Remembering Jerry Lewis and the MDA Labor Day Telethon…and Why It Could Not Be Produced Today

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Another Labor Day will pass by today without a Muscular Dystrophy Labor Day Telethon.

I know that there are millennials reading this post who are wondering what in the world I am talking about.

Well, boys and girls, a long, long time ago, in a nation where citizens actually cared about one another, an American Icon, Comedian, and Philanthropist named Jerry Lewis poured his lifeblood into producing a nationally-televised program specifically designed to raise money on behalf of the Muscular Dystrophy Association to aid in the fight against Neuromuscular Diseases.

Born Joseph Levitch in Newark, New Jersey, his career in show business spanned 70 years. beginning with his first appearance with his parents, who were both entertainers, in the Catskill Mountains Circuit at age 5.

He passed away from natural causes on August 20, 2017 at the age of 91.

For 45 years, American families would, while spending time together, watch the Jerry Lewis Muscular Dystrophy Association Telethon. The telethon would begin on Sunday Evening and continue for 21 1/2 hours, ending on Monday evening at 5:00 p.m. Central. Co-hosted in later years by Ed McMahon and Norm Crosby, stars of stage, screen, and television would appear, alongside corporate executives, all there to raise money for “Jerry’s Kids”.

And, when I say “stars”, I mean STARS.

Jerry’s good friend, Sammy Davis, Jr. would come on every year, on Monday afternoon, and do a solid 30 minutes of entertaining, usually badgering Jerry, until he would come out and do a couple of songs with him, usually ending in a tap dance “challenge”.

Here is an example of how their friendship and antics together would entertain us every year:

Mr. Las Vegas himself, Wayne Newton, would come on after that and bring down the house, with several high energy numbers, wearing his huge American Eagle Belt Buckle and “TCB” Necklace, which Elvis Presley gave him as a sign of friendship and respect.

Speaking of the King, while Elvis did not appear live every year, usually, also sometime Monday Afternoon, Ed McMahon would say,

Jerry, we just received a call from Graceland.

Which meant that Elvis, known throughout my hometown of Memphis for his great generosity, had just phoned in a huge donation.

Perhaps, one of the most poignant moments in the history of the telethon came during the 1976 Program, when the Chairman of the Board, Francis Albert Sinatra, showed up. Frank told Jerry that he had brought a friend with him and asked him to come out. That friend was Jerry’s ex-partner, Dean Martin. The two had been estranged for years. Jerry became emotional. He hugged Dino, and, when everyone became silent, he asked,

You workin’?

11 years ago, after 45 years of magnanimous service, raising untold millions for the MDA, Lewis was cruelly and unceremoniously dumped. In fact, the MDA did not even have the guts to tell Jerry Lewis that they dumped him!

We honor Jerry Lewis, we admire the work he’s done for us, and we respect his decision to retire.

That particular quote came from Valerie Cwik, the MDA’s interim president, at the time. She replaced Gerald Weinberg, who was reportedly behind Lewis’s ouster and who stepped down as president, after 54 years with the organization.

She made the lame argument that the changes in the telethon were part of a necessary evolution in fundraising strategy, to put less emphasis on the once-a-year event.

It has to change because the American audience has changed. A 21.5-hour show doesn’t fit in a 140-character world.

During 2016, the President of the MDA reached out to Lewis and attempted to smooth things over with him, opening the door for possible voice-over projects in the future.

Sadly, the gesture turned out to be too little, too late.

I swear, “The Smartest People in the Room”, a.k.a., Modern American Liberals, screw up everything.

Okay. I know that Lewis had a reputation as an ego-maniacal pain-in-the-rear to work with, but, these were people’s lives that the MDA was messing with. It could have, and should have, been handled differently.

However, Jerry Lewis also devoted over half his life for “his kids”, visiting them in hospitals around the nation, with no cameras around, along with calling and visiting Corporate CEOs and A-List Celebrities, getting them to help him raise money for those kids and adults struck down by these debilitating Muscular Disorders.

His ouster by MDA showed no respect or gratitude, whatsoever.

What happened to Jerry Lewis, has happened to American Society in general.

The lack of respect shown to Jerry had become Standard Operating Procedure for Modern American Liberals.

Jerry Lewis, if he were still alive, could not produce his Labor Day Telethon in the political climate of today.

The majority of those in the Entertainment Industry would not “lower themselves” to do it.

After all, critically ill average Americans, both children and adults, are not a part of the special interest groups whom they prefer to “donate their time” to, like BLM, Antifa, and other whackjob Liberal Special Interest Groups.

And, knowing the kind of American that Jerry Lewis was, they would have been told that any bashing of our country or our flag would result in them not being invited back.

The focus of those telethons were those Americans afflicted with the terrible diseases which the MDA provided support and care for.

Quite frankly, I do not believe that our present bunch of “stars” could leave their hatred of Former President Trump and their own oversized egos in check long enough to perform on Jerry Lewis’s MDA Telethon.

In fact, after watching the behavior of Hollywood Liberals like Alyssa Milano, Bette Midler, and Tom Arnold during the last several years, I would say that my belief is a solid truth.

As far as today’s “stars” “shining” in Hollywood are concerned, they just don’t make them like they used to.

Jerry Lewis’ legacy will be that of a man, who, with all of his flaws, left an indelible mark on both the Entertainment and Medical Industries. The money which he helped raise for the Muscular Dystrophy Association helped advance their fight against neuromuscular disease.

And, while he was able to lend his talents to that great cause, “Jerry’s Kids” knew that they never walked alone.

Today’s Hollywood stars can not even admit that Joe Biden is a Dementia-riddled doddering old fool and are doing everything that they can to distract from his horrible performance as President by blaming Former President Donald J Trump and his supporters for the problems, foreign and domestic, which the Biden Administration and the Democrat Elite have caused.

Until He Comes,

KJ

More Than JUST a Flag: Cleveland Police and EMTs Refuse to Support NFL Players’ Not Standing for the National Anthem

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It is the night of September 13, 1814.  The British fleet are bombarding Fort McHenry in the harbor at Baltimore, Maryland. Francis Scott Key, a 34-year old lawyer-poet, is watching the attack from the deck of a British prisoner-exchange ship. Key had gone seeking the release of a friend. They were told that they had to remain aboard the vessel until the end of the attack. When the battle was over, the following morning, Key had his telescope on the fort and saw the American flag was still waving. The sight of the tattered Stars and Stripes was so moving that he pulled a letter from his pocket and began to write the poem. This poem eventually became the national anthem of the United States – “The Star Spangled Banner”.

Oh, say, can you see, by the dawn’s early light,
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight’s last gleaming?
Whose broad stripes and bright stars, thro’ the perilous fight’
O’er the ramparts we watched, were so gallantly streaming.
And the rockets red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.
Oh, say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

It does, sir. Regardless of a the actions of a bunch of ungrateful millionaires.

Foxnews.com reports that

Cleveland police and emergency services unions have declined an invitation from the NFL’s Cleveland Browns to hold an American flag for the team’s season opener after some Browns players knelt for the national anthem during a preseason game.
 
EMS union president Daniel Nemeth told Fox 8 Cleveland on Friday that the offer to participate in a pregame ceremony sounded great until a dozen Browns players refused to stand for the anthem, in support of free agent quarterback Colin Kaepernick.

Kaepernick, a former member of the San Francisco 49ers, started a firestorm last season when he decided to kneel for the playing of the anthem before games as a protest against mistreatment of blacks and other minorities in the U.S.

“This hit home with me. I am a veteran, an 8-year veteran with the U.S. Marine Corps. So, to disrespect the flag by taking a knee is not something I was going to be a part of,” Nemeth said.

Steve Loomis, the Cleveland police union president, told the station his officers will not participate either.

“ … if the ownership of the Browns and the league are going to allow that type of stuff to happen, and then come to us and say, ‘We want you to help us with the flag,’ that’s hypocritical. We’re not gonna participate.”

The Browns organization has not commented on the decision by the unions to not hold the flag for the first game of the season, but has supported its players in their decision to sit out the playing of “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

“As an organization, we have a profound respect for our country’s national anthem, flag and the servicemen and servicewomen in the United States and abroad,” the team said last month. “We feel it’s important for our team to join in this great tradition and special moment of recognition, at the same time we also respect the great liberties afforded by our country, including the freedom of personal expression.”

The Browns are scheduled to open the NFL season Sept. 10 against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

I stand with EMS and the Police Union.

I remember back in elementary school, every morning we began school by singing “Oh, What a Beautiful Morning” and then, reciting The Pledge of Allegiance. Even remembering that ritual today, I find comfort in it.

In the South, at least in the Mississippi County in which I live, the school day still begins with the recitation of the Pledge, which is led by a group of students, standing around a microphone in the Principal’s Office.

Unfortunately, that is no longer the case in many schools around our blessed land.

Under the Obama Administration, good old-fashioned American Patriotism was not considered Politically Correct.

So, what is the cause of this 180 degree turn from where we were, as a mostly cohesive society, based on love of God and Country, which I remember so fondly from my childhood, to where we are now as a country divided and comprised, to a certain extent,  of individuals, who believe in relative morality, situational ethics, and a malleable Constitution.

Learned individuals have been trying to discern exactly what has caused this Societal and Cultural Decline, and in the process, they have blamed it on everything from poor schools to poverty to malnutrition.

Being a simple man, (Hey, that would make a great title for a rock song. Oh, wait. It was. Never mind.) I believe that because Americans have wanted, for at least 3 generations now, to give their children everything materialistically possible, they have to a great extent, ignored teaching their children both how to discern between right and wrong and how to be grateful for living in the Greatest Country on the Face of the Earth. A country which provides them with endless opportunities and advantages…like college scholarships.

God’s Word tells us that we, as parents, should

Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it. – Proverbs 22:6 (ESV)

What these ungrateful NFL Millionaires do not understand is the fact that the exceptionalism of America lies not in the Halls of Power in the courage and spirit of the average American. A courage and spirit, which our history proves, has driven American Citizens to build a nation, which is indeed exceptional among all others.

The secret of this country’s exceptionalism is the “Average Joe”, the 9 to 5′er, working himself into the grave to try to provide for his family.

It was this same “Average Joe”, who fired the shot heard around the world and began the War for American Independence, who stormed the beaches of Normandy on D-Day in World War II, who waded through rice paddies in Vietnam, and who swallowed sand in Desert Storm and Desert Shield. The same “Average Joe” who, as a New York City Policeman or Fireman, ran up the stairs of the World Trade Center on 9/11/01, instead of running down them. The same “Average Joe”, who simply wants things to be easier in this life for his children and grandchildren, than he had it.

It is this same “Average Joe”, who takes family and friends in, when they are in the midst of a life-altering tragedy. The same “Average Joe”, who volunteers on a soup line or at a Senior Citizens Home, or, who begins a successful business in his basement.

Liberal Bureaucrats, like Former Secretary of State John Kerry and his boss, were professional political prevaricators. Men and women, whose ethics and morality change with the direction of the wind, and whose egos override their judgment…every time.

America is a Constitutional Republic. We are not ruled by a faceless all-powerful government. America’s politicians are OUR SERVANTS….not the other way around.

And, as their Boss, we expect them to possess a more complete knowledge of the history of the most exceptional nation on the face of God’s green Earth. We expect them to honor and respect the lives given and the sacrifices made by courageous Americans, who paved the way for this selfish generation, who are disrespecting a flag which brave men and women before them have died for and who are, at the same time, protesting in a desperate attempt to rewrite American History and to overturn the verified results of a Presidential Election in order for the results to be in accordance with the tenets of their Liberal Ideology.

These “Special Snowflakes’ ” blatant hatred of America and our country’s exceptionalism in the long run, will be of little consequence.

America’s place in the world and her Traditional Values are not things so fragile that they can be unalterably changed by a bunch of lightweight ungrateful brats like them.

As author Dinesh D’ Souza wrote…

What does the doctrine of American exceptionalism empower the United States to do? Nothing more than to act better than traditional empires – committed to looting and conquest – have done. So that’s American exceptionalism: an exceptionalism based on noble ideas, ideas that it holds itself to even when it falls short of them.

In conclusion, it is not a bunch of ungrateful Professional Athletes who decide America’s place in the world or the values which average Americans hold dear.

It is the fact of American Exceptionalism, seen in the lives of average hard-working Americans, like you and me.

And, that is something that those who embrace the failed political ideology of these
“Special Snowflakes” will never understand.

For what they call “Nationalism”, we call PATRIOTISM.

And what they call a “Symbol of Hate”, we honor and affectionately refer to as “Old Glory”.

So, on this Labor Day 2017, this average hard-working American thanks the Cleveland Police and Emergency Services Unions for taking a stand…

for America and OUR FLAG.

Happy Labor Day!

Until He Comes,

KJ

Jerry Lewis and the MDA Telethon: A Metaphor for Modern American Society 2016

thAPPQ5239So, here it is. Monday, September 5, 2016. Labor Day.

For a lot of Americans, such as my wife and myself, it is a day off of work.

But, it used to be so much more, as showbiz411.com reports.

There’s no Jerry Lewis telethon today. There hasn’t been one since 2011. And every year since then, MDA– the Muscular Dystrophy Association– has lost money. In 2010, total contributions were $171 million. In 2014, the last year MDA has filed a Form 990 tax return, total contributions were $135 million.

Nevertheless, the new CEO, Steven Derks, who moved MDA from its home in Arizona to Chicago, made just over $550,000 in 2014.

Total salaries came to $60 million, but none of that went to the local firefighters I saw in my town on Saturday stopping cars to ask for bucket donations to MDA. I felt bad for them. I asked one, “Is this a personal thing? Does someone you know have MDA?” He answered no, they had just been doing to for years. They have no idea that the real MDA– Jerry Lewis, the telethon, the inflated salaries of the executives– have made the organization something far different than it was in its halcyon years.

In 2014, MDA reported that its total revenue was down by $10 million– from $150 million to $140 million. Of course, expenses– not including salaries– are down, because so much of the old network is shut down, and there’s no spending on the television show.

Nevertheless, just like the salaries, professional fundraising fees have remained constant, too– at $540,000 a year. Eight independent contractors split another $8 million, including $2 million paid to ABC to carry a two hour pre-taped special no one watched. A total of over $13 million was spent — not earned– on expenses for various MDA fundraisers.

Today, Lewis, 90, appeared on CBS Sunday Morning to promote his new movie, “Max Rose.” There was no mention of his controversial ouster from MDA.  Earlier this year, it looked like there was some rapprochement between Lewis and MDA. But on the group’s website, his 50 year contribution to the organization is relegated to a footnote on their history page.

In what has become a metaphor for Modern American Society, a Labor Day Tradition of almost 50 years, has been tossed aside, having been deemed to have “outlived its usefulness”, shortly following the disrespectful and dishonorable discarding of its creator.

For 45 years, American families would, while spending time together, watch the Jerry Lewis Muscular Dystrophy Association Telethon. The telethon would begin on Sunday Evening and continue for 21 1/2 hours, ending on Monday evening at 5:00 p.m. Central. Co-hosted in later years by Ed McMahon and Norm Crosby, stars of stage, screen, and television would appear, alongside corporate executives, all there to raise money for “Jerry’s Kids”.

And, when I say “stars”, I mean STARS.

Jerry’s good friend, Sammy Davis, Jr. would come on every year, on Monday afternoon, and do a solid 30 minutes of entertaining., usually badgering Jerry, until he would come out and do a couple of songs with him, usually ending in a tap dance “challenge”.

Mr. Las Vegas himself, Wayne Newton, would come on after that and bring down the house, with several high energy numbers, wearing his huge American Eagle Belt Buckle and “TCB” Necklace, which Elvis Presley gave him as a sign of friendship and respect.

Speaking of the King, while Elvis did not appear live every year, usually, also sometime Monday Afternoon, Ed McMahon would say,

Jerry, we just received a call from Graceland.

Which meant that Elvis. known throughout my hometown of Memphis for his great generosity, had just phoned in a huge donation.

Perhaps, one of the most poignant moments in the history of the telethon came when  the Chairman of the Board, Francis Albert Sinatra, showed up. Frank told Jerry that he had brought a friend with him and asked him to come out. That friend was Jerry’s ex-partner, Dean Martin. The two had been estranged for years. Jerry became emotional. He hugged Dino, and, when everyone became silent, he asked,

So, you been working?

As reported earlier, 5 years ago, after 45 years of magnanimous service, raising untold millions for the MDA, Lewis was cruelly and unceremoniously dumped. In fact, the MDA did not even have the guts to tell Jerry Lewis that they dumped him!

In 2013, before the 2012 MDA Program, showbiz411.com posted this report about the results of the 201 trimmed-down “telethon”,

The 2011 telethon, shrunk to six hours from 21, was ghastly. When it was over MDA trumpeted that they’d made $61 million– up 4 percent from the prior year when Lewis was at the helm. MDA boasted it did better without Jerry.

Alas, it wasn’t true. MDA has just posted its 2011 federal tax form 990 on its website and this tells a much different story. MDA was only able to collect $31 million of that much publicized amount. Without Jerry Lewis to cajole or persuade or inveigle, exactly half the amount came in that was promised by the public. Whether people simply reneged, or never actually pledged that amount at all, remains to be seen.

MDA will argue this happens every year: the tote board total is never what actually comes in. But in 2010, MDA crowed about $58 million at the end of the telethon with Jerry; $48 million came in. In 2009, the first telethon after the recession, the shortfall was about $15 million–$60 million announced, $45 million arrived.

For last year, MDA lists gross receipts from the first non Jerry Lewis telethon at $30,683,816. The charitable contribution portion was 18,059,876 . This left a gross income of $12,623,940.

A 50% shortfall is unprecedented. Because of it, the Form 990 shows a running $30 million loss or more in all categories stated on the MDA return from the beginning of 2011 to the end. Net assets and fund balances seem severely depleted.

And public support dropped overall, not just with the Telethon. In 2010, MDA claimed it received over $174 million in gifts and grants (including the telethon). In 2011, there was a big drop: the number was only $157 million.

Even more disturbing: revenue less expenses left MDA in the red for 2011 at $19 million.

MDA’s now deposed CEO, the man who got rid of Lewis, Gerald C. Weinberg, still pulled down his nearly $400K a year salary in 2011, which he’d been making fo years. The top staff at MDA all make decent six figure salaries as well. Weinberg and most of that staff are no longer working at MDA.

To be fair: MDA divides up the millions that do come in to dozens of worthy hospitals, universities, research programs, and facilities. The halved $61 million is still a sizeable chunk for these donation-starved groups. However: without the bad publicity and the controversy around Jerry Lewis, MDA might have been able to collect a higher percentage of pledges which would have benefited these groups even more.

Something happened at MDA in 2011 that’s never quite been explained. They committed a kind of hari-kari, taking an established brand and flushing it down the toilet. On Sunday night, the so-called remnants of the annual telethon are down to three hours. Almost everything is pre-taped except for local cut ins. The acts have no relationship to the history of the MDA.

Because it’s taped, there will be no drama to see if they can top last year. Of course, last year doesn’t really exist since the actually collected $31 million is far below the amounts from preceding years.

In 2012, the MDA Program was renamed the “MDA Show of Strength”. It was scaled down to a 3 hour program, featuring mostly pre-taped segments.

In May of 2015, the Muscular Dystrophy Association sent out the following Press Release:

MDA, the Muscular Dystrophy Association, today announced that the new realities of television viewing and philanthropic giving have made this the right time for the organization to move beyond its historic Labor Day telethon. It will discontinue production of a broadcast telethon effective this year.

Julie Rhoad, mom of two boys with muscular dystrophy, speaks from her heart to the 2008 Telethon audience about the tough challenges faced by MDA families. Host Jerry Lewis offers emotional support.

MDA plans to invest more in digital and mobile channels for consumer engagement and activation. The organization will continue to share the inspirational stories of MDA families on Labor Day and throughout the year via digital channels as part of an emerging year-round plan to revitalize its brand, connect with donors more frequently, strengthen family support, and attract and recognize sponsors in new ways.

“The decision to end our beloved telethon was not made lightly,” said MDA President and CEO Steven M. Derks. “In the last few years, the show was adjusted to reflect changes in viewership and donor patterns, and last summer’s Ice Bucket Challenge once again affirmed for us that today’s families, donors and sponsors are looking to us for new, creative and organic ways to support our mission.”

The first telethon aired in 1956 and has attracted America’s most famous celebrities over the years, none more prominent than the legendary Jerry Lewis, who emceed the event through 2010. For decades, the telethon was instrumental in raising awareness and donations to save and improve the lives of kids and adults fighting muscular dystrophy, ALS and other life-threatening diseases that severely limit muscle strength and mobility.

Frank Sinatra orchestrated one of the most surprising and touching moments in television history when he reunited estranged partners Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis on the 1976 Telethon.

MDA will transition from the television-based telethon, most recently named the “MDA Show of Strength Telethon,” to personal shows of strength, building on its rich tradition around consumer activation and compelling stories that inspire, entertain, and most importantly, incite urgent action.

“We have ambitious plans to leverage our history, the compelling stories of our families and our record of innovation — just like we did decades ago when we introduced the telethon and cause-marketing for nonprofit organizations — as we continue to use creative ways to connect with supporters and deliver more value for our sponsors, never forgetting the families who are at the very heart of our mission,” Derks said.

After MDA gave Lewis the Fickle Finger of Fate, they continued to insist

We honor Jerry Lewis, we admire the work he’s done for us, and we respect his decision to retire.

That particular quote came from Valerie Cwik, the MDA’s interim president, at the time. She replaced Gerald Weinberg, who was reportedly behind Lewis’s ouster and who stepped down as president, after 54 years with the organization.

She made the lame argument that the changes in the telethon were part of a necessary evolution in fundraising strategy, to put less emphasis on the once-a-year event.

It has to change because the American audience has changed. A 21.5-hour show doesn’t fit in a 140-character world.

This past year, the current MDA President, mentioned earlier, reached out to Lewis and attempted to smooth things over with him, opening the door for possible voice-over projects in the future.

I swear, “The Smartest People in the Room”. a.k.a., Modern American Liberals, screw up everything.

Okay. I know that Lewis had a reputation as an ego-maniacal pain-in-the-rear to work with, but, these were people’s lives that the MDA was messing with. It could have, and should have, been handled differently.

However, Jerry Lewis also devoted over half his life for “his kids”, visiting them in hospitals around the nation, with no cameras around, and calling and visiting Corporate CEOs and A-List Celebrities, getting them to help him raise money for those kids and adults struck down by these debilitating Muscular Disorders.

His ouster by MDA showed no respect or gratitude, whatsoever.

What happened to Jerry Lewis, seems to be happening to American Society in general.

This lack of respect seems to be an epidemic in this country. In the workplace, I have noticed that there sure does seem to be a lot of  “millennials” who have no respect whatsoever for decorum, their co-workers, or authority.

Now, I may just be a 57 year old fuddy-duddy Cracka, but I have no desire to see your brand new shoulder tattoo in the business office, ladies…nor your neck tattoo with Pookie’s name on it, young Skillet.

And, when older folks in your place of business try to tell you how the world works, kiddies, you would be well-served to listen to us. We’re trying to help.

This is real life. You’re not playing “World of Warcraft” or “Final Fantasy”. People’s families depend on their paycheck. And, when you do not “pull your weight” at your job, you affect everyone’s incomes.

As the MDA learned the hard way, the “young and culturally hip” are usually not as reliable as the “experienced and professional”.

Of course, as it always has been…some folks have to learn things the hard way.

And, that’s when they find out that they are not as smart as they think they are.

Until He Comes,

KJ

A Failed Political Philosophy, A Failed Presidency

Today, on Labor Day, 2012, I believe that it is an appropriate time to take a look at the war that the Liberals in the country are fighting against American Exceptionalism.

Let’s start with the rant against small business owners  which MSNBC Host Melissa Harris-Perry delivered on Saturday:

What is riskier than living poor in America? Seriously! What in the world is riskier than being a poor person in America? I live in a neighborhood where people are shot on my street corner. I live in a neighborhood where people have to figure out how to get their kid into school because maybe it will be a good school and maybe it won’t. I am sick of the idea that being wealthy is risky. No. There is a huge safety net that whenever you fail will catch you and catch you and catch you. Being poor is what is risky. We have to create a safety net for poor people. And when we won’t, because they happen to look different from us, it is the pervasive ugliness.

Charming.

However, the ugly truth is: she’s only following the Marxist philosophy of her messiah.

According to newsmax.com, Obama was radical about it in college:

Dr. John C. Drew, a grant writing consultant in Laguna Niguel, Calif., tells Newsmax he met Obama in 1980 when Obama was a sophomore at Occidental College in Los Angeles. Drew had just graduated from Occidental and was attending graduate school at Cornell University.

Drew’s then girlfriend, Caroline Boss — now Grauman-Boss — knew Obama because she shared classes with him at Occidental.

During Christmas break, Drew says he was at Grauman-Boss’ home in Palo Alto when Obama came over with Mohammed Hasan Chandoo, his roommate from Pakistan.

“Barack and Hasan showed up at the house in a BMW, and then we went to a restaurant together,” Drew says. “We had a nice meal, and then we came back to the house and smoked cigarettes and drank and argued politics.”

For the next several hours, they discussed Marxism.

“He was arguing a straightforward Marxist-Leninist class-struggle point of view, which anticipated that there would be a revolution of the working class, led by revolutionaries, who would overthrow the capitalist system and institute a new socialist government that would redistribute the wealth,” says Drew, who says he himself was then a Marxist.

“The idea was basically that wealthy people were exploiting others,” Drew says. “That this was the secret of their wealth, that they weren’t paying others enough for their work, and they were using and taking advantage of other people. He was convinced that a revolution would take place, and it would be a good thing.”

Drew concluded that Obama thought of himself as “part of an intelligent, radical vanguard that was leading the way towards this revolution and towards this new society.”

Remember what he said to Joe the Plumber, over 3 long years ago?

…I think when you spread the wealth around, it’s good for everybody.

During his 500th (or, at least, it seemed that way at the time) speech based upon class warfare, given on December 6, 2011, Obama said: 

Today, we are still home to the world’s most productive workers and innovative companies. But for most Americans, the basic bargain that made this country great has eroded. Long before the recession hit, hard work stopped paying off for too many people. Fewer and fewer of the folks who contributed to the success of our economy actually benefitted from that success. Those at the very top grew wealthier from their incomes and investments than ever before. But everyone else struggled with costs that were growing and paychecks that weren’t – and too many families found themselves racking up more and more debt just to keep up.

For many years, credit cards and home equity loans papered over the harsh realities of this new economy. But in 2008, the house of cards collapsed. We all know the story by now: Mortgages sold to people who couldn’t afford them, or sometimes even understand them. Banks and investors allowed to keep packaging the risk and selling it off. Huge bets – and huge bonuses – made with other people’s money on the line. Regulators who were supposed to warn us about the dangers of all this, but looked the other way or didn’t have the authority to look at all.

It was wrong. It combined the breathtaking greed of a few with irresponsibility across the system. And it plunged our economy and the world into a crisis from which we are still fighting to recover. It claimed the jobs, homes, and the basic security of millions – innocent, hard-working Americans who had met their responsibilities, but were still left holding the bag.

Ever since, there has been a raging debate over the best way to restore growth and prosperity; balance and fairness. Throughout the country, it has sparked protests and political movements – from the Tea Party to the people who have been occupying the streets of New York and other cities. It’s left Washington in a near-constant state of gridlock. And it’s been the topic of heated and sometimes colorful discussion among the men and women who are running for president.

But this isn’t just another political debate. This is the defining issue of our time. This is a make or break moment for the middle class, and all those who are fighting to get into the middle class. At stake is whether this will be a country where working people can earn enough to raise a family, build a modest savings, own a home, and secure their retirement.

Now, in the midst of this debate, there are some who seem to be suffering from a kind of collective amnesia. After all that’s happened, after the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, they want to return to the same practices that got us into this mess. In fact, they want to go back to the same policies that have stacked the deck against middle-class Americans for too many years. Their philosophy is simple: we are better off when everyone is left to fend for themselves and play by their own rules. 

Well, I’m here to say they are wrong. I’m here to reaffirm my deep conviction that we are greater together than we are on our own. I believe that this country succeeds when everyone gets a fair shot, when everyone does their fair share, and when everyone plays by the same rules. Those aren’t Democratic or Republican values; 1% values or 99% values. They’re American values, and we have to reclaim them.

Mr. President, we do not need you to provide for us. Americans are a free people. This is a sovereign country. We needed you to empower America’s Business Owners, not handicap them with more regulations and egregious tax rates, designed to grow the Federal Government while small business owners, and, eventually, big business owners go bankrupt.

Marxism has failed, everywhere it has been tried. That’s a fact.

For the last three and a half years, you have tried to install a nanny-state government here, against the wishes of average Americans.

And now, your popularity sits at 43% approval, and your re-election bid stands at the edge of the abyss of failure.

Why?

“It’s the economy, stupid.”

Happy May…errr…Labor Day

Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.

Saul Alinsky, Rules for Radicals

The 44th President of the United States appears to have that rule down pat.

In advance of a major Occupy rally planned for Tuesday, President Obama delivered a speech this [yesterday] morning filled with class warfare rhetoric.

The president warned union members that Republicans would rather give “rich folks” more tax breaks, than invest in the American worker.

“Republicans in Congress would rather put fewer of you to work rebuilding America than ask millionaires and billionaires to live without massive new tax cuts on top of the ones they’ve already gotten,” Obama declared in a speech to to construction union members at the Hilton hotel in Washington.

Obama added that Republicans’ economic plan depended on tax cuts for the rich and “dismantling your unions.”

“I mean, if you ask them, what’s their big economic plan in addition to tax cuts for rich folks, it’s dismantling your unions. After all you’ve done to build and protect the middle class, they make the argument you’re responsible for the problems facing the middle class,” Obama added.

The president praised the unionized middle class as the for contributing to an economy based on the middle class.

“You believed prosperity shouldn’t be reserved just for a privileged few; it should extend all the way from the boardroom all the way down to the factory floor.”

According to marxists.org:

Out of its traditions the American labor movement has given the international working class two fighting days which the revolutionary workers consider as mile posts and which they must pass each year on their way to ultimate victory. Those who were midwives at the birth of these “days” have renounced them as soon as they have acquired revolutionary meaning. The A. F. of L. helped with the inauguration of May Day. It has long expiated that sin against American capital and it is never held against it.

The Socialist Party, a close, even if poor, relation of the A. F. of L., must be considered as having contributed to the origin of International Women’s Day, celebrated each year on March 8. About twenty years ago the Socialist women of New York organized, in contradistinction to the bourgeois suffrage movement, a mass participation of proletarian women in the movement for woman suffrage. This particular action took place on March 8. The success of the New York demonstration led to the establishment of March 8 as Women’s Day on a national scale. The International Socialist Congress in 1910 made March 8 international.

With the granting of woman suffrage in the United States, March 8 was abandoned by the S. P., since the ballot and election to office has always been the alpha and omega of that party. The Russian working women did not forget March 8 and, following the October Revolution, rejuvenated this important fighting labor day. The Communist International made International Women’s Day again a living reality. As in the case of May 1, only the Communist parties are carrying on the traditions of March 8, with men and women workers jointly utilizing this day to call upon the proletarian women to take their place in the struggles beside the men workers.

For the May Day, 1923, edition of the Weekly Worker, C. E. Ruthenberg wrote: “May Day – the day which inspires fear in the hearts of the capitalists and hope in the workers – the workers the world over – will find the Communist movement this year stronger in the U. S. than at any time in its history…. The road is clear for greater achievements, and in the United States as elsewhere in the world the future belongs to Communism.” In a Weekly Worker of a generation before, Eugene V. Debs wrote in a May Day edition of the paper, published on April 27, 1907: “This is the first and only International Labor Day. It belongs to the working class and is dedicated to the Revolution.”

Bloomberg.com reports that the Occupy Wall Street movement is ready to celebrate today, in their own inimitable classless style.

Occupy Wall Street demonstrators, whose anti-greed message spread worldwide during an eight-week encampment in Lower Manhattan last year, plan marches across the globe today calling attention to what they say are abuses of power and wealth.

Organizers say they hope the coordinated events will mark a spring resurgence of the movement after a quiet winter. Calls for a general strike with no work, no school, no banking and no shopping have sprung up on websites in Toronto, Barcelona, London, Kuala Lumpur and Sydney, among hundreds of cities in North America, Europe and Asia.

In New York, Occupy Wall Street will join scores of labor organizations observing May 1, traditionally recognized as International Workers’ Day. They plan marches from Union Square to Lower Manhattan and a “pop-up occupation” of Bryant Park on Sixth Avenue, across the street from Bank of America’s Corp.’s 55-story tower.

“We call upon people to refrain from shopping, walk out of class, take the day off of work and other creative forms of resistance disrupting the status quo,” organizers said in an April 26 e-mail.

Occupy groups across the U.S. have protested economic disparity, decrying high foreclosure and unemployment rates that hurt average Americans while bankers and financial executives received bonuses and taxpayer-funded bailouts. In the past six months, similar groups, using social media and other tools, have sprung up in Europe, Asia and Latin America.

Alinsky and Marx would be very proud of these “useful idiots”.