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Why did Sarah Palin resign?

Personal scandal
 5 (17.2%)
Probable indictment
 7 (24.1%)
Just plain craziness
 3 (10.3%)
Looooong lead up to 2012
 4 (13.8%)
Something else
 2 (6.9%)
Some combination of the above
 8 (27.6%)

Total Members Voted: 29

Author Topic: The Thread on Politics  (Read 422131 times)

A.

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The Thread on Politics
« on: November 20, 2006, 01:55:16 PM »
For news and discussion not directly related to the election.

A.

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Re: The Thread on Politics
« Reply #1 on: February 27, 2007, 12:52:15 PM »
For news and discussion not directly related to the election.

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Re: The Thread on Politics
« Reply #2 on: February 27, 2007, 12:53:00 PM »
Why Have So Many U.S. Attorneys Been Fired? It Looks a Lot Like Politics

By ADAM COHEN
Published: February 26, 2007

Carol Lam, the former United States attorney for San Diego, is smart and tireless and was very good at her job. Her investigation of Representative Randy Cunningham resulted in a guilty plea for taking more than $2 million in bribes from defense contractors and a sentence of more than eight years. Two weeks ago, she indicted Kyle Dustin Foggo, the former No. 3 official in the C.I.A. The defense-contracting scandal she pursued so vigorously could yet drag in other politicians.

In many Justice Departments, her record would have won her awards, and perhaps a promotion to a top post in Washington. In the Bush Justice Department, it got her fired.

Ms. Lam is one of at least seven United States attorneys fired recently under questionable circumstances. The Justice Department is claiming that Ms. Lam and other well-regarded prosecutors like John McKay of Seattle, David Iglesias of New Mexico, Daniel Bogden of Nevada and Paul Charlton of Arizona — who all received strong job evaluations — performed inadequately.

It is hard to call what’s happening anything other than a political purge. And it’s another shameful example of how in the Bush administration, everything — from rebuilding a hurricane-ravaged city to allocating homeland security dollars to invading Iraq — is sacrificed to partisan politics and winning elections.

U.S. attorneys have enormous power. Their decision to investigate or indict can bankrupt a business or destroy a life. They must be, and long have been, insulated from political pressures. Although appointed by the president, once in office they are almost never asked to leave until a new president is elected. The Congressional Research Service has confirmed how unprecedented these firings are. It found that of 486 U.S. attorneys confirmed since 1981, perhaps no more than three were forced out in similar ways — three in 25 years, compared with seven in recent months.

It is not just the large numbers. The firing of H. E. Cummins III is raising as many questions as Ms. Lam’s. Mr. Cummins, one of the most distinguished lawyers in Arkansas, is respected by Republicans and Democrats alike. But he was forced out to make room for J. Timothy Griffin, a former Karl Rove deputy with thin legal experience who did opposition research for the Republican National Committee. (Mr. Griffin recently bowed to the inevitable and said he will not try for a permanent appointment. But he remains in office indefinitely.)

The Bush administration cleared the way for these personnel changes by slipping a little-noticed provision into the Patriot Act last year that allows the president to appoint interim U.S. attorneys for an indefinite period without Senate confirmation.

Three theories are emerging for why these well-qualified U.S. attorney were fired — all political, and all disturbing.

1. Helping friends. Ms. Lam had already put one powerful Republican congressman in jail and was investigating other powerful politicians. The Justice Department, unpersuasively, claims that it was unhappy about Ms. Lam’s failure to bring more immigration cases. Meanwhile, Ms. Lam has been replaced with an interim prosecutor whose résumé shows almost no criminal law experience, but includes her membership in the Federalist Society, a conservative legal group.

2. Candidate recruitment. U.S. attorney is a position that can make headlines and launch political careers. Congressional Democrats suspect that the Bush administration has been pushing out long-serving U.S. attorneys to replace them with promising Republican lawyers who can then be run for Congress and top state offices.

3. Presidential politics. The Justice Department concedes that Mr. Cummins was doing a good job in Little Rock. An obvious question is whether the administration was more interested in his successor’s skills in opposition political research — let’s not forget that Arkansas has been lucrative fodder for Republicans in the past — in time for the 2008 elections.

The charge of politics certainly feels right. This administration has made partisanship its lodestar. The Washington Post reporter Rajiv Chandrasekaran revealed in his book, “Imperial Life in the Emerald City,” that even applicants to help administer post-invasion Iraq were asked whom they voted for in 2000 and what they thought of Roe v. Wade.

Congress has been admirably aggressive about investigating. Senator Charles Schumer, Democrat of New York, held a tough hearing. And he is now talking about calling on the fired U.S. attorneys to testify and subpoenaing their performance evaluations — both good ideas.

The politicization of government over the last six years has had tragic consequences — in New Orleans, Iraq and elsewhere. But allowing politics to infect U.S. attorney offices takes it to a whole new level. Congress should continue to pursue the case of the fired U.S. attorneys vigorously, both to find out what really happened and to make sure that it does not happen again.

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/02/26/opinion/26mon4.html?em&ex=1172725200&en=7fa211baa4bb4830&ei=5087%0A

Statistic

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Re: The Thread on Politics
« Reply #3 on: February 27, 2007, 01:11:18 PM »
I predict failure for this thread.
Look to the left -- Look to the right

A.

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Re: The Thread on Politics
« Reply #4 on: February 27, 2007, 01:14:11 PM »
I predict failure for this thread.

Nah, I'll keep it going like I do your presidential thread.

A.

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Re: The Thread on Politics
« Reply #5 on: February 27, 2007, 01:15:34 PM »
it reads like a chapter in Nigerian politics.

Yeah, while I do think it's the President's prerogative to appoint whomever he likes, I'm not particularly pleased with this outcome.  Hopefully Congressional investigations will ensue.

Statistic

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Re: The Thread on Politics
« Reply #6 on: February 27, 2007, 01:15:41 PM »
I predict failure for this thread.

Nah, I'll keep it going like I do your presidential thread.

Somebody's feelin' himself today. Guess you decided to act normal when you woke up.  :D  :P
Look to the left -- Look to the right

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Re: The Thread on Politics
« Reply #7 on: February 27, 2007, 01:21:30 PM »
8)

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Re: The Thread on Politics
« Reply #8 on: February 27, 2007, 11:06:05 PM »
For Clinton, New Wealth In Speeches
Fees in 6 Years Total Nearly $40 Million

By John Solomon and Matthew Mosk
Washington Post Staff Writers
Friday, February 23, 2007; A01

Former president Bill Clinton, who came to the White House with modest means and left deeply in debt, has collected nearly $40 million in speaking fees over the past six years, according to interviews and financial disclosure statements filed by his wife, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.).

Last year, one of his most lucrative since he left the presidency, Clinton earned $9 million to $10 million on the lecture circuit. He averaged almost a speech a day -- 352 for the year -- but only about 20 percent were for personal income. The others were given for no fee or for donations to the William J. Clinton Foundation, the nonprofit group he founded to pursue causes such as the fight against AIDS.

His paid speeches included $150,000 appearances before landlord groups, biotechnology firms and food distributors, as well as speeches in England, Ireland, New Zealand and Australia that together netted him more than $1.6 million. On one particularly good day in Canada, Clinton made $475,000 for two speeches, more than double his annual salary as president.

"I never had a nickel to my name until I got out of the White House, and now I'm a millionaire, the most favored person for the Washington Republicans," Clinton told a friendly audience in Kentucky last fall. "I get a tax cut every year, no matter what our needs are."

Indeed, the Clintons -- who left the White House with an estimated $12 million in legal debts rung up during the Whitewater, campaign fundraising and Monica S. Lewinsky investigations -- are worth an estimated $10 million to $50 million, according to Hillary Clinton's most recent disclosure form. That is attributable primarily to the speaking fees and to the seven-figure book deals that both Clintons signed shortly after leaving the White House.

The fortune they have amassed gives the Clintons a nest egg for the first time, and it allows them to tap into that wealth for a campaign if Hillary Clinton, as expected, forgoes public financing in her race for president. It also suggests a sometimes close connection between their personal finances and her political career.

Many of Bill Clinton's six-figure speeches have been made to companies whose employees and political action committees have been among Hillary Clinton's top backers in her Senate campaigns. The New York investment giant Goldman Sachs paid him $650,000 for four speeches in recent years. Its employees and PAC have given her $270,000 since 2000 -- putting it second on the list of her most generous political patrons.

The banking firm Citigroup, whose employees and PAC have been Hillary Clinton's top source of campaign donations, with more than $320,000, paid her husband $250,000 for a speech in France in 2004. Last year, it committed $5.5 million for Clinton's Global Initiative to help encourage entrepreneurship and financial education among the poor.

Asked about the companies and their relationship to the Clintons, Jay Carson, a spokesman for the former president, said, "It certainly makes sense that reputable New York companies who support the policies and works of President Clinton and his foundation would also be supportive of their senator."
Finding Foreign Audiences

Over the past two decades, speaking for money, especially to foreign audiences, has become a common way for ex-presidents to find financial security. Ronald Reagan raised eyebrows collecting $2 million in Japan shortly after he left office in 1989. And George H.W. Bush and Jimmy Carter have both traveled extensively to lecture for pay.

The elder Bush, who was wealthy before he became president, had an active speaking schedule after he left the White House, and as recently as 2004 he was reported to have been paid between $125,000 and $150,000 for a series of speeches in China. He has also held seats on corporate boards. But much of his activity remains private because he is under no obligation to disclose it.

Mark K. Updegrove, author of a book on the activities of former presidents, said Clinton remains a huge draw even six years after leaving the White House. "One thing makes President Clinton slightly different from his predecessors," Updegrove said. "Not only has he carried the prestige of the presidency, but he maintains the mystique of celebrity."

Two-thirds of the former president's speaking money has come from foreign sources. Outside the United States, clients are willing to pay more to hear him speak, Clinton is able to conduct his charitable work on AIDS, and he can avoid upstaging his wife on the American political scene, associates say.

Foreign clients have included Saudi Arabia's Dabbagh investment firm, which paid $600,000 for two speeches, and China's JingJi Real Estate Development Group, run by a local Communist Party official, which paid $200,000 for a speech. The Mito City Political Research Group, a Japanese political studies center, paid Clinton $400,000 for a 2002 speech about politics.

Besides Goldman Sachs, the two firms that have paid Clinton the most over the past six years are foreign-based. Gold Services International, an event organizer based in Bogota, Colombia, brought Clinton to Latin America in the summer of 2005 for $800,000 in speaking fees. The Power Within, a motivational-speech company in Toronto, paid Clinton $650,000 for speeches in Canada in 2005 and brought him back for an undisclosed sum in 2006. The company was founded by Salim Khoja, a Kenyan immigrant who years earlier was convicted of stock fraud and was barred for life from the brokerage business.
Speaking for Charity

The nearly $40 million total is based on Hillary Clinton's annual ethics report to Congress, which showed that her husband made more than $30 million from speeches from 2001 to 2005. Under Senate ethics rules, she does not have to disclose 2006 fees until mid-May, and the estimate for that year's totals is based on interviews with speech organizers, who confirmed an additional $9 million to $10 million in fees.

Beyond the millions he has earned personally, the former president has given dozens more speeches that result in payments to the William J. Clinton Foundation, his nonprofit charity in New York. His associates say those have yielded millions to help cover the $60 million annual budget the foundation spends to fund his charitable work on AIDS and world hunger.

The Clintons declined to disclose the size and sources of the payments for speeches he delivered on behalf of the charity. Campaign law and Senate ethics rules require Hillary Clinton to disclose only the fees her husband has taken as personal income, not those he routed to charity.

The former president declined repeated requests to discuss his speeches or the income he earns from them. "The reason that he picked paid speeches is that it is an efficient way for him to make a living for his family and allow him a lot of time to do charitable work, which is his passion," said Carson, his spokesman.

Carson said Clinton's staff constructs his schedule to pack as much charitable work as possible -- along with political events helpful to Democrats -- around his for-profit speaking career.

"We take a look at the schedule and say, 'All right, he has to be in this place for that paid speech. There are these three or four great things we've been meaning to do in this place. Let's do them,' " Carson said.

Last June, for example, Clinton booked a speech in Denver before the National Apartment Association, the industry group for landlords, which earned him $150,000.

When his office heard that funds were lagging for a nearby memorial to victims of the Columbine High School massacre, he volunteered to be the keynote speaker at the groundbreaking ceremony -- at no charge -- and instantly boosted fundraising. On the dais that day, when told the project was still short of its goal, he pledged $50,000 that could be matched by a local company. On the same trip, he addressed a politically important group of school principals.

Likewise, in February 2006, Clinton headed to Asia for charitable work to help tsunami and AIDS victims. At the last minute, the State Department asked him to squeeze in a visit to Pakistan, helping ease tensions among Muslims angered by political cartoons they considered insulting. He then tacked on three days of paid engagements in Australia and New Zealand that earned him about $750,000.

A.

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Re: The Thread on Politics
« Reply #9 on: February 27, 2007, 11:06:26 PM »
'It Was Worth It'

Those willing to pay Clinton to speak say they can pack a hall with people eager to hear his question-and-answer sessions on Middle East peace, his motivational seminars, or his lectures on globalization that weave together personal anecdotes and detailed data aimed at inspiring corporate executives to compete better in the 21st-century global economy.

Clinton can also transform a fundraising event.

The former president in 2005 helped the U.S. arm of Israel's treasury authority sell $101 million in investment bonds by speaking at a luncheon at the Pierre Hotel in New York that was jammed with real estate executives who wanted to hear his keynote address.

A Catholic group in Canada far exceeded its fundraising goal when it hired Clinton to address a fundraising gala for domestic violence services last November. The crowds came despite protests by Catholic bishops who urged a boycott because of the group's support for abortion rights.

"We had people buying $500 tickets for a lunch. This was a once-in-a-lifetime event for them," said Andrew Wilding of the Catholic Family Counseling Center in Kitchener, Ontario. "They did it in lieu of Christmas gifts, birthday gifts. It was unbelievable."

Kevin O'Marah, senior vice president of AMR Research, an industry group for retail, food and manufacturing suppliers, said the process of signing Clinton to speak last year was so complex -- including filling out multiple forms explaining to Clinton's office and the speakers bureau he uses why the group wanted him -- that "it was like applying for college."

"But it was worth it," he said, adding that Clinton's speech to 900 executives at AMR's annual conference in Scottsdale, Ariz., inspired many in the audience to consider what they could do to address global hunger.
More Money, More Access

Clinton gets a flat fee for those overseas events, but event promoters sometimes offer a tier of options to their patrons. Spending more means gaining more access. This was the case when Clinton collected at least $900,000 last fall for speeches in England and Ireland promoted by longtime golfing partner Satty Singh, a wealthy businessman based in Glasgow, Scotland.

Those who paid about $1,000 to see Clinton at the Burlington Hotel in Dublin on Sept. 27 gained entry to a champagne reception and lunch before the speech. For $4,000 more, they got VIP perks that included a photo and a goody bag containing an autographed copy of his memoir. For about $150,000, corporate sponsors were assured of seats close to Clinton.

Clinton receives thousands of speaking requests a year and accepts a few hundred. Despite the extensive vetting, at least two companies that booked him were under federal investigation.

In February 2005, Clinton traveled to the Paradise Island resort in the Bahamas and collected $150,000 from Swiss biotechnology giant Serono International for a speech that touched on global AIDS. Serono's U.S. arm was then embroiled in a well-publicized federal investigation into giveaways to doctors who unnecessarily prescribed its AIDS drug. A few months after the speech, the company pleaded guilty to two federal conspiracy charges and agreed to pay $704 million in fines.

Clinton also accepted $125,000 in December 2001 to address workers at International Profit Associates, an Illinois company that advises small businesses. At the time, IPA was the focus of a federal investigation -- started during the Clinton administration -- and a government lawsuit alleging widespread sexual harassment.

Like many who have paid the former president to give a speech, IPA executives have been helpful to his wife's campaigns in New York. Her campaign and political action committee have collected nearly $150,000 in donations from the company's officials, making IPA one of her largest single sources of campaign contributions since she ran for the Senate in 2000. The company also flew her aboard its corporate jet, according to a 2004 reimbursement item on her campaign finance report.

Asked about the IPA and Serono speeches, Carson said: "We take our vetting process very seriously. We do our best to try to catch any issues. And given the volume of that, we are not always perfect."

Clinton continues to book new lectures this year as his wife campaigns for president. He will be in Montreal for a motivational speech next month.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/02/22/AR2007022202189.html