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Thread: Some free advice for Barack Obama

  1. #1
    Elite Member Fluffy's Avatar
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    Post Some free advice for Barack Obama

    Some free advice for Obama

    The Clintons' personal and financial affairs have already been investigated ad nauseam. He should focus on answering any serious questions raised about his own.

    By Joe Conason

    March 7, 2008 | Whether the Democrats know enough about Barack Obama to nominate him for president -- and whether the nation will endorse that nomination in November -- remains to be seen. So far, as the trial of his former patron Antoin Rezko unfolds, nobody has even suggested that Obama did anything illegal or unethical to advance his relationship with the indicted Chicago developer. Yet many questions are still unanswered about that relationship, which included well over a hundred thousand dollars in political contributions and simultaneous real estate purchases that concluded three years ago with the Obama family owning a South Side mansion (and the Rezko family owning an adjacent lot that enlarged their celebrated neighbor's yard space).

    Rather than address those concerns fully, however, the Illinois senator has dithered and dodged, according to reporters in Chicago. Now Obama and his aides persistently deflect attention by pointing an accusing finger at the Clintons, complaining that they haven't revealed their tax returns or named all the donors to the Clinton Foundation and the Clinton Presidential Library, while occasionally alluding to the ancient Whitewater "scandal."

    While the Clintons have many faults -- including the arrogant and sometimes offensive way they have conducted this campaign -- the scandal tactic won't vanquish them. Hillary Clinton's advertising may inflate her national security experience, but when she claims to have been tested by partisan fire on her way from Arkansas to the Senate, she isn't just blowing smoke. There is no politician in America whose personal and financial affairs have been subjected to similar scrutiny except her husband, and he is retired.

    So if Obama expects a devastating revelation to leap from the pages of the Clinton tax returns when they are released to the press next month, he is more than likely to be disappointed. Chances are that she hasn't yet released her 2007 return because the paperwork isn't ready -- and she probably doesn't know what it will say when it is complete. Like most wealthy senators (and alas, most senators are wealthy), she doesn't spend much time poring over her own finances. Other people are hired to do that, and besides, she's been fairly busy for the past year or so.

    Observers with short memories should be reminded that the independent counsel probe led by Kenneth Starr did not merely examine all of the Clintons' bank statements, mortgage documents, legal records and tax returns over a period stretching back to the '80s, but dragged many of their friends, associates and employees before a grand jury to interrogate them under oath about the Clintons. Following six years of intense investigation, the partisan prosecutor had little to show beyond that stained blue dress -- and nothing that plausibly implicated Hillary Clinton in any significant wrongdoing. Starr and his staff wanted to send her to jail, and spent more than $50 million searching for the evidence to support an indictment. That doesn't include the Senate Whitewater Committee, led by Alfonse D'Amato, which wasted plenty of money and time to find ... nothing.

    Of course, those episodes concluded almost a decade ago. But the same investigations continued in a different form, conducted by the reporters who were hired to write expensive Hillary Clinton biographies for big publishers. But again, despite the strong incentive to produce dirt, the recent books by Jeff Gerth and Don Van Natta and by Carl Bernstein revealed little that was even unflattering, let alone incriminating, aside from the usual recycled gossip. Those Pulitzer-winning professionals, eager to expose whatever scandal might exist, no matter how minor, likewise discovered nothing.

    As for the Clinton Foundation, the heavy-breathing insinuations about "secret" donors seem overblown. The role of Frank Giustra, for example, the wealthy mining investor whose huge contributions to the foundation have created controversy because of his company's uranium deal in Kazakhstan, was never secret. Or at least the Clinton Foundation staff didn't think so when they told me and other reporters about him three years ago.

    When I went to Africa with Bill Clinton in July 2005 to work on a cover profile of the former president for Esquire, we traveled from South Africa to Kenya, Tanzania and Rwanda on Giustra's plane, a fact known to all the journalists on the trip, including Jennifer Senior of New York magazine and CNN's Sanjay Gupta. While I was reporting the story, foundation officials told me that Giustra had also provided the plane that took him and Clinton to Kazakhstan, China and other destinations later that summer. Donations and sponsorships from a wide assortment of other sources -- including Bill Gates, numerous investment banks, industrial companies, foreign governments and wealthy individuals -- have been made public on the foundation Web site.

    Moreover, the Obama campaign would do well to not draw excessive attention to the Clinton Foundation, since it would only succeed in speeding the rehabilitation of Bill Clinton. His efforts currently provide HIV/AIDS medication to as many as 1.5 million poor people in Africa, the Caribbean and Asia who would otherwise be abandoned to die. (If Obama doesn't believe me he can ask Nelson Mandela, who challenged Clinton to deal with the crisis.) That humanitarian achievement demanded both audacity and hope, but it also required money. Whatever the former president has done to raise funds from his billionaire friends -- and he appears to have done nothing unethical at all -- there is not a shred of evidence that he relied upon any influence wielded in the Senate by his wife. Indeed, her policy stance toward the foundation's friends in places like Dubai and Kazakhstan is critical and unyielding.

    Obama, who has mounted an inspiring and effective campaign, remains the favorite to win the Democratic nomination. And as the contest continues, he should answer every attack by the Clinton camp on his experience, his policies and his rhetoric. But he should stop seeking to divert attention to her supposed ethical problems, and concentrate instead on responding to every serious question that is raised about his finances and his associations. He will have to address them all sooner or later. Sooner would be better for him, the party and the country.

    Joe Conason writes a weekly column for Salon and the New York Observer. His new book is "It Can Happen Here: Authoritarian Peril in the Age of Bush."

  2. #2
    Elite Member kingcap72's Avatar
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    True. Obama should make sure his own financial house is in order before he jumps on the Clintons. That's just common sense.

  3. #3
    Elite Member *DIVA!'s Avatar
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    Default Bill and Hillary Clinton's Rezko Connection!!

    "You reap what you sow."
    The vetting of the Clinton's is just beginning. This was a risky strategy by the Clinton's in the first place, because the boomerang effect will expose much more of their shenanigans to the American people.
    Hey, but they wanted this vetting process right?
    The MSM needs to start reporting truthfully about Rezko's influence. His network of corrupt associates touched many politicians and operatives, including the Clinton's and their supporters.
    Since the name of Chicago defendant Antoin ‘Tony’ Rezko has come up in national debate, it seems fair to look at donations from other defendants in Chicago’s "Operation Board Games."
    Of the other five defendants, three have donated to the Clintons or to Clinton supporters, three have donated mostly to Republicans, and at least two have donated to Obama’s political opponents. None have donated to Obama.
    Rezko’s trial is scheduled to begin March 3. The legal cases comprise several indictments of Chicago political and business figures on multiple counts of fraud, extortion and kickbacks. Rezko’s co-defendants include Chicago businessman Stuart Levine; construction executive and Chicago Medical School trustee Jacob Kiferbaum, who is cooperating with the investigation, and Bear Stearns executive P. Nicholas Hurtgen; and attorneys Joseph Cari and Steven Loren, doing business for the Teachers’ Retirement System. Mr. Loren has not been a significant donor.
    That Rezko donated over the years like a political junkie, and may have been one, has already been written about by Buzzflash. Rezko himself gave mostly to Dems, with the largest amts going to central committees, other donations to national figures incl GWBush ($4000), and frequent contributions over the years to IL politicians incl Rod Blagojevich, Luis Gutierrez, and former senators Carol Moseley-Braun and Peter Fitzgerald as well as the donations to Barack Obama that Hillary Clinton pointed out.
    Predictably, the Chicago Sun-Times reports that the national co-chair of Mrs. Clinton’s presidential campaign, Los Angeles mayor Antonio Villaraigo, also got Rezko donations.
    Here is the rundown on his fellow defendants, from FEC data via in politics data, in descending order by amounts donated:
    * Stuart Levine: 210 donations for federal candidates, totaling $255,350, mostly to Republicans. Biggest contributions to Illinois Republican Party and to National PAC. One $5000 donation to the Illinois Democratic Party. Most individual donations to GOP candidates from GWBush on down, except for a few $2000 donations to Joe Lieberman, Mark Green of NY, who now appears frequently on MSNBC as a Clinton supporter, and Illinois State Comptroller Daniel W. Hynes, whose father, Thomas C. Hynes, was formerly a Cook County Assessor. Dan Hynes was among Barack Obama’s primary opponents in the Illinois U.S. Senate race in 2003. Levine donated $1000 to Bill Clinton in 1995. Levine has not donated to Obama.
    * Joseph Cari, Jr: pulled out his checkbook 137 times from 1993 on, giving $193,836 under Joseph and $8958 under Joe to candidates for federal office, mostly to Dems. Further donations from family members incl $1000 to Bill Clinton in 1995. Biggest Cari donations went to the DNC and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. Individual donations, usually $1000 apiece, to Dem candidates across the country incl the natl figures—Gore, Kerry, Kennedys—and others incl Robert Torricelli in NJ, Chuck Robb in VA, and even the late Paul Wellstone in MN ($250). Cari donated $2000 to Bill Clinton in 1995, another $1000 to Clinton campaign manager David Wilhelm, $500 and $1000 to Hillary Clinton in 2000 and 2003, and donated twice to HILLPAC in 2002. The Hillary Clinton campaign has apparently returned the $1000 but not the other donations. Cari also donated several times to Southern Wine & Spirits, a PAC donating to both major parties which has also donated to both Clintons. Cari has also donated to several Illinois Democratic candidates including Gov. Blagojevich and former Congressman Dan Rostenkowski. No contribution to Obama individually is listed, but the Obama campaign has returned $1439 from apportioned committee contributions.
    * P. Nicholas Hurtgen, former Bear Stearns manager in Chicago: 48 federal contributions from Hurtgen and his wife in recent years, totaling $47,787, almost entirely to GOP candidates--$5000+ to the Republican National Committee, $4000 to GWBush, most of the rest to other Republicans. However, the Hurtgens have also donated $2000 to Rahm Emanuel and $7000 to Mark Green of NY, a Clinton supporter.
    Baltimore O's ​Fan!

    I don''t know if she really fucked the board though. Maybe just put the tip in. -Mrs. Dark

  4. #4
    Elite Member kingcap72's Avatar
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