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Wednesday, January 24, 2007





(CHICAGO)(January 24, 2007) Chicago Sun-Times columnist Lynn Sweet politely attempted to end “Madrassagate” with a column yesterday entitled “Barack Attack Unfounded.” Sweet’s column can be combined with Sun-Times columnist Neil Steinberg’s attacks on “crazies” who question Obama, a man who is “so appealing to Americans who are not nuts.”

Well, is “Madrassagate” really over? No, not really.

First, the Roman Catholic Church used to have an expression, “Give us a boy until the age of 7 and we have him for life.” Childhood impressions and experiences are really important, notwithstanding attempts to suggest Obama was “only 6 years old” when he lived in Jakarta. It was still a highly impressionable age in a very unusual environment.

Second, Obama’s past is of particular interest because he has fantasized about and fabricated portions of the “facts” about his early years. It is entirely fair to say that if he distorted or concocted some parts of his autobiography in “Dreams From My Father,” he may have concocted others.

Third, CNN is hardly an independent news source for many Americans. I know, CNN likes to bash Fox news, and Fox likes to bash CNN, but the reality is that supporters of each cable channel do not trust information from the other.

Howard Kurtz of the Washington Post appeared on CNN and sought to debunk the Madrassagate story as conservative nonsense. Kurtz complained about the lack of footnotes (attributions) in an article discussing Obama’s madrassa experience.

CNN’s report on Obama’s alleged madrassa years sought to extrapolate backwards, from 2007 back to 1967. It is reasonable to ask what the school was like when Obama was there, not what it is like today. CNN, moreover, added another piece to the puzzle when it disclosed that Obama went to school in a ritzy neighborhood, down the street from the U. S. Ambassador’s residence. Perhaps that is why ordinary African-Americans have never cottoned to Obama’s pretenses of street smarts. They know he’s not one of them, not genuine.

Obama, indeed, with his foreign background, is the John Kerry of the 2008 election. Both men were formed in the rarified environment of privilege and overseas influence.

Jakarta is a critical place for another reason: Obama was separated from his mother at age 10, and left Jakarta never to reside with her again. He was raised thereafter in a life of academic privilege and possibly emotional hunger, by his working class grandparents in Hawaii. Thus, Obama’s years in Indonesia were extremely formative for him. It is impossible to comprehend the man today without understanding the feelings and experiences he had while living in Jakarta. Any psychologist could tell you that. Just ask.

Sweet/Steinberg attempt to suggest Obama is being “Swift Boated” by “right-wing” columnists. I have no idea what Hillary Clinton is doing with her campaign for president but I would be very surprised if her minions have not conducted some basic background research on Obama, and checked out the Jakarta years. I am also convinced that Jakarta is one of the keys to unlocking Obama’s personality and psyche. As for myself, I hardly qualify as “right-wing” in the eyes of real right wingers; they call me pro-Muslim. But I just try to write accurate commentary.

“Swift boating” attempts to distort the facts. Legitimate research seeks to uncover the facts, and to connect them into a coherent pattern. Sometimes research leads somewhere, sometimes nowhere; that doesn’t make it evil or mean-spirited. Since Obama is a modern-day Chauncey Gardner, in the vacuousness of his comments on current affairs, knowing more about his past is extremely helpful.

My guess is that we have not heard the last of Obama’s “madrassa” years. Based on my own research, there is potentially more to come. People ignored my initial Obama disclosures in 2004; that research finally came to fruition in 2006. We are still looking. For facts. I am not a swift boat mariner.

Chicago-based Internet journalist, broadcaster and critic Andy Martin is the Executive Editor and publisher of © Copyright by Andy Martin 2007. Martin covers national and world politics with forty years of personal experience. Columns also posted at;; Comments? E-mail: Media contact: (866) 706-2639.


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