HOW SAUL ALINSKY TAUGHT BARACK OBAMA EVERYTHING HE KNOWS ABOUT CIVIC UPHEAVAL
by AWR HAWKINS
March 15, 2012
Throughout Barack Obama’s campaign for the presidency and his subsequent time in that office, two things have been said again and again: 1. He has a grudge against America. 2. He takes his marching orders from Saul Alinsky (1909-1972), particularly as encapsulated in the book “Rules for Radicals.”
Anyone who listens to Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, or Mark Levin regularly is going to hear point one frequently. For all three men, to the chagrin of their critics, have relentlessly warned Americans that Obama believes it’s time for this country to eat a little humble pie: that it’s time to put away talk of America the exceptional and bring on America the apologetic.
As Limbaugh in particular has said:
Obama has a chip on his shoulder about [this] country. He doesn’t think of it as great…He thinks of it as criminal in many ways, as guilty in many ways. He thinks our superpower status was the result of a theft [of the] resources and ideas from other nations all over the world…And I think Obama wants the people of this country to find out what it’s like to live the way he thinks we have forced other people around the world to live.
So there’s point one: the assertion that Obama has a grudge against this country. And this leads to point two, and the question of what role Mr. Alinsky’s writings and overthrow tactics have had on our president. (By “overthrow tactics” I mean Alinsky’s methods for not only persuading but also enabling the “have-nots” in our society to overthrow the haves and take away their power.)
In a National Review column, dated May 14, 2009, we see that “Obama’s mentors from his Chicago days studied at a school Alinsky founded, and they taught their students the philosophy and methods of one of the first ‘community organizers.’” That same column cites a photo that was on Obama’s presidential campaign website: a photo that showed “Obama in a classroom teaching students Alinskian methods.” It showed Obama standing in front “of a blackboard on which he’d written ‘Relationships Built on Self Interest,’ and illustrated by a diagram of the flow of money from corporations to the mayor.”
His immersion in Alinsky’s teachings is certain from the scenario relayed in National Review. And anyone who’s read “Rules for Radicals” and noted the number of times “change” and some variant of “community organizer” appear may have even asked themselves: Did Barack Obama write this book? Of course he didn’t. But his language and actions so perfectly mirror the language of Alinsky and the actions Alinsky promoted that it’s hard to tell the one community organizer-turned-president from the other community organizer-turned-cult hero.
For example, from “Rules for Radicals,” consider Alinsky’s words of wisdom for emerging community organizers:
[You must help] the people in the community…feel so frustrated, so defeated, so lost, so futureless in the prevailing system that they are willing to let go of the past and chance the future. [An] organizer must shake up the prevailing patterns of their lives—agitate, create disenchantment and discontent with the current values, to produce, if not a passion for change, at least a passive, affirmative, non-challenging climate. [You must] fan the embers of hopelessness into a flame of fight.
These are the kinds of things Obama was reading when he poured through the pages of “Rules for Radicals,” and these are the kinds of things he would have been taught by the community organizers who trained him. And what have Obama’s tactics as President been to this point, if not tactics of playing one class against another to raise levels of frustration and of creating the very disenchantment about which Alinsky wrote, in order to nurture a passion for change?
Alinsky taught him well. And Alinsky’s son was the first to admit it, when he wrote a letter to the Boston Globe in praise of Barack Obama following the 2008 Democrat National Convention:
Barack Obama’s training in Chicago by the great community organizers is showing its effectiveness. It is an amazingly powerful format, and the method of my late father always works to get the message out and get the supporters on board. When executed meticulously and thoughtfully, it is a powerful strategy for initiating change and making it really happen. Obama learned his lesson well.
The Obama Administration continuing to stir discontent:
The Big Hoax
By Thomas Sowell
March 13, 2012
There have been many frauds of historic proportions — for example, the financial pyramid scheme for which Charles Ponzi was sent to prison in the 1920s, and for which Franklin D. Roosevelt was praised in the 1930s, when he called it Social Security. In our own times, Bernie Madoff’s hoax has made headlines.
But the biggest hoax of the past two generations is still going strong — namely, the hoax that statistical differences in outcomes for different groups are due to the way other people treat those groups.
The latest example of this hoax is the joint crusade of the Department of Education and the Department of Justice against schools that discipline black males more often than other students. According to Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, this disparity in punishment violates the “promise” of “equity.”
Just who made this promise remains unclear, and why equity should mean equal outcomes despite differences in behavior is even more unclear. This crusade by Attorney General Eric Holder and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan is only the latest in a long line of fraudulent arguments based on statistics.
If black males get punished more often than Asian American females, does that mean that it is somebody else’s fault? That it is impossible that black males are behaving differently from Asian American females? Nobody in his right mind believes that. But that is the unspoken premise, without which the punishment statistics prove nothing about “equity.”
What is the purpose or effect of this whole exercise by the Department of Education and the Department of Justice? To help black students or to secure the black vote in an election year by seeming to be coming to the rescue of blacks from white oppression?
Among the many serious problems of ghetto schools is the legal difficulty of getting rid of disruptive hoodlums, a mere handful of whom can be enough to destroy the education of a far larger number of other black students — and with it destroy their chances for a better life.
Judges have already imposed too many legalistic procedures on schools that are more appropriate for a courtroom. “Due process” rules that are essential for courts can readily become “undue process” in a school setting, when letting clowns and thugs run amok, while legalistic procedures to suspend or expel them drag on. It is a formula for educational and social disaster.
Now Secretary Duncan and Attorney General Holder want to play the race card in an election year, at the expense of the education of black students. Make no mistake about it, the black students who go to school to get an education are the main victims of the classroom disrupters whom Duncan and Holder are trying to protect.
What they are more fundamentally trying to protect are the black votes which are essential for Democrats. For that, blacks must be constantly depicted as under siege from whites, so that Democrats can be seen as their rescuers.
March 16, 2012
Education Secretary Arne Duncan recently said that the idea that the Obama Administration is working to implement national standards and tests “is a conspiracy theory in search of a conspiracy.” Duncan can deny that the federal government is on the verge of creating a national curriculum—an unprecedented federal overreach—but as George Will argued last Friday, the Obama Administration can’t ignore “those pesky things called laws.”
By the Pioneer Institute’s count, the Administration is running afoul of three federal laws in particular: the General Education Provisions Act, the Department of Education Organization Act (establishing the agency in 1979), and the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA, the predecessor to No Child Left Behind). As Will points out—and the Pioneer report confirms—ESEA does not authorize any federal official to “mandate, direct, or control” the content taught in local schools. As for the other two laws, Will continues:
The General Education Provisions Act of 1970, which supposedly controls federal education programs, stipulates that “no provision of any applicable program shall be construed to authorize” any federal agency or official “to exercise any direction, supervision, or control over the curriculum, program of instruction” or selection of “instructional materials” by “any educational institution or school system.”
The 1979 law establishing the Education Department forbids it from exercising “any direction, supervision, or control over the curriculum” or “program of instruction” of any school or school system.
The current effort to impose national education standards and tests began in 2009, when the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers released standards for math and English Language Arts with the idea that the standards would guide the content taught in every public school across the country. The Obama Administration quickly jumped on board, offering $4.35 billion in Race to the Top (RTT) grants to states that agreed to adopt common standards. Then and now, the Common Core standards were the only standards meeting the Administration’s requirement for uniformity.
The Administration’s incentives didn’t stop with RTT. The Department of Education is now offering No Child Left Behind waivers to states on the condition that they adopt common standards or standards authorized by the state’s higher education institutions. No state that has been awarded a waiver to date has opted for the latter.
The Obama Administration has circumvented Congress through the waiver process, allowing states to opt out of the burdensome No Child Left Behind if they agree to the Administration’s preferred education policies and agree to hand over control of their standards-setting authority to the Department of Education.
The federal government’s involvement with the Common Core national standards doesn’t end there. President Obama has also suggested that Title I funding—nearly $15 billion for low-income schools—could be tied to national standards adoption. And from the beginning, the Obama Administration directly funded national assessments that will be aligned with the standards, to the tune of $350 million.