannot have both.  If you want a democracy, you cannot have Islam; if you want Islam, you cannot have a democracy.

If you have a large population of Muslims living in a country, there are only two alternatives for governing that state: a totalitarian dictatorship, which is what we essentially have seen in Egypt under Hosni Mubarak, or a religious theocracy such as we see in Iran today.

Even alleged counterexamples, such as Turkey, are transforming.  Turkey is steadily becoming “less Europe, and more Islam.”  And I believe – primarily as a student of Bible prophecy – that Turkey will ultimately end up in the Islamic column.  It will ultimately be one of the Islamic nations that attacks Israel in the last days.

Jordan, which is at least less thuggish than most other Islamic countries, is reaping the whirlwind of Islamic unrest just as Egypt, Yemen, Tunisia and Algeria.

Democracy becomes nothing but a tool for radical Islam – which itself utterly despises democracy.  Tayyip Erdogan compared democracy to a bus, saying, “You ride it to your destination, and then you step off.”

Other Muslims are even more crystal clear: Tarek Ramadan states:

“We must exploit the so-called democracy and freedom of speech here in the West to reach our goals.  Our Prophet Muhammad … and the Quran teach us that we must use every conceivable means and opportunity to defeat the enemies of Allah.  Tell the infidels in public, we respect your laws and your constitutions, which we Muslims believe that these are as worthless as the paper they are written on.  The only law we must respect and apply is the Sharia’s.”

Imams in England say, “You have to live like a state within a state until you take over.”  And Mohamed Akram says of America, Muslims “must understand that their work in America is a kind of grand jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within.”  While Omar Ahmad says, “Islam isn’t in America to be equal to any other faith, but to become dominant … The Quran, the Muslim book of scripture, should be the highest authority in America, and Islam the only accepted religion on Earth.”

For the record, I found all the above quotes from Tulsaworld.com.  And of course there are a million more where those came from.

We have a problem.  We want the world to benefit from democracy.  We want to spread the superiority of democracy as a political system.  We want to benefit from the fact that no democracy has ever once attacked another democracy.

But Muslims take our democracy, pervert it and exploit it for their own ideological advantage with a very radically different political system in mind.  And we tolerate this why?

One of the things that makes Islam so dangerous is that it puts itself and it’s prophet Muhammad above and beyond questioning or criticism.  As a case in point, the Danish cartoons revealed that the entire Muslim world will go berserk and literally become murderous over even the slightest “slights.”  Compare the Danish cartoons to the routine insults suffered by Christianity, such as placing a crucifix bearing an image of Christ in a jar of urine and calling it “art.”  That mindset represents the death of even the possibility of a free society.

Liberalism and secular humanism merely weakens our own society and makes us more ripe for the picking: to begin with, liberals react through their cultural relativism (e.g., “pluralism,” “multiculturalism”) by essentially saying, “We must not offend.”  And they proceed to actually help the radical Muslim extremists impose their system.  Liberal media routinely attack Jesus Christ and Christianity, but they are only all too willing to self-censor themselves when it comes to Muhammad and Islam.

And yet Christianity brought us the democracy liberals claim to love, while Islam is antithetical to it.  Liberals are literally helping radical Muslims poison the tree of democracy and freedom.

There’s more.  One of the reasons we so frequently see liberals enabling radical Islam is because it turns out that liberals and the sorts of radical Muslims I have already introduced share the same tactics.

Case in point: three quotes from Saul Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals:

  • The tenth rule of the ethics of rules and means is that you do what you can with what you have and clothe it in moral arguments. …the essence of Lenin’s speeches during this period was “They have the guns and therefore we are for peace and for reformation through the ballot. When we have the guns then it will be through the bullet.” And it was. — P.36-37
  • …The third rule is: Wherever possible go outside the experience of the enemy.  Here you want to cause confusion, fear, and retreat.
  • …the fourth rule is: Make the enemy live up to their own book of rules.

You look at what the Muslims are saying above, and you look at what liberal Saul Alinsky is saying here, and they are advocating identical tactics, with basically the same goal in mind: Muslims want sharia, with total power over a government that itself has total power; and liberals want control over a big government system which extends over every sphere of life.  And both say, “make the enemy live up to their own rules.”  Let’s take advantage of their morality and use it against them as a weapon.

And, of course, when Muhammad was weak (e.g., his Mecca phase), Islam was tolerant and peaceful; when Muhammad’s forces became strong (his Medina phase), Islam suddenly became profoundly intolerant, determined to impose itself and determined to use as much force as was necessary to attain its ends.  That is exactly what the American political left says.  And the only thing that that American liberals are truly intolerant of is Christianity and political conservatism.

And what is even more frightening is that America today actually has a president who actually lectured and taught from Saul Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals as a community organizer.  As Discover The Networks points out, “For several years, Obama himself taught workshops on the Alinsky method. Also, beginning in the mid-1980s, Obama worked with ACORN, the Alinskyite grassroots political organization that grew out of George Wiley‘s National Welfare Rights Organization (NWRO).”

Part of this idea of using your opponent’s own morality against them turns into the strength of radical Islam and the weakness of liberalism when the two confront one another.  As one example, think of Jimmy Carter undermining the Shah of Iran – who clearly was a dictator, but a pro-American dictator.  Carter allowed the Shah to be deposed, and got as his reward the Ayatollah and an Iranian theocratic regime that undermined and ultimately deposed Carter via the hostage crisis that played out day after day through the Carter presidency.

And here Obama is apparently doing much the same thing: we find out that Obama has secretly been backing rebels of the Mubarak regime from the Wikileaks papers.

Barack Obama invited the terrorist organization known as the Muslim Brotherhood when he gave his speech in Cairo – the very same group that is poised to wreak havoc in that same city today.  And Obama – who is on the record siding with the Egyptian demonstrators against secular tyrant Mubarak – was pointedly absent from siding with the Iranian demonstrators against theocratic tyrant Ahmadinejad.  That contrasted with Obama making statements against Mubarak’s regime such that the Egyptian foreign ministry says  Obama’s words actually “inflame the internal situation in Egypt”  as the situation turns increasingly deadly and more and more signs are being written in English for American media consumption.  Bizarrely, it is almost as if liberals prefer Islamic theocratic tyrants over secular Muslim leaders.

It’s very easy to pooh-pooh thugs like Mubarak or the Shah and denounce their despotism.  But if you take away the thug, what else is there to control a people who will ultimately insist upon an Islamic theocracy?  You roll the dice and take your chances.  And in Islam, the “chances” have a pronounced historic tendency to become anti-American theocracies.  Which become even worse dictatorships then the ones that bleeding-heart liberals decried in the first place.

Liberals decry religion as being anti-democratic, never realizing that it is they – rather than religion – who are profoundly anti-democratic.  A few quotes from the founding fathers whose vision created the first sustained democracy:

“We have no government armed with the power capable of contending with human passions, unbridled by morality and true religion. Our constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”

“…And let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion…reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.”
– George Washington, Farewell Address, Sept 17, 1796

“Religion and good morals are the only solid foundations of public liberty and happiness.”
– Samuel Adams, Letter to John Trumbull, October 16, 1778

“The great pillars of all government and of social life [are] virtue, morality, and religion. This is the armor…and this alone, that renders us invincible.”
– Patrick Henry, Letter to Archibald Blair, January 8, 1789

“Without morals, a republic cannot subsist any length of time; they therefore who are decrying the Christian religion…are undermining the solid foundation of morals, the best security for the duration of free governments.”
– Charles Carroll (signer of the Constitution), Letter to James McHenry, November 4, 1800

“Religion is the only solid basis of good morals; therefore education should teach the precepts of religion, and the duties of man towards God.”
– Life of Gouverneur Morris, Vol III

The Egyptian crisis reveals the problem of Islam:  You cannot have a nation of Muslims without tyranny.  It is only a matter of which form of tyranny you prefer.  Conversely, the same crisis is also revealing the problem of liberalism.  Because as they weaken our Christian religious foundations, the same liberals who would undermine Hosni Mubarak also undermine the very pillars that would enable us to resist the conquest of democracy by Islam.  And they further erode our once great democratic system by employing the very same tactics that our Muslim enemies are using against us.

Obama Worst President In History, According To 2004 Democrat Campaign Rhetoric

June 23, 2010

This is just too good.  Barack Hussein is far and away the very worst president in American history.  And that according to the very same standards that Democrats attacked George Bush with in 2004.

Democrats of 2004 Brand Obama Worst President
By Kevin Hassett – Jun 20, 2010

As we approach another general election, it will be interesting to see how the economic performance of Democrats is judged. If voters borrow the preferred method of John Kerry and other Democrats from 2004, Barack Obama will be revealed to be among the worst presidents in history.

During the 2004 election, Democrats constantly reminded voters that George W. Bush was the first president in decades to oversee a net loss of jobs.

The drumbeat was incessant. “This administration is the first since Herbert Hoover’s to actually lose jobs on its watch — 1.8 million jobs,” Kerry said at a campaign stop. His campaign chairman, Jeanne Shaheen, said Bush deserved “the first-ever ‘Herbert Hoover Award’ for having the worst jobs record since the Great Depression.”

The Hoover analogy was a stretch, as some recognized even back then. The watchdog election site factcheck.org wrote, “Comparing the Bush economy to Hoover’s Great Depression is just silly, and implying that tax cuts are not contributing to job growth deserves an ‘F’ in freshman economics.”

As an adviser to the Bush re-election campaign, I regularly rebutted the Hoover charge when I appeared on television to debate Kerry supporters in 2004. Here’s what I said then, and still say now: While some presidents arrive in Washington during boom times, others come during busts, and those often are the ones elected precisely because voters hope that they will change economic policies.

Jobless Recovery

Bush arrived just as the last recession was beginning — a bit of timing that Obama can relate to. Though that recession was brief, the subsequent jobless recovery did little to strengthen Bush’s record as he entered his reelection year.

Obama, of course, is just 17 months into his presidency, and more than two years from facing the voters personally. But with a big midterm congressional election upcoming, let’s see how Obama would fare if Kerry-like tactics were used on him.

The answer: not well. Whether the measurement is job creation, unemployment or growth of gross domestic product, the economy has been worse under Obama than it was under Bush.

First, job creation. According to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the U.S. shed 2.3 million jobs since February 2009, Obama’s first full month in office. Going back to World War II, that is by far the worst record for any president in his first 17 months, outpacing the job destruction experienced in the early Bush years by more than 800,000 jobs.

Campaign Fodder

For Obama, there is an even worse way to play the data, which might just become fodder for a political ad: From November 2008, the month he was elected, until now, the economy has shed an astonishing 4.4 million jobs. That’s worse than Hoover.

Sure, you can blame the first few months of that period on lame-duck President Bush. But perhaps companies accelerated their shedding of jobs because they were bracing for higher tax rates, increased union power and costly environmental taxes under Obama.

Other measurements are only slightly kinder to Obama. The two-percentage-point increase in unemployment rate during his presidency, to 9.7 percent from 7.7 percent, is the third-worst since World War II. Dwight Eisenhower and Gerald Ford saw bigger increases.

GDP growth under Obama, an abysmal 3 percentage points so far, is the fourth-worst in the postwar period. Eisenhower, Ford and Ronald Reagan all began their terms with worse GDP growth.

But hey, it was Kerry and the Democrats who made job creation the be-all and end-all measurement of a presidency, and by that standard, Obama is dredging a new low. It’s probably a good bet that Democrats who became so enamored of Hoover’s name in 2004 won’t be mentioning it much this year.

Republicans should be willing to drop it too — so long as some economic adviser to Kerry-Edwards ‘04 admits the campaign was wrong to bring up Herbert Hoover in the first place.

(Kevin Hassett, director of economic-policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute, is a Bloomberg News columnist. He was an adviser to Republican Senator John McCain in the 2008 presidential election. The opinions expressed are his own.)

So if you want to see the case that Barack Obama is the worst president in history, don’t bother reading what conservatives say; just listen to Democrats own rhetoric from just a few years ago.

This article’s findings as to just what a disaster Obama has been even measuring by the Democrats’ own standards does not include the recent information that Obama’s mortgage modification program has totally failed in every way imaginable, and that sales of new homes has fallen to the lowest level ever recorded? It was the mortgage industry that created the 2008 collapse – and Obama has done nothing but make a black hole of crisis even worse.

I can’t even imagine how shrilly the Democrats would have decried those facts had they occurred during the Bush years.

And, to go on, you want to talk about a president’s ability to handle a national disaster such as the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, day 64?  No matter how bad you want to say Bush was regarding Hurricane Katrina, Bush is now widely recognized to have done a far superior job.  How about war fighting?  Bush won in Iraq; Obama is floundering enormously in Afghanistan.

Basically, by whatever metric you want to use, Obama is the biggest disgrace to ever occupy the White House.

If this doesn’t prove that Democrats are a) pathological demagogues and b) completely unfit to govern, what possibly could?

Only Democrat Politicians, Activist Judges, And (Of Course) Beelzebub Support Gay Marriage

November 4, 2009

A snippet from The New York Times pretty much says it all:

Supporters of the [gay] marriage law, which the Legislature approved in May, have far more money and ground troops than opponents, who have been led by the Roman Catholic Church. Yet most polls show the two sides neck and neck, suggesting that gay couples here, as in California last year, could lose the right to marry just six months after they gained it.

Although Maine’s population is a tiny fraction of California’s and the battle here has been comparatively low profile, it comes at a crucial point in the same-sex marriage movement. Still reeling from last year’s defeat in California, gay-rights advocates say a defeat here could further a perception that only judges and politicians embrace same-sex marriage.

If Maine’s law is upheld, however, it would be the movement’s first victory at the ballot box; voters in about 30 states have banned same-sex marriage.

Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts and Vermont allow gay couples to marry, but courts and legislatures, not voters, made it possible.

“It’s a defining moment,” said Marc Mutty, chairman of Stand for Marriage Maine, which is leading the repeal effort. “What happens here in Maine is going to have a mushrooming effect on the issue at large.”

The people have now spoken thirty-one times.  And thirty-one times out of thirty-one times, the people have rejected gay marriage.

I think the gay activists have it right: only Democrat politicians and activist judges support gay marriage (I added the part about Beelzebub in my title, assuming that gay marriage advocates simply overlooked their biggest supporter).

These are people who care about democracy about as much as I care about liberalism: they actively despise it.

Gay activists used the most vile sort of intimidation tactics following their Prop 8 defeat in California.  They did the same thing in Washington state, targeting people who exercised their rights as citizens for boycotts, threats, and worse.

And, yeah, they have been trying to pick up the same fascist tactic in Maine.  And here’s what’s going on:

In addition to the fierce battle over the referendum itself, there has been another bitter fight: One over whether the names of the more than 120,000 people who signed a petition to get the referendum on the ballot should be made public.

On one side of the debate is Larry Stickney, the campaign manager of Protect Marriage Washington and one of the main people who got the referendum, known as Referendum 71, on the ballot. Stickney opposes releasing the names, arguing that doing so opens signatories up to intimidation and harassment.

In an interview, Stickney said he has been hit with “numerous death threats,” threatening phone calls in the middle of the night, and “obscene, vile emails” for being the public face of his cause.

“We’ve feared for our children’s lives,” he said.

Stickney characterized the people who signed the petition are “a bunch of little old ladies and nice people who go to church,” and said that “obviously we want to protect them from this kind of thing.”

He added that efforts to release the names amounted to a modern-day version of voter intimidation.

If I may wax philosophical for a moment.  The gay community practices a form of philosophical irrationalism, because they have abandoned the objective moral absolutes which have provided every other culture in history some semblance of moral order.  The eclipse of such moral absolutes has created an exclusive emphasis upon experience and subjectivity.

The problem of such moral irrationalism is that there are no longer any criteria for judgment.  If there are no transcendent absolutes by which one can evaluate experiences or beliefs, then ANY experience or belief can be invested with such transcendent meaning.  There is no basis for saying one idea is true and another false.  There is no basis for insisting that a particular moral principle – for example, that marriage should be defined as a union between a man and a woman, or, for that matter, that one ought not to murder Jews – is universally binding.

No culture has ever embraced homosexual marriage.

Homosexuals argue that their quest to impose gay marriage upon a society that clearly does not want it is a humanitarian quest for “civil rights,” and therefore good.  But when the wellsprings of irrationalism are released, human beings have a marked tendency to lurch to authoritarianism, violence, and self-destruction.  Just as homosexuals are proving yet again as they target law-abiding citizens for persecution.  The religious confessional doctrine of original sin accounts for the way that laudable ideals and noble-sounding goals can quickly turn vicious.

President Obama recently signed “hate crimes” legislation protecting gays in a bill that was ostensibly supposed to provide funding for our troops.  [This amounts to another proof that Democrat politicians are determined to impose their will upon the people, rather than allow their people to impose their will upon the politicians].

But the despicable reality is that if people need to be protected against hate crimes, it is the people who need to be protected FROM gays.

A Closer Look At Obama, Candidate of ‘Hope’ and ‘Change’

June 6, 2008

We have seen something unparalleled in modern politics.

No, I’m not talking about the first black nominee of a major American political party.  I’m talking about the effort to whitewash every negative aspect to the past of a nominee of a major political party.

Interestingly, this story came out during the early days of the primary season when Hillarly Clinton was the presumed nominee, and Barack Obama was a nobody.  We haven’t heard a peep about it since the Obama campaign gained ground, which is the precise opposite of what we would expect to see if journalism was politically impartial and objective.

The story begins with Alice Palmer and the the 13th District Illinois State Senate.  Alice Palmer had battled as a community organizer in some of the poorest areas of that district – such as Englewood – for decades while Obama was getting a sun tan in Hawaii and living in Indonesia.  As a state senator, Palmer had faithfully served her district as a good progressive through the early 90s, giving up her safe seat to run for Congress at the request of the party establishment.  She gave Obama his start in politics.

In her previous Democratic primary race for the 13th District, Alice Palmer had defeated her opponent, Charlie Calvin, 83% to 17%, or 29,115 votes to 5,987.  She ran unopposed in the 1992 general election, and received 69,989 votes.

After losing her bid for Congress, Alice Palmer returned to take back her seat in the 13th District.  She had to mount a hasty signature campaign (she only had 18 days) in order to get her name on the ballot.

So what did Barack Obama do, facing the prospect of running against a beloved, long-standing fighter and activist who was actually the sitting incumbant, who had won the previous election with 83% of the vote, and who would have slaughtered the unknown Barack Obama in a primary election?

He put his Harvard Law degree to the most cynical use imaginable, mounting legal challenges to every signature Palmer collected.

Barack Obama, who as a community organizer had registered thousands of underprivileged voters, proceeded to turn around and organize an effort to nullify the signatures of many of these same voters on such technicalities as printing a name rather than writing in cursive.

As a CNN story titled “Obama played hardball in first Chicago campaign” details, “As a community organizer, he had helped register thousands of voters. But when it came time to run for office, he employed Chicago rules to invalidate the voting petition signatures of three of his challengers.”

David Jackson and Ray Long, writing for the Chicago Tribune, begin their article, “Making of a Candidate: Obama knows his way around a ballot.  Some say his ability to play political hardball goes back to his first campaign” this way:

The day after New Year’s 1996, operatives for Barack Obama filed into a barren hearing room of the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners.

There they began the tedious process of challenging hundreds of signatures on the nominating petitions of state Sen. Alice Palmer, the longtime progressive activist from the city’s South Side. And they kept challenging petitions until every one of Obama’s four Democratic primary rivals was forced off the ballot.

Fresh from his work as a civil rights lawyer and head of a voter registration project that expanded access to the ballot box, Obama launched his first campaign for the Illinois Senate saying he wanted to empower disenfranchised citizens.

But in that initial bid for political office, Obama quickly mastered the bare-knuckle arts of Chicago electoral politics. His overwhelming legal onslaught signaled his impatience to gain office, even if that meant elbowing aside an elder stateswoman like Palmer.

A close examination of Obama’s first campaign clouds the image he has cultivated throughout his political career: The man now running for president on a message of giving a voice to the voiceless first entered public office not by leveling the playing field, but by clearing it.

One of the candidates he eliminated, long-shot contender Gha-is Askia, now says that Obama’s petition challenges belied his image as a champion of the little guy and crusader for voter rights.

“Why say you’re for a new tomorrow, then do old-style Chicago politics to remove legitimate candidates?” Askia said. “He talks about honor and democracy, but what honor is there in getting rid of every other candidate so you can run scot-free? Why not let the people decide?”

In a recent interview, Obama granted that “there’s a legitimate argument to be made that you shouldn’t create barriers to people getting on the ballot.”

But the unsparing legal tactics were justified, he said, by obvious flaws in his opponents’ signature sheets. “To my mind, we were just abiding by the rules that had been set up,” Obama recalled.

You Democrats are so mad at the will of the people getting overcome in Florida in 2000?  Well, it’s time for you to demonstrate the totality of your selective outrage yet again, because your glorious candidate of hope and change used crushing tactics to neutralize the clear will of the people.

The Chicago Tribune article addresses Obama’s own reservations about the tactic that he would come to fully embrace:

At the time, though, Obama seemed less at ease with the decision, according to aides. They said the first-time candidate initially expressed reservations about using challenges to eliminate all his fellow Democrats.

“He wondered if we should knock everybody off the ballot. How would that look?” said Ronald Davis, the paid Obama campaign consultant whom Obama referred to as his “guru of petitions.”

In the end, Davis filed objections to all four of Obama’s Democratic rivals at the candidate’s behest.

While Obama didn’t attend the hearings, “he wanted us to call him every night and let him know what we were doing,” Davis said, noting that Palmer and the others seemed unprepared for the challenges.

Obama defended his use of ballot maneuvers, arguing, “If you can win, you should win and get to work doing the people’s business.”

So Obama won by elimimating candidates Marc Ewell and Gha-is Askia in addition to Alice Parker.  Ewell filed a federal lawsuit contesting the election board’s decision, but Obama’s personal friend and fellow Harvard Law graduate Thomas Johnson intervened on Obama’s behalf and prevailed when Ewell’s case was dismissed days later.

Askia said, he was dismayed Obama would use such tactics.  “It wasn’t honorable,” he said. “I wouldn’t have done it.”  He said the Obama team challenged every single one of his petitions on “technicalities.”  If names were printed instead of signed in cursive writing, they were declared invalid. If signatures were good but the person gathering the signatures wasn’t properly registered, those petitions also were thrown out.  Askia came up 69 signatures short of the required number to be on the ballot.

So don’t you dare say anything nasty about George W. Bush and Florida, you liberal hypocrites.

And please stop whining about “the Right-wing political attack machine,” while you’re at it.

Please try to remember that the phrase, “The politics of personal destruction,” was coined to describe the vicious personal attacks the Clintons used over and over again to personally as well as politically destroy their opponents.

Democrats have more than enough blood on their hands that you would think they would feel more than a little bit self-conscious to point out the tactics of their opposition, but, no.  It’s a little like combining the conscience of a rattlesnake with the brazennous of a street hooker.

“He came from Chicago politics,” Jay Stewart [of Chicago’s Better Government Association] said. “Politics ain’t beanbag, as they say in Chicago. You play with your elbows up, and you’re pretty tough and ruthless when you have to be. Sen. Obama felt that’s what was necessary at the time, that’s what he did. Does it fit in with the rhetoric now? Perhaps not.”

Perhaps not“?

Let’s include the opinion of someone who demonstrates a little more honesty, veteran Chicago Tribune columnist John Kass:

Kass, the Chicago Tribune columnist, said the national media are naive when it comes to Chicago politics, which is a serious business.

He said they have bought into a narrative that Obama is strictly a reformer. The truth, Kass says, is that he is a bare-knuckled politician. And using the rules to win his first office is part of who Obama is.

“It’s not the tactics of ‘let’s all people come together and put your best ideas forward and the best ideas win,’ ” Kass said. “That’s the spin; that’s in the Kool-Aid. You can have some. Any flavor. But the real deal was, get rid of Alice Palmer.
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“There are those who think that registering people to vote and getting them involved in politics and then using this tactic in terms of denying Alice Palmer the right to compete, that these things are inconsistent. And guess what? They are. They are inconsistent. But that’s the politics he plays.”

My problem isn’t so much with Obama’s past tactics so much as with his message in light of those tactics, and in light of his past associations.

It’s bad enough that Barack Obama lectures us on race relations only after having been caught spending the past 23 years in as toxic of a racial environment as well, fellow Democratic Senator Robert Byrd, a former grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan.

But to emerge from brutally and cynically stealing an office from a far more popular incumbent candidate and then calling yourself “the candidate of hope and change” is not only morally vacuous, but calls upon Americans to abandon their intelligence and common sense for smarmy, self-serving rhetoric.