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Charlie Black, McCain and Young Americans for Freedom


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I knew Charlie Black when I served as legal counsel to the National Conservative Political Action Committee in 1975-76. He was a bigoted creature of Senator Jesse Helms, both being from North Carolina. He gained his wealth and influence by riding the back of Ronald Reagan, who beqeathed to us the likes of the Bushes and Black. Thomas Frank's article in the Wall Street Journal (of all places) hits the mark and shows how if McCain were elected president, Black's evil influence would be amplified.

---------------

THE TILTING YARD By THOMAS FRANK

Charlie Black's Cronies

July 2, 2008

Wall Street Journal

Doing some research in the Library of Congress recently, an associate of mine came across a curious artifact of the Young Americans for Freedom, the high-spirited conservative group of the Vietnam era.

It is a songbook prepared for YAF's 1971 convention, and in its mimeographed pages you will find a lyric poking fun at "Adlai [stevenson] the bald-headed Com-Symp," and another moaning that, in the State Department, "everyone's a Commie slave." All good clean fun, surely. Turn a few pages, though, and you will find that the righteous ones also lifted their young voices to warble "Cara al Sol," the humor-free anthem of Spanish fascism.

Many YAFers later rose to positions of great political influence. From direct mailers to congressmen to campaign managers, the group put its stamp on our era in no small way.

This year's most prominent YAF graduate is Charlie Black, who was an officer of the group in the period when it sang fascist hymns and who now serves as a senior adviser to Republican John McCain. Last week, Mr. Black triggered a media storm by musing publicly on how a terrorist attack would improve Mr. McCain's chances to win the presidential election in November.

Mr. Black is a difficult man to pin down. The articles he wrote for the YAF's magazine back in 1972 are anodyne stuff, unremarkable apart from his youthful passion to "take on liberalism everywhere it rules...."

But he's also kept some questionable company over the years. In 1975 he founded, with the help of fellow YAFer Terry Dolan, the National Conservative Political Action Committee, which would contrive so brilliantly to poison the political atmosphere over the next decade. NCPAC's method was to raise money through terrifying direct-mail solicitations – "the shriller you are, the better it is to raise money," Mr. Dolan said – and then to spend it on terrifying TV commercials assailing this or that liberal politician. In 1980 the group helped defeat four Democratic senators, making it an overnight sensation and an omen of the money-driven, all-negative political future.

NCPAC's calling card was slime. It constantly attacked members of Congress for votes they hadn't cast and positions they hadn't taken – "there have been a few mistakes made in terms of research," was all Mr. Black would admit – and the group's main accomplishment was dodging the campaign-finance laws of the day.

Mr. Dolan was NCPAC's main personality, a boasting bully fond of shocking statements. He once bragged to a reporter that "We could say whatever we want about an opponent of a Senator Smith and the senator wouldn't have to say anything. A group like ours could lie through its teeth and the candidate it helps stays clean."

Then there was Roger Stone, who became Mr. Black's colleague in his 1980s lobbying firm Black, Manafort & Stone. Another YAFer, Mr. Stone made his reputation for scummy politics in the 1972 Nixon campaign, and has since become such a well-known impresario of calumny that Matt Labash, writing last year in the Weekly Standard, described him as "a U.S. Army of treachery: He screws more people before 9 a.m. than most people do in a whole day."

But what are dirty tricks without some sort of payoff? Conservatives often promise to wage war on the welfare state; what they don't brag about is the way they redirect the proceeds of the welfare state into the pockets of their own kind – the favored lobby firms, the well-connected contractors. Here, too, Mr. Black has a story he might relate.

During the Reagan years, the Department of Housing and Urban Development allegedly began steering contracts to clients of political favorites; one gang thus favored was Mr. Black's firm, and in particular, Mr. Black's partner, Paul Manafort. The firm took in over $300,000 lobbying HUD for funds, some of it to rehab a New Jersey housing development that, according to the Boston Globe, "New Jersey officials said they did not want and was a waste of taxpayers money." Allegations also flew about Mr. Black's own role in the HUD scandal, but no wrongdoing was ever proven in court. Mr. Manafort, for his part, became a principal in a lobbying firm headed until recently by Rick Davis, John McCain's campaign manager.

It's an interesting bunch Mr. Black has run with, and taken all together they help us understand the larger picture. What unites the conservatives of the 1970s with their pocket-lining counterparts today? A persistent derision for the notion that government might someday be conducted on the level. As that old YAF songbook put it, "Keep the faith with cynicism / Cut the opposition down!"

Write to thomas@wsj.com

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I knew Charlie Black when I served as legal counsel to the National Conservative Political Action Committee in 1975-76. He was a bigoted creature of Senator Jesse Helms, both being from North Carolina. He gained his wealth and influence by riding the back of Ronald Reagan, who beqeathed to us the likes of the Bushes and Black. Thomas Frank's article in the Wall Street Journal (of all places) hits the mark and shows how if McCain were elected president, Black's evil influence would be amplified.

---------------

THE TILTING YARD By THOMAS FRANK

Charlie Black's Cronies

July 2, 2008

Wall Street Journal

Doing some research in the Library of Congress recently, an associate of mine came across a curious artifact of the Young Americans for Freedom, the high-spirited conservative group of the Vietnam era.

It is a songbook prepared for YAF's 1971 convention, and in its mimeographed pages you will find a lyric poking fun at "Adlai [stevenson] the bald-headed Com-Symp," and another moaning that, in the State Department, "everyone's a Commie slave." All good clean fun, surely. Turn a few pages, though, and you will find that the righteous ones also lifted their young voices to warble "Cara al Sol," the humor-free anthem of Spanish fascism.

Many YAFers later rose to positions of great political influence. From direct mailers to congressmen to campaign managers, the group put its stamp on our era in no small way.

This year's most prominent YAF graduate is Charlie Black, who was an officer of the group in the period when it sang fascist hymns and who now serves as a senior adviser to Republican John McCain. Last week, Mr. Black triggered a media storm by musing publicly on how a terrorist attack would improve Mr. McCain's chances to win the presidential election in November.

Mr. Black is a difficult man to pin down. The articles he wrote for the YAF's magazine back in 1972 are anodyne stuff, unremarkable apart from his youthful passion to "take on liberalism everywhere it rules...."

But he's also kept some questionable company over the years. In 1975 he founded, with the help of fellow YAFer Terry Dolan, the National Conservative Political Action Committee, which would contrive so brilliantly to poison the political atmosphere over the next decade. NCPAC's method was to raise money through terrifying direct-mail solicitations – "the shriller you are, the better it is to raise money," Mr. Dolan said – and then to spend it on terrifying TV commercials assailing this or that liberal politician. In 1980 the group helped defeat four Democratic senators, making it an overnight sensation and an omen of the money-driven, all-negative political future.

NCPAC's calling card was slime. It constantly attacked members of Congress for votes they hadn't cast and positions they hadn't taken – "there have been a few mistakes made in terms of research," was all Mr. Black would admit – and the group's main accomplishment was dodging the campaign-finance laws of the day.

Mr. Dolan was NCPAC's main personality, a boasting bully fond of shocking statements. He once bragged to a reporter that "We could say whatever we want about an opponent of a Senator Smith and the senator wouldn't have to say anything. A group like ours could lie through its teeth and the candidate it helps stays clean."

Then there was Roger Stone, who became Mr. Black's colleague in his 1980s lobbying firm Black, Manafort & Stone. Another YAFer, Mr. Stone made his reputation for scummy politics in the 1972 Nixon campaign, and has since become such a well-known impresario of calumny that Matt Labash, writing last year in the Weekly Standard, described him as "a U.S. Army of treachery: He screws more people before 9 a.m. than most people do in a whole day."

But what are dirty tricks without some sort of payoff? Conservatives often promise to wage war on the welfare state; what they don't brag about is the way they redirect the proceeds of the welfare state into the pockets of their own kind – the favored lobby firms, the well-connected contractors. Here, too, Mr. Black has a story he might relate.

During the Reagan years, the Department of Housing and Urban Development allegedly began steering contracts to clients of political favorites; one gang thus favored was Mr. Black's firm, and in particular, Mr. Black's partner, Paul Manafort. The firm took in over $300,000 lobbying HUD for funds, some of it to rehab a New Jersey housing development that, according to the Boston Globe, "New Jersey officials said they did not want and was a waste of taxpayers money." Allegations also flew about Mr. Black's own role in the HUD scandal, but no wrongdoing was ever proven in court. Mr. Manafort, for his part, became a principal in a lobbying firm headed until recently by Rick Davis, John McCain's campaign manager.

It's an interesting bunch Mr. Black has run with, and taken all together they help us understand the larger picture. What unites the conservatives of the 1970s with their pocket-lining counterparts today? A persistent derision for the notion that government might someday be conducted on the level. As that old YAF songbook put it, "Keep the faith with cynicism / Cut the opposition down!"

Write to thomas@wsj.com

Doug-

I certainly don't expect John McCain to surround himself with the best and the brightest, nor do I intend to vote for him.

But, to dredge up the behavior of one of his advisors (or former advisors) from 30 - 35 years ago, while at the same time completely ignoring the reign of the Clintons for the last 16 years, including their sordid advisors, hacks, hitmen, bundlers and other fundraisers, tells only half of the story.

When it comes to sleazy fundraising, the Clintons are, without a doubt, unparalelled.

All of which brings us to the extent to which Obama utilizes the Clinton fundraising relationships and apparatus for the remainder of his campaign.

I commend Obama for his ability to raise funds via the Internet, but his recent repudiation of his prior agreement to run his race on Federal funds, and his recent unity events with HRC, make me suspicious that he may fall in with the Clinton crowd.

Furthermore, money chases success, and he has been quite successful.

The magnitude of interest groups (and their checkbooks) pursuing him right now must be incredible.

It will be interesting to see how things unfold.

Edited by Christopher Hall
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I knew Charlie Black when I served as legal counsel to the National Conservative Political Action Committee in 1975-76. He was a bigoted creature of Senator Jesse Helms, both being from North Carolina. He gained his wealth and influence by riding the back of Ronald Reagan, who beqeathed to us the likes of the Bushes and Black. Thomas Frank's article in the Wall Street Journal (of all places) hits the mark and shows how if McCain were elected president, Black's evil influence would be amplified.

---------------

THE TILTING YARD By THOMAS FRANK

Charlie Black's Cronies

July 2, 2008

Wall Street Journal

Doing some research in the Library of Congress recently, an associate of mine came across a curious artifact of the Young Americans for Freedom, the high-spirited conservative group of the Vietnam era.

It is a songbook prepared for YAF's 1971 convention, and in its mimeographed pages you will find a lyric poking fun at "Adlai [stevenson] the bald-headed Com-Symp," and another moaning that, in the State Department, "everyone's a Commie slave." All good clean fun, surely. Turn a few pages, though, and you will find that the righteous ones also lifted their young voices to warble "Cara al Sol," the humor-free anthem of Spanish fascism.

Many YAFers later rose to positions of great political influence. From direct mailers to congressmen to campaign managers, the group put its stamp on our era in no small way.

This year's most prominent YAF graduate is Charlie Black, who was an officer of the group in the period when it sang fascist hymns and who now serves as a senior adviser to Republican John McCain. Last week, Mr. Black triggered a media storm by musing publicly on how a terrorist attack would improve Mr. McCain's chances to win the presidential election in November.

Mr. Black is a difficult man to pin down. The articles he wrote for the YAF's magazine back in 1972 are anodyne stuff, unremarkable apart from his youthful passion to "take on liberalism everywhere it rules...."

But he's also kept some questionable company over the years. In 1975 he founded, with the help of fellow YAFer Terry Dolan, the National Conservative Political Action Committee, which would contrive so brilliantly to poison the political atmosphere over the next decade. NCPAC's method was to raise money through terrifying direct-mail solicitations – "the shriller you are, the better it is to raise money," Mr. Dolan said – and then to spend it on terrifying TV commercials assailing this or that liberal politician. In 1980 the group helped defeat four Democratic senators, making it an overnight sensation and an omen of the money-driven, all-negative political future.

NCPAC's calling card was slime. It constantly attacked members of Congress for votes they hadn't cast and positions they hadn't taken – "there have been a few mistakes made in terms of research," was all Mr. Black would admit – and the group's main accomplishment was dodging the campaign-finance laws of the day.

Mr. Dolan was NCPAC's main personality, a boasting bully fond of shocking statements. He once bragged to a reporter that "We could say whatever we want about an opponent of a Senator Smith and the senator wouldn't have to say anything. A group like ours could lie through its teeth and the candidate it helps stays clean."

Then there was Roger Stone, who became Mr. Black's colleague in his 1980s lobbying firm Black, Manafort & Stone. Another YAFer, Mr. Stone made his reputation for scummy politics in the 1972 Nixon campaign, and has since become such a well-known impresario of calumny that Matt Labash, writing last year in the Weekly Standard, described him as "a U.S. Army of treachery: He screws more people before 9 a.m. than most people do in a whole day."

But what are dirty tricks without some sort of payoff? Conservatives often promise to wage war on the welfare state; what they don't brag about is the way they redirect the proceeds of the welfare state into the pockets of their own kind – the favored lobby firms, the well-connected contractors. Here, too, Mr. Black has a story he might relate.

During the Reagan years, the Department of Housing and Urban Development allegedly began steering contracts to clients of political favorites; one gang thus favored was Mr. Black's firm, and in particular, Mr. Black's partner, Paul Manafort. The firm took in over $300,000 lobbying HUD for funds, some of it to rehab a New Jersey housing development that, according to the Boston Globe, "New Jersey officials said they did not want and was a waste of taxpayers money." Allegations also flew about Mr. Black's own role in the HUD scandal, but no wrongdoing was ever proven in court. Mr. Manafort, for his part, became a principal in a lobbying firm headed until recently by Rick Davis, John McCain's campaign manager.

It's an interesting bunch Mr. Black has run with, and taken all together they help us understand the larger picture. What unites the conservatives of the 1970s with their pocket-lining counterparts today? A persistent derision for the notion that government might someday be conducted on the level. As that old YAF songbook put it, "Keep the faith with cynicism / Cut the opposition down!"

Write to thomas@wsj.com

********************************************************

"I knew Charlie Black when I served as legal counsel to the National Conservative Political Action Committee in 1975-76. He was a bigoted creature of Senator Jesse Helms, both being from North Carolina. He gained his wealth and influence by riding the back of Ronald Reagan, who bequeathed to us the likes of the Bushes and Black. Thomas Frank's article in the Wall Street Journal (of all places) hits the mark and shows how if McCain were elected president, Black's evil influence would be amplified."

Which "Charlie Black" is this? Am I missing something, here?

Thanks,

Ter

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I knew Charlie Black when I served as legal counsel to the National Conservative Political Action Committee in 1975-76. He was a bigoted creature of Senator Jesse Helms, both being from North Carolina. He gained his wealth and influence by riding the back of Ronald Reagan, who beqeathed to us the likes of the Bushes and Black. Thomas Frank's article in the Wall Street Journal (of all places) hits the mark and shows how if McCain were elected president, Black's evil influence would be amplified.

---------------

THE TILTING YARD By THOMAS FRANK

Charlie Black's Cronies

July 2, 2008

Wall Street Journal

Doing some research in the Library of Congress recently, an associate of mine came across a curious artifact of the Young Americans for Freedom, the high-spirited conservative group of the Vietnam era.

It is a songbook prepared for YAF's 1971 convention, and in its mimeographed pages you will find a lyric poking fun at "Adlai [stevenson] the bald-headed Com-Symp," and another moaning that, in the State Department, "everyone's a Commie slave." All good clean fun, surely. Turn a few pages, though, and you will find that the righteous ones also lifted their young voices to warble "Cara al Sol," the humor-free anthem of Spanish fascism.

Many YAFers later rose to positions of great political influence. From direct mailers to congressmen to campaign managers, the group put its stamp on our era in no small way.

This year's most prominent YAF graduate is Charlie Black, who was an officer of the group in the period when it sang fascist hymns and who now serves as a senior adviser to Republican John McCain. Last week, Mr. Black triggered a media storm by musing publicly on how a terrorist attack would improve Mr. McCain's chances to win the presidential election in November.

Mr. Black is a difficult man to pin down. The articles he wrote for the YAF's magazine back in 1972 are anodyne stuff, unremarkable apart from his youthful passion to "take on liberalism everywhere it rules...."

But he's also kept some questionable company over the years. In 1975 he founded, with the help of fellow YAFer Terry Dolan, the National Conservative Political Action Committee, which would contrive so brilliantly to poison the political atmosphere over the next decade. NCPAC's method was to raise money through terrifying direct-mail solicitations – "the shriller you are, the better it is to raise money," Mr. Dolan said – and then to spend it on terrifying TV commercials assailing this or that liberal politician. In 1980 the group helped defeat four Democratic senators, making it an overnight sensation and an omen of the money-driven, all-negative political future.

NCPAC's calling card was slime. It constantly attacked members of Congress for votes they hadn't cast and positions they hadn't taken – "there have been a few mistakes made in terms of research," was all Mr. Black would admit – and the group's main accomplishment was dodging the campaign-finance laws of the day.

Mr. Dolan was NCPAC's main personality, a boasting bully fond of shocking statements. He once bragged to a reporter that "We could say whatever we want about an opponent of a Senator Smith and the senator wouldn't have to say anything. A group like ours could lie through its teeth and the candidate it helps stays clean."

Then there was Roger Stone, who became Mr. Black's colleague in his 1980s lobbying firm Black, Manafort & Stone. Another YAFer, Mr. Stone made his reputation for scummy politics in the 1972 Nixon campaign, and has since become such a well-known impresario of calumny that Matt Labash, writing last year in the Weekly Standard, described him as "a U.S. Army of treachery: He screws more people before 9 a.m. than most people do in a whole day."

But what are dirty tricks without some sort of payoff? Conservatives often promise to wage war on the welfare state; what they don't brag about is the way they redirect the proceeds of the welfare state into the pockets of their own kind – the favored lobby firms, the well-connected contractors. Here, too, Mr. Black has a story he might relate.

During the Reagan years, the Department of Housing and Urban Development allegedly began steering contracts to clients of political favorites; one gang thus favored was Mr. Black's firm, and in particular, Mr. Black's partner, Paul Manafort. The firm took in over $300,000 lobbying HUD for funds, some of it to rehab a New Jersey housing development that, according to the Boston Globe, "New Jersey officials said they did not want and was a waste of taxpayers money." Allegations also flew about Mr. Black's own role in the HUD scandal, but no wrongdoing was ever proven in court. Mr. Manafort, for his part, became a principal in a lobbying firm headed until recently by Rick Davis, John McCain's campaign manager.

It's an interesting bunch Mr. Black has run with, and taken all together they help us understand the larger picture. What unites the conservatives of the 1970s with their pocket-lining counterparts today? A persistent derision for the notion that government might someday be conducted on the level. As that old YAF songbook put it, "Keep the faith with cynicism / Cut the opposition down!"

Write to thomas@wsj.com

********************************************************

"I knew Charlie Black when I served as legal counsel to the National Conservative Political Action Committee in 1975-76. He was a bigoted creature of Senator Jesse Helms, both being from North Carolina. He gained his wealth and influence by riding the back of Ronald Reagan, who bequeathed to us the likes of the Bushes and Black. Thomas Frank's article in the Wall Street Journal (of all places) hits the mark and shows how if McCain were elected president, Black's evil influence would be amplified."

Which "Charlie Black" is this? Am I missing something, here?

Thanks,

Ter

Charlie Black is one of McCain's closest advisers. He made news recently by telling Fortune Magazine that a terrorist attack on America before the November election would benefit McCain. His right wing/opportunistic roots go way back -- to the early days of Jesse Helms in North Carolina and the early years of Young Americans for Freedom.

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Guest David Guyatt
It is a songbook prepared for YAF's 1971 convention, and in its mimeographed pages you will find a lyric poking fun at "Adlai [stevenson] the bald-headed Com-Symp," and another moaning that, in the State Department, "everyone's a Commie slave." All good clean fun, surely. Turn a few pages, though, and you will find that the righteous ones also lifted their young voices to warble "Cara al Sol," the humor-free anthem of Spanish fascism.

Fascism now seems to be the default setting in today's political parties of the right, and appears to be gaining ground with every year that passes. What a great pity it is that this once apparently vanquished beast has been allowed to take root to this degree.

Were we all asleep when this happened?

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It is a songbook prepared for YAF's 1971 convention, and in its mimeographed pages you will find a lyric poking fun at "Adlai [stevenson] the bald-headed Com-Symp," and another moaning that, in the State Department, "everyone's a Commie slave." All good clean fun, surely. Turn a few pages, though, and you will find that the righteous ones also lifted their young voices to warble "Cara al Sol," the humor-free anthem of Spanish fascism.

Fascism now seems to be the default setting in today's political parties of the right, and appears to be gaining ground with every year that passes. What a great pity it is that this once apparently vanquished beast has been allowed to take root to this degree.

Were we all asleep when this happened?

*****************************************************************

"Were we all asleep when this happened?"

I was wide awake when they took over Congress in 1994, coming to the realization that my vote obviously amounted to jacks--t, since I've never voted "right" in my whole damned life. So, how could this have been allowed to happen? Fast forward to 2000, and 2004 for the real answers in Ohio and Florida. Plus, with the greatest aiding and abetting coming from Operation Mockingbird's egregious hypnotic tactics via its shill of a bought and paid for commercial news media. Of course, the best laid plans of snakes and serpents had already been set in place during Reagan's and Don Regan's dismantling what was left of any balls the U.S. government may have had, in the 1980's.

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