WASHINGTON (CNN) – President-elect Barack Obama is planning to nominate at least three key members of his national security team at an event in Chicago, Illinois, on Monday, including Sen. Hillary Clinton as secretary of state, according to two Democratic officials…
Hillary Clinton at the Harkin Steak Fry in Indianola, Iowa on September 16, 2007
…The New York Times reports on the lengthy negotiations between Team Obama and Bill Clinton and the 9 preconditions the former President had to meet…
Bill Clinton at Truman High School in Independence, Missouri on January 26, 2008
It’s a small price to pay for competence and instant credibility in the eyes of the rest of the world. There’s the extra added bonus of right wingnut heads exploding in apoplexy in pockets of America and on AM talk radio.
We may as well set up a 24-hour-per-day vigil at the graveside of Harry S Truman, because he is gonna rise up out of the grave any day now and make his displeasure known, and I want proprietary rights to the footage and the first interview.
In the spring of 2007 a tiny military contractor with a slender track record went shopping for a precious Beltway commodity.
The company, Defense Solutions, sought the services of a retired general with national stature, someone who could open doors at the highest levels of government and help it win a huge prize: the right to supply Iraq with thousands of armored vehicles.
Access like this does not come cheap, but it was an opportunity potentially worth billions in sales, and Defense Solutions soon found its man. The company signed Barry R. McCaffrey, a retired four-star Army general and military analyst for NBC News, to a consulting contract starting June 15, 2007.
Four days later the general swung into action. He sent a personal note and 15-page briefing packet to David H. Petraeus, the commanding general in Iraq, strongly recommending Defense Solutions and its offer to supply Iraq with 5,000 armored vehicles from Eastern Europe. “No other proposal is quicker, less costly, or more certain to succeed,” he said.
Thus, within days of hiring General McCaffrey, the Defense Solutions sales pitch was in the hands of the American commander with the greatest influence over Iraq’s expanding military.
“That’s what I pay him for,” Timothy D. Ringgold, chief executive of Defense Solutions, said in an interview.
For the last five and a half years, McCaffrey has taken to the airwaves and advocated martial policies that directly benefit his corporate masters, without revealing those conflicts of interest to either the media outlets that employed him as a dispassionate analyst nor to the viewers who trusted him based on his military standing and achievements.
It’s a disgrace, and I don’t care how kind McCaffrey is to underlings (that is his reputation) a war profiteer is a traitor to the nation, and that negates every positive accomplishment he can rightly claim.
After the smoke had cleared on the night of the election the difference between the two candidates was less than one per cent. The republican candidate in the open seat race, Denny Hoskins, assisted by ungodly amount of republican state party money paying for nasty radio, cable television, and mail, managed to barely eke out a win over Jim Jackson (D).
It was the normal republican campaign play book. Nasty and full of crap:
But, the republicans will continue to do this nasty campaign stuff because it works.
That remorse? The Warrensburg Daily Star Journal prominently published a letter to the editor on their opinion page today:
…I felt compelled to set the record straight on an issue that was bantered around during the recent campaign for Missouri House seat for 121st District….
…Every aspect of Jim’s service has been conducted as a gentleman. To the community: You passed your chance to have the best-qualified candidate to serve you in the Legislature. It appears to me, the rejection was based on questionable information about his past record…
Bill Brame, Higginsville
And of course, the local media didn’t call the republicans on it (and that’s being charitable) until after the election.
I have a feeling we’ll be seeing and hearing a lot of priceless stuff come from Denny Hoskins (r – “noun, verb, CPA”) in Jefferson City. All those right wingnut chickens are going to come home to roost – and the voters in the 121st Legislative District won’t like it one bit.
A motley crew of ACORN activists showed up at Wachovia Securities at Jefferson and Market in St. Louis on Tuesday to present Wachovia with the Turkey of the Year award. Near as I could tell, the Wachovia Securities division in St. Louis takes up six city blocks. But the activists, all … what? nine or ten? … of them were undaunted. Like ACORN people in various cities, they wanted to get the word out to the local press that Wachovia, as well as American General, Yale Mortgage and Morgan Stanley, have yet to take any action to halt the mortgage crisis.
When the activists, trailed by two security guards, approached a building to deliver a letter outlining their complaints and requests, they were met by an amiable woman representing the company. She took the letter and the award. But while it’s easy to present a civil PR face to what the corporation sees as a dozen or so powerless busybodies, what Wachovia plainly doesn’t get is that we’re all in this economy together. Barack Obama has called on mortgage companies to declare a ninety day moratorium on loan foreclosures. Wachovia has ignored that request, even as its “new corporate family [Wells Fargo] has received at least $50 billion in bailout cash and tax breaks.”
At least four million homeowners are a month or more behind in mortgage payments, so ACORN is asking Wachovia to follow the lead of other mortgage lenders–Citi, for one–who have declared a moratorium in order to use the time to modify mortgage payments down to terms affordable to the homeowners. Such action could be followed by government guarantees:
FDIC Chairman Sheila Bair has proposed using as little as $25 billion of the $700 billion bailout to guarantee up to half of the loss that may result from re-defaults after a modification. This insurance would help facilitate an estimated 2.2 million home loan modifications, which would have to reduce all housing costs down to 31% of a borrower’s monthly income to qualify.
ACORN also wants bankruptcy protections for principal residences to allow judicial modifications.
Congress must close the loophole that allows the wealthy to protect their vacation homes and yachts while leaving those who only own one home out in the cold. This simple change would help an estimated 600,000 homeowners keep their homes and avoid foreclosure through loan modifications to truly affordable terms.
When the reporter from KMOX asked the ACORN spokesman, Darryl Moore, if he knew anyone whose home had been foreclosed, Moore did describe the situations of two people he knew–but not in detail. The ACORN group that visited Yale Mortgage in Miami, though, came more than prepared to make their point:
In Miami, ACORN member Avery Salkey from Palm Beach, along with 25 other ACORN members from South Florida, presented the “Turkey of the Year” award to Yale Mortgage. They asked CEO Woody Kahn to meet with Salkey. Salkey, a customer of Yale Mortgage, was lied to by the company when signing her mortgage papers and now faces the sale of her home on Dec. 1.
“I wanted to ask him to call his attorneys to stop the sale, but he wouldn’t talk to me,” said Salkey.
When Salkey had first signed for her home loan with Yale Mortgage, she found that the payments listed were far more than they had previously discussed – in fact, they exceeded her monthly income.
“I told them I could not afford those payments. But then they said if I could make the higher payments for six months, they would be lowered after that. I knew I could swing it for six months, so I said OK. But when I brought this up to them after six months of making the payments, they laughed in my face and asked me where I had heard that.”
Salkey has been working with ACORN and ACORN Housing for a year, attempting to negotiate with her lender. But they told her they “don’t do loan modifications.” She has filed for bankruptcy. She has also tried to switch to a different loan servicing company, but Yale Mortgage would not release her payment history showing all of the on-time payments she had made.
On Nov. 14, Salkey got a notice that her house was scheduled to be sold at court Dec. 1. Later, she got a notice that her mortgage has been sold to another servicer – but the change is effective Dec. 1, later in the day than the scheduled court sale.
“I wanted to ask them to just put a stop to the sale so that I can start over with the new servicer, with a clean slate. But they do not respond to me or to others. It seems like this is something they have been getting away with for a long time.”
CEO Kahn, not surprisingly, refused to speak to her. She’s just one of those little people. The ones who don’t matter. The ones whose financial troubles could bring down this economy and the hotshots at Yale Mortgage with them. He doesn’t get that.
But that motley band of ACORN activists in St. Louis understands that sometimes compassion makes the best economic sense. Wachovia ignores them at its peril.
President-elect Barack Obama’s remarks as prepared:
Remarks of President-elect Barack Obama
Thursday, November 27th, 2008
Nearly 150 years ago, in one of the darkest years of our nation’s history, President Abraham Lincoln set aside the last Thursday in November as a day of Thanksgiving. America was split by Civil War. But Lincoln said in his first Thanksgiving decree that difficult times made it even more appropriate for our blessings to be — and I quote — “gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American people.”
This week, the American people came together with family and friends to carry on this distinctly American tradition. We gave thanks for loved ones and for our lasting pride in our communities and our country. We took comfort in good memories while looking forward to the promise of change.
But this Thanksgiving also takes place at a time of great trial for our people.
Across the country, there were empty seats at the table, as brave Americans continue to serve in harm’s way from the mountains of Afghanistan to the deserts of Iraq. We honor and give thanks for their sacrifice, and stand by the families who endure their absence with such dignity and resolve.
At home, we face an economic crisis of historic proportions. More and more Americans are worried about losing a job or making their mortgage payment. Workers are wondering if next month’s paycheck will pay next month’s bills. Retirees are watching their savings disappear, and students are struggling with the cost of tuition.
It’s going to take bold and immediate action to confront this crisis. That’s why I’m committed to forging a new beginning from the moment I take office as President of the United States. Earlier this week, I announced my economic team. This talented and dedicated group is already hard at work crafting an Economic Recovery Plan that will create or save 2.5 million new jobs, while making the investments we need to fuel long-term economic growth and stability.
But this Thanksgiving, we are reminded that the renewal of our economy won’t come from policies and plans alone — it will take the hard work, innovation, service, and strength of the American people.
I have seen this strength firsthand over many months — in workers who are ready to power new industries, and farmers and scientists who can tap new sources of energy; in teachers who stay late after school, and parents who put in that extra hour reading to their kids; in young Americans enlisting in a time of war, seniors who volunteer their time, and service programs that bring hope to the hopeless.
It is a testament to our national character that so many Americans took time out this Thanksgiving to help feed the hungry and care for the needy. On Wednesday, I visited a food bank at Saint Columbanus Parish in Chicago. There — as in so many communities across America — folks pitched in time and resources to give a lift to their neighbors in need. It is this spirit that binds us together as one American family — the belief that we rise and fall as one people; that we want that American Dream not just for ourselves, but for each other.
That’s the spirit we must summon as we make a new beginning for our nation. Times are tough. There are difficult months ahead. But we can renew our nation the same way that we have in the many years since Lincoln’s first Thanksgiving: by coming together to overcome adversity; by reaching for — and working for — new horizons of opportunity for all Americans.
So this weekend — with one heart, and one voice, the American people can give thanks that a new and brighter day is yet to come.
It’ll be nice to have a president who can speak in complete sentences. It’ll be even nicer to have a government that tries to do things other than enrich the cronies of those in power.
…A person familiar with the discussions said Obama’s advisers had grown increasingly concerned in recent days over Web logs that accused Brennan of condoning harsh interrogation tactics, including waterboarding, which critics call torture…
Idiot reporter. It’s not “critics” who call waterboarding torture, it’s the United States Government (and everyone else) in their prosecution of World War II war criminals for waterboarding prisoners of war and civilian detainees who are the ones calling waterboarding torture. Idiot reporter.
…The Japanese were trying to establish that there was a spy organization in Changi Prison which received and transmitted by radio telephony, which had established contacts in the town for the purpose of sabotage and  stirring up of anti-Japanese feeling, and which collected money from outside for this purpose. In fact, there was no organization, no radio transmission and no attempt to promote anti-Japanese activities outside the Camp…
…Usually interrogations started quietly and would continue as long as the inquisitors got the expected answers. If, for any reason, such answers were not forthcoming, physical violence was immediately…
… employed. The methods used were:
(1) Water Torture. There were two forms of water torture. In the first, the victim was tied or held down on his back and a cloth placed over his nose and mouth. Water was then poured on the cloth…
International Military Tribunal for the Far East – Proceedings, p. 12,936.
That is a textbook description of waterboarding. However “clinical” and “sophisticated” it has become, it does the same thing to the victim. It’s torture. The United States government prosecuted individuals as war criminals for torturing people by waterboarding them.
You’d think a well paid reporter could learn to do a little basic research. Nah, they’re lazy and they’ll just parrot someone else’s self-serving definition because their style of reporting demands that all opposing viewpoints are equal.
(Good stuff. I’ll try to rebut ashriver’s points and make an opposing case over the holiday. – promoted by Clark)
Below are some reasons why I think anyone who believes in the values expressed by the Democratic Party should not support the candidacy of Francis Slay for St. Louis Mayor. I think all of these reasons fit into a general theme: in every local issue of substance, Slay has sided with the rich and powerful over the working class and the disenfranchised. In my opinion, one of the most important things about the emergence of the netroots in recent years has been that it pushed us towards a more meritocratic system. That is, in the traditional system, the power brokers in the media and the political establishment decided what ideas could even be heard and discussed, and they were very bad at doing so (often because they had vested interests in certain ideas). The emergence of blogs allowed good ideas to get a wide audience simply because they were good ideas, and not because they had to get the approval of someone in power.
From what I have seen, the St. Louis political system is exactly the kind of system that bloggers have raged against in the federal government. Insiders make decisions behind closed doors. Businesses have complete access to the political process and activists are ignored. Short-term, narrow-minded development plans to build “suburbs in the city”” are hatched and funded with taxpayer money, while intelligent people who propose plans to make St. Louis more urban and environmentally friendly are brushed aside. I have to admit I don’t know much about Maida Coleman, but she’d have to be pretty bad for me to think she’s a worse choice than Slay, not because I have any personal issue with him, but just because I think it would be an intrinsically good thing to win a victory against the gatekeeping establishment.
Anyway, here are some specifics about what I dislike about Slay’s administration thus far:
I. The School System. Slay has been one of the top recipients of Sinquefield’s pro-voucher money, and has already received 100,000 dollars from Sinquefield’s group for the upcoming election. This is already sketchy enough in my book, but looks especially bad when you consider that Slay personally campaigned for St. Louis school board members in 2003 who went on to run the public school system into the ground (yes, I agree it was bad already). In my mind, it should raise some serious red flags that a mayor who is literally getting hundreds of thousands of dollars from a pro-voucher group personally oversaw the collapse of the public school system. How do the parents of public school children feel knowing how much money Slay gets from voucher groups?
II. Development. Slay has allowed real estate developer Paul McKee to buy up large swaths of property in St. Louis neighborhoods, actively let them decay by not protecting them from brick rustlers (which reduces the property value of the surrounding properties, including those of residents and rehabbers), and then buy up the reduced price properties. In fact, the city itself allows its properties to deteriorate and drive down the property values in areas McKee is buying in. McKee has thus far not been required to provide any explanation for his plan for development and the city has shown no interest in enforcing the numerous code violations. More info is here and here.
III. Race Relations. Slay has politically ignored the black population of the city. He fired Fire Chief Sherman George in questionable circumstances, which resulted in a huge outcry from the black population of St. Louis. His response to the outcry in the black community was basically to ignore it, which has resulted in many more problems. Take a look at this video from last year’s MLK Day and tell me if this would happen to a “good administrator.”
IV. The Police Department. The St. Louis Police Department has had a series of scandals since Slay has been in office. For example, in 2005 a story broke about how the police department “discounted rape complaints at the scene, shredded records, let cases evaporate and shelved evidence that could have identified predators.” There have been several cases of police brutality. There was recently the scandal with Chief Mokwa’s daughter. Now, due to an archaic law, St. Louis is one of the only cities in the country that does not have control over its own police force (a state board controls it), so perhaps you could claim that Slay should not be blamed for these problems. Which might be a good point, except that after a group of activists had worked to craft a bill for a Civilian Oversight Board that would at least establish some small amount of accountability to the people of St. Louis, and after this bill passed the board of aldermen, Slay vetoed it. Thus, he has actively worked against giving the people of St. Louis oversight of their own police department.
There are of course a lot of other issues in St. Louis that could be mentioned, but that’s good for starters. McCain got only 16% of the vote in St. Louis City in the election; I think we can do better than this.
cookie jill posted this West Wing Thanksgiving clip at skippy. It reminded me that during four days in late August of 2000 at the Democratic National Convention in Los Angeles I saw four presidents up close. Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, Al Gore (hey, he won by 543,895 votes) and…