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Time to Roll out the Obama/Clinton 2012 ticket

1:37 pm in Uncategorized by wadenorris

Nothing personal against Senator Biden, but the Sarah Palin – teabag type of GOP is here to stay.
Whomever the 2012 GOP ticket consists of, its probably a safe bet that one of the spots will be a mama grizzly aka Palin or Haley. Having Hillary in the VP slot will provide a buffer to GOP ‘Mama Grizzly’ attacks.

And, let’s face it, the midterms have shown us that the President needs to shore up the fractured base heading into his re-election.

This is not a new idea – it has already been written about and I have to agree with Mr. Hutchinson’s assessment: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/earl-ofari-hutchinson/obamahillary-is-the-winni_b_752014.htm

As Obama’s VP in 2012, Hillary will bring the same top notch political qualities to the reelection campaign that she brought to the 2008 campaign. … She will still be a role model and inspiration for millions of women young and old. She will prove that women can hold a top political power spot that requires providing valuable policy guidance and expertise on tough domestic and foreign policy issues…

Hillary will also bring another priceless quality to the ticket. She is not intimidated by the GOP smear machine.

That last part about not being intimidated by the GOP is the most important.

By many observer’s reckoning, President Obama came to Washington with a Senator’s mentality. He tried to reason with the unreasonable, and in the end, it took Obama an entire year to get us a watered down form of Health care reform that the base was not inspired by and that the Democrats were unable to campaign on in the midterms. Heck, the only people running the Obama platform of Healthcare were Republicans.

Biden has not been an attack dog for the President, certainly not garnering the fear and loathing of Darth Cheney.

The face of the attack dog in the Obama administration was Rahm Emmanuel.

Yet, Rahm proved his pettiness by axing Howard Dean and his successful 50 state strategy (how’s that working for us?) and by meddling in Primaries in Colorado and Pennsylvania which will be giving the incoming GOP House something to ‘investigate’ (read witch-hunt) – and he certainly did not know how to appreciate the activists, to whom he called ‘f*&cking retarded’.

The President can claim that he was too busy with the incredible mess that President Bush left him to inherit to notice these gaffes by Rahm, but that excuse is exactly that, an excuse – and people don’t want excuses, they want leadership.

By picking Hillary for VP, Obama can remain calm and collected and Hillary can begin to twist arms in the Senate, a place where she was successful in her own right.

The Sarah Palin/Michelle  Bachman echo chamber is about to get much, much louder.

We need a counter punch to that idiocy and Hillary is it.

This will also put the Big Dog back in the inner circle of the White House  – and let’s face it, Bill Clinton is still the most popular Democrat with the party faithful. This will also give Democrats a long term successor in 2016.

As for those that worry that putting Hillary in the VP slot will be akin to giving her and Bill too much power in the second Obama administration, I say this to you – we’d better do what we must NOW to ensure that there will be a second Obama administration at all – and deal with the other issues after he wins his second term.

I am sorry to say this so soon, Mr. President, but it is 3 am and you need some help in the White House.

Breaking:CO-Sen Michael Bennet bank swap cover up by Tom Boasberg

5:32 pm in Uncategorized by wadenorris

The bank swap investigation story just took an interesting turn for Michael Bennet and his protege Tom Boasberg. School Board members have repeatedly asked for an audit of the Bank Swap between Denver Public Schools and JP Morgan.
Tom Boasberg and the Bennet campaign have attack these board members as asking for an audit due to political motivations caused by the Primary.
Thanks to an email record provided by a School Board member,
this can be proven to be factually wrong.
The evidence points to a concerted effort to cover up details about the swap that was reported in last Friday’s New York Times investigation .
The New York Times discovered that
Denver Public Schools has lost 25 million dollars from Michael Bennet’s investment swap and will have to pay 81 million in termination fees to get out of the swap.

You can listen to an interview about this on Mario Solis-Marich’ show.

School board members had been asking for a transparent accounting of the DPS banking derivative for years. Despite these requests, the Superintendent has delayed or declined the request.
However, when 3 members started calling publicly for an audit, Superintendent Boasberg attacked them and School Board President Theresa Pena (and Bennet campaign Treasurer) silenced them in meetings through procedural motions. Boasberg and the Bennet campaign stated that these board members’ requests were not about finances, but were politically motivated to hurt Senator Bennet’s chance in the primary.
From March 10, 2010:

"This attack is a regrettable action by a few disgruntled board members who are seeking to create a political controversy where no controversy exists," said Superintendent Tom Boasberg.

One of these school board members, Jeanne Kaplan, provided me her emails proving that this is not true – since she was asking questions about the bank swap and reports of financial losses long before there was a primary – even before Senator Bennet was in the Senate.

Ms. Kaplan began asking questions about the finances in June of 2008 which can be proven
by this list of emails.
That date is important because Michael Bennet was not appointed Senator until January 2009 – in fact, at that time, no one could have known he would be – since Barack Obama had not yet been elected and Ken Salazar had not been chosen for Secretary of the Interior.

As the emails show,
Ms. Kaplan tried repeatedly to get Tom Boasberg to explain the transaction to her and the board and explain if it was true that they were losing money only to be rebuffed and dismissed.

In the chain of Emails, examine #5 and #6 out of a total 9 emails.

#5

From: (Jeannie Kaplan)
Sent: Wednesday, December 03, 2008 11:11 AM
To: Boasberg, Tom; Pena, Theresa’s External;
Cc: Bennet, Michael
Subject: Re: DPSRS-PERA merger memo

Tom – I can’t open the attachment, but is it still relevant? What is happening=2 0with the merger, since the papers indicates it is off? Also, can we get an update on our bond situation, please? Have we lost a lot of money? If so, how much? Are there ways to stop the bleeding? When will programs/salaries/ etc. be affected?

Thanks.

Jeannie

#6 (response)

—–Original Message—–
From: Boasberg, Tom
To: Jeannie Kaplan-
Cc: Pena, Theresa’s Bennet, Michael
Sent: Thu, 4 Dec 2008 12:04 pm
Subject: RE: DPSRS-PERA merger memo

Thanks. think the attachment is of limited relevance at this point.
I think that we are going to try to spend some time at our board meeting this month talking about all these topics so we will have a chance to discuss in some detail .

Thanks.

Best,
Tom

Recently, the requests made by Kaplan and the other 2 board members were met with emails like this one.

I’m extremely disappointed that our Board has not been discussing relevant issues…. I will become much more public with my displeasure if you keep this up.

Theresa

The first thing is that this shows Ms. Kaplan is becoming alarmed at the reports of staggering losses incurred by DPS’s Bank Swap investment long before Bennet has a primary.

Secondly, notice the date of the email – December 3, 2008. Ken Salazar is still the Senator, and he was not picked by the Obama administration until Dec. 17, 2008.

Third, and perhaps most importantly to those outside of Colorado Politics, no one, absolutely no one, imagined at that time that the Governor would pick Michael Bennet, an unelected and mostly unknown DPS Superintendent for Senate. See here "What the Hell!?!"

These emails prove that it is not the 3 board members who are politically motivated, but that it is Michael Bennet, DPS school board President Theresa Pena, and current Superintendent Tom Boasberg – they are the ones who have political motivations to prevent an audit.
There may not be anything illegal about the Bank Swap, but as everyone knows in politics, a cover up of information always gives the appearance that something is wrong or unethical.

Either way, Mr. Boasberg and the Bennet campaign have disparaged the character of 3 of School Board members simply for wanting transparency.
Their decision to support Bennet’s primary challenger, at least for one of those school Board members, is directly in response to Boasberg’s and Bennet’s refusal to open the books on the bank swap.

And this other new detail makes it seem like that is the case:

The second contention made by Boasberg is that a savings of $20 million has been realized by the district on the deal. David Suppes, DPS’ Chief Operating Officer, provided a spreadsheet to the School Board on April 14 on this year. It is the most thorough accounting of DPS’ costs for the transactions to date. No combination of totals from that spreadsheet can be figured to produce the savings that Boasberg touts. What is known is, in its last, audited annual financial report, DPS states that $24.9 million has been lost on the deal.

(hattip to Guerin Lee Green and Christopher Scott)

Now, Chair of the State Budget committee (Democrat Representative Mark Ferrandino) has now called for a bi-partisan audit by both the Colorado State House and Senate of this investment. (see here)
"CO-SEN: Bennet Faces Bipartisan Probe Over Wall Street Deal From Dem-Led CO Legislature"
Listen here to Progressive Talk show host Mario Solis-Marich’s interview of Rep. Ferrandino about the investigation.

The real question about all this – the Bank Swap, the cover up by Boasberg, the accusations against the 3 School Board members, the email list and timeline, and the conflict of interest between Bennet, Boasberg and Pena – all of these are secondary to one question.
With an audit looming, if Michael Bennet wins the primary – how will stand a chance in the General?

Saudis Block Key Climate Study

2:44 pm in Uncategorized by wadenorris

It is no secret that Saudi Arabia would stand to lose a significant chunk of change if a Climate Study concluded that greenhouse gases created by Oil were going to cause the disappearance of low lying islands.

This is disappointing because while the European Union, Australia and New Zealand joined in support of AOSIS’ efforts, the United States remained on the sidelines, quietly agreeing through silence with Saudi Arabia’s efforts.

The United States’ endless addiction to Oil profits feed by our transportation sector stands in the way of change to an all electric fleet and high speed rail which would help mitigate the already dangerous sea level rise that islanders face.

Saudi Arabia on Thursday blocked a call by vulnerable island states at climate

talks for a study into the impact of 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) of global warming, delegates said.

The appeal came from the Association of Small Island
States (AOSIS), gathering low-lying islands in the Caribbean, Indian Ocean and the Pacific, which is lobbying hard for the UN climate arena not to abandon the 1.5 C target.

The goal is receding as emissions of greenhouse gases rise and political problems for tackling climate change multiply.

AOSIS, supported by the European Union (EU), Australia and New Zealand, called for a technical report on the cost of reaching the 1.5 C target and the consequences of breaching it.

But it was thwarted by Saudi Arabia, with support from Kuwait and Qatar, under the UN’s consensus rule, the sources said.

Saudi Arabia and other major oil producers argue that ratcheting up action on carbon emissions will hurt their revenues as fossil-fuel consumers switch to cleaner energy.

"Some small island states could become stateless from sea level rise, which is why they are calling for global temperature rise to be kept below 1.5 C," added Wendel Trio of Greenpeace.

"That Saudi Arabia, a country with such obvious oil interests, exploited the UN consensus rule to stop the world’s most vulnerable countries from getting a much-needed summary of the latest climate science is breathtaking for its criminal disregard for the human impacts of climate change."

(Hattip to Dr. Rolph Payet)

As I have made the case before, only when citizens realize that the way they power their cars is directly causing the loss of entire ways of life, will the demand change.

Unfortunately, while we failed to convince people do at Copenhagen, the BP oil spill and the planet itself is showing the limits she can withstand.

I also humbly ask to also do the following:

#1 sign the
Environmental Refugee Legal Status petition
that changes the legal status of Environmental Refugees
from Migrants to actual refugees – guaranteeing them the right to asylum and monetary restitution.

#2 sign the Gulf Oil Spill Electric Car Credit petition, and mention it to your elected officials.

#3 Talk to your candidates about Environmental issues – until they start to show that they are listening – I know one candidate in my state who has listened and promised some of the most progressive renewable energy legislation if elected to the Senate.

#4 Get involved with 350.org and tck, tck, tck.

Whose White House? Obama’s or Rahm’s?

3:34 pm in Uncategorized by wadenorris

The White House’s involvement with Senate primaries may seem to be business as usual, but that is not the case.
Obama has been involved in more primaries than any President since FDR.

http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0510/37012.html

"History warns Obama on primaries"
by Matthew Dallek
The White House promised full support to GOP Sen. Arlen Specter when he switched to the Democratic Party a year ago. So Obama’s team had approached Rep. Joe Sestak, the primary challenger now gaining on Specter, in an effort to ward off this intraparty contest.

Obama is entangled in other Democratic primaries, as well. His White House has endorsed incumbent moderate Democrats in a handful of key midterm races. It has actively intervened in support of Sens. Michael Bennet of Colorado, Kirsten Gillibrand of New York and Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas……

The biggest political debacle in modern times was when President Franklin D. Roosevelt intervened in a series of 1938 midterm primaries.

FDR considered the 1938 primaries an “act of vengeance against Democrats who had betrayed him” during his 1937 court-packing fight, as Jeff Shesol, author of the new book “Supreme Power: Franklin Roosevelt vs. the Supreme Court,” said in a recent conversation.

The president’s attempted “purge” of conservatives from Democratic ranks proved a stunning setback for his standing — and his New Deal agenda. FDR speechwriter Sam Rosenman later called the purge a “grave mistake.”

Roosevelt’s preferred primary candidates lost in droves. Democrats also lost seats in the 1938 general election. Conservatives gained congressional strength and administered a substantial political blow to the New Deal.

Consider that FDR was trying to re-align the congress with primaries to get conservative members of congress out and more liberal members in. It backfired and hurt the efforts of his New Deal Agenda.
Here, incredibly, Obama is blocking primaries of Conservative Democrats from Liberal/Progressive challengers. Not only has Obama endorsed Lincoln, Specter, and Bennet, without letting the primary voters weigh in, the White House has also been offering back door job ‘dangles’ to Sestak and Romanoff.
Here in Colorado, Democrats are getting calls from the DSCC to donate to their funding, when they are running ads directly for one candidate over the other.
FDR lost the opportunity to get the full impact of his administration by these primary losses. Obama, so far, is 0-2 and looking to go 0-3 in his Senate primary preferences.
This is bad politics for President who represented transformational change on the campaign trail. These moves have upset the base voters in these states who now have defied the White House’s choices.
It does not seem like the Candidate we knew. This is Rahm’s methods – Chicago/blago style politics.
Do the grassroots democrats matter to him? Wasn’t he the one that called the Grassroots left ‘fucking retarded?’

Was this the logic that candidate Barack Obama was thinking when Hillary Clinton’s election machine was already called ‘inevitable?’
Shouldn’t our candidates get the same benefit of the Primary system
that got Obama himself into office?
Not to mention that the Republicans are looking for any chance to pounce on any perceived wrong doing by the Obama administration.

Mr. President, start listening to the grassroots and to the advisers who got you into the White House and stop listening to Rahm Emmanuel and his kind. Not only will it keep you out of legal trouble, but it is the smart thing to do.

Robert Gibbs proves me right about the Public Option

12:28 pm in Uncategorized by wadenorris

Today, Tuesday Feb. 23rd, 2010, one week after the Bennet Letter was started, The White House officially stated their position on the effort for Reconciliation.

http://theplumline.whorunsgov.com/health-care/gibbs-public-option-via-reconciliation-cant-pass-congress/

“The President took the Senate bill as the base and looks forward to discussing consensus ideas on Thursday,” Gibbs added, presumably meaning that the public option is not a consensus idea.

It’s unclear why Gibbs is deciding in advance that there isn’t enough support to pass this idea. Momentum has been gathering for days. It’s also very likely that it would continue to gain steam if Obama racks up a victory at the summit and Dems press forward with plans to pass reform themselves via reconciliation.

But Gibbs’s statement seems likely, willfully or not, to slow that momentum in advance.

As I noted below, the failure to put the public option in Obama’s proposal doesn’t preclude a reconciliation vote on it later. But Gibbs is flatly declaring it a non-starter right now, before the idea has a chance to gain steam after a successful summit — a declaration that risks being taken by some in Congress as a virtual death sentence.

I still have hopes that the people making calls to the Senators can still get to 50 signatures, but realistically, this act by the White House gives those senators all the cover they need.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/wade-norris/the-bennet-letter-change_b_472297.html

I mention the date of February 16th because that was last Tuesday – and two days later on February 18th, President Obama came to Colorado to campaign for Senator Bennet, who is in a tough primary fight.

Excuse my incredulity, but wouldn’t the biggest news in Democratic circles – a letter authored by Senator Bennet pertaining to health care reform – just released the week before the President’s summit on health care – wouldn’t that have been discussed between the President and Senator Bennet?

Instead, I find my hopes for the President’s agenda being crushed under the weight of the cold hard reality of political calculus and inside baseball politics.

Otherwise, why on Earth would the President announce ,less than a week after the Bennet letter was created, today’s health care bill, which has no public option?

That knee-caps any effort to get to the magical 50 count for reconciliation, and gives cover to Senators who had been dodging answering how they stood on the letter – such as Colorado’s other Senator, Mark Udall, who was taped as saying that he did not know if he would sign the letter because he did not want to ‘box the President in’
(hattip to Mario-Solis Marich and AM 760)

The only answer that makes sense is that the President never intended to let the public option through, and this Bennet letter was merely the White House’s way to provide a way for some Democratic Senators to bolster their credentials with base voters, while not actually having accomplished anything.

sigh.
btw – this diary is much more an indictment of the White House than of any individual Senator.
Those who signed on can say ‘we tried’ to the base, and those who didn’t can say ‘we are supporting the POTUS’ agenda’

The Bennet Letter: Change We Can Believe in?

2:50 pm in Uncategorized by wadenorris

(hi guys – this is my first diary on FDL)
Monday, Feb.22nd,2010 – The White House and President Obama’s announced Healthcare bill proved my worse fears – that there was never any intention by Democratic Leadership or the President to support the Public Option.
And along the way, the base of the party was once again strung along with glimmer of hope in the form of the ‘Bennet letter.’
Today’s Healthcare Bill not only signals an end to the Public Option, but the Bennet letter can only be characterized as the worst form of manipulation of the democratic voters by the White House.

We start with last week’s phenomenal action of the four Senators, Jeff Merkley of Oregon, Sherrod Brown of Ohio, Kristen Gillibrand of New York, and Michael Bennet – to sign a letter to Harry Reid to pass Healthcare with a Public Option via Reconciliation. The letter is now called the Bennet Letter because he is the author.
That was on February 16th, 2010 – and this letter set off a whirlwind of speculation and hope among democratic base voters, that the Public Option would be saved after all. It has been the talk of the town. Michael Bennet’s face can be seen on many websites advertisements as a ‘Hero’ from a group called ‘Bold Progressives‘ which is raising money for Bennet as a thank you for this letter.
I mention the date of February 16th because that was last Tuesday – and two days later on February 18th, President Obama came to Colorado to campaign for Senator Bennet who is in a tough primary fight.

Excuse my incredulity, but wouldn’t the biggest news in democratic circles – a letter authored by Senator Bennet pertaining to Healthcare reform – just released the week before the President’s summit on Healthcare – wouldn’t that have been discussed between the President and Senator Bennet?

Instead, I find my hopes for the President’s agenda being crushed under the weight of the cold hard reality of political calculus and inside baseball politics.

Otherwise, why on Earth would the President announce less than a week after the Bennet letter was created, today’s Healthcare Bill that has no Public Option?
That knee-caps any effort to get to the magical 50 count for Reconciliation and gives cover to Senators who had been dodging answering how they stood on the letter – such as Colorado’s other Senator – Mark Udall, who was taped as saying that he did not know if he would sign the letter because he did not want to ‘box the President in’
(hattip to Mario-Solis Marich and AM 760)

The only answer that makes sense, is that the President never intended to let the Public Option through, and this Bennet letter, was merely the White House’s way to provide a way for some Democratic Senators to bolster their credentials with base voters, while not actually having accomplished anything.

A scenario that makes sense when you consider Senator Bennet’s opponent, Andrew Romanoff, just had a series of press releases that indicated that he had been found to be polling stronger than Bennet vs the Republican candidate for Senate, that he was endorsed by the two largest Unions in the state, and also by a majority of the state’s legislators

This fits with the pattern for the President.
#1 Obama cleared the field of primary challengers for another controversial Senate appointee – Kristen Gillibrand (who is also a co-sponsor of the Bennet letter)
#2 Obama endorses this guy – ARLEN SPECTER -

Arlen Specter, recent republican – who said McCain – Palin was the better choice in the 2008 election – over a true progressive democrat – Joe Sestak, who recently disclosed, despite White House denials, that he was offered (bribed) with a federal job to keep him from challenging Specter, after he was initially approached by Democratic leadership to challenge Specter before he switched parties.

In Colorado, Michael Bennet was endorsed by Obama, just days after the Romanoff Primary challenge was announced, in an attempt to stifle the primary process.

Now, with the Bennet letter, the President has shown that he and his team is playing the tune the base wants to hear, but has no intention of taking us to the dance – and that means no Public Option.

I remember back in 1993, there was a young charismatic President – in his first year of office, who campaigned on "Change" and healthcare reform, and quickly abandoned that effort to pursue NAFTA instead.
I also remember the depressed based turnout in 1994 when the Republicans made huge gains in the Mid-terms and started the era of Hyper-partisanship by the Republicans.

Upon further consideration – let’s look at where the ‘Change We Can Believe in’ really started.
It started when former Presidential candidate Howard Dean took the DNC in a new direction – with the 50 state strategy – which party leaders at that time – such as James Carville and Rahm Emmanuel – considered a policy of failure.

Howard Dean stuck to his agenda, and funded organizers (some of whom were my friends) to organize in the reddest part of the Red States – and had people attending Democratic meetings for the first time in a generation.
The result? Well, the narrative was that the public finally revolted against the Bush Presidency – but the real story was the number of races Democrats won, where they were seen as non-competitive.

That 50 state strategy effort worked quite nicely to merge with OFA and the Presidential campaign to help the President and Democrats win overwhelmingly.
What was the first action the White House did to reward Dean?
He was replaced and the 50 state strategy was dismantled – and guess what, that meant 200 organizers across the country got fired – in a recession.
Who was most likely responsible? My guess is Rahm Emmanuel – who has been advising the President in many ways that are contrary to the grassroots efforts that got him elected.

Let’s look at 2006′s results and compare it to Rahm’s wisdom.

The chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), Rahm Emanuel, stormed out of Democratic National Committee (DNC) chairman Howard Dean’s office in May after an expletive-filled tirade against the DNC’s spending too much money, too early, in "non-battleground states."…
Was Emanuel Talking About States Like Indiana?
The Democrats picked up 3 seats in a state that was considered as red as the Hoosiers’ basketball uniforms. Dean, in an interview with the Christian Science Monitor, said: "We put folks into Indiana a year and half before we knew the candidates."
Was Emanuel Talking About States Like New Hampshire?
Voters in New Hampshire, home of the nation’s kickoff presidential primary, re-elected Democratic governor John Lynch in a landslide over state representative Jim Coburn (R). Democrats gained more than 80 seats to grab a majority in the 400-member House, where they had been in the minority since at least 1922. Democrats also picked up five seats – giving them 13 of 24 seats – to flip control of the New Hampshire Senate, where they have been in the minority since 1988.

(There are more examples of this in the article)

This is the guy who is advising the President – and obviously encouraging him to inject himself into Primary politics – something not done since FDR. It has not been repeated by any other President until now, mainly because it backfired so badly. (Ironically, FDR was trying to root out conservative democrats and primary them with liberal New Deal Democrats – while Obama is protecting conservative democrats and stifling primary challengers tacking from the left)

This latest Bennet letter bait and switch also sounds like the same kind of strategy Rahm would use to pander to the base, only to placate them – after all, he did call the democratic activists liberal strategy – "F#%king Retarded", well if we let these Senators who signed this letter and the ones who didn’t get away with saying ‘Well, we are going to support the President’s agenda’ then maybe Rahm is right.


Maybe the President realizes that he has to go in a new direction- and he will replace Rahm and push again for the Public Option.
But if the President keeps listening to advisors who think this is the way to treat the base, then there is something that can be done.

Watching Michael Bennet pivot from Conservadem to ‘Bold Progressive’ all in the 6 months since he got a primary challenge has got me thinking.
Maybe it is time for the President to be given some pressure from the base that Rahm and company are taking for granted.

If this keeps up, and the Public Option via Reconciliation turns out to be the old ‘bait and switch’ you might soon be seeing bumper stickers that read:
"Howard Dean 2012"