Sunday, September 14, 2008

PROOF POSITIVE: US Blue Party Welcomes UK's Gordon Brown & EU Socialist Party Leaders Who Endorse Obama in Effort to Influence U.S. Election Outcome

Political Diary

Who's British, Brown and Red All Over?


September 14, 2008

Barack Obama may be losing ground to John McCain in recent domestic polls, but his popularity at No. 10 Downing Street seems secure.

Britain's opposition Tories as well as the McCain campaign quickly latched onto what appears to be naked bias by British Prime Minister Gordon Brown. In Tuesday's Parliamentary Monitor, a version of Washington's Roll Call, he penned an article lavishing praise upon Mr. Obama. "In the electrifying U.S. presidential campaign, it is the Democrats who are generating ideas to help people through more difficult times," he wrote. The Illinois junior senator is a like-minded "progressive politician who [is] grappling with the challenges" of his time. Mr. Brown's article did not mention John McCain.

William Hague, a Conservative Member of the British Parliament, called the PM's comments "out of order." The McCain campaign's response was more mocking. Spokesman Michael Goldfarb noted that while the piece bestowed the "coveted Gordon Brown endorsement" on Mr. Obama, it seemed to do so for a policy proposal -- Mr. Obama's so-called Foreclosure Prevention Fund -- that Mr. Obama himself has quietly dropped.

Mr. Brown's supporters privately blame a junior Labour Party official who was using Mr. Obama's example to gin up support for his own party's foreclosure relief proposals. His aides say Mr. Brown never read the article before signing off. In any case, the gaffe is another reminder that Mr. Obama still draws strong support from the European elites, however much the European mass media has lately shifted its fascination to the mooseslayer Sarah Palin.


Gordon Brown U-turns to soothe Republican fury over his apparent endorsement of Obama

By Benedict Brogan


Last updated at 7:31 AM on 11th September 2008

Gordon Brown was scrambling to mend fences with John McCain last night after he issued what looked like a ringing endorsement of Barack Obama.

The Prime Minister was said to be 'in a rage' following a bureaucratic blunder in Downing Street that produced a major breach of diplomatic protocol.

An article in Mr Brown's name appeared in a Westminster magazine with warm words of praise for Mr Obama, the Democrat candidate for the White House.

But it made no mention of Mr McCain, his Republican rival.

Mr Brown's apparent enthusiasm for Mr Obama caused an uproar in the U.S. and provoked worried calls from Mr. McCain's officials to the British embassy in Washington.

They feared that he had breached the longstanding convention that requires Prime Ministers to keep out of foreign elections by backing Mr Obama.

Senior officials in Number 10 held a series of hastily arranged phone calls with key figures in the McCain campaign in an attempt to reassure them.

Mr Brown and Mr McCain did not speak however.

Mr Brown tried to repair the damage by declaring his 'great admiration' for both senators.

But the Republican camp let its anger show by issuing a statement under the sarcastic headline 'The Coveted Gordon Brown Endorsement' - .

One Government source said: 'They have given us a slapping. All our good work has been undone.'

The article that appeared in the Parliamentary Monitor magazine was not written by Mr. Brown but by an official who used a draft that he thought had been approved.


Gordon Brown triggers row with John McCain by 'backing' Barack Obama

Gordon Brown has triggered a potential row with John McCain, the Republican presidential candidate, after apparently backing Barack Obama - breaking convention not to get involved in foreign elections.

By Robert Winnett, Deputy Political Editor and Tom Leonard

Last Updated: 2:34PM BST 11 Sep 2008

John McCain's campaign team have questioned the value of the endorsement given by Gordon Brown to Barack Obama when a policy cited as the key reason behind the praise has changed.

The Prime Minister heaped praise on Mr Obama and the Democrats in a magazine article, saying they were "generating the ideas to help people through more difficult times."

Dealing with economic problems is the crucial battleground in the US elections and Mr Brown's comments were interpreted as backing the Democrat candidate.

The Prime Minister's office and the British Embassy in Washington were last night involved in an embarrassing behind-the-scenes operation to try and limit the fallout from the incident. They were alerted after the highly influential Drudge Report website picked up the story, sparking a flurry of comment and analysis from election watchers in the US.

Well-placed sources claimed that Mr Brown may not have read the article written in his name by a "junior Labour official".

A source said: "It is clearly going to annoy the Republicans and is a naive mistake by a junior Labour person. The American Embassy is doing a lot of work to reassure the McCain campaign that this is not an endorsement of Obama."

In a statement, Number 10 said that the "Prime Minister is not endorsing any candidate and never would." It added: "Presidential elections are a matter for the American people. The Prime Minister looks forward to working closely with whoever is elected."

The article appeared in the Parliamentary Monitor magazine and was intended to set out Mr Brown's plans to overhaul Labour policies ahead of the party's annual conference this month.

In the article, Mr Brown drew attention to policies to help deal with the economic downturn. He said: "Around the world, it is progressive politicians who are grappling with these challenges. In the electrifying US Presidential campaign, it is the Democrats who are generating the ideas to help people through more difficult times.

"To help prevent people from losing their home, Barack Obama has proposed a Foreclosure Prevention Fund to increase emergency pre-foreclosure counselling, and help families facing repossession."

No mention is made of Mr. McCain or his proposed policies in the article.

The Conservatives last night seized on the apparent gaffe. William Hague, the shadow Foreign Secretary, said: "A responsible British Prime Minister needs to be ready to work with either Presidential candidate after the US election, and should neither take sides nor be seen to be taking sides.

"Gordon Brown needs to make clear why he appeared to be favouring the Democrats in this article and to explain whether this was his deliberate intention or a careless mistake."

The chief reaction from ordinary US voters on politics websites was one of derision, with many pointing out that the endorsement of a prime minister as troubled as Mr Brown was of dubious value.

There was also a widespread amount of annoyance – not confined to Republicans - that a foreign political leader should be seeking to influence the US election.

Readers of the influential US Politico blog were roughly split two to one between those who were critical of Mr Brown's comments and those who approved of them.

One wrote: "Brits like Obama? That's like a dog whistle to the Dumbed Down Americans to vote for Palin-McCain. Thanks Brown."

Another commented: "Cue beam of light...People of the World, he is the One for you. But we have a quirky little thing here in the colonies, American voters pick our President. Not the British Prime Minister nor the People of the World."

The colonial theme was picked up by others. "The most incompetent PM in recent English history for the first time since King George III and Lord North telling the USA who should run their country," wrote one. "Makes me feel like dumping some tea in the harbour."

British Prime Ministers have largely declined to disclose their support for American candidates.

However the Blair administration was questioned for its close relationship with the Al Gore election team in the run-up to the 2000 election
while John Major's links with George Bush senior also came in for criticism. The Bush camp contacted the Conservative government in the 1992 election battle seeking details about Mr Clinton's time as a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford.


Protests after Brown gives his support to Obama

By Andrew Grice and Leonard Doyle in Washington


Thursday, 11 September 2008

Gordon Brown has sparked a transatlantic row with John McCain, the Republican candidate in the American presidential election, over an article in his name which appeared to back the Democrat Barack Obama.

The Prime Minister was embarrassed after an article appeared in his name which welcomed Senator Obama's "progressive" new ideas for helping people weather the economic storm, without mentioning Senator McCain. It provoked a protest to the British embassy in Washington by the McCain team, and could cause tensions in the Anglo-American relationship if he wins the November election.

Mr Brown's article undermined his strenuous efforts not to take sides in the presidential race. He has been careful to give both candidates equal time and treatment during his meetings with them in London and Washington this year.

The article, in Parliament's Monitor magazine, said: "In the electrifying US presidential campaign, it is the Democrats who are generating ideas to help people through difficult times." Mr Brown praised Mr Obama's proposed fund to prevent householders having their homes repossessed when they were struggling to pay their mortgage.

It emerged that Mr Brown did not draft the piece and may not have personally approved it before it was sent to the magazine. Although based on a Labour Party conference document written by him, the mistake was blamed on an unnamed Downing Street aide and more senior officials who did not spot the diplomatic gaffe.

The article made waves on blogs in America, where The Drudge Report headlined it as "Brown backs Obama". In Washington, British diplomats were licking their wounds, but did not return calls to discuss the Brown blunder.

To deepen the Prime Minister's blushes, it emerged that Mr Obama no longer supported the policy he hailed. This allowed the McCain team to ridicule Mr Brown. Michael Goldfarb, his spokesman, said Mr Brown's "coveted endorsement" was bound to highlight that Mr Obama "seems to have changed his position". He said: "Far be it from this campaign to underestimate the value of an endorsement from the British Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, but there is one slightly embarrassing detail that this endorsement is bound to highlight."

At a press conference, Mr Brown attempted to reassure Mr McCain by denying that he was intervening in the US election. He said: "The decision on the American election is a matter entirely for the American people and I have scrupulously met both Senator McCain and Senator Obama and talked to them both about the issue that affect our two countries and the future of global issues."

William Hague, the shadow Foreign Secretary, said Mr Brown should not have written the comments. He said: "A responsible British prime minister needs to be ready to work with either presidential candidate after the US election, and should neither take sides nor be seen to be taking sides."

The dangers of interfering in elections abroad were highlighted after John Major's Tory government was accused of helping George Bush Senior in the 1992 presidential race by digging for potentially damaging information about Bill Clinton. This led to frosty relations when Mr Clinton became president.


Gordon Brown Under Fire for Praising Obama’s Economic Proposals

by Associated Press

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Britain’s Gordon Brown has praised Sen. Barack Obama in a commentary published Wednesday, seemingly breaching protocols that prevent world leaders from endorsing candidates in foreign elections.

Brown hailed Obama’s proposals for a mortgage foreclosure prevention fund and said he believed the Democratic Party is the organization offering policies to help people through the current economic woes.

“In the electrifying U.S. presidential campaign, it is the Democrats who are generating the ideas to help people through more difficult times,” Brown wrote in Parliamentary Monitor magazine.

“To help prevent people from losing their home, Barack Obama has proposed a foreclosure prevention fund to increase emergency pre-foreclosure counseling, and help families facing repossession.”

Brown’s Labour Party is traditionally allied to Obama’s Democrats but under international conventions, foreign leaders refrain from intervening in ballots overseas.

In meetings with both Obama and Republican presidential candidate John McCain, Brown has gone to great lengths to appear impartial.

During separate visits to London by the candidates, Brown refused to greet the men on the doorstep of his official residence — an honor reserved only for elected heads of government.

Brown’s Downing Street office denied Wednesday that the article amounted to an endorsement of Obama.

“The prime minister is not endorsing a candidate, and never would,” said a spokesman, on condition of anonymity in line with policy.

But Britain’s main opposition Conservative Party said Brown was guilty of a serious gaffe.

“A responsible British prime minister needs to be ready to work with either presidential candidate after the U.S. election, and should neither take sides nor be seen to be taking sides,” said Conservative lawmaker William Hague.

McCain’s spokesman Michael Goldfarb dismissed the apparent backing for Obama in a snippy Web posting titled “The Coveted Gordon Brown Endorsement.” He said that in praising Obama’s housing strategy, Brown had in fact highlighted a policy that Obama appears to have recently dropped.

“Whether this will cause Prime Minister Brown to rethink his support for Sen. Obama remains unclear,” Goldfarb wrote.


Gordon Openly Backs Obama President McCain Here We Come

Guido Fawkes Blog

September 10, 2008

In a breach of internationally accepted convention, Gordon has openly backed Obama in an article under his byline. The story got picked up last night by Drudge and followed up by the news wires.

The McCain campaign has been in contact with the British Embassy in Washington to "express concern". William Hague has queried the wisdom of the PM taking sides. Downing Street is desperately back-pedalling, claiming the article was written by a junior underling.

The first meeting Obama had with Gordon resulted in McCain inching ahead in the polls. This is more good news, get your money on McCain. Barring an act of god, the curse of Jonah Brown means Obama is now doomed...

UPDATE : Team McCain are trying to keep a straight face - see the campaign's piss-take "The Coveted Gordon Brown Endorsement". Loser backs loser...


Gordon Brown backs Barack Obama for US president

By Robert Winnett, Deputy Political Editor

UK Telegraph

September 9, 2008

Gordon Brown has backed Barack Obama in the race for the US presidency, praising the senator's ideas and family-friendly policies in an article that makes no mention of John McCain.

His clear show of support for Mr Obama has sparked fierce debate among American bloggers

The move is a striking break with tradition. British Prime Ministers in the past have largely declined to disclose their favourite American candidates.

Writing in an article in the Parliamentary Monitor magazine, Mr Brown said: "In the electrifying US presidential campaign, it is the Democrats who are generating the ideas to help people through more difficult times.

"To help prevent people from losing their home, Barack Obama has proposed a Foreclosure Prevention Fund to increase emergency pre-foreclosure counselling, and help families facing repossession."

Mr Brown does not mention Mr Obama's opponent, the Republican candidate John McCain, at all in the article.

His clear show of support for Mr Obama has sparked fierce debate among American bloggers.

In the same article Mr Brown admits that he must "rise" to the challenge of being Prime Minister and pledged to "rethink" Labour policy.

In some of his most candid comments Mr Brown calls on his critics to give him time to address their concerns.

Although Cabinet colleagues have rallied behind him, many Labour MPs and trade union bosses remain deeply unhappy with Mr Brown's leadership, which has seen the party fall 20 points behind the Tories in opinion polls and lose a string of by-elections.

"Whether global or domestic, deep-seated or just fleeting, the pressures that we face in the short-term and the long-term have all changed since New Labour first came into Government," Mr Brown wrote.

"And so, the way we govern must change too.
That is why in Manchester this year [at the Labour Party conference] it is time to adapt and rethink New Labour policy.''

He added: "What I ask of our country, our Government, and our party, cannot be done without leadership. So, at conference in Manchester and in the weeks that follow, I will set out how I - and our party, and our government, and our country - must rise to conquer those challenges and to ensure fairness for all.''

The Prime Minister also acknowledged that improvements in social mobility under Labour had not matched expectations and had to be stepped up.

"We need to be honest with ourselves: while poverty has been reduced and the rise in inequality halted, social mobility has not improved in Britain as we would have wanted,'' he said.

The comments were seized upon by the Conservatives who said they were an admission that the Prime Minister has run out of ideas. Mr Brown decided not to call a snap election this time last year saying that he needed more time to set out his vision for the country.

Chris Grayling, a shadow Cabinet minister, said: "Gordon Brown had 10 years to think about what he was going to do when he became Prime Minister but now he is there he has changed his mind about what to do already.

"After months of dithering, raising taxes on Britain's poorest families and losing half the nation's personal data we have just about the weakest Prime Minister in history. He is right that Britain needs a change, but it is clear that neither he nor Labour can provide it."

Meanwhile, Alistair Darling, the Chancellor, used a speech to the TUC annual congress in Brighton to attack excessive City bonuses and urged the unions not to demand inflation-busting pay increases.

He said: "It would be so damaging for us to allow inflation to become entrenched, as it did in the past. That's why, in the private and public sectors, pay rises must be consistent with our inflation target.

"Otherwise every penny in pay rises will be very quickly swallowed up by higher prices. And we all remember the job losses that followed in the past once inflation takes a grip."

He criticised "excessive" City bonuses which he said may encourage traders to take unnecessary risks - "especially when people seem to get money for failing not succeeding…that's got to change".

He also appeared to rule out a windfall tax on utility companies but pledged to increase Government borrowing to help fund tax cuts or state handouts during the economic downturn.

Brown backs Obama


By Paul Waugh

Gordon Brown has broken with British convention and made clear that he favours Barack Obama as the next US President.

In a departure from the usual self-denying ordinance of Prime Ministers past, Brown has written an article for The Monitor magazine in which he praises Obama's plans to get the US out of the housing slump.

Referring to the anxieties facing voters across the globe during the economic slowdown, he says: "Around the world, it is progressive politicians who are grappling with these challenges....In the electrifying US Presidential campaign, it is the Democrats who are generating the ideas to help people through more difficult times. To help prevent people from losing their home, Barack Obama has proposed a Foreclosure Prevention Fund to increase emergency pre-foreclosure counselling, and help families facing repossession."

There is not a single mention of McCain or his own plans to help tackle the impact of the slowdown. As this is an article written by the PM himself, no one can claim he is being quoted out of context or misrepresented.

I'm sure that Number 10 will be hastily issuing messages soon to try to restore a sense of balance once the gaffe has been pointed out - but the words are out there now.

Unlike T Blair (who infuriated Labour MPs by failing to attack Bush), Gordon has strong and deep links to the Dems, but as soon as he became PM he had to bury all that and be extremely careful not to endorse either candidate. A natural ally of Hillary Clinton, he has been as wowed by Obama as others in the Labour Party. Yet he must know that a McCain presidency is just as likely in a tight race. It seems in this article he just couldn't help himself and let slip what he really thought. Lets see if the Dems in the US seize on his support....


Others have pointed out just how the rest of the piece, for domestic consumption, does not have Brown claiming he will change his own policies. It seems clear that at the very least, it is a badly drafted piece which allowed the impression that he meant he wanted to "adapt and rethink" Brownism. Far from it, allies say, he's saying he wants to adapt Blairism.

11PM UPDATE. It is worth pointing out some of the history behind the convention of non-interference in US elections.

Despite the long-established Tory-Republican, Labour-Democrats affinities, few British PMs have dared to interfere in the Presidential elections. The dangers of doing so were made all too clear by Bill Clinton's team after John Major's administration tried to help George Bush senior in the 1992 campaign. Much has been written about this incident, but thankfully both men have talked about it, as well as their officials, so we now have a rough picture of what went on.

In September 92, two Tory campaign managers flew to the US to advise the Bush team on election strategy. At about the same time, the British Government conducted a search on Clinton's passport file amid Republican claims that he had sought British citizenship to avoid the Vietnam draft in 1968 (Clinton was then at University College, Oxford). Clinton's team were furious and Major has written in his autobiography [that the passport incident "added a layer of frost to dealings between London and Washington". He claims that there followed a "staffer's feud" in 1993. It is often claimed that Clinton's decision to grant Gerry Adams a US visa was a retaliation against Major, though this is unproven.

But Major was not the first to blunder his way into American elections. According to Henry Kissinger, Harold Wilson "committed the extraordinary misjudgment of betting on a Democratic victory" in 1968 - by appointing a friend of Dem candidate Hubert Humphrey as US ambassador to Washington.

Today's Tories are much smarter about not allying themselves exclusively to the McCain camp, sending shadow ministers to the Dem convention in Denver last month. There are many things about Obama that David Cameron admires, particularly his change message, though he has recently been working closely with McCain on a hawkish line on Georgia, for example.

Should McCain win in November, lets see whether Gordon's latest article adds a "layer of frost" to what many still quaintly think of as the "special relationship".

[This is not the first time either Britain or the European Union's Brusselscrats have tried to influence US domestic laws and policies. See, e.g.: Britain Leads EU Charge to Undermine US Climate Change Policy - Prior ITSSD Studies’ Findings Confirmed, ITSSD Website (7/17/06) at: . See also: Beware of the Flying Dutchman When Traveling to Brussels, ITSSD Website (Aug. 2006), at:].

EU Looks to Close Ranks with US to Keep Global Influence

Deutsche Welle


The European Union must close ranks with the United States if the two powers are to keep their global influence during the rise of states like China, India and Russia, EU foreign policy chiefs said at informal talks.

"The new American administration will, as we all of course also, have to cope with the new emerging countries: apart from Russia, which is an old power with a new assertiveness, India, Brazil and China," EU Foreign Policy Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner said Friday, Sept. 5.

"We want to be more equal partners with the US, but how can we do that? We have to raise our own game, we have to be more clear and united in the positions we are taking, we have to be more effective and forthcoming in using our policy and our instruments," she said.

At an informal meeting in the French city of Avignon, the foreign ministers of the EU's 27 member states discussed how to cooperate with the next US president on questions of global security such as climate change and energy security, French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner, who chaired the meeting, said.

EU plans cooperation with US

Kouchner hosted the meeting, as France currently holds the EU presidency

"The world is dangerous, the return of nationalism and micro-nationalism impose on (the EU and US) a common vision and common steps," he warned.

"We want to set up a sort of better process, not to be surprised, not to be completely bare-handed, and not always to be obliged to threaten someone else," he said.

Ahead of the US election, scheduled for Nov. 4, the EU is therefore set to draw up a list of the areas in which it would like to work more closely with the US, to be sent to President George W. Bush and the two candidates in the election.

"It's not to take advantage (of the change of administration), but knowing that our American friends ... also wish that the EU should be politically present in the world's problems, and take its political place, not just as a fund-raiser but a player in its matters of peace, and sometimes of war," Kouchner said.

But at the same time, he also criticized the policies of current US Vice-President Dick Cheney, who on Friday visited Ukraine on a whirlwind tour of the former Soviet Union aimed at boosting ties in the wake of August's Georgian-Russian war.

Cheney "has a certain sense of protecting people, but I'm not so sure he had a lot of success with this particular sense," he said.

Looking for answers to climate, energy

Also at the meeting, ministers discussed with the EU's top foreign-policy figure, Javier Solana, how the bloc should update its common security strategy -- a document written in December 2003.

Earlier in the day, Germany's foreign minister called for a probe into the Russian-Georgian war.

"There are questions like climate change and energy security which need an answer," Solana said, adding that he hoped to present a "short and useful" new document to EU leaders by the end of the year.

Tellingly, however, the original strategy of 2003 stresses the need for the EU to project its values around the world by working with international organizations such as the UN and WTO.

"The best protection for our security is a world of well-governed democratic states," it says, listing political and social reform and the defense of human rights as "the best means of strengthening the international order."

And the rise of Russia, China and India has alarmed EU diplomats, with the Russian-Georgian war and the collapse of WTO talks in a row between China, India and the US both seen as signs that Western domination of the international agenda can no longer be assured.

"Over the last few years, you've seen a determined effort on the part of Europe and the Americans to forge common positions on issues as diverse as Iran, Russia, and international development," British Foreign Minister David Miliband pointed out.

"There's still an opportunity to work together, not at the expense of the rising powers in China and India, but as a way of binding them into the global system and making sure that responsibility is shared by all the powers in the modern world," he said. (DPA News Agency)

[If UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown openly cohorts with the President of the Party of European Socialists, how close does he really believe an EU-US relationship could be??



The European Socialist Party Publicly Campaigns for Obama

1 September 2008

Denver – PES Was There:

The Party of European Socialists was well-represented at the US Democratic National Convention where Barack Obama was nominated Democratic Presidential candidate.

The PES was represented by Ruairi Quinn, PES Presidency member and Treasurer, and Philip Cordery, PES Secretary General. PES member parties had high level representatives including Mona Sahlin, Leader of the Swedish Social Democrats; Eamon Gilmore, Leader of the Irish Labour Party; Caroline Gennez, Leader of the Flemish Socialists SPa; Lilianne Ploumen, Chair of the Dutch Labour PvdA; Ivailo Kalfin, Foreign Minister of Bulgaria, Hubertus Heil, Secretary General of the German SPD; Eero Heinäluoma former Leader of SDP Finland; Josef Kalina, from SPÖ Austria, Ed Miliband MP from the UK Labour Party; Juan Fernando López Aguilar from Spanish Socialists PSOE, Nicolai Wammen from SD Denmark; and many others as well as Walter Veltroni, Leader of the Italian Partito Democratico.

PES participants were hosted by the Chair of the National Democratic Committee Howard Dean. They had a full agenda and took part in the International Leaders Forum (ILF) organised by National Democratic Institute, meeting with prominent policy makers and politicians, including Bill Clinton, former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House of Representatives. Many also took the opportunity to meet other progressive American organisations such as ‘Take Back America’ and the trade union AFL-CIO.

PES Secretary General Philip Cordery said “The European socialists and social-democrats support Barack Obama for President. His ‘Plan for America’ is a progressive agenda which we believe would bring many benefits to the American people and to the world.”

Julian Scola, Communications Advisor - Media & Campaigns
Party of European Socialists, Rue du Trône, 98, B-1050 Brussels
Mobile +32 486 117 394

21 months ago: The European Socialists speak prior to their group photo with President of the Party of European Socialists Poul Nyrup Rasmussen, left, Portuguese Prime Minister Jose Socrates and United States Democratic National Committee chairman Howard Dean, right, during the Party of European Socialists congress in Porto, northern Portugal, Friday, Dec. 8, 2006.(AP Photo/Stringer)
21 months ago: Howard Dean, U.S. Democratic National Committee chairman, laughs with Poul Nyrup Rasmussen, right, Party of European Socialists president, after his speech during the Party of European Socialists congress in Porto, northern Portugal, Friday, Dec. 8, 2006.(AP Photo/Paulo Duarte)

France: Socialist chief endorses Obama

The Associated Press

Published: August 31, 2008

PARIS: The head of France's opposition Socialist Party strongly endorsed U.S. Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama and said Sunday that an Obama victory would be "good news" for the United States and the world.

Francois Hollande said an Obama presidency would usher in a positive, new chapter in international relations.

"We need an Obama victory next November," Hollande told party supporters at an annual meeting in the Atlantic coastal city of La Rochelle. An Obama win "will be good news, not only for the American people, but for the whole world."

Hollande cited Obama's position on Iraq and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and his apparent willingness to reach out to international partners under a "new diplomacy," as reasons to support the candidate.

Hollande promised to work for the senator's victory, but acknowledged that the French Socialists' endorsement could end up tarnishing Obama's image in the eyes of the American electorate, given the way some voters regard socialism.

During a brief visit to France in July, Obama met with conservative President Nicolas Sarkozy but not with opposition Socialists. Sarkozy also received Republican presidential hopeful, Arizona Sen. John McCain, in Paris in March.

Relations between the United States and France became strained under Sarkozy's predecessor, fellow conservative Jacques Chirac, who led France's vociferous opposition to the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of Iraq. Relations between the two countries have steadily improved since last year's election of pro-American Sarkozy.


Barack jam for Obama

28 August 2008

PES Activists from Hungary are producing and selling apricot jam to show their support for Barack Obama.

‘Barack’ means apricot in Hungarian – spelt exactly like Obama’s first name - so PES activists made apricot jam in the eastern Hungarian town of Tallya labelled ‘Barack for Obama’ to show their support for the Democratic Presidential hopeful.

Matyas Gati, one of the organizers, said “This is a fun way of making a serious point. Barack Obama is very popular in Hungary because he is so charismatic and because he offers a real alternative to the Republicans who have made such a mess of things in America and abroad. We also wanted to show that we PES activists share the same democratic values and aspirations as Mr Obama. He embodies the principles and values we want to promote as PES activists. We support his ideas for change and the attitude of his politics.”

Funds raised from selling the jam is going to local charities tackling child poverty.

Now Zita Gurmai, President of PES Women, has been presented with the ‘Barack for Obama’ jam in Brussels which she will share with her European Parliamentary colleagues. “I know there is lots of Obama merchandising but Hungarian ‘barack’ jam must be the most original. I am very proud that it was PES activists who came up with the idea. It shows that PES activists are people with the best ideas.”

The Party of European Socialists – which brings together all Europe’s socialist, social democratic and labour parties – launched PES activists to give individual members of its member parties a chance to become more involved in European-wide politics and campaigning. Over 10,000 party members have joined PES activists and there are city groups in many countries.

Watch ‘Barack for Obama’ jam video here:

Julian Scola, Communications Advisor - Media & Campaigns
Party of European Socialists, Rue du Trône, 98, B-1050 Brussels
Mobile +32 486 117 394

------------------------------------------------- En Francais

Une confiture de 'Barack' pour Obama

Le 28 août 2008

Profitant du fait que le mot 'Barack' signifie littéralement 'abricot' en hongrois, les militants du PSE de Hongrie ont eu l'idée de produire et de vendre une confiture d'abricot sous l'étiquette ‘Barack for Obama’ (littéralement: de l'abricot pour Obama).

Cette initiative a été lancée par les militants hongrois de la ville de Tallya, à l'Est de la Hongrie, qui veulent ainsi exprimer leur soutien au candidat démocrate aux présidentielles américaines Barack Obama.

Matyas Gati, l'un des organisateurs de l'initiative, a déclaré: "C'est une façon amusante de faire passer un message sérieux. Barack Obama est très populaire en Hongrie parce qu'il est si charismatique et aussi parce qu'il représente une véritable alternative aux Républicains qui ont créé un tel gâchis aux Etats-Unis et ailleurs. Nous voulions aussi montrer que nous, les militants du PSE, partageons les mêmes valeurs démocratiques et les mêmes aspirations que M. Obama. Il incarne les principes et valeurs que nous voulons défendre en tant que militants du PSE. Nous appuyons ses idées en faveur du changement et sa manière de faire de la politique.”

Les fonds réunis à travers les ventes de confiture iront à des oeuvres de charité locales centrées sur la lutte contre la pauvreté infantile.

Zita Gurmai, présidente du PSE Femmes, a reçu son pot de confiture ‘Barack for Obama’ à Bruxelles, qu'elle partagera avec ses collègues eurodéputés. “Je sais qu'il existe beaucoup de marchandisage autour d'Obama mais la confiture de 'barack' hongroise doit être, à mon avis, le produit le plus original. Je suis très fière que ce soient les militants du PSE qui aient trouvé cette idée. Ce sont les militants qui ont les meilleures idées.”

Le Parti socialiste européen, qui réunit les partis socialistes, sociaux-démocrates et travaillistes d'Europe, a lancé l'initiative des militants du PSE afin de donner aux militants individuels des partis membres une chance de participer plus activement à la politique et aux campagnes européennes. Plus de 10.000 militants de partis membres du PSE sont devenus militants du PSE et il existe de nombreux groupes dans de nombreuses villes de plusieurs pays.

Regarder la vidéo ‘Barack for Obama’

Pour plus d'informations:
Julian Scola, responsable Communications - Médias & Campagnes
Parti socialiste européen, Rue du Trône, 98, B-1050 Bruxelles
Portable +32 486 117 394


IBD Editorials

Finding Friends On Far, Far Left


Posted Wednesday, August 20, 2008 4:20 PM PT
Election '08:

The saying that a man is known by the company he keeps is true of political relationships. In Barack Obama's case, some of the groups that support him are an indictment of his political orientation.

Among Obama's biggest admirers, for example, is one Pepe Lozano. Unknown at the national level, Lozano is more of a small-time agitator, just as Obama was in his community organizing days in Chicago. Maybe that explains part of the attraction.

But it's more likely that Lozano, a leader in the Chicago Young Communist League and an editorial board member of the People's Weekly World, newspaper of the Communist Party USA, finds that Obama is the communist party's best hope because of the junior senator's far-left positions.

"This is a history-making process," Lozano told a Chicago gathering of about 250 in June, "and we will be missing it if we don't do all we can to elect Barack Obama president."

The next month, the People's Weekly World editorialized in favor of Obama, calling his a "transformative candidacy that would advance progressive politics for the long term."

The communist support is nothing new, however. Joel Wendland, managing editor of Political Affairs: Marxist Thought Online, another CPUSA magazine, suggested in February that Obama could be "the people's president."

Also in February, Political Affairs editor Terri Albano talked about how the "kind of upsurge" surrounding Obama "comes around just once in a lifetime. I hope for all progressives — each of us — (to) get involved. Don't stand on the sidelines. Be active. Don't let history pass you by."

While communists are endorsing Obama, the Communist Party USA isn't. But that's not because it doesn't like Obama. The CPUSA simply does not endorse candidates. Yet it issued what could be called a non-endorsement endorsement of Obama in March, saying "his campaign has the clearest message of unity and progressive change."

"This election can begin to turn the tide: It can help bring universal health care, save the environment and start the restoration of our democratic rights," the group said. "This election can strengthen democracy for all."

If Obama is smarting because he didn't get an official Communist Party USA endorsement, maybe he will be mollified by the approval of an old communist to the south. Fidel Castro in the spring wrote in the state newspaper Granma that Obama is "the most progressive candidate for the U.S. presidency."

That's an endorsement that anyone who doesn't have a socialist agenda should be ashamed of, especially given Castro's murder and intimidation of his foes and his repeated, egregious human rights violations of average Cuban citizens.

But from what we can tell, Obama has not rejected Castro's support. What we can tell, though, is that when Obama says he stands for change, he could be talking about erasing facts that he considers to be politically damaging.

Last month he scrubbed clean from his Web site evidence that he opposed the successful Iraq surge, and last winter he deleted the endorsement of the extremist Rev. Jeremiah Wright, who had become a political liability.

But despite his campaign's penchant for cyberhygiene, the community blog on his own Web site still has an entry that's rather incriminating: "This group is for self-proclaimed Marxists/Communists/Socialists for the election of Barack Obama to the presidency. . . . We support Barack Obama because he knows what is best for the people!" The fact that it can still be found on Obama's official site would indicate that the campaign has no problem with it — and that it might even appreciate the endorsement.

The current campaign is not Obama's first association with groups that promote socialism or its more stringent ideological cousin, communism.

In 1995, he sought the endorsement of the New Party for his 1996 state Senate candidacy. The party — a collection of anti-capitalist ex-communists and socialists that disbanded in 1998 after six years of trying to push the Democratic Party even further left — gladly gave Obama its support.

Obama also was endorsed in that election by the Democratic Socialists of America, the largest socialist group in the U.S. While the name might sound benign, the DSA has a poisonous agenda. Its goal is to establish "an openly socialist presence in American communities and politics" and is committed to "restructuring society."

Members "are socialists because we reject an international economic order sustained by private profit, alienated labor, race and gender discrimination, environmental destruction, and brutality and violence in defense of the status quo."

Just as it should be no surprise that a Che Guevara poster was found hanging in an Obama campaign office, it would not be a shock to see an Obama poster on a wall in the Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism's headquarters.

Mark Solomon, the group's national co-chair, wrote in a virtual endorsement in February that Obama "is an attractive, articulate and talented politician" whose "campaign has sparked a powerful surge."

But that would be expected, since this group, which branched off from the Communist Party USA in 1991, organized the October 2002 rally in which Obama criticized the U.S. invasion of Iraq — while still serving as a state senator in Illinois. The ties between Obama and the committees go back years.

Across the Atlantic, the Party of European Socialists also has given its blessing.

President Poul Nyrup Rasmussen says that "Obama is the choice for change and renewal. He gives hope to millions of Americans and Europeans for a fairer world. . . . Progressive Europeans are united in hope that Barack Obama will be the new president following the U.S. elections."

Obama supporters might excuse the candidate's support from communists, Marxists and socialists, saying he is the only alternative since these groups would never support the Republican nominee. (Which is entirely correct and indicative of the Democratic Party's continuing decline into the pit of democratic socialism.)

But the truth is, these groups usually reserve their endorsements and support for fringe candidates, not someone from a major party. That's not the case this time around. They seem to have their man.

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