barack obama, bill clinton

The Best of The Best — An Ultimate Stump Speech

Huff | Obama Diary | TALKING POINTS | Palin

OK there is no ULTIMATE stump speech. But Barack and Bill did something in Denver with words that deserves to be used by everyone in this campaign. One size does not fit all, but a consistent, positive message can win this. And with that in mind, I have taken the texts of Bill Clinton’s great Denver address and Barack Obama’s superb acceptance speech and tied them together as seamlessly as I could. The result below is a TEMPLATE for anyone who wants to speak for the Democrats this year. Modular elements that are fail safe.

They work. They resonate. I am not trying for a greatest hits list. I am trying for a useful document that can be virally circulated so anyone who needs something to say to voters. The grand kahuna, from the mouths of a former President and a President-to be. I have edited, elided and so forth. For the originals, simply check here for Bill Clinton and here for Barack.

Enjoy:

Bill Clinton said it in Denver

The American dream is under siege at home, and America’s leadership in the world has been weakened. Middle-class and low-income Americans are hurting, with incomes declining, job losses, poverty, and inequality rising, mortgage foreclosures and credit card debt increasing, health care coverage disappearing, and a very big spike in the cost of food, utilities, and gasoline.

And our position in the world has been weakened by too much unilateralism and too little cooperation … by a perilous dependence on imported oil, by a refusal to lead on global warming, by a growing indebtedness and a dependence on foreign lenders, by a severely burdened military, by a backsliding on global nonproliferation and arms control agreements, and by a failure to consistently use the power of diplomacy, from the Middle East to Africa to Latin America to Central and Eastern Europe.

Clearly, the job of the next president is to rebuild the American dream and to restore American leadership in the world.

Now the Republican nominee is a good man who has served our country heroically and who suffered terribly in a Vietnamese prison camp. He loves his country every bit as much as we do. As a senator, he has shown his independence of right-wing orthodoxy on some very important issues.

But on the two great questions of this election — how to rebuild the American dream and how to restore America’s leadership in the world — he still embraces the extreme philosophy that has defined his party for more than 25 years.

It’s a philosophy the American people never actually had a chance to see in action fully until 2001, when the Republicans finally gained control of both the White House and the Congress.

And look what happened.

They took us from record surpluses to an exploding debt; from over 22 million new jobs to just 5 million; from increasing working families’ incomes to nearly $7,500 a year to a decline of more than $2,000 a year; from almost 8 million Americans lifted out of poverty to more than 5.5 million driven into poverty; and millions more losing their health insurance.

Now, in spite of all this evidence, their candidate is actually promising more of the same.

Think about it: more tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans that will swell the deficit, increase inequality, and weaken the economy; more Band-Aids for health care that will enrich insurance companies, impoverish families, and increase the number of uninsured; more going it alone in the world, instead of building the shared responsibilities and shared opportunities necessary to advance our security and restore our influence.

They actually want us to reward them for the last eight years by giving them four more.

Now, let’s send them a message that will echo from the Rockies all across America, a simple message: Thanks, but no thanks.

I don’t believe Sen. McCain doesn’t care what’s going on in the lives of Americans. I think he just doesn’t know. John McCain just doesn’t get it.

For over two decades, he’s subscribed to that old, discredited Republican philosophy — give more and more to those with the most and hope that prosperity trickles down to everyone else. In Washington, they call this the Ownership Society, but what it really means is — you’re on your own. Out of work? Tough luck. No health care? The market will fix it. Born into poverty? Pull yourself up by your own bootstraps — even if you don’t have boots. You’re on your own.

But we Democrats measure progress in the 23 million new jobs that were created when Bill Clinton was president — when the average American family saw its income go up $7,500 instead of down $2,000 as it has under George Bush.

John McCain doesn’t get it.

While Sen. McCain was promoting war with Iraq just days after 9/11, I stood up and opposed this war, knowing that it would distract us from the real threats we face.

When John McCain said we could just “muddle through” in Afghanistan, I argued for more resources and more troops to finish the fight against the terrorists who actually attacked us on 9/11, and made clear that we must take out Osama bin Laden and his lieutenants if we have them in our sights.

John McCain doesn’t get it.

John McCain likes to say that he’ll follow bin Laden to the Gates of Hell — but he won’t even go to the cave where he lives.

And a while ago John McCain said he would not referee the attack ads that his campaign put out, and then he started approving attack ads himself.

But once again John McCain just doesn’t get it.

If you don’t have any fresh ideas, then you use stale tactics to scare the voters. If you don’t have a record to run on, then you paint your opponent as someone people should run from.

Not this time. Not this year.

We have a program that will improve life for all Americans, not just the top five percent.

As President:

I will stop giving tax breaks to corporations that ship jobs overseas, and I will start giving them to companies that create good jobs right here in America.

I will eliminate capital gains taxes for the small businesses and the start-ups that will create the high-wage, high-tech jobs of tomorrow.

I will cut taxes — cut taxes — for 95 percent of all working families. Because in an economy like this, the last thing we should do is raise taxes on the middle-class.

For the sake of our economy, our security, and the future of our planet, I will set a clear goal as president: in 10 years, we will finally end our dependence on oil from the Middle East.

As President:

I will tap our natural gas reserves, invest in clean coal technology, and find ways to safely harness nuclear power. I’ll help our auto companies re-tool, so that the fuel-efficient cars of the future are built right here in America. I’ll make it easier for the American people to afford these new cars. And I’ll invest $150 billion over the next decade in affordable, renewable sources of energy — wind power and solar power and the next generation of biofuels; an investment that will lead to new industries and 5 million new jobs that pay well and can’t ever be outsourced.

I’ll invest in early childhood education. I’ll recruit an army of new teachers, and pay them higher salaries and give them more support. And in exchange, I’ll ask for higher standards and more accountability. And we will keep our promise to every young American — if you commit to serving your community or your country, we will make sure you can afford a college education.

That’s what I will do when I am President of the United States of America.

Now is the time to finally keep the promise of affordable, accessible health care for every single American. If you have health care, my plan will lower your premiums. If you don’t, you’ll be able to get the same kind of coverage that members of Congress give themselves. And as someone who watched my mother argue with insurance companies while she lay in bed dying of cancer, I will make certain those companies stop discriminating against those who are sick and need care the most.

Now is the time to help families with paid sick days and better family leave, because nobody in America should have to choose between keeping their jobs and caring for a sick child or ailing parent.

Now is the time to change our bankruptcy laws, so that your pensions are protected ahead of CEO bonuses; and the time to protect Social Security for future generations.

And now is the time to keep the promise of equal pay for an equal day’s work, because I want my daughters to have exactly the same opportunities as your sons.

Now, many of these plans will cost money, which is why I’ve laid out how I’ll pay for every dime — by closing corporate loopholes and tax havens that don’t help America grow. But I will also go through the federal budget, line by line, eliminating programs that no longer work and making the ones we do need work better and cost less — because we cannot meet 21st century challenges with a 20th century bureaucracy.

Finally, as President:

I will end this war in Iraq responsibly, and finish the fight against al Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan. I will rebuild our military to meet future conflicts. But I will also renew the tough, direct diplomacy that can prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons and curb Russian aggression. I will build new partnerships to defeat the threats of the 21st century: terrorism and nuclear proliferation; poverty and genocide; climate change and disease. And I will restore our moral standing, so that America is once again that last, best hope for all who are called to the cause of freedom, who long for lives of peace, and who yearn for a better future.

I will practice diplomacy first and and use military force only as a last resort.

On Barack for other speakers — surrogates:

Bill Clinton said it in Denver:

“Everything I learned in my eight years as president, and in the work I have done since in America and across the globe, has convinced me that Barack Obama is the man for this job.

“Now, he has a remarkable ability to inspire people, to raise our hopes and rally us to high purpose. He has the intelligence and curiosity every successful president needs. His policies on the economy, on taxes, on health care, on energy are far superior to the Republican alternatives.

“He has shown — he has shown a clear grasp of foreign policy and national security challenges and a firm commitment to rebuild our badly strained military.

“His family heritage and his life experiences have given him a unique capacity to lead our increasingly diverse nation in an ever more interdependent world.

“The long, hard primary tested and strengthened him. And in his first presidential decision, the selection of a running mate, he hit it out of the park.

“With Joe Biden’s experience and wisdom, supporting Barack Obama ’s proven understanding, instincts, and insight, America will have the national security leadership we need.

“Barack Obama is ready to lead America and to restore American leadership in the world.”

+

Now, Senator Obama’s life is a 21st-century incarnation of the old-fashioned American dream. His achievements are proof of our continuing progress toward the more perfect union of our founders’ dreams. The values of freedom and equal opportunity, which have given him his historic chance, will drive him as president to give all Americans — regardless of race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, or disability — their chance to build a decent life and to show our humanity, as well as our strengths, to the world.

We see that humanity, that strength, and our nation’s future in Barack and Michelle Obama and their beautiful children.

We see them reinforced by the partnership with Joe Biden, his fabulous wife, Jill, a wonderful teacher, and their family.

Barack Obama will lead us away from the division and fear of the last eight years back to unity and hope.

So if, like me, you believe America must always be a place called Hope, then join Hillary and Chelsea and me in making Barack Obama the next president of the United States.

Ouch! HT to firedoglake

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YESTERDAY’S LINKS COMPLETE

WILL MCCAIN ruin Palin? GO


ORDER: Evacuate New Orleans GO


POLICE STATE tactics in RNC land GO More in this with a VIDEO at Hullabaloo GO


OBAMA and Palin poll bounce info GO


CAFFERTY petrified that McCain Might Be Another Bush GO


BUILD your electoral scenario at CQPolitics GO


SUNDAY morning talk lineup. If Republicans bore you, sleep in GO


PALIN popular in AK — only problem is they do not think she is qualified to be VP GO


WHY MCCAIN did not choose Lieberman — his handlers said NIX GO


POLITICO — five questions for Palin GO


STRATEGY — advantage Obama GO


NO ONE knows if New Orleans is prepared for another Katrina GO

FRANK RICH — Obama Consistently Confounds a Blinded Media GO


GIORDANO High optimism, the pre-speech Invesco VIDEO and remarks on context GO


538 Obama holding steady GO


JUAN COLE — shaky days in Baghdad GO


SIROTA bridge building in Denver GO


JED Obama on Palin choice — text and VIDEO GO


ROTHENBERG Democrats in Denver were on the same page GO


BEN SMITH — Biden’s first video ad “Scranton” — VIDEO and text GO


RON PAUL hits Minnesota GO


POLITICO six things the Palin pick says about McCain GO


GOP may acknowledge global warming GO


WAPO — McCain was vetting Palin all along GO

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YESTERDAY: Key Talking Points from Blll Clinton’s Denver Speech For specific campaign-related and other topics, please use the SEARCH BLOG field to your upper left. LABELS

OBAMA ON THE ISSUES — GO TO THE SOURCE, NOT WHAT YOU HEAR OUT THERE

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TWO MEDITATIONS AND A NOVELLA:
ABBA’S WAY ANTICIPATES THE OBAMA ERA. (MEDITATIONS)
BEYOND CREED ADVANCES THEOLOGY BEYOND BONHOEFFER. (APHORISMS)
PANFLICK (1988) BLACK HUMOR.

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barack obama, bill clinton, joe biden

Key Talking Points from Bill Clinton’s Speech

Huff | Obama Diary | TALKING POINTS | Palin

As promised I have quarantined Sarah Palin to a single page since ignoring her is a reasonable policy when the person we are running against is named John McCain and ultimately we elect him or defeat him at the polls. My job since January has been to do all I can to elect Barack Obama, not because he is a messiah, but because he has always been discernable as reasonable, intelligent and passionate about his perspective which is one of unity and getting the best from folk.

With that in mind, this page will mine Bill Clinton’s apposite address to the Denver delegates for TALKING POINTS — positive points that can be used to attack and defeat Mr. McCain. My source is the Congressional Quarterly. Enjoy.

Last night, Hillary told us in no uncertain terms that she is going to do everything she can to elect Barack Obama .

(APPLAUSE)

That makes two of us.

(APPLAUSE)

Actually, that makes 18 million of us…

(APPLAUSE)

… because, like Hillary, I want all of you who supported her to vote for Barack Obama in November.

Our — our nation is in trouble on two fronts. The American dream is under siege at home, and America’s leadership in the world has been weakened. Middle-class and low-income Americans are hurting, with incomes declining, job losses, poverty, and inequality rising, mortgage foreclosures and credit card debt increasing, health care coverage disappearing, and a very big spike in the cost of food, utilities, and gasoline.

And our position in the world has been weakened by too much unilateralism and too little cooperation…

(APPLAUSE)

… by a perilous dependence on imported oil, by a refusal to lead on global warming, by a growing indebtedness and a dependence on foreign lenders, by a severely burdened military, by a backsliding on global nonproliferation and arms control agreements, and by a failure to consistently use the power of diplomacy, from the Middle East to Africa to Latin America to Central and Eastern Europe.

(APPLAUSE)

Clearly, the job of the next president is to rebuild the American dream and to restore American leadership in the world.

+

Everything I learned in my eight years as president, and in the work I have done since in America and across the globe, has convinced me that Barack Obama is the man for this job.

(APPLAUSE)

Now, he has a remarkable ability to inspire people, to raise our hopes and rally us to high purpose. He has the intelligence and curiosity every successful president needs. His policies on the economy, on taxes, on health care, on energy are far superior to the Republican alternatives.

+

He has shown — he has shown a clear grasp of foreign policy and national security challenges and a firm commitment to rebuild our badly strained military.

His family heritage and his life experiences have given him a unique capacity to lead our increasingly diverse nation in an ever more interdependent world.

(APPLAUSE)

The long, hard primary tested and strengthened him. And in his first presidential decision, the selection of a running mate, he hit it out of the park.

+

With Joe Biden’s experience and wisdom, supporting Barack Obama ’s proven understanding, instincts, and insight, America will have the national security leadership we need.

And so, my fellow Democrats, I say to you: Barack Obama is ready to lead America and to restore American leadership in the world.

+

As president, he will work for an America with more partners and fewer adversaries. He will rebuild our frayed alliances and revitalize the international institutions which helped to share the cost of the world’s problems and to leverage the power of our influence.

He will put us back in the forefront of the world’s fight against global warming and the fight to reduce nuclear, chemical and biological weapons.

+

He will continue and enhance our nation’s commendable global leadership in an area in which I am deeply involved: the fight against AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria, including — including — and this is very important — a renewal of the battle against HIV and AIDS here at home.

+

A President Obama will choose diplomacy first and military force as a last resort.

+

But, in a world troubled by terror, by trafficking in weapons, drugs and people, by human rights abuses of the most awful kind, by other threats to our security, our interests, and our values, when he cannot convert adversaries into partners, he will stand up to them.

+

Barack Obama also will not allow the world’s problems to obscure its opportunities.

+

Everywhere, in rich and poor countries alike, hard- working people need good jobs, secure, affordable health care, food and energy, quality education for their children and economically beneficial ways to fight global warming.

These challenges cry out for American ideas and American innovation. When Barack Obama unleashes them, America will save lives, win new allies, open new markets, and create wonderful new jobs for our own people.

+

Most important of all, Barack Obama knows that America cannot be strong abroad unless we are first strong at home.

People the world over have always been more impressed by the power of our example than by the example of our power.

+

Look at the example the Republicans have set.

(AUDIENCE BOOS)

In this decade, American workers have consistently given us rising productivity. That means, year after year, they work harder and produce more.

Now, what did they get in return? Declining wages, less than one-fourth as many new jobs as in the previous eight years, smaller health care and pension benefits, rising poverty, and the biggest increase in income inequality since the 1920s.

+

American families by the millions are struggling with soaring health care costs and declining coverage.

I will never forget the parents of children with autism and other serious conditions who told me on the campaign trail that they couldn’t afford health care and couldn’t qualify their children for Medicaid unless they quit work and starved or got a divorce.

Are these the family values the Republicans are so proud of?

+

What about the military families pushed to the breaking point by multiple, multiple deployments? What about the assault on science and the defense of torture? What about the war on unions and the unlimited favors for the well-connected?

+

And what about Katrina and cronyism?

+

The choice is clear. The Republicans in a few days will nominate a good man who has served our country heroically and who suffered terribly in a Vietnamese prison camp. He loves his country every bit as much as we do. As a senator, he has shown his independence of right-wing orthodoxy on some very important issues.

But on the two great questions of this election — how to rebuild the American dream and how to restore America’s leadership in the world — he still embraces the extreme philosophy that has defined his party for more than 25 years.

+

It’s a philosophy the American people never actually had a chance to see in action fully until 2001, when the Republicans finally gained control of both the White House and the Congress.

Then we saw what would happen to America if the policies they had talked about for decades actually were implemented. And look what happened.

They took us from record surpluses to an exploding debt; from over 22 million new jobs to just 5 million; from increasing working families’ incomes to nearly $7,500 a year to a decline of more than $2,000 a year; from almost 8 million Americans lifted out of poverty to more than 5.5 million driven into poverty; and millions more losing their health insurance.

Now, in spite of all this evidence, their candidate is actually promising more of the same.

+

Think about it: more tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans that will swell the deficit, increase inequality, and weaken the economy; more Band-Aids for health care that will enrich insurance companies, impoverish families, and increase the number of uninsured; more going it alone in the world, instead of building the shared responsibilities and shared opportunities necessary to advance our security and restore our influence.

+

They actually want us to reward them for the last eight years by giving them four more.

+

Now, let’s send them a message that will echo from the Rockies all across America, a simple message: Thanks, but no thanks.

+

In this case, the third time is not the charm.

+

My fellow Democrats, 16 years ago, you gave me the profound honor to lead our party to victory and to lead our nation to a new era of peace and broadly shared prosperity.

Together, we prevailed in a hard campaign in which Republicans said I was too young and too inexperienced to be commander-in-chief.

(APPLAUSE)

Sound familiar?

AUDIENCE: Yes!

CLINTON: It didn’t work in 1992, because we were on the right side of history. And it will not work in 2008, because Barack Obama is on the right side of history.

+

Now, Senator Obama’s life is a 21st-century incarnation of the old-fashioned American dream. His achievements are proof of our continuing progress toward the more perfect union of our founders’ dreams. The values of freedom and equal opportunity, which have given him his historic chance, will drive him as president to give all Americans — regardless of race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, or disability — their chance to build a decent life and to show our humanity, as well as our strengths, to the world.

We see that humanity, that strength, and our nation’s future in Barack and Michelle Obama and their beautiful children.

We see them reinforced by the partnership with Joe Biden, his fabulous wife, Jill, a wonderful teacher, and their family.

Barack Obama will lead us away from the division and fear of the last eight years back to unity and hope.

So if, like me, you believe America must always be a place called Hope, then join Hillary and Chelsea and me in making Barack Obama the next president of the United States.

Aug 27, 2008


Source: CQ Transcriptions

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YESTERDAY’S LINKS COMPLETE

538: Women more skeptical of Palin than men. “Conservatives have a favorable impression of her by a 79-8 margin, but this falls to 43-35 among moderates and 26-46 among liberals. Likewise, by a 48-22 margin, conservatives think she’s ready to be President, but she loses this question 23-54 among moderates and 9-67 among liberals.” GO


MCCAIN’s “prickly” TIME interview with complete audio — marred by high plane background noise GO


REPORT: McCain may have sent reps to Alaska to investigate Palin “Troopergate” indicating that there may have been NO vetting of Palin GO


PALIN deposition could be imminent GO


UNDERESTIMATE Palin at your peril GO


3 YEARS after Katrina — toxic trailers and looming homelessness GO


LATEST CQ state-by-state election stats GO


ROVE’s faulty veep vision GO


OBAMA-BIDEN hit campaign trail 8 points up GO


OLBERMAN criticizes AP’s Babington GO


DOES Todd Palin have a John Edwards problem? GO

SATURDAY GALLUP maintains Barack’s 8 point lead a second day running GO


BARACK’s initial reaction to Palin GO


40 MILLION plus hear Obama acceptance and the reviews are uniformly good GO


GIORDANO — taking on Palin, what is smart and what is not GO


HOW RISKY is the Palin choice GO


HURRICANE hits GOP GO


FACT CHECK — Obama sticks to the facts — a few stretches GO


ANDREA Mitchell fudges threshold story GO


CIA veterans are scared of McCain GO


BUSH seeks to institutionalize and perpetuate his “War on Terror” GO


TIME August 14 phone interview with Sarah Palin GO


PERSONAL diplomacy requires good judgment GO

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Comment Policy: I have disabled comments as this is not meant to be a forum or debating venue. I am happy to receive suggestions and tips via email. Thanks.

YESTERDAY: Palin Choice Is A McCain Disaster — Breaking For specific campaign-related and other topics, please use the SEARCH BLOG field to your upper left. LABELS

OBAMA ON THE ISSUES — GO TO THE SOURCE, NOT WHAT YOU HEAR OUT THERE

Civil Rights | Disabilities | Economy } Education } Energy & Environment | Ethics | Faith | Family | Fiscal | Foreign Policy | Healthcare | Homeland Security | Immigration | Iraq | Poverty | Rural | Service | Seniors & Social Security | Technology | Urban Policy | Veterans | Women | Additional Issues | The Blueprint for Change

obama

TWO MEDITATIONS AND A NOVELLA:
ABBA’S WAY ANTICIPATES THE OBAMA ERA. (MEDITATIONS)
BEYOND CREED ADVANCES THEOLOGY BEYOND BONHOEFFER. (APHORISMS)
PANFLICK (1988) BLACK HUMOR.

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Should We Pity Bill Clinton?

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Nietzsche didn’t like pity. A demeaning emotion, said he. And yet I ask, Should we pity Bill Clinton? This is a tough issue, but it has definite ramifications if we are considering installing in the White House a First Mate who could be losing some marbles and a woman who professes to be willing to unilaterally decimate the entire Middle East.

Here is the medical take on the aftermath of a bypass operation Bill Clinton underwent in September, 2004.

One of the savviest politicians of our generation, known for his wit, charm, and calm under extreme pressure, Bill Clinton appears out of character in the speeches and interviews televised since his bypass surgery September 6, 2004—and his mental deterioration may be accelerating. Remember, this is the president who withstood public impeachment before the entire world for his relationship with Monica Lewinski without once losing control. Now, he is easily angered by hecklers, and makes factual mistakes and racial slurs while aggressively defending his wife’s campaign for presidency. Everyone sees his mental and emotional decline, yet to date, no medical professionals have spoken out about the cause or offered help.

Not a single one—not one bypass surgeon, cardiologist or psychiatrist—has stepped forward in his defense; even though all of them are trained to recognize “post bypass surgery cognitive dysfunction.” One of the best-kept secrets in medicine is the brain damage caused during bypass surgery. During my 40 years of medical practice I have never heard a doctor warn a patient before bypass surgery that an expected complication is memory loss. After surgery when the family complains of dad’s fits of anger, I have never heard a doctor admit that personality change is a common consequence of surgery. Yet these well-recognized side effects have been reported in medical journals since 1969. SOURCE

I wonder if any MSM folk will have the tact needed to raise this difficult issue. People who have come to despise the Clintons over the past few months will rub their hands with glee. But, given the claims made for the Clinton 2-for-1 relationship and Bill’s quite obvious deterioration on the stump, this is a fair issue to focus on. It is certainly as germane as the Thomas Eagleton issue was in days of yore, when past mental difficulties were enough to zap a vice-presidential candidate.

In actuality, there would be no necessary political advantage to be gained from raising this, for either side. Who can say whether Bill Clinton would not become an object of pity, or at least sympathy, if it became widely known that he was operating under a known disability, common among those who have had bypasses.

MSM ALERTS

Actual Pennsylvania Primary Results

Actual Context of Barack’s “Bitter” Remarks

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“Abba’s Way” states: Unprecedented would be Jesus stating today what he was, and is, about.
Description of “Abba’s Way” (2006) | Purchase “Abba’s Way”

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Mining the Clinton Giustra Connection

About | Popular | Superdelegates | Predictions | Polls | Game

OK, if Bill Clinton was not such an operator, he could just raise money for Kiva.org which is honest and reputable and makes no deals — just micro-credit facilitated by online smarts and a network of loan-hungry entrepreneurs worldwide. Bill has talked up Kiva but I am sure it is nothing to his other charitable ventures. Nothing about the Clintons is without high politics and rampant complexity. Compared to the Clintons, I think Richard Nixon was probably an amateur, a mere babe in the woods. (Disclosure: I knew Nixon. My late dad took Nixon into his law firm at the behest of the late Elmer Bobst.) In any case, I will devote this page to determining if there is a pile of back-scratching going on as Bill Clinton saves the world philanthropically. This is a simple mining of what’s out there.

In 2005 Canadian mining financier Frank Guistra traveled to Kazakhstan with former President Bill Clinton. Guistra won rights to buy three uranium projects in Kazakhstan, and months after the agreement was finalized Guistra gave $31 million dollars to Bill Clinton’s charitable foundation. Some hackles were raised during the Kazakhstan trip because Bill Clinton made it a point to praise the Kazakh President, dictator, and human rights violator, Nursultan Nazarbayev. This was in direct contradiction with the U.S.’s policy toward Kazakhstan. With the release of the Clinton’s tax statements, some are asking what happened to the $15 million that Bill Clinton received from Ron Burkle over a four-year period.

Read more of the above in a recent Daily Kos Post.

At the end of the day, philanthropy, like business, must be globalized. I am proud that I and other leaders in the mining industry have demonstrated that we can do our part to promote worldwide sustainable economic growth and poverty alleviation. Likewise, I am proud of my relationship with former President Clinton, which is based solely on our shared global charitable causes – nothing more and nothing less. Demeaning the philanthropic efforts of Bill Clinton does a grave injustice to all of the good works he has undertaken, and in this instance, a disservice to our entire industry.

Frank Giustra, president and CEO
Fiore Financial Corp.
Vancouver, B.C.

For the record, readers can find details of the programs announced at the March 1 fundraiser in Toronto (“President Clinton Announces Projects of the Clinton Giustra Sustainable Growth Initiative”) at http://www.clintonfoundation.org under Resources/Newsroom/Press Releases.

To read all of Mr. Giustra’s composition go here.

January 31, 2008
After Mining Deal, Financier Donated to Clinton
By JO BECKER and DON VAN NATTA Jr.

Late on Sept. 6, 2005, a private plane carrying the Canadian mining financier Frank Giustra touched down in Almaty, a ruggedly picturesque city in southeast Kazakhstan. Several hundred miles to the west a fortune awaited: highly coveted deposits of uranium that could fuel nuclear reactors around the world. And Mr. Giustra was in hot pursuit of an exclusive deal to tap them.

Unlike more established competitors, Mr. Giustra was a newcomer to uranium mining in Kazakhstan, a former Soviet republic. But what his fledgling company lacked in experience, it made up for in connections. Accompanying Mr. Giustra on his luxuriously appointed MD-87 jet that day was a former president of the United States, Bill Clinton.

Upon landing on the first stop of a three-country philanthropic tour, the two men were whisked off to share a sumptuous midnight banquet with Kazakhstan’s president, Nursultan A. Nazarbayev, whose 19-year stranglehold on the country has all but quashed political dissent.

Mr. Nazarbayev walked away from the table with a propaganda coup, after Mr. Clinton expressed enthusiastic support for the Kazakh leader’s bid to head an international organization that monitors elections and supports democracy. Mr. Clinton’s public declaration undercut both American foreign policy and sharp criticism of Kazakhstan’s poor human rights record by, among others, Mr. Clinton’s wife, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York.

Within two days, corporate records show that Mr. Giustra also came up a winner when his company signed preliminary agreements giving it the right to buy into three uranium projects controlled by Kazakhstan’s state-owned uranium agency, Kazatomprom.

The monster deal stunned the mining industry, turning an unknown shell company into one of the world’s largest uranium producers in a transaction ultimately worth tens of millions of dollars to Mr. Giustra, analysts said.

Just months after the Kazakh pact was finalized, Mr. Clinton’s charitable foundation received its own windfall: a $31.3 million donation from Mr. Giustra that had remained a secret until he acknowledged it last month. The gift, combined with Mr. Giustra’s more recent and public pledge to give the William J. Clinton Foundation an additional $100 million, secured Mr. Giustra a place in Mr. Clinton’s inner circle, an exclusive club of wealthy entrepreneurs in which friendship with the former president has its privileges.

The above reporting from the New York Times is salient. And there is much more that bears reading. Click and see. A comment on this story provides some context:

This story, which the MSM has largely ignored, raises a lot of important questions.

Are foreign governments using the Clinton foundation as a front to pay off a former president and a (perhaps) future one?

Does this mean that, in unmonitored corners of the world, President Hillary Clinton’s foreign policy will be for sale—or appear to be?

The Saudis are also major donors to the Clinton foundation. What do foreign donors expect in return for their money? Why does the law allow foreign governments and firms (which in Saudi Arabia, and many other places, amounts to the same thing) to donate to a former president’s foundation?

What is Guistra expect for his planned $100 million? Is Bill selling Hillary’s influence before she gets it?

For that matter, what is Bill Clinton planning to do with the $100 million? It is not like he is university president who wants to build a new science lab…

The questions are endless. Still, one query stumps me: Why would Hillary allow Bill to do so much dodgy stuff when she is vulnerable as a presidential candidate? Couldn’t they both wait until 2009?

From Richard Miniter.

And while Dick Morris would hardly qualify in the Clinton lexicon as a reliable source, he is often insightful, on the basis of his past experience with the Clintons. He writes:

Yet, in late 2006, as his wife was laying the ground work for a presidential race and serving in the U.S. Senate, Bill Clinton flew on a lavish private plane to the former Soviet State and met with its President, Nursultan A. Nazarbayev, known best for eliminating all opposition in his country. In the short time that he was there, Clinton promoted Nazarbayev for chairman of a U.N. committee – a position that the United States government, and his own wife, had opposed. That made no difference to Clinton. Of course, he never mentioned anything at all about the rampant human rights violations.

Clinton was there as the guest of Frank Giustra, a Canadian billionaire who wanted to buy the country’s uranium rights. Although he had no experience in this area of the world, he was suddenly awarded the contract which the New York Times termed a “monster deal…. [that] suddenly transformed the company into the world’s largest uranium producers.”

Clinton made sure that the Kazahstan President understood that Giustra and Clinton were an item.

After the deal was closed, Clinton’s foundation received a $31 million contribution from Giustra and a pledge of another $100 million.

What’s wrong with that? Well, aside from deliberately and publicly undermining the articulated policy of the United States government, Bill Clinton traded his power and his prestige in exchange for an unprecedented contribution to his foundation, which refuses to release the names of its donors. Clinton has considerable latitude in how the foundation funds are spent and the foundation board is filled with his cronies.

Again there is considerably more worth reading. Find it here.

Mr. Giustra has been assiduous in crying foul about efforts by Bloomberg and others to get to the bottom of his relationship with Clinton. My own guess is that Bill has been the intuitive puppet master. If that is so I expect that Mr. G will have a few moments of chagrin before this is all over.

Will life be any better for the world’s poor?

Try kiva.org if you want to help. The Clinton’s have the fast track to themselves — with evident support from the philanthropic establishment which has published the Clinton Foundation’s announcements without comment.

I have a sudden impulse to wash my hands.

ADDENDUM:

To keep this on one page, here is a recent roundup of the Clinton-Guistra Connection as it manifests itself in Colombia. The full article is in the HuffPost.

Clinton has helped Frank Giustra, one of the biggest donors to the Clinton Global Initiative, score meetings with high-ranking Colombian officials. Giustra has several business interests in the country, and both he and Clinton have collaborated on an effort to fight poverty in developing world by partnering up with mining companies in Colombia and elsewhere.

What significance these ties have on the current presidential campaign is debatable. The former president was also a proponent of free trade agreements like NAFTA while in the White House. However, Sen. Clinton, as her campaign has repeatedly noted, has a long-standing opposition to the Colombia deal. And her acceptance of Penn’s resignation (although he will still serve as a campaign adviser) was indicative that she did not approve of his meeting with the Colombia ambassador to the U.S.

“Senator Clinton’s position is clear and unequivocal: She is opposed to the deal,” said campaign spokesman Howard Wolfson.

But the former president is a different type of adviser; one with even more influence than Penn, and one who cannot be pushed out of the campaign. In a hypothetical Clinton administration, his voice would likely hold large sway in policy debates. As such, it is important to note that his ties to the Colombia trade agreement have on several occasions put him at odds with his wife’s stated positions.

ADDENDUM TWO: (Courtesy of a fellow Obama supporter.)

Brand Clinton

In June 2005, Giustra provided his luxurious MD-87 jet for Clinton to make speeches in Mexico, Colombia, Chile and Brazil. According to Bloomberg News, the tour earned Clinton $800,000 in personal income. Giustra “has since put his plane at Clinton’s disposal at least a dozen times to raise money for charity, his wife’s presidential campaign or himself,” Bloomberg reported.

American law does not permit Giustra, as a Canadian, to contribute directly to Hillary Clinton’s campaign. Whether providing his plane to raise campaign money counts as a contribution, I leave to the legal eagles.

A far more telling payoff involved Colombia, which has long faced international condemnation for its well-documented violations of labor and other human rights. In the oval office and after, Bill Clinton never let this get in his way, steadfastly backing a free trade agreement with the country along with a $3 billion “Plan Colombia” to fight drug traffickers and guerrillas. As he publicly told Colombian President Alvaro Uribe and others in Bogota, he was “absolutely convinced that it was vital to American interests that Colombia succeed” against the left-wing narcotraficantes.

In September 2005, Clinton hosted “a philanthropic event” at which one of his aides arranged for Giustra to meet Uribe. According to The Wall Street Journal, the two men sat in the hallway speaking for about ten minutes. A Clinton aide later told Giustra the meeting had gone well.

Giustra wanted Colombian oil. He was working with a Canadian group that subsequently paid more than $250 million to operate oil fields in conjunction with Colombia’s state-owned petroleum company. Giustra’s associates – now operating as Pacific Rubiales Energy Corp. – also signed an oil pipeline deal and was invited to do further oil-development work in Colombia, the Journal reported. — Steve Weissman Recommend you read his entire April 8 piece.

Perhaps we are going to have to create a whole branch of shady practices known as Bill-Phil — or Bill Philanthropy.

You find your mark and you make sure that nothing as crass as a large donation comes into the campaign coffers.

Instead you simply get the use of a plane for charitable purposes — sort of a 501-c-3 carte blanche. You end up with massive speaking honoraria instead of, er, um, dare I say, the b word — no, call them considerations. Maybe a room in your library.

Bill Clinton’s stature has lost about 40 poll points in this campaign. I honestly do not know, even with some years of UN experience under my belt, if Bill Clinton is doing more good than bad.

My own sense is that philanthropy in today’s world is part of the global system which I have called benign genocide — the unholy marriage of capitalism (by which I simply mean business for profit) and philanthropy (by which I mean everything nonprofit) to create a world in which about 20 percent of the population routinely falls through the cracks, children and women first.

A few of these lost become posters for the whole enterprise and we call our good works charity — deduct it.

All this is doing is making me long for Obama’s election and aspire to go back into the UN under a President who will use that organization as it was meant to be used.

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“Abba’s Way” states: Unprecedented would be Jesus stating today what he was, and is, about.
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Bill Clinton Is Flat Out Careless (Or Is It Clinton Radar?)

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Bill Clinton is flat out careless. If it is really the case that he never said anything against Barack Obama in South Carolina, then what did his dismissive remarks, which basically said Barack won it because he is Black, constitute? Carelessness? I will give Bill Clinton that if he will admit it.

Let me then ask him, while I am on the subject, whether he was careless when, three years prior to the signing of the nuclear test ban in the 90s, he released tons of nuclear secrets while the Chinese nuclear program was still going full bore? Hindsight, Bill. Was that careless?

Now let me also ask whether the genocide you apologized for, Bill, Rwanda, was also a matter of carelessness? And did Hillary remind you, while genocide was happening, that you might want to pay a little more attention to it?

As I write, I think of linkages between you and me. We intersected, you and I. When you were a student at Yale Law School, helping in Joe Duffey’s successful primary race against Tom Dodd in Connecticut, I was Joe’s principal advisor and only speech writer. I was later joined as a writer by Michael Medved, which perhaps was an ironical forerunner of things to come.

I left the campaign when Joe did not challenge John Bailey to push Dodd out of an independent candidacy. Ever since then, I have figured that Democrats did not need to win to succeed in life.

You went from that environment to become governor of Arkansas. I went into a sort of exile from politics.

Only Barack’s candidacy has emboldened me to believe that we can actually pick up, from the fatal spring of 1968, the dream that died then. When the curtain fell on the effort to bring the values of the beloved community into the practice of democracy in this country.

Do you know what makes me really mad, Bill?

It is you talking big about how wonderful you were, when you were not really standing up for the values of the beloved community, but rather for the incremental things that could be achieved in light of the political realities that grew up after 1968.

Of course you had successes. But no major evils were confronted and rolled back. This year is about going back to 1968 and restarting what was killed back then, the creation of a country closer to the values that died on a balcony in Memphis and in a hotel in LA.

I shudder to think of you returning to the White House and be even a second fiddle to more of the same.

Because, if truth be known, I do not think you have been careless. I think you have run a number on all of us, at a time when finally there is someone here to put an end to your politics.

I do not take away your brightness and articulate capacity to lay things out. But I will take away the excuse of carelessness.

I actually think you are simply on Clinton radar.

Clinton radar is amoral — a sort of ur force that tries to get away with whatever you can get away with in almost any area of life.

Even lying to the American people. Or the people of Arkansas.

Clinton radar is blind to genocide in progress.

Clinton radar does not see the hypocrisy involved in philanthropy and charity.

Clinton radar does not care about whether where you invest your money uses little kids to ride camels in races. Clinton radar does not hesitate to use the engines of governance to take care of threats.

Clinton radar cannot see the prophetic truth underlying the cries of Reverend Wright.

I am tempted to say that where there is smoke there is, in your case, no real moral fire at all.

But plenty of Clinton radar.

You guys did play the race card. Your statements were not innocent and their race card nature imputed to you by the Obama campaign.

Clinton radar is not merely a means of exploring options, it is a weapon of assault. You have used it as such and since I sense you have a pathological streak I do not believe that telling you to be ashamed would have any effect.

The only thing I can do is call you on it. I have. And I will.

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Superdelegates Note Hillary Clinton’s Red Phone Race Card

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One day Hillary Clinton’s descent into Nixonian politics, aided by Mark Penn and Howard Wolfson, will come back and hopefully stimulate a broad swath of penitence and self-awareness. Superdelegates need to stop her in her tracks before she completely ruins the prospects for the change she claims to venerate.

Sometimes it takes another mind to alert you to the devastating reasoning that you are not willing to face. That’s what happened to me today when I woke up to Orlando Patterson’s New York Times Op Ed column titled The Red Phone in Black and White.

Patterson is a Harvard sociologist and I surmise from his online cv that his roots are Jamaican. Regardless, his column is the most devastating statement of the reasons why Florida went for Hillary Clinton that I have ever seen.

It is significant that the Clinton campaign used its telephone ad in Texas, where a Fox poll conducted Feb. 26 to 28 showed that whites favored Mr. Obama over Mrs. Clinton 47 percent to 44 percent, and not in Ohio, where she held a comfortable 16-point lead among whites. Exit polls on March 4 showed the ad’s effect in Texas: a 12-point swing to 56 percent of white votes toward Mrs. Clinton. It is striking, too, that during the same weekend the ad was broadcast, Mrs. Clinton refused to state unambiguously that Mr. Obama is a Christian and has never been a Muslim.

In point of fact, Hillary Clinton did not win Texas because Barack Obama captured the sum total majority of all delegates. The MSM still insists it is the vote margin that determines the victor, but the party rules suggest that victory goes to the person who first obtains the support of 2025 delegates. Only a MSM mesmerized by Hillary’s Nixonian turn would fail at least to include the delegate margin while clarifying the matter of who won the Lone Star State.

Patterson is less concerned with this than he is with the actual texture and subtext of the Red Phone Ad. He concludes:

The ad could easily have removed its racist sub-message by including images of a black child, mother or father — or by stating that the danger was external terrorism. Instead, the child on whom the camera first focuses is blond. Two other sleeping children, presumably in another bed, are not blond, but they are dimly lighted, leaving them ambiguous. Still it is obvious that they are not black — both, in fact, seem vaguely Latino.

Finally, Hillary Clinton appears, wearing a business suit at 3 a.m., answering the phone. The message: our loved ones are in grave danger and only Mrs. Clinton can save them. An Obama presidency would be dangerous — and not just because of his lack of experience. In my reading, the ad, in the insidious language of symbolism, says that Mr. Obama is himself the danger, the outsider within.

Did the message get through? Well, consider this: people who voted early went overwhelmingly for Mr. Obama; those who made up their minds during the three days after the ad was broadcast voted heavily for Mrs. Clinton.

If you, like me, had a funny feeling you could not quite identify when you saw Hillary Clinton’s noxious ad, the chances are it was the feeling of sad discouragement that in a season of hopeful transcendence of racism, there was Hillary slogging along in the nether regions trying to win Texas. She did not win it.

But the loss was even greater than hers. It was to the party, being more and more skewered by the Clintons, and to the country, being more and more endangered. For now the danger would not merely be a McCain victory, It would be in allowing this transformed, once merely bright and chipper, Wellesley girl to morph into the reincarnation of Richard Nixon, playing her own Southern Strategy to win votes the old fashioned way — by making people afraid.

I appeal to you, if you are a superdelegate, or if you know a superdelegate, please help stop this assault. This is not democracy. This is the legitimization of a style of politics that we have tried to fight tooth and nail when it cropped up on the Republican side.

Now we need to root it out from our own precincts before it destroys us.

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The Political Death of Hillary Clinton — A Work In Progress

COSTUME FLAP: Because Hillary Clinton is in an unpredictable state of mind, leading to weird character swings, and because MSNBC is not as friendly an environment as CNN, tonight’s debate requires Obama to take the high road with a vengeance. There is NO percentage in pushing the initial reaction of rage at the release of the costume photo. None at all. Whoever put the picture out, it is part of the mix and all one can say is that if a private moment on a visit to Africa is going to be used against me politically, that’s the breaks. The initial anger was to think that the Clinton campaign would stoop so low. That is legitimate. But let the sun set on it. High road in the debate is the only road. Cool is the only mode. Measured is the best response. Humor and ease the best attitude. Go back to the “when this is over” sentiment. If questioned on the, Are you tough enough? front (and I don’t doubt it will be asked, one way or another), talk about perceptions created in the public mind by the likes of Roger Ailes and other political enemies. Then simply say you do not come from 20 points down in a race for the Presidency without being tough, you do not learn to rise above the worst an opponent can throw at you without being tough, and you do not take a stand against the Iraq war when everyone is rushing to do the will of a deluded President without being tough. Tough and high road is the formula for winning when the knives are out. The audience is the American people and they will appreciate it.

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Whatever or whoever is running Hillary Clinton is killing her politically. The recent outbursts are doing her no good, so they cannot be argued to be effective. The Main Stream Media insist on believing polls that have been proven wrong. So they will not accept the probability that Obama will sweep next Tuesday. Hillary may be emoting at our expense and that would be the most charitable interpretation.

Her political death will be arrested only by a supreme act of damage control. She has lost her own five million. She has lost the respect of anyone who values decency — I am referring to her almost unpardonable descent into the politics of mockery.

She is doing her apparent constituency no good with her antics. It would seem this is a work in progress. I shudder to think of her public meltdown if she seeks to sustain her “let’s have a debate” pugilism. It leads to the supposition that she may want to provide herself as the reason for her coming humiliation in her firewall states.

She can get another five million by writing her story of this political season and advance the simple theory that she brought it on herself. She can then blame all the people who have been doing nothing at all to help her win a single vote.

Hillary Clinton’s political death is all the more horrible because she has willed, in a sleep-walking fashion, that it be played out before our eyes. She looks terrible in her role of angry pugilist. She is continually displayed in her various meltdowns. It will be impossible for her to morph back into the graceful figure who delivered her own valediction forbidding mourning last week.

It is really like watching an A. Alvarez suicide where the victim moves forward in response to forces over which one has no apparent control.

She will go back to the Senate and maybe she will get elected to another term. But she will do so without wresting any victory from the jaws of her defeat. That is a horrible thing to say or think. But this is shaping into an event of nearly tragic proportions.

It may be that Hillary Clinton will end up Like Nixon — larger than life — the subject of an opera some day. She should be so lucky. The other options are hardly appetizing.

La Jolla Symphony and Chorus: Debussy and Mahler

Listen while you read. There’s a lot more in this blog than meets the eye.

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