Friday, December 31, 2010

The Unremarked Revolution

When I read debates about GOProud and CPAC I get the idea centrists dont' realize what's going on in this country.

I see a lot of Republican hostility towards social conservatives, as being an albatross around the necks of fiscal conservatives. Social conservatives cost elections! They should stop trying to make a national campaign and deal on a state by state level! They're trapped in "slippery-slope" fantasies about polygamy, bestiality and child marriage! Opposition to DADT repeal is bigotry, and nonsense about banning chaplains and churches is just hysterical rhetoric!

In 1996 Colorado passed pre-emptive laws to preclude laws penalizing discrimination based on sexual orientation. The US Supreme Court struck that down in 1996 in Roemer v. Evans, saying it wasn't serving any rational basis but animus towards a specific group, and violated the equal protections clause because it forced the targeted group to go rally political support to change the law.

Seven years later the US Supreme Court struck down all criminalization of sodomy in Lawrence v. Texas (2003). The majority held that, while homosexuality wasn't specifically guaranteed, there were liberty rights violated by a criminal ban on sodomy.

Now Prop. 8, a California law passed to correct a state Supreme Court decision declaring gays had a right to marry, is being challenged under the doctrines advanced by Roemer and Lawrence. If the 9th Circuit upholds Perry v Schwarzenegger, all the centrist outrage at our "slippery slope fantasies" will be refuted.

Justice Scalia, dissenting in Roemer, wrote:
The central thesis of the Court's reasoning is that any group is denied equal protection when, to obtain advantage (or, presumably, to avoid disadvantage), it must have recourse to a more general and hence more difficult level of political decisionmaking than others. The world has never heard of such a principle, which is why the Court's opinion is so long on emotive utterance and so short on relevant legal citation. And it seems to me most unlikely that any multilevel democracy can function under such a principle. For whenever a disadvantage is imposed, or conferral of a benefit is prohibited, at one of the higher levels of democratic decisionmaking (i.e., by the state legislature rather than local government, or by the people at large in the state constitution rather than the legislature), the affected group has (under this theory) been denied equal protection. To take the simplest of examples, consider a state law prohibiting the award of municipal contracts to relatives of mayors or city councilmen. Once such a law is passed, the group composed of such relatives must, in order to get the benefit of city contracts, persuade the state legislature - unlike all other citizens, who need only persuade the municipality. It is ridiculous to consider this a denial of equal protection, which is why the Court's theory is unheard-of.

14 years later, Judge Walker wrote in Perry:
An initiative measure adopted by the voters deserves great respect. The considered views and opinions of even the most highly qualified scholars and experts seldom outweigh the determinations of the voters. When challenged, however, the voters' determinations must find at least some support in evidence. This is especially so when those determinations enact into law classifications of persons. Conjecture, speculation, and fears are not enough. Still less will the moral disapprobation of a group or class suffice, no matter how large the majority that shares that view. The evidence demonstrated beyond serious reckoning that Proposition 8 finds support only in such disapproval. As such, Proposition 8 is beyond the constitutional reach of the voters or their representatives.

My emphases.

The "homosexual agenda" has led us headlong into revolution. We are poised to declare, as supreme law of the United States, that a state court finding of a general liberty or equal protection claim, cannot be revoked by "the voters or their representatives". It would be discriminatory and void to make laws that say 'Judge Whoosis was wrong, and his changes are reversed'. This raises immediate problems, not just for "social issues", but every other political argument where the Left is being beaten back at the ballot box.

What happens when a state court rules that "undocumented" residents must be allowed to vote in local elections? Immigration is a federal matter, remember; can there be an legitimate state interest in targeting the "undocumented" population? Isn't that just expressing an irrational animus?

How about state court rulings that state governments must participate in a federal health care scheme? You can't deny the poor and sick their equal protection rights, by forcing them to elect representatives who see it their way! They're entitled to a state government that seeks free money forever! [Courts are beginning to rule public education is such a right.]

The investiture of state courts with superior powers from the Federal Constitution, over their legislature and voters, will help wreck all aspects of the "conservative" agenda. To fight it will require a national campaign of opposition, at the federal level, especially in Senate confirmations of Presidential nominations to federal courts. It begins with refusing to celebrate the "historic" campaign to impose "gay rights" on the majority in our courts, however well GOProud does on MSNBC.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

I am a reactionary!!!

A reactionary is a conservative who isn't a libertarian or a liberal.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

A Diet of Baloney

"Second, while exposure to other diseases seems independent of individual choices, obesity appears to be completely dependent on individual lifestyle choices. This is untrue. Convincing epidemiological research demonstrates that factors beyond individual behaviour – factors such as race, poverty, neighbourhood, national region and even personal contacts – can influence obesity risk by influencing access to healthy foods and opportunities for physical activity, and cultures of diet and exercise. So, obesity is more complex than the simple choice to go for a walk or to ‘eat dessert’…

When they ask where America fell off, this paragraph should do nicely for an explanation. We are not responsible--educated people KNOW we're not responsible. If you believe poverty, neighborhood, national region, and personal contacts are "dependent on lifestyle choices" you are an ignorant fool and probably one a them Teabaggers.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Zing, Pow

From a commenter on

I always wear a button that lists my favorite sex acts. If this makes you uncomfortable you’re a bigot. If you won’t associate with me because of my button, you’re an Akzedphobe.

To avoid being an Akzedphobe you must let me crash all your parties. You must let me teach your children about my favorite sex acts, and spend time with them to see if they think they might enjoy my favorite sex acts. If they don’t think they’d like them, that’s fine, but they must spend some time thinking about them, and maybe even pass a test about them.

You must let me wear my button as I represent your company to your customers. Yes, your customers should all know what kinds of sex acts I enjoy most. You must let me wear my button in your church. In fact, I want to preach in your church wearing my button! I want to get married in your church to someone else who wears the same button everywhere.

I want to join your clubs, even those clubs where it’s clear that no one enjoys the same sex acts as I do. And I want a special booth at your convention, a nice booth with a banner over it that describes all my favorite sex acts just like my button does, only much bigger of course. If your club is called e.g. the XYZ Club, I want to be known as the Guy Who Enjoys ABC Sex Acts in the XYZ Club.

And finally, I want to wear my button describing all my favorite sex acts on my military uniform. I know that only certain buttons called “medals” are allowed on uniforms, but I deserve an exception: I want my button describing all my favorite sex acts to be right there next to my marksmanship medal.

And after I get all these demands met, I’ll think of some more.

Akzed on December 16, 2010 at 12:01 PM

Friday, December 10, 2010

Christopher Hitchens, Anti-Intellectual Propaganda

I should take this with a hefty grain of salt. Hitchens is here writing for Vanity Fair, and so his opinions are going to match his market.

In other words, he's a whore.

Now, here is the difference. Glenn Beck has not even been encouraging his audiences to reread Robert Welch. No, he has been inciting them to read the work of W. Cleon Skousen, a man more insane and nasty than Welch and a figure so extreme that ultimately even the Birch-supporting leadership of the Mormon Church had to distance itself from him. It’s from Skousen’s demented screed The Five Thousand Year Leap (to a new edition of which Beck wrote a foreword, and which he shoved to the position of No. 1 on Amazon) that he takes all his fantasies about a divinely written Constitution, a conspiratorial secret government, and a future apocalypse. To give you a further idea of the man: Skousen’s posthumously published book on the “end times” and the coming day of rapture was charmingly called The Cleansing of America. A book of his with a less repulsive title, The Making of America, turned out to justify slavery and to refer to slave children as “pickaninnies.” And, writing at a time when the Mormon Church was under attack for denying full membership to black people, Skousen defended it from what he described as this “Communist” assault.

So, Beck’s “9/12 Project” is canalizing old racist and clerical toxic-waste material that a healthy society had mostly flushed out of its system more than a generation ago, and injecting it right back in again.

This is a severe assault on the values of Western liberal arts. Educated people have friends on their library shelves, and recommend volumes to each other, without totally endorsing "the man" who wrote it. I find a lot of apt criticism of socialism and "social justice" in Atlas Shrugged, without adopting objectivism or declaring government has no business enforcing the law of contract. I can appreciate Plato without attempting to live in a platonic communism. One of the benefits of a liberal education is exposure to, and understanding of, a variety of political and social theories, which we should evaluate and cogently approve or disapprove. There was a lot of truth to Reagan's quip that a Communist was somebody who had read Marx and Lenin, and an anticommunist was somebody who understood Marx and Lenin.

What about The Five Thousand Year Leap makes it a demented screed? Hitchens says it contains "fantasies about a divinely written Constitution, a conspiratorial secret government, and a future apocalypse." And that's about it for the book Glenn Beck recommends, the one that hit #1 on He has more to say about OTHER books by Skousen, which I do not think Beck recommends, and are not #1 on He does this to "give you a further idea of the man". If what Skousen wrote in The Five Thousand Year Leap was such racist and clerical toxic-waste material, wouldn't a few quotes be a better demonstration than a brief C.V. of the author?

Hitchens' rant is not about developing a serious rebuttal of W. Cleon Skousen, but rather is about shoving the non-sequitor that if Beck liked ANYTHING Skousen wrote, he likes ALL of it, and so do people who turn up at Beck events.

Hitchens knows better.
It means something that he stoops to it.

But it is negated, not amplified, if it comes festooned with racism and superstition. In the recent past, government-sponsored policies of social engineering have led to surprising success in reducing the welfare rolls and the crime figures. This came partly from the adoption by many Democrats of policies that had once been called Republican. But not a word about that from Beck and his followers, because it isn’t exciting and doesn’t present any opportunity for rabble-rousing. Far sexier to say that health care—actually another product of bipartisanship—is a step toward Nineteen Eighty-Four. Ten percent unemployment, on the other hand, is rather a disgrace to a midterm Democratic administration. But does anybody believe that unemployment would have gone down if the hated bailout had not occurred and GM had been permitted to go bankrupt? Why not avoid the question altogether and mutter about a secret plan to proclaim a socialist (or Nazi, or Jew-controlled: take your pick) dictatorship?

The "racism and superstition" bit comes a bit later, I suppose, unless the following errors are evidence of racism and superstition: three-strikes and termination dates of welfare are "government-sponsored policies of social engineering"; their adoption by a Democrat President isolated by Republican majorities, and maintenance by Republican majorities, and criticism and attack by the first Democrat trifecta since they were enacted, represents "bipartisanship"; Glenn Beck is pushing for a partisan victory; individual mandates, and a federal diktat to 50 states to operate internal health-care insurance systems to federal liking, do not represent a march towards totalitarianism; unemployment is the sole best measure of political economy; the Tea Party is ignoring these issues; Glenn Beck touts a secret conspiracy without airing any evidence or documentation.

None of those presumptions are true. The Democrats were eager to destroy "welfare to work" at this, their first real chance to do so. They proudly oppose mandatory sentencing and three-strikes laws, and pretend their success is a mystery. Hitchens himself complained the Tea Party "forfeit[ed] a both-houses Republican victory". Obamacare is uniquely unconstitutional and imposes limits on a free market unknown through 2 invasions, a civil war, two world wars and a depression. Ben Bernanke, presumably after Hitchens wrote this column, said on 60 Minutes that he expects five more years of record unemployment if he's left to solve it, and yes, I think we could have done better with a sharper, shorter depression than by printing money to guarantee Wall Street whenever it fails henceforth. These are not matters of no concern to the angry right. Beck is not concerned with a "secret conspiracy" but an open intellectual theory of political economy and economics, as widespread and respectable as Eurocommunism in the 1970s, argued and advocated in writing, by foundations and think tanks who share executive personnel.

Hitchens knows better.
It means something that he stoops to it.

Again, there is a real debate about the pace and rhythm of global warming, and about the degree to which it has been caused (or can be slowed) by human activity. But at the first Tea Party rally I attended, at the Washington Monument earlier this year, the crowd—bristling with placards about the Second Amendment’s being the correction—was treated to an arm-waving speech by a caricature English peer named Lord Monckton, who led them in the edifying call-and-response: “All together. Global warming is?” “Bullshit.” “Obama cannot hear you. Global warming is?” “bullshit.” “That’s bettah.” I don’t remember ever seeing grown-ups behave less seriously, at least in an election season.

It is nice that Mr. Hitchens will allow for debate on these matters. Apparently he would like a debate on a topic, without ever encountering a gathering held by one side of that debate, proclaiming its point of view, with enthusiasm, to bolster and encourage its rank and file. Apparently the Tea Party should have had Paul McCartney there to urge them to be uncertain and confused, rather than such an unserious demonstration of certainty.
A "real debate" requires real people who are really sure that the other side is really bullshit.
Hitchens knows better.
It means something that he is stooping to it.

Most epochs are defined by one or another anxiety. More important, though, is the form which that anxiety takes. Millions of Americans are currently worried about two things that are, in their minds, emotionally related. The first of these is the prospect that white people will no longer be the majority in this country, and the second is that the United States will be just one among many world powers.

And that is why the Tea Party got so excited about Colonel Allen West.

This is by no means purely a “racial” matter.

Oh! I was gonna say--well, I did just say---

(In my experience, black Americans are quite concerned that “Hispanic” immigration will relegate them, too.)

And that is why Colonel Allen West likes Marc Rubio for his governor.
Oh, wait--

Having an honest and open discussion about all this is not just a high priority. It’s more like a matter of social and political survival.

Really? How does saying "there goes the neighborhood" help at all? Ever?

But the Beck-Skousen faction want to make such a debate impossible. They need and want to sublimate the anxiety into hysteria and paranoia.

What possible debate could be held about demographic anxiety? "Resolved, that Hispanics ought not breed." Is that what Hitchens is looking for? What is this man talking about?

The president is a Kenyan.

Proclaimed by his relatives in Kenya.

The president is a secret Muslim.

The President of Egypt says President Obama told him so in a private meeting. More widely observed, this President is extremely deferential to Muslim leaders, Muslim custom, and celebrates Muslim culture and the Arabic forms of prayer.

I don't know that those things are true about President Obama, or even if he did tell the President of Egypt he was a co-religionist, that it is true. I just know there's more, uh, phenomena, if you don't like the term evidence, suggestive of those theories, than the idea that 500,000 people got on the National Mall because 'Amerikkka is going to the negros'.

The president (why not?—after all, every little bit helps) is the unacknowledged love child of Malcolm X.

Who says that?

And this is their response to the election of an extremely moderate half-African American candidate, who speaks better English than most and who has a model family. Revolted by this develpment, huge numbers of white people choose to demonstrate their independence and superiority by putting themselves eagerly at the disposal of a tear-stained semi-literate shock jock, and by repeating his list of lies and defamations. But, of course, there’s nothing racial in their attitude.

The absence of evidence of this racism is just proof of sinister intent!
If Amerikkka hated a black President for his color, one might have thought it would have been apparent from the inauguration. Actually, at his inauguration, the million people on the Mall were celebrating him. Only gradually did we become fully aware that this eloquent, model father was an hard-left revolutionary, eager to apologize to the world for the decisions of our democracy; eager to repudiate our heritage of freedom; eager for arbitrary executive control over private industry; eager to declare his political opponents, enemies; eager to berate his countrymen for their diet, religions, viewing habits, education, employment, ambitions and hopes--and these Tea Partiers can stand up and go on and on and on and on and on about it, all day, and not once stoop to complaining about race. Many of our complaints were aired during the last Democratic Administration. Of course, there's nothing racial about our attitude.

It has nothing to do with racism.
Hitchens knows better.
It's significant that he stoops to it.

By the way, I'm sure Obama speaks English too well to ever describe anybody as "extremely moderate."

As I started by saying, the people who really curl my lip are the ones who willingly accept such supporters for the sake of a Republican victory, and then try to write them off as not all that important, or not all that extreme, or not all that insane in wanting to repeal several amendments to a Constitution that they also think is unalterable because it’s divine!

Well, no. We know it can be amended, in a certain manner, which has not been followed. And for that reason, contrary laws and policy are void. That is not a notion originated by the Tea Party in 2010; it was handed down in 1803. I'm sure Hitchens knows better. It means something that he pretends to forget it.

"Divine", "clerical", "superstition". I think that's the root of this screed by Hitchens. It is another rant at God. And since God is false, the political movement by Glenn Beck --who I find annoying as an absolute pacifist-- must also be false, because it calls on good citizenship as required of true religious faith. Such people, to Hitchens, are deranged. And it's no good going to Vanity Fair and saying "I don't like Jesusfreaks" cause that is not effective. What works is, smearing them as insane, illiterate, fringe racists incapable of "real debate". This is the necessary work that Hitchens has devoted himself to, and it is sad. He was better when he wrote from his brain and not with his bile.

Saturday, September 18, 2010


David Brooks in the New York Times:

This doesn’t mean that the Tea Party influence will be positive for Republicans over the long haul. The movement carries viruses that may infect the G.O.P. in the years ahead. Its members seek traditional, conservative ends, but they use radical means. Along the way, the movement has picked up some of the worst excesses of modern American culture: a narcissistic sense of victimization, an egomaniacal belief in one’s own rightness and purity, a willingness to distort the truth so that every conflict becomes a contest of pure good versus pure evil.

I think those are closer to our historic virtues. It's what Bill Bennett and Glenn Beck are on about. What our great-grandparents understood as a "thirst for righteousness". A belief that there is always a behavior that is wholly good, and pleasing to God, and that we have a duty to seek it out.

I prefer that to distorting facts so we pretend neither Good nor Evil are present in our country today; seeking to be conflicted at all times about what should be done; and refusing to stand with people working to a recognized common Good when they could use our help. THOSE are the excesses of our modern age.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Welcome to Iran

The ruling on Prop 8 is here.

What can ya say? What arguments in logic can be raised against an institution that insists improvisation is its raison d'etre?

Judge Walker cites plenty of Supreme Court decisions to argue gays are a special class, to be protected from the vicissitudes of the majority...but darn little Constitution...

However the ruling fails to be coherent within itself.

Specifically, Judge Walker argues, quoting precedent, that the State does not have an interest in enforcing private moral or religious beliefs without an accompanying secular purpose. This is nowhere in the Constitution or the amendments; the Supreme Court invented a pretty powerful limit on State's rights.

Judge Walker belies this charge by allowing 4 GBL persons to testify about their personal experiences with their sexuality; with the nature of their sexuality; with their emotional reactions to Prop 8 advertising ("It demeans you"). Judge Walker states in Conclusion #77 that "Religious beliefs that gay and lesbian relationships are sinful or inferior to heterosexual relationships harm gays and lesbians".

The opposition to the GBL lifestyle, which the Judge cites as pervasive based on testimony from expert witnesses, is "private moral or religious beliefs", but emotional support for the GBL lifestyle is just facts? (By the way, Judge Walker mentions that the proponents did not attempt to challenge the credibility of the four gay that supposed to happen? A gay person testifying should be challenged as to their understanding of their own sexuality? Every gay person who was at one point confused about being heterosexual is open to challenge about being confused about being gay. What if they're really bisexual? How can they tell? What objective standard is there that separates a gay man in denial with a bisexual swinger?)

Judge Walker insists that "The First Amendment rights of opponents of homosexuality" will not be harmed or diminished; yet "religious beliefs that gay and lesbian relationships are sinful or inferior to heterosexual relationships harm gays and lesbians"; "the cultural meaning of marriage and its accompanying benefits are intentionally withheld"(#54), and affirms "the right of same sex couples to have their official family relationship accorded the same dignity, respect and stature as that accorded to all the officially recognized family relationships"(114), the constant harping on "perpetuates stereotypes" gives the lie to that one. That is THE great flaw in the "you're not affected, lemme alone" argument: How do you generate "dignity, respect and stature" of yourself? Doesn't somebody ELSE have to give them to you? Taken literally, you have no right to approve one marriage over another. That's contrary to the secular purpose of having lots of gay marriages. That does harm. That is just your private moral values, not that you're not allowed to have them, only they're not rational.

Judge Walker maintains that marriage as an institution will change, sure, but it changed for interracial marriage and it changed for gender equality in marriage, and nothing bad happened! So you must secularly assume it will happen here too!

Opposition to that idea has a long history of which Mr. Walker is ashamed. Propogation of that idea has no religious baggage, no history, must be "neutral or positive". (By the way check the divorce rates and domestic violence rates before "gender neutral" and "no-fault" marriage came about. Just saying. Since we're being secular and empirical and utilitarian. Apparently we gotta go for the jugular every--damn--time.)

Forget polygamy; can we continue to criminalize fraud? Can we continue to segregate, demean, stereotype the born liars among us? Hasn't America always conspired against the grifter and the hustler, the con artist? Isnt' that persecution of those who "bear false witness" really a promotion of private religious values and morals? Doesn't great wealth flow to neighborhoods where the biggest con men live? Isn't that a secular benefit? Aren't they able to defend themselves with great "credibility"?

In western Asia there is an ancient realm that has elections and courts and legislatures; but we do not consider Iran free. Iran can vote what it likes, but it is for men steeped in the lore of their separate, moral code that have the final say, that can smite any law or act of government, in the name of Righteousness. The will of the People is subject to challenge in the appropriate forum.

We have that here, now.

Not that you can do anything about it, because you have no authority to decide otherwise:

An initiative measure adopted by the voters deserves great respect. The considered views and opinions of even the most highly qualified scholars and experts seldom outweigh the determinations of the voters. When challenged, however, the voters determinations must find at least some support in evidence. This is especially so when those determinations enact into law classifications of persons. Conjecture, speculation, and fears are not enough. Still less will the moral disapprobation of a group or class suffice, no matter how large the majority that shares that view. The evidence demonstrated beyond serious reckoning that Proposition 8 finds support only in such disapproval. As such, Proposition 8 is beyond the constitutional reach of the voters or their representatives.

No ayatollah could put it better.

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Listening to Chant as the sun sets

Relaxing to Benedictine monks singing prayers from a thousand years ago. I sit in my own apartment playing my own music as the sun goes down, like I did eight years ago in Minneapolis. I was so unhappy because I was so far from California, all I wanted was to move back. If that's not enough anymore, whose fault is that? If I'm still unhappy about bills, won't I always have bills? St. Don Bosco took pride that he died in debt, to further the cause of the Lord. I know why I'm broke. "I did it my way" and maybe that was right, if so be content--and if it was wrong, then I know Who to ask what to do

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Dance To The Music

Yeah, come on all you black young men,
O Ba Ma needs your help again
Got us all in a terrible jam,
Made Arizona, into Vietnam,
Walk out of school and yell and scream,
Help trample the American Dream.

And it's one, two, three,
Who are we fightin for?
Don't ask me, I don't give a damn,
Only know Yes We Can;
And it's five, six, seven,
What about the jobless rates?
Well there ain't no time to wonder why,
Whoopee! Freedom’s gonna die.

Well, come on amigos, let's move fast;
Your big chance has come at last.
Gotta go out and get those Yanks —
The racists bastards what own the banks
And social justice can only be won
When we've legislated Kingdom Come.

And it's one, two, three,
Who are we fightin for?
Don't ask me, I don't give a damn,
Only know Yes We Can;
And it's five, six, seven,
What about the jobless rates?
Well there ain't no time to wonder why,
Whoopee! Freedom’s gonna die.

Well, come on Wall Street, don't move slow,
Throw yourself down the rabbit hole.
There's plenty good money to be made
By supplying the jobless with mortgage aid,
Just don’t forget to post a loss,
Or I’ll be forced to fire your boss.

And it's one, two, three,
Who are we fightin for?
Don't ask me, I don't give a damn,
Only know Yes We Can;
And it's five, six, seven,
What about the jobless rates?
Well there ain't no time to wonder why,
Whoopee! Freedom’s gonna die.

Come on girlfriends, across the land,
Lend O Ba Ma a helping hand
Don’t blame me for the jobless flux
Haven’t I blown a zillion bucks?
Go ask Grandma what it means
When a dollar won’t buy canned beans.

And it's one, two, three,
Who are we fightin for?
Don't ask me, I don't give a damn,
Only know Yes We Can;
And it's five, six, seven,
What about the jobless rates?
Well there ain't no time to wonder why,
Whoopee! Freedom’s gonna die.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Takings v Taxes

I can remember thirty years ago when banks paid 7% on savings.

Applying the Rule of 72 that meant your money doubled every 11 years.

My current savings rate at Chase is 0.02%.

If I bought a 5-year CD I'd get a 2% rate. So that at least would earn would double in 36 years.

I wonder if I'll ever earn 7% in this country in my lifetime. The Treasury Department can't have savings competing with T-bills for earnings; so it would have to match rates; and the Federal Reserve can't have the national debt double every twenty years.

This loss of the most basic earnings vehicle is a harsh taking of wealth by government.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Say What?

March 24, 2007
Thank you to UNLV for helping to sponsor this event, to CAP for the outstanding work you do, but most of all thanks to SEIU. I've got a history with this union. When I was a young organizer, I had just moved to Chicago. I started with working with SEIU Local 880, home health care workers, to make sure that they were registered to vote. I had a say in the politics in Illinois. When I went to the state legislature, I worked with Tom Balanoff in SEIU to make sure that children who didn't have health care received it. And we made sure that hospitals report on the quality of care, the staffing ratios that they had set up, and now we're working together at the federal level to make sure that all Americans, not just some Americans, are allowed to prosper...

I want to be held accountable for getting it done. I will judge my first term as president based on the fact on whether we have delivered the kind of health care that every American deserves and that our system can afford. And I'm not going to be able to do it on my own, so I hope that the SEIU will partner in that process. Thanks, everybody.

July 23, 2008
Today I had a series of productive discussions with many of Israel's key leaders about how to address the broad range of security threats that Israel faces and the broad threats that all of us face. I look forward to continuing these consultations with Prime Minister Olmert this evening, and I'm also looking forward to consulting closely with our European allies about Iran and other challenges in the days ahead.

Now let me just close by saying that I bring to Sderot, an unshakeable commitment to Israel's security. The state of Israel faces determined enemies who seek its destruction. But it also has a friend and ally in the United States that will always stand by the people of Israel. That's why I'm proud to be here today and that's why I will work from the moment that I return to America, to tell the story of Sderot and to make sure that the good people who live here are enjoying a future of peace and security and hope.

July 24, 2008
Thank you to the citizens of Berlin and to the people of Germany. Let me thank Chancellor Merkel and Foreign Minister Steinmeier for welcoming me earlier today. Thank you Mayor Wowereit, the Berlin Senate, the police, and most of all thank you for this welcome.

I come to Berlin as so many of my countrymen have come before. Tonight, I speak to you not as a candidate for President, but as a citizen – a proud citizen of the United States, and a fellow citizen of the world.

January 27, 2010
With all due deference to separation of powers, last week the Supreme Court reversed a century of law that I believe will open the floodgates for special interests –- including foreign corporations –- to spend without limit in our elections. (Applause.) I don't think American elections should be bankrolled by America's most powerful interests, or worse, by foreign entities. (Applause.) They should be decided by the American people. And I'd urge Democrats and Republicans to pass a bill that helps to correct some of these problems.