Zhitkur Underground Base, Russia’s Area 51

Kapustin Yar was the former Soviet Union’s most sensitive air base, even exceeding America’s Area 51 for the levels of secrecy that shrouded it. UFO Files claimed that it was to present never-before-seen footage of the base, reconnaissance photos and even a virtual tour of its hidden depths.

Kapustin Yar was created as the site for the development of the Soviet Union’s space program after the end of World War II. It lies over 500 miles south of Moscow and about 60 miles east of Volgograd, the former Stalingrad. These days it lies close to the Kazakhstan border, but back in those days, the base was deep inside Soviet territory. It was here that captured V2 rockets and the German scientists that created them were set to work with not only the single task of getting into space before the Americans, but also designing and testing new aircraft, missiles and other weapons systems. The base was deemed so secret that the nearby town of Zhitkur was emptied of its population and levelled because it was too close.

In 1948, less than a year after the famed Roswell Incident, the base’s radar operators picked up an unidentified object. At the same time, a fighter pilot flying close to the base had a visual sighting of a silver, cigar-shaped object. Reporting that he was being blinded by rays from the UFO, the pilot was ordered to engage with it and, after a three minute dogfight, a missile successfully brought down the object. It seems that the UFO fired some sort of energy weapon at the MiG and both craft crashed to the ground.
William J Birnes, publisher of the American UFO Magazine, believed that the alien craft fired a particle beam weapon at the Soviet fighter, but a lucky shot with the missile disrupted the UFO’s anti-gravity field, causing it to fall from the sky. Soviet recovery teams quickly gathered up all the wreckage and transported it to the underground facility at Kapustin Yar, which was ironically named Zhitkur, after the former town not far from the base.

Birnes claimed that MiG pilots were ordered to take any measures necessary to bring down extraterrestrial craft because Moscow was desperate to gain any advantage over the United States, whom they believed had made their tremendous advances due to recovered flying saucer reverse-engineering.
Russia has a long history of UFO sightings, dating back thousands of years. Russian researcher, Paul Stonehill, co-author with Philip Mantle of UFO-USSR, described how in about 950AD, Ahmed Ibn Fadlan, an Arab chronicler, was dispatched by the Caliph of Baghdad to engage in diplomacy with the King of the Bulgars. In the Volga region of Russia, Fadlan described how he and his fellow travellers witnessed ‘aerial battles’ between ‘shapes’ that moved through the clouds. Fleets of objects, flying in formations that resembled people and animals, engaged each other, merging and separating for a long period of time. Stonehill described it as being like something from a modern movie.

On 15th August, 1663, a great fiery disc came down from the sky and began shooting beams of light into the Robozero Lake near Belozersk, about 250 miles east of St. Petersburg.

It moved from the south to the west, vanished and later reappeared for an hour and a half, terrifying the local witnesses. Fisherman were said to have been scalded by the light and glowing fish leaped from the water, as if to escape the fireball floating overhead.

In 1892, an object appeared over Moscow and shot a ‘pillar of light’ down to the ground for 20-25 minutes. It was described as fiery, much like most other Russian UFO reports through the ages.
One Russian event dwarfs any reported anywhere in the world. On June 30th, 1908, a huge fireball raced across the Siberian taiga and exploded over the forest close to the town of Tunguska. Six hundred square miles of tundra was razed to the ground and the shockwave was felt by seismographs around the world.

At first it was thought that a meteor had impacted with the Earth and when the first expeditions arrived twenty years later, they expected to find a huge crater. No crater was found, but the devastation was evident, with trees laid out like matchsticks in a huge, circular swathe from the centre of the blast. From the pattern of the destruction, it soon became apparent that the object had exploded high above the ground, much like the atomic bombs dropped on Japan in 1945, but much more powerful in terms of magnitude.
Most researchers outside of Russia, including Stanton Friedman, were convinced that this was a natural event and nothing to do with aliens or UFOs, but Russian ufologists, such as Nikolai Subbotin of the Russian UFO Research Station, were not so sure. Subbotin explained how the object apparently changed course twice before exploding, something a natural object such as a meteorite or comet cannot do. Then there were unexplained radiation levels in the region and the fact that plant life appears to have been altered because of this radiation.

Stalin himself seemed convinced that the event was related to some sort of weapon, possibly from extraterrestrials, and he set Sergei Korolev, the father of Soviet rocketry, the task of finding answers. Korolev financed a team to travel to Tunguska in fleets of helicopters. They found radioactive metal fragments and an area that has become known as ‘The Devil’s Graveyard’, an area close to the blast site where no plants will grow and animals tend to die. Although Korolev is believed to have told Stalin that he thought the blast was caused by an alien spacecraft, his official report put the blame squarely on a meteorite.
As rumours began to filter back to Washington DC about UFO wreckage from Tunguska, the 1948 crash and other incidents being taken to Zhitkur, it became obvious to America’s intelligence agencies that they needed to find out what was going on. Their spies informed them that the Soviet Union was building huge rockets that could not only carry large, nuclear payloads, but could also reach space. Indeed, their progress became so rapid, that the Soviets were ahead of their own schedules in terms of advancement.
By the time American U2 spy planes photographed the complex at Kapustin Yar, there were at least four ballistic launch sites, fourteen launch pads, a highly-sophisticated radar tracking facility, three long runways and numerous unidentified areas. There were strange, geometric patterns on the ground. Many UFO researchers believe that these designs are to attract UFOs and are patterned after ancient monuments and cereal glyphs.
What the reconnaissance aircraft could not reveal was the underground Zhitkur facility. UFO Files now took us on a virtual guided tour of the base, recreated from descriptions given from Russian ufologist Anton Anfalov. A quarter of a mile beneath the surface, we were led down dark, dank corridors and tunnels, with numerous chambers containing various types of extraterrestrial craft in various stages of disassembly. There were areas where autopsies of aliens would take place and other sections where perhaps engines were being reconstructed. Finally, there are huge hangars containing not aircraft, but large, cigar- or cylindrical-shaped objects.
The advances at Kapustin Yar enabled the Soviets to leap ahead of America in the space race. In 1957, Sputnik I was successfully placed into orbit. A month later, a dog called Laika became the first animal in space. In 1961, Yuri Gagarin became the first man to orbit the Earth. In 1963, Valentina Tereshkova became the first woman to travel into space. In 1965, Alexei Leonov became the first man to ‘walk’ in space. Russia’s cosmonauts also performed the first rendezvous and docking in space. Apart from the Apollo moon shots, the Soviet Union was winning the space race until the space shuttle was first launched in 1981.
One of Russia’s most well-known ufologists is Vladimir Azhazha (sometimes spelled Ajaja). He took us on a tour of a site close to Kapustin Yar where he claimed a UFO crashed. Dowsing with copper rods, he found an elliptical area where he claimed that an alien craft had plummeted to Earth in 1961. He said that animals avoided the area, no cattle will graze there and strange energies affect your pulse rate and breathing.
A local resident, Zoya Shubenkina, corroborated Azhazha’s story about the 1961 crash, claiming she had witnessed it for herself. She said a big, fiery, red sphere flew over her house and crashed in the valley by the river.
Azhazha explained how many Soviet fighter pilots engaged in dogfights with UFOs. Former Soviet Air Force colonel and cosmonaut, a hero of the state, Marina Popovich confirmed that she had personally witnessed aerial battles between Soviet jets and UFOs. One such event she described occurred in 1964. During a training mission, two jets came under attack from a UFO and were forced into a spiral dive. In 1980, Colonel Popovich encountered several unidentified objects while on a top secret mission. She said they were three fireball-like lights and she watched as they moved away.

In the evening of the 7th of August, 1967, Colonel Vyatkin Lev Mikhailovic suddenly encountered an object that was projecting a beam of light downwards. He tried to wrestle his MiG away from the beam, but the left wing touched it and he struggled to regain control. The plane shook and his instruments went haywire. As they flew away, his technician exclaimed that the wing was glowing and after they landed, it continued to glow for a whole week afterwards.

As more and more reports came in from across the Soviet Union, the KGB clamped down, opening up its own file on the phenomenon, known as The Blue File. The Blue File would become the most comprehensive and largest study of UFOs ever commissioned anywhere in the world. It ran from the mid-sixties until the fall of the Soviet Union. One of its latest reports was from 1990, when witnesses close to Kapustin Yar described UFOs in the sky for over an hour. The new freedoms in Russia enabled the producers of UFO Files to obtain ‘top secret’ footage of a supposed UFOs at Kapustin Yar. On June 3rd, 1960, two alien craft allegedly crashed at Kasputin Yar, creating an expanding fireball that caused explosions in the vicinity for over an hour. Figures are seen running from the conflagration, smoke pouring from their clothing. One drops to the ground and lies motionless. One of the UFOs was said to have destroyed three rockets on their launch pads, while the other took out a fuel depot. Once the flames had been doused, the remains of the craft were sent to Zhitkur.
To be honest, to suggest that what was shown in the footage was a UFO is stretching credulity somewhat. All we saw was a big fire. It could have been anything, but the story persists and Stanton Friedman said that he had heard those same rumours about UFOs destroying Soviet rockets in an act of retaliation.
Russia is a land of many mysteries, not just ufological in nature. The programme ended with a report from a US journalist, Kim Murphy of the LA Times, talking about her trip to Russia to investigate a lake that had mysteriously vanished. She wasn’t sure she believed the stories, but when she got there, she found that it was true. An entire lake had vanished, with eyewitnesses saying that a huge whirlpool had formed and the water had vanished like water down a plug hole. What that has to do with UFOs, I don’t know…
Getting back on track, we were told that research is still ongoing at Kapustin Yar, with UFO wreckage being brought to Zhitkur quite regularly and as recently as 1997, when a craft was said to have come down in Poland.
Russian Roswell was another interesting look at the UFO phenomenon. The Soviet Union obviously had a great deal of interest in the subject and, it seems, was prepared to act in an extremely hostile manner towards unidentified craft in their airspace. Was Moscow’s leap into space aided by reverse-engineering alien craft? The evidence would suggest not. Soviet rockets were powered pretty much the same way as American ones i.e. they didn’t get up there by using anti-gravity engines from a crashed saucer. Still, it makes you wonder what secrets might lay in all these underground facilities, not just in Russia, but all over the world.

Too Many Wars. Too Many Enemies.

If Turkey is not bluffing, U.S. troops in Manbij, Syria, could be under fire by week’s end, and NATO engulfed in the worst crisis in its history.
Turkish President Erdogan said Friday his troops will cleanse Manbij of Kurdish fighters, alongside whom U.S. troops are embedded.
Erdogan’s foreign minister demanded concrete steps by the U.S. to end its support of the Kurds, who control the Syrian border with Turkey east of the Euphrates, all the way to Iraq.
If the Turks attack Manbij, the U.S. will face a choice: Stand by our Kurdish allies and resist the Turks, or abandon the Kurds.
Should the U.S. let the Turks drive the Kurds out of Manbij and the entire Syrian border area with Turkey, as Erdogan threatens, U.S. credibility would suffer a blow from which it would not soon recover.
But to stand with the Kurds and oppose Erdogan’s forces could mean a crackup of NATO and loss of U.S. bases inside Turkey, including the air base at Incirlik.
Turkey also sits astride the Dardanelles entrance to the Black Sea. NATO’s loss of Turkey would thus be a triumph for Vladimir Putin, who gave Ankara the green light to cleanse the Kurds from Afrin.
Yet Syria is but one of many challenges to U.S. foreign policy.
The Winter Olympics in South Korea may have taken the threat of a North Korean ICBM that could hit the U.S. out of the news. But no one believes that threat is behind us.
Last week, China charged that the USS Hopper, a guided missile destroyer, sailed within 12 nautical miles of Scarborough Shoal, a reef in the South China Sea claimed by Beijing, though it is far closer to Luzon in the Philippines. The destroyer, says China, was chased off by one of her frigates. If we continue to contest China’s territorial claims with U.S. warships, a clash is inevitable.
In a similar incident Monday, a Russian military jet came within five feet of a U.S. Navy EP-3 Orion surveillance plane in international airspace over the Black Sea, forcing the Navy plane to end its mission.
U.S. relations with Cold War ally Pakistan are at rock bottom. In his first tweet of 2018, President Trump charged Pakistan with being a duplicitous and false friend.
“The United States has foolishly given Pakistan more than 33 billion dollars in aid over the last 15 years, and they have given us nothing but lies & deceit, thinking of our leaders as fools. They give safe haven to the terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan, with little help. No more!”
As for America’s longest war, in Afghanistan, now in its 17th year, the end is nowhere on the horizon.
A week ago, the International Hotel in Kabul was attacked and held for 13 hours by Taliban gunmen who killed 40. Midweek, a Save the Children facility in Jalalabad was attacked by ISIS, creating panic among aid workers across the country.
Saturday, an ambulance exploded in Kabul, killing 103 people and wounding 235. Monday, Islamic State militants attacked Afghan soldiers guarding a military academy in Kabul. With the fighting season two months off, U.S. troops will not soon be departing.
If Pakistan is indeed providing sanctuary for the terrorists of the Haqqani network, how does this war end successfully for the United States?
Last week, in a friendly fire incident, the U.S.-led coalition killed 10 Iraqi soldiers. The Iraq war began 15 years ago.
Yet another war, where the humanitarian crisis rivals Syria, continues on the Arabian Peninsula. There, a Saudi air, sea and land blockade that threatens the Yemeni people with starvation has failed to dislodge Houthi rebels who seized the capital Sanaa three years ago.
This weekend brought news that secessionist rebels, backed by the United Arab Emirates, have seized power in Yemen’s southern port of Aden, from the Saudi-backed Hadi regime fighting the Houthis.
These rebels seek to split the country, as it was before 1990.
Iran, Saudi Arabia and the UAE appear to be backing different horses in this tribal-civil-sectarian war into which America has been drawn.
There are other wars — Somalia, Libya, Ukraine — where the U.S. is taking sides, sending arms, training troops, flying missions.
Like the Romans, we have become an empire, committed to fight for scores of nations, with troops on every continent, and forces in combat operations of which the American people are only vaguely aware.
“I didn’t know there were 1,000 troops in Niger,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham when four Green Berets were killed there. “We don’t know exactly where we’re at in the world, militarily, and what we’re doing.”
No, we don’t, Senator.
As in all empires, power is passing to the generals.
And what causes the greatest angst today in the imperial city?
Fear that a four-page memo worked up in the House Judiciary Committee may discredit Robert Mueller’s investigation of Russia-gate.

Pirated H264 encoded episodes now a lot HIGHER QUALITY/bitrate than Cruchyroll’s or Anime Strike services

Throughout the years, we’ve seen anime grow and mature. From pirated VHSes to fansubs and now the the legal simulcasting of shows, being able to watch them right after they air in Japan, anime distribution has truly evolved throughout the ages. As years gone by, it became much easier watch the shows we hold dear and support them, but things are now changing.


The western anime community has legitimized what used to be entirely in a legal grey zone, creating an industry behind it’s effort, but all of this has been threatened thanks to the willpower of one of the largest corporations in the world, and the negligence of us fans. Within a few months of this year, we’ve gone from what I like to coin “An Era of Good Feelings” with the biggest players in the western anime community working together to make anime as accessible as possible, straight into the worst anime streaming situation we’ve had in years. Anime is harder to watch, more expensive to watch, and in lower quality than before, all because of events that happened in the past few months.
While not the only cause, the biggest cause is Anime Strike, which is Amazon’s brand-new anime streaming service that only serves to make things worse. While there’s nothing wrong with a new player in the market, there is something wrong with the way Amazon did this: Amazon brute-forced themselves into the market without any regard or understanding of how the anime community works. Given that the anime industry in the west is grown from a community that had to do less-than-legal things to get the shows they want, it takes quite a bit to convince the community that legal anime is worth it… Anime Strike ignores this, making it much more likely that people may pirate.

  • Anime Strike makes it more inconvenient to watch anime: This is a pro and con, as it means more competition, but you now need to remember who acquired the show and have to switch between apps to watch it, along with finding alternative services if you don’t have the specific streaming service.
  • Anime Strike doesn’t add anything to the conversation: Anime Strike is just another streaming service. It doesn’t add anything, there are no fancy download settings, nothing. With Crunchyroll, you got discounts on their store, free manga, and more… with Strike, you get one manga from Comixology a month and anime… nothing more, nothing.
  • Anime Strike is expensive, and hidden between double paywalls: This is the most egregious: It’s 5 dollars per month, and you need Prime to get it (it doesn’t come with Prime either, it’s an additional cost). That means it costs 160 dollars per year. In comparison to Crunchyroll, that’s basically double the cost, as CR would cost you 7 per month, so 84 dollars. Prime is worth it because it comes with other things, but the extra money for the channel itself is a cash grab, and if you’re solely interested in watching anime, this is a steep price to pay.
  • It’s region-locked: When existing players like Crunchyroll acquire anime, they try to make it available in multiple regions. Amazon is only supporting Anime Strike in the US, making it impossible for many people (CA people in particular get screwed in comparison to the past) to watch their shows.
  • There’s no way to watch Amazon Strike shows for free: CR and Funimation, who understood that many in the community pirate, created their services with accessibility in mind, allowing you to watch the shows for free with ads—one week later in lower quality, but still free. No free option for Anime Strike, basically screwing over anyone who doesn’t have Strike.
  • A lack of support on specific devices: Anime Strike is an Amazon Channel, so it’s watchable on every device you can watch Amazon Channels on. But while they support most devices, they don’t support all: they have a tendency of not wanting to support competing smart TV devices. As someone who uses an Android TV box as a streaming box, I’m totally out of luck, as there is no support for Amazon Channels on that device. Apple TV owners are equally screwed.
  • They have the rights to basically every show that’s worth watching this season sans Attack on Titan & My Hero Academia: Amazon (and their partner, Sentai Filmworks) have been very aggressive with trying to aquire shows. So aggressive that a vast amount of anime fans will now realize that they have no legal access to the anime that they want. Anime Strike came out last season, but at the time they only had a handful of titles (mostly noitaminA works, thanks to the deal they made). This season, they managed to acquire all of the worthwhile shows out of nowhere. We don’t know if this is going to be a trend, but it is here now.

Thanks to Anime Strike, it is now harder for anime fans to watch the shows they like, and more expensive as well. To add insult to injury, Crunchyroll hasn’t been making their service any better either: from heavily pushing a service nobody cares about in an overly aggressive manner, throwing atrusive ads to paying customers, and making video quality worse.
Enter VRV. This is Crunchyroll’s parent company’s (Ellison/AT&T) attemptto make a unified platform, but Crunchyroll has not been subtle in advertising this new service. Giant pop-up ads appear whenever you watch anime on your phone when there’s a lot of demand, hinting that the streams will be better on that service. By shifting their attention to VRV, they are caring about the core CR experience less, and trying to push a new service whenever something goes wrong. If this means what I think it means, this could be even going against the ideals of net neutrality, prioritizing VRV customers over CR customers, basically paying for a fast lane to the anime you want. If everyone started doing this, the internet would only get worse and worse, and there would be even less of a reason to watch legal anime… And that’s ignoring the bitrate issue.

Thanks to the work of Daiz, we found out that Crunchyroll has been encoding episodes in a lower bitrate than before, making the quality of the shows worse, all to save money and server demand for VRV’s launch. Bitrate is the number of bits that is processed in the unit of time, but in effect, this means the amount of detail that is in a video. They cut the size of files in half, and it shows, as anime look blockier, with less color detail, essentially looking noticeably worse in general. There are a lot of comparisons on Reddit, and the difference is significant. Thanks to an outroar by the internet community, they said they would switch to a better encoder, but this doesn’t fix existing shows, as those are still much lower bitrate. Take a look if you’re interested.


In the past few years, there hasn’t been a lot of arguments for watching illegally other than you didn’t want to pay money. Anime was affordable and the legal option was more convenient than pirating, with better quality than the pirated equivalents. Thanks to Amazon and Crunchyroll, neither of these are the case anymore, and thus the argument for pirating anime is stronger than ever. Piracy is a service issue, and we are now getting worse service at a significantly higher cost. People have the choice of spending two to three times the money they previously spent to watch the same amount of shows legally, dealing with less shows in worse quality, or pirate. After all this effort in the community to get people to watch legally, we have it all collapsed in one season, due to the greed of companies that don’t understand or care about the anime community. Hopefully things get better, but as of now, this is the state of anime in 2017, the year in which legal anime streaming went to shit.

Best Super Mario games in order

And with that many Mario games around, it inevitably leads to endless debates over which one is best. So, we at USgamer decided to take a democratic approach and put it to a vote. Seven different USgamer contributors have weighed in to decide once and for all which Mario games are best, and which are worst, by putting the entire series to a vote.  
And how did we go about making these decisions? We used a weighted voting system, where all 35 games were assigned a score based on each person’s ranking. Each game’s overall score was then tallied and ranked. As for which games were eligible, we included only Super Mario games and spinoffs — platformers beginning with Super Mario Bros. No sports games, no puzzlers, no RPGs, no racing games… and no pre-Super Mario games, e.g. Mario Bros. and Donkey Kong or Donkey Kong sequels, either (including DK94, Donkey Kong Country, and all those Mini games). And finally, ports and remakes were counted as the original game… so while we didn’t include Super Mario Bros. DX on the list, it definitely factored into our opinions about Super Mario Bros. There have been so many Mario games we had to draw the line somewhere or else we’d never be done with this feature.  
So how did the games stack up? Some of the results may surprise you! [Update Monday 9/7: Part two, with games 22-11, is up!]  

The Bottom Tier

The lowest of the low… just kidding. With just a few exceptions, a poor Mario game is still a pretty great game. These unloved games range from genuinely terrible to genuinely good… and the Game Boy Color Wario Land games almost certainly only showed up in this portion because so few people have played them and couldn’t vote on them. Don’t worry, though — we’ll be bringing back USgamer Club soon with a mandatory Wario Land II & III session in order to right this wrong!  

39. Super Mario Bros. Special
[Sharp X1/NEC PC-8801, 1986]
Not to be chauvinistic, but it’s probably telling that the lowest-ranking entry on our list is the one Super Mario game never to appear on a Nintendo platform. Hudson adapted Super Mario Bros. (under license!) for Japanese home computers, and the results are… kind of terrible, but in a fascinating way. Between the weird level remixes, the inclusion of enemies from the original Mario Bros., and the awkward flipscreen scrolling, this is one of those games you have to experience to believe it.  

38. Yoshi Topsy Turvy
[Game Boy Advance, 2005]
As we’ll see in the course of this list, great Yoshi’s Island sequels have been few and far between over the years (we hear good things about Woolly World, though!). The worst follow-up by far was this Artoon-developed project that centered entirely around a special accelerometer feature. Points for innovation, but given that WarioWare Twisted! came along at around the same time and showed how truly great accelerometer-based play could be, this ugly, clumsy effort fell far short.  

37. Wario: Master of Disguise
[Nintendo DS, 2007]
This absolute abomination of a game lacked refinement and completely failed to take advantage of its costume-centric premise. As a follow-up to the Wario Land games, it completely failed. Frankly, we’d rather watch the Dana Carvey movie “Master of Disguise,” and that has a 1% “freshness” rating on Rotten Tomatoes.  

36. Wario World
[GameCube, 2003]
The Wario games have always been a little off, but this one is the most bizarre of them all. A 3D platformer/brawler centered around acquiring wealth, Wario World unfortunately was put together by legendary developer Treasure during their awkward transition into 3D game design and as such feels half-baked — incomplete, even. A good idea that needed more time in the proverbial oven.  

35. Yoshi Touch ‘N Go
[Nintendo DS, 2005]
A charming and fun action game, Yoshi Touch ‘N Go’s failing comes not from poor design but rather from the fact that it feels more like a minigame concept that Nintendo decided to sell for full price. As a demonstration of the potential of touch screen-based play on the shiny new Nintendo DS, it was pretty cool; as a value proposition in a world where full-sized ports of Super Mario 64 and Ape Escape featured on portable systems, it failed to make a case for itself.  

34. Wario Land: Shake It!
[Wii, 2008]
Drop-dead gorgeous graphics alone couldn’t atone for the fact that this platformer felt completely recycled. It looked stunning, yes, but in action it proved to be a muted, less anarchic take on the superior Wario Land 4.  3

33. Wario Land
[Virtual Boy, 1995]
This platformer may well have been the single best game ever produced for the Virtual Boy system. But, unfortunately, that means you have to play it on Virtual Boy. Even if you can find a working system, you still have to deal with the literal headaches that come hand-in-hand with Nintendo’s most disastrous console ever. If there were any justice in the world, Nintendo would remake this for 3DS and liberate it from the tyranny of an aging, uncomfortable machine.  

32. Yoshi’s Story
[N64, 1997]
This gentle platformer offers an unique premise; it’s hilariously simple and almost completely lacking in challenge, but your real goal is to approach each stage as if it were a puzzle of sorts, finding the optimal route to consume each Yoshi’s favorite fruits. It’s like a felt-board take on Mighty Bomb Jack, if that makes any sense. Unfortunately, coming directly on the heels of the superlative Yoshi’s Island, most fans wanted something more than that.  

31. Wario Land 3
[Game Boy Color, 2000]
What’s this game doing down here so low in the rankings? Ah, right… no one’s played it. Well, that too is a statement on the game itself — but those who have taken the time to explore the third Wario Land have found a sprawling, non-linear adventure that uses Wario’s indestructibility to create elaborate puzzles and challenges unlike any other Mario-style game. Well, except the rest of the Wario Land series.  1

30. Super Mario Run
[2016, Mobile]
Super Mario Run marks Mario’s first mobile game. There you go, investors. Nintendo finally put Mario on mobile. Are you happy? 

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Probably not. Super Mario Run failed to get people very excited, primarily because it opts for a “free to download” monetization system in lieu of the free to play system most mobile games use. Nintendo asks for $9.99 after you’ve tucked away a few levels, and players’ answer to that request has been a resounding “Nope.” 
It’s a shame, because Super Mario Run is a well-built mobile game. Its levels are cleverly built and fine-tuned to suit Mario’s auto-run. The 3.0 update indicates Nintendo still plans to add content to the game; I suppose there’s a chance they’ll just overhaul its monetization system, and / or drop the price of entry. People clearly still love Mario. Just not enough to pay $9.99 in a market where “Free” is the norm. 

29. Super Mario Bros. 2: The Lost Levels (JP)
[Famicom Disk System, 1986]
The original Super Mario Bros. 2 demonstrates the arcade mentality behind the Mario series of the era: Rather than existing as a fresh, new, inventive sequel, this is more of a remix designed for players who mastered the original Super Mario Bros. Forget the gentle learning curve of SMB’s World 1-1; this drops you right into the deep end and only gets nastier from there. Unfortunately, it often forsakes Nintendo’s own design principles, feeling less like classic Mario at times and more like the kind of troll stages you’ll be experiencing in Super Mario Maker.  

28. Wario Land II
[Game Boy/Color, 1998]
Like Wario Land III, this game would be a lot further up the list if more people had played it (unlike, say, Yoshi’s Story or The Lost Levels, which everyone voted on). This was the game that truly established Wario as a unique character rather than just a chubbier, angrier Mario. By taking away his vulnerability to enemies and penalizing players with weird status effects instead of death, Wario Land II’s designers created an entirely new form of platform game design. As its place in the rankings can attest, it’s not the most popular of Mario spin-offs, but it might just be the most inventive.  2

27. Yoshi’s Island DS
[Nintendo DS, 2006]
Unlike Yoshi’s Story, Yoshi’s Island DS took aim at being a true Yoshi sequel, with the same visual style and egg-chucking mechanics as the Super NES classic. But at least Yoshi’s Story distinguished itself with entirely new gameplay concepts; Yoshi’s Island DS just feels like a retread. The addition of different babies to tote around besides Mario bogged down the action with needless complexity, and the weird gap between the two DS screens could hide hazards at crucial moments. So it was basically the Super NES game, but less good.  1

26. Super Princess Peach
[Nintendo DS, 2006]
Almost a mighty blow for girl power… if not for the fact that it was built around the worst sexist stereotypes about women. Peach has got it! If by “it” you mean wild emotional swings. Still, despite its decidedly un-progressive nature, Super Princess Peach deserves credit for finally letting the damsel in distress take the leading role, and for featuring a wide array of imaginative puzzles in the Wario Land vein around the heroine’s emotional distress.  

25. Wario Land 4
[Game Boy Advance, 2001]
Although Wario Land 4 dialed back the most unique mechanics of Wario Land II and III by making its antihero vulnerable to enemies again, it made up for the change with an unusual level structure that saw Wario venturing into each stage to activate a bomb, then escaping as quickly as possible before it detonated — sometimes by finding a totally separate path than he had taken on the way in. With its trippy visuals and audio, Wario Land 4 was a real showcase for the capabilities of the GBA… and proof positive that the Wario series could be super strange no matter what mechanics it adopted.  

24. Yoshi’s Woolly World (+ Poochy & Yoshi’s Woolly World)
[2015, Wii U / Nintendo 3DS]
Yoshi’s Woolly World doesn’t touch the excellence of the original Yoshi’s Island, but it comes much closer than every other Yoshi-centric platformer from Nintendo. The game doesn’t just ride on its sweater-soft graphics, either (though Woolly World is certainly one of the most visually-charming games Nintendo’s ever made); I had a genuinely good time going through each level, uncovering secrets, and observing each clever visual gag. 
Poochy & Yoshi’s Woolly World takes Yoshi’s yarny adventure to the 3DS (with a few extras), and it’s a very decent transition. Unsurprisingly, the game’s unique, vivid graphics are best experienced on a New Nintendo 2DS or 3DS.  

23. New Super Mario Bros.
[Nintendo DS, 2006]
A return to the series’ roots, New Super Mario Bros. saw Nintendo creating a brand new 2D adventure for Mario for the first time in 15 years… and you could tell they were a bit rusty. New Super Mario Bros. played it safe, with fairly straightforward levels and fewer power-ups than any game since Super Mario Bros. 2. Yet while it may have seemed rote for hardcore Mario devotees, but for the rest of the world it was either a reminder to how great the old ideas could be, or an introduction to a classic genre. It certainly paved the way for bigger and better sequels along with the revival of old-school 2D games as a mainstream concept, and that makes it pretty OK in our book.  1

22. New Super Luigi Bros. U
[Wii U, 2013]
The idea of Luigi as something more than just a palette swap of Mario goes all the way back to 1986’s Super Mario Bros. 2, where he acquired a wobbly high-jump that opened some new play paths while creating entirely new challenges. That spirit definitely informed New Super Luigi Bros. U, which saw the green dude revisiting Mario’s debut Wii U title via remixed levels, altered physics, and a strict 100-second time limit for every stage. Though barely qualified to be its own game, New Super Luigi Bros. U offered a fresh and exciting take on the previous year’s hit.  

21. New Yoshi’s Island
[3DS, 2014]
New Yoshi’s Island took quite a drubbing in the press for being a warmed-over take on the Super NES classic, but that was kind of the point: As a portable game with a simple visual style, it was meant less as a sequel than as a introduction to the Yoshi’s Island concept for kids who hadn’t even been born when the original debuted. Taken in that light, it’s a smartly designed game full of thoughtful secrets and a pleasant difficulty level.  

20. Super Mario Land
[Game Boy, 1989]
Mario’s first-ever outing on a portable console looks pretty primitive now, it’s true, but at the time this was state of the art. There had never been a true Super Mario-calibre portable action game back in 1989, yet here was an attempt to create precisely that. And Super Mario Land’s creators weren’t content to simply recycle concepts from the NES; they took the hero to an all-new kingdom filled with never-before-seen enemies. There were even a few shoot-em-up stages just to mix things up. A real landmark for portable gaming.  

19. Wario Land: Super Mario Land 3
[Game Boy, 1994]
It says “Mario” on the box, but it’s all a lie! This game stars the villain of Super Mario Land 2 in his own standalone adventure. This is by far the most traditional of Wario’s games, carrying over the hat-based power-up system of the previous game, but the new anti-hero’s brute force approach and ability to lift and toss stunned enemies (similar to America’s Super Mario Bros. 2!) still made for a decidedly different experience than the earlier Mario Land games — the inflection point from which Wario’s weird star vehicles emerged.  2

18. New Super Mario Bros. 2
[3DS, 2012]
While somewhat underwhelming compared to its console-based counterparts, the second numbered New Super Mario Bros. game added an interesting meta-game over top of its classic portable action. Now the goal wasn’t simply to beat the game, but to make Mario extraordinarily rich. While that may seem more a Wario-centric play concept, it also encouraged players to approach the game differently, taking more risks for coins and exploring all the challenge stages that most people would probably ignore.  

17. Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker
[Wii U, 2014]
Sure, it’s only barely a platformer, but Treasure Tracker emerged from the bonus stages in Super Mario 3D World — and while Captain Toad jumps like white men (i.e., he can’t), he still has to contend with differences in height. The result is an absolutely charming little game filled with clever puzzles and surprises galore — a Mario odyssey for all ages and interests.  

16. Super Mario Sunshine
[GameCube, 2002]
Mario’s most benighted 3D adventure had its share of problems, sure; the action revolved a little too heavily around a decidedly un-Mario-like water-blasting backpack, and the coin-gathering missions took all the wrong lessons from N64-era collectahons. Nevertheless! Super Mario Sunshine was the last “sandbox” 3D entry in the series, an open, leisurely journey along sun-soaked beaches, and it remains perhaps Mario’s most unconventional outing.  2

15. Super Mario Land 2: Six Golden Coins
[Game Boy, 1992]
After the tiny, conservative Super Mario Land, Nintendo R&D1 decided to take a more dramatic approach with the sequel. They scaled up the size of Mario and his foes, introduced a new power-up system, and created a new foil (Wario) to justify a wild journey through the weirdest set of stage themes ever to grace a Mario platformer.  

14. New Super Mario Bros. Wii
[Wii, 2009]
This game’s title led many to assume it was just a port of New Super Mario Bros. for DS, but nothing could be further from the truth. (Sadly, Nintendo didn’t learn their lesson when it came time to name the 3DS and Wii U.) An entirely new set of challenges, this Wii platformer benefitted both from the larger canvas afforded by a proper console and from the inclusion of chaotic four-person multiplayer.  

13. New Super Mario Bros. U

Talking about a cozy game on a cozy system and its continued appeal for a worried generation.

[Wii U, 2012]
Similar to New Super Mario Bros. Wii, many people took the title of this game as a sign that Nintendo had simply converting an existing game to a different console. Nothing could be further from the truth. Featuring the best visuals and most creative designs and challenges of the New Super Mario line, Mario’s HD debut stands as the high point of his modern 2D adventures — less ambitious than the Galaxy games and less groundbreaking than his 8- and 16-bit adventures, perhaps, but a top-tier platformer by any definition of the word.

12. Super Mario 3D Land
[Nintendo 3DS, 2012]
The Super Mario Galaxy games remain intensely popular among more avid game enthusiasts — they both appear in the top 10 here — but haven’t really managed to make much headway beyond the Mario fan illuminati. Meanwhile, the New Super Mario games (which are easier and less expensive to develop) rock the charts. So Nintendo, as Shigeru Miyamoto recently told Eurogamer, has a tough time making a case for developing further Galaxy titles (as much as they’d like to, and we’d like for them to). Super Mario 3D Land, then, represents the best possible compromise: The inventive spirit of Nintendo EAD Tokyo, and the freedom to break from strict 2D side-scrolling, but contextualized within a more fixed isometric perspective that incorporates 3D platforming mechanics without the intimidating free camera movement that frightens casual players away. To top it all off, 3D Land drew heavily on the style and spirit of Super Mario Bros. 3, with tons of compact, highly varied stages to master and an entire “second quest” to deal with once the credits rolled.  

11. Super Mario Galaxy 2
[Wii, 2010]
As if to prove the notion that the Galaxy games don’t get their due, here’s Super Mario Galaxy way down at #9. Anyone who’s played Galaxy 2 to completion agrees that this is one of the absolute best Mario games ever… the problem, alas, is that not all that many people actually played it. Arriving on the wrong side of the Wii’s slide from dominance, few people cared to slum it long enough to discover the fact that the second 3D Mario for Wii managed to be even more imaginative than its predecessor, incorporating more creative power-ups, more diverse level concepts, and an even more devastating difficulty level.  

10. Super Mario Bros.
[NES, 1985]
In terms of importance, the original Super Mario Bros. deserves to be at the top of this or any list. In terms of depth… well, it’s a 30-year-old game that fit into 32K of memory. It’s small and limited in comparison to everything it inspired, with a great deal of repetition in the later stages. But, you know, look at all it inspired: Everything else on this list, plus countless thousands of other games. And despite its vintage, it remains eminently playable, with brilliant level designs that perfectly take advantage of Mario’s sophisticated movement, fluid jump physics, and limited but well-tuned power-up schemes. There wasn’t a single wasted element in this cartridge, as the fact that every creature and skill and object to appear in this 1985 classic has appeared in countless sequels. One of the few times in medium’s history where a team of creators put together a game in which every element sang in harmony (literally, in the case of the sound design), Super Mario Bros. remains a timeless classic. Be sure to check out the DX remake for Game Boy Color, which adds small, modern niceties (like a save feature) and throws in The Lost Levels as an unlockable bonus!  

9. Super Mario 3D World
[Wii U, 2013]
More than a mere sequel to Super Mario 3D Land, 3D World represents the exact sort of upgrade implied by the naming scheme: If Land was a country, World is a planet. Its stages are even bigger, its level concepts even more imaginative. Its star power-ups, the excellent Cat Mario ability, changes the nature of how you play to a greater degree than any series power-up since Super Mario World’s cape — and much like the cape, mastering the cat suit allows you to take an entirely different approach to the challenges that lay before Mario. Or rather, Mario and friends: For the first time in 25 years, 3D World brings together the crew of Super Mario Bros. 2 (including Princess Peach, finally a heroine again rather than a victim), then goes a step beyond by allowing four players to control them simultaneously. While the New Super Mario console titles had already explored the concept of four-player mayhem, it works brilliantly in a 3D play space. EAD Tokyo may not be working on Super Mario Galaxy 3 any time soon, but games like this will do nicely in the meantime.  

8. Super Mario 64
[Nintendo 64, 1996]
Second in importance only to Super Mario Bros., the series’ first outing in three-dimensional space helped codify action games of the polygonal era as SMB did for 8-bit gaming. Where so many other developers tried and failed to transform their beloved 2D franchises into 3D, Nintendo did it right by turning the Mushroom Kingdom into a sort of sandbox playground in which players could grow comfortable before moving onto the serious challenges of the second half of the game. Its hub-based world design helped inspire a great many games of the 32/64-era and beyond, and Miyamoto and co. weren’t afraid to change Mario’s skills and techniques where appropriate, e.g. deprecating jump-based attacks while giving Mario new hand-to-hand combat skills. While the surprise of the Mario 64 experience has long since faded with the commoditization of 3D game spaces, the loving detail and subtlety of design invested into this groundbreaking work have allowed it to stand the test of time.  1

7. Super Mario Bros. 2: Mario Madness (USA)
[NES, 1988]
The fact that this massive NES hit for Mario didn’t begin as a Mario game is probably the most common (and tired) piece of video game trivia ever. But really, who cares? Whatever its original provenance, Super Mario Bros. 2 worked perfectly as a follow-up to the first game; its character physics translated neatly to Mario with very little cosmetic surgery required to create a convincing illusion. More importantly, it expanded on the Japanese SMB2’s unique mechanics for Luigi by also incorporating Toad and Princess Peach as playable characters, instantly turning the royal retinue into key players in the franchise rather than simply a bit of scenery to be forgotten in sequels. The ability to grab and throw objects and enemies became a key element of Mario 3 and World, and the surreal inhabitants of Subcon have long since established themselves as mainstays of spinoff titles like Yoshi’s Island. But ultimately, it simply boils down to the fact that Super Mario Bros. 2 was ridiculously fun to play, with huge levels to explore and all the secrets and shortcuts you’d expect from a Mario game. Whatever its name, the spirit of Mario was strong with this one.  

6. Super Mario Maker (+ Super Mario Maker for Nintendo 3DS)
[2015, Wii U / Nintendo 3DS]
When it launched, Nintendo fans gave Super Mario Maker a suitable joke name: “Make It Yourself if You’re So Damn Smart.” Of course, there’s nothing snarky or sarcastic about Super Mario Maker. The game is very much Nintendo’s way of saying to you, “Hey! Mario games are fun, right? Let’s have fun together.” 

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And Super Mario Maker is fun. It’s also what every Mario fan has wanted since they started designing their own video game levels on graph paper. Mario Maker’s touch-based builder is extremely intuitive; anyone, no matter how old they are, can potentially build a wonderful Mario level. The key word here is “potentially,” as good level design is far harder than people realize. Thankfully, Mario Maker’s level-sharing feature makes it easy to find the diamonds in the rough. 
I get the feeling Nintendo wanted people to walk away from Mario Maker with a little more respect for game developers. Mission accomplished, I hope.  
Super Mario Maker for Nintendo 3DS has some additional features ideal for a single-player experience (100 new courses built by actual Nintendo designers, for example), but the inability to upload levels puts a major damper on the portable Mario Maker experience, which is a shame. Hopefully we’ll soon be blessed with a fully-realized iteration of the game-builder on the Nintendo Switch. 

5. Super Mario Galaxy
[Wii, 2007]
In some ways, Super Mario Galaxy presents a more modest and toned-down take on 3D Mario… but that’s no bad thing. After Mario Sunshine nearly went off the rails with its collectathon elements and sometimes aimless sandbox-style level design, Super Mario Galaxy pared the 3D Mario concept down to its core elements, guiding players expertly through challenges and scenarios that rapidly change scale to create the illusion of bigger, more grandiose adventures than technically existed here. Presentation counts for a lot, and Galaxy gave us by far the most glorious and impressive window we’ve ever seen into the Mario universe. It also played with the concept of 3D platforming by throwing tiny spheroid stages into the mix, adding a new kind of action (and some fantastic boss battles) to the platforming challenges we’d grown to expect from the series. Really, just a smartly designed game from top to bottom, neatly rectifying its predecessor’s shortcomings while demonstrating the foresight to bluff its way past its own potential failings.  

4. Super Mario Odyssey
[Nintendo Switch, 2017]
For a long time, Super Mario Sunshine was regarded as the direct successor to Super Mario 64. I think you only need to play Super Mario Odyssey for a few hours before you start to understand Odyssey is the real successor to Mario 64. Think of it as a prodigal prince coming home to take the throne from his well-meaning but under-qualified younger brother. 
Though Super Mario Odyssey lacks a hub world, it apes Mario 64’s attempt to throw everything at the wall. Thankfully, almost everything sticks. Each Kingdom you visit is a large open area that’s teeming with secrets to find and items to root out. No two kingdom is quite alike in Super Mario Odyssey: You might find yourself trudging through blizzards in the Snow Kingdom, then frolicking through (and under) the surf in the Ocean Kingdom minutes later. Mario’s new trick, capturing and controlling enemies, lets you look at each Kingdom with a fresh set of eyes. A Power Moon that’s not easily grabbed by human-Mario might be an easy task for a stack of Goombas, and vice-versa. 
Interestingly, Mario Odyssey’s loose, varied gameplay is what causes it to come in just under Super Mario Galaxy in some people’s hearts. The latter is admittedly more structured and has a clearer vision about Mario’s mission, but as for which gameplay style is better? That’s a matter of opinion. Just be assured Super Mario Odyssey is 3D platforming excellence.  

3. Super Mario Bros. 3
[NES, 1990]
The great Mario tradition: Endless arguments over which was better, Super Mario Bros. 3 or Super Mario World. USgamer’s staff vote gave World the edge, but only barely — it’s not as though anyone said, “Boy, that Mario 3, what a load of garbage.” If Super Mario Bros. was meant to be the ultimate cartridge-based game before the move to the Famicom Disk System expansion, this sequel was meant as the ultimate 8-bit adventure. And it delivered on that mandate nicely, introducing Mario’s greatest-ever suite of power-ups and dozens of stages, each of which revolved around a different theme. The appeal of Super Mario Bros. 3 came largely from the fact that it rarely repeats a concept enough for it to grow stale; aside from the militant mechanism of World 8 and the various airship stages throughout the world, SMB3’s stages delighted in throwing weird new ideas at players, then dashing to the next idea before the gimmick wore out its welcome. And the idea worked: Consider how beloved the ultra-rare Hammer Suit is. Or the legend that’s grown up around Kuribo’s Shoe, which appears only twice in a single level. Or the panic that sets in when you see that angry sun who dive-bombs Mario in exactly two stage of the game. Mario 3 felt like the work of people who had so many great ideas they could barely squeeze them all in to a single cart — but there was more than mere novelty to this adventure, which also gave Mario new skills and established permanent new rules for the franchise. We didn’t need some stupid movie to get us excited about Super Mario Bros. 3; the game itself did the job nicely.  

2. Yoshi’s Island1
[Super NES, 1995]
The dark horse surprise of our list, Yoshi’s Island barely edged out Super Mario Bros. 3 to take the second slot. And why not? It, too, represents the culmination of a generation’s game design as well. Yoshi’s Island marched to a different beat, beautifully embodying Nintendo’s ethos of finding unexpected applications for technology in service of making even better games. Here, Yoshi’s Island employed a special add-on chip normally used for simple 3D applications in order to create the most dynamic, visually surprising 2D platformer ever. Between its brash, hand-drawn art style — the antithesis of the cold, CG-rendered look ushered in by Donkey Kong Country and next-gen systems like Sega Saturn and Sony PlayStation — and wild, unexpected visual tricks that included foes who could spin-jump, subtle 3D effects, rubbery and distorted creatures, and even a pre-Galaxy battle spanning the circumference of a tiny planetoid, Yoshi’s Island wasn’t afraid to mix things up. But nowhere did it shake up Mario tradition as it did in its play mechanics, which transformed Yoshi from a cute ride to a proper protagonist, complete with transformative new skills: A floating double-jump, a mighty butt stomp, and the ability to fling eggs and enemies within a 180-degree arc. Along with these changes came a radically new philosophy of level design, presenting players with denser, more exploratory playgrounds to poke around in and a slate of collectibles to hunt down — not too many, though, and all in service of unlocking the insanely complex bonus stages. Really, if it weren’t for Baby Mario’s caterwauling, it would be hard to find a fault in this brilliant 16-bit send-off. At the time, it looked like this might be Mario’s final outing in two dimensions… and what an outing it was.  

1. Super Mario World
[Super NES, 1991]
Mario’s 16-bit debut also doubled as the pack-in game for Nintendo’s Super NES system, and it had a lot riding on its shoulders. It needed to show off the machine’s new graphical capabilities, advance the Mario concept as a whole, and create a compelling case for fans to upgrade to a new generation while not straying toward a rival 16-bit platform in the process. It did all of these things (and more!) with panache.  
Super Mario World felt like a huge upgrade over Super Mario Bros. 3 in almost every way. About the only area in which it took a more modest approach than its predecessor was with its power-up system — it pared Mario’s abilities back down to two, the Fire Flower and the cape, abandoning advanced skills like the frog suit and tanuki suit altogether. But since those powers had been fairly obscure to begin with, the loss proved less critical than it first appeared; meanwhile, the limited scope of Mario’s powers allowed Mario World’s creators to really focus on making the cape something special and turning it into a sophisticated tool with secondary abilities that opened up exciting new gameplay opportunities for advanced players while providing basic new skills for everyone.  
The game harnessed the Super NES’s built-in capabilities to great effect. While some features seemed more fully realized than others — no one was quite sure what to use control pad shoulder triggers for in 1991, and Mario World’s limp camera pan feature felt like the textbook definition of “there just because” — many of them changed the way you played and approached levels. Portions of stages would rise, sink, tilt, and bob; Mario could flip to the “reverse” side of certain levels, adding a third dimension to the action; ghosts would phase into and out of Mario’s material plane; and gigantic monsters were no longer quarantined on a single island but rather appeared throughout the world as a matter of course. And Mario’s new dinosaur pal Yoshi allowed the game’s creators to finally realize their desire to have the hero ride around on the back of a mount, something they’d been longing to achieve since the early days but couldn’t for technical reasons.  

Unlike so many other early Super NES games, though, Super Mario’s technical shenanigans never felt like Nintendo just showing off for the heck of it. At the very beginning of the game, you’re allowed to visit two different stages right away — one that features classic Mario mechanics, and one that shows off the wacky new elements of this adventure, such as stubby dinosaurs, diagonal pipes, and huge version of Bullet Bill. Every programming innovation in Super Mario World was accompanied by clever game design advances. Whether it was something as simple as the added patter of bongo drums as you rode Yoshi or as literally game-changing as the persistent, global modifications caused by visiting a Switch Palace, Super Mario World upped the stakes for game design at every turn. Its worlds took a more convoluted turn than the mini-stages of Super Mario 3, encouraging players to use advanced techniques to unearth hidden secrets — doors to new stages, or helpful shortcuts to the end of the game. And once you’d mastered the main game, Super Mario World featured an entire hidden extra world, the Special World, a full suite of expert-level platforming tests for the truly determined. A true high point in video game history.

Trump: “It’s the People Who Are Making America Great Again”

Near the end of President Donald Trump’s State of the Union message, the third-longest in American history at one hour and 20 minutes, he proclaimed, in what neatly summed up the theme of his speech, “It’s the people who are making America great again!”
Fox News commentator Mollie Hemingway remarked moments after the conclusion of Tuesday’s speech that it was conservative — much more conservative than the two previous Republican presidents (the two Bush presidents) ever delivered.
Indeed, most of Trump’s conservative base no doubt loved most of the speech. In a speech interrupted 115 times by applause, he did not shy away from the message of his campaign, but he made it clear that his desire was to “make America great again for all Americans.”
As has been mandatory for American presidents since Ronald Reagan began the practice during his two terms, Trump introduced a string of Americans in the gallery, sitting near First Lady Melania Trump — a firefighter in the recent California fires; parents of little girls murdered by MS-13, illustrating the dangers of illegal alien gangs; a businessman and one of his employees benefitting from the recent tax cuts; and the parents of Otto Wambier, who was brutally tortured by the North Korean communist dictatorship for allegedly trying to steal a political sign.
A new policy introduced during the speech was an executive order he issued “just before coming into” the House chamber, which keeps the facilities open at Guantanamo Bay.
Trump began his speech touting the great economic successes of his first year in office, including the addition of 2.4 million new jobs, with 200,000 jobs added in manufacturing alone. “After years of stagnant wages,” Trump noted, Americans are finally experiencing rising real wages, and unemployment claims have reached a 45-year low.
The stock market has gained $8 trillion in value, Trump said, explaining that this translates into the growing of retirement pensions and college savings accounts.
Turning to the tax reform bill, Trump said that the first $24,000 of income for a married couple is now “tax free,” while the business tax rate has been cut from 35 to 21 percent, enabling “American companies to compete and win.” It was also credited with three million workers receiving bonuses. Apple has hired 200,000 more workers, and Exxon Mobil has announced a $50 billion investment in the United States.
Yet, when Trump announced that the unemployment rate for African Americans and Hispanic Americans was at the lowest rate “ever recorded,” the TV cameras showed African American members of Congress sitting — stone-faced.
Pointing out a 12-year-old boy in the gallery who had led an effort to get flags placed on the graves of 40,000 American veterans, Trump said it reminds us of why we proudly stand for the National Anthem. He added that, in America, faith and family — not the government — are the center of American life.
Mentioning his recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, Trump lamented that dozens of countries in the United Nations had chosen to react by voting against America’s decision, including nations that had received billions of dollars in American aid. Trump vowed that he had taken names, and in the future, foreign assistance would go to “friends of America, not enemies of America.”
Trump introduced the contentious topic of immigration by reminding the members of Congress, “Americans are dreamers, too.” He asked members of both parties to fulfill their oaths to protect Americans, telling them that it was the duty of every person in the chamber to defend Americans first. After introducing C.J. Martinez, and ICE officers, whose team had arrested hundreds of illegal alien gang members, Trump promised to send him “reinforcements.”
Covering his bipartisan plan to give amnesty (although he did not call it that) to nearly two million illegal immigrants — the “Dreamers” — which he boasted was three times as much as the previous administration covered, he promised to give these illegal aliens citizenship over a 12-year period. In exchange, he called for a fully-secured border, with a “great wall,” and the end of “catch and release,” along with the end of the visa lottery system. He received some groans from the Democratic side of the aisle when he mentioned the end of “chain migration,” promising to limit sponsorship to spouses and minor children. Finally, he promised that the final immigration legislation would be an “iron-clad bill that puts America first.”
Probably the closest to boos from the Democrats came when he proudly proclaimed that the “individual mandate,” which Trump called the “core” of ObamaCare, is now dead, as a result of the tax bill.
While conservatives would be reassured with most of his speech, peppered with remarks about “judges who will interpret the Constitution as written,” and “totally defending the Second Amendment and religious liberty,” along with the proclamation that “we have ended the war against American energy and the war on beautiful clean coal,” there were a few parts of the speech that were troubling.
Trump promised to build “great vocational schools” (even though education is not one of the few and defined powers of the federal government), and he called for “paid family leave” (another policy that has no constitutional support in the enumerated powers listed in the Constitution). However, for the most part, it was a conservative speech. As Hemingway said, none of the State of the Union messages of the 12 years of Bush presidencies came close to matching this one.

Hillary Rodham Clinton

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Hillary-rodham-clinton 2.jpg
United States Secretary of State

Hillary Rodham Clinton (born October 26, 1947) is currently serving as the 67th Secretary of State in the Obama Administration. She was a Senator for New York from 2001 to 2009, and ran for the Democratic Primaries in 2008. She was the First Lady of the United States from 1993 to 2001 as wife of President Bill Clinton whom she married in 1975.

Early Life

Hillary Clinton was born Hillary Diane Rodham to Hugh Ellsworth Rodham and Dorothy Emma Howell in Chicago, Illinois on Oct. 26, 1947. She has two younger brothers, Hugh Rodham and Tony Rodham. Her parents, who were United Methodist‘s who moved the family to Park Ridge, Illinois when Hillary was three-years-old. Her father operated a small business in the textile industry[1] while her mother was a homemaker.[2]

Early Political Activism

Growing up in a politically conservative household, Hillary began working for the Republican party from the age of thirteen. However during her college years, prompted by events such as the Civil Rights Movement and the Vietnam War, she changed her political views by the late 1960’s. She left the Republican Party for good in 1968.

Law School & Career

Hillary majored in political science at Wellesley Collge in 1965 before entering Yale Law School where her research focused on children and the law.

Marriage to Bill Clinton

In late Spring, 1971, Hillary began dating Bill Clinton who was also studying law at Yale. In 1974, following repeated requests from Bill Clinton to marry him, Hillary accepted. They were married on Oct. 11, 1975 in the Rodham’s living room. On February 27, 1980, Rodham gave birth to a daughter, Chelsea, her only child.

Moving left

Hillary Clinton grew up as a Goldwater Republican, like her father, in the middle-class Chicago suburb of Park Ridge. By the time she was a freshman at Wellesley, when she was elected president of the College Republicans, her concern with civil rights and the war in Vietnam put her closer to the moderate-liberal wing of the GOP led by Nelson Rockefeller. By her junior year, she had to be talked by her professor into taking an internship with Rep. Gerald R. Ford and the House Republican Caucus. In her senior year, she was campaigning for the anti-war Democrat Eugene McCarthy.
“I sometimes think that I didn’t leave the Republican Party,” she has written, “as much as it left me.”[3]

Schecter connection

Alan H. Schecter, far left Professor Emeritus of Political Science at Wellesley College served as Hillary Clinton‘s senior thesis advisor, and directed the Wellesley in Washington internship program in which she participated as a student. [4]

Alinsky friendship

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Alinsky Thesis

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The senior thesis of Hillary D. Rodham, Wellesley College class of 1969, was on the work of Chicago radical Saul Alinsky.
The Clintons who asked Wellesley in 1993 to hide Hillary Rodham’s senior thesis from the first generation of Clinton biographers, according to her thesis adviser and friend, professor Alan H. Schechter, who describes taking the call from the White House. “A stupid political decision.”
Wellesley’s president, Nannerl Overholser Keohane, approved a broad rule with a specific application: The senior thesis of every Wellesley alumna is available in the college archives for anyone to read — except for those written by either a “president or first lady of the United States.”
So far, that action has sealed precisely one document: Hillary Rodham’s senior honors thesis in political science, entitled ” ‘There Is Only the Fight…’: An Analysis of the Alinsky Model.”
Rodham took her thesis title — “There Is Only the Fight…” — from T.S. Eliot:
“There is only the fight to recover what has been lost and found and lost again and again.”
She began with a feminist jab at the clichés of male authors: “Although I have no ‘loving wife’ to thank for keeping the children away while I wrote, I do have many friends and teachers who have contributed to the process of thesis-writing.” She thanks particularly “Mr. Alinsky for providing a topic, sharing his time and offering me a job.”[5]

Treuhaft, Walker and Burnstein

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Hillary Rodham served a:) clerkship in 1971 at one of America’s most radical law firms, San Francisco based Treuhaft, Walker and Burnstein.
One partner at the firm, Doris Brin Walker, was a lifelong Communist Party USA member at the time. Another partner, Robert Treuhaft, had left the party in 1958, several years after being called before the House Un-American Activities Committee and labeled as one of America’s most “dangerously subversive” lawyers. The Oakland-based firm was renowned for taking clients others rejected as too controversial, including Communists, draft resisters, and members of the African-American militant group known as the Black Panther Party. The other partner Malcolm Burnstein, maintained a lifetime commitment to radical causes.
The firm was involved in a volatile Black Panthers case the summer Mrs. Clinton worked there: the trial of Huey Newton for the 1967 killing of an Oakland police officer. Treuhaft represented a Newton associate whose role in the trial may have helped Newton win a series of mistrials and, eventually, the dismissal of all charges related to the officer’s death.
Partners at the firm said it was likely Mrs. Clinton also worked on politically sensitive cases involving a Berkeley student activist denied admission to the California bar over incendiary rhetoric, Stanford physician interns fighting a loyalty oath at the Veterans Administration, and men claiming conscientious objector status to avoid being drafted and sent to Vietnam. Mrs. Clinton’s only public recollection of her work at the Treuhaft firm is that she handled a child custody matter.
Mrs. Clinton’s most vivid memories from that summer may be personal ones that have nothing to do with the law firm with which she clerked. A fellow Yale law student, President Clinton, shared the Berkeley apartment where she was staying. The pair soon got serious and would move in together when they returned to New Haven that fall.
Mrs. Clinton’s decision to work at the Treuhaft firm was rooted in the turbulence, chaos and radicalism that buffeted Yale after she entered law school there in 1969. Most campuses saw their share of foment, but Yale saw more than its share in the spring of 1970 because of the impending criminal trial in New Haven of a Black Panthers’ leader, Bobby Seale, and several co-defendants, for kidnapping and murdering another member of the Panthers. Many, including Yale’s president at the time, doubted that Seale and other black militants could get a fair trial. As students prepared for a national student strike on May Day 1970, a suspicious fire broke out in the basement of a Yale law library.
Mrs. Clinton has written about joining a “bucket brigade to put out” the library fire and about organizing round-the-clock patrols in the wake of the blaze.
Ultimately, the May Day protest turned Yale into an armed camp, occupied by thousands of soldiers, but the event yielded little of the feared violence. That came three days later at Kent State University in Ohio when National Guard soldiers shot and killed four students protesting the Vietnam War.
The Black Panthers’ trial didn’t actually begin until the fall. During the lead-up, Seale’s attorney, Charles Garry of San Francisco, became a regular presence in the courtyards at Yale Law School.
At some point, Treuhaft and his wife, Jessica Mitford, passed through New Haven and threw a party to raise money for the Panthers’ defense. According to Gail Sheehy‘s biography of Mrs. Clinton, “Hillary’s Choice,” the future senator attended the Treuhaft-Mitford party. Many have surmised that this event laid the groundwork for Mrs. Clinton’s clerkship at Treuhaft’s law office.
One of Treuhaft’s partners, Malcolm Burnstein, said Mrs. Clinton’s internship was arranged by a national student group. “She was sent to us by the Law Students’ Civil Rights Research Council,” Mr. Burnstein told the Sun. The group also paid Mrs. Clinton during her summer at the firm, he said. It is possible Mrs. Clinton selected the Treuhaft firm and then arranged funding through the council. That’s how she set up her first law-school summer internship working with the future founder of the Children’s Defense Fund, Marian Wright Edelman.
Mrs. Clinton’s only public recollection of her stint at the Treuhaft firm came in her 2003 memoir, “Living History.”
“I told Bill about my summer plans to clerk at Treuhaft, Walker and Burnstein, a small law firm in Oakland, California and he announced that he would like to go with me,” she wrote. “I spent most of my time working for Mal Burnstein researching, writing legal motions and briefs for a child custody case.”
A review of some of Mr. Burnstein’s legal files now at the archives of the University of California at Berkeley shows that the Treuhaft firm also handled two major cases in mid-1971 involving political dissent. One involved a protest leader who was elected Berkeley student body president, Daniel Siegel.
Mr. Siegel passed his the bar exam in 1970, but his admission was blocked on grounds that he was morally unfit. He was criminally charged with inciting the 1969 “People’s Park” riot, which left one man dead, others injured, and hundreds arrested.
Mr. Siegel was acquitted of that charge, but bar officials said his statements prior to the riot and thereafter indicated he was not suited to be an attorney. They also asked him if he was a Communist, which he denied.
Mr. Burnstein appealed the bar committee’s rejection to the California Supreme Court, arguing that Mr. Siegel was being punished for his political beliefs. The court eventually sided with Mr. Siegel, who joined the bar in November 1973.
Two other dissenters whose case was pending during Mrs. Clinton’s summer at the Treuhaft firm were Peter Cummings and Peter Rudd. Both were medical students from Case Western Reserve University in Ohio who won internships at Stanford University in Palo Alto, Calif. On arriving at Stanford, they discovered they were required to fill out loyalty oaths to do a required rotation at the nearby Veterans Administration hospital. “It was the typical, ‘Are you now or have you ever been a member of the Communist Party?'” Dr. Cummings recalled in a recent interview. He said he and Dr. Rudd were not Communists, but chafed at signing the oath. “I’ve always been very annoyed by and not a fan of this kind of loyalty oath,” Dr. Cummings said.
Through the American Civil Liberties Union, the pair became clients of Mr. Burnstein. In the ensuing legal challenges, which went before riders of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals at least twice, the government argued that disloyal medical students might try to kill unsuspecting veterans who sought medical treatment. Mr. Burnstein prevailed and the loyalty oath for Veterans Administration doctors soon wound up as a footnote of history.
As Mrs. Clinton left the Treuhaft firm in 1971, one of its partners was gearing up for the defense of a Communist and black revolutionary, Angela Davis, against murder, kidnapping and conspiracy charges stemming from a 1970 shootout that left a California judge dead. Ms. Walker became the resident Communist on Ms. Davis’s legal team. “I was asked by the Party to participate in Angela’s case,” the lawyer said. She said no one else at the law firm, including Mrs. Clinton, worked on Ms. Davis’s case.
At the trial, held in 1972 at San Jose, the Treuhaft firm’s winning record held up again. A jury acquitted the polarizing African-American activist of all charges.
By the time Mrs. Clinton arrived at the Treuhaft firm in 1971, its reputation as a defender of left-wingers and radicals was well established. Indeed, those at the firm assumed that reputation drew the Yale law student in.
“She did want to work for a left-wing movement law firm. Anyone who went to college or law school would have known our law firm was a Communist law firm,” Treuhaft told Ms. Sheehy in 1999.
“This was an old-left, radical law firm,” a staff attorney there during Mrs. Clinton’s summer, David Nawi, said. “Treuhaft was suing the police and doing wonderful work with the black community in East Oakland before anybody else.”
A Yale Law student who worked as a clerk at the firm the summer before Mrs. Clinton arrived, Mary Nichols, said Treuhaft was open about his stint in the Communist Party. “Treuhaft, he himself was proud of having been a Communist at one time. This was not something that they hid in any way. They were not people stockpiling dynamite. They were a respectable law firm, but still you knew they had experimented in that kind of way,” she said.
Mr. Siegel, the Berkeley protester-turned-lawyer, said committed student leftists in 1971 would have viewed the firm’s Communist connections as quaint, perhaps even conservative. “We almost universally thought Communist Party people were sellouts,” he said. “People of my generation who were getting involved were Marxists, Maoists, even Trotskyists. The Communist Party was pretty unpopular, unless your parents were in it.”
The details of Treuhaft’s membership in the Communist Party were not formally disclosed until 1977, when his wife, Jessica Mitford, published a humorous memoir of their years in the Communist ranks. In “A Fine Old Conflict,” she reported that her husband signed up in 1943 and that she followed in 1944. Both left the party in 1958, she wrote.
Ms. Walker joined the party in 1942. “I’m still a Marxist, and that’s why I stayed in,” she said.
While many American Communists quit the party in disgust in 1956 following the Soviet invasion of Hungary and Nikita Khrushchev’s denunciation of Josef Stalin’s crimes, those events do not seem to have been the impetus for the departure of Treuhaft and Mitford, who stayed on for another two years.
A journalist who edited a recently published collection of Mitford’s letters, Peter Sussman, said the couple’s falling out with the American Communist Party was driven largely by its unyielding bureaucracy.
“She was bored with it,” Mr. Sussman said. “It was ineffective. She had worked to reform it and that was unsuccessful, and to give the American party some autonomy from Soviet Communism.”
Mr. Sussman said Mitford, who died in 1996, was also “bitterly disappointed” about a decision the party made to cut ties with a group dedicated to resolving racial inequities in America, the Civil Rights Congress.
A collection of Mitford’s letters indicates that Republican political operatives knew about Mrs. Clinton’s work at Treuhaft’s firm months before the 1992 election, but apparently chose not to raise it despite her prominence in her husband’s presidential campaign. In a July 4, 1992 letter to a veteran civil rights activist, Virginia Durr, Mitford wrote, “There was a v. long article in Vanity Fair by Gail Sheehy, an interview with Hillary in which every detail of her life from childhood on was explored — no mention of the internship in Bob’s law office. Quite right, I thought, as obviously if that came out it would be prime meat for the Bush campaign.”
Mr. Burnstein said he, Treuhaft, and Ms. Walker agreed upon learning of Mr. Clinton’s presidential bid not to talk publicly about Mrs. Clinton’s clerkship because they anticipated it would become fodder for Mr. Clinton’s opponents.
“We expected it,” Mr. Burnstein said. “We were very carefully not talking to the press back then. … We did not want her being unfairly tarred with someone else’s politics. Hillary’s politics were not Bob’s politics, which were not Doris’s politics, which were not mine.”
“For Hillary to pick the most left-wing firm really at that time in the Bay Area, it’s still a surprise to me that more hasn’t been made of that,” Ms. Walker said. “It was such an obvious thing for them to pick up, but they didn’t, and I’ve never understood it.”[6]

Bernard Rapoport connection

As Texas swung from a Democratic stronghold to an increasingly Republican and conservative state, Marxist leaning businessman Bernard Rapoport continued to support liberal Democrats and their causes, both with his money and his extensive national political connections. His contributions to George McGovern’s 1972 presidential campaign put Mr. Rapoport on one of President Richard M. Nixon’s enemies lists; contributions to the presidential campaigns of both Bill Clinton and Hillary Rodham Clinton helped nourish a 40-year friendship. Mr. Clinton was scheduled to deliver a eulogy at a memorial service in May 2012, in Washington DC.[7]

Children’s Defense Fund

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New World Foundation

Hillary Clinton writes about her involvement with the Children’s Defense Fund, headed by Marian Wright Edelman, but omits any mention of the New World Foundation (NWF). Hillary followed Edelman’s husband, Peter Edelman, as chairman of the NWF. Mrs. Clinton chaired the group during a time, 1982-1988, when it gave grants to the Committee in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador, a front group for the communist terrorists; the National Lawyers Guild, a one-time-identified communist front; and the Christic Institute, an extreme left-wing group of lawyers which practiced “legal terrorism” against citizens, retired military and intelligence officials, and others who were perceived to be supporting the cause of freedom from communism in Central America.
Peter Flaherty writes, “Hillary’s official biography prepared by the ’92 Clinton campaign makes no mention of her stint as NWF chairman, despite the fact that she oversaw some $23 million in foundation assets. A few journalists, like Dan Wattenberg of The American Spectator, did report on the NWF grants during the summer of 1992, but the major media paid almost no attention. There was no need for Hillary to defend herself.”[8]

Bill’s radical friends

Hillary Clinton also took advantage of Bill Clinton’s radical connections, many developed in his trips abroad. Strobe Talbott and Bill Clinton had been Rhodes Scholars in England together, for example, and Talbott and his wife, Brooke Shearer, “became friends of mine,” she writes. Brooke’s brother, Derek Shearer, another Yale graduate, became a friend of Bill and pro-Marxist economic advisor to Bill Clinton.[9]

Single-payer Bill

In 1994 Jim McDermott, John Conyers and Paul Wellstone promoted a “single-payer” health care bill (HR1200/S491).[10] Ellen Shaffer, a member of Wellstone’s staff told the People’s Weekly World that the authors had been “working closely” with Hillary Clinton. “She knows what they are doing” Shaffer said.[11]

Alamoudi connection

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FALN amnesty

Several U.S. lawmakers have championed a domestic terrorist group, the Armed Forces of National Liberation (known by its Spanish initials of FALN) that seeks to impose a Marxist-Leninist regime on Puerto Rico and secede from the United States.
In the 1970s and 1980s, the FALN planted more than 130 bombs and killed at least six people. Reps. Jose Serrano (D-N.Y.), Nydia Velázquez (D-N.Y.) and Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.), all left-wingers of Puerto Rican ancestry, embraced the cause of 16 convicted FALN members serving time in federal prison. Serrano called them “political prisoners,” according to the People’s Weekly World, the official newspaper of the Communist Party USA.
They campaigned to pressure then-president Bill Clinton to issue pardons to free the radicals, even though the terrorists themselves had not requested that their sentences be commuted. When Clinton agreed to grant them clemency in August 1999, Serrano blasted him for requiring them to renounce violence as a precondition of their release.
That presidential action caused problems for then-first lady Hillary Clinton, who was about to begin her campaign to become a U.S. senator. “President Clinton made his decision to release the FALN terrorists at the same time his wife was campaigning for the Senate in New York,” the Senate Republican Policy Committee reported in a policy paper.
“Many commentators believe he hoped to win votes for his wife from the large Hispanic population in New York City. However, law-enforcement groups and victims’-rights groups were outraged, and his clemency offer did not poll well in New York state. His wife then opposed the granting of clemency, and the president denied that she was in any way involved in the decision.”
The clemency offer did not otherwise fit the pattern of Clinton’s behavior, the committee noted: “The president had only granted three out of the more than 4,000 clemency requests during his presidency.” The terrorists didn’t even ask for clemency, and in granting it Clinton “did not follow the procedures that have been in place since Grover Cleveland was president,” granting it “even though the Justice Department did not take an official position as required.”
Ninety-five senators condemned Clinton’s action, voting in a resolution that “the president’s offer of clemency to the FALN terrorists violates long-standing tenets of United States counterterrorism policy, and the release of terrorists is an affront to the rule of law, the victims and their families, and every American who believes that violent acts must be punished to the fullest extent of the law.”
A joint congressional resolution declared that “making concessions to terrorists is deplorable,” and that “President Clinton should not have granted amnesty to the FALN terrorists.”
Hillary Clinton changed her position, but not two of her colleagues-to-be. Sen. Daniel Akaka (D-Hawaii) and the late Sen. Paul Wellstone (D-Minn.) were the minority of two standing on the far left with the amnesty. [12]

FMLN

San Salvador, June 1 — Nearly two decades after the end of a U.S.-backed war against El Salvador’s rebels, a representative of the former guerrilla movement took power on Monday — with a top American official applauding.
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton attended the inauguration dressed in bright red, the color of the Farabundo Marti Liberation Front. It was an image that would have been unthinkable in the 1980s, when the United States poured $6 billion into El Salvador to fight the rebel group backed by Cuba and the Soviet Union.
The FMLN laid down its arms in 1992 and joined the political system. But some U.S. lawmakers still worry about the party, fearing it could propel El Salvador into the orbit of anti-American countries such as Venezuela. Forty-five House Republicans wrote Clinton in March warning about “potential threats to our security interests” if the FMLN candidate, Mauricio Funes, won.
Clinton, however, told reporters here that she expects “a positive relationship” with Funes, who is considered by many Latin Americans to be a moderate. Her visit signaled the Obama administration’s effort to reach out to a more assertive Latin America altered by a “pink tide” of socialist victories in recent years.
After meeting with Funes , Clinton told him: “The United States stands ready to assist you and your new government. This is a commitment President Obama and I share.”
“The secretary wants to engage Funes, because we don’t want him moving all the way to the left,” said Rep. Elio Engel (D-N.Y.), chairman of the House Foreign Affairs subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere, who was with the U.S. delegation.
El Salvador has been one of the staunchest U.S. allies in Latin America, maintaining troops in Iraq until this year. Funes immediately signaled a departure from his predecessors, announcing the resumption of diplomatic ties with Cuba. Still, the new government is expected to maintain a strong relationship with the United States. El Salvador receives $4 billion a year from immigrants in Washington and other U.S. cities, and it sells half its exports to the U.S. market.
In his inaugural speech at an amphitheater packed with men in red ties and women in red jackets, Funes hailed his two political heroes: President Luis Inácio Lula da Silva of Brazil, a moderate leftist, and President Obama.
The men, he said, were “proof that progressive leaders, instead of being a threat, represent a new and secure road for their countries.”
He also singled out Clinton, saying: “This woman honors America.”
Some opponents of Funes had predicted he would cozy up to populist leaders in Venezuela and Nicaragua and introduce socialism. But the only revolution promised by the 49-year-old former broadcast journalist was one against corruption and poverty.
Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez and Nicaraguan leader Daniel Ortega had been expected to attend, but did not.
Cynthia Arnson, director of the Latin America program at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, said the FMLN has a democratic track record, holding many mayor’s offices and congressional seats in recent years. “The FMLN has been part of the architecture of representative democracy in El Salvador. El Salvador’s resemblance to other countries in Latin America governed by the populist left are quite minimal,” she said.
Funes, however, will likely face pressure to shift further to the left from others in the FMLN, including his vice president, Salvador Sánchez Cerén, analysts said.
Funes’s inauguration was deeply emotional for many Salvadorans who suffered through the 12-year civil war, which left 75,000 dead. “We fought the battle so we could have this change,” said Cecilia Hermin Navarro, 68, a tiny woman in a red shirt who said she was tortured by police during the conflict.
“So many people died so this day could come,” said Fernando Aguilar, a 28-year-old government employee. Clinton’s presence, he said, “breaks the paradigm that the United States had in the past, that if the left wins, the U.S. closes the door.”[13]

Terrorist pardon

Joseph Connor, an author and anti-terrorism advocate, spoke to The Daily Wire about how his father was murdered by a Puerto Rican terrorist group, and how former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was directly involved in pardoning the terrorists.
“When Hillary Clinton was looking to run for senator of New York, she had no connection to New York at all. She was from Chicago to Arkansas,” Connor said. “And she got approached by various pro-terrorist politicians.”
These included Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL), Rep. Nydia Velazquez (D-NY), and New York City councilman Jose Rivera, who gave Clinton “a packet on clemency” and requested that she “speak to the president and ask him to consider executive clemency” for the FALN. A couple of weeks later, clemency was granted to the terrorists and Clinton’s Senate campaign expressed support for the move so long as the terrorists renounced violence.
“She was up to her ears in this,” Connor said.[14]

2000 WFP Convention

The New York Working Families Party 2000 Convention was held at the Desmond Hotel, March 26.
Attendees included;

There were sizable delegations from ACORN and Citizen Action.[15]

Clinton and communists helped Kucinich

During Dennis Kucinich‘s 1996 Congressional run, there was considerable controversy over his ties to Communist Party USA member Rick Nagin. Writing in the Communist Party USA paper People’s Weekly World Ohio Communist Party chairman, Rick Nagin, detailed the campaign which led to Kucinich’s election to Congress:[16]

“The election of Dennis Kucinich in Ohio’s 10th Congressional District was a ground-breaking event demonstrating the powerful political potential of a mass, grassroots coalition led by Labor.
Trade unionists and seniors provided the largest numbers of some 5,000 volunteers but many others came from Hispanic, environmental, peace and other organizations.
According to the campaign staff, the volunteers canvassed at least 600 of the district’s 750 precincts, some as many as four times. They turned the western half of Cuyahoga County and especially the west side of Cleveland into a sea of 15,000 bright yellow yard signs reading “Light Up Congress! Elect Dennis Kucinich” –[16]

Many organizations also issued their own literature and did their own mailings including the AFL-CIO’s Labor ’96, the UAW CAP Council, the Sierra Club, Peace Voter ’96, gay rights and senior groups. The United Auto Workers and the Steelworkers did plantgate distributions. The Ohio Council of Senior Citizens distributed 12,000 pieces with the positions of Kucinich and his opponent, incumbent Martin Hoke, on senior issues to senior buildings, nutrition sites and bingo games.
Then First Lady Clinton, Congressmen Louis Stokes, Joseph Kennedy and Barney Frank also helped out.

“The coalition embraced many political viewpoints: Democrats, independents, Greens, socialists, Communists, members of the Labor Party, even some disgruntled Republicans. Democratic Party figures, including First Lady Hillary Clinton, Congressmen Louis Stokes, Joseph Kennedy and Barney Frank visited Cleveland to help in the effort.”[17]

Take Back America Conferences

Hillary Clinton was on the list of 114 speakers (which included George Soros) at the 2004 Take Back America conference, which was organized by the Institute for Policy Studies, and Democratic Socialists of America dominated Campaign for America’s Future.[18]
She was back in 2006, 2007.

Arafat connection

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Admiration for Cesar Chavez

On April 1, 2008 Evelina Alarcon, Executive Director of Cesar E. Chavez National Holiday welcomed the backing for a Cesar Chavez national holiday from Presidential candidate Senator Barack Obama who issued a statement on Cesar Chavez’s birthday Monday, March 31, 2008. “We at Cesar E. Chavez National Holiday appreciate the backing of a national holiday for Cesar Chavez from presidential candidate Senator Barack Obama. That support is crucial because it takes the signature of a President to establish the holiday along with the Congress’s approval,” stated Evelina Alarcon. “It is also encouraging that Senator Hillary Clinton who is a great admirer of Cesar Chavez acknowledged him on his birthday. We hope that she too will soon state her support for a Cesar Chavez national holiday.”
Alarcon’s remarks were part of a statement made at a press conference at our nation’s Capitol on April 1st called by Chair of the Hispanic Congressional Caucus Rep. Joe Baca (D-CA) in support of HR 76, a resolution he authored with 62 Co-Sponsors that encourages the establishment of a Cesar Chavez national holiday by the Congress[19]

China connection

Less than a week after a Chinese Feng Yun rocket littered space with the remnants of their weather satellite, Hillary Clinton announced her intention to seek the Democrats’ presidential nomination in 2008. She forgot to mention that when husband Bill was seeking the presidency, she ran with him, as an unofficial partner-president. “Two for the price of one!” was the slogan.
The Clinton administration and his Democratic Party accepted massive campaign contributions from Loral Space & Communications, Hughes Electronics and other firms. Between 1993 and 1996, the administration allowed the export of ballistic- missile technology to Beijing. In 1996, Bill Clinton personally approved the launch of four communications satellites on Chinese rockets.
Once Hillary captured her U.S. Senate seat, she received, in 2003, $10,000 from the New York state company, Corning Inc., which manufactures fiber optics. A month later, the senator announced legislation related to reducing diesel pollution that would benefit Corning with millions of federal dollars.
Corning increased its donations and, by 2004, Hillary was attempting to persuade the Chinese government to relax tariffs on Corning’s products.
To get what she wanted, she involved the Chinese ambassador and President George W. Bush. As a result, Corning, a staunchly Republican company, held a fundraiser for her, resulting in thousands of dollars for her campaign.
As Hillary Clinton campaigns, she will expect the usual adulation from union members who have forgotten that from 1986 until 1992 “their Hillary” served on the board of the dreaded Wal-Mart, the union-busting behemoth that does more business with China than all but four countries in the world.
Then there is Hillary’s good friend and relative-by-marriage, Sen. Barbara Boxer, whose husband Stewart is a board member of the China Ocean Shipping Organization. Barbara’s colleague, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, is married to the owner of Newbridge Capital Corp., Richard C. Blum, who has made many millions in very lucrative deals with the Chinese government.[20]

Vietnam visit

July 2010’s visit to Vietnam by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will be a great opportunity to renew and expand the US government’s response to addressing the legacy of Agent Orange, said a senior official from the Aspen Institute, a Washington DC-based non-profit organization.
At a news briefing on Agent Orange in Vietnam , which was held in Washington DC on July 15 by the Agent Orange in Vietnam Information Initiative, David Devlin-Foltz said that Clinton had been briefed on the declaration and plan of action for period 2010 to 2019 released by the US-Vietnam Dialogue Group.
The plan calls upon the US government and other countries, foundations and non- governmental organizations, to provide an estimated 300 million USD over 10 years to clean the dioxin-contaminated soil and restore damaged ecosystems, as well as expanding services to people with disabilities and their families that are linked to the dioxin.
Devlin-Foltz said he expected that the US officials will discuss the Agent Orange issue in private meetings with Vietnamese government officials.
He said he hoped that the Secretary of State would encourage more involvement from the US government to see a more dramatic response to the Agent Orange problem as the relationship between both countries is improving.
According to him, the Agent Orange issue has been an irritant to the country’s relationship with Vietnam for many years, but the time has come to remedy this as it
He added that members of the US-Vietnam Dialogue Group know there are real opportunities to work to contain the spread of the dioxin; opportunities to stop the dioxin entering the local food chain; ways of restoring damaged agricultural land and ways of providing effective rehabilitation services to people with disabilities, regardless of the cost.
Also at the news briefing, Bob Edgar, a former congressman and currently head of the Common Cause organization in the US, said that he believed it was important to recognise that several senators, including Senator Tom Harkin, who was just in Vietnam last week, Senator Patrick Leahy and Senator Sheldon Whitehouse and others have stated that they recognise that wars do not end just when the last soldier leaves the battlefield.
Edgar said that this is not only an opportunity for the US to both work to expand its partnership with the Vietnamese government, but also to work to address issues relating to Agent Orange in Vietnam.[21]

Support from Individuals

Hilda Solis & Dolores Huerta

In 2007 Hilda Solis, current Secretary of Labor, endorsed Sen. Clinton for president and signed on to co-chair of the Clinton campaign’s Environmental and Energy Task Force and co-chair of the National Hispanic Leadership Council.
Solis was joined by her friend and Democratic Socialists of America honorary chair, Dolores Huerta. Solis and Huerta had the honor of formally nominating Clinton for the Democratic primary.
Together Huerta and Solis campaigned for Clinton through California and Nevada on a tour themed “Juntos Con Hillary, Una Vida Mejor” (Together with Hillary, A Better Life).

Megan Hull

Between Feb. 2, 2008 and August 28, 2008, Megan Hull contributed $6,900 to Hillary Clinton’s 2008 Presidential Nomination race.[22]

Sheinbaum

Stanley Sheinbaum has many influential friends on the U.S. left.
His walls are adorned with framed photos with Fidel Castro, King Hussein, Barbra Streisand and other world leaders and A-list celebrities.[23]
Key political players such as Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Jesse Jackson, Queen Noor of Jordan and former Sen. Gary Hart, have made the pilgrimage to his Westside salons in search of intellectual stimulation and money for their pet causes — sometimes their own political campaigns.
“Sheinbaum keeps the New Deal torch alive in an age when it’s not fashionable to do so,” said former senator and presidential candidate Gary Hart, a longtime friend. “He’s a voice of conscience.”
For House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Hillary Clinton is the woman she met 35 years ago (2016) , a young mother cradling her infant daughter at a dinner party at the home of Hollywood activist Stanley Sheinbaum.
“I was expecting to meet this formidable, firm woman,” she said in an interview. “When the door opened … there was Hillary Clinton off to the side holding Chelsea in her arms. There she was as a mom.”[24]

George Soros

By 2008, Barack Obama was one of only a handful of candidates to get a personal contribution from George Soros. The others include Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle (D-S.D.), Sens. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.), Bob Graham (D-Fla.), John Kerry (D-Mass.), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), U.S. Rep. Tom Lantos, and former Vermont governor Howard Dean.[25]

Huma Abedin relationship

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Support from Organizations

Council for a Livable World

The Council for a Livable World, founded in 1962 by long-time socialist activist and alleged Soviet agent, Leo Szilard, is a non-profit advocacy organization that seeks to “reduce the danger of nuclear weapons and increase national security”, primarily through supporting progressive, congressional candidates who support their policies. The Council supported Hillary Rodham Clinton in her successful Senate run as candidate for New York.[26]

Planned Parenthood

Clinton received $1837 in lobbying funds from Planned Parenthood in 2008.[27]

EMILY’s List

Clinton has been supported by EMILY’s List during her campaigning.

International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers

The 700,000-member International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, one of the nation’s largest and most politically active trade unions, endorsed New York Democratic Senator Hillary Clinton for President. They also took the unusual step of endorsing a Republican candidate for the primaries, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee.

The OIC connection

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The Istanbul Process

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Obama appointment

In January 2009, Clinton was nominated by the Obama administration for the position of Secretary in the Department of State and confirmed in January 2009.[28]

Iran lobby

Kirsten Gillibrand had also picked up money from the Iran Lobby’s Hassan Nemazee. Namazee was Hillary Clinton’s national campaign finance director who had raised a fortune for both her and John Kerry before pleading guilty to a fraud scheme encompassing hundreds of millions of dollars. Nemazee had been an Iranian American Political Action Committee trustee and had helped set up the organization.
Bill Clinton had nominated Hassan Nemazee as the US ambassador to Argentina when he had only been a citizen for two years. A “spoilsport Senate” didn’t allow Clinton to make a member of the Iran Lobby into a US ambassador, but Nemazee remained a steady presence on the Democrat fundraising circuit.
Nemazee had donated to Gillibrand and had also kicked in money to help the Al Franken Recount Fund “scour all the cemeteries for freshly dead votes”, as well as to Barbara Boxer, who also came out for the Iran nuke deal. Boxer had also received money more directly from IAPAC. [29]

Meeting McAllister

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Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton met with convicted Irish terrorist Malachy McAllister at the Clinton rally in New York April 2016.
After the meeting McAllister stated, “She was shocked to hear that my case is still going on, that it hasn’t been settled,” McAllister told the on Irish Voice newspaper.
“She remembered me from my speaking at a Brehon Law Society event in 2004. She was very surprised that I’m facing deportation.”
She is one of many US influential figures to call for justice in the McAllister case. Irish American organizations are increasingly angry over the enforced deportation of a good and decent man who has been a valued member of the Irish community for over two decades.[30]

Meeting Wing

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October 30, 2015, Hillary Clinton, Jesse Jackson, Caesar Mitchell, Butch Wing.

Barack Obama and the Committees of Correspondence

President Barack Obama
Barack obama1.jpg
44th President of the United States
Assumed office: January 20, 2009

Born August 4, 1961
Birth name Barack Hussein Obama II
Nationality American
Political party Democratic Party
Spouse Michelle Obama (m. 1992)
Political party Democratic Party
Religion Christian Liberation Theology
Signature Obama-signature-small.png
This article is part of a series about
Barack Obama
BiographyPolitical CareerControversial and Radical AssociatesRadical AppointmentsTies to IslamPresidency
Invovlement with: Democratic Socialists of AmericaNew Party/Progressive ChicagoCommunist PartyCommittees of CorrespondenceLabor MovementACORN & Project Votemore…

Contents

Barack Obama and the Committees of Correspondence.

Founding

The process of forming Committees of Correspondence (CoC) began in late 1991 when approximately one third of the Communist Party USA membership split from the party to form a new organization.
The former communists joined with former Maoists, Trotskyists, socialists and anarchists to launch CoC at Berkeley, California in 1992 and to convene the official founding conference in Chicago in 1994.
In 2000, Committees of Correspondence (CoC or CofC) became Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism (CCDS).

Obama and the Committees of Correspondence

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The Committees of Correspondence (CoC) worked with Obama in Chicago through the New Party, the Alice Palmer campaign and the anti Iraq War movement.
In 2008 Committees of Correspondence actively campaigned for Obama and several supporters were endorsers of the Progressives for Obama website.
CCDS leader Manning Marable, writing in the December 2008 issue of British Trotskyist journal Socialist Review, explained Obama’s relationship to the Chicago left.[1]

What makes Obama different is that he has also been a community organiser. He has read left literature, including my works, and he understands what socialism is. A lot of the people working with him are, indeed, socialists with backgrounds in the Communist Party or as independent Marxists. There are a lot of people like that in Chicago who have worked with him for years…

Manning Marable was almost certainly referring to the numerous former Chicago Communist Party USA members working with Obama who had become members or supporters of Committees of Correspondence.

Timuel Black

Timuel Black

Timuel Black is an historian, activist and nonogenarian icon of the Chicago left. Black is a veteran of the Socialist Party USA and Democratic Socialists of America. For several years he has served on the Committees of Correspondence advisory board.
Timuel Black’s relationship to Barack Obama stretches back until at least the early 1990s[2];

So it’s no surprise that in 1991, when a community organizer named Barack Obama returned to Chicago with a Harvard law degree, he sought advice from Black. Seventeen years later, on November 4, 2008, Black and his wife, Zenobia, watched the election coverage in their home with friends. “When we learned that he had made it, that there was no turning back, the house just went wild

In 1995 Timuel Black attempted to mediate a dispute between Illinois State Senator Alice Palmer and her chosen successor Barack Obama.
Alice Palmer had allegedly promised Obama her State Senate seat if she was successful in a run for the U.S. Congress.
She wasn’t successful, but Obama refused to stand aside and went on to win the seat unopposed-after getting all his opponents (including Palmer) disqualified on voting technicalities.
I liked Alice Palmer a lot. I thought she was a good public servant,” Obama said. “It was very awkward. That part of it I wish had played out entirely differently.”
His choice divided veteran Chicago political activists.
“There was friction about the decision he made,” said City Colleges of Chicago professor emeritus Timuel Black, who tried to negotiate with Obama on Palmer’s behalf. “There were deep disagreements.
Despite the mess, Timuel Black became and remains an admirer of the ambitious young politician.
“My first impression was this was a very, very brilliant young man,” Black says.
Black said Obama’s biggest obstacle would not be from whites, but from blacks.

“The biggest thing he has to face is the accusations by some blacks that he is not black enough…He has to overcome that without being so black that he alienates potential white supporters.”

Timuel Black addressed a largely black audience at the Woodson Regional Library auditorium on Feb. 11, 2007[3].
Speaking of Barack Obama’s presidential campaign he said;

Obama is the test of how deep racism is in this country…Barack is the recipient of the struggle of other generations…That means that you feel proud of your ancestors, your successes…(Obama), based on the opportunities that were opened to him by others, is in the position to prove to the world whether the United States of America is a true democracy, or is a continuing hypocrisy.

Timuel Black was involved in Obama’s campaign committee during his successful 2004 U.S. Senate race.
In December 2008 Barack Obama sent a note to Timuel Black‘s 90th birthday celebrations, which read in part[4];

For forty years, he shaped our young men and women into those citizens. And though he may have retired from the teaching profession nearly two decades ago, he never stopped being a teacher. We are all his students in a classroom that never closes.

Carl Davidson

Carl Davidson

Carl Davidson was a leader of the Students for a Democratic Society, a staff writer for the Maoist publication The Guardian and an activist with the pro China Communist Party USA (Marxist-Leninist) and the League for Revolutionary Struggle[5], before joining Committees of Correspondence on its founding in 1992.
One of the Committees of Correspondence‘s early projects involved establishing the radical New Party in the early 1990s.
Committees of Correspondence played a leading role in the orgainization, alongside activists from ACORN, SEIU, Democratic Socialists of America and the Institute for Policy Studies.
In the mid 1990s Carl Davidson was leading activist in the Chicago New Party, where he worked closely with New Party member and candidate Barack Obama[6].

I’m from Chicago, too, and known Obama from the time he came to the New Party to get our endorsement for his first race ever. I’ve been in his home, and as an IL legislator, he’s helped or community technology movement a number of times. He said all the right things to the ACORN and New Party folks, and we endorsed him, but I noticed too, that he seemed to measure every answer to questions put to him several tmes before coming out with it.

Carl Davidson was one of several Chicago area residents, including Don Rose, Marilyn Katz and James Weinstein, who first came together as Chicagoans Against War in Iraq in September 2002 to campaign against the war in Iraq.
In June 2003, they changed their name to Chicagoans Against War and Injustice[7].
On October 2 2002 Chicagoans Against War in Iraq organized the famous anti war rally in Federal Plaza Chicago, where Illininois State Senator Barack Obama made his name as a strong opponent of the war. Some of the people around Davidson, later held a fundraiser for Obama when he ran for U.S. Senate in 2004[8].

He spoke at our first antiwar rally. He spent most of his speech detailing all the wars in history he supported, then finally made a distinction between just wars and ‘dumb’ wars, and going into Iraq, which was still six months down the road then, was a ‘dumb war,’ and he flatly opposed it. Good, that put him on our side, and some of us organized a fundraiser for him for his Senate race.

Danny K. Davis

New Party News Spring 1996 page 2, Danny Davis center, Barack Obama right

Illinois Congressman Danny K. Davis is a member of Democratic Socialists of America and also has connections to Committees of Correspondence.
According to Chicago DSA’s New Ground of September 1994[9];

“Over 500 delegates and observers (including 140 from Chicago) attended the founding convention of the Committees of Correspondence (CoC) held here in Chicago in July.

New Ground reported that speakers…included Charles Nqukula, General Secretary of the South African Communist Party, Dulce Maria Pereira, a senatorial candidate of the Workers Party of Brazil, Angela Davis of CoC, Andre Brie of the Party of Democratic Socialism of Germany (a revamp of the old East German Communist Party). Guests during the Convention included Cook County Commissioner Danny Davis, Chicago Aldermen Helen Shiller and Rick Munoz, a representative of the Green Left Weekly of Australia and a representative of the Cuban Interest Section.
In 1994 Danny Davis, Chicago, was listed on a “Membership, Subscription and Mailing List” for the Chicago Committees of Correspondence[10].
Davis has been a long time friend and supporter of Barack Obama-one his most loyal political allies.
In the mid 1990s, Danny K. Davis joined the Chicago New Party (along with Barack Obama ) during his successful Congressional 1996 campaign on the Democratic Party ticket.
New Party News Spring 1996 page 1, celebrated the Davis’ Congressional victory and went on to say;

“New Party members won three other primaries this Spring in Chicago: Barack Obama (State Senate), Michael Chandler (Democratic Party Committee) and Patricia Martin (Cook County Judiciary)…”these victories prove that small ‘d’ democracy can work’ said Obama”.

Bernardine Dohrn and Bill Ayers

In 1994, Bernardine Dohrn and Bill Ayers, Chicago, were listed on a “Membership, Subscription and Mailing List” for the Chicago Committees of Correspondence.[10]
Bernardine Dohrn and Bill Ayers, former leaders of the terrorist Weather Underground Organization hosted Obma’s first known political gathering in their home in 1995.
Bill Ayers‘ ties to Obama run deep[11];
The two men were involved in efforts to reform the city’s education system. They appeared together on academic panels, including one organized by Michelle Obama to discuss the juvenile justice system, an area of mutual concern. Mr. Ayers’s book on the subject won a rave review in The Chicago Tribune by Mr. Obama, who called it “a searing and timely account.”
Mr. Obama further expanded his list of allies by joining the boards of two well-known charities: the Woods Fund and the Joyce Foundation.
These memberships have allowed him to help direct tens of millions of dollars in grants over the years to groups that championed the environment, campaign finance reform, gun control and other causes supported by the liberal network he was cultivating. Mr. Brazier’s group, the Woodlawn Organization, received money, for instance, as did antipoverty groups with ties to organized labor like Chicago Acorn, whose endorsement Mr. Obama sought and won in his State Senate race.

Earl Durham

A former member of the Communist Party USA national committee, Earl Durham‘s name appeared on 1994 “Membership, Subscription and Mailing List” for the Chicago Committees of Correspondence.[10]
Professor Durham went into “education reform” in the 1970s and in the 1990s founded the organization Community Organizing and Family Issues.
Barack Obama served on the organization’s sponsoring committee in 1994/95[12].

Marilyn Katz

Marilyn Katz

Now a prominent Chicago public reations professional and Democratic Party activist, Katz has a background in Students for a Democratic Society and the socialist New American Movement.
In 1994 Marilyn Katz, Chicago, was listed on a “Membership, Subscription and Mailing List” for the Chicago Committees of Correspondence.[10]
Katz, with Carl Davidson helped organize Obama’s appearance at the 2002 Chicago anti Iraq War rally.
She has worked closely with Barack Obama since meeting him through his position at Miner, Barnhill & Galland in the 1990s.

It was through the law firm that Mr. Obama met Marilyn Katz, who gave him entry into another activist network: the foot soldiers of the white student and black power movements that helped define Chicago in the 1960s.
“For better or worse, this is Chicago,” said Ms. Katz, who has held fund-raisers for Mr. Obama at her home. “Everyone is connected to everyone.””

Katz was a major fundraiser and a delegate at the Democratic Party convention for Obama.

Mike Klonsky

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Mike Klonsky is a former leader of the Students for a Democratic Society, the pro China October League and the Communist Party USA (Marxist-Leninist).
In 1994 Mike Klonsky, Chicago, was listed on a “Membership, Subscription and Mailing List” for the Chicago Committees of Correspondence.[10]
Mike Klonsky is a long time friends with Carl Davidson and Bill Ayers and was involved with some of the educational project which Ayers and Obama worked together on.
Until June 2008 Mike Klonsky ran a Blog on Barack Obama‘s campaign website.
It was pulled at very short notice after adverse publicity began surfacing on the blogosphere.

Alice Palmer

Alice Palmer

A long time Communist Party USA sympathiser, Alice Palmer traveled extensively in the old Soviet Bloc and was a leader of the Soviet front International Organization of Journalists.
In 1994 Alice Palmer and her husband Buzz Palmer, Chicago, were listed on a “Membership, Subscription and Mailing List” for the Chicago Committees of Correspondence.[10]
Barack Obama was Alice Palmer’s chief of staff when she ran for Congress in the mid 1990s. She was the main sponsor of Obama’s early political career until he took her old Illinois State Senate seat in 1996.
It was Alice Palmer who introduced Barack Obama to the meeting in the home of Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn.

Lou Pardo

Also a member of Democratic Socialists of America, Lou Pardo worked with Obama on voter registration in 1992. In the mid 1990s Pardo was active, with Obama in the Chicago New Party.
In 1994 Lou Pardo, Chicago, was listed on a “Membership, Subscription and Mailing List” for the Chicago Committees of Correspondence.[10]

Committees of Correspondence and Progressives for Obama

Progressives for Obama was originated by socialists, for socialists.
Of the four main founders, two Bill Fletcher, Jr. and Barbara Ehrenreich are senior members of Democratic Socialists of America. The fifth founder, Chicago activist Carl Davidson, the organization’s webmaster is now one of four co-leaders of Committees of Correspondence.
Of the website’s endorsers[13] James Campbell, Barry Cohen, Van Gosse, Zenobia Johnson-Black, Marilyn Katz, Fred Klonsky, Eric Mar, Jay Schaffner, Dan Swinney, Harry Targ, John Trinkl and Mildred Williamson have proven Committees of Correspondence connections.

2008 election

Shortly before the November 2008 election CCDS issued a statement “A Critical Moment-a message to CCDS membership” calling for a major effort to defeat the Republicans and elect Obama.[14]

With less than three months remaining before the November 4th general election, CCDS members together with all left and progressive forces are urged to work wholeheartedly to ensure a massive defeat at the polls for John McCain and his war-mongering, neo-conservative, right-wing sponsors.
Only a massive turnout of new, young, African American, Latino, Asian American, trade union, and progressive voters casting a ballot for Barack Obama can insure this defeat. We must find ways to argue the stakes inherent in a McCain win on key issues: ending the war, the faltering economy, creating “green” jobs, a sustainable environment, universal health care, and restoring the right to organize unions.
The various smears, racism and fear mongering surrounding the first viable African American presidential candidacy are making inroads among large segments of the public. CCDS members have a role to play in challenging the racism, joining with broad efforts like that of the petition campaign against Fox TV’s racist characterizations of the Obamas organized by the Color of Change. Hip hop artist, Das and 150 others delivered 620,000 signatures to Fox TV’s studios in Manhattan in July.
It is important to find ways to pressure the Obama campaign from an independent platform, and resist efforts to demoralize, sidetrack, and divide the movement to elect Obama. Progressives For Obama (P4O) is one such vehicle. It emerged in March 2008 during the primary campaign and has become a viable voice of critical support from the left, aiming to countervail the growing right-wing pressures on the Obama campaign.
We urgently ask CCDS members to link up with local campaigns and organizations like Progressives for Obama (P4O) to infuse the election campaign with the issues that matter most – and making the campaign at the base a deeply progressive project.
The NEC, at its most recent meeting, discussed issuing a message urging members in local areas to help build Progressives for Obama. At the launch of P4O, a draft call was issued by Tom Hayden, Bill Fletcher, Barbara Ehrenreich, and Danny Glover. Carl Davidson, a member of the NCC of CCDS, is a key organizer and moderator of the P4O web blog. The list of endorsers has grown impressively to include leaders of labor, peace and justice organizations, and leading progressive individuals.

Carl Davidson added his own addendum to the message, urging CCDS members to work with Tent State, Progressives for Obama, Progressive Democrats of America, United for Peace and Justice and The Nation magazine.

Work locally to expand the electorate in a younger, more progressive direction. Register new voters, and work with other groups, including the young people around the Obama campaign. If it’s a normal election, McCain can win. If it’s not, and turnout is new and different, we have a good shot. It really boils down to that.
Get out the vote. Registering doesn’t help if they don’t go to the polls. Again, work with others and the Obama youth, to do this. Be resolute, don’t get sidetracked by the bumpy ride, stick to the slogan, “Stop McCain, Stop the War, Vote Obama 2008!
Get outside the usual comfort zones and make new allies. We’re going to need them to wage struggle with the Obama White House in 2009…
Hook all this up with a local progressive blog or two or three, or start one yourself…Be a public face, then link to others across the country and with us nationally. This is the scaffolding of a national network.
If you’re up for adventure, come to Denver for the Democratic National Convention. Hook up with Tent State, P4O, PDA, UFPJ and the Nation Magazine. We’ll put you to work!
CCDS members have a lot to contribute as an independent force committed to advance the fight for peace and for a massive jobs program in this year’s crucial elections. From this perspective we urge members to consider joining and or supporting Progressives for Obama with our ideas, activism and financial support.
For those members and friends who are supporting other independent candidates, we urge that we go forward together to register new voters, fight hard on the issues and lay the groundwork for expanding and consolidating the progressive majority.[14]

Barbara Lee

In 1991/92, the Communist Party USA split, with many members leaving to form, the Committees of Correspondence.
At the Committees of Correspondence founding conference, Berkeley California, July 17-19, 1992, Barbara Lee was a candidate for the CoC National Coordinating Committee, while still a Democratic California State Assembly person.[15]

Barbara Lee endorsing Barack Obama

While most California Democrats initially supported Hillary Clinton, in December 2008, California Congresswoman Barbara Lee, became the first California Democrat to endorse Barack Obama.
Lee wrote in the December 10 2008 Huffington Post[16];

I wanted to share some exciting news with you, as today I announced my endorsement of Senator Barack Obama for President of the United States.
Like so many Americans, I first heard Senator Obama when he delivered his electrifying speech at the 2004 Democratic National Convention in Boston. Deep down, I knew I’d witnessed history in the making.
Barack Obama represents a bridge to the future. He embodies the hope and new direction that our country so desperately needs. As I’ve watched Senator Obama campaign for the presidency, I am convinced that he is a real agent of change; a man who can lead our nation in a new and positive direction.
This century cries for social, environmental, diplomatic, global, and neighborhood solutions to the misery that confronts far too many people in our own country and around the globe. I share Senator Obama’s vision and active commitment to building a society based on activism, progressive values and a keen sense that we must act now and outside of the usual bounds of partisanship and expediency.
I know that a President Obama would find a prompt and effective way to end the occupation of Iraq and that he would strengthen U.S. diplomacy and international development as an instrument of national policy to prevent crises that lead to war and conflagration.
I know that a President Obama would place education, health care, poverty, economic security, criminal justice reform, climate change and all of the important domestic issues at the top of his agenda.
And, I know that a President Obama would make the eradication of HIV/AIDS at home and abroad a top priority.
I founded One Voice PAC as an organization dedicated to helping elect truly progressive candidates who will challenge the status quo. To that end, I am honored to endorse Senator Obama’s candidacy and I hope you will join me in helping him secure the Democratic nomination for the presidency.

Van Jones and the Committees of Correspondence

Van Jones and Barack Obama

Barack Obama‘s former “Green Jobs Czar” Van Jones also had strong ties to the Committees of Correspondence.
Van Jones and his own Marxist-Leninist organization, STORM worked closely for years with members of Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism.
Bay Area left identity Betita Martinez, a CCDS Advisory Board member[17]was close to Jones and helped “mentor” his Ella Baker Center for Human Rights staff. Martinez, Committees of Correspondence supporters Max Elbaum and Felicia Gustin, Van Jones and Adam Gold of STORM served together on the organizing committee[18]of anti-Iraq War newspaper War Times.
When leading Committees of Correspondence member Max Elbaum released his book “Revolution in the Air: Sixties Radicals Turn to Lenin, Mao and Che” in 2002- Van Jones contributed these comments on the flyleaf;

By unearthing a hidden history of radical U.S. politics, Max Elbaum has erected an invaluable bridge between the generations. Finally, we have one book that can successfully connect the dots between the battles of the 1960s and the emerging challenges and struggles of the new century.”

In February 2006 Van Jones was guest speaker at a Committees of Correspondence fund raiser in Berkeley. Kendra Alexander was a Communist Party USA and Committees of Correspondence leader[19].

The second annual CCDS and Kendra Alexander Foundation Banquet will take place on Sunday, February 19 at the Redwood Gardens community room in Berkeley with Van Jones, a pioneering human rights activist known as a steadfast opponent of police brutality and mass incarceration, as keynote speaker.
Jones is now working to create environmentally friendly, “green-collar” jobs for formerly incarcerated persons.
The banquet is titled “Towards Building a Progressive Majority” and benefits the Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism and the Kendra Alexander Foundation. The Foundation was named in honor of the visionary leader of the Committees of Correspondence.