Yesterday, I ran into a video on the Internet of a Florida TV news anchor type named Barbara West interviewing Joe Biden. It made quite a stir on both "conservative" and "liberal" blogs.
The reactions were mixed. Certain sites lauded West for asking what were characterized as pointed and important questions revealing Barack Obama as various things the conservatives want people to conclude disqualify him. Others sites were offended that Obama might be painted in such a light. Still others reported that the Obama campaign informed West and others that West would not be permitted to do any other interviews with the Obama campaign. That last aspect was viewed as cowardly by the West/McCain supporters and intelligent by Obama supporters.
I want to deal with West's questions and Biden's responses to open both up to the light. I obtained a transcript to make things easier. I am not spending the time to check it for absolute accuracy. If you notice anything wrong with it, please add a comment to that end.
Before I begin, let me say that I don't have a problem with Barbara West asking these questions in the sense that she might have with my reply. In fact, the fact that she asked them just opens the door to that very reply. It isn't easy to get the counter positions into the mainstream the way Barbara West is able to, due to her kowtowing to her corporate mainstream employers, but there is something still called the grapevine. The Web hasn't been shutdown by the Pentagon yet.
Here's the interview with my comments interspersed.
West: I know you're in North Carolina trying to help get out the vote, but aren't you embarrassed by the blatant attempts to register phony voters by ACORN, an organization that Barack Obama has been tied to in the past?
No one has any proof that ACORN blatantly or otherwise attempted to register phony voters. ACORN flagged registration forms that looked suspicious. They are required by law to turn in even the most ridiculous registration forms.
Former U.S. Attorney for New Mexico, David Iglesias was fired by the Bush Administration Attorney General's office for refusing to prosecute Democrats for voter fraud when Iglesias had made clear to his fellow Republicans that he could find no instances where the allegations would stand up in court. He refused to bring phony cases and was fired for political reasons. As I wrote in WHAT VOTING FRAUD? DO YOU MEAN ELECTION FRAUD BY THE REPUBLICANS?
Friday, October 24, 2008
@ 4:18:11 AM (Pacific Time)
By Tom Usher
According to a recent analysis by Lorraine Minnite, an expert on voting crime at Barnard College, federal courts found only 24 voters guilty of fraud from 2002 to 2005, out of hundreds of millions of votes cast. "The claim of widespread voter fraud," Minnite says, "is itself a fraud."
Here's Biden's answer to West:
Biden: I am not embarrassed by it. We are not tied to it. We have not paid them one single penny to register a single, solitary voter. We have the best GOTV [get-out-the-vote] operation in modern history. We've registered the voters ourselves, and so, there is no relationship. So I am embarrassed for anybody in ACORN who went out there and registered somebody who shouldn't be registered. I'm not embarrassed by our campaign, because we haven't paid ACORN a single penny to register a single voter.
ACORN hired people who may have turned in phony forms to make more money. They did though go through every form and flag forms. Also, as stated above, people don't show up to vote based upon registration fraud. It hasn't been widespread. John McCain painted it as a deliberate attempt by ACORN to destroy democracy when ACORN is working to spread democracy to include the poor and minorities. McCain and West don't want that.
West: But in the past, Senator Obama was a community organizer for ACORN. He was an attorney for ACORN, and certainly in the Senate, he has been a benefactor for ACORN.
What's wrong with that in any mundane sense? Does West have any evidence against ACORN or is she just spreading malicious, unsubstantiated gossip?
If she has the evidence, let her produce it. If she doesn't have it, well, "blatant attempts to register phony voters by ACORN" would constitute slander. I'm not advocating that ACORN haul her into court. I'm against that idea. They could though under the mundane laws.
Biden: How has he been a benefactor for ACORN? He was a community organizer. John McCain stood before ACORN not long ago and complimented them on the great work they did. Does that make John McCain complicit in any mistake that ACORN made? Come on. Let's get real.
That is a good point about John McCain. It shows McCain's terrible hypocrisy just to get votes based upon unsubstantiated rumors and gossip. McCain isn't saying that maybe ACORN this or that. He's saying ACORN knowingly committed fraud. To the best of my knowledge about it so far, they did not, certainly not on a widespread basis that would bring down democracy the way the Republicans have beginning with the 2000 election.
More important though is the fact that Republicans conspired to and did deny some 20,000 Blacks from voting in Florida in 2000. Those votes put Al Gore into the presidency, but the U.S. Supreme Court Republicans conspired with Bush. The Republicans stole the election. Also, tens of thousands of legitimate votes of Democrats voting for John Kerry were thrown out or denied by Republicans in Ohio in 2004, denying John Kerry the presidency. The Republicans have no room to talk. They have already done many dirty tricks in 2008, all of which have been documented. I've listed a number of them on this site.
WHAT IS WRONG WITH THE REPUBLICANS? THEY'RE GOING STARK RAVING MAD, OR THEY JUST AREN'T HIDING THAT THEY ALREADY WERE.
Friday, October 24, 2008
@ 12:00:00 AM (Pacific Time)
By Tom Usher
Check this while you are at it:
Blogged by Brad Friedman on 10/24/2008 5:04PM
ES&S Touch-Screen Votes Now Flipping in TX Too! Obama/DNC Attorneys Still AWOL!
State After State, ES&S iVotronics Are Flipping Democratic Votes to Republican!
What You Can Do About It, And Where the Hell Are Those 'Thousands' of Obama/DNC Attorneys?...
West: Okay, moving onto the next question. Senator Obama famously told Joe the Plumber that he wanted to spread his wealth around. Gallup polls show 84% of Americans prefer government focus on improving financial conditions and creating more jobs in the U.S. as opposed to taking steps to distributing wealth. Isn't Senator Obama's statement a potentially crushing political blunder?
Did he say, "spread his wealth around" or "spread the wealth around"?
Polls can be drafted in such a way as to box in responders. When people are asked, "do you prefer government focus on improving financial conditions and creating more jobs in the U.S. as opposed to taking steps to distributing wealth," they aren't necessarily asked additional questions designed to clarify the terms and more in-depth thinking.
Do you prefer the current income gap between the superrich and the lower and middle class that is the highest since the Crash of 1929, or would you rather see a return to the income gap of 1950 when the U.S. was at its peak in terms of global economic power? Now, that question would give a completely different impression when taken in isolation. In addition, most people would still want to qualify their response because most people know that there are other variables at work that are telling.
The blunder is in not taking on such issues head on and in detail.
Biden: Absolutely not. The only person that's spread the wealth around has been George Bush and John McCain's tax policy. They have devastated the middle class. For the first time since the 1920's, the top 1% make 21% of the income in America. That isn't the way it was before George Bush became president. All we want is the middle class to have a fighting chance. That's why we focus all of our efforts on restoring the middle class and giving them a tax break. And John McCain doubles down on Bush's tax cuts and gives a $300 billion in tax cuts for the largest companies in America. We don't think that's the way to do it. We think, give the middle class a break. That's the way to do it.
Now, Biden was right to point out the income gap, but he was wrong not to say clearly that the economy is a wealth-distribution system no matter what.
Also, it is tiring to hear about the middle class, the middle class, when it is the lower class that the middle class is going to be joining and that need to be boosted.
Biden knows that the wealth has been redistributed up, what with all the tax cuts for the rich. He knows that there has been no trickledown.
He's afraid to really take that on past a sound-bite. He doesn't think the American voters are smart enough to see through the propaganda of the super greedy and their lies about wealth generation (the engine of the economy). It is a combination of frontline workers and those who organize. They can be one and the same and are in many successful instances.
West: You may recognize this famous quote. "From each according to his abilities. To each according to his needs." [I seem to recall that she fumbled the quote a bit and then restated it.] That's from Karl Marx. How is Senator Obama not being a Marxist if he intends to spread the wealth around?
Biden: Are you joking? Is this a joke?
Biden: Is that a real question?
West: It's a real question.
Biden: He is not spreading the wealth around. He is talking about giving the middle class an opportunity to get back the tax breaks they used to have. What has happened just this year is that the people making $1.4 million a year, the wealthiest 1%, good, decent American people, are gonna get an $87 billion tax cut. A new one on top of the one from last year. We think that the people getting that tax break, and not redistribute the wealth up, should be the middle class. That's what we think. It's a ridiculous comparison with all due respect.
"...not redistribute the wealth up" is what I mentioned above. That's what has happened with the bailout. The wealth of the workers has gone to fill the hole of fake securities (securitized mortgages and credit default swaps, etc.) the crooks created so they could be bailed out with taxpayer money.
Communism (Christian, not Marxist):
And all that believed were together, and had all things common; And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need. — Acts 2:44-45.
And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common. — Acts 4:32.
Those verses are from the Acts of the Apostles in the New Testament.
Joe Biden, Sarah Palin, John McCain, and Barack Obama all profess Christianity; yet, Joe Biden didn't stand up for it.
Marx co-opted the message of Jesus and tacked on coercion. Of course, he's not the only one who tacked on coercion. The Roman Catholics tacked on coercion under the emperor Constantine.
We must say here though that Benedict XVI is now saying that the Crash of 2008 shows that chasing mammon is not the way to go. It is too bad he doesn't go all the way to Christianity himself.
That said, West's comparison is ridiculous. Biden's right about that. Obama and Biden are corporatists. They are not egalitarians in the Christian sense. They are not even social democrats. They are for a mixed economy that doesn't even go as far as FDR's New Deal, which even though it too was coercive, was a far cry better than what Hoover advocated, which was let-crooks-do capitalism and even laud the crooks.
What we have right now is, "From each according to what he has. To each according to his ability to bribe politicians and others to allow theft." It's a plutocracy.
West: Now you recently said, "Mark my words. It won't be six months before the world tests Barack Obama"; but, what worries many people is your caveat asking them to stand with him, because it won't be apparent that he got it right. Are you forewarning the American people that something might not get done and that America's days as the world's leader might be over?
Biden: No, I'm not at all. I don't know who's writing your questions, but let me make it clear to you. The fact of the matter is that everyone with knowledge, from Colin Powell on down, the next president, whether it's John McCain or Barack Obama. The reason is our weakened position in the world. We're stretched thin throughout the world. Our economy is in freefall right now, and they're gonna be tested. And the point I was making is that Barack Obama is better prepared to handle any crisis than John McCain...
That last back-and-forth is about increasing fear.
Well, Biden allowed West to control the subjects. Of course, Joe isn't in a great position to point to the lies leading up to the Iraq War and how those lies included how the U.S. would not be staying there long.
He doesn't call though for a thorough investigation of 9/11, something that has never occurred. He didn't introduce the subject of the illegal domestic spying and the subversion of Habeas corpus. He didn't mention torture, extraordinary renditions, black sites, Abu Ghraib, or Guantanamo.
Now we have the bailout of Wall Street crooks. That's what many are facetiously referring to as socialism for the rich and capitalism for the poor. They know that it isn't true socialism. Their point is valid though.
What about corporate consolidation? Well, being a corporatist, he's in a bad position to raise it. He could have a conversion however. He's only said that continually increasing tax cuts for the superrich and corporations is not a good idea. Many of the superrich agree. They know that the commoners will only put up with so much and that the economy upon which those superrich depend depends upon the commoners being able to earn, buy, and save.
As I've mentioned before, Henry Ford paid his workers enough to be able to buy the cars they were making, not that Henry had his heart in the right place all the time.