Headsup from Kucinich

In a recent interview, U.S. Rep. Dennis Kucinich said that Senator Obama, behind closed doors, opposed including the mortgage modification component of the Wall Street Bailout/Rescue Bill, which would give bankruptcy judges authority to change the mortgage terms of homeowners facing foreclosure. How do you all feel about this?


here's hard copy excerpt:

"Is this the United States Congress or the Board of Directors of Goldman Sachs?", Rep. Dennis Kucinich,  September 29, 2008,

from Democracy Now interview (link below):

REP. KUCINICH: ...Isn't it interesting that the only plan that we get up-you know, for an up or down vote is one that gives a complete bailout to Wall Street without any restraints or protections for the investors who might come into this now.

AMY GOODMAN: Congressman Kucinich, can you explain how it is that the Democrats are in charge, yet the Democrats back down on their demand to give bankruptcy judges authority to alter the terms of mortgages for homeowners facing foreclosure, that Democrats also failed in their attempt to steer a portion of any government profits from the package to affordable housing programs?

REP. DENNIS KUCINICH: Well, I mean, those are two of the most glaring deficiencies in this bill. And I would maintain there was never any intention to-you know, well, many members of Congress had the intention of helping people who were in foreclosure. You know, this-Wall Street doesn't want to do that. Wall Street wants to grab whatever change they can and equity that's left in these properties. So-

AMY GOODMAN: Right, but the Democrats are in charge of this.

REP. DENNIS KUCINICH: Right. You know, I'll tell you something that we were told in our caucus. We were told that our presidential candidate, when the negotiations started at the White House, said that he didn't want this in this bill. Now, that's what we were told.

AMY GOODMAN: You were told that Barack Obama did not want this in the bill?

REP. DENNIS KUCINICH: That he didn't want the bankruptcy provisions in the bill. Now, you know, that's what we were told. And I don't understand why he would say that, if he did say that. And I think that there is a-the fact that we didn't put bankruptcy provisions in, that actually we removed any hope for judges to do any loan modifications or any forbearance. There's no moratorium on mortgage foreclosures in here. So, who's getting-who's really getting helped by this bill? This is a bailout, pure and simple, of Wall Street interests who have been involved in speculation.....

So, you know, we're getting stampeded here to vote for something that doesn't help homeowners, that doesn't do anything about foreclosures, that doesn't help those people who have been in bankruptcy and are looking for a way out. As a matter of fact, it made sure they can't get out. So, who's this for? It's for speculators. It's to play a game that provides some temporary help in the market, and, you know, you might see an uptick today if this passes the House. On the other hand, if it doesn't, we need to be ready to find a way for Wall Street to address its problems without having to tap the increasingly diminishing resources of the federal taxpayers.

For complete interview, including Rep. Kucinich's thoughts on oversight and corporate compensationm, go to link: http://www.democracynow.org/20...

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Marriage Backlash

I received this headline today from Democrats.com:


Has anyone noticed this socially divisive issue always comes to the forefront during a presidential election year?  When Massachusetts made similar headlines in 2004, the backlash helped to defeat John Kerry.  Maybe Kerry would have won Ohio if the conservative voters there weren't all fired up over this specific issue. (and did they ever count the votes fairly and squarely, but that's another whole subject).  Now in 2008 the right-wing again has fodder to fuel their religious activists, who otherwise are less than enthused with this year's Republican nominee.

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Joan Walsh is right

The most destructive, divisive refrain in the attacks on Clinton has been the demand since February for her to drop out of the race. On "Hardball" last week I was flabbergasted by Chris Matthews' denial that anyone had made such demands, especially when MSNBC had been the clubhouse for people like Keith Olbermann, Jonathan Alter and Howard Fineman, who've been sounding that drumbeat since February. I can't do a better job than Digby in explaining why that's been offensive to many Clinton supporters (and should be offensive to all fair-minded people, in my opinion). And she uses Jesse Jackson to make her point:

In 84 and 88, Jackson was seen as a potential party wrecker too and in 88 he took his historic campaign, in which he won 11 contests, all the way to the convention. He made a very famous speech that he ended with the chant "Keep Hope Alive," which could have easily been construed as wishing for Dukakis to fail so he could get another bite at the apple (something that people are accusing Clinton of already.) But it wasn't.

And that's because while Jackson went to the convention trailing by 1200 delegates, he was holding a very important card, which everyone recognized and respected. You can rest assured that people were worried that his constituency, many of them first time voters who he had registered, would stay home in the fall, and so Democrats treated him and his campaign (publicly at least) with respect and deference, and rightly so. He represented the dreams and aspirations of millions of Democratic voters, after all.

To many African Americans, a constant clamor for Jackson (or Obama if it had gone that way) to drop out of the race would have been seen as a call to go to the back of the bus. Likewise, for many of Clinton's supporters, it's been seen as a call to sit down and shut up (or "stifle" as Archie Bunker used to say to Edith.)

http://www.salon.com/opinion/feature/200 8/06/05/obama/index.html

also note, the sexism of frat boys continues:

Chris Matthews doubted she could be Obama's running mate no matter what she said Tuesday night, because for him the question is: "Can she obey? Can she accept the subservience?"

Is Matthews asking these questions about Richardson? Webb?

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A Toast to the DNC:

May your glass be always half full.

The DNC owed and still owes the Florida Democratic Party and Democratic voters a big, belated thank-you and also a big apology.  

The DNC could have given the Florida Democrats the belated acknowledgement and praise they deserve for getting voter verification/paper trail legislation last year through a legislature in which Republicans outnumber Democrats by two to one.  And the national Party could have taken this opportunity for apologizing for their earlier failure to celebrate that great achievement, which the Democrats had been working hard on since the year 2000.

When the State Republican legislature bundled the new primary date with the legislation for a paper ballot trail, they knew exactly what they were doing, putting the Florida Democrats in an over-the barrel, no-win situation.  Did the national Party, the DNC, come to the Florida Dems defense and help out?  No.  Even when the State of New Hampshire came to Florida's defense, and put out a public statement that New Hampshire was ok with the new Florida primary date because it still followed the four early states, the DNC still went overboard punishing their own and throwing their own Democratic voters out with the bathwater.

Last year, the DNC Rules Committee meted out an over-the-top punishment for something the Florida Party couldn't stop, the change of the primary date to January 29.  As pointed out by others before, when the Florida Dem Party tried to negotiate with the Repubs for a later date of Feb. 5th, they were met with laughter and derision on the Chamber Floor from the Florida Republicans.  The DNC owes The Florida Dems an apology for screwing up when they punished their own for something Florida Republicans did.  Why didn't the DNC initially come to Florida's defense?  That's what they should have done.  It's the DNC Rules Committee, not the voters,  who should be punished for not protecting their own Democrats, both the Florida Democratic Party and also the Florida Democratic voters themselves.  

The DNC had the opportunity to redeem itself on May 31.  Instead of admitting the error of its own ways, however, it further insulted Florida Democrats by telling them they all are only half persons. Half a person; half a vote.  

If the DNC's goal is Party unity, then they must apologize to:

 >> Florida Democratic Party for not sticking up for them when they were shafted by the Republicans, and for failing to appreciate the role the FlaDems played in the passage of legislation in Florida critical to protecting the voting process (paper trail back-up);

 >> the Clinton and Obama Campaigns for its part in creating this whole mess and derailing our primary process in perhaps the most important election of our lifetime;

 >> the individual Democratic voters, whose votes have been disregarded by their own Party.  (Giving them half a vote doesn't cut it; it just adds insult to injury.)

Since the DNC on Saturday was not big enough to apologize and restore every vote counted and legally certified, then:

 DNC, may your own glass be always half full/empty.  

The DNC Rules Committee compromise on Michigan is even worse than the affront to Florida.  What is the Democratic Party doing rewarding someone who actually took his name off the ballot?  This is entitlement gone amok.  Taking one's name off a ballot must not be rewarded!  It was a tactical decision on the candidate's part, and he ought to accept the consequences of his own action.  Uncommitted means just that:  uncommitted.  Uncommitted delegates represent uncommitted votes.  When they get to the convention, they can vote either way, but must go there uncommitted.

I end with a final toast to the DNC, the same as before:   may your glass be always half full or half empty, as the case may be.  You have deemed millions of your own voters as only half persons.  The respect, or lack thereof, you have shown your own voters is all you deserve in return.

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Journalistic Integrity

Thankfully there are a handful of jounalists who actually care about truth and journalistic integrity. Joan Walsh is one of them and she went on cable TV tonight to express outrage over the manner of this past weekend's coverage on Hillary Clinton's RFK reference. She emphasized how she found out about the story -- directly by email from the Obama campaign. Clinton's comments were first picked up and reported by the N.Y. Post, and this report was in turn picked up by Obama spokesman Bill Burton who then mass e-mailed reporters with a link to the Post report.

Here's a quote from Post article:

"She is still in the presidential race, she said today, because historically, it makes no sense to quit, and added that, 'Bobby Kennedy was assassinated in June,' making an odd comparison between the dead candidate and Barack Obama."

HOWEVER (and it's a big 'however'):

Hillary Clinton did not make that comparison.  (http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/ 05/24/on-the-road-clintons-very-bad-day/ )

So it was the Post who actually made the comparison, which is a bold-faced lie.  And a spokesman for Obama's campaign circulated this lie.  A few ethical journalists -- very few -- are pointing this out.  

Now back to Joan Walsh.  Here's some excerpts on this subject from her Salon.com post. (link below)

The world is divided between people who consider Bill and Hillary Clinton monsters, and people who don't. It used to be that the monster faction was limited to Republicans and certain mainstream media fixtures like Maureen Dowd and much of the MSNBC lineup. Now, increasingly, it involves too many Obama-supporting Democrats -- and the Clinton-hate is in danger of damaging the Democratic Party.

When Joan checked her email this past Friday, she learned aboutr Hillary Clinton's reference

to Robert F. Kennedy's assassination -- from an Obama campaign e-mail from spokesman Bill Burton. I took some time to look around at the coverage, and I followed a link to Clinton's actual interview with the Argus-Leader, and I had to say: Wow. I couldn't believe this became the weekend's hottest political issue. I couldn't believe Keith Olbermann did a special comment on it (which I really couldn't believe was also widely circulated via e-mail by the Obama campaign).

For several months I've found myself bothered by a double standard in both the behavior and the media coverage of the Obama campaign, as supposedly representing a new kind of clean, post-partisan politics, by contrast with the dirty old win-at-any-cost Clintons. Hardball Obama campaign tactics -- David Axelrod partly blaming Clinton for Benazir Bhutto's death; the intimidation of Clinton voters by a pro-Obama union in Nevada (to be fair, some Obama supporters claimed intimidation by Clinton forces, too); the campaign's infamous South Carolina race memo (prepared before Bill Clinton made his dumb Jesse Jackson remark); the multiple "Harry and Louise" mailers distorting Clinton's healthcare proposal; not to mention ties between Obama, Axelrod and the Exelon Corp., even as Obama is touting his lobbyist-free campaign. Nothing seems to stick to Obama; he's Teflon.


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Listen to Mario Cuomo

Mario Cuomo was on Face the Nation last week and gave a great reminder to all Americans and especially Democrats of what the country needs now.  In sum, he said America wants and needs, despite Senator Obama's rhetoric to the contary, everything we had in the years from 1993 -2000, to wit:


 > a strenthened and growing middle class
   > poverty shrinking; millions lifted out of poverty
   > 22 million new jobs
   > a balanced budget
   > a projected surplus into the trillions

He also spoke of this year's primary season, saying the whole process has been unfair and actually butchered.  He said it must be allowed to go to completion through all the remaining primaries and all the voters heard.  Cuomo emphasized that by its own design, the process is supposed to go on right up to and into the convention.

Although I don't necessarily agree with him on Clinton and Obama running together in the GE, I applaud Mario Cuomo for reminding everyone of the good times we had in the 90s and for calling out those so eager to dump one of the candidates before the process is even over.  Please click below if you missed his appearance on Face the Nation.

http://www.cbsnews.com/sections/i_video/ main500251.shtml?id=4105147n&channel =/sections/ftn/videoplayer3460.shtml

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Middle Class Matters

As part of her Middle Class Matters Tour, former Governor Jeanne Shaheen this week joined a group of New Hampshire citizens for a house party in Amherst, NH.

Gov. Shaheen gave an informal talk on her motivation for entering the Senate race and her goals once elected. She was the first woman elected Governor of New Hampshire and, if the polls hold, will be the first woman Senator from the state.  As the event's hostess said in her introductory remarks, Shaheen was also one of the first NH public servants to emphasize environmental issues back when she was a state senator.  Hence her present campaign, as her earlier campaigns, is associated with the color green.  She has been leading Senator Sununu in the polls by around 7-10%.

Gov. Shaheen began by saying that the country is facing so many overwhelming challenges and she wants to address them all, but her two main priorities are energy independence and universal health care.  She made the chief focus in this conversation the growing energy crisis, pointing out that this actually affects three crucial issues important to Americans:  the economy, national security, and the environment itself.  Achieving greater energy independence from foreign sources is critical for our economy.  The more independent we are, the less we will be paying for gas at the pump and heating oil for our furnaces.  Jeanne also underscored the importance economically of eliminating tax breaks for oil companies.  That money, she said, will be put to good use developing alternative sources of energy.  The former governor had just visited a NH company called Mascoma which is using wood bi-products to produce "cellulosic" ethanol.  (A needed alternative to corn-based ethanol, which has problems of its own.)  She especially emphasized nothing can help the environment more than energy efficiency and conservation.  Finally, our national security will be strengthened by achieving energy independence, since we as a nation will no longer be held hostage to other countries through our oil dependency.

Here's an outline of her energy/environmental plans from her website:

Jeanne Shaheen supports:

*Setting a goal of reducing carbon emissions by 80 percent by 2050.

*Instituting economy-wide emissions reductions in our own country and working with international partners to achieve global emissions reductions.  To reduce emissions, Shaheen believes we should institute a cap-and-trade system which limits pollutants by selling permits to corporations who pollute and enforcing caps on the amount of pollution they can emit.  The profits from the auction of those permits should be invested in the development of clean, alternative energy sources like wind, solar and wood by-products.

*Developing a significant shift in our long-term energy policy by ending billions of dollars in tax breaks to Big Oil and instead investing that money in the development of renewable energy sources.

*Shifting tax incentives from corn-based ethanol to wood-based ethanol.  Developing wood-based ethanol would provide a clean alternative energy source that would not impact the global food supply and, thanks to New Hampshire's abundant forests, would create jobs right here in the state.

Governor Shaheen ended her talk by highlighting her strong and passionate support for public campaign financing.  Speaking of campaign financing, right now she is a couple million bucks behind Sununu.  The Sununu campaign is already taking a low road, having just recently aired a negative ad here against Gov. Shaheen. In a personal email note from Jeanne to her supporters, she noted that Sununo has just this past week:

hired some of George W. Bush's political operatives to run his campaign. They are wasting no time.

New Hampshire will be a battleground state this election cycle and the Republican Party and their 527 special interest attack groups will pull no punches.

Our opponent is busy collecting big checks from oil and gas companies and wealthy corporate interests to pay for these attacks. We need your help to fight back. Reach out to your friends, neighbors, and coworkers and ask them to contribute and join the fight for change.  Together, we can fight back.

Here's Gov. Shaheen's own first ad:   http://jeanneshaheen.org/ad

If you like her ad, please donate so she can air some more ads soon.  Thanks!  


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Oregon Town Hall Meeting

      Did any of the MSM stations carry the town hall meeting for undecided voters last night in Oregon?  If so, I guess I missed it.  The town hall event was covered by the local station KGW.  Hillary Clinton met with the voters and took their questions, I think, for a full hour.  Barack Obama was invited to participate, but (of course) declined.  I keep checking C-Span to see if they covered it, but apparently not.

      I would like to see the whole event, so if anyone knows how I can do this, please do let me know.  I did find a local news clip on the event.  Click below to see this clip.  Be sure to watch to the end for interviews with attending citizens who give their impressions of Hillary.  Too bad Barack wasn't there, so they could have also given their impressions of meeting him close-up and one-on-one.  

http://www.kgw.com/video/video-index.htm l?nvid=246323

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Valerie and Joe Wilson for Hillary

Valerie and Joe Wilson are hitting the airwaves in Oregon for Hillary.  I always thought they were one of Hillary's strongest assets.  They are spot on.  I just wish this ad had run much earlier in the campaign.  (I'm having a very busy day, so I apologize for the brevity of my diary.  Just wanted to pass this ad on to MYDD!) Open link below to view ad.

Valerie Plame:

"If you care about ending the war, we urge you to join us in supporting Hillary Clinton for President."

http://thepage.time.com/2008/05/09/new-c linton-oregon-ad-featuring-valerie-plame -joe-wilson-on-iraq/

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Oprah Knew Better

A lot of people were wondering why Oprah left Rev. Wright's Trinity United Church in Chicago, which she attended for two years from 1984-86, and sporadically after that into the early 90's. A piece in the newest Newsweek has some answers.  Click below for full article.

According to two sources, Winfrey was never comfortable with the tone of Wright's more incendiary sermons, which she knew had the power to damage her standing as America's favorite daytime talk-show host. "Oprah is a businesswoman, first and foremost," said one longtime friend, who requested anonymity when discussing Winfrey's personal sentiments. "She's always been aware that her audience is very mainstream, and doing anything to offend them just wouldn't be smart. She's been around black churches all her life, so Reverend Wright's anger-filled message didn't surprise her. But it just wasn't what she was looking for in a church."

But Winfrey also had spiritual reasons for the parting. In conversations at the time with a former business associate, who also asked for anonymity, Winfrey cited her fatigue with organized religion and a desire to be involved with a more inclusive ministry...


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