This video by Robert Greenwald from the USA is called John McCain‘s Lobbyist Friends. See also here. And here.
In the Democratic party primaries in the USA, Hillary Clinton won the popular vote in Texas, Ohio, and Rhode Island. Barack Obama (see also here) won in Vermont. See also here.
Hillary Clinton and Big Oil: an animation by Mark Fiore is here.
John McCain got enough votes to get the Republican nomination.
Obama, Clinton, and gay rights: here.
Posted by: “bigraccoon” firstname.lastname@example.org
Sun Mar 9, 2008 6:52 am (PDT)
FBI Investigates Missing GOP Money
By Philip Shenon
The New York Times
06 March 2008
Washington – Hundreds of thousands of dollars are missing and presumed stolen from the chief fund-raising arm of House Republicans, according to party officials who described the findings of emergency internal audits.
The financial records of the group, the National Republican Congressional Committee, may also have been falsified for several years, Republican officials said. The campaign committees of several Republican lawmakers may also have been victims of a scam that is now under criminal investigation by the F.B.I.
The audits were ordered after the abrupt departure several weeks ago of Christopher J. Ward, who had been treasurer of the committee. Lawmakers said that Mr. Ward, who served a similar role for dozens of individual members of Congress and their political committees, is the focus of the F.B.I.’s criminal investigation.
The committee has acknowledged publicly that it was aware of “irregularities in our financial audit process” and that it had called in the F.B.I. in February because “these irregularities may include fraud.”
But until now the committee has not acknowledged that any money was missing from its bank accounts or that the financial irregularities might extend beyond the national committee to the campaign funds of individual Republican lawmakers who also worked with Mr. Ward, a longtime party operative.
The Republican officials said they could not discuss the details of their findings on the record because of the continuing criminal investigation.
A lawyer for Mr. Ward, Ronald C. Machen of the Wilmer Hale law firm in Washington, had no comment. A spokeswoman for the F.B.I.’s Washington field office acknowledged that the bureau had opened an investigation at the request of the Republican committee.
The F.B.I. investigation comes at an especially awkward time for House Republicans, who are struggling to raise money for Congressional races in November.
Their job has been made even more difficult by the large number of Republican lawmakers – more than two dozen from the House – who have announced their retirements, and by a series of unrelated criminal and ethics investigations of other Congressional Republicans.
Mr. Ward had been treasurer of the national Republican committee since 2003. He had also been a partner in a private campaign consulting firm, Political Compliance Services, that gained notice in the 2004 presidential campaign because of its work on behalf of Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, a group that ran advertisements that criticized the military record of Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts, the Democratic presidential nominee.
Committee officials said that bookkeeping irregularities were discovered in January after the chairman of the panel’s auditing committee, Representative Mike Conaway of Texas, a certified public accountant, repeatedly asked to meet with representatives of the audit firm that was supposed to be reviewing the committee’s books.
“I just kept insisting that we meet with the auditors,” Mr. Conaway said in an interview. “It finally came into my head, and as the circumstances unfolded, that no audit had been done.”
He said that Mr. Ward had promised to set up a meeting with the auditors and scheduled the gathering in late January.
But 30 minutes before the scheduled meeting, committee officials said, Mr. Ward sent an e-mail message to colleagues announcing that, in fact, no audit had been done. The officials said the fund-raising committee had since determined that its books had not been audited since 2003 and that Mr. Ward had submitted a series of falsified audits. The committee then called in the F.B.I. It is not clear, lawmakers said, if any fees were paid to audit firms in recent years by the committee, or where that money ended up.
“This was a longtime trusted employee and there were no obvious signs that he was living beyond his means,” Mr. Conaway said.
Mr. Conaway said that the many Republican lawmakers who used Mr. Ward for their campaign funds or for bookkeeping for their political action committees were now hurriedly reviewing their own books for evidence of missing money or other improprieties.
“If you were one of the members who had a relationship with him, you should go back through your records extensively to see if you were caught up,” he said.
Committee officials said that at least two Republican lawmakers who were clients of Mr. Ward’s had reported to the committee in recent weeks that they had also found discrepancies in their campaign accounts.
Representative Rodney Alexander, Republican of Louisiana, said he ended his ties to Mr. Ward in February after learning of the concerns at the national committee. “Until then, we hadn’t seen anything to indicate there was a problem,” Mr. Alexander said, adding that his bookkeepers had found no evidence of missing money or other wrongdoing.
Mr. Ward was named treasurer of the national Republican committee five years ago by Representative Thomas M. Reynolds of New York, who stepped down as the committee’s chairman last year. Mr. Reynolds has found himself under attack on the campaign trail at home because of the reports of financial irregularities at the committee.
“Does Tom Reynolds ever accept responsibility for his poor leadership or does he just pass the buck?” asked John Gerken, campaign manager for Jon Powers, a Democrat who is challenging Mr. Reynolds.
Mr. Reynolds said in a statement that he and the national Republican committee were possible victims of “an elaborate scheme resulting in financial irregularities” by a “long-serving professional staff member,” a reference to Mr. Ward. “At no time were there any red flags raised,” the lawmaker said.
McCain Hires ANOTHER Lobbyist
Posted by: “lilgeorgiehas2go” email@example.com
Sun Mar 9, 2008 6:54 am (PDT)
Two this week alone.
Maybe his plan to get the Washington lobbyists away from Congress is to hire every single one of them. Then, if elected, they can have nice spots in the White House, instead.
From ThinkProgress: “Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) has tapped yet another lobbyist to play a crucial role in his campaign. Frank Donatelli, who is currently a lobbyist at McGuire Woods, will take a leave from his lobbying job to ‘serve as the new deputy chairman of the RNC’ as well as ‘the chief liaison between the committee and the campaign.'”
Obama and the Bigots
Posted by: “Becky Louden” firstname.lastname@example.org
Sun Mar 9, 2008 12:54 pm (PDT)
Obama and the Bigots
‘With countless people spreading scurrilous rumors that Barack Obama is a Muslim, the most appropriate response is a denial followed by: And so what if he were?’
By NICHOLAS D. KRISTOF
March 9, 2008
The ugliest prejudices in this campaign season are not directly about race. Barack Obama’s skin color may cost him some working-class white voters, but it’s also winning some votes among blacks and among whites eager to signal their open-mindedness.
Sexism seems more of a factor. Americans have typically said in polls that they are less willing to vote for a woman than a black, and Shirley Chisholm (a black woman who ran for president in 1972) always said that she encountered more prejudice because of her sex than her race.
Yet the most monstrous bigotry in this election isn’t about either race or sex. It’s about religion.
The whispering campaigns allege that Mr. Obama is a secret Muslim planning to impose Islamic law on the country. Incredibly, he is even accused — in earnest! — of being the Antichrist.
Proponents of this theory offer detailed theological explanations for why he is the Antichrist, and the proof is that he claims to be Christian — after all, the Antichrist would say that, wouldn’t he? The rumors circulate enough that Glenn Beck of CNN asked the Rev. John Hagee, a conservative evangelical, what the odds are that Mr. Obama is the Antichrist.
These charges are fanatical, America’s own equivalent of the vicious accusations about Jews that circulate in some Muslim countries. They are less a swipe at one candidate than a calumny against an entire religion. They underscore that for many bigoted Americans in the 21st century, calling someone a Muslim is still a slur.
There is a parallel with presidential campaigns in the 19th and early 20th centuries, when one of the most common ways to attack a candidate was to suggest that he was partly black, or at least favored racial intermarriage. For example, the Federalists charged that Thomas Jefferson was “the son of a half-breed Indian squaw, sired by a Virginia mulatto father.” And the word “miscegenation” was coined in 1863 and 1864 in charges that Abraham Lincoln secretly plotted for blacks to marry whites, especially Irish-Americans.
As late as the 1920 presidential campaign, a quarter-million letters were sent to voters accusing Warren Harding of being descended from a “West Indian Negro. … May God save America from international shame and domestic ruin.”
In looking back at that history, you wish that a candidate had responded not only with, “No, I don’t have any black ancestor,” but also with, “So what if I did?”
Likewise, with countless people today spreading scurrilous rumors that Mr. Obama is a Muslim, the most appropriate response is a denial followed by: And so what if he were?
Granted, that’s not politically realistic as a comeback. A 2007 Gallup poll found that 94 percent of Americans said they would vote for a black candidate for president and 88 percent for a woman. In contrast, a Los Angeles Times poll in 2006 found that only 34 percent of respondents said they could vote for a Muslim for president.
Even if a prejudice is directed to a matter of choice, like religion or long hair, it’s still prejudice. It’s possible to believe that Catholics have every right to be president while opposing a particular Catholic candidate who would ban contraception; likewise, it’s possible to believe that Muslims have every right to hold office without necessarily embracing the candidacy of particular Muslims who advocate enveloping all women in burkas.
To his credit, Mr. Obama has spoken respectfully of Islam (he told me last year, on the record, that the Muslim call to prayer is “one of the prettiest sounds on earth at sunset”). If he were to go further — “and so what if I were Muslim?” — many Americans would see that as confirmation that he is a Sunni terrorist agent of Al Qaeda who is part of a 9/11 backup plan: If you can’t reach the White House with a hijacked plane, then storm the Oval Office through the ballot box.
This is a case where Hillary Rodham Clinton and John McCain should take the initiative and denounce the fear-mongering about Mr. Obama as hate speech. The wink-wink references to “Barack Hussein Obama” and lies about his going to a madrassa are the religious equivalent of racial slurs, and Mr. McCain and Mrs. Clinton should denounce them in the strongest terms. This is their chance to show leadership.
When Mrs. Clinton was asked in a television interview a week ago whether Mr. Obama is a Muslim, she denied it firmly — but then added, most unfortunately, “as far as I know.” To his credit, Mr. McCain scolded a radio host who repeatedly referred to “Barack Hussein Obama” and later called him a Manchurian candidate.
Martin Luther wasn’t a model of tolerance but even he took the position that, “I’d rather be ruled by a wise Turk than a foolish Christian.” In this presidential campaign, we should at least aspire to be as open-minded as 16th-century Germans.
No surprise that FOX has been at it again: smearing, distorting, attacking Obama. What is infuriating and requires IMMEDIATE ACTION is that so many in the media have been catching the FOX virus and spreading it. By way of a cure, we bring you the next installment in our highly successful FOX Attacks series. Together, we have battled them effectively, halted their fake debates, and put pressure on Bill O’Reilly for his attacks on homeless vets. And so far, over 6 million people have seen FOX Attacks.
Watch the video, send it to your friends, and then demand the media stop spreading the FOX virus. Let them know they can’t keep parroting FOX’s smears against Barack Obama without hearing from us. Sign the petition, and we’ll make sure the heads of all the mainstream media’s news divisions see it. You can even express your outrage visually by including your picture.
Sign the petition: http://bravenewfilms.org/watch/26314240/32376?utm_source=rgemail
A special thanks to all of you who contributed to the tickers for this film. Your contributions made this video possible. You turned this into a collaborative filmmaking process, declaring our collective outrage over FOX’s propaganda. If you didn’t get the chance to contribute this time around, you can put your message to Murdoch in the next FOX Attacks film for a contribution of $199. Space is very limited though, we can only include 25 messages.
Of course, Obama isn’t the only Democratic nominee that FOX and their ilk have gone after in this Presidential race. Chris Matthews, once a Roger Ailes hire, has been demonizing Hillary Clinton every chance he gets. Our friends at Media Matters have more on how Matthews is modeling himself after Bill O’Reilly.
and the Brave New Team
Brave New Films is located at 10510 Culver Blvd., Culver City, CA 90232.
Clinton, Obama are Wall Street darlings
Donations to Democratic campaigns prompt concern that the candidates will go soft on regulation of the financial markets.
By Janet Hook and Dan Morain, Los Angeles Times Staff Writers
March 21, 2008
WASHINGTON — Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama, who are running for president as economic populists, are benefiting handsomely from Wall Street donations, easily surpassing Republican John McCain in campaign contributions from the troubled financial services sector.
It is part of a broader fundraising shift toward Democrats, compared to past campaigns when Republicans were the favorites of Wall Street.
Some Democrats worry that the influx of money will make their candidates less willing to call for increased regulation of financial markets, which have been in turmoil after a wave of foreclosures on sub-prime mortgages.
These concerned Democrats argue that their candidates, and presumptive Republican nominee McCain, should be willing to push for financial institutions to accept more government regulation — in exchange for likely future bailouts, such as the recent deal the Federal Reserve orchestrated for JPMorgan Chase & Co. to take over Bear Stearns Cos.
“I want to hear Clinton, Obama and McCain talk about a quid pro quo,” said Jared Bernstein, an economist with the Democratic-leaning Economic Policy Institute. “If we don’t hear it, especially from Democrats, it makes sense to ask why not and ask if they are inappropriately cozy with the financial services industry.”
The flow of campaign cash is a measure of how open-fisted banks and other financial institutions have been to politicians of both parties. Concern is rising that “no matter who the Democratic nominee is and who wins in November, Wall Street will have a friend in the White House,” said Massie Ritsch of the nonprofit Center for Responsive Politics, which tracks campaign donations. “The door will be open to these big banks.”
Sen. McCain of Arizona got off to a slow start in presidential campaign fundraising. Having clinched the Republican nomination, he could gain momentum in attracting Wall Street money.
For now, though, Sen. Clinton of New York is leading the way, bringing in at least $6.29 million from the securities and investment industry, compared with $6.03 million for Sen. Obama of Illinois and $2.59 million for McCain, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Those figures include donations from the investment companies’ employees and political action committees.
In 2000, by comparison, Republican George W. Bush went on to win the White House after collecting nearly $4 million from the industry versus Democrat Al Gore’s $1.4 million. In 2004, Bush received $8.8 million, twice what Democratic Sen. John Kerry collected.
Spokesmen for Obama, Clinton and McCain deny that the candidates’ ideas on handling the economic crisis are being shaped by donations from Wall Street.
The candidates’ receipts reflect a broader trend that demonstrates how money follows power in Washington. It suggests that the nation’s money managers are betting heavily that either Clinton or Obama will capture the White House and that Democrats will retain control of Congress.
Lenders active in the sub-prime business, such as Ameriquest and Countrywide, were major political players in years past. But in the 2008 campaign, they are bit players, giving perhaps $120,000 to all presidential candidates.
The troubles in the financial markets, however, have spread from sub-prime lenders to some of the nation’s largest banking corporations and investment houses that traded in the mortgages, as Bear Stearns’ failure demonstrated. And PACs and employees of many of those businesses — including Bear Stearns and its prospective new owner, JPMorgan — have donated heavily to campaigns.
Citigroup, the nation’s largest banking company, also was among those enmeshed in the sub-prime mortgage debacle, leading to billions of dollars in losses last year and the resignation of its chief executive, Charles Prince.
Merrill Lynch too had multibillion-dollar losses last year, mostly involving soured mortgage-related investments. Merrill Chief Executive Stanley O’Neal, an Obama donor, also was forced out last year.
Overall, Citigroup and Merrill employees have given $519,000 to Clinton, $386,200 to McCain and $354,000 to Obama since January 2007.
Clinton is a top beneficiary of large Wall Street firms in part because she represents New York. And Clinton’s ties to the financial services industry extend beyond donations: A senior economic advisor to her campaign is Robert Rubin, Treasury secretary during her husband’s administration and now a top official at Citigroup. The consulting firm of Mark Penn, her chief campaign strategist, worked for Calabasas-based Countrywide.
Also, Bill Clinton’s administration oversaw significant changes sought by Wall Streeters, including the repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act to allow commercial and investment banks to consolidate.
Hillary Clinton’s position on bankruptcy code overhaul — among the most important pieces of financial legislation passed by Congress over the last decade — has been difficult to decipher.
As first lady, she encouraged her husband to veto a bill strongly supported by the credit card industry and opposed by consumer advocates to make it harder for people to discharge their debts by declaring bankruptcy.
Later, as a senator, she voted for one version of the measure in 2001 but did not vote on the bill that became law in 2005. (Her campaign said she did not participate because her husband had just undergone heart surgery.)
As a presidential candidate, Clinton has confronted financiers on the home mortgage crisis. “Wall Street helped create the foreclosure crisis, and Wall Street needs to help solve it,” she said.
She has advocated a 90-day moratorium on foreclosures, a five-year rate freeze on sub-prime adjustable-rate mortgages, and aid to states to avert foreclosures.
Obama voted against the 2005 bankruptcy bill. As an Illinois state senator in 2003, he carried a bill eventually signed into law that provided limited protection for borrowers against so-called predatory lending practices.
In a statement, the Obama campaign said the candidate had sought to reduce “the influence of special interests over the legislative process.” As a presidential candidate, the statement notes, Obama does not take donations from political action committees. He did, however, accept PAC money from Citigroup and others for his past campaigns.
“In front of audiences on Wall Street and Main Street, Sen. Obama has proposed an aggressive plan to mitigate the sub-prime mortgage crisis both to protect homeowners and to prevent the problems in the housing market from taking a toll on the economy as a whole,” the statement says.
Obama and Clinton have been talking for some time about addressing the mortgage crisis. But some Democrats complain that they have been too timid in speaking out about what they see as the Bush administration’s unwillingness to help homeowners even as the Federal Reserve moves to help major financial institutions.
“What that Wall Street money means is that few people in Washington, including the leading presidential candidates, say a thing when the government moves to bail out Wall Street before it helps homeowners,” said David Sirota, a liberal activist and former congressional aide.
Times researcher Maloy Moore contributed to this report.
Pingback: Obama links Iraq war to economic hardship in the USA | Dear Kitty. Some blog
Pingback: Hillary Clinton campaign links to Colombian regime | Dear Kitty. Some blog
Pingback: New Mark Fiore animation on Sarah Palin | Dear Kitty. Some blog