Tag: Bill Clinton

Clintonstein Meets The Scaife Man

Clintonstein Meets The Scaife ManClintonstein Meets The Scaife Man

Hillary Clinton was interviewed yesterday by the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. She took the opportunity to continue a pattern of personal attacks on her opponent, Barack Obama:

“He would not have been my pastor,” Clinton said. “You don’t choose your family, but you choose what church you want to attend.”

What’s interesting about this encounter is not the rough and tumble tenor of modern electioneering. That has sadly become all too familiar in these dog days of democracy. What rattled my antennae was the venue Clinton chose for these remarks.

The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review is owned by billionaire right-winger, Richard Mellon Scaife. Scaife has a place all his own in what Clinton herself tagged the “vast right-wing conspiracy.” He is a principal in, or contributor to, rightist political and media organizations like NewsMax, the Media Research Center, the American Enterprise Institute, the David Horowitz Freedom Center, the Landmark Legal Foundation, the Manhattan Institute, and the American Spectator.

Just to start…

Idiots and Assholes

Now that extremist pastor John Hagee has endorsed John McCain, Todd Beeton wants to know whether McCain will denounce Hagee. Of course, unlike with Louis Farrakhan’s endorsement of Barack Obama, McCain actually appeared with Hagee, and actually happily accepted his endorsement. The better question, then, is whether Tim Russert will harangue McCain about it the way he harangued Obama about Farrakhan. Given that McCain actually appeared with Hagee, and actually happily accepted his endorsement, you would think Russert would be at least similarly concerned.

Here’s a quick note to corporate media hacks: As a liberal purist, I was no fan of Bill Clinton’s presidency; but when you joined the Republicans in attempting to hound him from office over a personal matter, I warmed to him. Defending him from idiots and assholes helped me focus on and appreciate President Clinton’s many positives. I’ve also been no fan of Hillary Clinton, but defending her from idiots and assholes, both in the corporate media and the shrillosphere, has had the same effect. She’s far from perfect, but she would be a fine president. I’m also no fan of Barack Obama, but the corporate media are already making me warm to the idea of his possible nomination. He’s also not perfect, but he also would be a fine president.

That’s how it works. We liberal skeptics do come to the defense of our more moderate political allies, when they are under unfair attack from idiots and assholes.

This is going to be a long year.

Picketing Bill: “Where’s Jacki’s Medicine?”

Just back from Bill Clinton’s appearance at the historic Stock Pavilion on the University of Wisconsin Campus. When Gary Storck and I approached, we were directed across the street by the most polite pair of Secret Service agents I’ve ever dealt with, but, as it’s a narrow street, not an unreasonable “Free Speech Zone.”

Our signs referred to Bill’s encounter, as a Candidate, with Jacki Rickert of Mondovi, Wisconsin in 1992. Jacki had been approved for the federal medical marijuana program, but not yet admitted when Bush I closed the program to new admissions in 1989. She caught up with Bill in Osseo on his post-Convention Mississippi River bus tour. After she explained her odyssey through the federal bureaucracy, Bill “I feel your pain” promised “When I’m President, you’ll get your medicine.”

Come the Inaugural, Jacki sent letters, made calls seeking fulfillment of that commitment, but got back only form letters. “If drugs were legal, my brother Roger would be dead.”

Delivering on this promise would not have required action by the Congress, as the Controlled Substances Act does not prohibit medical use of Cannabis, rather, it requires a permit, issued at the discretion of the Secretary of HHS. At the time Jacki was blocked, there were 14 patients receiving medical marijuana from the government’s pot farm in Mississippi. They were grandfathered in. 4 survive, and get monthly deliveries.

As Bill disembarked today, we caught his eye, and I was close enough to shout, “You priomised Jacki Rickert you’d get her Medical Marijuana in 1992.”

If I’m correctly reading body language, he turned to State Democratic Chair Joe Wineke, asking “what’s that about?”  Joe knows Jacki’s story, he was around for the ceremony last fall on the introduction in the Wisconsin Assembly of the Jacki Rickert Medical Marijuana Act.  

What’s Happening In East Timor & Why It Matters

The Nobel prize-winning president of East Timor, Jose Ramos-Horta, is in critical condition, breathing on a ventilator.  Timorese Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao survived an attempted coup against him and Ramos-Horta. Ramos-Horta was shot in the back of the head and the stomach…  Now Gusmao has declared a 48 hour state of emergency.

Rebel leader Major Alfredo Reinado and another insurgent are dead.

Much more below…

Obama’s Anti-Clinton Spin At Odds with DNC

…Or, how Democrats Eat Their Own.

Talking Points Memo has an article up describing Obama’s latest mailer attacking the Clinton Presidency:

In what may be Obama’s most direct and aggressive criticism of Bill Clinton’s presidency yet, the Obama campaign dropped a new mailer just before Super Tuesday that blasts “the Clintons” for wreaking massive losses on the Democratic party throughout the 1990s.

“8 years of the Clintons, major losses for Democrats across the nation,” reads the mailer, which goes on to list the post-1992 losses suffered by Dems among governors, Senators and members of the House of Representatives. The mailer was forwarded to us by a political operative who told us it was sent to Alaska, though it was probably sent elsewhere, too.

link: http://tpmelectioncentral.talk…

Hillary …Just Standing By Her Man

For the past week or so, the Clintons have demonstrated what a continuation of dynastic politics would be like in our federal government …a continuation of the divisive politics that has so characterized the past twenty years …Bush senior; Bill; W; and now, God forbid, Hill. America, the world cannot withstand another eight years of this type of politics. Nor can America live the next eight years in a foxhole as the Republicans, especially John McCain, would have us do. It is time for America to lift its sites, return to the time when America was indeed, the shinning light on the hill. America, as represented by our government, has a responsibility to its people and to the people of the world to rise above the fray and lead the world into the future. We cannot be that nation if we lower our sights to defending out of the Republican foxhole or bumbling along with stale ideas, ill-conceived policies, misspeaking and misunderstood presided-over by a two-headed leadership team. This country needs a singular voice to rally-around, who is responsible and capable of leading us into the future, mindful of the past but not constrained by its failures …a leader who is capable of bringing us along in quest of a higher vision for America and who accepts accountability for getting us there. The only acceptable choices are John Edwards and Barack Obama.

Bill Clinton attacks created backlash for Hillary.

Tonight’s victory of Barack Obama was a lot bigger than anyone expected. Most pollsters expected a victory of around 10 points; only one predicted a victory of 20 points. While they correctly predicted the uptick in support for Edwards, they did not predict the huge margin of victory that Obama would take.

The X Factor in this race was the attacks of Bill Clinton on Obama this week. However, it turned out that these attacks created a huge backlash against Hillary and led to Obama’s unexpectedly wide margin. Obama’s victory will undoubtedly give him momentum going into the next race; however, the big question is how much?

The reason that I ask this question is because the next battle will be totally different than the four battles that came before it. In the previous four battles, the winner was the candidate who could do the best at practicing retail politics — this was a turf that clearly favored Obama. With his huge gift for oratory and his ability to draw some of the largest crowds ever for political campaigns, Barack Obama was able to generate the kind of grassroots support that propelled him to convincing wins in Iowa and South Carolina, a narrow loss in New Hampshire, and a tie in Nevada.

But this will be a totally different battle than the one before it, because it will be decided on the airwaves. Stump speeches will be important, but the candidates will have to try to appeal to audiences much bigger than the small audiences that they appealed to before. The battle will be won and lost based on who can create the best commercials that appeal to voters. So, if Obama cannot give people flashes of his oratorical skills in 30 seconds, then he will be in even more hot water than he is already — he trails by double digits in the all-important state of California. And that is on top of the fact that he is still trailing the delegate count to Hillary.

“The Suffrage Was Become A Mere Machine”

Mark Twain, among his many other gifts, seems to have been something of a seer.

While perusing a collection titled The Bible According to Mark Twain (primarily devoted to excoriating the god of Abraham), I came across an unpublished piece of Twain’s, written in 1901, that seems to perfectly encapsulate the state of the nation, as we prepare to move from the reigns of George I, Clinton I, and George II, to that of Clinton II.

Twain’s text below the fold:

Would It Be Worthwhile For Bill Clinton To Discuss Hillary’s Role in His Administration?

For better or worse, Hillary Clinton's political image is largely dominated by her tenure as First Lady. It seems fairly clear that Hillary was a key, if not the key, advisor to President Clinton on many many issues. And while Tim Russert's questions on documents from the period is not really an attempt to shed light on this, it is rather more of the same gotcha nonsense, it does inadvertently get to a lot of questions about Hillary.

In today's WaPo, Michael Kinsley writes:

[First ladies] must have a better understanding of how the presidency works than all but half a dozen people in the world. One of those half a dozen is Hillary Clinton, who saw it all — well, she apparently missed one key moment — and shared in all the big decisions. Every first lady is promoted as her husband's key adviser, closest confidant, blah, blah, blah, but in the case of the Clintons, it seems to be true.

That seems true to me. But here's the thing – my recollection of the Clinton years had Hillary supposedly playing the liberal in the lion's den of Centrists role in the Clinton Administration. I'll never forget the reaction of Peter and Marian Wright Edelman to welfare reform. Peter resigned his post and Marian Wright Edelman made sure everyone understood how she felt personally betrayed by HILLARY, not Bill. Hillary was to be the liberal conscience of the Clinton Administration. How time changes images. Now Hillary's supposed liberal past is long forgotten. For those who favor DLCism, this is a sign of Hillary's good sense. For those who disfavor it, it proves hillary is a corporatist sellout DLCer. This is a central question about Hillary Clinton. Who could best answer this question? I believe Bill Clinton would be that person. I think it would help us all, and probably mostly Hillary Clinton, if he and Hillary were to discuss her role and views on the Clinton Administration and the issues faced at the time. Release of documents to add to this telling would be even better. I think it is time to tell the story – not of the personal lives of the clintons – but the public policy lives of the the Clintons. Tell us what Hillary did, said, advised and thought. To me it is the most interesting and relevant question of the entire campaign.

A Tale of Two Nominations


It was the best of times. It was the worst of times.

Back in early 1995, President Clinton had a problem. He needed to nominate a new Surgeon General and the Democrats did not control the Senate. However, the Republicans only had a slim 53 seat majority so the President felt he had a fighting chance to get his nominee through.

If he chose wisely…

A Nugget of Hope?


First off, lay off the Al Gore bashing, if you would be so kind. Sure, the guy would most likely be the best President of the whole Current crop. But he’s paid his dues. He’s already run the gauntlet many times in his life. Don’t forget he lost to a Clinton once before in a primary. He knows what he’s up against. If he chooses not to run, he’s earned some peace. Let’s not ruin it for the guy.

That said, there’s a very good chance we’ll end up with another President Clinton Elect pretty much exactly one year from — right now. Oh yes, it’s certainly possible she’ll be beat, either in the primary or the general. But today, she’s the odds-on favorite. And (unfortunately) sometimes the favorite actually wins.

Just ask the Boston Red Sox.

NSA Program Conceived Under Clinton

The project was described in the ATT sales division documents as calling for the construction of a facility to store and retain data gathered by the NSA from its domestic and foreign intelligence operations but was to be in actuality a duplicate ATT Network Operations Center for the use and possession of the NSA that would give the NSA direct, unlimited, unrestricted and unfettered access to all call information and internet and digital traffic on ATT’s long distance network. […]

  The NSA program was initially conceived at least one year prior to 2001 but had been called off; it was reinstated within 11 days of the entry into office of defendant George W. Bush.


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