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Sunday, March 30, 2008


Do you remember Richard Mellon Scaife? He is the Pittsburgh billionaire who bankrolled The American Spectator and financed the "Arkansas Project."

The Arkansas Project, as you may recall, was the series of investigations that ultimately led to the impeachment of President Bill Clinton.  As David Brock, the founder of Media Matters for America, tells it in his memoir, Blinded by the Right, Scaife not only funded the investigation, but also paid off four Arkansas state troopers who had a grudge against Bill and made up stories about affairs that could never be corroborated. Scaife also happens to be the owner and publisher of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

It would therefore be a reasonable expectation that Hillary Clinton would receive a rather chilly reception should she decide to visit the Tribune-Review's endorsement, right?  In fact, it wouldn't be unreasonable for Hillary to not even make that visit.

Well, Hillary went to the Tribune and showed them who she was, a smart, cool, self-assured and indeed, courageous woman.  She opened the interview with this "It was so counterintuitive, I just thought it would be fun to do."  

While Hillary did not walk out with an endorsement - yet - she certainly changed the mind of Scaife.  This is how he concluded the column:

Does all this mean I'm ready to come out and recommend that our Democrat readers choose Sen. Clinton in Pennsylvania's April 22 primary?

No -- not yet, anyway. In fairness, we at the Trib want to hear Sen. Barack Obama's answers to some of the same questions and to others before we make that decision.

But it does mean that I have a very different impression of Hillary Clinton today than before last Tuesday's meeting -- and it's a very favorable one indeed.

Call it a "counterintuitive" impression.

For those who are interested, here is the link to the full column in the March 31, 2008 Tribune. Hillary, reassessed.

What does this mean for Hillary? Well, whether Scaife likes her or not may not get her a lot of votes, and in fact, some supporters of the "Other Candidate" will paint it as a reason not to support her. It does, however, showcase her rare courage, and her ability to work and negotiate with those who oppose her and her ideas (certainly the opposite of the divisive figure some present her as.)

Undoubtedly, Sen. Clinton is the kind of person we need at the helm of this Country!

Open Thread

Since this is a pretty new blog, I would love to hear from you if you stop by and visit!  For old friends who don't blog often, all you need to do is click the little comment link (the word "comment") below this article, and write whatever you like (no profanity, please).  

For other people, who may stop by from MyDD or other blogs I frequent, you know what to do!



Saturday, March 29, 2008

Explain this - Sen. Obama!

In a new ad running in Pennsylvania, Sen. Obama claims that he does not "take money from oil companies or lobbyists."  Throughout his campaign, he has tried to differentiate himself from Sen. Clinton, because she does take money from PACs and lobbyists, stating that he doesn't take money from those sources because he doesn't want "any strings attached." 

Listen to the ad for yourself.

You heard it plain as day!  I hope you didn't take him at his word though.  According to the Center for Responsive politics Sen. Obama has, as of February 29th, taken in over $213,ooo from oil and gas companies, including but not limited to Exxon, Shell, BP and Chevron!   To be fair, Sen. Clinton has taken in over $306,000 from these same donors over the same period.

Hillary Clinton Press Release

MSNBC - First Read

The important distinction here is Sen. Clinton has admitted that she accepts money from many groups, and asserts, quite legitimately, that accepting these funds does not mean that she would act in any way other than in the public interest.

Sen. Obama, on the other hand, had consistently and repeatedly stated that he does not accept PAC money or money from federally registered lobbyists, but as you can see, this is not true.  

In 2005, Sen. Clinton opposed Dick Cheney's energy bill.

In 2005 , Sen. Obama supported the bill, despite having previously criticized Cheney's support for the oil industry and the bill and having decried the secret meetings that resulted in "energy laws that were good for Exxon-Mobil." 

So, when all is said and done, who do you support?  


From the Accountable Strategies Blog, there is an interesting article about the role of bundling with regard to evading campaign spending reform (Reining in the Campaign Bundlers).

The article advises that the loopholes in the campaign reform efforts

has led to the emergence of “bundlers,” who increasingly operate on behalf of businesses and wealthy special interest groups. While individuals are legally limited to spending $2,300 on a particular candidate, bundlers can round up contributions from numerous individuals from a single business or industry.

Currently, bundlers have to disclose their roles only if they personally hand over these checks to the campaigns, according to Public Citizen. The campaigns get around this rule by employing a tracking system that enables the bundlers to cover their tracks. Campaigns give bundlers a tracking number, which the bundler asks the contributors to write on their checks. This allows the campaigns to know who the bundler is, but keeps the public in the dark as to the bundler’s identity.

Interestingly, and as per the information available today at WhiteHouseForSale.org, Sen. Obama has raised $192,757, 721 with the assistance of 361 bundlers and 14 lobbyist bundlers, and Sen. Clinton has raised $152,751,856 with the assistance of 322 bundlers and 22 lobbyist bundlers.

The obvious conclusion to me is that Sen. Obama cannot legitimately use this as a point of distinction from Sen. Clinton.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Kudos to Jamie Rubin

for being an honorable advocate for Hillary Clinton, and effectively pushing back against the open bias of MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell. His words speak for themselves.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Monica's Blue Dress - 2008

Cross-Posted at MyDD and at No Quarter

As I recall, Monica Lewinsky and her "blue dress" have not been an issue for about eight years. So, you can imagine my surprise when I check out The Page - by Mark Halperin - Time and read that Obama Senior Advisor Gordon Fischer decided that now would be a good time to remind us about it.

I followed the link and saw that this story has already been picked up by Jake Tapper at ABC. Tapper quotes Fischer as follows.

"When Joe McCarthy questioned others' patriotism, McCarthy (1) actually believed, at least aparently (sic), the questions were genuine, and (2) he did so in order to build up, not tear down, his own party, the GOP. Bill Clinton cannot possibly seriously believe Obama is not a patriot, and cannot possibly be said to be helping -- instead he is hurting -- his own party. B. Clinton should never be forgiven. Period. This is a stain on his legacy, much worse, much deeper, than the one on Monica's blue dress."

Can someone please explain to me why rehashing an event from nearly a decade ago is at all relevant to bolster a stab at Bill Clinton that even Obama's own campaign has already denounced? If someone could, I would be greatly appreciative. The hypocrisy in Obama's campaign makes me feel like my head is about to explode!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Hillary Clinton - Superwoman - Alicia Keys (my favorite HRC video)

Obama's Speech - Fool's Gold?

March 19, 2008
CROSS-POSTED AT MyDD and Hillary'sVoice

I just read through Sen. Obama’s speech two times although I will confess, I did not listen to it. To preface the remainder of my remarks, I tried to read it without any political agenda, and although I am a supporter of Hillary Clinton, I believe I was able to give it a fair reading. I found that as I read it, I agreed with the sentiments he expressed, and indeed found them quite eloquent and powerful, until he got to the end of the following paragraph.

I have already condemned, in unequivocal terms, the statements of Reverend Wright that have caused such controversy. For some, nagging questions remain. Did I know him to be an occasionally fierce critic of American domestic and foreign policy? Of course. Did I ever hear him make remarks that could be considered controversial while I sat in church? Yes. Did I strongly disagree with many of his political views? Absolutely - just as I’m sure many of you have heard remarks from your pastors, priests, or rabbis with which you strongly disagreed.

Although I do not know the content of private discussions my rabbis may have ever had with their friends and family, I can say unequivocally that I have never heard any of my rabbis ever say anything that could be considered politically controversial regarding American Politics, and with which I strongly disagreed, because American Politics is not discussed in synagogue! I suppose that is because there are people of differing political beliefs that have belonged to the synagogues I have belonged to (even though for the most part, the members are fairly liberal, at least on social issues) and political beliefs are individually formed and decided upon.

The sermons that I have heard tend to speak to the larger issues of our value systems and morality and the necessity to take responsibility for one’s actions and words. Although the values I have learned from my religion do not constitute my political identity, they have, together with my study of law, history, economics, political science etc… , and the fact that I live in this world with other people who do not all share my thoughts and beliefs or act the way I would, played a part in developing my political identity.

I also can state that if I ever heard, or heard of, any public statements that came out of my Rabbi’s mouth in synagogue, that were any way in the nature of words that Rev. Wright said, and if that statement was not quickly denounced by the leadership and members of my synagogue, I would leave and find a new synagogue, regardless of whatever other wonderful things my Rabbi may have said or done in the past.

It is not reasonable for individuals, not to mention political leaders, to sit by silently when hatred is freely and publicly expressed. The words used by Rev. Wright are at their essence, evidence of the hatred which is at the root of racism and are at odds with all concepts of equality. To remain in a community that allows the use of these words by its religious leaders to go unchecked, is in fact, tacit approval of those words, and thereby allows those words to slowly and insidiously poison people’s minds and beliefs.

It is not insignificant to note that Rev. Wright’s statements were loudly and visibly supported by many in his congregation. This message of hatred which was taught by Rev. Wright, and learned by many of his congregants, cannot be simply redeemed by the claim, which I will presume to be valid, that Rev. Wright has over the years, also taught positive messages and has done good and positive work for his community.

In light of this, it is fair to note that bad things can happen when good people do nothing. In the case of Sen. Obama, “doing nothing” includes being a member of that church knowing of all this going on, and continuing in his close relationship with Rev. Wright throughout these years.

It is also problematic to me that the above statement by Sen. Obama seems to presume that all religious leaders make or can be expected to make statements similar or at least parallel to those made by Rev. Wright. This seems to be a major weakness in his understanding of the world outside of his own community.

Sen. Obama, in his attempt to explain why he has continued in his relationship with his church and Rev. Wright describes the emotionally and spiritually compelling experiences he has had at Trinity and then states that
as imperfect as he may be, he has been like family to me. He strengthened my faith, officiated my wedding, and baptized my children. Not once in my conversations with him have I heard him talk about any ethnic group in derogatory terms, or treat whites with whom he interacted with anything but courtesy and respect. He contains within him the contradictions - the good and the bad - of the community that he has served diligently for so many years.

Obama concludes that this is sufficient justification to maintain his continued relationship with Rev. Wright and implicitly, with his church, notwithstanding Obama’s past awareness of Rev. public statements of hate and divisiveness, reducing their importance to mere “snippets” of Wright’s career, and asserting that they are being taken out of context.

I understand the need to find a religious community that speaks to your spiritual, emotional and familial needs. I agree that Wright has both good and bad in him as does everyone, but (and this is a big but) I do not believe that what we have seen on video are only occasional rants, nor do I believe that they can be overlooked by anyone, least of all, a candidate for President of the United States. Although I can understand Sen. Obama’s desire to maintain his friendship, I cannot understand his continued support and membership in his church, because as I have learned through my own travels, you can find welcoming and loving communities in many places.

The fact that Sen. Obama believes that these statements can and should be overlooked says a lot about Obama. What it says to me is that these are the lessons that live in his heart and have played a part in the forming of his political beliefs. The fact that he makes Wright comparable to his white grandmother who has “confessed her fear of black men who passed by her on the street, and who on more than one occasion has uttered racial or ethnic stereotypes that made me cringe” shows that he neither understands nor sees the difference between the two, and explains why his campaign keeps accusing Hillary Clinton of playing the race card. Furthermore, he fails to any way address the fact that the gender animus prevalent in this race and in American culture is a concern equally deserving of fairness and equality.

Although this speech has beautiful words and thoughts in it, once you get past the surface, what this speech says to me that Sen. Obama does not really have an understanding of the issues and concerns of the larger American community, and demonstrates why he is not ready to be President.