Clinton-Obama Rift Begins

Clinton-Obama Rift Begins

A little bit of daylight has begun to emerge between the Clintons and President Obama. As the president’s ratings drop — recently, particularly among liberals — the first signs are beginning to show of distance between the former rivals for the Democratic presidential nomination.
 
As always with the Clintons, the signs are made evident by a carefully choreographed two-step in which they fill their separate roles, one as an outsider and the other as a loyal insider to the Obama administration. But never doubt that everything these two do is coordinated and orchestrated.
 
On Bill’s end, there emerge faint signs of disagreement with the president. Commenting on the Gulf oil spill, the former president warned against ratcheting up the rhetoric against BP noting that it is that firm’s expertise upon which the administration must rely to end the spill and terminate the slide in his ratings that it has triggered.
 
More confrontationally, Bill has endorsed Colorado House Speaker Andrew Romanoff for the Democratic Senate nomination in Colorado even as the Obama White House is strongly backing Michael Bennet, the Democratic senator appointed to fill the seat vacated by Interior Secretary Ken Salazar.
 
For Bill Clinton to challenge Obama so overtly to a proxy battle in the Colorado Senate primary is, indeed, remarkable considering his wife’s role in the administration.
 
Hillary, as befits her position — but not necessarily her personality — is more demure. While she takes no shots at her boss and does not cross him in any way, she is gradually expanding her purview beyond the foreign affairs mandate of her job.
 
It was Secretary of State Clinton who first released to the media the fact that Obama’s Justice Department would be suing the state of Arizona over their new anti-illegal immigration law. And it was also the secretary of state who noted that she felt that rich people were not paying their “fair share” of taxes in the U.S., while carefully explaining that she was only expressing her personal views.

Read The Full Article

STATE DEPT. DECLARES: ‘Global warming unequivocal and primarily human-induced’…

US climate report publicized in runup to Senate bill
20 Apr 2010 00:35:50 GMT

Source: Reuters

(Corrects headline and first paragraph to reflect that report was publicized on Monday, 2nd paragraph notes report released April 8) 

WASHINGTON, April 19 (Reuters) – An environmental coalition publicized a new U.S. draft report on climate change on Monday, one week before the expected unveiling of a compromise U.S. Senate bill that aims to curb greenhouse gas emissions. 

The Project on Climate Science, a coalition of environmental groups, publicized the report in advance of Earth Day on April 22, a spokeswoman said. The report was released with little fanfare on April 7 and posted on the Federal Register on April 8. 

The report, a draft of the Fifth U.S. Climate Action Report that will be sent to the United Nations, says bluntly: “Global warming is unequivocal and primarily human-induced … Global temperature has increased over the past 50 years. This observed increase is due primarily to human-induced emissions of heat-trapping gases.” 

Without action to stop them, climate-warming greenhouse gas emissions will rise over 8,000 megatonnes by mid-century, the draft said. By adopting measures detailed in a bill passed last year by the U.S. House of Representatives, these emissions will drop beneath 2,000 megatonnes. They’re now about 6,500 megatonnes. The United Nations measures greenhouse gas emissions in megatonnes, or million metric tons. 

The effects of climate change are already evident, the draft said: warming air and oceans, vanishing mountain glaciers, thawing permafrost, signs of instability in the ice sheets of Greenland and Antarctica and rising sea levels. 

The State Department draft, now open for public comment, precedes the expected April 26 unveiling of Senate legislation by Democrat John Kerry, Republican Lindsey Graham and Independent Joe Lieberman. 

Supporters of the bill hope this will pave the way for the full Senate to debate and pass a measure in June or July. 

The State Department report will ultimately go to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change; previous U.S. reports to this body were in 1994, 1997, 2002 and 2007. 

The draft report is available online at http://www.state.gov/g/oes/rls/rpts/car5/index.htm. 

(Editing by Jackie Frank)

Clinton alludes to 1995 bombing, says words matter He is still clueless

Clinton alludes to 1995 bombing, says words matter

 



Apr 16, 7:04 PM (ET)


WASHINGTON (AP) – Former President Bill Clinton warned of a slippery slope from angry anti-government rhetoric to violence like the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing, saying “the words we use really do matter.”

The two-term Democratic president insisted he wasn’t trying to restrict free speech, but in remarks Friday he said incendiary language can be taken the wrong way by some Americans. He drew parallels to words demonizing the government before Oklahoma City.

On April 19, 1995, an anti-government conspiracy led by Army veteran Timothy McVeigh exploded a truck bomb outside the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, killing 168 people.

“What we learned from Oklahoma City is not that we should gag each other or that we should reduce our passion for the positions we hold – but that the words we use really do matter, because there’s this vast echo chamber, and they go across space and they fall on the serious and the delirious alike. They fall on the connected and the unhinged alike,” he said.

“One of the things that the conservatives have always brought to the table in America is a reminder that no law can replace personal responsibility. And the more power you have and the more influence you have, the more responsibility you have.”

Clinton made the remarks at events sponsored by the Center for American Progress Action Fund on the upcoming anniversary of the bombing.

He mentioned the rancorous fight over President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul. Passage of the law elicited threats against some lawmakers.

“I’m glad they’re fighting over health care and everything else. Let them have at it. But I think that all you have to do is read the paper every day to see how many people there are who are deeply, deeply troubled,” he said.

He also alluded to the anti-government tea party movement, which held protests in several states Thursday. At the Washington rally, Republican Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota railed against “gangster government.”

Clinton argued that the Boston Tea Party was in response to taxation without representation. The current protesters, he said, are challenging taxation by elected officials, and the demonstrators have the power to vote them out of office.

“By all means keep fighting, by all means, keep arguing,” he said. “But remember, words have consequences as much as actions do, and what we advocate, commensurate with our position and responsibility, we have to take responsibility for. We owe that to Oklahoma City.”

Taxpayers foot State Department’s stiff liquor bill

Taxpayers foot State Department’s stiff liquor bill

Months after President Obama urged federal agencies last year to cut wasteful spending, the U.S. Department of State paid $3,814 to fill an order of Jack Daniel’s whiskey for gratuities at one of its many overseas embassies.

The booze buy wasn’t unusual.                                  

Last year alone, the State Department sent taxpayers tabs totaling nearly $300,000 for alcoholic beverages — about twice as much compared to the previous year, according to an analysis of spending records by The Washington Times.

The purchases, small and large, included $2,483 to pay for “assorted spirits for gratuities to vendors” at the U.S. mission to the United Nations in New York, and $9,501 in “Christmas gratuities” of whiskey and wine at the U.S. Embassy in South Korea.

Taxpayer watchdogs say while accounting for a small fraction of the State Department’s overall budget, some of the liquor expenditures reflect larger concerns about stewardship of federal tax dollars at a time when many recession-weary Americans find themselves struggling to hold onto jobs and pay mortgages.

“It’s indicative of the disconnect that bureaucrats have when they spend our money,” said David Williams, vice president of policy at the nonpartisan Citizens Against Government Waste.

State Department spokesman Noel Clay said such expenditures are permitted under law.

“As part of the department’s work in representing the United States and its interests here and abroad, U.S. officials may hold receptions and representational events,” he said.

“By law, the secretary of state may provide for such receptions and may pay entertainment and representational expenses to enable the Department of State and foreign service to provide for the proper representation of the United States and its interests,” he said.

Mr. Clay also added, “Alcohol is not served at all representational events or official receptions.”

The rise in alcohol spending could be attributed to the increasing number of official receptions that U.S. diplomats might have held after the presidential inauguration and changeover in administrations. But while much of the money paid for “representational activities,” dozens of other purchases in recent years — during both the Bush and Obama administrations — went to pay for what spending records describe as gratuities.

The U.S. Embassy in Germany, for instance, spent $555 in December on gratuities that included 15 bottles of Jim Beam bourbon and three dozen coffee mugs. In a country well-known for making fine beers, the U.S. Embassy in Belgium paid more than $5,000 by opting for “red and white wine for Christmas gratuities,” records show.

The U.S. Consulate in St. Petersburg spent $7,160 on alcoholic beverages for “gratuities for local contacts,” while the U.S. Embassy in Greece last year spent more than $20,000 for “representational liquors for Christmas gratuities.”

Other alcohol expenditures as described in purchasing records include:

• $7,554 by the U.S. Embassy in India in September 2008 for a “supply of alcoholic beverages for gratuities.”

• $3,814 by the U.S. Embassy in Slovenia last year for “Gratuities: Whiskey Jack Daniel’s.”

• $2,966 by the U.S. Mission to the United Nations in New York for 106 bottles of Schramsberg Blanc de Blanc wine at $27.99 per bottle for official events.

• $41.98, also by the U.S. Mission to the United Nations, for “purchase of two one-liter bottles of Jose Cuervo Clasico Silver Tequila for official events at the U.S. representative’s residence.”

Not all embassies bill taxpayers for liquor when they decide to spend taxpayer money on gratuities, spending records show.

The U.S. Embassy in Costa Rica bought “laser pens with USB drive,” documents show. The embassy in Sarajevo bought chocolate gift boxes from the Ghirardelli Chocolate Co., while the embassy in Botswana bought mugs.

Within the United States, dozens of the liquor purchases in recent years were made for the U.S. representation at the United Nations at an establishment in New York City called Suebob Liquors Inc. Since 2005, the State Department has spent more than $50,000 at the store, with purchases averaging a little over $1,000, records show.

“We have good prices and good service,” Bob Mann, an assistant manager at the store, said when asked why the State Department seems to prefer the store. He also said the store handles corporate accounts and delivers.

Mr. Clay said because the Suebob purchases are so low, the State Department doesn’t have to seek other bidders: “If the purchase is under $3,000, federal acquisition regulation says that it does not have to be competitively bid,” he said.

The Times’ review of purchasing records examined all expenditures listed under a specific product services code for “alcoholic beverages” contained in a federal spending database. The findings showed that purchases rose from $139,657 in 2008 to $294,639 last year.

Alcohol-related purchases totaled around $160,000 each in 2006 and 2007, down from $216,430 in 2005. That was up from $64,280 in 2004.

Since 2004, records show alcohol purchases at the State Department a little more than $1 million

Hillary Clinton fears al-Qaeda is obtaining nuclear weapons material —DUH!!

April 12, 2010

Hillary Clinton fears al-Qaeda is obtaining nuclear weapons material

Michael Evans, Pentagon Correspondent, Washington

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Terrorists including al-Qaeda pose a serious threat to world security as they attempt to obtain atomic weapons material, Hillary Clinton, the US Secretary of State, declared on the eve of a global summit in Washington to prevent a nuclear terror attack.

President Obama will call on the leaders of 47 nations today — the biggest gathering of heads of state by a US leader since the founding of the UN in 1945 — to introduce tougher safeguards to prevent nuclear material ending up in the hands of terrorists. As far back as 1998, Osama bin Laden stated that it was his Islamic duty to acquire and use weapons of mass destruction.

During the two-day Nuclear Security Summit, Mr Obama will try to convince representatives, including David Miliband. who is standing in for Gordon Brown, that the dangers of loosely guarded atomic material are so grave that a global agreement is needed to stop al-Qaeda going nuclear.

The summit is part of Mr Obama’s strategy to put nuclear weapons at the top of foreign policy. He signed a treaty with Russia on April 8, restricted the role and development of US nuclear weapons last week, and is trying to reach agreement on new sanctions against Iran. The Iran component of his strategy will be raised during the summit, notably with President Hu of China, who agreed to attend the event after initial doubts.

Related Links
  • Obama to limit use of nuclear weapons
  • US and Russia sign historic nuclear treaty

In the speech he gave in Prague a year ago when he outlined his vision of a nuclear-free world, Mr Obama said he aimed to secure all vulnerable nuclear material around the world within four years. The summit is intended to rally global collective action to achieve this goal.

However, with nuclear energy continuing to expand around the world and safeguard technologies becoming outdated, the scope for proliferation — fissile material leaking to terrorist groups as well as to maverick states — is multiplying.

The unprecedented gathering of 47 nations in Washington to address this issue underscores the perceived severity of the threat posed by nuclear terrorism.

“We know that terrorist groups, including al-Qaeda, are pursuing the materials to build a nuclear weapon and we know that they have the intent to use one [which would be] a catastrophic danger to American national security and to global security were they able to carry out that kind of attack,” Ben Rhodes, the White House’s deputy national security adviser for strategic communications, said last week.

Mr Obama will be seeking specific commitments from individual countries to lock down their stocks of nuclear material, with particular emphasis on plutonium and highly-enriched uranium, the two materials that can be used for nuclear bombs.

There already exists a Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism, completed in 2005, but it has not yet come into force because some countries still have to sign and ratify it. There will be pressure on them to act soon.

There will also be pressure on countries to follow the example of Chile, which has removed all of its stocks of low-enriched and highly-enriched uranium.

Mr Obama will remind delegates that the US and Russia have each agreed to dispose of 34 metric tons of weapons-grade plutonium, taken from their military programmes. This was agreed in 2000 but it has taken ten years for the implementing measures to be worked out.

Hillary Clinton, the US Secretary of State, and her Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, will finally sign the deal today.

The US has spent 20 years and billions of dollars trying to help the Russians safeguard their huge stockpiles of nuclear material. But there are still concerns that terrorists might acquire Russian-sourced fissile material.

When the Cold War ended there were apocalyptic rumours of Russian tactical nuclear weapons going missing, and there were warnings of suitcase bombs being planted in Western cities. But, apart from a whole series of arrests of would-be nuclear smugglers caught trying to sell low-grade radioactive material during the early post-Cold War period, the nightmare of a terrorist group acquiring a nuclear weapon never happened.

However, Russia still has 5,000 tactical nukes, supposedly under lock and key. Underlining the fear that one might be secreted out of the country, the US Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration has equipped 160 Russian border crossings with radiation detection equipment.

Bin Laden’s avowed intention to go nuclear has kept the West’s intelligence services busy for years.

“Since the mid-1990s, al-Qaeda’s WMD procurement efforts have been managed at the most senior levels, under rules of strict compartmentalisation from lower levels of the organisation, and with central control over possible targets and the timing of prospective attacks,” Rolf Mowatt-Larssen, a former senior CIA officer, wrote in Foreign Policy magazine in January.

He said Ayman al-Zawahiri, al-Qaeda’s Egyptian deputy chief, “personally shepherded the group’s ultimately unsuccessful efforts to set off an anthrax attack in the US”.

In a 2007 video, bin Laden repeated his promise “to use massive weapons” to destroy capitalism and help create an Islamic caliphate, and there have been numerous examples in recent years of al-Qaeda’s attempts to acquire WMD material.

According to Mr Mowatt-Larssen, the first evidence of the terrorist group’s plans to purchase nuclear material was in late 1993. An al-Qaeda defector who became a source for the CIA and FBI, revealed that bin Laden tried to buy uranium in Sudan.

In 2001, Zawahiri was quoted as saying in an interview: “If you have $30 million, go to the black market in central Asia, contact any disgruntled Soviet scientist, and dozens of smart briefcase bombs are available.”

Hillary Gives the Palestinians a Free Pass

Hillary Gives the Palestinians a Free Pass

Michael Margolies

Given Hillary Clinton’s attempted slap down of Prime Minister Netanyahu, here are some
serious questions that demand answers from the Secretary of State.
  • Why did Secretary Clinton lambaste Israel for announcing it will add 1600 housing units in the Jewish neighborhood of Ramat Shlomo in northeast Jerusalem, but have nothing to say about Palestinian plans to dedicate a town square in El-Bireh, (twin city to Ramallah) in the West Bank for a murderess named Dalal Mughrabi who led the infamous Coastal Attack Massacre 32 years ago, when Mugrhabi and her cohorts commandeered a civilian
    bus.*
  • Why did Secretary Clinton lecture PM Netanyahu for 43 minutes over Israel’s
    announcement about the new housing, a call figuratively heard around the world, but never utter one word publicly to Palestinian President Abbas about the “honor” being bestowed on a woman who was a part of a group that slaughtered 37 unarmed Israelis, men, women, and children, including Liat Gal-On, age 6, and Illan Hohman, age 3, Galit Ankwa, age 2, Moti Zit, age 9, and six other children, while wounding 73 other civilians.** An attack incidentally that remains the deadliest of all the terror attacks in Israel’s history.
  • Why was there a decision to delay the ceremony for the dedication of the town square in Dalal Mughrabi honor made? Was Adman Dumairi, a senior Palestinian security official who announced the ceremony was “only” delayed “for technical reasons” telling the truth, or was he just covering up what would be a sticky situation for not only the Palestinians, but for Secretary Clinton, and Vice President Biden as well?
  • Was the delay a decision that came from President Abbas so that Ms. Clinton and Vice President Biden wouldn’t be put in the embarrassing position of being forced to comment on a serious and ongoing breach of Palestinian pledges not to “honor [...] individuals who commit or have committed acts of terrorism.”***
  • Does Secretary Clinton believe that the 2008 Foreign Operations Bill, Section 6578 B – C1, which states “None of the United States assistance under the West Bank and its aid program may be made available for the purpose of recognizing or honoring individuals who commit or have committed acts of terrorism,” should be honored? If she doesn’t believe this law should be honored, why not? Or does she think this law can and should be gotten around with a wink and a nod?
  • Does Secretary Clinton believe President Abbas that the Palestinian Authority has nothing to do with naming the town square in El-Bireh, since that was a separate Fatah decision?
  • Will Mrs. Clinton vigorously and publicly condemn the ceremony “when the technical reasons” are cleared up, and withhold any appropriate funding for this and other breaches of the 2008 Foreign Operations Bill, Section 6578 B – C1 if (or more likely when) the ceremony takes place?****
  • And finally, does Secretary Clinton think that it is as important for the Palestinians to build the confidence of the Israelis in the search for peace, as it is for the Israelis to build the confidence of the Palestinians? If so, what does she think the Palestinians can do to build that confidence and trust? And if there is anything she can think of how would she propose monitoring those things?

*The story of the Coastal Attack Massacre ran in March 12 issue of the Jerusalem
Post, and should have been known to Mrs. Clinton and her aides whether the story ran or not.      
**Some people may remember the one American who was also murdered, nature
photographer Gail Rubin, age 40, who was taking pictures near the highway when
approached by members of Ms. Mughrabi group, and shot to death.
***(2008 Foreign Operations Bill, Section 6578 B – C1.
****There were several other instances when the Palestinians had previously “honored” Mughrabi.  One was the Palestinian Authority sponsored football championship for kids, and another was for a summer camp named after her. 

Nearly $6 million in stimulus money was paid to two firms run by Mark Penn, Hillary Clinton’s pollster in 2008.

Mark Penn’s two firms got $6 million from stimulus for PR campaign

By Alexander Bolton – 12/09/09 12:00 AM ET

Nearly $6 million in stimulus money was paid to two firms run by Mark Penn, Hillary Clinton’s pollster in 2008.

Federal records show that $5.97 million from the $787 billion stimulus helped preserve three jobs at Burson-Marsteller, the global public-relations and communications firm headed by Penn

 -Marsteller won the contract to work on a public-relations campaign to advertise the national switch from analog to digital television. Nearly $2.8 million of the contract was issued to Penn’s polling firm, Penn, Schoen & Berland Associates, according to federal records.

Federal records also show that a former adviser to President Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign received nearly $70,000 from that contract to help alert viewers in difficult-to-reach communities that their televisions would soon no longer receive broadcast signals.

The adviser, Alfredo J. Balsera, who heads a public-affairs firm based in Coral Gables, Fla., helped craft Obama’s Hispanic advertising message.

Republicans on Tuesday criticized the federal spending on the advertising project as a waste of taxpayer dollars. They noted that the advertising campaign took place on May 5, only 39 days before the digital television transition was scheduled (June 12)

GOP Sens. John McCain (Ariz.) and Tom Coburn (Okla.) held a news conference Tuesday to blast 100 “wasteful” projects funded by the $787 billion economic stimulus package Congress passed earlier this year, concluding that at least $7 billion of the $217 billion spent through November was wasteful and mismanaged

The GOP senators highlighted the direction of the stimulus funds on the same day Obama outlined a new series of proposals for creating jobs that Republicans view as another stimulus measure. The proposals include tax cuts for small businesses, tax incentives for employers to hire new workers and infrastructure spending.

The need for additional measures has raised questions over the efficacy of the stimulus package passed earlier this year.

White House officials have said the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimated the stimulus helped to create 1.6 million jobs. White House aides also have noted that the national employment report for November showed dramatic improvement compared to early this year.

A White House spokeswoman on Tuesday responded to the GOP report by saying Coburn’s previous reports on stimulus spending have been filled with “false or misleading claims.”

“In the end, even if there are a few unwise projects, it is only a handful out of the over 50,000 projects that have been approved to date,” said Liz Oxhorn, a White House spokeswoman. “The real question here is whether Recovery Act critics will at long last acknowledge that well over 99 percent of the projects are sound, effective and working as promised.”

McCain and Coburn did not show any indication that they knew two Democratic political strategists received funding through the grant.

A review of federal records by The Hill revealed Penn and Balsera received money from the economic stimulus program.

Burson-Marsteller, which Penn heads as CEO worldwide, won the $5.97 million contract through Young & Rubicam. (Burson-Marsteller has been a part of Young & Rubicam Brands since 1979.)

A contract award summary posted on Recovery.gov, the government website that tracks stimulus spending, states Burson-Marsteller was awarded a competitive contract by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to help prepare “unready households for the DTV transition.”

The purpose of the campaign was to “bolster the reach, penetration and impact of the FCC’s DTV readiness messages in selected markets, specifically among the groups that had been determined to be the most at risk.”

Cassandra Andrade, a senior associate with Balsera Communications, said, “I can see where there’s concern, but the contract was strictly based on our merits. We’ve been working on multicultural outreach for many years.”

Andrade said her firm worked to contact Hispanic television viewers in Philadelphia, Chicago and Los Angeles.

Andrade noted that according to Nielsen, a media-research company, there was a sharp decline in the number of unready homes in the week leading up to the digital transition and that 97.5 percent of households were ready for the switch.

A spokesman for Penn, Schoen & Berland and a spokeswoman for Burson-Marsteller did not respond to a request for comment.

Penn received scrutiny during and after the 2008 presidential campaign for the role he played in Clinton’s unsuccessful White House bid. Some Clinton supporters questioned whether his service was worth the millions in fees he billed to the campaign.

Penn’s firm billed the campaign $5 million for polling and at least $8 million for sending out direct-mail pieces, according to Time magazine. Clinton’s campaign finally paid off the debt in July.

Senate Republican Whip Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) said the three jobs saved at Burson-Marsteller represented a poor value for taxpayers.

“It illustrates a very poor way to create jobs,” Kyl said.

 Kyl said the appropriateness of Democratic strategists receiving funds “depends on whether they exerted some influence.”

The digital television advertising campaign ranked as No. 3 on the list of 100 projects that GOP senators on Tuesday highlighted as “pure waste” in the billions of stimulus funds spent this year.

At the top of the GOP list is a $5 million grant from the Department of Energy to create a geothermal energy system for the Oak Ridge City Center shopping mall in Oak Ridge, Tenn. The main problem with the project, say Republicans, is the fact the mall has been losing tenants for years and is mostly empty.

GOP senators also blasted a $1.57 million grant to Penn State University to search for fossils in Argentina and a $100,000 award to a liberal-leaning theater in Minnesota for socially conscious puppet shows.

Two million dollars in stimulus money went to build a replica railroad as a tourist attraction in Carson City, Nev.

A dinner cruise company based in Chicago received nearly $1 million in funds to combat terrorism.

Half a million dollars went to Arizona State University to study the genetic makeup of ants to determine distinctive roles in ant colonies; $450,000 went to the University of Arizona to study the division of labor in ant colonies.

The State University of New York at Buffalo won $390,000 to study young adults who drink malt liquor and smoke marijuana. The National Institutes of Health got $219,000 in funds to study whether female college students are more likely to “hook up” after drinking alcohol.

The University of Hawaii collected $210,000 to study the learning patterns of honeybees, and $700,000 went to help crab fishermen in Oregon recover lost crab pots.

Source:
http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/71353-mark-penn-got-6-million-from-stimulus

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