Hillary Clinton Confirmation Hearing Opening

Senator Clinton released a statement at her confirmation hearing with the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.  Full Text


"I assure you that, if I am confirmed, the State Department will be firing on all cylinders to provide forward-thinking, sustained diplomacy in every part of the world; applying pressure and exerting leverage; cooperating with our military partners and other agencies of government; partnering effectively with NGOs, the private sector, and international organizations; using modern technologies for public outreach; empowering negotiators who can protect our interests while understanding those of our negotiating partners. There will be thousands of separate interactions, all strategically linked and coordinated to defend American security and prosperity. Diplomacy is hard work; but when we work hard, diplomacy can work, and not just to defuse tensions, but to achieve results that advance our security, interests and values."

http://www.obama-mamas.com/clinton-confi rmation-statement.htm

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Could Dennis Ross Set the Stage for Future War with Iran?

The threat that the United States would launch a military attack on Iran has never been "taken off the table," but you'd be hard pressed to find many people who think that a U.S. attack on Iran in the near term is a realistic possibility.

Even the Bush Administration nixed an Israel attack on Iran, as the New York Timesreported Sunday. (Haaretzreported this months ago.) President-elect Obama pledged as a candidate to abandon the "strategy" of isolation and engage Iran diplomatically. And the U.S. already has two wars going (three, if you count the war on Gaza, which is being waged with U.S. weapons and approval, and which is doing as much political damage to the U.S. in the Muslim world as any war waged by the U.S. directly.)

But many of the decisions and actions that led to the U.S. attack on Iraq in March 2003 were not taken in 2003, but long before. If we had the opportunity for a do-over, wouldn't we scrutinize those decisions and actions much more carefully? Decisions are being taken now which could set the stage for war with Iran in the future.

Recent press reports have indicated that Dennis Ross has the inside track to be a "super-envoy" in the Obama Administration with responsibility for diplomacy concerning Iran. Putting Dennis Ross in charge of diplomatic outreach to Iran would be a akin to putting Bernard Madoff in charge of the Securities and Exchange Commission. Ross's views on diplomatic engagement with Iran are the mirror image of the diplomatic engagement President-elect Obama promised during the campaign.

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Richardson: Are you surprised? - updated

"New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, Obama's choice for commerce secretary, withdrawing under pressure of a federal investigation into how his political donors landed a lucrative transportation contract. . . . A senior Obama adviser said Richardson gave assurances before he was nominated last month he would come out fine in the investigation. But as the grand jury pursued the case, it became clear that confirmation hearings would be delayed at least six weeks until the investigation was complete, said the adviser, speaking on condition of anonymity about the discussions because they were private. Aides to both men insisted Richardson made the decision to withdraw and was not pushed out by Obama. But one Democrat involved in discussions over the matter said transition officials became increasingly nervous during the last couple of weeks that the investigation could become an embarrassment to Obama, who ran on a clean government pledge."
http://www.miamiherald.com/business/brea king-news/story/837271.html

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Why not a "Gay American" for Commerce

News broke this afternoon that New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson, Barack Obama's nominee for Secretary of Commerce, has withdrawn his nomination over questions regarding a federal investigation of the state's $1.5 million dollar financial services contract with a Beverly Hills, California firm, CDR, who's CEO, David Rubin, donated $110,000 to political committee's affiliated with Governor Richardson.

I am heartsick because I've always felt that Richardson's presence in the cabinet essential to Obama's success. Nevertheless, as my grandma is fond of saying, "one monkey don't stop no show." The vacancy represents an opportunity to do something no president has done and after the Warren fiasco a few weeks back, I've come to feel pretty strongly that Barack Obama needs to appoint a "gay American," as former New Jersey Governor Jim McGreevy put it, to the cabinet of the United States.

When you stop and think about it this is a barrier that Bill Clinton should have shattered years ago, and one Al Gore probably would have if the ignorant tumbleweed that is George W. Bush hadn't tripped him up.   Clinton, after the broken promise of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," attempted to buy off the LGBT community with the appointments of James Hormel as ambassador to Luxemburg and Roberta Achtenberg as Deputy Secretary of HUD. The public break with activist David Mixner, a leading LGBT fundraiser and convention delegate for Clinton, damaged Clinton's relationship with the LGBT community in a big way.

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Could this become a problem for Hillary?

NY times is accusing Hillary Clinton of a Quid Pro Quo favor to a political donor. I do not know if NY times deserves our Kudos for an investigative piece or we should blame them for carrying on a Vendetta against Clintons. What do you think? Is NY times fair to Hillary?  We all know that the editorial board endorsed her during the primaries but the paper on the whole had many more articles very critical of her.

This is the main thrust of the article:

An upstate New York developer donated $100,000 to former President Bill Clinton's foundation in November 2004, around the same time that Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton helped secure millions of dollars in federal assistance for the businessman's mall project.

Mrs. Clinton helped enact legislation allowing the developer, Robert J. Congel, to use tax-exempt bonds to help finance the construction of the Destiny USA entertainment and shopping complex, an expansion of the Carousel Center in Syracuse.

Mrs. Clinton also helped secure a provision in a highway bill that set aside $5 million for Destiny USA roadway construction.

The bill with the tax-free bonds provision became law in October 2004, weeks before the donation, and the highway bill with the set-aside became law in August 2005, about nine months after the donation.

Mr. Congel and Philippe Reines, a spokesman for Mrs. Clinton, both said there was no connection between his donation and her legislative work on his project's behalf. Mr. Reines said Mrs. Clinton supported the expansion of Carousel mall "purely as part of her unwavering commitment to improving upstate New York's struggling economy, and nothing more."

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/04/washin gton/04clinton.html?_r=1&hp

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