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Friday, March 28, 2008


A Nation of Enrons

Seth Jayson
March 20, 2008

An understatement: We are living through a time of considerable market and economic turmoil. Since we stand to see trillions of dollars' worth of assets vaporize in the ensuing mess, we ought to take a look at history to see how we got into it, and how investors can get out.

Half a decade ago, the entire nation was shocked when award-winning "innovator" Enron turned out to be little more than a cash-shredding pyramid scheme. The crucial failing for investors was Enron's use of opaque, "mark-to-market" accounting. The problem comes when the market is batty (or doesn't exist), so you instead mark your assets to a model, especially one that's wrong, either because you made an error or because you based it on exceedingly generous assumptions.

In the end, we learned that Enron's accounting was pretty much mark-to-fairy-tale, with the company booking enormous gains from assumed future profits on schemes (like bandwidth trading) that sounded great, but had little chance of producing anything besides headlines.

Andy Fastow, meet Fred and Ethel
You might think we'd learned our lessons about fantasy accounting after Enron, but you would be wrong. Things actually got worse. The infection moved to the comfy-sounding "homeownership" market. Against a star-spangled, feel-good backdrop touting the "American Dream," our recent mark-to-model mania tripped up a lot more than one big company. In fact, it swept through the entire banking world. (Bear Stearns (NYSE: BSC) is not the first to choke on lousy, poorly modeled mortgage-backed securities "income," and I'll eat a Miami condo if it's the last.)

But more dangerous yet was the way this mania also infected millions of aspiring real-estate moguls. The most widespread mark-to-model fantasies were actually committed not by some easy-to-blame Wall Street suit, but by Fred and Ethel down the street.

It was flawed models (and the habit of booking earnings on these models) that enabled financial companies to concoct the elaborate securities that funded the bubble. And yes, the bank CEOs who paid themselves handsome bonuses ahead of the hurricane deserve a public flogging. But they weren't the only ones making out like bandits. While Wall Street was booking fantasy profits on bad assumptions about real estate, Fred and Ethel down the street were operating under their own mark-to-model dreams.

Really ...
In their model, house prices always go up. In their model, you can pay any price for a home, so long as you can make the monthlies with a teaser-rate ARM, never mind the upcoming adjustment to 9%. In their model, you avoid that via a refinance down the line with an equity cash-out to boot. In their model, it's OK to buy on a less-than-forthcoming, Alt-A "liar's loan," because there's no real punishment for lying on a mortgage application -- particularly if everyone's doing it. With this model, it makes sense to buy three other homes, in order to flip them later. And it makes sense to extract HELOC cash from the home, based on fantasies about continually increasing "equity."

This is not so different from what Enron was doing. Fred and Ethel were marking up the value of their assets (the home) to a model (their belief that real estate prices always go up) and then spending the "income" immediately, on iPods, Hummers, $250 jeans, and fancy vacations. This happened all over the country, and millions of people behaved the same way. In fact, the American Fantasy of owning a home (for no money down) that would provide leveraged, 10% annual returns for a decade, is precisely what enabled those Wall Street suits to do what they did. It takes two to tango, folks. And this was the biggest dance party in economic history.

Last year's model got ugly
Alas, this dream's "income" wasn't actually matched by real cash flows, just bank loans -- precisely the problem at Enron. The "income" was all hot air. And now that the "income" from home appreciation has turned negative, it must be supported by cash mortgage payments. But many people can't pay those bills, the mortgages are defaulting in huge numbers, and now, we are all paying a price, even those of us who didn't throw our money into a flimsy, overpriced McMansion.

Stocks have been creamed. The losses at those companies most directly victimized by their own housing-bubble ineptitude -- Bear Stearns, Citigroup (NYSE: C), and Wachovia (NYSE: WB) -- are easy to understand. But, of course, the losses have extended much further than that. Even mighty Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL) has dropped like a rock, as investors wonder how many iPods can be sold in Foreclosureville, U.S.A. And if they can't afford their beloved iPods, what will they buy? That's the thinking that has crushed everything from trendy togs-sellers like Zumiez (Nasdaq: ZUMZ) to carmakers like GM (NYSE: GM). Consumers are spending less, and we appear to be headed directly into a recession.

So ugly it's cute?
By now, it ought to be clear that I have been, and remain, one of the most vocal econo-bears you will find on these pages. I am certain that systemic failure has steered us into a terrifying run at the ditch, to be followed by a painful, protracted rough patch. It was all spawned by greed gone amok on Wall Street and Main Street. Yet I believe history will prove this to be one of the best times to have invested in stocks, especially attractive-priced small caps. Here's why:

  • The market is in panic mode, and when markets panic, no one's thinking.
  • Small caps have been crushed more than the rest of the market, as investors seek "safe" large caps.
  • Over time, value-priced small caps produce some of the most amazing returns in the market. Really.
  • There are loads of small caps out there poised for years, if not decades, of fantastic growth, but the market is pricing them as if they are dead and buried.

The not-so dead and buried
Take oven-maker extraordinaire Middleby, down 20% so far this year, despite amazing returns on equity and capital, and its leading position in a megatrend -- the global move toward dining out. Or consider the abovementioned Zumiez, which has a growing brand, a solid balance sheet, and huge growth potential, yet is priced for a decade of subpar growth. Yes, the uncertainty ahead means a rough ride, and some of the small caps out there won't survive, which is why, at Motley Fool Hidden Gems, we advise opportunistic buying of cash-strong companies, long-term holds, and, above all, a steady temperament.

At Gems, we're on the dig, 24-7, for solid small caps with the capital to survive the downturn, and the superior businesses destined for major growth once things turn -- and they always do. In the next issue, we'll be reviewing the recommendations and finding the best bargains for new money.

If you'd like to take advantage of the market's panic and lay the groundwork for some great future gains, a free trial is just a click away.

Seth Jayson, a top-10 CAPS player, is also co-advisor at Motley Fool Hidden Gems. At the time of publication he was short Apple puts, but had no positions in any other company mentioned here. View his stock holdings and Fool profile here. Middleby and Zumiez are Hidden Gems recommendations. Apple is a Stock Advisor pick. Fool rules are here.

Legal Information. © 1995-2008 The Motley Fool. All rights reserved.


Monday, March 24, 2008


Category: News and Politics

..TR> ..TABLE>By Stephen Brown | Monday, March 24, 2008

Can a film save a country? Geert Wilders is betting that it can.

The courageous politician, a member of the Dutch Freedom Party, is currently locked in a battle against the jihadists who would overwhelm and Islamize his homeland. But as he stands in combat against the enemies of Holland’s liberal, democratic society, a fifteen-minute film that no one has yet seen is one of his few weapons.

Scheduled for release before the end of March, the film is still a mystery. But one thing is certain: it will be explosive. Of the film, titled Fitna’(Chaos), Wilders has said that it would portray "the intolerant and fascistic character of the Koran." In an article in a Dutch newspaper, he explained that the fifteen-minute-long production would have a split screen that would show such things as a decapitation and a stoning on one side, while verses and sura from the Koran are read on the other. Wilders also wants the Koran banned, like Hitler’s Mein Kampf, from his country. It is, he believes, a book of violence.

Not unexpectedly, Wilders’s film has Europe’s timid governments, especially that of the Netherlands, wringing their hands with worry and veering toward outright panic. NATO is concerned about attacks against its troops in Afghanistan, especially against Dutch troops serving there, and the Netherlands itself fears a terrorist attack at home or against its interests and nationals overseas. Home to some one million Muslims, the Netheerlands has been put on its second-highest security alert level in anticipation of the film.

Even prior to its release, Wilders’s film has proved poignant. The biggest effect Wilders’ film project has had so far is that it has shown how deeply the Netherlands, and the rest of Europe, has already sunk into cowardice. For instance, the Dutch government, afraid of a violent Muslim backlash rivaling or surpassing what Denmark experienced after the Mohammed cartoons were published in 2006, has twice asked Wilders not to show the film. To be sure, their fears are not unfounded: Some Muslim countries have threatened an economic boycott should Wilders’s film be released.

Dutch politicians also fear a repeat of the civil violence that took place in Holland itself after film director Theo van Gogh was murdered by a Muslim fanatic in 2004 for his short film showing the oppression of women in Islam. Van Gogh’s gruesome death, some believe, was tantamount to a declaration of jihad against Dutch, and European, society. In the hopes of placating Islamic wrath, Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende has chosen capitulation. According to a story in the German publication Der Spiegel, he has met with Iran’s foreign minister, who advised him to use an article from the 1948 Declaration of Human Rights to prevent the film’s showing.

As the story correctly pointed out, Balkenende saw nothing base about accepting human- rights advice from a country where women are stoned and homosexuals are hanged. For Holland’s political leader, respect for human rights appears to end at the Dutch borders.

Even worse, Balkenende saw nothing wrong with allowing a foreign country to interfere in the Netherlands’s internal affairs. Balkenende’s foreign minister has also met with 35 representatives from Muslim countries, including ambassadors, about the film.

Another major Middle Eastern human rights abuser, Syria, also got into the act when its Grand Mufti appeared before the European Parliament in Strasbourg, saying Wilders would be responsible if there were any "disturbances, spilling of blood and acts of violence" after the film’s debut. Incredibly, no delegate of this legislative body that is supposed to represent enlightened, human rights-oriented Europe stood up and forcefully contradicted him.

Besides showing what a craven wreck the European political class has become, Wilders is attempting to stand up to the Mufti and the Islamist movement slowly sweeping Europe. While Muslim radicals have been using the West’s tolerance to promote their intolerance, the Dutch stalwart has adopted the strategy of using the same rights and freedoms the West offers to show how great this Muslim intolerance really is and what a severe danger it poses to Western civilization’s existence.

Most important, Wilders also intends to reveal though his film the most disturbing, and perhaps dangerous, part of this intolerance -- namely, the high capacity for violence present in the Muslim world, which is now being transplanted within the West’s own borders. In turn, this belated revelation would hopefully cause European countries to rethink further, large-scale immigration from a part of the world that is so inimical to its values and crack down on the existing danger within.

Some in Europe have accused the Dutch politician of being a provocateur, of deliberately provoking the Muslim umma to violence. But this characterization distorts what is in fact a serious purpose. What Wilders wants to reveal, above all, is that the violence is already an innate part of the umma. Besides Muslim intolerance, the Dutchman is also standing up to the moral feebleness of some of his own countrymen, whom he has called "cowards." Every television network in Holland has refused to run his film, leaving only the Internet, where Fitna will probably be posted on YouTube.

Moreover, in response to Prime Minister Balkenende’s fainthearted warning that, in case of a terrorist attack, he would be held partially responsible, Wilders defiantly replied: "The Cabinet may go down on its knees before Islam and capitulate, but I will never do that. The film will be released." The Freedom party leader has also called Balkenende "a timid man who has chosen the side of the Taliban."

In an unprecedented speech to the Dutch parliament this month, Wilders again pointed to the danger a creeping Islamification poses to Holland and Europe, warning it was "a few minutes to midnight." He also chided the ruling party for betraying the Dutch culture and people, calling one minister "stark raving mad" in the speech for having said that sharia law could be introduced into Holland.

Wilders has paid a heavy price for his position. He has had his own freedom restricted. Death threats from Muslim extremists have caused him to be put under 24-hour police protection for the past two years. Wilders thus joins the growing list of people in Europe requiring protection from Islamic radicals. At one time, it was only Salman Rushdie who was forced to live in hiding; now, as one observer pointed out, such people are so numerous they nearly constitute a new, social class.

Most citizens of the Netherlands have forgotten, but the Dutch were once made of sterner stuff. In 1816, Europe was not yet afraid to show enemies her pride and strength. Under British Admiral Edward Pellew and Dutch Admiral Theodorus van Capellen, a combined Anglo-Dutch fleet had arrived at the main base of the Barbary Coast pirates in North Africa at the behest of Europe to put an end to three centuries of brutal, Muslim slave raiding against its shores and shipping. Over that time, an estimated million Europeans, and some Americans, had become the desolate and dishonored victims of Islamic slavery.

After an hours-long battle before Algiers, van Capellen’s squadron helped defeat the Muslim defenses and rescue three thousand Christian slaves. Two thousand of the defenders’ bodies were counted strewn across the harbor along with the wreckage of their pirate ships. Dutch losses totaled thirteen dead and the English about one hundred.

Europe is now light years away from such a resolute response to the threat of radical Islam. And that makes Wilders’ film -- a lone note of dissent in a continent resigned to cultural submission -- all the more important.


Category: News and Politics

Devious Media Cover-up In Passport Security Breach

By JR Dieckmann

The State Department has fired two contract employees and disciplined a third for inappropriately looking at presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama’s passport files. On March 20, the State Dept. became aware that Senator Obama’s passport files had been accessed without proper authorization. This prompted an investigation which revealed that Senator McCain’s passport files had also been accessed by the same person.

In a Friday morning press briefing, State Dept. spokesman, Sean McCormack said the Obama violations were detected by internal State Department computer checks, which flag certain records of high-profile people when someone tries to access the records improperly. McCormack said an internal monitoring system at the department discovered the violations. Passport records are protected by the Privacy Act. The department is looking into the possibility that the contractors accessed the information for political reasons.

Don’t be fooled by media (including Fox News) attempts to include Senator Clinton in this story. Clinton’s files were accessed last summer by a trainee in a training session and that incident is completely unrelated to the current accessing of McCain’s and Obama’s files being accessed by one person at the State Department this year.

Clinton’s name was included in this media story only to derail speculation that it was her campaign supporters who were involved in this breach of State Dept. security. Don’t be fooled by the mainstream media’s attempts to cover for the Clinton’s by including Mrs. Clinton in the story. It is well known that the Clinton have strong connections in the State Department and many employees there were hired by the Clinton Administration.

McCormack said the State Department already fired two contract employees for inappropriately examining Obama’s file on three separate dates this year, on Jan. 9, Feb. 21 and March 14. McCormack said the Clinton breach occurred in summer 2007 during a training exercise in which employees were asked to search the electronic file by entering a name. While the employees were encouraged to enter family names, one employee entered Clinton’s name.

McCormack said the trainee was admonished, and "it didn’t happen again," which translates into - this incident was not a recent discovery and has no connection to the intrusions into the Obama and McCain files. The current perpetrator appears to have had no interest in breaching the Clinton files.

McCormack said the breaches of McCain and Clinton’s passport files were not discovered until Friday, after officials were made aware of the privacy violation regarding Obama’s records and a separate search was conducted. McCormack also stated that the Clinton incident last summer was detected but never reported to senior management in the State Dept. who just became aware of it during this recent search.

McCormack said the individual who accessed Obama’s files also reviewed McCain’s file earlier this year. This contract employee has been reprimanded, but not fired. The individual no longer has access to passport records, he said.

Why hasn’t this person been fired? How much clout must this person have in the Department to avoid being fired? I wonder if Sandy Burger would have been considered a "contract employee" of the Clinton Administration.

"Senator Clinton will closely monitor the State Department’s investigation into this and the other breaches of private passport information," Clinton’s Senate office said in a statement. I’m certain they will and try to derail any responsibility and connections to the Clinton campaign or the Clinton’s themselves for this offense. I would like to see Clinton’s explanation as to why her passport records were not examined by this person, while Obama’s and McCain’s were.

U.S. Rep. Henry Waxman, chairman of the House oversight committee, on Friday wrote a letter to Rice calling for the identities of the companies involved to be released. What? Waxman wants the names of the contract companies to be released but not the names of the employee? Be careful who you hire.

That contractor’s name has now been released as Stanley Inc. The company provides IT services -- including consulting, systems integration, logistics, outsourcing, and engineering -- primarily to military and civilian agencies of the US government. Its clients have included the Library of Congress, the Department of Defense, the Department of Transportation, the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Justice, the Department of State, NASA, and the Smithsonian Institution. Stanley was started as a consulting firm in 1966 by Admiral Emory Stanley.

News reports continue to focus only on the passport application, saying little information could be gained from it other than the applicants Social Security number. Just the SS number in itself is nearly a password to other personal files. The question was asked earlier if the files contained one’s travel history. McCormack said he didn’t know. Where else would one’s travel history be saved if not in their passport file? My God, it’s part of the passport. What other information might be contained in those files is unknown. But I can assure you, there is a great deal more there than just the passport application, and possibly information that could be used in a political campaign to smear one’s opponent.

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Category: News and Politics

March 24, 2008, 5:00 a.m.

The Obama Crash and Burn
If he acts as if the Wright controversy is behind him, it’s over for Obama.

By Victor Davis Hanson

The latest polls reflecting Obama’s near-collapse should serve as a morality tale of John Edwards’s two Americas — the political obtuseness of the intellectual elite juxtaposed to the common sense of the working classes.

For some bizarre reason, Obama aimed his speech at winning praise from National Public Radio, the New York Times, and Harvard, and solidifying an already 90-percent solid African-American base — while apparently insulting the intelligence of everyone else.

Indeed, the more op-eds and pundits praised the courage of Barack Obama, the more the polls showed that there was a growing distrust that the eloquent and inspirational candidate has used his great gifts, in the end, to excuse the inexcusable.

The speech and Obama’s subsequent interviews neither explained his disastrous association with Wright, nor dared open up a true discussion of race — which by needs would have to include, in addition to white racism, taboo subjects ranging from disproportionate illegitimacy and drug usage to higher-than-average criminality to disturbing values espoused in rap music and unaddressed anti-Semitism. We learn now that Obama is the last person who wants to end the establishment notion that a few elite African Americans negotiate with liberal white America over the terms of grievance and entitlement — without which all of us really would be transracial persons, in which happiness and gloom hinge, and are seen to do so, on one’s own individual success or failure.

Instead there were the tired platitudes, evasions, and politicking. The intelligentsia is well aware of how postmodern cultural equivalence, black liberation theory, and moral relativism seeped into Obama’s speech, and thus was not offended by an "everybody does it" and "who’s to judge?/eye of the beholder" defense. But to most others the effect was Clintonian. Somehow Obama could not just say,

There is nothing to be offered for Rev. Wright except my deepest apologies for not speaking out against his venom far earlier. We in the African-American community know better than anyone the deleterious effects of racist speech, and so it is time for Rev. Wright and myself to part company, since we have profoundly different views of both present- and future-day America.

The more the pundits gushed about the speech, the more the average Americans thought, "Wait a minute — did he just say what I thought he said?" It’s not lost on Joe Q. Public that Obama justified Wright’s racism by offering us a "landmark" speech on race that:

(1) Compared Wright’s felony to the misdemeanors of his grandmother, Geraldine Ferraro, the Reagan Coalition, corporate culture, and the kitchen sink.

(2) Established the precedent that context excuses everything, in the sense that what good a Wright did (or an Imus did) in the past outweighs any racist outburst of the present.

(3) Claimed that the voice of the oppressed is not to be judged by the same rules of censure as the dominant majority that has no similar claim on victim status.

What is happening, ever so slowly, is that the public is beginning to realize that it knows even less after the speech than it did before about what exactly Obama knew (and when) about Wright’s racism and hatred.

Even elites will wake up to the fact that they’ve been had, in a sense, once they deconstruct the speech carefully and fathom that their utopian candidate just may have managed to destroy what was once a near-certain Democratic sweep in the fall. And a number of African-Americans will come to resent that they are being lumped into a majority akin to the Rev. Wright, millions of whom the majestic Sen. Obama has nobly chosen not to "disown," despite their apparently similar embarrassing racialism.

Over the past four days, I asked seven or eight random (Asian, Mexican-American, and working-class white) Americans in southern California what they thought of Obama’s candidacy — and framed the question with, "Don’t you think that was a good speech?" The answers, without exception, were essentially: "Forget the speech. I would never vote for Obama after listening to Wright." In some cases, the reaction was not mild disappointment, but unprintable outrage.

The blame, such as it is, for all this goes to the Obama campaign "pros," who, in their apparent arrogance over Obamania (a phenomenon due to the candidate’s charisma, not their own savvy), simply went to sleep and let the senator and his wife resort to their natural self-indulgence — itself the offspring of the Obamas’ privilege and insularity. Any amateur handler could have scanned that speech and taken out just 8-10 phrases, called for a tougher stance on Wright, a genuine apology, and put the issue behind them.

Now it’s too late. Like Hillary’s tear, one only gets a single chance at mea culpa and staged vulnerability — and he blew it.

Where are we now? At the most fascinating juncture in the last 50 years of primary-election history.
Superdelegates can’t "steal" the election from Obama’s lock on the delegate count. And they can’t easily debase themselves by abandoning Obama after their recent televised confessionals about abandoning Hillary.

But they can count and compute — and must try to deal with these facts:

(1) Obama is crashing in all the polls, especially against McCain, against whom he doesn’t stack up well, given McCain’s heroic narrative, the upswing in Iraq, and the past distance between McCain and the Bush administration;

(2) Hillary may not just win, but win big in Pennsylvania (and maybe the other states as well), buttressing her suddenly not-so-tired argument about her success in the mega-, in-play purple states. Michigan and Florida that once would have been lost by Hillary in a fair election, now would be fairly won — and Clinton is as willing to replay both as Obama suddenly is not; and

(3) The sure thing of Democrats winning big in the House and Senate is now in danger of a scenario in which a would-be Senator or Representative explains all autumn long that the party masthead really does not like Rev. Wright, whose massive corpus of buffoonery no doubt is still to be mined. (The problem was never "snippets," but entire speeches devoted to hatred and anger, often carefully outlined in a point-by-point format).

What is the remedy?

I would go buy about 10,000 American flags to blanket every Obama appearance, have a 4x4 lapel-button flag custom-made for the senator, have Michelle finish every appearance by leading a chorus of "God Bless America," draft every middle-of-the-road crusty drawling Democratic veteran (the knightly Harris Wofford doesn’t cut it) to criss-cross the country — and try to Trotskyize Rev. Wright from the campaign.

Oh, and no need for any more Obama half-conversations about race and "typical white person" clarifications. All that does far more damage to the country than even to Obama himself.

— NRO contributor Victor Davis Hanson is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and author, most recently, of A War Like No Other: How the Athenians and Spartans Fought the Peloponnesian War.

Sunday, March 23, 2008


TALK SHOW HOST REVEALS OBAMA CONNECTION TO TERRORISTS There is a far-reaching scandal brewing for presidential hopeful Sen. Barack Obama, thanks to a radio talk show host based in Oregon. Syndicated talk show host Laurie Roth’s revelations make the news story about Obama’s relationship with a racist, anti-American pastor look like child’s play.
A top official at the Pentagon during former-President George H. W. Bush’s Administration and a former CIA intelligence officer maintain that Barack Obama and former Weather Underground honcho William Ayers funneled money to Professor Rashid Khalidi, a known terrorist sympathizer.Khalidi serves on the faculty of Columbia University in New York and is best known as the professor who invited Iranian President Ahmedinejad to visit Columbia University after he finished his speech at the United Nations. According to confidential sources, Khalidi has direct ties to the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO), a group on the US State Department’s list of known terrorist groups."One source for this information was once a top military figure in the 1990s. He doesn’t take making allegations lightly. If he says something happened, believe me, it happened," said syndicated radio talk show host Laurie Roth."Another source is a former agent for the Central Intelligence Agency, who is an expert in counterterrorism," said Roth, who broke the story on her show Friday night."I certainly don’t want to demonize someone because they are a woman, black or liberal running for President. I love the idea that in our culture, a black and woman can now run. However, it does matter to me with any candidate, their consistency with good judgment, their voting record, their association with people with questionable backgrounds and commitment to our country," she said during her show. To listen to Laurie Roth’s 3-21-08 show click here.Here are the connections as described by very reliable sources, who possess impressive military, national security and intelligence backgrounds: Allison Davis, who hired the young Obama into his small, Chicago law firm Davis, Miner, and Barnhill in 1993, left the firm in late 1999-2000 and became a housing developer. Davis went into business with Tony Rezko, the indicted businessman who’s scheduled to go on trial for corruption in Illinois, and who was a major fundraiser for Obama.Davis met Rezko when he was a client of Davis, Miner, and Barnhill. Rezko is currently under indictment in Illinois for demanding kickbacks from companies seeking state government business contracts under Governor Blagojevich. Obama was identified as one of the politicians cited in the indictment as having received political contributions from Rezko out of his kickback funds.Tony Rezko hosted fundraising events for Obama in his home and was on Obama’s US Senate campaign finance committee which collected $14 million for his campaign against conservative Alan Keyes, an African-American who served as an Ambassador during the Reagan Administration. In order to avoid a scandal during his presidential campaign, Obama returned $85,000 that Rezko and his family had donated to him.In early 2000, while Obama served as a state senator in Illinois, he also sat on the board of the nonprofit Woods Fund. The Woods Fund is a Chicago-based foundation that claims its primary mission is to make financial grants in order to increase and/or create opportunities for disadvantaged people and low-income communities.The chairman of the Woods fund board in 2000 was Howard Stanback, who like Obama also had connections to Davis, according to the reliable sources.
Davis submitted a grant request to the Woods Foundation for a $1 million investment in his development partnership, Neighborhood Rejuvenation LP, that would be used to finance low-income senior-citizen housing. Under normal circumstances, a board member is supposed to recuse himself or herself from decisions where they have a business or personal relationship.Obama, who did not recuse himself, voted to approve Davis’ grant request. Stanback, on the other hand, abstained from voting. The housing project, which also received a $5.7 million loan from the city of Chicago, in turn donated almost $70,000 in political contributions to Obama’s presidential campaign.In the past, Rezko gave Obama -- who served as an Illinois State Senator -- his first two political contributions in 1995, $1,000 each from two of his companies. In 1998, State Senator Obama wrote letters to city and state officials urging them to fund a Davis-Rezko housing project. It was an obvious quid pro quo arrangement.Another major fundraiser for Obama is William Ayers, who also sat on the board of the Woods Fund with Obama and is a professor at the University of Chicago.Bill Ayers, along with his wife Bernadine Dohrn, was an active member of the Weather Underground, a radical left-wing group that advocated violence against the United State. Both Ayers and Dohrn went "underground" in 1970 after others in the group accidentally detonated a bomb in a Greenwich Village (New York City) townhouse. The blast killed three of the group’s members including Ayers’ girlfriend at the time.While Ayers and Dohrn were hiding from law enforcement, the Weather Underground participated in the bombings of the US Capital, the Pentagon and a State Department building. In 1981 Ayers and Dohrn turned themselves in to federal authorities, but all charges were dropped as a result of alleged "government legal misconduct." In his 2001 memoir, Ayers wrote, "I don’t regret setting the bombs. I feel we didn’t do enough.Ayers and Dohrn are known to have held at least one fundraiser for Barack Obama in their Chicago home.During Obama’s last year on the board of The Woods Fund (2002), he participated in awarding grants, including a $70,000 grant to the Arab American Action Network, a Chicago-based group founded by Rashid and Mona Khalidi.In another suspected quid pro quo arrangement similar to those with Ayers and Rezko, Rashid Khalidi also held a fundraising event in his home for Barack Obama.In the Middle East, Rashid Khalidi was known as a man to be reckoned with. From 1972 through 1983, Khalidi was the director in Beirut of the official Palestinian press agency, FAFA. His wife worked there as well.According to sources, when the Khalidi’s left Chicago for Columbia University in New York, Rashid was honored with the Edward Said Chair in Arab Studies at that Ivy League university. Their goodbye party in Chicago included testimonials from Bill Ayers and Barack Obama."What other fund raising connections does Obama have? How many times can you look the other way in church and with fund raising situations with more than questionable people?" asked Ms. Roth."We all make mistakes in judgment with people and their backgrounds sometimes, but usually we learn and pick better friends and associates. How come Obama seems to have continued hanging around more than questionable characters with anti American backgrounds and some with criminal behaviors? Now one is being indicted, Tony Rezco, who raised a ton of money for Obama," she said."As President, how much would he look the other way when dealing with national security and dangers to our country? How much would he listen passively to terrorist leaders then lecture us on our ugly American status? This kind of change is not what our country needs!" added the popular talk show host, whose show is syndicated by USA Radio Network.In a related story, during an interview on Thursday morning (March 20) with Black Panther leader Malik Zulu Shabazz, Fox News Channel viewers learned that Shabazz’ group endorsed and supported Senator Barack Obama for President of the United States. Even on Fox -- an organization wrongly accused of being "conservative" -- the interviewers were careful in their questioning of Shabazz, a recognized racist and anti-American radical.The New Black Panther Party leader proudly announced on Fox News that his organization endorsed Obama for President."While some people may say that Barack Obama has no control over who endorses him, he should have control over what endorsements are posted on his websites," said Laurie Roth, who, besides hosting a popular talk show, is a regular columnist for NewsWithViews. Com "The endorsement of the New Black Panther Party was posted on Barack Obama’s website. Why was this tolerated unless Barack Obama wanted their endorsement? If he does not want their endorsement, how much control over his staff is he going to have once he’s elected President?" asks Mike Baker.The New Black Panther Party is openly anti-White, anti-Jewish, and anti-America. After Obama’s Tuesday damage-control speech, his campaign pulled the Black Panthers’ endorsement story off their website.It’s also been reported that Obama’s campaign staff was allowed to fly a Che Guevara flag inside his office, according to NewsMax."Do these revelations demonstrate a pattern of Barack Obama’s judgment? If so, then I do not want him dealing with world leaders. I do not want these groups having access to the White House. Do you?" asks the New Jersey-based political strategist."It appears the Barack Obama water carriers within the mainstream news media are on the job as usual -- ignoring another story that has the alternative media on the Internet buzzing: Obama’s embracement of an endorsement by the radical, racist organization," Baker added.To contact Laurie Roth 509-701-1884Website: www. therothshow. com