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Divernan

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Member since: 2002
Number of posts: 11,471

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So if Obama can't find time, what about an appearance by Michele or Biden? the Big Dog?

It's damned heroic for a person to agree to be a candidate when the odds are great against them going in. It's called flying the flag for the party, and if the party wants to get people to do this, the party owes them some support - if not financial, at least a personal appearance by a high-ranking, well-known politician.

I suggest that Bill Clinton can forego the $1/2 million speaking fees he's currently expecting, and take a couple of months every two years to campaign, pro bono, for Democratic gubernatorial and congressional candidates, whether their races are close or not. "Unlike many presidents, Bill Clinton did not come from a wealthy family, nor did he have lucrative employment before his presidency. But since leaving office we estimate that Clinton has earned more than $125 million before taxes, with the vast majority of that coming from speaking fees." In other words, Clinton has used his status as ex-president to market himself to attain great wealth. I think this obliges him to give back to the party.

Read more: The Net Worth Of The American Presidents: Washington To Obama - 24/7 Wall St. http://247wallst.com/banking-finance/2010/05/17/the-net-worth-of-the-american-presidents-washington-to-obama/#ixzz2ctiubbq0
The Wall Street Journal, in evaluating the wealth of U.S. Presidents, identifies Clinton as the wealthiest living American ex-president. You got that right - wealthier than either of the Bushes.

His current worth is estimated at $55 million.Where did all that money come from? Speaking fees. CNN estimates he may have raked in as much as $89 million in speaking fees since he left the White House in 2001. " Unlike many presidents, Bill Clinton did not come from a wealthy family, nor did he have lucrative employment before his presidency. But since leaving office we estimate that Clinton has earned more than $125 million before taxes, with the vast majority of that coming from speaking fees. Clinton’s net worth was reduced in 2008 when his wife, Hillary Clinton, wrote off more than $13 million she loaned her campaign for her own presidential bid. Her campaign debt, once over $25 million, was just retired in January.

Read more: The Net Worth Of The American Presidents: Washington To Obama - 24/7 Wall St. http://247wallst.com/banking-finance/2010/05/17/the-net-worth-of-the-american-presidents-washington-to-obama/#ixzz2ctiubbq0
Bill Clinton has earned a whopping $500,000 speaking advance to deliver a 45 minute speech at the 90th birthday bash for Israeli President Shimon Peres — putting Clinton’s price tag at roughly $11,100 per minute...."

Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/bill-clinton-paid-500-000-speaking-advance-45-minute-speech-earning-11-100-minute-article-1.1361928#ixzz2ctfPeS2n

Earlier this week it was reported, including by TheBlaze, that former President Bill Clinton had charged his hosts $500,000, one year in advance, to deliver a 45 minute speech at an event honoring Israeli President Shimon Peres’s 90th birthday later this month.

That news sparked an outcry in Israel, because of the size of the honorarium and because a well-known non-profit group, the Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael-Jewish National Fund (KKL-JNF) was footing the bill for the speech along with the Peres Academic Center.

Now, the KKL-JNF says it is pulling its funding for the Clinton speech, with one member of the group telling the Israeli site Ynet, “we decided to wash our hands of the event.”

The half-a-million dollar payment was reported to be going to the William J. Clinton Foundation, not directly to the former president’s personal pocket.



Given the New York Times expose re the jumbled financial record-keeping/lack of boundaries between Clinton's Foundation, his wife's political activities and his personal wealth - one wonders where that money ended up. Further, after much negative publicity about this $1/2 million fee paid a year in advance for a 45 minute speech, Clinton indicated he would turn the money back to some Israeli charity.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/02/18/richest-us-presidents_n_2702647.html
In our updated list, the only currently living president who makes the wealthiest list is Bill Clinton, who now has an estimated net worth of $55 million. Clinton continues to make millions of dollars in speaking fees. This January, following an email from Bill Clinton to supporters, Hilary Clinton’s 2008 campaign debt was paid off
.

http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2013/06/07/group-says-it-is-withdrawing-funding-after-outcry-over-500000-bill-for-bill-clintons-israel-speech/

A final comparison of Clinton to Truman. A quote from Truman's book, Mr. Citizen, published in 1960, expressing his opinion on declining offers of corporate positions at large salaries:
"I turned down all of those offers. I knew that they were not interested in hiring Harry Truman, the person, but what they wanted to hire was the former President of the United States. I could never lend myself to any transaction, however respectable, that would commercialize on the prestige and dignity of the office of the Presidency." Consequently, Harry Truman's net worth never reached one million dollars (calculated by the Wall Street Journal in 2010 dollars).

Top investigative journalism reports from 2013 which you may have missed.

http://www.publicintegrity.org/2013/08/22/13175/top-investigations-2013-you-may-have-missed
There's more going on than what the mainstream media tells you. Here's a selection of the best independent investigative reporting from The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists and The Center for Public Integrity this year.


It's been a great year for the Center so far: we were honored at the White House Correspondents Dinner, our investigative coverage of the financial industry was brought back to life, we added a bunch of new faces to our staff and our friends at ICIJ made a huge splash internationally with the release of the "Secrecy for Sale" project on offshore tax havens (more on that story below).

Amid all the excitement, we wanted to pause and reflect on a few of 2013's important investigations, and give you the opportunity to discover them once again. Below we've compiled selections of our most meaningful accountability journalism over the past year:


The investigations reported in some detail at the link include:
1. Deficit hawks keep costly nuclear plant alive.
2. Minority Media begins taking sizable industry donations and siding with industry.
3. Expelled California students left to teach themselves.
4. Once gushing streams sucked dry by "brutally efficient" coal mining.
5. Mystery group easily outspent and likely sunk judicial candidate.
6. Rare glimpse into origins of "dark money" (Big Tobacco lobbying)
7. Corporations and conservative foundations are top sponsors of judicial junkets.
8. What's stopping the Air Force from killing a drone program it can't afford?
9. Secrets of the offshore tax haven world revealed.

I log on to DU w/the Dorothy Parker question: "What fresh hell is this?"

Every morning, with a feeling of dread, I log on - braced for some news of/ latest development from the Obama administration, or some federal agency reporting to Obama, that further destroys our Constitutional rights and/or pushes the limits of disappointment for progressive Democrats. This post about Obama's selection of Sunstein certainly qualifies as the "fresh hell" of the day.

For younger readers, Dorothy Parker was member of the Algonquin Round Table.
http://algonquinroundtable.org/
]The Algonquin Round Table was a group of journalists, editors, actors and press agents that met on a regular basis at the Algonquin Hotel in New York. The group began lunching together in June 1919 and continued on a regular basis for about eight years. There has never been another group quite like them in American popular culture or entertainment.

The group contributed to hit plays, bestselling books and popular newspaper columns. Their impact is still felt today. This site is a testament to that. Many know of the core group -- Dorothy Parker, Alexander Woollcott, Robert Benchley, and Edna Ferber -- however, there were about 24 members of the Round Table.


http://www.pbs.org/wnet/americanmasters/episodes/the-algonquin-round-table/about-the-algonquin/527/

November 8th, 1998
The Algonquin Round Table
About the Algonquin

The period that followed the end of World War I was one of gaiety and optimism, and it sparked a new era of creativity in American culture. Surely one of the most profound — and outrageous — influences on the times was the group of a dozen or so tastemakers who lunched together at New York City’s Algonquin Hotel. For more than a decade they met daily and came to be known as the Algonquin Round Table. With members such as writers Dorothy Parker, Harold Ross (founder of THE NEW YORKER) and Robert Benchley; columnists Franklin Pierce Adams and Heywood Broun, and Broun’s wife Ruth Hale; critic Alexander Woollcott; comedian Harpo Marx; and playwrights George S. Kaufman, Marc Connelly, Edna Ferber, and Robert Sherwood, the Round Table embodied an era and changed forever the face of American humor.

It all began with an afternoon roast of the NEW YORK TIMES drama critic, Alexander Wollcott. A number of writers met up at the Algonquin Hotel on 44th street and had such a good time that the event was repeated the next day, and the day after that, until the lunch table at the Algonquin was established as a ritual. The core group of friends was sometimes joined by others who attended for short periods or drifted about the periphery of the group, including such notables as actress Tallulah Bankhead and playwright Noel Coward. The Round Table was made up of people with a shared admiration for each other’s work. Outspoken and outrageous, they would often quote each other freely in their daily columns.

Round Tabler Edna Ferber, who called them “The Poison Squad,” wrote, “They were actually merciless if they disapproved. I have never encountered a more hard-bitten crew. But if they liked what you had done, they did say so publicly and whole-heartedly.” Their standards were high, their vocabulary fluent, fresh, astringent, and very, very tough. Both casual and incisive, they had a certain terrible integrity about their work and boundless ambition. Some of the most notable members of the Round Table came together to work on significant collaborative projects. George Kaufman teamed up with Edna Ferber and Marc Connelly on some of his best stage comedies, including DULCY and THE ROYAL FAMILY. Harold Ross of THE NEW YORKER hired both Dorothy Parker as a book reviewer and Robert Benchley as a drama critic.

By 1925, the Round Table was famous. What had started as a private clique became a public amusement. The country-at-large was now attentive to their every word—people often coming to stare at them during lunch. Some began to tire of the constant publicity. The time they spent entertaining and being entertained took its toll on several of the Algonquin members. Robert Sherwood and Robert Benchley moved out of the hotel in order to concentrate on and accomplish their work. In 1927, the controversial execution of Sacco and Vanzetti, whose case had divided the country and the Round Table for six years, seemed to cast a pall over the group’s unchecked antics. Dorothy Parker believed strongly in the pair’s innocence, and upon their deaths she remarked “I had heard someone say and so I said too, that ridicule is the most effective weapon. Well, now I know that there are things that never have been funny and never will be. And I know that ridicule may be a shield but it is not a weapon.”

As America entered the Depression and the more somber decade of the 1930s, the bonds that had held the group together loosened; many members moved to Hollywood or on to other interests. “It didn’t end, it just sort of faded,” recalled Marc Connelly. A decade after it began, the Algonquin Round Table was over. Not forgotten, the Round Table remains one of the great examples of an American artists’ community and the effects it can have on its time.

To 3rd world countries:"Need a Constitution? We're Not Using This One"

This column is a very erudite and, I think, powerful discussion of the intersection between today's activist Supreme court, Americans' civil liberties, the Bill of Rights and the fact that things can get a lot worse
"Because the Constitution, far from the plain and simple, absolute and immutable road map to democracy that the Pharisaic right wing seems to perceive, is a remarkably brief and, perforce, very general document whose meaning is what the Supreme Court says it is."


I include here just a few excerpts - hope you will read the entire column.

Re: The Fourth Amendment:
Now it is the government that has privacy – quite a great deal of it – and the citizens who have none at all. This not because the Constitution has changed or the courts have failed to read it. It is because judges have chosen to interpret its elegant but easy language in ways that turn it on its head. Just a few examples:


It continues with many examples - here is just one of them:
* The history of war powers is complex and fraught with differing interpretations from the beginning. Still, it is difficult to picture any of the Founders contemplating a president who would maintain a “kill list” in the absence of a declared war. This is part of what John Marshall, later to become chief justice, said in support of ratifying the Constitution: “Shall it be a maxim that a man shall be deprived of his life without the benefit of law? Shall such a deprivation of life be justified by answering that a man’s life was not taken secundem artem, because he was a bad man?”


And he wraps it up:
"The next presidential election is crucial because the next president will determine the kind of Supreme Court we have. Candidates who are on record as supporting the Patriot Act, the prison at Guantanamo Bay and the National Security Agency’s warrantless surveillance of domestic electronic communications should be summarily dismissed from consideration. Unfortunately, the only likely candidate who has stepped forward so far and supported the common-sense constitutional view of these things is Rand Paul. Paul is a Libertarian, and that is a dangerous form of political lunacy. Paul’s view of the matter does, though, serve to illustrate a very important point: if ever there was a nonpartisan, purely American issue on which left and right could agree, this is surely it."


http://www.clydefitchreport.com/2013/08/need-a-constitution-were-not-using-this-one/

"Constructive knowledge" can be assigned to Obama.

In addition to actual knowledge, the law also recognizes the concept of constructive knowlege.
Constructive Knowlege
That which exists, not in fact, but as a result of the operation of law. That which takes on a character as a consequence of the way it is treated by a rule or policy of law, as opposed to its actual character.

For example, constructive knowledge is notice of a fact that a person is presumed by law to have, regardless of whether he or she actually does, since such knowledge is obtainable by the exercise of reasonable care.

For example, possession of the key to a safe-deposit box is constructive possession of the contents of the box since the key gives its holder power and control over the contents.

http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/constructive

Then the question becomes whether Obama took reasonable care to exercise oversight and control, as required of a president.

Which then raises the question of how much "plausible deniability" has Obama put in play re NSA, CIA, etc.

Plausible deniability is a term coined by the CIA during the Kennedy administration to describe the withholding of information from senior officials in order to protect them from repercussions in the event that illegal or unpopular activities by the CIA became public knowledge.

The term most often refers to the denial of blame in (formal or informal) chains of command, where senior figures assign responsibility to the lower ranks, and records of instructions given do not exist or are inaccessible, meaning independent confirmation of responsibility for the action is nearly impossible. In the case that illegal or otherwise disreputable and unpopular activities become public, high-ranking officials may deny any awareness of such act or any connection to the agents used to carry out such acts. The lack of evidence to the contrary ostensibly makes the denial plausible, that is, credible. The term typically implies forethought, such as intentionally setting up the conditions to plausibly avoid responsibility for one's (future) actions or knowledge.

In politics and espionage, deniability refers to the ability of a "powerful player" or intelligence agency to avoid "blowback" by secretly arranging for an action to be taken on their behalf by a third party ostensibly unconnected with the major player. In political campaigns, plausible deniability enables candidates to stay "clean" and denounce third-party advertisements that use unethical approaches or potentially libellous innuendo.


Plausible deniability is also a legal concept. It refers to lack of evidence proving an allegation. Standards of proof vary in civil and criminal cases. In civil cases, the standard of proof is "preponderance of the evidence" whereas in a criminal matter, the standard is "beyond a reasonable doubt." If an opponent lacks incontrovertible proof (evidence) of their allegation, one can "plausibly deny" the allegation even though it may be true.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plausible_deniability

Thoughts on Pres. Carter's grandson starting out in politics at the state senator level.

I was pleased to note in the OP article that President Carter's grandson is a state senator. Serving in a state legislature, as a statewide elected official (like state treasurer or attorney general) or in the cabinet of a state governor is an excellent and proven way to learn how the political system is designed, functions and impacts citizens in a myriad of ways in all aspects of their lives. And I'd add serving as chief of staff for a governor/congressperson would also provide the extensive knowledge/experience to jump into the political arena at the level of one's previous boss.

It offends me when individuals, particularly "legacy" kids of high level politicians - governors/presidents/vice-presidents/US congressmen start out their political careers running for their very first office at the federal congressional or state gubernatorial level. I don't care how many degrees one has accumulated, or how wealthy one is, or how politically connected one's parents are, or how big a corporation one has run.

Then throw in how some carpetbagging individuals move to a different state just in time to claim residency in order to run for high level office. The primary purpose of serving at a Congressional or gubernatorial level is to represent the interests of your HOME STATE constituents and the overall welfare of your home state. That means you should have extensive personal knowledge of and experience dealing with issues of prime concern to your state and its constituents. You should have a real, personal HISTORY in that state!

President Carter has never suffered from hubris, ego or greed. The fact that his grandson is starting a political career at the state legislative level is further evidence of the values Jimmy Carter has passed on to his family. His grandson sounds to be a very decent man, whose activities and pursuits reflect old-fashioned Democratic values. I hope he will eventually run for higher level office, whether in his home state or the U.S. Congress.
http://www.senate.ga.gov/senators/Documents/PrintBios/BioCarterJason720.pdf

Senator Jason Carter was elected to the Georgia Senate on May 11, 2010.
In his professional career, Jason is an attorney at the business litigation firm of Bondurant, Mixson &
Elmore, LLP. In addition to his business practice, he has received numerous awards for his pro bono efforts and leadership within the bar. Prior to joining his current firm, Jason served as a law clerk to the Honorable Frank Mays Hull of the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit.

Jason is active in many aspects of community service and sits on the boards of several charitable and public interest organizations , including the DeKalb Women's Resource Center to End Domestic Violence, Hands on Atlanta and the Carter Center. Jason also served as a United States Peace Corps Volunteer in Lochiel, South Africa, and is active in many aspects of the Peace Corps's continuing mission. He has authored a book about South Africa, and he has published articles on legal issues and other topics.

Jason was born at Emory Hospital in District 42, and is a ninth-generation Georgian. He received his law degree summa cum laude from the University of Georgia, and received his undergraduate degree from Duke University. Jason and his wife Kate have two young sons. They live in DeKalb County, Georgia.

YELP has joined ALEC - let them know what you think!

Just heard from MoveOn.org that YELP has joined ALEC. With just over a thousand reviews, the average rating of ALEC is the lowest possible, i.e., one star.
MoveOn.org
So, Yelp joined ALEC (yes, *that* ALEC) and this is what happened.

Feel free to add your review, as well.
American Legislative Exchange Council
www.yelp.com
Washington, DC
http://www.yelp.com/biz/american-legislative-exchange-council-washington#hrid:uRfumN26sQSxoNillMlnNQ


Here's a few of the latest reviews/posts:

If ALEC was a restaurant, ALEC would serve GOP pig slop pressed together in little cookie cutter shaped patties on a poisoned, corporate-money-seeded bun.

They would serve this to the average patron, while CEOs would dine in a special section on nothing but the best cuts of corporate friendly legislation, washed down with a nice big glass of Tears Of The Masses.

Also, their service would suck.


And another:

I'm absolutely shocked that Yelp would partner with ALEC. ALEC is the reason so many states have passed laws like "Voter I.D." and "Stand Your Ground."

This neo-con ultra-convervative group is behind awful legislation that in no way helps independent businesses and consumers. Why would Yelp support such a group - because it benefits the millionaire owner?

Booo, Yelp. Booo, ALEC.


and
Shame on you Yelp! This is my last log in to your site since you have joined forces with ALEC.

Lame!!

Water use stats from 10 years ago; golf course numbers have grown since then.

http://www.worldwatch.org/node/797

Number of photos in the January/February issue of Coastal Living that showed coastal wildlife (seabirds, crustaceans, turtles, or other fauna): 1

Number of photos in the same issue showing golf courses: 61

Amount of water it would take, per day, to support 4.7 billion people at the UN daily minimum:
2.5 billion gallons
Amount of water used, per day, to irrigate the world’s golf courses: 2.5 billion gallons

Number of golf courses in Japan before World War II: 23
Number in operation or soon to open in 2004: 3,030

Average amount of pesticides used per acre, per year, on golf courses: 18.0 pounds
Average amount of pesticides used, per acre, per year, in agriculture: 2.7 pounds

Amount of water used by 60,000 villagers in Thailand, on average, per day: 6,500 cubic meters
Amount of water used by one golf course in Thailand, on average, per day: 6,500 cubic meters

Current area of the wetlands of the Colorado River Delta, which now receives just 0.1 percent of the river water that once flowed through it: 150,000 acres

Area that could be covered to a depth of 2 feet with water drawn from the Colorado River by the city of Las Vegas, which uses much of that allotment to water its more than 60 golf courses:150,000 acres

Sources: Photos: Coastal Living, January/February 2004; Water usage: Chris Reuther, Know Your Environment, Academy of Natural Sciences, 1999; National Golf Foundation; State of the World 2004; Japan: “Japan Golfcourses and Deforestation,” TED Case #282, 2003; Pesticides: “EcoMall: A Greener Golf Course, 2004;” Thailand: U.K. Sports Turf Research Institute; Colorado River: Environmental Defense; Las Vegas: Associated Press.
Published in World Watch Magazine, March/April 2004, Volume 17, No. 2

Golf is $49 BILLION per yr. business; 4 BILLION gals. of H2O DAILY

During the past decade, there has been an explosion in new golf courses. The
United States is now home to nearly 18,000 golf courses, more than half the
world's 35,000 golf courses,
according to the Worldwatch Institute, a think
tank that monitors global environmental trends.

In the United States, golf courses cover more than 1.7 million acres and
soak up nearly 4 billion gallons of water daily, the institute estimates.
They also use pesticides and fertilizers that contribute to water pollution.

A 1994 review of death certificates for 618 golf course superintendents by
researchers at the University of Iowa's College of Medicine found an
unusually high numbers of deaths from certain cancers, including brain
cancer and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.

The results were similar to other studies that have found an elevated risk
for non-Hodgkin's lymphoma among farm workers and pesticide applicators.

http://www.organicconsumers.org/corp/golf042604.cfm

The "modern" game of golf originated in Scotland in the 1400's, Early Scottish golf courses were primarily laid out on links land, soil-covered sand dunes directly inland from beaches. This gave rise to the term "golf links", particularly applied to seaside courses and those built on naturally sandy soil inland.

Those original Scottish golfers would surely scoff at the pampered US golfers with their courses manicured, watered and chemically treated to look like some unnaturally green, Thomas Kinkade fairy tale.

On edit: And the Scots would also ridicule the ubiquitous use of golf carts. Today's golfers get minimum exercise - it's gotta be the least strenuous "sport" in the world.

Given how the War on Drugs turned out; time for a War on Jobs!

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