Simon & Schuster's promotional materials for Jerome Corsi's book, The Obama Nation, echo Corsi's false claims and baseless charges about Sen. Barack Obama's Global Poverty Act and his views on nuclear weapons.
Promotional materials by Simon & Schuster for author Jerome Corsi's recently released book, The Obama Nation: Leftist Politics and the Cult of Personality, echo Corsi's false claim that Sen. Barack Obama's Global Poverty Act of 2007 "would commit the U.S. to spending 0.7 percent of Gross Domestic Product on foreign aid." Simon & Schuster's materials falsely assert that Obama has a "radical plan to tax Americans to fund a global-poverty-reduction program."
The Simon & Schuster release also states that "[i]n this stunning and comprehensive new book, the reader will learn about ... Obama's naïve, anti-war, anti-nuclear foreign-policy, predicated on the reduction of the military, the eradication of nuclear weapons and an overconfidence in the power of his personality, as if belief in change alone could somehow transform international politics, achieve nuclear-weapons disarmament." In his book, Corsi asserts that "Obama embraces a 'no nukes,' antiwar, antimilitary posture that places him even further left than Senator George McGovern." But contrary to Corsi's characterization of Obama's views on nuclear weapons as far left, in an essay, published in the January 4, 2007, Wall Street Journal, former Secretaries of State Henry Kissinger and George Shultz, Hoover Institution senior fellow William J. Perry, and former Sen. Sam Nunn (D-GA) proposed nuclear weapons policies similar to those Corsi quotes Obama supporting.
Global Poverty Act
In his book, Corsi writes that the Global Poverty Act, sponsored by Obama, would "increase taxes on U.S. citizens to pay for world poverty through the United Nations." As evidence, Corsi quotes a February 12 column by Accuracy in Media editor Cliff Kincaid, which falsely asserted that the bill "would commit the U.S. to spending 0.7 percent of gross national product on foreign aid, which amounts to a phenomenal 13-year total of $845 billion over and above what the U.S. already spends." But as Media Matters for America has repeatedly documented, the bill does not impose a tax or allow any other body to impose a tax on the United States. Further, the bill would establish no specific funding source and would not commit the United States to any targeted level of spending.
The bill directs the president, acting through the secretary of state, to develop a strategy to meet the goal of reducing poverty. It also states that strategy "should include" among its components "[i]mproving the effectiveness of development assistance and making available additional overall United States assistance levels as appropriate," but it does not require that foreign aid be increased or mandate a funding level for foreign assistance. The Global Poverty Act is currently pending on the Senate floor after the Senate Foreign Relations Committee approved the bill with amendments on April 24. The amended bill also does not establish a specific funding source or commit the United States to any targeted level of spending. A companion version of the bill, introduced in the House of Representatives by Rep. Adam Smith (D-WA), passed the House by voice vote on September 25, 2007.
In The Obama Nation, Corsi refers to a YouTube video in which Obama asserts: "I will set a goal of a world without nuclear weapons. To seek that goal, I will not develop new nuclear weapons. I will seek a global ban on the production of fissile material. And I will negotiate with Russia to take our ICBMs off hair-trigger alert and to achieve deep cuts in our nuclear arsenals." Corsi writes that, in making those comments, "Obama embraces a 'no nukes,' antiwar, antimilitary posture that places him even further left than Senator George McGovern, the last openly antiwar presidential candidate put forth by the Democratic Party [page 2]." But Kissinger, Schultz, Perry, and Nunn offered a very similar outline for a nuclear arms proposal in their Wall Street Journal op-ed:
What should be done? Can the promise of the NPT [Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons] and the possibilities envisioned at [the 1986 U.S.-Soviet summit in] Reykjavik be brought to fruition? We believe that a major effort should be launched by the United States to produce a positive answer through concrete stages. First and foremost is intensive work with leaders of the countries in possession of nuclear weapons to turn the goal of a world without nuclear weapons into a joint enterprise.
Additionally, Kissinger, Schultz, Perry, and Nunn proposed "a series of agreed-on and urgent steps that would lay the groundwork for a world free of the nuclear threat," which include: "Initiating a bipartisan process with the Senate, including understandings to increase confidence and provide for periodic review, to achieve ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty"; "[h]alting the production of fissile material for weapons globally"; "[c]hanging the Cold War posture of deployed nuclear weapons to increase warning time and thereby reduce the danger of an accidental or unauthorized use of a nuclear weapon"; and "[c]ontinuing to reduce substantially the size of nuclear forces in all states that possess them."
Obama highlighted the proposal by Shultz, Perry, Kissinger, and Nunn in a January 17 press release, in which he asserted:
I welcome the renewed call by Sam Nunn, George Shultz, Henry Kissinger, and William Perry to urge the United States to support a world free of nuclear weapons. These four Americans have shown leadership on this issue for many months, and I have embraced this goal throughout my campaign. As I said in a speech on October 2 : "Here's what I'll say as President: America seeks a world in which there are no nuclear weapons."
From Kissinger, Shultz, Perry, and Nunn's January 4, 2007, op-ed in The Wall Street Journal:
What will it take to rekindle the vision shared by [President Ronald] Reagan and Mr. [Mikhail] Gorbachev? Can a world-wide consensus be forged that defines a series of practical steps leading to major reductions in the nuclear danger? There is an urgent need to address the challenge posed by these two questions.
The Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) envisioned the end of all nuclear weapons. It provides (a) that states that did not possess nuclear weapons as of 1967 agree not to obtain them, and (b) that states that do possess them agree to divest themselves of these weapons over time. Every president of both parties since Richard Nixon has reaffirmed these treaty obligations, but non-nuclear weapon states have grown increasingly skeptical of the sincerity of the nuclear powers.
Strong non-proliferation efforts are under way. The Cooperative Threat Reduction program, the Global Threat Reduction Initiative, the Proliferation Security Initiative and the Additional Protocols are innovative approaches that provide powerful new tools for detecting activities that violate the NPT and endanger world security. They deserve full implementation. The negotiations on proliferation of nuclear weapons by North Korea and Iran, involving all the permanent members of the Security Council plus Germany and Japan, are crucially important. They must be energetically pursued.
But by themselves, none of these steps are adequate to the danger. Reagan and General Secretary Gorbachev aspired to accomplish more at their meeting in Reykjavik 20 years ago -- the elimination of nuclear weapons altogether. Their vision shocked experts in the doctrine of nuclear deterrence, but galvanized the hopes of people around the world. The leaders of the two countries with the largest arsenals of nuclear weapons discussed the abolition of their most powerful weapons.
What should be done? Can the promise of the NPT and the possibilities envisioned at Reykjavik be brought to fruition? We believe that a major effort should be launched by the United States to produce a positive answer through concrete stages. First and foremost is intensive work with leaders of the countries in possession of nuclear weapons to turn the goal of a world without nuclear weapons into a joint enterprise. Such a joint enterprise, by involving changes in the disposition of the states possessing nuclear weapons, would lend additional weight to efforts already under way to avoid the emergence of a nuclear-armed North Korea and Iran.
The program on which agreements should be sought would constitute a series of agreed and urgent steps that would lay the groundwork for a world free of the nuclear threat. Steps would include:
- Changing the Cold War posture of deployed nuclear weapons to increase warning time and thereby reduce the danger of an accidental or unauthorized use of a nuclear weapon.
- Continuing to reduce substantially the size of nuclear forces in all states that possess them.
- Eliminating short-range nuclear weapons designed to be forward-deployed.
- Initiating a bipartisan process with the Senate, including understandings to increase confidence and provide for periodic review, to achieve ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, taking advantage of recent technical advances, and working to secure ratification by other key states.
- Providing the highest possible standards of security for all stocks of weapons, weapons-usable plutonium, and highly enriched uranium everywhere in the world.
- Getting control of the uranium enrichment process, combined with the guarantee that uranium for nuclear power reactors could be obtained at a reasonable price, first from the Nuclear Suppliers Group and then from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) or other controlled international reserves. It will also be necessary to deal with proliferation issues presented by spent fuel from reactors producing electricity.
- Halting the production of fissile material for weapons globally; phasing out the use of highly enriched uranium in civil commerce and removing weapons-usable uranium from research facilities around the world and rendering the materials safe.
- Redoubling our efforts to resolve regional confrontations and conflicts that give rise to new nuclear powers.
Achieving the goal of a world free of nuclear weapons will also require effective measures to impede or counter any nuclear-related conduct that is potentially threatening to the security of any state or peoples.
From The Obama Nation:
On the screen we see Barack Obama, wearing a business suit, white shirt, and dark tie. Behind him at right are the red and white stripes of an American flag. Obama is not wearing an American flag lapel pin.
In the head shot, Obama is looking directly into the camera, speaking deliberately, careful to articulate his words precisely. He has a positive but firm look to his face. The video clip looks as if it might have been prepared for a television ad.
"Without any introduction, Obama begins, "I am the only major candidate to oppose this war from the beginning and, as president, I will end it.
"Second," he continues, "I will cut tens of billions of dollars in wasteful spending. I will cut investments in unproven missile defense systems. I will not weaponize space. I will slow our development of future combat systems and I will institute an independent defense priorities board to ensure that the quadrennial defense review is not used to justify unnecessary spending.
"Third," he says, without pausing, "I will set a goal of a world without nuclear weapons. To seek that goal, I will not develop new nuclear weapons. I will seek a global ban on the production of fissile materials. And I will negotiate with Russia to take our ICBMs off hair-trigger alert and to achieve deep cuts in our nuclear arsenals."
Given the title, "In 52 Seconds, Why Barack Obama Cannot Win a General Election," the poster appears to believe that this one short video would provide Obama's Republican rival in the 2008 presidential election with enough ammunition to defeat him.
Why? The video begins with Obama posturing himself as the most antiwar candidate on the left, opposing U.S. involvement in the Iraq War. Without mentioning her name, Obama reminds us in the first seconds of the video that Hillary voted for the war, no matter what she said later about her supposed opposition to it.
From there, Obama embraces a "no nukes," antiwar, antimilitary posture that places him even further left than Senator George McGovern, the last openly antiwar presidential candidate put forth by the Democratic Party.
In the 1972 presidential election, at the height of the Vietnam War's unpopularity, McGovern lost forty-nine states to President Richard M. Nixon. The only state McGovern carried was Massachusetts, which then, as now, was so "peacenik" that many Republican Party loyalists derisively referred to it as the "People's Republic of Massachusetts." [Page 1-2]
Obama's Global Poverty Act
As the Democratic primaries were winding down in May 2008, Obama quietly steered his Global Poverty Act, known as S. 2433, through the Senate. Obama likes to characterize S. 2433 as requiring "the president to develop and implement a comprehensive policy to cut extreme global poverty in half by 2015 through aid, trade debt relief, and coordination with the international community, businesses and NGOs (non-governmental organizations)." Obama clearly hopes he will be in his second term as president by then, so reduction of global poverty by half can be traced back to his co-sponsorship of this visionary piece of legislation.
Critics on the right, who were anything but enthusiastic, sarcastically renamed the bill the "Global Poverty Tax." Getting past the typical lofty language of the press release quoted above, Cliff Kincaid, writing in Accuracy in Media, noted the legislation "would commit the U.S. to spending 0.7 percent of Gross Domestic Product on foreign aid, which amounts to a phenomenal total of $845 billion over and above what the U.S. already spends." Of course, the bill would be paid by the U.S. taxpayer, in what amounts to a redistribution-of-income plan, not from the U.S. haves to the U.S. have-nots, but from the U.S. haves to the world have-nots. Evidently Obama's "Audacity of Hope" extends to giving the U.S. taxpayer the added burden of halving poverty worldwide. Forget about expanding productive business activity to the third world; Obama would end global poverty by largesse.
Moreover, the global poverty reduction goal was mandated by the United Nations General Assembly in its Millennium Declaration of 2000. The declaration specifies, "No individual and no nation must be denied the opportunity to benefit from development," with no particular expectation that each individual or every nation would contribute to economic development. Conservative stalwart Phyllis Schlafly saw Obama's bill as imposing a UN tax on the United States with no concern that "U.S. handouts go into the hands of corrupt dictators who hate us and vote against us in the UN, and that only 30 percent of American foreign aid ever reaches the poor." Schlafly also sees the Global Poverty Act as advancing an undeclared but determined objective of Obama to place the United States under international controls, seriously compromising U.S. sovereignty. Calling the bill anti-American in intent, Schlafly wrote, "The Global Poverty Act would be a giant step toward the Millennium Goals of global governance and international taxes on Americans."
The Millennium Project is monitored by Jeffrey D. Sachs, an economist who directs the "Earth Institute" at Columbia University. In 2005, Sachs presented then-UN secretary-general Kofi Annan with a three-thousand-page report specifying a series of lofty development goals the United States was committed to bring about through the United Nations as part of the Millennium Development Plan.
Reviewing Sachs's book The End of Poverty in the Washington Post, New York University economics professor William Easterly severely criticized Sachs for being naive, describing him as "simply the world's greatest economic reformer," who had no compunction about enlisting U2 lead singer Bono to pen the book's introduction. Calling Sachs a "utopian," Easterly ridiculed him, explaining that Sachs's plan "covers just about everything in mind-numbing technical jargon, from planting nitrogen-fixing leguminous trees to replenishing soil fertility, to antiretroviral therapy for AIDS, to specially programmed cell phones that pro- vide real-time data to health planners, to rainwater harvesting, to battery-charging stations, and so on." Easterly further noted that under Sachs's scheme "the UN secretary general personally run[s] the overall plan, coordinating the actions of thousands of officials in six UN agencies, UN country teams, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund." Easterly expressed surprise at how unaware Sachs was of the extent to which his plan resembled other well-intentioned but ill-fated grand plans to eliminate poverty that were championed through inter- national organizations in the 1950s and 1960s.
In the end, Sachs's and Obama's scheme amounts to little more than resentment against the United States for the extent of economic development and standard of living enjoyed in this country. Conservative commentator Lee Cary shared the observation, writing in the American Thinker about Obama's Global Poverty Act, that "those who feel like victims want the guilty exposed and loathed."43 In this context. Car)' noted the Obama campaign was airing radio ads in Texas in which Obama claimed that "some CEOs make more in 10 minutes than some American workers make in a year," arguing that this was somehow un- fair. Cary noted that Obama did not include in this derision his endorser, television talk show host Oprah Winfrey. Calling Obama the "Global Candidate," Cary concluded his goal was to "cite multinational corporations as the leading exploiters of the worlds poor, with Wall Street's favorites leading the pack."
When we examine where Obama has gotten most of the funds to run his 2008 presidential campaign, we find that hypocrisy is evidently not a fault Obama minds having. According to watchdog OpenSecrets.org. Wall Street investment firms and U.S. law firms representing multinational U.S. corporations in their global operations lead the list of Obama bundling contributors. At the top of Obama's contributor list is Goldman Sachs, followed by UBS, JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, Lehman Brothers, and Morgan Stanley. Among the law firms leading the list of Obama 2008 campaign contributors are New York-based Skadden, Arps; Los Angeles-based Latham & Watkins; Chicago-based Kirkland & Ellis and Sidley Austin, the law firm where Michelle Obama was an associate and met her future husband.
America's middle-class voters, already feeling the economic squeeze from globalization and the outsourcing of U.S. jobs to India and China, would probably not appreciate Obama's plan to increase taxes on U.S. citizens to pay for world poverty through the United Nations. Their resentment could be expected to grow after realizing Obama himself liberally takes campaign contributions from the very investment bankers and law firms benefiting from globalization and outsourcing. In this context, Obama's railing against the rich appears little more than a leftist resentment traceable to his days in Hawaii and in college, smoking marijuana and drinking liquor while listening to the likes of aging communist poet Frank Marshall Davis rail against capitalism. [Page 250-253]